As a picky eater and someone who is always trying to figure new things out healthwise, people often ask me what I eat. Since my point of view on diet is always changing, this page will necessarily be a constant work in progress. One thing I am sure of is that there is no perfect way to eat. There are certainly better approaches than others. And while it should not have to be said that there is no substitute for produce that is fresh, raw, ripe, and organic, the object is to get the maximum life force from the least amount of substance.
Note: I have become aware that Agave Nectar should be avoided as a sweetener since it is primarily fructose and fructose does nothing but cause problems in the human body. Visit the Sweeteners page for more information.
My favorite grain is quinoa. Historically it was a crop held sacred by the Incas and has been an important food source in South America for the last 6,000 years. It has a high protein content of 12%-18% with a balanced set of amino acids. It is gluten free and easy to digest. It is a good source of fiber, phosphorus, magnesium and iron. These qualities make it a nearly complete food source.
It can be used like any other grain in terms of food combining. I like to eat it for breakfast as an alternative to oatmeal. I put sesame, fax, and hemp seeds on it with nut milk or hemp milk, acidophilus yogurt, and fresh fruit if I have that. It is very easy to prepare. I heat up a pot with water (twice as much water as quinoa) to a slow boil, add the quinoa turning the heat down to low for a couple minutes with the lid on the pot, and then turn the heat off and let the quinoa soak up the water for 15 minutes. No stirring is necessary. The idea really is to heat up the water and have the quinoa absorb it (cook is a bad word from my point of view).
I get quinoa at Whole Foods Market in the bulk section.
The value of hemp cannot be stressed enough. Hemp seeds are highly nutritious, and contain beneficial omega fatty acids, amino acids, and minerals. Hemp seed also contains 20% complete and highly-digestible protein, 1/3 as edestin protein and 2/3 as albumins. Its high quality amino acid composition is closer to complete sources of proteins (meat, eggs) than all other oil seeds except quinoa. Hemp oil is great for salads, smoothies, and non-frying uses (the high-unsaturated fat content makes it unsuitable for frying). Besides that rope, paper, and clothes can be made out of hemp. I don't advocate smoking it not because of health or legal reasons but rather, people who smoke it develop an energetic block in their neck and nothing seems to manifest in their life as a result.
I get hemp seeds at Whole Foods Market in the bulk section.
Bee Pollen contains all of the nutrients needed to sustain life. Bee Pollen has high concentrations of the B vitamin complex, and also contains Vitamins A, C, D, and E. The San Francisco Medical Research Foundation estimates that pollen has more than 5,000 different enzymes and co-enzymes. Its composition is approximately 35% protein, 55% carbohydrates, 2% fatty acids, and 3% minerals and vitamins. Because of its B vitamin complex, bee pollen is often taken for increasing energy and vitality. Bee pollen exceeds all animal sources in the amount of protein it provides. With more amino acids than beef, eggs or cheese of equal weight, even body builders and fitness trainers are recognizing its value.
Marine phytoplankton is the foundation of the food chain. Essentially, it is a comprehensive whole food that can nutritionally sustain all living creatures on Earth. It is the beginning of the food chain with huge nutritional benefits potentially exceeding all other foods. Phytoplankton is a complete source of nutrition, which includes proteins, vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, trace minerals, pigments, essential fatty acids including omega 3 fats, and more. I get my phytoplankton from the company Gesundheit in Canada. Gesundheit Marine Phytoplankton is the only product available that is freeze dried; this is the most stable way of preserving it for the consumer. I just mix it with water but you can add it to juice or smoothies.
Aloe Vera has been used in the fields of medicine and cosmetics for Centuries. Ancient records show that the medicinal properties and healing advantages of Aloe Vera have been known for over 5,000 years. The Bible mentions Aloe Vera in over a dozen passages, referring to it as the
bitter herb. The Biblical account of Christ's burial states that his body was anointed with bitter Aloes.
Ancient Chinese and Egyptians used Aloe Vera to treat burns, wounds, and to reduce fever. Cleopatra, the Egyptian Queen, credited her irresistible charm and vibrant beauty to regular use of Aloe Vera gel. Legend reports that Alexander the Great, upon the advice of Aristotle, conquered the island of Socotra off the coast of Africa to secure supplies of Aloe Vera in order to treat the wounds of soldiers.
In 1944, the benefits of Aloe Vera were firmly established in the United States, when it was learned that the Japanese who were exposed to the
A bomb. The injured that applied Aloe gel to their wounds reported faster healing of their wounds than others and had significantly less scaring.
Today, it appears that science is re-discovering what our ancestors knew. New studies continue to provide proof of the benefits of Aloe Vera both when applied externally and ingested INTERNALLY. It is currently one of the most studied herbs in the Natural Products category.
Just Greens Vegetable Juice
Columbia Gorge sells a juice with only green vegetables in it. Short of juicing myself or going to a juice bar (it is rare to find a juice with only greens), this is my preferred purchase. My only complaint is that it is flash pasteurized. I'm sure there is a law requiring it to be so; such are the times we live in.Ingredients: Celery, Cucumber, Spinach, Mustard Greens, Kale, Collard Greens, Parsley.
My favorite nut is the almond. Almonds are high in protein, containing about 20%. Because almonds are a plant food, they contain no cholesterol.
Vitamin E, considered a powerful antioxidant with cancer-fighting qualities, is plentiful in almonds. They're also high in magnesium, containing even more than spinach.
Almonds are abundant in phosphorus, which is good for bones and teeth. One ounce (28 g) contains 143 mg of phosphorus. They also contain potassium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, and trace amounts of the B vitamins thiamin and riboflavin.
Almonds are higher in calcium than all other nuts. One ounce (28 g) of raw blanched almonds contains 66 mg calcium. One ounce of almonds, approximately 20 to 25, has as much calcium as 1/4 cup (59 ml) of milk.
Almonds are also higher in fiber than any other nut. One ounce (28 g) of blanched almonds contains 1.5 g fiber. Unblanched almonds are nearly double the fiber as blanched. If you are pregnant, almonds can be a nutritious way of preventing certain birth defects because of their high folic acid content.
I prefer to get raw almonds and soak them in water so that they fatten up and are easier to digest.
Starting September of 2007, raw almonds available in the USA, Canada and Mexico, will no longer be "truly raw" due to a mandate passed by the USDA, FDA and the California Almond Board, announcing that all almonds including organic must be pasteurized. This means that the Almond farmer will have to truck thousands of pounds of almonds to one of the five facilities that are already set up for the pasteurization process and then truck them back again to the processing plant. Besides having a vital part of our food supply pasteurized--against our will, it will now have a huge cost attached to it. Information is available at the following link:
Raw, Unpasteurized Almonds
Excellent news! I found a farmer in Boulder that is selling raw, unpasteurized almonds imported from Spain. The name of the farm is Boulder Altan Alma Organic Farm.
Goji berries are found to contain 18 amino acids (six times higher than bee pollen), more beta carotene than carrots, more iron than spinach, and 21 trace minerals.
Goji berries also contain vitamin B1, B2, B6, and E (rarely found in fruits). The goji berry contains more vitamin C by weight than oranges. Goiji berries are 13 percent protein.
I like to put goji berries on quinoa in the morning for breakfast.
It contains the following ingredients: premium select gojiberries, organic golden Himalayan raisins, organic mulberries, organic pistachios, organic cashews, macadamia nuts, and organic cacao nibs.
No one carries this in my area. You will have to order this over the web to get it.
Kopali Trail Mix
Kopali Organics makes a great trail mix with goji berries, cacao nibs, mulberries, and pistachio nuts. The packaging is smart and the size is just right for a small snack. They sell a variety of dried fruit all individually packaged but this trail mix is the most interesting product I've seen of theirs.
Kopali products can be purchased at Whole Foods Market near the front of the store by the bulk section.
I don't eat out much these days but when I do I often go to Indian and Thai restaurants. I especially like the curry dishes. Finding a good description of all its nutritional benefits doesn't seem to be easy. But I did find this.
Curcumin, the ingredient that gives curry its yellow hue, blocked the growth of melanoma tumor cells and even stimulated their death in the laboratory, researchers report.
We could completely inhibit the growth of the tumor if we used a big enough dose, said study co-author Bharat B. Aggarwal, chief of the Cytokine Research Section in the Department of Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. His report is set to appear in the Aug. 15, 2005 issue of Cancer.
Cayenne pepper is a red, hot chili pepper used to flavor dishes that has, among others, the following medicinal uses.
- Gastrointestinal tract: including stomachaches, cramping pains, and gas.
- Diseases of the circulatory system: It is still traditionally used in herbal medicine as a circulatory tonic.
- Rheumatic and arthritic pains: Rubbed on the skin it causes a counterirritant effect. A counterirritant is something which causes irritation to the area to which it is applied. This makes it distract the nerves from the original irritation (such as joint pain in the case of arthritis).
- Sore throat: If gargled with water it can work as an effective treatment for sore throats.
- Styptic: Application of cayenne powder has traditionally been considered to have a powerful coagulating ability.
I like to add it to popcorn. I make popcorn with coconut oil, himalayan rock salt, nutrition yeast, and cayenne pepper.
Himalayan Crystal Salt
Himalayan Crystal Salt is the only salt you should add to food. Normal table salt is poisonous. Sea salt is better. Himalayan crystal salt is the best salt option that I am aware of and is actually good for you. Consuming Himalayan crystal salt increases quality of sleep, energy and concentration levels, brain activity, weight loss, enhanced consciousness and noticeable nail and hair growth as well as the following benefits.
- Re-mineralizes the body with 84 minerals and trace elements essential to health.
- Ionic/colloidal form assists in cellular absorption of minerals (angstrom size). Replenishes electrolytes and helps to balance the body's pH.
- Significant positive changes in respiratory, circulatory, organ connective tissue and nervous system functions.
- Hand-mined with respect for Nature, the environment, the bio-energetic properties and the workers.
From a yogic perspective, ginger, onion, and garlic are considered to be a natural alternative to penicillin. We like to add ginger to tea, soup, and food as much as we can handle it. Of course, ginger is great with sushi (I get the vegetable kind). I like to add it to fresh vegetable juice, too. A little goes a long way!
Historically, ginger has a long tradition of being very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress. In herbal medicine, ginger is regarded as an excellent carminative (a substance which promotes the elimination of intestinal gas) and intestinal spasmolytic (a substance which relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract). Modern scientific research has revealed that ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects, an ability to inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds, and direct anti-inflammatory effects.
My favorite vegetable is broccoli. Nutritionally it is high in vitamin C and soluble fiber. It has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-cancer properties. I like to steam it and eat it with hummus.
My favorite leafy vegetable is kale. Nutritionally it has powerful antioxidant properties and is anti-inflammatory. Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, lutein and zeaxanthin and reasonably rich in calcium. I like to juice it with other veggies or steam it.
Mamey sapote is one of my favorite fruits. I've only recently started to see it in Whole Foods Market. The first time I ever saw it or knew anything about it was late in 2006. Its texture is somewhere between that of a sweet potato and an avocado and its flavor is variously described as a combination of pumpkin, sweet potato, candied yams, and maraschino cherries. It reminds me a bit of mango just more orange in color. It appears that not much research has been done with respect to it nutritional value. It has a certain density to it that is quite filling.
Eating pomegranate is like eating a dessert. It is like eating sweet blood red corn with a bit of a twang in the aftertaste. It is a bit of a pain to free up the seeds without getting the fruit's connective tissue still attached, which is quite bitter, but I have seen in some stores in the cooler section containers with just the seeds. It is also a great addition sprinkled on top of salad or desserts. It is fairly popular to sell pomegranate as a juice.
Nutritionally, pomegranate aril juice provides about 16% of an adult's daily vitamin C requirement per 100 ml serving, and is a good source of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), potassium and antioxidant polyphenols. The most abundant polyphenols in pomegranate juice are the hydrolyzable tannins called punicalagins which have free-radical scavenging properties. Punicalagins are absorbed into the human body and may have dietary value as Antioxidants.
Another one of my favorite fruits is coconut. There are several ways to consume coconut. The meat contains less sugar and more protein than popular fruits such as bananas, apples and oranges, and it is relatively high in minerals such as iron, phosphorus and zinc. Coconut water is the liquid inside a coconut and is one of the best electrolytes. Coconut milk is a fluid derived from the meat mixed with warm water. It is great for cooking Indian and Thai dishes. Coconut oil is one of the best oils to use for cooking because it is very stable under heat. Unrefined coconut oil melts at 24-25°C (76°F) and smokes at 170°C (350°F), while refined coconut oil has a higher smoke point of 232°C (450°F). All the arguments about its fat content are misguided (coconut is high in fat) but fat and cholesterol aren't nearly as important as inflammation and hardening of arteries to due allergens (this is a whole other subject) such as wheat and refined sugar.
The plain coconut KeVita is a variation on kefir using coconut water to feed a probiotic culture. As the coconut water is consumed, it becomes a live food. What I find exciting about this approach is that refined sugar is not needed. Coconut water has plenty of natural carbohydrate unadulterated to feed the culture. My primary complaint with Kombucha these days is that it is made with refined sugar as opposed to brewing with heat. Coconut kefir is not touched with poison carbohydrate like Kombucha.
I have been watching the ingredients list on KeVita like all products I buy. It has changed since its first introduction. I do not know whether the listing has changed and/or the actual ingredients. One item that is normally a red flag is natural flavor. The Coconut Kevita ingredients use to contain inulin and chicory root and now in its place is organic coconut flavor which might be the same orginial formula or it could be literally anything. I will look into this more.
I got a response. The ingredient inulin was dropped (chicory root was the source of inulin). The organic coconut flavor has something to do with coconut oil.
Ingredients: Purified water, organic KeVita Probiotic Culture (L-plantarum, L-paracasei), coconut water, organic apple cider vinegar, organic coconut flavor, Vitamin C(ascorbic acid), organic reb a stevia.
What a find! The coconut tree can be tapped and the sap is rich in amino acids. In fact, it contains 14 times more amino acid content than soy alternatives. It is nearly neutral in pH. Not to mention, it has a great taste. I highly recommend using this in place of Braggs, soy sauce, tamari, or any other amino or highly salty ingredient.
Ingredients: certified organic raw coconut sap - naturally aged and blended with sun dried, mineral-rich sea salt.
Coconut Secret has other coconuts products that may be interesting to investigate as well.
Coconut Curry Raw Crackers
I just love coconut products. This raw cracker has such a rich, full taste that the coconut is not even very noticeable. What is there not to like about curry? I tend not to buy products with raisins or dates in them because then the product tends to be overly sweet and acidic. Neither the date nor the raisin is noticeable in these crackers. It is an excellent blend of ingredients!
Ingredients: Organic sunflower seeds, organic carrots, organic flax seed, coconut, organic onion, organic lemon juice, organic garlic, organic raisins, organic dates, celtic sea salt, organic jalapeno, organic lemon grass, organic coriander seed, organic cumin seed, organic ginger, organic turmeric.
Coconut spread is another coconut product to die for! It is made out of 100% organic coconut. No preservatives. It can be used like any other spread or like an icing on raw cakes. Correctly food combine with this spread and your food experience is approaching bliss. However, too much of anything isn't healthy. Too much coconut consumption can upset your stomach.
This coconut spread is one of the many incredible products Wilderness Family Naturals offers.
Goat Milk Kefir
Kefir grains are a combination of bacteria and yeasts in a matrix of proteins, lipids, and sugars, and this symbiotic matrix forms "grains" that resemble cauliflower. For this reason, a complex and highly variable community of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts can be found in these grains.
Redwood Hill Farm uses a custom blend of probiotics to make their kefir products. The blend includes: L. bulgaricus, L. acidophilus, L. casei, L. rhamnosus, L. lactis, L. diacetylactis, S. thermophilus, L. cremoris, Leuconostoc cremoris and B. bifidum
Most people have some level of allergic reaction to cow dairy. Of those with high allergic reaction to normal dairy few of those have any problems with goat products. Here we have with this product whole goat milk cultured with kefir cultures to create a live food. That is dairy on-high.
While I'm generally not into dairy, Erivan's acidophilus yogurt is a great exception. I'm interested in anything that has something alive in it. Acidophilus is a group of beneficial human bacilli (probiotic), which stimulate the immune system and inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria in the intestinal tract. This yogurt has no additional sweetener or preservatives added to it. I like to add a little of this on my quinoa in the morning.
Coco's YACON Heaven is chocolate that meets my strick criteria on ingredients. The blending of yacon and stevia is ingenious; it tastes great. Unfortunately, this product comes from a business local to and serving only Boulder Colorado. She does not even have a web site yet. You can get her products in Whole Foods and Vitamin Cottage on Pearl St.
Ingredients: Organic cacao, raw organic coconut and cashew butters, organic cacao butter, organic yacon syrup, raw organic maca, raw organic carob, Himalayan salt, organic stevia.