Magic beans

Magic beans

Or, magic SEEDS, rather. They are…broccoli seeds Broccoli seeds make broccoli sprouts, which are light, crunchy, flavorful, and have the slight bitter cruciferous taste like broccoli does. A delightful addition to salads, sandwiches or anything else that can be used as a vehicle for eating them. Here’s the magical part: they are powerhouses of nutrients and vitamins, rich in antioxidants and enzymes, and even have a cancer-fighting quality due to its abundance of the anti-cancer phytochemical, sulforaphane. It’s like concentrating the nutritional benefits of three pounds of fully grown broccoli into a mouthful of green sprouts. Sproutable Foods In general, sprouting seeds, grains, or beans makes them more digestible. You know the rules for boiling beans: soak them overnight, discard the water, and they cook more efficiently and don’t give you… ehem, as much gas, right? This is because soaking initiates the sprouting process and also removes the phytic acid so that the minerals and vitamins can be assimilated by our bodies. When converting a seed, grain, or bean into it’s sprout form, though, they become more digestible because the proteins and starches change into simple sugars and free amino acids, and the enzymes and vitamin content increases. Healing With Whole Foods (by Paul Pichford) says sprouting “predigests” the nutrients in the seed, making it easier to assimilate and metabolize. How to: grow your own sprouts Growing your own sprouts is as easy as 1, 2, 3! Step 1) Soak a few tablespoons of any seed of your choice in a wide mouth mason jar for 6-8 hours. Attach a sprouting screen to the top or cover the mouth of...
Get your omegas

Get your omegas

Cod Liver Oil I finally did it! I caved in and started taking supplements. Yummm, nothing like slurping a teaspoon of cod liver oil in the morning and letting that fishy taste linger on your tongue. I’ve learned by now to have my Inka or kombucha at arms’ length so I can cut the taste right away. Better yet, I’ve been putting it right into my protein smoothie and I don’t taste a thing. The brand I use now is Nordic Naturals, which is very high quality and has the highest testing standards for heavy metals, dioxins, and PCBs, the natural and man-made toxins often found in fish. There are two kinds of essential fatty acids: Omega 3 (of which there are three: DHA, EPA, ALA) and Omega-6. These two have a tricky relationship, but DHA is found to be the most beneficial for our brain health. There needs to be a balanced ratio to get the most benefit for brain functioning and since our bodies do not make them, we must get them from our food. Health benefits: Protects heart and brain Anti-inflammatory (good for arthritis) Reduces blood pressure and increases circulation Boosts mind/mood (preliminary evidence that it reduces depression) Promotes fertility Protects vision Protects skin Weight loss Sources of Omega-3 Cold water fish: salmon, trout (both are lowest in mercury), tuna, mackeral, sardines, cod Veggie: flax seeds, flax oil, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, olive oil, avocado Nuts and oils only contain the Omega-3 ALA, which is converted by our bodies into the beneficial DHA, but at a much slower pace and less efficiently. Getting DHA from a...
Nutritional yeast

Nutritional yeast

What is nutritional yeast? When I was growing up I spent many-a-night watching movies with a big bowl of buttery popcorn topped with this yellow, flaky product called nutritional yeast (ps. I grew up in Eugene, OR in a very health food-minded household). My mom also sprinkled it on our cat’s food, who was crazy about it. Now I use it as a condiment, added to anything and everything that happens to be on my plate; I’ve even started using it to make casseroles, sauces, and dressings. But besides being versatile and yummy (and a cat supplement), what exactly IS IT? Developed as a non-active yeast (i.e. it doesn’t cause bread to rise) and created specifically as a nutritional supplement, nutritional yeast is rich in protein and B vitamins. This is not to be confused with brewers yeast, which is a bi-product of breweries and distilleries and doesn’t have the same nutritional value. Nutritional yeast is grown in mineral-enriched cane and beet molasses and then pasteurized to kill the active yeast. At that time, all the necessary vitamins, namely B-vitamins and calcium, are added to the mixture before it is dried and packaged. Click here for a nifty little illustration of the process. Also, there is more information on this page, as well as the nutritional facts. Nutritional benefits: rich in amino acids and B-vitamins Here’s a quickie lesson on nutrition: 1) Amino acids: not produced by the body so we must get them from our food. We need these amino acids to form protein, which the body uses for growth and maintenance. Nutritional yeast has two grams of...
Start your morning green

Start your morning green

Haley’s green power smoothie 1/2 banana, frozen 1/2 cup blueberries, frozen 1 Tbs whole flax seed 1tsp. whole chia seed 1tsp Vitamineral Green 1tsp maca powder 2 Tbs. protein powder of your choice 1 handful of greens (kale, chard, or spinach) 1 tsp bee pollen (optional) water blend and enjoy! (you will actually find that it’s more of a brown color…) Why, you may ask? Bananas: Provide immediate and prolonged energy, good source of fiber and replaces essential nutrients lost during workouts. High in potassium and iron. Blueberries: High in micronutrients and antioxidants, has cancer-prevention qualities. Flax seed: packed with beneficial nutrients, especially B vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids (lowers  inflammation), fiber (lowers cholesterol), and phytochemicals (cancer-fighting antioxidants). Chia seed: super food of the Aztecs, high in fiber and healthy oils (similar to flax). Vitamineral Green: an organic, natural, cleansing, nutrient–rich combination of grasses and other greens, spirulina and other seaweeds. You can find this brand in most health food stores or buy it online here. Maca powder: a root commonly used in Peru to provide strength for Inca warriors. Contains calcium, zinc, iron, potassium, B vitamins, vitamin C, fiber and protein. Improves brain function, fertility, and libido. Protein powder: Use any protein powder of your choice. I use Garden of Life RAW Protein Powder, or Nutritibiotic Protein Powder, which are both certified organic, raw, and vegan. They’re made from sprouted brown rice, which is an excellent source of protein and have all the essential amino acids. A good alternative to soy or whey powders. Leafy greens: packed with vitamins and nutrients that prevent cancer and other diseases (i.e. eat lots of...
Kabocha squash and fennel

Kabocha squash and fennel

 This is a rich, flavorful, and savory side dish that uses two of my most favorite vegetables: kabocha squash (delicious, creamy, sweet) and fennel (tender and sweet with a mild anise flavor). It’s a simple recipe, yet the ingredients speak for themselves. Except for prepping the squash, this recipe is super easy to whip up any night of the week; it can be a side dish, or serve it with brown rice and it becomes a main course! Yum! Ingredients 2 tbsp. of butter or Earth Balance non-dairy butter 20 (about 1/2 bag) pearl onions, peeled and whole 3 garlic cloves, diced 1/2 fennel bulb, sliced in thin half moons 1/2 cup of dry white wine 1/2 cup of veggie broth 1/4 tsp. of salt 1/4 tsp. of fresh-ground pepper (to taste) 4 cup of kabocha squash, peeled and cubed Steps Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat Sautee onions and squash for about 5 minutes, or until slightly browned Add garlic and fennel, sautee for 5 more minutes Add wine and broth to saucepan, mix together ingredients, then cover Let everything simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally (add a little more broth to the pan if the liquid burns off) When the squash is tender, uncover and let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving...
Term defined: Homeopathic

Term defined: Homeopathic

So what does homeopathic even mean? I was asked this point blank the other day, and I realized I wasn’t quite sure how to respond. Throughout the past few years I have been on a quest to self-educate on the topics of health, holistic nutrition, and yes, homeopathic medicine, but I didn’t know the answer to this question?!! “It’s, you know, natural medicines and alternative remedies…” So I began investigating to get a clear, concise answer and finally understand what it means, then get it down on paper (or blog, rather), THEN commit it to memory. The first thing I did was go to Wikipedia. It’s long winded and, well, Wikipedia. Nevertheless, I found that in the first paragraph it says “The collective weight of scientific evidence has found homeopathy to be no more effective than a placebo.” Yikes. Moving on, I went to the American Institute of Homeopathy. It is a trade association for medical practitioners and has a comprehensive set of Standards of Practice meant to clarify the principles of homeopathic care. In summary: “Homeopathy views the state of being unwell as being a holistic disturbance in the homeostasis of the total being. The physician who employs Homeotherapeutics should be cognizant of the total or holistic nature of physiological disorder or disease and the necessity of a holistic approach to diagnosis and treatment.” Getting closer. The Society of Homeopaths is a little more clear: “Homeopathy is a system of medicine which involves treating the individual with highly diluted substances, given mainly in tablet form, with the aim of triggering the body’s natural system of healing… Homeopathy is based on the principle...
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