Friday, October 30, 2009

Ice Ice, Baby

What do you get when you blend and freeze coconut oil, lime juice, agave, cashews and a little H2O?

Super delicious ice kream bars, of course!

I was a little skeptical that a raw foods dessert would turn out to be so delectable. But this dairy free and easy-to-make recipe, courtesy of Ani Phyo, is a dream come true!

For more raw treats check out Ani's Raw Food Desserts: 85 Easy, Delectable Sweets and Treats.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Narberth Noshes

First I want to give a big thank you to Melinda, fellow blogger and holistic health junkie, for sharing her story from Basel, Switzerland! Prior to her family's work assignment in Europe, we shared many hikes in Valley Forge park and discussions on health and nutrition. I've learned so much from her and was excited to read her post on What the World Eats!

I am following Melinda's lead and posting a picture from today's trip to the grocery store. In recent months with a heavy focus on juicing I've found it most convenient to hit the Whole Foods in "European style" - ie buying produce several times throughout the week. The picture below is a representation of one such trip (multiply the produce by two or three on a good week).

Weekly vices not pictured here: potato chips and bacon sandwiches. I usually grab these at the student center where I work.

What's on your table?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What the World Eats ~ by Melinda

What the World Eats – What We Eat
By Melinda Taylor Schoutens

I recently stumbled across a great article that profiled families from around the world and what they consumed during the course of a week. Each family was asked to display their weeks worth of groceries on their kitchen table for all of the world to see. The pictures were quite humbling. Some of the Western Countries’ tables were filled with processed and fast foods and the third world countries were filled with vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
Quite the contrast.
The contrast I imagine stemmed from convenience, income levels and deep imbedded traditions. To be honest, some of the families’ choices saddened me. Processed food sprayed out on the table for the world to see. Fast food littered not only the table, but also their bodies.

It made me think – if I were to take one weeks worth of groceries and spread them out on our table, what would the picture look like? Would I be happy with the snap shot of our weekly consumption, or would I cringe in disbelief? So, I took a picture and this is what it looks like.

I do have to add a disclaimer here. Because the European refrigerators are so small (and I currently reside in Switzerland), we shop three to four times per week at our local grocery store. Having that said, it made it rather hard to display one picture that represents a single week.

I have an interest in nutrition because I attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. The curriculum was rich with every nutrition guru in the world who opened their minds, their hearts with theories, practices and wisdom. At the end of the program I found myself overloaded with information wondering, what in the world are we supposed to eat? After my dizzying head came to a stop, I realized it is rather quite simple.

Eat more real food – meaning whole foods – foods that come from the earth in their natural form. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, beans, etc. should make up the majority of our diet. This isn’t to say that I do not appreciate some good Swiss dark chocolate (and at times, really wish it were a whole food!) a nice cup of coffee or a pastry, but for the most part, I want to be conscious of what I consume and what fuels not only my body, but also the bodies of those I love.

Good eatin’ everyone!

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Spice of Life

To celebrate Autumn, the eve of Diwali, and a newfound interest in cupcake making I cracked open a killer book with a kick-ass and super easy recipe for Chai Latte Cupcakes. Check. It. Out.

No matter what your food philosophy is, unless you're going raw 24/7, you'll find yourself a little piece of heaven with the book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

Here's a couple recipes in the queue:

* Crimson Velveteen Cupcakes
* S'mores Cupcakes
* Coconut Lime Cupcakes
* Tiramisu Cupcakes
* Cappuchino Cupcakes with Espresso Creme
* Margarita Cupcakes
* Lemon Macademia Cupcakes
* Apricot Glazed Almond Cupcakes

*Be sure to check out the book for 66 additional recipes!

Must go eat more cupcakes now.

The desi festival-of-lights dancing will convenienty balance everything out.

UPDATE: Had to share a picture of the smores cupcake! Delish!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Gut Reaction

Last Wednesday I sat in on an amazing teleseminar with Liz Lipski, a clinical nutritionist who specializes in integrative medicine. The topic of discussion was digestive wellness, something I've been working on for the past four years. Liz is a great resource on all things gut-related especially because she recognizes the significant roles that stress and food play in illnesses, ranging from celiacs disease and parkinsons to migranes and asthma.

Liz started the conversation on the "second brain" and gut bacteria - its role in metabolism (huge!) and its subsequent effect on brain function, immunity, and cell energy. This gave meaning to the old adage "you are what you eat" especially when what you are eating might might be leaking into your bloodstream.

I would imagine that people who feel great/healthy might consider this topic to be a snoozefest. I would too if that were my experience. But I was loving every minute of the seminar. It's so fascinating how complex our gut really is and how intricate of a role it plays in vitality and health. It was also comforting to be in the company of a professional who specializes in holistic health practices and has a success record in treating people within this framework. Over the years I've consulted with GI physicians, all of whom were trained with the Western medical model. I hate to stereotype because there are some exceptional doctors. But most of the GI docs I've seen have been quick to write prescriptions and forgo a more holistic approach. Food had little to do with their recommendations for wellness. It was a strange omission.

Enter Liz

The most profound part of the seminar was when Liz said, "we are what we eat, absorb, digest and excrete." Much of my focus to date has been on what I'm eating. And I still don't feel 100% despite having eliminated all my trigger foods. I am planning to see a doctor with a practice in functional medicine to help fill in the gaps and get a better picture of what's happening, particularly if and how food is being absorbed and how my body is processing it.

If you are interested in improving your digestive health I recommend Liz' resources: her book, Digestive Wellness, her Innovative Healing website, and her free iTunes podcasts. Her podcasts share information on detoxification practices, metabolic testing, vitamin and herb suppliments, and much more! They are short and chock full of useful info...perfect for people on-the-go (ie all of us)!

What is your gut telling you?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Home-Away-From-Home Stew

Emek's dish was my one and only home-cooked meal during a week of work travel. It went a long way, especially since it was healthy AND tasty! It's also uber easy to make!


1/2 pack of frozen peas
3/4 onion
1 can of crushed tomatoes
Little bit of cooking oil
2 Potatoes
3 Carrots
Black pepper and salt to taste

Chop the onions and sautee them in olive oil. Pour the can of crushed tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Mix in the chopped carrots and diced potatoes, cooking until the veggies are tender. Toss in the peas and some water. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over brown rice or anything that strikes your fancy. Make yum yum noises.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Crash and Burn (Then Get Back Up)

I recently completed a series of "7-days-without" stints to boost my immune system. To ensure success I felt it best to start with short term goals. I finished a week without cheese (a food trigger for me), a week of upping fiber intake (a.k.a. week without any processed junk), and a week without coffee. Small goals. Big results. I felt so good I extended the coffee cuts to almost 30 days!

During my days "without" campaign I made some investments too. I juiced raw fruits and veggies daily and the payoff was huge. I had energy that lasted for hours and less brain fog. People started complimenting me on my skin and said I was glowing.

Aside from feeling great there's nothing better than someone telling you how great (ie healthy) you look, especially when you've worked hard to achieve it. Now imagine the frustration I felt when a little indulgence in coffee on a recent work trip proved to mess with my clear skin and general well-being.

Business conference + (lattes x 3) = yowza to my health plan.

The facts on caffeine should have been convincing on their own. The drug inhibits the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals, overworks the adrenal glands, can weaken the immune system and ages the skin. If that wasn't enough the lattes left me feeling jittery and made my stomach mad. I think the caffeine was also contributing to a heightened response to other food triggers. The message was loud and clear. Caffeine could no longer be my friend.

I'll manage without it. It's been nine days since my last latte and my skin is getting it's glow back. :)