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! ūüėÄ), 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. ūüôā 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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Instead of the Cleanse, Just Eat Like This

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Keep It Simple

Meal prep is so much easier with whole plant foods. ¬†Boil some rice, some beans, steam some potatoes, chop some veggies, and BOOM. You’ve got a bowl of medicinal magic food.

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Greens, 1-2 cups

Leafy green vegetables should be the base of the meal because they are so abundant in vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, omega healthy fats, antioxidants.. the list goes on.  Try massaging some kale or collards that are high in calcium, or go for softer lettuces like spinach, arugula or romaine.

Whole Grains and Beans, 1/2 cup

Whole grains and beans are basically seeds. They are incredible sources of minerals, protein and fiber. Whole grains and beans are both complex carbs, meaning they release their energy slowly to keep you feeling perfectly stable throughout the day, straying away from blood sugar spikes and crashes causing cravings or feeling like you need a nap.  For whole grains, try quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, or millet, and for beans, I love black beans, lentils, pinto beans, and chickpeas.

Veggies, 1/2 cup

Eat the rainbow! Whatever veggies are on sale, grab em! I always have sweet potatoes on hand. They are cheap, and happen to be my FAVORITE sweet little things ever.  I also adore purple cabbage, red bell pepper, zucchini, tomato, the list goes on!

Toppings, 1-2 Tbsp

Ok, lemon or lime juice = essential topping! Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in citrus is necessary for absorption of non-heme (plant based, ferric) iron!  My favorite toppings also would be avocado, healthy fats are necessary for absorption of fat soluble vitamins D, A, E, and K. I also love chopped nuts like walnuts, ooo raisins, seeds, and of course chopped fresh herbs like dill, basil, mint, or parsley to add a pop of flavor. Also, if I have marinara or hummus in the fridge, that is also an easy go-to topping for me.

Healthy isn’t about all the supplements, spirulina, and pricy goji berries. ¬†Health incorporates the mind as well, including relationships, and mindset around food. Remove the guilt, allow yourself to fully enjoy! ¬†I hope this post helps you to make a meal you truly love¬†that you can feel good about eating regularly for a well-balanced,¬†plant based lifestyle. ¬†Let me know if there is anything else I can help you with. ūüôā

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Rainbow Ginger Citrus Zoodles | Raw, Vegan, Simple, Delicious.

The research I am doing for my graduate program is on plant foods and cancer- I am on cloud 8374378457 with all the EUREKA WHATT research that is out there!! Sulforaphane in broccoli, sweet potato protein, flavanols in cacao, cranberries, blueberries, tomatoes, the plant kingdom cures cancer!! Amazing! The best is to get organic and picked ripe because plants produce natural components called salvestrols¬†to protect themselves from harm similarly to how the plant foods protect us. ¬†It. Is. Unbelievable. Potent cancer killers without harming the body, truly healing it. Mind, body, spirit, immunity, vitality, sustainability ‚̧ Eat the rainbow, reap the success, love, beauty, and happiness *starstruck*

Rainbow Citrus Zoodles

citrus zoodles

The Noodles:

  • 4 small zucchini, spiralized
  • 2-3 medium carrots, spiralized
  • 1 small red bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 2 purple cabbage leaves, sliced thin

The Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup fresh scallion
  • a quarter sized chunk of ginger
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. tahini
  1. Combine noodles in a large bowl
  2. Blend sauce ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth
  3. Drizzle over noodles, mix and devour with some people you love!

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!

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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 ūüôā

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 I (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.

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

vegquesadillas

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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Barbecue Black Bean Burger. Easy. Cheap. Vegan. Irresistible.

I know, eating heart healthy is hard. You just. You love meat way too much, you can’t give it up. ¬†I know the feeling. ¬†Like a meatless meal is a deprived, sad, flavorless, unsatisfying sounding situation, right? ¬†Well- these burgers and fries.. you’ll never look back. ¬†Welcome to the earth shattering world of f*ing BOMB healthy food!!

bbqburger

BBQ Black Bean Burgers

Adapted from the incredible Minimalist Baker. Easy Grillable Veggie Burgers.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/2 Tbsp unrefined coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, finely diced
  • 1/3 cup mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp each: chili powder, cumin, and paprika
  • 1/2 tsp each: salt and black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, well rinsed, and drained
  • 1/3 cup ground rolled oats (throw some oatmeal in the blender)
  • 3-4 Tbsp vegan BBQ sauce (reach for one without high fructose corn syrup that has <140 mg sodium per serving)

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (These also work well cooked on skillet or grill)
  2. If your brown rice isn’t cooked yet, I have learned in my nutrition classes that vitamins are lost when cooked in excess water or when water is drained off. ¬†Thiamin, (aka vitamin B1) is lost as temperature or pH rises but it is more heat stable in acid, so it would be a good idea to cook rice with some lemon or lime juice, adding acidity to help retain nutrient content. Cook in amount of water that will be absorbed during cooking : 1 cup rice, use 2 cups of water.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium with 1/2 Tbsp oil, onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Saute for 3-4 minutes, until onions are translucent. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. To a high speed blender or food processor, add walnuts, chili powder,  cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, and blend until smooth, but not butter.
  5. To a large mixing bowl, add drained black beans and mash well with a fork (nice work out, takes about 3-5 minutes, if you don’t feel the burn, you ain’t doing it right! Gotta love it.) Leave some whole beans for good texture though.
  6. Add cooked rice, spice-walnut mixture, sauteed onion mushroom garlic mix, maple syrup, ground oats, BBQ sauce, and mix thoroughally with a wooden spoon until moldable dough forms. ¬†If too dry, add a tad more BBQ sauce, if too moist, add more ground oats. ¬†Taste and adjust seasoning as you’d like.
  7. For larger burgers, divide into 5 patties (~1/2 cup in size) or form 10 smaller burgers (~1/4 cup in size). To help form the patties, line your 1/2 or 1/4 measuing cup with plastic wrap and pack with burger mix. Press down to pack firmly, then lift out by the plastic wrap’s edge, and use hands to flatten slightly on the parchment paper, forming a 3/4 inch thick patty.
  8. Bake for about 15-20 minutes on each side for a total of 30-40 minutes cooking time.
  9. Serve over a toasted bun with kale, super thinly sliced cucumber and red onion,  avocado, and another drizzle of BBQ sauce. The cooling cucumber and avocado complement the heat from the BBQ sauce deliciously.
Based on one out of five burgers made:
Calories 337
Protein 10 grams (1 egg has ~6 grams)
Carbohydrate 37 grams (2.5 diabetic exchanges)
Total Fat 18 grams of healthy plant based fat!
Fiber 6 grams
Cholesterol 0 grams

^estimation based on USDA’s http://www.supertracker.com

For a side of fries, I have been loving my Deliciously Ella cookbook and recommend trying her Perfect Potato Wedges or Cinnamon and Paprika Sweet Potato Wedges

fries and chickpeas

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
  • ¬Ĺ 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‚ÄĚ x 9‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs 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:

‚ÄúFew foods have been at once as maligned and acclaimed as coconut oil. Because it‚Äôs the most concentrated source of saturated fat in the food supply‚ÄĒeven higher than lard or butter‚ÄĒsome view it as a notorious health villain. Not surprisingly, it rests atop the ‚Äúavoid‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs 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‚ÄĒenjoyed primarily as a whole food. As such, it‚Äôs 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‚ÄĒand coconut oil is among the richest food sources of lauric acid. There‚Äôs 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

How to Sprout and Cook Beans: Cheap Protein Packed Magic Foods

Cooked or Sprouted Beans?

Which is healthier? ¬†Nobody says it better than Dr. Michael Gregor of http://www.nutritionfacts.org. ¬†Watch his video on the topic here.¬†The main takeaway: America should definitely eat more beans, no matter sprouted or boiled. One protein and fiber packed disease fighting food that is literally $0.45 per pound?! Is this real life!? Buying dry beans in bulk not only stretches your dollar ridiculously (sprouting is seriously a garden on steroids), but beans are an important element in our diets.¬†If you do buy canned, be sure that it is low sodium. I recommend purchasing the Eden’s brand.

The Nutrients

According to USDA’s supertracker¬†¬†1/2 cup of pinto beans cooked from dry contains 6 grams of protein (as much protein as an egg) , 4 grams of fiber (recommendation is about 25 grams / day), and about 20% the daily recommendation for folate. What supertracker doesn’t mention is that many studies have shown that phytates in beans are incredible magic cancer fighters. The fiber and antioxidants in beans also help promote healthy gut bacteria, weight goals, decrease inflammation, the list goes on. Enjoy!

Recipes

All of these recipes with beans from Forks Over Knives¬†, the Post Punk Kitchen¬†and Pinterest look awesome! My personal favorite recipes with beans are Black Bean Brownies and my mom’s EPIC Chili! Although these recipes call for canned, I use boiled and it works just as well. ¬†Hummus with chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, ohh baby there are SO many kinds of beans!!! I CHALLENGE you to try them ALL!

Step 1. SOAK

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1/4 container with dried beans
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Fill the container with water and let sit for about 6 hours or overnight

Step 2. RINSE

 

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Dump out water and they are ready to boil!

Step 3. BOIL OR EAT RAW

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Rinse 1-3 times a day for 1-3 days to sprout. Keep on countertop or in a warm and dry place. To cook, just boil for about 30 minutes, feel free to add a garlic clove, bay leaf, or other spices. Low sodium vegetable broth is good too.
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To stop the tails from growing, put them in the fridge. ūüôā Yum!
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Eat your medicine ‚̧

Light? Low? Free? What Does the Packaging Really Tell Us?

There is a lot of lingo thrown at us in the grocery store.  From oatmeal magically lowering cholesterol to fat-free peanut butter? Can this be?! These explanations will help you to discover what the labels mean so you can choose the best option. >> I highly recommend going to http://www.fooducate.com/ or downloading the app- you can look up products and see how healthy they are, quick and easy!

don't be fooled

Descriptions of Nutrient Claims

  • Free – no amount of or a trivial amount of calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol or sodium; calorie-free is defined as less than 5 calories per serving
  • Good source – is defined as 10-19% of daily value of a certain nutrient per serving
  • High – is defined as more than 20% of daily value of a certain nutrient per serving
  • Less – is defined as containing 25% less of a certain nutrient than a standard food
  • Light – is defined as containing 1/3 less calories or 1/2 fat of a standard food (is this a good thing!? beware of crazy ingredients on the label that you don’t recognize, it is likely a fake sweetener that is illegal in other countries and linked to cancer!)
  • Low – is defined in certain nutrient terms
  • low fat – 3 grams or less per serving
  • low saturated fat – 1 gram or less per serving
  • low sodium – 140 mg or less per serving
  • low calorie – 40 calories or less per serving
  • more – is defined as containing 10% of nutrient daily value when compared to a standard food

Beware of TRANS FAT

Aka hydrogenated oils or mono or diglycerides on the ingredients label. Food labels are allowed to say that they have 0g trans fat per serving if there is less than 0.5g trans fat per serving. However, it is likely that the serving size is ridiculously small (like on non-stick cooking spray). If you see hydrogenated oil or mono or di glycerides I would not recommend purchasing the product.

hydrogenated oils
Find a brand with zero hydrogenated oils!

Organic Or Natural?

Organic-vs-Natural03

  • Natural:¬†a product that has¬†no artificial ingredient or added color and is minimally processed. Although consumers purchasing ‚Äúnatural‚ÄĚ meat, poultry, and eggs can be happy¬†that there are no artificial ingredients or colors added, it’s important to remember¬†‚Äúnatural‚ÄĚ does not mean hormone-free or antibiotic-free; these are separate labels, also regulated by the USDA.
  • Organic:¬†certified organic and contain at least 95% organic content. Organic food is produced using approved organic farming methods ‚Äúthat foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Specifically, ‚Äúsynthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used‚ÄĚ to produce organic food, meaning that organic food products are not genetically modified and have not been treated with synthetic pesticides or fertilizers

PLU Codes:

gmo 8

You know, those numbers that every food in the produce department has? They mean something!

  • 4 digit codes: conventionally grown
  • 5 digit code that starts with a ‘9’ :¬†organically grown
  • 5 digit code that starts with a ‘8’ :¬†Genetically Modified Organism *avoid*¬†unfortunately, I have never seen this used. ¬†GMOs are secretive and discretely used in packaged items as corn and soy oil. ¬†Good luck to us Americans! Hope GMOs are clearly labeled soon!

Food Label Health Claims – those foods making health claims must follow the following criteria:

  1. must be a naturally good source of at least one of the following nutrients – vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, protein, or fiber
  2. foods containing more than 20% daily value of total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, or sodium cannot carry health claims

oatmeal-helps-reduce-cholesterol

  • Calcium and osteoporosis
  • Fat and cancer
  • Fiber containing products such as vegetables, fruits, grains and cancer
  • Fiber containing products and heart disease
  • Fruits and vegetables and cancer
  • Folic acid and neural tube defects
  • Saturated fat and cholesterol and heart disease
  • Sodium and hypertension
  • Whole grains and heart disease & cancer
  • Sugar alcohols and tooth decay
  • Soluble fiber and heart disease
  • Soy protein and heart disease
  • Plant sterol and heart disease
  • Potassium and hypertension & stroke

Butternut Soup, Three Seed Bread, and Cranberry Apple Walnut Salad with Maple Balsamic Dressing | Vegan

Mmmm ‚̧ Warming from the inside out. Home for Thanksgiving, and I am beyond grateful for the homemade vegan comfort food that my incredible mother makes. ¬†She likes to follow recipes 100% first, and then tweak them here and there.
butternutsquashsoup

 

Butternut Squash Soup

This Creamy Cashew Butternut Squash Soup recipe requires zero tweaking. Absolutely perfect. The only complaint is that it doesn’t make enough! It is SO good. Click here for recipe by Dawn Lerman.

Three Seed Bread

Bob’s Red Mill¬†Three Seed Bread¬†for your bread machine is SO good! You know what Dr. Fuhrman says? The whiter the bread, the closer to dead. The recipe calls for more white flour than whole wheat, but my mom switched it. ¬†Here is the recipe she makes:

  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 cup Unbleached White Flour
  • 2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup flaxseeds
  • 2 Tbsp sunflower kernels
  • 1 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • 2 Tsp active dry yeast

Add ingredients to bread machine in the order recommended by the bread machine manufacturer and select basic bread cycle. Let cool completely on a wire rack before slicing. Makes 1 loaf.

Maple Balsamic Dressing

This is a Jack Tar steal ‚̧ If you’re ever around the Boston area, I highly recommend checking it out. ¬†Their black bean burger with no cheese and sweet potato fries is my favorite thing ever, and I literally always have that for dinner the first night back from school. ¬†They have amazing salads and vegan thai lettuce wraps too! Soo good.

My mom uses this dressing recipe as like pizza sauce to make her gourmet vegan flatbread.  It is incredible.

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium shallot
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried basil
  • 2 cups vegetable & olive oil blend
  1. Blend first six ingredients in blender
  2. Drizzle oil slowly while blender is on
  3. Stop and blend
  4. Add salt and pepper
  5. Blend and test with lettuce or spinach