This recipe is a simple “side” that integrates a sea vegetable, Arame. With the classic Japanese flavors of toasted sesame with soy sauce, this broccoli dish will disappear fast. Perfect to accompany broiled/roasted tempeh, fish or chicken with ginger-tamari marinade, this dish is fancy enough for a party and easy enough to be part of a weekday meal.
This salad is build around a spicy cilantro pesto recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Lorna Sass’ Complete Vegetarian Kitchen. Thank you, Lorna, for the many tasty meals you have contributed to since I bought this book in 1999! Find her book here: http://lornasass.com/cookbooks/complete-vegetarian-kitchen It is a valuable kitchen resource for tasty and wholesome vegan meal ideas, or for a primer on how to cook beans or grains, or how to assemble an awesome salad, every time.
- 1 batch Cilantro Pesto (recipe below)
- 1 can black beans (Eden is BPA-free) or 2 cups cooked black beans (about 1 cup soaked and simmered)
- 1 cup raw quinoa, cooked in 2 cups water
- 1 large carrot, grated
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 stalk broccoli, cut into bite size florets/pieces and steamed
- sprouts if you have some on hand
- avocado if you have some on hand
- whatever other veggie you are inspired to add
Cook quinoa in 2 cups of water with a bit of salt. While quinoa is cooking, chop veggies and put into salad bowl, leaving the avocado aside. Make the pesto. Remember that quinoa cooks faster than rice and take it off the heat when it is done (about 15-20 minutes)! Letting it sit with the lid on for a few minutes helps make it fluffy. Combine all ingredients (except avocado) and toss. Add avocado to individual bowls.
Serve warm for a 1-bowl week-night dinner, and pack up leftovers for a delicious – if garlicky – lunch.
From Lorna Sass’ Complete Vegetarian Kitchen
Cilantro is not only delicious, and cleanse-friendly, it also supports detoxification as it nourishes.
Note from Lorna: Great served over plain boiled beans or grains, or on bean and grain salads.
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice, approximately
- 1 cup tightly packed minced fresh cilantro (coriander)
- 1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts or sunflower seeds, finely chopped
- 1 large clove minced fresh garlic (or more to taste)
- 1 tsp mild chili powder
- 1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
- 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp sea salt, or to taste
- In a food processor or jar, combine all the ingredients.
- Use immediately or store in a well-sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Makes 1/3 cup
This quick, simple dish is flavourful, and deeply nourishing.
If you have shied away from Shiitake mushrooms in the past, now is a chance to enjoy them. Their rich flavor provides an ideal counterpoint to the bitter freshness of Dandelions. Shiitakes are immune-enhancing and antiviral. For more about Dandelions, see http://www.drmahaliafreed.com/weeds-as-nourishing-spring-food-dandelion-greens/ .
- 1/2 lb or so of fresh Shiitake mushrooms, sliced (can use dried – soak in just-boiled water first)
- 1 large bunch dandelion greens, washed and chopped (or substitute kale or collard greens)
- 1 large onion or 2 small onions, chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger (optional)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
Heat olive oil in a sauté pan. Sauté onions, garlic and ginger in oil, adding water as needed, until onions are very soft. Add salt, shiitakes, with more water if needed, and let simmer at medium heat, covered, for about 8 minutes. Add dandelion greens/kale/collards and more water if needed, cover, and continue saute/simmering until greens are cooked (about 5 min).
by Dr. Mahalia Freed, ND
Dandelions, ubiquitous indicators of warmer weather, are perfectly positioned to support our health – especially our livers – through the transition to spring.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
The greens are deeply nourishing. Rich in vitamins and minerals including beta-carotene, B vitamins, calcium, iron, and potassium, dandelion greens have an alkalinizing effect on the body. These much-maligned weeds are safely diuretic, and contain nutrients that specifically support detoxification pathways via the kidneys and the liver. Additionally, their bitter flavor stimulates digestive function, from the stomach down to the intestines, including stimulating bile production in the liver. For those of you thinking of a spring cleanse, guess what? Dandelion is truly a detoxifier, as enhancing bile production allows for enhanced elimination of wastes from the body.
Find dandelion greens at your local supermarket, or harvest them from any chemical-free patch of grass. If harvesting, note that they get more bitter as the season goes on.
Adapted from: “A Call to Women: The Healthy Breast Program and Workbook” by Sat Dharam Kaur, ND
- 1 2/3 cups dry quinoa
- 3 1/3 cups water
- 1 cup chopped or grated carrots
- 3/4 cup chopped parsley (or cilantro)
- 1/2 cup cucumber, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup red pepper, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup sunflower seeds (or 1 can of black beans, drained)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced (can use roasted if desired)
- 1/2 cup soaked* arame, wakame or hijiki (seaweeds)
by Mahalia Freed, ND
Allergy Season Tips
Hay fever (also known as seasonal allergies or allergic rhinitis) is estimated to affect 10-20 % of the population in developed countries. Hay fever occurs when your immune system overreacts to airborne particles, most commonly the pollens of trees, grass, and ragweed. The unfortunately familiar list of symptoms includes runny & itchy nose, itchy, red, watery eyes, sneezing and congestion. People who suffer from seasonal allergies are more likely to develop asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, ear infections, and other complications. Interestingly, there is also new research suggesting a link between seasonal allergies and depression. Naturopathic medicine offers a variety of treatments that can effectively manage symptoms and bring resolution, with individual plans drawing on nutrition, herbal medicine, constitutional homeopathy and acupuncture. One of my personal favorite herbs is a star in treating allergies, and it is profiled below. Continue reading
Like Forsythias in their opera of yellow, and magnolias in their pink or white blossom-song, fiddlehead season is short, sometimes only 2 weeks. Fiddleheads are wild, their joy fleeting, their origin and taste unique. The fiddlehead is the new growth of an ancient plant family, the ferns. While there are many species of ferns, the fiddleheads available in Ontario markets in late April or early May are usually those of the Ostrich Fern. Interestingly, fiddleheads resist cultivation (they prefer swampy edges of woods), and are one of the few commercially available wild-crafted foods. Fiddleheads taste like…themselves. Some people compare their flavor to a combination of asparagus, green beans and okra. They are great on their own, in pasta salad, in frittata, lightly pickled, with other delicious seasonal veggies. The joy of eating fiddleheads, though, goes beyond their fresh green flavor and nutrient density: There is also the satisfaction we get from being in alignment with what is local and in season – an intellectual satisfaction born of making an ethical, politically-correct food choices, but also a purely physical one, as we nourish our bodies with truly spring food. Increase veggie variety in your diet, join the local seasonal bandwagon, support internal detoxification: try fiddleheads this year! Below is a recipe to get you started. Continue reading
Yes, there is a connection between hormonal balance and exposure to pesticides and certain plastics. That connection is xenoestrogens, an ever-expanding group of synthetic chemicals similar enough to our own estrogens that our bodies respond to them, but foreign enough that we cannot adequately get rid of them. They can build up in our bodies, stimulating estrogen-sensitive tissues and throwing off our delicate hormone balance. Xenoestrogens are linked to breast growth in prepubescent girls, gynecological concerns such as PMS, hot flashes, endometriosis and fibroids, and have clearly been shown to enhance the growth of breast cancer tumors. Studies also suggest that xenoestrogens decrease sperm counts in men, contribute to increased rates of testicular cancer and affect developing reproductive systems in utero. Thus, effective treatment & resolution of any of the above concerns must address this class of chemicals.
Mahalia Freed, ND
Beets have always appealed to my aesthetic sense, with their rich colour, and the beautiful rings that show when you slice them the right way. One of the few vegetables available locally, year round, beets are affordable, nourishing, and easy to prepare. Furthermore, they are a traditional blood building and liver cleansing food. March heralds spring, the season for liver support and cleansing. What better time to get reacquainted with beets?
The pigment that gives purple beets their gorgeous colour, betacyanin, is an antioxidant known to have powerful cancer-fighting properties. In the research, it is particularly effective against colon cancer. Beets are known as a “liver food” due to their betaine content. Betaine, or trimethylglycine, specifically supports phase II liver detoxification. It is also anti-inflammatory. Beyond their fibre content, beets contain folic acid (136 mcg per cup, boiled). While folic acid’s importance for preventing neural tube defects in utero is well known, the nutrient is essential for healthy cell division in general, making a diet rich in folic acid important for cancer and dysplasia-prevention. As well, beets have been researched for their ability to help normalize elevated blood pressure, increase HDL (good cholesterol), and decrease triglycerides. Who could have guessed? For cardiovascular health, liver health, detoxification, and fertility, go, beets!
NB: If your urine or stool is red after consuming beets, don’t be alarmed! It is simply the beet pigments. You may actually use this to assess your bowel transit time and kidney function: how long until you see red?
For more information about beets, from history to nutrition to health benefits, see the write up at World’s Healthiest Foods: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=49
The Chlorinated Villains and Their Impact
By now, you are likely aware of the negative health effects of chlorine-containing chemicals like pesticides, dioxins, and PCBs. We know that these chemicals, which the body is not adapted to process, accumulate in fatty tissue. This causes trouble in the form of breast and other cancers, infertility, endometriosis, hypothyroidism, neurological ailments such as ADD, brain fog and depression, chronic infection, allergies, autoimmune diseases, environmental illness, heart disease, and fatigue (Kaur 2003, Crinnion 2007, Rogers 2002). Alarmingly, the main way women purge these chemicals is through breast-feeding. A baby breast fed for 6 months receives more than 5 times the daily limit of PCBs set for a 150 lb adult (Kaur 2003)! Fortunately, there is another way to expel these toxins from our body fat: infrared saunas.