Tag Archives: Paleo

Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie

Apple pie is nice and all but I’d rather have chocolate any day. While taste preference is certainly a thing, just observing the differences in health benefits of your common apple to cacao I find good ole theobromine to take the cake.

Apples can be beneficial to ones health; containing pectin and fiber that cleanse the colon, liver and gallbladder. The downside though is that many apples are hybridized or cross-pollinated and about as “natural” to their original state as a Chihuahua is to a wild wolfe. That’s right, most modern fruit is in a highly man-altered state, resulting in a fruit that is 60 times sweeter and larger than it would be if it were grown wildly. This means potentially toxic levels of fructose (fruit sugar) and the greater likelihood of it being grown with pesticides.

All that being said,  if you do love an apple every now and then the maximum fructose intake recommended would be about 1 apple per day (ideally a granny smith or wildly picked!)

On the other hand, we have raw cacao and while not all cacao is grown equally, it is certainly non-GMO and of it’s original species, either Forastero, Criollo, or Trinitario. Then of course we have the long list of medicinal benefits that cacao provides:

  • Over 300 potent antioxidant qualties
  • Protein, calcium, carotene, thiamin, riboflavin, magnesium, sulfur, flavonoids, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids
  • Lowers LDL cholesterol
  • Improves heart function
  • Reduces risk of cancer
  • Rich in phenethylamine (PEA), which is a natural pain and stress relieving chemicals that stimulates the secretion of endorphins to help us stay alert and focused
  • Rich in anandamide, which produces uniquely euphoric feelings of relaxation and contentment.

With all the reasons to consume cacao and among the many ways to consume cacao, chocolate pie is easy, fun and uniquely delicious. But don’t believe me, try it for your self!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Here’s how you make it:

  1. First make your crust – in a food processor, grind soaked and dried almonds with 2 tbsp. of coconut oil and 1/2 tbsp. vanillamax
  2. Press your crust into a pie dish and refrigerate.
  3. Now for your filling – remove the meat from two young thai coconuts and scrap away and skin.
  4. In a high-speed blender, blend your coconut meat with the 1 cup cacao powder, 4 tbsp. coconut oil, 2 tbsp. brain octane, and the rest of the vanillamax until smooth.
  5. Remove pie crust and with a rubber spatula spread your filling into the crust.
  6. Refrigerate overnight and enjoy the next day!

IMG_4891

Probiotic Pumpkin Almond Cheese

Love cheese but want a healthier option than pasteurized commercial cheese? While there are some quality raw, grass-fed cheese available, nothing beats homemade. This particular cheese happens to be dairy-free for anyone who doesn’t tolerate it well.

What’s so nice about fermented cheese is that they make the nuts and seeds or whatever base ingredients very easy to digest. Typically, nuts and seeds are hard to digest and are better on the digestive system when soaked and fermented. This means not only easier digestion but also the increased bioavailability of nutrients in the nuts and seeds.

Making cheese does take time but it’s actually very simple to do.

PART 1: Culturing The Cheese

There are two steps to this cheese making process; first we prepare and culture the nut pate and secondly we age it.

To begin, here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of unpasteurized almonds
  • 1 cup of raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 starter culture
  • 1 tbsp. coconut yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. real salt
  • 1 tbsp. reasoning of choice (rosemary, thyme, basil)

Here;s how you make it:

  1. Begin by soaking your nuts & seeds for 6-8 hours.
  2. Afterwards, give them a nice rinse.
  3. Next, you have options. I would recommend blending them with 2 cups of water, straining through a nut mylk bag and viola, you have fresh nut milk. You can then use the pulp to make your cheese! You can also just blend the soaked nuts.
  4. If you go the first route, you’ll want to add a little bit of liquid back to the pulp or what I do is add one big tbsp. of coconut yogurt to the pulp. This serves as a starter culture and will add creaminess.
  5. If you go the second route – simply blend the nuts with a starter culture with sea salt.
  6. Transfer this mixture to your nut mylk bag or cheese cloth and wrap tightly.
  7. You can put in your dehydrator on low for 24hrs, or you can let it sit on your counter for 36 hours. This is the initial culturing phase.

PART 2: Aging & Flavoring The Cheese

After you’ve completed part 1 and your cheese has cultured (you’ll know because will be dry on the outside and soft on the inside with a yeasty smell) your next step is to age it with some flavor.

  1. Take your cultured cheese and place it into a glass bowl.
  2. Add your choice of spices. I like to add this blend of 24 spices for a savory cheese.
  3. Mix the spices into the cheese until fully incorporated.
  4. Scoop the mixture onto parchment paper.
  5. Roll it into a log shape.
  6. Store in the fridge for 4-6 days. This will age the cheese, making it more potent in probiotic bacteria and flavor.
  7. Serve on top of my savory sprouted sunflower seed crackers, sourdough bread or dip with veggie sticks.

For more delicious probiotic food recipes like this and over 130 other whole food recipes be sure to check out my new cookbook The Gourmet Foodie!

Creamy Chamomile Latté

I’ve been sort of fasting lately but not this is no ordinary fast. I suppose you could just call it a liquid diet. I am consuming not just warm lemon water, I am whipping up buttery tonics left and right.

Why am I doing this? Well, fasting is incredible healing and has the ability to completely reset and regenerate the body. However, it being summer time, I am eager to be outdoors and moving around.

Because I want to stay active — what would probably be too active for regular fasting — I want to get in some incredibly easy-to-digest nutrition. Because I am going to be moving about and active my body is going to need protein and inflammatory fats to aid recovery.

This inspired the thought of what an athletes fast would look like, then I created this! Thought it seems my diet couldn’t be any more dialed in, the one thing I haven’t done in a while is an extended fast or detoxification. I haven’t felt compelled too, which is likely do to my already clean diet.

Anyway, this post is more about this recipe I just created! I’ll spare you some of the details so I can talk to you more about the benefits of fasting, how to know if you should do one and why I’m drinking not eating solid food and nothing but water and buttery lattés all day,

The Miracle of Fasting

Fasting is one of the most ancient forms of healing. It’s practiced all around the world and even in nature. When an animal gets sick it simply finds a quite dark place to just be; no food, no exercise, no work, just pure relaxation.

Some say that fasting can cure anything. Even science can attest to the miracle of fasting. When fasting, the body goes into homeostasis or self-repair. The body releases incredible amounts of HGH and self-healing enzymes. In simple terms, fasting gets us out of the way of ourselves.

It is more often than not, that our illnesses come from our own bad habits. When we the time to fast, one of the most beneficial aspects of it, is that we finally stop doing what’s making us unwell. Which is usually, overworking, overeating, eating the wrong things, thinking too much and not just being present enough.

This is the idea of detoxification. Though the body already does an incredible job of detoxifying, our bad habits tend to give us more than it can handle. When we fast the body finally gets a chance to catch up. All those toxins from poor food choices, negative thinking and other forms of stress finally have the opportunity to leave the body.

Without fasting in some form, the body doesn’t get a chance to deep cleanse. In this modern world of excess and the “more is better” mentality, it could not be needed more.

During a fast, disease, tumors, cancers, parasites, and all that nasty stuff is competing for nutrition with our organs and the body makes sure the organs win. Though it is always trying to do this, we often vote in favor of disease with our harmful choices.

Fasting is one of the only proven methods for reversing the aging process. Above all else, it is proper calorie restriction that preserves the body. That’s because the body is a manifestation of energy. Because we are always expending energy (often more than we have) we need to be careful as to how we choose to use our finite energy.

Health is a balance of making the most optimal choice of bringing in energy without expending too much. This is the balance of life; making a choice that is more helpful than harmful.

Here’s the challenge, every single choice in life has a harmful or negative aspect. Even when we eat, we kill. That’s because we are all dying. Some try to stay ignorant to this truth, but death cannot be escaped.

When we eat, digestion is using incredible amounts of our energy. At the same time, we need calories and nutrition for energy and nutrition. Therefore, the long term goal is to making choices nutritionally that give us more true energy than it takes away. Food should energize you authentically and lift your spirits. You should never feel tired after eating.

During a fast, you step into this realization. You start to notice how much lighter you are. In the first 24 hours of fasting, there is no loss of protein or muscle. However, there comes a point where you start to feel natural hunger (not appetite). Then when you eat again, your new found heightened sense tell you what clearly gives you energy and at what point you hit diminishing returns.

Overall, fasting improves the mind/body connection to make long term beenfical choices. In the short term, fasting can:

  • Cleanse fat deposits around the organs and glands, where toxins are stored.
  • Aid the body in ridding toxins and the production of new clean cells.
  • Resets the hormonal system.
  • Improve mental clarity.
  • Balance the body.

Essentially, fasting is great for just about anything.

Who shouldn’t fast?

For the most part, fasting is going to be healing for anyone. However, that being said, individuals with adrenal fatigue, server disease or hormonal imbalances may feel incredibly worse when fasting.

This is because their body isn’t functioning well on it’s own and is greatly dependant on the energy from outside sources. The body is too deplleted of it’s own energy to survive off of it.

These individuals would want to first build up energy before fasting. Once the adrenals and thyroid are functioning well, the person would feel much more stable when experimenting with fasting and actually be able to reap the many benefits of a fast.

How to fast?

Fasting is about as simple as it gets, just stop eating and drinking — aside from pure, living water. Depending on how toxic you are, your experience may be different.

Try it for at least one day, where you drink nothing but water or green vegetable juices, herbal teas or homemade broths. Water fasting is going to be the most intense form of cleansing and should be done only by people who know what they are doing.

Depending on your condition you could try these various forms of fasting:

  • Intermittent fasting. slowly test the waters of fasting by spacing out your last meal of the day and your first meal of the next day. An example would be to stop eating at 6 pm, then do not eat again until around noon-2pm the next day. During that period only drink liquid (no protein in the liquid). Ideally, you would drink only water. You could do warm lemon water, herbal teas or if you need something more substantial try this Chamomile latté at the bottom of the post.
  • Bulletproof fasting. This is were you would fast on a liquid with more nutrition than plain water, yet is still giving the digestive system a break. Instead of meals, have a fat-added tonic/tea. This could again, be a bulletproof coffee (though for the benefits of a fast I would do decaf or an herbal substitute like this one.) Adding nutrient-dense fats to your liquids will help your hormonal system reset while giving the digestive system a break. Also, it is said that it takes 10 lbs. of healthy fat to regenerate a new liver in two months. This would be a great idea for anyone who doesn’t feel energetically up to a water fast and looking to regenerate or simply experience the lightness associated with fasting. This is what I do most of the time, I start my morning with my adrenal tonic, then a Bulletproof coffee or Tea Latté then have my first and only solid meal around 3-4. Then end the day with only water or tea. My energy is ridiculous.
  • Broth fasts. These are great for anyone with Candida or other expansive imbalances like bacterial imbalances or viral infections. Also, anyone with love adrenal or thyroid. Green juice can be way too cooling for the body and further exaggerate Candida or adrenal/thyroid imbalances. Broths on the other hand made from grass-fed bones, organic vegetables and seaweed will provide the body with tons of essential minerals for the body to heal. They are also more warming and balancing for anyone who is overly expansive.
  • Juice fast. If you want to juice fast only do it for 3 days max. Othrwise, you will imbalance the body. Also, only use green juice as root vegetales and fruit in juices are way too sweet to keep the body in balance. Better than juice fasting alone would be to have one or two green juices then add a green smoothie. In general, smoothies are superior to juices anyway. Here’s a blog post I wrote on the difference between juicing and blending. PErsonally, I would recommend sticking to having a juice for breakfast to get the benefits.
  • Water fasting. Not for the faint at heart, water fasting is intense and one ironically has to be in good shape to handle this. In general, build up energy as much as you can first before trying this. And make sure you are able to spend most of your time totally resting. A good way to water fast would be to do it once a week on a day when you have no obligations whatsoever. Be well rested and slept as well. Spend the day lounging, taking baths, out in the sun napping or in a sauna. Though water fasting can be incredibly healing and perhaps the most healing, it should be done with enthusiasm.

As a general rule of thumb to fasting, do not fast unless you are completely comfortable with the idea. Listen to your intuition.

So, this recipe…

I designed this and a few others out of the curiosity to fast but without losing too much size. The idea that was born was to spend a good two weeks only doing liquid. Instead of just water alone, I wanted to add the medicinal benefits of tea, healthy fats and easy to digest protein — all in liquid form.

This I created a sort of Bulletproof fast. This chamomile latté came to me in the evening when I was hungry but did not want anything stimulating, but rather relaxing. So I thought, chamomile!

Why Chamomile?

  • Relieves allergies, as much as any antihistamine.
  • Aids in digestion, especially when taken as a tea after meals.
  • Speeds healing of skin ulcers, wounds, or burns.
  • Treats gastritis and ulcerative colitis.
  • Reduces inflammation and facilitate bowel movement naturally. Non-laxative.
  • Treats skin issues, including inflammations of mucous tissue.
  • Promotes relaxation and relieves stress.
  • Heals insomnia. Chamomile’s mildly sedating and muscle-relaxing effects may help those who suffer from insomnia to fall asleep more easily.
  • Treats diverticular disease, irritable bowel problems and various gastrointestinal complaints. Chamomile is known as an anti-inflammatory and it’s antispasmodic properties relax the muscles lining the stomach and intestine. Therefore, it may be able to help to relieve stress-related digestive issues.
  • Soothes skin rashes (including eczema), minor burns and sunburn. It may also speed healing and prevent bacterial infection.
  • Treats eye inflammation and infection.
  • Heal mouth sores and prevent gum disease. A chamomile mouthwash may help soothe mouth inflammations and keep gums healthy.
  • Reduces menstrual cramping. Chamomile’s ability to relax the muscles can also relax the muscles of the uterus to ease cramping.

To say the least, this flower is rather powerful as a food and medicine. Not to mention it has a naturally sweet taste. If anything, I thought it would make a delicious tonic. If even just one of these bullet’s were completely true that would just be icing on the cake!

When your fasting, the most difficult aspect is to be without the pleasuring experience that eating can offer. So often we eat out of boredom and it’s because food can be a very pleasant and healing experience.

Though for me, the point of fasting was not only to get clearer physically, but to direct that new energy toward other areas of life; music, writing, relationships and my overall creative endeavors.

So far it’s been working great! Ever since I first started to really simplify my diet years ago, I have had much more creative power. It even reflects in my recipes! When I do eat, I create food with just as much creativity as I would anything else. This for me, is a good sign that the energy I have cultivated with a liquid diet is used wisely in every area of my life!

Anyway, I am ranting a bit on this blog. Let’s just get to the recipe!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Here’s how you make it:

  1. Bring water to a boil
  2. Add flowers to a steeping device then place in water. I use one of these sweet things!
  3. Let steep for about 10 minutes. Floral teas usually take a bit longer to steep I’ve noticed.
  4. Remove tea from water, then strain again through nylon strainer (Chamomile can leave behind little tiny flower pieces if no run through a fine strainer).
  5. Add tea to Blendtec with the rest of the ingredients then blend at warped speed until frothy and smooth.

What you’ll have is a creamy, frothy vanilla latté like none other. The ingredients will promote relaxation, stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system, a sense of calm and best of all it’s so delicious!

Are You Making Sauerkraut The Wrong Way? Here’s The Right Way

With the rising trends of the whole foods movement, sauerkraut and other ferments are making their rightful come back in the health community. Whether you’re new to fermentation or a veteran this blog is for you! I’m going to share with you the old and new of fermenting foods and how to make them the new or “right” way, as I call it.

Why Sauerkraut?
If you are not yet informed raw fermented foods are a super house of nutrition. They are nature’s probiotic. They provide trillions of cells of bacteria that no pill or powder could ever compare to. Because we are hundreds of trillions of cells of bacteria that means consuming healthy bacteria is fundamental to the health of our bodies. Our digestive tract stores our immune system and creates the symbiotic relationship of our intuition to brain, that “gut feeling”. Aside from its nutritional qualities like Vitamin C, phenol compounds and minerals, eating raw sauerkraut above all is a holistic and functional protocol to healing our body, mind and spirit.

The Old and the New
Kraut has been around for centuries and we’ve known about its immune enhancing properties long before this blog was created. I’m not here to discuss what we already know. Today, we’re talking kraut because like everything else in life, things are constantly being reborn. What was relevant yesterday is no longer useful today. The only things that go on existing based on the past are machines and machines are a dead phenomenon. Our bodies, our lives, our health; however, is a moving and living phenomenon! And in order to keep up with the endless expansion of our lives we have to stay incredibly present. What has served us in the past may no longer serve us and I find this to be true with diet. Food today doesn’t contain the same nutritional content it did before. Our environment is different, our consciousness is different and the way we live is very different. The old fashioned way (wild fermentation) of creating raw sauerkraut is no longer serving us! The wild fermentation process uses a SCOOBY (symbiotic culture of organisms bacteria and yeast) to convert the natural sugars into lactic bacteria (probiotics). Though this is perfectly fine for individuals with a healthy immune system, the truth is today nearly 95% of people in the world as affected by parasite and yeast infections. Our immune systems are highly compromised and we must be more health conscious than ever!

Wild Fermentation Vs. Cultured Fermentation
Cultured vegetables, a term coined by Donna Gates, is the “new” way of making and eating fermented foods. Many people have been making wild ferments their entire lives and are fine doing so. These are perhaps people who have been health conscious for quite some time now. And that is great for them! Continue to make ferments no matter what. This blog can still offer you something though so hang in there! The main difference between a wild ferment and a cultured ferment is the brine. Wild ferments use sea salt, whey, or a type of SCOOBY to ferment the food. Where a cultured ferment uses a Strain Specific Bacteria/Yeast combination. The point of using “strain specifics” is to ensure the protection of the immune system. Many of the wild yeast and bacteria that can grow during wild fermentation can be compromising for the immune system.

What are types of Wild Ferments?

  • Beer (commercial beer is not only wildly fermented but processed and highly acidic)
  • Kombucha
  • Dairy or Water Kefir made with Kefir Grains
  • Sauerkraut made with a sea salt or whey brine

Some of these foods can be consumed by healthy individuals as I said. Home brewed kombucha, beers and other wild ferments do have benefits assuming they are made with organic, quality ingredients. However, the key point is that they are not optimal. 

Who should avoid Wild Ferments?

Though I believe we should all be using more strain specific ferments to protect our immune system, the occasional wild-ferment won’t kill you. Here are some people who may want to replace them all together:

  • Those with Auto-Immune Disorders
  • Those with an active virus
  • Anyone suffering from known yeast infections (vaginal yeast infections are a big one!)
  • Those suffering from Adrenal Fatigue
  • People with Thyroid disorders
  • Anyone with digestive distress (bloating, gas, acid reflux, etc)
  • Those experiencing skin problems; acne, eczema, psoriasis, etc.
  • Those with a history or current mood and behavioral disorders

Making Kraut the “Right Way”
Enough talk, let’s make some kraut! As I mentioned before, the main difference between the “right” and “wrong” way of making ferments is the use of a starter culture. The use of the starter culture is going to populate your kraut with healthy probiotic bacteria. This way, while your cabbage is fermenting it already has a healthy head start. The good bacteria and yeast will grow, leaving little to no room for any harmful or immune compromising bacterias to grow.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 head green cabbage
  • 2 tsp. caraway seeds
  • 2 tsp. Real Salt Sea Salt
  • Starter Culture
  • 1 tsp. prebiotic (raw honey, rapadura, or ecobloom)
  • 1/2 cup. filtered water
  • 4-5 Outer Cabbage Leaves
  • 2 32oz. Glass Mason Jar
  • Wood Cutting Board
  • Sharp Knife

Here’s how you make it:

  1. First start with the brine. To make the brine, take your room-temp water and add the prebiotic and starter culture, sea salt and caraway seeds. Let sit for 15-20 minutes (the time you take to chop the cabbage should do!). The healthy microbes will start to come to life by eating up the prebiotics. This way when you add the brine to the cabbage it will start fermenting the cabbage with healthy bacteria before any harmful ones have the chance to grow.
    starter-kit
  2. Next, you want to take your cutting board out and core and chop the cabbage. I personally like to hand chop my cabbage. I find the longer, thinner pieces of cabbage ferment nicer and have a better texture than using a food processor. If you want, you can core the cabbage and pulse it in a processor. You will get a different consistency, you can make it very fine, almost apple sauce-like if you will. Some people love it this way! At this point, it’s personal preference, it won’t change the benefits of the kraut.
    IMG_4178
  3. This is my secret for making the perfect kraut! Once the brine has sat and your cabbage is chopped simply take the cabbage and add it to a clean croc-pot or big glass bowl. Next, add the brine to the cabbage in the croc and mix by hand or with hand potato masher for 10 minutes. Really mix it up! Then let it sit, covered with a clean cloth for about 20 minutes to an hour. This way all the brine is completely mixed through. It will make the kraut ferment faster, more evenly and the flavor will be more tasteful and distributed.
    dsc_0017-2
  4. Lastly, you want to stuff the cabbage and brine into the mason jar. You’ll notice once you have mixed the cabbage and brine solution together and it’s sat that it has pulled out even more of a brine. There should be a lot more liquid than when you started. You might have even noticed more of a brine forming as you were hand mixing it. The goal is to have enough brine to cover the cabbage. So when you stuff the cabbage mixture into the jar, pack it down very tight so the water rises above the top. If there is any cabbage exposed to air it won’t ferment and will rot instead. If you have to, add more water to the jar to make sure it’s covered. Then roll a few of the cabbage leaves to place on top and keep the cabbage packed down.
    5_Jar_cabbage
  5. Let sit out on the counter or insulated cooler for 5-7 days. Ideally, you want the room to be about a consistent 72 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll know they’re done when some bubbles are present, the brine is a little cloudy and the cabbage has changed from a brighter green to more of a yellow.

To really know whether or not a wild ferment is good for you or not is going to require a great detail of sensitivity. Anyone working to build their health should be honing in on their intuition. Building a relationship with your body and seeing how it responds to foods requires honesty with yourself. Only you can know. So more than anything I offer you this recipe as an experiment for your health and the obtainment of more!

Signs you may be reacting to wild ferments:

  • Itchiness on body, especially in throat.
  • Increased skin problems
  • A change in body odor
  • Mood changes

Let me know in the comments if you’ve experienced the difference between traditional ferments and cultured ferments!

Best of health,
Nick