Two Quick, Easy, Vegan, + Gluten Free Bean Pasta Recipes: Prescription Pesto + Sesame Ginger Sauce

Who doesn’t Love pasta? Yes, love with a capital “L”.  For these recipes I used banza pasta made from chickpeas.  Bean pasta is awesome! It is super high in nutrients like iron and beneficial fiber. Plus it is loaded with protein. It’s gluten free and only takes 7-8 minutes to cook. Obsessed. I particularly like the Banza brand because it looks just like regular pasta and has a really nice consistency.  Some bean pastas that I have tried are a little mealy and chalky, this brand is nice and noodle-y.  I don’t know how else to describe it 😛 Hope you enjoy these recipes! xo

Purchase Your Box Of BANZA Here:

Banza Chickpea Pasta, Variety Case, Shells/Elbows/Penne/Rotini (Pack of 6)

Sesame Ginger Pasta + Veggies

Mmmm when I had this recipe the first time I could have sworn it had peanut butter and sugar in it with its gingery garlic creamy deliciousness.  Its just sesame seeds and dates!? What!? So simple and I can assure you this recipe will not disappoint!

Adapted from Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Quick and Easy Chilled Sesame Noodles

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces bean pasta, cooked according to package directions, rinsed under cold water, and drained
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen broccoli florets, steamed
  • 1 pound mushrooms, chopped + steamed (or use another pound of broccoli or any other vegetable you love!)
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 6 scallions thinly sliced

For the Sauce

  • 1/4 cup unhulled sesame seeds, lightly pan toasted
  • 1 cup water
  • 2-3 tablespoons raw almonds or cashews (preferably soaked / sprouted)
  • 7 medjool dates or 13-14 regular dates (like deglet noor), pitted
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice (or rice vinegar / apple cider vinegar)

Steps

  1. In a high speed blender, puree all the sauce ingredients until smooth
  2. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta, bell pepper, scallion, steamed broccoli, and veggies with the sauce until thoroughly coated.
  3. Divide among 6 plates and serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.

Prescription Pesto

Yaaas pesto :-P. This recipe has got all the medicine in it, and TBH: there is nothing I crave more. This pesto is BOMB. Don’t be fooled by the word, “medicine.” Back in the day when you used to plug your nose to get the stuff down.  This powerful pesto has got the most potent DNA protecting and disease reversing foods like greens, turmeric, beans, walnuts, and garlic.  And this medicine, baby.  Just can’t get enoughhh yuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Adapted from Dr. Michael Greger‘s Eight Check-Mark Pesto

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch (or about 2 cups) fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup raw or sprouted walnuts
  • 2-3 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/4 of a peeled lemon
  • zest of 1/2 of a lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 cup canned pinto beans (I recommend no salt added like Eden’s Organic)
  • 1/4 cup liquid from canned beans or water
  • 1 tablespoon sweet white miso (equal to or less than 270mg sodium / serving)
  • Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor.  Blend until smooth. Scoop onto a cup and a half of cooked bean pasta.

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Healthy Pasta TASTE TEST + 4 Reasons Why I STILL Avoid Gluten

 

Pasta. What a delectable vehicle for vegetables!  Add your favorite beans, steamed veggies, and tomato sauce and BOOM! An impressive gourmet dinner.  While intact grains are the gold standard (grains in their whole form), whole grains, yes including their bran, germ, and endosperm, are milled into a fine flour to make whole grain pastas, breakfast cereals, and other “whole grain” products.  A few examples of legit whole intact grains would be steel cut oats, brown rice, quinoa, and millet.

wholegrains

How to tell if the product is WHOLE GRAIN?

  1. Whole grain stamp is on the package
  2. “100%” or “Whole” are used to describe it
  3. The first ingredient listed is a whole grain

refinedgrains

Refined grains are not only grains milled into a flour, but their grain was stripped of the nutrient and fiber containing bran and germ! Murder! Refined grains are white / light in color and examples include white bread, cookies, cakes, pretzels, white rice, regular pasta, and anything made with white flour. Darn!

Don’t fret too much! The recommendation is:

Make at least 1/2 of your grains whole grains.

Grains are an important part of a healthy balanced diet for fiber, iron,powerplategraphichirez magnesium, selenium, b vitamins, and lasting energy! Be sure to include them on your plate.

The Taste Test

Well before #1, my personal favorite is ZUCCHINILINI OF COURSE! Which is simply zucchini or summer squash, spirilized to look and feel like spaghetti. I like to mix it with pasta dishes to add bulk, flavor, color, and more veg of course!

#1 Nature’s Promise Whole Wheat Spaghetti: #1 in taste, texture, and nutritional profile. Contains gluten.

#2. Bionaturae Gluten Free Corn and Soy Spaghetti: Fabulous texture and taste and with 5g protein and 6% iron, this product is ok. Low in fiber :-/

#3. Jovial Gluten Free Brown Rice Spaghetti: Quite sticky texture, but great flavor and elasticity.  Would go great with a sauce. However, low in fiber although whole grain. Brown rice is naturally low in fiber.

 

#4. Ancient Harvest Gluten Free Corn and Quinoa Spaghetti: Texture dry and kinda crunchy, but a good source of fiber at 16% daily value and 10% iron!

#5. Andean Dream Quinoa Gluten Free Spaghetti: Texture was definitely a little sandy.  But I must say with 6% calcium, 12% iron, and just barely a good source of fiber at 10% daily value, not bad.

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The Consensus:

The quinoa based gluten free products have a better nutritional profile, but are not as delicious as the lower fiber rice based ones.

Why I personally still avoid Gluten?

Do I go out of my way to avoid gluten?

No.  I still enjoy it in moderation. My mom makes homemade bread and pizza with gluten which I eat occasionally.  My diet is whole foods based, so I rarely purchase packaged products that might contain gluten.

Do I eat gluten every day?

No.  Maybe I eat a gluten containing meal or snack 3-4 times a week.  I am generally healthy and do not currently feel any reason to put more effort into seriously avoiding wheat, barley, rye, and foods containing gluten 100% of the time.

Why I make this personal choice:

  1. My sister has ulcerative colitis, which is similar to celiacs in that they are both autoimmune inflammatory intestinal disorders. With a genetic risk factor in my family, I try to not over load the gluten as a personal preventative measure.
  2. Studies linking gluten and autism spectrum disorders autism-and-nutrition-1. The GFCF (gluten free casein free) diet has been shown to help people with ADHD and autism, what else could it be linked to? I am ever curious and after reading such articles have trouble stomaching gluten (and of course would never recommend drinking milk).
  3. Naturopaths recommend avoiding gluten initially when trying to avoid inflammation with an “elimination diet,” along with dairy and other common inflammatory trigger foods. With this in mind, many people have success reversing adverse symptoms like rashes, IBS, fatigue, etc (SO MANY), once they remove gluten from their diet.  I grew up with canker sores, weird rashes, and eczema so, avoiding inflammation (and gluten) is in my best interest.
  4. Close friends with celiac disease so it is easier for everybody to find a gluten free delicious option!

While as you could see from the video, a gluten free diet is not recommended for the general public because it tends to have less nutrients. Be a savvy shopper and let me know if you have any questions! Enjoy those intact whole grains and plant yums! xx

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3 Easiest Favorite Healthy Lunches | Gluten Free, Vegan, Affordable

School, work, packing for kids, or just want easy healthy lunch ideas; I’ve got you covered!  Three of my favorite and most simple lunch combos. Watch this video to get the tips, snacks, and full recipes.

I base my lunches off the Physician Committee’s “Power Plate“: everymealpowerplate

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Here are the three main bowls:

1. Mexican Bowl

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Chopped Romaine Lettuce
  • 1/2 cup Brown Rice
  • 1/2 cup Black Beans (I like Eden’s Brand)
  • 1/2 cup Organic Corn
  • 2 Tbsp Diced Red Onion
  • 2 Tbsp Low Sodium Natural Salsa
  • 1/4 Avocado
  • 1/4 Lime, Squeezed

2. Harvest Bowl

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Spinach
  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 1/2 Diced Organic Apple
  • 3-4 Tbsp Raisins
  • 2 Tbsp Chopped Red Onion
  • 1-2 Tbsp Chopped Walnuts
  • 1 tsp Maple Balsamic Dressing
  • 1/4 Lime, Squeezed

3. Italian Bowl

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Kale
  • 1/2 Summer Squash Spiralized
  • 3 Chopped Baby Bella Mushrooms
  • 4 Cherry Tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp Chopped Red Onion
  • 1/2 Cup Cannellini Beans
  • 1/2 Cup Engine 2 Brand Low Sodium No Oil Tomato Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Sunflower Seeds
  • 1/4 tsp Kelp Shaker
  • 1/2 tsp Kale Chip Shaker
  • 1 tsp Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/4 Lime, Squeezed

These can be modified with whatever whole grains, veggies, beans/legumes you’ve got on hand. Make them the way you like, and enjoy!

 

The Baked Ziti That Will Change Your Life | Vegan, Cheap, Meat Eater Approved

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Last week I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Washington DC for a plant based dietitian job interview at the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine.  They had me stay at their guest house, The Baker House, with interns who are occupants there for the summer.  If you haven’t already heard of the PCRM, it is an organization whose mission is ultimately to provide evidence based expertise to save the world. You can imagine how nervous/excited this wanna-be superhero was for this interview!!!

Back to the ziti- The ladies residing at The Baker House, Sofie and Catherine, are two brilliant, friendly, open minded vegans that became my close friends insanely quickly.  Catherine has made this dish a bunch of times and raved how it is always a win. Girl- you got that right!  Pool money to make dinner and eat it together!? Of course!!! Which lead me to enjoy the dish that I am sure will get anyone to give more vegan meals a try. Thank you ladies!

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Baked Ziti That Will Change Your Life

Adapted from One Green Planet’s Recipe

Ingredients (total cost at Whole Foods: $21)

  • 1 lb ziti pasta
  • 1 24oz jar marinara sauce (we used an organic fat-free option plus some that was already open in the fridge)
  • 1 1/2 cups vegan mozzarella shreds (we used 1 bag of daiya shredded mozzarella)
  • 1 lb firm tofu, drained
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast or vegan grated parmesan
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese (we used 1/2 of a container of tofutti)

Steps

  1. Boil water and cook ziti to manufacturer’s instructions and preheat oven to 425*F
  2. For ‘ricotta’: crumble tofu in a large bowl and add in nutritional yeast (or parmesan), salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder, and cream cheese. Mix fully with a fork or large spoon.
  3. Mix the cooked pasta, most of the marinara sauce, and ricotta in a large bowl
  4. In a large baking pan, add some marinara to line the bottom, transfer the mixture in, and spread it out evenly.
  5. Top with the rest of the marinara and finally the layer of mozzarella shreds
  6. Cover the dish with foil and bake ~20 minutes, uncover, and cook for another 5-10 minutes.
  7. Eat with a side of greens and those people who actually get you and still like you! 😉 xo
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Catherine, Sofie, and I eating takeout from ‘Hip City Veg’ on the Smithsonian Steps

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The Soup Everyone is Craving- Even in the Summer

Hope you had a lovely fourth!  Unfortunately, after the stress of the RD (registered dietitian) exam (yes! I passed! 😀), I have not given myself a break and managed to get a pretty nasty cold.  My 4th consisted of a couch, good books, and the most hydrating foods I could get my hands on.  I drank lots of boxed coconut water, ate an entire watermelon, and had a few oranges, cherries, and fresh picked raspberries here and there; that is all that sounded good to me.

This is what I made myself for breakfast today:

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Thai coconut curry veg amazingness.

Was going to make a green smoothie bowl of some sort, but was craving something hot and savory.  Holy **** it hit the spot. It would be a disservice not to blog about it.

Thai Coconut Curry Soup

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Serves ~6 people. 2 ladles per serving.

Ingredients:

Keep in mind I did not measure anything. I am amazed at myself- this is truly a special moment. Perseverance and practice make progress. ! Feel it out, use what you’ve got in the fridge, and at first tread lightly with the spices and continue to add until you’ve got the mastermind punch of spice that you desire. 🙂 Throw some fun in too. Makes it taste better.

  • 2/3 box of low sodium vegetable broth
  • half of a 1lb bag of baby carrots
  • 2 cloves of garlic (used the tiny holes on the cheese grater to finely mince)
  • 1 large marble sized chunk of fresh ginger, peeled (used the tiny holes on the cheese grater to finely mince)
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • ~1/2 tsp cayenne (you can always add more if needed)
  • ~2/3 tsp turmeric
  • ~2/3 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large stalk of celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 boiled potato, peeled and cubed (I always have boiled potatoes in the fridge, yum!)
  • 1/4 head cauliflower, rough chop
  • 1/4 can of Eden’s black soy beans (mom meant to get black beans, w.e)
  • 4 handfuls of baby kale, roughly chopped (I am so lazy I just ripped it up with my hands)
  • fresh mint and lime to top / garnish
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The products I used

Steps: this is how I made it, I am sure there are better ways…

  1. Pour the veg broth in a med/large pot and bring to a boil with the carrots. (If you decide to substitute winter squash or sweet potato for carrot, I still recommend putting these in first to boil, as well as maybe your cubed potato if it is not pre-boiled already). This allows the carrots to cook and get soft and sweet, as well as add some flavor to the broth.
  2. While waiting for the boil, with the smallest setting on a cheese grater (or just mince), grate the garlic and ginger into the pot. Add in onions, coconut milk, and spices. Allow to boil for about 5 minutes, and turn down heat to simmer.
  3. Add in the celery, boiled potato, cauliflower, and black beans. Let simmer about 2-5 minutes.
  4. I actually put the chopped kale in my serving dish and ladled the soup on top of the kale. I don’t want my kale to lose its beautiful green color or nutrients. Definitely add that in last, after you turn off the heat.
  5. Enjoy with fresh mint and a generous squeeze of lime! Yum!

Make it your own!

I did not plan on making soup today, I simply used the random veggies I had in the fridge and things I happen to find in the cupboard.  Play with different vegetables that you might have like bell peppers, zucchini, basil, idk, mm brown rice? Go crazy with it! Nom nom! xoxo much love and good health to you and to me!!

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History in the Making: Dietitians of South Texas Tour Their New 100% Organic Grocery Store

In a city of McDonalds, Whataburger, Wal-Mart, obesity and diabetes, a world saving beacon of health and sustainability opens; fully equipped with the highest quality produce/products, demonstration kitchen, vitamins/herbs/supplements, beauty products, books, and, it’s love!

natural grocers
Natural Grocers 100% Organic Grocery Opens March 15, 2016

Today, I had the opportunity to get a tour of the store with the Corpus Christi Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics group lead by the wonderful dietitian there, Kelsey. I was extremely impressed by this tour. A grocery store tour to dietitians? Please, as if they could learn anything more, but we all did! Like how Kelsey pointed out that the hemp seeds, walnuts, and other unstable fats are kept in the refrigerated section (polyunsaturated fats become rancid very easily, creating free radicals, so they must be kept cool). I have learned this previously but I have never seen a grocery store actually put their nuts and seeds in the refrigerator!

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The sign above us says, “100% organic produce,” yes, I am the obnoxious intern that made everybody get in front of the produce section and asked the cashier to take our picture 🙂

The Tour~

Kristen gave us all a LONG list of things that Natural Grocers will NOT carry.  Including ingredients that I am quite familiar with like GMOs (genetically modified organisms), hydrogenated oils (trans fats), bleached flours, parabens (mimic estrogen and cause reproductive disorders), dairy products from cows given rBGH (recombinant  Bovine Growth Hormone), artificial sweeteners (all of them), and artificial colors and flavors, as well as so many that I have seen before but even (a nutrition nerd grad student studying nutrition) have seen but no clue what they are!

Ingredients like DBP (dibutyl phthalate) which is a fragrance ingredient, plasticizer, and solvent that is a reproductive and developmental toxin, endocrine disruptor, and a known human respiratory toxin.  Also, BHA and BHT (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) and (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) are preservatives that have been shown to be carcinogenic and cause allergic reactions in humans.  I could go on..This place doesn’t even carry chemical based sunscreens or antibacterial soaps! Amen!

A few more reasons why I’m in love with this place:

  • No bags, you have to bring your own! (or they use a cardboard box)
  • GF (gluten free) items are all marked clearly next to price on shelf
  • Local is emphasized and marked clearly with a Texas flag on shelf
  • Lots of cheap “Health Hotline” sale items
  • Bulk specialty items from mulberries and goji berries to raw buckwheat groats
  • WIDE variety of vegan items
  • Reverse osmosis water filter, only $0.25 to refill a gallon
  • Nutrition experts- these people know their stuff!
  • To reduce waste and cut cost of items: no deli/freshly prepared items (ever wonder where all the fresh baked goods from Whole Foods goes at the end of the day? Yup, in the trash #wasteful. !
  • No self serve bulk bins but still has large packages of items in bulk – reduces contamination and food waste
  • Huge wall of shelves with high quality nutritional reference and cookbooks

They even have cool events like this Saturday they have a gluten free tasting expo and health fair! Aw chocolate avocado pie food demo, and “How to live an alkaline lifestyle” is on Monday April 11th. Check out their website for more info on events.

A little bit about my internship…

I can’t believe it, I completed my food service and community rotations last semester and am now half way through my clinical rotation! Eeek! As a snob from the Boston area who  works at a raw vegan cafe called “Organic Garden Cafe” back home, I was nervous that I wouldn’t get to learn new innovations of nutrition while working as an intern in a program that emphasizes the low income communities of South Texas.

I could not be more pleasantly surprised and excited about my feelings towards this internship right now.  It brings me such joy and power to have worked with the people of this community. Diabetics who do not know what a carbohydrate is, teen mom’s going out for a cigarette, and people who are truly afraid to lose weight because they have (and their family and friends) have always been big, so if they lost weight, what would they think!? Many of these people do not want to change, and even if they did, where to even start? As my sister, the writer, put it, “You need to learn the script before you can re-write a new one.

My clinical preceptor now, Shannon Aguilar, has helped me to not only be a much more confident clinical dietitian, but to take it a step further, too.  It is one thing to study nutrition, it is quite another to actually care enough to reflect on our own lives and practice what we preach.  My preceptor, Mrs. Aguilar, is more than a dietitian, she is also a health coach, and helped me to see how important it is to learn who our audience is before we try to help.

Seeing a grocery store like this open in Boston or Vermont would have been a, yawn. Another natural grocery? But, HERE! I get to see history in the making. These people having access to this kind of world saving expertise is dream come true for me.

There is something really cool about the idea of helping people who really need it AND want it. I could talk coconut oil and kale to the organic junkies back home all day every day, but that doesn’t reverse our obesity epidemic now does it? I may have thought that my second round match was a mistake, but actually, it was the best eye-opening and invigorating experience.  To be able to explain what a carbohydrate is to someone who has no clue? Check. Next: to reverse their disease through diet and lifestyle! No matter where I end up, I hope to make a positive impact and continue to be pleasantly surprised by all that I learn from the experience.

Spring Rolls + Peanut Sauce. Whole Food Ingredients Only.

This peanut sauce though. Yum. !

I made these the weekend my beautiful friend Ally came to visit. She LOVED them! These rolls are STUFFED with nothing but veggies and whole plant foods in all their glory. I love this peanut sauce recipe because it tastes BETTER than the processed ish without all the preservatives, colors, oils, salt, sugar, or anything that might make me, you know, depressed! Only happiness fuel for every cell here ladies and gentlemen!

spring rolls

Vietnamese Soft Rolls + Peanut Sauce

Adapted from the Organic Garden Cafe

Spring Rolls:

  • Rice wrappers stuffed with:
  • Purple cabbage
  • Zucchini
  • Red bell pepper
  • Sweet potato
  • Kale
  • Scallion
  • Cilantro
  • Avocado
  • Brown rice

Peanut Sauce:

  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (1 ingredient only: PEANUTS)
  •  juice of 1.5-2 limes
  • large marble to golf ball chunk of fresh peeled ginger
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 8 oz pitted moist dates
  • 2/3 cup simmering hot water
  • dash of chili flakes

Blend in high speed blender or food processor until smooth

Spicy, Cheesy, Black Bean + Sweet Potato Quesadillas

It’s funny- I  really don’t like foods that are too spicy.  Currently giving myself a lil pat on the back for successfully making a dish with some definite kick, that I can eat without, you know, crying. This is one you’ve got to share with friends. Have fun, sizzle sizzleee

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Black Bean and Sweet Potato Quesadillas

Makes about 4 quesadillas

Ingredients

  • 8 whole grain tortillas, 9 inch (I used these gluten free brown rice ones)
  • 1 medium sized sweet potato, boiled and skin removed (save the skin to eat later)
  • 3/4 cup no-salt-added canned diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed (no salt added if using canned)
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced tiny
  • 1/3 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/3 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • oil for cooking (like unrefined coconut or olive oil)

Steps:

  1. Using a large frying pan, heat ~1 tsp. oil over medium and sauté onions and garlic for about 5 minutes. Add in mushrooms and red bell pepper and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a separate bowl when finished cooking
  2. In the meantime, using a large bowl, mash boiled skinless sweet potato with a fork with diced tomatos and add in nutritional yeast, cumin, chili powder and mix well to combine. Stir in black beans, jalapeno, and cilantro.
  3. Using the same frying pan as before, heat and spread ~1 tsp of oil over medium heat. Place a tortilla flat on the frying pan and spread ~1/2 cup of sweet potato mixture evenly over the tortilla, then spread ~1/4-1/3 cup of sauteed onion vegetable mix on top of that so it looks kinda like this:20160124_123241
  4. Place another tortilla on top, flip after ~3 minutes of cooking (to flip I placed my plate on top of the second tortilla and flipped it into my plate and slid it from the plate back onto the frying pan)
  5. Using a pizza cutter, cut into 4 sections.  Serve with salsa and guacamole.  I made avocado cream with 1 mashed avocado and the juice from 2 limes, mixed well.  So good! Go pats!

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Nut, Ginger, and Chocolate Radiance Bars

Your search for a healthy crowd-pleasing holiday treat ends here. These are perfectly sweet and satisfying with a warming hint of ginger, and an irresistible combination of crunch and chocolatey creaminess.  Please watch the recipe video from http://www.greenkitchenstories.com for the original recipe.  It is my favorite recipe video of all time, beautiful videography ❤ and the recipe is truly delicious.

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Makes about 24 bars

  • 10 coconut date rolls
  • 2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 cup raw almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 cup puffed millet
  • 1 handful walnuts, chopped
  • ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3.5oz 60% dark chocolate
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  1. Watch video
  2. Combine date rolls together by smushing them with a fork on a plate and add to a medium saucepan over low heat with coconut oil, almond butter, and grated ginger. Mix well to combine
  3. Add in millet, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and salt and mix well
  4. Line a 13” x 9” pan with parchment paper and press mixture evenly into pan
  5. Melt chocolate and spread over the top. Sprinkle with coconut flakes.
  6. Cover and freeze for about an hour. Cut into 24 bars. Store in the freezer or refrigerator.

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1 Bar (based on 24 bar yield):
Calories 140
Protein 3g
Carbohydrate 8g
Total Fat 12g
Fiber 2g
Cholesterol 0mg

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Why these bars make you radiant?

  • Sweetened with fruit with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants; preventing blood sugar spike and crash which ultimately prevents depression, fatigue, and cravings for more sugar
  • Coconut oil, although the gold standard saturated fat source, should be regarded like any other oil: a concentrated food that provides a lot of calories with limited nutrients. It’s okay to use some unrefined high-quality coconut oil when preparing special-occasion treats, but as with other oils, its use should be minimized. *read more about coconut + coconut oil in article below!
  • Almonds are high in the antioxidant vitamin E, which protects cell membranes from damage; preventing disease, inflammation, muscle soreness, and keeping skin glowing preventing wrinkles
  • Ginger is well known for its powers of healing indigestion and migraine headaches. Ginger also has potent anti-inflammatory properties
  • Millet is a whole grain, a complex carbohydrate helping to maintain stable energy levels throughout the day. It also has protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals
  • Walnuts contain the essential omega-3 fatty acids, which convert to the most abundant fatty acid in our brains, DHA. Omega-3s in the diet improve focus and cognitive function, and they have also been shown to decrease inflammation leading to heart disease.
  • Raw pumpkin seeds are a fabulous source of minerals like zinc, which is important for immune system function as well as formation of proteins and DNA. Pumpkin seeds also have vitamins like the antioxidant vitamin E mentioned previously.
  • Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which are part of a group of antioxidants known as polyphenols. These flavonoids may decrease oxidation (damage) from LDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure. Also, chocolate contains many minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium

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*Coconut Oil Info:

“Few foods have been at once as maligned and acclaimed as coconut oil. Because it’s the most concentrated source of saturated fat in the food supply—even higher than lard or butter—some view it as a notorious health villain. Not surprisingly, it rests atop the “avoid” column of mainstream healthy-heart-food lists.

Others view coconut oil as a fountain of youth and the greatest health discovery in decades. These advocates claim that coconut oil can provide therapeutic benefits for Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, cancer, diabetes, digestive disturbances, heart disease, high blood pressure, HIV, kidney disease, osteoporosis, overweight, Parkinson’s disease, and many other serious conditions. So what’s the truth?

Based on the available science, coconut oil is neither a menace nor a miracle food. Coconut oil should be regarded like any other oil: a concentrated food that provides a lot of calories with limited nutrients. It’s okay to use some high-quality coconut oil when preparing special-occasion treats, but as with other oils, its use should be minimized. On the other hand, whole coconut should be treated in much the same way as other high-fat plant foods—enjoyed primarily as a whole food. As such, it’s loaded with fiber, vitamin E, and healthful phytochemicals, and has powerful antimicrobial properties.

The relative health effects of coconut oil consumption remain somewhat uncertain. Some people believe that eating coconut oil does no harm because it’s cholesterol-free; others claim it’s harmful because it lacks essential fatty acids. But we can’t ignore the fact that in many parts of the world where coconut and coconut oil are the principal sources of dietary fat, the rates of chronic disease, including CAD, are low. There is one major caveat: the benefits seem to apply only when coconut products are consumed as part of a diet rich in high-fiber plant foods and lacking processed foods.

The people of the Marshall Islands provide a poignant example. The traditional Marshallese diet employed a wide variety of coconut products, which furnished an estimated 50 to 60 percent of total calories. Seventy years ago, when this diet was standard fare, diabetes was pretty much unheard of. When their indigenous diet gave way to a Western-style diet of processed foods and fatty animal products, diabetes rates escalated even though coconut products continued to be featured prominently in the diet.

Coconut oil is so often blacklisted by health-care providers mainly because approximately 87 percent of its fat is saturated. Many people imagine saturated fat as a single tyrant that clogs arteries, but different types of saturated fats exist. They contain fatty acid chains whose lengths contain from 4 to 30 carbon atoms. Depending on the length of the carbon chain, these fatty acids have very different effects on blood cholesterol levels and on health.

The most common saturated fatty acids are lauric acid, myristic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic acid. Their carbon-chain length and main food sources are:

  • lauric acid (12 carbon atoms): coconut, coconut oil, palm kernel oil
  • myristic acid (14 carbon atoms): dairy products, coconut, palm oil, palm kernel oil, nutmeg oil
  • palmitic acid (16 carbon atoms): palm oil, animal fats
  • stearic acid (18 carbon atoms): cocoa butter, mutton fat, beef fat, lard, butter

Saturated fatty acids with 12 to 16 carbon atoms increase LDL cholesterol levels, while 18-carbon stearic acid doesn’t. However, stearic acid isn’t completely off the hook; some evidence shows high intakes could adversely affect other CVD risk factors, such as lipoprotein(a) and certain clotting factors.

As it happens, approximately three-quarters of the fat in coconut oil comprises saturated fatty acids known to raise blood cholesterol levels: 15 percent is saturated fatty acids with small carbon chains (6 to 10 carbon atoms), 47 percent is lauric acid, 18 percent is myristic acid, 9 percent is palmitic acid, and 3 percent is stearic acid. Case closed?

Well, not exactly. The predominant fatty acid, lauric acid, does raise total cholesterol, but it appears to raise HDL cholesterol to an even greater extent than LDL cholesterol, favorably altering the ratio of HDL to total cholesterol. In addition, lauric acid is converted in the body into monolaurin, a powerful antiviral, antifungal, and antiseptic compound—and coconut oil is among the richest food sources of lauric acid. There’s also evidence that coconut products have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. However, the compounds responsible (which include a variety of phytochemicals, such as phenolic acids) are largely eliminated when coconut oil is refined.”

– See more at: http://plantbaseddietitian.com/coconut-oil-menace-or-miracle/#sthash.ld9rrM3w.dpuf

Orange Glazed Tempeh | Fat Free, Gluten Free, Vegan

Orange Glazed Tempeh

orange glazed tempeh

What even is “tempeh”???  It is made by cooking and fermenting soybeans and forming them into a condensed patty type thing.  I prefer its texture to its similar tofu brother, however, this is my first time actually experimenting with a soy product, so we’ll see!westsoytempeh  I love how it has a meaty texture and picks of flavors really well.  It has a slight bite of chewiness and is full of protein, calcium, and iron.  I used the WESTSOY Five Grain tempeh (which has gluten), but I’m sure any kind would be superb. Just be sure the version you get is GF if you have a sensitivity.

tempehr

Serves one. About 230 calories and 14g protein per serving.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 block of organic “west soy” tempeh
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • juice of 1 key lime or about 1/2 regular lime
  • 1/2 – 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • juice of 1 orange or about 1/3 cup orange juice

Steps:

  1. Using a knife and a cutting board, cut off 1/3 of the block of tempeh.  Turn this on its side and slice it in half so that you have 2 skinnier third pieces. Cut these two third pieces into triangles.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the orange juice, lime juice, maple syrup, and ginger, and mix with a spatula to combine
  3. Put the tempeh triangles in the pan and allow them to sizzle on one side, moving around while sizzling.
  4. Flip the tempeh when ready, and allow it to sizzle on the other side. Be sure to keep it moving so it doesn’t burn and add a little more oj (or whatever you’d like to add to make it even better!) if needed.
  5. When the tempeh has soaked it up, time to eat! I had a little orange glaze left over in the pan so I stir fried some rice in there, delish! Serve with kale, rice, scallion, avocado, sunflower seeds – whatever you got! 🙂 xx