Fermented Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

I love this recipe!  It is a whole-food power pack and is so versatile it may soon become a breakfast staple in your home.

Quinoa, a seed not a grain as is often thought,  is high in protein, gluten-free and just 1/4 cup of it contains approximately 3 grams of fiber.

But the real star in this recipe is the fermented cashew milk.  Cashew milk on its own is a tasty non-dairy milk but by fermenting the nuts beforehand you boost the nutrient availability and add a gut friendly component to the dish.

The notion of fermenting food may seem daunting but the process is really a piece of cake as you will see from the recipe below.  You do need to plan ahead a bit as the fermenting process does take about a day. But the planning ahead is truly the hardest part of the whole deal.

Give it a try and if you get a second I would love to hear what you think of the recipe.

Fermented Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

Ingredients

2 cups cooked quinoa

1-2 cups fermented cashew milk* (recipe below)

1 grapefruit peeled and chopped

¾ cup cherries, blueberries or fruit of your choice

¼ cup chopped fresh mint

1 TBSP Maple syrup (or to taste)

 

Combine all ingredients pressing the grapefruit to release juices and let stand 15 minutes before serving

 

*Fermented cashew milk

In a mason jar cover 1 cup of raw cashews with fresh water leaving at least one inch of room from top.

Add 1 TBSP sea salt.

Seal tightly with lid and shake the jar to combine. Leave this on counter at least 24 hours.

After 24 hours drain and rinse the nuts. Put nuts into blender and add 1-2 cups of water depending upon your desired milk thickness.

Add 2 teaspoons of vanilla. Blend mixture to liquid.

Drain the milk through a nut back.

Refrigerate.

 

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts Salad

I clearly remember as a child holding my nose while I struggled through my serving of Brussels Sprouts. Boiled and served I used to cover them with vinegar and salt just to make them bearable.

I have come a long way in my appreciation of this mighty veggie.  And I have been successful in finding preparation and flavour matchings that truly make these little gems a pleasure to eat.

Health Benefits of Brussels Sprouts

I have persevered because their health benefits are many.  Brussels Sprouts belong to the cruciferous family, and along with fellow members such as broccoli, kale, cabbage and spinach, this group of vegetables contain glucosinolates, indole-3-carbinol and isothiocyanates, nutrients that have been shown to among other things, decrease cancer risks.

A snapshot of the Brussels Sprouts’ nutrient profile looks like this:

  • One cup contains almost 3 grams of protein
  • One cup contains approximately 4 grams of fiber
  • One cup contains almost 2.5 times of the daily recommended intake of vitamin K and 1.5 times that of vitamin C

I particularly like this salad.  The flavour of the dressing holds up very well against the hearty flavour of the brussels sprouts.  And it is a raw preparation which preserves the important nutrients that the sprouts contain.  Over cooking brussels sprouts can deplete them of their nutrients.

So give this salad a try and let me know your thoughts.  I am curious to know if it can convert the sprout haters!

Enjoy!

Brussels Sprouts Salad

6 Cups of Shredded Brussels Sprouts

Dressing

4 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 TBSP Lemon Juice

1 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar

1 TBSP Grainy Dijon Mustard

2 tsp Maple Syrup

½ tsp each salt & pepper

Directions

  • Place shredded sprouts in to your serving bowl.
  • Place all of the salad dressing ingredients in to a small bowl and mix together well.
  • 1/2 hour before serving spread dressing over sprouts and toss well

 

brusselsproutssalad

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11139137

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4354933/

Home made trail mix

Homemade Trail Mix

Snacks are by far the number one “food group” that I get asked for help with.  As it goes we are ready to put in the time for the three main meal preps but when it comes to snacking we are still in the grab and go mindset.

So with that in mind I offer up to you the Homemade Trail Mix.  No fixed recipe to follow and virtually no preparation time.  Mix and match your favourite nuts, seeds and berries.  You can make a large batch and dip in to it as needed.

Have this on hand all of the time.  The good fats, protein and fiber in your trail mix will satisfy you when hunger pangs begin and will help to stabilize your blood sugar as it begins to dip between meals.  In doing so you will avoid the need for a mid afternoon nap or the urge to tear a strip off of a bad driver on your way home.

Just to give you a glimpse of the healthy benefits of the trail mix that I made, here is today’s creation (I use raw, unsalted nuts and seeds):

Brazil Nuts

Most notably brazil nuts are a good source of selenium.  As with most nuts they contain healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber.

Cashews

Cashews are a source of monounsaturated fats, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein.

Almonds

Almonds are a source of vitamins, notably vitamin E, minerals, monounstaturated fats, fiber and protein.

Goji Berries

Goji berries are a power packed little berry.  They contain fiber, vitamins, notably A & C, minerals and are great antioxidants.

Manuka Raisins

I LOVE Manuka raisins.  My favourite trail mix sweetener.  They are good source of fiber, contain calcium, antioxidants and they contain oleanolic acid.

Dried Aronia Berries

A nice counterbalance to Manuka raisins,  these berries are a little bit on the bitter side.  Their benefits include being high in antioxidants, high in anthocyanin concentration and high in proanthocyanidins.

Dried Pomegranate berries

These are a treat.  Really tasty and high in antioxidants and fiber.

Sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds are a good source of vitamin E, selenium and magnesium.

So be creative.  You can used pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate chips, puffed quinoa.  The sky is the limit and changing things up means you won’t get tired of it.

 

Food meeting Function: Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

When foods are consumed that have a positive effect on health and go beyond basic nutrition they are called “functional foods”.  As I am sure you can imagine there are many but today I would like to introduce you to a relatively obscure one.

Meet the Jerusalem Artichoke.  These little fellas may not be the prettiest of vegetables but as a functional food they are beautiful!

Jerusalem Artichoke

Jerusalem artichokes, sometimes referred to as sunchokes, are root vegetables.  They can be eaten either cooked or raw.  When cooked they have a creamy texture similar to potatoes. Eaten raw their taste is comparable to the taste of a water chestnut.

So let’s take a look at some of their health benefits.  Jerusalem artichokes are a very good source of minerals and electrolytes, especially potassium, iron, and copper.  They contain small amounts of anti-oxidant vitamins C, A and E.  And 100 g contain approximately 3.4 mg of iron.

But perhaps the greatest health benefit of Jerusalem artichokes lies in their prebiotic function. These root vegetables contain a non-digestible soluble fiber called inulin.  Inulin belongs to a class of compounds called fructans. And inulin feeds our good gut bacteria greatly enhancing our intestinal health.  And when cancer is considered, or any disease for that matter,  the gut must always be addressed.

This is a super tasty soup, that is easy to make and full of function!

 

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

Ingredients

3 TBSP butter

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 small yellow onion, chopped

½ tsp. salt & pepper

500 grams Jerusalem Artichokes, peeled and halved

Pinch of chili pepper (optional)

1 liter of chicken broth

5 fresh sage leaves

Directions

  1. Melt butter in a soup pot
  2. Add garlic, onion, salt and pepper. Cook until softened.
  3. Add Jerusalem Artichokes, chili pepper (if using), chicken broth and sage leaves.
  4. Bring to a boil
  5. Reduce heat and simmer 20-25 minutes until artichokes have softened.
  6. With a hand or stand up blender, puree soup and serve.

Serves 4

 

My Cold and Flu Natural Medicine Kit

As the Christmas season fades in to memory, we move in to cold and flu season.  And this was the topic that we were asked to speak of on Daytime Durham.

In general our best defence against disease is ensuring the following:

  1. Eating a whole foods diet rich in colourful fruits and vegetables
  2. Getting 7-8 hours of good quality sleep each night
  3. Staying well hydrated
  4. Regular exercise

But when cold and flu season rolls around having a natural medicine kit on hand to give an added boost to our immunity and remedies if a cold or flu takes hold is recommended.

There really are so many remedies that could be included in my kit but the ones that I always keep on hand are: Chaga Tea, Oil of Oregano, Manuka honey, Holy Basil tincture, Bee Propolis, lemon, garlic, ginger and a good probiotic.  And the reason is that these items play dual roles. They help to build up immunity which aids prevention and they help combat infection when it takes hold.

 

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Chaga Tea

Chaga is a type of mushroom found growing predominantly on birch trees.  Chaga tea is full of minerals, vitamins and amino acids. It is antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral.

Oil of Oregano

Oil of Oregano is packed with vitamins and minerals.  It is an immune booster, fights infection and is a strong antioxidant.  This is the first remedy my family grabs when we feel anything trying to take hold.  It is VERY strong.  If you are using it for the first time my recommendation would be to add a drop to one cup of water and sip until finished.  As you become more used to it you can build up to taking one or two drops straight on your tongue.

Manuka Honey

Manuka honey is produced from the pollen of the manuka, or tea tree.  It contains more vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants than other types of honey.  It helps to boost the immune system preventing colds and flus.  It is anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory.

Holy Basil Tincture

In Ayurvedic medicine Holy Basil is used often as a remedy for cold and flu.  It eases bronchitis, earache and fever.  Holy Basil is considered an adaptogen thus helping to normalize body function.

Bee Propolis Throat Spray

Bee propolis is made by bees and is used to cover the inside of the bee hive to act as a disinfectant and to seal small holes and gaps in it.  Bee Propolis has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.   It also has healing, analgesic, anesthetic and anti-inflammatory properties.  The throat spray is an easy way to incorporate bee propolis in to your regime.

Lemon

Lemon is a star in my kit.  It has vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc,copper, manganese and selenium.  And I use it in combination with honey and ginger to make great tasting homemade cough syrup and lozenges.

Garlic

Garlic is touted for many medicinal purposes including preventing and fighting colds and flus. As well as containing nutrients such as selenium, manganese and vitamin C,  garlic contains an organo-sulfur compound called Allicin.  Allicin has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties.

Ginger

Ginger is antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and aids digestion.  It is a strong antioxidant and is a natural antibiotic.

Probiotics

The seat of your immunity resides in your gut.  Probiotics help improve immunity by enhancing gut health.

It’s an easy task putting a natural medicine kit together.  Start by using things that are right in your kitchen cupboard and build out from there.