Monday, May 31, 2010

Make Your Own Almond Milk

Soak raw almonds in purified water for 8-12 hours. Drain water.

For every 1 cup of almonds, add 3 cups purified water. Blend for about 2 minutes. (You can also add a few majule dates, or 1 tbsp vanilla, or 3 tbsp raw honey to make it sweeter.)

You will want to strain the liquid in a nutmilk mesh bag. If you don't have one you can use cheesecloth or any kind of strainer. Before I purchased this I used a dishtowel, not ideal but it works.

Pour almond milk into the mesh bag.

Squeeze the almond mush until all the milk comes out, or you can let it sit for a while until most of the milk strains out and then squeeze it. When finished add a few pinches of sea salt.

This is what the almonds look like after you have squeezed out all the milk. Some people use it in raw cookies, nut pates, or as a nut butter treat.

The finished product, a yummy glass of cold almond milk! I also put it on my cereal.

(FYI: The best price I have seen for Raw Almonds is $3.28/lb at Winco in Boise Idaho, if you have seen a better price feel free to comment)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

There's Always More on Coconut Oil

A good friend just let me borrow her two pH books, which are all about the benefits of alkaline foods (vs. acidic foods) with lots of easy recipes I can't wait to try out—I hadn't a clue what to do with the enormous artichoke I bought last week, but now it looks like I'll be making Artichoke Pesto Dip. For now I'm flipping through the pages and jumping around to get a feel of the books, but since I just came upon some more great info about the benefits of coconut oil, I thought I'd share. I know a lot of you are leery about coconut oil because of the word "oil." I know it's hard to retrain those synapses. I know we've had it drilled into our heads that fats are bad, but that's not completely true. Our bodies need good fats to be our healthiest. Here's what The pH Miracle for Weight Loss has to say on page 88:

"Coconut is the second incredible fat-rich food you should never do without when you're working toward a healthy weight [the first was avocados]. Technically a saturated fat, coconut oil—as long as it is cold pressed and not converted into trans fat by heating processing—has been shown to reduce the symptoms of digestive disorders, support the work of the white blood cells, and help prevent bacterial, yeast, and fungal infections. Coconut oil is high in lauric fats (which comprise 50 to 55 percent of its makeup), a medium-chain fat that the body converts into monolaurin. Monolaurin helps reduce acidity and, thus, weight. By controlling yeast, coconut oil reduces yeast's appetite—and your cravings for sugar. It also curbs hypoglycemia and helps eliminate hunger pangs. The final bit about coconut oil: it speeds up your metabolism. A study conducted in Yucatan, where coconut is a staple of the diet, showed that people living there had metabolic rates 25 percent higher than people with a similar profile living in the United States. (Bonus: The women in Yucatan had none of the symptoms commonly associated with meopause.)"

If you've tried everything else without success, maybe it's time to try coconut oil. I buy mine online at Mountain Rose Herbs. Click here to go to the site. And remember that you want "Coconut Oil (Virgin Unrefined)."

Salmon and Brussels Sprouts

For about a month straight now I've been getting my healthy share of salmon, maybe even to the point of overdosing. It just sort of happened. My friend Hayley is not only kind and generous, but she's a talented chef, and she's has been bringing me weekly salmon dishes. Then here and there I've eaten salmon at restaurants and at my family's homes and I've made it myself twice. Not until the joints of my hands started to feel amazing this past week did I really sit down and think about what was making a difference.

Fish oil is known to help with the inflammation of RA. I've also been taking plenty of herbs/drops from my holistic doctor that are fighting the Strep G and helping tame the RA. I've also taken my diet up a notch in eliminating all processed foods. So I believe it's a combination of everything. It's working!

So this past Sunday I had a friend over and decided to make her some salmon. Big surprise. My friend Mandy has, hands down, the most amazing salmon recipe, so don't be alarmed if you start overdosing on salmon too. It's called Soy Ginger Salmon, so see below for details.

And blech, Brussels sprouts, right? Wrong! This recipe is from my friend Jenn, and I could not stop eating this stuff. I made it as a side to the Soy Ginger Salmon, and together they make up my new favorite meal. I halfed the recipe since there were just two of us eating, but bad idea. Next time there will be no halfing going on. Let me know what you think of the recipes.

Mandy's Soy Ginger Salmon
(serves 8)

2 pounds salmon fillet
1/2 cup agave (2/3 cup agave = 1 cup sugar)
1 tablespoon lemon zest or lemon juice
2/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons coconut oil (cold pressed, unrefined)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger root, minced
2/3 cup orange juice
a pinch black pepper
a couple shakes sea salt

1. Place all ingredients in a large ziplock bag. Seal bag and marinade in refrigerator overnight or for at least 3 hours.
2. Preheat broiler. Place fish in a foil-lined baking pan. Reserve marinade.
3. Broil fish skin-side up for 2 minutes. Remove from oven, pull skin off, and baste with marinade. Return to oven and broil for 2 more minutes. Flip fish over and broil until fish flakes (about 4 min.). If your salmon is skinless, broil for 4 minutes on one side and 4 minutes on the other.

Jenn’s Brussels Sprouts with Warm Lemon Vinaigrette
(serves 6)

2 tablespoons coconut oil
20 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed, outside leaves removed if needed, and quartered (about 5 cups)
1 teaspoon salt

a pinch pepper
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
a little agave natural sweetener, to taste
zest of half a lemon for garnish

Heat coconut oil in a large non-stick skillet over high heat. Add Brussels sprouts to skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown in places. Add salt, pepper, and onion, and cook for 30 seconds more. Add water and cover. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Remove lid. Add lemon juice. Stir to combine well. Drizzle a little agave over top and stir to evenly distribute. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with lemon zest. 

Friday, May 7, 2010

Miracle Waiting in the Wings

Barbara didn't exactly tell me what I wanted to hear, prayed to hear. As of late my prayers have definitely been taken up five notches and are more like pleadings now. It's humbling. I can almost touch God.

I've been praying that the joint pain in my right pointer finger, which has all the RA symptoms, would really just be the infection and parasites and Strep G that are in all my other joints. But when I asked Barbara to look at that finger specifically, the computer clearly said RA. My faith is often like our eyes when we're starving and pile our plates high with more food than we could ever swallow. My faith likes to accept every challenge fearlessly, but it doesn't know what patience means. So when Barbara told me it was RA, it was almost like a slap in the face. I've been so, so healthy the past couple months. Shouldn't I be better by now?

But now that I've had time to reflect, I feel like God is telling me, "I know you think you know what you're capable of, but Katie, I'm about to show you that you are capable of so much more." And even more powerfully He's saying, "Watch what I can do. If you'll let me, I'll work an even mightier miracle for you. You haven't seen nothin' yet." I trust Him, I do. He's healed me so many times before that I can never doubt His power, but this is to a new height. I'm wondering if He wants me to prove Him to the point that he lets me see the physical affects of RA so that He can heal me, change me visibly. It makes me heart ache because of the love He has for me and ache because I feel like a little child afraid to jump off the diving board. I guess we'll just have to see what He has in store.

PS: The most beautiful sun is making my backyard radiate and shimmer. It wants me to come out and swing for a minute and pick the pretty purple wildflowers growing through the grass. It doesn't even care that I'm still in my pajamas.