Category Archives: Health

Label Whore

You probably think I’m going to start talking about designer duds. Not here and not now! No, it’s been far too long since I’ve written to you folks and I’ve got more important things to get off my chest.

Lately, I’ve been wallowing in the misery of Prop 37 going down in flames…

Yes, I had truly hoped that the labeling of GMOs would actually happen for California. Well, now it seems there might still be a way.

I got a little email from MoveOn.org with the following:

“According to investigative journalist Jon Rappoport, more than one million votes on Prop 37 (the GMO labeling initiative) in California have gone uncounted to date. Since the margin of “victory” is about 600,000 votes, this means Prop 37 may conceivably have passed.

Rappoport called the voter registrar offices in the largest California counties and nearly 1.7 million votes remain uncounted in Santa Clara, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orange Counties alone. It is still unknown how many votes are uncounted in other California counties.”

Join with me in getting these votes counted!

Sign the petition now!

And in the meantime, you can look out for GMOs on your own. Food is labeled in many ways, so check out my safe shopping tips below…

Tip #1:
Check the label on your produce! Organic starts with 9, conventional starts with 4, and GMO starts with 8.

Tip #2:
Watch out for soy and corn. 90% of soy and 85% of corn are genetically modified. Look for ingredients like soybean oil, soy lecithin, and anything with corn in it. If you’re eating non-organic, processed food, you should count on those ingredients being genetically modified.

Tip #3:
Check lists! Click here for a great one that names a lot of names.

I’ve missed you folks and I promise to be back again soon!

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Filed under GMO, Health, Tips and Tricks

Day of Pumpkin

Halloween is almost upon us! Halloween is a favorite holiday in our house, so I thought I’d get in the spirit a little early with a day of pumpkin.

Yup. Pumpkin for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Two posts ago, I had some requests for pumpkin soup. I heard you loud and clear and here’s what I’ve come up with…

Take a fresh sugar pumpkin, cut it in half, and scoop out seeds and strings.

(For roasted pumpkin seeds: separate out the seeds, wash and dry them discarding the strings, and roast them at 350 for no more than 20 minutes with sweet or savory seasoning – a great snack for you pregnant gals!)

Put a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and bake the halves skin up, flesh down at 375 for about 30 minutes. You should be able to slice a knife through it.

Scoop out baked flesh and put in blender or food processor.

Add 1 tsp of ground vanilla bean, 1 tbsp of coconut crystals, a few shakes of nutmeg, and liberal shakes of cinnamon. I recommend purchasing organic spices, of course.

Add in water, coconut milk (I made my own – see below for the recipe!), or broth (if for soup), and blend until smooth. Amount of liquid needed depends on how much pumpkin there is – start with a little and just keep adding until pumpkin is smooth but not watery.

You now have a delicious, sweet base! (Alter spices to make it more or less sweet.)

First, I had it in my oatmeal for breakfast. I added in chia seeds, raspberries, oats, cacao nibs…you can get creative with it.

Then I ate it by the spoonful for a sweet snack throughout the day. It made a great dessert after lunch!

And lastly, I turned it into a soup for dinner. I put the puree back into a pot, added in all kinds of veggies – mushrooms, celery, carrots, cabbage, broccolini – and cooked it all for a few minutes. Then I added a few pieces of leftover chicken on top and…Voila! Soup! And a one-pot dish, no less!

Make sure to either use a bit of coconut milk or coconut oil in the mix so you absorb the vitamins. We cannot absorb all the vitamins and minerals in our veggies without a little fat. That’s especially important for my pregnant readers – getting the most out of your food is critical now!

Now for the Coconut Milk Recipe

Combine 1 cup shredded unsweetened dried coconut and 3 cups hot water in a blender. Blend for about 2 minutes or until it looks creamy and you have a good froth on top. Then strain through a fine mesh strainer.

That’s it! Quick, easy, and without all the additives you’ll find in store-bought coconut milk.

I, of course, added a couple shakes of cinnamon (as always!) to the mix because I love cinnamon and it serves as an anti-microbial while adding a little hint of flavor. Double bonus!

See Adventures in Nut Milk for more nut milk recipes.

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Filed under Chicken, Coconut, Health, Recipe, Snacks, Soup, Spices, Vegetables

No More Cheeri-(GM)Os!

That’s right. I finally weened The Husband off GMO-tastic Cheerios. They have that ubiquitous “Whole Grain” stamp on them, but they’re loaded with GMOs. So I can’t stress to you enough how huge this was for me.

HUGE.

How’d I do it?

As always, I’m so glad you asked.

Answer: BABY STEPS!!!

It was, at times, a bit tricky. The husband was not always thrilled. But after trying countless organic cereals to a less than enthusiastic response, we finally found some honey flakes that worked great. I was happy.

But then I thought I’d try one more thing…

…because box cereals are still processed and there are healthier options out there…

So what’s he eating now?

That’s just the best damn part.

He’s now eating and loving…drumroll, please…

HUBBY OATS!

(It ain’t so pretty but it’s oh-so-tasty)

Ingredients (all organic)

1/3 cup of Old Fashioned Rolled Oats 
1/4 cup-ish of homemade cashew milk (basically, just enough to wet the oats without being really wet and sloshy)
1 tsp of chia seeds
2 tbsp of raisins
1 tbsp of dried currants
2 dried figs (he asked for more of those without even knowing – didn’t see that one coming!)
1/2 banana
1 tbsp of organic peanut butter 
1 tbsp of chopped walnuts
1 tsp of coconut sugar
a sprinkle of salt
shakes of cinnamon 

What Do I Do?
Put it all in a bowl and mix it up. No heating necessary. Serve.

You could add berries, hemp seeds, different nuts. The sky’s kind of the limit on this one. And it’s so easy being a one-pot-dish. Have fun with it and report back on what you add in!

Speaking of baby steps, if you’re a mom or mom-to-be looking for help in getting healthier for you and your kids (or kids-to-be!), contact me. Initial consultations are always free!

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Filed under Baby Steps, Coconut, GMO, GMO-free, Health, One Pot Dish, Organic, Recipe, Superfoods, Victories

Falling Into Fall

Wow. Summer is done. I think it’s officially the fastest season of the four. Every year it seems to fly by in a flash!

I hope you all managed to squeeze in a relaxing vacation. Ever noticed how amazing someone looks after some R & R? Yeah. Vacations are super healthy.

I wish I could say I took one, but alas, there’s too much going on for me right now. I’ve been working ’round the clock!

And although it was a VERY busy summer, it was a fulfilling one. The most rewarding things are those we work hardest at, and I can say that I’ve seen many labors of love come to fruition of late. (Keep reading for more on that!)

As we settle into Fall, I’ll revisit some old recipes I haven’t made in awhile and stick my hand into a fresh pumpkin again!

Pumpkin is absolutely one of my favorite foods – I love the taste and I love that it’s high in fiber and low in calories, as well as rich in so many vitamins and minerals. I add it to oatmeal, smoothies, steamed veggies, baked goods…pretty much anything I can.

And pumpkin seeds (pepitas) are a superfood – loaded with good stuff we need like magnesium and zinc – as well as high in protein and fiber. But don’t over-roast them: 20 minutes is the max.

**For all my pregnant readers, you should know that pumpkin seeds are a fantastic food for you and your growing baby. With important vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, you should make these little guys a regular addition to your snacks or meals.

As for those labors of love I mentioned above, I am thrilled to announce that we have opened our much-anticipated Roastery Roll-Up Bar at Barefoot Coffee Roasters. It looks amazing and our incredible team has worked incredibly hard on it. Many thanks to them for making my vision a reality.

So come on over to Barefoot Coffee Roasters at 76 Sunol Street in San Jose for some kickass coffee!

 

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Filed under Health, Superfoods, Vegetables

Adventures in Nut Milk

In addition to dehydrating up a storm, I had my first foray into homemade nut milk last week. You all know how I feel about dairy, so this girl does nut milk.

I have to say, making my own almond milk was a wee bit of work but so incredibly worth it. The taste was unreal.

I had been buying the 365 Brand of Unsweetened Organic Almond Milk from Whole Foods. It’s very good as far as pre-made nut milks go – in health and taste – but there are still ingredients in it that I don’t love. And people kept saying it was easy to make it yourself so I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

Now I know. They taste like two totally different drinks.

The real mess was the cheesecloth because you have to strain the almonds to get smooth milk. Cleaning the cheesecloth was a bit tricky so next time, I’ll go with a fine mesh metal strainer.

BUT! I also bought some cashews to try cashew milk. While the taste of almond milk is superior, cashew milk is SO much easier to make and still tastes great.

Cashews don’t have to soak as long, which is a huge plus if you forgot to soak and need some milk (um, that was me this morning!). But the best part is that you don’t have to strain them. Cashews are soft enough that they blend really well. Faster, easier, and less mess! This makes homemade nut milk a much more realistic option.

Everyone knows that almonds are a very healthy nut but what about cashews? Well, did you know that a couple of handfuls a day fights depression? Read more about it here.

Here are the two recipes…

ALMOND MILK
Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of raw almonds (organic preferred)
  • water for soaking nuts
  • 3 cups of water
  • a few shakes of cinnamon (optional)
  • sweetener: 1-2 dates or figs (optional)
  • sprinkle of ground vanilla (optional)

Preparation:

1. Soak the almonds in water overnight or for at least 6 hours.

2. Drain the water from the almonds and discard.

3. Blend the 3 cups of water, almonds (and whatever else you choose – I used only cinnamon) until well blended and almost smooth.

4. Strain the blended almond mixture using a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer.

Homemade raw almond milk will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

I soaked overnight and didn’t use dates or vanilla and it was amazing. A bit of cinnamon adds a nice flavor (I love cinnamon) and serves as an antimicrobial agent.

CASHEW MILK
Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup of raw cashews (organic preferred)
  • water for soaking nuts
  • 3 cups of water
  • sweetener (optional): fig, date, raw maple syrup, raw honey (unless you’re pregnant!), or coconut sugar (never agave!)
  • a few shakes of cinnamon (optional)
  • ground vanilla (optional)
  • a dash of pink salt (optional)

Preparation:

1. Cover raw cashews with water and allow to soak for at least one hour.

2. Drain and rinse.

3. Place 3/4 cup of soaked cashews and 3 cups water into a blender or food processor and process until smooth, at least one minute.

4. Optional: add sweetener to taste if necessary.

Homemade raw almond milk will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

You can use more or less water to alter the thickness of your cashew milk, but in general, you want a 1:4 ratio of cashews to water.

You may also choose to strain your raw cashew milk. I, of course, did not.

**In my first round of cashew milk, I did not use any sweetener or salt. Just some shakes of cinnamon. It was good but not great. In my second round, I used some shakes of cinnamon and a fig. Better. In my third round, I used some shakes of cinnamon, a fig (fresh), and a sprinkling of ground vanilla bean. We have a winner!

Both milks are great on their own, in smoothies, or in oatmeal/cereal.

And I made an amazing shake that tasted like ice cream, so I’ll share that with you, too. 😉

KINDA LIKE ICE CREAM SMOOTHIE

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 tbsp of organic peanut butter (My choice is Maranatha!)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 fig (dried or fresh, depends on preference and what you have in the kitch)
  • a few shakes of cinnamon
  • a cup of almond or cashew milk (use more or less depending on the consistency you like)
  • ice
  • 1 tsp of cacao nibs

Blend and drink, my friends!

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Filed under Agave, Dairy, Health, Organic, Raw, Recipe, Tips and Tricks