Got a big holiday party coming up? Want to look like a million bucks, with out any of those pricy procedures?
Well according to new research called nutrigenomics, there are foods that can actually affect your genes. That’s right, you may not be stuck with your parents genes after all. In fact, certain foods can actually suppress certain negative genes you were born with and can actually activate genes that make us lose fat, defy wrinkles and make us look younger. According to Dr. Nicholas Perricone, dermatologist, and author of the book, Forever Young, there are many foods that can shift your genetic make up and keep you looking young.
We have all heard about the benefits of Green tea. But did you know that those antioxidants that fight off those nasty free radicals that cause wrinkles, are called catechins? Their ‘modus operandi’ is to fool the cells into thinking they are under attack, which in turn makes the cell produce dozens of protective enzymes that boost the immune system.
Coconut oil is another product he recommends which is fairly easy to find in health food stores. Even though it is a saturated fat, it is what we now call a ‘good fat.’ Because it is a medium chain fat, it can actually help you loose weight. Perricone also states that there is current data from work with Alzheimer’s patients that shows it can help increase memory. He suggests putting it in your tea instead of cream. I use it to make my luscious raw freezer fudge. You can find that recipe in my Valentines Blog.
I was quite intrigued to find Cinnamon on his list. Just 1/8 teaspoon, he says, has shown to stabilize blood sugar for up to two weeks! If your blood sugar is not fluctuating then those cravings for unsavory things that tend to put on excess weight will be a thing of the past along with its companion excess body fat. It also has powerful anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, but the most astonishing new findings show that it works against the deadly skin cancer, melanoma. Look for extracts coming soon to your local sunscreen.
Turmeric/Olena contains curcumin which is a powerful anti-inflammatory and a cancer preventative. You have heard me sing its praises before. It is the ingredient that makes all curries yellow. Just a tiny bit in your rice will give it that same yummy color. I also add it to all my soups and stews. And now it appears to be one of those ingredients that will help me look and feel younger.
Now, the new wonder food, according to Dr. Perricone, is Watercress. He says that studies out of the UK show that watercress can down regulate a bio chemical that drives breast cancer and is effective for prostate cancer as well. It also helps to clear up acne. Being a gardener I love this new information because watercress it is one of the easiest greens to grow. Just sprinkle some seeds into a pot or your garden plot and press slightly into the soil. You don’t even have to cover the seeds! Just moisten and sprouts emerge starting in three days. It likes full sun outdoors or a bright area indoors…so long as the heat is not excessive. Keep well watered. Once the seedlings are 3” tall, in about 12 to 14 days, you can harvest them daily with your scissors. Salad, soups and sandwiches all perk up with the peppery, pungent flavor of this tasty green. It also makes a great pesto!
Now here is the ‘piece de resistance’. According to Dr. Perricone, Salmon, which is full of omega III oils, has amazing regenerative affects on the skin. Eating salmon, with watercress salad, of course, for just 3 days in a row will give you dramatic results. He recommends the three day diet before any big event. He says your friends will be amazed and you will receive loads of compliments.
Well, I couldn’t just write about, I had to try it.
I made my idea of the traditional salmon dinner. I sprinkled the salmon with salt,
pepper, and chopped fresh dill; then sautéed it lightly in olive oil. 1 or 2 minutes per side is sufficient depending on thickness. But keep in mind that it will continue to cook and gets dry if you over do it. Look for that nice coral color which is where all the health benefits come from. I added a couple tablespoons of marscapone to the pan to create a nice creamy dill sauce. My watercress salad included tomatoes, peppers, and scallions from the garden and was tossed with a simple lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper vignette. Delicious!
I woke up thinking, “What? Is this diet going to make me sick of salmon before I’ve even begun to enjoy it?
“No, just make each dish different and you won’t get bored,” challenged my inner Chef.
“Okay so, what do you suggest?
“How about making Poisson Cru?” I heard.
What a brilliant idea. Poisson Cru is the French version of the Spanish dish called Ceviche. Both refer to a dish in which raw fish is ‘cooked’ by marinating it in lemon or lime juice. Again, it doesn’t take long with salmon, so you don’t need to drown it. You will know its ‘done’ when it turns a lovely shade of pink. Once that is complete, you may add any number of other delicious ingredients. I added: finely chopped garlic, hot pepper, sweet red pepper, mango, and micro grated ginger. Then I added just enough coconut milk with a splash of that new wonder ingredient, coconut oil to keep it together. Finally I added a handful of fresh chopped cilantro and mint. Mix all together in a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. It not only smelled heavenly but the colors were beautiful to gaze upon. Chilling allows all the flavors to meld. I served it on a bed of watercress which needed no dressing but added a surprising tang to the dish. Yum!
Now I was really up for something different and Watercress Pesto kept crossing my mind. How easy is that? Just pulse a clove or 2 of garlic with some dry roasted nuts, in your food processor or blender. I had some pine nuts on hand, but cashew, pistachios, or pumpkin seeds will do. Remember you’re not making nut butter, so don’t over due it on the pulsing. Next add about 2 cups chopped watercress and the juice of one lemon or lime and pulse again. You may need to stop and scrap down the sides a few times and add more lemon or line if you need to. Next you drizzle in 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil and pulse some more until you achieve the pesto consistency you desire. A pinch of salt will bring out all the flavors. You can also freeze this mix and it will keep for months.
Since pasta is a no-no on this diet, I went for quinoa which is high in protein and has a nutty flavor that would go with the pesto.
As for the salmon, I spread Dijon mustard on both sides and grilled it quickly. The flavors all came together nicely and it was quite satisfying.
As for my skin, I saw a marked difference in the smoothness. It appeared to have a translucence I hadn’t seen before. A pesky sun spot I was treating completely healed and I had a lot of fun creating new culinary delights.
Even if you don’t do the 3 day diet, that makes your skin glow, I highly recommend you get some of these new/old wonder foods into your diet; especially watercress. I’ll be writing more on that next time.
A votre santé,
- Marissa was a landscape designer in the San Francisco Bay Area, when she started receiving telepathic messages from the Plant Spirits. The information received was regarding how to gather the healing properties of flowers. She was then called to Mt Shasta where she created the Mt. Shasta Essences of Light, made from the wildflowers that cover the mountain. Later she made the Archangel Essences. After an extended time in India where she did personal consultations and taught organic gardening, she returned to Kauai to create the Kauai Orchid Essences and Kauai Esoteric Essences. Marissa is a Reiki Master and an ordained interfaith minister. She has also studied with Ram Tsu,an enlightened Master of Advaita/Taoism. She recently wrote the Flower Essence Practitioners' Manual. Her passion is to help others to experience a deeper connection to their inner selves by learning to communicate with the Plant Spirits. Through her Attunement Process these wise spirits have brought great joy, love, laughter, and compassion into her life. She has also written a children's book "Ask Althea", about a little girl's journey into the world of the plant spirits.