Friday, January 25, 2013

Roasted Turnip



Roasted root veggies are perfect for cold days any time of the day. Here I used turnip and sweet potatoes. You can add carrots, butternut squash, rutabaga... whatever is at hand. 

Preheat oven to 400F. 

  • two large purple top turnips cubed
  • one large sweet potato peeled and cubed
  • one medium onion cut lengthwise into 8 sections
  • one table spoon olive oil
  • one teaspoon sage powder
  • one teaspoon dried thime
  • sea salt to taste
  • one cup of fresh chopped flat leaf parsley
  • zest from one small-medium lemon

Put veggies in a glass baking dish and drizzle them with oil, sage, thyme and salt, coat well and put them in the oven uncovered. Bake for about 40 minutes or until tender, stirring couple of times. Drizzle with parsley and lemon zest, mix well, turn off the oven and put the veggies back for 5 minutes to absorb the flavors. 

Enjoy!

Suitable for paleo, vegan, vegetarian, macrobiotic, gluten-free diets and lent

Flu shots: a game of Russian roulette

As flu reached epidemic proportions in the US, the mass media hysteria ensued trying to convince the procrastinators that "it is not to late to get vaccinated".. well it is too late now and too dangerous to get vaccinated at any time. If the vaccine is only 62% effective according to CDC, the odds of getting flu remain pretty much the same whether you were vaccinated or not. Personally I prefer the latter. Although complications form vaccines are rare, but they are far too scarier. 


Aside from rare cases, there are more wide spread neurological disorders emerging in Europe. So if not getting a shot is a gamble with known, getting it is a game of Russian roulette. Pick your poison. Until then get a mega doze of vitamin C and don't forget to wash your hands.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Baked Sockeye Salmon in Dill Marinade

There's hardly anything more succulent and satisfying than wild salmon. It is also gratifying to know that is is packed with anti-inflammatory Omega-3s and astaxanthin, the most powerful carotenoid antioxidant. 

Sadly, this superfood is under the very real threat of being contaminated by genetically modified (GM) species of salmon. There is still a chance to stop approval of GM salmon by petitioning FDA and members of congress. Just follow the links.

Do your part to ensure you save this treasure for the generations to come, then enjoy the dish. 


  • Off season I use frozen fillets. Salmon can go from freezer to oven without skipping a beat. 
  • Preheat oven to 400F
  • In a glass baking dish mix 2 TBSP olive oil, 1 TBP balsamic vinegar, 1 TBSP lemon juice, 2 TBSP finely chopped dill, 1 tsp dry thyme, salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Rinse fillets in cold water and place them skin up into the dish. Let sit for about 5 minutes to absorb the flavors.
  • Turn the fillets over. Scoop the dill mixture, place it over the fillet and pop them into the the oven.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes or until there's no longer raw pink color inside. When the fish is ready it flakes easily. Make sue not to overcook it, for even the fatty fish like salmon may become dry and crumbly. 
Serves 4

Suitable for Paleo, macrobiotic, gluten-free, pesco-vegetarian diets and lent





Lemon Spinach Quinoa


Breakfasts are predictably boring. I’ve seen people eating the same breakfast for years. For the most part is it a matter of convenience dictated by lack of time. But if breakfast is the most important meal of the day, why cannot it be more varied, more nutritionally exciting? Luckily it does not take much time, what it takes is a bit of imagination and some planning.

But today I was really not a planner. Also I was running low on groceries and short on time. I was about to skip breakfast altogether when I noticed quinoa leftovers in the fridge. By itself quinoa does not excite taste buds. It needs to be spiked, infused, doctored. There was also a box of spinach and voilĂ  – a new dish was born!

  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ of yellow onion sliced lengthwise
  • ½ teaspoon of thyme
  • 8 oz of spinach washed
  • 2 cups of cooked quinoa
  • zest of ½ lemon finely grated
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • sea salt to taste
  • dash of ground chipotle pepper
    1. Heat olive oil on medium heat add onions a pinch of salt, thyme and sauté until onions start to become are translucent (about 2 minutes).
    2. Add spinach, increase heat and stir fry until spinach is slightly wilted.
    3. Add quinoa; mix thoroughly until quinoa is heated through.
    4. Add lemon juice, zest, pepper and salt to taste.

 It was just what I needed: green, yet warming. Next time I’ll try it with turmeric and sesame oil in place of lemon, pepper and olive oil.

Suitable for vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, macrobiotic diets and lent

Monday, January 7, 2013

Savory Stir Fry Cabbage

Cabbage rarely excites, except probably in stir fries. For some a stir fry sans soy sauce may sound like a blasphemy, but if you are serious about going gluten-free, soy source has to go first. Since I no longer had the heavy weaponry of soy sauce in my arsenal I decided to go with lighter flavors and committed one more sacrilege by substituting olive oil for sesame. That really helped the subtle veggie flavors to come through in the end.

  • One table spoon of extra virgin cold pressed olive oil
  • One teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dry thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of finely crushed dry oregano
  • 1/2 of large red onion finely sliced lengthwise
  • One large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 table spoon of finely chopped ginger
  • One medium carrot finely chopped
  • Two cups of finely shredded cabbage
  • One broccoli stalk, separated into small florets with the stem peeled and finely chopped
  • One tablespoon of mirin (rice wine)
  • Zest of one orange finely grated
  • One table spoon of brown rice vinegar
  • Sea salt to taste
  1. Heat olive oil, balsamic vinegar, thyme and oregano in a wok or wide sauce pan on a medium heat. 
  2. Add onions, garlic and ginger, sprinkle with salt and saute for 2 minutes until translucent, make sure not to brown. 
  3. Add chopped carrots and broccoli stalk, Saute 3 more minutes. 
  4. Increase heat and add shredded cabbage. Stir fry until slightly wilted.
  5. Add mirin, orange zest and broccoli florets, sprinkle with more salt and sir fry until broccoli is soft, but still brightly green. 
  6. Turn off the heat and add brown rice vinegar. Stir thoroughly and let sit for a few minutes before serving.
Serves 4

Suitable for Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, macrobiotic, gluten-free diets and lent.

The stir fry pairs well with almost anything. My kids loved it with spicy roasted chicken breasts, vegans may enjoy it with boiled buckwheat. I had it as the main and only dish. The flavors were so satisfying that adding anything else would have had destroyed the bliss. Indeed the stir fry appeared to have all the five tastes perfectly balanced: salty sweet, sour, bitter and pungent.



Sunday, January 6, 2013

Spinach Apple Smoothie



  • One packed cup of washed raw spinach
  • One granny smith apple cored and cut into chunks
  • 12 raw almonds
  • One table spoon of flax seeds
  • One dry fig 
  • One cup of almond milk
Blend the ingredients in a food processor like Nutrabullet or Vitamix. Enjoy!

Serves 2

Suitable for raw, Paleo, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free diets.

Root Canal Danger

This is one of the topics that stirs outright disbelief. We are so conditioned to think of a root canal as  a common dental procedure, that nobody questioned its safety. Indeed, over 25 million of root canals are done annually putting that many patients at risk of cancer, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune disorders. 

Unwittingly I became a statistic. For four years no one could figure out what was going wrong with Mrs. Wholefoods Yogamama. Was that lupus, leukemia, breast cancer, some weird unidentified bone marrow disorder? No, I just had root canals done. Anaerobic bacteria turned my jaw bone into liquefied necrotic tissue and was attacking my body in all different places. None of the superstar oncologists thought of asking me if I had a root canal done. No one could connect the dots. I did, thanks for the info I found on Weston Price Foundation website. After I brought it up to my dentist's attention, he called me a hypochondriac, and sent me away with a tube of Sensodyne toothpaste to treat "a minor gum irritation" and poo-pooed Dr. Price's research as outdated. I, otherwise, thought of the hundred year old research as the best kept secret.



This is really gross, yet I cannot help but to share the picture 
with visible periodontal abscess between my two capped teeth 
with root canals. I've been going to my regular dentist for years 
complaining about the recessed and tender gums, but the only 
advice I got was to floss less! Presumably I was "too obsessive"
to the point of damaging my gums. 
Armed with the new knowledge, I found a holistic dentist who could address the issue. The key to successful recovery is not to go back to endodontists. Their solution is only to fix the visible periodontal abscess, but they leave the dead organ in your body to let it continue do the undercover job of undermining your health. Complete extraction and cavitation is needed to clear out the mess. Regular oral surgens may not be equipped to do the the job. You need to find a good holistic dentist who can do cavitation and graft the cavity for bone regrowth. You will need healthy bone structure for future restoration. 

Previously bridges were considered as the only save option, since the titanium implants are believed to be capable of disrupting fine electric impulses in the brain. This is what Dr. Mercola discusses in the video below. But lately zirconium oxide implants entered the scene as the most superior (and expensive) option. Considering the sky-high costs, some countries offer dental tourism to have this procedure done at a fraction of the cost.

Whatever you do, do not blindly trust your traditionally trained dentists, who appear to be too uninformed to look at the root of the problem (pun intended). Find a good holistic dentist who knows how to address the issue. Here's a link to The Biological Practitioner Directory, which should help your with your search.

  

If you are not yet convinced about the danger of root canals, you may want to check out Root Canal Cover Up, a book written by George E. Meinig, D.D.S., F.A.C.D., one of the founding members who started the American Association of Endontists (Root Canal Therapists) and who completely turned around once he understood how this procedure contributed to the proliferation of degenerative disease in America.


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Poached Eggs


The main task while poaching is to keep the egg whites from flying away. Usually silicone cups or other non-stick utensils are used for that purpose. Personally I shun anything non-stick that can potentially touch my food, so I use mini mesh strainers for that. Cleaning afterwards is a bit of a pain, but this is trade-off I am willing to accept. 
  • Wash eggs, crack them open and empty contents into small individual containers containers (I use measuring cups)
  •  While the eggs sit on the counter, adjusting to the room temperature, bring a pot of water to a boil. The pot should be large enough to fit at least two strainers and the water should cover the eggs.
  • Once the water starts to boil, put it on low, immerse the strainers and wait for the water to cool down to a slow simmer.
  • Carefully lower the eggs and let them simmer for at least 5 minutes. Adjust the time depending on how done you'd like them to be.
Ironically, from the nutritional value standpoint, the runnier the yolk, the better. Some may have reservations of eating under-cooked eggs and this is a valid concern when it come to eggs collected from caged hens living in crammed, unnatural conditions. That's where bacteria prolifirate the most. Also, avoid washed eggs. This is the biggest irony. Food safety guidelines require producers to wash the eggs, making them move vulnerable for bacterial contamination. 
Find eggs producers who let their chickens go outside for nesting, scratching and dust bathing, and who do not wash the eggs. The more natural is the environment, the healthier are are chickens. When I was a kid back in Russia I used to eat eggs raw and never was sick. But these were the eggs brought form babushkas who bred little flocks in their backyards. For more info on egg production and labeling see the link below.

A guide to egg carton labels

Suitable for Paleo, gluten-free and ovo-vegetarian diets.


  

Avocado Smoothie

Winter is the time for hardier warming foods, so smoothies are not really it. They are too raw, to yin, too out of season and are not really local. But I had no other choice. I needed something that can go down easy after my oral surgery and a rather involuntary 20 hour fast. I decided on a smoothie for breakfast. To balance out all that raw yin, I chose to complement it with poached eggs. Eggs are considered as some of the most yang foods and when cooked, add even more yangness. 
  • One leaf of raw kale, washed and teared into sections
  • One stalk of celery, sliced
  • 1/2 of ripe avocado for creaminess
  • One small juicing orange, peeled, quartered, seeds removed
  • One tablespoon of chia seeds
  • One medjool date for sweetness
  • Spring or filtered water to the max line in 16 oz blender cup
Blend all ingredients in a blender like Nutrabullet or Vitamix untill very smooth. 

Serves 2


Suitable for raw, Paleo, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free diets.


Gluten-Free vs. Freedom

Being gluten free requires a paradigm shift in what we perceive as ”FOOD”. It is as big as the one many vegetarians and vegans have yet to overcome. Vegans who quench their meat cravings by soy burgers are really ”not there yet”. In the same vein the quest for a perfect GF bread is a dead-end mission. 


Oh, the gold mine...
Why bread? Is it truly the only thing that can sustain us? Well, it is portable, versatile and filling, and it can be obtained easily, no need to cook from scratch, you can buy it if you know a good bakery. The old habits run deep. Your devious mind still retains the memory of how the real bread used to taste. No amount of fillers and creatively applied substitutes can drown the chorus of your brain cell screaming for those comforting opiate-like peptides that make the wheat bread so irresistible… 

The solution is not in switching to GF bread, pizza, cookies… you name it. It only helps the food conglomerates to cash on the new GF craze, but it does not make you any healthier - just look at all other junk in GF products! The solution is in quitting cold turkey. Yes, vegans, and that’s what I suggest to you as well. It's better be cold turkey than tofurkey! Cook, try something new, be brave to shun the established conventions and your own entrenched believes of how the "real food" should look like. The only food that's good is the one that truly nurtures you body and soul, not the one that can be fit into a particular "dish" category. 

Love thyself genuinely and unconditionally, dare to experiment and thou shall be free.

And don't forget to smile...




Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Baked Apple Slices

I hope I remember the ingredients to the wonderful concoction I once created out of desperation of not being able to fashion an after-dinner desert. I was largely inspired by my friend who serendipitously e-mailed her version of a baked apple treat, on which I improvised. It was an instant hit. I don't have a picture now, but I'll add it next time I serve the treat.

INGREDIENTS:


  • 2 organic apples of Granny Smith kind cored and slices no thinker than 1/2 inch
  • 1/2 cup of organic orange juice (freshly squeezed is the best)
  • 3 oz red wine (I happen to have organic pinot noir on hand)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of organic quick or rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup of organic shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup of organic apple juice sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • pinch of Himalayan salt
  • 1 table spoon of sweetener of your choice (maple, agave, rice syrups or honey)
COOKING:
  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Layer apple slices in 6x10 inch glass baking pan
  3. Pour orange juice over apple slices
  4. Sprinkle with oats, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cranberries, coconut in that order
  5. Drizzle with wine and sweetener
  6. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve hot.
Serves 4

Suitable for macrobiotic, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free diets.

Orange Paleo Pudding


I've been recently flirting with going Paleo, reading blogs and experimenting with recipes. I really like Elana's Pantry blog. I am in awe with Elana's inventiveness, meticulous presentation and resourcefulness. I tried some of her recipes. Here's my take one one of her creations.

If you are looking for something hearty this winter with enough natural sweetness, you may find many uses out of this take on the good old pudding. It is not too sweet to be disregarded as a potential breakfast treat and it can be sold as a desert when served with coconut ice-cream.

For the macrobiotic perspective to eating, this recipe is suitable for winter months due to the cooking technique and the use of yang foods; i.e., eggs, nuts and dried fruit. Some followers of Macrobiotics shun animal-based products, but I think this approach is fundamentally flawed, since it contradicts to the core principles of achieving yin-yang balance through cooking local, seasonal foods. Be balanced, be flexible, Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS


  • 1 large orange
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups of raw almonds, milled (pulsate in a food processor, but do not over bled - it will turn into nut butter), set aside 1 table spoon for dusting 
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil for oiling 
  • ½ teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup dried cranberries (preferably sweetened with juice, not sugar)
  • ½ cup dried apricots, chopped
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped and slightly roasted

COOKING
  1. Wash the orange, put is in a pot, cover with water, bring to boil and simmer for about 90 minutes 
  2. Chop and roast walnuts
  3. Preheat over to 350F
  4. Place the cooked unpeeled orange in a food processor and blend until smooth
  5. Add eggs and almond extract to the food processor and blend some more
  6. Mix milled almonds, salt and baking soda in a large bowl
  7. Add blended mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well. 
  8. Stir in cranberries, apricots and walnuts
  9. Pour mixture into a greased (I use coconut oil), almond flour dusted 9-inch glass pie dish
  10. Cover with tin foil and bake for 40 minutes
  11. Remove foil and bake until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean (about 10 minutes)
  12. Cool for about and hour before serving.
Serves 8-12

Suitable for Paleo, ovo-vegetarian and gluten-free diets