Asparagus

Today’s featured food was one that I previously ate only when it was smothered in cheese sauce. Since ditching the dairy, I’ve come to appreciate how delicious fresh organic asparagus is, raw or lightly cooked. And there is more to appreciate about this beneficial vegetable.

Asparagus

Asparagus contains phytochemical compounds such as chlorophyll and lutein that are crucial organ cleansers. They go deeply into the liver, spleen, pancreas and kidneys, scrubbing out the toxins there. Chlorophyll also binds to amino acids such as glutamine and threonine to help remove heavy metals.

Some of the phytochemicals in asparagus actually inhibit toxins. After driving out pesticides and heavy metals from the organs, these specialized phytochemicals stay behind, repelling new toxins. This makes asparagus an amazing tool for battling all varieties of cancer.

Asparagus

This vegetable is high in easily absorbable B vitamins, silica, iron, zinc, chromium, phosphorus, magnesium and selenium. It supports the adrenal glands, and alkalizes the body by flushing out unproductive acids.

Asparagus really shines as an anti-aging wonder. In Life Changing Foods, by Anthony William, he writes that every spear of asparagus that we eat was once on its way to becoming a small tree! While all vegetables have value, most can’t claim this hidden potential. When we consume young asparagus shoots their propulsive energy is transferred to us, keeping us young and and helping in the recovery and prevention of neurological disorders.

Asparagus

Bring more asparagus into your life if you suffer from multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, fibromyalgia, cancer, migraines, Menieres, diabetes, shingles, Epstein Barr and other viruses, thyroid disorders, Lyme, infertility, sleep apnea, skin issues, muscle spasms and stiffness, joint pain and menopause symptoms.

Asparagus can be eaten raw as a snack or chopped and included in salads, juiced with other vegetables, steamed or grilled, or made into a luscious and nourishing soup.

I picked up a couple of bunches of organic asparagus today, with the intention of making soup this weekend. I’ll juice any leftover spears. I also plan to bring more asparagus into my life. Spring is the perfect season for rejuvenation.

Asparagus

You can learn more about the healing power of foods, and enjoy a recipe for each featured food, in Life Changing Foods, available through the link below.

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Dandelions

One of the first signs of spring, even when the season itself seems confused, is the appearance of dandelions. These cheerful, bright yellow flowers dot lawns, fill ditches and dance across fields. Most consider the dandelion a weed to be eradicated. Children see them as wish granters and essentials for flower necklaces. My friend Marva appreciates their musical abilities and has taught the whole world how to make a dandelion horn. Her charming and folksy video went viral! (Enjoy the dandelion horn video HERE)

For me, this magical plant that still delights the artistic child that dwells within me has become a source of healing.

Dandelions

Anthony William, author of Life Changing Foods, writes that the defining characteristic of dandelions is bitterness. It is this quality that lends this wild food restorative properties. Dandelions get your blood pumping and your organs spring cleaning, clearing away radiation, toxic heavy metals, DDT, and other poisons.

Every part of this plant is edible and useful…root, leaves, flower and even the stem. And every part varies in its degree of bitterness and targets different areas of the body.

Dandelions

The sunny yellow blossoms are the least bitter, and they cleanse the stomach and intestinal tract. The leaves, which are more bitter, contain phytochemicals that purify the blood, help with circulation and remove toxins from the lymphatic system, making them helpful for those with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, swollen lymph nodes and edema.

The even more bitter stem of the dandelion cleanses dense organs such as the spleen, liver and brain. And the root, the most bitter part of the plant, forces organs to purge at a deep level. As Anthony says, dandelion root is not for the faint of heart!

Full of nutrients such as vitamins A and B, manganese, iodine, calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium, silica and chlorophyll, dandelions energize the entire body, preventing illnesses and fighting off diseases.

Dandelions m

Dandelion leaves can be consumed raw in a salad, cooked like other greens, run through a juicer with fruits and veggies or steeped in hot water for a refreshing and cleansing tea. The flowers make a wonderful cold tea. Pick fresh blooms and let them steep in cold water overnight. Sweeten the drink with raw honey if desired. And the roots can be dried and finely chopped for hot tea, or roasted and used as a substitute for coffee. Roasting takes the edge off of the bitterness.

Dandelions are readily available from spring until fall. They can be picked fresh from any area that has not been treated with chemicals for weed control. Also avoid the strips of land along roads as these tend to be contaminated with pollutants.

My favorite place to harvest dandelions is in my own backyard, where I have a very healthy crop growing. I enjoy using the fresh flowers and leaves to create a flavorful hot tea. I’ll be daring and try the root very soon.

Dandelions

Aloe Vera

I have used the gel from an aloe vera plant many times, to soothe a burn, an insect bite or a scrape. I did not know, until recently, that fresh aloe vera gel is also valuable when taken internally. Aloe vera water is now a part of the 90 Day Thyroid Detox that I am doing. Each month different smoothies, waters or healing drinks are included. It was time to experience this plant that is considered a wild food.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera contains 70+ trace minerals that work together with the phytochemical aloin to calm inflammation in the gut, making it helpful for Crohn’s, irritable bowel syndrome and colitis. This anti-inflammatory action rejuvenates the appendix and the ileum, the part of the intestinal tract where vitamin B12 is produced when the digestive system is functioning correctly.

Aloe vera is antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal, and rids the body of mold and parasites. Plus it kills off the pathogens that cause colon cancer, stomach cancer and rectal cancer, eliminates H. pylori, and supports the pancreas. Aloe is great for the skin too when consumed daily, improving it from the inside out and creating a youthful glow.

Aloe Vera

The gel of this plant stops the growth of polyps and hemorrhoids, soothes stomach ulcers, heals bladder and kidney infections and flushes toxins out of the bloodstream and body. It purges the liver specifically of toxins such as pesticides, and helps to restore a fatty liver. And it supports the adrenals while drawing radiation from the thyroid. Aloe is even helpful for pets. Apply the gel from a fresh leaf to rashes, tick and flea bites, and areas of hair loss.

So how do you enjoy the many health benefits from fresh aloe vera gel? And where do you find them? I asked the helpful produce manager at Natural Grocers to bring in fresh, organic leaves. He had them here in two days. They are huge, looking like a limb off of a sea creature, and need to be kept refrigerated.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

Trim off the base of the leaf, then cut a two inch section for use. Wrap the cut edge in a damp towel or plastic wrap and return the remainder of the leaf to the fridge. Leaves will stay fresh for two weeks when kept refrigerated. Carefully fillet the aloe vera section, removing the top layer of the green outer skin of the leaf, exposing the gel. Scoop out the gel with a spoon, adding it to a blender. Pour in 2 cups of water and blend for 30-60 seconds. Transfer aloe vera water to a glass and enjoy.

And how does aloe vera water taste? It has a slight green taste, but surprisingly, it isn’t bitter. The water has a slightly thicker consistency, without being slimy. I like it and find it easy to drink. That’s good because I will be drinking it for the next 60 days!

Aloe vera has been used medicinally since ancient times and yet many, including me, have been unfamiliar with its many healing properties, beyond being helpful for cuts and burns. I look forward to experiencing the benefits it offers.

Aloe Vera

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Broccoli

Today’s featured food, broccoli, is a member of the cruciferous vegetables group, along with cabbage, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, arugula, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. Cruciferous veggies have amazing cleansing and healing abilities, especially when combined with other foods.

Broccoli

In Life Changing Foods, by Anthony William, I learned that cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli help to prevent a variety of cancers, including those that attack the brain, breasts, reproductive organs, lungs and intestinal tract. These veggies are especially beneficial for the lungs, due to their sulfur rich composition, stimulating the growth of lung tissue. Crucifers are a great source of vitamins B, A, C, E and K.

In particular, broccoli is like an all purpose multivitamin for the entire body. In addition it contains trace minerals and other nutrients that support the immune system and enhances all the systems of the body.

Broccoli

Eat more broccoli, and crucifers, to help heal liver disorders, nodules on bones and glands, adrenal fatigue, hypertension, depression and the herpes viruses. This green veggie also aids diabetes, migraines, anxiety, ADHD, Epstein Barr, shingles, aches and pains, joint pain and inflammation, leg cramps, menopause symptoms and heart palpitations.

When combined with asparagus, broccoli increases the cancer fighting compounds found in asparagus. It also strengthens the kidney cleansing phytochemicals in asparagus.

Broccoli

Broccoli can be eaten raw, added to salads, lightly steamed, stir fried or combined with other foods in casseroles. One of my favorite ways to enjoy this veggie is in a healthy macaroni and broccoli baked dish created by Anthony. You can find that recipe HERE.

I used to buy frozen vegetables most of the time, for convenience. Since going plant based, I rarely purchase bags of frozen veggies, preferring instead to buy fresh produce and spend the extra couple of minutes chopping or slicing in preparation for cooking. It’s a meditative experience, a hands on way of contributing to my health and wellbeing. Cutting my broccoli into florets tonight, for dinner, only took a minute. Long enough, though, to feel gratitude for all the health benefits it brings to me.

Broccoli

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Grapes

Like bananas, grapes are often overlooked as a healthy food choice, due to their natural sweetness. They can be judged as being too high in calories, carbs or sugar and therefore they are eliminated from a health conscious diet. However, also like bananas, it is unwise to dismiss this juicy, powerful fruit.

Grapes

Grapes contain phytochemicals that are critical for kidney health. Those phytochemicals bind onto wastes that the kidneys have difficulty filtering. Grapes are excellent for the liver as well, helping to cleanse away debris, processed food and by products that can clog up lobules in the liver.

Powerful micronutrients in grape skins eliminate parasites, mold and unproductive fungus from the intestinal tract. And antioxidants enable grapes to help fight and prevent most forms of cancer.

Grapes

Additionally, grapes expel radiation from the body, draw out DDT and toxic heavy metals from the liver, kidneys, spleen and other organs, and they are a potent antiviral for autoimmune disorders. And finally, grapes are an amazing energy boosting food.

I had the joy and pleasure of visiting vineyards in Italy last year. Our tour group learned about the care and tasks involved in growing the best grapes, at Fattoria Il Poggio, near Montecarlo in the Tuscany region. What a beautiful sight, those rows and rows of grape vines, with the mountains in the background. After our al fresco dinner at Fattoria Il Poggio, complete with wines made from their carefully tended grapes, I left with a new appreciation for this fruit.

Grapes can be added to juices, smoothies and salads, dried into raisins, or…my favorite…lightly rinsed and eaten as a snack. In Life Changing Foods, by Anthony William, the chapter on grapes comes with a fun and simple recipe for grape slushies, using frozen grapes and coconut water. This cold drink reminds me of the snow cones I used to enjoy, in my favorite flavor, grape. This is a healthy, wholesome version of that summer treat.

Anthony has included a fresh grape jelly recipe as well, made in the food processor. It has the added health benefits of raw honey and a squeeze of lemon. I will be trying out this recipe for the first time on Tuesday. I think it will make a great topping for frozen banana ice cream!

Such an unpretentious food packed with healing properties. That’s the grape. Enjoy any of the varieties…concord, red or white….and reap good health.

Grapes

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Papayas

I have added frozen papaya to morning smoothies, and enjoyed it thawed in fruit salads. However, I have never purchased a fresh papaya and prepared it at home, until this week. This squatty fruit, plain looking on the outside, with sweet tender fruit inside, is a powerful food, especially for those with digestive issues.

Papayas Food Friday

Papaya is the most easily digested food available. Anthony William shares, in Life Changing Foods, that each papaya contains hundreds of powerful digestive enzymes that support the pancreas, aid digestion and mend the walls of the intestinal tract, reducing inflammation and preventing the formation of scar tissue.

This fruit’s amino acids and enzymes help to repel viruses while enhancing the alkalinity inside the intestinal tract. For those suffering from any kind of stomach or intestinal disorder, papayas are a blessing. They reverse colitis, Crohn’s, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, diverticulitis, gastritis, gastric spasms, liver disease and pancreatitis. They also destroy unhealthy bacteria and parasites in the gut.

Papayas Food Friday

Additionally, papayas relieve constipation and they are soothing to the stomach when consumed after an illness or a time of fasting. Finally, papayas are great for the skin. This fruit has anti-wrinkle properties, due to its high content of vitamins, minerals and caratenoids. Besides creating a healthy glow, papayas help to clear up eczema, psoriasis and acne.

I decided to experience my first freshly prepared papaya by creating a papaya boat for dinner. The fruit, which has a mottled yellow skin when ripe, was extremely easy to cut in two. There are dark seeds within, that are edible. The spicy seeds are beneficial for eliminating parasites.

Papayas Food Friday

Using half the papaya, I scooped out the seeds, sampling a couple, and filled the center with thawed wild blueberries and freshly sliced strawberries. Dinner was ready!

This was a simple, delicious meal. The fruit of the papaya is reminiscent of cantaloupe, with a milder, sweeter flavor that I enjoyed. With every bite I took, I knew this humble fruit was bringing healing to my digestive system.

And this is important to me. I have had a lifetime of digestive problems. Drinking celery juice has helped me tremendously, easing a host of problems that I have suffered with since childhood. I know papaya is soothing and strengthening my stomach and intestinal tract even more. And it is crucial to me, that papaya supports the pancreas. I’ve lost my father and two friends to pancreatic cancer. I want to promote health and wellness in my pancreas and throughout my digestive system.

This fruit can do that for me. And right now, I have the other half of a papaya in the fridge, ready for me to enjoy.

Papayas Food Friday

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Wild Blueberries

I have loved blueberries since my childhood. My dad’s favorite pie was blueberry pie, and that sweet dessert was my first experience with this little berry. Growing up I also enjoyed blueberry pancakes and blueberry cobbler. It wasn’t until my adult years that I ever tried eating the berries by themselves. It was fun to pick my own berries, at local farms, popping a few that were warmed by the sun into my mouth as I worked.

Wild Blueberries

Imagine my delight when I discovered that the wild blueberry, from Maine in the USA, is considered one of the most powerful foods on the earth. In Life Changing Foods, by Anthony William, he writes that cultivated blueberries, while still a nutritious food, don’t offer even a fraction of the health benefits that their wild cousins do.

Wild blueberries have learned to adapt to climate changes and they have learned how to thrive, like no other food on the planet. They have extremely high levels of antioxidants, bringing healing to any damaged part of the body. Wild blueberries are the most effective food for eradicating heavy metals and other toxins from the body. They are a powerful brain food and amazing at restoring the liver.

Wild Blueberries

Wild Blueberries

Wild blueberries can help prevent any type of cancer and they are so restorative that they are beneficial for any symptom, whether physical, emotional or spiritual. Anthony believes that in the future, the properties of the wild blueberry will be the key that unlocks the secrets of healing diseases.

This health altering berry is easy to incorporate into the diet. It is crucial to purchase wild blueberries, rather than regular berries, and the easiest way to find them is in the frozen foods section at the grocery store. I buy the largest bag available, at Walmart. Wild blueberries are readily found at most grocery and health food stores.

Wild Blueberries

Wild Blueberries

My favorite way to enjoy wild blueberries is by adding them to my morning smoothies or smoothie bowls. Combined with a banana, mangoes, cilantro and a spoonful each of Hawaiian spirulina, Atlantic dulse flakes and barley grass juice extract, these berries create a very effective heavy metal detox smoothie. I drink one of these at least three times a week.

I top pancakes, free from gluten, dairy, eggs and sugar, with thawed wild blueberries and organic maple syrup, for a healthy weekend breakfast. And for an easy and nutritious treat, combine frozen wild blueberries with frozen chunks of bananas and blend in food processor or blender until creamy. Yum!

Wild Blueberries

Add wild blueberries to water for a refreshing, fruity drink, to green salads or eat them plain, frozen or thawed. As one whose first experience with blueberries was in a pie, I love the recipe for raw wild blueberry pie, in the Life Changing Foods book. With its date, coconut and cashews crust and naturally sweet wild blueberries and mango filling, this luscious pie is simple to make and full of health boosting goodness. You can find my blog post with the wild blueberry pie recipe HERE.

This is one food I keep in the freezer at all times. I’m grateful for all that it offers to my health and well being. Thanks, Dad, for introducing me to blueberries!

Wild Blueberries

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Cilantro

I had always considered today’s featured food as a garnish or a flavorful addition to salsa and Mexican food. When I switched to a plant based lifestyle, I discovered this herb has amazing health benefits.

Cilantro is a powerfully cleansing food, removing toxic heavy metals from the brain, organs and other body systems. With its mineral salts comprised of sodium, potassium and chloride, cilantro can pass through the blood-brain barrier, pulling toxins from the brain and freeing neurons from toxic metal oxidized residue.

Cilantro is a valuable liver detoxifier and supports the adrenal glands. This herb also balances blood glucose levels, warding off weight gain, brain fog and memory problems. It’s antiviral, making it an effective weapon against Epstein-Barr, shingles and herpetic viruses. Cilantro’s antibacterial properties kill off every form of bacteria and flushes their waste from the body. For any type of chronic or mystery illness, cilantro is an important addition to the diet.

Some people dislike cilantro, experiencing a bad taste when they eat it. Anthony William, author of Life Changing Foods, writes that people who perceive a bitter or harsh flavor when eating cilantro have a higher rate of heavy metal oxidation going on. The heavy metals in their bodies are corroding at a more rapid rate, creating toxic runoff. This runoff makes its way into the lymphatic system and saliva, which results in the bad taste when cilantro is eaten, as it binds onto the oxidative debris. If someone dislikes the taste of cilantro, that could be an indicator that he or she really needs its healing benefits.

To best remove toxic heavy metals from the body, consume fresh cilantro. It is so much more than a garnish for guacamole. Try adding it to smoothies, juices, chopped in salads and salsas, and sprinkling it on vegetables, curries, and soups.

I had suffered from restless leg syndrome for years. There are several causes for this condition, including a build up of heavy metals in the body. My restless legs made extended trips by car or airplane very uncomfortable. Last year, facing long flights across the Atlantic, I decided to try detox smoothies as a way of easing my legs. Every morning, for 30 days before flying, I drank a detox smoothie, made from 1 banana, 1 cup of wild blueberries, 1 cup of frozen mango chunks, 1 orange, 1 bunch of cilantro, and a teaspoon each of hemp seeds, Atlantic dulse and Hawaiian spirulina. I did not experience restless legs at all on the flight to and from Italy, nor did I later on my UK trip. I drink a detox smoothie at least twice a week, and I have not had restless legs since.

I include this wonder food in my diet as often as I can. For lunch today I sprinkled it on my orange/avocado salad. Tonight I’ll juice it with celery, apple, and ginger. I am grateful for the healing cilantro brings into my body.

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Onions

I have not previously been a fan of today’s featured food. When ordering salads or burgers in a restaurant I would request “no onions, please”. However, that was my old way of eating. As I have embraced a plant based lifestyle wholeheartedly, I have come to appreciate the many health benefits of onions.

My opinion about onions shifted when I read about them in Life Changing Foods by Anthony William. The info I am sharing comes from the section on this versatile vegetable.

Onions are highly medicinal. They are one of the best foods available for keeping down bacterial overgrowth in the body, making them an important choice for anyone struggling with SIBO, small intestinal bacteria overgrowth.

Onions enhance the body’s production of B12. The sulfur they contain makes them naturally antibiotic. They also help to rid the body of radiation, viruses, pesticides, herbicides and toxic heavy metals. In addition onions ease joint pain, degeneration and discomfort, and help to repair tendons and connective tissue. The sulfur in onions also helps to slow iron loss.

High in the trace minerals zinc, manganese, iodine and selenium, onions rejuvenate the skin and protect the lungs. They help to combat colds and flus that cause bronchitis and bacterial pneumonia. And finally, the anti-inflammatory properties of the onion is good for the intestines, healing ulcers and soothing the intestinal tract.

This powerful veggie has gone from being a food I avoid to one that I include in my meals as often as possible. Almost every dish I prepare starts with sautéed chopped onions. They go into soups, rice and lentil dishes, curries and chili. I combine them with green peppers, carrots and celery to make veggie bowls. The huge shift for me is that I now include raw chopped or sliced red onions in salads and salsas. I even run them through the juicer occasionally along with other fresh veggies.

My attitude toward onions has changed so much that I now keep a good supply of them on hand in my kitchen. I know that if I have an onion, some vegetables, rice, and herbs or spices I can quickly prepare a wholesome, nutritious meal in minutes. I look forward to trying new recipes incorporating this wonder food.

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Apples

For many of us, an apple is one of the first fruits we remember eating as a child. They conjure up warm feelings and fond memories…crisp apples on a cool autumn day, picking apples in an orchard, bobbing for apples at a fall party, toting apple slices to school in a lunchbox. They symbolize family values, as in apple pie and gifts for school teachers. And, they represent health. We can all recite the old adage, An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

It’s good to know that apples can promote health and well being. Because that saying is more that a cute rhyme. I’ve discovered in the past couple of years just how incredibly powerful this little fruit is!

Apples play a crucial role in fighting inflammation of all kinds. They calm the systems of the body by reducing viral and bacterial loads that inflame the body. In addition, the phytochemicals in apples feed the neurons of the brain and increase electrical activity. That makes them brain food!

Red skinned apples are especially beneficial. The pigments that create that rosy color have anti-obesity properties and strengthen the digestive system. They are the best colon cleanser. Pectin from an apple rids the intestinal tract of bacteria, viruses, yeast and mold. It also helps to eliminate debris that clogs pockets in the intestines.

This powerhouse of a fruit helps to pull heavy metals from the body and detoxifies the brain of MSG. They hydrate the body at a cellular level, providing trace minerals and salts and electrolytes, making them ideal to consume after exercise or a stressful day.

There are so many flavorful ways to enjoy the healing benefits of apples, without baking them in a pie or covering them with sticky caramel.

Slice them up and eat them plain, or pair with celery sticks and dates for a snack that supports the adrenal glands. I like to dip apple slices in organic, no sugar added peanut butter, for a mid afternoon treat, or make a healthy “caramel” dip by combining 6 dates, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and a little water in the blender. Yum!

Chopped apples can be added to any salad, for extra flavor and a crisp texture. And they are great for juicing. Apples add sweetness naturally to juices and can be added to other fruits or greens for a refreshing drink. One of my favorite hot beverages combines apple juice with spices, orange slices and cranberries for a soothing cider. Or, if craving something sweet, apples can be sliced in two, cored, and the center filled with walnuts and a dollop of 100% pure maple syrup. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake about 20 minutes, then serve warm. What a delicious and satisfying dessert.

Try adding an apple a day, or two or three, to your diet and see how your body and health responds.

Apple slices with a sauce of blended dates and cinnamon.

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