Friday, December 28, 2012

"Meat-patty" Bake with Supper

At least twice a week, we put a huge spread on the table. The point is to make enough for leftovers for at least one meal, at least with the entrees. Concerning salads, my family rips through a whole huge salad almost every meal so there is rarely any left over, so come the next meal, we've gotta put another huge salad together. A lot of work when in a hurry, but then we have to focus on the positive - it's a great toxin remover from the body and everyone is trying to stay as toxin-free in out chemical infested world as we can. 

The menu tonight is toss salad, spaghetti squash, lightly steamed broccoli, lightly boiled green beans spiced with fresh ginger, and "Meat-patty" Bake. The closest version of the "Meat-patty Bake" isn't for me. It has a soy sauce marinade with fungus (mushrooms) and high-glycemic carrots, but I'll bet that fermented soy sauce marinade rocked! Yum, used to love that stuff. My "Meat-patty" Bake had just a simple garlic and seasonings infused olive oil drizzled on top. It was pretty good. I think I would prefer just dipping my "meat-patty" in some pesto or infused olive oil. I think the baking the second time around was unnecessary ... but that's what the "normal" world does - bake and bake and bake their food. Hmmm, on that.   

green beans boiled with slivers of ginger - very tasty and no salt needed
yummy spaghetti squash - the dark colors are the seasonings that baked into the squash
a rather out-of-focus close-up

Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of my version. This version with carrots and mushrooms is NOT mine,
but the vegie "meat" patties themselves were the same.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Dilly Flatbread

When I was learning to bake with my mom eons ago, she assigned me to make a Dilly Bread recipe that, to this day, I think of over and over. Of course it called for wheat flour, but it also had cottage cheese in it, and neither of these things I eat anymore. However, the flavors that have had lasting impression on my taste buds weren't so much from the wheat and the cottage cheese but from the sourness of the bread (maybe vinegar or lemon juice was in the bread too, kind of like a sourdough) and from the loud combination of dill seeds and onion pieces. With these three things in mind—the sourness, the dill seeds and the onions—I thought I’d attempt a gluten-free vegan Dilly Flatbread.
Heh heh, I am pretty satisfied! Yep, all the three flavors I wanted are there! But unfortunately, I can't remember the ration of flours (quinoa and millet with some flax) so I'll have to remake the flatbread and post later. This would have been awesome, except for one wee little problem ... I took it out of the oven before the bottom was finished cooking and eating a piece out of the center of the pan was slightly on the grose. Ah, but next time there will be perfection ... as well as an ingredient list.

Spoon-pour the batter onto an oiled/sprayed pizza sheet and spread out evenly.
Then, liberally sprinkle dried rosemary, thyme leaves and sea salt over the surface of the flatbread.
Minced garlic is also a possibility.  
After baking, immediately cut the hot bread into pieces of desired shapes.
I served this dilly flatbread with salsa-like salad and black bean soup.
The black bean soup was mostly leftover bean broth with brown rice cooked in it and finely chopped broccoli added.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Fresh Dill Salad Dressing

Fresh Dill Salad Dressing
1 cup olive oil
1 cup lemon juice
5-7 cloves garlic, minced
several stems of fresh dill, minced
sea salt
Excellent freshly made, but the flavors marinate wonderfully if let to sit in the fridge
overnight before using.
the basic recipe for most of my salads is olive oil and lemon juice in equal amounts with heavy garlic and some sea salt. Cilantro, basil, and other fresh herbs can be altered to the base to add some variety.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Thai Almond Sauce

This was delicious, except I think I'm not quite ready for something quite so "sticky" on my esophagus ... because as I said before, that's where the problem is, and after eating the yummy yummy almond sauce, I felt vague tightness in the throat. I should just stick with whole washed nuts and whole vegies and forget that almond butter exists for just a while longer.

Thai Almond Sauce

3 tablespoons coconut oil
3 tablespoons almond butter
1 1/2 tablespoons minced ginger
1/2 onion, sliced
5 cloves garlic, sliced or minced
1 baby zucchini, sliced
1 baby yellow squash, sliced
3-4 ribs celery, sliced
sea salt

pre-cut the vegies
heat the almond butter and coconut oil over low heat
continually stirring, sautee the onion, garlic and ginger ...  then add in the remaining vegies and seasonings.
some additional water will be necessary to prevent burning
yum, there's nothing like young and tender asparagus!
serve with brown rice, or just eat it plain with vegies like me :)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dangerous Drink & Drug Interactions

An interesting feature on Yahoo Health was this article on Dangerous Drink and Drug Interactions. I'm reposting it (and additional info) because food and drugs have similar effects on candida, and ironically, all of the seven drinks introduced as "dangerous" on this list are taboo for people with systemic candida.  Now that's food for thought!
The article: Dangerous Drink and Drug Interactions
"Before you wash down medication with just any beverage, watch out; common drinks, from fruit juice to coffee, can lessen the effectiveness of certain drugs as well as pose serious health threats when combined with some prescriptions. Medical toxicologist Lesile Dye, MD, FACMT outlined the top alarming combos."
Grapefruits / Grapefruit juice - Grapefruit juice negatively interacts with more than 50 medications, including statins. Because the effects of the citrus juice last more than 24 hours, simply taking your meds at a different time won't solve the problem. For people with candida, citrus fruits have high acidity (lemons and limes actually function as alkalines in the body) and encourage the growth of the candida, and so avoiding citrus is important.

Pomegranates / Pomegranate juice - An enzyme found in pomegranate juice can break down several blood pressure prescriptions. For people with candida, pomegranates have extremely high glucose counts, almost equal to those of grapes, and because of the spike in sugar which causes bacteria to feast and thrive, strike pomegranates from the diet. Pomegranate juice is often diluted with other sweeteners anyway and is a sugar-spike for people without candida too. Eating the whole fruit, if a person can tolerate it, is preferable anyway as the whole fruit still has its fiber, is fresh with its vital nutrients in tact, and therefore is synergetic to the body.
Milk - Calcium can interfere with the effectiveness of thyroid medication. Wait at least 4 hours after drug ingestion to drink any calcium-rich beverages. But then why drink milk at all? It's a known toxin to the body, is filled with hormones, is extremely fatty for feeding a 300-pound calf to be a 800+-pound cow; it has been denatured through pasteurization and other processing, and it contains huge amounts of bacteria (aka pus) and is an inflammatory to most people whether they know it or not. Milk with its lactose (milk sugar) is especially volatile to people with candida and even to people with autoimmune diseases. The advertisement "Milk is good food" has been a cruel deception to the public for years as milk plays havoc on the human immune system.
Coffee / Green tea / Black tea / even chocolate - Caffeine can pose a serious health threat when taken with stimulants. Avoid a cup of joe when taking ephedrine (appetite suppressants), asthma prescriptions, and amphetamines (such as Adderall). Caffeine excites the nervous system anyway, and for people with candida, it also excites the candida bacteria.

Sports drinks - The potassium in [sport drinks among others] can be dangerous when coupled with some heart failure or hypertension drugs. Bananas and kiwis are also very rich in potassium. The potassium found naturally in foods, not that powdered toxic stuff in supplement form, is essential for healing the body; however, sports drinks are filled with sugars and chemicals, both of which candida thinks is great for a fine and enjoyable feast. Bananas and kiwis would be great for people with candida IF they didn't come packaged with high glycemic counts. The above picture was taken from an article on "enhanced waters". These vitamin-enriched [chemical enrichments] waters often have 200 more calories than water, have 33g or so of sugar which is like a dessert in a bottle, and according to Ara DerMarderosian, PhD, a pharmacognosy professor at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, waters that are heavily fortified with vitamins and minerals may actually suppress the immune system especially if the person is already taking supplements or are being nourished with enough vitamins and minerals in the diet.
Wine - Skip the dinnertime glass of wine when taking antidepressants; the combo can cause hypertension, headaches, fast heart rate, and stroke. The same goes for energy drinks. And for people with candida, drinking anything with fermentation is a joyous occasion for the candida bacteria and a miserable one for the person. Wine has the double whammy of being a fermentation and a product of a high glycemic fruit, grapes; candida loves both!
Green tea - Vitamin K, also found in broccoli, kale, cabbage, asparagus, celery and more, can decrease the effect of blood thinners such as coumarin or warfarin. (Fresh garlic too is a very effective blood thinner, but then nobody I know drinks garlic juice ... so I guess this is just FYI.) Green tea commonly taught to be healthy has vitamin K, although the dosage is mediocre since the dried green tea leaves have undergone a brewing process which lessens the vitamin K impact. Vitamin K is nourishing for the body and beneficial for the bones, and there are many ways to get vitamin K in the diet for people trying to rebalance their system from attacking candida; green tea is not as beneficial as is advertised. With the heat reducing the antioxidants and vitamins of green tea, and with the caffeine remaining in the cup, green tea is not a healthy beverage for people with candida.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Gluten-free, Sugar-free Millet and Bread Puddings

Millet Pudding

All foods can be categorized under the five broad flavors of sweet, sour, salty, bitter and pungent. Therefore, when making a dessert the foods that are naturally sweet can be used, but to use only the sweet would give it a sickly sweet flavor. Some other flavor complement or two must be present to accent the sweetness and perhaps heighten it. If you consider the ingredients, millet, coconut oil, and zucchini are all naturally sweet. As for the spices, while cinnamon is both sweet and pungent, the other spices are primarily pungent. The cranberries are sour, which makes sense since they are a very low glycemic fruit. And to make a "tasty" dish, three of the five flavors must be utilized ... and they are in the millet pudding - sweet, sour, and pungent, and so using three flavors when blending is a formula for making tasty but simple foods.

My "desserts" have been enjoyed by people with a sweet tooth, and most acknowledge that while it could be made better with processed sugar or sweeteners, the desserts were surprisingly satisfying.
Millet Pudding

2 1/2 cups hot cooked millet
1/2+ cup coconut oil
1/2 zucchini, sliced
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2/3 teaspoon coriander
1/3 teaspoon cardamom
1/3 teaspoon cloves
sea salt
1 cup walnut halves
1 1/2 cups fresh/frozen cranberries
water as needed
In a blender, blend the hot millet, coconut oil, zucchini, and water as needed. When the coconut oil is creamy, add the spices. In an 8"x8" baking dish, put a tablespoon or two of coconut oil, and heat in the over for 5 minutes. When the oil is hot, oil the baking dish, leaving the remaining oil. On the bottom of the baking dish, spread the walnuts. Then pour the millet batter over the walnuts, and over the batter lay on the cranberries. Dust with cloves. Bake at 350F for 45-50 minutes. Serve hot or cold.

Bread Pudding

To make bread pudding, some kind of leftover muffins are necessary. I used Quinoa Cranberry Muffins here. I also needed to whip up some almond milk to pour over 3 muffins after they were broken up, but of course before pouring, I added some coconut oil and extra spices (cinnamon, coriander, cardamom, and cloves) and a little salt to the "milk". I tossed a handful of almonds over the broken muffins, poured enough "milk" over everything to cover the muffins, dusted the top with cloves and/or cinnamon, and baked the dish on 350F for 35 or so minutes. It came out quite creamy!

Friday, December 7, 2012

More Salads, Salads, Salads

Raw vegetables and fruits are enzyme-rich, aiding the body in digestion, metabolism and helping to produce energy. Here are several enzyme-rich salads. I tend to use one kind of salad dressing - a mixture of half fresh squeezed lemon juice, half olive oil, and then tons of minced garlic added, and Himalayan salt. I might mix in fresh herbs like dill, basil or parsley but that is only when they are available.

raw cauliflower and broccoli processed in food processor, radish slices, and my dressing
baby bok choy, cherry tomatoes, topped with the garlicky dregs of my jar of dressing

my kind of Waldorf Salad - baby bok choy, celery, cabbage, walnuts, and my dressing

quinoa tabuli salad


lightly steamed vegies cut up with a knife and topped with my dressing
(yes, it's a bit of carrot ... once in an age I eat a teeny bit)

Asian cabbage, celery, green apples, parsley, cilantro, and a large chunk of ginger minced,
topped with hemp seeds, and my dressing

Red cabbage, cilantro, young green onions, soaked sunflower seeds, ginger, garlic,
and dressing (olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt)
cucumbers, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, and lemon pulp with heavy garlic sauce

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Eggplant Parmigiana

My mom absolutely loves eggplant parmigiana, so I thought I'd fix her some, but gluten-free style. [This blog entry is from 2012 summer.] So I dumped a bunch of cornmeal into a bowl, some ground quinoa flour, and Italian seasonings. In another bowl I beat three eggs and then proceded to dip the zucchini slices into the egg batter and then into the coarse "breading" mix. Fried in olive oil over a low heat (which took a long time ... didn't want the oil to get too hot and become trans fatty), Mom said hers [the first picture] tasted really good. Mine were just dipped in egg batter and then fried [the last picture]; they were OK but too disgustingly greasy. I'm not used to fried foods of any kind, so if I were to make them again, I would bake them; however, I've got some ideas about making raw eggplant parmigiana, which would keep the enzymes in tact. Hmmm, thinking about this ....
I think in the future a good "breading" for baked parmigiana would be crushed hemp seeds, coarse millet flour as a substitute for the cornmeal, and seasonings. And I think baked, they would be delicious. For raw parmigiana, eggplant slices could be dipped in  sprouted lentil "batter", seasoned, and put in the dehydrator for a few hours. And I think they would be fantastic ... ok, expect a blog entry on this in the near future!

cornmeal makes an awesome "breading" for vegies ... but not for people with candida (aw, well)
some baked vegie meatballs made the day before with an Italian sauce to 'moisten' them
the put-together version - simple eggplant parmigiana for me, with meatballs and asparagus

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Minerals List & Their Food Sources

Natural Health Treatment (NHT) highly recommends an "all round mineral" supplement, Vemma’s New Vision brand Ionic Minerals. The brand has (1) trace minerals (2) in their ionic form (3) which taste good but (4) have a sugar-free option for diabetics, and (5) are free from heavy metals.

I'm not advocating this but think it worth posting on as minerals are frequently lacking in our present-day food that is grown in mineral-depleted soil. But following is a listing of minerals that the body needs every day and followed by foods which are rich in the respective minerals. Eating right for one's health is SO MUCH BETTER than popping a pill for two main reasons - (1) the vitamins and minerals in food function synergetically with one another, something that can't happen effectively in chemically formed supplements, and (2) chemically formed supplements, although they are "natural", are still held together by talc and binders that are yes, chemically processed and therefore are in some small or great way toxic to the body. My suggestion, eat your way to good health.


Common mineral deficiencies and foods for replenishing them:

Word of caution: Eating raw foods to replenish nutrients is the best bet as overdosing and throwing off the body's balance is easy with mineral supplements, but not with food.

Source - click to enlarge

Boron (B): apples, carrots, grapes, other raw fruits (except citrus), nuts, legumes, vegetables in general. Most often used for: arthritis

Calcium (Ca): blackstrap molasses, salmon, green leafy vegetables, almonds, sesame seeds, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products, broccoli, nettles, burdock root, parsley, raspberry leaves, yarrow, marshmallow root and yellow dock. Most often used for: osteoporosis, muscle cramps, heart palpitations, arthritis, brittle nails, pregnancy support, eczema, and high blood pressure. Note: Many types of calcium supplements are on the market, but choosing the correct one is essential as excess can cause high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, arthritis, and kidney stones.

Chromium (Cr): New Vision Ionic Minerals, blackstrap molasses, beef and other meats/poultry/fish, brown rice, fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, dulse (seaweed), and  mushrooms. Most often used for: anxiety and nervousness and other serious mental challenges, ADD, depression, type II diabetes, hypoglycemia, heart diseases associated with coronary artery problems and infertility

Copper (Cu): blackstrap molasses, parsley, New Vision Ionic Minerals, Standard Process Labs brand Chezyn, almonds, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, oats and other whole grains and legumes, nuts, seafood, sunflower oil and whole wheat. Most often used for: anemia, baldness, joint problems, improper cholesterol ratios, aneurysms, and retinal degeneration

Germanium (Ge): New Vision Ionic Minerals, mushrooms, seeds, vegetables (especially garlic and onions) and bran. Most often used for: cancer, asthma, arthritis, high blood pressure and osteoporosis

Iron (Fe): blackstrap molasses (maximum 2 teaspoons/day), parsley, leafy green vegetables, sea vegetables such as dulse, kelp and nori wrappers, prunes, black cherries, meat and seafood, nuts, whole grains and legumes, burdock, yellow dock, nettles and raspberry leaves. Most often used for: iron deficient anemia, decreased stamina and energy, weak immune system, digestive disorders (Crohn’s, Celiac, difficulty swallowing) and irritable nerves. Note: Two signs you may need natural iron supplements are ice chewing and a tan chin and cheek area when the rest of the face is a lighter complexion. Parasites can cause anemia.

Iodine (I): sea vegetables (kelp, dulse, nori wrappers), sesame seeds, raw spinach, zucchini, asparagus, Celtic sea salt, soy and soy products, garlic. Most often used for: thyroid problems, fatigue, and weight issues. Note: Some foods block the update of iodine into the thyroid gland when eaten raw and in large amounts. Iodine blocking foods include: Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, peaches, pears, cooked spinach and turnips. For an underactive thyroid, limit the intake of these substances to 4 cups/week.

Magnesium (Mg): blackstrap molasses (max of 2 teaspoons/day), dark green vegetables, potatoes (especially the skin), beans and other legumes, whole grains, almonds and other nuts, meat and fish, soy products, apricots, bananas, coconut (the organic unsulfited kind), dates, figs and avocados. Most often used for: constipation, hyperexcitability, nervousness, asthma, chronic fatigue, glaucoma and retinal problems, high blood pressure, heart problems (congestive heart failure), valve problems, arrhythmias), insomnia, muscle cramping and multiple sclerosis. Note: Potatoes grown on magnesium deficient soils (like Washington) are susceptible to the Potato Scab Virus, the virus thought to be linked with the same virus that causes Multiple Sclerosis in humans. Avoid scabby skinned potatoes.

Manganese (Mn): definitely parsley (1-2 tablespoons/day chopped and raw), green leafy vegetables, oats, pineapple, nuts, spinach, peppermint, apples, apricots, blueberries, celery, egg yolk, and whole grains. Most often used for: tendon and ligament problems (very common problems), tinnitus, skin rashes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, memory problems, diabetes, and breast problems

Molybdenum (Mo): beans and other legumes, dark green leafy vegetables, eggs, whole grains and wheat germ. Most often used for: asthma and gout

Oxygen (O): A diet with a minimum of 1 1/2 cups of raw fruits and 1 1/2 cups of raw vegetables daily will keep the body producing healthy red blood cells stocked with hemoglobin. Exercise or deep breathing exercises are essential to keep oxygenated. Self-test: Look at the little white moons at the base of your fingernails, all fingers except the little fingers should have moons. Without them, the body may not be getting enough oxygen to all the different organs. Oxygen fights off cancer because cancer can’t grow in oxygenated tissues.

Phosphorus (P): eggs, beans and other legumes, almonds, pumpkin seeds (great for prostate and normal hormone function in both males and females), sesame seeds (great for seasonal affective disorder and other forms of depression), bran and whole grains. Most often used for: bone pain, nosebleeds, and trembling.
Note: People who often drink soda pop (more than 4 per week), can easily imbalance the system resulting in too much phosphorus and not enough calcium and magnesium, a common cause of kidney stones and osteoporosis/osteopenia.

Potassium (K): Fresh fruits and vegetables of all kinds, blackstrap molasses, fish, dates, bananas, beans, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, brown rice, and nettles. Most often used for: heart disease, muscular fatigue and weakness, dry skin, depression, edema, insomnia, and counteracting acid bodies and replenishing the alkaline reserve

Selenium (Se): parsley, blackstrap molasses, mushrooms, nuts, salmon and other seafood, sesame seeds, vegetables, wheat germ, chicken, nettles, yarrow, raspberry leaf, garlic and whole grains. Most often used for: immune system stimulation, asthma, thyroid disease, heart disease, high cholesterol, macular degeneration (Standard Process brand Chezyn is an awesome product for this containing chelated zinc, copper and selenium in a natural food-based formula), abnormal pap smears, cancer and liver diseases

Silicon (Si): horsetail, radishes and other root vegetables, New Vision Ionic Minerals, whole grains, brown rice, soy and soy products and green peppers. Most often used for: weak nails that break and tear easily, healthy skin and hair, pliable blood vessels, Alzheimer’s disease, and osteoporosis

Sodium (Na): celery, kale, sesame seeds, Celtic sea salt, apples, carrots, and hot peppers are all good sources of organic sodium which replaces the inorganic molecules we get from salted and prepared foods. Most often used for: high blood pressure, glaucoma, dehydration, and brain dysfunctions such as memory, depression, confusion, hallucinations, seizures, and poor coordination. 

Sulfur (S): eggs, garlic, onions, dried beans, cruciforms (cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale) and soy. Most often used for: arthritis, asthma, back and joint pain and skin disease

Vanadium (V): parsley, snap beans, mushrooms, radishes, soy and soy products, olives, whole grains, seafood, corn and gelatin. Most often used for: diabetes, bone and tooth development, and dental health

Zinc (Zn) (the most common mineral deficiency): pumpkin seeds and other nuts, oatmeal, eggs, parsley, wheat germ and Standard Process brand Chezyn.  Most often used for: Prostate health, healthy immune function, impotence, menopause and perimenopausal health, memory, skin disease, pancreas and thyroid health, macular degeneration and other eye disorders, and bowel dysfunction. Note: A significant amount of zinc is lost through perspiration.

Once mineral deficiencies are noted, checking the entire periodic chart to see if the body is harboring any excesses in heavy metals and gasses is necessary.

The information on this page comes from Natural Health Treatment, in a slightly condensed and more succinct form.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Black Bean Burgers

These were excellent, easy, will have to be made again, and next time I'll have to measure. When I make such large quantities, my guestimates don't work properly. Suffice it to say, that the key ingredients were quinoa flour, millet flour, flaxseeds, blackbeans freshly out of the crockpot, and then the other ingredients like onions, garlic, herbs and seasonings. The mixing bowl that I made these in was huge, and the bowl was almost full. Wow, I really made a pile of burgers, most of which will go into the freezer for those busy days on the go.
How to make black bean burgers
To make good burgers, texture is necessary, so the black beans were partially mashed to kind of break them up,
but so they could peak through for flavor and color. Also, the onions were cut in big enough pieces to also
be visible and for that all-important texture.
Once the mixture is ready, pat the patties out uniformly by using a large-mouth jar ring. My mom's clever idea.
She found that burgers of that shape and no larger would fit in her freezer boxes.
Drop the ring with mixture onto the oiled baking sheet and gently remove the ring.
Yummy looking!
This is just the first baking sheet starting to fill up. I must have had at least four sheets.
But then I like to prepare a lot at one time and have a long breather between the next batch.
After baking them, half the time on one side, and half the time on the other.
They look scruptious!
Uniform baking .... yep, works every time!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cilantro Pesto

The cilantro was beautiful at the foreign foods mart in Itaewon so I bought 3 large bunches, 2 large bunches of parsley, a massive chunk of ginger and then came home and made killer cilantro pesto.

Cilantro Pesto
2 large bunches of cilantro
1 large bunch of parsley
1 large handful of young green onion stems
7-8 cloves garlic
14 cherry tomatoes
1 1/3 cups whole washed almonds
1 1/2 cups olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice with pulp
1 rounded teaspoon sea salt

In the BlendTec put in the cilantro, olive oil and lemon juice and whiz. It's easier to whiz the greens bit by bit so not as much olive oil is needed - seems healthier that way. Add the parsley and whiz, then the young green onions, garlic and sea salt and whiz. Lastly add the whole almonds and tomatoes and whiz just enough to break them up and give texture and bits of separate color to the mix. And wah-lah! Serve, and expect great flavor when especially biting down into a mouthful that has distinct bits of almonds ... it's like getting a sudden burst of Parmesan cheese flavor!

Burgers too!
I also made a whole pile of burgers, and in fact, I made so much mixture that it would have taken forever to bake them in my small oven, so I made one pan of "burger" wedges.

BTW, I threw these together quickly but they have lots of food processed vegies (cabbage mostly), black-eyed peas mashed, cooked brown rice for softness and moisture retention, coarsely chopped walnuts, and a small amount of whole grains whizzed in the BlendTec to a coarse flour (quinoa, millet and black rice). They have an almost "meaty" texture and flavor. I made some in a casserole dish as if it were a meatloaf, and it really turned out great. After it cooled, I chopped it all up in large squares and froze it for times when I need a quick meal and only have time for a salad. Smart planning, I think.

Batch #2 of the cilantro pesto was made with hemp seeds along with the almonds. The hemp make the pesto seem more substantial but I also noticed that the cilantro was more subdued. I like loud cilantro flavor for some things, and this rounder flavor for others. This second batch also had a few more young green onions, and I really like the harmony of green onions and cilantro in pesto. That was a great improvement.

I love my BlendTec. It makes "cooking" so easy!
I'm getting more and more inspired by sites that are all living whole foods, that is, they are all raw and have sprouting life. I'm not quite prepared to go all raw but I'm regularly upping the percentage. Since mid-October I've been about 70-80% raw, and  I LIKE it! My muscles feel more supple, I don't feel tired during the day, and I love the bounce in my step. This is great! I'll bet I can adjust the burger recipe above to only raw food and put it in the dehydrator to "make bread". Hmm, I challenge myself ... so wait and see the results :)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Concerns of the Typical Raw Food Diet

Several years ago I started to become aware of the raw food diet when someone sent me a link about green smoothies and how they boost energy. A few months after getting that email, I bumped into Victoria Boutenko's book 12 Steps to Raw Food. I was kind of fascinated by eating raw so read a couple more of her books Green for Life and Green Smoothie Revolution. I didn't go raw but I became more aware of how I fixed my food and I did buy a VitaMix so I could make green smoothies sometimes.

About three years ago I started getting very interested in the raw food world. Because more and more people are getting sick off of food and environmental toxins, the number of raw food blogs has radically increased, so there's really a lot of recipes available online. In fact, I've found lots of food blogs that touch on raw food and experiment with the raw food diet (like I have been), and many food blogs dedicated to raw food (along with all sorts of promotionals -- which I don't like reading about) but I have picked through and identified a few favorites which I now follow. However, there's something a bit odd about the raw food recipe world (generally), and that is, when I look at the recipes, I have to question how people who consistently eat those kinds of raw foods over time can maintain their health. 

Broadly speaking, it appears that many raw foodists believe that because they are eating raw, they are eating healthily. I disagree but more on that below. Or that because their food is all natural plant food, they can create desserts out of the healthy whole raw food and not worry about gaining weight or perhaps getting diabetes or stressing their adrenals with the glucose and/or fructose spike. On the point of any kind of sugar, I know that it even in its most natural form can cause obvious problems for some people (me with my candida, and to a lesser degree, people with many autoimmune diseases to name a few), but with the high glucose and/or fructose that is consumed in the raw food diet, even people without health issues are taxing their adrenals and beating their pancreas, and that over time, there will be problems. From what I've seen on raw food blogs and in "cook"books, there's a disproportionate amount of desserts to salads, greens and vegetable preparations published.

Even sugar from natural food sources can cause problems. Dates, raisins, apples and other fruits are natural sweeteners, but before someone argues that they are totally natural and totally beneficial, let me also add that they have been grafted, cross-pollinated, and genetically manipulated to become sweeter, hardier and/or brighter, and so the modern-day fruits that we eat today really cannot be compared with the fruits of, say, a hundred years ago. Then there are the processed sweeteners used in raw food recipes -- honey (usually not raw), molasses (not raw), brown rice syrup (not raw), maple syrup (not raw), agave "nectar" (not raw although recipe books say "raw agave nectar/syrup"! and 90% fructose so much worse for the body than the the 50% fructose in corn syrup!). And then there are the sugar alcohols like sorbitol, mannitol, and of course xylitol, which doctors recommend for diabetics because in the modern world, we CRAVE sugar, are addicted to it, and therefore need a sugar substitute that won't cause glucose spikes like those experienced by diabetics. But hmmm, what about fructose spikes??? For side effects of high fructose, most links connected with that is linked with corn syrup, but I predict some day soon that agave "nectar" will be included. At 90% fructose I can't understand why it isn't discussed yet. 

Anyway, I seriously question the amounts of sugar used in the typical raw food blogs, and I seriously question xylitol and agave, both which feature heavily in raw food recipes. Just a BTW. Sorbitol and mannitol are made from cornstarch that have been put through multiple processes; xylitol is made from corn cobs, sugar cane bagasse or stalk residue following extraction, or even birth wood waste and also is heavily processed. And a FYI. Brown rice syrup is comprised of three sugars (45% maltose, 3% glucose and 52% maltotriose) and all three sugar have higher glycemic counts than sucrose/table sugar.

Another reservation I have about the typical raw food blogs is the heavy use of mangoes, avocados and bananas. Some blogs list these three fruits to be consumed in a single day and sometimes in more than just one meal, or they ubiquitously appear in the blog. These three fruits are all high latex foods, and latex foods are highly allergenic. Here are some of the most noted foods related to latex reactions from a blogger who writes exclusively on allergies and sensitivities:
Latex cross reactive foods
Other possible cross reactive foods
Squash family, pumpkin
Legumes, beans
Spices, mint, cinnamon

A little aside on the latex reaction to foods. Foods that are grown organically have less of an effect on people than fruits raised, for example, in a green house, picked green and "ripened" with the gas ethylene, which creates an injury type latex protein. Fruits and vegies have latex which converts naturally to ethylene hormone at the peak of ripeness, provided it was plant ripened. Therefore, plant ripened, organic fruits and vegies are what raw foodists (generally) strive for.

There are several more reservations I have about the raw food diets I see posted online and in books, and one is too many nuts in recipes seems to be mainstream. As I heard via a friend who's madly pursuing healthful living, 40grams of nuts, that is, enough to only fill the cupped palm, is what the body can easily digest; otherwise, the hardness of nuts is abrasive to the kidneys. Also, I think there should be a higher percentage of green vegies in the diet, significantly higher than the fruits. Greens with their healing and enriching chlorophyll are natural toxin removers from the body. It is the chlorophyll that attracts toxins in the body and actually escorts them out. Without chlorophyll, a person will have a lot of toxic build-up, even if they are on an all raw diet.

And then one last comment on the diet drawbacks as I'm seeing typically depicted via various media ... I'm not seeing a lot of food variation. I read somewhere that people typically enjoy 20 main kinds of food, in different forms, but mainly only 20. For example, potatoes can be baked, fried, hash-browned, stuffed, tatter totted, and french fried, but all these recipes still use the potato. In any regard, I've noticed the same trend on raw food blogs (and on my own!). Most people do indeed stick pretty close to their personal 20 staples. However, this is a drawback especially for raw foodists who already have eliminated many kinds of foods from their diets. A lack of variety could cause deficiencies or even a build-up of the good nutrients. For example, because Brazil nuts are so high in selenium (a trace mineral), they can be classed as yet another "superfood". However, a person shouldn't eat more than 6 Brazil nuts at a time or he/she will get an overdose of selenium and become toxic to it. (related article).

Anyway, these have been some of my deepest concerns about the raw food diet. I've tried to go all raw for a couple of weeks on a couple of occasions, but I feel that when I do I'm just not feeding my body well, especially since it's very sensitive with this candida bacteria. However, I was sleuthing around the web about two months ago and landed on the Hippocrates Health Institute (HHI) home page. There was relatively nothing printed on their site about raw food, so I followed the link to Facebook and looked through the albums of pictures just to see what HHI was all about.

And I had an epiphany! There was the chef with his arms outspread in front of a magnificent display of raw food. Haha, I smiled when I considered how many people would be unimpressed by the chef's lack of recipe preparation (each food dish only contained one food item, no mixing on that buffet table!), but I was so impressed because when I saw that display, I knew that each of those dishes, each filled with sprouts at their most nutritious point between 3 and 10 or so days would be rich in protein, vitamins and minerals, and each tiny sprout would come packed with different trace elements too. When I saw that picture, I thought, "Wow! Now that's how people should really eat!"

Hippocrates Health Institute with Chef Ken