We are blessed here in Canada to have wild Chaga mushrooms growing on our own birch tree, offering us wild medicine from mother nature herself. Chaga tea offers a slight vanilla flavour which tastes great on its own, and also makes a great base for a chaga turmeric golden mylk latte. Golden Mylk is a modern spin on the Auryvedic drink of warm milk and turmeric. Found at health food stores and speciality cafes, it is creamy and delicious and offers a wide nutrient profile provided by the anti-inflammatory curcuminoids in turmeric and the gingerols in ginger. Golden Mylk generally uses coconut milk as the liquid base, and as the fat source to facilitate absorption of any fat-soluble compounds. Hemp milk from our own Canadian grown hemp seeds can be used instead and offers a creamy consistency that rivals that of coconut milk (see How to Make Your Own Hemp Milk). The combination of the immunoprotective benefits of chaga and the anti-inflammatory aspects of turmeric make this an essential cold weather drink to help nourish and nuture the body.
It’s hard to not get get caught up in all the pumpkin spiced hype. Coffee shops have been on the band-wagon even before the leaves started to turn. Now that October is here, I think it is fair to start filling the kitchen with pumpkin spiced everything. I love cafe style Pumpkin Spiced Lattes but I also know that they are so loaded with sugar and not worth the post-latte crash. Here is my healthier alternative to the sugar-loaded versions. This So Simple Pumpkin Spiced Coffee may turn out to be a regular in your autumn morning routine.
Cinnamon has been shown in help regular blood sugar levels. Studies demonstrated benefits in 1g or 3g servings. Adding 1/4 tsp of cinnamon to your day may help with better glycemic control.
The summer markets are bursting with berries, stone fruit and fresh tomatoes. With the overload of delicious blueberries and wild blackberries we sometimes forget about the more humble harvests. Cabbage springs into season in summer and has a lengthy season lasting over 6 months depending on the climate. Cabbage is also packed full of antioxidants and is an easy addition to summer salads, BBQs and stir-fries. I’m sharing one of my favourite recipes -Creamy Summer Slaw with a Yogurt Dressing, adapted from My New Roots Sarah Brittons’s Cookbook Naturally Nourished. Her version is a beautiful creamy autumn slaw, using seasonal Brussels sprouts and apple. I’ve revamped it to suit the summer months, showcasing one of the most undervalued vegetables on our shelves – cabbage of course.
“The impressive amount of antioxidant phytonutrients in cabbage is one key reason why cabbage intake is liked to decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. Red cabbage is especially high in anthocyanin which provides cardiovascular protection.”
“Curcumin, an active component of Turmeric may be helpful in treating a variety of inflammatory conditions including Crohn’s Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis”
Wow, where did summer go?! I’ve been holding on to the last of it with my smoothie bowls and salads, and here’s my last ditch effort at preserving summer. What makes this salad special is that Napa cabbage is the main star. It’s crunchy and delicious and oh-so-good shredded. It is also a good calcium source, but often gets over shadowed by kale and bok choy. This Asian Salad with Tempeh and Ginger Sesame Dressing is simple to prepare and uses fermented Apple Cider Vinegar as a base (also see Beet Apple and Kale Salad with Walnuts and Dill) which is something we could all eat a little bit more of. I hope you love this salad as much as I do. Here’s to finishing dinner while the suns still up.
“Napa cabbage, also known as Sui Choy, is a relatively good source of calcium with 60mg per cup. It’s low oxalate content makes this source of calcium more bioavailable and easily absorbed”
Not even a week has passed since my return from Indonesia and I can confidently tell you that the thing I miss most is not the warmth nor the beaches, its the food. The flavours and the variety place this cuisine at the top of my list. If you haven’t tried tempeh yet, and your a lover of healthy and tasty food, boy have I got a treat for you. Indonesians enjoy it fried and spicy, and often will add it to dishes such as Gado Gado (see my simplified recipe for Gado Gado Peanut Satay Sauce Recipe) or have it cooked in a spicy sambal served with rice. It is as versatile as tofu, but many prefer the firmer texture of tempeh over its soybean cousin. Here is my play on tempeh, and a good one to get you started on your tempeh journey – Simple Almond Tempeh “Meatballs”.
Ever thought about what’s in season in March? There is no question that Spring has arrived- the flowers are out in full force and the winter jackets have been put back into storage. But even though the cherry blossoms are in bloom, not much is being harvested from the veggie gardens at this time of year. Luckily, last years parsnips, carrots and beets have been kept cold in cellars for us all winter so we can still enjoy last seasons bounty while we wait for the new years crop.
“Root vegetables such as carrots, beets, parsnips, turnips, potato and onion can be stored all winter long and are great additions to any winter or early spring dish.”
All hail kale, the “superfood” all-star of 2013. This trendy vegetable made headlines and it didn’t shine in the spotlight for no reason. Let me tell you why kale really does live up to all the hype.
“Kale is one of the easiest vegetables to grow organically and can be grown year round in most climate zones. A light frost or two even brings out the sweetness in kale – eating seasonally just got so much easier!”
Kale is an excellent source of provitamin-A compounds such as beta-carotene which is important for low light and night vision. Kale is also renowned for its excellent phytonutrient repertoire which range from chlorophyll to quercetin, to lutein and zeaxanthin to sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol.
Kale tops my leafy greens book due to its excellent calcium content. The calcium from kale is more easily absorbed than that from other greens such as spinach due to its low oxalate content (oxalates bind to calcium and inhibits absorption in the gut). The recommendations for calcium range from 1000mg-1300mg per day (see below). New evidence shows that our peak bone mass occurs at around age 30, then starts to decline thereafter. So if your yet to hit dirty thirty, keep building up your calcium levels to ensure adequate bone density – there’s nothing pretty about osteoporosis.
Recommended Intake of Calcium
- 1-3 years: 700mg daily
- 4-8 years: 1,000mg daily
- 9-18 years: 1300mg daily
- 19-50 years: 1000 mg daily
- 51-70 years: 1200 mg daily for women; 1,000mg daily for men
- 71 and older: 1200 mg daily
Calcium Content of Some Common Foods
- Kale 1 cup raw: ~180mg
- Asian or Collard Greens 1/2 cup cooked: ~150mg
- Milk/Milk Alternative 1 cup: ~300mg
- Kefir 175g or 3/4 cup: ~190mg
- Yogurt 175g or 3/4 cup: ~330mg
When adding up your calcium values it is important to remember a few things. Oxalates decrease absorption of calcium, as does iron and phytates (legumes, whole grains). Vitamin D is also extremely important in helping to absorb calcium in our gut. For optimal bone health don’t forget regular weight bearing exercises – yoga anyone? For more information on sourcing building strong bones on a dairy free diet see Maximising Calcium For Bone Health On A Dairy Free Diet
This Recipe Redux challenge was to do a healthy creation of homemade pizza. Pizza making is usually reserved for your most favourite of people, and what better way to show your love than with this super nutritious, winter greens pizza.
Recipe for Kale Pesto Whole Wheat Pizza & Sauteed Kale Onion Pizza
Makes 1 Kale Pesto Pizza and 2 Sautéed Kale and Onion Pizzas
Ingredients for Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
1 tsp fair trade cane sugar
1.5 cups warm water
1 tbsp. active dry yeast
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
2 cups organic whole wheat flour
1.5 cups organic all-purpose flour
Method for Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
In a large bowl dissolve the sugar in warm water. Add the yeast and let sit for about 10 minutes or until foamy.
Add the salt and the olive oil to the yeast mixture and stir. Add 1 cup of whole wheat flour, stir to combine with a fork. Add the second cut of whole wheat flour and continue stirring. Now add 1 cup of all-purpose flour slowly – you may not need all of it. Once the dough all comes together tip the dough onto a floured work surface.
Only use the last 1/2 cup of flour if needed. The dough should be slightly sticky but at the same time still easily comes away from your hands. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes. It should be nice and smooth when you are finished.
Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Let sit for about an hour with a slightly damp cloth covering the bowl. Try and find a nice cozy place in your house for the dough to grow, somewhere with no draft.
Prepare your toppings (see below). Once an hour has passed, or the dough has doubled in size (whichever is first) remove the dough from the bowl and separate into 3 even balls. Form nice tight balls of dough and let sit for another 45 minutes.
Roll the balls of dough out on a lightly floured surface into 3 12″ circles. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F (260 degrees C) while you make the toppings.
Ingredients for Winter Kale Pesto Whole Wheat Pizza
1 large bunch of organic kale
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup shredded organic parmesan cheese*
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar**
75g fresh organic mozzarella cheese, slice into 1/4″ slices
*The rennet in parmesan renders it non-vegetarian. Strict vegetarians should find another good quality hard non-rennet cheese or use 1 tbsp. white miso place for a vegan alternative.
**I used apple cider vinegar in place of lemon juice as lemons are not grown in Canada in the winter months. If you are making this dish during lemon season substitute with 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Method for Winter Kale Pesto Whole Wheat Pizza
Wash kale, remove stems and roughly chop. Bring a large pot of water to boil, add a pinch of salt and blanch the kale leaves in the water for about 20 seconds. Remove kale from hot water and run under cool water to stop the cooking process*. Pat dry.
Place the kale, walnuts and parmesan cheese in a food processor and roughly chop. Gradually add in the olive oil and apple cider vinegar (or lemon). Process until finely chopped and blended.
Spread pesto onto 1 12″ pizza dough, arrange mozzarella slices on top. Place on parchment paper or a pizza stone. Bake for about 5-7 minutes or until crust is nice and golden.
*Kale is one of those foods (along side tomatoes and carrots) that are actually more nutritious when heated slightly. Heat helps to release the carotenoids (phytonutrients) and allows them to be absorbed more efficiently in the body. A small amount of vitamin C may be lost, but don’t worry – a serving of raw kale contains a whopping 200% of your RDA for vitamin C.
Ingredients for Sautéed Kale and Onion Whole Wheat Pizza
1 large bunch of organic kale
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion
150g fresh organic mozzarella, sliced into 1/4″ slices
Method for Sautéed Kale and Onion Whole Wheat Pizza
Wash kale, remove stems and roughly chop.
Place a frying pan on medium heat. Add olive oil and fry onions for about 7-10 minutes or until nice and tender. Add kale, salt and pepper and fry for about 1-3 minutes or until kale is wilted. Remove from heat.
Spread mixture onto 2 rolled out 12″ pizza dough rounds. Add slices of mozzarella cheese. Place on parchment paper or pizza stone and bake in preheated oven for about 5-7 minutes or until crust is golden.
Nutrition Information for Kale Pesto Whole Wheat Pizza
Calories 350 cal
Vitamin A 406 RAE
Vitamin C 60mg
Folate 130 DFE
Nutrition Information for Sautéed Kale Onion Whole Wheat Pizza
Calories 200 cal
Vitamin A 20 RAE
Vitamin C 30mg
Folate 120 DFE
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