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

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Bee Pollen in My Steel-Cut Oats

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Steel-cut oats by itself is a healthy breakfast option. However, eating it plain can also taste a little bland after a while. I enjoy adding different healthy toppings to my oats. I also just started to add bee pollen. Yes, I said, “bee pollen!”

Did you know that bee pollen is richer in proteins than any other animal source? Oat contains protein as well. Dr. Mercola says, “bee pollen has more amino acids than beef, eggs, and cheese of equal weight.” He also adds, “it is particularly concentrated in all elements necessary for human life.” I also add bee pollen in my smoothies, and my children’s own as well.

What is Bee Pollen?
According to researchers at the Institute of Apiculture, Taranov, Russia:

“Honeybee pollen is the richest source of vitamins found in Nature in a single food. Even if bee pollen had none of its other vital ingredients, its content of rutin alone would justify taking at least a teaspoon daily, if for no other reason than strengthening the capillaries. Pollen is extremely rich in rutin and may have the highest content of any source, plus it provides a high content of the nucleics RNA [ribonucleic acid] and DNA [deoxyribonucleic acid].”

Pollen is the male seed of flowers. It is the food of the young bee, and it is approximately 40% protein. I started taking bee pollen early this year because I read an interesting article that said,

“Pollen reduces the presence of histamine, ameliorating many allergies.”

During allergy peak time my allergies were unbearable. Once I started taking bee pollen, my symptoms subsided. I bought a jar from my local farmers market and started it right away. I took a half of teaspoon in the beginning then, I upped the amount to one teaspoon a day. I kid you not, I felt great. I did have a few attacks of the sneezing, but it wasn’t frequent and I didn’t have to take my usual over-the-counter antihistamine. The bee pollen worked for me.

Many nutritionist revere bee pollen as a superfood. 

For someone who had not taken bee pollen before, taking even a small amount like s teaspoon can cause problems for someone who is sensitive to pollens. I would suggest doing a tyollerance test.  

Tolerance Test (from Bee Pollen Buzz)

Follow these guidelines to determine your sensitivity to the pollens. Although bee pollen is not a drug, it is possible you could be sensitive to it so it’s best that you’re cautious the first time you take it.

1) Place one raw bee pollen kernel under your tongue.

2) Let it dissolve completely. It is absorbing rapidly through what is called your mucous membrane directly into your blood stream.

3) If you experience no reaction, place two granules under your tongue.

4) Continue increasing the number of granules under your tongue until you feel confident that you will not experience an allergic reaction.

Signs & Sensitive to Bee Pollen

  • An itchy throat 
  • Runny nose 
  • Headache 
  • Sweating 
  • Tearing eyes
  • Respiratory issues 
  • Stomach/bowel distress

If you experience any of these, stop taking it and if it’s a severe reaction, you should see your doctor.

According to Real Raw Food, bee pollen also:

Increases energy and stamina.
Increase muscle growth and definition
Builds immune system
Has antioxidant activity
Enhances sexuality
Smoothes wrinkles (favorite)

Bee pollen also contains a cocktail of vitamins, minerals, basically containing nearly all nutrients required by humans. It is extraordinarily a rich nourishing food.

Please check out their website because they have more information about taking bee pollen, and also warnings for people who might have allergic reactions to it. As you can see from my picture above, I’m still taking it, and it’s summertime. I truly believe the bee pollen is keeping me energized throughout the day, and my immune is stronger than ever.

 

Helpful links:
Real Raw Food
10 Amazing Health Benefits of Bee Pollen
The Use of Bee Pollen as a Superfood

Fruit Facts: Pomegranate

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Pomegranates are nutritiously dense, antioxidant rich fruit which has been revered as a symbol of health. This fruit’s deep red juice contains polyphenols, isoflavones, ellagic acid, and punicalagians. These are elements researchers believe to make up a potent anti-cancer combo.

Pomegranate juice is good for your heart and blood vessels. They also have been shown to inhibit breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, leukemia and to prevent vascular changes that promote tumor growth in lab animals.

Several studies have shown this remarkable anti-cancer effect. Additional studies and clinical trials currently taking place are hopeful to reveal this fascinating effect on humans. I would recommend eating fresh pomegranates or buy the 100% organic juice if possible.

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Pomegranate seeds are juicy and crunchy. I love to snack on them in between my meals. They’re filling and satisfying to eat. Other antioxidant rich foods like blueberries, tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, nuts, whole grains, spinach, kale and so much more are important to incorporate in your diet.

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Sources:
Study: Cancer Chemoprevention by Pomegranate: Laboratory and Clinical Evidence

My #1 Tip for Eating Healthy.

My Wild Black Rice

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I tried something different on Sunday. I made a wild rice salad with olive oil, zucchini, red onions, garlic, bell pepper, dried cranberries, salt, pepper, and fresh lemon juice. Wild rice is high in iron.

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It’s great over a salad or on the side of a dish. Here’s my lunch I had today. As you can see I added some of my black rice salad on the top.

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Wild rice is so nutritious. It’s considered a superfood due to all of the healthy source of minerals, especially iron. It contains vitamin E and is lower in sugar than berries that have similar phytochemical qualities. Black rice is fiber-rich and nutritionally similar, though not identical, to whole grain brown rice. To read more about this superfood wonder click here.

Food Fact: The Avocado

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Consider adding avocado to salads, and not only on account of taste!

Recent research has shown that absorption of two key carotenoid antioxidants—lycopene and beta-carotene—increases significantly when fresh avocado (or avocado oil) is added to an otherwise avocado-free salad. It supports cardiovascular health, promotes blood sugar regulation, anti-cancer benefits, and optimizes absorption of carotenoids.

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    One cup of fresh avocado (150 grams) added to a salad of romaine lettuce, spinach, kale, tomatoes, and carrots increased absorption of carotenoids from this salad between 200-400%.

Wide-Ranging Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

The ability of avocado to help prevent unwanted inflammation is absolutely unquestionable in the world of health research. The term “anti-inflammatory” is a term that truly applies to this delicious food.

Avocado’s anti-inflammatory nutrients fall into five basic categories:

  • Phytosterols, including beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol, and campesterol (protects from cancer)
  • Carotenoid antioxidants (prevent chronic disease), including lutein, neoxanthin, neochrome, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, violaxanthin, beta-carotene and alpha-carotene
  • Other (non-carotenoid) antioxidants, including the flavonoids epicatechin and epigallocatechin 3-0-gallate, vitamins C and E, and the minerals manganese, selenium, and zinc
  • Omega-3 fatty acids, in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (approximately 160 milligrams per cup of sliced avocado)
  • Polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols (PSA)s (suppresses inflammation)
  • Source:
    Whole Foods: Avocado

    Dark Greens

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    Dark green leafy vegetables
    Kale, collard greens, spinach, and broccoli are good sources of vitamin E and folate.

    Spirulina Is High In Protein

    According to Greenmedinfo, spirulina was considered a superfood and the primary source of protein by the Mayans and Aztecs for thousands of years. That’s because it contains between 65 and 71% all-vegetarian protein, the highest concentration found in any food.

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    Spirulina is a microscopic algae that flourishes in warm climates and warm alkaline water. It is available dried and freeze-dried. It’s also available in pill or powder form, or as flakes.

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    Spirulina is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all of the essential amino acids as well as 10 other amino acids. This makes spirulina an excellent source of protein for building muscle, bone, strength and endurance, as well as balancing blood sugar and brain chemistry. The protein in spirulina is also four times more easily absorbed by the body than are animal proteins.

    In addition to protein, spirulina is the best available source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) which is an anti-inflammatory essential fatty acid necessary for a strong immune system as well as nervous system health.

    Spirulina thrives in salty alkaline water where toxins cannot survive, so it is a very pure food. And because it provides more than 100 nutrients, it is often described as the most complete food source. Among the many nutrients it provides are iron (as much as red meat), vitamin E, zinc, B vitamins, copper, calcium, sulfur and magnesium. It is also a rich source of vitamin A in the form of the antioxidant beta-carotene.

    What are the proven health benefits of spirulina?

    Studies have proven that spirulina has many health benefits. Here are just a few of the things spirulina may do:

      Promote stem cell genesis and protects against declines in neural stem cell proliferation
      Provide antiviral properties
      Fight inflammation and arthritis
      Favorably affect lipid profiles, immune variables and antioxidant capacity
      Relieve experimentally induced colitis
      Provide high concentrations of zeaxanthin, an antioxidant that may reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration
      Protect bone marrow cells from radiation
      Improve insulin resistance

    Superfood Power of Spirulina

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    Wholesomely Nutritious
    Spirulina are single celled organisms that survive by producing their energy through photosynthesis. These algae are in the class of cyanobacteria because cyano is Greek for blue. They contain chlorophyll (green color) phycocyanins & anthocyanins (blue color) which blend to give them the characteristic blue-green color.

    Spirulina contains an incredible array of nutrients that make them a functional whole food for sustaining life without the need for other foods. These algae contain pre-digested protein (in the form of amino acids) for quick absorption and high utilization rates. Spirulina contains essential omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA & DHA. Algae, in fact, are the very source that fish, krill and other animals obtain their omega 3’s.

    Spirulina is a rich source of the tough to find essential omega-6 fat GLA. It also provides nucleic acids (DNA & RNA) that provide a megadose of raw materials for DNA repair. Spirulina is a very rich source of critical B vitamin methylating agents such as B6 and folic acid. Spirulina has an extraordinary array of anti-oxidant phytonutrient anthocyanins. These anthocyanins are renowned for their powerful anti-carcinogenic properties.

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    Spirulina has strong anti-microbial effects that help create balance in the gut flora. It does this by controlling the growth of pathogenic bacteria and yeasts in the digestive system. This is critical for optimal digestion and nutritional absorption. Additionally, it is a very important part of detoxification through the bowel systems.

    Cleans The Blood
    Spirulina is a powerful blood cleanser due to its rich source of chlorophyll. It contains roughly ten times the amount of chlorophyll in green vegetables per volume. Chlorophyll helps build red blood cells in the body and provides an easily absorbable form of magnesium. This combination helps oxygenate the blood stream and removes organic toxins.

    Spirulina is very rich in carotenoid anti-oxidants. It has 10 times the amount of beta carotene (a form of vitamin A) per volume as carrots. Spirulina is also loaded with zeaxanthin and lutein. These antioxidants are extremely important for good vision and overall eye health.

    Spirulina contains polysaccharides that act to improve the functional productivity of the bone marrow, thymus and spleen cells. Phycocyanin and allophycocyanin, which help to form the blue color within spirulina (along with anthocyanins), have been shown to increase white blood cell counts.

    Spirulina is also the world’s best source of the anti-oxidant powerhouse superoxide dismutase (SOD). The superoxide molecule is one of the most tissue damaging substances within the body. SOD is a biological adaptation specifically designed to destroy the superoxide radical and to protect against any subsequent tissue damage. Inadequate superoxide dismutase formation leads to accelerated aging and tissue degeneration.

    The combination of SOD and carotenoids within spirulina make it very good for skin care. It is remarkable for improving aging spots, eczema, acne, & rashes. This combination also dramatically improves eye health. Individuals with glaucoma, cataracts, & poor vision should be sure to consume spirulina regularly.

    Resources:
    http://spirulina.org.uk/what_is_spirulina.htm
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyanobacteria
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirulina_(dietary_supplement)
    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/412276
    http://www.spirulinafactory.com/spirulina-benefits.asp
    Organic Spirulina on Amazon

    Superfoods

    What is a superfood? I believe a superfood is any food that has the following characteristics: High nutritional density and low calories, high fiber, high in omega-3 fatty acids, loads of antioxidants and has to be rich in phytochemicals.

    Green superfoods help to regulate metabolism and burn fat. They are also high in minerals and vitamins. Drinking and eating raw green vegetables is the optimum way to receive these nutrients. chlorophyll is a substance that gives plants green color; green superfoods are high in chlorophyll. It increases the amount of hemoglobin and oxygen in the blood. Here are some of my favoirite green superfoods:

    My favorite…

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    Kale: Kale has been known to be the “new beef” and “queen of greens”. Just one cup of kale has 5 grams of fiber, 40% magnesium, 15% calcium, 36 calories, 180% vitamin A, 200% vitamin C, 1,020% vitamin K. Kale is also a high source of minerals such as iron, sulfur, phosphorus, potassium, copper and manganese. It also has anti-cancer fighting properties such as carotenoids, antioxidants, and flavonoids.

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    Broccoli: Broccoli has a strong, positive impact on our body’s detoxification system, and researchers have recently identified one of the key reasons for this detox benefit. Glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiian, and glucobrassicin are 3 glucosinolate phytonutrients found in a special combination in broccoli.

    Just one cup of raw broccoli has an excellent source of immune-supportive vitamin C 135.2%, anti-inflammatory vitamin K 115.5%, and heart-healthy folate 14.3%.

    It is a very good source of free-radical-scavenging vitamin A 11.3% (through its concentration of carotenoid phytonutrients), enzyme-activating manganese 9.5% and molybdenum 6%; digestive-health-supporting fiber 9.4%; heart-healthy potassium 8.2% and vitamin B6 8%; and energy-producing vitamin B2 6.4% and phosphorus 6%. It is a good source of energy-producing vitamin B1, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, protein, and iron; bone-healthy magnesium and calcium; and antioxidant-supportive vitamin E and selenium.

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    Wheatgrass: Wheatgrass is one of the main vegetables used when detoxifying through juicing. Although bitter, wheatgrass is a powerful healing and detoxifying ingredient that is loaded with chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, biophotons, and amino acids. It gives you the nutrients that accelerate and facilitate detoxification, particularly in your liver. The enzymes and amino acids found in wheatgrass can protect us from carcinogens like no other food or medicine. It strengthens our cells, detoxifies the liver and bloodstream,

    The enzymes and amino acids found in wheatgrass can protect us from carcinogens like no other food or medicine. It strengthens our cells, detoxifies the liver and bloodstream, and chemically neutralizes environmental pollutants.

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    Blue-Green Algae (BGA): Spirulina, Chlorella and more
    The single-celled plants known as blue-green algae (BGA) are sold in health food stores as superior sources of protein, chlorophyll, carotenoid antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and disease-preventive phytonutrients. There are several types of BGAs, the most popular being spirulina and chlorella. These vegetables are watercress, parsley, cilantro, leek, chard, endive, mustard sprouts, spinach, algae and cabbage.

    The existing research, while lacking in many regards, suggests that BGAs exert some significant and perhaps unique preventive-health effects, most likely due to their polysaccharides, antioxidants, nucleic acids, and peptides. Preliminary evidence suggests that they have the following benefits:

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  • Spirulina inhibits the infectious power of many viruses—including HIV, flu, mumps, enterovirus, measles, and herpes—probably because a sulfated polysaccharide called calcium spirulan prevents viruses from entering human cells
  • Chlorella helps prevent cancer and the growth of tumors, probably because its glycoproteins enhance the migration of T cells to tumor sites
  • Chlorella binds to toxic heavy metals and dioxin and helps eliminate them from the body
  • Chlorella protects the intestinal lining against peptic ulcers

    Resources:

    http://ahha.org/articles.asp?Id=26
    http://www.squidoo.com/what-is-chlorella-good-for?
    http://www.healingcancernaturally.com/cancer-diet-and-nutrition.html
    http://www.oprah.com/health/Can-a-Plant-Based-Diet-Cure-Cancer

  • Anti-Inflammatory Fruits and Vegetables

    Exposure to potentially toxic substances in our food and water, or in the air we breathe both indoors and outdoors, exposure to allergy-triggering substances, poor general health, dietary deficiencies, use of prescription and over-the-counter medications, and other lifestyle practices can result in a level of danger to our bodies that prompts our inflammatory system to work in overdrive on a 24/7 basis. An anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle are critical for full recovery from diseases.

    Anti-inflammatory foods help to modulate the immune system and give it a more accurate pair of eyes so as to not over-inflame when stimulated. To effectively de-inflame it is key to completely avoid man-made foods, sugars, and food allergens as listed above. The long chain omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA powerfully de-inflame the body by restoring natural balance to the lipid wall of the cell membrane.

    Beware of high-protein diets, sugary foods, white rice, white potatoes, white bread, over-processed cereals, cooking foods on high heat (especially meats), and foods containing omega-6 fats such as corn and soybean oils. They all provoke inflammation, according to Carper. She also says that the high-glycemic foods listed such as sugar, white bread, white potatoes and white rice “spike blood sugar” which in turn “spur inflammation.”

    Anti-inflammatory foods are often found among produce, where more color means a higher vitamin content.

    Vegetables:
    These vegetables below contain great amounts of anti-inflammatory nutrients, antioxidant nutrients, detox-support nutrients, and anti-cancer nutrients. Which is needed to repair and decompose inflammation in our bodies.

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    Purple peppers, purple cabbages, eggplant and radicchio are packed with anti-inflammatory properties.

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    Broccoli, brussels sprout, radishes, red peppers, and rhubarb are extremely high in anti-inflmmatory properties.

    Fruits:
    Anthocyanin’s which is the colorful antioxidant pigments that give many foods their wonderful shades of blue, purple, and red – are usually the first phytonutrients to be mentioned in descriptions of these fruits below. They are rich in antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, vitamin C, E, A and flavonoids; the B vitamins, folate and pantothenic acid; and the minerals, potassium and magnesium; and fiber. Together, these nutrients promote the health of the cardiovascular system and also provide protection against diseases.

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    Purple grapes, pineapple, cranberries, blood oranges, and red pears have more color which, means the vitamins are higher.

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    Blueberries, cherries, purple plums, strawberries and papaya are packed with anti-inflammatory agents.

    Resources:
    http://www.womentowomen.com/inflammation/naturalantiinflammatories.aspx