Table Salt vs Sea Salt

sea salt 3We desire salt for a reason.  We were meant to consume it!  All of this talk of salt (mainly the sodium that’s in it) being unhealthy for us is nonsense.  And I’m so happy to finally know this!  The taste of salt is just too good.

Unfortunately, sea salt (or mineral salts), the kind of salt we should be consuming on a daily basis, has gotten a bad rap from table salt’s dark shadow. These are two completely different substances.  One is harmful.  And one is extremely helpful.

WHY IS SEA SALT NECESSARY?:

  • Provides our body with 2 important minerals: sodium and chloride.  The body is unable to produce these minerals on its own.
  • Provides over 82 trace minerals which our body NEEDS to work optimally.  Sodium functions best in combination with other minerals, such as magnesium, calcium and potassium.  This is what nature intended.

WHY IS SEA SALT NOURISHING?:

  • Controls the amount of fluid in the body.
  • Helps to maintain balance between acid + alkaline levels (pH balance).  Did you know is it the most alkaline-forming substance known to man?  Wow, now that’s a statement.
  • Creates electrolytes, which are essential for proper body function.
  • Supports proper adrenal function.
  • Helps to regulate sleep.
  • Helps support the nervous system.
  • Relieves allergies and skin diseases.
  • Prevents muscle cramps.
  • It is a whole food!  Natural.  Unprocessed.

REFINED SALT FACTS:

  • Is chemically made of 2 minerals, sodium and chloride.
  • Contains NO trace minerals, creating an unnatural food that is out of balance with what our body needs.
  • Often times, iodine is added to table salt, which can create a toxic level of iodine in our bodies and potentially harm the thyroid.
  • Toxic additives are included to prevent the salt from caking.
  • Refined.  Processed.  Bleached.  Unnatural.

THINGS TO KNOW

  • 1 – 1.5 teaspoons per day.
  • True sea salt with be a pale grey color and slightly moist.

REFERENCES:

  1. Healing Naturally by Bee Wilder
  2. Weston Price Foundation

sea salt 1

Coconut Curry Pumpkin Soup

IMG_0333Are you ready to make one of the best soups you’ve ever tasted???  I hope I’m not being overly dramatic, but this soup really does taste so divine.  And so nourishing in these colder winter days.

Aside from pumpkin, the base of this recipe is vegetable or chicken broth, so if you don’t have 3 cups of this on hand, you may want to make this first.  Check out my go-to veggie broth recipe, by Rebecca Katz.  Or a simple chicken broth recipe I’ve learned along the way.

WHAT:

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (if you don’t want light spice, just omit)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • About 2 cups of pumpkin, pureed (I usually roast 1 small pumpkin and that seems to do the trick.

HOW:

  • Peel 1 small pumpkin and chop into small chunks.
  • Put pumpkin into baking tray, add a very thin layer of water and roast at 180 C until soft, about 30 minutes.
  • While pumpkin is cooking, heat the coconut oil in a deep pan or pot.
  • Add the onions and garlic and stir-fry until soft.
  • Add vegetable broth, curry powder, salt, coriander, and red pepper flakes.  Bring to a gentle boil.
  • Cover and continue to boil for another 20 minutes.
  • Add in the coconut milk and pumpkin, cook for another 5-10 minutes.
  • Puree all ingredients either with a hand blender or normal blender.  I just dump mine into the Vitamix and blend away.  So smooth and creamy.  Also, you may want to let it cool, depending on your blender capabilities.

STORAGE:

  • Freeze in ice cube trays.
  • Once frozen, pop them out into ziplock baggies.

IMG_0325

IMG_0324

IMG_0326

LOCAL + SEASONAL + ORGANIC: 10 Reasons Why It’s Important

  1. 271152_10151449832953277_1619459724_nSeasonal foods are in harmony with nature and help us to adapt to the changes in climate.  Right now where I live, sweet potatoes are in abundance and are deeply nourishing and warming to the body as the cold, damp weather arrives.  In contrast, during the summer season, the wet, juicy foods will appear, like grapes and berries, which help to keep the body cool.  Why mess with nature’s perfect plan?
  2. Local food is CHEAPER!  Who doesn’t like to save the big Benjamins?  (That’s a $100 US bill for all you foreigners.)  I can go to  my local, organic farmers market and walk away with 2 grocery bags full of produce for a fraction of the cost I’d pay buying imported organic food from the local grocery chain.
  3. Local food is fresher and picked at it’s ripest state.  The fresher the food, the better.  Beneficial substances called phytonutrients develop in foods as they ripen.  But often times, when produce is being shipped long distances, it has to be picked before it’s achieved this optimal ripeness, creating nutrient deficiencies in these foods.
  4. Organic food is SAFE to eat.  Pesticides used on conventional produce is designed to be toxic in order to kill insects, fungus, weeds, molds and anything else deemed a “pest”.  So what makes you think it’s okay for you to eat it?  Did you know that millions of birds are killed every year because of these toxic substances?  And that of the 75,000 synthetic substances available today, a large amount of them have not been properly tested to determine their safety?  It’s easy to forget these things when we can’t taste or see these pesticides, but it matters, plain and simple.
  5. Organic food is grown in good soil, which we all need so desperately.   Did you know that the human body needs over 60 different vitamins and minerals?  These nutrients come from the foods we eat, which ultimately comes from the soil it’s grown in.  Lush, hearty, nourishing soil is SO important on many levels, for us and for our planet.  Here in HK, food can only be certified organic if it’s been grown organically for 7 consecutive years.  This means the soil is being replenished and restored through the organic methods of farming, passing all of this good matter onto the food we’re eating.  Hooray for fabulous soil!
  6. Eating seasonally ensures your body is getting a variety of nutrients.  People who eat the same food all of the time are only supplying their body with those specific nutrients over and over again.  But if we eat with the seasons, our diets are continuously changing, giving our body the chance to obtain more of what it needs.
  7. Buying local, organic food supports the right people and companies.  If we buy from local farmers who are farming the “right” way, we’re helping to create demand for these nourishing, clean, whole products, and supporting the people who are doing something good and positive for this world.  And maybe one day, those big business agricultural companies like Monsanto, who are into genetically modifying our food and trying to monopolize global seed distribution (my opinion anyways) will be put out of business and remain only a very distant memory.
  8. Eating local + seasonal + organic food makes your body and mind feel GOOD.  Our optimal physical and mental potential can only be reached by including healthy, whole, loved-up food in our diets and health plans.  How can this amazing creation of a human mind and body be sustained, maintained and supported to thrive by living off of foods with toxic pesticides that have been genetically engineered in a laboratory?  It just doesn’t make any sense to me!  And I really hope it doesn’t make any sense to you!
  9. Eating with wisdom and awareness can help fight the war on disease and be the best preventative care around.  I believe food is the best medicine.  “Pay the organic farmer now or pay the doctor later”.  As we watch the world evolve into a genetically-modifying, pesticide-using kind of place, we also see disease, obesity and mental disturbances soar.  Why does everyone know someone fighting cancer?  Why is obesity commonplace and normal?  Why are random acts of violence on the news more and more these days?  Pure, healthy food can help us conquer diseases of the body and mind WITHOUT.ANY.DOUBT.
  10. Eating locally, seasonally and organically gives us back some control over our health, empowers us with an acute awareness of what’s going into our bodies and reminds us that we are rightfully responsible to take care of this beautiful temple God has given us.

*** For more information regarding the effects of genetically modified food, please click here.

*** To know more about Hong Kong’s food system, please click here.

*** For a list of local Hong Kong organic farmer’s markets, please click here.  In addition to these, there is one in Sai Kung at the Lion’s Nature Reserve on Sunday’s from 9.30-11.30.

Homemade Veggie Broth

12 quart pot

12 quart pot

A good thing to remember before making this broth is that it can serve as a great base for other winter dishes, like pumpkin soup for example (which I currently have simmering away on my stove), so it’s good to make a big batch and freeze what you don’t initially need so you have some on hand when you need it.

And here in HK where there’s no indoor heating, a great big cup of plain broth is great for my cold American bones, so I like having some stored away for easy heat-up.

The following recipe was an assignment I did recently at the school I attend, Hawthorn University, and I wanted to share it with you because it is so divine!  You really can taste and feel the “life” in it.

A couple things to know:

  • Magic Mineral Broth can be frozen up to 6 months in a variety of airtight container sizes for every use.
  • Makes 6-7 quarts.
  • You can use the veggies once you’re done boiling them if you want.  I have yet to try anything with mine, but just google away for some ideas if you’re keen.

MAGIC MINERAL BROTH by Rebecca Katz

“This broth alone can keep people going, especially when they don’t particularly want to eat. It’s not just a regular vegetable stock. This pot of yum is high in potassium and numerous trace minerals that are often depleted by cancer therapy. Sipping this nutrient‐rich stock is like giving your body an internal spa treatment. Drink it like a tea, or use it as a base for all your favorite soups and rice dishes. Don’t be daunted by the ingredient list. Simply chop the ingredients in chunks and throw them in the pot, roots, skins, and all.” – Rebecca Katz

6 unpeeled carrots, cut into thirds
2 unpeeled medium yellow onions, cut into chunks
1 leek, both white and green parts, cut into thirds
1 bunch celery, including the heart, cut into thirds
5 unpeeled cloves garlic, halved
1/2 bunch fresh flat‐leaf parsley
4 medium red potatoes with skins on, quartered
2 Japanese or regular sweet potatoes with skins on, quartered 1 Garnet yam with skin on, quartered
18‐inch strip of kombu
2 bay leaves
12 black peppercorns
4 whole allspice or juniper berries
1 tablespoon sea salt

Rinse all the vegetables well, including the kombu. In a 12‐quart or larger stockpot, combine all the ingredients accept the salt. Fill the pot to 2 inches below the rim with water, cover, and bring to a boil.

Remove the lid, decrease the heat to low, and simmer a minimum of 2 hours. As the stock simmers some of the water will evaporate; add more if the vegetables begin to peek out. Simmer until the full richness of the vegetables can be tasted. Add the salt and stir.

Strain the stock using a large coarse‐mesh strainer (remember to use a heat‐resistant container underneath). Bring to room temperature before refrigerating or freezing.

A little bit about Rebecca Katz:

A nationally-recognized expert on the role of food in supporting health during cancer treatment, Rebecca has a Masters of Science degree in Health and Nutrition Education, and received her culinary training from New York’s Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts. As a consultant, speaker, teacher and chef, Rebecca works closely with patients, physicians, nurses, and wellness professionals to include the powerful tool of nutrition in their medical arsenal.

Rebecca is the Executive Chef for The Center for Mind-Body Medicine’s Food As Medicine and CancerGuides® Professional Training Programs, which attracts the country’s top cancer wellness physicians, nurses, social workers, and researchers. She is also visiting chef and nutrition educator at Commonweal’s Cancer Help Program in Bolinas, California, which offers intensive self-care programs for cancer patients and their caregivers.

Bone Broth Recipes for the Season

It’s definitely that time of year when drinking a cup of good bone broth really hits the spot and makes you feel all warm and good inside.  I’ve only discovered and started making my own broths this past year, but I know it will be something I’ll continue to do for the rest of my life.  Aside from being extremely nourishing and very healing to the digestive tract, it’s also such a great way to utilize every part of the animal.

In honor of this time of season, I wanted to share a great article entitled Broth is Beautiful by Sally Fallon.  She gives great information regarding these broths as well as a few recipes.  Please see below.

And I’ll share my process as well.  Here at our home, we eat lots of roast chickens, so our broths are usually chicken based.

  • Collect drippings from chicken after roasting and refrigerate.
  • Once drippings have cooled and solidified, skim off the fat and keep this refrigerated to cook with later.  I like to use it in veggie bakes.
  • Remove all meat from the carcass.
  • Put drippings, carcass, sea salt and Tbsp of vinegar (helps to draw out the good stuff from the bones) into large pot or slow-cooker.
  • Cover the carcass with filtered water.
  • In large pot on stovetop: cover and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, turn down to low heat for a simmer.  Simmer for several hours if possible.  I usually do at least do 3-4 hours, but others recommend 6-8.
  • In slow cooker:  Cover and put on low for up to 12 hours or longer!
  • Skim off any impurities that may float to the top.
  • Remove bones, add more sea salt to taste if desired, and serve.
  • We also like to add cabbage, serve in a big mug and eat with chopsticks!  How fun!

*********************************************************************************

BROTH IS BEAUTIFUL by Sally Fallon

“Good broth will resurrect the dead,” says a South American proverb. Said Escoffier: “Indeed, stock is everything in cooking. Without it, nothing can be done.”A cure-all in traditional households and the magic ingredient in classic gourmet cuisine, stock or broth made from bones of chicken, fish and beef builds strong bones, assuages sore throats, nurtures the sick, puts vigor in the step and sparkle in love life–so say grandmothers, midwives and healers. For chefs, stock is the magic elixir for making soul-warming soups and matchless sauces.Meat and fish stocks play a role in all traditional cuisines—French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, African, South American, Middle Eastern and Russian. In America, stock went into gravy and soups and stews. That was when most animals were slaughtered locally and nothing went to waste. Bones, hooves, knuckles, carcasses and tough meat went into the stock pot and filled the house with the aroma of love. Today we buy individual filets and boneless chicken breasts, or grab fast food on the run, and stock has disappeared from the American tradition.

Grandmother Knew Best

Science validates what our grandmothers knew. Rich homemade chicken broths help cure colds. Stock contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily—not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons–stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain.

Fish stock, according to traditional lore, helps boys grow up into strong men, makes childbirth easy and cures fatigue. “Fish broth will cure anything,” is another South American proverb. Broth and soup made with fishheads and carcasses provide iodine and thyroid-strengthening substances.

When broth is cooled, it congeals due to the presence of gelatin. The use of gelatin as a therapeutic agent goes back to the ancient Chinese. Gelatin was probably the first functional food, dating from the invention of the “digestor” by the Frenchman Papin in 1682. Papin’s digestor consisted of an apparatus for cooking bones or meat with steam to extract the gelatin. Just as vitamins occupy the center of the stage in nutritional investigations today, so two hundred years ago gelatin held a position in the forefront of food research. Gelatin was universally acclaimed as a most nutritious foodstuff particularly by the French, who were seeking ways to feed their armies and vast numbers of homeless in Paris and other cities. Although gelatin is not a complete protein, containing only the amino acids arginine and glycine in large amounts, it acts as a protein sparer, helping the poor stretch a few morsels of meat into a complete meal. During the siege of Paris, when vegetables and meat were scarce, a doctor named Guerard put his patients on gelatin bouillon with some added fat and they survived in good health.

The French were the leaders in gelatin research, which continued up to the 1950s. Gelatin was found to be useful in the treatment of a long list of diseases including peptic ulcers, tuberculosis, diabetes, muscle diseases, infectious diseases, jaundice and cancer. Babies had fewer digestive problems when gelatin was added to their milk. The American researcher Francis Pottenger pointed out that as gelatin is a hydrophilic colloid, which means that it attracts and holds liquids, it facilitates digestion by attracting digestive juices to food in the gut. Even the epicures recognized that broth-based soup did more than please the taste buds. “Soup is a healthy, light, nourishing food” said Brillant-Savarin, “good for all of humanity; it pleases the stomach, stimulates the appetite and prepares the digestion.”

Continue reading