Category: Healthy Tips

Revolutionary Pancakes

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Revolutionary Pancakes // My New Roots

When I was pregnant, you wouldn’t believe how many people told me how much fun it would be cooking for a little person someday. Although this seemed like an obvious thing, I kind of shrugged it off, thinking that it wouldn’t be that awesome. I think part of me feared the pressure, or the possibility of cooking becoming more of a chore than a pleasure.

Although I’ve had my fair share of noggin scratchin’, I have to say that cooking is now more than a pleasure. It’s moved into a greater creative place, I feel freer, and I’ve discovered so many cool things through the challenges.

Take this recipe for example. Seeing as happy accidents seem to be at the core of what I do, it’s no surprise that the recipe for Revolutionary Pancakes evolved from something other than what it was originally intended for. In July of last year I blogged about Raspberry Ripple Buckwheat Porridge. Around this time, I was beginning to give my little babe whole grains, but because we chose to let him feed himself, it was hard to actually get enough in him – the floor had all it could handle, thank you. One day after blending the porridge up, I looked at the still-hot skillet on the stove from my husband’s eggs, and mused about pouring my own breakfast into the pan. So I did. And it made a pancake. A pretty perfect, tasty, sprouted pancake that my baby could actually pick up and eat himself without supplying the hardwood with yet another coat of whole grain goodness. For the win.

This got me pretty excited. Not only did I have a new and very popular meal for my wee one, but a new a very popular meal for myself. I’ve been experimenting a lot for the last 9 months with this one and I’m thrilled to say we have a rather fool-proof recipe on our hands, dear friends. Pancakes for everyone!

And what is so revolutionary about them? These pancakes contain two ingredients. They are flour-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, and vegan.  They use soaked whole buckwheat and any other grain you have in your pantry; brown rice, quinoa, millet and amaranth are my favourites. Add-ins are welcome and sneaking some fruits, veg or superfoods into these is totally possible. Lastly, and my favourite aspect, is that you don’t even get a bowl or spoon dirty in the process since you can soak the grains right in your blender, then pour the batter straight into the pan.

Revolutionary Pancakes // My New Roots

Flour Power?
I am trying my best to live a flour-free life. Why? Because even if I buy “whole grain” flour at the store, I don’t really know how whole grain it actually is, how long it’s been since it was processed, and just how that went.

If you consider foods’ three mortal enemies: heat, light and oxygen, flour seems like it may be on the losing end of this battle. Grinding grain inevitably exposes its insides to the three foes, so keeping grains whole right up until you’re going to consume them is no doubt the best practice to avoid losing vitamins, minerals, and gaining serious un-desirables, such as oxidized fats.

To remedy all of this, we can grind our own grain and use them right away. Soaking the whole grains first, then using them in a recipe such as this one, is the easiest method for most of us. We can also make our own flour, either in a dedicated grain mill (which can be expensive) or with something as simple as a coffee grinder. I also really love buying rolled oats (not quick-cooking or instant) and grinding them in my food processor to make flour. This is a really easy and inexpensive way to ensure I’m getting a whole product, ground fresh and full of nutrients.

If you are going to buy flour, make sure it has an expiry date (as all food should go bad at some point, eh?) and surprise! Keep it in the fridge. That’s right, all sealed up tight in a cool, dark place. If you are someone who does a lot of baking and goes through flour very quickly, no need to worry about this too much, but if you’re a sporadic baker like me, keep the enemies at bay.


Revolutionary Pancakes // My New Roots

I must be upfront and inform you that these are not like the familiar, light-n-fluffy American-style pancakes, or whisper-thin European crêpes. Because they are not made with white flour, or flour at all for that matter, they are substantial in taste and texture. On the grounds of their potential density, I like to make mine on the thin side, and relatively small. You can thin the batter out quite a lot if you do like crêpes, but they will inevitably be chewier – a quality I quite like.

I’ve always been an enthusiastic pancake eater because they are the prefect blank canvas for all manner of healthy, tasty toppings. I like to crown these particular ones with homemade nut butter, fresh seasonal fruit, hemp seeds, coconut, and of course maple syrup, honey, or jam.

As a bonus, I’ve included a quick recipe for luscious Ginger-Vanilla Cashew Cream. Since I posted a picture of it on Instagram, it would be almost cruel not to provide you with the ingredients and method, however simple it all is to make. What’s groovy about pairing this with the pancakes is that you’re already soaking grains for breakfast, so giving the nuts a bath before bed seems like no extra effort at all.

Revolutionary Pancakes // My New Roots

 

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One more exciting thing to mention is The Guardian’s magazine, Observer Food Monthly has published a story about the wave of healthy eating washing over the globe and the women who are at the forefront of this movement. The cover features The Hemsley Sisters, Ella Woodward, Anna Jones, and yours truly (a very dolled-up version, I might add). Read the article and get one of the spring recipes from my cookbook, here.

OFM cover

A Winter Weekend Cleanse

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Simple 3-Day Cleanse // My New Roots

Happy 2015, dear friends!

I wasn’t sure about doing a detox post this year simply because it seemed predictable, but over the past couple weeks, my body told my brain to stop thinking so much and just do what I feel. Smart body.

There are many reasons people feel the need to press the reset button this time of year. Overindulgence, chronic stress, feelings of fatigue or sluggishness are the usual suspects, but there are also positive grounds for clearing out the cobwebs such as wanting to gain more energy and increase vitality, achieve higher levels of clarity, and realign with our internal guidance systems. I know the telltale signs for myself, and they usually involve a slight disinterest in eating (sounds crazy, I know), along with the desire to examine my food-body-mind relationship. Since I am often cooking everyday for a living, I can sometimes lose sight of the total magic that food is. If I slice open a head of red cabbage and fail to swoon, or that pomegranate doesn’t bring me to my knees in awe, I know it’s time to take a break, simplify, and make space for those feelings again.

But how can we make this really easy? I’ve gotten so much positive feedback from my past cleanses and detox programs for Oprah magazine and Whole Living magazine, (all of which are still online here, here and here), but one thing that people mention is how much food there is! Taking that into consideration, I thought I would design a super-simple plan this year with only two recipes and you can make the decision how long you want to go for.

One smoothie. One soup. Both are alkalizing, filling yet detoxifying, mega green but super tasty. In fact, I’ll wager that you’ll love both of these recipes so much that you’ll be enjoying them long after the cleanse is over! The Ginger-Mint Pear Smoothie is luscious, sweet-and-spicy with cooling mint and creamy avocado. The Cilantro Spinach Sweet Potato Soup is like eating a crazy-delicious hug.

Simple 3-Day Cleanse // My New Roots

Detoxifying Habits

It’s true that certain foods and herbs can aid in the detoxification process, but what else can we do to boost our cleansing process on a daily basis?

Exercise: Moving our bodies is essential for balance and overall health because it creates the conditions to breathe deeply, stretch, circulate the blood and lymph, and sweat. The more we move, the more efficient our body becomes at circulating and flushing out toxins. Gentle, low-intensity exercise such as yoga, stretching, or walking is best during a juice fast or reduced-calorie diet (such as this weekend cleanse), while high-impact exercise is recommended at least 3 times a week once you are back to eating a regular, healthy diet.

Dry skin brushing: Dry skin brushing helps stimulate your lymphatic system, which is responsible for ridding the body of toxins. Skin brushing improves the surface circulation on the skin and keeps the pores of the skin open, encouraging your body’s discharge of metabolic wastes, and resulting in an improved ability to combat bacteria, plus helping your skin to look and feel healthier and more resilient! Skin brushing also strengthens the immune system and helps aid the digestion system, both of which are greatly involved in the detoxification process.

Take a sauna: Although it is a major eliminative organ, most people’s skin is very inactive. Sweat is a most important elimination route for toxins. Repeated use of the sauna can help slowly restore skin elimination. Viruses, toxin-burdened cells, and tumours are weaker than normal cells and tolerate heat poorly. The heating of the tissues, which takes place in a sauna helps the body heal from infections and disease more quickly. I make it a habit to go to the sauna once a week for a deep, cleansing sweat. It feels amazing and does a body good!

Simple 3-Day Cleanse // My New Roots

Below is a sample plan for the Winter Weekend Cleanse. You can do the program for just one day, but I would recommend at least two to really feel the benefits. You can also go longer if you like, and include one or more of the recipes from my previous programs to compliment the new one, just so those taste buds of yours stay excited! Drink as much water as you feel like / need, but consume at least 1½ liters throughout the day. Always begin the day with warm water with lemon, as this will assist in flushing your digestive system, preparing your tummy for food by increasing stomach acid, and alkalizing your entire system. Herbal teas are acceptable, but choose ones that are particularly detoxifying. Burdock, cleavers, chickweed, yarrow, nettle and plantain are some of my favourites. I also have a wonderful Detox Tea Blend recipe here.

You can eat your smoothie for breakfast and afternoon snack, but it also fills in for a lunch if that is all you feel like. You can make up the entire batch for a day (the recipe makes about 3 cups / 700ml) if you know you’ll be on the go and sip on it when you need a pick-me-up. Or you can divide the ingredients in half and make it fresh if you’ll be near a blender.

Since we are in the colder months of the year here, I’d encourage you not to use frozen fruit, as it’s important to keep warm when the weather is not! I like to enjoy this smoothie at room temperature, and I promise it’s just as delicious as its cold counterpart.

The soup can be eaten for lunch and dinner or as a snack too. I really like it blended, but feel free to keep it chunky too!

Simple 3-Day Cleanse // My New Roots

Winter Weekend Cleanse Plan

Upon rising: warm water with lemon

Breakfast: Ginger-Mint Pear Smoothie

Throughout the day: water! Aim for 1½ – 2½ liters a day (about 6-10 cups), depending on your activity level

Lunch: Cilantro Spinach Sweet Potato Soup

Snack: Ginger-Mint Pear Smoothie

Dinner: Cilantro Spinach Sweet Potato Soup

Repeat on the following day, for as many days as you like.

Things to Avoid: caffeine, sugar, alcohol, tobacco, computer time, television, stressful situations.

Things to Embrace: sleep and rest, time outdoors, yoga, meditation, deep breathing, sauna, dry skin brushing.

 

I hope you all find your own reasons for trying out this simple cleanse, and that it proves to be as helpful as it is delicious! Remember to take things slow, set realistic goals for yourself and be celebrate each small victory! I truly wish you all the best for 2015 – this year is going to be the cleanest, greenest yet.

Love and light,
Sarah B

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Check out my interview with the gorgeous McKel over at Nutrition Stripped!

Recipes and Tips for Healthy Travel

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travel
If there is one passion I have beyond cooking and eating, it is traveling.
In just one week I will be on a plane with my husband, heading for the tropical paradise of Kauai. It has been a dream of mine for many years to visit this Hawaiian island, and since my best friend is currently living there, I knew that this was the perfect opportunity. The only bummer about this incredible dream coming true? Oh, the 38-hours it will take to get there from Copenhagen. Yikes.

Yes, I love traveling, but I am not a huge fan of the in-transit time. Hauling luggage around. Layovers. Crowded airports. Until I actually arrive at my destination, I have my blinders on and my head down in total survival mode. You’d think for someone that travels as much as I do I would be used to all the schlepping by now, but I don’t think I’ll ever be in love with the line up at customs. It’s just not happening.

One thing I have happily mastered in all of my travel experience is the business of food. Just because I am in survival mode doesn’t mean I am eating questionably edible, pre-packaged sandwiches from the vending machine. No way. When this foodie is on the road (or in the sky), she comes fully prepared from door to door!

I take great pleasure in preparing my food for trips, and although it takes a little planning, am I ever chuffed cracking open my Tupperware of thoughtfully made salad, crackers, dip, and dessert, while other passengers are munching on mystery meat. More often that not, I end up sharing my meal with my seatmates, as they always ask about what I have with me. This leads to many great conversations – sometimes new friends – and I bet I’ve convinced more than one person that raw chocolate is better than their mini candy bar.

I posted a picture of my in-flight meal on Instagram during my last trip to Lisbon and the response was surprising: you want to know what to eat on the go! I am very happy to share my easy-to-make recipes that travel well if it means you’ll avoid schwaggy snacks eaten out of desperation too.

Now, I know that the list seems really long, but keep in mind I’ll be in transit for over an entire day and a half! And I eat a lot. And the last time I checked there were no restrictions on how much food you can take on a plane, just what you take.

Here’s what I am bringing with me on the epic trek across planet Earth:

Rice and Beet Salad (recipe below)
Happy Crackers
sprouts
Roasted Garlic and White Bean Dip (recipe below)
carrot and cucumber sticks
dried fruit
banana and pears
Simple Gourmet Granola
Mango-Cashew Sunshine Bites (next post!)

Here is what I’ve learned about traveling with food.

1. Pack foods that don’t need to be refrigerated. This one is obvious. All of the above items are fine out of the fridge for at least 24 hours. Soft cheeses, meat, and melty things are not the best choices.

2. Pack foods that will maintain good texture. I chose to make this rice and beet salad because the veggies will maintain their freshness and crispness throughout my journey. I find that all plane food is pretty one-note when it comes to consistency: mushy! I like to crunch on my food, so packing carrot sticks, cucumber, bell peppers, apples, sprouts, rice cakes, and crispy granola are always a safe bet. If you are going to eat greens, stick to romaine. Spinach, butter lettuces, and mixed greens wilt and get soggy. Also, pack foods in a specific order in your containers. With the rice and beet salad, you’ll notice that the rice and beets are on the bottom, while the romaine and cilantro are on top. Mix them all together just before eating and they will maintain their crispness for sure.

3. Pack foods that are easy to eat. I find sandwiches do not always fit in this category. If you do make a sandwich, keep the fillings small and non-liquid-y so that they are not oozing all over you when you take a bite. Sometimes I like to take a wrap with me because I can roll it up in a piece of parchment, which prevents dripping. Oranges and grapefruits are a bad call because they often require a hand washing. Also, don’t take foods that require knives as you can’t bring anything sharp in your carry-on, and you may have to wait for the food cart to come around before you can get your hands on utensils.

4. Be considerate. No one wants to sit beside Mrs. Garlic n’ Onions. Smelly cheeses, curry, and cooked cruciferous vegetables can stink up an entire plane with the flip of a Tupperware lid. The bean dip I made uses roasted garlic, which is far mellower and less offensive than raw garlic. The beet salad is rather inoffensive as well – the main smell is mustard, but it’s very mild. If you know that you’re about to drop a stinky food bomb, be thoughtful and eat when everyone else is so at least your smells are covered up by everyone else’s meal.

5. Avoid liquids. This is a no-brainer these days, but if you are going to take any kind of dip through security, make sure it can be turned upside down and not budge – think mashed potato consistency. It also really depends on who your security team is and what city you are in. Sometimes I get my hummus through one airport but I’ll be forced to toss it at the next one. It helps if the dip is not in a container with a weight or volume measure on the side and if it’s accompanied with veggie sticks, as pictured. If all else fails, playing dumb, smiling ever-so-sweetly and begging are seriously effective tactics. Remember, this is survival.

The following two recipes are very simple yet have been thoughtfully created for traveling.

The Rice and Beet Salad supplies you with whole grains for fiber, beets for cleansing your liver if you do choose to have a mini bottle o’ wine with your meal, walnuts for omega-3, cilantro for pulling heavy metals out of your blood, and romaine lettuce for vitamin C to ward off the flu from the dude sitting next to you. This salad has a high water content to keep you hydrated, and feeling like a human being when you land, instead of a zombie. The  Roasted Garlic White Bean and Tarragon Dip is flavourful, high in protein and fiber. The roasted garlic won’t be as offensive as raw garlic like in regular hummus. It is also much thicker than regular hummus so that you can get it through security!

travel2

Prepare the salad and bean dip well in advance of leaving for your trip – the day before is ideal. You need to make sure all the ingredients are cool before you make both dishes, so that they will keep for many hours outside of the fridge. If they are warm when you leave, they may spoil en route.

 

Help with Jetlag
Jetlag is a serious bummer. When you finally get to where you are going and all you want to do is sleep is incredibly frustrating.

The secret to combating this very common affliction is staying hydrated and avoiding those things that cause dehydration. I’ll share with you my own little tips that get me through every time. In fact, I rarely suffer from jetlag at all.

1. Drink tons of water. The circulated air on planes is incredibly dehydrating. Drink as much as you can the day you are traveling before you get to the airport. Take a bottle with you on the plane and have the flight attendants refill it often, or ask if you can have their 2-liter bottle for long-haul flights. They usually give me one, as they find coming to my seat every hour to fill my bottle annoying.
For every hour you are flying, drink at least 500ml / 17oz. of water (I aim for double this). This sounds like a lot, but it helps more than anything else. Yes, you may have to pee a lot, but it’s good to get out of your seat anyway.

2. No alcohol, coffee or tea. Yea, yea, I’m a big party pooper, but I say this in your best interest. Alcohol and caffeine are also dehydrating, which will exacerbate any feelings of jetlag you may have. Save the celebrations for when you actually get to your destination instead of suffering through a jetlag fueled hangover. The worst!

3. Limit or avoid the plane food. Meals on planes are heavily salted and/or sugared
because food tastes blander at high altitudes. To dilute both salt and sugar, your cells excrete water and send a thirst message to your brain saying they need more fluids. Wine does not help the situation. Nor does a cold beer, an iced tea, or coffee. Drink water on the plane only, and stick to high water content fruits and veggies. If you are going to be eating on the plane, order a vegetarian non-diary meal in advance – it’s your best bet!

Preparation for Coming Home
As a final detail, if you can plan ahead to your home coming, it will make the end of your trip a lot more pleasant. For my last meal at home I make a large pot of soup or stew and cook extra to freeze so that when I arrive back I have a meal waiting for me to heat and eat. It seems like a small thing, but when I get off the plane tired and needing a hot, nourishing meal, I know that there is one waiting for me when I get home without any fuss.

I hope that these recipes and lists of travel tips will help you on your next trip. Bon voyage! And I’ll see you when I am back from paradise…Peace out winter!