sugar-free

Blueberry Basil Smoothie

I've been on a simplistic approach to meals these days. Lots of smoothies and simple vegetable bowls (I will share a few more of these recipes soon). It works quite well with my busy schedule and being on my feet all day. I like the lightness of these meals so I can continue energized throughout the day. 

Being able to digest our food is so important, but it's hard to do so when we're rushed and adrenaline is going. When we don't digest our food properly, our bodies respond with bloatedness, gassiness, heartburn, and feeling overall uncomfortable. 

Feeling like this after every meal is not ideal for anyone. I personally went years feeling like crap after every time I ate thinking it was normal. When we're bloated and gassy, our bodies are stressed and expanding tons of energy to try to get back to a relaxed state. Proper digestion itself takes up a lot of energy, that's why when we eat large meals, we feel tired afterwards and it can be hard to think. Not super ideal for midday when there's still lots of energy to expand on other things. Eating wisely is key! 

There are things that could help digestion such as sitting down for a meal in a quiet place away from all electronic devices, breathing deeply before and during meals, eating lighter meals, drinking your meals (blended foods are predigested for us!), avoiding fluids with your solid meals (unless drinking your meal, of course), avoid foods that cause you bloatedness and indigestion (usually processed foods, refined sugars, processed and inorganic dairy, gluten (for some), and fast food), and chewing your food! We undermine chewing and it's key for proper digestion. 

Below is one of the quick smoothies I've been making for myself while the delicious berry season continues. Try it yourself. Feel free to add raw seeds, nuts, or your favorite organic plant-based protein powder for extra protein. 

What do you do to stay nourished in the midst of your busy schedule?

Ingredients

2 cups frozen wild blueberries

1/2 cup fresh blackberries (or berries of choice)

1 cup raw coconut water

andful fresh basil leaves (about 1 cup, or more to taste)

1 Tablespoon sunflower seed butter (Homemade recipe here)

1 teaspoon raw honey

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Pinch of sea salt

Procedure

  1. Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Top with extra blueberries or berries of choice. 

 

Captures of Valentine’s Day Chocolate Making Workshop

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There’s no such thing as getting your hands dirty when it comes to chocolate. But if there were, I guess you could say that’s how we spent our Valentine’s Day. At the Chocolate Making Workshop we made rose and fig truffles, chai spiced chocolate mousse, and dark chocolate bark. Everyone got to build their own dark chocolate bark with nuts, seeds, fruit, and superfood powders. There was a lot of love in the air (and in the chocolate) on Saturday! We’re grateful for everyone’s great energy and company.

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Caramel Apple Smoothie

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Ah, I love thriving off whole foods! Don't you? The best thing about eating unrefined whole foods is creating your favorite flavors without harming your health, and instead, providing a nutrient-rich and tasty experience. It's a win-win if you ask me. I hope you enjoy this guilt-free sweetness! I encourage you to play with the ingredients to adjust flavor to your liking.

Ingredients

1 large apple, cored and chopped

2 cups nut milk of choice

2 Medjool dates, pitted

1 Tablespoon homemade sunflower seed butter (Or almond butter)

1 Tablespoon chia seeds

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon Levity (Red Asparagus Root from Longevity Power), optional but has a caramel-like taste

Pinch of sea salt

CaramelAppleSmoothie

Procedure

  1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

Serves 1

 

X,

Giovanna

Strawberry-Tahini Milkshake {dairy-free}

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While I prepare pumpkin everything for my upcoming fall brunch club, I'm also still holding on to summer for as long as I can. When strawberry season was at it's peak, I loaded up on them every time I visited the farmers market and froze them so I could later use them for delicious recipes such as my simple strawberry-matcha sorbet and this milkshake/smoothie I'm about to share with you.

I just love using strawberries in my smoothies since they give it just enough sweetness and add anti-inflammatory and skin nourishing properties. Tahini also provides tons of health properties. It is made out of sesame seeds, which are an excellent source of copper, selenium, manganese, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and fiber. All these minerals are important for many functions of the body, but especially nourish the skin, bones, and aid with PMS. Tahini is also a great source of plant-based protein, which stabilizes blood sugar and will leave you feeling satisfied.

I hope you enjoy this taste of summer as we move into the chillier days. Perfect for breakfast, snack, or dessert.

strawberry-tahini smoothie 1

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries

2 Tablespoons tahini

1 cup coconut milk (or any nut milk of choice)

1 teaspoon raw maca powder, optional

1/2 teaspoon ground vanilla bean

1 drop vanilla stevia (I use Omica Organics brand) or 1 teaspoon raw honey

Pinch of cinnamon

Pinch of sea salt

Procedure

  1. Blend all ingredients together until smooth.
  2. Top with toppings of choice: shredded coconut, bee pollen, sliced strawberries, cinnamon

Serves 1

Enjoy! x

 

 

 

Strawberry-Matcha Sorbet

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I used to love ice cream and sorbet growing up. It was my treat of choice (after chocolate, of course). I love being able to make my own now that is both delicious and good for me. Completely guilt free!

I created this recipe for the lovely Oh My Drifter, and she photographed it. Treat yourself to this simple and refreshing recipe. 

Ingredients

– 1 cup frozen strawberries
– 1 teaspoon matcha green tea powder
– 1-2 medjool dates
– 1/3 cup coconut water
– Juice of 1/2 lemon
– Pinch of sea salt

Procedure

1. Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. You might need to stop blender and use a spatula to push ingredients down from time to time (if using a Vitamix, just use the tamper to keep things moving).

2. Once smooth, place in the freezer for about 20 minutes to firm up, sprinkle on your favorite toppings (we used coconut flakes), then enjoy!

Enjoy!

Homemade Coconut Milk + Coconut Milk Kefir

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You've probably heard me talk about probiotics already. Perhaps here. In my opinion, most health problems and symptoms are due to poor digestive system (gut) health. Since 70% of our immune system is located in our gut, when one system is compromised, so is the other. This is why I highly recommend eating fermented foods daily that contain probiotics to heal and repair imbalances in the gut. Examples of these foods include: coconut kefir, coconut yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, fermented vegetables, and coconut water kefir.

One way I get my probiotics is from delicious homemade coconut milk kefir. It's tart and perfect to drink by itself, blended in smoothies, or added to a bowl of fresh fruit and seeds.

Here I will show you how to make the coconut milk first, then the kefir using the milk. I hope you enjoy this easy but healing process.

coconut kefir

Homemade Coconut Milk

Ingredients

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

3 cups filtered or spring water

Vanilla flavor (optional)

1 teaspoon vanilla powder or extract

Pinch of stevia or raw honey

Procedure

  1. Blend ingredients in blender until smooth, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Strain with a nut milk bag or fine mesh strainer. Squeeze solids to get all liquid out.
  3. Blend coconut milk with vanilla and sweetener if flavoring.
  4. Place in a glass bottle/jar and store in refrigerator.
Coconut Milk Kefir

Ingredients

3 cups homemade coconut milk (or 2 cans 'Native Forest' full-fat coconut milk - BPA free)

2 probiotic capsules

Procedure

  1. Blend coconut milk to get rid of any solid pieces.
  2. Place in a jar large enough to fit all of the milk and have some space at the top (you may also separate milk into two smaller jars). Mix in probiotics (open capsule and only use powder) with a wooden spoon. Avoid using metal because it kills probiotic bacteria, and avoid blending at high speed.
  3. Cover loosely and place in oven with pilot light on (do not turn on the oven!). Let sit for 24-48 hours, until it has reached your desired tartness. Taste it at 24 hours with a wooden or plastic spoon.
  4. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Good for up to 3 weeks.

Makes 3 cups 

I would love to hear in the comments from you about how your coconut milk & kefir turned out.

xo,

Giovanna

 

Dairy Alternatives + Cashew Cream Recipe

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Like most foods, dairy has it's controversies. Is it good or bad? If you Google 'dairy and health' you will find thousands of articles supporting why it's good, and thousands supporting why it's bad. We grew up believing that milk is essential for bone health. Truth is, you don't need milk to be healthy nor to get these important nutrients that you would get from milk - calcium, potassium, and vitamin D. There are various reasons why one might omit dairy from their diet: being vegan, lactose-intolerant, paleo, casein sensitivity. Everyone has their own opinion on dairy, but my advice is: If you're going to have it, make sure it's good quality. Dairy isn't how it used to be anymore. It now comes packed with hormones and antibiotics. Reading the label is crucial when selecting dairy products. Learn what's in it and where it's coming from. Whatever it contains will be ingested into your body.

I personally don't include dairy in my diet because I am lactose intolerant. I may have it every now and then (about once a month), and when I do, I choose organic and local goat or sheep as they are easier to digest.

Aside from being a discomfort for those with lactose intolerance, dairy is acidic and can cause inflammation for anyone. This is why I suggest to consume in moderation, about 1-2 times per week, and get calcium from other nourishing and anti-inflammatory foods.

Non-dairy foods rich in calcium:

  • Sesame seeds (more than milk)
  • Spinach
  • Collard greens
  • Almonds
  • Broccoli
  • Sardines
  • Kale
  • Mustard greens
  • Beet greens
  • Turnip greens

Here are some healthy alternatives to dairy products:

  • Milk: coconut milk, almond milk, cashew milk, hemp milk, oat milk, flax milk - homemade milk is best to avoid preservatives and additives. Recipe for almond milk here.
  • Yogurt: coconut yogurt, chia pudding
  • Butter: coconut oil, ghee (clarified butter - free of dairy)
  • Ice cream: coconut ice cream, rice milk ice cream, blended frozen banana, thick smoothie. Try my vegan chocolate-coconut ice cream, it's delicious.
  • Cheese: cashew cream/cheese, nutritional yeast (sprinkle it on food for a cheesy taste)

One of my favorite dairy alternatives is cashew cream. It's simple to make and so delicious. Cashew cream can be used as a dip, spread, dressing, pasta sauce, pizza sauce/cheese, burger topping, and anything else you can think of.

Cashew cream

Ingredients

1 cup cashews, soaked in filtered water for at least 2 hours

1 clove garlic

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 cup water or vegetable broth (or less for thicker 'cheese')*

juice of 1/2 - 1 lemon

pinch of sea salt and black pepper

Optional flavorings: fresh rosemary, red chili flakes, fresh thyme leaves, dried herbs, nutritional yeast

Procedure

  1. Soak cashews anywhere from 2-4 hours. Drain and rinse.
  2. Place in blender with the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.

*The amount of water or broth you use will determine the consistency. Only use about 1/2 cup of water to get a more cheese-like consistency. Play around with liquid measurements and see what you like best.

What's your favorite dairy alternative? Please share in the comment section below. 

 

 

Sunflower Seed Butter

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A few months ago I discovered that I am sensitive to nuts. I know, I felt like my life was over, especially since I was the almond butter queen. I had it every single day and more than once. Perhaps why the sensitivity flared. I used to often get bloated and gassy after eating nuts but never thought anything of it since it wasn't every time or I just wasn't aware enough to make that connection. It wasn't until I did a thorough elimination diet/detox (similar to my 3-Day Detox Plan) that I realized that indeed nuts where causing stomach bloating and inflammation. So although they're packed with nutrients and have great health benefits, my body does not agree with them anymore. And that's okay because there are so many other foods that I can get those nutrients and snack fix from. It's just a matter of getting creative, there are always alternatives.

So I discovered this delicious and creamy sunflower seed butter. If you already purchase sunflower seed butter, do yourself a favor and make your own at home. It is so much better than the store-bought kind and doesn't contain refined sugars and other unnecessary additives. Always read your labels.

IngredientsSunflower butter

4 cups raw sunflower seeds

2 Tablespoons melted coconut oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place sunflower seeds on baking sheet and toast in oven for 6-10 minutes, until slightly golden. Check at 6 and 8 minutes. It's important to keep an eye on them because they burn easily.
  3. Let cool for 10 minutes and place in food processor. Process for about 7-10 minutes. The seeds will release their oils and go from a flour, to a crumbly, to a creamier consistency. Be patient, it takes time. At this point, with the processor still running, add remaining ingredients and process until it reaches desired creaminess.
  4. Transfer to jar and keep at room temperature or refrigerated for up 2-3 weeks.

Makes ~ 2 cups

Let me know how yours turns out! Share below or tag me in your picture #apurifiedlife

 

3 Minute Green Curry Sauce + Vegetable Curry Dish

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There are many many types of curry sauces out there. I like to keep mine simple, but flavorful. This sauce took me 3 minutes to make and goes great on vegetables, meats, whole grain, and on salads as dressing. I like to make a batch and use it different ways throughout the week. It keeps for about 5 days in the refrigerator. Below is a recipe for my curry sauce and a very simple and delicious vegetable curry side dish (or main dish with the addition of a good quality protein: raw nuts or seeds, grass-fed chicken, pasture-raised eggs, goat cheese).

Curry Sauce

Ingredients

1/2 white or yellow onion, coarsely chopped

1 can coconut milk

1/2 lemon, juiced

1 garlic clove

2 T organic curry powder

handful spinach or basil

sea salt and black pepper

Procedure

  1. Place all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth. The more greens you add, the greener the sauce will turn out and the flavor might change a bit. Play around with it and season to your liking.

vegetable curry dish

Vegetable Curry Dish

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon coconut oil

1 head cauliflower, chopped into bite size pieces

1/2 pound green beans, ends trimmed and halved

1 yellow squash, sliced and halved

sea salt

1/2 cup curry sauce, or more to coat all vegetables

Note: you can use any vegetables you'd like for this dish (carrots, cauliflower, zucchini, squash, sweet potatoes, green beans, broccoli, mushrooms)

Procedure

  1. Heat coconut oil in a medium-size pan. Add vegetables and a pinch of sea salt and sauté until tender, stirring occasionally. Add curry sauce to pan and continue cooking for a few extra minutes until vegetables are cooked through and sauce heats up.

Serves 4-6