A Four Legged Story
Several weeks ago my son, Daniel, and his family were on a road trip from Austin to Seattle. Traveling with them was their dog, Sfusi, a Rhodesian Ridgeback. They stopped in Tucson overnight and requested a raw vegan brunch for the next day.
A raw food meal usually takes more than 24 hours if it’s to be a gourmet kind of meal; so, this was going to be a little challenge. Fortunately, I had already planned to make sushi for my grandson Noah, who LOVES sushi. I thought it would be fun for him to taste a raw version sans fish and rice. The rice replacement is a blend of jicama, cashews and seasonings of brown rice vinegar, agave and sea salt. The filling includes marinated mushrooms, red bell peppers, cucumber, green onion, sunflower sprouts and avocado. It was a hit!
Drs. Rick and Karin Dina
The title of this article is a little tongue in cheek, but Dr. Rick and Dr. Karin are a resource I have in my back pocket, because I am certified by them on the scientific side of the raw plant-based eating lifestyle.
Their background as their title indicates is in chiropractic care. Once they personally discovered the benefits of raw living vegan food, they created a course to help others understand. That course is offered through Living Light Culinary Arts Institute in Ft. Bragg, CA.
In the spring of 2009 I traveled to Ft. Bragg to take the Science of Raw Food Nutrition I and II Courses and the Benefits of Raw Food Nutrition Educator Certification Course. It was a great experience on many levels. Without a doubt the course itself was beneficial. In addition meeting and hanging out with other raw fooders was so much fun. When we weren’t in class, we would create meals together learning from each others’ knowledge.
I subscribe to Drs. Rick and Karin’s newsletter and it is always filled with good and practical information. In the latest issue Karin writes about
The 5th Taste
The first time I heard the word umami I was not sure what the chef had just said. I could tell it was a positive thing, but the word was so foreign to me that I wasn’t sure what I had even heard let alone it’s meaning. That lit a little flame to find out what it is and how do we achieve it.
Officially, it is a Japanese word. Translating can be a little tricky but Wikipedia, the quintessential resource, defines it as a savory taste with the literal translation meaning, “a pleasant savory taste.”
The word, umami, is describing what happens in our body and specifically in our mouth where there are receptors for glutamate or the salt form of monosodium glutamate. Yet, scientists consider it to be distinct from saltiness.
I googled umami and read about the history of this word. I learned that in 1985 there was a symposium for umami, the Umami International Symposium in Hawaii. Not only was an entire symposium focused on umami, there’s a website dedicated to umami… http://www.umamiinfo.com/ There is also a book titled, Umami: Unlocking the Secret to the 5th Taste.
Pros and Cons
A couple of weeks ago someone approached my booth at the farmers’ market. He was interested in my food products and asked about the ingredients I use. When he read the label and noticed nutritional yeast, he did a mini rant about it…”who even knows what it is” kind of comments. I joked that the raw food police were not close by. His attitude was a little out of balance, but asking, “What is nutritional yeast?”, is a valid question.
I set out to research for my own purposes. Foremost I want to be informed about what yeast is. Secondly, I want to know what nutritional yeast is and finally, I want to know what are the pros and cons of it’s use.
From my perspective Key #5 is more technical than the other keys. The technicality comes when we name the toxins. Have you recently read a label for the average shampoo? Most of the ingredients are words I can't pronounce and to complicate matters more, abbreviations are often used. In fact, I often advise people that if you can't pronounce the ingredients, it's best not to eat them.
When we discuss toxins, we have to take into consideration the environment, our genes and our lifestyle. Here's a statistic that Dr. Hyman gives us, "Since 1800’s, more than eighty thousand new, largely untested chemicals have been introduced into the environment.” That number is staggering. With regard to our environment, did you know that mercury is the most significant emission given off by coal burning?
Fix Your Digestion
The following quote from Ultramind Solution sums up the importance of our digestivie system in our overall well being.
“The gut has to be completely in balance for your brain to be in balance. The brain experiences everything that happens in your gut directly through the nervous system feedback, immune activity, cytokines and other assorted mischievous molecules made in your gut.”
Some background information will help you understand this quote more fully.
Cool Off Inflammation
What is inflammation? Inflammation is our body's response to infection, irritation, toxins and foreign molecules and our body signals us through pain, swelling, redness and heat. Most likely you've experienced inflammation in one form or another such as an insect bite or an injury. Dr. Hyman explains that current research indicates that Autism and Alzheimer's are the same condition, inflammation of the brain rather than diseases, experienced at the extremes of the age spectrum.
Two important questions to ask are: what causes the body's response and how do we correct it?
Balance Your Hormones
The second key is all about our hormones and the importance of keeping them in balance. This Key is definitely more scientific, but a general understanding is worth the effort. Let's begin with the hypothalamus, which is the control center for all of our hormones. What is it and where is it? The where part is easy to expalin. The hypothalamus is coned-shaped and resides under the thalmus in the center of the brain.
The what is more complicated; so here goes...
Good Morning Tucson,
Today is the first of a three part pilot program for a farmers' market on the University of Arizona campus, The Mall. The market will go from 10-2 and R's Raw Kitchen will be in the house. The next market will be on April 22nd and the third one on May 6.
There will be approximately 30 hand picked vendors (by Food in Root and the U of A) . If the market is successsful and that is surely a given, the market will begin officially in the fall. Come out and help kick off this Event...bring your smiles and buy the best produce and food offered in Tucson.
Basil and Cilantro Pesto
A new dish on the R’s Raw Kitchen menu is stuffed mushrooms. Naturally, you might be wondering what the mushrooms are stuffed with…a basil, cilantro pesto made with cashews and a touch of tamari and garlic.
Today, I purchased fresh basil from Trader Joe’s for my next batch and was inspired to also buy a basil plant from Home Depot. My plant is very little, but there are 3 good reasons that I bought it…instead of 1 plant there are 3. Provided we don’t have another freeze these little guys will do very well, and there is nothing better than using herbs from your garden.
When we are truly in our planting season, I can add other varieties of basil…perhaps, a purple or Thai variety, but for now Sweet Basil is what I have. With the great rain the city just received, the ground will be easy to turn; so, I look forward to planting tomorrow!
As for the mushrooms, you can order them privately or come to the St. Philip’s Farmers Market on Sunday from 9-1 that is if you are in the Tucson vicinity :)
Although R’s Raw Kitchen is over 4 years old, I’ve been preparing raw living vegan food for over 17 years. My close friends had been telling me for years to market what I make, but I had a lot of resistance to it. All of that changed in November of 2010.
The story really began...
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and More
The Beginning Series of 4 classes begins with a tour of a raw living vegan kitchen. Although we use many standard kitchen appliances and tools, a few exceptions exist. For example a high speed blender is essential, but no need to upgrade until your current one crashes.
The first class is...
Want a Little Hand-Holding?
The newest class added to the R’s Raw Kitchen lineup is a Grocery Shopping Field Trip. One of my students kept nudging me until I created the class. In the past we did the Field Trip in September, 2012 and it was a hit with the students . Due to popular demand I’m bringing it into the schedule in 2014.
What does the Class include? First we meet at R’s Kitchen to go over basics such as the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15. No this is not a reality show. It’s actually the lowdown on organic do’s and don’ts. I’ll also describe my favorite shopping spots and why.
One feature of UltraMind Solution is that each section contains a quiz to determine if the reader is deficient in any area and to what degree. So, this chapter begins with a quiz, the Fatty Acid Quiz.
The first part of Key #1: Optimize Nutrition is Fats and Your Brain. Dr. Hyman writes in the first pages of this section that the fatty acid, omega-3, is lacking in most people. Then he goes on to explain what fats do in our body:
The sixth insult is toxic drugs. Dr. Hyman lists the 4 top selling mood-altering drugs sold in American supermarkets: sugar, caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. Dr. H writes, “Regular use is a guarantee of premature brain aging and mood disorders.” He also writes, “Occasional, moderate use is harmless.” Hmmm...I wonder if this last quote would apply to the nicotine.