Thursday, March 13, 2014

Creamy Asparagus Soup with Cashew Dill Cream (dairy-free)

Spring is in the air…well at least for us on the west coast. I've been making some variation of this very simple dairy-free asparagus soup that I think you're going to love. The raw cashew-dill cream adds such a nice touch to the soup. It's optional though, in case you are allergic to cashews.

Did you know that asparagus is an excellent source of inulin? Inulin is a starch that we cannot digestspecifically belonging to a class of soluble fibers called fructans. It passes undigested to the large intestine where our beneficial bacteria, such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, break it down and use it for food. When we have thriving colonies of beneficial bacteria in our intestines we absorb nutrients at a much higher rate, we are protected from pathogenic organisms, our immune system response is balanced (meaning we don't react to food and environmental allergens as easily, like pollen and dust). Beneficial bacteria also produce vitamins (like B vitamins) and amino acids!
Asparagus also contains a significant amount of vitamin K1, a nutrient used for blood clotting. K1 can also get converted into K2 in the body, where it is then used in different protein structures to shuttle calcium around. Asparagus helps to increase beneficial organisms in the intestines that are also capable of converting K1 to K2. Although the conversion rate of K1 to K2 is small in the intestines, the form (MK-7) works at small concentrations. Vitamin K2 is a necessity for strong, healthy teeth and bones! You can also find K2 in hard cheeses, natto (a fermented soy product), pastured butter, egg yolks, liver, and beef.

Have any of you heard in the news that vitamin D and calcium supplementation is dangerous and can increase your risk for heart disease? Did you know that the risk for a heart attack is not because you are taking vitamin D or calcium…it's because the calcium is not being delivered where it needs to go and instead ends up being deposited in blood vessels contributing to calcification. If you have enough vitamin K2 circulating around then it is able to form proteins that facilitate calcium being deposited in the bones and simultaneously swept out of the vessels. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Date-Glazed Banana Donuts (grain-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free)

I have to tell you that it's been over a decade since I've had any kind of donut but lately my kids were asking about them. I think they tried a gluten-free donut at a party years ago but that's been their only exposure. So I decided to invest in some safe non-stick donut pans and try making baked grain-free donuts. I don't by any means think grains are bad, I just love to use alternative flours. The combination of almond flour and arrowroot creates a very good texture, in fact, most people would never guess these donuts were gluten-free.

Most non-stick bakeware contains PFOA's. These toxic compounds are beginning to get phased out, but are still present in much of the bakeware used. PFOA's affect thyroid function, blood sugar regulation, body weight, and are endocrine disruptors (which means that you can increase your risk for hormone-related cancers like breast cancer). We highly recommend getting rid of all non-stick bakeware and replacing it with safe alternatives like stone or stainless steel. I use these donut pans made from recycled steel. They have a silicone coating which creates a non-stick barrier without all of the chemicals.

To make these donuts you will need at least 4 very ripe bananas. I posted some photos of my 2-year old mashing bananas to my Instagram page as well as to our Facebook page! If you already "like" our Facebook page but are not receiving our posts in your feed then be sure to stop by our page and leave a comment under some of the posts. This will help to get our posts in your feed!