I’m pretty sure the first human to try eating a durian was either clinically insane, starving to death, or my buddy from college (seriously — that guy would eat ANYTHING). After all, a durian is a massive fruit (weighing up to ten pounds) that has an outside shell completely covered in unfriendly spikes — spikes which kill several unlucky people a year…after a piece of the fruit falls on their head.
The inside of a durian isn’t much more inviting either, containing a collection of slimy pulpy pillows that look a lot like gelatinous scrambled eggs. And then, of course, there’s the durian smell that’s so outrageously in-your-face strong (resembling a mixture of tropical perfume and rotting garbage) that the fruit is banned — by law — from many indoor public spaces in the durian’s native Southeast Asia.
If you’re the type who looks to the New York Times Best Sellers list for reading ideas, you’re probably feeling very enlightened this week. Human awakening is a dominating theme on this week’s Paperback Advice grouping (four books out of ten, to be exact), celebrating the Skinny Bitches, the concept of a better world and Oprah.
Oprah Winfrey wrote a bestseller? What can’t she do?
She didn’t. (At least not yet.) But two of the top ten titles are the works of author and spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle, who’s teaming up with the talk show goddess to offer an exclusive online class on his latest guide, A New Earth.
“If this kick ass kale salad doesn’t get you to love your greens, I don’t know what will. Russell James is a raw chef in England with amazing eye candy recipes. He did a chef’s residency at The Plant in Dumbo, NY where he made this dish daily for the staff and they simply couldn’t get enough of the creamy smoke flavor.” – Indulge
Wilted Kale Salad with a Creamy Chipotle Dressing (raw)
For the Wilted Kale:
4 Heads Kale (this will seem like a lot but will wilt down when the salt is added)
My Mediterranean Almond Bread caused quite a stir when I posted it, getting me some very kind comments on various discussion boards. It’s so fantastic to know that something I’ve created has helped someone find a piece of the puzzle that they so needed to help them live a healthier life, in this case, an alternative to bread. That tactile feeling of holding something when eating (get your head out of the gutter!) is very important to me, as it is to a lot of people.
When I mentioned, what seems like ages ago, that I was developing a nut-free version of my bread I had quite a few emails asking me for the recipe. So here it is, and I have to say I’m very pleased with it and have been enjoying mushroom sandwiches for weeks now, they’re so great – once you have the bread made it’s so quick and easy to build a sarnie! Enjoy!
Sun-Dried Tomato and Herb Bread (Nut-free) (raw)
Makes 18 ’slices’
For the Nut-free Bread:
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1 ½ Cup Sun Dried Tomatoes
3 Cups Sprouted Buckwheat (2 ½ Cup dry and unsprouted)
I’m always leery of substitutes. “Try this – it’s almost as good as sugar.” And twenty years (and many packets of this stuff) later, you find out it’s bad for you. Which shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Since when has the easy fix been good for you? But having learned the considerable perils of diet soda, I’ve been on constant prowl for a tasty, fizzy substitute. With immense trepidation, of course.
And then I read about Zevia, which claims to be the natural alternative to diet soda. While the words “natural” and “diet soda” in the same sentence seemed like a big red flag to signal pending disappointment, I couldn’t help going to their site to see how they’re able to back this up. Turns out Zevia contains natural ingredients like stevia, erythritol, natural tartaric, kola nut extract and annatto – none of which I’m familiar with, of course. But a quick trip to the Wiki revealed that stevia is “a genus of about 150 species of herbs and shrubs in the sunflower family (Asteraceae), native to subtropical and tropical South America and Central America.” It’s becoming widely used as a sugar substitute, despite its potentially bitter aftertaste in large doses. Widely used in Japan, the stuff was banned in the U.S. in the early ‘90s and is only now making a legal comeback.
Remember when the term “supermodel” meant something? Namely, Linda, Christy, Naomi, Claudia, Cindy and Kate? Now the word is so overused, there must hundreds of so-called “supermodels” in the skies, on the runways and at the end of cigarettes. Well, the same thing is happening with “superfoods”. Suddenly, there seems to be a lot of them out there. Like mushrooms. But are they really a “superfood”? Let’s see…
Before we embark on their health giving properties, here’s a bit of interesting background on the ‘shroom, kindly sent to us by Mushroom Matrix. Did you know that mushrooms are neither a plant nor an animal, but in fact have their own kingdom? In the 1960s, they were given special classification as the “Kingdom of Fungi”. With an estimated 1.5-2 million species on earth, fungi could theoretically outnumber plants 6 to 1. And just like animals, they inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide.
It’s that time of year again. Just as all the trees burst forth with flowers and brilliantly colored buds open wide to catch the warm sun, I, in turn, blossom into a sneezing, watery-eyed, allergic phlegm-ball. Nature can be so cruel.
Seasonal allergies are the result of excessive immune response to substances that are not normally harmful — like pollen. Daniel Gagnon, the medicinal herbalist for Herbs Etc., puts it well: “Think of it as having a fly in the house. Instead of using a fly swatter to get rid of it, a shotgun is used to dispose of the intruder. You may get rid of the fly, but the damage to the room will be extensive.” The damage Daniel is referring to is the unfortunate result of a stressed out immune system, often leading to compromised immunity and weakened adrenal glands. Annoying sniffles aside, fighting allergies often leaves the body tired and more exposed to new allergies as well as illness.
Spring has arrived. The season of new life in the plant and animal kingdom. In the human kingdom, spring symbolizes growth, renewal and possibly a new handbag. And with pie season officially over, it’s the perfect time to detox. Now, without getting all master-cleansy or juice-fasty on you, here’s a simple way you can benefit from a wonderful seasonal detoxifier — dandelion.
The word dandelion comes from the French for “lion’s tooth”, a reference to its coarsely shaped leaves. In modern day French, the plant is called “pissenlit” which means “urinate in bed” because of it’s diuretic properties. But more on that later…
I had wanted a pressure cooker for a while. I love beans and soups, but the canned stuff just didn’t do it for me. I never liked the idea of eating anything out of a can as it couldn’t be that fresh or healthy anymore and wasn’t very environmentally friendly. Yet on the other hand, cooking beans all day long didn’t sound like an efficient use of energy either. Finally, last Christmas we got a pressure cooker and didn’t have to debate the purchase anymore. Immediately I fell in love with it after my first few attempts with it. I could pour some water and beans in it and make a soup in only 20 min. (8-12 min. of the stovetop being on). It has been a considerable time saver and saves a ton of energy. I don’t even mind soaking the beans overnight or 8 hours, I could just pour the water over the beans in the morning and they are ready to be cooked by dinner. Alternatively though, you can also quick soak them in 20 min. by cooking them under pressure for a minute and then letting them sit. Also if you soak them in hot water instead of room temp. they only need to soak for about 4 hours or so.
This is the first soup I made in the pressure cooker. I had just kept adding a lot of dried seasonings and garlic to the water since I didn’t have a “vegetable stock”, then I turned it to high pressure and crossed my fingers. To my surprise it turned out amazingly delicious, with a lovely balance of flavors. An earthy exotic black bean soup. Salty and tangy with a hint of spice.
You don’t have to have a pressure cooker to make this soup (although I highly recommend them). You can also make it in a regular pan, it just takes a lot longer. You can also use canned black beans and just warm it up and add the other flavors and ingredients to it. It just won’t taste as fresh and homemade.
Chia seed is an ancient superfood that’s currently experiencing a glorious renaissance. It’s a member of the sage family (Salvia Hispanica), and its little black and white seeds were once a staple of the Incan, Mayan and Aztec cultures, along with the Native Americans of the southwest.
“Chia” is actually the Mayan word for strength. The seeds were used by these ancient cultures as mega-energy food, especially for their running messengers, who would carry a small pouch of it with them. Chia has been called “Indian Running Food” and gives an incredibly sustaining surge of energy. I’ve definitely noticed for myself the “running energy” that chia seems to impart. If I eat chia and then run later that day, my endurance and ability to run further is greatly enhanced…pretty impressive stuff!
The chia available at Raw Reform is imported from Mexico and certified organic. In Mexico, they say that one tablespoon of chia seeds can sustain a person for 24 hours. Chia also happens to TASTE great, looks cute (like tiny dinosaur eggs) and is ready to eat really quickly. It also has an off-the-scale nutritional profile.
Why would you want to eat chia?
Chia seeds are said to have two times the protein of any other seed or grain; five times the calcium of milk — plus boron, which is a trace mineral that helps transfer calcium into your bones; twice the potassium of bananas; three times the reported antioxidant strength of blueberries; three times more iron than spinach and copious amounts of omega 3 and omega 6, which are essential fatty acids.
I’ve eaten flax before and thought it tasted like the sawdust that covers the floor at the circus. But as it is a superfood, I’m determined to unearth all of its amazing health-giving properties and attempt to talk my palate into trying it again. Because, filled as it is with unique nutritious qualities, flaxseed certainly deserves its superstar status.
Flaxseeds are full of lignans — “up to 800 times the amount as in any tested plant food” — which is a promising cancer fighting agent (especially breast and colon cancer). Flax consumption can help reduce total cholesterol, including the bad kind and triglycerides. Which makes it good news for the heart as well. As flax is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, it can help diabetics reduce their blood sugar levels and ease the painful inflammation associated with arthritis.
Creamy and sweet, rich and fatty. A food item described by these four adjectives surely can’t be good for you. Or can it? In the case coconut milk, that’s an affirmative. Whereas most foods high in saturated fats are bad for your waistline and your heart, when it comes to coconut milk the (albeit not super slim) but definitely heart-healthy South Pacific islanders are living testaments to its good all round health properties.
While coconut milk, which is derived from the flesh of the coconut, is high in saturated fat, it’s a “good saturated fat”, one which can be easily metabolized by the body. It doesn’t transform into “bad cholesterol” that can clog up the arteries. That’s because the principle ingredient in coconut milk is the lauric acid — the same stuff found in breast milk — which promotes brain development and healthy bones. What’s more, “it’s anti-carcinogenic, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral”, and can strengthen your immune system and protect you from illnesses like hepatitis C, herpes and HIV.