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A blog about conscious living for health happiness and beauty

A blog about conscious living for health happiness and beauty

By definition to be conscious is to be aware of and responding to ones surroundings; awake.

Too many people sleep walk through life.  We allow life to push us to and fro like a piece of seaweed drifting on the tide.  The food we eat, the clothes we wear, the friends we have and the thoughts we think are all things we can choose.  You could even choose to hold your breath right now until you pass out, but chances are you wont, and why is that?  Because it is not pleasant and is harmful, yet we unconsciously make unpleasant choices daily that harm our bodies our minds and our planet.  Together lets wake up and choose more carefully so we can write our own stories while becoming our best selves.

It is our choices that show us what we truly are, far more than our abilities – Albus Dumbledore

 

What are nightshades and why they could be effecting your gut health?

 

If you have never heard the term nightshade, you would not be alone, and even if you have, you might not fully understand the health effects they could be having on your body.

In fact, many night shades are widely considered to be health foods but could be having an unhealthy effect on your gut and autoimmunity.

If you are still sitting here wondering what nightshades are, they are from a family of foods called Solanaceae with over 2500 varieties, many of which are inedible, though some are used for medicinal purposes.

Some of the common night shades that you have probably eaten are; potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, tomatillos, chili peppers and gogi berries. The reason these foods can cause problems for some people comes down to their glycoalkaloids, in particular solanine.

Now if you are really wondering what the heck I’m taking, glycoalkaloids can easily be explained as a plants natural defense mechanism, it is most concentrated in the skin and is used to ward off insects and disease. This is why we are technically not supposed to eat green sprout-y potatoes and why people can get super sick from doing so. (Though c’mon, who among us hasn’t sliced off those little nobs and carried on with their potato cooking?)

In addition to Solanine, nightshades contain super high levels of Lectins (plant proteins) that can actually permeate cell walls, causing leaky gut and weird allergic reactions.
An ideal healthy gut can likely handle itself some glycoalkaloids. However, if your gut is already compromised (many of us with autoimmune disease have some level of leaky gut) or if your body displays an allergic reaction to nightshades, a wise choice would be to minimise your intake of them or cut them out entirely.

When I did my elimination diet, I was sure to also eliminate nightshades and discovered I get a severe reaction to eggplants. As a result, I have also cut back on eating peppers, potatoes and tomatoes just in case. My nutritionist informed me that cooked peeled Roma tomatoes are among the least gut offensive nightshades, provided I purchase them in a glass container (no BPA!) so thankfully tomato sauce is still on my menu and I still do enjoy me some peppers and potatoes in moderation.

Finally, it should be said that what is healthy for one person’s body can be incredibly toxic to another person and would never claim that everyone in the world should cut out nightshades entirely. I do highly recommend omitting them during an elimination diet and be very observant of how they affect you when you reintroduce them back into your diet.

For more information on how an elimination diet is an integral part of an overall health overhaul, I wrote a post about it here.

Cream of sweet potato and cauliflower soup

Cream of sweet potato and cauliflower soup

 

 

This soup is easy peasy.  The only special thing you need is an immersion blender (something I could not live without!)

I suppose you could do it the old fashioned way in a blender but after a blender explosion that involved 3rd degree burns and ceiling stains, I generally stay away from putting hot things in my beloved Vitamix.

This was one of those use what you have soups that turned out so good I had to blog it. Pureed soups can be a bit of a hit or miss with me  I find they can go from gourmet to baby food mush pretty easily so I always garnish them up really nicely to add interest to my palate and eye.

This time I indulged with bacon, pine nuts, parsley and cashew feta.  I ate two bowls to myself and by the time my family got done, there were no leftovers to forget about in my fridge.  Success!

If you want a hot, creamy, nourishing bowl of soup on your table tonight, give this one a try!

 

Cream of sweet potato and cauliflower soup

Ingredients:

1 large or two small leeks (white parts washed well)

1 clove garlic

3 cups chopped cauliflower

1 sweet potato (about 1.5 cups cubed)

1 tsp thyme

2 tbsp. grass fed butter or coconut oil

1/4 cup coconut milk (creamy part)

3 cups bone broth or veggie stock

3 tbsp. cashew cheese

salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Heat butter and sauté leeks until translucent

Toss in garlic and remaining veggies

Season with salt, pepper and thyme

Cover with stock and simmer 30 minutes

Turn off heat and stir in coconut milk and cashew cheese

Using an immersion blender, blend until a creamy pureed consistency

Garnish with some herbs, meat, nuts, grain free crackers, and or any cheese of choice.  Just have fun with it, the soup is a perfect base for a wide range of flavours!

 

 

 

 

 

Delicious Herb Falafels

Delicious Herb Falafels

Falafels are one of those amazing foods that meat eaters enjoy as much as vegetarians.

In my vegan days falafels got me through some dark times, but now I am eating to heal my autoimmune diseases and have eliminated most grains and re-introduced pastured meats.

I have seriously never felt better, but that doesn’t mean I’m only into eating meat centric meals.  In fact I still have a well rounded arsenal of delicious grain free vegan recipes I love and would still consider my diet to be largely plant based.

While legumes can be tricky for some guts, I did an elimination diet that revealed garbanzos to be fairly benign for my sensitive belly.

And so, my love for falafel lives on.

The biggest problem with falafels is the price tag on the pre-made ones.  It’s crazy to me considering I know how to make these delicious little bad boys right at home, and I also know how ridiculously cheap it is to do so.  Two dozen falafels only cost a couple bucks to throw together.

They store in the fridge or freeze very well so you can make them ahead and always have them on hand. They are perfect to round out a salad, toss into a flatbread or just serve them up with some dips like coconut tzatziki, hummus, or my favorite cashew cheese!

The key to authentic tasting falafel that are crispy outside and fluffy inside is using dried garbanzo beans soaked for 24 hours.  Yes, I’m not joking, dried garbanzos!

Whenever I come across a food blog with falafel recipes that call for canned chick peas I am so outta there!  Not only are these recipes non authentic tasting, but they often call for a breading to get that crisp outer layer.

Real falafels are easy to make, take just a few ingredients and should always be 100% grain free and plant based.  These ones taste like they come from your local shawarma spot.  Try them out today and let me know what you think!

 

 

Delicious Herb Falafels

Ingredients:

1.5 – 2 cups dried garbanzos soaked for 24 hours (should look like roughly 3 cups after soaking)

1 shallot

3 large garlic cloves

1/4 cup cilantro

1/4 cup parsley

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp pepper

1.5 tsp salt

1 tbsp. garbanzo bean flour

0.5 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup refined coconut oil

 

Directions:

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend into breadcrumb texture

Gently form small balls about the size of ping pong balls

Heat oil and fry until golden brown in two batches

Drain on a paper towel and serve with your favorite dips such as, cashew cheese, coconut tzatziki, or hummus.

 

 

 

 

Dole Whip inspired smoothie bowls

Dole Whip inspired smoothie bowls

 

 

I’ve only been to Hawaii once but I have to admit my experience did not live up to all of the hype I had been promised… horrible right?

Don’t get me wrong, I feel very blessed and grateful that I even had the opportunity to go to Hawaii, but Waikiki in the middle of summer is just not my cup of tea.  It was steaming hot, balls deep crowded and beyond expensive.  Pay money to hike to a waterfall?  No thank you.

Also, more than one person asked me if I had ever seen the ocean before, assuming of course that being from Canada I live in a frozen dry wasteland.  (Quick fact, Canada has the longest natural coastline of any country in world.)

Ok, so the warm crystals waters and white sand beaches weren’t exactly terrible…. There’s no way I will write off the Islands entirely until I at least give Maui a shake, but I’m in no rush to head back to Honolulu anytime soon.

My highlight of the entre trip was driving to the (slightly less crowded) North shore to snorkel.  We stopped on the way at the Dole plantation to look at adorable little pineapple plants and to taste the world famous Dole whip.

We didn’t end up doing the full tour, because that, like everything else in Oahu, cost way too much money, but the Dole whip? That shiz fully lived up to all the hype and exceeded my wildest expectations.

I still can’t get over the fact that it is dairy free.  It’s sweet, creamy, and bursting with  pineapple flavour.   A perfect way to cool down mid July in the tropics.

My recent Vitamix purchase has made banana ice cream a regular thing in my house, but in memory of those frosty whips I thought I’d spice up our usual blended bananas and try my hand at recreating something similar right here in freezing cold Canada.

My home made version turned out amazing, a very respectable nod to the real Dole deal, but less sweet and more natural tasting.  I highly recommend it, especially on a hot day.

I topped mine with home made grain free granola, kiwis and pomegranate seeds but you can just go ham with anything you have around.  #usewhatyouhave

That is the beauty about fruits and veggies, endless flavour combinations that all just seem to work.

 

Dole whip smoothie bowls

Ingredients:

1 cup frozen bananas

2 cups frozen pineapple

1/4 cup coconut milk (creamy part)

1/2 lime juice

Directions

In a high speed blender mix all the ingredients together

Use the tamper to push it down and scrape the sides as needed

Add a bit of liquid from the canned coconut if desired to help blend

Separate into bowls and top as you like

 

 

Mashed sweet potatoes two ways – gnocchi and roti – gluten free, grain free, plant based, paleo

Mashed sweet potatoes two ways – gnocchi and roti  – gluten free, grain free, plant based, paleo

This is such an easy recipe and calls for the EXACT same dough to create two entirely different edibles.  They best part? It only takes four ingredients (and salt is one of those).

This recipe is gluten free, grain free, vegan, and paleo.  You can make the gnocchi a day or two ahead and store in the fridge for later.  The roti keeps in the fridge for a week (just heat in the oven to soften) and it freezes well too.

 

I like gnocchi a lot but a typical gnocchi recipe calls for flour and white mashed potatoes.  These are two big no no’s on an insulin regulated diet.

I have made this roti before, inspired from another recipe that calls for white flour, but the inspiration to attempt gnocchi struck completely randomly, and it paid off!

I pan fried the gnocchi with some shaved zucchini, mushrooms, artichokes, garlic and cashew cheese, topped it with fresh parsley and walnuts and nearly blew my socks off. It was so good.  Truly, this was one of those special recipes that makes you completely forget you are eating a restricted diet.

The Roti is the perfect vessel for falafel, veggie burgers, normal burger, curry or whatever else you fancy in a flat bread.

Initially, I was just going to post the roti recipe, but because the gnocchi was also such a great success we’ve now got an official two for one!

 

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Sweet potato gnocchi and/or roti 

 

Ingredients:

1 large or 2-3 small sweet potatoes (a cup mashed)

1 cup cassava flour

2 tbsp. olive oil

a good pinch of salt

 

Directions :

Preheat oven to 350

Roast sweet potato(s) with skin on until fork tender

Allow to cool until touchable and peel skins from the potatoes

Mash with a fork or process in a food processor to a fairly smooth mash (some larger pieces can remain)

Transfer the mash into a bowl

Stir in salt, oil and cassava flour

Form a soft dough

Use extra cassava flour as needed

 

For the gnocchi:

Gently form the dough into long cylinders about the width of a hot dog

Cut into 0.5″ pieces and very gently press with a fork

Pan fry immediately or store in the fridge between parchment for later use

Use within two days

 

For the roti:

Heat a dry skillet over medium low heat (if its a sticky one, lightly brush with oil)

Divide the dough into ping pong sized balls

Gently flatten with your palm and then roll between two pieces of parchment to just under a quarter inch thick

Transfer to the skillet and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute per side

You should see it puff up a bit as air bubbles form, this is how you know its time to flip

 

 

If you make this, tag me on Instagram @tha_wild_sage and let me know how you like to eat your Roti / Gnocchi.

 

 

 

 

 

Thai style coconut curry bone broth soup – grain free – gluten free – gut healing

Thai style coconut curry bone broth soup – grain free – gluten free – gut healing

It has been colder than a mofo up here in Alberta these past couple of weeks so I’ve been making soup on the regular.

There is something so comforting about a steaming bowl of soup on a cold winter day.  I love to listen to it simmer away on the stove as smells of warmth and comfort engulf my home.  I also love to use up every last bit of leftover roast chickens I make frequently and find that a good soup is the best way to do this.

Soup makes winter just slightly more bearable.

And according to my guy, this is the best soup I have EVER made.  My kids are always less enthusiastic but still happily cleaned their bowls(I served theirs over rice stick noodles) and if you know my kids, you’d know eating without complaint is basically a win for mom.

The broth is a perfectly balanced mix of fat, sweet, sour and spice.  I find Thai Kitchen curry paste to be incredibly mild so if you are cooking for a more adult palette I would suggest obtaining a more authentic curry paste or add a few extra chilis to your broth.  Thai kitchen seems to be the easiest to find around here and does the trick in this recipe.

We all know bone broth is a gut healing super hero but most people don’t realise it should be a near daily part of any autoimmune healing diet.

I usually have a slow cooker full of bone broth on the go as well as a few mason jars of prepared broth in my fridge.  You can also freeze it in popsicle molds or ice cube trays so you always have it on hand.

I’ll often drink bone broth like a cup of tea or cook my veggies in it as an alternative to oil. But after making countless pots of the nourishing liquid I began to tire of the typical, carrots, celery, onion, garlic bay leaf flavour.

If you’re getting bored with plain old bone broth try some different variations. With herbs, spices and veggies, there is a world of taste possibility out there.

The key to making this soup super good is making a super good broth as the base.  I make mine with some key Thai ingredients so when it comes time to assemble the soup you are already half way there.

It just takes a few simple add ins to transform the broth from something typical to something spectacular.  And if making broth seems like more trouble than its worth don’t fret, its actually just a few minutes of prep time.  Your stove will do the rest and your house will smell amazing.

The broth is the most daunting part of this recipe as it comes with a fairly long ingredient list.  Feel free to leave out any ingredients you can’t find as long as you include the curry paste and lime leaves, it turns out.

This recipe yields extra broth that freezes super well so you can make future batches of this soup quickly whenever the craving strikes. Once you have the broth made, the rest is easy.

 

Thai coconut curry soup 

 

Broth ingredients:

1 tbsp. coconut oil

1 tbsp. red curry paste

1 organic chicken carcass stripped of meat (set meat aside for the soup)

1 onion or 2 shallots chopped

1 stalk of celery chopped

1 carrot chopped

1 roma tomato chopped

3-4 cloves of smashed garlic

3 litres filtered water

a few thin slices of fresh ginger root

2-3 lime leaves

a bunch of cilantro stems

1 smashed stalk of lemongrass

1-3 thai chillies (whole for milder broth chopped for more heat)

1 tsp fish sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Soup ingredients:

1 tsp coconut oil

1 tbsp. curry paste

1 can coconut milk

6 cups prepared broth

1 lime juiced

1 tsp coconut sugar

1 tsp fish sauce

2 cups chopped cauliflower (or cauliflower rice)

1 chopped red pepper

Shredded left over chicken

Handful of chopped cilantro leaves

 

Directions for broth: 

Heat your oil in a Dutch oven and add the curry paste, cook a minute until it becomes fragrant

Add the onion, celery, carrot, tomato, and garlic, cook a couple minutes more

Add water and scrape any browned bits to incorporate

Toss in chicken carcass and remaining ingredients

Bring up to a low simmer and allow to cook for a minimum of 14 hours or up to 48 hours

If you would like to you can transfer it to a slow cooker or leave it to simmer on your stove top (not recommended for gas ovens)

 

Directions for soup:

Heat the oil in a soup pot

Stir in curry paste and cook until fragrant

Add prepared broth and bring up to a simmer

Toss in peppers and cauliflower, cook about 10 minutes

Add a full can of coconut milk (the light variety works fine too)

Add chicken, fish sauce, coconut sugar and salt and pepper to taste

Simmer another 5 minutes

Finish with lime juice, cilantro and coconut sugar to taste

Serve with a lime wedge.

Serves 3

 

Feel free to adjust to your tastes, if you are watching those cals go lighter on the coconut milk and supplement with more broth.  If you are still on the grain train serve it over rice stick noodles or basmati rice.  Be sure to taste it as you go, and you’ll know when its perfect.

If you make your own version please tag me on IG @tha_wild_sage or go ahead and pin it.  Getting good feedback on my healthy recipes is all the motivation I need to keep making more.

Happy healing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lemon black berry cheesecake – raw- vegan – gluten free – grain free – kid friendly.

Lemon black berry cheesecake – raw- vegan – gluten free – grain free – kid friendly.

 

Cheesecake was one of those things that never really appealed to me before my autoimmune diagnosis.  I’ve always been more of a savory girl and somehow the words ‘cheese’ and ‘cake’ just didn’t belong together in my mind.

I’ve also always been a proud member of ‘all desserts should be chocolate’ camp, but something interesting happened to my palette as I began making more consistently healthy choices.  It was like my taste buds reinvented themselves.

I first encountered a similar cheesecake on a trip to Montreal.  This was in the peak of my vegan days and  was beyond thrilled to discover a small raw vegan kitchen not too far from where I was staying.  I went back everyday for the entire week to grab a slice of blueberry cheesecake and a double chocolate brownie.  (Maybe this lack of self control is part of the reason why I was never thin as a vegan.)

And it was in Montreal that I also observed a strange phenomenon, I would always finish the cheesecake first.  I would practically inhale it.  The balance of sour, sweet and fat flavours was perfection, while the brownie in comparison seemed almost too sweet, too rich.   It was  here that I first observed my taste buds were changing.

Don’t get me wrong though, that brownie would get eaten.

And I’ve since gone on to develop a few of my own variations of that raw vegan brownie recipe that I’m super excited to share here in the near future.

Today though, it’s all about the cheesecake. 

If you make just one recipe this weekend, this should be it.

Because blackberries are easy to find and I absolutely adore them, I chose them to top of my creamy cake.  I have also used; pomegranate seeds, blueberries, strawberries, cherries, and sometimes, I just keep it real with plain lemon.  It’s all good.

I think we can agree, lemon and fruit, particularly berries, love each other, so just have fun with it and use what you have on hand!

This cheesecake comes together so easily, it sets up in the freezer, is fully plant based and completely void of processed sugar.  In fact the only sugar in the whole pie is a handful of dates and a couple tablespoons of maple syrup.   It’s also a major crowd pleaser, whip one up for your next dinner party and your guests will beg you for the recipe

(Send them my way!)

You will need a food processor and a good quality blender, but if you don’t already have these tools, and are serious about living a healthy lifestyle I highly recommend you get out there and obtain them asap.  Mine get used nearly everyday and have been worth every penny.

This is coming from a girl who purchased her $1200 Vitamix blender in installments. #worthit

 

Crust ingredients:

6-8 menjool dates (use 8 small or 6 large)

1 tbsp. coconut butter (you can use oil but it will produce a different texture and not be as light and crust like)

1 cup walnuts or pecans pieces

1 tsp good vanilla

A good pinch of salt

 

Filling ingredients:

Roughly 3/4 cup coconut cream (this is the thick white part on the top when you open a can of milk)

3 tbsp. melted coconut oil

Juice of 2 lemons (should be close to 1/4 cup)

Zest of 1 lemon

3/4 cups cashews soaked for a minimum of 4 hours

2-3 tbsp. maple syrup to taste

1 tsp vanilla

A good pinch of salt

 

Directions:

Rinse your cashews and soak for at least 4 and up to 24 hours.  Rinse again well before using.

Remove the pits from the dates and using a food processor, process into rough pea size pieces

Add the coconut butter, walnuts, salt and vanilla and process to the texture of breadcrumbs

Press the crust mixture into the bottom of a small pie pan and place in the freezer to chill

In a high powered blender add all of the filling ingredients

Blend into a smooth cream scraping down the sides as needed

Pour over the chilled crust and return to the freezer for an additional 30 – 60 minutes

Remove from freezer and allow to soften a bit before slicing

Top with your choice of berries/fruit – be creative

Serves 12

Lasts about 3 days in the fridge and 3 weeks in the freezer ( I recommend storing it in the freezer and letting it thaw a bit in the fridge prior to serving)

If you recreate your own version of this recipe tag me with your creation @tha_wild_sage on Instagram.  I love to get feedback, it keeps me motivated to keep creating healing recipes for you guys!