digestion

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. 

 

Healing Bone Broth

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Bone broth is incredibly healing. It has been used for years to treat illnesses and speed up recovery and healing. Health benefits of bone broth:

  • Promotes healthy bones
  • Heals and supports gut health and digestion
  • Inhibits infection
  • Reduces joint pain
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Promotes healthy hair and nail growth.

Bone broth can be made with chicken, turkey, duck, lamb, or beef bones. I chose to use beef bone marrow for this one. It doesn't matter what you choose to use, but you must make sure they are organically-raised, pastured or grass-fed animals in order to get the health benefits.

Making bone broth can be a nurturing process if you allow it to be. The more love you put into it, the more healing and nutritious it will be for you and your family. It's a great staple to have at home. And the best part is that you can make huge batches like this one and store in the freezer to have for a few months. This will be your best health supplement. Use it as a base for soups, sauces, or drink it as is.

bone broth 3

Ingredients

3.5-4 pounds organic, grass-fed bones. I used beef bone marrow.

4 Tablespoons unfiltered apple cider vinegar

Filtered water, enough to fill pot

4 large kombu strips

4 Tablespoons dulse flakes

4 large carrots, roughly chopped

4 stalks celery, roughly chopped

1 bunch parsley

1/4 cup goji berries

1 Tablespoon organic ground turmeric or a large chunk of fresh turmeric (peeled)

Procedure:

  1. Place bones and apple cider vinegar in a large stock pot. Fill pot with water and let sit for 30 minutes with the heat off. The acid in the vinegar helps extract the minerals from the bones.
  2. Turn on heat and bring to a simmer, removing scum that rises to the surface for the first hour of cooking. Cover loosely and continue simmering on low for 24-48 hours. The longer, the better. I simmered it for about 28 hours total. You will need to add water along the way to keep bones completely covered.
  3. Add remaining ingredients for the last hour of cooking.
  4. Strain broth and place in air tight containers. Let cool completely before storing in the refrigerator. Broth will keep in the refrigerator for 5 days or in the freezer for a few months.
  5. The next day, there will be a layer of fat on the surface. You can discard this, use it for cooking, or stir it back in - it contains valuable nutrients.

Makes ~20-24 cups 

Don't be afraid to use your choice of herbs, spices, or vegetables to give it your own therapeutic touch.

Happy healing!

Will you be making this therapeutic drink? Let me know in the comments below. 

Avocado Garbanzo Bean Salad

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Do you often get bloated and gassy when you eat beans? Legumes can actually provide great health benefits, but only if you're digesting them properly. If our digestive tract is inflamed (gas/bloating), it does not absorb any nutrients.

Here's the trick to reducing digestive discomforts with beans:

  1. Before you cook them, soak them overnight in a bowl of filtered water.
  2. Rinse after soaking and cook in clean water with a piece of Kombu (seaweed). The Kombu also provides a natural saltiness without needing to add salt to the beans.

Garbanzo beans are high in fiber and can be great for digestive support (when previously soaked). They also support cardiovascular health and keep blood sugar regulated because of their fiber and protein content.

This salad is perfect for a warm summer day. It's refreshing and easy to make. The only thing that needs to be cooked are the garbanzo beans.

I know you will enjoy this one.

Ingredients Chickpea salad 1

1 1/2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (soaked for at least 8 hours before cooking)

1 1/2 cup chopped vegetables of choice (radish, summer squash, zucchini, celery, cucumber, bell pepper, carrot)

1/2 avocado

1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 teaspoon raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar

Juice of 1 lime

Pinch of celtic sea salt

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (Or any herb - parsley, dill, cilantro, basil, mint)

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Pinch of smoked paprika

Procedure

  1. Coarsely mash garbanzo beans in a medium-sized bowl with potato masher or back of a fork (mashed garbanzo beans pictured above). Add chopped vegetables.
  2. In a separate bowl, mash avocado with dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, and sea salt.
  3. Add avocado to garbanzo and vegetable mix and combine to coat well.
  4. Add herbs and spices and mix once more. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serves 2-3

I made delicious wraps with this garbanzo bean salad. I used collard greens for the wraps, but any leafy green will work. Sprinkle with some lemon juice, top with sauerkraut or homemade salsa, and you've got yourself an amazing and nourishing meal.

chickpea salad 2

Are you new to soaking beans, nuts, and grains? What methods do you use to help your digestion?

Probiotics + Sauerkraut Recipe

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Our digestive tract contains both good and bad bacteria. Probiotics are what we call the friendly bacteria, which promote a healthy digestive system and are essential for good health. There are hundreds of types of probiotics. Some of the largest and most common are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. These two support colon health and promote healthy bowel movements. Why is this important to know?

Well, the gut is the heart of most health conditions and we don't even know it. A happy gut is one that has a good balance of good and bad bacteria. The average american tends to feed the 'bad bacteria' more than the good. This provides a imbalanced or highly acidic environment in the gut, which comes form sugar, wheat, alcohol, processed foods, high-stress, birth control pills, radiation exposure, over-the-counter medications, and antibiotics.

A bacterial imbalance in the gut results in:

  • Impaired immune system
  • Impaired digestive system
  • Malabsorption of vitamins and minerals from food - vitamin deficiencies
  • Yeast and fungal infections (Candida)
  • Digestive issues (constipation, diarrhea, IBS, Chron's disease, ulcerative colitis)
  • Skin issues
  • Fatigue
  • Food allergies

This is why it's crucial to eliminate foods and lifestyle habits that destroy the gut lining, and incorporate more fermented foods that are packed with probiotics to help rebalance the bacteria in the gut. There are also probiotic supplements, but having the real deal (fermented foods) is the best way to get them.

My favorite fermented foods are:

  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Fermented vegetables
  • Coconut water kefir
  • Kombucha
  • Coconut yogurt

If you're new to adding probiotics into your diet, start slowly because your body will go into a state of detoxification and you might experiences symptoms such as bloating and possibly skin issues, but you will soon be feeling great and seeing a great difference in digestion and overall health. Then you can move up to having them with every meal (recommended!).

I've been experimenting with making my own ferments at home, and reality is that they're so easy to make and so much more cost effective.

Today I am sharing with you the simplest sauerkraut recipe ever. Hope you enjoy making it!

Ingredients Sauerkraut

1 head purple cabbage, shredded, save outer leaf

1 Tablespoon Sea salt (must be unrefined sea salt)

Procedure

  1. Place the shredded cabbage in a large glass bowl.
  2. Sprinkle with sea salt and massage with hands until wilted and juice covers bottom of the bowl, 3-5 minutes.
  3. Start filling a glass jar by scooping some of the cabbage with it's juice into it with a wooden spoon. Best to use glass or wood because any type of metal will kill off beneficial bacteria. Press down firmly with spoon after each scoop to pack it in tightly. Add remaining cabbage juice to fill jar. Take cabbage leaf that you initially saved, fold, and place at the surface of jar to keep air out and keep cabbage submerged in juice (press down).
  4. Cover jar tightly, making sure no air gets in. Leave on counter and press down on cabbage each day for about 3 days. Taste after 3 days (with wooden spoon). You can ferment it until it reaches your desired taste. Foam and bubbles on the surface are normal and signs of healthy fermentation. When done, cover with a lid and keep in refrigerator.

Enjoy!

Are you new to fermented foods? What are your favorite probiotic-rich foods?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cauliflower Mash

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Cauliflower is often an underestimated. It seems like such a plain vegetable, yet it's loaded with nutrients and health benefits. Nutritional Highlights of Cauliflower:

  • High in vitamin C - immune support, cardiovascular support
  • Rich in antioxidant phytonutrients - help lower the risk of developing different types of cancer
  • Vitamin K - highly anti-inflammatory
  • Sulphur - anti-inflammatory, shown to kill cancer stem cells, helps detoxification
  • Vitamin B6 & Choline - two B vitamins important for brain health
  • Fiber - aids digestion

 

Cauliflower mash

 

This side dish has been one of my go-to's at home lately. My personal chef clients love it as well. It's comforting and doesn't leave you feeling stuffed. It makes a great dairy-free and low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes, especially for those watching their weight. It even tastes better, in my opinion.

I make a batch at the beginning of the week and then sauté or roast a ton of vegetables to go with it. Great for lunch, dinner, or snack.

Ingredients 

1 Tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil

1 yellow onion, sliced

1 large head cauliflower, chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, mashed

1/4 - 1/2 cup water

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil (melted)

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Fresh herbs such as chives, parsley, or cilantro to garnish (optional)

Procedure

  1. Heat coconut oil in a large pan or pot. Add onion and sauté over medium heat until slightly softened, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add chopped cauliflower, garlic, and water (enough water to cover the bottom of the pan). Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and turn down heat to low. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally and checking to make sure there is still liquid at the bottom of the pan. If water has evaporates, add a little more. Steam until cauliflower is slightly tender.
  3. Remove from the heat and place in a food processor or high-speed blender. Season with oil, sea salt, and black pepper. Blend until it reaches mashed potato consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning. Mix in herbs at this time if desired, or garnish with them.

Note: If you do not have a food processor or high-speed blender, you may mash cauliflower with a potato masher. Cauliflower might need to be cooked a bit more to make it easier.

Serves 2-4

What's your favorite way to prepare cauliflower?

 

 

 

Why Drink Lemon Water?

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Lemon water has great powers. Ever since I learned how great it is, I've made it a habit to start my day off with a cup of warm lemon water before I have my breakfast. It's a great way to gently wake up the organs and help their natural detox cycle. It's also great to just drink throughout the day. Simply squeeze a lemon into a cup of water (hot or cold) and enjoy.

Here are some of the amazing benefits of lemon water:

  • Helps with weight loss - Lemons speed up metabolism.
  • Helps flush out toxins from the body - Detox.
  • Cleanses the digestive system.
  • Alkalizes the body - When our body is under an acidic state, it develops sickness and disease, so it's important to try to balance it with alkalizing foods.
  • Improves immunity - High in Vitamin C.
  • Works as a natural diuretic.
  • Acts as a liver tonic.
  • Improves skin tone and quality - The acidity of lemons helps treat acne.
  • Relieves nausea.
  • Relieves constipation.