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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Millet and Smoked Salmon Stuffed Avocados


We recently had lunch at a restaurant at a private airport.  The boys loved the view of planes taking off while they ate their lunch.  I loved my blackened salmon with avocado.  I don't think I had ever really paired the two at home, I guess I figured they are both pretty fatty, albeit healthy fat.  But it paired beautifully together.  I came up with the idea of a stuffed avocado to break up lunch boredom - sort of a twist on bagels and lox, minus the bagel of course.  Briny capers mixed with a touch of cream cheese, and a generous amount of healthy millet, turned this into a refreshing, but filling lunch. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3-4 large Avocados
  • 1 cup cooked millet*
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 2 Tbsp capers (with their brine)
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • 1 cup smoked salmon

1.  Cook the millet according to directions.  I use vegetable broth to cook mine. 

2.  Shred a few pieces of the smoked salmon with your fingers, until you have about 1 cup of tiny pieces. 

3.  In a bowl, add the cream cheese and capers.  Add the hot millet, and stir until the cream cheese melts and combines.  Stir in the dill and the salmon. 


4.  Slice the avocados in half, and remove the pits. Sprinkle the avocado with coarse sea salt.  Spoon about 1/4 cup of the mixture onto the avocados.  (I use an ice-cream scoop.) 

5.  Serve on a bed of greens, with some crackers.  I like Mary's Gone Crackers in Jalapeno flavor with this dish.  Serve with a spoon and a fork, for scooping out the avocado.  Makes enough for 4 adults, depending on avocado size. 

*I usually make millet ahead of time, in a large batch to eat from all week.  If you are short on time, try replacing the millet with 1 cup mashed cannellini beans. 


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Two week Candida Diet Diary (and meal ideas)



 Starting a Candida cleanse is beyond daunting.  Not only do you have to cut out all sugars, including "clean" ones like honey, you need to cut out most fruits, dairy, most grains and legumes, alcohol, coffee, and root vegetables.  Planning your meal plan ahead of time will be the key to success. 
When I first started, I was overwhelmed by the conflicting information out there.....even my two holistic doctors prescribed different eating plans.  Here are a few of the conflicting ideas that you will encounter while researching a Candida diet:
  • Some say that no fruit is allowed, others agree that lemons, lime, berries, and green apples can be eaten without a problem. 
  • Most say vinegars of all kinds are to be avoided, while others believe that apple cider vinegar with the "Mother" in it, like Bragg's brand, are helpful in killing Candida. 
  • A lot of people give up all caffeine on this diet, others do just fine with a small amount of coffee per day.
  • Grains seem to be based on individual tolerance.  Some can't tolerate any without causing a flare-up, others do just fine with low glycemic grains such as quinoa.  I tolerate millet, farro, and oats, as well. 
I decided to keep a food diary of my cleanse to help others plan theirs.  The week before I started mine, I researched and looked for ideas online of what to eat - and there aren't many!   I had to get creative.  I would have loved to follow an already established meal plan, just to make it a bit easier. 


It is important to spend the first 7 days, if possible, on a complete cleanse, meaning no fruit or grains at all.  My routine basically was a green smoothie in the morning, salad for lunch, and simple vegetable soup for dinner, sometimes with meat.  I don't usually eat a lot of animal protein, but you may find it necessary as did I, since you aren't taking in a lot of calories.  If you can't do 7 days, do as many as you can.  Even 3 days is beneficial and will provide a great start to the rest of your cleanse.  If you are following along, just adapt and repeat a few days of the regular diet, (days 8-14) if you can't make it for the full 7 days.  Be sure to eat a lot of healthy fat in the form of coconut oil, olive oil, and nut butters if you are struggling with this first phase. 

I hope this helps give you a clear direction of where to start.  Best of luck, and keep with it, knowing that you are improving your health and immunity, and will be feeling much better in no time!

*I include things like olives, capers, and artichokes in my daily diet.  You may find conflicting information about whether these are "safe" on the Candida diet, due to the fact that they are often stored in brine.  Most brines contain citric acid and vinegar.  I was lucky enough to find these things packed in water and sea salt, making them acceptable.  If you can't find them, you may want to omit them if you are following along on this food diary. 
 
Days 1-7
Breakfast was a green smoothie made with a variety of greens, cucumbers, peppers, and herbs.  You may add 1/2 a lemon of lime to this. 
Lunch was usually a large salad, sometimes topped with tuna, or a simple vegatable soup. 
Snacks were often another green smoothie, almond butter, raw veggies, or nuts and seeds
Dinner was often a piece of fish or chicken, seasoned with herbs and spices, and a side of roasted vegetables. 
 

Days 8-14
 
 
Day8:
Breakfast was a green smoothie:  made from 1/2 cucumber, 1/2 red bell pepper, 1 broccoli stem, 1 celery stalk, 2 stalks Bok Choy, 1/2 lime (peeled), Aloe Vera gel, Aronia berry concentrate (sugar free), 1 scoop wheatgrass powder, and lots of water.

A little later I had 2 scrambled eggs, topped with 1/2 avocado that I mashed with salsa verde, turmeric, and sea salt
 
For lunch I had a large green salad topped with lentil-quinoa cake, (I substituted 1 egg for the cheese-from a large batch that I had frozen) Tahini dressing, (made from lemon juice, tahini, garlic, salt, miso paste, and water) shelled pumpkin seeds, and sprinkled with black pepper, sea salt, and turmeric

Before dinner I had a spoonful of Macadamia nut butter (not pictured).

Dinner was zucchini "noodles" in a quick sauce of tomatoes, basil, and garlic, and green onion. 

Dessert was 1 Sugar free almond flour chocolate chip cookie and a cup of Pau d' Arco tea


Day 9:
Breakfast was oat bran cooked in the microwave for 1 minute with water, with unsweetened vanilla almond milk, pumpkin puree, and cinnamon stirred in, and topped with hemp seeds, sliced almonds, and sugar free chocolate chips. 
For a snack I ate raw veggies dipped in tahini that I mixed with a little sea salt and liquid smoke.(Not pictured.)
For lunch I had collard green wraps with spinach, cabbage, matchstick cucumbers, cilantro, raw pumpkin seeds, sea salt, and a tahini-miso-liquid amino dressing. 
In the afternoon I had some of my sugar free and vegan Chia seed ice-cream, and a little later I snacked on some raw pumpkin seeds and had a glass of water with Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar. 
 Dinner was salmon glazed with Bragg's liquid amino and chili powder, and soba noodles with a almond butter, lime, cilantro, and Bragg's liquid amino sauce.
Dessert was a gluten free waffle topped with 1 Tbsp macadamia nut butter and sugar free chocolate chips

Day 10:

Breakfast was a green smoothie, followed by a chocolate (grain and dairy free) protein shake made with unsweetened almond milk, since I was driving and didn't have time to eat breakfast. 
Lunch was a large spinach salad topped with shaved turkey and avocado, and a dressing of olive oil, lemon, sea salt, and apple cider vinegar.  I ate that with a bowl of vegan broccoli soup, topped with a hemp and greens burger. 
Dinner was rainbow spring rolls (rice paper filled with greens, shredded carrots, red bell pepper, cilantro, Bragg's liquid amino) and a small amount of farro, plus avocado on the side. 
 

Day 11:

For breakfast I had Cinnamon Pecan overnight chia pudding, heated in the microwave, that I threw in the fridge the night before.  (Chia seeds soaked in vanilla unsweetened almond milk with stevia, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and topped with pecans.)
I had a mid-morning snack of avocado sprinkled with sea salt, on top of Mary's Gone black pepper crackers, which are gluten free and made from tons of different seeds.  An hour later I had a grain free, vegan chocolate protein shake since I was starving that day. 
Lunch was Boston Lettuce Cups: 3 lettuce leaves filled with a mixture of leftover tomato-basil-garlic quinoa, leftover roasted radishes, chopped canned artichoke hearts, olive tapenade, julienned red bell pepper strips, capers, and sesame seeds. 
Dinner was a large spring mix salad topped with canned artichokes, tahini-miso dressing, and raw pumpkin seeds. 
For dessert I warmed a chocolate chip cookie Quest bar in the microwave.  (They have less than 1 gram of sugar.) 


    Day 12:
     
    Breakfast was an all veggie green smoothie sweetened with a packet of Plexus Slim, or "pink drink."  I love this drink because it's an all natural way to regulate your blood sugar.  I feel less hungry on days that I drink this, and by adding it to my green smoothie, I'm able to keep the fruit out.  Yes, fruit can be healthy, but it is not allowed while you are treating Candida, due to the sugar.  The Plexus Slim drink is sweetened with stevia, making it a great choice to make your smoothies more enjoyable.  Learn more about it here:
    http://cdey.myplexusproducts.com/products/plexus-slim
     
    An hour later I made scrambled eggs with tomatoes, avocado, salsa verde, and cilantro, and piled it on a rutabaga flatbread that I had in the freezer.
     
    I made spicy Italian lettuce cups with zucchini noodles for lunch.  I spiralized the zucchini, and cooked it for just a few minutes in a large sauce pan with olive oil, salt, pepper, chopped tomatoes, basil, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, sliced olives, spinach, and added raw garlic at the end.  I filled Boston lettuce cups with the "zoodles," and topped with raw pumpkin seeds. 
     
    For a midday snack I had some sugar free dark chocolate covered almonds that I made.
     
    Dinner was two millet and amaranth "burgers."  I combined cooked quinoa, amaranth, sautéed asparagus and spinach, garlic, and eggs, and formed them into patties and pan fried them.  I made a large batch and froze the rest. 
     
    Dessert was a sugar and dairy free lemon bar cake with an oat and pecan crust that I have been working on.  It was delicious, but not pretty, which is why I am still working on the recipe!


     
    Day 13:
    Breakfast was an aloe and sea salt green smoothie, followed by 2 eggs seasoned with tons of turmeric, in a rutabaga flatbread, topped with avocado. 
     
    Mid-morning snack was mint medley tea and a few squares from a Lily's sugar free chocolate bar.

    Lunch was silky bok choy soup.  A little while later I had some of my sugar free, grain free granola in a bowl with vanilla unsweetened almond milk and stevia. 
     
    Dinner was coconut shrimp over cauliflower rice - I sautéed shrimp in coconut oil, then stirred in full-fat unsweetened coconut milk, sea salt, and butter.  I served it over scallion cauliflower "rice" from the freezer.  I topped it all with a ground walnut-unsweetened shredded coconut mixture for a little crunch. 

    For dessert I had a large handful of trail mix I made with roasted coconut chips (unsweetened), sugar free chocolate chips, and sliced almonds. 

     
    Day 14:
     Breakfast was a green smoothie with a little bit of frozen berries.  A little while later I made some gluten and sugar free Almond Joy Pancakes (made with coconut flour, egg whites, coconut milk, stevia, almond extract and topped with organic grass-fed butter and some sugar free chocolate chips).

    For lunch I had a bowl of vegan tomato soup with Hemp and Greens veggie burger and a side of sautéed spinach with lemon, olive oil, and sea salt.

    Dinner was fish tacos:  Cod poached in Creole seasoning and lemons.  I made 1 large taco out of a Collard green leaf, and filled it with cabbage, avocado, green onion, cilantro, and thinly sliced red bell pepper.  Then I decided I needed a small amount of carbs and made one with what the kids were eating theirs with: an organic corn tortilla, wild rice, and a tiny bit of plain yogurt/salsa verde sauce.

    Dessert was a grain free, sugar free Snickerdoodle muffin that I've been working on getting just right for a future post.   

     
     

Monday, March 9, 2015

Antifungal regimen for treating Candida

 
Detoxing, cleansing, killing Candida....whatever you want to call it, it's rough.  It sounds easy enough - take a powerful antifungal supplement, kill the yeast, and feel better.  But unfortunately, that's not the case.  My naturopath explained to me that when yeast, or Candida Albican dies, it releases toxins into the bloodstream - 79 of them to be exact.  The result?  The same crazy symptoms that led you to your Candida diagnosis are intensified.  But that doesn't mean you should give up!  Yes you may experience headaches, nausea, and flu-like symptoms for a few days, but you can get through it and get yourself to optimum health, not to mention feeling better.  I wanted to share what helped me. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Rutabaga Flatbread


Poor rutabagas.  They just don't get any attention.  Ok, I don't really feel bad for a vegetable, but I'm still declaring 2015 the year of the rutabaga and radish, two overlooked veggies in my opinion.  Kale is so 5 years ago. 

I recently started adding them to my grocery cart again, (I too was guilty of ignoring them).  The reason?  For their powerful anti-fungal properties.  When you are on a Candida cleanse, starchy root vegetables like potatoes are off-limits, since they convert to sugar and feed the Candida fungus.  You can only eat so many salads and leafy greens, especially in the winter, before you get bored.  Rutabagas are a perfect way to break up that boredom - they seem as starchy as potatoes, but they fight Candida at the same time. 

Besides the anti-fungal properties, rutabaga, which is in the mustard family, has tons of antioxidants and anti-cancer properties.  Plus they are as versatile as cauliflower, making them an ideal substitution for pizza crusts and wraps that you already make with cauliflower.  I was craving a burrito the other day when I decided to give rutabaga tortillas a try.  The first batch didn't hold together, so I decided to try flaxseeds with the dough to keep it intact.  Flax turns into a gel when mixed with water, and can even replace an egg in some recipes.  That did the trick, although I decided to call it flatbread instead of tortillas, as they are a bit thicker than a tortilla.  More like a gordita.  Either way, they are a nice way to curb a craving for carbs and comfort food, all while fighting the evil Candida! 

INGREDIENTS:
2 Rutabagas
2/3 cup flaxseeds
3/4 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup coconut flour
olive oil


DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.   Begin by soaking the flaxseeds in a bowl with 1/3 cup water.  (You can grind them first in a spice grinder if you'd like, or grind them later in the food processor along with the rutabaga.)  Stir and set aside. 
2.  Wash and peel the rutabaga with a vegetable peeler.  Slice into bite-sized chunks for even cooking. 
3.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, spray with cooking spray.  Add the rutabaga, drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil, and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp of the sea salt.  Toss to combine, and spread out the rutabaga evenly on the pan. 
4.  Roast the rutabaga in the oven for 40-45 minutes.  Allow to cool for a few minutes in the pan.  Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees. 
5.  Transfer the rutabaga to a food processor, and add the flaxseed mixture on top.  Process until smooth, and until most of the flaxseeds are ground.  Add the eggs, onion powder, coconut flour, and remaining 1 tsp of salt.  Process until it begins to form a dough ball. 
6.  Scrap the dough out of the food processor into a large bowl.  (It will be sticky.)    Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Scoop out about a 2 Tbsp amount of dough (a little larger than a golf ball) and roll into a ball.  Place the dough ball on the parchment paper, and flatten slightly.  Repeat until you have the pan filled, about 9 flatbread circles. 




7.  Pour 1-2 Tbsp olive oil into a small ramekin.  Dip your fingers in the olive oil, and press down and out on the dough to spread them as far as you can.  I use the side of my hand to do this, as I would for pizza dough.  Bake for 15 minutes - do not overcook!
8.  Use a large spatula to transfer the flatbreads to a wire cooling rack.  Repeat with the remaining dough.  Makes about 13-15 flatbreads. 
9.  Serve with your favorite flatbread or tortillas fillings.  To store any leftovers, wrap loosely in wax paper, and stack in a gallon ziplock.  Store in the freezer.