Monday, March 30, 2009
If you’re wondering how the hummus and falafel patties could be “live”, it’s because the chickpeas were sprouted before they were chopped or puréed. This causes them to have much more nutritional value. See here for more information on the nutritional benefits to sprouting. The falafels also were not deep fried as they usually are. These were eaten raw, but can also be dehydrated. They were wonderful and so full of flavour! Looking at the ingredients for this I couldn’t understand how this could possibly be good. But it was FANTASTIC!
I also learned a lot about soy. I learned that soy is not the wonder food it’s made out to be. The majority of it is Genetically Modified (GMO’d), which is not good at all. All GMO’d foods need to be avoided as much as possible. But even organic soy has its downside. Soy is filled with enzyme inhibitors that don’t allow you to absorb the enzymes in the soy, and it also can rob you of calcium, zinc and other enzymes already in your body. It’s also a thyroid inhibitor. But once soy is fermented, all these negatives are no longer an issue. Tempeh (ˈtem-ˌpā) is a fermented soy product that has all the pros to soy and none of the negatives. You can buy tempeh at any health food store. It’s not something easily made at home as it needs proper incubation, etc.
Another thing I found out about is kelp powder. I knew kelp was a great vegetable as it’s full of vitamins, minerals and very high in iodine (most of us don’t get enough iodine). But what I didn’t know is you can buy a kelp powder. This is something you can keep in your cupboard and add to soups, stews, etc, and increase the nutrition. You don’t even need very much. You can add about 1 tsp to a whole pot of soup. You want to be careful not to use too much as you can overdose on iodine.
Another thing to use kelp powder for is to soak beans. Soaking beans is very important because beans (as well as grains) contain something called phytic acid. This acid is also an enzyme inhibitor, preventing you from getting all the nutrition the bean (or grain) contains. By soaking them overnight, you’ve increased the nutrition and decreased your cooking time. Just be careful to throw out the soaking water with beans (with grains this is not necessary). When you are soaking your beans, add ¼ tsp of kelp powder to help prevent the gassiness often found when eating beans.
I learned so much during this class and the food was great! I’ve posted all the recipes from this class as well as the recipes for the Chicken & Chickpea Chili and the Goat Cheese Stuffed Meatloaf. They’re all here.
Have a great day!
Friday, March 27, 2009
I put the meatloaf together the night before and put in the fridge. This way when Sam (my husband) got home from work he could just throw it in the oven and it would almost be done by the time I got home. I put the sweet potatoes in the oven and Daniella (my daughter) helped me set the table.
I’ve discovered it takes a lot of organization to be able to do this. For too long we were eating pre-prepared meals or meals that came in a package. Lipton sidekicks were all too often our main side dish. These items are FILLED with chemicals and preservatives that our bodies don’t even know what to do with because they’re so foreign. I honestly believe this is PART of the reason so many have cancer now. There are many more reasons that I will get into at a later date. Anyhow, what I’ve begun to do is try to come up with a menu on the weekend for the next week. After picking up all the necessary ingredients, I plan which day we will eat what and then I TRY to prepare the main dish the night before. The other night I made a Chicken & Chickpea chili so I threw it in the slow cooker the night before and then next morning I pulled it out of the fridge and turned it on as I walked out the door to work. When I got home I just put together a salad and we were ready to go.
I always make sure that I make enough food for supper to feed the family as well as have enough leftovers for Sam & I to take to work the next day. This way we’re not stuck eating sandwiches every day and it doesn’t take nearly as long putting our lunches together in the morning. We're also not tempted to run out and buy something to eat either!
For anyone who is interested, I will post the recipes for both the meatloaf and the chilli and will put the link here when it is ready.
Have a great day!
Thursday, March 26, 2009
I used to be the 1st one to run to a bottle of Tylenol when my head ached or my muscles cramped. But after doing some research on common medications and their side effects, I have decided to save them for the more important ailments should they arrive. Now when I have a headache or muscle aches in my neck, I heat up a neck wrap that’s filled with flax seed and lavender buds. It feels great and it smells nice too. Both the heat and the scent relax me and usually the release of that tension takes the pain away. I’m also trying to just get more sleep, exercise and relax. But none of those come to me easily!
Since most if us catch a cold or flu in the winter I decided to look for an alternative to cough syrup, sugar filled lozenges, and the numbing throat spray I commonly use every winter. Well I think I may have found it. I’ve discovered a recipe for both a cough syrup and a throat drop. I ordered the herbs online as well as a cough drop mold. I made the cough drops last night. I haven’t tried them yet, and I’m still trying to think of ways to coat them to prevent them from sticking to each other. Some people suggested icing sugar but I’m trying to get away from extra sugar. Others suggested slippery elm powder. I have some of that (it’s an ingredient for the syrup), but I’m not sure how tasty it will be. Another thought I had was to combine the two and coat the drops with that. I’ll have to get back to you on what I come up with.
For the recipe and pictures, please click here.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
I also started to work on making my home-made cough drops. I made the “tea” for it. I took 2 cups of horehound herb and 2 cups of water and let it boil for a few minutes. I then strained it into a pitcher. I haven’t measured it yet, but it should be about 1 cup from what I’ve read. Hopefully tonight I will finish working on these and then I can post pics for anyone who might be interested.
I hope to create a little step-by-step for all these new “creations” I’ve been doing. I’ll keep you posted!
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
So last night I went to the Chinese grocery store (T&T) and bought 4 young coconuts. Turns out I only needed 3 as it made more than enough water to fill up a jar. But each coconut holds a different amount of water and sometimes they’ve gone bad so I wanted to be safe. You’ve got to start your first batch with a culture (which I bought at the class). The batches after this can be made by using some of the already fermented kefir in the fresh coconut water. It should be ready for drinking in 36-48 hours. I took pictures of some of the steps and will post those as well.
Now some of you may be asking, “Why should I bother? What will this do for me?” Well, there are many places that explain the benefits in detail. One of them is bodyecology.com. Below is some more information I found.
Restore Your Inner Ecology with Coconut Water Kefir
In Sanskrit the coconut palm is referred to as “kalpa vriksha” meaning “the tree that supplies all that is needed to live”. Most Americans are familiar with the brown, hairy, mature coconut; however, what few people realize is the water from the young coconut is identical to human blood plasma and one of the highest sources of natural electrolytes known to man.
Coconut Water Kefir is a whole food
This kefir is full of probiotics, rich in vitamins, minerals and natural electrolytes. This product is brisling with Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, which creates awesome intestinal flora, digestion and production of B-6, B12, K, niacin and folic acid. This is a fermented beverage that hydrates, and gently cleanses the intestinal tract, and liver. Coconut Water Kefir promotes general health and cleanliness in the body, replaces any lost electrolytes and is high in Potassium. Those who have used this product often say they often notice a reduction in sugar cravings, fewer allergy symptoms, better elimination and an improvement in digestion. Unleash the energy you have in reserve! Throughout time and place, living culture foods have been a sacred key to unlocking the secret of abundant health and longevity.
From the beginning of our lives the balance of intestinal microbiotica constantly builds and washes away. Coconut Water Kefir is bristling with numerous strains of highly beneficial bacteria and minerals. Lactobacillus acidophilous, Bifido bacteria and hundreds of synergistic naturally occurring organisms. Repopulating the intestinal tract, cleansing away harmful bacteria, viruses and toxins while strengthening the immune system.
Here are some basic instructions on how to make your own kefir.
1. Get 3-4 young coconuts. Not the hairy brown ones as these are already too mature. Most of the time they already have the green husk taken off and they are white. These are the ones we want. Make sure they are as white as possible. If they have a lot of brown spots on them they may not be as fresh as you want.
2. It’s unnecessary to remove the plastic. Get a screwdriver or chisel and a hammer. Place two small holes at the top pointy part of the coconut and make sure they’ve gone through the husk into the middle. ***Note: The Body Ecology website shows that you have to cut into the coconut to get out the water. This is unnecessary. A woman who works for Body Ecology taught us how to do it and just stabbed the coconut with a screw driver.
3. Place the pointy part of the coconut over a mason jar and allow it to drip out. If it’s not dripping fast enough, you may want to pound a hole into the bottom of the coconut while it’s over the jar. This will speed it up. If your water is slightly pink, it’s no good. Please discard coconut (This is why it’s important to have a possible extra on hand as this can be quite common).
4. When you open your 2nd coconut, pour into a new clean jar. If it turns out to be pink, it will save you from contaminating the water from the 1st jar. If it’s clear, pour it into the 1st jar and start on the 3rd coconut.
5. Once your jar is full, pour the water into a small pot and place on your stove. Heat up to 92°F. DO NOT OVERHEAT! This will kill important bacteria! Once you’ve reached 92°F, pour back into your mason jar and add your culture starter. The jar needs to be kept at 70-75°F for the 36-48 hours to ferment properly. You may try the kefir at any time after 36 hours to see if it’s reached the taste you want. Leaving it longer will add fizziness like soda pop but it will also get more sour. You will soon learn how long to leave it to get the desired fizziness and taste.
6. You will want to start your next batch 3-4 days after you’ve completed the 1st one. Add about ¼ cup of the fermented kefir to the next batch of coconut water to make the next batch. You should be able to do this about 7 times before needing another package of culture. Some have claimed to go longer before needing to use the culture again.
7. Drink about ½ cup of kefir at every meal and once before you go to bed for optimal results!
There you go! Good luck! Please let me know if you have questions or any experience! I’m still learning but am excited at the prospect of this improving my health.