Monday, April 30, 2012

Springtime Allergy Relief

I used to have sever allergies every Spring...runny nose and itchy eyes, ears and throat. Springtime was beautiful when everything started to bloom, but I often felt like I couldn't enjoy any of it because my symptoms would interfere.

Once I changed my diet and lifestyle a few years ago, I was finally able to experience a beautiful allergy-free life all year long. The changes I made helped me so much that when I found out last year that a good friend of mine had similar symptoms, I was happy to help her feel better.

The information I gave her is very simply laid out in this fantastic book:
The Macrobiotic Path Total Health

This book is a great resource that people can use to look up all kinds of ailments and illnesses, find out the cause, learn about the illness and find out how to overcome it through following a natural approach to healing. This book has a lot of information, so I suggest getting a copy so you can have this information at your fingertips.

My friend implemented the advice, and within a couple of weeks her allergies were gone! She felt great.

Here is a little bit of the information I gave her from the book:

"Allergies are usually triggered by contact with specific foods such as milk, nuts, or shellfish;substances such as pollen, dust or animal dander; drugs and medications; and insect bites. Such reactions usually show that the blood, lymph, and other bodily fluids are imbalanced from the consumption of too many acid-producing foods, including animal products, dairy foods, sugar and sweets, stimulants, spices, alcohol, chemically grown or treated foods, and other articles in the modern way of eating as well as a lack of whole grains, fresh vegetables, and other high-fiber foods that help discharge toxins from the body.

Overall the condition of someone with allergies tends to be more yin - overly expansive, loose, and weak. Most allergens or triggers are also extremely yin, so that yin repels yin and the body attempts to throw off the allergen or trigger by sneezing, itching, or other reaction. The principal foods that cause allergies are milk and all other dairy products, overly oily and greasy foods, animal fat, sugar and other concentrated or artificial sweets and sweeteners, refines foods and flour products, tropical fruits, juices, and vegetables with tropical origins (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, avocados, and others), and often various drugs, chemical additives, and similar products. Among these, dairy foods, sugar, and tropical fruits are probably the most common and prevalent causes."

  • "Eat whole cereal grains at every meal, temporarily avoiding all processed grains and grain products."
  • "Vegetables can be prepared in a variety of cooking styles, especially iron-rich vegetables such as collards, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, and other green leafy vegetables..."
  • "All types of sea vegetables are helpful and will help strengthen the blood."
Of course, the book contains a lot more information about how to overcome allergies, but I wanted to give over some of it here.

Have a happy, healthy and allergy-free Spring! Enjoy the new warm weather and the beautiful seasonal blooms. Here are some pictures I took recently of Springtime in New York.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Recipes for Vegan Hors D'oeuvres at Green Festival

Cucumber Cups with Avocado Cilantro White Bean Dip

Here are the two recipes from my Vegan Hors D'oeuvres Class on the Good Food Stage at the NYC Green Festival. I am so excited to share them with you!

I created these two recipes because they are perfect for Spring, featuring ingredients and cooking styles that are in harmony with the season. The raw cucumbers are crisp and refreshing, the sour flavors of lemon and lime help to cleanse your liver and gall bladder, and the steaming and quick saute cooking methods are perfect to keep you feeling light and relaxed.

If you couldn't make it out to this year's festival, there are more coming up, so keep your eyes on the Green festival website,  I hope you enjoy the recipes.

Cucumber Cups with Avocado Cilantro White Bean Dip
1 cup Great Northern Beans
3-4 cups water
1 stamp sized piece kombu seaweed
1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 large avocado
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon umeboshi vinegar
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pinch sea salt
6 stalks finely shredded fresh cilantro leaves

1 small red bell pepper
1 Tablespoon umeboshi vinegar

2 hothouse cucumbers

  1. Sort through the Great Northern beans to take out any dirt or pebbles. Rinse the beans in cool water 2 times. Then soak overnight or for 8 hours in a bowl with fresh water.
  2. Drain the soaked beans and transfer them to a pot. Add fresh cool water (approx. 3-4 cups) to the beans and cover them with about 1 inch of water. (You can measure by sticking your thumb into the pot. Let your thumb touch the top of the beans and make sure the water goes up to you thumb knuckle.)
  3. Bring the beans to a boil. Skim the beans if any foam arises. Rinse off the piece of kombu in cool water and add it to the boiling beans. Then turn the beans to low and let simmer for about 1 hour.
  4. Taste the beans after 1 hour, if they are pretty much done, then add 1 teaspoon of sea salt. If not, let the beans cook longer until they are done and then add the salt. Let cook for 10 more minutes.
  5. Take the beans off of the stove and let cool.
Bean Dip:
  1. Once the beans have cooled, drain them. Then transfer them to a bowl and mash them by hand with a  potato masher or with the back of a fork. Mash until almost all beans are mashed. I like to keep some in whole form to give the dip a little more texture.
  2. Add the avocado, fresh lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon umeboshi vinegar, garlic powder, and sea salt into the beans and mix. Then fold in the cilantro. Feel free to add more seasoning if you like.
  1. Slice the red bell pepper into 1/2 inch strips. Then thinly slice the strips.
  2. Heat a saute pan on medium heat. Add the strips of pepper and then add 1 Tablespoon of umeboshi vinegar. Saute for 3-4 minutes.
  1. Slice the cucumber lengthwise down the center. Then slice each half into 1 1/2 inch pieces.
  2. Take the small end of a melon baller and scoop out the center of a cucumber slice. Repeat this until you have many cucumber sliced with hollowed out centers. Place the scooped out cucumber pieces into a bowl and set them aside. (You can use them in making a salad later. I used mine in a spinach salad with leftover red bell pepper garnish and shredded carrot, tossed with olive oil, salt and a little balsamic vinegar).
  3. Take a teaspoon and spoon in the white bean dip into the center of each cucumber cup. Garnish with red pepper slices. Serve and enjoy!

Sweet 'N Tangy Lime Seitan Skewers

Sweet 'N Tangy Lime Seitan Skewers
8 ounces seitan
zest 2 limes
juice 1 lime
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 large cloves fresh garlic, pushed through garlic press

1 stalk broccoli
1 yellow zucchini squash
6 inch bamboo skewers

Seitan and Marinade:
  1. Squeeze out any excess liquid from the pieces of seitan. Then cut into approximately 1 1/2 inch chunks.
  2. For the marinade, whisk together in a mixing bowl the lime zest, lime juice, brown rice syrup, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and garlic.
  3. Put the pieces of seitan into the marinade and mix together so that each piece of seitan is coated with the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Transfer the seitan and marinade into a glass Pyrex baking dish and cover with a piece of tin foil.
  5. Cook the seitan for 10 minutes at 425 degrees. Then turn each piece of seitan over, so the opposite side is in the marinade. Cook for another 10 minutes. Then remove from the oven and let cool.
  1. Slice the broccoli into medium sized florets. Cut the yellow zucchini squash lengthwise and then lengthwise again. Then slice into 1 inch pieces. (Try to make the size of the florets and zucchini squash a similar size as the seitan pieces.)
  2. Put a steamer basket in a pot with about 1 inch of water in the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil, put the zucchini into the pot and cover. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Remove cooked zucchini from the pot and set on a plate to cool.
  4. Put the broccoli into the pot and steam it, covered, for 3-4 minutes.
  1. Take a piece of yellow zucchini squash and put on the skewer. Next, put a piece of broccoli (piercing through the stem of the broccoli). Last, put a piece of seitan.
  2. Take the leftover marinade from cooking the seitan and dilute it with a little water. Mix together and pour into a dipping cup and serve on the side. (Optional: To season the steamed vegetables and serve without a sauce, brush the diluted marinade directly onto the vegetables on the skewer.) Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Best Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

Finding an authentic whole grain sourdough bread can be tricky, especially when you want something with organic ingredients. Many sourdough breads today claim to be sourdough, but actually end up containing added yeast. So if you are looking for something delicious, nutritious and truly authentically sourdough, look no further.

My favorite bread of all time will hit the spot!

Bread Alone makes a fantastic Organic Whole Wheat Sourdough bread. The ingredients are simple: water, organic whole wheat flour, organic unbleached white flour, sea salt. It doesn't get much better than this.'Unless, of course, you make it yourself...

Bread Alone is kosher and is supervised by Kof-K. Check them out online or find them at a store near you.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Green Festival NYC for Fantastic Food and Fun

Hey All! It's time for the COOLEST, most exciting eco-event to make its way to the Big Apple - Get ready for the NYC Green Festival!!!

This year's festival will be on Earth Day weekend, and it is the first time Green Festival will be held in New York City, so it is sure to be an amazing event.

There will be some really fantastic speakers, an eco-fashion show, an organic beer and wine garden, tons of free samples and giveaways on all the latest and greatest eco-gear, and plenty of opportunities to meet some of the most inspiring change-makers and activists in the area, as well as find out how you can get more involved in the things that you are passionate about.

Along with all of this awesomeness, there will be a jam-packed schedule of speakers and 7 stages to choose from - to learn about everything from fair trade and green business to good food.

This year I will be presenting a 30 minute demo on the Good Food Stage. Come check it out on Sunday, April 22 at 2pm. I will be teaching a class how to make delicious and fun Vegan Hors D'oeuvres.

Hope to see you there!

Check the website:

Here is the Program Guide:

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Renew Your Commitment to Self-Care Once a Month

If you are needing some motivation and support to help you nurture your commitment to self care and healthy living, then look no further than your local magazine stand!

Whole Living Magazine is an excellent resource for all things healthy - from healthy recipes to exercising, getting yourself outdoors or meditating, this magazine has it all. Once a month I get to enjoy immersing myself in pages and pages of beautiful photography of nature, healthy living and delicious whole foods.

Feeling supported in your lifestyle practices of eating well and taking good care of your mind, body and spirit will help your healthy choices become easier - so you are more likely to be successful.

You can also check their website for more awesome ideas for recipes, fitness, beauty and green living.

If you want to be extra mindful, you can toss the magazine into your recycling bin after you are done, or even better, pass it on to a friend. You could also subscribe to the digital version of the magazine - which is a great way to save some trees!

Happy reading :)