I was at a neighborhood block party tonight and connected with some fabulous women, one of which has an interest in anti-inflammatory foods. So I am posting this just for her (and other inquiring minds). I also have included a link about pH and how important it is for health. This is very interesting stuff! Well worth the quick read...
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
I have these recipes posted on the Healthier Treats page but I've posted them here as well because I've had requests from people for these two in particular.
Keri’s Raw Vanilla Almond Milk
Makes 4-5 cups
1.5 cups organic raw almonds
1 tbls raw honey
1 tsp natural vanilla extract
Pinch sea salt
Soak raw almonds 8-hours or overnight in spring water (do NOT use tap water). Drain and rinse off starch (use of sink water is fine here). Blend the drained/rinsed almonds with 4 cups of spring water. Add raw honey, vanilla and sea salt. Blend for another 30 seconds. Strain all contents of milk in a bowl through a “nut milk bag”. These can be found online and ordered – they are so easy to use and clean. Squeeze out the excess milk. Store in fridge in glass container for up to one week.
I use this in my smoothies and on my homemade Peanut Butter Vanilla Granola cereal. Shake before each use and the contents will separate. You can save the ground nuts in the bag to make almond muffins (can sub the almond flour for this, but the texture will be much more nutty/crunchy).
Keri’s Almond Flour Bread
Makes 1 small loaf (gluten-free)
2 cups blanched almond flour
¾ cup creamy roasted almond butter
3 organic eggs
½ tsp baking soda
1 tbls ground flax seeds
Mix almond butter and eggs with mixer until smooth. Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl. Blend both mixtures together until a stiff dough forms. Place in loaf pan (greased with grape seed oil) and back for 30-40 minutes at 350 F.
I put the dough in one half of the loaf pan (it’s stiff enough to stay put on the end where it’s in the middle of the pan). This way I can slice it into small bread slices for my son's sandwiches. This bread is the consistency of a moist pound cake. It’s great for turkey or natural PB/honey or PB/jelly sandwiches. I use small cookie cutters to make fun shapes for my picky eater. He loves it and it’s packed with protein and nutrients!
Friday, September 16, 2011
I've made healthier "ice cream" before, as it's super simple (base ingredient is organic coconut milk). But I took it a step further (make that many steps) by following a raw ice cream cake recipe from sweetlyraw.com. The base ice cream ingredient being finely chopped raw cashews. I started making tweaks at the get-go (for the chocolate and vanilla ice creams) and by the "caramel" and "fudge" sauce, I was completely redoing the recipes. Nothing against what she created, I just tend to do that with every recipe I try, as I taste, look and add to my liking of ingredients as I go. She uses dates a lot in her recipes (like for the brownie base) and I think they look like giant bugs.
So I improvised... I replaced the dates in the brownies with mashed banana and my leftover morning plain oatmeal (not raw). I literally saw it sitting in the bowl next to me and in it went. By the time I got to the fudge sauce I felt like a character on Hocus Pocus something. I was melting my homemade chocolate sauce in a double boiler with steam rushing my face... while I added more vanilla extract and stevia drops from a dropper. In the background I hear the churning ice cream maker and the bubbling of the water. My hair was awry; I had my robe on... I'm sure it was a site.
I didn't write down how much I put in of what... there were just too many steps for each thing. So here is what was in each:
Thursday, September 15, 2011
I found raw chia seeds at TJ Maxx in the food isle and picked them up... this is going to be a new staple item in my pantry (see larger list under Healther Treats). They have no taste, have more calcium than milk and many nutrients - they also are a great thickener.
Chia is nature's most powerful food. It is an ancient grain, cherished by the Aztecs for stamina and well-being.
- Five-times more calcium than milk
- More Omega 3 than flax seed
- Excellent source of fiber, plus iron and other minerals
- Low glycemic to deliver nutrients slowely for energy throughout the day
- Use as a thickener in sauces - no taste but will thicken whatever you are making
- Stir in smoothies, oatmeal (did this for my 3-year old and he did not notice a thing), granola or yogurt
- Use in place of eggs in muffins, cakes and breads (although it's expensive and raw is the way to get the most nutrients so I would not suggest heating/baking it)
Visit this site for recipes: www.ruthsfoods.com
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
I just finished a decadent raw homemade ice cream sundae (will post recipe soon). It was packed with energy-boosting superfood nutrients and I enjoyed it as much as I do the real thing (even more because of the guiltless pleasure of knowing I would not pay for it later). When I mean pay for it, I am talking about an autoimmune disease, Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS). Processed foods with refined sugar and flours worsen my condition. This is true for just about every other disease or health issue out there (diabetes, cancer, you name it) because inflammatory (processed) foods increase inflammation in the body. It's like Jack LaLanne said: "If man made it, don't eat it." Our bodies are living entities so why fill it with dead food? It is really true, you are what you eat.
I was diagnosed in my late-20s (had symptoms since age 20) with this disease that only affects LESS THAN 1% of the population (and mostly men). Wow, 1% and mostly men - really? Lucky me.
I have to say though that stress played a major role in my health going south at that age. I had been dealing with major stress issues from a long relationship that at one time was headed toward engagement and took an unexpected turn. Plus finishing college, and transitioning life from school to work. I remember feeling very strongly at graduation time that my life would be short. I think that feeling was my subconscious knowing there were some big health issues coming my way - I was on the brink at that time. This may sound odd to those who don't know me, but those who know me well, know that I have a bit of a sixth sense, especially when it comes to my body. For example, it was an inner feeling I had about a spot on my leg that told me to push the doc to take it off - she wouldn't have taken it off, she said it was fine, but I pushed... it was early melanoma. My Aunt died from melanoma - it is deadly if not caught early enough.
How I dealt with the news of AS, my eye complications from it and the melanoma is what has made the difference for me. We all have a choice to either listen to our bodies and push for answers, OR get on potentially harmful drugs, not ask questions and become a statistic (x% lived this long, x% didn't make it).
Because of its rarity, not many know about AS, so I liken it to rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, MS or any autoimmune disfunction. Out of the ones listed, AS can cause pain so severe it is debilitating. To put it bluntly; one day while searching I saw two board posts back-to-back from men with AS saying they wish they were dead. I got so used to dealing with pain and flare-ups (to the point where I could not get out of bed or even move my arms to push myself up) that I honed my Lamaze skills way before I needed them. I did very well staying in control while delivering two children without an epidural or any medication/intervention.
AS can cause a number of issues with soft tissues and organs, and can even cause blindness due to uveitis (inflammation in the eye, which is something I've had to deal with along with surgery to repair steroid-induced glaucoma from the treatment). The most common issue is severe pain in the back and an eventual fusion of the spine that can lead to disability. I wake up most mornings feeling like someone beat me with a hammer. I also have had pain in my knees, Achilles tendons/feet where I could not walk for 5 minutes without limping in pain, and hip pain that would cause nerve pain so severe it would bring me to my knees (and I am one tough cookie when it comes to pain tolerance).
I am hoping I'm one of the lucky ones who has it moderately, as I have been able to control it and even put myself in remission with a diet free of starch (refined anything and even starchy health foods like banana) and refined sugar, as well as low dairy (cheese seems to be okay). I LOVE BEER. And it tends to bother me, but red and dry white wine is okay, plus Grey Goose dirty martinis, so I guess I cannot complain.
I struggle daily with sticking to my starch/diary/refined-sugar-free diet because I LOVE treats (hence my obsession with raw and healthy baked treats). Although if I really stick to no starch, no dairy, no sugar I feel like superwoman. This diet plus regular yoga makes me feel 16 again (at that age I was doing back handsprings, holding 100 pound girls on my shoulders, and throwing them and catching them as a cheerleader). So my game plan (has worked for me in the past) is to stick to this diet during the week and occasionally indulge at a party or night out, but I'm struggling at the moment to get back into this after the birth of my second child. (I go into remission when pregnant so I indulged more than usual in "junk" because I didn't have my typical pain alarm go off. So I flared up big-time a week after delivery.)
At home I never buy any boxed/processed junk for me (for my kids, I get organic graham crackers, gluten-free organic rice treats, gluten-free organic gummies and real fruit bars, but that's about it as far as processed snacks for them). I have really not missed wheat or other refined flours as I can create delicious treats and breads with almond flour. And my sweets are never a problem with raw honey, organic maple syrup and Stevia to the rescue.
BTW: Animals that are under stress release chemicals that are toxic to them and the people who eat them. Also, the non-organic animals are pumped full of antibiotics and hormones, also of which get into the consumer's system. I love all animals and believe the farm animals are no different than the family cat or dog as far as intelligence, feelings of fear and souls. Even if the animals are raised for food, which is part of why they are here, they should be treated with love, respect and given appropriate food and treatment while alive. This includes as humane a slaughter as possible - those two words sure don't go together do they? But there are few regulations - even for transport they aren't mandated to even give the animals water for days. If you want to know more visit www.farmsanctuary.com.
Back to my point about why we have more food-related health issues today than 50 years ago. I went to some health lectures through Juice Plus (which I take regularly and swear by it) in which a local radiation oncologist was speaking. She said that she's been in the practice 20 years and only in the last 10 has she seen a huge increase in young women getting breast cancer... she attributes this to diet and also the hormone-treated meat as kids are developing faster these days - have you noticed? I sure have. She also said that dairy is not a health food (particularly cow's milk). I knew that already but it took me researching it to know. The milk companies know it too which my guess is why we've seen "Got Milk" ads for years now. It's just like the High Fructose Corn Syrup ad - paid for by the corn producers. Too funny. They know that people are starting to read labels and educate themselves on nutrition.
This oncologist also mentioned diabetes in her lecture. There is Juvenile Diabetes (Type I) and Type II... my understanding is that we had to change the other type's name from Adult Onset Diabetes to Type II because so many non-adults are now getting it. I remember sitting at a restaurant and overheard a mother ordering for her son (had to be around 8) and she asked about their diet soda list because he has diabetes and needs the diet soda. Wow. What happened to water? That's what my kids get and they don't have diabetes to fight. It starts with the mother/father getting educated and helping their kids have a shot at a healthy life.
Back in my grandmother's day, they ate raw potatoes as a snack. Yep! I wouldn't, but it's all they had - raw veggies, meat - whole foods (although potatoes are a no-no for inflammation). In general there wasn't a surplus of boxed food, and people made homemade family meals every night - so they really ate closer to a whole food diet without knowing it. I could go into all sorts of rants about the government, pharmaceutical companies and even the cancer research non-profits that get millions per year to "find a cure" when a cure is really under our noses - in our mouths - and they know it. I've known and heard of many with terminal cancer, told by the doctor to go home to die, who juiced, changed their lifestyle and eating habits, and actually are still alive to talk about it. My mom was diagnosed with Lupus at age 26. She was told she had 6 months to live. She became a strict health nut and has stuck to it. She's now in her upper 50s, has never been on meds and she's thriving. And then there's my example with food and AS... it's no accident - food is powerful.
Why does the FDA approve drugs that cause side effects that can kill us yet they don't approve natural things like Turmeric to treat inflammation? We all know why and it's GREEN. BTW: Turmeric is a beautiful shade of orange and is one of my lifesavers as it's a natural Indian spice you can get in pill form - and it's anti-inflammatory. I use it instead of Ibuprofen and it works, it can even take the edge off of AS pain! You know what other natural food is anti-inflammatory? Pineapple!! :) Check out this link: http://www.disaboom.com/nutrition/top-50-anti-inflammatory-foods
Huge companies are investing millions in consultants (I know because I was one of them) to help communicate their culture of health to employees... why? For one, to help them live a longer more productive life and two, to cut down on their crazy health care costs. Right now we have to communicate to adults like we would an 8-year old when it comes to understanding their health choices and how to take care of themselves. I feel that kids need to be required to take courses in nutrition starting in grade school. This could organically help fix our health care issues in this country. We need to start with the children to change our future.
And of course the schools need to provide much healthier lunch alternatives. Some are trying, but they think that cow's milk and refined flour products are healthy. We all remember the rectangular greasy pizzas, french fries and snack bar filled with chocolate donuts and pretzels with cheese (which were a regular occurrence for me). I ate junk during the day because my mom never knew it and I could... I didn't gain weight from it and I never felt the health consequences (until I hit college and the pain started). But even then I did not attribute the breakouts, pain, etc. to food. I wish someone had told me what I know now! My body was over toxic and telling me so, but I didn't see the warning signs. (I had a melanoma diagnosis around the same time I had the AS diagnosis). That's our culture. And I grew up in a health nut home - but I still didn't get it. No one sat me down to talk about it. I really believe that if kids are required to learn good nutrition and why they really ARE what the EAT it could help organically fix our health care issues because people will be healthier in general.
Sorry for the rambling post and maybe TMI, but I have so much to say on the topic of health that I could go on and on... Thanks for reading.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Keri's Raw Banana-Strawberry Smoothie
The smoothie recipe I mentioned on my first post is below:
1 cup frozen organic strawberries (soaked in hot water for a minute)
1 frozen organic banana
1 tbls raw almond butter
¼ cup spring water or raw almond milk
1 tsp natural vanilla extract
1 tbls raw unrefined coconut oil
Optional: 1 tbls spirulina powder (Whole Foods or Vitacost.com) - this is what makes it green
Blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
I have a request to show homemade Almond Milk and a how-to. I just made it so I will do this and take pictures the next time around (about a week). You will be surprised how quick and simple it is! In the meantime, all you need to order now is a nut milk bag (you will also need a blender, organic raw almonds, spring water and if you don't want it plain, you will need items like raw honey, natural vanilla extract or whatever you like). I use my almond milk in my peanut butter granola and in my smoothies. I got my nut milk bag on One Lucky Duck dot com. http://www.oneluckyduck.com/store/product-details.php?id=124&cat=26
Next, I will also be posting information about inflammatory foods and how eating right can do wonders for any state of health.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Welcome and thanks for stopping by! This is my first stab at a blog, so I thought my first post should be about why I'm doing it. First, the name... I love the word crave. To me it’s a reminder of how sweet life is and to live in the moment. I'm a mother in my mid-thirties who has learned how to overcome chronic illness by craving answers and pushing forward. So these craves are all about well-being, happiness, fun and any topic that helps make this all possible.
The other motivation behind the blog is that I hope to learn more about myself so I can be a better mother, wife, sister, daughter and friend. I also want to stay motivated with my healthful way of living to be able to live a productive life without potential life-shortening autoimmune treatments. I've spent years researching (and testing on myself) healthy ways to still enjoy my food and control my health condition... but that's just a small piece of the big pie. My health journey is as much about staying positive as it is about the food I eat and products I use (or avoid).
Enter your email under "Follow by Email" to get notified when I post my healthy kid-approved recipes (from nutrition-packed smoothies to chocolate cupcakes made with almond flour), family topics, vacation spots, retail/dining, party planning tips, and so on.
I'm a foodie, health junkie, perfectionist and to some, a "piece of work." I'd say I'm more like a work in progress. :) I hope you enjoy what I post and feel free to send me feedback!
Below are pictures of my one-year-old more than enjoying a smoothie I made... I will post the recipe later... you won't believe what's in it for this little one to love it so much! And yes, it's green.