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