While grocery shopping the other day, cabbage caught my attention and I decided it was time to make some cabbage soup. It has been dropping fast in temperature here in Austin the last week or so and I have been feeling a little constipated! Perfect solution, cabbage is not only good for digestion given that it has soluble and insoluble fiber it is full of essential minerals and vitamins. The best part is that you probably have all or most of the ingredients on hand. You may have a favorite recipe you can use if not you may want to try this one that I found on Allrecipes website. It is very simple and easy to make. I made a few substitutions based on my preferences and what I had on hand.
original recipe or substitution
3 Tbls. olive oil coconut oil
1/2 onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic crushed then chopped
2 quarts of water chicken broth
2 tsp. chicken bullion "
1 tsp. salt dulse granules
1/2 tsp. black pepper 1 tsp. chile powder
1 14.5 oz can of Italian style tomatoes marinara sauce
1/2 head of cabbage cored and coarsely chopped
Saute onions and garlic in oil until softened and lightly transparent. Add remaining ingredients bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until cabbage is wilted, approx 20 minutes. Enjoy!!!
Planta de la vida or Euphorbia Grantii or African Milk bush, these are the names of the above plant which I was introduced to earlier this year. This incredible plant is native to South America and Africa. My sister-in-law who has a green thumb, gave me a small cutting of her beautiful large indoor bush and after reading about it's benefits I am nurturing it very carefully. No wonder it is named the plant of life. There are numerous articles and studies out there that describe it's anti inflammatory properties and it's ability to cure numerous diseases. However, I would encourage interested persons to do their own research on this plant. There appears to be far more available information in the plants native home where it is well used and understood.
Today was my second day of a detox diet. After suffering through an infected root canal and undergoing oral surgery followed by antibiotics, I felt the need to cleanse my system. So far so good. On Sunday I ate some wonderful cherry pie after dinner and some dark chocolate later in the evening with my tea. Goodbye sugar and wheat for at least 1 week. The foods that I am eliminating this week are foods that cause the most stress on our liver and digestive system. This is my list of
Banned foods for the week:
All meat, fish and eggs
all dairy, milk, cheese, cream
all grains, wheat, rice
coffee, cafinated tea
sweeteners, sugar, honey, agave, artificial sweeteners, stevia
Foods that I am eating include:
So for breakfast I made smoothies, typically with bananas, apple and kale with the addition of frozen blueberries yesterday and some honeydew melon today. Lunch I had some southwest style pinto beans with guacamole and blue corn chips. For dinner I ate a salad with oil and vinegar dressing.
For decades now, the controversy over fats and health has raged back and forth over which fats are good or bad for you. Most of the information was related to weight management and common diseases like diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, allergies, and cancer.
The consumer is bombarded with the different types of fats and vegetable oils that are on the market today. We have saturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats trans fats, hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, omega 3 and 6 essential oils. There is so much conflicting information that it is difficult to know which "expert" to believe and what to buy.
Confusing Arguments about What Fats to Use
Back in the 50s and 60’s there was a big push to remove saturated fat from our diets. Lard, butter, tallow, coconut oil and palm oil were demonized as artery clogging fats that should be avoided at all costs. That myth has since been debunked.
We were then introduced to substitutes like margarine and hydrogenated oils like Crisco, corn oil and a slew of vegetable oils for cooking. We have learned since, that the trans fats in these products cannot be assimilated by the body. This causes numerous health problems like heart disease and inflammation, which is the precursor to many diseases.
Read the Nutritional Stats
In recent years there has been a movement to ban these oils. Unfortunately, they are still found in many prepackaged items and grocery store baked goods. Be sure to check the labels before purchasing those tempting goodies.
Then came the 80’s. We were introduced to another waist trimming theory that recommended reducing or eliminating fat from our diet completely. Food choices expanded, as well. Now we had low fat, reduce fat or no fat yogurt, milk, even cookies, pastries and snacks. There were a variety of processed foods promoting the no fat or low-fat ideal.
In spite of the numerous studies and recommendations for fat reduction, the increase in diet related disease does not appear to be waning. Later, it was made known that fat is essential to our health for a variety of reasons. Considering that the brain is comprised of almost 60% fat, should have been some indication of its importance.
Don't be Fooled
Let me first of all make it clear: the fats we need for optimal health can be found in whole foods. With a well-balanced diet, no additional fats or oils are necessary.
Now, deciding which cooking fats to use is an area we need to look at carefully. Don’t be fooled into thinking that vegetable oils are more healthy than saturated fats such as lard, butter or coconut oil.
Vegetable oils vary, from canola, corn, soy, peanut, safflower, shortening, margarine, and any other butter substitutes. In order give them longer shelf life, these oils and fats are created through a complex process of heat, chemicals and deodorizers. This process makes the oil unrecognizable by our bodies. Also, it can lead to a variety of health problems.
It’s important to read the labels and find out exactly what it is we are eating. The fewer ingredients the better, and the least amount of processing is best. It is very interesting and revealing to see what the actual ingredients are in so many salad dressings and packaged food. There are so many additives, fillers stabilizers, emulsifiers that are used to enhance the shelf life and marketability of some products.
Depends on What You're Cooking
My findings are that coconut oil and lard are best for high heat cooking due to the high smoke point. Butter and olive oil are good for low to medium temperature cooking. Choose the cold pressed, unrefined products for best quality and flavor. Some people do not like the coconut flavor when using this oil. I find that if I sauté onions or garlic first, the coconut flavor is not noticeable.
Be sure to choose the cold pressed or expeller pressed oils which have the least amount of processing. For butters, I look for the brands that promote grass fed cows as the source. Lard in the grocery store is usually refined, bleached and deodorized. You may, however, be able to find the good stuff at your local farmers market.
I like to support our local growers and butchers and pay a weekly visit to the farmer’s market. I plan my meals around local and seasonal as much as possible.
Eat Fresh, Eat Local.
Seaweed comes in a variety of forms, including Kelp, Kombu, Wakame and Dulse. One of the most common in the western culinary world is Nori which is used to make sushi rolls. Although seaweed contains many vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamins A,C,K. These are not its most valuable attribute.
The mineral which is most beneficial is Iodine. Iodine is essential for the health of the thyroid, an organ located in the base of your neck. It releases hormones that control metabolism and many vital body functions including:
Growth and development
And much more
Iodine is not produced by the body therefore it has to be included as part of our dietary intake. By including one or two servings of seaweed per week or simply adding Dulse flakes to soups and salads you will meet your bodies requirement of iodine. Try my Sunflower Seaweed Snack in the recipe section.
Enteros, borachos, charros and refritos are only four ways to serve up this Mexican delicacy. I like them enteros, served fresh in a bowl. With a big pinch of shredded cheddar on top while they're still steaming. Mix in five or six sliced fresh or pickled jalapenos, or salsa, and a warm tort on the side – well, that's all she wrote. Of course, I'm talking about frijoles. You know, "the musical fruit, the more you eat, the more you toot".
The name pinto comes from Spanish, meaning painted. If you look closely at a pinto bean you'll notice that it has brown and beige Mosaic designs, like an abstract painting. It turns a pinkish brown when cooked.
Benefits of Beans
"Beans, beans they're good for your heart, the more you eat, the more you fart." Indeed, they are good for your heart. They provide iron, magnesium, potassium, thiamin and vitamin B-6. But, if only the last part of the jingle could be avoided.
I bet you're curious about preventing the flatulence effect. Well, I'll tell you the secret, but that everybody already knows or has heard before. They just don't do it because it takes too long.
The first thing you have to do is clean the dry beans. Go through and separate out the little stones, halves, and damaged beans, setting them to the side to be disposed later. There is nothing more aggravating than chomping down on a gritty object in mid-chew.
Then soak the beans in water in a 4 quart pot for at least eight hours, or overnight. Make sure you cover them with at least 2 inches of water so when they expand, they will still have a water cover.
Soaking legumes dimminishes the oligosaccharides and phytic acid contents, which can cause much intestinal discomfort if left unchecked. This way they become easier to digest. If they've started to sprout, you probably left them soaking too long.
But not to worry, the beans will cook regardless. After the soaking, rinse the beans really well in a colander. I normally set the beans to boil, and afterwards set them on a low medium flame for 45 minutes, and add spices the last five. (Could be longer depending on the altitude. In Taos, NM, it could take nearly 3 hrs.)
Generally, I cook 2 cups of beans so I add 2 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons comino (cumin), 2 teaspoons red chili powder, 1 teaspoon oregano. But I think everybody has to adjust their spices to individual tastes.
It's green chile time! Late summer is the beginning of the green chile harvest in Hatch, New Mexico. Fortunate for us, the growers ship what they can't eat to the rest of the country.
Around town you can see the chile roasters in place at HEB, Whole Foods, Randall's and Fiesta grocery stores, with their mesh wire tumbling cages at the ready. All over New Mexico and the Southwest, similar enactments are occurring. People have green chile fever!
Ranging from mild to medium to hot, green chiles are flavorful as well as spicy. They will scorch a tongue, bring tears to your eyes and sweat to your brow, or merely give off a zesty tang reminiscent of a bell pepper. No matter the type of connoisseur you are or your level of spice tolerance, there is a chile for you.
Roasting the chile is the gateway to unlocking its gastronomical and nutritional benefits. Once roasted, it becomes very versatile. It then can be used to make salsas, chile rellenos, and a variety of chile stews. Green chile is an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K, as well as minerals: potassium, magnesium, iron and phosphorus.
The first step starts with the chile selection. There are many types of green chili. For example, Anaheim, Big Jim, Sandia, Heritage Big Jim, and Sandia Select. They basically look the same, so the taste and meatiness is what sets them apart. The other way they are distinguished is by the name Hatch. Hatch is a farming community just outside of Truth or Consequences, along the Rio Grande. Hatch is a Mecca for chile lovers.
Basically, you would like the chiles as fresh as possible. Wrinkles on the chile can help you determine how long they have been sitting in the store. Since it's the start of the season, there is no reason not to get the smoothest, bounciest, fattest chiles you can.
Once you have your chiles you can begin the roasting process. There are many ways to roast chiles. The easiest way is to have somebody else roast them for you. Oftentimes, the price is included along with your purchase of a certain amount of pounds. In New Mexico, the price of roasting was included in our purchase of a 40 pound bag. But not everybody can use 40 pounds, or would want to. In Austin, there is a nominal fee for for tumbling your chiles on a roaster.
But you can do that at home. I used to grill the Big Jims over coals outdoors, or on a cast-iron skillet on the stove. There are any number of ways to blister the skin so that you are able to peel. But now, I stick them in the broiler for about 8 to 10 minutes, then turn them every 2 to 4 minutes until the skin is blistered evenly, and the chile is limp.
Once the roasting is complete, have a dishtowel ready to wrap the chilies up in snugly for about 15 minutes. This allows them to steam with there own heat, causing the skin to separate and making them easier to peel. In some cases the skin slides off easily with little or no effort.
Ready to Eat
If you have followed all the steps you should be looking at some luscious green chilies ready to be made into any number of dishes. There is much to choose from and you are limited only by your imagination, from bean and potato green chile stew to chile rellenos, and one of our staples, the green chile quesadilla with sprouts.
Enjoy the season, because we only have a limited time before the red chile starts. Happy eating!
Bentonite clay is one of the oldest health remedies in the world. Calcium Bentonite is so pure that you can eat it. Yes, eat it!
Recently, I was having constant headaches and dizziness. I attributed this to a lingering sinus infection and several antibiotics that had been prescribed. After a Cat Scan, and no sign of congestion or infection, the doctors had no answer for the persistent symptoms.
Then, fortunately, I came across an article that described the benefits of Bentonite clay for removing toxins and heavy metals from the body. Just 1 Teaspoon mixed with 8 oz of good water is the remedy. Since it is so magnetic , it is best taken on an empty stomach and at least 2 hours after taking supplements or medication.
After my first dose, I experienced my first day without a headache in weeks. I continued the dosage for 2 weeks, and now my headaches have gone completely. The only side effects that I have noticed, is that it can make you constipated if you don't drink enough fluids. So I added some psyllium husk to the mixture, along with more water. Problem solved.
With my head aches gone, I feel great! And I want everyone to be aware of this natural and inexpensive healing clay. It is recommended for fibromyalgia, detoxification, alkalizing the blood, oxygenation of cells, and it's also good for hair, teeth and gums, skin and digestion. Incredible!
Everybody should know by now that too much sugar is bad for you. Yet, we love it. We can't resist those chocolate bars that are always on sale, or the convenient processed foods and beverages. There are a lot of food products around that are not the healthiest choices.
The association between sugar and Type 2 Diabetes is undeniable. The Glycemic Index (GI) was developed to prevent the onset of Type 2 Diabetes. It became a guide to consumers. The public can now be directed towards the right foods and beverages that do not cause Type 2 Diabetes. (http://www.glycemicindex.com/about.php)
When producing insulin, our bodies are reacting to the carbohydrates. The GI is a chart which provides a rating of how much insulin is produced. The greater the rating, the more insulin is produced when a food or beverage is consumed.
More than 29 million people are affected by diabetes in the US, and 415 million, worldwide (reference). Diabetes takes place when body cells no longer interact with the insulin, or when insulin is no longer effective. Both these circumstances may apply. The effects of this disease requires a lifestyle change.
A GI chart can be helpful, but it can also be misleading. For example, watermelon and carrots can have a higher GI rating than soda pop. Our common sense, however, tells us that fruits and vegetable are better for us than water with artificial color and flavor, as well as high fructose corn syrup. So, trust your instinct.
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