Grateful for Grains – 7 quick recipes you’ll crave

This weekend was super busy for me – you too?!

Yeah, thought so.

 

School started (for both my son and me) and I’m busy putting together a big launch plan for my book, Women, Food & Desire, which comes out 1/6/15.

 

And healthy food can (even in my house) feel like a chore when we have so much going on.

And yes – I still crave sugar when things get hectic, but I don’t feel good when I eat it – headaches, brain fog, bacterial overgrowth.

So my sweets need to come from real food that doesn’t drain me.

Quick Rice Pudding

I know when I have simple, healthy foods on hand, I can juggle the kid, work, and friend time much better.

 

So, I’m getting back to my food roots as we move into fall –

simple, humble, whole grain, brown rice.

 

I like to make a pot of brown rice and use it as an easy side dish or quick lunch.

 

Plus, whole grains help me keep sugar cravings at bay.

How?

Well, when you get enough complex carbohydrates, and chew them well, your body and brain get the energy they need, in a slow drip over the day.

 

So make up a pot of brown rice (or quinoa for the grain-averse) and use it 7 ways this week!

 

Simple pot of brown rice:

 

3 cups short grain brown rice

 

Rinse rice in 2 changes of water.

Put into a pot with enough water to cover by 2 inches.

Bring to a boil over high heat.

Lower head to low, and cover.

Simmer for 40 minutes.

Turn heat off and let sit for 20 minutes.

This allows the steam to keep cooking the rice.

 

 

7 quick recipes that re-use brown rice:

 

  • sushi roll up

wrap a ¼ cup of rice in a sheet of nori paper with a few shredded carrots and enjoy the hand held treat

Quick Rice Sushi Roll rice 2 rice 3

  • brown rice pudding with cinnamon

warm rice in a small pot with coconut milk, a few organic raisins and some cinnamon

 

  • stir fry with greens

heat rice in a pan with coconut oil and chopped bok choy, sprinkle with soy-free soy sauce, ‘coconut aminos’ or tamari

 

  • miso stew

heat 2 cups of water with 1 cup of rice, and whisk in 1 tablespoon chickpea miso for a quick soy-free soup

 

  • rice salad

toss leftover rice with your favorite salad dressing for a side dish

 

  • rice pasta

heat 2 cups rice with a little olive oil and 1 cup of your favorite pasta sauce and add favorite pasta veggies

 

  • rice balls with sesame seeds

roll ¼ cup rice on a plate with ¼ cup toasted sesame seeds and 1/2 teaspoons sea salt – yummy little rice balls!

 

 

As with every meal, give a little gratitude for your simple, whole-grain meal.

 

Research shows that gratitude practices, even a tiny “thanks for the grub!” over your miso stew, helps you feel more optimistic, lowers stress, and increases your happiness.

 

I know I’m grateful for my grains,

And I’m grateful for you, my online “clan of the crave bears” –

 

Have a beautiful week,

and enjoy your rice!

 

Xo,

Alex

 

P.S. chewing your grains is super important, especially if you suspect leaky gut or have any bloating or tummy issues. Chewing until your grains are almost liquid helps your body digest them better – and we want happy bellies!

 

 

Sugar-Free Baked Bananas Foster Recipe

Crave sweet, but avoiding sugar? Sugar Free Baked Bananas Foster!

We all love sweet – it’s normal, natural, and very human. I like sugar so much growing up that I had 12 cavities by the age of 12 – yikes! (You’re welcome, Dr. Dentist!) In fact, liking sweet flavors is the only taste preference human babies are born with. Every other taste we develop is learned, so you’re super-natural, sweet tooth baby! BUT (there’s always a BUT, right?) you may be off sugar while detoxing or cleansing…

(like in my 8-week Cravings Cleanse, starting 9/23!)

So what do you do, especially in those first few days, when sugar cravings strike?

Healthy Bananas Foster? Yes!

Healthy Bananas Foster? Yes!

Answer with a naturally sweet dessert of course! This baked banana recipe is just like the Bananas Foster my New Orleans-loving Dad likes to make -without the extra sugar and ice cream! I adapted this recipe to work for all 3 cravings types, so wether you’re Firebrand, FeatherWeight or Earth Mama (or Earth Papa), you can enjoy the simple flavors and spices to help answer your sweet tooth calling:

Sugar-Free Baked Bananas Foster!

Serves 2

  • 2 bananas*, peeled and split in half long
  • Juice of 1 orange* about 1/4 cup
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardomom
  • 2 tablespoons organic raisins

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Arrange split bananas in a baking dish, side by side. In a mixing bowl, combine milk, orange juice and spices. Whisk well and pour over bananas.
  3. Scatter raisins on top.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, until beginning to brown.
  5. Carefully scoop bananas onto plates or bowls and spoon the sauce from the baking dish over each portion.

*Firebrand Fix: Use 2 pitted apricots instead of bananas. *Earth Mama Swap: Use 2 pitted peaches instead of bananas, and use apple juice instead of orange juice.

This raw soup is my best trick for quitting sugar…

Yes, I do an “extreme” raw vegetable cleanse sometimes…

In fact, I do it once a month lately.

Why? I love how it feels. 

I avoid any foods that may have crept back into my diet that can clog up my works (better known as the Toxic 6: gluten, dairy, corn, soy, sugar and caffeine) and enjoy a 3-day fest of non-starchy vegetables.

It resets my metabolism, calms my cravings for sugar, and flattens my belly…

So I offered the plan to the people in my Cravings Cleanse group, and they dove in.

Here’s my favorite, rich, satisfying avocado soup:

Raw Pro 3-Day Kick Start: Avocado Soup (image by  Sarah Hammond)

Raw Pro 3-Day Kick Start: Avocado Soup (image by Sarah Hammond)

 

Here’s how you can make this delicious, filling Avocado Soup:

This soup is filled with alkaline ingredients, and the fat from the avocado is very satisfying and helps your body burn fat rather than sugars from carbs, the best way to lose weight while balancing your mood. 

1 avocado, peeled and pitted
1 lemon, rind and seeds removed
3-4 romaine lettuce leaves, washed

1 cup cucumber (peeled if very thick skin)

1 stalk celery

1⁄4 cup flat leaf parsley leaves
1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt

2-3 cups water

  1. Put all in blender and blend until smooth
  2. Extra stores well in an airtight container for later in the day. 
Creamy Avocado Soup - Cravings Cleanse

Soup For Fatty Dairy Lovers: Creamy dairy-free Avocado Soup Recipe

I was feeling a bit under the weather this weekend.

Last week I went to a memorial service for a dear friend. It was so beautiful to see all of our shared friends, but while at the party I ate a ton of soy and refined flour - foods I haven’t eaten much of in the last six months.

The next day, I woke up feeling puffy and tired. And that lasted for three days!

avo soup cc

On Sunday I remembered this amazing soup I once ate, filled with green vegetables, which was blended, cooling, and alkalinizing.

Yet the lemon and avocado blended together to taste rich and fatty, zingy and tasty, like a dairy-filled soup would. Dairy is an acidic food, and makes inflammation worse for most people.

 

The celery, cucumber, lemon, parsley, and Romaine were all anti-inflammatory and when blended together, the mild flavors soothed my body and energy.

avo soup ingredients

So I got the ingredients together and tried my hand at recreating this soup, to see if I could calm this puffy inflammation I was feeling.

I blended the ingredients together until the veggies were smooth and creamy, added a pinch of salt, and tasted. It was heavenly.

I ate the entire recipe in a few hours – about 6 cups worth.

Ingredients: 

1 lemon, rind removed

1.5 cups cucumber

1 stalk celery

6 leaves Romaine lettuce

1 avocado

1/4 cup fresh parsley

1.5-2 cups water

1/2 tsp sea salt

avo soup

The next day, I woke up feeling refreshed, calm, and my eyes were no longer puffy, and my skin was clear.

This is just the kind of easy recipe I love to share – food that heals and tastes good.

It’s the kind of recipe I’ll be sharing in my Cravings Cleanse, which kicks off next week with a free 3-video series all about cravings, how to change your food habits to grow your energy, and how you can turn willpower into wellpower.

I hope you like the recipe, and I hope you’ll watch the videos when they go live next week!

xo,

Alex

CNN & Martha got it wrong. Eat THIS food to cleanse & trim your gut!

How did CNN and Martha Stewart get this SO WRONG!?

real-gut-cnn

Martha Stewart & CNN got it wrong – REAL food to eat to cleanse & heal your gut



I just saw a piece on CNN from Martha Stewart, and sadly, the big gurus are giving bad advice.
In fact, the food they tell you to eat could HARM your gut, not heal it.
I give you the low-down and tell you the #1 food you SHOULD eat to cleanse and heal your gut!




See, I know that dairy is one of the biggest cravings for you, and I know that while you may crave it, eating milk, cheese and ice cream can cause havoc in your body (and skin…and mood… and hormones!)

So when Martha Stewart & CNN got it wrong and told people to eat the wrong kind of dairy, and totally misses that fermented vegetables are SO HUGE and growing in popularity, it makes me wonder what else they’re getting wrong!>
Hope you found this helpful! 
If you crave sugar or dairy, you may need more raw fermented foods like sauerkraut in  your diet!
And if you want to really understand what your cravings mean, be sure to take my Cravings Type Quiz.
Xo,
Alex 
P.S. If you like the video or quiz, please share it with your friends on Facebook or YouTube! xo

Gluten-Free Summer Crepes with Berries: July 4th Dessert Recipe

The perfect July 4th brunch for every cravings type!

IMG_7968-225x300

Gluten-Free Crepe Recipe for Summer – every cravings type can enjoy!

Eating right for your type

is helpful for keeping your energy, focus on health on track. But what if you have a couple of friends coming over, or there are two types in your house living under the same roof?


(Take the Cravings Type Quiz here to find out your type!) 

Luckily, I’ve learned how to adjust one recipe for all the types – and this summer crepe recipe is great for everyone with a couple of minor changes depending on who’s coming to brunch! Not only is it gluten-free, but you can easily make these crepes dairy-free by using coconut cream (you know, the thick stuff at the top of the can?) instead of whipped cream.
 
With cooling summer berries, these crepes use high-protein amaranth and quinoa flour, which help the light-headed featherweight feel grounded and strong.

Firebrands and Featherweights can choose between organic whipped cream or coconut cream as a topping, while Earth Mama types should avoid the topping and just enjoy the crepe and fruit as too much dairy and coconut can make an Earth Mama (or Papa) feel heavy and muddy.

 

Gluten-Free Crepes with Summer Berries

Serves 4

For the crepes:

1 cup quinoa flour
2/3 cup amaranth flour
3 tablespoons brown rice flour
1 cup water
1 ½ cup unsweetened coconut or almond milk
1 teaspoon maple syrup
Ghee (clarified butter) or coconut oil for cooking the crepes

For the filling:

2 cups mixed organic berries
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Topping:

1 cup organic whipped cream or unsweetened coconut cream

Directions:

  1. Combine the flours in a blender with the water, milk and maple syrup. Blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into a mixing bowl and allow to sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes.
  2. While the crepe batter is resting, prepare the fruit. Wash and dry the berries and toss with remaining maple syrup and cinnamon. Allow to marinate at room temperature.
  3. Heat 2 teaspoons ghee or coconut oil on a crepe pan or other non-toxic non-stick pan over medium heat. Stir the batter and ladle a scoop into the middle of the pan. Spread out the batter thinly in a circle. Cook the crepe until the bottom has browned, about 2 minutes.
  4. Flip the crepe and cook until the other side is browned, about 1 to 2 minutes more.
  5. Remove the crepe from the pan and place on a plate or clean baking dish and cover with a lid to allow it to cool, but not lose too much moisture.
  6. Keep making crepes until all the batter is gone.
  7. Serve each crepe with a scoop of berries in the middle, and roll it up around them. Top with whipped cream or coconut cream and a nice little sprig of mint, if it’s handy.
4359152720_f73a9b9377_n

Crave-worthy Detox Smoothie!

Green Pineapple Dream |  yield: 2 servings


Green smoothieGreen smoothies are my favorite go-to healthy breakfast. Tasty and filled with energy-boosting nutrients, you won’t deplete your willpower whipping up one of these beauties!

Green cilantro is anti-inflammatory, cholesterol-lowering, and binds with toxins so your body can release them. (if you’re not a fan of cilantro, swap it for basil or parsley, which are also fabulous!) 

Tropical pineapple is also anti-inflammatory, a good source of Vitamin D, and contains Manganese and  Bromelain, a wonderful digestion-boosting enzyme. 
What to put in your blender: 
 

What to do (AKA directions):

  1. Combine the greens, cilantro and water together and blend until smooth.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and blend again until smooth! Pour, sip and ahhhh! 

Did you love this smoothie?

Leave a comment or please share with friends using the links above!

xo,

Alex

Chocolate IS Love… Vegan Valentine Recipes with Raw Cacao

Chocolate is Love.

At least that’s what our brains think.

See, when we eat chocolate, a whole cascade of happy chemicals and hormones get triggered, making us feel a bit high, happy, relaxed and excited all at the same time.

 

Kinda like love.

Raw Cacao Truffle Recipe

Phenylethylamine is often called the “love drug,” a unique caffeine with stimulating physiological effects, fatty acids called cannabinoids (yes, relatives of those found in pot), which make you feel relaxed and intoxicated, and all of this leads to a release of the pleasure-producing hormones dopamine and serotonin.

 

Top it all off with a dose of sugar normally found in our cocoa treats, and you’ve got a world-class super drug.

 

With all of these happy high chemicals coming in legal, cheap, bite-sized nuggets, it’s amazing we aren’t all on the streets collecting pop bottles and turning tricks to get another fix! (Too much? Ok, maybe just collecting pop bottles…)

 

Luckily, the amounts of these mind-altering chemicals found in chocolate are relatively small compared with other drugs like marijuana, ecstasy, and morphine. Our modern brains are used to the amounts and effects of the pleasure-inducing chemicals released by our coffee, tea, cocoa, and energy drinks, and we can only produce so much dopamine. When we eat a ton of chocolate and release a bunch of dopamine, our bodies immediately seek balance by shutting down the hormone production. This leads to desensitization to both dopamine and chocolate’s effects over time.

 

Which makes me think we should all be living slightly cleaner lives with less caffeine, sugar and other “happy drugs” so that we can really enjoy the effects of chocolate more!

Cacao pod, Costa Rica, Alex Jamieson, raw cacao recipes

Cacao pod

HISTORY OF CACAO

Cacao flowers, Costa Rica, Alex Jamieson, raw cacao recipes

Cacao flowers, Costa Rica

Humans weren’t the first culinary smarties to figure out that cacao seeds were edible. They learned it from watching monkeys. Found in pods growing in South American rain forests, cacao seeds are covered with a slimy, slightly-sweet gel, sort of like leechee fruit.

 

Monkeys and people first cracked open the pods, sucked on the fruit and spat out the seeds. The raw seeds inside were bitter and pretty gross, so few animals or humans ate them, even though they were high in fat.

 

Carrying these seeds along their migrations caused the cacao trees to spread throughout South America and Central America.

 

But what happened next in chocolate’s history took a stroke of luck: someone realized that when you fermented and then roasted those seeds before eating them, the bitter flavor diminished and the ambrosia-like aroma of chocolate began to tickle their noses.

 

Once fermented and roasted, those bitter cacao beans begin to smell like melting chocolate. Grind the seeds, add some sugar, cinnamon, and chili pepper, and you’ve got a Water of the Gods, or cacao agua.

 

I recently visited a rainforest cacao plantation in Costa Rica and watched the traditional methods for making cacao agua, as well as tasting the fruits, and learning about the lifecycle of this magical food.

Raw Cacao Fruit, Costa Rica, Alex Jamieson, raw cacao recipes

Raw Cacao Fruit

 

Until you can get yourself down to Central America to experience this for yourself, I’ve created a few healthy, delicious cacao (raw cocoa bean) recipes to enjoy with your Valentine, or any time!

 

Hot Chocolate of the Gods

Hot Chocolate of the Gods: Vegan Valentine's Hot Cocoa | Raw Cacao Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate of the Gods: Vegan Valentine’s Hot Cocoa | Raw Cacao Hot Chocolate

I know, that’s a bold statement – really, Alex? Chocolate of the Gods? That’s quite a boast for a cup of hot cocoa. I’m telling you! I first drank something like this recipe in Costa Rica on a chocolate plantation in the jungle, and had my first out-of-body experience. In short, I think I saw God. At least I saw chocolate, and for me, that’s pretty good.

2 pitted Medjool dates

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1 cup water

1/8 tsp cinnamon

½ teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons raw cacao powder

pinch sea salt

*1/8 tsp cayenne powder (optional – this is how the ancients did it)

* ¼ tsp peppermint extract (optional – don’t combine if using cayenne)

Directions:

Combine all in a blender and blend until super smooth. Pour into a small saucepan and warm over medium heat until heated through.  Pour into mugs, cozy up under a blanket, turn on Cousins, Diva, or Downton Abbey (or any other romantic movie) and enjoy!

Date Night: Cacao Nibs in Dates

Date Night: Raw Cacao and Medjool Dates, Raw Cacao Recipe, Alex Jamieson

Date Night: Raw Cacao, Almond Butter and Medjool Dates

Medjool Dates, Date Night, Raw Cacao Recipe, Alex Jamieson

Medjool Dates, Date Night, Raw Cacao Recipe

 

4 Medjool dates, pitted and halved

1 tablespoon cacao nibs

1 tablespoon almond butter

Directions:

Scoop ½ teaspoon into each half of the pitted dates. Sprinkle with cacao nibs and gently press in with your finger so the nibs stick. Serve to your loved one on Date Night!

Goddess Truffles

Goddess Truffles: Raw Cacao Recipe, Alex Jamieson

Goddess Truffles: Raw Cacao Recipe

Whether you’re serving them to a Goddess, or you ARE a goddess, these raw cacao truffles are super easy, delicious, and won’t tax your culinary skills. In short, you can show off in the kitchen without trying too hard.

 

2 cups raw nuts (I used 1 cup each almonds and cashews)

½ cup pitted Medjool dates

pinch sea salt

4 tablespoons raw cacao powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon honey

optional: coconut flour, cacao powder, cinnamon for rolling truffles

 

 

Directions:

Combine all (except optional coconut flour, etc) in a food processor. Pulse until the nuts are well ground and mixed with the dates.

Using a tablespoon or a small ice cream scooper, scoop the mixture into your hand and form into truffle balls.

You can now roll in coconut flour or other decorations, or eat raw.

Goddess Truffles: Raw Cacao Recipe, Alex Jamieson, Valentine's Day Recipe, Vegan Valentine

Goddess Truffles: Raw Cacao Recipe

 

 

Serve as is, on top of ice cream, or crumbled on banana slices.

 

 

WHY I USE RAW CACAO

As you may have noticed, these recipes call for raw cacao, which is different from baking chocolate, chocolate chips, and all products made with dutched or processed chocolate. The health benefits of raw cacao are pretty awesome, and you can make a lot of easy treats with it.

 

And for me, healthy + delicious = perfect.

Why Raw Cacao is the best Chocolate

Why Raw Cacao is the best Chocolate

 

BUT, you have to buy the right kind of cacao to get the most benefits and avoid the toxins found in conventional cacao production. Certified Organic Raw Cacao is an excellent source of antioxidants. It it’s NOT Certified Organic Raw Cacao, then you are also eating a lot of chemicals from irradiation and spraying of chemicals which are standard practice in growing cacao beans.

All of my recipes use organic raw cacao powder and raw cacao nibs.

In case you’re wondering, here are some of the health benefits of using raw cacao:

 

Magnesium: Cacao beans are a great source of this mineral (270 milligrams per 100 grams), which is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in our bodies, including muscle and nerve function, and is a muscle relaxant associated with feelings of calmness.

Sulphur: Cacao is also high in sulfur, which helps grow strong nails and hair.

 

Fiber: A chocolate bar doesn’t offer any fiber, but if you eat raw cacao, you’ll get 9 grams per ounce!

 

Iron: An ounce of the raw cacao beans or nibs (crushed beans) contains six per cent of your recommended daily iron intake.

 

Antioxidants: Raw cocoa powder tops the antioxidant list with almost four times the amount of antioxidants as Goji Berries. But be careful! You may be sensitive to the caffeine effects on your nervous system, so take it easy on this stimulant.

 

Now there are 2 compounds in cacao that you might want to be careful of:

 

Theobromine, which makes up 1-2% of the cacao bean and, like caffeine, is a nervous system stimulant that dilates the blood vessels — much like caffeine. This is what makes chocolate unsafe for dogs, and causes uncomfortable sensations for sensitive humans.

 

Phenylethylamine (PEA): While our bodies also produce PEA (an adrenal-related chemical) when we’re excited, it causes our pulse to quicken. While this makes some of us feel alert and excited, it can have an uncomfortable effect on people who are sensitive and wanting to lower their heart rate.

 

With all this in mind, choose the healthiest chocolate for you and your loved ones, and enjoy the natural high of the food of the gods.

 

I want to hear from you! Share your pictures of favorite chocolate recipes, or your version of these recipes here!

Post your pictures to my Facebook or Pinterest page, and leave a comment below about your chocolate discoveries!

Xo,

Alex

Winter Salads: Waste Not Want Not, Cauliflower Leaves

Don’t throw out those cauliflower leaves!

You know those leaves that frame the white, pillowy florets we love eating?

They’re edible, too!


Just peel them off the florets, wash them, dry them, and thinly slice them.

“You mean I’ve been throwing away good greens all these years?!” you ask…

YES! The vitamins are just as high in the leaf as in the head,

and 1/2 cup of cauliflower (leaves or white florets) contains half of your daily Vitamin C and are super high in fiber.

AND cauliflower is part of the cancer-fighting cruciferous family, so hit your antioxidant quota with this simple trick.

Here’s what I did this week while I was steaming the florets:

Slice the leaves up thinly and toss with freshly shredded carrot.

Drizzle with olive oil, a little lemon juice or umeboshi vinegar, and sprinkle with good sea salt.

Toss. Eat. Done.

shredded cauliflower salad Alex Jamieson

Winter Whites: Celery Root & Cauliflower Soup

Creamy Celery Soup 5Winter Whites:

Creamy Celery Root & Cauliflower Soup

You may have passed by the celery root, also known as celeriac, because it looked scary and you couldn’t image what you’d do with that giant root. 

Fear not! That big bulbous root is just the bottom of celery, and you may be able to find it with some celery stalks growing out of the top, which is great for soup garnish. 

Celery root is high in fiber, potassium and magnesium, and make a deliciously creamy (and easily dairy free) soup that hints of sweet celery – just trust me. Make this! 

To prep the celery root, just cut off all the brown outer “peal” with a sharp knife. I recommend you cut it in half first, so you have a flat surface to steady the round root on. Then cube it and cook it! 
Celery Root

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 cups cubed celery root
2 cups chopped cauliflower
1/2 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups water
1/2 cup unsweetened plant-milk 
1/2-1 teaspoon sea salt
Black pepper
Extra olive oil for drizzling and a few celery leaves for garnish

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil over medium in a big soup pot or Dutch oven, and add the celery root, cauliflower and onion. Stir to coat all the veggies with oil.
  2. Cook for about five minutes. Don’t allow to brown, just to soften up. 
  3. Add the garlic, broth and water. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, and cover.
  4. Simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until the celery root is tender. Stir in the plant milk.
  5. Remove the soup from the heat. If you have an immersion or “stick” blender, use it to puree the soup while it is still in the pot. 
  6. If you are using a regular blender, carefully ladle the soup in batches of 3 cups at a time into your blender, puree until smooth and return to the pot. Season with salt and pepper, starting with 1/2 teaspoon of each. Stir well, taste and add more to taste.