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It's About FOOD!

 

Health. Feeling good. Enjoying life. Right down at the core of this is FOOD. This includes “Primary Food”--all those parts of life that give it meaning: relationships, satisfying work, a sense of purpose.

 

Yet the actual FOOD that we eat is what makes our bodies “tick”. Our DNA provides the blueprint. How well the body expresses this blueprint depends in large degree on the quality of the building materials we put into it. We have at our service the Master Architect: Mother Nature herself.

 

If we hire an outstanding architect to design our home, yet entrust the construction of it to a builder that uses shoddy materials, what happens? The house may seem pretty okay for a while, but after a time it starts breaking down. Without adequate supports, parts start to sag.

 

Various pieces malfunction. It becomes more and more of a headache to live in and manage, until we are spending major amounts of time and money getting it repaired.

 

If that house is built, from the start, of excellent materials that are appropriate for what they are forming, it is strong and durable. Parts that begin to wear out are faithfully replaced by new material as needed, making it an enduring structure.

 

Even outdoing that well-built house is the amazing human body. Its gift of self repair and self renewal seems miraculous. How can it know how to do all that?”  As in all biological systems, its workings, right down to the tiny structures within each cell, are enormously complex. Its ways of processing the food we put into it, to carry out all its intricate functions, are jaw-dropping if you are new to the study of biology and physiology. Besides transforming our breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks into human tissue, it continuously REPLACES each cell as it ages. 

 

In order to do all this, it requires a number of specific nutrients. What if our food doesn't supply all of these? The body is capable of manufacturing many of these, but this extra manufacturing process requires more expenditure of energy. If it still doesn't have what it needs, the body makes do somehow. But not as well as if it had what it needed. And eventually, breakdowns can occur, i.e., disease.

 

Not only does this marvelous organism do all that, but also it must cope with whatever toxic substances it encounters in food and all around us. Over 80,000 synthetic chemicals have been created since World War II. Unfortunately, many of these are used in processed food products, personal care products, cleaners, and other manufactured items. Then there's the toxic pollution issuing from coal and oil burning, and from the processes of manufacturing just about everything.

 

At this point you may feel like shuddering and thinking about something else instead. But wait! You can take control of your own health. Knowledge is power.

 

The purpose of this blog is to offer you knowledge you need in order to take charge of your body and your life. With each post I'll call your attention to facts you may not know, with resources for further information. I'm happy to receive your comments, questions, and suggested topics you'd like to read about here. Thank you!

Marilyn

 

Caramelized Pineapple and Coconut Rice Pudding

Caramelized Pineapple and Coconut Rice Pudding

(Serves 6)

Cambodians include rice at dessert time, too. The rich contribution of the coconut milk and the unique topping of ginger-infused, caramelized pineapple turn this simple rice pudding into a real treat. If you make this dessert ahead, chill the caramelized pineapple separately and warm it just before serving - you'll be glad you did!

2/ cups lite coconut milk

VA cups unsweetened soymilk

2A cup vegan sugar*(page 17), divided

A cup sweet rice, also called sticky rice

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

VA teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 Tablespoons toasted, dried unsweetened coconut

1 large ripe pineapple

2 Tablespoons sesame oil

2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

2-3 Tablespoons toasted sesame seeds or toasted shredded coconut for garnish

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and lightly oil an 8 x 8-inch baking dish.

In a medium bowl, combine the coconut milk, soymilk, 1/3 cup of the sugar, rice, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and lemon zest. Mix well and pour into prepared baking dish. Mix again to distribute the rice evenly.

Bake the mixture for 30 minutes. Remove and stir in the toasted coconut and bake for another IV2 hours.

"Scallops" and Butternut Curry

(Serves 6)

The lure of Cambodia is its gentle caress on the hearts and memories of those who come to visit. With its lush tropical jungles, bright sunshine, and gleaming Buddhist temples whose spires reach for the sky, this Southeast Asian locale is also the land of warm-hearted people, sprawling rice paddies, and an unhurried pace of rural life along the meandering Mekong River and Tonle Sap Lake. These forested lands and essential waterways are the indispensable lifelines contributing to a rich culture of food traditions that revolve around abundant rice, exotic fruits and vegetables, and everything coconut.

In this aromatic curry I use king oyster mushrooms to stand in for the scallops because they provide that perfect hearty base and offer a satisfying similar chewiness to that of scallops. This dish provides plenty of sauce to spoon over steamed brown rice or noodles. If you can locate galangal, experiment with it in place of the ginger and you'll discover a delightful new richness of flavor. When cooked, galangal also becomes pleasantly soft and can be eaten like a vegetable.

1 medium onion, thinly sliced into half moons

¼ cup water

2 red chilies, seeded and slivered

1-inch piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

1 Tablespoon canola oil

2 teaspoons dried curry leaves

3 teaspoon ground turmeric

2 ¼ cups lite coconut milk

1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces

7 Things You Didn’t Know About...Pasta

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For a food as ubiquitous as pasta, I bet there is a lot you don’t know about it or its history. 

It’s one of America’s favorite foods—we eat more of it per capita than any other country—and although we consider it to be an Italian food, its original beginnings were in China. 

While no one would dispute its role as a comfort food, there is a divide over whether or not it should be included in a healthy diet. Those on low carb or gluten-free diets shun it, while marathon runners often load up on it before a big race. 

So what’s the real deal on pasta? Check out these 7 interesting facts about pasta: 

Founding (pasta) Father: You can thank Thomas Jefferson for introducing pasta to the United States. While serving as the US Ambassador overseas, he sampled a macaroni dish in Naples and liked it so much, he promptly sent crates of macaroni and a pasta-making machine back to the States.

Brooklyn beginnings: In 1848, the first American pasta factory was opened in Brooklyn, New York, by a Frenchman named Antoine Zerega. He managed the entire operation with just one horse in his basement to power the machinery. To dry his spaghetti, he placed strands of the pasta on the roof to dry in the sunshine.

Why You Should Add These 10 Superfoods to Your Diet

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Superfoods are one of the trendiest topics in the health and nutrition world. It’s almost impossible to read any book or article about nutrition without the mention of them! But what exactly is a superfood and why are they so good for you?

The term “superfood” is a classification for foods that have the highest concentration of nutrients and vitamins. While you might immediately think of things like chia seeds or maca, which are added recipes to boost their nutrients, superfoods aren’t just additives! Many superfoods are actually vegetables, like kale or mushrooms, which can be eaten on their own!

For the most accurate information on superfoods, I went straight to the expert: David Wolfe. David is a health, eco, nutrition, and natural beauty expert as well as an advocate for the power of a plant-based diet. The first time I heard him speak was while I was a student at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where he talked about the benefits of raw food. I was instantly hooked!

Beginner’s Guide to Urban Gardening

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Who says you need wide open spaces and top-notch soil to have the garden of your dreams?

If you’re an apartment dweller like me, all you really need is some repurposed containers, dirt and seeds, and a windowsill or small outdoor space.

And voila! You’re on your way to growing some amazing plants and produce (think about the money you’ll save on groceries!).

Here are the easy-to-follow directions to help you get the ball rolling on your very own urban garden.

1. Choose your planters. Go ahead and mix it up by planting in containers you already have at home. Coffee cans, paint buckets, and even milk jugs work as long as they’re big enough to allow for healthy root growth. This means using planters that are around 10 inches deep by 10 inches wide for small herbs and leafy greens and between 5 and 7 gallons for larger vegetables like tomatoes and carrots.

Natural Skin Treatments for Summer Weather Woes

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Summer’s gorgeous sunshine, soft breezes, and blooming flowers can make you want to linger outside for hours, but all the time outdoors can also make summer a bummer for your skin. Remedies for bug bites, sunburn, heat rashes, and other common summertime ailments are a dime at dozen at the pharmacy, but most are laced with chemicals and preservatives. Remember, your skin is your largest organ and it absorbs whatever you put on it. Most holistic experts agree – don’t rub into your skin what you wouldn’t be willing to eat! The good news is there are plenty of holistic ingredients that can effectively treat common summer skin ailments. 

Aloe Vera Gel

What it treats: Sunburn

The gel of an aloe vera plant is soothing and cool, making it a natural burn remedy. To treat a sunburn, simply slit a leaf of the plant the long way and gently apply the leaf’s juice directly to your burned skin. Repeat the application several times a day until your sunburn is less painful and stops peeling. 

Crushed Basil

What it treats: Bug bites

How to Find You’re Ideal Career

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When I think about where my career has taken me since I first declared my major in my sophomore year of college, I’m amazed that it’s gone in such a different direction that I originally intended. I’ve grown and learned so much about myself since I was 18, it seems like choosing a career path in college was about as accurate as trying to magically predicting the future!

The reason that my career continued to change since then is because of the amount of effort I put into finding my true self—and subsequently figuring out what job would make me happiest—during my twenties. Does this sound like you? If it does, then you’ve probably already discovered the many personality tests and quizzes that promise to help you instantly reach an answer! 

One of the most widely trusted and credible tests, and the one that I found most helpful, is the Myers-Briggs test. In fact, this test is used by many companies (including the majority of the Fortune 100) as part of the application process for new employees to see if they will be a good fit for the job. 

How to Find Your Ideal Career

Blog post thumbnail

When I think about where my career has taken me since I first declared my major in my sophomore year of college, I’m amazed that it’s gone in such a different direction that I originally intended. I’ve grown and learned so much about myself since I was 18, it seems like choosing a career path in college was about as accurate as trying to magically predicting the future!

The reason that my career continued to change since then is because of the amount of effort I put into finding my true self—and subsequently figuring out what job would make me happiest—during my twenties. Does this sound like you? If it does, then you’ve probably already discovered the many personality tests and quizzes that promise to help you instantly reach an answer! 

One of the most widely trusted and credible tests, and the one that I found most helpful, is the Myers-Briggs test. In fact, this test is used by many companies (including the majority of the Fortune 100) as part of the application process for new employees to see if they will be a good fit for the job. 

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