6 Healthy Beverages for When You’re Tired of Water

6 Non-Alcoholic Beverages

With regard to diet, many of us spend January either trying to clean up our act or simply get back to our pre-holiday patterns. That often means taking some time off from alcohol and caffeine. Over time, one finds that can leaves a lifestyle and flavor void to fill —but with what? Filtered water and more filtered water? Even flavored with lemon, mint or ginger, it can spell liquid boredom after a while.

Following are 6 health-supportive beverages I’m drinking on rotation this month. These drinks are not only non-alcoholic, caffeine-free, have no refined sugar and don’t require a juicer, they are rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients. Hopefully these ideas will keep you refreshed, not bored through your cleanse, reboot, whole30 or at least help get you through what might have been your coffee break or happy hour.  Continue reading “6 Healthy Beverages for When You’re Tired of Water” »

Cranberry Antioxidant Compote

Maine LR-4301

Cranberrys bring a lot more to the table than just tradition and a dash of ruby red. That favorite holiday condiment is actually a potent anti-microbial. In fact, cranberrys could help keep you feeling festive all year-round.

Originally, the protective effect of cranberrys was attributed to their acidity. This has long since been disproved. We now know that cranberry’s anti-microbial properties are due its high levels of a chemical compound called proanthocyanidins (PACs).

In plants, PACs provide protection against pathogens and predators. In humans, a unique structure of the PACs in cranberries essentially renders whatever bacteria it comes in contact with a non-stick surface. So, cranberry’s PACs help prevent the expansion of bacterial populations that can result in an outright infection. If bacteria can’t stick to our cell walls —it can’t infect. And, if it does stick, it will have less chance of spreading.

Research shows that the PACs in cranberrys inhibit bacteria (especially E. coli) from sticking to bladder walls, reducing urinary tract infections and may help prevent ulcers by suppressing H. Pylori infections. They may also prevent cavities by inhibiting unhealthy oral bacteria. This same non-stick ability may also lower the risk of atherosclerosis by inhibiting platelet aggregation and adhesion and by reducing cholesterol.  Clearly, cranberrys have a place on the table the other ten months of the year!

CRANBERRY ANTIOXIDANT COMPOTE

Serves: 8
Preparation Time: 25 minutes

This quick and easy cranberry compote recipe uses fresh cranberries, rather than canned. Citrus, apple, pomegranate and cinnamon create a much more interesting and healthful flavor profile than a bunch of sugar ever could. This sauce is only slightly sweet, providing a nice contrast to the overall richness of holiday dinners.

If you don’t care for (or don’t have) pineapple, leave it out. But, you may want to adjust the sweetener. The arrowroot thickens the sauce. But, it is also optional as the pectin from apples acts as a thickener as well. Alternatively, thicken the sauce by either adding in a few tablespoons of chia seeds before cooking or cook it longer to reduce the liquid further.
Get creative in how you use this sauce. Surprisingly versatile, it’s not just for turkey! Try it with other savory items, such as sweet potatoes, as a topping on pancakes or even as a condiment for sweet dishes.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 12 ounce bags of fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pineapple chunks (fresh or frozen)
  • Juice and zest (reserved) of 2 organic oranges
  • 2 organic red apples, cored and coarsely chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or raw honey) or to taste
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup of filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot (optional)
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place cranberries, pineapple, apples, cinnamon stick in a sauce pan.
  2. Combine the water and arrowroot, blending well to make a slurry, then add to the cranberry mixture.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to medium heat.  Stir constantly until the cranberries start to burst (about 10-15 minutes) and the mixture is thick and smooth.
  4. Cool completely, adjust sweetener as needed, then mix in the pomegranate seeds.
  5. Garnish with orange zest before serving.

REFERENCES:

Zhang L1, Ma JPan KGo VLChen JYou WC. Efficacy of cranberry juice on Helicobacter pylori infection: a double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial. Helicobacter. 2005 Apr;10(2):139-45.

Concentrations of Proanthocyanidins in Common Foods and Estimations of Normal ConsumptionJ. Nutr. March 1, 2004 vol. 134 no. 3 613-617

Ofek I, Goldhar J, Sharon N. Anti-Escherichia coli adhesion activity of cranberry and blueberry juices. Adv Exp Med Biol. 1996;408:179-83. Review.

Woods, Rebecca. The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia. New York: Penguin Books, 2010.

Carter, Jean. Food Your Miracle Medicine. New York: Harper Collins, 1993.

 Do you enjoy cranberries outside of the holidays? If so, please comment below and share!

Coconut Cashew Cream-Filled Layer Bars

Coconut Cashew Cream-Filled Layer BarsBy request, this is a vegan and raw version of my Healthy Nanaimo Bars. Rather than graham cracker crumbs for the base, I use a fiber-rich mix of dates, oats and nuts. A coconut cashew cream filling provides healthy fats and replaces condensed milk or pudding mix. And for the chocolate layer, polyphenol-packed raw cacao and coconut oil are the base. Maple syrup and dates are the only sweeteners. Raw, vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free – these are suitable for almost any guests! Continue reading “Coconut Cashew Cream-Filled Layer Bars” »

Nanaimo Bars (Healthy with Nuts!)

Healthy Nanaimo BarsNanaimo Bars were a ubiquitous treat growing up. After all, growing up in Seattle, we were not so distant neighbors with the bars’ eponymous Canadian city. You guessed it, Nanaimo.

There are countless recipes claiming to be ‘the original’. And, while they have varying ingredients making up those three layers, they all use a lot of packaged items (pudding mix, graham crackers, condensed milk, processed cocoa powder, etc.) and a lot of sugar. I mean a LOT. But, there’s no doubt, Nanaimo Bars became a cult classic because they are easy to make and have an enticing variety of flavors and textures in every bite. Continue reading “Nanaimo Bars (Healthy with Nuts!)” »

Apple Cider Vinegar Drink With Ginger and Cinnamon

Ginger Cinnamon Apple Cider Drink

Apple cider vinegar is widely viewed as a holistic health remedy for everything from lowering cholesterol, improving blood sugar control, weight loss and even hiccups. But, one of my favorite personal use is for improving gastrointestinal health.

This last year, a skin condition led me to visit an integrative dermatologist. Suspecting that bacterial overgrowth due to low stomach acid was the underlying cause, I had started drinking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar diluted in water. She commended me on my strategy, but suggested I increase my intake considerably. When I asked her how much ACV she recommended, she responded ‘Can you do a cup a day?’ Continue reading “Apple Cider Vinegar Drink With Ginger and Cinnamon” »

Gluten-Free Pie Crust

Gluten Free Pie CrustI was never a pie baker. Why bother when your mother and sister-in-law are masters of the art? But, when spending the holidays away from the family, the idea of baking my own gluten-free pie crust seemed a bit daunting, risky, and downright uninspiring.

This gluten-free pastry crust recipe from Marth Rose Shulman changed my mind and made a pie baker out of me. Although I must admit that I do not own a rolling-pin. A wine bottle works just fine. This crust is flakey, slightly nutty and pretty much fail-proof. I love the recipe for these reasons: Continue reading “Gluten-Free Pie Crust” »

3 Reasons to Love Sunchokes

Jerusalem ArtichokesSunchokes might not be on your radar —but for both culinary and health reasons, you may want to check out these tubers! They look a bit like ginger and come in a variety of sizes, shapes and even different colors, depending upon the soil in which they were grown. They are generally smooth, but can be very knobby, as in the heirloom variety. Not exactly the star of the farmers’ market, they are in the shadow of the more colorful fall and winter vegetables. But, here are three reasons you’ll want to bring them home. Skip the squash. It’s not going anywhere!

THREE REASONS TO TRY SUNCHOKES

Continue reading “3 Reasons to Love Sunchokes” »

Pumpkin Curry Soup

Pumpkin Curry Soup The most festive and celebrated of gourds, pumpkins, enjoy a near celebrity-status in our apartment. By late September, the scouting begins, first for prospective jack-o-lanterns, then centerpieces and window adornments. Sadly, by early November, the carved ones have been decommissioned and the uncarved ones start giving hints that our time together is coming to a close. Their skin, once bright orange, leathery and taut, begins to dull and wrinkle. Their bodies soften, losing their denseness and familiar “thump” when tapped. Clearly, none of them will make it to Thanksgiving. Soup must be made. Continue reading “Pumpkin Curry Soup” »

Black Bean Chipotle Bisque

Chipotle Bleack Bean Soup

It’s soup and sweater time! This soup, like one of my favorite sweaters, is warm, dark, and comforting —with a little sass. In this version, I added some coconut milk to make it even creamier and cozier. Rich in protein and fiber, it tastes like an indulgence, but it’s not. Bring on the cold. I’m ready.

The chipotle pepper really sets this recipe apart from other bean soups, providing a hint of heat and smokiness. The dried peppers can be found in the ethnic section of most larger grocery stores. You can create your own chipotle powder by simply grinding the dried peppers in a spice or coffee grinder. But, remove the seeds first if you want more smokiness than heat.

Continue reading “Black Bean Chipotle Bisque” »

Baked Cinnamon Apple Chips

Baked Apple ChipsNo special equipment is needed to make apple chips. Dehydrator? Mandolin? Nope. A low-temperature stove, a sharp knife and some time are all you need. Healthy, full of fiber, sugar-free and just two ingredients; apple chips might be the perfect whole foods baked treat. Caution: the aroma of cinnamon apples wafting from your oven is almost as addicting as the chips. Continue reading “Baked Cinnamon Apple Chips” »