Delicious Vegan Cheeses (alternatives to Daiya)

So, you may have recently read that Daiya cheese was acquired for a LOT of money ($352.5 million CD or $406 million US) by Otsuka; a pharmaceutical company. You can read more about the acquisition here.

Many vegans (myself included) are outraged, shocked and disappointed, as not only does it kinda suck to support BIG PHARMA, but Otsuka also tests on animals. So. Not. Cool. You can read more about the reasons a petition was created to oppose the acquisition due to Otsuka’s animal testing here.

Personally, I am so bummed, as Daiya was a staple in our household. I want to be supportive of their decision, but if they knowingly SOLD OUT to a company that causes harm to animals, sadly, I don’t think I will ethically be able to support them anymore. I get that there is another viewpoint; that the bigger the company, the farther they can take the product, and the more mainstream it can be. Daiya seemed (to me) to be doing pretty okay on its own! I’ve seen it in pretty much every conventional market (but then again, I’m in hippy-dippy southern California). I have seen it in other places as well, but I get it; it could go even farther–but the animal testing thing just makes me cringe and breaks my heart!

Well, thankfully, if you agree that animal testing is not okay, and want to support more ethical companies, here are a few alternatives you can try! Just want to note that I’m focusing on the ones that offer shredded cheese options. There are more companies that make beautiful, plant-based cheeses, I wanted to present some alternatives to shredded Daiya cheese here.

Follow Your Heart

 

Talk about an ethical company! I love Follow Your Heart so much!! First off, they started in Canoga Park, CA, which is my home town! Second, they’ve been in business for 45 years!!! Their philosophy is that “all people deserve access to healthy food, that we should have compassion for all living things, and that we have a responsibility to be good stewards of the environment.” Not only do they make shreds, but they make block cheeses, too! They have many soy-free options now (they didn’t always), that include mozzarella, cheddar, pepper jack and gouda! Yum!

SO DELICOUS 

Now, I haven’t tried the shredded cheese by So Delicious, but IMO, everything they touch turns to gold. I have never been disappointed by any of their products. If you have tried it (or any of the products I’m mentioning, please let us know what you think!!)

PARMELA CREAMERY

Parmela Creamery  has an entire line of shredded, hard cheeses, meltable and nacho cheeses. They are artisanal and believe in the traditional ways of cheesemaking. They also believe in sustainability. Again, I don’t have much experience with this product. I have only tried their cheeses once or twice, but I plan on incorporating them more, as I’ve seen them appearing on more grocery shelves.

TRADER JOE’S 

Ah yes, let’s not forget about our beloved Trader Joe’s vegan mozz! I don’t know why they don’t carry more vegan varieties. In all honesty, this cheese is good, but A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY. It’s very “melty”, and you truly only need a little sprinkle for it to give you what you’re after. Also, I wish canola oil was not the second ingredient, but meh, use it sparingly. Here are the list of ingredients:

Water, Canola Oil, Cornstarch, Vegetable Glycerin, Arrowroot Starch, Tricalcium Phosphate, Pea Protein, Salt, Natural Vegan Flavors, Rie Maltodextrin, Latic Acid (Non-Dairy), Sumflower Lecithin, Xanthan Gum, Annatto (color), Powdered Cellulose (To Prevent Caking).

What can I say. I love Trader’s and the fact that they’ve been adding more and more vegan staples to their shelves recently! Nutritional yeast, kombucha, cacao nibs?!?! You da bomb TJ’s!!

So, there ya have it! Some ethical alternatives to Daiya, and dairy cheese, in general. …and hey, look, I am not about bad mouthing, or putting negative energy out there, and I do hope for the best for Daiya and what they hope to accomplish with Otsuka, but I do believe in putting your money where you mouth is. If you have strong ethical values, like a lot of vegan animal lovers I know, it’s important to believe that your choices matter, and that you truly do vote with your dollar.

Have you tasted any of these? What are your favorites? Do you have any to add to this list?

Are you looking to make the switch to a dairy free (aka cheese free) lifestyle? I’m here to support you! I know cheese is hard to think about giving up, but once you weigh all the positive health benefits, it’s hard to argue why you need to eat it. While we are on the subject, check out Dr. Neal Barnard’s new book on the subject, The Cheese Trap! It’s an interesting read!! Also, you can always contact me to speak more about weeding cheese out of your life for good!

Much love, cheeseheads! xo Dori

Copycat Ella’s Nibbly Fingers (vegan and gluten free)

After a long while of not buying anything for my kid that comes in a package, I succumbed to a few pouches (Trader’s has the best deal IMO and they are organic!), and a few cracker-type products. …and Ella’s. Oh, damn, they are so good (well, at least I believe this is what Alana thinks about them anyway), and although they aren’t too pricey, they seemed pretty darn easy to replicate. So, I finally went for it! …and they are probably a fraction of the cost of the real thing!

I looked around for some recipe inspo, and didn’t find much, so I truly just took the portions recommended for the flour (I used gluten free oat flour, since I try not to give Alana too many foods that contain gluten), and fruit portions, but then totally went rouge! Here’s what I came up with, and by the look on my daughter’s face (and the fact that she had one in each hand at one point) tells me they were a success! 🙂

Copycat Ella’s (Blueberry Banana Raisin)

  • 1 cup gluten free oat flour
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 handful fresh organic blueberries
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 teensy pinch sea salt (optional)
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp flax meal

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using a food processor, puree the oil, raisins, blueberries, and banana. Add sea salt (if using) and flax meal.

Move contents to a medium sized mixing bowl and fold in oat flour.

Shape about a tablespoon of your mixture into a “bar” shape (I used a little water on my hands because the mixture is a bit sticky) and line them up on your baking sheet.

Bake for 15-20 min. Let cool and store in an airtight container.

I gotta say, I enjoyed the taste of them too (since I had to try them for myself). I love the feeling of making healthy foods for my daughter to enjoy. I know exactly what goes into them and I can be confident she’s eating clean and vegan!

What are some of your favorite plant based DIY kid’s snacks to make for your littles?

Are you a plant based mama, or want to be? Want to transition your family to become plant eaters? Are you pregnant and want to confidently grow your baby on a purely vegan based diet? Need guidance? Contact me! Alana is living proof that kids THRIVE on plants! Just look at those rolls! 😉

 

 

 

Green Power Protein Salad

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Well, hello there, 2017! It’s so nice to meet you!

I hope you all had an awesome time ringing in the New Year! Now, it’s time to revisit those goals and check in with how you are eating. So…how are you eating? Be honest! Are you “starting” a new diet this month?

My goal with my clients is NO DIETS. The goal is to help you transition to a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, so that when the new year creeps up, it’s not some daunting task to weed out all the junk! The reality is that you can eat clean 90% of the time, and allow for those treats you love (within reason) around those special times of year or whenever you’d like. It’s not about living a restrictive life; it’s about enjoying an empowered one!

Here is a kick ass, detoxifying and energizing recipe to get you pumped for your first week of 2017! I call it my Green Power Protein Salad! It’s jam packed with nutrients, plant protein and healthy fat!

Green Power Protein Salad

 

Ingredients (serves 4):
•1 bunch organic kale (your favorite variety), rinsed well and chopped
•1 can organic chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
•1/2 cup pre cooked quinoa
•1 avocado, chopped

For dressing:
•1/4 cup olive oil
•1 tsp apple cider vinegar
•1/2 fresh lemon squeezed
•Water, to thin, to your desired consistency
•Sea salt and pepper to taste
Whisk and drizzle over salad, then toss!

First, place kale in a big bowl with a bit of olive oil and massage for a few moments. This helps break this rough leafy green down a bit.

Place kale and other ingredients in a bowl and drizzle with dressing. Toss to coat.

Will store for about 3-4 days in tightly sealed container in fridge.

For more delicious and healthy recipes or to get started on your health related goals, contact me! It’s my joy and purpose to serve you! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Yours in health,

Dori

Vegan Ayurvedic Recipes

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of doing a food demo in an Ayurvedic Immersion class that was taught by Travis Eliot at Santa Monica Yoga. I received my 200 hour yoga teacher training with he and his amazing wife, Lauren Eckstrom last year. I admit, I don’t have extensive knowledge in Ayurveda, but I do find it very interesting! I have seen a couple of Ayurvedic practitioners in the past, and have even tried diet recommendations to help with the issues I went to see these people for. I believe in the power of Ayurveda. Heck, it’s *only* 5,000 years old. 😉

So, when it came to the food demo, I was a tad limited, since I would not have access to a kitchen. Travis originally asked if I would be willing to make kitchari, which is a sort of porridge, and it would have been awesome, but alas, no stove.

I chose two foods that I could do with minimal cooking requirements; Golden Turmeric Milk and Ayurvedic Bliss Balls. All these required were my Vitamix blender and my food processor!

I thought I would share these recipes with you, so you would have the chance to experience some of the healing benefits in these foods. They call for the use of some pretty healing and delicious spices; cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric and saffron. Before I get into the recipes, I want to share with you the benefits of these particular spices. I am a nutrition educator, after all! 😉

Spices

 

Cardamom:

  • Known as the “Queen of Spices”
  • Good for detox, digestion, and is considered an antioxidant
  • Mentioned in the Vedic texts as antidepressant
  • One of the most expensive spices next to vanilla and saffron

Cinnamon:

  • 2 types of cinnamon on the market: Ceylon & Cassia – Cassia is most common and cheaper, Ceylon is “true” cinnamon, and more expensive
  • Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-cancer, lowers blood sugar
  • Has been shown to help with HIV
  • Cinnamon pacifies Vata and Kapha doshas, but it may aggravate Pitta dosha if taken in excess.  It has a sweet, pungent, and bitter taste, it is heating, and has a pungent vipak or aftertaste

Ginger:

  • Excellent for digestion, nausea, motion sickness, morning sickness
  • There is an ayurvedic sutra (verse) that says that everyone should eat fresh ginger just before lunch and dinner to enhance digestion.

Turmeric:

  • Antiinflammatory-natural Ibuprofen
  • Antioxidant / anti-cancer
  • Every traditional Indian bride is layered in turmeric paste before her wedding to create that special glow!!
  • Used in Ayurveda to balance vata, pitta, and kapha, though in excess, it can aggravate pitta and vata.

Saffron:

  • Most expensive spice on the market (roughly $8 per oz.)
  • Dried stigma of Crocus plant
  • Helps pacify all three doshas. It improves immunity, increases energy, helps fight phlegm and respiratory disorders, improves vision and reduces inflammation. Its tonic can lower cholesterol, improve digestion and help treat spleen ailments, insomnia, impotency, premenstrual syndrome and neurodegenerative disorders.

Now, here’s what you can make with all of the above!! Enjoy!

Golden Milk 1

Golden Turmeric Milk – traditionally, this recipe uses ghee (clarified butter), and is served warm. My version is vegan and sort of a “cheater” easy version that can be served warm or cold

  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup (or you can use coconut nectar or stevia, if trying to avoid sugar)

Blend all ingredients well in your blender. Serve cold, or warm gently in a small pot over the stove to enjoy warm.

Ayurvedic Bliss Balls – bliss balls are amazing because you can pretty much add in or remove any ingredient that doesn’t work for you, and since they are raw, the proportions do not have to be exact. Play around and create your favorite version!

  • 1 C dry coconut flakes
  • 1/4 C raw almonds
  • 1/4 C raw sesame seeds
  • 1/4 C raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 C Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 5-6 saffron strands

Process all ingredients in your food processor and roll into bite sized balls. Can store in the fridge for 1 week.

For more information on Ayurveda, you can contact Travis, although, his focus is on teaching yoga and teacher trainings. He is definitely an expert though! Another amazing resource and friend of mine is Dr. Aunna Pourang, who is an Ayurvedic MD!!! Check her out here.

For nutrition coaching and more super healthy and easy recipes, contact me! As always, I’m happy to be of service to you!!

Golden Milk

Dori The Healthy Donut Baker

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Hey all!

Wow! I feel like a jerk for not blogging regularly, so I apologize for that! I know it’s been a while, but hopefully you’ve been staying in touch on my social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter).

If you’ve been kind enough to follow me there, you may have seen recently, that I’ve taken up baking healthy donuts! Kinda random, I know, but it’s been super fun, and those babies have been keeping me pretty busy! Last month, I was honored to participate in a Lululemon event in Brentwood for the Manta Movement bracelet launch, my buddy’s open house for his amazing natural therapy clinic Pure Vitality Rejuvenation Center and a Meatless Monday event in Long Beach where my donuts were in the swag bag with some delicious vegan fave samples provided by Beyond Meat, Daiya Cheese, Upton’s Natural’s and Field Roast! I was blown away and so stoked to have my little donuts handed out with such BIG names in the vegan world! #grateful

I just wanted to tell ya about the donuts since I don’t have an official website for them, so you won’t find much about them online, unless you’re following my social media.

The donuts are vegan, gluten free, and refined sugar free. They are made with gluten free oat flour and contain chia seeds, for added protein. They contain roughly 10 g of sugar per donut (varies on the topping choice), and the sugar source is a teensy bit of pure maple syrup. They are all topped with a chocolate glaze, and that is sweetened with malitol, which is a sugar alcohol (and thus, less than 1 g of sugar and zero calories).

I started playing around in my kitchen, and posted a photo of them one day, and it all started with one friend asking me to make her a batch and then POOF, it’s now “my thing.”

You can find them weekly in my office at Lotus East-West Medical Center, and they can be ordered privately via email: healingthrufood@gmail.com. Currently, I am only servicing Los Angeles, and this helps to keep them local, fresh and “eco-friendly”. 😉

My philosophy behind them is that you do not have to give up tasty, fun food if you want to eat healthy. Eating healthy *should* be FUN!

Speaking of fun–it’s 4th of July weekend!!! Hope you have plans to do something SUPER fun (and healthy). A few healthy tips:

  • Stay hydrated (travel with a refillable water bottle)
  • Bring your own food to parties (something fun to share–a big salad, a gigantic watermelon–it doesn’t have to be complicated to be great)
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Graze all day–even if it IS a holiday–especially if you *are* drinking

Stay safe and have fun, you guys!! …AND, if you’re local and would like to order donuts, shoot me an email! I’d love to connect with you over some truly healthy, delicious, guilt free treats!

 

Plant-Based Protein Sources

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The majority of people I come across and work with do not always understand where they can find alternative sources of complete plant protein and some will argue that a plant-based diet is lacking and one cannot survive without eating animal flesh. Hogwash!

Also, in my humble opinion, I think we are truly a bit “protein obsessed” in this country! On average, we only need about 20-30% of our calories to come from protein and our bodies can really only absorb about 20 grams of protein per sitting, so consuming globs of whey powders of pounds or grilled chicken breasts won’t do us any good since the body does not maintain a store of excess amino acids (the building blocks of protein). Once your daily protein needs are met, your body has two options for dealing with any excess protein. Option 1: If your calorie intake is low that day, your cells may convert it into fuel. Option 2: If you’ve had plenty to eat that day (i.e. met your caloric intake), your body will convert the extra protein to fatty acids (a.k.a. FAT).

Many argue that plants are not a source of “complete” protein. The term “complete protein” refers the building blocks of protein: amino acids.  There are 20 different amino acids that form a protein molecule, and there are nine that the body cannot make on its own. These nine are called essential amino acids and since the body does not produce them, we need to get them from food sources. In order to be considered “complete,” a protein must contain all nine of these essential amino acids in mostly equal parts.

So, animals products such as meat and eggs are naturally complete proteins, and plant sources such as beans, legumes, nuts and seeds are not. But I’ve got news for you; we don’t need every single essential amino acid in every bite of food in every meal we eat; we only need a sufficient amount of each amino acid every day. So, if you are consuming a diet rich in nutrient dense plant-based foods, and grazing all day, your body in its infinite wisdom, is smart enough to do its own combining and you’ll get what you need! So don’t worry too much about that and get your butt to the farmer’s market!

As you browse the list to follow, you can see there are plenty of healthy, nutrient dense, plant-based protein choices listed (that are not just soy-based—with the exception of organic tempeh, which I like on occasion!). A lot of these things can be thrown into smoothies, which I believe is the tastiest way to consume things like blue-green algae, for instance.

Most supplements can be found at your favorite health food store, or online.

POWER PACKING VEGGIE PROTEIN SOURCES

  • Green-leafy veggies (spinach, kale, bok choy, collards, green cabbage, arugula)
  • Good quality plant-based protein powder (my fave is Sun Warrior)
  • Goji berries
  • Mulberries
  • E3 Live (amazing blue-green algae product-this can be extremely powerful for mental clarity!!)
  • Blue-green algae such as chlorella and spirulina
  • Hemp (raw hemp seeds and hemp protein)
  • Pea protein
  • Rice protein
  • Fresh olives
  • Grass powders (wheatgrass, barley grass, etc. I like Amazing Grass’s products)
  • Maca powder
  • Brewer’s yeast (not recommended for people with candida)
  • Raw pumpkin seeds
  • Raw almonds
  • Sprouted grains
  • Sprouted wild rice
  • Sprouts of all types
  • Nut butters
  • Beans (garbanzo, kidney, black, adzuki, etc.)
  • Lentils
  • Organic, non-GMO tempeh

As you can see, there are plenty of foods to choose from! If you need more specific help incorporating them into your diet, contact me! I can help you come up with some very tasty ways to start consuming more plant-based protein, and I promise, you won’t even miss that burger!

Gluten Free & Vegan Superfood Granola Bars

I totally admit it: I love snacks. I especially enjoy protein dense bars that aren’t full of sugar or GMO-laden ingredients. That’s why, sometimes it’s nice to make your own, so you can control exactly what goes into them! Homemade granola bars are super nutrient dense (as long as you use natural sweeteners) and make the perfect on-the-go snack for you or your kids, if you have ’em. If not, make up a batch and share the food love with friends, if you have ’em. If not, eat them all yourself. 😉

I whipped up a batch of these amazingly simple Superfood Granola Bars, and yes, they are amazingly gluten free AND vegan as well! Score! Granola bars are great because you can pretty much add anything you like to them after making a basic recipe. If you don’t like my ingredients, swap them out or add in other things you like. I will give you some suggestions for additional ingredients as well. Make them your own and rock on with this healthy snack!


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Gluten Free & Vegan Superfood Granola Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup packed dates, pitted (I like Medjool dates best)
  • 1/4 cup natural sweetener of choice (I like 100% Grade B maple syrup)
  • 1/4 cup creamy almond butter or sunflower seed butter (I used sun butter here)
  • 1 cup raw almonds, loosely processed in food processor
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao nibs
  • 1/4 cup dried mulberries
  • Teensy pinch of sea salt
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Optional ingredients: raisins, shredded coconut, vegan chocolate chips, dried cranberries, raw cashews, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flax…

Preparation:

Pre-heat oven to 350, and toast your oats for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown.

In a food processor, process dates down into small bits. You can soak your dates in warm water for 5 min before hand to get them soft, if they are not already.  In food processor, they should turn into a little ball, kind of like a dough ball.

In a large mixing bowl, place oats, almonds, dates, cacao nibs, mulberries, sea salt and cinnamon, and set aside.

In a saucepan, heat your sweetener and nut butter of choice over low heat. Stir and pour over ingredients in your mixing bowl. Make sure to break up the dates while doing so.

Once everything is mixed well and coated, transfer to an 8×8 dish or other small pan lined with parchment paper. Press down with another piece of parchment paper until flattened. Cover with plastic wrap, and let set in fridge or freezer for 15-20 minutes to harden.

Remove bars from pan and chop into 10 even bars. Store in an airtight container for up to a few days.

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 See how easy it is to make your own granola bars??!? I hope you’ll enjoy these and explore making them, or a version you are inspired to try!

COMMENT BELOW about what your favorite on-the-go snacks are! Would love to know!

Also, if you are looking for guidance on choosing the right foods to help YOU heal, contact me for a complimentary 30-minute Nutrition Assessment to see if you could be a good fit for nutrition coaching!

Super Easy Kale Chips

kale chips 2

I read recently that kale was “out” and cauliflower was “in.” Our culture is so strange sometimes and we witness our food go through trends, just like clothing does. Kale will never be “out” to me, and will always have a place in my heart and in my kitchen.

My mom is growing a TON of kale right now, so I get to reap the benefits of her green thumb. Lucky me!!

…and I don’t know if you have bought kale chips in the market lately, but they are SO expensive, so why not make them yourself?!? Of course, having a dehydrator helps, but you can always make them in the oven too, on the lowest setting that is available to you.

These are really incredibly simple, so make sure to try them! They make a great snack for the kids, or to take on the go, but just beware, they will go FAST!

Simply Sweet Kale Chips

Ingredients

  • 1 head of kale (any variety)
  • Virgin, unrefined coconut oil
  • Sea salt
  • Raw honey

Preparation

Rinse and dry your kale. Cut into chunks or break apart into decent size “chip” pieces. If you do them too small, they shrink right up and you get nothing! 🙁

Pour about 1 tbsp. of liquid coconut oil over kale. If your coconut oil is solid, you can place the jar in warm water and it will turn to liquid rather quickly.

Sprinkle about 1 tsp. sea salt onto your kale and massage oil and salt into the kale. This helps to break it down a bit and will help the sweetness from the honey stick.

Drizzle about 1 tbsp. (or more…depending on how sweet you want them) onto your kale and continue to massage the kale.

Spread onto your dehydrator sheets and try not to let them touch and get piled on one another. Dehydrate at about 118 degrees F for about 12-14 hrs.

If you do not have a dehydrator, you can make them in the oven by heating your oven to 145 degrees F and bake until crispy, 4 to 5 hours.

Here’s a crazy idea…why not make them for Labor Day??? It’s always nice to contribute a conscious snack to a party or BBQ and I guarantee, your friends will love them!

If you liked this recipe and would like to add more healthy foods like it to your diet, contact me for a FREE NUTRITION STRATEGY SESSION! I look forward to hearing from you and wish you a healthy day!

Chocolate Cranberry Chia “Mighty Bars”

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So, just about every weekend, I head to Cafe Gratitude after doing yoga at the Yoga Collective and pick up one of their “I am Mighty” superfood bars.  The bars consist of raw ingredients such as hemp seeds, cacao nibs, goji berries, coconut flakes, almond butter, etc. I decided that I would try to make my own version of these bars to try to save a bit of money (since they are over $7 each), and save my visits to ‘Gratitude for special occasions and delicious meals with friends. It’s undoubtedly one of my favorite restaurants on the planet and they serve up some really tasty and beautiful food.

I created my own version this past 4th of July because I wanted to bring something conscious to a holiday BBQ we were attending, and since I rarely write recipes down, I had to fake it with my second batch, but you know what? They came out pretty flippin’ AWESOME!! This is my favorite thing about making raw desserts…no baking, no exact measurements; just playing around until I like how it tastes and feels! It’s super fun! So, here ya have it… Healing Thru Foods version of the ‘Mighty, which I hope you will try and enjoy as much as I do (the entire batch is nearly gone already, lol!).

Chocolate Cranberry Chia “Mighty Bars” Recipe:

(makes 9-10 bars)

Ingredients for barsIMG_0452

  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 1/2 cup cacao nibs
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1/2 dried cranberries (or you can use gojis, dried blueberries, or any dried berry of choice)
  • 1 tbsp. raw coconut butter
  • 1 tsp. raw honey
  • 1 teensy pinch of sea salt

(Un)Cooking instructions:

1. Soak cranberries in warm water for about 5 min. 2013-08-04 13.48.34

2. Add all other ingredients to your food processor. Do not yet process.

3. Drain cranberries and add to food processor and grind up all ingredients.

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4. Form into little squares (try to make them about 1/4″ thick).

Ingredients for raw chocolate:

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  • 2 tbsp. raw coconut butter
  • 1/4 cup virgin, unrefined coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup raw honey (or 100% grade B maple syrup) this is to taste, so if you desire sweeter chocolate, feel free to add more sweeter or choice
  • 1 cup raw cacao powder

(Un)Cooking instructions:

1. Melt down coconut oil to liquid form if it’s solid. You can do this either by placing the jar in hot water, or scooping out your desired amount and heating it on low in a sauce pan.

2. Add coconut oil to a medium sized bowl and add coconut butter, cacao, and honey.

3. Whisk together to get a nice, thick liquid chocolate.

Dip each bar half way into the chocolate and lay out in a glass baking pan on parchment paper. Stick bars in the freezer for about 20 minutes.

Will keep in fridge or freezer for about a week.

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Enjoy these bars as a quick and healthy (yes, they ARE healthy) on-the-go snack, a dessert alternative, or a post-work out replenisher, since it’s PACKED with protein!

For more delicious plant-based recipes like these or for nutrition coaching information, contact Dori from Healing Thru Food today!

 

Nut Butters-What’s the “Jiff”erence?

PBlove

Creamy. Chunky. Slightly salty. Mmm! Who doesn’t love a good nut butter? And if you have a peanut allergy, it’s not a problem anymore because you’ve got so many nuts and seeds to choose from! There’s almond, sunflower seed, hazelnut, macadamia nut, cashew, sesame seed, pecan…pretty much any nut or seed you can think of, it can be ground into a smooth butter for you to make a modified PB & J or eat it plain by the spoonful straight out of the jar!

I am such a huge fan of nut butter as they provide a great source of healthy fats and plant based protein. But which nut butters are better? Is there a difference and what are the overall health benefits they provide besides the two I just mentioned (healthy fat and protein, if you forgot already)? Nuts and seeds are known as polyunsaturated fats (or sometimes called PUFAs), and are rich in omega-6 fatty acids. Dietary intake of PUFAs have been shown to decrease the risk of Lou Gehrig’s Disease. It’s also important to note that we need a healthy balance of omega 6s to omega-3s in our diet for optimal health. In our Western diet, Americans tend to consume an overabundance of omega-6 oils in their diet due to processed foods.

Processed foods as we all should know by now are foods that are meant to stay on a grocery store shelf until eternity. They contain preservatives, added colors, flavors and chemicals to make them appear fresh as the day they were made. These additives are no good for your health and actually create an alarm response in the body, contributing to inflammation. These foods are in fact “false foods” and not truly food at all, unless you consider all the above additives to be food you like to feast on. I for one, do not. I like to follow Michael Pollan’s rule of thumb and “eat only foods that will eventually rot”.

You’ll notice with natural or raw nut butters, there should only be one or two ingredients. These should be the NUT and maybe SALT or SUGAR.

Let’s take a look at one of the “not-so-natural” peanut butter brand’s ingredient list. Tell me if you can spot what’s wrong with this picture.

Ingredients:

MADE FROM ROASTED PEANUTS AND SUGAR, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: MOLASSES, FULLY HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OILS (RAPESEED AND SOYBEAN), MONO AND DIGLYCERIDES, SALT.

If you guessed “fully hydrogenated vegetable oils”, BINGO! Those are also known as TRANS FAT! Trans fats are the bad fats we are not supposed to consume because they increase “bad” LDL cholesterol and clog our arteries!

True, some of the brands that use these ingredients have shifted and started to come out with more natural products, but I say, why give your hard earned money to the guys that still put crap on our shelves? Why not support local or smaller companies that need our business more so they can continue to make a great product for us?

Which brands are best is going to be up to you and up to your taste buds. Just follow the guidelines of reading ingredients.

Some of my favorite nut butters are:

  • Trader Joe’s Sunflower Seed Butter
  • MaraNatha No Stir Creamy Almond Butter
  • Once Again Organic Sunflower Seed Butter
  • PocketFuel Naturals (I love the Chocolate  Haze, Vanilla Haze, and the Crunchy Banana Blueberry!)

Now, raw is best, if you can afford it because the nuts have not been heated, thus keeping all those nutritive natural oils in tact. The issue is, raw nut butters are pretty flippin’ expensive! I don’t know about you, but I don’t have $21 to spend on a jar of nut butter. You *can* however, experiment with making your own!

Here is an amazingly simple recipe for Raw Almond Butter:

  • 2 cups raw almonds
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. raw honey (optional)

Place almonds in food processor. Process for about 10-12 minutes. You will need to scrape down the sides when it starts to stick. Add in sea salt and/or honey after you’re done processing the almonds and stir by hand.

Remember, healthy fat is good for us! Contrary to popular belief, healthy fats can actually help control our weight! They also help with fatigue and mood! Don’t ditch the fat, just consume the right kind!

For more help figuring out a nutrition plan that works for you and your personal needs and lifestyle, contact me! I will happily create a personalized nutrition plan that WORKS and is sustainable! We’ll have you reaching your health related goals faster than you can say PB & almond butter!

I look forward to helping you!