Kitchen Challenges

Introduction to Kitchen Challenges
Each kitchen challenge is designed to help you master specific and important dietary components. Together as a whole these make up a healthful dietary lifestyle. We do not recommend that you attempt to learn every kitchen challenge at once, but to focus on one kitchen challenge at a time, until you have it mastered. For example, focus on becoming fluent in making a variety of drinks as kitchen challenge one. Once you are enjoying this process and can make a drink of choice quickly and confidently, including your own special tweaks, you are then ready to tackle another challenge. You do not have to take the challenges in order, but should complete each of them. Start where your greatest interest lie initially and build from there. It is important to read the introduction to each challenge to gain a good sense for why this dietary component is included. It is especially important to read and study Original Fast Foods. This book lays a solid foundation of understanding that becomes the glue to your long-term dietary lifestyle success.It will tie everything together and will provide great motivation, inpiration, and understanding.

Kitchen Challenge One – Increase Intake of Raw Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits possess more vitamins per calorie than any other foods and are second in mineral content only to vegetables; vegetables possess more minerals per calorie than any other foods and are second in vitamin content only to fruits. Together, raw fruits and vegetables offer greater antioxidant activity and supply more pure water, fiber, minerals, vitamins, macro-nutrients, micro-nutrients, and phyto-nutrients than all other foods combined. Per calorie, they most easily satisfy metabolic nutritional requirements by maintaining and building the vital reserves of essential nutrients.

Challenge One Recipes:

Whole Fruits – consume whole seasonal fruits freely (simplest way to increase fruit intake)

Whole Vegetables – consume raw whole vegetables plain or dipped in light dressings

Fruited Water – a little fruit adds enjoyment to water (see online show-me-how video)

Seasonal Fruited Smoothies – fruits are fun in drinks (see online show-me-how videos)

Apple Lemonade Recipe – our favorite all-time drink (see online show-me-how videos)

Carrot-Juice Blends – enjoy the juice of carrots plain or in combination with spinach, apples, or as the base for an exceptional V8 type vegetable drink, and for various sauces that follow (see online show-me-how videos).

Citrus Drinks – using a citrus juicer; juice, lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits into various combinations of citrus drinks. Orange-grapefruit juice is one of our favorites.

Melon Drinks – melon drinks and shakes are incredible (see p.139 of Original Fast Foods).

Heavenly Shakes – these are delightful (Vanilla or Chocolate Shakes - p.127, see Orange Smoothie - pp. 141, and Blueberry Smoothie p.140; add peanut butter to vanilla and chocolate shake above for greater richness). Enjoy online show-me-how videos to facilitate learning.

Challege Two – Salad Dressings – master several healthful dressings from Original Fast Foods that can be used to increase the variety of flavors you can enjoy as dips for raw veggies or as dressings to top quick and simple salads. Learn to make enough of each of your favorite dressings in minutes to enjoy all week. By so doing, throwing together a salad or veggie tray takes just a few minutes and you can top your raw veggies with your favorite healthful dressings.

Challenge Three – Satiating Salads

As you enjoy large salads of leafy greens and other raw vegetables, make them more satiating by adding legumes and/or rice, and/or whole-grain pasta, and/or steamed veggies to the salad. As you do so, you will find it both easy and enjoyable to consume large portions of leafy greens and raw veggies, the most nutrient-dense of all foods.

Challenge Three Recipes (each are demonstrated online):

Veggie-Rice Delight – see p.152 of Original Fast Foods

Oriental Salad – see p.126 of Original Fast Foods

Waldorf Rice Salad Recipe: for this new salad combine two cups of fresh-squeezed apple juice with the juice of one lemon, the juice of 1” of fresh ginger root, and a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg; thicken with Ultra Gel and use as a topping for the following salad: salad – combine two grated carrots and two grated apples, ¼ cup raisins, ¼ cup chopped walnuts, 1 can crushed pineapple, two cups chopped celery, and one or two cups rice into a salad and top with thickened juice mixture. Enjoy over a bed of leafy greens.

Mexi-Bean Salad – see p.128 of Original Fast Foods

Strawberry Salad – see p.123 of Original Fast Foods

Coleslaw Salad – see p.154 of Original Fast Foods, can add whole-grain pasta for heartier salad

Potato Salad – see p.151 of Original Fast Foods, top with Honey Mustard Dressing p.162

Challenge Four Introduction – Cooked Pulses

Legume-based soups (pulses) and stews are the perfect carriers for vegetables. Add vegetables freely to soups, stews, chili, stir fry, marinara sauce, and so forth. Legumes offer excellent nutrition, flavor, satiation, and comfort. However, legumes (beans) and grains are high in phytates, which inhibit the absorption of minerals. To neutralize phytic acids, soak whole grains and legumes in water for 24 hours to initiate germination; then rinse them thoroughly once every eight hours for another 24 hours to initiate sprouting. As the phytates are released and neutralized during germination and sprouting, they no longer interfere with the absorption of minerals and vitamins at the cellular level. Legumes and grains prepared in such a manner can then be cooked and added to the following vegetable-filled dishes.

Challenge Four Recipes:

Daniel’s Chili and Marinara – see pp 172 & 150 of Original Fast Foods

Marinated Veggie Bean Soup Recipe: blend 2 cups carrot juice with 2 tomatoes and 6 fresh basil leaves; combine in pot with diced carrots, zucchini, sweet red peppers, mushrooms, and onions. Add one pound frozen corn, 1 can of diced green chilies, and 4 cups of properly prepared precooked black beans, as described above; add 1 can of tomato paste and Mrs. Dash Seasoning to taste and simmer until veggies are tender and flavors blend to your satisfaction.

Pulse Soup – see p.128 of Original Fast Foods

Taco Soup – see p.168 of Original Fast Foods

Dahl Lentil Soup – see p.170 of Original Fast Foods

Split-Pea Soup Recipe: blend 3 cups carrot juice with 2 tomatoes, 6 fresh basil leaves, and 1 cup water; combine above juice in soup pot with 1 diced onion, zucchini, sweet red pepper, carrot, five mushrooms, 1 cup each of dry split peas and barley. Season with Mrs. Dash and simmer for 45 minutes.

Sweet Tomato Stir-Fry Recipe: blend 2 cups carrot juice with 2 tomatoes and 6 fresh basil leaves; add contents to stir-fry pan and add one diced onion, zucchini, sweet red pepper, carrot, five mushrooms and one cup each of cauliflower, cooked brown rice, and choice of beans. Season with 1+ tsp Italian Seasoning and Mrs. Dash to taste and cook until juices are absorbed into the rice (do not scorch).

Challenge Five Introduction – Properly Prepared Grains (see show-me-how videos!)

Grain is a rich source of carbohydrates, dietary fiber, iron, B vitamins, and other nutrients. The bran of grain induces peristalsis—the contracting of the intestines—to facilitate movement of food through the digestive tract. It is one of the best fecal bulking agents we can consume, leading to smooth bowel movements and a good stool. Bran also increases the surface area of starch, facilitating a longer digestive pace that leads to more stable blood sugars, thorough digestion, and to a feeling of satiety and wellness. With so much good, why should we pause when it comes to considering healthful uses of grains? It is because one in five Americans suffer from grain related disorders; they are believed to be among the most misdiagnosed health concerns today.

Symptoms include gastrointestinal complaints such as stomach ache, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohns disease, and ulcerative colitis; they include skin complaints such as itching, eczema, hives, and acne; joint and muscle complaints ranging from atypical pains to rheumatoid arthritis; headaches and migraines; chronic fatigue; asthma, chronic rhinitis or sinusitis; premenstrual syndrome; hypoglycemia; depression and anxiety; and sleeping disorders.[i] Celiac disease is an aggressive grain-related autoimmune digestive disease that damages the villi of the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. The eating of grain can be life threatening to celiac victims.[ii]

Steps to Overcoming Grain Intolerances

Grain Choices – Foods not believed to be harmful to those suffering from grain-related disorders include amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, popcorn, cornmeal, millet, corn, rice, oats, potato, soy, arrowroot, tapioca, sago, flax, and hominy.

Stability – When whole grains are enjoyed with leafy green vegetables, and other low glycemic vegetables, blood sugar levels remain stable—leading to stable dietary patterns and to great satisfaction at mealtime.[iii]

Problem Foods – Avoid refined and processed grains; they are linked to disorders such as type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, appendicitis, arthritis, allergies, unstable blood sugars, irregular eating patterns, and so forth.

Naturally Leavened Grains – A study published in February 2004, in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, describes the results of a research team who sought to overcome the toxic effects of grain for celiac victims.[iv] By preparing breads using Old-World leavening techniques, the scientists fed 17 celiac victims bread without their experiencing ill effects. The natural leavening employed known strains of beneficial bacteria to leaven the bread. Researchers suggest the bacteria feed upon certain elements in the grain which cannot be digested by human digestive enzymes, thus neutralizing various harmful effects associated with grain and better enabling the known benefits of grain.[v]

Dietary Lifestyle – A predominantly plant-based diet supports populations of friendly bacteria within the gut that aid in the digestion of grains; this benefit is mostly lost through diets that include high intakes of meat, sugar, fat, and alcohol.

Challenge Five Recipes (view show-me-how videos):

Naturally Leavened (NL) Grain – Begin with active starter

Making NL Starter - Obtain a dry NL Starter Packet from us by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope and $5 dollars.. Combine the dry starter into blender with 1/2 cup of lukewarm water. Blend well and pour contents into a mixing bowl. Add freshly ground whole wheat flour to mixture (about ½ cup) until you achieve a thick pancake batter consistency. Allow this mixture to sit on countertop for 24 hours or until it begins to bubble, whichever comes first. After 24 hours or after it begins to bubble well, add one cup of whole wheat flour and sufficient lukewarm or tepid water to maintain thick pancake batter-like consistency. Allow mixture to sit on counter until it begins to bubble actively (about 8 hours, depending upon the temperature in your kitchen). As starter becomes active it will bubble and rise; finally, add 3 more cups flour and water, making a total of 6+ cups of starter. Allow it to sit on counter for one more hour and then cover container and place it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it to make bread or pancakes (see instructions below). It is important to grow your first starter in stages. After each future use of the starter, allow enough NL starter to remain in the container to grow more starter in just one step, simply by adding enough flour and water to refill container to pancake-batter consistency. Preserve your starter by making pancakes at least once a week and bread, as desired. Refill container after each use, always maintaining 6 to 8 cups of starter.

Making Naturally Leavened Dough – Place the following ingredients into a bread mixer:

5¼ cups lukewarm water
1 cup sourdough starter – see instructions above.
12-14 cups freshly ground whole wheat flour
4 tsp sea salt

Add the starter, water, and salt to bread mixer and slowly add flour until the sides of the bowl become clean from all dough remnants. Then knead the dough for 10 additional minutes. Spray a large bread bowl with olive oil and transfer dough from mixer to the bowl; place a damp towel over the dough and allow dough to leaven for eight to twelve hours. Empty dough onto counter top and cut into four equal parts. The dough may now be used for making bread loaves, flat bread, braided pizza or braided fruit deserts, as per instructions below.

NL Bread Loaves – To make a loaf of bread, add a little water to working area on the countertop and “pat” out 2 lbs of dough into a large rectangle, taking care not to stretch and break the gluten. Fold the rectangular dough along the long edge of the rectangle into thirds as you would a letter, from top to bottom. Then fold again from side to side and place dough into a sprayed loaf tin with seam side down. Cover dough with damp cloth. Allow dough to rise for 1 - 2 hours (depends upon room temperature; the warmer the room the less time it will take to rise). Place a pan full of water on the bottom shelf of oven and preheat oven to 450° F. After the bread loaves have risen to your satisfaction, they are ready to be baked. Bake bread at 450° F for 35 minutes.

NL French Toast – After making bread, as per the instructions above, cut it to desired thickness and use it as the bread in the French Toast Recipe found on page 126 of Original Fast Foods.

NL Flat Bread – Flat Bread – Roll out two pounds of NL dough evenly onto a jelly-roll pan that has been sprayed with olive oil or no-stick spray. Cut it into desired shapes and sizes and then allow it to sit for one hour before baking it. Bake it in preheated oven at 500° F for 12 minutes and enjoy. Enjoy plain, with jam, or sliced open and stuffed with veggies.

NL Braided Pizza – Roll out one pound of NL dough evenly onto a jelly-roll pan that has been sprayed with olive oil or no-stick spray. Perpendicular to both long edges of the pan, cut 4” long slits in the dough every 1.5 inches, leaving an uncut strip of dough down the center of the jelly-roll pan where you will add tomato sauce, veggies of choice, pineapple, seasonings of choice, and Mozzarella cheese. After adding filling, weave 1.5 inch slits into a braid over the top of the filling. First take the top right slit and pull it across the filling and press end into second left slit; then braid top left slit to right slit number three; then braid right slit number two to left slit number four. Continue this pattern until you reach the bottom row. Pull the left slit across the bottom to prevent sauce from leaking out. Break off the slit from the right side and use it across the top of braid to prevent sauce from leaking out (see video clip for complete braiding technique.) Let rise for about 20 to 30 minutes. Bake at 425 degrees for 18 minutes or until cheese melts and dough is done. Place a bowl or pan of water in the bottom of the oven during baking.

NL Braided Desert – Follow instructions for making braided pizza, only change the filling used inside the braid accordingly: to make the filling combine one cup ricotta cheese with ¼ cup agave. Stir until smooth. Spread cheese mixture down center of bread dough. Next spread a thin layer of simply fruit jam on top of cheese mixture,(we like marionberry jam-seedless). Sprinkle coconut flakes on the jam and then put fresh fruit on top of the coconut, (we like to put fresh blueberries and raspberries on top). Weave the dough over the filling. See directions for braided pizza. Brush the top of the braid with a little bit of agave. Let rise for 20 to 30 minutes and then bake at 425 degrees for 18 minutes.

NL Cinnamon Rolls – Flatten 2 lbs of dough into rectangle shape. Brush agave on dough; sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon and add nuts and/or raisins if desired. Roll dough on the long side into a log. Cut 1 ½ inch thick pieces and place on an oiled baking sheet. Let rise for 30 to 60 minutes and bake at 425 degrees for 18 minutes. Place a bowl or pan of water in the bottom of oven while baking.

NL Sourdough Pancakes – We keep 5 to 6 cups of fresh NL starter in our refrigerator at all times. To make naturally leavened pancakes, combine 3 cups NL starter with 2 tbsp applesauce, ½ tsp salt, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg, 2 tsp vanilla, and 2 tbsp maple syrup. Other ingredients may also be added at this time, such as nuts or berries. Let your imagination help you to use this batter as you would any other pancake batter. Mix above ingredients well and just before cooking pancakes mix in ¼ - ½ tsp baking soda and 2½ tsp baking powder to batter. This will cause the pancakes to bubble up and rise on the griddle. Baking soda neutralizes the acidity that is caused during the leavening process of the NL starter and sweetens the batter. Adjust amount of baking soda to create the sweetness you desire.

Live Pulse Mix – In addition to the preceding bread-making, learn to make and enjoy live pulse mixes. Live pulse mixes of legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds are brought to life through sprouting and may be eaten alone, over vegetable or fruit dishes, can be made into breads, added to soups, and so forth. Making pulse isn’t complicated. Any combination of whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds may be sprouted together by soaking them in water for 24 hours followed by draining and rinsing them thoroughly. Soak some dates for a couple of hours, until soft; cut them in pieces and add them to the pulse mix to add a nice sweetness. Entire mixture may be enjoyed whole or chopped to desired consistency with a knife or the s-blade of a food processor.

Muesli – see recipe on page 131 of Original Fast Foods. When making muesli use a combination of raisins, any other fruits you desire, fresh squeezed apple juice, favorite nuts and seeds, and your choice of gluten-free grains such as amaranth, quinoa, oatmeal or oatgroats. You can mix up enough muesli to last a week. Begin by soaking your grains, nuts & seeds in water for 12 hours and then rinse them well. Be sure to maintain a ratio by volume of at least four to six times more grain than the combination of nuts and seeds. After rinsing the soaked grains, nuts and seeds, raisins, and choice of diced fruits (adjust amount to quantity of grains, nuts & seeds), add fresh squeezed apple juice and/or almond milk and cover mix. If you like cinnamon and/or nutmeg, you can also add to taste. A little goes a long ways in this mix. The mix is now ready to be placed in a container and placed into the refrigerator where it can remain for about a week. Enjoy this delightful and energizing mix as a breakfast dish or at other times as a quick pick-me-up.

Challenge Six – Delightful and fun extras, including healthful desserts, crunchy treats, and nutty delights

These include all the flax cracker videos and we will continue to add to this fun section.

Challenge Seven – Integrate Animal-Based Foods in a Healthful Manner

Cells require only 5% protein from our food for growth, repair, and maintenance.[vi] [vii] [viii] Nearly everyone can consume 10% of their caloric intake from animal-based foods without producing detrimental effects, but as caloric intake percentage exceeds the mid-teens degenerative conditions begin to occur. When more protein is consumed than the body needs for metabolism, the excess is broken down and excreted from the body. Harmful by-products of animal protein breakdown lead to cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, autoimmune disorders, cancer, arthritis, accelerated aging, and so forth.[ix] Science instructs to limit the use of animal-based foods to not exceed human metabolic needs, yet in the U.S. we consume 42% or at least four times more calories from animal-based foods than is known to be healthful.[x] If you use animal-based foods, use them sparingly as condiments—to enhance flavor and texture. For example, use small portions as additions to salads, soups, stir fries, or stews. Very little goes a long ways to provide added flavor, texture, and satisfaction—especially when all protein and other nutritional needs are already met by fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes. This is the eating pattern enjoyed by populations that enjoy the lowest rates of disease and the greatest longevity—follow it!
[i] Boeken, Lydia, S., M.D., Allergy and Intolerances,, (Internet active, August 15, 2008) [ii] National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, Related Diseases, (Internet active on August 15, 2008). [iii] See:, combining low and high glycemic foods together in a meal to stabilize blood sugars. [iv] [v] Najjar, 2008; British Journal of Nutrition [vi] Reeds, P.J., “Protein Nutrition of the Neonate”, Proc Nutr Soc, 2000 Feb, 59(1):87-97. [vii] Youngman and Campbell, J. Nutr., 1991, Nutr. Cancer, 1992 [viii] Rose, W., “The Amino Acid Requirements of Adult Man”, Nutr Abst. Rev. 1957, 27:631-47 [ix] Fuhrman, J., M.D., Eat To Live, p.70 [x] Fuhrman, Joel, M.D., Eat To Live, pp 49-50


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Comment by Valerie Penfold on March 8, 2010 at 12:44pm
Thank you for all of this updated information :)


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