Cranberry Coconut Almond Granola

cranberry coconut almond granola

Breakfast? Do you eat it? Although I’m about to sound like the broken record of all broken records, here goes; breakfast is the most important meal of the day. When we eat breakfast we give our digestive system the cue to get ready and optimize for a day of nutrient assimilation. But we’ve all been guilty of skipping this essential morning ritual- hey, even I’m guilty of it!

Breakfast is a good time to eat a nice balance of food; fibre to keep you regular, protein to sustain you and carbohydrates to give you the energy you need to conquer your day.

Buckwheat- Your Friend in Health
Althoug buckwheat is not a true cereal, it always finds a place in my granola; but you will be surprised to know that buckwheat is closer to sorrel and rhubarb than it is to the granola mainstay of oats. Both soluble and insoluble fibres lower bad cholesterol, balance blood sugar levels (read: no mid morning crash) and it works to keep our gut healthy. This Vitality Kitchen Granola mainstay is rich in flavanoids that protect the heart and because it’s gluten free- don’t let the wheat in the name fool you- it’s ideal for those adhering to a gluten free lifestyle!

Make Mornings Easier, Make Granola
Each week in the Vitality Kitchen I create yummy smoothies, nut milks and granola as a part of the Breakfast Pack, which is designed for those who understand the importance of breakfast but making time for it slips through the cracks. This week I made a raw, high protein granola to whet my Vitality Kitchen clients appetites, because in my kitchen breakfast is so not boring.

This granola is dehydrated, which preserves the nutrients in all the seeds,nuts and buckwheat; but if you’re thinking, “I don’t have a dehydrator, nor do I want to buy one”, fear not you can dehydrate in your oven- there’s a link to the video below.

With that, I’ll say make love, not war; eat breakfast, make granola.

Raw Cranberry Coconut Almond Granola
1/2 cups raw buckwheat groats, soaked at least 1 hour
1/2 cup raw slivered almonds
1/2 cup hemp seeds
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
3 tbsp organic maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried, unsweetened cranberries

Soak the buckwheat groats for 1 hour and then drain, rinsing them well; and then allow them to drain again. Transfer to a bowl.

In a bowl, toss the almonds, hemps seeds, chia seeds, coconut, orange juice, orange zest, maple syrup,cinnamon, and vanilla until well coated. Pour this mixture over the buckwheat and mix well.

Spread the batter evenly between two Teflex-lined dehydrator trays. Dehydrate at 115°F for about 12 hours (or until they are dry enough to flip over), flip them over and remove the Teflex sheet. Continue dehydrating another 5 hours, or until the granola is dry and crunchy. Remove from the dehydrator and use your hands to crumble the sheets into a mixing bowl. Don’t have a dehydrator? Check out this video and learn how to dehydrate without one!

Add the cranberries and mix well. Store in an airtight glass container either at a cool room temperature, or in the refrigerator.



Womens Health: Seven Tests You Get Need To Get

I find as I get older, I recognize my own mortality; not to be morbid, but it’s true. I think with age comes an understanding that my health is in my own hands, and should I get cavalier, anything can happen. Which is why today’s guest post is ever so important.

Womens health is important to me, because I am a woman; and today we are talking about the seven tests every woman should get and why. Please read and make sure to take care of yourself- you’re COMPLETELY worth it!

Bianca

womens health

Womens Health: Seven Tests to Make Sure You Get

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Sprouted Mung Bean and Garlic Scapes Pesto

 

garlic scapes

 

It’s now halfway through the 10 Day Sprouting Challenge and I have to say, it’s been easy; because when you consider the other methods of sprouting, as in with the mason jar and the effort and babysitting required, having only to water my sprouts twice a day is the raw foods equivalent of “set it and forget it“!

From the moment I started the challenge I was already brainstorming ways to incorporate my sprouts into recipes, in a way that would be entry level for the newbie sprouters among us; so when I was on my weekly farmer’s market shop, and saw the beauty that are garlic scapes looking up at me for the low price of $2 for a giant bunch, I knew that somehow garlic scapes would find their way onto my plate- and this site!

So why is the everyone all a twitter about garlic scapes? Easy, because they are the perfect marriage between garlic and scallions. Now, don’t get me wrong, garlic scapes are 100% garlic but not the bulb; they are the immature flowering stalks of what we know as garlic, and have the same health benefits without all the sass.

Let’s rap about health benefits. Garlic is renowned for being antifungal and antibacterial; and garlic is a potent digestion system aid and immune booster, helping the body to eliminate unwanted toxins. As with most foods, cooked garlic doesn’t provide the same amount of potent vitamins and minerals, which, when you are considering eating the bulb of garlic raw proves challenging; however, because of the mild flavor profile of garlic scapes, eating them raw doesn’t seem like quite as much of a dare but, rather, an enjoyable experience.

You’re probably wondering “why am I just now hearing about garlic scapes?” And I’ll be honest, I felt the very same way when I discovered these gems; and, simply put, chefs we’re keeping this secret to themselves, but now that garlic scapes are so widely available at markets, everyone has jumped on the garlic scapes bandwagon.

Garlic scapes are so mild and subtle that I knew that they would offer some lightness to the depth of earthy flavor that characterizes mung bean sprouts; and because this pesto is raw AND sprouted, it’s pretty much one of the most life giving foods you can eat. As with any pesto, the herb you choose is completely up to you; I used Moroccan Mint because it was at the market and I LOVE mint, but should you hate mint and love basil, go ahead and make your day!

There are many ways to use garlic scapes, sprinkled over salad, in an omelette, and in various sauces; because of garlic scapes half scallion half garlic nature, you can substitute it for either in recipes- so many options, so please don’t limit yourself!

Sprouted Mung Bean and Garlic Scapes Pesto? Uh…yes please!

2 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds, soaked 30 minutes and drained
2 heaping tbsp sprouted mung bean sprouts
1/3 cup garlic scapes
1 1/2 tbsp Moroccan Mint
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp coconut vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until desired consistency is achieved. For a raw spread, blend until incorporated but still chunky; for a pasta pesto sauce, blend until smooth.


Raw Chocolate Recipes ~ Raw Cacao Dipped Strawberries

I have always had an affinity for chocolate recipes- made with milk chocolate, dark chocolate, cacao nibs, chocolate chips, cacao powder and everything in between; but as I have come into my own as a natural foods chef and (soon to be) nutritionist, I have learned that not all chocolate recipes is created equal.

There are so many health benefits associated with eating chocolate and various chocolate recipes; chocolate is high in polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that are associated with amazing skin and brain health- but we aren’t talking about Cadbury. You see, when chocolate is heated and processed ALL of the health benefits are completely negated; and since milk inhibits the absorption of the aforementioned polyphenols so it’s best to stick to raw, organic, unprocessed cacao.

Funny story, when I first started consuming raw cacao and experimenting with raw chocolate recipes, I would talk (at length) about raw CACAO, however, my friends and family thought I was referring to COCOA but saying it funny; no, I wasn’t saying it funny, because cacao refers to raw chocolate- and it’s the word you should look for when purchasing this healing food.

Now, when you think of healthy snacks, chocolate covered strawberries may or may not come to mind, but this is one of my favourite raw chocolate recipes and I’ve made it even better with a few extra boosts.

When we consume fruit, despite the many associated benefits of eating it, fruit can spike blood sugar if it isn’t eaten with other foods that create balance; which is why I add the ever amazing hemp seeds. 3 tbsp of hemp seeds boasts 11g of protein, which makes this a protein rich snack- bet you didn’t see that coming! And hemp seeds are one of the only plant based foods on the planet that have the perfect balance of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. So this raw chocolate recipe is a rich source of healthy fats too.

In regards to dipping your strawberries, be sure that the strawberries are completely dry, or else the chocolate will not adhere; and because strawberries are high atop the dirty dozen list, please purchase them organic or even better, visit your local farmers market and buy them there- lucky for you and me, they are just now coming into season!

Impress your friends and nourish your body with raw chocolate covered strawberries that are also a complete meal- they won’t even see it coming!

Raw Chocolate Recipes- Raw Cacao Dipped Strawberries

2 tbsp raw cacao
pinch salt
1 1/2 tsp coconut sugar
1 1/2 tbsp hemp seeds
2/3 cup coconut oil, soft
1 lb organic strawberries, washed and dried

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients except the strawberries, mix until well combined. Dip the strawberries in the cacao blend and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; place them in the refrigerator to set up and enjoy!


How To Cook Salmon Perfectly

how to cook salmon

I eat a great deal of salmon, I would even go as far as saying that currently salmon is my number one  “animal” protein. I eat salmon, of course, because it tastes good; but what’s in a name? When it comes to salmon, quite a lot actually; because if you’re thinking “farmed” and I’m talking “wild” then you may inclined to think that we are talking about the same thing, but we are not. Wild and farmed salmon are two very different foods, and I beg you not to confuse the two.

Salmon is regarded as one of the best foods that we can eat, partly because it’s chocked full of omega 3 fatty acids- the healthy fats that I go on and on about. Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for the health of our hearts, brains, memory, thoughts, circulation and blood sugar regulation; and we know that salmon is one of the best sources on the planet. So why should we be concerned with whether our salmon is wild or farmed? Well, just like with humans, salmon are what they eat as well; when salmon eat their natural diet in the wild, they become full and rich with beneficial omega 3 fatty acids. However, their farm raised brethren do not eat a diet native to salmon, instead they eat grain- GRAIN! Grain has very little do with what salmon eat in the wild, hence they produce far less omega 3 fatty acids in their bodies.

So if you want to get the most out of your salmon, I think we can all agree that wild is better.

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