This post dedicated to my friend Ginger and the beautifully moody cloudy #greyskies for inspiring me to make a post today :) This is probably one of my first (if not first) truly #foodismedicine posts. B O R S C H T. I adore this dish. I never forgot it when I made it for the first time in culinary school. The image of my dish and its warmth that moved from my mouth to my belly jumped right back to memory as I was driving through the rain today. And I knew I had to make a post bc Ginger’s request was burning in my mind ;). As I’ve begun my studies in botanical medicine and explored the medicinal culinary plants of Chinese and Ayurvedic traditions, I’ve come to believe that people are called to/drawn by the medicines within certain plants. Unknowingly. I never knew there was much beyond simply loving flavor and being an insatiable foodie. But in finding the nutritional gifts of the foods and herbs I’ve unknowingly come to love, Im pretty awed with how specific they are to my own needs. If you take some time to look into the dominant nutrients of your favorite herbs and healthy foods, I wonder what you’d find.

Beets: blood purifier, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, cleans out homocysteine (made from common amino acid methionine, found in red meat and dairy) that, when not combined w Vit B9, B12, Glycine and Choline leads to major arterial inflammation, heart problems, brain inflammation and atrophy (not cool; causes a whole host of neuro problems).

In this recipe I used my own homemade grassfed Beef Bone Broth (~30% Glycine) infused w lots of the Chinese herb Dong quai: blood tonic, encourages circulation, detoxifying, and contains the same amazing B9 (folic acid) vitamin that beets do to prevent and clear high homocysteine levels, and Cobalt (B12 activator). Dong quai is associated w strengthening the Spleen, Kidney, and Liver. And the cabbage has the Choline! (as do eggs, in higher amounts).

So while you enjoy your comfort food bowl of homemade Borscht, you can be sure that you are preventing inflammatory homocysteine formation, and providing your blood and body w Proper Cellular Communication, Antioxidant Defense, and Detoxification :)

My RECIPE variation:

2 med/lg. Golden Beets, unpeeled, shredded raw
2 med/lg. Red Beets, unpeeled, shredded raw
3 med. Yukon Gold potatoes, shredded raw
1/2 Green or Red Cabbage, shredded raw (sauerkraut works great also, maybe do half n half?)
4 Minced Garlic
1/2 Yellow Onion (I just use this to infuse flavor, so don’t bother chopping; I remove it)
1/2lb. 100% Grassfed Chuck Roast, small diced, seasoned
Coconut Oil to cover pan
2T Tomato Paste
4 cups Homemade Bone Broth (I infused mine w dried root of Dong quai, purchased from www.mountainroseherbs.com)
Favorite Red Wine, or Red Wine Vinegar, just enough to de-glaze (maybe 1/4 c?)
1 dry Bay Leaf
2 sprigs Fresh Thyme
Fresh Parsley, Dill (optional garnish)
Cultured Sour Cream (optional)

*I didn’t have cultured sour cream or parsley or dill on hand, so I substituted w Pastured Feta and Basil. Feta is great bc it’s 100% sheep’s milk (easier on digestion) and Fresh Basil is great for digestion.

Method:
- sear meat in coconut oil until browned
- turn heat down to med-low
- add tomato paste and garlic; stir occasionally, simmer until tomato paste caramelizes
- deglaze w red wine or red wine vinegar
- add in dry bay leaf, thyme while wine is reducing to almost-dry (just a little liquid remains)
- add in shredded beets, potatoes, cabbage/sauerkraut; stir
- add all broth
- add onion
- Simmer 30min, covered

Garnish to serve.

Homemade Organic Pastures Raw Milk Fresh Mint Japanese Matcha Ice Cream w Toasted Cacao Nibs in Homemade Cinnamon Chocolate Gluten Free Waffle Cone

Yes, this ice cream got a title, because, well, it was too exciting to settle for a short 3-word name. It just didn’t do it justice. This concoction is a superfood dressed up as dessert, and here’s why:

For starter’s, Raw Milk’s high content of probiotics, CLA’s (a healthy fat found only in ruminants, but only worth it from organic grass-fed animals) , omega-3's, calcium, vitamins, enzymes and more (@OrganicPastures) make this ice cream so much easier to digest.

Then Matcha Tea comes along and makes this already superfood dessert a superduper food. It elevates this indulgence by providing high anti-inflammatory benefits, mental clarity, improved mood, and concentration. It fights for your health with loads of antioxidants, protecting cells and promoting brain activity with L-Theanine while calming the nervous system.

The Cacao Nibs save us the dairy and refined sugar strain on our digestion and immune system, and instead lend high anti-oxidants, magnesium, and iron. Can’t go wrong there!

Mint leaves provide wonderful antifungal, antimicrobial properties with it’s chemical component menthol. Not only is this useful in fighting H. pylori, E. coli and other bugs that like to set up camp intestinally, but it has also been shown in animal studies to stop tumor growth in other organs (www.whfoods.com). Lastly, menthol is that cooling sensation you feel, making it perfect for hot summer days!

Finally, no gluten means no gliadin means no zonulin production means no inflammation in my tummy nor my blood! (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21248165). I like food that doesn’t promote inflammation. And allergies or food sensitivities have little to do with it, especially when autoimmunity is at stake. Gluten free ensures everyone feels good, and flavor isn’t compromised in the least.

So as a naturopathic medical student, I’m thinking this actually makes a great homemade physiologically supportive study-aide! ;) Now that’s procrastination time well spent.

It’s so frustrating being allergic to your favorite foods and beverages (ahem, coffee). And of course people have tried for years to find good alternatives. While I don’t anticipate ever saying there has been such a hero found (I do love my teas, but when it’s coffee you want…), I must say that I am quite excited about this new concoction of “Banana Milk” that has elevated my Teeccino (an herbal caffeine-free “coffee” that is alkaline!) and made it delicious. Raw Milk (yummy yummy!) isn’t always on hand, nor transportable, but this stuff is. Additionally, when you’re craving something outside the ever-boring almond/coconut/soy milk lack-of-creaminess disappointment, this easily hits the spot.

I was so grateful running into @the_drama_llamas today during my “i can’t have coffee whine-fest” as it was her who provided me with this idea! So I ran home to try out my own version, and voila. Palate and afternoon-slump satisfied (ok, with some B vitamins and Ashwaganda to help out also)!! I hope you try it, because it’s no fun being this excited alone. Plus, it would be even cooler to know someone else was finding a better solution to their “i can’t have coffee or pasteurized dairy either” sad-fest.

Happy drinking!!

HERBAL COFFEE with SUPERFOOD BANANA MILK
– Homemade Banana Milk
yield ~1/3c
1/2 lg. Banana
1/4c Water
1 Date
1 Vanilla Bean (scraped)
1T Coconut Oil
1tsp Beaming Superfood Smoothie Blend (all 100% organic: cacao powder, cacao nibs, raw maca powder, klamath blue green algae, noni powder, acai powder, cordyceps mushrooms, mesquite, camu camu, chef’s grade vanilla, ginger powder, himalayan sea salt, stevia, cinnamon, cayenne)

Blend on high for 30 seconds to get the most creamy texture, and try not to eat it all before adding it to your beverage ;) Cuz then you’ll just have to make more, and your drink will get cold…

Early Summer Acai Bowls!

Ingredients to Puree in Food Processor (or Blender):
1 Frozen Acai bar (broken for ease of blending)
1 Peeled Orange
1 Heaping Tablespoon Almond Butter
Handful Fresh Mint
Handful Fresh Basil
1tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Banana
1 Fresh Pitted Date (OR 1 tsp Raw Honey)
1/2c Crushed Ice

TOPPINGS:
Organic Granola (low-glycemic, no vegetable oils)
Black Sesame Seeds
Frozen Wild Blueberries (Trader Joe's)
Fresh Strawberries
Fresh Raspberries
Sliced Banana
Organic Raw Walnuts
Shredded, Unsweetened Dried Coconut