The Festival of Light

Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 December 2011 03:13 Written by Flax Tuesday, 13 December 2011 02:01

The Festival of Light is just around the corner.  Jews and their sense of humor, how can anyone consider fried potatoes and fried dough to be light?  Festival of Oil is more like it.  To make matters even worse, Hanukkah is smack in the middle of the winter, a time when we are most susceptible to gaining weight, and to retaining it.  Tradition is tradition, there really is no getting around the jelly donuts and potato pancakes, but there are healthier ways to keep tradition.

Baking is always better than frying.  While baked latkes certainly don’t taste nearly as good as fried latkes, they are definitely healthier.  Another option is to add vegetables to the latkes to increase their nutritional value.  I like to grate some zucchini, carrots, and sweet potatoes, and add them to the standard potato latke.  Another trick that I have is to add a little bit of wakame (seaweed) to the potato latkes.  I just tell everyone that it is parsley and no one knows the difference.  The advantage of having wakame in your potato latkes is that the alginate in the wakame inhibits the fat absorption by over 75%.  Pretty amazing!  So now you can eat your latkes and banish the fat.

Ingredients:

  • 3 potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1/2 tsp wakame
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder (optional)
  • oil for frying

Soak the wakame in cold water for five minutes.

Grate the vegetables and squeeze out the excess water.  Squeeze the excess water from the wakame and add the wakame to the vegetables.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Heat the oil in a frying pan.  Add the mixture one tablespoon at a time into the oil.  When the bottom is golden brown, flip the latke and brown the other side.

Remove from the pan, drain the oil, and serve

Tip: Adding a piece of carrot to the oil prevents the oil from developing a burnt flavor.

Note:  The recipe above is not meant to promote eating, heavy, greasy, fried foods. My intention here is to help remedy an already bad situation.

Sima Herzfeld Navon is a Nutritional Healer and a runs a Clinic for Holistic Healing.  To learn more, visit her website: www.JustAddFlax.com

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Preventing Cancer Through Diet

Last Updated on Tuesday, 1 November 2011 10:05 Written by Flax Monday, 31 October 2011 02:12

As October becomes November the Cancer Awareness society moves their focus from Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October) to Lung and Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month (November).   While the Breast Cancer Awareness society has brought home the  “one in nine”  the more correct statistic for Jewish Ashkenzi women is “one in eight”.  The high rate is attributed to the “Jewish gene” – three mutations in the genes BRACA1 and BRACA2 – which raise the likelihood of breast cancer by 60-80 percent.  4,000 Israeli women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, and 900 die of the disease.  Lung cancer however, is the most dangerous of all cancers and is responsible for 29% of all cancer related deaths.

The cancer society has acknowledged a link between unhealthy lifestyle choices and higher cancer risk.  Two significant ways to reduce the risk of cancer are through exercise and diet.  Healthy dietary choices include eating a plant based diet,  eating whole grains, reducing saturated fats (animal products), reducing trans fat omega-6 oils (hydrogenated vegetable oils) and instead, using oils that are high in omega-3.  The two foods that I consider to be the most beneficial to both preventing and curing cancer are flax seed and seaweed.

Flax, high in omega-3 is also one of the best sources of vegetable lignins, compounds that have anti-tumor, anti-estrogenic, and anti-oxidant properties.  While flax appears to have value in treating all cancers, it is of extra value in treating both colon and breast cancers as the cells of these cancers have estrogen receptors and can be inhibited by the anti-estrogenic compounds in lignins.

Seaweeds are vegetables that are  easily digested, contain ten to twenty times the amount of minerals as regular (land) vegetables and have an abundance of vitamins and minerals.  Seaweeds detoxify the body, remove residues of radiation, are beneficial to the thyroid, and improve liver function.  Seaweeds ability to help reduce growths and tumors is noted in ancient Chinese texts which claim “there is no swelling that is not relieved by seaweed”.

To mark the occasion of October and November Cancer awareness months, I offer a recipe which uses both flax-seed and seaweed.  Satisfyingly enough, no-one, other than yourself, will  know that they are eating seaweed, or flax-seed for that matter. I served this dish for Shabbat lunch (when we had company),  I didn’t get a single seaweed comment, and there were no left overs.

This recipe has two parts but it’s not complicated. If making the crust is overwhelming, then buy a frozen ready-made whole wheat crust and just enjoy the health benefits of the filling. I promise you though, the crust isn’t hard to make, and from beginning to end, it adds only 5 minutes of work and one mixing bowl. If you are up to it, it’s worth the effort because while my recipe calls for olive oil and flax-seed, you know that they what you are buying contains  margarine galore and not even a single, solitary, flax-seed.

Wishing everyone good health and happiness ad meah ve’esrim.

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 1 cup whole flour (spelt or wheat)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp ground flax-seed
  • 1/2 tsp Atlantic grey sea salt
  • 3 tbsp hot water
  • 1/2 cup water (apx.)

Preheat oven to 180 c (350 f)

Allow the the flax-seed and the salt to soak  in the hot water for 5 minutes. Pour the dissolved salt flax mixture into a bowl and add the remaining ingredients.  knead the dough until it is smooth. Roll out the dough into a thin layer and place in either a pie dish or a baking pan (any size or shape will work). Prick with a fork and bake at 180c (350f) for 10 minutes, until it is partially baked. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Wakame Filling

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/2″ (1 cm) ginger, grated
  • 1 bunch beet leaves (mangold or kale), coarsely chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced into matchsticks
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp wakame
  • 1 tbsp ground flax-seed, soaked in 4 tbsp water for 5 minutes
  • 1 small kohlrabi, slice into thin roundels
  • 1 thinly sliced carrot roundel

Soak the wakame in cold water for ten minutes.  Squeeze out the excess water and set aside.

Preheat oven to 180 c (350 f).

Heat the olive oil in a deep frying pan.  Add the onion, garlic, ginger and spices and saute for 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add the beet leaves and the carrots and saute until the beet leaves are limp.   Remove from the flame and stir in the wakame and the the flax-seed. Spoon onto the half-baked pie crust.
Spread the kohlrabi roundels in a circle over the top of the pie to form a flower shape. Place the carrot roundel in the center of the circle. Carefully brush the kohlrabi flower with olive oil.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top is golden.

Serve hot.

Serves 4-6 as a side dish.

Enjoy!

Sima Herzfeld Navon has a clinic for holistic medicine and nutritional healing.  She also teaches healthy cooking.

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Dead Sea Soup

Last Updated on Wednesday, 5 January 2011 12:03 Written by Flax Wednesday, 5 January 2011 12:00

Being that it is now winter, people are cold. Additionally, since I have everyone eating seaweed, they are colder than usual. While the cooling effects of seaweed are wonderful for the summer they add an extra layer to the regular winter chill. The best way to counter-act the cooling effects of seaweed is to eat it together with ginger.

Therapeutically, ginger is warming, invigorating, and decongesting. Ginger helps to strengthen the kidney-yang energy and to tonify the kidneys. This means that it gives us fuel for our own internal fire and also enables the inner heat to then circulate. This makes it the ideal spice for someone suffering from cold hands and feet.

While the original title for this soup was a Mushroom-Ginger Soup, a trip to the dead sea provided me with a much more memorable title. As I was floating in the healing waters I realized that the dead sea is the ultimate expression of Kidney energy. The dead sea is the lowest point on earth, the earth’s foundation if you will. The waters cleanse your skin and bodies of toxins and helps with water metabolism. Likewise the kidneys are the lowest of the bodies yin organs. They help the body to remove toxins and they help with water metabolism.

The title of this soup is intended to express that the soup functions in the same way as the dead sea. It’s purpose is to tonify the kidneys, strengthen the kidney-yang energy and to help remove toxins from the body. And, like the dead sea, it is meant to be enjoyed.

Ingredients:

olive oil
1-2″ ginger, grated
1 onion, cut on an angle into small pieces
1 clove garlic, diced
1 package shitake mushrooms, chopped small
1 package button mushrooms, chopped small
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 tbsp wakame, soaked for 10 minutes
3 liters boiling water
2 tbsp miso (or to taste)

Saute the onion, ginger and garlic for two minutes. Add the mushrooms and cabbage and saute until the mushrooms are soft. Squeze the excess water from the wakame and add to the pot. Add the water, bring to a boil and remove from the flame. Remove a cup of liquid from the soup, mix in the miso and then return the soup-miso mixture to the pot.

Serve immediately accompanied with soy sauce.

Enjoy!

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