Sunday, April 29, 2018

Whole30 ~ For The Health Of It

I recently had a consultation with a Functional Medicine Practitioner. My personalized prescription started with a Paleo style, whole organic foods, AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) diet. For 30 days, the guidelines followed are easily found through "Whole30". I learned how some of my favorite foods are having a negative impact; creating chronic inflammation, low energy levels, digestive issues and chronic pain without even realizing it.
This protocol does require effort; grocery shopping, meal planning, dining out, discipline ... it comes down to taking responsibility for your plan and learning to say 'No, thank you'. YOU make the choice to eat something healthy, to commit 100% for the full 30 days. *"The plan eliminates the most common craving-inducing, inflammatory, blood-sugar disrupting, gut damaging food groups for a full month. The 30 days are required to break bad habits and stop unhealthy cravings ... to let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing ... and push the reset button with your health, habits and relationship with food."

Whole30 compliant
Read Labels!! 
I was shocked to find hidden sugar, sulphites and grains in many of my favorite condiments. My pantry is now re-stocked and Whole30 compliant with ... Spectrum Organic Balsamic Vinegar of Modena (natural occurring sulphites is Whole30 compliant), Red Boat Fish Sauce (no sugar, just anchovies and salt), Coconut Aminos to replace soy sauce, Maison Orphée Organic Raw Dijon Mustard, Primal Kitchen Real Mayonnaise with avocado oil, organic coconut milk and cream and Chosen Foods cold pressed naturally refined Avocado Oil for all cooking and high heat applications. Avocado oil has health benefits similar to olive oil, and a high smoke point (260̊ C or 500̊ F). At its smoke point, an oil begins to break down producing toxins and trans fats that can have a foul odor and taste and are toxic to our body.

For years I have not eaten nightshades; potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers, they trigger my arthritis. With recent health concerns, I have been eating a totally grain free diet since May 2017, no grain of any kind including all rice and corn. The Whole30 plan has also eliminated all dairy, sugar (including stevia, a bit shocking but I now understand WHY), legumes, alcohol, carrageenan, MSG, sulphites, baking, junk food and treats. There are a few exceptions to the rule, so it's best to check out the Whole30 site. I found their 'tough love' section very helpful. *"It's not hard" ... *"It's only 30 days and it's for the most important health cause on earth--the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime."

The recipe below started out with a need for something I could have on hand for any meal of the day and take on the ferry for a quick, healthy snack or lunch. It has morphed into one of my favorite foods; crunchy yet creamy, filling and healthy, with options to make it into a complete meal by adding olives, avocado slices or hard boiled eggs. 
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Kale Salad with Avocado/Lemon Dressing   Yield: 4-6 servings 
Crunchy yet creamy, even on the third day in the fridge! Turn this salad into a more complete meal by adding olives, avocado slices and/or sliced hard boiled egg.

1/2 bunch organic kale; washed, dried, stems removed and thinly julienne sliced 
1 Tbsp. fresh squeezed organic lemon juice 
Mise en place
1 Tbsp. organic extra virgin olive oil 
6 small leaves Chinese cabbage, thinly sliced 
3 large organic mushrooms, halved and sliced 
1/2 small organic zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced 
2 stalks organic celery, sliced on the bias (diagonal cut) 
3 organic green onions, sliced on the bias (diagonal cut) 
~Serve with olives, sliced avocado and/or sliced hardboiled egg, optional  

Wash and dry the kale, remove and compost heavy stems, julienne slice leaves thinly. Place in a large bowl with 1 Tbsp. each lemon juice and olive oil. Massage the kale until softened. Set aside and make the dressing.

Avocado/Lemon Dressing
Avocado/Lemon Dressing
3 Tbsp. fresh squeezed organic lemon juice
1/3 cup organic extra virgin olive oil  
1 large or 1-1/2 small, ripe avocados  
1 tsp. organic Dijon mustard  
4 cloves organic garlic, minced  
1/2 tsp. sea salt  
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper 

To make the dressing; in a small food processor, combine all dressing ingredients until smooth, set aside. 

For the salad; wash, trim and cut all remaining vegetables, add to softened kale and toss to combine. The dressing will be thick, spoon over salad and 'rub' into ingredients with a silicone spatula or the back of a spoon. Continue to rub and fold the dressing into the salad until combined. 
For a more complete meal, serve with olives, sliced avocados and/or hardboiled eggs.
Healthy, delicious and Whole30 compliant!
Till next time ... in good health and Bon Appétit!

Recipe by Sally Rae
Photos by Sally Rae
*Some Information above has been gathered through Whole30

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15

I was surprised how many people have never heard of the 'Dirty Dozen' and the 'Clean 15'. If your brow is furrowed with confusion right now... my case in point!! 

Each year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases the "Dirty Dozen", a list of the most pesticide-laden produce. EWG bases the list on tests done by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The 2017 annual report found a single strawberry sample with 20 different pesticide residues. Researchers also found DDT, a neurotoxic insecticide banned in the USA, in an alarming amount of spinach samples.

A "Clean 15" list is also included in the report, identifying the non-organic produce least likely to be contaminated with pesticide residues. I advise to choose and grow organic as often as possible. Washing may remove some of the residue but systemic pesticides are inside the produce and can still carry pesticide residue even after being washed and peeled. A good rule of thumb is to always eat lots of vegetables but choose organic when possible. Especially when it comes to Dirty Dozen items.
Local, Organic ~ From the Denman Saturday Market
This list should in no way deter you from eating fruits and vegetables, but it should make you aware and cautious of modern chemical farming practices. Using chemicals to kill weeds, microbes and bugs has numerous unwanted side effects including killing soil health and beneficial microbes. Pesticides are linked to dozens of health problems and other issues. Also, even low levels of pesticide exposure can be harmful to infants and young children. When possible, parents should take steps to lower children's exposure to pesticides while still feeding a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

The EWG’s 2017 Dirty Dozen List

Sweet Bell Peppers

The EWG’s 2017 Clean 15 List

Sweet corn*
Frozen Sweet Peas

       *Buy organic to avoid GMO Papayas and Sweet Corn

Till next time ... Bon Appétit!

Photo by Sally Rae