Cauliflower – the versatile vegetable

CauliflowerCauliflower – it’s better than you think

We decided to write about cauliflower in this post because:

  • it’s permitted on the Strictly Low Histamine Diet
  • it’s one of the vegetables that’s so easy to hate if it’s prepared wrongly
  • it’s good for you
  • lately, people have been coming up with inventive ways to make it actually delicious.
  • it’s very low in Calories, which is useful for people who want to lose weight

Wikipedia tells us that cauliflower (Brassica oleracea) originated in the Northeast Mediterranean. “Cauliflower is an annual plant that reproduces by seed. Typically, only the head is eaten – the edible white flesh sometimes called “curd” (similar appearance to cheese curd).”Purple cauliflower

There are four major groups of cauliflower:

  • Italian, which includes white, Romanesco, various brown, green, purple, and yellow cultivars. This type is the ancestral form from which the others were derived.
  • Northern European annuals, which include Erfurt and Snowball.
  • Northwest European biennial, which include Angers and Roscoff.
  • Asian, a tropical type used in China and India. It includes Early Benaras and Early Patna.

Fractal cauliflowerDid you know that there are hundreds of historic and current commercial varieties of cauliflower used around the world? Or that cauliflower comes in colors other than creamy white? The other colors of cauliflower include:

  • Orange, whose beautiful color is provided by beta-carotene, a provitamin A compound. Cultivars include ‘Cheddar’ and ‘Orange Bouquet’.
  • Green, which is also known as “broccoflower”. This comes in the normal cloud-shaped head (curd) or in a fractal spiral curd called “Romanesco Broccoli”. Varieties of the cloud-shaped green cauliflower include ‘Alverda’, ‘Green Goddess’ and ‘Vorda’. Romanesco varieties include ‘Minaret’ and ‘Veronica’.
  • Purple, whose stunning color is given to it by anthocyanins, plant pigments that are found in other plants, including red cabbage, red plums and red grapes. Varieties include ‘Graffiti’ and ‘Purple Cape’.

How to keep the Nutrients in Cauliflower

Cauliflower heads can be roasted, boiled, fried, steamed, pickled, or eaten raw. According to Wikipedia, “Boiling reduces the levels of cauliflower compounds, with losses of 20–30% after five minutes, 40–50% after ten minutes, and 75% after thirty minutes.” However, other preparation methods, such as steaming, microwaving, and stir frying, have no significant effect on the compounds.”

Romanesco CauliflowerWonderful Ways with Cauliflower

Maybe your Mom always used to serve up cauliflower looking like a white, watery, blob on the plate, but these days there are a lot of great ways to use this versatile food, such as

  • cauliflower “rice”
  • cauliflower”steaks”
  • vegan “cauliflower cheese”
  • creamy, savory cauliflower whip
  • cauliflower salad
  • cauliflower soup
  • roasted cauliflower
  • cauliflower dip
  • mashed cauliflower
  • white sauce made out of cauliflower
  • and even cauliflower chocolate pudding!

There are loads of ideas on the internet – just type “cauliflower recipes” into your search engine. Make sure you check the other ingredients and if there’s anything histamine-unfriendly in there, either leave it out or substitute a similar, histamine-friendly ingredient.

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Home Made Hair Conditioner for Itchy Scalps

home made hair conditionerHome-Made Hair Conditioner

If you’re histamine intolerant, one of your symptoms could be an itchy scalp.  Commercial hair products may contain ingredients such as fragrances, which can irritate sensitive skin and make itchy scalps worse. So why not make your own fragrance-free, natural hair conditioner? It’s actually a lot of fun.

This recipe comes courtesy of www.easy-aromatherapy-recipes.com. To make the hair conditioner you will need a ‘carrier oil’ to suit your hair type. If you find that this formula makes your hair feel greasy, then use grapeseed oil as your carrier oil and reduce the amount. Note: Avocado oil should only make up to 10% of your total oil hair care blend because it leaves a waxy residue that’s very hard to wash out.

  • Normal Hair:     Jojoba Oil, Olive Oil or Virgin Coconut Oil
  • Dry, Damaged or Frizzy Hair:     Castor Oil, Jojoba Oil, Olive Oil, Shea Butter or Virgin Coconut Oil
  • Oily Hair:     Grapeseed Oil or Jojoba Oil
  • Thinning Hair:     Olive Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Avocado Oil, Castor Oil, Grapeseed Oil
  • Dandruff:    Sesame Oil, Virgin Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil, Castor Oil, Olive Oil

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) carrier oil for your hair type (see above)
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) vegetable glycerin
  • 1 tablespoon (8g) emulsifying wax
  • 1/2 tsp (1.5ml) Vitamin E (or 2 capsules)
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) distilled water
  • 5 drops grapefruit seed extract

Instructions:

  • Stir together the oil, emulsifying wax and glycerin in the top part of a double boiler, warming slowly over a low heat until the wax is melted. Remove from heat and pour in the Vitamin E.
  • In a separate pot on the stove or in the microwave, gently warm the water or herbal infusion just until lukewarm. Do NOT skip this step or your conditioner will separate later on.
  • Slowly pour the water/herbal infusion into the oil mixture, stirring constantly with a wire whisk until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Let the mixture cool a little so the essential oils don’t evaporate too quickly when you add them.
  • Don’t worry if it doesn’t thicken immediately – it thickens as it cools down to room temperature.
  • Stir in the essential oil and the grapefruit seed extract. Pour the natural hair conditioner into a clean, sterilized 8oz (250ml) dark glass or PET plastic bottle and allow it to cool before putting the lid on.
  • Shake the bottle occasionally as the conditioner cools to prevent the ingredients from separating. Store in a cool, dark place.
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Green Mango Juice

Green-mangoesGreen Mango Juice

The juice of unripe mangos is a boon to histamine intolerance sufferers. You don’t realize how important to cooking are the zesty tang and acidic properties of vinegar and lemon juice, until you miss them. Fortunately the juice of green mangos makes a good substitute.
It’s not widely available in stores, however; so if you cannot obtain it, you can substitute either amchoor or the juice of unripe/tart apples, mixed with a pinch of ascorbic acid powder.
To make your own green mango juice, buy unripe mangos and process them in a blender, then strain them through muslin to remove the pulp.
To store, freeze the juice in ice cube trays so that you can defrost as much as required in small amounts.

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