How to get high on chocolate
via The Sweet Beet by Michelle on 9/27/10
I was given a gift the other day that I promptly eliminated. I ate it. Even up until the last bite I thought I had self-control, but empty packages don’t lie.
The gift was raw chocolate – or to be more specific, a magical concoction whose main ingredient is raw chocolate.
Here’s why I think the control part was difficult – I was on a serotonin high. The chocolate we usually eat is roasted – neutered of its nutritional powers. Raw chocolate is nutritionally “intact”. One chemical found in abundance in raw chocolate is tryptophan, a neurotransmitter which creates serotonin, the feel-good chemical that courses through our blood. We think of serotonin as being a brain chemical, but 80% is produced in the gut. It’s not in your head – eating well does directly affect your mood! (Other “high” inducing foods endowed with tryptophan, are dates and bananas.)
And while chocolate is making you happy, it’s also nourishing your cells. Cocao is a fruit and raw cocao is the number one food-based antioxidant – far higher than blueberries or strawberries. (Oxidation is what naturally happens to cells, and over time this wears out your body, and contributes to disease. There is strong evidence that consuming anti-oxidants helps to control this.) Dark chocolate has gotten a lot of attention as a “health” food, but raw dark chocolate is in another league.
But buyer beware, some raw chocolate bars are horrific and taste like sawdust. (Leave a note in the comment section if you’d like to know the one I’d recommend avoiding and I’ll email you the answer). The one I devoured was gnosis chocolate – specifically Fleur de Sel – sold at Whole Foods in NYC, in the raw section (you won’t find anything raw in the Chocolate section). Raw chocolate is not mass yet, so brands tend to be pretty local. (Update: Here is the link to all the US stores where you can buy Gnosis) . Price-wise, it’s higher than roasted chocolate but it’s cheaper than drugs and as far as I know still legal.
When it comes to detoxing your body, there are many techniques you can follow and supplements you can take. But, the best way, is to eat lots of foods that detox the body. Below is a list of detox foods that I thought would be an great addition to everybody’s diet.
Detox Foods Apple
Fruits are extremely high in liquid-content, helping the body wash out toxins. They are also very easy to digest and are high in antioxidants, nutrients, fiber and many important vitamins like vitamin C.
2. Green Foods
Detox Foods Spinach
When you are ready to detox your body, fill your refrigerator with blue green algae, barley, wheatgrass, kale, spinach, spirulina, alfalfa, chard, arugula or other organic leafy greens. These plants will help give a chlorophyll-boost to your digestive tract.
Chlorophyll rids the body of harmful environmental toxins from smog, heavy metals, herbicides, cleaning products and pesticides. They also aid the liver in detoxification.
3. Lemons, Oranges & Limes
Detox Foods Lemon
These citrus-wonders aid the body in flushing out toxins, as well as jump-start the digestive tract with enzymatic processes. They also aid the liver in its cleansing processes. To increase detoxification, start each morning with a warm glass of lemon water.
Remember, vitamin C is one of the best detox vitamins around, as it transforms toxins into digestible material.
Detox Foods Garlic
This pungent bulb stimulates the liver in producing detoxification enzymes that help filter out toxic residues in the digestive system. Adding sliced or cooked garlic to any dish, will help aid any detox diet.
5. Broccoli Sprouts
Extremely high in antioxidants, broccoli sprouts can help stimulate the detoxification enzymes in the digestive tract like none-other. The sprouts are actually more effective than the fully-grown vegetable, despite the picture on the right.
Green Tea Detox
6. Green Tea
Packed full of antioxidants, green tea not only washes toxins out of the system through its liquid content, but also contains a special type of antioxidant called catechins, known to increase liver function.
7. Mung Beans
The mighty mung bean has been used by Ayurvedic doctors for thousands of years. It is incredibly easy to digest, and absorbs toxic residue on the sides of the intestinal walls.
8. Raw Vegetables
Best for juicing detox regimens or eaten raw: Onions, carrots, artichoke, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, garlic, beet, turmeric, and oregano. The combination of these foods will help your liver purge toxins during the cleansing process. These are high in naturally occurring sulphur and glutathione. Sulphur helps the liver detoxify harmful chemicals.
9. Seeds & Nuts
Incorporate more of the easily digestible seeds and nuts into your diet. This include flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, Siberian cedar nuts and sunflower seeds. While detoxing, avoid nut butters.
10. Omega-3 Oils
Use hemp, flax-seed, avocado or olive oils while detoxing. This will help lubricate the intestinal walls, allowing the toxins to be absorbed by the oil, and eliminated by the body.
Other Detox Methods:
Below is a list of recommended detox methods, besides the foods listed above.
* Colon Cleanse
* Liver Cleanse
* Heavy Metal Cleanse
* Harmful Organism Cleanse
Do you have any suggestions for foods that detox the body? If so, please drop them in the comment section below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
This fruit leather is from a boiled concotion – so it’s not raw. But you get the idea, and the pics are nice! You can make this applesauce/apple leather by blending the fruit with raw sweetener of choice, then dehydrating as described!
How-To: Make Fruit Leather
1 perfectly ripe avocado
1 cup plain yogurt, nut or seed yogurt
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
2 to 3 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small garlic clove, chopped
1 teaspoon dried dill or about 1 tablespoon fresh
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash of cayenne pepper
Place everything in a blender or food processor bowl and blend until creamy and smooth. You can also use a stick blender. Check for seasonings and add more lemon juice, salt or cayenne as needed. Will keep up to 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator.
For the salad pictured above, inspired by dinner last night at San Francisco’s Foreign Cinema: Toss lettuce (I used Little Gems), roasted and diced beets, finely sliced radish and croutons with avocado dressing. Serve immediately.
Some foods are fun to eat, and watermelon is definitely one of them. That triangular wedge of bright red/white/green, sweet juiciness forbids us to take life too seriously and shouts, “SUMMER!!!” As if that weren’t enough, watermelon is packed full of nutrition, hydrates and is low-fat. While many of us think of watermelon as a great snack option, when you tally up its nutritive value, you might consider making this all-star a feature player in your cuisine.
Watermelons are an excellent source of several vitamins: vitamin A, which helps maintain eye health and is an antioxidant; vitamin C, which helps strengthen immunity, heal wounds, prevent cell damage, promote healthy teeth and gums; and vitamin B6, which helps brain function and helps convert protein to energy.
Tomatoes have been highly touted as a great source for lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that helps fight heart disease and several types of cancer — prostate cancer in particular. Watermelon, however, has the highest concentrations of lycopene of any fresh fruit or vegetable.
If your little ones don’t dig into their swiss chard, lima beans or spinach — all great sources of potassium — consider offering them a serving of watermelon instead. It is a great source of potassium, which helps muscle and nerve function, helps maintain the body’s proper electrolyte and acid-base balance, and helps lower the risk of high blood pressure.
Watermelon also contains the amino acids citrulline and arginine, which can help maintain arteries, blood flow and overall cardiovascular function.
Alone or in a fruit salad are the most common ways many of us eat watermelon. While eating the meat of the fruit is the best way to take advantage of all of its nutrients, this is one of my favorite bits of summer refreshment. I get a version of this from my local burrito truck. The key to making this great: don’t oversweeten it. With just a touch of sweetness, it’s heavenly.
Watermelon Agua Fresca (Fresh Water)
* 3 cups cubed, seeded watermelon
* 1 1/2 cups water
* juice from 2-3 limes
* natural sweetner, to taste
In a blender, puree the watermelon, then strain it through a fine sieve. In a pitcher, mix the strained juice with water. Add lime juice and natural sweetener to taste. Serve cold over ice.
Watermelon Mint Smoothie
Secrets of Cutting a Watermelon
For this sweet and tart salad, sprouted quinoa are blended with cranberries, apples and pecans and tossed in a raspberry vinaigrette – a winning combination. Serve over a bed of arugula for lunch or a light supper.
Servings: 6 servings, about 1 cup each
Prep: 20 mins
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/3 cup dried cranberries
3 cups sprouted quinoa (see blog recipe)
1 large Fuji apple, unpeeled, diced
1/2 cup pecan halves, raw and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1. Combine orange juice and cranberries in a small bowl. Let stand for 15 minutes.
2. Combine quinoa, apple and pecans in a large bowl; stir gently. Drain the cranberries, reserving the juice. Stir the cranberries into the quinoa mixture.
3. Whisk the reserved orange juice, vinegar and oil in a small bowl until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over the salad and stir gently to coat. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.
MAKE AHEAD TIP: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
Eat A Rainbow, Part 4: Health Benefits Of Blue/Purple Foods
By Heidi Reichenberger McIndoo, MS, RD
The final color of the rainbow is just as powerful as the first 3. You may be thinking “There are no purple foods.” But you’re wrong. Just look at the list below and you’ll see a few yummy ways to include this pretty color in your diet.
Choose natural colored food. In this articles series, we’ve explored the health benefits associated with the colors in foods. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that these benefits only exist when they’re natural. In other words, artificially-colored foods and drinks do not offer the same health benefits found in real, natural fruits and vegetables.
What’s in the blue/purple foods?
Blue/purple fruits and veggies are rich in flavonoids. Flavonoids are the most abundant and powerful of all the phytochemicals contained in the foods we eat. There are many categories of flavonoids. One group of flavonoids helps make our blood vessels healthier. This translates into a healthier cardiovascular system and therefore a lower risk of heart disease. Flavonoids are also very beneficial in reversing the short-term memory loss associated with aging. In addition, they help improve our motor skills, which we rely on to perform large movements like walking and sitting, as well as more delicate movements using our hands, wrists, fingers, and toes.
Flavonoids may play a big role in cancer prevention and in slowing the first stages of cancer development. Moreover, one group of flavonoids called proanthocyanidins helps prevent bacteria from sticking to the lining of the urinary tract. If bacteria can’t stick anywhere it can’t multiply and cause an infection. As a result, eating foods like blueberries and cranberries may be one step in helping to prevent urinary tract infections.
Question #1: What are some rawfood staples in your current diet. What are some of your “favorite” foods? And If you could eat “cooked” food….what would you eat?
Bananas, mangoes, and grapes qualify as staples. Other fruits, such as figs, persimmon, lychee, etc, I eat in abundance when they are in season. Almost all tropical sweet fruits are favorites: chicu, rolinea, panteen, lychee, jak, akee, durian, papaya, mamones, persimmon. I can eat cooked food, I simply choose not too. I do not believe that one was more of a favorite than another, as I rarely found that there were foods that I didn’t like. Of course, my diet today is composed almost entirely of mono meals and there are extremely few cooked foods that can be eaten as a mono meal, as they are almost all combinations to begin with.
Question #2: Have you ever had any kind of symptoms of mental illness, and, if so, what did a raw food diet with supplements get rid of, and are all mental illnesses curable with a raw foods diet/supplements?
I have not, to my knowledge, suffered from any mental illness, no. I have, however, worked with a great many patients who suffered from mental illness. All got well on a supplement-free low fat raw vegan hygienic lifestyle. To this day, I do not recommend routine use of supplements, believing them to be, instead, nutritional detriments. Fruits and vegetables are the most nutritious foods we can eat, hence they are the true health foods. Supplements are less nutritious than fruits and vegetables, and as such are incorrectly called supplements, as they do not supplement the diet. In fact, they detriment the healthy diet, and should be correctly called food detriments. Probably not as many people would flock to consume them, however, simply because of the name change. I recommend that we correct rather than supplement the diet, and I recommend the same for the rest of our lifestyle.
Question #3: Can you describe to us what true hunger is? And how does one deal with vereating/binging on raw foods especially dry fruits and fats?
Hunger is a knowing that follows a feeling. Food becomes a mental priority. Like thirst, hunger is felt in the throat, though not as high in the throat as thirst. Few people in the western world ever truly experience hunger, as they succumb to appetite (the nice word for addiction) long before hunger sets in.
One removes the cause(s) of the problem, which is invariably the underconsumption of fresh raw fruit. Underconsume on the simple carbs derived from fruit and you will crave either simple carbs from dried fruit or elsewhere, complex carbs, or excess fats. Consume sufficient fresh fruit and most food cravings correct themselves. Still, the emotional issues behind the disordered eating must also be addressed.
Question #4: What are some of the most interesting and inspiring success stories you heard from others during your travels?
Every one of the hundreds of people who came to my fasting retreat during the ten years that I ran it left with an amazing and inspiring story. That is why I am again offering supervised fasts each January. The number of people who were told that they did not have long to live, who have now lived decades, is probably the most inspiring.
Question #5: Have you changed your eating patternt since going on the rawfood diet?
Many times. I tried some raw, mostly raw, and all raw most of the time. I tried one fruit meal and two veggie meals. I tried grazing. I tried no fruit. I tried supplements. I tried two fruit meals and one salad meal. Over a period of about 10 years, I think I tried it all. Then, almost 15 years ago, I allowed my fruit content to rise and my fat content to drop. I have not looked back. The low-fat-raw-vegan approach, what I have coined as the 8/1/1 diet (approximately 80% of calories from carbohydrates) has given me the best results of anything I have ever tried.
Question #6: What advice would you give to someone with cancer (esp. stomach) who is on a regular diet – less then 60% raw?
I would only give generic advice to anyone I don’t know, regardless of their situation. Healthful living has no contraindications. 8/1/1 is the healthiest diet I know of, and I would recommend it to anyone. Low-fat-raw-vegan is the dietary ticket, imho. I have created a chart, “The Answer to Cancer” that offers 10 pieces of lifestyle advice to anyone wishing to decrease their risk of, or suffering from, cancer. It is available on my website.
Question #7: How do you feel about female menses? Is it a natural or unnatural thing and will it stop once healthy?
There are almost no examples of truly healthy humans. How can there be, in a world where the environment has been so compromised? No hemorrhaging can be considered “healthy”, but “natural” is not synonymous with healthy. Most women notice a reduction of bleeding along with reduction of other symtoms related to menses when they improve their health regimen in any fashion. Food, however, is not the key to health, not all by itself. It is one of about 30 different lifestyle issues that must be addressed if one wishes to be truly and fully healthy.
Question #8: Is it possible to reverse facial bone structure to our genetic potential/what we were born to have? Have you seen startling examples, besides yourself. How long do these kind of changes take place, and whether or not it’s just an illusion created by healthier skin, eyes, hair, not deeper structural changes. Are raw animal products required for this to happen?
No, I do not believe that bone structure in any part of the body changes in a visible way due to dietary modification. I see no reason for the inclusion of animal products in any human diet.
Question #9: How much sun do you think we need as vegans to get enough Vitamin D?
Different people need different amounts, depending upon the amount of melanin that is naturally found in their skin. A good guideline is for everyone to always have at least some tan to their skin, some darkening effect from the sun. BTW, sunlight’s ultraviolet rays are the ONLY way that we can properly disinfect our blood, our lymph, and our skin.
Question #10: What diet advice do you have for the most common deficiency of a vegan diet? Vitamin D, A, B-12, B complex, DHA, Iron, calcium, zinc etc.?
I recommend healthful living as the method of correcting possible deficiencies. A diet that is too high in fat will always result in nutritional deficiencies. Fruits and vegetables are the most nutritious foods for humans because they most closely mimic human nutritional needs. Nutritional insufficiencies are generally caused by lifestyle, or as I mentioned, lipid oversufficiency. Funny that no one seems to be concerned by nutritional oversufficiencies, which are just as deadly as insuffficiencies. People have died of oversufficiency of Vitamin A, and most Americans and Europeans die of an oversufficiency of fat in their diet, an important nutrient.
Question #11: Do you have any plans to reforest the Earth with fruit trees? Plus, what do you think we should do about the environment and how can we help individually?
I have been planting fruit trees since 1980, yes. Everywhere that I possibly can, I keep planting fruit trees. It is up to each individual to make sure that trees are planted. After all, someone planted trees for them.
When we realize that 90% of all wood burned is burned to cook food, it becomes immediately obvious what we can do to reforest the earth. Eat raw food.
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