Sunday, October 13, 2013

Must See Food Documentaries

When our family changed our lifestyle and started to eat "clean" we learned a lot from the holistic health center I worked at. We also watched a number of documentaries that were eye opening. If you're just starting to learn about real foods and avoiding the processed junk in the average American's diet- start here to learn a ton about what is going on in industrialized food processing. But don't say we didn't warn you! You may just never go back...and we hope you don't. Food is medicine and education is a powerful step to making changes for your health.

1.  Food Inc
This film touches on the politics of food production, farming, obesity and disease in our 21st-century diet.

2.  Food Matters
This film shows that what we eat really does matter and how it affects our health, mood and happiness.

3.  Forks over Knives
Despite our advanced technology, this movie investigates the “disease of affluence” that can be controlled or reversed by avoiding meat and processed food.

4.  Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
One mans journey to do juicing and change his life.

5. Fast Food Nation
Showing the dark side of the all-American meal, this film examines the local and global influences of fast food.

Healing Food: Broccoli (Broccoli Cheese Soup Recipe)

Broccoli is one of our favorite green vegetables.  It is one of those eat as much as you want foods! We love to eat it as a snack raw (especially dipped in hummus), steamed, sauteed, or as a soup. 

The health benefits of broccoli are amazing. It is part of the cabbage family and is a cruciferous vegetable. They are excellent for detox, lowering cholesterol and fighting cancer.

One of the foods I missed most that we used to eat with Broccoli before we went gluten and dairy free was Broccoli Cheese Soup. We went a couple years just not having any because I couldn't find a recipe or even think of how we could copy it and still make it taste decent.  After lots of experimenting, I came up with this recipe by altering one and adding a few things of my own. Enjoy!

Vegan Broccoli "Cheese" Soup:
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
6.5 cups broccoli florets
3 cups GF chicken broth
1 cup cooked chickpeas (or canned)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 can coconut milk
2 TB nutritional yeast
Salt & Pepper to taste

Saute onions in olive oil until translucent. Add garlic and saute 1 minute. Add broccoli, broth, chickpeas. Increase to high and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Puree with immersion blender until smooth. Add coconut milk and nutritional yeast.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Kid Friendly, Mother Approved: "Cheesy" Lentils

My daughter (who is gluten, dairy, egg, soy, and peanut sensitive) eats more vegetables than most kids her age, probably. Not always though. She's a normal three year old that seems to eat a ton one day and hardly anything the next. If she had it her way, she would survive on rice cakes and sunbutter...oh and some raisins and juice.  We have to limit fruit or she won't eat anything else!

 We eat a lot of beans and lentils for a cheap but delicious protein. She gets pretty adventurous and eats curried chickpeas with us. Her favorite, however, is "Cheesy" Lentils that I created one day. I had bought some Nutritional Yeast and was searching for recipes to figure out how to use it. I saw some recipes for "cheesy" sauces, but wanted to make something that could be a main dish and all in one pot.  I tweaked a recipe a bit and made it work with red lentils. This is what I came up with. We make this often now because it was a hit! I like to think it's our healthy version of good old Mac N' Cheese (which she has never had). I have mixed up a "cheesy" sauce and put it on gluten free noodles also, which she loved. This is cheaper and something we can all enjoy without overdoing the carbs.

"Cheesy" Lentils

8 cups water
3 cups red lentils, rinsed
1 can coconut milk
2 GF bouillon cubes
2 TB Nutritional Yeast
1 TB garlic powder
Salt to taste
Dash of parsley

Boil water. Add all other ingredients and cook until desired consistency (about 25 minutes).


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Gluten Free Dairy Free No Added Sugar Banana Blueberry Pancakes

Comfort Food, Aunt Kathy!  Caroline gave me this recipe and I tweaked it a bit.  These pancakes are so good you won't believe they're good for you!  And so simple to make!!  Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and No Added Sugar!  Can make them egg free by using flax seed soaked in water.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Banana Blueberry Pancakes

2 cups GF flour mix (equal amounts of almond flour, garbanzo bean flour, and buckwheat flour)
2 eggs
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
3 very ripe bananas
1 cup blueberries

Pre-heat griddle to 300 degrees.
Mix all ingredients together.
Coat griddle with coconut oil.
Drop pancake mix onto griddle by two heaping tablespoons full for each pancake.

Eat pancakes without syrup for sugar free.  Great for on the go!

If you can't live without syrup, add 1 heaping tsp of pure maple syrup per pancake

Acidic or Alkaline?

M.C., this is for you!  Alkaline foods are so much better for you.  Acidic foods cause inflammation throughout your body which leads to so many illnesses and diseases. Check out this list of alkaline and acid foods: Alkaline and Acid Food Chart.  I also recommend you read an article on this topic by Polly.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Healing Food of the Week: Grapes

Grapes are usually eaten raw and freezing them tastes great too!  They are also used for many other foods and drinks including: wine, jam, jelly, juice, raisins, vinegar, grape seed extract, and grape seed oil.  There are red (purple), white (green), and black (dark purple) grapes.  The harvest season for grapes in Michigan is August-Sept, August-October in North Carolina.  So, right now we are enjoying them!  

Grapes and Raisins
Grapes have many benefits.  They are a great low calorie snack with only 62 calories per 1 cup.  Vitamin K in grapes has an anticoagulant effect. Grapes provide energy from natural sugars and help for your GI tract with fiber, especially when eaten as raisins.  Raisins are also a good source of iron, magnesium, and vitamin B-6.  The downside to raisins is the concentration of sugar (98g/cup), even if it is natural!  The most well known benefit of grapes is the antioxidants.  Antioxidants help your cells to function well and protect against heart disease and cancer. Anything made from grapes has antioxidants.

Wine is good for you but only in moderation, or not at all depending on your risk factors.  Wine's antioxidants can be beneficial to your health but can also hurt it by raising your blood pressure, according to Mayo Clinic.  Too much wine can increase your breast cancer risk, among other risks.  See links below for more information.  
Benefits: Mayo Clinic: Red wine and resveratrol: Good for your heart?
Risks: Drinking Alcohol
5 Negative Health Risks of Drinking Too Much Wine

The Dirty Dozen
Grapes are one of the top 12 fruits and vegetables to be covered in pesticides.  They are actually #5 on the Environmental Working Group's list for 2013. Take a look at their article about organic vs conventional fruits and vegetables: Shopper's Guide to the Dirty Dozen.  I really like their statement that fruits and vegetables have such a high nutritional value that it cancels out the downside of pesticides.  Basically, don't let the fact that you can't afford to buy organic foods get you down.  At least you are eating whole foods! But, if you want to try to eat organic, start with the "dirty dozen".

Anti-fungal, Anti-bacterial

Grape Seed Extract has antibacterial properties and is used as a natural disinfectant.  The skin of grapes has an anti-fungal property.


USDA Agricultural Research Service
United States Department of Agriculture Local Foods