Thursday, February 15, 2018

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: ROSES ARE RED…


Find it in your facial mists, night creams, or expensive serums, ROSEWATER is a common addition to beauty treatments throughout the country, however, its use in the culinary and medicinal worlds spans across the globe and millennia. While its enchanting scent signals visions of bouquets of roses and English gardens, this hidden beauty-counter gem has a host of health benefits. Read on below for a brief history, health benefits, and of course, a recipe!



FLORAL FINDINGS:
Modern day rosewater is often seen in three formats, either in beauty-grade hydrosols made by the distillation of rose petals, rose essential oils used to fragrance perfumes and beauty products, or the food grade water that comes from a long steep of the pretty petals. Historically speaking, rosewater’s multitude of uses dates back to the 10th century of ancient Persia, where a Persian alchemist named Avicenna initiated the cultivation of its fragrant flowers. Used for topical, medicinal, culinary, and even religious purposes, the obsessions with the luxurious scents of this musky flower were expansive.
From medieval peoples using the fragrant distillate to rinse hands prior to eating (little did they know its toning effects,) and physicians prescribed its use for preventive measures, including fainting, toning organs, easing constipation/menstrual cramps, and even as a (delicious) gargle for the cold and flu. Aromatically speaking, the fragrant oil has long been a favorite with those looking to induce a feeling of compassion and overall relaxation. It was used in burial and religious ceremonies, and the addition to salves and colloids spans further back then your grandmother’s cold cream! Culinarily speaking, rosewater has long been a welcome addition to desserts and sweets in Middle Eastern countries, including Baklava, rice puddings, and jams/jellies, and today it is most commonly used by the beauty industry


PETALS WITH PANACHE:
Big, beautiful, and barreling over with health benefits, no matter which color you pick your body will thank you for one reason or another!

DISTILLED DIGESTER: While significant research has not been made on the claims of rosewaters effects on GI health, folk remedies and ancient texts show its use for preventing nausea, gas, and indigestion.  

CHAKRA THE HEART: In ancient Ayurveda, rose water is used as a remedy to balance nerves and govern the heart. In addition, Indian researchers found the volatile oils found in the essence help to calm the central nervous systems in rats.     

ANTI-UP: The petals, which are rich in anthocyanins and flavonoids, may help inhibit the oxidizing damage of free radicals. This is especially helpful for aging skin, as the radicals work by degrading the matrix that supports our skin cell membrane. (Fun fact: Cleopatra liked to mist her face with a rosewater spray!)

BUGS BEGONE: With antiseptic properties, rosewater has been used as a throat gargle to relieve inflamed and sore throats, as well as a topical treatment for open wounds and rashes.  


SELECTING & STORING:
Always opt for organic rose products, including rose water (the distilled product,) essential oil, and culinary-grade rose water. While the expiration date of your beauty care products can range between formulations and brands, rose essential oil should be kept no longer then two years, and it is recommended to select both a skin-grade and food grade rose water, as a little goes a long way in cooking/baking!

PHONE: 267-308-0777

Genevieve – “G”
Certified Plant Based Nutritionist | CHHC| Culinary Nutritionist
True Wellness Biological Health




Rosewater Spritzer
Utilizing flavors and ingredients of its homeland, this refreshing drink is fizzy, fragrant, and a great pick me up for February blues.

Serves 2
2 cups sparkling spring or mineral water
2 tsp. culinary-grade organic rosewater
¼ cup fresh organic grapefruit juice
2 sprigs mint
1 tbsp. raw or local honey
1 tsp. beet or pomegranate juice (for color)

In a pitcher, mix ingredients together and let chill for at least 1 hour. Serve over ice.



Friday, February 9, 2018

IN SEASON: SWEETS FOR YOUR SWEET-HEART

With love in the air this Valentines day, chocolate treats will surely be making their way into your life. Instead of refined and highly processed sweets, opt for this nourishing spin on the classic: chocolate covered strawberries! Using a mixture of Vitamin E rich almond flour and fiber-rich coconut flakes, the crust bakes up nutty and crisp, and acts as the perfect blanket to pour a luscious bittersweet chocolate ganache. While not all chocolate’s are alike, quality bittersweet chocolate without all the additives is rich in a compound known as phenylethylamine (PEA,) which is commonly referred to as the “ love” molecule. With the ability to bring forth feelings of happiness and elation (thanks to PEA,) chocolate is also rich in heart healthy antioxidants that help keep inflammation at bay. 


CHOCOLATE COVERED STRAWBERRY TART BARS
Makes approximately 12 bars

COCONUT CRUST:
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened
2 tablespoons ground flax meal
2.5 tablespoons melted unrefined coconut oil
2 tablespoons local honey or maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt 

GANACHE FILLING: 
1 cup full fat coconut cream
12-14 ounces bittersweet chocolate (at least 70% cacao) chopped into pieces
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup freeze dried strawberries (optional) OR 1/2 cup fresh, sliced
1 tsp. espresso granules (optional) 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 8x10 baking dish with coconut or olive oil and combine coconut flakes, almond meal, flax, honey, vanilla, and melted coconut oil in a food processor, blending until combined. Press the mixture into the bottom of of the dish, using the back of a flat cup to ensure evenness. Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden, remove and let cool. Heat coconut cream in a saucepan until liquid. Set aside and whisk in vanilla and espresso. In a non-reactive pan, add chopped chocolate, pour hot coconut cream overtop and stir until smooth. Pour ganache overtop cooled crust and sprinkle with freeze dried strawberries. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before slicing and serving. 

Friday, February 2, 2018

IN SEASON: Dipping into the Super Bowl!

Let's face it, SUPER BOWL SUNDAY is one of the unhealthiest eating days of the year. With this year's home team on the front line, its going to be hard for everyone to stick to their healthy eating virtues. Even if you try your hardest, being surrounded by party food and friends who are stuffing their face with deep fried wings and queso dips makes temptation hard to surpass. Instead of opting out from the celebrations (in fear of over-indulging) or, indeed, "over-indulging," go to your Sunday Super Bowl party prepared! By bringing your own "classic" dish (that is secretly lightened up,) you too can eat delicious food while enjoying yourself, the game, and those commercials! 




Not-so Bell Grande
A riff off of the classic Mexican drive-thru's Nacho's Bell Grande dish ( one that I fondly remember from my childhood,) my version swaps out conventional beef, corn, dairy, and processed additives for a homemade nutrient dense version that is surprisingly easy to throw together. Using some store-bought staples, you will be able to spend more time rooting for your team (GO BIRDS) instead of sweating in the kitchen!

1/2 lb. organic ground dark meat turkey or grass fed beef OR "Mushroom meat" (see below)
2 16-ounce bags organic frozen cauliflower florets, thawed
1 packet organic mild taco seasoning
2 boxes Organic Refried Vegetarian Pinto Beans 

QUESO SAUCE: 1/2 lb. organic sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed + 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth or water + 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes + 1.5 tbsp. arrowroot starch + 1/2 tsp. garlic powder 1/2 tsp. ground cumin + 1/4 tsp. chile powder + 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder or 1 tsp. sweet paprika 

MUSHROOM MEAT: 2 lbs. organic cremini mushrooms, cleaned with a damp towel and chopped + 2 16 ounce bags organic frozen cauliflower florets, thawed + 1/2 cup walnut pieces 

For serving: 
 8 ounces fresh pico de gallo or a jar of your favorite organic salsa 
4 ounces prepared guacamole (optional)
1 container full fat organic sour cream (optional)
chopped scallions or cilantro + pickled jalapeno slices (optional)


Preheat oven to 400F. Boil (or steam) potatoes in water until fork tender. Drain and place in a high powered blender or food processor with remaining ingredients. Puree until smooth, transfer to a saucepan and using a whisk heat over MEDIUM. Cook for 5-7 minutes, constantly whisking until thickened. Keep warm. If using mushrooms instead of meat, toss with 2 tbsp. refined coconut oil (melted) or olive oil + sea salt. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 25 minutes. Rotate pan. On a separate baking sheet, toss cauliflower with olive oil and sea salt and roast both sheets for another 20-30 minutes until crispy, shrunken, and browned on edges. Remove and let cool. Use a food processor  to chop cauliflower and mushrooms, and walnut pieces into “crumbles, and set aside.  In a skillet, cook ground meat with taco seasoning until cooked through. Add in cauliflower and stir until coated with sauce mixture. 

To serve, place a layer of salsa on the bottom of a 9x13 glass casserole dish. Spoon over a thick layer of refried beans. Sprinkle 1/2 of meat mixture overtop and “dig” tortilla chips into bean/meat mixture. Sprinkle with remaining meat mixture and drizzle with several tablespoons (as much as you’d like) of the sweet potato queso. Dollop globs of salsa, guacamole, and sour cream overtop and garnish with scallions or cilantro and jalapeƱos (if using.) Can also re-bake at 350F for 10 minutes to reheat. 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: GROOVIN ON GRAPEFRUIT


Ruby red or peachy pink, GRAPEFRUIT is a sweet and tart citrus fruit that is loved and loathed by many. Bitterer than its orange-skinned relatives, these bulbous beauties are brimming with benefits! Keep reading for some interesting food history, health benefits, and of course, delicious recipe!


TROPICAL TREAT:
While modern-day citrus fruits are often associated with being grown in Florida or California, grapefruits origins are somewhat of a mixed bag. Actually a hybrid between the Indonesian pomelo and the Jamaican sweet orange, various stories of where grapefruit’s were first harvested exist. One in particular has seemed to have stuck, stating that a certain Captain brought the mixed seeds to the West Indies in 1693. Cultivation is believed to have begun in Jamaica, and the fruit was often labeled “forbidden” or the “smaller shaddock,” after the Captain who first hybridized them. While the truths behind its nicknames and origins are questionable, the grapefruits first documentation was in 1750 by a Welsh author who described them in his History of Barbados.
In 1823, Count Odet Phillipe brought the fruit over to what was once called Safety Harbor, which is actually the west shore of Tampa, Florida. While pretty to look at, the fruits thick skin made it less than desirable to peel and its bitter tendencies made some turn their noses. Its modern name came from the fact that the fruit grow in grapelike clusters, and in 1870 a farmer named John MacDonald was so intrigued by the beautiful fruit that he started Florida’s first grapefruit nursery in, go figure, Orange County. Transportation moved the fruit up the East Coast, and by 1910 it had made its way all the way to the West, landing in Arizona and California. Pink grapefruits were developed in the late 19th century at one of the world’s largest grapefruit nurseries- Atwood Grove, and ruby red grapefruits were discovered in 1929 due to a pink mutation. Peak grapefruit season runs January thru June, and Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas are all top producers.


BOWL FULL OF BENEFITS:
Big, beautiful, and barreling over with health benefits, no matter which color you pick your body will thank you for one reason or another!

ANTI-UP: The pink and red hues that fruits bearing those names contain come from the antioxidant LYCOPENE. As a member of the carotenoid family of vitamins, this vitamin A precursor has some serious abilities to knock out cellular damage caused by oxygen free radicals and gene mutations.

LIVER LOVIN LIMONOIDS: In addition to lycopene, grapefruit also contains LIMONENE compounds which have been shown to inhibit tumor cell growth by increasing the production of glutathione-s-transferase, the body’s primary detox chemical.    

NOSH ON NARIGENIN: With similar tumor suppressing effects of limonoids, naringenin works to inhibit harmful cell proliferation, may also promote triggered cell death (apoptosis) of diseased cells.  Lastly, naringenin activates two enzymes that help restore damaged DNA!

FEARFUL FURANOCOUMARINS: While most of the compounds in grapefruit are beneficial, furanocoumarins block key enzymes (CYP3A4) that are responsible for breaking down over 50% of prescription drugs. Be sure to discuss this with your doctor if you are prescribed medications, especially statins.


WHITTLING WAIST: Although the grapefruit diet may be a thing of the past, there is some truth behind the concept. An organic compound- nootkatone- activates an enzyme system known as AMP-activated protein kinase. Upon activation (which normally occurs during exercise) AMPK assists the body in better utilizing energy, meaning a boost for your metabolism!

DIGEST & ALKALIZE: Grapefruit is also a good source of the plant enzyme BROMELAIN, which helps to break down proteins. In addition, similar to other low-sugar citrus fruits, they are also a great tool to help quell systemic inflammation, acting as natural alkalizers.

SELECTING & STORING:
Available all year long, Grapefruits are in their peak season January thru June, but are in season in Florida and Texas from November thru June. On the Environmental Working Group’s Clean 15 list, organic grapefruits are not necessary, especially if you are not using any of the skin. Choose fruits that are heavy for their size, free of blemishes and soft spots, and if you are looking to eat right away, have a sweet citrus scent. Keep unpeeled fruits at room temperature for up to one week, or refrigerated for 2-3 weeks.

JANUARY TRUE KITCHEN COOKING CLASSES

* We apologize for the inconvenience, but due to a burst pipe, our January cooking classes have been postponed. Look forward to a re-instatement of a detox-month for the Springtime!

PHONE: 267-308-0777

Genevieve – “G”
Certified Plant Based Nutritionist | CHHC| Culinary Nutritionist
True Wellness Biological Health


Barbados in the Snow Sorbet
Paying homage to its origins, this sweet and tangy sorbet is a real treat that will transport your taste buds to the islands! Pairing luscious coconut cream with fresh grapefruit, lime zest, and hint of honey, this is a tropical treat everyone will adore!

Serves 4 
5 grapefruits (pink or ruby red,) sliced in half
14 ounces coconut cream (NOT cream of coconut! Make sure no sugar is added!)
¼ cup local honey
1 tsp. lime zest


Juice grapefruit into a saucepan (use a strainer to remove seeds,) Cook over medium for 15 minutes, add honey, lime, and coconut cream and cook until just melted. Whisk to combine and pour into ice cube trays. Freeze for at least 3 hours, and use a food processor to puree into a sorbet texture.


Sunday, January 21, 2018

NUTRITION 101: DETOX DETOUR


It’s almost the end of the month, and I am sure that many new years resolutions have slid to the wayside. That being said, deprivation does not equate to sustainability and so offering up a handful of attainable goals and diet / lifestyle tips and tricks is part of the New Year, New You series. In the first post, I highlighted the various areas that will be covered, and today, I take you on a mini detour into the wonderful world of detoxification.



PHASES OF (LIVER) LOVE:
The body is an immense “machine,” operating both silently and synergistically 24/7. A veritable beastly combination of organs, cells, and metabolic pathways composes the human detoxification system, which neutralizes the daily onslaught of toxins we are exposed to and aids their elimination. Well aware of the obvious filth and toxic ingredients we all aim to omit from our lives, even the most “anti-bacterial,” “100% organic”, and “uber-hygienic” household requires a fully functioning detox system. From the metabolic process of breaking down the food you eat into smaller particles, excess vitamins, drugs, immune debris and even the toxic wastes that the good bugs in your gut produce, breaking down and eliminating accumulated toxins is essential. So how is it done? In a complex system, various secretory organs, as well as the body’s primary workhorse organ (LIVER) work in a series of three phases: Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III. These three phases allow for the deactivation/neutralization, motility, and elimination of toxins stored or circulating in the body.

What is a TOXIN? We are exposed to hundreds of thousands of potentially harmful chemicals on a daily basis, and the term “toxin” is defined as being any poisonous substance that can cause physical disease or cellular injury.

UNO, DOS, TRES!
Phase I detoxification is also commonly referred to as “modification” or “oxidation,” and it is in this process that fat-soluble toxins are broken down by enzymes and oxygen into water-soluble forms. Once water soluble, the modified toxins are easier to transport and eventually eliminate from the body. Phase I involves the powerhouse family of enzymes known as cytochrome P450, which are located on the service membranes of liver cells (hepatocytes.) Phase I needs the next step to occur; otherwise toxins (now H20 soluble) will still be floating around your body! Phase II, also called “conjugation” is essential and sometimes not fully activated due to disease or nutritional deficiencies. During Phase II, the now water-soluble toxins are linked together with pro-detox molecules. These molecules, which include glutathione, glucoronic acid, sulfate, and glycine, all work on specific toxins (from aspirin to aflatoxins and everything in-between.) Once toxins are made mobile, Phase III or “transport,” allows for their elimination via urine, sweat, stool, and bile. As stated above, certain nutrients and impaired cellular functioning can inhibit all or one of these phases, resulting in a clogged up liver and faulty detox pathway.

FOODS THAT KICKSTART PHASE 1: Cruciferous vegetables (Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, etc) Oranges & Tangerines (not grapefruit!) Caraway, Dill, Sassafras, Milk thistle. 

FOODS THAT KICKSTART PHASE 2: Omega 3. Citrus fruits with limonene, Asparagus, Avocado, Cruciferous vegetables, caraway, dill, beets, papaya, watermelon, 

FOODS THAT KICKSTART PHASE 3: Substances and foods which support both Phase 1 and Phase 2 will also support Phase 3.

NUTRITION KNOCKOUTS:
In addition to eating some of the foods listed above, there are additional nutrients and lifestyle practices you can embrace to assist the body’s daily detox pathways.

Vitamin A: Beta-carotene rich fruits/vegetables- carrots, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, tomatoes, squash + liver + organic dairy + pastured eggs

Amino Acids (Cysteine, Glutamine, Glycine, Methionine, Taurine:) Beef, Eggs, Poultry, Seafood, Shellfish, Cauliflower, Parsley, Garlic, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Brazil nuts, etc.

B Vitamins: Almonds, Asparagus, Avocados, Beets, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Eggs/Yolks, Organic Dairy, Leafy Greens, Liver, Wild Caught Fish, Oysters, etc.

Vitamin C: Citrus Fruits, Cantaloupe, Bell Peppers, Berries/Strawberries, Papaya, Pineapple, etc.

Vitamin E: Almonds, Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds, Avocado, Beet greens, Collard greens, Spinach.

Selenium: Brazil nuts, Broccoli, Cabbage, Mushrooms, Organ meats, Spinach, Sunflower, Sesame, Seafood.

Zinc: Cashews, legumes, pumpkin seeds, oysters and shellfish

LIFESTYLE FACTORS:
While nutritional alterations and incorporations can enhance all of the phases of detoxification, harnessing lifestyle habits and exposures will also support total body health.

SAYONARA SYNTHETICS: Air fresheners, perfumes, and cupcake-scented candles? Loaded with chemical toxins that impede not only our detox pathways but also tiptoe into our hormonal health, say goodbye to artificial “fragrances” and “parfums,” and embrace organic 100% essential oils.

GREEN THUMB: While plants naturally thrive where they are meant to be, in nature, bringing the outdoors in will help to naturally filter the air in your home, car, and office. Dracaena, Garden mums, Spider plants,  and Peace Lily’s are especially powerful!

DE-STRESS THE MESS: We often equate stress to either physical or emotional health, normally relegated to school and work responsibilities. Clutter and messiness can cause mental-stress, and so doing a thorough cleaning will not only enhance air circulation, but also clear your mind of the hidden mental “clutter.”

GET MOVING: We've discussed the lymphatic system before, our secondary "circulatory system" without a pump. To assist Phase III and aid the transport/elimination of broken down toxins, exercise will help potentiate lymph drainage, as will proper hydration and fiber consumption!


JANUARY TRUE KITCHEN COOKING CLASSES


* We apologize for the inconvenience, but due to a burst pipe, our January cooking classes have been postponed. Look forward to a re-instatement of a detox-month for the Springtime!


PHONE: 267-308-0777

Genevieve – “G”
Certified Plant Based Nutritionist | CHHC| Culinary Nutritionist
True Wellness Biological Health