What are natural foods? Natural foods are foods that have not been overrefined or treated with chemicals and that do not contain harmful additives.
A whole-food diet is not necessarily vegetarianall the food groups are represented. For this reason, poultry and fish are included.
Not all recipes in this book are meant to be eaten regularly. Some desserts are high in fat content, but when you want to splurge, they are heavenly. Luscious and decadent can be natural, too!
LEGUMES (peas and beans)
Legumes or dried beans may well be the nutritional stars of the plant world. Low in fat and high in the kind of fiber that lowers cholesterol, they also contain components that are protective against cancer. When combined with grains, nuts, or seeds, they are an excellent protein source. Legumes, stored away from sunlight and moisture, last for years. Beans excavated from Incan temples were capable of germination!
Do not add salt or acidic ingredients, such as tomatoes, until legumes are almost finished cooking. Adding during cooking toughens legumes.
Except for bulgur and couscous, grains are cooked by bringing the correct amount of cooking liquid to a boil in a pot large enough to accommodate the increase in volume after cooking. (Don't forget to use up that vegetable stock!) Add grain to boiling liquid, stir once, allow liquid to return to boiling, turn heat down low, cover pot, and cook grains until they are soft. Do not stir grains after they come to a boil because too much stirring makes them gummy.
Add salt to grains at the end because it slows the cooking process.
Use a film of 1/2 soya lecithin and 1/2 vegetable oil or butter. Liquid lecithin alone is too thick to spread easily. Diluting it with oil works like a charm. Always keep a jar of the lecithin-oil mixture on hand to grease with.
To grease, use a pastry brush to spread the mixture. Natural grains tend to stick to pans but will not when you use lecithin to grease.
No sweetener can be eaten with impunity and their use is often debated. The recipes use primarily honey or maple syrup for sweetening. Other options are fruit juice concentrates, rice syrup, barley malt, date sugar (made from dried pulverized dates), Sucanet, Rapurada, and the South American herb Stevia.
Honey is also a healer. Germs won't grow in honey, and when applied to a cut or burn, it works magic. Should your honey crystallize, set the jar in a bowl of hot water until the crystals have dissolved.