Thursday, January 29, 2015

Eggs are not "dairy".

At least not when we're talking about intolerances and allergies.

Just saying folks.  Can we stop calling eggs dairy?

They really have nothing to do with milk.  Dairy milk comes from cows, usually, or perhaps occasionally from sheep or goats. Dairy milk products include milk, buttermilk, cream, sour cream, butter, yogurt, kefir and all the cheeses including cottage cheese and cream cheese.

On the other hand, eggs come from chickens and are not a milk product.

Yes eggs and milk both come from farms, and perhaps in the past, many small family farms had both chickens and cows, but in our modern world, not only do eggs and milk not come from the same animal, but they usually don't come from the same place or "dairy" anymore.

Importantly, many people have dairy "intolerances" or "allergies".  These are most often intolerances or allergies to milk products.  (See here for more information on who can eat dairy and why.  If you experience problems with dairy, you might find that there are some milk products you can tolerate.)

Of course, there are also people who have intolerances and allergies to eggs, but the two are totally separate from one another.  If you're allergic to milk, you're not necessarily allergic to eggs.  Fewer people have trouble with eggs than do with milk.

Because so many more people have difficulties in digesting milk products, many are choosing to live a dairy-free lifestyle.  These people are giving up most milk products, but not eggs.

Also, and importantly for healing and maintaining good health, many of us are following anti-inflammatory diets or paleo.  Many milk products are inflammatory and therefore disease-promoting. On the other hand, eggs, at least those from pastured chickens, are high in omega-3 fats which are anti-inflammatory.

So, many people on healing diets are forgoing most milk products but including eggs.

Okay...feeling better now that I got that off my chest.   

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Kid-friendly After-school Snacks

My kids walk through the door after school, STARVING.

Mediterranean Tuna Snack Cakes
Here's a great snack (or lunch box friendly main course) that I make ahead and have stashed in the fridge or freezer for quick re-heating.  High in protein and low in carbs with an unexpected Mediterranean twist on seasoning, these Tuna Snack Cakes are healthy for all kids, but especially kids who have health issues like eczema or diabetes.

Mediterranean Tuna Snack Cakes

Heat oven to 375
1 jar Trader Joe’s Green Olive Tapenade
4 drained cans of Tuna
6 eggs, beaten
6 chopped artichoke hearts (I used Costco brand)
½ C grated Sheep’s Romano Cheese
1 cup slivered baby kale

Place all ingredients into a large mixing bowl, stir until blended.  Spoon into muffin tins.  If desired, top with a drizzle of yellow mustard and additional grated cheese.  Bake for 23-25 minutes or until brown at edges and firm and slightly raised in the center.

If you don't have Trader Joe's Green Olive Tapenade, I recommend chopping olives, celery, onions, and/or sundried tomatoes and adding a little lemon juice as a replacement. Capers are also great in this recipe.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Turkey Thighs--Affordable, Delicious

Since I live in the mountains, an hour away from the nearest Whole Foods, Costco and Trader Joe's, I often have to rely on my local Safeway for provisions.  Luckily, Safeway has recently expanded their section of organic, free range and grass fed meats and poultry.  And, it's affordable.  I realize that a lot of their meats are no where near from local sources.  In fact, they're coming from all over the world.  But I call it an improvement that they're there at all!

This week I found a package of two turkey thighs.  I braised them and then slow cooked them with aromatics, celery, cranberry, wine and chicken stock and served them up with local brown rice from the Sacramento delta.  Fresh cranberries are still showing up in markets, so grab them while you can.

The turkey thighs were delicious with moist meat falling off the bone and we loved the sauce.  This is the first time I've ever prepared turkey thighs.  From now on they will be a household staple.  Two turkey thighs with ample brown rice should serve 4 people.

Cranberry Braised Turkey Thighs

2 turkey thighs  (organic if possible)
2 T olive oil
2 T butter (from pastured cows)
1 onion chopped fine
1 cup celery chopped
1 garlic clove minced
3 sprigs of rosemary stripped and minced
1/2 t dried thyme
1/4 t dried sage
Generous natural sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 1/2 c chicken stock (organic)
1/2 c wine
1 c cranberries
1 T lemon juice fresh squeezed

1 c brown rice
2 c chicken stock
2 T butter (from pastured cows)

Put the olive oil in a braising pan over medium high heat and when the oil is hot, add the turkey thighs.  Brown on both sides and remove from pan.  Add the butter, onions, celery and saute until the vegetables are translucent and softened.  Add the spices, stock, wine, cranberries and lemon into the pan along with the turkey thighs and bring the liquids to a simmer.  Turn the heat down to very low and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

Make the rice. Bring the chicken stock and butter to a boil and add the rice.  Reduce the heat to simmer and cook until rice is done (check package for cooking time).

Thursday, January 22, 2015

I Miss Lasagna...

Actually, I miss the lasagna of my childhood, that gooey cheesy homemade hunk of yum you used to get at church potlucks and birthday party sleepovers.  There it would sit amidst an endless line-up of platters of fried chicken, jello molds and Betty Crocker layer cakes.

These days, a healthier more sophisticated anti-inflammation version of lasagna is in order.  This one is made with fresh homemade basil pesto and shiitake mushrooms.  The noodles are gluten-free, of course.  We wouldn't think of leaving the cheese off completely, but a little goat cheese sprinkled on the top goes a long way for flavor and is healing as well.

Tell them its gourmet.  Only you will know how absolutely packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants it is.  

Gluten-free Shiitake Pesto Lasagna

For Pesto:
2 bunches fresh basil
4 garlic cloves
1/2 c toasted pine nuts
5 T olive oil
1/2 t sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Put the basil, garlic and pine nuts in a foods processor and process.  With processor running, pour in olive oil slowly.  Add in seasonings.

For lasagna:
1 package Pasta Joy Brown Rice lasagna noodles cooked according to package directions
Olive oil
1 large or 3 small leeks sliced
3 oz shiitake mushrooms
10 oz bella crimini mushrooms
2 T butter
Natural sea salt and freshly ground black peppercorns
2 bell peppers sliced
10 oz fresh baby spinach
2 oz goat cheese

Saute the leeks in 3 T or more olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Spread them on the bottom of a 13 x 9 lasagna pan.  Top with a layer of lasagna noodles (3-4 noodles).  Saute the mushrooms in the butter and season with salt and pepper.  Layer over the noodles and add another layer of noodles. Top the noodles with 1/2 pesto recipe, then with raw spinach and bell peppers.  Add another layer of noodles, top with remaining pesto and drop on crumbled bits of goat cheese.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Salmon and Omega-3's

Getting enough omega-3 fatty acids is essential if you are fighting inflammation.

Here's how it works. Our bodies need both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.  And in fact, we do actually need to have more omega-6s than omega-3s, by about 4:1.  Somewhere between 1:1 and 4:1 is the balanced ratio that keeps inflammation at bay.  However, our modern diets deliver proportionally way more omega-6s than that.  It's estimated that the average American gets omega-6s at about 20:1 to omega-3s.  

That's because omega-6's are in almost all processed and packaged foods.  Soy and corn oils are both high in omega-6 fatty acids and these two oils pervade our modern food supply. 

When the crucial balance between omega-3s and 6s goes out of whack like this, inflammation is the result.  And inflammation is the cause of most modern diseases (see blue box below).  For more on information, go to:
What is this "inflammation" we keep talking about?  
So how do we get back in balance?  Well, we do it three ways.  The first important step is to stop consuming the omega-6s in processed food.  We need to focus our eating on real food.  Yes, real food--the stuff that comes from farms, not the stuff that comes from a manufacturing facility. 

The second is that we need to avoid the oils that are high in omega-6s.  These are corn, soy, safflower, sunflower, cottonseed and mixed vegetable oils.  When cooking with heat, we can replace these dangerous oils with healthy or neutral oils like coconut, olive and butter from pasture-raised cows.  Also, flax, sesame and walnut can be added to foods that are not cooked (such as in salad dressings) or drizzled over cooked foods after the heating has occurred.  

Thirdly, we can eat foods high in omega-3s.  One such food is wild salmon.  Wild is the operative word here.   Only wild salmon is high in omega-3s.  Although farm-raised salmon does have some omega-3s, it is also high in omega-6s.  Not good.  This puts that crucial ratio out of whack again, causing inflammation.

So get the wild and nothing but the wild.  

Here's a nice recipe for wild salmon that makes up quickly and tastes great:

Tamarind Salmon

4 salmon servings
2 T coconut oil
1 t tamarind paste
2 T water
1 T fish sauce
2 t Braggs Liquid Aminos
2 t grated fresh ginger
1 t dark sesame oil
3 T finely chopped cilantro

In a medium frying pan, melt and heat the coconut oil over medium high heat.  When the oil is hot, put the salmon in the pan to cook.  Grate in the fresh ginger.  Mix together the tamarind, water, fish sauce, and liquid aminos and pour into the pan.  When salmon is cooked half through, flip to the other side.  Be careful not to overcook or the salmon will dry out.  Salmon tastes best when it is just barely cooked and all meat in the center has lightened just slightly to a softer pink color. Watch it closely and catch it at the right moment of doneness.  To serve, drizzle with sesame oil and top with chopped cilantro.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Project 333--Gettin' Your Greens On Day 3

So, how is it going so far?  You might be noticing some changes by today.  If you suffer from inflammation, and that inflammation shows up in your face and body tissues, the puffiness may be beginning to reside by today.*  Your head may be starting to clear and your thinking getting sharper.

Here are our menu suggestions for Gettin' Your Greens on Day 3.

Day 3 Breakfast--Super Green Smoothie (or Farro with Super Greens and Fried Egg)

Another Su;per Green Smoothie? Or...

We're recommending that you have a Super Green Smoothie again this morning because we believe in their powerful healing properties.  However, if you find that they're just not for you, try substituting our farro and fried egg breakfast.

Cooked farro is absolutely delicious and adding a fried egg makes this meal look more like a traditional breakfast.  Be sure to add those super greens on the side for super energy!

Bring 1 cup of farro* to a boil in 2 cups of organic chicken stock.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.  Stir in 4 tablespoons of grass fed butter and salt and pepper to taste.  Top a serving of the farro with super greens sauteed in olive oil, salt and pepper.  Gently fry a grass fed egg in grass fed butter and place it over the super greens and farro.  If desired, pour a tablespoon of flax oil over the top for additional anti-inflammation healing.

*If you can't find farro, try amaranth grains or pearl barley.  They're all delicious prepared this way.

Day 3 Lunch--Spinach Wrap Sandwich

Here's an easy-to-pack lunch.  Using a large tortilla style wrap, make a sandwich with fresh kale, sliced red bell peppers, cucumbers, shredded carrots, hummus and tzatziki sauce or hummus and baba ghanoush.  (You can find both the hummus and tzatziki at Trader Joe's.)  To make lunch more filling, you could also pack 1/2 avocado with a little lemon juice, salt and pepper and your choice of fruit.  Or, if you love a treat, try our fabulous recipe for low gluten, no sugar Toll House chocolate chip cookies, here.

Roll 'er up, folks!  A hummus and kale wrap that is delicious, filling and healthy!
By the way, if you are on an anti-inflammation diet, you can use a gluten-free wrap. The wrap we used here is made primarily from teff, which is gluten-free.

Day 3 Dinner--Add an Arugula Salad

For tonight's dinner, how about adding an arugula salad to whatever protein and vegetable you have planned.  If it's summer time, we love arugula and watermelon sprinkled with pine nuts and a little feta cheese.  In the cooler months try arugula, pears, walnuts, dried cranberries and a little goat cheese.  To make a great vinaigrette, mix together 2 T olive oil, 1 T flax oil, 1 T lemon juice, 2 t apple cider vinegar, 1/2 t Dijon mustard, 1/4 t dried dill, 2 T finely chopped shallots, sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

Pears with arugula and other super greens, cranberries, goat cheese and walnuts.

We're hoping by this point you're getting the hang of Gettin' Your Greens On.

It's easy to add greens into your daily life.  Just start each day with a Super Green Smoothie or add some sauteed greens to your eggs or cooked grains for breakfast.  For lunch, fortify your favorite sandwich with a big handful of fresh greens to add taste, flavor and healing punch.  For dinner, add several handfuls of greens to just about any soup recipe, serve a salad made with super greens, or saute greens and serve them as a side dish. Hey, you're getting this!

 It's all just a matter of getting in the habit of Gettin' Your Greens On!  

*If you're one of those people that tends toward puffiness, it really takes a week of this to see radical results.  In fact, if you want to ban puffiness altogether, make sure to avoid gluten, dairy and sugar while you're Gettin' Your Greens On.  You'll be amazed at what a week of avoiding these three inflammatants and adding super greens will do for your appearance.  Your skin will glow, your eyes will sparkle, your body tissues will de-puff and you will be leaner, stronger and more clear headed.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Project 333 --Gettin' Your Greens On Day 2

So day 1 was easy and we're starting to see that it's not so difficult to add greens to every meal.  What's on the menu for day 2?

Day Two Breakfast--Omelette with Spinach

This couldn't be easier, just add a splash of water to a small omelette pan and add in several generous handfuls of spinach.  Saute until tender.  Dress the spinach with olive oil, salt and pepper and move to a serving plate.  Then melt a little butter in your pan and swish it all around, add in two eggs stirred up with a tablespoon of water and some sea salt and pepper and you have your omelette.  For a little fun, here's Julia Child with her omelette tutorial.

Omelette with sauteed greens.  Oh, if only I could nail the Julia child wrist flip!

Super Green Smoothie fans:  By the way, we're showing you the omelette for a little variety, but if you like the Super Green Smoothie, go ahead and have it every day. Keep it up for a few weeks and you'll be amazed at how much energy you have and how clear your head gets.  

Day Two Lunch  --Super Green Salad with Tuna Tarragon

Tuna is an excellent ingredient for anti-inflammation because it's high in omega-3 oil. Just mix up our tuna tarragon and serve it on a bed of super greens of your choice. You can drizzle a bit of vinaigrette over the greens if you wish.  (Combine 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar or lemon juice.  Season with salt, pepper, dry mustard, dry dill and chopped shallots.)  If you use flax oil for some or all of the oil in your dressing, you'll be upping the inflammation fighting omega-3s even more.  

Tuna tarragon on a bed of super greens.  

Day Three Dinner--Add some greens to your favorite soup recipe.  

What's your favorite soup?  Chicken noodle?  Mexican chicken?  Italian meatball?  Whatever it is, toss a generous quantity of super greens into it.  If you want to try something new, how about this Indian tomato spinach version:

Indian Tomato Spinach Soup

3 T olive oil
2 leeks chopped
2 bay leaves
1/2 t ground cardamon
1/4 t cinnamon
1 1/2 t salt
1/2 t ground pepper
2 t curry powder
3 cups organic chicken stock
2 cans organic stewed tomatoes
6 boneless organic chicken thighs cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup cooked basmati rice
1 can organic chick peas (also known as garbanzo beans)
4 cups spinach or other super green

Put olive oil and leeks into a soup pot and saute until leeks are softened.  Add all ingredients up to tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add in chicken and continue simmering until chicken is just cooked.  Add in rice, chick peas and spinach and heat just until spinach leaves have softened.  Serve.

See our next posting for Day 3

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Gettin' Your Greens On--Project 333, Three Days, Three Meals a Day

Let's face it, these days pretty much everyone is aware of the tremendous healing power of kale and the other super greens.  However, many people are unsure of just how to harness this power by adding enough greens into their everyday lives.  Sure, we've all had a kale salad somewhere, but how do we actually significantly add more super greens into our daily meals?

The project--eat more super greens during the next three days.  In fact eat them at every meal for the next three days.  Think of it as a mini-green-cleanse, if you will.  Can it be done?  Greens at every meal for three days?  Three meals, three days.  Of course it can, and we'll show you how.  But first...

Super greens are powerful inflammation fighters.  As you may know, inflammation in the body is a cause of most diseases.  Heart disease, diabetes, cancer, all the auto-immune diseases, arthritis, and many more illnesses are directly related to inflammation.

What are the super greens?  All the dark leafy greens are what we refer to as super greens.  Kale, chard, spinach, collard, beet, arugula, mizuna, quinoa and amaranth, among others, are some of the dark leafy greens that you may be able to purchase at your local supermarket or Farmer's Market.  

Okay, so that said, let's get started.

Day One Breakfast--Super Green Smoothie

At NutritionScienceRX, we're all doing it.  We love our morning Super Green Smoothie.  In fact, we're absolutely addicted to them, especially for the energy and brain power they give us.  Click for our recipe for the Super Green Smoothie.

Start with fresh organic fruits and vegetables.  And don't forget the super greens!!!  There are amaranth greens in this batch, hiding underneath the parsley.  Switch it up--add a different super green each time you fire up your processor or blender.

We look forward to this every morning!

Day One Lunch--Easiest way to get your super greens--Trader Joe's salads!  

Delicious, too.  Trader Joe's has a fabulous collection of affordable pre-made salads.  We keep our refrigerators stocked with them.  Look for salads that have super greens like this Broccoli Slaw and Kale Salad with Chicken.  By the way, this is a favorite of just about everyone who's tried it.

This salad is one of Trader Joe's most popular products, according to my checker last week!

Day One Dinner-- Pea and Greens Salad 

I brought this dish to a church potluck.  It's similar to a salad Nigella prepared on one of her shows.  Just about every ingredient in it is anti-inflammation.  The recipe below makes half the quantity shown in the photo.  Serve it as a side dish for dinner.  In fact, why not make dinner easy, toss an organic chicken in the oven to roast along with some sweet potatoes.  Nothing could be more simple than roasting a chicken.  I just prop the chicken up on a vertical roasting stand (see bottom of posting) and cook until the skin is golden and the juices run clear near the leg joint when poked with a fork.  By the way, organic grass-fed butter is an excellent inflammation fighter.  So go ahead and enjoy those sweet potatoes with butter, salt and pepper.  There you have it.  An easy, PEAsy dinner!  

Pea and Greens Salad

1 16 oz package of frozen peas
2 T olive oil
1 T flax oil (very anti-inflammatory)
1 T lemon juice
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 t mint dried
1 t Dijon mustard
1/2 t sea salt
1/2 t ground pepper
1 1/2 T finely chopped shallots
butter or bibb lettuce
spinach leaves
fresh mint

Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, dried mint, Dijon, salt, pepper and shallots.  Prepare the frozen peas by boiling them for a few minutes in a few inches of water, being careful not to overcook.  Drain them and run cold water over them to keep them from continuing to cook.  Shake the colander to remove as much water as possible.  Pour the vinaigrette over the peas and taste.  If it needs more punch, add additional salt and another t of apple cider vinegar.  Spread the greens on a platter and toss in the peas turning all the peas and leaves together so that the dressing is spread throughout.  Top with avocado and fresh chopped mint leaves.  Nigella used toasted pine nuts, as did I, but I actually think the recipe would be better without them, so I left them out here.  

See tomorrow's posting for Day 2!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Brown Rice with Fennel and Tangerine Peel

Very few of us have the kind of lives where we can present Julia Child style meals to our families each night.  Most of us are simply too busy to devote hours and hours to cooking the day's meals.

However, if you're reading this blog, you probably love food and want to enjoy delicious, seasonal flavors frequently.  For me, that means that I often mix simply prepared foods, like Italian sausages or roast chicken, with side dishes that have a little something special added.  

For example, this Brown Rice with Fennel and Tangerine has a few extra ingredients compared to plain brown rice.  It tastes special.  And yet, it only takes a few minutes more to prepare it.  I love that it features fennel and tangerine, two in-season foods, and two flavors that I find very complimentary. 

One little tip--  This recipe calls for chicken stock.  I often make my own chicken stock and other bone broths.  I find it very simple to just toss leftover bones into a pot along with a few vegetables and spices and let it simmer over my lowest heat setting for the entire day. A quick five minutes of prep work and a little awareness throughout the day equals delicious flavor and super healing power.  (see here for my bone broth recipe).  However, I blow through chicken broth at a rate that I can never keep up with preparing my own.  I just don't have enough bones.  Lately I've been buying Trader Joe's* organic free range broth for $1.99 per carton.  The price is excellent, but I really like the broth.  It seems to have much more intensity and color than the other commercially prepared broths I buy, especially for the price. 

Brown Rice with Fennel and Tangerine Peel

1 cup brown rice
2 cups chicken broth
2 T olive oil
1 fennel bulb sliced
1/2 t salt
Ground fresh pepper to taste
Grated peel from 2 tangerines
Juice from 2 tangerines

Bring the 2 cups of chicken broth to boil in a sauce pan and add the brown rice, olive oil and fennel bulb. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook the rice for the amount of time indicated on the rice package. When the rice is 5 minutes before completion, add the salt, pepper, tangerine peel and juice.  

*Eat Thrive Heal is not sponsored or paid by any stores or products.  We just pass on tips about what we like and what we find makes our cooking lives easier.

Another fennel and tangerine combo we love.  Click here for the recipe.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Scrambled Eggs and Smoked Salmon

Simple, Easy-to-Make, Anti-Inflammation Meals

Some days we're crunched for time or just simply too pooped to put in much effort cooking up a fabulous meal.  There's a place in everyone's cooking repertoire for a few simple, easy-to-make meals that we can pull out of our hats. After all, let's be practical, we're not always able to devote a lot of time to meal prep, and yet we want to be able to serve up healthy, healing foods.

Not always this perfect...

Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon is just that; a pull-out-of-your-hat meal with healing power.  It's delicious and fast, of course, but one of the very best things about it is that it's loaded with inflammation-busting omega-3's.  Omega-3s are not found in a lot of foods, however, three excellent sources are wild salmon, pastured eggs and pastured butter.

Wild and pastured are the keys here.  Farm raised fish are not high in omega-3s.  Factory raised chickens do not produce eggs high in omega-3s and cows raised in feedlots do not produce butter high in omega-3s.  So be sure you get the wild and pastured.  They fix your health while the others harm it.

Conveniently, eggs, smoked salmon and butter are things that last in your fridge for a while and are easy to add to your shopping cart whenever you do a big shop.  If you make it a habit to keep yourself stocked up, you'll always be able to whip up a quick, yummy and healing meal.

We garnished our eggs with a big fist full of fresh sprouts.  Sprouts, leafy greens and fresh green herbs are all nutrition-packed inflammation-fighting resources.  Whenever you can, add these babies in generous quantities to your meals.  

Scrambled Eggs and Wild Salmon

2 pastured eggs per person
1 t water per person
1 T pastured butter per person
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper (I love the Pink Himalayan salt grinder from Costco)
Wild Smoked Salmon (I used Trader Joe's Wild Smoked Sockeye Salmon Hot Smoked with Cracked      Peppercorns, Mustard Seed and Lemon--utterly packed with flavor--not sure if this available year        round)
Sprouts (the pretty blend in the photo also came from Trader Joe's)

Crack the eggs into a bowl, add in the water, salt and pepper and whisk together.  Melt the butter in a pan and pour in the eggs.  Add in the salmon in crumbled chunks.  Let the eggs set up a little bit against the pan and then gently push the egg and salmon mixture around the pan, getting the spatula under all of the egg mixture. Wait a little bit again as the egg mixture cooks for a moment against the pan and then push the mixture around so that more of the wet mixture is exposed to the pan.  Continue to wait for a moment and then push and redistribute the eggs until they are cooked through entirely.  Garnish with a generous fist full of sprouts.

For more information on omega-3s, see here.  

For more information on inflammation of the body and how it causes most diseases, see here.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Snack Attack Series--Pear Butter on Yogurt

Seasonal Snacks--Winter

I'm always on the lookout for snacks that satisfy.  Sometimes snacking calls for a little sweetness, but not too much.  Sugar is not a part of healthy snacking.  But, of course, you already know that!

Part of being a good cook is being a good shopper.  When you run across something like this Amish Pear Butter made without sugar, grab it.  If you don't have the special ingredients on hand to make a meal nice, it's not going to be nice.  That's just plain fact.

Having a few easy ingredients on hand is the key to successful snacking. If you plan ahead and stock your fridge and pantry, you can throw together a tasty snack in less than a minute.  Almond yogurt with pear butter and walnuts is a good example of a tasty snack that makes up effortlessly.

Almond yogurt is new in the markets and it's a very nice alternative to cow yogurt if you're avoiding dairy. It gives you some healthy probiotic strains without the problems that some of us experience eating dairy. Walnuts are high in all important anti-inflammatory omega-3's.  And the pear butter is there for sweetness and flavor.

Delicious, healthy and you can put it together in a minute.  What more could you ask for in a snack?

Seasonal Snack Attack Series--  One of the biggest challenges in sticking to a healing anti-inflammation diet is figuring out what to eat during those times when you feel hungry between meals.  Having a plan in place before hunger strikes is essential.  That's what this snack attack series is all about.  Over time, we hope the snack ideas will grow to become a rich full file and a useful tool that you can use to stock your kitchen with delicious healing snacks that keep your tummy feeling full, your waistline trim and your body humming!  We're just getting started, but to see the snacks we've included so far, click here. 

According to a study performed by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. “Twelve weeks of consuming a fermented milk product containing the Lactobacillusstrain was associated with a 4.6 per cent reduction in abdominal fat…”.

What is this "inflammation" we keep talking about?

If you've visited us here at Eat Thrive Heal before, you may have noticed that we are often talking about a disease preventing and healing anti-inflammation diet.

You may be wondering, just what is inflammation?

First of all, we're not referring to the inflammation you get, for example, when you cut your finger and it gets red and swollen and slightly inflamed or infected.

When we speak about inflammation, we speak about the swelling of body tissues and organs.  This type of inflammation isn't painful like the cut on your finger, but it continuously damages your organs, until eventually, your body becomes diseased.

How do body tissues become inflamed?  Stress, lack of exercise, genetic predisposition and exposure to toxins (such as tobacco) are all causes of inflammation.  But one of the biggest triggers comes from our diets.  

In fact, many of the body's diseases have now been linked to inflammation, especially all the auto-immune diseases, including arthritis.

Why does the body create swelling?  Inflammation is really the body's attempt at protection.  It's part of the body's immune response.  When something is harmful or irritating to the body, the body tries to remove it.

The body creates two types of inflammation.  Acute inflammation is the swelling you see when you cut your finger.  This kind of inflammation occurs rapidly, in a few days time for example.  You might also experience this kind of inflammation in your lungs with bronchitis, or your throat with a sore throat.  It's also the inflammation you experience as the result of intense exercise or if you receive a blow to the body.   Acute inflammation requires short term healing strategies, such as rest, icing, flushing, etc.

On the other hand, chronic inflammation is what we are trying to heal with food.  This is long term inflammation caused by long term irritants or toxins.  Many of these original irritants or toxins may have come from our diets.

One way this happens is that the body's fat tissues become inflamed because of a diet high in refined carbs and omega-6 fatty acids. When we eat a lot of processed foods, we are disturbing the body's natural chemical balances and inflammation is the body's response.  Not only do the inflamed fat tissues cause weight gain, but eventually the inflammation may spread to the pancreas and cause diabetes, to the brain and cause Alzheimers and to the heart to cause heart disease.

Consuming foods we are allergic to or have intolerances to (such as gluten or dairy for some people) can certainly cause inflammation.  But also, regularly consuming toxic and non-degradable pathogens in our food can also create inflammation.  Sugars and artificial sweeteners, chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, hormones and metals are just a few of the substances present in our modern food and water that our bodies were never designed to process in large quantities.

Our modern diet is actually methodically attacking our body and inflammation is the body's attempt to heal this.

Healing inflammation with food requires removing all these unbalanced and un-natural foods, as well as any allergens, intolerances and toxins from our diets in order to give our bodies a chance to clean, purify and calm down from the constant attack it has sustained over the years.

So let's hear it for REAL FOOD.  The kind of food that doesn't contain chemicals and toxins. Unprocessed food.  The kind of food that grows on farms.  The food our bodies were designed to consume. The food that heals.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Pestos--Healing Plus Flavor

Isn't pesto a great food flavor?  It's pretty much a happy detonation in your mouth. I'm all for that!

It used to be that when the word pesto came up, most of us thought of the traditional Italian pesto.   Its basic ingredients consist of basil, garlic, olive oil, parmesan and pine nuts.

But in recent years, all kinds of pestos have sprung to life.  From Mexican to Thai, there's a pesto for everyone.  The pesto "formula" has now become, a leafy green or herb, garlic, olive oil, a cheese and a nut.  Of course, chefs and good home cooks often make a few embellishes and tweaks along the way. Every possible permutation of this formula has been explored.  The world of pestos has opened up...and this is a good thing.

At Eat Thrive Heal, we're living an anti-inflammation lifestyle.  Since cow milk dairy products cause inflammation, cheese is something we mostly try to avoid.  So we like to skip the cheese in our pestos, unless it's goat or sheep's milk cheese (see here for information about the inflammatory properties of cow milk products, and some ideas for what kinds of dairy you might be able to eat on a healing diet and why).

So does leaving out dairy diminish the pesto?  Not at all.  Pesto is one of those foods where every ingredient contributes such yummy intense flavors that you really don't need the cheese.

Plus the herbs, super greens and garlic in pesto are powerful inflammation fighters.  Because of this, pesto is a great cooking tool for those of us who are trying to balance healing with creating delicious meals.

Here's a recipe for a fabulously tasty pesto that goes great with lamb.  It has no cheese, of course, and it's packed with anti-inflammatory healing.  This is a pesto you can relish!

Cilantro and Mint Pesto for Lamb

1/2 bunch cilantro
15-20 mint leaves
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup olive oil

Put the herbs, pine nuts and garlic into a food processor and blend.  Drizzle the olive oil through the feed tube with the motor running until all the olive oil has been absorbed into the pesto.  To serve, drizzle over lamb chops or serve on the side.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

New Cranberry Super Green Smoothie

We've been gettin' our cranberry on with this new morning smoothie recipe.  Cranberries are powerful anti-oxidants and are anti-inflammatory to boot.  Since they are seasonal, and available fresh in the markets now, this is the moment for cranberry smoothies.

As always, we load our smoothies full of healthy super greens, veggies and a few fruits for good taste.

Here's our recipe...

Cranberry Super Green Smoothie

30 raw cranberries
1 apple cored and seeded
15 grapes
1 small lemon or 1/2 large lemon, much of the peel cut away, seeds removed
1 cup celery
1 great big handful of spinach and arugula
1 small head of romaine
3 1" chunks of cucumber
1 carrot cut into 4 piece
1/2 tangerine peel (optional, if you're healing eczema)
1 cup filtered water or more as needed


Place all the ingredients except the banana in a food processor and process until everything has been fully broken down.  Add more water if needed.

Divide the contents into three containers.  Cover two tightly and place them in the fridge for the next two mornings.  Place the contents of the third container into a blender or bullet with 1/2 banana and process until smooth.   Each morning add 1/2 banana to the second or third smoothie and blend fresh (again, adding water if needed).

Monday, January 5, 2015

9 Healing Steps to Get Your Health Back on Track from the Holidays

It's January.  Time to rev up your health!!

Feeling puffy, bloated, brain-fogged and lacking in energy from the holidays?  Or maybe you simply want to clean up your diet and lose a few pounds after a month of over-doing.  Here are our essential tips for an anti-inflammation, super greens loading, energy-making, brain-clearing January.

We promise you, follow these tips and you will be operating in tip top condition in a matter of days.

1. Go Green-- Have a Super Green Smoothie for breakfast.  We love our breakfast smoothies and drink them year round.  They pack in the nutrients, are easy to digest and give you plenty of energy.  Just try them for 3 or 4 days and you'll never want to go back.

2.  Eat a big salad for lunch--  Go ahead, make it big.  Toss in lot's of greens, but make sure to add in at least one handful of super greens* for extra inflammation-fighting power.  Then add in your favorite fruits or veggies and some nuts if you like.  You can top it all off with a little chicken, tuna, salmon, hard boiled egg or leftover meat if you like to have the protein.  Skip the cheese--dairy is inflammation promoting.  Make your own salad dressing (store bought salad dressings usually have high fructose corn syrup and GMO soy oil).  And be sure to include a little flax oil in your dressing. Its high omega-3 count makes it a powerful inflammation fighting weapon. (Go here for more information on omega-3s and recipes for flax oil salad dressings.)

By the way, a wrap with lots of super greens is another great choice.  Throw in your favorite raw veggies. These can be great with hummus and baba ganoush.  Go here for information about gluten-free wraps and how to make your own.

3.  For dinner choose a protein plus two veggies--  Make both your side dishes veggie-based.  One veggie can be a salad, if you like.  If you're feeling like you need a little something that will give you that "stick to the ribs" feeling, make the second vegetable a baked sweet potatoe or roasted winter squash--drizzle the pastured butter on heavily and top with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  If the butter is from pastured cows, it is high in omega-3 for inflammation fighting.

Organic Italian Sausage, Zucchini Noodles with Peas and Sweet Potato Fries.
4. Snacking--  If you feel hungry between  For snacks try coconut yogurt, almond yogurt, bone broth, cocoa made with almond milk and Coconut Secret, tangerines, apples with almond butter or chopped up with chopped walnuts.  Slice an avocado in half, drizzle it with lemon juice and add salt and pepper.  For more snack ideas, go here.

5.  Drink...all the water you want.  Other great drinks are fresh vegetable juices, coconut water, almond milk or coconut milk.  You can make your own lemonade with filtered water, fresh squeezed lemon juice and stevia.  For hot drinks, try green tea or herbal tea.  Make cocoa using almond milk, cocoa powder and Coconut Nectar.  Drink as much homemade bone broth as you like--it's unbelievably healing.  Make up a big pot and dip into it for a cup several times a day.  Here's our recipe for making broth.  

6.  Get off sugar.  Sugar is an inflammation creator.  Plus, eating sugar spikes your blood sugar, causing your pancrease to pump in extra insulin.  This causes your body to increase fat storage.  You don't want this.  

The One Day Sugar Cure.  It can be hard to get off of sugar if you're really addicted, which can easily happen over the holidays. Here's an unconventional idea, but it works and will get you off sugar in one day. Give yourself permission to eat anything you want for the day as long as it's not sugar or any sort of sugar substitute or sweetener, whatsoever.  Good news, you can eat potato chips and French fries today.  In fact, eat as many potato chips, French fries, hash browns and baked potatoes with butter as you want and, particularly, any time you crave sugar.  You'll find that one only wants so many potato chips and French fries, and then it's over.  Wake up on day 2 ready to face the world without sugar.

Once you're off sugar, use stevia and low glycemic Coconut Nectar as your sugar substitutes.  No, they don't taste just like sugar.  But you'll get used to them and after awhile you'll grow to enjoy them like you used to enjoy sugar.  You'll find that you don't miss sugar at all.

7.  Avoid dairy--  Get off the cow's milk products.  They cause inflammation.  Exceptions are pastured butter (taking the milk solids out seems to remove the inflammation source, plus pastured butter is high in inflammation busting omega-3s) yogurt and kefir made from raw milk and sheep and goat milk products.  (However, if you have dairy intolerances or allergies, you may not be able to have any dairy.  Read here for further information on what dairy you can have and why.)

By the way, eggs are not milk products and they are perfectly fine for you to eat, unless you have an egg allergy.  Just be sure you choose eggs from pasture-raised chickens.  These are high in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory.

8.  Avoid gluten--  Gluten is yet another source of body inflammation.   You don't need it this month. Besides, you have plenty of other delicious foods to eat.  You'll find you won't even miss it.

If you get desperate, and only on occasion, buy store-bought gluten-free breads, wraps and pastas. Avoid the gluten-free sweets entirely, they almost always have real sugar.  Also, get used to checking labels.  Many gluten-free manufactured products simply replace the wheat flour with high glycemic starches like white rice flour, tapioca flour, arrow flour, potato starch, corn starch.  These all have even higher glycemic loads than wheat flour, which means they spike your blood sugar and create inflammation.  Use them only rarely.

9.  Have an occasional treat--  We are regularly adding gluten-free and low gluten, sugar-free recipes to this blog.  There are currently quite a few bread, cookie, pie and cake recipes and more are going up on a regular basis. We'll also be publishing a cookbook shortly and it includes many great recipes for treats including pizza dough, pancakes, candy, muffins, etc.  In the meantime, remember that even these gluten-free foods are "treats" and don't over-do.

Chocolate lovers, go right ahead.  Have a little chocolate.  A small square of dark chocolate after meals is fine.  We especially like Lilly's stevia sweetened chocolate bars.  Also, use your cocoa powder. Stir it into almond yogurt along with a little Coconut Nectar in mid-afternoon, if you find you have a sweet tooth.  If it's cold outside, make a cup of cocoa.  

For more information on why it's important to avoid inflammation, see here.  

Finally, every recipe on this blog is an anti-inflammation recipe.  Feel free to cook and eat anything you find here as part of your healing, super health, energy rev-up January.  

*What's a super green?  Super greens have extra inflammation fighting power.  Super greens are the dark leafy greens such as spinach, chard, kale, arugula, amaranth, quinoa, bok choy.  We also like to think of some of the dark leafy lettuces as well as herbs such as basil, parsley and cilantro as super greens.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Roasted Broccoli with Carmelized Onions and Pine Nuts

Cruciferous vegetables are fabulously healing with their tremendous anti-inflammatory powers.

What are cruciferous? Think broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, cabbage and kale.  A lot of these are grown in the winter time, so they are in season right now.  It's broccoli time, folks!

President Bush the 1st made war on broccoli with his famous statement that he was President of the United States and he didn't have to eat broccoli if he didn't want to.  Perhaps he was served one too many soggy broccoli side-dishes during the endless stream of dreary chicken dinners at all those political fundraisers.  That would be enough to make anyone throw up their hands in disgust for broccoli.

It's true that broccoli can have a very strong taste.  So why not go with it?  Here we've paired caramelized onions, Italian herbs and pine nuts with roasted broccoli for an intensely flavored delicious dish.  This is a dish that broccoli-haters could love.  Come 'on President Bush...give broccoli another chance.

Roasted Broccoli with Caramelized Onions and Pine Nuts 

Caramelize the onions:
3 T pastured butter
2 sweet onions halved and then sliced into crescent strips

In a large sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the onions and cook slowly, stirring occasionally.  Keep the pot covered when not stirring to keep the moisture in.  Cook for 20 minutes or so, checking regularly until onions begin to turn brown and caramelize.

Roast the broccoli and pine nuts:
2 clumps broccoli cut into florets
3 T olive oil
generous sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 t  dried Italian herb mix
1/4 c pine nuts

Set oven to 350 degrees.  In a mixing bowl, place the broccoli and drizzle with olive oil and add herbs.  Stir until broccoli is well coated.  Place broccoli on a cookie sheet with a silpat lining  Roast in the oven until broccoli is slightly golden and a little crispy on the tips.  Put the pine nuts in a baking dish and add them to the oven separately.  Roast the nuts for a few minutes, keeping a careful watch until they are golden.  Toss the broccoli, onions and pine nuts together and serve.