organic

Food Synergy: Cooking Grains

COOKING TIP! Next time you cook your quinoa, or any other grain, throw in some garlic or onion into the water too. It mitigates the “anti-nutrient” effect of phytic acid (a potent anti-cancer phytonutrient that binds with certain minerals).

When prepared with onion or garlic, the bioavailability of iron, zinc, and other minerals in grains is significantly enhanced.

And it makes the house smell so yummy!

3 Ingredient Biscuits

imageJune is Southern food month and since my first formal culinary training was in the South, I wanted to share one of my favorite Southern staples. Biscuits! Who doesn’t love biscuits? It’s just one of those things that’s also quite versatile. I’m sure I can figure out a hundred different ways how to eat biscuits. It’s just.. so good.

I have a very busy schedule and two little kids who demand a lot of attention so I like things easy and simple. Oh, and it has to taste yummy too.

So, in lieu of Southern food month, here’s my easy and yummy 3 ingredient biscuit recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups self-rising flour, store-bought or homemade (I make mine ahead of time and store it in a mason jar)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup almond milk, or any nut milk

*use organic whenver possible

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until it no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Knead the mixture until combined, but do not over-knead.

Place the dough on a cutting board and gently roll the dough out until it is about 1/2-inch thick. Use biscuit cutters to cut out the biscuits and place on a cast iron skillet or baking sheet. image

Bake for 10 minutes or until the biscuits have risen slightly and turn golden on top. Remove and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

 

 

Matcha Green Tea – A Magic Elixir

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I never leave home without my tea. Tea is one of the easiest ways to incorporate the healing power of plants into your routine. Herbs work synergistically on mind and body, healing more than just physical ailments.

I decided to take just one type of tea with me on my trip this week and there was little debate in my mind that it would be Matcha Green Tea. Matcha is the highest quality green tea available and is one of the most powerful superfoods Mother Nature has to offer.

Because Matcha is made from high quality tea, and the whole leaves are ingested, it is a more potent source of nutrients than steeped green tea.

Green tea contains a specific set of organic compounds known as catechins, which, among antioxidants, are the most potent and beneficial. One particularly noteworthy catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg), makes up 60% of the catechins in Matcha. EGCg is most widely recognized for its cancer fighting properties. Scientists have found that Matcha contains over 100 times more EGCg than any other tea on the market.

During the last 3 weeks before the tea is harvested, it is covered to deprive them of sunlight. This causes a tremendous increase in chlorophyll production in the new growth of these plants. The resulting high levels of chlorophyll make it a powerful detoxifier, capable of naturally removing heavy metals and chemical toxins from the body.

Trying to lose some weight? Matcha has also been shown to increase metabolism and help the body burn fat about four times faster than average.

Samarai Warriors drank Matcha before going into battle due to the tea’s energizing properties. While all green tea naturally contains caffeine, Matcha’s energy boost is largely due to its unique combination of other nutrients. This increased endurance can last up to 6 hours! And because of the effects of L-Theanine contained in the leaves, Matcha drinkers experience none of the usual side effects of stimulants such as nervousness and hypertension. It’s good, clean energy.

One thing I would like to point out for my Matcha drinkers out there is to limit it to one cup a day. Even organically grown green teas have been shown to contain lead, which is absorbed by the plant from the environment, particularly tea grown in China. When traditional green tea is steeped, about 90% of lead stays in the leaf, which is discarded. With Matcha, since the whole leaf is consumed, you will ingest more lead. One independent group, ConsumerLab.com, which tested teas, estimates that a cup of matcha may contain as much as 30 times more lead than a cup of green tea. Therefore, they recommend drinking no more than one cup daily, and not serving it to children.

Any fellow Matcha drinkers out there?

Dark Chocolate Macaroons

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So I heard today was National Macaroon Day! So of course I had to make some! I used only 5 ingredients for this recipe.

3 cups shredded unsweetened coconut

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

2 Tbsp maple syrup

1/2 Tbsp melted coconut oil

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

*use organic whenever possible

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.

2. Add shredded coconut to a food processor and blend until not quite coconut butter. If you squeeze it between your fingers it should feel like dough.

3. Add maple syrup and vanilla and mix well.

4. Scoop about a tablespoon amount and shape it into a half circle. Gently lay on baking sheet.

5. Brush the tops lightly with melted coconut oil and you can sprinkle the leftover crumbs if you’d like.

6. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges/bottoms are golden brown. Set aside to cool.

7. Melt chocolate in a double boiler.

8. Once the macaroons are cooled, dip in the chocolate or drizzle on top. Be gentle as the macaroons can be fragile. Let the excess drip off and place macaroons on a parchment lined plate. image

9. Let set or place in fridge to harden chocolate or eat as is!

Enjoy!

Are you Team Macaron or Team Macaroon?

 

Vani Hari, aka the Food Babe: Real Food Superhero, Warrior, Defender

The first time I ever heard of the Food Babe was about two years ago. I was researching the different baby formulas and was trying to figure out which was the best formula to put my daughter on after I was done nursing her.

Being in the entertainment industry, especially in the beauty aspect of it, I felt the pressure of losing the baby weight as quickly as I could. I had decided that I was going to breastfeed my daughter for a month-and-a-half, maybe two, and then I was going to switch her to formula. I was determined to lose the baby weight before I started my show which would start production four months after I had her.

I stumbled across an article by the Food Babe that she had written literally two days before the birth of my daughter called “How To Find the Safest Organic Infant Formula” that completely horrified me. I spent many sleepless nights afterwards researching absolutely EVERYTHING about baby formula and my different options. My findings turned me into a very angry mom and sparked my fierce crusade in the movement to better our food supply and to enroll in nutrition school to deepen and better understand food and our body chemistry.

When that month-and-a-half came and I had to decide whether to continue breastfeeding her or not, it was in that moment that I decided that my daughter’s well-being was way more important than trying to fit back into my size 3 jeans and I was going to nurse her for as long as I possibly could. I was not going to poison my daughter. It was also in that moment that I learned to TRULY love my body – the body that told the story of carrying two amazing and beautiful human beings.

I did eventually have to introduce formula after six months of exclusive breastfeeding when she started to wean herself off of me, but I was able to make an informed decision on the best baby formula for her.

Since reading that article by Vani Hari, the Food Babe, I have followed her fearless in-depth food investigations and campaigns. Hari brings transparency to our food system and holds food manufacturers accountable for the food products that are making us sick.

I view Ms. Hari as a pioneer in the food movement. To her critics, registered dietitians and food scientists say she lacks the credentials to speak with authority. But there is a reason big food companies are terrified of the Food Babe. She holds food companies accountable and exposes the truth about what is in your food.

As a certified holistic health coach who has studied over 100 dietary theories with some of the world’s top health and wellness experts, I can say that you don’t need my type of training or a degree to figure out how to be healthy. Anyone can pick up a food item, look at the food label and figure out whether it’s going to harm you or benefit you. Vani Hari is a fearless leader in this food revolution movement.

In her new book, The Food Babe Way, which releases today, Vani outlines the dangers that lurk in your food, shows you how to decode food labels and offers advice on what to eat and how to shop healthy and organic without hurting your pocketbook.
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I received an advanced copy of the book by Ms. Hari and I highly recommend it for anyone who needs an easy-to-follow reference and guide in navigating the thousands of food products lining our store shelves and takes the guesswork out of shopping for healthy and nutritious food. So if you’re tired of your taste buds being hijacked by the food industry and you want to take matters into your own hands and become your own food investigator, nutritionist and food activist, The Food Babe Way will show you how to live a more energetic and vibrant life while still being exposed to our current food system.

Hari lays out a 21-day flexible eating plan with dozens of recipes along with a list of pantry staples and a snack list. She will take you step-by-step through 21 simple changes that will help rid your body of toxins, lose weight without counting calories and restore your natural glow. These fundamentals are so much more affordable than expensive supplements, workouts and gym memberships.

In The Food Babe Way, you’ll learn how to:
~ Avoid the top 15 ingredients that wreak havoc on your weight, beauty and health
~ Develop 21 simple, lasting habits that will get you off chemical-laced food for good
~ Spot manipulative marketing and manufacturing techniques the food industry uses to get you to eat processed foods or hide questionable ingredients
~ Replace the foods that make you fat, look older and sap your energy with helpful, delicious substitutes
~ Prepare dozens of additive-free meals with easy and delicious recipes

Order your copy of The Food Babe Way here:
http://thefoodbabeway.com
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Eat well. Be well. Live your most beautiful life!

Xo,
Kristine

‘We the People’ not ‘We the Corporations’

Before I had kids, I had the worst diet imaginable. I just didn’t really think much about it. As long as it tasted good, it was fast and it was convenient, I didn’t see anything wrong with it. I was clueless about nutrition and the powerful effect food has on us and I didn’t know the ugly truth about the food industry.

The birth of my first child, however, inspired an urgency in me because I now had to make decisions on his behalf. And if you are a parent, I am sure you can understand where I am coming from. One of my jobs is to provide him with the very best and to protect him from anything that could possibly harm him.

On top of that, I wanted to have the energy and vitality to keep up with him. I wanted to be my healthiest and live as long as I could to be there for him through this difficult life and to live long enough to see my grandkids.

Not only are those some of the things that propelled me down this path of health and wellness, but what also triggered it is that many people that I loved and cared about have been taken too soon from disease or cancer, or suffering from it. It got me thinking and I started to question what was causing this rampant plague that was ravaging people all over the country.

Is it fate – our genes? Is it what comes with age? I needed to know.

All directions kept pointing me towards our diet and lifestyle.

When it comes to the food that we eat, it is very important that we know where it comes from, who grows it and what the ingredients are. I know I sound like a broken record but I just can’t stress it enough!

Food is a very powerful thing!

The food that we eat becomes us.. literally! It becomes the substance of our muscles, our skin, our hair, our bones – basically every cell of our body. We gain the qualities of the food. Not to mention that our brain, which is a very hungry organ, absorbs around 60% of the food that we eat – and, yes, you’re connecting the dots here – there is a food/mood connection as well.

Our lifestyle and the foods that we eat, have the ability to turn genes on or off. Genetics load the gun, but lifestyle pulls the trigger.

As I mentioned in my post The Junk Food Generation, there are 600,000 food items in America today.

Last week, General Mills announced they were buying Annie’s for 820 million dollars. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Annie’s, it is a natural and organic food company who is best known for their macaroni and cheese line.

As people are becoming more and more conscientious of their health, the organic and natural foods industry is steadily growing and going mainstream. We live in a world in which food companies are extraordinarily competitive with each other. Their job is to sell more product; and if they are a publicly traded company, they have shareholders to please. And organic is profitable.

Most of the iconic organic brands today have been bought and are now owned and controlled by the titans of the junk food industry.

Coca-Cola owns:
• Honest Tea
• Odwalla
• Zico Coconut Water
General Mills owns:
• Cascadian Farms
• Muir Glen
Pepsi owns:
• Naked Juice
Colgate now owns:
• Toms of Maine, the toothpaste company

Some say that it is a good thing that the natural foods industry is growing. Others say it is in danger of losing its very soul.

What goes through your mind when you see corporate America taking over the natural and organic food business?

These corporations like Pepsi-Cola and Coca-Cola and Monsanto and others poured 22 million dollars into fighting the GMO labeling battle. How does that make you feel that the profits that they are earning from the organic brands they now own are being used to fight our access to information?

Why are they fighting tooth and nail to keep this information from us?

We don’t all need to reach the same conclusions but there are beliefs that we all share. There are certain decencies that matter to all of us.

Do we choose to close our eyes and ears to it? Or do we choose to engage in it? These are not radical positions. They are not Democratic or Republican positions. They are not old or young or urban or rural positions. They are fundamental human concerns.

I have strong opinions and I hope that my kids will share my opinions but I wouldn’t insist on it. I am not trying to create an ethical replica of me and it is not to create somebody who acts on my beliefs. It is to help somebody to become an adult who can act on his beliefs. I want my kids to be aware of the choices that are in front of them, be aware of their ability to makes choices and to be confident when making choices that are outside of societal norms.

The extent to which there is corporate control of our food policy and of our food supply has massive implications to the health of the people. What bothers me the most is the enormous effort that food companies are doing to try and sell their products, regardless of the effects of their products on health.

I just want to say, though, that they are not out to poison the world. They will sell whatever sells.

Food choices – how we eat, what we eat and what we buy is a form of activism. When people buy organic, more farmers will produce organics. When people complained that tomato pickers weren’t getting paid enough money, Walmart raised their wage to a penny more per pound.

Think about women’s rights or even slavery. Slavery didn’t end because people started buying sugar-free foods. It happened because people advocated to make it unacceptable and to end it legally.

Anthony Gucciardi said, “There’s a reason that mega corporations like Monsanto are afraid of you, the activist. They know that despite their billions, despite their deception, that you as a consumer ultimately control their fate. Because by changing a single purchase at the grocery store, you change the world.”

So eat well. Be well. Vote with your fork!

Xo, Kristine

Killing Me Sweetly – Breaking My Sugar Addiction

About eleven years ago, when I was in college in Memphis, Tennessee, I did a speech in my Communications class that I endearingly titled, “Chocoholic”. It was about my addiction to chocolate – to sweets.

Sugar is my vice.

When I was a little girl, my mom used to keep chocolates in these plastic containers on the kitchen counter. I would sneak into the kitchen when no one was in there and eat most, if not all, of the chocolate. One time, I ate almost a whole bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and made myself so sick – fever and everything – my mom had to take me to the doctor. Ever since that doomed visit, chocolate was kept carefully hidden away. My addiction was so strong, however, that no matter how good a hiding spot my mom thought she had, I would search until I found my gold.

It has been a struggle. Especially today – sugar is in EVERYTHING. I cannot even have the tiniest taste without it turning into a full blown binge.

I now understand why.

The refinement of sugar cane was invented in India in 1300. When refined sugar was first sent to Europe in the 1600s it was considered an extremely potent drug. It was handled under lock and key only by the apothecaries, who were the druggist of the time.

In France, it was known as crack.

It became apparent that as soon as enough people were exposed to it, that it had the one characteristic that is the most appealing to businessmen – it was addictive. It was so marvelously addictive that they knew that if they could just get enough of it that their fortunes would be made many times over.

So they figured out how to produce it locally – the only way they could figure out how to do it locally was to start the slave trade. The slave trade was exclusively a sugar production mechanism.

And now we are the ones paying the price – we are the ones enslaved.

When did we start paying this price? In the U.S., where we didn’t have access to much sugar initially (it wasn’t a big industry), we had no heart disease until the 1930s. The first textbook written on heart disease was in 1933 by Dudley White, president Eisenhower’s doctor. Eisenhower was one of the first Americans to get heart disease.

What we have now are the diseases of malnutrition and toxicity, the degenerative diseases, in the diet.

Our weights remained quite ideal through the 60’s, but gradually our health started to deteriorate at the same time sugar consumption increased.

In 2000, the World Health Organization realized the damage that sugar was causing – there was a radical increase in ALL degenerative diseases, particularly diabetes, heart disease and cancer. After five years, they gathered the press from all over the world and made an announcement. They had ONE recommendation to make and it was, “Cut all sweetened foods below 10% of calories.” They were proposing a limit – no more than 250 calories of sugar a day.

This statement was on the front page of every major newspaper in Europe and the rest of the world. Except the U.S., and I think you can figure out why.

Researchers are now showing that, actually, sugar is four times more addictive than cocaine. It also affects the same area of the brain that heroine does.

Sugar is more toxic than alcohol – it kills 35 million people a year. Heart disease, diabetes, cancer – all associated with sugar consumption.

Let’s take tobacco, the bigger killer than alcohol, 5 million a year – this is worldwide.

In the case of sugar, United States’ citizens have been studied and our relapse rate is 97%, which makes it four times more additive than drugs or alcohol.

Sugar gets us high by raising glucose levels. Literally, a glucose high is a high, it feels good. When it plunges down afterward, that feels really bad and then we have to have more sugar. That is one of the addictive properties.

Chocolate – even without sugar – is an opiate, it is a stimulant. It is a very complex substance that is highly addictive in spite of the fact that it is a high source of magnesium and contains amino acids. I still eat chocolate but I choose high quality, organic dark chocolate with real cacao that is fair-traded and I limit myself to a one ounce serving a day. It is really important that if we choose to eat chocolate or meat or eggs or drink dairy that we eat or drink only the highest quality of these foods and it is something I will expand upon in another post.

So when I did my speech eleven years ago about being a chocoholic… chocolate junkie is not a joke. It is a literal fact!

Sugar is in practically EVERYTHING and I combat this addiction by staying away from processed foods and sticking to a whole foods diet. It is the only sure way of knowing what I am eating!

I hope this has helped you understand the addictive nature of sugar and how the food industry has cleverly created that “bliss point” when we eat their “foods” and keeps us coming back for more.

Eat well. Be well. Vote with your fork!

Xo, Kristine