This is supposed to be monthly newsletter. And here I've made you wait TWO whole months for your next issue of FeedNews. You've been sitting expectantly in front of your computers since March scanning your inboxes for its arrival...your food lives growing duller by the day, your veggies becoming science experiments in the fridge. "Where, oh where is my FeedNews, you've each cried, reaching for another slice of pizza." Well, my loves, cancel that takeout order -- your wait is finally over.
While I can't promise this will never happen again (life gets crazy sometimes, you know?), I can say that I will do my very best to be more regular moving forward AND in some feeble attempt to make amends for my inconsistency I'm hitting you with an extra large serving of springy recipe goodness this month. By the time I'm through with you, you'll have no excuse whatsoever not to open up your pie-hole and stuff it full of something green and delicious (not an oxymoron). Yes, green milkshakes count.
Why the obsession with green, you ask? Verdant mossy budding dewy fresh GREEN is the color of spring, people! We may be nearing the end of this short season, but green is glorious well into the summer months. Whether we're lolling in parks soaking up positively summer-worthy sunshine, shielding ourselves from the wintery winds of change or dashing through damp May showers, there are things growing around and within us, and we can't help but be swept up in the contagious energy of of new life and growth.
Eating sprouting green things will not only boost your immune system (sayonara, swine flu), it'll help you clear out toxins and other "gunk" your body doesn't need anymore and leave you feeling light, clear and energized. As one of my client's said yesterday: "Lindsay, I made kale last night, and I *loved* it! I felt different...better, immediately." I didn't pay her to say it, either. It's just the honest truth.
I encourage you this month to look at yourself with fresh eyes – to ask what you can say yes to (with gusto), and what you can release. Perhaps a little spring cleaning is in order? Whatever your path, don't just let the winds of change blow on by...
Board-Certified Holistic Health Counselor
(Spring) Clean up your Act
Spring is a perfect time to look at old patterns in your life with new awareness. I try to use the onset of spring as a catalyst to examine my food and lifestyle choices (often in need of a bit of scrutiny after the long, dark winter months), and use all that fresh, mutable springtime energy to shake things up a little bit.
Last month, I led a group of 25 people in a three-week spring FeedCleanse, during which I guided the group through a simple process of making space for some healthy, new, detoxifying foods and habits and releasing some less desirable ones (at least during the weeks of the cleanse:)
Across the board, FeedCleansers reported feeling more energized, clear, and tuned in to which foods, relationships and patterns work for them and which might be...past their expiration date, if you know what I mean.
After all, we spring clean our houses – why not our bodies and our lives? The thing is, since I was so busy helping everyone else through their spring cleanse, I didn't get a chance to do my own! And do you know what I decided? It's never too late to clean up your act. Spring... summer... wheneva. The healthiest people I know are those who are able to notice their patterns with loving kindness, and pull themselves out of their health ruts with passion and intention when the time is right!
What is a cleanse, exactly? Does it involve running to the bathroom every 5 minutes, or drinking nothing but lemonade and cayenne pepper for 21 days? Does it have to include fasting or a group program or a complicated and expensive regimine of supplements and colonics?
It can, yes, but my favorite definition of cleansing is much more straightforward. To me, cleansing is: "a period of intentional simplification of your diet and life."
To spring clean your life, try to take a little sabbatical from unnecessary appointments for a week or two, and book some "self-care" time just for you. Sit in a sauna, take a walk in nature, or try a yoga class. Practice saying "No" to the fluff, clutter and shoulds of life and "Yes" to yourself. What turns you on? What leaves you feeling energized and rejuvenated? What Feeds you?
Don't forget to clear out negative thoughts, emotions and beliefs that you've been harboring. If your heart and mind are cluttered, there is much less room for the delightful surprises and "fresh air" of life to enter.
To spring clean your body, give it a break from rich and complicated foods for a week or two by choosing a diet of simple whole foods instead. The most cleansing foods are fruits and vegetables (especially green ones!), lots of water, and healthy plant proteins, whole grains and good fats in moderation. Less cleansing are things like alcohol, red meat, caffeine, sugar, dairy products, fried and junk foods and wheat.
Without as much energy dedicated to digesting heavy complicated foods, you'll have more available for the rest of your body and mind. Cleansing can sharpen your concentration, help you gain insight and promote deeper internal awareness. It can also bring improved immune function and better digestion.
That sound too complicated? How about taking a minute to think about which three things in your diet (or life) might not be serving you, and getting curious about what life might be like without those foods, beliefs, relationships or behaviors for a week or two. What might shift?
A teacher of mine once said that 90% of the time it's the one thing that you're absolutely unwilling to let go of (coffee, sugar, that glass of wine (or three) after work, your cheese tray, bad relationships, surfing the internet for an extra hour before bed, etc.) that is keeping you stuck in your current patterns.
More often than not, in order to make space for something new, we must first let go of something old.
To get started on your own Spring Cleanse, answer these four simple questions.
1. Given my current lifestyle & dietary habits, 3 foods, beliefs or behaviors I think might be considered “gunk” are:
2. The hardest thing for me to let go of will be:
3. Three cleansing foods, beliefs or behaviors that I could add into my life are:
4. I will commit to taking a sabbatical from these toxic foods/behaviors and making room for more cleansing ones for a period of ____ days.
Remember, there are no right or wrong answers. A cleanse for you could be as simple as getting in bed by 10pm every night for a week, or not eating past 6pm. This approach is not about restriction, self-discipline or deprivation – it's about getting curious about yourself and your patterns, and discovering what nourishes and feeds you on all levels.
If you would like more support in crafting the perfect spring cleanse for you, I invite you to a free 50-minute phone consultation as a beginning for your individual wellness program. In your session, we will discuss your food/life history, your current concerns and goals, and how Feed Health can make a difference in your life. Contact me for more information!
Yeah, I know...you think sprouts are hippy food. But listen, the hippies were on to something, because sprouts are like super-fantastic concentrated little miracle vegetables. No, really. They are. If you were going to incorporate one new thing into your diet this summer? Yep, sprouts. I guarantee you'll have more energy, feel more satisfied, have better digestion, clearer skin and stronger bones, and be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. (Okay, maybe not that last bit).
And to top it all off, sprouts are perfect recession food! In fact, during World War II, when the US was concerned about a possible meat shortage, the scientific community advised el presidente that the consumption of germinated seeds (aka SPROUTS) was the best and cheapest alternative to proteins in meat. Making your own sprouted seeds, legumes and grains is a super cheap and easy way of increasing your intake of protein, vitamins, minerals and digestion friendly enzymes, and all you need is clean water and about 4 days to grow the little suckers – no weeding involved.
WHY EAT 'EM?
Germinating seeds and grains increases their nutritional value immensely, so you quite literally get "more bang for your buck". Want an example? The vitamin C content of wheat increases sixty percent during sprouting!
Recent research shows that in addition to being a superb (you heard me: SUPERB) source of nutrients, sprouts also have important curative powers. Sprouts like alfalfa, radish, broccoli, clover and soybean contain concentrated amounts of phytochemicals (plant compounds) that can protect us against lots of annoying (and, lets face it, often down right deadly) diseases. You don't want annoying deadly diseases, do you?
The plant estrogens in sprouts can help increase bone formation and density and prevent bone breakdown or osteoporosis. They are also helpful in controlling hot flashes, menopause, PMS and fibrocystic breasts tumors.
When eaten before meals (salad first is never a bad idea...), the enzymes in sprouts will increase your digestive ability, making the rest of your meal easier on your stomach and increasing your absorption of all the great nutrients it contains.
Alfalfa sprouts are one of our finest food sources of another compound, saponins. Saponins lower the bad cholesterol and fat but not the good HDL fats. Saponins also stimulate the immune system by increasing the activity of natural killer cells such as T- lymphocytes and interferon. The saponin content of alfalfa sprouts multiplies 450% over that of the unsprouted seed!!
Sprouts also contain an abundance of antioxidants that help to prevent DNA destruction and protect us from the ongoing effects of aging. Something cheap and tasty that helps prevent the effects of aging!? Sign me up!
GROW YER OWN
Some of my favorite "power sprouts" (Sunflower and Pea) grow in soil (hence their even higher than normal range of protein and other nutrients) and should probably be purchased at your local health food store, but most others (think alfalfa, broccoli, mung and mixed bean sprouts) are so easy to grow it's silly. Lots of people use fancy sprouting jars with little mesh tops, but I'm a lo-tech kind of a girl. I just use an average, run of the mill colander – fine mesh if you're tackling little guys like alfalfa or quinoa – a bowl and a couple of kitchen towels.
• To sprout seeds take as many as you wish to sprout, place in a glass container covered with fresh lukewarm water and leave overnight (you could use a jar...i usually just use a 4 cup glass measuring cup).
• The next day, dump 'em into your colander, rinse them well with fresh water and spread them out a little bit.
• Now, set your colander over a clean bowl (so that it has something to drip into), and cover it with 1 damp kitchen towel, and one dry kitchen towel (damp closer to seeds, dry on top).
• The seeds should be kept moist, so rinse them about twice a day & keep them out of the light. Depending on the type of seed, they take between one and four days before they're ready to eat – you'll see their cute little tails pop out! The best seeds to sprout are alfalfa, chickpeas, mung beans, lentils, fenugreek, quinoa, mustard, clover, broccoli or radish, but you can really sprout just about anything that grows.
• Once your sprouts are ready, rinse them one last time and lay them on a paper towel to dry a bit before storing them in a zip lock bag or other such container in the fridge.
EAT EM UP
Okay, so you've grown or purchased your sprouts, now what do you do with them? Stringy sprouts like alfalfa, clover and broccoli are great in salads, on burgers (or veggie burgers), and on sandwiches. If you buy these sprouts, put them in a bowl of cool water after bringing them home from the store and shake them around a little bit to dislodge the little black hulls. Once these float off to the top, skim them off and then drain your sprouts on a clean towel for a while. They'll last much longer in the fridge!
Mixed bean sprouts (like mung, garbanzo and lentil) are also awesome in salads. I even like them sprinkled over brown rice or thrown into stir-fry (at the very end - don't cook 'em!)
Sprouted grains like quinoa can be used as is in salads – try a sprouted quinoa tabbouleh – or can be used to make breads or delicious baked goods like the sprouted buckwheat amaranth waffles I've been crazy about lately!
Recipe 1: Spring Farro Pasta
4 T Olive Oil
1 Package of Farro (or other whole or sprouted grain) Pasta
2 shallot bulbs, thinly sliced
1/2 bunch of asparagus, trimmed & cut into 1.5" diagonals
1/2 cup shelled peas or peeled fava beans
1 to 2 tsp. of freshly grated lemon zest
a handful of toasted pine-nuts
1/2 cup loosely packed baby arugula, rinsed
thinly shaved cheese (like parmesan or a hard sheep's milk cheese) - optional
2 T chopped fresh herbs like basil, parsley or mint (optional)
Cook pasta al dente as directed on package – drain, but reserve a bit of the cook water. Toss with 1 Tbs of olive oil to prevent sticking and set aside.
To shell fava beans, remove from pod, bring water to boil in a small saucepan and blanch favas for 1-2 minutes. Squeeze each bean to remove its tougher outer shell. Set aside.
Toast pine-nuts in a small skillet over med-low heat – keep an eye on them, as they turn quickly from brown to burnt. Set aside
Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until translucent and fragrant. Add asparagus and sauté until crisp tender (if using thick asparagus, add a Tbs or two of water and cover briefly to speed cooking). Add fava beans, lemon zest, arugula, herbs and pasta and stir quickly to combine. Add a bit of pasta water if pasta seems dry, and sea salt and pepper to taste.
Top with shaved parmasan or other sharp hard cheese.
I just made this one up the other night when the market was exploding with lovely little asparagus and fava beans. You could substitute peas if favas aren't available, or just leave them out all together. Don't freak out if you don't have fresh herbs on hand - you can use dried or do without. As you can probably tell, the quantities are approximate - don't be afraid to taste and add anything that's missing! I also thought that some shrimp (perhaps first marinated in some olive oil, lemon and garlic) would be a lovely addition to this dish to round out the meal with some clean protein.
Farro is an ancient heirloom variety of wheat – it's a delicious whole grain and makes for a super tasty, hearty pasta. If you can't find farro, any whole grain (or sprouted!) pasta will be great here. If you have a sensitivity to wheat, try brown rice or quinoa pasta!
Recipe 2: Super Green Matcha Shake
1 cup of cold soy milk (or milk of choice – almond, hemp, etc.)
1 tsp. matcha green tea powder
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 of frozen banana or honey or agave nectar to sweeten
a pinch of salt
1 cup loosely packed baby spinach
1/4 of an avocado (optional - great for added creaminess & richness if you're making a meal out of your shake)
First combine matcha and soy milk and blend to combine. Then add remaining ingredients and blend again until frothy and well combined. I like using frozen banana because it (along with the avocado, if using) makes for a delightfully creamy, mildly sweet shake.
This is inspired by a soy matcha shake from Samovar in San Francisco, one of my favorite tea houses. I liked the basic idea, but wanted a little more nutritional pop. I promise you won't taste the spinach - it melts right into the creamy goodness of this shake. This is an AMAZING morning or afternoon pick-me-up – a little caffeine and a ton of wicked antioxidants from the matcha, satisfying good fats from the avocado, killer green power, iron and fiber in the spinach and powerful protein from your soy or nut milk. Who needs coffee?
Recipe 3: Cleansing Sprout Salad
A mix of whatever delicious sprouts you have on hand - I like alfalfa sprouts, pea shoots, bean threads, sunflower sprouts and mixed bean sprouts (lentil, mung, garbanzo, etc.)
1 carrot/radish/daikon shredded
sugar snap peas, cut into threads
sunflower seeds and raisins for garnish
For the Dressing:
1/2 cup high quality plant oil (I like a mix of olive and flax)
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 T Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or Nama Shoyu (*or use sea salt to taste)
1 cloves garlic
1 t. ground mustard seed
1/8 t. cayenne
In a blender, combine all dressing ingredients. Blend well, add 2-4 T water as you blend. Season to taste and set aside.
Mix all veggies together and toss with dressing. Sprouts are hearty, so if you make too much of this salad you can save it in the fridge for later.
This is my favorite cleansing salad dressing (from the Hippocrates Health Institute), so I make a double batch and keep it in the fridge for all of my salad making needs. The lemon is great for liver detox and the cayenne is a blood purify
About Lindsay Keach and Feed Health
Lindsay Keach is a holistic health counselor with a focus on holistic nutrition, food and lifestyle coaching. Her customized wellness programs and lively workshops make healthy, delicious, simple, home-prepared whole foods and supportive, positive lifestyle choices accessible to busy people seeking balanced wellness.
In her holistic health counseling practice, Feed Health, Lindsay works primarily with individual clients to empower them to make appropriate food choices for their unique bodies and lives. She shares her passion for natural foods selection and preparation along with coaching on food experiments, supported goal setting, and positive lifestyle changes to reinspire her clients in the kitchen, help them build healthy, honest relationships with food and their bodies, and find nourishment, inspiration and balance in all areas of their lives. Lindsay is also committed to providing holistic and nutritional support for a variety of gastrointestinal and autoimmune conditions and food sensitivities.