Oh Kale Yeah!

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Do you eat superfoods?

 

 

Kale is one of the most studied, nutrient dense foods out there and is amongst the list of superfoods. This loaded dark leafy green has many beneficial properties making it one of the vegetables I grow year round. It is a cruciferous vegetable in the cabbage family with many varieties with vibrant greens and purple colours.  

 

 

 

In 1 cup of raw Kale (1/2 cup cooked) it contains:

 

      206% of the daily value of Vitamin A

      684% of the daily value of Vitamin K

      134% of the daily value of Vitamin C

 

It also contains vitamin Bs, manganese, calcium, copper, potassium, folate and magnesium. 

A total of 33.5 calories in a cup breaking down to; 

6.7 carbohydrates (1.3 of which being fibre), and 2.2 grams of protein. 

 The 0.5 g of fat that is contained the in the leaves is Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. 

 

Why is it called a super food?

The high content of antioxidants and well as flavonoids and polyphenols counteract oxidative damage by free radicals which are the leading causes of rapid aging and disease. Antioxidants have been well studied and are known to protect the heart, lowers blood pressure, reduces chances of depression and anxiety, while being antiviral and anti-inflammatory. The word superfood was created for marketing of health foods. Foods with the label “superfood” has been through a criteria regarding it’s nutrient density and bioavailability.

Here on Vancouver Island most years I am able to grow Kale  generally purchase kale from local farmers from March to December. Supporting local farmers is important for us here on the island to help improve food security. When buying kale look for bright healthy looking leaves and rinse them when getting home to remove bacteria or bugs for longer storage. 

 

 

Luckily adding kale into your diet can be easy for anyone by adding it into salads, stir-frys, smoothie’s, most other recipes and my all time favourite, roasting it into a tasty snack. 

Add Your Heading T Tips on how to prepare Kale ext Here

Kale can be a little tough and bitter if you are not taking the time to properly prepare it. Start by washing it in the sink and lightly massaging the green leaf under warm water. Next you will want to de-rib unless it is baby kale the stem running down the centre can be completely unenjoyable, do this by running a sharp knife down each side of the stem. 

Chop kale to the size which fits your recipe, stacking the leaf after de-ribbing and dicing will give you squares great for stir-fry for salads try rolling the kale and slicing along the roll which will give long thin strips perfect for salads.

 

After cutting I suggest to put in a bowl and drizzle about a teaspoon of oil across the leaves. He best oils to use are avocado oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil or olive oil. Massage the oil into the sliced leaves by kneading and squeezing the kale, rub it between your hands until looks dark and silky. The more love you put into the kale massage the more love it will give back, or at the very least taste better.

 

Faux-Cheesy kale Chips

Prep time: 15 minutes          Cook time: 10-15 minutes          Total time: 25-30 minutes

Ingredients:

1 bunch Kale

1/3 cup Cashews

2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast

2 Tbsp Avocado Oil

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

Prepare as above then cut/tear kale into desired size. 

In a food processor blend up cashews and the nutritional yeast with avocado oil (or oil of your choice)

Put blender contents into a glass bowl then add the kale, stir well to ensure kale is evenly coated with the oily mixture.

Once well coated, spread kale out on the parchment paper and Bake until the edges are looking crunchy or slightly brown (not burnt) 

What is your favourite way to use kale? Tell me in the comments below!


Mulled Cider

Do you use spices in your kitchen?

They are a great way to add flavour without added sugars, salts and fillers. In the winter I can’t get enough homemade mulling spices with the cold pressed apple juice we made from our orchard. These warming spices when bought organic and not irradiated are a very beneficial to add our diet.

The Ceylon Cinnamon is loaded with vitamin K and E giving it strong anti-oxidant, antibacterial and antiviral properties. The perfect combination to help avoid the seasonal flu going around or that pesky head cold. Ceylon cinnamon is also known to help balance blood sugars and has been used since 2000BC for joint pain and digestive troubles. The adequate amounts of manganese and calcium can be beneficial to peoples with type 2 diabetes and hypertension. You can add cinnamon to oatmeal, smoothies, or roasted vegetables.

Nutmeg is another component of my mulling spices brings warmth. In Chinese and East Indian cultures it is used as an aphrodisiac. These features are due to the nutrients potassium, manganese and zinc supporting the cardiovascular system. Phytochemical’s in nutmeg also calm the mind while they can also stimulate other parts of the brain acting like an antidepressant. Nutmeg goes well with sweet vegetables or squash, also great with chicken or turkey and curry.

 

Star Anise is reported to yield a fair amount of Shikimic Acid, which used in medications for treatment of influenza. It is also loaded with the B vitamins; niacin(b3), pyridoxine(b6), pantothenic acid(b5)and riboflavin(b2). B vitamins help with in energy metabolism improving the way oxygen is used by he body. Star anise seed has a sweet licorice-like flavour and can be used to infused soups and stews.

 

Cloves in small amounts is known to have many beneficial properties. It contains eugenol having local anesthetic and antiseptic properties. Vitamin A, beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin K act as the  anti-inflammatory factors. The cloves properties together increase gut motility and improve gastrointestinal enzyme secretions. Cloves are used in many recipes and taste great with pork brines, seasonal winter drinks and curry’s.

 

                                                                    I usually make a batch of spices to last me through the season, but not more than that. Spices start to oxidate causing them to lose flavour and nutritional benefits. 

What to look for in the store!

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Though this symbol may look friendly and clean this means the product labeled has been irradiated

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Here in Canada to
avoid pesticides and herbicides grow your own or look for this symbol.

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Support fairtrade farming practice to ensure labor was done with fair pay and work conditions.

Almost all spices on the market, unless specifically stated as “nonirradiated” have undergone a process of ionized radiation in order to increase shelf life and kill any possible bacteria existing on the herb or spice. 

 

Where they take one of three types of radiation; gamma, x-ray or electron beam and blast away bacteria or insects to extend self life. Except not all bacteria are bad for us, we have now proven that bacteria that there is more bacteria DNA in our Bodies than our own. The radiation also damages the nutrient value of the food rendering somethings useless for our health.

We sourced out a local juice company to cold press 140 pounds of apples and 10 pounds of pears into a rich textured nectar that has been oh so hard to moderate until next harvest. We ended up with about 70 litres of cold press juice full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Once pressed and bottled we froze it to preserve it.

 

 

Mulled spices will work in store purchased apple juice if fresh cold pressed juice is not an option. Many also like to make mulled wine for special occasions with a similar recipe of spices. 

 

                                                  Mulling Spice Recipe 

 

Yield 15 servings

Total Time: 15 minutes  Prep Time: 5 mintes


Ingredients:

8 ceylon cinnamon sticks

6 whole nutmeg

1/3 cup dried orange peel

1/3 cup dried lemon peel

1/3 cup star anise seed

1/4 cup whole clove 

1/4 cup all spice berries

Diced ginger


Directions:

With a mortar and pestle or ziplock and rolling pin grind up the cinnamon sticks and put into a bowl. After crush and grind up the whole nutmeg, add it to the same bowl. Chop the orange and lemon peel into small pieces. All other spices can remain whole and be mixed in. I store in glass mason jars in my spice cupboard.


Mulling spices are so flexible and can easily be changed by adding and removing other herbs and spices. Don’t be afraid to add in cayenne or peppercorns to your mulling spices for more depth. 

 

 

 

Soil is more than just dirt…the state of our soil impacts everything from human health to climate change.



The Benefits of Eating Raw Cacao

With Christmas around the corner,  desserts and treats are at every event, but you do not have to fret, cacao is here to save the day.

 Now you must be wondering what is the difference between cocoa and cacao? Yes there is, it’s because of the way it is processed. When cocoa is heated and refined for confessional hot chocolate powder or into chocolate bars the benefits seem to be processed out. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The benefits of raw beans being cold pressed are immense as the act of cold pressing preserves the vitamins, minerals, compounds as well as the fibre. 

 

This wonderful bean which grows in the amazon in giant, funny looking pods is a miracle. Inside inhabits a bitter nugget of life that can taste incredible and support the growth of love and positivity. What a food to be blessed with.

 

 

I am sure you have heard before about how chocolate is a gift of love, this idea comes from more than the hallmark holiday we all know as valentines. Cacao is an aphrodisiac, influencing the feelings of attraction, and excitement. These feelings are not due to the fact that most of us loving chocolate, but because raw cacao contains chemicals that influence the bodies production of neurotransmitters.

 

 

 

 

 

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The love chemical – an essential amino acid phenylalanine acts as a precursor to tyramine, dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine. This combination of neurotransmitters acts as a powerful antidepressant and stimulant. 

 

 

The bliss chemical is another thing that boosts our love of chocolate, it is the natural chemical Anandamide. It is the natural pleasure molecule also responsible for the “workout high”. It fits into cannabinoid receptor sites giving a calm emotion. Studies show that anandamide can assist in regulating memory, balance appetite, improve pain and inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells. Ladies if this isn’t enough of a reason to switch from processed chocolate to raw cacao I don’t know what is

 

 

 That being said here are some more reasons…

We know now that raw cacao is a love drug but can you imagine that it is also supportive of the actual health of the heart itself. Specific antioxidants in cacao have been clinically proven to dissolve plaque built up in arteries. While your artery health is being improved so is your whole circulatory system. Theobromine is a bitter alkali of the plant, which causes vasodilation (widening of blood vessels) which can act to increase absorption of nutrients. Theobromine is also the content in chocolate which animals and humans can have an overdose reaction to. As it acts as a broncodialator (lung opener) and vasodilator, certian people with medical issues should be cautious on the amount of raw cacao consumed. 

Cool Fact:

 

 

The only food in the whole world that is known to have Anandamide is raw cacao!

Tip:

 

 

 Do you have restless leg syndrome or have troubles unwinding at the end of a night have a hot cuppa cacao to help relax your mind, your muscles and help you sleep

 

As an alkali forming food high in magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper and phosphorus cacao is also supportive of muscle, bone, hair, nail and tooth health. It is the highest source of magnesium from a food source studied so far. 

 

Yet another reason which will be my last for this post

 

Women needling to boost iron go no further raw cacao contains the highest amount of plant-based source of non-heme iron in foods. This can be a great way for women to their monthly cycle.  Non-heme iron can be difficult to absorb in our digestive system so eating your chocolate with something high in vitamin C can hep bioavailability

By now I am hoping I have shared enough about the wonderful benefits of this incredible superfood that you will be trying new ways to incorporate it into your diet. That’s right ladies, I said add it to your diet and no I don’t mean conventional chocolate but real smooth raw organic cacao. Trust me, you won’t regret it.


Healing Bone Broth

Bone broth is a staple to my diet, it is easy to make, it is very flexible is the terms of what goes in it and it is nutrient dense. I usually save up veggie ends and scraps from my daily cooking then freeze them until my next bone broth day. These vegetables ends don’t need to look uniform as they will boil away and be strained out.  I make it once a month from simmering of grass fed animal bones, vegetables and herbs until their nutrients are in the broth. I use local chicken carcass or beef bones and knuckles but you can also use lamb, turkey, seafoods, or just vegetables. 

 

As you can see in my picture to the right it is golden in colour, topped with healthy fats. I make sure to sir while pouring into mason jars or ice cube trays to ensure even distribution of fats. 

The first time I made bone broth I didn't realize why I was cooking bones for 48 hours. I thought to myself why go through the trouble? Well here's why....

Collagen is one of the most vital components in healing and building connective tissue.  Collagen makes up several body parts; including tendons, ligaments, muscles, skin, hair and nails. A protein that is integral structure, strength, and elasticity in the skin. Increasing consumption will reduce wrinkles while promoting smooth unblemished skin, reduce joint and muscle pain as well as speed up healing from exercise or injury.

 

Gelatin has a similar amino acid components; lysine, glycine, arginine, glutamine, and proline, making it a protein that is also great for healing, supporting growth of new cells to replace damaged cells. This can happen throughout the digestive system improving digestion. The content of glycine an amino acid in gelatin also aids in balancing blood sugars in people with diabetes type 2 and aid in weight loss by influencing hormone associated with hunger. 

 

Calcium is important of optimal bone health from conception throughout life. It is needed to build and maintain strong bones . More importantly calcium is require for the function of your heart and nerves. The amount of recommended daily allowance (RDA) depends on your biological sex and age. For being such an important nutrient you would think our body would be able to make it but unfortunately it is something we require from a variety of foods.

Other foods containing calcium – sesame seeds, soybeans, tofu, sunflower seeds, green left vegetables, almonds, beef, liver, and dairy products. 

 

Phosphorous

A micronutrient that is vital to helping filter out waste in your kidneys. It is a natural component in meat that is natures way of helping with digestion and optimal health. Protein is known for being a ‘dirty’ form of energy, it always leaves nitrogen and other toxins produced in its digestion. Phosphorous is also a component in managing how your body stores and uses energy. If that is not enough of a reason to make sure you are getting enough in your diet it also is important to grow, maintain, and repair tissue and cells including DNA and RNA — the body’s genetic lego.

 

Magnesium is one of my favourite nutrients in bone broth and get this it is a cofactor to more than 300 enzymatic systems and regulates pretty much all of the biochemical reactions in the body! It is required for blood sugar balancing, protein synthesis, energy production, muscle and nerve function, blood pressure regulation, detoxification, relaxation, bone building and last but not least, sleep processes. This mineral is abundant in many foods and is in general found in foods high in fibre; green leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts, and legumes. 

 

Potassium on of the electrolytes found in our diet that help control electrical impulses throughout the body. These impulses are used by our nervous system to connect to the rest of the body including the brain. They are used to balance blood pressure, keep water and pH balance. Electrolytes also control muscle contractions including heart rhythm so it is important to not over consume from processed foods. Over consuming increase risk factors; heightened chance of diabetes or of kidney disease, higher chance of cocaine over dose and a negative reactions or chemotherapy.

 

Grain Fed vs. Grass Fed

Grass fed bone broth will have inflammatory nutrients like Argentine, glycine, proline and glutamine. Many studies have found that grass fed cows have a remarkably higher micronutrient profile, lower caloric count, higher healthy fat quality compared to grain fed beef. “You are what you eat” applies to animals as well. Grain fed cows generally live in concentrated animal feeding operations, in poor health conditions. The poor health conditions they live in, along side the nutrient deficiency caused by a diet of grains attribute to systemic inflammation within the cells of the animal.

Photo above: Springford farm cows raised in Nanoose, BC

Where do I buy it?

It can be difficult to put a description on “grass fed”, due to our location most farmer will need to grain finish for transport before the end of life. Here in Lantzville I usually buy my meat at Meat Craft Nanaimo or Eat Fresh in Parksville. Both locations source out local and ethnically raised animal meat that they butcher themselves.

Preparation time: 25 minutes            Cook time: 24-48 hours           Total time: 40:25 minutes

By Georgina Hendsbee

Ingredients:

4 lbs beed bones with marrow

2 carrots chopped

2 stalks celery

1bunch parsley chopped

1 lrg onion quartered

1 head of garlic chopped

2 bay leaves

2 sprigs of thyme

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp turmeric fresh or powder

2 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (ACV)

18-20 cups of filtered water

1/4 tsp himalayan or sea salt 

 

 

Instructions: 

Roast bones and joins in the oven at 300 degrees for 1 hour. 

While the bones are roasting chop up what you need and start simmering vegetables in a stock pot with olive oil until onions are transparent. When bones are done roasting add them to the pot with water, ACV, herbs and spices.

 

Once all together bring to a boil on medium heat at this point I remove the foam scum that develops (you will know what I mean), once at a rolling boil turn the heat down to medium low and simmer for 48 hours. If needed add more water to ensure ingredients don’t burn when left for long periods of time.

 

*If you are not able to boil for 48 hours I would suggest a minimum of 24 hours for slight healing benefits*

 When done I always split it and freeze it for regular use in everyday meals. Freezing it in ice cube trays allows me to pop a cube and add it to rice, or a stir fry to increase the nutrients in your meals.

 

 

 My favourite way to enjoy bone broth is with miso paste, green onion, rice noodles and steamed broccoli.