Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Joy of Sprouting

The research shows that sprouts contain probably the largest amount of nutrients per unit of any food known.

Enzymes that initiate and control most chemical reactions in our body are activated in the sprouting process. This helps convert proteins into amino acids, starch into glucose and increases the value of vitamins. For example, vitamin B increases by 1,000 per cent and Vitamin C by 600 per cent in sprouted wheat. 


A study of Chinese pharmacopoeia revealed that the Chinese could lose weight, cure rheumatism, lower fever and tone the body through the regular consumption of sprouts.

Sprouts were introduced to the West by Captain Cook. Despite many strenuous voyages spanning a decade, his crew was remarkably fit. Their secret - sprouted beans.

It is best to eat sprouts fresh. However, the nourishment which develops as the sprouts grow is very stable and sprouts can be frozen or dried for future use.

Sprouts can be mixed with other foods and dressings such as lemon juice and rock salt. This live food rejuvenates body cells and tissues and provides energy. It also retards the aging process. Sprouted potato and tomato seeds, however, should be avoided as they are poisonous. Alfalfa and moong-bean sprouts are, on the other hand, excellent soft food: they contain every known vitamin necessary for the human body in perfect balance. And yes, they don't taste bad either.


         

Article source here

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Rejuvenate With Raw Food

By Dominique Allmon

Over the years we have been introduced to a multitude of diets and anti-aging programs. They all promise spectacular benefits to health. And while some of them make a lot of sense, they may work for some people and bring disappointment to others. People differ in constitution and metabolism, but there probably is no better way to rejuvenate than through the raw food diet. Although there can be no single recipe for all, the raw food diet advocates claim increased vitality and exceptional health. People with Type 2 diabetes were able to reverse their condition in only thirty days after going on a raw food diet.

Raw food diet is considered to be the secret key to longevity. It has the potential to detoxify the body, reverse degenerative processes, and deliver all the nutrients needed to sustain optimal health. Raw foods contain vitamins, minerals, live enzymes, fiber, amino acids, antioxidants, anti-carcinogens, phytosterols, plant hormones, and many other compounds with high healing potential.

Raw food diet usually comprises of 75-100 per cent uncooked, "living", mostly organic foods. The raw food diet is a diet based on unprocessed and uncooked plant foods, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, sprouted seeds, grains, and beans, nuts, dried fruit, and seaweed. Raw honey and cold pressed, virgin oils are used. Some proponents of this diet also consume raw, unpasteurized, non homogenized milk and cheese. In some cases nutrient rich organic raw eggs are added to the diet.


There are some foods that are better absorbed when cooked or sprouted. These foods include beans, potatoes, egg plants, asparagus, and most of edible mushrooms. (Although it is possible to eat button mushrooms in their raw state, for instance, one should be aware that these mushrooms contain cancer-causing hydrazides that are normally destroyed by cooking).

Raw foods are considered to be more nutritious as heating food above 118º F is believed to destroy enzymes that normally could assist in digestion and absorption of food. Cooking is also thought to diminish the nutritional value and "life force" of food. The vitamin content of many vitamins diminishes during cooking and minerals are washed away. Researchers agree that cooking destroys over 50 per cent of B vitamins, with as much as 96 per cent of Thiamine (B1), up to 96 per cent folic acid, and up to 72 per cent of biotin being lost. It is estimated that 70-80 per cent of vitamin C is being wasted due to cooking. Protein loses almost half of its bio-availability. Researchers found that cooking alters protein into substances that may disrupt cellular function and accelerate aging and degenerative processes. The nutritional value of fats is lost as they change their molecular structure during the cooking process. Foods that have been baked or burned, particularly these with a high starch content, contain highly carcinogenic compounds called acrylamides.

People on raw food diet report that raw food diet has numerous health benefits such as:
  • increased levels of energy and stamina
  • increased mental alertness
  • strong immune system
  • improved joint health
  • improved skin tone and overall appearance
  • better digestion
  • normalized body pH
  • weight loss
  • reduced risk of developing Type 2 diabetes
  • reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease
  • decreased risk of many cancers due to better detoxification of the body
There is a lot of fear and misconception about raw food. Many people do not understand how important it is to consume live foods that are not only rich in vitamins, but also in enzymes. When we eat food that is mostly cooked and denatured through the industrial process, our bodies need enzymes to digest it. Properly chewed raw digest itself and delivers vital enzymes that are so necessary to support bodily functions. Cooked fats, for instance, lack the enzyme lipase and have much less biologically active fatty acids. When we consume raw, virgin oils, they begin their digestion with their own lipase in the slightly acidic environment of our stomachs and enter the small intestine in a predigested form. Cooked fats, on the other hand, reach the small intestine in a highly undigested form and require body's own lipase for their digestion. It is very much possible that this altered fat metabolism plays some role in obesity and cholesterol levels in the blood, as the body is constantly depleted of its own lipase and loses the capability to fully metabolize dietary fats.

Transition to raw food

After years of living on a mostly cooked food diet it may not be easy to make the transition to a 100 per cent raw food diet. The transition may be much easier if a person is living in a warm climate or begins the process during the warmer seasons, as the body temperature may drop a bit in the beginning and we crave warming comfort foods. Adding warming spices such as black pepper, chili peppers, and ginger, will keep the blood circulating. Learning about raw foods and joining a support group where like-minded people exchange ideas and experience will help one to experiment and become more creative in the kitchen. It is, however, important to introduce dietary changes gradually. A certified health practitioner should be consulted if there are some health concerns or an existing disease.

To begin, one should gradually add more fresh fruits and vegetables to the menu. Replacing boiled vegetables with a raw salad, snacking on raw carrots or radishes instead of chips, eating an apple instead of doughnut, drinking freshly squeezed fruit or vegetable juice instead of soda, or having a fresh fruit smoothie for breakfast, are just a few ways simple ways to start the transition.


Initially, one may notice changes in digestion. Enzymes and fiber in raw vegetables may speed up the digestion, causing some discomfort. But as the body adjusts to the new diet and the intestines are working to remove old fecal matter, the discomfort disappears and digestion returns to normal. The detoxification organs are working to remove toxins that accumulated in the body over the years. At this stage one should reduce the consumption of animal products and introduce more raw vegetables. People who do not wish to give up meat, should opt for the best, organic quality on the market.

The preparation of raw food is rather simple, although gourmets now create elaborate raw food menus. Preparing a salad or making a juice are rather easy and one can use all the ingredients that are in season. More complex methods involve sprouting and dehydration of foods. As one feels more comfortable with raw foods, it is sensible to introduce new ingredients and new recipes. Nowadays bookstores offer a multitude of raw recipe books. There are also many websites and raw food networks offering valuable advice.

After the initial transition and detoxification process, when the body has regained the ability to absorb nutrients, a person on a raw food diet will notice visible changes in the way he or she looks and feels. As we age, our bodies need support. Energetically charged nutrition rich in vitamins, enzymes, bioflavonoids, and other vital nutrients, helps us heal, regenerate, and reverse aging. It is believed that human cells are designed to live about 120 years. The life extension, however, could only be desirable if we were mentally and physically fit at this age. Raw food diet is probably the best strategy to live a very long and healthy life.

         


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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spring Salad with Wild Herbs and Greens

Spring, probably like no other time during the year, offers wide range of greens  and herbs. Many of the greens are bitter in taste. Dare to use them in your salads as they help detoxify the liver. Good mixture of cultivated baby greens, wild herbs and flowers will make any salad not only look magnificent, but also taste good. Use simple dressings to enhance the taste. Virgin olive oil with a dash of aged balsamic vinegar or lime juice with freshly grind salt and pepper would do the trick. But as with anything, feel free to experiment. And never forget to enjoy your food in good company!

Spring salad with wild greens

In this salad you will find: wild watercress, wild blanched ramp greens, spring mint and chives (just barely poking through the ground) and from the green market; miners lettuce, mixed baby lettuces, broccoli, rabe flowers. chard micro greens and red amaranth micro greens.

Image and inspiration from the Hungry Ghost
 
         

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Minty Cantaloupe Salad

Inspired by the chile-and salt-sprinkled pineapple found in the fresh fruit stalls of Mexico, this amazing melon salad is delightfully refreshing. Salt and tangy lime juice and spicy chili powder enhance the sweetness of fresh summer melon while fresh mint adds a cool finish.

Ingredients:
  • 1 medium ripe cantaloupe melon, peeled, seeded and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pink Himalaya salt

Method:

Combine all ingredients in a serving bowl and toss well. Taste and adjust seasoning with chili powder then serve. Enjoy in good company!


Recipe source here

         

Friday, April 6, 2012

Nasturtium Salad

Nasturtium flowers, leaves and green seeds are not only wonderful decoration in the garden, but also delicious ingredient in salads. They can be used to flavor vinegars and oils.


Ingredients:
  • 4 cups organic nasturtium blossoms 
  • 1/2 cup of organic nasturtium leaves 
  • 1 clove garlic 
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chervil leaves 
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil 
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste 

Method:
  • Trim stems off blossoms and wash them and the leaves under cool running water. Delicately drain on paper towels.
  • Rub inside of a salad bowl with garlic clove.
  • Put blossoms in bowl, add the leaves, chervil, salt and pepper.
  • Sprinkle with lemon juice and oil. Toss gently and serve. Enjoy in good company!

I wish I remembered where I first saw this recipe. Unfortunately I do not have the link anymore. In any case, many thanks to the person who was generous enough to share it on the web.

In radiant health - passionately raw - Dominique


         
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