Category Archives: Blog

Boost Your Immunity with Potassium Broth

Immunity Boosting Potassium Broth

Immunity Boosting Potassium Broth

This weekend I had the pleasure of teaching an Immunity Boosting Through Food class at the amazing Herb Shoppe Pharmacy on Mississippi Ave here in Portland.  Valerie Roth, another Certified Holistic Nutritionist, and I taught 7 women how to make potassium broth, fire cider and an immunity boosting tea.  There was lots of chopping and tasting and discussion during the two hours of learning.

I was responsible for teaching the section on Potassium Broth, an amazing elixir to nourish your immune system.  Potassium broth is an easy method for increasing the potassium in your diet.  It can be used as a daily tonic to prevent cold and flus during the winter or if someone has already become sick, you can use it to nourish them back to health.  It is a great recovery drink after strenuous exercise, child birth or a bout with a stomach virus.

Potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium and chloride are all necessary electrolytes. Potassium and sodium perform many of the same body functions, such as muscle contraction and fluid balance. However, they usually work in opposite directions. For example, sodium draws fluid out of the cells, increasing blood pressure, while potassium draws fluid into the cells, decreasing blood pressure.  These two minerals work together to balance fluid in your body.  Sodium intake can affect potassium excretion from the body, and conversely, potassium intake can affect sodium excretion. An increased intake of one mineral will result in an increased excretion of the other mineral.

Your body needs both potassium and sodium to function properly. As long as you consume adequate quantities of each mineral, your body should be able to balance them according to your needs.  Unfortunately, the Standard American Diet, with its heavy reliance on processed, over salted food, leads to potassium deficiencies for many Americans. The recommended intake of sodium is 2,300 milligrams per day, which is generally very easy to achieve with the average Western diet.   Unfortunately, this high intake of sodium can effect your bodies potassium levels.  Your body can’t make potassium, so it must be obtained from foods like greens, lentils, lima beans, prunes,  sweet potatoes, mushrooms, carrots, parsley, russet potatoes, avocados and soy beans.   Your body needs almost 5 grams of potassium a grams per day to function properly.  Along with the electrolytes sodium and calcium, potassium helps your body regulate your heart rhythm, blood pressure, water balance, digestion, nerve impulses, muscle contractions and pH balance.  A deficiency in potassium can cause muscle weakness, muscle twitching,  high blood pressure and cramping.

Ladies preparing their potassium broth.

Ladies preparing their potassium broth.

 

Potassium Broth

Ingredients

  • Peels of 6 russet potatoes
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, cilantro, oregano, thyme or sage (you can choose your flavor or use a combination)
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 5 toes of garlic
  • ¼ pound of mixed mushrooms (shitake, reishi, emoki or oyster are best)
  • 1 bunch dark leafy greens (kale, collards, chard)
  • 1/4 stick of kombu
  • 8-10 c of filtered water
  • ginger root, 3 1-inch slices

Instructions

  1. Bring water to a boil in a large covered pot.
  2. While water heats up, gently wash vegetables. (Hard scrubbing removes minerals found in the vegetables' skins).
  3. Peel potatoes to a depth of 1/8 inch.
  4. Save potato bodies for other use, or discard them.
  5. Roughly chop other vegetables.
  6. When water boils, put all ingredients except potato bodies and green herbs into the water.
  7. Be sure the water covers the vegetables by at least an inch.
  8. Bring broth to a boil, with the lid on, then turn down to simmer.
  9. Cook covered for at least 30 minutes.
  10. Add parsley or other green herbs using and allow to cook another 5-10 minutes.
  11. Turn off heat.
  12. Allow to cool and then strain out vegetable solids.
  13. Store broth in canning jars in the fridge.
  14. You can freeze leftover broth for later use.
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Potassium broth is a very versatile food.    Since so many vegetables are such a good source of potassium, there are many options and flavor profiles you can try to achieve the taste you want.  Don’t be afraid to experiment to see what tastes best for you.  Also, to create a hardy soup, you can puree the vegetable solids in the liquid instead of discarding them and then eat it as a meal.

The broth also can be used for many different purposes. I have used it to cook hot mixed grain cereal in the morning, to cook rice, beans, lentils and other grains, as a base for soups or stews and to cook vegetables.  I sometimes even drink it by itself after a hard work out for hydration. The possibilities are endless.

Enjoy-

Shared on Urban Naturale.

Cup photo by Jasleen Kaur on flickr.

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Tiny Tip Tuesday: Get Your Vitamin D

The Importance of Vitamin D.

The Importance of Vitamin D.

Vitamin D is often called the “sunshine vitamin” because our body needs exposure to sunlight for its production.  These days, people are spending more time inside and even when they do go outside, are slathering themselves with sunscreen.  Dark skinned people have less ability to convert sunshine to Vitamin D then light skinned people and the sunshine for people living in the northern climates (above Los Angeles) is often not strong enough to stimulate production, particularly in the winter.  These factors contribute to what many are calling a Vitamin D deficiency epidemic.

Vitamin D deficiency has now been associated with Seasonal Affective Disorder,  breast cancercolon cancerprostate cancerheart diseasedepressionweight gain, decreased immunity and other illnesses. Your body needs Vitamin D to aid calcium absorption to prevent bone difficulties and Vitamin D seems to be important for activating the t-cells of the immune system.   Only 30 minutes, two times a week of summer sun exposure to your back, legs or face without sunscreen will usually produce adequate levels of Vitamin D.  (There is some concern about the risk of sun exposure without protection.  Talk to your doctor about these risks.)

See your doctor to obtain a simple blood test to determine your Vitamin D level.  If your blood level is less than 50 ng/ml, consider talking to your doctor about Vitamin D supplementation.  It is difficult to reach adequate levels of Vitamin D with food alone and supplementing with Vitamin D can take months to reach normal levels.  Good food sources of Vitamin D include cod liver oil, salmon, milk, tuna, beef or calf liver, mackerel,  eggs and mushrooms grown in UV light.  Vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol is the most bioavailable form of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin so dietary fat intakes must be sufficient to allow absorption.

Shared with Urban Naturale.

 

The photo is by Followtheseinstructions on flickr.

 

 

 

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Curried Red Lentil and Roasted Delicata Squash Soup

Lentil Soup Drizzled with Coconut Milk.

Lentil Soup Drizzled with Coconut Milk.

Recently, I was approached by the lovely Katie over on the amazing blog, Whole Nourishment.  She is a fellow whole foodie and wellness coach and she just happens to post super tasty recipes!  She approached a number of bloggers that focus on whole food cooking about putting together a series which highlights recipes for Cooking for One.  I was super excited to team up with all of these bloggers because we share a common philosophy about food.  I was also excited about the thought of devising a recipe for people who cook for themselves.  Usually, I am cooking for my whole family so I have four people’s tastes and desires I have to take into account.  For this recipe, I got to focus on only myself!  Yippee!

On the rare occasions when I am cooking for only myself, I see it as an opportunity to eat exactly what I want.  Sometimes, I take the easy way out and just eat a salad or buy take out but every once in awhile, I am inspired to create something that truly nourishes my body.  This recipe is one of those times.  I know a big pot of soup seems like too much for one person but I see it as a chance to be prepared.  I now have lunch or dinner for the next few days and can even freeze a few individual portions for future meals.

Delicata Squash.

Delicata Squash.

This recipe is an extension of a recipe I posted a few weeks ago.  The soup calls for Roasted Delicata Squash but butternut squash or any other fall squash would be good.  Here is the recipe for roasting the squash.  I am a huge fan of  delicata squash because it does not need to be peeled and is incredibly sweet when roasted. In fact, when it is in season, I cook it so much that my kids complain as soon as they see one in the house.  (However, that’s the beauty of this recipe, the boys didn’t even notice the squash blended into the soup!)  Since delicata squash is high in vitamins A and C  and iron and calcium, I loved knowing I had snuck all those nutrients into the boy’s bodies!

This soup is filled with amazing whole foods nourishment perfect for the up coming winter.

Red Lentils.

Red Lentils.

Red lentils are a fiber all star with 16 grams of fiber in  a one cup serving.  All this fiber helps balance blood sugar and lower cholesterol.  They are also an excellent source of folate, copper, phosphorous, manganese and iron.  Eating just one cup of lentils will provide your body with over 35% of its daily protein needs.

Ingredients.

Ingredients.

This soup also features garlic and onions, two members of the alluim family.  Both are rich in sulfur-containing compounds that are responsible for their pungent odors and for many of their health-promoting effects. They have traditionally been used to fight colds and the flu.  Ginger has traditionally been used to combat nausea and stomach upset.  It is well known for its  antioxidant effects, an ability to inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds, and direct anti-inflammatory effects.  One of curry powder’s main components is usually turmeric and  turmeric’s active compound, curcumin, has been shown to prevent sharp spikes in blood sugar, is anti-inflammatory and helps manage cholesterol. All of these soup ingredients are considered “warming” in Traditional Chinese Medicine, making them an excellent addition to a winter diet!

Mixed greens.

Mixed greens.

I added about a cup of mixed greens towards the end of cooking to boost the nutrition in the soup.  I used a mixture of different kales, spinach and red and green chard.  Leafy greens are full of vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting phytochemicals. They are rich in fiber, and kale, in particular, adds a boost of calcium. They are packed with Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E- all important for optimal health.

Finished Soup without Coconut Milk.

Finished Soup without Coconut Milk.

Curried Red Lentil and Roasted Delicata Squash Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 roasted delicata squash
  • onion
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 1- 1 1/2 tbs of curry powder (to taste)
  • 1 cup of red lentils, rinsed
  • 1-2 tbs of coconut oil
  • 1/2 inch nob of ginger, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 can coconut milk, more for drizzling
  • 1 cup of chopped mixed greens
  • 4 cups of veggie broth
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook squash according to directions in the recipe link.
  2. Heat oil in large pot.
  3. Add onions, ginger and garlic and cook til begin to turn translucent.
  4. Add curry powder and heat til becomes fragrant.
  5. Add lentils and broth and cook until lentils become soft. (About 30 minutes.)
  6. Dice up the cooked squash.
  7. Add half of the cooked squash to the pot and set the other half aside.
  8. Blend soup with an immersion blender or in a regular blender in batches until no chunks can be seen.
  9. Now add the remainder of the squash.
  10. Add coconut milk.
  11. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  12. Add greens.
  13. Let simmer til greens are wilted and squash is heated through.
  14. Serve with a drizzle of coconut milk or plain according to your taste.
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Unfortunately, I am the last blogger to post in the Cooking for One series.  I highly recommend you check out the other posts.  There are some VERY  tasty recipes.

Day
Friends
Sunday, October 5th
Katie @ Whole Nourishment ~ Green Quinoa Bowl
Monday, October 6th
Kellie @ Food to Glow ~ Grilled Shiitake Kimcheese
Tuesday, October 7th
Isadora @ She Likes Food ~ Vegetable Lasagna Roll-ups
Wednesday, October 8th
Dearna @ to her core ~ Roasted Pumpkin and Peanut Soup
Thursday, October 9th
Lynsey @ lynseylovesfood ~ Roasted Root Vegetable Calzones
Sarah @ Highgate Hill Kitchen ~ Spicy-Roasted Chickpeas, Herbed Freekeh & Moroccan Carrot Salad
Friday, October 10th
Grace @ Earthy Feast ~ Marinated Mushroom Sandwich with Sautéed Greens + Avocado + Egg
Saturday, October 11th
Teri @ Nourished Roots ~ Curried Red Lentil and Roasted Delicata Squash Soup

Enjoy all the deliciousness and remember just because you might be cooking for yourself, does not mean you don’t deserve to nourish your body with tasty, whole foods you enjoy!  YOU ARE WORTH IT!

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33 Super Tasty Healthy Snacks

I am always searching for a perfect go to snack that will fill me up while stoking my body with healthy fuel.  Here is a list of 33 nutrient dense, tasty snacks I rely on to fuel me an my family.

Nut Butter Stuffed Dates

Nut Butter Stuffed Dates

  1. 4 dates stuffed with 1 tbs of nut butter (roughly 180 calories)
  2. Chili Lime Popcorn .
  3. Apple with 1 tbs of almond butter (180 calories)
  4. Frozen banana with 10 almonds (180 calories)
  5. ½ avocado topped with salt, pepper and spoonful of salsa (170 calories)
  6. 2 tbs of chia seeds with ¼ cup of almond milk and ½ cup of blueberries (196 calories)
  7. 1 cup of jicama spears with ¼ cup guacamole and 2 tbs of salsa (165 calories)
  8. 1 cup veggie juice with 4 slices of deli turkey (150 calories)
  9. 3 tbs of hummus spread on hearts of palm spears (180 calories)
  10. 1 100 calories whole wheat pita with 2 tbs of hummus (170)
  11. 1 cup of shelled edamame (200 calories)
  12. 6 dates stuffed with 3 tsps of Gorgonzola cheese and 1 almond each (210 calories)
  13. 2 large hard boiled eggs and ¾ cup of cherries (210 calories)
  14. 1 ounce of turkey jerky, 1/8 cup of slivered almonds and a pear (208 calories)
  15. 9 walnut halves and 1 cup of sliced plums (194 calories)
  16. 4 dried figs and two slices of prosciutto (210 calories)
  17. 1 apple and 1 piece of string cheese (160 calories)
Chocolate Almond Energy Blasts

Chocolate Almond Energy Blasts

18.  Chocolate Almond Energy Blasts
19.  Four fresh figs stuffed with 1 tbs of goat cheese and then drizzled with honey (206 calories)
20.  1 Trader Joes mini fiber cake spread with 1 tbs of nut butter (175 calories)
21.  3 oz of deli turkey spread with 2 tbs of  hummus and then rolled up
22.  One 6 inch whole wheat tortilla, spread with 2 tbs of Trader Joe’s Fat Free Black Bean dip with ¼               avocado,  then rolled up (190 calories)
23.  Trader Joe’s Fat Free Bean Dip spread on 2 oz of deli turkey and ¼ avocado (180 calories)
24.  Medium pear, 1 tbs of chopped walnuts, 1 tsp of honey (170 calories)
25.  Larabar (roughly 200 calories, depending on flavor)
26.  7 oz full fat Greek Plain Yogurt with handful of raspberries
27.  Medium banana with 1 tbs of peanut butter (190 calories)
28.  3 Rye crackers with 1 oz of goat cheese and 1/3 cup of blueberries
29.  1 serving of pita chips and 1 kiwi
30.  1/3 cup of part skim milk ricotta plus 11 chopped smokey almonds
31.  ¼ cup  of Love Grown Granola, ¼ cup of blueberries with ½ cup unsweetened almond milk (166 calories)
32.  2 hard boiled eggs with 2 tsps of sriracha  sauce (165 calories)
33.  1 cup whole strawberries dipped in 2 melted Lindt Excellence Chili Bar squares (141 calories)

Enjoy!!

Also checkout this weeks Cooking For One Series I am participating in.  Here is the line up of amazing bloggers with super yummy recipes.  I can’t wait to try all these recipes!

 

Day
Friends
Sunday, October 5th
Katie @ Whole Nourishment ~ Green Quinoa Bowl
Monday, October 6th
Kellie @ Food to Glow ~ Grilled Shiitake Kimcheese
Tuesday, October 7th
Isadora @ She Likes Food ~ Vegetable Lasagna Roll-ups
Wednesday, October 8th
Dearna @ to her core ~ Roasted Pumpkin and Peanut Soup
Thursday, October 9th
Lynsey @ lynseylovesfood ~ Roasted Root Vegetable Calzones
Sarah @ Highgate Hill Kitchen ~ Spicy-Roasted Chickpeas, Herbed Freekeh & Moroccan Carrot Salad
Friday, October 10th
Grace @ Earthy Feast ~ Marinated Mushroom Sandwich with Sautéed Greens + Avocado + Egg
Saturday, October 11th
Teri @ Nourished Roots ~ Curried Red Lentil and Roasted Delicata Squash Soup

 

Shared with Urban Naturale and Fat Tuesday.

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An Incredible Surprise

 

Liebster Award.

Liebster Award.

This morning I woke up to a very nice surprise!  Katie at the super amazing Whole Nourishment blog nominated me for the Liebster Award.  I have gotten to know Katie in the blogging world because we share common ideas about how to nurture and feed ourselves and our loved ones.  I love checking out her blog for yummy inspiration for dinner or snacks!  (And I am super excited to collaborate with her next week on her Dinner for One series -more details on that later!)

The Liebster Award started in Germany as an opportunity for bloggers to recognize their favorite bloggers.  I love the idea of having new readers discover my blog while introducing my readers to other bloggers I admire so I was happy to be nominated.  This award has a few rules:

The Liebster Award rules ask that I do the following:
  1. Thank the blogger who nominated me and link to their blog + display the award badge.
  1. Answer 11 questions provided by the blogger who nominated me
  1. List 11 random facts about myself
  1. Nominate 11 bloggers (I tweaked this rule)
  2. Pose 11 questions to said nominees
  3. Go to each nominee’s blog and notify them of their nomination.

Here are the answers to Katie’s questions:

What is your favorite food movie?
My favorite food movie would have to be Like Water for Chocolate.  I loved the idea that the chef’s emotions could become infused into the food.
What can always be found in your fridge?
Some type of fermented food.  I always have either sauerkraut, kombucha or water kefir in my fridge- usually all three!
What are your non-negotiables when it comes to food?

I am struggling with this question because I am up for just about anything food wise.  I am a fairly adventuresome eater.  However, I eat VERY little fast food- especially from the major, international fast food companies.

Has blogging helped you learn anything new about yourself?

It has reminded me that I am a “wing it” sort of cook- not always a good trait when you are sharing recipes with other people!
Blogging is creative work. Some people argue creativity is artfully bringing together seemingly disparate ideas to make a dish while others say it’s about creating something new. What does creativity in the kitchen/on the blog mean to you?
One of my other jobs before I became a Wholistic Nutritionist was as a jeweler.  I loved being able to have an idea for a particular piece of jewelry and then turn it into something beautiful that someone could love.  I feel like cooking provides that same opportunity.  When you create something truly tasty for someone you love, it is an amazing feeling.
What is one thing most people don’t know about you?

I like it quiet.  When I am home by myself, I don’t have on any tv or radio.  I enjoy the silence!
What on your life bucket list are you determined to make happen?

Someday, I will go on an African Safari.  I am dying to giraffes in the wild!

What cookbook do you cook from the most?

Lately, I have been cooking a ton from the The Oh She Glows Cookbook: Over 100 Vegan Recipes to Glow from the Inside Out by Angela Liddon.  Everything I have made from this book has been a hit with my family- no small feat with two teenage boys!

What is your favorite go-to quick dinner?

I make this super yummy white bean and sausage soup with tomatoes and kale.  I love it because it is quick and tasty and I know the recipe by heart so I don’t have to think about it while I am at the store.
How do you like to start your mornings?
Breakfast!  Always breakfast!
What is your most nourishing daily habit?
I make it a point to move my body every day.  Sometimes that means early morning boot camp, sometimes it means yoga, sometimes a run or even just a walk around the neighborhood with my dog but a day rarely goes by that I do not do something.  It clears my head and makes me a happier person!
11 Random Facts about Me
  1. I went to school in Italy for one semester in college but can’t speak Italian.
  2. I never had a fresh (non-canned) pear until I lived in Italy.
  3. While living in Italy, I tried to cook pesto on the stove.  I didn’t know you just needed to stir it in warm pasta!
  4. I often roast cauliflower and eat the whole head by myself.
  5. Both of my parents are from New Orleans so I eat a lot of sea food.
  6. I cannot sing AT ALL!!
  7. I have completed 3 triathlons.
  8. Even though I haven’t lived in Texas for over 20 years, I still consider myself a Texan.
  9. Two years ago, my family went to Honduras to build a house for a family who needed a home.
  10. I have a completely irrational fear of sharks- at times even thinking they might be in the pool.
  11.  I am happiest when I am outside, in the sunshine, with my family.

Nominees

  1. Rama at Freshly Grown a fellow whole foodie and mama doing amazing things to spread the whole food word.
  2. Linda at Gluten Free Homemaker for her dedication to tasty, gluten free living.
  3. Deborah at Urban Naturale hosts two amazing whole food link ups each week that help expose everyone to other bloggers.
  4. Kimi at Rock My Vegan Socks.  A wholistic nutritionist and  vegan food guru.
  5. Kristy at She Eats because she posts such amazing food with beautiful photography and funny commentary.
  6. Krista at Fitlandia for her focus on a positive mental attitude in her blog posts.

Questions for Nominees

  1. What is your favorite food or fitness blog?
  2. What is your favorite cookbook?
  3. What is your typical breakfast?
  4. What has been the most popular post on your site?
  5. If you had $10 US to spend.  What would you buy?
  6. Where is your most favorite place you have ever visited?
  7. What is your most favorite dish to eat?
  8. What is the one piece of advice you would give your younger self?
  9. Do you have any pets?  Tell us about them.
  10. What is your drink of choice?
  11. What is one thing you always have in your fridge?

 

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Roasted Tomato Soup

Roast tomato soup.

Roast tomato soup.

Sunday I received a very unexpected gift from my friend.  While sitting through my son’s baseball double header, my friend arrived baring a special treat only available around this time of year- fresh, just picked tomatoes!  Oh, I was so excited!  And even thought it was 90 degrees, I knew right away with the coming weather change in the Northwest, that Roasted Tomato Soup was on the menu in our house.

Tomatoes being washed.

Tomatoes being washed.

After washing the tomatoes, I got ready to slice them into rough chunks.  Once cut, I laid them out on two cooking trays, drizzled them with olive oil and sprinkled them with a dried Italian herb blend which included marjoram, thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano and basil.  (You could use whichever herbs you have on hand.)

Tomatoes waiting to be cut up for roasting.

Tomatoes waiting to be cut up for roasting.

I am going to warn you before you get to the recipe that this was a bit of a wing it attempt at soup.  I didn’t measure anything but just went with my gut- so I apologize! (But isn’t that part of the joy of cooking?  You get to be creative and  it brings you pleasure and nourishes your body!)

As you can see from the picture below, I also add a sliced onion and some garlic cloves to the roasting pan.  (These were so good right out of the oven that I had a hard time saving them for the soup!)  Be sure to scrape all the roasted bits of tomato seeds, garlic, onion and oil into the pot.  You don’t want to miss any of the roasted goodness!

Tomatoes after roasting in the oven.

Tomatoes after roasting in the oven.

I used bone broth for my liquid in this soup because I had some in my freezer.  You could use any type of broth- veggie or meat- that you have available.

I used an immersion blender to puree my soup but if you don’t have one a regular blender or food processor works great- just be sure not to over fill the appliance.

Soup ready to be eaten.

Soup ready to be eaten.

Roasted Tomato Soup

Ingredients

  • Roughly two lbs of tomatoes
  • Roughly 2 cups of broth (I used bone broth but veggie or chicken broth would also work.)
  • 1 onion
  • 7 cloves of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Dried Italian herb blend
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh basil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut up onions, tomatoes and garlic.
  3. Place on roasting pan.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil
  5. Sprinkle with Italian herbs and salt and pepper.
  6. Place in the oven and roast for approximately 30 minutes .
  7. Remove from the oven when tomatoes are wilted and soft. (You can even let them brown a bit.)
  8. Place tomatoes, onions and garlic in a pot on the stove.
  9. Add broth.
  10. Let cook about 15 minutes to allow flavors to meld.
  11. Using an immersion blender, puree the tomatoes.
  12. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Mix in a little finely chopped fresh basil.
  14. Serve and enjoy!
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This soup was so easy and I loved that it was made with a gift from a friend!  There is something so satisfying about using ingredients that are given to you in friendship!

Enjoy!

This post was added to She Eats and Gluten Free Homemaker.

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Tiny Tip Tuesday: Sit Less, Stand More

Focus on Sitting less and standing more.

Focus on Sitting less and standing more.

Last week I attended a Continuing Education Class on reducing chronic inflammation in the body through nutrition.  The speaker was Dr. Michael Lara, a doctor who specializes in the treatment of mood, anxiety and memory disorders through an integrative approach to health. Dr. Lara combines traditional psychiatric approaches with innovative, evidence-based strategies that include nutrition and exercise prescriptions. 

He was a wealth of information about the causes of chronic inflammation in the body and the significant damage it can cause if left untreated.  Even with all the very clinical and evidence based information he provided in this class, I thought his most profound statement had to do with the language he uses with his patients.  He said that instead of talking to his patients about exercising more, he asks them to think about sitting less.  I love this idea because for many, the idea of exercise seems like a daunting task but most everyone can think about sitting less.  (He said even people who cannot physically stand can think about moving any part of their bodies they can.)  The trick is to avoid staying stationary for long periods of time.

Research is beginning to show that even people who have a regular exercise routine in their life but spend the rest of their days sitting, are more likely to suffer heart disease, diabetes, cancer and premature death. Moving around activates the large muscle groups in your legs and back helping burn calories and keep blood sugar in balance.  Scientists are now recommending you try to stand up and move around about every thirty minutes throughout the day.  Now when I am working on the computer, I frequently hear Dr. Lara’s voice telling me to stand up.  As the day wears on, I find myself doing a mental inventory of how many sedentary activities I have engaged in.  If it feels like I have sat for too long, I will head outside on a walk, go fold laundry or stand up while working on the computer or reading my texts.  It seems insignificant but it all adds up to less time spent on my butt!

Photo by Dermot O’Halloran on flickr under Creative Commons.

Shared with Urban Naturale.

 

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Tiny Tip Tuesday: Buying Organic

 

The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fourteen

The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fourteen

People often lament to me the high cost of organic fruits and vegetables.  I definitely feel their pain.  I know my grocery bill has significantly increased since I began focusing on buying organic.  However, I do feel buying organic is important to decrease our exposure to harmful toxins for ourselves, the environment and the farmers growing our food.  But what if it is just not financially feasible for you to buy everything organic?  Are there some specific areas you should focus on?

When working with clients, I ask them to think about a few different areas when deciding to buy organic.  For products that you or your children consume on a daily basis, buying organic, if at all possible, is definitely advisable.  When my boys were little, they consumed volumes of milk on a daily basis so this was an product I tried to always buy organic (or at least hormone free).  Think carefully about your overall diet and switch those items that make a daily appearance to organic.

Also, items that are higher up on the food chain like meat are important to buy organic.  Livestock that is fed a conventional diet of corn and other grains have greater exposure to the toxic pesticides used on their food.  These pesticides are then concentrated in fat of the meat you eat.  Also, animals allowed to graze on their normal diet of grass have greater amounts of the natural healing omega-3s.  I recognize organic meat can be expensive so I have started making meat more of an accent in my meals instead of the main ingredient.  This approach saves me money and increases my consumption of healthy fruits and vegetables.

Finally, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) puts out a list of the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen every year.  The Dirty Dozen lists the fruits and vegetable which contained a number of different pesticide residues and showed high concentrations of pesticides relative to other produce items.  Relatively few pesticides were detected on the fruits and vegetables on the Clean Fifteen list, and tests found low total concentrations of pesticides.   If you are rationing your grocery store dollars, focusing on buying the fruits and vegetables from the Dirty Dozen list may be your best bet.  Checkout the info graphic at the beginning of the article for your complete list. (You might notice that my list is only a Clean Fourteen.  The EWG’s list contained sweet corn.  In the last year, GMO corn has begun appearing on our grocery shelves.   I would advise buying organic corn to ensure you are avoiding a GMO product.)

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Roasted Curry Delicata Squash

Yummy roasted delicata squash.

Yummy roasted delicata squash.

The weather in Portland has taken a crazy turn today!  On Sunday, I spent eight hours dodging the sun on the side of a baseball field to stay cool in the 90 plus degree heat.  Today, the weather man predicted a high of 80 degrees but it is wildly windy!  It suddenly feels like fall- leaves are blowing down the street, flags are snapping in the breeze and the air feels crisp.

Even though I love the summer sunshine, I am still excited for the change of seasons.  One of the aspects of fall I love the most is diving into all the fresh fall produce.  Apples, pears and leafy greens are incredibly tasty but my most favorite fall veggie is squash.  I like all kinds of squash but the absolute best in my book is delicata.  It is a perfect size. It doesn’t need to be peeled and it is amazingly tasty!  I was ecstatic when it reappeared on the shelf at my local grocery store.

Sliced delicata squash.

Sliced delicata squash.

Delicata squash is VERY  easy to prepare.  Just slice it, scoop out the seeds, brush it with olive oil, sprinkle a little salt, stick it in the oven and about 40 minutes later, you have a delicious vegetable side.  It is easier to work with than most other squashes because you don’t have to peel it.  Once cooked, the peel is usually soft enough to eat.  (I did find, however, that this time one of my squashes seemed a little dry when I was slicing it and once I cooked it, the peel did not soften up enough to eat.  The other squash seemed more moist and the peel was really tasty once cooked.   For the record, I have cooked a lot of delicata squash and this is the first time I had trouble with the peel not being edible so if anyone has some suggestions, I am all ears!  Happily, the dryer squash still tasty good after I cut off the peel.)

Squash before going into the oven.

Squash before going into the oven. Be sure to scoop out all the seeds before roasting.

I chose curry as the spice for my squash because I was going to be adding it to a curried soup but delicata is so versatile you could use any spice that appeals to your tastes!  I have seen it with lime and chili, sugar and orange juice and cinnamon and ginger.  The possibilities are endless!  Don’t be afraid to use your imagination.

Squash after 40 minutes of roasting.

Squash after 40 minutes of roasting.

Finished squash.

Finished squash.

Roasted Curry Delicata Squash

Ingredients

  • 2 delicata squash
  • 2 tbs of olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp of curry powder (or more to taste)
  • couple of grinds of sea salt, (or more to taste)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash squash well to remove all dirt.
  3. Mix olive oil, curry powder and salt in a separate bowl.
  4. Slice squash in 1/4 inch thick slices.
  5. Place on a cookie sheet.
  6. Brush with olive oil mixture. Be sure to get sides of the squash rounds.
  7. Place in oven and cook for about 20 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and flip over each squash piece.
  9. Place back in oven for 20 minutes (or until squash is brown on the edges and feels soft.)
  10. Enjoy!
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5 Tips for A More Sustainable Life

  1. 4643772171_5005cce317Eat Seasonally:  Eating food that is currently in season for your part of the world helps to reduce pollution.  When you live in the Pacific Northwest and buy a nectarine in the middle of January, you can be sure it was not grown locally.  Food that travels a long way  requires more energy and has a greater impact on the environment before it reaches your plate.  Also, because it must travel so far, it is often picked when it is not ripe leading to a less than fresh taste.
  2. Ditch the Plastic Water Bottles:  Bottled water causes a whole host of problems.  Americans consume over 1500 bottles of water every second.  These bottles are clogging our landfills because only a small percentage of them are recycled.  The plastic in the bottles has also been found to leach harmful endocrine disrupting chemicals into the water and bottled water cost significantly more than tap water.  Buy yourself an inexpensive water filter, save significant dollars at the grocery store and avoid exposing yourself to harmful chemicals.
  3. Reduce Your Meat Consumption:  Meat can be an important part of a meal but reducing your overall meat consumption can have a big impact on the environment. It takes roughly twenty-five times more energy to produce one calorie of beef than to produce one calorie of corn for human consumption.  However, you don’t have to give up meat entirely.  Try going meatless just one day a week or even just making meat an accent part of the meal and not the main course.  Every bit of meat consumption reduction makes a positive contribution to the environment.
  4. Grow Your Own Food:  Not everyone has room to plant a giant garden in their backyard but most people have room for a few pots for herbs or tomatoes.  Squeeze in a small container garden wherever you find  a patch of sun.  Food just picked from your plants offers the freshest, most sustainable option in food production.
  5. Cook Your Own Food:  Cooking your own food allows you to have greater control over what is actually in your food and how it is prepared.  With that control, you can be sure your ingredients are produced in a responsible, sustainable manner.  Besides, nothing tastes better than a home cooked meal prepared with love from the ingredients you grew in your own yard.
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