Still Harvesting My Greens in November

Just got in from the gym and decided to make myself a protein green smoothie. This is always a quicker option than cooking, especially when your tired. Check out my beautiful bouquet of greens. Just freshly cut from my garden. It’s November and cold here in New York, however my collard greens, curly leaf kale, Tuscan kale, and parsley are surviving strong. Even the two days of frost we had a couple of weeks ago. Kale and collards are cool-season greens that are part of the cruciferous family along with cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, and bok choy. They grow best in the springtime and fall and can tolerate frost. Leafy greens are power food packed with power nutrients. Plus all greens are low in calories. And a serving of just about any of the deeply colored ones contains your daily supply of vitamins K and A, most of your daily vitamin C, and a hefty helping of fiber, B vitamins and essential minerals. They’re great additions to smoothies too.

  • 1/2 cup of kale
  • 1 cup collard greens
  • 1/2 cup of figs
  • 1 cup of flaxseed milk
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 tsp of organic Maca powder
  • 1/2 cup of ice

Check out the protein content on this plant-based flaxseed milk. It taste sooooooo good. I bought it from Whole Foods.

Benefits of kale

  • Anti-Inflammatory Benefits of Kale
  • Glucosinolates and Cancer-Preventive
  • Kale also extend to its cholesterol-lowering ability

Resource: The World’s Healthiest Food – Kale

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Curly Hair Don’t Care

Giving myself another check over before I hit the NYC pavements. Hairs kinda wet, curly, and a little messy. Don’t care at this point. Just finished two back-to-back classes at Equinox. I must have burnt over 900 calories. I’m tired, hungry, freshly showered, and definitely beat! Right now I’m walking down LEXINGTON Ave getting ready to catch the number 4 train straight to Brooklyn. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the hubby to scoop me at the train station. I’m also thinking about my plant-based protein dinner I need to fix before I hit the sacks. Lentil or black bean burger? No bread of course!

I hear the 6 train coming….

Healthy Eating Equals a Healthy Life!

Homemade Tomato Sauce

     When August and September rolls around and you have a sea of freshly picked tomatoes, there’s only one thing I could think of, pasta sauce. After I’ve shared and eaten and picked, it’s time to preserve for the winter. As if I live in the wilderness. I don’t obviously, but it’s cost effective to preserve for later uses.  My tomatoes were at its ripest and that’s what you want. The reddest, sweetest and densest tomatoes. 


INGREDIENTS

  • 10 pounds fresh tomatoes 
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 garlic clove, halved
  • 2 basil springs 
  • 3 bay leaf

PREPARATION

Step 1:  Cut tomatoes in half horizontally. Squeeze out the seeds and discard, if you wish. Press the cut side of tomato against the large holes of a box grater and grate tomato flesh into a bowl. Discard skins. You should have about 8-9 cups.

Step 2:  Put tomato pulp in a low wide saucepan over high heat. Add salt, olive oil, tomato paste, garlic, basil and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a brisk simmer.

Step 3:  Reduce the sauce by almost half, stirring occasionally, to produce about 4 1/2 cups medium-thick sauce, 25 to 30 minutes. Taste and adjust salt. It will keep up to 5 days in the refrigerator or may be frozen.

I freeze mines. Let it cool completely and insert desired amount in ziplock freezer bags. I like the quart sizes. Enjoy!!

Eat Eggplants to Protect Your Brain 

Growing up, my mother never cooked or grew eggplants.  I’ve heard stories of my late grandfather growing it, which he referred to them as Garden Eggs. In my adult life, I’ve grown to love the taste.  I grow and cook them, and I even got my mother to enjoy growing and cooking with them too.  Eggplants are extremely healthy and versatile to cook with.  It is a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B1, copper, manganese, vitamin B6, niacin, potassium, folate and vitamin K.  Eggplants also contains phytonutrients; such as nasunin and chlorogenic acid.  The nasunin is the antioxidant responsible for providing your brain with food.

In animal studies, nasunin has been found to protect the lipids (fats) in brain cell membranes. Cell membranes are almost entirely composed of lipids and are responsible for protecting the cell from free radicals, letting nutrients in and wastes out, and receiving instructions from messenger molecules that tell the cell which activities it should perform. Nasunin is located in the purple skin of the eggplant so don’t peel it.  It’s job is to search and defeat free radicals.

According to Rice University, free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons and can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. Once formed these highly reactive radicals can start a chain reaction, like a dominoe effect. Their chief danger comes from the damage they can do when they react with important cellular components such as DNA, or the cell membrane.  Free radicals are basically bad for you and they are everywhere.  They can break down healthy cells and multiply.

What are free radicals?

Free radicals are highly unstable and reactive molecules that damage living cells. These can come from everyday pollution and other common stressors, like the ones listed below:

  • Everyday air pollutants
  • Smog / UV rays
  • Up to 80% of free radical damage is caused by the sun (1). Always wear a broad spectrum SPF!
  • Lack of sleep and exercise
  • Stress
  • Illness
  • Fried foods
  • Alcohol & Tobacco
  • Pesticides

Oxidative stress occurs when there are too many free radicals running amuck.  It leads to stressed out cells that are broken down and weakened. Then, diseases like cancers, cardiovascular disease, emphysema, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ulcers and a boatload of other inflammatory diseases can developed.

Free radicals are also associated with aging skin.  That’s right!  Sunblock isn’t the only defense for aging.  What you feed your body/cells is extremely important too. Eating dark leafy greens and high pigmented fruits that are rich in vitamin C helps to protect your cells and support fighting off free radicals.  Don’t forget to eat up your eggplant too because it will protect your skin from aging prematurely.

Did you know?

The high purple skin pigment on eggplants is also a form of protection for the plants. Researchers at the US Agricultural Service in Beltsville, Maryland, have found that eggplants are rich sources of phenolic compounds that function as antioxidants. Plants form such compounds to protect themselves against oxidative stress from exposure to the elements, as well as from infection by bacteria and fungi. If we eat the eggplant, these antioxidants protects us. Can you name a fast food chain that can do that? I think, NOT!

Resources:  
Protective effects of dietary nasunin on paraquat-induced oxidative stress in rats.

Eggplant: Medical News Today

Kale-A-Bration Time! 

I’ve coined the term, Kale-a-bration because that’s how I feel when my kale plants are thriving beautifully.  There’s a celebratory feeling that comes over me every time Im in my garden.  Kale is my new go-to because it goes in practically every dish I make.  From salads, cold or hot pasta dishes, soups, green juices and can’t forget my smoothies.  My kale patch serves my family of five well, and I still have enough to share with my friends and family.   There’s nothing better than freshly picked kale. The flavors are so strong and the leaves are full of life and vigor.  Growing my own garden saves me a lot of money. What I grow serves my family through the summer and winter months. I freeze my greens, tomatoes and so much more for the winter months.  My favorite is definitely the kale plant. 

Kale is very easy to grow and extremely versatile. It also grows well into the cold winter months.  This superfood is packed with a slew of vital nutrients our bodies depend on.  Just one cup of chopped cooked kale contains 1180% of the daily requirement of vitamin K, 98% of vitamin A and 71% of vitamin C, 27% of manganese, 6% calcium, 22% copper and so much more!  There’s also a mixture of antioxidants like cartotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin – help promote eye health, protect against cataracts and age-related macular degeneration) and flavonoids (more than 45) which have anti-cancer properties.  It also contains 10% dietary fiber and only has 36 calories! 

The brassicas vegetables are highly nutritious for fighting cancers. It’s beneficial to eat them everyday.  The kale variety I’m growing is known by three names, Lacinato kale, dinosaur kale and Tuscan kale.  It’s one of my favorite to plant because it’s easy to grow from seed, cooks exceptionally well, and the crop loves the cold, so I’ll continue harvesting from this patch way into the winter months. I’m also growing cabbage, collards, bok chow, broccoli and cauliflower. A healthy blend of the brassica family.   My garden is grown with no pesticides or herbicides. I take careful pride in what I plant and how it’s maintained. If I have pest, I don’t spray harmful chemicals.  I rely on ladybugs 🐞 and praying mantis to eat aphids and other small pest, which usually infest my brassicas. If you’re interested in organic pest control, order from Peaceful Vally

My Fibrous Fig Tree

Capelas variety

     My fig tree blessed me with a bountiful harvest this year. I’ve always wanted a fig tree in my yard.  Once my husband and I closed on our first home, that same week I had my mini-potted fig tree planted in my back yard.  The first summer it didn’t produce much, but this year, it quadrupled in size and bared the sweetest fruits.  Fresh figs are extremely delicious to eat and very full of fiber. Eating fiber-rich foods have great advantages for losing weight and even reducing your breast cancer risk.  I came across a study done on postmenopausal women.  The results of a prospective study involving 51,823 women for an average of 8.3 years showed a 34% reduction in breast cancer risk for those consuming the most fruit-fiber compared to those consuming the least. 

     In addition, in the subgroup of women who had ever used hormone replacement, those consuming the most fiber, especially cereal fiber, had a 50% reduction in their risk of breast cancer compared to those consuming the least. Fruits richest in fiber include apples, dates, figs, pears and prunes. When choosing a high fiber cereal, look for whole grain cereals as they supply the most bran (a mere 1/3rd cup of bran contains about 14 grams of fiber). Adding these fiber-rich fruits to your cereals will boost your fiber intake. 

Resources: Study – Dietary fiber intake and risk of postmenopausal breast cancer defined by estrogen and progesterone receptor status–a prospective cohort study among Swedish women.

Homeopathic Cough Remedy with Raw Honey

     My grandmother on my paternal side taugh me this homemade remedy for coughs and sore throats. Since the weather has changed here in New York, one of my kids already caught a sore throat. ‘Tis the season of battling sicknesses, so what’s the best remedy for treating a sore throat? It’s Honey!  I actually remember the first time my grandmother whipped this honey concoction up for me. I had a sore throat with a dry cough, and I was constantly gargling with salt water. I must have been between eleven or twelve years old. She said, I was irritating my throat even more and that I needed something to soothe it.  We went into the kitchen and she chopped up onions and covered it with raw honey in a glass. It sat for one hour before I had a table spoon full.  

     Surprisingly, it tasted good and within a few minutes my throat felt less irritated and after about ten minute my cough was lesser.  The taste of the onions was pronounced but the honey makes up for it.  My twist on my granny’s recipe is adding garlic. I make this every year around the fall and throughout the winter months. I give it to all my children from the youngest of six years to the eldest, who is fifteen.  It is a very simple and effective remedy, and it works for us, and it may even work for you.  
Recipe 

  • 2 Medium Onions
  • Raw honey
  • Half head of garlic (5 gloves) 

Directions

     Peel and slice the onions evenly. Peel and cut each garlic in half.  Place everything in your jar (I purchased mines from IKEA). Pour the raw honey over everything until majority of contents are covered. Cover lid and let it sit on your counter overnight for 6-8 hours. I like to give it a little stir after the times up.  I give 1 table spoonful which is equivalent to 2 teaspoons to my children. Depends on the severity of the situation, a child may get 2 spoonful an hour.  Overtime, I store on the counter or even in the fridge. You could always add more ingredients overtime if you’re running low. The onions will eventually breakdown. I usually eat them when I take a spoonful. The hardest part is to get the kids to eat it. 

     I highly recommend using raw honey for this recipe because store bought honey sometimes have additives like high fructose corn syrup. Please read your labels!  These three natural ingredients have the capability to fight colds, coughs, allergies, sore throats and even boost your bodies immunity.  Honey is truly an amazing substance.  It is a natural sweetener and it encompasses an intricate chemical composition of carbohydrates, free amino acids, vitamins, trace elements and flavonoids/antioxidants. Not to forget anti-bacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.  Studies of the antimicrobial effect of honey have demonstrated its broad-spectrum antimicrobial actions against upper-respiratory tract infections.  Honey has been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of coughs for a very long time (1).  Research shows honey works as well as dextromethorphan, which is a common ingredient in over the counter cough medications to soothe cough(2).  This home remedy, works better according to the study.   Honey naturally soothes. 

     The antibacterial and antiviral properties of garlic controls infection from bacterias and viruses.  Onions and garlic are members of the Allium family, and both are rich in sulfur-containing compounds that are responsible for their pungent odors and for many of their health-promoting effects.  Onions antioxidant rich flavonoids provides us with the benefits to keep chronic unwanted inflammation under control (3). The use of honey is also prohibited under the age of one due to poor immunity against Clostridium Botulinum, a potential contaminant (4).  Richard S. Rivlin wrote in the Journal of Nutrition that the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (circa. 460-370 BC), known today as “the father of Western medicine”, prescribed garlic for a wide range of conditions and illnesses.  Hippocrates promoted the use of garlic for treating respiratory problems, parasites, poor digestion and fatigue. It’s great for flavoring your food and to treat illnesses. 



Resources: 

(1) Study: Bactericidal activity of different types of honey against clinical and environmental isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

(2) Study: Honey for Treatment of Cough in Children

(3) Study: Antibacterial and antioxidant activities of quercetin oxidation products from yellow onion (Allium cepa) skin.

(4) Study: Incidence of Clostridium botulinum in honey of various origins.

WARNINGS ⚠️ 

Homey is NOT for children under one years old. My mission is to extend the knowledge of healthly eating through this blog. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health program.

TIP of the Day! 

Eat Foods That Support Glutathione Production. 

What Does Glutathione Do? It helps your immune system fight off infections and diseases. Our bodies produce glutathione, but as we age, it declines. Free radicals in the environment like pesticides and herbicides in the foods you eat, infections, and diseases are detrimental to our bodies. Glutathione steps in and carries these toxins out of the body through your bile and stool. Without glutathione, sickness takes over. The correlation here is, eat foods rich in glutathione to support your bodies defend mechanism. Why do you think old people get sick often with colds and diseases? Glutathione is extremely low in older people and for people who don’t eat a healthy plant enriched diet. 

Where To Get Glutathione? Sulfur-rich foods like Brussels Sprouts, broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage, cauliflower, watercress, etc. Incorporating a plant-based enriched diet with these foods and whole grains, legumes, fruits and an array of vegetables will boost your glutathione levels. 

Kale – Is rich in glutathione.

Why Eat Raw Foods?  Fruits and vegetables contains natural enzymes our bodies depend on to aid in digestion. Heathing these foods to high temperatures kills these enzymes.  It’s not easy to eat everything raw, but lightly sautéed foods may hold on to some enzymes.  For insurance, I do smoothies, juicing greens and raw salads. There’s no boundaries as to what you can add to them.  Incorporating raw foods into your diet by drinking smoothies, fresh juices and salads is the best antidote. Kale, cabbages, asparagus, watercress and onions are sulfur rich glutathione vegetables that works great for any of these options. Don’t be afraid to try new ingredients. Find what works for you. 


Resources: 

What is Glutathione? 

Reap the Benefits of Glutathione

My Radishes Are in Season 

I love adding radishes to salads because it adds a beautiful color, flavor, and dimension. They have a slight pepper taste that’s tolerable to small children, and an apple like crunch. Slice them thinly and add them to your salads. These red beauties are healthy for you especially, if you have blood pressure issues. They’re known for regulating pressure and reliving congestion. Radishes have antibacterial, antifungal, and detoxifying properties. They’re an amazing source of fiber, which is beneficial for keeping your digestive system smooth and regular. Radishes are also a natural diuretic, purifying the kidney and urinary systems and relieving inflammation. If you want to boost your vitamin C levels, just add some radishes to your diet. Try this simple salad with kale, radish, figs, bell peppers and some grapes. No dressing required, just a little squeeze of fresh lemon juice to add some zing.  
  
Growing radishes literally takes about 60 days to mature…it’s very easy to grow. The Old Almanac reccomends planting 4-6 weeks before the average date of last frost. Direct sow the seeds in your garden ½ inch to an inch deep and one inch apart in rows 12 inches apart. Thin to about 2-inch spacings. Radishes need sun and even watering. Within 4-5 days the seeds will germinate. When they’re ready, you’ll see a a vibrant red ball. The longer you leave it in the ground, the bigger the radish. 

How do you normally enjoy your radish? Do you also grow them? I would love to hear from you. 

Resources:  Planting Radish Radish Nutrition Facts 

Study: Clinical Trials Funded by Big Pharma

     In the United States, all drugs potentially destined for use have to undergo clinical trials for safety and efficacy.  Now, the question here is, who is conducting those studies? Have you heard of the term, ‘Big Pharma‘?  It means big pharmaceutical companies essentially like Merck & Co., Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer to name a few who have an enormous amount of monetary power to do as they please or manipulate outcomes. New data from the Johns Hopkins University suggests that the funding of clinical trials by corporations with vested interests is now the norm.  These clinical trials are more than likely funded by the pharmaceutical industry.  Third party testings are not required, so the drug industry is basically policing itself. Go figure!  Clinical trials funded directly by the United States National Institute of Health (NIH) are considered independent, a large portion of trials conducted by the NIH are now funded by major pharmaceutical corporations.  

     The Johns Hopkins report showed that the number of independent NIH-funded trials fell by 24 peecent from 2006 to 2014, while pharmaceutical-funded NIH trails increased by 43 percent in the same time period. Fewer independent trials means that the FDA is not acting with impartiality.  It is also worth noting that NIH has less money for running independent studies because Congress has cut its funding. Big Pharma is willing to fund the clinical trials, however, and is not held accountable for lack of transparency in drug testing.  

     The pharmaceutical industry have one goal, and that’s to make money. Not to cure people, to basically collect collateral, and be the first to put out that wonder drug that promises positive results.  They hate everything natural, organic,  homeopathic, alternative, or herbalist practices because they cannot make money from it. If doctors stop writing prescriptions for pain, what do you think will happen?  Profits will fall dramatically.  The marijuana industry is booming now, and that’s an herb.  How do you think they feel about that? Marijuana takes away pain, period.  There’s a new body of research showing that painkiller abuse and overdose are lower in states with medical marijuana laws. These studies have generally assumed that when medical marijuana is available, pain patients are increasingly choosing pot over powerful and deadly prescription narcotics. But that’s always been just an assumption. A new study conducted by Ashley B. Bradford and W. David Bradford found that the use of prescription drugs for which marijuana could serve as a clinical alternative fell significantly, once a medical marijuana law was implemented.  


According to the Washington Post, the Bradfords took their analysis a step further by estimating the cost savings to Medicare from the decreased prescribing. They found that about $165 million was saved in the 17 medical marijuana states in 2013.  In a back-of-the-envelope calculation, the estimated annual Medicare prescription savings would be nearly half a billion dollars if all 50 states were to implement similar programs.  This is outstanding.  Big Pharma is real and scary people. I’ve included these cartoon clippings below to describe the reality of our country’s situation. Choose your care wisely. I’m a huge advocate for eating a whole food plant-based diet. This diet has proven success for reducing, reversing, and even curing illnesses. For more information on nutritiously regaining your health back to normalcy, visit www.nutritionstudies.org




Resources:  “Unsettling Truth: Most Clinical Trials Are Funded by Big Pharma,” by Christina Sarich, at http://www.naturalsociety.com 

WP Article:  One striking chart shows why pharma companies are fighting legal marijuana