Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Young Coconuts

I am sooo excited! Good Earth had some young coconuts! I honestly bought five of the seven that were there.... I couldn't help myself! One of my favorite foods that I discovered back when I was 100% raw a few years ago, are young coconuts. They look different from fully matured coconuts that are hard, round, and brown. These very young coconuts have a semi-gelatinous white part, and coconut water in the middle. Also, another common name for a young coconut is Thai coconut. Some people refer to them as Thai coconuts, and others (such as Good Earth) call them young coconuts. Really, whatever floats your boat go for it!

Young coconuts are highly nutritious. The water in young coconuts is reported to be almost the exact structural make-up of plasma, and can be used intravenously in emergency situations. (Although, I can't really think of any scenarios where using it intravenously that would be necessary...) Because coconut water is collected in the center of the the young coconut, it is basically an all natural purifier that creates just about the purest water in the world. Also, there may be benefits for the heart, liver, and kidneys. For a gigantic list of good benefits about young coconuts that will amaze and astound you click here.

But there's sort of a catch with this particular food... how in the world do you get into the center of it???

There are several different ways. In the beginning, I would simply take my dad's screwdriver and hammer and pound my way into it on the kitchen counter. My mom shortly thereafter made me open my young coconuts in the garage... But being older and significantly wiser (wink-wink) I have discovered an extremely easier (but not nearly as exciting) way of opening young coconuts.

You start with the naked coconut.

Then you start shaving around the pointed top part of the coconut. I just use a butcher knife, but some people swear by cleavers. It's not very tough at all, and took me maybe at the most 30 seconds to peel off the top.

Once you have it all shaved around the top, you take the L-shaped heel of the knife to attack it like so. Be very careful on this part... some professionals (such as Natalia Rose, author of The Raw Food Detox Diet) advise attacking the young coconut with the non-knife hand behind your back to prevent injuries. After a couple of whacks you will start to see the coconut water begin to well out around the puncture.

You then wiggle the knife up and down, gradually wedging the knife further and further into your young coconut.

When it gets to about this point, with the knife firmly underneath about half of the young coconut, you are ready to pop off the top. I do this by making one final upward lifting motion with the knife. This will pop off the top of the coconut.

Ta-Da!!! You are now a young coconut opening champion! Then you simply pour the coconut water into a wide-mouthed container of some kind (I usually use a mason jar, and pour it out over the sink in case I miss!) and dig out the white flesh with a spoon or ice-cream scoop.

There are some fabulous raw soups, tacos, smoothies, desserts, and more that you can make with both the young coconut water and flesh.

This is one very easy recipe for a coconut smoothie:

Refreshing Coconut Smoothie

Meat from one young coconut
1-2 cups of coconut water

Directions: Place water and meat into blender and blend until smooth. If consistency is too thick for your taste, add more coconut water.

Pretty simple, right? If you are not a huge fan of coconut, you can always add mangoes, berries, bananas, pineapple, and other fruit of your liking, and you will still get all of the nutrition that the young coconut has to offer.

Tonight I am going to make some raw "Tacos" that incorporate both the young coconut water and the young coconut meat. I'm pretty excited about it, and I'll for sure take pictures so you can see results of my "Experiment Night" meal.

In Good Health,

Lindsey Kae

Saturday, May 1, 2010

So for the last little while I have been making green juice. And what, you might ask, is green juice? Green juice, my friends, is basically green veggies and fruits that have been passed through a juicer to gather all of the vital nutrients, into liquid form. I've only been drinking green juice for a little while, but I have to say that my energy has never been so good! Here's what's been in my green juice lately:

Kale is awesome! Kale, contains sulforaphane which is a chemical that is believed to have powerful cancer fighting properties. Broccoli, brussels sprouts and other 'brassicas' (think cauliflower, cabbage, etc.) also have sulforaphane. There are other great benefits from consuming kale. It has thiamin, folate, iron, magnesium (which many people need more of) phosphorus, and it even has 2 grams of protein! Also, it's a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. Lately, I've been using the entire bunch. But really, you probably only need about 5 or so leaves. This particular kind is called lacinato kale, but there are others as well. Any organic kale will do!

I use organic lemons to give my green drink a lemonade sort of taste... And the other day I tried limes. Either one will sorta cover up the "green" taste that some people don't like very much. I peel them before I send them through the juicer.

While celery gets a bad reputation for being high in sodium, it actually contains naturally occurring sodium. This is different than just regular old table salt, and actually something that your body needs. There are a lot of people that are deficient in this naturally occurring sodium. It also contains TONS of potassium!
Cucumbers again are great sources of essential vitamins and minerals, and also may be beneficial in digestion and cleansing the bowels. There are only 8 calories in a half cup of chopped raw cucumber, and 0.9 grams of sugar. Less than one gram of sugar my friends! In general, non-fat yogurt has 14 grams sugar. I will stick with my raw cucumbers!

Last but not least, I added a granny smith apple! I cored the apple first (although the juicer can juice them whole) because there are small amounts of the cyanide in apple seeds. But if I don't have time to chop it, I will just drop the apple in there whole. People have been eating apples forever, and I don't think anyone has dropped dead of cyanide poisoning from apple seeds. Apples are a good source of vitamin C, and they help to ease the "green" taste that the green juice contains!

I then push all of the produce through the juicer:

Look at all the foam on top! The top of the juicing cup has a foam separator, but before I pour out my juice, I like to stir in some of the foam.

And enjoy!

Which I did!

So here's the full recipe:

  • 1 bunch of organic kale leaves (or 1/2 bunch of organic lettuce, and 5 or 6 leaves of kale)
  • 1 organic cucumber
  • 1 organic granny smith apple
  • 1 organic lemon, peeled
  • 1/2 a stalk of organic celery
Juice all of these, and then consume immediately. (The important enzymes and nutrients will start to oxidize as soon as the skin is broken, so the sooner the better.) This makes about 32 oz of green juice, and I have it for breakfast.

Try it, and you will notice an immediate difference in how your body feels. One of the key things that I have noticed is my energy has improved so much!

Case in point: I have a hard time running. I don't know that I like running all that much, and I don't know that running likes me all that much. But once a week, I go to the gym with my aunt Sara at 7:30am and we run on the treadmills. Sara is an exercise fanatic, and right now she is training to run the RAGNAR race in June. The RAGNAR is a 24 hour relay race, and you run at three different intervals, which are 3-8 miles long. So she sets her treadmill to 7.5, and she is running EASILY for the entire length of our run. Which is about 35 minutes, because that's how long it takes me to warm-up and run a measly three miles. The entire time I am running this is what is going through my mind:
  • I'm tired.
  • My legs are sore!
  • Gosh I have to pee!
  • I'm only doing one more mile.
  • Forget about one more mile, make that one more minute.
  • I'm still tired.
  • How can Sara DO THIS?
  • I can't feel my legs anymore.
  • Ah! I'm only half-way done! NOOOOO!
  • I wonder if I pretend to fall-off my treadmill, we could take a break?
  • I'm going to the bathroom and not coming out for the next 20 minutes.
And so on, and so forth. But every week, I mumble and groan through my 3 miles, and Sara is singing and skipping through her 3+ miles.

But not this week! I actually SPRINTED the last minute of my 3 miles. It was crazy how good I felt while I was running. It felt like I could run forever, and I have never really felt like that since I was 10 years old. I was completely amazed. I really do believe that all of my extra energy has come from drinking my fabulous green juice!

Another benefit I have noticed from drinking green juice is that my sugar cravings have definitely decreased. I have been around sugary types of foods this week, and instead of fighting myself not to eat them, I am just not interested in them. It is almost as if for the first time in my life I am listening to what my body needs, and acting accordingly. And for that, I am so happy to be incorporating green juice into my daily life.

In Good Health,

Lindsey Kae

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Food and Health Connection

Food is one of my favorite things on the planet. I love talking about food. I love learning about food. And I love eating food! Food is amazing. There are so many tastes, smells, colors, and textures. As a child, I would go over to my grandmother's house and help her in the kitchen as she baked biscuits, rolls, and oatmeal cakes during the holidays. I loved being in the kitchen with her and watching her fast hands at work. My grandmother has passed on now, but I still remember how much she enjoyed baking. I still love it too, and I love the memories I have of her, but as I am always pressed for time (my life tends to be busy) I don't bake as often as I used to. Except around the holidays. It just doesn't feel like Thanksgiving or Christmas without baking a delicious goodie from scratch...

Over the years, I have come to realize just how important food is to our health. This idea too came from the grandmother that loved to bake, but with her food was something that was... fearful. Or rather, she had a lot of fear about particular foods. She was always worried about her food, and she was concerned with how it would affect her body. Not so much in the sense that she was worried it would make her gain weight, but that she was fearful about sugars, synthetic additives, artificial flavors, and all the preservatives that are found in the typical American diet. In other words, she was fearful that her food would make her sick.

My mom had to grow-up with all of her mom's fear about food. My mother eats a very healthy diet, but it isn't out of fear that she chooses to eat healthy. She eats healthy because she feels better when she does. Plain and simple. She LOVES vegetables. I mean she really loves them! No meal is complete for her unless she has an assortment of at least 3 different vegetables on her plate. Her typical dinner consists of a salad (with tomatoes, avocados, green peppers, and cucumbers on top) her "vegetable medley" (steamed carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower) and a "squash symphony" (steamed yellow and green squashes). And don't even get me started on how much she loves potatoes...

So with an overly-fearful healthy grandmother, and mother that eats healthy because she likes to, I have grown-up on an array of healthy foods. I love vegetables and fruits, but I also have really strong sugar cravings. As in very strong sugar cravings. I've noticed, however, that if I am out of balance with another aspect of my life such as emotionally, then I will tend to crave sugar in a very extreme way. So I find a different way to get that "sweetness" in life that I am craving so much. For example, I'll take a walk with my husband, or spend some time reading, or take a bath. And I tend to do "processing" (it's an emotional release therapy session where we examine old belief systems and replace them with new ones) every so often, so that helps me feel great emotionally too. Or, if it's a really strong sugar craving, I am usually deficient in something nutritionally, such as minerals or protein, or greens. All of these things can manifest in my sugar cravings. This is not to say that sugar is "bad" it's just that sometimes what I'm really searching for is not sugar at all. It is something entirely different, and usually it's on an emotional level.

Food is actually very important to our health. I have a friend that I was talking to today, and she told me "We are what we eat. That's why I don't eat pigs." (lol) She doesn't eat cows, sheep, or chicken either (she's vegetarian) but her initial statement of "we are what we eat" really struck a chord with me today. I've heard that particular expression countless times, but for whatever reason I stopped to think about it. And I mean really think about it. Our bodies on a cellular level, are truly composed of whatever we shove into our mouths. When our body begins to break down the food we eat, it takes all the nutrients and utilizes them in our bodies at the cellular level. It breaks down the carbohydrates, the proteins, the sugars, and the fats, and puts these nutrients to work somewhere in the body. Then the things we don't use, or that the body doesn't know what to do with, either get stored as fat, stored as toxins, or eliminated. Our primary source of good health is in within the food that we choose to consume.

Many people realize that healthy food choices do contribute to better health. Yet all too often we as a society will turn to whatever is easy and convenient, and sometimes going through the drive-through at a fast-food joint is easier than going home and preparing a meal for your family. I do this too. For years I have understood the vital connection between health and food and I still struggle. I will slip into the "easy and convenient" method of choosing my foods. And it's ok, I'm not perfect, I'm human. The important thing is that I am trying.

So my goal for this year is to eat healthier. (I know, goal setting is supposed to be at the beginning of the year but for me, the beginning of the year is when it starts getting warm outside! I just sorta bundle up, close my eyes, and tune-out January, February, and March, and hope that when I wake-up it will be April!) I have set "eat healthy" goals in past such as no soda, and no pig meat of any kind. And I still am soda and pig free to this day. But this particular goal has a few different lifestyle changes:
1) Eat more green veggies
2) Prepare meals at home rather than dining out
3) Plan out my meals
4) Incorporate more raw foods and vegan foods into my meals

So there it is! I am excited to continue on my journey into the world of healthy cuisine.

In Good Health,

Lindsey Kae

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Health Philosophy

My health philosophy is rather eclectic, mostly because my health history has been rather eclectic. I've been to traditional western doctors, natural doctors, homeopathic doctors, acupuncture therapists, chiropractors, herbalists, massage therapists, and more. I believe that there is truth in all of these different forms of medicine.

However, I do believe that sometimes traditional western medicine sometimes over-prescribes pharmaceutical drugs. You have pain? Here's a drug. You have depression? Here's a drug. That's not to say that there are those who suffer from pain or depression do not have a chemical imbalance in the body that needs to be remedied via pharmaceutical medications. However, most cases of pain, depression, anxiety, and other chronic health issues are merely symptoms of other deeper underlying issues. This is where sometimes traditional Western medicine falls short. Western medicine for the most part perceives that each system and each organ are separate and distinct from every other system and organ in the body. In contrast, alternative medicine examines not only the part of the body that is dysfunctional but rather examines the body as a whole. Alternative practitioners evaluate diet, exercise, sleeping patterns, stress levels, emotional patterns, environmental components, and much more. Furthermore, the alternative practitioner will also explore the possibility that perhaps there is another organ or system that is contributing to the organ or system that is struggling.

Here's an example: A cyst or tumor may grow in a specific organ. Cysts and tumors are usually composed of things that the body perceives to be "toxic" but for whatever reason it doesn't want to release it. So it walls it away, and stores it until a later date when it has time to break it down and flush it through the body's various cleansing systems. However, that may never happen. If the cleansing systems of the body are compromised and low-functioning the body will continue to dump the toxins in that particular place, and body tries to cope as best as it can. Alternative medicine would attempt to reduce the amount of exposure to toxins that person was receiving, support the drainage systems of the body, and then encourage the body to release the toxins stored in the cyst or tumor.

However, this process can take a while. It can take months. For me it's taken years. And quite frankly, in our lives of instant gratification people simply do not have the patience nor the desire to wait for the beneficial results. And Western medicine caters to those are searching for a quick, easy fix, whether it be surgery or drugs.

But before you start thinking that I am against Western medicine entirely, let me say this: without Western medicine I wouldn't be here. I think Western medicine is great. For acute, short-term, symptoms and pains Western Medicine is the best resource. For example, I would not go to my one of my natural doctors for a broken arm. I would go to the emergency room, where a traditional Western doctor that has specialized in setting broken bones could fix my broken arm and put it in a cast. Would I be given pain killers? You bet. Would I take them? Probably.

So I believe that both Western medicine and alternative medicine are valuable to our healing. And there are times in our lives where we will need one, or the other, or both. For me, I have used them each pretty extensively. My desire is for my body to be healthy. I am still learning and discovering what contributes to good health, and in particular, my good health. And so this blog will mostly describe my own journey as I am continuing to gather information and knowledge about health in all of its forms, whether it be physical, emotional, or spiritual.

In good health,

Lindsey Kae