Super Smoothies

Super Smoothie

We have smoothies almost everyday.  I could make one in my sleep…in fact I think I have.  These are an amazing source of nutrients & probiotics and the ultimate hiding place for greens and anything else you are trying to sneak into your little one’s diet.  They are also a great breakfast on the go for those mornings when time gets away from you.  My kids suck them down like milkshakes and quite honestly if they have one of these in the morning I feel like I can relax a little bit about all of the other food they eat (or don’t eat) the rest of the day.  I brush off my hands and say “my job here is done!”  Ok, not really (well maybe just a little!).
So all of the amounts below are estimates, you may have to play around with it a bit to get it to your liking.  Try to pick fruits that “go together” such as a berries or a tropical mix such as banana, mango, pineapple.  You’ll find combinations you like.  The following recipe makes enough for our family of four.

Isn’t that a beautiful egg?

INGREDIENTS
1 C plain, whole fat yogurt
1 C plain, full fat kefir
1 organic banana
2 handfuls of frozen organic fruit (I used pineapple and strawberry in this one)
1 Tbs coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 raw egg yolk (really it’s OK as long as you know your source!)
honey or stevia to taste (start with a little, you can always add more)
1 tsp Vitamineral Green

In lieu of the Vitamineral Green, you can add fresh or frozen greens, just try to make sure you get some veggies in there.  Blend until smooth, taste test for sweetness, pour and smile.  You’ve done your job Mama (or Papa).

Eat Well, Be Well,
April

Orange Dreamsicle Recipe

Orange Dreamsicle

I always like to keep some frozen treat around.  For whatever reason kids love frozen things.  I always have a tray of “icicles” in the freezer that I allow them to have anytime.  It’s really just frozen water…nothing added and great for the occasional mouth injury.  I rotate through a few different ice pop recipes for a less frequent treat.  Here’s a quick & healthy twist on a beloved dessert courtesy of my dear friend Mary!

First of all get yourself some good BPA free ice pop molds. Stainless steel ice pop molds are another option. They may last longer but are a bit on the pricey side.  Then figure out how much liquid the molds hold in total by filling them with water and then dumping that water into a measuring cup.  This total is what you base you mixture on.  Mine hold about 1 cup total (so 1/8 cup per pop).  The mixture below is based on my molds you might have to change it a bit.  It’s a 1:1 ratio.

Mixture: 1/2 C fresh squeezed orange juice (I guess you can use a good organic juice if you want to save time), 1/2 C plain, whole fat yogurt, 1/2 tsp vanilla, high quality stevia to taste.  (I’ll be posting on stevia and other sweeteners later but here is a great article to help you decide how to choose a good/minimally processed one).  When adding the stevia, taste as you go and add as little as you think you can get away with, while still pleasing those little food critics that live under your roof.  Freeze and enjoy!

Eat Well, Be Well,
April

Raw Milk Debate

Harvard Law School Food Law Society Hosting a Raw Milk Debate

At one time, everyone drank raw milk. But with the invention of pasteurization and its alleged safety benefits, consumption of raw milk in this country almost completely disappeared. In fact, in some states it is illegal to sell raw milk. But a growing segment of the population is clamoring for increased access to raw milk, citing its nutritional benefits and recently discovered inbuilt safety mechanisms. Opponents are skeptical of such nutritional claims and believe the safety risks of unpasteurized milk are simply too high.
Join the Food Law Society as we present a debate covering the legal, health, and nutritional merits of raw milk. The participants are:
Fred Pritzker, Pritzker & Olson Law Firm
Dr. Heidi Kassenborg, Director, Dairy & Food Inspection Division, Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture
vs.
Sally Fallon Morell, President, Weston A. Price Foundation
David Gumpert, Author, The Raw Milk Revolution
When: Thursday, February 16, 2012, 7:15 pm – 8:45 pm
Where: Harvard Law School, Langdell South Classroom. For those that can’t make it, the event will be live-streamed. Video will also be available after the event.
Contact: Jonathan Abrams, jabrams@jd12.law.harvard.edu

Vitamix Giveaway

Just finished my last post and checked my email to find (how strange!) a Vitamix giveaway offer.  If you don’t have a Vitamix, like this page on Facebook and enter the contest.  Chris Kresser is an amazing source of information.  Check out his podcasts if you have time.

Eat Well, Be Well,
April

Introducing Gabe

Gabe’s Protein Pancakes

So last spring I decided to have a yard sale with the sole intention of making enough money to buy a Vitamix.  It was a sucessful day.  We unloaded a lot of baby clothes and CDs and so began my love affair with Gabe.  Yes, we named a household appliance… well actually my daughter did.  I think she may have been a little jealous of him to be honest, but they’ve made their peace and he serves us well.  Today he made us one of our go-to meals which we will call Gabe’s Protein Pancakes.  These are great hot for breakfast and just as good cold for lunch.  They have the consistency of a crepe, so you can roll them around fruit or some healthy, homemade whipped cream.

INGREDIENTS:
1 banana
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbs nut or seed butter
3 eggs

Put all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth and a little bit frothy.  Cook as you would cook pancakes.  This will make about 18-20, 2-3 inch pancakes.  Get creative and enjoy thoroughly.  By the way, did I mention I love my Vitamix?

Eat Well, Be Well,
April

Cookies for Breakfast

Sunshine Cookies

I constantly find myself telling my children what they can’t/shouldn’t eat.  I try to explain why. I think they understand.  I know I’m doing what’s best for them in the long run, but still I feel like the bad guy!  So I do my best to make snacks and treats that they can eat anytime of day and without strict limits.  So this morning when my 3 year old asked me if she could have a cookie for breakfast, I didn’t hesitate to say “sure baby, have two!”  She’s happy, I’m happy, all is right in the world.  The best part…we made them together! 

We made these “Sunshine” cookies (my daughter named them) yesterday using a self-modified version of the sweet potato cookie recipe from Nourishing Traditions.  It’s super easy and they are so good.  Start by putting the cooked sweet potatoes, clementine and cranberries into the food processor.  Continue to process the remaining ingredients (except nuts/seeds, raisins & coconut) until it is cookie dough consistency.  You can definitely play with the types of flour, but two cups total seems to be about right.  The original recipe calls for bulgur flour, but until I get a dry blade for my Vitamix that’s a no go. Once you have your batter mixed drop spoonfuls onto your baking sheet and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.  At some point during the baking you can flatten them with a fork as you would for peanut butter cookies.  Once cooled store in an airtight container in the fridge.  Enjoy anytime of day with a smile!

Eat Well, Be Well,
April

INGREDIENTS:
1 C cooked sweet potato
1 clemintine
1 handful of cranberries
1/4 C butter
1/4 C coconut oil
1/2 C sweetner (I used a maple syrup/sucanat mix)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 C cup oats (soaked in whey for several hours or overnight)
1/2 C rice bran
1/2 C wheat germ
1/2 C sprouted spelt flour
1/2 C raisins
1/4 C sunflower seeds (or nuts)
1/4 C coconut flakes

Defining A1 & A2

OK, I’ll admit it, when I first saw “A2 Milk” in writing I thought it was a typo.  I thought they meant “A 2 gallon” jug of milk.  That was exciting!  But when I found out what A2 really meant, I couldn’t believe that this was the first I was hearing about this.  This is something that everyone who buys milk from the store needs to know!  So here are the basics…

 Milk has many different proteins:  casein proteins and whey proteins.  The casein proteins are further broken down (alpha, beta etc.).  Furthermore, there are two different types of beta caseins, A1 & A2.  A2 beta casein comes from “old world” cows such as Guernsey, Brown Swiss, and Jersey.  Holsteins, which are the most popular cow in the US are predominantly A1.  So what does it matter?  Well it seems the jury is still out. 

Some research is showing that the A1 protein from the more modern cows has mutated and may be directly linked to heart disease and diabetes, and associated with neurological disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.  However, others say that the A2 hype may have been created by the company (currently the only company) that tests for the A2 gene.  It is clear that there is still a lot of research to be done.  But there was a time when people were on the fence about BPA and DDT too, so as far as I’m concerned it’s a no-brainer.

That’s easy for me to say I suppose, since I’m lucky enough to have access to A2 milk from an amazing sustainable farmer.  From my own experience, I can say that A2 milk has a longer “shelf life” (but the beauty of raw milk is that it doesn’t spoil so you can always make something from it once it gets too sour to drink…but that’s another post), it is better tolerated by those sensitive to dairy, and it is more filling.  This makes me think that it is more nutrient dense, but I have no proof of that.  But the facts are these:

  1. Most (if not all) store bought milk is A1, and
  2. We have a national health crisis that is affecting our children

So, it would be wise for all of us do a personal risk/benefit analysis and to start asking questions and making simple choices that improve the health of our children.  And what better place to start then milk!

For more information check out this webinar and book

Eat Well, Be Well,
April

Fringe Eating A to Z

When I first began this journey I felt like I was learning a new language.  These were some of the words and acronyms that I had to google or look up in Nourishing Traditions.  These are some basic explanations, but as I post about these things I will link each title below.  This list is everygrowing and changing and I will continue to publish to this post.   I hope this helps you as you move down the path to wellness.

Eat Well, Be Well,
April



A1Describes a beta casein protein which is found in most milk that you buy in the store or even from a farm as most dairy farms use Holsteins which typically have the A1 protein.  This is a mutated protein and is not found in most “old fashioned” cows (see below)  Research has shown an association between A1 beta casein in milk and increased risk of heart disease and diabetes, and it is also associated with neurological disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.  


A2:    Describes the other beta casein which is found in the older breeds of cows.  Guernseys are almost predominantly A2, followed by a high percentage of Brown Swiss, followed by Jersey, Ayrshire, and Milking Shorthorn. This protein is thought to be very healthy and some say “medicinal.”  Here is a great webinar which explains in more detail.


Agave:  A sweetener often used in place of sugar and touted as a healthy alternative, but don’t be fooled by it’s low glycemic index rating, it has more fructose than HFCS.


Antioxidant:  compounds that inhibit or neutralize potentially harmful agents (free radicals) which cause oxidization and damage of cells in the body.  Free radicals are caused by toxic environmental agents such as cigarette smoke, heavy metals, alcohol & pesticides.  Common antioxidants include Vitamin C & E, beta-carotene & coenzyme Q10.

Beyond Organic:  This is relatively new terminology that some farmers are using to describe practices that are in line with the original spirit of the organic movement.  These are practices which are sustainable, humane, local and chemical free.  Often these farmers choose not to become “certified organic.”

CAFO:  Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (a.k.a. factory farm)


CLA:  Conjugated Linoleic Acid.  A beneficial fatty acid that is found in grass-fed beef and raw milk, and contributes to muscle growth enhancement, prevention of muscle wasting, inhibition of fat formation, reduction of body fat, improvement of insulin sensitivity, inhibition or prevention of various cancers (including breast and prostate), enhancement of immune system, lowering of cholesterol, reduction of cholesterol oxidation (RMF)


CLO:  Cod Liver Oil


CSA:  Community Supported Agriculture

Gluten:  the combination of two proteins – glutenin and gliadin – which create the major protein found in wheat, rye, barley and oats which is responsible for the elasticity in dough and the structure in baked bread.  This protein can be difficult to digest and may cause digestive problems in many individuals if grains are not properly prepared. 


Grass fed: describes the sustainable farming practice in which cows (or other animals) eat pimarily grass and other forage and are not contained in a feed lot.  This produces beef and dairy that is healthier and more nutrient dense than corn fed beef and dairy.  Here is a great article with additional information.


HFCS:  High Fructose Corn Syrup.  The bane of my existence!  This video is long, but so worth watching.


Kefir:  a fermented milk drink. Kefir has many reputed health benefits. It has antibiotic and antifungal properties. It’s been used in the treatment of a variety of conditions, including metabolic disorders, atherosclerosis, and allergies, tuberculosis, cancer, poor digestion, candidiasis, osteoporosis, hypertension, HIV and heart disease.


Kombucha:  an effervescent tea-based beverage that is often drunk for its anecdotal health benefits or medicinal purposes. Kombucha can be purchased at many health food stores and can be made at home by fermenting tea using a visible, solid mass of yeast and bacteria which forms the kombucha culture,  referred to as a scoby or “the mother.”


Kvass:  a fermented beverage traditionally made from made from stale dark, sourdough rye bread; however other varieties are made from beets and other fruits and vegetables. It is rich in B vitamins, thought to relieve intestinal problems and hangovers. Because it is fermented, it contains beneficial bacteria, or probiotics, that are regarded as a digestive aid, and that may destroy disease-causing microbes in your intestine.


Lactic Acid:  by-product of lacto-fermentation which promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine.


Lacto-Fermentation:  A method of preparing/preserving beverages, fruits & vegetables which converts sugars & starches into lactic acid (above). “The proliferation of lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels. These beneficial organisms produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anti-carcinogenic substances. Their main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation but also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine.” (WAPF)



Nourishing Traditions:  Part cookbook, part nutrition guide, this book by Sally Fallon is the Bible of Weston A. Price dietary guidelines.



Nutrient Density: describes the ratio of nutrient content (in grams) to the total energy content (in kilocalories or joules).   Nutrient-dense foods are those that provide substantial amounts of essential nutrients/calorie.  These include fruits, vegetables, grass fed meat & dairy, eggs etc. Nutrient-dense food is the opposite of energy-dense food (also called “empty calorie” food) such as products containing added sugars, processed cereals, and alcohol.


Organic:  When the organic movement began, this word was used to describe farming practices that treated animals humanely, did not use toxic chemicals, promoted biodiversity and supported local distribution of food.  In 1990, US federal organic legislation defined levels of “organic” and any product that met these standards could use the word (in some form) on the package. Unfortunately some of the original spirit of organic was lost at this time, as these new rules dealt mostly with getting chemicals, pesticides, hormones etc. out of food production.  But,that’s all they address. There is nothing written about the kind of food that may be called organic, or its distribution.” (Pollan)  This has caused some of our country’s best farmers to abandon the word organic and the federal certification process.  See Beyond Organic

Pastured:  Describes how poultry (or beef) is raised on a sustainable farm.  This means that the animals are raised on pasture rather than confined.  Note that this is different than “free range.”  Here is a good explanation of the two practices.


Phytic Acid: Acid present in many grains, nuts, seeds & beans which can can block mineral absorption and lead to nutritional deficiencies (phosphorus, calcium, zinc, magnesium & iron).  Phytic acid also binds with enzymes necessary for digestion.  Certain preparation methods help to neutralize phytic acid, making these foods more bio-available.

Probiotics:   beneficial bacteria that are regarded as a digestive aid, and that may destroy disease-causing microbes in your intestine


Raw Milk:  Milk in its natural, unpasteurized state.


Real Milk:  Term often used to describe raw, unpasteurized milk.


Sustainable:  Term which describes farming practices that are efficient & ecologically sound and can therefore be “sustained” over time.  This means that the land, the plants, the animals and subsequently the farmer will thrive from these practices.  There is a recent push to certify sustainable farms.


Weston A. Price:  a dentist who traveled throughout the world during the 1930s and 1940s, studying healthy traditional peoples. He found fourteen healthy groups scattered in different locations, all eating very different foods, but all exhibiting excellent dental health, which served as a sign of excellent overall health. They had no cavities, no dental deformities, their faces were broad and their teeth were naturally straight. (SMF)


WAPF:  Acronym for The Weston A. Price Foundation, which is a non-profit nutrition education foundation dedicated to accurate scientific information about diet and health.

The First Fringe Recipe

I was determined to be posting regularly by now but the problem is that I’m working on about 10 posts at once. Not as easy to get this “off the ground” as I thought.  But there is no reason I can’t start posting some of our favorite recipes…if you can call them that.  This is one that I made with my 3 yo daughter last week.  It is a favorite family snack, which contains excellent proteins & fats and just enough sweetness to please even the “most sophisticated palates.”  By soaking the seeds the phytic acid is somewhat neutralized therefore minimizing it’s anti-nutritional effects.

Pepita Trail Mix

Ingredients:
-raw sunflower seeds & pumpkin seeds (both hulled), enough to fill the baking sheet of your choice in a single layer
-2 TBS sea salt
-filtered water
-raisins
-coconut flakes

In the morning put the seeds (mixed) into a large bowl and cover with water and add the salt.  Soak the seeds in the saltwater all day.  Right before bed, drain and spread the seeds onto a baking sheet.  Put in the oven at 150 overnight.  (note:  My oven only goes down to 170 and that is fine too.)  In the AM remove and cool (they won’t be very hot at all) and then add raisins, coconut and anything else you like, at any ratio like.  If you are too busy in the morning just turn off the oven and the seeds will be fine in there until you get back to them.

Eat Well, Be Well,
April

Fringe Eating: Who Am I?

I am a mother, a daughter, a wife, a yogini, a friend and a foodie.  I’ve worked as a home based therapist, a special education teacher, a massage therapist and a yoga teacher.  I’ve dabbled in nutrition for the past 15 years reading and experimenting with different diets.  Some worked, some didn’t.  I’ve always considered myself a generally healthy eater, but like so many of you who read this, I didn’t really get serious about nutrition until I found out I was pregnant. It was during this biological hijacking that I became obsessed with learning everything I could about food and how it affected my body and the body growing inside of me.  I began to read and learn about the many dietary theories that are “out there,” but found myself somewhat overwhelmed and confused about all of the contradictory information.