Spring Pea Salad With Dulse Dressing

spring pea salad

It’s officially Spring and I’m celebrating with a fresh and deliciously green kale spring pea salad. I love seeing all the emerging fresh bright produce at the markets this time a year and am a major fan of eating like its summer before it actually is.

I was so pleased when I woke up to an email from Julie, asking if I’d like to contribute a recipe to her blog. Julie and I go back a few years and first got to know each other when we used to meet for 7am saturday morning spin classes at Soulcycle in TriBeCa, NYC. Followed by coffee and green juice in a nearby cafe, obviously. Then we both moved to London and ended up living just minutes from each other, which meant countless mornings working together, exploring London and hanging out with my, at the time, 1 year old son. Julie was that treasured friend who was there to give me sanity on the days where motherhood was tough, and she was was the most faithful guinea pig for the countless times I made her try new recipes – good and bad. Knowing Julie and her love for greens and fresh colour, I thought this salad was perfect and hope you all love it!

Nutritionally green peas are a great source of vitamin K, B vitamins, fibre and protein. In fact just one cup contains 44% of your daily need for vitamin K, which is essential for healthy bones as it helps anchor the calcium inside the bones. B vitamins are essential for healthy energy levels as well as healthy skin, hair & nails, and peas also embody a unique set of phytonutrients that provide some amazing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits! One of these phytonutrients are called coumestrol. A recent study based in Mexico showed that just 2 milligrams of coumestrol had protective effects against stomach cancer. To put this into a perspective… a single cup of peas contains around 10 mg of this powerful compound, giving us a small glimpse into the nutrient rich and health promoting nature of these small green wonders. Remember, the fresher the peas – the greater nutritional value. So go raid your local green market and choose fresh over frozen whenever possible (that said,  frozen peas are better than no peas at all).

Peas are also a fantastic source of plant based protein with a surprising 7.5 gm of protein for every cup (137 gm). That is the same as a large egg! Note that down for next time someone tells you that plants don’t have protein. Ha!

spring pea salad

This dressing is inspired from my love for nutritional yeast and dulse flakes. I love adding a few teaspoons (or tablespoons – who am I kidding) on my salads and love all the health benefits I get from both. Nutritional yeast is full of B vitamins (some brands includes B12 as well), trace minerals and is a bioavailable source of complete protein, which contains all 18 amino acids. It is naturally free of dairy, soy, gluten and sugar, and contains no animal products. B vitamins help balance the myriad systems of the body, support healthy energy production, and can help decrease PMS, mood changes and irritability. B vitamins can also improve skin, nails and hair and is great for memory and brain function. Dulse flakes, on the other hand, is a sea vegetable and an amazing source of iodine. It adds great flavour to salads and is rich in many minerals and helps support a healthy thyroid function as well as a healthy metabolism. It is also great for the digestive system and supports healthy gut, brain and liver function, making a sprinkle of dulse an amazing and easy way to enrich your meal. And if you’re not a fan of seaweed at all, try it anyway as the flavour is dry subtle and barely noticeable atop a salad. The dressing also packs a pinch of cayenne, which adds a great spice and somehow works really well with the rest. I’ll admit I was sceptical when first trying this dressing, but I was instantly a fan… and hope you will be too.

Head over to Julie’s blog, Julieann Gregory, to get the full recipe…

spring pea salad

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Superfood Flapjacks

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Healthy, easy breakfasts + on-the-go snack ideas are by far the most requested recipes I get. So here you have it… Superfood Flapjacks. The perfect solution for busy mornings where there is little to no time for prepping breakfast. And they’re full of nutritious and satisfying whole foods. I love having these on hand and love that they don’t crumble everywhere… who has time for oats going everywhere in the bag anyway. They are also great for children and one of my favourite healthy alternatives when I get a cake craving to go with my morning espresso. That’s right.

Eating a healthy breakfast, rich in fibre, healthy fats and protein, not only helps you and your metabolism get off to a good start – it also helps set you up for making healthier choices later in the day as your blood sugar levels will remain stable throughout the morning. Simply, these are like multitasking energy bombs that seem to work for anything and everything. And they’re perfectly delicious when topped with a spread of nut butter. Obviously.

I like to make a double batch and store half in the freezer as they’re best eaten within 4 days when kept in the fridge.

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Nutritionally, these superfood flapjacks are super rich in fibre, which really helps keep blood sugar levels healthy and stable while also promoting healthy digestion. They are also rich in protein and nourishing fats, a wide variety of essential minerals, including zinc and magnesium, as well as B vitamins, all of which are key for healthy energy production. Nutrients that are all ideal for getting you off to a good start in the morning.

superfood flapjacks

As mentioned in the recipe, if you don’t have a good high speed blender or food processor that is able to blitz the dates into a smooth puree, you can substitute the dates for 1/4-1/3 cup maple syrup or honey instead.

Superfood Flapjacks
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Recipe type: Breakfast
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: makes 9 bars
Ingredients
  • 8-10 soft medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 90 gm (1 cup) organic quick oats
  • ¼ cup (30gm / 1oz) almonds, sliced or chopped
  • ¼ cup (30gm / 1oz) sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • ¼ cup water
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • small handful dried fruit - I used dried currants (OPTIONAL)
  • ½ tsp cinnamon (OPTIONAL)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F).
  2. Grease a square baking tray and line with non stick parchment paper (I used a 18 x 18cm (7x7") tray).
  3. Combine 1 tbsp chia seeds with ¼ cup water, stir and set aside.
  4. In a high speed blender or food processor* (I used a vitamix) blend together dates, egg whites, coconut oil and vanilla extract until smooth.
  5. In a mixing bowl, combine oats, seeds and almonds, baking powder, salt, dried fruit and cinnamon (if using) and mix well.
  6. Pour the date mixture from the blender over the oat mix and combine well using a spoon. Add the chia seeds, which have thickened to a thick gel-like consistency. The dough should be slightly wet and sticky.
  7. Scoop the mixture into the lined baking tray and spread out evenly using the back of a spoon.
  8. Place tray in a preheated oven and bake for 20-25 mins, until golden brown and firm.
  9. Remove from oven and remove from the baking tray to cool on a cooling rack (cool for about 15 mins before cutting into it).
  10. Once cooled, cut into squares and serve warm or cold.
  11. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Notes
* If you do not have a powerful high speed blender that can handle dates, you can substitute the 5 dates for ⅓-1/2 cup of maple syrup. Simply combine the maple syrup, coconut oil & egg whites using a spoon or handheld whisk.

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Nutritious Winter Porridge

nutritious winter porridge

Cold winter mornings call for hot bowls of creamy porridge. This porridge, that I so creatively dubbed Nutritious Winter Porridge, has been a total hit in our home this winter season and is so much creamier and nutritious than regular porridge made on just water (or milk) and oats. I love that my son loves this for breakfast, especially since it is full of plant based omega 3 & 6 fats, calcium, protein and iron, all of which are key nutrients needed for healthy energy and growth. It can be difficult when children go through phases of being picky with their food and since my son doesn’t have much dairy, I make sure he gets enough calcium from plant based sources, such as chia seeds and almonds. I try my best getting him to drink some of my green smoothies, but he just ain’t budging. Yet. Ha! 

So where’s the calcium? As I explained in my recent post on plant based calcium, chia seeds, almonds and even cinnamon are all good sources of plant based calcium. Even better, these are also full of satisfying fibre, protein and healthy fats, all of which promote a healthy digestive system and keep you full all throughout the morning. And as far as the toppings, you can add any of your favourite nuts/seeds and fruit (stewed, dried or fresh) and change it with the seasons to keep it interesting. Grated apple is super delicious as well and is perfect for coming into Spring. 

winter porridge

I tend to use organic porridge oats (also known as quick oats) to keep it quick and avoid having to get out a pot etc., but you can absolutely use steel cut or rolled oats instead if you have more time on your hands in the mornings.

Nutritious Winter Porridge
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Recipe type: Breakfast
Author:
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 1 serving
Ingredients
  • 40gm (1/2 cup) organic porridge oats - also known as quick oats (gluten free if needed)
  • 175 ml (3/4 cup) boiling water
  • 1 generous tbsp almond butter (or other nut butter)
  • 1-2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1-2 tbsp honey or maple syrup (or you can use stevia or a mashed banana to sweeten instead)
  • Top with chia seeds, almonds, a little honey & cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Place oats in a bowl and add the hot water. Stir well using a spoon and let it sit for a few minutes to thicken up.
  2. Add almond butter, coconut oil and honey or banana if using and combine well.
  3. Top with toppings of your choice. My favourites are chia seeds, almonds cinnamon and a little honey.
  4. Serve warm.

nutritious winter porridge

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Vegan vs. Paleo?

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I recently came across a great article by Dr. Mark Hyman addressing whether the vegan diet is better than paleo? A question that has probably crossed a lot of minds lately. Based on new research findings, Hyman points out that picking one of the two is completely unnecessary and that both have a lot of overlapping theories that all promote optimal health. And then he introduces a new middle ground way of eating that makes it all a whole lot simpler for those who aren’t quite keen to cut meat or grains completely… The pegan diet.

Research show that people who eat vegetarian/vegan diets typically have lower body weight and an overall better health profile with decreased chances of diabetes, healthier cholesterol levels and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. Yet the same is true for the paleo diet. In fact, studies point out that the paleo diet improves blood pressure, cholesterol levels and encourages weight loss. The conversation can get heated, as each camp dogmatically adheres to their diet and cherry-pick studies validating their point of view.

What’s an eater to do?

Dr. Hyman introduces the Pegan (paleo-vegan) way of eating, which combines both diets’ strengths and focuses on real, whole, fresh and sustainably raised food.

Becoming A Pegan…

Becoming a Pegan means you don’t worry about focusing on how much you eat. When you focus on what you eat, your body’s natural appetite control systems kick into gear and you eat less.

1. Eat a low-glycemic load.

Focus on more protein and fats, including nuts (not peanuts), seeds (flax, chia, hemp, sesame, pumpkin), coconut, avocados, sardines and olive oil.

2. Eat the right fats.

Steer clear of vegetable oils, including soybean oil, which now comprises about 10% of our calories. Focus instead on omega-3 fats, nuts, coconut, avocados, and yes, even saturated fat from grass-fed or sustainably raised animals.

3. Eat mostly plants.

Plant should form 75% of your diet and your plate.

4. Focus on nuts and seeds.

They are full of protein, minerals, and good fats, plus they lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

5. Avoid dairy.

Dairy is great for growing calves into cows, but not for humans. Try organic goat or sheep products, but only as a treat.

6. Avoid gluten.

Most is from Franken Wheat, so look for heirloom wheat (Einkorn). If you are not sensitive to gluten, then consider it an occasional treat.

7. Eat gluten-free whole grains sparingly.

They still raise blood sugar and can trigger autoimmunity.

8. Eat beans sparingly.

Lentils are best. Stay away from big starchy beans.

9. Eat meat or animal products as a condiment.

There’s no need to make animal products the main course.

10. Think of sugar as an occasional treat.

Use it sparingly.


Read the whole article here. The original article goes into much more detail on the similarities and differences between the vegan and paleo diet.

Image via MindBodyGreen.com

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