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The Truth about Desserts

cinnamon oat cookie shidonna raven garden and cook

The truth about desserts is that you may love them. We definitely love them. Any informed organic consumer will be the first to tell you that just because it is organic does not mean it is good and nutritious for you. In other words, an organic apple is probably better for you than a bowl of organic chessy mac. Nonetheless, they are both organic. So, let us break that down for you. The process of growing foods organically is healthier for you than growing food in non organic means. The organic growing process is true or truer to nature and the natural process of growing foods. Food that is not grown organically involves chemicals and several other food production process frowned upon by even the USDA, even with its recent criticisms from true organic growers. Once one has an organic array of foods, then from there it is best to choose those foods best for you.

When considering what to eat and diet, one should have a clear understanding of their over all and holistic health. What is beneficial to one will not be beneficial to another. A person with anemia and a person with diabetes will have totally different diet needs. There are many ways to gain an understanding of one’s overall health and one’s dietary needs. Here are a couple of ways:

  • holistic doctor
  • dietitian
  • nutritionist
  • medical professional / doctor
  • Once one has a clearer picture of their dietary needs, one can make informed and educated decisions on how to best feed their bodies what it needs to perform at its best. Diet is only part of the picture. We believe that overall health and well being involves 3 pillars:
  • Health (many health professionals also include spiritual and emotional well being in this)
  • Physical Fitness – Exercise
  • Diet

Some of you are probably saying to yourselves, “I thought this article was about desserts.” You are so right! It is. So, let us get back to the good part. Our desserts are made with organic ingredients whenever possible. If not organic then natural. We select ingredients that are good for you but not necessarily “healthy” similar to organic foods (like the apple and the chessy mac). If one has to have a dessert, our desserts are an excellent choice. Of course desserts like all other things should be eaten in moderation. If given a choice, an organic salad is probably healthier for you than an organic cookie. Love them as we do, we indulge in a dessert or two. Nonetheless, when we do we make sure that they are as good for us as they can be. Refined and processed foods such as granulated sugar and flour never make it at the top of health lists. Nonetheless, we choose organic sugars and flours. So, we invite you to indulge responsibly by shopping our desserts (cookies, bars and squares).

What foods, or more specifically vitamins and minerals, are an important part of your diet? Why? What are your health needs? Do you have a chronic illness? The bible speaks clearly to us about healing. Chronic illnesses can cause other illnesses because your body is in a state of constant disease. Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Beginning the Journey to Healing – 2

cooked vegetables shidonna raven garden and cook

This is the continued article from the previous day about what we hope is the beginning of our journey to healing. When we began this journey we knew that diet would be an important part of the journey. We thank you for taking the Journey with us and hope that it helps to feed and enrich your lives and indeed your overall health. The turning point of our journey began a long time ago and encompasses many people as each individual contributed their own knowledge and wisdom from chefs to dietitians and medical professionals. Western medicine presents many barriers to a true and total healing. Western medicine focuses highly on managing symptoms and the medicines that the pharmaceutical industry profits profoundly from. We do not consider hormones a medicines and thus our journey to healing has begun with zero medicines. Our journey took a significant turn when we walked into a holistic pharmacy (namely, Peoples Pharmacy of Norfolk, VA who are able to help you wherever you are located) or some vitamins. We believe that these holistic doctors were able to put us on the path to health in under a month and to diagnose the issue immediately. Some of us struggled with similar issues for years and others even longer.

All of my symptoms have begun to mitigate after we address what we believe is the root of the problem. It is only about a month in on this leg of our journey but we have already begun to see the difference. In another 2 months we are told the results will be better. Stay tuned and we will keep you updated on our journey. We take vitamins, minerals, spices, foods and oils combined with a strategic diet with foods that have medicinal benefits. We pray that these articles are transformative for you. Thank you for taking this journey with us. How do you wish you could improve your health? How has your health hindered you? How has your health changed your life? How have these articles helped you? How can they help your friends and family? Post your comments below. Share the wealth of health with your family and friends by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Beginning the Journey to Healing

Diet & Health Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Most people will tell you that at the center of good health is diet and exercise. And we would agree. Our journey however has lead us to look at health as the third pillar of over good health. While one may exercise and have an excellent diet, these do have a profound on your over all health. But health in itself can be a little more complicated than just exercise and diet. In fact many people in excellent health have reported contracting COVID 19. While COVID 19 did hit communities with preexisting conditions hardest, this does not mean that people without under lying conditions were not also hit. Indeed they want you to know that COVID 19 has impacted us all: old, young, sick and healthy.

Perhaps this was what was so confusing to us. While we were all in pretty good health, we still struggled with health conditions that impacted our health. Chef Ponder really challenged me not to accept diagnoses. One of the most impressive things about Chef Ponder is that he is not only a great cook but an excellent student of food and human begins. He talked alot about how things in our environment can impact our health. Things like temperature and available foods can impact our health. For instance, if one’s relatives are from a warm climate and they then move to a cold climate, they will eat different foods because they eat what is available. This difference in diet can impact one’s health. While one maybe eating “healthy”, the food may not be proper given the history of your family. In other words it can have an impact on your body and thus health.

Chef Ponder along with many others along this Journey have helped us to begin what we hope is a path to our healing. Read the next article to learn more. What health concerns do you have? Have you found your path to healing? How long did it take you? Who helped you?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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COVID 19 causes more to start Gardens

covid 19 shidonna raven garden and cook

During my recent visit to a local nursery here in Norfolk, VA USA I stuck up a conversation with a staff member. This is not difficult to do when you obviously share common interest. She is a highly knowledgeable gardener with a keen sense of observation. While we started our garden in February, just prior to COVID 19, she stated that people who you would have never seen gardening have begun gardening because of the uncertainty that COVID 19 has struck across the nation and indeed across the world. People have serveral reasons for starting thier own gardens:

  • Promotes social distancing by cutting back on grocery store trips
  • Saves money on ones grocery bill
  • Protects people with underlining conditions from having to go into public
  • Allows people to give food to others
  • Allows people to earn money by selling food to others

If COVID 19 has taught us nothing it has taught us how to be resilient and resourceful and indeed these are all good reasons to start a garden. They were good reasons before COVID 19 and they are better reasons since the pandemic has hit the world. How has the pandemic effected you and your family? How have you coped with the prevailing pandemic? Share your comments with the community by positing here. What have you learned since COVID 19?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Growing & Harvesting Carrots in Containers

Growing & Harvesting Carrots in Containers
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Its amazing what you can grow in containers. No more limits for the urban and container gardener. Are you ready to grow your own carrots or vegetable? Which one(s) would you like to grow? What questions do you have? Leave us a post. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep growing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Harvesting & Growing Radishes

Korean Radish Flower Shidonna Raven
Harvesting & Growing Radishes
Source: Almanac.com
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Several months ago we took a trip to our local international food market where we sourced a few Korean seeds. Although we had no idea what they were, we grabbed several. Regardless, a staff member at the store was able to give us some basic information regarding the seeds and how to prepare them. Of course we want to eat them! Our Korean Radishes have flowers that are in full boom. We have a few root plants such as carrots. We were wondering how do you know when they are ready if they are underground? God is indeed perfect in all his ways. When the roots are ready the tops will peek above ground. How many varieties do you think there are? Have you ever had radish on your taco? We know a few authentic places. Post us a comment if you are curious. We spent some time in Latin countries and in California so our pallet regarding Hispanic food has been well developed. The things one must suffer through : ) What is your favorite type of Hispanic food?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Harvesting Swiss Chard

Leafy Vegetables Shidonna Raven
Harvesting Swiss Chard
Source: Bonnie’s Plants
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

When harvesting, at least leafy plants such as lettuces and herbs, the rule of thumb seems to be to harvest from the outside first and only about a third of the plant. From observation we can see that these types of plants seem to grow from the inside out, which is why one harvests from the outside first. The more mature leaves are on the outside. The remaining leaves are left to mature and to photosynthesize for the plant, so it can continue to get a healthy does of sunlight to grow. What have you observed from the pictures we have shared? Do you have your own pictures to share? Email them to us.Are you ready to harvest? We are too! After the harvest comes eating. Everyone is ready to eat.

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Oh Baby!

This journey has been a long one. It began far before these articles blossomed. Along my journey I met Chef Ponder who was able to provide me, along with other community members, with valuable information regarding food and how what we consume affects our health. During one of his presentations a speaker shared her story about child bearing with us.

While eagerly awaiting her baby to arrive, she (like some other women) had a miscarriage. After much searching to understand why she had her miscarriage she met with a doctor who committed to helping her find the answer to this questions. And as you might have guessed, her doctor had her change her diet. After working with the doctor she took her body from not being able to support another life to being a happy mother of 3 children, if my memory serves me correctly.

Anemia is another one of those illnesses that requires you to make diet changes in order to address the underlying issues causing the illness. As you might imagine Chef Ponder warned that many health issues can be address with proper diet The following foods are great foods that help combat anemia (we went over to health line for some answers):

1. Leafy greens

Leafy greens, especially dark ones, are among the best sources of nonheme iron. They include:

  • spinach
  • kale
  • collard greens
  • dandelion greens
  • Swiss chard

Some leafy greens such as Swiss chard and collard greens also contain folate. A diet low in folate may cause folate-deficiency anemia. Citrus fruits, beans, and whole grains are good sources of folate.

When eating dark, leafy greens for iron, there’s a catch. Some greens high in iron, such as spinach and kale, are also high in oxalates. Oxalates are compounds that prevent the absorption of nonheme iron. So, while it’s beneficial to eat your greens as part of an overall anemia diet, don’t depend on them solely to treat the condition.

Vitamin C helps your stomach absorb iron. Eating leafy greens with foods that contain vitamin C such as oranges, red peppers, and strawberries, may increase iron absorption. Some greens are good sources of both iron and vitamin C, such as collard greens and Swiss chard.

2. Meat and poultry

All meat and poultry contain heme iron. Red meat, lamb, and venison are the best sources. Poultry and chicken have lower amounts. Eating meat or poultry with nonheme iron foods, such as leafy greens, can increase iron absorption.

3. Liver

Many people shy away from organ meats, but they’re a great source of iron. Liver is arguably the most popular organ meat. It’s rich in iron and folate. Some other iron-rich organ meats are heart, kidney, and beef tongue.

4. Seafood

Some seafood provides heme iron. Shellfish such as oysters, clams, and shrimp are good sources. Most fish contain iron. Fish high in iron include:

  • sardines, canned in oil
  • canned or fresh tuna
  • fresh salmon
  • fresh halibut
  • fresh perch
  • fresh haddock

Although both fresh and canned salmon are good sources of iron, canned salmon is high in calcium. Calcium binds with iron and reduces its absorption. Foods high in calcium shouldn’t be eaten at the same time as iron-rich foods. Other examples of calcium-rich foods include:

  • raw milk
  • yogurt
  • kefir
  • cheese
  • sardines
  • broccoli
  • tofu

5. Fortified foods

Many foods are fortified with iron. Add these foods to your diet if you’re a vegetarian or struggle to eat other sources of iron:

  • fortified orange juice
  • fortified, ready-to-eat cereals
  • foods made from fortified refined flour such as white bread
  • fortified pasta
  • foods made from fortified cornmeal
  • fortified white rice

6. Beans

Beans are good sources of iron for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. They’re also inexpensive and versatile. Some iron-rich options are:

  • kidney beans
  • chickpeas
  • soybeans
  • black-eyed peas
  • pinto beans
  • black beans
  • peas
  • lima beans

7. Nuts and seeds

Many types of nuts and seeds are good sources of iron. They taste great on their own or sprinkled on salads or yogurt. When choosing nuts and seeds, choose raw varieties whenever possible. Some nuts and seeds that contain iron are:

  • pumpkin seeds
  • cashews
  • pistachios
  • hemp seeds
  • pine nuts
  • sunflower seeds

Along with you, we are on our own journey to a stronger and more sustainable healthy self. These tips are to help give you resourceful information to help guide you along your own journey. However, we are not professionals. We recommend teaming up with professionals such as dietitians and doctors to help you along your journey. Read our article “The Industry” to help better understand the medical and pharmaceutical industries so that you can make informed decisions about your health as a consumer.

How do you manage your health? Are you managing your health or are medicines being managed as a part of the things you consume? How do you select your health professionals? Are you satisfied with your health and the plan that is in place to ensure your health? Do you have a voice in your health plan? Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Stay healthy.

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Raw vs. Cooked

cooked vegetables shidonna raven garden and cook

While the plants grow in the garden, most of us are simply wondering when we can eat the fruits of all this labor, which brings us right to the point of eating, preparing and cooking. Some people claim that eating food raw is more beneficial to one’s health. The facts simply do not bear this out. What the facts do support is that both raw and cooked foods are both beneficial to one’s diet. In my journey I have discovered other foods more beneficial than others to my body’s particular needs. Our guess is that you might find the same is true for you: one size or food does not fit all. So, we went to healthline.com for some more details.

Cooking May Destroy Enzymes in Food

When you consume a food, digestive enzymes in your body help break it down into molecules that can be absorbed. Enzymes are heat sensitive and deactivate easily when exposed to high temperatures. In fact, nearly all enzymes are deactivated at temperatures over 117°F. However, the human body produces the enzymes necessary to digest food. And the body absorbs and re-secretes some enzymes, making it unlikely that digesting food will lead to an enzyme deficiency.

Some Water-Soluble Vitamins Are Lost in the Cooking Process

Some nutrients are easily deactivated or can leach out of food during the cooking process. Water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C and the B vitamins, are particularly susceptible to being lost during cooking.

In fact, boiling vegetables may reduce the content of water-soluble vitamins by as much as 50–60% . Boiling results in the greatest loss of nutrients, while other cooking methods more effectively preserve the nutrient content of food. Steaming, roasting and stir-frying are some of the best methods of cooking vegetables when it comes to retaining nutrients. Also, the length of time that a food is exposed to heat affects its nutrient content. The longer a food is cooked, the greater the loss of nutrients.

Cooked Food May Be Easier to Chew and Digest

Chewing is an important first step in the digestive process. The act of chewing breaks down large pieces of food into small particles that can be digested. It requires significantly more energy and effort to properly chew raw foods than cooked ones.

The process of cooking food breaks down some of its fibers and plant cell walls, making it easier for the body to digest and absorb the nutrients. Properly cooking grains and legumes not only improves their digestibility, but it also reduces the number of anti-nutrients they contain. Anti-nutrients are compounds that inhibit the body’s ability to absorb nutrients in plant foods. The digestibility of a food is important because your body can only receive a food’s health benefits if it’s able to absorb the nutrients.

Cooking Increases the Antioxidant Capacity of Some Vegetables

Studies have shown that cooking vegetables increases the availability of antioxidants like beta-carotene and lutein. Antioxidants are important because they protect the body from harmful molecules called free radicals. A diet rich in antioxidants is associated with a lower risk of chronic disease.

Cooking Kills off Harmful Bacteria and Microorganisms

It’s better to eat certain foods cooked, as raw versions may contain harmful bacteria. Cooking food (at temperatures over 140°F, for most foods) effectively kills bacteria that may cause food-borne illness. On the contrary, fruits and vegetables are generally safe to consume raw, as long as they have not been contaminated. Spinach, lettuce, tomatoes and raw sprouts are some of the fruits and vegetables most frequently contaminated by bacteria. Raw meat, fish, eggs and dairy often contain bacteria that can make you sick.

Foods That Are Healthier Raw

  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Onions
  • Garlic

Foods That Are Healthier Cooked

  • Asparagus
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Legumes
  • Meat, fish and poultry

We found that our research dispelled many myths we held. What did you learn? Are you a cook or a chef, what’s your opinion? Did you discover anything new or surprising in this article? How can what you learned improve the way you cook and prepare food and consequently your health? Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing.

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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MiMi’s Flower

MiMi’s Cynoglossum Amabile (Chinese Forget Me Not) flowers have finally bloomed. These short and thick sprouts are sure to grow into a beautiful addition around the house. For only a dollar this is a great way to introduce your children to gardening. The growing medium discourages over watering because it is a little lose, runny and slow to absorb. Similar growing mediums are available for growing other seeds / plants. These blocks are sold individually from kits and come in blocks of different sizes. They also come in packs with a tray. These packs also have growing medium sold in different sizes.

Kits are great because they take some of the guess work out of beginning to grow plants that many newbies face. The Soil Blocks and Growing Mediums offer the gardener a way to save in many forms. If you would like to learn more about Soil Blocks read our article titled “Soil Blocks” dated May 4, 2020. So far, we favor well drained clay pots. Many kits will not come with a clay pot but you can find one at your local garden center for a little more than $1 depending on the size you want. Metal pots can be lined and if you are remaining true to the Organic Journey you probably do not want to use plastic pots.

Among the Cynoglossum Amabile flowers we also found our Korean Radishes sprouting all over the place now that, fingers crossed, our vole problem is under control and we do not have underground munching going on. Our Pumpkin, Sugar Baby Watermelon and Beans (Green, Pinto & Lentil) are all doing very well. The plants have been getting plenty of water from Mother Nature over the last several days and are slotted to get a lot more over the next several days. We love and we think the plants do too. As soon as the rain lets up and we get a few sunny and calm days, we will set some plants out for transplanting and hopefully get the rest of the plants out into the garden. We halted transplanting until we could figure out our pest problem and then came the rain. So, hopefully we will get back on track in about a week.

We have a few squash and melon lovers out there, we are sure they are happy to see them sprouting and doing well. What pest problems have you encountered? How can you use these Organic Pest Remedies around the house as well as in the garden? What do you think the benefits would be? Do you think it would help save money and improve your health? Share your comments with the community by positing them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep growing.

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.