Take a moment to count all of your blessings and be grateful this holiday! Sending my hugs and love!
1 Pie Pumpkin (Raw)
2-3 Lbs Pitted Dates
3 Ripe Persimmons (Very soft to touch)
Half Cup Raw Carob
1 Tbs Cinnamon
1 Cup Pecans (Use extra dates if you want it to be fat free)
1 Cup Dried Black Figs
1 Tbs. Pumpkin Spices (Nutmeg, Clove, Etc.)
1 Tiny Pinky of Ginger
1 Small Vanilla Bean
Directions for Layer One:
In a food processor, combine 3/4 cup of pitted dates with the cup of pecans. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Process until it reaches a cookie-dough consistency. Press the mixture into the bottom of your brownie pie dish, and get ready for layer two!
Directions for Layer Two Fudge Brownie Chocolate Sauce:
In a high speed blender like a Vitamix, blend 3/4 cup pitted dates with your dried figs and carob powder. Be sure to de-stem the figs. You may need to add a cup of water to help it blend. You can also add cinnamon. When you get your fudge brownie “chocolate sauce,” spread it on top of layer one. Layer two is complete!
Directions for the Pumpkin Pie Layer Three:
Blend your pie pumpkin, the remaining pitted dates, spices, and persimmons until you get a creamy filling! Spread this mix on top for layer three!
Place your brownie pan into the freezer to set for 1-2 hours. When it’s ready, take it out, slice, share, and enjoy!
John from http://www.growingyourgreens.com/ shows you how to make a fresh picked garden salad. First, you will discover the different types of leafy green vegetables he will be picking for his salad. Second, you will learn the best leaves to harvest for a salad. Finally, John will share with you one of his salad dressings that has been a hit with others when he has given food demonstrations in the past. After watching this episode, you will learn yet another delicious and nutritious way to use the leafy greens in your garden to build the health of you and your family.
Jason Wrobel, aka J-Wro, vegan celebrity chef, TV host and raw food alchemist, puts his wizarding skills to work transforming watermelon and pomegranate into a tongue tantalizing salad just perfect for Fall. Fresh mint, lime, salt and Liquid Vitamin Mineral Rush give it more tang and bring out the flavors of these superfoods. Simple, but delicious and rich in nourishing minerals and antioxidants.
If you’re in the mood for a chewy snack that doubles as a phenomenal health food, look no further than pumpkin seeds.
With a wide variety of nutrients ranging from magnesium and manganese to copper, protein and zinc, pumpkin seeds are nutritional powerhouses wrapped up in a very small package. They also contain plant compounds known as phytosterols and free-radical scavenging antioxidants,1 which can give your health an added boost.
Best of all, because pumpkin seeds are highly portable and require no refrigeration, they make an excellent snack to keep with you whenever you’re on the go, or they can be used as a quick anytime snack at home, too.
9 Top Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
1. Heart Healthy Magnesium
One-quarter cup of pumpkin seeds contains nearly half of the recommended daily amount of magnesium, which participates in a wide range of vitally important physiological functions, including the creation of ATP (adenosine triphosphate, the energy molecules of your body), the synthesis of RNA and DNA, the pumping of your heart, proper bone and tooth formation, relaxation of your blood vessels, and proper bowel function.
Magnesium has been shown to benefit your blood pressure and help prevent sudden cardiac arrest, heart attack, and stroke, yet an estimated 80 percent of Americans are deficient in this important mineral.
2. Zinc for Immune Support
Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of zinc (one ounce contains more than 2 mg of this beneficial mineral). Zinc is important to your body in many ways, including immunity, cell growth and division, sleep, mood, your senses of taste and smell, eye and skin health, insulin regulation, and male sexual function.
Many are deficient in zinc due to mineral-depleted soils, drug effects, plant-based diets, and other diets high in grain. This deficiency is associated with increased colds and flu, chronic fatigue, depression, acne, low birth weight babies, learning problems and poor school performance in children, among others.
3. Plant-Based Omega-3 Fats
Raw nuts and seeds, including pumpkin seeds, are one of the best sources of plant-based omega-3s (alpha-linolenic acid or ALA). We all need ALA, however, ALA has to be converted by your body into the far more essential omega-3 fats EPA and DHA — by an enzyme in which the vast majority of us have impaired by high insulin levels. So, while pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of ALA, I believe it is essential to get some of your omega-3 fats from animal sources, such as krill oil, as well.
4. Prostate Health
Pumpkin seeds have long been valued as an important natural food for men’s health. This is in part because of their high zinc content, which is important for prostate health (where it is found in the highest concentrations in the body), and also because pumpkin seed extracts and oils may play a role in treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH, or enlarged prostate). Research suggests that both pumpkin seed oil and pumpkin seeds2 may be particularly beneficial in supporting prostate health.
5. Anti-Diabetic Effects
Animal studies suggest that pumpkin seeds may help improve insulin regulation and help prevent diabetic complications by decreasing oxidative stress.4
6. Benefits for Postmenopausal Women
Pumpkin seed oil is rich in natural phytoestrogens and studies suggest it may lead to a significant increase in good “HDL” cholesterol along with decreases in blood pressure, hot flashes, headaches, joint pains and other menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women.5
7. Heart and Liver Health
Pumpkin seeds, rich in healthy fats, antioxidants and fibers, may provide benefits for heart and liver health, particularly when mixed with flax seeds.6
8. Tryptophan for Restful Sleep
Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of tryptophan, an amino acid (protein building block) that your body converts into serotonin, which in turn is converted into melatonin, the “sleep hormone.” Eating pumpkin seeds a few hours before bed, along with a carbohydrate like a small piece of fruit, may be especially beneficial for providing your body the tryptophan needed for your melatonin and serotonin production to help promote a restful night’s sleep.7
9. Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
Pumpkin seed oil has been found to exhibit anti-inflammatory effects. One animal study even found it worked as well as the anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin in treating arthritis, but without the side effects.8
What’s the Best Way to Consume Pumpkin Seeds?
In order to preserve the healthy fats present in the seeds, pumpkin seeds should be eaten raw. If you choose to purchase seeds from a bulk bin, make sure they smell fresh – not musty, spoiled or stale, which could indicate rancidity or the presence of fungal mycotoxins. Organic pumpkin seeds are preferred, as they will not be contaminated with pesticides or other harmful chemicals.
However, most nuts and seeds have anti-nutrients like phytic acid that can make all the previously discussed important nutrients less bioavailable when you consume them. So if you plan on consuming seeds or nuts on a regular basis, it would be wise to soak or sprout them. To make them more palatable, you can then dehydrate them in your oven, or better yet and more cost effectively in a dehydrator. There are many dehydrators on the market, but Excalibur is generally considered the best. I have used one for over 20 years. They are readily available on Amazon.
If you prefer to eat the seeds roasted, do so yourself so you can control the roasting temperature and time. Raw pumpkin seeds can be roasted on a low heat setting in your oven (no more than 170 degrees F or 75 degrees Celsius), sprinkled with Himalayan or other natural salt, for about 15-20 minutes.
Sleep is an integral part of being human, and it’s as essential to life as water, air and food. It’s during sleep that your body recharges, regenerates and heals, that memories are consolidated and emotional events are processed.
Without sleep, your mood, behavior and risk of acute and chronic diseases are rapidly altered. Yet, research shows, too much sleep isn’t good either.
There is, it appears, a ‘Goldilocks zone’ when it comes to sleep – a number that’s neither too much nor too little, but rather is just right, promoting optimal health with virtually no conscious effort on your part.
Too Much Sleep May Be Bad for Your Brain
We hear a lot about lack of sleep in the US, yet there are some Americans who may be sleeping more than they should. In one recent study, researchers revealed that people in their 60s and 70s who sleep nine hours or more each night have a more rapid decline in their cognitive function than those who sleep between six and eight hours.1
Surprisingly, the so-called long sleepers (nine hours or more) comprised a large portion (40 percent) of the 2,700 study participants. Another 49 percent were considered normal sleepers (six to eight hours) while 11 percent slept just five hours or less.
While scores of cognitive function declined in all three groups over the three-year study, the long sleepers had nearly double the amount of cognitive decline as the normal sleepers. This decline is often seen in mild cognitive impairment, a risk factor for dementia.
Separate research has also shown that sleeping more than nine hours a night may increase your risk of obesity, heart disease, heart attack and stroke.2
Adding Just One Hour of Sleep May Be Highly Beneficial
On the other hand, if you’re not sleeping enough, adding even one hour a night may drastically boost your health. Such was the finding of a yet another study, which set out to determine the health effects of sleeping 6.5 hours versus 7.5 hours a night.
During the study, groups of volunteers slept either 6.5 hours or 7.5 hours a night for one week. They then swapped sleeping durations for another week, yielding quite significant results.
For starters, the mental agility tasks became much more difficult for the participants when they got less sleep. Furthermore, the researchers noted that about 500 genes were impacted.
When the participants cut their sleep from 7.5 to 6.5 hours, there were increases in activity in genes associated with inflammation, immune excitability, diabetes, cancer risk and stress.3
From the results of this study, it appears as though sleeping for an extra hour, if you’re getting less than seven hours of sleep a night, may be a simple way to boost your health.
Taken with the prior study, it also hints that there might be a magic number, or at least a magic zone, of sleep duration that’s generally best. In fact, another new study also revealed that sleeping too much (10 hours or more) or too little (6 hours or less) is linked to increases in chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity and anxiety.4
Are Your Kids Misbehaving? Check Their Bedtime
The importance of regular, predictable sleep patterns for children cannot be overstated. Regular bedtimes establish sleep-wake patterns that are crucial for your child’s health, behavior and learning. When this rhythm is interrupted, such as by altering your child’s bedtime each night, they experience the adult equivalent of jet lag on a daily basis.
In one study of more than 10,000 kids (followed when they were 3, 5 and then 7 years old), those with irregular bedtimes had more problems with learning and behavior, including:5
“We know that early child development has profound influences on health and well being across the life course. It follows that disruptions to sleep, especially if they occur at key times in development, could have important lifelong impacts on health.”
The good news is that the effects seem to be reversible, as kids’ behavior scores improved when they adopted regular bedtimes. Of course, it’s not only kids who benefit from a regular bedtime. Adults, too, do best when they go to sleep, and wake up, at the same times each day.
Over the years, I’ve come to a conclusion that there is no perfect answer to this question because like everything else, the answer depends on a large number of highly individual factors. The general consensus seems to be that most adults need somewhere between six and eight hours of sleep each night, while children need considerably more.
When I interviewed Dr. Rubin Naiman — a clinical psychologist, author, teacher, and the leader in integrative medicine approaches to sleep and dreams – he agreed; people want a number, but this ‘number’ must be as individual as the person asking for it.
“I think asking ‘how many of hours of sleep should I get?’ is like asking, ‘Doctor, how many calories should I eat?’” he says. ”Of course the answer to that depends on who that person is. It’s so individual. It also depends on the quality of those calories. Again, a lot of people are knocking themselves out night after night after night with sleeping pills. They may be getting seven to eight hours, but is it sleep? It looks like sleep. It might feel like sleep, but you know what, it’s not really sleep. That’s part of the question too—the quality of it.”
Dr. Naiman’s recommendation is to simply sleep “enough hours so that your energy is sustained through the day without artificial stimulation, with the exception of a daytime nap.” I agree with this functional description rather than trying to come up with a specific numeric range. I would add to that guideline, however, the suggestion to watch out for physical or biological symptoms.
For example, when I push myself and don’t get high-quality sleep or enough sleep, I’m predisposed to postprandial hypoglycemia. In other words, I am quite sensitive to insulin so when I sleep poorly, it doesn’t take much sugar or carbs for it to be easily metabolized and drop my blood sugar—which also makes me really sleepy.
When I get enough sleep, I’m far less susceptible to it.
It’s Restful Sleep You’re After
Rather than getting too caught up in a number, focus on getting restful sleep. You can have the healthiest diet on the planet, doing vegetable juicing and using fermented veggies, be as fit as an Olympic athlete, be emotionally balanced, but if you aren’t sleeping well it is just a matter of time before it will adversely, potentially seriously affect your health.
And we’re not only talking about lack of sleep but also disrupted sleep, such as waking frequently. According to a report by The Sleep Council,7 nearly half of those polled responded that stress and worry keep them tossing and turning at night, and nearly 7 million Americans resort to sleeping pills in order to get some rest. While it may be tempting to look for a pill to quickly help you sleep, they will not address any of the underlying causes of insomnia, nor give you truly restful, restorative sleep.
Sure, we all lose sleep here and there, and your body can adjust for temporary shortcomings, but if you develop a chronic pattern of sleeping less than five or six hours a night, then you’re increasing your risk of a number of health conditions, including insulin resistance and diabetes, weight gain, heart disease and cancer.
To make your bedroom into a suitable sleep sanctuary, begin by making sure it’s pitch-black, cool, and quiet. Remember, even the tiniest bit of light can disrupt your pineal gland’s production of cancer-preventive melatonin and serotonin. For this reason, I highly recommend adding room-darkening blinds or drapes to your bedroom, or if this is not possible, wearing an eye mask to block out any stray light.
The tips discussed so far are among the most important for a restful night’s sleep, but they are only the beginning. For more, please read my comprehensive sleep guide: 33 Secrets to a Good Night’s Sleep.
Dr. Wayne Pickering is a naturopathic physician on the East Coast of Florida, and was a good friend of fitness legend Jack LaLanne. He gave a beautiful eulogy at Jack’s funeral. At the age of 67, he swims several miles a week in addition to extensive biking and a wide variety of calisthenics, pushups and pull ups.
He has quite an impressive exercise regimen and is a personal inspiration to me as I hope to be in as good a shape as he as that age. He also has one of the most positive attitudes of anyone I know.
He eats plenty of fruit and caused me to seriously reevaluate my position on consuming fruits and I have gradually been increasing my intake of them, especially mangoes, which is his pseudonym (Mango Man). He even has a variety of mangoes named after him. I actually have two of the Pickering mangoes growing in my yard.
But one of the things he’s known for in the nutrition world is food combining—and he is truly like a walking billboard for his program. The man looks about 20-30 years younger than his calendar age.
“Age is not a matter of years; it’s a matter of condition. You can keep your health up until you die because you have 75 to 90 trillion cells in your body that work symbiotically on your behalf striving towards health. You cut yourself? It’s going to heal without a thought. It just does,” he says.
Improper food combining is one of the primary factors that cause gas, flatulence, heartburn, and upset stomach. What’s worse, poor digestion can also contribute to malnutrition, even if you think you’re eating a decent diet.
In his youth, Dr. Pickering was no different from most Americans today—severely overweight, out of shape, and eating the wrong foods. He recalls the key moment that turned his life around:
“I was in Illinois when I came back from Vietnam. I stayed up there for a year in Rockford. A little lady found me one day in a distraught situation. She owned a health food store. I went in there, and I bought a bottle of vitamins and a little book, How to Be Healthy with Natural Foods, by Edward E. Marsh.”
He also found a postcard-sized food combining chart. He’d had frequent stomach pains for years, and was absolutely shocked when 24-hours after putting the information into practice, he didn’t suffer with indigestion anymore.
Since then, Dr. Pickering has become an avid teacher of natural health, in which health and longevity is the naturaloutgrowth of proper nutrition—which also encompasses proper food combining, to optimize digestion.
Three Principles of Health
Many are under the mistaken belief that the human body is a frail instrument, prone to disease and pre-programmed to decay. Dr. Pickering wholeheartedly disagrees, and I second that motion. The truth is, your body is infinitely wise, with a natural inborn “instinct” toward health, and by following certain natural principles, you allow your body to do what it does best, which is to maintain an equilibrium of health. Dr. Pickering’s three basic principles of health are:
You are automatically healthy, by design, and sick only by default
You don’t catch disease; you “earn” it, as it stems from “crud in the blood from being drunk with junk,” as he says
You get well by what comes out of you, not by what goes into you
In essence, health is as much based on getting rid of toxins and other harmful substances as it is based on optimizing your nutrition. Part and parcel of this philosophy is that food is your number one ally. And while certain nutritional supplements can be beneficial, they will not allow you to circumvent a poor diet. They can only complement your diet; they cannot take the place of a meal.
“Nutrition doesn’t heal. It doesn’t cure. It doesn’t do anything,” Dr. Pickering says. “It’s a science though and it never changes... Here’s what nutrition is: it’s a series of four processes that your body employs to make food materials for the body to use.”
According to Dr. Pickering, one of the most important factors when it comes to healthful eating is to make sure you’re eating foods that are in season. Your constitution changes with the seasons of your local climate, and eating local foods when they’re in season is a natural way to harness that intrinsic relationship your body has with the Earth.
Seasonal foods will typically be at their cheapest when they’re in season, and will be readily available in most stores and farmers markets. Dr. Pickering’s food combining guide1 can also help you determine which foods are in season, in addition to how to combine them for optimal health.
Next, Dr. Pickering advises eating foods that are indigenous to your area. Eskimos, for example, are not going to reap the same nutritional rewards from watermelon as someone living in the American South where watermelons grow naturally. The climate itself makes nutritional demands on your body.
Third, you also want to select foods according to the type and amount of physical activity you’re involved in (an office worker, for example, will not benefit from the diet of a triathlete), and lastly, you want to choose foods according to your body’s digestive chemistry. As a side note, albeit an important one, Dr. Pickering also points out the importance of your thoughts.
“Your thoughts, you see, help to govern chemistry,” he explains. “When you sit down to eat, it’s crucial to not talk about problems at the dinner table; talk about joyous things just because it gives you a chance to get together [with each other].”
Recent research has even confirmed that if you want to make your food taste better, and more thoroughly enjoy the experience of a meal, perform a ritual first. One of the most rewarding rituals you can do before a meal is to stop and give thanks for your food.
Not only might this make your food taste better, but also people who are thankful for what they have are better able to cope with stress, have more positive emotions, and are better able to reach their goals. People who give thanks before they eat also tend to eat more slowly and savor the meal more so than those who do not, lending a natural transition to mindful eating, which has a direct and beneficial impact on digestion.
Why Food Combining Matters
Wayne is probably best known for promoting the importance of food combining. If the food you eat is not digesting properly, not only can painful gas, heart burn, acid reflux and other stomach problems arise, but your body will also be deprived of critical nutrients.
The short definition of digestion is: you put food or liquid into your mouth, swallow it, and then your body breaks these molecules down into a size it can absorb. What your body doesn’t use is excreted as waste. These are the four processes listed above—digestion, absorption, assimilation and elimination. But food is actually broken down in a number of different areas, including in your mouth, stomach, and the first and middle sections of your small intestine, called the duodenum and jejunum respectively. Furthermore, you have two kinds of digestion:
Mechanical (chewing and churning) digestion
Food combination takes into account the area and complexity of digestion of each food, to ensure it goes through your entire digestive system with ease. Dr. Pickering explains:
“There’s only one food that chemically breaks down in the stomach and that’s protein. Proteins require pepsin, a very highly acidic [enzyme] in conjunction with hydrochloric acid. But the hydrochloric acid doesn’t have the ability to break the food down. It just sets the medium for the concentration of the amount of pepsin that’s poured into the stomach to digest whatever food that’s in there. The intelligence of this human body is phenomenal.”
There are three primary categories of food: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Proteins, again, begin their digestion chemically in your stomach. Carbohydrates are divided into two categories: fruits and starches. While fruits pass through your digestive system with relative ease, starches require three levels of breakdown; the very first stage is in your mouth. That’s why it’s crucial to carefully chew starchy foods.
According to the rules of food combination, you do not want to mix proteins and starches in the same meal. This means, no bun with your hamburger, no meatballs if you have pasta, no potatoes with your meat… Why is that? Dr. Pickering explains:
“Starches require an alkaline digestive medium to digest. If you put your fist in your stomach while it’s digesting steaks and all that, chances are, you wouldn’t have a hand anymore. The acid is intense… When you mix them both together – an acid-type of food and an alkaline – basic chemistry shows that they don’t digest. They neutralize. Then what happens? If the food is not digesting… it’s going through your body [undigested], throwing it into all kinds of turmoil.”
The Three Commandments of Food Combination
Dr. Pickering lays out three basic commandments of eating that he recommends you not deviate from:
No proteins and starches at the same meal, as they neutralize each other and prevent proper digestion of either food. To ensure proper digestion of each food, wait two hours after eating a starch before eating protein. And wait three hours after eating protein before eating a starch.
No fruits and vegetables at the same meal. Fruits are either a single or double sugar, whereas the starches are a triple sugar. Fruits mechanically break down in your stomach, but chemically, they don’t break down until they reach the third and fourth stage of your digestive system, which are in your small intestine. Starches, again, are broken down in three different stages, starting in your mouth.
According to Dr. Pickering, this is also why it’s crucial to not eat dessert after a meal. When you do, it gets trapped in your stomach with all that other food, where it starts to rot as it’s not being chemically digested there. Therefore, eat fruit 30-60 minutes before dinner. The same applies if you want to eat another piece of fruit. Acidic fruits, such as lemons for example, also do not combine well with starches. Lemon and banana is but one example of a combination that is sure to lead to gastrointestinal upset…
Many people consider tomatoes a fruit, yet it’s commonly added to salad. Dr. Pickering classifies tomatoes as a “fruit-vegetable,” because even though they don’t have the sugar like most fruits, they’re still an acidic fruit-vegetable. As such they’re okay to combine with other vegetables. He suggests the following recipe for an excellent salad:
“Any kind of vegetable that has seed in it; for example summer squash, zucchini, eggplant, cucumbers, bell peppers, and okra—those are all fruit-vegetables. Your tomatoes go well with those. And since lettuce and celery have a neutral effect, as far as the breakdown of food, the celery and the lettuce combine very well with all of that. You can also add avocados.”
“Eat melon alone, or leave it alone, or your stomach will moan.” In short, melons do not digest well with other foods and will frequently cause problems unless consumed by itself.
The When and What of Eating
According to Dr. Pickering, the amount and sequencing of the foods you eat can also make a difference. He recommends the following eating schedule:
Morning meal: The least concentrated foods, in the greatest amount. Ideal food choice: fruits
Middle of the day: More complex foods, but in a smaller amount than your first meal. Ideal food choice: starchy carbs
Evening: The most concentrated foods, but in the least abundant amount. Ideal food choice: protein
Your body is, by design, programmed for health, and disease is just as much a matter of eliminating toxins as it is about eating proper foods. Elimination, however, is dependent on a healthy digestive system, and by combining foods in a certain way, you can help your body digest all the foods you eat with ease.
You can further promote healthy digestion by paying attention to the amount and distribution of protein and carbohydrates in each meal. Again, the greatest amounts of the least dense foods, i.e. fruits, are best eaten early in the day. Then, for lunch, eat a smaller amount of denser, more complex carbs, followed by a small amount of protein—the densest meal—in the evening. For more information about the digestive process and food combination, check out the following two web sites:
CombineWhenYouDine.com has a 20″ x 24″ custom-laminated full-color guide for Healthy Eating that classifies fruits, vegetables and proteins to show the most compatible combinations for proper digestion.
MangoManDiet.com offers a 27-day long course on food combining, as well as 400 recipes, nearly 140 articles, and several hours-worth of audio programs on nutrition.
The Future depends on what we do in the Present – Gandhi
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