Sunday, July 29, 2012

Fun Raw Food Class

Here are a few food photos from the Raw Middle Eastern Food Class that I held Friday July 27th here in Thousand Oaks California.  For all you foodies out there it was great fun.  I have to say I LOVED the simplicity and elegance of the preparation. Most importantly, I LOVED not having a pile of pots and pans to clean up afterward.  I highly recommend adding a few delish raw food dishes to your summer repertoire.

A Great Class!

Raw No-Bean Hummus With Flax Crackers

Fresh Organic Crudites

Raw Eggplant Salad

Raw Hummus and Eggplant Salad

Raw Chocolate Truffles

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Raw Grain-Free Breakfast Porridge

Raw Coconut Breakfast Porridge

During the warm summer months I have found that I enjoy nothing better than raw coconut porridge for breakfast in the morning.  Raw coconut breakfast porridge is not only delicious it is also simple to prepare because it does not require cooking.  One of the things that I have noticed is that my blood sugar remain more stable for longer periods of time when I have raw coconut porridge for breakfast.  I recommend slicing some of your favorite fruit on top.  I like to serve my porridge with a variety of berries, whatever I might have on hand at the time, such as raspberries, strawberries, marion berries or blueberries.


Raw Coconut Breakfast Porridge - Serves 1

spoon meat of one Thai coconut
2/3 c. pecans
1/3 c. coconut water
1/4 t. sea salt
1/2 inch vanilla bean
1/4 t. green stevia powder
1/3 c. fresh berries

Process pecans and coconut spoon meat until coarsely mixed.  Add the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth and creamy.  Serve with berries or other sliced fruit on top.


Coconut palms are prehistoric plants distantly related to grasses.  Interestingly, in Sanskrit the coconut palm is called "kalpa vriksha" which translates to "the tree that supplies all that is needed to live."

Thai coconuts in their young stage of growth contain a soft "spoon meat."  This meat, which is healthy and delicious, is high in healthy saturated fat, has a decent amount of protein and is low on the glycemic index.


The coconut is a natural water filter.  It takes about 9 months to filter each quart of coconut water in the shell.  The water must travel through many fibers which purify it until it ends up in the sterile nut. This clear coconut water, which is purely delicious, is one of the best sources of electrolytes found in nature.  Think nature's Gatorade.  It really is the perfect, albeit expensive, sports drink.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Weston A. Price Foundation Diet and Weight Loss

I first began implementing the principles of the Weston A. Price Foundation dietary guidelines in January 2010 after following a mostly vegetarian and sometimes vegan lifestyle for many decades.  I never had a weight problem with my former high carbohydrate lifestyle and so I believed that I was swimmingly maintaining my health until my heath suddenly and mysteriously broke down in September 2008.  I found Sally Fallon's cookbook "Nourishing Traditions," oddly enough, one month into the health breakdown, October 2008, while I was living with my brother trying to recover and still clinging to the belief that I must not be following a vegetarian diet completely enough.

What I read in Sally Fallon's cookbook went SO against the grain of everything I had been taught to believe about food and nourishment that I bought it on the spot and took it back to my brother's home to read.  It was, however, too difficult, too threatening for me to believe that I many have, unwittingly, harmed my health and especially the health of my children because of my allegiance to popular dietary teachings.  I literally lost sleep from my chagrin and worry over what I many have done to my children.  I had always been considered a "health nut" in my family and so it wasn't as if I had not "tried."  I had made all our food from scratch and I baked our bread and grew a garden and spent a significant amount of time and energy trying to give my children a good start in life.  Because I wanted so much to believe that I had given my children the best it was very hard to come to terms with the idea that I might have been mislead or wrong.

It took me an additional 14 months of suffering before I decided to give the WAPF guidelines, as described in Sally Fallon's cookbook, a try.  Since I was already an avid cook and had built a personal chef business called "Serene Cuisine" in California, based on the current vegetarian dietary ideal this new found and rather revolutionary information not only called into question my dietary choices at a personal level, but, also cut to the very heart of how I made my living.

I had become so adrenally depleted and fatigued that I could no longer tolerate the environment that I had lived in with my husband without wheezing.  I had tolerated that environment for four years and suddenly I could not.  This was particularly disturbing because I had no prior history of allergies or asthma.  Every time I tried to return I would experience bronchial constriction.  I visited various friends and members of my family until I settled in an apartment not far from where my husband lived.

In January 2010 I began to follow the WAPF diet.  My daughter, Carrisa, who was attending college out of state and who had a significant weight problem phoned me one day and asked if she could come and spend the summer with me and "re-learn" how to prepare healthy foods.

I was thrilled.  Delighted.  She joined me in May and stayed until August when she returned to school.  She did not know what she was getting herself for when she asked to come visit.  I think she thought we would most likely re-visit the macrobiotic diet that I had taught her when she was young.  That is probably what she thought I had to offer.

I shared the WAPF dietary guidelines with her instead.  I decided to put them to the test.  She really took to the diet.  Never complained once.  Never craved her former junk foods.  Never lapsed or "cheated."  We had a wonderful time cooking, gardening, and visiting all the local markets together.  She ate and ate and ate and so did I.  Our summer together was all about celebrating REAL local food and nothing about deprivation.  When she returned to school she continued to cook for herself and seek out real food, raw milk, and grass-fed meats.  Within 8 months she looked like a different person.

Please check out her before and after shots.

Carrisa has changed her life.  Two years later she looks terrific, has more energy and has resolved myriad health complaints.

Even though I continue to work with  my own personal health - Carrisa's life altering dietary changes are the accomplishment I am most proud of.  When I see how radiant and healthy and happy Carrisa is - and how she thrives - it does my heart good!  And Carrisa is influencing my daughter-in-law an my son to make positive changes in their health, as well, and that makes me very happy.

Emphasizing nutrient-dense foods, which include plenty of protein, saturated fat, the fat-soluble vitamins A, D E, and K has been an important step in reclaiming my health.  Though changing my diet has brought improvements diet alone has not been enough to resolve all of my heath concerns.  I think my healing will take patience and time.

Incidentally, I work with Theresa Vernon, L.Ac., who will be speaking at the Wise Traditions Conference in Santa Clara California November 2012 on the treatment of mineral imbalances.

I am very grateful to the Weston A. Price Foundation.  I promptly joined and became a member and I got a  membership for Carrisa too.

Thank you Sally Fallon from the bottom of my heart for all the good work that you do.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

How To Make Pickled Daikon Radish

Pickled Daikon Radish

Most of you who follow this blog are already aware that I have a weakness for all things fermented.  I have been known to pickle just about anything I can get my hands and I consider it a worthwhile challenge to keep one shelf in my fridge well-stocked with a variety of tasty pickled delicacies.  I am especially fond of pickled radish with iceberg radish being a particular favorite.  I have pickled french breakfast radish (though some of the lovely pink color is lost in translation or transformation), watermelon radish (oh darn - another color disappointment), and iceberg radish (can't go wrong with basic white).  

On rare occasion my latest pickled food adventure will fall into the category of mostly inedible to downright scary, but, for the most part the pickled food adventures turn out be a pleasant experience which often produce intriguing and unique flavor combinations heretofore unheard of.  I think that is part of the special appeal of fermentation.  I like the idea that there is always an element of magic and surprise involved in the process.  Even if I strictly follow a recipe, which I seldom do, the result will always vary from batch to batch.  In true artisanal fashion, each jar of pickle is completely unique and special in its own right.  

Sometimes, in the mad pursuit of more and more novel pickled alchemical magic, I unwittingly hit upon something that is simply brilliant.  Today I would like to introduce a tasty newcomer to my pickled food repertoire - simply brilliant pickled daikon. 

There is something about radish, and turnip for that matter, that is perfectly suited to fermentation. The sharp pungency of the radish or turnip, which is my main objection to them in the first place, is significantly tamed and even neutralized.  In fact the flavor of both vegetables is tremendously improved by the fermentation process.  The texture is improved as well.

I highly recommend that you give pickled daikon radish a try.  

Pickled Daikon Radish

3 large organic daikon radish
1 c. filtered water
1 T. sea salt
1/12 t. probiotic powder

Wash and peel daikon radish.  Cut into spears that will fit nicely into a wide-mouth quart-size Mason jar.  Pack and wedge the daikon spears into the jar as tightly as you possibly can as they do loosen and contract a little during fermentation.  

Prepare a brine by dissolving sea salt and probiotic starter in 1 cup of filtered water.

Pour enough brine into the jar to cover the daikon spears with 1-inch of liquid.  Place plastic wrap or wax paper over the jar and then screw the lid on tightly and place on the kitchen counter for about three days.  The pickle is ready to eat in three days and can be placed in the fridge.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tips for Summer Health - Traditional Chinese Medicine

Fresh Vegetables - The Hallmark of Summer

Today, as promised in my previous blog post on Traditional Chinese Medicine, we will revisit the subject of TCM and the maintenance of seasonal health and will continue to do so, periodically, as we move through each of the five seasons.  Yes, you read correctly.  In TCM there are five seasons of the year.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine summer is the warm, sun and fun drenched season in which we are most drawn outward into nature and into the activity of living.  It is the most yang time of the year and according to the five element theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine summer is governed, not surprisingly, by the fire element which element is said to rule and influence the heart, mind and spirit.  By turning our attention to our heart, mind, and spirit and giving them top priority we will be able to maintain optimum health and energy during the summer months.


According to TCM it is important to maintain a sense of emotional poise in the summer - to avoid anger and to remain calm and even-tempered.

Ideally, in the summer we should have the energy to retire later, rise earlier, and rest at midday.

It is important to stay hydrated and to drink plenty of fluids in the summer.

Summer is a time to focus on eating a tempting array of freshly prepared fruits and vegetables which help us to remain cool and balanced during hot weather.  The summer season is a time to enjoy lighter fare with less emphasis on heavy animal proteins, and fried food preparations.  Incidentally, fish and seafood have a lighter and more cooling energy than red meats and poultry.  Though iced drinks and frozen desserts such as ice cream and sherbets are often tempting on hot summer days, ideally, the consumption of these cold foods should be limited, or if our digestion is weak eliminated altogether, as the cold nature of these foods will further imbalance our digestion and weaken or damage the digestive fire.


Bok Choy
Summer Squash
Sea Vegetables
Mung Beans