Cilantro: A Natural Cleanser & Memory Booster 

                                               by Jennifer Good

   This week we’ll be giving our attention to the herb cilantro, the plant that gives us the coriander seed. Most popular in Mexican and Asian cuisines, cilantro is native to the eastern Mediterranean. European cooks have been said to use both the seeds and the leaves well into medieval times. While this parsley style herb may not appear to be much, it does pack some considerable health benefits into its sprigs.

    With its distinctly strong flavoring, cilantro is an excellent herb to use to season lower-calorie and reduced-fat dishes. Just five calories can be found in a serving size of nine sprigs. What’s more remarkable about this herb, however, is that in that five calorie serving you’ll find 1,350 IU of vitamin A and 62 mcg of Vitamin K. That means that a small serving will provide 27% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin A and 52% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K. 1

    Herbalists have also understood for centuries that fresh cilantro may be helpful in assisting your body to rid itself of unwanted elements. Studies have shown that levels of mercury, lead, and aluminum in the urine increase significantly after consuming large amounts of cilantro. It seems that cilantro changes the electric charge on intracellular deposits of heavy metals to a neutral state, which relaxes their tight bond to body tissue, freeing them up to be flushed from the body, including the brain (which is important if you want to avoid dementia later in life).

    The problem with heavy metals is that they accumulate in the body, causing numerous health problems that can seriously impact literally every major organ in the body. Studies show that heavy metals in the body may be implicated in everything from Alzheimer's to cardiovascular disease, from behavioral problems to kidney dysfunction, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, and even paralysis.

    Not just due to its heavy metal detoxing effect, but Cilantro itself may help improve your memory too. In a study published in the “Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture,” research suggests that there may be cognitive benefits from ingesting cilantro. In the study, young and old rats consumed ground cilantro leaves added to their food in 5, 10 or 15 percent concentrations, measured by weight. The rats on the cilantro-fed diet learned and performed a maze running task better than the control rats with cilantro-free diets. The interesting part is that the more cilantro they gave the rats, the better the effect. They even gave the rats amnesia drugs and found that the rats who ate the highest doses of cilantro appeared almost unaffected by the amnesia-inducing drugs—the more cilantro consumed, the less they were affected by the drugs. The researchers concluded that cilantro protects memory by suppressing the enzyme cholinesterase that breaks down acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter in the brain. This is interesting considering that deficiency in this acetylcholine neurotransmitter is associated with Alzheimer’s disease.1

    Herbs such as cilantro also contain phytochemicals. These herbs are known for their role in their prevention of cancer and other chronic diseases. The National Cancer Institute has determined that cilantro is among the group of herbs with anti-cancer properties.3

    The best thing about cilantro, however, may just be how easy it is to add to your diet. It’s a perfect freshly chopped and added to soups, salsas, chutneys, guacamole or any Mexican style dish, It also makes an excellent seasoning for everyday favorites such as scrambled eggs, veggie tacos and salads. However, if you are looking for a detoxing effect from heavy metals or a way to boost memory, it is best to use a more concentrated form of cilantro such as a tincture. For instance, the rats who showed a memory effect were consuming 10-15% of their diet in cilantro leaves -- not many dishes are made with just cilantro! In this case, supplementation may be ideal. 

   (Also here is a url with 2 videos, one by Dr. Janet Wahls, M.D. who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis,  and the other video by Bob Johnson explaining how myelin sheath, nerve coverings - associated with autoimmune diseases, can repair.  Dr. Wahls comments on the use of "brain foods" for restoration of myelin sheath growth to halt progression of MS symptoms.  This article on cilantro and the function of removing toxic metals hints at similar content.)

    Another way to get your daily dose of cilantro, though, is cilantro pesto, using a recipe Jon Barron got from Dr. David Williams. Process one cup packed fresh cilantro and six tablespoons of olive oil in a blender until the cilantro is chopped. Add one clove garlic; a half-cup almonds, cashews, or other nuts, and two tablespoons lemon juice. Blend to a lumpy paste. (Add a little hot water if necessary.) Eat a couple of teaspoons a day. Be careful; it tastes incredible and is addictive. (Note: the pesto freezes nicely, so you can make several batches at once.)


Succes with the Paleo Diet!

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Free List of Meats & Fish To Eat on The Paleo Diet

What should you eat on the Paleo diet?

   All diets and all ways of living involve one key concept - BALANCE!!!

   Use your head and listen to your body to stay healthy or regain health.  Your body is constantly communicating with you if you will only listen.   When you begin the Paleo remember it's not an all or nothing situation.  Nothing wrong with edging into it and also nothing wrong with straying off it occassionally.  Don't be rigid in your acceptance or rejection of the Paleo, or more correctly, Caveman diet.   Modify your eating habits and move at a comfortable pace that fits what you body is telling you.   This should be fun and you should enjoy the shopping for foods, the new recipes and cooking techniques and find yourself enjoying becoming healthier. 

   In most American diets the key healthy benefits are derived not from what you eat, but what you learn not to eat.   Eliminating bad foods, such as sugars, will work wonders for your health.

    Starting with meats, eat as much as you want for breakfast, lunch & dinner.  Cook the meats simply without too much added fat – broiling, baking, roasting, sautéing or browning, then pouring off excess liquid fat, or stir frying over high heat with a little oil (No deep fat frying except when it's "got to have it!!")  :)


How to Succeed with the Paleo Diet!

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   Are The Ingredients Of The Paleo Diet the Magic, or Is It What Is Not Eaten?

     The Paleo, or Caveman, diet is followed by many looking to lose weight, rectify digestive disorders, and to maintain good health and prevent illnesses.   One of the premises behind the diet is the use of food staples that were used by early human ancestors and those ingredients, because our body is accustomed to the foods, will be able to digest easier and keep us healthy.   With the advent of better food storage and preparation, refrigeration, mobility of food all over the earth,  we've added ingredients in those processes that our body has not evolved to for digestion.   Humans, like all evolutionary creatures, evolve over time to adapt to the environment and the adaptive process enables all living creatures to continue to live and propogate, that including our digestive system.

    What may be the larger component of this diet is it requires the elimination of certain foods from one's diet.   Dairy products, grains, legumes, processed and fast foods are examples of foods that should not be eaten.   Once one begins to eliminate those foods, then some of the benefits of the Paleo diet emerge, but is it due to changing foods in the diet or the elimination of foods known to not be healthy for us?

   My experience, as the chief cook and bottle washer in our house, has been watching the changes of my wife, positive, as a result of her starting the diet.   For years there have been digestive issues she has tried to overcome.   Her diet has included dairy, cereals, cheese, breads etc., as well as elimination of lutens, bleached flours.    On the new diet that the "head cook" prepares for her each night we've modified what we eat, however we've always used fresh, green, colorful and low fat local produced foods.  We are not generally heavy meat eaters and we try to do fresh fish weekly.  My wife though has always had a diet of minimally a bowl of cereal each day, possibly an energy bar or muffin/bagel with cream cheese.   At night she included a cup of ice cream whenvever a half gallon of 'mint chocolate' was available., which is 4-5 nights per week.  When she announced she was starting this diet it was announced to me that I "had to support her and do the diet too", or she could not do it. 
  Of course my response was I'm not the one with the digestive issues, it's you. Reality though was since I prepared the meals the entire family was affected so basically the 2 daughters and myself ended up on the Paleo diet.

    So far my wife seems to be benefitting from this diet, yet for me it's just "new food recipes" to try.   I think my non change may simply be I really don't eat a lot of dairy, hardly ever any ice cream, once a month for cereal, and never a bagel or muffin, and a fast food hamburger is a semi annual thing.   My diet has not been modified greatly however, hers has,  and I wonder if the success she's seeing comes from not eating certain things rather than eating what is prescribed on this diet.

    Of course our 17 and 20 y.o. daughters are still wailing and crying with the familiar mantra - "we want pasta!!" Let's see where this ends up.

Native Remedies Effective Remedies for You and Your Family


Mint Water Poached Egg Tuna Salad Recipe

    At  Herbfest 2010,  a gentleman from Brazil approached me to tell me how his family used mint when he was growing up.  I remembered it and tried it, to my delight.  

   Simple, easy, relaxing as you smell the mint when you cut and continue to smell as you cook.

    I made a very simple tuna salad using fresh ingredients ( you can make one better than I can so I'll not mention how or you might laugh at me!!)

    I had toasted some Sunflower bread and put the tuna salad on it.  Then I  took  Mint - leaves and stalks,  put them in half inch water in iron skillet with water boiling.

    Left them there for about 3-4 minutes and extracted the leaves and  stalks (aroma was wonderful).

    Took the eggs and poached them in my newly minted mint water.   After poaching, put over the tuna, made a simple hollandaise sauce, and

 sprinkled fresh French tarragon over the sauce covering my mint poached egg.

Winter Savory Recipes –

Winter Savory is a great mixing herb.  It blends well with different culinary oreganos, thymes and basils and can be added to meat, poultry or fish.  Its small leaves are the perfect compliment to herb cheeses or as last-minute additions to sautés.  Even though it has a strong flavor when fresh, it does not hold up well to prolonged stewing. Famous for making its mark on beans, dried Savory also perks up stuffings and can be mixed with Sage, Thyme, and Bay. Add to ground Turkey or Pork with Fennel Seed, Cayenne Pepper, and Thyme. Or, add a pinch to Chicken Salad (see below) or hearty soup. There are very few dishes that a little Winter Savory won't make better.