Posts Tagged ‘vegan’
Some time this week my son stopped eating bananas. It has happened before. Luckily the past boycotts haven’t lasted more than a week or two. However, in the short term, I have been collecting the peeled and barely eaten pieces of fruit and turning them into simple smoothies. Today’s recipe:
- H2O : 6 oz
- Hemp seeds : 2 Tbs
- Banana : 1
- Kale : 1 leaf
- Raw Honey : 1 Tbs
- Vanilla : Splash
Blend in high-powered blender and serve. If using regular blender, strain before serving. Even though my son is 19 months old, I use a bottle for smoothies(just cut the nipple hole bigger). It’s easier and less of mess than him trying to drink from a regular cup and I don’t have to ruin his sippy cups by making the holes big.
I love sunflower seed butter, aka sunbutter. These tiny seeds are the most concentrated source of our body’s primary fat-soluble antioxidant: vitamin E. Vitamin E is a potent anti-inflammatory with great cardiovascular benefits, plus it’s wonderful for your skin! Interestingly enough, some of the symptoms of vitamin E deficiency are digestive problems and nutrient malabsoption. If you are like me, the last thing you need is another factor contributing to digestive woes or anemia.
Sunflower seed butter is a great nut-butter alternative for those with allergies or people looking to diversify the nutrient content of their diet. My son’s daycare is entirely “nut-free” so I use sunflower seed butter or tahini often as a sandwich-filler.
Unfortunately most of the store bought sunflower seed butter is expensive and contains added sugar. My favorite store bought variety is the Organic Sunbutter because it’s unsweetened and very creamy. However, I almost always end up whipping up my own version of the spread using a mix of roasted and raw sunflower seeds. Trader Joe’s carries one pound bags of roasted and unsalted sunflower seeds for less than $2.00! The salted sunflower seeds often have way too much salt to make a palatable butter. You can also roast your own if you like.
My simple recipe:
- 1 lb Roasted Unsalted Sunflower Seeds
- 1/2 Cup Raw Sunflower Seeds (hulled of course)
- 1-2 TBS Virgin Coconut Oil (you could sub any oil or try without as well)
Whir all ingredients like crazy in your trusty food processor. When making nut or seed butter, I’ve found that you just have to be patient. Sometimes you need a little more oil to get the spread going. You could also use a Vitamix or Blendtech type high speed blender. I prefer to use the food processor because it’s easier to get nut/seed butters out after you make them.
Kale is such a nutritional superstar that it has an ANDI score of 1000, meaning that it contains the highest nutrient content per calorie of any food (along with other leafy greens like collards, mustard greens, and watercress). In addition, it is an excellent source of the often overlooked Vitamin K, which is poised to become the next nutrient media darling, (move over Vitamin D).
Kale is truly a superfood, but it’s a cruciferous vegetable and should be cooked. Like soy, raw cruciferous vegetables contain goitrogens that disrupt thyroid function. While consumption of goitrogens by those with robust thyroids might not pose any harm, a large number of individuals have compromised, undiagnosed, or subclinical thyroid issues. The simple act of cooking lessens the presence of goitrogens, increases the bioavailability of some nutrients, and helps break down the insoluble fiber for easier digestion. This last point is especially helpful if you (like me) have difficulty breaking down roughage. It is also important to remember to consume good quality fats along with vegetables to ensure the absorption of fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K).
- 16 oz Kale (frozen or fresh)
- 1/2 cup veg broth
- 1/3 cup raw brazil nuts
- 1 Tbs nutritional yeast
- 1 white or yellow onion
- 3-5 mushrooms*
- dash of granulated garlic
My husband and toddler likes this mixed in with quinoa. I like it thinned out as a base for soup. The possibilities are endless!
*I often use fancy dehydrated mushroom mixes and add them in with fresh mushrooms. Just rehydrate the mushrooms first to use in this recipe. To rehydrate, place mushrooms in a boil and cover with hot water. Let mushrooms sit for a couple hours before use. Alternatively you can cover with room temperature water and let sit overnight in the fridge. I’ve found that they often need a long soak time or they will be a bit rubbery.
I got the idea for “baby shakes” from Natalia Rose’s website. She has a wonderful community forum that I joined a few years ago. Now that my baby is a toddler (he turned one at the end of March!) and drinking from a sippy cup, I thought I’d create my own little nutrient-packed smoothies.
- 1/4 Cup sunflower seeds
- 1 Cup water (filtered if you need to)
- 4-5 Frozen strawberries (organic is best, conventional strawberries have tons of pesticides)
- 1/4 Frozen wild blueberries
- 1 tps raw local honey (omit if baby is less than 1 year)
Blend the sunflower seeds with the water at high speed first to make sunflower milk. (I find this really tastey by itself). Then add berries and honey. A high-powered blender (like a vitamix or blend-tec) makes this a much smoother, less seed-filled drink. If you don’t have a high-speed blender, you will probably need to strain out the seeds. I’m excited about starting smoothies and can’t wait to add some greens and avocados too!
*This probably goes without saying, but this recipe makes a yummy, nutrient-dense adult beverage as well!
I’ve been struck by how much press has been devoted to Natalie Portman’s decision to give up being vegan during pregnancy. I guess the media loves a good story, but the hype on this does seem a little out of proportion.
We definitely live a world where everyone and everything is defined by sound bite adjectives. We’re all on information overload and in order to keep up we generalize, compartmentalize, and abbreviate. It’s easier to think of a “healthy lifestyle” as something defined by a set of rigid principles and apply the label to yourself (be it vegan, raw, 80/10, paleo, etc.). I realized awhile ago that I needed to get past this line of thinking, a difficult process in that it’s been my rationale for more than half my life. Is avoiding animal products better for the planet, YES! BUT, there are no gold stars awarded for living 100% vegan or raw. This is not my path to enlightenment.
But back to the Natalie Portman story… According to the articles, one reason she started eating eggs is that she craved baked goods from regular bakeries. I also went through the starchy-sweet phase for quite a long time. I had no idea how much the hormones would throw off my regular pattern of eating. The very sight of salad during my first trimester made me nauseous. To trick myself into eating veggies, I had to steam them until they were limp and then slather them in soy-free Earth Balance. For a week during our team cross country camp in Bend, my diet staple was gluten-free banana bread from Strictly Organic Coffee. I even stock-piled it to take back to Portland. I also craved whole milk yogurt, hormone-free rotisserie chicken from Zupan’s, the occassional scrambled egg and more sweet potatos than I ever thought possible to consume.
Whether it’s our bodies telling us we need iron, protein or some other nutrient combination, I think it’s best just to go with what sounds good… especially if it isn’t just fast-food and jello! Labels can wait, they will always be there in case we want to run back to them.
Let me just start by saying that I LOVE granola. And in case you’ve been wondering about the name for my blog, it’s a reference to an old nickname of mine growing up. One of the hardest things over the years about being Gluten Free: encountering those big glass jars in coffeehouses filled with their house-made granola. I’ve concocted a number of different versions over the years. It lends itself well to my style in the kitchen… I prefer pours and splashes, pinches and spoonfuls over scientific measurements. Unlike a souffle, granola is more art than science. So don’t be afraid to experiment according to your tastes. That is all part of it’s rugged, satisfying beauty.
This time I decided to write down one of my favorite variations… it makes a very satisfying, fragrant and chunky snack. Dainty starchy sweets just don’t do it for me… which is why giving up oats was such a hardship. After having a bad reaction to GF oats a few years ago, I hadn’t tried them again until recently when standing in the Gluten-Free aisle at New Seasons, I picked up the GF Oats and read and saw that they were ELISA Tested. This convinced me to give them another shot. I’ve been really craving something something chewy and hearty lately… the perfect fiber-rich topping for coconut milk yogurt!
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl with a big spoon:
- 6 Cups GF Oats (like Bob’s Red Mill or Gifts of Nature)
- 1 1/2 Cups Raw Buckwheat Groats
- 1 C Raw Walnut Halves, broken by hand into large pieces
- 1 C Coconut Flakes (I like the large flat flakes best)
- 1/2 C Raw Sunflower Seeds
- 1/2 C Raw, Unhulled Sesame Seeds
- 6 Tbs Chia Seeds
- 3 Tbs Cinamon
- 2 tps Ground Celtic Sea Salt
Whisk wet ingredients into a small sauce pan on low heat until well combined:
- 3/4 C Raw Local Honey (if you don’t eat honey you can sub Agave Nectar)
- 3/4 C Real Maple Syrup Grade B
- 1/2 C Virgin Coconut Oil*
- 1/4 C Expeller Pressed Oil (Canola, Sunflower, Grapeseed, Safflower)
- 1/4 C Almond milk (coconut or rice work too)
Pour the warmed wet-ingredient mixture over the dry ingredients and mix well with a big spoon. Spread batch evenly between two ungreased 9×13 cookie sheets. I use the silicone mats on my cookie sheets, but it isn’t necessary at all. Bake sheets at 325 F for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and stir granola to provide even browning. Place trays back in oven with bottom tray now on the top. Bake again at 225 for 12 minutes. If you want to add any dried fruit, add now. Bake another 10-12 minutes at 225 F. Turn off oven, open door and let sit for 30 minutes to an hour. This will make the granola harden enough to be chunky. When ready, break into chunks and put in storage containers. YUM!!
*If you are like my husband Ian and don’t like coconut, leave out the coconut flakes and substitute in Soy-Free Earthbalance for the Coconut Oil. If you do this, you probably won’t need to add the salt.
I got home earlier than usual after my acupuncture appointment today I decided to make my husband something for dessert. He is omitting gluten for two-weeks after years of my nudging. He has a number of digestive problems (we are perfect for each other), but his seem to be related to running and the jarring effect that it has on his intestines. Anyways, I just have always thought that it was worth him giving it a try. And talk about a change in lifestyle for a man who considers himself a foremost authority on bagels.
These treats are a much healthier alternative to the classic recipe. You could really add any nuts or dried fruit that you like, and even pieces of dark chocolate!
Brown Rice Almond Crispies
- 1 tsp virgin coconut oil
- 1 C Brown Rice Syrup (I like Lundberg
- 4 Tbs Almond Butter
- 2 tsp Vanilla
- 1/2 C Unhulled Sesame Seeds
- 1/3 C Almond Meal
- 6 C Brown Rice Cereal- Gluten Free (make sure you check b/c they often contain barley malt)
Put coconut oil in Large Pot on the stove on low heat. Add Syrup and almond butter and melt together. When fully combined, add in Sesame Seeds and Almond Meal. Turn heat off , add Vanilla, and stir well. Add in Cereal and mix to coat thoroughly. Wet hands and pat mixture into 9 x 13″ pan. Cool at room temperature to let set. Cut when cool.
For a more decadent dessert: melt dark chocolate in a double boiler (place bowl over pot of simmering water). Pour dark chocolate over the rice crispies and let cool to set up.
Last night I made Pumpkin Seed butter. I needed an iron boost… (this will be a whole other post) and pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of iron! So you may be asking yourself, what do you do with pumpkin seed butter? Well, just about anything that you would normally do with peanut or almond butter. I have a terrible habit of eating nut butters out of jars with spoons. I’ve been doing this since I was little. And I’ve gotten more than a few friends and roommates begrudgingly hooked on the habit over the years.
This pumpkin seed butter is an excellent additive to smoothies and also a great ingredient in raw energy bars like the ones in the Thrive Diet book. I like to make variations on Brendan Brazier’s bar recipes and keep them wrapped in wax paper in the freezer for snacking and quick breakfasts.
So to make the pumpkin seed butter…
Soak the desired amount of seeds for at least an hour. (you don’t HAVE to soak them, but they will blend easier and break down more easily in your digestive system).
- Add pumpkin seeds (2-3 cups) to food processor or high powered blender. (I love my 3HP K-Tech)
- Add sweetener to taste (suggestions include: local raw honey, raw agave, grade B maple syrup, or stevia)
- Add a few pinches of salt (use Celtic sea salt or Himalayan pink salt for added minerals)
- You may need to add a little coconut oil or water for added creaminess when blending especially if using stevia.
The chart above is from the World’s Healthiest Foods, they are a great resource for nutrition information on plant-based foods: www.whfoods.com
It’s Monday and I have a headache. OK, maybe it’s not really a headache… maybe it’s just that I have an endorphine hangover from the excitement and stress of last week’s events and I need a vacation.
Well, after going downstairs for a hit of Americano (bad!) and snack, I realized that I really take the Lärabar for granted.
Lärabars are always there when you need them. They are my food in a pinch. These bars are vegan and have no gluten, no soy, no gmo’s, and are only sweetened with fruit. Except for the newer Peanut Butter Cookie flavor, they are completely raw. (I don’t eat peanuts for other reasons though). All the flavors even have fewer than 6 ingredients. How many other foods can say that?
They also make a great bar to take on the road for a recovery food. Every ingredient is a food in a recognizable state to your body! That means less waist to build up and process and the more nutrients the body can absorb from the food. Reading the ingredients for most “energy bars” is a frightening and (hopefully) sobering moment. I wish people would stop to realize that if they can’t pronounce something, they probably shouldn’t be eating it.
My Favorites: Cherry Pie (cherries have been proven to have anti-inflammatory properties, so great after exercise!), Pistachio, Cinnamon Roll and Jocolat Chocolate Hazelnut.
One upside about the company being bought out by General Mills is that you can find them everywhere from cafeterias to gas stations. And as anyone with food allergies or restrictions can relate to: they mean not having to go hungry. So, thank you Lärabars. I owe you more than one.
Dark chocolate is my favorite dessert. Often I have a double whammy of my homemade cocoa with a few squares of premium chocolate. The irony is that I never liked chocolate until after I discovered that I was allergic to gluten. I’m not sure why, I just hated the waxy consistency and felt like it was over-dominant and overly sweet. Even as a child I always gravitated to the more subtle flavors like cinnamon or vanilla.
Actually what made the difference was all the chocolate research and tasting that I did for my cookie recipes. I became obsessed with chocolate production, with cocoa mass content, with the purity of the ingredients and with the absence of soy lecithin…. something that I very much contribute (along with low quality milk solids) to the waxiness of my childhood Halloween candies.
It’s no secret that cacao is a superfood. The bean is high in antioxidants and a delicious source of minerals… including IRON. Next time you are shopping for dark chocolate, look at the nutrition label and check the iron count. The brands vary, but all the bars that have a high cocoa content should supply a really decent amount of iron! It by far my favorite iron-rich foods… pumpkin seeds are second!
So, I thought I would share some of my favorite eating and baking chocolates…. (a note of disclaimer: the darker the better for me!) And although there are some lovely raw chocolates, they don’t have the complexity of flavor that I find from some of these amazing chocolate gurus. Here are my faves in order for least intense to most hard-hitting.
Small chocolate producer in the Bay area. These are the big chips I used in the Sift Bakery Double Chocolate cookies. They are organic and Fair Trade Certified, vegan and soy free! They have a number of other quality items too. These were my snack during long days at the bakery!
Just the right amount of bitter bite and smooooth. When this goes on sale at New Seasons, I buy a case full. This bar is truly astounding. Organic with just three ingredients: cocoa mass, cocoa butter, raw cane sugar. They have an Allergy note on the website, saying that the machines are cleaned to a very high standard. I have never had a problem with these and I am very sensitive. There are many other chocolate bars that I’ve tried and won’t eat again because of reactions, but these feel very clean to my system. Chock it up to German fastidiousness.
This company is from Seattle and it rocks. The Origin Bars all have distinct flavors, like fine wines or coffees where you feel you are tasting the nuances in the soils from different regions of the world. hmmm. And 91% is just hardcore, but not bitter. I love it. The higher the cocoa content, the less I feel like I need to satisfy the jones. No soy, no dairy, it’s beautiful!
OK, I admit that 99% cocoa content sounds extreme, and maybe it is… but this bar is sweeter than expected. The first time I bought a tiny square of it at Portland’s chocolate boutique (HEAVEN) Cacao, I was expecting it to taste like chomping on a square of baker’s chocolate. Was I wrong! The Noir Infini is an intense experience and not for the mainstream snicker’s addict… but it is a cocao-lover’s dream. In addition to a tiny amount of sugar, it contains bourbon vanilla, a hint of orange and undisclosed spices. Lucky for me I can’t taste the orange, I just taste intensity.
Here’s my cocoa recipe again:
1-2 TBS Raw Cocoa (I love Nativas Naturals)
pinch celtic sea salt
2 packets stevia (I love NuNaturals)
6-8 oz Hot H2O
2 oz Coconut Milk (like SoDelicious- I use the unsweetened)
optional: sprinkle of cayenne or cinnamon or both!