Monthly Archives: August 2013

Does Mother Know Best? The Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar…

Braggs apple cider vinegar7,000 years old and still going strong! No not me, but Apple Cider Vinegar, often called ACV or even NACV for the completely NATURAL organic form.

We're looking at Cider vinegar today as part of our series here at Natural Detox Blog on fermented foods.

So yes it is true that ACV is rich in potassium and has trace amounts of other minerals it is not the rather small content of apple pectin and minerals that stands out.

In fact looking at the label of a bottle of ACV

Amounts per 100ml

Protein

 0.0 gms

 Carbohydrates 

 0.4 gms

Total Fat

 0.0 gms

Fibre

 0.0 gms

Sodium

 0.0 gms

…..it looks like you are buying a bottle of nothing!

And considering that this is made of apples it is quite a shock to see that all that's left is less than half a gram.

The Puzzle of Apple Cider Vinegar

So here we are trying to explain the benefits of apple cider vinegar and why it is a health and detox drink that has been used for thousands of years and has books full of testimonials from people who have used it and are not just happy with it they are ecstatic that this funny vinegar has cured their stomach, their skin, their warts their just about everything….

And we have not yet found a single clue.

The Dog That Did Not Bark

I grew up in London and loved the stories of the detective work of Sherlock Holmes and we have need of him here. There is something powerful in the bottles of ACV and it is not shown on the label.

There is a case in which a crime was committed and a watch dog did not bark. Realising that the key to the case was that the dog did not bark opened the case and showed that the criminal was known to the dog and to stretch this analogy to its breaking point and you may be thinking way beyond its breaking point – the label is quiet about the power of this amazing drink so we must look elsewhere.

How To Make Vinegar

Hold on a second – just a quick reminder of what we're doing here. We start with apples and if we give them the time and temperature we see the apples ferment and create alcohol –cider in this case.

All fruit and vegetables will do the same –allow hops to ferment due to the bacteria in the air and on them naturally and you get beer, allow potatoes to ferment and you get vodka.

Fruit ferments due to atmospheric and surrounding bacteria and produces alcohol. So far so good – we now take the alcohol that our apples have produced and go though one more step.

And if you have made yogurt or ginger beer you will recognise the process.

We start with…..A starter.mother of vinegar shown in a glass

This is a colony of bacteria and is called "Mother of Bacteria" – I kid you not!

See the picture here on the left, which is a Mother culture consisting of yeast and bacteria.

Then we pour the alcohol and the Mother Bacteria into a scrupulously clean container and leave it to…..ferment.

Just like leaving bread to prove.

But bread only takes 45 minutes to prove but this bacterial culture takes between 4 weeks and 4 months!

At the end of this time you have a bacterial culture and liquid and it is this culture that is special about ACV and not the list of ingredients.

Why To make or Take ACV

There is good evidence that taking ACV is good for blood sugar control. Not much else about ACV has good scientific evidence behind it so caution is advised because ACV is strong stuff.

When I first started to take it I just took a swig and thought it was like drinking fire!

So just pop a teaspoonful in a big glass of water will you? My pain, your gain!

What ACV does is to add to your body its unique bacterial properties. It is just like eating sauerkraut or yogurt. You do not eat yogurt for the nutrients in the milk but for the culture of the bacteria that made it.

So whether ACV heals in growing toenails ( I just made that up) or kills head lice (I did not make that up) is not important. Apple Cider Vinegar is a powerful way to easily tune your body into a healthy state like tuning your radio in to the right frequency.

The point of and the Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar are in the general condition and environment that is creates in your body rather than as I expected something like a vitamin or mineral.

Knowing that we can just add this little ritual to our health care

  • Add a teaspoon of ACV to a glass of water – cold or warm
  • Add a teaspoon of honey and
  • Stir briskly

Enjoy – as I am doing right now – ACV plus honey, it's Yummy.

To purchase a bottle from Amazon click here

Health Benefits Of Pears – Are Pears a Superfood?

2 lovely pears ready to be pickedNo question, munching a juicy pear on a hot day is refreshing but here at naturaldetoxblog we're pretty focused on superfoods and the question today is about the pear that we find in our gardens and shops – is it a superfood and what are the health benefits of pears?

A quick look at the composition of the pear gives us this data

table of the nutrients and  the health benefits of pears

Looking at these numbers and seeing very little of importance reminded me of my  post on Apple Cider Vinegar, ACV, where it turned out that what made ACV a superfood was not even on the label!

So much for consumer information eh?

What the numbers above tell us is that a pear is a low calorie fruit with high water content and quite a decent supply of potassium, magnesium and vitamin C. The other vitamin numbers are a little interesting but nothing to write home about.

So Pears Are a waste of Space Alex?

Not so fast. Let's look at what is behind the bland word, "Fibre".

The reason that it is worth looking closely at fibre is because it is a powerful and rather subtle way to underpin our health

Really!

You see, I am not talking about the odd looking bags of junk fibre found in health shops. Frankly I would not feed that stuff to a dog.

Real Dietary fibre is supplied by all plant food –all vegetables and fruit. Some of it is not digested and acts a bit like a pipe cleaner on the gut, and some of it is digested and this acts as a prebiotic.

Prebiotic Fibre helps the gut maintain a healthy environment so that our so called friendly bacteria can flourish. And it is in the health and good conditions of the bacteria in the colon that our health is rooted. So anything that aids gut flora is good for us and anything that harms it is detrimental.

Pear blossomFor this reason we should be very wary in taking anti-biotics because the anti-biotics cannot usually harm only the disease causing bacteria such as E.Coli or Staph Aureus; they will generally harm our gut bacteria too. Funny enough – it makes sense when taking anti-biotics to also take probiotics for quite some time.

So the pectin in pears has a similar effect as eating yogurt because both help the environement in the colon.

Simply put, pears are a health food for the colon as well as the whole gastrointestinal tract. They are easy to digest and are known to be very unlikely to trigger allergic reactions. For that reason they are often included on special diets designed for people with serious allergy problems.

For the same set of reasons they are often the first fruit fed to a toddler.

A lot of the nutrition is in the skin so to get the most from a pear the skin should be eaten or juiced if you are preparing a juice combo including pears.

Apples and Pears go well together in a juice, just take 2 apples and 2 pears and with a few seconds in a juicer you have a delicious and nutritious juice.

Studies have shown that pears have powerful anti-inflammatory properties that come from several complex nutrients known to be significant anti-inflammatory action and needed to avoid inflammatory diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

So we can say that Pears are a superfood and that the health benefits of pears do not lie in the normal and well known content of vitamins and minerals but in rather exotic and technical anti-inflammatories such as chlorogenic acid, ferulic acid and quercetin.

Pears are easy to digest, have many complex anti-inflammatory ingredients and that since they have more pectin than apples do to boost the health of the colon maybe we should all be eating a pear a day to keep that Doctor away as well as that apple…

Data

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pear

http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/234

Photo pear blossom http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:PearBlossomsCalifornia.jpg

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Detoxing Your Body

thick black oil on skinDetoxing is a natural and normal activity of the liver and of other organs and systems in the body. This means that when we wish to detoxify our body we need to take a look at how the body detoxes naturally and then do what we can to assist that process.

Some people think because we detox naturally we don't need to do any detoxing ourselves. This is like saying that because we eat naturally that we don't need to learn to cook! The "detox deniers", as I call them, ignore the flood of toxins in our environment too!

A Few More Detox Myths…..

Before we get going on how to detoxify I want to take a swipe at some commonly recycled nonsense about detox. There are lots of people and websites telling you to detox just by doing one easy thing – it might be a juice, a smoothie or a pill.

The truth is that…..Detox is not a quick and easy 2 or 3 day wonder!

A weekend of enjoying some green smoothies and salads is cool and it may help you to improve your health and clear the cobwebs away but it is not a complete detox programme!

Detoxing Your Body is not about Weight loss or slimming either. In all my training I never came across any clear connection between detoxing and weight loss or slimming.

The slimming and weight loss claims come from people who want to make a fortune from selling slimming plans and products.

Another thing…Detox is not about drinking 8 glasses of water a day either!

What is the connection between detox and water?  Very little, really. Drinking water will not detox you and does not "flush toxins away".

Anybody who tells you that drinking litres or glasses of water will flush toxins out of your system is a twerp.

I assume that you drink water every day anyhow. If it was this easy nobody would need detox

So having done a little "myth busting" let's be positive and give you some action tips for you to use.

Detoxing Your Body

First step– for the time you are detoxing you pay special attention to what you eat and drink. In particular sugar and additives in food and drinks will act against your detox, so it's best to avoid them. Avoid coffee for your detox and just replace it with some calming herb teas.

Instead of sugar use a substitute like Stevia or xylitol. I know it sounds like it is some chemical sweetener but it comes from the bark of a tree. it is not just natural but it helps to keep your intestines clean like the fibre in food does. It also helps to make your gums and teeth healthy.

Second Step– notice the weather. In hot weather your detox diet may focus on salads and easy to digest foods such as brown rice and quinoa or millet along with vegetables.

In cold weather focus more on hot soups and only eat salads if it feels right. If you follow an artificial detox diet and ignore the weather and your feelings you end up fighting your body and not detoxing it.

Third Step- to really detox you need a Detox Formula to help you. To deal with the unnatural flood of industrial toxins we need extra amounts of amino acids, vitamins and minerals found in a well formulated Detox Formula or programme.

Some formulas focus specially on the liver; some focus on the kidneys and others act on the colon. Some include a little bit of all 3 of these and act generally on the body.

They all have their place and may be just what you need at any particular time

Fourth Step

Detox is helped by exercise too. It is not just about taking detox supplements. Walking and yoga will help the lymphatic system to move and flush and circulate. There is also a special type of massage known as lymphatic massage which is designed to help circulation and even ordinary massage is useful to some extent.

A few minutes in a sauna will also help your body detoxify.

You can do this any time you want and for as long as you want. If you are doing a short detox then you may be more restrictive on your food choices but do bear in mind your normal state of health. If you are poorly or hypoglycaemic then be gentle with yourself and avoid juicing sugary fruits like pineapple and watermelon.

Detox is part of a healing cycle not a form of punishment. Why not have fun along with your detox? Preparing for it and getting the produce you need before you start will help and detoxing your body along with a Detox Buddy is a great support.

If well planned there will be very little "side effects" such as headaches and do take vitamin C right through your detox. How much is hard to say but 2 grams would be quite a small dose even for normal daily use and I would take more during a detox.

If you have any real doubts on how to apply detox principle yourself it's best to sort them out with your local naturopath; for general questions ask below in the comment section and also take a look at my Detox Book on Kindle

Photo JenavieveMarie

Millet Seed is Food for Birds, Right?

millet seed for the lovebirdsMany birds including these divine Peach Faced Lovebirds love their Millet seed but so do elite diners all over the World. Michelin star chefs are now finding more and more ways to cook and serve this ancient but now aspirational grain to their clientele.

Move Over Polly

Yes it's "Pass the Millet" time because it is simply too good to let the Lovebirds and Budgies have all the good food.

So let's look at what Millet has to recommend it so you can make your mind up whether to join in the experimenting with this newly fashionable but ancient food.

No Gluten

This is really important. Officially it is only Coeliacs that should avoid Gluten – the sticky mix of proteins found in wheat, barley, oats and rye and in some other grains and this only covers 1% of the population.

But many people find that their digestion works better and that they feel better if they cut down or avoid gluten containing foods – and this sensitivity rather than full blown allergy affects anything up to 50% of the population.

Millet has a lot of potential to substitute for some of these gluten containing foods.

image of 28 oz bag of whole milletGreen and Sustainable

Environmentally millet has a powerful asset. It can grow in poor soil and with agricultural land all over the world being swallowed up by encroaching suburbs and with even more farm land used for Biodiesel millet may be a crop that helps us out of a big problem. Additionally millet needs very little water to grow unlike rice and many other grains.

Versatile

Millet may be simmered and served just like oat porridge and served with milk and honey or Stevia.

But just compare millet to rice and you get a whole world of possible recipes. Do you like black eye peas? Serve 'me with Millet, do you like rice with any of your meals? Try Millet instead!

Cooking Millet

Millet is an easy and nutritious food to cook. A ratio of 3 cups of water or stock to 1 cup of millet seed works well. Simmered on a very low heat it cooks in 30 minutes and can be served as a side dish with virtually any main meal.

An idea I have not yet followed up is to mix Millet flour and Soy flour – this may well make the millet more flexible and possibly OK with normal baking methods.

image of 6 oz bag sold in packs of 12Nutritious

I found plenty of data comparing Millet to other grains and the short story on that is that is it more nutritious than rice but all the detailed data I have found so far is for raw and not cooked millet. And unlike Parrots I cook most of my food and I certainly cook Millet.

Millet then, seems to be one of the more nutritious grains with vitamin B, and a high content of magnesium which is one of the major nutrients that most people are short of.

Try it in a few recipes in place of rice or Quinoa or other grains. It is mild , gluten-free and is one of the "greenest" grains you could wish for.

Imilllet flour 23 oz pack of 4 think that this grain, that has been used for 10,000 years, has the most potential in our future. Now it's open to you to give Millet seed a go…and if you are not quite sure where to start here is a selection of Millet groceries at Amazon for you to see what is on offer.

Let me know how you get on eh?

 

Photo jdnx peach face lovebirds