Sunday, December 23, 2012

Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls (vegan + refined sugar-free)



Happy Holidays! I created this yummy gluten-free, vegan cinnamon roll recipe about a month ago and have been looking forward to posting it here for you all! It makes a fun treat to share with family and friends around the holidays. This recipe uses a mix of a few gluten-free whole grain flours along with ground golden flax seeds to add structure and tenderness. It's actually a version of the gluten-free breadstick recipe in my new cookbook.

If you follow me on Instagram I am sure you've seen a few cinnamon roll photos already. So as promised, here it is...finally!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Beyond Breakfast Cereal: Healthy Options to Start your Day!


Many of of grew up on cold breakfast cereal with cow's milk. I did a little research and learned how this tradition began, because you see, humans have only recently begun to rely on these processed foods. Our ancestors always consumed real whole foods. Cold breakfast cereals started to become popular in the late 1800's, when Keith Kellogg discovered a pot of wheat that had been overcooked and then dried into separate flakes. He soon thereafter created Cornflakes and later Rice Krispies. Breakfast cereals are made by a process of extrusion in which ingredients, often starchy foods, are processed at high temperatures and forced through an extruder to create a specific shape. Starchy foods processed at high temperatures create a lot of browning and something called Advanced Glycated End Products, or AGES. Eating these types of foods every morning can wreak havoc on your body.

Breakfast cereals have more things against them as well. They often add a high amount of refined sugars, colorings, flavorings, contaminated low quality vitamins and minerals, and GMO ingredients. Laboratory testing of low quality nutritional supplements shows they may contain contaminants such as chemical solvents, heavy metals, and preservatives such as sodium benzoate, BHA, BHT, etc. Many people are irate that the cereal companies they trusted and fed to their families contain GMO ingredients. You can go read the Facebook pages for Kelloggs, Cheerios, and Nature Valley. They are all lit up right now with comments from concerned people calling them out on their use of toxic GMO ingredients.

The reality is that we shouldn't be consuming cold breakfast cereal at all, even the natural organic brands. There are far healthier options that will give you long lasting energy, help keep moods and behaviors balanced, and provide the right nutrients for brain function and growth. Try out a few of the options below and see what makes you feel best. This might change daily, weekly, or even seasonally. There isn't one right way as long as you are sticking with whole organic foods.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cranberry Orange Upside Down Cake (grain-free)



I adore cranberries as you probably already know if you've been reading my blog. This healthy cranberry orange upside down cake recipe isn't very rich or sweet. In fact I sweeten it with just a few tablespoons of maple syrup. It's plenty sweet for my family though. Once you cut sugar out of your diet your taste buds become very sensitive to the sweet flavor and you just don't crave or desire sugar. In fact, you might even become repulsed by it!

This cake uses high-fiber coconut flour with the addition of arrowroot powder. The combination of the two flours creates a fantastic texture. This recipe is very simple to make, in fact, you can put it together in minutes! I posted a recipe very similar to this last summer, remember? You can go back and check out my Apricot-Cherry Upside Down Cake post for more photos on assembling the cake.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Wild Rice, Kale, and Cranberry Pilaf


Here is a hearty, antioxidant-rich, winter pilaf recipe for all of you wild rice fans out there! This simple recipe makes a perfect addition to your holiday table. It can even be used as a stuffing for turkey. I like to add chopped, roasted hazelnuts just before serving. It's seriously good, and good for you!

Wild rice, kale, and fresh cranberries are super foods! Did you know that fresh cranberries, which are in season right now, are high in a multitude of cancer-protective nutrients? They are also an incredible food for reducing inflammation! We are adding a handful to our green smoothies nearly everyday while they last. Cranberries contain a unique mix of potent antioxidant compounds including proanthocyanidins, resveratrol, pterostilbene, and Vitamin C. Proanthocyanidins are anti-inflammatory, have been shown to be helpful in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, and help to improve immune system function. Resveratrol and pterostilbene are the amazing anti-aging compounds also found in red wine!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Natural Home Remedies for the Cold and Flu Season



As soon as school starts back up in the fall my children inevitably get a little sniffle or a slight cough. It's a good thing to be exposed to viruses and bacteria. It makes the immune system stronger. But how your immune system reacts depends on a lot of factors. Certain foods, nutritional supplements, herbs, and other remedies may be very beneficial during times of acute illness because they help your body heal itself naturally. This post offers you tips for building a strong immune system as well as natural home remedies to treat ear infections, coughs, fevers, colds, and flus.

Prevention: Building a Strong Immune System
Nutrient deficiencies and chemical overload cause our immune system to misbehave or not function to its highest potential. We are exposed to colds and flus nearly every day. When your immune system is functioning properly it will immediately activate white cells and destroy the pathogens keeping you healthy. If you are run down, deficient in nutrients, eating foods that you are sensitive to, or chronically stressed then your immune system may become compromised.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes with Creamy Yam Frosting (grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free)



I thought these healthy gluten-free chocolate cupcakes with bright orange frosting looked quite festive for halloween. You could even offer them to your children in exchange for their candy loot! My children normally go trick-or-treating and then come back home and give most of their candy away to the last of the trick-or-treaters. Oh what joy they have in doing this! Then they put whatever remaining candy they have next to their bed and in the middle of the night the hungry candy gnome comes to take it away. In exchange he leaves them some healthy treats like pomegranates, herbal tea bags, and oranges. Seriously, my children think pomegranates ARE candy and are absolutely thrilled to each have their own left by a mysterious candy gnome! If you plan on using this tradition with your children, it is best to start when they are young.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Creamy Almond Kale Smoothie



If there was one thing you could do right now to improve your health would you do it? Eating raw cruciferous vegetables daily might be our saving grace in this increasingly toxic world. Cruciferous vegetables will upregulate or "produce" the enzymes your body needs to eliminate environmental toxins and properly metabolize estrogen. They also provide the sulfur, folic acid, and magnesium these enzymes need to function optimally. Worried about cruciferous vegetables causing thyroid problems? If you closely examine the scientific literature, you will see that people who have thyroid issues after eating cruciferous vegetables are iodine insufficient. Eating nori, cooking your beans with kombu, and eating wild caught Alaskan salmon are ways to increase your iodine intake. We (including our children) also take a kelp extract supplement daily. Researchers are now finding that environmental toxicants have a major role in the rise of thyroid related disorders.....so eating raw cruciferous vegetables protects your health on many levels.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Simple Slow-Cooked Chicken Curry


The days are getting shorter, colder, and busier! Having simple, nourishing meals ready to eat when you get home from work or school is so important. Now that the weather has changed, I've been using my slow cooker more often. This chicken curry recipe is so simple that I almost didn't post it! I've made it a number of times in the last few weeks. Too many actually, because now my children are starting to complain!

Today I forgot to add the tomatoes which caused the stew to lack some flavor and "oomph!" Adding something acidic, like tomatoes, helps to balance flavors. A little freshly squeezed lime juice can remedy a lack of tomatoes though!

You can add different vegetables to the pot if desired, just make sure to cut them large enough so they maintain their shape and don't turn to mush during the long cooking time. Try sweet potatoes, rutabagas, potatoes, or chunks of peeled and cubed pie pumpkin! If you want to add zucchini or red bell pepper then add them in during the last 30 to 60 minutes of cooking (less time if you have your slow cooker set on high, more if it is set on low).

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Are GMOs Increasing the Incidence of Gluten Sensitivities?


Jeffrey Smith and Tom Malterre, MS, CN Discuss GMOs and Gluten from Whole Life Nutrition on Vimeo.

I had the honor of interviewing author and GMO expert, Jeffrey Smith, at the recent Seeds of Doubt Conference in LA. We had a lively discussion on how the consumption of genetically engineered foods may be contributing to the rise in gluten sensitivities. Jeffrey shared some amazing facts on how GM foods increase leaky gut, decrease nutrient content, cause bacterial imbalances, interfere with normal digestion, and increase allergenic response.

Topics of discussion included:

1. Bt toxin found in GM Bt Corn (non-organic corn chips, tortillas, cornstarch, etc.) and Cotton (cottonseed oil in processed foods) crops can poke holes in the intestines of animals and humans leading to a leaky gut. Bt Toxin has now been found in the blood of 93% of pregnant women and 80% of their offspring in a recent study in Quebec.

2. Roundup use has increased 527 million pounds since 1996 mainly due to the introduction of Roundup-ready GM crops (soy, cotton, canola, sugar beets, corn). Roundup is a potent mineral chelator and antibiotic. Mineral deficiencies such as manganese, zinc, iron, magnesium, iodine, cobalt (think vitamin B12 or cyanocobalamin) have been found in plants and the animals who eat them. The use of Roundup contributes to intestinal imbalances of bacterium in animals and in the soil leading to an increased susceptibility to disease for both animals and plants. Recent research is pointing to bacterial imbalances in people with Celiac Disease; and mineral insufficiencies are commonly associated with immune imbalances.

3. An increase in allergies and allergenic reactions have been documented with the use of GM crops.

For more information on genetically modified foods and your health please watch Jeffrey's latest movie, Genetic Roulette (available online), or visit his site, The Institute for Responsible Technology.

If you are interested in understanding more of the underlying factors associated with this explosion of food sensitivities and allergies we're seeing then check out our new book, Nourishing Meals. We cover everything from GMOs to environmental toxicity and leaky gut syndrome.

You might also like:
Preserving the Genius of Life ~ A Call to Action
The Elimination and Detoxification Diet
How to Make Lacto-Fermented Vegetables



Thursday, October 4, 2012

Butternut Squash, Kale, & White Bean Soup



There is nothing more nourishing than a bowl of warm vegetable bean soup on a chilly autumn evening! This simple soup can be made in about 30 minutes, perfect if you are crunched for time on a busy weeknight. I like to keep small containers of cooked beans in my freezer so I can pull them out and whip something up in a hurry! You could of course use canned beans, and if you do, the best brand to buy is Eden Organic. They use BPA-free cans and also cook kombu seaweed in with their beans, which helps to make them more digestible.

If you are not yet in the habit of cooking beans from scratch, here is what I do: after the kids go to bed I will sort through a couple of cups of dry beans (usually about 4 cups) and pick out any rocks or clumps of dirt, then rinse the beans in a colander. Then I place them into a large glass bowl and cover them with a few inches of warm water. Be sure to add enough water! Whenever I ask Tom to soak beans or nuts, he never adds enough water and in the morning they will have all expanded and be exposed to air. He's learning, slowly. ;-)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pumpkin Hazelnut Teff Muffins (vegan, gluten-free)



After my last post I received many requests to share a pumpkin hazelnut muffin recipe that was also egg-free. As many of you know, replacing eggs in grain-free baked treats can be quite a challenge. I've only had a few successes with it myself. So rather than spend hours in the kitchen trying to create an egg-free, grain-free recipe, I made it simple and worked with teff flour to create a moist, wholesome vegan treat that most everyone can enjoy.

If you have my new cookbook, Nourishing Meals, you'll notice how many recipes contain teff flour. This ancient grain is native to Africa but is now grown in the Snake River Valley of Idaho. I buy it in 25-pound bags from Azure Standard. It is definitely a staple in our house. Teff is rich in minerals, low in phytic acid, and of course gluten-free. It seems to be one of the easiest gluten-free flours to digest. I make my sourdough starter primarily from teff flour so we can enjoy Injera a few times a week. If you are looking for more vegan, gluten-free baking recipes that are nutrient dense (that don't rely on a ton of starches, sugar, or xanthan gum) then please check out my new book. All of the recipes are refined sugar-free, use whole grain gluten-free flours, nut flours, and coconut flour......and none contain potato or cornstarch!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hazelnut Pumpkin Spice Muffins (gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free)



I know it is a wee bit early to be posting pumpkin recipes. In fact, the winter squash and sugar pie pumpkins are not quite ready for harvesting yet in our garden; but these cool crisp mornings are beginning to remind me of spicy pumpkin treats! Yesterday morning I baked up a batch of these healthy gluten-free muffins to have for the children as an after-school snack. After school we went to the river and played until dinnertime. These muffins kept them satisfied until we finally sat down for a late dinner. Beautiful, sunny September weather calls us to spend a lot of time outside here in the Northwest.

I used organic canned pumpkin in this recipe. If you use puree made from a freshly baked pumpkin or other winter squash you may need to place it into a fine mesh strainer to let the extra moisture drip out. I have found that canned pumpkin has much less moisture than Homemade Pumpkin Puree.

Friday, September 14, 2012

How to Roast Beets ~ The Easy Way!



Roasting beets softens their earthy flavor and brings out a wonderful sweetness. This way of preparing beets is so simple that you'll probably never go back to steaming, pressure cooking, or roasting in foil. All you need is a baking dish with a lid.

What can you do with roasted beets? The sweet-earthy flavor of beets is tempered by pairing them with acidic and pungent foods like orange, lemon, balsamic vinegar, feta cheese, shallots, and red onions. Adding fresh herbs like savory, thyme, and parsley can brighten the flavors even more.

After the beets have cooked and cooled, you can peel off the skins and cut them up for a marinated beet salad (like the Roasted Beet Salad with Orange Vinaigrette on page 230 in my new cookbook). You can also thinly slice them and top with goat cheese, fresh thyme leaves, freshly ground black pepper, and a lemon-olive oil dressing. Puree a whole roasted beet (remove the skins first) with the wet ingredients for a chocolate cake. Have any more ideas for using cooked beets? Please share in the comments section below!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Simple Ways to Preserve Fruit


This time of year the fruit is falling off the trees and many people wonder how they can preserve it. A lot of fresh fruit ends up rotting. Maybe this is part of nature's grand design to add compost to the soil surrounding the roots? I don't know, but this time of year is very busy for most folks who have fruit trees and berry bushes. There are a few simple methods you can utilize to quickly preserve fruit.

We freeze much of our fruit in a extra freezer in our garage. Though this might not be the most energy efficient way, it is fairly easy and quick as long as you have an extra freezer. Dehydrating is probably the safest way because you don't need to worry about losing a whole freezer full of food if your power goes out for an extended period of time, plus it requires little energy. Canning is another method but much of the nutrients and enzymes are destroyed through the heating process. I wrote a whole chapter about preserving the harvest in our new cookbook, Nourishing Meals, if you want to learn more. Plus there are recipes in that chapter for vinegars, lacto-fermented vegetables, and sauces like Cayenne Hot Sauce!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Chicken Fajita Salad with Spicy Avocado Dressing



When summer's produce is in abundance we like to create meals that revolve around it, like this one. If you are vegan or vegetarian you can substitute cooked blacked beans or sautéed tempeh for the chicken. I think you'll find the Spicy Avocado Dressing rather addicting! Tom and I like to make a batch of this dressing with the whole jalapeñoseeds and all, but for the children we make it without the seeds.

Did you know that eating a small avocado with a meal containing carotenoids (found in the tomatoes, peppers, and salad greens) helps to absorb these beneficial compounds? Carotenoids, like beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, gamma-carotene, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-cryptoxanthin all need to be consumed with fat to optimize absorption in the intestines. One also needs to have a functioning small intestine for this to occur (gluten, antibiotics, yeast overgrowth, and environmental toxins can damage the gut and impede absorption of fats and fat-soluble nutrients). Once in the body these carotenoids act as powerful antioxidants mopping up free radicals. Some of these carotenoids can also be converted into vitamin A (all-trans-retinol). We need vitamin A to assist with gene transcription, proper development of an embryo, various reproductive processes, night and color vision, skin health (acne), cellular communication, and proper immune function. Vitamin A is found in liver, meat, and dairy products. In order to convert carotenoids from plants into vitamin A we need to have adequate zinc and proper thyroid function as the T3 thyroid hormone helps in the conversion process. When pregnant and lactating the need for preformed vitamin A increases quite a bit so be sure to consume enough carotenoids from plants and vitamin A from animal sources, or if you are vegan, be sure to consume enough iodine, zinc, and selenium-rich foods for proper thyroid function so you can properly convert carotenoids from plants into Vitamin A.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Flavored Lemonade (sugar-free)



This is another guest post by my 10-year old daughter, Lily (I helped her format the recipe). For those of you who have been reading this blog for a while you might remember the first guest post she did on Homemade Seaweed Snacks. This is another yummy creation of hers, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do! -Ali :)

What inspired me to create lemonade in jars was a stand at the farmer's market. They take two cups that fit together and shake the lemonade to mix it. Because we don't have two cups that fit together I thought  jars would work too.

This is a great drink for a hot afternoon. I made these before we went blueberry picking one day and we had them when we got home. It was so refreshing to have these after a hot afternoon in the sun.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Nightshade-Free Salsa



The other week I was picking my daughter up from art camp and another mother came up to me to let me know the changes in her health that came about after following our Elimination Diet years ago. She said that she looks and feels so differently now and is not the person she used to be....in a good way. She was beautiful and her skin glowing! One of the things she discovered through the elimination diet process was a severe sensitivity to nightshade vegetables. You know what those are, right? Tomatoes, tomatillos, potatoes, eggplant, spicy peppers (including cayenne pepper), sweet peppers (including paprika), pimentos, tobacco, as well as goji berries and golden berries.

Symptoms of a nightshade sensitivity include:
  • joint pain
  • rashes
  • GI upset
  • fatigue
  • headaches
  • migraines
  • inflammation
All nightshade plants, including those growing in the wild, contain toxic alkaloid compounds. In foods, like tomatoes and peppers, these compounds are only found in small amounts so most people can process and remove them from the body and no harm is done. In wild plants, these compounds are found in a much higher concentration, sometimes causing death if ingested.

In people that cannot process these alkaloids very well, (and since many people consume nightshade vegetables on a daily basis) these compounds can build up in the body and begin to cause a host of issues. Of course not all people are sensitive to nightshades so don't get too concerned here that you need to eliminate yet another food from your diet! If you suspect that your body might not be tolerating nightshades then do a simple elimination diet and keep them completely out of your diet (yes, that means 100%) for 3 weeks and then add them back in, noting how you feel.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Apricot-Cherry Upside Down Cake (gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free)



Summer's bounty is here and needs to be preserved or used right away! What do you do to preserve the summer harvest of fruits and vegetables? For fruit, we freeze it, dehydrate it into fruit roll-ups or small pieces, make jam, make fun cakes or crisps, and just enjoy it fresh.

This cake recipe evolved after creating a grain-free apple cobbler (with those yummy early season baking apples). I thought if my ingredient combinations worked as a topping for cobbler, they might work (with a few tweaks) as a base for an upside down cake! I'll share the cobbler recipe later in the season when more varieties of apples are available.

If you are looking for more healthy gluten-free dessert recipes like this one, then check out my new book, Nourishing Meals. I think the dessert chapter has about 50 new recipes ranging from Sweet Potato Custard and Dark Chocolate Coconut Custard to Frozen Banana Coconut Cream Pie and Lime Avocado Tart with a Macadamia Nut Crust to Cashew Ginger Cookies, Carrot Orange Spice Cupcakes, and Gingerbread! All of these recipes I just listed are also free of grain flours and sweetened with a minimal amount of natural sweeteners. Some of them are vegan and some contain eggs. My new book is due out at the end of this month and can be found on our website (with a free e-book) or on amazon.com.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Peach Ginger Mint Green Smoothie



This fresh, summery smoothie will quench your thirst and rejuvenate your cells! My ingredients veer a little from the smoothie ingredients we typically use. This one makes use of all of the produce (except ginger) you can find at your your local Farmer's Market or food co-op right now! Since I have a smoothie recipe for winter, spring, and autumn, I thought a summery green smoothie recipe needed to be posted. You can check out our Super Antioxidant Smoothie which does use summer produce (but it's not green!).

This recipe can be used during the green smoothie fast and all phases of our Elimination Diet. Also, since it doesn't have citrus, it is a great first smoothie for older babies! We've been teaching our baby to drink from a cup by giving her little bits of liquid in tiny glasses (bought from Goodwill) since she was 8 months old. We started with water or fresh coconut water and now she can drink a smoothie out of a cup.....no plastic sippy cup needed!

If we give our children the opportunity to learn how to use regular silverware and cups from the beginning, they learn pretty quickly, and all of those baby products you thought you needed become obsolete. Sure, I bought plastic spoons, cups, and bowls with my first baby, even though in the back of my mind it didn't feel quite right. We gave them all away years ago and now that I understand the dangers of using plastic, there is no way I would ever purchase these things again. Babies and toddlers can use small ceramic or glass bowls, wooden bowls, wooden silverware (for young babies), small stainless steel silverware (for older babies), and small glass cups instead of plastic sippy cups.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Heirloom Tomato Basil Quinoa Salad



I love summertime's bounty of fresh produce! I created this recipe while visiting family in the Midwest, where you can actually find a variety of tomatoes this time of year. In the Pacific Northwest the tomatoes are not in abundance until August. Heirloom tomatoes have not been hybridized over the years and have a sweeter taste, but are also generally less resistant to disease, which is why they are not produced on a large scale. Look for them at your local food co-op or Farmer's Market in the summertime.

This salad pairs fresh tomatoes and basil along with cooked quinoa and finely diced sweet onion. Serve it as a light, nutritious lunch or share it at your next potluck picnic. For those of you not familiar with quinoa, it is a nutrient-dense grain packed with all essential amino acids, is gluten-free, and cooks up quite like couscous. It is best if the quinoa cools completely before you make this salad.

Since my children do not like fresh tomatoes, I cook up 3 cups of quinoa and remove a third of it to make a special salad just for them. In place of the tomatoes I use chopped cucumbers and they love it! Everything else stays the same.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Packing Healthy Food for Air Travel


Trying to pack up and get out the door on time to catch an airplane can be difficult as it is, but add in packing all of your own food for the day, and you have what sounds like a bit of work. I've been packing my own food for airplane trips since I was twenty years old and I can tell you, that with a little planning, it can be very simple. There are some restrictions of what is allowed through security and what is not. I hope this post will inspire you to ditch the airplane/airport food in favor of healthier options brought from home.

This past winter I took all five children on a trip to visit my family in the midwest. And I did it again this past June, though Tom met us out there part way through our trip and flew back home with us....how nice it was to have another adult helping out! On our trip in February I had everything planned, organized, and packed the day before we left, including most of our food. Getting out the door went very smoothly. On our last trip, coming back home from my parents' house, I had nothing planned which caused quite a bit of chaos right before we left for the airport!

Packing Food for Air Travel:

Plan: Make a list of what you will bring on the plane at least 4 days before the trip. This way you can go to the store and pick up any necessary ingredients.

Prep: Make any food the day before your trip that can be prepped early. Cut up carrots, celery, or cucumbers. Make a whole grain salad. Bake a loaf of bread for sandwiches. Pop some popcorn. The morning before you leave, cut up apples, make sandwiches, and do whatever else needs to be prepped the day of the trip.

Pack: Use small insulated lunch packs with an inserted frozen pack to keep things that can spoil easily cool. We like to dedicate one small roller bag for food. One of the kids is always responsible for it. This keeps everything in one place so if we want to have a picnic in the airport we can. Also, everyone knows where to go if they are hungry on a flight.


Security Regulations:

Liquids: Of course you all know that you need to buy water once you get through security, but if you have a baby or toddler you can take water or formula in a bottle through security. Breast milk is also permitted through security, even if you are not traveling with your infant.

Food: Did you know almond butter and hummus are considered creams/lotions and have to be in 3-ounce containers or less? But if six ounces of almond butter is spread onto four sandwiches it is ok! Here is the other gray area with "creamy" foods: if you are traveling with young children it doesn't matter if you bring a 12-ounce container of hummus through security! If you don't have very young children then play it safe and make sure these types of foods are packed in 3-ounce sized containers or less.




Healthy Food for Air Travel:


Traveling with Children:

  • Don't bring chocolate or sugary foods ~ the goal is a happy, calm child, right? 
  • Make sure your child has had enough sleep to be able to handle a stressful day of travel and time zone changes.
  • We have each child pack a backpack of things do do on the plane. They bring activity books and crayons, books to read or be read to, wool yarn to finger knit with, and a movie for the computer.

Do you have more tips for packing food or traveling with children? Please share them in the comments section below! 


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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Strawberry Salad with Candied Pumpkin Seeds



We just got back from visiting family in the midwest. This recipe is one my mom likes to make often, though I have put my own twist to it. She asked me to make it one evening for dinner, but we were out of sliced almonds, which she toasts on the stove with a little bit of honey and sprinkles over the salad. I found raw pumpkin seeds in her freezer and devised my own version of candied seeds. We made this salad again and again during our trip and everyone enjoyed it!

Since we've been back home, our children have been picking all of the juicy, ripe strawberries growing in a special 3-tiered strawberry bed we built a few years ago for our backyard. I am not sure there will ever be enough for a salad! If you don't have strawberries available, try fresh blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries instead.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Watermelon Whole Fruit Popsicles



Cool down this summer with homemade fruit popsicles! You'll save money and reduce wasteful packaging by making your own. Plus, by adding in pieces of whole fruit, these healthy treats become quite beautiful and irresistible!

I've made homemade popsicles so many ways! You can puree whole fruit and pour it into molds, use any type of freshly pressed juice, or use mixtures of coconut milk or yogurt and fresh fruit purees swirled together. The other week when we had a whole counter full of freshly picked organic strawberries, I made strawberry fruit pops by chopping up a bunch of fresh strawberries, placing them into the molds and then filling them up the rest of the way with fermented apple juice. Does anyone else ferment their apple juice or is it just me? We accidentally did it a couple of years ago by leaving the jug on the counter for a few days because there was no room in the fridge. It is so bubbly and delicious, with far less sugar! Now if I buy a glass jug of organic apple juice I always leave it out to ferment, though too long and you begin to get Hard Cider!

This recipe is acceptable to enjoy during Phase 2 and 3 of our Elimination Diet! Yes you can have healthy treats such as these lovely popsicles while on a restrictive diet!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Raw Berry Tart with a Coconut Pastry Cream (vegan, gluten-free)



I have something for you, just in time for 4th of July celebrations.....and no cooking required! I used to think that making tarts was a complicated process, but it is really quite simple. You will need a 9 or 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, which can be found on amazon.com or your local kitchen store. For this recipe I use my standard nut-date crust which is pressed into the pan. Then the filling is added and topped with whatever berries or fresh fruit you have on hand. Raw tarts come together so quickly!

For the pastry cream, I use coconut butter, which is made from both the oil and the meat. We like the brand Artisana, but you can use others. Sometimes it is labeled with different names such as coconut mana or coconut cream concentrate, but it is all the same thing.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Our New Cookbook: Nourishing Meals



Hello dear readers! We are excited to finally announce the details of our new cookbook, Nourishing Meals: Healthy Gluten-Free Recipes for the Whole Family. It has been years in the making and we much appreciate all of your emails, comments, and suggestions as it helped shape the book. The book is due out at the end of August, 2012. You can now pre-order it from our website and get a FREE e-book containing 16 of our favorite recipes from the book (more details at the bottom of this post).

Right now we are facing an epidemic of childhood diseases and disorders such as obesity, autism, ADHD, allergies, and diabetes. Many of us are searching for ways to help our children not only survive, but thrive in this world. We dug into the research and found many connections between environmental exposures, dietary habits, and the prevalence of these conditions. In Nourishing Meals you will find an overview of this information presented in an easy-to-read format.

The purpose of this book is to help you transition into a gluten-free lifestyle and also provide the tools you need to make informed dietary choices.

Nourishing Meals contains over 300 new whole foods recipes, as well as detailed information about health particularly relating to nutrition for conception, pregnancy, and childhood. You'll learn about the nutrients needed and how to best obtain them, as well as factors that can affect health during these critical stages, such as environmental exposure to chemicals. We also covered many of the causes of food allergies and sensitivities, and what you can do to help prevent them. And because raising a healthy child also involves making sure they actually eat nourishing food, we provided detailed information on raising healthy eaters from pregnancy onwards (yes, healthy eating habits actually begin in the womb!).

Before each recipe chapter you'll find information pertaining to that chapter and "10 Tips." For example, in the Salads and Vegetables chapter you'll find information on the vital phytochemicals in plants as well as ways to get your children to eat more vegetables. There are then 10 Tips for adding more vegetables to your child's diet. In the Dessert chapter we discussed alternatives to refined sugar and offered 10 Tips for using natural sweeteners. We hope that this will make the book more practical for you.

The book consists of vegan, vegetarian, meat-based, grain-based, grain-free, nut-free, nut-based recipes...pretty much the whole spectrum of eating....because there is no one way nor one perfect diet for everyone. Additionally, speckled throughout the recipes, you will find detailed nutrition tips to help you understand exactly why certain foods are beneficial for health!

Here are some of the Recipes:

Apple Cider Baked Beans, Spicy Lentils and Rice in Cabbage Leaves, Raw Burritos with a Spicy Mole Sauce, Grain-Free Chicken Nuggets, Apricot Glazed Chicken, Tandoori Salmon, Sloppy Joes, Grain-Free Zucchini Lasagna with Pine Nut Ricotta, Sweet Potato Falafels, Quinoa Tabouli, Coconut Brown Rice, Spicy Coconut Quinoa Amaranth Casserole, Dairy-Free Fettuccini Alfredo, Chicken and Chard Chili, Hot and Sour Soup, Moroccan Lentil and Cabbage Soup, Cream of Broccoli Soup, Raw Breakfast Tacos, Baby Green Smoothie, Blueberry Cherry Smoothie, Kale and Egg Scramble, Winter Vegetable Hash, Coconut Banana Breakfast Cake, Overnight Quinoa Hot Cakes, Sourdough Buckwheat Crepes, Homemade Gluten-Free Tortillas, Grain-Free Coconut Flour Biscuits, Yeast-Free Seed Bread, Sourdough Teff Bread, Everyday Sandwich Bread, Burger Buns, Kale Apple Walnut Salad, Picnic Coleslaw, Pecan Crusted Chicken and Apple Salad, Smoked Salmon Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing, Kale Chips, Creamed Kale, Rutabaga Fries, Roasted Cauliflower, Berry Parfaits with Orange Cashew Cream, Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, Vegan Maple Pecan Pie, Grain-Free Vegan Chocolate Sunbutter Cookies, Grain-Free Carrot Spice Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream Frosting, Oat-Free Fruit Crisps, Frozen Banana Coconut Cream Pie, Homemade Coconut Kefir, Cashew Sour Cream, Lacto-Fermented Dilly Radishes, Vanilla Plum Butter, Kale-Herb Seaweed Sprinkle....and so much more!

Here is the Chapter Outline:

Preface
Introduction
Part 1: Foundations of Health
   1. Why Whole Foods?
   2. Why Gluten-Free?
   3. Why the Rise in Food Allergies and Sensitivities?
Part 2: Raising Healthy Children
   4. 7 Ways to Help your Child THRIVE!
   5. Nourishing your Growing Child
   6. Packing a Healthy School Lunch
Part 3: The Recipes
   7. Getting Started
   8. Smoothies
   9. Breakfast
 10. Breads and Muffins
 11. Soups and Stews
 12. Salads and Vegetables
 13. Whole Grains and Noodles
 14. Main Meals
 15. Dressings, Dips, and Sauces
 16. Wraps and Rolls
 17. Snacks and Treats
 18. Desserts
 19. Beverages
 20. Preserving the Harvest
Part 4: Appendix
 21. Resources and Recommendations
 22. References
Index

We bet by now you are really wishing you had a copy in your hands! You can pre-order the book from our website and when you do we are offering a FREE e-book containing 16 of our favorite recipes, with full color photos of each recipe, so you don't have to wait until August to get a taste of what Nourishing Meals offers (okay, they are all our favorites, but we think you'll like these!). If you don't care for the e-book, you can also pre-order the book from amazon.com.

Here are the recipes you'll get in the e-book:
 1. Blueberry Cherry (Chia) Smoothie (vegan)
 2. Basil Zucchini Frittata
 3. Gluten-Free "Wheat Bread" (vegan)
 4. Yeast-Free, Gluten-free Pita Bread (vegan)
 5. Apple Almond Muffins (vegan)
 6. Creamy Tomato Asparagus Soup (dairy-free)
 7. Spicy Greens Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette (vegan)
 8. Cucumber Arame Salad (vegan)
 9. Picnic Coleslaw (vegan)
10. Dilled Quinoa and Pea Salad (vegan)
11. Apple Cider Baked Beans (vegan)
12. Grain-Free Chicken Nuggets (egg-free and dairy-free)
13. Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (vegan)
14. Ginger Macadamia Nut Energy Bars (vegan)
15. Apricot Almond Snack Cake (grain-free, dairy-free, no sweeteners)
16. Chili-Garlic Fermented Green Beans (dairy-free - no whey needed)

It is our hope that this book will support your family in health for years to come! Happy Cooking and Healthy Eating! ~Ali & Tom


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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Buckwheat Pecan Thumbprint Cookies (vegan + gluten-free)



Try making these healthy, vegan, gluten-free cookies on a rainy afternoon with your children. They will surely brighten your day! Recipes made with freshly ground buckwheat flour (from raw groats) do not require the addition of xanthan gum in order to hold together without crumbling. Buckwheat is a grain that is quite often cross contaminated with gluten grains so be sure to purchase your groats from a certified gluten-free mill, such as Bob's Red Mill.

I use the dry container of my Vitamix to make homemade buckwheat flour. It quickly grinds up into a soft, non-gritty flour. You can use a coffee grinder too if you don't own a high-powered blender. Store the flour in a glass jar in your pantry for up to 3 months, or freeze it for longer storage.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Low Sugar Green Smoothie



Okay, this smoothie doesn't look too green now does it? Berries and greens blended up equal brown. Although the color may not look too appetizing, the flavor is amazing! Our 4-year old twin boys drink it with a straw. They now race to see who is done first. We hear "done" and then "done" and then "no, I was done first" and then "I'm not playing first game." Just so you all know, drinking your smoothie as fast as you can is not optimal for digestion. It is best to let each sip sit in your mouth for at least 30 seconds to allow for enzymes such as amylase to begin to break down the fruit sugars.

We've been asked many times to offer green smoothie recipes that don't contain too much fruit sugar. Normally we use two tart apples and two pears in each smoothie, but by using berries and citrus instead you can lower the glycemic index and keep the overall FODMAP content much lower. FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrates found in fruits such as apples and pears (and many other foods) that can contribute to gas, bloating, and other GI issues for those who are sensitive, or who have imbalanced gut microflora.

The combination of the berries, cherries, and greens create a superfood smoothie! No need to buy expensive, exotic fruits such as the acai berry! Did you know that blueberry consumption can lead to an increase in beneficial bifidobacterium in the gut? They are also effective at eradicating harmful, pathogenic bacteria in the gut. Another reason to make blueberries a regular part of your diet!

Use a glass or stainless steel straw for children. Straws seem to make green smoothies much more fun to drink!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Simple Whole Roasted Organic Chicken with Garlic & Herbs


We like to roast a whole, organic chicken on occasion for family meals. In the wintertime I will serve it with sautéed winter greens, such as kale and collards, a few spoonfuls of raw sauerkraut or cultured vegetables, and roasted root vegetables. In the springtime, I like to serve it with a light quinoa radish salad with fresh parsley, lemon, and chopped sorrel or napa cabbage. The next day I pull the meat off the bone and use it to make chicken salad, chicken pot pie, or toss it into soup.

So nothing goes to waste, I put the bones and skin into a stockpot along with a chopped onion, celery, carrot, garlic, peppercorns, fresh herbs, a piece of kombu, and a little cider vinegar; cover with water, and simmer for about 6 hours. This creates the most wonderful, nutritious, healing soup stock. You can freeze it in quart jars and use it everywhere stock or broth is called for in a recipe.

We always use organic chicken, but prefer to use organic chicken that is also local and pastured. What's the difference? Well, organic chickens can still be mass produced in large open hen houses. They are fed an organic grain feed and sometimes have access to the outdoors. Non-organic chickens are generally raised in cramped quarters and fed non-organic grains, which are most likely genetically engineered. (I won't even get into antibiotic use here). Pastured chickens can be ordered online but usually you will be able to find a farmer who sells them locally. We have quite a few around us, in fact you can find them in the frozen section of our local food co-op and health food store. Pastured chickens are usually fed some organic grain but also eat a diet rich in vegetable scraps, bugs, grasses, and moss creating a healthy balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fats. They also have plenty of fresh air, sunshine, and space to move.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Gluten-Free Flatbread Recipe made from Soaked Whole Grains (yeast-free, vegan)



I'm very excited to share this super simple gluten-free flatbread recipe with you today. It is made entirely from soaked gluten-free whole grains....no flours! This is a guest post from the lovely Kim Wilson of Simply Natural Health. Kim has written a fabulous e-book entitled Good and Easy Eats where you can find more of her delicious gluten-free soaked whole grain recipes! When Kim emailed me her recipe yesterday I immediately made it. I actually already had the two main ingredients prepped and ready to go....a bowl of millet and brown basmati rice soaking on the counter (in the correct measurements). My children devoured it right away and are asking when I will be making more! I just want to add that it is imperative that you sort through your millet (before soaking) and pick out any gluten grains. Millet is almost always contaminated with gluten! Happy Baking! ~Ali 

It’s a thrilling opportunity to be able to offer a guest blog here as I’ve admired Ali and Tom’s delicious recipes, lovely photos, and family-approach to natural eating for years. It was fourteen years ago when our family began embracing whole foods as the solution to our health issues. It wasn’t an easy transition initially as my husband was an extremely picky eater and I didn’t like cooking. Because of this I was highly motivated to find the quickest and easiest ways to prepare the most nutritionally-dense and family-pleasing foods. When I focused on developing more gluten-free recipes in an effort to help our adopted son (non-verbal and with many characteristically autistic behaviors), I was excited to find that the whole food approach to gluten-free cooking provided much more satisfying results than any of the costly, unappetizing and nutritionally-devoid gluten-free products and mixes out there.

Most gluten-free folks would probably agree that a couple of the toughest foods to replace satisfactorily are bread and pizza. I’ve worked for several months on developing and refining the super-simple, extremely versatile flatbread recipe I’m sharing here. I particularly love this kind of recipe because it begins with whole grains in contrast to whole grain flours. The grains are soaked, which increases their digestibility and nutritional profile, blended, and then POURED onto a hot baking stones or skillets. No more wrestling with sticky dough or batter!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Homemade Seaweed Snacks


Have you ever tried those salty seaweed snacks you buy at places like Trader Joe's? I know, they're addicting, we've tried them before and my children loved them! I won't buy them because they have so much packaging and because canola oil is listed as one of the ingredients (which is often genetically engineered). My 10 year old daughter has been thinking about a way to make them for months and she finally decided to figure it out last week. I asked her to write a "guest post" for me but she didn't want to. She did, however, write the recipe below but wanted me to "introduce" it. 

When she makes these, the other children hover over the pans as they come out of the oven and devour them ALL in one sitting. She will then proceed to make another batch and quickly hide some of them for her lunch. Seaweed, with the addition of unrefined sea salt, is a very nutritious trace-mineral snack! 

Here is Lily's recipe. I was amazed that she knew how to organize and write a recipe....must be from using my cookbook and cooking on her own. She asked me quite a few times what she should say next and I would reply: "what was your next step?" Then she would realize that she already knew the answer and proceed to type it up.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Strawberry Cheesecake Bites (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)


Today we have another guest post from a fellow blogger and friend, Hallie Klecker, who has created an amazingly simple and nutritious "cheesecake" recipe for a mini muffin pan. Hallie has a fabulous cookbook and blog that are both gluten-free, dairy-free, and revolve around whole foods. She tells her story below. ~Ali

I’m so honored to be guest posting here today! I’ve been reading Ali's blog for years, literally. I went through quite a rough patch when I first went gluten- and dairy-free. Sensitivities to these foods left me malnourished and underweight, so in the first few months of eliminating them from my diet, I made significant efforts to gain weight eating nutrient-dense foods. Scouring the web for nutritious recipes, books, and other resources led me to Ali and Tom.

I subscribed by email right away to this blog and found myself checking my inbox eagerly every day, hoping for a new recipe! Over time, as I became healthier and pursued my education in holistic nutrition, I launched my own blog, Daily Bites, to share with others the nourishing food that came out of my kitchen. And just last year, I published my first cookbook, The Pure Kitchen, which contains 100 gluten- and dairy-free recipes designed to keep cooking simple, fresh, and healthy.

Without a doubt, Ali and Tom definitely played a key role in inspiring me to launch both my blog and my book. Although we’ve never met in person (yet...), I like to think that we’re partners in spreading the delicious message of gluten-free, whole food nutrition.

This recipe for Strawberry “Cheesecake” Bites is the perfect example of a “whole food dessert.” I’m trying to develop more and more recipes these days with an emphasis on simple, easy-to-find ingredients that are as natural as possible. This means no gluten-free starches, xanthan or guar gum, or crazy specialty products that cost a fortune to ship. Just natural, whole foods straight from nature.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Detox with Spring Greens

Spring Nettles

I'm spending all of my writing time finishing the new cookbook so today I have another guest post for you from a friend and acupuncturist here in Northwestern Washington. Nancy Moore runs a busy acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine practice. She can also be found on her oriental medicine blog. Today she talks about bitter spring greens and why, at this time of year, it is of utmost importance to support our detoxifying organs, the liver and gallbladder. ~Ali

Green is the color associated with springtime in Chinese medicine, which, in the Five Element cycle, is the Wood phase, a time to cleanse and nourish the Liver and Gallbladder systems.

The best remedies for stimulating and supporting the Liver-Gallbladder systems are colored green! Chlorophyll-rich leafy greens have the new, active, ascending nature of spring within them to help detoxify and de-stagnate our bodies in this season of renewal.

Some of these greens also have the bitter taste that is almost completely absent in our diet, which herbalist Jim McDonald feels is essential for health. In a great article entitled “Blessed Bitters” McDonald suggests that many of our modern-day health woes are the result of Bitter Deficiency Syndrome. He states that bitters stimulate all digestive secretions and stomach acid, help regulate the absorption of vitamin B12, normalize blood sugar, promote the production and release of pancreatic enzymes and bile, strengthen the tone of tissues throughout the digestive tract, heal damaged mucous membranes, soothe gastric reflux, aid intestinal peristalsis, and reduce cravings for sweets.

On an emotional level, dark green leafy vegetables and bitters have both a grounding quality and a “releasing” property—calming an edgy-irritable system and helping us let go of sluggish, stuck, negative energy. This makes sense when we remember that a large portion of our “feel-good” neurotransmitters—including serotonin and dopamine—are utilized in the gut, not the brain. Greens, especially those that are pungent (sour) or bitter, stimulate these!

Photo Credit: Nancy Moore

Greens for Liver-Gallbladder Stimulation and Health:
  • Arugula 
  • Radicchio
  • Collards 
  • Kale 
  • Endive 
  • Escarole 
  • Mizuna 
  • Sorrel 
  • Spinach
  • Parsley 
  • Watercress
  • Red or green mustard greens 
  • Dandelion greens
  • Nettles 
In other words, the same kind of greens you find in an expensive restaurant salad!

The last two—dandelion greens and nettles—are abundant and free greens in this area, both packed full of super nutrients. Dandelion greens (in our local food co-op salad section now, or in some backyards near you) have been used for centuries for general detoxification, liver, gallbladder, and kidney health, joint problems, blood purification, eczema, poor digestion, and breast health. Harvest them in less traveled areas away from animal contamination. Nettles are high in calcium, magnesium, potassium, boron, carotenoids, iron, and the flavonoid quercetin, which has been found to have anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine effects for seasonal allergies. Nettles can be collected all around the area—just wear gloves and cook or dehydrate them to eliminate the stinging properties.

If the bitter flavor of some greens is not appealing, try adding them slowly into the diet to allow the brain and digestive system time to adjust. You can add a little vinegar or lemon juice to mellow the bitter flavor which will also aid in the assimilation of minerals. Adding freshly grated ginger to a dressing “warms up” the flavor of salad greens.

Above all, open yourself to new tastes, ideas, and experiences in this amazing season of growth. Go green, baby!

by Nancy Moore, Licensed Acupuncturist & Herbalist

Spring Chives in my Garden


Some recipes using greens you might like:


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Friday, March 9, 2012

The Accidental Chocolate Cake (grain-free, dairy-free)



A few weeks ago, the night before Valentine's Day, my daughters asked me to make cupcakes and frosting to give out to their friends at school. I had an idea to make a healthy frosting using almond butter and coconut oil. Thinking that I needed to chill the frosting for a while before spreading it onto the cupcakes, I made it first. A few hours later I took it out of the refrigerator to whip up into what I thought would be this beautiful, light, and fluffy frosting. For a second it did look like that, and then the oil began separating. My girls tried it and said it tasted good, like brownies, and that I should bake it! I was so busy that night that I didn't have time so I got to it the next morning, Valentine's Day. I decided to add 2 eggs and put it in the oven....and voila....a beautiful, moist, tender chocolate cake emerged!

I took photos of it that day, what you see here, and planned on testing it one more time before posting it. We then took a trip to visit family for nearly two weeks. I tested it there and everyone loved it. My dad said I should call it "the accidental chocolate cake!" I've been so busy finishing the new cookbook that I have not had much time to post to my blog. Over the next month I have a few guest posts scheduled. After the book is done, I'll be back. In the meantime, enjoy this yummy cake!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Overcoming Emotional Blocks during Dietary Changes


I am excited to share with you today our first guest blog post! We mainly focus on the physical side of health through diet and don't talk much about the emotional or spiritual side. The path of healing is an interconnected path, meandering through all planes of existence. We are operating on all levels at all times even though we might not be aware of it. Today Colleen, from this little lark, has shared 5 Ways to Overcome Emotional Blocks that may occur when embarking on a new diet or while undergoing a shift in one's current diet. Colleen blogs about the many facets of the healing arts that improve physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Follow this little lark on Facebook for inspiration during transformation. ~Ali :)


Heraclitus, the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, was onto something when he stated "The only thing constant is change." Though hearing this statement does not necessarily make transitions any easier. When we discover we have food sensitivities or allergies, a lot of different emotions can surface. We can feel joy in knowing health and healing are underway, but we can also feel isolated, different, and challenged in having to implement a completely different dietary lifestyle. The following suggestions are meant to support and encourage you through this phase. If something that is not listed has worked for you, please comment and share, as we are all here to learn from one another!



5 WAYS TO OVERCOME EMOTIONAL BLOCKS DURING DIETARY CHANGES

1.  Positive Thinking! In order to get over these emotional blocks, it is important to know that a lifestyle change always involves a positive mindset. Oprah Winfrey hit it on the nail when she said "My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life, but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment." Make each moment count with a positive attitude.

2.  Practicing compassion, unconditional self love, and acceptance through dietary transitions will lighten our expectations and give more room for learning and growth. Our heart must be in it so we can celebrate when goals are reached, as well as call upon it when times get tough. We become open to knowing that there are ups and downs to every endeavor, and as this happens, we are able to go with the flow and be more present with our daily choices. Don't be too hard on yourself if you have not met certain health goals, just pick up where you left off and try again.

3.  Remember all those symptoms you are trying to resolve! Physically: weight gain/loss, hives, rashes, headaches, water retention, digestive disturbances, respiratory issues, nervous system imbalances. Mental/Emotional: fatigue, sluggishness, mood swings, inability to concentrate or focus... Life feels better without them! Remind yourself of this often.

4.  Find support. Surrounding yourself with people who can support you can really make the difference. Friends and family are always wonderful to have on your side, but you can also find support in community groups, online forums, websites, and blogs. Many, many people want to share their stories and more often than not, they will resonate with something you have or are experiencing.

5.  Be creative in the kitchen and HAVE FUN!
We are so very lucky to have Whole Life Nutrition as a resource to support your dietary needs as well as introduce so many new and exciting foods to try. No one ever said eliminating certain foods had to be boring! If you do feel you are getting bored of the new foods you are eating, chances are you are in need of a few good new recipes to change it up. An extra bonus: share your food in the household or at a gathering! More often than not, people love what you will have to offer and realize that being health conscious is the way to go!


"Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else." ~Les Brown

Please share anything else that you have found to work for you in the comments section. You can read more of what Colleen has to offer on her blog, this little lark, or on her Facebook page.


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Monday, February 13, 2012

How to Make Lacto-Fermented Vegetables without Whey (plus video)



Lacto-fermented vegetables are cultured vegetables. You've probably heard of sauerkraut, kim chi, and sour dill pickles, right? These are all forms of lacto-fermentation. Many people use whey as a starter but it is not necessary given you use enough salt. Making your own lacto-fermented veggies is so easy that once you start you'll be hooked!

Traditionally lacto-fermentation was used to preserve the harvest and store vegetables for the winter. If you have a garden full of cabbage, cauliflower, beets, carrots, and green beans and don't know how to store them all, consider making a few batches of lacto-fermented vegetables. These veggies can be stored in your refrigerator for months....if they last that long!

Lacto-fermented vegetables provide a viable source of probiotics (at a cost well below most supplements) to heal and maintain a healthy gut. These beneficial microorganisms attach to receptors in our guts that send a signal to the immune system that says everything is okay, no need to overreact to foods and other things entering the gut, let's keep everything calm. If you are dealing with multiple allergies, chances are your gut is out of balance and is in need of a daily dose of beneficial microorganisms. These crispy, sour, salty vegetables are highly addicting and an easy, economical way to maintain a healthy gut. These vegetables are also important to include daily if you are following our Elimination Diet.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Banana Coconut Cookies (grain-free, sugar-free, vegan)



Using mashed, ripe bananas in recipes is a really simple, nutritious way to replace sugar. I've used it before in my sugar-free, grain-free Carob Banana Bars and in these lovely Teff Pancakes. My four year old twins keep asking to cook in the kitchen, and if I don't step in right away, they take over and begin cooking on their own. Hmm, I wouldn't have any idea why that would be! Lately cookies have been on their minds.

Yesterday one of them asked if we could make cookies "with that cookie flour" and bananas. The following recipe is what transpired. "That cookie flour" is blanched almond flour. We just ordered a box of it and split it with a friend. This is a good way to save some money.....buy in bulk and split orders between two or more families.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Slow Cooked Beef Stew


I don't think I've shared a beef recipe yet on this blog. It might be because we rarely eat it. To eat meat or to not eat meat is an interesting subject and heated debate among many. Beef is a concentrated source of protein, minerals, fats, and vitamins. For the deficient person, beef can be extremely beneficial. For someone dealing with diseases of excess, beef may lead to more health issues. Eating beef raised on corn, which is most likely GMO-corn, leads to the need for medications for the cattle, different types of fat deposited in the meat, and a reliance on a type of agriculture that is not sustainable for our planet. Plus, most feedlot cattle these days are pumped full of hormones to grow and plump up quicker, making the business of raising cattle more profitable. If this isn't enough, it has now been found that a quarter of all ground beef is now tainted with drug-resistent bacteria, such as staph aureus.

When cooking with beef, look for a source of locally raised organic grass-fed beef. Grass-fed beef is lower in saturated fat and higher in Omega-3 fatty acids, CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), and vitamin E. In fact raising cows on grass is what nature intended. It has only been in the last 70 years that farmers began feeding grain (corn) to cattle. Eating beef with green leafy vegetables, especially cultured vegetables, helps digest the meat, making the meal even more beneficial.

I feel best revolving my diet around plants and eating beef on occasion, only when I feel I really need it. The end of pregnancy creates an extra demand on a woman's body. I found that eating red meat about twice a week in the second and third trimester of my pregnancies was very beneficial. Now breastfeeding a busy, scooting, almost-crawling five-month-old, I feel good having beef in my diet a few times a month. Of course you'll need to decide how often, or if at all, eating beef is right for you.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Adzuki Bean and Sea Vegetable Soup



Seaweed? Yep, that's right, those beautiful vegetables that grow in the ocean. They're really quite tasty! I realized recently that I had not yet highlighted this wonderful, mineral-rich plant. Did you know that sea vegetables offer a concentrated source of trace minerals, particularly iodine? Iodine is needed to make thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone is incredibly important for normal function of the human body. So important that every single cell has a receptor for this amazing "master switch" of metabolism. Want to have perfectly regulated body weight and body temperature? Then shoot for optimal thyroid hormone function. How do you do that? Eat a gluten-free diet that keeps your autoimmune thyroid antibodies down, and add in some seaweed on a regular basis.

Seaweed is one of nature's richest sources of iodine. Iodine is THE key ingredient in thyroid hormones. We have all heard of T4, tetraiodothyronine, the pre-hormone, and T3, triiodothyronine, the active form of thyroid hormone, but what does that mean? It means four iodines attached to a tyrosine amino acid or three iodines attached to a tyrosine amino acid. One of these iodines is removed with the help of selenium as a cofactor when turning the inactive T4 into the active T3 thyroid hormone. So in essence, if you do not have adequate iodine and selenium, your body may not be able to produce enough thyroid hormone. Are you eating a diet high in phytates, oxalates, and raw cruciferous vegetables? You may have an increased need for iodine, as these foods tend to bind to iodine.

Seaweed can be found at your local health food store. Look for kombu (kelp), wakame, hijiki, arame, or dulse. I keep kelp granules in a small container on our table to sprinkle on food. I like to add wakame to soups like this one.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chocolate Banana Bread (gluten-free, dairy-free, xanthan-free)



The marriage of chocolate and bananas is truly divine. This bread is light, yet rich with chunks of sweet banana melting in your mouth with every bite. Have a slice with your breakfast smoothie or as a mid-afternoon snack, but our favorite is always fresh out of the oven! Or, try pairing a slice of this bread with a mug of Dairy-Free Hot Cocoa on a cold snowy day.

I use teff flour in this bread. If you have not figured it out already, you'll know I'm a big fan of teff! You can view all of my teff recipes on this blog if you'd like. I buy large paper bags of the flour for around $40 from Azure Standard. Before my friends and I started a buying club through Azure, I bought it directly from The Teff Company (Azure sells the same brand).