You Are What You Eat

Last Updated on Monday, 17 December 2012 05:27 Written by Flax Monday, 17 December 2012 05:02

Judaism, perhaps more than any other religion, upholds the concept of “you are what you eat”.  Judaic law deals with even the most minute aspects of food production.  From sowing to reaping, from the egg in a nest, to ritual slaughter, these laws are all inclusive and meant to maintain the purity and sanctity of what we may eat.    While these ancient laws are maintained to the letter,  (sometimes even to the extreme) I question if the spirit of the law is still maintained.  Many of us are aware of  the revolting treatment of animals on the farms (ie. eggs laid by chickens that are not allowed to move for two years) and their inhumane treatment at the slaughter-house, (demonstrated by the recent instigation of the Tenuva, Adom-Adom, slaughter-house in Beit Shean), what many of us fail to consider is what is being done to our crops.

Insecticides and pesticides have long been considered to be necessary evils, these toxins are sprayed on our crops in order to increase production and lower costs. As the industrial revolution required the migration of workers to the city, small farmers sold their land to large corporations and we saw the development of the “mega-farm” or agribusiness.  These mega-farms focused on single crops, which caused disharmony to the ecosystem.  Agrochemical companies developed toxic sprays to manage the disproportionate number of pests and insects, something that had been unnecessary on the smaller multi-crop farm. Unfortunately for us, these toxic sprays were not enough for the chemical companies, beginning in 1994, a whole new realm of poison was introduced into our foods with the development of the genetically modified organism (GMO).  Foods that had once only been sprayed with poisons were now being genetically engineered and their DNA restructured to contain the poison within the plant itself!   Essentially, poisons which were external and could be removed with a good rinse were now permanent and the consumer was left with no choice.  Corn, soy, and canola, three of the most common crops, found in basically every processed food,  are some of the most common of the genetically altered foods that you will find.  These products exist not only in their own, easily recognizable form,  but are also being used in almost every processed product that you purchase.  This might be as a recognizable ingredient, ie. corn syrup, or in a less recognizable derivative, such as lecithin.  Additionally, cattle, both for the meat and dairy industry, as well as chickens are all being fed GMO crops.   While the FDA does not require the labeling of GMO based products, I challenge each and every one of you to find a solitary non-organic food item in your home that does not contain derivatives of soy, corn, or canola, and hence some form of GMO.

Based on the premise “you are what you eat”, then it is easy to understand the static which shows that raising toxicity levels in humans, both physically and mentally.  Chronic diseases which can be understood as a manifestation of toxins in the body are on the rise.   According to the WHO  (World Health Organization), there is a 17% increase in chronic disease over the past decade alone.  The rise is psychological illness is also astronomical.  One in five Americans is now categorized as suffering from some form of mental illness, and the WHO  estimates that by the year 2020, mental illness will be the second leading cause of death and disability.

One might correctly ask, “What does the FDA have to say about all this?”  Well, the FDA is quite silent on the matter, and one wonders if this might in any way be based on the fact that the top positions in the FDA are held by former executives of Monsanto (the largest of the GMO companies).  The FDA has even remained silent after the September release of data which gives alarming evidence of GMO-induced lethal health complications in rats.  The FDA not only chooses to ignore these studies, it has also chosen to ignore a campaign titled “Just Label It” with over 1,000,000 signatures which asks for GMO products to be labeled.  As of now, the only way to be sure that your food items are GMO-free is by buying produce that is labeled organic.  By law, organic products must retain the DNA provided by G-d and no other.

The rise mental illness and the violence in modern society is horrible. The slaughter of the innocent children at Sandy Hook elementary school was shocking and one in a too long series of school killings, starting with the Pearl, Mississippi slaughter in 1997.  While there are many voices out there screaming for better gun control laws, I see this the guns reflecting a symptom of the problem rather than the cause. To say that the killings happened because of genetically modified foods would be simplistic and offensive.  To say however, that what we eat influences our state of mind and our mental health would be true.

The correlation between the rise of disease, both physical and mental, since the introduction of GMO’s has been extensively documented.  While of course there are many causes behind any disease, I tend to analyze things from the perspective that I know best.  Food.  The rise in recent years of diseases, such as cancers, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, ADD, ADHD, aspergers, and autism, just to name a few, needs to be addressed from a wider perspective. The de-naturing of foods needs to be recognized as what it is, a poisoning of the body and mind

It is our basic right to know what is in the foods that we eat.  It is time that the government recognizes our rights to know the origin of our foods.  While my signature might not influence the decisions of the FDA, consumer consumption can certainly make a difference.  Organic items, by law can not be GMO.  Make a decision to trust in  G-d, nature, and your own good health by purchasing clearly labeled organic products.

Here’s an easy breakfast idea to begin your day GMO free.

Ingredients:

  • 4 organic rice cakes
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Atlantic grey sea salt

Puree the avocado, mix in the juice from the lemon and flavor with salt.  Spread on the organic rice cakes.

Enjoy!

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Mahlabi-Healthy Style

Last Updated on Tuesday, 4 December 2012 12:59 Written by Flax Tuesday, 4 December 2012 12:37

While the ingredients in this recipe, might be more appropriate for Tu Be’Shvat then for Hanukkah, this is an excellent dessert to eat post latkes and sufganiot.  This delicious, light, and creamy dessert, is  both egg free and gluten free, and it will also help you to metabolize the fatty foods that we so lovingly consume on this holiday of oil.  Whoops, I meant holiday of light,  not holiday of oil, then again…   Anyway, eating agar (seaweed gelatine), with your holiday meals,  can help you to incorporate both the elements of the light and the oil into your festivities.

Those of you who prefer ingredients that they know, simply replace the agar and kudzu with  five tablespoons of cornstarch.  In my opinion, if your weight, health, and appearance matter to you, it’s worth making a trip to the health food store to pick up these “exotic” ingredients.   Agar, like all seaweeds is used to help digestion and to help with weight loss, it also helps to remove toxic wastes from your body (ie. rancid oils used in deep-frying your latkes and sufganiot).   Other benefits to using agar- it is a great source of calcium and iron, and besides that it is anti-aging, it will give you great skin and hair as well.

While you are in the health food buying your agar-agar, pick up some kudzu (arrowroot) as well.  Kudzu is an excellent addition to any meal involving fried foods.  When consumed, some of kudzu’s complex starch molecules enter the intestines and relieve the discomfort caused by over-acidity and bacterial infection. Medical research has shown kudzu to be helpful in connection to, indigestion and heart burn, as well as numerous health conditions such as, high blood pressure, blood sugar regulation, chronic migraine headaches, shoulder and neck pain, high cholesterol, blood clots, sinus troubles, acid reflux, indigestion, heartburn, stomach ulcers, colitis, hangovers, allergies, alcohol addiction, bronchial asthma, skin rashes, heart disease and neurological disorders.

Women however have a special place in their heart for kudzu as it has been shown to have a strong effect on the body’s hormonal system and can help regulate estrogen levels – of primary importance to post menopausal women to help in preventing bone loss,  estrogen related disorders, and cancer.

Ingredients:

  • 1 liter (4 cups) almond milk (I used the organic Adama brand, which like most brands,  has some sugar in it)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tbsp rose water OR orange blossom water
  • 3 1/2 tbsp kudzu
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 4 tbsp agar-agar
  • 1/4 cup shelled and coarsely chopped unsalted pistachio nuts (for garnish)
  • pomegranate concentrate

Dissolve the kudzu in cold water and allow to sit for five minutes.

Heat the almond milk in a saucepan over a low flame.  When the liquid reaches a slow boil, add the honey and the orange blossom/rose water.  Slowly sprinkle in the agar and stir continuously until the agar flakes have completely dissolved (approximately five minutes).  Stir in the kudzu and continue mixing for one minute more.

Pour half a cup of the mixture  into eight wine glasses or ice cream cups.  Allow to cool slightly, and then refrigerate for one hour.

To serve, garnish with the pistachio nuts and drizzle with the pomegranate concentrate.

Serves 8

Enjoy!

Sima Herzfeld Navon is a Nutritional Healer and a Wellness Counselor.  For individual or group classes contact her at Sima@JustAddFlax.com

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