Healthy Spring Fruit Salad

Healthy Fruit SaladAre you one of those people that are constantly grabbing a sweet treat in place of fresh fruit?  Are you the same person that claims that preparing fruit is too time consuming?  Well, I may have just the answer . . .

Your best bet is to buy a small variety of several fruits when you are doing your weekly shopping.  Try picking out a selection of colors to make it not only flavorful but appealing to the eye.  Good choices are granny smith apples which are less sweet than regular apples, pears, tangerines, grapefruits, melons (when in season), kiwi and all types of berries.

All fruit should be purchased organic and rinsed well before slicing.  All pieces should be cut uniform in size.  Mix them together in a mixing bowl, add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime and top with fresh sliced mint or basil or a combination of both.

The orange colored fruit in the photo is a kumquot.  It is a more exotic fruit and a bit hard to come by.  If you see them, I highly suggest you invest in buying a few.  They have a unique and pungent but satisfying flavor.

Enjoy creating your own recipe!

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.

http://www.healthynourishedbody.com

http://www.facebook.com/wellnourishedbody63

e:healthynourishedbody@gmail.com

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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.

http://www.healthynourishedbody.com

http://www.facebook.com/wellnourishedbody63

e:  healthynourishedbody@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raw Lemon and Lime Curd Tartlets

20170802_174131The credit for this sumptuous, tangy dessert goes to Zita Steyn, a graduate of the Natural Gourmet’s Chef Training Program.  After having stumbled upon the recipe by chance, I was completely captivated by the elegant aspect of the individual scalloped edge tartlets with its creamy sea green filling dotted with the ubiquitous summer blueberry.

I immediately knew that I had to make this recipe.  Upon scanning the list of ingredients, I became aware that everything going into it was raw and healthy.  The crust was made up of sprouted buckwheat, coconut oil, cashews, unsweetened coconut flakes, Medjool dates, lemon zest and sea salt.  The filling was made up of pecans, avocado, lemon and lime juice, honey, lemon oil, coconut oil and sea salt.

As for the equipment, although I possess many baking gadgets, individualized tartlet shells were not part of my baking repertoire.  I had to venture out and invest in these elaborate little pie pans.

After shopping for the specifics, I gathered all the  ingredients and set to work to try out the recipe.  Although the finished product gave the impression that it was complicated, nothing could be further from the truth.  The crust came together nicely as well as the filling.  Upon assembling it, I couldn’t believe that it looked just like the picture in the recipe.  Wow!  I was really impressed to say the least!

20170801_083704As for taste, the crust had a delicate crunch and the filling was incredibly light, creamy and tangy and not overbearingly sweet.  It seemed like the perfect ending to a mid summer’s evening dinner.

This recipe is gluten-free and vegan friendly.  It is not appropriate for the Auto-Immune Paleo, Candida, GAPS, Low Histamine, Low FODMAPS or Paleo Ketogenic Diets.  It is appropriate for the Gluten free, Vegan, Vegetarian and Weston A. Price Diets.

Yield:  6 Tartlets

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sprouted, dried buckwheat
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1 cup shelled, unroasted cashews, soaked for a few hours and drained
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon, plus extra to serve
  • 3/4 cup dry unsweetened coconut
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 5 large soft Medjool dates, pitted and chopped

For the Filling:

  • Scant 1 cup shelled, unroasted macadamia or pecan nuts, soaked for a few hours then drained
  • 3/4 cup mixture of lemon and lime juice (about 2 large lemons and 3 limes)
  • 2 large avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon good-quality lemon extract or a few drops of lemon oil
  • 2 tablespoons liquid coconut oil

Procedure:

1.  Blitz all the ingredients for the crust in a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse, wet sand.  Scrape out and press into 6 mini tart pans, 4 inch diameter.  Refrigerate while you make the filling.

2.  In a powerful blender, blend all the ingredients for the filling until very smooth.  If using a regular blender, the result will not be quite as smooth, so you may want to strain the mixture through a strainer.  Taste, and it if is too tart, add another tablespoon or two of honey, bearing in mind that the crust is sweet and offsets the filling beautifully.

3.  Spoon the filling into the tart shells and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.  Carefully unmold each tart and serve with fresh blueberries and some fresh lime or lemon zest.  They keep well in their pans in the refrigerator for a day or two.

Recipe excerpted with permission from Eat More Greens by Zita Steyn, published by Quadrille Publishing March 2017, RRP $24.99 hardcover.

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.                                                                                                  http://www.healthynourishedbody.com  http://www.facebook.com/wellnourishedbody63                        e:  healthynourishedbody@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

A Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookie

IMG_20170729_201153_561 (1)Does your mouth water and an immediate craving sets in upon the mention of homemade chocolate chip cookies?  I know this happens to me!  These delectable morsels were often times a treat that I would come home to from school on numerous occasions.

Now, 40 years later, we have come to realize that the ingredients that make up the traditional cookie are not that good for us from a nutritional perspective.  The time has come for a chocolate chip cookie makeover.

Try substituting tiger nut flour for the traditional white flour.  It is antioxidant rich and despite its name, it is nut free and gluten free.  It derives from a wild tuber which, by the way, is a good source of fiber which keeps you full and eliminates over indulging.

Try adding some tahini (ground sesame seeds) which are high in healthy fats and amino acids (protein).  The white sugar can be swapped out for maple sugar which is derived from the sap of the maple tree and is rich in minerals.

Try using chocolate chips which are sweetened with a little stevia or monk fruit in place of sugar.  This recipe can be made without the sugar for individuals with diabetes.  If you are vegan, try swapping out the egg for ground flax and filtered water.  (ratio:  3 tablespoons water to 1 tablespoon ground flax meal).   Both tiger nut flour and tiger nuts can be purchased at quality health food stores.  The simple recipe is on the back of the package.  Feel free to add some walnuts or unsweetened coconut flakes.  Enjoy!

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 http://www.facebook.com/wellnourishedbody63 e:healthynourishedbody@gmail.com

Quinoa Spaghetti with Olives and Basil

Quinoa Spaghetti with Olives and BasilHave you ever come home from work and had a craving for a traditional Italian old time favorite like spaghetti with a tangy marinara sauce but then realized that you could not consume gluten?  Well, don’t despair!  There are a number of great and tasty gluten free pasta products on the market.  I chose a spaghetti made with quinoa flour.  Luckily for me, when this craving occurs, I usually have all the necessary ingredients on hand to whip up a gourmet meal in minutes.

This recipe is appropriate for those of you who are following the Candida Elimination Diet, the low FODMAPS Diet, the Gluten-free Diet as well as the Vegan and Vegetarian Diets.  The only change is to eliminate the garlic and onion in the tomato marinara sauce for those of you following the low FODMAPS Diet.

Here is the recipe:

Quinoa Spaghetti with Olives and Basil  (Serves 2)

Ingredients: 

(For the sauce)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove minced
  • 1/4 small onion diced small
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
  • 3-4 basil leaves thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup castelvetrano olives sliced
  • 1/2 (24 ounce) jar of strained tomatoes (I use the brand Bionaturae)
  • Sea salt to taste

(For the pasta)

  • 8 cups filtered water
  • 4-5 ounces quinoa spaghetti
  • Pinch of salt

Procedure:

(For the sauce)  In a medium pot on simmer, add the oil and garlic and cover. When golden, add the onion and mix well.  When translucent, add the tomatoes and remainder of the ingredients.  Mix well and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes.

 

(For the pasta)  In a large pot, add the water and salt.  Cover and bring to a boil on high heat.  When the water is boiling, add the spaghetti, turn down the heat to medium and mix constantly so strands do not stick together.  After about 5 minutes, test a strand of spaghetti.  If it is hard, continue cooking until it is soft with a slight chew.  Once this occurs, take it off the heat, strain and put the pasta in a large bowl.  Add the tomato sauce and mix well.

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

Ilia Regini is a certified healing through food specialist/health supportive chef/culinary instructor/writer/blogger andspeaker.  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

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