Cilantro, an Inner Body Experience

The more I learn about cilantro (also known as coriander), the more that I want to spread the word of this flavorful and powerful herb.  You can grow-it-yourself or buy-a-bunch for as little as a buck at farmers markets or grocery stores, organic preferred.  If a bunch is too much, share with friends or neighbors.  So what is so great about cilantro?

Health Benefits of Cilantro:

  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-inflammatory, arthritis fighter that can help to reduce minor swelling
  • Boosts immune system
  • Promotes healthy liver function
  • Cholesterol changer, increases HDL, the good one and reduces LDL, the evil one
  • Detoxifies the body of heavy metals
  • Aids in digestion
  • Helps to lower blood sugar
  • Protects against infection from salmonella bacteria
  • Shown to reduce menstrual cramps
  • Got gas? reduces flatulence
  • Relieves diarrhea
  • Helps reduce feelings of nausea
  • Many, many more benefits from the source

Buy-a-bunch

Before you are ready to eat your cilantro make sure that you store it to get maximum refrigerator shelf-life .  First, trim a small piece off the bottom portion of the stem.  Then store in a glass with water and keep refrigerated.  The Cuisipro Herb Keeper (pictured above) works the best out of all of the methods I have tried.  Honestly, you really don’t need to buy anything, you have everything you need in your kitchen.  Here is a demo video of how to store your cilantro.

Get in the habit of adding cilantro to your salads for lunch and dinner.  It blends so well with the other ingredients, especially the dressing.  If you like to juice or blend your beverages, try adding some cilantro to your yummy concoction.  Try making cilantro grilled chicken, this is a quick and tasty recipe as a dinner idea.

Grow-your-own

I tried growing cilantro for the first time last summer with little success.  As a staunch supporter of cilantro, I am more determined than ever to grow-my-own.  Here are some tips we can use to grow-our-own cilantro.

I am always looking for new recipes to use cilantro and tips for growing.  Please share your cilantro experiences.

– GreenUp! Guy

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Rawtastic

Last night, I prepared and served my first home-made raw meal and it was quite a feast.  On the raw menu, red leaf mixed salad, warm creamy mushroom soup and mixed veggie wraps with hummus.  I mention the hummus because it required sprouting, which is now a part of my routine and it is so easy.  For you parents out there, kids would love the instant gratification of the quick growing.  The veggie wraps used collard greens as they are thick enough to hold all of the ingredients.  There are so many options to fill this large leaf so get creative.

Here are some recipes from my first raw dinner.

Hummus:

  • 5 cups sprouted garbanzo beans
  • 1-1/2 cups of lemon
  • 3/4 cup of yellow onion
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 3/4 cup of parsley
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 4-5 tbsp tahini (add last)

Directions:

Soak garbanzo (chick peas) for 18-24 hours, then sprout for 2-3 days until a small tail appears.  Make sure you rinse beans at least 2 times a day.  Otherwise, they will get a sour taste.  Tails should not be longer than the chick pea itself.

Process garbanzo beans in the S-blade equipped food processor, try to get as smooth as possible.  Next, in a high speed blender mix lemons, onions, parsley, cilantro, olive oil, tahini and sea salt to taste.  Combine liquid with garbanzo beans and blend together.

The only deviation from the recipe was substituting cilantro for parsley, yes two helpings of cilantro.  There are so many health benefits of cilantro, one notable is removing heavy metals and other toxins from your body.  You can see the final product below where I am guilty of processing in my food processor well above the “max-fill” line.

Creamy Mushroom Soup:

  • 1/2 cup soaked cashews or macadamia nuts
  • 1 cup of soaked almonds
  • 3 cups button mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup Nama Shoyu (raw version of soy sauce)
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1/4 bunch parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 7 cups water

Directions:

First, blend the nuts and water well until liquid is smooth and silky.  Then add in rest of ingredients and blend.  (For warm soup, use half the water in making the soup and then when serving mix half a portion of the soup mix with hot water while stirring constantly.)

This soup is easy to make.  It sounds weird but you can have warm raw soup.  Use half of the water to make the base and heat the other half of the water and mix just prior to serving the soup.  This is important because it will not cook out the enzymes of the raw food as long as it is below 116 degrees Fahrenheit.

I made so much soup and hummus that I have been happily sharing with others and spreading the word of raw food.

My goal is to prepare and eat one raw meal a week.  I will update you with any tasty recipes that I come across.

– GreenUp! Guy

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Spread the Health

I recently used my Groupon for a 5 hour raw food cooking class at Leaf Organics in Culver City.  The class was enlightening and has encouraged me to introduce more raw food into my diet.  Added bonus, sprouting is a major aspect to preparing raw food.  This is super since I just learned how to do it and it is extremely easy.  The overarching idea behind eating raw is that when food is heated above 116 degrees, the nutritional value and enzymes are destroyed.  How does preserving the “life force” of raw food benefit you and your body?

  • Increased energy
  • Better digestion
  • Weight normalization
  • Naturally detoxify
  • Beautiful skin

How can you start introducing raw food into your diet?

  • Choose a percentage of raw that will fit your lifestyle
  • Start slowly using a phased approach
  • Drink more water and fresh juices, cutting out processed beverages
  • Add more salads to your lunch/dinner menu
  • Buy organic food as much as fiscally possible
  • Pick up a raw food cook book or find recipes online

Here is a sampling of some food from the class.  For lunch we made our own collard green wraps with hummus, greens, tomatoes and multiple kinds of sprouts.  For dessert, brownie balls made with dates, Brazil nuts, almond butter, carob, cacao and coconut.  Both were excellent and surprisingly filling.

Believe it or not you can have a raw soup that is warm.  After sampling this fantastic creamy mushroom soup at the class, I will definitely make it at home.  Here is the recipe.

Creamy Mushroom Soup:

  • 1/2 cup soaked cashews or macadamia nuts
  • 1 cup of soaked almonds
  • 3 cups button mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup Nama Shoyu (raw version of soy sauce)
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1/4 bunch parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 7 cups water

Directions:

First, blend the nuts and water well until liquid is smooth and silky.  Then add in rest of ingredients and blend.  (For warm soup, use half the water in making the soup and then when serving mix half a portion of the soup mix with hot water while stirring constantly.)

Coconut is very important to the raw food diet.  So I will leave you with a crash course in photos on how to open a coconut.  Using a serrated knife, such as a bread knife, slice off the skin on the pointed end of the coconut until you get to the inner hard woodie layer.

Using a knife with a 90 degree rear edge of a thick blade, pierce the side without a rib.  Note the coconut juice spraying when the skin is pierced with the knife.  Lift the knife up and away from the coconut to expose the milk and meat inside.  Enjoy!

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You Can Sprout, Yes You Can

Would you like to grow your own food?  Do you have little space or limited light sources?  Do you have time constraints?  Would you like to save money?  Do you feel like this is an infomercial?  If you answered a combination of yes or no to any of these questions, then sprouting is for you.

This past summer, I had my first experience growing food.  While gardening is not easy and you are not always successful, it is a most rewarding experience to eat food that you have grown with your own hands.  As a realist, I recognize that not everyone has the time, patience, energy and/or space to grow their own food.  This is why I highly recommend sprouting as the easiest form of growing food, ever!

This is all you need to get started for a crash course in sprouting:

  • Mason Jar
  • Cheesecloth/plastic/metal screen for the jar cover
  • Seeds/beans/nuts preferably organic (buy at local garden or home improvement store, natural/health food store, seed catalogs, online)
  • H2O

Note that each seed/bean/nut variety may have slightly different sprouting instructions, this is specifically for broccoli sprouts.  I started with the package recommended 2 tablespoons of organic broccoli seeds soaking for 8 to 12 hours.  After the initial soak, rinse the seeds in the jar and drain.  It is recommended to store the jar in a bowl facing down to aid in continuous drainage to help avoid any mold developing.

You must repeat the rinse routine 2 to 3 times a day.  Being a realist, I did this twice a day, in the morning and evening.  You will see them grow almost before you eyes, semi-instant gratification.  Broccoli sprouts take between 4 and 6 days to sprout to a length of 1 to 2 inches.

Once the sprouts are ready to be harvested, soak the sprouts in a bowl of fresh cold water.  Separate the sprouts from any clumping.  You can use the jar to store the sprouts or a separate container so you can start another batch.  Note that you should try and pat the sprouts dry before placing in the refrigerator since sprouts are susceptible to mold.  Enjoy on salads, sandwiches, juices, sautes and anything else you can think of.  Sprouts are the best bang for your nutritional buck.  These types of sprouts are usually $1 per ounce at the farmers market and $3 for a 4 ounce package at my local Co-op food store.  Based on the price of seeds, you can save a “sprout-ton” of money.

Water saving tip — save the water from rinsing sprouts to water your plants.

Next up, I will review the Easy Sprouter from The Sprout People.  This is touted as the easiest way to grow sprouts, I will be the judge of that.

Here is a useful how-to on Growing Sprouts in a Jar.  Finally, I leave you with this helpful video on the various ways to grow sprouts:

Happy Sprouting — GreenUp! Guy

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Why You Should Give-a-Shuck About GMO Corn

Genetically Modified Organism (GMO): organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques.

The more about I learn about GMOs, the more I seek out foods not containing GMOs.  Here are a few reasons you should be concerned about GMOs.  According to the USDA, as of 2011 94% of soy bean and 72% of corn production in the US is GMO.  Read the ingredients on the packaging of the foods you eat, do you see any soy or corn listed?  Most likely, you do.  Studies show that GMOs are linked to organ failure.  As always, just follow the money, Monsanto is the leader in evolution and implementation of GMO.  Looping back to 2009, President Obama appointed a former Monsanto Vice President as a senior adviser to the FDA.  If you are concerned yet, lets explore what can we do to make a difference?

The government of Hungary has destroyed the GMO corn crops to protect their citizens.  I am very proud to say this is my mother’s motherland, would that be also known as grandmother land?  That’s not important right now, what is important is what can we do here in the US of A?  The tide should be on our side as President Obama made a campaign promise to label GMOs back in 2007 and we need to make sure that he delivers.

The best news is that you can make a difference every day by voting with your wallet when buying your food.  Yes, this food is typically more expensive than its GMO counterparts, so look for the deals.  Organic deals and coupons is a good place to find savings on organic and non-GMO products. Sign some petitions and get involved. On a national level, you can tell the FDA to”Just Lable It.”  In California, there is a ballot proposition, Label GMOs, its our right to know.  The Organic Consumer Association has a campaign called “Millions Against Monsanto” and you can find a myriad of actions there.

I leave you with this kid’s take on GMOs.  We can really learn a lot from the children.

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Get some culture on the bus, 720 edition

I am seeking something of “cultural” nature to do this weekend without my car.  I recall seeing a number of museums along the Metro Rapid 720 bus route and wanted to explore any hidden gems out there with a maximum walk of .5 miles from a bus stop.  Also note that if you are near a Metro 20 bus stop, the following applies as well.

Museums along bus route from West to East:

Bus route:

I am excited to check out some new museums, car-free.  I am feeling more “cultured” already.

– GreenUp! Guy

PS – Use NextBUS to track arrival and location of the nearest bus.

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They Farm-it, you Bus-it! 733 edition

The Metro Rapid 733 starts in Santa Monica and travels through Venice, West LA, Culver City, Mid-LA and Downtown LA to Union Station.  Lets see how many Farmers Markets one can visit throughout the week with a maximum walk of .6 miles from the bus stop.  Also note that if you live near a Metro 33 bus stop, the following applies as well.

Driven To Tears +  =

Saturday

Sunday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Here is the bus route:

If you get the chance to discover any new markets, please post any good organic deals.  Don’t forget to use NextBUS to track arrival and location of the nearest bus.

– GreenUp! Guy

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They Farm-it, you Bus-it! 704 edition

The Metro Rapid 704 starts in Santa Monica traveling on Santa Monica Blvd through West LA, Westwood, Century City, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Hollywood, Silverlake, Echo Park and Downtown directly to Union Station.  Here is a list of Farmers Markets to visit throughout the week with a maximum walk of .6 miles from the bus stop.  Also note that if you live near a Metro 4 bus stop, the following applies as well.

  + =

Saturday

Sunday

Monday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Bus route:

Go ahead and check out some new farmers market without the getting in your car, sitting in traffic and contributing to the congested streets of LA.  Research your own municipal bus system, you may be surprised where it will take you.

– GreenUp! Guy

PS – Use NextBUS to track arrival and location of the nearest bus.

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They Farm-it, you Bus-it! 720 edition

Gas prices started 2012 at an all-time nationwide record high and they are still on the rise.  As of January 1st, 2012, $3.66 would buy you a gallon of 87 octane unleaded in California. Coupled with horrible traffic, traffic lights and traffic patterns in the City of Los Angeles, driving almost anywhere at anytime is like flushing fuel and dollars down the toilet.

EXPECT MAJOR DELAYS

Since I have been trying to use as little premium unleaded as possible, I walk, ride my bike and take the bus.  Taking the bus allows you to get places quicker than walking and biking in most situations, except in extreme grid-lock traffic.  Riding the bus is another way to experience new farmers markets.  Metro Rapid 720 starts in Santa Monica and travels down Wilshire Blvd through West LA, Westwood, Beverly Hills, Mid LA, Downtown, East LA to Commerce.  Lets see how many Farmers Markets one can visit throughout the week with a maximum walk of .6 miles from the bus stop.  Also note that if you live near a Metro 20 bus stop, the following applies as well.

+    =

Saturday

Sunday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Here is the bus route:

Check out some new farmers market without the getting in your car, sitting in traffic and contributing to the congested streets of LA.  If you don’t live walking distance to the bus stop, think about riding your bike to the bus stop.  Look for follow-up farmers market schedules for the Metro Rapid 704 and Metro Rapid 733, two other bus lines connecting the Westside to Downtown LA.  I know this does not really help those of you outside of LA, but go ahead and research your own municipal bus system, you may be surprised at where it will take you.

– GreenUp! Guy

PS – Use NextBUS to track arrival and location of the nearest bus.

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2012 the Year of the Worm

Since the new year is well underway I wanted to get a move on with my resolution to encourage others to compost.  My first composting experience has been extremely positive using the Worm Factory 360 with a 1/2 pound of red wigglers.  These worms were locally farmed and generously donated by a GreenUp! community member.  The worms have done a great job of eating, multiplying, going number 1 and 2, if you know what I mean.  Taking care of these worms is relatively low maintenance and requires very little space.  You can even leave them for weeks at a time if prepped correctly.

Another of my resolutions is to compost more of my kitchen scraps.  Experts suggest starting out with at least 1 lb of worms, so I ordered worms online from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm based on multiple recommendations.  The worms shipped quickly and arrived alive in compostable packaging.  Since the new worms have moved in, I can compost more kitchen scraps and the breaking down process is speeding up.  It is almost time to add another level to the factory.

Now that I have a surplus of worm castings, I must share my “black gold.” Black gold for Monique and Matteo’s newly seeded and planted garden of lettuces, herbs, cauliflower carrots and strawberries, it is a great learning experience for all ages.

Black gold for the planters around my apartment building through a covert guerrilla gardening operation.

 

Amazon and Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm are one-stop shopping to purchase your bin and worms.  This is a great video explaining how to use the Worm Factory 360.

 

Happy 2012 – GreenUp! Guy

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