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Wednesday
May062009

Spring Season is for Fig Fans

Eating Seasonally

There are many benefits to eating seasonally, most obviously fresh food is the most delicious! But seasonal eating also means your food does not travel so far to get to you and isn’t leaving as large a carbon footprint to get to your table.

For produce that’s in season exactly where you are, check out this cool site which lets you select your own state and the precise time of year!

For instance, in Maine right now the freshest produce includes apples, carrots, parsley, parsnip, and scallions. In Arizona, you’ll find fresh kumquats, figs, garlic, plums, rhubarb, and so much more. This is a good website to bookmark, as your local selections are always changing.

To make use of Spring’s wonderful bounty, try out this sweet raw recipe featuring figs and dates, very much in season in certain parts of the country now. Enjoy! (This and many more recipes Here)  

Brazilian Fig Torte

Base:
4 cups Brazil Nuts
3 cups Raisins
1 cup Figs

Frosting:
1 cup pitted dates
2 tbs lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon rind
Pulp of 1 passionfruit

To make base: Blend base ingredients until there is a solid mass in the food processor (it should be very fine with the occasional chunk). Place on a plate and form into a cake shape.

To make frosting: Blend frosting ingredients well. If the dates are very firm and resist blending, just blend partially and let soak about 15 minutes to soften. Blend until smooth and creamy, then frost the cake. Decorate with lemon zest, nuts, fresh berries or passionfruit pulp.

Can’t get enough figs? Try out our wonderful Almond Fig Spice chocolate!

Monday
May042009

Allergies? Superfoods to the Rescue!

If you’ve been getting bogged down with allergies lately, you’re not alone! Fortunately you don’t have to choose between taking pharmaceuticals and doing nothing at all. There are several natural herbs that really counsel away some of the worst allergy symptoms!

* Butterbur. With no drowsy side effects, extracts of butterbur root may be just as effective at relieving nasal symptoms as prescription drugs like Zyrtec and Allegra! Only, don’t eat raw, unprocessed butterbur root, which is dangerous. Look for brands of butterbur supplements that are labeled UPA-free.

* Quercetin. Found in wine and some fruits and vegetables, quercetin may work as a mast cell stabilizer. It helps block the release of histamine that causes inflammation. However, some experts doubt that enough quercetin is absorbed during digestion to have much of an effect.

* Stinging Nettle. This botanical contains carotene, vitamin K, and quercetin. Using stinging nettle leaf, not the root, after the first sign of allergic symptoms can help a bit.

* Bromelain. Some studies have found that bromelain is helpful in reducing nasal swelling, making it easier for people to breathe. It may be particularly useful when added to a current drug treatment for sinus infections.

* Phleum pratense . Phleum pratense can reduce some pollen allergy symptoms, such as eye irritation, in people with asthma.

* Tinospora cordifolia . Tinospora cordifolia may reduce allergy symptoms such as sneezing, itching, and nasal discharge.

* Combination allergy supplements. For chronic sinusitis, some choose to take Sinupret, a combination of European elderflower, sorrel, cowslip, verbena, and gentian root.

Some other common supplements used by those with allergies include: vitamin C, echinacea, grape seed extract, pycnogenol (pine bark extract), EPA, cat’s claw, albizzia (Albizzia lebbeck), baical skullcup (Scutellaria baicalensis), goldenseal, and spirulina.

While all of the former herbs listed above are good options, not every herb out there is safe. One to watch out for it bitter orange (also called Citrus aurantium). It has compounds similar to those in ephedra and, as a result, may have serious side effects like increased risk of high blood pressure, heart problems, and stroke.

Here’s to hoping you have a marvelously decongested Spring and Summer! More taste and scent receptors available for raw chocolate enjoyment!