Raw Mini Turnips and Dip!

raw turnip sticks

raw turnip sticks

As many of you know, I am a happy cook in the kitchen during the winter season. Once the good weather hits, though I am less inclined to spend the day creating a new soup or tending a classic Irish stew. I prefer to be out of doors playing instead. Yesterday, at lunchtime, I discovered a left over turnip at the back of my fridge, and wondered what I could do with it since I just didn’t feel like making any more turnip soup, (delicious as it was this past winter).

 

That’s when I came up with the idea to use sliced raw turnip as a snack with a hummus dip. Believe it or not I had never eaten raw turnip before, and I wasn’t even sure I’d like it, but of course I loved it or I would not bother to share it with you here today.

 

The taste is sweet, the texture is cruchy, and turnips are probably the cheapest vegetables on the planet. At cool temperatures they keep well for ages and are packed with lots of fiber, vitamin C and calcium.

All you need for this recipe is 1 turnip ( any size).

Hummus or your favorite veggie dip.

Chopping a turnip into bite sized slices is a challenge for me and if you don’t have strong wrists, I suggest:

  1. peeling the waxy outer layer off first.
  2. cutting away several outer portions and working your way to the center of the turnip, instead of trying to hack through the center straight off.
  3. chopping chunks into thin 1.5 inch pieces

Serve with a dip and enjoy!

Healthy Chocolate Coco Butter Cups

I am on a mission to limit my sugar intake and to add healthy saturated fats (coconut oil and coconut butter) at the same time. Even though this is not a sugar free recipe, as I use some honey and, of course, there is some sugar in the dark chocolate, this is my current desert of choice when I get that chocolate craving!  One more good thing; they are gluten-free and dairy-free.

The ingredients are simple and no baking is required!  Please note you really need toasted coconut flakes for this to work.  Shredded coconut just is not the same at all.

Yummy Choco-Coco-butter cups

Yummy Choco-Coco-butter cups

RECIPE

I used

500 g of Roasted Coconut flakes (2 packages)  see image below.

Unpasturized honey to taste. ( I use about 1 TBS)

About 2/3 Cup of melted dark or semi sweet chocolate

Melt chocolate over low heat while you let your food processor blend the coconut flakes into a soft almost liquid butter.  Add a bit of honey if desired.

Fill greased or lined mini muffin tins 1/3 full with  coconut mixutre.  Chill slightly in freezer for 5 mins.  Remove from freezer and add a layer of liquid chocolate in each cup, then return to the freezer for a few minutes and top up the cups with more coco butter and chill one last time again.  If you don’t devour them all in one sitting, keep the rest refrigerated!

*I use a bit of coconut oil to grease the pans  when I run out of mini muffin papers.

Makes about 2-3 dozen mini cups.

OPTIONSIMG_3727

* I sometimes add celtic salt to the chocolate  and pop a pecan in the center before chilling.  Experement and let me know how it goes!

Coco nut flakes

Coconut flakes

MISO SOUP!

This insanely nutritious soup is simple to make and can be changed to make use of what you may already have on hand. The indispensible ingredient however is miso.   Miso comes in  paste form and can be found refrigerated at the health food store and all enlightened grocery stores.  Miso  is high in protein and vitamins and minerals but since it is a fermented product it is also good for your digestion.  Some people worry about the high sodium content in miso, (which does have a salty flavour), but studies have shown that this type of sodium does not affect blood pressure the way table salt will, and consuming miso actually protects cardiovascular health.  Miso should never be combined with boiling water as this will kill off the beneficial bacteria that contribute to your health!

The veggies are barely cooked, just warming them in the steaming water will do fine, and this is a great way for raw-food lovers to jump off that bandwagon and start to integrate more warm, ‘nearly cooked’ foods into their diet.

When I head in for a long day at the clinic this is my lunch of choice.  All I do is prepare the fixings ahead of time and use my kettle at work to produce this re-energizing miso magic!!

Did I mention how DELICIOUS this soup tastes??? Light but satisfying! One caveat, I don’t measure anything when I make this soup, so the following  recipe is my best estimation!  The following should make 4 hearty helpings.

Rosie's Miso Soup

OK, collect :

4 Baby bok choy (or 1 or 2 grown-up bok choy)

Carrots , slice these nice and slender, almost matchstick size, but don’t obsess about it

2-4 green onions, sliced

1 zucchini , matchstick sliced, if desired

A handful or two of shitake mushrooms chopped roughly

Approximately 2-3 tbs sauce or ‘Bragg’ (a non sodium replacement)

A dash or more of sesame oil.

1/4 cup of warm water.

A heaping tablespoon of organic miso paste.

Chopped, fresh cilantro

Mix miso and warm water (not boiling) together in small bowl and set aside to dissolve. Pour vegetables into a medium sized saucepan and add 5-6 cups of water.  Add soy sauce and sesame oil.  This broth will taste rather thin until the miso get added.  Heat to steaming.

Meanwhile make sure that the miso paste is completely disolved, then divide equal portions to each soup bowl and top with the vegetable-broth mixture and cilantro.

Modify this soup by using other vegetables, think chinese cabbage, green string beans, etc.  For more protien try adding cooked shrimp or chicken.
Bon appétit, as we say here in Quebec!

Anti-Inflammatory Eating

TCM has always recognized the value of anti-inflammatory foods.   Conditions such as arthritis, tendonitis, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, allergies, most heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, bursitis and diabetes type 2 can all be affected by an inflammatory diet.  The same is true for some headaches, stomach aches, high blood pressure and obesity.

The top inflammatory culprits are : sugar, dairy, wheat, trans fats and poor quality cooking oils. Eliminating these things can only improve your health.  Keep in mind that smoking, alcohol, and STRESS also cause inflammation.

The following are general recommendations.  Consult your health care provider for details and before making drastic changes to your diet.

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ferment your own vegetables

Inflammatory

Remarks

Substitute

Sugar (including fruits and fruit juices) Refined starches-white bread (anything that is a white food), lactose, sucrose, fructose . Spikes blood sugar, causing inflammation. Use Stevia as a sweetener.Try sweet potatoes instead of white.
Dairy Products(Yogurt, milk, cheese, ice cream) Leads to mucus forming conditions such as frequent common colds, allergies, and sinus infections as well as abdominal pain – bloating. Switch to almond or coconut milk. Do NOT use SOY milk or tofu. These are processed products that inhibit thyroid functioning.
Wheat The gluten in wheat and in other grains is highly inflammatory Switch to rice / quinoa, buckwheat. Commercial Gluten-Free Products often contain high amounts of sugar.
Tans Fats Trans fat is in processed foods such as fast foods, fried foods, anything that comes in a box. To eliminate completely.
Cooking oils Soy, corn, canola, and sunflower contain ingredients that increase inflammatory responses in the body. Use coconut oil for cooking at high temperatures.  Cold-pressed olive oil for salads.

DO eat PLENTY of vegetables, especially in stews, soups and stir-frys. Raw vegetables can pose digestive problems so learn how to ferment vegetables for a probiotic boost.  It’s easy and fun! And I promise to write a post on how to do that sometime before the summer is over.

TCM does not recommend pure vegetarianism. In moderation, eat grass-fed, hormone-free meats and wild game and fish.  Eat organic eggs and small quantities of fruit.  Use high quality fish oil supplements. They are anti-inflammatory and can protect against heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

There are specific dietary recommendations according to your health diagnosis, be it Yang deficiency, Yin Deficiency, Blood deficiency, Qi deficiency, Qi Stagnation, Phlegm Excess, etc.  Ask about yours.

ACUPUNCTURE MONT TREMBLANT.COM

BUTTERNUT SQUASH-CURRY SOUP

I make soup of all kinds but my absolute favorite of all is butternut squash soup.  It is low in fat, high in vitamins A and C, has strong anti-inflammatory properties and is in season now. The secret to making sweet tasting soups is to sauté the onion until it caramelizes. I also use curry paste to enhance the delicate flavour.

Don’t throw out those seeds!  Rinse them, coat with olive oil and a dash of salt and roast them at 275 for 15 minutes. Makes for an awesome and nutritious snack!

Back to the soup.  You’ll need:

2 medium butternut squashesIMG_1565

2 large yellow onions, chopped

1tbs coconut oil

1tbs butter

2 cloves garlic, crushed and finely chopped

1-2 tsp of red curry paste

4 Cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 Can coconut milk (optional)

Sea salt – sel de fleur to taste, (not table salt)

1.   Cut each squash in half, remove seeds: wrap each half in tinfoil and bake at 350 until soft and tender, (1.5 -2 hours).  Weather permitting, squash can alternatively be barbequed for a richer, sweeter flavor.  Once cooled, scoop squash from shell and set aside.

2.   In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt coconut oil and add onions, stirring often until onion turns golden brown and begins to caramelize.

3.   Turn heat to low and add butter, garlic and curry paste, stirring frequently for 5 mins.

4.   Remove onion mixture and blend in food processor until smooth. Add squash and 1/4 cup of broth and purée  until smooth. Depending on the size of your processor you may have to do this in batches.

5.   Transfer soup purée to large saucepan and add rest of broth and heat till steaming. Season with sea salt.

6.   Serve in bowl and swirl in a dollop of coconut milk.  Garnish with fresh cilantro and enjoy!

Why That Green Smoothie May Not Be So Healthy For You

 

Green smoothies, a recent addition to the diet of many health conscious people is not all its cracked up to be.    This green health drink is usually a blend of fresh fruit and salad greens or other vegetables and has been gaining popularity especially among raw food advocates.  But people with a more liberal diet love them too; they’re often used as part of a spring cleanse and they can be a quick way to get your greens, kind of like a salad on the go.   While the morning green smoothie might be a better alternative to a coffee, fans of this drink, should be aware that it has certain health drawbacks.

Fad Versus Age Old Wisdom

According to Chinese medicine, which dates back 5,000 years or so, too many raw fruits and vegetables can harm the digestive system.  This basic health principal is actually documented here.   Ingesting too many smoothies, salads and fresh fruit often leads to bloating, cramping, gas and loose stools.   If symptoms like this continue for a long period of time, other health problems like fatigue,  lethargy, allergies and difficulty concentrating can set in.

Green Smoothie Mont-tremblant Style

Green Smoothie Mont-Tremblant Style

So if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, or if you want to prevent any future problems with your digestion, lay off the smoothies and lightly cook your vegetables to give your digestive system a break.

Raw food purists argue that cooking denatures the nutritional value of food and even destroys digestive enzymes.  But if your digestion is at all weak,  all those great digestive enzymes from raw food will pass through the body unabsorbed anyway.

Cheers!

5 Tips for Healthier Eating

Many of my patients are surprised to learn that a consultation and treatment with me may include nutritional advice. Often, I discover that diet can actually be contributing to a patients particular health problem. While Traditional Chinese dietetics is based on respecting individual differences and needs, I regularly share the following general guidelines to healthier eating to help all my patients achieve optimum health. As you’ll see it’s as much about how you eat as what you are eating. Consult a qualified Chinese Medicine practitioner before making any drastic changes to your diet.

1) Drink either warm or room temperature liquids. Cold drinks weaken the digestive system because the stomach has to work harder to reheat its contents so as to prepare it for the rest of the digestive process. Some signs of a weakened digestive system are abdominal bloating and or cramping after meals, loose stools and lack of energy.IMG_1297

2) For the same reason as above, try to prepare warm meals and limit intake of raw, cold foods -especially during the colder months. Opt for steam and stir-fry cooking methods more often.

3) Cut back on dairy. For many people, dairy can lead to mucus forming conditions such as frequent common colds, allergies and sinus infections.

4) It seems like a “no brainer” to say eat 3 meals a day but I encounter so many people who do not.   Skipping meals, especially breakfast, often results in fatigue and headaches.

5) Eat with an awareness as to the atmosphere in which you take your meals.  This is such an important aspect of healthy eating! I can not overemphasize how the way you eat directly influences the absorption of your food as well as the efficiency of your digestive system. Arrange to eat in peaceful surroundings and avoid discussing business or any topic that may engender emotional tension. Take time to sit down at a nicely set table-even if you are eating alone. Please turn the TV off and allow your body to concentrate on doing its job of properly assimilating  your food.  Rushing or eating while driving, reading or studying can contribute to heartburn, indigestion, constipation and eventual weakening of your digestive system.

Eating should be a pleasure, a time devoted to consciously nourishing our bodies with foods that enhance our health.  If you’re curious to find out if nutritional changes, according to Chinese Medicine can help you contact me for a free 15 minute consultation.