Simplifying nutrition and using food as medicine - one bite at a time.

My goal with this blog is to set folks straight about what good nutrition really is! Starting by discarding the info we get every day from 'sponsors' that do not really have our best interests at heart, I want to inspire you to eat better AND realize it is much easier than you thought it would be!

Just about any health issues can be addressed with nutrition (and meditation), from mild to chronic to acute. We truly have the ability to heal ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually...

And you can use your daily routine as your vehicle to drive that change :)

Join me...

Quote of the Month

"When food, in the minds of eaters, is no longer associated with farming and with the land, then the eaters are suffering a kind of cultural amnesia that is misleading and dangerous"
~Wendell Berry

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Spring Vitality

Spring is the season for awakening the body; our senses, our minds, our every oscillating cell. The foods that grow natively act accordingly to our bodies needs. In the springtime, new shoots of green emerge and share their life-giving, cleansing and nourishing nutrients in abundance. These foods are meant to stimulate a natural and mild cleanse and detoxification of our organ systems, particularly organs of detoxification such as the Liver.

“The sight of the green colour of tender young plants nourishes the soul through the eyes, so the appetite for food decreases and the body naturally cleanses itself…” (Healing With Whole Foods ~ Paul Pitchford)

That is why, according to Chinese Medicine, the spring season represents the Liver and Gall Bladder or Wood element and it is trademarked by the colour green. It is also considered a Yang season; one that has ascending and expansive qualities (think of bursting cherry blossoms). The foods that grow at this time naturally resonate all of these factors. It is important, as natural beings, to honour and embrace these natural rhythms and be in tune with our natural surroundings, emphasizing in our diets what grows natively and seasonally. This benefits our own health as well as the health of our planet.

So, in springtime it is prudent to eat plenty of green vegetables such as a wide variety of salad greens and various sprouts and other ‘early foods’ such as pea shoots. And it is still appropriate to finish eating winter preserves such as apples and pears and root vegetables as we transition into the new season. I like to combine these foods into lighter soups and stews as opposed to the heavier ones of winter.

When I start to introduce salads I do so gradually, also using some of the prior season’s fare as I transition. The reason I do this is because each and every food we eat has a thermal and energetic property to it. Fruit, for example, generally has a cooling and moistening energy, with some exceptions. In a climate which is generally pretty cool and moist I try not to eat too many foods that emit that property because an imbalance can occur within. Uncooked foods in general, if eaten in excess, can weaken the digestion and trigger excessive cleansing reactions.

Spring greens have a cooling dispersing energy, preparing us for the warmer weather to come. When I eat my greens I include some fresh ginger, garlic, cayenne or other pungent warming spices or herbs to my salad dressing to help balance the cooling nature of the greens while the weather is still cool. And in the spring, food is best cooked for a shorter time but at high temperatures, so the food is not cooked thoroughly on the inside, preserving some of its inherent vitality. When using water light steaming or simmering is best.

Many modern people’s livers and gall bladders are suffering. Excessive exposure to poor quality fats (i.e.: hydrogenated and trans fats, highly processed and cholesterol-rich vegetable oils and powdered dairy and egg products), denatured foods and environmental toxins all disrupt the hundreds of biochemical processes that the liver conducts. And the main symptoms of a suffering liver are stress and tension, anger, frustration, stubbornness, aggression and an impulsive and/or explosive personality.

Do any of these sound familiar?

Eating as described above can give a welcome boost to these overburdened organs.

(Parts of this column have been adapted from Healing With Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford)
I’d like to share this springtime recipe with you in hopes that it brings you both pleasure and relief and therefore a contribution to the health of your body.

Lisa Marie’s Spring Salad

1 heap of assorted spring greens (don’t forget the dandelion greens + flowers in the garden)

1 sliced pear (drizzled in lemon juice to keep from browning)

½ cup of goat feta or chevre or raw organic cow feta (Jerseyland Organics makes an excellent one)

¼ cup chopped lightly toasted maple and cayenne glazed pecans or other nut of choice

1 handful of pea shoots

1 handful of sunflower/bean/broccoli/garlic or other sprout of choice

edible flowers, seasonal

a sprinkling of chopped lemon thyme/mint/basil/dill/fennel

Lisa Marie’s Dressing/Marinade
(makes about 1 cup)

3/4 cup cold-pressed, extra virgin Olive Oil

2 tsp. stone ground mustard

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp raw apple cider vinegar

2 tsp. hemp/flax/avocado oil

3 tablespoons maple syrup

Dash of unrefined sea salt


Herbs/spices to taste: garlic, ginger, cayenne, thyme, mint, fennel, basil, rosemary, dill, coriander, sage…experiment


Add mustard, salt and maple syrup to vinegars, whisk with fork, add oils gradually whisking together then add optional ingredients if desired.

Don’t over-whisk or leave dressing out to be exposed to heat, light or oxygen too long as oils are sensitive to these. Transfer into dressing dispenser and shake before use. If storing in refrigerator, store in an air-tight opaque or dark, glass container.

Add hemp/flax/avocado oils before serving to preserve their delicate omega fats.

**This dressing can also be used as a tasty marinade but please skip the use of hemp/flax/avocado oil as they are not appropriate for long-term exposure or cooking.

May you live with vitality…Lisa Marie

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Broccoli Soup (dairy free)

I like this recipe because it's simple, nourishing and yummy.  It's a straight-up good recipe that will satiate your tastebuds and 'fill in the gaps' so to speak.  I like have it when I feel a bit low on nourishment or if I haven't got my 8-10 servings of veggies/fruit in for the day.  A big bowl of this gives you almost half that.
Now that's guilt-free living!

You'll need:
6 cups broccoli, finely chopped
2 medium size carrots, scrubbed and grated finely (not peeled)
1 litre organic chicken/turkey/beef stock, preferrably homemade
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp organic butter and/or cold-pressed olive oil
1-3 cloves of garlic (depending on your preference)
3 tbsp fresh parsely, chopped finely
2 tbsp fresh/dried dill
1 tsp cumin seeds powder (fresh ground is best)
unrefined salt, to taste
fresh ground pepper, to taste
dash of paprika
dash of cayenne pepper, optional
sprinkling of raw, organic parmesan cheese, optional (garnish)

*If you have food processor you can make a nice creamy consistency which is nice, but not essential.

1.) Sautee onion with butter/olive oil until almost translucent, add carrot and sautee further.
2.) Meanwhile, bring stock to a boil, then add brocolli.
2.) Add garlic and herbs/spices a courple of minutes before onions are done, to release flavours..
3.) Add onion and carrot mixture to soup pot and let simmer for several minutes, adding salt and pepper as needed.
4.) Let cool slightly and serve garnished with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and a dusting of hungarian paprika

Some great accompaniments to this soup are wholegrain sprouted grain or sourdough bread, brown/wild rice, red quinoa, roasted organic chicken/turkey, adollop of plain organic (and non-homogenised) yogourt and/or a sprinkling of your favourite ground nuts/seeds.

Note: You'll see that I specifiy some things as organic. That is because I believe that they should be sourced organic as often as possible due to typicaly high agri-chemical residues. The others are typically low so do not necesarily need to be organic. However, if you have access to afforable organic everything - that is my true preference as there is much more advantage to buying organic than just the lower chemical content. Not all of us can afford or access that option though unless we grow our own or have friendly organic farmer's for neighbours :)
Check out the 'Dirty Dozen' and 'Clean 15' chart from Environmental Working Group's website for more info on chemcial residues on produce:

Enjoy...and be well nourished.     Lisa Marie

PS: Please contact me via this blog if you have a favourite recipe you'd like me to 'update' to a holistic healthy meal or if you just want to share a yummy recipe :) 
Note: not all recipes will be published.

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