Simple Immune System Gruel

I found this simple recipe for koji (Japanese gruel) in my files at home and it reminded me that sometimes the simplest foods are what do a body good. That the old time remedies really work. They not only soothe, they make us well. Their very simplicity is in itself calming and healing.

Black Bean Sweet Potato Soup

January is national soup and national oatmeal month. Two of my favorite comforting foods in the dark of winter. And because a darker version of something is almost always better for you than its lighter cousin, it’s wonderful that we’re getting black beans, orange sweet potatoes, green veggies.

We call sweet potatoes “yams” (i.e. red garnet yams), but actually sweet potatoes and yams are different plants, and what we grow here are really sweet potatoes. Yams, grown primarily in the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, and Latin America are tougher, drier and not as sweet as sweet potatoes.  

Should you use organic ingredients? You’ll get more bang for your buck, more nutrition if you do. So start by scrubbing your sweet potatoes. Don’t peel them because there are vites in the skin! Nutritional yeast? Gives a slight cheesy flavor, is rich in the B vitamins (nerve and stress vitamins), and helps prevent the breakdown of collagen.

Magnesium Stearate: Not Toxic, Not a Problem

I haven't really wanted to address the issue of magnesium stearate until now. (In fact, I'm not especially keen on addressing it even now…) But it has been a decade since the first time I heard someone say that this additive was "toxic," and "synthetic" and "blocks the absorption of your nutrients." And people are still saying it. So, here goes.

Although, if you want to skip the entire article, the gist of it is simple: magnesium stearate is safe, and even beneficial, period.

Before they're assembled into pills, most supplements and drugs exist in powder form. And as those powders travel through the pill-making machines, they can clog and clump, and gum up the works. Magnesium stearate is added to the powders to keep them flowing smoothly. Of course it is possible to make pills without magnesium stearate, but it's harder, it takes longer, and it costs more.