with Debra Stark & Robin Johnston
- Rice Noodles with Peanut Sauce and Crunchy Veggies
- Corn, Bean & Cauliflower Salad with Basil Pesto
- Grilled Eggplant Slices
with Debra Stark & Robin Johnston
“Wrap your loved ones in beautiful soft scarves from Novica and Shupaca. Stay warm!” ~ Gregoria
“Baking pies so you don’t have to! Order yours today!” ~ Jeff and Nathan
… From Debra’s desk
The holidays are about compromise. We know digestion can consume 40% of the body’s blood supply and can consume energy, lots of energy. We know holiday food is richer, harder on the digestive system, which means eating holiday food with gay abandon leaves us with an energy deficit precisely at the time when we need extra energy and oomph.
And it’s not only “energy” we have to worry about, it’s the toll that artificial colors and flavors and sugars takes on our most burdened organ, the liver. It’s the liver which handles all this stuff, all these toxins not only from normal metabolic activity like digestion, but from the overload at the holidays. If the liver can’t keep up, we get crabby and irritable.
As always, we are so lucky to have everything for a festive holiday table. Organic chestnuts, Brussels sprouts, garnet yams, parsnips, apples and pears, greens of all kinds. Cranberries, clementines. Hostess gifts like figs, dates, jars of exquisite honey, Vermont maple syrups, pumpkinseed oil, nuts, chocolates.
From Debra Stark
With all the turmoil in the world, all the violence, all the hatred, I was thinking about life in general, and how to make the world a better place. I was thinking about things that are important to me, remembering former Massachusetts resident, Speaker of the United States House, Tip O’Neill, who said that all politics is local, that change starts on our street, in our communities.
Can each of us, by talking to our neighbors and co-workers, be a catalyst to affect change? Our voices are powerful, and I think we sometimes forget that. Instead of cynicism, let’s remember that we elect our legislators (I know you vote….), and for the most part, they do want to hear from us. They want to know what we think, how they can serve all of us.
I know this is an oversimplification. Do-gooding won’t stop violence, but if we don’t speak up, behave differently, then there truly is no hope. Here are things I want to work on. What’s on your list?
Flower growers have used blackstrap molasses to get stronger, longer lasting blossoms for ages. Molasses supplies trace minerals along with bio-available sugars that feed plants. Milk, too, is a soil and plant food. The organization Slow Food says that, in addition, milk is an effective fungicide and soft-bodied insecticide; critters like grasshoppers don’t have a pancreas to process the sugars, so they are driven off when milk is applied to leaves.
“Each year at Natural Products Expo West, New Hope Network honors the industry’s greatest contributors….Legends are individuals at the center of stories about change—influencers who change the way we do what we do with enduring impact.” This year Debra was one of 12 individuals honored.
Cauliflower is a top powerhouse vegetable, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI). It’s one of our favorite vegetables, too, and very “in” these days….Make sure your cauliflower, and all your other cruciferous vegetables, are organic. The pesticides and herbicides used on non-organic cruciferous vegetable aren’t used to make us healthier, are they?
This dessert takes 5 minutes to make. It’s stunning, delicious, and you are absolutely going to want to make it for every special occasion. Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India, states that coconut oil, is one of the easiest fats to digest, especially at times of over-indulgence such as around holidays.
Like with all recipes, make this one your own. If you want to use all walnuts in the crust, please do. If you can’t do nuts, try soy granules or bread crumbs instead. We carry the Shiloh Farms Deglet Noor dates. They are a drier date, perfect for this recipe, and the pit is easy to remove, too. Here’s an opportunity to use the psyllium husks from the Adapting the Life Changing Bread from our February 2016 newsletter.
Oldie but goodie
This is an easy dessert to make for your holiday table! Isn’t that a relief? What’s more, this makes a terrific breakfast dish served together with yogurt, kefir or milk (of any kind).
Don’t you find that it’s dessert, the grand finale, which everyone seems to remember? When I think about my dessert table, I try and include something chocolate, something with pumpkin or yams, and an old-fashioned cobbler. Something like crisp nut cookies. And I always make sure these go on the table with green or ginger tea, and fresh pineapple or berries.
Why eat cranberries? Studies show cranberries have anticancer properties, inhibit growth of food-borne pathogens, and contain antibacterial properties to aid in the prevention of urinary tract infections. Oats, known scientifically as Avena sativa, have so many attributes we don’t have room to list them! We all know they’re chock-full of cholesterol-lowering fiber….
Fermented foods are foods that have been exposed to beneficial bacteria and/or yeasts, which eat up carbohydrates and produce a variety of organic acids in their place. This process results in novel flavors, a little tart, often complex and interesting.
In some fermented foods, the bacteria have already died off before we eat them. For example, chocolate and coffee. In others, the bacteria are still alive when they get to us. For example yogurt and sauerkraut. These latter are especially good for us, because some of the healthy bacteria can move into our gut and continue living there. You’ll notice with living cultures, the flavors strengthen and deepen.
I once had a Biochemistry professor who liked to give all his students a chart that his professor had given him, probably 50 years ago. This chart, he said, summed up everything. It showed all the things that can go wrong with the human body – all the acute and chronic diseases, the age-related degeneration the aches and pains, and injuries and deaths – all with arrows pointing to and from a single word at the center: “inflammation.”
For the most part, it’s true. There are thousands of ways we can be unwell. Almost all of them involve inflammation in some way.
So what is inflammation anyways?
Inflammation is the body’s first response to injury, infection, or a perceived threat. Chemicals released by damaged cells make the blood vessels dilate, bringing more blood into the region. Immune cells are attracted out into the surrounding tissue, to do battle, clear out debris, initiate repair, and quarantine. Meanwhile, normal metabolism and transit of nutrients take a back seat to these more urgent tasks.