Friday, March 25, 2011

Real Whole Grains

Many people are allergic to gluten these days and for some it is a serious life threatening condition. An article in an outstanding book called Farm Together Now, describes the cause as being mass-produced, refined wheat flour, depleted of all its nutritive value, making its way into our diet through a host of products.

I've noticed that my daughter always gets a cough after eating a lot of bread, cereal and pasta. So, In order to discover more creative ways to eat gluten-free, I decided to browse the aisles of my local Asian food market. In the process, several new food discoveries came to my attention. There were a bevy of different grains to choose from and in many different forms. I realized how easy it can be to eliminate gluten and still create varied and delicious meals. I will share with you some of my exciting finds. They are not all completely gluten free, but the wheat flour that some use is high-quality, whole grain. These Hakubaku Cha Soba Noodles are made with Green Tea and Buckwheat flour and are rich, tender and taste spectacular tossed with Toasted Sesame Oil, Braggs Liquid Aminos and lots of garlic.

I also found these Vietnamese Banh Pho Noodles and love to use them in a broth made with garlic, ginger, Nama Shoyu and hot pepper.

My daughter loves to use these Rice Paper Wraps to make spring rolls using cilantro, steamed shrimp and leftover rice noodles.

And here are some noodles not made with rice or wheat. They are Mung Bean Vermicelli and are really, super good. They are a lunch box favorite in our house.

I also found these gems and was reminded of a wonderful restaurant in Soho, NYC called Rice, which served up all types of lovely rice dishes. This is Black Rice and has the most pleasing texture and aroma.

Strangely, the picture on the cover is of white rice, but as you can see from a bowl of it, the rice is a deep, earthy black!

Try steaming it in Coconut Milk and add a little honey for an effortlessly delicious rice pudding.

Sweet Brown Rice and Millet are two other wonderful gluten free grains that I came across. The rice is nutty and aromatic and the Millet has a slight crunch like an al dente pasta.

Last but not least, the Organic Whole Barley is a true delight. Make a stew with it using mushrooms, carrots, celery, garlic, and ginger. It is such a wholesome comfort food, you can even make a breakfast cereal with it using agave, dates and chopped almonds.

Oh, and Japanese Sweet Potatoes! I spotted these and wondered how they differed from the ones I normally get. What a wonderful surprise. They are not a grain of course, but are so incredibly scrumptious that, lately, I can't get enough of them.

The flesh is white and oh so sweet, with a potato like texture.

I boiled them in a soup with curry, mint, basil, tamarind and coconut. So, so good...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Our Daily Salad

One habit which insures that you will never get ill, is the daily green salad. If you have at least one heaping plate of raw fresh, organic salad filled with leafy greens, colorful seasonal vegetables and drizzled with some top quality oils, then your body will thank you. The incredible thing about good salads is they provide the raw fiber, vital nutrients and trace minerals that help the digestive organs eliminate any cooked or processed foods we've indulged in. I like to have an enormous salad as a main meal every day and I can feel how it inspires and empowers me on a cellular level. There are so many amazing greens out there and I love to try them all. Not only do they add color and texture to a salad, but they pack a strong nutritional punch. In Cleanse and Purify Thyself by Richard Anderson, he talks about living off of wild greens for weeks while camping in the mountains. The level of healing he experienced from this simple diet goes to show how leafy greens and herbs really are a near perfect food. The  key to a stellar salad is a light dressing. Take care not to overwhelm all those fresh vegetables with thick rich sauces. A light vinaigrette, made with Olive or Sesame Oil, Lemon and Nama Shoyu, works magic. Here are some of the salad specialties that I put together and enjoy daily. My favorite green to eat is Arugula and here I mix it with plum tomatoes, and purple and orange carrots!

Another favorite is romaine lettuce with sliced radish, carrots, cherry tomatoes, chopped green onions and Picholine olives.

Spinach is a wonderful base to use, too, with raddicchio, tomatoes and kalamata olives.

Celery stems and roots with radish, avocado and garlic make this salad a hearty and crunchy delight.

Sometimes, I just fill my plate with Cilantro, tasty Nicoise olives and sugarplum tomatoes for an easy, yet, super-healthy salad.

Adding a whole avocado to raddicchio, dandelion and more multi-colored carrots turns this salad into a meal.

If you do nothing else to modify your diet, make sure you have a daily super-salad loaded with crisp, organic veggies and dark leafy greens. This alone will detoxify and cleanse your body in ways you will notice almost as soon as you begin. I promise you.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

True Sweets

For the Science Fair, my daughter conducted an experiment on what it takes to break down popular candies. We had loads of candy left over from Halloween and this turned out to be a great way to make use of it. She used different liquid solutions and tried to dissolve several candy varieties in them. The results were quite amazing. Would you believe that regular tap water had similar dissolution qualities to hydrogen peroxide. This confirmed how important it is to filter water that comes from the tap. And the so called chocolate withstood even the strongest solutions and remained intact till the end. All in all the candy took ages to dissolve, with the fruit flavored candy leading the pack. Unfortunately, the results did not sway kids at the fair from asking to eat the candy on display. But, it was a fun experience and we sure did learn a lot.

Here are some all natural candies that have no chemical food dyes or preservatives. They are easy on a child’s digestive system and taste good, too. Green & Blacks Chocolate bars are pure and good, just what we want for our little ones.

For fun and healthy snacking, these all natural Chocolate Coins from Trader Joe's are a hit.

Here are some truly sweet gum drops from Tree Hugger any child would enjoy.

And how about an Organic lollipop from Yummy Earth, instead of the standard sugary, red-dyed #40 version.

I found some wonderful all natural Candy Canes during the holidays and as you can see they were very much loved.

These Ginger Candies are good for them to suck on, especially on long drives.

Or better still, some Just Strawberries! They really taste like little melt in your mouth strawberry dew drops.

There are so many options and no good reason to let the little one's eat sugar, chemicals, dyes and what have you, packaged in bright colors. And while we're on the subject of treats for children, let's take a step beyond candy. Many healthy treats can delight a child just as much as those snicker bars and skittles. Like homemade air-popped Organic Popcorn! You can add a bit of Pure Organic Agave, Organic Olive Oil and Seasalt for your own signature batch of kettle corn.

Don't rule out these cute little Organic Apple Sauce cups from Earth's Best Kidz. They are sweet, charming and nutritious. All the qualities a real treat should have.

But, if you are looking for a true sweet fit for a child, nothing beats good old-fashioned fruit. Put a huge bowl of organic delights made by nature on the table and let them eat their fill.


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