Breakfast of Champions?

I used to love cold cereal for breakfast. And, sometimes for a snack! My mother never allowed the really sugary stuff in the house, but we had Wheaties, Cheerios, Shredded Wheat, you get the idea.

Then, I stopped eating cereal when I went gluten free. It was hard, but I adjusted.

Then, I learned more about cold cereals and what they do to the body. I know, right? I’m such a Debbie Downer, but I think this information is really important. Especially if you have little ones and they are eating Cheerios as their first finger foods!

So, what’s the issue with cold cereals?

Well, they fall under just about every category we’ve discussed so far: Many contain genetically engineered ingredients. The grains used to make the cereal are more than likely sprayed with glyphosate if they are not genetically engineered. And, the so called “healthy” ones are made with whole grains, which we now know that if they are not properly prepared (i.e. soaked, sprouted or fermented) can cause issues in the body.

But the blaring issue with these cereals is with their processing.

Cold cereals are processed using a process called extrusion.

After being mixed with water and turned into a slurry, the grains are forced through a tiny hole at extreme pressure and temperature and thus turned into their marketable shapes.
They are then sprayed with  a mixture of oil and sugar so that it maintains it’s “integrity” when doused with milk in the bowl.
According to Paul Stitt, the author of Fighting the Food Giants, this process of extruding the grains denatures fatty acids and destroys much of the  nutrients present in the grain.
The most mind boggling part? Those so called “healthy whole grain” cereals are probably the most toxic. The proteins in the whole grain cereals become so denatured that they become neurotoxins.
Check out this rat study taken from an article written by Sally Fallon : Dirty Secrets of the Food Processing Industry:
“One group of rats received plain whole wheat grains, water and synthetic vitamins and minerals. A second group received puffed wheat (an extruded cereal), water and the same nutrient solution. A third set was given water and white sugar. A fourth set was given nothing but water and synthetic nutrients. The rats that received the whole wheat lived over a year on this diet. The rats that got nothing but water and vitamins lived about two months. The animals on a white sugar and water diet lived about a month. The study showed that the rats given the vitamins, water and all the puffed wheat they wanted died within two weeks—even before the rats that got no food at all. These results suggest that there was something very toxic in the puffed wheat itself! Proteins are very similar to certain toxins in molecular structure, and the pressure of the puffing process may produce chemical changes that turn a nutritious grain into a poisonous substance.”
Yikes!
So, what is one to do? It’s time to think outside the cereal box for nourishing breakfasts!
Try soaked oats or another grain porridge. (Teff happens to be one of my favorite!)  Or, eat some left over dinner for breakfast. Or some soup! There are much better ways to nourish yourself and start your day than with these extruded grains!
Here is a recipe for some oatmeal.
Oat Porridge
Here’s a little tip if you like to eat oatmeal:
I put up a large batch, leave it to soak at room temperature overnight and then I put it in the refrigerator. My husband scoops what he wants each morning and heats it up. When it’s done, we do the whole process again. This way, you don’t have to remember to soak it every night!
2 cups oatmeal
Water to coat
2 TBS whey or lemon juice
Place rolled oats in a non reactive bowl.
Add water to cover and add whey. Stir a bit and cover and leave out at room temperature over night.
In the morning, heat oatmeal on stove.
(When it is soaked, it only takes a short time for the oatmeal to cook).

Season with sea salt. Add delicious extras like cinnamon, a touch of raw honey, soaked nuts and seeds and enjoy!

See how your energy is different after eating this nourishing porridge in the morning versus a cold cereal and let me know your thoughts!

Do you eat whole grains?

Yesterday, I talked about being gluten free and the importance of eating a nutrient dense diet in lieu of highly processed gluten free grains. Most gluten free flour products are made from very refined rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour and thickeners like guar gum or xantham gum. While it may be ok for the occasional treat,  these products should not be the bulk of our diets.  These highly refined grain products turn to sugar very quickly in our bodies, can spike our blood sugars and feed pathogens in our gut.

So, what about whole grains? Grains are considered to be “whole grains” when the 3 parts of the grain are fully intact after being harvested as they were out in the field. These parts include the bran, the germ and the endosperm. When grains are refined, the bran and the germ are stripped away.

The endosperm is the largest portion of the kernel and contains starchy carbohydrates and small amounts of proteins and  vitamins and minerals. The germ is the part of the kernel that has the capability of sprouting into a new plant. It contains fats, proteins and B vitamins.

The bran is  the outermost layer of the kernel and contains antioxidants, B vitamins and fiber.

For years, the recommendation has been to eat more “whole grains”. Our breakfast cereals are now made with whole grains, our breads are now made with whole grains and some of us may sit down to a breakfast of steel cut oats. That’s great, right?

Well, not really. See, the thing that no one is telling us is that the these grains require special preparation before consuming.  Grains contain anti- nutrients which must first be deactivated in order for our bodies to utilize the nutrients in the grains.

Phytic acid is one of those compounds which is found in the bran of the grain. Left untreated, it can bind to calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron and copper in our intestinal tract and block their absorption. Those eating large amounts of improperly prepared grains where the phytic acid is not neutralized are susceptible to osteoporosis and bone loss.

Other anti-nutrients include enzyme inhibitors, which make digestion of the grain more difficult and puts stress on our pancreas, gluten, (the protein found in some grains) and  tannins.

So, do we not eat whole grains? No, not at all. We just need to be aware of how to deactiviate these enzyme inhibitors.   Soaking whole grains in acidulated water for a number of hours will do the trick! Not only are the enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid neutralized, vitamins, particularly B vitamins are enhanced.

How to soak your grains:

  • Take the desired amount of grain.
  • Place grains in  a large bowl and  cover with warm (from the tap) water.
  • Place an acidic medium in the water with the grain. You will use about 1 TBSP of the medium for every cup of water used to soak. (note that I do not always measure this, I usually eyeball it!)
  • Acidic mediums include whey (liquid run off from yogurt), yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar.
  • Cover the bowl with towel and leave in a warm spot in your kitchen for about 12 hours.
  • Cook as desired.

Note that cooking time and the amount of liquid needed will be slightly less for grains once they are soaked. There is no need to rinse them after soaking, but if you wish to, go ahead!

Soaked rolled oats cook up very quickly in the morning- in about 5-10 minutes!

Soaked whole grains are nutritious and gentle on the body. Try to avoid grains that are improperly prepared ( as in cookies, cakes, whole grain dishes) or high heat extruded grains like those in breakfast cereals. (More about those tomorrow)!

 

 

Gluten Free?

I have been gluten free for about 20 years. When I first began having reactions to food and found an integrative doctor who understood what was happening to my body, gluten was one of the first things she told me to eliminate. When I tried to introduce it again, I got sick :(

This was long before gluten free was even a thing. There were NO gluten free options in 1996 except for rice cakes or Asian rice crackers. I had to do my own experimenting, and it wasn’t fun.

So many people are experiencing gluten intolerance today that you can find just about gluten free everything:  pasta, pizza crusts, cookies, cakes , even Italian pastries.

But, the question is: Why is gluten intolerance so prevalent today?

One answer is that the wheat is different. The agricultural “Green Revolution” of the 1960s aimed to increase yields with the use of synthetic fertilizers , and eventually herbicides, pesticides and fungicides. So, wheat was hybridized to increase the yields and this hybridiztion most likely increased the amount of gluten in the plant. Then the plant, which was grown in soil treated by chemicals, was harvested and milled into a refined white flour, which we, as Americans ate and still continue to eat throughout the day- For breakfast: cereals, bagels, English muffins, toast. For lunch: Sandwiches.  For dinner: Pasta, bread, breaded meats or vegetables. For snacks: pretzels, crackers, cookies, cakes.

Traditionally, people ate grain products more seasonably so to speak. It was not ever present. It was grown (organically), harvested, stored and milled whole, not stripped of all it’s nutrients. When it was made into bread, it was made as sourdough bread, with the freshly milled flour being fermented. This deactivates certain enzyme inhibitors like phytic acid which is present in the bran and which can leach certain minerals from our bodies (like calcium, zinc and magnesium).

Now, in our modern agriculture, besides the use of pesticides, herbicides or fungicides on our grain crops, most grains are sprayed with Round Up (glyphosate) as a dessicant. Please see the previous post for more information about glyphosate in our food.

Remember that glyphosate changes our gut bacteria. It allows pathogenic bacteria to thrive while killing off beneficial bacteria. Without our beneficial bacteria, our immune system suffers. So, cutting out the gluten can help jump start some healing. But it is not enough.

This is where my love/hate relationship with gluten free comes in!

Gluten is only part of the problem. Our systems  and more specifically our digestive systems, our gut microbiome are the bigger part of the problem. If we want to heal from immune issues and food sensitivities, we need to be conscious of healing our microbiome- be kind to our beneficial bacteria.

Pathogenic bacteria feed on sugars and simple carbohydrates. Gluten free products like cakes, cookies, pizza crusts, pastas, etc. are simple carbohydrates that turn to sugar very quickly in our bodies. And, they feed our pathogenic gut bacteria.

And, many of these gluten free grains are also sprayed with glyphosate before harvest, so it is not always the best option.

Now, I’m not saying don’t be gluten free. I still am, but I limit how much processed gluten free foods I eat. I opt instead for whole grains like rice, millet, quinoa, buckwheat, teff. I will make them into porridges or make them into flours for pancakes or breads.

I do still use gluten free baking products, but only for the ocassional treat.

The bulk of my diet comes from organic pastured meats, fresh vegetables, as many as I can make and eat, some grains and lacto fermented foods like sauerkraut, pickles, kefir, yogurt.

Some folks who are gluten free can find that they can tolerate heirloom wheats like einkorn, emmer, spelt or triticale. These are the original plants before hybridization. That is very individual, and proper preparation of grains is key!

While going gluten free may help initially, it is important to remember that if you truly want to heal your gut, you want to avoid processed foods.

Tomorrow, we will look more at proper preparation of grains.

Until then..

Here are some resources on gluten and wheat processing:

Research sheds light on gluten issues

What’s Wrong with Modern Wheat?

Are GMO’s Linked to Gluten Sensitivity? 

 

 

 

Glyphosate isn’t just used on GMOs!

Yesterday I talked about glyphosate and the effect it has on human health.

But, just because you are eating GMO free, does not mean that you are not getting glyphosate in your food.

Not only is glyphosate sprayed on those Round Up Ready GMO crops, it is also used in conventional agriculture as a dessicant- a drying agent that farmers use to dry the crop before harvesting it.

These crops are typically sprayed with glyphosate before harvest:

  • wheat
  • oats
  • lentils
  • chickpeas
  • potatoes
  • flax
  • rye
  • buckwheat
  • millet
  • peas
  • sugar cane

If a product is labeled as GMO Free, it DOES NOT mean that it has not been sprayed with glyphosate. In order to keep you and your family healthy, it is important to opt for organic when choosing these items.

For more information, click on this article. 

Tomorrow, I will be talking about gluten and going gluten free.  Now knowing that many gluten free grains are sprayed with glyphosate before harvest, it is important to source the right gluten free options!

 

 

 

More about Glyphosate

Yesterday I touched on genetically engineered foods and the lack of adequate testing on these foods. One very real concern with genetic engineering is that the gene insertion  ( inserting foreign DNA into a plant) is not an exact science and can cause unforeseen, unintended consequences  like decreased nutritional value and allergic reactions.

Over the last few years, more attention has been given to the adverse health effects of the active ingredient in Round Up: Glyphosate.

When GMO crops were first introduced, it was thought that perhaps farmers would be able to spray less herbicide. However, we cannot dismiss Mother Nature in all of her brilliance. The very weeds that the farmers were trying to control grew with virulence and became resistant to the herbicide. So, instead of having less weeds, farmers found themselves with more weed, and more weed and more weeds. Their answer? To follow the advice of the biotech companies who sold them their crop seed and their herbicide- spray more. So instead of using less herbicide, farmers were now using more.

Don Huber,  Emertius professor of plant pathology at Purdue University and his colleague, Dr. Michael McNeill, an agronomist from Iowa, have spoken extensively about the dangers of glyphosate.

Glyphosate is a broad spectrum herbicide which accumulates in plant tissue, the roots, the shoots and reproductive structures. It is released into the soil where it is quickly absorbed and where it degrades very slowly. (Half life of glyphosate is at least 22 years).

It makes plants susceptible to diseases and in the soil it can kill microbes like earthworms and mychorrhizae which are crucial for the health of the soil.  It prevents the plants from taking up nutrients, causing deficiency.  A 2012 nutritional analysis of GMO versus non GMO corn showed these deficiencies. You can find that chart here. 

How does this all affect us? Glyphosate does not wash off the plants. When we consume foods that are sprayed with glyphosate, we are consuming the residue of the herbicide.

Tests of common foods were conducted to measure the amount of residue. Cheerios, for example, was measured at 1, 125.3 parts per billion (ppb). Because the farming industry continues to use glyphosate ubiquitously, the EPA has continually raised the maximum residue limit (MRL) for commodity crops like corn and soy which end up in our processed foods. (The allowable levels are more like 20 ppm for crops like corn and soy!)

Researchers have shown the toxic effects of glyphosate:

  • At .5 parts per million, it causes endocrine disruption.
  • At 1 -10 ppm, there is evidence of liver damage
  • At 5.o ppm, there is evidence of DNA damage
  • At 1-10 ppm, there is mitochondrial damage and multiple cell damage.

It was declared a probably carcinogen by the World Health Organization in 2016, and in the United States, the FDA  put a halt on residue testing! 

Stephanie Seneff, PhD is an outspoken researcher who warns of the dangers of glyphosate. Through her research, she finds that it disrupts the gut bacteria in humans, killing off beneficial bacteria and allowing pathogenic bacteria to thrive causing issues with the immune system like allergies, susceptibility to illness and autoimmune diseases. She also points out that the byproducts of glyphosate- glycine and formaldehyde affect immune function. Formaldehyde especially is highly toxic to all animals. You can find much of her research here. 

Bottom line is that genetically engineered foods are money makers for the biotech companies with dangerous consequences. It is up to the individual consumer to be aware of the issues with consuming these foods and opt instead for whole, unprocessed organic foods.

 

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Here is  a list of where these genetically engineered foods can be hidden:

Corn: Corn syrup, corn sugar, high fructose corn syrup, masa, corn flour, corn starch, modified food starch, distilled vinegar, baking powder, some vitamin C, citric acid, sweet corn on the cob, some alcohols distilled from corn.

Soy:  Soy oil, soy protein isolate, tofu, soy lecithin, soy milk, textured vegetable protein, soy sauce/ tamari, mirin, soy infant formula, some spice mixes, some tea bags, vitamin E supplements, marinades, sauces.

Canola: Salad dressings, baked goods, chips, prepared foods, packaged foods (hummus, olives, prepared marinades, sauces.

Sugar: Made from genetically engineered sugar beets- baked goods, chocolates, salad dressings, ketchups, marinades, tomato sauces, condiments, jams, spice mixes, breakfast cereals.

Cottonseed Oil: Baked goods, potato chips.

Other ingredients: Artificial sweeteners, aspartame/equal/nutrisweet/bene via, food starch, modified food starch, autolyzed yeast extract, maltodextrin, malitol, mannitol, condensed milk.

In fresh produce, buy only organic sweet corn, organic apples , potatoes, papaya and pineapple!

When buying dairy, eggs or meats, be sure to get them organic too!

It’s time that consumers take back the food system and demand that our food is safe and nutrient dense. This is one of the first ways we will change the trajectory of children’s health in this country!

Tomorrow, I will be touching on other crops that are sprayed with glyphosate that are not genetically engineered!

 

 

 

GMO’s- A Piece to the Puzzle in Childhood Epidemics

Yesterday, I shared a little bit about the increasing incidences of illnesses in our children, ranging from chronic infections to autism and autoimmune diseases.

According to Dr. Kenneth Bock,  one of the major reasons for these epidemics is that children are introduced to so many more toxins and younger and younger ages. I will take the next couple of days to share information about these toxins.

First on my list- GMO’s.

GMOs or Genetically Modified Organisms are plant foods whose DNA has been altered to take on certain traits. The DNA is altered in a laboratory by using a virus or a bacterium to insert foreign DNA into the seed. The most common traits that plants are genetically engineered to display are herbicide tolerance and pesticide producing. Biotechnology companies who created these new seeds saw them to be attractive solutions to farmers who were spending precious money on herbicides and pesticides, only to have their crops die as a result. With this new technology, farmers were encouraged that they could increase their production and thereby increase their profits.

Herbicide tolerance simply means that when a plant is sprayed with an herbicide in the field, the surrounding weeds will die but the plant will be resistant to the spray and should thrive. One could see how this could potentially save farmers from using too much herbicide. It would save them on input costs and labor as well… or maybe not!

Pesticide producing crops were created to kill pests that were problematic to certain crops like corn and cotton.  The pesticide Bt – Bacillus thuringiensis is inserted directly into the DNA of the corn or cotton seed. When the corn grows and is attacked by the corn borer, the plant releases the pesticide which destroys the digestive system of the pest, thereby killing it. These Bt crops are registered pesticides with the FDA.  And, they are served as food. Do you see any issue here?

These 2 varieties of genetically engineered crops were introduced into our food system in about 1996. At first it was only corn, soy, canola and cottonseed that were altered. Many of these foods were given to livestock as part of their feed and the excess was processed into the foods on our supermarket shelves in the form of corn oil, high fructose corn syrup, soy milk, soy protein isolate, soy infant formula,  canola oil and cottonseed oil.

The number of food crops have now expanded to include genetically engineered sugar beets, some varieties of zucchini and yellow squash, some varieties of apples, potatoes  and pineapples and sweet corn.

So, what is the issue with these genetically engineered foods? When they were introduced, they were fast tracked through the food system despite warnings from FDA scientists that they can pose dangers to human health. Instead of using independent scientists, the biotech industry created their own 30 day studies that showed no ill effect of gmo foods on mice. The FDA accepted these studies and approved these crops for human consumption.

Concerns quickly spread about these foods, but because they were not (and still are not) labeled, consumers really didn’t know what they were eating.

Studies from independent scientists around the world show direct links between GMO foods (and the herbicide ingredient glyphosate) with allergies,  digestive diseases, infertility, liver problems, kidney problems and endocrine disruption.

A landmark study by French researcher Dr. Seralini in 2012 showed that GMOs caused tumors in rats in as little as 4 months. (Remember that the biotech companies only do 30 day studies to show no ill effect!)

Activist groups in the United States have been fighting for a label on these genetically engineered foods to inform consumers of what they are eating- to give them the choice as to whether they would like to consume theses foods. 64 other countries around the world either label or have banned genetically engineered foods. We are still fighting.

Things to remember from this article:

  • At least 90% of soy, corn and sugarbeets in this country are genetically modified. If you choose to eat these foods, opt for organic.
  • GMO foods are NOT required to be labeled (although some companies have begun to voluntary label. You will see a small disclosure on the end of an ingredient list that says “produced with genetic engineering”.
  • Educate yourself about what foods are genetically engineered so you can avoid them.
  • These include: soy, corn, canola, cottonseed, sugar beets, some varieties of squash and yellow zucchini, sweet corn, Arctic apple, potato, pineapple and Hawaiian papaya.
  • Know your farmer- shop at farmers markets and ask about their growing practices to ensure that you are not getting foods that are genetically engineered.
  • Buy ORGANIC meat and dairy. Livestock raised non organically are fed GMO grain.

 

Tomorrow, I will discuss more about glyphosate, the active ingredient in round up which is used ubiquitously on GMO Crops.

Stay tuned- stay protected!

 

 

Epidemics of Illness in Children

Do you have a child or know a child diagnosed with a food allergy? Asthma? Seasonal Allergies? Autism? Sensory processing disorder?

There is no doubt that children today are sick.

It has been said that the current generation of children is expected to be the first generation in history to have a shorter life span than their parents.

Current statistics show that:

1 in 6 children are learning disabled

1 in 9 have asthma

1 in 400 are developing diseases like diabetes, epilepsy and inflammatory bowel disorders

30% of young adults are diagnosed with mental illness- anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia.

These statistics cross all genders, race and socioeconomic classes and the numbers only seem to be on the rise.

I find these statistics incredibly troubling. They make me want to cry- and they often do.

But, we have the power to change the trajectory of children’s health in this country.

Of course, my bias is always food and nutrition, but these diagnoses encompass more than poor nutrition.

There are two terms used to describe the reason children are so sick : Total Load and Perfect Storm.

Basically, it means that these illnesses can be explained by a combination of toxicity, immune dysregulation, imbalance in the gut microbiome, inflammation and  genetic factors.

In 2009, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a study that found at least 232 toxic chemicals in human umbilical cord blood. This means that children are coming into the world already compromised. A compromised child may show issues quite young- reflux, colic, reactions to mother’s breast milk, inability to take prepared infant formula, eczema. Rather than truly addressing the root cause, band-aids are often given as solutions for these issues- a baby is given reflux medication,  put on “hypo- allergenic” soy infant formula, given topical creams for eczema.

As the baby develops, there may be chronic illness- ear infections, for which he is given antibiotics. These antibiotics further deplete the immune system by perpetuating the imbalance of the gut flora. Frequent colds, frequent viruses. It becomes an endless cycle.

As the immune system suffers, as more toxins accumulate in the body, as nutritional deficiencies become more pronounced, we begin to see children diagnosed with allergies, asthma, adhd, autism, autoimmune diseases.

Kenneth Bock, MD, the author of Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma and Allergies- The Groundbreaking Program for the 4-A Disorders states that these childhood epidemics were caused by “four fundamental, catastrophic changes in the environments of American children”.

These changes include:

1. Toxins Proliferated- These include pathogens in our water, chemicals from plastics, heavy metal exposure through the air (coal burning plants,) through vaccinations ; genetically engineered ingredients,  herbicides, pesticides, food additives.

2. Nutrition Deteriorated-  Our farming practices have changed and foods are less nutrient dense than they were years ago. Our eating habits have also changed. People are cooking less in the home, opting instead for convenience foods that are loaded with additives and preservatives. Children especially are fed processed foods deemed as “kid friendly”.

3. Vaccinations Increased- The number of vaccinations given to children have doubled since 1991.  Children can receive multiple vaccines in a single injection.

4. Ability to Detoxify has Dwindled- Toxins that enter the bodies of young children are likely to stay there rather than get moved out. The detoxification pathways of these children are halted in a sense. Until these pathways are open, children will hold on to these toxins, further impeding their immune system and their ability to function.

In the next article, we will be taking a closer look at these environmental issues and how they affect children. Stay tuned :)

 

Resources:

Environmental Working Group

Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma and Allergies

Epidemic Answers

 

Summer Cooking!

Summer is whizzing by so quickly- lazy days, swimming, making fresh foods.
It’s been a pretty tolerable summer so far, but, when the humidity really creeps in and things get sweltering, I find that I lose my umph to do anything- cooking and eating included!During the summer I find myself eating much more fresh, cooling foods and raw foods, and much less cooked foods. The proteins I favor are lighter- fresh fish, sprouted beans and lots and lots of vegetables!

I love going to farmers markets to get the best of the produce that we are not growing ourselves. Fresh greens, fragrant herbs and ripe fruits!

When I get home, I find it easiest to begin to process these foods immediately: for 2 reasons really:
1. So that they get used and don’t go bad
2. To help ease mealtime preparation.

When the foods are cleaned and packaged and ready to go, it makes meal preparation a breeze!

If you love to shop at a farmers market or if you belong to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) here are some tips for processing your foods:

1. Fresh herbs: If you have things like cilantro, parsley, mint, you can wrap them in a damp cotton dish towel and store them in the drawer of your refrigerator. Check the towel every 2 days or so to make sure it hasn’t dried out!

2. Woodier herbs like rosemary and thyme do better wrapped in something a bit less moist so that they don’t mold.

3. If  you don’t think you’ll use your herbs right away, you can freeze them. Herbs like rosemary and thyme can be rinsed, placed in a baggie and frozen. Herbs like cilantro, parsley, mint, can be chopped and placed in ice cube trays filled with water. Let them freeze, pop them out of the tray, bag them and label them. When it’s time to cook, pop the ice cube into the dish that you are preparing!

4. Make vinegar! I also like to infuse my herbs in apple cider vinegar. To do so, fill a clean jar with the herbs, pour in apple cider vinegar and cap the jar- leaving it to infuse for about 3 weeks out of direct sun light. Strain the herbs and use the vinegar to flavor any dressing! (Be sure that you do not use a metal cap, as the vinegar will rust it- if you only have metal, place parchment between the jar and the cap to keep it from corroding!)

5. Fresh greens- I like to wash these and wrap them in damp towels as well. If you’d like to do a little extra work at the get go, you can prepare these greens by cutting them and placing them in bags. When you are ready to saute them, etc., you have them ready to go!

6. Preserve by fermenting! Fermenting your produce is an exceptional way to preserve it for the season- with the right conditions of time, temperature and salt, an amazing alchemy takes place which transforms your vegetables into nutritional power houses!

What are your favorite things to make in the summer?

Here is a quick and easy summer recipe:

Quinoa Spinach and Herb Salad .                     

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2 cups quinoa (soaked overnight)*

1 bunch fresh spinach, washed well, dried and chopped

1/2 red onion, diced

1/2 cup feta cheese (optional)

1/4 cup soaked and toasted pine nuts **

1 bunch fresh basil, chopped

1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive oil

1/4 White Balsamic Vinegar

Juice of 1 lemon

Sea salt

*** Grains, nuts and seeds contain enzyme inhibitors and compounds (phytic acid) that prevent us from fully absorbing the nutrition present and can lead to certain mineral deficiencies when consumed without proper preparation. It is my recommendation that the nuts and quinoa in this recipe be prepared in order to deactivate the enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid (by soaking).

See below for instructions.

*To soak Quinoa, place 2 cups quinoa in a bowl and rinse well with water and drain. When the quinoa is clean , cover the quinoa with water. Add 4 TBSP of lemon juice or whey (the liquid run off from yogurt) and cover the quinoa (with a cloth, etc.) and let sit out at room temperature overnight.

In the morning, drain quinoa and cook as directed.

** To soak pine nuts, cover nuts with water in a small bowl. Add 1 TBSP sea salt and let nuts soak for 6 hours. Drain well and dry nuts in a dehydrator (At 118 degrees to keep the enzymes in tact or dry them in the oven at the lowest setting (most electric ovens go down to 170). To toast nuts once dry, either raise oven temperature to 250 and watch the nuts carefully to make sure they don’t burn, or place them in a fry pan over low heat (Again, taking care not to burn!!)

***For this recipe, we will be cooking the quinoa like pasta.- In a large pot of boiling water for about 10 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

In the meantime, toast pine nuts and set aside.

When water boils, add quinoa and let boil for about 12 minutes. Drain well.

Add quinoa to a bowl with onion, spinach, feta, pine nuts and basil to taste.

In  a separate bowl, mix the olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice. Pour over quinoa .

Season with salt. Serve room temperature or cold.

What is homotoxicology?

Welcome to my journey!
As some of you may know, I got into the work I am doing now because of my own health challenges.

For the next couple of months, I am going to be sharing my journey with you regarding homotoxicology… read on!

About 20 years ago, I had significant reactions to foods, chemicals, bright lights and loud sounds. I honestly didn’t know what was going on with me, but my symptoms were psychological as well as physical. I experienced bouts of depression and intense anxiety. No one was really able to pin point what was going on , let alone help me.

Until one day I discovered a holistic physician who dealt with yeast issues. She told me I had symptoms of a systemic yeast infection and significant hormone imbalance. One way to deal with it was to change my diet- I was to cut out all wheat , corn, soy, dairy and sugar.. yikes!!! I was beside myself (mostly because what I was craving most at the time was Frosted Flakes and Shamrock Shakes from McDonalds! (Please don’t judge!)
But, I did what I needed to do because I wanted to feel better.. I changed my diet – removed all of those things and started to feel a bit better.

What a learning curve it has been!
If I knew then what I know now, I would have healed much more quickly, but I learned many lessons along the way. (and am now able to share them with others)!

While I feel I am approximately 90% better, there are still nagging issues- digestive issues, yeast issues, some hormonal imbalance, fatigue.

While I can compensate for these things most times, primarily by using diet, sometimes diet isn’t enough. I have decided that I want to do more and really get to the root cause.

So, I am sharing my journey with you regarding the path I am taking now.

I am currently working with Krisztina Powell, a health practitioner who specializes in nutritional balancing and homotoxicology. You can read all about it here.

As I delve into this modality, I’ll be sharing my experiences!

Please stay tuned!!

Please click here if you are interested in learning more about the Zyto Scan that I took to first get started!

Summer!

It’s summer! And, that means fresh produce- tons of it!

I love this time of year: the bounty of delicious foods seems unending!

The picture here was taken last year in our hoophouse. IMG_0210

We had beets, kale, carrots and lettuces, among others. Whether you are growing your own vegetables or buying them this summer, it is important to remember to get variety in your diet!

Vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. How much to eat really depends upon you and your intuition. For myself, now that the days are warmer, I much prefer eating meals mostly comprised of vegetables. I make many more salads to include enzyme rich raw vegetables into my diet and when I eat them cooked, I use a high quality traditional fat like  pastured butter or coconut oil to ensure that I am absorbing the nutrients present in the vegetables.

I am also a big fan of organic produce. Pesticides used on vegetables and fruits have been linked to developmental issues in children, can be carcinogenic and can disrupt endocrine function.

If you are not growing your own, you can still get fresh organic produce by visiting your local farmers markets or joining your local CSA
(Community Supported Agriculture).

Here are some tips for shopping at  a farmers market:

1. Make sure that you have put aside enough time. Spend time speaking with the producers and seeing what they have to offer. ( I like to go without a set recipe in my head so that my imagination can take over when I am shopping and seeing what is being offered!)

2. Ask the producer about the growing methods. Is it organic? Sprayed? Transitional (pesticide free, but becoming organic). Remember that many farmers do not hold organic certification but use organic farming methods.

3. If you see something you don’t recognize, ASK! Ask for simple recipes, tips on cooking. You may even be so lucky as to get a sample!

4. If you see something you really like, make sure you ask how long it will be available. Farmers markets are different than supermarkets (in many ways!) but in particular because the items may only be available for a short time. You can’t assume that they will always be there.

5. Bring a cooler! Many markets offer meats and cheeses, prepared food items and if you are shopping for a while, you’ll want to be sure that your food stays fresh!

6.  Bring your kids! There is no better way to get children to eat vegetables than to expose them to the bounty at the markets! Let your children pick out food, count out the carrots, taste the foods and then they can help prepare it once at home!

7. Expand outside of your comfort zone. If you only go to market for sweet corn and tomatoes, let your imagination and sense of adventure lure you into trying kohlrabi, mustard greens, swiss chard or baby turnips. Most likely, you WON’T be disappointed!

Let me know some of your favorite markets in the area and the products you get there!