Cooking · Creativity · Health

Papayadom!

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Aaaah, Pa Pa Ya, you either love it or hate it. Or, like me you don’t love it, you even think it smells a little like puke, but know it’s good for you, adore the texture, color and form, and live somewhere where it’s plentiful. This is why I decided to try blending it with three of my most beloved foods: avocado, coconut and cacoa.

Most of us know that papaya provide us with enzymes that naturally support digestion, thus making it a bonus food. It is relatively low on the glycemic index as well. A lot of the time we hear about the glycemic index, the rate at which a food raises glucose in our blood, and it’s good to know this stuff. However, after reading this-Havard Medical School study (with great chart) I discovered it is the glycemic load, that truly matters. “What it (the GI) doesn’t tell you is how high your blood sugar could go when you actually eat the food, which is partly determined by how much carbohydrate is in an individual serving. To understand a food’s complete effect on blood sugar, you need to know both how quickly the food makes glucose enter the bloodstream, and how much glucose it will deliver. A separate value called glycemic load does that. It gives a more accurate picture of a food’s real-life impact on blood sugar. The glycemic load is determined by multiplying the grams of a carbohydrate in a serving by the glycemic index, then dividing by 100. A glycemic load of 10 or below is considered low; 20 or above is considered high. Watermelon, for example, has a high glycemic index (80). But a serving of watermelon has so little carbohydrate (6 grams) that its glycemic load is only 5.”

Sweet corn comes in at 64. A blueberry muffin 30. Glass of orange juice 14. Ice cream, surprisingly, is 8, yet that is if you eat only 50gm. A pint of “Ben & Jerry’s” is 500gm, half of that would be a glycemic load of 40, so not tooooooo bad.

This difference between the GI and the GL is what makes agave syrup a fist in a velvet glove.

So, papaya. Silky, smooth papayadom comes in at 6.

Here is how I turn this fragrant, bulbous, thin skinned, heavy weight fruit into the most amazingly texture frozen mousse in town! For reals, it is hands down one of the most satisfying textural eating experiences I have ever had, and continue to enjoy almost every hot as Hades Mexico lived day.

Start by skinning, cleaning and cubing the fruit into 1″ chunks. An average sized papaya yields about five 1 to 1.25 cup servings. Put each of these into their own recycled plastic bag and freeze. I try to stay on top of it so it is always available frozen. This is key. I tried this treat unfrozen once. It was lost.

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Once the fruit is frozen, let it thaw a tad, and break it into pieces into your blender, then add one ripe avocado, about 6 oz. of coconut milk, a nice pour of vanilla, a big teaspoon of your favorite unsweetened cocoa and a dash of salt. Sometimes cayenne. Of course, you will find you taste. I do not add sweetener, but you may wish to. It is an interesting, curious flavor without, one I have grown to love and crave.

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Blend this super well. If you have a “Ninja” or the likes, you are stoked. The texture is beyond dreamy, so dense and creamy, light and thick at once. The frozen feeling, smooth and free of crystals, is transcendental. Oh, and the loft!

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Sometimes when I make it it is spot on perfect. Though sometimes the size of the avocado or a longer pour of liquid make it thinner. It is kind of fun this varying way, for when I hit it just right I am in bliss, sitting there in front of the fan, sweating silently, in reverence.

Ha Ha. Yesterday, I was on day four of a fast, which was inspired, in part, by how much I eat for pleasure and experience and how, when done compulsive it’s not healthy for me. But I broke that fast last night with 8 year old P. eating sushi, soft, melting fish flesh. Big thanks fish! And today I go to brunch with my family (coffee?!) and to a BBQ (no meat for me) with friends I have had since I was twelve. I am so normal.

Life is full of freedoms. I’m grateful for all the freedoms of choice I have, and sometimes overwhelmed by them. And, I know not everyone has the bank of freedoms I do. Because of this external inequality, I believe it’s all the more important that those of us blessed with so much choice pause and reflect upon this. Give thanks. Every damn day.

May we all pause and feel ourselves, connect to the seeds of peace within, for this just may be our greatest gift. May we consume with awareness and thanks…

Buen Provecho, my friends!

Dive deep,
e.e.

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Art by Kevin Sloan

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evolution · Health · Natural Medicine · Recipes

Bitter Better

To know light, we must know darkness. For many of us accepting this wisdom can be difficult. In most cases, we are programmed to push aside the shadow, focus on the “good” and get on with it. Of course, we want to feel good, we don’t want to experience pain, don’t want to suffer. Suffering, in my view, is an experience which comes from how we perceive and receive our pain. It is real and heavy, full. Can we process our pain, our grief, without suffering? Sometimes. It takes courage and openness, forgiveness of ourselves, too, in our process, acceptance of this process. Softness. We are so deep, with so much to muck through: past lives, cultures, families, faiths, programs, beliefs. With the “Lie of Shutting Down” our oldest, longest runner. And Change our true constant.

I do my best to take the “bad” with the “good”. It’s a process, always. When I was 17, my peers voted me “Class Pessimist”. Today, I am seen by most as a “happy” person. Back then, it was easier to harsh out and put things down. I liked my edge, my jaded snub, it felt more sure. I chose my armor young, and have been working decades now to drop it to my feet. Sure my “happiness” today is what appears at the surface, yet deep down, it is my integration of all that I feel as real, the bitter, and the sweet, that bolsters my shine.

Ha! I came here to talk about bitters. You know, those aromatic, citrus or floral distillations that are top dog in the new wave cocktail craze. Bitters. Dash. Dash.

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Before cultivation, much of our leafy plant food contained bitter flavor. Over time, with industry, and a push to instant and pleasure, we shifted this. Bitter foods are no longer a component of our daily bread. Our traditional diets, their support of our whole, growth and healing, have been watered down, sugared up.

We have swung far and yet the pendulum begins it’s swings back.

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Bitters serve us by stimulating our digestion and filtering/detoxing processes, particularly our liver. They are especially important for the digestion of rich, fatty and highly processed foods, a. k.a. the Standard American Diet (SAD).

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Many years ago, I wanted to bring in daily bitters and so, I started drinking roasted chicory root brewed in the manner of coffee or tea. I soon added dandelion root, which I buy dried and raw and then toast in a cast iron skillet. I like the flavor. I drink it straight, with half and half, with coconut milk or coconut oil, with ghee, a bit of lemon zest, cinnamon, cocoa… Possibilities endless.

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Now, I am beginning to prepare my own distillations. You can try it too. This recipe from Traditional Medicines Wellness Tea is a great place to start.

Citrus Spice Dandelion Bitters

Ingredients:

1 cup white rum (or vodka) high end

4 tsp of fresh orange peel

2 tbs dried dandelion root and leaf (or 6 tbs fresh, chopped finely)

2 tsp fresh ginger

½ tsp cinnamon

6 cardamom pods

(star anise, clove…throw in a few peels of lime…)

Materials:

12 oz Mason jar

amber dropper bottles (1 or 2 oz)

Yields approximately 6 oz.
Place all herbs into a mason jar, and fill to the top of the jar.

Label your jar with the name, plants used, alcohol used and alcohol strength. Include the date on the label.

Shake daily for two weeks, and then strain out the herbs with muslin or cheese cloth. Be sure to squeeze out any remaining liquid from the herbs.

You should have enough extract to fill about six one ounce or three two ounce dropper bottles.

These make super gifts!

Bitters are best taken 30 minutes prior to eating, one teaspoon, to allow our bodies time to respond. Let the juices flow…

That could mean a posh cocktail. Wink. Dash. Though, in my efforts to be clear, present and cleanse my body, I carry a 4 oz. flask of Swedish bitters in my bag, and down a swig every now and again.

Where ever, whatever, slow and holy, my friends.

Bitter. Sweet. True.
e.

 

Health · Photography · Recipes · Travel

La Balanza

How to keep our physical maintenance simple? This is something I’m always trying to distill. And in a way, the answer is really clear. Oxygen. Deep breathing. Water. Plenty of it. Movement. Fresh, whole food. But then, it’s not so simple, as it involves, so often, our clouded minds. Yeah, underneath the ease of deep breathing and hydration comes discipline and commitment. Diet and exercise are simple, we know what’s right. Alas, what we know. What be believe. What we do…

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Photo by Christophe Vani

Although I have grown a lot in the past couple years toward loving and appreciating who I am, I still slag behind in my personal “physical maintenance.” I love churros more I guess, than I love myself.

A lot of times, people have to get really sick to embed the lesson of real, habituated, loving self care. I hope I do not need to go this far. I’m improving, all the time, ‘cuz already, I got pretty sick, more than half ass kickin’. And it changed me.

This week, I was inspired to make Beet Kvass. It seemed simple, economical and full of benefits. My kinda medicine.

Beet Kvass, a lacto-fermented beverage, from Russia and the Ukraine, is thought to be more hydrating than water. Drinking 4-5 ounces, morning and night, is said to clean the blood, liver and kidneys, aid digestion, improve regularity and provide the body with potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, vitamins A and C, folate and folic acid. And of course, it is rich in pro-biotics and beneficial enzymes.

Kvass can be made only with beets, sea salt and water. Traditionally it is made with whey but this is not necessary if one increases the salt.

I chose no-whey and to add red onion and ginger, as I had read about it’s taste of earth funk. I figured the onion and ginger would lift that up. It did. It brought great balance. It was totally delish. (FYI I like salt and sauerkraut.)

Beet Kvass

One Half Gallon

Use a glass jar, which may be covered loosely or sealed.
If choosing to close tight, be sure to allow gas out on occassion.

3-4 Medium Beets, option to peel, 2″ chunks ~ Do not shred~
Half Large Red Onion, 2″ chop
Two Inch Ginger Finger, sliced
1 1/2 Tbs. Sea Salt
Spring, Well, or Filtered Water

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Much depends on the heat of your home. Here in the tropics, well, the process goes fast, I may need more salt than you. Play around with it.

After two days, Sally Fallon of “Nourishing Traditions” says to put it in the fridge. Then once the liquid has been drunk make a soup out of it, or do a weaker second batch, reserving 1/2 c. liquid to start. I made soup!

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There are a million people talking about this on the web, like here at Wild Fermentations.

I really like the stuff and it is super easy to make. I need to clean my blood, and hydrate. So… simple, for now…if I stay with the beets and heat. Stay with self care.

I had to go on anti-bios this week. Long denied ear infection. This drink will help me clean my filters and replenish my gut. Nice I had some pre-conscience, intuitive pre-sight, going on with the beets.

Three months now living tropical. Finally, the heat has taken a back seat, windows down, doors closed at night. I even wore socks inside the house, tho’ that had more to do with being lazy to every- everyday sweep and mop the silt and sand from slick tile floors. Felt good. Socks. Not sweeping.

Soon, I’ll have a churro. “Seven” and I always split one. We’ve agreed we don’t need the cinnamon-sugar roll. It’s the sweet dough, crispy-ridged outside, chewey-goo inside texture-vault that makes it so damn good. The boy is pushin’ for his own. Maybe…with a Beet Kvass chaser. Heh. Heh. Heh.

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I’ll share this one with you!
Photo by Aperi Oculus on Flicker