Happy Heart Smoothie

Happy heart smoothie-4

The wild beach roses (rosa rugosa) are blooming in all their fragrant pink magnificence and I’ve been down to the Chappy point a few times, gathering their delicate petals to dry in the dehydrator, or stick them in a bath.  I didn’t have time to lay them out in my dehydrator when I came home last time, so I stuck the plastic bag in the fridge.  The next day I was making my morning smoothie, and I sometimes put raw baby spinach in it, and I had the idea to throw in some of the pink petals instead.  I was pretty sure roses are edible, but to be on the safe side I did a little research and came across this sweet post.  Rose flowers are considered an aphrodisiac that wakens feelings of warmth and love. They are also a simple astringent (this means that it tightens and tonifies inflamed tissue, both topically and internally where the medicine makes contact.) and rose is useful in treating conditions where the tissue is boggy, disorganized and puffy.

I had also been putting turmeric powder in my smoothies until I ran out a couple of weeks ago, and yesterday I acquired some more.  I have an on-and-off relationship with turmeric where I like it and can use it for a period, and then I’ve had enough and need to take a break. I just learned that this potent healing spice, aslso called “curcumin”, has been shown to be effective for treating depression and anxiety.  “Curcumin’s positive antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects are likely due to its ability to normalize specific physiological pathways,” says Lopresti PhD, of Murdoch University, Australia, who published a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 56 individuals with major depressive disorder. “It appears to elevate neurotransmitters such as serotonin, while lowering stress hormones, such as cortisol, and is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Curcumin also provides protection to the brain.”

My focus, recently, has been on ways to open and nourish my heart center, and allow more love in my life.  I also am always on the lookout for natural ways to support my sensitive self and my tendency towards anxiety and depression, so the addition of rose and turmeric to my morning meal feels just right.

Happy Heart Smoothie – recipe:

Combine in a blender:

1 C. frozen wild blueberries

1 frozen banana (or other fruit of your choice)

1 T. coconut oil

Pour in a cup of hot water, or other liquid of your choice, unless you like your smoothie to be more like a slushie and very cold, in which case use cold liquid.

Add:

1-2 T. of ground seeds (see this post about seed cycling for menstrual cycle support)

1/2 T. of carob or raw cacao or maca or some other tasty, nutrient dense powder

a pinch of unrefined sea salt

a couple of handfuls of fresh rose petals

1 t. turmeric (if you are not sensitive to black pepper, you might add a few grinds, as it is said that turmeric is more effective when combined with black pepper)

Blend until smooth and creamy… and enjoy!

You could also add a scoop of greens powder, or protein powder, or any of your other favorite smoothie additions.

Happy heart smoothie-2

Advertisements

Paleo Resources

Paleo Cookbooks:

Well Fed and Well Fed 2 by Melissa Joulwan

The Ancestral Table by Russ Crandall

The Slim Palate Paleo Cookbook by Joshua Weissman

The Paleo Chef by Pete Evans

Against All Grain by Danielle Walker

Nom Nom Paleo: Food For Humans by Michelle Tam, and a link to her bookshelf full of awesome cookbooks and other paleo/primal resources.

The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook, and by Elana Amsterdam

Eat Raw Not Cooked by Stacy Stowers (this is a raw food cook-book, and while I don’t think that a raw diet is healthy for everyone, she’s got a lot of great whole-food, grain-free and dairy-free recipes in here.  And beautiful photos 🙂

ZenBelly Cookbook by Simone Miller – She is my new cooking hero.  I love her story, her recipes, and what she is up to now.

Other Cookbooks I love:

Fast, Fresh and Green by Susie Middleton (I’m not a huge fan of all the oils she chooses but this is a great place to learn a bunch of different delicious vegetable cooking methods)

Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

Paleo Resource books:

The Paleo Approach by Sarah Ballantyne

The Paleo Cure by Chris Kresser

The Paleo Solution by Rob Wolff

Move Your DNA by Katy Bowman

Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfillipo

Online Recipe Resources:

Chris Kresser’s Paleo Recipe Generator – I haven’t tried this out yet, but if you want access to a whole lot of paleo recipes, and you’d like to let someone else do your meal planning and make your shopping this, this seems like a reasonable deal for a great service — just $9.95 a month (and no, I don’t get a percentage 🙂

Online Healthy Eating Resources:

The Dirty Dozen and The Clean Fifteen

Fae’s Fabulously Festive Kale Salad

Sweet fall carrots

a tub of freshly harvested carrots, gleaned in the fall from Morning Glory Farm

My dear friend, mentor and acupuncturist, Fae Kontje-Gibbs, co-hosts Thanksgiving dinner with an old friend and when she made this salad last year it was a huge hit. So, on the menu it went again this year.  I helped her to prepare the salad this past November, shredding mountains of carrots and juicing many limes, and since then I have been hooked.  The colors, textures and flavors are all fabulous, not to mention its nutrient-dense ingredients.

Fae and I have a similar way in the kitchen–we often don’t measure with cups and spoons; instead we measure with our eyes, our hands, our tongues and our good old sixth sense.  Quantities are approximate.  Work with what you have and don’t be afraid to experiment.  The key to the dressing is balancing sour and salt with the sweet of the currants (or raisins, or whatever dried fruit you have on hand), and using enough good extra virgin olive oil to make the dish satisfying and also to help your body absorb the good stuff in the veggies.  Use organic produce if you can, especially the kale and carrots.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (or more if you’d like) dried currants

a few tablespoons of fresh citrus juice lemon, lime, grapefruit or tangerine, or a combination of all three, with at least one lemon or lime.  You can substitute champagne- or rice wine- or apple cider vinegar for the sour citrus if necessary.

A bunch of carrots, shredded…about 2-3 cups.  It’s fun to use multi-colored carrots if available.

a bunch of kale, washed, pulled from stems and torn into bite size pieces.

1-2 grapefruits, peeled and “supremed” (the fleshy sections are cut away from the membranes )– my addition to the salad.

extra virgin olive oil

sea salt to taste

Directions:

Soak currants in citrus juice.  Toss shredded carrots with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and some salt and then massage in the kale–think carrot salad with a generous portion of kale for color and texture, as opposed to kale salad with some shredded carrots.  Add the currants and juice and toss to combine.  Season to taste with salt and more lemon or lime juice.  Gently mix in grapefruit sections.  Serve immediately, or let rest as long as overnight–chilled and covered.  Test seasoning again before serving; if needed, spruce up with a bit more lemon or lime juice and a touch of salt.

Enjoy!

…an “Eating clean” experiment – Day #4.

I’m doing an experiment.  It’s called an anti-inflammatory-elimination-diet.  I’ve done similar ones before, and I have found that when I eat only some foods and not other foods, my body and mind feel better.  Sometimes I forget and I slip back into eating more of the foods that seem to lead to my body and mind not feeling good.  But then my body gives me little nudges and hints, and I am reminded of what is possible…

Today is day #4 of eating clean, and the biggest thing I have noticed so far is that my nose is less stuffed up–my sinuses are clearer.  I think it’s also possible that the heel pain in my right foot is a little bit less.  I have recently been listening to an on-line summit about the paleo diet, specifically geared towards women, and although I don’t call the way I eat “paleo”, it is very similar and listening to other folks speak about their success in healing with this diet and way of life has been supportive and inspiring.  You can check out the summit here.

I was moved, in part, to re-“clean” my diet after the heel pain that I’ve had for the last couple of years, on and off, was getting worse again, even after the pain had almost gone away with lots of physical therapy and bodywork.  I didn’t feel like I had re-injured it, per se, so I looked at what else could be affecting it.  I had been pretty stressed out for the last few weeks, which increases inflammation in the body, and I had also been getting less sleep, another cause of inflammation.  I reflected on my diet, and I realized that I had been eating large amounts of veggies from the nightshade family, lots of nuts and corn and some other grains and beans.  Tons of peanut butter.  Lots of cheese. And some sugar and chocolate.  And basically too much food in general.  I had fallen back into my habit of eating lots of comfort food, and late into the night.  All these could be triggering an inflammatory response.

In the past, my instinct used to be to think that I should go on a fast when I found myself in this situation.  What I have realized, though, is that for me it actually works better to just switch tracks to eating a clean, nutrient-dense diet first so I can curb the cravings a little less abruptly. This way, I am also less likely to end up binging after the cleanse the way that I have in the past when I have done a cleanse where I consume very few calories.

So, here I go!  I am eating lots of veggies, some fruit, lots of seafood, poultry and meat, and fat anywhere I can find it.  I am playing around with dairy–so far I have cut out everything except butter and I’m thinking I might want to go off butter for awhile too.  I may try ghee (clarified butter) and see how that feels, but my sense is that I could use a break from dairy all together.  They other place I’m playing around a little bit is with nuts.  I find that I get much of my fat from butter and nuts, so I’m wondering how I’ll be able to get enough fat if I’m not eating either one.  I’ve decided to do only macadamias for now, and see how that feels.  In the past I’ve gotten much of my fat from coconut oil, but I’m noticing that I feel a little sensitive to that too so I’m considering taking a break from coconut as well.  And EGGS! same thing.

WHAT ON EARTH WILL I EAT?? I’m sort of wondering this myself.  I’ve done a similarly strict diet in the past, severely limiting my carbohydrate intake so as to encourage my body to burn fat, heal from candida, and also to get the beneficial affects of ketosis.  Ketosis is something I am still learning about so I won’t try to explain it now.  I ate a LOT of eggs and coconut oil during that time, and since I’m playing around with the idea of taking a break from both of those, part of me is definitely wondering what I am going to end up eating. And whether it’s even possible to limit all of those things at once.  It’s basically an elimination diet, and the cool thing about them is that generally you don’t need to follow them for too long before you start adding foods back in to see how you react.

So, for the rest of this week, I’m planning to eat vegetables, focusing on green and leafy veggies with a few starchy ones for treats and variety, and olives and avocados for fat.  I’ll skip nightshades which include tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and potatoes (sweet potatoes are ok).  I’ll eat lots of fish, especially salmon and sardines, and some chicken, beef, lamb and a bit of pork.  I’m going to see if I can make it through the week without eggs, coconut oil, butter and nuts.  I’ll use extra virgin olive oil, fatty meat, avocado and olives for fat.  And maybe I’ll lay my hands on some lard and organ meats.  I’ll use warm bone broth to provide a feeling of fullness and satisfaction. And lacto-fermented veggies for fun and a healthy gut!  And next time I’ll write a bit more about what herbs and spices, vitamins, minerals and other supplements I’m taking to support the anti-inflammatory diet, and my system and mood in general.

Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions, or if you’re interested in the possibility of trying out a diet like this and would like some support.  I’m hoping to post some simple recipes and other tips and tricks that I have discovered while eating this way. Thanks for reading!  Here’s to our health!

DSCF7451

Saturday Breakfast

coconut curry soup with seaweed and eggs

Seaweed Morning Soup (done a few ways):

1-2 strips each wakame and kombu seaweed

1/3 C. arame seaweed

6+ cups water

Snip or break wakame and kombu into 1/2 inch pieces in a medium-sized saucepan and combine with 4-6 cups water.  Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, 10-15 minutes.  Optional: soak 1/4-1/3 cup arame seaweed in cold water for 5 minutes and then drain and stir into seaweed broth.

Chop:

1 onion

a few cloves garlic

an inch or so of peeled ginger (or grate it)

1-2 carrots

1 celery stick

1 small zucchini

a bunch of well-washed kale or other hearty greens

1-2 scallions

Add chopped onion, garlic, ginger and carrots to simmering broth.  5 minutes later, add zucchini, kale, and scallions.  Simmer for a few more minutes.  When veggies are looking bright and yummy, decide whether you would like to have a coconut-curry soup, or miso.

Optional: firm tofu, rinsed and cut into 1/3” cubes

a bunch of cilantro, chopped

eggs

miso

coconut milk

green curry paste or curry powder

turmeric

salt, dulse flakes or salty soy condiment

fresh lime

For Miso Soup:

Move enough soup for a serving to a small saucepan and return to a high simmer.  Carefully break two eggs into the soup and simmer until eggs are as done as you like them.  While the eggs cook, dissolve 1 tablespoon of your favorite miso in 1/4 cup of the broth.  When the eggs are done, take soup off of heat and gently stir the miso broth back into the soup (miso doesn’t like to be boiled), and season with salt or dulse flakes or some sort of soy condiment.  Serve topped with chopped cilantro.

For Tofu instead of Egg: add to soup with the first batch veggies and turn off heat and stir in dissolved miso when veggies look ready to eat.

For Coconut Curry Soup:

Stir approximately 1/4 cup of coconut milk (lite works fine, or skip the coconut altogether for a lighter meal) and 1 teaspoon of green curry paste per serving into the soup and season with salt and a little turmeric. Cook eggs the same way as with the miso soup.  Squeeze in some fresh lime juice, garnish with cilantro and serve.

Salad with artichoke-tahini dressing

“Hearty”choke Sunny Saturday Salad:

Wash and combine your favorite mix of greens and chopped or shredded crunchy veggies. To pair with this dressing, I like to use a combination of romaine, arugula, shredded red cabbage and carrot, chopped celery, cuke, endive, and artichoke (chopped small-ish so the taste is not over-whelming) and some cilantro leaves.

For Tahini-Artichoke Dressing:

tahini

broth

garlic

Canned artichokes with liquid

cilantro

salt

lemon

Put at least a heaping tablespoon of sesame tahini in a blender or a container in which your immersion blender will fit.  Pour in a few tablespoons broth from the soup – miso or curry – and stir to soften the tahini.  Add 1-2 cloves garlic, an artichoke heart and some of the liquid from the artichoke can, some fresh cilantro, a squeeze of lemon and a dash of salt.  Blend well.  Use more artichoke liquid to adjust consistency. Adjust salt/lemon juice.  Toss with salad and serve. Sprinkle with toasted sunflower seeds for an extra crunch.  This dressing would also go well over steamed veggies and rice or poached eggs.