Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Raw Cranberry Sauce ~ So Easy! (vegan, sugar-free)


If you are looking for an extremely easy and super nutritious cranberry sauce recipe then I have just the thing! I've been making this raw cranberry sauce recipe for a few years and have shared it on Instagram and Facebook but never seem to get around to getting it up on my blog....until now!

Serve this tart and tangy cranberry sauce with your holiday turkey, baked salmon, or winter squash and bean casserole. It's also delicious on top of pumpkin pie! I know, I know. Try it and you'll see!

Did you know that cranberries are one of the most concentrated sources of ellagic acid, a potent anti-oxidant and anti-cancer compound? Ellagic Acid is a phytochemical that is found in significant amounts in cranberries, raspberries, wild strawberries, blackberries, pomegranates, pecans, walnuts, and other plant foods. For the most part, think bright red plant foods that make your mouth pucker! Ellagic acid is destroyed by cooking, so eating cranberries in a raw recipe like this is most beneficial!

Findings from a 2016 study "cast a beam of light on the potential therapeutic use of ellagic acid in obesity-related colon carcinogenesis" (colon cancer). A 2015 study found that ellagic acid inhibits the proliferation of MCF-7 breast cancer cells and that its use could be a "novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of patients with breast cancer." Another 2015 study found that ellagic acid from pomegranates suppressed prostate cancer cells!

Food is medicine! You can use this to your advantage during the holidays and enjoy medicinal recipes like this raw cranberry sauce.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Autumn Detox Salad with Creamy Ginger-Cilantro Dressing (vegan)


Sometimes when the weather cools it is easy to get into the habit of eating more dense, cooked foods. For some people this is just what they need. But for others, a balance between raw and cooked (or even predominantly raw) is best. We each are unique, and so should be our diets. This colorful and nutrient-dense salad provides some key ingredients to support healthy detoxification. The dressing is delicious and can be used as a dip for raw veggies or used to top your favorite salads! I've even used it to top steamed vegetables! 

What is detoxification? In functional medicine, detoxification is often considered "biotransformation" because our bodies will transform harmful substances into less harmful substance and then excrete them from the body. This process can vary in effectiveness in different people depending on the nutrients we ingest, our genetics, and what types of toxins we are exposed to. For example, if we are exposed to persistent organic pollutants, which are so complex that they recirculate over and over in our body's detoxification process, they can slow everything down, not allowing a person to properly detox the everyday exposures like mercury from dental fillings or alcohol. Persistent organic pollutants include things like dioxins, DDT, and PCBs. DDT is an insecticide that was banned from the US in 1972. My mom has told me many stories of how she and her friends and siblings used to run behind the trucks that were spraying DDT when she was growing up in the 60's because they all liked the smell of it! Unfortunately they just had no idea back then how toxic it was. DDT has a half life of 50 years, which means that she passed down this stuff to me in utero and through breastfeeding. As a result of this (and other factors), I always need to take extra care in supporting my detoxification pathways.

Toxins come in through our air, food, water, and skin. Once they are in our bodies we need to change their shape to make them less toxic and get them safely out of our systems. Toxins go though two phases of detox: Phase 1 and Phase 2. Phase 1 adds a chemical handle onto the toxin (usually a hydroxyl group). Phase 2 then grabs the handle and pulls the toxin out of the body (commonly this is glutathione that attaches to the hydroxyl group). Now the toxin needs to safely exit out of the body. This happens through the sweat, urine, and feces. However, if you are consuming a diet low in plant foods, while consuming a diet high in salt and acidifying foods like processed foods, meats, and dairy, then you will not be able to excrete the glutathione-bound toxins in the urine and therefore they will get reabsorbed back into the body! Same with the gut. Without enough soluble fiber from plant foods, the toxins will stick around and get reabsorbed back into the system. This is another reason why a plant-rich diet is so important.

Detox Benefits of this Salad

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookies (egg-free, refined sugar-free)


Happy fall! I have a delicious gluten-free shortbread cookie recipe for you today! I recently became friends with a new family that came to our school. I began to talk this beautiful mama a few weeks ago at a birthday party and we could not stop talking about food! As it turns out she cooks just like I do, and creates many of her own recipes....all gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free! She gave me a loose recipe for these shortbread cookies. I then tested it to create a recipe someone else could follow. I'm so grateful for this recipe as it can be used in so many ways! Pictured here I have them made into sandwich cookies filled with my dairy-free Sweet Potato Buttercream Frosting and then drizzled with melted dark chocolate. You could also dip them in melted chocolate and then decorate with whatever you have on hand. Try shredded coconut, crushed walnuts, goji berries, powdered freeze-dried strawberries, or natural sprinkles.

You will notice that this recipe uses a number of different gluten-free flours. I usually like to keep things simple and stick to one or two for my recipes, however, I found that this particular combination works wonders for shortbread cookies. My boys find that the quinoa flour is slightly bitter for their tastes, which is interesting because they normally eat a lot of bitter greens. Quinoa flour is very light and fine, and lends a very good texture to these cookies, which is why I use it. You can replace it with brown rice flour if you are concerned about the aftertaste, though I don't notice it at all.

This shortbread cookie recipe would also be great to bake during Christmastime using holiday-themed cookie cutters. Or Valentine's day....or Easter! Have fun with this recipe! I hope you like it at as much as we do. :)

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Dairy-Free Sweet Potato Buttercream Frosting (refined sugar-free, vegan)


It's not easy coming up with a whole food-based frosting that is as nutritious as it is tasty, but way back in 2010 I came up a sweet potato icing recipe based off of the ingredients I was using in the liquids for this Buckwheat Cinnamon Roll Recipe. I've made a number of different variations on this theme and included some in my cookbooks. I have even made this into a chocolate sweet potato frosting! Below you will find a delicious dairy-free sweet potato buttercream that you can use to frost your cakes or cookies.

Use this frosting to make sandwich cookies using my Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookie Recipe, or use it to frost your favorite cupcakes. Using orange-fleshed sweet potatoes will create a beautiful orange frosting (perfect for fall holidays), while using white-fleshed sweet potatoes will create a gorgeous white frosting (to replace those sugary vanilla frostings).

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Easy One-Pan Oven Roasted Chicken with Potatoes and Carrots


I love super easy meals on busy weekday evenings, don't you? This recipe (including the variations below) is one of my go-to weeknight meals. I wanted to share it with you because we all could use more ideas on how to create doable, nourishing family dinners. 

In addition to this meal, here are some more of my favorite weeknight meals: Baked Wild Salmon with Steamed Potatoes, Kale and Pesto. Slow Cooked Chicken Curry over cooked quinoa. Soothing Red Lentil Soup served with cooked quinoa or basmati rice and a dollop of Raw Cilantro-Lime Chutney. I also have plenty more recipes for easy weeknight dinners in my Nourishing Meals cookbook and Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook!

I love to serve this baked chicken and potato dish with a big green salad or some sort of raw kale salad

I know potatoes have received a bad rap for years, but did you know that potatoes contain high levels of potent antioxidants similar to levels found in dark cherries, strawberries, plums, and apples? In fact, the darker colored potatoes like the purple varieties contain the highest level of antioxidants....not surprisingly! All potatoes contain anti-inflammatory antioxidants like phenols, carotenoids, flavonoids, and anthocyanin compounds. Potatoes are also an excellent source of easily digested complex carbohydrates. Including something starchy with dinner can help induce restful sleep. I've seen many people (and experienced this myself) reduce their carbohydrate consumption too much to the point where they cannot fall asleep or stay asleep. For some, including potatoes with dinner might be just the thing! True comfort food!