Posted: March 3, 2014 Filed under: Food, Health | Tags: cultured foods, fermented foods, good bacteria, Gut flora, gut health, pre-digestion, probiotics
5 reasons your digestive system isn’t working properly
It seems nearly everyone has digestive issues these days. Crohn’s, IBS, colitis, celiac, and dozens of other digestive disorders have made an industry out of sugar free, gluten free, and dairy free products. So why is it that those with digestive issues can’t often fully fix them and have to follow a very strict diet or suffer the painful consequences?
Gut flora imbalance
One of the main reasons you are not able to digest food properly is bacterial imbalance in your intestinal system. An ideal ratio for a properly functioning gut is 85 percent good bacteria to 15 percent bad, and when this is accomplished the good bacteria flourish and are allowed to do their job of digesting and absorbing certain starches, fiber, and sugars.
Unfortunately, a lifetime of habits littered with antibiotics, sugar, alcohol, toxins, and ‘dead’ food has destroyed the proper balance we require for good digestion.
In your effort to regain proper gut flora balance, consider antibacterial foods and herbs like garlic, onions, oregano, cloves, and black walnut. At the same time consider probiotic rich foods like green leafy vegetables and fermented foods such as sauerkraut, tempeh, and kefir.
(Note – BIO-SIL has cultured vegetables available – we believe this is a crucial area of health that needs to be explained and practised Keep peepers on this blog!)
Enzymes play a key role in our health by enabling our bodies to properly digest and use all the nutrients we take in to their greatest potential. If we do not introduce enough enzymes through our food, we put more pressure on the pancreas to produce enzymes in order to break down waste products, which eventually can leave it overworked and unable to produce the enzymes required to facilitate proper digestion.
To maximize your enzyme production, first increase your consumption of raw, organic food like papaya, pineapples, bee pollen, kefir, and fermented vegetables. Chew your food thoroughly to properly mix them with your enzyme rich saliva, which helps the process of pre-digestion.
Juicing is one way to really increase the amount of easily assimilated enzymes into your digestive system, as well as digestive and systemic enzyme supplements.
Previously, it was believed that magnesium was required for up to 325 enzymatic processes, but according to new research, that number is closer to 800. This makes magnesium very important in the digestive process.
Magnesium is also heavily implicated in proper functioning of muscles, including those in the lining of your digestive tract. A deficiency in magnesium causes the peristaltic action in your digestive system to slow right down, which hinders the movement of waste, and backs up the digestive process.
Consider liquid magnesium supplements, and loading up on salads rich in leafy greens and vegetables.
Stress creates all sorts of problems for your digestive system. It strips your body of various vitamins and minerals (B vitamins and magnesium to name a couple), tightens your muscles, slows down bowel movements, and inhibits absorption of enzymes and probiotics, as well as other nutrients.
Keep your stress in check through chamomile, medicinal mushrooms, kefir, and acts of gratitude, meditation, and exercise.
Heavy metal toxicity
There are many types of toxins that can cause digestive distress, however, one of the most gut compromising toxins falls in the heavy metals category.
Heavy metals are introduced into our bodies in a variety of ways, but some of the more problematic gateways are through vaccinations and mercury amalgams. Not only does this create a great burden for proper liver, gallbladder, and pancreas function (including secreting bile to facilitate digestion), but heavy metals also kill off good bacteria to further impair the digestive process.
Heavy metal detoxification is a delicate process and should be handled by a professional, but you can consider chlorella and cilantro to help bind and remove them from your system.
Posted: February 28, 2014 Filed under: Food | Tags: store food, vegetable storage
22 Unusual Tips, Tricks, and Tests to Make Your Food Last Longer
~by Rachel Grussi
February 27, 2014
Wasting food feels horrible. Whenever I find old, moldy food in the fridge and toss it, unused into the trashcan, I feel like I’m A) pouring money into the garbage, and B) wasting things like a true American. Food spoiling and being thrown away is a total privilege that is used way too often! So try these tricks to keep your uneaten food out of the landfill:
1. Cook vegetables as soon as you buy them. To keep veggies longer and prevent wasting food, chef and food writer Tamar Adler suggests the intriguing idea of cooking your vegetables immediately after buying them. You can prepare and refrigerate a week’s worth of precooked food beforehand, which can be warmed to room temperature and dressed with vinaigrette for a salad, baked into a mid-week casserole or tossed into vegetable curry at the end of the week.
2. Store your onions in pantyhose; they will last as long as 8 months (because they feel fabulous, most likely!). It’s as simple as putting onions in nylons, and tie knots between onion.
3. Wrap lettuce in tinfoil to help it stay crispier longer. Make sure it’s dry, though, and freshly salad-spinned. Moisture is the cause of lettuce wilting.
4. Did your bread go stale before you could finish it? Rub an ice cube over stale bread, and then bake it for 12 minutes to revive it.
5. Keep tomatoes out of the fridge; instead, store at room temperature. Same for bananas!
6. Get an ethylene gas absorber for the fridge. Ethylene really makes or breaks the freshness in your foods, so it’s wise to invest. It’s not too expensive, either; a set of 3 costs $16. These little pods absorb the ethylene emitted by fruits and vegetables to keep them fresh up to 3x longer. Here’s a handy list of ethylene-producing and ethylene-sensitive foods.
7. Tired of your cilantro rotting before you can make your fourth batch of salsa? Store delicate herbs like you would flowers, then cover with plastic, secure with a rubber band, and refrigerate. This is the best for delicate herbs like parsley, basil, cilantro, and chives.
8. Oily herbs cannot be stored the same way. Herbs like thyme can be tied loosely together with string and hung in the open air.
9. Use a vinegar solution to make your berries last longer. Prepare a mixture of one part vinegar (white or apple cider) and ten parts water. Swirl the berries around in the mixture, drain, rinse, and put them in the fridge. The solution is diluted enough that you won’t taste the vinegar. Raspberries will last a week or more, and strawberries go almost two weeks without getting moldy and soft.
10. Don’t store onions with potatoes. It makes them sprout and spoil faster. Instead, put your potatoes with one apple in the bag to keep the sprouting from happening. Low levels of ethylene gas, such the amount an apple omits in a well-ventilated bag, suppresses the elongation of the potatoes’ cells, preventing sprouting. Store them carefully, preferably in a cool, dry place with good air circulation. They can last up to 2-3 months this way!
11. One rotten apple can spoil the bunch. Apples in general can make other fruit ripen faster, so keep them away from the rest.
12. Tired of fridge burn on your cheese? Add a dab of butter to the cut side of cheese to keep it from drying out. You also want to wrap in cheese paper or wax paper (NOT plastic wrap) and then place in a plastic baggie. Keep in the warmest part of the fridge (vegetable or cheese drawer).
13. Freeze and preserve fresh herbs in olive oil. The herbs will infuse the oil while freezing, and the ice cubes are very handy for cooking: just pop one out and use as the base of a dish. Works best with rosemary, sage, thyme, and oregano. Dill, basil, and mint should always be used fresh.
14. Wrap the crown of a bunch of bananas with plastic wrap. They’ll keep for 3-5 days longer than usual, which is especially helpful if you eat organic bananas. Bananas also produce more ethelyne gas than any other fruit, so keep them isolated on the counter.
15. Clean your fridge. Once something goes bad in your fridge or cupboards, it leaves behind a lot of fellow mold friends ready to eat up your new food. Disinfect the fridge — it’ll make everything last a little longer.
16. Tomatoes are a tricky bunch. Don’t store them in plastic bags! The trapped ethylene will make them ripen faster. Unripe tomatoes should be kept stem side down, in a paper bag or single layer in a cardboard box in a cool area until they turn red in color. To ripen faster, store with fruit. The gases emitted will help ripen the tomatoes. Perfectly ripe tomatoes should be kept at room temperature, on the counter away from sunlight, in a single layer, not touching one another, stem side up. Overly ripe tomatoes should be put in the fridge, but let them come to room temperature before eating them.
17. Keep your ginger in the freezer. If you want to make Yogi Tea on the regular, you need to freeze your ginger. It’s easier to manage this way, and it will stay good for a much longer time. It grates much more easily, and the peel grates up so fine that you don’t actually need to peel it.
18. Keep mushrooms in a paper bag, not a plastic bag.
19. Keep your milk and dairy products in the middle of the fridge instead of in the door. This way, it has longer access to cooler temperatures.
20. Making popcorn? Cook it in a bowl with a microwave-safe plate on top. This reduces the amount of unpopped kernels (and waste!).
21. Waste not, want not, even with lemons. If you only need a tiny spurt of juice, don’t slice the whole thing up. Instead, use a skewer or fork to pierce the skin and squeeze a bit of juice out.
22. Freeze flour for the first few days to kill bugs. In case you missed our FDA Regulations post, you never know what’s in your food. So stay on the safe side and store the bag in the freezer for several days to kill weevils and insect eggs (yuck!). Female weevils lay eggs in the grain kernel, and larval weevils feed from within making them difficult to detect. Super heating or cooling will kill these pests easily. Just make sure to wrap your flour well or pack it in a freezer bag to prevent it from picking up food odors. You can continue to freeze or refrigerate flour if fridge space is not an issue
- See more at: http://www.gaiamtv.com/blog/22-tricks-food-last-longer?chan=FacebookBlog&utm_source=FacebookBlog_22TricksFood&utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=10day#sthash.i6ad1d20.dpuf
Posted: February 28, 2014 Filed under: Food, Gardening | Tags: grow food, herbs, Home garden, tub garden, vegetables
Here Are 66 Things You Can Grow At Home In Containers
By Rachel Cernansky
Growing your own food is exciting, not only because you get to see things grow from nothing into ready-to-eat fruits and veggies, but you also don’t have to worry about the pesticides they might contain, and you definitely cut down on the miles they—and you—have to travel.
As it turns out, with pretty minimal effort, anyone can be a gardener. My boyfriend and I are essentially first-timers this season and so far have the beginnings of strawberries peeking out, tomatoes are on their way, the basil’s about ready for a big batch of pesto, and once the last frost hits, the peppers, kale, spinach, chard, and mesclun will be on their way, too. All on a tiiiny little terrace (with the help of a little DIY carpentry).
If you’re up to the challenge—and it really isn’t much of one—growing your own food can be so rewarding. And so much cheaper! Just be sure to choose the right planter or container, learn how to maintain it properly, and go find yourself some seeds! (Or starter plants.)
Like this idea? Be sure to check out these 6 Crazy Concepts for Micro Gardens That Actually Work to get inspiration for designing your own garden in a small space.
Here’s a starter list of all the crazy things even urban gardeners, without space for a garden, can grow at home.
Tree fruits – including apples
1. Apples can be grown in a container; you can also grow them on the balcony or other small space using a technique called espaliering.
3. Avocados (plenty of extra tips online if you search)
5. Blueberries (sometimes helpful videos are available online)
Citrus trees in particular are said to be good for beginning gardeners and are easy to grow indoors, so don’t let inexperience or lack of outdoor space stop you from enjoying fresh-picked, hyper-local fruit.
10. Dwarf oranges
13. Meyer lemons
Tropical fruits can also be surprisingly easy to grow indoors, even in non-tropical climates. Such as…
15. Bananas (look for container gardening tips online)
18. Guavas (several varieties)
The real surprises
19. Hops—yes, as in the ”spice” ingredient in beer. Turns out they’re easy to grow!
20. Aloe Vera
22. Tea (well, herbal tea)
25. Summer squash
26. Other squashes, like acorn and pumpkin
27. Hot Peppers
28. Sweet peppers
30. Small cantaloupe
31. Jenny Lind melon (an heirloom cantaloupe)
32. Golden Midget Watermelon
Just about any herb grows well indoors—just be sure that if you’re going to do any container-sharing, you do your research first about which herbs co-habitate well together. (Some will hog water, for example, and leave the others dried out.)
43. Mesclun greens
45. Swiss chard
46. Lettuces (plenty of options there, from micro-greens to head or loose-leaf)
47. Mustard greens
48. Collard greens
Other healthy-sounding stuff
54. More sprouts: mung bean and lentil sprouts
61. Jerusalem Artichoke
62. Sugar snap peas
63. Rhubarb (not ideal in a container, but it can work)
64. Mushrooms (again, more tips online if you look)
65. Pole Beans
66. Aaaand… asparagus, although some disagree that it does well in a container. Try it if you’re ok with a risk!
Posted: February 22, 2014 Filed under: Food, Health | Tags: arteries hardening, gall bladder, inorganic, joints, kidney stones, minerals, Organic
DISTILLED WATERS KNOWLEDGE: DOCTOR BRAGG AND DOCTOR MCDANIEL ON ORGANIC VERSUS INORGANIC MINERALSDR. BRAGG:”Now, let me give you a short lesson in chemistry. There are two kinds of chemicals, inorganic and organic. The inorganic chemicals like chlorine, alum and sodium fluoride are inert, which means that they cannot be absorbed into the living tissues of the body.
Our body chemistry is composed of 16 organic minerals, which must come from that which is living or has lived. When we eat an apple or any other fruit or vegetable, that substance is living. It has a certain length of life after it has been picked from the vine or tree. The same goes for animal foods, fish, milk, cheese and eggs.
Organic minerals are vital in keeping us alive and healthy. If we were cast away on an uninhabited island where nothing was growing, we would starve to death. Even through the soil beneath our feet contains 16 inorganic minerals, our bodies cannot absorb them. Only the living plant has the power to extract inorganic minerals from earth. No human can extract nourishment out of inorganic minerals.”
—from, “The Miracle of Fasting” by Dr. Paul C. Bragg, N.D., Ph.D.
“What the human body cannot utilize or excrete, it must store. Consequently, the inorganic salts (inorganic minerals) are stored and in time take their toll in the form of hardening of the arteries, stones within the kidneys, urethras, gall bladder, joints and an etiologic factor in enlargement of the adipose cell (fat cell). To be one hundred percent healthy, the human body must be free of inorganic minerals.
“When pure water enters the human body, it leaves no residue. It is free of all inorganic salts. It is the perfect drink for internal cleanliness and health. Reverse osmosis water is crystal clear with every impurity removed, ready for and perfect for human consumption, free from all pollutants including inorganic salts, organic material, bacteria and viruses. No other water excels as fit for human consumption.”
— Dr. T.C. McDaniel, A.B.A., M.A., D.O., Director of Professional Affairs, The National Foundation for Prevention of Obesity
Posted: February 11, 2014 Filed under: Food, Health | Tags: diet, high protein, kidney damage, kidney stones, kidneys, protein
Scientists say high-protein diets increase risk of kidney problems
by David Gutierrez, staff writer
(NaturalNews) High-protein diets place people at risk of kidney damage, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Granada, Spain, and published in the journal Nutricion Hospitalaria.
Diets that emphasize the consumption of protein over carbohydrates, such as the Dukan, Paleo or Atkins diets, have been consistently popular for decades. In recent years, media reports of the Dukan diet helping the Duchess of Cambridge slim down into her wedding dress and helping Jennifer Lopez regain her pre-pregnancy figure have led to a surge in its popularity. Approximately 2 million people are believed to be on the diet in France, the homeland of diet founder Pierre Dukan.
But high-protein diets have always been controversial, with health professionals warning that they can easily lead to excessive protein intake, which can lead to kidney damage.
In the new study, researchers fed rats either a standard diet or a diet consisting of enough added hydrolyzed protein supplement to bring the total protein content to 45 percent. After 12 weeks (the equivalent of nine years in human lifespan), the rats on the protein had lost 10 percent of their body weight relative to the controls. Notably, however, there was no change found in the rats’ lipid profile – suggesting no reduction in their risk of heart disease.
More troublingly, the rats on the high-protein diet experienced an 88 percent decrease in levels of urinary citrate and a 15 percent increase in the acidity of their urine. Their kidney weight increased by 22 percent; the size of capillaries that filter blood to the kidneys increased by 13 percent, and the size of the collagen around those capillaries increased by 32 percent. These last three factors are signs of chronic inflammation.
Low urinary citrate and swollen kidneys are warning signs of kidney stone formation, while low urinary pH is a sign of kidney failure and kidney tubular acidosis.
“Studies developed in humans have also observed very similar results in plasma and urine,” lead author Virginia A. Aparicio said.
This suggests that high-protein diets in humans “could bring long-term renal complications in some individuals most prone to or at increased risk of renal disease.”
Diet with caution
The study is only the latest to cast doubts on the safety of high-protein diets, largely due to concerns about kidney damage. In 2010, 2011 and 2012, the British Dietary Association ranked the Dukan diet as the top diet to avoid. Indeed, Dukan has even been banned from practicing medicine in his native France.
Dukan himself has warned of side effects from high-protein diets, including vitamin and mineral deficiencies, bad breath, constipation and lack of energy. Furthermore, a 2012 study found that 80 percent of people who followed the Dukan diet regained all of the weight they had lost within three years. Weight fluctuation of this type is known to increase the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.
Another major problem with high-protein diets, Aparicio warned, is that they can cause people to prioritize eating meat and eggs over fruits and vegetables. This places further strain on the kidneys and also increases the risk of chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease and cancer.
People who do choose to try out a high-protein diet should do so only under medical supervision, Aparicio said. They should also make an effort to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
“Eating large amounts of fruit and vegetables reduces the risk of kidney stones forming – probably due to their high potassium and magnesium content, which compensates for the acidity of the high-protein diet,” Aparicio said.
Sources for this article include:
Posted: February 8, 2014 Filed under: Food, Health | Tags: arthritic, arthritis, cell salts, hardening of the arteries, heart trouble, inorganic minerals, kidney and gallstone formation, Mineral water, minerals, organic minerals, ossification of the brain, rheumatic, Supplements
Organic and Inorganic Minerals
Minerals must be in their organic state to do us any good at all!
Most knowledgeable people today recognize that the body must have certain minerals to accomplish its work and preserve its health. However, only a few realize that these minerals must be in their organic state to do us any good at all.
Please understand these facts:
Minerals are inorganic as they exist naturally in the soil and water.
Minerals are organic as they exist in plants and animals.
Animals must eat plants or plant-eating animals to obtain their organic minerals.
Inorganic minerals are useless and injurious to the animal organism.
How the Confusion Began
Because inorganic minerals and organic minerals have the same chemical compositions, they were confused by the early nutritionists. The mineral, iron, in the bloodstream has the same chemical composition as the mineral, iron, in a nail—iron is iron, after all. However, these nutritionists incorrectly reasoned that there were no other differences between these two forms of iron. As a consequence, there actually were iron mineral supplements that consisted of surplus powdered nails.
Perhaps you have heard the expression, “mad enough to chew nails.” In this case, mad or unbalanced is certainly the correct word.
These nutritionists made an error in reasoning by assuming that a chemical similarity in minerals also meant there was a nutritive similarity between organic and inorganic minerals. While it is true that the same minerals found in the human body are also found in the soil and water it is wrong to assume that the minerals in the soil are food for man. We are not soil eaters—we are plant eaters.
It is necessary that the minerals in the soil be elaborated into organic compounds by the plant before they can be |assimilated by the body. The various mineral compounds produced by the chemist differ in their structure and in the relative positions of their component molecules than those produced in the plant.
Over sixty years ago a German scientist named Abderhalden conducted a series of experiments comparing how several species absorbed different forms of iron. He found that animals fed with food poor in iron, plus in addition of inorganic iron, were unable in the long run to produce as much hemoglobin as those, receiving a natural iron-sufficient diet.
While the inorganic iron may be absorbed into the body, it is not utilized in the formation of hemoglobin, but remains unused within the tissues. Abderhalden also concluded that any apparent benefit of the inorganic iron resulted from its stimulating effect.
Chemically, it is true that iron in the bloodstream and iron in nails are the same and that calcium in rocks (known as dolomite) is identical to calcium in the bones.
However, it is a grave error to believe that the body can digest and assimilate and utilize powdered nails and crushed rocks.
The idea of administering inorganic minerals as foods and remedies for man started with the German scientist Hensel in the early twentieth century. Later the homeopaths expanded upon his idea and made numerous artificial mineral preparations called cell salts, which are still sold today as popular “cures” for mineral deficiencies. Today mineral supplements exist in many forms and come from many sources. They are all useless.
Mineral supplements are of no benefit to the body because they are:
1) inorganic and 2) fragmented.
Because mineral supplements are inorganic, the body cannot assimilate or use them. In fact, the body must work harder to compensate for the inbalance created by ingesting these supplements. The body accelerates its eliminative activities and works hard to expel these foreign substances. This stimulation is often mistaken for the “beneficial action” of the supplement. Actually, the supplements are not beneficial—they are harmful—and they are inanimate and therefore incapable of acting (except chemically).
As health consumers have grown more aware of the differences between organic and inorganic minerals, so have producers of these supplements. Consequently, there are now mineral supplements which are advertised as coming from “organic” sources. These are equally useless because they exist in a fragmented state, extracted from the sources within which they naturally occur.
Minerals do not work in isolation.
When they are extracted from their natural sources, the other co-existing vitamins, minerals, enzymes, etc., are not also extracted. Even if they were, the process of laboratory extraction destroys any vital benefits that may have been associated with the minerals.
Minerals must be consumed in their natural, unfragmented and organic state to be of any use to the body. The best mineral supplements are those naturally occurring in mineral-rich foods in their unprocessed state—fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouts.
Like mineral supplements, mineral waters cannot provide any beneficial minerals to the body. Any minerals contained in such waters are inorganic and must be expelled by the body.
These inorganic mineral deposits lead to kidney and gallstone formation, hardening of the arteries, arthritis, heart trouble, ossification of the brain and other serious diseases. The unexpelled mineral matter from mineral-containing waters combines with cholesterol to form plaques. These plaques lead to cardiovascular problems, and they join with uric acid to cause arthritic and rheumatic complaints.
The body cells can use only pure (distilled) water—such as that found in fruits and plants—and they reject all inorganic minerals consumed in mineral-laden waters.
When mineralized waters are drunk, a condition known as leukocytosis occurs within the body in thirty minutes to three hours after drinking. Leukocytosis is the proliferation of white blood cells which are the body’s first line of defense against foreign and harmful body substances—in this case, the inorganic minerals in the water.
Mineral waters cannot furnish the body with any needed elements other than the water itself. The remaining inorganic minerals are either eliminated through the skin, kidneys, etc., or they are deposited within the body where they may cause eventual harm.
Sea water is our “richest” mineral water, yet it is poisonous. Similarly, all other mineralized waters are simply dirty waters, contaminated with inorganic matter which is pathogenic to the body.
How Inorganic Minerals Are Transformed
Even plants, when in their embryonic state, cannot use inorganic minerals in the soil, but instead feed on the organic compounds contained within its seed. Not until its roots and leaves are grown can a plant utilize the inorganic minerals of the soil.
The changing of inorganic matter into organic matter takes place principally in the green leaves of the plant by means of photosynthesis. Only by the presence of chlorophyll is the plant able to utilize the inorganic carbon molecule and convert it with hydrogen and oxygen into the organic combinations of starch and sugar. And, ultimately, the plant combines nitrogen and other mineral elements from the soil into more complex organic combinations. Only the chlorophyll-bearing plants have the ability to assimilate iron, calcium and other minerals from the soil and to use the resulting combinations to construct nucleo-proteins.
Vital changes occur in all minerals as they pass into the structure of plants. These changes cannot be isolated by normal chemical laboratory processes which destroy living plant tissues to analyze them. Such crude methods of studying the role of organic minerals in an organism is somewhat akin to the old medical practice of dissecting cadavers to look for evidence of the human soul.
Read more at http://www.rawfoodexplained.com/minerals/organic-and-inorganic-minerals/#agF0tYuZzIfUd35G.99
Posted: February 1, 2014 Filed under: Food, Health | Tags: detox, digestion, Fermentation, gut health, Immune system, Mental health
Unlock the True Potential of Vegetables
- By Kaare Melby
Organic Consumers Association, January 23, 2014
For related articles and more information, please visit OCA’s All About Organics page and our Organic Transitions page.
Want to boost your immune system, increase the nutrient content in your food, improve your mental health and detox your body? Fermented vegetables are for you!
Fermentation is the process that occurs when the natural bacteria in a vegetable break down the food’s complex elements into more digestible forms. When fermentation occurs, vegetables become easier to digest, allowing your body to work less, while reaping more benefits. And those benefits include higher levels of available nutrients, and live cultures of pro-biotic bacteria (kind of like the good stuff in yogurt). These pro-biotic bacteria can improve your digestion, boost your immune system, improve your mental health, and detox your body.
Worried that fermenting is risky? No need! Fermented veggies are actually safer than raw vegetables, because the fermentation process actually kills off any unwanted or dangerous bacteria that may exist on the food prior to fermentation. According to the USDA, there has “never been a single case of food poisoning reported from fermented vegetables.”
Fermented foods have been around for eons. Fermentation is an ancient art that pre-dates writing and agriculture. It’s often considered to be the practice that first ushered our ancient relatives from the natural world, into a culturally driven world. In fact, the word ‘culture’ is another word for fermentation. Sandor Katz, who has written several books on the subject, calls it “a health regimen, a gourmet art, a multicultural adventure, a form of activism, and a spiritual path, all rolled into one.”
And the good news is that it’s a simple process that even the most novice cook can accomplish.
To get started, you’ll want to choose vegetables that are fresh, local, and organic, as your ferment will be only as good as the ingredients you start with. You can ferment any vegetable, but some work better than others. It’s best if you experiment and find a mix of vegetables that you enjoy. Here at the OCA office, we like to mix as many fresh organic veggies together as possible. Not only does this create a variety of textures and flavors, but it also creates a wider variety of beneficial bacteria in the end product.
If you are looking for a good place to start, cabbage is easy to process, and makes a great ferment. Raddishes, carrots, turnips, apples and beets also make good ferments. The fermentation process creates a wonderful flavor that is often refered to as “sour.” But you can add more or different flavors in any way you want. Onions and garlic are great additions, and you can use fresh or dry herbs, and spices, too. The best approach is to experiment until you discover what combination of flavors you like most.
Here’s how to get started.
What you need
• Fresh vegetables
• A knife or grater
• A glass or ceramic jar for fermentation (quart sized, wide-mouth canning jars work well)
• A smaller jar that fits inside the fermentation jar (small jelly jars work great)
• Clean water
• A clean towel
• Rubber band to fit over the mouth of the fermentation jar
• Herbs and spices (optional)
What to do
• Chop/shred/grate vegetables, salting lightly as you go. You want to get all of the vegetables as uniform in size as possible. This way, they ferment at the same rate. Vegetables like carrots and radishes do well grated, while it’s best to slice up that cabbage or onion. As you chop or grate the vegetables, add small pinches of salt. But not too much—fermentation only needs a little. Try tasting as you go. The vegetables should taste only slightly salty.
• Mix the veggies well. You want to make sure that the salt is spread out evenly throughout all the vegetables. Taste the veggies, and add more salt to taste if needed. If you are going to add any herbs or spices, add them now.
• Let the vegetables sit for 5 to 10 minutes. As they sit the salt will start to draw the liquid out of the vegetables.
• Squeeze the vegetables to release their juices. Take handfuls of vegetables and squeeze as hard as you can, keeping the juice that comes out. You want to get as much juice out of them as possible.
• Tightly pack the vegetables into the fermenting jar and cover with collected juice. As you fill the jar with the vegetables, be sure to pack them down tightly to the bottom of the jar. This will help release more juice, and remove any air bubbles that get stuck in the vegetables. Add any remaining juice once the jar is filled. Be sure there is enough liquid to completely cover the vegetables. If you need to, use a mixture of salt and water to bring the juice level up over the vegetables. You don’t need too much salt for the water, just enough to make it taste like seawater.
• Fill the smaller jar with salt water, then place it on top of the vegetables in the fermenting jar. The purpose of the second jar is to hold the vegetables under the liquid in the jar. This will help the fermentation process by preventing “scum” from forming on the top of the ferment.
• Cover the fermenting jar with a clean towel, and secure it with the rubber band. Using a towel to cover the jar ensures that gases can escape, without letting any dirt or bugs get in.
• Let it ferment! Put the jar in an easily accessible area, and keep an eye on it. In about 24 hours you will begin to see air bubbles in the vegetables. This is how you know it’s working. After a few days, the ferment will start to smell sour. Taste it at every stage. This will help you determine how fermented you like your vegetables. Some people like “young” ferments that have only fermented a few days, while others like “mature” ferments that have been fermenting for months. If there is a white layer of “scum” that forms just scrape it off. It’s ok if you don’t get it all. When you like the flavor, remove the towel and smaller jar, put a lid on the fermentation jar and put it in your refrigerator. When the ferment cools down, the fermentation process rapidly slows, and you will be able to enjoy your fermented foods for several weeks or longer.
That’s it! Now you know the secret to unlocking the true potential of your vegetables. To learn more, check out Sandor Katz’s book “Wild Fermentation,” available through Chelsea Green Publishing. Good luck and happy fermenting!
Kaare Melby is social media coordinator for the Organic Consumers Association.
Posted: January 31, 2014 Filed under: Food, Health | Tags: blood pressure, detox, Himalayan, iodine, macrominerals, mineral deficiency, Salt, Sodium, trace minerals
can help mineralize
and detoxify the body
This lovely product is available from BIO-SIL, fine or granules:
by Michael Ravensthorpe
(NaturalNews) Salt is an essential nutrient that our bodies require for transporting nutrients into and out of our cells, regulating blood pressure, exchanging ions and much more. However, not all salts are equal. Table salt, which has been stripped of all its minerals except sodium and chloride, for instance, will not have the same positive biological impact upon our bodies as pure, unrefined salt that boasts a robust mineral profile.
One of the most nutritious and “complete” salts we can purchase today is Himalayan salt, a salt that has been formed over millions of years in the Himalayas and which contains so many macrominerals and trace minerals that it is actually pink in color. In this article, you’ll learn more about the health benefits of Himalayan salt and how it can help transform even the blandest of meals into a powerhouse of nutrition.
Reasons to love Himalayan salt
Rich in minerals - Himalayan salt’s biggest draw, of course, is its dense concentration of minerals. According to a spectral analysis provided by The Meadow, Himalayan salt contains 84 minerals, electrolytes and elements – a staggering number considering that only 118 elements are known to science. For this reason, adding more Himalayan salt to your diet can help rectify virtually any mineral deficiency you might have. Significantly, Himalayan salt contains iodine, magnesium, zinc, iron and calcium – the five minerals in which the United States population are most deficient. Widespread iodine deficiencies (largely blamed on ongoing soil erosion) is an especially serious issue, since iodine plays an essential role in the functioning of the metabolism-controlling thyroid gland. If you add more Himalayan salt to your food, however, you won’t need to worry about an iodine deficiency ever again.
Sodium content - Unsurprisingly, one of the minerals in which Himalayan salt is richest is sodium. Though sodium suffers from a bad reputation due to its connection with processed foods, real, unprocessed sodium is needed by our bodies. It helps regulate blood volume and thus blood pressure, but also helps control muscle contractions, heart functions and nerve transmissions. The recommended daily intake (RDI) of sodium is between 1,500-2,300 milligrams for men and women between the ages of 9-50; one teaspoon of Himalayan salt contains approximately 400 milligrams of it.
Detoxification - Though it is traditionally eaten with food, Himalayan salt’s impressive mineral profile also lends it well to external detoxification. For example, you can’t find a better salt than Himalayan salt in which to bathe; its minerals and negative ions easily penetrate the skin, producing a cleansing and detoxifying effect that can leave your skin and mind feeling rejuvenated and invigorated for hours thereafter. Likewise, Himalayan salt has a positive effect on our air. It’s not a coincidence that virtually all reputable salt lamps are made using Himalayan salt rather than table salt or sea salt; its negative ions bind themselves to positive ions in the air, neutralizing it and ridding it of pollutants.
Himalayan salt can be purchased in health food stores or online, and is usually sold as fine or coarse grains. Fine-grained Himalayan salt is recommend, since the small, unobtrusive crystals are far easier to incorporate into most meals. When purchasing your salt, remember to check that it is pink in color; this indicates that the salt is dense in minerals.
Sources for this article include:
About the author:
Michael Ravensthorpe is an independent writer whose research interests include nutrition, alternative medicine, and bushcraft. He is the creator of the website, Spiritfoods, through which he promotes the world’s healthiest foods.
Posted: January 16, 2014 Filed under: Food, Health | Tags: digestion, Food, Sprouts
Sprouts boost energy, digestion and immunity
by Jonathan Landsman
(NaturalNews) Conventional farming practices destroy the soil; generate poor-quality food and pour tons of unwanted chemicals into our environment. The use of GMOs, toxic pesticides and antibiotics pose devastating consequences to human health. Fortunately, on an individual level, there is a simple solution to many of these dangerous health issues.
Learn how to grow organic food - for pennies per pound. Imagine enjoying fresh food (every day) filled with essential amino acids, antioxidants plus many other immune boosting nutrients. On the next NaturalNews Talk Hour, we’ll talk about the benefits of sprouting and indoor gardening – without the need for soil or farming expertise.
Visit: http://www.naturalhealth365.com and enter your email address for show details + FREE gifts!
6 ways that indoor organic gardening can improve your life
1. Lower your food bill: With rising fuel costs; droughts and poor farmland yields – there seems to be no end in sight to rising grocery store food prices. But, there is an answer, did you know that seeds can multiply 7-15 times their weight. In other words, you get lots of food for pennies per pound – when growing your own food.
2. Greater nutritional value: Most conventionally-grown produce lacks nutrition and they’re filled with toxic chemicals that destroy human health. Organic sprouts have a greater concentration of proteins, vitamins and minerals, enzymes, RNA, DNA and bioflavonoids compared to the mature version of the plant.
3. Chemical-free: When growing 100% organic sprouts - you never need to use GMOs, pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, fumigants or any other cancer-causing chemicals. I often say ‘know the source of your food’ – well, developing your own indoor garden is the best way to achieve food security.
4. Quick and easy. Even in cold weather conditions, anyone can enjoy fresh, living food – 365 days per year.
5. Improve your immune system. Growing your own delicate, easy-to-digest, sprout food can supply a huge amount of enzymes to improve your digestion and immunity. Remember, without enzymes – there is no life.
6. Better for the environment. Growing your own fresh, living sprouts will dramatically reduce the ‘time in transit’ fuel costs related to conventionally-grown agricultural products. It’s the ultimate local organic food.
On the next NaturalNews Talk Hour – Jonathan Landsman and ‘Sproutman’ Steve Meyerowitz reveal the health benefits of building an indoor (organic) sprout garden. Don’t miss this amazing show!
This week’s guest: ‘Sproutman’ Steve Meyerowitz, a top expert on sprouting and indoor gardening
Learn how to save money and grow your own organic food – quickly and easily – Sun. Jan. 19
‘Sproutman’ Steve Meyerowitz is the author of several books on health, diet, and nutrition including, Sprouts the Miracle Food and Wheatgrass Nature’s Finest Medicine. Steve is one of the world’s leading proponents of sprouting, juicing, fasting, wheatgrass, indoor gardening, raw foods and pure water.
After 20 years of disappointment with orthodox medicine, Steve became symptom-free through his use of diet, juices, and fasting. In 1980, he founded “The Sprout House”, a “no-cooking” school in New York City teaching the benefits of a living foods diet. Featured on PBS and several other major media outlets, his sprouting inventions, including the “Hemp Sprout Bag” have sold nationwide and helped thousands of people live healthier lives.
Grow an indoor organic food garden. On the next NaturalNews Talk Hour – Jonathan Landsman and ‘Sproutman’ Steve Meyerowitz will talk about the health benefits of sprouts; why sprouts are more nutritious; how to set up an inexpensive indoor garden plus much more.