Chai

Winter is a time for chai, which is one of the most wonderfully warming and stimulating and good tasting thing is you can drink in winter that is truly healthy for you.

chai tea

Literally translated, Chai means “tea”, funny enough. As you can see, calling it “chai tea” is a bit redundant.  Funny, no?  This article over at Mental Floss will give you some very interesting chai word history: Don’t “Chai and “Tea” both mean the same thing?

Give the following recipe a try at home in your crock pot. Ingredients are easily found at any health food store including the Outpost, Whole Foods and such. Done right, this is far better and healthier than the often over – sweetened, syrupy versions that you may find it coffee shops in United States.

This is a recipe to be modified to suit your taste.

First, buy the following ingredients from the Outpost store (or other health food store):

  • 4 TB Green Cardamom Pods, crushed
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 10-15 2” cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp black pepper corns
  • 6 quarter-sized pieces fresh ginger root
  • 4-6 cups milk alternative (almond milk or cashew milk)
  • Optional: few drops stevia extract as sweetener (stevia can also be bought in a powder form)
  • 2 black tea bags

Directions: Bring 1 ½ gallons of water to a boil in large pot.  Add above herbs.  Lower heat to a simmer & simmer for 60 minutes.  Strain herbs.  If you prefer to add black tea, at this point steep black tea bags for 5-10 minutes (steep: to let tea bags sit in hot  water). The final step is to add milk substitute & stevia & serve warm.  Refrigerate remainder of tea, for later use (re-heat before drinking again).

Brenda’s Easy Poached Pears

picture of poached pears

A lot of people are trying to cut down on processed foods and sugar intake, but we all still love a little something sweet now and again. Here’s a quick and easy recipe for spiced, poached pears that is quick, fresh and a healthier way to have dessert without all the sugars.

You will need:

  • 2 pears (8-10 oz each)
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 2  slices fresh ginger (1/8” thick)
  • Organic, unsweetened apple or pear juice

Directions:

Peel the pears, cut in half and scoop out seed/core with a small spoon or melon baller. Remove the core and stem. In a shallow pan – big enough to hold the pear halves – pour juice to ½” deep. Add spices and bring to a low boil. Add pear halves, cut sides down. Cover and reduce heat to simmer until they are tender. (a paring knife inserted into the thickest part of the fruit will go in without much resistance) Remove pears from liquid and serve warm. You can garnish with a few toasted sliced almonds or a little candied ginger.

Serves 2

Food as Medicine: The Winter Months

Utilizing food as medicine is a powerful tool that anyone can use to not only feel their best, but to avoid ailments that correspond to their life or environmental stresses that may be present. The concept of using food as medicine is a long held tradition of civilizations throughout human history, yet sometimes can be forgotten in our fast paced and often stressful world. The following is meant to give you an idea of what type of conditions affect your body and its ability to function based on environmental factors, and how you can balance these factors by choosing the appropriate foods.

12641392491982759135Inhalation_diagram.svg.hiWe will begin with the present winter months, and how choosing the right foods (as well as avoiding some others) can help to balance your body’s function as old man winter blasts us with factors such as cold and dryness. The lung’s function is very important to staying healthy during the winter months. It acts as the “front line” of your immune system, and is also very susceptible to external conditions. This is due to the proximity of the lung to the outside world. When you step out on a sub-zero morning and take that first icy breath, your lung is literally taking in the external environment with very little to filter out conditions that are hard on it. This, coupled with our tendency to stay indoors with little outside ventilation like open windows, is why it’s not a coincidence that winter is the most prevalent season for colds and flu.

Based on the two main factors present during the winter season, cold and dryness, we can choose foods that both warm and moisturize our bodies. We can also focus a bit more on boosting lung function so that our immune systems remain strong during the cold and flu season.

cinnamongingerhoneyonionSome foods to include for winter are ginger, green onion, cinnamon, and honey (not necessarily all together!) Ginger and green onion warms the body, ginger especially for the lung. When used together they also have a powerful immune boosting effect that can ward off early stages of colds such as that tickle in your throat or a mild body ache. Cinnamon also warms the body and gently increases circulatory function, which is lessened by the colds constricting effects. Honey is warming as well but is also moisturizing, helping to keep tissues from becoming affected by the dryness factors present during winter.

There are also foods that can directly boost lung function to keep the immune system strong. Both pears and broccoli help the lung, and can utilize the above listed ingredients perfectly. Pears gently cooked with honey and cinnamon make a great winter snack or dessert to come home to after a long winter day. And broccoli lightly stir-fried with ginger and green onions is a delicious side dish for any meal.

Both of these dishes can help boost your body’s function to remain strong during this very taxing season, but some foods should be avoided during the winter months. Raw foods have a cold factor to them, as the body needs to spend resources to warm them up for digestion. We should therefore lightly cook any vegetables during the winter. This also means that cold beverages are especially taxing on the digestive function and should also be avoided.

By adding these easy to find ingredients and avoiding the cold and raw ones, we can all bear the long winter with better health and vitality.

Mexican Style Vegetarian Loaf

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained well
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained well
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chili peppers, hot or mild, drained
  • 1 cup whole kernel corn, unsweetened
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Sea or kosher salt to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups bread crumbs
  • 1/3 barbecue sauce, no sugar added (look for one that has honey or molasses)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet add oil, turn to medium-low heat and sauté onions until tender, about 4 minutes. Add kidney beans, black beans, green chili peppers and corn, continue to sauté until beans soften up, about 3 minutes. Add oregano, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, salt and cayenne pepper, stir to combine.

Combine, in a large mixing bowl, bean mixture and bread crumbs. Lightly spray a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray, add bean mixture, shape into a loaf. Bake for 30 minutes, add barbecue sauce and bake 1 additional minute. Remove from oven and allow to set 5 minutes. Cut into 8 slices and carefully remove each slice with a spatula.

Tip: This loaf is perfect for leftover sandwiches. After being refrigerated overnight, the loaf holds together really well.

Click here to see original recipe.

The Power of The Pumpkin!

 

A pumpkin’s beautiful orange color means that it has a high level of carotenoids, which assist in staving off free radicals and help with premature aging. Pumpkin seeds are a rich protein source- one ounce is the equivalent of 7 grams of protein. They are also rich is essential fatty acids, which have numerous health benefits including promoting healthy skin, brain power, and prevention of health diseases such as arthritis and high blood pressure.

Enjoy these healthy vegan recipes that you can add all fall and winter long!

Comforting Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal with Pecans

Ingredients:

1/3 cup regular oats

1 cup almond milk

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/3-1/2 cup pumpkin

1/2 tbsp chia seeds

Pinch of sea salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ginger

1/8th tsp nutmeg

Toppings:

Chopped pecans (approx 1 tbsp)

1 tbsp almond milk

1 tbsp pure maple syrup

1/2 tsp 

 

Pinch of cinnamon

 Directions: 

In a medium sized pot, heat the oats and almond milk over medium heat until it comes to a low boil. Stir in the pumpkin and chia seeds. Heat over low-medium for about 5-7 minutes stirring frequently. Now add in the spices and vanilla and heat for another 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour into a bowl and add toppings. Serves 1.

 Pumpkin Pie Monster Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 cup almond milk

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1 heaping tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp nutmeg)

1 tsp blackstrap molasses

1/2 frozen banana OR 1/2 serving Protein powder

2 large ice cubes

Directions

Add all ingredients into a blender and process until smooth. Serves 1.

All recipes were adapted from Ohsheglows.com.

 

 

 

Scott’s Recipe for Simple Bean Salad

This is a recipe I tried out just recently, and it’s a winner. It’s healthy, tasty, and very easy to put together! A couple people have asked me for the recipe, so here it is:

You’ll need-

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

¼ c. red onion- finely chopped

¼ c. green onion

1 clove garlic- finely chopped

1 tsp. Garam Masala (Indian spice blend- available at most grocery stores or Outpost)

¼ tsp. Spanish paprika

Pinch of salt

1 15 oz. can of pinto beans- drained and rinsed

Preparation is simple. Combine the oil, lemon juice, onion, garlic, and spices in a medium-sized bowl and mix well. Drain and rinse the beans, and stir into the spice mixture. Best served chilled.

This is a great dish for fall. The spices are warming and beneficial for the digestive system. The green onion and garlic are excellent during cold season to help your body ward off infection! Great for lunches or as a side dish.

Nothing in this document is intended as a substitute for your doctor’s diagnosis and/or treatment. This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA.

True Energy Bars

 

The term “energy bar” is a common deception found in all grocery stores and even health food stores. Many so called “energy bars” and “protein bars” contain loads of processed sugar and stimulants and have many ingredients that are hard to pronounce. With this being the case, I went on a hunt to find recipes that would provide the nutrients I needed to get through my workouts, and, of course, be super tasty! 

These energy bar recipes are the healthiest and among the easiest to prepare. There is no baking required; all you need is a food processor. These bars can also be made in large batches and stored in the freezer. They don’t freeze all the way through, so they are definitely a nice refreshing snack on a hot day! 

A few preparation notes: 

In a food processor, combine all ingredients and process until desired texture is reached. If you prefer a smooth bar, process longer. If you want a bit of a crunch and texture, blend for less time. Remove the mixture from the food processor and smooth into dish. I usually use a small, square baking pan. Another way you can shape these bars is to roll into small balls. It makes for a quick and easy way to have on hand for some quick energy.

Ginger Pear Energy Bars

Ginger aids in helping to fight inflammation and improve digestion.

1 small pear, cored

¾ cup fresh or soaked dried dates

½ cup sunflower seeds

¼ cup ground flaxseed

¼ cup hemp protein

¼ cup walnuts

2tbs. grated fresh ginger

Sea salt to taste

Makes approximately 12 1-3/4 ounce bars.

 

Chocolate Blueberry Energy Bars

High in antioxidants and flavonoids, these bars help reduce free radical damage in the body and improve cellular recovery.

1 cup fresh or soaked dried dates

¼ cup almonds

¼ cup blueberries

¼ cup roasted carob powder

¼ cup ground flaxseed

¼ cup hemp protein

¼ cup sesame seeds

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

½ tsp. lemon zest

Sea salt to taste

½ cup frozen blueberries

In a food processor, process all ingredients except the fresh blueberries. Knead blueberries into the mixture by hand. Enjoy!

Makes approximately 12 1-3/4 ounce bars

Shepherd’s Barley Soup

Ingredients:

1/4 onion, chopped (optional)

4 carrots, grated

2 parsnips, diced

1 tablespoon oil

2 quarts water

1 cup barley

1/3 teaspoon ginger, grated

1 teaspoon sea salt or 1 tablespoon natto miso

Parsley

Directions:

  1. Saute onion, carrots and parsnips in oil.
  2. Add water, barley and ginger. Simmer 90 minutes.
  3. Add salt or miso and simmer for 15 more minutes.
  4. Garnish with parsley.
  5. Serves 8.

Nothing in this document is intended as a substitute for your doctor’s diagnosis and/or treatment. This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA.

Recipe from “Healing with Whole Foods” by Paul Pitchford

Oriental Nutrition: What Should You Eat in the Summer?

Oriental Nutrition—the second branch of Oriental Medicine—is based on the same theory as Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine, therefore can increase organ function, blood circulation, or energy circulation. Using it properly will also increase response to care. The basic premise is two-fold: first, eat the correct food for your constitution. Second, eat the proper food for the season. This all comes from a wonderful school of thought in Oriental Medicine called the “Five Element Theory.”

To stimulate heart, small intestine, pericardium, or overall metabolism function (which all correspond to summer), use foods that are bitter flavored, like brussels sprouts, lamb, peaches or mustard greens. Interestingly, people who crave the taste of unsweetened coffee (bitter) are inadvertently making up for a deficiency in heart function in many cases!

As usual, do not hesitate to call and speak with me if you ever want to know more. We also offer Nutritional Consultations where you can learn more specifics for your own circumstances.

Hot and Sour Chinese Salad

Ingredients:

2 cups snow peas, cooked slightly

4 cups noodles, cooked and drained and cut into 2-inch lengths

For the dressing:

1 green onion, chopped

1 tablespoon umeboshi paste

2-3 teaspoons mustard

Juice of 1-2 lemons

Directions:

-Gently combine peas with noodles.

-Blend ingredients for dressing with a mortar and pestle or blender.

-Add dressing to noodle mixture.

-Mix lightly and serve before noodles become mushy.