Germination is the process whereby growth emerges from a period of dormancy. The most common example of germination is the sprouting of a seedling from seed of an angiosperm or gymnosperm.  However, the growth of a sporeling from a spore, for example the growth of hyphae from fungal spores, is also germination. 

Germination actually creates viable stem cells of plant origin with similar biochemical messaging to our own regenerative stem cells.  The seed contains an embryo and in most plants stored food reserves wrapped in a seed coat. Under favorable conditions, the seed begins to germinate, and embryonic tissues resume growth, developing towards a seedling.

Grains require careful preparation because they contain a number of anti-nutrients that can cause serious health problems.  Phytic acid is an organic acid in which phosphorus is bound. It is mostly found in the bran or outer hull of seeds. Untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and block their absorption. A diet high in improperly prepared whole grains may lead to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss.

The modern (but misguided) practice of consuming large amounts of unprocessed bran often improves colon transit time at first but may lead to irritable and inflammatory bowel and, in the long term, many other adverse effects.

Other antinutrients in whole grains include enzyme inhibitors which can inhibit digestion and put stress on the pancreas; irritating tannins; complex sugars which the body cannot break down; and gluten and casein as well as related hard-to-digest proteins which may provoke allergies, digestive disorders and even mental illness. Most of these anti-nutrients are part of the seed’s system of preservation (preventing sprouting until conditions are favorable).  Plants require moisture, warmth, time and slight acidity in order to sprout.

Proper preparation of grains is a kind and gentle process that imitates the process that occurs in nature. It involves soaking for a period in warm, acidulated water in the preparation of porridge, or long, slow sour dough fermentation in the making of bread. Such processes neutralize phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. Vitamin content increases, particularly B vitamins. Tannins, complex sugars, gluten and other difficult-to-digest substances are partially broken down into simpler components and become more readily available for absorption.

During hydration, most seeds respond best when there is enough water to moisten but not soak them. The uptake of water by seeds is called imbibition which leads to swelling and breaking of the seed coat.  When seeds are formed, most plants store food, such as starch, proteins or oils, to provide nourishment to the growing embryo inside the seed. 

When the seed imbibes water, hydrolytic enzymes are activated that break down these stored food resources into metabolically useful chemicals, providing energy to allow cells of the embryo to divide and grow, so the seedling can emerge.  Soaked seeds supply us with RNA molecular messaging of growth and repair.

Phytic acid, polyphenols, protein and starch digestibility (in vitro) in two varieties of soaked, dehulled and germinated cowpeas (black-eyed peas) were examined. Soaking for 12 hours, dehulling of soaked seeds and germination for different time periods (24, 36 and 48 hours) contributed significantly in reducing phytic acid and polyphenol content of cowpeas. Removal of seed coat (dehulling) of soaked cowpeas reduced binding polyphenols by 70-71%.  

Soaking for 12 hours brought about an improvement in protein and starch digestibility which further increased after dehulling. Progressive increase in digestibility (protein and starch) was noticed, with an increase in germination period.  Dehulling of soaked cowpeas was most effective in reducing polyphenolic content; and germination enhanced protein as well as starch digestibility.

A simple overnight soak of 7-8 hours is enough for most seeds, grain and nuts.  Most of the mineral-binding phytic acid is gone and so are most of the seed’s enzyme inhibitors (which also inhibit our pancreatic enzymes).  The aflatoxin present on most modern stored grains has disappeared.  Energy producing mitochondria are reassembled and revitalized.  However soaking seeds for 12-24 hours usually produces even superior results with development of up to ten times more ‘stem cell’ molecular messaging of embryonic growth and repair.

After hydration, oxygen usually becomes most important.  Under aerobic conditions, gibberellic acid (GA1)) activates alpha-amylase, a necessary step in rice germination.  Low oxygen conditions prevent germination in most species, which is probably due to alpha-amylase not being activated in starchy seeds.

In rice, activation of alpha-amylase still occurs under anoxic conditions, thereby allowing rice to germinate.   Rice has long been known to tolerate anoxic conditions; ‘Super Dwarf’ variety rice cultivar lacks 3ß-hydroxylase, the enzyme responsible for conversion of gibberellic acid 20 (GA20, inactive) to GA1 (active) and requires anoxia for full germination. This surprising finding makes ‘Super Dwarf’ rice an excellent crop for studies in microgravity (and suggests an alternative mechanism for gibberellic acid-mediated alpha-amylase activation).

Temperature influences cellular metabolic and growth rates, with rates doubling for every 10 degrees C within physiologic range.  

Different seeds germinate over a wide range of temperatures, with many preferring temperatures slightly higher than room-temperature while others that need a dormant cold period germinate just above freezing and others responding to alternation in temperature between warm to cool.  Some seeds germinate when the soil is cool 28-40F (-2 to 4C), while most germinate when the soil is warm 60-75F (16-24C) and some when the soil is even warmer 76-90F (24-32C).  Often, seeds have a set of temperature ranges where they will germinate and will not do so above or below this range.

Kimchi fermentation has much in common with sourdough development, and mirrors the early days of the seed culture process. Leuconostoc citreum plays a dominant role in the early and mid-phases of fermentation where it causes a slow and prolonged drop in pH, and retards the growth of other lactic acid bacteria.  In a study on sake fermentation, Leuconostoc citreum was found to produce bacteriocins (bacterially-produced antibiotic proteins) which inhibit the growth of beneficial lactobacilli.

Pineapple juice is a simple solution to this problem that many people encounter while trying to start a sourdough seed culture from scratch (or when soaking beans, seeds, nuts or grains). Oftentimes, a new culture will appear to start off very strong, only to die a day or two later. The early expansion is caused by a prolific gas-producing bacterium which many mistake for yeast. Acidic pineapple juice can be added to flour instead of water at the beginning, to insure against unwanted bacteria and the problems they leave in their wake.

Lowering the pH in the initial mixture, by adding ascorbic acid or by replacing the water with pineapple juice, keeps gas-producing bacteria from growing and brings about a timelier and predictable preparation (or germination) result.  Antibacterial acidic liquid increases the benefits derived from soaking grains.  Acidity helps to more quickly break down anti-nutrients and further predigests the grains.  Other acidic mediums are cultured buttermilk, apple cider vinegar, whey, yogurt and kefir as well as coconut kefir.  Use 1-2 tablespoons acidic medium per cup of water.

Germinated brown rice is a popular health food in Japan because of its higher available protein amounts and more complete amino acids (the building blocks of protein) compared to ordinary brown rice.  But what really excites people about germinated/malted brown rice is that it contains twice as much calming gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) as ordinary brown rice and ten times as much as white rice.  That is enticing since we now know that GABA protects our nerve tissues, helps build muscle, boosts immunity and inhibits development of cancer cells.

The GABA content of germinated brown rice eaten today would be even higher if so much GABA did not leach out while the rice is soaking in warm water (which has to be changed once or more times during the germination process to prevent of bacterial growth).

 Researchers theorize that soaking rice in green tea increases GABA in two ways: because of its higher osmotic pressure and because it is naturally antibacterial (thus eliminating the need to change water during germination).  One might suspect that the green tea also acts like a natural plant-growth stimulator (many Japanese pour leftover green tea on their houseplants and use old tea leaves as a garden fertilizer). Finally, brown rice germinated in green tea obviously absorbs tea polyphenols and other beneficial phytochemicals.

Soft corn polenta is both soaked to further reduce phytic acid, and “limed or “nixtamalized” to release its vital vitamin B3.  According to http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com, this process makes polenta very flavorful and super easy on the digestive system.  

Measure out one cup of alkaline lime water (saturated calcium hydroxide solution).  Avoid contact with the skin, as it can be irritating.  Mix with 2 cups polenta in a medium size bowl and let sit at room temperature, covered, for about 7 hours.

Then add the 1/4 cup of raw apple cider vinegar or other acidic choice (lemon juice, whey, buttermilk or yogurt).  Now leave for 12-24 hours. Start this the morning before you want to make this for dinner, to leave plenty of soaking time.

When you are ready to cook it up, in a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil. When hot, add a chopped onion. Cook and stir for a few minutes then add 6 cups of water/broth and 2-3 teaspoons salt.  Place the lid on and bring to a gentle boil.  Meanwhile add two cups of water/broth to the polenta mixture and stir to combine.

When the liquid is hot, add the polenta mixture to it, and bring it barely back to a boil, making sure to stir. Lower the heat and keep the polenta at a low simmer.  Remember to keep stirring every few minutes.  When it is getting quite thick and harder to stir you know it’s done (45 minutes or so). Turn off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Then ladle into bowls.

By soaking oatmeal overnight with a dash of lemon juice, not only do you reduce anti-nutrients, but your oatmeal will cook up in minutes in the morning. True instant oatmeal, done the old fashioned way!  Soaked oatmeal using lemon juice gives a much more mild taste. If you add ghee (or butter) and some honey and raisins to the bowl, it tastes like a normal bowl of oatmeal.  Add chia (sesame or flax) seeds to oatmeal (easily soaked overnight with the oats). This adds not only omega 3’s, protein and nutrition to our oatmeal, but interesting texture.

Soaking whole grains and flour overnight in a medium like cultured milk or warm acidulated water activates the enzyme phytase, which then more quickly neutralizes phytic acid. On the other hand, salt added to the soaking medium inhibits this process, so the time to add salt to porridges and batters is just before cooking, not during the soaking period.

Legumes are notoriously low in phytase.  Traditional methods of fermenting soy call for soaking and cooking and then fermenting.  After cooking, phytase levels will be even lower than in the raw bean and yet, the fermentation process is effective at reducing phytates.  Fermentation is a fool-proof method for breaking down phytates.

Almonds when soaked double in size (dry weight 1oz or 28grams/about 28 nuts) and supply 6grams of protein, 14 grams of almond oil and 3grams critical fiber.  Botanically, almonds are not nuts, but a fruit pit (like peaches, plums and apricots). 

That is why raw almonds are firmer than true nuts, like walnuts and pecans.  Dr. Bernard Jensen taught that almonds and other nuts are difficult to digest and yield but 10% of their total nutrition when dry and raw.  Dry also sends messaging of drought, with fat-preserving ‘survival signaling’ to our genes.

After two outbreaks of salmonella poisoning linked to unsustainable methods used on industrial-scale almond orchards, the Almond Board of California proposed mandatory sterilization of popular nuts.  (The board is the trade association for the almond industry; all of the almonds grown in the United States come from California's Central Valley).  U.S. Department of Agriculture agreed with the proposal, and a regulation was born. The only almonds that are exempt from the regulation are those that are exported and those sold directly to the public at farmers' markets and roadside stands.

The consumer and industry outcry about the new regulation stems from objections to the usual method of sterilizing almonds, fumigation using propylene oxide (PPO), a chemical classified by the U.S. EPA as a probable human carcinogen.   PPO is banned in the European Union, Canada, Mexico and many other countries.  However, with the blessing of the FDA and EPA, PPO has been used in the United States for decades to sterilize other nuts as well as spices and cocoa powder.  Some of the biggest almond growers in California have been using it to pasteurize their products for the past four years.

Two salmonella outbreaks (which sickened many, killed nobody, but created a costly corporate almond recall) triggered this onerous government regulation.  Salmonella was traced to one of the biggest almond producers, not to any of the smaller growers. 

Another important issue is the economic hardship the new regulation imposes on small growers.  The expense of pasteurization may force some of them out of business.  The equipment is expensive, or it adds time and cost to "farm out" the pasteurization process to bigger growers who own the equipment.  The growers who have not been sterilizing are the little guys, including small organic operators who sell raw almonds.  They have never had a reported problem.

Under the new regulation, which took effect on September 1, 2007, almonds sold as "raw" in the United States will have been pasteurized, not with PPO but ‘blanched’ with steam.  While this method certainly is preferable to using the chemical PPO, the question is whether steam-treated almonds can truthfully any longer be labeled as "raw." 

American consumers no longer have a choice to eat the almonds they want, because they are not being told that the almonds they are eating are pasteurized.  In fact, with government and big industry guidance, we are now being misled by false labeling that states that almonds are raw.

Soaking raw almonds overnight in mildly acidic water creates abundance ‘springtime’ messaging while increasing yield to 20%; when almonds are soaked and blended into nut milk yield becomes 40%.  Blend one cup nuts with one quart water for almond milk.  Double these nutritional yields again to 40% and 80% by allowing nuts to germinate 2 full days (2 ½ days germination plus a blender brings about almost 100% high quality protein availability).

One easy way is to soak nuts overnight (12-20 hours) discarding water; next day spread out moist nuts on a small wet terry cloth and roll up loosely.  Keep towel moist on a platter.  Almonds will sprout 3-4 days after soaking, and are optimally used on the second, third and fourth days.

Soaked chia (salba) seeds (a desert sage with dry weight 1 ounce or 2 tablespoonfuls) expand 9 times in volume almost instantly when whisked into water providing a useful healing and nutritious gel-rich insoluble fiber that provide 3grams high quality protein with almost 5grams of an excellent balance of essential fatty acids and 5grams of phenomenal fiber.

Chia seeds make the easiest and healthiest pudding.  Simply stir one part seeds to 3-4 parts flavorful liquid like coconut water or chocolate almond or hemp milk.  Stir again a few minutes later and wait a few hours. Chia is an excellent accompaniment to blended almonds.  Mix chia with oatmeal and soak overnight with home-made almond milk in the refrigerator for a sustaining raw or heated porridge in the morning.

An ounce of soaked flax seeds expands significantly overnight with beneficial gel and provides 5grams of protein, 12grams of essential oils along with 8grams fiber and even 9% of necessary iron.  Whole sprouting grains and their pigmented husks are filled with phytochemical messages of abundance and resilience to our genes. Blended soaked flax also tastes great with almond milk.

Each soaked seed or nut portion can be added to water, juice, coconut water kefir or goat yogurt and blended for a hearty breakfast or sustaining snack at any time.  The liver uses saturated fat to add to the digested protein molecule to make it assimilable.  Soaked seeds have the perfect combination of proteins and fats. 

A combination of seeds, such as sunflower, sesame, pumpkin, chia and flax can be soaked in pineapple juice.  Adding soaked seeds like alfalfa, sunflower, radish, mustard, lentil, mung bean and adzuki bean greatly enhances protein value of a meal.

Prior to cooking, rinse grains thoroughly in cold water until the water runs clear.  Strain them to remove any dirt or debris.  Quinoa should be rinsed thoroughly 2-3 times to remove its soapy saponin layer.  Teff, buckwheat and amaranth do not need to be rinsed prior to cooking.

Amaranth, a tiny, yellow seed was a substantial food source for the Aztecs. The gluten-free seeds are used in cereals or are ground and used for flour.  When Amaranth is cooked it has a crunchy, creamy texture, similar to that of cooked cornmeal.  The seeds can also be popped like popcorn or lightly toasted for a nutty flavor, the sign of increased stressful immune messaging from caramelization.  Use in breads, cakes, soups, hot cereals and grain dishes.

It is high in protein, particularly in the amino acid, lysine, which is low in unsprouted cereal grains.  In fact, Amaranth has the highest lysine content of all the grains in one study with quinoa coming in a close second.  One quarter cup serving (50grams) supplies about 7grams of both protein and of fiber.  Amaranth is rich is iron and calcium. It also contains small amounts of the B vitamins.

Preparation: grain to water ratio: 1 C to 3 C.  Combine rinsed grain and water; add a pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil and simmer 20-30 minutes is the standard recommendation, although soaking and then just simmering for a bit longer is likely superior.  Sprouted amaranth goes well in salads or prepared cereals.

Amaranth contains fairly high levels of poly-unsaturated fats.  It is a good idea to store the seeds in the refrigerator after opening the container.  For long term storage, package them with oxygen absorbers in an air-tight container which should extend storage life for several years if stored in a cool place.  Having a hard outer shell, amaranth should store better than quinoa or buckwheat which have similar nutritional qualities but have a softer, more permeable shell.

Amaranths can be divided according to their main uses: leafy Amaranths, grain Amaranths, decorative Amaranths and weeds.  The leaves of all Amaranths are edible hence are a vegetable.  In Jamaica (and Caribbean) amaranth is called Calaloo and used like spinach.

Barley grain can be found in a variety of forms, instant, pearled and unhulled.  The pearled barley, while quicker to cook than the unhulled variety, does not have the nutrient-rich germ or fiber-rich bran; this cooks in 15 minutes or so.  A serving is one quarter cup and provides 5 grams protein with 8 grams of fiber.  Most directions say: cook one cup unhulled barley in three cups water for 45 minutes (this creates scarcity messaging to your genes).  Soaking the barley overnight creates messaging of springtime and abundance to one’s genes and cuts down simmering time to 15-20 minutes.

Eating hulled barley on a regular basis provides many benefits.  It has the lowest glycemic index of any grain and lowers high blood cholesterol levels.  Barley protects against cancer because high soluble fiber helps speed food through the digestive tract, and because it is a good source of selenium, barley consumption significantly reduces risk to colon cancer.  It is a good source of niacin, a cardio-protective B vitamin, and it slows starch digestion, which helps keep blood sugar levels stable.

Immune-boosting beta-glucans occur in the bran of grasses such as barley, oats, rye and wheat, in amounts of about 7%, 5%, 2% and less than 1%, respectively.  In barley, it is evenly distributed through the endosperm.  Yeast and mushrooms also contain this fiber.  Glucans are polysaccharides made up of chains of glucose molecules.  Beta-glucans are considered to be water-soluble fiber in the diet and are non-digestible, due to the absence in the human body of an enzyme capable of hydrolyzing the beta-glycoside linkage.

Beta-glucans blunt the glycemic and insulin response, and have been used to enhance immunity, post-surgery recovery, reduce seasonal allergies and promote wound healing.  Beta-glucans have also been linked to reducing high blood pressure and inducing satiety thus encouraging weight loss.  In addition, beta-glucans have been linked to enhanced macrophage, B lymphocyte and suppressor T cell action, and increased non-specific-host resistance to a variety of bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic infections.

Moderate exercise has been associated with increased burst of neutrophils activity (number and function), whereas fatiguing exercise has been associated with no effect to diminished burst of neutrophils activity.  Consumption of beta-glucans seems to help offset the immunosupression of intense training.

 Beta glucans binds to receptor sites on neutrophils.  The result is that when neutrophils bind to tumors, beta glucans allows them to “see” immune-camouflaged cancer as if it were a yeast or fungal pathogen and provide a signal to trigger digestion of cancer cells by cellular immunity.  Beta glucans engages neutrophils in the fight against cancer, dramatically and synergistically enhancing the effectiveness of complement-activating cancer therapies.

Oral beta glucans significantly increases proliferation and activation of white blood cells called monocytes in peripheral blood of patients with advanced breast cancer, indicating enhanced immunity in the patients.  Monocytes are responsible for phagocytosis (ingestion) of foreign substances in the body, and are also capable of killing infected host cells and are therefore important in fighting infections.

Barley also provides high concentrations of tocotrienols, the "super" form of Vitamin E (usually thought of as only tocopherols), and provides lignins, phytochemicals that function as antioxidants.  Tocotrienols are not different from vitamin E; they are part of full spectrum natural vitamin E.  Tocotrienols (seed form of natural vitamin E) are indeed different from the widely known form of vitamin E alpha-tocopherol (green leaf form of vitamin E). 

 

Antagonism between tocopherols and tocotrienols is partly explained by the findings that bioavailability of tocotrienols is competitively minimized in the co-presence of large amounts of synthetic tocopherol.  That is why some studies have shown that taking large doses of synthetic standardized vitamin E shortens one’s life.

 

Women who consume lignins (also present in high levels in flaxseed) are less likely to develop breast cancer.  The identification of alpha-tocotrienol as a cholesterol genesis-inhibitory regulatory factor in barley was an early discovery highlighting the unique significance of tocotrienols in health and disease.  Cereals such as oat, rye and barley contain small amounts of tocotrienols in them.

 

Use barley in soups and puddings.  Overnight soaked barley seeds and lots of extra water, with a touch of vanilla and several cinnamon sticks, are traditionally (fresco de cebada) boiled in the morning, combined with sugar (try xylitol, agave nectar or honey) and berries or berry juice. Then blend, cool, refrigerate and enjoy a refreshing and sustaining drink all day.

Beets are frequently consumed either pickled or in borscht, the traditional Russian soup, and may be one reason behind their legendary long and healthy lives.  These colorful root vegetables contain powerful nutrient compounds that help protect against heart disease, birth defects and certain cancers, especially colon cancer. 

Beet juice is beneficial in the treatment of jaundice, hepatitis, nausea and vomiting due to biliousness, diarrhea and dysentery.  Adding a teaspoonful of lime juice to beet juice increases its medicinal value and it can be given as a liquid food.  Fresh beet juice mixed with a tablespoonful of honey taken every morning before breakfast helps the healing of gastric ulcer.

Beets are one of the most powerful vegetables available.  Beets are known for causing both stools and urine to turn red and if this happens do not be surprised.  Beets are best used in small amounts.  Start with 1-2 ounces of beet juice (approximately ½ a small beet or ¼ a large beet) to see how your body reacts before drinking larger quantities.  Both the roots and greens are powerful blood and kidney cleansers.  Drinking beet juice by itself is strong medicine.  Beet juice is best mixed with other vegetables and/or apple juice.  

Pure beet juice (from the bulb or greens) might temporarily paralyze vocal chords; create hives, increase heart rate or cause chills or a fever.  Beet tops are even more nutritious than the roots.  Beet greens (chard) contain significantly more iron, vitamin A, potassium and calcium than the roots. 

Best used immediately, red beet juice is associated with human blood and blood forming qualities.  Due to its high content of iron, it regenerates and reactivates red blood cells, supplies fresh oxygen to the body and helps the normal function of vesicular breathing i.e. normal breath sound.  Thus it is very useful in the treatment of anemia. 

Three hours after drinking 500ml of beet juice (2 cups or the equivalent of eating five medium-sized beetroots) there was a significant decrease in volunteers' blood pressure.  The blood pressure modulating effects were still noticeable 24 hours later.  Just ½ cup beet juiced with some tender beet leaves and immediately imbibed will contain 2 grams highest quality protein. 

Drinking beet juice is not the same as eating beets.  When you eat beets, there is plenty of natural vegetable fiber to bind nitrates and slow sugar absorption.

This "super-root” tends to lower blood pressure.  It has antioxidants in abundance, and is rich in iron, boron and folic acid.  Betacyanin, which gives it its deep color, is even more potent an antioxidant than most polyphenols.  Beet juice is an excellent solvent for inorganic calcium deposits, useful in the treatment of hypertension, arteriosclerosis, heart trouble and varicose veins.

The dilating mechanism is mediated by the formation of gaseous nitric oxide from nitrites.  Nitric oxide (NO) is a molecule used by the endothelial cells lining the surface of blood vessels to signal surrounding muscle to relax, leading to a reduction in blood pressure, reduced blood clotting and protection against myocardial infarction and strokes.  

Coexpression of eNOS, VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) and angiopoietin-1 results in more mature vascularization of connective tissue, and generates new arterioles as well as new capillaries.  Combining hemodynamic forces with growth factors provides a more physiological therapeutic approach than single growth factor administration.  

VEGF is part of a sub-family of cystine-knot growth factors including platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and placenta growth factor.  Cystine knots are the result of an unusual arrangement of six cysteine residues.  Cystine knot structures are found in nerve growth factor, tumor growth factor-beta, chorionic gonadotropin, luteinizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone and thyrotrophin (thyroid stimulating hormone) also contain subunits with a cystine knot structure. 

VEGF production is induced in cells that are not receiving enough oxygen.  When a cell is deficient in oxygen, it produces HIF, Hypoxia Inducible Factor, and a transcription factor which stimulates the release of VEGF, among other functions (including modulation of erythropoeisis).  Circulating VEGF then binds to VEGF receptors on endothelial cells, triggering a tyrosine kinase pathway leading to angiogenesis.

Generation of contractile microvessels (arteriogenesis) is required for the development of therapeutic angiogenic strategies.  This can be achieved by combining vascular growth factors (VEGF and angiopoietin-1) with eNOS over expression, providing extra messaging for neovascular gene therapy.
 

However, excessive production of NO can lead to efficiently feeding new tumors, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, hypertrophy of kidney glomeruli allowing proteinuria or the production of toxic oxidizing peroxynitrites, causing arterial injury or neuropathy leading to ‘brain on fire’ expressed as cognitive dysfunction, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.

The formation of reactive nitrogen species is not the usual consequence of synthesizing NO.  NO is efficiently removed by reacting with circulating oxyhemoglobin to form nitrate, which prevents even the highest rates of NO synthesis from directly reacting with oxygen to form significant amounts of nitrogen dioxide.  

However, the simultaneous activation of superoxide synthesis along with NO will completely transform the biological actions of NO by forming peroxynitrite.  Several enzyme complexes, such as NADPH oxidases (NADPHox) and xanthine oxidase (from pasteurized cow’s milk protein), can be activated in many cellular systems to actively produce large amounts of superoxide.

What happens when superoxide and NO are produced simultaneously in close proximity? Modestly increasing superoxide and NO each at a 10-fold greater rate will increase peroxynitrite formation by 100-fold.  Under proinflammatory conditions, simultaneous production of superoxide and NO can be strongly activated to increase production 1,000-fold, which increases peroxynitrite formation by a 1,000,000-fold. 

Without superoxide, the formation of nitrogen dioxide by the reaction of NO with oxygen is miniscule by comparison. However, NO and superoxide do not even have to be produced within the same cell to form peroxynitrite, because NO can so readily move through membranes and between cells.

In one study, animals under the double stress of chemically induced colon cancer and high cholesterol were divided into two groups.  One group received a diet high in beet fiber while the other served as control.  The beet fiber-fed animals rose to the challenge by increasing their activity of two antioxidant enzymes in the liver, glutathione peroxidase and glutathione-S-transferase. 

The liver is the body's primary detoxification organ where toxic substances are broken down and eliminated, a process that generates a lot of free radicals.  Glutathione peroxidase and glutathione-S-transferase are bodyguards for white blood cells and liver cells, protecting them from free radical attack, so they can continue to protect us.

Animals fed beet fiber had an increase in their number of colonic CD8 cells, special immune cells responsible for detecting and eliminating abnormal cells.  With the increased surveillance provided by these additional CD8 cells, the animals given beet fiber had fewer pre-cancerous changes. 

The cellulose content of the beet acts as a bulk residue, encouraging growth of beneficial bacteria; it increases peristalsis and regular use prevents constipation.  A decoction of beet root is highly valuable in treating chronic constipation and hemorrhoids.

Nitrate is a salt of nitric acid, and is an essential plant nutrient for building protein found in soil that is taken in by plants and used as their primary nitrogen source.  Excessive nitrogen from dietary animal protein can stress and overload detoxification systems, leading to tooth decay, gout or accumulation of toxic ammonia (with its characteristic cat urine smell). 

Nitrate is also a natural part of all vegetables, fruits and cereals, but richer in modern foods because of use of nitrogen in fertilizers.  Nitrate can be converted to nitrite, a chemical substance within the body created by the digestion of foods containing nitrite (fish, meat and poultry preservatives) or nitrate.  

Nitrate is a normal component of the human diet, with the average daily intake from all sources estimated at 75 milligrams (mg), or about 0.0026 ounce.  Upon ingestion, about 5% of the nitrate taken in by healthy adults is converted (reduced) to nitrite by the digestive bacterial biofilm. 

Certain conditions in the stomach can increase the conversion of nitrate to nitrite, specifically when the pH of the gastric fluid is high enough (above pH5) to favor the growth of nitrate-reducing bacteria.  This process is of major concern for infants, whose gastrointestinal systems normally have lower binding fiber and a higher pH than those of adults.  

 

Nitrites in the stomach can react with food proteins to form N-nitroso compounds, which can also be produced when meat containing nitrites or nitrates is cooked, particularly using high heat.  While these compounds are proven carcinogenic in test animals, evidence is ‘inconclusive’ regarding their potential to cause cancer (such as stomach cancer) in humans.

Nitrosamines are cancer-causing compounds produced by bacteriain the stomach from chemicals called nitrites, especially if one is taking an acid-blocker.  Cured meats, such as bacon, sausage, luncheon meats and cured hams, are high in nitrites, which are added to meat products as a preservative, an anti-microbial agent and a color fixative. 

Nitrosamines are reactive at the cellular level, altering gene expression and causing DNA damage.  The cellular alterations that occur as a result of nitrosamine exposure create a process much like accelerated aging in the body and that could spur on the development of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Nitrates can be oxidized and evolve to reactive nitrogen species (peroxynitrites) that may cause damage to the lungs, producing structural changes resembling emphysema.  Consuming more than 14 or more cured meat products per month causes a 93% increase in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Children who eat hot dogs once a week actually double their risk to brain tumor.  Kids eating more than twelve hot dogs a month have nearly ten times the risk of leukemia as children who eat none.  Children who eat processed meats like bacon, hot dogs and sausage are 74% more likely to develop leukemia than those who avoid processed meats and eat more vegetables. 

However, hot-dog-eating children taking supplemental vitamins have a reduced risk of cancer.  Vitamin C helps counteract harmful byproducts (nitrosamines) of heating and eating nitrites.

Phenolic acids reduce the formation of cancer-promoting nitrosamines from dietary nitrates and nitrites.  Cranberry juice is rich in phenolic acids, which reduce adherence of bacteria to teeth and the cells lining bladders and tubes everywhere (reducing kidney, bladder and urinary tract infections, sinus and throat infections as well as dental caries.

Sweetening reduces the anti-adhesion properties of phenolic acids.  Phenolic acids reduce oxidation of LDL cholesterol.  The most important phenolic compounds in grapes (red wine, grape juice, raisins) are proanthocyanidins, resveratrol, ellagic acid and chlorogenic acid.

The primary polyphenol found in flesh of grapes and concentrated in white grape juice, hydroxycinnamic acids (also major phenolic acids in blueberries and blackberries) are a superset of phenolic acids which includes p-coumaric, caffeic and ferulic acid (major phenolic acids in blueberries and blackberries).  Ferulic acid is abundant in cell walls of seeds of brown rice, whole wheat and oats and rich in apple, artichoke, orange, peanut and pineapple. 

 Ferulic acid is precursor to vanillin and is antioxidant and anticancer, exhibiting antitumor activity in breast and liver cancer.  Vanillin (primary extract from vanilla bean) is antimutagenic and antioxidant, inhibits carcinogenesis, is anti-inflammatory (inhibits peroxynitrite) and inhibits double-strand DNA breaks.  Cinnamic acid (phenyl acrylic acid) provides oil of cinnamon's characteristic odor and flavor.  It has antibacterial, antifungal and antiparasitic properties.  Cinnamic acid is building block for lignans.

Potassium nitrate (saltpeter) has been the salt historically used for curing meats.  However, sodium nitrite alone, or in combination with nitrate, has largely replaced the straight nitrate cure.  These curing ingredients are required to achieve the characteristic flavor, color and stability of cured meat.  Nitrate and nitrite are converted to nitric oxide by microorganisms and combine with the meat pigment myoglobin to give the cured meat red color.  More importantly, nitrite provides protection against the growth of fungus and botulism-producing organisms and acts to retard rancidity and stabilize the flavor of cured meat.

The blood pressure lowering effect of beet (beetroot) juice is due to the nitrite that is formed from nitrate in the beets by the action of bacteria naturally present in the digestive system.  Nitrite becomes nitric oxide (NO) through action of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) which causes blood vessels (and all other ducts and tubes of the body) to dilate, lowering blood pressure or engorging erectile tissues.  NO also boosts peroxisomal and mitochondrial biogenesis.

Penile erection during sexual stimulation is caused by increased penile blood flow resulting from the relaxation of penile arteries and the smooth muscle of the corpus cavernosum.  This response is mediated by the release of nitric oxide (NO) from nerve terminals and endothelial cells, which stimulates the synthesis of cGMP in smooth muscle cells.  Cyclic GMP relaxes smooth muscle and increases blood flow to the corpus cavernosum.

The inhibition of phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) enhances erectile function by increasing the amount of cGMP.  Sildenafil (Viagra) and vardenafil (Levitra), and tadalafil (Cialis) all work by inhibiting PDE5; tadalafil’s pharmacologic distinction is its longer half-life (17.5 hours), versus Viagra (4–5 hours) and Levitra (4–5 hours), so it works longer. 

Since PDE5 inhibitors such as Cialis may cause transiently low blood pressure (hypotension), organic nitrates should not be taken for at least 48 hours after taking the last dose of tadalafil.  Using organic nitrites (such as the sex drug amyl nitrite) within this timeframe may also increase the risk of fainting or life-threatening hypotension.

NO signaling is deceptively simple.  In nearly immeasurable quantities, NO stimulates soluble guanylate cyclase to produce cGMP, which in turn affects intracellular calcium levels as a basic switch to modulate many cellular activities, including the eccentric muscle contraction that creates vasodilation.  

What is often lost in the textbook rendition of NO signaling is how it’s extremely diffusive nature is compared with other signaling molecules and NO’s moderate half-life allows it to coordinate and integrate physiological responses within small clusters of cells within tissues over time.

A crucial aspect of NO signaling is to act as a shock absorber to dampen physiological responses to prevent parasitic oscillations from overwhelming complex control systems.  Its diffusive nature also allows NO to act as a retrograde neuromessenger that can transiently affect thousands of synapses within specific areas (of the brain).

Excessive stimulation of this system, such as by combining a male potency pill with a blood pressure pill may in the short term may cause fainting or priapus, but in the long term can create excessive oxidative stress through the unbridled production of peroxynitrites.  

In those with stress syndromes, such combinations have led to peripheral neuropathy with resultant retinal damage and even blindness.  In May 2005, the FDA found that tadalafil (along with other PDE5 inhibitors) was associated with vision impairment related to NAION (non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy) in certain patients taking these drugs in the post-marketing setting. 

The most common side effects when using tadalafil are headache, indigestion, back pain, muscle aches, flushing and stuffy or runny nose.  Side effects reflect the ability of PDE5 inhibition to dilate blood vessels and usually go away after a few hours.  Back pain and muscle aches can occur 12- 24 hours after taking the drug, and the symptom usually disappears after about 48 hours. 

In October 2007, the FDA announced that the labeling for all PDE5 inhibitors, including tadalafil, requires a more prominent warning of the potential risk of sudden hearing loss as the result of post-marketing reports of deafness associated with use of PDE5 inhibitors.

NO is mostly removed by reacting with oxyhemoglobin to form nitrate, with only a small fraction being oxidized by heme proteins.  NO is the one molecule produced in high enough concentrations and reacts fast enough to competitively react with endogenous SOD (superoxide dismutase) for superoxide.  Nitric oxide reacts rapidly with superoxide to form the potent free radical peroxynitrite.  

Cells can be activated to produce large amounts of superoxide by specific NADPH oxidases and other enzymatic sources.  Because the rate of peroxynitrite formation rises 100-fold for each 10-fold increase in superoxide and NO production, the production of superoxide offers a dynamic mechanism to redirect NO from being a signaling molecule to an important component of host-defense and innate immunity.

This primary peroxynitrite weapon of the immune system is usually tightly controlled within the peroxisomes of white blood cells.  Unbuffered peroxynitrites may produce a number of types of tissue damage, including free radical damage to the mitochondria (energy producing organelles within cells) and to cell membranes through oxidative chain reactions.  Adequate recycled reduced glutathione from precursors and fresh organic foods is the key to quickly quenching peroxynitrites.

Extreme caution must be exercised in adding nitrate or nitrite to meat, since these ingredients tend to be toxic to humans.  In using these materials never use more than called for in the recipe.  A little is enough. 

Potassium nitrate can cause gastroenteritis (violent stomach ache), low blood pressure, anemia, kidney disease as well as general weakness and torpor.  It also has an alarmingly depressive effect on the heart.  Potassium nitrate and other nitrates do successfully combat high blood pressure and are used medically to relieve angina and cold vasoconstrictive migraine.  Potassium nitrate is also used in dental cements and toothpastes to instantly desensitize hypersensitive teeth.

Nitrates themselves are relatively nontoxic.  However, when swallowed, especially if one has low stomach acid, opportunistic bacteria convert nitrates to nitrites that can react with circulating hemoglobin, oxidizing its divalent iron to the trivalent form and creating methemoglobin.  

 

Methemoglobin cannot bind oxygen, which decreases the capacity of the blood to transport oxygen so less oxygen is transported from lungs to body tissues, causing methemoglobinemia. 

 

Normal individuals have low levels (0.5-2%) of methemoglobin in their blood.  When this level increases to 10%, the skin and lips can take on a bluish tinge (cyanosis) and levels above 25% can cause weakness and a rapid pulse.  At levels above 50-60%, a person can lose consciousness, go into a coma and die.  

 

Infants are much more sensitive than adults to nitrates/nitrites.  Essentially all deaths from nitrate/nitrite poisoning have been in infants.  Long-term exposure to nitrates and nitrites can cause diuresis (an increase in the excretion of urine, and starchy deposits or hemorrhaging in the spleen).

 

Nitrates are found naturally in spinach, eggplant, beets, lettuce, turnip greens, green beans, carrots, radishes, celery and collards.  Most babies’ livers are well enough developed by 9 months of age to handle purees of these wonderful fiber-rich and nitrate-rich foods. 

 

Nitrogen in chemical fertilizers oxidizes into nitrates that these plants absorb.  These nitrates cause part of the bitter flavor associated with some greens such as collards.  Organic vegetables contain significantly less nitrates because natural compost is used to fertilize the soil. 

 

Organic vegetables are also richer in polyphenols, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.  Nitrate fears should not be used as an excuse to avoid them, since their fibers safely sequester nitrites.  It is, however, one more reason to vote organic with your food-purchasing dollar.

Beet juice is a potent inhibitor of cell mutations caused by nitrites.  It is beetroot's capacity to absorb and store exceptionally high levels of nitrate that really earns it the super-root title.  Nitrates are nitrogenous nutrients found in soil which all plants need to build protein, and which the body uses to modulate blood pressure. 

Compounds such as urate and many plant polyphenols are protective by acting as alternative targets for destructive tyrosine nitration.  Aside from avoidance of purine foods, both accumulated copper and low vitamin B2 can exacerbate low uric acid levels, which in turn may lead to myelin degeneration seen in multiple sclerosis 

Both urate (uric acid) and ascorbate (ascorbic acid) are strong reducing agents (electron donors) and potent antioxidants.  In humans, about half the antioxidant capacity of plasma comes from uric acid.  Elevated uric acid is a natural response to and protects against increased titers of inflammatory chemistry. 

Plasma uric acid decreases after consumption of coffee, red wine polyphenols, concentrated apple or pomegranate polyphenols or polyphenols-rich cherry consumption (which supports the storied anti-gout effect of cherries).

Uric acid is the final oxidation product of
purine catabolism.  Purines are found in high amounts in animal food products, especially internal organs.  High purine sources include: sweetbreads, anchovies, sardines, liver, beef kidneys, brains, meat extracts, herring, mackerel, scallops, game meats and gravy. 

Excess purine consumption (especially with plenty of added fructose) might lead to gout.  Moderate amounts of purine are found in beef, pork, poultry, fish and seafood, asparagus, cauliflower, spinach, mushrooms, green peas, lentils, dried peas, beans, oatmeal, wheat bran and wheat germ.  Uric acid in urine may dry in baby's diaper to form a harmless pinkish powder.

People whose diets supplied the highest average intake of choline and its metabolite betaine (found naturally in vegetables such as beets, spinach and whole wheat), have levels of inflammatory markers at least 20% lower than folks with the lowest average intakes. 

Choline and its metabolites are needed for three main physiological purposes: structural integrity and signaling roles for cell membranes, cholinergic neurotransmission (acetylcholine synthesis helps memory), and as a major source for methyl groups via its metabolite, trimethylglycine (betaine) that participates in the S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe) synthesis pathways (to make happy brain chemistry and recycle glutathiones). 

Foods richest in phosphatidyl choline, the major delivery form of choline, are egg yolks, krill  oil, soybeans and cooked beef, chicken, veal and turkey livers.

When they receive a high dose of choline, some people with at least one copy of a mutated detoxification gene (FMO3) excrete high levels of smelly trimethylamine in their urine.  When choline is metabolized by the body or dysbiotic (unfavorable) bacteria in the gut, it may form trimethylamine, a compound with a fishy odor.  When large amounts of choline are taken, one person in a hundred might suffer from fishy body odor. 

Indole-3-carbinol, found in broccoli and other dark green vegetables, helpful for acne or breast cysts by aiding elimination of androgenic hormones also blocks the function of the enzyme system that breaks down trimethylamine.  Indole-3-carbinole, which inhibits FMO3 and its relatives, also seems to increase the effectiveness in mice of the pain medication codeine, by slowing its detoxification. 

Along with its anti-hypertensive effects, high levels of nitrates in beetroot juice work like vitamins C and E and anthocyanadins (reducing most health risks) or aspirin (which causes increased risk to hospitalization and death) does to prevent blood clots, and help to protect the lining of blood vessels.

Brazil nuts are particularly healthy due to their high selenium content, which helps make their protein content "complete".  Brazil nuts' proteins contain all the necessary amino acids to foster optimal growth in humans (in the same way as proteins from animal products do).

Brazil nuts mostly come from wild trees (towering to 100-150 feet) growing in rain forests of the Amazon basin.  The fruit is a large, woody capsule, resembling a coconut without husk.  Inside is a hard pod containing 12-20 nuts, arranged like segments of an orange in a fibrous bed.  Shelling is mostly manual.  Nuts are soaked for 24 hours, and dipped in boiling water for 3-5 minutes to soften the shell before cracking it open.  Shells and bad kernels are used as fuel to dry the nuts.

Selenium powerfully supports glutathione, antioxidant linked to lower rates of cancer and heart disease. Brazil nuts are also a very good source of zinc.  Both zinc and selenium are viral ‘birth control’, as well as being essential to digestion and metabolism.

Brazil nuts can be of particular use in the vegetarian diet as an added source of protein.  Eight medium Brazil nuts count as one serving (30 grams) and provide 4.1 grams protein.  These nuts contain high amounts of healthy oils.

Cashew nuts are actually kidney-shaped seeds that adhere to the bottom of the cashew apple, the fruit of the cashew tree, a mango relative which is native to the coastal areas of northeastern Brazil.  Since cashew apple fruit do not ship well they are not appreciated in the United States, but are regarded as delicacies in Brazil and the Caribbean, and often juiced.

Cashews are always sold shelled because the interior of the shells contains a caustic resin, known as cardol or cashew balm, which must be carefully removed before the nuts are fit for consumption.  This valuable caustic resin is actually used in industry to make medicines, varnishes and insecticides.

There are two ways to remove the cashew shell, the inside fluid and the thin brown skin. Washing the raw nut in a water bath and storing it in moist heaps or silos for 12 hours makes the shells brittle as long as they maintain 7-10% humidity.  The shell will rupture and liberate cardol fluid.  The older method is to roast the whole nut in shallow pans over an open charcoal fire with constant agitation.  The process was used in native marketplaces and was dangerous and disagreeable.  Shells burst, spurting the caustic fluid and releasing clouds of acrid fumes which blistered the skin.  At the same time, the heat caused the caustic fluid to dissipate.

Modern extraction methods put the nuts in a large perforated cylinder which rotates at a declining angle above the heat.  As the nut travels down through the roasting cylinder, toxic liquid flows from the shell and is collected in troughs and commercially sold.  Some kernels get scorched because they become overheated near the bottom of the pile.  These become second and third grades in quality.  As the nuts emerge from their journey, they are water sprayed and set aside to cool and dry.  Whole sizes cost more than pieces.  The top grades and highest quality of cashews are whole (least likely to be stale) and the whitest.

‘Raw’ cashews have already been heated and will become slimy if soaked in brine longer than 4-6 hours (2 teaspoonfuls Himalayan salt per quart water).  Their enzymes have already been destroyed by heating, so they may be dried and lightly toasted for enhanced digestibility more quickly (12-24 hours) in a 200-250 degree oven.  Try adding some sweetener and hot peppers to the brine for crispy hot spicy cashews.

Cashew nuts are significant sources of iron (essential for red blood cell function and enzyme activity), magnesium (promotes energy release and bone growth), phosphorus (builds bones and teeth), zinc (essential to digestion and metabolism) and selenium (has important antioxidant properties, thus protecting the body from cancer).  Cashews are also good sources of protein, supplying 4 1/3 grams protein per ounce.

Not only do cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts, approximately 75% of their fat is unsaturated fatty acids, plus about 75% of this unsaturated fatty acid content is oleic acid, the same heart-healthy monounsaturated fat found in olive oil.  In diabetic patients monounsaturated fat, when added to a low-fat diet, can help reduce high triglyceride levels.

Cashew nuts also contain significant amounts of phytochemicals with antioxidant properties that protects the body from cancer and heart disease.  Cashews are among a small number of foods that contain measurable amounts of oxalates, naturally-occurring substances found in plants, animals, and human beings. When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems. For this reason, individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating cashews.

Carrot has a thick, fleshy, deeply colored root, which grows underground, and feathery green leaves that emerge above ground.  It is known scientifically as Daucus carota, a name that can be traced back to ancient Roman writings of the 3rd century. Carrots belong to the Umbelliferae family along with parsnips, fennel caraway, cumin and dill which all have the umbrella-like flower clusters that characterize this family of plants.  Rich in nutrients, carrot is ‘poor man’s ginseng’.

Carrot juice is king of vegetable juices containing 1.1 grams protein per 100 grams (3 ½ ounces).  It contains much beta-carotene, B vitamins, potassium, calcium, cobalt and other mineral substances.  Glutathione (GSH), another natural antioxidant, may also be important in blood pressure and glucose homeostasis, consistent with the involvement of free radicals in both essential hypertension and diabetes mellitus.  Glutathione improves liver detoxification by binding to toxins and neutralizing their harmful effects.   All this makes carrot juice especially wholesome for children and people with weak immunity and problem skin.

Beta-carotene as a precursor to vitamin A is very good for sight.  However, one best eats some fat food right after drinking carrot juice, this way carotenes are assimilated better and glycemic load is reduced.  Salad, seasoned with vegetable oil is the best variant.

Don’t drink carrot juice excessively, especially if you like mamey, mango, papaya and oranges.  Excess beta-carotene overloads liver and skin can gain sallow yellow tone.  Drink no more than ½ quart of carrot juice per day. One half glassful is enough for vitamin prophylaxis.  Fresh carrot juice is contra-indicated for those with peptic ulcer and acute diarrhea conditions.  Carrots possess strong antiseptic qualities; can be used as a laxative, worm expelling agent and poultice and for the treatment of liver conditions.  Carrots contain cholesterol-lowering pectin.  Two carrots a day may lower cholesterol 10-20%.

Cassava is different from sweet potatoes.  The level of protein in cassava lags far behind the levels found in rice, wheat and tuber crops.  An adult consuming 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of cassava has to ingest 52 grams of protein from other sources to obtain the U.S. recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 65 grams protein per adult.  In contrast, to the 13 grams of cassava protein, 1 kilogram of wheat supplies 121 grams of protein and rice, 61- 64 grams of protein.

If protein intake is more than adequate for both general metabolic requirements and cyanide elimination, toxic effects are lessened or even eliminated, even if cassava is improperly processed. (Fatal poisoning can result from ingestion of large amounts of unprocessed or poorly processed high-cyanogen cassava.) The lack of sulfur protein in cassava roots creating weak detoxification (due to low glutathione) is probably responsible for most non-fatal cases of cyanide poisoning associated with cassava.

Yucca, as cassava is called in Cuba, is a staple of Cuban cuisine.  As in other Caribbean islands it is ground up and made into round shaped flat bread called casaba.  As a side dish it can be boiled, covered with raw onion rings and sizzling garlic infused olive oil. It is also boiled then cut into strips and fried to make "yucca frita" (similar toxicity to French fries).  Yucca is also one of the main ingredients in a traditional Cuban vegetarian stew called "Ajiaco", along with potatoes, malanga, boniato (sweet potato), plantain, yams, corn and other vegetables.

In Colombia, cassava is widely known as yucca among its people.  In the interior, it is used mainly in the preparation of Sancocho (a kind of rich soup) and other soups.  "Bollo de yucca" is a dough made of ground yucca that is wrapped in aluminum foil and then boiled, and is served with butter and cheese. "Enyucado" is a dessert made of ground boiled yucca, anise, sugar, and sometimes guava jam.  In the Caribbean region of Colombia it is also eaten roasted, fried or boiled with soft homemade cheese or cream cheese and mainly as support of fish dishes.

Cassava is processed into either fine dried flakes or, more commonly, small hard white spheres or "pearls" that are soaked before use.  These spheres are a common ingredient in Southeast Asian desserts, in puddings such as tapioca pudding, and in Taiwanese drinks such as Bubble Tea, or Boba Milk Tea where they provide a chewy contrast to the sweetness of the drink. Cassava flour (tapioca flour or tapioca starch) is commonly used as a food thickener.

Chia seeds (Salvia columbariae) are called chilla or salba seeds, Chia sage or California chia.  Chia is a variety of sage that grows in dry disturbed soil below 6,000 feet elevation.  Its seeds were an important part of Native Americans diet.  In the Mayan language, the word for Chia means "strength".  Chia seeds are rich in nutrients; so much so that a single teaspoon full could sustain a person for a whole day of travel.  Native Americans made much use of this quality. 

The key trait which defines the genus Salvia is the unusual pollination mechanism which consists of only two stamens (instead of four as in other plants in the tribe Mentheae).  The two stamens are connected in such as way as to form a lever which causes pollen to be deposited on the pollinator.

Seeds may be eaten raw as a dietary fiber and omega-3 supplement.  Grinding chia seeds produces a meal called pinole, which can be made into porridge or cakes.  The soaked seeds are gelatinous in texture and are used in gruels, porridges and puddings.  Ground chia seed is used in baked goods including breads, cakes and biscuits.  Chia seeds are typically small ovals with a diameter of about one millimeter.  They are mottle-colored with brown, gray, black and white.  Salba seeds are simply a white hybrid.

Chia seeds soaked in water or fruit juice is often consumed and is known in Nicaragua as fresco de chilla.  Chia seeds almost instantly soak and expand and add pleasant gel and texture, as well as protein, fiber and essential fatty acids to any juice. Chilla de tamarindo is a favorite.

Chia seeds typically contain 20% protein, 34% oil, 25% dietary fiber (mostly soluble with high molecular weight), and significant levels of antioxidants (chlorogenic and caffeic acids, myricetin, quercitin and kaempferol flavonols).  The oil from chia seeds contains a very high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, approximately 64%.  Chia seeds contain no gluten and but trace levels of sodium.  Chia has no known toxic components.

As a source of protein, soaked chia, after ingestion, is digested and absorbed very easily.  This results in rapid transport to the tissue and utilization by cells.  This efficient assimilation makes chia very effective when rapid development of tissue takes place, especially during rapid growth periods of children and adolescents.  It is also helpful for the growth and regeneration of tissue during pregnancy and lactation, and this would also include regeneration of muscle tissue for conditioning, athletes and weight lifters.

Chia sprouts are used in a similar manner to alfalfa sprouts in salads, sandwiches and other dishes.  Chia sprouts are sometimes grown on a porous clay figurine which has led to the popular (U.S.) cultural icon of the Chia Pet.

One can use chia as a food extender and calorie displacer:  The optimum ratio of water to seed, for most recipes, is 9 parts water to 1 part seed.  One pound if seed will make 10 pounds of chia gel.  This is the most unique structural quality of chia seed.  The seed’s hydrophilic (water absorbing) saturated cells hold the water, so when it is mixed with foods, it displaces calories and fat without diluting flavor.  Because Chia gel displaces, it creates more surface area and can actually enhance flavor rather than dilute it.  Chia gel also functions as a fat replacer for many recipes.

To make chia gel (9to1 ratio): put water in a sealable plastic container and slowly pour seed into water while briskly mixing with a wire whisk.  This process will avoid clumping of the seed.  Wait a couple of minutes, whisk again and let stand for 5-10 minutes.  Whisk again before using or storing in refrigerator (Gel will keep up to 2 weeks). You can add this mix to jams, jellies, hot or cold cereals, yogurts, mustard, catsup, tartar sauce or BBQ sauce.  Add the gel, between 50%- 75% by volume, to any of the non-bake mentioned foods, mix well and taste.  You will notice a very smooth texture with the integrity of the flavor intact.

In addition to adding up to 50% to 75% more volume to the foods used, you have displaced calories and fat by incorporating an ingredient that is 90% water, with soluble fiber, essential oils, protein and beneficial lignin messaging.  Use as a fat replacer, for energy and endurance, or for added great taste, by substituting the oil in your breads with Chia gel.  Top your favorite bread dough before baking with Chia gel (for topping on baked goods, breads, cookies, piecrust, etc., reduce the water ration to 8 parts water to 1 part Chia seed) for added shelf life.

Chia was also used by the Indians and missionaries as a poultice for gunshot wounds and other serious injuries.  They would pack wounds with Chia seeds to avoid infections and promote healing.  If you place a seed or two in your eyes it will clean your eyes and will also help to clear up any eye infections.

The foods we eat, in the raw state, consist largely of hydrophilic colloids.  However, cooking precipitates colloids.  This change in the colloidal state alters the hydration capacity of foods so as to interfere with the chyme’s ability to absorb digestive juices.  If we were to eat a raw diet, it would supply enough hydrophilic colloid to our diet.  Uncooked foods contain sufficient hydrophilic colloid to keep gastric mucosa in the proper condition.

Even raw foods must first be partially broken down by the digestive juices, beginning in the mouth and continuing through the upper tract, to allow the gelatinous reaction to take place. Because of this upper tract digestive process, those who suffer from slow digestion, gas formation, relaxed cardiac sphincter and heartburn in which the burning is due to organic acids instead of an excess of the normal hydrochloric acid, which frequently accompanies chronic inflammatory disease affecting such organs as the heart, lungs, gall bladder and appendix, are usually restricted from eating raw foods.

A hydrophilic colloid incorporated with these foods may be used either in conjunction with regular food or with whatever diet is best suited for the patient.  The patient with gastric atony or nervous indigestion who complains of heartburn and/or vomiting 4-5 hours after eating is often helped.  There is a lessening of emptying time if the stomach and an improvement in gastric tone.   A strict dietary regimen is not as necessary when chia’s hydrophilic gel is present.

Chia’s hydrophilic colloidal properties aid the digestion of foods contributing to a sour stomach, and the eater’s suffering as a result.  Even with historic sensitivity to certain foods, they may be now tolerated with slight discomfort or none at all, if a hydrophilic colloid is part of the diet.  Those who have positive effects on their digestion in the upper portion of the gastrointestinal tract from pureeing foods may also find benefits from hydrophilic colloids from chia and other small seeds like flax, sesame and fenugreek.  This may lead to eliminating the necessity for pureeing.  Even raw vegetables, green salads and fruits, which are typically largely restricted, may often be freely enjoyed by these patients with little or no discomfort after a short time.

Coconut Water  In Sanskrit, the coconut palm is known as kalpa vriksha, meaning "tree which gives all that is necessary for living," since nearly all parts of the tree can be used in some manner or another. The coconut itself has many food uses, including milk, meat, sugar and oil as well as functioning as its own dish and cup. The husk was also burned for fuel by natives, but today a seed fiber called coir is taken from the husk and used to make brushes, mats, fishnets, and rope. A very potent fermented drink is also made from the coconut palm's sap. Coconut oil, a health promoting saturated fat made from dried coconut meat, is used for frying and in candies and margarines, as well as in non-edible products such as soaps and cosmetics.

The coconut's name is a bit of a misnomer, since it is botanically classified as a drupe and not a nut. It is the largest seed known. When you open a fresh coconut, you see the thin, opaque almost clear coconut juice or water which has a slight almond flavor.  Contrary to popular belief, this is not coconut milk.  However, the water is consumed as a drink fresh from the coconut by many, and it can also be used in recipes.

Coconut water is a natural isotonic beverage, with the same level of electrolyte balance as we have in our blood. It's the fluid of life.  During the Pacific War of 1941-45, both sides in the conflict regularly used coconut water, siphoned directly from the nut, to give emergency plasma transfusions to wounded soldiers.

Most coconut water is still consumed fresh in tropical coastal areas.  Once exposed to air, the liquid rapidly loses much of its taste, color, smell, texture and nutritional characteristics, and begins to ferment.  Coconut water is more nutritious than whole milk. Coconut water is healthier than orange juice, with fewer calories. 

Coconut water is more sustaining than processed baby milk formula.  It contains lauric acid, which is present in human mother's milk.  Instead of formula, try ½ coconut water with ½ carrot juice.  Alternatives might be sprouted sunflower seed milk or sprouted almond milk with a little sweetener.  Add some molasses for constipation (firm and chunky stool) or add ½ teaspoon of carob to 4 ounces liquid to treat baby’s loose bowels.

Most hospitals and birthing centers give out free infant formula to new mothers; a practice that implicitly discourages breastfeeding.  Other common negative practices include separating mothers from newborns in the hospital and supplementing the diets of healthy, breastfed infants with nutrients from other sources, including formula.  ‘Baby friendly' practices are not as prevalent as would be ideal."

The American Academy of Pediatrics (a mouthpiece for the dishonest vaccine industry) does recommend that infants be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life, and that breastfeeding continue at least until the first birthday, even as other foods are introduced.  Others authorities recommend up to two years or longer as the ideal goal.  Breastfeeding has been strongly linked to improved immune health in children and to a decreased risk of allergies, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. Breastfeeding may also boost intelligence and decrease the risk of cancer later in life for both infant and mother.

Coconut water is naturally sterile.  Water permeates though the filtering husk! Coconut water is a universal donor, being identical to human blood plasma.  Coconut water is a natural isotonic beverage, with the same salt level we have in our blood. Coconut water has saved many lives in 3rd world countries through coconut water IV.

Many use coconut water as a heart tonic or to improve sexual vitality.  If suffering with bladder infections, or kidney or urethral stones, consuming coconut water only 2-3 times per week often results in significant reduction in stone size and expulsion, eliminating need for surgery.

A major benefit of coconut water is that it is especially rich in special molecules called cytokines, which help protect and regulate cells as they undergo cell mitosis or division, thereby probably protecting against cancer.  Cytokines also play a part in boosting immunity and anti-aging (used for age spots, wrinkles, sagging and dry skin).  Portions of plants deprived of cytokines age faster than normal.  If additional cytokines are added to plants, normal aging is retarded.  Plant hormone kinetin delays the onset of many cellular and biochemical characteristics associated with cellular ageing in cultured human cells.  Natural sources of kinetin related cytokines are at very high levels in coconut water or milk; all germinating seeds and growing plant tips.

 Coconut water is the very stuff of nature; biologically pure, full of natural sugars, salts, and vitamins to ward off fatigue; and being the best rehydrator is hopefully the next wave of energy drinks, all natural! Coconut water contains more potassium (at about 294mg) than most sports drinks (about 117mg) and most energy drinks.  Coconut water has less sodium (25mg) where sports drinks have around 41mg and energy drinks have about 200 mg!  Coconut water has 5mg of natural sugars where sports and energy drinks range from 10-25mg of altered sugars.  Coconut water is high in chloride at 118mg, compared to sports drinks at about 39mg.  Data is based on a 100ml (3.2 ounces) drink.

Coconut milk is a sweet, fat-rich milky white cooking-base derived from the meat of a mature coconut.  The rich taste and color of the milk can be attributed to its high oil content and sugars. Coconut milk should not be confused with the more vital fresh coconut water (coconut juice), which is the naturally-occurring liquid richly found inside a young coconut.

Corn (cooked or raw) is low in fat and calories and provides almost three grams of dietary fiber as well as protein per ear.  White corn is low in carotenes, while yellow corn is plentiful.  Blue corn contains anthocyanins, pigments that carry beneficial messages to the genes, especially helpful for flabby diabetics.  Tortillas made with blue corn have 20% more protein and 9% less starch than white corn.  One cup of raw white corn has about 130 calories, 2 grams of fat, and 5 grams of protein, 29 grams of carbohydrate and 4 grams of fiber. Corn is also rich in the beneficial pigments and antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.  

A series of 19 samples of grain corn was analyzed for protein and 18 amino acids. The nitrogen fertilization employed and corn variety selected significantly influences protein and amino acid content of the corn kernel.  Protein content of samples ranged from 6.8-12.0%.  The amount of all the amino acids increased with an increase in the protein content of the corn, with considerable differences in rates of increase among individual amino acids.  Nitrogen fertilization increases protein and amino acid content of corn significantly, with the increase largely in the zein fraction, but also with more of its limiting lysine and tryptophan.

Corn oil is high in the essential fatty acid, linoleic acid as well as vitamin E.  Corn offers moderate amounts of folic acid and vitamin C, with magnesium and potassium in abundance. Corn, however, is notoriously deficient in lysine and tryptophan, two essential amino acids.

Its molecular structure makes at least half of its niacin useless to humans.  Sharecroppers in the 1930's who relied on corn for the staple in their diets found themselves the victims of pellagra, a disease that results from a niacin deficiency.  Pellagra victims suffer from rashes and skin eruptions, diarrhea and dementia (nervous disturbances and mental deterioration).

For a long period of history, the niacin deficiency disease, pellagra, was a very serious and fatal problem.  Characterized as the disease of the "three Ds," pellagra causes its victims to experience dermatitis, diarrhea and dementia.  The fourth D was death.  Classic B3 deficiency occurs mainly in cultures whose diets rely heavily on corn (where the corn is not prepared in a way that releases its niacin).

One of the first signs of pellagra, or niacin deficiency, is the skin's sensitivity to light, and the skin becomes rough, thick, and dry (pellagra means "skin that is rough" in Italian).  The skin then becomes darkly pigmented, especially in areas of the body prone to be hot and sweaty or those exposed to sun.  The first stage of this condition is extreme redness and sensitivity of those exposed areas, and it was from this characteristic symptom that the term "redneck," describing the bright red necks of eighteenth-and nineteenth-century niacin-deficient fieldworkers, came into being.

American Indians processed corn using potash (which is highly alkaline) that makes the B vitamins in corn available for assimilation during digestion. Indians planted corn with beans and squash, and ate the beneficial combination.  But the American settlers, not understanding how to prepare corn (and too arrogant to follow the food preparation ways of Indian "savages"), would simply grind up their corn and consume it as corn flour (corn meal).  That is how most people eat corn today: as ground up genetically modified cornmeal ingredients in chips (with AGEs) and foods.  It is not a surprise that so many modern Americans remain so deficient in B vitamins.

Hominy or nixtamal is dried maize (corn) kernels which have been treated with an alkali of some kind.  The traditional U.S. version involves soaking dried corn in lye-water (sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide solution), traditionally derived from wood ash, until the hulls are removed. 

Mexican recipes use a preparation process consisting primarily of cooking in lime-water (calcium hydroxide).  Heat from fire would expel carbon dioxide from limestone and thereby produce lime (calcium carbonate).  In either case, the process is called nixtamalization, and removes the germ and the hard outer hull from the kernels, making them more palatable, easier to digest, and easier to process.

The earliest known usage of nixtamalization was in what is present-day Guatemala around 1500–1200 BC.  It affords several significant nutritional advantages over untreated maize products.  It converts some of the niacin (and possibly other B vitamins) into more absorbable forms by the body, improves the availability of amino acids, and (at least in the lime-treated variant) increases calcium content, balancing maize's relative excess of phosphorus.

Stored grains often harbor a mycotoxin (aflatoxin).  Aflatoxin is mutagenic, carcinogenic and neurotoxic and is present in much corn throughout the world.  The nixtamalization process reduces up to 90% of mycotoxins.

Many aboriginal American cultures made hominy and integrated it into their diet.  Cherokees made hominy grits by soaking corn in lye and beating it with a corn beater.  The grits were used to make traditional hominy soup, a hominy soup that was allowed to ferment, cornbread, dumplings or fried with bacon and green onions.

Farro (Triticum dicoccum) is the world's original grain from which all others derive, including rice, barley, wheat and rye.  It was the standard ration of the Roman Legions that expanded throughout the Western World.  Ground into a paste and cooked, it was also the primary ingredient in the polenta eaten for centuries by the Roman poor.  Important as it was, it was difficult to work and produced low yields.  Higher-yielding grains were developed and farro's cultivation dwindled.  Farro almost became extinct after World War II.

Farro is especially good in soups and side dishes; it has a pleasant nuttiness and a hardy texture.  Naturally high in fiber, protein, and B-vitamins, it is also very low in gluten, which is good for those who are sensitive.  Farro grains look like brown short-grain rice, but each grain retains a firm, chewy texture even after overcooking.

It looks rather like spelt, but they are not the same.  Farro must be soaked, whereas spelt can be boiled straight off.  Also, cooked farro has a firm chewy texture, whereas spelt softens and becomes mushy.  Purchase whole grain farro and crack it at home, if the recipe calls for it, by whirling it in an electric coffee grinder or blender (this way you avoid purchasing dust or stones).  Store it like any other grain, in a sealed glass container in a cool dry place.

Farro does need preparation.  Wash it well, picking out impurities such as bits of chaff, pebbles, or bad grains and soak it for at least 8 hours at room temperature.  It will keep in this soaked state in the refrigerator for a few days.  Come time to cook it, either add it to a soup or simmer it by itself, for about 2 hours (halve the time if you are using cracked farro).  Farro will continue to absorb liquid and soften once it is done, so let it sit for a while.

Another way to cook farro for minestrone and such is to set it to boil directly in abundant vegetable broth (for example from boiling beans, chick peas or cabbage) for a couple of hours, then let it rest and puff up for at least 8 hours before stirring it into the soup pot.  This way, the farro will absorb much vegetable flavor.

Flax seeds (linseeds) provide the essential omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) that has a beneficial role in brain and vision development in babies.  Soaked overnight, they expand and create a gel.  Put soaked seeds and gel into blender for best digestion.  In recipes, one large egg can be replaced with a combination of 1 tablespoonful flax meal plus 3 tablespoons hot water. (Let mix stand, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes or until thickened. Use blend without straining.)

The vitamins and minerals found in linseeds are zinc, iron, vitamin E, carotene, B-group vitamins, magnesium, calcium, sulfur, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, silicon, copper, nickel, molybdenum, chromium and cobalt.

The soluble fiber in linseed can help lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar levels, and the insoluble fiber, which makes up two thirds of the fiber provided by linseeds, aids digestion by increasing bulk and reducing the time that waste remains in the colon.  Fiber enhances our body's ability to use other dietary nutrients and goes through our digestive tract almost completely undigested.  Once it reaches the colon and/or the large intestine, fiber is then broken down.  Insoluble fiber is helpful in maintaining regularity and its digestion by bacteria provides nutrition for the cells lining the colon, protecting against bowel cancer.

Two of the highest solar electron-rich foods and foods which have the capacity to absorb solar electrons are spirulina and flaxseed in various forms, including flaxseed oil.  Dr. Budwig reported cases of general ill health, and even cancer, which have been reversed through the use of large amounts of flaxseed oil which has increased the amount of photonic electron energy and therefore created enough energy available to heal the system.

Flax seeds are the richest source of lignins (phytoestrogens), containing 75-800 times that of 66 other plants.  Diets high in lignins and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) enter the digestive tract and convert bacteria into phytoestrogens that tend to block the growth of hormone related cancers, especially of the breast and colon.

Hazelnuts are an excellent source of vitamin E and magnesium. They are also a healthy source of folate, B vitamins and minerals that lower blood pressure.  Hazelnuts rank number one among tree nuts in folate content. This translates into a decreased risk of neural tube birth defects and may help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and depression.  As an ingredient in the government suggested Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, hazelnuts provide a source of energy, magnesium, potassium, protein and fiber.

Phytochemicals are plant compounds such as carotenoids, flavonoids, and proanthocyanidins that have been shown to decrease the risk of heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases. Hazelnuts have the highest proanthocyanidin content of any tree nut.  Proanthocyanidins contribute astringent flavor to foods and may help reduce the risk of blood clotting and urinary tract infections. 

Hazelnut is the name coined by the English and it was applied to the native species by early settlers. The name filbert is the scientifically correct name for tree and nut, a member of the birch family.  The name filbert is of French origin   According to a manuscript found in China from the year 2838 B.C., the filbert took its place among the five sacred nourishments God bestowed on human beings.  In ancient times the filbert was used as a medicine & a tonic.  The Greek physician Dioscorides 1800 years ago emphasized the properties of the filbert:

"It cures chronic coughing if pounded filbert is eaten with honey.  Cooked filbert mixed with black pepper cures the cold.  If the ointment produced by mashing burnt filbert shells in suet is smeared on the head where hair does not grow due to normal baldness or to some disease, hair will come again."

Turkish hazelnut is categorized into two in terms of quality, Giresun and Levant.  Giresun Quality: Fat hazelnuts grown in the entire province of Giresun and fat hazelnuts grown in Beşikdüzü, Vakfıkebir, Çarşıbaşı and Akçaabat towns of the province of Trabzon, which are more or less similar to Giresun quality.  These are the highest quality hazelnuts in the world. These hazelnuts have the highest level of skin separation among all types in the world.

Levant Quality: This is the common name given to all hazelnuts that are grown in regions other than the region of Giresun quality hazelnut.  Called Levant Akçakoca, Levant Ordu, Levant Trabzon or Levant Samsun depending on the place they are grown, these hazelnuts have a lower level of fat than the Giresun quality hazelnuts, but a higher level of fat than those grown in other countries and a better taste.

Hazelnuts are a good source of energy with their 60.5% fat content.  FDA qualified health claim ruling for food placed hazelnuts in a "heart healthy" food group. Hazelnuts contain nearly 75% mono-unsaturated fat and less than 4% saturated fat.  Over 30 tree nut studies indicate this high level of mono-unsaturated fat is likely responsible for a reduction in both total blood and LDL cholesterol levels when hazelnuts are consumed as part of a low artificially saturated fat diet.

Storage of hazelnuts is simpler than for other nuts.  Filberts stay fresh for many weeks at cool room temperature (70 degrees F or lower) and stay fresh for up to a year in the refrigerator.

Hemp seeds are a super-food.  Hemp seeds are considered fruit, not nuts.  The anaphylaxis society has no reported cases of hemp seed causing reactions to people with nut allergies.

An optimal balance of essential fatty acids can be obtained from eating hemp seeds, which are also a rich source (approx. 25%) of high quality protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids.
Hemp foods have been used for centuries to benefit medical conditions ranging from skin disorders to cardiovascular disease.  While related to the Marijuana plant, hemp seeds do not make you high.

Job's tear (Syn. Coix seed; yiyiren) is also commonly known as Chinese pearl barley in America.  Coix lacryma-jobi var. ma-yuen is harvested as a cereal crop and is used medicinally in parts of Asia.  After cooking (requiring 1 hour or more), it does taste like common barley.

However, it is different in many respects from the regular barley.  Barley does not have the reputed effects of Job's tear.  The part used is the ripe gluten-free seed.  Its properties are diuretic, spleen-invigorating, heat-dispersing, joint easing, anti-swelling and pus-expelling, as well as antioxidant, antimutagenic and acts as a general tonic.  Most common traditional uses: painful joints, rheumatism and edema.   Modern and recent uses are for warts, eczema, chronic enteritis, diarrhea, lung abscess and acute appendicitis.

Job’s Tears (coix lachryma jobi), a variety of grass that goes by many names such as “bead plant”, “Mary’s Tears”, or “Tear Drops”, grows wild in tropical regions. It resembles a miniature corn plant, since it is related to corn.  It produces teardrop shaped, light/dark gray shiny beads, complete with a hole in the center for easy stringing!  The beads can either be used in their attractive natural state, or colored with wood stain or enamel.  Job’s tears beads are beautiful, and are also used in making rosaries.

Job’s tears have been cultivated for centuries, often in or near Asian rice fields, and have long been an important source of food.  Today, the seeds are used as herbal supplements and as an ingredient in some foods and beverages, including Japanese sake.  It has a mystical cache, with recommendations to carry three beads for luck, throw seven beads in a well to get your wish, and to place a string of beads around a baby’s neck to help with teething pain. 

Job's tear is commonly used in Asia as food and medicine.  In China, it is one the most popular food herbs used in the diet therapy of painful and stiff joints, either singly or in soup mixes.  If you suffer from stiff and painful joints, try Job’s tear before going the irreversible route of steroids.  Simply cook 1-2 ounces as you would regular barley and drink the soup or eat it all if you prefer.  Give it a week or two to take effect.  If Job's tear doesn't work, you have not lost anything. If it does, it will have saved you much misery.

Many of the traditional uses of Job's tear now have a scientific basis.  Numerous active chemical components come from Job's tear which include coixol (anti-inflammatory, antihistaminic, muscle relaxant and fever reducing) and coixans (peptide-containing polysaccharides that have blood sugar-lowering properties).  In addition, Job's tear also contains the more common nutrients that have more subtle effects that cannot be meaningfully measured by animal experiments.  These nutrients include lipids (glycolipids, phospholipids and sterols), amino acids, adenosine, thiamine and others.

In Korea, a thick drink called yulmu cha literally "Job's tears tea" is made from powdered Job's tears.  A similar drink, called yì mí shǔi, also appears in Chinese cuisine, and is made by simmering whole polished Job's tears in water and sweetening the resulting thin, cloudy liquid with sugar.  The grains are usually strained from the liquid but may also be consumed separately or together.

Like many other grains, Job’s tears can be prepared by simmering or steaming.  It can be served as is or added to soups and casseroles. It is an excellent source of iron and calcium and it is beneficial in revitalizing the blood and nervous system.  Often difficult to find in the United States, it may be purchased by mail order and it is sometimes found in natural food stores. The grain can be stored for several months in the refrigerator if it is sealed in an airtight container or it can be stored for 6 months or more in the freezer.

Kasha or buckwheat groats These are essentially the same grain.  Kasha is the toasted version of the buckwheat groat, or kernel.  Buckwheat is a fruit seed, related to rhubarb.  It is gluten-free.  Seek the groats.  Buckwheat groats are the hulled, crushed, kernels of the grain. These are often cooked in a manner similar to that of rice.

Groats come in course, medium, and fine grinds. Preparation: grain to water ratio: 1 C to 2 C. Combine grain and water; add a pinch of salt. Bring almost to a boil and simmer 20 minutes.  Buckwheat kasha is an exception to basic grain-boiling directions.  Because toasted kasha is so porous and absorbs water quickly, bring the water to a boil first.  Then, add the buckwheat.  When the water almost returns to a boil, cover the saucepan; turn the heat down to low, and time the steaming process.

When it is in your hand, the buckwheat groat is a hard, seemingly inedible little thing. Oh, but when you steep it in chicken broth and let it steam for a while, it becomes wonderfully yummy, softens and puffs up to three times its original size. The flavor is nutty, with a texture similar to that of couscous.

Buckwheat has been linked to lowering one's risk of developing high cholesterol, colon cancer, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes. This blood sugar benefit is attributed in part to rare carbohydrate compounds called fagopyritols (especially D-chiro-inositol), of which buckwheat is by far the richest food source yet discovered. It is rich in rutin which acts as an ACE inhibitor, and contributes to buckwheat’s ability to reduce high blood pressure. It is a rich source of magnesium, which helps in blood flow, and it has more dietary fiber than oatmeal.

Hulled buckwheat is different from kasha, which is roasted groats. It makes a difference in the flavor.  The roasted variety offers a deeper, fuller nuttiness, along with more stress messaging of ‘forest fire.’  Buckwheat in its raw form takes much longer to soak up broth, an hour versus 10 minutes with the smaller-granulatio n, roasted more stressful kasha.

Konjac is a plant of the genus Amorphophallus, native to warm subtropical to tropical eastern Asia, from Japan and China south to Indonesia.  Its large starchy corms are used to create a flour and jelly.  The dried corm of the konjac plant contains around 40% glucomannan gum. This polysaccharide makes konjac jelly highly viscous.  Konjac has almost no calories but is very high in soluble fiber.  Thus, it is often used as a diet food and is a great way to reduce one’s refined wheat intake and eating pasta again.

 

Soluble fiber expands and forms a gel in the digestive tract that slows digestion, prolonging the sensation of fullness as well as a more complete and sustained absorption of glucose and other nutrients.  This slow absorption of glucose evens out blood sugar response and reduces cycles of cravings, mood alteration and fatigue that come with eating lots of sugar or high glycemic foods.

 

Soluble fiber in western culture is typically not found in large amounts in low calorie foods.  Common sources of dietary fiber are oat bran, oatmeal, beans, peas, rice bran, barley, citrus fruits, strawberries and apple pulp.  Eating large quantities tends to lead to weight gain.

 

Asian culture has an alternative.  The shirataki noodle used for 2000 years has virtually no calories and no carbohydrates but provides a significant source of high soluble fiber that can be used as a noodle / pasta replacement with a multitude of sauce and garnish possibilities. 

Japanese konnyaku jelly is made by mixing konnyaku flour with water and limewater.  Hijiki is often added for the characteristic dark color and flavor. Without additives for color, konnyaku is pale white.  It is then boiled and cooled to solidify.  Konnyaku made in noodle form is called shirataki ("thread-konjac") and used in foods such as sukiyaki and gyudon.  It is usually sold in plastic bags with accompanying water. 

Shirataki noodles can be found both in dry and soft "wet" forms in Asian markets and some supermarkets.  When wet, they are purchased pre-packaged in liquid. They normally have a shelf life of up to one year.  Some brands may require rinsing and blotting as the water they are packaged in has a bitter odor that may be unpleasant to those not accustomed to it.

When preparing noodles chow mein style, ingredients are stir-fried and then served over noodles that have been prepared separately.  By contrast, lo mein involves tossing boiled noodles in the wok and mixing them with other ingredients during the final stages of cooking. This allows noodles to pick up more sauce flavor.

Shirataki noodles are an excellent hypoallergenic source of soluble fiber which helps control irritable or inflammatory bowel symptoms.  It can form the base of an awesome noodle pudding (totally guilt free) and can easily be added to soups.  A half a package seems satisfying for most of the day, even later into the day and evening.  These noodles can provide ‘comfort food’ experience without triggering ‘glutenous’ addictive behavior.

Konjac Glucomannan flour can be used as a thickener as one would use corn starch, one teaspoon acts more like 10 teaspoons of corn starch.  Add to gravy or soup or cooking sauces as a thickening agent without calories, without carbohydrates, just added beneficial soluble fiber. When baking bread or cookies, increase fiber by adding one teaspoon of Konjac Glucomannan flour to 2 cups wheat flour.  Dissolve flour in water to use as a fiber supplement.

Lotus seeds or Lotus nuts are the seeds of plants in the genus Nelumbo, particularly the species Nelumbo nucifera. The seeds are of great importance to East Asian cuisine and are used extensively in traditional Chinese medicine and in Chinese desserts. The seeds are most commonly sold in the shelled and dried form.  Fresh lotus seeds are relatively uncommon in the market except in areas of lotus root and seed production, where they are sometimes sold as a raw snack.  Lotus seeds are a relatively good protein source, with a one ounce serving (of dried seeds) providing 4-5 grams.

Two types of dried lotus seeds can be found commercially; brown peel and white. The former is harvested when the seed head of the lotus is ripe or nearly ripe and the latter is harvested when the seed head is still fully green, but with almost fully developed seeds. White lotus seeds are de-shelled and de-membraned.  The bitter tasting germ of the seed is also removed at the time of harvest using a hollow needle, though some may still remain in the seed due to production oversight.  Brown peel lotus seeds are brown because the ripened seed has adhered to its membrane. These seeds are usually cracked in half in order to remove the germ since the seeds are hard enough to make the germs' removal by needle difficult.

Dried lotus seeds past their prime oxidize to a yellow brown color. However, this is not necessarily an indicator of freshness since sellers of dried lotus seeds may choose to bleach their products with hydrogen peroxide, sodium hydroxide or other more toxic chemicals.  Dried lotus seeds are sold in packages or in bulk at many Asian markets.  They must first be soaked in water overnight prior to use due to their hardness and toughness, and can then be added directly to soups and congee, or used in other dishes.  Crystallized lotus seeds, made by drying lotus seeds cooked in syrup, are a well-loved Chinese snack.

When cooked in clear soups, lotus seeds are believed in Chinese medicine to "clear heat" and be very nutritious and restorative to one's health, which may explain the prevalence of their use in Chinese cuisine.  Other ingredients that are considered "cooling" or restorative in Chinese medicine, which are often cooked in a sweetened soup with lotus seeds include: Adzuki beans, Job's tears, dried jujubes, mung beans, Asian pear and snow fungus.  Lotus soups sometimes also include a whole chicken, other poultry, or fish for similar medicinal purposes.

A group of Sacred Lotus seeds varying in age from 1000-1288 years were found in an ancient lake bed in China.  The seeds miraculously germinated and subsequently radiocarbon dated. This is the oldest dated seed ever reported to be preserved from one of the early crops of lotus cultivated by ancient Buddhists.  According to scientists at UCLA, the seeds not only germinated but are still growing.  Of the six lotus fruits that were tested, two-thirds germinated in less time or as rapidly as fruits recently harvested.  How do scientists explain this miraculous germination?

Activity of the protein-repair enzyme L-isoaspartyl methyltransferase (MT) in the ancient lotus seed is persistent during germination and the degree of oxidation in the seed is minimal.  A process called racemization of amino acids and changes in the structure of proteins also occur in diseased tissue associated with aging.  In the case of Lotus seed, protein degradation (racemization) is minimal.

Other factors ensure the seeds’ survival such as its hard coating.  This coating is impervious to water and forms an air-tight architecture.  The seed also contains a high level of ascorbic acid and glutathione.  These two agents are highly effective in maintaining the life of proteins.

Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and glutathione play an important role in protecting cells from free radical damage, a phenomenon that is believed to be the cause of some of the adverse effects of disease and advancing age.  Vitamin C also helps the body to synthesize collagen, a building block of cartilage and skin and glutathione helps lower risk to cancer and cataract and reduces stress-induced behavioral depression.  In dry seeds, 70-88% of these two components exist in an oxidized state.  Upon germination, they become “unoxidized” and yield their nutritional properties, contributing to the seeds’ longevity.

Lotus seeds contain a substantial amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids, suggesting that the seeds and these fatty acids have undergone very little atmospheric auto-oxidation and that the membranes of their cells have maintained adequate fluidity, factors that contribute to their successful longevity.  How does this information relate to human longevity?

It was found in 1991 that levels of protein-repair enzyme MT in human brains at autopsy revealed higher activities were a function of age of death.  This data suggests that high levels of MT can lead to extended life span.  Perhaps maintaining cellular proteins in an active form in the human body would lead to reducing damage resulting from normal aging.  In addition, the glutathione and ascorbic acid found in the seeds may contribute to slowing signs of aging.

The bitter dried germ (usually removed) of the lotus seed is used as a restorative tea.

Macadamias are a good source of protein (2.2 grams per ounce dry weight), calcium, potassium and dietary fiber and are very low in sodium.  The protein component of nuts is low in lysine and high in arginine.  Macadamia oils are: 84% monounsaturated, 12.5% saturated and 3.5% polyunsaturated.  The monounsaturated portion contains oleic fatty acid plus the highest known level of antimicrobial palmitoleic fatty acid, which is also present in beneficial fish oils, and protects us from viruses, pathogenic bacteria and yeasts in the gut.

Monounsaturated fatty acids were elevated in the plasma lipids of all study participants following the period of consumption of macadamias.  Plasma markers of inflammation and oxidative stress were significantly lower.  Short-term macadamia nut consumption favorably modifies the biomarkers of oxidative stress, thrombosis and inflammation, the risk factors for coronary artery disease, despite an increase in dietary fat intake.

Other dietary trials involving subjects with elevated cholesterol levels, found that participants who ate as little as 20 grams daily of macadamia nuts showed significant reduction in blood serum cholesterol, total blood triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and blood clots.

Phytochemicals are biologically active components which protect our body systems. Many act as antioxidants, which scavenge free radicals that oxidize blood fats. They operate as part of complex systems that are only partly understood.  Macadamias contain tocopherols and tocotrienols, which are derivatives of Vitamin E, phytosterols such as sitosterol as well as selenium, all with strong antioxidant activity.  Macadamias contain many phytonutrient classes, phenolic compounds, flavonoids, phytoestrogens, phytic acids, ellagic acid, saponins and lignins.

Macadamias improve our western imbalance in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.  They also have a high dietary fiber content of approximately 7%.  Dietary fiber is the term for carbohydrates that are resistant to our enzyme digestion in the stomach, but perfect for our biofilm.  These consist of complex soluble carbohydrates and soluble fiber such as, hemicelluloses, amylopectins, mucilage, gums and insoluble cellulose.  Dietary fiber promotes the feeling of dietary satisfaction, slows digestion, promotes desirable friendly intestinal bacteria, and keeps bowels healthy.  It plays a role in reduction of cancer and diabetes risk.

Buy raw macadamia nuts and soak in brine for a minimum of 7-8 hours to hydrolyze antinutrients.  Crisp and dry at 150 degrees for 12-24 hours.

Millet is considered the most alkaline grain.  Millets are a group of small-seeded species of cereal crops or grains, widely grown around the world for food and fodder. They do not form a taxonomic group, but rather a functional or agronomic one. 

Essential similarities are that they are small-seeded grasses grown in difficult production environments.  It was millets, rather than rice, that formed important parts of prehistoric diet in Chinese Neolithic and Korean Mumun societies.  Millet can often be used in recipes instead of buckwheat, rice or quinoa. It is served with sautéed vegetables and beans, as a stuffing, or in soups, stews or pilafs. The protein content in millet is very close to that of wheat; both provide about 11% protein by weight. It is also used as a hot cereal and its flour is used to make puddings, breads and cakes.

In drought-prone regions, ecologically sound agricultural systems are the only way to produce sustainable food.  One acre of rice uses as much water as three acres of sorghum.  For the same amount of water, sorghum provides 4.5 times more protein, four times more minerals, 7.5 times more calcium, and 5.6 times more iron and can yield three times more food than rice.  If development water conservation were taken into account, sorghum and millet would not be called marginal or inferior crops.

In countries where millet is consumed in large quantities as sole staple food, it has been implicated with a high incidence of goiter in the population.  Rats fed high pearl millet diets also develop abnormal thyroid hormone patterns with hyperplasia.  Vitexin, 8-gycosylapeginin is in pearl millet and it inhibits thyroid perodixidase activity.  This only causes problems if very high quantities of millet are consumed and the diet is low in iodine.  Millet is not alone in possessing this characteristic.  Commonly eaten foods that also contain these goiterogenic substances include brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, mustard greens, spinach, turnips, rutabagas, cassava, soy beans, peanuts, peaches and pears.

Finger millet (ragi) is originally native to the Ethiopian Highlands and was introduced into India about 4000 years ago.  Very adaptable to higher elevations, ragi is grown in the Himalaya up to 2,300 meters in elevation.  Finger millet is valuable since it contains the amino acid methionine, which is lacking in the diets of hundreds of millions of the poor who live on starchy staples such as cassava, plantain, polished rice or maize meal.  Finger millet can be ground and cooked into cakes, puddings or porridge.  The grain is made into a fermented drink (or beer) in many parts of Africa.  The straw from finger millet is used as animal fodder.  It is also used for as a flavored drink in festivals.

Besides reducing the phytate content of grains and legumes, one can increase folate and other vitamins in food through germination.  Vitamin C content of foods increases with germination.  The depression-busting nutrient, folate increases as well.  Folate content of the ragi was checked every twelve hours for nearly four days. After the first day of germination, the folate content of the grain increased markedly from 16 mg/100 grams after twenty four hours to 110 mg/100 grams after 92 hours.

Oats are the staple grain most associated with gout due to its high purine content (usually considered highly beneficial).  The protein content of the hull-less oat kernel (groat) ranges from 12–24%, the highest among cereals.  Oat is the only cereal containing a globulin or legume-like protein, avenalin, as its major (80%) storage protein.  Globulins are characterized by water solubility; because of this property, oats may be turned into milk, but not easily into bread. The more typical cereal proteins such as gluten and zein are prolamines (prolamins).  The minor protein of oat is a prolamine: avenin.  Avenin is a prolamine that is toxic to the intestinal submucosa and can trigger a reaction in some celiacs.

Oat bran contains 5% beta-glucans in the form of soluble fiber, which blunt the glycemic and insulin response.  Oat extracts rich in beta-glucans were found to improve glucose tolerance and lower insulin output in moderately hypercholesterolemic men and women consuming a normal diet.  Oat beta-glucan can reduce the glycemic index (GI) of a 50-gram carbohydrate portion by 4 units for each gram of beta-glucan.

This soluble fiber promotes digestive health by increasing butyrate (short chain fatty acid) production which acts as an energy source for colonic epithelial cells.  An Increased fecal biomass binds bile acids, carcinogens and mutagens.  Immune function is enhanced by a reduction in pH of colon.  Activated macrophages (cellular or innate immunity) provide enhanced resistance against cancer as well as fungal, viral, and parasitic infections while enhancing wound healing.  Most studies have been done with fungal beta-glucans.

Many whole oat groats are broken during the dehulling process, leaving the following types of groats to be sized and separated for further processing: Whole Oat Groats, Coarse Steel Cut Groats, Steel Cut Groats and Fine Steel Cut Groats.  Groats are sized and separated using screens, shakers and indent screens. After the whole oat groats are separated, remaining broken groats get sized again into the 3 groups (Coarse, Regular, Fine) and then stored. The term steel cut is referred to all sized or cut groats. When there are not enough broken to size for further processing, then whole oat groats get sent to a cutting unit with steel blades that will evenly cut groats into the three sizes.

Typically the three sizes of steel cut oats are used to make Instant, Baby and Quick rolled oats, whereas whole oat groats are used to make Regular, Medium and Thick Rolled Oats.  Oats have numerous uses in food; most commonly, they are rolled or crushed into oatmeal. Oatmeal is chiefly eaten as porridge.  Oats are also an ingredient in many cold cereals, in particular muesli and granola.  Oats may also be consumed raw.  Slightly-undercooked cookies with raw oats are quite tasty.

Pine nuts are not botanically referred to as nuts, but as seeds, since they are the seedlings of pinecones.  Pine nuts are actually one of the higher fat nuts, and are often used in rich foods such as pesto.  They contain about 31 grams of protein per 100 grams of nuts (8.7 grams protein per 2 ounces dry weight), the highest of any seed.  Pine nuts are very nutrient dense, and full of vitamins A, C and D.  Vitamin D in pine nuts leads to stronger bones and teeth, by improving the body's ability to absorb calcium, and vitamins A and C may sharpen vision and boost the immune system.

Pine nuts are nature's only source of pinolenic acid, which stimulates hormones and helps diminish appetite.  Korean pine nuts are a rich source of pinolenic acid, which may increase concentrations of the satiety hormones glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and cholecystokinin (CCK).  CCK is produced in the duodenum (the beginning part of your small intestine) after eating and sends the “full” feeling to the brain. CCK releases digestive enzymes from the pancreas, contracts the gall bladder and slows the rate of stomach emptying, helping you feel full.  In fact, cholecystokinin means “to move the gall bladder.”  However, excessive release of CCK may cross over the blood-brain barrier and cause fear, anxiety and panic in the brain.

Pine nuts have the highest concentration of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that helps the liver to eliminate harmful triglycerides from our body.  Pine nuts are packed with 3mg of iron per one ounce serving. Iron is a key component of hemoglobin, the oxygen carrying pigment in blood that supplies energy.  They are rich in magnesium which helps alleviate muscle cramps, tension and fatigue.

Pinon seeds must be substained in sub-freezing temperature for 45 days, more or less to germinate.  Optimum temperature for seed germination is about 17-19C. Temperature above 25C can inhibit seedling establishment while at temperatures below about 10C seeds become dormant.  Buy for the year and store 5-6 month supply in the freezer.  Do not store fresh pine nuts in plastic; a cotton pillow case will do in a pinch.  Thaw what you need and use within a few days.

Pistachios are known for their high iron, protein and fiber content and high levels of potassium, phosphorus and magnesium.  Pistachio nuts have a high monounsaturated fat content as well as gamma-tocopherol.  A portion of 30 nuts (18 grams) contains 3.8 grams of protein.  Pistachios also contain antioxidants in the form of phytochemicals, associated with a decreased risk for developing chronic diseases, like cancer.  Compared to other tree nuts, pistachios are the only tree nut to contain beta-carotene, lutein and resveratrol and are rich in total phenolic compounds, proanthocyanidins and flavonoids.

 

Archaeological evidence in Turkey indicates pistachio nuts were being used for food as early as 7,000 B.C.   A species of turpentine, pistachio is a desert plant, and is highly tolerant of saline soil.  The fruit is a drupe, containing an elongated seed, which is the edible portion.  This seed is a culinary nut, not a botanical nut.  The fruit has a hard, whitish exterior shell.  The seed has a mauvish skin and light green flesh, with a distinctive flavor. 

 

Pistachio shell color changes from green to autumnal yellow-red, when the fruit ripens.  Then it abruptly splits part way open.  This is known as dehiscence, and happens with an audible pop.  The splitting open is a trait that has been selected by humans.  Commercial cultivars vary in how consistently they split open.

To enhance splitting, hulled nuts may be dipped into water to moisten the shell and spread out in the sun to dry.  One method of salting split nuts is to boil them in salt solution for a few minutes, then redry and store them.  Stored in plastic bags pistachios will last for at least 4-6 weeks in the refrigerator.  Frozen they will last for months.

The pistachio is unique in the nut trade due to its semi-split shell which enables the processor to roast and salt the kernel without removing the shell, and which at the same time serves as a convenient form of packaging.  About 90% of California pistachios are consumed as in-shell snacks.  Shelled pistachios are utilized commercially in confectionery, ice cream, candies,   sausages, bakery goods and flavoring for puddings. They can also be added to dressings, casseroles and other dishes.

In one study, subjects self-selected portions of either shelled pistachios or in-shell pistachios in comparable weights.  The in-shell group consumed half the calories, yet reported being as satisfied as the shelled nut eaters, suggesting that they achieved calorie reduction without deprivation.  In a second study, office workers consumed in-shell pistachios during an eight-hour period.  On one day the empty shells were left on the desks as a visual cue; on the second day, the shells were removed.  It was found that when shells were left on the desk as a visual cue, the subjects ate 35% fewer calories.  Yet subjects reported equal levels of satiety and satisfaction.

 

There are 49 nuts in a 1 oz. serving of pistachios.  In another study, the amounts of pistachios in the pistachio diets were calculated as 10% and 20% of total energy.  On average, this was equivalent to 1.5 ounces per day (~1 large handful) and 3.0 ounces of pistachios per day (~2 large handfuls), respectively.  In addition to beneficial effects on lipids, lipoproteins, and apolipoproteins, the pistachio diets significantly decreased oxidized LDL and increased serum antioxidants (lutein, gamma-tocopherol and beta-carotene).  Pistachio enhanced diets also decreased systolic blood pressure response to a standardized stressor.

Pumpkin or melon seeds: The most nutritious part of the pumpkin and packed with quality oils and magnesium; high levels of magnesium are associated with lower risk for early death.  Serving of a ¼ cup or 50grams pumpkin seeds contain 14g protein, 5.6mg iron and 570mg phosphorous.  Use unhulled seeds.  Seeds soaked for 12 hours and then lightly toasted are pepitas, a traditional Mexican food.  Seeds can soak up to three days, rinsing three times per day and use when the sprout is one quarter inch long. Eat lightly roasted as a snack, or sprinkled on salad.

If you suspect you are infected with intestinal parasites, seek the help of a knowledgeable natural health care practitioner.  Signs and symptoms of infection with an intestinal parasite of the non-beneficial variety include: subcutaneous nodules, eye inflammation (conjunctivitis and retinitis), blindness, dysentery, hives (urticaria), diarrhea, coughing or wheezing, enlargement of liver and spleen, fever or abdominal pain.  Eating raw garlic (smashing the cloves first to activate their beneficial properties) and raw pumpkin seeds will help rid you of parasites.

Pumpkin seeds (pepitas) are incredible snack foods.  Pepitas are nutty tasting, crunchy, chewy and slightly sweet.  When sea salt, herbs or spices are added, they turn into a tasty nutritious convenient snack that pleases the biggest junk food lover.

Pepitas can be a hulled kernel or an unhulled whole seed that is raw or roasted.  Pepitas are much used in Mexican cuisine as a base for mole, and are ground for use in green sauces.  In the American Southwest and Latin America, pepitas have been eaten since aboriginal times.

One of my favorite recipes is Glaser Farms’ maple ginger pumpkin seeds. Soak pumpkin seeds overnight.  Discard water and rinse seeds. Combine moist pumpkin seeds with maple syrup and minced ginger.  Dry in sheets at 130 degrees.

Quinoa, originally from the mountain regions of Peru, has the highest protein content of all grains.  The Incas revered quinoa a sacred food and referred to it as the mother seed and gold of the Incas.  This grain is bead shaped and ivory colored and expands to four times its original volume. Quinoa is a source of high quality protein, comparable to that of meat and eggs.  Quinoa is 12-18% protein and two ounces a day, about 1/4-cup, will provide half a child’s protein needs for one day.  It is also a good source of calcium!  

One cup of quinoa in two cups of water takes 15-20 minutes to cook. Before cooking, rinse well to remove its bitter-tasting saponins that act as coating.  To make sure the saponins are gone, pour quinoa into a strainer and rinse under running water.  If a soapy film appears, the quinoa has not been pre-rinsed, so rinse it until the soapiness disappears.  If no soapy film appears, the product has been pre-rinsed. 

Quinoa has high oil content, so it can be stored in the cupboard for no longer than a month. Otherwise, it should be stored in the freezer.  Gluten-free quinoa can be used alone or in soups, salads, meat and vegetable dishes or even in puddings.

Saponins are a compound found in legumes and legume sprouts.  They are toxic to red blood cells only in vitro (outside the body in a test tube) but harmless when ingested. In fact, saponins appear to be beneficial, being responsible for a major part of the cholesterol-lowering effect of legumes.  Heart disease increase in the 20th century in Western countries coincides with a decline in the consumption of saponin-rich legumes.  Saponins also act as anticarcinogens; inhibiting colon cancer.

Raw quinoa can be germinated to activate its natural enzymes and boost its vitamin content.  It takes just 4 hours to sprout quinoa.  Place the grains in a glass of clean water, after 4 hours the enzymes will be released. The sprouting process softens the grains, making them suitable to be added directly to salads and other foods without need for cooking.  Sprouted quinoa is best refrigerated and eaten in 2 to 3 days.

Quinoa is popular as a high protein breakfast food that kick starts the day. It can be mixed with honey, nuts or fruit.  Prepared quinoa can be kept in a tightly closed glass jar in the refrigerator for a week, and added to dishes as ideas strike.  Quinoa makes a superior nutritious replacement for rice, couscous or pasta.  It can be added to soups, salads, pilafs, vegetable dishes, and veggie burgers or veggie meatloaves.

Rice benefits tremendously from being soaked and rinsed for 24 hours at a warm 100 degrees or-36 hours at south Florida room temperature, pre germinating it before it is cooked, and according to Japanese tradition, ‘releasing its life-force.’  Lysine, rice’s limiting amino acid is increased four times by germination.  Germinated rice then becomes a complete food in itself, needing no combining.

Pregerminated rice will metabolically turn flab to firm due to higher levels of GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid).  Even more important in today’s irritable society, GABA (gamma amino butyric acid) the primary regulator of cell membrane excitability in the central nervous system is increased 12-18 times in germinated rice.  If you cannot rinse the rice three times over 24hours, soak the rice in antibacterial green tea and enhance GABA production even more. This GABA rice gives the eater a more peaceful soul, according to Japanese lore.

Japanese generally prefer their rice as fresh as possible; new-harvest rice is prized.  Significant flavor changes take place during aging.  The acidity of the grain increases, probably because oils are broken down into free fatty acids.  The same molecules also cause a firmer, dryer texture. This effect can be minimized if the rice is washed before cooking.

The sucrose sugar in the grain is broken down into a mixture of glucose and fructose, which is slightly sweeter, and which is faster to undergo harmful browning reactions and discolor if the grains dry out slightly at the end of cooking.  With time, the mouth-filling umami sensation caused by natural monosodium glutamate (MSG) and ribonucleotides, declines.  For rice lovers, people who eat it every day and notice nuances in its flavor and texture, it makes sense to buy rice labeled "new harvest" and use it quickly.

Most cereals contain a protein mix which is relatively low in the amino acid lysine.  Lysine can be added to improve the nutritional quality of the protein.  Fermentation using the bacteria Corynebacterium glutamicum and Brevibacterium flavum produces both glutamic acid and lysine.

Red yeast rice is the product of yeast (Monascus purpureus) grown on rice, and is served as a dietary staple in some Asian countries.  The use of red yeast rice in China was first documented in the Tang Dynasty in 800 A.D. In the ancient Chinese pharmacopoeia, red yeast rice is proposed to be a mild aid for gastric problems (indigestion, diarrhea), blood circulation, and spleen and stomach health. It contains several compounds collectively now known as monacolins, substances known to inhibit cholesterol synthesis.

Red yeast rice is produced by cultivating Monascus purpureus on polished rice.  The rice is first soaked in water until the grains are fully saturated.  Raw soaked rice can then either be directly inoculated, or steamed for the purpose of sterilizing and cooking the grains prior to inoculation. Inoculation is done by mixing M. purpureus spores or powdered red yeast rice together with the processed rice.  The mix is then incubated in an environment around room temperature for 3–6 days.  During this period of time, the rice should be fully cultured with M. purpureus, with each rice grain turning bright red in its core and reddish purple on the outside.

Fully cultured red yeast rice, now providing complete protein and improved metabolism(with higher lysine and GABA) is then either sold as the dried grain, or cooked and pasteurized to be sold as a wet paste, or dried and pulverized to be sold as a fine powder.  Red Yeast Rice (besides lowering cholesterol) may interfere with the body's endogenous production of Coenzyme Q10 (due to the Mevinolin content of Red Yeast Rice inhibiting the HMG-CoA Reductase enzyme that is an essential catalyst for the endogenous production of Coenzyme Q10):  It is recommended that persons using Red Yeast Rice or cholesterol lowering statin drugs supplement with 100 mg of Coenzyme Q10 per day.

People who historically ate polished, processed rice (white rice) frequently got beriberi, a disease caused by deficiency in vitamin B1 (thiamin). Until nutritional causes of beriberi were proved, most doctors thought the disease was an infectious plague. Physical examination discloses many of the early symptoms of beriberi, such as fatigue, irritability, nausea, constipation and poor memory, but with symptoms so generic, deficiency may be difficult to identify.  Thiamine deficiency may be induced by a high sugar diet or by heavy metal poisoning, like mercury.  Systems most affected by beriberi are:

Gastrointestinal system: The cells of the smooth muscles surrounding the digestive system and glands do not get enough energy from glucose.  This results in a loss of appetite, indigestion, severe constipation, and a lack of hydrochloric acid in the stomach.

Nervous system: Glucose is critical for the central nervous system to function normally.  Early symptoms are fatigue, irritability and poor memory.  If deficiency continues, there is damage to peripheral nerves that causes loss of sensation and muscle weakness, called peripheral neuropathy.  The legs are most affected.  The toes feel numb and the feet have a burning sensation; the leg muscles become sore and the calf muscles cramp. Typically the individual walks unsteadily and has difficulty getting up from a squatting position.  Eventually, muscles atrophy and reflexes are lost in the knees and feet; the feet may hang limp (foot drop).

Cardiovascular system: One exhibits rapid heartbeat and sweating. Eventually the heart muscle weakens. Because the smooth muscle in the blood vessels is affected, the arteries and veins relax, causing swelling in the ankles and legs.

Musculoskeletal system: Widespread muscle pain is caused by the lack of TPP (thiamine pyrophosphate, coenzyme containing thiamine essential to convert glucose to energy).

Infants who are breastfed by a thiamine-deficient mother may develop symptoms of deficiency between the second and fourth month of life.  These babies are pale, restless and unable to sleep, prone to diarrhea, and have muscle wasting and edema in their arms and legs.  They exhibit a characteristic, sometimes silent cry and develop heart failure and nerve damage.

Parboiled rice is soaked, steamed, and dried before the bran is removed. (Normally the bran is milled away first, and rice is packaged raw.)  Parboiling allows some of the bran nutrients to penetrate into the grain; and it results in firmer rice that doesn't get as soft or leak sticky starch as much as standard rice, so the cooked grains are more tolerant to overcooking and remain separate and loose.  They have their own distinctive flavor, with overtones of vanilla and nuttiness that come from the cooking and drying processes.   Parboiling goes back thousands of years in India and is also used to manufacture packaged rices.

The typical yellowish color and the flavor of parboiled rice suggest AGEs.  Researchers found that despite the high water content and moderate temperature, the rice bran underwent browning reactions.  The soaking step encouraged rice enzymes to release reactive reducing sugars, and the steam heat encourages them to combine with amino acids from the proteins, generating stressful brown pigments (AGEs) and toasty flavors.  Both the native bran pigments and the browning-reaction products diffused into the rice gain during steaming and drying, giving it both its yellowish color and added flavor.  Parboiled white high-amylose Bangladeshi rice has a relatively low glycemic index.

Pecans are the most antioxidant-rich tree nut and are among the top category of foods to contain the highest antioxidant capacity.  Using a method called ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity), researchers analyzed 277 different foods and found that pecans rank highest among all nuts in antioxidant capacity.  With 17,940 ORAC units per 100 grams, pecans had the highest antioxidant capacity when compared to eight other common tree nuts. 

In general, ½ ounce of nuts (10 pecan halves) can take the place of 1 ounce of meat in your diet.  Though the recommended number of servings you should get from the meat (and beans) group varies depending upon your age, whether you're male or female and how active you are, the average person might aim for 5 ½ servings from this group each day.  Eating 1 ½ ounces of pecans a day (27 to 30 pecan halves), supplies 7.8 grams protein as part of a heart-healthy diet to reduce risk of heart disease.

Shelled pecans cannot sprout, but still benefit from soaking in brine overnight to eliminate enzyme inhibitors.  Native Americans ground the nuts and soaked them in water to make a nutritious milky drink.

People following a weight-loss diet that contained 35% of calories from fat, including pecans as a fat source, were able to keep weight off longer than people following a traditionally recommended lower fat diet.  With their super nutrition profile and low-carbohydrate content, pecans also make a perfect choice for people following low-carbohydrate weight-loss plans.

About two ounces of pecans provides a dose of beta-sitosterol found to be effective in lowering cholesterol and has also been shown to be effective in treating the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia, non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland in men.  Gamma-tocopherol, the type of vitamin E found in pecans, has the ability to kill prostate cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone. This nut is also an important source of anti-cancer ellagic acid.

Potato is a nutrient-dense food.  It provides good nutritional return for its calories.  Potatoes contain small amounts of quality protein, among the best to be found in vegetables.  Its protein occurs with a copper-bearing vitamin C with the enzyme tyrosinase, a rare and valuable nutrient.  Tyrosinase (monophenol monooxygenase) is an enzyme that catalyses the oxidation of phenols (such as tyrosine) and is widespread in plants and animals.  Tyrosinase is a copper-containing enzyme present in plant and animal tissues that catalyzes the production of melanin and other pigments from tyrosine by oxidation, as in the blackening of a peeled or sliced potato exposed to air. 

Raw potato juice is rejuvenative, a lymph cleanser and provides low-stress and high quality protein.  Used immediately and fresh, potato juice has been traditionally given rectally to children to treat colds and pneumonia.  Red, new, Finnish, white, salad and Urantia potatoes make good juice, avoid Russet or baker type potatoes which contains an antiproteolytic enzyme in the skin.  Scrub them and remove any sprouts or green areas.  Grind and press the potatoes at low temperature to juice them.  Drink within 2 minutes.  Try 4 ounces twice per day.  The foam from juiced potatoes can be applied as an enzyme facial masque to nourish the skin and keep it youthful.

Nutrient density is important because phytochemicals in real foods speak to our genes.  Our need for calories has probably decreased by one-third since the turn of the century because we are less physically active.  However, metabolism requires about the same amount of essential nutrients as we did then.  In order to get all the nutrition we need without consuming too many calories, we best include mostly nutrient dense foods like potatoes in our diets.

A medium-size potato (one third pound or 150 grams) has about 110 calories, 4-5% of the average adult's total daily intake, but provides much higher percentages of our needs for many nutrients.  Iron is a mineral that's hard to get in sufficient amounts and is lacking in many diets, particularly those of women, teen-age girls and young children.  Although few foods contain large amounts of iron, potatoes are a very good source.  When consumed on a daily basis (5 1/3 oz. average per person), potatoes furnish up to 6grams of protein and more iron than any other vegetable. Iron in potatoes is highly usable by the body.

Potatoes that are mashed or baked and served hot have a very high glycemic index, higher than table sugar. This triggers aging stressful and exaggerated high insulin response.  On the other hand, cold potatoes, as served in potato salad, have a low glycemic index because gelled starches take much longer to digest.  Combining potatoes with herbs, such as basil, grated orange rind or even cinnamon will metabolically flatten the glycemic response.

Eating warm potatoes with fat or oil increases calories, but reduces stress on the pancreas, by slowing blood sugar release.  Whenever blood sugar rises, it must fall.  Falling blood sugar (even from unhealthy highs that increase AGEs) causes the release of cortisol.  Cortisol, the classic stress hormone dissolves muscles and preserves flab in the muscles, fat on the back, at the waistline and upper arms and sometime in sheets of little yellow fatty tumors inside the lips and cheeks called ectopic sebaceous cysts or Fordyce granules. 

If one’s body is accumulating fat, the metabolic command of stress hormones is more important than calories.  New potatoes, especially tiny fingerlings are lowest in starch.  Boiling potatoes and discarding the starchy water before sautéing to a safe golden yellow color in low glycemic coconut oil or ghee, modulates sugar-rush and glycemic index even more.

There are many ways to prepare potatoes deliciously. Bring the water to a boil before adding potatoes to shorten cooking time and preserve vitamin C.  Discard the water after boiling to lessen starch and reduce potential alkaloid toxicity.  Slow sugar release into the blood and blunt metabolic stress by adding greens, protein, fiber, fat and oil as well as by serving potatoes cold.

To a potato, try adding:

New potatoes = creamers = baby potatoes = chats = potato nuggets = earlies  The term "new potatoes" is sometimes used to describe all small waxy potatoes, but technically it refers to just immature potatoes harvested in spring and early summer.  You can tell if a potato is truly new by its skin; immature potatoes have flimsy, parchment-like skins that you can peel off with your fingers.  New potatoes are prized for their high moisture content and creamy texture, and because they can be cooked whole.  Lower in starch, they are excellent steamed, boiled, sautéed or roasted.  More perishable than other potatoes, it is best to refrigerate and use them within a few days after buying them.

Because new potatoes have very thin skins, they are especially prone to sun damage.  A sunburned potato has a green patch under its red or yellow skin.  This green patch contains toxic alkaloids, so either discard the entire potato or cut out the green patch entirely before using.  It only takes a few unchecked sunburned new potatoes to cause food poisoning.

It is also possible to find sprouts growing from the eyes of new potatoes.  Some farmers use new potatoes as seed potatoes, but these sprouts are not good news for cooks.  Discard any potatoes with substantial sprouts growing from their eyes.

Solanine and chaconin are alkaloids present in green and sprouted potatoes. Consumption of these alkaloids in excess can be poisonous. 100 gm of potato has normally less than 7mg.  The maximum permissible is 20 -25 mg per 100 gm fresh potato weight.  Green patches present in potato if any, must be discarded.

Potential toxicity is more when potato is eaten baked.  Toxicity is much less likely when potato is boiled and peeled, with water discarded.  Toxic symptoms might be headache, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea and even circulatory collapse.  Other rare symptoms are mental confusion, stupor and hallucination.  Solanine can sometimes cause migraine or drowsiness in sensitive people even when eaten in small quantities.

Antibiotic uptake by plants may be of particular concern to organic crop producers.  There is no current plan or standardized methodology for monitoring antibiotics in animal manure, which is often obtained from nonorganic farms where antibiotics are commonly used.   Tainted manure can impact more than just the soil.  Once applied to the land, antibiotics can infiltrate water supplies as it seeps through the soil into aquifers or spills into surface water due to runoff.   Composting reduced concentrations of three antibiotics by 54-99%, although one drug, sulfamethazine, does not degrade at all. 

Antibiotic accumulation in plants is just another negative consequence of our animal agriculture industry and not surprising given the quantity fed to livestock.  The clearest public health implication” from treating livestock with antibiotics is the development of resistant bacteria that reduces the effectiveness of human medicine.  Past studies have shown overuse of antibiotics encourages resistant strains and reduces the medicine’s ability to cure infections.  

Over time, certain antibiotics are rendered ineffective.  Antibiotics may have also contributed to the explosive rise in asthma and allergies in children occurring over the last 20 years. (Children who received antibiotics within their first six months have higher risk of developing allergies and asthma.)

Health concerns led the European Union in 2006 to ban antibiotic use as feed additives for promoting livestock growth.  But in the US, nearly 25 million pounds of antibiotics per year, up from 16 million in the mid 1980s, are given to healthy animals primarily to speed growth.

One worrisome finding is the accumulation of antibiotics within potato tubers. Tubers are an enlarged, underground stem that uptake and store nutrients from the soil. In crops like potatoes, carrots and radishes, it is the part humans eat.  Cabbage and lettuce are also of major concern because these are leaves we eat directly and consume raw.

Rye/Wheat: Wheat berries are the unprocessed kernel complete with endosperm, bran and germ.  All the nutrients that manufacturers remove from white bread are here, including fiber, folic acid, protein, B-complex vitamins and vitamin E.  Wheat berries are versatile enough to eat at breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Cooking Whole Kernel Wheat

Wash one cup of wheat and soak in 2 cups cool water for 12 hours.  Place rehydrated wheat in a pan and bring to a boil. It may be necessary to add water.  Simmer for about one hour until tender. Wheat need not be covered with water since cooking by steam is effective (use a lid). Water should be mostly absorbed after the hour.  The plump, cooked wheat will keep in a covered container in the refrigerator for about two weeks or frozen for longer. 

Rye is easy to soak over 8-10 hours, and then sprout for 3-4 days. It has a sweet, chewy texture and makes excellent dehydrated crackers.  Rinse it often, since rye tends to rot in warm weather.

Rye grass powder or juice  All cereal grasses, including the green leaves of wheat, barley, kamut, rye and oats are powerfully nutritionally similar.  Harvested at 6-8 inches, these young grasses are very different from the mature seed grains in their chemical and nutritional composition.  The nutrient profile of cereal grass has tremendous nutritional qualities, similar to those of other rapidly-growing dark-green leafy vegetables, but varies according to soil.  

A.S.’Doc’ Wheelwright made a ‘green manna’ with 20% rye, 10% whole hulled barley, 40% hard turkey red wheat and 30% blue stem hard wheat.  He felt the combination provided a broad nutritional spectrum and more pleasing flavor due to better mineral and protein structures than any one kind of seed.

The importance of green foods in the diet is now being validated scientifically.  Because cereal grass is so easy and inexpensive to grow, the juice, when dehydrated, is an excellent source of fresh green food nutrients.  Rye grass juice is rich in vitamins including A, B, C, E, K and pantothenic acid as well as minerals, including iron, manganese, zinc, silicon dioxide, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.  Green rye grass juice can be used to treat avitaminosis.

Rye grass is rich in protein, approximately 30%, and contains all the essential amino acids along with chlorophyll, flavinoids, lecithin and enzymes.  The availability and abundance of its nutrients has made rye grass juice a popular tonic for treating debility of convalescence.  Rye grass is also extremely rich in absorbable critical front-line antioxidants like glutathione and SOD (superoxide dismutase).

To make a green drink, if you do not have a dedicated juicer, cut grasses into one inch lengths.  Blend for 30 seconds or more, using 2 cups chopped grass to one cup spring water (or cucumber or zucchini squash juice).  Pour into a stainless steel sieve and press with a stainless steel spoon until all deep green juice is out of now-pale green grass.  Green manna is also compatible with watercress, parsley, and alfalfa, celery, parsnips, potato and red beet juice, all in small quantities.  Avoid combining with carrot juice, it seems to clash.

Any cereal grass juice is considered "blood-building" food.  Even small amounts of the digestive products of chlorophyll stimulate the synthesis of either heme or globin or both in animals and humans.  The green juice stops bleeding, eases itching and helps sores and pimples to heal. Added to city water, it will bind chlorine, fluorine and heavy metals softening the water.  Even rye-grass pollen is used for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Rye grass juice powder contains: Nutrients per 3.5 grams (1 tsp. powder) (approximates): Protein 800 mg; crude fiber 600 mg; Calories 10; chlorophyll 19mg; carbohydrates 1.3g; Vitamins: Vitamin A 175 0 I/U; Vitamin K 280 mcg; Vitamin C 11mg; Vitamin E 1.1mcg; Thiamin 10mcg; Choline 1mg; Riboflavin 71mcg; Vitamin B-12 1mcg; Niacin 263mcg; Pantothenic acid 84 mcg; Biotin 4mcg; Folic acid 38mcg. Amino Acids: Lysine 29 mg; Histidine 16 mg; Arginine 39 mg; Aspartic Acid 78 mg; Threonine 37 mg; Glutamic acid 33 mg; Glycine 41 mg; Alanine 48 mg; Valine 44 mg; Isoleucine 31 mg; Leucine 57 mg; Tyrosine 18 mg; Phenylalanine 38 mg; Methionine 15 mg; Cystine 8mg; Tryptophan 4 mg; Amide 10 mg; Purine; 2 mg; Serine 85 mg. Minerals: Calcium 18mg; Phosphorus 18 mg; Potassium 112 mg; Magnesium 3.6 mg; Iron 2 mg; Manganese 0.35 mg; Selenium 3.5 mcg; Sodium 1 mg; Zinc 17.5 mcg; Iodine 7 mcg; Copper 0.02 mg; Cobalt 1.75 mcg.

If you are not fresh juicing, a daily dose of rye grass juice powder is 5-10g (1/2-1 tablespoonful) mixed with water, or juice three times daily, providing one to two grams of quality protein.  Add to water, salad dressings, soups, shakes or yogurt.

Sesame seed, one of the smallest of all the seeds, is packed with goodness, high in protein, iron, zinc, magnesium, calcium and inositol-rich phytic acid. Soaking eliminates mineral-binding phytic acid.

The seeds are an aid to digestion, stimulating blood circulation and benefiting the nervous system. Sesame seeds benefit the body as a whole, especially the liver, kidney, spleen and stomach. Its high oil content lubricates the intestines and nourishes all the internal viscera, produces yin (body fluid) and promotes lactation (for breast-feeding mothers).
There is often concern that vegans do not get a sufficient amount of zinc or iron in their diet. Including sesame seeds in the diet is an ideal way of improving your zinc and iron intake.

Sesame seeds help to protect the body from free radicals. Phytic acid could inhibit cancer, specifically of the colon. To get the best from sesame seeds, chew them well.

The whole seeds can be eaten and are most often seen as a decoration on cakes and confectionery. Sesame seed paste, tahini, is used in many dishes e.g. hummus. Halva, a sweet made from sesame seeds is often found in health food shops. A good source of protein and calcium, about ¼ cup or 50g sesame seeds contain 13g protein, 6mg vitamin B3, 4mg iron, 65mg calcium and 5mg zinc. Soaked unhulled sesame seeds are rinsed four times daily, and are ready in 2-3 days as sprouts. Overnight soaking will create a gel and make them ready for the blender.

Sorghum is the most important farm crop behind corn, soybeans and wheat in the U.S.  It features higher resistance against dry weather and high temperatures than soybeans, wheat, corn and other crops.  It usually grows as a low-level chemical treatment crop with limited use of pesticides.

 

In the 1950’s, hybrid sorghums were developed for higher yields and it became a popular crop as yields increased dramatically.  Originally the color of sorghum was purple or red and the seed coat was red.  Color and taste were regarded to be inappropriate as a food crop.  Breeding improvements led to the development of white sorghum with a white seed coat, champagne colored body and wheat colored head.

 

Sorghum flour helps duplicate hearty wheat bread texture with its chewy crusts.  Gluten-free people miss the satisfaction of chewy cooked bulgur in tabbouleh or pearled barley in homemade vegetable soup.  Cooked sorghum grain is a marvelous replacement, allowing replication of those dishes.

 

Nutritionally, sorghum contains more protein than typical wheat substitutes such as rice flour and this higher protein makes better breads and rolls.  Rich in antioxidants, it a safe, delicious, and healthy choice for the gluten free diet.  Sorghum flour’s light color and neutral flavor allow one to use it in a wide variety of dishes, ranging from delicate cakes to hearty dishes like breads and pizza.  It also has a mysterious, but delightful synergy with other flours that actually improves the overall flavor of the dish, which is particularly advantageous since a combination of flours is typically used in gluten-free baking, rather than just one.

 

The nutritive value of protein of two sorghum grain composites containing 7.9% and 11.8% protein, respectively, was compared on the basis of growth of rats and amino acid analyses.  The high protein sorghum grain had higher percentages of all the 17 amino acids studied than did the low protein sorghum grain.

 

In both grains, lysine was the most deficient amino acid, and content of sulfur-containing amino acids and threonine also was low.  Calculated on an equal nitrogen basis, the dibasic amino acids, especially lysine, the sulfur-containing amino acids, and threonine levels of the high protein sorghum grain were lower than those of the low protein sorghum grain.

 

Nutritive value of the protein of low protein sorghum grain was superior to that of a high protein sorghum grain, as shown both by growth of rats and amino acid assays.  When lysine, histidine and arginine were added to the high protein sorghum grain diet to adjust percentages of those amino acids in the protein similar to the content in the low protein sorghum grain diet, an increase in growth resulted.

 

Cooked sorghum protein is less digestible than other cooked cereal proteins.  The pepsin-indigestible proteins in sorghum were found to be mainly prolamin proteins.  Cooking sorghum with 2-mercaptoethanol increased protein digestibility (with pepsin or trypsin / chymotrypsin) to a level comparable with other cereals.  Water soluble 2-mercaptoethanol reduces disulfide bonds and is one of few chemicals that extend the maximum as well as median life span of mice.  In microgram quantities, 2-mercaptoethanol has been observed to have a number of beneficial effects on mice.

 

At a concentration of 100 mM, other reducing agents (dithiothreitol, sodium bisulfite and L-cysteine) were equally effective in improving sorghum digestibility.  When maize was cooked in the presence of 2-mercaptoethanol, protein digestibility increased 5% compared to 25% for sorghum.  Cooking barley, rice and wheat with 2-mercaptoethanol had no significant effect on protein digestibility.  The addition of reducing agents appears to prevent the formation of protein polymers linked by disulfide bonds.

Sunflower seeds have healthy unsaturated fats, protein and fiber, plus important nutrients like vitamin E, selenium, copper, zinc, folate, iron and phytochemicals.   Sunflower seeds contain both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat.  Sunflower seeds are an excellent whole food source of the eight isomers of vitamin E.  Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects against heart disease by recycling glutathione and quenching free radicals that oxidatively stress us and lead to premature aging and arterioscleroses.

Selenium works synergistically with vitamin E as an antioxidant and protects cells from damage that may lead to cancer, heart disease, and other health problems.  Seeds are a good natural source of zinc, a critical cog in at least 60 biochemical metabolic pathways, an important mineral vital for keeping one’s immune system strong, fending off infections and healing wounds. Vitamin E, selenium and zinc are key nutrients that help to recycle glutathione, lack of which shuts down cellular immunity, triggering the ‘septic switch.’

The seeds can be eaten whole, raw, soaked or cooked. They can be added to breads and cakes or sprinkled over salad or breakfast cereals. A good source of potassium and phosphorous, a ¼ cup serving of 50g sunflower seeds also contain 12g protein and 3.5mg iron and 60mg calcium.  Sunflower seeds are an ideal pick-me-up tasty snack.  Sprouts are tasty, but become bitter if left too long.  Rinse two times per day.  Sprouts are ready in 12-18 hours.

Sweet Potato has about 400 varieties, with the flesh ranging from white and yellow to orange in color and the thin skin being white, yellow, orange, red or purple.  The intensity of the sweet potato's yellow or orange flesh color is directly correlated to its beta-carotene (provitamin A) content, perhaps being even more bioavailable than beta-carotene and other beneficial pigments from dark green leafy vegetables.

Purple-fleshed sweet potatoes are a good source of anthocyanadins and have the highest antioxidant activity among sweet potato varieties.  The antioxidant activity in sweet potato skin (regardless of its color) is almost three times higher than in the tasty core of the potato.

Sweet potatoes are grouped into two different categories depending upon the texture they have when cooked: some are firm, dry and mealy, while others are soft and moist. In both, the taste is starchy and sweet with different varieties having unique tastes.

Nutrients in 100 gm of sweet potatoes:

Being rich in dietary fiber, sweet potato lowers risk to constipation, diverticulosis as well as colon and rectal cancer. Sweet potatoes have been found to helpful in minimizing syndrome X, the risk to heart disease, diabetes and obesity.  Sweet potato is a good snack for those trying to lose weight.  It quickly induces a feeling of fullness and thus, helps control food intake. Consumption of sweet potatoes has been known to help avoid stroke, by bringing down the harmful effects associated with elevated low-density cholesterol & preventing blood clots.  Beta-carotene and other pigments in sweet potato help the body control and channel free radicals to increase energy and reduce risk to cancer.

Sweet potato contains unique root storage proteins that have significant antioxidant capacities.  In one study, these proteins had about one-third the antioxidant activity of glutathione, the body's most impressive internally produced antioxidant systems.  These root proteins help explain sweet potatoes' storied healing properties.

Since sweet potatoes have low glycemic index, they can be freely consumed by diabetics.  The high amount of potassium in sweet potato helps the body in maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance as well as cell integrity.  Sweet potatoes are beneficial for blood purification.  Owing to the presence of iron and calcium; sweet potatoes ensure proper blood flow and also improve bone density.  Regular consumption of sweet potato reduces stomach ulcers and inflamed conditions of the colon.  Being nutrient dense, rich in vitamins and minerals, sweet potato is supportive for people involved in heavy muscular work.

Puree boiled sweet potatoes (discard the water) with bananas, maple syrup and cinnamon.  Top with chopped soaked walnuts.  Steam cubed (previously blanched) sweet potatoes, tofu and broccoli.  Mix in raisins and serve hot or cold with a curried vinaigrette dressing.  Desserts made with sweet potatoes are an autumn favorite but can be enjoyed year round. Try making sweet potato pie, bread, muffins or pudding.  Baked sweet potatoes are delicious when served cold and make a great food to pack in to-go lunches.

Sweet potatoes (like chocolate) are among a small number of foods that contain measurable amounts of oxalates, naturally-occurring substances found in plants, animals and human beings.  Boiling chunks of sweet potato and then discarding the water should greatly reduce oxalate.  When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems.  For this reason, individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating baked sweet potatoes, and boil them instead.

Teff (Tef) This gluten-free grain has a high concentration of different nutrients, a very high calcium content, as well as high levels of phosphorus, iron, copper, aluminum, barium and thiamin.  A big advantage, the iron from teff is easily absorbed by the body.  Teff is high in protein, with an excellent amino acid composition (including all 8 essential amino acids for humans).  It optimally stimulates the flora of the large intestine.  Teff contains 11% protein, 80% complex carbohydrate and 3% fat.

It is an excellent source of essential amino acids, especially lysine, the amino acid that is often deficient in grain foods.  Teff contains more lysine than barley, millet and wheat and slightly less than rice or oats. It can be enjoyed raw as well as soaked and/or cooked. It is similar to millet and quinoa in cooking, but the seed is much smaller.  Sprinkle it on salads or over cooked cereals to increase fiber and nutrition.

In Ethiopa, most tef is made into injera, flat, spongy, and slightly sour bread that looks like a giant bubbly pancake the size of a serving tray.  People tear off pieces and use them to scoop up spicy stews that constitute the main meals.  For the middle and upper classes it is the preferred staple; for the poor it is a luxury they generally cannot afford.  Now, however, the use of teff as a cereal for humans is transcending the boundaries of Ethiopia.

 All whole grains are perishable, especially brown rice.  Avoid buying in bulk.  Buy ‘sealed in nitrogen’ if possible.  Keep grains, seeds, nuts and beans dry and cool, wrapped or airtight and refrigerated or frozen for long term storage.

Each of these grains have little flavor of their own, so cook them in broth or add a pinch of Himalayan salt to the cooking water to give them some flavor.    Also, feel free to add oils, herbs and other seasonings for interest while they are being cooked.

Walnuts (black walnuts) have often been thought of as a "brain food," not only because of the wrinkled brain-like appearance of their shells, but because of their high concentration of omega-3 fats.  Brain is more than 60% structural fat.  For brain cells to function properly, this structural fat needs to be primarily the omega-3 fats found in walnuts, chia, flaxseed and cold-water fish.  Isocaloric substitution of walnuts for other fat sources in the diet does not lead to weight gain.  The membranes of all our cells, including our brain cells or neurons, are primarily composed of fats.

Cell membranes are the brain and gatekeepers of the cell.  Anything that wants to get into or out of a cell must pass through the cell's outer membrane.  And omega-3 fats, which are especially fluid and flexible, make this process a whole lot easier, thus maximizing the cell's ability to usher in nutrients while eliminating wastes, important for all cells and especially for hard working brain cells. Melatonin is present in walnuts-at only 2.5-4.5 ng/gram.  However, eating walnuts triples blood levels of melatonin and also increases antioxidant activity in the bloodstream in animals.

Enjoying just 4 walnuts a day significantly increased blood levels of the health-protective omega-3 essential fatty acids, alpha linolenic acid (ALA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), in 10 adults.  The amino acid L-arginine is the precursor to nitric oxide (NO). NO acts upon smooth muscle in blood vessels, causing them to dilate, thus increasing blood flow.  Nuts like pecans and walnuts removed from their shells will not sprout, but are easier to digest, with more assimilable nutrients, if they are first soaked in salt water overnight (to neutralize sprout inhibitors).  Nuts can then be dried at 150 degrees for 12-24 hours for portability, storage or drier texture for grinding into flour or paste.

Researchers reported that blood flow in the brachial artery of the arm, (flow-mediated dilation) increased 24% in subjects with high cholesterol after they ate a walnut-containing meal, while the olive oil-containing meal actually resulted in a 36% decrease in blood flow.  The fact that a single walnut meal positively affects postprandial vasoactivity further supports the beneficial effects of walnuts on cardiovascular risk.

E-selectin is a molecule that plays a role in cell adhesion, so that damaged cholesterol adheres to blood vessel walls to form plaques.  E-selectin falls after a walnut meal.  Walnuts are an important part of the Mediterranean diet, providing numerous health benefits.  Walnuts, unlike olive oil and other nuts, contain significant amounts of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an essential plant-based omega-3.  Walnuts benefit from refrigeration and being sealed from air.  They also provide antioxidants and L-arginine, precursor to nitric oxide, a nutrient that improves artery function.

Walnuts provide 4 1/3 grams protein per ounce dry weight.  Walnuts are a very good source of manganese and a good source of copper, two minerals that are essential cofactors in a number of enzymes important in antioxidant defenses.  For example, the key protective enzyme superoxide dismutase, which disarms free radicals produced within cell cytoplasm and the mitochondria (the energy production factories within our cells), requires both copper and manganese.

Walnuts also contain ellagic acid, an antioxidant which blocks metabolic pathways that lead to cancer.  Ellagic acid not only helps protect healthy cells from free radical damage, but also helps detoxify potential cancer-causing substances and helps prevent cancer cells from replicating.  In a study of over 1,200 elderly people, those who ate the most strawberries (another food that contains ellagic acid) were three times less likely to develop cancer than those who ate few or no strawberries.

Wild rice is not rice at all but a marsh grass.  Wild rice is really the annual aquatic seed Zizania aquatica, mostly found in the upper freshwater lakes of Canada, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.  Called manoomin by Native Americans, it grows as reeds about 8-12 feet tall in water about 3-8 feet deep in Wisconsin, Minnesota and marshes north of the Great Lakes. There are thousands of different varieties, each growing in its own particular niche of depth, temperature, and mud with water quality.

In the old days, they say, women would go out on the rice field lakes of a family about 2 weeks before the rice becomes ripe.  They would tie some narrow bundles of rice reed-heads into tight sheaves with basswood twine.  The twine was in a big ball in a tray behind the woman.  It ran over her shoulder in a little leather loop.  She pulled the still-unripe heads together and wound and tied them.  The grains from tied rice wouldn't fall in the water.  It could be cut off later in the winter, and shaken out.  

Those grains took a longer time to cook, but they were very special, they say. It took several days for women to tie up lots of sheaves. No one does this anymore.  This process would have allowed natural fermentation of grass seed.

Wild rice processed the same day it was brought in is called green rice (ohshki bagoong mahnoomin--the word for green rice color is special; means "first original color" ozaawashko is more ordinary blue-green).  Oshki Anishinabe means first, original, people.  There are connotations of sacred, growth and creative in the word "oshki".  Green rice has a lighter color (light brown speckled, actually) and a different flavor than rice we are familiar with that dries in the sun.

First Rice feast, by the side of the rice bed lake in the rice camps is a major celebration and thanks for the fruits of harvest.  Migwetch (thank-you) Mahnoomin is the name of Anishinaabe First Rice feast.  It is the rice, not the wild birds, which was the Native American’s traditional staple and most important food, the focus of prayers and thanks.

If wild rice dries for several days in the sun, it turns very black (makadewiminagad, black seed-grain only, black anything else is makadewizi).  It will seemingly keep forever, if not too broken up.  Black rice takes much longer to soak (at least 7 hours) and then simmer.  If husked mechanically, its grains are usually broken.

Simmer (covered) at 190 degrees one cup of dark wild rice (after rinsing and soaking in brine) in 3-4 parts cups of water slowly, about 45-50 minutes.  Rice should absorb all the water, as it is done.  Do not further salt it until cooked.  Cooking time varies according to the variety and how it was processed; if black it takes longer.  Taste a few grains.  If you're going to use it in a stuffing, stew, soup, casserole, or salad, do not boil it until mushy, simmer on lowest possible heat.  

Taste it before you stir in any salt afterwards, some varieties really do not need any.  You can use wild rice in any recipes you usually use regular rice for, especially if the recipe calls for the rice cooked separately first.  You can serve it plain with coconut oil, butter, kefir, yogurt or buttermilk and stir or fluff it up when done, because once it's cooked or cooking it doesn't matter if the long grains get broken.

Form cooked wild rice into thick pancakes or thin patties.  Fry in butter.  Serve with maple syrup.  Rice cakes are also good with berry syrups or honey, or at a main meal with butter or gravy.  As a breakfast cereal, serve cold or warm cooked rice with sugar or honey and cream.  Stir in crispy sunflower seeds, chopped apple, peach, pear; or chopped dried fruits.

Nutritional value of wild rice per a 100-gram (3.5 oz) serving of wild rice: 50 calories (approximately), 14.1 grams protein (about twice that of brown or white rice), 75 grams carbohydrates, 340 mg phosphorus, 45 mg thiamin (vitamin B-1), 63 mg riboflavin, 0.75 mg fat and 4.2 mg iron.  It is particularly rich in niacin, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium and for a grain, relatively rich in lysine and methionine.

This versatile low-fat grain can be used to make a pilaf, a breakfast “cereal,” stuffed into a bell pepper or a tomato, or tossed with fruit and nuts and made into a salad.

Beans are a legume and thus acquire their nitrogen through an association with nitrogen-fixing bacteria.  The leaf is sometimes used as a leaf vegetable, and the straw is used for fodder.  Beans are a rich source of essential lysine, so often lacking in arginine dominant leaf, seed and nut crops mostly consumed by vegetarians.  Arginine is the building block of the herpes virus and turns up immune response as well as encourages growth hormone release.  Nonessential arginine is similar in structure to lysine and some is converted to lysine during germination.

For flours, extruded corn, white bread, potato, corn flour, beiju macaroni, raw manioc flour and manioc, glycemic response is similarly high.  In humans, beans with and without hulls produce a significantly lower glycemic response compared to polenta, rice and even rice with beans. Plasma insulin levels are significantly lower in individuals fed diets containing beans compared to others test diets.  Insulin ages us and a high insulin level is a primary ‘risk factor’ for degenerative diseases.  Consuming beans is a great anti-aging strategy.  Canned beans are convenient and easy.

One concern about canned foods is the potential for the can to include a liner made from bisphenol A (BPA), a xenoestrogen.  About half of all canned foods contain BPA.  About 10% of all canned foods contain excessive levels of BPA.  Due to industrial lobbying, BPA is not a prohibited toxin in the national organic foods legislation.  Because polymers containing BPA are listed as "inert pesticide ingredients" in the U.S. EPA’s "List of Inert Pesticide Ingredients" updated August 2004, this potential toxin is not strictly prohibited in the canning process used for certified organic foods.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a clearly problematic toxin from the standpoint of the ecosystem and ocean life, and a somewhat controversial (only to the FDA) toxin with respect to human health. Counter to conventional linear thinking, BPA is paradoxically more disruptive at extremely low levels.  Known from a chemical perspective as 2,2-bis(4 hydroxyphenyl)propane, BPA is widely dispersed in the environment.

There are many potential sources of exposure to BPA completely unrelated to food.  BPA is often used in the manufacture of polycarbonates plastics, epoxy resins, and flame-retardant materials.  It can be found in adhesives, polycarbonate plastics, automobile parts, laminated products designed to be bullet proof, some fax paper and some CDs.

Within the world of food, two key sources of exposure to BPA are polycarbonate plastic water bottles (usually labeled with the Number 7 recycling symbol), and resin-based can liners that are used to reduce spoilage of canned foods.  Baby bottles can also be a problem in terms of BPA exposure.  To be completely sure that you are not being exposed to any BPA from canned foods, your best bet is to factor in a little more time to your meal preparation process and avoid canned foods altogether.  Short of this step, you can call the toll-free number found on the packaging of most canned organic products (or found on the manufacturer's website) and ask for the status each particular canned food with regard to BPA.

Eden Foods (Organic Canned Beans) Eden confirms on their web site that they do not use BPA in their canned beans.  Eden has been in the organic business for 40 years.  They had foresight to avoid using BPA in their cans nearly a decade ago, opting for a more expensive plant-based can-liner for all but their highly acidic canned tomatoes.  Canned beans come in a wide variety and are part of many recipes including Hummus (Garbanzo or Chick Peas), Chili (Pinto and Kidney beans), Bean dip (Refried and Black Beans), Bean salad (Navy, Aduki beans), Succotash (Lima or Butter Beans) and Baked Beans (coming soon!).

It is worthy to note other BPA-free canned products, Henry & Lisa`s Natural Seafood (Sashimi-Grade Canned Albacore Tuna) is wild caught, preservative-free and comes from sustainable ecosystems. Due to the smaller fish size they choose, their tuna is lower in mercury than most commercial tuna.  Vital Choice confirms that their liners also do not contain BPA.  They sell a wide variety of wild, organic and sustainable seafood products including salmon, tuna, tuna belly (the most prized part of the fish) and fish oils.  Canned fish has a 5 year shelf life from its production date.

Begin by rinsing and washing beans.  Discard any which are discolored or badly formed. Check for debris in the package such as small rocks or twigs and discard them.  Beans cook more quickly and nutritive qualities and digestibility are enhanced when soaked in water and then aerated to partly germinate them.

To reduce mineral-binding phytates, warm your water in a kettle and combine boiling water with filtered or tap water. Cover the beans with water and put them in a warm place. Begin to soak beans in the morning on the day before you plan to cook them. As they absorb water, add more warm water.  Aim for 140 º Fahrenheit (loosely), and give the beans plenty of soaking time to make up for any lack of temperature monitoring. Then simply simmer until tender.  With this method, the beans will digest better too. 

Before they are eaten, raw bean seeds need to be soaked in water for several hours and then boiled for at least ten minutes in new fresh water to degrade a toxic lectin, phytohaemagglutinin.  Poisoning can be induced from as few as five raw beans and symptoms occur within three hours, beginning with nausea then vomiting which can be severe and sustained (profuse), then diarrhea.  Recovery occurs within 4-5 hours of onset, usually without the need for any medical intervention. 

Phytohaemagglutinin actually consists of two closely related proteins, called leucoagglutinin (PHA-L) and PHA-E. The letters E and L point to the fact that these proteins agglutinate erythrocytes and leukocytes. These compounds are present in many varieties (and in some other species of bean), but are especially concentrated in red kidney beans and white kidney beans (Cannellini beans).

The phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) skin test is used as a measure of stress-induced changes in immune reactivity in pigs.  Immune reactivity to intradermally injected PHA of stressed animals differed significantly from that of unstressed control pigs.  Stress creates a delayed reaction with a lower peak in lymphocyte reactivity.

Although in the case of dry beans the ten minutes of soaking required to degrade the toxin is much shorter than the hours required to fully cook the beans, outbreaks of poisoning have been associated with the use of slow cookers whose low cooking temperatures were unable to degrade the toxin.  Sprouts of pulses high in haemaglutins should not be eaten.  Kidney beans, especially, should not be sprouted.

Cover beans by about 3 inches water (2 ½ times bean volume of water) for 8 hours or overnight.  In the morning, pour off water and save in refrigerator.  Now that the beans are hydrated, to come alive, they need air and moisture so they won’t dry out.  Keep on cool countertop or refrigerator for 1-2 days to allow the beans to begin their bud of a sprout.  Mist or water them 3-4 times per day with spring water, rinsing and soaking 5 minutes each time.  Simmer beans in their original soak water, fresh water, coconut water or herbally-infused broth.

Reduce the gas from eating beans! Macrobiotic followers have known for years that cooking beans with seaweed reduces bean flatus.  When you soak beans before cooking them, add 1-2 drops of Lugol's solution, and let them soak for an hour or more.  Pour off that water before cooking, and add fresh water.  This results in a major reduction in intestinal gas! (Technical explanation:  Lugol's inactivates a naturally occurring enzyme inhibitor in beans which interferes with gut starch digestion, providing a substrate for bacteria to produce gas.)

Cook beans very slowly.  Never boil!  Beans are done when they will readily smoothly smash between thumb and finger.  At 190 degrees F or less, this takes at least 6 hours. This is an ideal job for a crock pot or electric fry pan with thermostat.  These tasty, most digestible perfectly prepared beans have great flavor and do not cause intestinal gas or indigestion.  The soak water is used with pinto, pink, browns, small whites, navy, black, chili, kidneys and raw peanuts.  Soybeans have their soak water discarded before cooking.

Some proteins are easier to digest than others.  A raw or barely coddled egg is anabolic, whereas a fried egg becomes catabolic, so much work is required to digest hardened egg. Low-stress proteins are beans sprouted or cooked without boiling; beet leaf, fresh juiced new beets with baby leaves, fresh juiced new baby potatoes, dulse seaweed; fresh yard eggs; gelatin; miso; fish, including cod, sole, flounder, grouper, halibut, haddock. mahi mahi, red snapper, orange roughie, salmon, scallops, shrimp, squid, octopus; soaked seeds; sesame tahini, fermented soy products: tofu, tempe and seitan; as well as wild rice, cooked without boiling.

Medium-stress proteins to be enjoyed moderately are avocado, chicken, turkey and game birds; hardboiled egg, cheeses (cottage and feta), soaked nuts and nut milks.

Considered high-stress are fried or well done proteins, roasted and fried nuts, roasted peanuts and raw nuts, brewer’s yeast, cow’s milk, fried eggs, sardines, non-fermented soy products and red meats.

 Some authorities feel that salt and seasonings added during the cooking tends to make beans cook more slowly.  Beans often require lengthy cooking.  Add salt and seasonings during the last few minutes of cooking.  Beans then absorb flavors quite readily.  When making a dish that contains beans, add a little vinegar near the end of cooking, it will dramatically decrease the amount of salt needed.  It perks up the flavor of beans without raising your blood pressure.

Other factors contribute to the length of cooking, such as, hard water and beans that have been dried for too a long period of time.  For some of the longer cooking beans, soaking 24 hours (or even up to 4 days) and changing the soak water 2 or 3 times daily finally allows germination and hastens cooking time.

Beans have a reputation for causing flatulence, typically caused by a combination of inadequate soaking and then cooking at too high a temperature (boiling).  Rinsing and soaking almost any hard bean for two days and then simmering at 190 degrees F for 6 hours eliminates enzyme inhibitors and makes almost any bean fully and quietly digestible. 

However, passing gas releases desirable endorphins and sometimes leads to laughter (which also releases endorphins).  Start your bean ventures by ingesting small amounts at first, which gradually helps increase your body's pancreatic digestive enzyme production.  Properly soaking with germination and then cooking the beans thoroughly helps to break down the complex sugars (oligosaccharides) which can challenge one’s digestive system.

Some herbs that help the digestion of beans can be added during the cooking process. These include bay leaf, cumin and winter or summer savory as well as fresh epazote (available in Hispanic markets).  Raw papaya, mango and pineapple are rich in digestive enzymes.  Many people from India maintain the tradition of chewing on dried fennel seeds or drinking a cup of fennel tea at the end of a legume meal to aid digestion.

QUICK-SOAK METHOD: When time is limited, you can quickly eliminate the mutagenic and carcinogenic aflatoxins, mineral-binding phytates and pancreatic enzyme inhibitors (but do lose the highly digestible protein and abundance messaging of germination).  Wash and pick over beans and put them into a stock pot with water to cover by 3 inches. Bring water to about 200 degrees and simmer 10 minutes. Then cover and allow beans to soak for 1 hour. Discard soak water; add fresh water or broth, then cook until tender.

As a general rule, 1 cup of dried beans will yield about 2 1/2 - 3 cups of cooked beans.

Azuki bean = adzuki bean = Tiensin red bean = aduki bean = asuki bean = field pea = red Oriental bean = feijao bean = red chori.   Equivalents: 1 cup dried yields 3 cups cooked beans.  Japanese use these small red beans to make sweet red bean paste, but they are also good in rice dishes or salads.  Azuki beans are sweet and relatively easy to digest, so they won't make you as gassy as other beans.  They also do not take as long to cook.

Black bean = turtle bean = black turtle bean = turtle soup bean = Mexican black bean = Spanish black bean = frijole negro.  Equivalents: 1 pound of dried beans = 2 cups dried beans = 6 cups of cooked beans.   These beans are a staple of Latin American and Caribbean cuisine, where they're used to make side dishes, soups, bean dips, and salads.  They have a strong, earthy flavor, so they are often combined with assertive flavorings.  Black beans darken the sauce they are cooked in and provide rich smoky flavor that has been compared to mushrooms.  Black beans and other beans such as pinto beans, navy beans and kidney beans are all known scientifically as Phaselous vulgaris.  They all derived from a common bean ancestor that originated in Peru.

Soluble fiber absorbs water in the stomach forming a gel that slows down metabolism of bean carbohydrates.  The presence of fiber is also the primary factor in the cholesterol-lowering power of beans.  Fiber binds with the bile acids that are used to make cholesterol. Fiber is not absorbed, so when it exits the body in the feces, it takes bile acids with it.  As a result, the body may end up with less cholesterol.  Black beans also contain insoluble fiber, which not only helps to increase stool bulk and prevent constipation, but also helps prevent digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis.

In addition to providing slow burning complex carbohydrates, black beans can increase energy by helping to replenish iron stores.  Although tannins in black beans may block absorption of some of the iron they contain, a cup of black beans contains so much iron (20% of the daily requirement for this important mineral) that one still benefits.

Black beans are a good source of the trace mineral manganese, which is an essential cofactor in a number of enzymes important in energy production and antioxidant defenses.  A key oxidative enzyme is SOD (superoxide dismutase), which disarms free radicals produced within the mitochondria (the energy production factories within our cells).  Mitochondrial SOD requires manganese.  Just one cup of black beans supplies 38% of the daily requirement for this critical trace mineral.

Black beans are an excellent source of the trace mineral, molybdenum, an integral component of the enzyme sulfite oxidase, which is responsible for detoxifying sulfites.  Sulfites are a type of preservative commonly added to prepared foods like delicatessen salads and salad bars.  Persons who are sensitive to sulfites in these foods may experience rapid heartbeat, headache or disorientation if sulfites are unwittingly consumed. If you have ever reacted to sulfites, it may be because molybdenum stores are insufficient to detoxify them.  A cup of black beans provides 172% of the daily value for this helpful trace mineral.

The darker a bean's seed coat, the higher its level of antioxidant activity.  Gram for gram, black beans have the most antioxidant activity, followed in descending order by red, brown, yellow, and white beans.  Overall, the level of antioxidants found in black beans is approximately 10 times that found in an equivalent amount of oranges, and equivalent to that found in a similar amount of grapes or cranberries.  Black beans are as rich in anthocyanins as grapes and cranberries, fruits long considered antioxidant superstars.

Researchers fed laboratory animals a 20% black bean diet to see if it would cause any mutagenic or genotoxic activity.  Not only did black beans not promote cancer, but a clear reduction in the number of pre-cancerous cells was seen (even in animals who were simultaneously given a mutagen known to promote cancer, cyclophosphamide).

In an attempt to identify the bean components responsible for this protective effect, researchers tested a single commercial anthocyanin, but instead of being protective on its own, the flavonoid, at the highest dose administered (50 mg per kg of bodyweight), actually induced DNA damage.  As usual, the synergy of compounds brought together by Mother Nature in the creation of whole foods is highly likely to be of greater benefit than a single extracted or synthesized compound.

Do not confuse black beans with fermented black beans.  Fermented black beans are small, black soybeans that have been preserved in salt.  The process turns the beans black, soft, and mostly dry.  The flavor is sharp, pungent and spicy in smell, with a taste that is salty and somewhat bitter as well as sweet.  Unlike some other fermented soybean-based foods such as natto or tempeh, douchi is used only as a seasoning, and is not meant to be consumed in large quantities, being typically much more salty.  In Chinese cuisine, a condiment called black bean paste or black bean garlic sauce is made from douchi, along with garlic and soy sauce, a typical combination used for seasoning.

Cannellini beans are large white beans with that traditional kidney shape.  They are part of a family of sweet kidney-shaped beans that comes in different sizes and colors, including flageolets and red kidney beans.   With a slightly nutty taste and mild earthiness, they have a relatively thin skin and tender, creamy flesh.  They hold their shape well and are one of the best white beans for salads and ragouts.  

The basic method of preparation involves slow cooking over low heat (190 degrees F).  The potential ingredients of this stew or sauce are many: ragouts may be prepared with or without meat, a wide variety of vegetables may be incorporated, and they may be more or less heavily spiced and seasoned. This Italian bean is classic in minestrone soup or a bean salad.  It is prized for its smooth texture and nutty flavor.

Cannellini Beans in Mint Marinade (Makes 4-6 servings)

2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and well drained (or use 3 1/2 cups freshly cooked beans).
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup finely minced fresh mint leaves
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Drain beans into colander and rinse well until no more foam appears, then let beans drain until they are fairly dry.  Blot beans with paper towels if they do not seem to be dry enough.

 

While beans drain, finely chop mint with chef's knife.  Very finely chopped mint is essential to success of the dish.  Chopping releases the oil in the mint leaves, which flavors the marinade.  In a plastic bowl big enough to hold beans, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Stir in mint, then add beans and gently stir until beans are coated.  Allow this to marinate at room temperature for several hours before serving.

The beans will keep in the fridge for several days, but let it come to room temperature again and stir before serving as leftovers.

Garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas) have a delicious nutlike taste and buttery texture. They provide a good source of protein that can be enjoyed year-round and are available either dried or canned.  A very versatile legume, they are a noted ingredient in many Middle Eastern and Indian dishes such as hummus, falafels and curries.  While many people think of garbanzos as being beige in color, there are varieties that feature black, green, red and brown beans.

Just one cup of garbanzo beans supplies significant iron and 84.5% of the daily value of manganese.

 When purchasing canned garbanzo beans, it is preferable to choose those that feature organically grown beans and do not contain extra salt or additives; dried beans should also be organically grown whenever possible.

Store dried garbanzo beans in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place where they will keep up to 12 months. If you purchase garbanzo beans at different times, store and cook them separately as legumes increase in dryness the longer they are stored, resulting in differences in required cooking time.

Lentils Like other legumes, lentils are low in fat and high in protein and fiber, but they have the added advantage of cooking quickly. Lentils do not need pre-soaking, although they too benefit from a short soak. Remove any debris, then rinse and simmer them. Red lentils take only 20-30 minutes, green lentils take 45-60 minutes, and brown lentils cook in 1-2 hours. Do not add salt to cooking lentils, as this may toughen them.

This super food gives you protein and cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber, as well as about twice as much iron as other legumes.  A ¼ cup serving of about 50grams of lentils supplies roughly 12grams of protein and 15grams of fiber.  Lentils are higher in most B vitamins and folate, which is especially important for women of childbearing age because folate reduces the risk of birth defects.  Pigments in Beluga black lentils act as an antioxidant and helps protect against heart disease, cancer and aging in general.

If your recipe calls for a lentil that will retain its shape when done, common brown lentils are the usual choice.  Brown lentils still have their seed coat and have not been split.  Most red, yellow and orange lentils tend to disintegrate with long cooking because the hulls have been removed. Slightly sweet in flavor, these are best reserved for pureed soups or stew thickeners.

Other choices include French lentils which are olive-green and slate-colored. These will cook up the firmest. Considered most flavorful are French Puy lentils, which also retain their shape. Persian green lentils will turn brown as they cook and become nice and tender, while still retaining their shape.

Like beans, lentils will keep up to a year in a cool, dry place. Their colors may fade slightly after long storage, but their flavor and nutrition won’t. Lentils are the perfect way to add protein, fiber and all the antioxidant benefits of beans to any meal. And they taste wonderful, adapting themselves to a wide range of aromatic spices and herbs, particularly turmeric and ginger or onions and garlic.

Lentils have a mild, often earthy flavor, and they benefit from being cooked with assertive flavorings.  The best, most delicate lentils are the peppery French green lentils. These hold their shape well, but take longer to cook than other lentils.  The milder brown lentils also hold their shape after cooking, but can easily turn mushy if overcooked.  Indian markets carry a wide variety of split lentils, called dal.

Unlike dried beans and peas, there's no need to soak dal.  Lentils cook more slowly if they're combined with salt or acidic ingredients, so add these last.  Bigger or older lentils take longer to cook.  This bean looks just like yellow split peas, but is quite different because it doesn't readily boil down to mush. It's more closely related to garbanzo beans, or chickpeas. Chana dal is younger, smaller, split, sweeter and has a much lower glycemic index. One can substitute chana dal for garbanzo beans in practically any recipe.

Chana dal has a very low glycemic index. With their sweet and nutty flavor, these are the most popular dal in India.  They are made from splitting this small relative of the chickpea in half. They are dull yellow (to red) and are famous for causing flatulence, which Indians attempt to counter by adding asafoetida (a powdered gum extracted from the root of the giant fennel.

A major ingredient in Indian vegetarian cooking, asafoetida has a pungent, slightly sulfurous stink.  Its odor is so strong that it must be stored in airtight containers; otherwise the aroma, which is nauseating in quantity, will contaminate other spices stored nearby.  Its nickname is "Devil's Dung."  Its smell mellows through cooking, adding more of a standard leek or onion plus garlic flavor to a cooked dish).  To really improve digestibility and reduce gas, simmer longer and avoid boiling germinated beans.

Traditionally, large rounded or 'owl' shaped, cream colored chickpeas are called 'kabuli’ type. All chickpeas with a tan, brown, red, green or black seed coat color are called 'desi.' The desi type generally has an even lower glycemic index than the kabuli type.  Darker or colored beans provide more crude fiber and phytochemicals (with messaging of abundance) than the larger cream colored types, probably accounting for milder metabolic response and slower sugar release.

Try cooking dal in a big pot with water, turmeric and ginger slices.  Simmer (do not boil) the dal until tender.  If split, that takes 45 minutes to an hour.  Depending on the dal, it may take even longer.  Whole dal takes longer, probably 1 ½ to 2 hours.

Lima bean = butter bean = Madagascar bean = wax bean.  With their buttery flavor, lima beans are great in soups or stews, or on their own as a side dish.  The most popular varieties are the small baby lima bean (sieva bean) and the larger Fordhooks.  Limas are available fresh in their pods in summer, but many prefer to use dried lima beans.  Shelled frozen limas are a good substitute for fresh, but canned limas are not nearly as good.  Their biggest downside is that limas are harder to digest than other beans.

Vicia faba, the broad bean, fava bean, faba bean, horse bean, field bean, tic bean is a species of bean (Fabaceae) native to north Africa and southwest Asia, and extensively cultivated elsewhere.  Broad beans are rich in tyramine, and thus should be avoided by those taking monoamine oxidase (MAOI) inhibitors.

Raw broad beans contain vicine, isouramil and convicine, which like megadoses of vitamin C (over6-8 grams/day) can induce hemolytic anemia in patients with the hereditary condition glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PD).  Favism can cause hemolytic crisis, kidney failure, acute hemolytic anemia, and in severe cases death.  Incidence of G6PD is 2.5% of males and 1.6% of females, with most having only moderate enzyme deficiency.  African American males (12.2%) and females (4.1%), along with Asian males (4.3%), had the highest rates of G6PD deficiency.  Fava beans are not always a safe alternative to velvet beans (Mucuna Pruriens) as a source of L-dopa if proper pretesting is not done.

Broad beans are rich in L-dopa, a substance used medically in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. L-dopa is also a natriuretic agent, which might help in controlling hypertension.  Some also use fava beans as a natural alternative to drugs like Viagra, citing a link between L-dopa production and the human libido.   Broad beans are widely cultivated in Pakistan and eastern province of Iran.  Elders generally restrict the young children from eating it raw (when unmatured) because it can cause constipation and jaundice like symptoms.

Broad beans have a long tradition of cultivation in Old World agriculture, being among the most ancient plants in cultivation and also among the easiest to grow. It is believed that along with lentils, peas, and chickpeas, they became part of the eastern Mediterranean diet in around 6000 BC or earlier. Areas of origin of the bean correspond to malarial areas. There are suggestions that the anemia resulting from favism acts as protection from malaria, because certain species of malarial protozoa cannot prosper in blood lacking in iron.

Fava beans are the most common fast food in the Egyptian diet, eaten by rich and poor alike. Egyptians eat fava beans in various ways: they may be shelled and then dried, bought dried and then cooked by adding water in very low heat for several hours.  

The most popular way of preparing fava beans in Egypt is taking cooked beans and adding oil, garlic, lemon, salt and cumin to it.  It is then eaten with bread.  Traditionally, Egyptians eat onions with it; in the famous dish is called ful medames.  In most Arab countries the fava bean is used for a breakfast meal called ful medames.  Ful medames is usually crushed fava beans in a sauce although the Fava beans do not have to be crushed.

These meaty, strongly flavored beans have been around for ages, and they work well in side dishes, soups or salads.  The larger ones are best.  Tender fresh fava beans are available in the fall and are much better tasting than canned, dried or frozen ones.  Fresh young fava beans need only be shelled, but mature beans must also be peeled to rid them of a waxy skin that surrounds each bean.  The best way to do this is to blanch the shelled beans for a minute in boiling water, then plunge them into cold water, and then pull off the skins. 

Mucuna is a genus of around 100 accepted species of climbing vines and shrubs of the family Fabaceae, found worldwide in the woodlands of tropical areas.  Like other legumes, Mucuna plants bear pods. (M. pruriens) is one of the most important sources of L-dopa, a common component of nootropics ("smart drugs"); it also contains serotonin, 5-HTP, nicotine and some decidedly psychoactive compounds.  hallucinogenic tryptamines 5-MeO-DMT, bufotenine and dimethyltryptamine, and supposedly[ the beta-Carboline 6-MeO-Harmane has been confirmed in M. pruriens,

M. pruriens was used in Native American milpa agriculture and popular as green manure in the southern USA before it was replaced by soybean in the mid-late 20th century.  Mucuna is also used as a food crop, e.g. in eastern Nigeria, although the L-dopa content makes it less desirable.  The plant must be processed before it can be eaten; for example, the leaves must be soaked to leach out L-dopa.  Seeds are also cracked open and soaked before they are eaten.

Mucuna pruriens seeds contain high concentrations of levodopa, a direct precursor of the neurotransmitter dopamine.  Velvet bean has a long history of traditional use in Brazil and India as an aphrodisiac for both men and women.  It has long been used in traditional Ayurvedic Indian medicine for diseases including Parkinson's disease.   In large amounts (30 g dose) it has been shown to be as effective as pure levodopa / carbidopa in the treatment of Parkinson's disease, but no data on long-term efficacy and tolerability is available.

The anabolic effect of velvet bean is due to its ability to increase testosterone.  High levels of L-dopa in mucuna seed are converted to dopamine which stimulates release of growth hormone by the pituitary gland.  L-dopa and dopamine are also effective inhibitors of prolactin.  Prolactin is a hormone released by the pituitary gland (increased levels are considered to cause erection failure in males).

In addition to levodopa, Mucuna also contains 5-HTP, nicotine, N,N-DMT, bufotenine, and 5-MeO-DMT. As such, it could potentially have psychedelic effects, and it has purportedly been used in ayahuasca preparations.  Mature seeds of the plant contain about 3.1-6.1% L-DOPA, also trace amounts of bufotenine, DMT, DMT-n-oxide, 5-MeO-DMT-n-oxide, beta-carboline, nicotine and 5-hydroxytryptamine.   One study using 36 samples of the seeds found no tryptamines present in them.   Leaves contain about 0.5% L-DOPA, 0.006% dimethyltryptamine (DMT), 0.0025% 5-MeO-DMT and 0.003% DMT n-oxide.

Velvet bean has also been found to have antidepressant properties and acts as a nerve tonic.  It is anabolic, androgenic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-Parkinson's, antispasmodic, antivenom aphrodisiac, reduces fever, lowers high cholesterol, hypoglycemic, immunomodulator and reduces nerve pain.

Great Northern Beans will provide 10 grams of protein from ¼ cup dry beans plus 7 grams dietary fiber.  Great Northern beans are one of the fastest cooking beans.  Soaking is not required, although a short soak is still beneficial. Drain, and then in a pot, add cold water or broth to cover, heat and gently simmer until tender, about 20-40 minutes.  They usually begin to fall apart after about one hour of cooking time, without pre-soaking.  This small white kidney shaped bean makes delightful stews and soups.  Try in traditional Spanish bean soup made with potatoes, escarole and garlic.

Great Northern beans are smaller than cannellinis and and suitable for any number of uses: salads, soups, stews, ragouts, purees.  Their texture is slightly grainy, with a nutty, dense flavor. Popular in North America, Great Northerns look like white baby lima beans.  This North American bean is popular in France for making cassoulet (a white bean casserole).

Mung beans were originally cultivated in India and migrated to China where they have been used for thousands of years. They are dark green outside and dark yellow inside. They may be split or ground.  They may be used peeled or whole.  They are sweet, and soft, and easily digested.  Ground beans may be used in a variety of ways, including making noodles. In India, the ground beans are used for making a fried cake.

Mung beans offer 14 grams of protein per cooked cup.  Mung beans are also a good source of dietary fiber.  They also contain thiamin, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and copper, and are a good source of folate.  Mung beans can be eaten on their own, or combined with rice, or combined with vegetables and greens to make hearty soups or ground into flour to be used to make clear noodles, crepes or added to breads.  A wider variety of cellophane noodles, called mung bean sheets or green bean sheets, are also available. Turmeric, cumin, dried ginger and coriander are some spices that work well with mung beans.

Wheat noodles can be white or yellow (with egg), thin as spaghetti or thick as fettucine, stiff or extremely elastic.  Rice noodles (made from rice flour, water, and salt) can also be thick or very thin. The same is true of rice sticks. There are also rice paper wrappers which come in either circular or triangular shape. Cellophane noodles are clear noodles made from ground mung bean paste.

Used throughout Asia in soups, stews, and stir-frys, clear bean thread noodles do not need cooking. Simply soak them in hot water until springy and clear, then drain the noodles and add them to your soup or stir-fry.  As they are made in various thicknesses, soaking bean thread noodles takes from two to five minutes. Tough as wire when dry, these noodles are so long you may want to take a scissors and shorten them after soaking.

Mung bean powder belongs to high protein, low fat, starch of medicine-food leguminous crops and has the best health and dietotherapy function in leguminous crops.  It is a light green powder which can be used as high quality raw material for health food, flour products, cake, biscuit and cold drinks.  It is healthy, nutritive and convenient drinking.

Even in a powder, its high nutritional value and heat-clearing and detoxifying effect are preserved to a great extent.   As a fine powder, it is easy to digest and absorb and can improve the taste of food products.   It presents natural color and has a mildly sandy taste with the sweet smell of natural mung bean.

The most popular use of mung beans in the western world is for sprouting. Interestingly, the sprouts contain vitamin C that is not found in the bean.  Chinese sailors sprouted and did not get scurvy.  Sprouting is an easy and convenient way to provide fresh salad ingredients on demand.  Mung bean sprouts are used when they are from ½ to about 2 inches long.  They may be eaten raw or lightly boiled, wilted, steamed, wok cooked, blended, juiced or marinated, providing a convenient fresh food source when not otherwise be available.

In Chinese cuisine, whole mung beans are used to make a sweet soup, which is served either warm or chilled.   Instant cellophane noodles or other flour products contain in volume 3-25%.  In Indonesia, they are made into a popular dessert snack which has the consistency of porridge.  The beans are cooked with sugar, coconut milk, and a little ginger.

In India, a delicious vegetable preparation is made using fresh grated coconut, green chilies, mung and typical South Indian spices (asafetida, turmeric, ginger, mustard seeds or urad lentil).  In south Indian states, mung beans are also eaten as pancakes.  They are soaked in water for 6-12 hours (the higher the temperature the lesser soaking time).  Then they are ground into fine paste along with ginger and salt.  Pancakes are then cooked on a very hot griddle.  Typically eaten for breakfast, mung bean pancakes provide high quality protein rare in most Indian regional cuisines.

Navy Beans will provide 13 grams of protein from only one quarter cup dry beans plus 14 grams dietary fiber.  This small oval white bean has a very mild flavor and cooks relatively quickly (which made them popular with commercial baked bean manufacturers).  Known as Boston beans, the white coco, pea beans or alubias chicas, Navy beans are perfect for dishes that do not need the full bean shape to shine: purees, soups, stews and baked beans.  Use is similar to haricot beans.  Soak a bare minimum of 4 hours, or from overnight to 2-3 days with repeated rinsing.  Drain and add fresh water or broth.  Do not bring to a boil, reduce heat and barely simmer, covered, until tender (about 6 hours).

Peanut, Arachis hypogea, is really a legume, same as a bean or pea.  Peanuts are grown as an annual crop and look like a rather robust clover plant.  The nuts originate from the stems, but are pushed into the ground by the plant at an early stage, and it is underground that they mature.  Although a legume seed, peanuts are firmly embedded in our mind as nuts.

The species originates from semi-arid areas of Brazil.  It was domesticated by the ancestors of the present Arawak Indian people at least 5,000 years ago, and probably much longer than that. It was spread to Asia by the Spanish and to Africa and then India by the Portuguese.  It was introduced to the USA from Africa.

 

Whole peanuts are a very important human food.  Peanuts are very high in protein (6.7 grams per ounce dry weight or 25 grams protein per 100 gram serving) of good quality.  They are a very good source of energy, with 50 grams of fats and 16 grams of carbohydrates per 100 gram serving.  About half their fat content is monounsaturated fats, about a third are polyunsaturated, and the remaining about fifth are saturated.  Of the polyunsaturates, only a passing small amount is omega - 3.

Peanuts are a very good source of niacin (B3), with a healthy 112 mg/100 gram serving.  Niacin, also called nicotinic acid, is the most effective medication for raising HDL "good" cholesterol, leading to increases of 20-35%.  Peanuts also contain vitamin E (8mg/100gms).  Women who eat least 1 ounce of nuts, peanuts or peanut butter each week have a 25% lower risk of developing gallstones. One ounce is only 28.6 nuts or about 2 tablespoons of nut butter.

 

Nuts in general and peanuts in particular, are high in resveratrol.  This anti-aging bioflavonoid is also found in citrus skins, berries and red wine, helping prevent the formation of arterial plaques.  Peanuts have more resveratrol than grapes.  Adding even small amounts of 'peanut products' to the diet has created a 14% reduction in the 'bad' LDL cholesterol.  One ounce (one small handful) of peanuts contains 2 grams of fiber (our goal is 20-30 grams fiber daily)!

Resveratrol activates two molecules involved in cell signaling and the breakdown of fats in the liver: AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and sirtuin 1 (SIRT1).  Alcohol is known to inhibit these molecules, leading to fat accumulation and fatty liver, but resveratrol activated AMPK and SIRT1 in livers of alcohol-fed mice. 

Increased activation of AMPK and SIRT1 caused by resveratrol in alcohol-fed rats is also accompanied by changes in levels of other molecules that control fat metabolism including adiponectin (a hormone produced by fat cells, which modulates obesity).  By activating these genes, resveratrol reverses fatty liver by metabolically reducing production of fat and increasing the burning of fat already present. 

Although those with A blood types thrive on peanuts, peanut hypersensitivity is so well known that liability-sensitive airlines no longer serve peanuts.  Raw peanuts must be soaked and rinsed through at least 3-4 changes of water every couple of hours to eliminate harmful enzymes and aflatoxins.  Aspergillus parasiticus, commonly known as aflatoxin, is a carginogenic mold that is found on most improperly stored seeds, nuts, grains and peanuts.  Hydrosols of anise, cumin, fennel, mint, pickling herb, oregano, savory and thyme have shown a strong inhibitory effect on aspergillus.   

 

Proper sprouting and/or simmering allow resveratrol to move from the skin to the nut, making peanuts an excellent food.  Unfortunately, is rarely done.  Toasting and roasting of peanut glycoproteins then deforms them, creating stressful AGEs and making them extra allergenic.

Raw Valencia Peanuts Sprouting Instructions
Yields approximately 1 Cup (1/2 lb.) of Sprouts

Put 1/2 cup of seed into a bowl or sprouter and add 2-3 times as much cool (60-70°) water.
Mix seeds up to assure even water contact for all and allow seeds to
soak for 4-12 hours.

Empty the seeds into your sprouter if necessary and drain off the soak water.
Rinse thoroughly with cool (60-70°) water and drain thoroughly.  Set anywhere out of direct sunlight and at room temperature (70° is optimal) between rinses.

Rinse and drain again in 8-12 hours.
And, once more...
Rinse and drain again in 8-12 hours.
We usually stop here. Most beans lose their identity if sprouted longer than 2 days.
And, perhaps once more...
Rinse and drain in 8-12 hours.
And, if you insist - once again...
Rinse and drain in 8-12 hours.

Taste your crop at every rinse, including the very first, just after the soak period.  Soaked seeds are already alive and are now very nutritious, and their enzyme inhibitors have been hydrolyzed, so they will digest themselves and nourish you.  Grow them for as long as you like (as long as you continue to rinse and drain every 8-12 hours) and find out for yourself when they are best!

Sprouts are done 8-12 hours after the final rinse.  Be sure to drain them as thoroughly as possible after that final rinse.  The goal during the final 8-12 hours is to minimize the surface moisture of your sprouts.  Sprouts store best in the refrigerator if they are dry to the touch.  Place a paper towel in the bag or storage container and they will keep even better.

Boiling has a significant effect on the phytochemical composition of peanuts compared to oil- and dry-roasting.  Boiled peanuts have the highest total flavonoid and polyphenol content.  The biochanin A and genistein content of boiled peanut extracts are 2-4 times higher, respectively. Resveratrol was detected only in boiled peanuts (not roasted).  

 

UV and mass spectrometry chromatograms for boiled peanut extracts show the presence of four additional peaks not observed in raw peanut extracts.  During the boiling process, as the peanut kernel absorbs the water that has permeated the hull, water soluble polyphenols from the hulls are also absorbed by the kernels.

 

Pinto beans have a beige background strewn with reddish brown splashes of color.  They are like little painted canvases, hence their name "pinto," which in Spanish means "painted."  When cooked, their colored splotches disappear, and they become a beautiful pink color.  When combined with whole grains such as brown rice, pinto beans provide virtually fat-free, high quality protein. Pinto beans are also an excellent source of molybdenum, a very good source of folate and manganese, and a good source of protein and vitamin B1 as well as the minerals phosphorus, iron, magnesium, potassium and copper.

 

Rice bean, such tiny beans do not require soaking and cook in just 15 minutes.  Some cooks use them instead of rice to make risotto.  The rice bean is a small, hairy annual vine which bears yellow flowers and small edible beans.  It is a minor food and fodder crop and occasionally a weed.  The seeds of the bean vary in color from pale to deep yellow, green, brown, maroon, black and mottled and, although not suitable for dhal, they are often mixed with rice or eaten as a rice substitute. They have the highest calcium content of all dried beans, containing up to twice the calcium of kidney beans. Although a separate species from the more common azuki bean, its appearance and uses are similar.

Rice bean is well adapted to the humid tropics, and does well on a range of soil types. However, it needs substantial attention from plant breeders if it is to become widely adopted. Their twining habit makes them highly suitable to grow as intercrops with maize, sorghum or millet, but also makes them difficult to harvest mechanically.

In traditional Chinese medicine , red type rice beans help to relieve edema in some illness; they are also used in combination with Angelica sinensis to remedy red eyes (possibly uveitis) or mouth ulcers with erosion of oropharyngeal or urogenital mucosae (Behçet's disease).

 

Soybean is a complete protein, and soy foods are rich in vitamins and minerals including folate, potassium and, in some cases, fiber.  The American soybean industry has unfairly vilified its competitors, creating a negative reputation for beneficial saturated oils.  Soy isoflavones modulate hormonal balance at the estrogen receptor, usually for the better. 

However, avoid commercial soy baby formulas, especially for infant boys.  Infants who receive excess amounts of phytoestrogens while in the womb from mom’s diet or after birth from soy formula, risk health problems as wide ranging as early puberty, learning and behavioral problems as well as severe allergies.

Soy has much bad press, and many people avoid it.  Grass-fed meat is not the same as nitrited hot dogs, and "soy isolate" is not the same thing as fermented miso (and did you have seaweed with it?).  In this era we tend to reduce complex issues to simple manageable sound bites ("soy is good" or "soy is bad").  Soy products can be very different depending on soy variety and preparation.  In general, soy is not compatible with B blood types.

Genistein is an isoflavone found in low concentrations in soybeans and elevated amounts in certain fermented soy-derived food (e.g. natto, miso, tempeh), whereas genistin, the glucoside form of the aglycone genistein, is much more abundant in the unprocessed soybean.  The aglycone genistein is also produced from genistin by intestinal micro flora given that genistin must be converted to genistein in the intestinal lumen prior to absorption. 

 

Supplementation with 54 mg/day of pure aglycone genistein resulted in increased serum level and was necessary to obtain selective estrogen receptors binding in target tissues.  After 24 months, osteopenic postmenopausal women who took genistein had a greater increase in bone mineral density than the women who took placebo.  Their bone markers were also more favorable.  The thickness of the lining of the uterus did not change in either group, suggesting that genistein is safe for uterine health.

 

The amount of genistein (54 mg/day) administered cannot easily be obtained by a mere change of diet.  Given the low amount of aglycone genistein in most soy foods as well as supplements and low consumption of fermented soy products in the western diet, it would be extremely difficult to obtain 54 mg/day of purified genistein from food sources.  

 

Moreover, soy, soy supplements and soy food products also typically contain high levels of daidzein, which may antagonize the effects of genistein on bone.  For instance, individuals would need to consume over 1 kg of the highest genistein-containing foods (e.g. about 4 kg of tofu or 9 kg of soymilk) to achieve the amount of genistein aglycone (54 mg/day) supplemented.

The type of soy consumed in Asian countries is considerably different than the version of soy junk food  consumed in the US, a point that has been made by Fallon, Enig and Daniel many times.  Fermented soy is a whole different story, and even those who are "anti-soy" agree that fermentation creates good stuff. 

But that is very different from the products that line the "health food" section of one’s local supermarket: soy products, soy chips, soy derivatives, soy concentrates, soybean oil and soy ice cream. These synthesized food products have little in common with traditionally fermented soy foods from the whole bean like tempeh or miso.

Soy is difficult to digest, unless predigested through fermentation or proper sprouting with cooking.  Unless a B blood type, include soy products such as edamame (hybridized to be more digestible when steamed), fermented tofu, tempeh and miso.  Try home-made soy milk.  Commercial soy milks are rarely germinated often creating the allergenic mucus response, just like cow’s milk. Try making your own.

Soak one cup of soybeans, rinsing and draining water about every two hours for four times. Place beans in a shallow tray, barely covered with water and soak for two days, rinsing and draining the water several times per day.  When ready, drain and add a quart of warm water with beans to a double-boiler and bring to simmer for 5 minutes.  Strain and cool.  Residue can be used as recipe filler.  Add 1-2 tablespoons of sweetener to the soy milk if desired.

Dietary soy may reduce the risk of heart disease and also lower risk of prostate, colon and breast cancers as well as osteoporosis and other bone health problems, and alleviate hot flashes associated with menopause.

Cooking Fresh Beans


Having one’s own garden is associated with a long, happy and productive life along with the reward of hedonistically improved flavors and freshness of food.  Because few people actually grow beans and go through the time-consuming process of shelling and cooking them, most of the information about preparing beans refers to dried beans. However, fresh beans are delicious and easy to prepare.  Fresh black-eyed peas, garbanzos, cannellini, limas and others offer excellent flavor and nutrition.

There are two methods of cooking fresh beans: boiling or steaming. To boil, drop the shelled beans into rapidly boiling water to cover, and then boil gently for 5 to 10 minutes. Dump beans and water into a colander and the cooking stops.  Limiting time in hot water preserves heat-labile nutrients.  You may want to add some coconut oil or ghee, onions, garlic, herbs of your choice, and a dash of Himalayan salt to the water to flavor the beans.

To steam, put about an inch of water into the bottom of a saucepan, and place the beans into a steamer basket that fits into the saucepan.  Cover the pan, and steam over boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes.

After fresh fava beans are cooked, their tough skins are usually peeled and discarded.  When left on, they give the beans a bitter flavor.  To peel the skins, use a small paring knife and peel away one end.  Then squeeze the opposite end and the bean will slip out easily.

Anti-nutrients are substances that bind enzymes or nutrients and inhibit their absorption.  Commonly alleged anti-nutrients are protease inhibitors, amylase inhibitors, phytic acid and polyphenols like tannins.  With proper rinsing, soaking and germination, none of these are anything to worry about.

Germination and sprouting

Germinated seeds, nuts, grains and beans create the best low-cost, highly nutritive source of human food.  When legumes are properly soaked and germinated, their nutritive value increases greatly, usually to levels exceeding those of cooked beans.  (Nutritive value is the ability of food to provide a usable form of nutrients: protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals).  This is true for mung bean, lentil, chickpea (garbanzo bean), cowpea (black-eyed pea), pigeon pea, fava bean, fenugreek seeds (a member of the pea family), green & black lentils, kidney bean, moth bean, rice bean, soybean and legumes in general.

The increase in nutritive value in raw sprouted seed is due to an explosion of enzyme activity, which breaks down storage-protein and starch in the seed into amino acids, peptides, and simpler carbohydrates needed for the seed to grow.  The seed is literally digesting its own protein and starch and creating amino acids in the process.  Because of this process, sprouted seeds are essentially a predigested food.

Germination decreases anti-nutritional factors such as enzyme inhibitors and other anti-nutrients to insignificant levels or nothing.  Soaking alone causes a significant decrease in anti-nutrients, as the anti-nutrients are either hydrolyzed or leached into the soak water.

Soaking for 18 hours removed 65% of hemagglutinin activity in peas.  Soaking for 24 hours at room temperature removed 66% of the trypsin (protease) inhibitor activity in mung bean, 93% in lentil, 59% in chickpea and 100% in broad bean.  As germination proceeds, anti-nutrients are degraded further to lower levels or nothing.  In mung beans and lentil, soaking first for 12 hours and then 3–4 days of germination completely removed all hemagglutinin activity.  Soaking lentils for 10 hours and germination for 3 days completely removed amylase inhibitor.  Normal simmering typically removes most or all of anti-nutrients.

Some of the substances we call anti-nutrients are actually powerful cancer-protecting phyto-chemicals.  These include protease inhibitors and tannins.  Mostly we don’t get enough of these substances.  Substantial research shows that protease inhibitors are one of the most powerful anti-carcinogens we have in our arsenal, and have proven to be particularly protective against cancer of the colon, breast and prostate.  Protease inhibitors can also diminish the tumor-shrinking effect of proteases.  My lymphoma tumors began to shrink when I began to soak my seeds, nuts, beans and grains.

Tannins have also been shown to provide substantial protection against cancer (including cancer of the stomach and lungs) when ingested orally.  Tannins and other polyphenols may play a role in fighting tooth decay, by inhibiting the growth of decay-causing bacteria.  Phytates, like tannins, may also interact with digestive processes in a beneficial way.  Small amounts in food slow down the absorption of sugars and regulate insulin levels, beneficial in the prevention and treatment of diabetes and hyperlipidemia (high blood fats).  Small amounts of protease inhibitors, tannins and phytates are beneficial and are a normal part of nutritional ecology.

For sprouting, often the best arrangement is the bottle method, a quart preserving jar with a mesh lid.  Buy the lids at health food stores or make your own with screening or nylon stocking.  Soak seeds 12-20 hours and pour off water and rinse through porous lid.  Gently shake and pour off excess liquid so seeds can get some air and lay the jar on its side.  Do this 2-3 times per day for 2 days for germination and 3-7 days for sprouts.  Some larger beans can be sprouted simply in a colander or sieve, but they may need to be rinsed more often.

Sunflower, squash and pumpkin seeds (at ½ cup per quart) are sprouted only until sprouts emerge, not over ½ inch long.  Beans lose their individual taste identity at 2 days.  Harvest early, depending on your use of the high protein bean as tasty base for sauce or soup, dip or sandwich spread; or days later, use as a sprout. 

For bread dough, sprout wheat, rye, oats, soy or flax, sprout seeds only 19-24 hours and then grind or blend into bread base.  Sprout rye and wheat for two days at 2 cups per quart when making muesli or cereal.

Lentils, mung bean and radish (at 2 tablespoons per quart) as well as clover (at 1 tablespoon per quart) are sprouted 3-5 days.  Alfalfa seed contains an immune toxin called canavanine which is eliminated during sprouting (use 1 tablespoon alfalfa seed per quart) and sprout 4-5 days to be super cautious.  The minute doses found in sprouts are completely irrelevant and harmless. 

An animal that ingests canavanine makes incorrect proteins that malfunction as enzymes.  The damage is non-specific and widespread, affecting RNA and DNA metabolism, as well as a key enzyme for detoxifying alcohol.  Because it messes up so many aspects of metabolism, canavanine is a highly toxic chemical to animals.  Canavanine can induce a condition that mimics systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in primates, and increase antibodies to nuclear components as well as promote SLE-like lesions in auto immune-susceptible mice.

Canavanine is a common non-protein amino acid found naturally in alfalfa seeds, broad beans, jack beans and a number of other legume foods and animal feed ingredients at up to 2.4% of food dry matter.  In high doses, this arginine analog can also block NO (nitric oxide) synthesis, interfere with normal ammonia disposal, charge tRNAarg, cause the synthesis of defective canavanyl proteins, as well as prevent normal reproduction in arthropods and rodents.  Just 0.02% canavanine can harm insect larvae.  Alfalfa seeds are about 0.5% canavanine.

Most substances can show toxic effect at a high enough dose.  Water, vitamin A, selenium, copper, zinc and iron will all kill you at a high enough dose.  So don’t stop eating alfalfa sprouts any more than you would any other food because of some minute toxin that might be present.  Alfalfa sprouts are an excellent source of vitamin C, folic acid, and other protective compounds.

Low Protein Diet - not meeting the minimum daily protein requirement.

In any developed society it is almost impossible to be outright protein deficient.  However, proteins are especially important early in the day for our primary building and metabolic repair ‘tide.’  If readily available and digestible complete protein plus other critical cofactor nutrients are not eaten early in the day, roughly 6-8AM, the body switches from anabolic and repairing early to stressed and catabolic.  All homeostatic body rhythms become distorted daily, creating chronic circadian stress and ‘jet lag’ that does not go away. 

Eating breakfast of any kind prevents many of the adverse effects of fasting," such as irritability and fatigue.  In terms of suppressing hunger, the balanced breakfast is most effective.  An unbalanced breakfast suppressed hunger only relative to fasting; but four hours later those who ate the unbalanced breakfast were as hungry as those who fasted.  Due to compositional differences in protein and fiber content, glycemic scores, and rate of digestion, oatmeal provides a slower and more sustained energy source and consequently results in cognitive enhancement compared to low-fiber high glycemic ready-to-eat toasted or crisped cereal.

Among the mix of amino acids in the plasma after meals, leucine is the primary trigger of the anabolic repair response.  Plasma leucine concentrations after meals signal mTOR gene expression to create maximal anabolic response and protein synthesis.  This signal then becomes refractory for about 4 hours, perhaps controlled by the insulin response cycle.

Strict vegetarians can easily get all their protein requirements from baked, fried or dried complex carbohydrates, filled with stress and scarcity messaging and become flabby and fat.  Those same nuts, grains, seeds and beans, soaked and germinated, create metabolic ‘spring time messaging’ to burn fat and create muscle.  It is possible if a person consumes only simple carbohydrates for extended period of time outright protein deficiency may develop.  Typically a low protein diet is not a health concern, except early in the day, when ultra-violet light and sustaining food are critical to set body clocks and fire up immunity.

If one does not eat animal protein, it is quite possible to be deficient in some amino acids.  This may be due to weak combinations of plant foods consumed.  Many plant proteins do not have all the required amino acids, especially the lysine richly found in beans and animal proteins.  The human body requires 9 amino acids to be consumed from protein.  Meat/animal proteins contain all the essential amino acids needed by the body.  A vegetarian diet of complex carbohydrates such as soaked rice and beans or potatoes plus some greens or fruits will provide all 9 amino acids for complete daily protein requirements.

Some generally good sources of protein include: eggs (ideally raw and free-range, organic), grass-fed beef and bison, free-range, organic chicken and ostrich, raw dairy products (raw milk, cheese, yogurt, kefir, etc), soaked seeds, nuts, grains and simmered beans, wild-caught, mercury-free fish (only eat fish if has been confirmed by lab-testing that it is not polluted).

When choosing protein sources, it is extremely important to find high-quality varieties.
These would be grass-fed (not grain-fed) organic meats, raw (not
pasteurized) dairy products, and wild-caught (not farm-raised) fish that you know is not contaminated with mercury and other pollutants.  Avoid grain-fed beef and pesticide laden chicken.

High Protein Diet - exceeding the daily maximum protein requirement

Most Americans meet their daily protein requirements by many times over.  In addition there is a misconception that a high protein diet is helpful for normal training.  High protein diets do not help improve muscle strength or aid in training. In fact, high protein diets can be harmful to one’s health.  There is more risk to health from high protein than from low protein diet.

The best thing to do is balance protein intake in the proper ratio with carbohydrates and fats. The ratio of carbohydrate-fat-protein varies from study to study but fits within the following guidelines: Carbohydrates 40-60% / Fat 20-60% / Protein 10-25%. 

The body has little capacity to store carbohydrate.  We are designed to nibble green leaves all day long.  Fats are necessary foods and hormones that signal abundance to the genes, and generate heat making us lean, giving us nice skin and efficient immune barriers as well as making us optimistic.   Supplement daily with 1-3 teaspoonfuls cod liver oil, Krill oil or cold water fish oils, as well as seaweeds and soaked seeds, beans, nuts and grains.

Summary: The recommended protein intake requirement is derived from our "ideal body weight" and balanced with our overall caloric intake. If you want to be more specific and calculate your exact protein requirement 1) determine your ideal body weight, then 2) calculate your protein requirement based on your ideal weight. A good ratio of carbohydrates to fat to protein might be 50-35-15.

Many people trigger an aberrant modern-day metabolic survival pattern of flab, especially around the waistline by eating an incomplete breakfast or eating breakfast too late.  By 9AM the morning anabolic tide is waning and real repair is over at 10AM.  Instead of repairing and building in the morning, stressed systems must cannibalize muscles and bones.  Missing breakfast is associated memory loss and cognitive decline as well as with a fourfold increase in risk to obesity.

With animal protein, especially with large amounts in the evening, it is easy to exceed one’s maximum daily protein intake requirement, which can cause tooth decay, shrinking gums, thinning skin and porous bones.  Exceeding maximum daily protein intake could reduce athletic performance and have an undesirable effect on health.

Best strategy to boost immune tolerance is by enjoying friendly bacteria, fermented and/or germinated foods as taught by Donna Gates (Body Ecology Diet), along with returning to the rhythm of the rainforest and eating according to one’s blood type diet. 

Our most important internal cleansing stress of the day best occurs between 4AM and 5AM when the pineal and pituitary kick-start the adrenals into our daily biggest burst of catabolic cortisol.  Meal stresses are our other major adrenal triggers.  Cortisol is supposed to peak early in the circadian day.  Eating and processing food is a major whole body immune stress event.  Having the best mix of friendly bacteria and fermented foods softens that stress.

Large regular doses of probiotics (friendly commensal bacteria and yeasts along with their favorite fiber foods) are our most sophisticated way to reduce allergies and restore immune tolerance.  Cell-wall messengers from friendly bacteria and yeasts speak tolerance to our GALT (gut associated lymphoid tissue).  As well as being wonderful supportive nutrition, slow-cooked soups made of cartilage and bones (or the supplement chondroitan sulfate) are recommended to create oral tolerance to autoimmune processes that inflammatorily attack connective tissues like bone or cartilage. 

Dr. Benjamin S. Frank noted that nucleic acids (RNA and DNA) and their precursors (such as the sugar ribose, at 10-60gms/day) are conditionally essential nutrients when immunity is under siege.  Purine precursors are folic acid group, glycine, carbon dioxide and aspartate; pyrimidine precursors are carbamyl phosphate and aspartate.  Nucleotides improve cellular metabolism and endurance by readily creating the molecules of energy transfer (cyclic AMP, ADP, ATP, NAD, FAD, coenzyme A) as well as RNA and DNA. 

High quality, easily digestible proteins (in the form of nucleotides) are messenger molecules that speed healing and repair of skin and mucosal membranes, enhance resiliency and elasticity, reduce nervousness, ease fatigue and constipation. 

Nucleotides are richest in the following super foods: queen bee’s royal jelly, bee pollen, flower pollen, bovine colostrum, raw organic dairy, placenta, kidney, brain, bones and bone marrow (soups), all organic, brewer’s yeast, chlorella and spirulina, especially Cryptomonadales extract, germinated grains, seeds, nuts, beans and lentils, cereal grass juices, rapidly growing green leafy vegetables, hearts of palm, fresh squeezed vegetable juices, wheat germ (‘Ave’ is brewer’s yeast fermented wheat germ), organic animal liver, sardines, anchovies, oysters, mackerel and seafood.

Famous herbs to repair and regenerate are Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum officinale) and rehmannia, gotu kola, Siberian ginseng, alfalfa, parsleys, seaweeds and nettles (as greens or as an herbal).  Core kidney support traditionally comes from millet, wheat, black sesame seeds, black soybeans, chestnuts, mulberries, raspberries, mulberries, strawberries and soaked walnuts.