Food Choices


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Thank you for listening to the blogcast yesterday. As you may have realized, we had multiple crossed signals for the first 10-12 minutes, but then we stabilized, very nice mirror of our actual situation. If you missed the call, it seems that is archived and you might as well skip the beginning and pick up after we resolved our technical challenges.

Lois did not open the call lines because we were racing the clock. I could feel that she was trying to use our brief time to focus on practicalities, including measures each person can take right now. I have been going over similar issues with Dr. Hiranuma so I will try today to go over some basic concepts. One of the words that gave us a bit of grief in the translations was "mucilaginous" so let me try to tell you what it means. Basically, in terms of herbal medicine, the word is more or less synonymous with demulcent. These refer to moist properties that support both smoothness of tissues and viscosity. Many demulcent herbs are also absorbent and help to soak up toxins and bind them in a manner that facilitates safe elimination.

So, let me bring this down to earth. If you are standing in the kitchen wondering what to have for breakfast, think of oatmeal. As you know, it soaks up a lot of water when cooked and then the pan is slimy and requires a bit more effort to clean. This gives a vivid image of what mucilaginous means. Now, compare this to something like corn flakes which are dry and much more crumbly, even when soaked in milk or some milk substitute.

If one likes Oriental noodles, then the same kinds of choices exist. Buckwheat (soba) is dry and konnyaku is mucilaginous. Taking somewhat more typical choices in Western cuisine, kasha and corn bread are dry whereas barley and tapioca are moist. So, for purposes of addressing some of risks posed by radiation, one is well advised to tilt towards the foods that are more slimy!

In the world of herbs, think of cough syrups and what coats the throat to ease the irritation: loquats, slippery elm, licorice, and marshmallow root. Pacifi Ka contains Irish moss, milky oat seeds, and wild yam. Even when choosing the spices, I chose those that are a little more mucilaginous: fennel and cinnamon. If you compare fennel to something like peppermint or basil, you will immediately appreciate that it is just a bit more soothing and then compare cinnamon to cloves or even ginger and you understand the logic of the formulating.

So, now if we think of our passion for fast food or snacks, popcorn would top the list of drying foods, but even a little bit of salt helps to make it more moist since the salt has an affinity for moisture. The butter or ghee on the popcorn also helps to make it less drying. It you want to try to enhance its radioprotectiveness, you can experiment with exotic flavors such as turmeric powder, seaweed flakes, and nutritional yeast. It this way, you can continue to enjoy your favorite snacks without feeling that you are undermining your health. If you can also find blue corn popcorn or multicolored, organic popcorn, then you are pointing the direction of some flavonoids.

This brings me to the next subject.

There are food substitutions that are seriously resisted by many people. For instance, I suggested black rice on the radio program. However, there are many kinds of rice that are also good substitutes. They may look a little weird in nori rolls but what the heck. I am personally passionate about forbidden rice and Bhutanese red rice. I am also partial to Wehani and wild rice and there are many other grasses that I want to introduce in the months ahead, including Cyperus rotundus that I mentioned on the radio. The root powder is quite reddish, well reddish-brown, so it is not surprising that the tubers are a rich source of natural iron as well as numerous other minerals. The tubers are completely edible so even if this is regarded as a weed and you want to remove it from your yard, you ought to consider roasting the tubers and using them to support lipid metabolism and, in my estimation, radioprotective pigments. It is interesting to note that much to the chagrin of those who are trying to cultivate other crops, the root system of this grass seems to be impervious to pesticides.

It's hard not to be a little facetious and note that there are plants in Nature strong enough to stand up to Monsanto!

So, let me ramble on a bit more about food. Every time we walk through a supermarket aisle, we see choices. Try to focus on foods with a lot of pigmentation, especially in the purple range. This means that when looking at potatoes, you can get the starchy white ones or take one more step and study the red ones and then the purple ones. The same is true in the fruit section: look at the grapes and berries and even leaves of kale and chard. You will find many that are very high in colorful leaves or stalk. This ought to be considered over the more anemic looking lettuces.

As you know, I was not born on a farm nor with a green thumb so my learning curve has been somewhat steep, but once making a commitment to the environment, I have felt greatly rewarded by the guidance offered by Her. I also think that when we just flow, we will tend to bypass the overly rational part of our brains that are crammed with virus-riddled programs. Last year, I planted a lot of dark berries and am thrilled to see them thriving now as spring is trying to stage a comeback. Several months ago, I began craving seaweed and actually ordered cases of it. All I am saying here is that instincts can be more reliable than textbooks, not to mention mainstream pundits. However, there is an adjustment process that is necessary because we are so used to voices of authority that we are constantly seeking them to justify or refute our instincts.

For example, in reading the agonizing PubMed studies, not only was I horrified by the treatment of the animals, but by the idiocy of some of the extraction processes, many of which used hexane and other chemicals. No respectable herbalist would use hexane as a solvent so a huge number of studies performed used repugnant methodologies. In short, I could spend months pouring over those studies or just rely on common sense. Most of you expect some mixture of orthodoxy and intuition, but there are no important conclusions except those derived from clinical experience and based on outcome.

As you know, these themes will be continued.






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