Ratatouille and Nut Crackers by Josephine Laing
5 August 2011 1,328 views 6 Comments
Positive Possibilities Ratatouille and Nut Crackers by Josephine LaingJosephine Laing As an eco-feminist and a practicing medical intuitive for the past 25 years, Josephine Laing sees the emerging role of women in our culture as an essential element in our human transformation away from the dominator model of society into a golden age of peace which celebrates life in all of it's astounding creativity and diversity.
A good friend of ours recently got word from his medical doctor that he had to lower his blood sugars or diabetes would soon follow. So, it was goodbye to lovely Hawaiian Sweet Bread sandwiches for lunch and the occasional bowl of ice cream for desert. And instead he is turning toward a high protein base for meals with plenty of chicken, beef, fish, eggs and cheese. And this will indeed lower one's blood sugars and has even recently been acknowledged by the American Diabetic Association as doing so. And this is the diet my brother, a diabetic, chooses as well. Thanks largely to the work of Diana Schwarzbein, M.D., we now know that it's not fat and a high calorie diet that causes diabetes, as has long been the official stance, but rather, a diet high in processed carbohydrates that turns out to be the culprit. The only problem is that a high animal protein diet which is currently being promoted as a solution, is now also known to wreak havoc with the vascular system, often resulting in an increased chance of stroke or heart attack. The most common first symptom of which, sadly, is sudden death. Not such a great alternative. But fortunately, there is another way to drop one's blood sugars while keeping those arteries and veins clean to freely move our blood around and that's a whole-food, plant-based diet. In other words, "Eat your fruits and vegetables." Not canned, not frozen, but fresh whole foods, straight from nature, right out of the ground and right off the tree. So, this is what Frank and I have been mostly doing for the last several years and blessedly it has helped to normalize and keep our blood sugars low and it even helps to keep us fit with all that composting, digging, planting and harvesting. Also, by reducing the amount of animal products that we consume, we reduce the amount of suffering caused on our behalf in the factory farming industry. And we all get plenty of protein from plants. The average piece of fruit is four percent protein, that's roughly the same amount of protein as is in mother's milk. And there is no time in the life of a human when we have more need to be actively manufacturing muscles, bone and tissues then when we are in our infancy. So, if you're getting four percent or more protein from your food, you've got it covered. And most plant foods are amply rich in protein. Basically, all we need to do is to fall in love with our farmer's markets and our own backyard gardens and start having fun with the harvest in our kitchens again. So here enter delicious delights like summer's ratatouille recipe. Frank makes his ratatouille with fresh onions, eggplant, summer squash, maybe even a little fennel bulb or mushrooms and a couple of tomatoes all in about the same quantity, sauteed one after the other in a good organic olive oil (or even coconut oil,) and then tossed together in a bowl to serve. This with a little quinoa or a small non-russet baked or boiled potato and a lovely salad chock full of nice dark leafy greens and a few sweet tender lettuces, followed by a bowl of fresh berries and other fruits for desert, makes a wonderful nutritious and fully satisfying meal, that you could even serve to friends. And we have. But, this is merely one example of a perfectly scrumptious way to entertain guests while steadily bringing those blood sugars down. Skip the rice, especially the white rice and white bread, and throw the sugar out the window. If you simply must have bread, only enjoy the one hundred percent whole sprouted grain breads, preferably without any wheat and go real easy on them, or better yet, eliminate the bread and grains all together. A little quinoa or amaranth even buckwheat will do in a pinch because like a small to medium sized purple, red or yellow potato, (not the big white russets, which are the common restaurant potatoes,) these all have a medium to low glycemic index which means that in moderation, or small portions, these carbs won't jack up those blood sugars too much. In regards to fruit, even though some fruits are high in sugars, so long as you are not sitting down to eat a case of grapes, I don't have a problem with anyone enjoying fruit. I once heard it said that "If it's sweet and it's not an organic piece of fruit, spit it out." The problem lies with a lifetime of refined sugars, not the natural organic ones. I believe that we are meant to enjoy the garden's beautiful jewels of summer. And I think that we do need sweetness in our lives. So I say, skip the sugar and enjoy your fruit. Among the natural sugars, even honey and maple syrup are not as addicting to me as the refined sugars are. If I eat white or brown sugar, I've simply got to have it again the next day. If I eat honey or maple, it's no big deal, and I can easily go without it. So that's how I get off of sugar. I go to the kitchen and invent a desert, something like coconut cashew-butter honey balls. Then the next day I can easily step down to fruit. And it's almost the same for me with white bread. I can get really hooked on that stuff. You know the old adage, "The whiter the bread, the sooner you're dead." Some of those crusty fresh baked white loaves can really send my own blood sugars to the moon and back again. So, at our house, instead of bread, Frank has been perfecting his nut cracker recipes. They are a delicious heart-healthy, high- protein and blood-sugar-friendly, satisfyingly savory and crunchy bread substitute. To make them, you soak a half of a cup of raw sunflower seeds and a half of a cup of buckwheat groats and one cup of raw almonds in a bowl of water over night. (We use organic, because why would you want to eat insecticides which are all mostly seriously potent nerve toxins.) In the morning, rinse well and drain the now plump seeds and nuts and dump them in the food processor and grind them up while slowly adding about a half of a cup of water or a little more, until you get a nice fluffy paste; it takes just a few minutes and should be a little bit like a moist ricotta cheese. Add some dried ground cumin for flavor and a little of that wonderful Celtic Sea Salt to taste. By the way, it's been my experience that the Celtic Sea Salt, when paired with a clean, plant-based diet, does not adversely affect blood pressures. This holds true for my friends who enjoy it as well, and certainly it is the case for me. The real "Celtic Sea Salt" is just dehydrated ocean water, harvested in the ages old traditional way in France with drying ponds and wooden rakes. It contains more than eighty minerals and is very like our own blood in it's chemical composition. We buy it in bulk at our local Co-Op. It is quite unlike common table salt which is just plain Sodium combined with Chloride, both derived from any industrial source and then spiked with plenty of aluminum to keep it from clumping so it will stay free flowing and easily exit from the little holes in a salt shaker. There is enough aluminum in commercial table salt that it has to be listed as an ingredient. And "Sea Salt" isn't much better. I understand that salt can be called "Sea Salt" if it is Sodium chloride with any four industrially derived minerals added to it. So, it's worth it to pay the two or three pennies a day to get the real thing which usually costs around ten dollars a pound. My grandmother used to have a cute little crystal salt cellar with an even cuter tiny little silver spoon. So, that's what we've got, only in ceramic. A friend of mine makes them and they look adorable on the dinning room table. Because, as you may well know, aluminum has been strongly implicated in the cause of Alzheimer's disease. And we certainly don't want to be heading in that direction, if we can help it, which we can by merely using a cellar instead of a shaker. Another good tip is that coconut oil has recently been found to arrest and even reverse Alzheimer's disease. It has a nice flavor as well as a very high heat tolerance so it's good to cook with. We get a nice organic one that comes in a great reusable wide mouth glass jar. And all of these plant based fats don't adversely affect heart health like the saturated (animal derived) fats do. These fats help lower the bad cholesterol and raise the good cholesterol. I must say here, that even though margarine is a plant based fat, I can not recommend it, because they use nickel, which is a heavy metal, in processing it when they make it. And I don't feel that regularly eating trace amounts of heavy metals is good for anyone. Crisco is another big red flag for me. I understand that it is only slightly different chemically from car wax. I never would want to put that saturated fat into my body and I carefully avoid all suspect pastries and pie crusts because of it. I'd much rather see folks enjoy butter which makes beautiful pastry and is a pretty darn good food, especially when it's not combined with processed sugar. Butter has been around for a long time. They actually found a carefully sealed hollowed out section of a tree trunk, I believe it was in an Irish bog, and it was full of perfectly good butter just about as fresh as the day it was put up, only it was dated to be at least three thousand years old. Isn't that amazing. Someone stumbled upon it just a few years ago. But back to raw nut crackers. You can even add a few soaked and softened dried bell peppers or sun dried tomatoes to the nut and seed paste and grind this all together for some interesting flavor varieties. Pour the mixture out onto a dehydrating sheet and spread it thin with a spatula. Sometimes we press dried garlic or onion bits on top. Dry the crackers until crispy in the dehydrator; (we have and like the Excalibur 2000.) Or you can use some old cotton cloth on a cookie sheet in the oven on your lowest heat. If you don't have a dehydrator, prop open the oven door with a wooden spoon to let the warm air flow for drying. Pull them out to score them and then flip them when they are almost dry, peeling off the sheet after they've been flipped. When we do it, we usually sandwich the crackers with another rack to make the flip easy before peeling off the sheet. Then, later they will break easily into nice triangles or squares along whatever scoring lines you've made, for easy storage in an air tight glass jar. Once dry they'll keep well for months. We try to store all of our food in glass. We have a whole cabinet devoted to clean empty jars of various sizes and shapes, all with good fitting lids. Fortunately, a lot of foods still come in glass. So we've collected and have been using glass jars for years. Recently, I've been very happy to see organic, Bavarian, pasture raised, whole milk, plain yogurt stored in reusable glass quart jars at our local Co-op. And the organic pasture raised Strauss milk has come in glass for some time now. Hooray! They are getting it. Because of course, now they are realizing how much the plastic leaches into the food. Especially if the food is hot. And it follows that we don't ever want to drink a hot beverage from a plastic cup. Our young neighbors, the Materials Engineering majors are all well aware of this. Their professors make sure that they know that plastics when heated are particularly toxic and should never be used for holding hot foods and that plastics certainly should never be burned in a camp fire as it creates extremely toxic air pollution. So there you have it. It's really so simple, as are all great solutions. Enjoying the fruits of nature's harvest and eating real foods helps us to feel better. When we feel good, we love to be active and we get our exercise. When we get our exercise and eat a diet consisting of lots of lovely, fresh, organic, whole, low- glycemic plant-based foods along with only quality salts and quality fats and fruits for sweetness, then Viola!, down come the blood sugars, down comes the cholesterol, down comes the high blood pressure and the brain stays nice and strong. It's so much nicer for the animals and it's easy for us and delicious too. So make yourself some lovely Ratatouille and Nut Crackers and I hope that you enjoy these wonderful recipes as much as we do.
Josephine Laing As an eco-feminist and a practicing medical intuitive for the past 25 years, Josephine Laing sees the emerging role of women in our culture as an essential element in our human transformation away from the dominator model of society into a golden age of peace which celebrates life in all of it's astounding creativity and diversity.
Positive Possibilities Natural Healing Disclaimer and Warning by Josephine Laing
I need to make sure that everyone understands that I am not a licensed physician. I have not had any official training nor am I certified or licensed in any form of alternative or complimentary healing arts services. However, I am a person who has done years of personal research and one who has had a fair amount of experience with natural healing materials and methods. And, I am glad to say that I have been granted the right within the First Amendment of our Constitution to freely share my experiences and express my viewpoints on all matters of public concern. So I take the liberty to do so here in hopes that it may help you as it has helped me. However, pharmaceutical companies and medical groups have made it so that I must legally give you the following WARNINGS: Any healing modality, including standard western medical protocols in addition to natural therapies, can cause harm rather then the benefit you seek. Just like medications, sometimes herbs, foods, or other natural substances can cause allergic reactions or they can have side effects which can be dangerous. After all, some individuals have been injured or even killed by ingesting strawberries or peanuts. So please understand that any of these natural healing suggestions that I write about may be potentially dangerous, or even lethal for healthy people and they may especially be so for people who are ill. Thus before you begin any healing modality, I need to ask you to please consult a Medical Doctor. In addition, if you have been diagnosed with a disease, or if you are ill, I must, for my own protection, insist that you Ask Your Doctor First, before attempting any natural healing programs that I may refer to in these articles. But please remember that due to their lack of experience and lack of education in natural healing methods and herbal medicine, most Medical Doctors will probably attempt to discourage you from trying these natural therapies. I would also like to mention that Naturopathic Doctors, Doctors of Chiropractic and Doctors of Oriental Medicine are also licensed physicians. They are typically trained in a variety of healing arts and natural healing modalities often including homeopathy or herbology. I have personally availed myself of the services of all three of these types of complimentary or alternative doctors and have generally found them to be kind, knowledgeable, patient, understanding, dedicated and very helpful. Josephine Laing