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    Thursday, March 31, 2011

    Kombucha

    My latest health food infatuation is Kombucha. I bought a bottle after hearing from a few sources that it was a healthful thing to drink.


    Kombucha refers to a fermented tea that people drink for medicinal reasons. It available commercially in health food stores. There is no scientific study that has proven or discounted the benefits of Kombucha, but there is a lot of anecdotal praise that suggests there might be something to it.


    People report that Kambucha can help heal cancer recovery. Anything that is purported to heal cancer can probably heals a couple of other things too, right?


    Kombucha reportedly has the following effects on health:


    • increases energy
    • increases metabolism
    • sharpens eyesight
    • aids joint recovery
    • relieves candidiasis
    • alleviates allergies
    • improves skin quality
    • aids digestion
    • treats HIV
    • relieves chronic fatigue
    • relieves hypertension
    • relieves arthritis
    • helps to digest starchy foods
    • relieves stomach after overindulging
    Some of the acids in Kambucha have antibacterial properties, which means it boosts your immune system. Below are some descriptions of the beneficial acids in Kombucha.


    Acids


    Glucuronic acid eliminates petruleum-based pollutants, such as plastics, herbicides, pesticides and resins. One by-product of glucuronic acid is glucosamine. Most people recognize this as a supplement one takes to aid in the health of cartilage, collagen and joint lubrication. I'd prefer to drink Kombucha and have my body produce its own glucosamine, as opposed to unnecessarily ingesting it and "hoping it makes its way to my joints." This is why people with arthritis may benefit from drinking Kombucha.


    Lactic Acid works in the digestive system and the circulatory system, keeping food waste moving and blood pumping. Lactic acid is also helpful in balancing pH levels in the body. People claim that Kombucha is helpful in preventing cancer by regulating blood pH.


    Acetic acid eliminates harmful bacteria.


    Usnic acid is a natural antibiotic that can be effective against many viruses.


    Oxalic Acid promotes intercellular production of energy.


    Malic acid helps to detoxify the liver.


    Gluconic Acid is produced by the bacteria in Kombucha. It can break down to caprylic acid, which is beneficial for sufferers of candidiasis and other yeast infections such as thrush.


    Butyric acid is produced by the yeast in Kombucha. It protects human cellular membranes and ,combined with Gluconic acid, strengthens the walls of the gut to combat yeast infections like candida.

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

    BYOB in TO - Intercontinental Toronto Yorkville

    To celebrate its 20th anniversary in Toronto, the Intercontinental Toronto Yorkville yesterday announced the launch of its new wine pairing menu at Signatures Restaurant. I hope to see more restaurants follow suit in Toronto. The BYOW culture in Montreal is one of my favourite things about the city.


    From Monday, March 28 onward, patrons can bring their favourite bottle of wine, and enjoy no corkage fee from Monday to Thursday, to be expertly paired with a selection of dishes created by chef de cuisine, Joseph Rabba.


    The menu features a unique food pairing for six different selections of wine:
    • Beef tenderloin paired for your favourite Cabernet (Bordeaux) - $32
    • Grilled lamb chops paired for your favourite Pinot Noir (Burgundy) - $32
    • Chicken supreme paired for your favourite Chardonnay - $26
    • Sea bass Thai yellow curry paired for your favourite Sauvignon Blanc - $28
    • Vanilla-poached lobster paired for your favourite Chablis - $30
    • Peppercorn-braised bison short rib paired for your favourite Shiraz - $28
    For reservations, please call 416.324.5885.


    Hours of operation:
    Monday through Saturday
    Breakfast 7 am - 11:30 am
    Lunch 11:30 am - 3 pm


    Sunday
    Breakfast 7 am - 10:30 am
    Brunch 10:30 am - 3 pm
    Dinner 6 pm - 10 pm


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    Monday, March 14, 2011

    Homemade Deodorant. Best thing ever.

    I made a spectacular lentil soup recently. I was surprised and the depth of flavour, although not entirely. Like best practices, traditional, flavour-layering soup-making dictates, it all starts with bacon fat. I've been eating 90% clean with small indulgences like cream and bacon. It actually feels pretty ideal.


    I promise to post that recipe soon. I used a traditional thyme-flavoured flavour base, but I added some unexpected ingredients at the end and was very pleased with the result.


    The recipe I want to tell you about today is the most wonderful recent discovery I've had! Homemade deodorant. My colleague, Cayley, told me her sister made some for her. It consists of three simple ingredients that you simply mix together.


    Equal parts:
    Coconut Oil
    Corn Starch
    Baking Soda
    Optional: Essential oil of your choice


    Mix all the ingredients together using a Kitchen-Aid mixer if you wish. I actually didn't even bother getting mine out. I just mixed it with my hands until it could take a spoon mixing. At first I thought the texture seemed a little wet so I slowly incorporated a bit more baking soda and cornstarch. You can adjust the texture to your preference. After all the ingredients are blended, transfer the cream into a small glass jar or Tupperware container.


    I used a blend of patchouli, bergamot, sandalwood and a single drop of lavender. Below, I offer a more extensive list of essential oil selections.


    Now all you skeptics out there, take note: the texture is remarkably similar to store-bought deodorant. It goes on smoothly and dissolves to a powder on your skin without evil aluminum or other harsh chemicals. It's been a breakthrough innovation for me as I'm always happy to find another way to eliminate toxins from my daily life.


    Maybe next Christmas everyone will receive personalized deodorant jars with customized scents.


    Think of the possibilities!
    • Agar oil
    • Bergamot oil
    • Cannabis flower
    • Cardamom seed oil
    • Cedarwood oil
    • Chamomile oil - for relaxation
    • Citronella oil
    • Clary Sage
    • Clove leaf oil
    • Eucalyptus oil
    • Frankincense oil
    • Geranium oil - aromatherapy for hormonal balance, particularly in women
    • Ginger oil
    • Grapefruit oil - invigorating
    • Jasmine oil - sensual
    • Lavender oil - relaxing, antiseptic
    • Neroli - comes from the bitter orange tree, expensive
    • Nutmeg Oil
    • Orange oil
    • Parsley oil
    • Patchouli oil - strong, earthy
    • Peppermint oil
    • Rose oil
    • Rosemary oil
    • Sandalwood oil - woody
    • Sassafras oil
    • Spearmint oil
    • Spruce
    • Star anise oil
    • Tea tree oil - antiseptic
    • Ylang-ylang - sweet, sensual

    Wednesday, March 2, 2011

    Anita Stewart: The Original Locavore

    Anita Stewart was a locavore before the word even existed.


    On February 22, 2011, Ontario Farm Fresh honoured Anita Stewart, culinary activist, author, communicator and food lover with the inaugural Ontario Farm Fresh Food Ambassador Award.


    The award was created to recognize an individual who has made a public commitment to promote local food and local food producers. This award was designed to also recognize someone who, because of their beliefs and actions, has inspired others to support Ontario farmers. The winner is someone who ‘walks the talk’, someone who believes in the Ontario agricultural industry and is proud to sing the praises of those who toil to bring quality, fresh food to our tables.


    Anita’s achievements range from many cookbook creations, the most recent being ‘Anita Stewart’s Canada: The Food, The Recipes, The Stories to being founder of the World’s Largest BBQ which has morphed into Canada’s Food Day. Anita has been supporting local farming long before it was trendy.


    A big congratulations to Anita for her well-deserved accomplishment!

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    Panic Attack = MSG

    This afternoon a strange sensation came over me. My heart began to race and my breathing quickened. My palms became sweaty. I felt anxious and charged-up like I was about to run a track race or go on stage in a play. I couldn't understand where this nervous adrenaline was coming from. I was having an unusually low-key work day after some meetings got cancelled.


    I thought maybe it was a panic attack but I wasn't having trouble breathing. I'd only had one coffee that morning. I kept pacing around and could not concentrate. One of my colleagues finally pointed out that it might have been the MSG in the dim sum we had eaten for lunch.


    It made perfect sense.


    I generally avoid eating MSG. I've moved away from hydrogenated oils, eschewing most crackers any particularly cheap forms of baked goods. I try to nourish my body with nutrients and minimize the negativity.


    I almost wonder if I'm allergic to MSG. But then again, wait, isn't that unpleasant feeling that we all experience just the modus operandi of MSG? Do you ever feel Great after eating MSG? Monosodium glutamate is the kind of food ingredient that makes me wake up in a cold sweat after having a night terror. Literally. Like I said, it makes my palms all sweaty.


    You can look up the reasons why MSG is scary, but I thought I'd offer you a handy list of names that MSG goes by in case you want to monitor your consumption:


    • Autolyzed Plant Protein
    • Autolyzed Yeast
    • Barley malt
    • Bouillon
    • Gelatin Calcium Caseinate
    • Glutamate
    • Glutamic Acid
    • Hydrolyzed Plant Protein (HPP)
    • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)
    • Maltodextrin
    • Monopotassium glutamate
    • Monosodium glutamate
    • Natural flavoring
    • Senomyx (wheat extract labeled as artificial flavor)
    • Sodium Caseinate
    • Textured Protein
    • Vegetable Protein Extract
    • Whey protein concentrate or isolate
    • Yeast Extract
    • Yeast food or nutrient