Friday, February 10, 2012

Keep It Simple, Superfoods 2, Update

Keep it Simple
Superfoods 2 
 Update: 27.2.12: Sprouting Rice  
 (Scroll down to Grains)

As to simplicity, think: foods of bold, bright color and variety. Am posting Part 2 as its own entity so folks who've waited for the next bit, can now find it!

Let's begin with a how-to story: 

A ninety-nine year old, dear neighbor, still living independently, taught me a great deal about superfoods and enduring quality of life.

When I first dropped by in a neighborly fashion, to ask if she needed anything from the farmers market, she was enjoying the mid-day meal, which she'd prepared for herself.

I was struck speechless. Hers was not an iceberg lettuce as veg, nor TV-dinner kitchen. I looked at prettily served "old-fashioned" foods we imagine we've no time for, anymore.

She had prepared a small piece of salmon with tarragon and lemon, sliced beets, kale, half a small winter squash. Colors? Oh you bet: bright anti-oxidant ones: wine-red, deep green, orange.

Ever the gracious lady she asked me to join her and apologized for having only prepared small portions with nothing to offer me. 

She in fact offered me plenty, and lived beyond her century mark doing it. She was at least as well informed about current events as I, and still went walking every day. She simply dazzled me with her acuity of mind, and I watched her "feeding" her longevity and zest for life each quiet meal.

So, beyond learning from elders, and we should be so lucky, what do we already have in our kitchens, and what can we stock in--of anti-inflammatory, longevity-enhancing, anti-oxidant-rich, preventative medicine foods? 
Spice Shelf Superfoods:
Cinnamon: Much-loved in apple pastries and on cinnamon toast. Turns out, it's a new whizbang in holistic medicine, in preventing and treating diabetes.

Turmeric: The yellow-color in curry powder blends and ball park mustard. You'll find it in nutriceuticals now: liver-protective, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer. You can add it to soups, stews, rice, even popcorn. Try whisking ~1/2 tsp. into the eggs for an omelet.

Cayenne: Bright fiery red, it stimulates circulation, digestion and heart vigor. Dr. Christopher, an early 20th century American herbalist, carried cayenne in his materia medica of herbs and spices on buggy-ride house calls. In the event of heart attack, he stirred 1 tsp. cayenne into a glass of water and had the patient drink it down. (Not medical advice; see your doctor!)

Cloves: Wars were fought in the Middle Ages and Renaissance over control of the spice routes. Cloves in particular were prized. A single clove bud simmered with meat, in the days before refrigeration, helped prevent spoilage for much longer than normal. When idjits in the Dutch East Indies cut down all the aromatherapy-diffusing clove trees on an island for some other profitable crop, plague swept the island. Clove is anti-viral, lovely in gingerbread, cookies, mulled cider. Traditional soup stocks include simmering a whole onion, also anti-microbial, stuck with a couple spice cloves.

Garlic: The "stinking rose" of ethnic cuisine is now sufficiently researched to encourage consumption even by the timid! Helps with healthy cholesterol and good liver function, heart health, anti-cancer, even aphrodisiac.

Again, think color. Many of us have grown up with nutrient-robbed white rice. Consider bulk sources for red jasmine rice, red Bhutanese rice, forbidden black rice (once grown only for Chinese Emperors!) and of course brown rice.

Health food stores now offer a sprouted, then dried brown rice, at higher cost, which ~triples nutrient content. Some enthusiasts are doing that with special rice cookers or with handy-hands-at-home improvisations. Some cooks even brew anti-oxidant-rich green tea for the sprouting/cooking, which turns out to be yummy:

Update: Have been fiddling with the rice sprouting issue. There seem to be three electric options: 1) A pricey rice cooker with (toxic) non-stick coating. 2) The above link suggests rheostating a hot plate. 3) A creative colleague has begun successfully sprouting red and brown rice, and quinoa in the Thermodor warming drawer of his electric range/oven, leaving the door ajar for a temperature of 94F. He is monitoring energy consumption.

Dependence on electricity is a niggle-itch we may soon have to scratch--I've spent long stretches with power out, or simply not available. What then? What if the grid goes down? (See "Hearth & Home Infrastructure" right sidebar for precedent.)

I have existing radiant floor heating, dependent on electric pump, and natgas availability. I tried setting a glass jar of green tea and rice on the floor with an upturned pot over the jar--steady 80F--a temperate temperature rather than a tropical one, though not bad.

My improv yogurt incubator method seems to be the most efficient non-electric method thus far. A picnic "cooler" holds a cold temp; it can also maintain an incubating one, given sufficient volume of water in which jars are warmly immersed.

Having left warmth and moisture to do their magic, you can augment the already high nutrient content of the rice and strong green/white tea by adding sea veggies and dried mushrooms when cooking.

Example: a fat pinch of sea lettuce, powdered alaria and dulse; ditto dried shitake mushrooms, dried porcini; a small handful of dried nettles is also excellent. (For sea veggie sources, see "Radiation Remedies.")

Friends who drop by ye olde nutritionist's pharmacopoeia and kitchen to see what's cooking, have wolfed down the organic concoction, pop-eyed at the satisfying richness of nutrients.

Note: AgriBiz-depleted soils produce poison-pap food which does not satisfy, and leads to overeating and overweight.

Quinoa: Beige, black or red, an awesome grain, cooking in 20 min. vs 45 for brown rice. It's nearly comparable to milk as a complete protein. It works well as a hot breakfast cereal, very sustaining, or as a side dish or stuffing. Pretty good as a gluten-free substitute for tabouli.


If you soak beans overnight and pour off a couple water-soaks, you 1) decrease the "fart-factor" and 2) increase digestibility and nutrient content. How? Soaking seed activates the conversion of stored starch into B-Vites, Vit-E and enzymes. At almost zero cost to us humans. I like the Biosta 3-tiered Sprouter; glass jars with mesh lids also work well.


A nut recommended by Edgar Cayce, eaten as a 3/day cancer-preventative, and by Deepak Chopra, M.D. in this era. Chopra suggests soaking ~12 organic raw almonds overnight, which starts the biochemical transformation of sprouting, enhancing food value. Pour off the water at breakfast and munch, or add a little fresh water and blend for almond milk.

(You may have to request almonds imported from Spain or Sicily for raw/organic--to bypass the USDA's edict to organic California growers, imposing fumigation or heat-treatment on their almonds.)

Superfoods, Inc. Bright colors are your clue: Blue of bilberries and the blueberries of New England, red of raspberries and strawberries, purple of grapes and elderberries.

I simmer dried elderberries and bilberries (1 Tbs each/gal.) before using that fragrant liquid to brew tea for kombucha! (See "Kitchen Probiotics" linked under the Preparedness header, right sidebar.)

During WWII, the RAF fed bilberry jam to flight crews heading out on night bombing raids over Nazi-occupied Europe. Bilberries and blueberries are good for eyesight and are included in formulations to protect the eyes.

Amazonian rainforest berries are of such superfood value, that they may help protect the rainforest as source for sustainable crops, and alternative to clear-cutting: Check out powdered dried acai berry, camu-camu,.. mega-nutrient and protective against degenerative disease.

In Tibet and Mongolia, and perhaps eventually in similar Rocky Mt. habitat, dried Tibetan Goji Berries reign as superfood extraordinaire, essentially mega-vite in a berry. Add to cooked cereals, rice, soak to add to fruit salads or yoghurt:

Raw Cacao:

The Female Food Group! Yes, premenstrual women crave chocolate. Reason? Very rich source of magnesium, nature's calmative and anti-spasmodic (Take note guys!) Magnesium deficiency is very common, and can be a factor in leg cramps as well.

Moreover, raw cacao is regarded as a heart-healthy superfood among holistic physicians, and also contains an ingredient for a feel-good neurotransmitter. Dark organic chocolate bars with 70-85% cacao contain max phyto-nutrients and least sugar. Bliss.

Tea bags are an amazing marketing success--bigger profits from packaging and using lesser grades of tea. Go for bulk organic at health food stores, food co-ops or on line sources. I like Mt. Rose herbs. Any reputable supplier should be testing for rad-fallout from Fukushima, by the way.  

Consider brewing bulk high-anti-oxidant teas in a French-press "coffee" pot or a tea pot. Bulk organic teas are high-quality and can be brewed again with another pour of hot water.  

Organic teas of high preventative-medicine value: Green, white peony and white silver needle from Asia; the red teas: honey bush and rooibos from South Africa; yerba mate' from South America.

Bright color and preferably organic: Carrots, pumpkin, winter squash, sweet potatoes; deep greens: kale, mustard, turnip and beet tops, chard, oriental greens; beets; gold-fleshed and purple-fleshed (!) potatoes; endive, escarole and radicchio for salads, ditto watercress and parsley, the latter's high life force praised in The Secret Life of Plants.

We can live long stretches without food, but not water, sweet, clear water. For years water filter companies assured us they did not remove "beneficial fluoride"--fluoride being a Nazi-era corruption of public water supplies and a grotesque violation of Public Health.

Nor have water filters, carafe or otherwise, been designed to remove radiation. I began researching availability of rad-removal filters the day after Japan's quake, tsunami and nuclear disaster--dismaying non-availability. I kept looking, and found a small US business which utilizes US-made filters, not ones from China.

The unit is three-stage and impressive, an easy install. Whole-house unita are also available. I used to enjoy spring water on my organic farm years ago. This filtered water has that bright pure taste.

Given our new global reality of Fukushima meltdown and jet-streamed black rain, I urge implementation of rad-water filtration for our families, and eventually our communities.

As we come to grips with dead-end corporatist policy, our communities continue to ingest immune-weakening pollutants in drinking water: intentional fluoride and chemtrail fallout; careless radiation, pharmaceuticals and heavy metals. Let's first take care of our families with an effective water filter. See banner above article for a wholesome recommendation.


So, brightly-colored, high-flavored foods meet grandmother wisdom--in our own kitchens and changing food choices--a home-style bounty.

And more and more restaurants are featuring "locavore" foods: locally grown and whatever ripens in a given season. (Which means pumpkins in Oct, strawberries in June, not December, peas and spinach with nights still cool, and asparagus as harbinger of summer's plenty.)

Can the northern hemisphere continue to count on out-of-season fresh produce shipped thousands of miles from the southern hemisphere? And vice-versa, north to south. A global people, yes, but we may be about to learn an old thing anew--to cherish what feeds us near at hand.)

I wish you good eating and home-style conversation. See you at the farmers markets, and in gardens everywhere!


Note to Readers:   
Yeoman Gardener's 5-star reviewed book:      
Wayfaring Traveler, 
Whale Rider of the Tide

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