In February before Valentine’s Day, I was thinking about writing a post for my blog about heart health. I thought of a particular book I had read about healing the heart through diet – Maximum Healing: Improve your Immune System and Optimize Your Natural Ability to Heal – by Dr. H. Robert Silverstein.
Dr. Silverstein is a board-certified cardiologist and internist and director of Preventative Medicine Center in Hartford, Ct. For 30 years, he’s been helping patients with allergies, asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer, chronic fatigue, headaches, heart disease, joint pain, skin disorders & rheumatoid arthritis – through conventional Western medicine as well as natural healing methods. He “very often finds that natural healing methods along are sufficient to restore health even when people are suffering from a long history of illness or have used conventional medical treatments unsuccessfully.”
He calls his approach CAIM – Complimentary – Alternative – Integrative – Medicine. Diet and lifestyle are an important part of this approach. Dr. Silverstein writes, “diabetes, arthritis and heart disease are but three examples of disorders that are affecting young people as never before. These are inflammatory diseases, in large part, that stem from overstressed and weakened immune systems. Other immune-related problems are on the rise: asthma, allergies, inflammatory bowel disorders (including Crohn’s disease and colitis), eczema, dermatitis, and rosacea. Very often, these diseases may be harbingers of more severe illnesses, including cancers of the breast, colon, and prostate, as well as coronary heart disease.
“The remarkable truth is that most of these diseases are preventable, even curable, if patients are willing to make a few modifications to diet and lifestyle. The addition of certain foods, supplements, herbs and immune boosting behaviors can dramatically strengthen your immune defenses and virtually overcome many illnesses.”
With the permission of Dr. Silverstein, I’m sharing some of his healing recipes from Maximum Healing. The recipes fall within these categories:
• Soup • Whole Grains: He suggests substituting millet, quinoa, amaranth and brown rice where wheat is listed in his recipes if you like, as he notes wheat and rye can make you hungry. • Vegetable Dishes • Beans • Sea Vegetable Dishes • Fish • Sauces & Dressing • Desserts. I chose one of each to share with you:
2 teaspoons sesame or organic extra virgin olive or macadamia nut oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 carrots, diced
2 ears corn cut off the cob
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon each fresh thyme, basil, sage and rosemary, or 1/2 teaspoon each dried
6 cups vegetable stock or water
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (optional)
1 cup red lentils
1/4 cup shoyu soy sauce (some may need less shoyu/soy sauce as these are very salty)
Grains generally cook “2:1” (two cups water for one cup grain)
1 cup brown rice or barley (the food of gladiators)
2 cups water
2 pinches sea salt (such as Celtic Sea Salt or Sal del Mar Sea Salt).
Wash rice several times, until water runs clear. Drain. Add water and salt, cover, and bring to a rolling boil on high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 to 60 minutes or longer. Soaking overnight reduces cooking time by half (of all the above grains). Turn off heat, allow to cool, and remove the rice. Serves two to three.
1 cup millet
3 3/4 cups water
1 onion, diced
1 large dill pickle, diced
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon fresh or dried dill
4 tablespoons “Follow Your Heart” Vegenaise “mayonnaise”
Wash and drain millet. Bring water to a boil and add millet. Lower heat, cover pot with flame deflector underneath the pot, and simmer for 40 minutes. (Remember that soaking overnight reduces the cooking time of grains by 50 percent.) While millet cooks, dice onion and pickle, mix with remaining ingredients, and set aside. Spread hot, cooked millet in a rectangular pan and refrigerate. When thoroughly cooled, cut into squares. Place squares into mixing bowl with rest of ingredients and mix gently. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
1 bunch leafy greens
2-3 tablespoons olive or macadamia nut oil
A few drops of tamari soy sauce
Wash greens and cut them in half lengthwise along the side stem, stack them on top of each other, and cut again lengthwise. Turn them sideways and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Heat oil and add greens, stirring gently until they begin to change color. Cover and simmer for two minutes. Add soy sauce and a little water, if necessary, to complete cooking. Variation: sauté any combination of vegetables. Serves four.
Mix grated carrots, raisins and salt together and press for at least 30 minutes to an hour. To do this, put vegetables in a large bowl, cover with a plate. Add to the top of the plate a heavy weight, such as a jug of water or a heavy rock. When done pressing, rinse well and drain. You can serve plain or with the following vinaigrette dressing.
1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger juice
Teaspoon sea salt
Mix together ingredients in a small pot. Bring to a simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.
Mix with carrots and serve.
2 cups black beans (simplify by using canned, organic, low-sodium beans (such as by Eden brand)
1 large onion, cubed
1 large carrot, cubed
1 green bell pepper, cubed
Miso to taste
Pick over the beans to remove stones, etc., wash them several times, and drain. Soak overnight, if you have the presence of mind, or boil for five minutes and soak for two hours. Place beans in a pot and bring to boil with a stick of kombu seaweed. Turn flame down, cover, and simmer for two hours, or until beans are soft. Once soft, add the vegetables, and simmer another 20 minutes. Add miso during last few minutes of cooking. Serves four.
1 pound white firm-flesh fish
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon soy sauce (organic tamari or shoyu)
1/2 teaspoon ginger juice
Wash fish under cold water. Combine remaining ingredients and soak the fish in the marinade for one hour. Place fish on an oiled baking sheet under the broiler, and broil on each side for about five to eight minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the fish.
1 package arame seaweed
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/2 cup ground roasted sesame seeds
Rinse arame in a strainer under running water. Place arame in a pot with enough water to cover and let sit for three to five minutes. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the lid, add the soy sauce, and boil until all the liquid has evaporated. Add the lemon rind and sesame seeds and mix well. Serve with lemon wedges and garnish with fresh sliced scallions.
1 quart amasake (a sweet organic rice beverage)
Strawberries, blueberries, or fresh fruit of your choice
Place amasake into a blender with fresh fruit to taste. Blend as is or add a few ice cubes and blend. Garnish with a mint sprig and serve cool with a straw. Enjoy the refreshing all natural, dairy-less milkshake. (Rice syrup can be added for more sweetness.)
Meg Wolff is a breast cancer survivor. Her memoir, Becoming Whole: The Story of my Complete Recovery from Breast Cancer, includes recipes and menu plans. Meg's new release photography book, Breast Cancer Exposed, The Connection Between Food and Survival is now available at local bookstores and both books can be found on her website at www.megwolff.com.