There is nothing better than having a nice, big, bowl of hot organic soup during the cold winter months. There is just something so comforting about it. Though it hasn’t been too cold here in the Northwest so far this winter, I’m still finding that I love making soups on a weekly basis.
Adding more organic soup to your diet is a great way to lose weight or maintain weight. They are typically low in calories but filling. Try eating soup for dinner or at least starting your meal with a soup and see how full you’ll feel.
Soups are also excellent for busy, working families because you can double a recipe and freeze the leftovers, giving you an easy weeknight meal when your time is short.
Here are some of my favorite hearty winter time soup recipes.
Organic Soup Recipes for Winter
Garden Vegetable Soup Recipe
This soup is perfect for when you have a ton of vegetables that you need to eat before they go bad. I love making this soup and you can make it with any veggie you have. Today I used:
- 1/2 large cauliflower, chopped
- 5 ribs of celery chopped
- 3 rainbow carrots chopped or thinly sliced
- 1-cup frozen peas
- 2 cloves garlic chopped finely
- 1 cup corn
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon basil
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon ghee (coconut oil, olive oil will work fine too)
- 2- 32oz containers of organic broth/stock of choice (today I used beef broth). If you have homemade broth on hand, please use that.
Directions (with images):
1. In a large pot over medium heat, heat your choice of fat, today I used ghee. While that’s warming up, and you haven’t done so already. Chop up all your veggies and get your spices ready.
2. When the ghee is melted and pan is nice and warm throw in the carrots, celery, onion:
3. Stir occasionally until onions are translucent, and veggies start to get tender, usually around 10, minutes, this is when I throw the garlic and spices in and stir for another minute or two.
4. Add broth and the rest of your vegetables.
5. Cover and cook for 45-60 minutes (check tenderness of your veggies). Add salt and pepper to taste.
There you have it a hearty garden vegetable soup.
Mountain Stew Recipe
I was given this recipes years ago, and I still have no idea who wrote this recipe or where it came from. I love it though and have made it several times. I like to mix up the vegetables and sometimes I add chicken.
- 1-15oz can kidney beans
- onion, sliced thin
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 cup cabbage, coarsely chopped
- 1 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes with liquid
- 1 c diced red potatoes
- 4 c stock (I used chicken stock, you can use any you like)
- 1/3 cup uncooked rice
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tablespoon chili powder, or more to taste
- 1/2 grated cheese of choice (cheddar, mozzarella, pepper jack etc)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
In a large pot over medium heat, heat the oil and cook the onion and garlic, stirring until the onion is soft, about 3-5 minutes.
Add the bell pepper, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes (with liquid), chili powder, paprika, and cumin.
Continue cooking, stirring frequently for 3 more minutes. Add the rice, stock and the beans. Cover and cook over low heat until the stew is thick and the beans and rice are tender, about 2 hours on stove top or six hours in your slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper. Top with grated cheese.
Easy Chicken Pho Recipe
Pho is one of my family’s favorite meals, we love going out dinner to have a big bowl of pho. It’s also one of my husband and I’s favorite meal after a long day of snowboarding. Did you know it’s simple to make at home! Here is a quick recipe. This is perfect to make when you have leftover chicken or even turkey!
- 8 cups of organic chicken stock/broth (I love using homemade for this, makes it taste even more authentic)
- 2-3 cups cooked chicken, shredded or chunked (whatever you prefer)
- 8 ounces of bean sprouts
- 1 cup fresh Thai basil leaves (optional)
- 1 lime wedged (optional)
- 1 Jalapeno thinly sliced
- 1 package of rice stick noodles
- Hoisin/ chili garlic sauce for serving
1. Add stock and chicken to crock pot. Cover and cook on Low for 6-7 hours or high for 3.
2. Add bean sprouts, noodles, and basil. Heat until noodles are softened.
3. Spoon soup into individual serving bowls and server with lime wedges, hoisin, or chili sauce.
Note: Always use organic ingredients whenever possible. This will lessen your exposure to unwanted chemicals and pesticides.
What are your favorite comforting soups for winter time?
Organic flaxseed has gained significant popularity among health-conscious Americans in recent years. However, despite the recent hype surrounding this little seed, a lot of people still have never heard of it. It may not exactly be a super food, but organic flaxseed certainly has many nutritional benefits. Although flax has been known to have been used thousands of years ago, even as far back as 1000BC because of its many health benefits, flax was until recently, relatively unknown.
Benefits of Organic Flaxseed:
1. Prevents Heart Disease
Omega 3 fatty acids are considered to be good fats and are important to our health, but they cannot be produced by our body. We must get them in from our foods. Because organic flaxseed is rich in omega 3, it can help to keep your heart healthy in a variety of ways, one way is that it helps fight inflammation in the body, which is a major cause of many diseases. Flaxseed also helps your heart health by naturally lowering your blood pressure. Having high blood pressure increases the chances of having a heart attack or congestive heart failure. The omega 3 fatty acids in flaxseed help reduce those risks.
2. Fiber Rich
Organic flaxseed is rich in fiber, both soluble and insoluble types. While soluble fiber helps to maintain proper gut and colon health, insoluble fiber plays a vital role in keeping the heart healthy by lowering LDL cholesterol levels. This property of flaxseed also aids in maintaining normal blood sugar levels for people suffering from blood sugar issues and diabetes.
3. Good Source of Protein
Organic flaxseed is a complete protein source, meaning that it contains every amino acid that your body can’t make on its own. It’s uncommon to find plant-based foods that are complete proteins, so flaxseed makes a great addition to vegetarian and vegan diets.
4. Boosts your Immune System
Organic flaxseed can help with fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and other immune disorders by building your immune system (which is mostly in our gut), healing you from the inside out, and preventing illness. Not only will you benefit from eating the nutrition your body is craving, but the flax lignans, omega 3, fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals will help your body to heal and repair itself.
5. Aids in Weight Loss
Organic flaxseed forms an essential part of many diet programs, for those trying to lose weight, since it keeps blood sugar levels in check. Due to its richness in fiber, it keeps the stomach full and helps you to not over eat. Also the good fats in flax help keep you full for longer periods of time.
6. Helps to Fight and Prevent Cancers
Studies show that flaxseed may have a role in fighting cancer, particularly colon, prostate and breast cancer. The benefit is based on its high concentration of lignans, which are believed to inhibit the enzymes that promote tumor growth.
7. Boosts Brain Power
Your brain and body must have Omega 3 to function and survive, we must have fats. Omega 3 is one of those essential fats we need in order to prevent Alzheimer’s and Dementia as well as helping with many mental disorders, depression, ADD + ADHD, difficulty sleeping, etc. Also, kids need Omega 3 so that their brains can develop properly. The only way for our body to get Omega 3 is through foods we eat, but much of the food we eat is cooked and processed; which does not contain any Omega 3 in it. Flaxseed is the perfect way to get more Omega 3 in our daily diet.
How to Get More Organic Flaxseed in Your Diet
Flaxseed has a light, nutty taste. Here are some ways to add it to the foods you already eat and enjoy:
- Sprinkle flaxseed on your cold cereal or hot oatmeal at breakfast.
- Add a teaspoon of ground flaxseed to the mustard or mayonnaise that you spread on your sandwich at lunch.
- Blend flaxseed into juice or smoothies.
- Sprinkle on salads or in soups.
- Mix a tablespoon of ground flaxseed into your yogurt.
Do you take flaxseed daily? How do you use it?
It’s 2015, Happy New Year! This year why not start things out right with committing to healthy eating. There are many ways to go about this, but today let’s talk about the top ten green foods that you should be eating. Adding a combination of these foods to your diet will benefit your health greatly! Maybe there are a few on this list you never tried. Introducing new foods into your diet is a cornerstone of healthy eating. It ensures that you get a variety of different minerals and vitamins, which bring different nutritional benefits.
10 Healthiest Green Foods You should be Eating
“Spinach makes ya strong!” That has been the Popeye tale for most of us, and that’s because this dark leafy green food is rich in iron. 1 cup of uncooked spinach has nearly 2mg of iron and only 15 calories. It is also a good source of fiber and has a small amount of protein. It is loaded with vitamin A, folate (folic acid), vitamin C and some vitamin E. The minerals Potassium, magnesium and calcium in spinach are high. Spinach can be a wonderful substitute for lettuce in salads, and lightly cooked spinach is concentrated in nutrients.
Asparagus is spring vegetable and the part we eat is actually the young underground sprouts or shoot. The asparagus tips are actually little flowers. Asparagus spears are often more expensive than other vegetables, because of their short season and the work it takes to harvest them. Asparagus have a good amount of vitamin c, vitamin A, sulfur, folic acid and potassium. It has some iron, calcium, magnesium and iodine and a little zinc as well.
These are one of my most favorite foods ever. Avocados do contain a lot of fat (about 23 grams in a medium-sized fruit), but it’s the cholesterol-lowering monounsaturated kind that nutrition experts love. Avocados also contain lutein, an antioxidant that protects eye health, and they also have some vitamin c, good amounts of vitamin A and a bit of vitamin E. Avocados are a wonderfully versatile addition to salads, tacos, soups, and on sandwiches in place of mayonnaise.
On top of delivering a raft of cancer-fighting antioxidants, kale is one of the vegetable world’s top sources of vitamin A, which promotes eye and skin health and may help strengthen the immune system. It’s a good source of heart-healthy fiber and a 1-cup serving has almost as much vitamin C as an orange. Kale is also high in the minerals magnesium, potassium and iron and well known for folate (folic acid), which makes this also a wonderful food to eat during all stages of pregnancy including pre and post pregnancy as well (that is true for all leafy greens).
5. Brussel Sprouts
These are one of the cruciferous vegetables recently known for their ability to reduce cancer risk. Even though they are not many people’s favorite vegetable to eat – because of their peculiar taste (which is actual sulfur) and the fact that many people find they are gas producing, they however, are loaded with nutrition – they are high in vitamin A and C, folate (folic acid), and fiber and also fairly high in calcium, sulfur of course, phosphorus and potassium. Now only if we can get our children to eat them that would be an awesome accomplishment on all levels!
Had to have a few fruits in here! Research shows kiwifruit is surprisingly nutrient-dense. These fuzzy, little, green fruits provide 230 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C (almost twice that of an orange), more potassium than a banana, and 10 percent of the recommended daily allowances of vitamin E and folate. It’s also a good source of filling fiber. Slice some kiwi into your cereal, yogurt, or salad for a refreshing health boost. My kids like to cut them in half and eat them with a spoon!
7. Green Tea
I know this isn’t something you “eat” but I’m throwing this in there because I think it can be very beneficial to add to your healthy lifestyle and it’s green – it has it in the name! Green tea is an excellent source of catechins, another type of antioxidant. A subgroup of this compound known as EGCG has been studied for its potential role in preventing cancer and heart disease. One study showed that drinking one cup of green tea per day could decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease by 10 percent.
Leeks owe many of their anti-cancer superpowers to their sulfur compounds. These nutrients have been credited with everything from kicking cancer to boosting immunity. Studies also suggest leeks could help protect the digestive system from stomach and gastric cancers. They are a high fiber food that are related to green onions. They are mainly carbohydrate and fiber. They are also rich in potassium, iron and calcium and high in vitamin c. They can be stemmed or sautéed with other vegetable or used in soup.
The ‘coolest” of the vegetables, cucumbers are actually used medicinally for burns or irritated tissues. That’s why you always see cucumber slices on eyes, because it helps with stress, bags under eyes and inflammation or irritation. Cucumbers are eaten in their unripe state and usually raw. Interestingly they are not very high in any nutrient, but the seeds are actually the best source of vitamin E. Cucumbers also have some vitamin A and C.
Seaweed is gaining popularity, in part because it’s chock-full of minerals. Seaweed is a solid source of iodine (essential for thyroid health), packs a healthy dose of iron, and has unique anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. Select a seaweed salad appetizer or sushi rolls made with nori next time you order Japanese food.
Healthy eating can be accomplished in so many different ways. Eating and introducing these green foods is just another simple way to become a healthier you! What green foods do you like best, and what green foods are you curious to try?
In the new year, many people will be making all sorts of resolutions like weight loss, quitting a bad habit, or maybe even something like running a marathon. All these resolutions are wonderful, but I think one of the best resolutions you can make is to take steps to create a green home. What does it mean to go green? Simply put, it means implementing certain lifestyle changes designed to help you live in a more eco-friendly way of life. It means becoming more environmentally aware and changing your behavior and lifestyle to reduce the amount of pollution and waste you generate.
We can do so much of that in our own home, and for little to no cost! I will give you six super easy and inexpensive tips to help make yourself a green home this coming New Year.
6 Tips to a Green Home
1. Enroll in online statements and get off junk mail lists
Many utility providers, cable companies, financial institutions, and more offer the option to receive online statements instead of printed statements. You just need to log in to the company’s website and change your preferences, or you can try calling the company’s customer service to do it that way. Reducing the amount of mail you receive reduces your impact on the environment in several ways. First, it reduces the number of trees that are cut down, which means there will be more trees converting carbon dioxide into oxygen. Second, a reduction in the amount of mail also reduces the amount of airplane/ vehicle delivery exhaust. Thirdly, it reduces the need for ink, which most of the time contains toxic chemical ingredients, and which takes a lot of fossil fuels to produce and distribute. Lastly, it reduces the amount of paper that ends up in landfills.
2. Unplug Electronics When Not In Use
Anything that has an LED (light emitting diode) that glows even after you turn it off continues to draw power (that you pay for). Your TV, cell phone charger, and printer are likely culprits. Unplug the offenders from wall sockets and plug them into power strips instead. When you leave a room, flip the strip switch to cut the flow of electricity. Just by doing this simple tip could save you up to $200 a year
3. No Shoes Allowed
Taking your shoes off before you enter your home is one is one of the easiest steps you can take to make your home more green and safe. Why? Well studies have shown that people track in all sorts of harmful toxins from outside the home when they walk into the house without removing their shoes. These toxins persist in the air in the form of dust, which is inhaled and absorbed by our skin as it settles on the floor and furniture. Chemicals stay in the air and on surfaces longer in our homes than they do outdoors, where the sun and rain help break down pesticide residues. This is especially important if you have small children, they spend most of their time on or near the floor, and can breathe in and touch chemical-laden dust or soil tracked in by shoes. Little kids who are constantly putting their hands and other objects in their mouths can ingest these dangerous particles and toxins, as well.
4. Recycle and Compost
Most cities will pick up and process recyclable material, and several (including San Francisco and Seattle) will also pick up compostable food material and yard waste. But let’s face it: You won’t recycle or compost if you don’t make it easy for yourself. Make sure to have bins for trash and recycling in every room, not just the kitchen! Tons of recyclable material is thrown away in homes offices and bathrooms because the recycling bin is too far away.
Half the trash that homes produce is composed of food scraps. When those go to the dump, they do nothing, but if you have a compost bin at your house, you can use those scraps to make fertilizer for your garden. Most outdoor composters cost between $100 and $600, depending on how large and secure they are. A more inexpensive choice is a DYI compost bin.
5. Wash Fewer but Fuller Loads of Laundry
Whenever you wash just a few clothes or dishes at a time rather than waiting for a full load to accumulate, you’re wasting water, power, and money. On average most American families of four washes around 540 loads of laundry a year, which consumes up to 21,000 gallons of water, and more than 150 loads of dishes, which uses about 1,500 gallons. All that energy is mostly consumed by washers and dishwashers to heat the water — about 90 percent in the clothes washer and 80 percent in the dishwasher. If you have to do short loads of laundry choose short cycles and use cold water. Just by washing two fewer loads of clothes and one less load of dishes a week and save up to 4,500 gallons of water a year!
6. Switch your cleaning products
What is the difference between natural cleaning products and traditional? The big difference is the active ingredient. Traditional cleaning products tend to have artificially produced cleaning agents, typically compounds that do not occur in nature. These tend to be toxic when introduced to nature and don’t break down (biodegrade) in nature very well. Green cleaning products tend to have naturally occurring compounds, like vinegar or Orange oil, or baking soda; and those that are man-made are biodegradable i.e. they quickly break down into naturally occurring substances that nature can recycle. As a result Green products are less toxic to the environment. For just about every traditional cleaning product you use, there is a natural alternative you can use in your green home. If you’re not sure where to start, try HERE.
Those are just six simple easy and inexpensive tips you can use to make your home more green in 2015!
What steps are you taking to create a green home?
Detoxing with various beverages is a great way to help give your body the nutrients it’s really craving. Detox drinks can give your digestive system a break from having to break down and digest food. This is especially helpful after the holiday season when we could use some help after indulging in sweets and treats and foods we don’t usually eat on a regular basis.
The liver is the most important detoxifying organ in the body, with over 300 functions. It only makes sense to drink fruits and vegetables to help it function at its best and give the liver a little break. Here is a list of detoxifying drink recipes that can be incorporated into any kind detox program you’re following, or you can just enjoy them purely for their health benefits.
7 Detox Drink Recipes
1. Lemon Cayenne Detox Drink
This drink is excellent because lemons help with numerous things. They aid in digestion, flush toxins out of liver and kidneys, help suppress appetite, boost immune system, cleans the blood and it also help move radiation from the body.
- 2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 2tablespoons pure maple syrup or raw honey (I prefer raw honey)
- A pinch or more of ground cayenne pepper
- 10-12 oz of pure filtered water.
Pour it all together and shake good…or you can blend it all up in your blender.
This would be wonderful to drink right when you wake, before food or coffee, to help get your system ready for good.
2. Beet Kvass
Beets are loaded with nutrients and are an excellent blood tonic. They promote regularity, aid digestion, alkalize the blood, cleanse the liver and are good for kidney stones and other ailments. This recipe comes right from the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. I recommend this book to all.
- 3 medium or 2 large organic beets, peeled and chopped
- 1/4 cup whey
- 1 Tablespoon sea salt
- Filtered water
Place beets, whey and salt in a 2 quart glass container. Add filtered water to fill the container. Stir well and cover securely. Keep at room temperature for 2 days before transferring to the refrigerator.
3. Green Detox Juice
Green juice is very popular now. There are so many options when it comes to green juicing. Green juice helps aid in weight loss, helps to reduce chances of Alzheimer’s and also helps to reduce blood pressure also helps to prevent colon and liver cancers. Make sure to buy these fruits and vegetables organic. Especially while you’re doing a detox, you don’t want to be adding pesticides to your body.
- 2 Medium apples
- 4 Stalks of celery
- 1 Medium cucumber
- 6-8 kale leaves or a big handful of spinach
- a chunk of ginger (1″ diameter)
- 1/2 squeezed lemon
You can put this through a juicer or if you have a high powered blender (vitamix or blendtec, you can throw them in there)
4. Apple Cinnamon Detox Drink
Did you know both apples and cinnamon raise your metabolism? Apples are extremely rich in important antioxidants and flavanoids, including Vitamins C and B Complex. The phytonutrients and antioxidants in apples may help reduce the risk of developing cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. Cinnamon has many health benefits, including lowering cholesterol, fighting diabetes, and helps relieve arthritis pain.
- 2 liter container
- 1 apple (I like Pink Lady, Honey Crisp or Fugi the best)
- 1 cinnamon stick. Don’t use powdered cinnamon, I tried this..and it got very clumpy.
- Filtered water.
Drop apple slices in the bottom of the pitcher (save a few to drop in your glass later) and then the cinnamon stick. Cover with ice about 1/2 way through then with water. Place in the fridge for 1 hour before serving. You can refill the container 2-3 times before it begins to lose flavor.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar Drink
The acids in apple cider vinegar bind to toxins and help the body get rid of them more effectively. It also helps fight against yeast, bacteria, and fungus. It helps breaks up mucus in the body and aids in digestion. It also helps circulation and helps the liver detoxify. This is best to drink with room temperature in the morning.
- 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
- Juice from 1 lemon
- Sprinkle of cinnamon
- Stevia to taste (I like vanilla stevia in this because it gives it an almost apple pie taste)
- 8 oz of filtered water.
Add all ingredients together, stir and enjoy
6. Dandelion Tea
Dandelion Tea is shown to be very purifying for the body, and is a great aid in digestion. What dandelion does is raises levels of an enzyme in the body known for its detoxifying functions. These have been known to help the body get rid of carcinogens, or cancer-causing toxins in the body, which is definitely worth making this one of your daily rituals. Most people find that the taste is also pleasant, so the chore is not so bad. Make as you would any tea.
7. Green Coconut Smoothie
Limes bring a nice dose of detoxifying properties to this smoothie and coconut water is adding incredible amounts of potassium and electrolytes, kale rounds out the nutrients with doses of Vitamin K and A in addition to lutein and an abundance of antioxidants.
- 5 kale leaves
- 4/5 cup freshly squeezed limes
- 2 freshly squeezed lemons
- 1 cup coconut water
- 2 handfuls ice (more if desired)
- Raw honey to taste (I used about 3 Tbsp. – the kids like it with more)
Place all ingredients into your blender and blend until smooth. Add more water or ice to obtain desired consistency.
Do you have a favorite drink that helps you detox after the holidays?
Do you have fond memories of winter time when you were young? I know I do. One of my most fond memories was coming inside from playing out in the snow, and my mom would have a huge pot of homemade hot cocoa and buttered toast ready for us. It was the best thing ever and warmed us kids right up. Today I’m going to be sharing some cozy winter time recipes for organic snacks and ideas for your next cozy winter night.
Warm and Cozy Organic Snacks:
Dairy Free Organic Hot Cocoa Recipe
- 1 can organic coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp organic cacao powder
- 1-2 Tbsp. (or to taste) organic raw honey
- pinch sea salt
- 1/4 tsp organic vanilla
Tip: To make it Cocoa Mint, add a drop or two of peppermint extract.
Combine coconut milk, vanilla, cocoa, and salt in a sauce pan and whisk together until combined. Over low-medium heat warm the milk, whisking continuously, until it starts to bubble gently. Remove from heat and stir in honey
One last tip! Sometimes I like to throw it all in my Vita-Mix for about 1 minute on High after the last step, it combines ingredients really well and kids love the frothy top it makes.
Organic Flavored Popcorn Recipe
I don’t know what it is about popcorn on a cold night but it is one of my favorite organic snacks this time of year. I like to switch it up sometimes with different seasonings.
Directions to make Popcorn:
Directions: In a 3-Qt pan, pour in 3 tbsp coconut oil in the pan. Add a couple corn kernels to the pan, cover and heat. When they pop, add remaining popcorn and cover and shake pan over medium heat until popping stops. Add desired seasonings. Makes about 16 cups.
Optional Flavors Popcorn Flavors:
1. Ranch: Melt 4 tablespoons coconut oil or butter with a 1/2 packet of organic ranch seasoning mix; toss with 16 cups hot popcorn and 2 tablespoons chopped chives. Season with salt.
3. Brown Butter Cinnamon Sugar
- 6 tablespoons salted butter, diced.
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
- 1 tablespoon organic cinnamon
Place butter in a small, heavy-bottomed pot. Set pot over medium-low heat and stir constantly as butter melts and foams. After a few minutes, butter will turn golden and brown specks will form. When the foam subsides and the butter begins to smell nutty, remove from the heat. Butter should be deep golden brown but not black or burnt. Remove pot from heat and stir in vanilla (be prepared for butter to foam up quite a bit). While brown butter slightly cools, mix sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl until well combined.
Slowly drizzle brown butter over popcorn, allowing any black/dark brown sediment at the bottom of the pot to remain behind. Gently stir popcorn until evenly coated. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar mixture over buttered popcorn; stir, and repeat with remaining cinnamon sugar. Serve immediately.
Homemade Organic Chai Tea Concentrate Recipe
- 4 cups of pure water
- 6 organic chai tea bags
- 3 Tbsp. raw honey
- 1 tsp organic vanilla extract
Pour water in to sauce pan over medium-low heat and bring to boil. Add tea bags and steep for 15-20 minutes. Remove tea bags and squeeze remaining liquid into pan.
When it cools slightly stir in honey and vanilla. Store in large mason jar and keep in fridge for up to 7-10 days. To make use a 1:1 ratio. 1/2 cup chai concentrate to 1/2 c milk.
Chai Tea Latte Recipe
Pour chai tea into a small sauce pan on stove and heat on medium low just until warm. Pour milk into your high power blender and blend on high for 2 minutes. This will warm up milk and make if very frothy. Pour warm chai into mug then top with frothy milk. If you have an espresso machine you can use that as well. Serves about 4.
What are your favorite organic snacks to cozy up to during the winter time?
The jam-packed parking lots, the shopping and crowds, the back-to-back diet-busting parties. The interminable chats with the in-laws, and even finances take a toll. We understand how easy it is to feel not so wonderful at this most wonderful time of the year. That’s why I’ve rounded up some healthy organic foods that are perfect for beating those oh so common holiday blues.
First, What Does Stress do to the Body?
Stress is awful, it weakens your immune system, strains your heart, dampens your sex drive, creates aches and pains, and can wreak havoc on your digestive system. Your body can only work with what you feed it, so if you consume junk (processed foods), you’re going to feel junky in return. Filling and nourishing your body with the right organic foods can help keep your mood bright and the above stressors rolling off your back.
Foods That Add Stress to Body
So which foods should we avoid? The following foods increase stress and anxiety by either stimulating the brain the wrong way or putting the body under stress during the digestion process. Foods to avoid include:
- Coffee, energy drinks, sodas, and other caffeinated drinks
- Refined sugars
- Fried foods
- Foods high in polyunsaturated fats found in processed foods
Now that you know what to avoid, let’s get down to what foods will help you bust the stress.
Stress Busting Organic Foods
- Asparagus, yes I know, these skinny little stalks are known to make your urine smell funny. But they are high in folate, which is essential for keeping your cool.
- Turkey - here’s the reason you feel so relaxed after eating turkey. The acid known as L-tryptophan is releasing serotonin, a chemical that calms your brain. The best turkey to buy is pasture raised turkeys.
- Blueberries have some of the highest levels of an antioxidants and they’ve been linked to all kinds of positive health outcomes, including sharper cognition. But all berries, including strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, are super rich in vitamin C, which has been shown to be helpful in alleviating stress.
- Dark Green Leafy Vegetables Greens carry lots of B vitamins, including folate, like asparagus, which is important for easing symptoms of depression, relieving stress, and reducing anxiety. Good choices are kale, spinach, arugula, and Swiss chard.
- Cashews are an especially good source of zinc. Just 1-ounce serving has 11 percent of your daily allowance. Low levels of zinc have been linked to both anxiety and depression. Since our bodies have no way of storing zinc, it’s important to get some every day.
- Honey - You’ll get an instant kick and energy for the long haul. Plus, research shows that its antioxidant and antibacterial properties may improve your immunity.
- Chamomile tea – Probably the most recommend bedtime soothers around, but in addition to helping sleep it also helps calm the nerves.
- Fatty Fish like salmon, herring, and tuna, are high in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins B6 and B12. These essential nutrients promote healthy brain function and elevate your mood—two important aspects of fighting stress.
- Almonds & Sunflower Seeds – These easy-to-find crunchy snacks cut stress like a sharp knife. They contain riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, vitamin E, and other important vitamins and minerals. Snacking on seeds and nuts throughout the day can prevent stress from building up. To maximize nutrition benefits, opt for raw varieties over salted and roasted.
- Pumpkin Seeds contain L-tryptophan, which helps with good sleep, lowering depression and combating stress. Tryptophan is converted into serotonin (the feel good hormone) and niacin. Serotonin is also very helpful in helping us to have a good night’s sleep.
- Dark Chocolate, in particular, is known to lower blood pressure, adding to a feeling of calm. It contains more polyphenols and flavonols—two important types of antioxidants. You can safely allow yourself dark chocolate as a snack once a week, or as a conscious indulgence.
I hope you can incorporate some of these stress boosting organic foods into your diet and even your holiday meals to help you calm those holiday blues!
What are your favorite ways to relieve stress during the holidays?
Let’s start with a recap of what probiotics are. Probiotics are the friendly bacteria in our digestive system. They help to improve absorption of nutrients and vitamins. Improved absorption means good digestion. This allows your body to get the most nutritional value from the foods you eat and helps to regulate your digestive system. Sounds good, right? Well, with the holiday season being the dietary minefield that it is we wanted to give you some tips on how to keep your digestion on track this holiday season!
Now that we know what probiotics are, where do we get them?
Probiotic supplements are an excellent choice, they add healthy bacteria to the digestive tract, and actually digest sugars for their own fuel. They are a great antidote when we eat too many sweets, which is perfect for the holiday season. Probiotics are also found in cultured/fermented foods, such as yogurt (good quality) kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, and probiotic drinks. Eating and drinking these foods daily will ensure a healthy digestive tract.
What Else Can We do To Help Digestion?
- One of the primary ingredients to good digestion is water. Many of us are chronically dehydrated, so be sure to drink plenty of filtered water or herbal teas. Adequate hydration can curb excessive food cravings, and help us to not overeat, especially for sweets.
- Sit down to eat. People tend to eat more and more quickly when they’re standing or walking than they do when they’re sitting. It seems like a fairly simple rule, you may be surprised how effective it can be. Sitting down is also less stress on your body because you are more relaxed and being relaxed helps our digestion work better.
- Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly. Ideally, you should chew your food until it is liquid. I know sounds gross, right? But your gut will love you. You will be satisfied with less food and you will have better digestion. Your saliva actually has enzymes that facilitate digestion. Also, it is easier to digest small particles than large ones. Most people eat too fast. Not chewing well stresses your digestive system and can lead to poor absorption of nutrients, digestive problems like gas and bloating and promote the growth of harmful bacteria in the digestive tract which can lead to leaky gut and much worse.
- Drink warm liquids before meals. Drinking warm water with lemon, Apple Cider Vinegar or broth, tea (peppermint or dandelion are good choices for digestion), or soup before a meal (15-30 minutes before) will prepare the digestive tract for digestion.
- Add more veggies to your diet. Increasing intake of fruits and vegetables with high water content, especially raw, will help digestion and increase bowel transit time.
- Avoid ice water as it suppresses circulation to the digestive tract.
I hope these tips help you this holiday season! Do you know any of more tips to help improve digestion? Share below!
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s time to start planning and preparing for the big feast. In case you’re like me, and still collecting recipes for next week, I thought I’d share a few of a few organic Thanksgiving recipes that I am going to try out this year; all of them made with easy, all-natural ingredients!
These dishes are so tasty your family may not even realize they’re eating healthier. Hope you enjoy them!
Organic Thanksgiving Turkey
To find a good organic, free range turkey. You have three options. Find a local farmer who raises them, this time of year it might be tricky because they will most likely be pre-sold. Next best option is to find one at your local grocery store. The prices can be high, but it will be an easy choice. The only caution here is that many organic turkeys labeled organic have just been fed organic feed but are not truly free range. Still a better option, but nowhere near the nutrients of truly free range turkeys. Lastly, if the other two options don’t work, just order online. There are quite a few options to buy pastured turkeys online. This year I will be trying a recipe for slow-roasted turkey with herb butter from Nourished Kitchen.
Organic Thanksgiving Sides
Isn’t everyone’s favorite thing the sides?! I know they’re mine. Here’s one I’ll be trying:
Basic Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows
- 8 medium organic sweet potatoes
- 2 tbsp. grass-fed butter, ghee or coconut oil
- 1/2 cup hot milk (any milk will do)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. paprika
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 lb. marshmallows
1. Cook sweet potatoes until tender. Remove skins and mash. When smooth, beat in butter, milk, salt, and spices. Beat well.
2. Fold in walnuts and turn into buttered baking dish.
3. Top with marshmallows and bake at 350 until marshmallows puff and become golden brown.
Can’t have Thanksgiving without a delicious dessert! Below is a recipe I made last year that turned out fantastic.
Grain – Free Pumpkin Bar Recipe
Adapted from this recipe
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup sunflower seed butter (we are sensitive to almonds in my family, but almond butter would be great also)
- 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
- 2 organic, free range eggs
- 1 tsp organic cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp Himalayan sea salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
Directions for Cake
In a medium sized bowl, combine all the cake ingredients and mix thoroughly to combine, I actually took the easy route and threw it all in my Vitamix. Pour into an 8×8 oven safe baking dish (I lined mine with parchment paper for easy removal). Bake about 30 minutes until it’s nice and golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean and it is firm to the touch.
Top your Pumpkin Bars
These are my favorite toppings for these pumpkin bars. I like them all.
Coconut Cream Frosting
Coconut Cream Frosting Directions:
Place your can of coconut milk in the fridge and leave overnight. Open the milk the next morning, and do not shake. The top of the can should be thick, scoop this out. About halfway through you should reach a point where the cream turns to water. Do not scoop out the water. Whip the vanilla into the cream until well-combined and fluffy. Spread on bars, cut into squares, and enjoy!
Maple Pecan Glaze (pictured above)
- 3/4 c pecans
- 1/4 c pure maple syrup
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/4 cup milk of choice (I used coconut milk)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
Combine all ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Spread on bars when completely cooled.
Head over to our Fabulous Fall Recipes board on Pinterest for more fun Thanksgiving meal ideas.
And more Thanksgiving recipes here:
- 25 Fantastic Gluten-Free Side Dishes for Thanksgiving
- 32 Vegan Recipes Perfect for Thanksgiving
- Top 25 Paleo Thanksgiving recipes
*It’s easy to make any meal organic. Whether it be gluten-free, vegan, paleo, or traditional, buying organic ingredients will make all the difference.
What are your favorite Thanksgiving meals?
Whether you’re diabetic or not, sugar and even some other natural sweeteners are something you should be wary of. Don’t think that just because the package says sugar-free, that it’s good for you. Instead, let that be a red flag. This will give you the opportunity to turn that package around and give the ingredients label a good look. Key words you are looking to avoid are:
- ACESULFAME POTASSIUM, ACESULFAME K or ACE-K
All the above are ingredients that must be avoided, not just by diabetics, but for all of us. In the grocery stores you will see them labeled as Equal, Sweet-Low, Splenda and NutraSweet. These artificial sweeteners are used in snack foods, dairy foods, processed fruits, jams and jellies, sugar-free drinks, soda and other carbonated beverages, baked goods, condiments, chewing gum, supplements, and even in infant and children’s medicine. Why are they so bad? Well, long-term exposure to these chemicals has been found to promote memory loss, hypoglycemia, multiple sclerosis (MS), dementia, nausea, migraines, sleep problems, vision impairment, depression and anxiety, Parkinson’s disease and brain tumors.
Best Natural Sweeteners For Diabetics
This natural sweetener is an all-natural sugar alcohol found in many fruits and vegetables and produced in small amounts by the human body. Xylitol is absorbed slowly and only partially utilized by the body, which means fewer calories. It can be substituted for most common sweeteners without compromising taste or texture. Xylitol has a few benefits too, it helps create a barrier between germs and your gums and has been shown to be beneficial for dental health. It’s why you’ll find a lot of chewing gums using this natural sweetener. Also, in addition of xylitol to saline nasal sprays, has been shown to make them more effective at improving and maintaining upper respiratory health. Xylitol helps prevent the causes of sinus issues and upper respiratory discomfort by stimulating the body’s natural cleansing process to clear away contaminants and irritants in the nasal passages (*Xylitol is highly dangerous for dogs so make sure to keep any xylitol products out of their reach. Even small amounts from candies can be toxic. If your dog eats a product that contains xylitol, it is important to take the dog to a veterinarian immediately.)
Discovered in 1848 and produced from Natural Sugar Cane Juice, which is naturally fermented and crystallized to create natural Erythritol. Erythritol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol that is found in our bodies, as well as in many fruits, vegetables and even certain fermented foods. It has 95 percent less calories than sugar, although the FDA does label it as having little calories and a glycemic index of zero, Erythriotol makes an ideal sweetener for people with diabetes. So while it sweetens, it does without adding calories or spiking blood sugar the way other sweeteners do. And because it doesn’t ferment in your gut, you can use it without worrying about other unpleasant digestive issues that are often associated with other sugar alcohols.
Is my top choice for diabetics for adding a little sweetness to their life. Stevia is a naturally occurring extract from the sweet leaf of a plant that belongs to the sunflower family. It has been used since early times as a sweet source (the leaves are 30- times sweeter than sugar). It grows in South America, and the leaves are similar in shape to the mint family. The great thing about Stevia is that it has virtually no calories, no sugar, and has no affect on blood sugar. Because Stevia is many times sweeter than sugar, it takes very little to make things sweet.
- Aspartame Studies
- Secret Dangers of Splenda
- List of Names for Artificial Sweeteners
- Dangers of Acesulfame Potassium
Are you a diabetic or watching your sweeteners? Which natural sweeteners do you like best?