Archives for posts with tag: CLEAN

This is by far the ‘recipe’ for which I get the most requests and about which I get the most questions.  My husband gave this smoothie its name for obvious reasons; the details of which I’ll spare you.  And I’ve been promising for months that I would post it, but (and I know you must tire of this excuse) Baby #3 will be one-year-old this week and he literally just started sleeping through the night a couple weeks ago.  So much for the third child being the easy one.  But this one actually looks like me so it’s a little tougher to be upset with him.

A couple things to note about my smoothie recipe.  About 3 or 4 years ago, we made the investment in a Vita-mix 5200 blender and I honestly don’t know how I survived without it.  My friend and former Pilates instructor, Jeff Riley of Fitness Innovations in Mt. Lebanon, PA introduced me to the smoothie concept probably 12 or 13 years ago.  At that time I had a Cuisinart blender and I had no idea what I was missing out on other than that I didn’t understand why my smoothies didn’t taste like the ones from Jamba Juice.  Those were so smooth and creamy. But I hung in there.  I didn’t know then what I know now about eliminating dairy,  incorporating alkaline-forming foods, etc.  So, to say the least, my smoothie recipe has evolved over the years.   But the concept of a smoothie for breakfast is a great one and that has stayed constant.  I agree with Frank Lipman, MD who states in his book Spent: Fight Exhaustion and Feel Great Again, that (I’m paraphrasing) if you only make one permanent dietary change, the addition of a smoothie for breakfast (replacing bagels, processed cereals, commercial baked goods, etc.), then I’ll be happy!

Please don’t be deterred if you don’t own a Vita-mix because you can still make great and worthwhile smoothies.  But, if you want to take your smoothies to ‘the next level’, then consider taking the plunge.  They are an amazing company and their products are manufactured in the US and the warranty is great.  I contacted them a couple years ago when our church was sending a team to Honduras to ask if they would give us a discount on a machine and they, without hesitation, offered to GIVE us two machines.  If you check out their website and sign up for their newsletter, you will receive emails when they are having specials.  They often have refurbished models that carry the same warranty as the new ones, which I believe is 10 years.  These things are MACHINES. Everyone who tastes my smoothies wants to know why they are so creamy and it’s definitely because of the Vita-mix.  I bought ours directly from their website but my mother-in-law has since purchased two (beautiful red ones) from QVC, so that’s another option.  And I think I saw that Williams-Sonoma now carries one of their models.

If yours is a ‘regular’ blender, you just need to make a couple adjustments to get great smoothies.  I’ll note those in the recipe. Depending on your blender’s power and performance and your own personal preferences, you may need to adjust the solid to liquid ratios I recommend; use the approximate quantities I list as a guide.  The general rule of thumb is about 1 cup liquid to 1 cup fruit and add water and/or ice to suit your taste and your blender’s power.  I use frozen organic fruit and fresh if I have it; feel free to use your own combination of fruit, fresh or frozen.   If your blender doesn’t handle frozen fruit well, you may need to use more fresh than frozen.  Ingredients marked with an asterisk are those that I add for my kids.  I make mine first, then add yogurt and banana for them.  So if you want a vegan version of this, go with the version I use for myself.  If you don’t have all the ingredients I list, feel free to substitute with what you do have.  But keep in mind that by incorporating the ingredients I list, you will get a good dose of protein, iron, calcium, B vitamins, the proper ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids and dietary fiber, in addition to other vitamins and minerals too numerous to list.  And if you suffer from irregular bowel movements, prepare to make friends with your toilet.

BA’s ‘blow it out’ smoothie (serves about 4)

1/3 c. organic raw almonds, soaked in filtered water overnight & rinsed well (if you have a high-power blender; otherwise about 1/4 c. unsweetened almond milk; soaking is important because nuts contain a protective enzyme inhibitor that is acid-forming and soaking will cause the enzyme to be released into the water; additionally, this process maximizes the nutritional content)

3-4 raw, organic Brazil nuts, soaked with your almonds (they are high in selenium which, in addition to providing protection from free radicals, acts as a chelator to help rid your body of mercury, but that’s another post entirely; I find nuts available in the bulk purchase sections to be tasteless & often rancid so be sure to buy from a reputable place & store in the fridge; I order ours from http://www.nutsonline.com)

1/2 c. organic hemp seed (I order mine in bulk from http://www.nutiva.com and store it in the fridge)

1/2 to 1 whole ripe avocado (you will know it’s ripe when it’s just a bit soft; a ‘good’ monounsaturated fat that has been shown to improve everything from heart-disease to arthritis; http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=5)

1/2 c. organic carrot juice (I use Odwalla brand to save time; you can also, obviously, juice your own or throw in some baby carrots if your blender can handle them)

1/2 c. coconut water (we like the ZICO brand that I purchase in bulk from http://www.amazon.com; if using almond milk rather than almonds, cut this to about 1/4 cup)

1 cup organic frozen fruit (I use cherries, pineapple, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries; the pineapple is high in thiamin[one of the B vitamins] and manganese; the berries are all high in polyphenols, or antioxidants)

1 large fresh, organic kale leaf (2-3 leaves if you can; the benefits are too numerous to list so take a look here when you have a chance http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?dbid=38&tname=foodspice)

1-2 Tbsp. Catie’s organic greens powder (http://www.energyessentials.com/catalog/caties-organic-greens-p-46.html; Laird Hamilton swears by this and that’s good enough for me!)

1-2 Tbsp. organic ground flax seed (buy it ground or buy the seed & grind yourself so it’s easily digestible; I use Bob’s Red Mill organic ground flaxseed and it’s readily available)

1 Tbsp. soaked chia seed (I buy mine from http://www.nutiva.com; just like you used in the terracotta chia pets you made as a kid…it’s high in protein, fiber, Omega-3 fatty acids, iron & potassium)

2-4 ounces freshly juiced organic wheatgrass (only we crazy people juice it ourselves but you can also buy it frozen from health food stores; you don’t need more than 2 ounces per person)

filtered water to taste/consistency preference

*1/3 c. organic plain goats’ milk yogurt (available at Whole Foods & some grocery stores; goats’ milk is more easily digested & tolerated by humans than cows’ milk; we have a local place that carries raw goats’ milk which I use to make yogurt, then strain it, adding the liquid part to the smoothies & keeping the cheese to use elsewhere)

*1 whole ripe banana

*oil of oregano (‘thanks’ to my oldest brother who recommended this to me years ago; we use this for a week, about every other week throughout the year to help prevent and/or minimize ‘whatever is going around’; I order mine here http://www.amazon.com/North-American-Herb-Spice-Strength/dp/B0014AUUVE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1322621484&sr=8-2)

Enjoy!

It’s been a long time!  My apologies.  Baby #3 is 10 months old and STILL doesn’t sleep through the night.  So much for the third child being ‘the easy one’.  Oh well.  He’s really cute so we are going to keep him. Anyway…there was such a positive response (thank you) to the quinoa recipe I posted a couple months ago, in addition to questions about how to add this nutritious dynamo to your diets, that I thought I would share my other favorite quinoa recipes.

The first one is as easy as it is delicious.  It’s better suited to warm weather, so if you need more ‘comfort food’ during the Fall and Winter months, tuck this away for Spring and Summer and go directly to the second recipe.  It’s a good one for all seasons.

Some of you are already familiar with the book CLEAN: Remove, Restore, Rejuvenate-The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself by Alejandro Junger, MD.  If not, please consider reading it.  I reference this book quite a bit and, as my friend Margo pointed out recently, it’s worth buying for the recipe section alone.  Here’s a link to the book on amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Clean-Revolutionary-Program-Restore-Natural/dp/0061735337/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1319161388&sr=1-1

And here’s a link to the CLEAN website:

http://www.cleanprogram.com/about/dr-junger-md

Here’s the deal: before you visit the website, please understand that you can follow the program without buying anything from their website. Ideally, you will need to purchase a couple supplements, but you don’t need to purchase any of their cleanses, kits or products.  You may ultimately choose to, but I just want you to know that the entire and complete program can be done with items you purchase at the grocery store and a place like Whole Foods that sells nutritional supplements.

And even if you choose to not follow the CLEAN Program legalistically, many of the recipes are so good you will want to incorporate them into your rotation.  This one can easily be doubled and is good as a topping for sliced cucumbers; I just eat it as-is.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

2 cups cooked quinoa (if you have a rice maker, just rinse it and then cook on the ‘white rice’ setting)

1 Tbsp. chopped parsley

1/4 cup currants (I don’t add these, but the original recipe calls for them)

1/4 cup chopped raw almonds

1/2 cup diced carrots

1/4 cup chopped mint

1/4 cup scallions cut diagonally and sliced thinly

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/4 cup lime juice (don’t skimp on this!)

1 tsp. agave nectar

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. sea salt

1/2 cup olive oil

1. I chop the carrots and almonds together in my food processor then add to the other ingredients in a large bowl.

2. Let sit 20 minutes before serving to allow flavors to blend

Here’s the recipe for my husband’s favorite ‘nutritional’ food (understanding that the word ‘nutritional’ is relative).  He doesn’t think the word quinoa is particularly masculine, but he does love these little patties.  As well he should, considering they are a true labor of love.  I devour them, too, but I like that he thinks I’m altruistic, so I allow him to believe I make them just for him.

This recipe is from an outstanding cookbook that is newer in my collection but has quickly become a favorite.  Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson.  I will warn you that it has it’s share of typos and she does use the word ‘slather’ ad nauseam, but it’s a GREAT book.  Not vegan or totally raw, but full of great tips on healthier substitutions and helpful anecdotes.  This is another recipe suited to doubling; I often quadruple it with great success because they are good stored in the fridge for 3 or 4 days.  We eat them warm, cold, in a car, on a train, in a house, with a mouse…oh wait…that was mrs.bedtimestory…sorry.  Try these with just plain avocado or goat cheese spread on them like butter, with your favorite pesto, with grilled portobellos in the summer…you name it.  I mentioned they are a labor of love.  Don’t let that deter you from giving these a try, because the work involved is most definitely worth it.  And if you are one of those people who doesn’t mind getting their hands ‘yucky’, then you won’t perceive these as so laborious. Here’s a link to Heidi’s book:

http://www.amazon.com/Super-Natural-Every-Day-Well-loved/dp/1580082777/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1319163506&sr=1-1

Little Quinoa Patties (I’ve tweaked this a bit and the measurements are somewhat approximate)

2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa

4 large eggs, beaten

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 small onion, finely chopped

1/2 lb. chevre (goat cheese)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. dried basil

1/2 cup bread crumbs (whole wheat will work, but try to find one with no added sugar; if mixture is too dry, add another egg or more chevre)

Olive oil for sauteeing

1. Combine the quinoa, eggs, basil, oregano, chevre and garlic and salt in a large bowl.

2. Stir in the bread crumbs, basil and oregano.  (Heidi’s words: At this point you should have a mixture you can easily form into…1-inch thick patties).

3. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat.

4.  Add about 6 patties (or as many will fit, making certain there is a bit of space in between for flipping).

5. Cover and cook, for about 7 minutes on each side.  If there is no browning, turn up the heat a bit and continue to cook until the patties are golden.  Carefully flip the patties with a spatula and cook the reverse side until golden.

6.  Remove from the skillet and cool on a wire rack, or serve warm.

Enjoy!

While back in the ‘Burgh last month, my mother-n-law and I took my dinosaur-obsessed sons to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Wow.  I’m embarrassed to say that I went to exhibits and classes there a zillion times while we lived there but I had no idea they had redone (which is a total understatement) the dinosaur exhibits.  If you haven’t gone lately, please go.  Anyway…we ate at the museum cafe and had this incredible quinoa salad.  I wasn’t certain of all the ingredients but knew it had quinoa (duh), dried cherries, ginger and, I figured, some type of onion and green herb.  So I did an internet search for ‘quinoa cherry ginger’ and came up with this great recipe from the Meatless Monday website.  I’ve tweaked it a little but here’s the link for the original recipe:

http://www.meatlessmonday.com/ginger-cherry-quinoa/

If you check it out, you will see the recipe actually comes from a site called Domestic Divas.  I had not heard of it but spent a little time there & I encourage you to do the same.  It’s a terrific blog and I found a slew of recipes I plan to try.

http://www.domesticdivasblog.com/

It’s healthy and easy: my favorite thing about the recipe may be that you can do it all in one pan.

If you are new to quinoa (pronounced |ˈkēnwä|) don’t be intimidated.  I can just hear my friend Mark asking, ‘What the $*@# is quinoa?’!!! Quinoa is a non-gluten grain that is apparently not truly a grain but a relative of green leafy vegetables.  I learned to love it after reading CLEAN: Remove, Restore, Rejuvenate by Alejandro Junger, MD.  It’s one of the approved grains on his elimination diet/cleanse list of OK foods; his book contains a handful of easy quinoa-based recipes. I enjoy that it gives you the texture of rice but packs such an amazing nutritional punch.  It’s high in protein and is safe for those with Celiac Disease.  Not only is it high in protein, it is actually a complete protein, meaning it contains the nine essential amino acids.  I also just learned that it is very high in magnesium which apparently may benefit migraine sufferers.  If you haven’t visited already, please take a look at The World’s Healthiest Foods website; it’s a comprehensive resource if you are looking for the specific nutritional benefits of certain foods:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=142&tname=foodspice

This recipe also contains pine nuts (which my nut-allergic friend Christie will be happy to know are optional; she’ll also be happy that I remembered she’s allergic to nuts, but that’s another story), fresh ginger root and parsley.  I’m a big believer in allowing our food to be medicine and these are three great foods for doing just that.

Pine nuts (or ‘pignoli’) contain the highest level of protein per gram of any nut.  The following information comes from a great review of their benefits from Today’s Women & Health:

http://www.todays-women-and-health.com/pine-nuts.html

‘Pine nuts are nature’s only source of pinoleic acid, which stimulates hormones and helps diminish your appetite.  They have the highest concentration of oleic acid: a monounsaturated fat that aids the liver in eliminating harmful triglycerides from our body which helps protect our heart.  Pine nuts are packed with 3mg of iron per one ounce serving. Iron is a key component of hemoglobin, the oxygen carrying pigment in blood that supplies energy.  Additionally, they are rich in magnesium which helps alleviate muscle cramps, tension and fatigue.’ (Another great food for migraine sufferers.)

Everyone knows ginger is good for nausea and helping with morning sickness, but there’s a reason why they serve it alongside sushi, specifically with sashimi.  I remember reading in Sushi for Dummies that this practice is to help kill any parasites and/or bacteria that could be present in the raw fish.  It’s also high in magnesium, potassium and other minerals.  Here’s a link for a more comprehensive list of its medicinal benefits:

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/ginger-root.html

Parsely is basically good for everything that ails you.  No joke.  It’s great to flavor foods, but also great to throw in with your vegetables if you own a juicer.  My green-thumbed-mother (sadly I did not inherit the gene) grows tons of it and tells me that my 4-year-old niece eats it by the fistful which I think is awesome.  Even Mrs. GoodStuff can’t get her kids to do that.  The benefits are so numerous and complex (just to name a few: cardio-protective, tons of anti-oxidants, protection against arthritis) that I’ll just give you the link if you want to see specifics:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=100

Ok…enough about why this is so good for you…this recipe also tastes incredible.  And, as I mentioned, it’s incredibly easy to make and to clean up because it’s done in one pan.  This is great served chilled, but also warm (my preference), or hot.

1/4 c. pine nuts (or more if you’re a fan; I use a whole cup)

1+ Tbsp. olive oil

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 tsp. fresh ginger root, peeled & minced (also feel free to add more here; I use closer to 2 tsp.)

1 cup quinoa, rinsed

2 1/3 c. water

1/2 c. dried cherries (I use 1 cup.  *Use whatever dried cherries you like but note that most will contain some form of sugar and/or sulfites & oil as additives.  For this recipe, I use Whole Foods dried sour cherries; if you want one without any added sugar or sulfites, they are a little pricey but I’ll give you the link at the end of this recipe to the ones we get for snacking, adding to steel cut oats and for making trail mix.)

1/2 c. golden raisins

1 Tbsp. flat leaf parsley, chopped

Freshly ground sea salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, toast the pine nuts in a little olive oil then set aside (They toast quickly so pay attention and don’t let them get too brown!)

2. Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in same skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the shallot & ginger.  Saute just about 2 minutes until they soften.

3. Add quinoa & stir to combine.  Cook for about 1 minute then add the water.

4. Bring to a boil, cover and cook about 8 minutes total.  (Add the dried cherries & raisins after about 4 minutes, then cook another 4 for a total of 8 minutes.)

5. Let sit, covered for a couple minutes, uncover and add the nuts, parsley and salt & pepper.  Toss with a fork.  Serve immediately or cool to desired temperature.

Enjoy!

* Here’s the link to the dried cherries I get from amazon.com (Whole Foods also carries them most of the time but if you choose the Subscribe & Save option, they are a much better price; please note that the labeling of these as ‘organic’ is legal under USDA regulations, but the cherries themselves are not organic.  I haven’t been able to find any organic varieties without sugar that taste good; however, they may be out there.  It’s worth finding a good-tasting brand that is organic and not sweetened with sugar because cherries consistently rank in the Top 10 most toxic fruits and veggies thanks to crazy levels of pesticides.  So if you know of a better brand, please share):

http://www.amazon.com/Eden-Organic-Montmorency-Cherries-4-Ounce/dp/B001ELL288/ref=pd_rhf_p_t_1

Chances are you don’t necessarily have the time or the fortitude to do a hardcore ‘cleanse’ (which seems to be the latest buzzword) but keep in mind that doing just one or two extra little things a day can really add up and the cumulative effect of all those ‘little things’ can be quite significant.  I often find myself saying that since I don’t have time, for example, to lift weights for 20 minutes then why bother at all because 5 minutes can’t make an impact; but, I’ve come to learn that 5 minutes are better than zero minutes.  Just like if you have a lousy breakfast, it’s easy to tell yourself that you may as well not bother to eat nutritiously the remainder of the day because you already screwed up breakfast when, in fact, eating a lousy breakfast with a healthy lunch and dinner each day puts you much further ahead than if you just ate three lousy meals a day every day.

If this seems logical to you, then read on because you’ll learn about two very simple, quick & inexpensive things you can easily do every day to stimulate your lymphatic system which helps remove toxins from your body.

About 3 years ago I started daily skin brushing.  I think I first read about it in a book by Paul C. Bragg and Patricia Bragg (as in Bragg Amino Acids) called The Miracle of Fasting.  I’m not in total agreement with everything in the book, but it contains a great deal of GOOD and useful information.  Skin brushing is done when your skin is dry, before or after showering.  I prefer to do it right before showering and try to do it daily because it’s great for improving circulation and the Braggs claim it ‘helps purify lymph so it’s able to detoxify your blood and tissues’ while removing ‘old skin cells, uric acid crystals and toxic wastes that come up through skin’s pores’.  That’s all very nice, but I have to confess that my main incentive for doing it is to help prevent and eliminate cellulite (plus, it feels REALLY GOOD)!  You can technically use a towel or a dry loofah sponge, but I recommend using a natural-bristle brush with a long handle.  These are easily found at drugstores, health food stores and department stores.  Here’s a link to the one I use from a company called Elemis, which is made in Germany and I love it (check eBay, too, because nordstrom sells this for around $40 but I know I paid much less):

http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/elemis-skin-brush/2889513?cm_cat=datafeed&cm_ite=elemis_skin_brush:15721&cm_pla=personal_care_accessories:women:bath_accessories&cm_ven=Froogle&mr:referralID=NA&mr:trackingCode=ACDFCFFD-D981-DE11-B712-001422107090

Here’s how it’s done:

Using long strokes, start with your feet and work upward, working toward your heart.  Do your entire body, gently in areas of thinner skin (e.g. stomach) and with a little more pressure in areas of thicker skin (e.g. back).  The whole process should only take a few minutes.

If you haven’t read it already, please consider this amazing book: CLEAN: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself  by Alejandro Junger, M.D.  Dr. Junger, originally from Argentina, is a cardiologist in New York City who is also extensively trained in Eastern medicine.  He has a unique and compelling perspective regarding allowing your body to rid itself of toxins.  Here’s the link from amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Clean-Revolutionary-Program-Restore-Natural/dp/0061735337/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1304627783&sr=1-1

Dr. Junger not only recommends skin brushing, but he suggests you ‘follow this with a hot-cold plunge or shower’.  I don’t have time for just a plunge so I follow with a shower, but turn it into a ‘hot-cold plunge-shower’.  This simply means that I turn the water to as hot as I can tolerate for a minute or so, while I wash my hair, then turn it to as cold as I can tolerate for a minute while I rinse my hair and wash my face. Then I go as hot as I can again and lather up, shave my legs, etc., then do a final cold round to rinse.  This whole process boosts your circulation and detoxification because, as Dr. Junger describes, ‘your skin is your largest organ: it contains miles of arterioles and venules that are filled with blood.  These vessels relax and dilate with heat and contract with cold.  When this relax/contract pattern happens, your skin pumps almost as much blood as your heart.’

So, in about 7 minutes, you’ve just given yourself what you would have paid about $150 for at a spa!  Add $100 for the optional seaweed treatment….stay tuned for that recipe.