Miso Tip #8 – Try Miso Spice!

Miso SpiceAnd, Miso Spice makes 8! In the post, ‘7-Tips for Using Miso,’ I shared some miso basics and a few tips for using miso paste in cooking. Now, here’s one more tip for using this detoxifying, gut-friendly, enzyme-rich fermented food. Sprinkle it on savory dishes, showering them with umami goodness. Sprinkle miso on dishes as a condiment?  Continue reading

7 Detox Drinks for Dryanuary

http://wholefoodsexplorer.com/7-detox-drinks/7-resolution-friendly-beverages-for-dryanuary-small/Detox drinks anyone?! January means simultaneously starting fresh and taking it back a notch. We celebrate the new year and our bodies by getting back to (ideally) the best of our pre-holiday patterns. Whether you are doing a full-on cleanse, whole30, or just Dryanuary, you’re likely taking a break from alcohol, perhaps sugar and caffeine as well. But, that can leave a lifestyle and flavor void to fill —as in what are your options for detox drinks? Filtered water and more filtered water? Even if you flavor it up with lemon, mint or ginger, liquid boredom will eventually set in.

Following are 7 health-supportive detox beverages I’ll have on rotation this month. These DIY drinks are not only non-alcoholic and caffeine-free, they have no refined sugar, don’t require a juicer and they’re rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients. Hopefully these ideas will help you stick with your health resolutions —and get you through what might have been your coffee breaks or happy hours.

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Turmeric Tofu Scramble is Breakfast Gold!

Tofu ScrambleTurmeric tofu scramble is a quick and savory option for any day. But, with its gorgeous sunshine yellow, this dish is also festive enough for guests. With about 8 grams of plant protein, it provides stable, yet light nourishment to start your day. Serve it with the suggested sides and toppings below, or bundle it up in a whole grain wrap and take it to go.

Not only quick and nutritious, this dish is also what I refer to as ‘a turmeric delivery mechanism’. That’s right, per serving, the scramble gives you a quarter teaspoon of turmeric, the anti-inflammatory ‘spice for life’. Further, it uses all   three ways to get the most from curcumin by using the whole turmeric spice and includes both fat and black pepper to maximize bioavailability.

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Honey Dijon Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Brussel Sprouts When the farmer’s market has Brussels sprouts on the stalk, one is coming home with me and roasted Brussels sprouts are suddenly on the menu. I can’t resist. There is something so novel and (literally) fresh about pruning the little cabbages from their stem. For an urbanite, it is close as we get to the ‘harvesting’ concept. That is, unless you are one of those people who have actually attempted and succeeded with urban gardening. That’s not me.  Brussels Sprouts Trunk

 

According to Rebecca Wood, author of The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia, Brussels sprouts become sweet and tender after a frost. So keep growing region in mind when purchasing. Most Brussel sprouts come from California’s mild coastal area. Deborah Madison, in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, recommends stronger flavors for sprouts harvested without a frost, such as mustard, capers, and lemon.

For the most flavor in Brussels sprouts from any region, select small sprouts with few yellow leaves. For best results, cut the sprouts in half or into quarters for bite-size pieces. They should all be cut about the same size for even cooking.

Prepped Brussel Sprouts

HONEY DIJON ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS

This recipe is the Little Black Dress equivalent of Brussel sprouts recipes. It is classic and simple; a reliable ‘go-to’ recipe for weekdays or special events, which can not only be made in advance and reheat well, but can be dressed up in countless ways. It has just a hint of sweetness. So, you may want to increase the sweetener for some palates.

Try tossing in carmelized onions, roasted and chopped nuts, bacon, soaked current, chopped dried cherries or (of course) cheese to the roasted sprouts. You just might convert a skeptic with your creativity. And little will they know that with Brussels sprout’s glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, they are reducing cancer risk through with every delicious bite.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 trunk prepped (or 1 1/2 pounds) Brussels sprouts
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (1 tablespoon reserved for after roasting)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8th teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (or fire cider or apple cider vinegar)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons raw honey (or maple syrup)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, toss Brussels sprouts with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Transfer the Brussels sprouts to the baking sheet.
  4. Roast the sprouts, stirring half-way through for even browning, until tender and caramelized, about 15-20 minutes, depending on their size.
  5. Return roasted brussels sprouts back in the bowl. Combine remaining tablespoon olive oil, vinegar and honey together and pour the mixture over the sprouts, tossing to coat evenly. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Roasted Brussel Sprout Dish

Revised 10.22.16. Originally published 12.24.14.

Dairy-Free Cacao Fudgsicles

Healthy FudgsiclesFudgsicles were one of my favorite summer cool treats. There was something about the way they slowly morphed from a frozen solid into creamy, chocolate pudding. Unfortunately, three of the top six ingredients in those fudgsicles are sugar, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup. Keep reading the label and you will find other goodies, such as cellulose gum and polysorbate 80. No thank you.

The good news is that it is incredibly easy to make fudgsicles that are actually healthy. These fudgiscles also have the rich, creamy texture, which makes a fudgsicle a fudgsicle.  No dairy. No gluten. No cooking. No kidding! Continue reading

7 Healthy 4th of July Salads

Want to balance your holiday indulgences with some flavorful, yet healthy salads? Look no more. Following are some tasty, dairy-free and gluten-free options for your picnics and BBQs all summer long. From kale to coleslaw to quinoa and everything in between. Here’s to independence from boring deli salads! Continue reading

Rockstar Granola -With or Without a Recipe

Granola Recipe

Granola is one of the more simplistic baking endeavors. Yet, there are several granola recipes which have reached national notoriety. Ironically, the creators of these recipes are on the opposite ends of the country.

The first granola recipe from Eleven Madison restaurant in New York City, my adopted hometown. Yes, at the end of the 15 course, $295 per head prix-fixe dinner, you are presented with a mason jar of the house granola. It is an unexpected and lovely touch. You ration the hell out of that granola because it is probably the best you’ve ever had. And, you know you won’t be getting more anytime soon. Or ever. Continue reading

Turmeric Golden Milk Basics

Turmeric Golden MilkTurmeric Golden Milk, the classic Ayurvedic beverage, is known for its many therapeutic benefits. While an array of Golden Milk recipes exist, the key ingredient is always turmeric, often with ginger, both of which are potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. In fact, thousands of research studies on just turmeric and its most active constituent, curcumin, show it may be beneficial in preventing and/or treating over six hundred health conditions. And turmeric, also known as ‘Indian Solid Gold’ has been found comparable to fourteen various drugs and medications —without adverse side effects, even at doses up to 8,000 mg per day (about one rounded teaspoon of dried turmeric).

Given the impressive data on turmeric’s benefits to nearly every bodily system, I try to incorporate turmeric into my daily cooking, not just the occasional curry dish. I’ve grown fond of the drink, finding it equally welcome and as comforting in the morning as it is before bed. Start or end the day golden —or both!

Following are options for making Turmeric Golden Milk, which provide flexibility depending on what ingredients you prefer and keep on hand. They also provide preparation options geared towards trying the recipe once or want convenience tips to make it quickly on a regular basis.

urmeric Golden Milk Ingredients

TURMERIC GOLDEN MILK COMPONENTS:

  • Milk Base: To maximize the anti-inflammatory benefits, use a non-dairy milk alternative, such as almond, rice or hemp milk, etc. or use coconut milk.
  • Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is added as a fat source to aid absorption of the turmeric. This is not necessary if using coconut milk, due to the higher fat content.
  • Turmeric: Either fresh turmeric root or dried, ground turmeric will work. I prefer the fresh root as it gives a freshness to the drink while the powdered form can bring a bitterness in higher quantities. To prepare a small quantity of fresh turmeric, simply grate the unpeeled root using a microplane or process in a high-speed blender.
    Convenience Tip: Make frozen Turmeric Cubes
  • Ginger: Optional, but highly recommended. It not only adds anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, the flavor nicely balances out any bitterness of the turmeric. If using, I strongly prefer the fresh root, rather than ground ginger. To quickly make a small batch of ginger juice, simply grate a 3-4 inch knob of ginger using a microplane or ginger grater, then use a spoon or spatula to press the juice through a mesh strainer or cheesecloth.
    Convenience Tip: Make frozen Ginger Juice Cubes
  • Sweetener: This recipe uses Medjool dates. If using Deglet Noor dates, you will need a few more as these are smaller and have less natural sweetness. I like using dates as they provide added minerals as well as fiber, which also thickens the drink. You can also use honey or coconut sugar. Start with 1 teaspoon per cup and add more to taste.
    Convenience Tip: Make Date Paste

OPTIONAL TURMERIC GOLDEN MILK INGREDIENTS: 

  • Black Pepper (Optional): Adding black pepper can increase the bioavailability of turmeric by as much 2000%. A little goes a long way and freshness is probably as important as quantity. So, either use freshly cracked black pepper or crush 3 or 4 black peppercorns before adding to the saucepan.
  • Arrowroot (Optional): Added for thickening the milk base. Simply add 1 tablespoon of arrowroot per cup of the cool liquid (almond milk, etc.), whisk until well combined, then add to the remainder of the drink mix as it is warming in the saucepan. No thickener is needed if using coconut milk.
  • Aromatics (Optional): 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 cinnamon stick, 3-4 cardamom pods or others. Add one or more. These can be added to the liquid for more flavoring, infusing into the beverage as it is warmed on the stove top, then strained out before any blending and serving.

TIPS FOR MAKING TURMERIC GOLDEN MILK  

  • Do not let the Turmeric Golden Milk boil. You want to only heat the beverage to a simmer. Boiling will diminish the health benefits of the turmeric and ginger
  • Avoid stains! Turmeric is used as a textile dye. You will see why! Use a stainless steel whisk and/or rubber spatula when preparing the mixture. Avoid using wooden spoons or any cloths you don’t want to turn golden.
  • Golden Milk can be made in advance and kept in a refrigerated, air-tight stainless steel or glass container for several days. Then, simply reheat.
  • Turmeric is an acquired taste. Some people prefer to start with lower quantities of turmeric in the recipe and increase the amount gradually.
  • As is the case with so many herbs and spices, turmeric should be used with caution.
    • Individuals with gallstones should only take turmeric under the direction of their doctor.
    • Because turmeric slows blood-clotting, it should not be taken by those with clotting disorders or before surgery.
    • Excessive turmeric should be avoided in people with congestive heart failure.
    • Since turmeric is included in Ayurvedic formulas for birth control, women trying to become pregnant should limit their consumption of the spice.
    • Women who are pregnant or nursing should discuss using turmeric with their doctor.

TURMERIC GOLDEN MILK RECIPES

Yield: 3 servings

INGREDIENTS – ALMOND MILK VERSION:

  • 3 cups almond milk
  • 1/4 cup pureed or grated fresh turmeric (or 2 teaspoons ground)
  • 1/4 cup ginger juice (juice from a 3-4″ piece of ginger)
  • 1/4 cup date paste or 6 Medjool dates, pitted, soaked for 1 hour, then drained
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil (optional for improved turmeric absorption)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • Dash sea salt

INGREDIENTS – COCONUT MILK VERSION:

  • 1 1/2 cups organic coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups filtered water
  • 1/4 cup pureed or grated fresh turmeric (or 2 teaspoons ground)
  • 1/4 cup ginger juice (juice from a 3-4″ piece of ginger)
  • 1/4 cup date paste or 6 Medjool dates, pitted, soaked for 1 hour, then drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • Dash sea salt

TURMERIC GOLD MILK DIRECTIONS:

  • If using date paste – Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and heat until warm
  • If using soaked dates – Blend all ingredients (except aromatics, if using) in a blender until smooth. Then, heat the blended mixture in a saucepan with any aromatics (remove them before serving).

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

How to Make Turmeric Anti-Inflammation Cubes
How to Make Ginger Juice – Without a Juicer
Three Ways to Get the Most From Turmeric

Have you tried Turmeric Golden Milk? If so, what do you think about it? If not, do you think you might give it a try? Please leave a comment below!

REFERENCES:

1] Safety and anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin: a component of tumeric (Curcuma longa). J Altern Complement Med. 2003 Feb;9(1):161-8.

[2] “Spicing up” of the immune system by curcumin. J Clin Immunol. 2007 Jan;27(1):19-35. Epub 2007 Jan 9.
[3] 
600 Reasons Turmeric May Be the World’s Most Important Herb
[4] Curcumin: the Indian solid gold. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;595:1-75.
[5] Natural Products and Molecular Therapy, First International Conference. New York, NY: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 1056, 2005.
[6] Phase I clinical trial of curcumin, a chemoprotective agent, in patients with high-risk or pre-malignant lesions. Anti-cancer Res. 2001; July-Aug 21:2895-2900.
[7] Is Turmeric As Effective As Fourteen Other Drugs? Sacred Plant’s Ingredient, Curcumin, Holds Key To Health Benefits? Medical Daily.
[8] Bioavailability of Curcumin: Problems and Promises Mol Pharmaceutics Vol. 4, NO. 6, 807-818
[9] Dietary turmeric potentially reduces the risk of cancer. 
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2011;12(12):3169-73.
[10] Turmeric Health Benefits: Have a Happy New Year With Turmeric. Andrew Weil, MD
[11] Why You Should Always Eat Pepper with Turmeric. Michael Greger, MD
[12] Biochemical Basis of Enhanced Drug Bioavailability by Peperine: Evidence that Peperine is a Potent Inhbitor of Drug Metabolism. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. Vol. 232, No. 1

 

 

 

6 Clean 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 and sticking to clean beverages. Over time, that can leaves a lifestyle and flavor void to fill —but what are your options for clean beverages? Filtered water and more filtered water? Even flavored with lemon, mint or ginger, can spell liquid boredom after a while.

Following are 6 health-supportive clean beverages I’m drinking on rotation this month. These DIY 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.

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Antioxidant-Rich, Healthy Cranberry Compote

Maine LR-4301

This antioxidant-rich and healthy cranberry compote deserves a place at the table year-round. Because cranberries 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, cranberries could help keep you feeling festive all year-round.

Originally, the protective effect of cranberries 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 an overall bacterial invasion 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 cranberries 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, cranberries have a place on the table the other ten months of the year!

HEALTHY CRANBERRY COMPOTE

Serves: 8
Preparation Time: 25 minutes

This quick, easy and healthy 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. However, you may want to adjust the sweetener. The arrowroot thickens the sauce, but 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!