Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Broccoli Sprouts

Sprouting your own seeds, grains or legumes is not only inexpensive and easy but dramatically increases nutrient values. Sprouts contain up to 30% more protein, 34% more calcium, 40% more iron, 285% more Vitamin A, and on an on in comparison to their unsprouted counterparts. The increase in Vitamin C is nearly infinite! Besides the popular alfafa sprouts sunflower, radish and broccoli sprouts are delicious as well. Eat these sprouts raw while sprouted beans like lentils, chickpeas and mung beans should be steamed before eating. The same goes for sprouted grains like buckwheat or wheat berries.

Specific seeds, grains or legumes have their own therapeutic value as well. Sprouts from broccoli seeds are full of anti-cancerous phytonutrients. They are the richest source of sulforaphane, the phytonutrient responsible for the cancer preventative nature of the cruciferous vegetable family. A study found that 3-day old sprouts of certain cruciferous plants, like broccoli and cauliflower contain 10-100 times more of this nutrient than did the mature plants. So research tells us that small amounts of these sprouts may protect against the risk of cancer as effectively as large amounts of broccoli or cauliflower. Pass the sprouts please!

Sprouts go great on salad, in a sandwich or stuffed in a pita. Look for broccoli or other sprouts at your local health food store, farmer's market or learn how to sprout your own at the Sprout People's webpage.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Roasted Garlic

Garlic is a culinary and medicinal herb that has been used for centuries. Therapeutically garlic is renowned for it's antibiotic properties protecting from an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the human body. It helps lower cholesterol, increase iron metabolism, decrease inflammation and support a healthy immune system. Garlic contains many sulfur containing compounds which are excellent for liver health and preventing cancer. It is also an excellent source of selenium, one of the most potent antioxidant minerals that is lacking in our diets today. Garlic should be consumed daily for it's excellent nutritional value.

Roasting or cooking garlic does decrease it's medicinal value so it is best consumed raw. If raw garlic can not be tolerated then add freshly chopped garlic to dishes towards the end of cooking to increase nutrition. There are times however when roasted garlic is just calling your name. Always use a Tera Cotta or other ceramic dish to roast your garlic. Using aluminum foil has become a common practice however aluminum is a toxic heavy metal that is stores in the brain causing numerous issues. You can find inexpensive garlic roasters at your local health food store.

To Roast Your Garlic:
Step 1: Peel off the outer layers of your garlic.
Step 2: Using a serrated knife cut off the top 1/4'' or so of each head of garlic so that the cloves are exposed.
Step 3: Rub a dab of extra virgin olive oil on the top exposed part of each head of garlic.
Step 4: Set garlic cloves on the plate of your ceramic roaster and cover with the lid.
Step 5: Place in the oven and turn heat to 350°.
Step 6: After 45 minutes check garlic by piercing the cloves with a knife. When they are soft and golden then remove ceramic roaster out of the oven and your garlic is ready to serve.

Roasted garlic is creamy and almost buttery when cooked to perfection. Squeeze from the bottom and the garlic will squeeze out from the top. You can spread it on crackers or serve with an antipasto plate. It pairs excellent with Italian favorites like capers, roasted red bell peppers, kalamata olives and artichoke hearts.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Fermentation Festival

Another exciting, interactive and informative event put on by the Weston A. Price Foundation in Santa Barbara. Come learn about the what, why's and how's of fermenting foods. This practice has been a part of nearly all traditional cultures for hundreds of years but in the last few decades has nearly disappeared in our society. Whether our ancestors fully understood the benefits of fermenting foods we don't know but we are certainly aware of it now. Gut health, immune function, disease prevention-all are highly supported by probiotics.

But what are fermented foods? How do you prepare them or where do you get them? Whether you know a lot or very little about fermenting foods this event is the place for you. Entry is free but bring cash for the other various activities offered. There will be a raffle and several do-it-yourself booths where you will prepare your own fermented foods to take home. There will also be lunch for purchase featuring Rancho San Julian burgers, a local grass-fed sustainable ranch recommended by Wholesome Practices.

The event will be quite an enjoyable afternoon so bring your friends, family, kids and be prepared to learn a lot! More information can be found at the WAPF Santa Barbara website. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Red, White and Blue Smoothie

Everyone needs to add a little more red, white and blue to their 4th of July so I whipped up these color coordinated smoothies for breakfast! They turned out to be quite messy and more like purple then blue, but hey it's the thought that counts right? The red is strawberry flavored, the white is banana flavored and the blue is blueberry flavored. A perfect combination of fruit flavored smoothies enriched with the highest quality whey protein powder and flaxseeds. These smoothies are filling and satisfying especially on a warm day. Enjoy them for a wonderful breakfast, a nourishing snack or even for dessert! Great for the whole family as kids love them too!

Protein powders are a great way to ensure your body is getting adequate protein. Now, of course the quality of the protein powder you buy makes all the difference. I recommend whey protein powder over soy, rice or pea. But only the highest quality, non-denatured, cold pressed or minimally processed whey from cow's that graze on fresh grasses. This kind of whey contains plentiful immunoglobulins to support a healthy immune system. It's one of the most bioavailable sources of protein, second only to eggs meaning that your body absorbs and utilizes the amino acids very easily. Be sure to get a powder made from whey concentrate not whey isolate so the proteins are intact and active. Whey protein powder is easy to digest so it works well for people with compromised digestive systems and is actually quite healing to the digestive tract. Certified organic is preferable however many companies are sourcing their whey from uncertified farms because of the cost. Do your research, know where the whey you're buying comes from. Also, check the other ingredients and be sure there are no added sugars or preservatives. I have listed my favorite whey powders at the bottom of the post for your convenience.

The Recipe serves 3
For the Blue
1C frozen blueberries
2 scoops whey protein powder
2T freshly ground flaxseed

For the White
1 large frozen banana
2 scoops whey protein powder
2T freshly ground flaxseed

For the Red
1C frozen strawberries
2 scoops whey protein powder
2T freshly ground flaxseed

For each color of the smoothie add the frozen fruit and a small amount of water, blend until smooth adding more water as necessary. Add the protein powder, let it thicken for a bit as it blends and then add the flax. You can also add some ice if you want it a little thicker. Start with the blue, pour evenly into three glasses, rinse the blender and make the white section, pour on top of the blue evenly into the three glasses. Rinse the blender again, whip up the red section and pour over the white in the three glasses.

My favorite whey protein powders:
-Source Naturals Whey to Health and True Whey
-Tera's Whey
Find them online if your local health food store doesn't carry them.