Have you ever wondered why pickles and fermented foods were traditionally presented with a plate of food?
It seems almost all cultures around the world have used some type of pickle or other fermented food; in Japan they ate takuan and oshinko pickles, and umeboshi plums; China is famous for it’s kimchee (Kimchi); throughout Europe, dill, sour and garlic pickles were the flavor; in Germany it was sauerkraut; Russian people ate kefir, pickled cabbage and beets; and people in the Mediterranean dined on olives and yogurt.
Humans prepared pickles and fermented foods to preserve them, but important chemical reactions also took place creating notable health benefits in the process. Naturally fermented foods are considered “probiotics” and promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the intestines, increase overall nutrition of food, aid digestion, and support the immune system.
Probiotics are essential to good health, especially with the widespread abuse of antibiotics in our modern society. Antibiotics are prescribed for everything from colds to ear aches to toenail fungus. And, if you think there’s no need to worry about this problem because you haven’t taken any antibiotics lately, think again! The animals we eat (factory farmed cows, poultry, pigs, and fish), have been overdosed with antibiotics because they are living in unhealthy and overcrowded conditions, and are chronically sick. If my food source has been overdosed with antibiotics, then I have been, as well.
The problem with antibiotic abuse in our modern medical system is that it enters the body like an atom bomb and wipes out all bacteria: the harmful bacteria that causes infections, and the beneficial bacteria needed to maintain healthy intestinal flora. After the antibiotic atom bomb detonates inside your body there are mutant bacteria survivors. Yes, that’s right, mutant bacteria inside the body. Eeek! If that mutant bacteria population outgrows the beneficial bacteria (due to antibiotic abuse and eating a crappy SAD diet), serious problems like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Candida Yeast overgrowth, cancer and many other degenerative conditions are in the perfect environment to develop and take over your beautiful body.
Natural probiotics found in fermented foods and traditionally pickled foods contain beneficial bacteria that aid the digestion of food and have amazing health benefits, too. “Sauerkraut eliminates disease-causing bad bacteria and reintroduces good bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus. Such friendly bacteria, which are often destroyed by antibiotic residues in our food, are necessary for healthy digestion and proper elimination of waste products.”  If your digestion isn’t good or has been compromised in some way, don’t get stuck in a pickle… just eat one.
Not all pickled foods are created equal though. Re-colonizing the intestines with good intestinal flora begins with buying raw, unpasteurized, naturally fermented products that can be found in the refrigerated section of the nearest neighborhood health food store or other market. Keep in mind that modern foods pickled in vinegar, sugar and iodized salt just don’t have the same healing effect on the body as a good old fashioned salt brine pickle.
Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, make your own pickles. It’s pretty darn easy. Below is a simple recipe for homemade sauerkraut. Enjoy a tablespoon or two with your dinner and you’ll begin feeling the benefits before you know it.
3 heads green cabbage, shredded
1 – 1& 1/2 tbsp. sea salt
1/2 tbsp. caraway seeds
1/2 tbsp. juniper berries
Directions: Combine shredded cabbage plus salt in a large bowl. Work the salt into the mixture by using pressure and lightly squeezing as you work it in. The cabbage will begin releasing liquid. Toss in caraway seeds and juniper berries. Pack the mixture, plus liquid, into a mason jar or crock. Firmly press a cabbage leaf on top of the mixture. Make sure the vegetables are completely submerged under the salty liquid. Let the kraut ferment for up to 10 days. The kraut must always be submerged under the liquid. After 7-10 days remove the top leaf and discard. Refrigerate your kraut. Enjoy!
Andrea Beaman (CHHC, AADP, CHEF) is a nationally renowned Holistic Health Coach and Natural Foods Chef. Named one of the top 100 Most Influential Health and Fitness Experts of 2012 by Greatist.com, she is also a recipient of the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Award for Excellence in Health-Supportive Education and a Health Leadership award from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Since 1999, she has been teaching individuals and health practitioners how to harness the body’s own preventative and healing powers with nutritional practices. Visit her at www.AndreaBeaman.com
I have wanted to answer this question for you for months, and finally today I have the inspiration… “Why should you be at the Take Back Your Health Conference?”
And here’s my answer…
First of all, this is not just any old health conference. It’s more like a health festival buzzing with people who are optimistic (despite the health crisis we are experiencing) because they believe in the power of the body to heal from illness.The community of people gathered here and their drive to live a better life is powerful motivation. You won’t leave this event feeling exhausted; you leave feeling powerful, energized and ready to take back your life knowing that others are doing the same.
Secondly, this event is the culmination of my long journey back to health. The conference is my “brain child” and I don’t let just any “health expert” speak at this conference. Every speaker on stage has had a hand in helping me take back my own health. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at a young age and spent many years and a lot of money on what felt like a wild goose hunt. I have pulled the people out of my journey who have been the most helpful in making me feel tangible improvements in my health and put them into this conference. This is the real deal.
And third, we don’t have time to mess around any more. There are decisions that each of us are making on a daily basis that are determining whether we will be diagnosed with cancer or have enough oxygen-rich air to live on into the future. And the solution is so easy! We just need to decide that we want to make the choices that will cause huge positive shifts in our economy, environment and health.It comes down to your daily lifestyle choices! The conference teaches you how and makes it easy for you to commit to these little lifestyle “tweaks” that will have major positive impacts on the health of our bodies, economy and environment.
So, will you step up to the challenge?
Play your part in democracy: Freedom is great, but you have the responsibility to educate yourself before you make decisions. Because all of your decisions will impact your life and the lives of others, whether that is your intention or not.
Come to this conference and learn to make choices that will be best for the future of our health, our economy and our environment.
Buy your ticket now, it is going to be the most important event that you will ever go to. And I am not saying that to be dramatic. I have hundreds of attendees tell me this after every event.
About 4 years ago, my husband and I, with our year old son, met up with my Aunt from my biological father’s side. I hadn’t seen her in decades, practically. The first thing I noticed when I met her, was her warmth, but the second was how gorgeous she looked. I’m not going to go into how old she was, just that she did NOT look her age.
Thin, vibrant, glowing skin, and energetic. She didn’t seem to have the weight of health issues that drag most of us down. I soon found out what that was all about, as she starting talking about her eating habits. They were radical…..like, “no coffee”. I certainly wasn’t ready to take it all in, but I could not escape her walking testimony. Who can, really?
A lot of what she said went in one ear and out the other, but enough stuck in there and rattled around to get me thinking. I am just beginning this journey. I’ve started using recipes that use traditional ways of cooking, I notice where my food is coming from, and what is in it. After all, I have little ones that depend on me to start them out right.
I will say this, you can’t replace the feeling you get when you eat right. There is a confidence in knowing that no matter what happens around me, to challenge my inner peace, eating correctly is something I can control, and the future is bright.
Congratulations to Fiona McNeill for winning the blog post essay contest for a Take Back Your Health Conference ticket! The contest was hosted on Kimberly Hartke’s blog. Fiona has won a ticket to the 4th Take Back Your Health Conference April 26th-28th, 2013 held at the Washington Dulles Hilton in Herndon, VA. It is a weekend filled with inspiration, education and motivation to help you take back your health and live life unhindered by physical and mental disease!
What Take Back Your HealthTM Means to Me
By Fiona McNeill
Ten years ago when I was living with c-difficile colitis, I followed handwritten directions to an old Chinese doctor in Chinatown. In a brownstone walk-up I found a room filled with old wooden drawers and cabinets and a smell unlike anything I’d ever smelled before. It was herbs, but not herbs that I recognized from any health food store I’d been to. Huge fungi sat on display in glass jewelers’ cabinets. The doctor’s assistant stood behind the counter and pointed me to behind a curtain to where the doctor sat.
Working with very little English, he took my pulse several times and asked me a few questions. Then he wrote out a little script on a chit of paper for his assistant. The assistant mixed up a bag of powdered herbs in a plastic sandwich bag. They smelled exactly the same as the room: completely unrecognizable. Reading from the script, the assistant gave me instructions to boil the herbs for fifteen minutes and drink the tea every day. And to eat unwashed, unrefrigerated fertilized eggs and freshly-killed chickens.
I had gone to pretty far extremes to heal, but here was a new one. I thought: “You have got to be kidding! How do you get fertilized eggs? I don’t even know what exactly they are or how they are different from “regular” eggs! I know grass-fed and organic, but fertilized, that is new! Freshly-killed chickens in Manhattan? You must be crazy!”
I asked around in the farmer’s market and got some lowered eyes and evasion. And I gave up.
Except it turns out that I didn’t give up. It just took longer than I expected, a lot longer. In Manhattan you have almost instant access to any kind of food you might have a yearning for. But not fertilized eggs.
I left the city after healing my colitis with a carb-specific diet and with the help of Chinese herbs and acupuncture. I left my job that helped create the colitis and found myself here, in a rural corner of Connecticut, working as an independent book developer helping publish a series of books about returning to farming.
Reading my clients’ tales of keeping chickens, I got my own chickens last summer. It felt like a huge decision. And it was. A first step towards true food security—knowing exactly what went into my food, and more importantly, what was left out.
My office these days is in a corner of an oak-beamed farmhouse, and my window faces our old red barn. I guess you could call me a WAHM, a work-at-home mom. I feed the chickens in my Betsey Johnson coat and zebra-striped wellies and work for people all over the U.S. from my seat at this window. I call myself a virtual homesteader. I believe there are quite a few of us now, keeping chickens and working at computers, brain-draining out of the mainstream workforce and getting back into farming.
This morning I looked up from my desk and saw three chickens emerge like escaped convicts round the corner of the house, hugging the edge to avoid our resident hawk. They passed by my window, evidenced by our Cornish Cross rooster’s sensational tail feathers moving left to right before my eyes, and exiting stage right towards their favorite hedge.
Watching the chickens on their morning commute I thought, “Today I ate unwashed, unrefrigerated fertilized eggs! It happened, and I didn’t even notice!” Today I drank raw Jersey milk (thank you, State of Connecticut) from a lady farmer nearby. I don’t kill my own chickens yet; I’m still working up to that one. But when I want a freshly-killed chicken, I can call another lady farmer and find out when she is processing chickens.
It was a world of change for me to leave my job and my city and my “Whole Foods” way of life and transition to actual real food from my own backyard and neighborhood. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I lost a city and gained a posse of lady farmers. I gained a career that didn’t even have a name until now: book developer. That’s how far I went, and that’s what it has meant to me. This is my home now, my way of life, my town, my virtual and real homesteading life. And “that,” my friends “has made all the difference.”
PS: Now I know how you get fertilized chicken eggs. I just saw the rooster display his feathers and then mount one of the chickens! How do you get fertilized eggs? Get chickens and set them free!
Fiona McNeill is a former Fulbright Scholar, NEH Winner, and Shakespeare professor, is the author of Poor Women in Shakespeare (Cambridge University Press) and now works as a private book developer. She can be contacted at email@example.com or Tel: (860) 501 0163.
Many of you know that I am working on my first cookbook! I am tweaking all of the recipes and getting so close to publishing! Below are three of my favorite superfood beverages. They are great to use as “mocktails” or you could definitely add a splash of sake or vodka if you want! They are fun and perfect to serve to guests…just don’t tell them what the ingredients are until after they taste it!
Amazon Cold Remedy I make this for myself in the fall and spring or when I am especially stressed…to prevent the cold and flu. If you are sick already, you might want to drink this every 3 hours. You can make the tea ahead and store it in the fridge for several days.
Blend all ingredients together in the blender on high for 10 seconds.
1 cup frozen or fresh strawberries or raspberries
1 tablespoon locally harvested honey
1 teaspoon bee pollen
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch unbleached sea salt
¾ cup water
Blend all ingredients together in the blender on high until smooth. If you are not using a Vitamix or other high speed blender, the bee pollen pellets will not completely dissolve into the beverage. But, that is not a problem, you will just have a few golden specs in the drink.
Blend all ingredients together in the blender on high until smooth. If you are not using a Vitamix or other high speed blender, the goji berries will not blend completely. I would recommend leaving them out in this case.
Let me know what you think of these recipes. Will you try them? Have you tried them? How did they taste? Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think.
Question: What do I do if I want to make healthy choices around my food and lifestyle, but neither my family nor my friends support my choices and actually make me feel bad about what I’m trying to do?
In a love-oriented world, this would not be happening. But I know all too well that many of you out there are dealing with this dilemma because I get asked this question all the time.
What makes this so hard is that your family and your friends are supposed to be unconditionally supportive, especially when it comes to your happiness and well being.
At the very least, they should let you live the way you want to even if they don’t agree. But instead, you are teased and put down for making healthy choices.
Your social life and family life become compromised because your priorities are changing and the people in your life don’t understand.
You want to grow but you are scared to alienate yourself.
I’ll admit that I’ve been spoiled in this department. My family saw the hell that I was in and would tolerate anything I tried to do to lessen the pain. They watched how food and natural therapies changed my body for the better and they began to incorporate some of the lifestyle changes as well.
HOWEVER, I have experienced my fair share of being teased about ordering hot tea at a bar or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
So what do we do if our family and friends make us question our healthy choices and feel alienated?
The truth is that we want love more than we want to be healthy.
Let me say that again.
We want to be loved more than we want to be healthy. In other words, we would rather be sick and be loved than be healthy and be unloved.
We are afraid that if we change they will not love us anymore and they are afraid that if we change, we will “leave them behind” and not love them anymore.
We let our fear of judgment from others determine the choices that we make. So the real issue here is fear versus love.
Click play below for my take on how to overcome the fear of losing love and relationships so that you can step into the lifestyle that you know is best for you.
Ingredients are organic, GMO free and locally sourced, when available.
GF= Gluten Free, DF= Dairy Free, R=Raw, V=Vegan
Sergei’s Wild Edible SmoothieAlkalizing green smoothie with seasonal wild greens and fruit. GF, DF, R, V. $8 Superfood GranolaSprouted buckwheat cereal with coconut flakes, goji berries, cacao nibs, pumpkin and flax seeds, sweetened with date paste and vanilla. Served with fresh fruit and almond or hemp milk. NFN House Specialty. GF, DF, R, V. $8 Breakfast MuffinsGluten free breakfast muffins made locally. GF. $4.50 Hot OatmealA wholesome blend of steel cut oats, flax, raisins, honey and spices. GF, DF. $4.75 Chia Breakfast ShakeA nutritious blend of coconut milk, banana, berries, coconut oil, chia seeds, dates, spirulina and a pinch of sea salt. GF, DF, V. $8
Lunch & Dinner
FajitasSautéed onions and peppers, cultured veggies, salsa fresco and seasonal greens. You choose free range beef or marinated portabella mushroom*. Served with your choice of wrap: romaine or brown rice. GF, DF, V*. $15 Pad Thai SaladOrganic creamy Thai peanut sauce tossed with zucchini and kelp noodles, marinated vegetables, bean sprouts, pickled radish over a bed of seasonal greens and topped with crushed peanuts. NFN House Specialty. GF, DF, V. $12 Field Greens SaladField greens topped with seasonal vegetables, tomatoes, sauerkraut, raw olives, and gluten free crackers. Add country liver pate, free range beef, or marinated portabella mushroom**. Dressing: Robin’s honey mustard vinaigrette or NFN Italian herb dressing. GF, DF, R*, V**. $10*/$15
Chicken ChiliLocally made chili with a bone broth base, pastured chicken, white beans and chili spices. GF, DF. cup $4; bowl $7 Robin’s Cream of Butternut Squash SoupRoasted Butternut squash pureed with sautéed leeks, herbs and a dash of sea salt. Coconut milk provides a smooth creamy finish. GF, DF, V. cup $4; bowl $7
Sides and Snacks
Cheese PlateAn assortment of pastured cheese with crudités and crackers. GF. $7.50 Hummus PlateTraditional chickpea dip served with crudités and crackers. NFN House Specialty. GF, DF, V. $7 Baked Sweet PotatoServed with pastured butter* or cold pressed olive oil. GF, DF*, V*. $6 Fresh Fruitseasonal; based on availability.
Chia PuddingSweet and satisfying, this pudding resembles tapioca in texture and is made from chia seeds, coconut
milk and lightly sweetened. GF, DF. $6.50 Fudge BrowniesDense and gooey fudge brownies made with almond butter and/or butternut squash puree, cacao powder, honey, eggs, baking soda, vanilla, sea salt and chocolate chips. GF, DF. $4.50 Pear Apple CobblerFresh ripe fruit topped with a sweet and salty crust of pecans and dates. GF, DF, R, V. $6.50
Green Juice $7 Almond Milk $6.50 Fresh Pressed Fruit Juice $5 Assortment of teas $2 (refill .25) Kombucha $4.50 Reishi Cappucino $5.50
Menu subject to some change as planning progresses.
Win a gift card to the cafe!
What dish are you looking forward to ordering at the conference and why? Answer this question below before April 19th 2013 and you’ll be entered to win a $15 gift card to the cafe! We will draw the winner on April 19th and notify you by email.
And the winner is… Anh Thu Nguyen! Congratulations!
We have finally revealed all of our speakers on the website! Some speakers of note are Dr. Norm Shealy, Kate Northrup and Sergei Boutenko. But all of our speakers are quite wonderful and they will be speaking on topics such as Chinese herbs, Lyme disease, fermenting food at home for probiotics, wild green edibles, diabetes, chronic disease, financial freedom through entrepreneurship, the main causes of disease and more! Check them out here.
This week we submitted our ad to Pathways Magazine and you can see that come out in early March in the DC area. We’ll also be getting our flyers back from the printer very soon so if you want to help us spread those around, let us know and we’ll send you some!
Welcome to the first TBYH behind the scenes planning update! This is what is going on behind the scenes this week…
The Take Back Your HealthTM Cafe Menu! This is a cafe that will be open at the conference from Friday night through Sunday afternoon. It will feature some of the dishes that our speakers are recommending, as well as many other delicious and health restoring foods including wild edibles, seaweeds, superfoods, organ meats, fresh vegetables, green juices and more. See the menu here.
The speaker lineup is slowly being revealed over the next few months. We like to keep you on your toes! The speaker lineup this year will be one of our best and I am personally most excited about this lineup compared to all of the past conferences. This year on our stage, there will be talk of permaculture, edible landscaping, food fermentations, the main contributors to disease, spirituality, movement, fitness, wild edibles, nutrition, Chinese medicine and herbs, Ayurveda, energy medicine, acupuncture, and so much more. You know what happens at these things…we have so much fun and once we get started on one topic, it leads to other interesting topics through Q&A!
Take Back Your HealthTM telesummits!Twice yearly we will be offering a free live teleclass series on natural healthcare. Each telesummit/class series will have a different focus. Our spring teleclass series will focus on how to Take Back Your HealthTM with Ayurvedic Wisdom. All you need to do is sign up for our emails in the sidebar of this website to receive the listen-in links. These classes will be free if listened to live. The recordings will be for sale following the live event.
I hope you enjoy the planning updates. Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think!