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Monthly Archives: March 2012

As Month 3 comes to an end, I believe it is important to shed some light on a raw food diet. While I agree there are huge benefits to increasing your intake of raw food, going completely raw is definitely not for everyone. Sereda reposted an article by Claudia Ward and it has some awesome points on the subject, I don’t think I could have done it better justice, so I pass you along to her.
Cheers!

Bliss Returned

Below are the symptoms and problems associated with a long-term strict raw food or vegan diet:

* a general lack of vitality

* low body temperature (always cold)

* a weak digestive system with a loss of digestive strength

* food cravings

* rapid growth of grey hair

* stalled weight loss due to low metabolism

* emaciation

* amenorrhea (menstrual cycles cease), even in young women

* loss of libido

* hair loss and nail problems

* dental erosion

* insomnia and neurological problems

* constipation

* diarrhea

* infertility

Obviously, the modern Western diet sickens us with its overload of meat, salt, bad fats, white sugar, white flour, and its deficiency of living foods.

There is no question that cooking deactivates some vital nutrients, including enzymes, but cooking also makes digestion less stressful. Many people with poor digestion don’t handle raw foods or beans very well, which is…

View original post 1,050 more words

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The ‘American Experience’, food-wise

Would you like ketchup with that?

I’ve been off the radar for a few days due to some food poisoning. Let it be a lesson to you that any sprouts you buy, you should always wash them before consumption. Even if they look ‘ready to eat’.

While I was away, a fellow blogger over at wholisticme.wordpress.com made a comment about my Lamenting the Consumption of ‘the King’ blog. It was my recent experience at Burger King and how I wished that there were healthier options at the theater.

She wrote: “I wanted to treat my daughter, and she chose Burger king (veggie burger) it was awful, we are still talking about it 8 months later. We had just moved to the states and I wanted her to have an Amercan experience, never again for us.

Now, I’m sorry to say I don’t know where she is from originally but the first thought I had upon reading this was, isn’t it sad that for so many cultures the ‘American Experience’ in cuisine is fast food? I know I’m not from the United States but I am Canadian and we have similar dining philosophies. I wonder if people from other countries are shaking their heads at Americans, in general, as they look at us from different cultures based in different culinary traditions. We live up to stereotypes all the time, too.

A few years ago my husband and I went to Disney World in Florida. I’ve been to all the parks but he’d never been to Epcot. I know, I know…not the most interesting of the parks, but he had to experience it at least once, right? Anyways, for those of you who’ve never been, Epcot is the park with the all the different world pavilions. They are built to look like traditional architecture, they serve traditional foods and sell traditional, touristy items. If you want to travel the world but you’re short on time and budget, it’s not too shabby. Canada’s pavilion is like a steakhouse, Japan’s has hibachi, Italy’s is a pasta house and America’s…well, you are looking at your basic burger joint painted red, white and blue. Holy stereotype, Batman! But stereotypes are so often based in truths.

There is a reason that North Americans are so obese, sick and overcrowding the health care system. The amount of processed foods we consume and our portion sizes are way out of whack with the rest of the world.  One of the books I picked up to read during my Year of the Detox is The China Study and I am looking so forward to reading it. It examines the link between diet and disease. Yes, the studies look mainly at numbers from the United States, but Canada is not doing much better than the States as far as processed food consumption goes. It’s hard not to be influenced by your neighbours, but I try to tune out things like ‘The Jersey Shore”.  Even in the last book I read, The Enzyme Factor, Dr. Shinya talks about the detrimental affect that the American diet is having on the health of Japanese people. Import and export occurs all over the world. I think it is upsetting that probably the most major and recognizable culinary contribution North America has made to the world is McDonald’s.

Do you agree? Do you see the stereotypical ‘American’ culinary representation to be fast food? If you are from another country, I’d love to hear your opinion as well!

 

I put that s*** on everything!

No, I’m not talking about Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. Also, before you get all up in arms about the title of my post, the ‘s’ word in this case is SEED, not the naughty word for excrement. But I bet it got your attention. I feel like I’m in grade eight again, running for class president and starting my poster with ‘SEX…now that I’ve got your attention…” I have to say, it makes me a bit giggly.

The seed I am referring to is hemp seed. On my quest to include more raw foods and enzymes into my diet, I’ve stumbled onto things I never even knew existed. One of the first discoveries was the hemp seed itself. Since then I have expanded my food base with things like kelp noodles, raw almond butter and sprouted beans. I’ve found hemp seeds to be, by far, the most diverse and easy to integrate into my meals. I sprinkle them on almost everything I consume. Yogurts, salads, pastas…the list goes on.

mmmm...hemp seeds

You can see them above on the pasta I made last night. Some butternut squash sauce, a few mushrooms and loads of spinach can only be bettered by a little sprinkle of hemp, N’est pas? They don’t have too much flavour but they add a heartiness to a meal, especially if that meal is salad.

Hemp seeds are a super-food, for sure. They are packed with Omegas, Iron, Thiamine, Magnesium, Phosphorus and so much more. They actually have 110% of your daily intake of manganese in one serving! Why is this important you ask?  Although it doesn’t get a lot of press, manganese is actually an important enzyme activator.

Manganese activates the enzymes responsible for the utilization of several key nutrients including biotin, thiamin, ascorbic acid, and choline. It is a catalyst in the synthesis of fatty acids and cholesterol, facilitates protein and carbohydrate metabolism, and may also participate in the production of sex hormones and maintaining reproductive health.” (WHfoods.com)

Now, I’m trying to think if I’ve been feeling at all sexier this past month…Maybe I better ask my husband what he thinks. 😉

Manganese may play a role in the prevention and/or treatment of the following medical conditions: (WHfoods.com)

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart disease
  • Learning disabilities
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Schizophrenics
  • Sprains and strains

I guess as I am preparing my next month with my dietitian I will mention that I am ingesting manganese fairly frequently. Manganese deficiency is pretty rare in humans, unless it is purposely removed from the diet. A lot of industrial workers who deal with metals can actually get poisoned from it, but that is from inhalation of the dust. So no worries there. I don’t think I’ve been within a hundred yards of a metal works in my whole life.

All this to say that you can find a new favourite food that may be providing you with more nutrients than you ever had before. When you are in the grocery store, your brain tends to look at the familiar items to put into your cart. Unfortunately for us, many a time that includes the processed stuff. I recommend trying to shop only the perimeter of the store. That way you have your basics covered and you are not spending aisle time amongst the processed foods. Unless, of course, you have a fabulous natural store in your neighbourhood. Then I encourage you to scan the aisles, finding new things that may become staples in your diet for the better. But always read labels. There are still baddies hiding in those aisles, depending on what you may need to avoid, like sugars or soy. They’re everywhere!

So go out, grab some hemp seeds and see what else there is that you can try! Then, “Put that SEED on everything!”

How about you, anything super-foods that you stumbled across and now put in your diet regularly? Please share, I want to add to my list!

Lamenting my consumption of the ‘King’

Current "blue crescent" logo (July 1...

Current "blue crescent" logo (July 1, 1999–present) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today my husband and I went to catch an early showing of “The Hunger Games“. It was fantastic! I thought that, as a treat, I would let myself have some of the Burger King I’ve been jonesin’ for that they serve at the theater. Oog, big mistake. I actually feel terrible now! Not mentally, but physically. My digestive system is not a happy camper and we had to walk quickly back from the theater afterwards, if you know what I mean. (The people out there with IBS certainly do!) I also feel all achy and sore. This will really keep my motivation up. I know I mentioned in an earlier post about a craving shift, and it is so true. The next time I want to treat myself, I will head to somewhere like The Green Door, a vegetarian restaurant in the city. They are pricey, but their meals are so delicious and packed with nutrients. If I could afford to, I eat there on a highly regular basis.

My husband and I used to have something we called ‘Fat Fridays’. Now, it is not at all related to Fat Tuesdays, in case you thought I was flashing him for beads or something. (Hm…wouldn’t that be interesting…) We would pick something we knew was laden with fat and eat it while watching a movie or something similar. We were trying to live by the 80/20 rule. You know, eat healthy 80 percent of the time and junky 20 percent of the time. Well, today is Friday and I think I’m going to head over to Rainbow Foods my most closely located purveyor of organic and healthy foods, to grab some stuff for dinner instead.

It’s too bad that the majority of what they serve at the theater IS that type of food. I have to sneak something in if I want to be health conscious. Isn’t that incredible! I wonder how long it will take before the theatre starts to have healthier options available for their patrons? Probably not for a long time. I imagine few people waddle up to the counter and ask for Kale Chips. I wonder if the option was there, would it be worth the theater keeping it in stock. I know it probably wouldn’t be as cost effective as the huge mark-up they have on sugary sodas or salty popcorn, but would it keep people happy knowing the options were there?

What do you think? If the theater did, in fact, carry healthy options, and I mean ACTUAL healthy options, would you buy them?

Enzymes and Disease

Without getting into it again, I am trying to improve the condition of my health. I’m not sure what is wrong, it seems to be a bit of a medical mystery right now. However, all the water I’m drinking, the movements I’m doing and now the enzymes I’m ingesting should improve my overall health. According to the research I’ve been reading all these enzymes should also help my body in preventing diseases. Of course, there is evidence that the most significant precursors for disease are genetics and environmental conditions, some of that potentiality can be curbed by the consumption of enzymes. Not only that, enzymes can help in curing you of the afflictions you already have.

I didn’t really understand how enzymes and disease interacted until I read about cancer, chemotherapy and the enzyme, as explained by Hiromi Shinya, MD.  When a cancer patient receives chemotherapy, chemicals are released into the system that kill off cells. Now, the cells are killed off indiscriminately, the good with the bad. The hope is that the body will produce new cells that are healthy and the cancer cells will just die off. While receiving this chemotherapy, your enzymes are on overdrive. Enzymes from all areas of the body decrease in production as your body tries to produce enzymes to create new cells. Other functions that are not necessary, such as hair growth, are put on hold. That is why people who receive chemotherapy lose their hair. It just goes to show you how important it is to keep your body steeped with enzymes.

I happen to know someone who had cancer twice in his life and both times, he eradicated it with a combination of healthy habits, especially of the dietary nature. One of the treatments he used was the Gerson Therapy. I’ve heard lots of bad press about this therapy, but having known someone who went on the therapy and beat cancer, I have to say my skepticism is no longer present. Also, all the research I’ve been doing on enzymes makes a strong case for it. I don’t want to get into it too much here, but I’ll embed this video with a brief descriptor and some examples of successes achieved through the therapy. Do some more personal research yourself and decide what your opinion is.

This is not just the case with cancer, but with many other diseases

“…diseases of ‘unknown cause’ can sometimes be traced back to dietary history.” – Hiromi Shinya, MD says in his book, “The Enzyme Factor”

It is so strange to me that in the past when I’ve visited my doctor, more dietary questions were not asked. In his research, Dr. Shinya found that people who developed cancer had a long history of a diet filled to the brim with dairy, eggs and animal protein. He also found that the earlier these foods were introduced into a person’s diet, the more likely they were develop cancer. (This is something his research can show more easily because he practices not only the United States, but in Japan where the dietary habits are becoming more and more North Americanized.)

So why aren’t doctors prescribing more healthy foods instead, like broccoli? Well, I think it may have to do with two reasons.

1. It seems to me that the focus in medical school is more on pills and surgery.

2. Vegetables do not have ‘veggie reps’ that visit the doctor’s offices with the latest and greatest new veggie that has shown to help people in trials…though you ‘run the risk of severe headache, nausea, heartburn, seeing dead people, sudden fits of laughter and walking on water.’

Pills and surgery have their place, no doubt, but they are not always the solution. Sometimes, they mask the cause by dealing only with the symptom. As far as I know, enzyme based treatments for cancer are more popular in Europe than here in North America. It may be awhile until it receives the press it deserves. Until then, I think I’m going to go eat some baby carrots.

What do you think? Have you, or someone you’ve known, used enzymes to fight disease?

Craving Shifts

Captain Vegetable would be proud!

It’s a two fold title, that one. The shifts in food cravings that I’ve already had and the shifts that I am still craving. I love words! But seriously, I have noticed a change in the foods I am craving as a result of incorporating more raw and fresh foods into my diet. I always thought that I had a decent diet. One that included many vegetables, but most of the time they were cooked. Now, while that actually helps make nutrients available to your body in some foods, it often sacrifices enzymes in the process. For example, sweet potatoes or legumes are cooked so that the nutrients can be properly absorbed by your body but this is not the case with all vegetables. Consciously including raw foods in your diet, you need to be creative. A salad at every meal will get boring if it’s the same one every time. Since I’m not the cook in my relationship, it means I have to step up. I’ve been trying new recipes that are completely raw. Some elements I like, others, not so much. My husband needs to work on this ‘adding a raw element’ thing. I love him dearly, but when I ask him a few times in a row what the raw component to our meal is and he replies, “Uh…baby carrots.”, it is not evidence of a mental shift for him and it shouldn’t be for you either. (Note to husband: I love you!)

Trust me, I know what a pain it can be to prepare something you are not used to, especially if the kitchen is not your favourite room in the house. But give it a little effort, you might be surprised by the things you find. For me the surprise was that my cravings are starting to shift. I say starting because I still crave some sweets, but not nearly as much as I used to. My husband bought me some chocolate peanut butter cups from the Bulk Barn and I found myself not wanting to touch them. Normally, anything with chocolate and peanut butter in the ingredient list would be devoured almost immediately. When I looked at them this time, I just didn’t want them. I’ve also found that my cravings for fried food are almost non-existent. Normally once a week I crave a good ole hamburger and fry combo. Again, I can’t even remember the last time I craved that for a meal. This may also have something to do with my watching the documentary Food Inc. , but even that can’t account for the lack of french fry cravings.

I’m starting to crave more and more fresh foods. A similar thing happened when I started drinking water. I never thought I could make it through to 8 cups a day and suddenly found myself reaching 10 or 11 cups without even trying. Sometimes I was actually still thirsting for more. I want to eat something raw at every meal. I like the feeling of energy it has given me. I am craving kale salads, hummus and universe help me, even baby carrots! Now if I can just start craving time in the kitchen, we’ll be all set.

Have you ever experienced something like this? You start off dreading what you have to do and then start to enjoy it, even craving more of it.

One of the things that eating raw has forced me to do is to find alternatives to things in my diet that I take for granted. A discovery I’ve made for myself is the use of raw hemp seeds on salads. They have a huge amount of protein for a plant and they taste great. This blog post by Jennifer Sygo goes into more detail. I encourage you to give them a whirl!

Completely raw meal #2

On Monday night I put together my second completely raw meal. I learned a bit from my first and added an extra course so we weren’t still starving afterwards. I made three dishes, a ‘Christmas Kale Salad’ , ‘Spaghetti Alla Baguetta’ and Chocolate Mousse.

I found that the salad’s dressing was overpowering due to the amount of balsamic vinegar it called for, the sauce for the ‘spaghetti’ was too watery and I should have blended the cashews longer. As far as the mousse goes…well, I guess it was also too liquidy. But the point was I tried, right? It still tasted good. I’ve posted the recipes below with a few of my personal suggestions in italics for anyone who wants to give it a go. If you do, let me know what you think!

Christmas Kale Salad (from crudessence.com)

Ingredients:

  • 2 kales hulled and roughly chopped

    My kale salad

  • 1 medium cauliflower cut into cubes
  • 2 red peppers cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (I would personally put 2)
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin powder
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts ( I substituted almond slivers)
  • 1 pinch of ground pepper

Rub the kale with the salt to tenderize it. Put it in a bowl with the other ingredients and mix. The kale will keep sweating, so if you want to have a less crispy salad, prepare it a few hours before serving.

Spaghetti Alla Bagutta (rawfoodrecipes.com)

  • 1 package of kelp noodles
  • 1 cup of water (I would use HALF A CUP)
  • 1 fresh tomato or 4 sundried tomatoes, soaked

    Spaghetti Alla Bagutta of Jenn

  • 1/4 cup of cashews (soak them…for the love of raw, SOAK them!)
  • 1 garlic clove (or more)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 red bell pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • parsley or basil, chopped
  • cherry tomatoes
  • crushed red pepper

Rinse the kelp noodles in warm water, cut and drain and place in large mixing bowl. In a blender mix all the remaining ingredient except the basil/parsley and cherry tomatoes. Toss the cream sauce with the kelp noodles and remaining ingredients. (Make sure to blend the cashews until smooth!)

***A note on this dish. Make sure to warn people that kelp noodles are crunchy. I warned my husband because I know he has a thing about the textures of some foods and I wanted to make sure that he wasn’t thrown by the crunch when he was expecting soft. ***

Chocolate Mousse (crudessence.com)

  • 50g of coconut oil

    Mmmm, Chocolate Mousse!

  • 75g of cocoa butter
  • 1 1/2 cups of cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cups of agave nectar (make sure you get the RAW kind)
  • 2 tea spoons of vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups of coconut milk (Or 3 1/2 cups of water plus 3 cups of coconut flakes (Maybe less…?)

Melt the cocoa butter in a dehydrator or in a bain-marie. While it i melting, in a blender put the water and the coconut flakes to make the coconut milk and filter (if necessary). Put the coconut milk in the blender with the vanilla, agave and cocoa powder. Add the melted oil and butter and blend briefly (I don’t think it should say briefly here, but I will have to experiment a bit) at a low speed. Pour the mix into a container and leave in the fridge for one to two hours.

So there you have it! A few new recipes to try out. I definitely say you should try kelp noodles. I bet they would taste fantastic on salad and they are full of nutrients. Best of luck with these recipes.

Response to ‘Raw.’ by A Lovely Project

I think I need to clarify a bit…I seem to be scaring people with my post about how enzymes MAY be finite. ‘A lovely project’ wrote about Raw on her blog, referring to my recent enzyme posts. Here is her blog and what I wrote back:
‘Wow! What an impact I’ve had, I didn’t mean to scare you!
Firstly, you can get enzymes from sources OTHER than raw food, it just so happens that they are most abundantly found in raw and fresh foods. For example fermented products, they aren’t raw…wine has enzymes…the French like wine, right? :p

The FINITE part of it all is a theory, it just happens that this theory seems to be really plausible based on varying research.

I’m going to TRY and answer your questions, but keep in mind that I’m just learning myself!
1. I think as far as oils go, as long as they are cold pressed, they will have the enzymes. I’m trying a recipe tonight that has balsamic vinegar and it was from a raw site, so I think you’re A ok. I also like to add raw hemp seeds on my salads. Very yummy.
2. Absolutely not, like I said, just adding a bit of raw or some enzyme supplements can be helpful.

The point was not to advocate or scare you into a 100% raw diet across the board. Everyone is different and some people will have a lot of trouble digesting raw foods. Also, sometimes you need to cook foods to make other aspects of them more available for digestion, like potatoes for starch. I just want people to become more aware of their enzyme intake and the things that exhaust/deplete them. Looks like I got your attention. 🙂

Sereda over at blissreturned wrote about raw food, you may want to check out her article too. Cheers!
http://blissreturned.wordpress.com/2012/02/12/100-raw-food-diets-may-not-be-the-best-for-you/

Your Enzymes are Numbered, My Friend

Scary thought, isn’t it? Now that we know that enzymes are necessary in every function of your body, big and small, the idea that our enzymes are numbered is a bit of a scary thought. Remember, the only thing that can produce enzymes is a living body, whether it’s animal or vegetable. Of the 5,000 kinds of enzymes that are at work in the human body, there are many that come from outside the body in the form of food.

So if your body can make enzymes, why is there a problem? Dr. Howell, an enzyme researcher proposes his theory of ‘enzyme potential’. This theory states that a living body has a predetermined amount of enzymes that it can produce. Once this supply is exhausted, the body dies. Now, you may scoff at this saying, “Why do I have to worry about one guy’s theory?” Well, it is also supported in the book I am reading for March called, “The Enzyme Factor” by Hiromi Shinya MD. He agrees with Howell’s theory, though he puts his own twist on things claiming there is a ‘source enzyme’ that can change into the particular enzymes the body needs most at that time. Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald also lends credence to this theory in her book, “The Detox Solution”. Then, there is what convinced me…the Pottenger’s Cat Study.

Dr. Pottenger was a man who ran a sanitarium in the 1930s and 40s. He was very interested in diet and nutrition as a means of

You wanna feed me what now?

achieving well being. Over the course of ten years, he ran a study with more than 900 cats who were divided into two groups: one group was fed raw milk and meat, the other ate pasteurized milk and cooked meat. The first group which ate the raw foods, rich in enzymes, stayed in markedly better health than their cooked food eating counterparts. They benefited in everything from stronger immune systems to better behaviour patterns, while the latter group suffered from much worse health. The cooked group had instances of allergies, infections, skin diseases…the list goes on. These results were even marked in later generations. Since his study, other researchers have attempted the same experiment on wild rats and mice with the same result. It makes me want to feed my cats steak! (That’s our cat, Harvey Dent—> )

Putting this into practice, which is what this blog is all about, let’s look at what we’re up against!

Other than cooking, what destroys enzymes?

  • Pesticides
  • Growth Hormones like rBGH
  • Antibiotics
  • Irradiation (PS, As far as I can tell by the CFIA, currently, onions, potatoes, wheat, flour, whole wheat flour, and whole or ground spices and dehydrated seasonings are approved for irradiation and sale in Canada.)
  • Food Processing

    This symbol means your food was irradiated.

  • Genetic Engineering
  • Depleted Soils

What you may be doing to exhaust your own enzymes:

  • Overeating
  • Using medications
  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Stressing out
  • Eating foods with additives
  • Eating fried foods

With all these things working against us, it may seem an impossible task, but it isn’t. One thing that is consistent in all the research is that a diet abundant in enzymes means a body with high levels of enzymes. Eat lots of food that is enzyme rich, including lots of fresh and raw foods, and you’ll keep replenishing those enzyme stores.

How does your diet stack up? Do you believe you are getting enough enzymes?