Archive for the ‘Superfoods’ Category

  • Rejuvelac – Probiotic in a bottle

    Date: 2011.12.20 | Category: Beverages, sprouting, Superfoods | Response: 0

    As we approach the Christmas holidays, I wanted to share this recipe because it will come handy! First, let me start by saying that rejuvelac is an amazing drink that EVERYONE should make at home. If you are in your golden years, say goodbye to Metamucil and stool softeners and hello rejuvelac! If you enjoy occasional fastfood, you will want to ease your digestion with this homemade elixir! So many people suffer from digestive problems these days. Many become dependent on over-the-counter medicines that only alleviate the symptoms temporarily until they get used to them and they stop working! The great news about rejuvelac is that it not only helps move things through your digestive track but it replenishes enzymes that the standard American diet (SAD) robs from us. Apparently, not only do we produce less digestive enzymes as we get older but the ones we do produce get weaker over time! But, no worry, help is on the way and you can make it at home!  This is, by the way, one of the secrets of the healthiest and oldest people living in what is called the Blue zones (areas of the world where large number of people live to be active, healthy centenarians). They all regularly drink a type of homemade fermented brew. 

    Now, I have to say that I tried it 8 or 10 years ago but frankly the taste was a little too intense for me,  so eventhough I knew that it was a formidable digestive help, I just couldn’t get it down. And I love fermented food, pickles, chutneys etc.

    But someone recently suggested that I add some acidophilus capsules to the batch to get rid of the strong fermented taste and also to add more enzymes to the finished product (I poured the content out from the capsules). Bingo, the result was so light and almost sweet. I still can’t get over the difference. I should have done this years ago!

    So what is Rejuvelac? 

    Wheat berries

    It is basically a fermented drink made mostly from either soft wheat berries or rye but can also be made with oat, barley, millet, buckwheat, quinoa or other grains. You can think of it as liquid yogurt without the dairy, the puss, the fat and the congestion! It is packed not only with acidophilus-rich probiotic enzymes but with 8 of the B vitamins, vitamins E and K, a variety of proteins and lactic acid.

    How do you make it?

    As with any sprouted or fermented dish, the process will take a few days, but you can make more than one batch with it.

    DAY 1: I usually start in the evening by soaking 2 cups of soft wheat berries or rye in a 2 quart jar or smaller glass jars. Cover with 1 quart of water and stir. Seal the jar with the ring that comes with it and some cheese cloth. Soak overnight (8-12 hours).

    DAY 2: Next morning, pour off the water and rinse several times until the water comes out clear.
    Make sure to drain the jar by leaving it at an angle in the sink or on the dish rack.
    Rinse and drain the jar in the evening.

    DAY 3: Rinse and drain the jar twice a day.

    DAY 4: You will notice that the seeds produced little sprouts. Add 6-8 cups of filtered or spring water. Pour 2-3 capsules of acidophilus if you want a lighter flavored drink and cover with the screen. Set on top of your refrigerator (nice and toasty). Wrap a towel around the jar to keep it in the dark for the next 2 days.

    DAY 5: do nothing!

    DAY 6: Pour liquid into a glass bottle and serve, refrigerate the rest.

    You can make two more batches with the same berries by adding 1 quart of water and let it ferment for one day only.

    The fun doesn’t stop here, you can feed the berries to your compost pile or to the birds and squirrels. Is this great or what? Who knew you could get all of this just from simple wheat berries?

    So what does it tastes like?

    A little tart, kind of yogurty and sligthly carbonated depending how long you ferment it. Looks a little cloudy.

    How do you take it?

    Best to take before or between meals. I start the day with a glass on an empty stomach. You can add a little juice if you want but it isn’t needed.

    What to expect?

    Eliminating 3-4 times a day (that’s #2) without any effort! You are basically cleansing without even trying. Great for weight loss. If you are having a cooked meal without anything fresh in it, definitely drink a glass of rejuvelac to help digesting it. It is that simple. You may painlessly even pass small stones in the process.

    How long does it keep?

    Pour the liquid in clean glass bottles (Ikea sells beautiful clear glass bottles for less than $2) and keep refrigerated for up to one week. But since these are live enzymes, you should drink it in the next 2-3 days to get the most out of it.

    How much does it cost to make? 

    Probiotic rich rejuvelac

    It is so cheap to make, don’t bother buying it. A few bucks for several cups of berries, some pro-biotics (optional) and some water! Plus you can experiment with other grains and alter the taste of the finished product. Since most of the diseases are the result of improper elimination of the food we eat, make this a new habit for the New year.

    Serve it  in a martini glass without saying anything and you will have a par-tay!
    You can spike it with a little fruit juice of your choice, a slice of lime for a little extra flavor.

    One more thing, do share this post with anyone you know that suffers from digestive trouble.  Pain and discomfort are optional if you can prevent them!

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  • Cranberry Relish

    Date: 2011.12.07 | Category: antioxidant, Dairy free, Gluten-free, RECIPES, Superfoods, Vegan Deserts, Vegan Holiday Treats | Response: 0

    Cranberry relish

    This is one of my favorite relish recipe because it combines the tartness of cranberries and the freshness and sweeteness of oranges. You also get all their health benefits because you eat them whole and raw. Add the vitamin C, the amazing colors, which means, lots of phytonutrients. In our home, we don’t just wait for Thanksgiving or Christmas, whenever we need a pick me up side dish, that’s the one we go for.
    You can buy cranberries in the fall, freeze a few bags for later on and you will be all set!

    Ingredients:
    1 bag of cranberries
    2 medium oranges (organic preferrably)
    2-3 Tbl brown sugar

    Preparation:

    1. Pour the semi frozen cranberries in a food processor.
    2. Wash your oranges and cut the top off and cut into quarters.
    3. Add the oranges (the whole thing) by spreading them around the processor and sprinkle the sugar evenly.
    4. Process everything. you will need to stop, mix and process again until most of the large pieces are nicely processed and the sugar well mixed.
    5. Taste, add sugar if needed, this part is up to you. Some people like it tart, others more sweat. Serve.

    Nutritional facts about cranberries:

    Everyone knows that they help prevent and heal urinary tract infections, but newer research also seems to indicate that they can even prevent stomach ulcers from developing. Cranberries are a major source of anti-oxidants so they are naturally anti-cancer. They are also anti-inflammatory. So, they are now in my list of super foods and they don’t cost hardly anything! So stock up!

    You can serve it with tofurkey, seitan dish, mash potatoes and gravy. You get the idea, but don’t stop there. I love using the relish as a desert.

    Cranberry desert

    All you have to do is find a nice serving glass (or mug as in the photo), spoon some of the relish, then sprinkle some granola, then a little soy or nut milk, then more relish and finish with some granola. It is pretty, delicious and very good for you. If you want more fancy, you can add a scoop of coconut or soy icecream but it doesn’t need it.

    Ok, so no more excuses for buying cranberry sauce in a can (that looks like dog food when it comes out) or other lesser versions. You know better now!

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  • MISO – THE ULTIMATE RADIATION SHIELD

    Date: 2011.04.13 | Category: radiation shield, RECIPES, Superfoods, Vegan Soups | Response: 0

    Miso soup

    Even though, the news isn’t covering the situation in Japan as much as before, the dangers for residents in Japan and people around the world is no less because of it.

    While everyone is talking about taking iodine supplement, is there anything else we can do? I found out that there is something everyone can take and it has no side effects.

    On August 9th 1945, when the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki,  the deadly radiation spred over the devastated city. Most of the residents of the city died in agony but for a small group of people, a miracle happened. The hospital of Dr Shichiro was destroyed but none of the medical staff that worked there suffered or died from the radiations.

    In the years that followed, doctor Shinichiro Akizuki, director of Saint Francis Hospital in Nagasaki investigated what could have caused the survival of these people. His findings concluded that this miracle could only be the result of a special diet the doctor and his staff had followed prior to the bombing. The diet only consisted in brown rice with miso soup and seaweed.

    What is miso? It is a traditional Japanese seasoning in the form of a paste made from fermented soy beans, rice or barley with sea salt and an enzyme to ferment it, called Koji.

    It was only in 1972 that Japanese researchers (one of them was Dr. Morishita Keiichi) discovered that miso contains dipicolinic acid, an alcaloid that can remove heavy metals like radioactive strontium, lead, mercury, cadmium from the bloodstream through our urine.
    Since this extraordinary discovery, the government is now requiring traffic officers to consume 2 bowls of miso everyday, to eliminate the pollutants they are exposed to, breathing fumes from cars all day long.

    In addition to preventing radiation from remaining in our bodies, miso is a powerful digestive helper because it contains up to 50 different enzymes (miso is a source of Lactobacillus acidophilus and other micro-organisms). It helps regulating digestion, replenish the intestinal flora with friendly enzymes. So if you suffer from acid reflux, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn disease, candida… start drinking it daily. It is also known to help with allergies because it builds up the intestinal flora by producing friendly bacteria that can break down undigested complex proteins, especially animal proteins that always cause acidosis and putrifaction.

    Types of miso

    TYPES OF MISO:
    There are 3 types of miso: Shiromiso, “white miso”, Akamiso, “red miso” and Awasemiso, “mixed miso”. The first two being the most commonly found in stores (Asian and natural food stores). The white one is lighter flavored and a good once to start with.

    USAGE:
    For prevention: drink 1 bowl morning and evening
    After X-rays or after going through an airport metal detector: 1 tsp 4-5 times a day in warm water for 2 weeks
    In radioactive areas: 1 tsp in hot water 4 times a day.


    PREPARATION:
    Because miso is a living food containing many beneficial microorganisms, you never want to over cook it. You simply add it to soups just before removing the pot from the heat.
    In addition to soups, miso can be used in marinades, sauces, dips.

    A cup of miso


    BASIC MISO SOUP

    Boil 3 cups of water, add some seaweed (rinced kombu or wakame), dice some soft tofu, thinly slice 1/2 cup of green onions. Remove from heat and add 1 Tbl of miso and gently stir.
    Note: If you don’t have seaweed, just add 1 tsp of sesame oil, it will enhance the flavor.

    A CUP OF MISO: water, miso and a little sesame oil is all you need.

    MISO SALAD DRESSING (makes 1 cup):
      3 tablespoons white miso
      3 tablespoons rice vinegar
      1/4 cup sesame oil
      1/3 cup orange or lemon juice (optional)
      1 green onion, minced
      1 tsp brown sugar

    STORAGE:

    Miso will keep virtually forever. I read that a Japanese TV program did an experiment to see of how long certain foods would keep. The oldest item was a small tub of Miso which had been kept in a cool place (not refrigerated or frozen), for (get ready!) 30 years. Turned out it was safe for consumption and edible. It gets darker and drier with time and a little saltier.

    So, now that you know how healing miso is, make sure to stock up on it and start using it in soups, stews, salad dressing etc.

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  • ODE TO THE SUNFLOWER SEED – The Mightiest Sprout of All!

    Date: 2011.02.25 | Category: Salads, Snacks, sprouting, Superfoods | Response: 0

    I was blessed to be able to go to Haiti last year a week after the earthquake to help at a Seven day Adventist hospital. I was so touched to see people from all over the world that had temporary left what they were doing to lend a hand to the Haitian people in desperate time of need. The degree of strength (moral, physical, psychological), the resilience and grace I experienced while assisting Haitians patients was so humbling. We often complain about things that are not so important when placed in a larger context.

    It reminded me of something that happened when I first arrived. I had sprouted several kinds of seeds and my favorite of all, sunflower seeds. They take a little longer to germinate than smaller seeds and you have to remove the hulls after a few days but they are totally worth the extra effort. So I had prepared some that were ready to consume and filled an entire small ziploc bag. Finding fresh food while traveling isn’t obvious and I expected living on protein bars for the next few weeks. So I grabbed the bag right before leaving for the airport and threw it in my bag pack. I had a long trip ahead of me, 2 flights, 1 night lay over and a rough 8 hours bus ride across the border from the Dominican Republic to Port-au-Prince, my final destination. I grabbed a few handfuls while in the airport and threw the bag in my backpack and completely forgot about them until about 4 days after I got there. The bag of sprouts somehow ended up at the bottom of my backpack. I had to setup my tent, hit the ground running as soon as I got there. Now, imagine 90 to 95 degree heat, intense humidity, day and night. The kind of heat that gives you a skin rash just from wiping the sweat off your face so many times!

    So I woke up almost a week later, wondering what had happened to my bag of sprouts! I grabbed my backpack, threw everything out of it and found it at the bottom. I was ready to face a stinky mess of rotten sprouts all stuck together. But to my utter surprise, the sprouts were intact. I had taken the precaution to insert a piece or paper towel and leave some air in the bag so that they would be protected in my backpack. But that was a miracle! Not only did they look great but they tasted fantastic too!  (see bag on the right)

    Sunflower sprouts are so strong, full of life, that even after having spent 4-5 days in the heat, in the dark at the bottom of a backpack, not only were they still alive, but they were striving, growing, bright green. That’s pure life for you. They reminded me of the beautiful Haitian people. Strong, kind, patient, gracious and so resilient.

    If I was stranded somewhere, the one thing I would bring with me is a bag of raw sunflower seeds. As long as I can find some water, I am good to go.
    Sunflower seeds have a delicate flavor, a little peppery, slighthly salty but not too much.

    HOW TO SPROUT SUNFLOWER SEEDS

    Never use roasted seeds! Those are dead beyond measure. Only use raw hulled sunflower seeds.They are super cheap in the bulk section of grocery stores.
    Raw seeds are basically dormant. So the first step is to soak them (1 cup) overnight preferably in filtered water (3-4 cups). Mix well to make sure all seeds are wet. This washes off the enzyme inhibitor and brings the dormant seeds to life. It also turns them into a nutritional powerhouse.That’s when the magic begins! It is virtually impossible to mess these up!

    You can sprout them in a sprouting bag or in a jar. I used clear glass jars and cut out some window screen for a lid. To secure the top, I use the ring from the lid without the middle section to keep it in place. It is cheap and can be reused many times.

    You will need to rinse them twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. I use a wooden dish rack to rest the jar at an angle. This helps draining the jar completely. Seeds will rot if they are not well drained.
     
    After 3 days, you need to remove the shells. If you leave them, they will spoil and your sprouts will spoil quickly. This process is a little time consuming but relaxing. I usually do it while watching TV. I use one bowl with water and another one empty. Hold the seed in one hand, squeeze the sides to gently remove the seedling without breaking it. This process will speed up the growth of our seeds. It is a little like birthing a new life, one seed at a time.

    I eat them by the handful, I also sprinkle them on top of salads.
    They don’t need anything really. If you are sprouting for the first time, start with mung beans (impossible to not to sprout), garbanzo beans, lentils, and of course our champion, sunflowers.

    SOME PRECAUTIONS:
     
    Storing the sprouts: They store best in your refrigerator if they are dry to the touch. So wait a few hours after the last rinse to refrigerate them. They can keep up to 2 weeks but it is better to sprout more often. It is so cool to do this in the winter when little grows in the garden.

    Taking care of your sprouting equipment: it is important to disinfect the jars in between sprouting because sprouts can rot if any mold is left in the jar. Since I am not big on chlorine, I use pure cider vinegar. I scrub it with a toothbrush then rince the jar well to remove everything and let it dry upside down. 

    Dry seed storage: Seeds will last a long time if properly stored. You need a cool, Dry and Dark place. Seeds shelf life can be increase  4-5 times by freezing or at least double by refrigerating them.

    If you want to learn more about sprouting, you can check out a few sites:
    http://sproutpeople.org
    http://www.sprouthouse.com/

    Sunflower Sprouts Nutritional Info:
    Sunflower sprouts are rich in Vitamins A, B, C and E
    Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Niacin, Phosphorus, Potassium
    Protein: 25%

    Not bad for a tiny seed.

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