Saturday, November 27, 2010

Yacon Syrup – A Healthy Sugar Alternative

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Yacon syrup is derived from the root of the yacon plant. This member of the sunflower family is found in South America, and Peruvian people use the root chopped in sweet dishes. The syrup has a distinctive flavor, not unlike molasses or caramel.
What makes yacon a healthier alternative to sugar is its low glycemic nature and the fact that it is a whole food, easily accommodated by individuals wishing to eat a more natural diet. It is free of glucose, and 30% of its sugars are fructooligosaccharides, or FOS. FOS are not absorbed by the body, so they pass through the digestive system without getting metabolized. Because of this, yacon syrup has half the calories of another common liquid sweetener, honey, and can be used by diabetics.
* Potential health benefits
Colon health
FOS are prebiotics – that is, they set the stage for healthy intestinal flora to flourish. Thus, yacon’s cleansing effect on the colon will not create an imbalance of “good” bacteria.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Top 5 Healthiest Dark Green Vegetables

Remember when your parents used to load your plate up with veggies and not let you have any dessert until you finished every last bit? They may have known that veggies were good for you but did they know just HOW good those dark green vegetables were?
Take a look at Popeye and his spinach. He would down a can and practically lift a car. Impressive wasn’t it? Maybe the general idea isn’t so far fetched. We get a lot of nutrition from those greens.
Five of the healthiest dark green vegetables include broccoli, kale, spinach, romaine lettuce and Swiss chard. These vegetables, identified by their dark green color, are rich in antioxidants and usually have large amounts of phytochemicals like Vitamin C.
If you’ve turned on the television in the past three years, antioxidants have been all over the news. They’ve been proven to help reduce the risk of cancer and strengthen the immune system.
Many foods tend to lose nutrients when cooked. The great thing about these dark green vegetables is that you can find them easily in your grocery store and they taste great with little or no cooking, leaving much of their nutrients intact.
Here is some important information about these healthy veggies:
Broccoli is a fun vegetable for kids because it feels like you’re eating a small tree. In fact, the little buds are actually tiny flourettes that contain more than twice the amount of Vitamin C of an orange.
Some facts about broccoli you may not already know include:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Importance of Colon Cleansing

This topic always strikes home with me because I am a colon cancer survivor. At 28 years old I was not at all concerned about colon health ( I thought the subject was a bit taboo) but then my colon rocked my world and now I think about colon health OFTEN!
A great many physical ailments have been attributed to a colon in need of cleansing. While colon cleansing is not a cure-all, it does have a valid place in a healthy lifestyle. Here are some reasons why, and some suggestions for how to do a colon cleanse.
What does the colon do?
In short, the colon eliminates solid waste from the body. After the nutrients from the food you eat are absorbed through the small intestine and distributed via the liver into the bloodstream, the “leftovers” move into the large intestine, or colon, where they are eliminated when you go to the bathroom.
Problems arise when wastes accumulate in rather than exit the colon, causing constipation, bloating, and/or a condition known as systemic intoxication or poisoning. Systemic intoxication can lead to cognitive difficulties such as confusion, and even emotional problems such as depression and irritability. Some sources suggest that allergic “attacks” of hives, sneezing, and coughing are due to systemic intoxication. Accumulated waste in the colon has been implicated in cancer, diverticulitis, and nutrient deficiencies.
How is colon cleansing done?
The term “colon cleansing” is relatively broad, and can refer to anything from fasting to taking an enema. Usually colon cleansing involves multiple steps. Here is a typical, multi-step cleansing program for the lower intestine.
1. Fast

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How to Make Your Own Dried Fruit

Why not lay aside some of summer’s bounty as dried fruit? It is simple, economical, and requires little in the way of special equipment. Because there is no long cooking involved, drying fruits preserves more nutrients than canning. And children often prefer this high-fiber snack to candy. You can dry fruit whole, sliced, chopped, or as fruit “leather.” Here are some of the basics of dried fruit.You can dry fruit using very simple implements you probably have on hand, or you can use more specialized equipment. If you live in a hot, dry climate, all you need is a screen, a cloth, and the sun. More humid climates require an oven or a home dehydrator. Even in a humid climate a sunny day may do the trick – you can even dry fruit in your parked car with the windows cracked.Nearly all fruit can be dried by one method or another, as long as it is just ripe, not overripe. If your fruit is already overripe, you can use it to make fruit leather.Technically, you don’t need to do anything to the fruit besides dry it; but steam blanching for 2-5 minutes can increase the shelf life of the fruit by destroying decay-producing enzymes. And dipping the fruit in various types of solutions can enhance color retention. A universal dip that works for all fruits is made by mixing 2 tablespoons of powdered ascorbic or citric acid (or five 1-gram vitamin C tablets, crushed) with 1 quart of water. Dip fruit for 5 minutes.Berries, apples, peaches, and bananas are good choices for fruit leathers. Puree seeded, pitted, peeled raw fruit in a food mill or blender and pour it no more than 1/4? deep onto a parchment-paper lined cookie sheet with sides.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Benefits of Wheatgrass Juice

“Wheatgrass” is simply sprouted wheat. There are several stages of sprouting wheat kernels or berries. Very short sprouts can be dried and ground for a sugar substitute; fully-grown wheat sprouts, of course, are the high stalks of wheat harvested by farmers for more wheat berries. In between these is wheat grass, several inches of green, grass-like leaves sprouted from wheat berries. The juice from this grass is full of health benefits, some of which are discussed below.

Wheatgrass helps restore a balanced state in the body (homeostasis), creating an environment that is unfriendly for the growth of pathogens and “bad” bacteria.

A University of Texas Cancer Center study indicated cancer-inhibiting qualities in wheatgrass juice, due to the high chlorophyll content.

Anemia can be helped by the ingestion of wheatgrass juice. (see “Blood” below for more information)

The nutritional profile of wheatgrass is impressive. It is full of amino acids, which are the basic components of protein. It also has around 30 enzymes, calcium, iron, magnesium, beta-carotene, potassium, and zinc.

Creams, ointments, and lotions made with wheatgrass juice soothe sunburn and other burns. It can help itchy rashes and heal acne as well. Even soaking in a bath to which a cup or so of wheatgrass juice has been added can soothe and heal skin.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Benefits of Himalayan Salt

I use Himaylan Pink Salt at home for flavoring foods. I had never even heard of it until some raw foodie friends recommended it and now I don’t use anything else.

When most people hear the word “salt,” they think of sodium chloride. This is what is commonly sold in stores, and usually has one or more of the following added to it: calcium silicate (anti-caking agent), dextrose (sugar), and iodine.

Himalayan salt is different. It comes from an old lake bed (the lake evaporated in the past) in northern Pakistan at the base of the Himalayan mountains.  It is hand-mined, hand-washed, and sun dried. Its crystal structure is not unlike precious gems, and proponents of the salt make all sorts of claims about its benefits. Here are some of the suggested uses and benefits of Himalayan salt.

1. Air purifier

It is said that a large chunk of Himalayan salt placed near the computer or television reduces the effects of the radiation these appliances emit. It also has been credited with neutralizing second-hand cigarette smoke in the air and absorbing other airborne impurities. It is especially effective when heated, such as when the salt chunk is made into a lamp.   

2. Skin cleanser

Himalayan salt contains magnesium and bromine, which have a cleansing and detoxifying effect on the skin. This makes it especially beneficial for those suffering from dermatitis due to allergies. Mix some of the salt with a gentle skin cleanser or water and use on the skin, massaging it well. Rinse.

3. Brine

Superfoods by David Wolfe

Superfoods is a book written by nutritionist and superfood guru David Wolfe. In his book he describes the top 10 super foods and their health properties. His arguments are based on solid research. The Top 10 Superfood list includes:* Goji Berries – Fountain of Youth* Bee Products – Royal Jelly, Bee Pollen, Honey, Propolis* Aloe Vera – Essence and Egyptian Secret of Immortality* Hempseed – Superfood of the Future* Coconuts – Symbol of ParadiseAlso included as superfoods in his honourable mention section are:Acai, Camu Camu Berry, Chlorella, Incan Berries, Kelp, Noni and Yacon.The author describes each superfood in detail, its health properties and uses in nutritious and delicious recipes. Superfoods contain a vast amount of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, essential fatty and amino acids and should be an important part of our daily healthy diet. Superfoods also help us to maintain a healthy weight and improve our immune system. They nourish our muscles, skin, hair, inner organs and help us to increase our general well-being.The book is printed on eco-friendly paper using vegetable based ink.

Superfoods is an awesome book written by nutritionist and superfood guru David Wolfe. In the book he describes the top 10 super foods and their health properties. His arguments are based on solid research and his experiences with these foods. His Top 10 Superfood list includes:
* Goji Berries – Fountain of Youth
* Cocoa – Raw Chocolate
* Maca. – Andes Aphrodisiac
* Bee Products – Royal Jelly, Bee Pollen, Honey, Propolis
* Spirulina – Protein Queen
* AFA – Blue Green Algae
* Marine Phytoplankton
* Aloe Vera – Essence and Egyptian Secret of Immortality
* Hempseed – Superfood of the Future
* Coconuts – Symbol of Paradise
Also included as superfoods in his honourable mention section are:

Friday, November 19, 2010

21 Raw Questions

I have seen a few of my favorite raw food bloggers doing these 21 raw questions so I thought I would give it a whirl…
1. Favorite Raw Vegan milk? Almond Milk… we drink it straight up, put it in cereal, and add it to fruit to make ice cream, and of course we make yummy smoothies, usually banana chocolate with Amazing Grass Powder.
2. What are the top 3 recipes you are planning to make? Hmmm… this summer I am looking forward to raspberry and blackberry sorbet, watermelon smoothies, and fruit salad. We like to keep it simple.
3. Most disastrous recipe/meal failure? The first time I made raw key lime pie it came out lumpy and REALLY sour because I just peeled some key limes and threw them in the blender. The next time I just juiced regular limes instead.
4. How do you organize your recipes? I keep them on my computer in text files, or bookmarked from web sites… it is not a very good system and I need to figure something else out.