Monthly Archives: August 2011

BOOK REVIEW – The Art Of Raw Food

I read cookbooks like novels and absolutely devoured The Art of Raw Food.  The information provided within the book is so eloquent and the photography is so simple and striking.  I have always loved the Danish design aesthetic of clean uncluttered lines and it really comes through in the styling of this book.

I fear that I neglected my husband for a few night as I read this book cover to cover.  Usually after we put the kids to bed it is “our” time to watch a little TV (House Hunters International is high on the list) and hang-out together, but I totally blew him off (sorry honey!) as I escaped into the world of raw food created by Jens Casupei and Vibeke Kaupert.

I appreciate the fact that this book is not just a cookbook (though we all know I love cookbooks in any form).  The first 39 pages of The Art of Raw Food are dedicated to educating the reader about raw food by explaining what raw is and why it is important to consume raw food.  In the Preface Jens mentions, “When writing this book, I reverted to a very basic question, a question that has lingered in the back of my mind at various stages of my life: Does it enrich me?”  It is clear that the recipes in the book are meant to enrich, satisfy, and energize our bodies naturally.  I think we often forget that while food is a HUGE source of enjoyment for us, it is primarily meant to sustain us by providing our bodies with the nutrients it requires to function.  Jens and Vibeke have written a book and recipes which show us that enjoyment and nutrition can go hand-in-hand.

There were so many recipes I wanted to try while reading through the book.  The breakfast porridge and muesli recipes called to me strongly and did not disappoint.  I am now a big fan of making oatmeal the raw food way.  It is a simple as soaking oatmeal in water for 1-3 days and mixing it with dates, cinnamon, raisins, and a pinch of salt. I learned in the cookbook that “soaking the oatmeal makes it easier for your body to digest the porridge and thus absorb the nutrients.”  For those of you interested in the recipe specifics:

YUMMY OAT PORRIDGE

2 cups (5 dls) oatmeal, soaked for 1-3 days (change water and rinse at least once a day) 

1/2 cup (1 dl) dates, pitted

1/2 Tbs cinnamon

1 pinch salt

3/4 cup (2 dls) raisins

Drain oatmealand pour into a food processor, add dates and cinnamon, and blend to the desired consistency.  Season with salt and mix in the raisins.

Serve as is or add extra fruit such as slices kiwis or strawberries.

If the dates are too dry, it is a good idea to soak them for a few hours before use. (you can keep the soak water to use as a sweetener in a smoothie.)

You can vary the taste by adding almonds (soaked overnight) or coconut flour.

The lunch/dinner recipes, soups, smoothies, and dessert recipes tickled my taste buds too.  I am always looking for new ways to incorporate the plethora of veggies from my garden into new recipes.  Along those lines…

My tomato plants are taking over the world and I have been making all sorts of plans for consuming the gazillion tomatoes I will be harvesting.  When I came across the recipe within the book for Stuffed Tomato Hors D’oeuvres I was thrilled because I had never really thought of stuffing my tomatoes with pates and left-overs and it is something that works for so many different sizes of tomatoes.  I now have visions of beautiful cherry tomatoes stuffed with olive tapenade, pesto, egg-less salad, quinoa salad (click here for my recipe), etc.  The possibilities are endless!

This un-cookbook has definitely earned a permanent spot on my bookshelf.

Recipes are from The Art of Raw Food: Delicious, Simple Dishes for Healthy Living by Jens Casupei and Vibeke Kaupert, published by North Atlantic Books, copyright © 2011 by Jens Casupei and Vibeke Kaupert. Reprinted by permission of publisher.
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Filed under Books, Breakfast, Detox, Gluten Free, Grains, Kid Friendly, Raw, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

THE SECRET RECIPE CLUB – Deep “Un-Fried” Ice Cream

Last month I heard about a fun way to add some spice to my blogging.  Amanda from the blog, Amanda’s Cooking started something really neat called The Secret Recipe Club back in April with 19 participants.  Basically, you sign-up to participate and you are assigned a blog to make a recipe from once a month and you are encouraged to make the recipe work for you by i.e. making it gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan…basically whatever you need to do to make the recipe work for you.  You don’t reveal whose blog you were assigned until Reveal Day (much like the Secret Santa concept).  There are now over 150 participating blogs.  How’s that for growth?

I was assigned the most charming blog, Peas in a Blog, which was started by two friends who now live across the world from each other.  They started sharing veggie recipes and fitness tips with each other almost daily and decided that they should start a blog together to share their tips with everyone.  Carolina is a Columbian living in Florida and Katie is an American living in South Africa.  It is so much fun to follow their friendship and tips!

While surfing through their blog I came across a lot of recipes I wanted to try.  First I made their Grilled Peach Delight Salad and really enjoyed it.  To completely veganize the recipe you can easily sub out the honey for agave (I made it with the honey).  The dressing was really tasty and grilling the peaches adds such dimension to them.

The second recipe I made was their “Fried” Ice Cream which wasn’t fried at all!  It was a TOTAL WINNER and thus the subject of my first entry for the Secret Recipe Club!  I made the dessert for a dinner party I was hosting and no one believed it wasn’t fried.  My father-in-law isn’t usually a sweets person and he said he really liked it (he finished the whole bowl!).

I did make a few changes to the recipe since I needed to make it gluten-free and vegan for my family’s needs, but that was easily done by switching out the traditional Corn Flakes for Erewhon’s Organic Gluten Free Corn Flakes and by using  So Delicious’s Coconut Milk Vanilla Bean Ice Cream for the ice cream.

~

INGREDIENTS

1 Small pint of your favorite Ice Cream (They used Dulce de Leche…I used Vanilla Bean)

1 Small box or container of Corn Flakes Cereal (…I used gluten free)

1 TBS Brown Sugar (…I used coconut sugar)

1 TSP Ground Cinnamon

Parchment or Wax Paper

Zip-Lock Bag

Your favorite topping sauce (Caramel, Hot Fudge, Honey, chocolate shell, whatever you like. I used vegan Hard Chocolate Shell)

~

Cover a large plate or cookie sheet with some parchment or wax paper.  With an ice cream scoop, try to get good circular scoops and place them on top of the paper (I used my hands to reform the balls into nice circles once I had scooped them). Place the plate with scoops in the freezer for at least 10 minutes (I prepped them ahead of time and left them in the freezer for 2-3 hours).

In the meantime, pour the package of corn flakes into zip-lock bag along with the sugar & cinnamon, close the bag. Have fun by crushing the flakes until they’re almost powder form (its up to you the texture you’d like on the scoops…My kids had a blast doing this), mixing them with the sugar & cinnamon. Once you’ve reached your desired texture pour contents onto a plate. Note – this will make A LOT of topping, so you will have more for later…yay!

Take scoops out of the freezer. Place a scoops on the mixture plate and coat, one by one. Serve drizzled with your favorite topping sauce. Add cinnamon sticks or fruits for garnish. Note – I played around with making them different ways by putting the hard shell on some of them before coating them with the corn flakes (you will have to work quickly) and for others I rolled them in the corn flakes and then covered them with the hard shell afterwards.  Both were amazing!

How easy was that?! Trust me, these taste like fried ice cream. Delicious, impressive and ready in a flash. You and your dinner (or dessert) guests will love them, guaranteed. Buen provecho!

It was so much fun to participate in the Secret Recipe Club.  Get ready to see one of my SRC posts monthly…it’s fun to mix it up.

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

Click here to view Peas in a Blog’s “Fried” Ice Cream post

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Filed under Dessert, Frozen Treats, Gluten Free, Ice Cream, Kid Friendly, Quick, Recipes, Secret Recipe Club, Vegan, Vegetarian

HOW TO BAKE GLUTEN-FREE

My latest Chic Vegan column. I have lots of vegan bread recipes that call for whole wheat flour, but I don’t bake with gluten.  Is there a formula for adding xanthan gum to gluten free flours, ie…teaspoon for every cup of flour, etc.? ~ Sirica Hi Sirica, Yes, there is a formula for adding xanthan gum to recipes.  The amount of xanthan gum added depends upon what you plan on using it for.  Here is a quick breakdown: Cake – ¼ tsp. per 1 cup of flour Breads – 1 tsp. per 1 cup of flour Pizza Crust – 2 tsp. per 1 cup of flour Salad Dressings – 1/8 tsp. per 1 ½ cups of dressing Frozen Treats – 1/8 tsp. per 2 cups of liquid For those of you not familiar with xanthan gum, it is a powdery substance often used in gluten free baking to replicate the function of gluten.  When added to dressings xanthan gum binds the dressing together and improves the texture.  When added to frozen treats it inhibits the development of large ice crystals and imparts a more creamy texture to the dessert. A wonderful resource for learning how to bake gluten free is The Gluten Free Goddess by Karina Allrich.  I always keep a bag of Karina’s Gluten Free Flour mix in my fridge. Karina’s Basic Gluten Free Flour Mix

Combine:
1 cup sorghum flour (aka jowar flour)
1 cup tapioca starch or potato starch (not potato flour)
1/3 to 1/2 cup almond meal, buckwheat flour, millet flour or quinoa flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum

To read more of Karina’s gluten free baking tipclick here. I know it seems intimidating at first, however with a little experimentation I know you will soon be very comfortable baking in your gluten free kitchen. Here’s to health! Gretchen **Do you have a questions for Grettie? She is here to answer any of your health and nutrition related questions! Email her ataskgrettie@chicvegan.com .**

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Filed under Chic Vegan Column, Education, Gluten Free, Gluten-Free Baking, Vegan, Vegetarian

PEAS AND THANK YOU

If you haven’t yet heard of the blog Peas and Thank You, you will soon.  I am a big fan.  We are all in luck because Sarah Matheny, otherwise known as  Mama Pea, has just come out with her first cookbook.  Be prepared to be fed well and entertained along the way.  Her stories about life with her husband and two girls are hilarious and so relate-able!

The recipes I have tried from her blog and now her cookbook are really good.  I made Sarah’s Teriyaki Tofu for dinner tonight and it was so good.  In the recipe she suggests marinating the tofu for at least 30 minutes or overnight, but do to poor planning on my part I ended-up marinating it for 48 hours and the results were awesome!

I had never actually baked tofu before (how is that possible?) and I will definitely be doing it more often because we gobbled it all up…There wasn’t even one piece of tofu left-over.

My daughter actually threw a fit when she found out there wasn’t any tofu left!  The baked tofu tasted so much like fried tofu, so there really isn’t any excuse for ever frying tofu.

My son even made one of the recipes from the cookbook today completely by himself.  He chose to make the Lime Tahini Sauce and did a really good job…I plan on using it on my steamed kale tomorrow for lunch.

My daughter was dying to help him, but he insisted that he wanted to do it all alone.  Never fear…she has plenty of opportunities to help out in the kitchen and cook with mommy.  She is also a dish washing expert and begs me to let her wash dishes (I wonder how much longer that is going to last???).

I hope you all rush out to buy this book in support of Peas and Thank You…you will be glad that you did.

Click here to buy the book.

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Filed under Books, Product Reviews, Vegan, Vegetarian

FIG NEWTONS – Gluten Free

photo provided courtesy of elanaspantry.com

photo provided courtesy of elanaspantry.com

The other day when I was at the grocery store with my children, my son mentioned how much he liked fig newtons.  I happen to love fig newtons too.  I can remember being a kid and mowing through a whole sleeve of them myself.  Have I mentioned that I used to have a MAJOR sugar addiction that I still have to work to control?  That’s why it is so great to make sweets at home.  When you make homemade treats you know exactly what goes into them and can make healthy substitutions.  When I use stevia, coconut sugar, Somersweet, agave (which they now sell at our local Costco), or yacon syrup I do not get the crazy insulin swings that lead me to a sugar binge.

I knew I had some dried figs in the pantry at home and got to thinking that it would be a lot of fun to MAKE fig newtons with my kids.  This is the recipe we used (gluten and dairy free) from Elana’s Pantry.  Elana has been a Guest Blogger here on Veggie Grettie.

These cookies were yummy, but when I make them next time I plan on not using the lemon and will substitute with water or OJ instead.  These cookies are also very moist, which tastes great, but for fun I will be adding some gluten free flour or oat bran to the dough next time to firm it up (I will just add it until I feel it reaches the right consistency) as well as using only 2 Tbs of oil. 

INGREDIENTS - Makes 20 cookies

Filling:
1 cup dried figs
½ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed (they are pretty lemony…next time I plan on using water or OJ instead)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Dough:
2 ½ cups blanched almond flour
½ teaspoon celtic sea salt
½ cup agave nectar
¼ cup yacon syrup
¼ cup grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  1. Place figs in a food processor and blend for 30 seconds until they are well chopped
  2. Add lemon juice and vanilla; process until a smooth paste results
  3. In a large bowl, combine almond flour and salt
  4. In a smaller bowl, combine agave, yacon, grapeseed oil and vanilla
  5. Mix wet ingredients into dry, then refrigerate dough for 1 hour
  6. Divide chilled dough into 4 parts
  7. Between 2 pieces of parchment paper , roll out 1 part of the dough into a 10 x 4 inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick
  8. Spread ¼ of the filling evenly down the right side (lengthwise) of the rectangle
  9. Fold the dough in half down the long side –resulting in a 10 x 2 inch bar
  10. “Mend” the seam so the bar is symmetrical
  11. Repeat with 3 remaining parts of dough and filling
  12. Transfer each bar to a parchment lined baking sheet; bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes (Mine took 25 minutes to cook)
  13. Allow to cool slightly; cut bar every 2 inches to form the fig newtons
  14. Serve

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

To learn more about Elana Amsterdam click here. 

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Filed under Cookies / Bars, Dessert, Gluten Free, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

SUN TEA

Sometime it feels like a childhood memory floods-in out of no where.  We have been experiencing a beautiful albeit hot summer and as a result my mind got to wandering and daydreaming about iced tea.   I haven’t had iced tea in a while due to the fact that I tend to be very sensitive to caffeine.  Then…WHAM…memories of being a kid and making sun tea.  My sister and I used to love to fill our mom’s big sun tea jar with water and tea bags.  I figured, why wouldn’t it work with herbal tea bags?!?!

I spend the winter sipping Celestial Seasonings Country Peach Passion tea while dreaming about when peaches will be in season (apparently I do my fair share of daydreaming).  Why not use the peach tea to make a wonderful summertime treat of Peach Sun Tea?

The great thing about sun tea is that you can make whatever flavor you like and you can steep it to your preferred strength.  All it takes is a minute in the morning to fill your big glass jug with filtered water (I used an 8 cup Ball mason jar), then you drop in 4-6 tea bags, and place it out in the sun.  Leave it out there all day if you’d like.  We prepared ours before bringing my son to camp in the morning and came home to wonderful peach sun tea before dinnertime.  My kids were amazed by how hot the tea was (we placed our jar in the backyard on the slate patio…the slate burns the heck out of our feet, so it is prime for making sun tea).

I have really been enjoying the tea on its own or sweetened with a little bit of stevia and have a feeling that it is going to be a staple for me throughout the summer.  I look forward to making many different flavors of sun tea…Black Cherry Berry, Cranberry Apple Zinger, Tropic of Strawberry, Decaf Constant Comment (my Grammy’s favorite, so it will always be mine too), Decaf Green Tea…the list will go on and on.

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Filed under Drinks, Gluten Free, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

ASK GRETTIE – Natural Remedies for Ulcers

One of my Chic Vegan columns…

Dear Grettie-

I have an ulcer.  What can I do naturally to help it heal and what can I do in the future to avoid its return?

-Andy

I am sorry to hear that you have been suffering with an ulcer as I hear they can be extremely painful!  Unfortunately you are not alone as it is estimated that 1 in 10 people will succumb to this fate during their lifetime [1].  As I mentioned, ulcers can be extremely painful since they are basically open wounds in your esophagus, stomach, or intestine.

My research indicates that there are definitely actions you can take to help heal your ulcer and prevent them in the future.  I do want to mention that it is very important you be diagnosed by a doctor and consult your doctor while designing your treatment plan.  The advice below should not be considered medical advice as I am most definitely not a doctor.

Ulcers can also be very serious business.  Ulcers resulting in bloody vomit (especially if it resembles coffee grounds) or stool (bloody or black) are cause for immediate medical attention.

POSSIBLE ULCER CAUSES

The general belief used to be that ulcers were caused by stress and eating spicy foods.  While those behaviors can definitely exacerbate an ulcer, it is now widely believed that the main culprit in the formation of ulcers is a bacterial infection from Helicobacter pylori (otherwise known as H. pylori).  H. pylori is common and affects “1 in 5 people under the age of 30 and about half of the population older than 60 [2].”  The theory is that somehow (possible causes listed below), the mucosal lining of the stomach and small intestine becomes compromised and at that point the H. pylori is able to invade.

The second most common cause of ulcers is believed to be the long-term use of anti-inflammatory drugs (Advil, Aleve, Motrin) [3].

Contributing factors to the deterioration of the mucosal lining can be:

  • Smoking – Nicotine will increase the amount of acid in the stomach
  • Food Allergies – There is some research indicating that food allergies (which often result in a high amount of irritation) can be responsible for ulcer formation [4]
  • Alcohol consumption – irritates the lining of the stomach
  • Coffee, tea, and carbonated beverage consumption – also irritates the stomach and increases stomach acid
  • Vitamin K deficiency – Vitamin K is a key nutrient connected with blood clotting
  • Radiation
  • Burns

STEPS ONE CAN TAKE TO PREVENT ULCERS

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, you should eliminate the contributing factors listed above and follow these nutritional tips:

  • Eat foods containing flavonoids – like apples, celery, cranberries (including cranberry juice), onions, garlic, and tea may inhibit the growth of H. pylori.
  • Eat antioxidant foods –  including fruits (such as blueberries, cherries, and tomatoes), and vegetables (such as squash and bell peppers).
  • Eat foods high in B-vitamins and calcium – such as almonds, beans, whole grains (if no allergy), dark leafy greens (such as spinach and kale), and sea vegetables.
  • Avoid refined foods – such as white breads, pastas, and sugar.
  • Eat fewer red meats (YEAH TO THE VEGANS!) and eat tofu (soy, if no allergy) or beans for protein.
  • Use healthy oils –  such as olive oil or vegetable oil.
  • Reduce or eliminate trans-fatty acids – found in commercially baked goods such as cookies, crackers, cakes, French fries, onion rings, donuts, processed foods, and margarine.
  • Drink 6 – 8 glasses of filtered water daily.
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes daily, 5 days a week.

NATURAL REMEDIES FOR ULCERS

If you are already suffering from an ulcer make sure you follow the advice above.  In addition, several references agree that the following can be quite helpful in the healing process:

  • Fresh cabbage juice – up to 1 liter per day (divided throughout the day).  Dr. Garnett Cheney from Stanford University’s School of Medicine performed several studies resulting in the documentation that “the majority of the patients experienced complete healing in as little as seven days [5].”
  • Bananas – Eating bananas 3 times a day with almond milk does a fantastic job of neutralizing stomach acid and coating the stomach lining.
  • Lime – aids digestion
  • Mastic gum – is useful for its antimicrobial benefits and has been used in the Mediterranean for Middle East for thousands of years.  Research has shown mastic gum to be effective against 7 strains of H. pylori bacteria [6].  Take 1,000 to 2,000 mg daily in divided dosages.
  • Apple cider vinegar – Naturally very high in vitamin K, apple cider vinegar helps blood clot and is also a natural antiseptic.  Add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and drink it as maintenance.  When in an acute episode, add up to a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to water and drink in order to help neutralize stomach acid.  Drink until you feel the pain subside.
  • Probiotic supplement (click here to see a past Ask Grettie post about probiotics).
  • Vitamin C, 500 – 1,000 mg 1 – 3 times daily – Vitamin C may be helpful in treating bleeding stomach ulcers caused by aspirin use.
  • Eat alkalizing foods – click here for a Veggie Grettie post about the importance of an alkaline diet.
  • DGL-licorice standardized extract – 250 to 500 mg 3 times daily, chewed either 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals — may help protect against stomach damage from NSAIDs. Glycyrrhizin is a chemical found in licorice that causes side effects and drug interactions. DGL is deglycyrrhizinated licorice, or licorice with the glycyrrhizin removed.
  • Cranberry – 400 mg twice daily.  Some preliminary research suggests cranberry may inhibit H. pylori growth in the stomach.
  • Peppermint standardized, enteric coated tablet – 1 tablet 2 – 3 times daily — may help relieve symptoms of peptic ulcer. Each tablet contains 0.2 ml peppermint oil. Be sure to use the enteric coated form to avoid heartburn.
images courtesy of Peter Gerdes and diagnostics.tumblr.com

**Do you have a questions for Grettie? She is here to answer any of your health and nutrition related questions! Email her ataskgrettie@chicvegan.com .**

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PRODUCT REVIEW – PB2

A reader introduced me to this product via a comment on one of my posts and I was intrigued enough to purchase some and try it for myself.  I must say that I LOVE this product and am completely addicted to adding it to my smoothies!  I am sure you are wondering what the heck PB2 is…

According to the producer, Bell Plantation: We call it peanut butter’s second generation because it’s unlike any peanut butter you’ve ever experienced. Through a unique process that doesn’t involve the use of any chemicals and doesn’t alter nature’s intended balance found within the peanut, we remove over 85% of the fat from premium quality peanuts. Essentially, the oil is squeezed out of roasted peanuts and what remains is our famous powdered peanut butter – all natural with no artificial sweeteners or preservatives. When you mix water or a favorite drink with PB2 you get the same consistency as full-fat peanut butter, with all the roasted peanut flavor, but 85% less fat calories.  Directions:

  • Mix 2 Tablespoons of PB2 with 1 Tablespoon of water and stir until smooth.
  • Can be mixed directly with jelly or jam for a PB2 and jelly sandwich.
  • Use your imagination with other liquids to develop your own unique flavors.
  • Or, dip fruit directly into powder.

I personally enjoy adding the powder to smoothies and I have been having fun thinking about making some healthy PB cookies, cheesecakes, etc.  I did try mixing the powder with water to make peanut butter and it did not fool me…it wasn’t bad, but the texture wasn’t right enough for me to want to use it that way. My final verdict is that THIS STUFF ROCKS!!!  I love both the plain and chocolate PB2. To learn more about PB2 click here. Image courtesy of bellplantation.com

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Filed under Gluten Free, Product Reviews, Vegan, Vegetarian

MEXICALI CHOP – With Crunchy Tortilla Strips

I came upon this recipe for Mexicali Chop Salad recently on Vegetarian Times website and thought I would share it with you.  This recipe is courtesy of Real Food Daily…a restaurant I have yet to try, but hope to soon!  I think this salad would make a wonderful meal paired with my Baja Corn Chowder and topped off with my Mexican Wedding Cake Bites.

Ann Gentry who is the chef-owner of Real Food Daily in the Los Angeles Area wrote this about her recipe, “When Real Food Daily first opened, I used to sneak away to a nearby Mexican-inspired restaurant for a black bean–and-corn salad with guacamole, chips, and a beer.  One day, I realized I could make my own version.”

Extra Dressing will keep for one week in the fridge.

INGREDIENTSServes 8

TORTILLA STRIPS

1 1/2 tsp. canola oil

3 6-inch corn tortillas

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/4 tsp. maple crystals or sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

 

DRESSING

1/2 cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)

2 tsp. ground cumin

2 tsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

1/3 cup lime juice

1/4 cup chopped green onion

1/4 cup cilantro leaves

Pinch cayenne pepper

 

SALAD

1 head romaine lettuce, sliced (8 cups)

2 medium tomatoes, chopped (2 cups)

1 avocado, diced (1 cup)

3 celery stalks, sliced (1 cup)

1 cucumber, seeded and diced (1 cup)

1 cup fresh or frozen, thawed corn kernels

3/4 cup cooked pinto beans

1/2 cup jarred roasted red bell peppers, rinsed, drained, and sliced

1/3 cup finely chopped red onion

1. To make Tortilla Strips: Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush oil on tortillas. Cut in half, then cut into 1/8-inch-wide strips. Spread on baking sheet. Combine chili powder, maple crystals, and salt in bowl. Sprinkle chili powder mixture over strips. Bake 15 minutes, or until crisp. Cool.

2. To make Dressing: heat oil, garlic, cumin, coriander, sugar, and salt in saucepan 2 to 3 minutes over low heat, or until garlic begins to sizzle.

3. Blend remaining Dressing ingredients with garlic oil in blender until smooth.

4. Toss together all Salad ingredients with Tortilla Strips and 1/4 cup Dressing.

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

Top image of Mexicali Chop courtesy of kathrynlovett.com

Image of Ann Gentry courtesy of VegNews.com

Bottom image of Mexicali Chop courtesy of VegetarianTimes.com

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Filed under Beans/Legumes, Gluten Free, Main Dish, Recipes, Salad, Salad Dressing, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

DETOX NATURALLY WITH WATER

Detoxification and its dangers

Detoxification has been highly publicized in recent times and with right reasons. The amount of toxicity in human body has been multiplying because of a number of factors in recent times. The human body today is exposed to a lot of toxins because of the food consumed, consumer products used, and pollution. Any given person these days carries about 300 toxic chemicals in the body on an average. Each chemical can cause dangerous diseases such as cancer and liver damage.

Water and its role in detoxification

Though there are a number of natural detoxification methods available, pure water is still reckoned among the best detoxification agents. Contrary to what many people might observe, water detoxification is an amazingly simple and inexpensive process. It is safe and at the same time, highly effective. All you need to do is to drink plenty of water every day.

Benefits of detoxification with water

  • Water facilitates the drainage of numerous toxin products from your body by diluting them.
  • Water helps you to maintain normal body temperature.
  • Water keeps your joints in good shape by providing them right lubrication.
  • Water keeps you healthy and energetic by transporting essential nutrients, chemical substances and hormones throughout your body.
  • Water clears excessive fat from your bloodstreams.
  • Water protects your spinal cord from sudden and strong impacts by cushioning it with adequate fluids.
  • Water provides your brain with essential fluids.

Risks of a dehydrated body

If you do not drink sufficient water, your body cells extract water from the bloodstream. The bloodstream therefore is unable to perform its functions and this can put immense pressure on the heart.

Dehydration prevents your kidneys from purifying the blood properly. When the kidney does not function properly, the liver and other important organs share the functions. Naturally, your body is severely stressed when almost none of its organs functions properly. You may experience mild to severe headache, constipation, acne, itchy and dry skin, common cold and sneezing when you are not adequately hydrated.

Steps to perform water detoxification

The following simple and yet inexpensive steps can help you detoxify your body remarkably:

  • Drink at least two liters of water every day. The theory that you should drink only when thirsty is not exactly going to help you detoxify your body. Your body needs a minimum amount of water every day, regardless of your physical activity profile or thirst.
  • Water fast is a widely popular detoxification method, but one that needs to be done under doctor’s supervision. Water fasting requires that you drink only water for a few days and do not consume any other food at all. The duration depends on a number of factors such as your current health condition and doctoral advice. One should not jump into water fast right away – prepare your body for a few days for the fast by taking fruit juices and light food. You must also make sure that you are drinking pure and filtered water. Your body may react strangely in the first few days, which is why it is important to do the fast under a doctor’s care.
  • Sweat baths (aka saunas) are also known to be effective methods to detoxify your body. Sweating can flush out the toxins from your body through the pores of your body. Sweat baths are ancient detoxification method and practiced in such countries as Turkey, Russia, and Japan.

Let me emphasize that in order to embark on water fast or sweat bath, you should first consult your doctor or a detoxification expert. Though these are widely popular and highly acclaimed methods, you still need to know about the exact duration of water fast and any possible precautions you may need to take.

These factors notwithstanding, drinking water still remains the most effective and safest detoxification method.

Water image courtesy of healthylifejournal.com 

___________________________________________________

About the author: By profession, Amanda Kidd is a blogger and writer. Being a health buff she herself follows a healthy lifestyle. Recently her interest has grown in the various measures to improve skin health.


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Filed under Cleansing, Cleansing, Education, Vegan, Vegetarian