Real Food, Real Health, Strawberry Fig Muffins, and a Give-away!
There’s a spectacular giveaway below, but first real food 101:
Calories. Fat. Protein. Carbohydrates. Low carb. Aspartame. High carb. Metabolism. High protein. Paleo. Primal. Raw. Skim milk. Vegan. Vegetarian. Whole wheat. Adkins. South Beach. Special K. The food pyramid (My plate). Low fat. No fat. Diet soda. Sugar free. Soy milk.
We’ve created a monster. A false nutrition monster moving faster and faster that won’t be slowing down unless you take the reins. It is a waste of time to go through the positive (but mostly negative) accolades for the above nutrition buzzwords. I’ll make one exception for “counting calories”. How is it possible to enjoy eating when you begin a meal with math?
We can stop the madness of all the get healthy fads by following one single step so easy that your grandmother or 3-year-old nephew will understand. First, I propose we do one thing to end the confusion: SIMPLIFY. What if there was one simple principle to follow that prevented disease and reversed illness? There is.
1. Eat only what God created for food.
What is Real Food?
Real food is nutrient-dense and in its whole, unrefined form; think fresh lemons as opposed to bottled lemon juice. Real food is free of chemicals, additives, synthetic ingredients, and preservatives. Produce is organic and never genetically modified. Avoid canned produce and choose fresh, frozen, or lacto-fermented fruits and vegetables. Animals are free to roam on pasture and receive plenty of sunlight and exercise. In order to retain or increase vitamins, enzymes, and minerals, food should be minimally processed and properly prepared using traditional methods to guarantee the best nutrient availability (ex. soaking, sprouting, fermenting, etc.) When you are buying something from a grocery store, be sure to read the label. Zoom into the ingredients list; if it is long with unpronounceable words, avoid it!
Real food is easy to identify and includes:
apples, oranges, pears, pineapple, grapes, cherries, blueberries, kiwi, lemons, limes, grapefruit, pears, mango, papaya, cranberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, plum, carrots, spinach, garlic, asparagus, sweet- potatoes, cabbage, squash, fennel, swiss chard, tamari, lettuce, zucchini, onions, peas, egg plant, sweet peas, pumpkin, broccoli, kohlrabi, cauliflower, natto, leeks, cucumbers, peppers, celery, miso, spinach, jicama, kale, herbs, beans/legumes*, brown rice*, nuts*, seeds*, grass fed beef, pastured poultry, lamb, wild caught fish, raw cultured dairy, butter, eggs, olive oil, coconut, vanilla, cinnamon, carob, chocolate, etc. Too many to list!!
Non foods: avoid
Genetically modified foods, hydrogenated shortening, fruit snacks, V-8 fruit smoothies, canned fruit, juice boxes, canned vegetables, Twinkies, canola oil, high fructose corn syrup, fast food, cellulose (wood pulp), Doritos, foods labeled “low fat”, pasteurized dairy products, Cheetos, processed and prepackaged foods, Oreos, Big Mac’s, tofu, additives and preservatives on ingredient labels, white sugar, Taco Bell, candy, white flour, textured vegetable protein, most food products in the center aisles of the grocery stores, etc. Too many to list!!
*Beans, nuts, seeds, and grains:
Nuts and seeds- Nuts and seeds can be difficult to digest if not properly prepared. Soak nuts and seeds before consumption to make them easier to digest and allow our bodies to absorb their nutrients better. Soak raw nuts and seeds overnight in salt water, then rinse and eat or store in the refrigerator. You can also dehydrate them making them nice and crispy. The soaking process reduces enzyme inhibitors and phytates which are anti-nutrients.
Grains, beans,and legumes– Grains can also be difficult to digest and cause a myriad of health problems (insulin resistance, joint pain, weight gain, leaky gut syndrome) if not properly prepared. By soaking, sprouting, or fermenting (sourdough) grains and beans we reduce their phytic acid levels allowing us to digest them properly and easily absorb their nutrients. Phytic acid binds to minerals (calcium, magnesium, iron etc.) making it difficult for our bodies to absorb them.
To prepare grains/beans/legumes, soak 1 cup in water with an acid added 1 tbsp of : whey, lemon juice, or vinegar, for 12 to 24 hours or longer, rinse and proceed with cooking. You can also add a pinch of baking soda or salt instead of the acidic medium. Whichever method you choose, they make the beans easier to digest. In addition to soaking, sprouting can also be done to increase nutrients. You can buy sprouted bread, cereal, whole grains, flour, beans, and legumes if you don’t have the time to prepare them.
If you do not soak, sprout, or ferment your grains, or buy sprouted grain products then the grainfree lifestyle is for you. Since most people do not soak or ferment their grains, many opt to go grain free. I personally feel much better on a grain free diet and eat grains only a few times (3-5) per year. When I do eat grains (brown rice, amaranth etc.) I soak, sprout, or ferment them. When I eat beans I soak and sprout, then cook them. Note that it’s not necessary to avoid phytic acid completely, just reduce it as much as possible. Check out this article, Living with Phytic Acid, for research.
Animal products –Animal products are only healthy when the animals themselves are healthy. For instance, cows should be able to graze freely on grass and other greens while not being exposed to hormones or antibiotics. Poultry should be organic, meaning no use of hormones or antibiotics, and free range so they can eat plenty of bugs and get their daily dose of sunshine and exercise. Choose wild caught fish instead of farmed as farmed fish are fed a high soy diet. I purchase my high quality protein from U.S. Wellness Meats and Eat Wild. I purchase fresh, wild caught fish from a local fish market.
How do I incorporate real whole foods into my diet?
1. Juicing fresh fruits and vegetables several times a week.
2. Eating fresh fruit every day alone or in smoothies.
3. I eat a salad everyday with lots of fresh veggies, lettuces, greens, sprouts, and herbs.
4. I make a soup every week using home made bone broth with a ton of vegetables added in.
5. My side dishes at dinner time are very simple such as a stir fry of vegetables or a simple roasted vegetable.
6. I cook high quality protein on the weekend and use it to create different meals throughout the week.
How do you incorporate real whole foods into your diet? Tell me in the comment section below for a chance to win a 32 oz jar of Tropical Traditions extra virgin coconut oil!!
Below is a simple and healthy muffin recipe that combines two of my favorite fruits, figs and strawberries. These are fabulous for breakfast and I’ve been known to slather them with my homemade chocolate ganache for dessert.
Strawberry fig muffins
Gluten, grain, dairy, and refined sugar free.
It took a few tries to get this recipe perfect as my juicy strawberries were throwing off the liquid to dry ingredients ratio. The arrowroot powder really helps to absorb the extra juices. Organic strawberries are the way to go to avoid excess pesticides. I’ve found that when purchasing non-organic strawberries, their flavor is flat, and they get moldy quickly. With the organic strawberries that I bought, I was able to make these muffins, pancakes, and four servings of smoothies! Definitely worth the extra cost for it to be organic, as four uses for one small container is actually very economical.
2 cups almond flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ cup arrowroot powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ cup coconut oil, grapeseed oil, or butter
½ cup honey
1 large egg
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped strawberries (I used fresh strawberries, I’m sure frozen would work)
1 cup chopped figs (I used fresh)
¾ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line your muffin pan with cupcake liners. I use the foil liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl whisk the almond flour, salt, baking soda, arrowroot powder, and cinnamon.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, honey, egg, and vanilla.
4. Stir the wet ingredients with the dry and fold in the strawberries, figs, and walnuts.
5. Scoop batter into prepared muffin liners and bake for 25-30 min or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 30 minutes before serving.
Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil Give-away!
Tropical Traditions sent me a 32 ounce Gold Label extra virgin coconut oil to give away!! Have you tried Tropical Traditions coconut oil? It’s fabulous x 10 and my pantry is always stocked with at least one jar. I love cooking and baking with coconut oil not only because it tastes super rich and silky, but for its incredible health benefits too! The benefits of coconut oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, which gives coconut oil antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. And no, Tropical Traditions didn’t pay me to tell you all that.
How to enter the giveaway:
1. How do you incorporate real whole foods into your diet? (soups, salads, smoothies, etc.) Leave your answer in the comment section below.
For additional entries:
2. Like The Grecian Garden on facebook and leave a comment here letting me know.
3. Follow The Grecian Garden on twitter and leave a comment here letting me know.
You have until midnight on February 1, 2012 to enter.
How’s the new year new you going? Have you tried to eat healthy every January and find you’ve fallen off your get fit plan by February? My next class is for you. Learn how to shed pounds, get energy, decrease your risk for getting heart disease, diabetes and even cancer…
Recharge 2012: Simple Actions for Lasting Results:
Help your body heal gently and naturally. Come learn the basics of whole food cleansing and recieve all the resources you’ll need to make a detox easy and effective.
When: Thursday, January 26, 7-8:30 pm
Where: Jacobs Chiropractic & Wellness Center
215 Gulf Breeze Parkway, Gulf Breeze, Fl.
Cost: $24 ($20 if you bring a friend)
RSVP by Jan 24th to 850-916-7060