Saturday, April 23, 2011

Naturally Sweetened, (Vegan) Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins

The Magical Ingredients:
1 3/4 c. sweet brown rice flour
1/4 c. raw coconut palm sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 T. grated lemon rind
1 c. almond milk, cashew milk, coconut milk or rice milk
1 T. extra virgin coconut oil, melted
1/2 c. applesauce
1/4 c. raw coconut nectar
10 ounces wild blueberries, fresh or defrosted

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare your muffin pan by lining with paper cups or greasing with coconut oil.

2.  In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, cinnamon, and lemon rind.  Stir together with a wire whisk.

3.  In a separate bowl, combine the milk, oil, fruit puree, maple sytrup, and blueberries.  Stir gently to just combine.

4.  Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and combine gently.

5.  Scoop into the muffin pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.  An inserted toothpick should come out clean. 

Adapted from a Recipe in The Chopra Center Cookbook, one of my favorites because of the extensive use of flavorful herbs in all of the recipes and the emphasis on Ayurvedically balanced flavors:


Why use Coconut Palm Sugar/Nectar?
Coconut sugar and sap is a pure, raw, delicious, low glycemic sweetener rich in nutrients.  It is an abundant source of minerals, 17 amino acids, vitmain C, broad-spectrum B vitamins, and has a nearly neutral pH.


Extra Tip:

If you own a Vitamix or BlendTec blender, you can make your own FRESH flour by simply placing any whole grain in the blender and blending it for a few minutes until it is a powdery consistency.  I highly recommend this for maximum freshness, nutrition, and pranic quality of your food-

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

10 Reasons to Make a Snack Date with a Date

Dates are also known as "nature's candy," as they are the sweetest among all fruits.  They are grown on date palms (pictured above), which produce up to 200 fruits in a cluster.  Date palms are one of the oldest cultivated trees, having been grown in North Africa for at least 8,000 years.    There are many varieties of dates- all with a pleasant and slightly unique taste.  The most popular variety most stores carry is the Medjool date.  The Medjool date is twice as big as other dates. 

10 Reasons to Make a Snack Date with a Date:

Dates are...
1.  An excellent source of the minerals potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and sulfur.
2.  Satisfy sweet cravings without promoting weight gain.
3.  High in fiber.
4.  Benefit the nervous system.
5. Help to reduce mental fatigue.
6. Are cancer-preventive.
7. Help to relieve constipation.
8. Assist with muscle development.
9. Promote heart health.
10.  Are delicious on eaten their own or, as an addition to dessert recipes, they add a new depth of flavor far above & beyond conventional sugar!

Strawberry Date Shake
with Kefir:

1 c. Kefir
3 Medjool dates, pitted
1 c. strawberries, fresh or frozen
optional:  1 tsp. Synergy whole food Vitamin C berry powder

Step 1- Blend the kefir and dates until smooth. 
Step 2- Add the strawberries and blend until smooth.

* Note:  If you're using fresh strawberries and still desire "shake" consistency, add some additional ice cubes.

- The Complete Guide to Nutritional Health by Pierre Jean Cousin and Kirsten Hartvig
- The Encyclopedia of Whole Food Medicine by Don Tolman


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Kefir: A Legendary Probiotic Drink You Can Make at Home

Kefir came from the people of the Northern Caucasus Mountains located between Russia and Asia, who are known for their longevity.  For centuries these people have used its powerful health benefits to survive the harsh winters deep in the mountains.  It was often known as a source of family and tribal wealth.   In fact, they kept the secret of kefir grains and its process for thousands of years, even to the extent of protecting the art and the grains with their very own lives

The people of the tribes of the Caucasus Mountains, when asked about the origin or kefir, say that kefir grains (starter) was gifted by the Prophet Mohammed over 1400 years ago.  In Turkey it is said that kefir grains were a gift from angels to Noah on the ark.   Other legends are also told, all of which allude to a mystical origin of this 'miracle' food!.

Russian scientists, who became aware of the remarkable properties of kefir, attempted to replicate kefir, but were never able to do so.  It wasn’t until late 1908, when Irina Sakharova brought the first amounts of kefir to Moscow, where it was used medicinally in Russia with great success.  From there, it has spread and benefitted people around the world
Kefir is a creamy, slightly sour cultured milk drink that beneficial strains of bacteria and  yeasts.  Kefir has an abundance of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes. Some of the more prominent of these are calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B2, and B12, vitamin K, A and D.  The following attributes have given kefir it's reputation as a 'wonder drink':

  • It cleanses the digestive tract
  • It provides beneficial bacteria and yeast, vitamins and minerals, and complete proteins
  • it contributes to a healthy immune system and has been used to help patients suffering from AIDS, chronic fatigue syndrome, herpes, and cancer
  • It has been used to treat metabolic disorders, atherosclerosis, allergic disease, tuberculosis, cancer and other gastrointestinal disorders with success
  • Its tranquilizing effect on the nervous system has benefited many who suffer from sleep disorders, depression, and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
  • Consuming it regularly can help relieve all intestinal disorders, promote bowel movement, reduce flatulence and create a healthier digestive system
  • It can eliminate unhealthy food cravings by creating a healthy bacterial balance in the digestive tract
  • It is an effective immune stimulant and antimicrobial against a wide variety of harmful bacteria
  • Its cleansing effect on the whole body helps to establish a balanced inner ecosystem for optimum health and longevity 
  • It regulates the body's immune system and improves resistance to diseases. 
  • It regulates the blood pressure, blood sugar and cures diabetes. 
  • It heals the lungs, bronchitis, tuberculosis, asthma, allergies and migraine. 
  • It has a positive influence on the heart and blood, heals circulatory conditions. 
  • It helps with eczema, all skin disorders and for some people, has led to cure of acne 
  • It benefits the kidneys, the urinary tract and protects prostate
  • It has as a positive influence on cholesterol, osteoporosis and rheumatism. 
  • It supports enzymes production and heals the pancreas
  • It improves the liver and gallbladder, regulates bile production, and positively influences hepatitis
  • It helps in cases of colitis, diarrhea, catarrh, reflux, leaky gut syndrome, candidasis and more 
  • It produces its own antibiotics, eliminates unfriendly bacteria, cures internal and external inflammations
  • It pre-digests dairy products, making them edible to individuals who have lactose intolerance 
  • It produces own anti-cancer compounds 
  • It slows the aging process, smoothes and improves skin, hair and muscle tone
  • It  increases energy and feelings of well-being
  • It produces all necessary vitamins and beneficial bacteria needed for our healthy daily life
Almost a century of scientific and medical research confirming the above is available from Dairy Research Institute in former USSR.  Kefir is gaining popularity because of its effects in lowering medical cost. With increasing resistance to antibiotics, intensive research of the real kefir is conducted in Europe and Japan. The results are supporting the experience of generations.

Kefir can be purchased from health food stores or you can make it easily at home.  When purchasing, look for brands that are free from 'nonfat milk powder' (which contains harmful oxidized cholesterol) or refined sugars.  Kefir can be made from cow's milk, goat's milk, coconut milk, coconut water, rice milk, or almond milk.

A good source of quality kefir starter can be ordered on-line from

Diets of the Masters by Michael Paul Patterson
"History and Benefirs of Kefir: A Cultured Dairy Product,"


Kefir Smoothie
Begin with a cup of Kefir and add as many of the following as you wish.   

1 tsp. of unrefined coconut oil
Ground flax seeds
Natural flavorings or herbs such as stevia, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla or natural fruit flavoring
Fresh or frozen organic fruits, strawberries, raspberries, bananas, kiwi, mango etc.
Raw honey, palm sugar, or Stevia Clear flavored stevia to sweeten
Natural source vitamin C powder such as Camu Camu Berry or Acerola Cherry

Blend together for a delicious, nutritious breakfast, lunch, or snack. 

Kefir Milk Chocolate Drink
3/4 c. kefir
1/4 c. water
1 scoop raw, organic chocolate     whey powder or 2 tsp. raw
    cocoa powder
1 tsp.-1 T. (depending on your tastes)
         palm sugar or raw honey

Whisk or blend until creamy.  Serve.

 Lemon-Thyme Kefir Sauce
or Salad Dressing:

2 cups Kefir
1/4 c. water
6 T. lemon juice
Zest of 2 lemons
2 T. finely minced fresh thyme
1/4 tsp. sea salt

Blend or whisk all ingredients together except thyme until smooth.   Add thyme and blend for a few moments until thyme is well incorporated.  Serve or store in the refrigerator. 

Where can I find Kefir, Stevia, Natural Vitamin C Powder, & Flax Seeds?