Individual Foods

A Healing Bone Broth

Bone broth is the most accessible “cure-all in traditional households and the magic ingredient in classic gourmet cuisine, stock or broth made from bones of chicken, fish and beef builds strong bones, assuages sore throats, nurtures the sick, puts vigor in the step and sparkle in love life–so say grandmothers, midwives and healers.

For chefs, stock is the magic elixir for making soul-warming soups and matchless sauces. Stock contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily-not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons–stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain.

It works great as a base for soups, sauces, grains, beans or add some kraut and a bit of miso for a delicious and easy lunch. A warm cup in the morning is a simple and nourishing tonic to begin the day. This is the flavor of love!

Here’s a simple recipe:

Every time you come upon a beef bone, like when you have steak, keep it. Collect leftover bones in a gallon bag in the freezer. Eventually, you’ll have enough for a pot of stock. If you like, you can buy some bones as well, or instead.

You can buy soup bones at a butcher store or your supermarket’s butcher counter. They might be labeled soup bones, marrow bones, or even “dog bones,” although people can eat them, too! If you don’t see them on display, ask the nice folks behind the counter, and they’ll set them aside to sell you when they remove them from the meat they process, or even order them for you.

Ingredients:

  • Beef bones, about 3 quarts, or 3 pounds – you can use any mix of leftover bones or soup bones, marrow bones or bones sold for dogs
  • Water

Equipment that bears mentioning:

  • Tall stock pot (ideal), or any big pot
  • Tongs
  • A big bowl or another big pot
  • Several freezer-safe containers

In a nutshell:

Roast bones until browning and fragrant. Simmer bones 6 to 12 hours. Cool and strain. Lift off tallow when completely cool.

Yield:

About 1 gallon.

Temperature and time:

  • Oven: 350 F : 45 minutes.
  • Stovetop: Low : 6 to 12 hours

In detail:

Heat water. Fill a stockpot or other large pot with water about halfway and set on the stove on high heat. It takes a while for this to get to the boil, so you might as well get it started while the bones are roasting.

Roast bones. Set oven to 350 F. Spread bones out on a shallow baking sheet or rimmed cookie sheet. Place in oven for 45 minutes, or until browned and sizzling. Don’t allow them to burn or get singed, or the whole batch will taste burnt.

Remove the pan of bones from the oven and set it near the pot. Use kitchen tongs to transfer the bones carefully into the water. The bones will be sizzling hot — up to 350 F (think about it) — so don’t drop them in so that they make a splash that could burn you. Slide or place them carefully.

Simmer bones. Add water, if there’s space in the pot, so that there approximately a gallon plus a quart of water. That’ll give you a gallon of stock, after about a quart of loss to evaporation, absorption into the bones and clinging to the bones. The precise amount of water is not important. If you don’t have a pot big enough for this amount of water and/or bone, just use less.

Bring the water to the boil. Turn the heat to the lowest setting possible that will maintain a gentle simmer. The surface of the water should be waving gently and making many tiny bubbles. It should not be frothing crazily.

Over the course of the next several hours, check the soup every hour or so to see that the simmer level is good.

After six to twelve hours, turn off the heat. The amount of time depends on your convenience. You could cook this overnight, but the strong cooking aroma might disturb your sleep, despite being wonderful.

Cool and strain. Let the stock cool. This will take an hour or two. Pour the stock through a strainer into a big bowl or another big pot.

Skim tallow. If desired, cool it long enough that you can easily lift the tallow (beef fat) that has collected and solidified atop the liquid. Store this separately in the refrigerator. It makes an excellent, stable and tasty cooking fat with a high smoke point.

Store stock. Ladle the stock into individual containers and store in refrigerator or freezer.

Variations:

  • Use any other kind of animal bones you like, chicken especially will take less time due to smaller pieces.
  • Add a splash of vinegar when simmering the bones. (The acidity will help extract more minerals from the bones).
  • Add chopped veggies like carrots, celery and onions for more flavor or variety.

A crock pot makes this recipe super-simple, but you can also use a large stock pot (hence the name) or an enameled cast-iron dutch oven type of pot.

Recipe from: How To Cook With Vesna

Cooking With Honey

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As many cooks have found, honey does more than sweeten and nourish – it adds its subtle depth, body, and mellow flavor to any dish in which it is used. Bakers have long relied upon honey as a necessary ingredient in all their tastiest products, not only for the flavor and color it adds, but because honey assures a moist and tender texture in all breads, cakes, and other baked goods.

Honey can be used in any recipe that calls for an all-purpose sweetener. Here are a few suggestions for the best possible results in cooking with honey.

  • When substituting honey for sugar in your favorite recipes, use equal amounts of honey for sugar, up to one cup. Then, reduce the total amount of other liquids by 1/4 cup for every cup of honey used.
  • When baking with honey, lower the oven temperature about 25 to 30 degrees F, to prevent over-browning.
  • When measuring honey, first coat the measuring utensil with a small amount of oil, otherwise, the honey will tend to stick to the measuring cup or spoon.
  • Store honey at room temperature rather than in the refrigerator. Keep it tightly covered and in a dry place.
  • Use 1/4 teaspoon of soda for each cup of honey in baking. This will neutralize honey’s natural acidity.
  • If honey granulates, place its container in hot water until the honey is once again liquid.
  • Foods, and especially baked goods, sweetened with honey will tend to taste their best if served the day after they are baked.
  • Honey, because it is hygroscopic, tends to keep foods moist and tender. Therefore, if you are baking goodies for kids away at school, overseas servicemen, or friends out of town, bake with honey to insure freshness.

From: The Honey Cookbook

Varieties of Honey

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The real beauty of honey, especially in comparison with other sweeteners, is its many types and their differences. The personality of any honey depends entirely upon which flowers or crops are in the foraging area of the bee colony. About 100 plants are known to provide over 90% of the nectar for honey, although there are thousands of plants that produce nectar. In America, honeybees depend mostly upon fields of clover, alfalfa, cotton, soybeans, and citrus trees, as well as asters, dandelions, goldenrod and sage.

Honey Varieties:

Clover Honey: probably the most popular honey, commands a premium price because of its white to light amber color and mild aromatic flavor.

Alfalfa Honey: is also light in color, with a pleasingly mild aroma and flavor. Because it granulates slowly, it makes excellent chunk, comb, and section honey. It is very often blended with the darker, stronger honeys.

Citrus Honey: also known as Orange Blossom Honey, is very light in color with a distinct flavor, if it is pure. Most citrus honey is a combination of the nectar from oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit, as these so often grow in the same area.

Cotton Honey: compares with any honey of the finest quality, and is light amber in color, with a mild flavor.

Soybean Honey: is also light and mild. Its popularity is increasing with the rise in popularity of soybeans as a cash crop.

Buckwheat Honey: is becoming more and more rare in the US, although there are people who would go to any expense to get this honey, because of its distinctive, strong flavor and lovely dark color.

Aster Honey: varies from the light and mild variety of honey, to honey that is dark and distinctive.

Basswood or Linden Honey: which is water white with a very distinct flavor is also becoming rare in the US because basswood forests are declining.

Goldenrod Honey: is very thick and heavy, with a deep golden color. It also granulates quickly, so is very often sold to bakeries.

Dandelion Honey: varies from bright yellow to amber in color, although its flavor and aroma are very strong. It is usually sold to bakeries, as it granulates very quickly.

Sage Honey: also known as California Honey, is premium honey because it is beautifully white with a marvelous flavor, and will not granulate.

Gallberry Honey: is very light with a pleasant taste.

Maple Honey: The maple tree produces a pale amber honey known for its fine granulation – a plus for retailers of “creamed honey.”

Tupelo Honey: a light amber honey from the sour gum tree is preferred by some honey wholesalers because it does not granulate.

Eucalyptus Honey: a very heavy, amber-toned honey.

Tamarisk Honey: is a dark brown with a minty aroma.

Other plants that produce honey with a mild flavor and pleasing aroma include the lima bean, the cranberry and the palmetto. Apple, plum, and cherry trees all produce a light-colored honey with a superb flavor and aroma. Blackberry nectar produces a light honey similar to clover honey.

Source: The Honey Cookbook

 

 

 

The Health Benefits of Millet

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Most people have not even heard of millet, much less understand the benefits of millet nutrition. And yet, millet is one of the best-kept secrets of our ancient ancestors. Traced back to its origin in China, millet has been used throughout the ages and across many countries.

For centuries millet has been a prized crop in China, India, Greece, Egypt and Africa, used in everything from bread to couscous, and as cereal grain. Millet is even mentioned as a treasured crop in the Bible.

This tiny “grain” is gluten-free and packed with vitamins and minerals. In fact, while it’s often called a grain because of it’s grain-like consistency, millet is actually a seed. It’s often used in birdseed mixture, but if you think it’s just for the birds, you’re missing out on important benefits of millet nutrition for yourself!

The positive effects of Millet:

  • Does NOT feed pathogenic yeast (candida),
  • Acts as a prebiotic to feed important microflora in your inner ecosystem
  • Provides serotonin to calm and soothe your moods.
  • Helps hydrate your colon to keep you regular.
  • Is alkaline.
  • Digests easily.

Health benefits of Millet:

  • Magnesium in millet can help reduce the affects of migraines and heart attacks.
  • Niacin (vitamin B3) in millet can help lower cholesterol.
  • Phosphorus in millet helps with fat metabolism, body tissue repair and creating energy (phosphorus is an essential component ofadenosine triphosphate or ATP, a precursor to energy in your body)
  • Millet can help lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Fiber from whole grains has been shown to protect against breast cancer.
  • Whole grains have been shown to protect against childhood asthma.

It’s not for everyone:

While millet may not contain gluten, it does contain goitrogens.  Goitrogens are those substances in food that suppress thyroid activity and can lead to goiter, an enlargement of this very important gland which resides in the throat.  Low iodine intake can also lead to goiter.

While the goitrogens in foods that contain them are usually reduced by cooking (such as cruciferous vegetables), cooking actually increases the goitrogenic effect of millet! Therefore, when folks begin eating large amounts of millet bread with a wholesale switch over from wheat, the goitrogenic effects of this simple dietary change can be profound.

Protect your thyroid at all costs! It is a real challenge to unwind the effects of hypothyroidism once this vital gland is weakened or enlarged. Don’t take any chances with your thyroid health by consuming large amounts of millet bread or millet based snacks. If gluten and/or wheat is a problem, then simply reduce bread consumption or use another grain that is both non gluten containing and non goitrogenic such as rice or oats. Occasional millet bread consumption is fine if your thyroid is healthy – just don’t overdo!

Source: Body Ecology and other sources

The Health Benefits of Buckwheat

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Buckwheat has an impressive catalog of nutritional properties:

  • Non-GMO (It requires hardly any chemicals to grow well because it naturally grows so quickly).
  • High quality proteins (it contains all 9 amino acids)
  • Good energy booster (rich in iron and antioxidants
  • Naturally contains vitamins and minerals (including zinc, copper and niacin)
  • Great for digestion

Because of it being an insoluble fibrous food, buckwheat is essential for cleaning and strengthening intestines. Insoluble fiber also reduces the secretion of bile acids and lowers triglycerides (blood fats). This is particularly good for those suffering with IBS-D, or anybody who has stomach trouble immediately after consuming foods.

Full of healthy fats:

Anybody looking to remain satiated will know that eating plenty of healthy fats is the way forward. Rather than stocking up on high-calorie, low-energy foods such as bread and processed foods, foods high in healthy fats keep you fuller for longer and see that your nutrition quota is also met. Healthy fats are especially great for IBS sufferers as we need to eat small meals, regularly – the healthy fats mean sugar and fat cravings don’t come about to instigate any flare-ups.

Impressive fiber levels:

Although it depends which type of digestive ailment you suffer from, most people will be thankful for a little added fiber to their diet. High fiber foods bulk up the digested food particles, meaning they are easier to pass and less of a trial for your digestive tract. With 4.54 grams of fiber in just 1 cup, you can see that buckwheat is incredibly high in fiber.

Low glycemic index:

The great thing about buckwheat is that it has a low GI of 54, which means it lowers blood sugars and digests the glucose more slowly than similar products like rice or wheat. Studies have further found that whole buckwheat groats contributed to significantly lowered blood glucose and insulin responses than when the participants ate refined wheat flour products. Whole buckwheat also scored highest on their ability to satisfy hunger.

What can you do with buckwheat?

You can buy raw buckwheat from just about any supermarket or food store in the wholefoods section. I recommend playing with it and seeing what interesting, healthy recipes you can make with it. You can use buckwheat flour as a gluten free alternative when making pancakes and other breads. Soba or buckwheat noodles are a great substitute for pasta, particularly if you are on a gluten free diet.

A Few Quick Serving Ideas

  • Combine buckwheat flour with whole wheat flour to make delicious breads, muffins and pancakes.
  • Cook up a pot of buckwheat for a change of pace from hot oatmeal as a delicious hearty breakfast cereal.
  • Add cooked buckwheat to soups or stews to give them a hardier flavor and deeper texture.
  • Add chopped chicken, garden peas, pumpkin seeds and scallions to cooked and cooled buckwheat for a delightful lunch or dinner salad.

Source: My Wellbeing Journal

The Best and Worst of Fish

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Unfortunately, fish, such an ancient benefactor, is sometimes contaminated with modern poisons, such as pesticides and other industrial chemicals. Here are ways to get the most health benefits from fish with the least hazards.

  • Choose saltwater ocean fish over freshwater fish from streams, rivers and lakes, which are more apt to be polluted.
  • Avoid sport fish caught by recreational fishermen in lakes and streams. They are most likely to be contaminated.
  • Choose smaller fish over larger fish. Small fish, like sardines, have had fewer years of exposure to pollutants.
  • Eat a variety of fish instead of just one type. This reduces the risk of overdosing on one contaminated source.
  • Don’t eat fish skin, which is a prime depository of toxic chemicals.
  • For a safer bet, you can choose farm-raised fish, such as catfish and salmon, not likely to be contaminated; however, they usually have less omega-3 type oil than wild fish.
  • Don’t over do it. Although some populations, such as Japanese fishermen and Eskimos, with low disease rates eat fish every day, sometimes as much as a pound, it’s not necessary to eat so much to reap the benefits of fish. Most studies suggest that regularly eating fish two or three times a week can make a tremendous dent in heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases.
  • A special caution for pregnant women whose fetuses could be damaged by toxic chemicals. Forgo fish from inland waters, and restrict swordfish, shark and fresh tuna to once a month. Some experts also advise pregnant women not to eat more than 7 ounces of tuna a week.

Source: Food – Your Miracle Medicine

It’s Smart To Eat Fish

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It is smart to eat fish, especially fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring and tuna, at least two or three times a week. Research shows that eating just an ounce of fish a day may help restore our cells to healthy functioning, saving countless people from disability and premature death.

Here is a list of disorders that fish oil may alleviate or prevent:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis – Reduces joint pain, soreness, stiffness, fatigue.
  • Heart attacks – Cuts the odds of subsequent heart attacks by one third.
  • Clogged arteries – Keeps arteries open and clear. Reduces risk of reclosure of arteries after angioplasty surgery by 40 to 50 percent
  • High Blood Pressure – Eliminates or reduces the need for pharmaceutical pressure-lowering medications.
  • Ulcerative colitis (inflammatory bowel disease) – In one test, eating 4.5 grams of fish oil a day (equal to that in 7 ounces of mackerel) for 8 months depressed disease activity by 56 percent. Another test reduced need for prednisone, a steroid, by one third.
  • Psoriasis – Reduces itching, redness, pain in some patients, and cuts the amount of medication needed.
  • Multiple Sclerosis – Helps reduce symptoms in some patients.
  • Asthma – Curtails attacks in some individuals.
  • Migraine Headaches – Lessens severity and frequency in some sufferers.

 

Garlic vs Clogged Arteries

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Eating garlic regularly can deter artery-clogging, and more remarkably, even reverse the damage, helping heal your arteries, says Arun Bordia, a cardiologist at Tagore Medical College in India. Dr. Bordia, a pioneering garlic researcher, discovered that feeding garlic to rabbits with 80 percent arterial blockage reduced the degree of blockage, partially restoring the arteries to health.

He then tested garlic on a group of 432 heart-disease patients, most recovering from heart attacks. Half the group are two or three fresh raw or cooked garlic cloves every day for three years. They squeezed the garlic into juice, put in in milk as a “morning tonic” or ate it boiled or minced. The other half ate no garlic. After the first year, there was no difference in the rate of heart attacks between the groups.

In the second year, however, deaths among the garlic eaters dropped by 50 percent and in the third year, they sank 66 percent! Nonfatal heart attacks also declined 30 percent the second year and 60 percent the third year. Further, blood pressure and blood cholesterol in the garlic eaters fell about 10 percent. Garlic eaters also had fewer attacks of angina – chest pain. There were no significant cardiovascular changes in the non-garlic eaters.

Dr. Bordia suggests that, over time, steady infusions of garlic both wash away some of the arterial plaque and prevent future damage. Garlic’ main weapon is probably a conglomeration of antioxidants. Garlic is said to possess at least 15 different antioxidants that may neutralize artery-destroying agents.

Note: Cooked garlic was as effective as raw garlic in warding off heart attacks and deaths, according to Dr Bordia.

A Garlic Bonus: The garlic also produced unexpected health benefits. Dr. Bordia said the garlic eaters reported fewer joint pains, body aches and asthmatic tendencies; more vigor, energy and libido; and a better appetite. Particularly impressive was the diminished joint pain in those with osteoarthritis. Five percent dropped out of the study, however, complaining of burning urine, bleeding piles, flatulence and irritability. Eating raw garlic elicited more complaints than eating it cooked.

Source: Food – Your Miracle Medicine

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