Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Nutritious Cactus Fig Smoothie

This is a prickly affair. I warn you! You have to watch your fingers when you handle the figs. They  have tiny spines.

Cactus figs, also known as cactus pears, Indian pears or tuna, actually are neither figs nor pears but berries that grow on cacti.

Did you know that the Aztecs so valued cactus pear that it was considered food fit for warriors and royalty?

Most cactus figs are sold without spines and needles, but they are never really naked. You may want to use gloves while handling them.

And one more thing, this is not a quick morning smoothie recipe. You have to do a little work and you don't want to be in a hurry when you decide to make this smoothie in the morning.

Opuntia cactus

Ripe cactus figs are really delicious. They are rich in vitamin A, beta carotene, and magnesium. Fruits with dark red flesh have higher flavonol and betacyanin content than the yellow or green ones.

Cactus figs are often used to make jellies, but can also be eaten raw. The easiest way to eat them is to cut them in half and scoop the flesh out.

In Mexico you will find the cactus figs nicely pealed for you. For me the whole business of removing the peal is rather messy and I prefer to scoop out the fruit pulp with a spoon.

Like guavas, cactus figs have many seeds. The seeds can be eaten, but are very hard and a real nuisance, so if you want to make a really smooth smoothie you have to pass the fruit flesh through a sieve or a food mill. It takes a little time to process the figs, but you will enjoy the result even more. 

I used six cactus figs to produce one cup of seedless fruit nectar. Depending on how big and how juicy your figs are you may need more. And of course, the more you add, the better your smoothie will taste.

If your fruit is ripe you do not need any additional sweetener, but to fully profit from the fat soluble vitamin A you may want to add a little bit of cold pressed oil. I used the very light and taste-neutral organic cold pressed grape seed oil.

Cactus Figs

Ingredients:
  • 6 ripe cactus figs
  • 1 cup spring water
  • 1/2 cup raw protein powder
  • 1 Tbsp cold pressed grape seed oil
  • 2-3 ice cubes

Nutritious Cactus Fig Smoothie - Raw, Vegan, Gluten-Free.
No sugar added.

Method:
  • Wash the fruit and cut it in halves. Spoon out the flesh and pass it with a wooden spoon through a sieve or a food mill to remove the seeds. Six ripe cactus figs should produce about 1 cup of fruit nectar.
  • Put the seedless fruit nectar with all the other ingredients in a blender and process on high speed until smooth. 
  • Pour the ready smoothie into tall glasses and enjoy in good company!

Tip:

Since handling the cactus figs and separating fruit pulp from the seeds is rather work intensive, you can process more fruit and save the nectar for later use. Simply freeze the seedless fruit nectar in an ice cube tray and add it to other smoothies instead of ice cubes. You can also make a wonderful sorbet. Cactus fig blends well with lime juice. Add a bit of raw agave syrup and freeze in a clean, freezer safe dish.

In radiant health - passionately raw - Dominique


Dominique Allmon ©2013

         

Friday, September 20, 2013

Divine Dark Chocolate Smoothie

This is real comfort food! After days of rain and horrifying news of flooding in New Mexico and Colorado I feel like having something that would restore my spirit. And what could be better than chocolate? 

I used very little honey to sweeten this smoothie and added salt instead to enhance the taste. If you prefer it a bit more sweeter than my version, add more honey or liquid stevia, but remember, the less sugar the better. You can indulge without guilt and profit from the goodness of nutrient dense ingredients.

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/3 cup raw cacao powder
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 cups coconut water
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tsp raw flax seed oil
  • 1 tsp mineral rich pink Himalaya salt
  • 2-3 ice cubes (optional)


Method:
  • Put all the ingredients into a blender and process until smooth.
  • Pour your smoothie into tall glasses and indulge in good company!

Tip: To make a chocolate mousse or pudding simply use less coconut water and whiz the ingredients in a food processor. Skip the ice cubes, but refrigerate before serving.

In radiant health - passionately raw - Dominique

Dominique Allmon©2015

         

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Almond Milk Smoothie with Fresh Figs and Cinnamon

Figs in season! This is one of the things that make me long for the late summer. There is nothing like a fragrant, ripe fig...

Fresh Turkish figs

Like many other fruits, figs are not only tasty, they are also very good for you. They are very rich in blood pressure lowering potassium; digestion improving dietary fiber; and bone density promoting calcium.

Fresh figs contain poly-phenolic flavonid compounds such as carotene, chlorogenic acid, lutein, and tannins. Studies suggest that chlorogenic acids in figs may help lower blood sugar levels and help control blood glucose levels in type-II diabetes patients.

Figs are also rich in vitamins (A, E, and K) and minerals (calcium, copper, potassium, manganese, iron, selenium and zinc.) Figs, both fresh and dried, are a good source of B vitamins, especially niacin, pyridoxine, folates, and pantothenic acid.

Figs are very alkaline fruit and help reduce the body acidity and balance the pH. 


Ingredients:
  • 2 cups almond milk (freshly made if possible)
  • 8-10 fresh, very ripe figs
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon 
  • 1 Tbsp raw, cold pressed argan oil (you can use flax seed oil as well)
  • pinch pink Himalaya salt
  • 2-3 ice cubes

Method:
  • Wash the figs and remove the stems. Very ripe figs can be blended with skin, but you can remove it if you want to.
  • Place all the ingredients, except argan oil in the blender and process on high speed until very smooth smooth.
  • Add argan oil and whiz for few more seconds. 
  • Pour the smoothie into tall glasses and enjoy in good company!

In radiant health - passionately raw - Dominique

Dominique Allmon©2013

         

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Is Raw Food Good For Everyone?

~ How to Stay Healthy and Fit on Raw Food Diet ~

Only a few days ago I read an article by Lauren Burke (link here) in which she described her personal struggle with health issues. She has been a vegan for a long time, but apparently the food she ate made her sick. In order to get healthy she had to go back to eating meat and was "ordered" not to eat raw fruits or vegetable. I don't know if Lauren was a raw food vegan, but her story was quite amazing. And she is not the first vegan who had to give up strict vegan lifestyle in order to be healthy.


This story reminded me of a colleague whom I've met in 2004. Johanna was very curious about my raw lifestyle and wanted to learn more. She made a quick transition into raw food and reported unimaginable energy and health. Her weight stabilized and she could sleep well. 

One day, after being on raw food for a few months, she told me that she has been invited to a dinner and had, for the first time in a long time, indulged in an incredibly tasty lamb roast. For the first time in months she felt really happy after a meal. The roast was divine and she could not have imagined herself being raw vegan ever again. She was craving meat for a long time and smoothies only made her hungry. And she was unhappy. 

At about the same time my Cape Town friend Sean told me that he experimented with the fruitarian diet, but that it did not really worked for him. The initial bliss turned into a nightmare and he had to turn to something more "solid" in order to function at all. 

There may be many more stories like that. I, too, experimented with raw food veganism and realized that my body needed animal protein from time to time if I wanted to stay healthy. Thanks to my parents who introduced me to raw food in early 1960s, I have no problem with raw animal products. The only problem is to find perfectly safe, raw organic eggs, meat, fish, yogurt or cheese. 

Raw food is supposed to be healthy and really good for you, so why do some people get sick? There are many reasons and the answer is not a simple one.

~ Hidden Food Allergies ~

Many people suffer from secondary food allergies and do not even know that they do because the reaction to food is not an immediate one. The adverse reaction to food may take up to three days and manifests itself as skin rush, eczema or acne; indigestion, bloating, constipation or diarrhea; nasal congestion; headache and joint pain. The problem is often aggravated because people with a hidden food allergy may be drinking freshly made juices that are made of large amounts of fruit and vegetable. If the juice contains an allergen, it usually contains a lot of it. This upsets the immune system and often causes inflammation.

The good thing about secondary food allergies is that they are temporary. Once allergen is identified via IgG test, the allergy causing can be removed from the diet. In many cases the "culprit" can be re-introduced to the diet after some six to nine months. The duration of avoidance depends on the severity of immune reaction to the particular food. The bad news is that many people develop more than one sensitivity. Some can be allergic to as many as forty to fifty different foods. This of course limits the food choices considerably and often leads to new allergies since one has to consume the same foods over and over again.

~ Fructose Malabsorption ~

Fructose malabsorption is another digestive disorder that can complicate one's decision to stick to a strict raw vegan diet. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains and legumes contain fructose!

Fructose is absorbed in the small intestine without any help of digestive enzymes, but even a healthy person can only properly absorb 25–50g of fructose per meal. However, people with fructose malabsorption absorb less than 25g per sitting. The undigested fructose moves to a large intestine and is metabolized there by the intestine bacteria into short chain fatty acids. This process leads to an  increased production of hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane. The symptoms usually include bloating, diarrhea, constipation, flatulence, acid reflux, stomach pain, and nausea.

Fructose malabsorption can be detected by a physician with the help of a hydrogen breath test.

~ Oxalate ~

Oxalate is a molecule that binds with calcium and crystallizes within the body under certain conditions. The crystals may cause irritation and pain, and may cause or increase inflammation. Oxalate interferes with our cell metabolism and even enters the nucleus of cells where it may have negative impact on our DNA. When not bound to calcium, oxalate interferes with all processes that involve many positively charged ions - magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, manganese, among others, thus disrupting proper function of enzymes and other complex molecules.

Oxalate is present in many fruits and vegetable, grains, legumes, herbs, and in almost all seeds and nuts. Normally not much oxalate is absorbed from food by a healthy gut because most of it is digested by the intestinal flora, but people suffering from bowel inflammation or from "leaky gut" usually absorb too much oxalate.

Foods high in oxalate increase inflammation and pain, irritate tissue and membranes, and contribute to the formation of kidney stones.

High levels of oxalate in the body may be responsible for such conditions as cystic fibrosis, thyroid disease, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma and even autism. 

An oxalate urine test will allow a physician to determine the levels of oxalate in one's body. A law oxalate diet will help to remove excess of oxalate in the body and to cure the conditions that were caused by it, but if you are a raw foodie, try to imagine your life without blueberries, blackberries, spinach, carrots, beets, tahini, or Swiss chard. Unfortunately, the list of foods high in oxalate is much, much longer.


~ Nutritional Deficiencies ~

Any form of food restriction may lead to nutrient deficiencies over a longer period of time. And while vegans on raw food diet consume enormous amounts of nutrient dense fruits, nuts, seeds, and vegetable, they are often deficient in nutrients that are normally found in meat, fish, milk and diary. A regular blood testing may be necessary to determine nutrient deficiencies. Very often supplementation is necessary if one wants to avoid a disease. 

Vitamin B12 

One of the most important nutrients that all vegans may be deficient is vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is a water soluble vitamin that attaches itself to the protein and is released during the digestion. After it is released, this vitamin combines with so called intrinsic factor (IF) - substance produced by the stomach cells - and is then absorbed into the bloodstream.

Vitamin B12 is involved in metabolism of every cell in our body. It combines with vitamin B9 or folate during the formation of DNA. It is not only needed for the synthesis and regulation of the fatty acids, but is also needed for energy production. Vitamin B12 is responsible for the proper function of our brain and the entire nervous system and it also plays important role in the formation of red blood cells.

Vitamin B12 is naturally present in foods of animal origin like diary, eggs, meat and fish. The human body is able to store enough B12 to last several years, hence a nutritional deficiencies do not show up right away in people who have chosen a vegan lifestyle.

Since vitamin B12 is involved in many vital bodily functions, deficiency can cause severe and irreversible damage. The brain and the nervous system are sensitive even to the very minimal lack of vitamin B12 in the body. The immediate symptoms include fatigue, poor concentration, depression and poor memory.

On the long run vitamin B12 deficiency may cause pernicious anemia - an autoimmune disease that destroys the IF producing parietal cells in the stomach. This is where the vicious cycle begins because without IF the body cannot absorb vitamin B12 from the intestines this causing even greater deficiency.

Some prominent vegan authorities in the field insist that vitamin B12 can be absorbed form vegetable sources. Unfortunately the latest research shows that plant based vitamin B12 cannot be absorbed by the human body. Worse even, the plant based form of vitamin B12 may interfere with absorption of the B12 present in the human body.

To correct any potential deficiency one should add raw eggs and milk products to one's diet. For a strict vegan this would mean that supplementation is vial. While choosing vitamin B12 supplement make sure that it contains the methylcobalamin form of B12.

DHA/EPA Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids

DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) and EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) Omega-3 essential fatty acids are long chain fatty acids that are normally present in fatty fish, fish oil and krill oil. Vegans are usually deficient in these fatty acids, but consume large amounts of plant based Omega-3s. The short chain Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA) is abundant in flax seed oil, hemp seed oil, and seabuckthorn, but our body's ability to convert ALA to DHA and EPA is rather limited.

Deficiency on long chain Omega-3 essential fatty acids may be detrimental to health as they play a crucial role in brain function, as well as normal growth and development. They help reduce inflammation in the body and may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and arthritis. People with deficiencies are susceptible to cognitive decline, depression, skin disorders and systemic inflammation.

If you decide to supplement, make sure that your supplement is certified organic and hexane free.

Other Nutrients

People on raw food diet usually obtain optimal levels of vitamins and minerals from the food they consume daily. However, there are some nutrients that may be lacking in a strict vegan raw food diet. Depending on the origin of the fruit and vegetable the produce may have diminished content of minerals such as zinc, magnesium and selenium. This happens when the produce is grown in mineral depleted soil. Thus consumption of organically or bio-dynamically grown fruit and vegetable is vital.

Raw food vegans consume much less of the essential amino acids lysine and methionine than omnivores. Both amino acids play important role in many bodily functions and both are abundant in animal products. Methionine supports healthy liver, the immune system, and proper nerve function. Lysine is required for growth and bone development in children. It assists in calcium absorption, helps maintain the correct nitrogen balance in the body, and is necessary for the optimal function of the immune system. Furthermore, lysine is utilized by the body in synthesis of various hormones and enzymes, in collagen formation as well as repair of damaged tissue. Deficiencies can easily be corrected with supplementation.


~ Conclusion ~

As you can see, there is so much that many people who happily made the transition to raw food may be unaware of.

People who have been sick or overweight for a long time experience dramatic improvement of their condition when they adopt raw food lifestyle. They lose weight, they are healthier and have more energy than ever before. And they may never experience negative reactions to raw food, or any food, for that matter. But others may get seriously ill and need to watch carefully what they are eating or give up raw food and veganism altogether.

There is no single prescription that would fit all. My advice is to practice conscious eating and watch the body for previously unknown symptoms, but most importantly, to choose a wide variety of foods and rotate them to avoid allergic reactions and nutritional deficiencies.

By Dominique Allmon

*Information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or cure a disease.

          

Creative Commons License
Raw Food for Everyone? by Dominique Allmon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Raw Curry Ginger Carrot Spread

Here is another raw food recipe that helps you save money. For many people on a tight budget juicing seems to be very expensive not only because of the amount of organic fruit and vegetable that goes into every gallon of freshly made juice, but also because of the "waste" that very often ends up in the garbage bin. But this does not have to be so. The fruit and vegetable pulp can be used in salad dressings, soups and smoothies, or turned into crackers, dips and tasty raw bread spreads.


I make a carrot juice almost every day so you can imagine how much carrot pulp I produce. And nothing goes into waste! I use the pulp to make spicy carrot crackers, tasty bread spreads and a delicious raw carrot soup. I will share the recipe at a later time.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups carrot juice pulp (or grated carrots if you do not have a juicer)
  • 1 cup shredded flax seeds
  • 1 cup virgin grape seed oil or any other cold pressed oil
  • 1 Tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp curry seasoning
  • 2 tsp hot chili flakes (add more if you like it really hot)
  • 1 tsp pink Himalaya salt


Method:
  • Place all the ingredients in a food processor and whiz until you receive nice and creamy, spreadable paste.
  • Taste and add more spices, more lime juice or more oil. Process again. The thickness of your spread depends on how much moisture was left in the carrot pulp after the juicing. 
  • Transfer your spread into a clean glass jar, close tightly and store in a fridge.

Enjoy often on a raw, sprouted Essene bread or on raw flax seed crackers. You can eat this delicious bread spread right away, however, I think it tastes so much better after it spend few hours in the fridge.

Tip: You can add a bit more liquid to it (a bit more lemon juice or water) and process for a while longer in a food processor. In this way you will have made a wonderful, curried dip. And, of course, you can use this tasty bread spread as a base to make raw crackers.

In radiant health - passionately raw - Dominique

Dominique Allmon ©2013

         

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Spicy Raw Kale Chips

Every time  I go shopping at Whole Foods I've got to wonder how much junk food there still is on the shelves. Even the very health conscious people love to eat potato chips! But of course, the chips are organic and made with Celtic salt, with no chemicals added... Thanks Goodness they also sell other, really healthy snacks. Real blessing comes with raw kale chips. You can indulge guilt free. The fragile green flakes are not only very tasty, they are very nutritious. And very easy to make! All you need is a dehydrator.


Ingredients:
  • 1 large bunch organic kale
  • 1 hot chili pepper, seeds removed (take more if you like your kale chips really spicy)
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • juice of 2 limes
  • Celtic salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup Brazil nuts, soaked in water overnight
  • 1/3 cup purified water


Method: 
  • Wash kale, remove the stems and tear the leaves into manageable bite-size pieces. Remember that kale will shrink a bit in the dehydrator. Set aside in a large bowl.
  • To make a seasoning for the chips, process all the other ingredients in a blender until you receive a dressing that is not too thick, but also not too flowing. Adjust the amount of water if necessary.
  • Pour the seasoning over kale leaves and massage lightly. You may want to wear a rubber gloves if you decide to use your hand otherwise the chili pepper will get into you.
  • Spread the seasoned kale on the dehydrator trays and dehydrate overnight at 105°F. After a night in a dehydrator your spicy kale chips should be nice and crispy. If this is not the case, extend the dehydration process for another hour or so. 
  • Gently remove the ready chips from trays and store in a clean airtight glass jar.

Indulge in good company whenever you can!

In radiant health - passionately raw - Dominique

         

Monday, September 9, 2013

Raw Mango Coconut Cardamom Ice Cream

I love ice cream, but like many raw foodies have to think twice if not three times before I consider eating commercially made ice cream. The whole process of ice cream making, not to mention the ingredients is something to consider even if you are not a vegan or a raw food lover. Too much fat, too much sugar and who knows what else! 

Raw Mango Coconut Cardamom Ice Cream

If you cannot resist ice cold dessert, the best way to indulge is to make your own. If you have an ice cream maker, you simply have to follow the instruction manual. Use freshest, ripest fruit and a nut milk of your choice. Process. Ready!

But you can also make ice cream without an ice cream maker. Many of my older readers probably remember how their parents used to make ice cream using simple kitchen utensils and ice.

I am sharing with you my favorite recipe here. It is raw, paleo, gluten-free and suitable for vegans. I used the ripest mangoes I have ever tasted. To make things easier, I put the peeled and chopped fruit into a freezer for a couple of hours. Since I do not own an ice cream maker I used my blender. I wanted my ice cream-cum-soft serve to be very fruity. I used twice as much fruit as I used coconut milk. You can change the proportions if you want to. If you use coconut water instead of coconut milk you will make a wonderful sorbet.

Ingredients:
  • 4 cups ripe mango, peeled, chopped and slightly frozen
  • 2 cups Thai style coconut milk (freshly made if possible)
  • 1 Tbsp organic maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp freshly grind cardamom 

Method: 
  • Place mango and coconut milk in the blender and process on a high speed until smooth.
  • Add maple syrup and cardamom. Blend for a few seconds. Make sure that you have a thick mass and not a liquid. Remember, you are making ice cream, not a smoothie.
  • Transfer the half-ready mango ice cream into a shallow glass dish or a BPA-free plastic container and place it in a freezer for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • When you think your ice cream is ready, (test the hardness with a spoon) scoop it out into individual dessert bowls. Serve right away and enjoy in good company!

It is a very hot day and my ice cream started turning into a soft serve before was I finished with my pictures. But even in its softer version it was simply divine.

In radiant health - passionately raw - Dominique

*To learn how to make coconut milk please click here

         

Dominique Allmon©2013

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Raw Blackberry Chia Jam

This is the simplest imaginable jam recipe ever! You can use strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries or black currants. The sweetness depends on how ripe your berries are and how much sweetener you add to it. The good thing is, you are in control.

To make this delicacy I used wild blackberries that I foraged in the woods. They are much smaller than the cultivated ones and they are incredibly delicious.

Foraging blackberries can be a bit difficult. They have very sharp thorns and they seem to always grow with stinging nettles. You definitely do not want to wear your Sunday's best and you may want to wear protective gloves and a long-sleeve shirt.

Foraged wild blackberries

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups ripe wild blackberries (use cultivated ones if foraging is out of question)
  • 5-6 Tbsp raw honey
  • 2 tsp mustard seed powder (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds

Raw Blackberry Chia Jam

Method:
  • Thoroughly wash the blackberries. Puree them in food processor or a blender. 
  • Add raw honey and blend well. Double the amount if you prefer your jam rather sweet. Vegans may want to use maple syrup instead of honey.
  • Add chia seeds and mix well. 
  • Add pinch of mustard seed powder, mix again and transfer into a clean glass jar.
  • Close the lid and place the jar in the fridge. Allow to chill overnight.

Foraged wild blackberries

Enjoy often with raw nut butter on a slice of sprouted raw Essene bread, in a smoothie, or straight from the jar.

Tip: Chia seeds are kind of tricky. They stick everywhere. Remember to rinse and wash your blender right after you finish working with it.

In radiant health - passionately raw - Dominique

Dominique Allmon©2013

      

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

Chia seeds seem to be in everybody's mouth now, but this fame did not come overnight. There is a 16th century written record that chia, or Salvia Hispanica, was cultivated by Aztecs in the pre-Columbian era. It has been suggested by the historians that chia were as important a crop for the Aztecs as was the corn. 


Black Chia Seeds

To this day the plant is cultivated in Mexico and Guatemala where it is an important source of nutrition. 

Botanically, chia is a member of the mint family. The seeds are either black or white and are easily digested. They do not have to be ground in order to be consumed.   

The tiny seeds of the plant Salvia hispanica are one of the most nutritious superfoods known to us. They are an excellent source of 
  • complete protein
  • soluble and insoluble fiber
  • antioxidants
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • vitamins A, C, E, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, folate, and B12
  • minerals such as calcium, magnesium, manganese, boron, strontium, phosphorus, potassium, iron and zinc
Because of their nutrient content chia seeds have many important health benefits:
  • Chia seeds support digestion, detoxification and elimination. They are high in fiber and have the ability to swell up in the intestine. They soothe and lubricate the colon and help strengthen peristaltic action thus improving elimination. Mucin in chia also helps reduce inflammation of the digestive tract.
  • Chia seeds are great for weight loss and weight maintenance. Improved digestion and elimination are important for anyone who is trying to lose weight. But chia are also rich in essential fatty acids that directly contribute to weight loss as they boost metabolism and help build lean muscles. They are nutrient dense but, at the same time, very law in calories. Chia seeds can also give a prolonged feeling of satiation as they can absorb water nine times their own weight. Simply soak chia seeds in water for 15-20 minutes and drink the mixture between the meals.
  • Thanks to their law glycemic index chia seeds help stabilize blood glucose. Research shows that chia has the capacity to slow dawn the rate at which complex carbohydrates are digested and assimilated into the body. The soluble fiber in chia helps stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent glucose spikes. 
  • Chia seeds can improve cardiovascular health. They help reduce high blood pressure and have slightly blood thinning properties thus preventing dangerous blood clots. They can lower harmful LDL cholesterol and reduce triglycerides in the blood. At the same time they help increase the levels of good HDL cholesterol. 
  • Chia seeds have strong anti-inflammatory properties. They bring relief to people suffering from inflammation as the highly concentrated Omega-3 fatty acids convert into inflammation-fighting and pain-relieving prostaglandins. Moreover, Omega-3 fatty acids provide lubrication to painful joints. Studies demonstrated that people who consumed ca. 40 grams of chia seeds daily had significantly lower levels of the C-reactive protein - a blood protein that indicates chronic inflammation in the body.
  • The essential fatty acids in chia seeds help improve brain health and cognition. They make the cell membranes more flexible which allows better saturation with nutrients and better transmission of impulses between the cells.  
  • Recent research shows that the alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in chia seeds curtailed the growth of cancer cells in both, breast and cervical cancers. ALA causes cancer cell apoptosis (death) without harming the healthy cells.
  • Chia seeds are an amazing source of energy. Already the ancient Aztec warriors used chia seeds to build up strength help, sustain energy and maintain hydration for long distance journeys on foot. Now athletes use chia to optimize physical performance, regulate hydration and maintain energy levels during intense workouts.
  • Chia seeds, especially the dark variety, are very rich in antioxidants. They contain high levels of chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, quercetin, myricetin, kaempferol, and vitamins C and E. All these compounds are strong free radical scavengers and act both, individually and synergistically, to prevent oxidation.
As you can see, the tiny chia seeds are quite amazing. Anyone who wishes to delay aging and improve his health should eat chia on daily basis. They are gluten free and therefore perfectly suited for people with sensitivity or allergy to gluten. 

Chia seeds store very well. High levels of vitamin C and E and the cinnamic acid in chia seeds prevent the seeds from turning rancid.  

 The seeds have a slightly nutty flavor. They can be sprinkled on salads, added to a morning cereal, yogurt, puddings and smoothies, or used in baking recipes. They are easily digested and do not have to be ground, but you can grind them to a fine meal if you want to. 

When buying chia seeds make sure you are buying a superior, organic product. 

By Dominique Allmon

*This information is for educational purpose only. It is not meant to diagnose or cure a disease. 


Creative Commons License
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds by Dominique Allmon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


         

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Zucchetti - Raw Zucchini Pasta with Cilantro Cedar Nut Pesto

This is another tasty, gluten free raw zucchini pasta recipe. It is quick and very easy to prepare. And you can eat it right away or  make it ahead and keep it in the fridge until you are ready to serve. Keep it in a tightly closed glass container and allow the flavors to penetrate. 

Pesto ingredients: cilantro, cedar nuts and garlic

Ingredients:
  • 2 medium large zucchinis
  • 2 cups fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup raw cedar nuts, pre-soaked for about 1 hour
  • juice of 1 small lime
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsp virgin olive oil
  • pinch Celtic salt to taste


Method:
  • Wash the zucchini and make the pasta using spiral vegetable cutter or a vegetable peeler. Place in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add about 2 Tbsp lime juice to your noodles and mix well. This will soften the noodles and make them more "pliable."
  • In a food processor (or in a mortar if you have one) process cilantro, cedar nuts and garlic. Add lime juice and olive oil. Add a little salt to taste. Mix well.
  • Use half the amount of your pesto to mix it with the noodles. Save the other half to decorate individual portions. And as always, enjoy in a good company!

Zucchetti - Raw Zucchini Pasta with Cilantro Cedar Nut Pesto

I hope you are still enjoying the nice September weather. It is still summer, but there is something in the air that tells us that change is on a way. This is the best time to start preparing your body for a bit colder weather. Best way to do it is to alkalize and detoxify the body.

Most raw food recipes will help you keep proper pH, but not all will do the detox job. By adding detoxifying herbs, garlic, lime and lemon juice, chili, turmeric and ginger to your recipes will allow your body to do the job gently. 

Cilantro is one of the most amazing herbs. Like no other herb it has the ability to chelate heavy metals form your body including the brain tissue. Garlic helps your liver to its job more efficiently.

In this recipe I used raw cedar nuts. They are a bit less well known than other nuts, but should really be eaten more often and are often substituted in recipes by pignolias (pine nuts). They are rather difficult to find, but if you are lucky, buy them and use them as often as you can.

Cedar nuts are rich in amino acids, especially arginine; they are very good source of complete vitamin E spectrum, B vitamins, especially thiamin; manganese, copper, iodine, magnesium, and zinc; and like all other nuts they are a good source of essential fatty acids and fiber. Cedar nuts are also the richest source of lecithin. Consider adding them to your diet if you avoid soy products. Lecithin not only helps with the fat metabolism, but, among others, protects the liver and improves the function of gall bladder.

In radiant health - passionately raw - Dominique

Dominique Allmon©2013

         

*Health information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or cure a disease. 


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Tzatziki - Raw Greek Yogurt Appetizer

If you like raw milk yogurt you will lite this! Tzatziki is a Mediterranean appetizer that is also used as a sauce for grilled meat dishes. This refreshing dish has its origins in Turkish cuisine and is widely used not only in Turkey, but also in Greece, Cyprus, and other countries that were in the past under the influence of the Ottoman Empire. 


Tzatziki is a perfect "health" food. Probiotics in yogurt stabilize your gut flora; cucumber is rich in minerals; herbs and garlic are beneficial not only to the digestive tract, but to the entire body; olive oil provides essential fatty acids; Celtic salt has much needed minerals; black pepper is a good source of manganese, vitamin K and fiber, and helps improve digestion.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup raw milk yogurt (ewe's or goat milk would be perfect)
  • 1 cup shredded cucumber
  • 2 Tbsp virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 2-3 fresh mint leaves
  • 1/3 tsp dried oregano
  • pinch of dried sage 
  • pinch of dried thyme
  • Celtic salt and freshly grind black pepper to taste


Method:
  • Combine yogurt, shredded cucumber, garlic, mint and dill in a large bowl and  gently mix together. 
  • Add dried herbs, salt and pepper. Make sure that you are adding only a hint of sage, otherwise the herb will overpower your tzatziki. Gently mix again. 
  • Add olive oil. Mix again. Ready!
  • Serve as a dip with a platter of raw vegetable and enjoy in good company!


Tip: 

You can "stretch" your tzatziki with a 1- 1 1/2 cold spring water and enjoy it chilled as a cooling and very refreshing summer soup.

In radiant health - passionately raw - Dominique


         
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