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    • Feeling a little sluggish? - Try juicing!

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    •  7/28/2010 4:37:04 PM
    •  

      I remember the days of having 3 children under the age of 3 running around my house.  Needless to say, t he days were a little crazy back then.  I would begin my days with the full intention of quickly hopping into the shower.  Just then I would hear the first child wake up in need of a diaper change....one thing lead to another (as I'm sure many of you can relate) and the next thing I know it's bedtime, I'm too exhausted to move, and so I will just take my shower in the morning!! 

       

      Luckily this was not an everyday occurrence, but you can imagine what it would be like if day after day, and then week after week, I just wasn't able to get into that shower!  Yuck - I would feel AWFUL never being able to get fully clean!!! 

       

      Well, have you ever stopped and thought about cleaning your digestive system?  Have you ever wondered how you could give it a good "shower" - metaphorically speaking?  Well JUICING is one of the ways that we can do that for our bodies.

      Our stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, small intestine, and large intestine all work very hard to do one of 2 things:

       

      • Break down the food we eat into parts so tiny, that the useful elements of food can actually be absorbed into our bloodstream and sent throughout our body.
      • Get rid of any leftover parts of the food that our body can't use.

       

      The quantity of food we eat, the frequency with which we eat and the quality of food we eat all have a part to play in how hard we require our digestive system to work for us.

       

      We live in a time where something called Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is becoming more and more common.  This term simply means pain or discomfort in the digestive system after you eat.  Our body has the amazing ability to clean itself out, the only problem is that we keep putting stuff in that hinders this natural ability.  Weather this is crappy processed food, chemicals that we inhale or consume like herbicides and pesticides, or simply too much food.  If our system is constantly working there is never anytime to rest and take a break.....a cleansing per se.

       

      JUICING is a great way to get the nutrients you need, but still allow your digestive system the time to concentrate on cleaning itself out.  Because all of the fiber has been removed from the food, the nutrients can flow throughout our body with almost no strain at all on our digestive track.  A couple of days of just juice can give your inside a gorgeous make-over....allowing your body some time to clean out all the 'sludge' that has been collecting for a while.

      Whenever I have fallen off track with my eating or have been indulging a little too long, I start to just feel gross.  This often happens after we have been on vacation for awhile.  A week in Disneyland is definitely bound to give me that bloated feeling.  It always feels great knowing that I can come home and "juice myself back to health"!

      2 days of just juice can do wonders.  Sometime that is a little tricky for me and so I will do just juice for breakfast and lunch (and snacks) and then have a dinner of only vegetables (cooked or raw).  I always feel great when I am done (especially when I can get rid of some food cravings along the way).

       

       

      At the top of the post is a picture of everything that I put into my juicer this morning:

      1 English cucumber

      1/2 a head of romaine lettuce

      3 kale leaves

      3 large carrots

      2 apples

      1 peach

      a small bunch of grapes

      1 beet (including the greens)

      1/2 a lemon

       

      This is just a list of the things that I had in my fridge. This yielded 6 cups of juice.  You really can put just about any fruit or vegetable into the juicer.  Focus on green vegetables and add the fruit for some great flavor.

       

       

      When you are done juicing, there is quite a bit of fibrous mass leftover.  My mom likes to freeze the vegetable part and out it into her soups.

      I usually discard it  and find it is great for the compost pile.

       

       

      So the next time you are feeling a little sluggish or maybe have indulged just a little too much, try giving your digestive system a little rest and get yourself some fresh juice for a few days.

       

       

       

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    • How are you sleeping?

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    •  7/25/2010 3:11:18 PM
    •  

      "By far, the factor that most affects one's sleep is food."  Harvey Diamond, Living Health


      I love my sleep.  I have always been one of those girls that "needed her sleep".  Even in college, when "life"
      usually starts around 10:00 p.m. I was always the one that seemed more affected by the late nights than my roommates.

      Today it is no different, and I am practically disfunctional past 9:30 pm (which might have something to do with my
      5:30 am wake-ups).

       

      For the most part I am an excellent sleeper.  Weather it's a warm bed, or pretty much any moving vehicle, I can generallyfall asleep anywhere. I sleep through the night and rise refreshed in the morning.

       

      Well something interesting happened to me last week.  My husband, kids and I piled into the car and headed north to spend a week visiting my family in Canada.  We crammed into my parents house with most of my other siblings and their families. My husband and I got the den with the pull-out couch.  Although it was surprisingly comfortable, I found myself waking up numerous times each night.  I would get up, go to the bathroom, and then go back to bed.  Luckily I was able to fall back
      asleep.  This happened frequently each night and continued throughout our stay.

       

      It was until our drive home that I started to think about this.  I was actually thinking about all the crap I had eaten
      while on vacation and was excited to get home and do a small cleanse.  The late-night cards we played each night meant a lot of late night snacking.  The beach days, water slides, and boating contributed even more to all the snacking.  And I'm not talking the fruit and vegetable kind of snacking! Overall I was not eating the whole food way that I preferred to.

      It was then that it dawned on me that it was MY EATING that was waking me up at nights (and a little stress that goes hand in hand with most peoples family get togethers)!

       

      My first day home I decided to do a juice cleanse.  Nothing but freshly juiced vegetables and fruits for the entire day.  And how did i sleep that night?  Completely peaceful and uninterrupted!  Voila! Proof that what I eat affects how I sleep.

       

      According to Harvey Diamond, "Nothing can disturb sleep more than eating at bedtime.  The primary reason for sleep is to regenerate nerve energy.  Eating before sleeping redirects much of the energy to the digestion of the food.  Since the brain is involved in digestion, less sleep will result."  Hmmm, so maybe all that late-night popcorn had something to do with my restlessness!

       

      Brendan Brazier also addressed our sleep in his book THRIVE.  He talks about nutritional stress which is basically stress created by food because of its unhealthy properties.  This nutritional stress has serious impact on our bodies - one of those being sleep interruption. Cortisol is a hormone that is released in our bodies by stress (including nutritional stress). High cortisol levels are linked to sleep interuption. To make matters worse, cortisol levels are increased when we don't get enough sleep.  It becomes a vicious cycle.

       

      50 million Americans claim that they don't "sleep well" (which I am sure is somewhat thrilling to the pharmaceutical industry). Studies have shown that improved diet as well as stress management can significantly impact a good night's sleep!

       

      Sleep is so vital to our overall well-being.  What happens during our nights is just as important as what happens during our days.  So next time your slumber is not so sweet, stop and take a look at the food you've been eating.  Chances are you could benefit from some whole food plant-based goodness!

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    • How's Your Sleep?

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    •  7/21/2010 10:15:53 PM
    •  

      "By far, the factor that most affects one's sleep is food."  Harvey Diamond, Living Health


      I love my sleep.  I have always been one of those girls that "needed her sleep".  Even in college, when "life"
      usually starts around 10:00 p.m. I was always the one that seemed more affected by the late nights than my roommates.
      Today it is no different, and I am practically disfunctional past 9:30 pm (which might have something to do with my
      5:30 am wake-ups).

       

      For the most part I am an excellent sleeper.  Weather it's a warm bed, or pretty much any moving vehicle, I can generally
      fall asleep anywhere. I sleep through the night and rise refreshed in the morning.

       

      Well something interesting happened to me last week.  My husband, kids and I piled into the car and headed north to spend
      a week visiting my family in Canada.  We crammed into my parents house with most of my other siblings and their families.
      My husband and I got the den with the pull-out couch.  Although it was surprisingly comfortable, I found myself waking up
      numerous times each night
      .  I would get up, go to the bathroom, and then go back to bed.  Luckily I was able to fall back
      asleep.  This happened frequently each night and continued throughout our stay.

       

      It was until our drive home that I started to think about this.  I was actually thinking about all the crap I had eaten
      while on vacation and was excited to get home and do a small cleanse.  The late-night cards we played each night meant a
      lot of late night snacking.  The beach days, water slides, and boating contributed even more to all the snacking.  And
      I'm not talking the fruit and vegetable kind of snacking! Overall I was not eating the whole food way that I preferred to.
      It was then that it dawned on me that it was MY EATING that was waking me up at nights (and a little stress that goes hand in hand with most peoples family get togethers)!

       

      My first day home I decided to do a juice cleanse.  Nothing but freshly juiced vegetables and fruits for the entire day.  And how did i sleep that night?  Completely peaceful and uniterrupted!  Voila! Proof that what I eat affects how I sleep.

       

      According to Harvey Diamond, "Nothing can disturb sleep more than eating at bedtime.  The primary reason for sleep is to regenerate nerve energy.  Eating before sleeping redirects much of the energy to the digestion of the food.  Since
      the brain is involved in digestion, less sleep will result."  Hmmm, so maybe all that late-night popcorn had something
      to do with my restlessness!

       

      Brendan Brazier also addressed our sleep in his book THRIVE.  He talks about nutritional stress which is basically stress
      created by food because of its unhealthy properties.  This nutritional stress has serious impact on our bodies - one of those being sleep interuption. Cortisol is a hormone that is released in our bodies by stress (including nutritional
      stress). High cortisol levels are linked to sleep interuption. To make matters worse, cortisol levels are increased when
      we don't get enough sleep.  It becomes a vicious cycle.

       

      50 million Americans claim that they don't "sleep well" (which I am sure is somewhat thrilling to the pharmaceutical
      industry).
      Studies have shown that improved diet as well as stress management can significantly impact a good night's sleep!

       

      Sleep is so vital to our overall well-being.  What happens during our nights is just as important as what happens during
      our days.  So next time your slumber is not so sweet, stop and take a look at the food you've been eating.  Chances are you
      could benefit from some whole food plant-based goodness!
       

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    • Mochi Waffles

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    •  7/14/2010 6:47:47 PM
    •  

      Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made from steamed glutinous rice that is pounded and molded into cakes.  It is a little tricky to find, but should be in your local Health Food store.  Some Asian stores carry it during Chinese New Year.  Cooking the mochi causes it to "puff" up into a tasty little treat.

       

       

       

       For the waffles, cut the mochi into 1/4 inch slices that will fit nicely onto your preheated waffle iron.  Lay about 6-8 slices of mochi per waffle.  Close the iron and cook for about 3 minutes.  They will be puffed and soft (overcooking will make them crispy and not as tasty).  Serve right away with the topping of your choice.


      Sliced apples carmelized in a little oil and maples syrup are a great choice.  Add a little toasted walnuts for a fantastic blend of flavor.

       

       

       

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    • Cornmeal-crusted Tempeh - by Tal Ronnen

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    •  7/9/2010 8:48:19 AM
    •  

       

      We Whole Food Mommies decided to get together and try some of Tal Ronnen's recipes from his new book "The Conscious Cook" (publisher William Morrow).

       

      This recipe was the first time any of us had cooked with Tempeh.  It was quite the adventure.  The recipe was quite labor intensive.

      By the time we were done we really hoped we would hate the taste of it, that way we wouldn't be tempted to make it again.  Well the opposite was true. 

      The tempeh was delicious!  In the end, it was a lot of work, but it tasted like a truly gourmet meal.

      With permission from Tal Ronnen, here is his recipe:

       

       

      For the tempeh:

       

      8 Tablespoons of shoyu soy sauce

      1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick

      2 cloves of garlic

      2 medium dried ancho chiles

      2 medium dried chipotle chiles

      1 large bay leaf

      10 whole peppercorns

       

       

      In a large pot combine these ingredients and add 6 cups of water.  Bring to a boil  and add 2 8oz packages of tempeh cut into 1/4 inch slices.

      Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes.  Remove the tempeh with a slotted spoon to a plate and let cool.

       

       

      For the tomato sauce:

      4 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil

      1 large onion

      2 garlic cloves, minced

      2 carrots, diced

      1 celery stalk, dice

      2 medium dired ancho chiles, stemmed

      2 medium dired chipotle chiles, stemmed

      2 (12oz) cans fire-roasted tomatoes, including juice

      1/2 cup vegetable stock

      3 Tbs Earth Balance butter

       

      Place a large saute pan over medium heat.  Sprinkle the bottom with a pinch of sea salt and heat for 1 minute.  Add the oil and heat for 30 seconds, being careful not to let smoke.  This will createa nonstick effect.  Add the onion and saute for 3 minutes.  Add the garlic, carrots, celery and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned.  Add the chilies, tomatoes, and the stock.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes.

       

      For the black bean puree:

       

      2 TBS olive oil

      1/2 onion, finely diced

      2 garlic cloves, minced

      1 (15 oz) can black beans, including liquid

      sea salt and pepper

       

      In a small pot pver medium heat, heat oil for 30 seconds.  Add the onion and garlic and saute, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and translucent.  Add the beans and their liquid, season with salt and pepper tp taste, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.  Place the beans in a food processor and pulse until pureed.

       

      For the green chile relish:

       

      1 Anaheim chile

      1 garlic clove, minced

      1 shallot, minced

      salt and pepper

       

      Holding the chile with tongs, char over a gas burner intil blackened then peel, seed and finely dice it. (Alternatively, put the chile on a baking sheet under a broiler and cook, turning, until blackened on all sides.)  In a small bowl, combine the chile with the rest of the relish ingredients.  (We found this to be somewhat of a tedious process for such a small amount of relish, but in the add, the flavors combined perfectly with the rest of the dish and was definitely an important part of the meal.)

       

      To fry the tempeh and serve:

       

      1/2 cup cornmeal

      salt and pepper

      1/4 cup canola oil

       

      In a mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal with salt and pepper to taste.  Dredge each piece of tempeh in the mixture, coating well.  Place a large saute pan over medium heat.  Sprinkle the bottom with a pinch of salt and heat for 1 minute.  Add the oil and heat for 30 seconds, being careful not to let it smoke.  Add the tempeh, in batches if necessary, and cook until well browned, 2 to 3 minutes on each side.  Remove from the pan.  Serve with Braised Kale, black bean puree, tomato sauce, and green chile relish.

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