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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Homemade Kimchi. Great for Digestion.

My kitchen has taken on a rather distinctive odor, as one jar replaces another in my quest to create the perfect Kimchi for my cooking classes. Recently I served up a side dish of Kimchi to some willing students and we all agreed it was like taking a digestive enzyme. It’s something like Jimmy Cagney telling the audience, “my mother thanks you, my father thanks you...”, but in this case, my digestive system thanks me by working more efficiently. 

Kimchi is the Korean name for a form of cultured vegetables usually made up of cabbage, carrots, green onions, garlic and ginger. When these foods are fermented the bacteria, yeasts or molds used in the process, predigest the food, meaning they break down the carbohydrates, fats and proteins to create Probiotics, which are friendly, life giving bacteria beneficial to the gastrointestinal system. Your body needs these super Probiotics in order to function properly. 

Kimchi is high in fiber, yet low in calories, and it provides 80 percent of the daily requirement of vitamin C and carotene. Also rich in enzymes, vitamin A, thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), calcium and iron, and loaded with friendly bacterial cultures Lactobacilli. Plus it is very easy to make. All it requires is about 15 minutes of chopping and the next day spooning it all into a glass jar to sit on your counter for a good 5 days.

Here’s the recipe I’ve been using, but just know that I like my Kimchi spicy, so you may want to reduce or eliminate the hot peppers to suit your palate. Tasty and delicious, serve this alongside your salad and main dish to help break down those big clumps of food you forgot to chew properly because you were in too much of a hurry (again?) to sit quietly and chew each bite to liquid.

Yields 3 quarts

1 head Chinese or regular cabbage

1 large carrot

1 white radish, such as daikon

2 scallions, thinly sliced or 1 leek,
2 Tbs. sea salt

1/2 cup water

3” piece ginger, peeled, minced

2 clove garlic, chopped

2 to 4 hot red peppers, dried 2 inches long, split or
 1 Tbs. chili powder (optional)

1. Slice the cabbage lengthwise into quarters. Remove the tough core and
 slice into 2 inch long pieces.
2. Slice the carrot and radishes lengthwise and then into thin half moon
 pieces. Slice the green onions or cut the leek into half moons.

3. In a large bowl, toss cabbage, carrot and radishes with the scallions, and salt. Cover loosely and let stand overnight on counter.

4. The next morning drain the liquid from the vegetables into a bowl. In a blender puree the water, ginger, garlic and peppers until smooth. Add to the vegetables mixing well.

5. Pack the vegetables into a large sterilized jar or 3 quart jars. Pour reserved liquid into the jars. If more liquid is needed to cover vegetables, add more water.

6. Cover loosely with a lid and let sit at room temperature for 3 to 5 days
 to ferment. The liquid will bubble and the flavor will become sour.

7. When done refrigerate the Kim Chee for 3 to 4 days. The cabbage will become translucent and will be ready to serve.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I like to think that America is in the midst of a food revolution. All the books available on improving one's health by eating a good diet, and books about how to green the home and save the planet, articles on health and nutrition in magazines and newsletters, helps me to maintain the illusion that progress has been made and victory is within our grasp. Then the New York Times comes along and bursts my bubble with an article by Roni Caryn Rabin, showing the latest statistics for Americans eating habits. 

According to a national survey of Americans age 40-74 those eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day has dropped from 42 percent to 26 percent. At the same time the obesity rate increased from 28 percent to 36 percent and the percentage of people who exercise dropped by half. The study, reported in the June issue of The American Journal of Medicine, proved disappointing to its lead author, Dr. Dana E. King, who was concerned that people are using medication to control their cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease, rather than eating a high quality diet and getting regular exercise.

It is the nature of the human mind to deceive itself into believing what it wants to believe, and one of the greatest deceptions is that ultimate health can be found in a pill. Sorry to burst that bubble, but the only one benefiting from this lie is the pharmaceutical companies who indulge Americans addiction to greasy burgers, fries, sugar, and soda pop.

Author Eric Schlosser wrote in Fast Food Nation how, "In 1970 Americans spent about $6 billion on fast food; in 2000 they spent more than $110 billion dollars. Americans now spend more money on fast food than on higher education, personal computers, computer software, or new cars. They spend more on fast food than on movies, books, magazines, newspapers, videos, and recorded music combined."

Taking a pill in place of eating a whole foods diet, only creates a build up of toxins and poisonous sludge in the blood. It is not much different than how a river or ocean becomes contaminated, and when this happens there is only one thing to do. Cleanse, detoxify, go on a diet, renew, rejuvenate, recover.

Now, I'm not talking about doing a quick 7-day laxative induced, fasting binge, which is just another illusion that there's relief to be found in pill form. No, I'm talking about a gradual shift off of stress causing foods: refined wheat flour, refined sugar, pasteurized dairy products, caffeine, alcohol and artificial sweeteners, flavorings and colorings. To a diet consisting of alkaline forming foods found in organic fruits and vegetables, plus whole grains, animal and/or vegetarian protein, nuts, seeds and fresh herbs.

This way of eating allows your filtering organs time to cleanse gradually, so the liver can purify the blood in order for the cells to rejuvenate and rebuild. With enough time the entire body, including DNA can remake itself. A good cleansing, such as the Body Rejuvenation Cleanse program should last 5-6 weeks, however, in order to remake and heal the body plan for at least a full year for recovery.