Friday, 4 February 2011

Healing our Bodies: Part 2 - Organic Fasting/Hyperalimentation

One morning in January, I woke up feeling like I caught the bug. I decided that I would do an organic fasting to fight it, which meant that I was going to have  only  organic food all day, mostly raw. Although I had somewhat started to eat this way for some months now, I had not done anything as intense as what I was planning.

This is a take off from the Gerson Diet, which is designed to heal our bodies. I  don't suffer from a chronic, serious disease so I am eating some foods that are eliminated in the Gerson diet for the treatment of cancer and other chronic diseases, like wheat, nuts, and dairy products. 

The focus of my fast is on juicing fruits and vegetables.  The juices are best taken on an empty stomach and they can take the place of the same amount of water you drink.To some, this is a means to detoxify. To me, it is also a way of bombarding my body with much needed nutrients, hyperalimentation.

JUICING: First, wash the fruit and vegetable ingredients  in filtered water with a capful or so of apple-cider vinegar (ACV), which acts as a disinfectant. I use purified water because it is partly absorbed by the organic fruits and vegetables which are soaked for, at least, 10 minutes. This keeps their organic origins from being contaminated by any toxins or other matters that maybe in the tap water. Then, drain off the excess water.

The next step is to cut up the ingredients into strips and bits, to fit the neck of the masticating juicer, as opposed to using the centrifugal type. Choosing the right juicer makes a world of difference in the resulting juice. The masticating juicer chews out the fruit and vegetable to a pulp, slowly, thereby squeezing more juice out with higher nutritional values, including glyconutrients.

This is an important feature because our bodies need to get the most nutrition out of raw food ingredients, the rebuilding blocks to get our bodies back into becoming healthy again, to the state where it can start healing from within without taking medication. 

I started my day with a glass of ACV + honey, diluted in filtered water to make an 8 oz. drink. After an hour, it was followed by...

1st Juice serving - Super Trio: broccoli, carrots, and a green apple.

Broccoli - has a large amount of Vit C which aids in iron absorption, prevents cataract formation, aids in treating the common cold.
* TIP: Carrot strips and apple strips are juiced alternately. The carrot pulp helps move the apple mush through the masticating part of the juicer.

2nd Juice serving - Basic Two: carrots and green apple

Carrots - excellent source for antioxidant compounds which protects against cardiovascular disease and cancer, richest source for pro-Vit A carotenes which promote good vision.
Apples - presence of phytonutrients (polyphenols and flavonoids) help regulate blood sugar. 

3rd Juice serving - OJ, pure orange juice with pulp

Oranges - the presence of phytonutrients plus it's Vit C gives it significant antioxidant properties; the most important flavanone can be found in the peel and the inner white pulp of the orange, which has been shown to lower cholesterol as well as have anti-inflammatory properties.
Using a microplane, I gathered the orange zest on the orange peel to add to my orange juice. (Please use this gadget with utmost care, as it is very sharp. When washing, always go with the direction of the tiny blades.)

Breakfast: half a a bowl of milk, with oatmeal and avocado, 
sweetened with agave syrup

Milk -  an ideal source for Vit A & B, calcium, carbohydrate, phosphorous, magnesium, protein, zinc, and riboflavin which aid our bone health, robust-looking skin, good immune system, preventions of some diseases (like hypertension), dental decay, dehydration, respiratory problems, and some forms of cancer. Severe deficiency of dairy product consumption may cause anemia and osteoporosis.

Oats -  a cereal plant high in calcium, potassium, magnesium and B complex - all necessary for a healthy nervous system; a good source for inositol which is important for maintaining blood cholesterol levels; good fiber source - protects us from bowel cancer; a natural anti-depressant; cooked oats relieve fatigue.

Avocado - the best fruit source for Vit E that protects against many diseases and maintains overall health; an excellent source for glutathione (antioxidant) for anti aging, cancer, heart diseases; a source for folate - lowers incidence of heart diseases; when eaten in a salad, it enables better absorption of carotenoids (lycopene and beta carotene) five times; a source for carotenoid lutein - protects against macular degenaration and cataracts.

Agave syrup - a good substitute to sugar and other sweeteners due to its low glycimic index; the agave nectar is used in folk remedy because of its medicinal properties.

Morning snack: a banana

Bananas - one of the best sources for potassium which is an essential mineral in maintaining a healthy heart function(in maintaining or lowering blood pressure and protects against atherosclerosis).

LUNCH: Entree: Mozarella Salad - mozzarella, tomato, parsley, 
seasoned with pepper and drizzled with olive oil

Tomato -  a good source for Vit C, and some Vit A & K;  a prominent source for lycopene - and antioxidant that helps protect the cells and other bodily structures from oxygen damage, protection of DNA (our genetic map) inside the white blood cells and plays a role in the prevention of heart disease. It is found to be protective against different types of cancer - colorectal, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic cancer.  

Parsley - rich in Vit K and some Vit C

Main Course: Quinoa Salad - quinoa, cucumber, tomato, 
echalotte, garlic, with vinaigrette

Quinoa - a high complete protein source rich in essential nutrients; high in fiber content; rich in manganese and magnesium (good for migraine sufferers), zinc, Vit E, and selenium which control weigh; reduce the risks for heart disease, certain types of cancer and diabetes. It also is an an anti-oxidant that protects the body from free-radical damage; rich in riboflavin (B 2) essential in energy production within the cells; provides significant cardiovascular benefits for post-menopausal women.

Cucumber - a succulent with Vit C,caffeic acid, and folate; good for soothing skin irritations and swelling; cucumber skin is rich in fiber and the minerals silica, potassium and magnesium; the ascorbic and caffeic acid content prevents water retention;  when applied topically, it is good for eyebags, sunburn, and dermatitis.

Lettuce - a good source of chlorophyll and Vit K, A and C; has minerals like iron, calcium, phosphorus, folic acid, manganese, postassium, chromium; has high water content and low in calories; high fiber - helps with elimination of toxins and other waste materials. Juicing lettuce leaves ( the darker the better) can be used as natural home remedies for sexual disorders,  iron deficiency, weight loss, hair loss, insomnia, cardiovascular disease, and strengthening of weak bones.

Garlic may help improve iron metabolism; a good source of selenium; aids in keeping our blood vessels expanded and helps stabilize the blood pressure; research suggests that garlic consumption may actually help to regulate the number of fat cells that get formed in our body; has anti-inflammatory properties. 

4th Juice serving: Green Juice - cucumber, broccoli, green apple, celery

Celery leaves - have a high content of vitamin A.
Celery stems - are an excellent source of vitamins B1, B2, B6 and C;  rich in potassium, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, sodium and essential amino acids. It has many health benefits.

5th Juice serving: Basic Two 

6th Juice serving: Flavanones - sweet potato, carrots, Fuji apple

Sweet potato -  a very good source for beta carotene and Vit A.

Dinner: Soupe de Potiron - the remaining pulp from juicing squash, sweet potato, carrots and apples; plus onion, fresh parsley, potato (with skin) added during cooking. 

Squash - is a good source of Vit A and C, and also contains calcium and iron. It has two phytochemicals - cuomarins and flavonoids. The coumarins may be used for the treatment of venous and arterial thromboembolism, as in the case of transient ischemic attacks and strokes. The beta carotene is found in the skin and rinds and should be eaten.

Potato - is a high-fiber source which is needed for protection against cardiovascular disease and cancer; a good source of Vit C, Vit B6, copper, potassium, and manganese; it contains phytonutrients (carotenoids, flavonoids, caffeic acid, patatin) with antioxidant activity.

Onion -  a rich source for a number of sulfur compounds; it is effective against bacteria though it is not as potent as garlic; it aids in cardiovascular health and cancer prevention and other physical conditions such as relief in the treatment of coughs, colds, asthma and bronchitis, and decrease bronchial spasms.

Just a quick glance at the list of ingredients and their health benefits shows me how much nutrients I had taken in one day. A lot of it! I consumed close to 4.5 kilos (about 10 pounds) of fruits and vegetables. In the Gerson diet for people suffering from chronic diseases, the total consumption is close to 9 kilos (about 20 pounds) per day.

The following day, I woke up with a fever. I continued my program. Ingesting food in juice form bypasses the digestive system and goes straight into our bloodstream. In so doing, it carries with it the toxins - acummulated amounts of food additives, residues of pesticides and othe agrichemicals - to the liver. Plus, add the toxins that had previously built up in the liver, this could have caused a "toxin jam". An important part of the Gerson therapy is employing coffee enemas to detoxify the liver. I followed the directions and I had a coffee enema. After sometime, my fever was gone. I continued to juice.

Day 3: After I started my fasting /juicing program, I woke up and realized that I could move with ease, with out much pain in my neck and back from osteoarthritis, my chronic conditions of frozen shoulder and tennis elbow,  and my pinched sciatic nerve. I still followed my juicing regimen.

I continue to eat this way, as much as I can, because I have never felt this good in the last 25 years. And, to think that the orthopedist told me a year ago that there was no cure for my osteoarthritis, he was wrong. Now, I think I can gracefully age without complaining too much.

You, too, can be pain free or even be disease free! It takes more than a day or months to get to this point. For some, it takes years of being on a much stricter vegetarian raw-food diet to be healed.

Gerson, C. & Bishop, B. (2010). HEALING the Gerson Way - Defeating Cancer and Other Chronic Diseases. Gerson Health Media: California

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Exploring Chinatown, New York

Last weekend, a friend and I made a mad dash to go to Chinatown in New York. We found it so crowded and that's because the locals were preparing for their new year's celebration. It was also a day when the the New Yorkers and tourists came to explore and shop in Chinatown.
Relying on the efficiency of the New York subway, we checked online at (NYC) and got our directions. It ended up to be one straight ride all the way to Canal Street.
 As soon as we got out of the metro station at Canal St. and Broadway St., we caught sight of mini-malls selling just about everything they think you will want, like lots of fashion accessories.
 By the way, the prices are not fixed. We mastered the art of haggling by starting to say that we were only willing to pay 70% of the quoted price. When we thought they had not gone down enough in prices, we would walk away. Some vendors went after us and gave us their best prices, which were anywhere from 30% to 50% off.
There were sidewalk vendors who sold their goods at cheaper prices.
 We continued walking without really knowing where we were going, but soon we decided we wanted to find a super market and a dimsum place. We asked for directions. It was interesting that the directions we got consisted of pointing to which direction to take and counting corners before we turned left or right. It was all helpful. 

Coming from Canal St., we turned left on Centre St., and right on Hester.
 We passed a bakery shop and they were stocked up for the forthcoming new year's celebration.
 Some vendors selling Chinese vegetables like bok choy, lotus roots, and ginger.

We walked by a some restaurants which were part of Little Italy, that bordered on China town.
These Chinese new year decorations were being sold all over town.
We were near our destination now.
The Hong Kong Supermarket is the popular market in the neighborhood. It has everything that you will need for your daily or festive meal preparations.
There were tons of fresh produce, with prices cheaper by almost 40-60% than the city supermarkets.
The seafood prices were cheaper by about 30%. You will also find things here that are not available in other markets, like fish egg roe.
 These sweet desserts and other delicacies were in demand for the upcoming celebration.
 There were shelves and more shelves of oriental condiments.
 One side of the store was filled with rice varieties.
 We made it to the cash register, after navigating our way through the crowds, to pay for our good finds: some fruits and vegetables, flounder, egg roe, sesame oil, and shrimp preserve (bagoong).
 As we continued walking, we noticed this sign about the availability of freshly-baked baguettes every hour. 

 We just had one more thing to buy, dimsum. Some Chinese cops pointed us toward the right direction, to go to the restaurant right next to 98 Elizabeth St.
 At the Grand Harmony Restaurant, there is a Dimsum-to-go counter.
 We ordered Chinese steamed buns (Char Siu Bao) and pork-baked buns, butchi balls, and...
my favorite, the sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaves!
 The restaurant was full of the local Chinese people and that said something about the place.
 Back on Canal St., this store sign caught our attention - it was translated to Tagalog. They sure consider the Filipino population a good market.

We walked back to the metro station and quickly window shopped and looked around the rest of the time.

This is what my friend whipped up for our late lunch:
Steamed Fish, Chinese style
Steamed Bok Choy
Fish Egg Roe

The recipes were quite easy. There are no precise measurements to follow. It's made with just a little bit of this and and a little bit of that. If you want to make your own version, this is how we prepared our meal:
* PREHEAT oven to broil setting.
1. Line the bottom of a pyrex dish  - place a bed of cut up fresh onion (4 inches long) and add thin strips of giner  - spread out over the bottom of your dish. Salt the bottom of the pyrex lightly. 
2. Lay the flounder filltes over step 1.
3. Do step 1 over the top of the fish fillets. Add a little bit of water to the dish. Broil for about 10 minutes (times may vary depending on how thick your fillets are).
When cooked, drizzle some soy sauce over the fish followed by a tablespoon of sesame oil (warmed up previously in a small sauce pan) over the fish fillets.
4. On your stove top, steam the bok choy, for about 3 minutes.
5. Fish Roe:
Procedure - saute some spring onions and ginger. Add the fish roe and start separating it with your spatula and when cooked add some vinegar and salted-shrimp preserve (bagoong). Taste and add more vinegar and salted-shrimp preserve according to your taste, or serve with vinegar and salted-shrimp preserve on the side.

This was a very tasty comfort food on a cold day. However you will prepare your food to celebrate, I wish you Kung Hei Fat Choi!

Sunday, 30 January 2011

2011 NYC Winter Restaurant Week Review: Sea Grill

Restaurant week in New York City proved to be a great way for me to discover a very popular and multi-awarded restaurant, the Sea GrillSea Grill, n.

This is the street-level entrance on 19 West 49th Street, at the Rockefeller Center.

After we descended down the stair case, our party of four was led to a rink-side sitting location. The view of the outside made the contemporary interior bright and animated, reminding me of Frank Lloyd Wright who  made it his characteristic design to make the outdoors and the indoors as one living space. 

The restaurant-week menu was eclectic, with two to three choices per course. Our taste preferences turned out to be more European.

For our appetizer, we unanimously ordered this.
 Just by reading the the description "House-Cured Smoked Salmon
avocado, cilantro chive vinaigrette" I could imagine how tasty this would be. 

 Our main courses were delicious:
Pan-Fried Skate
Belgian endive and frisée salad with brown butter caper sauce

Skate wings are the flat, pectoral fins of the sting ray, made up of  cartilage. In this recipe, the skin has been removed, then breaded and pan fried, and garnished.

 Daurade à la Plancha
wilted escarole, olive oil crushed potatoes, black olive tapenade

"Daurade" is the French name for sea bream or seabass, which is a mild-flavored, white-meat fish. Prepared in this Mediterranean fashion, it was so flavorful.

Our dessert choices:
Caramelized apple tart, 
whipped caramel ganache, granola streusel  

This is their version of "tarte tatin" which is an upside-down apple tart. During preparation, the apples are first caramelized in butter and sugar before baking them on a phyllo-dough crust. In France, it is, sometimes, served with vanilla ice cream or "creme fraiche," which is similar to sour cream. 

Valrhona Chocolate Pot de Crème
mint Chantilly cream, chocolate pearls

I ate this chocolate dessert, guilt-free, as it was made with dark chocolate plus...oh well, I decided that I was going to walk and walk to burn the calories from this one!

This was an exceptional meal for the price of $24.07 per head. Thanks to Executive Chef Jawn Chasteen and Pastry Chef Michael Gabriel, they whipped up a well-balanced menu, packed with nutrients in their choice of ingredients. 

Thank you to NYC Winter Restaurant Week 2011. What a treat this was. The success of this program is based on the participation of restaurants such as this.


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