Thursday, March 24, 2016

Chickpea Soup for the Soul

Today's post is excerpted from the e-newsletter of one of my favorite vegan, mostly raw, and all-around vibrant food chefs-   Jennifer Cornbleet.  If you would like to be on her list too, visit her amazing blog!

Jennifer notes that she's found that slowly cooked chickpeas develop a thick broth, which tastes very similarly to chicken broth.  So- if you are new to vegetarian recipes (or have family members who are), this recipe is for you!  The well-balanced combination of herbs she uses and lovely variety of vegetables create a colorful and flavorful "one pot" meal.  If you wish, you can also reduce the water content in this soup in order to make it a stew.  In that case, serve over your favorite grain - like sprouted brown rice, red rice, or quinoa - and enjoy a perfectly hearty early Spring meal!   

Enjoy! 

----------------------------------------------------------
Image

Chickpea and Vegetable Soup
Yield: 4 servings

1 cup chickpeas, soaked 8 to 12 hours, drained, and rinsed
8 cups water, plus additional as needed
1/2 onion, chopped
3 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped
1 tomato, chopped (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped parsley (optional)
Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Put the chickpeas and water in a 5-quart pot. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down to medium, and cook, partially covered, for 1 hour. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and salt and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the kale, optional tomatoes, olive oil, and additional water if needed and simmer 10 minutes longer. Add the optional parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator, Chickpea and Vegetable Soup will keep for 3 days.

Variation:
Replace the bunch of kale with collards or with 1/2 head green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced.


Check out Jennifer's latest book, Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People.  The recipes are delicious AND practical! 


Did you try this recipe?   If so, let me know how you liked it below!

 



Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Coconut Oil Offers Hope for Alzheimer's Patients and Their Families

 


Alzheimer's disease is a heartbreaking condition, both for patients and their families.  The latest research offers hope for both, however, as its been discovered that coconut oil can help rejuvenate damaged brain tissue.

The latest research on Alzheimer's has indicated that the disease is related to a problem with glucose uptake in the brain.  The mechanism for glucose uptake in the brain is an area of only recent study.  What is known thus far, however, is that the brain actually produces its own insulin.  When the brain loses that ability, neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's, may result.  Portions of the brain can start to atrophy from lack of energy from glucose, which leads to impaired functioning and eventual loss of memory. 

Coconut oil is offering hope for recovery from Alzheimer's disease because the medium chain fatty acids it contains are converted to ketones that feed the brain directly, allowing brain tissue to regenerate even after it has lost the ability to utilize glucose.  In clinical studies, MCTs have produced better results in Alzheimer's patients than any other treatment currently known.

Mary Newport, M.D., documented her own husband's incredible progress in reversing the disease using coconut oil as a source of ketones to regenerate his brain.  Her book, Alzheimer's Disease:  What if there was a Cure? is available for people interested in learning more about this groundbreaking new approach to treating or preventing Alzheimer's disease. 

Another researcher in the area of utilizing coconut products for promoting brain health, Bruce Fife, N.D., has released a book called Stop Alzheimer's Now!: How to Prevent & Reverse Dementia, Parkinson's, ALS, Multiple Sclerosis & Other Neurodegenerative Disorders. 

Both books are available from amazon.com.


References:
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/12/13/can-this-natural-food-cure-or-prevent-alzheimers.aspx

http://www.naturalnews.com/039388_coconut_oil_dementia_Alzheimers_disease.html#ixzz40dUoPLDx

http://www.faim.org/conquering-alzheimers-with-coconut-ketones

http://www.coconutoilpost.com (image)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Two Pints of Pickles!

Displaying photo.JPG 

Pickles!  

Well-made pickles... are a beautiful thing.  They are predigested by "friendly" bacteria, which also fortify the health of your digestive tract and immune system when you consume them!  Even a few tablespoons of lacto-fermented foods, such as the mighty pickle, can get your digestion on-line and assist in weight loss.  Did I mention that real, raw, lacto-fermented pickles  (i.e. the ORIGINAL pickles) also taste amazingly wonderful and delicious? 

I've been finding a lot of fresh, beautiful little pickling cucumbers at the farmer's market lately and converting them into pickles via the following, simple method:  

Ingredients:

Cucumbers, sliced any which way you like
Sea salt or Himalayan pink salt, in the amount of about 1/2 T. per pint of "pickle brew"
Raw Garlic slices, to taste (I used about 3 cloves per pint)
Fresh or dried dill, to taste  (I used about 1 tsp. dried dill)
2 tsp. Lemon Juice
2 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar


Instructions:
  1. Prepare salt brine by combining the filtered water and salt, and let the brine sit until salt dissolves.
  2. Wash cucumbers in filtered water. Using a knife, cut the tips off of the ends of each cucumber. You may leave the cucumbers whole or cut them in half lengthwise.
  3. Place 4 sprigs of the dill, along with all garlic cloves in the jar, and then tightly pack the cucumbers in the jar, lengthwise, reserving one cucumber for the top. Add the remaining dill to the jar.
  4. Cut one cucumber in half and set it horizontally on top of the other cucumbers to act as a weight, keeping the cucumbers from floating above the water during the fermenting process.
  5. Pour the salt brine into the jar. It should completely cover the cucumbers.
  6. Set the lid loosely on top of the jar; don’t seal it. Cover with the clean dish towel and put the jar in the pantry or in the cupboard, or in a warm (65°F to 75°F), dark place where it won’t be disturbed.
  7. After about 2 days, start to visually inspect the water in the jar to see if it has bubbles rising to the top. The water will become cloudy and there may be a scum forming on the top of the water. This is normal and not a problem; simply scoop away some of the scum with a clean spoon that has been rinsed with filtered (non-chlorinated) water. The pickles may begin to smell a little sour, which is fine, but if the smell is rotten, something might have gone awry and it may need to be thrown out.
  8. It will take about 3-10 days before the pickles are ready, depending on the temperature and how sour you like your pickles. Taste them from time to time to see if the taste and texture are to your liking. When they taste good to you, they are done.
Tips:  Don’t use bruised or damaged cucumbers. Always use the freshest, organic, unwaxed cucumbers, since the wax stops the pickling brine from penetrating. For best results, use pickling cucumbers rather than regular salad cucumbers.


Pickling instructions referenced from Cherie Soria at the Living Light Culinary Institute.


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Raw Vegan Chocolate Brownies (with Dried Cherries on Top)




These brownies are quick and heavenly!  The recipe is from Jenn Cornbleet's book, Raw Food for 1 or 2 People- a book that I often recommend to clients or anyone interested in trying their hand at raw food for the first time!  


RAW "ONE BOWL" BROWNIES
 
Yield: 8 brownies, 4 servings

These are truly one-bowl brownies--you'll never have to wait more than 5 minutes again when that chocolate craving strikes.

1 1/2 cups raw walnuts, unsoaked
dash salt
8 pitted medjool dates, unsoaked
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa or carob powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons water
1/4 cup dried cherries

Place the walnuts in a food processor fitted with the S-blade and process until coarsely chopped. Remove 1/4 cup of the walnuts and set aside. Add the salt to the remaining walnuts and process until finely ground. Add the dates and process until the mixture begins to stick together. Add the cocoa powder and vanilla and process until evenly distributed. Add the water, dried cherries, and reserved walnuts, and process briefly, just to mix.

Pack the mixture firmly into a square container. Stored in a sealed container, Brownies will keep for up to one week in the refrigerator or one month in the freezer.

- See more at: http://www.learnrawfood.com/books/recipes/raw_food_made_easy/#brownies
Yield: 8 brownies, 4 servings
These are truly one-bowl brownies--you'll never have to wait more than 5 minutes again when that chocolate craving strikes.
1 1/2 cups raw walnuts, unsoaked
dash salt
8 pitted medjool dates, unsoaked
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa or carob powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons water
1/4 cup dried cherries
Place the walnuts in a food processor fitted with the S-blade and process until coarsely chopped. Remove 1/4 cup of the walnuts and set aside. Add the salt to the remaining walnuts and process until finely ground. Add the dates and process until the mixture begins to stick together. Add the cocoa powder and vanilla and process until evenly distributed. Add the water, dried cherries, and reserved walnuts, and process briefly, just to mix.
Pack the mixture firmly into a square container. Stored in a sealed container, Brownies will keep for up to one week in the refrigerator or one month in the freezer.
- See more at: http://www.learnrawfood.com/books/recipes/raw_food_made_easy/#brownies

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Raw Vegan BLT Wrap with Eggplant Bacon and Creamy Avocado-Mayo


 The following recipe has several components, but it's well worth putting together.  The main ingredient in the wrap, eggplant bacon, can be made ahead of time.  It also lasts a couple of months in the fridge since it's dehydrated, so it's easy to keep some on-hand for use anytime. 

RAW VEGAN BLT:

Ingredients:


Paleo Wrap
Romaine Lettuce, cut into thin ribbons
Eggplant Bacon
Thinly sliced red onion
Tomato slices
Avocado mayo (or your favorite store bought healthy mayo)
Optional:  Raw pickles, sliced jalapenos, a touch of mustard

Directions:

1)  Begin by placing a Paleo wrap on your plate.  Smooth a layer of avocado mayo on your wrap.

2)  Layer the eggplant bacon, lettuce ribbons, onion and tomato onto your wrap.

3)  Add the additional optional ingredients of your choosing, and then simply fold both sides of the Paleo wrap inward to complete your wrap

4)  Enjoy the healthiest and tastiest version of a BLT ever! 



See below for instructions on making the raw eggplant bacon and raw vegan avocado mayo.  To save time, you can also sub in your favorite natural mayo.  The best natural type that I've found is from Wilderness Family Naturals.  It contains healthy, raw oils and no distilled vinegar or soy.  It does contain eggs, however, and is thus not suitable for strict vegans.  

_____________


IMG_7916 (520x347)









Raw Eggplant Bacon
from www.choosingraw.com
Makes about 20 thin slices, or sized according to your eggplant

Ingredients:

1 large eggplant, peeled and then sliced lengthwise into thin (1/4 inch thick or less) slices
2 tbsp tamari
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chili powder
1/2-3/4 tsp smoked paprika (adjust to taste)
Black pepper to taste
Optional add-ins: garlic, tomato sauce, cumin, cayenne pepper, mesquite powder

Directions:

1) Mix all marinade ingredients (tamari through pepper) together. Submerge eggplant slices well, and let marinade for at least an hour.

2) Place slices in a dehydrator and dehydrate at 115 degrees till totally dry: this should take about 12 hours. For crispier bacon, dehydrate longer.

If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can bake these at 350 for about 18 minutes or until golden, occasionally basting them with marinade.

Garlic and cayenne will add a nice kick to these; so will spices of your choosing. Cumin is a common addition to eggplant bacon, though it’s a very distinctive taste, and I like these on the simpler side. No matter what, they are sweet and salty slices of raw, vegan heaven! 


IMG_5768


Simple Raw, Vegan Avocado Mayonnaise
 from www.choosingraw.com
Ingredients:

1 small or medium Haas avocado, cut in half, pit removed, and flesh scooped out
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (optional)
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (adjust to taste)
2 tablespoons raw olive oil
Directions:

1)  Add the avocado, lemon, mustard (if using) and salt to a food processor or high speed blender and process till it's blended up well. Stop a few times to scrape the bowl down if need be.

2)  With the motor running, drizzle in your olive oil. Continue blending till the mixture has taken on a creamy, light texture.

3)  Makes 1/2 to 3/4 cup (depending on the size of your avocado).




Thursday, May 28, 2015

Can Eating Greens do more for your Heart than Stents, Surgeries, and Statins?

 

Advanced medical treatments for heart disease, such as bypass surgeries and stents, can be life-saving in an emergency.  However, in truth, both stents & bypasses are temporary patch jobs.  If you have blockages in one place assume you have them everywhere--and unless you radically change your diet, stents, bypasses, and statins are no guarantee that you won't have a future cardiovascular event.

Little recognized information about stents and bypass surgeries:

- 27,000 deaths occur annually from bypass surgeries & stents.
-  48,000 annually suffer complications from interventions.
-  Over time the risk for failure increases for both stents & bypasses.
-  45% of our Medicare budget is spent on cardiovascular disease--according to Dr. Kenneth E. Thorpe of Emory University.  Imagine.
-  Although stents & bypasses are absolutely necessary if someone is in the middle of a heart attack--in the case of stable disease they do not protect from future heart attacks, they don't prolong life, they do not treat the illness, and they do not significantly alter the disease.

As Dr. Eric Topol, a specialist in the field, has stated,    "We can't cure this disease until we address the fundamentals of lifestyle."  What he is referring to is the fact that the typical Western diet causes an internal cascade of inflammation, heart disease, plaque formation- and all too often, heart attacks. 

What prevents heart disease?  Exercise helps, but evidence points to diet being the most crucial piece of the puzzle.  This is known because advanced athletes with a poor diet still develop heart disease. 

According to research conducted by the author of the groundbreaking book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, Dr. Caldwell Esselsyn:
Eating GREENS actually repairs your heart and prevents further problems. 

According to Dr. Caldwell's bench mark long-term nutritional research, a person can put the brakes on heart disease in just 3-4 weeks if they rejuvenate the endothelial cells that line their blood vessels by many healthy greens in their diet daily.  Greens heal the endothelial cells so they can produce life-giving nitric oxide--which prevents stickiness, keeps plaque from forming, and dilates blood vessels.  Nitric oxide is the strongest vasodilator there is: 
In conclusion, make kale, collards, spinach, arugula, and romaine your best friends! 

For long-term heart health, Dr. Esselstyn recommends an all plant-based diet that's high in anti-oxidants in order to change internal biochemistry and even strengthen the protective cap over any pre-existing plaque.  This strategy  prevents future cardiovascular events, even if you've had one already. 

What damages endothelial cells? 
Any food with processed or heated fats (especially "fast foods" and those with trans fatty acids- such as hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils), refined sugars, and caffeinated coffee. 

Sources:  

http://www.dresselstyn.com/
http://www.happyhealthylonglife.com

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Berry Vegan Smoothie Popsicles for Kids

Inline image 1

My daughter LOVES making and eating popsicles.  A variety of make-your-own popsicle molds are readily available on-line (try Amazon.com) or check your local department store.  Some are now made with silicon, which is wonderfully flexible, dishwasher-friendly, and easy to use.

The following recipe is very kid friendly because of its flexibility.  To include my daughter in the popsicle-making process, I simply gather all of the ingredients on the kitchen counter and then ask her to add each one to the blender.  As long as all the basic elements of the smoothie base are included, the popsicles turn out great!  Because of this, you can allow your child to add a little more of one thing or less of another (allowing them to use their own creativity and intuition), without worry that the recipe will "flop"!

Ingredients:
  • Your favorite vegan milk:  sprouted rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk, etc. (around 1/2 c.)
  • Orange juice (around 1/2 c.) 
  • Fresh or frozen banana (1-2) 
  • Berries (1/4-1/2 c.) 
  • Spinach (optional):  My daughter calls these "leaves" and always likes to add a couple, because she sees me add a ton to my smoothies daily!  Children are more sensitive to the bitter taste than adults, however, so she has learned to add just a few- to suit her taste. 
 Directions:  Blend until smooth.  Then, pour the smoothie into the popsicle molds, freeze, and serve when solid.