Raw Beet and Carrot Salad

Spring is here! Finally! This winter has been cold, wet, and dreary. Normally, I would consider it a delightfully wonderful winter if you’re a native Northwesterner. But, after months and months and months of hardly seeing the sun here in Seattle, I’m ready for a change in the season. This Raw Beet and Carrot Salad is a wonderful spring detox food… or just a food to support bile flow.

 

Beets provide anti-inflammatory, detox, and antioxidant support. They are also high in minerals and vitamins. Their greens are a wonderful food, too! We like to saute them in pasture-raised ghee and sprinkle truffle sea salt on top prior to serving. For clients with liver and gallbladder issues, beets are usually one of the first foods I ask them to introduce as they help promote healthy bile flow. This salad is a wonderful introductory to the world of beets! As a beginning amount, I usually recommend a forkful per meal and slowly increase from there.

Raw Beet and Carrot Salad

  • 2 Organic Raw Beets, peeled and shredded
  • 2 Organic Carrots, scrubbed and shredded
  • Juice of an Organic Lemon
  • 1/4 cup Cold-Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, toss the shredded beets and carrots. In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice and olive oil together. Season with sea salt and pepper. Toss to coat the salad. Make a few hours ahead of time and let sit in the fridge in order for flavors to marinade.

Liver Burgers

Okay. These sound gross, I’ll admit. And that’s not a good selling point at all. But, at least I’ve learned a thing or two since I was 5 years old and I no longer call a burger a “booger” (my parents thought it was quite funny, btw). So know that I have your attention… and managed to embarrass myself all in one fell swoop. Liver burgers. Yea. That’s right. It’s the super organ that everyone needs to eat and no one wants to eat. Auth Ethel’s liver and onions? No thank you. (And no, I don’t have an Aunt Ethel and apologize to anyone who does. I’m sure she’s lovely.) Pâté

? Well, I like it now. So that argument is moot. But I used to think it was nasty. 

(So this photo – it’s the only one I have of the burger and was taken on my super ancient iPhone 4s.)

Incorporating liver in your diet should be a necessity. Unfortunately in the United States, we view organ meats and sub-par. Why have organ meats, the most nutrient-dense of the whole animal, when you can have a nice flank steak? Don’t get me wrong, I love a good marinated flank steak as much as the next person… but it just doesn’t match up for the vitamin powerhouse that organ meats provides. In fact, according to an arcticle by Chris Kresser, organ meats contain 10 to 100 times the nutritional benefit than corresponding muscle meats. (He also has a nifty chart comparing the nutrition of liver against other foods.) Organ meats were once so prized in traditional cultures that they were given first to the pregnant and women of child-bearing years. Talk about a super prenatal! 

If you’re not ready to take the liver and onions plunge, and I’m there with ya so don’t worry, than hiding it in your muscle meat might be the way to go. I usually direct my clients with putting a ¼ lb of ground liver in with 1 lb grass-fed/organic/pasture-raised/etc ground beef. They look at me like I’m crazy. Or have a new growth growing out of my face and it suddenly appeared. Either way, it’s the easiest way to hide the flavor. Yes, it does taste slightly gamey. But it’s not bad. In fact, the flavor is like a mild venison. And who doesn’t love venison?! 

To grind the liver, thaw in cold water and blend in blender until it’s all broken up. Or, if you have a fancy meat grinder, you may use that. Cutting it on the cutting board also works but if you’re trying to hide it from a picky eater, the pieces might be too big. 

Liver Burgers

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • ¼ lb ground liver (see above)
  • ½ tsp ground dried organic onion
  • ½ tsp ground dried organic garlic
  • pinch of sea salt and fresh cracked pepper

Cook as you would any burger. And top with your favorite toppings. Might I recommend my Fermented Ketchup

Should You Buy Detox Supplements?

It’s the New Year and the buzz word so far has been “detox” – everywhere I turn, I hear or read about it. Co-workers ask me about the best detox supplement, tea, drink, pre-made meal program and my answer often comes as a shock to them: Save your money. 

That’s right. 

Save your money. 

Or at the very least, re-appropriate your money. 

While this in vogue buzz word might make you want to rush to your local GNC to pick out the latest and greatest supplements to help you become the “new you,” this isn’t what overall healing and betterment is about. Our bodies need whole, real foods that are properly prepared and nutrient dense. We need foods that are in season and picked at the peak of ripeness. When our bodies have these nutrients, they do what they ought to do in the first place – they run as well-oiled and fine-tuned machines and they detox themselves. (Starting on a detox regimen before the body has healed or is able to reopen what is called “detox pathways” can be detrimental to overall health and small intestine healing must take place before an actual detox protocol can be started and even then, it should be done under the guidance of a healthcare professional such as a Nutritional Therapist or ND.)

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When we eat healthy fats, grass-fed/pasture-raised meats, organic fruits and veggies and rid our bodies of all of the excess crud that marketers entice us into, it’s going to clean itself out. A popular myth is that the body is imperfect and disease-prone and illness is a fact of life and that invasive, costly and starvation-type detoxification regimens are necessary. Ummm… wrong. Our bodies want to be healthy and strive for homeostasis. Eating foods that allow it to maintain balance is enough to let it relax from whatever trauma we’ve caused it and heal.  

Sometimes we need to meet one-on-one with a Nutritional Therapist to help us navigate a paradigm shift in thinking about our food, what we put in our body and how that affects our overall health. Sometimes we need a strict program such a Whole30 to challenge us to eat better and kick the crud to the curb. Other times, that’s still not enough and we need to give our bodies a helping hand and enroll in a program like RESTART Sugar Detox. RESTART is a wonderful 5-week program that helps set a change in lifestyle regarding sugar consumption through weekly “check in” meetings with other people seeking to kick their sugar habit to the curb, a built-in 21 day sugar detox and support for long-term goal setting and practical how to’s. 

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Whatever you choose to do this New Year, save your money with the cheap supplements and eat clean. Buy meats from a local farmer. Know where your food comes from. Eat organic and local fruits and veggies. Limit your sugar consumption. Make that your New Year’s Resolution. Besides, you really don’t know what you’re getting in those consumer-ready supplements found at your local supermarket or popular supplement shop.

Bolognese (aka Meat Sauce)

When you’re marrying an Italian man (who has more Irish than Italian but who am I to question his ethnic claim?), there’s a few things you need to quickly add to your repertoire. The first being a tasty marinara. The second being a bolognese. The third is the caveat that both must taste authentic and the way his Italian grandmother makes them.

Just breathe.

No pressure.

It’s only his childhood memories that I’m up against.

Thankfully, he was willing to share a few of their secrets to help me improve what I thought was already a pretty good sauce. The below is what he and I have since concocted and perfected. I serve it over my Brussels Sprouts Braised with Mustard because when you’re paleo, you discover that traditional foods don’t necessarily have to be eaten traditionally. This also tastes fantastic with zoodles (zucchini noodles) and spaghetti squash. And when we really feel like splurging, over paleo noodles. Because sometimes you just want a noodle.

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Cinnamon might not be a common ingredient by American standards, but adding it gives the sauce a sweet flavor and doesn’t add to the sugar content. Growing up, we would use brown sugar to cut the acid and give the sauce sweeter undertones. The cinnamon does the same, all the while keeping it sugar-detox approved. Also, for the tomatoes, I process mine in the summer and freeze them at the peak of ripeness. And by process, I mean I throw mine in the Ninja for a few seconds and that’s it! Into the freezer they go! Until I decide that I’m craving a slow-cooked Bolognese. If you don’t have frozen tomatoes, fresh work, too – just make sure you adjust your cooking time and add an hour or two. Or, you can use two cans of 28-oz BPA-free organic diced tomato such as the Muir Glenn brand. (Which thankfully WinCo carries and is super cheap for all of you Pacific Northwesterners.)

Enjoy!

Bolognese

  • 1 lb pasture-raised organic ground pork
  • 3 tsp Mild Italian Sausage Seasoning 
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 quarts fresh organic diced tomatoes, with their juice – use a medley of Romas and juicier tomatoes
  • ¼ cup organic non-BPA lined tomato paste
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine spice mix and ground pork (or just use 1 lb pork sausage if you can find a good source with no added sugar). Set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat a medium-sized dutch oven, over medium heat, cook the pork until slightly browned, stirring often and breaking up the larger pieces. Remove pork from dutch oven and set aside, keeping the fat at the bottom of the pan.
  3. Add the onion and ghee to the sausage fat and continue to cook until translucent. Add garlic and saute until lightly golden and very aromatic.
  4. Dump in the tomatoes, juices and all, and the tomato paste. Add the spices and stir. 
  5. Reduce heat to low and put a lid slightly on. Simmer, stirring often, for 3 hours. After two hours, add the meat and continue simmering. 
  6. Serve warm! And just like most Italian recipes, this makes enough to feed the whole Roman army!

Napa Cabbage Soup

It’s been a few weeks since I last posted a recipe. I sprained my ankle right before Christmas and was down for the count. I’m finally getting around enough that cooking, carrying plated food over to the window where I take my photos and balancing a camera… and maintaining balance myself, aren’t daunting tasks. Not to mention that the natural lighting has been working against me. It’s been exceptionally dark and dreary these past few weeks – even for Oregon. We’ve been socked in fog “‘thicker than frozen snot on a door knob,” according to Portland’s National Weather Service Office. So much so that my dad, who’s an umpteenth generation Oregonian, commented on how miserable it is.

Today’s soup is perfect for the dead of winter. I have fond memories of playing at a friend of our family’s farm out of Troutdale, OR. They lived in a house up on a bluff above the Sandy River and running around exploring and tormenting the older brother was heaven (it was two girls against one boy – poor kid!). They were (and still are) basil farmers and their house always smelled of the delicious, rich smell of fresh basil. So many fond memories in that house up on the bluff. My family was so taken with this simple soup that my mother had to ask for the recipe and it’s been a staple ever since in our family. I’ve made a few modifications to it over the years but for the most part, it remains the same. The best way to describe this soup is simple Italian peasant food. It’s nothing remarkable when you look at the ingredients but the flavors meld themselves together in such a harmonious blend… it’s impossible to not over-indulge and have one too many bowls.

It’s the kind of soup that will pump the lifeblood back into your bones on a cold winter’s day (or a day with dense fog) and won’t leave you overly full…. and only takes 30 minutes to cook! (Eat your heart out, Rachel Ray!)

But before the recipe, a few notes: You really want to use napa cabbage (also known as Chinese cabbage) with this soup. It’s far more delicate than your typical “green cabbage” and cooks down nicely. You retain much of the crunch and texture of the cabbage but it’s not your “normal” thick pieces. Napa cabbage can easily be found at a farmer’s market or a natural foods store – if you aren’t sure which is napa, just ask!

 

Napa Cabbage Soup

  • 1 head organic napa, shredded
  • 5 pieces organic, nitrate-free, pastured bacon, sliced (can also use half a pound of a clean pancetta – this gives it an even more delicate Italian flavor)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28-oz can organic diced tomatoes, BPA-free lining
  • 7 cups meat stock
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 12-month aged, raw Parmesan for garnish (optional)
  1. In a medium-large stock pot, over medium heat, cook bacon (or pancetta) until done. Remove bacon from pan, leaving fat at the bottom. Cut up cabbage while bacon is cooking.
  2. Add garlic and saute in the bacon fat until golden, stirring often.
  3. Add tomatoes and juice from can and shredded cabbage. Stir.
  4. Add filtered water and meat stock and stir. Cover with a lid and simmer on low for about 20 minutes, or until cabbage is cooked.
  5. Add bacon back to soup and add sea salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve with shredded Parmesan (optional) and an extra dollop of fat (such as coconut oil, grass-fed ghee, or more bacon fat) (optional).
A quick and easy GAPS, RESTART Program, Keto, Paleo, Whole30, and, most importantly, DELICIOUS soup that only takes 30 minutes to make!

Lacto-Fermented Ginger Carrots

I know I’ve been focused on fermenting lately but the bacteria that natural ferments provide are such an important part of the diet.

Here’s why: In a healthy gut, up to 5 pounds (yes – you read that right, 5 pounds) of healthy bacteria should be living symbiotically with our body. That’s crazy! Fermented foods aid in that symbiosis by providing the gut with new waves of bacteria as old ones die off.

Vitamin K2, a vitamin that is totally and completely underrated but rocks my socks, is found in ferments. Dr. Weston Price identified it during his research days as “The X Factor” (not to be confused with the television show). He posited that there was some factor in these indigenous foods that was allowing for good calcium absorption and assimilation that resulted in healthy teeth, bones and tissues. Science, unfortunately, had not caught up with him and only recently have they discovered what he was talking about. Natural foods FTW! (I’ve talked a little bit about this in my butter post.)

So these carrots. They are my favorite. So much so that sometimes I eat too many of them. If that’s even possible! ha! They’re gingery and tangy and full of delightful goodness. On a warm summer day, pulling one of these bad boys out of the fridge is just so refreshing. They’re also super super easy. And super quick to put on. And super cheap. All three are a super win in my book. (I’ll stop with the “super” superlatives, don’t worry! – hehe. See what I did there?)

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