Traditional Foods

Resiliency in Challenging Times

by Tammera J. Karr, PhD, BCHN, CNW, CGP

Our grocery stores have changed a lot over the last 20 years. Gone in many areas are the local specialty grocers like seen in films from the 1950s, replaced by mega Walmarts or warehouse stores. The hardest part about this change is the overwhelming volume of food products. In these vast stores, you may feel like you need a GPS and a sleeping bag before you find your way out of the jungle of shelves, freezer cases, and focus-grabbing end aisle displays.

When you are tired and stressed from work or family needs, trips to the market are even more problematic. This is prime time to be tempted by those cleverly colored and displayed industrial foods. Market researchers fully understand what is happening inside your overwhelmed brain; they know what colors, flavors, and even sounds will attract you to buy. Just like a skilled hunter knows how to find and lure the food sources in the wild – so do modern food marketers and retailers in the wilds of the grocery store aisle.

Shopping the outer rim

For decades we have told clients to limit their shopping to the outer edge of the grocery store – the problem is marketing experts know what we are telling folks trying to regain control of their diet. With increasing frequency, ultra-processed food items are making their way into the produce area. Additionally, now produce can be divided up by companion ingredients such as salad dressings and dips, croutons, and shredded cheese interspersed with vegetables, colored sugar glazes, and caramel dips and chocolate with fruit.

When pandemics take over our lives, it is even more critical than ever to be resilient. Now is a perfect time to turn to local farmers’ markets and butcher shops for our food. Not only does it support the businesses in our communities, but it also increases the nutritional value of the foods we consume. This is a win-win when we are looking at cost; our communities are a big part of who we are, so keeping the local economy healthy involves more than supporting franchise chains. The closer the food is to us, the higher the immune-boosting nutrients.

Where to begin?

Plan your excursions into the grocery stores just as you would a family camping trip or vacation. Planning ahead, buying dry goods, and staples in bulk saves money and frustration.

Change the frequency of trips to the market. We are far more prone to spontaneous unhealthy purchases when we shop for food daily or even weekly. Limit your weekly shopping to fresh produce, make an event out of farmers’ markets or farm stands over the added exposure of megastores. Don’t be afraid of blemishes on fresh produce at farm stands or markets. Save money by buying seconds; produce that has defects are called seconds, they may be too large or small, have bruises or scars on the skins or be older. Seconds work great for smoothies, hot cereal, compotes, desserts, and salads.

Buy in bulk: flour, rice, beans, lentils, pasta, oatmeal, sugar, tea, and coffee

Take advantage of sales on favorite canned goods and condiments. Depending on the best buy dates, these items may last 6-12 months, saving you trips to the store and allowing for creative flexibility in the kitchen. Limit the food-stuffs that are a specialty; it is better to have tomato sauce over spaghetti sauce, for example. A simple base food such as tomato sauce can be used in meatloaf, soups, sauces, and made into tomato soup.

Buy large cuts of meat: by buying a whole chicken, turkey, fish, and roasts, you can downsize your purchase into a multitude of meal options and save money. One turkey thigh in an instapot with vegetables and water makes several meals for one or two people. A pork loin can be cut into chops, roast, stirfry, and ground meat. One pork loin 3-pound roast can produce up to twenty meals. A whole chicken can be boned and sectioned, the bones and trimmings make broth, breast meat shredded for tacos, thighs for pot pie, and so forth.

Utilize leftovers for breakfasts, lunches, and snacks

Buy organic quality cooking oils and butter – the healthy fats we consume are worth the extra money.

All of these suggestions save you money, time, and frustration, especially when local stores are having a hard time getting shipments. When you keep a well-stocked pantry and freezer, hoarding and unscrupulous purchases driven by fear, are kept in check.

To a Healthy Spring, Real Foods and Resiliency

Putten On the Green

by Tammera J. Karr, PhD, BCHN, CGP, CNW

St. Patrick’s day and many other hallmark holidays may feel like frivolous events to celebrate – but it is during times of high stress and fear that the perfect prescription is a “Lightening of the Mood with a Wee Measure of Frivolous.” In truth, life goes on; most of us have deadlines, work, and responsibilities. Yet during quarantines, we may be working from home or navigating the prickly world of board spouses and kids. The weight of events is heavy, and silly celebrations lighten our feelings of isolation, fear, and boredom. It activates our immune responses and improves our brain chemistry.

You know where I’m going with this, my point is there is far more we can do during this pandemic then snip at each other, bing buy, be rude to grocery clerks or fellow shoppers, or post stupid toilet paper comments on Facebook. Now is when we call on our pioneer heritage and help those in our communities. Our combined know-how is stunning, and when there is a will, some humor and ingenuity amazing things blossom. Thank goodness we have a growing number of farmers’ markets, local butchers, and food sources. Being able to produce and procure local foods, resources, and more is what kept the 1918 Spanish Influenza outbreak from decimating so many rural communities.

Time in nature, fresh air, and sunshine are also gifts from the Creator that help us stay healthy. There is a reason we have a spring cleaning bug. It motivates us to clear away the dust and throw open the sash, letting in light and air. Which medical staff learned in 1918 had an anti-viral activity. Clearing away the dust mites, lint and dander, helps our immune systems, at the same time keeping our hands busy.

When we “put on the green,” it isn’t just about the Irish. It is about new beginnings, spring, bursting forth new life, and those foods rich in nutrients that help us stay healthy. Even though we are still in the “hunger months” for fresh food production, there is a fantastic wealth of produce available in stores and markets. Albeit some of the bounty is due to our aversion to vegetables. The sooner we put the green on our plates, the faster we will pass through the current pandemic.

Current infectious disease models are projecting the coronavirus pandemic that may last well into 2020. If that model is accurate, then we have every reason to order garden seeds and become proactive in helping our neighbors. Our faith will and is being tested, can we practice the good works on our own without the audience? I hope so.

Taking back the control

As much as I see the uselessness of many of the precautions being mandated by state governments (ineffective face masks, wearing them improperly, hand sanitizers that damage immune systems, unnecessary closure of businesses, and general paranoia) I do believe in the potential for a fall rebound of COVID-19.

Please keep in mind this rebound virus will not be the same as what circulated in January and February, just as the virus present in May or June has two or more generations of adaptation to that found in China. Therefore any effective vaccine is very unlikely. Viruses are sneaky little bastards, changing and using our normal body systems to hide from the immune system. THAT IS WHY we should be doing everything we can to strengthen our immune systems. This is not done overnight by a magic pill with a prescription label.

Our best recourse is those tools provided by nature that viruses are unable to mutate or adapt or mutate beyond.

1. Clean all the processed foods out – go with local vegetables, fruits and meats. Now is not the time to be eating sugar or processed foods. As much as I love bread, the increase of carbohydrates that increase inflammation, congestion, and blood sugars should be limited. Bread even naturally fermented sourdough does little to improve our ability to fight off viral infections.

2. Get your hands dirty – yup our immune system depends on microorganisms- they make up 85% of our immune response. We are intimately connected to the wee bugs in our soil, water and air. Our pets and homes share a common microbiota with us, it is the wee bugs that act as our front line defense against infections. We keep our microbiome healthy with the inclusion of fresh vegetables, ancient grains, and fruits. When we are constantly wiping down surfaces with bleach, vinegar, and alcohol disinfectants we are also damaging the microbiome of our environment.  If you are worried about getting the COVID-19 virus from fresh vegetables – STOP,  as with bacteria if in doubt steam, saute, fry, blanch, boil or bake the vegetables and fruits.

3. Get plenty of quality sleep – cut your alcohol consumption as it interferes with sleep quality, and lowers immune function. Turn off the WiFi at night, put your phone on airplane mode, cover blue light indicators, go to bed at the same time to ensure normal sleep hormone levels, keep your bedroom 60 or lower for temperature.

4. Utilize nature’s antiviral foods and herbs – garlic, ginger, elderberry, blackberries, black and green tea, onion, thyme, oregano, nettle, citrus, goldenseal, olive leaf, free-range protein, natural fats,

5. Old school – high-quality silver solutions are still used for third-degree burns, viruses are not able to hide from quality silver. (Please buy from a reputable company like Designs for Health or Quick Silver, pretty much all of the brands found in health stores are useless.)

6. Time in nature, research supports the multitude of health benefits from time in nature. Nature immits negative ions that stimulate hormones that support immune function. From just sitting and meditating, enjoying the view or hiking a trail; time in nature stimulates digestion, detoxification, circulation, vitamin D synthesis, and endorphins.

7. Turn off the news and Do Not Believe most of what you read, hear, or see. Now is when I’m seeing a big uptick in fake, incomplete, and poorly understood information. If you are healthy, doing the right things; “Falling Victim To Fear” will increase the risks of becoming ill. Fear suppresses our immune function.

8. Above all think ahead, plan, and be sensible.
Plan for the worst, hoping it never happens. Prayer, meditation, journaling, dance, sing, and laugh to improve immune function and brain chemistry.

Consider “putting on the green”;  as a smile on your face, a song in your heart, and helping hands for those in your neighborhoods who are frightened, alone, isolated, and even hungry. Busy hands make for light hearts, so if you know an elder or disabled person is alone, drop off a jar or pot of soup, fresh bread, or bag of produce. Ask if you can weed their flower beds, trim bushes, chop firewood, or mow their lawn.  Calling and checking in on friends and family, having actual conversations dose wonders. How about choirs sharing mucic as if they where caroling? All of this can be done from a safe distance. Rural communities have always come together during trying times and now is no different than 1918.

 

Putten on the Green Kale Sauté with Garlic and Lemon

1½ pounds (about 2 large bunches) kale*

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 large cloves garlic, minced (use more if you wish)

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Juice from 2 fresh lemons

 

Tear kale leaves into bite-size pieces; place in a large colander; rinse well under cold water.

Fill a large pot with water. Add about ½ teaspoon salt and bring to a boil; add kale and cook for 4-6 minutes until crisp-tender. Drain well.

Heat olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat; add garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Add kale; season well with sea salt and black pepper. Cook, often stirring, until wilted and tender, 4-6 minutes.

Sprinkle with fresh lemon juice; toss to combine. Serve immediately.

*Collard or mustard greens work well also, blanch greens instead of boiling

New Season and New Foods for Health

by Tammera J. Karr, PhD  

Fall surprised us all with a venture into winter earlier than anticipated, not only are the trees turning a crayon box of colors, the farm stands, and markets are bursting with hearty calorie-dense foods and savory immune-supporting roots. Fall is often our favorite time of year, and it means we are almost through with the long workdays, a time of slowing down and resting close to the woodstove is growing closer to hand.

For others; time is only growing in shorter supply as demands increase with school activities and longer work commute times due to weather. It is the lengthier hours inside, under florescent lighting that does a number on many folks’ immune systems. There is a reason this is thought of as cold and flu season. It isn’t that the wee bugs that stuff our nose, congest our chests or beat up our body are any worse – it is the environment of heating systems, dust mites, low vitamin status, poor nutrition, and sleep that are the biggest contributors to being caught by the local crud.

The modern industrial diet is ever increasing in calories through ultra processing; the difficulty is these calories do not come with better nutrition. For the first time in history, we have globally simultaneously overfed and undernourished populations. In 2006 the world population numbers of obese and overweight individuals overtook the underfed. The numbers have only continued to increase from the 2006 report of 1 Billion overweight and obese individuals.[1], [2]  So what does this have to do with fall foods, farm markets and the flu season?

A lot…. Our health all begins with the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. Without nutrients from the food we simply wouldn’t be able to support life, just as we need air and water to live. Many of you may believe the quality of processed food is good after all the label lists fat, carbohydrates, salt, protein, and even a few vitamins.

What you may not know is most of the label information is for show, the research done to develop labels and marketing to attract your eye, has even employed seasonal colors to lead to the perfect can of Nalley’s Chile ( seriously look and you will find the ultra-processed foods you select will change by the season and the colors on the package labels that catch your eye). This innate color hunting is hard-wired into our brains from the days of true hunter-gathering. [3]

When we turn this same eye from the packaged foods to the farmers market, we see acorn, butternut, spaghetti, and Hubbard squash. Spanish and winter yellow onions, shallots, and potatoes, yams, carrots, and beets. Now more than ever we have an opportunity to leave behind the industrial foods that are driving escalating chronic illness and turn to locally produced eggs, pork, beef, poultry and truckloads of produce.

The upside to locally produced foods like the winter squash is versatility and concentrated nutrition that improves our ability to fend off the crud. When we combine cooked squash with yellow onions, garlic, turmeric, and ginger for a warming soup or roasted, we increase the nutrient uptake to our cells through nutrient co-factoring, also called synergy.

But I don’t have time to cook like you do, one client said to me…..fortunately I didn’t say what I was thinking and took a more diplomatic line. We all have time crunches; the reality is while we had on average 1000 hours of free time more than generations in 1900, our time is fractured, and it requires more effort to shift from the rush and dash pace of today to have blocks of time large enough to plan and cook. I set aside 2-4 hours a week for food prepping for the workdays. With fall tossing all the leftover vegetables into a soup pot even allows for time to enjoy making sourdough rye bread. Soups and stews are the staples of traditional foods across the globe. And that includes the pot of chili and batch of Marinara sauce for spaghetti, lasagna or eggplant/chicken parmesan.  I keep a bowl of parboiled red potatoes and cooked brown rice in the fridge for fast meals. I will even prep vegetables for stir-fry ahead of time.

Much of this can be done while catching up on the favorite TV program or doing laundry or other necessary home chores. After all, eating well to be healthy is a necessary chore!

 

Here is to the changing seasons and to Changing the Food we eat for our health.

 

[1] Nick, Squires, 2006, “Overweight People Now Outnumber the Hungry,”: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1526403/Overweight-people-now-outnumber-the-hungry.html
[2] The Changing Global Diet 2018, https://ciat.cgiar.org/the-changing-global-diet/
[3] Karen Langston, Healthy Gut Advisor: https://www.healthygutadvisor.com/
© 2019 Holistic Nutrition for the Whole you

History as Old as Bees’

By Tammera J. Karr, PhD

It is difficult to appreciate in today’s world the value of honey and bees. Honey is a by-product of flower nectar and the upper aerodigestive tract of the honey bee, which is concentrated through a dehydration process inside the beehive. Honey has a very complex chemical composition that varies depending on the botanical source. Honey is as old as history is itself. One of the earliest evidence of honey harvesting is on a rock painting dating back 8000 years that shows a honey seeker robbing a wild bee colony, in Valencia, Spain.[1], [2]

Humans have eaten honey, bathed in it, healed wounds and traded with honey since history was recorded. Archaeologists discovered honeycomb in Egypt buried with the pharaohs, the honey was preserved and still eatable. In Niuserre’s sun temple bee-keepers are depicted blowing smoke into hives as they are removing the honey-combs.  After extracting the honey from the comb, it was strained and poured into earthen jars. Images in Old Eygypt tombs show cylindrical hives dating from the 7th century B.C.[3]

The old testament refers to the land of Israel as the “land flowing of milk and honey.” The book of Sirach refers to the honey bee – “The bee is small among flying creatures, but what it produces is the best of sweet things.” [4] Honey is mentioned in the scrolls of the Orient, the Talmud, and Koran. [5]  The Romans used honey for treating wounds after battles.[6], [7] Hannibal, fed his army honey and vinegar as they crossed the Alps on elephants. In medieval Europe, bees were highly prized for their honey and wax. Honey was used as food, and to make mead—possibly the world’s oldest fermented beverage.  The history of mead dates back 20,000 to 40,000 years and originates on the African continent. In Africa during the dry season, wild bees would nest in tree hollows, and during the wet season, the hollows would fill with water. Water, honey, osmotolerant yeast, time and voila—mead is born.

By the 10th  century, the Kings and Queens of England, as well as the Vikings consumed fermented honey wine (Mead). [8], [9]  In medieval times, honey was used as medicine to treat burns, cough, indigestion and other ailments.  The lady of the manor would combine spices and herbs with mead to improve digestion. Candles made from beeswax burned brighter, longer and cleaner than other wax candles. Bees were often kept at monasteries and manor houses, where they were tended with the highest respect and considered part of the family or community. It was considered rude, to quarrel in front of bees. [10] Honey was often available only to royalty, and with time the tradition of mead was only sustained in the monasteries of Europe.

Most of man’s history has writings and art documenting our love and uses of honey. Which is not surprising, honey is a source of natural sugar, easy on the stomach and if stored correctly it will last almost indefinite. Honey can be easily adapted to use in the kitchen, the internet hosts over 148 million search results for recipes and blogs on honey. [11]  Modern research has now traced the story of honey more. Honey and Beeswax leave unique chemical signatures – these signatures have been found on thousands of pottery shards dating back through Neolithic time. The researchers found traces of beeswax on more than 6,400 pottery pieces used by Neolithic farmers. The oldest evidence found dates to 7,000 B.C. in Anatolia or Asia Minor. One Stone Age site in southeastern Turkey called Çayönü Tepesi yielded exceptionally well-preserved beeswax residue.[12]

The tradition of “Telling the Bees’” dates back to the Ancient Celts; it was believed if you didn’t keep the bees in the know about long journeys, passing of a member of the household or birth of a child, the bees would pack up and leave or die. There were even special prayers to say when seeing a bee flying over a field in the middle ages to present in Great Britain. The Orthodox Church has recognized the importance of bees for centuries and has prayers for both bees and beehives.[13]

O God, the Creator of all, who blesses seed and makes it to increase and makes it profitable for our use:  Through the intercession of the Forerunner and Baptist John, mercifully hearing our prayers, be pleased to bless and sanctify the bees by Your own deep compassion, that they may abundantly bear fruit for the beauty and adornment of Your temple and Your holy altars, and they may be useful for us, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to Whom be honor and glory unto ages of ages. 

Amen

Celtic mythology held that bees were the link between our world and the spirit world. So if you had any message for a deceased family member or friend, all you had to do was tell the bees, and they would pass it along. Telling the bees was widely observed in England and Europe. Eventually, the tradition made it’s a way across the Atlantic to North America. The typical way to “tell the bees” was for the head of the household, or “goodwife of the house” to go out to the hives, knock gently to get the attention of the bees, and then softly murmur in a doleful tune the solemn news.

Our Dependence on Pollinators

I was deeply saddened to see Bumble Bees placed on the endangered species list recently. [14] Our dependence on bees and the many other pollinators for food is no less in modern times than in the past.  Bees help humans survive, 70 of the top 100 crop species that feed 90% of the human population rely on bees for pollination. Without bees, these plants would cease to exist, and with them, animals that depend on those plants become jeopardized also. The loss of bees and fellow pollinators will have a cascading effect that will ripple catastrophically up the food chain. Losing a beehive is much more than losing a supply of honey, it is a bell tolling a final warning for us all.

The modern world’s reliance on man-made chemicals for agriculture has been proven to be devastating to bees and other beneficial bugs.  We no longer value the bee as we once did,  sitting and chatting with them about members of the family. The act of telling the bees emphasizes this deep connection humans share with the insect and their importance.

Fake Honey in your Tea

Fake honey on market shelves in Australia in 2018 became news. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) testing at a leading international scientific lab that specializes in honey fraud detection found almost half the honey samples selected from supermarket shelves in Australia and New Zealand were “adulterated,” meaning it had been mixed with something other than nectar from bees. Phil McCabe, the president of the International Federation of Beekeepers’ Association (Apimondia), believes the NMR test is the most accurate available and thinks consumers are not getting what they paid for. [15]

In the USA the news of adulterated honey started circulating in 2011. This prompted the FDA to post a statement in 2015: “A growing demand for honey, dwindling production due, in large part, to the collapse of domestic bee colonies, and rising prices have given rise to a practice industry experts call “honey laundering.” What’s labeled as pure honey, in fact, may be a honey blend or honey syrup — honey adulterated with cane sugar or corn syrup — or product that contains antibiotic residue”, the Food and Drug Administration said.[16]

What about the medicinal properties of Honey?

First, a reminder – do not give Raw Honey to children under 12 months – Honey can contain spores of a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum, which can germinate in a baby’s immature digestive system and cause infant botulism, a rare but potentially fatal illness.

So a spoonfull of Honey really does help – and Don’t forget to Thank bees when you see them in your yard or garden for all they do for us.
Sources

The Adorable Custom of ‘Telling The Bees’ by Kaushik: https://www.amusingplanet.com/2019/04/the-adorable-custom-of-telling-bees.html?m=1&fbclid=IwAR0k6QtdZZXDqJ82sNqZvQLZuBiTKaNAnBcFoVie3ppdq917AIMMLDTDFOs

Bees Bee Keeping and Honey: http://www.heathmonthoney.com.au/bees/HoneyHistory.htm

Ancient Cave Painting: http://www.mdbee.com/articles/cavepainting.html

[1] http://www.heathmonthoney.com.au/bees/HoneyHistory.htm

[2] Estimates of age place the rock painting depicted above at approximately 15,000 years old. Discovered in the early 1900’s in Valencia , Spain in the Cave of the Spider (Cueve de la Arana) situated on the river Cazunta, the painting speaks of man’s long fascination with honey. Before our ancestors could write, they recorded this honey hunting event in bold red paint.

[3] Beekeeping in Ancient Egypt, February 23, 2008 by beelore: https://beelore.com/2008/02/23/beekeeping-in-ancient-egypt/

[4] Sirach 11:3

[5]  https://s3.amazonaws.com/alternativedaily/honey/Honey_natures_miracle.pdf

[6] Traditional and Modern Uses of Natural Honey in Human Diseases: A Review: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3758027/

[7] Avoiding Death Like the Plague: Wound Care inthe Roman Army by Gwendolyn E. Dougherty: https://digitalcommons.brockport.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1014&context=hashtaghistory

[8] Our Ancient Ancestors Probably Loved Honey Too By Marissa Fessenden November 11, 2015: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/relationship-between-humans-and-honeybees-goes-back-9000-years-180957245/

[9] Beer and mead in the Viking period: https://en.natmus.dk/historical-knowledge/denmark/prehistoric-period-until-1050-ad/the-viking-age/food/beer-and-mead/

[10] https://www.amusingplanet.com/2019/04/the-adorable-custom-of-telling-bees.html

[11] National Honey Board: https://www.honey.com/recipes

[12]  https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/relationship-between-humans-and-honeyb

[13] First Prayer for Bees: https://frted.wordpress.com/2013/07/08/the-blessing-of-the-bees/

[14] First U.S. Bumblebee Officially Listed as Endangered: https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/03/bumblebees-endangered-extinction-united-states/

[15] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-03/capilano-and-supermarkets-accused-of-selling-fake-honey/10187628

[16] Bee Culture, March 2015: https://www.beeculture.com/catch-the-buzz-illegal-honey-again/

[17] Everything you need to know about honey By Joseph Nordqvist: 14 February 2018,: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/264667.php

[18] Honey Benefits and medicinial Uses: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/264667.php

 

Time Change and Spring Fatigue

by Tammera J. Karr, PhD

Over the two weeks, I have heard countless clients complain over the time change. The following days have been the land of zombies in some folks minds. Additionally, spring is upon us and with that; tree, grass and flower pollen. Spring is a time of rebirth, and rebounding energy, or at least the energy is supposed to bounce back into our lives. But what if it doesn’t? Some individuals may feel like spring energy has passed them by and they are permanent members of the zombie community.

Spring is a perfect time to fast. Countless faith communities practice fasting during the days preceding Easter, other cultures practice fasting as a regular part of their diet. Today we have research on the benefits of fasting for brain and neurological health. Spring is also a perfect time to clean house in the o’l liver. Traditionally Spring brings with it bitter greens that help with detoxing and purifying the liver and blood.  Along with fasting, we have foods designed by the creator to restore energy and health while improving brain function;  clearing the fog, fatigue, and depression of zombie land away.

Brain food is a terrific example of what we can do every day and with every meal to change not only how smart we are but how likely we are to develop age-related brain dysfunction. Cultures throughout the world incorporate food into their “health care plan” since most of these countries have socialized medicine it is in the governments best interest to encourage “wellness care” versus “disease management.”

Spring Greens – dark bitter greens such as dandelion, kale, mustard, collard, endive, chickory, and spinach are all considered “bitter greens” and provide nutrients that improve liver and gallbladder function – even when you do not have a gall bladder, bitter greens improve pancreas function and bile production for improved digestion.

Blueberries—Research has found blueberries can reverse age-related declines in motor function, balance, and coordination. Blueberries have compounds that boost neuron signals and help turn back on systems in the brain that can lead to using other proteins to help with memory or other cognitive skills.

Wild Caught Fish— Researchers in 2011, reported people who eat baked or broiled fish at least once a week may be protecting their brains from Alzheimer’s and other brain degenerative conditions.

Coffee—Regular coffee drinking has been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and other mental disorders.  Coffee appears to increase blood levels of a factor associated with improved cognitive function in Alzheimer’s.

Caffeinated coffee has also been associated with protection against Parkinson’s disease, the second most common neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s.  A study of 29,000 individuals found one to four cups daily decreased the risk of Parkinson’s by 47% and 5 or more cups reduced the risk by 60%.

Nuts— walnuts, almonds, cashews, and pecans, contain properties that help with everything from fighting insomnia to promoting mental clarity and sharp memory. Walnuts are rich in fatty acids while almonds contain natural mood-enhancing neurotransmitters.

Eggs—Yes I know the news told you researchers are back to saying eggs are bad for you – once again we are encountering faulty or bad research modules that lead to bad science. Egg yolks are rich in choline, an essential nutrient to improving memory function. B vitamins are a must for brain health, if you can’t eat eggs or don’t have a good free-range source for them, take a whole food B-complex.

Chocolate—Dark chocolate is magnesium and antioxidant-rich, it also improves focus and concentration. Milk chocolate, on the other hand, enhances memory and reaction time. (for you Marilyn, you can say ha to you know who now…)

Broccoli—Broccoli has been shown to improve memory function as well as slow the aging process. Broccoli is one of the most protective foods known to researchers today, it has been shown to activate more cell receptor sites – protecting your health, than any other single food next to pomegranates, and turmeric.

So there you have it the cure for zombie land and the time change is at your local farmers market or produce section. The more nutrient-dense foods incorporated into your diet, the better your energy and your allergies will be, then spring will have you bouncing like the lambs in the field.

 

“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people

 under the pretense of taking care of them.”Thomas Jefferson

 

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Eating Spring Foods and in Season for Health

by Tammera J. Karr, PhD

Cultures throughout the ages have celebrated the return of spring after a long, harsh winter by eating the first new greens they can find. Native Americans took advantage of fresh, wild plants to supplement their winter diets of dried foods; foraging in woodlands or near streams could bring in an entire meal in some cases.

Mushrooms often sprouted with the renewed moisture of spring; experts had to hunt for this very nutritious, but dangerous food. Women hunted dandelions, wild onions and leeks, ramps, chickweed, poke, and wild mustard (or a related plant called “creasy greens”) as soon as possible since many of these plants get more bitter as they grow older. Even young, tender leaves and shoots can be bitter, but these wild plants are very nutritious and have long been considered a tonic to wake up the liver and kidneys after a long winter diet of dried starches (like beans and pumpkin) and meat.[1]

Traditional (Algonquin) Green Salad: One-part wild onions or leeks, chopped, and one and a half parts dandelion leaves, to four parts watercress. Add a small amount of sheep or wood sorrel, and then flavor to taste. Add a bit of maple syrup for sweetness, or use other traditional flavorings like salt, along with enough oil to coat the leaves.

 

Spring Food locally available

Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Broccoli, Cabbages, Curly Kale, Rhubarb, Leeks, Spring Greens, rabbit, lamb, Wild Salmon, steelhead, Crab, Oysters, Cauliflower, Celeriac, Chicory, Cockles, Cod, Hake, Parsley, Mint, Spring Onions. Lettuces, Radishes, Spring Greens, Sea Kale, Watercress, Morel Mushrooms, Wild Garlic, Sorrel, Rhubarb, New Potatoes, Halibut, Sea Bass, Lemon Sole, Spinach.

All and many more of the foods listed here are available in our local farmers markets. Eating seasonally provides us with a opportunity to rebalance our immune systems, restore vital nutrients, control blood sugars and weight, reduce heart disease and cancer risks and improve digestion and cognition.

Here are a few reasons to spend your food dollars at local Farmers Markets or CSA’s when it comes to your health.

  1. Seasonal foods are picked at the peak of freshness and offer higher nutritional content than out of season unripe fruits and vegetables. When you eat with the seasons, you can enjoy a rainbow of colorful and diverse foods in your diet as well as providing your body with a wide variety of important vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that you need to maintain vibrant health. [2]
  2. Eating seasonal foods helps to support our bodies natural cleansing and healing abilities. For example, spring weather offers many tasty leafy greens and vegetables like dandelion greens, spring onions, and spring garlic which are great healing foods for helping detoxify your liver.[3]
  3. Fewer toxic chemicals used by local sustainable farmers; pesticides, herbicides, and genetically modified seeds are limited or not used. This can be a major concern for local watersheds were communities get their drinking water from. Additionally, many of these chemicals are known cancer, neurological and reproductive toxins to both animals and people. [4]
  4. More money stays in local areas. When you buy seasonal, locally grown foods, you help provide financial support to the farmers in your area which helps to grow your local economy. It is a myth that local foods or organic cost more than produce trucked in. On average seasonal foods are priced more economically than out of season foods which will save you money on your grocery and even doctor bills.

 

The Science for Seasonally Eating

According to research studies, nutrient content changes in foods depending on which seasons they were produced in. For example, in a study conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food  in London, England researchers found that nutrient content was different in milk harvested in the summer versus winter. Because of the change in the cow’s diet to less fresh plants in the summer, these cows produced nutritionally different milks.  Japanese researchers also found tremendous differences in the nutritional content of spinach harvested in summer versus winter. [5], [6]

A Stanford study backs seasonal eating for healthy Microbiome; published in the Science journal; researchers found that the microbes in the members of the Hadza tribe in Tanzania change dramatically with each season, in sync with seasonal changes made to their diet.

The study showed that certain gut microbes that reside within the gut in one season may almost disappear in the next – suggesting there are dramatic changes taking place in the microbiome from one season to the next. The researchers concluded that the Hadza tribe’s gut microbes and their digestion is cyclical, and in sync with the precise bio-rhythm of nature. [7], [8], [9]

A study published by the University of Missouri confirmed availability of local food as key to improving food security. This is so very important for the low income of every community which are made up in large part by elderly and children. Most strategies to assist the hungry, including food banks and providing food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, are short-term, emergency solutions. Those who rely on these programs face daily shortages of fresh and healthy foods, which lead to poor diet choices, nutritional deficiencies, and health problems. An expert at the University of Missouri says the production of sustainable, locally grown foods is key to providing long-term food security for communities.

“We have to recognize that access to food is a human right,” says Michelle Kaiser, researcher in the School of Social Work in the College of Human Environmental Sciences.[10]

 

So Let’s head out to a local Farmers Market, or CSA – our health will be better for it.

[1] http://cantonasylumforinsaneindians.com/history_blog/tag/traditional-spring-foods/

[2] http://www.eattheseasons.com/

[3] http://www.naturesgardenexpress.com/blog/eat-seasonal-for-health/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25027288

[5] http://www.clevelandclinicwellness.com/food/SeasonalEating/Pages/HealthyFoodSeasonBySeason.aspx

[6] https://lifehacker.com/why-eating-seasonally-and-locally-is-better-for-you-an-1563025065

[7] http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/08/early-human-gut-bacteria-may-have-cycled-season

[8] http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/gut-microbes-found-hunter-gatherers-shift-seasons/

[9] https://lifespa.com/stanford-study-backs-seasonal-eating-for-healthiest-microbiome/

[10] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110509150742.htm

Edamame – green soy beans

by Tammera J. Karr, PhD

On a recent road trip, we shared a bowl of Edamame with family at a restaurant – I didn’t tell my husband what it was, but waited to see if he would try something new. The brave, intrepid food explorer came out, and it want long till he was sucking green beans out of their shell like a pro. On the return trip home at the Sparks Costco, I found a large tray of Edamame for us to snack on while we drove through dinner time to our remote campsite in the Mountains of Northern California. Finally, after admitting how much he liked them, he asked just what are these anyhow. The time had come to confess I had slipped him a not necessarily so good food – soy.

Yes as you have already surmised by the title of this article Edamame is green soybeans, they have appeared in health food stores, Asian eateries, and can be found in a multitude of ways. Dry roasted, raw, steamed/chilled, or fresh edamame pods are in a variety of packages enticing consumers into thinking this sweet tasting bean is good for you.

Kaayla Daniel Ph.D., The Naughty Nutritionist, writes in her article What’s Edamame? And Other Questions about Green Vegetable Soybeans that historian William Shurtleff of the Soyfoods Center in Lafayette, CA, knows of no early references to green vegetable soybeans in China. Further, she writes:

“ An herbal guide from 1406 (Ming Dynasty) indicates the whole pods of young soybeans could be eaten or ground for use with flour, but it recommended such uses only during times of famine.  A Materia Medica from 1620  recommends edamame, but only for the medicinal purpose of killing “bad or evil chi.”  By 1929, however, edamame was definitely on some menus. William Morse of the USDA reported on a field trip to China that “the market is virtually flooded with bundles of plants with full-grown pods, the seeds of which are also full grown.  The pods are boiled in salt water and the beans eaten from the pods.”

Dr. Daniel also disputes the claims by industry that Asians have consumed soy for 5,000 or even 10,000 years. She says that digging into anthropology and history texts absolutely does not support this common claim that seems to have become regarded as fact in some health circles. “The oldest soyfoods, miso and tofu date back only about 2,500 years. Contrary to popular belief, soy was not eaten as food 5,000 years ago, but it was highly regarded for its role in crop rotation.”

The use of soy for crop rotation makes perfect sense as it is a nitrogen-fixing plant, For those who are gardeners or farmers you understand the value of rotating different plants through an area in order to recover the soil from monoculture planting practices.

GMO Danger: Most edamame on the market in the United States is sourced from genetically modified soybeans. GMOs are not labeled currently in North America.Beware that most edamame served in Japanese restaurants and featured on salad bars in North America is GMO.

GMO soy is a Hormone Disrupter

 

 

 

 

 

So while the Edamame was fun for a couple times, it won’t become part of our diet, and I do not recommend it for you either.

To your good health and GMO-Free local foods.

 

Sources

 

 

Traditional Culinary Herbs for Health

By Tammera J. Karr, PhD

 

The role of herbs and spices in traditional cookery is more than flavor; herbs played a vital role in nutrition and health for past generations. The daily use of herbs in cookery supplied minerals, vitamins, and volatile compounds effective at killing pathogens and parasites. They provided expectorant, glucose-regulating, diuretic, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is essential to understand the healing properties of herbs and their inclusion in cookery to fully grasp the concept of “food as medicine.”

For centuries, the food placed before mankind was his nourishment and sole source of medicine. A good wife during medieval times was the mistress of the household and known for keeping order. Housewife later became the accepted term and further denoted a married woman in charge of the household. Additionally, the lady of the house was judged on how well-provisioned the pantry, how well the kitchen garden tended, which included herbs for food preservation and medicine, and on how flavorful the foods were coming from the kitchen. All of these were considered before beauty. The skill the good wife possessed reflected on her family and the prosperity of her husband and his charges, making the place of good wife an elevated and essential role.

Now, this all sounds ridiculous to us in the modern age, but remember these were different times, and these skills meant life or death during famine or war. A skilled good wife would be called on to care for the injured or ill. If her skill was lacking, she could find herself in chains or on the fire for being a witch. This is historically the earliest beginnings of holistic nutrition for those of European descent. The Persians and Asians had extensive use of culinary herbs predating the European good wife by more than a century. ,  ,

When did individuals begin adding flavor to their food? Food anthropologists really cannot give us a definite answer on this, because plant remains rarely last, which is why researchers seldom speculate on how they were used thousands of years ago.

That being said, in 6,000-year-old pottery from Denmark and Germany, a team of researchers found phytoliths, small bits of silica that form in the tissues of some plants, most notably garlic mustard seeds, which carry robust and peppery flavor but little nutritional value.

Because they were found alongside residues of meat and fish, the seed remnants represent the earliest known direct evidence of spicing in European cuisine. According to researcher Hayley Saul of the University of York, “It certainly contributes important information about the prehistoric roots of this practice, which eventually culminated in globally significant processes and events.”

The flavors associated with Europe, Mediterranian, and Asian traditional foods is primarily due to the influence of the Arabian Agriculture Revolution. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Muslims stepped into the vacuum. Their ships and caravans carried their cuisine rich in spices and fruits across three continents. The Muslims brought melons, pomegranates, grapes, raisins, peaches, almonds, pistachios, cherries, pears, and apricots to the Persian Empire.

In Europe, they introduced spinach, melons, eggplant, and artichokes. The Muslims planted orchards of stone fruits; peaches, cherries, and apricots. In Spain the introduction of sugar, saffron, rice, and the bitter orange; the foundation of British marmalade. All this happened before 700 A.D. By the 10th century, the influence on the world’s flavor of food was apparent.

The earliest Muslim recipes date from Baghdad in 1226. They were recorded by al-Baghdadi, who “loved eating above all pleasures.” Many of the recipes are for tagines – meat and fruit stews simmered for hours over a low flame until the meat is falling-apart-melt-in-your-mouth-tender. The inclusion of spices in almond stuffed meatballs called mishmishiya consisted of cumin, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper. Saffron added color, and ground almonds were added to thicken. Stews were also perfumed with waters distilled from rose and orange blossoms.

Le Viandier: Cooking with spices was considered a new style of cookery and written down by Frenchman Gillaume Tirel ca. 1312-1395. This became the first European cookery book. Le Viadier reflects the  influence of the Middle East and on the cooking of the Middle Ages of Europe, especially the use of spices such as cinnamon, ginger, cumin, coriander, and cardamon. All of these spices can be found in the traditional Christmas drink known as wassail.

The fall of the Christian Eastern Roman Empire to the Turks in 1453 sent the European world and its now addicted sweet tooth and love of spices into a tailspin. All roads east were closed and the need for food explorers brought us Cristoforo Colombo (Christopher Columbus), and a whole “new world” of flavors joined the old.

Here is to Flavorful Traditional Foods that build the Body and Spirit

 

Our Journey With Food Cookery BookYou can read more on the Pantry in the Our Journey with Food Cookery Book

CLEANING HOUSE – BY REGULARLY DETOXIFYING

by Tammera J. Karr, PhD

An effective detoxification program will not ask you to make any dramatic lifestyle and dietary changes. Healthier food and lifestyle choices are generally made on a subconscious level. Once the body begins to eliminate toxins, it will naturally start craving foods that will nourish it at an optimum level. That said, there are undoubtedly many things you can do to maximize the benefits of the cleanse you’re on from day one, and certain foods will help maintain the benefits of the detox for much longer.

A detox diet is a short-term diet, often 3- to 21 days, focused on removing toxins from the body. Although detoxification is ongoing in the body, toxins and stress prevent us from doing it optimally, which eventually affects our health. A detox diet allows our bodies to focus on self-healing, with the goal being to raise energy levels, stimulate digestive health, clear headaches, remove bloating, improve concentration and mood, avoid getting allergies, regain our natural ability to ward off colds and flu and prevent premature aging and disease.

In natural health writings from the 1900’s, it was common to see articles on digestive cleansing with tonics, enemas, fasting, and herbs. Detoxification has been practiced for centuries by many cultures around the world — including Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.

The sad but undeniable truth is many are living in an environment toxic to their bodies, take a look at the following information:

How does detoxification work?

Basically, detoxification means cleaning the blood. It does this by removing impurities from the blood in the liver, where toxins are processed for elimination. The body also eliminates toxins through the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymph, and skin. However, when this system is compromised, impurities aren’t properly filtered, and every cell in the body is adversely affected.

Many health ailments–headaches, exhaustion, and muscle cramps–are coming from toxicity. Toxins have been implicated in everything from increased risk of Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease to mental retardation and cancer.

A detox program can help the body’s natural cleaning process by:

  1. Resting organs through fasting;
  2. Stimulating the liver to eliminate toxins;
  3. Promoting elimination through the intestines, kidneys, and skin;
  4. Improving circulation;
  5. Refuel the body.

10 ways to detoxify

  1. Eat plenty of fiber, including brown rice and organically-grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Beets, radishes, artichokes, cabbage, broccoli, spirulina, chlorella, and seaweed.
  2. Cleanse and protect the liver by taking dandelion root, burdock, milk thistle, and drinking green tea.
  3. Vitamin C helps produce glutathione, a liver compound that drives away toxins.
  4. Drink at least two quarts of filtered water daily.
  5. Breathe deeply to allow oxygen to circulate more completely through your system.
  6. Think positive thoughts.
  7. Practice hydrotherapy by taking a very hot shower for five minutes, allowing the water to run on your back. Follow with cold water for 30 seconds. Do this three times, and then get into bed for 30 minutes.
  8. Sweat in a sauna to eliminate wastes through perspiration.
  9. Dry-brush your skin or try detox foot spas/foot baths to remove toxins through your pores.
  10. Exercise, yoga, qigong, mini-tramps or jump-roping are good. One hour every day.

Don’t forget

Eliminate alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, refined and artificial sugars, fake fats found in margarine, and unfiltered tap water all of which act as toxins in the body and are obstacles to detoxifying. Also, minimize use of chemical-based household cleaners and personal health care products (cleansers, shampoos, deodorants, and toothpastes), and substitute natural alternatives.

Stress triggers your body to release stress hormones into your body affecting every metabolic pathway necessary for detoxification. While these hormones can provide the “adrenaline rush” to win a race or meet a deadline, in large amounts, they create toxins and slow down detoxification enzymes in the liver. Consider cutting out the news at dinner and bedtime add music that is around 60 beats per minute to calm the central nervous system throughout the day, all these are simple and effective ways to relieve stress.

People who are exhausted with low blood pressure may have adrenal weakness or fatigue. A detox diet is usually done after the adrenal glands have been replenished.

 

POMEGRANATE – TOP THREE SUPER FOOD

by Tammera J Karr, PhD

I love pomegranates, they are one of the few foods I can eat every day for months and never get tired of the flavor. When I was a kid, pomegranates were only available during the Christmas and New Year season in rural Eastern Oregon. Today they are available in fresh, cleaned seeds and juice forms almost year around. For those who grew up in southern California, you may have had a tree in your yard and remember the beautiful deep red jellies made by family members from the pomegranate fruit.

A little history

Pomegranate is one of the “seven kinds” mentioned in the Bible which Israel was blessed with long ago. An ancient legend, world religions, history and traditional medicine, have all celebrated the unique beauty and health benefits of the pomegranate. It is a fruit of legend and power – a sacred symbol of human civilization.

Mankind has revered the magical, mystical pomegranate since the dawn of recorded history. Ancient Greeks, Romans, and the peoples of China, India and the Middle East found its properties to be life-giving and invigorating.It grew in the region for thousands of years and is very much adapted to it. As befits a fruit with many seeds, the pomegranate is the traditional representation of fertility and seems to have its origins everywhere. The pomegranate was cultivated in Egypt before the time of Moses. It was found in the Indus valley so early that there is a word in Sanskrit for pomegranate.

The pomegranate is significant in Jewish custom. Tradition holds that a pomegranate has 613 seeds to represent the 613 commandments in the Torah. The design of the pomegranate was woven into the high priest’s robes, and brass representations were part of the Temple’s pillars. It is mentioned six times inch Song of Solomon.

The pomegranate tree is native from Iran to the Himalayas in northern India and has been cultivated since ancient times throughout the Mediterranean region of Asia, Africa, and Europe. The most important growing areas are Egypt, China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, India, Burma and Saudi Arabia.

The tree was introduced in California by Spanish settlers in 1769. It is grown for its fruit mostly in the dry zones of that state and Arizona. In California, commercial pomegranate cultivation is concentrated in Tulare, Fresno, and Kern counties, with small farms in Imperial and Riverside counties.

Health Benefits

Pomegranate seeds get their vibrant red hue from polyphenols. These chemicals are potent antioxidants. Pomegranate juice contains higher levels of antioxidants than most other fruit juices. It also has three times more antioxidants than red wine and green tea. The antioxidants in pomegranate juice can help remove free radicals, protect cells from damage, and reduce inflammation.

The juice of a single pomegranate has more than 40 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin C. Vitamin C can be broken down when pasteurized, so opt for homemade or fresh pomegranate juice to get the most of the nutrient. In addition to vitamin C and vitamin E, pomegranate juice is an excellent source of folate, potassium, and vitamin K.

Pomegranate juice made a splash when researchers found it helped stop the growth of prostate cancer cells. The antioxidants in the juice and their high concentration are believed to stall the progress of Alzheimer disease and protect memory. Pomegranate juice can reduce inflammation in the gut and improve digestion. It may be beneficial for people with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and other inflammatory bowel diseases.

Pomegranate juice is a potent anti-inflammatory due to its high concentration of antioxidants. The juice has been found to reduce inflammation throughout the body and prevent oxidative stress damage. Flavonols in pomegranate juice may help block inflammation that contributes to osteoarthritis and cartilage damage. The juice is currently being studied for its potential effects on osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other types of arthritis and joint inflammation.

Pomegranate was traditionally used as a remedy for diabetes in the Middle East and India.

Researchers believe the effects of pomegranate on diabetes may help decrease insulin resistance and lower blood sugar.

Pomegranate juice is in the running as the most heart-healthy juice. It appears to protect the heart and arteries. Small studies have shown that the juice improves blood flow and keeps the arteries from becoming stiff and thick. It may also slow the growth of plaque and buildup of cholesterol in the arteries. Drinking pomegranate juice daily may lower systolic blood pressure.

Between the vitamin C and other immune-boosting nutrients like vitamin E, pomegranate juice can prevent illness and fight off infection. Pomegranates have also been shown to be antibacterial and antiviral in lab tests. They are being studied for their effects on common infections and viruses.

These are just a few of the benefits research is finding – soooo here is to superfoods with vibrant red!

 

Taking Back Control of your Health, order your Foundation Package Today

 

Sources

Ferreira, Mandy. “15 health benefits of pomegranate juice.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 12 Jul. 2017. Web.

12 Jan. 2018. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318385.php

http://www.medicaldaily.com/pomegranate-health-benefits-fruit-helps-protect-against-plaque-hunger-and-certain-340020

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/2038/2

http://maderachamber.com/pf/?page_id=67

http://www.pomegranatehealth.com/Pomegranate-Story_ep_7.html

https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/pomegranate.html