Friday, September 26, 2014

Recipe for Homemade Ginger-Grape Jam: Easy Peasy

This luscious Ginger-Grape Jam is made with my own organic seedless green grapes! *Recipe for cakes below
The kitchen smells of Jam.
 Ginger-Grape Jam.
 It is a dark rainy night in the Comox Valley. This is the kind of night that Grandmothers use to make jam.

 We have a grape arbour that produces sweet seedless green grapes. This was a long hot, dry summer-- apparently the kind of growing season that these grapes enjoy!

Originally the grapes  were used for wine-making. But we call them "Table Grapes". We freeze each little gem and use them in smoothies for most of the winter. And we make Jam.  Please note: This jam was made with ORGANIC seedless green grapes during ORGANIC WEEK! 

 So, let's get right to the recipe:
Pick the grapes (at least 1 Kg/2 pounds) and soak 20 min. in basin of water with 1/4 C. Vinegar mixed in.

  INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 pounds/ 1 Kg Fresh, Ripe Grapes
  • 1/4 Cup / 60 g Sugar or other Sweetener
  • 1/2 Lime, Juiced, Fresh lemon is a good substitute
  • 1 thumb-size fresh Ginger, grated

In a heavy pot, put the grapes and cover with the sugar (I used Coconut Sugar).  Stir and cook on medium high burner.  I mashed down with potato masher.  Keep simmering and stir occasionally.  I also blended with a stick blender, but you can just use the masher and smooth it as you stir/cook.
Add in the Grated Fresh Ginger.  Keep simmering and stirring until the jam starts to get very thick and sticky.  When you clear a spot on the bottom of the pan you know the jam is "ready" because it will not flow into that cleared space as quickly as it did when it was runny.  It will thicken more as it cools.  Finally, add the Fresh Lime Juice and stir for another few minutes.  Remove from the heat and let it cool!  Bottle.
*If you want to enjoy the delicious little Gluten-Free,  Egg & Dairy-Free Mini-Carrot Cakes, go HERE for the recipe!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Review: Day 2 of the Detox Summit

The second day of the Detox Summit is dedicated to looking forward to what effects toxicity has upon our children, before birth (i.e., during pregnancy) and after, and what can be done to help detoxify the "toxic burden".  Attention is also given to detox and child autism, particularly by Dr. Martha Herbert, Associate Professor with Harvard Medical School and Pediatric Neurologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

The presentations on the Detox Summit are free to watch for 24 hours (from 10am ET to 9:59am ET) but because of some technical glitch the first day, Day 1 is also being repeated for 24 hours.  So, register HERE and watch away! If you missed both days (or the whole Detox Summit) and want to have the complete 30 interviews to watch, please go HERE to find out more about how that is possible.

Day #2 Presentations by:
Dr. Martha Herbert MD, PhD
As I wrote a little about her above, I will skip that part of the introduction.  Doctor Herbert talked a little about how her own health issues (asthma and repetitive UTIs) were cleared by supporting the body with high density nutrition and a healthy lifestyle so that the body could get its clean-up and repair systems into action.  She made a humorous observation that the Glial Cells, which far outnumber neurons, used to be seen as merely "housekeeping cells" and were frequently described using the feminine gender.  But now that it is seen that their importance is more expanded than was formerly thought, they have, in some scientific literature, been endowed with the masculine gender.  (chuckle and shake head here).  You will definitely want to hear the interview to get a clear description of why Glial cells and even the Extracellular Matrix (the 'stuff' between the cells) are as important as they are.

Dr. Herbert talked a little about the aging process, with the example of how alcoholism prematurely ages the brain mostly because the reparative processes are not being supported and therefore do not nourish the neurons, the other important job they do.  The brain simply can't rid itself of toxins with the ongoing intake of more toxins in the alcohol.

Herbert suggested that we look at the "toxic load" holistically-- it is important to recognize that we have a total load made up of physical, emotional, electro-magnetic, and other toxic burden.  Your resiliency, the ability to "bounce back" into health, is dependent upon having accrued more resources than burdens.  If you are burning the candle at both ends, skipping nutritious meals, and not getting the rest and stress release that you require, well, it stands to reason that your brain will be impeded in its ability to repair damages.

Herbert spoke of autism as more of a process than a state-- the way we frequently look upon it.  She quipped that all of us could likely find ourselves on the Autism Spectrum during times of great stress-- the stress will often manifest in behaviours similar to what we see in autistic individuals: rigidity, repetitive behaviours and speech, lack of eye contact, etc. She stated that autism could be seen as a reaction to extreme form of stress with a large toxic load and depleted resources to deal with it.  She feels that if the person's brain is given the resources to eliminate some of the toxic load, the body will become more flexible, and the brain can also become more flexible.  Her book, The Autism Revolution: Whole-Body Strategies for Making Life All It Can Be is written to reflect the recoveries of several persons who recovered their lives through a process of improving their total body health.  She talked about "high density nutrition" as one method of brooching the necessary mechanisms of repair.  She also had a great remedy for the frustration of "food defensiveness" that autistic children demonstrate, seeminly unable to try 'new' foods. Listen to the interview to hear more.

Dr. Herbert left us with these "take aways":
**Realize your resiliency is a very precious thing and nurture it with a healthy lifestyle
**Be forward-looking-- keep your heart in, and your vision on, the solutions
**Get a lot of sleep-- sleep is "active detox" a time that allows the brain trash collection to take place.

Dr. Kelly Brogan, MD
Dr. Soram Khalsa MD
and Dr. Elson Haas are all on the agenda for Day#2.  Go ahead and watch their interviews!  I only have time to do one review today, and Dr. Martha Herbert is well worth the limelight!

Here are books written by today's presenters:

Review: Day 1 of the Detox Summit


Yesterday was the start of the first Detox Summit , a free online round-up of "experts" in the area of detoxification. When you register for the program-- which runs from yesterday, August 4, to August 11, you can watch any or all of the day's presentations ( audio presentations with sideshows of information covered in the interview) from 10am ET on the day of the interview until 9:59am on the following day.

Register HERE for the Detox Summit.




Day 1 Presenters:

Dr. Richard Bland, PhD
  • introduced as the "Father of Detox"
  • he talked a little about 'Functional Medicine' -- that is, medicine that focuses on the optimal functioning of the body and its organs unlike allopathic (orthodox/traditional) medicine which is generally focused upon illness (pathology).  Functional medicine throws a large treatment net to bring in holistic and alternative approaches to dealing with the results of toxicity, for example.  
  • The detoxification is not a pharmaceutical end in itself-- with functional medicine the goal is to help an individual detox in a way that fits for them (there are slow detoxers and fast detoxers) and to use nutrition and other natural means to return to optimal body functioning.
  • Dr. Bland talked about some very interesting research in the field of biochemistry.
Dr. David Perlmutter MD, FACN, ABIHM
  • Dr. Perlmutter is a sort of Brain Science "wunderkind" who was scrubbing up beside his neuro-surgeon father when still a young lad in high school, and who published brain research in his early years of University.  
  • He is perhaps best known for his book Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar--Your Brain's Silent Killers Along with the other popular book written against the wheat protein gluten, Perlmutter is an outspoken advocate for removing gluten and, indeed, all grains and high glycemic-index carbohydrates, from the diet.  He contended in the presentation that parents would be immeasurably well-served if they took a month to place their child with ADHD or autism on a gluten-free (grain-free) diet instead of allowing the child to be prescribed amphetamines.
Dr. Mark Hyman, MD
  • Dr. Hyman has worked quite a lot with people who have digestive issues related to what he sees as sugar toxicity.  He was part of the documentary Fed Up that takes a look at "Big Food" and its role in perpetuating obesity and chronic related diseases.  He also sees sugar in its many forms as a omnipresent toxin in our nutritional environment.
Dr. Alexandro Junger, MD
  • As a vegetarian,  for health, ethical and religious reasons, I found that I resonated most closely with Dr. Junger's presentation.  He traveled through India as young MD and was impressed with the holistic, interdisciplinary methods of treating people that he encountered there in his work.  He subsequently studied ayurvedic medicine.
  • He was introduced as the Superstar of Detoxicology since he has been working in the area of detoxicology, both as a researcher and a physician for many years.  He wrote Clean -- Expanded Edition: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body's Natural Ability to Heal Itself   
 If you took in The Gluten Summit or the recent Thyroid Summit, you will recognize some of the same doctors from those (eg., Dr. Tom O'Bryan presents in all three). If you missed the first day- or are reading this after the Summit- and want to see all of the presentations, you can purchase the Detox Summit package--to see more, just click here.

The Detox Summit Package includes:
  • 30 video slideshow presentations
  • 30 audio presentations
  • Transcripts for each presentation (PDF)
  • Bonus materials provided by presenters

The package will be available in digital format with each file housed on an online membership site/portal.  Persons purchasing the above package will receive a login, password and lifetime access to this site, where they can easily download the files or watch them online.

So much information in Day 1!  I'm off to make sure I listen to Day 2 and will provide a few notes if I am able.  Please listen to the series yourself if you are reading this in "real time" or purchase the Detox Summit Package if you want to hear all the presentations.  Be sure to come back here, or look for us on Twitter and Pinterest.

Below are some books written by the authors who presented on Day #1:


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Thornless Blackberry Blessings


Thornless Blackberries are the most prolific fruit in our back garden.
Thornless (or prickle-free) blackberries are a cultivar of other blackberries -- maybe wild blackberries, but most often, other commercial varieties, such as loganberries.

Wild blackberries still spring up with wily abandon on most empty lots in the Pacific Northwest (Canada and the USA).  When we came to Vancouver Island nine years ago this Fall, I was thrilled to hike around our neighborhood berry patches with a pail every summer.  Most of our neighbours were quite incredulous at my  industry-- why was I picking so many berries?  Most of them picked enough for a pie or a few jars of jam, and that was it.  The novelty had worn off.  They had so many other wonderful fruits and berries to choose from, many growing in their yards.  At the time, my husband and I were falling in love with-- actually, fast becoming addicted to-- green smoothies.  We were amazed by the simple abundance of the FREE blackberries.  We filled up our freezer with them.  We chugged blackberry smoothies all winter.  You can find some delicious blackberry smoothie recipes here.

A couple of years after we arrived our then-Pastor sold his house and moved.  Before doing that he thoughtfully (well, maybe not thoughtfully if you were the purchaser of his property, lol) dug up some of his prized plants and gifted them among friends.  We were very privileged to get his most beloved Thornless Blackberry bush.  We positioned it in a far corner of the yard, set aside as a sort of 'arbourage' or minor-orchard.  For the first two or three years the bush did not put out anything substantial-- in fact, we forgot about it for the most part.

Then, in about year #3 I was doing some sort of clean-up work and came across what had been "that little blackberry bush".  Imagine my surprise to find that some of the branches were well over 6' long, dragging their bounty of berries into the neighbours' yards (3 neighbours' yards, as a matter of fact).

Since that time I have been harvesting a good portion of our winter's berries from the sole [overgrown] bush.  This year I get 1/2 to 3/4 of a 1-gallon pail of berries picked each morning.  What we don't use in our morning smoothie goes into a bag in the freezer.  It is loaded.  The wasps covet this bush as well. I happen to respect the hard-working ornery little critters do (to keep down other insects) earlier in the season, but I will keep an eye out to see that they don't suck away more than their share.

Here is a fascinating video by a guy showing the method he uses of espalier-ing his blackberries.  I plan to do a sort of modification of this to get my blackberries into submission.

The benefits of not having thorns is huge!  Health benefits of the Blackberry are also huge:
  • rich in bioflavonoids and Vitamin C: strengthens the connective tissue-- collagen-- and maintains elasticity and flexibility of the body's arteries and veins allowing for healthy blood flow-- may help to alleviate varicose veins
  • low in calories, and of course, low on the glycemic index-- only 62 calories per cup
  • very low in sodium
  • very high in antioxidants- in fact, the HIGHEST of berries - but to get a real anti-cancer boost, it is important to eat the blackberries au naturel-- skip the cooking and pass on the sweeteners (smoothies count as being in a natural state!)
  • Eat them raw everyday and be guaranteed that your brain is alert and clear of "fog"
  • The high tannin levels (tannin gives tea its bitter edge) in blackberries may calm down intestinal pain and inflammation, subdue diarrhea, and alleviate hemorrhoids
  • Make a tea with the (bitter) leaves, using honey or stevia to mask the flavour-- an uplifting morning drink with none of the caffeine stimulation of coffee
  • Juicing the berry regularly can help people with menstrual problems because it's effective in helping the blood to clot  
Here is the Blackberry plant this year:


Here is a pile of things you can make with blackberries (just click to see):

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