1 family. friendly food.

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Another cooking class has come to an end. Today the focus was leafy greens – the most delicious and nutritious food you can eat if you’re not scared of green food. Well, I know a lot of people who will debate the goodness of an edible leaf but they are wrong. So wrong. Scaredy cats.

Anyway, the good news are that the hardest part about cooking and eating the greens is washing them. It’s a bit of work. There’s lots of volume and after cooking you end up with only a handful of stuff to eat. (See this post.)

But the good news (more good news, yay!) are that you can find lots of already pre-washed greens, tucked inside a cozy plastic boxes in the fridge at the store.

To those who don’t mind rolling up their sleeves and sinking their hands in a big bowl of cold water (on a typical chilly fall day), you get to enjoy a bigger variety of the good stuff. Like collard greens

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mustard greens

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rainbow chard

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kale

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Wash and drain, lay on clean, dry towel and refrigerate until ready to use.

Today we (well, mostly I) made Morning green smoothie, NY Times salad with seasonal fruit today with plouts (though it looks like a tomato), orange, figs, and pear—I was generous with the fruit today. Butter lettuce, arugula, spinach, and baby kale are in there too!

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Pasta with leafy greens – the girls chose to skip the heavy cream

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Caesar collard greens wrap (raw and blanched) with turkey deli meat: The photo is a bit scary—it looks like a big green fish that is going to eat YOU, doesn’t it?–so I’ll keep it small. It was tasty though…

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Raw Tuscan Kale Salad With Pecorino and  Kale chips (didn’t have time to take a photo of those so check out the links)

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What can I tell ya? This is my idea of a fun day.

Tags : , , Categories : Cooking tips, Healthy Food Comments 1 Comment

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People have interesting reactions to the words “vegan” or “raw diet”. They get a tic or a twitch when they hear it. They dismiss it. They object to it. But mostly I detect their disbelief that vegans or raw dieters enjoy great-tasting food.

I admit that I had the same reactions to these words in the past. However, now that I define myself as a gluten-free vegan who is most likely soy-intolerant and eat cooked chicken and fish and less frequently red meat but not diary or eggs, I can testify from my own experience that vegan and raw food taste awesome!

Although “vegan” and “raw” are not interchangeable, and you, dear reader, might be a hard-core carnivore, addict cheese-lover, or whatever, how about we call it what it is: “fresh food”? It’s the common factor in all diets and ways of eating. (As it should be!)

Fresh.

Simple.

Clean.

The way nature intended it to be.

Everyone loves “fresh” when it comes to food, right? (If you don’t like fresh food, raise your hand!)

So never mind the words and definitions. Go make a salad instead.

Throw some nuts and fruits in there and dress it lightly.

Categories : Healthy Food, Salads, Side dishes and Vegetables, Vegan, Vegetarian Comments 3 Comments

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Currently, until I find out further what’s going on with me, I am still mostly gluten, dairy, egg, and soy free. I don’t feel deprived anymore—no need to feel sorry for me. In fact, I like it. It’s the kind of food that makes me energized and happy.

Happy food.

I feel better then I have in the past few years AND I lost about 24 lbs.! Yay for me.

Lots of people want to lose weight, but they are not willing to do much about it. Just like I was about 3 months ago.

In the past 3 months I grew to love eating a lot more fruit and vegetables, as well as to drink them and make treats—what’s not to love about it?–and summer is definitely the season to do it!

I realized that when I eat fresh foods I use much less oil and fats, I don’t need to add sugar, I consume less simple carbs (no flour), so, of course, the extra pounds shed off effortlessly.

last night I craved a treat. I wanted a milkshake.

A chilled banana shake hit the spot.

All you need are:

1-2 bananas

vanilla almond milk and/or vanilla coconut milk

good honey

vanilla extract

ice

Put all those in a blender and let it buzz until frothy. That’s it.

Cheers to life!

Categories : Beverages, Healthy Food, Raw food, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian Comments 3 Comments

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How does this sound to you: “No need to cook dinner today”?

With tons of fruit and veggies, fresh bread, hummus and tahini, olives, honey, fresh tomatoes, corn (and so much more) that I bought at the market today, I don’t have to cook dinner. Hip-hip-hooray.

It makes a perfect hot summer day dinner, don’t you think?

And this was by far The Best corn I have had since last summer. Yellow, organic, so fresh and crunchy. I adore it! 2 for $1.

I wish there was a farmer’s market today as well so I could go and get many, many more cobs of corn.

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Forget about the mealy corn you get at the grocery store. Especially if it’s not organic, then it means it is GENETICALLY-MODIFIED CORN, blech.

Nothing beats fresh fruit that has been picked only 1-3 days ago. Yesterday at the market, one of the vendors asked me “do you want your melon ready to eat today or tomorrow?” I thought I need to clean my ears. Oh my, how often do you hear THAT question????

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Go to the market, (actually, run) if you have one close enough to your home.

Enjoy summer’s tree-ripened, local and full of life-giving nutrients fruit and vegs as much as you can.

And while you’re at it, support the local (organic) farmers.

Categories : Farms, Healthy Food Comments Comments Off

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I make fruit salad every morning.

Usually, a bowl full of fruit makes my little ones’ bellies full and they don’t need anything else besides drinking a glass of coconut/almond milk (water is good too!) next to it.

We used to eat bread, cheese, yogurt, deli meat… I have always restricted boxed cereals, a.k.a. breakfast junk food , to Fridays only—it’s my day off.

Some people told me “But, I don’t have time to make fruit salad in the morning”.

Well… I promise you, it takes less time then making toast, waffles, pancakes, or scrambled eggs. (Sure, pouring cereal from a box takes less time but we’re talking a different league here, right?)

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Personally, I’m having a hard time eating breakfast so drinking a fruit shake solves this problem. This shake is like medicine to me—my healing shake.

Hurry up, try to make this little change in your breakfast before summer ends and all the fruit are gone!!!

Cheers to a healthy life!

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Categories : Breakfast, Detox, Family, Health, Healthy Food, Recipes Comments 1 Comment

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I have recently become gluten-free and dairy-free after I found out I’m sensitive to them. In retrospect I now suspect that some time down the road I developed this sensitivity and it made me get all swollen and puffy in my body and face, gain weight, get rashes, wake up with stiff muscles and neck, joints pain, a runny nose, and the scariest, receiving blood tests results that pointed high values that showed signs of inflammation.

All the doctors I’ve seen in the past 2 years failed to point out that a change in diet might solve these problems. Luckily, under the hands of a good nutritionist and a naturopath who guided me through the Detox program I am now doing SO much better! A new person almost.

Having to choose between bread and cheese or my health, the choice was easy. However, living by it, wasn’t as easy. It took about 6-7 weeks to adjust and not feel deprived of these foods that I loved so much.

I don’t look for substitutes anymore. I don’t need bread, I don’t need pasta, I don’t crave cheese, and I drink my 2-3 coffees per week (it used to be 4-5 per day) with almond or coconut milk.

I am telling whoever is willing to listen about how nutrient-rich food can make them healthier and even slimmer! So I started teaching cooking classes.

This week I had a tortilla making class at my house. I was all fresh, delicious Mexican food, Mostly organic, and mostly vegan. I didn’t point out it was “vegan” ’cause some people freak out when they hear this word Smile but besides a little piece of fish, that’s what it was and that’s how I mostly eat now. Summer is definitely a good season to be mostly vegan with all the bounty of fruit that’s out there right now.

I eat tons of fruit every day. It’s interesting to hear people’s concern about the sugar in fruit when in fact they are unaware how much sugar they are pumping into their bodies everyday in other, less nutritional ways (bread, pasta, doughnuts, pizza, in coffee, muffins, and in coffee… anyone?)

The cooking classes are so much fun and always end with a feast:

Tomato salsa (also called pico de gallo or salsa fresca)

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Guacamole

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Beans for bean dip

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Making dough for the tortillas, using 2 different masa

Everyone preferred Bob’s Red Mill

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Gorgeous!!!

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Wild cod

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And then we eat

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Yum

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Categories : Detox, Food events, Health, Healthy Food Comments 1 Comment

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A reader recently asked (as well as participants in my new cooking classes) how are the kids doing and what are they eating, since I started with the detox diet and all the changes that followed.

“I wonder how it goes with your kids? Do they change their diet too? Do you eat separately and prepare food for yourself only? What do your kids it?”

Great questions!

Well, things have changed around here.

Honestly, I was overwhelmed myself at first with changing my own diet. In fact, on the fist day of the detox I freaked out. I thought “Now I have to cook for myself, for my husband, AND for the kids and make 3 separate meals!”

Luckily, my husband was pretty much on board with me. He too, was already fed up with eating animal protein at every dinner and wanted lighter meals. Watching food documentaries like Food Inc., Food Matters, The Future of Food, etc has educated us both about what’s going on with food in the US. Not a pretty picture.

So, husband was easy.

Now, the kids.

Since the detox, I’ve been making a morning (or more accurately, a daily) shake. At first I used only fruit, but slowly I started adding leafy greens like kale, spinach, arugula, lettuce, etc.

At first the kids were hesitant about it when the shake got GREEN but after a while the curiosity got over their skepticism and they asked to try it, and of course it was delicious and they loved it, because IT IS yummy.

Now my 4 years old makes it with me sometimes and she doesn’t mind if I add flaxseeds and the green-colored pumpkin protein powder.

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When it comes to change, I believe in baby steps. I did not make the change overnight. It took weeks. These days when I feel so good, energized, and 23 lbs. lighter, I LOVE this new way of eating. And, of course, I don’t want to fight with my kids over food.

In the process of change, I got suspicious that my daughter is sensitive to milk. So we had an experiment. We eliminated milk and cheese and yogurt from her meals for a week and what do you know? She felt so much better. (She was very gassy before, every day.) So now we rarely use cow’s milk and other diary-products—I buy almond and coconut milk—and we use dairy products way less then we used to before.

Also, since I found I’m sensitive to wheat/gluten and learned that a lot of people are actually sensitive to them (but might not have obvious symptoms), I don’t push my kids to eat bread or finish their sandwich, and I started buying brown rice pasta and noodles instead of the regular ones.

Breakfast has long been a fruit salad in our house but now I believe in it even more. It takes 5 minutes to make—people think for some reason it’s time consuming but for sure it’s quicker then making pancakes or toast or even scrambled eggs. Kids love fruit.

It’s funny that—and I get asked that many times—people are concerned about the sugar in the fruit. My answer is, think about all the sugar you put into your body each day that comes not from fruit but from other sources (sugar, morning cereals, bread, pasta, baked goods….) and worry about that first. Besides, I eat tons of fruit every day and still lose weight–can’t argue with the results Smile

I try to get the kids involved in the new foods I make now, like lentils. I ask be with me in the kitchen and together we sort them, just like my grandma used to ask me to sort lentils, rice, beans and such.

When I changed my eating habits (it wasn’t easy. It took about 6 weeks to make a real, lasting change), I felt guilty about my family eating the “old” ways, less unhealthy than me. So slowly, but surely, I introduced the change. Fruit is an easy place to start and well as giving up on the dairy (or substitute for almond, coconut milk).

It give me lots of pleasure to see my family eating fresh fruit.

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Tags : Categories : Cooking with kids, Detox, Family, Healthy Food, Kids and Food Comments 1 Comment

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When I found out that I’m sensitive to dairy (it gives me rashes, nose and throat feel like I’m about to catch a cold or a flu) I realized I could not have mashed potatoes. Oy.

I felt the connection between eating/drinking dairy and my symptoms only after the 3 weeks of detox.

In this book that I’m now reading called “Eat to Live”, Dr. Fuhrman talks about how some people might choose to eat food that makes them sick and take medication and go through medical procedures but not change the way they eat.

I can relate. It’s hard to change habits. It’s hard to give up on all those tasty foods and treats around us: ice creams, coffee, wine, beer, cakes, cookies, chips, burgers, hot dogs, mac and cheese, fried food, cheese, deli meat………………… All these foods are indeed delicious. I wish I /we could all eat those things and be healthy and thin.

But it looks like most of us can’t. Yours truly included.

I decided to cut back on dairy, with rare tastings of cheeses. It’s hard not to have some, especially when I’m at friends houses and they place the cheese plate right under my nose, or when I get delayed at the cheese section at the grocery store…. But I’m working on it!

Choosing health over food is key. In the difficult moments it was the weight loss that encouraged me to continue.

Anywhooo, since I found out about the dairy sensitivity/intolerance, it kept me from eating mashed potatoes.

I used to pamper my mashed potatoes with butter and milk, and sometimes cheese or sour cream so I didn’t know what to use instead.

Then, one day, I thought…. extra virgin olive oil.

But still, I didn’t want to pour all that amount of oil into the potatoes since oil turns into body fat.

So… what to do?

Then, I noticed the beautiful juices from the roasted chicken I just baked and had my Ah-a moment!

So, in this pot above you see mashed potatoes with some evoo and the yummy juices from the roasted chicken all mixed together.

It was awesome!

Better than butter.

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Tips:

1. Before adding the chicken juices to the potatoes, de-fat them by pouring into a tall glass, let the fat float to the top, toss the fat away, use the juice/jus. (In this glass I got this much fat from roasting chicken bones to make Chicken stock. Don’t use the store-bought stuff. It’s not worth your money.)

2. For more tips about making better mashed potatoes, check out this old post.

3. In this book, Eat to Live, the author also says that potatoes are actually very low in nutrients. Therefore, another change I made in my cooking is to cook other vegetables to serve as a side and not mainly mashed potatoes mashed potatoes mashed potatoes mashed potatoes, or potatoes salad, etc.

Have you noticed how ALL restaurants serve mashed potatoes as a side dish, not to mention fries… It’s time to learn to make new side dishes.

Cheers to health!

Categories : Cooking tips, Detox, Healthy Food, Recipes, Side dishes and Vegetables Comments 3 Comments

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Back in April I sat here and whined to you about not being allowed to drink coffee on the Detox diet.

It took me about 3 weeks to get off the physical addiction to coffee, but it took longer than that to stop thinking about coffee day and night and craving it so badly.

Of course I denied I was addicted to coffee back then.

I now drink coffee again, but rarely. From 4 (sometimes even 5) drinks per day to about 2-3 a week.

And I now use almond milk and no sugar! Who’d have thunk???

But most of all, I love to drink…. water. And a fresh fruit and veggie shake.

I discovered since May that I am sensitive/intolerant to dairy. So, no milk. And no eggs. And no wheat.

And, to be honest, at first it depressed me, but now I don’t care much. I will tell you why in a sec.

Back to coffee, about a month ago I saw a rheumatologist. My doctors thought I might have an auto-immune disease, or that I’m on the verge of having one.

I was surprised to read in the doctor’s questionnaire these questions about coffee: “Do you drink coffee?“ and “How often do you drink coffee?” Same as they ask about alcohol and cigarettes!

I learn from that/suspect this means that coffee is as bad as alcohol and cigarettes?

Wow, tell that to our coffee drinking nation.

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Now, why don’t I care about not being able to eat wheat, eggs, and dairy?

First, because I feel so much better than I have in longer that I can remember!

Second, a a bonus, I lost about 15 lbs. and back to wearing size 8! The last time I wore a size 8 was 10 years ago!

But most of all, I feel physiologically and mentally so much better. Much calmer and happier.

They say kids suffer from all kinds of behavioral problems because of the junk food.

I ate well, and I’m an adult. I never thought the way I ate could affect my behavior so much! But I found out that IT DID!

Talk about how food can affect your mind, not just your body! It’s amazing!!!!

(Lot’s of !!!! today – sorry.)

No doctor I’ve seen in the past 2 years mentioned a nutritional change! No doctor thought that maybe food might cause health problems.

If you suffer from continuous health issues, feel tired all the time, or irritated and edgy, or if you are overweight, I warmly recommend that you see a (good) nutritionist. And, tell your family and friends about it!

This experience has changed my life. Only for the better.

I don’t care that I can’t eat all sorts of things. I focus on the bounty that I can eat. Lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and many other things which I will share with you, one post at a time Smile

***

About the shake:

In this post, I want to share with you my morning/all-day shake.

When I first started with the shake, I used mostly fruits. I wanted it to be sweet.

But as time went by I got more courageous and started using kale, spinach, arugula, lettuce!

I love it even more.

Next, I’m going to start adding herbs like mint, lemon verbena, etc. to make it even brighter.

I think my palate changed since I changed the way I eat. It’s cleaner, more focused.

I start my day with a tall glass of shake and take the rest with me in a thermos that keeps it cold for hours when I am on the go.

And I am definitely on the go!

I find myself running up stairs. Running!

I have lots and lots of energy.

People say my skin looks clean and glowing. How fun is that to hear?

I am thinking of teaching cooking classes to be able to pass on to others the things I’ve learned.

I hope you stick around to find out more about how food can make you sick and how food can make you healthier and happier.

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Categories : Beverages, Breakfast, Detox, Health, Healthy Food, Recipes, Vegetarian Comments 8 Comments

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In season.

Organic apricots.

Their season is short.

Grab them while you can.

Categories : Bite size, Healthy Food Comments 2 Comments