Simple, Calming, Vegan Potato & Lentil Soup/Stew

 
 
As the battle against stress, anxiety, mood disorders and plain dumpsville days is here, I decided to whip up a great B Vitamin, stress reducing recipe for you all. 
 
Why B’s you ask? This vitamin protects the nervous system and soothes the body and mind, combating anxiety, irritability, tension and insomnia. This vitamin group is needed for your body’s cells to convert carbohydrates and fats into energy.
 
is essential for fighting chronic stress and vitamin aids in the function of a healthy nervous system (which, when unbalanced, can produce nervousness, depression, insomnia, mental confusion and irritability). Combined with 12 , it induces our brain’s serotonin secretion, which helps us to calm our nerves and anxiety. The vitamin B group can be found in foods like, yeast, wheat germ, dried fruits, beans, broccoli, sunflower seeds, lentils, peanuts, nuts and many other foods.
 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cups of new potatoes, washed and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 cup (250 mL) green lentils
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) celtic sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) pepper
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups (1 L) vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh parsley

Preparation

In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; cook onion, potatoes, celery, lentils, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, cumin and cayenne pepper, stirring often, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
Add stock; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer until potatoes and lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Serve sprinkled with parsley.

 

Welcoming Delicious Fall Flavours

Living in a new City and Province since June has been an amazing experience. Not only am I just 1.5 hours in the air away from beautiful Vancouver, BC, I am also worlds away culturally speaking. From being a Vegan in “Cowtown” to experiencing the actual change between seasons, it’s been a unique and perspective producing Summer turn Autumn.

In celebration of all things Vegan, and as a warm “thank you” to Calgary – I am writing today to share a bit of info on some colourful fall flavours, colours and cruelty-free menu options. Hit up Calgary Farmers Market to find these delicious recipe ingredients.

The days are shorter, our schedules build back up after our summer sleepyness, and we realize it’s time to turn in our short-shorts for our long-long underwear. Colour, flavour and nutrition do not have to be tossed aside when our beautiful summer veggie beds are put to rest. Let’s take a look at some fall stars here now!

Swiss Chard – beet relative and vitamin rich in A & C as well as Calcium and Iron.

Beets – bulb and greens are both delicious and nutritious to eat. Vitamin A & C as well as Iron &Folate. Trim stems before storing over the winter to reduce water suction from the root.

Apples – Rich in Vitamin A,C & K as well as Choline (similar to B vitamins, protects our livers from getting fat). Continue to ripen after picked, store in a cool place to save over winter.

Beet-a-licious Breakfast

1 pound of Beets peeled and diced
1/2 pound Yukon Gold potatoes diced
Pinch or two of celtic sea salt
Fresh ground black & red peppercorns
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion diced 2 tbsp parsley
*Option* 1 pound organic, firm, tofu – chopped into small cubes

METHOD: In a high-sided pan cover beets & potatoes with water and boil. Seson with salt and cook 7-10 minutes or until tender. Drain and wipe out pan. Heat oil in skillet and add beats & potatoes, cook until potatoes are golden brown. Reduce to medium heat and add onion & tofu. Cook for 4 minutes until tender. Adjust any seasonings as necessary.Add parsley in last minute or two. Serve hot!

“Chardley any work” Pizza
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 bunch swiss chard (1 lb)without stems, leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
Celtic Sea salt
1 gluten free or vegan pizza dough *Community Health Item!!
1 cup grated Daiya Vegan Cheese *Community Health Item!!

METHOD: Place pizza stone or inverted baking sheet in oven and heat to 500 degrees. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in skillet on medium. Cook garlic in oil until tender – 1 minute. Add Chard leaves in batches until just wilted, then remove – 5 minutes per. Season with salt. Transfer pizza dough to parchment, brush with remaining oil and season with salt. Sprinkle with “cheese”, top with chard & transfer tooven. Bake for 15 minutes and top with pepper flakes.

Apple Snax

2 apples sliced crosswise 1/8 inch thick “wheels” with seeds removed.
***I love Gala, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady for this one.***
Cinnamon – to dust with if desired

Heat oven to 225, arrange slices on parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 1.5 hours. Flip and continue to bake for 1 more hour or until crisp. Remove and cool completely. Should store for 1 week in air tight container.

RAW Energy Bar Recipe!


Raw Energy Bar Template – You’ll need a food processor

*Store in plastic wrap in the fridge.Grab n’ Go style. .

1/4 cup chopped dates (roughly chopped whole dates, not pre-chopped)
1/4 cup dried cherries, cranberries, blueberries, raisins, apricots, apples, oranges
1/3 cup whole pecans, almonds or walnuts
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Almond or peanut butter to top
Agave nectar or Honey as it fits in your diet.

Set out two pieces of plastic wrap for shaping and wrapping the bars. Do this first!

Place the dates and dried fruit of choice in a food processor. Pulse until processed to a paste .Transfer paste to a medium bowl.

Add nuts of choice to the processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add nuts, and the cinnamon, to fruit paste. Use your fingers to knead the nuts into the paste.

Pack mixture into cake pan, cupcake tin or baking sheet…something relatively flat and make it no more than 1 inch high. Use spatula to spread almond or peanut butter over the top of the pressed mixture. Drizzle with honey or agave nectar.

Place in refrigerator and chill for 1 hour or cut up and wrap into individual bars immediately if you are not using topping.

Just say no……to soy?


I must say that the first time I heard this sentiment I thought, “god no, another health food option for us to criticize”. Frankly I was exhausted by the thought that I would have to seriously cut down the soy in my diet. Being a true vegetarian (no fish/seafood or meat) that seemed to be the last straw. My raw food diet was far smaller then and now is up to nearly 80% but this was definitely cause for investigation. So, I scoured the net and books and chatted with industry folk and this is some of the information I have put together for you. Remember, everything in moderation is a key phrase to hold dear if you’re just starting out down the health and wellness path. All of this can overwhelm even seasoned veterans, er, vegetarians.

Read on, and stay informed!

From tofu and tacos to baby formula and burgers, soy products have swept the country as a healthy source of protein, with a reputation for being all natural and good for you. New studies have however raised questions over whether the ingredients in soy might increase the risk of breast cancer in some women, affect brain function in men and lead to hidden developmental ab-normalities in infants. I am sure that you can thank Monsanto themselves for the majority of this…but more on that one later!

The core of their concerns rests with the chemical makeup of soy: in addition to all the nutrients and protein, soy contains a natural chemical that mimics estrogen, the female hormone. Some studies in animals show that this chemical can alter sexual development. And in fact, 2 glasses of soy milk/day, over the course of one month, contain enough of the chemical to change the timing of a woman’s menstrual cycle.

Isoflavones in soybeans

Soybeans contain an impressive array of phytochemicals (biologically active components derived from plants), the most interesting of which are known as isoflavones. Isoflavones are the compounds which are being studied in relation to the relief of certain menopausal symptoms, cancer prevention, slowing or reversing osteoporosis and reducing the risk of heart disease.

Soy critics point to the fact that soybeans, as provided by nature, are not suitable for human consumption. Only after fermentation for some time, or extensive processing, including chemical extractions and high temperatures, are the beans, or the soy protein isolate, suitable for digestion when eaten.

Soybeans also reportedly contain an anti-nutrient called “phytic acid”, which all beans do. However, soybeans have higher levels of phytic acid than any other legume. Phytic acid may block the absorption of certain minerals, including magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc. Epidemiological studies have shown that people in 3rd World Countries who have high consumption of grains and soy also commonly have deficiencies in these minerals. It must also be noted that this may be of particular concern with regard to babies who are using soy-based infant formulas.

Drumroll please…….here comes the big bad man, MONSANTO:

Who has something to gain from the consumption of soy? Perhaps companies like Monsanto which produce the genetically modified soybean seeds. Perhaps companies like Cargill Foods or SoyLife which produce countless soy-based foods. Or soybean councils in several states which represent farmers who grow this new, emerging bumper crop. And, of course, all of the companies which are constructing factories all over the world to do the processing which is necessary to make soybeans edible.

Soy – more negatives than positives

There are tonnes of side effects with cooked soy, including essential mineral uptake blockers like magnesium and trypsin which we use for protein digestion. This can all cause serious gastric distress, reduced digestion and chronic health issues surrounding this internal process. Not to mention hemagglutinin which is a clot-promoter – effecting red blood cells and blocking oxygen distribution.

Soy and hormonal balance

Just because tofu is of vegetable origin does not necessarily make it healthy.

Health-conscious folks believe in the benefits of tofu, infant formula and other food products made from soybeans and soy extract. But their assumption is now being called into question by Jill Schneider, associate professor of biological sciences at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

In a study of hamsters completed under Schneider’s direction, it was recently found that a component of soy beans – isoflavones – significantly accelerated the onset of puberty in the rodents.

These findings, which are similar to the results reported by labs which have experimented with rats, might be relevant to humans, Schneider says. She points out that many babies who are allergic to cow’s milk are fed soy-based formulas which contain isoflavones. Isoflavones, she says, can act like estrogen, a natural hormone important in the development of both male and female humans.

OTHER REASONS TO STAY AWAY FROM – OR LIMIT YOUR INTAKE AT LEAST

A very large percentage of soy – over 90% – is genetically modified and it also has one of the highest percentages contamination by pesticides of any of the foods we eat.

Soy processors have worked hard to get these anti-nutrients out of the finished product, particularly soy protein isolate (SPI) which is the key ingredient in most soy foods which imitate meat and dairy products, including baby formulas and some brands of soy milk.

SPI is not something you can make in your own kitchen. Production takes place in industrial factories where soybeans are first mixed with an alkaline solution to remove fiber, then precipitated and separated using an acid wash and, finally, neutralized in an alkaline solution.

Soy-based formula also has over 1000% more aluminum than conventional milk based formulas. Breast milk is best, but if one, for whatever reason, cannot breast feed, then Carnation Good Start until six months and Carnation FollowUp after that seem to be the best commercial formula currently available. The milk protein is hydrolyzed 80% which tends to significantly decrease its allergenicity.

Finally, the resulting curds are spray-dried at high temperatures to produce a high-protein powder. A final hardship to the original soybean is high-temperature, high-pressure extrusion processing of soy protein isolate to produce textured vegetable protein.

Nitrites, which are potent carcinogens, are formed during spray-drying, and a toxin called “lysinoalanine” is formed during alkaline processing.(1) Numerous artificial flavorings, particularly MSG, are added to soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein products to mask their strong “beany” taste and to impart the flavor of meat.

Yet soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein are used extensively in school lunch programs, commercial baked goods, fast food products and diet beverages. They are heavily promoted in 3rd world countries and form the basis of many food giveaway programs.

There are so many people benefiting from the production and sale of soy, including the firms marketing the products. People are paid to make statements nowadays – EVEN DOCTORS. More reason to not always believe what you read, or at least do a bit of research on what you’re putting into your body, your temple.

For alternatives or more information, you can always drop me a line! : sasha@foodmedicinelife.com

References:

(1). Rackis, et al., ibid., p. 22; “Evaluation of the Health Aspects of Soy Protein Isolates as Food Ingredients”, prepared for FDA by Life Sciences Research Office, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (9650 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20014), USA, Contract No. FDA 223-75-2004, 1979.
(2). See www/truthinlabeling.org.
(3). See www/unitedsoybean.org.

(4). These are listed in www.soyonlineservice.co.nz.

(5). Wall Street Journal, October 27, 1995.

(6). Urquhart, John, “A Health Food Hits Big Time”, Wall Street Journal, August 3, 1999, p. B1

(7). Natural Medicine News (L & H Vitamins, 32-33 47th Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101), USA, January/February 2000, p. 8.
(8). Harras, Angela (ed.), Cancer Rates and Risks, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, 1996, 4th edition.
(9). Searle, Charles E. (ed.), Chemical Carcinogens, ACS Monograph 173, American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, 1976.

(10). Ishizuki, Y. et al., “The effects on the thyroid gland of soybeans administered experimentally in healthy subjects”, Nippon Naibunpi Gakkai Zasshi (1991) 767:622-629.

(11). Cassidy, A. et al., “Biological Effects of a Diet of Soy Protein Rich in Isoflavones on the Menstrual Cycle of Premenopausal Women”, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1994) 60:333-340.

(12). Bulletin de L’Office Fédéral de la Santé Publique, no. 28, July 20, 1992.

(13). Setchell, K.D. et al., “Isoflavone content of infant formulas and the metabolic fate of these early phytoestrogens in early life”, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, December 1998 Supplement, 1453S-1461S.

(14). Irvine, C. et al., “The Potential Adverse Effects of Soybean Phytoestrogens in Infant Feeding”, New Zealand Medical Journal May 24, 1995, p. 318.

Kale Chips – Baked



Well, my pal Brooke said that they kind of taste like air, which is true in the sense that they’re very airy/light BUT when you add a little – VERY LITTLE – organic Himalayan rock salt and some parmesan…you’re off to the vegan races.

Recipe:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Bunch kale – remove spines and cut or torn into bite sized pieces
Rock Salt – preferably organic
Olive oil
Parmesan Cheese – optional for non-vegans.

Lay a length of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Place kale chips onto sheet, drizzle with olive oil (don’t overdo it) and a light dusting of rock salt. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until edges curl/brown. Remove and sprinkle with parmesan (if you’re a cheese eater).

ENJOY thoroughly

CACAO the superfood!

Kit Kats, Snickers, Cadbury. We all know that chocolate is bad for us right? Wrong! (Though chocolate in the sugary form of our favourite snack bars are definitely NOT good for us).
Chocolate is actually one of the healthiest foods on the earth! Research is continually proving that chocolate is actually a super food. The problem is that most chocolate has been highly processed and heated, stealing all the nutrients.

Further, Many ingredients are added to chocolate which have a negative impact on our health. Sugar, for example, destroys the immune system, and causes diabetes, premature aging and other serious health complaints. Studies show that adding milk to chocolate cancels out all of the goodness. In addition, researchers have found that commercial chocolate can be contaminated with extremely high quantities of the toxic metal lead.

You may be asking yourself what is left if you can’t have milk chocolate, dark chocolate or any sort of processed chocolate. Fear not, the absolutely delicious raw chocolate is taking the world by storm. You don’t need to avoid chocolate this holiday season because you can have raw chocolate.

Raw chocolate is chocolate that has not gone through any sort of heating or processing, so all of the nutrients are still in tact. But lets not forget CACAO and not COCOA is what we’re talking about here, by transposing those few letters you’re making a whole world of difference to your body. Good versus evil so to speak.

So What are the Nutrients?

Chocolate contains more magnesium than any other food. Magnesium is the number one mineral deficiency in the west. It is the most powerful stress relieving mineral. It also relaxes the muscles and builds strong bones and teeth.

Chocolate is also power packed with antioxidants, which protect us from aging and disease. The following is a list of the foods with the highest ORAC values (the number given to foods based on their antioxidant activity):

•Unprocessed Raw Cacao – ORAC 28,000
•Acai Berries – ORAC 18,500
•Dark Chocolate – ORAC 13,120
•Prunes – 5,770
•Goji Berries – 3,472
•Pomegranates – 3,307
•Raisins – 2,830
•Blueberries – 2,400

Amazing! You can see that even heated dark chocolate has a high antioxidant level. Unfortunately, most dark chocolate has sugar added to it.

Chocolate is actually higher in the antioxidant resveratrol than red wine. The media have been giving red wine a lot of attention over the last few years because it is rich in this antioxidant, which is know for protecting cells from free radical damage and inhibiting the spread of cancer. It is also know to your lower blood pressure and normalize your anti-inflammatory response.

Chocolate is also rich in sulphur, which is the beauty mineral. Sulphur is essential for gorgeous skin, lustrous hair and strong nails.

Chocolate is one of the only sources of PEA, which is a compound that increases the serotonin levels in the brain, which increases joy. No wonder people are so attracted to chocolate!

More Benefits of Chocolate

Chocolate may help prevent cardiovascular disease in diabetics because of their high levels of flavanol. Research has shown that people with diabetes that drank flavanol rich cocoa for one month showed dramatic improvements in their blood vessel function. In fact, the improvements they noticed were as high as those found in taking drugs. Chocolate is an amazing super food for keeping your heart healthy and for improving elasticity in your blood vessels.

Chocolate helps people to feel amazing. Besides PEA, the rich creaminess of chocolate has been known to boost sex drive and make us feel alive. And the good news is that it doesn’t have to contain milk, sugar, aluminium, or any other ingredients that may have a negative impact on our health. Raw chocolate can be combined with other super foods so that we can indulge our sweet tooth and improve our health at the same time.

How to Get Raw Chocolate

Some health food shops are beginning to sell raw chocolate, and you can also order it online. David Wolfe has some amazing products which he promotes as noted in this picture below:

If you are a Vancouver, BC local you can also visit Organic Lives on Quebec street at Great Northern Way/4th Avenue:

www.organiclives.org

Better yet, you can make your own vegan raw chocolate at home. There are so many different recipes out there that combine different super foods. Here is one of the most basic for you to try out:

Raw Cacao butter
Raw Cacao powder
Mesquite
Agave Nectar (yes…only four ingredients, but you won’t believe how it tastes!)

Put boiling water in a bowl. Put the cacao butter (how ever much chocolate you intend to make) in another bowl, then set that in the bowl with the boiling water. This will ensure that the cacao is not heated above 116 degrees f, which is the point at which the molecular structure begins to change. Thus, if it is heated to a temperature under 116, it is still considered raw.

Make sure that you break the cacao butter down into tiny bits; otherwise it will take ages to melt.
Once the butter is melted, pour in half the amount of chocolate powder. So if you melted 2 grams of butter, put in 1 gram powder.

Now put in that same amount of mesquite. Mesquite meal is a traditional Native American food that has been used as a staple food for centuries by desert dwellers. This high protein meal contains good quantities of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc, and is rich in the amino acid lysine as well. It has a sweet taste that will give your chocolate a kick.

Add as much agave nectar as you want. Agave nectar is an incredibly delicious natural sweetener that will NOT make your blood sugar levels spin out of control. It is actually the same plant that tequila comes from.

Now take a rubber ice cup tray (you can use a plastic one, but it can be difficult to get the chocolate out of) and load it up with chocolate. Put it in the freezer, it should be ready to eat in about 30 minutes.

Source: Natural News and Longevity Now.