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I love broccoli Tuesday

I walked on the frosty ground this morning and passed my neighbor’s yard and where there was once a plethora of yummy broccoli to munch on while me and my cat prance through their garden, is now a barren plot of brown dry withered mulch. So this blog is a tribute to broccoli …

Whether you enjoy broccoli raw or cooked, you can benefit from its amazing nutrients. In addition to the sulfur-containing phytonutrients that all members of the Brassica family contain, broccoli is a good source of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which have been shown to protect the eyes against macular degeneration. It is also an excellent source of vitamins C, A, K, folate, and fiber, and a very good source of manganese, tryptophan, potassium, b-vitamins, magnesium, omega 3’s, iron, calcium, zinc, and vitamin E. WOW right?

Below are a few easy broccoli recipe where you can use and enjoy the benefits of all parts of this fabulous vegetable. ..

My favorite easiest recipe that is wonderful, other than just munching on this good stuff raw, is simply to roast it. The buds on the broccoli florets toast to a crispy brown when you roast the sliced broccoli with a dab of olive oil or coconut oil. You can add salt if you like to taste. You can eat it plain or then pair it with this irresistible tahini garlic sauce, which is a very good source of copper and manganese, and a good source of calcium and B1, Zinc and magnesium, iron and phosphorus.

Toasted broccoli:

1 to 1 1/2 pounds broccoli crowns

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Tahini sauce:

1 garlic clove

Salt to taste

1/3 cup sesame tahini

2 to 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup water

Red pepper flakes as many as you like for the heat you desire

1. mash the garlic cloves to a purée with a generous pinch of salt. Transfer to a bowl and whisk in the sesame tahini, then lemon juice. The mixture will stiffen so add water, up to 1/3 cup water, until the sauce has the consistency of thick cream.

2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the broccoli crowns 1/3 inch thick. Toss the buds with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place on the baking sheet in an even layer. Roast until the tops are nicely browned, stirring and flipping as needed mid way. Roast about 15 minutes total. Remove from the oven and transfer to a platter or to individual serving plates. Drizzle on the tahini sauce and serve.

How to use the broccoli stems…..

3 cups shredded broccoli stems (4 to 5 large stems)

Sea salt to taste

1 red bell pepper, cut thin

1 chile pepper or jalapeno (optional) minced

2 1/2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Salt to taste

2 teaspoons minced or grated fresh ginger

1 small garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon dark sesame oil

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon black sesame seeds (great source of calcium)

cilantro peppermint and /or parsley minced optional

1. Place the shredded broccoli stems in a colander, let dry, sprinkle with salt, toss.

2. In a large bowl, combine the broccoli stems, bell pepper, parsley/cilantro, mint, and chili and toss together. In a bowl or measuring cup whisk together the vinegar, mustard, salt to taste, ginger, garlic, sesame oil and olive oil. Toss with the shredded vegetable mixture. Serve or refrigerate until ready to serve. Sprinkle each serving with black sesame seeds.

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Sip your way to wellness

There is nothing like a warm cup of nourishing tea to soothe long cold winter nights or to warm up your insides throughout the day. I love tea. I love coffee too, don’t get me wrong but tea is softer, it feels more healing and there is a tea for every ailment and for every palate.

Here are my favorite healing teas of late…enjoy!

Marshmallow is not just something to eat by a fire but the perfect root tea to ease sore throats with a lovely soothing coating while also calming the bronchial passages. If you like it sweet, add some fresh raw organic honey and this blend is perfect to ease that nagging cough as well. I am also a big fan of licorice root tea and echinacea tea which is often combined with elderberry a fantastic anti-viral herb that I have grown to admire over the years.

Having trouble getting great sleep? Remember a lot of healing and body regeneration takes place when we sleep so it is vital to our optimal health. I terms of sipping your way to great sleep try a blend of valerian root, a muscle relaxing, stress relieving herb that is often combined with passion flower to induce a very restful sleep.

And only because I am drinking it right now and loving it, dandelion tea for detox is just great to have in your tea repertoire. Dandelion is wonderful in relieving congestion in the liver and kidneys, the main detoxification centers in the body. It is also known to stimulate bile so it can be very helpful as a digestive aid to break down fats as well as cholesterol. I like my dandelion tea roasted which adds a great robust flavor to every sip. Combine this with chicory and top it off with some almond milk and wow, a caffeine free substitute is born!

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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OMG GMOs

Happy non-gmo month! This month gives us the opportunity to coordinate and voice our opinions because we do have a right to know what is in our food.

Genetically modified organisms are everywhere; meaning most of the corn, cotton, canola, alfalfa, soy and beets, the major crops of this country are grown from genetically engineered seeds. GMO seeds are modified, forcing DNA from one species into another species. Sadly, unlike many other countries, the US does not mandate labeling GMO foods, and yet possibly up to 80% of the packaged foods that we purchase contain genetically modified ingredients despite the fact that most consumers want to know and I believe have a right to know.

What are the risks of GMO’s? The jury is still out. Some say that it affects our overall health, decreasing our immune systems, affecting bacterial growth in our GI systems, affecting hormones and fertility. Environmentalists are concerned that they will breed plants that require more and more pesticides for their control thus greatly affecting our whole ecosystem and living environment, But studies are not conclusive and so careful analysis of the risks and benefits argues for expanded deployment and safety testing of GM crops. Certainly there may be little risk in eating GMO foods but on the flip side what if they are truly that bad? I personally do not want to be the human experiment!

Out of this came the Non-GMO Project whose seal of approval verifies that a product is in fact made from Non-GMO ingredients. Because we care about your health and that of the planet, we are proud to announce that flackers now bear that seal. So until we know more, I am choosing non gmo! This month as you enjoy all the healthy goodness of flackers you can also feel good that with every bite you are also standing up for your right to know!

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Food as my medicine cabinet? You Betcha!

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
This is naturally fermented apple cider that has not been pasteurized and still contains probiotics, enzymes and minerals. I am not quoting from the medical literature here but experience which to me is valid. This can help to restore proper ph levels in your body, it’s an immune booster, will help cut a cough and runny nose, as well as flu symptoms, it’s anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal and can be taken daily during the winter months to help fight infections!  It’s also great for yeast infections, skin/intestinal detox, and digestive disorders. Simply mix with raw honey with apple cider vinegar and make apple tea. We use tons of it in flackers as well so enjoy and eat up guilt free.
Ginger:
Yes, good ol fashion just plain ginger root that you can find in the produce department is quite the magical healer! Clinical studies have shown that ginger is helpful for reducing nausea, especially for long car rides, and pregnant ladies.. Simply peel off the tough outer layer and slice off a few inches.  I typically use about an inch of the root and slice it into thin discs and then add then to a hot cup of water.  Allow it to seep for 10-15 minutes and enjoy with some raw honey for a wonderful, soothing and warming tea.

Raw Honey

This is unadulterated honey that has not been heated, changed altered or pasteurized, so it retains all of the natural enzymes and healing properties present from nature. Because of raw honey’s enzymes and minerals and trace amounts of pollen, it makes a fabulous cough suppressant and healing agent.  It is also naturally antimicrobial, which again helps with sore and irritated throats and can also be used on cuts, shallow topical abrasions and boo boos to ward off infection.
1 tsp raw honey
1/4 tsp of cinnamon mixed and yum! great for colds and coughs
Garlic

Garlic contains allicin which has strong antimicrobial effects. I have read can be equivalent to anywhere from 1% to 20% of a standard penicillin dose. It also contains sulphur compounds, this is where much of it’s healing power is, as well as vitamins C and B, flavanoids (antioxidants), and the trace minerals selenium and germanium (excellent for cancer prevention among other things).

The active components in garlic are heat sensitive and fairly volatile, and therefore most of it’s benefit will be lost if the garlic is cooked. Please, by all means, continue to cook with lots of garlic just because it tastes amazing  but for optimal medicinal use, it must be eaten and crushed raw to truly be effective.

Chamomile Tea:

Chamomile is a small, daisy-looking flower that has been used since ancient times to calm the nervous system, relive anxiety and aid in digestion. It is easiest taken as a tea. I like to mix it with peppermint or ginger as a remedy tea wonderful for aiding in digestion. It’s great for calming down little ones too, especially before bed; I know…and your welcome moms (: It can also sometimes work for relieving stress headaches although I also use a dab of lavender oil for these as well.
 
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Posted by on September 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Yogurt; the good, the bad, what you need to know

A few of my friends are truly obsessed with Greek Yogurt and I do get this obsession. Yogurt can be a good food. Most contain good bacteria to promote optimal GI health. Most, especially Greek Yogurt, contain high amounts of protein- so great filling snack or meal replacement on the go. Yogurt can also be quite diverse in that you can buy so many flavors or you can be creative with your own and add super healthy ingredients to it like; chia or flax seeds or even flacker bits or a handful of seedsters for that matter (to add fiber and more nutrient to this already dense nutritious food). And all that is really good….

Having said that I have a few beefs about yogurt that I need to share and I hope that you digest this information well. First of all the most popular brands on the market today are not organic, nor are they necessarily GMO-free. So buyer beware! You may be eating antibiotics, pesticides, hormones and other evil things unless you choose to buy organic, non-gmo yogurt. In addition, I also consider the health of the cows. If the milk is not organic then these cows are likely filled with antibiotics and other chemicals because their living conditions are so bad that they need them to remain free of disease.

The other issue is that a lot of products on the market today have probiotics in them. There is no way to know if these probiotics are alive and active and also if they actually survive the acidity of the stomach and get to the large intestine, where they are needed. Most of us, with good reason, just assume that this must happen but it is not always the case. So if you truly need probiotics for health purposes then you may want to consider a supplement with a known dose of bacteria and one that ensures optimal activity.

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Apples dipped in Honey for a sweet & healthy New Year

Today is the Jewish New Year and to celebrate we usually dip apples in honey to ensure that the year is full of good health and sweetness and an abundance in the Fall harvest. Interestingly enough, it’s not just the sweetness of honey that brings forth this wish, it is the medicinal properties of honey as well. This wonderfully rich golden liquid is the miraculous product of honey bees and a naturally delicious alternative to sugar. Although it is available throughout the year, it is an exceptional treat in the summer and fall when it has just been harvested and is at its freshest.

Health benefits, like with any food depends on the quality of the honey

Honey has been used by ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, Chinese, Romans, and Greeks as a medicinal remedy for the management of wounds, skin ailments, and various gastrointestinal diseases.Honey’s therapeutic importance as a known antibacterial agent has been recognized since 1892. In the laboratory, honey has been shown to hamper the growth of food-borne pathogens such as E. coli and salmonella, and to fight certain bacteria, includingStaphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, both of which are common in hospitals and doctors’ offices.

Manuka honey is sometimes used to treat chronic leg ulcers and pressure sores. Manuka honey is made in New Zealand from the nectar of Leptospermum scoparium. It’s the basis of Medihoney, which the FDA approved in 2007 for use in treating wounds and skin ulcers. It works very well to stimulate healing.

Drinking tea or warm lemon water mixed with honey is a time-honored way to soothe a sore throat. But honey may be an effective cough suppressant, too.In one study, children age 2 and older with upper respiratory tract infections were given up to 2 teaspoons (10 milliliters) of honey at bedtime. The honey seemed to reduce nighttime coughing and improve sleep. In fact, in the study, honey appeared to be as effective as a common cough suppressant ingredient, dextromethorphan, in typical over-the-counter doses. I like to use a buckwheat honey-based syrup to ease early symptoms of a cold, it calms inflamed membranes and eases the cough. Please note that I do not give children under the age of one year honey because of the risk of botulism

Some laboratory studies suggest honey has the potential also to clear up stuffy noses and ease allergies triggered by pollen. There are lots of minerals and vitamins and antioxidant properties in honey as well – the darker the honey, the higher the level of antioxidants. Bees also make other very valuable healing substances like bee pollen and royal jelly but that’s for another blog.

In the mean time have a slice of apple to celebrate the fall harvest and dip it into some raw organic fresh local honey and wish yourself and those around you a happy healthy and prosperous year!

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Quench your thirst with these hydrating foods

I know it’s really hot out there but I am totally loving this last blast of summer. Having said that, in this weather many of us feel really tired and listless and it is not only because of the heat. One of the first signs of dehydration is fatigue so it’s important to stay mindful about getting enough fluids and electrolytes. Today, quench your thirst with my favorite top 3 hugely hydrating foods, all of which are at least 90% water by weight and the best part, they can all be found growing now in the garden.

Cucumber’s have the highest water content of any solid food and they are growing like mad right now in my garden!  They are great on their own with a dab of sea salt or else chopped up into salads, or sliced up and served with some hummus, guacamole or any of your favorite dips. If you want to pump up cucumber’s hydrating nourishing power even more try blending it with organic greek yogurt, mint (also now abundant in the garden) and ice cubes to make a fabulous soup. Chilled, this cucumber soup is extremely refreshing and so delicious.

My next favorite food quencher are tomatoes. 94% water content and packed with lycopene these homegrown beauties are is season right now and so available in abundance, all varieties are good for you, heirloom are extra special and totally delicious. Slice them up and sprinkle a little sea salt or else toss in your salad, guacamole or make a into fresh salsa with a little basil or cilantro, onions and garlic. You can throw in a few cukes as well for extra quenching affects.

Radishes have a huge water content: 95.3%. These refreshing root vegetables should be a fixture in your end of summer salads. They provide a burst of spicy-sweet flavor and color in a small package, and more importantly they’re filled with antioxidants such as catechin also found in green tea. Their crunchy texture also makes radishes a perfect addition to healthy coleslaw; slice them up with shredded cabbage and carrots, sliced snow peas, and chopped hazelnuts and parsley, and toss with poppy seeds, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

 

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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