Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Today we know that the artichoke is very high in fibre, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and other trace elements important for a balanced system. It is known to positively help poor liver function (thus helping to lower the blood cholesterol), arteriosclerosis, gout, supports the treatment of hepatitis and improves the gall secretions. It can slightly lower the blood sugar, improve the appetite and digestion, is diuretic and may help some migraine conditions (most especially those caused by toxins in the blood). As it helps the body rid itself of excess water and moves toxins it also has the added side effect of an improved skin luminosity.
In a poor diet of excessive drinking (most especially strong alcoholic drinks), high red meat and fat consumption, the artichoke can boost the liver's ability to regenerate its cells. Obviously, nothing can help advanced cirrhosis of the liver. Most liver problems by the way, are self-inflicted.
The liver's main function is the metabolic transformation of nutrients from the food we eat. It also detoxifies certain poisons. An overstressed liver obviously cannot function properly, which among other things results in poor assimilation of nutrients and increased toxins in the blood. This will eventually adversely affect the entire body causing numerous ailments that are often only symptomatically treated. What is amazing are the numbers of people who abuse their livers and hence their bodies, think they eat well, yet are suffering from a form of malnutrition - a word one associates with poverty and third world countries.
What to do? Take an honest appraisal of your diet, recognize unhealthy habits and develop a better understanding of the importance of a properly functioning liver. After serious drinking and weeks of fat-rich foods, do something good for your liver. Give it a break and help it to recuperate.
When artichokes are in season, go on a short term Artichoke 'Cure' (treatment, diet)! Discover new recipes and eat them as a main meal for several days. Repeat for as long as they are in season, varying the menu with small amounts of meat and other vegetables. Artichokes only have about 25 calories. Eat fish and poultry 3 times a week and cut out red meat for while. Avoid all animal fats during this time, use olive oil instead and avoid all strong alcohol. A few glasses of red wine a day helps the red blood cell production as well, however abstain from even wine for the several days to a week before adding a small glass with your meal. Another positive side to artichokes and improved liver function is that weight loss is easier as the metabolic assimilation of food is more efficient.
Infusion: use the leaves you normally throw away. You will need about 12-15 leaves per half litre (approx. 2 cups) of boiling water. Pour over the chopped leaves and allow to brew for 5 minutes. Strain and drink 2 cups during the day. You may sweeten with honey if you like. However, an easier method is to purchase an excellent extract by the W. Schoenenberger, Salus or A. Vogel companies from the health food shop).
Versatile: once trimmed, the versatile Spanish or Italian artichoke (remember you can eat the whole choke) can be cooked whole, sliced lengthways, halved, quartered or chopped, pre-cooked in a little water or broth and used in rice dishes, potato dishes, salads or as a topping for pizzas. They can be fried, steamed, boiled, stuffed, chopped with other ingredients for a filling for tomatoes, served with sauces. Chop the hearts very fine and they can be used in vinaigrette, mayonnaise, mixed with cooked egg or grated cheese or used in omelettes. Then there's quiche, pasta and risotto dishes - you are only limited by your imagination!
How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke
I can imagine, that if you didn't grow up eating artichokes and if you were encountering them for the first time, they might seem a little intimidating. How one cooks and eats an artichoke is not obvious from its appearance. If you've always wondered how to cook and eat the darn things, here are the steps:
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
1 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup fresh ground raw almonds or almond meal
1/3 cup ground flax seeds (or flax meal)
1/4 t salt
3/4 t baking soda
3/4 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
2 organic, free range eggs
2 cups organic milk or any milk substitute
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
1 t vanilla
Mix the first 8 ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Mix the remaining wet ingredients in a separate bowl and then pour into the dry mixture. Mix thoroughly. Heat a large fry pan or griddle on medium heat, add butter and/or coconut oil to coat. Add batter to preferred pancake size and cook until the first bubbles pop. Change heat to lowest setting and flip. Cook for about a minute or 2 and serve with drizzles or puddles of your favorite maple syrup.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
No foodie tips today. Today we focus on fun and laughter as healing mechanisms.
- Always Go the Extra Smile
Of all my Fun Commandments, this one provides you with the most energy. It is the one strategy most effective for increasing the fun in your life. Smiling is a way to open your heart and at the same time touch the hearts of others. We have measured decreased stress, improved immunity, increased tolerance for pain and frustration, and higher levels of creativity - even from a "fake" smile!
- Tell the Truth
Of all my Fun Commandments, this one helps you keep an inventory of yourself. Our humor natures are open windows to the truth; therefore, if you want your sense of humor to be strong and available, you must make the effort to be true to yourself. This Commandment promotes trust in yourself and keeps you on a steady, forward pace since you will be much more cognizant of what is working in your life and what isn't.
- Laugh With Yourself First
Of all my Fun Commandments, this one helps you take yourself less seriously. When you make a mistake, laughing with yourself keeps you from beating up on yourself. It is a boost to your self-esteem because it is a vote of confidence in yourself. This Commandment sends a clear message to you that you are okay. You know that your foibles do not form links in an unbreakable chain, because you are learning from them and becoming more effective.
- Welcome Your Mistakes
Of all my Fun Commandments, this one allows you to stop being so hard on yourself. Jerry Lewis once told me that he is always nervous before he goes on stage, but "the trick is to harness the fear and make it your ally." In other words, don't be afraid of your mistakes - welcome them! In fact, your mistakes can be so helpful to you that I suggest making them on purpose. You're going to make mistakes anyway. Making them on purpose helps you turn your fear into fun.
- Listen Very Carefully
Of all my Fun Commandments, this one keeps you from being too self-centered. Successful comedians will tell you that the capacity to listen is their number one creative tool. Yet listening is an often overlooked and under taught skill and most of us are very poor at it, preferring to form our next phrases rather than hear what is being said to us. To really listen we must turn the volume down on our own internal chatter and this allows us tocommunicate from our hearts rather than our heads.
- Let Go Frequently
Of all my Fun Commandments, this one provides you with serenity. If you've ever learned to juggle you quickly discovered that we all have a tendency to hold on to objects for too long. The same phenomenon occurs in life and, since we are all jugglers - juggling our family, our work, our community responsibilities, and our own care, letting go is a vital skill that willprevent stress and give peace of mind.
- Challenge Your Assumptions
Of all my Fun Commandments, this one keeps you open minded and learning. It is also an effective way to bring humor into your life. We make assumptions because it saves us time and energy in our busy lives, but assumptions can keep us from growing and changing if we are not capable or willing to see new perspectives. Get in the habit of seeing things around you in a different way and your sense of humor will become supercharged.
- Stay Focused, Yet Flexible
Of all my Fun Commandments, this one eases you through changes and transitions. This strategy is about keeping your priorities clear, but keeping your options open. You can't help but become an inspired opportunist when you develop a trait for seeing the victories inherent in what you used to call defeats. As you'll come to find out, this trait is shared by all successful people.
- Act and Interact with People
Of all my Fun Commandments, this one gives you a constant and reliable source of amusement. Reaching out and touching someone is often a learned skill, but it pays big dividends. Realize that taking chances means you will make mistakes, but they will happen less often if you are willing to learn from them. You'll also find that a failed action is much more valuable to your health and success than a failure to act.
- Practice Wanting What You Have, Rather Than Getting What You Want
Of all my Fun Commandments, this one helps you attract, and hold on to, abundance. One of the great paradoxes of life is that, as long as you try to fill your inner void with things outside yourself, your void only gets bigger. Learning to love what we have and who we are - right now - opens us up to receive so much more, because we want things for the right reason. We're no longer trying to "fix" ourselves.
- Choose to Motivate Yourself With Fun Rather Than Fear
Of all my Fun Commandments, this one teaches you how to set goals and achieve them. You really only have the choices of fun or fear when it comes to motivation and they both work well. The problem, however, with choosing fear is that it is impossible to sustain the motivation without harming ourselves through burn-out and stress. Choosing fun to motivate ourselves is the simple difference of striving toward positive goals, rather than escaping negative ones.
- Celebrate Everything
Of all my Fun Commandments, this one provides you with abundant joy every day. If you make a practice of celebrating events you normally treated as mundane, you will be filled with an energy and spirit that you haven't felt since childhood. Left to choose between feeling like a jaded pessimist or a naive optimist (of course, I'm using two extremes as examples), why wouldn't you choose the latter? Either way, your life will still unfold around you - but you will see it as a gift.