Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Diabetic Helps

My Aunt Patty found out that she has Type II diabetes and I wanted to help her out. I have been using most of these alternatives to sugar for quite some time. So I compiled a list off the top of my head and found some information to go with it. There are several recipes in my recipe blog that take sugar into consideration. I'm going to start the list here of some alternative sweeteners, and I will add to it as I find them.

Stevia is a great and safe alternative to sugar, there are limitations though to it's use. First of all a lot of stevia brands that are out there have a bitter aftertaste. But I have been able to put it in quite a few things.
Here is a link to the Body Ecology Diet's info on Stevia...
http://www.stevia.net/

Birtch Sugar/Xylitol

Be careful here, although Xylitol can be helpful to have in your diet, not only as a sugar substitute but also for strengthening your teeth and fighting yeast infections. It also has a laxitive effect and kills off yeast quickly which could leave you feeling odd. So although I have used it for baking and chewing gum I don't recommend consuming a lot of it. One other note is that some xylitol is produced from corn cobs and therefore can be a GMO. So try to stick with Xylitol from birtch bark.
http://www.xylitolnow.com/index.html

Malitol- Claims that malitol is a "sugar free alternative" are misleading, watch your step with this one as well. It can be used in limited amounts but don't use it regularly.

http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/nutrition/a/maltitol.htm



Maple Syrup - Flavorful and natural it doesn't get much more unrefined than this.

Black Strap Molasses: Black strap molasses is a nutritional powerhouse. The "By" product of producing sugar, it consists of the minerals and vitamins that the refining process leaves behind. I love to eat it on my Gluten Free oatmeal in the morning. It is high in Iron, calcium, copper, maganese, magnesium, Vit. B6 and Selenium. It is low in calories and loaded with flavor so a little goes a long way. Make sure to use "BlackStrap" Molasses however because dark molasses is a no no.

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=118


Palm Sugar: I just barely got my hands on some palm sugar and I love the smoky, carmel flavor of it. It is said to be a good choice for diabetics because it is low in glucose. It is expensive in the health food store but you can find it in Asian markets. However manufacturers often mislabel it so you might end up with something besides the palm sugar. Here are some links to info on palm sugar.

http://cocopalmsugar.sch.ph/

http://www.thaifoodandtravel.com/ingredients/palmsug.html

Succanat: Is a lesser refined version of cane sugar. I love the taste of succanat and you can often find it in the bins at the health food store.

Sucanat (Sugar Cane Natural) is sugar in a more natural form. It is extracted from the sugar cane and the freshly squeezed juice is evaporated by a special Swiss process. Only the water is removed. This process preserves all of the molasses. Sucanat is organically grown with no added preservatives and additives.

Some sweeteners, including date sugar and less refined, dark brown sugars, showed potential for managing Type 2 diabetes and related complications − information that could help Type 2 diabetics make better dietary choices.

“Depending on their origin and grade of refining, many sweeteners contained significant amounts of antioxidants, which have the potential to control diabetes-linked high blood pressure and heart disease,” says Shetty, who adds that these were in vitro laboratory studies performed outside of living organisms. “Several types of sweeteners also showed an interesting potential to inhibit the action of a key enzyme related to Type 2 diabetes, which is also the target of drugs used to treat this condition.”


http://www.dlife.com/diabetes-news/2008/07/all_sweeteners_not_the_same_fo.html


*Warning* Against Splenda

http://houseonahill.net/end-of-love-affair-with-splenda/

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ten Way's to Avoid Anemia

This post was put together by glutenfreemommy. My aunt is having a hard time trying to get her iron levels up right now, so I thought I would post this for her. Here is the link to the origional article http://glutenfreemommy.com/ten-common-sense-tips-to-combat-anemia/


For many of us, anemia was the first clue that something was wrong. Whether or not we are celiacs, mommies, or both we all have an interest in keeping our iron levels normal. Once you become anemic, it can be so hard to get your iron stores back up! I became anemic at the end of my second pregnancy and worked very hard to get it back up before delivery. I was so successful in getting my iron back up in those last days of pregnancy that I wanted to share some of the things that helped me. I still keep these things in mind so I do not become anemic again. I know that many of you have suffered far greater than I have with anemia. If you have any advice that you would like to share, feel free to join in the conversation and leave a comment.

Remember these are just common sense tips- I am not a medical professional, just a gluten free mommy.

1) First things first, I take a multivitamin. If I am pregnant or nursing (like right now) I take a prenatal vitamin instead. It took me a long time to find one that was gluten-free that I could swallow without wincing. It is important not to slack off about taking your vitamin. If you need your spouse to be the vitamin police, so be it! It worked for me.

2) During my pregnancy, I took Liquid Herbal Iron instead of taking iron tablets. My midwife assured me it absorbed better than tablets and I would feel better in two weeks. Lo and behold, my iron was back up in exactly two weeks. So I highly recommend Liquid Herbal Iron. On a side note, I took mine in lemonade instead of juice because I thought it tasted a lot better.

3) I also take Alfalfa Tablets- They are a good source of Vitamin K, which is not readily absorbed by those with celiac disease. I took alfalfa tablets throughout my pregnancy and continue to take them postpartum. Alfalfa tablets really do have an effect on the body, so make sure you consult your doctor. Some doctors would prefer their patients not to take alfalfa if they are pregnant (some think it may cause uterine tightening) or if they are taking aspirin or any other anticoagulant on a regular basis. However, my midwife touted its ability to help raise iron levels, reduce postpartum blood loss, and help with an inadequate milk supply. As always, make sure the tablets are gluten free.

4) Exercise! Just a simple 15 minute walk to get your blood moving does wonders.

5) I also added Brewer’s yeast (gluten free of course) to various foods I ate- This is a great source of the B vitamins, which are needed to absorb iron. Some people put Brewer’s yeast in juices or baked goods, but I prefer to put Brewer’s yeast in more savory dishes.

6) Blackstrap Molasses is also a good supplement to increase iron stores. When placed head to head with red meat, it has the benefit of containing less calories and being fat-free.

7) Eat some greens! Try kale, spinach, collard greens, bok choy, beat greens, or turnip greens. Once you learn to prepare these nutritious greens, they can be scrumptious as well as good for you.

8) If you are not a vegetarian, try to include some red meat in your diet.

9) Make sure you are getting the Vitamin C you need to sustain good health and absorb the iron you are taking. Drink orange juice in the morning instead of coffee. Having caffeine in your bloodstream could make it harder to absorb the iron you are taking.

10) Eat a handful of nuts or add them to baked goods. They are a great source of protein and iron.

Another tip that I personally know of is to try a product called floradix found in health food stores. Plus something else to consider is Redmond Clay (and probably others). YEAH CLAY!! Just one tsp. has 17 mg or 97% of the daily recommended value. It also has 5% of the calcium needed, 48% of the iodine, 30% of the magnesium, 121% of Manganese and a good amount of other minerals as well.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Some Idea's on Going Green

I have just found two way's to help reduce the amount of waste being sent to the land fill. First is a suggestion for cloth diapers. These are really easy to use, my friend has been using them for years and they will even save you money in the long run. The web site to check them out is . . .

http://www.fuzzibunzstore.com/Fuzzi-Bunz-Singles-p-1-c-17.html


I have become fed up with the ubiquitus plastic bag so I have tried to be better about having reusable shopping bags on hand and using them but then I realized that I was still using way too many plastic bags because of all the produce that is put into plastic bags. So I looked for a solution online and this is what I found. . .

http://www.reusablebags.com/store/ecobagsreg-reusable-cotton-mesh-produce-bags-p-689.html

I ordered about 5 large and 5 small and I will tell you all how they work out for me.

Another way that I am reducing waste is by keeping leftover organic matter from fruits and veggie peels and egg shells. We have a compost pile out in the back where I have been piling it all up. There are stainless steel compost bins that you can get for about $50 bucks online but I don't have the money right now so I have a large stainless steel bowl that I am putting the scraps into for now and then I throw it in the compost pile when it gets full.

Another way to avoid waste is by buying raw milk from a farm in glass bottles. You put a deposit down and then rotate bottles every week. Plus raw milk is natures panaca, it tastes far better then store bought and you should definantly not worry about the fat because FAT is actually GOOD for you!! It's sugar that is the destroyer of your waistline, and of course unnatural filtered, bleached, heated and trans-fats. Think about this, farmers feed skim milk to their pigs to fatten them up!! Look for raw milk on this website http://www.realmilk.com/ Another bonus for those who go with grass fed raw milk just 1 cup has almost half of the calcium requirements for your body. So in this case the saying that milk builds strong bones is true. I will post more about milk another time. Until then,

Have a healthy day,

~Strawberry Girl

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Different Thoughts on Diet

This past year or so has been a great journey for me. I have tried a lot of "diets" on faith giving them my best shot. What I have found is that the hard and fast rule is "IF it comes in a package, don't buy or eat it." The list of not so fun things that I have found in the food that I used to eat is enormous.

HFCS- High Fructose Corn Syrup: I found out the truth of this health bugger really quickly. All I did was a simple test. I used to eat this really nasty cardboard like 1 pt. bread and it had HFCS in it. I simply ate 1 pt. bread without it and found that I felt full, where when I ate HFCS I was hungry and had to eat more. I did the same thing with a ketchup with it and a ketchup without, I had the same result, the HFCS made me want to eat more. So upon finding out for myself, this interesting bit of info. I found many articles that substantiated what I had read about it briefly in the book "You, On A Diet." A really good article on this is found on Dr. Mercola's website. Here is a link.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2004/04/10/corn-fat.aspx

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2007/07/10/how-high-fructose-corn-syrup-damages-your-body.aspx

"DIEt" Softdrinks: All I had to know about this is that diet softdrinks have an expiration date because after so long the artificial sugar in them breaks down into formaldehyde. I got out some "diet" coke that I had been keeping for a while to use in a pulled pork recipe and found that the cans were deformed and when I opened them they emitted a weird smell. So here is a link to some information on diet softdrinks, I think everyone should know about this.

(The lead article on this is an interesting way to kill mice and rats, but the rest of the information is so true and so scary).

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/05/13/how-to-use-soft-drinks-to-kill-mice-and-rats.aspx


Next I had a "fun" time figuring out the different way's that Sugar affects the body, I am absolutely convinced that it will wreak havoc on any weight loss that you are trying to achieve, plus it wreaks havoc on your energy levels as well. How did I find out for myself the devestating affects of sugar. Here is what I did...

I went on Dr. Mercola's diet, more or less as strick as possible for about a week and a half. I had been on a very low sugar diet before that (I think Dr. Mercola's diet is a bit to extreme and strict but I will write on that a bit futher on). So the day before Easter I thought that since I hadn't had any sugar for a while it couldn't hurt to eat just a few pieces of candy. So I popped TWO, only two pieces of sugar coated chocolate into my mouth and went upstairs to bed. Almost immediately my heart started racing, I started to shake, I got a terrible headache so I thought if I go downstairs and get a drink of water that would help. So I stood up and shakily made my way downstairs. At the bottom of the stairs I fell down, I got up and made my way to the kitchen and got a drink of water. Needless to say, it made me freak out about the candy I had ate and so I went around picking them all up and I replaced them with chocolate candies covered in natural candy dyes. Of course this is the hardest rule to live with since sugar is so prevalant in our society. So I have found the best ways to have some sugar and I really am not tempted at all by tray's of candy or too many sweets because I just feel sick, sick, sick when I eat too much sugar.

SO here is a link to an article on the dangers of sugar.

http://www.mercola.com/article/sugar/dangers_of_sugar.htm

I have a review that I did on Dr. Mercola's Diet and The Body Ecology Diet both are really well thought out and both have a lot of merit. I have found that I cannot "DO" just one thing and it is better for me to find what works from whatever I read and to try not to worry about the rest.
I will try to figure out how to post this information because it is a condensed and organized version of these diets. I also like Jordan Ruebans "Perfect Weight America" book and website, in fact he has a great mealplanner. Type in Perfect Weight America for the link.

Another great resource for information that has made a lot of sense to me it the Weston A. Price foundation. I will post more on this foundation later as I have been guided quite a bit by this info. Anyone who know's me and where I live already (since I don't want to put it on the internet) should check out Real Foods Market, call me for directions to the store.

To your good health...

~Strawberry Girl

Friday, December 12, 2008

Macrobiotics and Cultured Veggies

Here is one of the best things that you can do to improve your health right now!!

Culture veggies and eat some before every meal, believe me it is important!

I came across a great article explaining the ancient art of cultured foods and how to prepare them.

A couple of tips about culturing-

You can cut your veggies really small and put them in your stand mixer with the paddle attachment to "beat" them a bit.

I can't tollerate cabage (I have a food sensitivity to it so I don't eat very much of it) so I use carrots and parsnips as well as kale, kelp, celery, lemon, dill and garlic to flavor my veggies.

You can find a really large glass container (at one of my least favorite stores) Wal-Mart. It has a lid and everything. Look in the kitchen section by the dishes. After you culture your veggies place them in glass quart jars and label them with the date you cultured them on masking tape. Then place them at the back of your refrigerater and open one to use.

Now here is the article that explains this concept more completely.

http://www.deliciousorganics.com/Products/rejuvenative.htm#Raw%20Cultured%20Vegetables%20article


Raw Cultured Vegetables

by Evan Richards

Abilities of Raw Cultured Vegetables to Enliven the Flavor of Foods
Either on their own as a revitalizing snack or as an enriching garnish consumed on the same spoon with other foods, many people love the live zing taste sensations of various combinations of Raw Cultured Vegetables. This article offers an understanding about how the intrinsic life energy in Raw Cultured Vegetables creates a phenomena, when consumed, of actually enticing and enhancing the release of naturally present flavors as well as the nutritional benefits of most foods that the Raw Cultured Vegetables are eaten with.

Fresh Raw Cultured Vegetables, in their creation and existence (as a refrigerated food taking part in an ongoing self-perpetuating culturing process) and as they are being consumed, do and are doing almost the same thing as our body's assimilation system. Because assimilation is being initiated sooner, the flavors of all the foods are released sooner and in a more complete and healthful way. They actually bring out the flavors in foods. Raw Cultured Vegetables are an exceptional garnish to enhance just about all foods with an exotic live zing taste sensation and this unique food is a natural enhancement to the human assimilation process.

What are Raw Cultured Vegetables?
What are Raw Cultured Vegetables? Raw Cultured Vegetables are unheated, cultured (which refers to the fermentation process) vegetables that have been either cut, ground, or shredded and left in a sanitary container for a about a 7 day period at a temperature maintained in the range of 59º to 71º. This process allows for the proliferation of lactobacilli (healthful micro-flora that are naturally present in vegetables and also in our digestive tract), which break down the sugars and starches found in the vegetables, aiding the pancreas and intestines in proper digestion. The difference between Raw Cultured Vegetables and commercially available heated sauerkrauts is that the in a heated sauerkraut the lactobacilli and healthful enzymes have been destroyed.

As long as they are refrigerated and eaten within six months of being created, Raw Cultured Vegetables are a flavorful self-sustaining culture of these essential enzymes and lactobacillus cultures that do not dissipate with shelf life, like some probiotics and acidophilus powders. On March 10, 1989, Dairy & Food Labs, Inc. found 5,500,000 lactobacillus acidophilus per gram in our Vegi-Delite Live Zing Salad, made with organic raw cultured cabbage, beets, carrots, lemon, dill and garlic. This is not an isolated, refined supplement (where lactobacillus count tends to dissipate) but an appetizing live food that is naturally self maintaining its fresh lactobacillus count.

Candida
Candida is a commonly used term to describe the overgrowth of and subsequent health problems caused by the naturally present yeast, albicans candida, in the human digestive tract. In healthy humans, the extent to which candida proliferates is usually kept to a minimum by the lactobacilli and other healthful micro-organisms. Sometimes as a result of antibiotics and certain toxic aspects of our environment, the healthful micro-organisms get diminished. This results in an increase in the candida and leads to health problems such as: dizziness, absent-mindedness, digestive problems, grumpiness and/or irrational behavior. Raw Cultured Vegetables are rich in lactobacilli, including plantarum and acidophilus, which help to create a healthy colonic environment in which yeast populations, and pathogenic bacteria are controlled. Raw Cultured Vegetables are especially good for people taking antibiotics or birth control bills, pregnant women, and diabetics; all high risk groups for yeast disorders.

Testimonials regarding the treatment of Candida, that substantiate the benefits of Raw Cultured Vegetables, include: Some time ago I was having severe problems with Candida albicans, causing severe heart palpitations - variously diagnosed as tachycardia, premature ventricular contraction, prolapsed mitral valve, etc. I resorted to drastic methods to try to eliminate the candida including nystatin and various natural products, for about 6 -8 months without satisfactory results...One day I read a testimony by a man who overcame candida with Raw Sauerkraut. After I had eaten about 7 jars of the stuff- which by the way I liked - after about two weeks my heart palpitations vanished. I had too much of a hearty growth of the candida albicans yeast in my whole system, which I worked hard for one year to get under control. After using your Raw Sauerkraut for one month, I had the yeast under control and am feeling so much healthier in every way.

Other Digestive Disorders
Raw Cultured Vegetables have been effective in the treatment of a number of other disorders, including: peptic ulcers, ulcerative colitis, colic, various food allergies, cystitis, vaginal infections, constipation, stomach-aches and other digestive disorders. I received a letter from one individual with ulcerative colitis saying that Raw Cultured Vegetables saved their life. Another person's testimony is: I had been ill with what was diagnosed as ulcerative colitis and had a few bad episodes with it. About a month ago I found Vegi-Delite (Raw Cultured Vegetables made from cabbage, beets, carrots, dill and garlic) which contains the active lactobacillus culture. Within 3 days of use my symptoms had cleared, and I have been well since. Raw Cultured Vegetables are made from cabbage, a cruciferous vegetable, and other natural ingredients. The American cancer Society's epidemiological studies indicate that diets high in cruciferous vegetables have been associated with less cancer incidence. Paul Pitchford, in his book, "Healing with Whole Foods", states, raw saltless sauerkraut... promotes better nutrient absorption as well as the growth of healthful (acidophilus) intestinal flora. In the context of such a beneficial ferment, gastro-intestinal renewal is enhanced; in addition all the properties of cabbage become more effective (page 379). Dr. Johannes Kuhl, a German doctor and author of several books including "Cancer in Check", repeatedly found evidence that the regular consumption of Raw Cultured Vegetables works as a preventative measure for cancer patients.

Food Combining
Raw Cultured Vegetables also combine well with just about all foods (the exception may be fruit, although I have received reports that the culturing of the vegetables lets them be compatible with fruit), and aids in the breakdown of both carbohydrates and proteins. Various pleasing taste sensations can be experienced by experimenting with Raw Cultured Vegetables on and with all different foods. Donna Gates, in her best selling book The Body Ecology Diet, thoroughly discusses the importance of Raw Cultured Vegetables in digestion: Cultured vegetables...are already pre-digested. This means that before they enter your mouth, the friendly bacteria have already converted the natural sugars and starches in the vegetables into lactic acid, a job your own saliva would do anyway. The enzymes in cultured vegetables also help digest other foods eaten with them, (p. 92).

The Macrobiotics Of Raw Cultured Vegetables or The Yin and Yang of Raw Cultured Vegetables
In the book "The Macrobiotic Way", Michio Kushi defines the principle of Yin and Yang as the philosophical foundation of macrobiotics. He goes on to say that the unifying principle states that everything in the universe is constantly changing and that antagonistic forces compliment one another. An understanding of this principle promotes harmony of body and mind and helps individuals to achieve balance with the natural world. The definition of Yin and Yang is as follows: "Yin - energy or movement that has a centrifugal or outward direction and results in expansion. Yang - energy or movement that has a centripetal or inward direction." In terms of Yin and Yang, Raw Cultured Vegetables are a beautifully balanced food. They're Yin in that their primary ingredient, cabbage, grows above the ground and the outer leaves expand out. The outer and inner leaves are soft when they are broken away from the compact center. It is Yang because the inside of the cabbage is compact and hard and it grows close to the ground.
Based on how Michio Kushi defines macrobiotic foods, Raw Cultured Vegetables are macrobiotic because they are conducive to maintaining one's lean "Yang" appearance. They fulfill the pickled vegetable category he recommends in his diet and supply the beneficial enzymes and easily digestible fermented foods he discusses.

Overall Balance
The human digestive tract, including the colon, intestines, saliva, and pancreas, is in it's proper and healthful balance when there is a preponderance of healthful micro-organisms including lactobacilli. An important aspect of keeping this proper balance is to keep lots of fresh, live enzymes in the digestive tract. The concept of macrobiotics means an overall balance. When related with the human digestive tract it includes an enzyme balance and the proper balance of living micro-organisms.

Raw Cultured Vegetables will balance the strong, warming winter foods with light and lively enzymes and in the summer, will supply you with the light food requirements macrobiotics indicate are appropriate. Cooked vegetables are macrobiotic because the cells get broken down from the cooking and nutrients are more easily assimilated. Raw Cultured Vegetables are macrobiotic as cooked vegetables are macrobiotic because the fermentation process breaks down the cells of the vegetables, just as cooking does. But since no heat is used, Raw Cultured Vegetables can still supply our bodies with a healthful balance of enzymes and micro-organisms.

Auto-intoxication
If, when we are young, we mess up our proper micro-ecological balance, our bodies may not show or notice the negative results because the pancreas can produce the necessary enzymes. Our bodies are still young enough to compensate and rejuvenate themselves from their own inherent growth powers, similar to the way a seed can sprout from its own inherent energy without getting any nutrients. Yet if you don't put that seed in healthy soil, it will lose its vitality, and eventually die. In humans, the unhealthful micro-organisms including candida and E. Coli, emit toxins and may thrive in a digestive tract that does not have a preponderance of healthful micro-organisms, including lactobacilli. As one gets older, these toxins may seep out through the intestinal walls and poison the body, creating what the famous Russian scientist Elie Metchnikoff (Metchnikoff was appointed by Louis Pasteur to run the Pasteur Institute in France and continued on in that capacity after Pasteur's death) referred to as "auto-intoxication." Auto-intoxication is the poisoning of the organs as a result of toxins or poisons building up in the intestines and then eventually seeping through the cell walls of the intestines and entering the blood stream, the lifeline of our organs. When you're young, your organs can still function well with toxins in them. The negative results are noticed as you get older. When the organs become poisoned, their ability to assimilate vitamins, minerals and other nutrients and to rejuvenate the body is diminished. Many people who are older can have a lot more energy and be a lot healthier if they prevent auto-intoxication by keeping the proper micro-ecological balance in the digestive tract.

In the digestive tracts of human babies and wild animals, there exists a natural microbiological balance. This means there is the right amount of healthful micro-organisms present. Originally, nature designed the implantation of these healthful micro-organisms to occur as a result of the consumption of mother's milk. Nature designed our bodies to keep this proper microbiological balance (healthful micro-organisms proliferating in the digestive tract) for our entire lives without needing to be re-implanted. Nature did the best it could to compensate for overprocessed, fiberless diets, antibiotics, and/or a toxic environment (all of which may eliminate vital micro-organisms) by giving our bodies inherent strength and a natural resiliency. If these healthful micro-organisms are eliminated, one of nature's methods for re-implantation of the vital micro-organisms is the consumption of Raw Cultured Vegetables.

The Enzymology of Raw Cultured Vegetables
An enzyme is a biochemical: a minute chemical that performs a specific function when in the proper environment for that enzyme to perform that function. In effect, certain enzymes do certain things at different temperatures with and without water and/or air. Additionally, certain enzymes work on certain substances.

An enzyme works when in the appropriate environment that lets its active center merge with the molecules of a substance (food, vitamins, minerals, etc.) and create a chemical change, which transforms the molecular structure of the substance. There are thousands of different enzymes performing many different functions in every living metabolic action. Enzymes are life in action and life is enzymes in action. The biggest difference between an enzyme and a micro-organism is that an enzyme does not grow or reproduce. It simply catalyzes other substances in order for them to grow, reproduce, function or metabolize.

Micro-organisms, including lactobacilli (the plural of lactobacillus), consist of enzymes and cells. I got a better conception of what a micro-organism is from a scientist who described them as being kind of like a little bag of enzymes. The lactobacilli transform sugars into lactic acid. This is done via enzymatic actions. These enzymes ooze out through the cell walls of the lactobacilli to do this job as well as doing it within the cell's walls. Since lactobacilli are alive, they are full of enzymes. These enzymes continue to do this same job inside the human digestive tract. As new micro-organisms are created, new enzymes are created. These micro-organisms are made of enzymes and cells. Thus, fermented vegetables have more enzymes than regular cabbage, especially when they have been kept well refrigerated after six days of fermentation. This is assuming these fermented vegetables were not heated, as heating eliminates enzymes and the healthful lactobacilli.

Since it's alive, the human body functions and metabolizes from enzymes and enzymatic actions. That's why it's so beneficial to feed your body enzyme-full Raw Cultured Vegetables. Your body's organs, especially the pancreas, produce enzymes for the purpose of digesting food as well as for the purpose of supplying your organs the enzymes that they need. But it's still important to get fresh enzymes in the diet because our pancreas and other enzyme-making organs as well as the metabolic processes of the body need a chance to rest. More importantly, these organs need a chance to make enzymes that vibrantly catalyze the natural refurbishing of our cells. This is especially true when organs have been overused, producing enzymes to process overwhelming amounts of bulky refined foods that take away digestive juices and give nothing or little back to the body's health process. Nature designed people's enzyme-making processes to be used for the purpose of normal metabolism: rejuvenation of cells, elimination of toxins, growing, and strengthening of the immune system, with a minimum enzyme-producing requirement for digestion. This has been scientifically proven, and it makes sense when one considers that when nature designed the human body there were no refined or processed foods and there was a minimum of cooked foods. Yet raw and live foods full of enzymes were plentiful. This is why it's so important to eat enzyme-full Raw Cultured Vegetables -- so your body has a chance to make enzymes to rejuvenate itself and not waste a large portion of its enzymes digesting food.

The Bacteriology of Raw Cultured Vegetables
There are in nature, i.e., the air and plant life, including cabbage leaves and other vegetables, many different micro-organisms, including lactobacilli and other bacteria. While a few of these bacteria permeate the leaves, most stay on the surface. If cabbage is ground up, put into a sanitary container, and left at room temperature (60-70 degrees), leuconostoc mesenteroides (one of the naturally present bacteria in vegetables) rapidly colonizes, quickly lowering the pH (creating an acidic environment) of the now fermenting vegetables. In this environment, healthful micro- organisms, including lactobacillus plantarum and lactobacillus brevis, can proliferate. This means these micro-organisms, via enzymatic actions, are converting sugars and starches, which are naturally present in vegetables, into lactic and acetic acids (natural preservatives). This maintains a slightly acidic healthful environment in the fermenting vegetables that continues to be conducive to the proliferation of healthful micro-organisms.
When fermenting vegetables are packaged and put in a refrigerator after fermenting for six days at room temperature, they are at the peak of the conversion process (converting the sugars and starches in the vegetables to lactic and acetic acids). In other words, these healthful micro-organisms are having a "real party!" They are reproducing, growing, and converting the naturally present sugars and starches in the vegetables. This process continues when the fermenting vegetables are refrigerated, but at a much slower rate and, if they are kept just above freezing, they are barely fermenting at all. Yet when you bring the cultured vegetables back up to room temperature, the whole process continues. Therefore, when you put these fermented and/or fermenting vegetables that are at room temperature on food that you're eating, the conversion process, which is similar to human digestion, is happening as you put the vegetables in your mouth and chew them. Because digestion is being initiated sooner, the flavors of all the foods are released sooner and in a more complete and healthful way (a "live zing" taste sensation).

An interesting phenomenon is that in our digestive tracts, a similar thing occurs as occurs during the fermentation of vegetables, i.e., our digestive tracts have lactobacilli and other healthful micro-organisms converting foods including sugars and starches to lactic, acetic and other acids. In this environment, human digestive tracts normally do not let unhealthful micro-organisms such as candida (a yeast) proliferate. This exemplifies how natural the consumption of Raw Cultured Vegetables is since Raw Cultured Vegetables do almost the same thing as our digestive tracts.

Recipe for Raw Cultured Vegetables
To enjoy the benefits and the uniquely appealing flavor of Raw Cultured Vegetables, you may make your own as follows:
Use fresh, well-cleaned cabbage either on its own or as the primary ingredient along with beets, carrots, garlic, celery, kelp, herbs or any other vegetable you enjoy. You may add a high quality sea salt if desired. A five-gallon container will hold about 35 pounds of vegetables and it is best to use at least 25 pounds per recipe. You can either grind the vegetables using a Champion Juicer (without the screen) or cut and shred them with a food processor. If you use the latter process, pound the vegetables to make them juicier.
Put the prepared vegetables in a stainless steel, ceramic or a glass crock. Don't fill the crock to the brim because the fermenting vegetables are likely to expand and may overflow. Put lots of fresh cabbage leaves on top of the ground up vegetables and using your hands and a little body weight, gently and firmly compress the leaves.
Put a plate that is as wide as possible in the crock and then add some weight to the plate, such as a lidded glass jar filled with two-thirds of a pint of water. A little weight will be sufficient, as too much will force the vegetable juice above the fermenting vegetables. Check the fermenting vegetables a few times over the next day and a half to ensure that the plate is sitting evenly on the vegetables and is not lopsided.
Let the fermenting vegetables sit in a well-ventilated space at room temperature (between 59-71º) for five to seven days. The longer it sits the stronger it gets. After five to seven days (6-7 days at 62ºand 5-6 days at 70º), throw away the old cabbage leaves and the moldy and discolored vegetables on the top. Put the remaining delicious fermented vegetables in glass jars and refrigerate. The Raw Cultured Vegetables will last from four to eight months when kept at 34º and opened minimally. Do not freeze them.

More Information On Raw Cultured Vegetables
If you don't have the time or the inclination to make your own Raw Cultured Vegetables, you may want to consider trying Rejuvenative Foods Raw Cultured Vegetables which can be commonly found in refrigerated sections of natural food stores. Rejuvenative Foods produces four different delectable flavors of Raw Cultured Vegetables: Vegi Delite Live Zing Salad (cabbage, beets, carrots, lemon, dill & garlic), Fresh Raw Kim Chi (cabbage, carrots, onions, ginger, high mineral sea salt & ground dried red peppers), Flavor 1 Raw Sauerkraut (just cabbage & dill) & Sea-salted Raw Sauerkraut (macrobiotic sea salt & cabbage). These inviting foods are made from fresh raw organic vegetables and are refrigerated and dated because they have not been heated like most commercial sauerkrauts.

Raw Cultured Vegetables are delicious and provide an excellent self-rejuvenating source of non-dairy lactobacilli, including acidophilus and plantarum, important for the maintenance of healthy intestinal flora and the alleviation of digestive disorders. This is important for people who are lactose intolerant, have pathologies that prevent the consumption of dairy or simply choose to avoid it.

If you would like to learn more about Raw Cultured Vegetables, there are several books that discuss the topic in more depth. They include: Donna Gates' The Body Ecology Diet, Paul Pitchfords' Healing with Whole Foods, and Conscious Eating, by Gabriel Cousens, M.D. Dr. Cousens affirms the healthful benefits of Raw Cultured Vegetables: One way that the cultured vegetables are so good for us is that they prevent the yeast, albicans candida, and pathogenic bacteria from taking over the colon and creating endotoxins which suppress the immune system. In essence, they create a micro-ecological balance in the colon that helps maintain health. Enjoy and be healthy.

Raw Cultured Vegetables Terminology

Enzyme - A biochemical that catalyzes life by merging with substances and transforming their molecular composition. Enzymes are life in action and life is enzymes in action.
Lactobacilli - The plural of lactobacillus. A bacteria. There are over thirty strains of lactobacilli. Many healthful and friendly lactobacilli are naturally present in Raw Cultured Vegetables and in our digestive tracts.
Microecology - Having to do with the balance of micro-organisms and their relationship with their environment, especially in the human digestive tract.
Micro-organisms - Microscopic living organisms, including bacteria and yeast. Also known as microflora. A micro-organism consists of cells and enzymes.
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Health Blog

Alright I promised many of you to give you more information that I have gleaned from trial and error and a lot of reading. So to do that I will add another blog which I will link to this one. In the meantime I will continue to post any breakthroughs on Gluten Free cooking as well as in the future. So here is to your health and mine...

~Strawberry Girl

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cranberry Sauce (Using Stevia)

Continuing on the theme of healthy Fall/Thanksgiving food is a Cranberry Sauce which uses no additional sugar (this feat had me jumping up and down with joy!!)

Here is the recipe you should tweak it until you like it.

Cranberry Sauce

1/4 c. 100% Cranberry Juice
1/4 c. 100% Black Cherry Juice
1/2 tsp. Sweet Leaf brand Stevia
1 tbsp. Agar Agar flakes (not powder it makes the recipe taste weird)

Bring to a boil then pour into a bowl & let set.

This is one to two servings depending upon how much you like Cranberry Sauce.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cleansing Chicken Soup

This recipe comes to us by way of Jordan Rubin's book "Perfect Weight America." I absolutely love the recipe, it is economical and very good for you. I didn't have any green beans the first time I made this and it was sweeter then the second time when I had them. It tasted great either way. If you use a whole chicken, you will have so much meat that I recomend saving the breast and tender's and leave the thigh and legs for the soup. That way you can use the meat for sweet and sour chicken (posted previously).

~Strawberry Girl

Cleansing Chicken Soup

1 whole chicken (free range, pastured, or organic chicken)
1 Tbsp. raw apple cider vinegar
3-4 quarts filtered water
4 medium-sized onions, coarsely chopped
8 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 Tbsp. extra-virgin coconut oil
½ cup fresh or frozen green peas
4 inches grated ginger
¼-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
6 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 bunch parsley
5 garlic cloves
2-4 tbsp. Celtic Sea Salt

If you are using a whole chicken, remove fat glands and gizzards from the cavity. Place chicken or chicken pieces in a large stainless steel pot with the water, vinegar, garlic, ginger, salt, cayenne pepper, extra virgin coconut oil, and all vegetables except parsley. Let stand for 10 minutes before heating. Bring to a boil, removing scum that rises to the top. Cover and cook for 8 – 12 hours. The longer you cook the stock, the more cleansing it will be. About 15 minutes before finishing the stock, add parsley. This will impart additional mineral ions to the broth.

Remove from heat and take out the chicken. After it cools, remove chicken meat from the carcass, discarding the bones, then add part of it back to the pot Discard the vegetables that you used to make the stock and add the stock back to the pot. Use 1 fresh onion and carmalize then add to the stock pot. Add carrots and celery to the pot and boil until tender. Add 1 cup of peas and warm before serving. Season to taste.

Enjoy!!

Yummy Delicous Sugar Free Sweet and Sour Chicken

WOW I lucked out with this, I happened to have these ingredients on hand and thought I would work out a recipe for sweet and sour chicken. I have avoided this in the past because I hate dumping a bunch of sugar in a sauce, so I decided to substitute Stevia. The results were delicious!

Sweet and Sour Chicken

1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 red bell pepper
1/2 or more medium onion
2 cloves garlic
2 cups orange and yellow baby carrots (if you can find them)
1 cup or more of broccoli (optional)
2 cups chicken stock
1/3 cup Organic Corn Starch (more if you want a thicker sauce)
2-4 tbsp wheat free soy sauce (depending upon taste)
1 tbsp stevia powder (taste the sauce to your sweetness preference, avoid putting too much or it will be bitter, although this recipe can mask that quite a bit.)
1-3 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar (depending upon how sour you want it)
2-4 cups cooked shredded chicken meat (either use leftover chicken or cook a couple of breasts and thighs in a crockpot for several hours, covered with water some onions and carrots and a bit of sea salt)
1-2 cups Jasmine or Basmati Rice (according to how many people are to be served)

Start out by sauteeing the bell pepper, onion, baby carrots and broccoli in the olive oil. Add the garlic and saute a few minutes more until the garlic is slightly browned (it won't take long). Add the chicken stock and sprinkle the agar agar flakes over the top add the wheat free soy sauce and the stevia powder. Taste the sauce then add apple cider vinegar to add zest. If needed add sea salt to your preference. When the sauce is boiling add the shredded chicken. Serve over Jasmine or basmati rice.

Have fun with this, enjoy!

~Strawberry Girl

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