Raw Vegan Apple Pie

 

Looking for an easy Dessert recipe to make for this Thanksgiving? or just an inspiring Autumn recipe? How about a Apple Pie?

apple pie 013

This recipe is one of my son’s favorite. Seriously, he loves it and he is always asking for more. He loves apples, who doesn’t – right? but anyways, my son is 6 years old and you know that time when kids front teeth start to get lose … and he can’t eat a whole apple unless is cut up in small pieces otherwise will hurt his lose teeth, so I thought why not try making an apple pie.

This way he can still eat all the apples he wants with this healthy recipe – dairy free, egg-free and gluten-free.

Now let’s get to the recipe…

Ingredients:

crust

1 cup raw almonds, soaked for at least 4 hrs

1/2 cup pitted medjool dates

 

Filling

4-5 apples

1/2 cup raisins

3-4 small pears

1/2 cup maple/agave syrup (optional)

1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spices (you can make your own – see recipe below)

1 tbsp. psyllium husk powder

 

Instructions:

Crust

Drain the almonds and place then in a food processor. Add pitted medjool dates and process until coarse. Transfer mixture into a pie dish, gently pressing down. I usually use a pie dish or these small mason jars, as you can see on the picture below. This way I can pack one jar into my son’s lunch box or just to make it easier to take anywhere with you for a quick healthy snack. In the picture you can see I sprinkled some fine shredded coconut – just because I love coconut! but you don’t have to ;)

apple pie 004

 

 

Filling:

Cut all the apples into chunks and remove the seeds. Place then in a food processor or blender (if you are using a blender be very careful to don’t make applesauce – I recommend using a plunger to help pushing down on the lowest speed) now if you are using a food processor, pulse the apples until chunky.

apple pie 007

Transfer chunky apples to a bowl and reserve.

Cut all the pears in small pieces – remove seeds then place in a blender. Add the pumpkin pie spice and the syrup (if you are using it) and blend until smooth. Transfer the pear mixture into the bowl with the apples, add raisins and the psyllium husk powder. Stir well.

apple pie 008

Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes then transfer into the pie crust (or make it to go using the small mason jars). Spread mixture evenly. Garnish with cinnamon sticks or anything you want. I used coconut flakes again to add a touch from the tropics ;)

apple pie 012

 

Pumpkin pie spice Recipe:

1 tbsp. ground  cinnamon

1 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

Whisk or stir to combine all the spices. Store in a airtight container for up a year!

 

 

Enjoy!


    Simple and Delicious Strawberry Pie

    Strawberry Pie

    strawberry pie

    Don’t you love when you buy strawberries and their smell is all through the house??!! It is sooo good! yum mm

    If you are a strawberry lover like me you will love this dessert recipe! The best part of this recipe? It’s RAW! You won’t have to wait until is baked to eat it or have to clean a lot of dishes! This is a simple and delicious – full of nutrients – PIE!

     

    Recipe

     

    Crust:

    1 cup pecans

    4 medjool dates, pitted

    1/4 cup coconut flake

     

    Filling:

    4 cups strawberries, sliced/cut in small pieces

    1/4 raisins

    2 pears, cut in pieces

    1/4 maple/agave syrup (optional) if you like a little sweeter :)

    2 tbsp. psyllium

     

    Directions:

    Crust:

    Place pecans and dates in a blender and process until the mixture are coarse – be careful to not over process and turn the mixture into pecan butter. Then add the coconut flakes and blend enough just to mix. Place the crust mixture into a pie pan and press it down until it covers the bottom of the pan.

    Filling:

    In a mixing bowl place the strawberry and raisins and set aside.

    Place pears and maple syrup in the blender and blend until smoothie. Pour the pear sauce over the  strawberries. Add psyllium and stir well.

    Pour the filling over the pie crust.

    Decorate with some sliced strawberry and devour!

     

     


      The Benefits of Attachment Parenting

      half moon bay

      What is Attachment Parenting?

      Attachment Parenting, phrase coined by pediatrician William Sears, is a parenting philosophy based on the principles of the attachment theory in developmental psychology [2]. 

      The emotional bond that typically forms between infant / children and caregiver (usually a parent) not only stimulates brain growth but affects personality development and lifelong ability to form stable relationships. Neuroscientists now believe that attachment is such a primal need that there are networks of neurons in the brain dedicated to it, and the process of forming lasting bonds is powered in part by the hormone oxytocin [2].

      For the past decades, the attachment theory has become a subject of extensive research on healthy personality, relationships, and even occupational development.  Couples therapy based on attachment theory, for example, is shown to be a highly effective way to help people repair damaged close relationships.

      Attachment theory emphasizes the nature of the relationship between children and their caregivers (usually the parents).  It has its roots in observations made by psychiatrists in World War II who noted the impaired physical, psychological, and social development of infants in hospitals and orphanages who were separated from their parents.  After recognizing that these children needed not just food but physical contact, the caregivers noticed vast improvements in their development. Clinical psychologists went on to propose theories of personality development called “object relations” that emphasized these early mother-infant bonds [1].

      The evidence based on studies of Attachment Parenting (AP) in infants shows a wide range of psychological and physical benefits. For example, AP-raised infants have lower stress levels, cry less often, and feel more connected to other people as they get older, even showing higher levels of empathy [1].

      AP-raised Children learn to regulate their emotions easier. The older they get, the more they can control their own emotions, but this early foundation will help ensure they’ll do so successfully. Children with attachment parenting may be less likely to show road rage as adults.

      Some may say that parents are spoiling their children if they respond to their child’s call or cry too quickly.  But are they? and how does Attachment Parenting influence a child?

      Parenthood is not easy and some people may say that AP would add more stress to the parents lives. But the opposite is true. Attachment parenting have some advantages for alleviating stress in parents. Through Attachment Parenting children’s emotional needs are met so children don’t cry as often because they are emotionally more stable. While children that are not raise closely to their parents don’t have their emotional needs met so, they are more likely to be aggressive.

      Also, children raised through AP theory will throw fewer tantrums. It’ll be easier for them to adjust to baby sitters or day care. Finally, if what they say about stress is true, their immune systems might function better and they won’t be sick as often.  You may not be perfect as an AP parent, but the more you can incorporate some of its principles into the relationships you have with your children, the more likely it is you’ll experience its very real benefits.

       

      8 Attachment Parenting Principles and their benefits:

      - Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting
      Become emotionally and physically prepared for pregnancy and birth. Research available options for healthcare providers and birthing environments, and become informed about routine newborn care. Continuously educate yourself about developmental stages of childhood, setting realistic expectations and remaining flexible [3].
      - Feed with Love and Respect
      Breastfeeding is the optimal way to satisfy an infant’s nutritional and emotional needs. “Bottle Nursing” adapts breastfeeding behaviors to bottle-feeding to help initiate a secure attachment. Follow the feeding cues for both infants and children, encouraging them to eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. Offer healthy food choices and model healthy eating behavior  [3]. 
      - Respond with Sensitivity
      Build the foundation of trust and empathy beginning in infancy. Tune in to what your child is communicating to you, then respond consistently and appropriately. Babies cannot be expected to self-soothe, they need calm, loving, empathetic parents to help them learn to regulate their emotions. Respond sensitively to a child who is hurting or expressing strong emotion, and share in their joy  [3].
      - Use Nurturing Touch
      Touch meets a baby’s needs for physical contact, affection, security, stimulation, and movement. Skin-to-skin contact is especially effective, such as during breastfeeding, bathing, or massage. Carrying or babywearing also meets this need while on the go. Hugs, snuggling, back rubs, massage, and physical play help meet this need in older children  [3]. 
      - Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally
      Babies and children have needs at night just as they do during the day; from hunger, loneliness, and fear, to feeling too hot or too cold. They rely on parents to soothe them and help them regulate their intense emotions. Sleep training techniques can have detrimental physiological and psychological effects. Safe co-sleeping has benefits to both babies and parents  [3]. 
      - Provide Consistent and Loving Care
      Babies and young children have an intense need for the physical presence of a consistent, loving, responsive caregiver: ideally a parent. If it becomes necessary, choose an alternate caregiver who has formed a bond with the child and who cares for him in a way that strengthens the attachment relationship. Keep schedules flexible, and minimize stress and fear during short separations  [3]. 
      - Practice Positive Discipline
      Positive discipline helps a child develop a conscience guided by his own internal discipline and compassion for others. Discipline that is empathetic, loving, and respectful strengthens the connection between parent and child. Rather than reacting to behavior, discover the needs leading to the behavior. Communicate and craft solutions together while keeping everyone’s dignity intact  [3]. 
      - Strive for Balance in Your Personal and Family Life
      It is easier to be emotionally responsive when you feel in balance. Create a support network, set realistic goals, put people before things, and don’t be afraid to say “no”. Recognize individual needs within the family and meet them to the greatest extent possible without compromising your physical and emotional health. Be creative, have fun with parenting, and take time to care for yourself [3]. 
      ***

      The bottom line is that when you separate the popular exaggerations of AP from the more objectively-oriented scientific studies, it’s a sensible approach that fosters physical and psychological health in children.  We do know from extensive research on adult attachment style that securely attached adults have happier and less conflict-ridden lives. There’s even research to suggest they may be better parents themselves having received this secure base in their own development. Before you write off AP as parenting that spoils children, I hope you will take a look at the evidence to help inform your own choices in whatever role you play in the lives of the young.

       

       

      References:

      [1] Psycologytoday.com (Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D)

      [2] Wikipedia

      [3] attachmentparenting.org/principles


        Improving Children’s Picky Eating Habits

        apple

        What can you do if your child is a picky eater?

        That’s a very good question and often a common topic between parents. The very first thing to do is be patient, very patient with picky eaters, don’t be too pushy or it will just scare them away from trying new foods even more and, second is…keep reading this revised article I wrote for Vibrance Magazine. I am sure you will find good tips!

           * * *

        If you would like to switch your children from a SAD (Standard American Diet) to a vegan or raw-vegan diet or just improve your child’s eating habits in general, this can be quite challenging for everyone involved. Children often are reluctant to try new foods; the different appearance, textures, flavors and aromas of new fruits, vegetables can make many kids squeamish. That’s just human nature when children have been reared on unnatural diets.

        I have met many parents who want to improve their children’s eating habits, but are concerned that if they remove their kids favorite unhealthful foods, the kids will go hungry.

        Why not just let children eat whatever they want? Well, your child may appear to be healthy, but on the long run their body is not building  a strong immune system. Consider the fact that our body is made of what we eat, so if we eat junk food our cells are being made of junk food. Denatured and processed foods lack in essential minerals, vitamins and more. Only fresh, whole foods can provide all the nutrients our body needs to be strong and prevent the development of any health problem in the future.

        How do I know my child  is a picky eater? Here are some common signs: the child is under-eating, picking at his or her food, losing weight, looks unhealthy, moody or over sensitive, eat mostly “white foods” (white bread/pasta/crackers/cheese), complains that the food smells or taste funny and/or prefers mostly unnatural foods, in general. If any of signs are happening, good planning is necessary to help your child make better choices.

         

        Begin By Withdrawing These Two MAIN Culprits

        There are some foods commonly eaten by unhealthful eaters which typically make the transition to a healthier diet difficult: One such type of foods is grains, especially when they contain gluten. Dr. William Davis explains why: “National Institutes of Health researchers showed that gluten-derived polypeptides can cross into the brain and bind to the brain’s opiate receptors”[1]. Grains, therefore, act as a super drug that can cause mild euphoria, which is what creates an addiction. To make matters worse, getting off wheat products can have drug-like withdrawal effects which perpetuate the addiction.

        I have a six-year-old boy, Arthur, whom I have raised on a vegan diet. (You may have read about us in Vibrance Issue no. 9.) We eat mostly raw foods at home with some cooked rice, beans and veggies. In the past, I allowed foods containing gluten in our home, but not anymore. Here’s why: A few times in the past, we tried raw sprouted bread, which contains gluten, my son became quite addicted to it. That bread was all he asked for breakfast, lunch and dinner. After the loaf was gone, it would take several days for him to stop asking for it. Eventually, I learned that we needed to break that addiction for good by eliminating foods containing gluten from his diet. Even today, he doesn’t ask for it.

        Dairy is another type of addictive food which makes a transition to healthier eating difficult. When I went vegan about 7 years ago, the hardest foods to give up were dairy products, especially cheese. This is common for many other people too, and the culprit is a peptide called “casomorphin.” But why? According to the website, www.notmilk.com: “Even the most wholesome cow’s milk from organically raised bovines naturally contains a powerful opiate in the morphine family called casomorphin. Concentrated milk products (cheese, ice cream, and milk chocolate) contain concentrated quantities of these addictive substances.” The site also states, “Eighty percent of cow’s milk protein is casein. After eating milk chocolate, casein breaks down in the stomach to produce a peptide opiate, casomorphine.” In addition to being addictive, casomorphin has other negative effects. “Florida researcher, Robert Cade, M.D., has identified a milk protein, casomorphin, as the probable cause of attention deficit disorder (ADD).  Dr. Cade found Beta-casomorphin-7 in high concentrations in the blood and urine of patients with either schizophrenia or autism.”

        These are just some of the reasons why children prefer wheat products and dairy over fresh fruits and veggies—they are addictive. So, slowly removing these products from your children’s diets should be a priority and after a while that they were removed and your child’s system has been free of them, it is more likely that they won’t ask for these foods.

         

        Tips for Transitioning to Healthful Eating

        • Begin by considering how long your child has being a picky eater with a preference for heavily-processed foods. If this has been a long-standing issue, it is likely that he or she is deficient in some minerals. One example is zinc, which affects the function of the taste buds. When there is a zinc deficiency, one is unable to enjoy the vibrant flavors of fresh vegan foods, and nothing may taste appealing. You can try offering zinc-rich foods, such as raw nuts and seeds.

        • To add extra minerals, also try offering fresh-made juices and smoothies made from fruits and dark green leafy vegetables. Dates and raisins also are a rich sources of minerals and they contain some zinc. Be sure to include them in the smoothies and serve them as snacks.

        • Keep healthful snacks in bowls where your children can easily see and reach them.  Some enticing suggestions include dried fruits, like dates and figs, and fresh fruits and vegetables, such as celery and carrot sticks and cucumber slices. This is a smarter approach than the standard candy dish and cookie jar!

        • Offering new fresh, whole vegan foods every day or two is a good way to stimulate your children’s curiosity and tempt their taste buds.  Don’t get discouraged if they don’t try them right away. Try adding one new fruit to a breakfast dish; at lunch or dinner, introduce a new sweet potato, yam or squash. If your child resists, suggest that he or she at least smell the new food or try a little bit while assuring that he or she does not have to finish the food but at least try.

        • Every child is unique. What may work for one may not work for another, so don’t be discouraged by some rejections. There are many ways to interest your child in new foods. However, if a child does not want to try something new, don’t insist. Use this time to talk about why a fruit or veggie is beneficial, explaining about their nutrients and how they will make him or her healthier. Children are great learners! Try rejected food items a few days later—don’t give up!

        • Another good strategy is to take your children with you on shopping to health food stores and/or farmer’s markets. If you let them pick some out some veggies and fruits that interest them, they will be more likely to try them.

        • When you are back in the kitchen, invite your children to participate in the meal preparation. Children love helping out and “playing” with food. Allow them to arrange salads, press the food processor, and juicer buttons, move serving bowls to the dining table, and so on. Enlist their help in creating wholesome meals with their favorite vegan foods. Let them know about your daily plans for three nourishing meals, while downplaying talk about in-between snacks. And of course, avoid buying unhealthful snack items.

         

        Changes Will Happen!

        By trying some of these transition ideas, I am sure that you will eventually have success in guiding your children to healthful eating and beautiful, vibrant health. Remember to always be flexible, patient and loving. In addition to my son’s success, I have witnessed wonderful transformations in others. For instance, my friend’s son used to be a very picky eater who wouldn’t touch fruits. But a while after she began packing only fruits in his lunchbox, he began to eat more fruits. Sometimes, it’s just of matter of providing options. One of my nieces used to only snack on cookies and milk. After my sister switched the household to a mainly vegan diet, my niece soon caught on, and now she enjoys eating all kinds of fruits and vegetables and usually asks for more!

        If you are switching to a vegan diet, be really open to your children and tell them all the reasons why you are choosing a plant-based diet: That it is not only for your family’s health but also for the animals and our beautiful planet!

        So, keep the faith in you children’s natural senses. With diligence, you will create your own success stories!

         

         

        Questions? or Comments?

         

         

        References:

        [1]- Natural Health 365 – “How wheat is killing millions of people”

        notmilk.com

        webmd.com

         


          Brazilian Beijinhos

          BR-beijinhos

          Now I can share with you one of the famous Brazilian party treats!! Now in a Raw & Vegan version!!

          I am so lucky! I got to take a picture before my son attacked them!

          Recipe:

          1 cup soaked cashews

          1/2 c. coconut cream (melted)

          1/2 cup water

          1/4 c. agave

          1 tbsp. grounded flaxseeds

          Place all in a food processor or blender, process until creamy consistency. Put in the refrigerator for 1 hour – this way it will be easier to roll.

          Scoop small amount with a tablespoon. Roll into a ball then dip in coconut flakes.

          Garnish with cloves!!

          Yummy!!

          Enjoy!

           

          PS: keep refrigerated.

           


            Raising Healthy Children

            CAM00587

            When do you know your child is as healthy he/she can be?

            A healthy, normal, well-nourished child  have the characteristics below:

            - Mental alertness, brightness

            - Cheerfulness and a contented disposition

            - Bright, sparkling, wide-open eyes

            - A good appetite

            - Absence of vomiting

            - Normal Bowel movement (1-2x daily), color and consistency

            - Little Crying

            - A steady gain in weight from healthy growth and not from disease, obesity, unhealthy eating habits

            - Firm muscles

            - Perfect, sound continuous sleep all night

            - Constant growth in height and intelligence

            - Symmetrical development of muscular and not fatty tissue

            - A clear skin with a normal color and complexion

            - Absence of extreme/constant weight-loss

            - No pain or discomfort

            These are the signs of a healthy child that every parent should be familiar with, because lack of such conditions indicates an impairment of health. The signs of impaired health are quite numerous, some are listed below:

            - Mental dullness

            - Irritated and discontent

            - Pasty/pale complexion

            - Lack of appetite, picky eater

            - Flatulence, excessive bowel gases with strong odor

            - Constipation

            - Diarrhea

            - Colic

            - Colds, Nasal congestion

            - A lot of fretting and crying

            - Weight-loss / emaciation

            - Fast weight gain

            - Disturbed sleep, Sleep not sound and continuous. Does not sleep all night.

            - Crying in sleep. Hard to put to sleep at night

            - Restlessness. Hard to take care of.

            - Pain and discomfort.

            - Mouth breathing

            - Too slow or rapid growth development

            - Lack of symmetry in development

            - Soft, flabby muscles

            - Skin eruptions

            Sometimes a child might have some of these symptoms that go unnoticed, or that doctors think they are normal, but they are not. These signs show that something is not right, so it is very important to learn these impaired health signs to better identify what may be wrong with your child.

            Also, try to keep track of your child’s eating habits. Nutrition play a very important role in Children’s Health.

            The key to better nutrition is not only what you add to you diet but also what you need to remove.

            Reference:

            The Hygienic Care of children (Dr.Herbert Shelton)


              Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease

              The reason why I decided to write about this is to help families that may have someone with Alzheimer’s Disease. Like in my family – I have my grandma, who for years was misdiagnosed for Alzheimer and finally when she got really bad the doctors assumed that she has the disease – and now could be too late. So, I decided to write to guide families through this situation.

              What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

              This disease in among the top ten diseases that kill Americans and is the only one without an effective medical solution. The drugs available for this disease even doctors are not satisfied with them (and the side-effects are horrible). I personally don’t think any drug can really provide anything good, since they just suppress the symptoms and never cure the root cause of the problem.

              This is a very serious disease that the patients can lose their memory and their ability to think(1). As they get worst their nerves get also affected and become dysfunctional –  patients may lose their ability to walk (1). These changes are due to loss of connections between nerve cells that are responsible for thinking. Although some drugs may temporarily improve memory, they do not stop or reverse the nerve degeneration.  (4)

              But we can lower our risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease through diet, nutrition and exercise. The same approach that helps reduce risk can also be used for treatment (I am not saying that it will cure the patient but it may improve her health in general). This disease is very hard to be diagnosed but if it is noticed in the beginning  the patient has better changes to improve.

              Alzheimer’s disease affects nearly half of North Americans by age 85. The American Academy of Neurology forecasts that, unless preventive measures are developed, Alzheimer’s rates will nearly triple over the next four decades. Worldwide, Alzheimer’s rates will affect 100 million people by 2050. (2)

              In 2006, diabetes was the leading number 6 cause of death. But in 2007, Alzheimer’s disease became the number six cause of death. Once, diagnosed with this disease the average remaining is about 7 years and the cost of caring for Alzheimer’s patient may be higher than the cost of treating heart disease and cancer COMBINED! (4)

              Since treatments for the disease remain unsatisfactory, scientific studies suggest that implementing preventive strategies are recommended. Evidence suggests that specific diet and exercise habits can reduce the risk by half or more (4).

              A healthy approach to prevent Alzheimer’s disease:

              1. Eliminate your intake of saturated fats and trans fats. Saturated fat is found primarily in animal products like dairy products, egg, meats, and certain oils (coconut and palm oils). Trans fats are found in many snack pastries and fried foods and are listed on labels as “partially hydrogenated oils.” I’d would say this is one of the most important tip because clogged arteries from dietary animal fats reduce blood flow to the brain.

              2. Vegetables, legumes (beans, peas, and lentils), fruits, and whole grains should be the primary staples of the diet. Note that there are many doctors linking Alzheimer’s disease to gluten consumption, so I personally recommend the gluten free grains (3). A diet low in antioxidants also increase nerve cell death by excessive oxidation of their membranes. So, increasing fruits and vegetables are really good and will provide a lot of antioxidants.

              3. One ounce of nuts or seeds (one small handful) daily provides a healthful source of vitamin E.

              4. A reliable source of vitamin B12, such as fortified foods or a supplement providing at least the recommended daily allowance (2.4 mcg per day for adults) should be part of your daily diet. A diet low in vitamin B12 and folate increases the production of amyloid plaques – one of the key indicators of Alzheimer’s disease is the presence of these amyloid plaques – They are like fuzzy balls that get stuck in the brain, while a few won’t bother because we have hundred billion nerve cells and a hundred trillion connections, but if these plaques start building up too much then they start interrupting the nerve transmission. Then these amyloid plaques cause irritation and eventual destruction of the nerve cells in the brain.

              5. When selecting multiple vitamins, choose those without iron and copper, and consume iron supplements only when directed by your physician.

              6. While aluminum’s role in Alzheimer’s disease remains a matter of investigation, it is prudent to avoid the use of cookware, antacids, baking powder, or other products that contribute dietary aluminum.

              7. Include aerobic exercise in your routine, equivalent to 40 minutes of brisk walking three times per week. (2)

              So, if you know anyone that are experiencing some of the Alzheimer’s disease symptoms I’d recommend you to follow this Healthy approach to prevent this disease as soon as you can. Don’t wait to years pass by until the doctor says yes he/she has Alzheimer’s disease.

              References:

              (1)www.alzheimers.org.uk

              (2) PCRM

              (3) http://glutendoctors.blogspot.com/2012/04/dementia-is-skyrocketing-does-gluten.html

              (4) A Nutritional approach to Alzheimer’s disease (by Dr. Steve Blake, ScD)


                Kid’s Favorite Green smoothie

                green

                1 mango, diced

                1 cup of spinach/swiss chard,  chopped

                1 cup water

                Variation: Add some fresh basil

                Blend all until smoothie and enjoy!

                This Smoothie is a great way to have your kids to eat more greens. They won’t taste the greens much because of the mango, it’s creamy and so good!


                  Why eating a Low-Fat Diet is important?

                  walnutsFirst, what’s Fat?

                  Fat is a nutrient – some fats are considered good and some are considered bad. Many fats are indigestible and unusable by the body while some fats are indispensable to our health. There are polyunsaturated, unsaturated, saturated, monounsaturated, hydrogenated fats and  cholesterol.  Animal fat or plant-based fat? Which ones are good? which ones are bad? WELL, keep reading...

                  Understanding Fats:

                  Polyunsaturated fat: – are the least saturated fat (liquid in room temperature) like: canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil… these oils all promote cancer, yes they are from plants so why they are not good for you? – Because they have been refined, processed and stripped of the fiber, protein and carbohydrates. They are nothing but empty calories. On the other hand, polyunsaturated fatty acid from raw whole food, such as nuts, seeds and leafy green vegetables, are healthy and can easily be utilized by the body.

                  - Monounsaturated: Avocados, nuts, seeds, olives/olive oil. How about olive oil, is it good or bad for your health? In his video Dr.Michael Klapper explains very well: click here to watch.

                  Unsaturated fat: Mixed of mono and polyunsaturated. They make up the bulk of plant fats.

                  - Saturated fatSaturated fatty acids have no double bonds between the individual carbon atoms of the fatty acid chain. That is, the chain of carbon atoms is fully “saturated” with hydrogen atoms. Sources of saturated fat: all animal products, palm oil, coconut oil and chocolate candy bars. Saturated fat is linked to cancer and many other diseases. Coconut oil may pose less health risk when consumed raw compared to cooked saturated fats.

                  Medical, Heart-health and governmental authorities, such as the World Health Organization, the American Dietetic Association, the Dietitians of Canada, the British Dietetic Association, American Heart Association, the British Heart Foundation, the World Heart Federation, the British National Health Service, the United States Food and Drug Administration, and the European Food Safety Authority advise that saturated fat is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). (2)

                  - cholesterol: waxy fat produced by the body and found in animal products. The consumption of animal products is linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes and many other health problems.

                  - hydrogenated fat: Hydrogenation is a process of adding hydrogen molecules to unsaturated fats, turning liquid oils into more saturated. Hydrogenated fat is found is fast-food and processed food.

                  What’s fat for?

                  Fats serve a wide variety of functions in the human body. They play many important roles like:

                  - production of hormones,

                  - regulation and assimilation of nutrients and vitamins A, D, E and K,

                  - excretion of waste products by every cell,

                  - fat is the primary insulator within the body – which protects us from cold and heat and many other functions.

                   It is not right to say that all fats are bad. Fats are a concentrated source of fuel, providing more than double the calories per gram compared to carbohydrates/protein. There is a reason why you feel satiated for longer after eating a meal containing some fat: – Fat is very difficult to digest. (1)

                  So how much fat should we eat?

                  According to the World Health Organization recommends 15% of the calorie intake should come from fat. In Dr.Graham’s book “The 80/10/10″ he recommends 10%. Dr. Dean Ornish also recommends only 10% fat. Many physicians famous for their work in nutrition have written on the health benefits of a low-fat diet, Including John McDougall, Michael Klapper, Neal Barnard and others. They all agree that approximately 10% of total calories from a plant-based fat is more than adequate and that health declines when fat consumption is above 15%. (1)

                  A high-fat diet not only destroy our health, but it also prematurely age us, as well. Due to our inability to taste fat we tend over eat it without noticing that we may be having more than we should.

                  >To make it simple: If you don’t want or have time to calculate how much fat you are eating start by avoid eating animal products (they are high in fat/cholesterol). Eating a low-fat diet means eating more whole foods, cooking with no oil, no added oil in any meal or salad. If you like eating salads with dressings look for low-fat dressing / recipes.

                  Eating a plant-based diet will provide enough Polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3) with no need for concentrated sources of omega-3.

                  Note that If you add 1 tbsp olive oil to a meal/ salad you are adding 119 calories to that meal. So, if you are trying to lose weight – oils are not you friend.

                  If you like eating nuts/seeds or avocados… choose one of them and add to your salad! It will not only look beautiful but it will be healthy and it will taste great!

                  Have any questions? Don’t hesitate: leave a question/comment below!

                  References:

                  (1) The AAA diet book

                  (2) Wikipedia


                    Got milk? Now get the Facts…

                    vaca

                    About Calcium:

                    • YES our body needs calcium — but not as much as our government’s recommended daily allowance (RDA) and calcium from plants is better utilized by the body.

                    • Calcium doesn’t prevent broken bones.

                    • Milk doesn’t benefit or improve sports performance.

                    • There’s no evidence that dairy is good for your bones or prevents osteoporosis — in fact, the animal protein tends to leach calcium from the bones and encourages its passage into the urine !

                    • Dairy is linked to prostate cancer.

                    • It’s full of saturated fat and is linked to heart disease.

                    • Dairy causes digestive problems.

                    • 75 percent of people are lactose intolerant.

                    • Dairy aggravates irritable bowel syndrome.

                    Dairy may contribute to even more health problems, like:

                    • Allergies
                    • Sinus problems
                    • Ear infections
                    • Type 1 diabetes
                    • Chronic constipation
                    • Anemia (in children)

                    Due to these concerns, many have begun to consider raw milk as an alternative.

                    But that doesn’t mean a healthier form of dairy either …

                    Yes, raw, whole, organic milk eliminates concerns like pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and the effects of homogenization and pasteurization – but these benefits don’t outweigh dairy’s potential risks.

                    If you don’t believe that, consider this: Most of us naturally stop producing significant amounts of lactase – the enzyme needed to properly metabolize lactose, the sugar in milk – sometime between the ages of two and five. In fact, for most mammals, the normal condition is to stop producing the enzymes needed to properly digest and metabolize milk after they have been weaned.

                    Our bodies just weren’t made to digest milk on a regular basis. Instead, most scientists agree that it’s better for us to get calcium, potassium, protein, and fats from other food sources, like whole plant foods — vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

                    Reference: Mark Hyman, MD

                    Still not convinced? Read more:

                    Health Concerns about Dairy Products

                    By PCRM

                    Many Americans still consume substantial amounts of dairy products—and government policies still promote them—despite scientific evidence that questions their health benefits and indicates their potential health risks.

                    Osteoporosis

                    Milk’s main selling point is calcium, and milk-drinking is touted for building strong bones in children and preventing osteoporosis in older persons. However, clinical research shows that dairy products have little or no benefit for bones. A 2005 review published in Pediatrics showed that milk consumption does not improve bone integrity in children.1 Similarly, the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study,which followed more than 72,000 women for 18 years, showed no protective effect of increased milk consumption on fracture risk.

                    A study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, which followed adolescent girls’ diets, physical activity, and stress fractures for seven years, found that girls consuming the most dairy products and calcium had no added bone protection. In fact, among the most physically active girls, those who got the most calcium in their diets (mostly from dairy products) had more than double the risk of stress fractures.3 While calcium is important for bone health, studies show that increasing consumption beyond approximately 600 milligrams per day—amounts that are easily achieved without dairy products or calcium supplements—does not improve bone integrity.2

                    In studies of children and adults, exercise has been found to have a major effect on bone density.4-6

                    You can decrease your risk of osteoporosis by reducing sodium,7increasing intake of fruits and vegetables,7,8 exercising,5,9 and ensuring adequate calcium intake from plant foods such as kale, broccoli, and other leafy green vegetables and beans. You can also use calcium-fortified products such as breakfast cereals and beverages.

                    Fat Content and Cardiovascular Disease

                    Dairy products—including cheese, ice cream, milk, butter, and yogurt—contribute significant amounts of cholesterol and are the number one source of saturated fat in the diet.10 Diets high in fat and saturated fat can increase the risk of heart disease, among other serious health problems. In two studies, hypertension—a known risk factor for heart disease—was significantly decreased among patients who practiced strict avoidance of animal products.11,12 A low-fat vegetarian diet that eliminates dairy products, in combination with exercise, smoking cessation, and stress management, can not only prevent heart disease, but may also reverse it.13,14 Nonfat dairy products are available; however, they pose other health risks as noted below.

                    Cancer

                    Prostate and breast cancers have been linked to consumption of dairy products, presumably related to increases in a compound called insulin-like growth factor (IGF-I).15 IGF-I is found in cow’s milk and has been shown to occur in increased levels in the blood of individuals consuming dairy products on a regular basis.16,17 Other nutrients that increase IGF-I are also found in cow’s milk.

                    Case-control studies in diverse populations have shown a strong and consistent association between serum IGF-I concentrations and prostate cancer risk.18 One study showed that men who had the highest levels of IGF-I had an almost two-fold increased risk of prostate cancer, compared with those who had the lowest levels.19 Other findings show that prostate cancer risk was elevated with increased consumption of low-fat milk, suggesting that too much dairy calcium could be a potential threat to prostate health.18

                    Dairy products account for approximately 65 percent of estrogens consumed. Estrogens (and their metabolites) are a risk factor for breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers due, in part, to their ability to influence cell proliferation.20 A study suggesting that milk consumption may contribute to breast cancer risk reported that 15 different estrogen metabolites were found in various milk products. (There were no appreciable amounts of estrogen metabolites found in soymilk.)20 Cutting fatty foods is priority No. 1 when you endeavor to lower your risk for breast cancer, and, as noted above, dairy products are the No. 1 source of saturated fat in the diet.

                    Ovarian cancer may also be related to the consumption of dairy products. The milk sugar lactose is broken down in the body into another sugar, galactose. Research suggests that the dairy sugar galactose might be toxic to ovarian cells.21 In a study conducted in Sweden, consumption of lactose and dairy products was positively linked to ovarian cancer.22Additionally, a study conducted in Denmark—where the incidence of ovarian cancer is one of the highest in the world—found that women who consumed more than two servings of milk per day had nearly two times the risk of developing ovarian cancer than women who drank less than half a serving per day.23

                    Lactose Intolerance

                    Lactose intolerance is common among many populations, affecting approximately 95 percent of Asian Americans, 80 to 100 percent of Native Americans, 60 to 80 percent of African Americans, 50 to 80 percent of Hispanics,24 and 15 percent of Caucasians.25 Symptoms, which include gastrointestinal distress, diarrhea, and flatulence, occur because these individuals do not have the enzyme lactase that digests the milk sugar lactose. For those who can digest lactose, its breakdown products are two simple sugars: glucose and galactose. Nursing children have active enzymes that break down galactose. As we age, many of us lose much of this capacity.26 Additionally, along with unwanted symptoms, milk-drinkers also put themselves at risk for development of other chronic diseases and ailments.

                    Vitamin D

                    Individuals often drink milk in order to obtain vitamin D in their diet, unaware that they can receive vitamin D through other sources. The natural source of vitamin D is sunlight. Five to 15 minutes of sun exposure to the arms and legs or the hands, face, and arms can be enough to meet the body’s requirements for vitamin D, depending on the individual’s skin tone.27 Darker skin requires longer exposure to the sun in order to obtain adequate levels of vitamin D. Fortified cereals, grains, bread, orange juice, and plant milks are healthful foods that provide vitamin D. All common multiple vitamins also provide vitamin D.

                    Contaminants

                    Milk contains contaminants that range from pesticides to drugs. Milk naturally contains hormones and growth factors produced within a cow’s body. In addition, synthetic hormones such as recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) are commonly used in dairy cows to increase the production of milk.28 Because treated cows are producing quantities of milk nature never intended, the end result can be mastitis, or inflammation of the mammary glands. Treatment of this condition requires the use of antibiotics, and antibiotic traces have occasionally been found in samples of milk and other dairy products. Pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and dioxins are other examples of contaminants found in milk. These toxins do not readily leave the body and can eventually build to harmful levels that may affect the immune and reproductive systems. The central nervous system can also be affected. Moreover, PCBs and dioxins have also been linked to cancer.29

                    Milk Proteins and Diabetes

                    Insulin-dependent (type 1 or childhood-onset) diabetes is linked to consumption of dairy products.30 A 2001 Finnish study of 3,000 infants with genetically increased risk for developing diabetes showed that early introduction of cow’s milk increased susceptibility to type 1 diabetes.31

                    Health Concerns of Infants and Children

                    Milk proteins, milk sugar, fat, and saturated fat in dairy products pose health risks for children and encourage the development of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

                    The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants below 1 year of age not be given whole cow’s milk,32 as iron deficiency is more likely on a dairy-rich diet. Cow’s milk products are very low in iron.33 If dairy products become a major part of one’s diet, iron deficiency is more likely. Colic is an additional concern with milk consumption. Up to 28 percent of infants suffer from colic during the first month of life.34Pediatricians learned long ago that cow’s milk was often the reason. We now know that breastfeeding mothers can have colicky babies if the mothers consume cow’s milk. The cow’s antibodies can pass through the mother’s bloodstream, into her breast milk, and to the baby.35,36Additionally, food allergies appear to be common results of cow’s milk consumption, particularly in children.37,38 Cow’s milk consumption has also been linked to chronic constipation in children. Researchers suggested that milk consumption resulted in perianal sores and severe pain on defecation, leading to constipation.39

                    Pain

                    It may be possible for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and migraine sufferers to alleviate pain by eliminating dairy products (and/or other offending foods) from the diet. One of the most common dietary triggers of migraines and arthritis pain is dairy products, and even minor exposures to triggers can cause an attack.

                    In adults, anywhere between 20 and 50 percent have a reduction or elimination of their migraine headaches when common trigger foods, such as dairy products, are avoided.40,41

                    According to several studies, vegan diets appear to benefit about half of arthritis patients, including some who did not identify a specific diet trigger.42-46 A study evaluating the influence of a four-week, low-fat vegan diet on RA patients showed significant changes in symptomology, such as improvement in ability to function, a decrease in both joint tenderness and joint swelling scores, improved severity of morning stiffness, and a decrease in pain.47

                    Acne

                    Studies linking milk consumption and adolescent acne suggest that the association is caused by hormones and bioactive molecules present in cow’s milk.48-50

                    In a retrospective study of 47,355 women, intake of milk during adolescence was associated with a history of teenage acne, and the association was strongest with skim milk.48 Years later the same research group conducted a prospective study on 6,094 adolescent girls and found that a greater consumption of milk was associated with a higher prevalence of acne, and no association was found with milk fat.49Similarly, the researchers’ investigation on milk consumption and teenage boys yielded a positive association between skim milk and acne.50

                    Obesity and Calories

                    Obesity is a risk factor for a number of chronic diseases. Replacing high-calorie dairy products with low-calorie plant foods can assist in keeping within established calorie ranges and maintaining a healthy weight.

                    Ounce for ounce, colas and skim milk have about the same number of calories. Whole milk has about 50 percent more calories, and 2 percent milk has approximately one-third more calories than cola. Reduced-fat milk is the seventh leading source of calories among Americans ages 2 to 18 years old, and whole milk is 12th, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.51

                    Milk and dairy products are not necessary in the diet and can, in fact, be harmful to health. It is best to consume a healthful diet of grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and fortified foods including cereals and juices. These nutrient-dense foods can help you meet your calcium, potassium, riboflavin, and vitamin D requirements with ease—and without health risks.

                    For References visit: http://www.pcrm.org/search/?cid=252

                    “Dairy products may play a major role in the development of ALLERGIES, asthma, sleep difficulties, and migraine headaches.”Israel Journal of Medical Sciences 1983;19(9):806-809 Pediatrics 1989;84(4):595-603


                    “In reality, cow’s milk, especially processed cow’s milk, has been linked to a variety of health problems, including: mucous production, hemoglobin loss, childhood diabetes, heart disease, atherosclerosis, arthritis, kidney stones, mood swings, depression, irritability, ALLERGIES.”

                    Townsend Medical Letter, May, 1995, Julie Klotter, MD


                    “At least 50% of all children in the United States are allergic to cow’s milk, many undiagnosed. Dairy products are the leading cause of food allergy, often revealed by diarrhea, constipation, and fatigue. Many cases of asthma and sinus infections are reported to be relieved and even eliminated by cutting out dairy.”

                    Natural Health, July, 1994, Nathaniel Mead, MD


                    “Formula-fed babies, at the age of three months, were secreting low levels of serum antibodies to bovine proteins contained in their formula.”

                    “A Prospective Study of Humoral Immune Response to Cow Milk Antigens in the First Year of Life” Pediatric-Allergy-Immunology, August, 1994, 5(3)


                    “Most formula fed infants developed symptoms of ALLERGIC rejection to cow milk proteins before one month of age. About 50-70% experienced rashes or other skin symptoms, 50-60 percent gastrointestinal symptoms, and 20-30 percent respiratory symptoms. The recommended therapy is to avoid cow’s milk.”

                    “Epidemiological and Immunological Aspects of Cow’s Milk Protein ALLERGY and Intolerance in Infancy.” Pediatric-Allergy-Immunology, August, 1994, 5(5 Suppl.)

                    From: notmilk.com

                      5 Must-See Documentaries

                      I have been vegan for about 6 years now and, of course, some people still question my decision. So, to make it easier to answer, I thought – why not make a list of Must-See documentaries that will answer every question they have?

                      And here it is: my list with some of my favorites Must-see Documentaries that will change the way people treat the animals, our planet and ourselves! So share with your family, friends and those (if you are already vegan) who still question your decision!

                      earthlings

                      1- EARTHLINGS is a powerful and informative documentary about society’s treatment of animals, narrated by Joaquin Phoenix with soundtrack by Moby. This multi-award winning film by Nation Earth is a must-see for anyone who cares about animals or wishes to make the world a better place. Watch here

                       

                       

                       

                      2- FOOD INC. 

                      Hungry for Change?

                      In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, herbicide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won’t go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli—the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.

                       

                      3- Healing Cancer From Inside out                    watch trailer now
                      This powerful documentary contains vital information and perspective that you are unlikely to see otherwise in such a condensed form. It will help you scrutinize standard representations of effectiveness and side effects. It should inspire you to study the studies before starting any chemo treatment or radiation.
                      4 – Genetic Roulette 
                      When the US government ignored repeated warnings by its own scientists and allowed untested genetically modified (GM) crops into our environment and food supply, it was a gamble of unprecedented proportions. The health of all living things and all future generations were put at risk by an infant technology.
                      After two decades, physicians and scientists have uncovered a grave trend. The same serious health problems found in lab animals, livestock, and pets that have been fed GM foods are now on the rise in the US population. And when people and animals stop eating genetically modified organisms (GMOs), their health improves. This seminal documentary provides compelling evidence to help explain the deteriorating health of Americans, especially among children, and offers a recipe for protecting ourselves and our future.
                      5Forks over Knives              watch trailer now

                      Examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods.
                      On my “can’t wait to watch list”:
                      - Speciesism – Modern farms are struggling to keep a secret. Most of the animals used for food in the United States are raised in giant, bizarre “factory farms,” hidden deep in remote areas of the countrysideSpeciesism: The Movie director Mark Devries set out to investigate.  The documentary takes viewers on a sometimes funny, sometimes frightening adventure, crawling through the bushes that hide these factories, flying in airplanes above their toxic “manure lagoons,” and coming face-to-face with their owners.
                      - Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is a groundbreaking feature-length environmental documentary following intrepid filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today – and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about it.

                      Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution, is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry, and is a primary driver of rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, ocean “dead zones,” and virtually every other environmental ill. Yet it goes on, almost entirely unchallenged.

                      Thank you for reading or better…watching! Do you have  a Documentary not listed here? Comment below!


                        10 Reasons to buy locally grown produce

                        One of the reasons I love living in California is that we have amazing Farmer’s Markets all year-round and, they have the freshest produce available!  Like these nectarines! Yumm
                        nectarines

                         

                        Buying locally I can buy bunches of greens that will last up to 2 weeks in the fridge! While the greens I buy at the store will start going bad 3 days later.

                        Why Choose Locally Grown Organic Produce? Even if the farmer is not Certified Organic, you can ask if they are pesticide-free, because it costs a lot for them to get certified so you can still support them!

                        My top 10 reasons to buy locally grown produce:

                        1- Locally grown food tastes better. Buying local you are getting the freshest produce available. The crops are picked at their peak, while food from long distance are out of season, unripe and their sugars turn to starches, plant cells shrink, and produce loses its vitality and flavor.

                        2- Nutrient rich: The shorter the time between the farm and your table, the less likely it is that nutrients will be lost from fresh food. Food from far away is older and has traveled on trucks or planes, and sat in warehouses before it gets to you.

                        3- Buy From friends: Buying directly from the farmer you get to know who is growing the food you are eating. You get to become friends with them. While buying from a grocery/produce store you don’t know who grew them or how the food was handled. Locally grown It is also cleaner! and there is no wax on your food to keep them fresher. You can even take your family to go visit local Farms!

                        4- Local food supports local families - The wholesale prices that farmers get for their products are low, often near the cost of production.  The American family farmer is a vanishing breed – fewer than 1,000,000 people (less than 1%) of Americans claim farming as a primary occupation. WHY? – it’s hard to make a living when you get less than 10 cents of every retail food dollar. So, Local farmers who sell direct to consumers cut out the middleman and get full retail price for their food – which helps farm families stay on their land.

                        5- Local food preserves open space. When farmers get paid more for their products by marketing locally, they’re less likely to sell farmland for development. When you buy locally grown food, you’re doing something proactive to preserve our working landscape. That landscape is an essential ingredient to other economic activity in the state, such as tourism and recreation.

                        6- Local food benefits the environment and wildlife. Local Organic farms provide ecosystem services like: they conserve fertile soil and protect water sources. The farm environment is a patchwork of fields, meadows, woods, ponds and buildings that provide habitat for wildlife in our communities.

                        7- Local food promotes energy conservation. The average distance our food travels is 1500 miles, mostly by air and truck, increasing our dependence on petroleum. By buying locally, you conserve the energy that’s used for transport and help reduce the amount of CO2 is released in the atmosphere. Less fumes in the air is better for us and the environment.

                        8- Local food uses less packaging. Less packaging means less  wasted resources, which our planet is getting depleted of. While, imported food needs to be packed properly to travel the long distance.

                        farmers mkt

                        my son snacking on cherry tomatoes

                        9- Buying locally is fun for the whole family! You teach your kids the valuable reasons to buy from local farmers, the impact on our planet and exposes children to new foods!

                        10- Local food is the future. Supporting local farms today helps keep those farms
                        in your community, ensuring that your children and grandchildren have access to nourishing, flavorful and abundant food. When you choose to buy locally, and make your choices known, you raise the consciousness of your family, friends and neighbors.

                         

                        Wondering what’s on season? click here.

                         Where is the closest Farmer’s market to you? chick here.

                         

                         

                        heirloom tomatoes guavas grapes

                         

                         

                         

                         


                          Neapolitan Banana Ice cream

                          neapolitan icecream

                           

                           

                          I finally made it!

                          One of my favorite ol’times ice cream!

                          I hope you all are having a great summer time and to complete your summer enjoy this Dairy Free! Low-fat Ice Cream Recipe! I hope you will enjoyed it too!

                          I usually don’t spend money on super foods like maca, but I really like it on ice cream and since I haven’t had it for a long time I decided to get this time. Maca is also rich in minerals, so I thought … some extra minerals will be good ;)

                           

                          Neapolitan Banana Ice cream

                          servers: 3-4

                          Ingredients:

                          12 bananas, peel and cut each banana in 4 small pieces. Place all the cut up banana in a ziploc bag and put in the freezer.

                          1 tbsp carob powder

                          1/2 cup raspberries/strawberries

                          1 vanilla bean

                          1/2 cup almond milk (optional)

                          1/2 tsp. maca powder for garnishing

                           

                          Instructions:

                          - “chocolaty” flavor

                          Place about 2 cups of frozen bananas in a blender, add 1 tbsp of carob powder. Using your blender plunger – push down and blend until creamy consistency. You can add some almond milk to help the blending process.

                          As you make each flavor, place each one in a container and keep in the fridge until you are done making all 3 of them. 

                          Rinse the blender between batches.

                          - strawberry flavor

                          Place about 2 cups of frozen bananas in a blender, add about 1/2 cup of berries  and  using your blender plunger push down and blend until creamy consistency. Note: for this one adding the berries first it will make it easier to blend.

                          - Vanilla flavor

                          Repeating the step above… Place about 2 cups of frozen bananas in a blender, scrape the vanilla seeds from the bean then add to the blender. Using your blender plunger push down and blend until creamy consistency. You can add some almond milk to help but again it is optional.

                          Once you are done making all the 3 flavors, take them out of the fridge and using an ice cream scooper: scoop about 1-2 balls into serving bowls, sprinkle maca powder and serve.

                           

                           

                          Let me know what you think! Comment below…


                            The Best Ways to Protect yourself from Radiation

                            Since the Fukushima disaster happened in March, 2011,  radioactive isotopes are being released in the air and more than 300 tons of radioactive water are being released into the ocean EVERY DAY (1)!

                            According to NaturalNews.com “Experts predict the worst radiation is coming to the American West Coast, and it’s potentially worse than Japan’s radiation levels. Many radiation protective supplements have been proposed, from iodine to various herbs”.

                            Fukushima

                            Even though a healthy diet will protect us from all these radiation coming to the west Coast – we also should avoid exposure to it. Avoid staying long period of times where higher levels of radiation have been found – like the beach!  Of course, it gets dispersed everywhere but at the beach your exposure can be higher because the radiation is in the water and in the air.

                            So, I have been researching a lot about Fukushima radiation leak to share with you how to protect ourselves from it. Should we take supplements? Which ones? Which herbs? For long should people take these supplements if they decide to take them? What should we eat?

                            First, I don’t recommend any supplements! Why? Because they are toxic. They are isolated components that your body are not able to use them. They overload your liver and most supplements are mostly like to be all synthetic ( laboratory made vitamins!). The same happens with herbal supplements!

                            Now what?! well the best way to protect ourselves from radiation is a VERY Healthy Diet!! A diet rich in Fresh, natural, whole Foods! According to many scientific reports food rich in Vitamin-A, C, E, K, Selenium, Magnesium, Glutathione, melatonin etc are excellent radio-protectors. Antioxidants play a key role in preventing radiation damage to the cells.

                            What happens when these isotopes go inside our bodies?

                            •  Radioactive strontium is very similar to calcium. Our body takes strontium and deposit it in our bones as if it was calcium (2). If you are not getting enough calcium your body is going to use strontium. What to do? Eat calcium rich foods like: Collard Greens: 350mg/cup; broccoli: 90 mg/1/2 cup; oranges: 74mg/orange; Chia seeds: 600mg/4 tbsp.; almonds: 50mg/2 tbsp.; dried figs: 50mg/fig.

                            Why not milk? “Countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis, such as the United States, England, and Sweden, consume the most milk. China and Japan, where people eat much less protein and dairy food have low rates of osteoporosis.”  Nutrition Action Healthletter

                            So, if you want to increase your calcium intake milk is not the best source.

                             

                            • Radioactive Iodine:  If your body is low in iodine it is going to use the radioactive one available. Consuming enough potassium iodide works to protect against damage from radioactive iodine. By loading up on harmless iodine, our bodies are less eager to absorb the dangerous type of iodine (2). This radioactive iodine is more likely to affect our thyroid causing thyroid dysfunction and even cancer.  What to do?  Eating foods rich in iodine ensures the thyroid is able to manage metabolism, detoxification, growth and development.

                            Iodine rich foods: One of the most common foods for iodine is sea vegetables but if we are talking about the Fukushima radiation leaking into the ocean, I would strongly recommend avoiding seaweed from the Pacific ocean. I’d like to recommend better sources like: Cranberries – About 4 ounces of cranberries contain approximately 400/mcg of iodine! – Strawberries:  One cup of fresh strawberries has approximately 13/mcg of iodine. Dried Prunes: 13 mcg od iodine/5 prunes. Beans: 1/2 cup cooked beans has 32mcg. Spinach, swiss chard, squash, cucumber are other good sources…Basically, all fruits and vegetables contain iodine that they get from the soil. So, as long as you eat plenty whole foods (not processed) you should be getting 150mcg/day of the RDA.

                            Note: if you do decide to take the Potassium Iodine supplement. Do not take more than recommended because it can be toxic. And if it is extracted from kelp look for the organic/atlantic ones.

                             

                            • Radioactive Cesium:  It is treated like potassium by our body and, deposit in our muscles, heart and other tissues (3). So, getting enough potassium is also important to fight off the damages caused by radioactive Cesium. My favorite way in getting more potassium?? Bananas! Coconut water!! etc.

                             

                            • Plutonium: This isotope is treated like iron by our body. So, if you eat a raw/vegan diet is should be getting enough iron. Otherwise, if you consume dairy products you should be more concerned.

                            Why?

                            “Cow’s milk is so low in iron that you’d have to drink 50 gallons to get the iron available from a single bowl of spinach” Diet For A New America – John Robbins

                            And because dairy blocks iron assimilation by our body then you become deficient and your body will use the radioactive one. Radioactive Iodine is also concentrated in cows milk. Another reason to avoid animals products!!

                            - Best plant sources of Iron: All fruits and vegetables have iron, some more than others. Here some examples: lentils: 8.8 mg/cup; quinoa: 6.3 mg/cup; beans: 3.5 mg/cup; spinach (cooked) 6.4 mg/cup; broccoli: 1.1 mg/cup; tahini: 2.7 mg/2 tbsp.; dried figs: 2.1 mg/8.

                             

                            What is the safest level of radiation?

                            I asked the same question. And my conclusion is there isn’t a safe level. But, according to Health officials there is and, when measured in San Francisco area the radiation level was 5 times above the safe levels!! and in some other area it was 13x times above!

                            So, it doesn’t matter what have you been told about these levels of radiation, even the very lowest levels of radiation are harmful to life and you should be aware of it.

                            Scientists have concluded in the Cambridge Philosophical Society’s journal Biological Reviews. Reporting the results of a wide-ranging analysis of 46 peer-reviewed studies published over the past 40 years, researchers from the University of South Carolina and the University of Paris-Sud found that variation in low-level, natural background radiation was found to have small, but highly statistically significant, negative effects on DNA as well as several measures of health (4).

                             

                            After all my research, my final conclusion,  is that VITAMIN C plays a very important role when comes to radiation protection. Workers in the Fukushima Nuclear Plant has been treated successfully with Vitamin C (IV form) (5). But the good thing is: we can get enough of this vitamin through fresh fruits!

                            I hope you enjoyed this article. I know this subject is not a pleasant one but we should read about it to educate and protect ourselves.

                            Feel Free to leave a reply/comments below.

                             

                            References:

                            1- Yushi Yoneyama, an official with the Minister of  Economy, Trade and Industry, which regulates Tokyo Electric Power  Co (TEPCO).

                            2- washingtonblog.com

                            3- NCBI/pubmed.gov

                            4- washingtonblog.com/Low Level Radiation: Deadly … Or Harmless?aug.2013

                            5-http://www.doctoryourself.com/Radiation_VitC.pptx.pdf


                              Guava Bliss Cup

                              guava

                              Guavas are one of my favorite fruits. I remember growing up we had a guava tree in front of our house. It was so much fun climbing up the tree to get the guavas. It was all organic, of course, so most of them had little bugs eating them but my friends and I didn’t care, we would cut up that piece off and eat the rest. Living with Nature :) What I like the most about the guava tree is that it is so easy to climb!! I miss those time! As a little kid I used to (I still do) love searching for new fruits! It used to be my favorite treat when my mom came home from the grocery store with a new fruit!

                              I hope you all enjoy this Recipe:

                              3 bananas/mangoes
                              6 small guavas
                              1/2 c. water
                              1 c. raspberries
                              1 tsp. hemp seeds

                              Blend guavas and 1/2 c. water for about 1 min., strain the seeds, then blend the guava pulp with the bananas.

                              Using clear glasses, layer with the guava cream and raspberries and garnish with hemp seeds.


                                Persimmon Apple Sauce

                                persi_apple

                                 

                                I love this recipe! Why? Because I love applesauce but when I add persimmon it gives a creamier consistency! yummm!!

                                This recipe is approved by my son ;)

                                I hope you enjoy as well!

                                 

                                Recipe:

                                4 Persimmons

                                2 apples

                                – all cut up in small pieces

                                Blend persimmons and apple until smooth.

                                Enjoy!