vegetable

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.

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

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 

 

 

Massaging Raw Kale [Video]

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I know what you're wondering. What the heck does massaging kale mean and why would I want to do that?

Kale is a very powerful leafy green because it's packed with nutrients. But raw kale is tough, fibrous, and very bitter, making it hard to digest. It is recommended to lightly steam, sauté, or massage kale before eating it in order for its fibers to bind better with acids in the digestive tract. The more digestible kale is, the better its nutrients are absorbed. Massaging kale is just a simple way to aid digestion and make it less bitter without having to cook it. Once you've massaged kale, you can use it to make a salad or side dish.

Health benefits of kale:

  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Lowers cancer risk
  • Detoxifies the body
  • High in antioxidants
  • High in vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C
  • High in manganese, fiber, copper, calcium, iron, potassium, and tryptophan

How to massage raw kale:

  1. Place chopped raw kale in a bowl. Sprinkle with sea salt and lemon juice and massage with both hands for 2-5 minutes, until wilted and dark green.

Any variety of kale works. You can also get creative and dress it up with other ingredients such as tahini, extra virgin olive oil, avocado, or nut butter.

Source: whfoods.com

 

 

What is Clean Eating?

What is clean eating

You've probably already seen or heard the term 'clean eating' or 'eating clean.' But what does it mean? What is so great about it? I'd like to clarify what it means for those of you who are wondering and what it's benefits are. Clean eating is not a specific diet, it's a lifestyle choice.

First of all, there are many different definitions of clean eating, depending on what meal regimen one follows and recommends (paleo, raw, vegan, vegetarian, etc). For example, a vegan might say that a clean eating regimen is one that omits all animal products, someone that only eats a raw food diet might say that clean eating is an all raw-food diet, and so forth. I don't believe that one is better than the other, it is just a matter of finding what works for you.

My definition of  'clean eating' is to eliminate all refined and processed foods from your diet. Foods like white sugar, white rice, bleached flour, white flour, and enriched flour all are foods that have been refined in some way. When refined, their nutrients are removed resulting in ingredients that only provide empty calories (calories with no nutritional value) with a blood sugar spike.

A clean eating regimen consists of whole, unrefined foods in their most natural state. These foods are:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Pasture-raised eggs and poultry
  • Grass-fed meats
  • Full-fat dairy products

Be sure to read labels when buying things in a package. Just because the box says "whole grain" or " natural" doesn't mean they really are. Read ingredients closely and choose grains that don't have additives. You'd be surprised what's in that box of "whole grain" cereal you love so much, not a whole lot of nutrition. Chicken that is labeled "all natural" is interesting to me. Shouldn't chicken be natural? Sadly it's almost always not the case; instead they are fed antibiotics and hormones. Labels are misleading and most of the time not true.

Talk to the butcher at the grocery store, ask questions, and read the ingredient list. Try buying products that have 5 or less ingredients. And make sure they are ingredients that you can pronounce and that are unrefined. Visit my post on reading labels for more information.

Benefits of a clean eating lifestyle:

  • Weight loss/fat loss
  • Increased energy
  • Better skin and hair
  • Better health
  • Increased mental focus
  • Better sleep
  • Better mood
  • Decreased cravings and sugar addiction

As you can see, eating clean is a great thing. It seems to have become more and more popular these days, when in reality, it has been around for a long time and just now people are starting to realize how important it is to make this lifestyle choice in order to be healthy and happy.

How to transition to a clean eating life:

  • Eat whole fruits and vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats,  and whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, amaranth)
  • Drink at least 8 cups of water each day
  • Eat 5-6 times a day to reduce cravings and keep blood sugar regulated - include protein in every meal
  • Avoid all processed and unrefined foods (sugar, candy, pastries, white flour, white rice, bread, cereals, packaged goods, etc.)
  • Avoid beverages that are packed with sugar (soda, juice, Gatorade, energy drinks, sweetened tea, coffee drinks)
  • Avoid trans fats

Clean eating is the lifestyle choice I made and what I preach every single day. I have never been happier and felt more comfortable in my skin. If you are just transitioning to a clean eating lifestyle, take it slow and make small changes every day. It takes time, but don't give up. Know that your body will love you for it and you won't regret the health benefits from it.

Trust the process.

Balsamic-Ginger Glazed Carrots and Chard

Balsamic-glazed-carrots

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Summer is one of my favorite seasons. I love going to the farmers market and being surrounded by all the wonderful colors of fruits and vegetables.

Have you seen those beautiful rainbow carrots yet? And the amazing varieties of cucumber? What about the juicy peaches and plums?

I can spend hours at the market just admiring (and tasting), but mostly, I go to get influenced to create new and delicious recipes. This week, I chose to make something different with carrots.

Carrots are available year round, but they have the most nutrients, freshness, and flavor when they are in season (fall and summer). They are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin K, fiber, and antioxidants (vitamin C and beta-carotene). They are anti-inflammatory, a good source of complex carbohydrates, and help cleanse the liver.

Ingredients

1-2 Tablespoons unrefined sesame oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan)

1 bunch rainbow carrots, washed and cut into 2-inch pieces

4 large leaves red chard, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1-inch ginger root, minced

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

juice of 1/2 lemon

sea salt

Procedure

  1. Cut off the large end of carrots. Cut carrots in half long wise, then cut into 2-inch pieces with a diagonal cut.
  2. Heat sesame oil in a large pan. Add carrots and a generous pinch of sea salt and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, ginger, balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice and cook for another 5 minutes or until carrots are tender.
  4. Add chard and sauté for another few minutes until chard wilts. Serve.

Note: You can garnish with chopped herbs and/or seeds.

7 Easy Ways to Detox Daily

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We are a ways into the new year and some of us are still looking to start out fresh and rid our body of all toxins. There are many types of cleanses and detoxes that last anywhere from 1 to 30 days. For most of us, when we hear the word "cleanse" or "detox" we think of a juice fast, or liquid diet, or a strictly fruit and vegetable diet. Although some of these may help you loose some weight (water weight), not all of them are actually good for you. A detox and cleanse are always interchanged, but are two different things.  Detox. When you detox, you rid your organs of toxins such as chemicals, heavy metals, cigarette smoke, etc. A detox targets an organ like the liver, for example. The liver is a highly important organ in the body with many functions such as detoxifying the body, building proteins, and helping digestion. Although one of it's functions is to detoxify the body naturally, if we over consume foods that stress out the liver like alcohol, refined sugar, gluten, or lactose, we are giving it more toxins than it can handle and keeping it from functioning properly thus leading to low energy, inflammation, poor digestion, and not detoxifying the body as it should. Cleanse. When doing a cleanse, you are mainly cleansing your digestive tract and eliminating toxins and bacteria. A liquid or juice fast is mostly a cleanse because it's giving your digestive tract a rest but still providing nutrients.  No matter which you choose to do, what you're really doing is giving your organs a break from anything that strains them and keeps them from working properly. They are both great ways to feel good and energized while eliminating toxins in a safe and natural manner.   The best way to cleanse or detox is to eliminate inflammatory foods and introduce foods that support the liver. Fortunately, there are many foods that support the liver such as leafy greens, lemon, sauerkraut, eggs, herbs including parsley and cilantro, cruciferous vegetables, garlic, ginger, spices, green tea, onion, sea vegetables, apple cider vinegar, beets, chamomile, artichokes, and omega-3 oils. Ideally, we would include all of these foods in our every day diet, but the most important thing is to eliminate the ingredients that cause inflammation. Doing either a cleanse or detox can be intimidating and takes some planning and dedication. Most of us have hectic lives or are simply afraid to commit to an eating plan that will last a few days or weeks. A juice cleanse is ideal, but if you're not ready for that, there are things you can do on a daily basis to help detox without feeling deprived of solid food.  No need to stress, take it one day at a time and do the best you can that day to take care of your body. At the end of the day, check in with yourself. How do you feel? How was your mood, energy, awareness, and productivity that day? You might just find that you feel great and want to do it all over again, or you might need a few days of this in order to see any changes in mood, but focus on finishing that one day knowing that you are doing something for yourself and don't let others discourage you. You are the one that will feel great and benefit from this.

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Here are 7 easy natural things you can do on a daily basis to help your body detox: 

  1. Avoid gluten and introduce gluten-free grains. Gluten is a protein found in wheat (white or whole wheat products) that causes inflammation in the body, even to those that are not gluten intolerant. Also, look out for gluten-free products as they are mostly always packed with refined sugar. Stick to gluten-free grains such as quinoa, brown rice, millet, and amaranth. For gluten-free snacks, check out my post on Healthy Snacking.
  2. Avoid refined sugar. Refined sugar weakens your immune system and causes inflammation in the body. Let your sugar come from natural sources such as fresh fruit, honey (good for sore throat and cough), dates, and root vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, squash/pumpkin, and beets. 
  3. Drink water and lemon water. Water is essential for cleansing the body. It helps flush toxins out and helps regulate metabolism. Not being well hydrated stresses out our system and prevents detoxification. Dehydration is often confused with hunger, so next time you feel hungry when you've just eaten, drink a glass of water. If you're not fond of water you can add cucumber slices, fresh fruit, or lemon juice to make it flavorful. Lemon water also supports the immune system, supports liver in cleansing out the body, helps digestion, acts as a natural diuretic, balances pH, and aids with weight loss. Start your day off by drinking a cup of warm water with lemon juice on an empty stomach. Add some apple cider vinegar to have even more detoxifying properties. 
  4. Drink apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has many health benefits. It's good for digestion, skin care, detoxifying, anti-bacterial, weight loss, cures allergies, kills candida and fungus, eases arthritis, and balances the inner ecosystem. Add 1-2 Tablespoons to about 6 oz of water and sip. 
  5. Eat leafy greens. Leafy greens such as kale, collard greens, spinach, bok choy, arugula, celery, and dandelion are alkalinizing to the body which helps attack bad bacteria and reduce cravings. They contain chlorella which helps cleanse the body. Most of these are also bitter and bitter foods support the liver with detoxification. Incorporate leafy greens in smoothies, salads, and vegetable sautéed dishes. 
  6. Slow Down. Slow eating = conscious eating. By eating slow you are usually more conscious about how much you eat and will often find that you get full before eating everything on the plate because you give yourself time to feel satieated. Take time to chew your food to digest it better. Better digestion will also lead to better absorption of nutrients. 
  7. Sweat. Sweating is a way of flushing toxins out of the body. Take at least 30 minutes of the day to do some sort of physical activity that will get you sweating. Exercise burns calories and will help weight loss. Sitting in a sauna or getting a massage also help detoxification.