Gut Lovin’ Chocolate Chip Cookies

Can a classic cookie be low carb, low sugar and still delightful? You bet! Theses flour-free cookies are made with almonds, so you already benefit from fewer carbs and more protein and healthy fat. The clincher is, almonds are a prebiotic (they feed the good bacteria in your gut). Very low in sugars, which feeds the wrong bacteria in your intestines. I used Lakanto, made from monkfruit. It can replace up to half the sugar called for in a recipe without affecting flavor, yet it is zero net carbs. (Whole Foods should carry it, or your health food store can order it for you, or buy on Amazon!) Using coconut oil or grass-fed butter are both beneficial fats for gut health as well. Bet you can’t eat just one!

Gut Lovin' Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 cups almond meal (or almond flour)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil or grass-fed butter (softened or melted)
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup Lakanto or coconut sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup Enjoy Life dark chocolate chips (this brand is free of allergens)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda.
  3. In separate bowl mix the butter/coconut oil, egg and vanilla extract, add to the dry ingredients and stir well. Dough should be easy to form. If you need to add a teaspoon or so of water, do so.
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips, then form balls using a tablespoon’s worth of dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes, or until tops start to brown. Allow to cool on the pan for 10 minutes, then serve or store in fridge or freezer.

(adapted from recipe by Wellness Mama)

Orange Gut Blaster!

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Old Man Winter loves to dole out some harsh weather here in Ottawa, which is why my husband and I love to escape to the sun, sand, and ocean every winter. In a matter of days I’ll be doing sun salutations (yoga lovers know these well!) on the beach, so my thoughts are currently on immune support.

In 2006 I was knocked off my feet for 2 days with a horrible stomach bug while I should have been out touring Turkey, and I hope to never repeat that experience!

Enter “immunity foods”, and this lovely sweet potato and orange based smoothie!

Good for those of us in travel mode, but equally good for those of us toughing it out here in Canada, while wanting to avoid colds and flu.

This beverage is loaded with two immune supportive vitamins; A and C, thanks to the oranges and sweet potato. Plus it contains not one, not two, but THREE spices which fight inflammation, along with the coconut milk. Weight loss seekers take note! Dr Barry Sears, a medical authority on the subject of low-grade inflammation, states: “…chronic low-level cellular inflammation that is below the perception of pain….  is the driving force in the development of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes” (1)).

Another benefit of sipping on some sweet potato is its prebiotic fibre – which is what feeds the good guys in your microbiome. Did you know that 70-80 % of your immune tissue is based in your gut? (2) So a healthy microbiome will support healthy immune function.

You can tweak this recipe as much as you like, you really can’t go wrong with this one. Add extra ginger for some more body…throw in some yogurt or kefir for a probiotic punch…increase protein content with some hemp seed …make it sweeter with a dash of honey, maple syrup or stevia (for weight loss seekers) or simply combine, blend, devour as is!

Orange Gut Blaster Smoothie

Ingredients

1 Sweet potato, cooked

1 Banana (frozen)

1/2 tsp Turmeric

1/4 tsp Cinnamon and ginger

1.5 tablespoons Ground flax

1 Navel oranges, peeled and sectioned*

1/2 cup full fat canned coconut milk**

1/4 cup water and/or a few ice cubes

Directions

Toss everything into a high speed blender and blend until smooth.

*If you own a regular blender, and you find it doesn’t fully pulverize the white membrane on the orange sections, try using a little orange juice instead.

**The coconut milk should be organic ideally, to avoid extra additives which can irritate the gut lining.

 

 

 

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Green Detox Soup (to Start the New Year)!

 

I love the start of a new year! I love the sense of hope it brings, the idea of starting fresh, and pondering what aspect of my life I will work on in the coming year. This is the time of year many people decide to make health a priority, be it exercising more, stressing less, modifying their diet, or all of the above. If you’re one of them, I have this piece of advice on the diet front; In order to jumpstart your body’s natural detoxification pathways after a few weeks of over-indulgence, this soup is your answer! 

When I stumbled across it on sproutedroots.com, I was thoroughly impressed with its long list of detoxification enhancing foods: It contains two powerful members of the cruciferous family, kale and broccoli, which increase the amount of glucosinate in your system. Glucosinate helps rev up your liver, your main detox organ. Cilantro and parsley, both left in their raw form, contain blood purifying chlorophyll and assist in the removal of heavy metals. Garlic, left mostly raw, is one of the most powerful immune boosters on the planet, with antibacterial and antiviral properties. A load of onions deliver 2 specific phytonutrients (allium and allyl disulphide) which convert to allicin when the bulb is cut. Onions also deliver a good dose of quercetin. Studies show these 3 compounds to have cancer and diabetes-fighting properties. Lemons also assist in liver function. In fact, their peels contain components known as salvestrol Q40, flavonoids, and limonene, which are known to fight against cancerous cells in the body! 

So, with all of these incredible health benefits, let’s dive in, shall we?!

  • 3 medium or 2 large yellow onions (peeled and roughly chopped)
  • 1 zucchini (washed but not peeled, and roughly chopped)
  • 10 leaves kale (roughly chopped (leave out stems if you don’t own a high speed blender))
  • 1 head broccoli (roughly chopped (leave out stems if you don’t own a high speed blender))
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (ideally homemade or organic)
  • 1 head garlic (cloves peeled and minced)
  • ½ cup packed cilantro
  • ½ cup packed parsley
  • Juice and peel (thinly grated of 1 lemon)
  • 3 tbsp raw (unrefined coconut oil)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  1. In a large pot, heat coconut oil over medium-high until warm. Add onions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add zucchini, kale and broccoli and cook for 5 additional minutes.
  3. Pour in vegetable stock and bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes or until broccoli is easily pierced with fork.
  4. Turn off heat and add garlic, then let cool, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
  5. Working in batches if necessary, blend with cilantro, parsley, lemon and sea salt until very smooth.

(Slightly adapted from www.sproutedroutes.com)

Curried Parsnip and Pear Soup

Is there anything more comforting than warm soup on a cold day?! Here’s a gluten-free, dairy-free soup that will not only warm you, but leave you deeply nourished!

Parsnips are, sadly, under-consumed. Although sweet, they are low glycemic thanks to their fibre content, so they are diabetic friendly. Curry powder is a blend of up to 20 different herbs and spices – but anti-inflammatory turmeric is behind it’s characteristic golden colour. Coconut oil and milk contain three principle fats (medium chained fatty acids, otherwise known as MCT’s): caprylic acid, capric acid and lauric acid. These three fatty acids have been shown to be anti-microbial, so great for balancing your gut flora. MCTs are easily used by your brain and body for energy and they have been linked to greater weight loss (1). Enjoy!

Ingredients:
2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 yellow onion, chopped
1-1.5 bags of parsnips (about 4 cups chopped)
2 medium size ripe pears, peeled and chopped
1.5 – 2 teaspoons curry powder
4 – 5 cups organic vegetable or chicken stock (ideally, homemade chicken bone broth)
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup canned, full fat coconut milk
sea salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Melt coconut oil on medium heat in a large saucepan. Sauté onion and garlic for a few minutes.
Add parsnips, pears, and curry powder. Sauté for a few minutes.
Add stock and bay leaf. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the parsnip is soft.
Remove bay leaf, add coconut milk and puree in a blender until smooth.*Use caution when blending hot liquids – do not fill blender more than 1/2 full.
Return to pot and season to taste with sea salt and pepper.
Serve and enjoy!

(adapted from “Live the Smart Way TM Cookbook”, by Gluten-free Chef Kathy Smart. www.livethesmartway.com)

Easy No-Bake Power Snacks

Sometimes I can’t help but wonder if there’s anyone left on the planet who’s not time-starved. If you’re like me, you like to be as productive as possible, but let’s face it…between family, work, traffic jams and being constantly “plugged in”, consistently eating foods which nourish rather than foods which deplete is challenging.

So I dedicated today to sniffing out a few recipes for you which meet my high standards:

  • friendly to the digestive tract,
  • anti-inflammatory (not a granule of white sugar in sight here folks!),
  • lower in sugar and carbohydrates
  • and most importantly, quick and tasty!

These snacks do have sweeteners BUT they are better versions than highly refined, highly inflammatory white sugar. Plus, they are combined with healthy fats, protein, and fibre to avoid wild swings in blood sugar, keeping you energized and satisfied until next meal.

On the topic of sugar, you don’t want to miss my Facebook Live video where I discuss my 4 favorite sweeteners to cover all your sweetness needs!!

Whip these babies up in no time – they’re all no-bake!  I’d love your feedback when you do!

4-INGREDIENT NO BAKE PALEO PROTEIN BARS

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla protein powder (I recommend plant-based protein powders)
  • 2 cups cashew butter- can sub for any nut or seed butter of choice
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup – can sub for honey (or to desired sweetness)

Directions

Line an 8 x 8 inch loaf pan or cake tin with parchment paper and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, add your coconut flour and vanilla protein powder and set aside.

In a pot, combine nut butter with maple syrup and melt together over medium-low heat. Whisk to ensure it is combined. Pour into the dry mixture and mix until fully incorporated. If batter happens to still be crumbly, add water/milk until a thick batter remains.

Pour batter into lined baking dish and press firmly into place. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to firm up. Once slightly firm, you might opt to melt a little extra dark chocolate and drizzle on top, then refrigerate for a further 40 minutes. Remove and cut into bars. Keep refrigerated or frozen.

(slightly adapted from: https://thebigmansworld.com/2017/04/20/4-ingredient-no-bake-paleo-protein-bars-vegan-gluten-free-sugar-free/)

AVOCADO CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

Ingredients

  • Inner flesh of 2 medium ripe avocados
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (Enjoy Life is dairy free) OR cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup non-dairy milk of choice (*coconut milk recommended)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • pinch stevia OR 2-5 tbsp raw honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar

*Coconut milk is high in medium chain triglycerides, which are great for fat loss, and its lauric and caprylic acids nourish your microbiome. It’s high fat content will keep you fuller longer!

Directions

You have two options for this recipe: The version with the chocolate chips will be richer; the version with the cocoa powder will be lower in fat and sugar.

If using the chocolate chips, carefully melt them before beginning. For both versions, combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor until completely smooth. Use less milk for a thicker mousse and more for a thinner/creamier result. If using chocolate chips, use only 2-3 tbsp sweetener of choice or pinch stevia. If using cocoa powder, use the higher amount of sweetener.

(slightly adapted from https://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2015/10/15/avocado-chocolate-mousse-vegan-healthy/#26dRRLhog829f0C0.99)

NUTTY COCONUT FAT BOMBS

The title is scary, but rest assured you are filling up on healthy fats, which your body needs for so many key functions. The walnuts, chia, flax, hemp, and nut butter add a ton of Omega 3 fats to these balls. The shredded coconut and coconut butter adds some healthy saturated fat and flavor. Add to this good protein from the nuts and nut butter, with only a tablespoon of sweetener, and wow, the perfect healthy treat!

Ingredients

• 1 1/2 cups walnuts (or nut of choice but walnuts are highest in Omega 3!)

• 1/2 cup shredded coconut

• 1/4 cup coconut butter + 1 tablespoon extra if needed (not coconut oil)

• 2 tablespoons almond butter or nut butter of choice

• 2 tablespoons chia seeds*

• 2 tablespoons flax meal*

• 2 tablespoons hemp seeds

• 1 tablespoon maple syrup

• 1 teaspoon cinnamon

• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder

• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

• 2 tablespoons raw cacao nibs

For the chocolate drizzle:

• 1 oz. bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate chopped

• 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil

Directions

*To simplify, you could stick to either chia or flax, if you don’t have both. Just do 2 tablespoons whole seed and two tablespoons ground. In the bowl of a food processor, combine all of the ingredients except for the cacao nibs. Pulse for about 1-2 minutes, until the mixture starts to break down. It will first become powdery and will stick together, but still be crumbly.

Keep processing until the oils start to release a bit and the mixture sticks together easily – just be careful not to over process or you’ll have nut butter. If your mixture seems dry and if you’re not using the maple syrup, you may need the extra tablespoon of coconut butter to help it come together.

Once the mixture is sticking together well, pulse in the cacao nibs, just to incorporate them. Use a small cookie scoop or a tablespoon and roll into balls.

If desired, make the chocolate drizzle by melting the chocolate and coconut oil together over low heat, then drizzle over the balls and place in the fridge or freezer to firm up.

Store in an airtight container or zip-top bag in the refrigerator or freezer.

(recipe slightly adapted from https://www.bakerita.com/coconut-fat-bombs/)

Coconut Cheater Yogurt (So Easy!)

Yogurt is a great way to nourish your gut’s microflora, and get a hefty dose of Omega 3 fats (provided the yogurt is from grass-fed cows, which is higher in these inflammation fighting fatty acids).In a 2013 study of 6256 individuals, published in Nutrition Research, yogurt consumption was associated with lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and lower blood sugar (1). 

What about those of us who need or want to avoid dairy…are we to miss out on all of the great health benefits of yogurt? Thankfully, no!  Allow me to introduce you to an oh-so-easy, yet oh-so-delectable coconut yogurt using two ingredients! The best part is, there’s no sugar or other inflammatory junk in it. Simply use berries, jam, vanilla, maple syrup, or whatever suits your tastebuds, to sweeten. 

If you are on a Reboot, either dairy or coconut yogurt works well.

  • 1 can of full-fat organic coconut milk  (a good brand is Native Forest as they don’t use BPA in their can lining and the consistency is great for the yogurt.)
  • Several probiotic capsules or yogurt starter culture (available at a health food store)
  1. 1 Open the can of coconut milk and pour into a mason jar. (Blend if necessary, to mix the cream at the top and the water at the bottom).
  2. 2 Add yogurt starter culture or 5 or 6 opened probiotic capsules* into the mason jar.
  3. 3 Put the lid on and give it a good shake to combine.
  4. 4 Leave in a cool dark place on your countertop for three to four days, shaking the jar about two times per day. Room temperature must be consistently about 70 degrees or warmer.
  5. 5 On the final day, the mixture should feel thick when you shake it. At that point, stick the jar in the fridge, where the “yogurt” will harden.
  6. Note: There may be a sulfur smell when you open your jar. Don’t be scared. It could have to do with the strains in your probiotic. Taste. It may not taste as it smells.
  7. Sweeten with fruit or raw honey, if sweetness is needed. I like to eat mine plain or with a spoonful of carob, maca and a few drops of stevia. Divine!

(http://www.replenishpdx.com/2016/10/yogurt-for-everyone-really/)

*At Replenish, we successfully use GutPro probiotic (either 5- 6 capsules as noted above) or if using the GutPro powder, use 1 pinch or 1 dash. If using another brand of probiotic, you’ll need to test it and experiment with the amount. Some probiotics don’t culture (which likely isn’t a good sign for the viability of that probiotic!)

R-awesome Red Smoothie

Beets are a superstar vegetable, but I’ve never seen them make an appearance in my client’s food journals. Sad, given they a unique source of phytonutrients called betalains, which provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support. Betalains are especially relevant to glutathione, a key protein molecule used in detoxification.

So I set out to provide an easy recipe to those who neglect the bodacious beet, and voila, the R-awesome Red Smoothie was born!

Red cabbage belongs to the cruciferous family of vegetables, which also assists methylation (needed for energy) & detoxification. It contains low amounts of pesticide residues as compared to the more popular vegetables. Flaxseed and coconut milk adds healthy fat and fibre, to slow down the insulin response of the fruits and beet. Apple cider vinegar has many benefits, so I’ll highlight it being a source of all-important enzymes and probiotics. Don’t miss out on this superstar smoothie!

Ingredients: (1 serving)

  • 1 small red beet (approx. 1/4 cup), peeled and shredded or finely chopped
  • 1 red apple, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup frozen cranberries (optional, but add a slight tartness to the bevvie)
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • ¼ cup red cabbage, finely chopped or shredded
  • 3/4 cup non dairy milk, preferably coconut
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • ½” slice of ginger, or more, to taste (approx 1 tsp)
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Stevia, or raw honey, to taste

Directions

If using a regular blender, consider shredding and soaking the red beet and cabbage with the water overnight, to soften. In the morning, add a few ice cubes and blend well. Then add the rest of the ingredients and blend again! If using a high speed blender, the soaking is not necessary.

Thanksgiving Starter: Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Well folks, believe it or not we’re heading into Thanksgiving already! So, I decided to give you one of my favorite recipes for an autumn soup which embodies the best flavours of fall. As a bonus, this soup overflows with ingredients which are anti-inflammatory and support gut health! And it’s incredibly delish…triple win! Enjoy!

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

RECIPE HIGHLIGHTS:

Dairy Free and Vegan (if using coconut oil) | Gluten Free | Low Glycemic | Simple and Quick | No Added Refined Sugars

Ingredients:

Serves 12

2 cups of onions, chopped

2 tablespoons of butter or coconut oil if dairy intolerant

1 tablespoon of ground cumin

1 tablespoon of Garam Masala*

2 teaspoons of ground coriander

2 teaspoons of sea salt

6 cups of butternut squash, peeled and chopped

2 cups of sweet potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped

2 cups of apples, peeled and coarsely chopped

6 cups of vegetable or chicken broth (ideally, homemade bone broth)

1⁄2 cup of coconut milk

 

Directions:

In a large stock pot, sauté the onions and butter until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the spices, squash, sweet potatoes, and apples and cook a few minutes more. Add stock and coconut milk to the mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes until the ingredients are soft and tender. Purée the ingredients with an immersion blender. Serve with a dollop of yogurt or swirl of coconut milk.

*Garam Masala is a blend of Indian spices. You can find this spice in health food stores, bulk food stores or Asian grocery stores.

(Recipe credit: Kathy Smart, Gluten free Chef. http://healthylivingmagazine.ca/curried-butternut-squash-soup/)

Glowing Strawberry-Mango Guacamole

HAPPY CANADA DAY!!!

Today is a great day to reflect on what you love about this great country, while snacking on food popping with Canada’s colors! My husband and I are headed to a social this evening in a condo close to downtown, with a great vantage point for what promises to be an epic fireworks display! I will be bringing this Glowing Strawberry Mango Guacamole… bursting with chunks of luscious and in-season strawberries to keep everyone in the festive spirit!

I want you to feel good about your food choices this holiday weekend (okay, nobody’s perfect! But at least having this dish in front of you will offset the less-than-optimal nibbles that we are simply unable to turn down!). This one is gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, vegan, and raw. From a nutrition perspective, does it get any better?!! Here are some additional health bonuses of the main ingredients in this easy and refreshing summertime appie:

Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese, a trace mineral. They contain both types of dietary fibre – soluble and insoluble – important for feeding the friendly bacteria in the gut. They are also useful for weight loss.

Like strawberries, mangos are packed with Vitamin C and also contain both soluble and insoluble fibre. One study found that the polyphenol compounds in mango reduced intestinal inflammation and levels of pro-inflammatory compounds, known as cytokines, in rats. (1)

Avocados are known for their heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, but they’re so much more! They’re a good source of fibre, and they contain compounds which protect against inflammation and may reduce the risk of cancer (2).

And these are just the highlights! On the whole, fruits contain a good variety of vitamins, minerals, and an array of anti-oxidants unsurpassed by any other food group.

Here it is, one of my summertime favs, from the vegan recipe book “The Oh She Glows Cookbook: Over 100 Vegan Recipes to Glow from the Inside Out”, by Angela Liddon. May you eat, drink, and be merry this holiday weekend!

Glowing Strawberry-Mango Guacamole

2 medium avocados, pitted and roughly chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

1 fresh mango, pitted, peeled, and finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 1/2 cups finely chopped hulled strawberries

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped (optional)

1 to 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, to taste

Fine-grain sea salt

Corn chips, for serving

Directions:In a medium bowl, gently mash the avocado, leaving some chunks for texture. Rinse and drain the chopped onion in a strainer to wash off the sulfurous compounds. This makes the taste of the raw onion more pleasant. Fold the mango, strawberries, onion and cilantro (if using) into the avocado. Season with the lime juice and salt to taste.

Serve immediately with your favorite corn or pita chips.

Avocado tends to spoil quickly, so leftovers won’t keep for longer than 12 hours or so. Makes 3 cups.

 

Recipe accessed here: http://www.austin360.com/news/recipe-the-week-strawberry-mango-guacamole-from-she-glows/zc7lyisCeX7p2et7tXh5uM/