Plant-Based Wholefood Basics

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Over the past, 30 or so years I shifted from a typical American, then changed to an Australian diet and then one that focused on non-refined,  fermented and plant-based wholefoods.

Its good to start with the basics- like changing white flour to wholemeal, canned and/or frozen or canned vegetables to fresh. It all takes patience but doing it one step at a time away from commercially and industrially refined foods and towards more plant-based eating is the best way to begin.

Are you aware that before processed and refined products make their way into your diet, many are laced with pesticides and other agricultural chemicals, processed with chemical solvents, and stripped of most of their nutritional value like vitamins, minerals, fibre and flavour? The good news is that the “processed refined-pantry” can be slowly replaced by delicious, nutritious alternatives.

The term plant-based wholefoods are open to interpretation, but here is what it means to me: minimally processed and refined, from plants and organic when available. Why would you want to eat just part of a food? Nature grew it one way so how about eating the whole food to get all the nutrients and vitamins.

Plant-based foods are whole–straight from the way that nature intended and they are made from whole ingredients,  with as little processing as possible and no artificial flavourings, stabilizers, and preservatives thus keeping nutrients and original flavours intact.

They actually look, smell and taste different and choosing whole foods also means avoiding genetically modified (GMO) and chemically fertilized crops, as well as dairy products that come from cows treated with antibiotics and growth hormones. Plant-based generally means very little animal foods however some people do choose to use a bit here and there according to their needs and the season.

First baby steps…..  One of the first steps for me was discarding all the white flour, pasta and white sugar from my pantry.  Choosing Pasture-raised Organic Eggs, then learning how to add more plant-based proteins like tofu, tempeh, beans and all sorts of legumes, seeds and nuts and how to combine whole grains and legumes to get a complete protein.

As I began to feel more confident cooking and creating with these ingredients I  had more energy, vitality and creativity. Once you are in the swing of it, shopping for and cooking with these ingredients isn’t any harder and doesn’t have to take more time than what you are already used to.

A few steps in the right direction:

1. Cook at home as much as possible. Choose organic, fresh, local, seasonal, and sustainably grown ingredients.

2. Introduce a new ingredient every other week or so and remove a refined one.

3. Get to know all the different whole grain flours, whole grains, pulses, plant-based proteins and organic produce at your local market or your favourite shop.

4. Drink filtered water and avoid plastic storage containers and water bottles.

5. Get rid of your “all-white” staples, start exploring new “whole” foods and ingredients.

6. Each week explore all the different plant-based proteins one at a time and add different grain, bean and seed combinations to increase your plant-based proteins.

Everyone is different and many people seem to be looking for ways to incorporate more meatless meals into their repertoire for a host of reasons, and I hope I can provide a bit of inspiration.

BRAIN FOOD- Harness the power of food to boost mood, mind and brain

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Is there really such a thing as “Brain Food.? Well, Dr. David Ramsey thinks so and so do I. I have been eating for over 50 years and teaching people about “Food as Medicine” for 30.

What do you eat to beat depression, anxiety, mood swings and more?  Food choice is the most powerful factor in your control. Yet treatment often overlooks a critical factor: what people eat.

Based on the latest science connecting nutrition and depression, I have come up with recipes, food plans and dietary habits that will show you a way out of the malaise and put you on a journey to wellness.

“A clear and concise plan to tangibly make your life better through nutrient-dense food.”
– Dallas Hartwig, New York Times bestselling author of The Whole30 speaks the truth. 

Modern food puts our mental health at risk

A prospective study in 2009 showed that in 10,094 university students those who adhered most closely to a Mediterranean dietary pattern had a 52% reduced risk of depression.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19805699

With all the fermented food in the Mediterranean diet its no wonder their mood and overall health improved!

You can make your life better through nutrient-dense and fermented food. Learn about the food-mood connection.

Here are some tips to follow that will put you on the path:

‘Eat the rainbow’ -a wide variety of foods, particularly fruit and vegetables. In this way, we’re regularly eating colorful and nutritious foods. From purple cabbage and blueberries to boy Choy and yellow bananas, rainbow foods nourish our bodies and help us thrive.

Fermented foods:  Organic Sourdough bread, Miso, Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Yoghurt, etc.

Fatty fish

Blueberries

Turmeric

Walnuts

Broccoli and broccoli sprouts

Pumpkin and other seeds

Dark Chocolate

Eggs

Green leafy vegetables

Green tea

Begin incorporating brain-nourishing foods choices and ferments with “building-block” nutrients such as long-chained omega-3 fats, vitamin B12, and zinc.

On top of that, eating more of these brain foods can decrease your risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease; all diseases that wreak havoc on mental health.

A few sessions will transform how you approach food and teach you to use it as a tool to conquer depression, anxiety other mood swings or health concerns and regain your health and vitality.   It’s time you feed your most important asset first: YOUR BRAIN!

 

Fermentation Myths and Truth

 

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As you heard Microbes are my best friends!
Continue on this Ferment journey with me where I’ll share my tips and tricks on all things Fermented.

One of the most asked questions I receive is …

Do you need to use a starter culture to make your ferment?

NO! I must be honest and confess that I have never used a starter culture to make sauerkraut.

Here’s why

Starter cultures are dried powders of various strains of bacteria that are used to inoculate your ferment. The powder is usually dissolved in water before being thoroughly mixed with your prepared cabbage and vegetables. Starter cultures contain sugar or glucose, as a carrier agent, and various forms of active lactic bacteria.

· They’re not reusable, you can’t save some of the liquid and add to your next batch as a starter.

· Vegetables have all the necessary lactic-acid bacteria on them already to get the party started. Once you get your vegetable to salt ratios correct, your ferments will naturally occur.

· Flavour changes.

· Not necessary for vegetable ferments

Find out more or join me at one of my hands on workshops.

I am inspired when people discover how wild fermentation and plant-based wholefoods and lifestyle changes improve their well-being and can actually fit into a busy schedule. Shoot me an email and I’m happy to respond.