Fun Facts About Wheat Grass

Have you ever eaten grass? Maybe as kids we did, and now you can eat some for greater health.

Why is wheat grass good for you?

Wheat grass according to WebMD is the young plant that contains dense nutrients. In other words more vitamin/mineral bang per blade of grass!

The nutritional value of wheatgrass surpasses many foods. It is lauded for prevention of many chronic illnesses. Wheatgrass is reported to help stabilize blood sugar and help diabetes.

Green foods everyday is an important ingredient for good health!

Here is a simple recipe to enjoy wheat grass each day.

Purchase wheat grass at your local healthy food market. Also you can grow wheatgrass easily in your home indoors or out.

wheatgrass cutting

Cut a small portion as shown in the photo of wheat grass and place in high speed blender.

Add: 1 cup water

other fruit such as apple, pear or grapes.

Process for 1 minute and you have a blended wheat grass/fruit smoothie.

 

Winter Foods for Health

During the cold months we tend to eat less green salads and melons and crave more warming foods. This is a natural progression and eating according to the season makes perfect sense. In Asian cultures this has been in practice for thousands of years. In the early 1980’s I studied with macrobiotic teachers learning about seasonal eating. This education preceded my naturopathic degree, but it still influences how I make nutritional recommendations today. A basic tenet  still heard today is to eat locally grown food. For good environmental reasons and planetary health it’s best to not eat foods shipped 100’s or 1,000’s of miles from  where it’s grown. So mid-winter pineapple and banana are fruits best not consumed. They are cooling foods which deplete our inner heat.

Green vegetables and whole grains are well suited for the colder months in northern climates. If you are living in a warmer climate this is less of an issue, but eating foods grown locally still applies. Warming foods consist of foods grown in the ground like root vegetables like carrot, parsnip, potato, but also cabbage along with squash like butternut and acorn. These plants take longer to grow compared to lettuce and yellow and green summer squashes. Raw foods are more cooling than cooked foods.  In his book Healing with Whole Foods, Paul Pitchford (Third edition 2002) writes how Asian medicine offers another dimension to foods for healing. He states how Traditional Chinese Medicine classifies foods and the treatment of disease according to cooling and warming properties of foods which are prescribed according to the state of the person and whether they are overheated (yang) or deficient (yin).

kale

Green foods for winter include Swiss chard, broccoli, collard greens and brussels sprouts. These slow growing green foods are substantial and support liver function and natural detoxification.

Whole grains are very warming foods by their nature and should be consumed in moderation; vegetables should be the major food substance on your plate. The best warming grains according to Pitchford are: rice, wheat, whole barley, spelt, well-cooked oatmeal, and quinoa.

Oatmeal

 Think of a bowl of steaming hot oatmeal on a cold winter morning.

Another important aspect of good nutrition in winter is taking time to slow down while eating!

  • Chew foods thoroughly 30-40 times per mouthful; liquified food digests the best.
  • Create a positive atmosphere while eating; no multi-tasking! You will digest everything better!
  • Allow 20–30 minutes per meal; take time to enjoy nourishing your body. No rushing!

As a naturopathic physician, I know the mind needs to be calm and positive to receive the  nutrients offered by the food. Bless your food and give thanks for the abundance all around.  Remind yourself when eating you are nourishing a temple:  your body, your mind and your soul. Specific foods are necessary for certain conditions for healing. Contact me at: HealYourLife13@gmail.com for personalized consult.

 

SHIITAKE MISO SOUP

This is a nutrient rich soup because shiitake mushrooms support immune function. Also, miso is full of enzymes with fermenting  bacteria along with vitamins and minerals. It is a stable dish in Japanese cuisine. An easy to prepare soup, this should be eaten regularly for health & wellness.

 

 

 

 

INGREDIENTS:

6 cups water

3 vegetable or chicken broth “cubes”

6 inch piece of kombu (dried seaweed)

1/2 cup miso paste (barley, rice or soy – your choice)

1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil

1 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms

1 carrot thinly sliced

2 green onions – sliced thinly

1/4 cups chopped cilantro

Bring water, broth cubes and kombu to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes covered. Remove the kombu and slice it thinly.  In a fry pan heat oil on medium heat and sauté  the shiitake and carrots for 2-3 min. Add shiitake and carrots to broth. Add in the sliced kombu.

Cook the soup with a lowered heat for 5 min. Turn off heat and then add miso paste. (do not cook miso – it destroys all the enzymes & bacteria).

Add onions and cilantro to soup as it is served.

Makes 5 servings.

This is adapted from a New Seasons Market recipe.

Eating On The Wild Side!

dandeliongreensHow has food farmed today evolved over the last few centuries? This is an important question especially in light of increasing chronic illnesses currently facing so many people in our nation. Through spontaneous mutation and laboratory genetic changes, food grown today is very different than how it was grown fifty to one hundred and more years ago.

In my own eating habits, I notice my preference to sweeter and often “softer” foods that are easier to chew and swallow. Food that is not cultivated, in other words, that is grown wild, is more fibrous and contains less readily available sugars. But the tendency is to eat what is grown for us by our local farmer. Farmers sell what people want to eat. We want to eat sweeter and softer foods, not higher fiber, less sweet food.  Gradually Americans have been lured into the sweet low fiber food trap.

 A New York Times article reports that corn has been bred to increase its sweetness but at the cost of lost nutrients. As an example, deep yellow corn has beta-carotene along with anthocyanin – two very important nutrients for health, not found in sweeter white corn so popular now. The article encourages us to eat blue cornmeal in our pancakes for greater nutrient density. A very good idea!

Here are a few starter food tips:

  • Eat more scallions but use the green part of the plant as well as the white bulb.
  • Eat arugula which is a richer salad green and close to its ancestor plant.
  • Dandelion greens are definitely very good for your health.
  • Bitter greens like  mustard greens and Swiss chard can be added to regular salads or stir fried with mushrooms.
  • Add fresh herbs to salads and soups; make vegi/herb-burgers or add herbs to smoothies for added nutrition.
  • Parsley either flat leaf or curly leaf plant, along with cilantro are excellent due to rich plant nutrients like chlorophyll, minerals and iron. Use regularly.

We can no longer depend on food manufacturers, farmers or the government for best practices for our food consumption.  Be your own advocate and do your own research. Know what is best for your health. Here is an excellent book as a food  resource that gives you the qualities of  nutrients in foods, how to select them, identifying foods that enhance health: The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, by Michael Murray, ND.  Every kitchen should have this book right along with the cookbooks we love!

As a naturopathic physician there is no doubt in my mind about the relationship between food and health. Eat more wild grown foods for excellent health. Make a promise to yourself and family to add a new wild food to your diet at least once a week. Experiment and have fun!

wild greens

Peaches All Year Long

Would you like to enjoy peaches all year long? Peaches are ripe and ready for harvest in late August into September. But what to do with all this fruit? Here is a simple way to preserve and store this luscious fruit!

First of all, I choose to buy organic peaches. Chemical sprays used on fruit cannot be easily washed off, so it’s best to avoid all non-organic food.

Here are some simple steps to prepare and store peaches for later use.  Leave on the skins, and wash thoroughly.

Then slice each ripe fruit into thin pieces and place on a cookie/baking sheet in one single layer. You can place them right next to each other to get as many as possible on one sheet. Then lay the baking sheet on you freezer shelf for about 1 hour. This will freeze the fruit just enough to be able to remove fruit from the pan into a freezer container; use either freezer bags or containers to store your peaches.

Place containers with fruit in freezer and store for later use during the fall/winter months and all year long.  I freeze fruits every year which I use for desserts like peach/blueberry cobbler or peach pie. Delicious!

 

Water as Medicine: How Does Water Heal?

How does water heal?  First let’s look at the word ‘heal’. It is derived from the ancient word ‘hal’ which means to make whole or restore.

Often taken for granted in modern society, we don’t place much value on water particularly as a healing agent much less water as medicine.  Conventional medicine lost its wisdom by completely moving away from water as a healer and focusing on pharmaceuticals as the mainstay for treatments.  But water truly is an essence that helps the body with its own natural healing ability.  In this writing I will explain the basic qualities in water that make this so.

Qualities of Water

Here is a little review: water has the ability at different temperatures to be in three states: ice, liquid and steam (or vapor).  In each of these states, water can release or absorb heat into or away from the body.  This transfer of energy is where healing can occur making water a powerful medical tool. As the body temperature is changed, so is metabolism, circulation and cells of the immune system.

The body is also a heat organism always working to maintain a certain temperature for all its cell operations (a good thing).  Each individual cell becomes a part of heat production and collection, which maintains our core temperature somewhere between 98 to 99 degrees Fahrenheit.  Heat regulation, a very important part of health and wellness, enhances enzymes and bio-chemical reactions that have their peak performance at the proper internal temperature.  Keep in mind that our body’s water content is about 60% depending on a person’s age.

With high percent water content,  the body has to do three basic things with fluids: heat it up, cool it down or keep it neutral.  In some situations warming the body can enhance a healing process, by calling forth certain cells to do healing work (white blood cells for example).  There may be a need to bring heat to a specific area, like a hand, arm or foot to heal a wound or infection.  A warm heating compress can be the treatment of choice for issues from sore throats to general detoxification.

Cold therapy

In Naturopathic medicine, cold water therapy can be useful in a number of ways.  For instance, as in the case of injury and fluid collection, cold applications improve circulation, reduce a very high fever and stimulate the body to warm itself.  This useful and wise application of water has been and still is practiced by knowledgeable healers.

Neutral therapy

water therapyNeutral water therapies have been well known to calm the nervous system. Newborn babies bathed in tepid (neutral temperature of 98 degrees) are soothed as they were in the womb. We have excitable nervous systems that can be restored to balance with a neutral bath. Before pharmaceuticals were available, neutral baths were recognized therapy AKA hydrotherapy.

 

How Does Water Heal?

Water is an agent for healing when we know how to use it.  There is something magical about being in water. One of the most healing experiences I gave to myself during a particularly difficult time in my life, was to go to the ocean.  While living on the coast in Florida, I would ride my bicycle to the beach in the very early morning, go into the calm water and just allow the seawater to float me.  I’d float and float and feel the support of the earth mother’s liquid, which was neutral and comforting. It is a memory of water healing that still comforts me today.

Take time out and be in the water; it is really good medicine. As a naturopathic physician, I use water as a natural treatment of choice.  Water therapy can help when there is a lack of sleep, hormonal imbalance and during menopause. In the next writing I will explain the types of water therapies that can be used.

 

 

Health Foods – Which Are NOT?

Buying foods in containers or packages can be confusing to many. Reading labels is overwhelming trying to sort out what really is good for us. The buzz words “healthy” and “natural” adds to the confusion, because of what they imply. For example sugar is a natural food; however the addition of sugar to packaged foods for the purpose of increased sales (for the sweetness) is not healthy. Learning to discern our food purchases is essential to eating well. What is even more critical is food given to children under the pretense of healthy and natural which is also deceiving.  It is a red flag when a package contains those two words because the manufacturer wants us to make a purchase. Food that comes directly from the ground intact is the real deal – healthy and natural.

Food is life

A package that has a paragraph of ingredients is a “put it back on the shelf” message.

Here are a few examples:

    • Granola bars: very often the first ingredient is sugar.
    • Energy bars: sugars or artificial sweeteners can dominate.
    • Fruit flavored yogurts: high in sugars, which can be as much as 6 tsp per 8 oz container!
    • Fruit smoothies (commercial): comprised of sugary juice and yogurts and may contain as much as 600 calories

In these categories there are better options such as adding your own fresh fruits to yogurt and smoothies, which relies on fruits for natural sweetness, not added sugar like corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup or cane sugar. The important message is to eat mostly (80%) unprocessed foods. Buy fruits and vegetables fresh and eat with minimal cooking/processing. It does not take much time to chop a salad or steam veggies – really. Simply the largest percentage of foods we eat needs to be fruit and vegetables – that’s it. To maintain hormone balance, wellness and longevity, this is the plan to follow now. In every case that I see as a naturopathic physician, nutrition is the gateway to health & wellness.

The truth really does lie in eating 6-8 servings a day of fruits and vegetables. So many food products in the market place may claim to be health foods which are not really good for us. Healthier foods may cost a little more now, but continuing to eat the American SAD diet will cost us much much more later on. Think about it…

Water as Medicine – Part 1

Water is a natural resource and it’s easily accessible and practical for self-care and comfort or for medical therapy, however it is often overlooked for its valuable aspects in wellness care or as a healing therapy. Since water is plentiful in most parts of the U.S. we take its availability for granted. In current medicine the first line of therapy could easily consist of a simple treatment instead drugs, which are used for a quicker fix. Our culture is less healthy today in part, due to the heavy use of drugs both over-the-counter and prescription; we should avail ourselves to the simpler remedies first and use drugs as a last resort.

Earth’s water sources are healing, whether it is soaking in hot mineral springs, swimming in river water or seawater or drinking from natural spring waters. Water is the source for supporting life in so many ways. In our modern culture, water is often taken for granted because we can access it so easily from the faucets in our homes.  In subsequent articles I will expand  specifically on water’s many uses for healing.

But first, here is a little history. As an example, 100-150 years ago many people commonly practiced using water as a healing agent and recognized it as medicine. Its regular use was appreciated by applying to the body a variety of baths, douches (a spray of water designated to a body part), water sheet wraps, poultices (wraps with herbs or earth clay), steams, etc.  People took time to soak, shower and then rest after therapies.

Practitioners of that era were varied and plentiful. The “regular” doctors scoffed at “hydropaths”  the water healers, who did get great health results. The water therapists, or hygienists and naturopaths of that era cured serious cases of infections such as pneumonia.   Recorded cases in the 1930’s and 1940’s document successful treatment in cases of pneumonia as an example. Patients with pneumonia and associated high fevers completely recovered using wet sheet wraps, colon clearing and fasting.  In this time period before antibiotics, the death rate for pneumonia was 25% when treated by the allopathic doctors.  Many alternative hydro-therapists claimed a 100% success rate. [1]

The point here is that water therapies can work very well in simple and also in complex illnesses. As the failure of drug therapies and antibiotic resistant bacteria grow stronger, we may need to rely on the “old ways” once again.  A well-trained naturopathic doctor can hold the key to your recovery when conventional drugs are failing.

In my practice as a naturopathic physician, I have recommended these simple therapies many times.  Bathing can be the perfect medicine for anxiety, painful muscles, menstrual disorders or joint pain. Spending time by or in the river or ocean can allow stress reduction and rejuvenate the spirit.  Water as medicine is simple and effective.

bagby hot springs

 Water is a natural healer; use it frequently.

In the next writing of this series I will reveal how the water affects the body helping it heal.

 


[1] Water Cure Journal, Pneumonia, John Wilson, MD, ND, Birmingham, England, May 1944.

Cashew Cream

Cashew Cream  is a non-dairy topping that can be used on many different desserts instead of dairy cream or whipped cream. It contains raw cashew nuts, an excellent protein source. Natural vanilla bean gives it a unique flavor; dried dates for a sweetener adds a not-too-sweet taste.

Whip this up in a high speed blender or processor. Make any amount needed for desserts using a one to one ratio of nuts to water for your desired consistency.

I recommend this topping over fruits, berries and pies of all types. This is a great substitute for heavy dairy eggs and cream.

NOTE: The cashew nut has a lower fat and higher protein content than most nuts and are a good source of magnesium iron and zinc.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup raw cashews

1 cup water

1/2 cup pitted dried dates

1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp. vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt.

Blend all ingredients in high speed blender or food processor. Adjust water nut ratio as desired.

Serve over desserts. Store in closed jar in fridge for up to 3 days.

Black Olive Zucchini Hummus

This wonderful black olive zucchini hummus recipe is chosen from Ani’s Raw  Food Kitchen recipe book by Ani Phyo. It is an easy to make side dish great for summer picnics, travel snack food and contains all veggies. Hummus without a bean  ingredient, makes it easier to digest. Sunflower seeds and tahini are excellent healthy seeds and a great protein source.

 

 

 

INGREDIENTS:

1/3 cup sunflower seeds, dried

2 cups zucchini, chopped

2 cloves garlic (1 tsp minced garlic)

Juice of 1 lemon, about 2 Tblsp.

1/4 cup plus 1 Tblsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup tahini

1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped.

paprika powder as desired

Process sunflower seeds into a powders. Set aside. Process zucchini, garlic, lemon juice, 1/4 cup  olive oil and tahini until smooth. slowly add sunflower powder back into food processor. Process until mixture reaches http://www.drpamelajeanne.com/krispy-kale/ smooth hummus consistency.

Pour mixture into a b owl and stir in chopped olives. Sprinkle with paprika and drizzle with remaining olive oil.

Will keep in fridge for 3 days.

Serves four.

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