Cooking with Spice. I love cooking with spices and fresh herbs the aroma puts me in such a good mood. Both spices and herbs help create food traditions or helps the cook, like me, change a dish. While still using the same basic ingredients, you can move from one cuisine to a different one simply by changing the a key spice. For example have you notice how if you use ginger, turmeric, coriander seeds, chili, cardamom and cumin you start to think of India, now add chicken and you have a base for a chicken curry. Now replace some of those spices with Sumac, and you have created a Lebanese or Turkish chicken dish. Oh you didn’t know you could cook with Sumac. Its s a wonderful plant seed and it imparts a tangy lemony flavor along with a red tint that makes lamb, chicken, fish and vegetables so tasty.
My first exposure to this wonderful spice was with Ian Hemphill of Herbie’s Spice. I was taking a spice blending course and we made the best slow roasted tomatoes I have ever had and the star spice was Sumac. What a treat and I still make them to this day – 17 years later.
Yet this lovely spice is more then just flavor and color. It also imparts medicinal properties. I was actually surprised and please to learn of all it adds for our health. Sumac is the common name for Rhus plant that contains over 250 individual species of flowering plants in the family Anacardiaceae. These plants are found in temperate and tropical regions worldwide, and have a long history of use by indigenous people for medicinal and other uses.
Recent studies done on some varieties show that sumac has exceptionally high antioxidant properties, improved glycemic control, reduced cholesterol levels and better cardiovascular health! Bonus attributes for this lovely seed! Sumac berries may well turn out to be the next super food!
Cooking with spice is about tradition, creating flavor, loving what you prepare, and maybe HEALTH also! Dig a little deeper the next time you use a spice or herb and learn more about what you are cooking with. To your good health!
The start of any week can be so hard when you need to plan the family meals, AND ITS MONDAY. I have an idea for you consider, why not try adding at least one NON-MEAT meal per week. Yes really; going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity; going meatless once a week can also help reduce our carbon footprint and save precious resources like fossil fuels and fresh water. Gee all that just by making a choice to replace meat one or more days per week. To me totally worth it…but only if the meals are tasty and NOT to hard to make.
Good news, I have the answer for you, my upcoming cooking class on May 8th will focused on creating meatless meals. We will create 3 core recipes plus a main meal salad – perfect for winter. If you are interested please book your ticket here.
And now a bit of history – The concept of “Meatless Monday” is not new NOR is it a modern trend. This concept was hatched during WWI in the US to help conserve resources needed for the war effort. I love it – was is new once more.
I look forward to seeing you,
Back in 2013 I was looking for the best foods to eat for better joint health, and I stumbled over Selenium. I really didn’t know too much about this mineral but I did work out I should start eating Brazil Nuts. I left it at that and went on my marry way. I didn’t go beyond my joint health so I missed out on understanding what else this mineral does in our bodies and all the wonderful food sources. So, I went looking for more about Selenium and want to take you with me. Here we go.
So, what is Selenium?
Selenium is a trace mineral found naturally in soil and in certain foods and there are even small amounts in water. For us, Selenium plays an important role in our bodies by increasing immunity – less colds and flu, takes part in antioxidant activity that defends against free radical damage and inflammation, and plays a key role in maintaining a healthy metabolism.
According to studies, consuming plenty of naturally occurring selenium has positive antiviral effects, is essential for successful male and female fertility and reproduction, and also reduces the risk of cancer, autoimmune and thyroid diseases.
Wow that’s a lot for a mineral we don’t pay too much attention to.
What are some signs that your body MIGHT be low in Selenium:
|Sudden hair Loss and skin and fingernail discoloration
||Hair loss comes on relatively quickly and is evenly distributed and or heavy whitening of the fingernail beds
||Pick up colds and flu easily and frequently
||There are many causes for fatigue, Selenium can be a cause and is normally not looked at as the cause. So, if your iron and potassium levels are normal, check your selenium as a possible cause.
|Brain Fog and Poor Concentration
||There are many causes of brain fog – Gluten, Sugar, low potassium, low magnesium and it seems low levels Selenium can also be a root cause.
|Reproductive Issues – Men and Women
||Low levels of Selenium can impact a woman’s cycle and men’s sperm production. Checking your Selenium levels is place to look when you have exhausted all other possible causes.
||Great Resource HERE
Here is how you add Selenium back into your diet
You have some easy choices to make here, eat a balanced diet and ensure to include #REAL #FOOD that contains Selenium or you can add a supplement. My personal view on this is to just eat the real food. Eating the food sources also enables your body to get all the other wonderful nutrients that food has to offer. However, if you are feeling like you want to boost your intake a supplement can help. I would suggest you speak with your health care professional to be sure it is safe for you.
The daily recommended amount for selenium depends on your age and is as follows, according to the USDA – I am not sure what the other Countries site:
- Children 1-3: 20 micrograms/day
- Children 4-8: 30 micrograms/day
- Children 9-13: 40 micrograms/day
- Adults and children 14 and up: 55 micrograms/day
- Pregnant women: 60 micrograms/day
- Breastfeeding women: 70 micrograms/day
Best Sources of Selenium
Here are the top 15 foods naturally high in trace mineral selenium (percentages based on RDA of 55 mcg/day for adults):
||1 cup: 607 mcg 1,103% DV
|Try eating a few per day as a snack or adding them to your smoothies or look for Almond/Cashew/Brazil Nut Nut Butter – nick named ABC butter.
|1 medium egg: 146 mcg (265% DV)
|You only need one to meet y our daily requirements
(sesame and Flax also)
|1 cup: 105 mcg (190% DV)
|I have a great recipe for Sunflower Seed Falafel and a dip made with Sunflowers. I have recently started to eat Sunflower Butter and I add a table spoon to my smoothies or spread it on toast.
|Liver (from lamb or beef)
|3 oz.: 99 mcg (180% DV)
|I wish I had a recipe to support this, but you could try Pate using lovely herbs to help add extra flavor.
|3 oz: 64 mcg (116% DV)
|3 oz: 64 mcg (116% DV)
|3 oz: 39 mcg (71% DV)
|3 oz: 33.2 mcg (58% DV)
||Best sources is dark meat – from the back and legs
|3 oz: 31 mcg (56% DV)
|Canned or fresh. Look for wild Salmon. You can make fish cakes/baked or grilled fish
|3 oz: 25 mcg (45% DV)
Roasted Turkey – best source is the dark meat.
|1 oz: 15.6 mcg (28% DV)
|Chia seed jam
add to smoothies
Use as and egg replacement
|1 cup mixed: 15 mcg (27% DV)
|So good sautéed and served with eggs. Or as a risotto or soup.
Shiitake and white button mushrooms are best.
||1 cup contains 19 mcg, 35% of DV
||Replace white rice full stop and add in brown rice.
|Lima and Pinto Beans
||1 cup cooked contains 10 mcg 17% DV
||Pinto beans are great for RE-fried beans and in Chili
|1 cup broccoli contains 2.5 mcg 4% of DV
1 cup cabbage contains 3.5 mcg 6% of DV
1 cup spinach contains 3 mcg 5% of DV
I think you would agree, there are so many #REAL #FOOD options to help you maintain your selenium levels in your diet. Unless your health care professional thinks otherwise, dig into some lovely fresh food. I have also included a recipe for you to try, Sunflower Seed Falafel. I hope you enjoy it.
Until next time… Be Warmly Nourished – body and soul
I have come to love and depend on fermented foods as part of my overall diet. But to be honest when I was first introduced to fermentation it was back in 2010 I really didn’t understand the true value of fermentation for our overall health. Flash forward to Nov 2013 and I was starting to make my own Kombucha, then I moved on to vegetables and loved the results. But you know your life gets in the way and you forget to make a batch and the process starts to breakdown. Back in November I RE-introduced myself to the world of fermentation and got my mojo back. Since January I have created different ferments and I am loving my new creations. Including making my own coconut water Kifer and coconut milk yogurt. I do need to come clean about the yogurt – my fist attempt produced a very grainy result and I had to start over.
I hear you asking so what’s the point of all this and why should I care. In simple terms, fermented foods introduce good bacteria back into our bodies that help us build and maintain good gut health. The fermentation process boosts vitamin and mineral content, reduces the anti-nutrients found in foods, and helps preserve foods for longer. The process has been around for centuries but managed to get lost a bit in our modern world. We need to pay homage to a few stand outs in the ferment world – China gave us Kombucha a fermented tea which dates back to 221 B.C, Germany gave us Sauerkraut a fermented Cabbage using salt, Japan gave us Miso from rice/barley or soy, Russia gave us Kefir a fermented diary product, Egypt gave us Sourdough the wild fermentation of wheat. And the list goes on.
I just finished my last project over the weekend, so I thought I would share what I have been working on. I hope seeing what I have been up to sparks some interest.
Kombucha – promotes detoxification, boosts energy and immunity
Making Kombucha @ Home
Making Kombucha @ Home
Fermented Cashew Cheese – high in protein, fiber and essential fats, highly digestible way to eat nuts.
Making Fermented Cheese
Coconut Kefir (both water and yogurt) – stops sugar cravings, aids digestion, contains high levels of minerals like potassium
Making Coconut Milk Kifer/Yogurt
Coconut Water Kifer
Fermented Hot Sauce – using 1kg of fresh chilies – capsaicin to fight inflammation and reduces pain rich in antioxidants like Vitim A,C and K, and can boost metabolism.
You need Good Chilies to make a fermented Hot Sauce
Sauerkraut – powerful cancer fighter, rich source of Vitim C, Vitim B6 – for PMS/depression/asthma, folate and manganese – which helps build joint cartilage
Starting new batch of Sauerkraut, using purple Cabbage and carrots
Pickled Vegetables – friendly probiotics and beneficial for treating allergies, tumors, infections and auto-immune diseases.
Pickled Carrots with Cinnamon and Cloves!
What a power house! Still note sure Fermented foods are right for you, here’s some more for you to consider. I hope you will give fermented foods a try – purchase or make your own. I would love to know what you think. I am also planning to but this knowledge to work in a Work Shop in May 2016 so watch this space.
Immune system improves Digestion
|Fermentation starts the digestive process by releasing nutrients and breaking them down; digestion is much easier. Our bodies are able to absorb nutrients ore readily. Fermented foods also encourage a healthy balance of bacteria in our guts.
Improve Immune Health
|70-80% of our immune system lives in our intestinal tract. When our digestive system is out of balance our immune health can be impacted. Fermented foods offer us the microbes we need to enhance and balance immunity. This can help to improve multitude of immune conditions including allergies, inflammatory bowel diseases and autoimmune conditions.
“Probiotics and Their Fermented Food Products Are Beneficial for Heath” J Appl Microbiol Journal of Applied Microbiology Web 6th Oct 2016
Help Manage Weight
|Researchers are discovering a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut can help manage obesity and boot our metabolism.
“Diet Effects in Gut Microbiome and Obesity” Journal of Food Science Web 6th Oct 2016
Help Rid us of Anti-Nutrients
|Many grains, beans, nuts and seeds contain phytic acid, which interferes without ability to absorb nutrients. Fermentation helps us rid of these anti-nutrients making it easier for us to absorb those vitamins and minerals.
Help Improve complexion
|An imbalance of gut bacteria can impact our skin microbiome. Research shows that fermented foods can improve skin health and various skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, eczema, and dermatitis.
“Can These 3 Foods help you say goodbye to Acne?” Body Ecology.com.
This week on my warmly nourished facebook page we looked at so many areas to detox and NOT a single one was diet related. I think that is a record for me. I wanted to show you that there are many forms of detox and in our modern, fast paced lives we maybe be missing out on the really good stuff. Some simple ideas (#simpleysimple2017) for life changes; go for a walk and leave the mobile phone at home, sit in a park and listen to the birds and other sounds around you – it’s not all white noise.
Today I am getting to the toxins that invade our diets and feed disease instead of good health. I’ll share some of my favorite ways to take toxins out of the diet – below #5. First let me remind you of what we covered during the week.
I’ll back track for you:
(1) Monday I raised the idea of detoxing from our mobile phones at night. I turn my phone off for 12 hours per day, from 7/8 pm to 7/8 am. I love that I can do this and feel more relaxed and know I am getting a better nights sleep.
(2) Tuesday I shared the impact negativity has on our health and how important positive feelings are. Thinking and feeling for health!
(3) Wednesday I shared ideas to detoxing from your busy life. Here are some great tips, I love them all and practice some ….wish I could get to all 21.
Slowing down less busy
(4) Thursday I shared the chemical impact of commercial cleaning products on your health. The average household contains about 62 toxic chemicals, say environmental experts. Ingredients in common household products have been linked to asthma, cancer, reproductive disorders, hormone disruption and neurotoxicity.
(5) Friday, today, its about Removing Toxins from the diet…ease into these changes and see how you feel. These are toxins I have chosen to remove from my diet.
(a) Remove white sugar from your diet as soon as you can. Sugar has no:
- no nutrients
- no protein
- no healthy fats
- no enzymes
Its a substance that is devoid of health giving with huge impact on your body:
- Stresses the Liver: “When we eat fructose, it goes to the liver. If liver glycogen is low, such as after a run, the fructose will be used to replenish it (3)however, most people aren’t consuming fructose after a long workout and their livers are already full of glycogen. When this happens, the liver turns the fructose into fat (2). Some of the fat gets shipped out, but part of it remains in the liver. The fat can build up over time and ultimately lead to Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (4, 5, 6).”
- Increases Bad Cholesterol and Triglycerides (source)
- Can contribute to Leptin Resistance (and then weight gain, cravings, sleep trouble, etc) – source
- Creates an addictive sugar response in the brain (source)
- Doesn’t fill you up and instead encourages you to eat more
(b) Focus on eating REAL FOOD that hasn’t been messed with. What I mean is food that doesn’t have a list of ingredients like fresh vegetables and fruit that are in their whole form or products that have a short list of ingredients – and a list of things you know with NO numbers. These products tend to be around the outside aisles of the – grocery store/farmers markets/and your local green grocer – and not in the centre aisles. There is an old saying
“If your Grandparents didn’t recognize it as food then stay away from it”
(c) Limit acidic foods from your diet. An overly acidic condition weakens the body and can become dangerous. Our body requires a slightly alkaline condition to function well. Blood, for example, needs to be at 7.4 pH. A shift in blood pH of just 0.2 could result in death. Obviously, the body does not want to die, so it is forced to borrow minerals (calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium) from vital organs and bones to neutralize the acid. A balanced body that is not highly acidic makes it easier for cells to cleanse out waste and toxins. Thus, a balanced alkaline pH will help in protecting the cells in your body and may discourage the growth of cancer cells, inflammation in joints, and help keep your bones strong. Foods that are highly acidic include –
- artificial sweeteners – like equal
- certain dairy products like milk
- over consumption of red meat
- processed oils – vegetable oil, corn oil, soybean oil, rice bran oil
- margarine – normally made from processed oils
- processed foods
- processed meats – bacon,cold cuts
- sodas and other sweetened beverages
I feel like I have spoiled all your fun…. All I can suggest is to go easy on acid forming foods, limit them and swap in fresh fruits and vegetables to help restore your bodies ph levels.
Raspberries, not just a good looking tasty burst of flavour they have history too.
They are a member of the rose family and are believed to be native to Alaska and Northern China. The berries vary in colour and the fruit can be black, purple, red and white. As you can guess, the darker the fruit the more antioxidants it contains. What you will typically see is the red variety. What I love is that as far back as 4 A.D the leaves were made into teas and various parts of the plant were used for throat gargles, morning sickness remedies, and digestive cures.
Anti-cancer benefits of raspberries have long been attributed to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. In animal studies involving breast, cervical, colon, esophageal, and prostate cancers, raspberry phytonutrients have been shown to play an important role in lowering oxidative stress, reducing inflammation, and thereby altering the development or reproduction of cancer cells. But new research in this area has shown that the anti-cancer benefits of raspberries may extend beyond their basic antioxidant and anti-inflammatory aspects. Phytonutrients in raspberries may also be able to change the signals that are sent to potential or existing cancer cells. In the case of existing cancer cells, phytonutrients like ellagitannins in raspberries may be able to decrease cancer cell numbers by sending signals that encourage the cancer cells to being a cycle of programmed cell death (apoptosis). In the case of potentially but not yet cancerous cells, phytonutrients in raspberries may be able to trigger signals that encourage the non-cancerous cells to remain non-cancerous.
Improve Management of Obesity
One of the most fascinating new areas of raspberry research involves the potential for raspberries to improve management of obesity. Although this research is in its early stages, scientists now know that metabolism in our fat cells can be increased by phytonutrients found in raspberries, especially rheosmin (also called raspberry ketone). By increasing enzyme activity, oxygen consumption, and heat production in certain types of fat cells, raspberry phytonutrients like rheosmin may be able to decrease risk of obesity as well as risk of fatty liver. In addition to these benefits, rheosmin can decrease activity of a fat-digesting enzyme released by our pancreas called pancreatic lipase. This decrease in enzyme activity may result in less digestion and absorption of fat.
How to buy, store and use these little gems!
Raspberries are very perishable, they should only be purchased one or two days prior to use. Choose berries that are firm, plump, and deep in colour, so please check the whole package and look on the bottom to avoid fruit that might be soft, mushy, or moldy. And where possible, purchase certified organic.
Here are some storage tips for you. When you get the berries home, remove them from their package and pick out any soft or moldy fruit. Place the Unwashed berries back in their original container or in a glass container and store in the fridge. Raspberries can be stored in your fridge for 2 to 3 days due to how perishable the fruit is. Good news is you can also freeze them. Wash them carefully and then pat dry with a paper towel. Arrange them in a single layer on a flat pan or cookie sheet and place them in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer the berries to a heavy plastic freezer bag or plastic freezer container that can be sealed and return them to the freezer where they will keep for up to one year.
Some of my favourite ways to enjoy Raspberries:
- One or two at a time from a bowl
- Base for a fruit pie or crumble
- Base for Soufflé
- Pretty and pink smoothie
- Mixed into a brownie mixture and baked
- Smashed and added to cookie dough or muffin batter
- Smoothie bowl – recipe to follow tomorrow so look out for it.