Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Awww Nuts!: Food for Thought

We know nuts are good for us, but here’s a tidbit about nuts you may not know.  Raw nuts are better for you because roasting at high temperatures causes the oils to turn into harmful substances.  Re-sharing a post on the topic:

Raw Organic Nuts Vs. Roasted: Which Is Better for You?

By now, you probably realize that nuts are good for you. Yes, they’re high in calories, but they’re also loaded with monounsaturated fats which help to improve your lipid profile and decrease your risk of heart disease. You should be getting more nuts; but instead of turning to roasted nuts, as most people do, you may want to consider the health benefits of raw organic nuts.
What advantage do raw organic nuts have over roasted ones? One area of considerable concern with regard to roasted nuts is the issue of acrylamides. Acrylamides are chemicals formed when certain foods containing the amino acid asparagine are heated to a high temperature. The problem with acrylamides is they’ve been shown to cause cancer in animals and are strongly believed to be carcinogenic in humans. The majority of nuts contain enough asparagine that when roasted to high temperatures they form significant amounts of these cancer causing chemicals.
The way to avoid the formation of dangerous acrylamides is to eat raw organic nuts rather than the roasted variety. This is particularly true of almonds which generally form higher levels of acrylamides than do other roasted nuts. The hazelnut is a nut with lower levels of asparagines so it’s least likely to form high levels of acrylamides.
There’s also some question as to whether heating nuts to high temperatures alters the healthy fats that make them so beneficial for the heart. Heat has the ability to cause changes in chemical bonds which may affect structures such as fats. High heat can also increase the formation of free radicals which have negative effects on the body by damaging DNA, the genetic material. These free radicals can also cause a reaction called lipid peroxidation which can injure the walls of blood vessels and increase the risk of heart disease.
Obviously, it’s healthier to eat raw organic nuts that it is to eat nuts roasted to high temperatures. If you don’t like the taste of raw nuts, oneoption is to roast your own nuts at home using lower temperatures. Acrylamide formation doesn’t begin to occur until temperatures rise above 240 degrees Farenheit and free radicals generally don’t form until temperatures go above 170 degrees Farenenheit. Roasting your nuts in an oven where the temperature is kept at around 160 degrees Farenehit will give you that roasted nut flavor without destroying the health benefits.
After an initial adjustment period, you may find you enjoy the taste of raw organic nuts over roasted ones. You can pump up the flavor by adding herbs and spices such as garlic, curry, Italian seasoning, or onion powder. Don’t forget about making your own nut butter out of raw organic nuts. These taste so much better than store bought varieties and are far healthier. Enjoy exploring the world of raw organic nuts.

This week's re-post courtesy of the link below:  http://eyeopening.xomba.com/raw_organic_nuts_vs_roasted_which_better_you

This article was news to me and my mom!  I'm going to the local store this week to find some raw nuts!  I'd love to hear your feedback on this or the topic of raw nuts.  E-mail us at drmomnaturopath(at)gmail.com.
Have a healthy week!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Adventures in raw & vegan food in Sacramento: The Green Boheme

I’m allergic to wheat, corn, and dairy.  I not only know how hard it is to eat healthy, I know how hard it is to eat in public with friends while avoiding the foods I’m allergic to.  I hate being “that customer” who inevitably has to ask what’s in every dish so as not to contaminate my meal.  And you know what?  Most of the time I don’t ask anymore, just suffer silently hours after I get home from this social meal.  It stinks. 

I have to preface this by saying I’m a meat eater.  I’m blood type O and frankly feel fantastic when I eat meat.  I’m not vegan, nor do I eat raw very often because my stomach is pretty finicky.  I love the environment, and I love meat.  I think I can have my cake (meat) and eat it too.

I have to admit, I was most excited to try their desserts. After all, I am a dessert first kinda gal and there are so few desserts left in the world I get to enjoy.  To my delight, there were several desserts to choose from, but I chose the berry something er other pie.  It was like a creamy pie with berries on top.  De-lish.  No dairy, no wheat, no corn, and definitely satisfied my sweet tooth.  I would come back for dessert alone.

Probably my biggest gripe about restaurants is that they either have good food or good dessert, and when they have good dessert they do not have anything I can ingest.  Problem fixed- go to The Green Boheme! 

I take it from our visit though, that they often improvise on ingredients and don’t always have the dish you ordered last time.  If you’re worried, call ahead to check. 

Our group also ordered the tostada, veggin’ out pizza, the pesto pizza (it’s been years since I had pizza!), and a lasagna dish.  Most dishes had a greens mixture on top, which was really fresh, and had some similar flavors.  I loved the sauce on the lasagna, and being able to pick up a “pizza” and eat it had been a thing of the past!  Others loved the sun-dried tomato flavors, freshness, and unique ingredients.  I’d pass on the hot chocolate next time.  It was overwhelmingly filled with cayenne pepper.

The end result was a rarity for me when I go out to eat: no stomach pains upon arriving at home. Due to my many food allergies, going out to eat usually ends in pain, no matter how careful I’ve been.  I will say that not everyone in our party had the same experience.  If you’re not used to eating raw, it can be challenging on the gut, which reiterates the fact that health and diet are not one size fits all.  My belly was pleased, my taste buds were tantalized, and the atmosphere was relaxed.

A week or so prior, Dr. Monroe was asked by The Green Boheme's owner and head chef, Brooke Preston, to try out the restaurant, which incited the repeat visit:

“She spent some time with us, sharing her knowledge and expertise of raw and vegan food.  She was extremely knowledgeable with different health conditions and foods that could be ingested for those conditions. 
The food was good, the flavors, the different textures.  I absolutely loved the blueberry crisp.  I couldn’t believe there was no dairy in anything, I had to keep asking!  The only thing I had to watch out for was corn in an occasional dish, but otherwise, everything was great!  I was really impressed with her knowledge and quality of the food.  Thank you for your hospitality and time, Brooke!”

I guess I’m my mother’s daughter with the blueberry crisp.  We’ll do dessert first next time.

They have several other offerings to the community: a 30-day raw food challenge, “cooking”classes, and lunchtime delivery service for those office folks who can’t get out for a healthy lunch.

If you've been to The Green Boheme or have any raw or vegan food suggestions, recipes, or comments, please share!  I’m especially excited to start preparing some raw desserts now that I’ve had a little flavor, love baking, and am experienced with alternative baking ingredients.  Maybe that will be a future post.

I will end with a quote that I thought particularly fitting, found framed in the bathroom of The Green Boheme (yes, I notice things like this):

I Am 
I was regretting the past
and fearing the future.
Suddenly, my Lord was speaking.
"My name is I Am."

He paused. I waited. He continued.

"When you live in the past,
with its mistakes and regrets,
it is hard. I am not there.
My name is not "I was."

When you live in the future,
with its problems and fears,
it is hard. I am not there.
My name is not "I will be."

When you live in this moment
it is not hard. I am here.
My name is "I AM."

By Helen Mallicoat

Have a wonderful weekend and try some vegan or raw food and let us know what you think- Comments welcome!  Questions can be sent to drmomnaturopath(at)gmail.com.