Monthly Archives: October 2013

Healthy Happy Liver

Right now I’m taking a herbal medicine class at school and I am LOVING it! It has been so interesting learning about the power of herbs! One class I enjoyed in particular was all about digestion (I have celiac… AKA I have major digestive problems!). The class discussed the use of bitter herbs and how they stimulate the production of digestive juices as well as aid the liver in detoxification. I feel like we can all use a little help in the digestive/ detox department!

Unfortunately, because of its unpleasant taste (to most people), we have almost eliminated bitter tastes completely from our western diet. It’s such a shame too because some of the most common diseases, such as indigestion, acid reflux, any digestive issues and most metabolic disorders are derived from the lack of bitter in our diet.

Interested in adding a little bitter back into you life? A few examples you should try:

  • Arugula, kale, dandelion and endive is a great addition to any salad
  • Cacao- not to be confused with a bar of chocolate 😉
  • Sesame seeds, sesame oil
  • Cumin, turmeric

Easy enough right!

I’m currently doing a liver detox with some friends from school as well as the man friend. Although I believe the body is made to detox itself, I also recognize we live in a much more toxic environment than ever before so a little help never hurt!

We aren’t doing anything too extreme just a herbal detox with a simple diet. We created a herbal tincture to help us detox and support our livers through the process, it contains:

  • Dandelion root- great for liver detox! helps stimulate the secretion of bile
  • Milk thistle-great to help increase the secretion and flow of bile from the liver and gall-bladder
  • Licorice- an all around super herb! Licorice is a great adaptogen used to help the body adapt and deal with stresses, it also contains anti-inflammatory and anti- spasmodic actions which are all great for the digestive system because as we all know stress causes inflammation and also has a huge impact on our gut health.
  • Schizandra berry- another adaptogen known for its amazing health and body regulating abilities. Also known as a whole body tonic.
  • Turmeric- the super herb! Honestly turmeric has so many amazing properties it’s hard to do it justice. Turmeric is a carminative meaning it helps relieve gas and bloating, it stimulates bile production in the liver, is anti-inflammatory to the mucus membranes that line our GI tract, is anti-spasmodic to help decrease digestive/menstrual cramps…. Basically it’s the best, and it’s super yummy-bonus!

The diet we are following for the detox is merely a whole food, no sugar (including honey, maple syrup and molasses), no dairy, no gluten, no booze (duh!) diet. We are doing the detox for 2 weeks total so I’ll keep you posted on how I’m feeling! Right now I’m on day 3 and I have to say I’m HANGRY! I’m definitely having some sugar cravings but I know those will pass…I’m excited to see how I feel at the end. Wish me luck!

So what will I be eating during this 2 week period? Well , lots of fresh fruit and veggies, quinoa, organic meat and eggs, nuts, seeds and lots of avocado 🙂 It’s actually been really delicious so far!

I’m also trying to add as many greens as possible, I have been using 2 different products to try and make this easier. The first is called organic greens + and the second is vega’s chlorella. During the winter I sometimes struggle to find good quality organic greens, these definitely make life easier. Both are amazing sources of chlorophyll, protein, vitamins and minerals- sounds great to me!

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To make life a little easier for the man friend I made him some portable protein bars as well as a breakfast bake, both loaded with quinoa and hemp hearts to help him feel extra satisfied.

Apple cinnamon quinoa bake:

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2 cups cooked quinoa

1 tbsp coconut oil

3 apples chopped

1 ½ tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

½ cup chopped walnuts

3 eggs

1 cup almond milk

¼ cup hemp hearts

¼ cup chopped dates

Cook the apples in coconut oil over medium high heat on the stove with the cinnamon and the dates. While that’s cooking whisk the eggs with the vanilla and slowly add in the cooked quinoa. Once the apples are cooked, add them to the quinoa egg mixture and stir in the walnuts and hemp hearts. Pour into a greased casserole dish and bake at 350 for about 40 minutes. Serve with a big dollup of almond butter for a super filling yummy breakfast

Next up

Almond butter quinoa protein bars:

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2 cups cooked quinoa

¾ cup almond butter

1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2cup sunflower seeds

1/2cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 hemp hearts

¼ – 1/2 cup chopped dates

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

Heat the almond butter in a pot on the stove over medium heat, once warm and gooey stir in the vanilla, cinnamon, quinoa, seeds, nuts and dates and stir until well combined.  Pour dough into parchment lined casserole dish and press down firmly. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes; allow bars to cool completely before cutting. The bars will be quite crumbly so I keep them wrapped individually in the freezer for easy grab and go convenience.

I used walnuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds because that’s what I had on hand but feel free to use whatever mix-ins you want.

Hope you enjoy!

 

I should also add a little note: if you’re preggo, be cautious with bitters because they have the ability to cause uterine contractions which is obviously not a good thing until you close to your due date!

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Tasty Tuesday- It’s all about balance

It’s no surprise that I have a killer sweet tooth, although I enjoy whipping up a nice dinner, I LOVE making treaties. I try to balance my meals as best as possible, AKA make sure I get a get enough veggies and fruit in before I indulge. For this weeks Tasty Tuesday I decided to balance a healthy salad with a tasty treat 🙂

First up, a steak salad with pomegranate rosemary dressing, very random but super delicious.

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1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp water

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp creamy dijon mustard

1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

Blend all ingredients together until the seeds are pulverized.

Next up is another super random but equally delicious treaty. No bake chocolate peanut butter coconut bars… these come together in about 5 minutes, which is perfect for those spur of the moment sweet tooth cravings

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Bottom layer:

1/4 cup coconut flakes (un-sulphered)

1/4 cup almond flour

2 tbsp peanut butter

1 tbsp cacao powder

1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup

Middle layer:

1/4 cup peanut butter

1 tbsp molasses

2 tbsp maple syrup

1/2 cup flaked cereal of choice (I used gluten free mesa sunrise)

Top layer:

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1 tsp coconut oil

Bottom layer: mix all ingredients together and press in the bottom of a wax paper lined tupperware container or small loaf pan.

Middle layer: over medium high heat melt the peanut butter together with the molasses and maples syrup. Once combined stir in the cereal crushing as you go. Once adequately mixed together add on top of the bottom layer.

Top layer: Melt the chocolate chips and coconut together in a double boiler over simmering water until properly melted, pour over other layers and place in fridge or freezer until fully set then slice and devour 🙂

Life is all about balance: I try to eat 80 % healthy and clean and 20% indulgent and delicious :)… sometimes It ends up more like 70/30 or 60/40 but were all human right 😉

Hope you enjoy both of these Tasty Tuesday Treaties

Leftover love

Although I didn’t cook thanksgiving diner at my home this year I was still left with some leftovers, mainly a large half can of pumpkin puree. I spent quite a while contemplating its use… smoothie, pancakes, waffles, muffins, scones, donuts however, when I discovered I hadn’t made anything for dinner yet its fate was decided. Apart from the pumpkin soup the other week I have never cooked any savoury dishes with pumpkin so I thought it may be a fun challenge. What resulted was honestly one of the best dishes I have ever eaten 🙂

Pumpkin chicken chili! It was so so easy and super delicious

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1 onion diced

1 green pepper diced

1 can of diced tomatoes

about 1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree but really any amount will probably do

2 heaping tbsp chilli powder

2 heaping tbsp cumin

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 heaping tbsp almond butter

I used 4 large chicken breasts

1/2 cup white wine (I had some left over, you could use chicken broth alternatively)

Grab your slow cooker, dump in your wine (or broth), tomatoes, pumpkin, onions, peppers, chilli powder, cumin, cinnamon, garlic powder and salt and stir until combined. Add in the chicken breasts and make sure they are covered well. Turn on heat to either low for 6-8 hours depending on your cooker or as I did high for 4 hours. At about 3 1/2 hours in I  removed the chicken, shredded it with two forks, stirred in the 2 tablespoons of almond butter and added back the shredded chicken for another 30 minutes or so. Serve it up with some chopped avocado and your good to go!

If you ask me this is the perfect chilli, the cinnamon gives it real warmth and the almond butter gives it some added creamy depth. I am personally not a huge bean gal (even though I know all about their health benefits) but if you’d like to throw some black beans and maybe some corn in i’m sure it would taste wicked.

Hope you enjoy!

Thanksgiving: Tasty Tuesday

I hope everyone had an amazing thanksgiving weekend. Over here in Vancouver we were blessed with an absolutely gorgeous crispy weekend which led to lots of outdoor fun 🙂 So much to be grateful for!

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As well as relaxing, hiking, running and shopping I managed to squeeze in some cooking and baking 🙂

For this tasty tuesday I have 2 yummy treats to share.

First up are carrot, raisin, walnut muffins

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2 cups almond flour

1 tsp baking soda

pinch of all spice

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp fresh ground cloves

1 cup grated carrots

1/2 cups raisins (pre-soaked for at least 15 minutes, then drained)

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup apple sauce

1/4 cup coconut oil melted

3 eggs

mix dry ingredients, mix wet ingredients… add wet to dry. Bake 350 for 25-30 minutes

Up next was my addition to this years thanksgiving dinner: Raw pumpkin cheesecake

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Crust:

3/4 cup almonds

3/4 cup pitted dates

Blend in food processor until coarse grains. Press mixture into a wax paper lined baking pan, place in freezer while preparing filling.

Filling:

1 1/2 cup raw cashews (soaked over night and then drained)

juice of 2 fresh lemons

1 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup melted coconut oil

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg

pinch of allspice

1/4 tsp ginger

in a powerful blender (I used my vitamix) blend the cashews, lemon, coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Pour about 1/3 of the mixture into the cake pan. Add the pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger to the blender and blend until thoroughly combined. Pour the remaining mixture into the cake pan and place in freezer to let set. Take out of the freezer about 15 minutes before serving, hope you enjoy!

Fall in full swing

Hi Hi,

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I don’t know about you but when I think of fall I think crisp air, changing leaves, warm sweaters, boots, soups, stews and hot mugs of tea (herbal of course 😉 ). This week’s Tasty Tuesday is a super simple pumpkin soup that I whipped up last minute with only a few things I had on hand (read: to lazy to get my butt to the grocery store). I opened up my pantry and saw a can of pumpkin, a can of full fat coconut milk, some quinoa, some thai green curry paste and cinnamon and thought hmm why not!

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I simmered the pumpkin, coconut milk, and a few tablespoons of thai green curry paste (depending on your spice preference) over medium heat while I cooked up about 1 cup quinoa separately. Once the quinoa was cooked I added it to the soup along with some chopped chicken, salt, and a few shakes of cinnamon. As weird as this combo seems it was crazy delicious! There is tons of pumpkin around this time of year I suggest you all go out and give this a try 🙂

And just because I enjoy a little sweet treatie with my afternoon tea I thought i’d share my latest obsession 🙂

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Peanut butter coconut cookies:

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup un-sulfured coconut flakes

1/2 cup almond flour

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 egg

1tsp cinnamon

1 tsp flax seed meal.

Mix everything together well and drop the sticky dough on a sheet of parchment paper and bake for 12-15 minutes at 350

Hope you enjoy!

 

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