Beet Kvass

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Beet greens alongside beet chunks in glass container ready to make beet kvass

As a healing through food specialist and health supportive chef, I have been hearing about the wonderful health benefits that are derived from raw beet juice consumption.  The word “kvass” is a Russian word that means a lacto-fermented beverage made from sourdough rye or beets.  With its Russian origin, it originated in the Ukraine and has been consumed for over 1000 years by people living in that part of the world.  Now, it finally is making its way to the USA.

The benefits of this beverage are numerous.  As a lacto-fermented beverage, it contains beneficial bacteria (probiotics) which helps rebuild immunity and helps strengthen the gut.  This process allows key nutrients to be absorbed more readily into the body.

It helps with the digestive process, cleanses the liver, the gallbladder, improves bile flow, removes toxins from the body and fights free radical damage at the cellular level.  The red staining color in beets is derived from a set of phytonutrients known as betalains.  The betalains are responsible for the creation of red blood cells which alkalize the blood.

Inflammation can occur in an over-acidic body.  Due to maintaining balance among the pH level, it robs the body of calcium.  We all need to alkalize the body and beet kvass is an alkaline promoting beverage.

Beets are an excellent source of sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, fiber, folic acid, manganese and vitamins A and C.  It is a rich potpourri of vitamins, minerals and enzymes.

The beet kvass when ready to consume can be drunk as is or added to soups and salad dressings.

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Bowl of raw beets and the glass container of beet kvass

Recipe:

Beet Kvass 

(Serves:  8 cups)

Ingredients:

1 (2 quart) glass bottle or jar with tight fitting lid

4-5 small beets scrubbed, rinsed and diced

1 tablespoon sea salt

Filtered water

Procedure:

Put the diced beet chunks into the glass container.  Add the salt and proceed to fill the jar with water leaving about an inch or two of space from the top.  Close securely with a lid and keep it away from direct sunlight in a room temperature environment for 3 days.

At the end of the 3 days, it can be moved to refrigeration.  It is now ready to consume.  It is suggested to have 1/4 cup in the morning and 1/4 cup in the evening.

Experiment with added ginger root and carrots for a variation.

Note:  When following the GAPS Diet protocol, Stage I, the beet kvass can be consumed along with the gelatinous meat stock for additional digestive benefits.  Stage I excludes fiber but the juice from lacto-fermented beets is highly encouraged for healing of the gut lining.

Sources:

Axe, Dr. J. “The Beverage with Probiotic & Cancer Fighting Benefits”  September 16, 2015.  http://www.draxe.com/kvass/

Goldberg, Max. “Beet Kvass- What is it and Why am I drinking it?”  January 24, 2012.  http://www.livingmaxwell.com/beet-kvass

Ilia Regini is a certified healing through food specialist, health supportive chef, culinary instructor, writer, blogger and speaker.  Healthy Nourished Body offers chef service, cooking lessons, healthy kitchen makeovers and customized menu planning for healing through food dietary protocols.

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Gluten Free Sugar Free Buckwheat Granola

20170830_090127After having scanned the shelves of some of the best health food stores for a quality homemade granola that is both gluten free and sugar free and coming up empty handed, I decided to invent my own.

My homemade granola not only has a superior flavor, but in addition, it is super rich in nutrients, easy to prepare and fits the criteria for a healthy breakfast solution for a number of the healing through food dietary protocols.

The interesting part about this recipe is that many of the ingredients can be swapped out for similar ingredients if there is one that is not to your liking.

The main grain that I use is the much forgotten buckwheat groat.  This versatile grain is roasted in the oven along with a variety of nuts, seeds, dried fruits and spices.  I use a non scented and neutral oil such as coconut oil to moisten the grain, seed and nut mixture.  This mixture is then spread out on a parchment lined baking dish and baked in a 350 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes.  As soon as it cools, it is ready to eat.

This recipe is appropriate for the following diets:  Gluten free Diet, Vegan Diet and Vegetarian Diet

Note:  For the Candida Diet, leave out the raisins and add dried mulberries or aronia berries which are low glycemic fruits.  For the Low FODMAPS Diet, leave out the raisins and cocoa powder.  For the Low Histamine Diet, leave out the nuts, raisins and cocoa powder.

20170830_092619.jpgIngredients:

  • 1 cup buckwheat groats
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup ground pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup ground sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup Thompson black raisins or dried mulberries or aronia berries
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 cup powdered organic cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil

Procedure:

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, add all the ingredients and mix well so all pieces are coated with the oil.

Spread the mixture on a baking pan lined with a Silt Pat or parchment paper.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes until golden and crispy.

Note:  This is a gluten free version of the traditional granola made with rolled oats.  It should be used as a topping for yogurt, fruit or apple sauce and not eaten in a large portion as a cereal substitute.  It is too rich in nutrients and needs to be consumed in smaller amounts.

20170830_095232Ilia Regini is a certified healing through food specialist/health supportive chef/culinary instructor/writer/blogger and speaker.  Healthy Nourished Body offers chef service, cooking lessons, healthy kitchen makeovers and customized menu planning for healing through food dietary protocols.   http://www.healthynourishedbody.com  www.facebook.com/wellnourishedbody63 e:healthynourishedbody@gmail.com

 

 

Vegetable Soup for Breakfast?

20170703_143424Cereal, bread, muffins, pastries, pancakes and omelettes are fine choices if you are well and don’t need to boost your nutrition.  However, if you are like most people, you will do anything to rake in more nutrients.  If you have an autoimmune disease, it is important to consume a nutrient dense breakfast free of grain.

Many Asian countries begin their breaking of the nightly fast with a steamy bowl of soup rich in vitamins and minerals.

In this day and age, so many people are suffering from a myriad of mysterious chronic health problems that include auto-immune illnesses such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Leaky Gut Syndrome, Lupus, Hashimotos’s as well as Candidiasis, Diabetes, Cancer and the Neurological illnesses that include MS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s to name a few.

Many of the specialized healing food diets that are being prescribed by Integrative Health Practitioners, Functional Medicine and Naturopathic Doctors exclude the consumption of sugar and starches due to its breaking down into simple sugar in the body.  This leaves us with the question, “What is one to consume for breakfast?”  Good question.  Why not a healthy vegetable soup that is chock full of vegetables super rich in nutrients? If that is not filling enough, add some kelp noodles which are grain free and some chicken chunks for protein.

The main reason that most people cannot seem to adjust to this idea is simply because certain foods are associated with breakfast and soup is not one of them.  You need to break out of this way of thinking.  There are many people in various countries around the world that do not eat the standard American breakfast and many of them are quite healthy.

I am including a simple recipe for a healing soup that includes what I call the magic healing trio of garlic, ginger and turmeric as well as burdock root, shiitakes, bok choy, watercress and kelp noodles which are not made of starch and are a good source of iodine.  This soup is a rich potpourri of nutrients.  It is easy to assemble.  If you cannot commit to having it every day, at least try consuming it 2-3 times per week.

Let’s get serious about healing our illnesses and enjoy a healthy body once again!

Healing Vegetable Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced turmeric
  • 1/2 medium onion diced
  • 1 medium burdock root peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1 1/2 cups shiitakes sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups bok choy chopped (whites and greens)
  • 1 cup watercress
  • 10 cups filtered water
  • 8 ounce bag kelp noodles (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 1-3 tablespoons Coconut Aminos
  • 1/2 pound chicken cubed (optional)
  • Sea salt to taste

Procedure:

In a large pot, add the oil, garlic, ginger and turmeric and let it cook on medium heat until slightly golden in color.  Add the onions, followed by the vegetables and filtered water and the optional kelp noodles and chicken, if using.  If you desire a thicker soup, add less water and if you want a thinner one, add more.  Adjust seasonings to taste.

Note:  For the Candida Diet, leave out the shiitake mushrooms.  For the GAPS Diet, leave out the burdock.  For the Low FODMAPS Diet, leave out the garlic, onion and shiitake mushrooms.

Ilia Regini is a certified healing through food specialist/health supportive chef/culinary instructor/writer/blogger and speaker.  Healthy Nourished Body offers chef service, cooking lessons, healthy kitchen makeovers and customized menu planning for healing through food dietary protocols.  www.healthynourishedbody.com  www.facebook.com/wellnourishedbody63  e:healthynourishedbody@gmail.com

Pan Fried Lemon Sole – A Healthy Choice for many Specialized Healing Diets

lemon-sole-20161016One of my clients for whom I provide chef service, is suffering from a diagnosis of Lyme Disease and has been advised through his functional medicine doctor to follow the Paleo Ketogenic Diet.  One of the main dishes that I recently prepared for him is lemon sole.  Lemon sole is a very delicate thinly sliced white fish that has virtually no bones to deal with.   It does not have a fishy odor and is considered a good protein choice on this particular diet.

It is quite easy to prepare.  Some people like it dipped in a little coconut flour before sautéeing but it is also good just as is.  Add about 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add a teaspoon of both minced garlic and ginger and simmer until golden.  Add the slices of fish.  Salt and pepper it and squeeze a generous amount of lemon.  Drizzle a little coconut aminos and that’s it!  Since it is such a thin and delicate fish, it cooks up quickly.  It will be done in about 3 minutes per side.  Turn over, salt and pepper, add lemon.  Drizzle a bit more coconut aminos.

This dish is appropriate for the following specialized dietary protocols:  The Auto-Immune Paleo Diet, The Candida Elimination Diet, the GAPS Diet, the Low Histamine Diet and the Paleo Ketogenic Diet.

Note:  For the Low FODMAPS Diet, leave out the garlic.

Ilia Regini is a certified healing through food specialist/health supportive chef/culinary instructor/writer/blogger and speaker.  Healthy Nourished Body offers chef service, cooking lessons, healthy kitchen makeovers and customized menu planning for healing through food dietary protocols.  www.healthynourishedbody.com  www.facebook.com/wellnourishedbody63 e:healthynourishedbody@gmail.com

Taking Back My Health 1 Day at a Time

Yam Noodle Vegetable Stir FryI just received the results from my yearly physical exam. They were atrocious, to say the least.  I had gained 12 pounds in one year, my cholesterol was way up and if that weren’t enough, my liver enzymes were sky rocketing as well.  I immediately thought to myself, “What kind of example am I sending the public about me and my business when I cannot even take care of my own health?”

I immediately began to incorporate many more vegetables (both raw and cooked) into my daily diet cutting way back on butter, cheese, grass-fed meats and chocolate.  In addition to the diet makeover, I have made every effort to get to the gym at least 3-4 times a week.

After having made these two changes, I have already been experiencing the positive results.  Instead of feeling fatigued and drained, I am energetic and ambitious.  I no longer feel incessantly hungry all day.  I even invented some killer new recipes on the spot, one, of which, I will share with you.

I never thought this would happen to me but it did and thankfully, I caught it in the knick of time before irreversible damage set in.

I was putting so much effort into my business (marketing, scheduling clients, etc.) that I was ignoring myself and I didn’t even realize it!  It just sort of happened due primarily to a lack of poor time management.

I am not perfect.  I have faults just like everyone else.  The important part is to admit it and move on by doing something about it.  I could have just said to myself, “Oh well, I am getting older, it is too late to change old habits, yada, yada, yada.”  But I made the conscious choice to make the necessary changes and in just three days, I am noticing a huge difference!

I hope this piece of writing is inspiring to those of you who feel you just can’t do it.  To all of you, I say, yes, you can!!!

Sweet Potato Glass Noodle Stir Fry  

Serves 5-6

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon minced jalapeño (seeds discarded)

1 large clove garlic minced

1 teaspoon minced ginger root

1/2 medium onion sliced thinly

1/2 red bell pepper sliced thinly into strips

1 cup of chopped broccoli

2 stalks celery sliced on a diagonal

1/3 cup chickpeas

5 ounces sweet potato glass noodles

3 tablespoons Nama Shoyu or Coconut Aminos

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sesame oil

3 tablespoons minced parsley

2 scallions cut on a diagonal for garnish

Procedure:

In a large covered pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil.  Add a pinch of salt.  When water is boiling, add the noodles.  Stir frequently to eliminate clumping.  When cooked al dente, drain, rinse in cool water and set aside.

In a medium pot, add 4 cups of filtered water.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Prepare an ice bath with ice cubes and a little cold water to cover.  Set aside.  When the water is boiling, add the chopped broccoli.  After about a minute or two, drain the water and plunge the broccoli into the ice bath to stop the cooking.  Strain and set aside.

In a large sauté pan, add oil and the garlic, ginger root and jalapeño.  When golden, add the remainder of ingredients one at a time in the order given.  Stir.  Do not overcook.  Add the drained noodles and liquids.  Garnish with scallions and parsley.

Note:  For the Low FODMAPS Diet, leave out the garlic, onion and scallions.  Swap out the broccoli for bok choy and the shiitake mushrooms for zucchini.  Swap out the chickpeas for your choice of grass fed meat.  Use Coconut Aminos in place of tamari.

Note:  For the Low Histamine Diet, swap out the chickpeas for your choice of grass fed meat.  Use Coconut Aminos in place of tamari.  Leave out the rice vinegar.

Ilia Regini is a certified healing through food specialist/health supportive chef/culinary instructor/writer/blogger and speaker.  Healthy Nourished Body offers chef service, cooking lessons, healthy kitchen makeovers and customized menu planning for healing through food dietary protocols.  www.healthynourishedbody.com  www.facebook.com/wellnourishedbody63  e:healthynourishedbody@gmail.com