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Tomatoes: Our Friends & Enemies

Tomatoes are one of the most consumed fruits. Tomatoes have a sweet and sour flavor, are cooling and act on the stomach and liver. They clear heat in the body and detoxify the blood. Even though tomatoes are acidic, after digestion they alkalize the blood. However, because they can upset the calcium balance due to their solanine content, they are best avoided by people with osteoporosis and arthritis and children.

According to ‘macrobiotics’ tomatoes should never be used as they are acidic and with long term use are weakening to the gastrointestinal tract. According to Dr. Bernard Jensen, author of the ‘Foods That Heal’ book, the acids of green tomatoes are especially detrimental to the kidneys. Therefore, it is recommended to cut and discard the green parts of tomatoes before their consumption.

In Ayurvedic tradition, are problematic because they have a postdigestive effect, meaning that they stay sour after being metabolized. This means that the extended or excessive use of tomatoes irritates the gut, to which any person with an ulcer or an already sensitive stomach will attest. The peel and seeds are also aggravating for the nervous-system. Tomatoes can also acerbate skin conditions and allergies. Tomatoes are a more balanced food when cooked with warming spices such as cumin and turmeric (see the recipe ‘ Dr Verena’s Home Made Tomato Sauce” below).

When eaten in moderation and in season, vine-ripe tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A and B complex, as well as potassium and phosphorus. Tomatoes are rich in sugar (fructose, glucose and sucrose) and contain lycopene, flavonoids, and other phytochemicals with anticancer properties.

Reference:

Wood, R. (1999). The new whole food encyclopedia. United States: Penguin Group

Dr Verena’s Home Made Tomato Sauce

(serves 2 people)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil or butter
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon (tsp) of salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • pinch of chili flakes
  • 6 chopped tomatoes (green parts removed)
  • 1/4 tsp of cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
  • Celtic sea salt, pepper to taste

Method:

  • Heat olive oil or butter on low/medium heat
  • Add chopped onions, roast for 2 minutes, add salt and bay leave and roast until translucent (approx. 5 minutes)
  • Add chili flakes, stir and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes
  • Add finely chopped tomatoes, stir and put lid on pot
  • Cook for 10 minutes on medium heat
  • Add 1 cup of water and continue to cook for 20 minutes
  • Add cumin and turmeric powder, stir and cook for another 10 minutes
  • Add salt and pepper, stir, switch of heat and let it stand for 10 more minutes.
  • Note: You can add more water of necessary


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Seven Super Foods for to Stay Young & Healthy
  • Barley Grass juice of the chlorophyll rich grass of young barley plants is one of the most remarkable high chlorophyll foods. It is as excellent a protein source as meat, offers important digestive enzymes, can resolve toxic substances and contains nutrients that abate physiologic deterioration. Enjoy it freshly juiced or mix 1 teaspoon of barley grass powder with a cup of warm water.
  • Alfalfa Sprouts are a cooling herb that detoxify your body, lower cholesterol and improve the urinary system and intestines. It aids in assimilation of protein, fats and carbohydrates, blocks carcinogenesis and eases menopausal distress.
  • Seaweed reduces blood cholesterol, has antibiotic properties, counteracts obesity and strengthens bones, teeth, nerve transmission and digestion. It has anti-aging properties. Read more about the Calcium Superfoods such as seaweed.
  • Turmeric Read more about Nature’s most powerful healer.
  • Almonds are superior to other nuts in terms of their medicinal action. Read more
  • Quinoa is a gluten free grain that is easy to digest and when washed well can be cooked like rice. It has the highest protein content of any grain and contains more calcium than milk. Quinoa strengthens your whole body, in particular, your kidneys and heart. Read more
  • Lentils benefit the heart and circulatory system and increase kidney vitality. Lentils help to reduce blood cholesterol, control blood sugar and lower blood pressure. They contain neutraceuticals that inhibit cancer and help regulate colon function.

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The Medicinal Properties of Herbs

Published on 17 February 2009 by Verena in Blog, Spices and Herbs

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The Medicinal Properties of Herbs

Herbs and spices to not only enhance the taste of our food, they stimulate and increase digestibility, absorption and help counteract any incompatible food combinations. In addition, herbs and spices can be used to treat various illnesses. It is therefore, highly recommended to include them in our daily cooking. Enjoy the wonderful diversity of your garden and kitchen herbs and their medicinal properties.

BASIL

Fresh green herbs, isolated over white

  • A native to India
  • Comes in more than 50 varieties (green to purple)
  • Pungent and warming herb
  • Helps restore your balance, especially lung- or stomach-related complaints
  • Treats mild-depression, headaches or menstrual pain
  • Calms nerves, aids digestion
  • Treats fever whooping cough, constipation, nausea, insomnia, fatigue, colds, and the flu
  • Effective against bacterial and infectious parasites

CORIANDER / CILANTRO

  • Ancient herb from the carrot family
  • Pungent, sweet in flavor, astringent and cooling leaves, and neutral seeds
  • Supports spleen-pancreas, stomach, bladder, and lung-meridian
  • Help regulate energy, are diuretic, and specifically treat urinary tract infections
  • Leaves and seeds are support perspiration, treat fever
  • Aid digestion, relieve intestinal gas, pain, and support peristalsis
  • Treat nausea, soothe inflammation, rheumatic pains, headaches, coughs, and mental stress, and they quench first

CINNAMON

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  • One of humanity’s oldest spices
  • Sweet and pungent, warming
  • Supports spleen-pancreas, bladder, kidney, and liver meridians
  • Increases digestive fluid secretion and ameliorates intestinal gas
  • Raises vitality and stimulates all functions in the body, counteracting congestion
  • It aids the peripheral circulation of the blood
  • Useful for treating diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, influenza, arthritis, menstrual cramps, rheumatism, and candidiasis
  • It is not recommended for pregnant women

CARDAMON

  • Old World Spice, member of ginger family
  • After saffron and vanilla, it is the third most expensive spice
  • Sweet, pungent tonic, warm in its thermal nature
  • Acts upon spleen-pancreas, stomach, lung, and kidney meridians
  • Aids digestion, relaxes spasm, and cuts mucus
  • Eases coughs, breathlessness, burning urination and hemorrhoids
  • It acts as an antidote to coffee’s stress on the adrenal glands

PARSLEY

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  • The world’s most popular herb from Sardinia
  • Blood purifier and warming food
  • Helps stimulate the bowels, and treat kidney and gallstones, deafness and ear infection
  • Ant carcinogen
  • Dried parsley tea ameliorates is a diuretic and ameliorates kidney function
  • Strengthens the teeth
  • Contains vitamin A
  • 3 times more vitamin C than oranges
  • Twice as much iron as spinach
  • Good source of copper and manganese
  • It stimulates the uterus but is not used by pregnant women, although after delivery its helps contract the uterus and encourages milk flow
  • Do more with parsley than garnish
  • Use as a sauce ingredient, base for salad dressings, in vegetables dishes, soups and casseroles

ROSEMARY

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  • Excellent stimulant and warming herb
  • Improves poor circulation, lowers cholesterol, muscle and rheumatism pains
  • Treats lung congestion, sore throat, and canker sores
  • Stimulates the NS, supports mental functions and memory, helps relieve sluggish gallbladder
  • It is not recommended during pregnancy

ROSEMARY TEA:

  • Good aspirin alternative for headache, gas and fevers
  • Buffer or alkalinize an overly acidic stomach

Method:

    • Steep 3 tablespoons dried rosemary or 4 sprigs fresh rosemary in a cup just-boiled water for 10 minutes
    • Strain, sweeten with raw honey if desired, and drink

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Black Salt

Published on 17 November 2008 by Verena in Blog, Children, Health Topics A-Z, Spices and Herbs

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Black Salt (known as Kala Namak or Sanchal in Hindi) is a special type of unrefined rock salt mined from volcanic regions in Pakistan and India.

It is purple / pinkish / grey in color and has a very distinct sulfurous mineral taste, like hard boiled eggs.  It is appreciated by vegans in dishes that mimic the taste of eggs.  Black salt is extensively used as a condiment in the Indian cuisine.  It adds distinct falvour to fresh salads, chutneys, snacks, pickles and ‘ratas’ (yogurt sauces) and many other savory Indian dishes.  It can be purchased in Indian grocery stores.

Black salt consists of sodium cholride, iron, sulfurous compounds and trace minerals.

According to Ayurveda (‘Knowledge of Life’), the ancient Indian medical system, black salt, a cooling spice, is full of therapeutic benefits.  It is a laxative, digestive aid and cures intestinal gas, heartburn and improves eye sight.  According to Ayurveda, sea, rock and black salt are the most beneficial forms of salt, because unlike ordinary salt, they do not increase the sodium content of the blood.

Do not use in excess as the high sulfur content can decrease the gastric fire, leading to weak digestion.

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Fenugreek

Published on 17 August 2008 by Verena in Blog, Fenugreek, Health Topics A-Z

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Fenugreek contains bitter juice which helps us cleaning accumulated toxins in our body and they support the maintenance of our health.

Fenugreek:

  • reduces (fatty tissue) which in turn helps in reducing weight
  • helps in restoring the digestive system
  • helps in improving functions of the liver
  • is rich in vitamins and minerals- leaves and seeds contain calcium, phosphorus, few vitamins from B-complex group in addition to vitamin C
  • is a rich source of iron
  • has blood formation value
  • promotes lactation in breast feeding mothers
  • cleans toxins and clogged mucous in respiratory and digestive systems and therefore improves digestive tract functions
  • is useful in healing of different ulcers in digestive tract

Use of Fenugreek

Fenugreek is available in Indian stores or markets.

Use 1/2 tsp of fenugreek powder in pancake batters or add 1/4 tsp into your foods when cooking (e.g. lentil dahl, vegetable wok, soups). You can also use the whole fenugreek seeds (see recipe below).

Dr. Gupta’s Pumpkin Subji (Recipe)

(one serving)

Ingredients

  • One handful of pumpkin per person, chopped into 25 mm cubes, peel if skin is green
  • One handful of fresh coriander leaves per person, chopped
  • 3 teaspoons ghee
  • ½ teaspoon whole fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (not optional)

Method

  • heat ghee (clarified butter), when smoking hot take off the heat, add fenugreek seeds
  • when fenugreek seeds rise drop in pumpkin immediately (if fenugreek is
  • cooked to long or too short it will be bitter)
  • add a little water to stop sticking, put back on heat
  • add turmeric, coriander, salt and sugar (if using)
  • add fresh coriander
  • cover and allow to steam until pumpkin is tender (15 – 20 minutes)

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Spices & Herbs

Published on 17 August 2008 by Verena in Blog, Spices and Herbs

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Spices are used in our daily cooking to achieve maximum digestibility, taste, food value and healing benefits. Herbs and spices are used to enhance taste, stimulate digestibility, increase digestibility and absorption and help counteract any incompatible food combinations.

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Turmeric is one of nature’s most powerful healers and has been used for over 2500 years in both the Chinese and Indian systems of medicine. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. Long known for its anti-inflammatory properties, recent research has revealed that turmeric is a natural wonder, proving beneficial in the treatment of many different health conditions such as Cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, Depression, and Arthritis. In addition, turmeric is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent. It is also a natural liver detoxifier, painkiller and may aid in fat metabolism. So enjoy using the fresh turmeric root or turmeric powder in your daily cooking.

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