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Tempeh Tacos with Raw Cashew Queso

September 6 2017 My New Roots 

Tempeh Tacos with Raw Cashew Queso I have to start by saying how incredibly moved I was by the comments on the last post, and the emails I received from you guys - a deep, heartfelt thank you. I knew that opening myself up would spark a lot of conversation, but I never imagined the impact it would have, not only in regards to the incredible outpouring of support, but for sharing your own stories and struggles. Time and time again I am reminded of the power in vulnerability and open communication. I feel truly blessed to have a community of conscious and loving readers, and that we can all share our journey with one another. That is what makes us stronger, and certainly healthier human beings in every sense of the word. Before I dig deeper into what Ive been doing to eat for balancing my hormones, Id like to just follow-up with the topic of orthorexia. Many of you expressed surprise at my struggles, thinking that because I do what I do, I must have had it all together. The truth is I thought that I did have it all together for a very long time, and creating My New Roots has been the most powerful catalyst in my healing. For the last decade, Ive felt very grounded in my choices and excited to celebrate them with you. But like I mentioned in the last post, the experience of changing my diet has brought back many of the challenges, dark thoughts and feelings that I had convinced myself were gone forever. Putting new restrictions on myself made me to put food into good and bad categories. This probably doesnt sound so terrible, but like I said before, this is a slippery slope into full-blown disordered eating for me. I see now that there is an incredibly fine line between caring about what I eat and caring too much. I believe that my relationship to food is something that I may have to keep in check for the rest of my life, or at least as long as I choose to use it as a tool to become a healthier person (so, like, forever). In the last four months of tuning into what I need right now, and eating more consciously, Ive really experienced a positive difference in how I feel, which is the biggest reward anyone could ask for! But Ive also had bad days where I wasnt prepared, and suddenly being at a wedding or a birthday party, or out for dinner with friends without much to eat in the good category, wasnt so rad. My blood sugar would crash, Id feel desperate, totally out of control and the voices would come back. What Ive learned from these experiences is that I need to be as prepared as possible in these situations, but if I can’t, I simply have to let go. I cannot control everything and I cannot always be prepared, but that in order to move forward, I have to maintain flexibility, and stop being so darn hard on myself! I firmly believe that there is more strength in being fluid and forgiving, than rigid and judgmental. I am just a person, after all. Since many of you were curious about the connection between food and hormone balance, Id like to discuss it in more detail, and share what Ive been doing to keep these miraculous chemicals in check, and keep them working for me, not against me! Upping my fat and protein intake – but especially fat Fats are an essential part of a healthy, well-balanced diet, and they are especially important for hormone balance. Fats actually create the structural components of hormones, and cholesterol specifically is responsible for our reproductive hormones; estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. The type of fat you choose however, is critical to achieving a positive effect, as the ones you consume become the building blocks for your hormones. Saturated fats like coconut oil, butter and ghee, and monounsaturated fats like olive oil, nuts, eggs, and avocados are excellent choices and should be consumed responsibly every day. Cut back on or eliminate corn, canola, sunflower, safflower and soybean oils, and replace them with the aforementioned instead. Ive also increased my protein intake, and consciously replacing more high-carbohydrate foods with more protein-rich foods such as tempeh, hemp, sprouts, activated nuts, eggs, and quality protein powder has really made a difference in stabilizing my energy levels and appetite. Getting enough protein on a vegetarian diet is totally possible, but I find that if Im not really paying attention, I can dip below the ideal 45 grams a day. Loosely (not obsessively) keeping track of my daily intake of protein has helped me feel my best. Keeping my blood sugar stable It may seem totally unrelated, but blood sugar and hormones are in fact inextricably linked. One of the main functions of the endocrine system (the system that creates and transports hormones in your body) is delivering glucose to your brain, muscles, and heart. So if anything in that process isnt working properly, than mismanaged blood sugar is the inevitable result. But whats worse is that it creates a cascade effect whereby none of the other parts of your endocrine system will work either. Sheesh! Walking the line between high and low blood sugar is something that Ive really been focusing on lately, and its working well, but it is an ongoing process that takes some getting used to. Including more fat and protein in my diet has been a game-changer for me, since those macronutrients digest slower than carbohydrates - even the complex ones from things like sweet potatoes, quinoa, and chickpeas. I try to eat a large and protein-rich breakfast within an hour of waking up (after the lemon water, of course!). Lunch is where I get the majority of my calories since that is when I need the most energy. I like eating roasted vegetables, avocado, eggs, and sprouted pseudo-grains like quinoa and buckwheat. I snack in between meals when Im hungry, but instead of reaching for a slice of rye bread or a rice cake, Ill have veggies with a high-fat dip, or a handful of my Maple Cinnamon Grain-free Granola. Dinner is mostly grain-free these days and I stick to salads, soups and stews. I go to bed no longer than four hours after dinner so that Im not hungry right before I hit the pillow. Then I like to have a break of about 14 hours between dinner and breakfast the next day, as my digestion does well on the rhythm of intermittent fasting. Eating more vegetables (and less bread a.k.a. DUH) I almost always had a couple slices of rye bread at lunch. Not that there is anything wrong with doing so, but Ill admit to feeling pretty foggy-headed afterwards. And because it filled me up so much, I had less room for veggies. Now Im prepping raw and cooked vegetables ahead of time and keeping them on hand specifically for my big lunches. Some favourites to roast in the oven are cauliflower, sweet potato, pumpkin, red onion, zucchini, tomatoes, and broccoli. Ive also started cutting up a big plate of veggie sticks in the early afternoon, before I even get hungry, so that it is there and waiting for me - no excuses. Right before diving in I douse it in freshly squeezed lemon juice, Maldon salt and Aleppo pepper. Its honestly delicious. I dont have to tell you that vegetables are full of filling fiber, replenishing phytonutrients, and yes, protein. Especially dem green ones. Eat more plants. Habits + meal prep I think this was the other big hurdle for me when it came to changing things up with my eating habits. I knew that if I was going to start eating food differently, Id have to start preparing food differently too - and a lot more often. I already spend a lot of time in the kitchen (obvi) and I love it, but I am also a person who likes to spend her non-work hours away from the cutting board. Eating this way admittedly does take more time, and makes it more challenging to eat out, or just grab something on the go. Coming to terms with this was challenging, but Ive realized that I have to dedicate more time to my diet if I want to be successful. No matter how you slice it, meal preparation is a very big part of sticking to your goals, whatever they may be. Of course there are times when its just not possible to do, and divergent days are fine, but the majority of your food youre should fall into the category that helps you feel your best, however you define that. Instead of prepping one day a week, which I know a lot of people like to do, I actually prefer to pepper it throughout the week in a way that is a little more fluid for me. If the Life-Changing Loaf of Bread is in the oven for instance, Ill chop up a bunch of veggies, and put them in too. If Im washing greens for a salad, Ill do all of them so that theyre ready to chuck into a smoothie on a whim. Lee from Americas Fat Balls have also been a super snack these days. And like I mentioned before, having fresh veggies washed and sliced up for afternoon cravings is very helpful. I can prepare two or three days worth at a time and keep them in the fridge. Mindset Instead of looking at food in terms of good and bad which I think is a dangerously judgemental way to categorize what were eating, I like to say yes to certain things, and the others fall into the not-right-now basket. For instance, I love brown rice to the ends of the earth and back, but Im not eating it right now since it doesnt make me feel all that great. And just because Im not eating brown rice these days doesnt mean I’ll never eat it again! This leaves room for flexibility and creates a far more sustainable way to look at ones diet. Isn’t it relieving to know that if you are out for dinner and there’s only rice for example, that you could potentially eat it and not beat yourself up? Ahhhh…did you feel that?! What a relief, eh? Tomorrow you’ll get back on the horse, no big deal at all. Making changes should be fun, and keep those labels for tin cans! You’re a fluid being, ever-changing, so make space for that in your meal planning too. Self-care routine, stress-reduction, exercise, and sleep I used to see self-care as something that only people with time have. Well, after totally hitting the wall a while ago, I realized that it just has to be a priority, respected as a part of a holistic approach to health, and something to actually schedule in the calendar. Staying active, sleeping, and treating myself to some yummy stress-reducing activities like spending time in nature, bodywork, and cooking (go figure) keeps me feeling happy and relaxed. Squelching stress doesnt happen by accident: it is truly a daily practice and something to be mindful of. Listen to yourself. How can this moment be juicier and more relaxing? Its fun to love yourself! Keeping stress levels low means that your body will be relaxed and not producing hormones that should only be reserved for emergency situations. Cortisol is a stress hormone released by the adrenal glands. Every time we experience a stressful situation we secrete this hormone into the blood stream so that our bodies can deal with the stressor at hand. Although cortisol is our friend in acute situations, our systems arent designed to be pumping it out round the clock as we juggle and struggle with backlogged emails, fussy kids, and traffic jams. This is why chronic stress is so detrimental to our bodies: prolonged, elevated cortisol levels wreak all kinds of wrong inside of us, raising our blood pressure, causing unwanted weight gain, exhaustion, anxiety, impaired brain function, and weakening the immune response. All the more reason to take self-care seriously, and do the things you love more often. Its actually healthy. Sleeping 7-9 hours a night is another non-negotiable. Getting enough sleep helps us to control our cortisol production, balance our blood sugar, and put us back in line with our natural circadian rhythm. Turning screens off an hour before bedtime will help signal to your body that it is in fact, night time. Create a relaxed, cozy environment and spend the last hour before bed reading, stretching, or meditating. I still struggle with this one, as I love looking at Instagram right before turning out the light, but Im becoming more mindful and doing my best. Required Reading There are a few really amazing books out there that I recommend every woman reads, whether or not you’re seeking advice on a particular health issue. Understanding our bodies and cycles is the first step in helping ourselves become healthier, stronger, more connected women. Woman Code by Alisa Vitti has been hugely educational and supportive for me. Her book is a guide to figuring out what the heck is going on inside you, and how to correct it through diet and lifestyle. I appreciate her easy-to-understand language and humour in this book, because let’s face it: nothing is very funny when you’re hormones are raging! The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to Women’s Health by Dr. Sat Dharam Kaur has been and continues to be another excellent resource for me. This book is more of an all-round toolkit for lifelong health and healing, than specifically about hormone balance. I love the holistic approach to all conditions, and inspiring programs to get us back in touch with our natural cycles in connection to the earth. The third book I recommend is Hormone Balance by Carolyn Dean. Dean is a naturopathic doctor that utilizes both traditional and alternative solutions to help readers rebalance their hormone levels. Her writing is engaging and inspiring, and this book is full of ways for women to achieve greater overall health. Oh man, I havent even talked about the tacos yet! So. I got the idea for these this past summer when I was chopping up tempeh to replace ground beef with in a tomato sauce for pasta. It turned out so meaty, satisfying, and delish that I thought I could perhaps take that same idea, spice it up a little differently, and serve them in a taco. Woot! I knew that grilled veggies and red cabbage would help cut the richness, but that I would also need a boss sauce to put them over the top. During one of my retreats I made a raw queso in our cooking class and everyone went wild for it. It seemed like a natural fit! Topped with some lime, avo, pickled red onions, and cilantro these were the best tacos Ive ever had. Ever. Ever. And Ive had a lot of tacos. I know some of you are going to ask about the corn tortillas and probably remind me that corn is a “grain”. Yes, I am aware of that, and I’ll remind you that I am not grain-free, just cutting way back. I stick mostly to pseudo-grains and make sure they are soaked prior to cooking, and enjoy a treat like this once in a while. I only purchase tortillas made with sprouted corn, or from corn that has been nixtalmized (that topic is a whole other blog post!). I buy my corn tortillas from Hija de Sanchez here in Copenhagen. Their tortillas are made fresh daily using nixtamalized corn imported from Mexico, so they taste unbelievably good. Of course taco fillings are important to a good taco, but the tortilla quality should not be overlooked! It makes the dish. Go find the good ones.     Print recipe     Tempeh Tacos with Raw Cashew Queso Serves 3-4 Tempeh Taco Meat 250g /­­ 8.8oz organic, non-GMO tempeh 1 medium red onion 4 cloves garlic 1 Tbsp. coconut oil or ghee 1 tsp. ground cumin 1/­­2 – 1 tsp. chipotle or smoked hot paprika, to taste 2 Tbsp. tamari 2-5 Tbsp. water, as needed Grilled vegetables 1 medium zucchini 1 medium red onion 1 red bell pepper 1/­­2 tsp. fine sea salt 1 tsp. ground cumin a couple pinches of cayenne, if desired 12 small corn tortillas (try to find organic, non-GMO if possible) 1 batch Raw Cashew Queso, recipe below Optional add-ins: 1 ripe avocado 1 small bunch cilantro pickled red onion or thinly sliced red onion shredded red cabbage tossed with a little salt and lime juice limes for serving hot sauce Cooking and assembly: 1. Start by making the Raw Cashew Queso (see recipe below). 2. Heat your grill or barbecue to medium-high. If not using a grill, simply cook everything in a skillet on the stove. 3. Finely chop or crumble tempeh into whatever size appeals to you (mine were rather small to mimic ground beef). Set aside. Mince red onion and garlic. Set aside. 4. Soak wooden skewers in water while you prepare the vegetables, or longer if you remember. If using metal skewers, skip this step. 5. Wash and cut the zucchini and onion into rings, the peppers into chunks. Place in a large bowl and toss with the salt and spices. 6. Skewer the vegetables so that their largest surface will lay flat on the grill (see photo). Alternate veggies until youve used them all. Place on the grill and cook until stating to char on the underside, anywhere from 5-10 minutes, depending on your cooking method. Flip and cook on the other side. 7. While the vegetables are grilling, cook the tempeh. H eat your cooking oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and a few pinches of salt. Cook until starting to brown, about 7-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant. Add crumbled tempeh, cumin, chipotle, and stir well to incorporate. Pour in the tamari, followed by a couple tablespoons of water. Stir well and add water as needed - youre after a moist mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Cook for a total of 10 minutes. The mixture should be golden brown, hot and delicious! 8. Warm the tortilla shells on the grill or in a pan over medium-high heat. 9. Spoon the desired amount of tempeh into each tortilla shell. Followed by the roasted veggies, avocado, cabbage, cilantro and pour on the Raw Cashew Queso. Enjoy! Raw Cashew Queso Makes about 2 cups /­­ 500ml Ingredients: 1 cup /­­ 150g cashews, soaked for 4-8 hours or overnight 1 red bell pepper 1/­­2 tsp. salt 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast 2-3 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste 1/­­2 clove garlic 1 small piece fresh turmeric ground cayenne, to taste 1/­­2 cup /­­ 125ml water Directions: 1. Drain and rinse the cashews. 2. Put all ingredients, except water, in a high-speed blender or food processor and blend, adding water one tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. If you want a thick cream, use less water, for a thinner sauce, use more. (You will not achieve a perfectly smooth sauce with a food processor, but it is still delicious!). Before I go I just want to reiterate how wonderful it felt to be met with such open arms after the last post. I wish I could write back to every single one of you who shared their story with me, and everyone else here, but I simply couldnt get to them all. I am moved beyond words that so many of you felt open and supported in this space too, and I will urge you to seek out help if you need it. And if you know someone who you think may struggle with disordered eating, reach out and help them in a loving, and non-judgmental way. We are all in this together. In love and light, Sarah B *   *   *   *   *   *   * http:/­­/­­www.goldencircleretreats.com/­­portugal/­­index.html Dear friends! I am thrilled to share the location for my next wellness retreat in magical Comporta, Portugal, November 5-11, 2017. Join Mikkala Marilyn Kissi and I at Sublime Comporta for seven days of luxurious living, divinely delicious meals, inspiring cooking classes and nutrition seminars, yoga, Pilates, meditation, and breath work. Come press the reset button with me! Ride horses on the beach, dance under the stars, and cozy up by the fire. This will be a week to remember. I cant wait to see you there! Click here for more info and tickets. The post Tempeh Tacos with Raw Cashew Queso appeared first on My New Roots.

Meatless Monday Sizes Up Superfoods

March 20 2017 Meatless Monday 

Meatless Monday Sizes Up SuperfoodsMarch is National Nutrition Month. So each week this month, were highlighting how certain foods can help improve your health. This is the third article in the series. Please share with friends and family who may be interested. For many adults, being time-pressed has become the norm. Theyre driven to pack more into any given moment. With this mind, perhaps its no surprise that theres a recent surge of interest in superfoods - plant foods that pack in more nutrition than other food items. Sure, this food trend is hot right now, but does the reality actually live up to the hype? Turns out the answer is yes, as long as youre consuming the right foods for the right reasons. According to Diana K. Rice, a registered dietitian who works with Meatless Monday, Many plant-based foods pack in more fiber, minerals and fiber than other dietary choices, said Rice. So if youre looking to improve the quality of your diet, its a great idea to rely on these foods over choices like processed carbohydrates and animal products. But dont expect superfoods to deliver a miracle cure for your medical problems, cautions Rice. She explains, No single food is going to help you lose weight, give you clearer skin or achieve whatever other health goal youre after. The main reason to eat superfoods is that they are nutritious and convenient. One easy way to pack more superfoods into yoir diet is to adopt the practice of Meatless Monday. When you choose not to eat meat one day a week, theres a lot of room left in your diet to fill with nutrient-packed superfoods, Rice said. And when you try tasty new dishes containing plant-based superfoods on a Monday, youll be more likely to incorporate them into your diet over the rest of the week, too. To kick off your new Meatless Monday habit, Rice recommends these plant-based superfoods: Peanuts: Not only is this plant-based source of protein highly affordable, its adored by the masses for its appealing flavor. In addition to seven grams of protein per one ounce serving, peanuts are a terrific source of folate and resveratrol - yes, the red wine nutrient! Found in whole peanuts (as well as grape skins), resveratrol is an antioxidant thats linked to reduced rates of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Think outside the peanut butter sandwich with Peanut Noodles or Peanut Butter Chili.   Avocados: This fruit is a super substitute for animal products on Meatless Monday because its healthy fat content satisfies the same craving you might have for a juicy steak. But since the fats found in avocados are mostly heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, theyre doing your body a favor along with your tastebuds. Grill them and top with salsa for a new twist or try them with pasta in this Pea and Avocado Penne.   Kale: Sure, kale isnt as trendy as it once was. Nowadays, foods like collard greens and Brussels sprouts are stealing the spotlight. However, kale rose to popularity for good reason - it scores a perfect 1000 on the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index, meaning that it packs in more nutrition per calorie than most other foods. In particular, its a great source of vitamins A, K, C and fiber. Give it a spin in this Forbidden Rice Salad or try a new variation on your lasagna with this kale-packed version.   Mushrooms: Not many foods pack in a hefty dose of vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin. But one portabella mushroom can pack in 400 IU (international units) of vitamin D, which is more than half of the recommended daily intake level. Theyre an especially good choice for people who are averse to sun or live in northern climates, plus they offer the crave-able umami flavor found in meat. Try them in Mushroom Tikka Masala or Mushroom Hemp Tartlets.   Tomatoes: No, not the pale pink slice thats suspiciously topping your sandwich. Were talking deep, dark red tomatoes - especially canned tomatoes - that are an excellent source of lycopene, an antioxidant thats linked to heart health and reduced cancer risk. Pump up your lycopene intake with dishes like Shakshouka with Rainbow Chard and Tomato Parmesan Slow Cooker Soup. The post Meatless Monday Sizes Up Superfoods appeared first on Meatless Monday.

5 Unexpected Foods to Satisfy Meat Cravings

September 19 2016 Meatless Monday 

5 Unexpected Foods to Satisfy Meat CravingsThere is a reason why so many people crave meat. When our ancestors first started eating animal flesh on the African savannas 2.5-million years ago, their food options were extremely limited. For our hungry ancestors, meat had two things, in particular, that were a godsend: fat and protein. Today, our tongues are still attuned to detecting the calorie-loaded fat and the umami taste that signifies that a food is abundant in protein. The reason why we love the taste of meats, such as fried bacon or grilled burgers, is the Maillard reaction: the browning that occurs when we cook some foods in high temperatures. To the tongues of our ancestors, the flavors of the Maillard reaction signified that a food had been cooked and thus safer to eat. But even though we no longer need meat for its protein and fat, and indeed we have better ways of knowing that food is safe than relying on the the Maillard reaction, our taste buds obviously didnt get the memo. They keep pushing us towards pork and beef. To make Meatless Monday easier and more fun, here are a few tips on how we can satisfy our outdated taste buds without meat, from Marta Zaraska, science journalist and author of  Meathooked: The History and Science of Our 2.5-Million-Years Obsession With Meat who has also published in the Washington Post, Scientific American, and The Atlantic. Craving ribs? Try avocado. Ribs are fatty. In a single 3 oz serving, you may get about 0.7 oz/­­20 grams of fat (and a lot of that is in unhealthy, saturated form). If you feel like dining on ribs or pork sausages, chances are your taste buds would be happy with something else that is fatty, so go for plant foods that are loaded with fat, such as avocados (13 grams of fat in 1/­­2 avocado) or macadamia nuts (a whopping 21 grams of fat in a 1 oz serving--more than ribs). And the good news is that fats found in plants are largely of the healthy, unsaturated type. Swap chicken for PB sandwiches. If the amount of protein in the human diet falls below 15 percent (more or less), we start craving it. So, on Meatless Monday, if you suddenly feel like having a lean chicken breast, your body may well be telling you it wants protein. A perfect solution would be a whole-wheat peanut butter sandwich or rice with beans. Both these dishes have complete protein, just like you would get from meat. Instead of toasty bacon, go for toasts. What makes bacon so appetizing are the flavors created in the Maillard reaction. But you can get these aromas in different ways besides the grilling or frying of meat. Toasted bread, tempura, pan-fried vegetarian dumplings--all these foods could satisfy your cravings because they offer the Maillard reaction. Create umami bombs. Meats are full of umami--delicious in Japanese--the fifth basic taste. Mushrooms have plenty of umami, and so does aged cheese (Parmesan, in particular), tomatoes, and fermented foods such as soy sauce or kimchi. Whats more, combining several umami foods in one dish can make what chefs call a umami bomb--even more potent deliciousness. So, instead of cooking a steak for your Meatless Monday dinner, try a stir-fry with soy sauce, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Make a meaty plant-based meal. Since meats tempt us with the combination of fat, umami, and the aromas of the Maillard reaction, try combining all these flavors in one plant-based meal. An example? A perfectly toasted sandwich with avocado, tomatoes, and Parmesan. Enjoy! The post 5 Unexpected Foods to Satisfy Meat Cravings appeared first on Meatless Monday.

5-Ingredient Magical Fudgesicles

June 17 2016 My New Roots 

5-Ingredient Magical Fudgesicles Fudgesicles were a mainstay in the freezer of my childhood, and my go-to sugar fix if the cookie jar was empty. Since weve been blessed here in Copenhagen with a warm spring and early start to the summer season, day after day of blue skies and sundresses has jumpstarted my summer food fantasies. I felt like revisiting the frosty, chocolate-y pops that were such a relief in the sweltering heat, but this time, with a healthy plan of attack. In my cookbook, I made a killer ice cream from avocados and cashews. Knowing how creamy and delicious this combination was, I wanted to recreate a similar base, with dates as the sweetener and raw cacao powder as the chocolate element. So, I made a couple versions of these fudgesicles, since I wanted to eat more be thorough. The first experiment was with just cashews and avocado. The results were pretty delicious but pretty expensive, and a few of my taste-testers found the ice cream bars a little dry in the mouth. For the second version I scaled way back on the cashews and used coconut milk to enhance juiciness while maintaining creaminess. I also upped the cacao. Because chocolate. It was a perfectly balanced combination, and the version I am presenting you with today. The magical version. These are so lusciously creamy, sinfully rich-tasting – the kind of thing you put in your mouth and kind of can’t believe what’s happening. Vegan, almost raw, and full of whole food ingredients, they are also downright filling! They make a fabulous mid-morning or afternoon pick-me-up, especially with the raw cacao component, a deliciously effective, energy-boosting food. Dress them up with your favourite add-ins, or keep it simple and enjoy them as the five-ingredient bliss bars that they are. Cashew News! I was snacking on some cashews the other day (as one does) and offered some to a friend of mine, who declined. Her reason? Cashews are so fattening. Wait a minute, what? who started this ugly rumour?! Maybe this is news to you too, but cashews are actually one of the lowest-fat nuts out there. Weighing in at only 67% fat, next to almonds at 76%, hazelnuts at 86%, and macadamia nuts at 93%, cashews rank pretty low on the scale - and lets keep in mind that 66% of the fat in cashews is the heart-healthy, monounsaturated variety. Rejoice! And while we are clearing up misconceptions, cashews are not technically nuts, but seeds that adhere to the bottom of the cashew apple, an edible fruit native to South America. Cashew trees are in the same botanical family as mango and pistachio. The multi-step process to make cashews edible is quite involved, and typically includes steaming the whole seed pod, removing the outer shell, drying, and skinning. The inner shell layer of the cashew nut contains a caustic resin that can cause significant skin rashes, and is toxic if ingested. The raw cashews that you purchase at a grocery store health food shop are not typically raw, just not roasted. Because of the steaming step in conventional cashew processing, cashews cannot be considered a truly raw product. Truly raw cashews are available on specialty websites and in some health food stores, but at a premium since separating the cashews from their shell without the nut coming into contact with the resin is time consuming and must be done by hand. Cashews are an excellent source of the mineral copper. Copper helps our body utilize iron, eliminate free radicals, and build bone and connective tissue. It is also an essential component of a wide range of enzymes, such as superoxide dismutase (SOD) which aids energy production and antioxidant defence. One-third of a cup of cashews delivers over 100% of your recommended daily intake of copper. A high-speed blender is recommended for this recipe, but if you dont have one make sure you blend until the mixture is as smooth as possible. You can add water to thin the mixture if it is too thick to blend, but keep in mind the more water you add, the less creamy the bars will be - more crystalline. No matter what, they will taste amazing. Because they’re magic. The fudgesicle recipe below is unreasonably delicious as-is, but it can act also as a base for you to flavour as you like! You can add toppings after removing the fudgesicles from their mold too. This involves melted raw or regular chocolate and your creative spirit! Dip or drizzle the chocolate over the frozen bar, and sprinkle away. MAGIC WANDS. This would make a very popular activity at a kids birthday party. Or my birthday party. Stop looking at me like that. Ive included some options for both flavourings and toppings to inspire you, but these are merely suggestions. I know all of you super enthusiastic foodies out there will come up with some stellar combos. Let me know in the comments if you do!     Print recipe     5-Ingredient Vegan Magical Fudgesicles Makes 4 cups /­­ 1 Liter /­­ 10 fudgesicles Ingredients: 1/­­2 cup /­­ 75g unroasted, unsalted cashews 1 14-oz can /­­ 400ml full-fat coconut milk 1 large, ripe avocado 1 cup /­­ 250g pitted, packed soft dates 1/­­2 cup /­­ 55g raw cacao powder (cocoa powder will also work) Optional add-ins: a few pinches sea salt vanilla (seeds from 1 pod, powder, or extract) a few drops of food-grade essential oils (peppermint, orange, almond etc.) finely diced fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, mango etc.) a pinch of cayenne pepper espresso powder finely chopped toasted nuts (cashews, hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios etc.) Optional toppings: melted raw chocolate (recipe here) or melted dark chocolate cacao nibs finely chopped toasted nuts (cashews, hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios etc.) dried fruit (I used raspberry on the ones pictured) citrus zest (lemon, orange, lime) hemp seeds unsweetened desiccated coconut bee pollen Directions: 1. Place cashews in lightly salted water and let soak for 4-8 hours (overnight is fine). 2. Drain the cashews and rinse well. Add to a blender (a high-speed blender is highly recommended) with the remaining ingredients (and any flavourings, if using) and blend on high until as smooth as possible. Add water only if necessary - you want to mixture to remain quite thick. 3. Spoon mixture in popsicle molds. Firmly knock the molds on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles. Insert a popsicle stick into each mold and place in the freezer until set - at least 6 hours. To remove popsicles, run the mold under hot water until you can easily pull a fudgesicle out. 4. If you want to decorate your fudgesicles, dip or drizzle them with melted chocolate and sprinkle with desired toppings. Eat immediately, or place back in the freezer to set until ready to enjoy. *   *   *   *   *   * In other very magical news, my latest Cody app video series is now online! This one is all about my favourite subject: SNACKS!!! Super-Charged Snacks to be exact. And every recipe is brand-new, incredibly delicious, and of course über healthy. If you haven’t seen the Protein-Rich Cacao Brownie video on my Facebook page yet, go have a look! You can preview all of the recipes here and purchase the plan too (it’s on sale!). Thank you so much for your ongoing support of My New Roots! Big love and gratitude, Sarah B. The post 5-Ingredient Magical Fudgesicles appeared first on My New Roots.

Is Low-Fat Always Better Than Full-Fat?

May 21 2015 Vegetarian Times 

Is Low-Fat Always Better Than Full-Fat?Illustration: Stephanie Birdsong Nope! It’s a myth. It wasnt so long ago that we began blaming fat for all the things that ail us, leading to widespread fat phobia and the proliferation of lower-fat foods on store shelves. Yet opting for only low-fat or fat-free items might be hurting, not helping, our health and weight-loss efforts. Researchers at Cornell University discovered that labeling snacks as low-fat ups their consumption at a single sitting by as much as 50 percent. Why? ?A low-fat label can increase what people perceive to be an appropriate serving size, and temper the guilt associated with, say, polishing off a bag of reduced-fat chips; similarly, a study in the journal Appetite found that people tend to underestimate the calories in candy presented as low-fat, and also perceive the candy to be more healthful than full-fat versions. Such miscalculations can lead to excessive calorie intake and potential weight gain. Worse still, reduced-fat versions of grocery products arent necessarily ?a nutritional upgrade. When fat is removed from such items as peanut butter, frozen yogurt, and salad dressings, manufacturers tend to make up for the ?loss of flavor and texture by pumping in more sugar and salt, which raise ?heart disease risk. Not to be overlooked are nutritional assists from fats. A type of unsaturated fat called oleic acid, packed into foods including olive oil, converts to a hunger-curbing compound in the body, thus helping curtail between-meal trips to the cookie jar. Fat also improves absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, such as the vitamin D added to milk. And, according to research from Purdue University, even just a bit of the monounsaturated fat in canola oil- or olive oil-based dressings promotes absorption of health-protective carotenoid antioxidants supplied by salad veggies. Fat Chance Adults should get 20 to 35 percent of their calories from fat, according to the USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services. Start with these naturally fat-rich plant foods that provide plenty of nutritional perks. Almond butter supplies magnesium, a mineral that aids in lessening heart disease risk. ?Spread on crackers, apple slices, and celery sticks. Here’s how to make your own almond butter. Avocado boosts dietary fiber intake to help kick-start weight loss. ?Blend into smoothies, chocolate desserts, and dips. Hemp seeds are a good source of plant-based protein, delivering about ?10 grams per 3-tablespoon serving. ?Add to yogurt, salads, and soups. Bottom Line: Dont always fear the fat. In most cases, youre better off selecting the full-fat versions of grocery goods, and simply paying attention to portions to keep calories in check.

6 Top Health Benefits of Almonds

February 24 2015 VegKitchen 

6 Top Health Benefits of AlmondsAlmonds are one of the worlds most nutritious and versatile nuts, perfect for snacking as well as in tasty recipes, renowned for their many health benefits and culinary uses. Here are just a few: Reduce Blood Sugar Levels: Eating almonds may be a great option for diabetics looking to maintain healthy blood glucose levels. Findings from a 2007 study published in the journal Metabolism found that consuming almonds alongside white bread regulates spikes in blood sugar and significantly lowers the glycemic index of the meal. Heart-Loving Antioxidant Powers: Almonds are one of the richest food sources of alpha-tocopherol, the form of vitamin E that is most easily absorbed by the body. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that protects cells against the damaging effects of free radicals, boosts the immune system, supports cardiovascular health, and helps your body create new red blood cells. A 2005 study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that almond consumption helped meet the Recommended Dietary Allowance of 15 mg/­­day alpha-tocopherol and improved red blood cell concentration. Another study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that almonds can reduce C-reactive protein, an indication of inflammation that affects the arteries. Weight Control: As part of a calorie-conscious eating regime, almonds, which are high in monounsaturated fats, can help obese adults lose weight easier than a diet high in complex carbohydrates, according to a study in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders. Contrary to many worries of healthy eaters, consuming almonds actually lowers the risk of weight gain. A 28-month long study showed that individuals who ate almonds at least twice per week were 31% less likely to gain weight than nut-avoiding participants. So go ahead and go nuts! Lower Cholesterol: Almonds are the leading source of monounsaturated fat among commonly eaten nuts: over 60% of the total fat in almonds is monounsaturated. Numerous studies have demonstrated the cholesterol-lowering effects of consuming foods rich in monounsaturated fat. A 2005 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming almonds as part of a heart-healthy diet can be just as effective at lowering LDL bad cholesterol levels as first generation statin drugs. A good source of calcium and other nutrients: Weve already heard that almonds are a good source of Vitamin E, but they offer a modest but significant and absorbable form of calcium, which is good for the bones. Likewise, theyre a good source of phosphorous for strong bones and teeth. Almonds are a good source of magnesium and folic acid, as well. Excellent source of plant-based protein: Just one ounce of almonds contains about 12 percent of average daily protein needs. Enough said! Adapted from Nuts.com, with permission. Discover your favorite almond products at nuts.com from premium supreme-sized raw almonds to finely blanched almond flour and all natural almond butters for your snacking and recipe needs.

Butternut Squash and Chipotle Chili with Avocado

January 19 2015 Meatless Monday 

This savory, seasonal chili features just a touch of sweetness from the butternut squash and cinnamon seasoning. Serve it up with a few slices of avocado for a dose of healthy monounsaturated fats. This recipe comes to us from Kelsey of Kelsey’s Apple a Day. Serves 6 - 2 tbsp. olive oil - 1 medium red onion, chopped - 2 red bell peppers, chopped - 1 small butternut squash (about 1 1/­­2 lbs.), peeled and chopped - 4 garlic cloves, minced - 2 tbsp. chili powder - 1 tbsp. ground cumin - 1/­­4 tsp. ground cinnamon - sea salt, to taste - 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo, minced - 1 bay leaf - 1 (14-oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, including liquid - 2 (14-oz.) cans low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed - 2 cups vegetable broth - 2 avocados, diced - chopped cilantro, for garnish - chipotle hot sauce, for garnish Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add onion, bell pepper, squash, and garlic and sauté until the onions begin to turn translucent, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low.  Add the chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, and salt.  Stir until vegetables are evenly coated, then add the bay leaf, tomatoes, beans, and vegetable broth.  Cover and simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally.  Taste for spice level and adjust, as needed. To serve, remove bay leaf, then ladle into individual bowls and top with avocado and cilantro.  If desired, spice it up with some chipotle hot sauce. The post Butternut Squash and Chipotle Chili with Avocado appeared first on Meatless Monday.

Stir Fry Zen Crunch Bowl

June 29 2015 Meatless Monday 

This recipe is perfect for summer because it can be served as a hot or cold dish! If you like your salad to have crunch this is definitely a recipe for you. Cashews not only provide the crunch you crave but also heart healthy monounsaturated fats. This recipe comes to us from Meatless Monday blogger Christin of Veggie Chick. Serves 4 - 2 cups cooked millet, quinoa or brown rice - 1 tablespoon sesame oil - 1 crown broccoli, broken into florets (about 2 cups) - 1 1/­­2 cups shredded carrots - 1 cup snow peas -  1/­­2 cup vegetable stock - 2 cups asian greens (or kale and spinach) - salt and pepper, to taste - 1 1/­­2 cups red cabbage, chopped (about 1/­­4 of a cabbage head) - 1 cup roasted cashews For the Crispy Asian Roasted Chickpeas: - 15-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained -  1/­­2 tablespoon sesame oil -  1/­­4 teaspoon ground ginger -  1/­­4 teaspoon garlic powder -  1/­­8 teaspoon ground sea salt For the Dressing: - 1 tablespoons miso paste (yellow) - 1 tablespoon lemon juice - 1 teaspoon fresh ginger - 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce -  1/­­8 teaspoon ground sea salt - 1 tablespoon rice vinegar - 2 teaspoons agave syrup (or honey) Cook millet, quinoa or brown rice and set aside. You’ll need about 2 cups cooked for this recipe. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse chickpeas with water and pat dry with a couple of paper towels. In a medium bowl, add sesame oil, ground ginger, garlic powder, and sea salt. Add chickpeas and stir to coat. Place the chickpeas on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes, stirring midway through, until brown and crispy. Let cool. Add sesame oil to a large pan or wok over medium high heat. Add broccoli and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add carrots, snow peas and vegetable stock. Stir and cook for 5 minutes. Add greens and cook another 2 minutes or until greens are wilted. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. To make the dressing, combine miso, lemon juice, fresh ginger, tamari, sea salt, rice vinegar, and agave syrup. Stir with a small whisk. In a bowl, scoop into different sections: millet, quinoa or brown rice, broccoli/­­snow pea mixture, red cabbage, roasted chickpeas, and cashews. Drizzle with sauce and serve.   The post Stir Fry Zen Crunch Bowl appeared first on Meatless Monday.

7 Top Protein Sources for Vegetarians

February 27 2015 Vegetarian Times 

7 Top Protein Sources for Vegetarians Worried that you--or someone you love--wont get enough protein without meat? Relax! According to a 2009 research review by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association), vegans and vegetarians typically meet and even exceed their protein requirements: the average adult woman needs just 46 grams of protein a day; the average adult man needs 56 grams. By eating a variety of healthful veg foods, you can easily cover your protein bases. Not sure where to start? We asked nutritionist Rachel Meltzer Warren, MS, RDN, author of The Smart Girls Guide to Going Vegetarian, to help us choose a few of the most convenient and affordable protein-packed staples. Tofu Consider this soybean block a blank canvas: itll soak up the flavors of whatever you add to it. Use silken varieties for blending into smoothies and puddings; save firmer tofu for baking or stir-frying into chewy pieces and tossing into salads, sandwiches, veggie bowls, and noodle dishes. In addition to protein, tofu delivers a dose of bone-building calcium if its made with calcium sulfate, notes Warren. Check for it in the ingredients list on the label. Tip: Short on time? Grab pre-seasoned baked tofu by brands such as Wildwood or Nasoya. Protein: 10 grams per 4-oz. serving firm tofu Beans A helping of beans makes any dish more filling, thanks to an abundance ?of protein and fiber. Being rich in both types of fiber--soluble and insoluble--beans also ?help lower cholesterol and promote healthy digestion, says Warren, who suggests eating ?a variety, such as chickpeas, black beans, and heirloom beans, for the widest range of ?nutrients. Cook a big batch of dried beans for use throughout the week, or stock up on ?cans with BPA-free linings and no added salt. Tip: Add a strip of kombu seaweed to beans as they cook to make them more easily digestible. Protein: 7 grams per 1/­­2-cup serving cooked black beans Greek Yogurt Swap out regular yogurt for this thicker, strained variety, which has up to twice as much protein. Warren forgoes non-fat yogurt in favor of 2% or even whole, which will leave you feeling fuller and more satisfied. Go organic, when possible: recent research shows that organic milk contains more heart-protective omega-3 fatty acids than its conventional cousin. Look for plain Greek yogurt, and sweeten it yourself using fruit or a natural sweetener such as agave or honey. Tip: Prefer savory to sweet? Add a few spoonfuls of Greek yogurt to blended soups and sautéed greens. Protein: 17 grams per 6-oz. serving 2% Greek yogurt Eggs Starting your day with an egg can help curb cravings later in the day--just dont skip the yolk. Its a great source of the nutrient choline, which is vital for cells to function properly, says Warren. Egg yolks are also rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that help maintain eye health. Note: the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends ?consuming less than 300 milligrams cholesterol per day. ?One large egg clocks in at 186 milligrams. Tip: Check the Cornucopia Institutes Organic Egg Scorecard to see how different egg companies stack up. Protein: 6 grams per large egg Lentils These little legumes are packed with the about the same amount of hunger-quelling fiber as beans, but they require no soaking and cook up in just 20 to 30 minutes. Whats more, theyre an excellent source of folate--even more so than beans--which is important for your nervous system and heart health, says Warren. She suggests pairing iron-rich lentils with foods high in vitamin C, such as tomatoes and oranges, which help your body absorb the iron. Tip: Not a fan of mushy lentils? Choose French or Puy lentils, which hold their shape when cooked. Protein: 9 grams per 1/­­2-cup serving cooked lentils   Nuts and Nut Butters Just a handful of walnuts, almonds, cashews, or peanuts gives you a quick-and-easy protein boost. Nutty for nut butter? ?All types are good sources of monounsaturated fat, which can help lower bad LDL cholesterol levels, says Warren. She advises skipping low-fat varieties that remove much of this good fat, and opting for jars with just two ingredients: nuts and salt. Spread on toast, stir into stews, or whirl into morning smoothies. Tip: Try sunflower seed butter if youre allergic to nuts. Protein: 7 grams per 2-Tbs. serving peanut butter Tempeh Dont be intimidated by nutty, earthy tempeh. Like tofu, its made from soybeans, but with a twist: The beans are fermented, producing bacteria thats beneficial for your GI tract, says Warren. The fermentation process also breaks down the carbohydrates that some people have trouble digesting, making it an easier-to-tolerate option for people whose bellies dont do tofu. For a beginner-friendly ground meat alternative, crumble tempeh, pan-fry it, and stir into pasta sauces, taco fillings, and chili. Tip: Liven up salads and sandwiches with tempeh bacon, ?a smoky treat thats great for new vegetarians. Protein: 21 grams per 4-oz. serving tempeh Psst! You dont need to combine incomplete proteins such as beans and rice, ?which lack all nine essential amino acids, within one meal. If you eat ?a range of veg proteins throughout ?the day, youll most likely be in good ?shape. (When in doubt, you can load up on quinoa, one of the few plant-based complete proteins. It provides 4 grams of protein in a 1/­­2-cup serving.) Pack vegetarian protein using VT recipes that contain at least 18 grams of protein per serving: Blueberry-Spinach Smoothie Ultimate Vegan Chili Sweet-and-Sour Baked Tofu Sandwiches Lentil and Egg Bowl Cornbread and Pinto Bean Shepherds Pie Stir-Fried Tofu Bento Box with Sesame Soba Noodles and Ginger-Carrot Broccoli Spicy Tempeh Hash

5 Top Health Benefits of Almonds

February 24 2015 VegKitchen 

5 Top Health Benefits of AlmondsAlmonds are one of the worlds most nutritious and versatile nuts, perfect for snacking as well as in tasty recipes, renowned for their many health benefits and culinary uses. Here are just a few: Reduce Blood Sugar Levels: Eating almonds may be a great option for diabetics looking to maintain healthy blood glucose levels. Findings from a 2007 study published in the journal Metabolism found that consuming almonds alongside white bread regulates spikes in blood sugar and significantly lowers the glycemic index of the meal. Heart-Loving Antioxidant Powers: Almonds are one of the richest food sources of alpha-tocopherol, the form of vitamin E that is most easily absorbed by the body. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that protects cells against the damaging effects of free radicals, boosts the immune system, supports cardiovascular health, and helps your body create new red blood cells. A 2005 study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that almond consumption helped meet the Recommended Dietary Allowance of 15 mg/­­day alpha-tocopherol and improved red blood cell concentration. Another study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that almonds can reduce C-reactive protein, an indication of inflammation that affects the arteries. Weight Control: As part of a calorie-conscious eating regime, almonds, which are high in monounsaturated fats, can help obese adults lose weight easier than a diet high in complex carbohydrates, according to a study in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders. Contrary to many worries of healthy eaters, consuming almonds actually lowers the risk of weight gain. A 28-month long study showed that individuals who ate almonds at least twice per week were 31% less likely to gain weight than nut-avoiding participants. So go ahead and go nuts! Lower Cholesterol: Almonds are the leading source of monounsaturated fat among commonly eaten nuts: over 60% of the total fat in almonds is monounsaturated. Numerous studies have demonstrated the cholesterol-lowering effects of consuming foods rich in monounsaturated fat. A 2005 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming almonds as part of a heart-healthy diet can be just as effective at lowering LDL bad cholesterol levels as first generation statin drugs. A good source of calcium and other nutrients: Weve already heard that almonds are a good source of Vitamin E, but they offer a modest but significant and absorbable form of calcium, which is good for the bones. Likewise, theyre a good source of phosphorous for strong bones and teeth. Almonds are a good source of magnesium and folic acid, as well. Excellent source of plant-based protein: Just one ounce of almonds contains about 12 percent of average daily protein needs. Enough said! Adapted from Nuts.com, with permission. Discover your favorite almond products at nuts.com from premium supreme-sized raw almonds to finely blanched almond flour and all natural almond butters for your snacking and recipe needs.

Sesame Seeds: Ways to Use and Health Benefits

September 28 2014 VegKitchen 

Sesame Seeds: Ways to Use and Health BenefitsSesame seeds are worth much more than their weight, both in nutritional benefits and in culinary properties. The flavor of sesame seeds is mild and nutty. It greatly intensifies when they are expressed into oil or are ground into a paste (known as tahini) or into a butter. When buying sesame seeds, look for the whole, unhulled variety, which have not been stripped of their nutritious, deep-tan hulls. If they look shiny and white, this tips you off that they’ve ben refined. Look for black sesame seeds as well. They add visual interest to simple dishes. Whole sesame seeds will keep well for many months in a tightly lidded jar in a cool, dry place. Refrigerate them during the summer.  Sesame seeds are 48 percent fat, with roughly equal parts polyunsaturates and monounsaturated and only a small proportion of saturated fat. Sesame seeds are about 18 percent protein. Two tablespoons contain 110 calories. Sesame seeds are valued for their high vitamin E content. They are also rich in minerals iron, zinc, potassium, and phosphorous and provide substantial amounts of the B vitamins niacin and folacin.  - Sesame seeds are an excellent garnish sprinkled on almost any types of casserole, stir-fried vegetables, Asian noodles dishes such as vegetable lo mien, and green salads.  - Sesame seeds may be sprinkled over or incorporated into yeast breads, quick breads, crackers, and muffins. - Use whole or ground sesame seeds in granola or sprinkle a tablespoon or so over a serving of cold cereal.  - Toss a small quantity of sesame seeds into simple cooked grains such as brown rice or bulgur or into grain pilafs. - Incorporate them into homemade energy bars and other unbaked or baked desserts. A few recipes that highlight sesame seeds: - Chocolate- Orange-Sesame Truffles - Sesame Zucchini “Noodles” with Snow Peas - Simple Sesame-Roasted Asparagus - Simple Sesame Soba Noodles - Sesame-Ginger Salad Dressing - Homemade Chocolate Energy Bars For lots more features on healthy lifestyle, please explore our  Healthy Vegan Kitchen  page . Here are more of VegKitchens   Natural Food Guides .


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