Friday, December 12, 2014

The Psychology of Eating & The Addition Principle

 

I first heard this idea from a David "Avocado" Wolfe health talk, and testing over time has proven it to be incredibly true! 

Often, when people resolve to change their eating habits, they are focused giving up unhealthy foods (or habits) that they know detract from their health.  However, deciding to give something up can make you want it even more!  This brings us to what I call, "the addition principle."  The addition principle is working with human psychological tendencies when changing your habits rather than against them.

Rather than giving up something, try treating yourself to a healthy new habit everyday!  Once you commit to adding a new healthy food to your diet and do it consistently, you feel better.  And, new healthy food additions tend to crowd out old unhealthy choices with zero effort. 

The sky is the limit when it comes to what you could choose to add to your diet, but here are a few suggestions to get your wheels turning: 

1.  Eat a colorful veggie salad everyday.

2.  Make your salads with deeper colored greens than usual, like arugula or kale.

3.  Begin your day with fresh fruit in some form, whether it is sliced up, juiced, or in a smoothie. 

4.  Take a good whole foods-based multivitamin daily. 

5.  Try making new vegetable-based meal every month, gradually expanding your repertoire. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Vegan or Vegetarian "Any Veggie" Tacos

I call these "Any Veggie" Tacos because you can make them using nearly any vegetables you happen to have in the refrigerator at the time.  Everyone needs to have a few versatile recipes on-hand for those days when there hasn't been time to formally plan a meal.  Am I right?...






Ingredients: 

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Ezekiel Organic Sprouted Corn Tortillas
Any Veggies you have and enjoy, such as cauliflower, sweet potatoes, beets, zucchini, onions, mushrooms, red peppers, carrots, tomatoes, etc. (diced and sliced)
Organic Frontier Mexican Seasoning, to taste (or your favorite Taco or Mexican seasoning)
Salsa of your choice
Optional:  Raw Goat's Cheddar Cheese
Optional:  Fresh Avocado slices

Instructions:

1.  Heat a pan on medium-low heat and melt a tablespoon of coconut oil in the pan.  Lightly "crisp" the corn tortilla.  Melt the optional raw goat cheese onto the tortillas as you crisp them if you wish.  Remove the tortilla from the pan and set it on a plate.  
2.  Adding more coconut oil if needed, saute' the vegetables.  Toward the end of their cooking time, add Mexican seasoning to the pan and coat the vegetables with it.  (I use about 1 T. seasoning to 3 cups of vegetables.)  Once the vegetables are tender, scoop them into the center of the prepared tortillas.  
3.  Top your tacos with salsa and the freshly sliced avocados.  For a little more zest, squeeze a little lemon or lime juice over your dish.  Finally, enjoy!  

Tip:  Sprouted corn tortillas freeze well.  If you keep some in the freezer and keep some salsa in your pantry, you can make this recipe easily anytime.  

Tip #2:  To make these extra-interesting and spicy, try using Desert Pepper brand's Mango Salsa.  Or, if you're using heartier vegetables like cauliflower or sweet potatoes, Annie's Black Bean and Corn Salsa is a lovely pairing.  


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Creamy Raw Vegan, STRAWBERRY Cheesecake


In my opinion, nothing "takes the cheesecake" like strawberry cheesecake.  Though this recipe was written to be a "triple-berry" cheesecake, I prefer to use all strawberries because their sweet and slightly tart flavor complements the raw vegan creamy cheesecake filling in this recipe perfectly  This is the first raw cheesecake I've made in all of my years of raw food experimentation, and I have to say... it was well worth the effort!  Enjoy ; ) 


Creamy Raw Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake

Ingredients:

Crust-
1 c. raw pecans (raw or soaked to release enzyme inhibitors and then dried)
1/4 c. unsweetened shredded dried coconut
1/4 c. raw cane sugar or raw palm sugar
a pinch of sea salt
1/4 c. raisins
4 pitted medjool dates

Filling-
1 c. raw cashews, soaked for 1-12 hours, drained and rinsed
1/2 c. young coconut meat
1/2 c. fresh lemon juice
1/2 c. light agave syrup
1/4 c. packed dates, plus 1/8 c. water
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1/2 c. virgin coconut oil, melted
1 T. non-GMO soy lecithin powder

Topping-
About 2 cups of strawberries, sliced any which way you like

YIELD:  ONE 6- OR 7-INCH CAKE (8 Servings)

Directions:  

1.  To make the crust, place the pecans, coconut, sugar, and salt in a food processor fitted with the S blade.  Process until finely ground.  Add the raisins and dates and process until the coarse crumbs begin to stick together.  Press into a 6- or 7-inch spring-form pan (or a pie plate if you'd prefer). 

2.  To make the filling, place the cashews, coconut meat, lemon juice, agave syrup, dates mixed with water, and salt in a blender and process until very smooth.  Stop occasionally to scrape down the sides of the blener jar with a rubber spatula.  Add the coconut oil and optional soy lecithin powder and process until blended.  Pour the filling into the crust and spread it evenly with a small offset spatula. 

3.  Arrange the strawberries on top of the cheesecake and press them in slightly.  Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving. 

 * Adapted from the Triple Berry Cheesecake recipe in Raw for Dessert by Jennifer Cornbleet.


TIPS:
-  Earthshiftproducts.com is an excellent place to find raw coconut sugar, truly raw agave (there are many charlatans sold in stores), shredded raw coconut, truly raw cashews, natural salts, and more. 
-  Many raw desserts freeze well, so make a double batch for an effort-less treat later!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Hot Cacao-Maca (Raw Vegan) Latte

 

Hot Cacao-Maca Latte
Serves 1-2

Ingredients:

1/4 c. Really Raw Cashews
3 Large or 4 Small Dates (pitted)
1 T. Raw Honey (or to taste)
2 T. Raw Cacao Powder
1 Pinch of Sun Fire Salt (or Sea Salt)
1 tsp. Vanilla Spice Maca from Healthforce Nutritionals
Gently Heated Spring Water
Directions:  Place all ingredients in a high speed blender, such as the Vitamix or BlendTec.  Add hot spring water (117 degrees F or less) up to the 2 c. line on the blender and blend until smooth.  Enjoy in your favorite mug and commence solving the problems of the world! 


Ingredients (and many more raw delights) are available from:

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Probiotics are at the Core of Immunity

Homemade Kimchi:  teaming with immune system-enhancing probiotics!


Most people are aware that certain nutrients are important to feed the immune system.  While this is true, and nutrients (like vitamin C) are crucial for immune function, the health of your digestive system is at the core of your immunity.  It has been estimated that around 80-85% of the immune system is located in the gut wall.

According to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, a neuroscientist and creator of the highly effective GAPS diet, the epithelial surface of the digestive system is inhabited by huge numbers of bacteria, which are in fact the cradle of the immune system.  Ideally, our digestive system is inhabited by a majority of essential or beneficial bacteria.  These beneficial bacteria engage the lymphoid tissue of the gut wall and are involved in the production of large numbers of immune system cells.  Armed with an abundance of immune system cells, the body becomes ready to protect the body from any type of invader. 

Improving your digestive flora is simple!

Tip 1:  Eat vegetable foods, rich in "prebiotic" fibers that naturally break down into healthy bacteria in your gut.  These include fresh fruits and vegetables, goat's cheese, leafy greans, starchy root vegetables, whole (gluten free) grains, and well-cooked beans.

Tip 2:  Eat lacto-fermented foods and drink lacto-fermented beverages, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha tea.  Each serving of these can provide trillions of beneficial bacteria (more than even a supplement provides.)

Tip 3:  If you don't eat fermented foods, be sure to supplement with a high quality probiotic.  I recommend Ascended Health products probiotic, for example.

Tip 4:  Avoid foods and beverages imbalance digestive flora, such as:
    - Fluoridated water
    - Conventionally raised meat and dairy products, which regularly contain antibiotic residues
    - Refined sugars and corn syrup
    - White flour
    - High-gluten grains like wheat
    - Genetically modified foods

Antibiotics can have a devastating affect on the bacterial in your digestive tract, as can other medications (such as birth control pills).  In circumstances where these medications are used, special care should be taken to repopulate the gut with healthy bacteria and prevent immunological problems from occurring. 

Can you cut your chances of getting a cold by 42 percent just by making sure your gut is full of healthy bacteria?   Mike Gleeson, PhD. professor of exercise biochemistry at Loughborough University in England, suggests that you can.  He recommends taking probiotics- in the form of foods or supplements- to reduce the risk of both respiratory and gastrointestinal infections.  In a meta-analysis of 10 studies, people taking probiotics were 42 percent less likely to get a cold than those on a placebo. 

Sources:
Mercola M.D.,  Joseph. "Viruses Worldwide Battled by Gut Microbes."  Mercola.com, 14 July 2012.  Web. 30 Jan. 2014.
Campbell-McBride MD, Natasha, Gut and Psychology Syndrome.  Medinform Publishing, 2012.  Print. 
Ince, Susan (2012 October). 15 Ways to Prevent Colds and Flus.  Prevention Magazine.  Retrieved from: http://abcnews.go.com.  

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Lavender-Infused Raw Vegan Chocolate Ambrosia



Over the summer, I did a front porch talk and demonstration at The Green Eyed Lady about the health benefits of raw chocolate, combined with lavender essential oil.  I gave out samples, and everyone  enjoyed the creaminess of the drink and the subtle lavender flavor!  Serve this to your p

Ingredients:
Makes 2 servings.


3 c. cashew milk or plain coconut milk
2-3 drops lavender essential oil
3 T. raw cacao powder
1 T. raw coconut oil
1/2 tsp. raw vanilla bean powder
3 T. raw wildflower honey
a pinch of sea salt

Directions:  Blend until smooth and creamy. 

Chocolate is one of the most complex foods on the planet, containing more than 300 identifiable chemical substances with positive health effects.   However, when it is heated and combined with refined sugar, most of its benefits are lost and it can even create negative health effects. Raw chocolate, on the other hand- combined with the highest quality sweeteners and essential oils- is the highest quality "medicine" the Earth has to offer. 

Raw chocolate has been considered the food of the heart and love by ancient South American civilizations.  The ancient Aztecs gave chocolate as a traditional wedding present.  Modern science has confirmed that chocolate is not only an aphrodisiac, but is a potent heart health enhancing food. 

Cacao contains chemicals (such as Phenylethylamine* and Serotonin), which are scientifically proven to be present in the brains of people when they are happy, more relaxed, playful and creative. 

More Interesting Raw Chocolate Facts...
  1.  Raw chocolate is the richest food source of magnesium:  Magnesium improves the flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients throughout the body, increasing energy levels.
  2.  Raw chocolate is the richest source of antioxidants of any food.  Antioxidants protect the body from free radicals caused by pollution, chemicals, etc., which may damage healthy body tissue and give rise to disease.  
  3. Raw chocolate is a dilator and improves the absorption of other health-enhancing substances (like herbs) with which it is taken.  
  4. Raw chocolate contains flavanoids and essential minerals and vitamins that support healthy heart functioning by lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow, lowing LDL cholesterol, and reducing plaque buildup on artery walls.  
  5. Raw chocolate improves digestion and cleanses the digestive tract. 

Reference: 
http://www.lifefood.eu/en/strava/raw-cacao-the-real-raw-chocolate.html

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Gluten Free & Vegan Pumpkin Seed Pesto, Presto! Pasta



Presto!  Pumpkin seed pesto can turn any boring pasta into "magic," crowd-pleasing pasta that makes you feel as if you've just eaten out.  It also incorporates pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil.  Pumpkin seeds are very high in zinc, an immune-boosting, cancer preventative nutrient.  Pumpkin seed oil fights candida and provides valuable Omega 3 fatty acids. 

This pesto happens to be raw:  Please see my note at the bottom of the page if you wish to make a fully-raw and vegan pasta dish...

Pumpkin Seed Pesto: 

1/2 c. Pumpkin Seed Oil
1 1/2 c. Basil
1/3 c. Nutritional Yeast
1 c. Pumpkin Seeds
1 tsp. Sea Salt
1/2 tsp. Black Pepper or Crushed Red Pepper
3 Cloves Garlic

Directions:  Pulse in a food processor until the mixture turns into a paste. 

Pasta:
Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta

Directions:  Prepare according to the instructions on the box.  Place in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and toss to coat.   (This prevents the pasta from "sticking.")

Vegetables: 
Coconut Oil 
Zucchini, diced
Tomatoes, diced
White Onions, diced
Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced

Directions:  Melt coconut oil in a large saute pan.  Saute the vegetables together, until soft.  

To Finish the Dish- 
1.  Incorporate the pesto into the cooked bowl of pasta.  Adjust the amount of pesto you add to your taste.
2.  Add the cooked vegetables to the pasta, lightly tossing.


* Raw Variation:  Substitute Kelp Noodles for quinoa noodles.  Make the pesto according to the above instructions (no change).  Simply toss the diced vegetables in without cooking them first, omitting the coconut oil.  Massage the noodles and diced vegetables with the pesto to incorporate the flavors well.  Leave in a warm dehydrator for a few hours to soften and warm the dish if you wish.