The Lychee.

This past weekend, my husband took me to a fruit and spice farm that was hosting a fruit festival. I walked around in awe of how many fruits I didn't even know existed. One I had never tried was the lychee (scientifically known as Litchi chinensis).

This fruit reminds me of the mamoncillo, except the lychee doesn't stick to the seed as much as the mamoncillo does. The lychee has a hard outer layer that looks like a raspberry and an inside that looks like a jellyfish. The taste was incredibly refreshing. It tasted like a Hi-C fruit punch drink. It amazed me how we can process something so much to make it taste like something God created that was naturally delicious... and nutritious, I may add.

As a result of never having tasted or seen the lychee fruit, I decided to research its nutritional benefits. This is what I found:

The Lychee contains on average a total 72 mg of Vitamin C per 100 grams of fruit. On average nine lychee fruits would meet an adult’s daily recommend Vitamin C requirement. A cup of Lychee fruit provides, among other minerals, for a 2000 Calorie diet, 14%DV of copper, 9%DV of phosphorus, and 6%DV of potassium.

Lychees are low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. Most of the energy in a lychee is in the form of carbohydrate (sugar). Lychees are high in polyphenols, containing 15% more than grapes, a fruit commonly referenced as high in polyphenols

Naturally, we purchased a pound of this exotic fruit (origin is Asia and India) that now grows in Florida. It's a delicious snack that's out of the normal fruit pattern, which I love.

Try to find and taste this fruit if you haven't already =)


Last night was a wonderful night! I was able to host my cousin, her boyfriend and my sister. So naturally, I decided to finally try my hand at lasagna.

I've actually been avoiding this meal since I first started cooking because of the enormous challenge this meal usually is. Well, I finally took it on head first with no recipe, no directions and no specified ingredients.

Turns out, my guests loved it! There were things I'd tweak for the next time, but for being the first time, I had to say it wasn't too shabby (and I'm my worst critic).

Then for dessert, they were in the mood for chocolate chip cookies. Instead of buying premade ones in the store, I made it from scratch with all natural ingredients I always have in my kitchen. Another hit! Didn't take long and it was delicious =)

The Color of Food.

Take a look around in the grocery store and see the thousands of products available. All different shapes, colors, textures, and tastes. Most of them unnatural. 

What makes fruit punch red? Let me give you a's not fruit. That's right, food coloring! Red dye to be precise. What makes fruit snacks for kids all the colors of the rainbow? Again, not fruit. More food coloring. Medicines, cosmetics, and foods all contain colorings which are ingested into our bloodstreams daily.

Food coloring is in so much of the food Americans consume. Why? Because we create processed, unnatural, artificial foods that we want to see reflect the color of what it's imitating or just a fun array of color choices as in candy and snacks.

Here's the deal with food coloring: it's toxic to our bodies. Today, most colorings are made from petroleum (yes, the source for gasoline, kerosene and asphalt). Most people do not know this but even though a dye is prohibited from use in foods, it does not mean its banned from use in medicines or cosmetics. "If it's unsafe to swallow a dye in food, how can it be acceptable to apply it to the skin or swallow it in the form of medicine?" (Jane Hersey)

Red Dye No. 3
  • Has been shown to cause thyroid tumors
  • Represents 20% of the uses of dye
  • Used to color maraschino cherries
  • Is partially banned by the FDA but still found in some cosmetics and drugs applied to skin
  • Three different FDA Commissioners tried - and failed - to have this chemical removed from the food supply
  • Has high "lipid solubility" or its ability to dissolve in fatty tissue, including fatty tissues of the brain
  • In combination with light, Red No. 3 interfered with the way nerve cells release neurotransmitters
  • Registered by the Environmental Protection Agency as a pesticide
  • "Consumption of Red No. 3, which has estrogen-like growth stimulatory properties...could be a significant risk factor in human breast carcinogenesis (cancer)." (Estrogenic and DNA-damaging activity of Red No. 3 in human breast cancer cells, Dees et al, Environ Health Perspect 1997 Apr; 105 Suppl 3:625-32) 
  • Red No. 3 was shown to cause abnormalities and reduced mobility of sperm in mice.  (A study on the reproductive toxicity of erythrosine in male mice. Adbel et al, Pharmacol Res 1997 May; 35(5):457-62)
FD&C Blue No. 2  
  • Manufactured through a chemical process that includes: formaldehyde, aniline, several hydrozides under ammonia pressure, and heating in the presence of sulfuric acid.
  • Contains lead, mercury, and arsenic

These are two examples of facts corresponding to food dyes. ALL food coloring is made up of similar ingredients and can lead to possible behavioral and learning difficulties, cancer, birth defects, etc. 

Here is a sample of some dyes found in over-the-counter medicine:
  • D&C Red 7, D&C Red 22, D&C Red 27, D&C Red 28 (red dye used to kill fruit flies), D&C Red 30, D&C Red 33
  • FD&C Blue 1
  • FD&C Yellow 6
  • D&C Yellow 10
Dyes that are permitted in foods:
  • FD&C Red 3
  • FD&C Red 40
  • FD&C Yellow 5
  • FD&C Yellow 6
  • FD&C Blue 1
  • FD&C Blue 2
  • FD&C Green 3
Though it was difficult initially to rid ourselves of all food coloring, it's not as bad as you may think.  Always read labels and make sure you try as much as possible to stay away from this.

Chances are, if the food has artificial coloring/dyes, the nutritious content is low and you probably shouldn't be eating it.

Now, fruits and vegetables, those are the natural colors of life that provide a healthy life. They are colorful, natural, healthy and nutritious.  

For natural ways to color food for baking, visit your local health food store    

Truth About Soy.

In the past few years, soy production and sales have taken off. Our society has regarded soy as purely healthy food, but let me take this time to clear up some misconceptions about this bean:
Soy is a complete protein. What does that mean? Where other plant derived protein is lacking in one or more of the essential amino acids (our bodies make 12 out of 20 amino acids, but the remaining 8 need to be supplied by food we eat), soy has them all.
So what’s the problem? Let’s talk about two types of soy: non-fermented and fermented.
The soy in this country is primarily non-fermented soy in the form of soy-protein isolate and soy milk. This is where the majority of the problems stem from because it is a highly processed, devitalizing and toxic food source.
“It is interesting that the soy industry promotes soy as a healthy way to prevent or treat osteoporosis when soy has been shown to deplete the body of vital minerals and vitamins necessary to maintain optimal bone structure and function.” (Dr. David Brownstein)
Soy-protein isolate contains enzyme inhibitors that block the body’s ability to digest protein. In addition, soy has been known to decrease fertility, cause thyroid problems, cause Vitamin B12 deficiency, lower metabolic rate (making it difficult to lose weight) among other things.
FERMENTED = good in moderation
Fermented soy, such as tofu, miso soup, tempeh, and natto are easily digested and assimilated into the body. It has been proven to lower cholesterol, remove the risk of heart disease, decreases menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, depression and anxiety.
Unfortunately, by eating too much soy in our diets, it does more harm than good. “High consumption of isoflavones, which are the estrogen-like plant chemicals contained in soy, may stimulate the production of breast cancer cells. It may also increase the chances of developing serious reproductive, thyroid, and liver problems.” (Kate Murphy)
Soy does help with several issues; however, it only helps if it is fermented soy, not the genetically modified (processed) soy found in over 60% of grocery store foods AND only in small portions (not daily). If you find it too difficult to eliminate soy completely out of your diet, opt for the natural forms of soy.  
Despite what the soy industry says, fermented soy is eaten sparingly by Asians. When it is used in moderation, soy does not have the same negative influences on minerals, vitamins, and the thyroid that non-fermented form of soy does. Please remember to stay away from non-fermented soy, but I rather you stay away completely =)

Dr. David Brownstein, Natural Way to Health, “Dangers and Misconceptions About Soy and Your Health”, December 2008, Vol. 1, Issue 8.
Dr. Don Colbert, I Can Do This Diet (2010): 80-81.
Kate Murphy, “The Dark Side of Soy,”, December 18, 2000, (accessed September 19, 2009).