Fermented Vegetables

Fermented vegetables have a long tradition in Eastern cultures.  They are rich in enzymes, nutrients and help feed the beneficial microorganisms in your gut to help keep you healthy and your immune system strong.  Plus they are so easy to make! Take advantage of freshly harvested produce to make your favorite combination.

Recipe by cookbook author Hallie Klecker

Sterilize 2, 4 cup glass jars and lid. veg fermentDissolve 2 & 1/2 rounded tablespoons of sea salt in 5 cups of filtered water, set aside.
Chop a combination of veggies, green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, cabbage.
Add optional flavoring such as garlic, ginger, dill seed, caraway, basil or oregano. Fill to 1″ of the top.

Stir salt water and pour in leaving 1/2″ to fit a small folded cabbage leaf snugly into the jar.
Press to submerge vegetables.

Place jars in a tray out of direct sunlight.  Screw lids on tightly. (plastic may be used to avoid salt corrosion but I found they did not seal tight enough, the plastic coated lid of a pickle jar worked best – provided it is not damaged)
After 2 days undisturbed ‘burp’ your jars once/day to release gasses, re-tighten the lids, for a total fermentation time of 7-10 days. Store your jars in the fridge (they will keep for a few months) but be sure to enjoy the veggies in salads, or as sides to your main dishes!

Zucchini Relish

When those zuc’s get so big you’re wondering what to do
with them, put some flavor back in with this wonderful
summer relish.

In a large bowl, mix & let stand overnight;           to be zuc relish
10 cups grated zucchini
4 cups chopped onion
1 green and 1 red pepper chopped
1-3 green jalapeno peppers finely chopped
5 tablespoons coarse Mediterranean sea salt
The following day drain & rinse with cold water,  squeeze out excess water through a fine sieve.
Put in a large pan with;
1 cup each of white vinegar & apple cider vinegar
2 ½ cups brown sugar
½ tsp black pepper
1 tblsp each of nutmeg, dry mustard, turmeric
1 heaping tblsp of tapioca starch
2 tsp celery salt
Boil then simmer 45 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally.
Use a slotted spoon to fill sterilized canning jars, put sterile
lids on loosely. Place on a tray in a 250 degree oven for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven, tighten caps. During cooling the caps should ‘pop’.

Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie

Who likes chocolate and strawberries? This is my new favorite for supporting a healthy gut and, amazingly it tastes great!  Kefir is a fermented milk, long used to build a strong immune system by adding diversity to the gut flora.

In a  blender or Ninja addKefir smoothie
1 cup 100% orange juice
1 cup plain organic Kefir
1 banana, 1 cup rinsed frozen,
sliced strawberries.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tblsp ground flax
2 heaping teaspoons of pure cocoa
1 teaspoon fish oil, or 3 capsules squeezed, capsule discarded.
This is optional, but a great way to disguise the taste
yet get the benefits of Omega 3 fats!

Raspberry Aloe Smoothie

Put a tangy “spring” into your morning! The colour says it all,
full of goodness and the added bonus of gut soothing aloe.

In a blender or Ninja
½ cup 100% pure coconut water (read the label, no additives)
½ cup “alo exposed” aloe juice with pulp
½ cup 100% pineapple juice (Oasis)Rasp smoothie
½ a banana
1 heaping cup of frozen raspberries,
Rinsed under warm water
Handful of fresh, washed cilantro

I also add granular Vitamin C, (calcium ascorbate) from a capsule
and about a teaspoon of fish oil (can squeeze from capsules)
to ensure I am getting enough of these essentials in my diet.

Winter Bug Getting You Down? full article

As a Nutrition Coach, I guide and support clients in a way that encourages the body to do the work of being well.  Essentially I am a teacher with a wish to share knowledge of how food and lifestyle choices affect your state of wellness and how to make them work to your advantage.  Sometimes our choices affect us in positive ways other times in negative ways. Too often we see people go down a path of ill health because they do not have a wellness plan in place.

Maintaining, or improving health does not have to be complicated so the purpose of my talks/articles are to get you not only thinking about your health but to help you take action.

Winter Bug Getting You Down?                                      germ-303979_640

Colds, flu, sore throat or strep, sinus infections, chest infections – sound all too familiar?

Wise protocols such as avoiding crowded areas, covering your mouth when coughing, sneezing, washing hands regularly may help to stop you picking up bugs, but really…

It all begins with a strong immune system.

  • And this begins in-vitro with the health of your parents and as a newborn, through breast feeding and the passing on of antibodies.
  • If you have symptoms such as allergies, recurrent or frequent infections, chronic fatigue, herpes outbreaks, auto-immune disease, inflammatory disorders (eczema, psoriasis), dysbiosis (yeast overgrowth, fungal infection or parasites) these are signs that your Immune system is under duress.

What makes up your Immune system?

  • Primarily your white blood cells WBC and the Lymphatic system which includes nodes, vessels and organs that collect, transport and generate defender cells.

Organs include; Bone marrow -where B lymphocytes are made, responsible for producing antibodies.
 Thymus –where T lymphocytes are produced, these can kill cells infected with viruses and activate other immune cells.
Spleen – the largest organ, clears cellular debris and is a blood reservoir
GALT – gut assoc. lymphatic tissue – tonsils, adenoids, appendix, Peyers patches in the small intestine. (this makes up approx 70% of Immune System)

How do we ensure a strong Immune System?

  • Feed your body what it NEEDS, (not wants) – Provide the raw materials it needs to nurture, repair and fuel the body – it relies on quality nutrients to function optimally including the Immune system. Deficiencies of even one or two nutrients can impair its protective ability.

– Avoid processed, refined, artificial and overcooked foods, they are lacking in balanced                           nutrients and natural enzymes
– Limit caffeine, alcohol, saturated fats
– Eat plenty of whole, clean, unaltered foods
– raw, lightly steamed or sautéed
– Include health promoting EFA’s
– Ensure a balanced amount of protein intake from both animal and vegetable sources –quality   is important. Protein is made of Amino acids, and these are essential for the synthesis of     antibodies, (as well as enzymes and hormones). Sufficient enzymes for breakdown (+Zn)

– Holiday season! Don’t over-eat, particularly over cooked/ processed foods. Lots of enzymes and energy is required to digest large, heavy meals. WBC’s are enzyme rich so they will step in when demand is high, but this reduces the availability of these defenders to fight bacteria and pathogens.

  • Support the beneficial flora in your gut.

– These guys have a symbiotic relationship with us – we support them, they support us, not only aiding digestion, but defending against the Nasties.

– Unlike the bad flora, who are more parasitic in nature, taking from our bodies, and leaving behind their waste products – toxins that must then be neutralized and eliminated (more energy consumption)

– Consuming nutrient dense foods, as in points already mentioned support better populations of the good guys.

– The addition of ‘live foods’ bolsters their numbers even more – fermented foods such as sauerkraut, organic miso, fermented soy, kefir, Kombuca (Rise tea), yogurt and sprouts.

– Avoiding refined foods (excess simple carbohydrates) and particularly sugars provides less of what the bad guys love to feed on.

  • Be aware of the effects of some drugs

– Some directly inhibit immune function – immuno-suppressants, for AI diseases, medications for       cancer treatment

– Antibiotics (as the word means anti – life) have their place for serious bacterial infections (not  for viruses) but they also destroy the beneficial flora – this compromises the strength of your Immune system.

– Anti-bacterial soaps contain anti-microbials that can penetrate the skin and may not be so discerning between good and bad.  Our largest organ – the skin is also a line of defense – over washing removes natural oils that help provide a natural barrier.

  • Limit exposure to toxins. This is my #1 step to building better health

– Avoid food additives, preservatives, pesticides, altered foods, fragrances, pollution, cosmetics and personal products with heavy metals, petroleum, phthalates, parabens etc.   These overburden the liver and some may affect the digestive tract creating an immune  response which over time, depletes the system.

– Supporting the liver is therefore critical – foods containing chlorophyll or sulfur – greens,         cruciferous, onions, garlic, lemon, beets, etc, and limiting alcohol are all beneficial along with               staying well hydrated and allowing appropriate time for the detoxification process.

  • Get regular exercise.

– Low to moderate activity is beneficial in so many ways – circulation, muscles and especially for the lymphatic system which does not have it’s own ‘pumping’ system.

– Repeated over-exertion causes tissue damage and a pro-inflammatory situation and therefore  an immune response.

  • Find ways to manage stress.

– Stress can upset normal digestive function – poor digestion can cause intestinal damage and affect the absorption of nutrients. (Celiac and IBD are extreme examples) The problem is two-fold – damage creates an immune response and deficiencies occur with poor absorption –  micro-nutrients that are essential to a healthy glandular and immune system

  • Maintain good sleep protocol

– Rest is the best medicine, ensure suitable quantity, and good quality.

What role do Free Radicals play and how do antioxidants help?

  • Free radicals are the by-products of metabolism. They are electrically charged molecules that attack and damage cells. This of course causes an immune response. This attack is known as oxidative stress and shows itself through poor cardiovascular health, joint degeneration, muscle weakness and accelerated aging and ultimately over time weakens the immune system.

– If allowed to go unchecked auto-immune disease may also occur.

– Following all of the mentioned recommendations will prevent this from happening.

– Supplying Anti-oxidants helps prevent damage by FR. –  dietary sources, plenty of fresh vegetables,   fruit, whole grains provide Beta Carotene, vitamin C and E while minerals such  as zinc and selenium from nuts/seeds,  cacao beans, also play a role.

– Scientific studies have found that phytonutrients in foods – the elements that provide colour,               flavor and smell to foods also have potent antioxidant properties. Berries are a good example, especially    blueberries.

– Once again balance is essential and indiscriminate ‘popping’ of supplements can be counter productive.

Selenium Essential trace min. best source Brazil nuts, fish, meat, eggs, whole grains, other nuts. Deficiency is associated with reduced immune cell counts so it is important in reducing disease        progression.  It aids in the absorption of iodine (thyroid), for cancer prevention, reduces                            incidence of Heart Disease by limiting oxidation of LDL. Best from foods, only supplement  short term – excess = side-effects

  • Vitamin D – Study by Donald W. Miller, Jr M.D.

– A fat soluble, steroid hormone, Vitamin D is involved in the expression of 200+ genes and the proteins they produce. – some involved as mediators that regulate the immune system. Research shows a link with influenza – occurring in the winter months with vitamin D deficiencies.  D expressed genes instruct macrophages (immune system defenders) to make antimicrobial peptides that will attack and destroy influenza virus particles. Other D-expressed genes control the response to avoid over-reaction.  Living above latitude 35 degrees North means we are unable to synthesize D from sunlight from Oct to April.  Recommended Daily Amounts are insufficient as are ‘fortified’ foods.  Oily fish contain some D.

Take D3 1000 – 5000 iu daily    Skin can make 20,000 IU in 20 min. down south

Tomato Sauce

Recipe makes 5 – 16 oz jars

Fall is the time to take advantage of the abundance of locally grown tomatoes, rich in vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that help keep you healthy.

Soak 12 to 15 medium to large tomatoes in boiled water to remove skins
Chop and Saute 2 large onions
4 large cloves of garlic
in a large pan with 1 tablespoon of butter

Chop (remove excess seeds) 10 cups of peeled tomatoes (preferably fresh farmers market organic) add to the pan along with;
2 cups yellow cherry tomatoes
2 tsps sea salt
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp organic garlic powdertomato sauce
½ tsp Tabasco sauce
2 heaping tblsps brown sugar
2 tblsp dried oregano

Simmer for 1.5 hours to reduce
In the last 5 minutes of cooking add;
Handful of chopped fresh basil
Splash of Apple cider vinegar
If you prefer it thicker, dissolve 2 tblsp tapioca starch in water and stir in and simmer a few minutes.
Pour into hot mason jars (250 oven, 10 minutes, lids too), loosely cap, return to oven for ½ hour.
Tighten caps so they seal as they cool.

 

Chocolate Orange Chia Pudding

Try this for a wholesome desert – or breakfast! Chia is a seed that is rich in minerals and omega 3, along with soluble fiber which makes it a pudding-like consistency

 

Pour into a blender, or use a deep container with hand blender
2 cups unsweetened almond milkchia pudding
1-2 teaspoons pure vanilla
or halve with 1 cup 100% pure orange juice
1 heaping tablespoon of  pure cocoa powder (or more ;-))
1 – 2 tablespoons of  local maple syrup or liquid honey

Blend on low.
Pour into a bowl and add ½ cup of Chia seeds, stir well.
Refridgerate, allow to sit a minimum of 4 hours or overnight.
Stir several times with a whisk to avoid lumping.
Top with berries, nuts or coconut flakes or with the orange version, tangerine pieces.

Carrot Ginger Muffins – gluten free

Applesauce and xanthan gum make these moist and light.

Melt 1/4 cup coconut oil
Add 1 egg
1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 tsp sea salt

Blend to make 2  cups
1/4 cup oat bran, 1/2 cup ground oatmeal
1/2 cup brown rice, 3/4 c. white rice flours

Add 1 ½ cup grated carrot                                 Mix all ingredients well.
3 tsp baking powder                                            Add enough water to make
1-2 tsp ginger, 2 tsp cinnamon                           doughy consistency. Put in
1 tsp xanthan gum                                                greased muffin tin and bake
1/2 cup of raisins, currants OR walnuts            at 400 degrees, 15 – 20 minutes.

Rice & Bean Salad

rice bean salad

Classic rice and beans make a complete protein vegetarian dish.

Thoroughly rinse and cook one cup of white rice
in just enough water to cover, OR if using brown
rice, cover with 1” of water.  Cool

Rinse until all foam is gone, 1 can of bean medley
Fine shred 1 carrot
Chop 1 stalk washed celery
¼ cup spring onion
Handful of parsley

Toss ingredients with a dressing of;
¼ cup virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic crushed
1 ½ tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon
Sprinkle with torn basil leaves