February 25, 2015

Liver and Skin Renewal

As we move towards the sweet delight of spring equinox, the chickadees are crowding into our crabapple tree, looking for berries. Despite the cold nights, sunshine feels more potent than ever.

I am pausing to feel the awe that comes from looking up into the sky and feeling the expansive nature of consciousness.

Take a deep breath and bring brightness your next meal with this white fish dish.

Burdock and kelp cleanse and soothe the lymph and skin while promoting liver rejuvenation to prepare for the warmer months ahead.

Vegetable Ragout with White Fish

You will need:

2 large yellow onions
1/2 inch ginger root, chopped
1 inch burdock, peeled and chopped

1 bunch kale or collards, chopped
2 handfuls kelp
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 Tablespoons lime or lemon juice
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 Tablespoon coriander powder
½ Tablespoon cumin seed powder
½ teaspoon garam masala
Salt to taste
1 pound Atlantic cod or haddock

Chop onions.

Heat coconut oil in large skillet.

Add the spices, stir and sauté on low heat for 2 minutes.

Add onions, stir, and raise heat to high for 2 minutes.

Add lime juice, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Peel and chop burdock. Add to skillet.

Chop greens and ginger. Add to skillet. Add water if onions are sticking to the bottom.

Add ½ cup water, kelp and white fish. Cover and cook for ½ hour more.

Enjoy! Try it with kasha biscuits.

Thanks to Foragers for a Year for the kelp photo.

February 18, 2015

Wholesome Bread

This wholesome bread is protein-rich, gluten-free, and delicious!
Try making it this weekend.

You will need:
Baking paper
Food processor or high powered blender
1 cup whole raw buckwheat groats
1/2 cup flaxseeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder

Add 1 teaspoon each: coriander, cumin, caraway & fenugreek seeds
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Place raw buckwheat groats, flaxseed, and sunflower seeds into a food processor and mix on high until the mix resembles flour.
When the flour mix is done, add all the remaining ingredients and mix on high until it resembles dough.
Line a loaf pan with baking / waxed paper and grease the paper with some extra coconut oil.
Place bread in the oven and cook for 35 minutes (until the bread is firm ton top and springs back when gently pressed).
Remove from the oven and cool for 30 minutes in the tin.
Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container in the fridge for a week.

February 14, 2015

Heal Yourself with Home Cooking

In a world where food sometimes seems like an afterthought, we have a choice.

We can slow down and scratch one commitment from the calendar.

In this space, we can create an opportunity for finding our our deepest source of nourishment.

Cooking is an art and a practice.
The more you do it, the easier it becomes.
Try it!

1. Book the time.
Commit to cooking a fresh meal at least two times a week.

2. Read through recipes.
Look at the ingredients and the preparation time to get an idea if that recipe will work for you. Peruse the Harmonized Cookery website or request a custom menu plan with recipes.

3. Prepare.
I always tell people to commit to a "grocery day" once a week, so they can stock up on lots of healthy foods. This will keep you committed to the challenge.

4. Add plant-based food whenever possible.
You don't have to give up the foods you love. Just add some fresh vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts into your meals. This will have you feeling more energized and less likely to crave processed food.

5. Make it a group project.
Cook with your partner, friends or kids. Cooking is the perfect social activity and could inspire someone else to find joy in cooking again.

6. Make enough for lunches.
The great thing about cooking at home is you can use any leftovers for lunches through the week. This will eliminate some of those fast food lunches and save you money.

7. Set the table.
You took the time to cook yourself a delicious meal, instead of eating it in front of the TV, why not sit at the kitchen table and savor the food you made. It might seem silly, but eating at the dinner table once in a while is a really nice way to catch up with loved ones.

If you try this challenge, it may help to use a journal to keep track of how you're feeling.
What do you notice?
Joy, challenge, questions, satisfaction?
Have fun with it!

February 9, 2015

Going on Vacation? Food for Healthy Travel

When winter starts feeling long in the Northeast, those who have the privilege might choose to travel south and warm their bones, joints, and connective tissue.

If you cannot travel this winter, here are some tips to improve flexibility and circulation from the inside out.

Soak your feet.

Just take a storage container or tub, fill it with hot water, table salt, and 2 or 3 peppermint tea bags. Let your feet and ankles soak in the hot water until it cools down - about 10 minutes.
Breathe deeply.
Try this mindful peace breath if you like.

Then, pat feet dry and rub them with coconut oil or sunflower oil.

Drink ginger tea.

Ginger tea improves circulation and uplifts mood by supporting healthy digestion. When digestion is not healthy, mood suffers.

Make a smoothie.

Fruit can bring joy to the moment and give our cells a burst of the plant nutrients that are under blankets of snow right now.

Here is a simple recipe:

1 cup organic plain yogurt (cow, almond, or coconut)
1 cup water
2 cups frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds
1 teaspoon raw honey
1 teaspoon each: cinnamon and cardamom

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

If you are lucky enough to travel, here are some ways to stay healthy!
When we go to a new place, our guts have to adjust to the foods and the environment of this place. Sometimes, the bacteria that are naturally present in one location are very different from the ones to which we are accustomed.

Eat Pre-Biotic Foods.

Especially when traveling from a cold weather climate to a warm weather one, please choose pre-biotic foods, which stimulate the growth of healthy pro-biotic bacteria in your gut.
These include apples, almonds, onions, pears, and potatoes.

Choose cooked fruits and vegetables.

When eating out, choose cooked fruits and vegetables to minimize the risk of exposing yourself to water-borne parasites. If you choose to eat raw fruits and veggies at restaurants, ask staff to wash and handle them with bottled or treated water to reduce risk of exposure.

If you shop and cook at a home kitchen during your travels, wash fruits and vegetables in a colloidal solution that suspends bacteria.

Skip the ice.

Ice can often be prepared with water that's untreated. For local folks, that's no problem. Their guts are accustomed to the local bacteria. For travelers, this might cause digestive upset such as diarrhea, vomiting, and fever. Ask for drinks prepared with treated / bottled water and no ice.

Pack an herbal toolkit.

Stock up on tinctures - medicinal herbal extracts. Find them at your local health food store or online. Choose goldenseal, sweet annie (artemisia annua), and echinacea. Take a dropper of each one of these every two hours at the onset of symptoms of infection, such as: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, or extreme migraine.

February 4, 2015

Mexico-Inspired Feast

As the weather starts warming slowly, I try to move my body more, breathe the fresh air even though it's spicy food. Spice from the capsicum family (peppers and paprika) awakens the digestive system, accelerates the metabolism, and improves circulation.
cold, and eat more

I am inspired to share a Mexican-style meal, which reminds me of my visits to the Yucatan Peninsula. Every part of Mexico has its own regional cuisine. These dishes are familiar to me from my time in Chiapas.

Shopping List

cornmeal (non-GMO if possible)
long grain brown rice
black beans - please soak overnight

sour cream
milk (almond or cow)

olive oil
apple cider vinegar
canned / jarred tomatoes
red chile flakes

fresh cilantro (optional)

Black Bean Stew

You will need:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 teaspoon each: cumin, coriander, oregano and salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon chile flakes (optional)
1 cup cooked black beans
2 cups water
juice of 1 orange
freshly chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)

Soak beans overnight or for 8 hours. Rinse, bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer.

Skim off and discard any foam that rises to the top of the pot.
Simmer for 30 minutes or until beans are tender but still well-formed.
Rinse, drain, and set aside.

Chop onions, garlic, and carrots.
Place in a stock pot with olive oil and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add spices and black beans. Stir well and sauté for 3 more minutes, or until you can smell the spices.

Add water, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook for 15 minutes.
Add the juice of 1 orange. Stir well.
Turn off heat and enjoy with cooked rice and a garnish of freshly chopped cilantro if you like.

Cornmeal Casserole

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a glass baking dish (9x9 or so) with olive oil. Set aside.
2 cloves garlic
1/2 pound mushrooms
1 carrot
1 onion

Place these in a deep skillet with 3 tablespoons olive oil.
Turn heat on high and then reduce to medium low once vegetables start to sizzle.
Add 1 teaspoon each: oregano, cumin, and coriander - mix well.
Splash with 1 tablespoon lime juice, stir once more, and cover.
Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. 
Turn off heat, add 2 packed cups spinach, stir well, and spread into baking dish.

For the topping, whisk together these ingredients in the order listed:
2 cups cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups milk (almond or cow)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Add a bit of water if the dough is too dry. You need to be able to handle it with your hands without it cracking or crumbling.

Shape dough into a flat disc and place over vegetables.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. 
Remove from oven and serve with sour cream chile sauce.

GET CREATIVE! Avoiding cream and cheese? Put a fried egg or braised cod on top.

Sour Cream Chile Sauce

In a serving bowl, mix:
2 cups sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon each: coriander and chile flakes
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro (optional)

Serve immediately or keep refrigerated until ready to eat.

Thanks to Jen at Tiny Urban Kitchen for the image on the right and loads of recipe inspiration. 

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