November 25, 2013

Enjoy this podcast

Click this link to enjoy a Podcast conversation betwen me an Victor Guadagno.

We discuss my first hand experience with the role that modern industrial agriculture can play in disrupting our cultures….inside and out!

According to Guadagno, "In a thoughtful and practical way, Lisa explains the role food plays in our individual health, community resiliency and cultural heritage".

November 24, 2013

Mindful Eating

During the holiday season, I can feel stressed by all the different events happening. Many of them center around food. I work to stay present, breathe, and savor the moment.

Here are some ways you can do the same.

EAT REGULARLY: holiday feasts do not have to be at odd hours. Try to keep to your regular meal schedule. It will help your body remain healthy and well.

IDENTIFY CRAVINGS: food cravings are a signal that the body and mind are not communicating clearly with each other. If you see a food and immediately want to devour it, stop. Sit down, either in the room or in a nearby bathroom, and breathe. Notice the fact that you crave this food. You can have a bit of it now or save it for later.

ENJOY BITTERS: find bitter foods in every meal to stimulate pancreatic enzymes. This exercise will promote mindfulness. Look for leafy greens, pickled vegetables, cabbage or turnip dishes, walnuts, or even a sugar-free cocktail with Peychaud's or Angostura bitters added.

GIVE THANKS: before you eat, take a deep breath. Either silently or out loud, look at your plate of food and give thanks. Now, pick up your fork and enjoy.

TAKE HOME LEFTOVERS: travel with empty containers and encourage friends and family to do the same. Instead of gorging yourself in the moment, take home leftovers and let the feast continue for lunch tomorrow!

November 17, 2013

Indigenous Vegetables

Dear Scientists,
Instead of putting our energy into GMO research and production, could we try to highlight the abundance that is already present?

Thanks to Food Tank for this list of 15 indigenous vegetables, which are nutritious, delicious, and contribute to the livelihoods of people around the globe.

1. Amaranth: This versatile plant, which grows quickly in the humid lowlands of Africa, is a leafy vegetable typically consumed in Togo, Liberia, Guinea, Benin, and Sierra Leone. The plant thrives in hot weather and is an excellent source of protein, vitamins, and essential minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.

2. Bunya Nut: Bunya nuts have long been a prominent food in the culture of Australian Aboriginals - so much so that, prior to European settlement, Aboriginal tribes would travel long distances to attend festivals celebrating the Bunya season. The Bunya nut is similar to the chestnut, both in appearance and taste. The nuts grow on enormous Bunya pines in the few rainforest regions on the continent.

3. Cowpea: Originating in Central Africa, this legume is one of the region’s oldest crops. It is also drought resistant and can thrive in poor soil conditions. In addition to the peas, the leaves of the plant are also consumed.

4. Enset: Also known as the false banana, enset is native to tropical regions of Africa. The plant’s outward appearance resembles that of a banana tree, but the two actually are very different. Fruit of the enset tree is inedible, so the plant is primarily grown for the meat inside its trunk and roots. The pulp inside the tree is similar in both taste and appearance to a potato. Enset has been a staple crop in Ethiopia for thousands of years.

5. Filder Pointed Cabbage: The cruciferous vegetable provides a rich source of beta-carotene, vitamins C and K, and fiber, and it serves as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Cabbage can be stored cold for months at a time and is eaten in the winter when other vegetables are dormant.

6. Formby Asparagus: Formby asparagus is notable for its coloration: white base, green stem, and purple-tinged tip. The vegetable is rich in protein, fiber, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. It aids in protein synthesis, reduces calcium loss, and has antioxidant properties.

7. Hinkelhatz Pepper: The Hinkelhatz pepper has been cultivated by the Pennsylvania Dutch since the 1880s. The plant produces small, heart-shaped peppers with a red or yellow color. Hinkelhatz peppers have a stocky, spicy flavor, so they are frequently pickled or pureed into a pepper vinegar used as a food topping. The pepper is important because it is cold-tolerant, pest and disease-resistant, and a prolific producer.

8. Kumara: Also known as the sweet potato, kumara is cultivated in many Pacific Islands and was a staple crop for hundreds of years. The vegetable is a great source of protein, vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, and fiber.

9. Lifou Island Yam: This starchy tuber plays an important role in both nutrition and food security in many Pacific Island nations. The vegetable is also very versatile--it can be roasted, fried, grilled, boiled, smoked, or grated. Yams are important because they can be stored for long period of time, and the vegetable has a social and cultural significance on many islands.

10. Målselvnepe Turnip: This hardy, root vegetable variety has been improved over the years through selective cultivation in Norway. It has a strong and distinct taste compared to other turnip varieties. It can be eaten raw, roasted, baked, and boiled, and is frequently used to enhance the flavor of soups, salads, and side dishes. The turnip is an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium.

11. Mungbean: The mungbean is important in Asian diets and valuable for its easily digestible protein. High levels of iron in the vegetable can help improve the diets of the most vulnerable women and children, and mungbean production offers an opportunity for increased income for small-scale farmers. In addition, the vegetable can fix nitrogen in the soil, making it valuable for crop rotations.

12. Okra: The edible green seed pods of this plant are a common ingredient in soups and sauces and popular in Indian and Pakistani cuisine. Okra is also an important export crop in The Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam. The vegetable is a rich source of vitamins and minerals and the seeds provide quality oil and protein.

13. Papalo: This popular herb, known for its strong skunk-like smell, is used in the American Southwest, Mexico, and South America. Papalo, typically eaten as a garnish, is valued for its medicinal properties, including regulating blood pressure, relieving stomach disorders, and addressing liver problems. This unique herb has a hardiness to heat, allowing it flourish in hot climates.

14. Perinaldo Artichokes: This popular thistle vegetable, valued for its tasty center, is native to the Mediterranean region and originally cultivated in ancient Greece. The edible flower bud is a good source of fiber, vitamin C, folic acid, and various minerals. This variety of artichoke is drought resistant and very hardy.

15. Rourou (Taro Leaves): In a number of Pacific Island countries, including Fiji, taro leaves are eaten and used in various cooking techniques. The leaves provide an excellent source of vitamins A and C. The leaves also have a social importance in ceremonial feasts and are a good local cash crop. In addition, the corms of the giant swamp taro plant have the potential to help feed a large number of Pacific Island countries.

November 16, 2013

Genetically Modified Organisms

Based on research by two scientists, UC Berkeley’s Ignacio Chapela and former Scotland Rowett Research Institute researcher and plant genetic modification expert, Arpad Pusztai, the health effects of genetically modified organisms (GMOS) are questionable.

Click this link to read Pusztai's controversial research on the potential threats of GMOs.

According to Chapela and Pusztai's studies, when a transgene functions in a new cell, it may produce different proteins than the ones intended. They may be harmful, but there’s no way to know without scientific testing. Even if the protein is exactly the same, there are still problems.

Arpad Pusztai and other scientists were shocked at their results of animals fed GM foods. His results were cited above. Other independent studies showed stunted growth, impaired immune systems, bleeding stomachs, abnormal and potentially precancerous cell growth in the intestines, impaired blood cell development, and more.

To read an article about the potential threats of GMO foods, visit Mother Earth News.

November 11, 2013

Thanksgiving Inspiration

Late fall is a wonderful time to feast with friends and family. I offer gratitude to the land and the hands that feed me. Try these recipes to spice up your fall feasts.



Quinoa “Stuffing”


You will need:
1 cup quinoa, cooked

1 cup celery, chopped (about 4 stalks)

1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced

2 carrots, chopped
2 beets, chopped
2 sweet potatoes, chopped

1 teaspoon each salt and black pepper

1 large yellow onion, diced

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons sunflower or olive oil

1 egg

1 Tablespoon stone-ground brown mustard

Prepare quinoa: rinse well through a fine-mesh strainer. Combine 1 cup quinoa with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, add salt and black pepper. Cook for 15 minutes or until the water is gone. Set aside.

As quinoa cooks, chop vegetables. Add olive oil to skillet. Add onions and sauté on medium heat for 10 minutes.

Add carrots, beets and celery. Sauté for 15 more minutes.
Add sweet potatoes. Sauté for 10 more minutes. 
Turn off heat. Add quinoa, minced parsley, and vinegar.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8x8 baking dish with olive oil.

Whisk egg, mustard and 1/4 cup water together.
Place quinoa in baking dish. Pour egg mixture over it and bake for 15 minutes.

***

Chile Cilantro Cranberry Chutney

In a small pot, cook for 10 minutes:
3 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
2 Tablespoons water
1 teaspoon each: cumin, coriander, cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 small hot pepper (habanero or other), de-seeded and minced

Turn off heat. Add:
2 Tablespoons raw honey
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced
Stir to incorporate.
Place in jars, cool, screw on lids, and save in the fridge for 3 weeks or the freezer for up to 6 months.

***

Beet Salad with Lavender Vinaigrette

You will need:
1 lb. red beets
2 red onions, sliced
½ cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon stone-ground brown mustard
juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon dried lavender
2 tablespoons honey

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Rinse and chop beets into cubes.
Coat a 9x13 baking dish with olive oil.
Add beets to baking dish with salt and pepper. Toss with oil and roast for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile,chop onions.
Saute in a skillet with 2 Tablespoons olive oil, covered, for 10 minutes.
Add mustard, coriander, lemon juice, lavender and 1/2 cup water.
Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook down until the mixture thickens - about 10 minutes.
Turn off heat and stir in honey.
Blend with an immersion blender or in an upright blender.

Remove roasted beets from baking pan and place in a serving bowl. Pour sauce over them, toss and serve!




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