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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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

Are You Drinking Your Greens?

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Green Juice Provides us with Enzymes

Enzymes’ that we need to cleanse, detoxify and renew at a cellular level. Enzymes are also needed to digest food. We cannot have amazing health without enzymes.

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Cooking and processing of any type destroys all enzymes, so raw foods, especially greens, is absolutely essential to maintain healthy enzyme levels. A daily green juice is a sure way to maintain enzyme levels.

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Resources:
Health Benefits of Drinking Green Juices

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.

Day 3: Dinner…Juice Time

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For dinner tonight I decided on juicing. I juiced kale, carrots, and one beet. I wish I had some ginger. Ginger really gives it that kick. Anyway, I will have to pick up some tomorrow.

If you noticed a little hand to the right, it’s my daughter. She was helping me juice. She also enjoys drinking the juice too. My boys not so much! So far, I’m enjoying my vegan diet. I actually don’t miss eating meat, and I’m not craving for any.

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Thank you for your support!

Day 2: Of My Vegan Diet – Breakfast

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Ok, it’s day 2 of my vegan diet and it is going great thus far. Earlier for breakfast I had organic oats w/Flaxseeds, mixed with 1 tbs of wheat germ, almond milk and some raw orange blossom honey I purchased at my local farmers market.

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I drink a lot of fluids throughout the day. It’s 10:30am and I already had two cups of green teas and my smoothie. My smoothie had spinach, blueberries, strawberries, mango and almond milk.

I bought a lot of fruits to work just in case I get hungry in between meals. I’m not snacking on any processed foods just raw foods and maybe some nuts.

It’s an amazing feeling because my bowels have been very frequent throughout my first and second day already.

It’s a great feeling!

My 14 Day Vegan Diet/Detox

I’ve gone days without eating animal protein, so to challenge myself I’m doing a 14 day vegan diet. I’m holding myself accountable by including all of you.

    How?
    Well, I will document/blog all of my meals and snacks for 14 days. I’m basically giving my body a rest.

Our bodies are products of nature and it’s designed to heal and detoxify on its own natural way. Unfortunately, we are over-exposed to a large variety of toxins (environmental, food, water, and emotional) in our daily lives. Plus, we do not take good care of ourselves, leaving our system compromised and further polluted. I have one other family member on board with me, Kareem Anglin . He’s going to be my sidekick in this. We’re up for it and anyone else who’d like to join in.

    Why now?
    Well, I have not been feeling the greatest lately, and I think I have a lot of toxic build-up. Lately, I’ve been experiencing low energy, low motivation, and I got sick twice within two months. It’s unlike me to get sick especially, back-to-back. That’s a no no in my book.

Here’s a list of some signs of toxic build-up. If you’re experiencing quite a few of these, maybe it’s time for a detox.

  • fatigue
  • poor digestion
  • illness
  • overweight
  • disease
  • constipation or poor elimination
  • low energy
  • prolonged use of pharmaceuticals
  • low motivation
  • prolonged use of alcohol, tobacco and recreational drugs
  • depression
  • susceptible to illness
  • parasites, worms
  • fungus, yeast growth
  • continuous headaches

Poor food choices, stress, poor breathing and lack of sleep simply leave our systems overly acidic. The blood needs to remain in an alkaline range and the body’s intelligence will do everything in its power to keep this. A toxic internal environment is an acidic one. You will have cravings, addictions, tension, and moodiness, feel stiff, and find it hard to lose weight, suffer from poor digestion, heartburn and eventually even diseases like osteoporosis, cancer, and kidney stones.

So…this is why we need to detox.

It’s time for a washout! It’s time to clean out, refresh and revitalize. During the process I will also do a colon cleanse with my Ballerina Tea, and it’s caffeine free. It has senna in it which will make you go, seriously.

Here are my guidelines for this 14 day vegan diet/cleanse

  • Favor foods in their whole form
  • Eliminate white sugar and white flour
  • Substitute animal protein (meat, eggs, chicken) with organic plant sources of protein (legumes, beans, nuts, seeds)
  • Watch caffeine consumption (the less the better)
  • Limit alcohol
  • Drink ginger tea.
  • Eat three meals per day with limited snacking (only if actually hungry, not bored!)
  • Drink warm/room temperature water with meals rather than iced drinks.
  • Weekly one day cleanse (ballerina tea)
  • Include living foods in your diet like raw sprouts and fresh vegetables
  • Wheatgrass as a supplement

All I have to do is increase my intake of these foods:

  • Fresh fruits
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Fresh fruit juices
  • Fresh vegetable juices
  • Whole grains (pasta, rice and breads)
  • Legumes
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Water/teas (at least two liters per day)

Keep in Mind…
When you detox, the toxins have to come up and out so there will be a process to go through. You may feel nausea, low energy, cravings, and even challenged at times.

It’s all worth it.

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 Highlight: Black Rice the “forbidden rice”

Black rice is so rich and tasty, I don’t think it receives enough publicity. It has quickly become known as a ‘super food’ and it’s also known as the “forbidden rice” according to the history books.

In ancient times, Emperors reserved this wonderfully nutty rice for their own consumption because it was thought that it would extend their lives; actually, it seems they weren’t that far off the mark.

Black rice does provide many health benefits, including conditions such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and others. The Emperors were pretty smart people, it is surely a great way to extend the length and quality of your life.

Black rice natural healing power consists of antioxidants, Vitamin E, Fiber, and valuable anti-inflammatory properties, this special rice is truly extraordinary in its abilities. What’s really incredible about Black Rice is the fact that it contains even more antioxidants (per serving) than blueberries; which are famous for their anti-aging properties according to the American Chemical Society.

Vitamins, Minerals And Fiber
Black rice is a 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.

Antioxidants
Brown rice and black rice are antioxidant-rich, but only black rice contains anthocyanins, the purple and dark red pigments that color and add valuable nutrients to blueberries, grapes, blackberries, dark cherries, raspberries and acai berries. Anthocyanin antioxidants are associated with health benefits, such as memory improvement and decreased risk of heart disease and cancer.

One spoonful of black rice bran provide the same amount or more anthocyanins than a spoonful of blueberries according to 2010 study examining the influence of anthyocyanins on some chronic health conditions. The results of this research were published by Zhimin Xu, Ph.D. and presented at the 240th National Meeting of American Chemical Society in Boston. The antioxidants in black rice may help fight heart disease and reduce blood levels of “bad” cholesterol, which is low-density lipoprotein or LDL.


Inflammation
Black rice contains a higher concentration of anthocyanins than any other food including blueberries and tart cherries. The consumption of anthocyanins can be effective in reducing inflammation. A study published in August 2004 in the “Behavioural Brain Research” journal revealed that the presence of anthocyanins were not only effective in reducing inflammation, but also effective in reducing the pain associated with inflammation. Therefore, black rice is an effective anti-inflammatory and analgesic.

Cancer
The anthocyanins contained in black rice have anti-oxidant properties and anti-inflammatory properties. Research shows that anthocyanins also have chemotherapeutic properties. A study published in December 2009 in the “International Journal of Oncology” revealed that the presence of anthocyanins inhibited growth and, in some cases, destroyed human colon cancer cells. This research is encouraging for the use of anthocyanins and substances that contain anthocyanins as effective chemotherapeutic agents.

Asthma
Current research has also revealed that anthocyanins can also be an effective treatment for asthma. A study published in August 2007 in the “Food and Chemical Toxicology” journal showed that anthocyanins effectively counteracted several free radicals that induce airway inflammation and mucous secretion, which decreased the symptoms associated with asthma. This research proves that black rice, with its rich anthocyanin concentration, would effective at treating the symptoms associated with asthma.

Resources:

  1. PubMed.gov: Induction of Apoptosis in Human Colon Cancer HCT-116 Cells by Anthocyanins Through Suppression of Akt and Activation of p38-MAPK
  2. Linus Pauling Institue at Oregon State University: The Possible Health Benefits of Anthocyanin Pigments and Polyphenolics
  3. PubMed.gov: Anthocyanins Inhibit Airway Inflammation and Hyperresponsiveness in a Murine Asthma Model

Food Fact: Turmeric Spice

The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. Tumeric has been used for over 2500 years in India, where it was most likely first used as a dye.

The medicinal properties of this spice have been slowly revealing themselves over the centuries. Long known for its anti-inflammatory properties, recent research has revealed that turmeric is a natural wonder, proving beneficial in the treatment of many different health conditions from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease.

Here are 20 reasons to add turmeric to your diet:

1. It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns.

2. When combined with cauliflower, it has shown to prevent prostate cancer and stop the growth of existing prostate cancer.

3. Prevented breast cancer from spreading to the lungs in mice.

4. May prevent melanoma and cause existing melanoma cells to commit suicide.

5. Reduces the risk of childhood leukemia.

6. Is a natural liver detoxifier.

7. May prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain.

8. May prevent metastases from occurring in many different forms of cancer.

9. It is a potent natural anti-inflammatory that works as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects.

10. Has shown promise in slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis in mice.

11. Is a natural painkiller and cox-2 inhibitor.

12. May aid in fat metabolism and help in weight management.

 13. Has long been used in Chinese medicine as a treatment for depression.

14. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it is a natural treatment for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

15. Boosts the effects of chemo drug paclitaxel and reduces its side effects.

16. Promising studies are underway on the effects of turmeric on pancreatic cancer.

17. Studies are ongoing in the positive effects of turmeric on multiple myeloma.

18. Has been shown to stop the growth of new blood vessels in tumors.

19. Speeds up wound healing and assists in remodeling of damaged skin.

20. May help in the treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.

Turmeric can be taken in powder or pill form. It is available in pill form in most health food stores, usually in 250-500mg capsules.

Once you start using turmeric on a regular basis, it’s fun to find new ways to use it in recipes. My favorite way to use it is to add a pinch of it to egg salad. It adds a nice flavor and gives the egg salad a rich yellow hue.