Thursday, May 30, 2013

Benefits of Fermented Foods 2

I am enjoying this series of fermented foods between preparing them for you as readers to see in videos and exploring the actual process of making them. Some foods I have been consuming for years as well as making, and others are completely new! Thank you again for taking this journey with me. Fermented and cultured foods are extremely healing to the body due to the deep nutritional benefits and abundant healthy bacteria.

I cannot stress enough the necessity for healthy bacteria to be predominant in the body. Eating fermented and cultured food is a super way to enhance the bacteria count. A healthy gut is equivalent to a healthy immune system. You cannot have one without the other. Did you know that there is a nervous system inside the gut called the enteric system? When we become stressed, depressed, sad, angry, happy, or scared all of those emotions are felt in our gut...our intestines. Managing stress is integral to gut health. Having a healthy body is one way to manage stress. Being diligent to eat to live and using food as medicine is half the battle. Nutritional deficiency can lead to an unbalanced chemical composition.

Our fermented food for today is kefir. It's origin goes back to the process of making kefir being discovered in the Causasus Mountains. Traditionally you'd take what are called kefir grains, which are not really grains at all, but rather a symbiotic bacteria, and you'd put the grains into animal skin bags with cow, goat, or sheep milk. The bags would be hung in a doorway and left to sit for several hours. Marco Polo actually mentioned the making of kefir during his travels according to the East. Russia was the first country to sell kefir commercially.

Well, the way kefir is made today, at least the way I am going to show you is a little bit different. We will be using kefir grains. I originally obtained mine from Marilyn the Kefir Lady. Her website is in case you would like to order them. She sends wonderful instructions along with the grains. For extra instruction watch my video below.

You will need:
1Tbsp Kefir grains
At least 4-6 cups of either raw or only pasteurized milk depending on the laws in your state
A 1/2 gallon or gallon glass jar
A micro mesh strainer
A large glass bowl
A spoon

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Benefits of Fermented Foods

Before I have discussed the benefits of probiotics. Probiotics are like the beneficial bacteria already in our bodies. Probiotics help the good bacteria grown and control the bacteria that is not beneficial. Healthy intestines alone contain over 100 trillion healthy bacteria. We have bacteria all over and in our bodies.

While taking a high quality probiotic supplement like Young Living Life 5 or Prescript Assist, we need more. The best way hands down to get our vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and healthy bacteria is through our food. We were designed to be nourished. We should be eating to live not living to eat.

An on going goal of mine is to include more fermented and and cultured foods into my and my children's daily regimen. It's cheap, effective, and beneficial to our health. At first sound fermented foods might not sound all that appealing. Whether you realize it or not you are probably already in small quantities consuming them.

Some fermented and cultured foods include yogurt, kefir, kimchee, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, tempeh, natto, and a favorite of mine, kombucha. Foods are fermented by using healthy bacteria with the food or drink and storing them. When the bacteria populates the food it becomes a powerhouse of nutrition.

Kombucha is a fermented tea full of healthy bacteria, B vitamins, and amino acids. Adults and children alike love this beverage. It is yummy, effervescent, and great for you! In today's video I included a step by step guide on how to make plain kombucha. Once you become a kombucha pro, you can flavor it with fruit. I like to use ginger. This is great for families because its easy and low cost.

In order to make kombucha you need the bacteria culture called a scoby. It's a type of fungi or mushroom. You can easily order a scoby or get one from a friend already making kombucha. A good friend gave me a scoby she had grown and instructed me how to make it. I'll teach you what she taught me in the video.

A new scoby will grow on the top of the kombucha as it brews in the jar. What makes it effervescent is the new scoby forms a seal at the top. So CO2 gas naturally builds up inside. Once you make the tea and it goes into the jar with the scoby it will sit on the counter for about 7 days. You should start to see a new scoby grow within a day or two depending on weather and warmth of your house.

Do not store the kombucha in anything other than glass. You don't want toxins from the plastic to leak into the kombucha. Also do not store kombucha in stainless steel either. Once the kombucha is made you store it in the fridge. Any glass container will do, but in order to keep the effervescence use a flip cap bottle. You will need to have a few of these, if the jars/bottles are on the small side, to store almost a gallon of kombucha.

Be aware that there will be strands of bacteria from the scoby either in the bottom or floating around in the tea. That's perfectly normal and healthy to drink.

In order to make your own kombucha you will need:

One scoby
4 organic plain black tea bags
1 cup organic sugar
3 quarts of filtered water
1 stainless steel pot
1 bamboo spoon
1 gallon glass jar
1 6in x 6in square of fabric
1 rubber band
Glass carafe or flip top lid bottles preferably to keep the effervescent bubbles fresh.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Vitamin and Mineral Misconceptions

I've been so busy at home lately it can be difficult to keep up. I understand a hectic schedule. Nonetheless we need to be diligent in taking care of ourselves properly. We were created for a great purpose. It's not all about us, but it is all about Him, Yeshua the Messiah! When He created the world He made wonderful real whole foods for us to consume. Whole foods are not a new trendy concept, it was literally God breathed. King Solomon, in the bible, was right in the book of Ecclesiastes 1:9 when he wrote, " That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun."

Over the next couple of weeks I want to touch upon the missing nutrients from our daily diets, and the ones we are told to supplement with that can actually be dangerous. Today we will focus on magnesium and calcium. Have you noticed that calcium is put into almost everything these days? There is calcium put into milk, it's put in by the way because the natural calcium gets taken out by the harsh processing of the ultra pasteurization and homogenization. It's put into cereals, orange juice, non-dairy milks, and even chewing gum.

 The calcium that is put into these food like products is called fortified calcium, in other words synthetic man made in a lab calcium, extracted from rocks and shells. We were originally designed to naturally absorb our vitamins and minerals from our foods. It was not intended for our nutrition to come from rocks and shells. We were actually given fruits, vegetables, and other seed bearing plants like it says in the bible in the book of Genesis  1:29-30, "And God said, See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food; and it was so." 

From childhood it is drilled into our heads that we need so much calcium. Don't get me wrong, we need calcium, its an important mineral. Our concept of how much we need, however is very askew. I can't help but wonder if its purposeful sabotage to keep us sick along with some many other lies we are told. It can be dangerous to accumulate too much calcium in our bodies, especially when it is synthetic. Not all vitamins and minerals are the same. Too much calcium can be dangerous for the heart and arteries. Often times older women are told by traditional doctors that they need to supplement with calcium, then she will go to Walmart and get the cheapest supplement she can find, and think she is doing the right thing. I frequently encounter older women who come to see me for health counseling or to buy supplements at the natural supplement store I work just in that same position. Most times these women haven't been shown any kind of proof for a calcium deficiency.

There are tremendous amounts of calcium in chia seeds, blue green algaes/seaweed like chlorella and spirulina, and leafy greens like kale, spinach, collards, and swiss chard.  If you are fortunate enough to still live in a state in the USA where raw milk is legal that is also an excellent source of calcium. There is absolutely no reason why enough calcium could not be taken in through a healthy daily diet...unless you are missing the usually under-looked and missed magnesium.

Magnesium is a major mineral. Unfortunately due to an unbalanced fast food diet filled with well...fillers like white bread, rice, and sugar, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, processed soy, and other garbage that makes its way into grocery stores and school cafeterias everyday, its no wonder we are deficient. Deficiencies can be caused from heavy metal toxicity from aluminum, lack of vitamin D3, too much sugar in the diet as it pulls minerals out of the body, lack of greens in daily diet, and filtered water. When we filter our water from all of the yuck, we are also filtering healthy minerals. It's important to replace those minerals by eating organic produce from soil that is mineral rich, using unprocessed sea salts like Celtic and Himalayan that contain magnesium. Avoiding caffeine is imperative because it decrease magnesium quite a bit in the body.

Magnesium actually affects our absorption of calcium. SO it is super important that we are getting enough. It is almost impossible to get too much. A lack of this super mineral can cause symptoms like migraines, fast heart beats, mood swings, trouble sleeping, and lethargy. Magnesium supplementation is not a bad idea if you don't not eat a varied diet. A natural homepathic supplement called Calm is a wonderful choice. Often times children that have hyper active tendencies, ADD, ADHD, or autistic are deficient in magnesium. Foods rich in magnesium are chlorophyll rich foods like green veggies, nuts and seeds like sunflower, flax, sesame, almonds, and pumpkin. Brown rice, tart cherries, and dried herbs like coriander, chives, and basil.

An additional way to maximize magnesium absorption and relieve stress that depletes magnesium is making it a weekly practice to do a foot soak in warm water with epsom salts. Epsom salts are a combination of magnesium and sulfate. Both of these minerals are taken in well through the skin. I suggest doing this 2-3 times a week in the evening as it can be relaxing and magnesium is helpful for resting and sleeping. Take 1/2 cup of epsom salts and pour into a tub or basin with warm water and soak feet for 20-30 minutes. Feel free to add wonderful healing essential oils like lavender or four thieves blend.

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Hemp Milk

Several weeks ago I talked about how hemp seeds are really AWESOME! They are a great source of fiber, healthy fat, and protein. Hemp seeds are really versatile in the kitchen. A fun and yummy way to use them is to make seed milk with them.

The great part about making your own non dairy milk is you control what's in it. The stuff on the shelf is basically a processed food. You also control what you keep it in. Using a glass jar or bottle would be the optimal way to store them. You want to prevent leakage of toxins from plastic or aluminum.

I am using the recipe from my earlier post, with a slight variation. That's another reason to make your own is you can get creative! Flavor it however you want.

Hemp Milk Recipe

4 cups of filtered water
1 cup raw shelled hemp seeds
1/2 Tbsp Simply Organic Vanilla

Just blend!