Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Nightshade-Free Chicken Taco Recipe (corn-free, gluten-free, dairy-free)



I've got an easy, nourishing main dish recipe for you today! These Nightshade-Free Chicken Tacos are super easy to prepare and perfect if you are following our Elimination Diet or another special diet such as an autoimmune diet or a diet specific for arthritis. My children also love this recipe! The chicken taco filling is cooked in a Crockpot making the prep time less than 10 minutes. I like to serve the taco filling with my Plantain Tortillas (pictured here) or my gluten-free brown rice flour tortillas. The filling is also wonderful served inside of a baked half of a kabocha or delicata squash, topped with greens and sprouts of course!

Need a little more assistance in the kitchen creating this meal? Then check out the elimination diet video cooking series I created on how to make plantain tortillas and this chicken taco filling, plus a few more easy and delicious elimination diet recipes. You can sign up here to watch the videos.

Use this recipe for Phase 2 of our Elimination Diet program. Not quite sure what an elimination diet is? An elimination diet is a powerful tool to get to the root of most diseases and disorders. Why? Because most disease begins in the gut. The gut has the highest concentration of immune cells, and the most common thing that the immune cells will react to is food.

When you are constantly in pain, moody, and fatigued, your body is inflamed. In other words, your immune cells are being irritated by something in your environment. What is the most likely suspect that is irritating you? Surprisingly, it’s your food.

Odds are that foods you are eating every day are leaving you sick and tired. How do you find out which ones? The Elimination Diet. This foundational tool of Functional Medicine has been used for centuries to discover which foods are making you ill and which ones can make you feel incredible.

The Elimination Diet is a simple process of removing all potentially problematic foods from your diet until your symptoms subside—usually a few weeks. Then you slowly reintroduce foods back into your diet, one by one, to see which ones bring your symptoms back. By finding the foods that are behind your suffering, you can completely turn your health around and elevate your quality of life. 

If you are curious about trying an elimination diet and not sure where to begin then check out our online Elimination Diet Support Program and Elimination Diet book, both of which provide excellent tools that walk you through each step of the elimination diet.

What if these new tools helped you to become a better you? A lighter, more energetic, happier you! That's what doing an elimination diet is all about.

While on an elimination diet, you'll find that many of the foods you are accustomed to eating everyday are off limits. You'll get to experience new flavors and new foods that promote healing at the cellular level. And you can start right now with these nightshade-free chicken tacos.

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! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Buckwheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread (gluten-free, vegan, nut-free, xanthan gum-free)


Today I wanted to share a recipe from my Nourishing Meals cookbook with you—another kneadable gluten-free bread! Creating a recipe for kneadable gluten-free (and xanthan gum-free) bread took me years and years to develop.

I still remember walking into my oldest daughter’s first week of preschool. The smell of freshly baked spelt rolls wafting throughout the house like a sweet perfume pervades my memory. My daughter took great care in carefully kneading each ball of dough into the shapes of her desire. The warm rolls were always served with raw honey and butter. All week she looked forward to bread day.

A few years later my second daughter was entering preschool. We found out she was sensitive to gluten during her toddler years, so she could not participate in the process of bread baking in preschool or kindergarten. I was at a loss for what to do. Yes, I was able to replace the gluten with gluten-free options, but none she could knead. None where she could be part of the process of grinding the grain into flour. None that connected her to the meaningful work that the whole process of bread baking imbued.

Inspired by the very real fact that my daughter could not participate in the entire experience of bread baking, I started down a path that was years in the making. I was almost there in the spring of 2010 when I posted this gluten-free baguette and Garlic-Rosemary White Bean Dip. I had been using chia and flax already for a while to help mimic the texture of gluten, but something was still missing. Still determined to create a kneadable gluten-free bread without xanthan gum, I had a flash of inspiration one day. What would happen if I added psyllium husk to the mix? I already knew how it worked to absorb liquid and create a gel, and so I had a pretty good feeling that it might help to mimic gluten in baking recipes. And that was it. I had finally cracked the gluten-free bread code! I eventually shared my Farmhouse Seed Bread recipe here with you in 2011. After many failures and triumphs (and partially edible loaves of gluten-free bread), I finally created a recipe that actually needs to be kneaded—a delicious, chewy round loaf of bread made from whole food ingredients! That recipe eventually morphed into many more gluten-free bread recipes using the basic framework I had developed, including this Buckwheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread and more, which can all be found in my Nourishing Meals book.

Years later, my twin boys entered kindergarten. By then there were so many children who were sensitive to gluten that the class was designated a gluten-free classroom, and their teacher only used my recipes for bread baking day. They ground their own buckwheat flour using a hand crank grinder. Different combinations of teff flour, brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, and arrowroot powder were used to form the dough. My boys would come home with rolls that they had carefully crafted into different shapes, tucked inside of little napkins. “Mom do you want to try my bread?” they called out to me after pick-up. Smiling, I said "yes."

Baking gluten-free bread is quite simple, though it requires a few extra ingredients compared to wheat-based bread recipes. To replace the gluten—the protein that gives bread it’s chewy texture and what helps it to rise by allowing gas bubbles to get trapped—I use a combination of ground chia seeds and psyllium husk. These ingredients form a gel that acts like gluten, allowing gas bubbles from the yeast fermentation to get trapped so the dough can rise. They also help to hold moisture and bind everything together.

Any gluten-free flour or blend of flours can be used in this recipe, but by using raw buckwheat groats, which can be ground into a soft flour using a hand or electric grain grinder, children get to experience the whole process of bread making, from grain to loaf—connecting head, heart, and hands.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Raw Thai Kale Slaw with a Creamy Ginger-Almond Butter Dressing


You are going to love this nutritious raw kale slaw. It's full of detoxification and antioxidant compounds, and just bursting with the fresh, bright flavors of basil, mint, and cilantro. All tossed in a slightly spicy and gingery, creamy almond butter dressing. What I love about this salad is that it lasts up to 5 days in the refrigerator! Once it's made, you can take out portions as needed to easily fulfill part of your daily raw veggie needs.

I've been serving a large plateful of this Thai-style kale slaw with fried eggs for breakfast, or tossed with leftover rice and garbanzo beans for lunch. It's also delicious served with a thai-style main dish for dinner, such as Thai Coconut Fish Sticks, Thai Fish Curry with Garden Vegetables, or this Vegan Thai Green Curry.

And not to forget the oh-so-important nutrition information! As you might guess, this salad is rich in detoxifying compounds. Kale and cabbage both come from the cruciferous vegetable family, a family of vegetables known for their detoxification powers. Did you know that there is research showing that autistic children who consume sulforophane (one of the active compounds in cruciferous vegetables) show positive behavioral changes as a result of this nutritional superstar? Sulforophane is most concentrated in broccoli sprouts, but can also be found in raw (or lightly steamed) kale, cabbage, kohlrabi, radishes, watercress, and arugula!

Cruciferous vegetables are also very beneficial in calming down autoimmunity. Once consumed, sulforophane travels to our cells and changes how our genes are read. It literally allows us to read hundreds of beneficial antioxidant and detoxification genes. The result is a cell that has less toxins, and less inflammation. Can you function in a messy, dirty house? I know I can't! The cell is the same. It can't function very well if it has lots of toxins and debris lying around. Detoxification is, in essence, cleaning up the house of the cell. Antioxidants, then we could say, are the repair crew. When your cells are "clean" you might notice increased energy, clearer thinking, and less pain!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Spiced Tigernut Cookies (gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free)


Today I have a special recipe to share with you. This grain-free tigernut cookie recipe comes from a new book called The Autoimmune Fix, which I actually developed all of the recipes for! Dr. Tom O’Bryan wrote an incredible book on the current epidemic of autoimmune diseases. As a skilled functional medicine practitioner, he discusses the root causes of autoimmune disease, and in essence, all diseases. Dr. O’Bryan has spent the last few decades lecturing around the globe on how gluten contributes to disease, but now expands on that topic in his new book with the culprits and causes of autoimmunity: Genetics, exposure, and intestinal permeability.

You may be thinking, I'm fine and healthy. I don't have an autoimmune disease, though you may know someone with lupus, eczema, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, psoriasis, or celiac disease. But, did you know that you can have autoantibodies, or "messengers from the future" as Dr. Tom likes to call them, slowly degenerating part of your body without you even knowing it? And that this can go on for years and years with no symptoms or with only mild signs of autoimmunity, such as joint pain, weight gain, brain fog, gut imbalances, depression, mood disorders, and fatigue? Tom's book is essential for everyone to read because he explains, in his eloquent story-telling style, how this process happens and what you can do now to test for autoimmunity before the full-blown cascade of decline manifests in your body.  

It is estimated that there are 70 to 80 million people with autoimmunity right now in the United States. That's about 22% to 25% of our population. But only about 24 million of these people have been diagnosed. That's a whole lot of people walking around not feeling well and not knowing why! I encourage you to pick up a copy of The Autoimmune Fix to better understand, prevent, and treat both hidden autoimmunity and full-fledged autoimmune disease. 

Here is my recipe for spiced tigernut cookies, which can also be found in The Autoimmune Fix on page 276. Tigernuts are actually small tubers that are ground into a delicious flour, which is perfect for baking. Tigernut flour is high in prebiotic fibers that feed beneficial microbes in the gut. It's one thing to take a probiotic or eat fermented foods, and another to actually feed them everyday with fibers that we can't digest....but they can! Good bacteria in the gut will grow into healthy colonies with the right foods. These gut bacteria enjoy the fibers and resistant starches from tubers, root vegetables, legumes, plantains, and other plant foods, and then release, through their own digestion, short chain fatty acids (which then nourish the cells lining the gut), B vitamins, the amino acid tryptophan, and digestive enzymes to break down other parts of your meal! Beneficial gut microbes regulate immune cell function to help your immune system stay calm and not overreact (such as in autoimmunity). So each and everyday, remember you are not only nourishing your body with good foods, but also your microbial colonies that live in your gut. What have you eaten today to nourish your microbes? :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa Recipe


It's tomato season and I bet many of you are searching for more ways to preserve the tomato harvest! Last year I had a bumper crop of roma tomatoes so I created this really easy fire-roasted tomato salsa recipe as a way to preserve the harvest. I had my freezer stocked full of salsa in various sized jars that we enjoyed through the winter months. I'm really happy to finally be sharing my recipe with you. It's a mix of roasted tomatoes and other raw ingredients, creating a nutrient-packed condiment!

Roasting tomatoes under the broiler brings out a stunning, sweet caramelized flavor, which adds depth and complexity to your salsa. It also releases some of the liquid in the tomatoes so your salsa does't end up too watery.

If you are looking for other ways to preserve your tomato harvest then you might want to try my Homemade Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce recipe, or simply freeze your tomatoes whole (stems removed). I like to take whole frozen roma tomatoes and soak them in hot water for a few minutes. This allows their skins to slip right off. Then I chop them up and add them to soups and stews in the wintertime.

Enjoy this flavorful salsa recipe with homemade gluten-free Brown Rice Flour Tortillas, cooked beans or meat, guacamole, and thinly sliced fresh greens.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes (grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free)


If you are in need of a chocolate fix or are looking for a dessert to impress your guests, then try this easy recipe for flourless, grain-free molten chocolate lava cakes! They are so simple and so tasty. You can even store the batter in the refrigerator and then cook one or two at a time, as needed. I like to serve them with crushed, freeze-dried raspberries or strawberries for an appealing presentation. Crushed, freeze-dried fruit also makes a great replacement for colorful sprinkles on children's treats (like cupcakes or birthday cakes)!

I tested this recipe many times last winter using different types of chocolate chips with varying levels of cacao content. I found that organic 55% chocolate chips (semi-sweet) worked best. The darker chocolate produced a very strong chocolate flavor.....too much for me (and too much of a buzz). You can of course test this recipe with darker chocolate and then report back here in the comments on how it turned out if you'd like!

The batter for these cakes can be made ahead of time and then baked just before they are ready to serve, in fact, that is the only way to make them as they need to be served warm for the "molten effect." I bake them in small glass Pyrex custard cups set on a cookie sheet or baking pan. You should be able to find them at your local grocery store or kitchen store, if not you can order them here. You will need six custard cups for this recipe.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Homemade Herbed Sea Salt Recipe (Herbamare)


If you have not already noticed, I absolutely love Herbamare! It is a fantastic replacement for salt or bouillon in savory recipes because it adds flavor without adding as much sodium. By replacing some of the salt with savory herbs and vegetables, you can naturally reduce the sodium while increasing the depth of flavors in your meals. Additionally, the kelp, herbs, and vegetables add important trace minerals, beneficial plant compounds, and pre-biotic fibers that feed the good bacteria in your gut.

Last year I began making my own homemade herbed sea salt recipe to mimic Herbamare. This helps save money and, if you have a garden, helps preserve some of your herb and vegetable harvest! It is so incredibly easy to make once you gather up all of the ingredients. You will just need a food processor or high-powered blender. And, if you don't have all of the ingredients don't worry! This recipe is very forgiving. Experiment with different dried herbs to get the flavor you like best. You can even make a spicy sea salt by including some dried chilies and black pepper!

This homemade herbed sea salt is one of the new recipes I added to the revised edition of my Nourishing Meals book. Use it in soups and stews, on top of scrambled eggs, sprinkled over mashed avocado on toast, use it to make roasted chicken taste amazing, and in any other savory recipe.