Really? BPA free? Toxicity and Plastics

Really? BPA free?  Toxicity and Plastics

Plastics are everywhere, convenient and affordable.    Personally, I do not find the benefits outweighing the harm that they cause.  Two known and well-researched toxic chemicals are Bisphenol A (BPA) and Phthalates.  The harm is in the toxic chemicals that plastic releases into the environment and into our bodies.  Odorless and tasteless, yet daily exposure to these harmful chemicals changes our DNA.  Children are at the greatest risk since they consume more for their size. 1,2,3   We often see sports fields littered with drink bottles cooking in the hot sun.  Our kids then consume those toxins leached from the heated plastic.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a compound found in plastics.  BPA’s are an endocrine disruptor (think messes with your hormones) and many manufacturers are advertising BPA free products.  Unfortunately, BPA’s are still used in the lining of canned goods and containers as plastic products not used for consumables such as pacifiers and toys .  We also know it is not the only harmful compound in plastic that is toxic.

Phthalates are a well-researched but underreported chemical found in plastics.  Phthalates are endocrine disruptors and found in all plastics and many cosmetics.

Due to limited research dollars there are other compounds that haven’t been tested for their impact on our bodies and the environment.  Ignorance is not bliss as these compounds are often stored in our fat tissue and builds up in our body, soil, ocean and the air we breathe.

What can you do to minimize your exposure to these harmful chemicals?    Embrace alternatives like bamboo, glass, stainless steel (although many have a resin plastic coating inside), and all natural cloth.  Use a glass containers for leftovers, a stainless steel thermos, and organic cotton lunch bags.  Glass containers can go from the freezer to the microwave.  Some of my favorite products are:  Life Factory glass water bottles, versatile and colorful ECO Lunchbags,  and Pyrex glass container sets.  Opt never to use plastic in the microwave.

If you use plastic look at the number rating on the bottom of the container and use the following as your guide.4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harvard School of Public Health Study appears in the Journal of Environmental Health Perspectives, September, 2009

http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info:doi/10.1289/ehp.0900604

1 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajmg.b.31094/full

2 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2920080/

3 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412011000432

4 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resin_identification_code

 

© Donna Sigmond, EastWest Wellness

Acupuncture for Post Operative Pain and Fibromyalgia

Research from Duke University Medical Center has shown that acupuncture can significantly reduce surgical patients’ post-operative pain, and their need for powerful opioids to treat pain.

Duke University anesthesiologists combined data from 15 randomized clinical trials to reach their conclusion. Using acupuncture both before and after surgery produced the best results for patients, who reported lower levels of post-operative pain and a significantly reduced need for painkillers. In addition, acupuncture mitigated the negative side effects of opioids when they were used.

“The most important outcome for the patient is the reduction of the side effects associated with opioids,” said T.J. Gan, M.D., the Duke anesthesiologist who presented the study at the annual scientific conference of the American Society for Anesthesiology in San Francisco in October 2007. Gan pointed out that acupuncture is a relatively inexpensive therapy that has virtually no side effects when practiced by trained professionals.

Many other studies have shown acupuncture effective in reducing post-operative nausea and vomiting compared with other medications.

According to a meta-analysis presented at the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ meeting, acupuncture reduced rates of post-operative nausea by 32 percent, pruritus (itchiness at the surgical site) by 25 percent, dizziness by 38 percent, and urinary retention by 71 percent compared with control groups.

Acupuncture is excellent for managing post-surgical side effects such as surgical pain, loss of appetite, and upset stomach or nausea. In addition to strengthening the immune system and increasing energy, acupuncture is also a great way to reduce swelling, decrease stiffness and pain, reduce scarring and scar tissue and assist with a quick recovery.

If you, or a loved one, will be undergoing surgery, please call us to see if acupuncture can improve your recovery.

Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia Syndrome

Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) affects an estimated two percent of the population. It is diagnosed when there is a history of widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body for a minimum duration of three months and pain when pressure is applied to at least 11 of 18 designated tender points on the body.Research shows that as many as 90 percent of people with fibromyalgia have turned to complimentary and alternative medicine to manage their symptoms. Acupuncture, in particular, has become a popular treatment choice and has shown to be an effective treatment for FMS.

Oriental medicine does not recognize fibromyalgia as one particular disease pattern. Instead, it aims to treat the specific symptoms that are unique to each individual depending on their constitution, emotional state, the intensity and location of their pain, digestive health, sleeping patterns and an array of other signs and symptoms.

A treatment program may include a combination of psychological or behavioral therapies, medications, exercise, acupuncture, herbal medicine and bodywork.

If you have fibromyalgia call today to see how acupuncture can ease your symptoms!

 

© Donna Sigmond, EastWest Wellness

Revitalize Your Digestive Health With Acupuncture

 

More than 95 million Americans suffer from digestive disorders ranging from constipation, diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome to more serious conditions such as acid reflux (GERD), ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. In fact, more than 35 million physician office visits a year are due to gastrointestinal complaints. Reports are confirming that acupuncture and Oriental medicine can offer relief from even the most complex digestive problems.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Digestive Disorders

Evidence that Oriental medicine has been used for digestive disorders can be found in early medical literature dating back to 3 AD, where specific acupuncture points and herbal formulas for borborygmus (rumbling or gurgling in the intestines), abdominal pain and diarrhea with pain are discussed.

According to Oriental medical theory, most digestive disorders are due to disharmony in the spleen and stomach. The spleen plays a central part in the health and vitality of the body, taking a lead role in the assimilation of nutrients and maintenance of physical strength. It turns digested food from the stomach into usable nutrients and qi (energy). Many schools of thought have been formed around this organ; the premise being that the proper functioning of the”‘middle” is the key to all aspects of vitality.

By taking into account a person’s constitution and varied symptoms, a treatment plan is designed specifically for the individual to bring their “middle” back into harmony and optimize the proper functioning of the digestive system. A variety of techniques can be used during treatment including acupuncture, lifestyle/dietary recommendations and energetic exercises to restore digestive health.

Is your digestive system functioning as well as it could? Acupuncture and Oriental medicine are extremely effective at treating a wide array of digestive disorders. Please call us for more information or to schedule an appointment.

© Donna Sigmond, EastWest Wellness

Energetics of Flaxseeds:

Enegetics of Cabbage: Harmonious Health Benefits

Isn’t cabbage cute? photo credit: welovepandas via photopin cc

Every St. Patrick’s Day, many people make corned beef and cabbage without realizing the incredible health benefits of this cruciferous vegetable. It is a rich source of vitamin C (having more vitamin C than oranges), and its outer leaves have high concentrations of vitamin E. Cabbage is unique for its rich supply of glucosinolates, which have special detox and anti-cancer properties. Glucosinolates are also found in turnips, watercress, and radishes.

A note on color variations: Diversification of color options is ideal, as red and green cabbage provide different benefits that complement one another.

Cabbage lasts about a week in the refrigerator, and the healthiest way to cook it is to sauté it in water or broth, which will minimize leaching of nutrients. It may be eaten raw (see recipe below) or steamed. However, we strongly warn against boiling, as it will minimize cabbage’s nutritional value.

Click here for nutrition facts, courtesy of The World’s Healthiest Foods.

Energetics: Lowers cholesterol (especially when steamed),; helps prevent cancer; reduces inflammation; supports cardiovascular health; improves digestion; treats constipation, the common cold, and whooping cough; helps rid the digestive system of worms; remedies ulcers; and cleanses and rejuvenates the digestive tract (as sauerkraut).

Crunchy Chinese Coleslaw

Yummy!

This recipe was taught long ago to us by a friend. It is delicious and nutritious. We couldn’t get enough! This is an easy recipe for any get-together and is a great way to incorporate raw cabbage into your diet.

4 c. green cabbage, finely chopped
3 green onions, chopped
2 tbsp. sesame seeds
2 tbsp. slivered almonds
1/2 pkg. ramen noodles, raw and crushed

(Note: We highly recommend buying organic ingredients, especially ramen noodles. Do NOT use ramen packages available in conventional groceries stores, as they are loaded with potentially-harmful additives. You can find higher quality ramen in Asian markets or health food stores.)

Brown sesame seed, almonds and noodles in cooking oil of your choice or toast in the oven. Each item must be done separately due to fact they all have different browning temperature. Mix above ingredients together, and dress with the following dressing.

Dressing:

3/4 c. sesame oil
1/2 c. cooking oil of your choice
1/4 c. turbinado (or raw) sugar (or your favorite sweetener, to taste)
1/4 c. soy sauce
5 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tbsp. black pepper

Mix soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar together in small saucepan. Whisk in 1/2 cup oil and boil 1 minute, whisking all of the time (mixture will foam). Remove from heat and whisk in sesame oil. Cool and pour over above ingredients. Chill until serving time. Depending on the size of the head of cabbage this recipe will fill a large 2 to 4 quart bowl.

Resources
“Cabbage,” The World’s Healthiest Foods. http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=19
“What Are the Health Benefits of Red Cabbage vs. Green Cabbage?”Livestrong. http://www.livestrong.com/article/410758-what-are-the-health-benefits-of-red-cabbage-vs-green-cabbage/
“Glucosinolates (Goitrogenic Glycosides),” Cornell University Department of Animal Science. http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/toxicagents/glucosin.html

Energetics of Cherry: The Tart/Sweet Superfood

Inflammation and pain are a few of the most common symptoms that people experience. You can easily see this by looking at any over-the-counter medicine aisle at your local grocery store. Lucky for us, cherries are a wonderful and natural remedy for lowering pain and inflammation—among many other benefits! Vote with your dollar and support farms that produce foods that positively impact our health in the most beneficial ways possible. Two DELICIOUS cherry recipes are at the end of this blog.

Energetics

Warming thermal nature; sweet flavor; increases and assists in the circulation of qi energy, tonifies the spleen-pancreas, clears and cleanses blood, and prevents involuntary seminal emission. Tart cherries are astringent and help to tighten and move out excess leaking conditions like excess sweating and frequent urination. Remedy for exhaustion, fatigue, diabetes, gout, arthritis, and rheumatism by eliminating excess body acids.  Treats coldness, improves blood and anemia.

 

Nutrition

Essentially, cherries come in two versions: sweet (which most people are accustomed to, and prefer most often) and tart. Generally, both have the benefits listed within this blog, however tart cherries are the ones that pack the most powerful superfood punch! The flavonoids contained in both types are praised for their anticancer effects and antioxidant capacities. Antioxidants are heavily important to ingest in one’s diet because they have the ability to minimize free-radical activity within the body; free radicals are oxidized molecules that cause damage at the cellular level.

Sweet Cherries

Did you know that cherries can help you sleep better, speed up exercise recovery, and relieve aches & pains?  Tart cherries, or tart cherry juice, is an easily absorbed source of natural melatonin – one of the few natural sources available. While you’re sleeping better, the anthocyanin’s antioxidants (like lutein and zeaxanthin), combined with beta carotene, vitamin C, and quercetin (a blood vessel relaxer) are burning fat more efficiently and reducing uric acid and inflammation.  Inflammation conditions like fibromyalgia, arthritis, and gout, and even sore muscles can be reduced with a cup or two of daily cherries.

Cherries also contain potassium (1 cup of cherries is equal in potassium to a small banana) which helps lowers blood pressure. The darker the cherry the higher the anthocyanin content.  These same nutrients help fight cancer, lower inflammation, enhances the production of cytokines (thus regulating immune responses), and also keeps the brain healthy too.

Sweet and Tart Cherries, fresh & raw

Nutritive Value per 100g

Principle

Nutrient Value per 100g

Percentage of RDA

Cherry type

 Sweet

    Tart

 Sweet

   Tart

Energy

 63 cal      50 Kcal

  3%        2.5%

Carbohydrates

16.1 g      12.18 g

12%        9%

Protein

1.06 g      1.00 g

2%         2%

Total Fat

  0.2 g         0.3 g

1%       1.5%

Cholesterol

    0 g           0 g

0%         0%

Dietary Fiber

 2.1 g         1.6 g

5.5%       4%

Vitamins

Folates

4 mcg           8 mcg

1%            2%

Niacin

0.154 mg   0.400 mg

 1%         2.5%

Pantothenic acid

0.199 mg    0.143 mg

4%             3%

Pyridoxine

0.049 mg   0.044 mg

4%          3.5%

Riboflavin

0.033 mg    0.040 mg

2.5%          3%

Thiamin

0.027 mg    0.030 mg

2%          2.5%

Vitamin C

     7 mg        10 mg

11%        17%

Vitamin A

     640IU      1283 IU

21%        43%

Vitamin E

 0.07 mg     0.07 mg

0.5%         0.5%

Vitamin K

  2.1 mcg     2.1 mcg

2%            2%

Electrolytes

Sodium

     0 mg           3mg

0%             0%

Potassium

  222 mg       179mg

5%             4%

Minerals

Calcium

   13 mg         16 mg

1.3%       1.6%

Copper

0.060 mg   0.104 mg

7%        11.5%

Iron

  0.36 mg   0.32 mg

4.5%       4%

Magnesium

    11 mg        9mg

3%          2%

Manganese

0.070 mg   0.112mg

3%            5%

Phosphorus

    21 mg     15 mg

3%           2%

Zinc

 0.07 mg     0.10 mg

0.5%        0.1%

Phyto-nutrients

Carotene, alpha

   0 mcg        0 mcg

Carotene, beta

  38 mcg   770 mcg

Crypto-xanthin, ß

    0 mcg      0 mcg

Lutein-zeaxanthin

  85 mcg    85 mcg

(Source: USDA Nutrient database)

Preparation

Cherries are in season from May to August.  Try Bing, heart-shaped Lambert, and golden Rainier sweet cherries, or Montmorency tart cherries.  Eat within a day or two of purchase, and rinse just prior to eating.  Look for shiny, deep colored cherries with a green stem still attached. If purchasing dried tart cherries, then be sure to check the ingredients panel as most contain added sugar. Whether treating yourself with wild (sweet) cherries or tart (sour) cherries, it’s a healthy indulgence, so dig in!

 

Kale Quinoa Montmorency Tart Cherry Salad w/ Salmon Recipe

Total Time: 65 Minutes

Prep: 20 Minutes

Cook: 45 Minutes
Yield: 4 People
Level: Beginner

Ingredients

  • Butternut Squash Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups cubed butternut squash (1/2 inch cubes)
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • Salmon Ingredients:
  • 2-7 ounce salmon filets
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 lemon slices
  • Salad Dressing Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Montmorency tart cherry concentrate
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons shallot, minced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Salad Ingredients:
  • 1 bunch curly kale, stems removed and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (hot or chilled)
  • 1 cup dried Montmorency tart cherries
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts

Directions

Make Butternut Squash and Salmon:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Toss butternut squash with olive oil, rubbed sage, and salt and pepper to taste. Spread on parchment lined baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes or until squash is tender and beginning to caramelize on edges.

Place Salmon, skin side down, in small baking dish or foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place lemon slices on top of filets. Roast for 15 minutes or until just opaque. Allow salmon to cool slightly before removing skin. Use fork to flake fish into chunks.

Make Salad Dressing:

While butternut squash and salmon are cooking, mix salad dressing ingredients in a bowl, liquid measuring cup, or jar with lid. Whisk or shake salad dressing until well combined. Set aside.

Assemble Salad:

Place chopped kale in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, a spritz of fresh lemon juice, and squeeze/massage kale leaves with clean hands for about 5 minutes or until leaves begin to tenderize and turn a dark glossy green. Toss kale with half of the salad dressing and set aside for 10 minutes.

Add quinoa, dried Montmorency Cherries, toasted walnuts, and butternut squash to the kale. Drizzle with remaining dressing and stir to combine. Gently fold in salmon and serve.

Tips:

Be sure to cut kale into small pieces and massage for at least 5 minutes to ensure tender delicious leaves.

Butternut squash and salmon can be cooked at the same time. Just add salmon to the oven halfway through the squash’s cooking time.

Butternut squash, salmon, and quinoa can be made the day before and mixed together before serving.

Salad can be tossed together with freshly cooked warm quinoa, butternut squash, and salmon for a warm salad, or assembled with precooked chilled ingredients for a cold salad.

Recipe courtesy of Emily Caruso, jellytoastblog.com

Cherry Ice (Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cups pitted cherries, fresh or frozen, plus whole ones for garnish

Directions

In a medium bowl, whisk together wine, honey, and lemon juice until combined. Set aside.

Place cherries in a food processor; pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to bowl with liquid mixture; stir until combined. Pour into a shallow metal pan and place in freezer. Stir with a fork every 10 minutes until mixture is slushy and partially solidified, about 35 minutes. Spoon into serving cups; garnish with whole cherries.

 

http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2007/12/sf_cherries/page-01

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1082894/

http://aprilcrowell.com/asian-medicine/cherries-natures-blood-cleanser

Energetics of Basil: A World of Flavor

Sweet Basil

 

Basil has been used historically as a token of love, an icon of hospitality and as a passport for the deceased to enter paradise. In the Hindu culture, basil is seen as sacred because it is thought to be a favorite food of the Gods.

 

 

 

 

Varieties

Cinnamon Basil

Basil is in the mint family. There are several varieties of basil.

Sweet Basil: The Italian classic for making pesto and for making Caprese salads.

Sweet Thai Basil: Intensely rich aroma and is great with curries, fish, and salad.

Holy Basil: This basil has a hint of mint and is often served on top of noodles.

Cinnamon Basil: Used for making tea and potpourris.

Lime Basil: Has a tangy citrus taste and is favorited in Asian cuisine.

Best Way to Store and Choose

Thai Basil

When shopping for fresh basil or picking from your own garden, look for vibrantly colored leaves.  Avoid leaves with dark spots or yellowing.

For storing fresh basil, wrap the basil in a damp paper towel and place it in the warmest spot in the fridge (top shelf or the door).  It will keep like this for up to 5 days. If you want to store for a longer time, place basil in an ice cube tray and fill with water or stock, then put it in your freezer.  These cubes can then be easily added to any dish, especially soups and stews.

For dried basil, it should always be kept in an air tight glass container in a cool, dark, dry place.  If stored properly, the dried basil will keep for about 6 months.

Nutrition

Basil conta8ins flavonoids, such as orientin and vicenin, which have been found to protect cell structures and chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage.  Basil is considered anti-inflammatory since the volatile oil, eugenol, has been found to block the activity of the COX enzyme.  Many over the counter pain medicines also work by inhibiting the same enzyme.  Basil is also a concentrated source of energy-producing iron; bone-building calcium; heart-healthy potassium, magnesium and fiber; and free-radical-scavenging vitamin A, vitamin C and manganese.

Basil has been shown to exhibit antibiotic properties by restricting bacteria growth.  This is thought to happen to due basils volatile oils such as eugenol, mycrene, limonene and others.

Energetics

Warming and Pungent. Basil stimulates circulation, clear obstructions and improve liver function, moistens the kidneys affecting fluids in the entire body, improve digestion, and reduce mucous conditions, and expels parasites. Used in the treatment of coldness, especially cold-type asthma.  Basil can help calm and focus the mind.

Basil Dill Coleslaw

Ingredients

  • 6 cups shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 3 tablespoons snipped fresh dill or 1 tablespoon dill weed
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons half-and-half cream
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

Preparation

In a large bowl, combine cabbage, basil and dill. In a small bowl, whisk dressing ingredients until blended. Drizzle over cabbage mixture; toss to coat. Refrigerate until serving.

Source

Energetics of Lamb: More Than Meats The Eye

 

Lamb is considered one of the most flavorful meats.  Lamb is currently the most abundant livestock in the world and it is one of the most popular sources of meat.  Unfortunately, the US has not quite fully appreciated this wonderful food source.  The US only eats about a pound of lamb per person in a year, while other countries like Spain or Greece eat about 60 pounds of lamb per person in a year! It is about time to start introducing your friends and family to this delicious source of meat.

Varieties

Sheep are thought to have been domesticated in the Middle East and Asia around 10,000 years ago. Lamb is the meat from a young sheep that are usually between five and six months old but can be up to a year old. Lamb is categorized by age, season, and feeding habits.

Yearling: Meat that is from an animal between one and two years of age.

Spring Lamb: Lamb that is brought to market in the spring and summer months.  Spring and summer used to be the peak season for lambs, but now it is available all year round.  The label of Spring Lamb does not denote additional quality anymore.

Milk-fed Lamb: Meat from very young lambs and is found mostly in the spring.  It is the most tender, free of hormones and antibiotics but also very expensive.

Grass-fed Lamb: Lamb that has been fed grass for three to six months after they have4 been taken off milk. Lamb that is grass-fed until a year old and never fed any grain will not contain any hormones or antibiotics. Grass-fed lamb is most popular in New Zealand and Australia, and getting it from these countries is the best chance to get hormone-free lamb.

Grain-fed Lamb: Most US lamb is fed grain before it is sold. Grain-fed lamb is usually labeled “Select”, “Choice” or “Prime”.

Organic: Organically raised lamb has been fed an organically grown diet and raised without hormones or antibiotics.**

Mutton: Meat from an animal more than two years old.  Mutton has red meat and yellowish fat; it is less tender than lamb and has a stronger flavor than lamb. It is difficult to find mutton in the US.

** Range-fed lamb does not mean that the animal was only grass-fed or organic.  The best lamb is milk-fed, grass-fed and/or certified organic.

How to Choose and Store

The best-tasting lamb comes from animals that are five months to one year old. Look for meat that is firm, finely textured, and pink in color. The fatty portion should be white. Avoid lamb with yellow fat surrounding or marbled throughout the meat, as this is a sign that it is actually mutton from an older animal and therefore does not have the same delicate taste that lamb should have.

Lamb is highly perishable and must be stored correctly to keep from spoiling. Lamb should always be kept cold, either in the fridge or the freezer. Refrigerate lamb in its original packaging and always follow the use by date for freshness. If there is no use by date, use these tips: lamb roasts and chops can stay fresh for 3-5 days and ground lamb will only stay fresh for up to 2 days in the fridge.  To extend the lambs freshness, put it in a storage bag, place it in a bowl, and cover it with ice to further reduce the temperature.

Nutrition

Lamb is an excellent source of protein. Protein helps in the production of: structural proteins that maintain the integrity of muscles, connective tissues, hair, skin, and nails; enzymes and hormones; necessary to spark chemical reactions in the body; transport proteins, which carry substances like oxygen and nutrients to the body tissues; and antibodies.   Lamb is also a great source of zinc, a mineral which plays a critical role in supporting immune function (along with protein).  Zinc protects against free-radical damage, required or proper white blood cell function, promotes the destruction of foreign particles and microorganisms, activates the serum thymic factor, and inhibits the replication of several viruses.  Lamb is a good source of selenium, a mineral that has powerful antioxidant properties. Lamb is also a concentrated source of energy-producing niacin and phosphorus, and sleep-promoting tryptophan.

Lamb is considered to be hypoallergenic, in that most people do not have adverse food sensitivity reactions to lamb as they may have to beef or chicken. As such, lamb is usually included in elimination diets and other hypoallergenic diets.

Energetics

Lamb is warming and sweet.  It increases qi energy, intestinal warmth, lactation, and improves blood production. Used in the treatment of general weakness, kidney and spleen-pancreas deficiencies, anemia, impotence, low body weight, and lower back pain.

Caution: Lamb is contraindicated in heat conditions and hyperlipidemia (high blood fat).

Rack of Lamb with Garlic and Herbs

Ingredients:

For Lamb

  • 2 (8-rib) frenched racks of lamb (each rack 1 1/2 lb), trimmed of all but a thin layer of fat
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

For Herb Coating

  • 1/2 head new garlic or 3 large regular garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Special equipment: an instant-read thermometer

Preparation:

Brown lamb:

  1. Heat a dry 12-inch heavy skillet over high heat until hot, at least 2 minutes. Meanwhile, pat lamb dry and rub meat all over with salt and pepper. Add oil to hot skillet, then brown racks, in 2 batches if necessary, on all sides (not ends), about 10 minutes per batch.
  2. Transfer racks to a small (13- by 9-inch) roasting pan.

Coat and roast lamb:

    1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
    2. Stir together garlic, herbs, salt, pepper, and oil. Coat meaty parts of lamb with herb mixture, pressing to help adhere. Roast 15 minutes, then cover lamb loosely with foil and roast until thermometer inserted diagonally into center of meat registers 120°F, 5 to 10 minutes more. Let stand, covered, 10 minutes. (Internal temperature will rise to 125 to 130°F for medium-rare while lamb stands.)
    3. Cut each rack into 4 double chops.

Source

Energetics of Almonds: More Than A Nut

Ever been to a wedding and people shower the bride and groom with bird seed or other harmless projectiles?  This came from ancient times when the Romans considered almonds, rice, and other seeds to be a sign of fertility, happiness, and romance.  Therefore throwing them over the bride and groom was a representation of the prosperity, fertility and best wished for the new couple!

 

Almond Varieties

Almonds are believed to have originated in the regions of western Asia and North Africa. The almond that we call a nut is actually the seed of the almond tree, a tree that bears bright pink and white flowers.  Like its cousins the peach, the almond tree bears fruits with the stone like seeds or pits within.  There are two main categories of almonds, sweet and bitter.

Sweet Almonds

Sweet almonds are the edible variety. They are oval in shape and have a buttery taste.  You can find these almonds in or out of their shell.

Jordan: This Mediterranean almond is an import from Spain.  It has a semi-hard shell and a rich, sweet flavor.  This is the most popular variety of almonds.

Nonpareil: A variety produced in California that has a paper thin shell.

Bitter Almonds

These almonds are used mostly in the manufacturing of almond oil and as a flavoring agent for foods and liqueur.  They are otherwise inedible, as they naturally contain toxic substances, such as hydrocyanic acid.  These toxic compounds are removed during the manufacturing process.

Green Almonds

This is the green, furry fruit that surrounds the almond. When mature almonds are harvested the fruit portion is discarded. Yet, when they are young and green, they can be eaten whole. They have are crunchy and have a slight unripe peach flavor. At this stage the almond nut has not hardened, white in color and is soft and jelly-like.

Almond in the shell are the freshest fall to winter and packaged or raw almonds are available all year round.

How to Choose and Store Almonds

When buying shelled almonds look for ones where the shell is intact, there should be no splits or signs of mold. When buying unshelled almonds, make sure that they are uniform in color and are not shriveled up.  They should smell slightly sweet and nutty, if they smell sharp or bitter then they have gone rancid.

If you are looking to buy roasted almonds look for “dry roasted” as they will not have been cooked in oil. Most commercial roasted almonds are actually deep fried and deep frying has been linked to high levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) and the thickening of artery walls. If you are worried about the roasting process in store bought almonds, you can always roast them yourself at home.

To roast them at home yourself:

2 Cups Almonds

  1. Preheat oven to 160-170°F
  2. Place one layer of almonds on a cookie sheet
  3. Roast for 15-20 mins
  4. To enhance the “roasted” flavor you can mist the almonds in liquid aminos or tamari/soy sauce

Almonds that are still in their shell have the longest shelf life, especially when stored in a hermetically sealed bin versus open-air bulk bins. Store almonds in tightly sealed containers in a cool, dry place away from moisture or sunlight. Keeping them cold will further prolong their freshness. If stored properly almonds will last up to 6 months in the fridge or 1 year in the freezer.  ‘

Nutrition

Almonds are heart healthy, in that they are high in monosaturated fats and vitamin E.  Both of these nutrients are known for lowering levels of LDL and stop LDL oxidization, a process linked to atherosclerosis. Research has shown that almonds benefit those trying to lose weight (A low-calorie diet with almonds versus low-calorie diet with complex carbohydrates).  Almonds also include bone-building magnesium, manganese, copper, and phosphorus; energy-producing vitamin B12 and sleep-promoting tryptophan.

Energetics

Almonds are slightly warming and have a sweet flavor. They relieve stagnant qi of the lungs, transforms phlegm, alleviates coughing, and lubricates the intestines. Used in the treatment of lungs conditions and fluid-dryness types of constipation.

Caution: Almonds can exacerbate phlegm and sputum if the person has damp signs, such as sluggishness, thick, greasy tongue coating, and edema.

Lentil Almond Burgers

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups water
  • 1 cup brown or French green lentils
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ¾ cup finely chopped carrot
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped shallots (about 2 medium)
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped celery (about 1 stalk)
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions:

1. Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir in lentils, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until very tender and beginning to break down, about 25 minutes for brown lentils or 30 minutes for green lentils. Drain in a fine-mesh sieve.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add carrot, shallots, and celery and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add almonds, thyme, salt, and pepper; continue cooking until the almonds are lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor; add 1 cup of the cooked lentils. Pulse several times, scraping down the sides once or twice, until the mixture is coarsely ground. Transfer to a large bowl; stir in the remaining lentils. Let cool for 10 minutes. Mix in egg yolk and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

3. Form the lentil mixture into 5 patties. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet, preferably cast-iron, over medium-high heat. Add the patties and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Turn gently and continue to cook until lightly browned and heated through, 3 to 4 minutes more. Serve immediately.

Source

Energetics of Pichuberry: The Lost Incan Crop

PichuberryPichuberries may look exotic, but they are more commonly known as the Cape Gooseberry. The Pichuberry roots yield from the Andes of Peru and are referred to as the Lost Incan Crop.

Eating one is like unwrapping a present. The pichuberry itself is covered by loose, dry leaves that once opened, reveal a small saffron-colored “berry.”  They are mildly sweet and subtly tart. Their size and texture are similar to that of a grape. It is a unique summer snack for the whole family.

You may be surprised to learn that these are not berries at all! They are actually a cousin of the tomatillo. Pichuberries are fruits of the nightshade family, related to eggplant, cherries, potato, tomato, bell peppers and, of course, the tomatillo. Because they are nightshades, those with certain health conditions should avoid them. Nightshade plants are high in alkaloids so anyone with arthritis or gout must avoid this family of foods. Steaming, boiling, and baking can help reduce the alkaloid levels.

The pichuberry is more than just a delicious snackit is filled with nutritional benefits. It is one of the most abundant sources of vitamin C available among all fruits and plants. This little berry carries as much as 20 times the vitamin C of an orange! Also hidden in its small size is a powerhouse of antioxidants, vitamin A, and B vitamins including thiamin, niacin, phosphorus, and vitamin B-12. Pichuberries also help in reducing sugar levels in the blood, as well as increase production of blood corpuscles in the body.

Nutrition Facts Amount
Serving Size 100 g
Calories 65
Total Fat 0.2 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 50 mg
Total Carbohydrate 14.1 g
Fiber 4.8 g
Protein 1.7 g
Iron 1.2 mg

Pichuberry Salsa

Pichuberry2

Also check out a recipe for Pico de Pichuberry Salsa! Click here for the recipe.

Looking for a unique way to incorporate Pichuberries into your meals? Try this summer salsa.

Ingredients

1 cup Pichuberries without the cape (half lengthwise)
1 small avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and coarsely chopped.
1 small tomato, coarsely chopped
½ red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
½ green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeño chopped, seedless.
½ cup (2 oz) chopped green onions
Juice of ½ lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Pinch of salt

Directions

In a bowl, mix all ingredients and refrigerate 1 hour before serving.

Energetics of the Nightshade Family

Energetics of Eggplant: Not Quite Egg, But Fully Plant
Energetics of Chili Peppers: For the Spice Lovers
Energetics of Tomato
Energetics of Sweet Potato: Not Yams!
Energetics of Bell Peppers: The Colorful Kitchen Staple

 

Sources
Pichuberry: Peru’s Exotic Fruit from Eating Free
Pichuberry General Information from Pichuberry.com
Pico de Pichuberry Salsa from Pichuberry.com