Thursday, September 8, 2011

Avocapaya Salad

All eager to embark on adding enzymes to our diet, I made this salad today.  I credit my relative Claire for introducing the Avocado-Papaya combination years ago, and I never forgot how good it was.  This is the first time I've been able to make something approximately as good as what she made that day at the beach.

1 large Papaya (or two small ones)
3 sprigs Cilantro
3 Hass Avocados (or 1 or 2 Fuertes)
1 lime

Rinse the papaya, because you'll be eating some of the peel, which has most of the enzymes.  Cut the papaya in half along the "equator" (not the usual way).  Save one half for another use (smoothie!).  Place the other half cut side down on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to slice off the top and cut down along the sides to remove the peel.  This method is fast and minimizes handlling.  Save some of the peel for smoothies, except one or two long pieces, which you now cut into little bits for this salad - don't worry, they will go totally unnoticed among the cilantro leaves.

Turn over the peeled papaya half, and remove the seeds.  The seeds are also enzyme-rich, so you may want to leave a few in the salad. They should be swallowed without chewing, because they have a bitter taste.  You can also drop them into smoothies just before serving, where they'll be like bubbles in bubble tea.

Cut the now peeled and seedless papaya flesh into chunks about the size of a walnut, and place in salad bowl.

Cut the bottom of the cilantro sprigs where the stems meet, and rinse off any dirt. Shake the water off. Chop into 1/2 inch pieces and sprinkle onto the papaya in the salad bowl.

Cut each avocado in half and pry out the pit by chopping your knife halfway into the pit and twisting.  With a soup spoon, scoop out large chunks of the avocado into the salad bowl. Use the empty skin to pull the pit off your knife.

Juice the lime and sprinkle onto the goodies in the bowl.

Toss and serve. I promise it will disappear.

This is a SALT-FREE recipe but the lime juice does have sodium.  All the other ingredients are so rich in potassium that this is an excellent dish for sodium watchers.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What I learned today

There's a website,, written by Steve and Jordan, "two average guys who rejected conventional medicine by facing our fears and healing our guts using the Specific Carbohydrate Diet". Through their email newsletter and their caring response to my emails, I've just discovered how important enzymes are for proper digestion. Enzymes DIGEST the molecules of the foods you eat. That is, they break them down into absorbable, smaller molecules, the ones needed for your body's cells.

I did a little research on LIPASE, the enzyme that breaks down LIPIDS, that is, fats. The SCD is a high-fat diet, and fats can heal your gut, but without lipase, it ain't gonna happen.  A healthy digestive system makes its own enzymes.  But disease is a vicious cycle that slows down enzyme production, which worsens digestion, etc.  And lipase is scarce in the SAD (Standard American Diet). Like all enzymes, it is destroyed by heat, so you can only find it in raw foods. Like most enzymes, it is present in the foods that contain the molecules it works on. So lipase is present in the raw foods that contain fats. BUT, like all enzymes, lipase is water-soluble, so it is NOT present in oils, even raw, extra-virgin, unrefined oils. So the only food sources I can figure are:

Avocado - my hero!

Coconut - raw, in the shell (I don't know how desiccated coconut is processed, maybe it's ok)

Olives (again, I don't know how they're processed, but if they're canned or jarred, they've been heated and lost the enzymes)

Papaya - an exception to the "rule" about the food having to contain fat. Papaya is famous for papain, the enzyme that helps with proteins, but is also is a good source of lipase, especially the green papaya.

Almonds - but they also contain toxins that inhibit the action of lipase. Fortunately, soaking removes this. Also, soaking allows you to peel the almonds (do it while listening to an audiobook) which removes toxins.

I got all this information from trustworthy web pages, but don't have time to list them.

So, I'm going back to making coconut milk from SCRATCH (this blog's first post) and almond milk from RASAP (Raw Almonds, Soaked And Peeled). There's no way TetraPak coconut milk has any enzymes left. So I'm comforted that I spent $399 on the Welles Press after all.

BTW, freezing does not affect lipase. states: "... retained its activity for more than 6 months at -20 degrees C, beyond which it lost activity progressively." So, freeze stuff, but don't keep it toooo long.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Welles People's Press

  When we started the SCD diet, I was making coconut milk from the nutshell. See my very first post, How to bust and milk a coconut. Well, after a few weeks I got tired of wringing the cloths by hand, and looked into getting some kind of press. The most affordable press I could find online is the Welles (People's) press (a very similar one costs over $2K and is apparently heavily marketed to cancer patients).  It works like a car jack, you pump a lever that raises a platform fitted with a juice catcher until it presses against a fixed plate. One reviewer gave it a 1 star (worst) review, and the first time I tried the press, I wholeheartedly agreed! BUT... I found a solution. If you buy one, read this BEFORE YOU EVER USE YOUR PRESS! 

  The big problem is that there is no easy way to get the platform back down after you've jacked it up and pressed out the juice. Instructions say, go ahead, don't hesitate to use force to push it down. Great. Thanks. There is absolutely nothing to grab hold of! Only fingernails fit in the narrow space between the juice catcher and the top plate, the juice catcher is plastic, so you do hesitate to apply force, and the pressed cloth with the residue are in the way of anything you might want to try to use as a wedge or lever.  You get two cloths with the press, so you don't want to damage one of them the very first time you use it. My fingernails took a beating that night. One hundredth of a millimeter at a time, I nudged the platform down. It felt like it wasn't going down at all. IT TOOK ME OVER AN HOUR to get the contraption far down enough to be able to remove the bag and residue.  Then I wedged a screwdriver wrapped in a kitchen glove into the space.  After that it came down pretty fast. Oh, boy was I sorry I'd bought that thing!  Only buyer pride (and anger) kept me going. I went to bed two hours after everyone - had to finish cleaning up. During the night, I came up with a solution.

SOLUTION: Cut a piece of cotton cloth (an old pillowcase is just right) into a 20 inch square.  Fold it in three.  Before you place the juice catcher on the platform, drape the folded cloth across the platform so that the long ends hang down to the right and left of the platform.  This will give you something to hold on to. Then place the juice catcher on the platform.  It holds the fabric in place. BEFORE YOUR FIRST PRESSING, practice jacking up the platform (NOT ALL THE WAY UP), turning the release knob a 3/4 turn, and pulling the platform back down. Turn the knob back, jack up.  Repeat. At least you won't have a sticky mess to deal with like I did.

The instructions say this stiff release gets better over time, well, mine is still pretty stiff and I will always use the cloth. Can't see any reason not to.

The instructions are pretty badly written, but do read them, so you'll know not to turn the release knob too much. I find that 3/4 of a turn is enough.  You can hear a "sigh" when the hydraulic pressure is released. 

See a photo of my press at  And recipes.

CONCLUSION: Not sorry I bought it now. The press is otherwise easy to use and does a great job.

RECOMMENDATION TO THE MANUFACTURERS: ADD HANDLES BELOW THE PLATFORM!  Or, at least, add this solution to your instructions.  

2. The juicing cloths: two cloths are included in with the press. The fabric is strong, thick and non-absorbent, which is good, because you don't want half your precious juice to be retained in the cloth. But the edges are not stitched, so they fray, and really, for some uses, you want a bag. Like coconut milk the way I make it, in the Vitamix. Too much liquid for folding. So I stitched one of the cloths into a bag. If you do this, make the bag slightly smaller than the platform part of the juice catcher, with a widening opening for easier filling. Use it with the stitching outside (for easier cleaning). The other cloth, I zigzig stiched along the edges.

3. Keeping the cloths clean: Rinse the cloth out thoroughly and store it in the freezer in a ziplock bag, like the instructions say. You don't have to dry it. If you've sewn it into a bag, turn it inside out while washing to be sure to remove all the residue. Just before using it, microwave it for one minute to kill any bacteria the freezer may have missed.


1. To make almond and other nut milks and coconut milk - that was my main reason for buying the press. Vitamix one to two cups nuts with twice as much water on High for one minute, with a date or two if you want it slightly sweetened (nutmeg, vanilla...).  Pour onto the juicing cloth or bag placed in a strainer over a bowl deeper than the strainer.  After letting most of the milk drip out, fold the top of the bag 2 or 3 times, or fold the cloth over the pulp, place on the juice catcher, load into the press, and jack it up!

2. To make Ginger Juice. Cut a whole hand of fresh ginger root into chunks. Put in Vitamix with water to cover. Process on High for 30 seconds. Proceed as for nut milks above. Use the GJ in soups, sauces, in hot water for tea, or cold water for a Ginger Ale type drink. The residue is so dry it looks like cardboard. Let it dry out in the sun or on a radiator (or dehydrator) and hang it up like a car deodorizer (you might want to cut it into a pine tree shape).

3. To press fresh juice out of vegetables. Grate zucchini, carrots, and press out the juice. Or chop vegetables in a food processor until mushy, then juice in the press.  Use the not completely pressed residue of vegetables to make "latkes", i.e., add egg, chopped onions, seasoning, and fry like pancakes.  

That's all I've done with my press so far. Let me know if you have a press and how you use it.