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24 May

Princeton University’s Vertical Farming Project Partners with Local Elementary School

vertical farming projectFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 22, 2018
Media Contact: Stephanie Marshall stephanie@mnspublicity.com

New Vertical Farming Initiative will Provide Cutting Edge Scientific Educational Opportunities for Elementary Students and Enhance School Farm to Cafeteria Program

As Spring weather FINALLY arrives on the East Coast and gardeners and farmers eagerly await the planting season, Hopewell Elementary School Students in New Jersey have been enjoying fresh, organic produce they grow indoor all year

Princeton, NJ: Princeton University’s Vertical Farming Project announced they will partner with Hopewell Elementary School in Hopewell, New Jersey to develop their vertical farm-to-cafeteria program.

Fifth grade teacher at Hopewell Elementary, Helen Corveleyn oversees the school’s outdoor garden beds, six indoor vertical hydroponics towers and has been instrumental in their new vertical farming initiative partnership with Princeton. Corveleyn will work closely with Princeton University’s Dr. Paul Gauthier, founder and director of the Princeton Vertical Farming Project to develop the program at the elementary school. The on-site, indoor classroom will be fully functioning in September 2018 and will allow preschool through fifth grade kids to mirror Princeton’s program while providing kids with fresh, organic produce for lunch and an invaluable introduction to hands on, cutting edge scientific development.

The Princeton Vertical Farming Project focuses on the sustainability and energy efficiency of vertical farming as they study production rates of hydroponic engineering systems along with marketing and economic feasibility. Gauthier says, “Two of the main challenges that vertical farms are facing revolve around awareness and data sharing. Through establishing a resonant collaboration with the Hopewell Elementary School, the Princeton Vertical Farming Project hopes to educate new generations about the benefits of vertical farming, and to inspire them to expand their knowledge through the application of new, groundbreaking research and technologies, which the farm has been producing. Furthermore, this collaboration will create citizen science datasets, which will contribute to the improvement of the vertical farming field as a whole. By inspiring students today, we hope to shape the future of farming and reduce human impacts on the environment.”

Room to Grow–Princeton Vertical Farming Project Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=80&v=zzXkrIuzslY

Elementary students and teachers have embraced the homemade, nutritious lunch options infused with organic ingredients served in Hopewell Elementary’s cafeteria. Their community is excited for the new vertical farming initiative with the goal of featuring 100% of the lettuce in the cafeteria grown at the school. Additional vegetables and herbs will be grown, harvested and featured as well. Principal David Friedrich’s passion for locally sourced, homemade, organic food for his students is evident in the Organic Menu offered at Hopewell. The menu is now in its third year and has seen a 50% increase in participation from the start. Principal Friedrich says, “At Hopewell Elementary School, we are thrilled to expand the vertical farming initiative which reinforces our commitment to sustainability. As the first public school in New Jersey to offer an organic menu featuring homemade entrees, we will now be able to prepare more nutritious meals infused with our own vegetables and herbs grown and harvested by students. The project also supports hands-on, relevant and high-quality science instruction aligned to Next Generation Science Standards.”

Dr. Thomas Smith, Superintendent of Schools, remarked, “Lead by Mrs. Corveleyn and Principal David Friedrich, the Hopewell Elementary School has been a driving force in our district-wide sustainability efforts. The vertical farming project has captivated the interest of students and staff. By bridging the gap between science and nature, students can observe the real-life connection between farming and food by seeing what is necessary to grow and produce the food we eat. An important part of this project is that virtually all of the food grown in the vertical farm will be used in our school lunches.”

Children respond to living organisms in the classroom with excitement and passion. Typically in an elementary setting, animals and insects are a wonderful way to promote living organism studies, but at Hopewell Elementary School, they have captured a unique Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)–aligned curriculum that is plant-based and integrates both life science and chemistry. Corveleyn remarks, “No child is too young to understand hydroponics. The bottom line is, kids love planting something they know they can eat! Creating an opportunity for sustainable gardening for the future at a young age makes hydroponics not just a buzzword, but a way of life.”

Hopewell Elementary secured several grants to sustain the vertical farming project:
Sustainable Jersey / New Jersey Education Association ($10,000)
BASF Corporation ($5,000)
Hopewell Valley Education Foundation ($4,400)
Hopewell Elementary School PTO ($7,000)
Photo credit, David Friedrich. Additional photos available upon request.

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14 May

Weekend Getaway to Pechanga Resort Casino!

Just a short drive from the heart of  Los Angeles there’s an amazing resort and spa that gives you the feeling that you are on a luxury vacation! Pechanga Resort Casino is located in Temecula, California and includes a casino and golf course along with its spa, swimming pool and other amenities. Greg and I recently spent the weekend there and had a fabulous time!

We arrived Friday evening, checked in, had a quick bite and then went to their Comedy Club for some drinks and entertainment. Lots of laughs! Then we hit the hay early because we had an early wake-up time to go hot air ballooning!

The van picked us up at 5:30 am and drove us to the Europa winery, where A Grape Escape (HotAirTours.com) whisked us off to the field to meet our balloon. We watched the balloons fill up, and climbed into the basket with the rest of our group – and away we went! Up, up and away! I had no idea what to expect, but honestly, it was totally relaxing. Everyone had a great time. There’s no wind up there because you’re going with the breeze! The scenery was beautiful – lots of vineyards, and we got some amazing pics. The hour flew by quickly – it was a bright blue sky day and we enjoyed every minute of it.

ballooning over Temecula

Hot air balloon ride while staying at Pechanga

Back at Pechanga I checked into the spa for my 10:30 appointment. The spa is all new, and totally GORGEOUS! They served me some orange-passionfruit-ginger infused water while I waited for my massage in a cozy white robe. This is the life, right? I got my choice of aromatherapy for the massage and it was delightful. Then a reflexology massage for my tired tootsies, and then a Sound Wave Massage on an anti-gravity recliner that took me off into a deep meditation. I could have stayed there all day – they have a beautiful whirlpool, sauna, steam room, sun porch, snack and hang-out room – very inviting and so refreshing.

Then it was off to lunch – Greg and I are vegan and the restaurants at Pechanga are super flexible and accommodating so we always had delicious meals. We split a strawberry salad with citrus vinaigrette and a taco bar -perfect food to eat while hanging out by the pool!

After lunch we participated in a cocktail class on the lawn where we learned how to make a margarita (it was Cinco de Mayo after all!) and a Mint Julep (it was also Kentucky Derby weekend!) and a Banana Colada. Good stuff to know! Greg is a big margarita fan, so this was likely his favorite part of the day.

Then we indulged in a little personalized, home-made aromatherapy products from Body Bliss back at the spa.   Oooh – la- la!

We had just about enough time to shower and change for a lovely dinner in one of Pechanga’s 13 restaurants. When the chef heard that we were vegan he came out and said he’d create a special meal for us. We of course took him up on the offer and were not disappointed. We started off with a crunchy salad with quinoa and apples – and then a beautiful pasta primavera dish with kale pesto. Paired this with a delicious rose from one of the local wineries.

For dessert – the dessert bar was set up outside and included a variety of home-made sorbets – the mango was my fave! They also had decadent macarons in every flavor you could imagine, and a variety of ice cream sandwiches.

The next morning, while the rest of our group golfed, Greg and I opted to sleep in, then take in the view of the course during a hearty breakfast. Strawberry and blueberry waffles… yummy!

We got so much fun into such a short amount of time! If you’re looking for a weekend getaway for romance, or with family or friends, Pechanga has a lot to offer. Oh, yes, they have a casino, too! 😀

About Pechanga Resort & Casino
Pechanga Resort & Casino offers one of the largest and most expansive resort/casino experience anywhere in the United States. Voted the Number One casino in America by the readers of USA TODAY and rated a Four Diamond property by AAA since 2002, Pechanga Resort & Casino provides an unparalleled getaway. Offering more than 4,000 of the hottest slots, table games, world-class entertainment, 517 hotel rooms, dining, spa and championship golf at Journey at Pechanga, Pechanga Resort & Casino features a destination that meets and exceeds the needs of its guests and the community. Pechanga Resort & Casino is owned and operated by the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians. For more information, call toll free 1-888-PECHANGA or visit www.Pechanga.com. Follow Pechanga Resort & Casino on Facebook and on Twitter @PechangaCasino. Pechanga Resort & Casino is open 24-hours. Guests must be 21 and older to enter the casino.

 

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28 Sep

Boost your Brain Power with these Spices and Herbs

Arrangement of Spicy Spices with Ground Sumach, Oregano, Dried Paprika, Curry and Crushed Chili in Wooden Spoons isolated on white background

Arrangement of Spicy Spices with Ground Sumach, Oregano, Dried Paprika, Curry and Crushed Chili in Wooden Spoons isolated on white background

The brain is one of the vital organs of the body, being responsible for a wide range of functions and abilities.

When it comes to boosting one’s brain power, there is some alternative available, including meditation, deep breathing, and physical exercise. But did you know that you can enhance your brain’s functioning abilities through your diet? More importantly, there are certain spices and herbs which can be used for such purposes.

Keep on reading and discover the best choices you have available. And, remember, the brain requires healthy food to function at its best capacity.

  1. Thyme

When it comes to herbs for brain health, thyme is one of the best choices one can make. This is because thyme is rich in volatile oils, which can increase the levels of omega-3 fatty acids within the body (and especially the brain).

These fatty acids are essential for the health of the brain, protecting against neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Consumed on a regular basis, thyme provides the brain with healthy antioxidants; moreover, it has a positive effect whereas learning and memory are concerned.

The beneficial properties of thyme have been confirmed by various studies, including one published in the Journal of Applied Biology & Biotechnology.

  1. Turmeric

Turmeric is also known as the golden spice, is often used to add flavor to Indian dishes.

It is one of the best spices that can keep your brain healthy – it contains an active substance, curcumin, which has been known to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia (Alzheimer’s disease).

Turmeric has potent antioxidant properties, being able to protect the brain against degeneration and memory loss.

Turmeric works to stimulate the release of happiness hormones in the brain, being perfect for those who suffer from depression.

The effects of turmeric about Alzheimer’s disease have been presented in a study published in the Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology.

  1. Sage

Sage is an herb that we often use in the kitchen, but not many people are aware of its beneficial effects on brain health.

In fact, when you ask yourself how to improve memory, you can consider sage to be one of the top answers.

The active substance known as carnosic acid is primarily responsible for the beneficial properties of sage, including when it comes to preventing the damage done by free radicals (antioxidant activity).

Sage has been known to be a suitable remedy for those who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

A study presented online confirmed the antioxidant properties of sage and its beneficial effects for the above-mentioned conditions.

  1. Black pepper

Black pepper can be added to a wide range of dishes, to enhance their flavor. From a health-related perspective, it seems that black pepper can stimulate the release of beta-endorphins at the level of the brain.

These are responsible for making us feel good. Hence we stand a lot to gain by consuming a black pepper. It has also been confirmed that black pepper can improve the overall cognitive functioning.

Given such benefits, it should come as no surprise that black pepper is recommended to those who are suffering from mood disorders.

A scientific article published in Food Science detailed the health benefits of black pepper.

  1. Oregano
Oregano oil bottle with label and oregano herb bunch

Oregano oil bottle with label and oregano herb bunch

Oregano is one of the best herbs to be used in the kitchen, given its amazing flavor.

It is also an excellent choice when it comes to boosting your brain power; this has to do with its rich content in antioxidants and its capacity of neutralizing free radicals (thus preventing damage at the level of the brain). Consumed regularly, it can improve the cognitive function and also regulate the mood, reducing the risk of depression and anxiety.

Oregano can also be consumed by those who are interested in improving their learning and concentration abilities.

The increased antioxidant activity of oregano has been confirmed in a scientific article which was published in Food Science.

These are just some of the many herbs and spices that you can use, to boost your brain power.

As you have seen, many of these have potent antioxidant properties – they can protect the brain against the damage done by free radicals.

They also work to reduce the risk of cognitive decline, which is normally associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. You can consume these on a regular basis, to improve your memory and learning abilities.

Moreover, these herbs and spices can regulate the production of happiness hormones within the brain – because of this; they can represent excellent weapons against depression, anxiety and mood swings.

You can also consume other herbs and spices for similar benefits, including rosemary, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

References:

http://www.top10homeremedies.com/kitchen-ingredients/top-10-spices-boost-brainpower.html

https://www.prevention.com/health/best-herbs-spices-for-brain-health

http://stylesatlife.com/articles/spices-and-herbs-that-boost-brain-power/

http://www.findhomeremedy.com/10-top-spices-to-boost-the-brainpower/

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17 May

Anti-Gluten Frenzy vs. Pro-Wheat Comeback

Has Wheat Been Found Guilty Without a Fair Trial?

Excerpted from Eat Wheat

 

Has gluten been found guilty without a fair trial? It wouldn’t be the first time an innocent food was given a life sentence. For example, after almost 60 years of so-called “hard science” condemning cholesterol, we now find out that the interpretation of the science was flawed and high cholesterol saturated fats, such as butter, have been officially taken off the FDA’s nutrient concern list.

 

Is it possible that we have wrongfully given gluten the boot as well, along with dairy and other commonly allergenic foods such as eggs, soy, corn, fish and nuts?

 

Today, there are millions of people without celiac disease or severe dairy allergies who are electing to be gluten-free and/or dairy-free, not because they are actually allergic to these foods, but because of their food sensitivities, or simply because these foods have been labeled as dietary “no-no’s.” It is the aim of this book to share the compelling scientific and clinical evidence that gluten—along with other specified foods, such as dairy—is often not the underlying issue in the case of digestive woes and food sensitivities.

 

For many, the underlying issue is actually a broken down digestive system caused by:

 

  1. Overeating certain food groups, resulting in inflamed skin that lines the intestinal tract.
  2. Making poor food choices that slowly break down digestive strength and gut health.
  3. Preparing and eating certain foods at the wrong times and in the wrong ways.
  4. Eating out of season.
  5. Eating commercially processed bread and dairy that contains herbicides, pesticides (sometimes even genetically engineered pesticides), antibiotics, preservatives, cooked oils and growth           hormones that our bodies were never designed to digest.

 

All of these actions compromise our digestive strength. It’s no wonder so many people are no longer able to properly digest these foods!

 

A Brief History of Gluten

 

It’s important to know that gluten is not the new kid on the block. There is archeological evidence of flour from wild cereal grains made in (what is now) Europe from around 30,000 years ago, during the Upper Paleolithic era. (22) And, around 10,000 years ago, with the widespread rise of farming and agriculture during the Neolithic era, bread and cereals became seasonal dietary staples. (1-3)

 

Contrary to what we have been led to believe, our early ancestors may have eaten much more grass, grain and wheat than previously thought, as the Ice Age forced them to venture out of the tropical rain forests into the grassland savannas, and look for new food sources.

Field studies have shown that a human can gather enough wheat berries from a field to supply enough nutrition for the entire day in just 2 hours, so why wouldn’t early humans gather the easy-to-obtain grains from the grasslands as a mainstay of their diet? New findings suggest they did. (4,5)

 

In the same groundbreaking report out of the University of Utah, the earliest evidence of human ancestors scavenging already-dead meat did not appear until 2.5 million years ago. Moreover, definitive evidence that humans hunted for their food does not appear until 500,000 years ago. (6,7)

 

As for our direct human ancestors, this study suggests that about 3.4 million years ago, the hominin, Australopithecus afarensis and other human relatives ate, on average, 40 percent grasses, which included gluten rich barley and wheat. By 1.7–2 million years ago, early humans ate 35 percent grasses and some scavenged meat from grazing animals, while another nearby hominin, Paranthropus boisei, was eating 75 percent grasses, including wheat.

 

To be precise, according to the science, we should be making the case that humans have less genetic experience eating meat than we do wheat. (6,7)

 

As the studies show, humans have been eating gluten for a very long time. Why is it that, suddenly, after so many thousands or millions of years of eating wheat and other glutinous grains as in-season dietary staples, eating a gluten-free diet is now one of the most prominent dietary trends?

As a strong digestive system is required to break down and eliminate ingested environmental chemicals and pollutants—which are, yes, even on your organic produce—healing the digestive system is more important now than ever before. A new EPA analysis reports that almost 4 billion pounds of chemicals—62 million of them carcinogenic—are released into the environment each year in the U.S. alone. (9)

 

If you cannot tolerate wheat and dairy now, but once could, or you have found yourself slowly removing foods from your diet over the years, then this may be a sign that your ability to both digest and detoxify is compromised, which also puts you at risk for unnecessary exposure to the dangerous chemicals and toxins in our environment.

 

Some Facts, For Starters

 

While this subject is hotly debated, there is good science suggesting the original wild wheat, with less exposure to the environmental toxins of our modern world, may have had gluten levels that reached almost twice the amount of gluten in today’s wheat! (1,8) Suggesting that, based on gluten levels alone, the original wild wheat was a much harder grain to digest compared to today’s wheat.

 

When researchers compared the gliadin components of gluten from 2 ancient wheat varieties, Kamut and Graziella Ra with modern varieties, the ancient wheats had total gliadin and alpha-gliadin levels that were almost twice as high as the modern wheat varieties. Alpha-gliadin is considered the indigestible toxic form of wheat that is linked to many of the gluten sensitivity symptoms. (1,8)

 

In another study, inflammation markers were measured on 22 people who ate either the ancient wheat, Kamut, or a modern wheat strain for 8 weeks. The group that ate the Kamut, where they found almost twice the amount of toxic gliadins in the previous study, saw a more than 2 times reduction in the common inflammatory markers associated with gluten sensitivity compared to the group that ate the modern wheat. How could the wheat with the highest toxic gliadin levels be almost twice as anti-inflammatory as the wheat with the least amount of gluten and gliadins? (10)

 

In that same study, the Kamut lowered total cholesterol, fasting blood sugar and increased magnesium and potassium levels in the blood compared to the modern wheat, suggesting that the ancient wheats are a much better choice, even though they may have more gluten and gliadins. (10) I agree.

 

Here is the scenario we find ourselves in: We are blaming gluten and it’s gliadins as the cause of our digestive imbalances, yet ancient wheat may have had almost twice the gluten that modern wheat does, and people have been eating gluten for millions of years. How could it be that suddenly gluten has become such an issue? How could our modern gluten be solely responsible for the recent litany of health concerns and food sensitivities?

 

Ancient grain varieties were also traditionally prepared differently. They were often soaked, sprouted, and fermented before consumption, rendering them easier to digest and increasing their nutritional value. These practices, which are also in use today, can almost completely break down gluten, boost mineral content, increase levels of amino acids like lysine that make nutrients more easily absorbed and break down anti-nutrients like phytic acid. (11-13)

 

Certain studies show that although there has been an increase in celiac-based gluten intolerance in the second half of the 20th century,32 there is no evidence that this rise is due to an increase of the gluten content in wheat. In fact, according to a 2013 study in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, the gluten content in wheat during the 20th and 21st century has been relatively stable since wheat processing began in the late 19th century, and the average consumption of wheat flour in America has decreased by a whopping 86 pounds per person per year from the year 1900–2008. (1)

 

Toxins and Sugar: Guilty as Charged

 

Early farmers who first domesticated wheat selected seeds that were larger and easier to remove when threshing. The larger the wheat seed, the more starch (sugar) and less protein the grain had. Since the gluten content in wheat is proportional to the protein content, ancient domesticated wheat gradually increased in sugar content while decreasing in gluten, gliadins and protein. (1)

 

As wheat became increasingly processed, the glycemic index (how quickly a food breaks down and enters the bloodstream, creating a rise in blood sugar) of commercialized wheat products spiked. For example, a slice of processed white bread or large dinner roll is about a 70 on the glycemic scale, while a slice of 100 percent stone-ground whole wheat or pumpernickel rates in at about 55.

 

The famed “wheat belly” is better termed “sugar belly” as many of the wheat sensitivities and studies linking gluten to these health concerns are more a result of excess sugar. Refined carbohydrates, such as processed white bread, quickly convert to sugar in the bloodstream.

 

This explosion of sugar from a high glycemic diet can cause every single symptom we have that is currently linked to gluten. In fact, much of the science supporting the grain brain theory, which links wheat to an increased risk of dementia, was based on the effect of sugar on the brain rather than the wheat itself. The theory suggested that wheat (and all grains for that matter) is the cause of high blood sugar and, thus, the smoking gun for Alzheimer’s disease. This theory is challenged by a number of studies that show wheat actually lowering blood sugar (14-17) and reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s. (23-28) Have we once again condemned an innocent grain, like we did with cholesterol, to the dangerous foods list, based on a flawed interpretation of the science?

 

Processed foods, preservatives, pesticides and toxins in the environment that filter into our food supply present a causative problem. Studies tell us that these toxins can change the proteins in wheat, (18-20) and wreak havoc on the helpful enzymes in our bodies that break down gluten and other hard-to-digest proteins. (21)

 

The good news: We have the ability to detoxify the toxins in foods, but it requires a strong digestive system. (22) Remember, the very same channels that help us digest foods like wheat and dairy are used by the body to detoxify environmental toxins.

 

So, while you may do your best to eat healthy, non-processed foods, it is my mission to help you learn how to boost your digestive and detoxification potential. It is your birthright to live a long, healthy, happy life, break bread and enjoy a freshly baked slice of bread with butter.

 

 

References:

  1. Kasarda DD. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry. 2013;61(6):1155-9.
  2. Eitam D, Kislev M, Karty A, Bar-Yosef O. Experimental Barley Flour Production in 12,500-Year-Old Rock-Cut Mortars in Southwestern Asia. PloS one. 2015;10(7):e0133306.
  3. Vigne J-D, Briois F, Zazzo A, Willcox G, Cucchi T, Thiébault S, Carrère

I, Franel Y, Touquet R, Martin C. First wave of cultivators spread to Cyprus at least 10,600 y ago. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2012;109(22):8445-9.

  1. http://donmatesz.blogspot.com/2011/06/gathering-wild-grains.html.
  2. Council BoSaTfIDNR. Lost Crops of Africa: Volume I: Grains. Washington, C.C.: The National Academies Press; 1996
  3. http://archive.unews.utah.edu/news_releases/agrassy-trend-in-human-ancestors-diets/
  4. http://doi.org/10.1073/ pnas.1006993107.
  5. Gregorini A, Colomba M, Ellis HJ, Ciclitira PJ. Nutrients. 2009;1(2):276-90.
  6. http://www.mountsinai.org/patient-care/serviceareas/children/areas-of-care/childrens-environmental-health-center/ childrens-disease-and-the-environment/children-and-toxic-chemicals.
  7. Sofi F, Whittaker A, Cesari F, Gori A, Fiorillo C, Becatti M, Marotti I, Dinelli G, Casini A, Abbate R. Characterization of Khorasan wheat (Kamut) and impact of a replacement diet on cardiovascular risk factors: cross-over dietary intervention study. European journal of clinical nutrition. 2013;67(2):190-5.
  8. Gunnars K. Why Modern Wheat is Worse Than Older Wheat: Authority Nutrition; 2014. Available from: http://authoritynutrition.com/modernwheat-health-nightmare/.
  9. Azeke MA, Egielewa SJ, Eigbogbo MU, Ihimire IG. Effect of germination on the phytase activity, phytate and total phosphorus contents of rice (Oryza sativa), maize (Zea mays), millet (Panicum miliaceum), sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) and wheat (Triticum aestivum). Journal of food science and technology. 2011;48(6):724-9.
  10. Di Cagno R, Rizzello CG, De Angelis M, Cassone A, Giuliani G, Benedusi A, Limitone A, Surico RF, Gobbetti M. Use of selected sourdough strains of Lactobacillus for removing gluten and enhancing the nutritional properties of gluten-free bread. Journal of Food Protection®. 2008;71(7):1491-5.
  11. Fleischer DM, Bock SA, Spears GC, Wilson CG, Miyazawa NK, Gleason MC, Gyorkos EA, Murphy JR, Atkins D, Leung DY. Oral food challenges in children with a diagnosis of food allergy. The Journal of pediatrics. 2011;158(4):578-83. e1.
  12. Pediatrics FMNi. ‘Shotgun’ skin prick testing for food allergy held flawed: PM360online.com; 2014. Available from: https://www. pm360online.com/shotgun-skin-prick-testing-for-food-allergy-heldflawed/.
  13. Imai T, Yanagida N, Ogata M, Komata T, Tomikawa M, Ebisawa M. The Skin Prick Test is Not Useful in the Diagnosis of the Immediate Type Food Allergy Tolerance Acquisition. Allergology International.

2014;63(2):205-10.

  1. Education FAR. Skin Prick Tests: FoodAllergy.org; 2015. Available from: http://www.foodallergy.org/diagnosis-and-testing/skin-tests.
  2. Gunnars K. Mediterranean Diet 101: A Meal Plan That Can Save Your Life: AuthorityNutrition.com; 2015. Available from: http:// authoritynutrition.com/mediterranean-diet-meal-plan/.
  3. Solfrizzi V, Panza F, Frisardi V, Seripa D, Logroscino G, Imbimbo BP, Pilotto A. Diet and Alzheimer’s disease risk factors or prevention: the current evidence2011.
  4. Wengreen H, Munger RG, Cutler A, Quach A, Bowles A, Corcoran C, Tschanz JT, Norton MC, Welsh-Bohmer KA. Prospective study of dietary approaches to stop hypertension–and Mediterranean-style dietary patterns and age-related cognitive change: the cache county study on memory, health and aging. The American journal of clinical nutrition.

2013:ajcn. 051276.

  1. Samsel A, Seneff S. Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II:

Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance. Interdisciplinary toxicology. 2013;6(4):159-84.

  1. Agarwal R, Goel SK, Behari JR. Detoxification and antioxidant effects of curcumin in rats experimentally exposed to mercury. Journal of Applied Toxicology. 2010;30(5):457-68.
  2. Crane PK, Walker R, Hubbard RA, Li G, Nathan DM, Zheng H, Haneuse S, Craft S, Montine TJ, Kahn SE, McCormick W, McCurry SM, Bowen JD, Larson EB. Glucose Levels and Risk of Dementia: DrPerlmutter.com; 2013. Available from: http://www.drperlmutter.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Glucose-Levels-and-Risk-of-Dementia.pdf.
  3. Hamblin J. This Is Your Brain on Gluten: TheAtlantic.com; 2013. Available from: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/12/this-is-your-brain-on-gluten/282550/.
  4. Gunnars K. Mediterranean Diet 101: A Meal Plan That Can Save Your Life: AuthorityNutrition.com; 2015. Available from: http://authoritynutrition.com/mediterranean-diet-meal-plan/.
  5. Solfrizzi V, Panza F, Frisardi V, Seripa D, Logroscino G, Imbimbo BP, Pilotto A. Diet and Alzheimer’s disease risk factors or prevention: the current evidence2011.
  6. Wengreen H, Munger RG, Cutler A, Quach A, Bowles A, Corcoran C, Tschanz JT, Norton MC, Welsh-Bohmer KA. Prospective study of dietary approaches to stop hypertension–and Mediterranean-style dietary patterns and age-related cognitive change: the cache county study on memory, health and aging. The American journal of clinical nutrition. 2013:ajcn. 051276.
  7. Glazer H, Greer C, Barrios D, Ochner C, Galvin J, Isaacson R. Evidence on Diet Modification for Alzheimer’s Disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment (P5. 224). Neurology. 2014;82(10 Supplement):P5. 224-P5.
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02 May

Interview with Divya Alter

By Divya Alter

April 25, 2017

  1. What’s the food philosophy behind Divya’s Kitchen and your new cookbook?

 

Food can heal. It can help us keep our bodies in good health so that we focus on the things we are meant to do in this life. At Divya’s Kitchen we serve delicious food that our body and mind say YES to . Our food philosophy is deeply rooted in the authentic tradition of Shaka Vansiya (SV) Ayurveda that meets us where we are today. In my cookbook, I explain how to select the seasonal foods that are suitable for your digestion and lifestyle and how to combine them into delicious meals. Eating fresh, invigorating foods gradually restores our body’s innate intelligence to heal itself.

 

 

  1. How did you get into Ayurvedic cooking?

 

I was already a trained cook when my health began to decline with an autoimmune disease. In my search for solutions for a problem modern medicine could not cure, I met my SV Ayurveda teacher, Vaidya RK Mishra. He was not only a master doctor, but also an expert cook and taught a lot about the healing powers of food. I studied with him for years. I was so impressed by how the SV Ayurvedic diet and treatment worked for me (now my autoimmune disorder is completely gone!) that my husband and I decided to dedicate our careers SV Ayurveda culinary education and food service, to make the wonderful benefits of Ayurvedic food more accessible.

 

  1. How practical is it for folks to adopt an Ayurvedic lifestyle?

 

Adopting an Ayurvedic lifestyle is very individual and different for everyone, but everyone can start with simple small steps. See what is practical for you right now! Cleaning your tongue morning and evening after you brush your teeth could be a good start—this will remove toxic residue, freshen your breath, and sharpen your taste buds. Another simple step is to always eat seated—if you have the habit of eating while standing (or walking), sitting down would be an easy healthy change that will also improve your digestion. I would say, if you are thinking to add Ayurveda to your lifestyle, start with the simple things that will build the foundation for bigger changes when you’re ready for them.

 

  1. If you could make over the way most people eat, what would you change?

 

This is a difficult question, as the way we eat is rooted deeply in our economic and social structure. But let me dream on: I would change the structure of our society to transform uncontrolled consumerism into conscious economics; convert from cruel to compassionate, from toxic to environmentally clean. I would encourage economic structure that supports people growing their own food as much as possible—this will increase our appreciation of our food and earth. I would make fresh, organic, wholesome foods be standard (and cheapest!) ingredients in our diet; I would also gradually eliminate all processed and artificial foods. I would revert back to the ages-long tradition of families cooking at home and eating together. I would include food, nutrition, and cooking education in all school curriculums.

 

  1. What is the biggest misconception people have about Ayurvedic cooking?

 

I think there are misconceptions about everything, including Ayurveda and diet! A common misconception is that Ayurvedic diet is all Indian food. It really does not have to be. Ayurveda is a universal science that originated before India existed and can be applied and practiced everywhere on the planet. For example, an Italian who is not familiar with or used to Indian ingredients and flavors, can still prepare satisfying and healthy Ayurvedic meals with Italian flavors. With my cookbook and restaurant, I like to show how to “ayurvedize” dishes from different cuisines.

 

Another misconception is that Ayurveda is all about the doshas and we should only eat according to our “dosha.” This is not completely true. While considering our mind-body type, we also have to factor in our current imbalances, the strength of our digestion, our age, the season, and how stressed we are. For example, if I am of Vata-Pitta (airy-fiery) constitution, but I currently have a Kapha imbalance of feeling congested and sluggish, I have to follow more of a Kapha balancing diet to get better.

 

I’ve also seen many Ayurvedic recipes that include rather inflammatory and clogging ingredients, such as soy, nightshades, onions and garlic, mushrooms. Eating such foods regularly may lead to more imbalance than balance. If you’re looking for the most medicinal food combinations in a delicious meal, SV Ayurveda recommends to avoid these ingredients in daily cooking.

 

  1. What is your favorite recipe in this book for this season, or the one you find yourself cooking most often?

 

The one recipe that I inevitably cook almost every morning is the Cooked Apple Pre-Breakfast—this is the simplest and fastest recipe in my book that Vaidya Mishra recommended for most people to eat every day, first thing in the morning. It does not require any culinary experience and it is a good recipe for beginners to build their confidence in the kitchen.

 

These days I also like to make the Asparagus and Sunchoke Salad and the Asparagus and Daikon Radish Soup—they support our detox cycle in spring.

 

At Divya’s Kitchen we serve several seasonal recipes from my book: Sprouted Mung Salad, Crispy Puffed Rice, Irresistible Buckwheat Cake, Ginger Mint Limeade and more.

 

Divya Alter is a certified nutritional consultant and educator in the Shaka Vansiya Ayurveda tradition. She is the cofounder of Bhagavat Life, the only Ayurvedic culinary school in New York. She and her husband launched North America’s first Ayurvedic chef certification program and Divya’s Kitchen, an authentic Ayurvedic restaurant in Manhattan. Divya’s new cookbook, What to Eat for How You Feel: The New Ayurvedic Kitchen, was published by Rizzoli in April, 2017.

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27 Feb

Work with Your Body’s Natural Processes to Control Hunger Pangs on a Diet

Hunger pangs can create chaos while you’re on a diet. It’s hard to concentrate on work, family, or anything else because of the cravings. Luckily, there are several ways to alleviate this situation.

 

Use these tips to control hunger pangs and stick to your diet at the same time:

  1. Get back into the habit of eating breakfast. It’s easier to prevent the pangs than to treat them, so eating breakfast is important.
  • Breakfast can help you control blood sugar levels throughout the day and stop hunger pangs from ruining your diet. It’s important to eat a complete breakfast that combines carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats into one meal.

 

  1. Eat protein. Protein can make you feel satisfied after a meal or snack, so you’re less likely to crave other foods.
  • You can select food that has protein and still fits your diet. For example, nuts and seeds are a healthy source of protein. Peanut butter and other butters, such as almond butter, also pack a healthy serving of protein.
  1. Chew well and eat slowly. If you swallow your food without chewing it enough, then it becomes more difficult to feel full. The rate at which you eat affects your stomach hormones and how you feel.
  • A study, titled “Eating slowly increases the postprandial response of the anorexigenic gut hormones, peptide YY and glucagon-like peptide-1,” found that eating slowly was better. The researchers discovered eating too quickly affected the release of stomach hormones related to feeling full.
  • Researchers recommend eating slowly, so the stomach hormones that make you feel full have a chance to become active.

 

  1. Chew gum in between meals. Researchers have found that gum can help you avoid temptation and stay on your diet. A study from the University of Rhode Island found that chewing gum encouraged people to eat less during the day.

 

  1. Eat potatoes. Potatoes can be a useful tool for fighting hunger pangs. They have a resistant starch that takes longer to digest, so you feel full for a greater length of time. You won’t feel hungry while you’re still trying to digest the potato you had for lunch.
  • It’s important to eat healthy preparations of potatoes, so potato chips and French fries shouldn’t be on the menu. Baked or steamed potatoes can help you stay on your diet.

 

  1. Add more grapefruits. These citrus fruits can help you control hunger while providing more vitamin C. Grapefruits can help control blood sugar levels, so you avoid the dangerous spikes that lead to hunger pangs.
  • Fresh grapefruits are easy to add to your diet. They can be part of a fruit salad or smoothie for breakfast. They can also be cut into small pieces for a quick snack.

 

  1. Use food aromas advantageously. Did you know that smelling certain foods without eating them can help you control hunger pangs? Researchers have found that different aromas can be used to feel full.
  • A study, titled “Food aroma affects bite size,” revealed that aroma could be used to control hunger. Researchers discovered that people took smaller bites of food with different aromas. They noticed that controlling the scent of the food affected how much people ate.

 

Hunger pangs don’t have to destroy your diet. By planning ahead and using these strategies, you can stay on your diet and subdue your cravings.

 

Hope you enjoyed this article and have a beautiful week filled with love and light, Barbara

www.BarbaraSavin.com

BarbaraESavin@aol.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GentleEnergyTouch/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarbaraSavin

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05 Jan

The gift of good health

jeff-williams-2016-holidayThe other day someone asked me what my favorite gift was this holiday season.  I didn’t hesitate to say, “The gift of good health for both my husband and me!”

A few years ago my husband was diagnosed with Coronary Artery Disease, having blockage in 3 main arteries and his cholesterol was off the graph. Obviously, his physicians wanted him to take meds, which he did for a short period of time.

We played with diets:  raw, vegetarian, paleo, we even considered starvation!  LOL..  (Well he did, I didn’t.  I have a hard time fasting for more than a few hours!)  Nothing really worked, nothing was very satisfying.

Then we watched a movie, Cowspiracy.  It was a wake up call for both of us on many levels.  We began a 100% Plant Based diet.  Wait, let me say a 100% Planet Based Lifestyle because it has been more than just a diet.  It’s our way of living. No, it wasn’t easy at first. In fact, I’ve mentioned before that it was such a radical change I verged on being depressed. There was much to “relearn”.

Here’s the gift.  Last month we both had our blood work done and he had a physical. All of our numbers are perfect!  Absolutely perfect!  As I continue to work through a few health issues unrelated to that blood work, I am quite confident that this #vegan lifestyle is healing my life.

To his resident in training his doctor said, “Jeff was my worst patient.  His cholesterol was one of the worst I’d seen in someone his age.  He and his wife went on a vegan diet and now he has the best I’ve seen.  He healed himself with a vegan diet!”  (And that doctor is NOT a vegan.)

The gift of good health – there’s no better gift to give yourself or your family.

Happy New Year!

P.S.  If you are looking to embrace a Planet Based Lifestyle and need support, send me a message through my contact page.  I’d be happy to send you my 10 easy tips choosing plants.

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03 Dec

Excerpt from The Autoimmune Fix by Dr. Tom O’Bryan

Guest Post by Dr. Tom O’Bryan

taf-coverI was recently asked: “What’s the one thing you would do, more than anything else, if you were going to focus on being healthy?” My recommendation is to focus on creating a healthier microbiome. All the little steps that are easy to implement will add up to having a robustly healthy microbiome. Nothing is more important to the function of your body. Nothing has more control. Nothing impacts more of your tissues and organs than the microbiota. It’s the big kahuna.

 

Luckily, the microbiome can easily be rebalanced. In just a day or two of changing your diet, you can begin to change and reduce dysbiosis. First, avoid the foods you may be sensitive to. When you have food sensitivities, the immune system responds with an inflammatory cascade in the gut. Every forkful can have a detrimental effect on your microbiome, even if you don’t feel bad as you eat it. The inflammatory cascade kills off the good bacteria, and pathogenic bacteria begin to prosper, creating an imbalanced environment in the gut. When you remove the foods that you are reacting to—beginning with gluten, dairy, and sugar—you can positively affect your microbiome.

 

My Transition Protocol includes better food selection, probiotics, and prebiotics to help restore a healthy microbiome. The foods that support the microbiome are grouped into four categories.

 

  1. Choose foods high in polyphenols—colorful, high-fiber fruits and vegetables. Polyphenols are micronutrients found in the bright colors in fruits and vegetables and have are incredibly beneficial to the microbiome. You may have heard of resveratrol, found in red wine, and the benefits of dark chocolate or green tea. It’s the polyphenols that provide much of these foods’ health benefits. Polyphenols occur within a diverse class of plants and are associated with strong-colored fruits (like berries) and vegetables (like red tomatoes). Fruits and veget-

bles that are high in polyphenols have the same dark color throughout. While eggplants have a nice, dark skin, the flesh is white, so it isn’t a high polyphenol choice. A better choice would be dark, leafy greens like spinach or kale.

 

You can add polyphenols into your diet every day in several ways including salads filled with greens and crunchy, colorful cruciferous vegetables. It is the insoluble fiber in these vegetables that the bacteria thrive on that promote being lean and healthy. Other foods high in polyphenols can be eaten every day, but in moderation, including fresh garlic, fresh raw almonds, and 70 percent or higher dark chocolate. Cocoa has been shown to influence the microbiome toward a more health-promoting profile by increasing the relative abundance of good bacteria. What’s more, chocolate is thought to modify intestinal immune status, lowering the expression of IgA antibodies.

 

  1. Choose the right carbohydrates. Avoid processed carbohydrates that feed bad bacteria—chips, French fries, breads, white rice, cookies, crackers, desserts, and sugars. These foods put your body in a chronically hungry, metabolically damaged, fat-storing mode. Eating them can increase your risk of intestinal permeability and may alter the makeup of your microbiome, upsetting the balance between “friendly” and unfriendly bacteria.

However, eating good carbohydrates can actually reduce obesity by increasing beneficial bacteria. In 2006, microbiologist Liping Zhao, PhD, conducted an experiment on himself to replicate findings that showed a link between obesity and the microbiome in mice. At the time, Dr. Zhao was overweight and in poor health. He adopted a diet that included whole grains (brown rice) along with two traditional Chinese medicine foods: Chinese yams and bitter melon, both of which contain a particular type of indigestible carbohydrate (a prebiotic that encourages the development of one form of good bacteria, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii). He monitored his weight loss as well as his microbiome. Two years later, he had lost a total of 44 pounds by restoring his good bacteria. In a 2016 study from the Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College, London, it was found that the bacteria produced by eating these same foods (Faecalibacterium) is significantly associated with reduced frailty. This is important, because frailty is a useful indicator of overall health deficit, describing a physiological loss of reserve capacity and reduced resistance to stress.

Carbohydrates containing artificial sweeteners promote unhealthy gut bacteria that cause obesity. In one study, the sugar substitute saccharin was shown to alter the function of 115 different pathways in the gut because of the microbiome controlling glucose tolerance, leading to obesity. The bacteria that aid in the digestion of saccharin turn the switch on to store energy as body fat and alter the gut microbiome.

 

  1. Eat grass-fed red meat and healthy fats. When you eat healthy fats, including the fats found in avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, fish, free-range poultry, and grass-fed beef, there is no evidence of lipid raft transcytosis, which is responsible for moving LPS into the bloodstream.

 

  1. Eat one forkful of fermented foods every day. A hundred years ago, people thought yogurt was healthy for you but were not exactly sure why. We now know that it is because of the fermentation of the bacteria in milk: Every time you eat yogurt, you get a dose of good bacteria.

However, because so many people have a dairy sensitivity and because the quality of most pasteurized yogurts found at the grocer is so poor and low in beneficial bacteria by the time it reaches your table, we are going to focus on eating fermented vegetables and drinks like kefir (a cultured/fermented milk), KeVita (a cultured/fermented coconut water), and kombucha (a fermented tea) to encourage the growth of good bacteria in your gut.

Fermented foods are those that grow bacteria in them or on them. They are some of the best detoxifying agents available. The beneficial bacteria in these foods are capable of drawing out a wide range of toxins and heavy metals. They can contain 100 times more probiotics than a supplement. Every day, you need to eat just a little bit, such as one forkful of fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi, both made from cabbage. You can purchase fermented vegetables or follow the recipes in Chapter 10 to make your own. If you find that you have a little gas or bloating after eating fermented vegetables, it is a biomarker of dysbiosis (abnormal gut bacteria in high concentration). It doesn’t mean the fermented foods are bad for you; it means your threshold for digesting them is very low. So reduce your dosage: Try a tablespoon of sauerkraut juice on your salad with your normal salad dressing so that the taste isn’t so strong. Next week, try 2 tablespoons per day. This is an example of transitioning—you are taking an accurate evaluation of where you body is currently functioning and moving it in the direction of better functioning.

 

For a healthy microbiome, probiotics need to be the majority of all your gut bacteria. There are thousands of different types of probiotics, and each is defined by its genus (for example, Lactobacillus), by its species (such as rhamnosus), and by its strain designation (often a combination of letters or numbers). The concept of a bacterial “strain” is similar to the breed of a dog—all dogs are the same genus and species, but different breeds of dogs have different attributes, and different breeds are good for different tasks.

The use of probiotic supplements is still in its infancy. We really don’t know exactly how to use them to create a healthier microbiome. We do know that they work to balance immune function and decreasing inflammation by helping you maintain a healthy environment in the gut. They are available as nutritional supplements that increase beneficial bacteria in the gut and crowd out bad bacteria. They can also heal intestinal permeability. Different strains of even the same species of probiotics can vary in their specific bacteria.

Probiotics are most effective when they are combined with a high-fiber diet that features lots of vegetables every day. Vegetable fiber is critical for creating butyrate, which, is the fuel for the fastest-growing cells in the body: the inside lining of the intestines. This is a critical concept and the reason why I don’t encourage fiber supplements, because I have never found a study where fiber supplements increase butyrate levels. The right fiber acts as a fertilizer that helps the probiotic grow and proliferate good bacteria in your microbiome. And because probiotics interact with the digestive system, each strain performs differently depending on your gut’s unique environment. This means that one type of probiotic doesn’t work the same for everybody. To find the supplement that will work best for you, choose a broad- spectrum, high-potency probiotic. “Broad spectrum” means that it contains more than one strain of probiotics.

 

Prebiotics: Even the best of dietary intentions can cause problems. A gluten-free diet may actually contribute to dysbiosis. When you follow a gluten-free diet, you remove many of the carbohydrates necessary to feed good bacteria. Gluten-free foods are not known to contain healthy prebiotics. You are in effect starving your own bacteria unless you replace the gluten with prebiotics.

Prebiotics are food components that cannot be digested by the body but are consumed by the beneficial bacteria to help them function. Chocolate or cocoa is considered a prebiotic that is also rich in polyphenols.

 

 

GO AHEAD, EAT CHOCOLATE EVERY DAY

Eat a little dark chocolate every day to increase your intake of polyphenols and prebiotics. Take a square of the very best dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cacao) that you can get and put it on or under your tongue. Don’t let it touch your teeth. Let it sit there without chewing, so that it slowly dissolves in your mouth. In this way, you saturate your taste buds to send the message “chocolate is here” to your brain via the oral thalamic tract that leads from the mouth right up to the brain. Chocolate stimulates the production of endorphins and enkephalins, which are 200 times more powerful than morphine in how they stimulate the feel-good sensors in your brain.  If you eat that one square of chocolate every day and let it melt in your mouth for about 2 minutes, you’ll most likely feel very satisfied. If you want more, go ahead and have another piece. I’ve never ever, ever had a patient want more than two squares if they follow this method. This way, you can have dark chocolate every day and not gain weight or throw your blood sugar out of balance.

 

 

tom-casual-sitting-56-1About Dr. Tom O’Bryan:

Tom O’Bryan, DC, CCN, DACBN, is a world-renown expert in the field of Gluten-Related Disorders, chronic disease and metabolic disorders. Author of The Autoimmune Fix, he lectures to healthcare professionals and the public about celiac disease and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity worldwide. Dr. O’Bryan has more than 30 years of experience as a functional medicine practitioner and he serves on the faculty of the Institute of Functional Medicine. His site seeks to inform and empower those with Gluten-Related Disorders and their families. He offers a Certified Gluten Practitioner course and certification to healthcare professionals looking for a revolutionary way to diagnose, treat, and educate patients about Gluten-Related Disorders. He recently put together and hosted Betrayal, a 7-part documentary series about Autoimmune disease featuring 85 leading experts around the world. In 2013, Dr. O’Bryan hosted the world’s first Gluten Summit, where he interviewed 29 experts and opinion leaders on the topic of gluten-related health issues. It serves as the premier educational forum for the public and healthcare professionals on the topic of immune reaction to gluten and health.

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29 Aug

Through the Fire Excerpt

This is an excerpt from “Through the Fire: Cooking Our Way Into a New Relationship With Food” by Charity Dasenbrock. http://charitydasenbrock.com

Some of the Basics

Michael Pollan, well-known author and lecturer about food and cooking, says that cooking is what will save the health of our people, community, world, and Mother Earth:

“The decline of everyday home cooking doesn’t only damage the health of our bodies and our land but also our families, our communities, and our sense of how our eating connects us to the world. Our growing distance from any direct, physical engagement with the processes by which the raw stuff of nature gets transformed into a cooked meal is changing our understanding of what food is. Indeed, the idea that food has any connection to nature or human work or imagination is hard to accept when it arrives in a neat package, fully formed. Food becomes just another commodity, an abstraction.”

In the United States, the birthplace of fast food, Americans eat fewer than 70 percent of their meals at home (this does not mean that the food was cooked at home) and less than a third of American families eat meals together more than twice a week, according to Emory University. At least 1 in 4 Americans eat some sort of fast food everyday and consume 1/3 more processed food than fresh. This fact, together with the epidemic of body image issues, points toward a need for fundamental change in American food culture. As we collectively return to the kitchen and the home-cooked meal, this will significantly alter the direction of nutrition and our relationship with food.

This includes not just cooking at home but eating as a family or community as well. Children and adults benefit greatly from the ritual of eating meals together. Family meals provide opportunities for sharing the day’s events and create a relaxing transition from busy daytime activities to slower-paced evening ones. Cooking meals at home and involving your children in food preparation is the best way to teach them healthy eating habits. Statistically, children who grow up in households where meals are eaten together perform better academically and show less tendency toward engaging in risky behaviors, such as smoking, drinking, and taking drugs, according to Washington State University nutrition researchers Martha Marina and Sue Butkus. I wish there were similar statistics about adult behavior, things like productivity, work days lost due to illness, etc.

We must return to the kitchen. For us to thrive, we must teach ourselves and our children the love of cooking. We all need to work on creating a culture where this is possible. There are many out there pushing this, and many out there who say it is an elitist cultural “problem.” Poor, unemployed, poverty-level people don’t have the luxury of worrying about this. They have enough to worry about just having enough food to eat, period. We as a culture owe it to our future to make sure no one is hungry and that we all have access to nutritious food.

Michael Pollan also says that:

“The food industry has done a great job of convincing eaters that corporations can cook better than we can. The problem is, it’s not true. And the food that others cook is nearly always less healthful than that which we cook ourselves. But how can we convince folks to give it a try? I think we have to lead with pleasure. Aside from the many health benefits, cooking is also one of the most interesting things humans know how to do and have done for a very long time. And we get that, or we wouldn’t be watching so much cooking on TV. There is something fascinating about it. But it’s even more fascinating when you do it yourself.”

We need to return to that intimate connection with our food. Eating is a very intimate act and experience, as cooking can be. There is no intimacy when food is planted and picked by machines, processed by machines, and then placed in a machine for cooking. The food never touches the hands (or the soul) of the eater or of the cook. The enjoyment of food is a beautiful gift given us by Mother Earth. It truly is the gift of life. No other animal experiences eating the way humans can and do. We eat for more than survival. Our food deserves to be treated with respect, love, and pleasure. We deserve to treat ourselves with that same respect, love, and pleasure.

Cooking and eating are about nourishment as well as nutrition. We can define nourishment as providing the materials necessary for life and growth from a biologic perspective. It is also about emotions, and means to support and encourage feelings, ideas, etc. Nourishment in all its forms is necessary.

There are many reasons why we cook. (For the purposes of this book, I am placing preparing food for the raw food diet in with cooking.) Some reasons are purely practical in that we have to get food on the table for our families and us to eat. Some reasons involve the science and geeky experimentation of it, or the art and beauty of it. Some reasons involve the pleasure of creating and the pleasure of eating. Some reasons involve the spiritual and holy nature of it. All cultures, races, and classes do some form of cooking. Just as eating the way we do is a uniquely human activity, so is cooking. Cooking directly connotes us with our food. It connects us with the rest of the world and our human family. It connects us to the rhythms and energy of the earth and that which we believe created it. It connects us with ourselves.

How we cook is how we are in the world.

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13 Aug

Mainstream Ayurveda vs. SV Ayurveda

As an Ayurveda fan you probably know that Ayurveda originated in India more than 5,000 years ago. The Maharishi Mahesh Yoga introduced Ayurveda to the USA in the 1960s. The Beatles were followers of the Maharishi, and learned to meditate, causing meditation to gain momentum in the west. A few decades later, Deepak Chopra comes out with his book “Perfect Health” and talks about Ayurveda with Oprah on national television. Then the practice of yoga becomes popular as a form of fitness, and as people see the benefits, they begin to explore and embrace its sister science Ayurveda.

As more westerners learned about Ayurveda, they would adapt it to fit their modern lifestyles. Instead of “one” Ayurveda, there became a variety of interpretations – hence the Ayurveda that is most prevalent here in the west today, “Mainstream Ayurveda.”

Mainstream Ayurveda – the kind I learned originally – is a simplified version of Ayurveda. Less Sanskrit, fewer “rules” – more of an introduction to Ayurveda. There’s nothing really wrong with it, but it’s not “deep” into the vast amount of knowledge that Ayurveda provides. We learned about the doshas, the daily routine, and a little massage, and then were sent on our way. If we wanted to learn more, there were books – so that’s what I did, and luckily at that time, back in the late 1990s – the books that were available were by some pretty good teachers, like Dr. Vasant Lad and Dr. David Frawley.

But as time went on, and the original teachers taught others to teach, the knowledge really got watered down. And then as the word spread, and yoga got super popular and every yoga teacher wanted to say something about Ayurveda, some of the knowledge got misinterpreted, and misunderstood – and even put into books and classes and webinars. Kind of like that children’s game of “Telephone” so now Mainstream Ayurveda looks in many ways very different from authentic, traditional Ayurveda.

And in the wrong hands, sometimes this misinterpreted knowledge can even be dangerous. For example, I recently saw a prominent figure in the Ayurveda community provide a “gut flush” recipe in an e-mail newsletter that went out to hundreds of thousands of people. She recommended taking pure lemon juice mixed with fresh raw ginger and cayenne pepper and drinking it every morning on an empty stomach. She said to make one big batch and it would keep in the refrigerator for a week. That’s just bad advice – and it is being labeled as “Ayurveda.” The harm is that when people take this advice, and end up with upset stomachs or worse, they’re going to blame Ayurveda, and you know how things go viral these days… that’s what happens. It’s bad PR for Ayurveda!

There’s another woman, with an Indian name who is not Indian, you might have heard of her, she is famous for being the ex-wife of a TV star. She is now billing herself as an “Eye-Ra-Ved-a” expert with her own line of products named after herself, and she even has a course out. Clearly she knows little about Ayurveda as she can’t even pronounce the word. Her objective is to sell products.

One way to gauge the authenticity of your teacher’s knowledge is to ask about the lineage. Where is the teacher getting this information?

My mentor, Vaidya RK Mishra teaches that the original source of all the wisdom in Ayurveda is the Carak Samhita. Interestingly enough, when I was originally learning Ayurveda, the Carak Samhita was never mentioned! It was many years before I understood how important, and how essential, this text is.

Using this classic text from the ancient school of Ayurveda, “from sutra to science,” is one of the hallmarks of Vaidya Mishra’s practice of Shaka Vansya Ayurveda – SVA. This is an integral part of Vaidya Mishra’s lineage. His familial lineage is traced in the ancient Vedic text, the Puranas.

Vaidya Mishra’s paternal ancestors have always been Ayurvedic physicians serving the Kings and Royal Families of India. They lived in a village called “Vaidya Chak” (literally: small village of healers) in the district of Bhagalpur in the state of Bihar, India for at least the last ten generations. Their practice was enhanced by handed-down secrets and recipes, always formulated and kept in the spirit of the original classical teachings, not contradicting or subtracting from the essence of the sutras in the Carak Samhita.

Although Vaidya Mishra completed his formal training in institutional Ayurveda he also practices according to the guidelines of his ancestry. His practice is informed by modern ayurvedic scholarship as well as modern western scientific medicine, in addition to the ancient knowledge held in his tradition.

Vaidya Mishra knows that the stress of modern lifestyles, including environmental pollution, toxic diets, and poor personal routines, exert more and more pressure on the physiology’s coping mechanisms. He understands that Ayurvedic therapies must adapt to meet the needs of these modern times while maintaining the bio-energetic purity and integrity of their ingredients. Combining this age-old knowledge of SVA, with current advances in research and technology, he’s been able to create many amazing products that help people deal with all kinds of health issues. You’ll see scientific studies cited in his books. Although Ayurveda has had this wisdom all along, now modern science has done us the favor of proving it to be true.

While there are many things that SVA does differently than Mainstream Ayurveda – here are just two:

 

– What we eat. Mainstream Ayurveda talks about the six tastes, and which tastes are best for the seasons and the doshas. SVA take this further, into deeper knowledge about what foods cause inflammation, what foods are to be used as medicines rather than foods, and specific ways that foods should be prepared to best be assimilated into the physiology so that the physical body is nourished.

Mainstream Ayurveda also makes “accommodations” that allow for our modern day conveniences. For example, The Carak Samhita says we should never eat leftovers. Yet some ayurvedic authors say that this is because back in the day we didn’t have refrigerators, so now we can have leftovers. One author says three days in the fridge is ok, another says up to one week. There’s no general agreement. But SVA is clear – no leftovers. And it doesn’t matter if we have refrigeration, it’s not just because of the bacteria that gets into food. It’s also because SVA sees all food as Sattvic (healthy, intelligent and filled with life force), Rajasic (stale, processed, or “dumb” food), or Tamasic (basically “dead” food that can be bad for you).

When you learn more about SVA you understand why you should not be eating garlic, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers and eggplant. While Mainstream Ayurveda may tout the benefits of these foods, SVA refers back to the Carak Samhits with specific reasons why these foods could actually be harmful.

– The vibrational body. Mainstream Ayurveda compares Marma therapy to acupressure and uses it in much the same way. Marma therapy is a whole science unto itself, and one that SVA endorses for many uses – for health, for beauty, and for spiritual growth. There is specific protocol in SVA for this. SVA gives us a “whole person” picture of the physical body and the vibrational body – how to find the balances and imbalances in each and what to do about them.

– Purification and detoxification. Mainstream Ayurveda is all about Panchakarma. But Vaidya Mishra and SVA says it’s not so simple. Sometimes more harm than good can be caused by detoxification so we have to be very careful. The liver, the colon, and the enzymatic system – all of these things come into play when looking at the intelligence of the channels, and preparing the channels. SVA gives us a deep understanding of this. SVA says that with the proper lifestyle we can keep ourselves from getting out of balance and needing any detox in the first place. It also provides gentle rebalancing protocol so that we can avoid any possible detox poisoning. SVA promotes the use of specific spices and herbs to help clear the channels for gentle and effective purification of the system.

 

When you practice SVA you learn that Ayurveda is not an “alternative” medicine, it can be our FIRST medicine. With SVA there is always a solution. To learn more visit Vaidya Mishra’s blog: http://www.vaidyamishra.com

 

 

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