Extra ingredients for green smoothies [part 7 of 9]

Pomegranate juice

Pomegranate juice is another very hot product because of a few studies linking it to slowing growth of prostate cancer and arthritis, and reducing breast and skin cancer.   It’s been linked to improvement of several cardiovascular measurements, including thinning the blood and improving blood flow, lowering LDS cholesterol, and increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol.

I would prefer to see people use the whole fruit, which is available in the winter.   You peel away the red outer peel and the inner white membranes to harvest the seeds, which look exactly like rubies.

It is labor intensive to take apart a pomegranate!   However, it is fun for children because the fruit is so beautiful and because it’s a bit of a treasure hunt.

All juices are concentrated, with high natural sugar content, and also quite acidic.   The whole fruit achieve the same benefit (while in lower vitamin and mineral concentrations) without the downside of a product with all the enzymes killed and high in sugar benefits.

Yogurt or kefir

Yogurt or kefir, particularly homemade, adds a creamy, smooth texture to smoothies.   You can learn more about this topic in Ch. 9 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods, including how to make them at home inexpensively and easily. They are the only animal products I actively promote, as their proteins are predigested and broken down for easy utilization by the body, unlike other animal proteins.  

Even more importantly, they contribute to a healthy gastrointestinal tract by populating it with good micro-organisms that are your main defense against bacterial infections and other harmful micro-organisms.   Most people have 10:1 bad microorganisms to good, and the ratio should be reversed for a healthy colon.   The best way to address this is to eat yogurt or kefir daily and avoid foods (like dairy and meat, and processed foods) that feed the bad bacteria.

If you are going to purchase commercial yogurt or kefir, organic is better, and buy plain flavor rather than the excessively sugar-sweetened vanilla and other flavors.   Goat yogurt is nutritionally superior to dairy (cow milk) products.   It is not mucous forming and easier to digest, due to its smaller fat molecule that permeates human semipermeable membranes without triggering the body’s defense mechanism to flush out with mucous.   People do not experience “lactose intolerance” with goat milk products, and even many who are lactose intolerant with regular milk do not experience those symptoms with dairy yogurt.

foods that help digestion . . . part 5

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl:   What are foods that help digestion? Some raw foodists eat raw meat.   Raw meat and milk have enzymes, so aren’t they good foods?

Answer:   We’ll leave the Oxford/Cornell China Project out of this discussion, which shows that animal protein causes many diseases.   (The primary author of that pivotal study, Dr. Campbell, told me he did not study predigested or fermented milk products, such as kefir or yogurt.)   Raw milk has over 35 enzymes.   If you’re going to use dairy products or milk, raw certainly has those many advantages over pasteurized.   One very old study showed the highest morbidity (death) rate in newborns drinking pasteurized cow milk, a much improved rate for those drinking raw milk, and higher still for those who were fortunate to be breastfed by their mothers.

However, you run many bacterial risks with the way milk and meat will be raised, handled, and transported to you.   Meat in particular is troublesome, and I would not recommend eating it raw, even if you go to all the trouble of finding truly range-fed, organic chickens or beef.   The shockingly lax U.S. standards for poultry allow virtually anything to be legally given labels like “natural” and “range fed.”   We can obtain live enzymes through plant food, much more safely.

That said, I believe much evidence shows kefir or yogurt to be an excellent food with its natural probiotics.   If you can find a source you trust of raw milk, and can obtain kefir grains, you can use the raw milk and predigest the casein proteins with the action of the live kefir grains.   Raw goat milk is preferable to cow milk, with its smaller fat molecule that is not mucous forming like cow milk is.   (Vegans can make kefir with coconut liquid.)

I’m visiting my grampa in Couer d’Alene, Idaho, for the rest of the week and may be offline.   (He is in a home, and I am flying out with my aunt.)   After that I’ll talk about what enzymes supplements to take.   Happy Thanksgiving!

natural remedies for ear infections

I just met this cute blonde mom named Mary Jane, who was telling my friend about her little boy’s chronic ear infection that multiple courses of antibiotics just can’t eliminate.   She was saying that her son’s “cold” just keeps going—six weeks now of constant, thick mucous.

I sometimes just can’t believe that no pediatrician will do ANYTHING for an ear infection besides nuke it with antibiotics.   Limiting your practice to systemic drugs that hurt more than help . . . well, I guess you’d be a pariah in the community of M.D.s if you did anything different.   Oh, and also insurance companies wouldn’t pay.   (Minor detail, how could I forget?)

And yet their own medical journals are clear that more than 80 percent of ear infections are viral.   Therefore, more than 4 times out of 5, antibiotics won’t do a bit of good.   But they don’t have a clue if it’s that 1 in 5, so they give you an antibiotic because . . . well, that’s all they know how to do.

(I’m not trying to be mean.   I used to ask pediatricians point-blank: “Do you have any way to help me besides an antibiotic prescription?” and the answer is simply, NO.)

And even if it was a bacterial infection that isn’t antibiotic-resistant, with just one dose, you’ve wiped out ALL the healthy flora in the entire gastrointestinal tract.   That’s what was standing between your little one and the NEXT infection.   So now the little guy is down for the count, just waiting for the next bug to come along when he has no resistance.

I administered my last course of antibiotics well over a decade ago.   Moving on to natural treatments that work WITH instead of AGAINST the body has been so liberating that I just want to tell perfect strangers about it!

#1: Eliminate dairy products and refined sugar/flour.   (That all by itself might be enough to say goodbye to infections forever.)

#2:   Use warmed garlic/mullein drops in the ear (in an olive oil base) that you can get at a health food store.

#3:   Colloidal silver: use as directed for a week or two.

#4: See if you can get that kid to drink LOTS of water!

#5: If you’re frustrated reading this because you’ve already done the antibiotics and are in Mary Jane’s position, all is not lost.   Give your child good, homemade kefir or yogurt (in my recipes) every day—no sugar added, please—and you can rebuild a healthy colony of good bacteria in about 30 days.

#6: If you do want to use medical treatment, I actually believe that the simple ear-tube surgery (no general anaesthesia, 15 min. procedure) is much less invasive and harmful than ONE round of antibiotics.   And it’s actually very effective for most children, although you should keep their heads out of the water, which is hard if your kids like to swim or take baths.

Phytates . . . part II

The phytate issue is fiercely contested in the nutrition world, with some believing that soaking grains is critical, and others believing it’s unnecessary.   I have studied compelling evidence on both sides, leading me to the following recommendations.

Regardless of whether phytates in whole grains lead to mineral deficiencies, soaking and slightly fermenting your grain clearly aids in digestion.   It costs nothing and doesn’t really add time to a recipe’s preparation, although you do a portion of the work in advance.

Most adults in the Western world need to be kind to their digestive systems.   That’s because before most of us get serious about treating our bodies right (which you’re doing if you’re reading this), we have abused our bodies with the modern lifestyle.   In particular, we’ve damaged our digestive systems.   Some of us have developed chronic digestive problems, and many of us have decades of damage to undo.    Part of a whole-grain habit, then, is to as often as possible soak your flour or grain for up to 24 hours, and add a bit of whey, kefir, or yogurt.   Even 8 hours of soaking is very helpful.   Many  12 Step recipes (in Ch. 9) call for soaking the flour or grain.  

The grain with the highest phytate content is oats, so if you like oatmeal, put the boiling water in the rolled oats right after eating breakfast, add a Tbsp. or two of yogurt or kefir, cover with a lid, and just reheat it for breakfast the next morning.   It can sit for 24 hours and will be just fine, so don’t worry.   If you like sourdough, you’ll probably like the slightly fermented taste.   If it’s too much for you, soak it only 8 hours and use a very small amount of yogurt.   This habit requires thinking ahead but is worth developing.    

Unlike oats and wheat, brown rice, millet, and buckwheat have low phytate content, so you can soak them just overnight, for shorter periods of time.   When I am serving brown rice for dinner, I put boiling water in it in the morning.   I cover it and leave it to steam all day in the oven preheated to 350 degrees (and then turned OFF).   The rice is perfectly cooked at dinnertime.   When making kasha (buckwheat cereal), I put the boiling water in the night before, letting it steam overnight.   All of this is in Step 9.    

Part III (the end of this topic) tomorrow.

nutrition tips for kids

I wanted to pass along great ideas from two GreenSmoothieGirl.com readers who wrote me, on how they’ve been successful at getting their kids to eat raw vegetables and fruits:

Use a muffin/cupcake pan and put raw almond butter in one hole, raw hummus in one hole, and fresh guacamole in one hole.   Put cut-up fruits, nuts, and veggies in the rest.   On the far side, you could put some yogurt  blended with berries, next to several holes filled with apple and orange slices.   In several holes, you could put carrots, asparagus (trees!), red bell pepper, and macadamias and walnuts.   The last few holes you could fill with dried apricots or raisins, or a piece of dragon fruit or kiwi slices.

Tonya said, “Both my kids were excited and went to town tasting all the little fruits and veggies and dipping them into different sauces.   It was so colorful and chopped up toddler size.   They loved it.   I was amazed to see that they were going for the asparagus and the red bell pepper first!”

Another mom wrote me and said she told her son that his first green smoothie was called SuperSonic Power Ranger Blaster Juice.   (I was thinking you could label the glass with this title, make up a story about its superhero powers, really go with it.)    Her son  drank it right up and wanted more the next day!  

Nutrition can be fun.   Whole plant foods are pretty and appetizing, especially when you’re creative like these two moms are.   This is really the opposite approach to making it a chore and ranting, “Eat your veggies or you get no dessert!”