Monday, October 30, 2017

What do you crave, salty, sweet… or both?

As daylight gets shorter and temperatures get colder, we tend to hibernate inside, huddled under a blanket, reading a good book or binge-watching Netflix. What better way to enjoy that than with some fresh baked vegan brownies or a bag of Kettle chips to much on? While that may be part of our comfort food routine, the salty-sweet seesaw can become an endless cycle that is never fully satisfied, and we may not realize that it’s making us sick.

Cravings are a sign of imbalance, or what is known as “dysbiosis” from a holistic health perspective. It is a term for a microbial imbalance or maladaptation on or inside the body, specifically the gastrointestinal tract.  

Perhaps you’ve heard of the “microbiome,” which is the community of microorganisms which reside in our bodies that help keep our immune systems functioning efficiently.  When the “good bacteria” is flourishing, our digestion is strong and we’re able to absorb vitamins and minerals for optional health. However, when there is a proliferation of “bad bacteria,” our health can be compromised.

Symptoms of dysbiosis may include food cravings as well as gas, bloating, headaches, fatigue, joint pain, skin rashes, sinus congestion, and a myriad other responses essentially due to inflammation throughout the body. 

Why does this happen? This condition can be caused by poor diet, such as eating overly sweet and salty processed foods or food sensitivities and intolerances to such foods as wheat, soy, and corn, and flareups can be triggered by stress, lack of sleep, and overuse of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs which weaken the gut lining.

How can we stop it?  A comprehensive health history analysis is essential to pinpoint the exact cause, since every body is different. However, everyone can benefit by eating more whole foods, particularly fresh fruits and vegetables which are anti-inflammatory and high in anti-oxidants. 

Balancing salty and sweet with sour and bitter is also important. Try adding dark leafy greens and spices like turmeric and ginger to your diet. In addition, consider your beverage of choice filtered water with a squeeze of lemon. To aid in digestion, try drinking mint or ginger tea and take bitters with each meal. These little tweaks can make a big difference in your overall health and wellbeing.

For a comprehensive list of strategies for killing cravings and treating the underlying causes of dysbiosis, contact me for a free consultation.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Soup Making 101

I had a great time making a variety of vegan soups this afternoon for my "Soup Making 101" class. Thank you to all who attended and to Kat Dargan for assisting! We enjoyed lots of warm and yummy comfort food.

- Japanese Miso Soup with Immune Boosting Aromatic Herb Broth
- Rootsy Chowder with Toasted Spiced Pepitas
- Lemony Lentils with Collard Greens and Horseradish Dijon Crema

We started with some hands-on miso mixing which one of the attendees described as "meditative." Indeed. It's a nice way to relax before eating a meal.  I steeped some lemon balm, oregano, and thyme in the broth during the last minute to infuse essential oils that help boost the immune system.  

We also enjoyed layers of flavor from the lemony lentil soup that was topped with a horseradish Dijon crema. This added a creaminess when stirred into the soup. Everyone really enjoyed this combination.

Finally, we closed our meal with a root vegetable chowder made with carrot, parsnip, turnip, yam, potato, and onion. Root vegetables help "root" us and provide strength for the cold season ahead.  This delicious soup was topped with toasted spiced pipits for an added layer of taste and texture.

Everyone had a great time tasting delicious and healthy vegan food, observing the process, and enjoying the company of new friends.  I love getting feedback like this! 

"What amazing food... everything was perfect. My only comment is Bravo!"
"The education along with the prep tips make me think I can do this healthfully."
"The miso soup warmed my chest. Excellent presentation!"
"Lots of chopping to do, but I liked your easier methods."
"I loved the food!!! And seeing it prepared from start to finish." 
"I loved the hands-on experience and seeing different ways of preparing everyday foods." 
"It was delicious. Please do more!"