Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Meringues/ Macaroons Cocoa Style

A while ago did a post on Meringues. This is a revision of the same recipe.

I had some left over egg whites, which had been frozen. I defrosted them again to use for meringues. Egg whites are easy to freeze and save for a later use. Just make sure that they are at room temperature for meringues.

I wanted to add a new twist to these so I added cocoa to half of the meringes. It did go a bit more watery (flat), but they cooked fine.

And the final outcome?

I would definetly make these again with cocoa. Cocoa is a good idea.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

30 Days to a Food Revolution

I thought that this would be interesting.

For 30 days, (April 26 - June 4) there will be featured 30 ways to eat real food, hosted by 30 different blogs.

Clink the "Real Food" button on the side bar for more information.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Check your Resources

As so often happens, I cruise the Internet researching for myself different things that I've heard about to find out whats legit or not. I would suggest this to anyone, and don't take my word for it.

There is tons of information, especially on the Internet. When I hear about something once, I'll usually keep it on the back burner, but when I hear about it a second or third time, it perks my interest a bit more. From then I will search and search until I am convinced it's for real, or that maybe I should leave that one alone. And remember, even though something works doesn't mean that you should do it, or right now. Your body can only handle so much. This is usually the reason why we look for ways to help it out in healing in the first place. But at the same time, our bodies can only take so much in the process of healing itself. Healing takes time. So while something may be great, it may not be for right now.

Anyways. I stumbled across this site a few years ago in researching something. Yesterday I stumbled across it again. This time I took a closer look at the whole site. I thought it was pretty hilarious.

Personally I get a bit worried if the thing that I'm looking into doesn't have any negative reports - nothing is that good. And I have tried (and still stand by) many things (Charcoal, herbs, colloidal silver, apricot kernels, etc). But let's be real, not everything works the same way for everybody. And not everybody prepares things the same way (eg. colloidal silver can be toxic if made incorrectly). Dosages can also be an issue - too much of a good thing... or sometimes not enough or not tried long enough.

But then there are those who are skeptic beyond belief.

http://www.quackwatch.org/index.html is such a place.

I never thought that I'd find a website that is against everything healthy that I do. Like I said I ended up there looking into something, but I had to laugh, and tell my husband this great joke - he thought it was funny too. They warn against everything. Here's some, just to name a very few;

Spiruila (although I am skeptic myself on the B12 intake, I do regularly consume Spiruila and Chlorella, just make sure you get your B12 from other sources)
Candida (There are even drugs for treating this! It's shooting yourself in the foot but drug companies are still making money!)
Chelation Therapy (Again the drug companies still make money on this one. Although it is far better to do Chelation naturally)
It even goes so far as to have an article titled "'The Mercury Toxicity' Scam" (We're starting to get into common sense now here. Amalgam fillings are banned in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, while other countries restrict it's use - not for children, pregnant women, those with kidney problems or those with mercury sensitivity, mmm am I sensitive to poison?)
"'Detoxification' Schemes" (quote "natural chemicals in our foods are thousands of times more potent than additives, or that most Americans are healthier, live longer, and can choose from the most healthful food supply ever available." Actually they're not. The SAD diet is absolutely killing Western society. I'd really like to know what goes on in his mind.)
Ear candling (I've had great success with these)
They even attack Chiropractors! (Sure my doctor told me that my chest pain was caused by a pinched nerve, want to guess who fixed it? Here's a hint - it wasn't my doctor.)
Colloidal Silver (This is where doing your own research is important. If colloidal silver is prepared and used correctly it is safe. I personally make my own. I have also seen an interview with a man who turned blue - argyria - from taking it. He stated himself that he made it incorrectly, and he is rather happy being blue considering the other alternative is that he'd be dead. The site also states that 11 cases of argyria have been reported. And how many people use it? I know many people do, and only 11 cases. This fares far better than conventional treatment...)
The use of Herbs (Quote: "The involvement of drug companies into the herbal marketplace may improve standardization of dosage for a few products. And public and professional interest in herbs is likely to stimulate more research. However, with safe and effective medicines available, treatment with herbs rarely makes sense, and many of the conditions for which herbs are recommended are not suitable for self-treatment." Agreed that, again, we need to be sure of our sources! However I highly doubt getting drug companies involved will help anything. Also, show me safe and effective medicines - I thought those were called herbs.)
Organic Food is also attacked, saying that it's no different in nutrition than the poison sprayed variety.
Even if your not into all the above, I'd be hard-pressed (no pun intended) to find someone who could disagree with Juicing, but there we have it.
Not to mention the "Hot Topic" for today, "Do Children Get Too Many Immunizations? The Answer is No." This one deserves a post of it's own.

So, what's the point? I ask that about this website too. Today, when I typed up this blog, I couldn't remember the exact web address for quackwatch so I typed it in Google. I couldn't find it there though. What I did find was loads of sites complaining about it. Fortunately the site was still in my History.

But really, why am I saying all this? The point is, do your own research. You will always find something that says what you want it to. At home, we've often found this true when people quote from the Bible - you have to read the whole thing and see what God is really trying to say, it's not hidden. One verse taken out of context won't change God's mind on something. At the same time, there are verses that say exactly what He means in a nut shell (eg. Matthew 22: 37-40 "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.")

It is true that I listed, above, the ones that personally affect me. There are some things on this site that I would not try, and I did not read all of the articles there. It is true, that there may be bits of truth somewhere on the site. Although I'm not sure how they can get away with saying as much as they have, but it's a web site after all. I am also not scared to give you the direct links so you can read it for yourself. And read you should.

When researching something you should not be afraid to read something negative about it. Even if you thoroughly agree with the idea/product, there will always be someone who doesn't. I think there is safety in that. First, because we souldn't depend on anything too greatly, and Second, because it is true that not everything works for everybody. Thirdly, there are also actually things out there that you should be leary of. (And I say this even for things that "work", what influence do you want to be under? That is why I don't choose to do certain therapies, although I'm sure they are effective for some people.)

I also don't agree with some of the negative responses to the negative responses. It's one thing to point out when someone's wrong, but it's another thing to go overboard. Unfortunetly, those are just used as feul and you end up sounding like a lunatic.

I will continue to do my own research for things that come my way. I have done this with doctores (I am soooo glad, otherwise I would be in serious trouble right now - Lupron) I have done this with my naturopath (and she's more willing to discuss my findings with me and add her input, which is welcomed), and I do this with any new, or even old, thing. I have tried many things, and have not suffered negatively form them because, I believe, I have not tried them blindly. True, I am still learning and still improving on things, but that is what study is about. So I encourage you to do the same.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Roasted Chickpeas

If your on a strict diet, you can probably relate to how difficult it is to find handy snack foods. Once upon a time, we found some roasted chickpeas at an International foods store and I thought, "Hey, I can make these" (and at the same time avoid the vegetable oil that seems to be on everything).

As you probably know by now I don't measure and lot of things.

Soak some chickpeas overnight (12-24 hours). Remember they will expand, and believe me if your soaking container isn't large enough, the water will spill over!

Rinse the soaked chickpeas. Spread on a baking pan (either stainless steel, stone, or glass if you have). Bake at 350 F, stirring every 5 min. (This is a big time consumer watching them). If you bake them at too hot a temperature, they will start popping, or at least mine do. This takes about 45 min, but it really depends on your oven - and the weather. I find it takes much longer here in Tasmania as it is so humid, (as compared to Winnipeg).

Prepare in a bowl;
approx 1 Tbsp water
approx 2 Tbsp Braggs

and/or add peanut butter for fun/variety

When they are almost done, (And sometimes I make them more crunchy, or more soft) take them out and mix with the prepared sauce. Sprinkle like crazy with Herbamare and whatever seasoning you like. I like to mix it up a lot. Sometimes a curry/garlic theme, or other times more Italian. Mrs. Dash was a great option for flavour (no MSG).

Spread on the sheet again and bake until desired crunchiness. I find that they will get a bit more crunchy after they are taken out of the oven.

Store in airtight containers. In Canada I would keep them in the cupboard, but I am having problems here in Tasmania. They seem to soak up the moisture and go soggy, so I have to eat them right away. That really isn't a problem, as they usually go so fast anyway, it's just hard to make ahead for future use.


Friday, April 16, 2010

The Dangers of Soy

Soy is often hailed as a healthy, protein filled alternative for meat. It is recommended for vegans, menopausal women, body-builders, and even for infant formulas.

It is said to be beneficial for heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, woman's health, diabetes and for stamina.

What kind of soy are they referring to? Is it the traditional soy products of Asia (fermented Miso and Tempeh)?

Westerners usually use soy in an isolate form. This isn't the whole food, but this is the form that most people eat. It comes in protein shakes, infant formula, packaged "meat" alternatives, "milks", and a variety of packaged food. This is a highly processed "food".

"SPI is not something you can make in your own kitchen. Production takes place in industrial factories where a slurry of soy beans is first mixed with an alkaline solution to remove fiber, then precipitated and separated using an acid wash and, finally, neutralized in an alkaline solution.
Acid washing in aluminum tanks leaches high levels of aluminum into the final product. The resultant curds are spray- dried at high temperatures to produce a high-protein powder. A final indignity to the original soybean is high-temperature, high-pressure extrusion processing of soy protein isolate to produce textured vegetable protein (TVP).
Much of the trypsin inhibitor content can be removed through high-temperature processing, but not all. Trypsin inhibitor content of soy protein isolate can vary as much as fivefold. (In rats, even low-level trypsin inhibitor SPI feeding results in reduced weight gain compared to controls.)
But high-temperature processing has the unfortunate side-effect of so denaturing the other proteins in soy that they are rendered largely ineffective. That's why animals on soy feed need lysine supplements for normal growth.
Nitrites, which are potent carcinogens, are formed during spray-drying, and a toxin called lysinoalanine is formed during alkaline processing. Numerous artificial flavorings, particularly MSG, are added to soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein products to mask their strong "beany" taste and to impart the flavor of meat." (Sally Fallon & Mary G., read full article here. Very informative.)

Soy is very high in Phytic acid, one of the highest levels of grains or seeds. Is contains phytoestrogens, (hormonal imbalance terrible for infants), causes thyroid problems, allergies and infertility, it is full of toxins and often genetically modified.

The phytoestrogen content should alone be enough to scare anyone away. Worried about cancer, especially prostate and breast cancer? These are both propelled by estrogen domination. Children are reaching puberty years earlier. Weight gain, brain fog, headaches, fatigue and depression are also linked to estrogen dominance.

Men and children should especially avoid soy!

It is also interesting to note, that when cultures become more Westernized, they will consume less of their traditional foods, whatever they may be. So for Asian countries, for example, soy isn't the only traditional thing about their diet. There is a whole picture, a whole way of eating. It is dangerous to pick out one beneficial thing, while ignoring the rest of a whole, real diet.

For health nuts (and I would classify myself as a health nut - I'm not name calling) who are pro-soy usually consume a substantial amount of soy - soy milk, soy burgers, soy cheese...But even if you could forget about all the other dangers of soy, this is not how soy was intended to be eaten, and not in these large quantities. Soy was eaten (prepared in a way as to neutralize the harmful effects) as a side, with other animal proteins and broth and lots of vegetables. It was part of a whole meal, not the whole meal itself.

There is SO much information on the dangers of soy. As with everything, I encourage you to do your own research.The following is very interesting if you are interested;

Soy for as punishment for inmates (I didn't include the 2nd part - it wasn't as much info about soy itself, you can view it at YouTube if you like)

There is also another four part video with Sally Fallon on YouTube

A very good site to look at is SoyOnlineservice there is really a lot of good information there.

This is the article quoted above. I really suggest you reading it.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sprouted Spelt and Flax Muffins

This recipe has quickly become a favorite. It is based on this recipe. I've lowed the oil (and used a healthier oil) and adapted molasses as the sweetener. I also use sprouted spelt flour.

Wet Ingredients:
4 eggs
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup molasses
2 tsp vanilla

4 bananas, mashed
1 cup whole flax

Dry Ingredients:
3 cups sprouted spelt flour
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp cinnamon (or more to taste)
1 tsp ginger

(2 cups) shredded coconut (I didn't measure this, just added until I got the desired consistency)

Beat eggs, mix in the rest of the wet ingredients. Add fruit and flax. In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients. Add to wet. Stir in shredded coconut.The final consistency should be stiff enough to spoon into the muffin cups without dripping all over, but not stiff enough to form peaks. Sprinkle with shredded coconut.

Bake at 350 F for about 30 min. I use a toothpick to see if done.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Spouted Flour

I am constantly learning. One of my most studied subjects is food. Food is how we get many of our nutrients and our body's fuel.

Since learning to cook traditionally, trying to get the best and the most out of my food, I've had to adapt to soaking batter overnight in order to break down the phytic acid.

This can be inconvenient at times. If you want to bake something now, and haven't soaked anything the night before, then your stuck as far as the phytic acid goes.

Also when it comes to breading things - fish sticks, zucchini, etc. It's a bit difficult to soak the flour in water for that.

Then the community bought a grain-mill. And I started making sprouted flour.

Often, even gluten-sensitive people can tolerate spouted grains and since I'm supposed to avoid gluten, I'm all for this.

Again this is one of my "never measure" things, but it's not exactly a recipe so it doesn't really matter. I like to do as large a batch as I can at one time so it saves work, and saves energy in the dehydrating process.

Soak spelt (or whatever grain you want for flour) overnight in a bowl, covered with water. You will want to make sure that the grain is covered by at least an inch or two, as the grain will absorb the water and expand.

Rinse well the next morning. Now you will want to make sprouts. There are a few methods of doing this.

1. Place inverted in mason jars with screens on top.
2. Place in a sprout bag (I was doing this, but the bags got difficult to clean, the spout ends were pretty gooey)
3. Place in a large bowl/pan

Whichever way you choose do sprout, make sure that they are well rinsed to prevent mold and to retain the moisture needed to sprout the seeds. If in a large bowl you may want to stir a few times so the ones on the bottom get some air too.

When they have a "tail" about 1/4" long (about one to two days) they are now ready to be dehydrated. You do not want them to sprout too long, as they will become more of a plant then a grain and your grain-mill won't like this. If you are grinding in a Vita-Mix, go ahead and experiment with this if you want.

Dehydrate the sprouts in a dehydrator on an oven. Dry on low heat (less than 100 F) to keep the valuable nutrients intact.

When completely dry, grind in a grain-mill. Grain-mills do not like wet grains. Or if you have are fortunate enough to have a Vita-Mix, that works well too.

When ground into flour, I like to put into mason jars and freeze the flour. This keeps it from going stale, and I always have healthy spouted flour on hand.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Soaking Nuts and Grains

My husband comments that I am always changing things and finding new ways that we "have to" prepare our food. He's not complaining, just confused, especially when he's helping me I give him new instructions for something that we've done before.

For some fortunate reason, when we started eating dried beans and brown rice, one of the first instructions I read for preparing them was to soak them overnight. I never knew why, I just thought that was what you do.

Now I know why.

Phytic acid is found in nuts/seeds and the bran of whole grains. It combines with nutrients in the gut, hindering absorption of iron, calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc. Whole grains and seeds also contain enzyme inhibitors which make digestion difficult. Soaking the grains from 12-24 hours (some grains need the latter, like oatmeal) in warm, acidic water (add some apple cider vinegar/kombucha to the water) will break down these not so pleasant parts of the grain, as will sprouting. Again I never measure, just make sure the grain is covered.

Soaking starts the sprouting process. All those nutrients locked up for the growth of the plant now get released. This includes; Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C. Soaking also breaks down complex sugars (which are responsible for gas/bloating - so now you can safely eat your beans). Aflatoxins (a mold found an all grains to some extent - and the main culprit for peanut allergies) is also naturalized. (Note: I am NOT saying if you are allergic to peanuts that soaking will make it safe for you.)

Apparently you're supposed to soak nuts in water with some salt added. This is because there are more enzyme inhibitors in nuts and the salt helps with breaking that down. Originally I started soaking nuts for myself because I heard that there are more nutrients available in soaked nuts. Also, after soaking the first time, I found that I enjoyed them way more when they were soaked.

After nuts have soaked for 12-24 hours, you can dehydrate them for later use, and to prolong shelf-life (just soaked nuts go bad fairly quickly). Dehydrate at a low heat, less than 100 F to protect the nutrients. Then you can make nut butters, or chop them for recipes, or keep on hand for snacks.

The main nuts that I soak are almonds and apricot kernels. My husband is allergic to a lot of nuts so almonds seem to replace them in many recipes. I eat apricot kernels (when I can get them) for all the health benefits they have, I find they are more tolerable when they are soaked (but that's just me, Joey thinks they're even more bitter).

If I'm eating something (anything) why not do a few simple things and get the best that I possibly can out of my food?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A few words on Sugar

I first saw this list as a hand-out in my chiropractors office. We know that sugar is bad, but here is some interesting information on some of the ways sugar effects your health. Some of the items are a bit repetitive, and some obvious, but it's neat to check out.

146 reasons why sugar is ruining your health

Monday, April 5, 2010

Simple Supper

One of the most common suppers we have is the basic stir-fry.

There are many different ways to do a stir-fry, it is never the same way twice (especially since I don't follow a recipe). It is the perfect way to use up left-overs, get veggies in your meal, and use up those bits of stuff (meat, veggies) that you don't have quite enough of to make something of it's own.

Start with whatever you have on hand, add more of what you can find, season to taste and serve on what your in the mood for. Enjoy!

Okay, here's some suggestions...

I always use onions. That's probably the only common factor in all my stir-fries. I will add lemon juice and Braggs, and sometimes curry to the onions.

Add your veggies. Cabbage, water chestnuts, peas, carrots, celery, spinach, garlic, corn, peppers, mushrooms, really whatever you have will work.

I like to cook them until they start to soften, I like my veggies still a bit crunchy.

I'll add some more Braggs, lemon juice, and Herbamare.

If you have meat, add it on (cooked of course), leave as is with just a bunch of vegetables, or add cooked (soaked overnight and cooked) beans, or even sprouted beans (and slightly cooked).

Bean sprouts go great on top, but that takes some extra planning to sprout (which is worth it).

Sprinkle with sesame seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts...you get the idea.

Serve on rice, raw spinach (we did this a lot when we went temporarily no grain as part of a cleanse - it was really good), or even potatoes, or just as is.

This is really a great simple way to enjoy lots of veggies and it doesn't take a lot of time.