vitamins

No for candy, yes for super food!

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Have you ever heard of a jujube?  I always thought jujubes were only candy.  Not so!

Jujubes-Box-Small

Last week I tasted the most delicious jujube tea at our local farmers market and received a little health-history lesson about this very special super food.  Jujubes are a bit larger than a walnut, a beautiful brownish-reddish color and felt very light and soft in my hands.

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The jujube originated in China where they have been cultivated for more than 4,000 years and where there are over 400 cultivars. The plants traveled beyond Asia centuries ago and today are grown to some extent in Russia, northern Africa, southern Europe, the Middle East and the southwestern United States.  Some jujube trees grow up to 40 feet tall in Florida, but are smaller in size in California.

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The benefits of jujube the super food

Jujube contains high levels of protein, carbohydrates, fat, carotene, vitamin C, B, P, and minerals like calcium, iron and phosphorus. Below you will find some benefits of jujube.

    1. Decrease in seborrheic keratosis

Vitamin C present in jujubes is an antioxidant, that participates in the physiological oxygen reduction of the body and lowers the production of seborrheic keratosis by preventing the chronic melanin sedimentation in the body.

    1. Liver protection is another benefit of jujube

The fat, protein and sugar contained in jujubes protect the liver. These nutrients stimulate liver to synthesize protein, thus increasing the amount of albumin and red protein, controlling the ratio of globulin and albumin, preventing transfusions and reducing the level of serum alanine aminotransferase.

    1. Many will be glad to know that hair loss prevention is among the benefits of jujube

Jujube has the function of nourishing spleen and stomach. There is an old saying in China goes like this “Good spleen, good skin”. With radiant skin, the hair can have a sound shelter. So eat more jujubes can prevent hair loss and help you to grow glossy hair.

    1. Nourish stomach and brain

In fact, jujube is used in Chinese medicine to nourishing spleen and stomach. In case of irritating substances in prescription medications, jujubes are equipped to protect the spleen and stomach. Jujube is rich in protein, carbohydrate, organic acids and fat, which produces the tonic effect for the brain. Jujube cake with flour and jujubes is very delicious and moreover it can improve the functioning of the brain and stomach.

    1. Nourish the blood and provides vital energy

As a matter of fact, rich amount of vitamins in jujube is one of the most important benefits of jujube which is advantageous for capillary. Take 20 jujubes, brown sugar (30 grams) and 1 egg; make it with water stew. You should take this mix every day. It is beneficial for women’s recuperation after childbirth.

  1. Sleep promotion

As it has already been said, jujube nourishes the blood and spleen, but it also has a soothing effect. Take 1000 grams of jujubes, wash them, eliminate the nuclear, then smash and add water to boil on slow fire. After that, filter the juice and mix honey (500 grams). Mix into the paste with heating, reserve in bottles. Take 15 ml for two times a day. The mix continuously served will prevent and cure insomnia.

Additionally, jujube is important in calcium supplement, anti-diarrhea and emission control prevention. But, jujube is not appropriate for people with constipation for the rich content of carbohydrate.

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The jujube tea I sampled was delicious.  It reminded me almost of a cinnamon-raisin type of tea, but satisfyingly rich.

I am sharing this very special recipe with you below.  The making of this tea certainly is a process, but well worth the time involved.

Ginger jujube tea is normally served hot with pine nuts. Ginger has a soothing effect on stomach and sore muscles and jujubes alleviate stress.

This Korean tea is dark in color and has strong flavors of spicy ginger and sweet dried jujubes because it was cooked in simmering water for a long time. A fast way to make ginger tea is to use a pressure cooker.

When it is cold outside, this spicy hot drink will warm your body and even heart.

Korean Ginger Jujube Cinnamon Tea

Yields: about 16 cups
Total time: 50 min

Ingredients

    • 40 dried jujubes, Korean dates
    • 2 oz ginger (55g)
    • 3 oz packed brown sugar (85g)
    • 0.5 oz cinnamon sticks (14g)
    • 3 liters drinking water

Korean ginger jujube tea 생강 대추차

Instructions

Preparation Wash ginger and dried jujubes. Peel off ginger and cut into thin slices.

Brew Put ginger slices, dried jujubes, cinnamon sticks, and 3 liters of water in the pressure cooker. Cover and cook under pressure for 10 minutes over medium high heat. Then reduce the heat to very low and cook for another 10 minutes. Release pressure and add in brown sugar and without cover, simmer for another 5 minutes, or until sufficiently infused.

Serve Drain and serve with a few pine nuts in the tea and honey or brown sugar on the side.

Korean ginger jujube tea 생강 대추차

Serve with pine nuts.

Korean ginger jujube tea 생강 대추차

If you do not own a pressure cooker, this process can be accomplished (as per our local farmers market vendor) by slow-simmering for several hours.  Honey and brown sugar truly is optional, as the jujubes have their own sweet, unique flavor.

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What a neat little super food, don’t you think?

Happy Monday,

Wendy

Love for Lemons

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“When life gives you lemons make grape juice and sit back and watch the world ask how you did it.”  -Tori Truax

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We have a lemon tree in our backyard that produces abundant amounts of lemons it seems year round!  Right now we have more lemons than I know what to do with, so I decided to do some research this morning to find additional uses for all these lemons we have.

Did you know the Ancient Egyptians believed that eating lemons and drinking lemon juice was an effective protection against a variety of poisons, and that recent research has confirmed this belief?

There are many health benefits of lemons that have been known for centuries. The two biggest are lemons’ strong antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-boosting powers and their use as a weight loss aid because lemon juice is a digestive aid and liver cleanser. Lemons contain many substances-notably citric acid, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, bioflavonoids, pectin, and limonene-that promote immunity and fight infection.

These are well-known health facts about lemons. But there’s so much more to this little yellow fruit.  Whether you use them in the form of juice, teas, drinks, dressing, poultices or in the bath, take advantage of lemons’ natural healing power.

NOTE:  If you suffer from heartburn, kidney or gall bladder problems or have a citrus allergy consult your doctor before using these remedies or drinking lemon juice. To protect your teeth enamel, wait at least half an hour before brushing your teeth after chewing, drinking or rinsing with lemon juice. Rubbing lemon juice or oil and drinking lemon juice is not suitable for children under the age of 10. Lemons are effective home remedies for a variety of health concerns but in the case of serious illness always consult your doctor first.

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Some lemon facts:

1. Lemons are alkalizing for the body: Lemons are acidic to begin with but they are alkaline-forming on body fluids helping to restore balance to the body’s pH.

2. Lemons are rich in vitamin C and flavonoids that work against infections like the flu and colds.

3. Your liver loves lemons: “The lemon is a wonderful stimulant to the liver and is a dissolvent of uric acid and other poisons, liquefies the bile,” says Jethro Kloss in his book Back to Eden. Fresh lemon juice added to a large glass of water in the morning is a great liver detoxifier.

4. Cleans your bowels: Lemons increase peristalsis in the bowels, helping to create a bowel movement thus eliminating waste and helping with regularity. Add the juice of one lemon to warm water and drink first thing in the morning.

5. Scurvy is treated by giving one to two ounces of lemon juice diluted with water every two to four hours. In 1747, a naval surgeon named James Lind cured scurvy with fresh lemons. To this day, the British Navy requires ships to carry enough lemons so that every sailor could have one ounce of juice a day. In the past, lemons were replaced with limes; this is where the English got their nickname “limeys.”

6. The citric acid in lemon juice helps to dissolve gallstones, calcium deposits, and kidney stones.

7. Vitamin C in lemons helps to neutralize free radicals linked to aging and most types of disease.

8. The lemon peel contains the potent phytonutrient tangeretin, which has been proven to be effective for brain disorders like Parkinson’s disease.

9. In India, Ayurveda medicine values the lemon as a fruit and for its properties. It is sour, warm, promoter of gastric fire, light, good for vision, pungent and astringent.

10. It destroys intestinal worms.

11. When there is insufficient oxygen and difficulty in breathing (such as when mountain climbing) lemons are very helpful. The first man to reach the top of Mt. Everest, Edmund Hillary, said that his success on Mt. Everest was greatly due to lemons.

12. Lemons have powerful antibacterial properties; experiments have found the juice of lemons destroy the bacteria of malaria, cholera, diphtheria, typhoid and other deadly diseases.

13. Blood vessels are strengthened by the vitamin P (bioflavinoids) in lemon thus prevents internal hemorrhage. Also, making it useful in treating high blood pressure.

14. The symptoms of eye disorders, including diabetic retinopathy have been shown in research to improve due to the rutin, found in lemons.

15. Lemons contain 22 anti-cancer compounds, including naturally occurring limonene; oil which slows or halts the growth of cancer tumors in animals and flavonol glycosides which stop cell division in cancer cells.

16. According to The Reams Biological Ionization Theory (RBTI), the lemon is the ONLY food in the world that is anionic (an ion with a negative charge). All other foods are cationic (the ion has a positive charge.) This makes it extremely useful to health as it is the interaction between anions and cations that ultimately provides all cell energy.

17. Lemons help abolish acne.

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lemons

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There are so many uses for lemons and recipes, I cannot believe it!

History, Trivia and Interesting Lemon Facts:

  • Fashionable ladies used lemon juice as a way to redden their lips during the European Renaissance.
  • The lemon is a small evergreen tree native to Asia (as well as the fruit that grows on the tree).
  • The lemon is thought to have originated in the Indus Valley (a Bronze Age civilization in South Asia) because of a lemon-shaped earring from 2500 BC found by archaeologists in the area.
  • Lemons have been in cultivation around the Mediterranean from as early as the first century AD.
  • Lemon trees produce fruit all year round. One tree can produce between 500 and 600 pounds of lemons in a year.
  • Once upon a time lemons were presented as gifts to kings because they were so rare.
  • California and Arizona produce 95 percent of the entire U.S. lemon crop.

Lemon Nutrition:

  • Lemons contain vitamin C, citric acid, flavonoids, B-complex vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and fiber.
  • Lemons contain more potassium than apples or grapes. Potassium is beneficial to the heart.

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Here is a delicious recipe I will share with you for a dairy-free lemon pudding.  🙂

This dairy-free, low-fat lemon pudding is a thing of dreams! It’s bold in flavor and richness but not in calories and is made with just 6 simple ingredients, including one you would never imagine…

Cauliflower! Crazy? I know!

Dairy-free Lemon Pudding (94)

Many of us are allergic to dairy, sensitive to it, or have developed a love hate relationship with it. We eat, we enjoy, our stomachs hurt, our complexion suffers, but we just can’t imagine a life without the good stuff. Taking the dairy-free lifestyle for a test drive or committing to it because of sensitivities can be a challenge… but it doesn’t have to be this way!

One of my favorite tricks to making a healthy, dairy-free, approved dessert is to use cauliflower in place of thick creams and added starches. I know what you’re thinking, ‘cauliflower in dessert?’ YES! If you flavor it just right with things like vanilla extract, lemon or orange zest, chocolate or citrus juice, you do not taste the cauliflower one little bit. All you have is smooth, creamy, sweet goodness. Skeptical? I have just the recipe that will prove that dairy-free doesn’t mean that you have to be gnawing on cardboard, or giving up your favorite low-fat treats. This pudding is impressively low in fat, rich in flavor, highly creamy, and under 130 calories per serving. Crazy, right? Let’s get right down to business!  

Dairy-free Lemon Pudding (103)

Servings: 2 • Serving Size: 2/3 cup • 
Calories: 127.5 • Fat: 2 g • Protein: 4 g • Carb: 25 g • Fiber: 5 g • Sugar: 13.5 g
Sodium: 142 mg

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (350 grams) of roughly chopped cauliflower
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • zest from 1 large lemon
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions:

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Add cauliflower, almond milk, sugar, extract and zest to a medium sized saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat, uncovered. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 5-7 minutes, until cauliflower is very soft. Remove from heat.

Add in lemon juice and pour into the bowl of your food processor or blender. Blend on high for 1 minute, or until very smooth. Pour into a clean bowl and allow to cool at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate overnight, for at least 18 hours. Refrigeration helps the bold lemon flavor subside and really transforms this pudding. Do not skip this step!

Substitution notes:

  • Feel free to use any type of non-dairy milk you have on hand. I like using unsweetened almond milk for my dessert recipes because it’s naturally sweeter (and lower in fat and carbs) than other non-dairy milks.
  • Any type of sugar would work here. White, brown, coconut sugar…

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Have a wonderful Monday,

Wendy

Cravings

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Recently, I have been craving fish.  My cravings have been daily and even in the mornings I think of fish tacos!  (No, I am not pregnant!)  I decided to do some research this morning to see if there are any reasons behind this that I need to be concerned about, and lo and behold, I certainly did see that may be I need to add some more calcium to my diet.  I love fish, but these cravings have been a little more than normal for me.  (For example I had salmon for dinner last night and this morning I am once again craving a nice tilapia filet for breakfast!)

Do you have certain cravings for particular foods or other strange things like dirt?  Here are the reasons behind 10 foods you may be craving:

1. When you crave dirt you need to detox

Either that or you’re pregnant. Pregnant women have been known to crave dirt. Some say that it’s because they need calcium. As late as the nineties, some markets actually sold dirt for this kind of human consumption. And gaining calcium might still be the case for those currently knocked-up, but dirt also seems to be a good way to detox internally. It was once thought that only humans and macaws ate clay, but recently researchers have observed more and more species doing it. They notice, especially, that animals do it in seasons when fruits aren’t yet ripe. Unripe fruits and berries contain alkaloids. They have been found to be toxic to humans and animals alike. Certain people today smear clay on unripe potatoes, which contain solanine, a bitter and toxic alkaloid. Clay contains kaolin, which neutralizes the bitter taste, and takes out the alkaloids, making the food safe and tasty. When people get a craving to eat clay, they’re acting on ancient, and correct, instincts that tell them they’ve been poisoned.

2. When you crave rice and beans you need protein

Lysine is an amino acid that everyone’s body needs, but can’t manufacture. Methionine is another. Beans have lysine. Corn, wheat, and rice, have methionine. If you’ve thought of, and are now craving, a meal that contains all of these things, it shows that you live somewhere on Earth within walking distance of a burrito. To be fair, there are plenty of less popular cuisines that blend those same foods together. They do this because the taste combination is incredible. They also do this because the combo of foods substitute for meat pretty much perfectly. The flavor and nutrition complement each other so well that, for a long time, it was thought that unless some combination of rice and beans were eaten at the same meal, the body couldn’t absorb the amino acids properly. Since then it’s been shown that it’s not necessary to combine the two in the same meal, but both are needed and the body craves them both the same way it might crave, say, a nice juicy steak. This means that our body makes us crave not only certain food, but suggests certain food combinations that give us complete nutrition. Our cooking isn’t as inventive as we think.

3. When you crave spice you need to cool down

There are quite a few reasons why spicy foods and hot climates go together. Spicy food, especially of red peppers, triggers immediate sweating. Generally, when you sweat, you don’t feel cool. The body sweats only enough so that it doesn’t overheat. A sweating person is still warm and uncomfortable. They’re just not dying. Eating food with capsaicin, though, triggers sweating above and beyond what is needed to keep the body from overheating. Capsaicin stimulates receptors that sense heat in the mouth and along the mucus membranes of the nose. The body sweats everywhere, trying to respond to the heat and flush away the irritant, and the person eating the food finally feels cool when they sweat, instead of just sticky.

4. When you crave licorice you need hormones

Addison’s disease is a disease of the adrenal system, often brought on by an attack from a person’s own immune system, that causes the adrenal glands to produce too few steroid hormones. This can cause weakness, abdominal pain, and can even cause blood-pressure crashes that end in coma. One of the hormones regulates salt excretion, which causes people with the disease to get rid of too much salt, and have extreme cravings for it. That’s pretty straightforward. Stranger, though, is their craving for licorice. Doctors couldn’t account for it, until they saw that licorice contained glasorisic acid, which causes salt retention. Without having any idea as to why they might want licorice, patients gravitated toward a food that had substance that relieved their symptoms.

5. When you crave milk in your tea you need protection with your morning beverage

Tea is not the bland, inoffensive leaf stew that day-time TV commercials make it out to be. It is out to get you — with tannins. These are a kind of astringent that scours everything from one opening in your body to the other. They’re also found in coffee, just waiting to scrub you out until you get sick with a digestive disorder. They have a dry, bitter quality that the body is supposed to interpret as, “Don’t drink this, dummy!” Sadly, people overcome that. Happily, they instinctively know how to cope with it. Milk protects the throat from tannin, and consequently cuts the bitter taste. The fact that we can tolerate milk at all, as adults, is its own kind of nutritional adaptation. Feeding milk to adult animals often makes them sick. Lactose intolerance is still a problem in a lot of humans. Milk drinking in adult humans has happened relatively recently, so it’s doubly impressive that, as soon as we developed the ability to tolerate milk, our taste buds lead us to ways that it can protect us from other dumb stuff we swallow.

10 Foods You Crave — And Why You Crave Them

6. When you crave ice you need iron

When I was pregnant with my second child, I craved ice daily!  For some reason, people who are anemic tend to have a voracious craving for ice. Whenever the iron levels in their body increase, the craving goes away. This is one of the cravings that isn’t quite explainable, since chewing ice doesn’t increase a person’s iron level. It could be, though, that patients are seeking to relieve their symptoms and not their core deficiency. With iron deficiency comes inflammation, and with inflammation comes soreness. Anemic patients especially tend to get inflammation in their tongue and mouth area. Chewing ice can relieve the pain before they even know that they have it.

7. When you crave fish cooked in greens you need calcium

My cravings particularly have been for fish covered in cilantro, cabbage, lettuce, in a corn tortilla, or with spinach.  Two different culinary traditions cook fish wrapped in certain green leaves. West Africans often wrap fish in banana leaves before cooking. French cooks wrap fish in sorrel leaves. Both have a practical convenience – the bones of the fish dissolve, making for less picking and choking. More importantly, though, it gives the fish a richer flavor that people come to crave. This is because the bones don’t disappear, or drip away. The calcium from the bones dissolves into the flesh of the fish, causing a huge boost in calcium received by the body. (A vegetarian alternative to this was found in Mexico, where people soaked corn for tortillas in water in which they had dissolved limestone. Limestone is calcium carbonate, and the tortillas delivered a huge amount of calcium to the diners.)

8. When you crave ginger you need to heal your heart (literally)

Ginger is one of those herbal medicines that make the rest of herbal medicine look good. It suppresses nausea, reduces pain, quiets the need to cough, clears head aches, and flavors food enough to make it tolerable to the queasy. Doctors found, though, that even when they weren’t sick in any measurable way, some people craved ginger. Studies revealed, though, that ginger reduced clotting that might lead to heart attacks, that it lowered cholesterol, and that it strengthened heart muscles. Considering how much damage it might have done to people who see results from ginger and then put their faith in unregulated herbal supplements, though, and it would have to do heart surgery itself to break even, socially.

9. When you crave caffeine you need a painkiller

Let’s say you’ve exhausted the painkilling power of ginger and moved on to manufactured painkillers. If one of them doesn’t get the job done, reach for a cup of coffee. Caffeine doesn’t just cause headaches via withdrawal. It’s been shown to boost the power of painkillers, and stop migraines from setting in. In fact, while some health professionals warn people away from coffee, others say about two cups a day are good. The stuff can decrease both physical and emotional pain, since it’s a mild stimulant that can decrease mild depression. Some studies show that it can actually help people sleep better, and get them on a better sleep cycle, since it’s generally a regulated habit that can get someone up at a certain time every day. Basically, this isn’t the devil-brew that many doctors make it out to be, which is why so many people crave the kick.

10. When you crave chocolate you need to get high

Chocolate took most Western nations by storm, and looking at it today, it’s easy to think you know why. It has all the necessary components. It’s sweet and fatty and the perfect dessert. Of course, the cocoa beans that first became popular weren’t any of those things. Although they were dressed up different ways, for a long time chocolate was relatively coarse and bitter. Originally it was mostly served with spices as a drink, or over snow. While early Americans did occasionally sweeten it, it took a while before Europeans thought to add sugar to chocolate, and even longer before they added milk. It was often served over meat as a savory substance. So why was this flavor so very, very popular?

Some people point to phenylethylamine (PEA), the so-called “love chemical” that people produce when they’re in love or feeling especially happy and excited. Researchers point out that PEA breaks down to quickly in the body to actually affect the way that people act, and that other food, like cheese, contains more PEA anyway. A more likely story is the cannabinoids that chocolate contains. These chemicals, related to the THC found in marijuana, trigger anandamide, known as the “bliss molecule.” This triggers a high of happiness and well-being that a lot of people feel after eating chocolate. Researchers point out that most people would have to eat pounds of chocolate to get the same high as they would from pot. Chocolate also contains theobromine, a compound similar to the caffeine that gets people addicted to coffee. Chocolate, as it turns out, is a bubbling brew of 380 chemicals, a bunch of which are known to have an effect on mood. It’s a darling little meth lab of feel-good chemicals in a heart-shaped box. Forget alcohol or tobacco, this is the drug of choice for pretty much everyone.

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So, with that I am going to take some extra calcium each day and enjoy my fish as well! I hope this information was beneficial to you!

Have a wonderful Monday,

Wendy