Gluten Free Book Review: Blend: Artisanal Smoothies for Food Lover’s (REPOST)

Spring is finally here in Rochester, NY and I’m breaking out the summer fruits and my tried and true e-copy of Faith Gorsky & Alyssa Brantley ‘s Blend: Artisanal Smoothies for Food Lover’s . This is one of my favorite cookbooks of all time

The moment I learned about the release of Faith Gorsky & Alyssa Brantley ‘s Blend series I knew that these e-cookbooks would become part of my collection. Already an avid follower of Faith’s stunning food blog: An Edible Mosaic the combination of artisanal, fresh, natural and whole ingredients mixed with stunning food photography and meticulously crafted flavor combinations delighted the foodie in me.

 Blend: The Basics

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Blend: Artisanal Smoothies for Food Lover’s

For several years now , I have been dipping and dabbling in fresh/organic smoothie creations as well as raw juices. Since being diagnosed with several chronic illnesses including IBS and celiac disease for several years now; simple, fresh, whole and organic juice and smoothie blends have become regular part of my diet.

Blend: The Basics is a well crafted smoothie how to guide. In an easy to read user friendly fashion Alyssa and Faith give you a college 101 smoothie crash course. In this first book you learn how to select the freshest most succulent fruit to give you the highest quality smoothie, how to wash your fruit, prepare your fruit, flash freeze your fruit, and cut your fruit. This is in the first six pages alone. You learn how to prepare in advance and create individual smoothie kits so that you always have the ingredients ready and on hand to make the perfect smoothie in just five short minutes. Who knew that there was such an art and science to smoothie building? But make no mistake, this science course is simple yet fun to learn and you will find yourself immersed and taking notes as you read through this well written tutorial.

Blend: Artisanal Smoothies for Food Lover’s Summer Volume 1 is the second part of the series and really where the real fun begins. Four sections of mouth watering, expertly photographed smoothie blends fill your screen in this section. The recipes that were built using Faith and Alyssa’s expert advice are there in all their glory for you to re-create. The recipes are divided by type: Indulgence, Fruit, Green, and Coffee + Tea. It took me a day or so just to decide where I wanted to begin and once I started, I was instantly addicted re-creating each of their recipes day after day over a two week time span. Just when I thought I had found my favorite the next smoothie I would try trumped the flavor of the last.

(kiwi lime+kale)

These chefs spared no expense when it came to building these recipes. Their time, attention to detail and flavor combinations is displayed upon first sip of each one of these smoothies. It is evident that they built their recipes from the ground up so to speak and the depth and richness of each taste titillate your tastebuds and tickles your senses. This being done using simple, sensible, and everyday ingredients found in most food markets across the country. Their emphasis on fresh, whole, and seasonal ingredients speak to the type of chefs they are and was a welcome point as I read each recipe.

The Blend series are an excellent addition to the collection of any novice or expert foodie or smoothie maker with just enough information to keep an expert interested but not too much to overwhelm the novice. Most recipes contain six ingredients or less with three directions or less; and if you follow the guidelines presented in Part I you reduce your prep time to even less.I have made it my mission to try every single smoothie in the book and with six down I am well on my way. Blend is a must have collection for anyone interested in improving the quality of their smoothie creations or for the casual cook looking to try something new. Either way this is one collection you don’t want to miss.

For more information on how to purchase your copies of Blend: The Basics & Blend: Artisanal Smoothies for Food Lover’s visit Faith’s blog An Edible Mosaic & Alyssa over at Everyday Maven

Rating 5/5

Celiac Awareness Month | May 2018

May is National Celiac Awareness Month

Can you believe it’s May already! Time sure does fly when you are having fun and if you anything like me you are having tons of fun this year.  Per usual spring has just finally bloomed here is Western, NY but May marks the official celebration of: National Celiac Awareness Month.

The National Foundation of Celiac Awareness and life-long gluten free(ers) like myself dedicate the entire month to casting a wider net in our mission of educating, highlighting, and teaching everyone about celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and other gluten related illnesses.

Gluten free living continues to be a major industry in the US and globally. According to Statista, by 2020, the gluten free market is projected to be valued at 7.59 billion U.S. dollars. In 2015 gluten free sales amounted to over 2.79 billion U.S. dollars. Despite its omnipresence and the awareness there continues to be a national lack of knowledge about celiac disease as well as stigma, stereotype and mockery of this chronic disease. However despite what the comics say; celiac disease is a real autoimmune disease with real life changing effects.

As prevalent as the “term” (and label) is there are thousands of people diagnosed and even more that a). Don’t know what celiac, gluten, or gluten free means; b). Don’t consider it to be real c). Have a bevvy of misconceptions and false impressions about the illness and the term ” gluten-free”.

Stay tuned for more articles, personal stories, and blogs from celiac disease survivors and more sharing and telling how celiac disease affects their life every single day.

10 Gluten Free Snacks for Building Muscle | Guest Post

If you’re looking to pack some extra muscle onto your frame, having plenty of gluten free snacks on hand is perfect for getting in some extra calories. One thing to pay attention to on a gluten free diet is getting enough fiber, as many gluten free product variations are made with low-fiber ingredients such as white rice flour, tapioca starch, corn starch or potato starch. Look to buy products with almond flour, amaranth seed or flour, buckwheat flour or flaxseed flour to ensure you get enough fiber, which helps us fight off hunger and keeps us feeling full and satisfied. Try some of these healthy snack ideas to keep your health at peak levels and promote muscle growth

10 Gluten Free Snacks for Building Muscle

1. Avocado Toast Did you know that avocados are actually considered a fruit? With all the heart healthy fats and omega-3’s they contain, they’re a perfect snack to get some extra calories in. By adding avocado to some gluten free toast, you’ll be getting some healthy fiber with a kick of protein as well. There’s also plenty of things you can add to avocado toast to mix in variety, such as a drizzle of honey, melted cheese, or smoked salmon.

2. Trail Mix- Trail mix is another heart healthy snacking option to keep your appetite and your taste buds satisfied. With all the different varieties of nuts, seeds, and other additives available, there are an endless number of ways to make trail mix. Nuts and seeds are also chock full of healthy fats that help lower the risk of adverse health effects like heart disease and diabetes. You can also give your trail mix a hint of sweetness and a boost of antioxidants by adding some dried fruits or dark chocolate. Just be sure to read the labels on dried fruit to ensure there isn’t added gluten.

3. Popcorn- Many people aren’t aware of the fact that popcorn is actually a naturally gluten free whole grain! Since popcorn is a whole grain, it contains all of the vitamins and minerals found in the bran of the grain. Popcorn is also an excellent source of fiber which helps promote a feeling of fullness and keeps our digestive systems running smoothly. You can make popcorn by popping the kernels yourself, or you can find a variety of popcorn products at your local grocery store. Be careful of buying popcorn products at the store; many of them are filled with harmful chemicals and artificial flavorings. This popcorn is a safe bet!

4. Peanut Butter Banana Wrap– Who doesn’t like the classic peanut butter and banana combination? Spread yourself some peanut butter onto a gluten free tortilla and top it with some sliced up banana for a delicious healthy snack. The peanut butter provides healthy fat and some protein while the banana and wheat wrap give you a nice dose of healthy carbs, vitamins and minerals. When it comes to macronutrients and nutrition, this healthy snack checks off all the boxes.

5. Protein Oatmeal– There are countless ways you can prepare oatmeal, which makes it a fantastic snack. Adding gluten free protein powder to your oatmeal is a perfect way to hit your daily protein intake and give yourself a break from your standard boring protein shake. If you want some extra flavor, throw some honey, nuts, or seeds in too!

6. Protein Bar- There are a ton of gluten free protein bars out there to choose from and they make for great snacks. Protein bars are especially convenient when you’re on-the-go and need something quick and mess-free. Try avoiding ones that have too much added sugar or artificial ingredients and pick a protein bar that’s made with wholesome ingredients instead.

7. Cottage Cheese- While this might not meet everyone’s taste bud requirements, cottage cheese is an excellent source of protein and various vitamins and minerals to help keep your hunger levels low and your body well-nourished. If you’re not a big cottage cheese fan, try adding some honey and fruit to spice it up!

8. Greek Yogurt and Berries- If cottage cheese isn’t your thing, try greek yogurt instead! Greek yogurt is loaded with protein; many varieties of plain greek yogurt containing over 75% of their calories from protein! In addition to the favorable protein content, greek yogurt has millions of healthy bacteria which help aid in digestion and keep your gut biome healthy. Like cottage cheese, greek yogurt goes great with fruit, nuts, seeds, honey, and more, but start with plain flavored yogurt to avoid added gluten in dried fruit or flavorings. It’s more fun to see what kind of healthy creations you can come up with yourself anyways!

9. Veggies and Peanut Butter- It’s hard to beat the classic combo of veggies and peanut butter. It’s an awesome way to get some additional vegetables in your diet, and since they’re covered with peanut butter, they taste like dessert! Vegetables like carrot sticks, celery, and cut peppers are perfect for dipping into peanut butter. If you want to switch things up a bit, try eating your veggies with cashew or almond butter!

10. Veggies and Hummus- If you’re watching your calories and you want to enjoy your veggies without having too much fat from peanut butter, try dipping your veggies in hummus! Hummus is made from chickpeas, which are a great source of plant based protein. Chickpeas have also been shown to reduce the risk of developing heart disease and hypertension!

It’s incredibly common to find yourself hungry in the middle of the day and looking for something to munch on between meals. When it comes to snacking, there are a lot of foods out there that are full of artificial dyes, sweeteners, preservatives, and other potentially harmful chemicals. Luckily, there are plenty of healthy snack options out there to help optimize health and muscle growth. Just be careful when buying pre-packaged foods by reading the nutrition facts to avoid these things and unexpected gluten.

Vegan Baked Macaroni & Cheese | Living Vegan

It’s taken me months to find the time to share this amazing Vegan Macaroni & Cheese recipe with you. Created last year, this mac & cheese became one of the most popular dishes that I created for 540WMain Learning Academy’s monthly vegan pop up dinners. My goal was to create a vegan version of this classic American “main” dish as a side.

Feedback was so positive that I made it a staple for the newly created Vegan Cheese Making Class also at 540WMain. I’m elated to finally finally share this recipe with the world. Get into the recipe below.

Vegan Baked Macaroni & “Cheese”

Ingredients

  • 3 yams, peeled and steamed soft
  • 2 stalks celery
  • scallion
    3 cups non-dairy milk
  • 2 cups veggie broth
  • ¼ cup just mayo
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • ½ cup (1 stick) vegan margarine
  • ¼ cup almond meal
  • ¼ cup balsamic or apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
    3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
    2 teaspoons tumeric
    1 teaspoon cumin
  • cooking spray

Preparation

  1. Wash and scrub yams, cut in half, cover with foil and bake on 400 degree F for 50-60 minutes or until tender. Allow to cool completely before moving on.
  2. Meanwhile, bring 5-6 cups water to boil. Add pasta, a pinch of salt and drizzle of olive oil. Reduce heat to low-medium, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside in large mixing bowl.
  3. In a food processor blend yams with milk until smooth. Set aside.
  4. Coat a cast iron skillet with cooking spray, add celery and scallion and sauté on medium heat until tender. Add margarine, almond meal, vinegar, just mayo, mustard, garlic, cumin, and tumeric and stir until margarine is completely melted. Add in puree yam mixture. Pour this sauté mixture over macaroni along with veggie stock. Stir in yeast and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Grease a 6×9 pirex dish and add macaroni mixture. Bake on 400 for 15 minutes until bubbly. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Five Reasons You Should Be Oil Pulling (REPOST)

Photo credit: Organic Lifestyle

I type this long overdue post with a mouth full of fractionated coconut oil and cannot help but chuckle. Coconut oil has had a surge of popularity recently and “oil pulling” is just one of the many ways it can be used in your everyday life. But just what is oil pulling? and why in god’s name am I swishing it back in forth in my mouth?

 

What is Oil Pulling?

A very very long time ago (like ancient) before Colgate, Crest, and Sensodyne, folks used what they found in nature to clean and purify themselves. Oil pulling also known as “kavala” or “gundusha,” is an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique that involves swishing a small amount (less than one tablespoon) of oil in your mouth on an empty stomach for around 15-20 minutes. This action will draw out toxins in your body, improve oral health, and whiten your teeth naturally. The objective is to improve oral health but also to improve your overall health. This all sounds kinda crazy and to good to be true right?

Well I thought so as well. That is until I made it a vow to detox my life and rid myself of man made chemical laden health and beauty products and learn how to use natural substances found in the earth for my every day beauty routines. If you didn’t know, lotions, soaps, toothpaste, shampoo, cleaning sprays and the like are slowly killing us. I started with cleaning products and have now moved on to toothpaste, soaps, deodorant, and now mouth wash.

Why Use Coconut Oil?

When it comes to oil pulling, sesame seed, olive, and coconut work best. Coconut oil is anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory. It has a world of uses in baking, cleaning, moisturizing, cleaning and whitening your teeth. It can also be used a a carrier oil when using essential oils (more on this in a future post). The oil pulls out toxins in your mouth and breaks up hard to clean plague build up.

Does Oil Pulling Work?

I was skeptical at first and of course had to try it out for myself. I use fractionated coconut oil (remains liquid) but organic pressed or unpressed would work just as well. I’ve been pulling for a little over two months now and can’t believe I am just now coming onto this practice. My teeth look and feel significantly cleaner. My dry mouth has decreased and my breath overall remains much fresher than before I began pulling.

Why You Should Oil Pull?

  1. It’s Good for your Oral Health. I’ve already mentioned that coconut oil is a natural antibacterial substance that can be used to rid the body of toxins. Using high quality organic coconut oil is one of the best natural ways to do this.
  2. Balances the PH of your mouth. Dental experts agree that the mouth is the window into the body. Poor health can lead to all sorts of chronic illnesses; many of which can be attributed to off balance acidity levels in the body. Oil pulling helps with that.
  3. Whitens your teeth. A natural, safer, and healthier alternative to expensive teeth whitening treatments, A few weeks of pulling leads to a noticeably whiter smile
  4. Inexpensive. Seriously. Even though a high quality coconut oil may initialy set you back $12-18 dollars using coconut oil in your own toothpaste and to oil pull will save you bundles over time. You barely need a tablespoon for it to work its magic in your mouth.
  5. You Have Nothing to Lose. It’s funny that so many people snark and snicker at using natural products and alternative their health/beauty care but think nothing of buying and using a new over the counter bath and body product that is made in someone’s lab. Oil pulling certainly does not hurt and trying it even once will not kill you. If taste is your concern mix it will a little coconut, orange, or even lemon oil. Don’t knock it until your try it.

How to Oil Pull

Natural health and beauty blogger Fran of Hey Fran Hey demonstrates oil pulling and many many other natural beauty treatments in the Youtube tutorial below.

To learn more about oil pulling and even more A+mazing uses for coconut oil, click one of the links below.

Oil Pulling for Oral Health by Wellness Mama

35 Things You Could Do with Coconut Oil by Organic Lifestyle Magazine

What Is Oil Pulling by Health Ambition

 

DIY Organic Coconut Peppermint Toothpaste (REPOST)

In my quest to detox my life in as many ways as I can (read more here), re-sharing this simple DIY Organic Coconut Peppermint Toothpaste recipe. With only three ingredients it doesn’t get more simple than this. I already love it 100x more than the Crest I’m used to buying. The benefits of coconut oil are abundant. It’s definitely one of those things that I wish I would have done a while ago and I can’t believe I ever used anything else. Simple. Cheaper. Better. Natural.

DIY Coconut Peppermint Toothpaste

  • 1/4 cup organic coconut oil measured then melted
  • 2-3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 1 drop stevia (optional)
  • Melt coconut oil, add soda and peppermint oil drops. Mix to combine. Allow to set.

Original Post

 

Top Five Juice Nutrition Facts That Will Improve Your Life | Guest Post by David Hanson

Juicing is simply the process of extracting the liquid or juicy part of any kind of fruit that produces juice. In recent times, when the idea of juicing is becoming more popular, modern techniques of juicing now abound. You can now within the comfort of your home use a cold press juicer machine to squeeze out your delicious fruit drink.

My focus for this article is not on how you get extract juice from fruits, but to discuss juice nutrition facts that are important to your well-being. You will actually see how these nutritional facts will really make your life better; this is speaking in practical terms. Do you believe juice nutrition can truly contribute to healthy living? Let us find out anyways.

In no particular order, let us consider our 5 juice nutrition facts that will actually make your life better:

1. Allows you consume recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals

The nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables are many, but many of us still find it difficult to sacrifice our favorite kind of dishes for them. In many households, fruits and vegetables have been regulated to a weekly routine, rather than an everyday meal. The fact that juice extracts are sweeter and more convenient to consume means we can now consume enough vitamins and minerals every day. You can make it a habit to substitute your regular soft drinks or ice-creams for a delicious drink of fruit juice and your body will be thankful.

2. Your body is in a good athletic fit

There surely are no arguments about the benefits of fitness exercises. But there can be serious issues when the body is too stiff; it becomes hard to make all those flexible moves. What can be more frustrating than running out of gas after only a few minutes of workout?A tested replacement for performance enhancing drugs is the beet root. It can be taken as fruit juice extras. Its function is to improve muscle tolerance by aiding oxygen and blood movement in the muscles.

3. It can help boost your self-esteem

Looking good is everybody’s business; we all want to be the center of attraction in that formal or informal gathering. When you’re looking all radiant at the event, you are sure to grab the headlines. Oily foods can help you achieve this, but regular consumption of fresh cucumber with beet and carrot juice can. The nutrients from such fruit juice are good for the body. They will also help check your appetite for junk meals.

4. Fend off cancer more effectively

Like I mentioned earlier, people find it easier to consume the juice rather than actually eating the fruits and vegetables. Even if the juice will not absolutely do the functions eating the greens raw will do, it is better than taking nothing at all. For the cancer patients who need to refresh their body from the strain of chemotherapy, it is easier to swallow the juice for them.

5. It helps adjust to a fast-paced world easier

The speed at which every of our daily activities have to be carried out implies we have lesser time to cook meals. Fruit juice is your best bet while on the go, sometimes even helps you maintain the needed energy levels to keep you moving.

I hope these facts convince you about why you should seriously incorporate juice into your nutrition. This is even better, considering it is relatively inexpensive to maintain regular juice nutrition.

The question now is how you will go about your juice nutrition plan?

David is a freelance writer and juicing enthusiast.

Photo credit: Yes30 (cover)