Friday, January 29, 2010

New Niches for Familiar Foods: Collards & Cabbage

Isn't this a colorful January meal?

Ever get tired of plain old sandwiches? Try something new! Use collard greens or purple cabbage leaves as wraps! (or green cabbage, red cabbage, leaf lettuce, butter lettuce...etc!) It's a great way to get more green leafy vegetables in your diet without having a salad at every meal.

Collard greens work especially well for this, as they are really tough. Just cut whole collard greens along their stems, and use each half of the leaf as a wrap. Cabbage leaves can easily be cut to size with a kitchen shears. Fill with your favorite fillings, roll, tuck, and its's wrap!

Some filling ideas include:
  • hummus
  • other bean dips
  • guacamole
  • nut butter (mix with some Thai red curry paste and coconut oil!)
  • lemon-tahini-garlic sauce
  • raw vegetables
  • sprouts
  • raw goat cheese
  • fresh herbs
  • yesterday's leftovers! ;)
  • If you eat eggs... try a leaf wrap instead of a tortilla for huevos rancheros
  • Your usual taco ingredients
What else can you come up with?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Wholesome Wisdom from a 108-Year-Old Man

Yesterday, as I was researching some health-related topics... I happened across an interview by Paul Nison (a health enthusiast and author known for overcoming his ulcerative colitis & Crohn's disease with a raw-food diet) of a 108-year-old gentleman named Bernando Lapallo. Mr. Lapallo is active and healthy. He has his own blog, a facebook page, and even a book which he wrote in 2009, when he was 107. He's trying to make it to 120--- He says he'd like to give Abraham a run for his money!

Here's his biography, as given on his facebook fan page:
Bernando LaPallo was born in Victoria, Brazil on August 17, 1901 to Mattie Carr and Bernando LaPallo Sr. He moved to the United States and was raised by his father who was a doctor in Philadelphia. His first interest was in food and he went on to study the culinary arts at La Sorbonne in Paris, France graduating in 1928. After years of working as a chef on steam liners and resorts he retired in that profession to pursue an interest in the healing arts. He studied massage at The Swedish Institute in New York City. Later Bernando went on to study and become licensed as a reflexologist and podiatrist at NYU. He completed that course of study at the age of 73. He had a successful private massage practice in New York City for more than 20 years treating people from all walks of life. He currently resides in Arizona where he gives talks on the secrets of his youthful vitality and health. Age Less Live More is his first book. He is currently working on a second.
 In the interview, Mr. Lapallo gives some of his advice for living a long and healthy life. Most of his wisdom came to him from his father about 100 years ago, when he was growing up in Brazil. More advice is given in his book: Age Less Live More: Achieving Health and Vitality at 107 and Beyond. Here are some of the bits of wisdom he gives in the interview:

"The first priority in your life should be your health."

  • Eat properly. He believes the best diet consists of fruits and vegetables (especially green vegetables), fish, and lots of fresh juices. Eat lots of raw fruits and vegetables, like Adam and Eve had in the Garden of Eden. Don't eat processed/fast-food.
  • Eat organic.
  • Eat animal protein sparingly: He eats fresh fish 3 times a week, perhaps some canned tuna or salmon, only 4-5oz. He eats meat once a year: lamb, because it was eaten at Passover. He'll eat cheese only on a rare occasion.
  • Drink herbal teas. (He likes sassafras or cinnamon tea with breakfast). The worse thing you can eat for breakfast is a cup of coffee and a doughnut.
  • Don't eat too much.
  • Eat only during daylight hours. Eat dinner early, and don't eat after dinner. Eat dinner between 5 and 7pm, and don't eat after that. You could have water or green tea, but no food. It's too late to eat.
  • Eat/Live for prevention of disease (He drinks cinnamon tea for prevention of diabetes, since he read that cinnamon was good for diabetics). "If you don't get it, you don't have to cure it."
  • Supplement with whole food products: He uses a Superfood powder and Echinacea. These he blends with fruit or juice every day, to supplement his diet
  • Walk every morning: Every day, rain or shine, he walks 1 1/2 to 2 miles before breakfast.
  • "Stress will kill you." --His father told him.
  • Rest is very important.
  • Follow the Ten Commandments. He says his Christian faith is every bit as necessary as food, and remaining long without the nourishment of your soul can leave you just as hungry and depleted as going without food.
  • Keep your feet clean and healthy: Wash your feet in soap (castille soap) & luke warm water every night, use a pumice stone to remove dead skin, dry, and then rub thoroughly and apply olive oil. Put socks on, and go to bed.
  • Use olive oil as a moisturizer for your face. (Notice he hardly has wrinkles)
  • Keep your colon clean, and all the other organs will be able to do their jobs properly.
You can view the 3-part interview at
His story was printed in Phoenix's East Valley Tribune when he turned 105:

The salad pictured above is one I made last week: organic leaf lettuce, fennel, dried cherries, sunflower sprouts, lemon juice & olive oil, Herbs de provence (with a little extra lavender), and sea salt, with homemade sunflower-flax crackers crumbled on top as croutons. Enjoy!

Friday, January 22, 2010

New Niches for Familiar Foods: Daikon Radish

Well, maybe daikon radishes aren't that familiar. I ran across them for the first time at a farmer's market a couple of years ago. They caught my attention as they are so big! In fact, the word is Japanese, and means "large root." Daikon radishes look kind of like large white carrots. They are often used in Asian soups with miso. Think you need to eat a ton of oranges this winter to get your vitamin C? Try Daikon radishes! They have 1/3 of the recommended Vitamin C in a 3 oz serving, which is also only 18 calories worth. They are mild-flavored, so they are really quite versatile... and make a perfect substitute for pasta. Low-calorie, high vitamin C.... that's a lot more than you can say for plain old spaghetti!

I believe it was first through following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet a few years ago that first introduced me to the concept of using strips of zucchini as a substitute for traditional pasta. When I got started on the raw food vegan diet, I came across all kinds of recipes calling for "noodles" made from all kinds of different vegetables. You can have fun with...
  • radish noodles
  • zucchini noodles
  • yellow squash noodles
  • carrot noodles
  • cucumber noodles
  • beet noodles
  • asparagus noodles
  • even young coconut noodles
You can makes these using a spiralizer, a grater, and mandolin slicer, a vegetable peeler, or a knife. The sauces can be anything from marinara sauce to creamy mushroom sauce to pad thai sauce. The possibilities are endless! To soften the "noodles," just let them marinate in whatever sauce you use. No cooking required. "Easy Peasy," as they say.

This is great if you are trying to cut back on processed grain noodles, eat gluten free, eat more vegetables, or just have some more variety in the kitchen!

So, above, I created a sort of Mediterranean noodle dish. It is daikon noodles (made on a mandolin), marinated in a sauce of: sun-dried  tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, onion, basil, rosemary, thyme, with sunflower sprouts and asparagus. I warmed it in the dehydrator for half an hour before eating, and served it with a balsamic-dressed salad.

Not bad for eating raw food in a northern Minnesota winter!

Monday, January 18, 2010

If You Do One Healthy Thing Today...

...Try a new Fruit Salad!

This makes a great healthy, quick & easy breakfast. Besides that, having fruit for breakfast helps continue the cleansing process that your body was doing during the night while you slept. Besides that, it's delicious!

Try this instead of your morning cereal. You can even put some diluted coconut milk or banana "milk" (just blend some banana and water) over the top. It's naturally sweet! Or, if you like, drizzle some pure maple syrup or raw honey over everything.

My combination above is:
  • red bartlett pear
  • dehydrated banana chips, halved
  • dried black mission figs
  • goji berries
  • frozen strawberries
A few raw nuts or seeds added make for an excellent muesli. What are some of your favorite fruit salad combinations?

Monday, January 11, 2010

18 Ways to Dramatically Improve Your Diet

Now that the decorations are put away, the cookies are eaten, and our lives are devoid of the hustle and bustle that took place just weeks ago, it seems like a good time to replenish our energies, restore our health, and look forward to the longer days and sunshine ahead. Of course, those of us who live within just a couple of hours' drive from Canada will have to wait just a little longer than the rest of you!

In the spirit of this rejuvenation, here's a list of what you can do now to contribute to your health and wellbeing as we begin 2010! :   (In no particular order...)

  1. Decrease your consumption of animal protein, and eat more greens and raw fruits and vegetables.
  2. Buy as much organic food as you can, especially for the dirty dozen.
  3. Eat only organic/free-range/grass-fed meats and eggs.
  4. Don't buy commercial milk. --Learn to make your own nut milks (It's easy!).
  5. Have a green smoothie every morning for breakfast.
  6. Learn to make your own salad dressings, using organic extra virgin olive oil.
  7. READ LABELS. If you don't understand the ingredients, don't buy it.
  8. Replace canola or "vegetable" oils with organic extra virgin olive oil (for dressings) and virgin coconut oil (for cooking).
  9. Eliminate all genetically modified foods. These depress the immune system and cause a host of other problems, most of which have not even been recognized yet. (Look out for PLUs starting with 8). Avoid these common GMO ingredients: corn, canola, cottonseed, soy.
  10. Eat only organic fermented soy: tamari, miso, tempeh, for example, and only on occasion. Don't eat soy substitutes, i.e. veggie burgers, soy milk, soy ice cream, etc. Soy messes with hormones and depresses the thyroid, among other things.
  11. Eat a big salad of organic leafy greens every day. Add different fruit and vegetable combinations to keep it interesting.
  12. Avoid SUGAR in all forms! White sugar (and brown sugar) is a drug. See William Dufty's book "Sugar Blues." Natural sweeteners are an improvement (maple syrup, honey), but are best eliminated for several months before added back in moderation. For your sweet tooth... try different kinds of fruit. Have you ever had a persimmon? a pomegranate? a dragon fruit? Have fun discovering new things!
  13. Eliminate gluten (this means wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut, triticale, and oats unless labeled "gluten-free") from your diet. It is one of the most common allergens. Unfortunately, these are very prevalent in the standard American diet (SAD). Look out for pizza, pasta, crackers, breads, cereals, etc. There are gluten-free substitutes, but the healthiest way to consume any grain is in their "whole" form. Some gluten-free options include amaranth, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, brown rice, and corn.
  14. Start weaning yourself from caffeine--especially coffee. Try Teeccino, Roma, or other natural coffee substitute. If you need that "lift" or mental focus try Yerba Mate tea, green tea, or Think O2 from Traditional Medicinals.
  15. Avoid alcohol... at least for now. You can always add back some organic wine down the road for special occasions.
  16. Avoid restaurant food. There's more in it than you'd ever want to know. It's easy to bring a salad for lunch, or pick up some organic fruit to grab on the go.
  17. Instead of candy bars or even protein bars, try a Larabar. It's made of basic ingredients like dates and other dried fruit, nuts, and spices. You can even find a recipe to make your own! (just Google it)
  18. When there's not much in season in the produce section, don't forget about frozen foods. You can get frozen asparagus, broccoli, peas... etc. Frozen is the next best thing after fresh. Avoid canned food!
This may seem overwhelming, so I recommend doing it a little at a time. Each week, pick one thing to work on. By summer you'll have made excellent progress and will likely reap benefits that come from eating healthy foods and eliminating the toxins so prevalent in our food supply. If that seems like too much to think about right now, start with this: Buy some buckwheat groats (they're gluten-free!) and make the buckwheat porridge pictured above. Here's the how to make it:

Buckwheat Porridge
(serves 1)

1/2 cup whole buckwheat groats
1/2 to 1 whole banana
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 to 1 tsp vanilla

Soak buckwheat groats in water overnight. Drain and rinse in the morning. Pour into blender. Add other ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl to serve, and top with fresh (or thawed frozen) berries or fruit, perhaps sweetened with a bit of stevia. Enjoy!

    Thursday, January 7, 2010

    New Year's Health Resolutions

    Did you know... that the vast majority of New Year's resolutions people make are typically health-related? Eat healthier, Lose Weight, Exercise More. How about you? Well, we are now one week into 2010! How are you doing so far?

    Even though I am already on a rather healthy diet (raw food, organic, vegan) due to a chronic health condition, I still have certain goals for improving my diet, lifestyle, and health for this upcoming year.

    Kimi, over at The Nourishing Gourmet is hosting a Nourishing New Year's Resolutions Carnival, and this is my contribution:

    My {Health} New Year's Resolutions for 2010:
    1. Drink plenty of water = 1/2 my weight in ounces per day.
    2. Refrain from eating after dinner/ try to finish eating by 6:00 pm. (This is helpful for getting restful sleep, and in your body's detoxification process through the night)
    3. Limit my dependence on nuts and dried fruit for snacks, opting instead for water-rich fresh fruits and vegetables.
    4. Go to bed earlier: 10:00 bedtime.
    5. Work out at Anytime Fitness at least 3 times a week for at least one hour at a time.
    6. Get fresh air~ go cross-country skiing, hiking, snowshoeing... get outside as often as I can (preferably when the temperatures are above zero!)

    View other contributions (or add your own!) HERE.  ...Or post below!

    Incidently, the fruit salad above is a simple combination of the following:
    starfruit, persimmon, pomegranate seeds, and unsweetened dessicated coconut. Enjoy for breakfast, a snack, or a healthy dessert!

    Wednesday, January 6, 2010

    An Epiphany: Raw Vegan Hot Fudge Brownie

    Happy Epiphany! Today is the Twelfth Day of Christmas, and the day we western Christians (who follow the historic Church Year) commemorate Epiphany, the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child. Since "Epiphany" comes from the Greek word for "appearance" or manifestation, this day celebrates God's appearance (in the Person of Christ) to the Gentiles (non-Jews), including in this case the Magi.

    In other countries, there have historically been special celebrations and traditions that surround this day. Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" or "As You Like It" was written to be performed at this time. Food, of course, is also a major player in such celebrations. In France, they celebrate with a special cake; in Spain, with a sweet bread; in India, a sweet rice pudding.

    So, for a log house in the northwoods (in my case), how about a clone to a hot fudge brownie... maybe with some coconut creme? It's even good for you! ;) There's no chocolate, no sugar, no flour... and believe it or not, it's delicious!

    This is more of a prescription than a recipe, but here goes:

    Raw Vegan Hot Fudge Brownie with Coconut Cream
    [This serves 1]

    1-2 Tbsp Roasted (okay, so it's not completely raw) carob powder
    1-2 Tbsp (same amount as carob) virgin coconut oil, liquified
    2-3 Tbsp almond flour (almonds ground in coffee grinder)
    1/8- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
    Coconut milk/cream (refrigerated, so it's nice and thick)

    Slightly warm coconut oil to liquify. Meanwhile, spoon carob into a small dish. Pour coconut oil over it and stir. Mix in vanilla. Add almond flour as desired, to form a thick dough, yet just a bit "fudgey." Top with a dollop of coconut cream right out of the fridge. Enjoy!

    Tuesday, January 5, 2010

    A New Year, A New Look!

    ...What do you think? I'm definitely not a computer/web-savvy person, so this blogging thing is definitely an education in itself. I'm learning as I go! ;) I've known for a while that I needed to present a better image on my blog, but hadn't quite figured out the right settings and found the right resources. I've also been toying around with switching to wordpress, but I think I'll stay here at blogspot after all.

    The Apple represents "Wholesome" in the sense of being healthy, and "Wisdom" in that it reminds me of the Garden of Eden and the famous fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil which is often portrayed as an apple.

    The Books represent both "Wholesome" and "Wisdom" in the knowledge they impart.

    It works, right? I'm still looking at other layouts and backgrounds, so there may be a few more changes in the next week or so! Any comments or ideas?

    Friday, January 1, 2010

    Happy New Year!

    Happy New Year everyone... from my home to yours.  

    A new year gives us each the opportunity to have a fresh start... just like a lovely snowfall...

    One of my resolutions is to spend more time on my blog with lots of fascinating, fun, and functional tips recipes for living a wise and wholesome life-- especially wisdom from past generations. Have ideas you'd like to contribute? Let me know...

    Here's to health and happiness in 2010!