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Re-Post Coconut-Flax Butter March 10, 2011

OK, so I know there are vegan options for butter in stores.  However, I don’t enjoy the taste and the “butter” I use is actually pretty easy to make and pretty healthy.  It doesn’t have refined oils and added natural flavors in it.  This recipe is from one of my earlier posts, but I’ve decided to repost because I love it that much.  I ALSO have some new information to share on it.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 cup Flaxseed Oil

Directions.  Place coconut oil in a bowl of hot water for 10 minutes.  After ten minutes pour 1/2 cup of coconut oil into a tupperware container.  Then pour 1/2 cup of flaxseed oil into the same tupperware container and stir.  After that, you stick the container in the fridge.  In a few hours you should have a butter like substance you can spread on toast or put on steamed veggies.

So, why is it good for me?  Well, butter made from dairy has a heavy concentration of saturated fat.  Even though our bodies need saturated fats in order to build cell walls, dairy butter is very imbalanced between saturated and unsaturated fats.

It is true that coconut oil is high in saturated fats.  However, the saturated fats are less harmful to the body because they are medium chain fatty acids.  Unlike the saturated fat from dairy, the fat found in coconut has shown no correlation to increases in bad cholesterol and heart disease.

I’m sure everybody has heard about flaxseeds at this point.  They are a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids which are necessary for our brain functioning.  Flaxseed oil also contains Vitamin E, which is great for the skin and joints.  It’ll give you a nice glow 🙂

However, the EFA (essential fatty acids) in flaxseed oil need to be converted to DHA.  Everyone has different conversion rates.  Coconut oil doubles the conversion rates of EFA to DHA.

So this butter will give you a nice balance of fats.  It is 50% saturated fat and 50% unsaturated fat.  This is a better balance than dairy butter.

The coconut-flax butter in comparison to a product like earth balance will give your brain a better chance at absorbing and using the EFA.  The oils in earth balance typically come from soybean, canola, and olive oil.  These oils have a higher concentration of Omega 9 and Omega 6.  The American diet is already high in these two fatty acids, which is why there has been so much hype around getting Omega 3’s.  When your body has too much Omega 9’s and 6’s inflammation occurs.

Flaxseed oil and hempseed oil have a good balance of Omega 3 to Omega 6.  However, I find hempseed oil a little gross.  Well, that is pretty much my philosophy around eating this butter instead of all other butters.  It really takes very little time to make and will last for about 6 months in the fridge.

 

Easy Indian Dish February 9, 2011

Here is an awesome dish I just whipped up for Dwight and I tonight!  He’s on the bus coming home, so I have a little time to write this up and share with you.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup brown basmati rice
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin seed
  • 1 16 oz. can Muir Glen Diced Tomatoes (No Salt Added)
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli
  • 1 & 1/2 cups chopped bok choy (or any cruciferous leafy green)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 tablespoon of curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped ginger root (or 1/2 tsp ginger powder)

In a pot bring 2 cups of water to a boil.  Then add the brown rice and cumin and leave on a low heat until the rice is cooked.

In another pan place the can of tomatoes, curry powder, ginger root and broccoli on a medium low heat.  When they start to bubble add the peas.  After five minutes add the leafy green vegetables.

Then you should have a delicious Indian feast!

 

Kale & Beans Crockpot Recipe February 6, 2011

Dwight and I have a little bit of a Saturday night dinner tradition.  This week we kept it pretty simple and very healthy.  Vegetables and beans are the best way to get your nutrients on a vegan or vegetarian diet.  They are low in fat and high in protein, minerals and vitamins.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 head of kale chopped (not 1 leaf, this should be about 4 or 5 packed cups)
  • 2 cans of navy beans
  • 1 large celery stalk chopped
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 tsp. rosemary
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme

Throw the ingredients in a crockpot, stir, let it cook for at least an hour.  Then you’ll have yourself a healthy stew!

 

Butternut Squash Soup & Some Important Cooking Tips January 24, 2011

This will warm you up nicely since it’s been so cold out lately.  The recipe is a bit lengthy so I would recommend doing this on a Sunday.

Ingredients:

  • one medium sized butternut squash
  • one can of coconut milk (unsweetened)
  • 1 tbsp of curry powder
  • 1 tbsp of fresh chopped ginger root
  • 1 bag of frozen peas

Directions: (about an hour and a half)

  1. Cut the butternut squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
  2. Place it face down on a baking pan in  1/2 an inch of water.  Bake at 375 for 45min-1hour.
  3. When the squash is done you should be able to pierce through the skin with a fork or knife.
  4. Scoop out the meat from the squash and put it into a blender or food processor.
  5. Also add the coconut water, curry powder and ginger root and blend.
  6. Place the mixture in a pot on the stove on a low heat (3) and add the frozen peas (or any other veggies you’d like)
  7. In about 10 minutes you should have some yummy soup!

Baking the butternut squash face down prevents it from burning.  When food is dry baked acrylamides are formed.  Acrylamides have been shown to cause cancer.  So you may be thinking to yourself…everything causes cancer these days!  Well, let me put it this way, cigarettes contain large amounts of acrylamides and we KNOW those cause cancer.

Healthy cooking tips at home:

Cook at home often because that is where you have the most control over your food.  Also it is extremely important to cook your food at a medium to low temperature.  There is no need to have the burner higher than a medium heat.  Heating food too much not only destroys the nutrients, but also causes the fats in foods restructure into transfats.

You should also only cook with coconut oil because it can withstand temperatures of up to 350 degrees without restructuring into harmful heart disease causing transfats.  Also, the medium chain fatty acids found in coconut oil will actually double the rate at which omega 3 fatty acids are transferred into DHA.  DHA is a fat that is essential for healthy brain functioning.

So we all hear about how benefits of Omega 3’s.  However, we don’t hear that in order to use Omega 3 fatty acids our bodies need to convert them to DHA.  Everyone’s conversion rate differs, which is why eating small amounts of coconut can be a very beneficial addition to your diet.

However you don’t want to over do it with fat.  If you’re doing a stir-fry I would suggest adding 1 tsp per person.  If you are more active you can be a little more liberal with this suggestion.

Steaming or boiling food is the best way to cook veggies because you lose the least amount of nutrients.  However, we all like a little variety.  If you do plan on doing a stir-fry add a teaspoon or two of water and keep the heat no higher than a medium heat.  Keeping a low heat will prevent the occurrence of acrylamides and retain nutrients.  It may take a little longer, but your body will thank you for it!

 

Zucchini Hummus July 1, 2010

This is a raw hummus recipe.  It comes close to tasting like real hummus and is great for people who have difficulty digesting beans.   Try something light, new and fun for the summer!
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 cayenne

Throw ingredients in either a VitaMix or a food processor and serve.