Loaded Stew for the Week

When cooking for a family its nice to be able to work on a budget.I used to think creating tasty food on a budget was not possible. Then I remembered how growing up we never seemed to have a refrigerator full of food, yet without fail, all the meals my Mum would make us would come out tasting like a gourmet meal. Okay…maybe I am biased because that’s my Mom.

Yet I would like to challenge you to think back to the times you have really appreciated good meals you have prepared for yourself. I’m sure you have made delicious meals with the last ingredients left in the refrigerator before you have to head out and do your weekly shopping. It surprised you because you did not put much but it packed a punch.

I think the reason for this is because, sometimes it takes running out of all you have to ultimately get the best out of something. You are ultimately giving it all your best because you have no choice.

I would like to believe that we can use common, inexpensive ingredients to transform simple meals into mouth watering stews. Stews are great when cooking in bulk as they help stretch through the week, like this mushroom and carrot stew that I hope you enjoy preparing for yourself and your loved ones.

My philosophy when it comes to food is that you are the ultimate cook. You know how to cook to suit your taste buds and the flavors you like in food. Use this simply as a guide and feel free to tweak, explore and play around with it. You might even come up with a better recipe you can share with me.

Ingredients

3 cups mushroom

2 carrots diced lengthwise

Thyme

1 clove garlic minced

1 Tbsp. tomato paste

2 tsp. arrowroot starch

3 tsp. water

1 Tbsp. oil

1 cup stock of water

1/3 cup red cooking wine

1 Tbsp Soy sauce or Tamari

Directions

1.Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat and add the mushrooms, carrots, thyme. Allow the mushrooms to sit undisturbed for about a minute so they can brown. Stir the mushrooms and carrots to allow them to brown on both sides. The mushrooms will release their water and continue cooking until most of the water cooks off.

2. Add the olive oil and garlic and continue cooking for about 3 minutes on medium heat.

3. In a cup put the tomato paste, arrow root, 3 Tbsp. water, 1 Tbsp. soy sauce and create a paste.

4. You will now add the paste you created and add the cooking wine  ensuring that you keep stirring or it will clump together. Quickly add the stock or water and allow the food to simmer on medium heat for about 5-10 minutes until the stew thickens. Adjust the salt to your taste.

Note: If you taste it and its too tarte, add some agave or sweetener of choice to balance the flavor like 1/2 a tsp.

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Why going plastic free should matter to you

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I have been silent when it comes to posting pictures of what I eat daily because I have been focusing on living more intentionally without so much focus on social media and instead choosing to spend time with family, reading books, working on my cook book. I’m trying to declutter my space and my mind.

The process of decluttering has been such an eye opener. Its allowed me to figure out what truly matters. You see when you are so busy consuming, you are constantly bombarded by adverts and marketing schemes that tell you what you need to purchase, what you need to focus on. You never have a moment to determine that for yourself because we are obsessed with being busy.

So I took a step back and retreated to my own space and read books. Something so little yet, I have not been able to do this since I had kids. But I will not put the blame solely on them. I chose to use my time on things that at the time appeared to be reasonable distractions but instead were utter time wasters.

Anyway this past week I’ve been working with my kids and teaching them about our environment. I don’t know if you know this but kids ask the most amazing questions. They are simple but very important. One of the questions my kids kept on asking me is this, “Mom, if plastics are doing so much harm to the environment? why do we keep on making them? why do you keep on using them?” They are good questions, for which I had no good answer.

Thus began my own quest to discover ways to reduce the amount of plastic in my own life. I could not be able to tell them to be better stewards of the environment, when I myself was not doing much at home. Children learn from us,they watch us and I had to be a better example.

I remember starting a similar journey a few years ago. This one involved that things that I put in my hair. About 15 years ago I had decided I no longer wanted to relax my hair. Especially after learning about the dangers of the chemicals in the relaxers. I did my research so well and came to the conclusion that i’m not comfortable subjecting myself to the dangers.

A couple of years later I came to the same conclusion in regard to what I put on my skin. Especially my face. I  started to research more natural clean ingredients that I could use and I made the switch, which also included changing my diet.

So here I am again, questioning the role of plastic in our household? What impact is it having on us, on our health and our environment. I decided to take a closer look and the result left me floored. I felt a deep sense of shame and conviction. How was it that I decided to turn my back on such an important issue and ignore it as someone else’s problem ? I simply saw my plate as full..there are so many issues we tackle already…these are some of the excuses I told myself. Plastic seemed low on the list of priority. Until I realized that the impact it was having on my own health and possibly my own family. When something like this hits home, you simply cannot sit back and watch. You have to do your part.

Plastics are a part of our daily lives.Plastic litter is slowly taking over our oceans and landfills, and even ending up inside our food. Do you know about the dangers that plastic poses before it becomes litter? What about the various chemicals that can be found inside plastic bottles, bags and food containers that may be unleashing toxins into your food and beverages?

As scientists become more aware of chemicals that leech out of plastics and make their way into our bodies, they are uncovering a variety of health issues that result. This includes cancer, reproductive issues, immune system suppression and problems with childhood development just to name a few. We may have already decided that the pollution problems that plastic presents to our planet were reason enough to steer clear of the stuff, but the health problems that plastics can present appear to be an even greater reason to pursue a plastic-free lifestyle.

I took a closer look at the harmful effects of plastic and the biggest one for me was the impact it had on my health. I had not truly realized the impact it may already have had in particular on my reproductive system. One of the issues that affected my health especially when it comes to my reproductive system is Fibroids. For a long time I knew that there was a link between fibroids. An enlarged uterus and fibroids are common signs that a woman may be suffering from estrogen dominance. Fibroids grow in response to high levels of estrogen and in a few cases high progesterone. Frequent and heavy bleeding can be an indicator of elevated estrogen.Alternative practitioners have long suspected the estrogen/environmental link with fibroid growth and growing research continues to reinforce this theory. Hormone disrupting compounds are common in the environment contributing to uterine fibroids.

Bisphenol-A often goes by the more common acronym BPA and is quite the buzzword lately when it comes to chemicals in food and beverage packaging. BPA can be found in various polycarbonate plastic products including water bottles, baby bottles, and food storage containers. A study on several thousand Americans revealed BPA’s prevalence in the urine of most test subjects, suggesting BPA is found in nearly every person in the United States. Being as it acts as a synthetic estrogen, it can be highly disruptive to the human body when it leeches out of plastic. BPA has been tested on lab animals, resulting in fertility issues as well as changes to breast and prostate tissue. And while some institutions maintain that not enough about BPA is known to link it to a variety of human health risks, the chemical is increasingly associated with issues including its tendency to act as an endocrine disruptor, increased risk of breast and prostate cancer, changes to fetal brain development, and higher obesity levels in children.

Common toxins to be aware of:

Phthalates are chemicals that are added to make plastics more flexible. Phthalates are chemicals found in vinyl, soft plastic beverage bottles, plastic food storage containers, toys, plastic food wrap, cosmetics, and anything fragranced. High concentrations are found in artificial scents and most commercial perfumes. Like BPA, phthalates also function as an endocrine disruptor, altering the ability of the body to produce and maintain proper levels of hormones. Included in the various health risks associated with phthalates are asthma in children, lower IQ’s for a developing fetus, and ADHD. Phthalates have also been associated alongside BPA as a possible cause for infertility, especially for males attempting to conceive a child.

Styrene is a chemical found in Styrofoam, a type of plastic you can commonly find many places. Shipping material, fast food cups, and take-out containers are just a few common places you may come into contact with styrene. The chemical is prone to leach out when exposed to heat. So, your hot coffee in a Styrofoam cup or takeout Chinese food in the Styrofoam container may actually be a source of some unwanted chemicals. The health problems connected to styrene exposure are many and include respiratory problems memory and hearing loss, and increased risk for certain cancers including leukemia and lymphoma. Concerns over styrene have grown so strong in fact, that the state of California is officially recognizing the chemical as a carcinogen and is now debating how it may be labeled in order to inform the public of the associated risks. New York City has even banned sytrofoam to-go containers given their far-reaching harmful impact.

Chlorinated hydrocarbons are a group of chemicals that include pesticides such as DDT, solvents such as chloroform, polyvinyl chloride products, and others. The biggest exposure is through the diet.

WAYS TO USE LESS PLASTIC IN YOUR HOME

I’m slowly starting to clear my space of most of the plastic. I was so surprised to discover how much of our foods is provided in plastics. These are some of the little changes that I learned about and that i’m implementing myself.

1. Avoid buying items packaged in plastic. Look for produce and other items that aren’t over-packaged. Buy food in glass jars rather than plastic ones, and detergents in boxes rather than bottles. Not only are you reducing the plastic you use, you’re sending a powerful message to the makers of those products that you don’t like plastic packaging.

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2. Use cloth  or straw woven bags. Plastic bags are  are dangerous to  humans, animals and the environment. Keep reusable bags somewhere handy—in your car or your bike or by the front door—so you don’t forget them when you go to the market, grocery store or mall.

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3. Skip bottled water. Carry a reusable canteen. Plastic bottles are one of the top five most common types of litter found on beaches. Since bottled water is much more expensive than tap water, you’ll also save money doing this, and avoid the possible hazards of plastic toxins leaching into your beverage.

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4. Upcycle. Think of new uses for old items rather than discarding them or buying new ones.

5. Bring a reusable mug when you order coffee. Stow it on your desk, in your purse, car or bag so you have it on hand when you order or refill your drink.

6. Say “No straw, please.” Straws are one of the top 10 items found on beaches. In most cases, drinking out of a straw is simply unnecessary. If you do need a straw, you can get a reusable stainless steel or glass one.

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7.Avoid disposable tableware, or use the compostable kind. Try using washable and reusable cups, plates or utensils. When using compostable tableware, be aware they will not biodegrade in a landfill and must be disposed of in appropriate composting conditions.

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8. Don’t just discard electronics. Aim to repair or upgrade your devices instead of buying new ones. Sell gadgets and computer parts, or find a facility where you can turn them in for recycling.

9. Bring your own container for takeout and leftovers. When ordering takeout or bringing home leftovers, ask if you can get the food in your own reusable container.

Now you may be wondering what impact, one little thing you do will have when millions of others are not doing the same. The problem is bigger than one person. But I think that most us of can start with ourselves and it’s really important for each of us to look at our own personal plastic equipment and ask ourselves, “What am I doing to contribute to this problem and how can I stop that and start being part of the solution?”ut, taking your own bag with you to the store, taking your own containers to bulk bins and bringing your own bottle- if other people see you perform those actions, it becomes part of the norm.

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What oils should I choose for my everyday meals?

On several occasions I’ve been asked to share what oils I use for cooking and below I share some of the oils I use and why. I’m not against fat or oil for that matter.

I do realize that some types of fats are extremely unhealthy. Particularly trans fats, such as those that form when oils are continually re-heated such as fast food. You can eliminate trans fats by avoiding processed and packaged foods. Trans fat is considered by many doctors to be the worst type of fat you can eat. Unlike other dietary fats, trans fat — also called trans-fatty acids — both raises your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and lowers your HDL (“good”) cholesterol. A diet with trans fat increases your risk of heart disease, the leading killer of men and women.

Also you need to understand omega fatty acids. Most of us get too much omega 6 from highly refined cooking oils and junk foods. Now omega 6 is not bad in small quantities. We need more of omega 3s which is very good for us

To balance your ratio, try oils from flaxseed, hemp and walnut.

Many people tghink canola oil is healthy due to great marketing but it is not the healthiest. It is extremely processed and subject to bleaching and deodrizing which can transform some of its omega 3s into trans fats

So what are you to do?

My general rule of thumb when it comes to oils is that i do my best to choose cold pressed, unrefined oils. Below are the oils that I use at home:

Avocado Oil – Mild flavor and safe at high temperatures.

Coconut Oil – Rich, satiating, slight coconut taste

Olive Oil – Wide range of memorable flavors; always choose extra virgin recently harvested and low in acidity

Grapeseed Oil – There have been so many mixed opinions about grapeseed oil and I do not believe its for everyone. Personally I try to balance it out with all the above oils.

Ultimately, strive to obtain balance whatever oils you choose to use and as I always say, everything in moderation. Not everything has to be cooked with oils. Instead eat the foods that have the fat, such as avocado, sesame seeds, walnut and if you really need to cook, some days strive to use less oil by cooking with water instead.

Remember it is not about striving for perfection but striving to be the best healthy version of ourselves.

Quinoa Fried Rice

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I love cooking with quinoa because it is such a versatile grain. For more than 5000 years, quinoa has been the staple food of people of the Andes.

The tiny quinoa seeds are packed with important nutrients. A 1/2 cup serving provides about 2 mg of iron more than any unfortified grain product. It also contributes large amounts of several other essential minerals, including magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc as well as numerous B vitamins.

Most of the calories in a cup of cooked quinoa come from complex carbohydrates. It also provides protein which is of a higher quality than similar products.

Health Benefits

  • Provides nutrient boost to gluten-free diets
  • Helps protect against heart diseases as it’s a good source of saponins and phytochemicals
  • Helps regulate blood sugar and high blood pressure

Eating Tips

Use quinoa in place of all-purpose flour in muffin and cake recipes

Ingredients

1 cup quinoa

1 cup lentils

1 Onion

1 Tomato

Sweet Peppers

1 Green Pepper

Spices

curry powder

paprika

cayenne

salt to taste

Directions

Cook some quinoa with salt and water. It will be ready in about 15-20 minutes it will be nice and fluffy) Once ready, place on the side.

Also boil some lentils and add salt to them to taste. This should take about 20 minutes. Once ready, place on the side.

  1. Saute onions for 2 minutes or until golden brown.
  2. Add some tomatoes and let it simmer for 1-2 minutes
  3. Pour in the sweet peppers and green pepper
  4. Add in the spices and salt. let it cook for about 2 minutes
  5. Now fold in the quinoa and lastly add the lentils.

Serve as a side dish on its own or with a salad.

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How I learned to OWN my COOKING

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A year ago..actually even two years ago..I had no clue that I would enjoy the level of cooking that I do now. In fact I hated spending any time in the kitchen.

I used to think that I just cooked to feed myself and my family. Now I know I was just carrying out a routine. I was not informed in my cooking. I did not question what I was feeding my family…what I was feeding myself. You assume that if food is in the supermarket or in the store, then the food has been vetted. That the people putting these foods out there are looking out for you and your interest.

How wrong I was. Most of the food companies out there are concerned with lining their pockets. You want convenience when it comes to food? they will give you that. But at what cost? They will deliver with ingredients that will make them withstand being out in the shelf without getting spoiled. Many times, we do not know where the food was made, who made it or how it was made. There is no personal connection to the food, except that we know we need to eat.

I had to learn how to read ingredients in the food I would buy. This got tedious…and I just thought to myself what am I doing? I need to just buy whole foods. Plant based foods. Foods found in the periphery of the store. Learn how to prepare meals from scratch as much as possible. Eat living foods.

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Another realization that I came to is that this world will prey on your uncertainty and the second guessing of yourself. As we have become consumers filled with so much anxiety over the foods we eat, how we should eat it, we have become insecure. The more unsure you are of yourself, the more you doubt yourself and your capabilities, the more likely someone will sweep in and form an opinion for you.

As consumers we are becoming more aware and more health conscious. But how do we know what is right anymore? what is wrong? We have so many experts now telling us so many different things. One minute, its okay to eat this food, the next we are being told how bad it is for our well-being.

For me, I’ve reached the point where there are truly no right answers. I just know that I was tired of the disconnection, the insecurity and the disempowerment that I felt with food. The range of choices from organic, to conventional, to locally grown, raised without antibiotics, low-fat, low-calorie, gluten-free, sugar-free. It’s too much. Yet its a challenge to overcome and how do we do this?

Armed with all this information, the best thing I could do was extract what felt right to me. To trust my own instinct. To make choices that work for me and allow them to be good enough. Essentially I go with my instinct.

Instinct.  It’s the voice, the hunch, the inkling, the idea, the sense,  that tells me what the right choice is for me. I believe you have it too. I’m learning to listen to it more and more. It’s that muscle that I’m using more  and it’s getting better the more I use it. The decisions made are always the right ones for me. I no longer look at things from a right and wrong perspective simply as an individual choice at that given moment in time.

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This is how I approach my cooking. I want to approach the rest of my life this way. Listening more to the voice within myself rather than the doubt that ensures I’m left listening to other people’s experiences rather than trusting my own path.

There is no other secret to my cooking other than truly, just trusting yourself. Its part of the reason I essentially offer guidelines rather than full recipes for meals at times.Part of ot is because im so knee deep in the creative process i havent really taken the time to write anything down. I may include something in the recipe that you do not have in your kitchen. That would make you think you can’t make the meal, yet you probably could. You could substitute some ingredients and it would still be an amazing meal. In fact you would probably write to me you had a great idea…I tried it this way and it worked wonders.

What am I saying? I’m saying go on…trust yourself. Trust your intuition. Be inspired by people, food and environment around you but ultimately own your kitchen. Own your space with confidence and cook with confidence. Trust your instincts. The rest is all noise.

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Finger Millet Porridge – Uji wa Wimbi

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Finger millet  is considered one of the most nutritious cereals. Many Kenyans include it in their diet and its known as “uji wa wimbi” (porridge). Finger Millet is most popular as porridge and ugali (a dish made of maize flour, millet flour, or sorghum flour cooked in boiling liquid to a stiff or firm dough-like consistency). Its grown in Africa and Asia.

I grew up drinking finger millet porridge and I loved it. My own kids love it. When my Mum came to see visit her grand kids, she weaned them on finger millet porridge as most Moms in Kenya do. My kids have an absolute love for it. Whenever we visit Kenya, its the one thing I have to top up on.

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Benefits of Finger Millet Porridge

  • Being non-glutinous, finger millet is safe for people suffering from gluten allergy and celiac disease. It is non-acid forming, and hence easy to digest. It’s also rich in amino acids.
  • Finger millet  is an excellent source of natural calcium which helps in strengthening bones for growing children and aging people. Regular consumption of finger millet is good for bone health and keeps diseases such as osteoporosis at bay and could reduce risk of fracture.
  • Finger millet’s phytochemicals help in slowing digestion process. This helps in controlling blood sugar level in condition of diabetes. It has been found that finger millet based diet helps diabetics as it contains higher fiber than rice and wheat. Also, the study found that diet based on whole finger millet has lower glycemic response i.e. lower ability to increase blood sugar level. This is due to presence of factors in finger millet  flour which lower digestibility and absorption of starch.
  • Because of its high nutritional content finger millet flour is recommended as a weaning food in Kenya. Finger millet  is a very good source of natural Iron and its consumption helps in recovery of Anemia. It’s also highly suited for expectant mothers and elderly due to its high calcium and iron content.
  • Finger millet  consumption helps in relaxing body naturally. It is beneficial in conditions of anxiety, depression and insomnia. It can also be useful for migraines.
  • If consumed regularly, finger millet could help in keeping malnutrition and degenerative diseases.

I would definitely recommend adding finger millet flour to your diet as its is an extremely nutritious cereal and it’s very beneficial for maintaining a good health.  It is not advised for patients who having kidney stones.

In short Uji(Porridge) is an authentic Kenyan dish. There are many ways of preparing it depending on whom you are talking to and their cultural background. Finger millet  could be enjoyed in different forms and preparations such as cakes and biscuits as well.

Porridge  is easy to make and takes just about 10 – 15 minutes to prepare, cook and serve.

 

Ingredients
1 cup Finger Millet
5 cups of water
Cold milk (optional)
Sugar (optional)
½ lemon (optional)
Directions
1. Put 4 cups of water in a pot to boil.

2. Take the 1 cup of finger millet flour and mix it with a cup of cold water in a cup, stir into a smooth paste.

3. Bring the water to a boil, then pour in the flour paste.

4. Stir non-stop until it becomes thick and starts to boil.

5. Lower the heat and allow to cook for at least 8-10 minutes, then serve.

Should you want to add milk, pour it in last before serving. It is also optional to use lemons which you can squeeze in as it cooks or once you have served the porridge.

You can also add cold milk once you have served the porridge.

You can also add Sugar to your taste if you wish (optional)

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Quick Kale Salad

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Lately I have been craving cooked food, less and less. I’m feeling sort of sluggish and just feel like I need some lighter foods. This week I will therefore be eating more salads and raw foods and see how I feel. I’m not starving myself just eating more whole foods. For snacks I’m focusing on eating more fruits.

I’m trying to listen more to my body and if its full I’m not eating. What I am doing though is ensuring that I drink more water which I have been neglecting. Hopefully I start to feel less sluggish and instead feel more energized.

Lets get to it, here is what I used to prepare the salad. Please do not feel like you have to use everything I used. Substitute where you find yourself not having the ingredients I have. For example this dressing should not have all those seeds lol…I was meant to use cashews but had run out of them thanks to my lovely 5-year-old son who gobbles them up so fast. So I used what I had on hand. Please do the same where necessary.

Ingredients

Salad Dressing:

2 Tbsp. sunflower seeds

2 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds

1 Tbsp. black sesame Seeds

1 Tbsp. white sesame Seeds

I cup water

Salt to taste

2 Tbsp.Coconut Aminos

1 Lemon

1 Tbsp. Nutritional Yeast

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1 bunch Kale

1 Cucumber

1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas (Seasoned and Baked – see instructions below)

1 tsp. berbere spice (optional)

2 tsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. Olive Oil

Pink Himalayan Salt to taste.

2 Tbsp. Coconut Aminos

Directions

Pre-heat the oven to 350*

Soak all your nuts and seeds for at least 8 hours or overnight. Now blend the salad dressing ingredients altogether and set aside.

Next you will season the cooked chickpeas with some salt, smoked paprika, cumin, cocnut aminos, berbere spice (optional) and olive oil. Place in the oven for at least 20 mins until slightly crispy.

Dice up some cucumbers.

Tear up the kale into pieces. Now massage the kale with the salad dressing. Toss in the cucumbers and chickpeas with the kale. Serve and enjoy.

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How to include juicing into your healthy eating plan.

So you have decided that one of your resolutions this year will be to eat healthier foods. You may have read that juicing is one of the great things you could incorporate into your current diet.

Many advocates of juicing believe that beneficial micronutrients become damaged when you heat foods. Cooking and processing food destroys these micronutrients by altering their shape and chemical composition.

I know when I decided to start eating healthy all my Doctors were suggesting that I incorporate more vegetables and fruits per day. I don’t know about you but one of the hardest things for me was this…how was I…a person who was already eating what I thought was enough vegetables…incorporate even more? I had heard many people talk about juicing. I decided to research more about the benefits of juicing.

Juicing is an easy way to virtually guarantee that you will reach your daily target for vegetables.You can definitely juice fruits too but, if you are overweight, have high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol, it is best to limit using fruits until you normalize these conditions.

The exception would be lemons and limes which have virtually none of the offending sugar, fructose, that causes most of the metabolic complications. Additionally lemons or limes are amazing at eliminating the bitter taste of the dark, deep green leafy vegetables.

Why should you juice?

There are three main reasons why you will want to consider incorporating vegetable juicing into your daily meal plan:

  1. Juicing helps you absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables.Some of us do not have the best digestion due to not making the best food choices over the years. This limits your body’s ability to absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables. Juicing will help to “pre-digest” them for you, so you will receive most of the nutrition, rather than having it go down the toilet.
  2. Juicing allows you to consume an optimal amount of vegetables in an efficient manner.Some people may find eating that many vegetables difficult, but it can be easily accomplished with a quick glass of vegetable juice.
  3. You can add a wider variety of vegetables in your diet. Maybe you are like me and find yourself eating the same vegetables daily, you are not alone. Many people eat the same vegetable salads every day by doing this you fail to have regular food rotation and it increases your chance of developing an allergy to a certain food. But with juicing, you can juice a wide variety of vegetables that you may not normally enjoy eating whole.

Eat food in addition to juicing.

I’m not a proponent of juicing by itself. I think it is an important aspect of your daily diet. It really should be used in addition to your regular meals not in place of it. Vegetable juice has very little protein and virtually no fat, so by itself, it is not really a complete food. So unless you are fasting I would suggest to use juicing as a meal replacement. Ideally, it can be consumed with your meal or as a between meal snack.

Juice what you enjoy eating

This is partly because you should only start by juicing vegetables that you enjoy. The juice should taste pleasant not make you feel nauseous.

It is very important to listen to your body when juicing. Learn to pay attention to your body. Your stomach should feel good all morning long. If it is churning or growling or generally you feel unpleasant, you probably juiced something you should not be eating.

Here are a few simple lessons to get you up and help you enjoy the benefits of juicing quickly:

Lessons on Juicing:

  1. If you are new to juicing, try starting out with these vegetables, as they are the easiest to digest and tolerate:
  • Celery
  • Fennel (anise)
  • Cucumbers

These three aren’t as nutrient dense as the dark green leafy vegetables but in the few days to weeks it takes you to adjust to the 3 vegetables listed above, you can start adding the more nutritionally valuable but less palatable vegetables into your juice.

  1. When you’ve acclimatized yourself to juicing, you can start adding these vegetables:
  • Red leaf lettuce
  • Green leaf lettuce
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Spinach

Note: Cabbage juice is one of the most healing nutrients for ulcer repair as it is a huge source of vitamin U.

  1. When you’re ready, move on to adding herbs to your juicing. Herbs also make wonderful combinations, and here are two that work exceptionally well:
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • basil

You need to be cautious with cilantro, as many cannot tolerate it well.So start off with a few sprigs and work your way up from there.

4.The greens listed below are bitter:so start with smaller leaves at a time and be sure and balance it out with lime or lemon.

  • Kale
  • Collard Greens
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Mustard Greens (bitter)

How to make juice taste great

If you would like to make your juice taste a bit more palatable, especially in the beginning, you can add these elements:

  • Lemons and Limes:You can also add one half to a whole lime or lemon for every quart of juice. You can actually juice the skin if you want to avoid the hassle of peeling them
  • Cranberries:You can also add some cranberries if you enjoy them. Researchers have discovered that cranberries have five times the antioxidant content of broccoli, which means they may protect against cancer, stroke and heart disease. In addition, they are full of phytonutrients, and can help women avoid urinary tract infections. Limit the cranberries to about 4 ounces per pint of juice.
  • Fresh ginger:This is an excellent addition if you enjoy the taste. It gives your juice a little “kick”! Researchers have found that ginger can have dramatic effects on cardiovascular health, including preventing atherosclerosis, lowering cholesterol levels.

Drink your vegetable juice right away, or store it very carefully.

Juicing is a time-consuming process, so you’ll probably be thinking to yourself, “I wonder if I can juice first thing in the morning, and then drink it later?” This is not a good idea. Vegetable juice is very perishable so it’s best to drink all of your juice immediately. However, if you’re careful, you can store it for up to 24 hours with only moderate nutritional decline. This is really helpful if you are bringing your juice to work with you so you can consume it during the day. How to store your juice:

  • Put your juice in a glass jar with an airtight lid and fill it to the very top.
  • Immediately store it in the fridge and consume it when you are ready. It is best to drink it as soon as possible and in any case within 24 hours of juicing.

Most people juice in the morning, but if that does not work out well for your schedule, please feel free to choose whatever meal works best for your lifestyle.

Note on juicing

Question: I do not have a juicer, should I go ahead and buy one? I say do what works for you in your present moment. What did we do before juicers and blenders and all these gadgets? We ate them straight from the ground or trees.

You can still use a blender and sieve to obtain the juice. In fact you can also just go ahead and use your blender to make smoothies. I think there are such great benefits to smoothies, for one you retain the fiber which is so beneficial to your body. I’ll talk more about smoothies in a post regarding the benefit of adding smoothies to your diet.

 

Vegan Frittata – Savory Breakfast

There are times when you wake up and you know that today you want to wake up to some salty/savory food. No smoothies, no oatmeal or pancakes…just savory. I get those moments when I have guests over and want to make brunch for everyone. I know guys will be strolling out of their bed around 9am-10am and they want to just hang out and chat….not immediately want breakfast but in like an hour or two they will be famished. That’s when you can hit them with this delicious vegan version of frittata.

The salt taste can be described as soothing and even warming. Salt is great in moderation and helps promote digestion and appetite, at the same time helps to improve absorption of nutrients. But too much can over stimulate digestion and irritate acid reflux, heartburn and indigestion. It can also cause inflammation and skin rashes. It makes the body retain fluids. It can lead to edema, swelling , stagnant blood and increased blood pressure.

Salt increases and enhances our tastes buds, experiences of other flavors, which makes it great for cooking, which explains why it’s overused in fast food, processed and packaged foods.

There are different kinds of salt and the quality is important. Unrefined, unprocessed salt is the best. Unrefined salt contains minerals and trace minerals that are nutritionally important. Foods that taste naturally salty generally have high levels of minerals. Sea vegetables are a great example, because they have both true salt and minerals salt flavors. Celery, swiss chard and spinach are other examples of naturally salty, high mineral vegetables.

Now for this savory vegan frittata recipe that you are anxiously waiting for. Its pretty simple and I promise you will be worth it.

 

Ingredients

2 cups Chickpea Flour

spring onions (chives)

Handful halved grape tomatoes

salt for taste

Plant Based Milk (eg. Almond Milk)

1 bucnch Parsley

1 onion

1 tomato

1 Tbsp. Smoked Paprika

2 Tbsp. Arrow Root Starch

2 Tbsp. Nutritional Yeast

1 tsp.Onion Powder

2 Cloves Garlic

1 cup Cashews

4 sprigs of kale

Smoked Paprika

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400*
  2. Pour 2 cups of chickpea flour in a bowl and mix with 1 1/2 cups of milk. It should be slightly runny but not too thin. Once smooth, whisk in nutritional yeast, salt, onion powder, paprika. Mix and set aside.
  3. On the side take 1 cup of cashews and pour 1 cup of warm water for 30 mins. After 30 mins lapse. Place the cashews and water, salt to taste, nutritional yeast, arrow root and blend. Once ready let the cashew cream simmer on low for about 5 mins. The arrow root will make the cashew cream nice and thick. Once ready set aside.
  4. Take a skillet and saute garlic, onions and tomatoes for about 5 mins in oil. Next add in the kale and let that saute for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Now add/fold the chickpea flour mix into the skillet and do not stir. Now pour the cashew cream you had prepared earlier and pour it on top of the chickpea mix you just poured onto the skillet.
  6. Put in the handful of sliced grape tomatoes on top of the cashew cream.
  7. Next, place the skillet inside the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Checking regularly to ensure its ready. (Look at notes)
  8. Once ready, the cashew cream will be slightly runny in the center but the chickpea should be firm.
  9. Garnish with some chopped up spring onions and parsley.
  10. Serve with a side salad or on its own.

Notes: If you do not have a skillet to put inside the oven do not fret, you can use a cake pan or a casserole dish. Simply pour the ingredients into the dish and allow it to bake for 15-20 minutes.

 

Frit 3

A Must Have Tropical Beauty Drink

I’m so sad to report that my obsession with coconut water started late in my adult years…for years I hated the idea of drinking coconut water and I think it’s because for a long time my taste buds were so used to high sugar concentrated drinks. Anything less just tasted bland.

So I was minding my own business at the supermarket today when I happen to come across a deal on young Thai coconuts….I grabbed one…..big mistake, do you know how amazing coconut water is? Forget bottled coconut….real coconut water is so amazing. The liquid from inside young coconuts before they mature has become a popular alternative to sports drink, unlike other coconut products, its low in calories, contains no fat and is rich in potassium.

Many studies have shown that the antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity of coconut water may help with a number of minor to severe health conditions. This nutrient rich drink has been used to regulate blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels, and it has been found to boost energy levels and increase metabolism in the human body.

Coconut is a great fluid for electrolytes (mineral balance) – yes ditch the sports drink and grab coconut water instead. It contains potassium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, copper and selenium.

Great for skin – Selenium is a great anti-aging mineral that maintains skin elasticity, and a healthy scalp. Zinc helps with your hair, nails and keeps your immunity strong.

Cardiovascular health – individuals with high blood pressure usually have low potassium levels. Therefore, drinking coconut water on a regular basis can be quite effective at regulating blood pressure due to its high concentration of potassium and lauric acid.

Assist with weight loss – Coconut water is a natural electrolyte which helps increase the body’s metabolism. Therefore, it can greatly benefit people who are struggling with weight issues.

Drink from young coconuts, the type with white husks and cylindrical shape.IMG_1155

How to enjoy dessert time with key lime

So you have decided to start eating healthy and you are worried about having sweet treats. You are wondering what you can eat that is still healthy but still cures your craving for something sweet? Fear not! Do not feel like you have to restrict yourself completely when it comes to healthy eating. If you are the adventurous type then I’m here to challenge your taste buds with a delicious key lime dessert that will have you questioning whether you can eat and not feel any guilt. The answer is yes, yes you can, all using avocado as the main ingredient.

I’m one of those people who grew up not enjoying the taste of avocados. My Mum tried to get me to eat it when I was young in every way she could…she sprinkled sugar..salt…I just hated it. But I’m glad to let you know that has changed…my palete has evolved and I love avocados now. So much so that I actually make dessert with them. So why do I choose to include them in my diet?

  1. Avocados give you more potassium than bananas, and potassium helps normalize blood pressure by balancing the hypertensive effect of dietary sodium.
  2. As for the fat in avocados, it is healthy, monounsaturated fat that is good for the heart and won’t raise cholesterol.  Avocados also are a good source of fiber. And they provide glutathione (an antioxidant) and folate.

The only nutritional downside to avocados is their high calorie content – about 300 for a whole one. So although it is healthy fat be sure to enjoy avocado’s in moderation.

Summary of health benefits of avocados

  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Reduces the risk of heart diseases.
  • Lowers cancer risk- healthy monostaurated fats will help your body better absorb anticancer antioxidants such as lycopene and beta-carotene.
  • Keeps blood sugar steady
  • Reverses insulin resistance and this in turn helps your body steady its blood sugar levels.
  • Maintains hair health. Avocado moisturizes hair shafts and loads them with protein, making them stronger.

Tips on Avocados

Recipe ideas

  • Puree avocado with coconut milk for a chilled soup
  • Mash and spread on bread instead of mayo for a creamy healthier taste.
  • If you want to retain a fresh green color, avocados should be eaten immediately or sprinkle lime juice or white vinegar.

Buying Tips

  • I look for firm avocados if I plan to use them later in the week. if i need to use it immediately I will select fruit that gives in to pressure when pressed firmly.
  • Do not rely on color alone to determine if the avocado is ripe.
  • To speed up ripening process store them in a paper bag and store them at room temperature for 2-5 days. If you place an avocado with an apple it speeds up the process even more.

Key Lime Recipe

You will definitely enjoy this key lime recipe as the coconut milk adds to its creamy texture.

Ingredients

5 ripe avocados

3 Limes or lemon

1/2 cup maple syrup or honey

5 Tbsp. coconut milk

I lime for grating

Directions

Scoop the flesh out of the avocados and place it in your food processor. Add the juice of the lime maple syrup and coconut milk. Blend until smooth.

Divide the mixture into 4 bowls and sprinkle grated lime. Keep chilled in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.

avocado

Intuition and a butternut squash recipe

I don’t like getting sucked into the social media hole..you know you start scrolling and just get carried away..or even worse you start searching for something and you get carried away at all the search suggestions instead and forget what you were even searching for. In the midst of the search you start looking and you start getting sucked into the lives of people you barely know. By the time you snap back and look at your own surrounding…you may think..man I lead a mundane and boring life…lol.

I’ve had to remind myself lately that NO….what I see is not real but a glimpse of what people want me to see. We get carried away trying to become people that we are not. We start thinking we need to look a certain way in order to fit into what society terms as beautiful. You let other people determine what self-care is for you or what you need to strive for. You let everyone else determine for you what joy should look like, what motherhood should be, what travel goals you should be aiming for. As you soak other people’s lives in, do you ever take the moment to ask yourself what joy should look like for yourself? for your family? what are your thoughts on self care? We have become so accustomed to other people, “experts” telling us the way in which we should live, eat, socialize…there is a book and expert for anything you may be interested in. But do you know that for a vast majority of matters, only you are the master. You determine for yourself what kind of life you want to live and how you want to live. You get to determine how you want to eat. Just because experts tell you a new fad is the way right way to eat, does not mean you have to follow it, because guess what, it may work for them but not for you.

My point is this, its okay to look at other people, admire them , research but ultimately you have to do what is best for you and what works for you. No one is the expert when it comes to you except you. I can suggest as I’m about to, that you go ahead and add butternut squash, but what if you have an aversion to it? will you still eat it? Ultimately when it comes to food, eat what feels good for your body. Make the right decisions based on what works for you and the research that you conduct. Essentially learn yourself and become an expert on you.

I have had to learn to follow my own intuition and listen to my body when it comes to what I eat. For instance when it comes to potatoes I love them, but I don’t eat as much as I used to. I swapped this vegetable with sweet potatoes and butternut squash which at first I hated but now love. Winter squash are richer in nutrients than summer squashes, Winter squash include acorn, butternut, spaghetti. the flowers, fruits and seeds are all edible.

Health benefits of butternut squash

  • Supports healthy vision, bones and cells.
  • Prevents constipation as they are high in insoluble fiber. they are rich in iron, potassium, zinc and other minerals.
  • Helps in lowering cholesterol as it contains insoluble fiber which helps to reduce the bad cholesterol by carrying it out of the body before it can be absorbed into the bloods stream.
  • Aids in maintaining a healthy weight.

Tips for preparing butternut squash

  1. Bake or steam winter squash instead of boiling to retain vitamin C and other nutrients
  2. It can be substituted for pumpkin in pies
  3. Select firm squash with unblemished skin or rind
  4. Buy butternut squash with long necks and smaller bottoms. The neck contains more flesh and is easier to cut that the bottom.
  5. Store for several months in a cool dark place. Do not refrigerate because temperatures below 40*F speed deterioration.

Butternut squash for me is a win all the time> I love baking the, as its quick and easy and also making soup. I made a delicious soup this week for the family. It is such a great meal for fighting inflammation because guess what I included in it…ginger. This is how you can make it.

Ingredients

Butternut Squash

Carrots

Salt for taste

Paprika

Cayenne

Coconut Oil

Leek

Coconut Milk

Directions

Peel the butternut squash and dice them into cubes. Coat the cut up butternut squash with oil, paprika and salt.

Next slice the carrots of the outer layers and slice them lengthwise. Coat the cut the carrots with oil, paprika and salt. Place them in a baking tray and set aside.

Slice the leeks into small pieces and coat them with oil and salt. Drizzle them on top of the carrots and roast them separately from the butter nut squash.Place them in a baking tray and set aside.

Now place both trays in the oven and roast them for about 20-25 minutes or until they are ready at 350*.

Once the food is ready, leave some roasted leeks on the side for garnishing as well as some butternut squash.. Use a food processor to blend the carrots/leeks and remainder of the butternut squash together. Add a dash of coconut milk to give it a creamy consistency. At this point you may also add a dash of salt and cayenne.

Serve and enjoy!

 

butternut squash soup