Tag Archive for Nutrition

Not Just for Hugging Trees: Cauliflower Millet Mashup

Like Birkenstocks, millet isn’t just for hippies anymore. If I can be any force for the reintroduction into the mainstream of the wonders of millet, let it be so. As far as grains go, it has a good amount of vegetarian protein (6 grams), it’s gluten free for people practicing an auto-immune protocol, or those who are sensitive to the gluten, AND it tastes relish.

One of the problems with millet is it’s gotten some pretty bad PR. But look, if Helen Mirren can proclaim her love of Crocs and still be so hot, then you can give millet a try.

Let’s start with my current food darling, Amy Chaplain, and cook up a version of her mash. I have made this stuff EVERY week for 3 weeks since I got the book. I’ve served garlic greens on it, eggs, stirred in mushroom medleys and stuff roasted squash with it. It’s divine. Not only do you get a kind of corn-like flavor profile, you also get the added nutrient dense benefits of cauliflower along with it. PLUS, for kids who love grains and stray from vegetables THIS IS WHERE YOU CAN MESS WITH YOUR KIDS!!! It all looks beige to them and goddess knows, children love boring beige food. Look, I’m not trying to insult your kids, but AM I WRONG??!?!?! No. So try this. They won’t suspect a thing.

It’s fast, it’s versatile, it’s great for a whole family and it’s so affordable as quinoa skyrockets and cauliflower comes into season.

Ingredients

1 medium head cauliflower
1c millet, soaked overnight
1 1/2t sea salt
1/2t ground black pepper
2 1/2c water or vegetable stock

Rinse off your soaked grains and put them in the pot with the florets from your cauliflower, the broth/water and the S&P. Which is to say, PUT EVERYTHING IN THE POT. Bring the mix to a boil, then turn down to simmer and cover for 20 minutes. Check to see if all the liquid has been absorbed right about now. Then mash everything together.

You can add sautéed mushrooms, crispy onions or leeks, top with tamarin, flax oil, walnut oil or any other flavor you’re going for. Stirring in fresh spinach is delicious. Adding hippie dust is great too. The render greens are flash-cooked just by the heat of the mash and it’s DELICIOUS. Top with a toasted seed and nut mixture for crunch or have it on seed toast. Experiment! Let me know your favorite concoctions.

YUM.

 

Willpower: The Big Bullshit Hoagie

This is Wally. He’s my dog nephew. The idea of walking on the beach with Wally can create more of a sense of friendliness in a habit than just logging steps.

I know we haven’t met, but I can tell you already,
There’s nothing wrong with you.

I mean it.
THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU.

How do I know that? Because you’re here. Not here at the blog, I mean here on the planet. And if you’re already here, you’ve got the right to be here, in exactly the body you have today. I know that’s pretty disappointing to people. They want the keys to someplace else. People wrote me a lot of letters last week confiding that they had clicked on the title of my weight loss article hoping that I had unlocked some kind of feminist, or not, solution to the problem of the body they were using to read the post. They’d been putting off exercising in public until they privately slimmed down just a little bit or they’d been waiting to get married until they could look better in the photographs, and they were even waiting to go to rehab until they lost 10 more pounds. Because we all know, it is a far more important thing to have the right photographs of life than it is to just live it.

If all of you incredible people are thinking you don’t have a right to be happy living the lives offered to you by the world in the bodies you have right now, the problem isn’t your body. The problem is the world.

It’s such a set-up, right? We’re supposed to police ourselves so hardcore that the policing becomes the fabric of life. Food gets shoved onto teams of good and bad like a high school gym class nightmare. But weirdly, and horrifically, the food talk fades and people begin to use phrases that are even more telling. They don’t say, “I ate some unhealthy things that made me feel sick to my stomach.” They simply say, “I was so bad.”

PEOPLE: You were not bad. You ate some fucking pasta. You didn’t mislead the country into a war where thousands of young people killed and died over an illusion. What happened was a decadent dessert. You didn’t lie to your best friend about siphoning off her kids’ college funds so you could go to Bora Bora with Ellen and Portia. Your nutritional escapades have nothing to do with your moral compass, your ability to accomplish meaningful things in this place, and they certainly have nothing to do with your deep and abiding worth here in this wide community of humans.

Still.
I hear it all the time.
I was so bad. I have no willpower.

Well.
You know what?
FUCK WILLPOWER

Willpower is an abusive tyrant dressed up as a hero with great abs and no emotional capacity to sustain a meaningful relationship. Willpower looks great at the dinner but throws up all over the back seat of the limo on the way home and never tips the driver. Willpower gives at the office but never marches in the street and willpower always dies bitter and pandering to the sky about having just one more chance. Willpower pulls a muscle rolling it’s eyes at you when it sees your hand reach out for just your ninth tortilla chip, then tears its rotator cuff patting itself on the back as it verbally shreds its lover because it’s HANGRY.

What do you like about your friends? Move toward that.

I don’t believe in willpower anymore when it comes to eating,
and I don’t believe in white knuckles.

I believe in habit.

Now a habit you can build in a way that suits your strengths. A habit you can stack up each day, a whole universe of everything that works. And when it doesn’t work, no big deal, just start again from a new angle. Or what about a habit that used to work and then stopped because life changed. Because you had a kid or got a new job or lost your license or you got Lyme or your funding got pulled or some jerk was careless with your heart and the pain came for you so hard and fast you lost your ding dang breath. Well then. Time for a new habit. But there’s STILL not a damn thing wrong with you.

What is this habit building I’m talking about? People, coaches in particular,  have different ideas about how to do this. Now, obviously, I’m not the coach for everyone. I’m very focused supporting people to experience the life they are having WHILE they do the work toward making change. The idea that we should put off living until we get to celebrate that change cuts us all off at the emotional knees. And, it also prevents us from having support and joy while we get there. I’m not into that. We never know how long we get to have this life and so I say, now’s it.

Every client I have is different, each with remarkable personality, talents, and creative acumen. So each person I work with has a different path in building their particular habits moving toward their particular goals. But some things, I think, can be helpful to most people looking to replace the iron fist of willpower with the new model of a habit. So, here’s my jam:

1. Be Reasonable: Let’s say you want a seated meditation practice in your life in a lasting way. Presently, you are not sitting at all. So if the goal is to have meditation in your life for a long time, and ultimately from where you are now you envision a seated daily meditation for 30 minutes with various retreats over time and a regular sangha (or group), beginning with a task of 30 minutes just isn’t a reasonable path. There’s a ton of real estate for you to explore between the nothing of now and your eventual vision. For instance, have a list of tasks that build toward that goal and hook it onto a reliable habit you already have. Like, say, brushing your teeth. So your first task can be to make yourself a comfortable and inviting place to sit. Second you can hitch that sit to your tooth brushing. You know that no matter where you are, you always manage to brush your teeth every morning. That established habit can lend a reliable spine to this new one. Third, begin with 1 minute. Or with a recording of a teacher to lead you through 5 minutes. Build up. These suggestions can be applied to anything from trying to eat breakfast to yoga to writing to walking the dog.

2. Friendliness: What do you like about your friends? What qualities make you want to stay in a certain relationship or at a particular dinner party? Take those qualities and move them into your habit building. Like dressing up? Maybe your exercise can be tennis, which can often showcase a really killer outfit. Maybe you like to yell. How about deadlifting or kickboxing? Hate cooking but really want to gain some skills to have a little more say over how your nutrition at home is happening? Add friendliness to the task at hand. Find a pal you have who actually LOVES to cook. You have one. I swear. Tell them you’d like some help and do some cooking together. They can help demystify the kitchen as well as provide company while you learn. Or maybe you want a habit of cleaning your apartment weekly. Make a playlist that is SO GOOD, it feels like a friend, and you can cut a deal with yourself to clean for, say, 15 minutes of that playlist. I often find Back in Blackis a good song for this list. And by the time you get to 15 minutes one of two things will ave happened. You will either be 15 minutes further down the road to a clean apartment OR you will be enjoying your genius playlist so much you continue spiffing up the joint happily.

Willpower is fickle. A habit, you can grow.

3. Willingness: If you can feel it in the very core of your being that you don’t actually want to do the thing you’ve set yourself up to do, trust yourself. You know that feeling better than anyone. Change the shape of the task until you feel willing. Get support in finding a version of your task you are willing to do. Like for me: at some point I wanted to run a marathon. Looking back, it’s clear to me that the ONLY thing that made that possible was the fact that I wanted to do it. My body is in better shape now but I’d never be able to finish another marathon because I DON’T FUCKING WANT TO. I’m not willing to put in the time or the pain or even the entry fee. I do want to continue my running practice, though. And having a distance kind of task to support that goal really helps me with structure. So I need to find a task I am willing to do. Because 26.2, for this gal, not gonna’ happen.

There’s more, but just begin here.
Get Reasonable.
Be as Friendly with yourself as possible.
And just be Willing.
See how this goes and let me know.

You don’t have to white knuckle your way through life. The universe is going to hand us so many challenges, so much pain and struggle already, that it really doesn’t need us to help it along.

I am not saying we shouldn’t strive or toil, or that everything should be, or will be easy. And some days even the most established habits are a total drag to show up for. But as the habit is built and the result of that habit is that we feel better in our lives day in and day out, we begin to believe in it. In ourselves. In our humanity and also in our bodies, where that humanity exists. We begin to approach ourselves with a shot glass of kindness not just in these habits, but in our most brutal and punishing days, when we need it the most.

Don’t feel like running? Put on a gay bandana. WORKS EVERY TIME.

The World’s Best (and EASIEST) Squash and Cauliflower

IMG_3690

With even less light these days, it can feel like we have even less time. Dark when we wake up, dark when we’re done with work, and often, dark gothic hearts. It makes sense. The change around us from Summer to Fall is a pretty intense one. The physical world we live makes enormous shifts, the weather changes (in this case more drastically and heartbreaking than we’ve ever experienced), and it seems like pretty much everyone around us gets a cold or the flu. This especially sucks for my pals who are parents. The kids get sick. The parents get sick and by the time the whole house is better, it can be time for another mutated bug to make its way back to the doorstep.

I thought now would be a great time to pass on two recipes that are incredibly easy, warming foods for the season and nutritionally fortifying for our bodies. Their easy prep gives you plenty of time to unwind and enjoy them. Plus: they’re both super easy on the old wallet. Win, Win, WIN.

Robust Roasted Cauliflower

This is one of my very favorite recipes. My friend Christa taught it to me, I modified it, and proceeded to eat it every day for like two weeks. You can use the very same method with good result for broccoli, but the cauliflower is special.

It’s difficult to believe how delicious this is. Plus in the nutrition corner, cauliflower is packed with phytonutrients which are, easily stated, substances plants produce to protect themselves. Organic varieties of vegetables are higher in phytonutrients than commercial ones because they have to defend themselves harder against the elements inorder to thrive. The more a plant is forced to protects itself, the healthier and more robust it is sharing its nutrients with us and helping us to them fortify our own systems of protection. These things basically build protection of our cells, defending our systems against all manner of difficult foes: from heat to virus and they buoy healthy gene expression. In addition, cauliflower is an abundant course of source of vitamin C, an antioxidant helps fight against free radicals, boosts immunity and prevents from infections and cancers. It’s also rich in B vitamins to aid in protein and carbohydrate metabolism PLUS it’s a great source of a whole slew of nutrients such as manganese, copper, iron, calcium and potassium.

Plus nutritional yeast, in our house known as hippie dust, packs a punch as well. Its a GREAT source of Vitamin B12 which is especially important for vegans and vegetarians, delivers fiber to the system, as well as offering protein.

How should you cook the damn thing? I’m glad you asked.

1 head cauliflower
1T olive oil
1t black sesame seeds
1/4c nutritional yeast

Preheat your oven to 350. Take all the ingredients and drop them in a mixing bowl. Toss it with your hands until all is coated. Spread on a cooking sheet with parchment paper or foil and cook for about 20-25 minutes. Cauliflower should be a golden light brown. THAT’S IT!

 

Warming Fall Squash

You’ll find me cooking kabocha squash in the photos, but you can use this method and flavor profile for any of the incredible varieties available right now: butternut, acorn, pumpkin, delicata and the list goes on. Squash is perfect for the fall and supports healthy lung function. In fact anything orange does. That orange flash is a sign of beta-ceratene, an antioxidant that supports lung function. (More orange foods to eat in the fall, warding off your susceptibility to colds and flu: carrots, magoes, melons, and sweet potatoes) I’ve added a warming spice mix that also serve to relax the digestive process and help the fiber work more easily in your system.

1 squash (any variety)
1T olive oil
1 anise star
1t black peppercorns
1t white Peppercorns
1t dried lavendar
5 allspice pods
2 cardamom pods
1t coriander pods
1t ground cinnamon

*There will be spice mix left over for you to use in other recipes as you wish

Preheat oven to 350. Slice your squash in half and remove seeds. (You can toast these and eat them later) Massage each half with olive oil. Put all the whole spices in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and grind. Add in your cinnamon. Cut squash into wedges and sprinkle the spice mix onto them. Place in the over for 30-35 minutes or until the flesh is browned and the squash is soft. (Alternatively you can sprinkle the spice mix on each half, turn the squash split side down onto a foiled sheet and bake until the skin gives when you poke it with your finger) Voila.

*Inflammation Station Part 2: The Sweet 16 of Stress Reduction

You probably began reading this article because you feel, not just stressed out, but also TRAPPED in that stress. Your life is so packed up, there is no time to edit anything out, change any commitment, or find any space at all to make it to a goddamn yoga class with a mat strapped to your back on a crowded city bus. Or maybe you have too much to do to make the kids are getting their needs met. Or things at work are over the top tight now. You’ll find a way to tae care of yourself as soon as it slows down. But here are some ways to take care of yourself and your stress levels TODAY. NOW. Just pick one from the list and start there. Then  maybe two. Mix it up. Let yourself be healthy.
1.   
Breathing – Have you ever found yourself in the middle of an important meeting, when it occurs to you that you’re actually not breathing? If you look further, you might also notice that your heart rate is above normal and your temperature has risen. Taking deep breaths lowers your blood pressure, delivers oxygen to the far reaches of your body, and relaxes your alarm system into peace.
2.    Exercise – You do not have to be bench pressing Toyotas or climbing Mt. Shasta to reap the incredible rewards of exercise in terms of stress management. Exercise of any kind releases endorphins, your body’s own personal Dr. Feelgood chemicals. It also elevates your mood and self-confidence, while improving your sleep and increasing your overall daily energy reserves. Start slow. But start now.
3.    Creativity - When we engage in an act of creation, we can achieve a kind of focus similar to the concentration achieved through a meditation practice. Allowing yourself the time and space to focus on knitting a scarf, spinning a ceramic ewer or crafting a hilarious blog helps you to be present with yourself without tripping out on the future or the past. The act itself slows the pace of things and your body responds by relaxing, counteracting the effects of toxic stress.
4.    Schedule time for Yourself – Your calendar has a ton of things in it. Sally’s birthday dinner, a presentation for the marketing department, a training HR is sending you to attend for a whole weekend,. What it probably doesn’t say is “Wednesday from 2-3:30. Take self for a walk along the water. Read new detective novel on my favorite bench in the park. Go to the fencing class you’ve always wanted to go to.” Prioritize time for yourself at least once a week. Making this commitment actually strengthens your commitments to others, diminishing your overall stress levels of feeling, ironically, overcommitted.
5.    Interspecies Pals – Hang out with your dog Gus. Or your cat Parsnip. Or your fish Thelonius. Being with animals not only provides us comfort, but often it highlights simplicity and strips down the stress we labor under. Food. Shelter. Love. And a nice swim, except maybe for Parsnip.
6.    Sleep Getting a good night’s sleep can improve our concentration, our effectiveness and our energy levels. Try to lay off the liquids 2-3 hours before bed so as not to interrupt your slumber with an insistent bladder. Cut off the caffeine about 7 hours before you turn in. And try to get in bed the same time every night. Keeping yourself consistent with your pillow will begin to ratchet down your stress levels.
7.    Hilarity – Go ahead and laugh your ass off. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the release of endorphins. Laughter also stimulates circulation and aids muscle relaxation, both of which help reduce the physical symptoms of stress.
8.    Stretch – Yoga is great for stress. But look, I’m just going to go ahead and say it. It’s ok to hate yoga. Really. You don’t have to tote a little mat around town or invest in Lululemon wardrobes to reap the benefits of stretching. Just go ahead and start your day by doing five minutes of stretching and see how things go. You will be in more alignment, more embodied, and begin your whole day grounded. Literally.
9.    Dance and Sing –You can go out with friends and get lost in the thrill of a great sound system or stay home and get wild with whatever blows your dress up. Abandon and fun in a totally physical sense decrease your stress levels and free you from the tangle of daily irritation
10. Eat a Healthy Diet – Start your day with breakfast. Always. Starting your day with complex carbs, slow digesting fuel, will keep you full and energized for your morning. Keep your diet balanced, your consumption of refined sugars limited, and pile your plate with colorful produce. A balanced diet of whole foods and produce keeps your stress levels down and your blood sugar stable. This results in a more consistent energy and mood throughout the day.
11. Get loud about it – According to a recent study in Great Britain, work-related stress can be relieved by up to one quarter by letting out a good scream. Get primal. Just let it rip.
12. Call a Friend – You don’t have to do it alone. Call someone you trust and air out your stress. Let people go through it with you. The bonds of your relationships will strengthen, you can get it out of your head, and ultimately, you will take solace in human connection, an experience proven to reduce stress.
13. Gratitude – Studies show that cultivating gratitude can be one of the greatest weapons against stress out there. Keep a gratitude list by your bed and each night or morning (whichever suits you best) write down three things you’re grateful for. Everything from your new socks to a stable of wonderful friends. Begin cataloging all the things about life that rule, three at a time each day.
14. Get your Financial House in Order - If looking at finances gives you sharp emotional vertigo, schedule five minutes a day to begin assessing where you are. Just 5. And at the end of five minutes, move on with your life. Engaging yourself slowly and daily will build confidence, shake you quite gently out of denial, and put you on the road to making choices based in reality. Soon five minutes will turn to ten and then fifteen and healthy choices on that front will lead to peace and recovery in other venues.
15. Delegate – Do you hate spending so much time at the laundromat? Drop it off. Does looking for parking make you nuts? Take public transportation or treat yourself to a walk. Does paying bills drive you crazy? Set up automatic payments. I am not saying these are the right answers for you, I am just saying there ARE answers for you and you can take action to strip stressful things from your life.
16. 1979 Time – This is my favorite. Turn off your phone for an hour a day. Walk away from your computer. Close Facebook. Turn off the television. Just one hour a day. Read a poem. Go look at a tree or the sky. They get more and more fascinating if you let them. People really can wait an hour to hear from you or get an email response.

Think of all these things like a Venn diagram with overlapping circles or a fascinating chain reaction of good stuff. If you get a good night’s sleep, you wake with more energy and feel inspired to make yourself some steel cut oats for breakfast. Once that happens your morning is fully fueled and your cravings for sugar and caffeine diminish. Highs and valleys even out and your blood sugar stays healthy throughout your day. You take yourself away from your desk at lunch and sit outside in the sun reading a battered copy of Moby Dick you always meant to get to. That lights your creative spark and you plan a quick picnic dinner for your sweetheart and the two of you enjoy a pleasant evening together with no texting or TV reminding you why you are lucky to have companionship in your life. That leads you to remember other ways your life has delivered gifts like how your dentist told you your teeth look great.

The Domino effect works in both directions. Set yourself up for some serenity today. The world will do its part to offer you stress, so don’t keep helping it out. It’s doing just fine and it completely supports your new plan to give yourself abundance. And so do I.

*The original version of this first appeared in the WONDERFUL blog, MindBodyGreen

On the Road Again

It’s Memorial Day. Or as my client’s partner refers to it, “Old Memmy”. I spent part of this morning pausing to think about all the casualties of war. Not just those of American soldiers, but also the soldiers and civilians in all countries, and what it costs us to witness this recurring and painful phenomenon. There are the deaths of the soldiers, the townspeople, and also the pieces of all the survivors left to the haunting of it. The collateral damage spreads to all of us to shoulder. And so for all of us this day, I wish for peace.

And after my pause: I went to the ballpark to see my first San Francisco Giants game of the season. I’ve been trying to keep up with them this season and I don’t have a TV in my house. So I just signed up for MLB.TV, and it’s like being in grad school for baseball. I love it. So do our local seagulls. 

It’s is also the kind of unofficial start to summer. Picnic baskets come up from the basement, charcoal vanishes from shelves at the market by the palletful, and we begin checking to make sure all the tent stakes are in the bag for camping trips. Piling our dogs, partners, kids and weekend flings into the car, we hit the road. We also hit the road snacks and after 500 miles of mystery meat burgers, deep fried “chicken”, and electric blue Slurpees, maybe we feel like hell by the time we make the campsite or spread our towels on the beach. Now, I am seduced by the glamor of the blue tongue as much as the next guy, but I thought just in case you might be in the market for some road trip choices that could sit a little easier on the ole gut, I put together a few suggestions for your summer enjoyment. 

Here you go: as Chet Baker would say, Let’s Get Lost in the best possible way.

1. Magic Phone Most of us travel now with a lot of power in the palms of our hands. Our food choices are not limited to whatever we see on the exit signs or from the long highway. We can put technology to use! It’s worth it to look for local co-ops and grocery stores along the way as you roll through towns and collect some real food. Salad bars, deli counters and healthier choices in grab and go form can be yours for usually less than a mile of your time.

2. Farm Stands Pull right the hell over for these beauties. The symbiosis of commerce really sings here. The American farmer needs you, and your body craves the nutrients of fresh produce. Stands sometimes even have picnic tables for you to relax at. Stretch your legs, chew your fresh food, and breathe in the air of your newfound vacation days as the yellow lines of the pavement make their way to a horizon line. We really live in a gorgeous burg, the America place, and slowing down to look at it for 20 minutes is a real treat.

3. Bring it! Bring the farm stand with you! Pack a blanket in the car and pull over onto a generous shoulder with a view or find an exit with a park. Unpack your little cooler of healthy snacks from home and take in a driving break. You’ll save money, see a new place, and have some say in your own nutrition. 

But what’s a good snack? What if it’s all gas stations and mini-marts? What do you bring in the car that’s not a huge undertaking or some kind of gourmet pain in the ass? How about these:

1. Carrots and hummus: This is my number one go to healthy easy snack. It’s tasty, crunchy, packed with nutrients. Hits the sweet craving and the salty. You got protein, vitamins, and lots of chewing.

2. Melon Melange : Cut up a watermelon. Dice up some basil. Crumble a tiny bit of goat feta on it and mix it up. Chill overnight and put in a container for the trip. Divine.

3. Greek Yogurt: Packed with protein, this is the perfect snack to get up and go with. I like to add some Chia seeds to mine. I also crush up 3 walnut halves, a fat strawberry, and drizzle a tiny bit of raw honey on top. Maple syrup works just as nicely for the vegan friends in the house. You get protein, some healthy complex carbs, fiber, and essential fatty acids with this combo, PLUS the yogurt comes in its own bowl you can recycle at the road stop when you stretch.

4. Cucumber Lemon Water: It’s just better and fancier than regular water. Lemon slices and cucumber slices brighten up your drink. Put the whole thing in the freezer and as it melts throughout the trip, you’re summer refresher keeps on giving. Hydration station.

5. Chilled Rice Bowl: Brown rice, steamed veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, shiitakes, edamame, acorn squash, sea vegetables, beets, whatever) in a miso sauce. Blend 1/4 c. chickpea miso with 3T olive oil, some peeled fresh ginger, 2 cloves peeled garlic, 2t rice vinegar, and the juice of one lemon. You’re golden.

Now, Drive Safe. Bring good music. Have a blast.

 

What the Hell is an Antioxidant Anyhow?

Delicious. Good looking. In season now.

You can’t spit in a health food store without hitting a lesbian therapist or a package screaming about the health benefits of antioxidants. At least here in the Bay Area anyhow. And really, thank the Goddess for both of these things. I am going to leave it to you to explore the benefits and true joys of working with a fantastic lesbian therapist, but antioxidants? Those, I can speak to in this forum. I suppose I could also speak to the LT benefits, but I’ll just keep it cute. I mean, it’s friggin’ Monday after all.

This is metabolite glutathione. The pudgy yellow part is the redox-active sulfur atom that rocks out with antioxidant activity.

You may have heard that antioxidants have something to do with free radicals. And so in addition to What The Hell is an Antioxidant, you may also be asking What The Hell is a Free Radical? When we metabolize food in our systems, sometimes a molecule will get broken down in such a way that it leaves this little structure that is lacking an electron. It’s like picking teams and there’s a kid left out. After a good amount of time being left out, this child is impacted by the experience in ways that are damaging which can result in lashing out. Am I reaching with this metaphor? Sure. But I work in emotional narratives so that’s how we’re working this one. Like the left out kid, the free radical will eventually lash out if left at sea causing damage to your cells in the form of oxidation. Like how your apple gets brown when you leave it in the open air. That’s what can happen to your cells. So antioxidants, metaphorically,  keep your stray children with play pals or keep your inner apple from turning brown. Now, like kids, these radicals won’t just latch on to ANYTHING you toss at them. So you benefit from including a wide variety of antioxidants in your diet because different radicals attach to different antioxidants. You can’t just eat, say, blueberries, a wonderful little cache of antioxidants, and think That’s It. I’m Totally In The Clear From This Cancer Bullshit! In fact, some even work indirectly and don’t necessarily go out and find their own radical to partner up with. Some work undercover, supporting your system to bolster its own antioxidant stronghold.

This is not the kind of Free Radical I'm talking about.

Research shows that oxidation is linked to some of the most common and brutal diseases we grapple with such as cancer, immune disorders and heart disease. Recent research has shown that they are responsible, in part at least, for the aging process. Now, I personally am totally behind the aging process. I am ready to be the most awesome, foxy, wizened old crone around. In fact, I remember going to the Richard Avedon show at SFMOMA a few years ago and wandering around looking at macro close-ups of famous people and thinking, “There will never be a show like this again. No one will be able to make photographs like this in our culture of Botox and Photoshop and Old is Bad. I felt kind of sad about it, the absence of wrinkles and age spots and CHARACTER. I’m just going to go anead and get old. And I am going to spend the rest of my life eating well so that aging hopefully goes well. Also if you ever have the opportunity to walk into a room of enormous Avedon portraits, do yourself the favor of beholding that work. DANG.

Hi. I'm Marian Anderson and I'm GORGEOUS just how I am.

It’s true that our bodies produce enzyme antioxidants to neutralize the free radicals within the cell and prevent oxidation. It’s just that with the way things go these days with so much stress, fast food, drugs, pollution and a serious lack of fresh fruits and vegetables in our daily diets, we end up suffering an excess of free radicals in the body increasing the risk of damage to our gorgeous little cells and therefor the risk of developing these diseases.

So try and work in some blueberries, chia seeds, black plums, red beans, artichoke hearts, goji berries and cherries. And if remembering this is too irritating, eat by color. The more colors your produce and legumes present on your plate, the higher your chances of hitting all your nutrient notes.

Delicious. Good looking. In season now.

 

Homemade Juice.

Aside from toiling in school toward my beloved Holistic Health Counseling certification, I also hold down a job. It’s a great job, actually. For over five years I’ve been a part owner in one of the largest worker owned food co-ops in these fine United States, Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco. When I started working there, I felt a little bit overwhelmed with people’s different takes on food, nutrition, supplements and general well-being. I was grateful to be tucked in the far aisle where shoppers came over to secretly crop dust (fart) and the concerns revolved largely around dog treats and kitchen cleaners with the assorted sink sponge query. The most in depth health related questions I got revolved around juicers and water filters. At the time, juicing, as a verb, struck me as pretty far out and strange.

Five years later, the writer inside me still finds the use of the verb kind of linguistically disappointing, but the practice is well established in my life. I like to call it “making juice” rather than juicing. Maybe I’m a language snob. So be it. I can live with that authentic assessment of my personal shortcoming.

Ginger and I invested in a Champion juicer, a masticating variety, that we employ often. There’s a ton of models out there and sometimes I wonder what it might be like to have chosen a Breville. The Champion makes amazing juice and in that respect I give it an A. It is also known to last round about a total LIFETIME. But it’s heavy, it takes up a lot of counter space which is annoying in a small kitchen, and it’s fairly irritating to clean. That being said, I LOVE THE JUICE.

The juicer extracts the liquids from the fruits and vegetables and separates everything from the fiber. Wait, you think, isn’t fiber so good for you? Why, yes. Yes it is. So why would a person make juice?

One result of removing the fiber is that the nutrients absorb into the system like a rocket launch. BAM! It can feel like a fantastic jolt of energy pinging immediately around your brain, which is a nice feeling forst thing in the morning. Not like a coffee jolt, which I understand can be euphoric, but more like someone has taken a windex to your mind and body and cleaned it off. There’s no haze between you and the world. So that’s nice. The other thing is that it’s a cooling and alkalinizing wave to our systems. As people often ingesting a western menu, we sustain one of the most acidic and inflammatory diets on the planet. Homemade fresh raw juice is a powerful tonic for this mass cultural intake. And as a bonus, it tastes fantastic and is a great tool if you’re trying to kick refined sugar. The juice is sweet, and absorbs quickly without turning you into a psychotic banshee. At least that’s a bonus that happens for me.

Recipe? OK. Here’s what I did Friday night (if that tells you anything about my rock and roll lifestyle). I made a half gallon of juice with all the stuff Ginger and I hauled home from the store. One thing to bear in mind for money saving and holistic consumption is that a lot of things we toss for cooking can be used for making juice: broccoli stalks, radish greens, and beet greens to name a few.

This cooling juice is made from:

beets
apples
carrots
daikon greens
English cucumber
kale
rapini

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