The Ramps Are Coming!!

Ramps oh ramps…. How I love these garlicky pungent green leafy wild alliums. It is, in fact, my first tradition of spring to go into the woods to sustainably harvest ramps and eat one right then right out of the ground- spicy, sweet and aromatic. How great it is when I get the chance to go ‘shopping’ in the great outdoors!

Ramps were my first introductory to the incredibly satisfying and art of foraging for wild edibles about 15 years ago. There is no question that these wild alliums were the ‘gateway drug’ for all the mushrooms and other edibles I obsessively scour the woods for.

I recently read that the ramps in the northeast are said to arrive right around April 18th which is just around the corner.

It’s no mystery that people have been foraging and cooking with wild ramps for a long time but the ramps hit a trendy culinary wave around 10 or so years ago where chefs and other food enthusiasts used ramps in as many ways as they could fathom in their brief month or 2 season. Every year I look forward to fun and creative new dishes but by the end of the season, I’m happy to see it stop as it is a bit of a craze.

I could be the Bubba Gump when it comes to naming off all the various dishes and preparations I’ve seen chefs create with ramps but I’ll just highlight a few starting with the creative as well and ending with the wacky and bizarre:

Ramp Kimchi- as if kimchee already wasn’t a strong yet addictive punch in each bite, now you can have a ramp riddled batch to really knock your socks off.

-Ramp Butter- Ramps turned into compound butter is a very versatile ingredient and I just love adding a big old dollop of ramp butter to sautéed mushrooms, veggies or just spreading over crusty bread. It also freezes well so you can bet I stock up my freezer so that I have about 3-4 pounds of ramp butter at any given time throughout the year.

-Ramp and Pork Dumplings-recipe here one word- ‘Killer’..

Ramp Hashrecipe-Chopped up and fried with bacon and potatoes piled high with eggs any style. Breakfast of foraging champions if you ask me..

-Ramp Caviar- Yes, Ramp puree strained and turned into caviar-like beads- a process also known as spherification- the entry level of today’s molecular gastronomy. Easy to do and very cool.

-Ramp Martini- pickled ramps garnishing a gibson. 007 may not approve but drinking one too many of these will be lethal for your breathe indeed.

-Ramp Ice Cream- ummm..pass?

Go find a ramp this spring, eat the green raw right there on the spot and truly take in and be grateful for Mother Nature.

 

A few MORE notable eats in NYC

Back at it again- working in New York City and exploring various eats and cheap eats this grand city has to offer. For those of you that don’t know about Grubstreet’s ‘Absolute Best of New York’ Reviews- well go look at it. It’s awesome and they list at least 5 recommendations for almost every food group from fried chicken to BBQ to steakhouses. Great to pull up on the smart phone when you are out and about and need a few hours to kill and you know exactly what food you are craving.

Here were my cravings this past week:

Andy’s Deli– few locations

What sounded as a fun and great New York Deli turned out to be a slight disappointment. Nothing super exciting but cheap Boar’s Head brand deli meat sandwiches with the works on a big roll. I guess I was expecting too much. But in their defense- it was exactly what was advertised- a bargain stuffed sandwich.

 

Jin Ramen-462 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024 (Upper Westside)

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I was recommended this place last time I was in town and, sadly, ran out of time to go pay a visit. When I finished work early the first night back in the city on the upper west, you bet your bottom dollar I fled over to this place to sample. Jin Ramen, which occupies a few locations in the city, is a little more upscale for a noodle bar. The one on the upper west has a bar and cozy tavern feel when you walk in. Since I was alone, I opted for a seat at the bar to chat with the bartender and look at all the various high end Japanese whiskeys. Although I had every intent to commit to a HUGE bowl of noodles in a rich bone broth, the bartender actually recommended I try the house fried gyozas and a rice bowl with soy braised brisket, mixed mushrooms and tofu. With a light Japanese lager, it really hit the spot. Fresh ingredients and flavors, incredibly outgoing and passionate staff and affordable. I really liked this place and can’t wait to go back and actually try the ramen!

 

Lavain Bakery- 167 West 74th Street (Upper westside)

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Arguably rated New York City’s best chocolate chip cookies. Well, the cookies are of the chewy and soft variety and they are buttery, rich bombs! One cookie could probably have enough calories as one needs in a day. Other notable varieties are ‘chocolate walnut’, ‘double chocolate’, ‘oatmeal raison’ and ‘chocolate peanut butter’. Who doesn’t love a cookie that contains a stick of butter per cookie??

 

Hometown Barbecue – 454 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231 (Redhook)

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While doing research and ogling over all the barbecue videos and books in preparation for an upcoming project, I decided I had to make the trek out to Redhook to try the top rated BBQ brisket (according to Grubstreet) in New York City.

What an awesome joint.. Although I haven’t [yet] been to very many Barbecue joints, I can say that this place is capturing the simplicity of a typical southern joint with perhaps a Brooklyn flair. There was a little line (which I suspected) which wasn’t as bad as I thought that moved very quick up to the counter where brisket, beef ribs, pork ribs and turkey were cut to order and served on a good ol’ metal tray lined with paper with some sides and a big ol’ hunk of cornbread dipped in honey butter. I was in heaven..

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Now Barbecue is the kind of thing that traditionally is eaten at lunch time rather than dinner. Although there are plenty places that serve late night barbecue, it was always an early in the day kind of fare. For a couple reasons: a) The food is rich and heavy. I don’t know about you, but I’m much more likely to burn off that fatty brisket and pulled pork after lunch by walking it off or returning to work than I am after dinner and them tucking into bed. b) The origins of Southern Barbecue originated during the turn of the 19th century when German and Czech immigrants would sell various meats for other migrant workers. Smoking the meat was the best way to preserve it and utilize the tougher, less desirable and naturally less expensive cuts like the brisket and these joints were open during typical early day market hours.

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Back to Hometown- the brisket and pork were amazing. Beautiful smokey and tender flavors and texture. I did have a significant amount of time to kill so I literally camped out here for 2 hours while writing, checking emails, and taking alternating mouthfuls of smoked meat, cornbread and coleslaw.

The guy at the counter apologized for the line being so long. He better get used to it and look forward it to being a lot longer because I have a feeling this place is finally getting all the attention it deserves.

In fact, Brooklyn Barbecue is getting as much attention (if not a tad more) than the southern styles of barbecue. While I won’t attempt to write about that controversial and senstive topic, check out the this latest article in ‘Munchies’ covering it. 

 

Banh Mi Saigon Bakery-198 Grand St, New York, NY 10013 (Chinatown)

On the last day before I had to book over to the Bronx, I new I wanted something quick, cheap and tasty. So I thought I’d hit up this recommended banh mi joint over on Grand Street while catching up with a dear friend. It’s a no frills little place that is impeccably clean with very friendly staff. Walking in, it’s a bakery with a jewelry counter to the left side. I didn’t have a need for jewelry today so I made a b-line straight for the counter with a tower of bread. When I asked the guy at the counter which banh mi sandwich I should try from their list of about 20, he looked at me and pointed at the ‘BBQ pork banh mi’. Good man….he knows me. Although it sounded delicious, I opted for the classic- Ham, pate, carrot slaw and roasted pork on a warm and toasty french bread. For $5, I was delighted with my choice and could have easily bought another for the ride back home, even if it got stale and bread crumbs ended up in every corner of my car.

The banh mi sandwich is perhaps what the club sandwich was in the 90’s. It appears on a lot of bar and sandwich menus and has various versions and creative components. At it’s classic best, its a toasted baguette, ham, smooth liver pate, carrot and cucumber ‘slaw’, and loads of cilantro. The French influence on the Vietnamese around the 1950’s led to this great collaboration of ingredients and, like I said, has managed to really create a buzz today with foodies and chefs.

Until next time….

 

How Do You Like Your Eggs?

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Over breakfast this morning, Veronica and I were discussing eggs and how it’s funny that some people are SO particular about how their eggs cooked, or rather how they perceive them to be perfect. There’s scrambled, sunny side up, over easy, poached, hard boiled, soft boiled and if you are more particular- over medium, sunny side up but with the yolks cooked through, well done, whites only, fried in butter, olive oil or coconut oil.. I’m sure the list goes on..

 

 

My first dish I ever learned, age 7, was what I called ‘egg in toast’ but what is more commonly referred to as ‘egg in a basket’. Toast with a hole cut out with my favorite collector’s cartoon jam jar and then an egg fried in the middle.  Since then one could say that I have a soft spot for eggs, as a breakfast choice, their countless culinary applications and addition to any meal, savory or sweet.

I’m always experimenting with new egg dish ideas.

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So.. how do most people like their eggs cooked?? And better yet, what might that tell you of a person? Might it describe their personality as average, adventurous, creative, annoying, inconsiderate or even optimistic?

I laughed when we talked about the bit from Julia Roberts 1999 classic ‘Runaway Bride’ where Julia’s character never could decide how she liked her eggs cooked when asked so she just went along with whatever the man who she was with ordered. Sunny side up, over easy, poached, whites only..

Honestly, I’m a straight scrambled or over medium kind of guy. I like the egg yolk to be runny but not so much that it is as thin as water and gets lost all over the plate with the disastrous chance of not having the proper vehicle to mop it up. Based on those particulars, I rate my egg personality to be particular and somewhat judgmental. Whenever I’m at ‘ye ol’ greasy spoon diner’, I now rest my culinary ego at the door and don’t expect more than over easy style eggs on this request but sometimes I am pleasantly surprised by the cook’s delivery or default. When I’m at home, I geek out to perfecting the eggs to just as I like them.

Look, I get the demands of a breakfast place- catering to a bunch of early morning, often hung over, hangry and otherwise particular customers that want their breakfast their way and in a quick manner. Well, when most breakfast establishments are working with a large cook surface with varying degrees of heat, multiple egg, pancake, omelette, french toast, crispy bacon, and eggs Benedict orders, it’s just a little hard to keep track of Susan’s request for over medium eggs on table 54. Give them a break!! If you don’t like it, cook eggs for yourself at home or better yet, open up your own breakfast joint and see how fast it takes for your mind to get ‘scrambled’ during a typical weekend breakfast shift. I love and respect a good old fashioned neighborhood diner and am 9 out of 10 times pretty darn happy and grateful for what I get.

As for me and scrambled eggs, well this is a whole different beast. I recall reading and watching a few bits with Gordon Ramsey (that British celebrity chef with a temper) saying how he judges his new cooks on how well they can make scrambled eggs. But I feel he is more critical on if they produce the eggs to his liking rather than their views.

Again, I like mine fluffy and buttery but I know some who like them more well done or even a little brown on the edges. Sorry, not sorry, Gordon..

As for omelettes, well that is a whole different ball game….

For more resources on eggs, cookery, and fun recipes, check out the –Serious Eats Guide to Eggs-

Throwback Fish Friday

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‘This is our town, this is Friday night
Dressed in our rags and our rage and our best
Piercing eyes looking for something – anything, anyone.
Stare across the floor as they begin to dance….’

The lyrics from that New Model Army song run through my head as I recall fond memories of a pivotal point in my culinary path.

What was going to be a ‘Throwback Thursday’ post is actually more suited towards Friday this week.

Remember when Friday nights were the sh**? I mean like Friday night would just be party time, throw it all against the wall, stay out till 2 (or later..) in the morning, and spend the rest of the weekend into the next week talking about it (and, of course, recovering). For most of us, the nostalgia of Friday night with the boys (or girls) is something we always carry with us. Ha, perhaps even when we have kids and Friday night is no different than Monday night or we just grow older- secretly in the back of our mind we recall the Friday nights of our youth with great enjoyment and a surge of energy.

When I first started working in food retail in my mid 20’s, I created a fresh fish buying program for my local land-locked community and prided myself on the ultra fresh and stunningly beautiful ocean delights that my little landlubber town just never really saw outside of a restaurant. Oysters, Lemon Sole, Tasmanian Sea Trout, Maine Smelt that ‘smelt’ of fresh cucumbers, Uni, and Wolffish were a few of the many varieties of seafood I was bringing in through a popular word of mouth preorder seafood program every Friday.

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Inevitably, I would order a little extra of each to assure every one of my customers got the absolute best product and no tail pieces of fillet. What to do with these extra ocean gems?? Friday night pregame??

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The idea at first sounded crazy- Bring anywhere from 5-8 different odds and ends of amazing seafood to a friend’s remote cabin to host a sort of ‘underground restaurant’ for my skater, punk, PBR aficionado and marijuana enthusiast friends. I mean, would they really appreciate the delicate and exotic fishes like I did or were they set with the pizza or Chinese food before hitting the bars or clubs?

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Well, the first Friday I brought over my assortment of treats, I sent everyone in a complete state of shock and awe with standing ovations and requests for encore performances. ‘Fish Friday’s became a thing. There was a text roll, people were telling their friends and before I knew it the little ‘pregame dinner party’ turned into a 25-30 person tasting menu/ fish jam session. With riffs like raw oysters and uni, Tasmanian Sea Trout Tartare, Skate Provencal, Fluke en Papillote, and Bouillabaisse, not only was I learning and teaching my friends to shuck oysters, but I was having one of the best times of my life in the the process. I mean, think about eating a dozen of the freshest and crispest Oysters at a rock concert…It doesn’t seem like they belong together but when they are there and done right, it blew people away.

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I say this was a pivotal point in my food path and passion because these friend dinners opened up my creativity in a stress-free and familiar setting and showed me that people don’t just enjoy good food but also love the show and the story of it.

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We hosted about 20 ‘Fish Fridays’ over the course of that year and I’m still asked by some of the members if I’ll ever do it again just like the good old times….well who knows.. One thing is for sure though, Friday nights still rock, even if its just in your memories and heart…

A Few Notable Eats in NYC

Over the past few months I have been pursuing more and more freelance chef gigs in New York City working at places like Carnegie Hall, NY Historical Society, New York Botanical Gardens and more. It has been an adventure for sure and WAY out of my comfort zone.. For those of you who don’t know me well, I am well as I call it ‘directionally challenged’.  I get lost in my own county I grew up in let alone a big hustling bustling concrete jungle. I swear its a thing…

Anyway, as a successful person might say, ‘growth happens on the other side of fear or discomfort’. This is certainly true with navigating my way around New York.

I’ve managed to eat my fair share through the city (well about .0003 % of the eateries in NYC) and love sharing my finds and reviews:

Pisticci– 125 la Salle St New York, NY (Harlem)

A walk down into this busy, quaint, yet lovely Italian subterranean space suggests a friendly neighborhood trattoria with a small bar, plenty of tables, and even live music on some nights. I’ve been about 5 times so far and a few dishes I love are Mussels in White Wine, Maltagliati with Lamb Ragu, and Fettucine al Funghi. Generous portions and affordable.

Toast– 3157 Broadway New York, NY (Harlem)

From the looks of the place from the outside, it’s nothing more than a bar and lounge serving typical American bar fare. And well that’s pretty much what it is! Great cocktails, wine, beer selection and awesome salads, fries and burgers done right without breaking the bank. Enough said.

Dinosaur Barbecue-700 W 125th St, New York, NY (other locations as well)

Now I won’t be that guy claiming to know the best BBQ joints around and I also won’t claim Dinosaur is AMAZING but it’s good. It’s a busy place, great bar, great smell and plenty of menu options. A good choice for BBQ if your in the neighborhood. My favorites here are the chicken wings and Syracuse salt potatoes. Sure I’ve had plenty of better BBQ but I like the atmosphere of this place.

Bahari-31-14 Broadway, Astoria, NY

From what I’m told, there are no shortage of great Greek restaurants in Astoria and this one stands out among them. Again, this place has a real family and neighborhood feel- the kid of place where the waiter asks your name and you turn around to see a table of 12, kids, highchairs and all. Things are just done right here, like Grandmas cooking- nothing fancy but just good comfort food- garlicky baba ganoush (melintzanosalata), spicy feta cheese spread (tyrokafteri) and various entrees like cabbage rolls, grilled swordfish, beef rolls with sides of lemony potatoes, green veggies and simple salads. I was there with 3 others and we ordered 4 apps, 4 entrees and 2 bottles of wine and our bill came to $130. WOW. Great value.

Landmark Diner-158 Grand St. New York, NY (SOHO)

I literally stumbled into this diner on my way to a meeting and was pleasantly surprised and humored by it. Apparently they claim to have the best pancakes around but since I didn’t try them, I’m not sure that’s just a tourist lure or what. What is great to me is that it’s your typical cheap greasy spoon diner with plates of eggs, toast and home fries for less than 5 bucks, bottomless regular coffee and amusing Chinese waitresses calling you baby and honey. It was a riot! On a cold a rainy morning it was a perfect bit of comfort and humor to camp out in before I had to get to work.

Babalucci’s– 331 Lenox Ave, New York, NY (Harlem)

Sourdough pizza…I know what you’re thinking- “Sourdough pizza when you’re in New York?? Get out of here country boy!!” And you’d probably be right..haha but it’s good and they have this lunch special called the polpette panini which is this awesome meatball sandwich on crunchy wood oven toasted bread with a nice side salad. Cozy spot, nice staff and good ‘flatbread’.

Patsy’s Pizza -2287 1st Avenue, New York, NY  (Harlem)

Ok, ok I’m trying to redeem myself from the last review. Patsy’s Pizza has been a New York Pizza institution since 1933. It’s just good New York coal oven fired pie not meant to have tons of creative toppings. I did however have the recommended onion pie which is raw white onion that are cooked just enough to still retain the crispness but bring out a little sweetness.  Awesome sauce..

Fried Dumpling-106 Mosco St (between Mulberry St & Mott St) New York, NY (Chinatown)

Small shop that sells only one thing- fried pork dumplings. Boy are they good!! And at the price of 5 for $1.25, 10 for $2.50 is the perfect grab and go lunch to eat while walking through the crazy sidewalks of Chinatown with fish stalls on the sidewalk, whole roasted ducks hanging in the window and someone trying to sell you a fake Rolex on every corner. These dumplings are awesome but don’t expect the woman serving them to be warm and fuzzy, she’s all business and will yell if you don’t keep the line moving.

Cafe Lalo– 201 W 83rd St, New York, NY (Upper Westside)

Out of all eateries and restaurants I’ve been to in NYC I was least impressed here. I tried, I really did! It’s basically and overcrowded, overpriced and very underwhelming cafe menu that perhaps has the only claim to fame of being the cafe from the movie ‘You’ve Got Mail’. What seemed to be a charming cafe from the outside turned out to be a headache and claustrophobic’s nightmare with staff that are pushy and just want to turn over tables. Sorry Meg Ryan and Tom fans…first and last time I’ll go here.

Well there you go! I’ve got a list bugger that my amazon wishlist of other places to check out so I’ll keep these review posts going!

 

 

Back at it (blogging that is)

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After a brief hiatus of reclaiming my blog from Chinese hijackers selling counterfeit products (not kidding, this happened and it was a pain), I’m happy to get back to my blog, a new year, new goals, and a lot of exciting things in the works.

As I work to get the blog back in order and enhance the security, bear with me if links don’t work here and there.

Obviously, the most exciting news is that Veronica and I are getting married this year!!! We have our date, venue and menu in the works and thrilled to share it as it comes together!

As for my career, I have switched over full time as a freelance chef, caterer, business consultant and writer.

This season has been a whirlwind for sure in work, travel, new client relationship building and the hustle. It’s always about the hustle in any food related career…But I love the hustle. ‘The obstacle is the way’ as one says and, well, in my case-‘The hustle is the way’.

Many of my friends have wondered what happened to me and I’m happy to say that I’m still here and plugging away! I’ve just been extremely focused on work and positioning myself, career and family for an amazing year!

While tirelessly working (and fighting off blog hijackers), I have been dreaming up blog posts and other writing so this outlet is always where I hope to reflect on my past, present and future work with fun ideas like:

  • ‘Throw Back Thursdays’- fun anecdotes and past experiences.
  • ‘Family Meals’- What I’m cooking during the week outside of work and travel.
  • ‘On the Road’- Pictures, rave, rants, and other eye candy from my busy travel life.
  • More recipes!!

As always, thanks for following along and being a part of my journey however small or large it may be!

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Superfood Spotlight: Wild Grasses

Really excited to be introducing a weekly series called ‘Superfood Spotlight.’ Every week I will highlight a superfood ingredient and talk about the key points of nutrition and what it overall does for us.

My passion for these foods is derived from Shakeology, a supplement product formulated by Darren Olien and Isabelle Daikeler. The easiest way to describe Shakeology is ’70 of the best known foods on the planet for health of the body put into one package’.

Whole food based, with prebiotics, digestive enzymes, phytonutrients and much more. I’m just so amazed with this product that I’ve dedicated a lot of my study to it and hope you find value in my sharing!

This week the ingredient is: Wild Grasses

After decades of sustainable farming, crop rotation, and other natural methods of restoring the soil, we’re getting highly potent and efficacious grasses. By understanding the plants, as well as the processes and care that go into their production . . . we can make sure the grasses we use are simply the healthiest that can be found, not just from North America but everywhere grasses are harvested.

Several of them provide amazing amounts of protein and amino acids, among other nutrients.

Here are just a few most common:

Wheat grass

Wheat grass juice powder is high in chlorophyll, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.  Along with the other components, it helps cleanse your system of impurities, which is an important component of the healing process. A side benefit: It can deodorize the body while helping to promote a healthy metabolism and thyroid function for improved weight control and indigestion. Wheatgrass is loaded with numerous vitamins and other minerals, including 17 amino acids.

Barley Grass

Barley grass juice powder has been used for centuries to help problems with the skin, liver, blood, and digestive tract. In Asia, Barley tea is a well-known fever remedy. And a recent study in Europe showed that barley may help regulate your blood sugar. Its 18 amino acids (including all eight essentials) complement significant amounts of vitamins and minerals: potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, phosphorous, manganese, zinc, beta carotene, and vitamins B-1, B-2, B-5, B-6, B-9, and C.

Oat Grass

Oat grass juice powder has a calming effect on the nerves, helps promote healthy sleep, and can help relieve water retention. It’s useful in numerous therapies for joints, muscles, and bones, and eating oats is a well-known way to promote healthy cholesterol levels—which may reduce your risk of heart disease. Oat grass is also a superb source of protein (as good as soy, in fact). Oats are rich in vitamins, minerals, and all the essential amino acids . . . and if your kids have had the chicken pox, a bad rash, or sunburn, or gotten into some poison ivy, you know about putting them in a bathtub full of oatmeal-based relief.

Kamut

Kamut is actually a branded, specialized type of certified organic Khorasan Wheat, discovered by an American in Egypt about 60 years ago. It’s high in selenium (crucial for cell activity in your body), as well as protein and other essentials for high energy: zinc, thiamin, phosphorous, magnesium, copper, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, vitamin E, and complex carbohydrates. Because it’s an ancient grain (not modified by modern agricultural methods), its nutritional content is more robust than most other grains. Its low oxidation levels mean it doesn’t lose much nutritional content when it’s processed.

In Conclusion

Wild grasses are an amazing food providing amazing amounts of protein and amino acids, among other nutrients.

If you are interested in more or trying Shakeology, please contact me -Here-

Superfood Spotlight: Papain

Really excited to be introducing a weekly series called ‘Superfood Spotlight.’ Every week I will highlight a superfood ingredient and talk about the key points of nutrition and what it overall does for us.

My passion for these foods is derived from Shakeology, a supplement product formulated by Darren Olien and Isabelle Daikeler. The easiest way to describe Shakeology is ’70 of the best known foods on the planet for health of the body put into one package’.

Whole food based, with prebiotics, digestive enzymes, phytonutrients and much more. I’m just so amazed with this product that I’ve dedicated a lot of my study to it and hope you find value in my sharing!

This week the ingredient is: Papain, papaya extract.

Papain is a powerful digestive enzyme commonly found and extracted from the papaya fruit, it is also referred to as papaya proteinase. The papaya enzyme papain plays a key role in digestive processes involving breaking down tough protein fibers. For this reason, it has been commonly used in its native South America as a digestive support for meat eating.

Papain is also loaded with beta-carotene, folate, potassium and magnesium. It’s antioxidants team with its abundance of vitamin C to help protect your cells, warding off the harmful molecules present pollution and second-hand smoke.

Yet Papain goes even further. It’s been used for centuries in Central America as a natural remedy for indigestion, ulcers, fevers, and swelling. Even for insect bites (wasps, bumblebees, mosquitoes) and sea stings (jellyfish and rays), since it breaks down toxins. That’s why doctors use it here in the USA for some detox programs, and to help promote healthy wound healing.

In Conclusion

Papain is a power house enzyme that aids in digestive and antioxidant health as well as wound and muscle recovery.

If you are interested in more or trying Shakeology, please contact me -Here-

On Wealth and Freedom: ‘The Businessman and The Fisherman’

I love the following story because it puts wealth and freedom in a different perspective for each person. When is enough really enough and what do you truly want by having more wealth or freedom?

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-There was once a businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small Brazilian village.
As he sat, he saw a Brazilian fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore having caught quite few big fish.

The businessman was impressed and asked the fisherman, “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?”

The fisherman replied, “Oh, just a short while.”

“Then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more?” The businessman was astonished.

“This is enough to feed my whole family,” the fisherman said.

The businessman then asked, “So, what do you do for the rest of the day?”

The fisherman replied, “Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then go back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and evening comes, I join my buddies in the village for a drink — we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night.”

The businessman offered a suggestion to the fisherman.

“I am a PhD in business management. I could help you to become a more successful person. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible. When you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, set up your own company, your own production plant for canned food and distribution network. By then, you will have moved out of this village and to Sao Paulo, where you can set up HQ to manage your other branches.”

The fisherman continues, “And after that?”

The businessman laughs heartily, “After that, you can live like a king in your own house, and when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, and you will be rich.”

The fisherman asks, “And after that?”

The businessman says, “After that, you can finally retire, you can move to a house by the fishing village, wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and when evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, sing and dance throughout the night!”

The fisherman was puzzled, “Isn’t that what I am doing now?”

Superfood Spotlight: Chaga

Really excited to be introducing a weekly series called ‘Superfood Spotlight.’ Every week I will highlight a superfood ingredient and talk about the key points of nutrition and what it overall does for us.

My passion for these foods is derived from Shakeology, a supplement product formulated by Darren Olien and Isabelle Daikeler. The easiest way to describe Shakeology is ’70 of the best known foods on the planet for health of the body put into one package’.

Whole food based, with prebiotics, digestive enzymes, phytonutrients and much more. I’m just so amazed with this product that I’ve dedicated a lot of my study to it and hope you find value in my sharing!

This week the ingredient is: Chaga!

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Chaga is a member of the mushroom family.

Rather than soft like a mushroom, chaga is hard, almost as hard as wood. It is unique, nothing like common mushrooms. In fact, chaga is the most nutritionally dense of all tree growths. Known by the Siberians as the “Gift from God” and the “Mushroom of Immortality,” this vibrant growth has been used by humans to support health for thousands of years. The Japanese call it “The Diamond of the Forest,” while the Chinese deem it “King of Plants.” Despite this exceptional status, most Americans are unaware of it.

-Chaga has an abundance of Beta-D-Glucans which help balance the response of the body’s immune system. This means that chaga helps boosts the immune system when necessary, but slows it down when it’s overactive. This makes chaga a natural Biological Response Modifier (BRM).

-Chaga supports the integrity of blood vessels and provides soothing properties in times of irritation. This can be helpful for those suffering from pain, neuropathy, and even diabetes.

-Studies have shown that the betulinic acid found in chaga is able to break down LDL cholesterol–bad cholesterol–in the bloodstream.

-Chaga contains structural polysaccharides within its chitin walls, which provide energy, cardiovascular health, intestinal and liver health, and promote healthy blood sugar levels. It’s also said to improve one’s mood.

Chaga is not easy to find and people often mistake the mushroom for knots in the tree or burnt patches. You’ll find chaga growing predominantly on birch trees in cold habitats throughout the Northern Hemisphere, including northern parts of Europe, Russia, Korea, Canada, and the U.S.

In North America, Chaga is almost exclusively found on birches in the northeast. In particular, it’s most commonly found on paper and yellow birch trees. Paper birch is a common forest tree with a white bark that exfoliates in broad, curling sheets. It’s found at low and high elevations in the northeast of North America. Yellow birch is another common forest tree and usually has a yellow bark that exfoliates as small, curling shreds.

To survive in harsh climates, chaga concentrates natural compounds for its protection, and that is why it is so powerful. To strengthen the tree, as well as heal, it makes potent phytochemicals, including sterols, phenols, and enzymes. Researchers have inoculated sick trees with chaga to strengthen them. People benefit by consuming these forest-source phytochemicals and nutrients.

In Conclusion

Chaga Mushrooms are a powerful Superfood responsible of SO many things for one’s health including antioxidants, bad cholesterol fighting properties, cell and tissue recovery, energy, cardiovascular health and more!!

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