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Ode to the steamer

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I love my steamer. It gets more use than most tools in my kitchen. For the most part, I like quick & nutritious outcomes for my meals, so the steamer really suits my mission.

Steaming uses just a bit of water (usually about 1-2 inches), it is gentle on the veggies, many nutrients and texture remain intact. The vibrant, bright colors that result from steaming, keep me coming back to this process almost everyday. How can you deny roots & tubers being ready to eat in under 10 minutes!?

Here is a simple, healthy recipe that showcases both steamed & raw roots, seeds and herbs.

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1 medium golden beet, chopped

1 medium fennel bulb, shaved or cut very thinly

2 small leeks or 1 medium leek ( cut into coins up to the green part)

handful of fresh basil, ribboned

1/4 cup sunflower seeds (lightly toasted in your toaster oven)

1 T coconut oil, melted

pinch of salt & pepper to taste

Steam beets and leeks for 6-8 minutes. Meanwhile toast sunflower seeds (keep your eye on them), ribbon basil and shave fennel, transfer all into serving bowl. Once beets & leeks are done toss, transfer them into serving bowl, put the dollop of coconut oil on them and toss with salt & pepper. This is a great lunch for one or side dish.

When steaming more than one thing you can easily stagger start times. Such as if you are going to steam sweet potatoes and broccoli, just start with the sweet potatoes, chop & steam for about 5 minutes, then add the broccoli  for the last 2 minutes, transfer to a bowl and toss with a simple dressing for lunch or nut milk & cinnamon for a quick & healthy breakfast.

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It is not to late to do a spring cleanse with Seed to Health. Here is a quote from a recent cleanser:

“Thank you so much! I am just so grateful to you- I haven’t felt so grounded and radiant in a while. Such a noticable difference how clean eating and honoring of our physical body temple makes. And such an accessible thing. Loved your recipes!! Your cleanse really made me realize how accesible it is to feel good and treat ourselves well. It doesn’t have to be a drastic unreachable goal, as I’ve often made the concept of cleansing and healthy eating in the past.”

 

 

Matcha, liquid jade

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Matcha green tea is the fourth & final powder showcased in the Powerful Powders series. Matcha is the drink of samurai & zen masters. It is an appropriate powder to highlight this time of year.  Spring is a great time to detoxify your body, especially your liver and matcha is a wonderful compliment to the detox process.

What is matcha? It is a vibrant, powdered green tea, from the Camellia sinenesis evergreen plant. Matcha is loaded with antioxidants, we are talking 6 times more than gogi berries & 17 times more than blueberries!  Its chlorophyl content is super high because the whole tea leaf is ground to make this nutrient dense powder, this is where detoxification comes in. Matcha is high in caffeine (but still lower than a cup of coffee) so it encourages clean productivity without a super crash, due to its high antioxidant levels. Plenty of studies have shown that matcha can contribute to weight loss, due to its thermogenic properties. So enjoying a cup before working out can boost your energy levels & fat burning capabilities!  Matcha is a metabolism boosting, free-radical slaying, clean energy giver. This is the amazing brand that I enjoy!

Matcha is brewed a bit differently than other teas. Because it is in powdered formed, a whisk is used to transform the powder into liquid jade. Often served in a bowl, matcha has a strong flavor, very grassy and some even say it reminds them of seaweed. If you enjoy the flavor as I do (I crave it sometimes) then enjoy it straight. It compliments nut milks well for you latte lovers or for those of you who find the straight taste overwhelming.

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Going above & beyond matcha…

This expansive time of year is a great time to detox!  Since matcha has such high antioxidant & chlorophyl levels, it is a puuurfect compliment to spring cleansing. Thorough detoxification relies on hydration, since matcha does have caffeine, always remember to drink a bit more water on the days you enjoy matcha. Listen to your body and you will hear it say that it’s thirsty. Did you know that quite often hunger pangs are actually requests from your body to hydrate?!

Seed to Health has your Spring Cleanse this year!  Join a like-minded group while you enjoy delicious meals for a week, to encourage your body to detox and land in full rejuvenation mode. Cleansing is a great practice to increase vitality and enrich your cooking skills. Through the ritual of cleansing your dial in lasting healthy habits! Spring Ahead is loaded with easy recipes your will use over and over again. It also includes thorough information on how & why to cleanse. You will be fully supported day in & day out by Seed to Health AND a great group of people from all over the place!  Sign up before Wednesday the 10th and you will receive a self-care kit delivered to your front door!

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Powerful Powders:stevia

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Stevia is not so much as a super food but a super sugar alternative.

These days you may here more and more about the detriments of sugar.  Why is sugar so bad?  I could write you a mega-list. But I will say this:  sugar (refined cane/corn) offers a load of calories without any nutrition.  With that being said I am a huge advocate of asking your self, why do you eat?  For taste alone?  Nope, we eat to live, for nutrition & fuel… and flavor comes in a very respectable second place.

I could go on and on about sugar, it is addictive, causes inflammation and it is delicious.  I am human and love it too, but rock it in mucho moderation.  These days it makes me go bananas if I eat to much of it and sometimes even gives me an insta-sore throat.  Taking time to notice sugar’s more long-term effects may help you develop a different relationship with it.

So much of my work with clients explores with the concept of crowding out.  This means instead of quitting bad habits cold turkey, create new habits to crowd out old ones that don’t serve you.

Examples:  Herbal teas for coffee, exercise for over active mind, stevia for sugar!

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So back to stevia,  it goes by quite a few names and comes in quite a few different forms. My favorite name, just simply ‘sweet leaf’.  Stevia is 300x sweeter than sugar! Holy moly, so a little goes a long way. Just like all of the Powerful Powders in this series.

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Stevia is native to both North and South Americas.  It has a long history in South America where it was primarily used to sweeten medicines and teas (yerba mate). Japan made stevia available decades ago but just approved in the EU in 2011  (there were issues in how to classify it, as a sweetener or supplement).  It takes a minute to get used to the unique, sweet flavor. It also may take a moment to figure out exactly how to use it because it is SO potent.

Think of stevia not as a food, for it is calorie free, but more like a flavor enhancer, like cinnamon.  

You will find stevia in powder and liquid forms.  Many packets (the white stuff) is rather processed, to alleviate the bitter flavor that many people dislike.  Different sweet compounds called  glycocsides and steviocides are isolated, processed and either dried or mixed with water to form an easy to use product.

Personally I just use the ground green leaf, found in bulk at my local food co-op. I like my foods closest to whole. Stevia makes an appearance in my home mainly as a compliment to smoothies.  Personally I could go stevia free in smoothies BUT if I want my husband to drink them they NEED to be sweet as soon as they hit the tongue.

This lady loves her stevia, here is a great macaroon recipe. You can bake with it, preserve with it and basically supplement it all around for sugar. As usual, I recommend reading your labels,usage ratios are often provided.  Giving your blood a much needed break from insulin spikes, which subsequently offers you more blood sugar stability, so you don’t crash & burn.

You can find stevia all over the place now, some products more processed than others.  In conclusion, stevia is a great calorie free, low glycemic, carbohydrate free sugar alternative.   Read labels, look out for ‘natural flavors’, buy organic, minimally processed products.

Understanding your relationship to sweetness can be very complex. What is your sweetness style?

Powerful Powders:MACA

This Powerful Powders series is a combination of holistic nutrition & lifestyle solutions. So you can learn about 4 superfood powders that have heavy potential to enrich your health. Super foods are a somewhat new classification of food. They  offer our bodies a whole slew of nutrients in concentrated forms.  Many superfoods are more fun to consume than supplements because of their vibrant colors, adventurous textures and their bold results!  

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4 powerful powders> Clockwise from the top: Spirulina, Maca, Stevia & Matcha

Part 2: Powerful Powders:MACA

 Powders are awesome because they are so easy to add to your diet, just a teaspoon (or so) at a time.  As mentioned in a former post on Spirulina, powders are often easiest to use by adding them right to smoothies. Not a smoothie drinker?  Pestos, soups, dressings, sauces, truffles and salads are all great places for super food powers as well!

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Maca root is aPeruvian tuber from the cruciferous family that packs a powerful punch.  A complimentary dose of calcium & magnesium, B-vitamins (including b-12!) and a nice amino acid profile is the strength behind this tuber’s force.  Its strong earthy flavor lets you know that a little bit goes a long way!  Maca can be classified as an adaptogen.  Adaptogens provide your body with the tools necessary to handle stress, in this oh-so modern & busy world.  Adaptogens are a whole other topic for another post, so here are some great books to check out if you would like to know more now.  Offering your body potent tools to handle stress subsequently leads to more energy, better moods and hormonal balance.

So you can live the life you want to live with fewer obstacles!

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Maca can be integrated into your diet pretty easily. Please, though, read your labels. This is a powerful root!  Taking it at night may lead to a jolt of energy that can lead to a restless night.  Usually, the best results from maca root are yielded when you take a small serving during the day, pre or just post lunch, over a period of time. There is considerable evidence that promotes Maca as a libido enhancer in men and a powerful PMS relief for women.  Do your research, talk to your holistic practitioners and as always with superfoods find top quality sources.

Why the focus on powders, superfoods and adaptogens? I have seen it over & over again and I am sure you feel it too… this world is stressed out!  We humans are designed to deal with stress but there sure is a whole bunch of it these days. With politics, war, health care, finance and jobs all stalking the headlines, as well as modern technologies compelling us to stay constantly connected and so much information coming at us all day, stress is a fact of life.  Adding superfoods to your diet is one way you can take care of yourself.  Combine these amazing foods with some stress busting tactics and your body can use its systems more efficiently to decompress stress. Then savoring life becomes more of a priority.

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Maca cashew truffles

2 cups raw cashews

1 cup dates

2 T maca powder

1 t cardamom

1 t salt

1 T vanilla extract

Pulse cashews in food processor until crumbly, but NOT butter. Add maca powder, cardamom, salt and vanilla, pulse until combined.  Keep processor top on and add one date at a time until they are all combined.  Scoop out choice size and roll into balls.  Store in the refrigerator up to a week (but they probably won’t last that long)

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Information for this post is not meant to diagnose or treat any condition and is sourced  from :

http://www.riceplex.com

http://www.naturalnews.com

Reading labels & my memory

 

Spirulina will kick off a 4-part series: Powerful Powders

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Clockwise from the top…Spirulina, maca, stevia and matcha

Spirulina is often found as a deep-deep green, super fine supplement powder. Historically it was used as a sacred power food by the Aztecs in the 16th century and considered the perfect food for space travel by NASA. In these modern times noting the array of stress and decline in soil health we need to think about how we are getting a whole spectrum of nutrients.  Supplements are one way and super foods are another.

Spirulina is an ancient superior (fresh & salt) water algae that is found around the world. This blue-green algae is a protein powerhouse and considered one of the most protein rich plants on the planet! Why so much protein? Well, Spirulina are actually a single-celled organisms and it’s protein is predigested so it is really easy for us to absorb its amino acids.

What other qualities make Spirulina a super food? These little algae have gut regulating anti-microbial properties that balance gut flora. Spirulina suppresses the growth of pathogenic bacteria and yeasts in the intestines so that beneficial bacteria can thrive.  When good bacteria dominate the gut, we really get the best out of meals and subsequently are much more healthy.  Want to Boost your immune function?

Super green means super good for the blood & immune system. Spirulina is just loaded with chlorophyll which promotes red blood cell production. In addition to protein & chlorophyll this powerful powder has vitamin B complex and minerals, polysaccharides and anti-oxidants. What does all of this mean? Awesomeness for your body. All of these wonderful qualities of Spirulina give your body the tools it needs to stay balanced, rebuild it self and stay true to it’s most amazing quality, resilience!

Spirulina should be respected for its amazing nutrient profile and procured from high quality sources. The easiest way of enjoying it, is in powder form right in a smoothie.

Green smoothie

1 cup chopped greens of choicepixlr-9

(I usually use kale, spinach or collards)

1/2 cup frozen blueberries

1 cup water

1/2 pear

1 T Spirulina

1 T chia seed

1 t cinnamon

Blend on high for a minute. Add more water for desired consistency. ENJOY!

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baby approved

There are all sorts of Spirulina products out there. Does anyone remember Death to Smoochy?   Edward Norton rocks that Spirulina tube, on everything.  There are super green powders like Pure Synergy and tablets that are super easy to take. These tablets were my predominate iron source while I was pregnant. There are plenty of sources and a little bit goes a long way!  If you over do it on Spirulina you may experience some detox symptom and if you have an autoimmune disorder please talk to your health care practitioner prior to incorporating Spirulina into your diet. It pays to go quality, especially if it is from the sea, so do your research, read your labels and you can always ask me!

Where did I get my information?  My head and streamlined from:

Natural News & Dr. Mercola

Almond milk & macaroons

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Have you ever wondered how to make almond milk?

Below are simple instructions to create a luscious beverage for drinking, mixing and MORE.

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> Soak your almonds.  Take one cup raw almonds, place them in a jar or bowl and cover them with 3 cups water and 1 teaspoon of salt.  Soak them over night (or minimum 8 hours)

> Transfer almonds to a colander & rinse. I take the time to pop each almond out of their skin, it is super easy when they are wet,   but not mandatory.

> Put the almonds in a blender along with:pixlr-2

3 cups water

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 *below are optional*

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon stevia (I use powdered green leaf)

or choice sweetener like 2 dates, 1 Tablespoon raw honey, 1 T coconut palm sugar

Blend on high for a minute. Then strain using a nut milk bag or a clean stocking into a jar.  Often times you have to stir the milk in and scoop out the pulp.  I save the pulp for mixing into smoothies, oatmeal or sometimes make baked goods. Like these macaroons!

Macaroons

1 1/4 cups almond milk pulp, strained

1 cup dried, unsweetened shredded coconut

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 generous pinch salt

Scrapings of 1 vanilla bean, OR 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor until they form a dough. Add a little more maple syrup or some water if the mixture is too thick. Line a baking sheet with parchment, scoop the macaroons out by round tablespoons onto the sheet. Bake at 300/ 20 minutes.

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Look out for my upcoming series on The Power of Powders, your guide to maca, matcha and spirulina!

You will learn the why consume super foods, where to get them & how to make incredible elixirs to nourish you!

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the works for my morning match/maca/almond milk latte

Have you signed up for Seed to Health’s newsletter yet?  It is a short and sweet source of inspiration & recipes once a month.

Collards & detox

These past 2 weeks have been full of clean meals. No sugar, wheat or dairy. I call it time to rebalance. Rebalance clean eating plan, is a whole foods detox menu I created for my self and for wonderful, willing clients who want to take a break from sugar and eat nourishing seasonal foods. It is a great way to recover, rebalance and refresh from holiday mayhem. Below is an improvisation on a Rebalance lunch option, Collard wraps. I created this new version of the recipe last week when a paleo friend came to visit for lunch. I love it even more than the original brown rice version.

Collard Wraps

(a whole head of cauliflower makes about 4 collard wraps)

1 large collard leaf & 1 nori sheet- per wrap

Filling can be ANYTHING.. I used a red bell pepper, cucumber and avocado, about 4 thinly sliced spears PER wrap and enough roasted cauliflower to cover the nori sheet (1/4-1/2 cup)

Preheat oven to 400. Coarsely chop cauliflower and spread on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, a pinch of salt and toss. Pop in the oven for 20 minutes. When cauliflower is finished roasting you can 1)mash it with a potato masher 2) send it through the food processor. Either way, you want it to be mashed, larger pieces may break the nori when you roll it.

Prep your fresh veggies & thinly slice them.

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Rinse your collard leaves, score the main vein to make it more maliable and cut out the base stem. ( I actually blanched this leaf for my husband-30 seconds in boiling water, followed by a ice bath)

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Lay the collard leaf dark green side down. Place the nori sheet on top of it. Sprinkle a little bit of water on the nori and gently rub it so that it moistens up, this way it will not tear when you roll it, noti is delicate.

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Next spread a layer of cauliflower over the nori. Then place veggie spears horizontally covering about 1/3-1/2 of the cauliflower mixture.

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Next, you roll, just the nori, away from you. Then take your nori roll and gently bring it back to the base of the collard and wrap the collard around it and roll away from you. This creates a very durable, holdable wrap that will not fall apart. Secure with 1-2 toothpicks or wrap in saran wrap for later.

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These are delicious and one is quite filling. We had these for dinner tonight with a side of sauteed leeks & kale. Simply delicious.

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Interested in a doing a gentle-5 day detox? It has been a huge hit so far and round two is coming up on Monday January, 14th. This is by no means a time for deprivation, fasting or drinking all of your meals. Rebalance is a chance to eat seasonal foods that allow your body to heal itself, you get full support, meal plan, food preparation guide.. and a FREE health consultation following the detox.

Stop by and register or drop a line to seedtohealth@gmail.com