Category Archives: Food Feature

This food feature article was published in an earlier edition of A Healthy You.

Food Focus: Blue Corn

Food Focus: Blue Corn

Hopi Blue CornI’ve been intrigued by the nutrition value of blue corn since Dr. Roby Mitchell first introduced me to his BALi Eating Plan several years ago.

Blue corn is also known as Hopi maize, It is grown in Mexico and U.S., particularly in  Arizona and New Mexico and has advantages over white or sweet corn. About the Hopi blue corn:

  • It’s a unique, indigenous breed.
  • It grows only to be about 6-inches long.
  • It provides about 30% more nutrients than average corn eaten by Americans.
  • It contains 20 percent more protein.
  • It has a lower glycemic index than white corn.
  • It is a more complete protein source.
  • It tastes sweeter.
  • Blue Corn is not GMO.


“On many levels, corn is incredibly important to Hopi culture—but it’s importance stems not from its genetic prevalence in everything, but in its spiritual significance, and in the totally organic way in which it is grown, harvested, and eaten.” – Lucas Ropek, SEED: The Untold Story

About the Hopi:

  • They still farm.
  • They still live in small, tight-knit communities.
  • They still carry on the traditions and rituals that their ancestors have carried on for hundreds of years.
  • The Hopi have developed their systems of agriculture.
  • They have preserved their community for the past millennium.
  • The “blue” Hopi corn is their staple.

The Hopi tradition includes a belief that they were given a choice between different corn varieties at the beginning of time and they chose the blue corn, because of its small  size (as a symbol of humility). They live a simple life.

For the Hopi, corn is not only a crop, but a metaphor for life. People begin as seeds planted in their mother’s wombs. They then emerge into world, and are blessed by sunlight, air, and the sustaining power of family and community. Because of this, the Hopi see corn and people as going through the same basic process of transformation, from birth till death: they begin as seeds, are cultivated, grow, develop, mature, then die and return to the soil—entering back into the cosmos in a different form. Death is not the end of existence, but simply another transformation. These beliefs manifest themselves further in the Hopi rites-of-passage rituals that very young children go through. Hopi children are led from the house on the 20th day of their life and are given an ear of corn, as the sun rises in the East. To the Hopi, planting corn is considered to be a religious activity. The Hopi say “Um Hapi Qaa’oniwti,” which means “people are corn.”

– Lucas Ropek, SEED: The Untold Story

“Maize subjected to the nixtamalization process has several benefits over unprocessed grain: it is more easily ground; its nutritional value is increased; flavor and aroma are improved; and mycotoxins are reduced.”


Unprocessed maize is deficient in free niacin. When the Maize is cooked with lime, it releases the niacin. A technique called nixtamalization is used to prepare the corn using a trace of lime. This is an ancient way of balancing and enhancing corn products. This technique has been used since early Mesoamerican history to process the blue maize to make it release free niacin. Populations that depend on untreated maize as a staple food risk malnourishment, and its people are more likely to develop deficiency diseases.

Eaten alone, Maize is also deficient in essential amino acids. When combined with beans, the meal provide the amino acids required to balance the diet for protein.

“Very simply, we subsidize high-fructose corn syrup in this country, but not carrots. While the surgeon general is raising alarms over the epidemic of obesity, the president is signing farm bills designed to keep the river of cheap corn flowing, guaranteeing that the cheapest calories in the supermarket will continue to be the unhealthiest.”
― Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals


  • The word, nixtamalization comes from the Nahuati words: nextli (ashes) and tamalli (maize dough)
  • The maize is cooked in water with slaked lime (Calcium Hydroxide) to loosen the hard endosperm that protects the corn kernel.
  • By adding just a small amount of lime (calcium hydroxide) to water, the pH changes to more alkaline, which shifts the availability of certain nutrients in the maize.
  • To make Calcium Hydroxide, simply add Cal (ground limestone aka calcium oxide) to water.

Ingredients & Process:

  • 1 kg (2.2 lb. dry corn – check to make sure it’s free of all foreign objects)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon Cal
  • Add corn to a pot of warm water.
  • In a mixing bowl, prepare the Calcium Hydroxide (add the Cal to the cup of water).
  • Add the Calcium Hydroxide to the pot.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Boil for 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Allow the pot of boiled corn to sit overnight.
  • The next day, drain the corn and rinse it under running water.
  • Rub the corn in your hands to remove the skin.
  • Grind the corn in an electric grinder (molino) to make the masa.
  • The masa needs to be kneaded until smooth.
  • You can use the masa to make tortillas or to make tamales, or other tasty recipes. A tortilla press is helpful to make the tortillas.

This process helps to develop the protein in the corn, makes it more nutritious and digestible.

.Nutrition Data for Blue Cornmeal:

Native American Legends

Blue Corn Maiden and the coming of Winter

A Hopi Legend

Blue Corn Maiden was the prettiest of the corn maiden sisters. The Pueblo People loved her very much, and loved the delicious blue corn that she gave them all year long. Not only was Blue Corn Maiden beautiful, but she also had a kind and gentle spirit. She brought peace and happiness to the People of the Pueblos.

One cold winter day, Blue Corn Maiden went out to gather firewood. This was something she would not normally do. While she was out of her adobe house, she saw Winter Katsina. Winter Katsina is the spirit who brings the winter to the earth. He wore his blue and-white mask and blew cold wind with his breath. But when Winter Katsina saw Blue Corn Maiden, he loved her at once.

He invited her to come to his house, and she had to go with him. Inside his house, he blocked the windows with ice and the doorway with snow and made Blue Corn Maiden his prisoner. Although Winter Katsina was very kind to Blue Corn Maiden and loved her very much, she was sad living with him. She wanted to go back to her own house and make the blue corn grow for the People of the Pueblos.

Winter Katsina went out one day to do his duties, and blow cold wind upon the earth and scatter snow over the mesas and valleys. While he was gone, Blue Corn Maiden pushed the snow away from the doorway, and went out of the house to look for the plants and foods she loved to find in summer. Under all the ice and snow, all she found was four blades of yucca.

She took the yucca back to Winter Katsina’s house and started a fire. Winter Katsina would not allow her to start a fire when he was in the house.

When the fire was started, the snow in the doorway fell away and in walked Summer Katsina. Summer Katsina carried in one hand fresh corn and in the other many blades of yucca. He came toward his friend Blue Corn Maiden.

Just then, Winter Katsina stormed through the doorway followed by a roar of winter wind. Winter Katsina carried an icicle in his right hand, which he held like a flint knife, and a ball of ice in his left hand, which he wielded like a hand-ax. It looked like Winter Katsina intended to fight with Summer Katsina.

As Winter Katsina blew a blast of cold air, Summer Katsina blew a warm breeze. When Winter Katsina raised his icicle-knife, Summer Katsina raised his bundle of yucca leaves, and they caught fire. The fire melted the icicle.

Winter Katsina saw that he needed to make peace with Summer Katsina, not war. The two sat and talked.

They agreed that Blue Corn Maiden would live among the People of the Pueblos and give them her blue corn for half of the year, in the time of Summer Katsina. The other half of the year, Blue Corn Maiden would live with Winter Katsina and the People would have no corn.

Blue Corn Maiden went away with Summer Katsina, and he was kind to her. She became the sign of springtime, eagerly awaited by the People.

Sometimes, when spring has come already, Winter Katsina will blow cold wind suddenly, or scatter snow when it is not the snow time. He does this just to show how displeased he is to have to give up Blue Corn Maiden for half of the year.

Quoted From:


Food Focus: Essential Fatty Acids

Food Focus: Essential Fatty Acids

In a previous post, Food Focus: Oils and Fats I wrote about Healthy Fats. This post focuses on Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s), which are an important component of a balanced nutrition plan. Here’s why: They are necessary for building & protecting healthy cell membranes. They surround your cells & keep water & nutrients inside while… Continue Reading

Food Focus: Peppercorns

Food Focus: Peppercorns

We are all familiar with black pepper as a seasoning. How many of us know that it is actually a medicinal berry that grows from a vine? Black, white, and green peppercorns are all berries from the same vine. Black peppercorns are actually dried green peppercorns that are picked before they ripen. If they are left on… Continue Reading

Food Focus: Tomatoes

Folklore Tomatoes used to be grown solely for decorations. In fact, during Colonial times, tomatoes were thought to be poisonous and that its poison would turn blood into acid. Meanwhile, the native people of South and Central America regarded tomato seeds as aphrodisiacs. The first tomatoes were probably first cultivated in Peru (wild tomatoes can… Continue Reading

Food Focus: Mesclun

What is Mesclun? I didn’t know either. That is, until we received an order from the Organic Food Coop we used to use before we bought our Tower Garden. Here’s the Wikipedia version: “Mesclun is a salad mix of assorted small, young salad green leaves, that originated in Provence, France. The traditional mix usually includes chervil,… Continue Reading

Food Focus: Horseradish

Food Focus: Horseradish

Did you know that for centuries horseradish was thought of as a medicine and not as a condiment? In the 1500’s, it was known in England as “Red Cole” and it grew wild in several areas of the country. Horseradish can be used medicinally as the root contains an antibiotic substance as well as Vitamin C.… Continue Reading

Food Focus: Ginger

Food Focus: Ginger

Ginger has been used for centuries. It was used by the Greeks as early as 4400 years ago and by the Spanish in the 16th century. It is spicy, yet soothing and is an easily recognizable ingredient in Oriental cuisine. Ginger is widely used in cooking and in the healing arts, as it is a… Continue Reading

It Burns So Good!

It Burns So Good!

Last month, on Rosh Chodesh (the New Moon), I joined hundreds of people across the globe in a “virtual” event. I was invited to the Master Tonic Party. Ok, so it sounds pretty weird. Actually, it was tremendous fun! I have been asked by many of my friends to post the recipe, so here it… Continue Reading

Food Focus: Pineapple

Did you know that pineapple is a compound fruit? I didn’t even know what a compound fruit was until I did my research for this article. A compound fruit is a fruit that develops from many small fruits that become fused together around a central core. It’s low in calories: around 50 calories/100 grams (approx.… Continue Reading

Food Focus: Maca Powder

Food Focus: Maca Powder

Maca powder is a super food.  Dried maca root contains about 10% protein that is mostly obtained from amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. It is grown in the Andes Mountains and has historically been a valuable commodity to the indigenous people of the Andes Mountain region. It has been used for… Continue Reading

Food Focus: Bananas

Food Focus: Bananas

As you probably already know, the fruit named banana is a high calorie tropical fruit. A serving of 100g of bananas (approx.  2/5 cup smashed bananas) contains around 90 calories. It is easy to digest and provides almost immediate energy due to its simple sugars like fructose and sucrose. It also contains soluble fiber, which… Continue Reading

Food Focus: DATES

Food Focus: DATES

Dates are fruits that grow on date palms. They have been used since the times of Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt. Dates are very sweet and nutritionally packed essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Dates are rich in dietary fiber and contain tannins (flavonoid antioxidants that are thought to have anti-inflammatory properties). In terms of percentage of… Continue Reading

Food Focus: Incredible Kale

Food Focus: Incredible Kale

KALE: Kale is rich in flavonoid compounds, such as lutein, zea-xanthin and beta-carotene. A 100g (approx. 1-1/3 cup) contains 3.3g of protein. Yes, protein! In terms of percentage of RDA, it also contains: Vitamins Folates – 7% Niacin – 6% Pantothenic acid – 1.5% Pyridoxine – 21% Riboflavin – 10% Thiamin – 9% Vitamin A… Continue Reading

Food Focus: Strawberries

Food Focus: Strawberries Strawberries are one of the best things you can feed your body everyday. They are low in fat, sugar, and carbohydrates but have been known to pack a great punch when it comes to the benefits. They are high in Vitamin C, Folate, and Potassium. They are great for repairing your facial… Continue Reading

Spice Focus: Saffron

Spice Focus: Saffron  Saffron has been said to be the most expensive spice in the world.The spice is obtained from the stamens of the saffron crocus. The flowers are hand picked and the stamens are hand plucked, one at a time. The stamens are fine, red yellow threads. Much of the best saffron is grown… Continue Reading

Food Focus: Lentils

Food Focus: Lentils Lentils are legumes that are packed with nutrition. They are low in calories and high in fiber. Lentils also contain high levels of magnesium and folate, which are beneficial for heart health. Here are some good reasons to enjoy lentils on a regular basis: They are good for your heart. They are… Continue Reading

Food Focus: Onion

Food Focus: Onion Onion: Onions (Allium cepa) belong to the lily family, the same family as garlic, chives, and shallots. Health Powers: Onion is effective against many bacteria including Bacillus subtilis, Salmonella, and E. coli. Onion extracts, rich in a variety of sulfides, provide some protection against tumor growth; and are used in relief treatment… Continue Reading

Food Focus: Coconut Milk

Food Focus: Coconut Milk Coconut milk can be bought ready-made or made from scratch. It is used as a staple in many tropical climates, where, according to local people, it is similar to mother’s milk and is considered a complete protein. Coconut products are especially beneficial to thyroid patients. Edward Bauman, Ph.D. is founder and… Continue Reading

Food Focus: Winter Squash

Food Focus: Winter Squash (This article appeared in the October 2011 issue of A Healthy You and was prepared as part of a collaborative effort with other IIN Health Coaches).) As members of the Curcurbitaceae family, winter squash come in a multitude of sizes and colors. With hard shells, some have a shelf life of… Continue Reading

Food Focus: Natural Sweeteners

Food Focus: Natural Sweeteners (This article was previously published in the September edition of A Healthy You). Who among us doesn’t love sweets? The sweet flavor releases serotonin in our brains, the chemical responsible for our sense of well-being and contentment. But when it comes to sweeteners, not all are created equal. There are side… Continue Reading

Food Focus: Maple Syrup

Maple Syrup Maple syrup is the concentrated extract of the sap of maple trees. It adds a rich, deep flavor to foods and drinks. Make sure to look for 100% pure maple syrup, not maple-flavored corn syrup. As with all sweeteners, organic varieties are best. Adapted from “The Cane Mutiny,” New Age Magazine, March/April 1999. Continue Reading

Food Focus: Agave Nectar

Agave Nectar (This article previously appeared in  the September edition of A Healthy You). Agave is made through the extraction and purification of the juice of the agave cactus. It does not stimulate insulin secretion as other sugars do, so it does not create a “sugar rush.” It has a delightfully light and mild flavor. Continue Reading

Food Focus: Raw Honey

Raw Honey (This article previously appeared in the September edition of A Healthy You.) Everyone seems to love honey, one of the oldest natural sweeteners on the market. The flavor of honey varies depending on the plant source. Some are very dark and intensely flavored. Wherever possible, choose raw honey, as it is unrefined and… Continue Reading

Food Focus: Water

Food Focus: Water Most of us are aware of the importance of drinking enough water. Getting our daily dose of water helps our organs perform their functions, keeps our skin clear and hydrated, and allows physical action in our bodies to flow smoothly. Even with this knowledge, it can still be challenging to drink all… Continue Reading

How To: Sprout Your Own

How To: Sprout Your Own (This article appeared in the May,2011 issue of A Healthy You) A little bit actually goes a long way. You only need about 1/2 cup of legumes for each batch. Place 1/2 cup of legumes (lentils, mung beans, garbanzos, etc…) in a quart jar. (I use mason jars. I LOVE… Continue Reading

Food Focus: Summer Squash

Food Focus: Summer Squash (This article appeared in the May,2011 issue of A Healthy You) Squash comes in many shapes, colors, and sizes. Did you know that squash is the fruit of different members of the gourd family? (THINK PUMPKIN) There are two major classifications of squash: winter and summer squash. Summer squashes are harvested… Continue Reading

Food Focus: Sprouts

Food Focus: Sprouts (This article appeared in the May,2011 issue of A Healthy You) In the spring season, seeds flaunt their vitality and energy by sprouting. Sprouts of all varieties contain the building blocks of life in the form of vitamins, enzymes, amino acids and simple sugars. In their early growth state, sprouts are very… Continue Reading

Food Focus: Raw and Cooling Salads

Food Focus: Raw and Cooling Salads (This article appeared in the July, 2011 issue of A Healthy You) Why is it that in the summer we naturally crave more fresh and raw foods? These foods have a cooling effect on the body. The lightness and high water, fiber and vitamin content work together to act… Continue Reading

Food Focus: Almonds

Many people think that nuts are fattening, so they stay away from them. I am here to tell you that although almonds are high in fat content, approximately 90% of the fat content is unsaturated. According to The Health Ranger, Mike Adams, research has shown that almonds actually lower blood cholesterol levels. Almonds are a… Continue Reading

Food Focus: Fruit

Food Focus: Fruit (This article appeared in the June, 2011 edition of A Healthy You) A healthy lifestyle is the key to longevity, optimum weight, abundant energy and balance. By using fruit to satisfy our taste for sweetness, we can leave behind the use of chemical, processed and refined sweeteners. Fruits are easy to digest,… Continue Reading

Herb Focus: Garlic

Herb Focus: Garlic (This article appeared in the April, 2011 issue of A Healthy You.) Garlic is one of the oldest known medicinal plants. It has been used for ages to treat many conditions, such as: colds, skin disease, parasites, joint problems and arthritis, cysts and growths, and fluid retention. It is also useful in… Continue Reading

Food Focus: Greens

Food Focus: Greens (This article appeared in the April, 2011 edition of A Healthy You) Leafy greens are some of the easiest and most beneficial vegetables to incorporate into your daily routine. Densely packed with energy and nutrients, they grow upward to the sky, absorbing the sun’s light while producing oxygen. Members of this royal… Continue Reading

Food Focus: Walnuts

Food Focus: Walnuts Walnuts are rich in protein and high in potassium, zinc and iron. They are the fruit from a tree in the walnut family Junglandaceae. Most of us are familiar with the “nut” which is found inside the hard shell. But did you know that other parts of the walnut tree have beneficial… Continue Reading

Food Focus: Quinoa

Food Focus: Quinoa This article appeared in the March, 2011 issue of A Healthy You. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), is a nutritional powerhouse with ancient origins. It was originally cultivated by the Incas more than 5,000 years ago; they referred to it as the “mother of all grains.” It contains all nine essential amino acids, making it… Continue Reading

Food Focus: Beans

Food Focus: Beans (This article appeared in the February, 2011 issue of A Healthy You.) Beans. They are good for the heart. Beans are found in most traditional cultures as a staple food, offering grounding and strengthening properties that enhance endurance: Beans, or legumes, which include peas and lentils, are an excellent source of plant-based… Continue Reading

Food Focus: Chocolate

Food Focus: Chocolate

Ahhh! Chocolate! The thought of it can bring up certain emotions. Chocolate has been associated with love for generations. Almost everyone I know loves chocolate! Many of us have even been known to crave the stuff. But did you know that chocolate has many amazing health benefits? Cacao is high in iron, calcium, potassium, vitamins… Continue Reading

Food Focus: Sea Vegetables

Sea Vegetables (This article appeared in the January, 2011 issue of A Healthy You). In traditional Chinese healing, sea vegetables correspond to the winter season and to the kidneys, adrenal glands, bladder and reproductive organs. The strengthening, balancing and cleansing properties of sea vegetables are known to help these organs as well as the hair,… Continue Reading

Food Focus: Cilantro

Cilantro (This article appeared in the December, 2010 issue of A Healthy You.) The leaves of the coriander plant are called Cilantro. It is also known as Chinese Parsley. It is a sweet and fragrant herb that has been used medicinally in many cultures for many years. It is also a very good source of… Continue Reading

Food Focus: Sweet Potatoes

Food Focus: Sweet Potatoes (This article appeared in the December, 2010 issue of A Healthy You.) Sweet potatoes are on everyone’s mind this season. They seem to go hand in hand with the holidays, and fortunately, eating these and other sweet vegetables needn’t be limited to this time of year. If you don’t have any… Continue Reading

Food Focus: Oils & Fats

FOOD FOCUS: OILS AND FATS (This article appeared in the November, 2010 issue of A Healthy You.) Not all oils and fats are created equal. Heavily processed, hydrogenated, “trans” fats and oils that are used in prepared, packaged foods can be extremely damaging to the body. However, fats and oils from whole foods and other… Continue Reading

Food Focus: Root Vegetables

Food Focus: Root Vegetables (This article appeared in the October, 2010 issue of A Healthy You.) The roots of any plant are its anchor and foundation; they are the essential parts that support and nourish the plant. Root vegetables lend these properties to us when we eat them, making us feel physically and mentally grounded… Continue Reading