Love Your Liver

Why should I love my liver?

Liver is the most important organ after the heart.  It performs hundreds of essential functions :Cranberry Apple Dessert

  • Liver stores and regulates blood. It is responsible for circulation and nourishing every cell in our body.  Every part of the body depends on blood from the liver for nourishment and sustenance.
  • Liver helps the body to digest food, absorb nutrients, and eliminate toxic substances.
  • The amount of sugar in our blood is carefully controlled by the liver.
  • Liver is connected to proper eye function. Diseases involving the eye are closely related to a liver imbalance.
  • Liver also regulates emotional and mental state. A healthy liver ensures patience, endurance and the ability to maintain a strong spiritual center.

How does my liver communicate to me that it is not nourished? 

When the liver is overworked or under pressure, it generates too much heat within itself. One might feel hot and sweat excessively. When there is heat in the liver, the eyes are likely to be bloodshot, or feel a painful or burning sensation. When the liver blood is deficient, you might experience blurry vision, color blindness or dry eyes.

If liver is stagnant, we feel down or even depressed; it is hard to get started in the morning. Liver is responsible for anger. People with tired liver are quick to anger and have so called “short fuse”.

A weak liver expresses itself in deep insecurity, irritability, frustration, anger, excitability, and stubbornness.
Sometimes we can read right on our face if our liver is too tight – it manifests by deep vertical lines from nose going up between the brows.

How can you love your liver?

Get good night sleep

Liver likes to have a good night sleep on empty stomach. Liver rests and rejuvenate between 1:00 am and 3:00 am. In order to nourish your liver, it is best to go to bed no later than 11:00 pm. It gives you 2 hours to get to the stage of deep sleeping.

Do not eat late at night

Eat your last meat by 7:00 pm. Late night dinners, especially with hard to digest foods like meat and chicken, will send our liver to work most of the night. You might find yourself tired when you wake up in the morning and not willing to get out of the bed. Your mood in the morning also could be not the brightest.
Torah tells us that it has to pass 6 hour after eating meat before one can eat dairy. 6 hours is time it takes to digest meat.

Eat healthy and do not overeat

Eat plenty of organic vegetables and beans. Add complex carbs to your daily menu ( whole grains ).  Minimize consumption of processed food, fruits, honey and sugar which contain 50% of fructose. Just like alcohol, fructose is metabolized directly into fat. So eating fructose is really like eating fat—it just gets stored in your fat cells. Healthy liver can process no more than 25 grams of sugar a day.

Liver likes sour taste – lemons, Granny Smith apples, cranberry, sour cherries. If you crave sour taste, that might be your liver is talking to you.

GrannySmithcranberries lemons

In return, your nourished liver gives you bright happy energized mornings; handles your stressful situations; maintains fit body, radiant young-looking skin, healthy eyes, nails, and well-circulated, oxygen-rich blood.

Your liver would be happy if you chose this dessert to complete your early dinner 🙂

Cranberry Apple Dessert

Healthy Life Lessons from Maimonides to our Days

Rambam

Our generation is facing one of the serious health issues – obesity. In response to public demand many diets were introduced in the recent years. Some of them come and go quietly without creating too much damage; some of them unfortunately did not go so unnoticed. We have rights to ask the question who is behind promoting those diets and how many years of scientific studies did they undergo?

When a new diet shows up, people jump to it without realizing we are playing with our
own health. It is not yet another book, or an article – it is our health that is at risk.

Some people who follow kosher dietary laws would eat anything as long as the package has a trusted rabbinical certification. It is assumed to be good. G-d will take care of theside7 rest. Is it true?

We do not seem to think that the Torah requires us to control our eating to preserve our health. It is quite opposite. There are laws in the code of Jewish laws (Halacha) about eating. I will have another post to cover this amazing topic.

Maimonides – one of the greatest Jewish philosopher and the outstanding doctor who lived 800 years ago wrote a tremendous amount of material concerning health. Maimonides’ teachings have withstood hundreds of years and are as solid and truthful as they have ever been. Many recent nutritionists outside of Jewish world came to the same conclusions after decades of proven studies on the matter. Every science and medical discovery till nowadays just provides confirmation of Torah’s ultimate truth and wisdom. It encourages the fact that this manual for living is given to us with love and care.

In his writings, Maimonides gave very clear instructions regarding what, when and how much people should eat in order to lead a healthy life. One of his well-known quotes is: “No disease that can be treated by diet should be treated with any other means.”

His attitude to medicine is based on three main fundamentals — nutrition, physical exercise and balanced mental state. If you practice physical activity but neglect your nutrition, or eat healthy but do not exercise, or suffer from depression, then eventually your health will suffer. Maimonides has talks on the benefits of sun exposure, vegetarianism and a good night sleep.

Maimonides teaches Don’t eat three hours before bedtime; wait one hour after rising to eat; don’t drink milk; avoid meat (if you must eat animal flesh, choose chicken); eat small fish, such as the sardine, instead of big fish, like the tuna; don’t drink as you eat, (Too much fluid dilutes the enzymes, which makes digestion harder) and, the most obvious one, don’t overeat.”

Maimonides says that most of the health and sickness of the body ruled by how one digests his food. One who does it in the proper way will be a healthy person, but one who does not do it right will be a weak person and can bring himself to danger.

The beginning of the digestion process takes place in the mouth, as the teeth grind the food and mix it with saliva. Therefore, one should not swallow any food without chewing it first. The stomach’s job is much easier if one were to chew his food properly before swallowing it. Since chewing is so important, one should refrain from talking (including talking on the phone). Aside from the danger of choking, this also prevents proper chewing. Reading also distracts one from chewing. One should not place food on his fork while he is chewing, as he will swallow his food faster if he sees food ready on his fork to be eaten.

One should be in a happy mood and not full of anger, fear and worry while eating.


Even a snack requires you to sit down, chew well and give it your full attention.

Healthy Snack


Mother’s Day calls for a Dessert

MothersDayBouquet2015My daughter sent me this beautiful bouquet of flowers. Her love and thoughtfulness shines through the choice of unique, colorful, and every time different but always gorgeous bouquet. It touches my heart every time with realization and appreciation of our deep connection. She attached a card that speaks volume to me – loving and caring message enveloped in the refined sence of humor. I can’t help sharing it here:

Happy Mother’s Day to my greatest teacher, my best friend and my cheapest therapist! I love you! #CoolestMom #BestMom #MyMomCooksGreatFood #HealthyMom #MomIsOnInstagram #mom #MomGivesAdvise #MothersDay #Flowers #Colorful #Spring #MomAppreciation #Mommy #Mama #FunMom #WiseMom #SmartMom #MacrobioticMom #ILoveYou #Love #ChefMom

I was not into cooking, moreover into healthy cooking. 😦 at the time when my daughter attended the high school. She learned how to cook and she loves cooking since then. She used to find complicated recipes, provided me with the list of ingredients to buy (many of which I had not heard before). 🙂 and another cooking masterpiece emerged! I was amazed at her creativity. Sometimes she would call me at work to find out at what time I was coming home because she was cooking dinner. It had to be perfectly done and warm by my arrival. In addition, she was designing beautiful menus and we played roles. She was an owner of a boutique restaurant and I was a lucky guest. I got to enjoy colorful menu, delicious food, gorgeous presentation, excellent service and a great company.

Ever since then, when it comes to having a meal, she does not just start eating; she makes a beautiful arrangement on her plate and when it is decorated to mouth-watering appetizing state – it is ready to be eaten.

I believe the passion for the food decoration is passed on with genes. It runs in the family – my mom always spent time on elaborated decoration of every dish when we had guests over. Not a single dish would be served at the table unless it is fully decorated regardless of the fact that guests are already gathered and hungry 🙂

All these good memories are connected with the food I cook today. My cooking is an act of love. It is important to give love to the food while making it. The taste is totaly depends on the state of your heart while preparing food. When you cooking with passion it guarantees the delicious result (not experience or good recipe description). I am inspired to dedicate time to arrangement and decoration of my dishes. This dessert is my grateful gift to my teachers: my mom and my daughter who continue inspire me today.

Happy Mother’s Day to You and Your Mother !!!!DessertAgarStrawberryRaspberryKiwi600

Sun, Vitamin D, Food and Health

walk along the Miami beachFor the last three years we are spending Passover in Miami, Florida. It proved to be an amazing getaway after long, cold, sunless Chicago winter. It has all that is needed to rejuvenate – sun, ocean, long sandy beaches to stroll along, ample kosher for Passover food, multiple Chabads in walking distance, and plenty of locally grown vegetables and fruits.

I am surprised at myself getting up at 7 am every day without an alarm clock energized ready to roll. I am rushing to the beach to get my morning walk while the sun is the healthiest.

Yesterday I read an interesting article about Vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for people’s health. Sun is the best source. Vitamin D forms when the sun touches our skin and is deposited in our liver. Liver stores inactive vitamin D up to 20 days. Kidneys request a small portion of the stored vitamin D, activate it and send it to work in our body. Activated vitamin D kills diseased cells, plays essential role in calcium absorption,  healthy development and maintenance of strong bones and teeth, facilitates immune system’s function, reduces risk of chronicle diseases.ChinaStudy

Intake of animal food creates an acidic condition in our blood and slows down the activated Vitamin D.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/07/nutrition-advice-from-the-china-study/?_r=0

You might take Vitamin D supplements or believe that you getting it by eating cheese and meat; in reality it is quite opposite – this vitamin D does not become active and does not get to the stage where it does its work keeping us healthy.

I try to go for a walk every opportunity the sun shines in Chicago. Even 15 minutes’ walk will do the wonder. During winter I cook wild caught white meat fish to recharge the vital vitamin D level during those dark grey days. Wild caught fish is a healthy second best source of vitamin D.

Check out the recipe for a well-balanced meal with wild caught Lake Trout

Brown Rice Lake Trout

 

What to pack for lunch to the office in 5 precious minutes in the morning?

Quinoa beans veggies

Red White Quinoa with Black Soy Beans Peas Tomatoes

My daily commute to the office is about 40 miles one way. My company is located in the Northwestern suburb of Chicago. It is a nice area with huge shopping mall and some good food stores but if I want to have a healthy kosher cooked meal, I have to bring it from home. I usually pack my lunches in the morning. If there is not enough time to cook the whole lunch in the morning, it is important to add some green leafy vegetables freshly blanched, steamed or sautéed to make it more nutritious and rich with upward energy in the morning.

Last night I cooked red and white quinoa and also I cooked black soy beans which I left soaking before leaving for the office.  Cooking grains and beans – is the easiest thing. Put it in a pot, when it starts boiling, minimize flame, remove foam, put up a timer and go rest! When the timer announces that cooking is complete, you or anyone in your household turns it off. Done!

In the morning I made a salad and packed in my glass container.

Quinoa, black soy beans, freshly minced parsley and scallion, yellow grape tomatoes and steamed green peas. Dressing is a mixture of lemon juice, umeboshi paste, brown rice vinegar, olive oil.

Please see recipe page for detailed cooking instructions


**Health Tip: Organic beans are the healthiest choice of protein.  Beans are an excellent source of fiber, B vitamins, iron, and potassium and are low in fat. Beans should be soaked for 6 – 10 hours before cooking to make them easily digestible. Your body doesn’t have to work too hard to digest them. You don’t feel tired or sleepy after the meal.