Thursday, December 31, 2009

100:100 blue moon!!

the last day of the year and the last day of the 100 day challenge
what better time for a
Blue moon

From Wikipedia
This article is about the astronomical phenomenon.

A blue moon is a full moon that is not timed to the regular monthly pattern. Most years have twelve full moons which occur approximately monthly, but in addition to those twelve full lunar cycles, each solar calendar year contains an excess of roughly eleven days compared to the lunar year. The extra days accumulate, so that every two or three years (7 times in the 19-year Metonic cycle), there is an extra full moon. The extra moon is called a "blue moon." Different definitions place the "extra" moon at different times.

* In calculating the dates for Lent and Easter, the Clergy identify the Lent Moon. It is thought that historically when the moon's timing was too early, they named an earlier moon as a "betrayer moon" (belewe moon), thus the Lent moon came at its expected time.
* Folklore gave each moon a name according to its time of year. A moon which came too early had no folk name – and was called a blue moon – bringing the correct seasonal timings for future moons.
* The Farmers' Almanac defined blue moon as an extra full moon that occurred in a season; one season was normally three full moons. If a season had four full moons, then the third full moon was named a blue moon.
* Recent popular usage defined a blue moon as the second full moon in a calendar month, stemming from an interpretation error made in 1946 that was discovered in 1999.[1] For example, December 31, 2009 would be a blue moon according to this usage.

The term "blue moon" is commonly used metaphorically to describe the rarity of an event, as in the idiomatic expression, "once in a blue moon."

why blue??

When the Indonesian volcano Krakatoa erupted in 1883, it put so much dust in the atmosphere that the moon actually appeared blue -- an event so unusual that the term "once in a blue moon" was coined, according to NASA's National Space Science Data Center. The effect lasted for almost two years, Hiscock said.

and now a blue moon eclipse!

alas, not for me though.

hope you had a wonderful year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

97:100 raw-llercoaster

97:100 raw-llercoaster

so here is the years end and i am looking over my pattern
over the last year. as usual, i have yo-yo-ed a bit
but almost 11 weeks ago i joined up raw food rehab in hopes
of making my raw life more constant.
(things seem to get away from me when not monitored)
it has helped so very much!
although i am not 100% raw- 100% of the time,
i have been able to boost my raw food intake tremendously
and in doing so my "downfalls" were less severe
and lasted much shorter than before.
i did not lose as much weight as i had dreamed of
....but i did lose,
and with a slower metabolism, that is always a plus :)

yesterday i went food shopping
and before putting the new fruits & veggies away
i took out the older ones that were still in the fridge
and put them to use.
so in the dehydrator overnite i had some:

red pepper wraps
(a recipe)

a spinach mushroom quiche
(a recipe)

cinnamon apple flax crackers

4 apples, cored
1/2-1 c raisins soaked in 1 c water
1 zucchini (peeled)
1/3 c maple syrup (agave or honey)
1/4 c cinnamon powder
pinch sea salt

1 c ground flax
1 c whole flax seed
stir in. add more water if needed.
spread on 3 teflex covered trays and dehydrate.

this coming week will be delicious!
also the cleaned out fridge looks extra good with only
the freshest produce in there
and nothing fuzzy and non-descript
a good day for all :)

as you finish the year out-
dwell on the positive changes you have made!

Friday, December 25, 2009

94:100 where has the year gone?

94:100 where has the year gone?

it just speeds by once the winter is here
we have not gotten enough snow for my liking
seems the south... the midwest... well, practically anywhere
but here has been getting the snow instead of me.

how have you been doing for the last 100 days of the year challenge?
i find for myself that i was not perfect- i had lofty goals :)
but i am waay ahead of where i was when this began.
i wouldn't be at this position now if i hadn't set those goals

only a few days left
making the most of it!!

90:100 dreams

90:100 dreams

dreams of gardening
left me smiling when i woke

85:100 overcoming food imprint

85:100 overcoming food imprint

such an interesting 2 videos that the boutenko family has made available
i especially enjoyed watching the pre-schoolers
learning to like foods that at home they refused to eat.

Valya’s award-winning documentary, “Overcoming the Food Imprint” contains such an important message about helping children eat healthfully, that she decided to make two large sections of it available for free on Youtube.

This short film explores the reasons why children are often resistant to eating healthfully. Victoria explains that the food imprint is the first and most important imprint we learn because it is natures way of teaching us survival skills.

You will also learn about what can be done to inspire children to make healthful choices. In part 2 there are some wonderful tips on how to practically approach eating well in the home.

82:100 raw raw raw

82:100 raw raw raw

don't forget to choose :)


BEST OF RAW 2009 is a publicly nominated Raw Vegan Celebration produced by Laura Fox + Visionary Culture, honoring movers and shakers in the raw vegan movement! Check it out! Winners will be announced on the Dec. 30 Visionary Culture/Raw Inspirations Radio Show!

Prizes are totally off the hook. Check them out on the Prizes and Sponsors page. Many thanks to all sponsors!

Please feel free to invite your friends to vote!

Only one vote per person! Let's keep it real! :) Thanks in advance!

SPECIAL NOTE! This event is in honor of those whose primary focus and diet is raw vegan, and who are teaching and modeling raw veganism and raw beeganism. The producers of this event do not advocate the eating of animals, dairy products or eggs. The producers and sponsors of this event recognize there are MANY PATHS on the way to health and are not in judgment of any path. Some vegans prefer if people who consume bee products do not call themselves vegan, thus the word 'beegan' has been formed. Some included publicly nominated individuals may occasionally ingest raw milk products, bugs, cooked vegan food or bee products. If someone is known to partake of flesh foods, we are honorably declining to include them in these nominations. If someone is an advocate of eating animal products, we are also honorably declining inclusion. We do not stand in judgment of anyone's choices nor can we POSSIBLY know the inside scoop on everyone's diet. We have consulted various highly respected raw vegan teachers to come to the conclusion about inclusion stated here. So thanks in advance -- let's all love one another unconditionally while continuing to take steps forward into ways we feel are most aligned with health, freedom, peace, prosperity, joy, longevity and flexibility in our minds, bodies and spirits.

Here's to a RAWSOME 2009 and bringing in 2009 with raw superhero fun!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

78:100 after the storm

78:100 after the storm

we had the first storm of the winter season yesterday!
it snowed heavy and fast and right away
i had over 7" mid morning with more still
coming down for a couple of hours.
sadly (for snow lovers) the snow changed over to rain
for the rest of the day, thereby compacting
the snow to half it's height.
i heard some around me measured 12" before that.
the good thing about it, is that the heavy snow
packs into perfect snowballs and rolls great snowmen!

i spent the day busily uncooking to prepare for
a volunteer construction job site for fri- sun nite.
i made a double batch of raw smokin' hot chili
i combined 3 recipes and made my own remix.
the secret in there is extra chipotle powder (sizzle!)
then i made some sweet apple cinnamon flax crackers (recipe here)
and a cranberry walnut cashew cheese spread for them... (recipe available here)

i made a black & white savory cracker
and a cheddar bar cheese spread for those crackers.
(recipes will be in raw delights)

i already have a lovely almond granola, crispy corn
chips, spicy cheese-it's.
and with these hot and dense foods i hope to
withstand the cold temperatures we are expect.
i feel my pantry is well stocked today :)
the only thing i might still make are some
chocolate coconut energy balls.

so remember to eat raw food to keep warm!
i always tote along a shaker bottle of cayenne
to add to any foods i wish to warm up
(i even sprinkle it on my salads-WOW!)
till next time

77:100 science of raw

77:100 science of raw

this morning came across a nice article online at raw food life. here is a portion:

Cooking is known to diminish the nutritional value of food, but where did the nutrients go? They don't diappear (see Dr. Jeckyl & Mr Hyde (below) -- instead, the heat actually causes chemical changes in your food creating many of the carcinogens, mutagens, free-radicals and other toxins that are associated with many of today's diseases, from diabetes and arthritis to heart disease and cancer.

Two common myths are that eating raw is expensive and that it takes a lot of time to prepare. Nothing could be further from the truth! I am one of busiest people I know (mostly answering emails from my readers)! But when you do it correctly, a raw food diet is actually one of the easiest, most convenient and most economical ways you can eat. Remember, raw foodists eat mostly organic food, which is usually 80% to 300% more nutritionally dense (click for article on Organic Food)! As your body learns to absorb this additional nutrition, you be less hungry and actually eat much less, reducing your food costs well below what is was when you were eating empty calories filled with toxins that increase your health care costs.

Dr. Jeckyl & Mr. Hyde

Nutrition's Jekyl & Hyde Everyone knows that when you cook food you lose a lot of nutrition. But did you ever wonder where it goes? What happens to those beautiful vitamins, minerals, fats, carbs and proteins? Do they just disappear?

Unfortunately, they do not. Like Dr. Jekyl, they are horribly transformed by chemical reactions created by heat into monsters like Mr. Hyde -- only we call them Carcinogens, Mutagens, and Free Radicals!

Cooking food is always like doing a chemical experiment in high school. Due to heat, cooking or preparing food creates new substances. Most of these new substances come from proteins reacting with carbohydrates. Some of these substances cause cancer or brain diseases and impair neurotransmitter function and metabolism.

Many of these new substances are heterocyclic amines (HCA). Many of these HCA are directly or indirectly physically addictive.(1) Due to the heat of cooking, these HCA originate from the interaction between protein and carbohydrates and / or creatine (in red meat) or nitrate (in vegetables).

(and you wondered why cooked foods seemed so addictive- you were right!)
read more....

warning: following is not light reading- it's science heavy
if you are jonesing to know how stuff works read on- but if you just woke up
you may need some green smoothie first :)

The Science of Broccoli

More Proof that Cooking Destroys Natural Cancer Protectionbroccoli science

It has been known for some time that eating cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, can help prevent some forms of cancer, such as breast cancer, but the mechanism was unknown until now. According to (Dec. 29, 2008), U.C. Santa Barbara scientists have shown how the healing power of these vegetables actually works. Their research is published in this month's journal Carcinogenesis. Other studies have shown that cooking can significantly decrease the bioavailability of the cancer-fighting compounds in these veggies!

Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables contain compounds called glucosinolates, the compounds found in cruciferous vegetables that give them their unique taste. Isothiocyanates are some of the biologically active hydrolysis (breakdown) products of glucosinolates, which according to many studies have cancer-preventive and anti-carcinogenic activities. Broccoli and broccoli sprouts have the highest amount of the isothiocyanates. One of these compounds, called sulforaphane (SFN), inhibits the proliferation of human tumor cells by a mechanism similar to the way that some anticancer drugs work - by inhibiting cell division during mitosis (cell division) and is much less toxic than drugs.

3-day old broccoli sprouts are concentrated sources of glucoraphanin, which contain 10-100 times more glucoraphanin by weight than mature broccoli plants. Broccoli sprouts that contain 73 mg of glucoraphanin (also called sulforaphane glucosinolate) per 1-oz serving are available in some health food and grocery stores. Remember, glucosin-olates are water-soluble so cooking just a few minutes can decrease the glucosinolate content of cruciferous vegetables as much as a 59%. Cooking can also inactivate myrosinase, the enzyme that catalyzes glucosinolate hydrolosis into isothiocyanates, which has been shown to substantially decrease the bioavailability of isothiocyanates.


Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and kale are rich sources of sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates. Isothiocyanates are biologically active hydrolysis (breakdown) products of glucosinolates. Cruciferous vegetables contain a range of different glucosinolates, each of forming a different isothiocyanate when hydrolyzed. For example, broccoli is a good source of glucoraphanin, the glucosinolate precursor of sulforaphane (SFN), and sinigrin, the glucosinolate precursor of allyl isothiocyanate (AITC) (2). Watercress is a rich source of gluconasturtiin, the precursor of phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), and garden cress is rich in glucotropaeolin, the precursor of benzyl isothiocyanate (BITC). Currently scientists are interested in the cancer-preventive activities of cruciferous vegetables that are rich in glucosinolates and isothiocyanates (3).

Metabolism & Bioavailability
Myrosinase, a class of enzymes that stimulates the hydrolysis of glucosinolates, is separated from glucosinolates in plant cells (4). When cruciferous vegetables are chopped or chewed, myrosinase interacts with glucosinolates and releases isothiocyanates from their precursors. Proper chewing of raw cruciferous vegetables increases glucosinolate contact with plant myrosinase and increases the amount of isothiocyanates absorbed (5).

Though myrosinase is mostly inactivated by heat, human intestinal bacteria lets some myrosinase form (6), but the absorption and excretion of isothiocyanates is substantially lower from cooked than from raw cruciferous vegetables (5, 7, 8)

Isothiocyanates are bound to glutathione during digestion tghanks to a family of enzymes called glutathione-S-transferases (GSTs), as well as mercapturic acids. These isothiocyanate metabolites can be measured in the urine and are strongly related to dietary intake of cruciferous vegetables (9). There is also evidence that isothiocyanate metabolites contribute to the biological activity of isothiocyanates (3, 10).

Effects on Biotransformation Enzymes in Carcinogen Metabolism
Biotransformation enzymes are important to the metabolism and elimination of a variety of chemicals, including drugs, toxins, and carcinogens. These enzymes catalyze reactions that increase the reactivity of hydrophobic (fat-soluble) compounds, increasing water solubility and promoting elimination of these toxins from the body (11).

Inhibition of Phase 1 Biotransformation Enzymes
Some carcinogen precursors require biotransformation by enzymes in order to become active carcinogens capable of binding DNA and causing mutations. Inhibition of specific CYP enzymes involved in carcinogen activation inhibits the development of cancer in animal models (3). Isothiocyanates have been found to inhibit carcinogen activation by CYP enzymes in animal studies (12, 13). Cell culture studies have also shown that SFN inhibits certain CYP enzymes (14). A small clinical trial in smokers found evidence that consumption of 170 g/d (6 oz/d) of watercress, which is rich in the glucosinolate precursor of PEITC, decreased the activation of a procarcinogen found in tobacco (15).

Induction of Phase II Biotransformation Enzymes
Many isothiocyanates, are potent inducers of phase II enzymes in cultured human cells (2, 14). Phase II enzymes are important for protecting cells from DNA damage by carcinogens and reactive oxygen species (16). The genes for these and other phase II enzymes contain a specific sequence of DNA called an antioxidant response element (ARE). Isothiocyanates have been shown to increase phase II enzyme activity by increasing the transcription of genes that contain an ARE (17). Limited data from clinical trials suggests that glucosinolate-rich foods can increase phase II enzyme activity in humans. When smokers consumed 170 g/d (6 oz/d) of watercress, urinary excretion of glucuronidated nicotine metabolites increased significantly, suggesting UGT activity increased (18). Brussels sprouts are rich in glucosinolates, including precursors of AITC and SFN. Consumption of 300 g/d (11 oz/d) of Brussels sprouts for a week significantly increased plasma and intestinal GST levels in nonsmoking men (19, 20).

Preservation of Normal Cell Cycle Regulation
After a cell divides, it passes through a sequence of stages known as the cell cycle before dividing again. Following DNA damage, the cell cycle can be transiently arrested to allow for DNA repair or, if the damage cannot be repaired, activation of pathways leading to cell death (apoptosis) (21). Defective cell cycle regulation may result in the propagation of mutations that contribute to the development of cancer. A number of isothiocyanates, including AITC, BITC, PEITC, and SFN, have been found to induce cell cycle arrest in cultured cells (2).

Inhibition of Proliferation and Induction of Apoptosis
Unlike normal cells, cancer cells proliferate rapidly and lose the ability to respond to cell death signals that initiate apoptosis. Isothiocyanates have been found to inhibit proliferation and induce apoptosis in a number of cancer cell lines (3, 22, 23).

Inhibition of Histone Deacetylation
DNA is coiled around basic proteins called histones in the nucleus of a cell. Acetylation and deacetylation of nuclear histones is an important mechanism for regulating gene transcription (24). But the balance between histone acetyl transferase and histone deacetylase activities can be disrupted in cancer cells. Compounds that inhibit histone deacetylases may suppress the development of cancer by inducing the transcription of tumor suppressor proteins that promote differentiation and apoptosis in precancerous cells (25). SFN and AITC metabolites have been found to inhibit histone deacetylase activity in cultured cancer cells (10, 26-28). In humans, histone deacetylase activity was inhibited in blood cells following ingestion of 68 g (one cup) of SFN-rich broccoli sprouts (29).

Anti-inflammatory Activity
Inflammation promotes cellular proliferation and inhibits apoptosis, increasing the risk of developing cancer (30). SFN and PEITC have been found to decrease the secretion of inflammatory signaling molecules by white blood cells; these compounds also have been shown to decrease DNA binding of NF-kappaB, a pro-inflammatory transcription factor (31, 32).

Antibacterial Activity: Helicobacter pylori
Bacterial infection with H. pylori is associated with a marked increase in the risk of gastric cancer (33). In the test tube and in tissue culture, purified SFN inhibited the growth and killed multiple strains of H. pylori, including antibiotic resistant strains (34). In an animal model of H. pylori infection, SFN administration for five days eradicated H. pylori from eight out of 11 xenografts of human gastric tissue implanted in immune-compromised mice (35). However, in a small clinical trial, consumption of up to 56 g/d (2 oz/d) of glucoraphanin-rich broccoli sprouts for a week was associated with H. pylori eradication in only three out of nine gastritis patients (36). Further research is needed to determine whether SFN or foods rich in its precursor, glucobrassicin, will be helpful in the treatment of H. pylori infection in humans.

Cancer Prevention
Naturally occurring isothiocyanates and their metabolites have been found to inhibit the development of chemically-induced cancers of the lung, liver, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, and mammary gland (breast) in a variety of animal models (3, 12). Although epidemiological studies provide some evidence that higher intakes of cruciferous vegetables are associated with decreased cancer risk in humans (37), it is difficult to determine whether such protective effects are related to isothiocyanates or other factors associated with cruciferous vegetable consumption (see Cruciferous Vegetables). Investigators have attempted to calculate human isothiocyanate exposure based on assessments of cruciferous vegetable intake and measurements of the maximal amounts of isothiocyanates that can be liberated from various cruciferous vegetables in the laboratory (38). Case-control studies using this technique found that dietary isothiocyanate intakes were significantly lower in Chinese women (39) and U.S. men (40) diagnosed with lung cancer than in cancer-free control groups. Assessing dietary intake of cruciferous vegetables may not accurately measure an individual’s exposure to isothiocyanates, since other factors may alter the amount of isothiocyanates formed and absorbed (see Metabolism and Bioavailability above). Measuring urinary excretion of isothiocyanates and their metabolites may provide a better assessment of isothiocyanate exposure (9, 41, 42), but few studies have examined relationships between urinary isothiocyanate excretion and cancer risk. In a prospective study, Chinese men with detectable levels of urinary isothiocyanates at baseline were at significantly lower risk of developing lung cancer over the next ten years than men with undetectable levels (43). A case-control study found that urinary isothiocyanate excretion was significantly lower in Chinese women diagnosed with breast cancer than in a cancer-free control group (44). In contrast, cruciferous vegetable intake estimated from a food frequency questionnaire was not associated with breast cancer risk in the same study.

Genetic Variation in Isothiocyanate Metabolism and Cancer Risk
GSTs are a family of phase II biotransformation enzymes that promote the metabolism and elimination of isothiocyanates and other compounds from the body. Genetic variations (polymorphisms) that affect the activity of GST enzymes have been identified in humans. Null variants of the GSTM1 gene and GSTT1 gene contain large deletions, and individuals who inherit two copies of the GSTM1-null or GSTT1-null gene cannot produce the corresponding GST enzyme (45). Lower GST activity in such individuals could result in slower elimination and thus longer exposure to isothiocyanates after cruciferous vegetable consumption (9). In support of this idea, several epidemiological studies found that inverse associations between isothiocyanate intake from cruciferous vegetables and the risk of lung cancer (39, 40, 43, 46, 47) or colon cancer (48-50) were more pronounced in GSTM1-null or GSTT1-null individuals. These findings suggest a protective role for isothiocyanates that may be enhanced in individuals who more slowly eliminate them from the body.

Where to find Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables, such as bok choi, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, radish, rutabaga, turnip, and watercress, are rich sources of glucosinolate precursors of isothiocyanates (51). Unlike some other phytochemicals, glucosinolates are present in relatively high concentrations in commonly consumed portions of cruciferous vegetables. For example ½ cup of raw broccoli might provide more than 25 mg of total glucosinolates. Total glucosinolate contents of selected cruciferous vegetables are presented in Table 1 (52). Some cruciferous vegetables are better sources of specific glucosinolates (and isothiocyanates) than others. Table 2 lists vegetables that are relatively good sources of some of the isothiocyanates that are currently being studied for their cancer-preventive properties. Amounts of isothiocyanates formed from glucosinolates in foods are variable and depend partly on food processing and preparation (see Effects of Cooking below). Consumption of five or more weekly servings of cruciferous vegetables has been associated with significant reductions in cancer risk in some prospective cohort studies (53-55).

Broccoli Sprouts

The amount of glucoraphanin, the precursor of SFN, in broccoli seeds remains more or less constant as those seeds germinate and grow into mature plants. Thus, 3-day old broccoli sprouts are concentrated sources of glucoraphanin, which contain 10-100 times more glucoraphanin by weight than mature broccoli plants (56). Broccoli sprouts that are certified to contain at least 73 mg of glucoraphanin (also called sulforaphane glucosinolate) per 1-oz serving are available in some health food and grocery stores.

Effects of Cooking

Glucosinolates are water-soluble compounds that may be leached into cooking water. Boiling cruciferous vegetables from 9-15 minutes resulted in 18-59% decreases in the total glucosinolate content of cruciferous vegetables (52). Cooking methods that use less water, such as steaming or microwaving, may reduce glucosinolate losses. However, some cooking practices, including boiling (5), steaming (7, 58), and microwaving at high power (750-900 watts) (8, 58, 59), may inactivate myrosinase, the enzyme that catalyzes glucosinolate hydrolysis. Even in the absence of plant myrosinase activity, the myrosinase activity of human intestinal bacteria results in some glucosinolate hydrolysis (6). However, several studies in humans have found that inactivation of myrosinase in cruciferous vegetables substantially decreases the bioavailability of isothiocyanates (5, 7, 8).


Dietary supplements containing extracts of broccoli sprouts, broccoli, and other cruciferous vegetables are available without a prescription. Some products are standardized to contain a minimum amount of glucosinolates and/or sulforaphane. However, the bioavailability of isothiocyanates derived from these supplements is not known.

Adverse Effects

No serious adverse effects of isothiocyanates in humans have been reported. The majority of animal studies have found that isothiocyanates inhibited the development of cancer when given prior to the chemical carcinogen (pre-initiation) However, very high intakes of PEITC or BITC (25-250 times higher than average human dietary isothiocyanate intakes) have been found to promote bladder cancer in rats when given after a chemical carcinogen (post-initiation) (60). The relevance of these findings to human urinary bladder cancer is not clear, since at least one prospective cohort study found cruciferous vegetable consumption to be inversely associated with the risk of bladder cancer in men (55).

Pregnancy and Lactation

Although high dietary intakes of glucosinolates from cruciferous vegetables are not known to have adverse effects during pregnancy or lactation, there is no information on the safety of purified isothiocyanates or supplements containing high doses of glucosinolates and/or isothiocyanates during pregnancy or lactation in humans.

sheesh! now i am exhausted just reading this
i know i need to read it again because i am certain
that i missed some of the information.
back later! see you then :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

75:100 healing

75:100 healing, education & inspiration

the 100 day challenge is 3/4 over already!!!
today i am posting some things that i learned from this week
and that inspired me to keep on keeping on.

first a clip i saw on penni shelton's raw food rehab:
the anti-cancer garden with dr steve

Rosemary Fletcher spent 11 years confined to a wheelchair and doctors said she will never walk again. Thanks to the raw food diet she went from 305 lbs to 120 lbs and now walks one mile a day.

stress dna & healing the body with the way we eat

The human body is a wondrous, miraculous healing machine.

Last month I discussed the role of the digestive enzymes and the pancreas, and how an organic raw living foods vegan diet improves digestion, nutrition and our energy levels. Today we’re going to look at the role of stress in disease, and how that relates to your DNA and healing.

Think of your DNA as being like a piece of thread, or yarn. If you’ve ever twisted a piece of thread tighter and tighter, you may have noticed how the strands of the thread start to fray, breaking in small places along its length as you tightened.

When we undergo stress our DNA does the same thing. This stress can come through work, our families, our neighbors, our circumstances, the weather… but the biggest component of bodily stress is – what we eat.

That’s right. When we eat a diet of processed, pesticided, herbicided, preserved foods, the work our body has to do to remove those toxins creates large amounts of stress.

When the body is stressed our DNA helix gets tighter and tighter. When it becomes too tight genome pairs start to fail, just like a fraying thread.

The genetic component of disease comes from this DNA predisposition. If your mother’s DNA failed at the gene that prevents breast cancer, then you’ll have the same genetic tendency when your genome pairs start to fail. If your father had prostate issues, then you will, too, because the same gene pair will tend to fail under stress.

When we eat a diet that is high in organic raw living foods we reduce the stress in our bodies for the reasons we’ve discussed in the previous articles – detoxification of our body tissue, and reduced workload on the pancreas, liver and kidneys. Our DNA then loosens just like a released thread, and heals itself.

Here’s the really good news:

• All of the tissue atoms in your body are replaced every six months.
• All of the bone atoms are replaced in six months to two years.
• When those atoms are replaced the DNA is replicated, and depending upon the stress levels in your body, will get better or worse.

hope you are having a great day-

Thursday, December 3, 2009

71:100 vanilla

71:100 vanilla

we are getting closer and closer to the end of the 100 day challenge.
in truth we are also getting closer to the end of 2009.
how is everyone doing on their journey?
i am feeling quite successful and am happy that i embarked
on this journey, the results are tangible.

today i wanted to talk about vanilla
it is a beautiful flavor enhancer
but many are in a quandary as to how to use vanilla.


The vanilla bean is the fruit of certain varieties of tropical orchids. It originated in Mexico, but today is also cultivated in such exotic places as Tahiti, Madagascar and Bali. Vanilla is truly an intoxicating smell and taste experience.

VANILLA POWDER, as called for in some of the recipes, is simply ground vanilla bean: Cut 3 vanilla beans into small pieces, put them into a nut (or coffee) grinder, and grind as fine as possible. Store in a small glass jar in the refrigerator, and use as needed. It keeps for months. If it develops an off smell, then discard; but I've never had this happen. The alternative to making the vanilla powder would be to just cut a small piece of vanilla from the pod. Cut into small pieces and blend into the recipe. Depending on the quality of your equipment, it may or may not break down completely, and get blended.

If your vanilla bean is too moist and doesn't powder up in the nut mill, then leave the vanilla bean out at room temperature for a couple of days so that it dries a bit. Under no circumstances put the vanilla bean in a food dehydrator, because it will lose all its flavor. You could even grind up this moist vanilla bean, but it will come out like the texture of ground tobacco, instead of as a powder. This has just as much flavor and works just as well in the recipes. Store in the refrigerator.

VANILLA WATER: Cut 2 vanilla beans into pieces, grind in a nut grinder, then put the powder into the blender with 1/2 cup of filtered water and blend well. This will keep in the refrigerator for about 3-4 weeks; after that, it will ferment. You can also freeze the vanilla water in ice cube trays and pop out a cube as needed. Frozen, it keeps much longer.

Both of the above can be used as substitutes for commercial vanilla extract which, besides containing alcohol, may be extracted with solvents. Solvents have no place in a healthy diet. Commercial vanilla extract may also contain other additives.

I think this is why you never see vanilla sold in a powder form like other spices. Actually, I have seen vanilla powder sold in some specialty stores, but then it is loaded with additives and I doubt it is a natural vanilla at all.

i liked this video on how to make vanilla powder:

think i will make some today!

i have been brewing some more traditional vanilla extract
and i have a bottle of ongoing brew in my pantry.
how do i make it?
i put some split open vanilla beans
into a mason jar and fill it with vodka
cap it and shake it every time i am in the pantry
until it is a dark liquid, full of flavor.
to make this more economical i do use all my spent beans
(the ones that i have scraped for recipes)
tho they are empty of most of the billions of teeny seeds-
they do still pack alot of flavor- so in they go.
when it is done i pour some liquid into a small bottle
to keep in my spice cabinet...
and i just refill the mason jar with more vodka
and keep on adding the beans as i go...
so it continues to release and i continue to have a supply
of fresh homemade vanilla bean extract.
i personally don't mind the small amount of vodka
but if you do- stick with the vanilla powder from the video above.

not all vanilla beans are the same
and not all vendors have good quality.
i found a link online that reviews them


Vanilla drying at Raiatea plantation“Vanilla” is anything but plain! This article should help you choose and evaluate vanilla beans. If you can’t find the answer to your vanilla question here, try browsing the frequently asked vanilla questions.

What is vanilla?
True vanilla flavor comes from the cured seed pod (bean) of the vanilla orchid (Wikipedia). The properly prepared pod contains vanillin and 100s of other flavor compounds. Vanilla orchids are the only orchids that produce an edible seed. The primary producers of vanilla beans are tropical areas: Madagascar, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea.

Planifolia vs tahitensis vanilla

There are two distinct types of vanilla orchid:

* Vanilla Planifolia beans have a strong, familiar vanilla flavor, it is often called ‘Madagascar Bourbon’. Planifolia is the same variety grown in Mexico, but now synonymous with Madagascar.
* Vanilla Tahitensis is a weaker vanilla with ‘fruity, floral, and sweet’ flavors created by the compound heliotropin. Tahitensis is a mutated form of a planifolia orchid from Tahiti, though most tahitensis vanilla is now grown in Papa New Guinea. This vanilla is favored by pastry chefs.

The planifolia kill — water vs sun (Bourbon vs Mexican Vanilla)

Bourbon (above) and Mexico (below) style vanilla beans

One crucial detail of the curing process can help us distinguish between types of planifolia vanilla beans. Planifolia beans must be “killed” after harvest to stop growth. The method of killing will produce a unique vanilla bean.

* Water Kill (Bourbon method) The vast majority of vanilla beans are killed by steeping in hot water for a few minutes. This technique was developed in the former French Bourbon Islands (now Madagascar). The time and temperature of the kill varies by curer, introducing a bit of difference to beans from various places. This method tends to give a soft, pliable vanilla bean.
* Sun Kill (Mexican method) Vanilla beans are put on concrete slabs at mid-day and the beans are killed by the hot sun. This is harsher than the bourbon kill and results in a woodier vanilla bean. This method is used primarily in Mexico.

Notice how the skin of the Bourbon style vanilla cut cleanly, but the skin of the Mexican vanilla is ragged and woody.

Tahitensis vanilla beans mature on the vine are are not killed after harvest.

Single source vanilla

Single source boutique vanilla (top) and third world vanilla from a curing house (bottom)

Most vanilla is grown in the third world. Vanilla farmers sell raw vanilla beans to central curing houses. Curing houses process the raw pods into the fermented, fragrant vanilla beans that we know. These professionals process tons of vanilla from all over a region. When you buy vanilla processed by a curing house, there is little chance to get beans from the same farm. This is not universally true, but is largely the case in Madagascar, PNG, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Mexico, Tahiti, etc.

At plantations in the first world, and select plantation elsewhere, vanilla is cured ‘on the farm’ and marketed as a high quality niche product. This vanilla will always be more expensive because labor, land, and other expenses are higher in the first world. The boutique value of “terroir”, vanilla reflecting the place it is grown, increases the cost further. This is the case in Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, Costa Rica, and some plantations in Tonga and Tahiti.

*Please note that the term “first world vanilla” may appear on the site instead. I have switched to “single source” as it more accurately describes the situation while not sounding as abrasive.

Grade ‘A’ vs grade ‘B’ vanilla beans

Vanilla grade A and B comparison

Vocabulary for describing vanilla bean quality seems to vary a bit between vendors, which can make it more difficult to know exactly what you’re getting. To cut through the confusion, this site uses the following quality labeling: vanilla beans are graded A and B.

* Grade ‘A’ vanilla beans (also called gourmet or prime). These beans are oily and moist. There are about 100 to 120 grade ‘A’ beans (6-7 inch) per pound (7.5 per oz). This vanilla is visually attractive so it can be a feature ingredient in gourmet cuisine. 30% – 35% moisture content.
* Grade ‘B’ vanilla beans (also called extract beans). This vanilla is less moist and less attractive. But don’t worry, because the flavor isn’t in the water. There are about 140 to 160 grade ‘B’ beans (6-7 inch) per pound (10 per oz). 15% – 25% moisture content.

Choosing vanilla beans

Slightly split ends indicate fully ripened beans

Minor splits in the end of the bean, like those shown here, are fine. These actually indicate that the vanilla fully ripened and developed before harvest. Vanilla harvested at this point will have the greatest intensity of flavor.

Vanilla tattoo "JDD"

This image shows another type of vanilla imperfection — a tattoo. At first glance this might look like insect damage, but it’s actually the initials of the grower. This practice is common in Madagascar where bean rustling is a problem. Read more about it towards the end of the Riziky vanilla review, and see the vanilla tattoo gallery. The Malagasy alphabet will help you identify the tattoos on your own beans:a, b, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, r, s, t, v, y, z.

Vanilla bean with frost

Beans may have vanillin crystals on the outside, these will melt back into the bean if heated — crystals are not considered an indicator of quality. Read more about vanilla frost, crystals, and givre.

For the purposes of making vanilla extract, we want to use Grade B beans if possible. “Why?”, you may ask. “Isn’t gourmet always better?” NO.

* Grade B beans have less water weight. You get more bean for the buck because you’re not paying for water. This also means that less water ends up in your extract.
* With Grade A you pay for appearance, which doesn’t matter to us.
* We get the same beans as Grade A, but at a fraction of the cost.

Gourmet is great when extract beans are not available, but try to get Grade B if you can.

What is vanilla extract?
Vanilla extract is made by transferring the flavor and aromas of vanilla beans into alcohol (usually vodka, but sometimes brandy or rum). Vodka is the alcohol of choice because it has a neutral flavor. Other liquors can be used, but they contribute flavors of their own. Commercial extracts use a neutral flavored grain alcohol (vodka), but you are free to use rum, brandy, gin, whatever. I stick to vodka because I can always add a hint of brandy or rum directly to a dish.

How many beans are used per unit of alcohol? This is an easy one – it’s regulated by US law. Really!

From the FDA 21CFR169:

* Extract is 70 proof/35% alcohol.
* Extract contains 13.35 oz. of bean per gallon of alcohol. It seems that 13.35 oz of bean need merely to be exposed to the alcohol, not that this amount of matter is extracted/dissolved into the alcohol, I await confirmation and will update accordingly.
* Moisture content of beans should be under 25%, more beans are required when moisture is higher.
* Remember, the quality of the beans doesn’t matter for these regulated proportions, only the weight

In plain English:
“13.35 ounces of vanilla beans per gallon of extract is single fold (single strength) vanilla extract. As most vanilla beans are ~120/pound or 7.5 beans per ounce of weight. A gallon of extract is 128 fluid ounces, so that would mean ~98 beans per gallon or SIX (6) whole beans to make ONE cup (8 fluid ounces) of single fold vanilla extract…Anyone who tells you any differently is just teaching you how to make vanilla flavored booze.” kieth.

Take that point to heart! To make an extract you must use at least 0.8 ounces (6) vanilla beans per cup of final extract. Hand extracts should use extra beans because they lack the efficiency of mechanical extraction processes. I recommend 1 ounce (30 grams, 7-8 beans) per 1 cup (250ml) of 40%(80 proof) alcohol.

Recipes on the web are all over the place: some call for 1 bean in a gallon of brandy left for one year, others call for 2-4 beans per cup with 1-6 months soak time. Few come anywhere close to reaching the ‘legal’ requirements of an extract.

Best extract alcohol concentration
A bit of definitive info on the best concentration of alcohol for extracting beans:

* Glenn at Amadeus Trading says that his company starts off with a relatively “pure” alcohol and then adds water to get it to 35%.
* According to this great lit review put together by Garth at Heilala Vanilla, a 1995 study showed that 10% more vanillin was extracted at 47.5% ethanol than 95% ethanol (pdf page 16).

Vanilla bean snobbery
Vanilla beans grow in tropical locales where they require exotic hand pollination and extended curing. This invites wine-culture snobbery and claims of terroir. Dealers and fans alike make whimsical and sometimes contradictory claims about vanillas from various regions. Take this with a grain of salt, as even food critics usually preferred imitation vanilla in a blind taste test.

Is there a huge difference? You’ll have to find out for yourself, but you can get an idea by looking through the vanilla bean reviews on this site. I was skeptical at first, but I hope the vanilla image galleries show a big difference in the characteristics of vanilla beans from different growing regions.

Countries that market gourmet vanilla beans
Below is a list of countries that actively market ‘gourmet’ vanilla. There are major vanilla producing countries not included on this list. Wikipedia says China produces 10% of the world’s vanilla, but I can’t find anywhere to buy it.

See the most up-to-date list here.

Vanilla tahitensis

* Papua New Guinea (PNG) – Most tahitensis vanilla is grown in PNG.
* Tahiti – Only a tiny amount of vanilla is actually grown on Tahiti.
* Indonesia?

Vanilla planifolia

* Madagascar – The ‘classic’ vanilla.
* Papua New Guinea (PNG) – A lesser known, but major, vanilla producer.
* Indonesia – Said to be of poor flavor and particularly suited to baking.
* Mexico – Though vanilla originated in Mexico, it is no longer grown in significant quantities. Mexican vanilla beans are very expensive. Cheap tourist vanilla almost certainly isn’t vanilla at all.
* Hawaii – Vanilla is grown commercially in very small quantities on the Big Island of Hawaii.
* Uganda – Large vanilla beans are grown in this African country.
* Tonga – Some very interesting planifolia beans are grown in this tiny Pacific island nation.
* India – I’m working on adding some Indian vanilla beans to the review.
* Vanuatu – Great vanilla beans from the South Pacific.
* Australia – Broken Nose Vanilla will soon sell Australian vanilla beans.
* New Zealand – Heilala Vanilla has an indoor plantation in NZ.
* Malaysia
* Tanzania
* Fiji

Organic and certified organic vanilla beans
Some vendors offer ‘organic’, ‘certified organic’, or similarly labeled beans. Certified organic vanilla should be free of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, etc, as certified by a reliable government or standards organization. Organic farming may also promote sustainable land practices that benefit the environment.

If you want certified organic vanilla beans, make sure you are getting something that’s truly certified to be organic. Often beans are just labeled ‘organic’. As far as I can tell, the only vendors in this review that offer certified organic vanilla beans are The Organic Vanilla Company and Amadeus Trading Company. If certified organic cultivation is important to you, go for it.

**A additional option I personally endorse is the Demeter “biodynamic” certification. While it’s less recognized than “NOP organic”, it’s more stringent and a more serious commitment to sustainable land practices. Learn more about biodynamic vanilla in Costa Rica on the Vanilla Vanilla/ page.**

have a luscious day all my friends

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

69:100 salt

69:100 salt

salt used to be a form of currency
(so did cacao but that's for another day)
the bible urges us to have our words seasoned with salt
(be tactful, in case you didn't get that hint)
so many people today are scared of salt ruining their health
well, there are many facets to that issue
but not all salt is bad

it is an essential ingredient in our human bodies.
one thing to remember tho- is that there needs to be
a proper balance between the potassium & sodium for the body.
today's blog is merely to keep you from being afraid of good salt.
(ps, remember that i am not a dr,

or a scientist

and that i am researching this and the info has been gleaned from the web)

check out this short clip:

Salt and Good Health
Salt is essential not only to life, but to good health. Human blood contains 0.9% salt (sodium chloride) -- the same concentration as found in United States Pharmacopeia (USP) sodium chloride irrigant commonly used to cleanse wounds. Salt maintains the electrolyte balance inside and outside of cells. Most of our salt comes from foods, some from water. Doctors often recommend replacing water and salt lost in exercise and when working outside. Wilderness hikers know the importance of salt tablets to combat hyperthermia. Oral rehydration involves replacing both water and salt. Expectant mothers are advised to get enough salt. Increased salt intakes have been used successfully to combat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Dramatic deficiencies (e.g. "salt starvation" in India) or "excessive" sodium intakes have been associated with other conditions and diseases, such as hypertension and stomach cancer. Testing the salinity of perspiration is a good test for cystic fibrosis; scientists suspect that cystic fibrosis is caused by a deformed protein that prevents chloride outside cells from attracting needed moisture.

Sea Salt is good for you

We have salty tears and salty perspiration. The chemical and mineral composition of our blood and body fluids are strikingly similar to sea water. Unborn babies are encased in a sack of saline fluid resembling sea water.

Sea water there's more to salt than meets the eye!r contains 84 different mineral elements, and these same minerals are found in our body. According to modern medical research, 24 of these elements are essential for life (you will die without them), and many researchers believe that we need all 84, in proper balance, of course. Loss of these elements creates a dietary deficiency, which can lead to serious disorders of the nervous system, brain damage, muscle damage or other serious illnesses.

Some researchers believe that these minerals are essential to help prevent cancer, exhaustion, memory loss, rapid aging, obesity, water retention, ulcers, poor teeth and bones, decreased sex drive, and other serious conditions.

The way refined table salt is made extracts 82 out of the 84 mineral elements. Why, if these elements are so good for you, do the salt refineries do this? Normally, only 7% of the refined salt ends up on your table. The majority of the salt is sold for industrial use, and has great commercial value.

It is used in the silver mining process. Boron is extracted to make a Take your your health, anti-knock gasoline additives and chemical fertilizers. Magnesium is sold to makers of metal alloys and for explosives. Other chemicals are removed from salt to make plastics. Then, after taking all of the natural, but salable, mineral elements out of the salt, chemicals are added to bleach it whiter, prevent water absorption while the salt is in the box, and to make it shake out easier.

The problem with this process is that the chemicals added to salt to prevent water absorption also prevent it from being properly absorbed in your body.

That's why we're hearing that salt's bad for you! Refined salt IS bad for you! It can be deposited in the joints of your bones, and cause arthritis. Some of it can be deposited in the walls of your arteries and veins, lymph system ducts, sexual organs, urinary tract, or glandular system.

Natural sea salt can be consumed in any amount, and the excess passes normally out of your body.

The Consequences of Consuming Table Salt

The result of consuming common table salt is the formation of overly acidic edema, or excess fluid in the body tissue, which is also the cause of cellulite. That’s why doctors tell us to avoid salt. For every .035 ounces of sodium chloride that cannot be eliminated, the body uses 23 times (23x) the amount of its own cell water to neutralize the salt.

If the sodium chloride is still too high, re-crystallization of the table salt occurs as the body uses available non-degradable animal proteins (as those found in milk), which also have no value and cannot be broken down and eliminated. The body uses these proteins to produce uric acid in order to get rid of the excess salt.

As the body cannot dispose of uric acid, it binds itself with the sodium chloride to form new crystals that are deposited directly in the bones and joints. This is the cause of different kinds of rheumatism such as arthritis, gout, and kidney and gall bladder stones.

This re-crystallization is the body’s band-aid solution for the cells and organs in order to protect the body from irreparable damage of irresponsible food intake. But in the long run, it poisons the system because those substances cannot be disposed of.

Popular diets say you should reduce or even eliminate dietary salt for good health, especially for cardiovascular disease. Perhaps refined table salt, which can act like a poison in your body, can be more of a risk. But the research is undeniable: reducing or eliminating dietary salt is basically wrong. Your body absolutely requires salt, but it has to be the right kind.

Natural health practitioners are convinced that good Himalayan crystal sea salt can improve your health. It keeps you safe and healthy during exercise; in fact, high-altitude hikers make sure they get enough so they don’t go into hyperthermia.

Taking adequate dietary salt has improved and even eliminated Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Hypertension and stomach cancer have been linked to salt imbalance from improper dietary intake. Cystic fibrosis has been linked to improper salt metabolism.

Expectant mothers are always advised to take enough salt in order to help create a healthy infant.

If you've never tried good salt, you are going to be amazed at how good it tastes and how affordable it is. You may also be surprised at how quickly your health improves from using good, natural, organic salt.

there are many kinds of natural salt
find some today and broaden your taste!

have a good day!