Energy Up! Eat From the Garden and Feel Amazing!
The Important Role of Enzymes
by Stacey Tress
Hello Summer! I love all the seasons we get in Saskatchewan, but there’s something special about summer. We are coming into our first real summer here at our new place in Rhein (since moving from Yorkton last June), and I’m so excited for our garden this year! Last fall we moved as many perennial edibles from our home in Yorkton to our new home (raspberries, asparagus, strawberries, cherries, herbs like chives, oregano, thyme). Last year our father-in-law tilled up a big garden plot for us and that’s when I began dreaming about what to plant. We purchased some cherry and Saskatoon berry seedlings last year and planted them along the back of our “traditional” annual garden. This spring we added a few more cherry (a Juliet Cherry that we planted to celebrate my oldest daughter’s 7th birthday—her name is Julie), and haskcap berry. I love that we are growing gardens all over our property—some annual, some perennial, and really there are a mix of both! It’s a proud mama moment to see my girls eating right from the garden. Instilling healthy eating choices in our girls is my pleasure and duty. Eating something raw everyday (even if it’s served alongside something cooked) is an important lifestyle choice.
Why Eat/Incorporate Raw Foods?
Eating a high-enzyme diet consisting of raw fruits and vegetables, sprouted seeds, nuts, and grains can profoundly increase your chances of achieving optimal health. Eating predominantly cooked food puts a tremendous strain on the body. To understand why this is true, you need to understand the role enzymes play. Enzymes are in the cells of every living plant and animal. It is enzyme activity that accomplishes all biological work from blinking an eye, to lifting a finger, to having a thought.
When we eat, we need enzymes to help digest the food. If the food we are eating is raw—whether it is a cucumber, dandelion greens, a carrot, or sprouts—all the enzymes are right there in the food itself, ready to go to work for us. Enzymes are catalysts that speed up how we break down food for proper digestion, which is key for good assimilation of nutrients and overall health.
If the food is cooked beyond 118ºF (48ºC), these naturally occurring enzymes are killed by heat, and our body must manufacture its own digestive enzymes to do the job. When the body spends the majority of its time digesting cooked food, it is unable to divert the necessary energy to make the type of enzymes needed to do other tasks. There can be a tug-of-war between the demands of the digestive system for a constant supply of digestive enzymes and the needs of the body for the metabolic enzymes vital for cleansing, healing, and building. Without an adequate supply of metabolic enzymes, over time, we suffer.
Suffering due to lack of enzymes in the diet may take the form of disease, indigestion, constipation, age spots, fatigue, wrinkles, declining eyesight, declining memory, irritability, allergies, and candida, to name a few. This decline in health is usually attributed solely to “aging.” But it may be the combined result of two facts: over time the body loses its ability to manufacture enzymes (young adults have 30 times the enzymes of the elderly); and when we eat food that is cooked, it forces our bodies to manufacture enzymes for digestion instead of enzymes that could be used for healing.
The Standard American Diet (SAD) of meat, bread, dairy, processed and cooked food, caffeine and alcohol is not only enzyme-less, it also creates an acid state in the body which can cause a variety of health problems. On the cellular level, our body needs to be in a predominantly alkaline state to take in nutrients and oxygen efficiently to expel toxins.
How to Get Your RAW On!
Let’s face it, eating raw is pretty easy to do for most of us Saskatchewan folks in the summer months. Farmers’ Markets are booming, backyard gardens are bountiful, and community gardens are in full swing -> BUT the more challenging part can be how to incorporate this RAW come the long winter months. I’ll definitely chat more on this topic later in a fall/winter article. I also wrote a previous article for WHOLifE called “Grow Your Own Sprouts,” which you may find inspiring, but for now let’s focus on what you can do this summer.
Oatmeal for breakfast, a salmon salad sandwich for lunch, and a hamburger with potato salad for supper…could this sound familiar for your family?
Try it this way:
A Multi-Grain Melange (a breakfast combo of soaked wheat, rye, barley, oats, raisins, blended together) topped with fresh garden raspberries.
If that option is just a bit too different, enjoy your usual oatmeal but break out your omega juicer and make yourself a homemade “juice” as they are loaded with enzymes! Juicing combo ideas: carrot, beet, red pepper, spinach, and parsley juice or cucumber, sprouts, and parsley.
Salmon salad lettuce wrap with green onions, chives, dill, and red onion from the garden with a garden greens foraged salad. (Try a kombucha-based salad dressing for an added probiotic kick!)
Pan-seared salmon served over a daikon noodle salad (noodle recipe below).
Enjoy that burger and potato salad if you must, but maybe do your digestion a favour and lose the wheat bun (try it on a grilled Portobello mushroom, use a lettuce cup, or try it on a sweet potato pancake. Add some serious enzyme punch to the “usual” potato salad by stirring in a BIG handful of chiffonade chopped garden greens, some chives, and top it with some fresh garden microgreens (or sprouts).
Adding in SOMETHING raw, soaked, sprouted, or fermented with EVERY meal, even if you aren’t keen on going full raw, will up your energy, improve your digestion, and have you feeling awesome. Pair that concept with eating less wheat products (like no hamburger buns, no toast, no wheat muffins, no cereal) and WOW!, your body will surely give you tons of love in return.
Chinese 5-Spice Turkey Lettuce Cups
Asian flavours are tough to replace, but the deep, rich flavour that was once only found in soy sauce is brought out with a fermented coconut product called coconut aminos. You can find coconut aminos in most health food stores.
Yield 3–4 servings
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 lb ground turkey
1 1/2 tbsp Chinese 5-spice
sea salt/pepper to taste
2 tbsp coconut aminos
2 tsp sesame tahini
2 tbsp coconut aminos
1 tbsp cold-pressed sesame oil
1 tsp sesame seeds for garnish
1 large carrot, shredded (approx. 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup cilantro chopped
1/2 cup bell peppers chopped
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1/4 cup red cabbage, shredded
1 lime, cut into wedges
1 tbsp sesame seeds for garnish
1 head of butter or bibb lettuce
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the coconut oil. Add the ground turkey, Chinese 5-spice, salt, and pepper. With a wooden spoon, break the meat up in the pan and spread the spices around. Cook until browned.
To make the sauce, combine all ingredients except for the sesame seeds in a small mixing bowl.
Use as many toppings as you like and serve in cups of lettuce.
Nightshade free? Leave the bell peppers out of the toppings.
Daikon Noodle Salad
2–3 daikon radishes
1 large carrot
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil or cold-pressed sesame oil
sea salt and pepper to taste
Rinse and peel the outer skin of the daikon radish with a standard vegetable peeler. Using a julienne peeler, continue to “peel” the radishes into noodle-shaped pieces. Repeat this process with the carrot.
In a large mixing bowl, toss the julienned radishes and carrots with the chopped cilantro, lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper. Serve immediately to retain the crunch, as the daikon becomes soggy if it sits too long before serving.
*Camping Tip* –> pre-peel and bag up the vegetables and mix up just before serving at the campsite! Great side dish that can accompany your fresh fish catch of the day!
Mock Sour Cream and Chive Dip
Yield: 1 cup (4 servings)
This tastes like “ranch dip” only better! Serve it with crudites.
1 cup soaked raw cashews
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp minced fresh chives or green onions
1 tbsp minced fresh basil
1 tbsp minced dill
Place the cashews, water, lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt in a blender and process until smooth. Stop occasionally to scrape down the sides of the blender jar with a rubber spatula. Add the chives, basil, and dill weed and pulse briefly to mix. Chill at least 2 hours before serving. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Mock Sour Cream and Chive Dip will keep for 5 days.
Crudites—the French word for cut-up raw veggies. This colourful combination (carrot, celery, cucumber, red bell pepper, broccoli, and cherry tomatoes), cut into attractive chip shapes, works for both a daily snack and a fancy party platter. Serve with the Mock Sour Cream and Chive Dip.
Note: Any garden vegetable works great with this dip -> try sugar snap peas, zucchini, daikon radish or regular radish, matchstick cut-up beets, cauliflower florets.
The Raw Gourmet by Nomi Shannon
The SUNFOOD Diet Success System by David Wolfe
Chinese 5-Spice Turkey Lettuce Cups: Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo
Daikon Noodle Salad: Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo
Mock Sour Cream and Chive Dip: Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People by Jennifer Cornbleet
Stacey Tress, a Holistic Nutritional Therapist (HNT) and Young Living Essential Oil Distributor (#2282633), lives in Rhein, SK with her husband and two daughters. She is the owner of Garden Therapy Yorkton which offers fermentation workshops, permaculture design work, organically-grown produce, and more! She also offers essential oil support and carries a wide variety of Young Living Essential Oils and products for sale. To learn more, call 306-641-4239, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Facebook “Garden Therapy Bliss.” Also see the display ad on page 9 of the 24.2 July/August issue of the WHOLifE Journal.