Rebecca’s Books

New Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Soups and Stews, by Rebecca Wood and Leda Scheintaub

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The food reference includes the healing properties of foods; in continuous print since 1983.

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A do it yourself Face Reading book.
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An allergen-free, healthy eating program.
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Identify and remedy problems caused by bacteria, fungi, intestinal parasites and viruses.
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Robust recipes for grains with vegetables, fish, poultry, meat & fruit.
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Eden Foods

Swollen Lips

Jul 25

Does swelling below your lower lip make it jut out like a ledge? If your lips appear swollen, consider that those lip ledges weren’t there in your high school photos. And you won’t find swollen lips in classical art or in photos prior to the 1950s. Indeed, the historical norm for lips is that they are uniform in size and color, have precise borders with normal surrounding skin and are not overly dry or wet. Before examining how lip irregularities appear and how you can resolve them, let’s first look at some examples.

As you’ll see in Melodie’s before and after photo sequence below, “erasing” a swollen ledge can happen quickly. But first, here’s a client, Karl, displaying swelling but no ledge; and next is a client, Betsy, with a more advanced ledge.

Karl, age 29.

Karl, age 29.

Lower lip boundary is blurred, swollen and pink.

Lower lip boundary is blurred, swollen and pink.

While this young man doesn’t have a ledge under his lower lip, if his diet doesn’t change, the odds are that he’ll grow one. Enlarge Karl’s photos to better see the large size and fuzzy border of his lower lip and the swollen pink skin below it. Additionally, the predominantly pink-red upper portion of his bottom lip indicates inflammation in the small intestine.

Swelling, ledges and pouches under the lip don’t sprout up overnight. The first indicators are chronic digestive and bowel irregularities followed, in time, by loss of distinct lip borders, swelling of–or around–the lips and discoloration such as pink (in Karl’s example) or white (see Remedy Irregular Skin around Your Mouth). Karl emailed me a few weeks after I sent his Facial Analysis and Dietary Report: “I’m feeling better already and my cravings are down. I’m going to stick with it and stop cheating myself.”

Betsy was diagnosed with diverticulitis, a condition that was fatal for her father. She asked her doctor what to do, and he said: “Eat more fiber, and when it progresses we’ll surgically remove it.” She was underimpressed with his answer, so she contacted me. I could see that her diet was already fiber-rich with wheat and other foods that she was not assimilating. When there are digestive irregularities, it’s imperative to avoid the foods that exacerbate your condition.

Betsy, age 69.  Note the fuzzy lip borders, the uneven lip color and the ledge below her bottom lip.

Betsy, age 69. Note the fuzzy lip borders, the uneven lip color and the swollen ledge below her bottom lip.

I gave Betsy dietary recommendations over a year ago and I’ve not heard back from her. I do hope her diverticulitis is resolved. Some people aren’t ready or able to make the changes right away but do so at their own pace. Years later I often get a “thank you” from a client for her improved health. But even if Betsy has implemented a 33 percent change, then she’ll be enjoying significant improvement in her face and overall energy.

Below, in Melodie’s “after” photo, the first thing you’ll notice is that she’s lost weight. Look again and you’ll see much more. Her increased energy and wellness are reflected in these ways: her lips and skin are more uniform in color; her eyes beam out more energy; and her lower lip pouches have dramatically shrunk. (To see the fine detail, enlarge your screen.) Good work, Melodie!

Melodie, before photo.

Melodie, before photo.

60-days after following  dietary protocol

60-days after following dietary protocol

In her mid-fifties and suffering from central nervous system exhaustion and digestive issues, Melodie took a leave of absence from work. She contacted me for a Face Reading and Dietary Analysis Report. Based on her photo and intake information, I provided her with an annotated photo plus dietary and lifestyle suggestions. She had the gumption to make the changes, and we all rejoice in her newfound health.

How to Regain Normal Lip Definition

The first step in regaining normal lip borders is to identify what caused the problem and then desist. Briefly, our lips are at the apex of our digestive tract and a readout for what lies south of them. So when your assimilation is good, expect your lips to be free of irregularities such as discoloration, swelling, ledges or bulging pockets. But when your diet includes foods that challenge your gut, then you’re inviting leaky gut (increased intestinal permeability) and, in time, one or more symptoms, such as these pouches, will appear.

Fortunately, you don’t have to start from scratch in your investigation. Leaky gut is endemic in our culture, and there’s an abundance of information on how to identify which foods are problematic (see below). Then simply adjust your diet by removing the irritants and your lips and the surrounding skin regain their normal definition.

Conclusion  Swelling, a shelf-like ledge or pouch under the bottom lip indicates leaky gut, an endemic condition that underlies all autoimmune diseases, food intolerances and sensitivities and allergies. Leaky gut contributes to colitis, celiac disease, diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and colon cancer. As you correct your diet and regain your health, you also regain normal facial skin tone around your mouth.

Note  Since 1970 I’ve combined the ancient art of Chinese Five-Element medicine and facial diagnosis with dietary counseling to help people identify and resolve their health concerns. For more information and photos on face reading, see my ebook Read Your Face ($14.95), 127 pages with 76 photos. My ebook Clean and Free ($9.99) provides the information you need, including meal plans and recipes to regain your digestive health. To help you get underway, consider a Face Reading and Dietary Analysis Report.

Client names have been changed to protect the parties privacy.

Healthy Way to Enjoy Seaweed

Jun 28

Better Than Chips

I used to indulge in potato chips and am delighted to report that this is past tense. I now opt for a savory and phenomenally healthful treat that’s equally crunchy. Thanks to toasted seaweed (which happens to be among our most nutrient-dense plants), I don’t miss packaged chips.

Toasted sea palm has such a great flavor and crunch that my guests and grandkids munch it up as fast as I set it out. Toasted laver (wild nori) has even more texture, flavor and crunch than does the domesticated nori that’s used in the popular sea snacks.

Long before Fritos were invented, dulse was a favorite snack in Irish pubs for its jerky-like flavor and chewy texture; crisping dulse tenderizes it to remove the chew and makes it chip-like.

Kombu chips and alaria are crunchy and tasty. There’s something about the flavor of kelp frond chips that wins me over every time. And then there’s jade-green sea lettuce, which intriguingly melts from crisp to cloud-like in your mouth. I recommend each to you, and you will find directions for crisping them below.

But first, what’s the big deal about veggies from Neptune’s treasure trove?

  • The only plant sources of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.
  • An extraordinary source of iodine and other minerals.
  • Radio protective—Offer protection from radioactive contaminants. Are they themselves clean? I buy from reputable companies* who regularly test for toxins.
  • Flavorful—Their natural (and healthful) form of glutamate imparts umami flavor and kicks up flavor.

Easy Ways to Use Seaweed
Seaweed is a daily ingredient in my home. Their multiple textures and personalities afford impressive culinary potential in dishes ranging from soup to dessert. Which type might I use? That will depend upon the other ingredients, the cooking time or my whim. For example, I use kelp fronds or any of the flaked or granulated seaweeds in a stir-fry, braised dish or soup, for I can add them at the last minute and they’ll boost the flavor.

Sun on Hanging Kelp

Sun on Hanging Kelp

Rather like pancetta in flavor, a little applewood smoked dulse dramatically pairs with other foods. Stir a few tablespoons into a side dish of simmered sweet potato, add it to a sandwich for a DLT (rather than a BLT) or mix it into avocado to elevate a spread or dip.

Many people use flaked and ground seaweed as a salt substitute. They boost the nutrition of popcorn, hummus, salad dressings and smoothies. Sea lettuce and nori crinkles make a tasty garnish and also add eye appeal. Instant wakame flakes are great in soups and salads.

Arame is my favorite sea veggie to add to fermenting sauerkraut, as its elegant ebony strands are comely in the finished kraut and they add good flavor and nutrition. But when I’m in the mood for something crunchy, it’s sea chips that beckons.

But before the recipe, here’s an innovative use of this superfood–enjoy it fresh. Today you can enjoy just harvested (versus dried) seaweed shipped right to your home thanks to America’s first and only commercial kelp farm, Ocean Approved. I’ve tried–and recommend–their kelp wraps, kelp cubes (for smoothies) and shredded kelp for slaw and stir fries.

Dulse and Sea Lettuce underwater

Dulse and Sea Lettuce underwater

Sea Chip Recipe

Last year, my neighbor Kari Rein offered me a cup of tea and sea chips that she’d toasted in her oven using only the pilot light for 24 hours or so. I’ve been making these chips ever since then. Prior to that I’d perhaps crisp dulse in a skillet once a year or so. The slow toasting makes them more uniformly tender and crispy. Thank you, Kari.

And if you’re in the mood for a quick chip now and then, you can toast your sea vegetables for a few minutes in the toaster oven or crisp them in an oiled or unoiled skillet. Be sure to watch closely and turn as necessary.

While any whole seaweed may be crisped, those with a stipe (stem) that’s significantly thicker than the frond, such as alaria, mekabu and wakame, will not crisp uniformly. Here are my favorites:

Sea palm, sea lettuce, arame, kelp fronds, kombu, laver (wild nori) or dulse

Pick over the sea vegetable to remove any tiny pebbles or shells that might be hidden in the leaves. As possible, separate the fronds to facilitate even toasting, and as necessary, cut or tear into bite-size pieces. Toast as much seaweed as you’ll eat in a week or so or as oven space allows.

Long Toasting: Turn on the oven light, pilot light or (if your oven is so equipped) bread proofing cycle. Or place in a box-style dehydrator heated to 100 to 200°F. Arrange the seaweed in a thin layer on a baking sheet and crisp for 8 to 24 hours.  The time depends upon what temperature you use, the moisture content and thickness of the seaweed. There’s no need to turn them. Don’t worry; you won’t burn it, and prolonged crisping won’t lower the quality of the food. Taste periodically, and when the sea vegetable is both crisp and tender, it’s ready. If it’s chewy, it needs additional time. Store crisped sea chips in a tightly stored container and they’ll retain their texture for a week or so.

Quick Roasting: Roast for 3 to 5 minutes at 300°F; pan-fry in oil for 4 to 5 minutes, until crisp; or dry roast in a skillet over low heat until crisp. Watch closely and turn as necessary.

Optional: After crisping, and just before serving, you may brush or spritz the chips with extra virgin olive oil and dust with a dash of cayenne.

* While this list is not comprehensive, these quality companies post their lab analysis online: Eden FoodsMaine Coast Sea Vegetables, and Naturespirit Herbs.

Photo credit to Maine Coast Sea Vegetables for Sun on Hanging Kelp and Dulse and Sea Lettuce Underwater