Digestive Aid Remedy

(from Rebecca’s Website) See accompanying article on Daikon

Makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons finely grated daikon

2 tablespoons finely grated carrot

1/4 teaspoon fresh ginger juice*

Small pinch sea salt

In a small bowl combine the grated daikon, carrot, ginger juice and salt. Serve in a small condiment dish or divide it into 1 tablespoon servings on individual small plates.

*To make ginger juice, place finely grated fresh ginger in the palm of your hand and squeeze to extract thejuice. (The fresher the ginger, the more juice it yields. If the ginger is old and withered, you can plump it in water for 1 hour before grating.)

May you be well nourished.

I've heard about using daikon as a weight loss remedy. Exactly what is daikon,where can I find it and how do I prepare it? — Pamela S., Plano, TX

A: Have you ever wondered about the dab of juicy, grated white stuff that's served with tempura and sushi? It's grated daikon. Because this pearly white radish aids digestion it often appears with these dishes. Daikon also is a venerable weight loss remedy in Asia.

While using foods for specific medicinal purposes may sound novel today, every world culture has a tradition ofdoing so. Foods contain phytochemicals, which are biologically active substances with recognized healing properties.Our common foods typically contain smaller percentages of these medicinal properties than do herbs, making food remedies milder and safer than herbal remedies. We typically don't use herbs daily, but we do eat, and by favoring foods specific to our healing needs we can skillfully support our well being.

Daikon cleanses the blood, promotes energy circulation and increases the metabolic rate. It contains diuretics,decongestants and, in terms of phytochemicals, the digestive enzymes diastase, amylase and esterase. This makes it a primary ingredient in a great variety of home remedies. Regular use of daikon helps prevent the common cold, flu and respiratory infections. Daikon treats hangovers, sore throats, colds and edema, and it helps cleanse the kidneys and decongest the lungs. This restorative vegetable also has anticarcinogenic properties.

The first radish, with a coarse black skin, originated in Egypt. Daikon, a white or green-skinned radish that'sshaped like a giant carrot, was developed in Asia, while in Europe the petite red and icicle radishes flourished.Because radishes have such potent medicinal properties, I like keeping them on hand. Daikon and black radishes storebetter than red radishes but all are interchangeable in their culinary and medicinal properties.

In today's markets, daikon is relatively inexpensive and widely available. Buy it only when it is heavy for itssize, firm and with a fresh, vibrant, snow-white appearance. If it's oversized, pithy, withered or discolored itwill taste disagreeably hot and pungent. Fresh daikon has a sweet taste and cooking enhances this sweetness and eliminatesits bite.

Daikon is shipped with its leaves intact but grocers typically remove and discard the greens. Request daikon withtops, as these healthful greens are delicious in soups and stews. It's not necessary to peel daikon. To cook daikon,cut it into any desired shape and use it as you would a carrot in soups or casseroles or in steamed, braised or stir-fried dishes.

For home gardeners, daikon is an easy crop to grow and can grow prolifically and prodigiously, reaching weights of up to 100 pounds.

And yes, daikon—as do all radishes—has properties that help counter obesity. But no one food is a cure-allfor extra weight. View overweight as a sign of an overall imbalance in the body. By upgrading your diet to whole(versus refined or processed) foods and by reducing carbohydrate consumption most overweight problems resolve themselves, specific medical conditions notwithstanding (see Healthy Diet).

And the wonderful thing about eating freshly prepared, whole foods is that they deeply satisfy in a way that stale or refined foods cannot. As you integrate such quality foods into your diet, cravings diminish and your overall health and weight come into balance.

The featured home remedy recipes use daikon as a kitchen remedy for asthma & bronchitis, weight loss, colds or sore throats, and as a digestive aid.

May you be well nourished.

(Reprinted with the kind permission of Rebecca Wood, from her wonderful website)

Rebecca Wood, who learned gardening and foraging techniques from her grandparents and studied with leading experts in macrobiotics and traditional Oriental medicine, has taught and written about a sustainable diet since 1970.

Her book, The Splendid Grain, won both a James Beard Award and a Julia Child/IACP Award. Her most recent book, The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia, was a One Spirit Book Club (Quality Paperback Book division) main selection. Rebecca has been an educational consultant to numerous organizations in the natural foods industry and currently offers cooking classes for Eden Foods throughout the Western region. She co-founded and directed the East-West Center in Boulder, Colorado, and has established several cooking schools. She currently teaches cooking classes from her home kitchen in Ashland, Oregon.

Read at Satya Center, what Rebecca did to cure herself of cancer.

Rebecca offers a variety of services. To schedule an appointment, check out Rebecca's wonderful website for more information, articles, recipes and books. Each month new recipes and articles are posted.

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