Gluten free, healthy and looks appealing…? Can it be?
I am happy to say this one is a winner in all the above categories. Just a little pre-planning is needed as the dough requires refrigeration before cooking. I made the dough the night before and baked the cookies the next day. My colleagues did a taste test and gave them rave reviews! They loved how soft and chewy they were. When I got home the remainder of the cookies had been eaten by my family. I knew we had a winner when no one suspected they were actually healthy, as well!
There is a very slight coconut taste so if you do not like coconut try substituting the coconut oil for grass fed or vegan butter.
This is the perfect food to bring out to a picnic this weekend along with the Rhubarb Lemonade.
Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes approximately 14 to 18 cookies
½ cup smooth almond butter
⅓ cup coconut oil, melted
6 tablespoons maple syrup
1 egg (or flax egg)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¾ cup almond meal
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup dark chocolate chips or dark chocolate bar broken into small pieces
In a large mixing bowl combine the almond butter, melted coconut oil, maple syrup, egg and vanilla extract. Blend together until smooth. Add the almond meal, baking soda, and salt. Stir until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips or pieces.
Place the cookie dough in the fridge for at least an hour, but up to 24 hours. You want the dough to be firm.
Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop out rounds of dough about 2 inches apart as the cookies will spread.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the edges are golden brown and the centers are puffy. Cool before serving.
Two Treats today! Rhubarb is in season, oh yes it is!
Looking for a nice mild pudding that you can use as a base for any type of topping? Here you go! The possibilities are endless. In this version the rhubarb is a nice contrast to the milder base. If your rhubarb is green you can add one small beet diced into the rhubarb for color. Remove it before serving or leave it in. I used canned light coconut milk but any type of milk will work. Take the hard topping off and whip it with some sweetener to make a thick whipped cream. I served it with a fresh strawberry on top. I love strawberries and rhubarb together. Yum!
Chia Pudding with Rhubarb
1 cup (250 ml) light coconut milk*
1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons chia seeds
Zest of a lemon
*If using canned coconut do not use the hard topping. You can save this part and whip it with some sweetener to make a whipped cream.
3 stalks rhubarb, ( 1 cup roughly chopped)
Juice of a lemon
1-2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup to taste.
To make the Pudding:
Add the coconut milk, honey, and vanilla to a bowl or jar. Whisk to combine.
Add the chia seeds and mix again, then cover and refrigerator for at least and hour, or until the seeds have gelled and the pudding is thick.
Place the rhubarb, lemon juice, and honey in a small saucepan.
Cover the pot with a lid and turn to medium heat and simmer until the rhubarb is soft, about 10 minutes.
Set aside to cool fully.
Place pudding in a serving dish and place compote on top. Eat as is or add a dollop of whipped coconut or some diced strawberry.
This is a strange drink that I thought would be too sour but instead is refreshing and really does taste like lemonade. Your guests will not know that you have made it with rhubarb. The original recipe contained 4 cups but I found it a bit strong so I doubled the water. You might also want to increase the sweetener or try Monkfruit, Swerve, Truvia or even maple syrup.
3 stalks rhubarb chopped (2 cups)
1 to 2 litres water (4 to 8 cups)
Juice of 2 lemons (about ⅓ cup)
¼ cup (60 ml) raw honey
Place the rhubarb and water into a medium pot and heat on high. Once the mixture starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until rhubarb is soft.
Remove the pot from the heat and puree until smooth. Strain the mixture, then whisk in the lemon juice and honey.
Place in the refrigerator and cool for at least two hours or until cold, before serving.
Information presented in Conversations with Susanne: An Interview with Dr. Brian Smuk about the Immune System .
In this interview Dr. Brian and I take a deeper dive into what you need to do to support your immune system especially when it is challenged by a flu, virus, the common cold or more serious health challenges.
It is important to recognize that your immune system is an actual system that functions well when it's in balance and harmony. Research is looking at the effects of lifestyle choices on the immune system and although we are focusing mostly on supplements it is important to recognize the importance of other factors such as:
In regards to supplementation for a stronger immune system the Basic protocol includes:
Next we add Accelerators and Anti’s (supplements that work like an antibiotic):
Accelerators are typically site specific homeopathics or botanicals such as:
Echinacea - increases the number of white blood cells
Mushroom Extracts - Chaga, Reishi, Turkey Tale, etc. boost the immune response
Oscillococcinum - is a homeopathic remedy said to shorten symptoms of colds and flu
Arsenicum, Belladonna, Ferrum phosphoricum are all remedies that can be used. Seek out a practitioner for help choosing the right remedy for you.
Anti’s are those supplements that are generally antimicrobial, antiseptic, antibacterial, and/or antifungal. They are:
Iodine - this ancient remedy is a mineral that helps grow and repair damaged cells.
Colloidal Silver - an antibacterial agent
Oregano Oil - antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant
Garlic - it helps the body resist or destroy virus, unwanted microorganisms and infections
Ginger and Turmeric - both reduce inflammation and strengthen the immune system
Elderberry - high in antioxidants and vitamins, prevents and eases flu and cold symptoms
Black Walnut - used to treat parasitic worm infections, infections and cancers.
Watch our video on my Youtube channel, Susanne Jakubowski, https://youtu.be/Jb7-857aAXw and https://youtu.be/1LFo4BXUyi8 to get a deeper understanding on how to use these remedies.
Gut Health - Time to make a change!
The really exciting news regarding your microbiome is that it only takes 3 days of eating for health to change. It does take longer to heal the gut lining itself (3 months to a year depending on actions taken) but in the meantime you will start to feel better both physically and mentally! Cravings will dissipate, weight will drop off, hormones will balance, mood will improve, inflammation will lessen, you will get better sleep, and lastly, gas and bloating will disappear. Hopefully, feeling this much better will be the incentive to keep you on track.
Here are my recommendations for healing the gut:
Please share and stay tuned for part 4, supplements for the gut.
What causes your gut lining to destruct?
Medical professionals are still trying to figure out what causes leaky gut. What we know is that a protein called zonulin is a regulator of intestinal permeability and when it is released into the gut it can lead to destruction of the gut lining. It pokes holes in it allowing toxins to seep into our blood.. If gluten or bad bacteria are added into the mix this disintegration of the lining may be more severe. It is believed this process is more likely to happen if you have a genetic predisposition to this process or have celiac or irritable bowel, but does happen to everyone if the lining is continually attacked.
As always, it is never one thing that causes imbalance in the body. It is believed that the following factors play a role in destroying our gut lining and poor digestive health:
Dysbiosis - a bacterial imbalance in the gut or more specifically the gut microbes. Too many harmful bugs and not enough helpful bugs exist. This can be a result of many factors but the use of antibiotics is a main factor.
Food/nutrition - a diet consisting of proteins that are found in unsprouted grains such as gluten, corn, soy and oats irritate the lining of our stomach. Dairy, GMO foods and sugars do the same.
Processed, fast or junk foods are filled with sugars, corn, soy and grains that are detrimental to your gut microbiome and your overall health. They also contain chemicals and pesticides that are foreign to our body resulting in inflammation.
Stress is always a causal factor in illness as it weakens our immune response. Harmful bacteria and viruses invade our body during these times.
Refined vegetable oils - now thought to be even more hazardous to our health then sugar due to their toxicity levels. Vegetable oils are mostly rancid by the time they get to your table or into your food. They are highly processed, are high in omega 6’s, and create free radicals in the body all of which triggers the body to produce pro-inflammatory chemicals leading to illness.
Artificial anything but particularly artificial sweeteners.
Gluten - grains such as barley, rye, bulgur, seitan, oats, spelt, kamut, contain gluten and are a main contributor to inflammation and disease. Everyday we are learning more about its detrimental effects.
Toxins by way of food, household and beauty products Your skin is the largest organ in your body. Whatever you lather on ends up being processed by your liver and kidneys.
Pesticides, GMO foods and non-organic foods.
Nutrient deficiencies - the majority of individuals are in some state of deficiency especially if you have health issues. In this state the body does not have the tools to repair itself or fight against the constant attack by toxins and irritants.
Common drugs are one of the biggest causes of leaky gut including antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen, acetaminophen and aspirin, oral contraceptives, chemotherapy drugs, and proton pump inhibitors (PPI) also known as acid reflux medications. As it turns out, these pills for the tummy do way more harm than good and are ineffective after long term use.
As outlined here, there are many causes of leaky gut! I wonder how our gut even has a chance. However, let me tell you, you can restore your gut! I have done it and I have helped many clients do it but you must be willing to make changes in your diet and lifestyle. If you are not sure it is worth it, you are so wrong. There is nothing more important than your gut health. It affects every aspect of your existence from your physical, mental and spiritual life.
Do you have a leaky gut? We have been told by many experts that all disease starts in the gut and that the health of our gut microbiome (the amount of good versus bad bugs) is the key to our mental and physical health but most mainstream medical professionals do not recognize leaky gut as a condition even though there is scientific evidence to support its existence.
Leaky gut is often referred to as a condition of “ increased intestinal permeability”. It involves bacteria and toxins being able to leak through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream. This happens when the tight junctions of the wall becomes loose allowing the leakage to occur and resulting in inflammation
When asked about digestion, many of my clients deny any issues but on a further examination we see that the symptoms of a leaky gut exist. Their symptoms are gas, bloating, food sensitivities, digestive issues such as heartburn, constipation or loose stools, and skin issues. If you have any auto-immune conditions, migraines, thyroid abnormalities, mental health issues, skin conditions or food sensitivities you have a leaky gut.
Do you have a leaky gut? Ask yourself:
If you have digestive distress include gas, bloating, heartburn, indigestion, constipation or loose stools.
If you have recurrent vaginal or bladder infections.
If you have skin rashes including eczema, or psoriasis.
If you have seasonal allergies or asthmatic symptoms.
If you have any auto-immune condition like chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, lupus, arthritis.
If you have candida or yeast overgrowth (fungal) infection.
If you have hormonal imbalances like PMS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
If you have mental health issues including anxiety, depression and irritability.
If you have an intolerance to consumed fats.
If you see undigested foods in your stool. You can do a transit time test by eating corn, which does not digest and mark the time of the first residue and the last residue. Long transit time indicates poor digestion.
If you have smelly bowel movements - your stools should not smell after immediately releasing into the bowl.
If you have a weak immune system and are always catching colds and flu.
If you have any of these conditions your health may depend on fixing or at least improving your gut.
In my next blog I will outline what is ruining your gut lining and how to fix it. In the meantime, keep a bowel movement journal. Track what you ate, your mood after consumption and what your stools looked like that day. It will help you understand your condition and where you need to make improvements.
Please share and stay tuned for more on gut health.
As some of you know I love mushrooms for their taste and texture but also for their health benefits. I am always looking for new recipes and so when I came across this one I had to try it. The addition of spinach makes this soup visually appealing as well as tasty. A new spin on an old classic.
Mushroom and Spinach Soup
1 pound mushrooms, any variety
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 ounces fresh baby spinach
6 cup broth, chicken, beef or vegetable*
1 sprig of thyme**
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
With a damp cloth or paper towel, wipe any dirt off the mushrooms before slicing them.
In a nonstick skillet coated with oil, cook the mushrooms over medium heat until softened and slightly browned, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Transfer the mushrooms and garlic to a soup pot and add the remaining ingredients. Bring the soup to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the thyme sprig. Place half the mushroom and spinach mushroom mixture and a couple cups of the liquid to a blender and blend until smooth. Place back into the pot and simmer for another 5 minutes before serving.
*beef broth gives it a richer flavour. A combination of beef and vegetable is quite nice.
**no fresh thyme, add some dried instead. I used 1 tablespoon.
Craving lasagna but don’t want the traditional meat one. Check this one out. Try brown rice pasta, and any marinara sauce, even from a jar. I prefer goat or sheep cheese but you can substitute traditional cheese. I love the melted goat cheese mixing with the taste of the roasted vegetables. Add any other vegetables to the mix, if you wish. I used shitake mushrooms but any type works. Enjoy.
ROAST VEGETABLE LASAGNA
1 box (10 oz./280 g) gluten-free lasagna noodles
1 to 3 tablespoons (15 to 45 ml) olive oil
5 - 7 bell peppers, quartered
3 to 6 zucchini, thickly sliced
1 package mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon (15 ml) butter
1 (10.5 oz/297g) soft goat cheese
1 tablespoon (15 ml) Italian seasoning
1 litre jar of spaghetti sauce or equivalent in homemade sauce
1 to 2 cups (240 to 480 ml) goat mozzarella, marchego or feta grated or crumbled or a combination of cheeses.
Preheat the oven to 400° F. Using a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, place peppers insides down and zucchini in a single layer and brush with oil. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until pepper skins are blackened around the edges. Remove from the oven and peel skins from the peppers. Zucchini may not take as long as peppers.
While vegetables are roasting, cook noodles according to package instructions. Rinse with cold water and set aside.
Slice mushrooms in a tablespoon of butter and saute in a frying pan. Set aside.
In a bowl, mix goat cheese, egg and Italian seasoning.
To assemble in a 8 x 10 inch pan, start with a thin layer of sauce on the bottom. Add a layer of noodles, then roasted vegetables, then noodles, then goat cheese layer, noodles then mushrooms, then more noodles and top with sauce and cheese. You may add extra sauce with each noodle layer.
Bake in 400° F oven for 30 to 40 minutes.
*You can place the peppers in a plastic bag to steam if the skins do not slice off easily.
It's a great day to hunker down and have a great big bowl of soup. This recipe might be perfect for today as the ingredients are ones that you may have in your house already. This soup is full of antioxidants, protein, magnesium, healthy fats and collagen if you choose to use bone broth. If nuts aren’t your thing, you can leave them out.
Carrot and Almond Soup
2 tablespoons avocado, coconut or olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
6 carrots, trimmed, peeled and chopped (or 4 carrots and one sweet potato)
2 celery stalks, peeled and chopped
6 cups vegetable or bone broth
½ cup (100 grams) ground almonds
2 to 3 tablespoons parsley
2 to 3 tablespoons coriander (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the oil in a large saucepan and heat over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and celery and saute until soft. Add carrots and stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until carrots are soft.
Remove from heat. Using a hand blender blend the mixture until it becomes smooth. Alternatively, blend in a food processor or blender.
Blend in herbs and ground almonds.
Reheat and serve.
I am just loving these Almond Biscotti! In fact, I have to package them for gifts as soon as they are ready or I will eat them all myself. They are gluten free and use coconut sugar as a sweetener. I have also used Swerve, a sugar substitute used by Keto dieters and they turn out just as well. The cooking time means they are not a quick treat but they are so well the wait.
Almond Flour Biscotti
Makes about 18 slices
Cooking time is about 1 hour and 40 minutes total.
1 ¾ cups (209 g) almond flour
⅔ cup (94 g) coconut sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
½ teaspoon almond extract
¼ cup sliced almonds
½ cup dark chocolate
Crushed nuts, for topping
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients, including the almond flour, coconut sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk well enough to break up any clumps.
Add the melted coconut oil and almond extract to the wet ingredients. Add in the egg.
Mix until a thick, sticky dough is formed. Add in sliced almonds if using.
Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet, and use your hands to press it into a “log” shape, about 8-9 inches long, and around 4 inches wide. (This will determine how big your cookies will be so for smaller cookies make it less wide and more long). It should be about ½ inch thick. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until edges are slightly golden.
Remove the pan from the oven and let the loaf cool completely. It will take about 30 minutes. Transfer to the freezer for about 1 hour to cool and harden. This will make them easier to slice. Once cool, slice the loaf in to ½ inch pieces, making about 18 to 20 slices.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F for the second bake. Carefully arrange the slices in a single layer on the baking sheet, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, flip the cookies and bake for another 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the biscotti stay in the oven as it cools. This will make them crisp.
When cool, you can dip them in melted chocolate and sprinkle with chopped nuts but I love them plain with a cup of tea.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge or in an open container at room temperature.
Susanne Jakubowski is a holistic nutritionist, yoga teacher, Thai Yoga Therapist, and cancer survivor.