Tag Archives: Real Food

The Health Benefits of Sweet Cherries

Health Benefits of Sweet Cherries

The cherries are in season, so now is a good time to enjoy them, freeze them at their peak to enjoy all winter and to reap the health benefits of this delicious stone fruit!

 

Let’s talk about the benefits of sweet cherries!

 

Some of my favorite benefits of cherries are the compounds that help improve sleep naturally (they contain natural melatonin). If you want the benefit of better sleep, have a serving an hour before bedtime. 

 

Cherries also contain anti-inflammatory properties, and they inhibit oxidative stress. It is always a good idea to eat foods that decrease inflammation in our bodies that can lead to a variety of diseases and health problems, and oxidative stress leads to premature aging and puts you at a higher risk for cancer, neurodegenerative disease and diabetes.

 

The red color of the cherries is from Anthocyanins which are a class of antioxidants that research shows can benefit our bodies in several ways. Anthocyanins are anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-microbial and neuroprotective. Anthocyanins can rev up fat burning and decrease fat storage. The polyphenols in cherries are a boost to heart health and aid in exercise recovery.

 

As with any fruit, stick to reasonable serving sizes.

 

1 Cup of Sweet Cherries has 90 calories, 22 g of carbs and 17 grams of sugars.

 

Sweet Cherries are highly palatable and tasty just as they are. This stone fruit is a good source of vitamins, minerals and fiber, especially Vitamin C and Potassium. They are wonderful atop a salad, as a snack, chopped up and made into a salsa to go with a meal as a topping, in a breakfast bowl, in a homemade cherry bbq sauce, use them to make homemade popsicles or in broccoli salad. There are so many creative ways to use them as part of a healthy, well balanced diet and the benefits are worth your attention.

Photo by twinsfisch on Unsplash

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Scrumptious Strawberry Mango Fruit Roll Ups

Fruit Roll Ups 4

Make some of these Scrumptious Strawberry, Mango fruit roll ups and store them in an airtight container for a quick, sweet and chewy, all natural snack.

Fruit Roll Ups 2

I make these in a food dehydrator and slice them into strips that are then rolled up in parchment paper and tied with a string. They are sweet and a little tart.

Fruit Rolls Ups 6

My kids love these packed in their lunches or as a grab and go snack. Clean and simple deliciousness!

Fruit Roll Up 1

Scrumptious Strawberry Mango Fruit Roll Ups

Ingredients:

2 Pints of Fresh Organic Strawberries

2 Ripe Mangoes

2 Tablespoons of Raw Honey

1 Tablespoon of Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice

1 Tablespoon of Gelatin

2 Tablespoons of Hot Water

A Pinch of Sea Salt

Directions:

Clean and hull the strawberries and place them in a high speed blender. Clean, peel and pit the mangoes and add them to the blender with the strawberries. Add the honey, lemon juice and salt. Blend until pureed. Now you will add the gelatin. Heat 2 tablespoons of water in your microwave until very hot. Whisk in the gelatin until it is foamy. Pour this into the blender with the strawberry mango mixture and blend until smooth and incorporated.

Set out six dehydrator trays (my dehydrator is an Excalibur) and line them with non-stick drying sheets (like these). Pour the fruit roll up mixture evenly onto six sheets. Pick up the sheets and swirl by tipping them to spread then out into 8″ circles.

Dehydrate at 135° degrees for approximately 18 hours, or until they are no longer tacky in the center but not crispy. They should still be pliable.

Remove the fruit roll ups from the dehydrator and cool. After they are cool, using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife, slice each roll up into strips. Cut parchment the same width as the fruit strips and roll them up with the parchment. Tie with a string. Place them in a sealed container and store at room temperature.

\Scrumptious Strawberry Mango Fruit Roll Ups

 

 

Kale Salad with Cranberries and Cashews

Cranberry Cashew Kale Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

This is a delicious salad any time of year, but it is particularly good, in my opinion, in Autumn! The crunch of the cashews, and the chewiness of the dried cranberries, along with the savory scallions and tangy mustard maple dressing is the perfect balance of sweet and zesty!

Kale Salad with Cranberries and Cashews

1 Bunch of Lacinato Kale (also known as dinosaur kale)

1/3 Cup of Dried Cranberries (fruit juice sweetened if available)

1/3 Cup of Raw Cashews

2 Scallions (thinly sliced)

1 Tablespoon of White Balsamic Vinegar

Mustard Maple Dressing:

1/4 Cup of Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon of White Balsamic Vinegar

1 Tablespoon of Dijon Mustard

1/4 Teaspoon of Sea Salt

1/8 Teaspoon Black Pepper

Directions:

Wash and strip the stems from the kale. Tear the kale leaves into bite sized pieces and add them to a medium salad bowl. Pour over 1 tablespoon of white balsamic vinegar and massage the kale leaves with your hands. The vinegar and massaging will help break down the fibers in the kale and make them tender, about three minutes will do.

Add in the cranberries, cashews and sliced scallions.

Whisk together the Dressing ingredients, and pour over the kale salad. Toss and serve!

Delicious Kale Salad with Cranberries, Cashews and a Maple Mustard Dressing. Gluten and Dairy Free

Beef Liver Pate

Is liver my favorite? No. But the benefits of grass fed liver cannot be ignored, and my favorite way to eat it is a pate, which is quite delicious. Those who try it unknowingly, for instance on a platter of cheese, crackers and dips, have been known to say “Mmmm! What is this?” Yes, it’s perfectly true!

I remember a similar experience with squash substituted for pumpkin in pie. When I was a child, we would play with our neighbors outdoors almost daily all Summer long. One of my friends swore up and down that he thought squash was disgusting and never to be touched with a ten foot pole! Until one day he tried My Mother’s “pumpkin” pie which she had made with winter squash from our garden. He said “Man, this is the best pumpkin pie I have ever had!” I couldn’t wait to tell him, with relish, that it was squash! Beef liver is a nutritional powerhouse packed with vitamins. It is a powerful superfood and has been included in traditional diets for thousands of years. Liver is the best source of B12. It is also high in active Vitamin A (retinol) that our bodies don’t have to convert like we do plant based Vitamin A (carotenoids). Liver is also high in Iron, B6, Folate, Biotin, and small amounts of copper, chromium and selenium.

I have flavored this pate with herbs, spices and aged balsamic. It is anything but plain. I used US Wellness Meats Grass Fed Beef Liver in this recipe. You can also find good grass fed beef liver locally at Farm Markets or from your local Farmer.

Beef Liver Pate

Beef Liver Pate

Ingredients: 1 lb. of Grass Fed Beef Liver, sliced

2 Cups of Chopped Red Onion

1/4 Cup of Aged Balsamic Vinegar

2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon of Dried Rosemary

1 Tablespoon of Dried Marjoram

1 Tablespoon of Dried Thyme

1 Tablespoon of Turmeric Powder

1 Tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar

1/2 Teaspoon of Garlic Powder

1/2 Teaspoon of Sea Salt

1/2 Teaspoon of Dried Lemon Peel

Directions: In 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil, Sautee the Beef Liver sprinkled with 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt over medium high heat.  Cook on one side for five minutes, then flip the liver and cook on the other side until it is cooked through.

Remove the liver from the pan and set aside. Add the other tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and the chopped red onion. Cook until tender. Sprinkle the rosemary, marjoram, thyme, garlic powder, turmeric, and lemon peel over the onions. Then, cook, stirring until the herbs, spices and onions are fragrant. Add the apple cider vinegar to the pan and deglaze, scraping all the brown bits off the bottom. Add the 1/4 cup of aged balsamic and stir and cook for 30 seconds.

In a food processor, add the cooked liver and the onion mixture. Process until you have a smooth spread, being sure to scrape down the sides a few times. Put your pate in a pretty serving dish, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Before serving, add a pretty spring of fresh herbs to the top like parsley or basil.

Nutrient Dense Superfood, Beef Liver Pate

 

Blueberry Lemon FroYo

Blueberry Lemon FroYo

Fro Yo is one of Summer’s simple pleasures! It has the frozen sensation and creaminess of ice cream, but has the benefit of being healthier, with more protein and probiotics to promote good gut micro flora. Why not take it up a notch further by making your own healthier version with less sugar and more real food goodness like fruit, pure honey, cinnamon and fresh Greek yogurt which is packed with calcium and protein? Here is an easy and super delicious recipe! Feel free to mix up the fruit you use.

Lemon Blueberry Fro Yo, Gut Healthy, No Refined Sugar, Real Ingredients Frozen Yogurt

BLUEBERRY LEMON FROYO

Ingredients:

3 Cups of Greek Yogurt (24 Hour Homemade Yogurt for SCD)

3 Cups of Frozen Blueberries

1/4 Cup of Honey

2 Tablespoons of Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice

1 Tablespoon of Pure Vanilla Extract

1/2 Teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon

In a food processor, add all the ingredients and pulse, then blend until you have a smooth consistency with most of the blueberry smooth and creamy. Taste to make sure the sweetness is to your liking.

Place your FroYo base into an electric ice cream maker, and churn as directed on your machine. I used this one, and it took 30 minutes.

The FroYo is best eaten immediately, but you can freeze any leftovers in a sealed container, and let it thaw on your counter until soft enough to scoop.

Cookies and Fro Yo

You can find the recipe for the Cashew Lemon Cookies pictured here. 🙂

 

How I Bounce Back from the Holidays and What I’m Eating to Start the New Year and do a Reset!

New Year's Reset - What I'm Doing

The New Year is here, and I’m resetting my taste buds after enjoying the holiday and extra treats.

The number one rule I have when doing a food reset is Don’t Starve Yourself. That just messes up your metabolism and hormones, so don’t be tempted by that. It never works long term.

I am taking out extra sugars, which for me would be maple syrup and honey mostly, but still eating low sugar fruit like blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries, which are full of nutrition and fiber.

I am making sure I get plenty of low starch vegetables in like spinach, bok choy, artichokes, broccoli, zucchini, Swiss chard, kale, cucumbers, leafy green lettuces, mushrooms, asparagus, fennel (one of my favorites) onions, a little bit of fermented vegetables each day, and Brussels sprouts. I eat as many of these vegetables as I want.

I’m eating complex carbs from vegetables like butternut squash, beets, carrots, and winter squash. You can make “noodles” with butternut squash, beets and zucchini noodles using a spiralizer. (I have this one that suction cups to the counter top and cleans up like a breeze! It’s under $20. now. ) You need adequate protein for each meal like grass fed meat, pastured chicken and seafood such as salmon, and also healthy fats, especially whole food avocados.

I am also prioritizing sleep. Plenty of sleep helps avoid cravings and lowers cortisol levels. High cortisol can cause you to store belly fat and make you crave sweet things more than ever.

I’m drinking plenty of water and clear teas which are perfect hot for this deep freeze we are having in Maryland! My favorite teas are Dandelion Root, Rooibos, Chamomile and Milk Thistle with a piece of ginger root in it. I also have one cup of coffee a day with raw cacao powder, a scoop of collagen and a tablespoon of coconut milk.

I have a shoulder injury at the moment involving the lower trapezius muscle by my right shoulder blade, so weight bearing arm workouts are on hold for now. It’s an injury that occurred last June that healed, and then I re-injured it doing planks again. So, now I’m starting physical therapy to help heal and learning techniques to strengthen that muscle and restore the range of motion to prevent another re-injury. It’s a bummer for me, but you have to take care of your body. Currently my exercise routine looks like this, and I’ll add there is a point of exercise where you feel good and refreshed, and one where you overdo it and feel depleted. You want to avoid feeling depleted. If you can’t recover quickly, then it’s too much. For me what works is twenty minutes in the morning of some form of toning exercise like pilates, resistance bands, cardio step or an exercise ball, and then later in the day a 30 to 40 minute brisk walk, preferable outside, but on the treadmill if the weather isn’t good. I start out my walk with a square of 70% dark chocolate. I’ve been doing this for years, and it works very well for me as a motivator.

Happy, Healthy New Year to Everyone!

Sam

 

 

 

Raspberry, Blackberry, Mango Smoothie

Raspberry Blackberry Mango Smoothie

Are you ready for a super delicious, berry infused, smoothie to jump start your day?

This smoothie has your daily allowance of selenium with the addition of just two Brazil nuts! Brazil nuts are a rich source of selenium. Selenium is one of the nutrients that helps regulate thyroid function, as well as boost immunity, and so much more. Learn  more here from Dr. Axe on the benefits of selenium. Other good food sources of selenium are liver, eggs, grass fed beef, yellowfin tuna, cooked halibut, sardines, turkey, and spinach.

The berries in this smoothie are fantastic sources of Vitamin C, Magnesium and Fiber. Mango is great for the skin and digestion, as well as a good source of Vitamin C and Fiber. I added almond butter for healthy fat and some protein, and ground flax. There is an option to add in Grass Fed Collagen (I have it every day in my smoothies no matter what kind I make for my hair, skin, nails and gut health. It is tasteless, and also is a source of protein.) The lime juice gives the smoothie an extra zip like a sweet tart, and coconut water is very hydrating. I just love the flavor and color of this health promoting smoothie!

Raspberry, Blackberry, Mango Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 Cup of Coconut Water

1/2 Cup of Frozen Raspberries

1/2 Cup of Frozen Blackberries

1/2 Cup of Fresh or Frozen Mango

2 Brazil Nuts (I use this gluten free brand)

1 Tablespoon of Almond Butter

1 Rounded Tablespoon of Grass Fed Collagen (optional)

1 Tablespoon of Lime Juice

1 Rounded Teaspoon of Ground Flax

1/2 Cup of Crushed Ice

Directions:

Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a tall glass and add a straw. Enjoy!

Sam

 

 

 

 

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