Roasted Tomato Soup; a recipe

The Gluten Free Renewal Cleanse is underway.  I took part in the intro call over the weekend in which Meghan Telpner and her staff gave us the basics and answered any pending questions on how to proceed.  I was very impressed with their stance that replacing gluten infused foods with unhealthy replacements (many include potato or corn starch) wasn’t the goal of the cleanse.  They not only want to assist us in removing gluten from our diet but to also replace with healthy alternatives and foods in general encouraging the cleansers to MAKE REAL FOOD (imagine).

Along with our support package and guidelines we were supplied with some great recipes for various meals throughout the cleanse.  I wanted to share this super easy, very delicious one I tried for Roasted Tomato Soup.  It was quick and easy to make,  a great alternative to heavier comfort foods and delicious.

Ingredients

3 tomatoes cut in half

1 small onion, roughly chopped

3 cloves of garlic

2T coconut oil, melted

3 c water or vegetable broth

½ tsp salt

½ c fresh basil leaves

Directions

Toss the tomatoes, onions and garlic in the coconut oil and bake at 375 degrees until they are soft

and slightly caramelized, about 35-45 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes or so.  Put the roasted vegetables some of the water/broth and spices in a blender and blend until smooth.  Add more or less liquid according to the consistency and your preference.  Season to taste.

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Go gluten-free; a giveaway

As promised, more information to consider and my very exciting giveaway, a gluten-free renewal cleanse, you have 3 more days to enter.

I’ve had an interesting relationship with gluten one I didn’t take very seriously until now.  What I’ve learned as of late has opened my eyes to so many other issues associated with gluten that I wasn’t even aware of.  Where to start?  Well, what is gluten?  For those of you that aren’t familiar gluten is a protein composite found in products made from wheat and other related grains such as barley or rye.  It serves a purpose of binding and lends to the chewy texture associated with these foods.

From what I’ve learned gluten acts like a glue/paste substance that adheres to the intestinal tract.  It can then get gunked up and inhibit nutrients from being absorbed properly which in turn lead to continually feeling hungry and overbearing cravings.  Gluten intolerance and gluten sensitivity has been attributed to many chronic diseases and ailments from digestive issues of all kinds, interference with brain processes (WHAT?) to headaches, body aches, depression and hyperactivity.  According to Dr. Barry Sears, of The Zone Diet (and more recently Toxic Fat), it could be contributing to a case of silent inflammation in your body that could linger for years or decades until ‘symptoms’ begin.  (I note symptoms as questionable as I believe our bodies so very often give us a head’s up when something isn’t right and we often ignore, brush it away or justify the sign.)

This silent inflammation is cell inflammation and disrupts the cell communication within our body; this is when we become more susceptible to cancer, diabetes, ADD, depression, etc.  Again according to Dr. Sears the gluten works hand in hand with Omega 6 fatty acids found in such things as vegetable oils, safflower and corn oils.  They act as building blocks for the inflammation fanning the fire and spreading the inflammation.  Removing gluten will be far easier than removing Omega 6 fatty acids from your diet as they are hard to detect at times.  One suggestion is that you increase your intake of Omega 3 fatty acids to high doses….combatting the existing inflammation and to begin the reversal process sooner.

I have been working myself and my children towards a gluten-free existenceas of late, which I’ve found a little challenging. I’ve always known that my body feels lighter and cleaner when gluten isn’t in the picture but my recent attempts are ultimately for my children.  This information spoke volumes to me and explained a lot that I had trouble explaining about my health in particular.  It was also a lot to take in and absorb but felt it was pretty important and I needed to share it.

I am not a health practitioner and in no way imply to direct care or explain illnesses to you only to perhaps enlighten you and call attention to what I think could be a problem for many.  If you’d like to research father for yourself, you might want to check out Gluten Free School or Dr. Sear’s site directly.

And for some recipe inspiration, check out some gluten-free favorites already posted; Chocolate Nut Butter Bars, Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies or these Healthy Superfood Bars.

thanks to Claudio.Ar for the photo.

My First Giveaway; a gluten free cleanse

I’m thrilled to have found this program; an online guide to ridding yourself of gluten.  When I did I immediately planned to participate and was thrilled when I was offered the opportunity to gift a spot to my readers as well.  Yes, a giveaway.

Meghan Telpner is a Toronto based nutritionist who runs The Love in the Kitchen Academy and regularly doles out healthy goodness on her blog, Making Love in the Kitchen.  Her list of accomplishments is endless, I invite you to check out her site here.

Meghan’s gluten-free renewal cleanse online program promises to assist in clearing gluten from your body over the course of a 4 week period while laying the groundwork for healthy alternatives.  Just look at all  it includes;

  • A 30-day guide to Gluten-Free living that you can download immediately after registration.
  • Two 7-day meals plans (that’s LOADS of meal and snack ideas)
  • 45+ amazing and simple Gluten-Free recipes
  • Gluten-Free cooking tips
  • Plenty of easily digestible (get it?) info about gluten and how it affects your body, why it’s addictive, hidden sources of gluten, and more
  • Bi-weekly emails with tips, support and bonus recipes.
  • Daily group support via Twitter (#GlutenFreeCleanse)
  • Weekly live video chat/conference calls

If this looks like something you would like to be a part of just a few simple steps are required to enter;

1. Follow me here on truly T H R I V I N G.  I will be tracking progress, posting about the cleanse and support is always beneficial.

2. Tell me why you have gone or want to go gluten-free.

3. Tell me any challenges you have been facing or are concerned with.

Simple as that.  Just email the above info to me at amberallen.p@gmail.com by Thurs Feb 23rd 2012 at 9pm EST.

I will choose a winner then and notify you by email with all the necessary details.  Get going, this will be a great opportunity.  I feel so blessed to be a part of it.

Have a great weekend,

amber

Is this you?

                      It seems like everywhere I go these days there are people sneezing, children coughing and notes coming home from school noting this or that has been diagnosed.  Beware.  February seems to be the season around here for all of the abuse we put our bodies through to come to a head.  Late evenings, skimping on nutrient dense foods while indulging in nutrient-free foods, not drinking enough water, not exercising, stressing out and ignoring the signs to sloooow down all contribute to the ultimate demise of our immune system.  Ok, dramatics aside our immunity is seriously compromised by stressing our bodies and minds to the max.  If we’re able to quiet ourselves and listen the signs are loud and clear. 

If you have been indulging in foods you normally don’t and you feel bloated, gassy, lethargic and grumpy this is a call to action.  Or if you are wondering why you’re falling asleep earlier than normal or wanting to take a nap it is your body’s way of healing or attempting to.  Listen and heed the call, you won’t be sorry. 

Asanas for the cold season

Are you someone that is plagued with a yearly bout of cough, congestion and possibly more if given time to fester and grow? You don’t need to give in and endure it each season. Take steps to become more in balance and prevent the mucus and congestion causing such discomfort but if you find you’re already there these poses can assist your recovery;

Uttanasana: standing forward bend

To begin stand with your feet hip’s distance apart. Swan dive forward brining your hands to the floor or onto your shins as you inhale lengthen your spine creating a long straight spine and as you exhale fold over your legs. Your knees can be bent slightly if this is more comfortable.

This pose is calming and relieves stress; it also alleviates sinus pressure and is therapeutic for asthma and sinusitis.

Bridge (supported): half wheel

Lie on the floor with your knees bent and heels near your buttocks, hands flat on the floor next to your body should reach your heels. If you want you can place a rolled up towel or blanket under your shoulders to protect your neck. With your inhale press into your feet lifting your hips high, making sure to have your knees working toward one another. Broaden the shoulder blades and if it feels comfortable interlace your hands under your tailbone increasing the lift.

You can always put a yoga block or bolster under your tailbone if this is too much.

This is a great stretch of the chest, neck and spine. It stimulates abdominal organs, lungs and the thyroid as well as therapeutic for asthma, sinusitis, headache and anxiety.

What’s in a cleanse?

There is so much talk these days about cleansing or fasting even so many different methods and schools of thought, I thought I’d chime in as well.  To me cleanses are mild, gentle ways to clear the body and mind of toxicity.  I’ve actually been doing cleanses since I was seven or eight years old, I just didn’t realize it.  During the hot humid days of summer my mother would have my sister and I pick a fruit, we usually both picked watermelon, and that is what we ate for the day.  We weren’t deprived of food we understood the concept of giving the body a break from digesting a variety of foods and willingly chose to eat fruit for a day.

Some of the cleanses out there can be harsh on the body, much more so than necessary.  Also, the timing needs to be right in your life for an effective cleanse.  When you’re traveling, sick, getting over an illness or just have too much on your plate already, it may not be the right time for a cleanse.  Keep that in mind when deciding if the time is right for you.  Some of these suggestions are very low-key and easy to implement into your daily life though.

  • Enjoy an adrenal cleanse drink from morning until your mid-day meal or if you’re feeling alright continue with the drink right up until dinnertime.  You can get my recipe here and check out my detox post.
  • Spend some time looking at what you eat by eating only whole foods that grow from the earth.  This will ensure you aren’t ingesting anything processed or sugar laden.  You’d be surprised what this can reveal about the actual food you eat.
  • Pick one food to eat throughout the day.  This could be a fruit or vegetable in season of even a batch of homemade vegetable or lentil soup.
  • Enjoy only liquids for the day.  This allows your body a break from chewing and digesting whole foods and can include enough variety that you won’t get bored or tempted to break the fast.  Include lots of water, herbal teas, juices if you like and soups (preferably vegetarian).
  • Go on a silence fast speaking to no one for as long as you can upon waking.  I’ve done this fast before, it is interesting.  It can feel awkward to refrain from speaking to others almost too quiet but I suppose that is the point.  We spend a lot of our time each day connected to our computers, our phones, music playing, kids yelling, etc.  Remaining silent can be both challenging and very satisfying.

If you do choose to fast or cleanse, make sure it feels like something good for your body.  If you’re experiencing excess stress about it or a nagging feeling not to do it, it won’t be a positive experience.  I recently read about someone doing a 10 day juice cleanse which was amazing to me.  The woman noted how she felt each day, the process of making the juices, recipes, etc.  She felt pangs of hunger and discomfort the first couple of days but as the time passed she noted feeling a lightness in her body she hadn’t felt before.  What really captured my attention was when she indicated her creativity soared.  I wanted this feeling, I felt like I needed a cleanse of some kind but I knew it wasn’t an all juice cleanse.  Not now.  I know I’ll complete a juice cleanse sometime soon (though a lot shorter than 10 days to start) but it will be when I’m prepared both mentally and physically and ready to do so.  Listening to your body is key.

I’d love to hear about any other cleanses you have done before or try out.

happy cleansing,

amber

Kapha pacifying; a recipe

If you’re trying to pacify Kapha like suggested here or just looking for a seasonal, warm, hearty comfort dish that is still full of healthy goodness I have a great meal for you.  An adaptation on one of my long time favorite dishes known as beans and greens to many which usually includes escarole and white beans.   Escarole is a delicious green but the kale lately has been over flowingly vibrant so I swapped out the escarole for kale.  There are so many variations of this dish but I decided to make an anti-Kapha dish to share so I included a little something to stoke the digestion as well. 

Kale + spicy white beans

Steam kale until cooked through but still bright green.

In a separate pan, warm some olive oil and crushed garlic.

Once the garlic is cooked lightly add the white beans (I use cannellini) and kale to cook together.

When it is done cooking, add red pepper flakes or cayenne and cook another minute.

Add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese if you choose before serving.  

 

Enjoy,

Amber