May 22, 2015

Make your own flour blends

The corporate food industry has taken wheat, which is highly nutritious and rich in protein, B vitamins, and complex carbohydrates, and de-natured it into a high yield grain. It is largely indigestible, not only because it comes from grain that has been genetically engineered, but also because the resultant flour is stripped of its bran and germ.

The bran and germ are home to vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber. Our bodies need these compounds to metabolize the grain effectively.

Due to an over-consumption of this hybridized wheat, which the body doesn't actually recognize as food, many of us have become gluten-sensitive.

Here are some tips to create your own gluten-free flour blends without the strange additives.

Gluten-Free Flour Mixes

Just use this rule of thumb: 70% whole grain or nut flour blend to 30% starches – no xantham gum needed!

Some whole grain flours are more dry and light. Others are more moist and dense. Make sure that you use a balance of these two in your 70% mixture.

Think about the outcome: if you want a rich, dense baked good, use more of the heavy flours. For a light, fluffy crust, use the lighter, drier flours. Consider that some flours taste better in savory or sweet batters, too.

For example, a cauliflower pizza crust will do well with cornmeal. A brownie batter will thrive on brown rice or oat flour.

Whole grain flours include:
Buckwheat (dry & dense; savory)
Sorghum (moist and dense; either sweet or savory)
Oat (moist and dense; sweet)
Brown Rice (moist and dense; sweet)
Millet (medium; either sweet or savory)
Quinoa (dry and light; savory)
Teff (dry and light; savory)
Corn (dry and light; mildly sweet)
Almond (dry and dense; mildly sweet)

Starches include:
White sweet rice flour
Tapioca flour
Coconut flour
Arrowroot powder

Maple Cinnamon Scones


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, mix well:
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch salt
½ cup cooked oatmeal
1 ½ cups gluten-free flour blend of your creation
¼ cup applesauce
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
4 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons nut or seed butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Grease a cookie sheet with olive oil and drop dough in spoonfuls. Flatten each cookie with the back of the spoon. Slide cookie sheet into oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Get creative! For variety, add one of the following: 2 spoonfuls raspberry jam; 1 inch fresh chopped ginger root & ½ teaspoon clove powder; ¼ cup raisins (first soak for 5 minutes in hot water and drain).

Banana Bread


This recipe also makes great muffins!

Dry ingredients:
1½ cups gluten-free flour blend of your creation
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon each: cinnamon, nutmeg
Pinch salt

Wet ingredients:
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
¼ cup olive oil
2 ripe, mashed bananas
¼ cup almond milk
¼ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Grease 8 or 9 inch pan with olive or sunflower oil.

Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir together.
Make a well in the center, combine the wet ingredients and stir until thoroughly blended.
Incorporate wet and dry ingredients until they are well combined.

Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center tests clean.

Chocolate Chip Cookies


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.Grease a cookie sheet with butter or coconut oil.

In a large bowl, mix:
2 cups gluten-free flour blend of your creation
Pinch salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter OR 1/2 cup coconut oil

Make a well in the center of this mixture and add:
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
4 tablespoons hot water
Whisk together.

Then, add:
¼ cup applesauce
½ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Incorporate these wet ingredients, then stir in the flour / butter mixture.
Add ½ cup chocolate chips and stir until barely incorporated.

Drop in spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Delicious!




May 20, 2015

Gratitude and Delight

Friends,
I appreciate all who have recently told me that you read this blog. Thank you!
When I write, I often wonder if anyone will read these words and try the recipes and suggestions I offer. 
Always feel free to send me a note or leave a comment at the end of this post. It's nourishing for me to know that we are connecting. Likewise, please let me know how I can best support you and answer your food and health questions.

Recently, a friend and follower let me know how much she liked the smoothie recipes I had posted. She encouraged me to offer more - here goes.

This one's for you honey!
Love, Lisa


Blueberry Banana Smoothie


Place these ingredients in a blender or Vitamix:
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup blueberries (either fresh or frozen and thawed for 10 minutes)
1 ripe banana
2 spoonfuls tahini
1/2 cup spoonful whole milk cow yogurt or coconut yogurt (choose a brand with no added sugar)
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon cardamom

Blend well and enjoy for breakfast with quinoa almond pancakes.


Avocado Date Almond Smoothie


Place these ingredients in a blender or Vitamix:
½ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch salt
3 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 handful chopped, pitted dates
1 avocado
1 handful almonds
1/4 cup coconut milk

Blend well and enjoy!


Maca Cacao Smoothie


Place these ingredients in a blender or Vitamix in the order listed:
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon maca powder
2 tablespoons cacao powder
1/4 cup hot water
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 handful pitted dates, chopped
1 handful almonds, chopped
1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

Blend well and savor slowly. This smoothie is like a dessert pudding that lends endurance, too.

The sustained energy comes from maca, a root indigenous to the Andes that's often prepared as a food within its local context. It is rich in calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. It contains essential fatty acids and amino acids (the building blocks of protein), too.


Green Fruity Delight Smoothie


In a blender, place:
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 ripe avocado
1 green apple, cored and sliced
1 small stalk celery, chopped
2 cups spinach
One inch of ginger root (no need to peel if it's organic)
2 teaspoons spirulina powder
1/2 cup water

Blend well. This is an excellent smoothie for cooling summer heat.



Pineapple Mango Happy Belly Smoothie


In a blender or Vitamix, place:
2 cups frozen, diced mango
2 cups frozen, diced pineapple
1 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 cups water
2 handfuls cashews
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder

Blend well and enjoy! You will boost your metabolism and digest better thanks to these incredible, golden fruits - high in digestive enzymes.


Very Berry Yogurt Smoothie


Place these ingredients in a blender:
2 cups frozen mixed berries
1 medium banana
1/2 cup unsweetened, whole fat yogurt
1/2 teaspoon each: cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg
1 cup water

Blend well and enjoy! 

The yogurt will provide probiotic support to your gut microbiome and its protein content will keep you going until your next meal.


Chia Raspberry Coconut Smoothie


Place these ingredients in a blender:
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 handful raspberries (fresh or frozen and thawed for 10 minutes)
1 spoonful chia seeds
2 spoonfuls shredded, unsweetened coconut
¼ cup coconut milk (full-fat and organic)

Blend well and enjoy for breakfast with quinoa date porridge.

You can try smoothie recipes with kombucha or with turmeric here.

To learn about the healing properties of these foods, please join email newsletter updates - see sign up in the upper right hand corner of this site.

May 18, 2015

Spring Tonics

Green spring tonics are a time-honored tradition to encourage gentle liver and gall bladder renewal. Leafy greens, both wild and cultivated, are some of the most nutrient dense vegetables available.

This is a time when we transition from Winter hibernation to Summer growth. Because we are part of the earth and its cycles, it’s crucial to align with this seasonal change by strengthening digestion and immunity.

Certain foods and culinary herbs are specifically indicated for supporting this transition. They tend to be ones that promote digestive and eliminative function, or strengthen the immune and endocrine systems.

Rejuvenating Nettle Soup


You will need:
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 large shallots
1 inch fresh ginger root
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon turmeric
2 large zucchini
1 tablespoon stone-ground brown mustard
4 cups freshly harvested young nettle tops
1 cup water or vegetable stock

Peel and dice shallots.
Mince ginger root.

Place oil in a soup pot, warm it to medium heat, and sauté shallots and ginger for 5 minutes.
Add spices. Sauté for a few more minutes.

Dice zucchini and add to the skillet. Add mustard.
Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the water / stock and nettles.
Bring everything to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer with a lid on for 20 minutes.

You can add marinated tempeh or roasted chicken to the soup for a delicious meal.

Nettles (Urtica dioica): warming and drying, nettles alleviate water retention, boost our body’s stores of iron and offer many other nutritive minerals. Gently cleansing, they can help mitigate the effects of seasonal allergies.  Use the young, fresh leaves in soup, pasta sauce, or as tea.

Olive oil: monounsaturated and liquid at room temp., first cold press olive oil is high in anti-inflammatory polyphenols, which reduce risk of heart disease, maintain a balanced cholesterol profile, and reduce the overgrowth of ulcer-inducing helicobacter pylori bacteria in the intestines. It improves calcium levels in the blood and enhances memory function by oxygenating blood.

Green Leek Casserole


You will need:
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large leek
½ teaspoon each: sea salt and black pepper
1 bunch fresh greens: dandelion, kale, chard, collards, beet greens
4 eggs
1 teaspoon each: cumin and coriander powder
Juice of half a lemon
2 Tablespoons stone-ground mustard (no salt added)

Chop 1 large leek into rounds.
Heat olive oil in a skillet and add leeks.
Reduce heat to medium low. Add salt, black pepper, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add greens. Simmer for 10 more minutes or until most of the liquid has cooked out of the vegetables.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Grease a pie plate with olive oil.

In a separate bowl, whisk eggs with cumin, coriander, lemon juice, and mustard.
Place vegetables in greased pie plate.
Pour eggs over the top of the greens and bake for 40 minutes.

Eggs: each one contains 6 grams of protein, 9 essential amino acids, and only 1.5 grams of saturated fat; rich in lutein, which helps prevent macular degeneration and cataracts; improve human lipid profile, thereby balancing cholesterol; contain naturally occurring vitamin D.

Leeks: strengthen lungs; anti-microbial; anti-bacterial; offer rich source of fructo-oligosaccharides, which stimulate growth of healthy bifidobacteria and suppress the growth of potentially harmful bacteria in the colon.
Would you like to learn more about the health benefits of specific foods and how you can use them to heal yourself? Try the Harmonized Healthy Eating Program.

May 16, 2015

Rhubarb

Spring is here. In many gardens, rhubarb patches are flourishing. This amazing food is perfect for this season. 

It features the sour flavor, which, according to Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, renews our digestive systems after eating the heavier foods of winter.
Indigenous to Siberia, its leaves are so high in oxalic acid that they are somewhat toxic. Only eat the fresh stems before they become woody and stringy.

Try it!

Rhubarb is high in fiber and thus soothes stomach ailments and relieves constipation when eaten. Used topically, it makes an effective poultice to reduce swelling.

One serving provides about half of the daily value in vitamin K, which supports healthy bones and strong memory. Rhubarb contains vitamin C for healthy skin and resistance to infection. It is also high in iron, potassium, and calcium.

Rhubarb Coconut Milk Custard



For the tart:

3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon sunflower or olive oil
a pinch of salt
1 cup spelt (wheat-free) OR millet flour (gluten-free)
6 tablespoons coconut oil, spooned out in small chunks

For the custard:
2 cups coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 teaspoons arrow root powder
½ pound rhubarb, trimmed and sliced into 1-inch thick pieces
juice of 1 lemon

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix together all the tart ingredients in a large bowl.
Add the coconut oil last and toss it with the flour mixture so that each chunk is coated with flour.
Mix gently with your hands until a thick dough forms.
Flatten dough into baking dish and set aside.

Then, using the same bowl, mix all the custard ingredients together.
Whisk well to incorporate. Add the rhubarb and pour mixture into crust.
Bake for 40 minutes or until custard doesn’t jiggle when you give it a shake.
Cool, slice and enjoy topped with fresh strawberries if you like!


Raspberry Rhubarb Tapioca Pudding



You will need:

1 cup pearl tapioca (not instant)
2 cups milk (cow or almond)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped rhubarb
1 cup fresh raspberries
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup honey

In a large saucepan, combine the milk, tapioca, vanilla, and rhubarb. Cook for 30 minutes on medium heat or until the tapioca looks translucent.

Add raspberries, lemon juice and honey. Stir well and cook on low heat for 3 to 4 more minutes.

Serve in wine glasses or decorative bowls. Top with slivered almonds if you like.


Rhubarb Compote



You will need:
Juice of 1 orange
Zest of 1/2 orange
1 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon each: cinnamon and cardamom
a pinch of salt
1 pound rhubarb, cut into half-inch pieces

To prepare:

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until the rhubarb forms a thick paste, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Store in jars in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.


Rhubarb Ginger Muffins



You will need:
½ cup rhubarb compote (use recipe above)
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup coconut oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon each: cinnamon, nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 ½ cups spelt (wheat-free) or brown rice (gluten-free) flour
1/2 cup milk (cow or almond)

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin tin with oil or line with baking cups.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together coconut oil and maple syrup.
Add the egg and whisk well. Mix in the vanilla extract.
Gradually add the rest of the ingredients in the order listed.

Fill muffin cups two thirds full of batter. Using a spoon, make a slight depression in the center of the batter.

Place a tablespoon of the rhubarb jam into the center (the jam will fill the cupcakes as they bake).

Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the muffin comes out clean.


May 12, 2015

Favorite Breakfasts with 3 Ingredients Each

Each one of these breakfasts provides protein, fiber and flavor for balanced energy that jump starts metabolism and provides satisfaction.

I love sweet potatoes. They are a staple in my diet because they support the reproductive system, satisfy the sweet flavor, and feed beneficial gut bacteria. They are also rich in anthocyanins to recude inflammation and plenty of dietary fiber to stabilize blood sugar.

Grocery store labeling can cause much confusion. What is the difference between a sweet potato and a yam? 'Yam' comes from the Fulani (West African language) word 'nyami', which means 'to eat'. Native to Africa and Asia, these root vegetables belong to the Dioscoreaceae family.

Sweet potatoes, instead, are members of the Convolvulaceae, or morning glory plant family. They are more commonly grown in the United States. 

Breakfast can be easy and delicious. Watch the video and try these recipes and see for yourself! 
Prepare these dishes ahead and have them ready for the week to come.

Kasha Sweet Potato Pie

You will need:
Kasha (toasted buckwheat groats)
Olive oil
Roasted sweet potatoes

To prepare:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cube and roast sweet potatoes with olive oil (4 tablespoons) and salt (1 teaspoon) on a cookie sheet for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, place kasha and water in a pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, add 1 teaspoon salt, and stir occasionally.

Once sweet potatoes are roasted, remove them from the oven and lower the temperature to 375 degrees.

Oil a pie plate with olive oil. Once the kasha is cooked, spread it into the pie plate. Top with roasted sweet potatoes and bake for 15 minutes.

Enjoy with a spoonful of your favorite nut butter! I like tahini.


Sunflower Sweet Potato Flatbread


You will need:
Cornmeal
Sunflower Seeds
Roasted Sweet Potatoes

To prepare:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Oil a loaf pan with olive oil.

Bring 3/4 cup sunflower seeds in a spice / espresso bean grinder until they reach a flour-like consistency. 

Combine with 1 cup cornmeal and a pinch of salt. 

Add 1 cup roasted sweet potatoes (see preparation directions above) and enough water to make a thick, chunky batter - about 1/2 cup.
If you would like a smooth consistency, blend in a blender or with an immersion blender.
Spread into loaf pan and bake for 15 minutes.

I like to slice it, toast or fry it, and serve it with parsley pistou.


Coconut Sweet Potato Cakes


You will need:
Coconut flour
Shredded coconut
Roasted sweet potatoes

To prepare:
In a bowl, mix equal parts coconut flour and shredded coconut. 

I also like to add a teaspoon of cinnamon. 
Mix in 1 cup roasted sweet potatoes (see preparation directions above) and smash them with a fork.

Add enough water to make a thick, dough - about 1/2 cup.
If you would like a smooth consistency, blend in a blender or with an immersion blender.

Oil a cookie sheet or baking dish with olive oil. Shape dough into patties and place on the baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes and enjoy!

I like mine toasted and drizzled with honey or maple syrup and a spoonful of almond butter.

Watch the video to see me making these three dishes in my kitchen.

May 10, 2015

The Journey of a Thousand Miles ...

...begins with a single step.

- Lao Tzu, from the Tao Te Ching

You are at the root of wellness. Each day, you choose it by doing small, simple things for yourself that promote well-being. Non-judgement is an important one for me. I try to notice my choices and have compassion for myself. If I am not happy with the outcome, I remind myself to make a different choice next time.

For example: when I do not eat a protein-packed breakfast, I overeat at dinner and get a stomach ache. Next time, I will try to eat more protein at breakfast.

Here are three simple ways that you can build the foundation for making healthy choices. These suggestions will support you to hear your inner voice and trust your instincts as you navigate the day's events.

Sleep


Most of us need at least seven hours of sleep each day. Sleep improves our vitality and memory, lets our muscles rest so that we can use them effectively tomorrow, and promotes strong immunity and good digestion. 

To get better sleep, engage in peaceful activities for an hour before bed. Read, watch a soothing TV show, take a bath, or drink tea and exchange a foot massage with someone in your household. 
If you meditate, do so for five minutes before sleep. Send yourself love and compassion. Good night!


Eat Wholesome Meals



Whether you make vast changes all at once or take a single step at a time, healthy eating is the foundation of well-being. Small changes add up. Even when I choose to eat something that's not ideal for me (sweet potato fries are my favorite!), I know that my system is resilient enough to handle that choice and bounce back.

Healthy eating looks different for everyone because we are all unique. Here are some healthy eating meal plans you can follow. See whether or not they resonate with you.

Move Your Body


Have fun with movement! As with healthy eating, exercise needs are different from everyone. Some of us need to accelerate our heart rate (not above 140 beats per minute) for 20 minutes 4 times weekly. Some need to train for marathons. Others need gentle stretching, isometric muscle building, and relaxation.

Whatever your needs are, honor them in a way that bring you joy. When we move our bodies, we send them the message that they are useful. This is a key to longevity. "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step". I can support you in your journey and provide tools and education for you to heal yourself.

May 1, 2015

Spring Smoothies Make Terrific Breakfasts

Life is full. As the days grow longer and we start to be more active, it's as important as ever to start our days with a protein-packed breakfast. Try these smoothies to ease digestion, strengthen the body, mind, and spirit for the day ahead, and embrace spring.

These smoothies are also an ideal way to refuel after a workout, hike, or bike ride. For those of use who need extra protein to support healthy pregnancy or maintain long-term energy during physical activity, this vegan protein powder is an excellent option.

Each of these smoothies provides beneficial pro-biotic bacteria with ingredients such as kombucha. They also contain pre-biotic ingredients, such as papaya and flaxseed meal, to nourish that good gut bacteria.

Food is medicine. Learn to use it wisely. Breathe into the present moment and appreciate life for a moment before you sip your healing beverage. 

Digest-Ease Smoothie


Blueberries are high in antioxidants, spinach is rich in fiber and minerals, almond butter provides protein and is pre-biotic, kombucha is pro-biotic, and spirulina micro-algae help to cleanse the lymphatic system. Here's to your health!

You will need:

2 cups blueberries - fresh or frozen
2 cups spinach
1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
2 tablespoons almond butter
1 teaspoon each: cinnamon and cardamom
1 teaspoon spirulina powder
1 cup kombucha

Blend all of the ingredients together in a blender.

Pour into 2 glasses and enjoy!

Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie


Turmeric stops the body's inflammatory response, ginger warms the digestive system, papaya provides potent digestive enzymes, walnuts are rich in ellagic acid to nourish the brain, and flax seed is pre-biotic. What a potent combination!

You will need:
 
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
¼ cup dried, unsweetened papaya, soaked in boiling water for 5 minutes
¼ cups walnuts
½ inch fresh turmeric root
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup flaxseed meal

Boil a bit of water and soak the papaya in a bowl.
Chop ginger and turmeric.
Drain papaya water.

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend well.

Pour into 2 glasses and enjoy!

Do you have a smoothie recipe to share? #showusyoursmoothie

Healthy Eating Program

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