Rebecca’s Books

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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The Sage and the Cook: Soups and Stews
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Robust recipes for grains with vegetables, fish, poultry, meat & fruit.
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Eden Foods

Smoky Parsnip and Sweet Potato Soup

Nov 28

Thrilled to be guesting with Be Nourished this month and to whet your appetite for our upcoming cookbook, The Whole Bowl: 50 Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Soups and Stews, with this highly flavored, warming soup. The soup gets its smoke from chipotle and a back note of allspice adds rounded depth. Earthy parsnips take well to warming spices (I’ve used them in place of pumpkin in pie with success), as do sweet potatoes. Hearty red miso finishes the dish with a hint of salty, umami flavor (those who are avoiding soy can substitute chickpea miso for the red miso).IMG_2880

This easy-to-make soup demonstrates how simple it is to build a great gluten-free and dairy-free creamy soup sans cream: Start with a nourishing broth, season well, and add a delicious thickener, in this case parsnips and sweet potatoes, in place of the cream. See below for a few more tips from The Whole Bowl to get you started.

The Whole Bowl is also Rebecca’s long-awaited new cookbook, the first since she won both a Julia Child Award and a James Beard Award for her Splendid Grain. As many Be Nourished Readers know, Rebecca was one of the earliest Westerners to write about the healing properties of food (and the first writer in the U.S. to “discover” quinoa!), and she’s been speaking the gluten- and dairy-free language for decades. I have learned so much from Rebecca over the years, and am grateful for our collaboration on The Whole Bowl. The book will launch in January 2015 and is available for preorder now.

Serves 4 to 6

2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
¼ to ½ teaspoon ground chipotle chile, to spice enjoyment level
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 large sweet potato (about 12 ounces), peeled and chopped
2 medium parsnips (about 12 ounces), chopped
6 cups bone broth or vegetable broth
Unrefined salt
1 ½ tablespoons red miso
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
Garam masala

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until very soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the chipotle, allspice, turmeric, paprika, and nutmeg and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the sweet potato, parsnips, and stock and season lightly with salt (remembering the miso will add saltiness). Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Ladle out about ½ cup of the broth into a bowl and whisk in the miso. Turn off the heat and stir the mixture into the soup (do not reheat to ensure that the living cultures in the miso stay live).

Transfer the soup to a blender and blend until smooth. Return the soup to the saucepan, stir in the lemon juice, and adjust the seasonings.

Spoon into bowls and serve, with a pinch of garam masala sprinkled onto each serving.

A few more tips on thickening your gluten- and dairy-free soups from The Whole Bowl:

  • Cook a little rice into the soup and blend it in
  • Mash or blend part of the soup
  • Blend in an avocado
  • Add coconut milk
  • Swap chickpea flour or rice flour for wheat flour

Leda Scheintaub trained as a chef at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York and has been a recipe developer and tester, editor, and writer for the past twelve years. She is the author of Cultured Foods for Your Kitchen: 100 Recipes Featuring the Bold Flavors of Fermentation. Her next book, with Rebecca Wood, is The Whole Bowl: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Soups and Stews. Visit her at and on Facebook and Twitter.

Kissing Distance: Your Lips and Your Immune System

Nov 18

Geographically speaking, your lips top off your digestive conduit. As much as they play a key role in your social identity, they also reveal both the condition of your whole gastrointestinal tube and your immunity. When your immune system is strong, it keeps infectious viruses and pathogens at bay. When it’s compromised, you want to know right away so you can take supportive action. Learning to recognize your lip condition can help you do that as you’ll see in the photos below._lips

Common lip irregularities include: dry patches; discolored, thickened, or rough spots; chronically chapped or deeply grooved; fuzzy or indistinct borders; or a shelf-like ledge (most typically under the bottom lip). If your lips display such symptoms, it’s your immune system’s red flag and a way of letting you know that something down below is hurting.

Briefly, your top lip maps what’s going on in your stomach (see Skin Color Above Your Lip) and your bottom lip indicates your colon’s condition and your immunity.* When meals are wholesome and easy to digest, you transform their nutrients into strength and resilience; then even if a “bug” gets everyone else in the office, it doesn’t fell you.

While fatigue, stress and anxiety also impact immunity, your first line of defense against viruses and autoimmune disease is a well-functioning colon. Here’s how reading your lips can be your personal health barometer for gaging how your digestive and assimilation prowess support your core defense.

With irregular lower lips, the correlating symptoms I most often see in clients include: compromised immunity and autoimmune disease, irritable bowel syndrome, food sensitivities and allergies, .

So let’s first define healthy lips, as depicted in the illustration above and my photo at the end, they are:

Uniform in size and color
With clear borders with normal surrounding skin
Smooth and moist (not dry or wet)

You might have noticed how your lips can change from day to day and year to year, and even moment to moment. For example, after a full bowel movement, your lower lip is naturally more contracted than prior to the BM. If you doubt this, take before and after photos and compare for yourself! Or compare a recent photo with one from ten or twenty years ago.

_kidToday you’ll observe that children typically have more precise lip borders and lips that overall are more uniformly colored than those of adults. Children with digestive issues seem more prone to acute symptoms that come and go, like colds or rash or sores around or in the mouth. If they have chronic assimilation issues, then a white line may form around their lips.

While this nine-year-old has clear lip borders, note the subtle white line that surrounds his mouth. I often see this discoloration in children with unresolved food sensitivities who, not surprisingly, more frequently suffer from colds and infections. Also observe that his lower lip is double the size of his top lip; an expanded lower lip reflects colon issues.

_aniIt appears that Ann, a 61-year-old Californian, is growing a third lip! Her “healthy” organic diet included ingredients that were—for her—toxic; she complained of low energy, bloating, depression and an autoimmune disease. The pink skin above her top lip indicates acid indigestion; her pale upper lip shows that her diet of primarily raw, cold and processed foods has quelled her digestive fire.

Below you’ll see two irregularities in Robert’s lips that reflect his hiatal hernia and rectosigmoid diverticulitis (small out-pouching of the intestinal wall near the rectum), plus another indicator reveals food sensitivities. Although it’s subtle, enlarge the photo, look close and you’ll see that the skin color directly in the center of his top lip is more red than the rest of the lip; this denotes stomach acidity, GERD and inflammation associated with a hiatal hernia.

Second, the right side of his bottom lip (left in the photo) is more enlarged and has a fuzzier, redder boundary than his left side; this correlates to the rectosigmoid diagnosis (the left corner of the bottom lip reflects the ascending colon, its center the transverse colon and the right side, the descending colon).


Last, note that Robert’s bottom lip border is fuzzy, indistinct and has a swollen whitish zone underneath it and the white color also surrounds his top lip. This indicates that his diet includes foods that he doesn’t assimilate and that his immune system is compromised. Robert is 39 years old and from Chicago.

Below you’ll see what my lips look like today. They are uniform in size and color with a smooth texture, and the border between my lips and the surrounding skin is clear and precise. This reflects that my meals are easy to assimilate, which is the foundation of a healthy immune system. Coincidentally, I get a cold or the flu only every three or four years. Yes, the skin surrounding my mouth is wrinkled, which reflects menopause. If I were to use a hormone replacement, it would plump up and smooth out my skin, but I don’t mind the wrinkles, as they aptly signal that—at age 70—my reproductive system is in retirement.


If your lips have irregularities, here are the two core steps to resolve your digestion, assimilation and immunity:

1. Daily enjoy three easy to digest, nutritionally balanced meals with adequate fat and protein; it is essential to not overeat carbohydrates.

2. Identify and eliminate foods you do not tolerate.

While that Rx is easy to give, how will you actually accomplish this? My ebook Clean and Free ($9.99) provides all the information you need, including meal plans and recipes. My ebook Bugs Eating You ($9.95) gives the basics on keeping your immune system strong. To help you get underway, consider a Face Reading Consultation.  For more information and photos on face reading, see my ebook Read Your Face ($14.95), 127 pages with 76 photos.

*In traditional Chinese Medicine, the immune function reflects the functioning of the large intestine and lungs, or Metal Element.