Posts Tagged ‘enzymes’

Raw Food Diet

English: A close up of a fresh raw food dish

English: A close up of a fresh raw food dish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently attended a raw food cooking class. A raw food diet is just what it says – food that is eaten raw or heated to no more than 115 degrees. According to raw food experts, the advantages are that raw food contains beneficial live enzymes that make it more digestible and that it has a higher vitamin and nutrient content.   Heating or cooking chemically alters food causing it to lose its ability to provide energy.  Cooking also destroys certain vitamins. A raw food diet can cleanse and heal. The raw food diet as a health treatment was first developed in Switzerland in 1897 by Dr. Maximillian Bircher-Benner, the inventor of muesli, after he recovered from jaundice by eating raw apples.  His health center is still in operation today.

In summer when fruits and vegetables are abundant, preparing seasonal, local, raw food is easy. A strict raw food diet year round however, is more involved and does not include any processed foods.  To make crackers, breads and other “baked” goods can be time consuming and requires advance planning.  Blenders, food processors, juicers and dehydrators are all needed equipment.  Sprouting and soaking are necessary to eat grains, legumes and nuts.  Nuts are a large part of the raw food diet and are used to make cheeses, crackers, breads and soups.

What appealed to me about the class was its emphasis on creating warming uncooked meals.  We learned simple tips like bringing all food to room temperature for a couple of hours before preparation and using lots of warming spices like cumin, curry and nutmeg.  Our meal started with a delicious raw butternut and green apple soup, followed by zucchini chive canapés, a zucchini slice smeared with chive cream cheese made from cashews – even better than “real” cream cheese! For dinner we made a Brussels sprout and pumpkin seed slaw, a wild rice and chickpea salad, kale and shallot pizzettes with 3 kinds of cheese (again, cashew based; the crust was made from flax seeds and vegetables “baked” in a dehydrator) and a fresh fig and lemon tart for dessert.  The dinner was fabulous and you never would have known it was uncooked!

I could never be an extreme “raw foodie”, but I do love experimenting with new and healthy cuisine.  I read somewhere to make 50% of your diet raw, so challenge yourself and give it a try. Below is a simple recipe for Cashew Parmesan cheese that rivals the real thing!  Email me for more recipes…

½ cup dry cashews

1 clove garlic (chopped)

¼ teaspoon sea salt (coarse)

Grind cashews and sea salt in food processor (with ‘s’ blade) until fine, almost powdery.  Add garlic and pulse food processor until texture resembles Parmesan.  Use on everything!

Information compiled from The Raw Truth, The Art of Loving Foods, by Jeremy A Safron and Renée Underkoffler,  http://en.wikipedia.org/, onesmallpatch.com.

Dispose of Pet Waste Properly

waste  2

waste 2 (Photo credit: scotthughes)

When I grew up, dogs ran free and no one ever thought about picking up dog poop.  Today things are different – we have leash laws and people walk their dogs.  America has approximately 71 million dogs that produce 29,000 tons of waste each day. Leaving pet waste on the lawn or near the curb can be a major source of harmful bacteria and excess nutrients that wash into the storm drain and eventually into local waterways.  It’s very important to pick up the poop.

What then, is the most eco-conscious way to dispose of all that poop?

Throwing the bag away creates more burden in the landfill.  The plastic bags, even biodegradable ones, and the waste won’t break down without air, water, light and enzymes, which aren’t available in the landfill.  Some communities allow it however.

You don’t want to add the waste to your compost pile either.  Instead build a separate compost pile for the dog waste or dig a hole and bury it away from your vegetable garden or running water.  The enzymes in the soil will eventually break it down.

There are in ground dog waste digesters you can install which act like a home septic system.  You add water and an enzyme and bacteria digester to the pet waste, which turns it into a ground absorbing liquid that does not harm the environment.  Or, you can purchase dog waste buckets that can be attached to an existing septic system.

According to the EPA, “flushing pet waste is the best disposal method.”  (Cat waste however, should never be flushed down the toilet.) You can either empty the waste into the toilet or use a biodegradable,flushable bag and simply throw the entire thing into the toilet.  (Check your plumbing before flushing any flushable product.) That’s what I do – it seems to be the easiest, most sensible, eco-friendly option!  Let’s do the right thing for our dogs and the earth.  

Information compiled from http://www.practicallygreen.com, http://www.nrdc.org and http://www.epa.gov.