Kids in India have loved kitchari for centuries; the ingredients vary with the region, but always include rice, lentils, and lots of spices. In the Ayurvedic tradition, kitchari is used in a popular cleanse. Kitchari is a one bowl completely balanced meal rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Purifying and comforting, the beet greens in this dish boost its nutritional factor even more. In a small bowl mix the organic spices: ½ tsp coriander, ½ tsp turmeric, ½ tsp cumin, ½ tsp curry powder, and ¼ tsp red pepper flakes. Kids can peal 1 inch piece of fresh organic ginger and grate it finely. Rinse 1/3 cup organic brown basmati rice and ¼ cup organic red lentils and ¼ cup organic green lentils in a strainer. In a medium pot, heat 1 tbsp organic virgin coconut oil, add the spices and grated ginger, and stirring constantly toast them two minutes. Add the rice and lentils to the pot, coating them with the spices. Add 2 ¼ cups of water, stir, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Chop 1 organic carrot, ¼ cup organic red bell pepper, and 4 organic crimini mushrooms, stir into the pot, and continue to cook uncovered 10 minutes. Add 2 ounces of chopped organic beet greens and cook 20 more minutes, stirring occasionally, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add ½ tsp sea salt. Total cooking time is 50 minutes.
Tropical avocado trees grow well in large containers or half whisky barrels on a sunny patio or deck, especially dwarf cultivars. Their bushy evergreen foliage makes a welcome ornamental addition to the patio. Originally from Mexico, kids can grow avocado trees outside in Southern California with regular water, organic biologically rich soil, and full sun. In cold climates, kids can put the container for the avocado tree on a wheeled pot caddy and move it indoors for the winter. Kids can start an attractive houseplant from an avocado pit, but such plants rarely fruit or produce fruit after growing eight to ten years, unless grafted. Avocados are self-fruitful, but some trees have flowers that are ready to receive pollen in the morning, with pollen that isn’t released until the afternoon. Other avocados display the opposite pattern, with flowers ready in the afternoon and pollen released the following morning. Planting both types of trees guarantees good pollination and more fruit. Thousands of flowers bloom on the tree between January and March and a tenth will develop into dark green fruit dangling on long stalks that mature on the tree for three to six months. Avocados are heart healthy with omega-3 oil and cancer fighting antioxidants, and kids love yummy guacamole with chips.
In 1899, a new synthetic compound was created and patented from salicylic acid and called Bayer Aspirin. It has survived unchanged into the 21st Century, maintaining enviable sales as a heart medication. Salicylic acid derived from willow tree bark has been used for thousands of years to reduce fever, pain, and inflammation, with the side effects of nausea, tinnitus, and gastric irritation. With the development of television in the 1950’s, people heard the commercials and started taking Aspirin for every little thing. All Big Pharma companies today have a quest to develop better pain relievers. Most of these pain projects focus on blocking some type of ion channel in neurons involved with the transmission of painful stimuli. Hence the immense commercial successes of opiates, which are both psychologically and physiologically addictive, induce drowsiness and constipation, and can halt breathing, causing death.
Organic compounds produced by plants are extremely complex and difficult to manipulate in a laboratory. Other synthetic compounds were created from salicylic acid to compete with Bayer Aspirin, such as the over the counter analgesics, Tylenol, Advil, and Motrin. Most people consider them totally benign and take them frequently with little awareness of their risks. The main adverse side effects of these so called safe products are gastrointestinal ulceration, kidney damage, and excessive bleeding.
Kids should take these salicylic acid products sparingly, only for real illness, fever, injury, or as prescribed by the doctor. For a headache or minor pains, kids can have a relaxing bath, a cold pack, a cup of chamomile tea, and a nap.
Coconuts are nutritional powerhouses, with electrolytes in its coconut water, antimicrobial properties in its heart healthy coconut oil, and nutrient and enzyme rich in its coconut meat. Coconuts can be substituted for butter, cream, and milk in recipes. Coconut products, such as coconut oil, flour, yogurt, sugar, and milk can be used to make breads, soups, entrees, desserts, and skin moisturizers. To get the water from a mature brown coconut, puncture the softest of the three “eyes” at the coconut’s top with a paring knife and drain the water into a glass. This coconut water makes a perfect sport drink for kids. Coconuts have a very hard shell and it takes practice to crack it open. Kids need an adult to open a coconut with a cleaver tapping around the middle until it splits in half. Fresh coconut is the meat from a mature brown coconut and can be grated to add to many recipes. The most common form of coconut milk for cooking comes in a can, not in the carton next to the soy and almond milk. To make coconut milk at home, kids can put the chopped meat of one coconut in an industrial food processor and puree until smooth. Strain this mixture through a fine-mesh sieve. The pulp can be ground into coconut flour and the milk can be stored in the refrigerator. Many people around the world consider coconut oil to be a cure for all illnesses. Organic virgin coconut oil is a medium-chain fatty acid that gives the body an instant source of energy, is nutrient dense and boosts immunity. Kids can use coconut products with fresh, dried, or roasted fruit in many breakfast or dessert recipes. Kids will delight in the creaminess of coconut milk and ice cream and the crunchy texture of dried coconut and coconut chips. Coconut is an ideal ingredient as it can be creamy, crunchy, sweet, or savory and kids love the flavor.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is part of a global effort to secure the diversity of our most important crop plants to ensure that humanity has food seeds in spite of wars, climate change, and natural disasters. The Seed Vault is the answer to the international community’s pressing need for the future of global agriculture as a bank for storing seeds to conserve diversity and food security for people today and beyond. Located near the North Pole in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, the Seed Vault is completely funded by the government of Norway and built to the highest standards. Tucked away in a frozen mountain that keeps the seeds cool at -18⁰C, a long tunnel, partially encased in a steel tube, leads 130 meters deep to the entrance of the vault rooms containing seeds from countries around the world. The seeds are carefully dried and frozen to preserve them for hundreds of years.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was built in 2008 under the guidance of Cary Fowler, a long time champion of seed saving, who had worked over 20 years to establish an international seed bank. The heirloom seed savers movement, started over a hundred years ago, is concerned about the sustainability of the environment and the loss of thousands of vegetable plant varieties in the last century. Big biotech companies want to control all the seeds, and they are patenting and privatizing seeds, making it illegal for farmers to retain their own crops for replanting. The world’s leading food speakers see the garden as a self sustaining, self contained living being and the organic produce from ancient heirloom seeds as pure food.
The world’s largest seed bank of plant breeding for dry areas, ICARDA, located in Syria, sent 116,000 different seed varieties to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault before the fighting broke out in Syria and gunmen took over their Seed Bank headquarters. In September, 2015, ICARDA retrieved 38,073 seed varieties from its box at the Seed Vault to replant in carefully managed plots to grow and harvest fresh new seed for their farmers. This May, the melting of the polar icecap was much greater than expected due to climate change. The entrance hall to the Seed Vault was flooded. The water did not enter the well structured Vault, but now the Norwegian government is building drainage ditches on the mountainside and waterproof walls inside the tunnel entrance hall. Inside the mountain, the structure of the vault is safe and scientists are researching permafrost in Svalbard. If a nation’s seeds are lost as a result of a natural disaster or a man made catastrophe, the seeds saved in this Arctic Vault can be used to regenerate them.
Kids can make a party in your mouth meal with cauliflower, a meaty vegetable that makes a nice presentation cut in slices and roasted on a stainless steel sheet pan. Cauliflower is a yummy winter veggie in the cabbage family with abundant health benefits in its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line the pan with parchment paper. Trim the outside leaves from a large organic head of cauliflower leaving the stem intact. Place the cauliflower stem side down on a cutting board and cut into four ¾ inch slices that include the stem. Kids can save the ends of the cauliflower for another meal. Brush both sides of the slices with organic extra virgin olive oil and place on the sheet pan. In a bowl, stir together 2 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 2 tbsp capers, ¼ tsp sea salt, and 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper. If kids grow organic herbs on the patio, they can cut small sprigs of rosemary, oregano, chives, thyme and snip them into tiny pieces and add to the oil mix. Brush the mixture over the tops of the cauliflower slices. Roast until the cauliflower is golden and fork tender about 20 minutes. This filled with flavor cauliflower slice is tasty served with organic brown rice and a fresh from the garden salad.
Spring is the perfect time to start a clean eating diet as local Farmers Markets are filled with abundant fresh colorful organic produce. Seasonal, locally grown fruits and veggies are the most flavorful and nutritious. Kids that grow their own veggies can hardly wait to eat them. Kids can kick the addiction to sodas and junk food filled with chemicals, preservatives, and additives. At the Farmers Market or local farm stand, kids can learn about their food from the farmers that grow it. Overweight kids can lose weight just by switching from junk food to organic whole food. Kids discover that real whole food, fresh from the garden, is sweeter and more satisfying than the food corporations’ processed and packaged foods which have been made with too much salt, fat, and sugar. Processed convenience foods and fried fast foods have caused wide ranged health problems including diabetes and obesity. Studies show that kids who eat home cooked meals from scratch with their families around the dinner table are happier, as well as healthier. Kids can pack their lunch boxes with healthy snacks, like whole fruits and nuts, to fuel their day. Kids can make their own fresh fruit juice or infuse water with pieces of fruit rather than sugary fruit drinks or sodas. Real food is made from ingredients kids can find in nature, like whole grains, beans, nuts, fruits, herbs, and veggies. A clean eating diet means cooking healthy by steaming, roasting, or grilling rather than frying. Kids can start an organic veggie garden in pots on the patio this spring. Kids can cook from scratch with whole organic ingredients and lose weight, gain energy, and feel great.