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Health April 2012

Rainbow Kitchen

The Health-Changing Cookbook of a Lifetime

By Allison St. Claire

According to Dr. Edward Howell, a noted pioneer in enzyme research, people who eat an enzyme-poor diet face a shorter life span, illness, and lowered resistance to stress of all types. Fallon adds: Whole foods give good health; enzyme-rich foods provide limitless energy.

I love cookbooks. I read them like novels. I collect them to the point of bulging bookcases, stacks on every level surface, and a few randomly floating from here to there around the house. I especially love the new trend that carries cookbooks far beyond mere chemistry experiments of combining exact amounts of certain ingredients to create a tasty dish, to those that also include history, geography, culture, anthropology, and dazzling photography.

But certain cookbooks stand out as attitude adjusters for me over the years. In the ‘60s, Peg Bracken’s I Hate to Cook Cookbook, freed me from slavish adherence to “measure precisely and no substitutions,” while making it OK to relax and laugh a lot in the kitchen – and just leave out the darn cilantro if you can’t stand it. Adelle Davis’s Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit brought the concept of nutrition for health to light in the years when unhealthy processed foods were gaining traction.

But the real game – and life -- changer was discovering almost a decade ago Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats by Sally Fallon with Mary Enig, Ph.D. (New Trends Publishing, 2001). As one prominent alternative health care physician praised it: “This is more than a cookbook, it’s an education...”

Indeed. Fallon builds recipes around intensive study done by Dr. Weston A. Price in the 1930s, and Enig’s outstanding reputation and expertise today in lipids (that’s “fats” to you, kids) research.

Price was a prominent dentist in Cleveland, Ohio, who traveled worldwide to find a nutritional link, if any, to dental problems. He found 14 groups – from extremely isolated Irish and Swiss, Eskimos to Africans – in which almost every member of the tribe or village enjoyed superb health. They were free of chronic disease, dental decay and mental illness; they were strong, sturdy and attractive; and they produced healthy children with ease generation after generation.

When he went back to study the same groups after they had gained access to our so-called civilized diet of refined carbohydrates and devitalized fats and oils, he found fertility problems, susceptibility to a host of medical problems, and crowded, crooked teeth. (Do you know a teenager these days brought up on the Standard American Diet ((SAD)) who doesn’t face extensive – and expensive – orthodontia work?)

Fallon offers us far more than recipes. Easy to read, this is also a comprehensive textbook on nutrients, fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and more. Each recipe page is augmented with studies and independent research on nutrition. And for an added laugh riot combined unfortunately with the horror of what modern processed chemical concoctions pose as “food” these days, 48 “Know Your Ingredients” sidebars list the contents of common, brand-name products that often contain nothing that came from nature. Bet you’ll never guess the final product!

Reminds me of one of my favorite posters: What we call “organic” today is what our grandparents called “food.”

Let’s start this month with enzymes, crucial to nearly every bodily function – from metabolic to digestive to detoxifying – and hundreds of processes in between. According to Dr. Edward Howell, a noted pioneer in enzyme research, people who eat an enzyme-poor diet face a shorter life span, illness and lowered resistance to stress of all types. Fallon adds: Whole foods give good health; enzyme-rich foods provide limitless energy.

Try this basic salad with easy-to-find, inexpensive, unprocessed ingredients, quick to assemble, and which could serve as a meal in itself. Up the omega-3 and protein intake with some wild-caught (never farmed) salmon. Or add a handful of your favorite nuts for healthy fat and fiber, and perhaps a sliced apple or pear to add a sweet note. And please avoid store-bought dressings which contain unhealthy, generally rancid vegetable oils, un-natural colorings and flavorings, and chemical additives your body considers unrecognizable, undesirable aliens entering its system.

 

High-enzyme Salad

1 cup sprouted sunflower seeds (Place raw unhulled seeds in a glass jar, rinse with filtered water and draintwice a day. Seeds generally sprout in 2-3 days in a warm spot. Place in a sunny window for additional days if you like larger sprouts.)

4 carrots, peeled and grated

1 cucumber, peeled and finely chopped

1 red pepper, seeded and finely chopped

1 bunch green onions, finely chopped

2 ounces grated Cheddar cheese, preferably raw cheese (optional)

1 avocado, sliced

3/4 cup basic dressing of your choice (Basic vinaigrette: ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons plus one teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar, 1 teaspoon Dijon-type mustard. If you have some unrefined flax oil, 1 tablespoon will add valuable omega-3s.)

 

Serve on radicchio or lettuce leaves and garnish with avocado slices.

Excellent resource: www.westonaprice.org.


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Allison St. Claire loves to dream about, study, grow, play with, prepare and ultimately enjoy eating great food.

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