Fruit

Beautifying Raw Foods That Also Improve Immunity

Some of the most beautifying raw foods on the planet are also some of the best you can eat for optimal immunity, along with increased vitality and strength. That’s because many raw foods are high in minerals which are the micronutrients that your body absolutely must have for optimal health.

Without enough minerals, our skin, mood, and immunity all suffer greatly. They keep our bodies functioning on a deeper, cellular level, and the antioxidants found in many raw foods also help improve our beauty and defense mechanisms against various types of disease.

Several vitamins are also important for natural beauty and optimal immunity. So check out these 10 beautifying raw foods that are packed with nutrients that will improve your hair, skin, nails, immune system, and even your digestion and brain health too!

Pineapple

Would you believe that pineapple is one of the best sources of Vitamin C you can eat?

Pineapple’s Vitamin C content rivals that of most all fruits. The delicious sweet fruit contains over 100 percent of your daily Vitamin C needs along with high levels of the enzyme bromelain which helps break down proteins in the body. These properties not only improve digestion and immunity, but they also reduce acidity in the body which increases your body’s alkalinity to prevent inflammation.

Fresh or frozen pineapple is the kind of pineapple you’ll want to consume, though. Avoid the canned or dried varieties which have been more heavily processed and often have added sugars and/or oils. Use frozen or fresh pineapple in a smoothie, enjoy it as a snack, or pair it with a morning bowl of overnight oats if you like.

Camu Camu

Camu camu is a superfood that’s so beneficial for women that it’s even considered to be a medicinal herb in some cultures. The fruit comes from the Amazon and is the highest source of Vitamin C per serving on the planet. It’s also a good source of amino acids and several trace minerals.

Because of its high Vitamin C and amino acid content, camu berry is amazing for your skin, improving anxiety, and it can help aid in digestion. Camu camu also has antiviral properties which can help fight off candida and other fungal-related infections that demean your health.

The fruit is sold as a freeze-dried, raw powder here in the United States and it adds a sharp, tangy texture to smoothies. It pairs well with pineapple, banana, berries, and cacao, or it can be used in raw desserts, cookies, or added on top of a bowl of overnight oats. Just be sure not to heat camu camu since Vitamin C is heat-sensitive.

Raw Cacao

Speaking of cacao, it’s amazing for your health and beauty. Raw cacao is high in sulfur, a beauty-boosting mineral that also helps detoxify the liver.

Raw cacao is also high a potent source of antioxidants, flavonoids, and other minerals such as iron and magnesium. Cacao is even high in copper and zinc which improve your immunity and the strength of your blood.

Just be sure to go for the good stuff when you consume raw chocolate. You’ll want to avoid chocolate that is high in sugar and eat it raw and unsweetened, or choose dark chocolate with at least 90 percent cacao content. Or you can have raw, superfood chocolate—your choice.

Carrots

Like other orange-colored fruits and veggies, carrots are loaded with beta-carotene which is a precursor to Vitamin A, a natural beauty and immunity-boosting vitamin. Carrots are also one of the best sources of Vitamin C among all vegetables, and they’re high in water, fiber, and low in sugar.

You can eat carrots raw or cooked, but do be mindful most of the Vitamin C found in carrots is lost during the cooking process since Vitamin C is heat-sensitive. For this reason, to retain all the benefits carrots have to offer, be sure to eat them (and other fruits and veggies) in raw form whenever possible.

Carrots are also great for hormone balance, filling you up, and they can even be added to smoothies for a boost of nutrition and natural sweetness!

Acai Berry

Goji berries are an incredibly popular berry that’s great for your skin, and acai berry is another one of the top berries to consume for beauty and immunity. Acai berry is an Amazonian superfood that is a powerful source of omega-3 fatty acids which protect your brain, skin, heart, lungs, and your nervous system.

Acai is also a wonderful source of amino acids and several key minerals that improve your strength and immunity. It’s also low in sugar which makes it great for your blood sugar levels.

Acai fruit is sold as a raw, freeze-dried powder, so consume whichever you prefer. If it’s your first time using acai, pair it with blueberries and raw cacao where it takes on an especially lovely flavor.

Raw Almonds

Raw almonds are well-known for their high-protein content, but they’re also excellent for your skin. Almonds are a top food to consume to improve natural beauty because they’re rich in Vitamin E, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, monounsaturated fats, and fiber, which slows down the release of insulin in your body.

Almonds also support collagen levels in the skin which can help to prevent and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Almonds even improve the body’s response to stress, which can trigger inflammation if kept unchecked, and they’re alkaline foods when consumed in 100 percent raw form.

Dark Cherries

Dark, sweet cherries should be one of the number one foods you eat to beautify your skin and improve your immunity. Cherries contain dark compounds of antioxidants that promote longevity and decrease inflammation in the body and are very similar in nutrition to berries.

Dark cherries can be bought fresh or frozen, and they pair wonderfully with cacao, greens, berries, and other superfoods in a smoothie. Dark, sweet cherries can also decrease joint pain, improve sleep, and help protect the heart and skin from oxidative stress.

Romaine Lettuce

That’s right, one of the most simple greens that’s not kale is also one of the best you can eat! Sweet and hydrating romaine lettuce is incredible for your beauty and immunity because it’s one of the top sources of Vitamin C among all greens, it’s high in water to hydrate the cells, and it’s even a natural source of omega-3 fatty acids, believe it or not.

Use romaine in raw juices, smoothies, or make a huge salad with it and enjoy its naturally hydrating and beautifying benefits!

Pumpkin Seeds

If your skin and nails could use some help quickly, add some pumpkin seeds to your diet and consider yourself brand new! Pumpkin seeds are one of the best sources of zinc, protein and iron, three nutrients that improve skin health, blood sugar levels, immunity, and energy levels extremely quickly.

Pumpkin seeds can even improve your mood and blood sugar levels since they’re one of the best sources of magnesium among all nuts and seeds. And, they’re one of the best seeds you can eat to improve alkalinity due to their naturally high chlorophyll content.

Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are an incredible source of omega-3 fatty acids, they’re one of the best sources of iron and zinc you can eat, and they’re a complete source of protein making them great to consume in place of animal products. Hemp seeds are also a great source of chlorophyll which improves alkalinity, immunity, digestion, and the look of the hair, skin, and nails.

And of course, all raw fruits, vegetables, and greens are amazing for your beauty and immunity. Consume as many as you desire along with these 10 raw foods above, and enjoy the fall season with a greater sense of well-being and great skin too!

Article written by Heather McClees of The Soulful Spoon

Cleansing Pineapple, Apple, and Ginger Juice


Ginger root has a slew of health benefits ranging from high in antioxidants to being used as a natural remedy for motion sickness or nausea. Ginger is also great for stimulating and aiding in digestion by breaking down food so that nutrients can be absorbed quicker.

Pineapple and apples also have wonderful cleansing properties, especially if you are feeling sick, as they are packed with vitamin C and magnesium. Vitamin C helps to support your immune system with antioxidants, while magnesium is essential for muscle and nerve function. Basically, just what the doctor ordered this fall season!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 small pineapple
  • 1 1/2 apples
  • 1/4 piece of a thumb of ginger

Instructions

Simply wash and chop the pineapple, apples and ginger and put into your juicer to be juiced. Store in an airtight container (mason jar) and enjoy for the next 3 days!

Found at Raw Food Recipes

Cranberry Soup

  • 1 cup cranberries
  • 2 cups water
  • Honey to taste
  • 1 tbsp potato starch

Heat cranberries and water together until cranberry skins open. Strain and add honey to taste. Bring mixture close to a boil, then remove from heat. In a separate bowl, mix starch with 2 tbsp cold water. Slowly add this mixture to the cranberry juice – stir vigorously.

Return mixture to heat and bring to full boil, stirring until it thickens and becomes slightly transparent. Store in refrigerator in a covered container. Serve w/ warm cream. Soothes colds, and is a good source of vitamins C and B.

Source: Witches of the Craft

Coconut Stuffed Limes

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 12 medium-large limes, rinsed well
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • Green food coloring (optional)
  • 2 cups shredded fresh coconut
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil over high heat, add 1 teaspoon of the baking soda, stir to combine, and then add the limes. Cook at a soft simmer until slightly tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the limes from the water with a slotted spoon and let cool.

Make a small incision in the top of each lime with a sharp paring knife and carefully scrape out the flesh, making sure you don’t tear the rind; discard the filling. Return the intact rinds to the pot, add cold water to cover, and stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon baking soda. Bring to a boil, strain, and repeat this process (without any more baking soda) 3 more times to remove the bitterness from the limes.

Return the limes to the pot, add cold water to cover, then stir in 1 1/2 cups of the sugar and a few drops of food coloring. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until the syrup has thickened to the consistency of corn or maple syrup, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, let cool completely in the syrup, then transfer the limes to a wire rack and let dry.

Combine the coconut, the remaining 1 cup sugar, and the 1/2 cup water in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the coconut is soft, almost translucent, and thick. Let cool until it is safe to handle.

Fill the limes with the coconut mixture and let cool completely. Eat by biting into the lime. Store in an airtight container lined with parchment paper in a cool, dry place for up to 2 months.

From: The Splendid Table

Roasted Stuffed Papaya

This is an adaptation of a hearty Caribbean dish, chock full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, color, and a pungent curried flavor. Perfect for those who want to reduce meat intake but who are not yet ready to go all the way.

Ingredients:

  • 4 – 6 lb ripe Mexican papaya
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons corn oil
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 lb mushrooms
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground multicolored peppercorns
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 cups white rice
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons butter chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use a nonstick cooking sheet (if unavailable, spray a cooking sheet with vegetable oil spray or grease lightly with corn oil).

Cut the papaya in half. Scoop out and discard seeds. Wash then pat papaya dry with towel; set it on the pan and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat sesame oil and 1 teaspoon of the corn oil in a cast iron skillet on medium (vegetable spray is fine). Add garlic to the skillet. Wash mushrooms thoroughly. Chop coarsely. Add to the garlic; saute the two ingredients. Add a pinch of sea salt and finely ground pepper.

Put mushroom/garlic blend, broth, coconut milk, spices the remaining teaspoon of corn oil, and the rice into a rice cooker. Turn on “cook.”

If you don’t have a cooker, add the ingredients (mushroom, garlic, broth, milk, spices, oil, rice) and cook as you would normally cook rice.

When the rice is done, pour into a mixing bowl. Add half of the cheeses. Stir. Stuff the flavored rice into the papaya shells. Top with remaining cheese and dot with the butter. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until bubbly and the top browns. Serve hot with salad.

From: Four Seasons of Mojo

Grilling Fruits and Vegetables

Grilling fruits and vegetables is not hard. You just need to have a clean grill, thoroughly washed fruits and vegetables and you can do whatever you want with them. You can cook them right off the grill or you can use sticks or a grilling pan. Vegetables will cook better if brushed with quality oil and sprinkled with fresh herbs. The natural sugars of fruits will be more pronounced when grilled because they will be caramelized with an added smoky flavor. Who wouldn’t want that, right? Below are some fruits and vegetables that you can grill at your next barbecue.

  • Apples

The humble apple can be grilled too. Apples when cook becomes more delicious when cooked and becomes even more delicious when grilled because the heat sweetens and soften the fruit. Cut into thick slices and place directly on the grill. Sprinkle some cinnamon sugar before removing the apples from the grill and you’re all set.

  • Artichoke

Halve 6 baby artichokes, and brush with olive oil. Grill cut-side-down 6 minutes. Turn, and sprinkle with 1 Tbs. each minced garlic, rosemary, and thyme. Grill 4 minutes more.

  • Asparagus

Steamed or blanched asparagus is good, but grilling adds more punch to it. Lightly char the asparagus over the grill, toss them in a bowl after and add some extra virgin olive, a bit of chili flakes, salt and pepper to add more taste to it.

  • Avocado

Want to make some smoky guacamole? Cut the avocados in half and grill them for 2 minutes on each side. Follow your favorite guacamole recipe and enjoy it with your preferred chips.

  • Banana

Place banana on grill with skin intact. Turn it until it is deep brown all the way around. Cut open, to reveal the baked banana. Serve with cold whipped cream and a touch of cinnamon for contrasting temperatures, color, and flavor.

  • Bell Peppers

You can grill them whole, cut in half or chunks. Roasted red and green peppers are good in salads or in an antipasto platter. You can also sprinkle them with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and make a sloppy roasted pepper sandwich.

For a sizzled Red Pepper Salad, cut 2 red bell peppers into 8 wedges each, and thread onto skewers. Coat with cooking spray, and grill 12 minutes. Transfer to bowl, and toss with 1 cup cooked chickpeas, 1/2 cup chopped fresh fennel, 1 Tbs. olive oil, and 2 tsp. lemon juice.

  • Berries

Here’s a recipe for a mixed Berry Compote. Combine 3 cups fresh berries with 2 tsp. light brown sugar, 1 tsp. lemon juice, and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Cut 2 10-inch lengths heavy-duty foil, and spoon 1 1/2 cups berry mixture onto center of each foil sheet. Fold edges together to seal packets, and grill packets 5 minutes.

  • Broccoli

Toss 4 cups broccoli florets with 2 Tbs. garlic oil in bowl. Grill 6 minutes using a grid-style grill topper. Transfer broccoli to bowl, toss with 3 Tbs. prepared BBQ sauce, then grill 2 minutes more.

  • Corn

Put corn with husk and silk intact on the grill away from flames. Turn periodically – about 15 minutes. Shuck the corn and remove the silk. Eaten as is, roasted corn has a rustic smoky flavor.

You can pull the husk off and grill with butter and salt. Grill it for about 5-7 minutes. A bit of char will add to its smoky flavor as compared to leaving the husk when grilling.

Tasty toppings range from the expected butter and sea salt to the more interesting serving suggestions I learned from my Latino friends. Squeeze the juice of a lemon or lime on the corn in place of salt. Try a dash of ground red pepper, a splash of hot sauce or a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese to take it from a side dish to a main course. This is a vegetarian delight.

  • Eggplant

Eggplants are versatile and every eggplant growing nation have made some eggplant grilling for decades. When grilled, the outer skin becomes crispy and the insides creamy. You can cut them crosswise or lengthwise and coat them with some extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and cook for 6 minutes or until the eggplant is tender. You can dip it in marinara sauce or malt vinegar or blue cheese. The possibilities are endless.

  • Green Beans

They are wonderful when grilled, but will slide down or slip through the grill. The solution? Go get a grill basket. You can cook these slender vegetables without losing or burning one of them. After cooking, just toss them in a bowl, sprinkle some extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and a bit of butter to make everything nice and tasty.

Alternatively, you can thread string beans onto skewers (don’t crowd them too tightly). Brush with garlic oil; grill 4 minutes on each side.

  • Nectarines

Cut them in half, drizzle them with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle some brown sugar after grilling. It’s just like taking a bite of heaven.

For nectarine halves with goat cheese and pistachios, grill 4 pitted nectarine halves 5 minutes on each side. Top with 1 tsp. soft goat cheese, 1 Tbs. honey, and 2 tsp. toasted chopped pistachios.

  • Peaches

Fresh peaches are good, canned peaches are great desserts, but grilled peaches are heavenly. One great thing about grilled peaches are when you take a bite, you will get a chutney-like texture which can compliment grilled chicken or steak. If you have a sweet tooth, you can grill peaches and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

  • Pineapple

Grilling pineapple reduces its sourness or acidity, but enhances its sweetness because the fruit is caramelized and its natural sugar adds to its sweetness. It’s just like eating hot, fruity candy.

Peel pineapple; slice width-wise in 1/2 inch slices. You can cut them into circles or wedges and place them directly on the grill for 3 or 4 minutes on each side. If you want it to be sweeter, add a few drops of honey after grilling. Eat as an accompaniment to seafood or fish, or as a desert.

For a tequila-lime pineapple, whisk together 3 Tbs. tequila, 1 1/2 Tbs. agave nectar, 1 Tbs. lime juice, and 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper in bowl. Add 4 fresh pineapple rings, and marinate 2 hours. Grill 7 minutes on each side. Serve with reserved marinade.

  • Portobello Mushrooms

You can use these big and round mushrooms as a substitute for your ground beef patty. Portobellos have a meaty consistency which will be better if you brush it with olive oil and cook them for 7 minutes on each side.

  • Squash

You can roast summer squash, such as party pan, chayote, zucchini, or hard-shelled winter squash like butternut, delicata, or acorn. Summer squash should be clean and dry. Then cook whole, slice and add to kabobs, or chop and cook inside foil with olive oil and season to taste.

Summer squash can also be cut in half, the seeds and insides removed, brushed with corn, peanut, or olive oil, and seasoned with lemon, sea salt, and pepper. Ground ginger or cinnamon goes well with winter squash as well. Place prepared winter squash halves in foil. Put them on the barbecue grill. Roast until tender, about 35 to 40 minutes.

For lemon-basil butternut slices, cut peeled butternut squash into 1/4-inch-thick slices; coat with cooking spray. Grill 20 minutes. Sprinkle with 2 Tbs. olive oil, 1 Tbs. lemon juice, 8 basil leaves, and 3 Tbs. raisins.

  • Sweet Potato

Scrub the potato, rinse it, and pat it dry. Prick it with a fork. Wrap it in foil. Place it on the grill. Turn periodically. It cooks in about half an hour on a medium grill. Test for doneness; it should feel soft. Cut it open. Carve an X shape on each half. Squeeze and fluff potato. Serve warm with butter, sea salt, fresh ground pepper, cinnamon, and cayenne. Roasted Sweet potato with a dash of spice is sure to add nice warmth to a chilly evening.

For sesame sweet potatoes, cut 3 large sweet potatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices; brush with 2 Tbs. toasted sesame oil. Grill 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender and browned.

  • Tomato

Smoky salsa or a smoky tomato sauce or a smoky side for your shawarma or kebab? Slice the tomatoes in half, grill them with a bit of olive for about 3 minutes on each side and you’re done.

  • Watermelon

Who would have thought that that grilling a watermelon is such a delicious experience? There’s only a few people who like their watermelons grilled, but trust those people, they did one good thing into another wonderful experience. You can add honey and some lemon juice to make more exciting or you can make a salad by mixing arugula and some balsamic dressing. Just remember, watermelon cooks fast and it’s better to cook them using indirect heat.

  • Zucchini

Cut into thin slices and coat them with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill them for 1 minute and you will have a delectable treat.

For zucchini with Parmesan and pine nuts. Halve 4 small zucchini; coat with cooking spray, and grill 15 minutes. Top with 1 1/2 oz. shaved Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint, and 2 Tbs. toasted pine nuts.

Sources:

 

The Other Side of the Banana Story


Yes, bananas are good for what ails you, but life on a banana plantation – growing Chiquita bananas means pesticides and hard work.

On farms from Mexico to Ecuador, Chiquita and its affiliates grow millions of bananas every year for consumers in North America and Europe. The fruit is grown and harvested in a labor-intensive process that involves an army of workers, lots of equipment, crop-dusting airplanes, foam cushions, string, bags, special cartons, refrigerated trucks and trains, and tons of pesticides.

While production methods vary slightly from plantation to plantation, the basic operations described below remain the same. This example is a composite plantation, drawn from Enquirer reporters’ visits to Chiquita subsidiary plantations and Chiquita-affiliated farms in Honduras and Costa Rica, as well as interviews with plantation workers and environmental scientists.

A Commercial Banana Operation

Commercial banana plants grow from 15 to 30 feet in height and are grown in long rows on large irrigated plantations. Most bananas consumed in the United States are grown in the lowlands of Central and South America.

The average banana plant produces fruit about every nine months. The stem usually grows to contain about 150 bananas. When the manager decides, the fruit is cut green from the plant and dropped carefully on the back of a worker carrying a cushion to stop any bruising of the fruit.

To kill off other plants growing around the bananas, workers apply herbicides. The chemicals are toxic and wash into the ground and ground water during rains.

To kill off nematodes, small worms that attack banana plants from the roots, workers cover the ground around the plants with nematicides. These chemicals are highly toxic and make an area extremely dangerous for 24 to 48 hours after application.

Banana plants do not have strong trunks, they can easily be knocked over in a tropical windstorm. To prevent ‘blowdowns,’ workers tie the plants down with string.

Aerial spraying is an integral part of pesticide application in commercial banana farming. The main purpose is to combat Black Sigatoka, an airborne fungus that can destroy a plantation’s crop. In areas that are infected with the fungus, including much of Central America, airplanes may spray fields more than 40 times a year.

The spray lands on the plants’ upper leaves, the ground, irrigation canals, streams and rivers and nearby homes, workers and residents, scientists told the Enquirer.

Workers on Chiquita subsidiary plantations and other farms producing Chiquita bananas told the Enquirer that they receive no warning when the planes come over and they often hide under banana leaves to escape the pesticide dust.

Nearby villagers complain the aerial spraying often drifts into their yards, sending children running into the houses to escape rashes. Many worker villages are located close to banana plantations.

The water used in the in the packing plants to wash pesticides off the bananas comes from the irrigation canals and then is routed back out into the water supply. Chiquita has built berms in recent years on some plantations to limit pesticides from flowing directly into rivers. But many irrigation canals, laced throughout every plantation, remain directly exposed to pesticides.

Plastic bags embedded with the powerful chemical chlorpyrifos protect the the growing fruit from insects throughout its entire gestation. In previous years,the bags were simply discarded after use, though the major banana companies have now started recycling programs.

At harvesting, the stem is placed on a large overhead cable system that runs throughout the plantation. Workers place foam cushions among the fruit to stop bruising. The fruit is then pushed along the cable toward the “Empacadora,” the packing plant.

In the packing plant, workers remove the cushions. Other workers then cut the stems into smaller bunches.

The bunchesare then put in a “pila de seleccion,” a selecting trough, where selectoras, usually women, choose the bananas and cut them further down to shipping size with small hooked knives.

Larger troughs called ‘pilas des leches,” milk troughs, wash off the pesticides applied in the fields as well as natural fluids from the banana plant.

New pesticides are applied to the bunches after they are placed on a conveyer belt. The new pesticides, either thiabendazole or imazalil, are applied to prevent “crown rot,” a fungus that attacks the extremities of the banana bunch.

On some plantations, Chiquita has installed small plastic containment systems that save money on pesticide costs and reduce worker exposure to the pesticides. But most plantations do not have this system, according to Chiquita statements issued through its attorneys to the Enquirer.

Boxes of banana bunches, freshly applied with pesticides, are put on large skids for shipment. On all the plantations visited by the Enquirer, most workers viewed by reporters did not wear gloves when handling the pesticide-covered bananas.

Trucks or trains are brought to the plant and loaded with the skids. The bananas are taken to port, where the large refrigerated containers are lifted onto ships. The ships then sail to various destinations, usually in North America or Europe. About ten days to two weeks after being harvested, the bananas are on display and for sale at local groceries.

Pesticides in the banana ecosystem

The ecosytem of a banana plantation is extremely wet and hot. The soil is very loose, helping the banana plants grow but also making it easy for pesticides to spread throughout the system.

It often rains in these areas, flushing pesticides into the ground and water table. The banana industry’s answer to this dissipation has been to apply pesticides frequently.

Ways pesticides get into the environment:

Air: Airplanes drop toxic chemicals regularly from the air. Pesticides fall on the plants, but also on workers, the ground and irrigation canals and streams.

Ground: Workers apply pesticides to the ground around the plants. These chemicals seep into the ground with every rainfall.

Water: Pesticides also get into water that is used to wash bananas in the packing plants. That water then flows back into the irrigation canals.

Bags: Plastic bags with the insecticide chlorpyrifos cover all the banana bunches from their inception. The chemical leaks off the bags in rain storms and flows into the ground and water.

Black Sigatoka is a banana plant disease that plagues most areas where Chiquita bananas are produced. The airborne fungus eats away at the plant leaves, turning them black. The disease shrinks the size of the fruit and makes it ripen too quickly to be shipped to market. Eventually, the disease kills the plant. Some researchers are now trying to find a Sigatoka resistant banana that will still appeal to consumers, but nothing has been discovered thus far. To date, the industry’s reaction to the problem has been to increase aerial spraying of powerful pesticides.

BUY ORGANIC!
Good For You, good For the Planet.

Going Bananas!

Finally a cure for what ails you – Bananas! A professor at CCNY for a physiological psych class told his class about bananas. He said the expression ‘going bananas’ is from the effects of bananas on the brain.

  • Important:

Never, put your bananas in the refrigerator!!!

After reading this, you’ll never look at a banana in the same way again.

Bananas contain three natural sugars – sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90 minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world’s leading athletes.

But energy isn’t the only way a banana isn’t can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

PMS: Forget the pills – eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit’s ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and crisps. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a ‘cooling’ fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand, for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.

Smoking & Tobacco Use: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body’s water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.

Strokes: According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!

Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!

So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, ‘A banana a day keeps the doctor away!’

Before you get too excited about bananas, however, you might want to read the other side of the banana story!

Master Cleanse – Lemon Diet

Daniel and I are going to try this diet. It’s supposed to work wonders for your body, clearing and detoxing, and giving you a fresh new start.

Here’s the Lemon Drink recipe for a Master Cleanse

  • 2 tablespoons FRESH squeezed lemon or lime juice (approx. 1/2 lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons genuine organic maple syrup, Grade B (the darker the better)
  • 1/10 teaspoon (a small pinch!) cayenne pepper, gradually increase (the more BTUs the better)
  • 10-14 oz pure water

Important notes:

  • Use fresh lemons or limes only, never canned or frozen lemon juice (organic, vine ripened – if possible).
  • Use only real (and organic, if possible) grade B or C maple syrup. (Don’t use Grade A maple syrup or maple-flavored syrup. They are over-refined, which means that they are mostly refined sugars and lack essential minerals.)
  • It’s best to make each drink fresh, but if that is not possible (or practical) you can make a larger batch to drink throughout the day. Just be sure to make it fresh each morning.

For larger batches, in a 2 liter bottle mix together the following:

  • Juice of 3 lemons
  • 6 oz of grade B or C maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp of cayenne (or more)
  • Spring or purified water (fill bottles to the top)
  • Mix all the ingredients by thoroughly shaking

Wish us luck! I think we’re going to need it!

What is a Pomelo?

Pomelos are a must during the mid-autumn festival or mooncake festival;
they are normally eaten fresh.

The pomelo (Citrus maxima or Citrus grandis) is a citrus fruit native to South East Asia. It is usually pale green to yellow when ripe, with sweet white (or, more rarely, pink or red) flesh and very thick pudgy rind. It is the largest citrus fruit, 15–25 cm in diameter, and usually weighing 1–2 kg. Other spellings for pomelo include pummelo, and pommelo, and other names include Chinese grapefruit, jabong, lusho fruit, pompelmous, Papanas, and shaddock. Pomelos are also referred to as chakotara in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. In the Indian State Manipur this fruit is known as Nobab.

Cultivation and uses

The pomelo tastes like a sweet, mild grapefruit, though the typical pomelo is much larger in size than the grapefruit. It has very little, or none, of the common grapefruit’s bitterness, but the enveloping membranous material around the segments is bitter, considered inedible, and thus usually discarded. The peel is sometimes used to make marmalade, or candied, then (sometimes) dipped in chocolate. The peel of the pomelo is also used in Chinese cooking. In general, citrus peel is often used in southern Chinese cuisine for flavouring, especially in sweet soup desserts.

In the Philippines, the fruit is known as the suhâ, or lukban, and is eaten as a dessert or snack. The pomelo, cut into wedges, is dipped in salt before it is eaten. Pomelo juices and pomelo-flavored juice drink mixes are also common.

In Thailand, the fruit is called som-oh (ส้มโอ), and is eaten raw, usually dipped into a salt, sugar and chili pepper mixture.

In Malaysia, Tambun town near Ipoh, Perak is famous for pomelos. There are two varieties: a sweet kind, which has white flesh, and a sour kind, which has pinkish flesh and is more likely to be used as an altar decoration than actually eaten. Pomelos are a must during the mid-autumn festival or mooncake festival; they are normally eaten fresh.

More about the festival can be found on The Pagan Calendar, here:

The tangelo is a hybrid between the pomelo and the tangerine. It has a thicker skin than a tangerine and is less sweet. It has been suggested that the orange is also a hybrid of the two fruits.

In Manipur, nobab is used as a major source of vitamin C. This fruit holds a high place in the culture and tradition of Manipur. Many religious rituals seem incomplete without this fruit.

The flowers are beautiful, aren’t they?

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Quotable
"Diet has the distinction of being the only major determinant of health that is completely under your control. You have the final say over what does and what does not go into your mouth and stomach. You cannot always control the other determinants of health, such as the quality of the air you breathe, the noise you are subjected to, or the emotional climate of your suroundings, but you can control what you eat. It is a shame to squander such a good opportunity to influence your health." ~Andrew Weil, MD
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I think it's time to go shopping... maybe even buy some really cool stuff at my online shops!!

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