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Nov 20, 2014

Coconut, Pecan Brussels Sprouts

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T Enfuso Pear White Balsamic Reduction (or other fruity white balsamic)
  • 2 tsp Bragg’s Aminos (or light soy sauce)
  • 1 T black sesame seeds, plus more for sprinkling
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 14 oz. Brussel sprouts, shredded
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup dry roasted pecans, chopped


Whisk together dressing ingredients.
In a large bowl, toss together brussels, carrot, coconut and pecans. Combine with dressing. Top with extra sesame seeds just before serving. Crack out.

Red Wine Chocolate truffles

Red Wine Chocolate Truffles
Yields 30-40 truffles
8 ounces (225 grams) high quality semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 (120 ml) cup dry, red wine (I used a Merlot)
2 tablespoons (30 grams) butter, melted
1/2 cup (40 grams) cocoa powder
Place the finely chopped chocolate in a small bowl. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, bring the wine to a boil over medium-high. Remove from heat and pour wine over the chocolate. Let stand for 5 minutes to fully melt the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has completely melted and is silky smooth. Stir in the melted butter.
Allow the chocolate to rest until it begins to firm up, about 30 to 45 minutes. Stir every 5 to 10 minutes. If the chocolate gets too hard, melt over a double boiler and repeat the cooling process. (Do not refrigerate or freeze the chocolate to shorten the cooling time. This will only result in truffles with an uneven texture.)
Place the cocoa powder in a small bowl. Using a spoon, pick up anywhere from a teaspoon to a tablespoon of chocolate (the amount will depend on how large you want your truffles) and roll it between your palms until it forms a sphere. Roll the truffle in the cocoa powder until it is completely covered. Place the truffle in a fine mesh strainer and shake to remove the excess cocoa powder. Set on a baking sheet to firm up.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 week (or in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 weeks). Bring the truffles back up to room temperature before serving. If the truffles have absorbed the cocoa powder, you can re-roll them before serving to give a more polished appearance (in fact, I suggest this for the best results).

Nov 10, 2014

ENHANCING YOUR VITALITY



Fatigue, frequent infections, and chronic, conditions, (such as asthma, allergies, skin conditions, headaches, arthritis, heart disease, and cancer) are common occurrences in our culture.  If you are experiencing these or other adverse health conditions, your health care provider can work up a health plan specific to your case after taking a complete case history and doing any appropriate physical exam and lab tests.  Whether or not you are experiencing any of these, there are measures you can take on your own to treat or prevent ailments which decrease you vitality.  By doing so, you can enhance your sense of well-being and freedom from disease.

DIET: 
While your health care provider can make a specific dietary plan based on your particular case, some general healthful guidelines are as follows:

Avoid Sugar
Sugar depresses the immune system and competes with Vitamin C for uptake by white blood cells.  This starts in 30 minutes and lasts 5 hours.  Sugar also decreases the secretion of stomach acid and digestive enzymes from the pancreas, impairing digestion and allowing the overgrowth of undesirable bacteria in the gut.

Avoid Caffeine
Caffeine causes increased secretion of adrenaline and cortisol from the adrenals, which suppresses the immune system.  Coffee also irritates the digestive system, causing food to move through more quickly and decreasing nutrient availability.

Avoid Alcohol
Alcohol also suppresses immune function.  In addition, detoxifying alcohol to get it out of the body places quite a load on the liver, impairing its ability to participate in its other functions, including energy production.  Alcohol also creates a hypoglycemic, or low blood sugar, response.

Avoid Processed Foods
Between the food additives and the decreased nutrients, they not only provide inferior nutrition, but also have damaging effects.
Avoid Foods to Which You Suspect You Are Allergic
In addition to creating mucus, drowsiness, gas, etc., it is clearly compromising to the body to be repeatedly exposed to substances it can’t tolerate.  In addition, these foods can cause asthma, eczema, arthritis, migraines, and other chronic conditions as well as susceptibility to acute infections.

Avoid Tobacco
Tobacco not only damages the tissue of the respiratory system with which it comes in contact, but it also creates free radicals which damage tissue elsewhere, especially blood vessels, allowing the buildup of cholesterol plaque, causing the condition called atherosclerosis, or hardening/narrowing of the arteries.  The cancer causing agents in tobacco increase the risk of cervical cancer.  Smoking also depresses the immune system and causes Vitamin C deficiency.  It is a source of carbon monoxide, a brain toxin.  As such, it contributes to depression.  In addition, smokers typically ingest more caffeine and sugar which further impair vitality.

Eat Whole Foods, Especially of Plant Origin
Besides being excellent sources of nutrients as they occur in nature, this is a good way to increase fiber intake.  Fiber allows normal elimination of waste products through the colon, causing decreased absorption of toxins.  Fiber can also bind cholesterol and breakdown products of intestinal bacteria, hastening their departure from the body.

Eat Fresh Vegetables and Fruits
Besides providing fiber as discussed above, these foods are good sources of vitamins and minerals which are required for enzyme reactions and overall health.  They are also sources of carotenes and bioflavonoids which scavenge free radicals, preventing tissue damage, inflammation, cancer, migraines, arthritis, vascular disease, etc.

Drink lots of water
1-2 quarts of water per day keeps cells hydrated and speeds up the removal of waste products from the body.

Exercise: 
For many patients, it may be advisable to consult one’s health care provider for guidance in designing an exercise program if not already accustomed to exercise.  Exercise increases respiration and circulation.  Thus, more oxygen and nutrients are delivered to the tissue and waste products are removed more quickly. Exercise also relieves stress and enhances well-being.



Stress Reduction
Living with less stress not only feels better, but there are concrete explanations for its effect on overall health.  In a stressful situation, the adrenal glands secrete adrenaline and cortisol, which suppress immune function in general.  One result of this is a lack of secretory Immunoglobulin A (sIgA), the first line of defense in the gut.  A deficiency allows for an influx of toxins from the gut---incompletely digested food and bacterial byproducts.  Enough of these can overwhelm the liver and end up in the general circulation, causing food allergies, psoriasis, eczema, migraines, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.

Stress also impairs digestion.  Secretion of digestive enzymes is decreased, as is the movement of food through the digestive tract.  Decreased digestion and increased constipation both contribute to impaired vitality.

Life is meant to fulfilling and enjoyable.  Yet it is so common in our culture to feel overwhelmed by life situations or stuck in an oppressive job.  If stress is a major part of your life and you feel you have no options, consult an emotional and/or occupational counselor.  Living with an unpleasant situation can not only decrease your happiness, but can impair your overall health, contributing to conditions as serious as high blood pressure, heart disease, ulcers, etc.  Conversely, laughter and enjoyment increase immunity as well as well-being.

An example of an exercise to enhance well-being which takes very little time is as follows: At the beginning of the day, take about ten minutes to close your eyes and go inside yourself.  Pay attention to your breathing, slowing it down, breathing in deeply and releasing tension as you exhale.  Meditate on a phrase like “I have enough time” or “I will take good care of myself’ or some other message which is significant for you.  When ready, come back into the outer world ready for your day.  when done with work, repeat this to transition from work time to private time.  This time, allow yourself a few additional moments at the end to look around you as you re-emerge into the world.  Let yourself be aware of trees, grass, flowers, bugs, wind, sounds, other people.  Make these a part of a ritual so that relaxation becomes an automatic part of your life.


Physical Medicine:

Massage
Besides feeling good, massage increases the circulation of blood and lymph, thus enhancing the removal of waste products and toxins.

Craniosacral
This is a technique which enhances the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, which provides nutrients and cushioning to the brain and spinal cord.  It is also profoundly relaxing.
Hydrotherapy
A technique you can do at home on a daily basis is finishing your hot shower with a cool rinse.  The hot water brings blood into the tissue with its oxygen and nutrients.  It also brings in white blood cells and increases their activity, thus enhancing immunity.  The cold water constricts blood vessels, pushing waste products out of the area.  After the initial constriction of blood vessels, the body attempts to return to normal by dilating blood vessels.  This is an automatic reflex and enhances vitality.  Best results are obtained from as big a difference in temperature as possible between the hot and the cold, but it is essential not to emerge chilled.  Also, the cold water will take getting used to.  A good way to approach this is to turn up the water as hot as is comfortable for a few minutes at the end of the shower.  Then, turn the water to cool (or if that is too much, to tepid) for fifteen seconds.  Over time, increase both the coldness of the water and the length of time.  Work up to having only cold water on and staying under the cold water for one to two minutes.  A good way to judge the amount of time is going by when you feel your heart and respiration rate slow down (they’ll initially increase in response to the cold).  As you emerge from the shower, you will see that your skin is flushed and you feel more awake and vibrant.


The above are ways for you to stay well on an ongoing basis and to feel better---lighter, brighter, more energetic, relaxed, excited and vibrant as you proceed through life.