how to eat

I'm so glad, everyday people are becoming more conscious about food what they eat.. More and more people want to know what the ingredients are in our food.. As a consumer,( where ever we are buying our foods, either restaurants, supermarkets, or farmers market) we have right to know what we are eating.. I'm so skeptical about what goes into my body, obsessed with organic foods and healthy diet..
The first thing, you need a trust list that you can eat without thinking. That list must include restaurants (please don't eat everywhere, especially big chains, be selective where to eat), bakeries, markets and growers that you trust..
Second thing, even it's in your trust list, always questioned about ingredients, preparation methods..If you ask them change the preparation ways, you can save hundreds of calories..Don't scare to make a suggestion, or commend.. Ask nutritional information if not available, push their boundaries.. During my grocery shopping, if I'm not satisfied about provided nutritional info, I always leave a complain note, and ask more details..
PLEASE READ THE NUTRITIONAL LABEL CAREFULLY if you are buying pre pack food.. If you can not understand or pronounce the ingredients, please don't buy that..
I strongly support Farmers Markets, where not only the food that's going to make you feel great, whole environment, people, dogs, kids, live music, food demonstration by chefs will give you a great experience.. If you decided to go to Farmers Market, don't plan get in and out quickly.. Best part of that; spend your morning with people passionate about food, growers (they like to talk.. Still remember with a smile, egg grower said “she did not get enough egg that week, because whether changes made chickens upset”). One of most exciting moment about Farmers Market is finding the different treasures, unexpected stuff.. Even when you are not planning to buy a honey, you can find the honey that bees feasting on juniper berries. You can find cauliflower looks like a spaceship with lots of spikes, different colors and shapes veggies, duck eggs, mushrooms you've never seen before.. If you are planning to trip to market here are some tips : Bring cash in small bills ( most of the growers and cheese makers not accept credit cards ), bring a cloth (reusable) shopping bag, bring your cooler and leave it in your car ( it will help to keep your tender greens fresh ), and don't forget your coffee mug ( you'll find the best croissant and breakfast bakeries over there )..
The last thing, buy your groceries fresh as much as you can.. I know it's really hard to achieve that, but don't shop weekly.. I think for 2 or 3 days will be realistic.. If you have time get the ingredients same day.. Don't store food in the fridge too long, and please don't eat pre pack, microwaveable, or frozen food..

Here are some important infirmations "how we suppose to eat ". This section all about "breaking the rules of habits"..

-Eat raw as much as you can. When we converted eating raw couple years ago, first experience wasn't that pleasant. Your teeth will not like to chew crunchy vegetables for longer then normal, taste will not be the same you experience before (actually better !), and finally your digestive system will not be happy with the change (first week you'll have lots of gas problem ). Everything about eating is habit and tought to you by your mom. If you are eating the same food, in same preparation style; you'll always search for that "known taste" rest of your life. Here is the important part, you can break that ice, by thinking out side of the box, be open mind, educate yourself "what is good for you", and change your bad habits. If you don't try you'll never know the taste of new ingredients. If you choose to live in the small world of taste, you'll never know what's out there. So everything is habitual, if you are eating sweet, you'll crave sweet when you are hungry, you will look for that kind of food. One of my Asian decent friend and colleague; fed her daughter with healthy food since she was born. She is 4 years old now, and craving ,asking sushi when she wants to eat. She usually doesn't eat sweet, even you try to give her a piece of cookie, she can easily refuse that, because she doesn't have sweet taste experience often. The food images in our brain will be whatever we eat everyday.
Eating raw can fill you longer time, and deliver more nutrition than traditional methods.

-Our  taste buds are located mostly back part of our tongue. Mainly we're eating just for the taste learned from previous eating experience.. If we chew the food and get the taste we crave for, and then spit out the rest, your body will not know the difference, because eating for taste usually has no nutritional value on diet. Eat for what body needs, not just for a minute satisfaction. I can assure you ,satisfaction taste can be change (be patient,give enough time to yourself for adaptation). When I was in second year of my  Medical School, I decided to change my cooking style, from traditional to what's good for body as I studied. Since then, I never use oil or butter when I'm cooking, instead I cook with just water. After 22 years, my taste buds are completely changed, and can not tolerate any oil or butter taste now. My husband came from very traditional family, who cooked oily and heavy. He doesn't even want to remember how he was eating before. Those are proofs of everything about eating is in our brain, and can be change or adapt to a new situations.

-Eat slowly, and enjoy what you are eating. Use your 5 senses when you are eating. Meal must serve artfully to please your eyes, smell deliciously to open your brain-stomach connection. Sizzling sounds make your experience enjoyable, taste must be adventurist. Touching the warm plate must melt your heart. We went one of the top restaurants in the city at New Years Eve which was an unforgettable gastronomic experience for both of us. They push you to use all your senses, unexpected ingredients ( burning candle on the table was actually eatable lavender oil, they poured it during the meal on our plate !!) with unexpected serving style ( Cuban cigar shaped,collard green wraps were served in ashtray; with powder sesame seeds form as realistic ashes in liquid nitrogen ). They also showed us how our brain is preparing our taste buds and stomach before even we taste foods. Eg. one of their desert was looking exactly like fried egg, made with white chocolate mold, and apricot jelly. Unbelievable part was our brain kept telling us this was an egg, must have salty taste in our mouth. When you bit you had sweet taste in your tongue, salty expectation in your brain. It was such an experience..Again; everything starts in your brain..

-Cooking time should not be too long, especially for vegetables. Don't lose their valuable vitamins with boiling too long. They suppose to keep their vibrant color, and still little bit crunchy.

-Eat small portions, and take your time when you are eating. Give enough time to your brain and stomach to understand when you are full. Leave your utensil for a while, and concentrate to conversation that you are having. Then continue eating with small bites, by chewing longer time, and enjoying the taste in your mouth.When you are full, stop eating. You can leave food on your plate, next time you'll order smaller portion or less food.

-Don't go to grocery shopping when you are hungary. You can get more stuff than you need and you can get unhealthy, quick sugar fixes for filling your stomach. You should always have a grocery list with you, concentrate fresh produce section more than bakery section.

-Simple rule : If you don't buy, you won't it them. Don't stack your pantry with easy accessible , sugar loaded foods. Select wisely when you shop. If you don't see them on your pantry ,you won't crave.

--Say "yes"to YOGURT..Superfood yogurt is rich in beneficial bacteria known as probiotics,which helps the digestive system functioning health. These bacteria are also responsible for other health benefits, which improving immune system and bone health,lowering LDL  cholesterol (bad cholesterol) level while increasing HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol),helping prevent arthritis and protecting against colon cancer. There are many varieties  of yogurt, all should contain the beneficial bacteria Streptococcus thermaphilus, lactobacillus bulgaricus and Lactobacillus casei. No matter what kind you choose, make sure it's organic. Why eat conventional yogurt or any dairy product when organic varieties widely available, and just for pennies more? If you can't find any organic variety, at least you choose one that's free of growth hormone, and made from milk produced by free-range cows not fed with antibiotics. As far as packaging ,you can find few variety of Yogurts in glass jars,otherwise most of the Yogurts packaged in plastic. To minimize the waste,choose larger container,and make sure recycle them after use.

--Say "yes"to RAW HONEYand HONEY COMB. Variety of honeys such as orange blossom, lavender or sage are produced when bees collect nectar from a single flower. Each has a unique flavor and color, the same way like wines from diffrent regions and different grapes. Honey has countless benefits,such as protecting immune system.Use honey for your baking which gives more flavor and amber hue, or simply eat with slice of whole grain bread and cheese. Especially winter months, our pantry always stock with honey combs and raw honey;while we're enjoying the wonderful flavors,at the same time supporting the local beekeepers, too.

--Say "no"to SODA DRINKS and ARTIFICIALLY SWEETENED DRINKS, that are loaded with hidden calories and sugar. But many people don't realize just how many calories beverages can contribute to their daily intake. As you can see in the example below, calories from drinks can really add up. You can always choose healthy drinks instead of those sugar bombs, such as home made chia drinks with real fruit,or home made vegetable-fruit juices. See home made drink section..
16 oz.whole milk caffé latte with your breakfast           --- 265 calories
20 oz.bottle regular cola with your lunch                        --- 227 calories
Nonfat caramel Macchiato at afternoon break             --- 140 calories
Nonfat caffé mocha when you are on the way home   --- 170 calories
Green tea latte 2% milk short size before bed              --- 170 calories
You got extra 972 calories just from your drinks !!!!

Be aware that the Nutrition Information label on beverage containers may give the calories for only part of the contents. For example the label on a 20-oz. bottle can show 100 calories just for 8 oz.servings, even though the bottle contains 20 oz. or 2.5 servings. To figure out how many calories are in the whole bottle, you need to multiply the number of calories in one serving by the number of servings in the bottle (100 x 2.5). You can see that the contents of the entire bottle actually contain 250 calories even though what the label calls a "serving" only contains 100. This shows that you need to look closely at the serving size when comparing the calorie content of different beverages and food.
Sometimes they may list sweeteners with different names on the label. If you see any of these ingredients listed below,that means your drink sugar- sweetened.

  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • Sugar
  • Syrup
  • Corn syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Dextrose

I like to mention about CSA ( Community Supported Agriculture ) today. First we introduced with CSA  couple years ago was in the Farmers Market. We trilled the idea of getting fresh vegetables and fruit every week ( or most of them offer every other week) directly farms to our door with bushel basket or rustic farm box. We really like cooking with secret ingredients whatever it grown that week in the farm. But I have to tell you, you will not get everything you need for cooking in one box, of course you still need to shop from Farmers Market and grocery stores,too. CSA is not just delivery or getting the produce from your grocery stores, real farmers offer you the best quality ,hand pick, firm ;weekly grown ( you can get organic, too ) produces. I'm very picky when I'm buying fresh produces, if they can satisfy me,believe me you won't be disappointed..

Over the last  decades, CSA has become a popular way for people to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of "shares" to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. like eggs,pickles,jams, home made breads etc; Interested people purchase a share (through a "membership" or a "subscription") and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.

CSAs aren't confined to produce. Some farmers include the option for members to buy shares of eggs, homemade bread, meat, cheese, fruit, flowers or other farm products along with their veggies. Sometimes several farmers will offer their products together, to offer the widest variety to their members. For example, a produce farmer might create a partnership with a neighbor to deliver chickens to the CSA drop off point, so that the CSA members can purchase farm-fresh chickens when they come to get their CSA baskets. Other farmers are creating standalone CSAs for meat, flowers, eggs, and preserved farm products.That means you are eradicating middle men, and getting freshest products directly from farms to your doors. 

Here are some benefits for everybody:
- Get ultra fresh vegetables and fruits with all the flavors and vitamin benefits
- Get to learn new variety of vegetables and new way of cooking
- Surprise with ingredients that you are getting every week
- It comes conveniently direct to your door or drop off points
- Develop a relationship with farmers and learn more about how vegetables are grown
- Usually get to visit to farm once a season (fun for whole family)
- Support small farmers and local growers
- Leave less carbon foot print on earth when buying local

The best way to sign up for CSA will be to go to the Farmers Market and meet with farmers directly. Or you can go online and check nearest CSA farms in your area. Some growers use the drop off points ,some of them directly bring to your door.

After a long holiday break finally our Farmers Market turn back their regular schedule.
 I think vendors miss us as much as we miss them..I took couple pictures from this weekend market.

During the hard winter,they are moving in different location than summer..Fresh produce varieties are not like spring or summer days, but still lots of interesting produce can be find.  

These organic micro greens is our favorite. They are delicious as they delicate and tender.

You can find 10 different variety of potatoes ( our favorite is purple potato,perfect for mashing,or baking.Their fluorescent purple color unbelievable),4-5 varieties of beets (watermelon beets are great for decorating the plates),parsley roots,celiac roots,kohlrabi..

I know how it is hard to change, break long term habits.I want you take the time when you are making a big change on your eating habits,don't be in a hurry,or don't expect miracle in one week.But the good news is that you will start to feel the benefits and energy elevation on your body almost immediately.
Every cell in your body needs protein for growth and repairing; muscle to bone, hair to fingernails. You can provide
protein to your body by eating in varieties
,such as grains,beans,milks and fishes.

Rule is simple,if you eat lifeless,dead food,your body will be lifeless,begging for more energy.If you eat nutrient rich foods such as fruits and vegetables,you will be full of vitality and energy.
Grains are your basic energy source,rich in nutrients and proteins.Almost all of them,whole and unrefined grains should be big part of your diet.White rice,bread and pasta lost most of the nutrients and fiber during their refining process.These processed grains act like sugar in the body,rush into blood stream,and cause blood sugar imbalance. Blood sugar imbalance can result sugar cravings, mood swings and weight gain.That's why healthy diet must include unrefined grains,such as ,brown rice,millet,amaranth,buckwheat,rye etc..Generally the darker the color,the more unrefined the grain,more healthier for you.
Here are some examples of energy source grains must include in your diet:

There are two types of barley available in stores:Pearl barley which is refine version, pot barley is a whole version..Use pot barley in your diet. It helps digestion,high in dietary fiber which helps to keep colonic health in good shape. Dietary fiber in barley feeds the friendly bacteria in large intestine..

South American ancient grain becomes different color,yellow and red quinoa..It contains all essential amino acids (proteins).It's more easier digest than meat protein, and also far less fat content than red meat.

Although main ingredient for the bird food,but it's not just for birds.High in magnesium ( has been shown in studies) reduces the severity of asthma and to reduces the frequency of migraine attacks. Magnesium has also been shown to lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack, especially in people with atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease. Niacin(vitamin B3) can help in lowering high cholesterol.  It's a great energy booster,elevated your energy level immediately.

It contains twice as much protein as wheat,more minerals,especially magnesium,zinc,essential fatty acids, and sixteen amino acids (protein). Kamut will be a good choice for wheat- sensitive people.Many wheat-sensitive people can tolerate the kamut.

BROWN RICE AND WILD RICE: Essential for nervous and digestive system. It's the least allergenic in all the grains.

It is generally available in its whole or cracked grain form or as flour or flakes that look similar to old-fashioned oats. Because it is difficult to separate the germ and bran from the endosperm of rye, rye flour usually retains a large quantity of nutrients, in contrast to refined wheat flour. Rye is excellent for liver.

You can get health-supportive antioxidant benefits from all varieties of corn, including white, yellow, blue, purple and red corn.Good source of fiber that gives us plenty of chewing satisfaction, to release the nutrients from corn kernels,you need to chew very well as the skin is indigestible. 

Buckwheat is gluten-free,rich in healthy minerals and unlike wheat it is non-allergenic. If you are sensitive to wheat,it will be a superb alternative for you.It contains 20 % of protein.

It contains even more calcium and magnesium than cow milks.

Beans are packed with proteins and contain almost no fat. Beans are great for weight loss,they also lower the cholesterol,prevent heart disease, and remove unwanted toxins from body.They are good source of complex carbohydrates (healthy type).Complex carbohydrates from vegetables,beans,grains are essential for good health.

: Otherwise known as aduki or adzuki beans, are small red beans cultivated throughout East Asia. They are loaded with protein, soluble fiber and have significant amounts of iron, potassium, folate and magnesium. They are easy to digest in comparison to other legumes. Their low “glycemic index” makes them an optimal choice for individuals affected by diabetes and blood sugar management issues. Excellent source of high in nutrients but low in calories.It also removes unwanted mucus,congestion and stools,help to burn fat.If you want to lose weight then this beans are for you..

MUNG BEANS: I use Mung beans as much as I can either bean or sprout form..I've mentioned health benefits of these beans in "detox section".They are wonderful colonic and liver cleaner.

FAVA ,SOY AND LENTILS: They are high in protein,even more than red meat and no fat content.In addition to their protein content,lentils nourish the kidney and adrenal glands, while Fava beans high in amino acids,calcium,and iron. They also known anti-cancer fighter.

Sprouting your own beans at home has so many benefits.

-You can grow your own sprouts in the winter to get tons of nutrition without breaking your bank.

-Keeping dry seeds and beans for sprouting is a great way to prepare nutritious salads, smoothies and garnishes. All you need some beans and water.

-It’s very satisfying to watch seedlings and beans awaken and sprout in front of your eyes. It's a fun project for kids, too.

-You can eat variety of bean sprouts that you might not be able to buy in stores.

Sprouts are much more nutritious than the dormant seed or bean form. By “awakening” these seeds, we are actually eating all of the live potential energy of the sprout.

We usually use green Mung beans for sprouting.Sprouting generally include, first overnight soaking, after that twice a day rinsing process.. Here is the method for general sprouting :

Before starting, the first thing you'll need a "sprouting jar". Sprouting jar can be find at healthy food store.
Sprouting the Mung beans a little bit of work,usually takes 3-4 days rinsing process. Process basicly include every morning and evening rinse with fresh water, to keep the sprouts wet and clean of mould. Be gentle when you are rinsing,try not to break newly emerge shoots. 

First day: Mung beans washed couple times and soaked with warm water overnight.

Second day morning:
Washed and rinsed Mung beans, they still hold some water in their body. Leave them in the container ( has to be enough room for sprouting ) without water. After second day morning rinse and place the jar with 45 degree angle upside down, to leave some room for air circulation and growing new shoots. Jar will stay in the same position for the rest of the sprouting days.

Second day evening:
  Washed and rinsed Mung beans,leave it in the container without water.

Third day morning:
Washed and rinsed, and leave it with no excess water.

Third day evening:
Washed and rinsed last time. You can use sprouts next day. Keep in fridge over a week.

Sprouts are living food, full of enzyme power, and also great source of protein for your body. Prevent for salmonella and E.Coli contamination from your sprout, you have to start with best quality of organic beans. Prevent the mold, you have to rinse carefully every morning and night. You also use cotton bags for easy sprouting and prevent molding.

                                                                     HOW TO WASH YOUR PRODUCES

OK, you are trying to eat more fruits and vegetables and you are buying organic produces because good for your body and the environment. Correct, as long as you wash your produce correctly before you eat it.

Buying organic reduces exposure to the harmful chemicals and pesticides that found in conventionally farmed produces. But according 2002 study, organically grown food contains up to one- third as much pesticide residue as conventionally grown food. Because of due the drift from conventional farms as well as contaminated soil.

Correctly washing fruits and vegetables can help eliminate most pesticide residue. Here are some tips :

-          Choose organic whenever possible : Although organic produce can have pesticide residue, but still has far less than conventional fruits and vegetables.

-          Use a produce wash : Choose non-toxic produce washes derived from citric acid and baking soda. Produce washes can help remove more chemicals than water alone.

-          Leafy greens and broccoli need to soak in a cool bath of vinegar and water about 5 minutes. After soaking rinse your vegetables with cold water.

-          Berries, grapes and more delicate fruits can wash in a colander, spray with produce wash, let the fruits sit for few minutes, and then rinse with cold water.

-          Big leafy produce, such as kale and spinach, break apart the bunch and spray with produce wash, and let them sit in the cold water for few minutes, then rinse each leaf individually.

-          Mushrooms need to clean with a soft brush, gently rinse with cold water. I know “don’t wash them “ rule about mushrooms and berries.. Never practice in our home. Everything you are buying and eating has to be wash well. Potatoes and root vegetables need to clean with thick brushes to ensure all contaminated surfaces have been reached.

-          Leeks need to sliced, and sit in the water for few minutes, then rinse under cold water with separated each layers to make sure there is no sand residue remain.

                                                                    SAFE AND DIRTY FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

Nevertheless to say we have to eat organic produces as much as we can.. But some part of the country, especially if you out of big cities; it's hard to find organic produce widely..Here is this year list for least and most pesticide and herbicide contaminated fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately apples and celery are the worst for contamination. US. Department of Agriculture and US. Food and Drug Administration found 13 different pesticides on one celery stem.

Least Pesticide Contaminated Fruits And Vegetables :

- Onion
- Sweet corn
- Pineapples
- Avocado
- Cabbage
- Sweet peas
- Asparagus
- Mango
- Eggplant
- Kiwi
- Cantaloupe ( domestic grown )
- Sweet potatoes
- Grapefruit
- Watermelon
- Mushroom

Worst Pesticide Contaminated Fruits And Vegetables :

- Apples
- Celery
- Sweet bell peppers
- Peaches
- Strawberries
- Nectarines
- Grapes
- Spinach
- Lettuce
- Cucumber
- Blueberries ( domestic grown )
- Potatoes

                                                                                                    BEE POLLEN

We're so excited to have new addition into our daily balanced diet;  nature's miracle gift, bee pollen... If you're not allergic to pollen and willing to spend some money ( yes they are not cheap ) for these golden granules, you'll be rewarded with high energy level and healthy life. Bee pollen or pollen ball is a mass of pollen that has been packed by worker honeybees into the granules by adding honey and nectar. Bee pollen is primary source of food and protein for the hive and young bees. Worker honeybees are carrying bee pollens into the hive by their back legs. You should know, one teaspoon bee pollen takes one bee working 8 hours a day for one month to collect. Bee pollen collects by pollen traps ( it’s a mesh drawer ) that covers the entrance of the hive. When honeybees are bringing back nutrient rich pollen to feed the brood and queen, because there are not enough space for the bees entrance, they need to squeeze their body to fit entrance through the hive. They must leave about 1/3 of the pollen that they carried into the pollen trap. Next days they can adapt the new condition, and they start to bring less pollen then usual to fit the entrance. Thankfully, honeybees have only 3 days memory, if you open the pollen trap for couple of days, and let them in the hives freely, they will forget all about. And collecting process starts all over again.. This labor intense process rewards us with most amazing, miracle gift from bees and Mother Nature’s.

Bee pollen is considered one of the nature’s most nourishing food also calls super high energy whole food, because contains nearly all nutrients needed by human to survive. Most people don’t know how much protein is in bee pollen, actually they provide the richest animal source of protein if compare with equal weight of beef, eggs and dairy products. It is very rich in protein ( approximately 40 % protein, including all 22 aminoacids ), free aminoacids, vitamins, including folic acid and vitamin B’s and minerals. Because of packed with nutrients and protein, it’s really good energy enhancer, asthma soother, digestion helper, immune booster and cardiovascular system supporter.

Bee pollen has a mild floral flavor and perfect with mixing into smoothies and breakfast cereals. Start with 1 teaspoon of bee pollen, than increase gradually to maximum 1 tablespoon a day.

Bee pollen is available at many healthy food store. You should keep fresh bee pollen in the fridge.

Bee pollen is not safe for pregnant women, and also avoid using bee pollen if you are breastfeeding. Bee pollen may cause increasing bleeding if taken with certain blood thinner such as warfarin. It may trigger the allergic reaction in sensitive people, it should not be taken if you are allergic to pollen.

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