Orange, Avocado & Green Olive Salad

I tried this gorgeous salad for the first recently, and loved it. Who would know that combining two super foods…oranges and avocados…with tangy green olives would be so delicious?

Oranges are high in vitamin C, and a coenzyme called glutathione, which activates because of this citrus fruit’s flavonoids and limonoids. These combine to fight off viruses, protect the body from radiation damage and deactivate heavy metals in the body. Oranges also contain an abundance of bioactive calcium, which the body absorbs quickly.

Avocados help to soothe the digestive system, especially for those with food sensitivities. This food, which is actually a fruit, has anti-inflammatory properties as well. Avocados are a healthy source of omega-6 fatty acids, which help to restore the central nervous system.

The recipe, from the Life Changing Foods book by Anthony William is simple to prepare.

Orange, Avocado & Green Olive Salad

6 oranges, any variety

1/4 cup sliced green olives

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

1 avocado, sliced

Black pepper (optional)

Cut the top and bottom off of each orange. Resting the orange flat on the cutting board, cut down and around the sides, removing the peel. Slice oranges horizontally into disks and arrange on plates. Top with remaining ingredients. Sprinkle with pepper is desired. Serves 2-4.

Because Cara Cara oranges are plentiful this time of year, I used them and regular navel oranges. I found it easier to slice the oranges first, with their peels on, and then cut around the perimeter, removing the peel.

This colorful salad was fun to eat, light but filling. I didn’t add the red onion to my salad, but I enjoyed the blended flavors of the oranges, avocados and olives. It was the perfect lunch.

It was so perfect that I had it for lunch again today! I will take advantage of oranges being in season by preparing this meal often.

Why Take MSM?

This supplement, abbreviated from the long scientific name of methylsulfonylmethane (whew!), is another that I have been aware of for quite some time. Until I began my healing journey, I was hit and miss about taking supplements consistently…mostly miss! I included MSM, when I remembered to take it, because of its importance to joint health. However, I have discovered that there is so much more to this compound than that.

MSM is an organic, natural compound found in many unprocessed foods such as green vegetables. However, many of its benefits are lost when those foods are cooked. MSM provides biologically active sulfur, which is essential for many different bodily functions.

One of MSM’s most important functions is that it makes the body’s cells more permeable. This allows the cells to receive more water and nutrients, but just as crucial, toxins such as heavy metals and metabolic wastes, are more easily released.

Other crucial health benefits of MSM include:

• restores nerves that have tightened up due to inflammation, making them more flexible and pliable

• improves skin health and elasticity by boosting collagen production

• improves joint and muscle flexibility, and lessens pain and muscle spasms

• strengthens hair and nails

• helps rebuild the linings in the digestive system

• helps the body deal with stress

• anti-inflammatory

MSM truly is a wonder supplement, that works at a cellular level to increase health in vital systems of the body, while fighting inflammation and aging.

I take this supplement as a capsule, however it can also be taken in powder form by mixing it in water. MSM is odorless and tasteless, in either form. My research indicates that the body absorbs MSM even more readily when it is combined with a source of vitamin C. I include an Ester-C capsule, or make sure I am consuming fruits high in vitamin C.

MSM is one of my Fave Four supplements. At home I take a dozen or more vitamins, minerals and herbs daily. When I travel, I make sure I at least pack these four: turmeric, cat’s claw, B12, and MSM. These important supplements accompanied me last year on my travels to Italy, Ireland, Scotland and England. Combined with healthy, plant based meals and lots of walking, these essentials kept me feeling my best.

And that’s what this healing journey is all about, optimal health and feeling wonderful!

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Pears

Today’s featured food is a close relative of the apple, they just don’t seem to get the same attention. We have sayings about apples, such as An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and the association of gifting a favorite teacher with a perfectly polished apple. I can’t think of one famous quote about a pear. I have always liked sweet juicy pears though. I often crave them. The more I learn about their amazing health benefits, the more I realize how important it is to include them regularly in my diet.

I was happy to see pears as one of the featured foods in Anthony William’s book, Life Changing Foods. The granules in pears are full of phytochemicals, trace minerals and amino acids. Those minerals and amino acids help to expel poisons, such as DDT, from the body. The juice from a pear is high in electrolytes, which stabilizes blood sugar. Plus pears help to cleanse and purify the liver.

This amazing fruit aids digestion in other ways as well. It is antispasmodic, helping to soothe the linings of the stomach and intestinal tract. They alleviate food poisoning and calm an upset stomach. Pears feed beneficial bacteria while starving out unproductive bacteria, fungus and parasites. And pears help to prevent stomach and intestinal cancers.

The most amazing thing that I have learned about pears is how crucial they are in maintaining a healthy pancreas. My father died of pancreatic cancer, as did my best friend Laurie. In fact, pancreatic cancer seems to be on the rise. The pancreas reacts to the body’s stress. We abuse this vital organ by eating too much fried food and rich, sugary desserts.

Anthony suggests that heartbreak, betrayal and fear are hard on the pancreas as well. For pancreas protection and to heal this overworked gland and prevent pancreatic cancer, we must eat more pears.

I enjoy slicing up a pear and eating it raw, or combining it with other fruits for afternoon tea. This delicious and simple to prepare recipe from Life Changing Foods is wonderful for special occasions. I typically prepare apples together with pears when I make this recipe.

Cinnamon Baked Pears

• 4 pears, any variety

• 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

• 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice pears in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Arrange pear halves face up on baking tray lined with parchment paper. Drizzle each pear half with maple syrup, leaving some inside each center. Divide walnuts evenly into centers of pears and sprinkle cinnamon over the top of each. Bake 20 – 30 minutes, until pears are tender.

The pears, and apples if included, smell wonderful as they bake. Eaten warm from the oven, baked pears make a healthy, nutritious and comforting special treat.

Pears have become much more important to me, since embracing a plant based lifestyle. And, losing my dad and friend to pancreatic cancer creates a desire in me to be mindful of caring for myself and fostering a healthy pancreas and liver.

Writing this post, my pear craving has intensified. Time for a juicy, health boosting pear!

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Aloo Matar

I tried this wonderfully comforting, fragrant meal recently. Aloo matar is a Punjabi dish from the Indian subcontinent, featuring potatoes and peas in a spiced tomato base. It is easy to prepare and a delight to savor.

This aloo matar recipe was created by Anthony William, author of several books including his latest, Thyroid Healing.

I found garam masala in the spice section of the grocery store. I added a bit more garam masala and curry powder…a double pinch, or approximately 1/4 of a teaspoon. The recipe was not only simple to create, and adaptable, it was fun. And the spicy scent that filled the kitchen created great anticipation.

I loved this aloo matar. It had the taste of India that I was craving, without being too spicy. The cilantro and squeeze of lime on top was the perfect finishing touch.

I used all organic ingredients, making this tasty meal a nutritious one as well. And is there anything more comforting than dining on potatoes and peas? I don’t think so. I will be fixing this wonderful recipe often!

Cat’s Claw

Today for Sunday Supplement I’m sharing about one of my top four essentials, Cat’s Claw. I discovered its benefits before switching to a plant based diet. However I now know more that ever that this herb is extremely crucial to my health.

Cat’s Claw, so named for its claw shaped thorns, is a woody vine that grows in the jungles of the Amazon. I have long known that it eases inflammation in the body, and initially began taking it for that reason. However, the healing properties of this plant extend far beyond fighting inflammation.

According to Anthony William, author of Life Changing Foods, Cat’s Claw is one of the most powerful herbs available for reversing chronic illnesses and diseases. It’s antiviral properties make it ideal for eliminating viruses, such as Epstein Barr, shingles and strep, along with bacteria and parasites.

In fact, Cat’s Claw can aid in alleviating almost any symptom, from digestive to neurological. Because of its bioactive pharma-compounds, it can combat many illnesses more effectively than antibiotics, and the body does not build up a resistance to the herb.

Use Cat’s Claw for any of these disorders: all types of cancer, Lyme disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, ALS, migraines, digestive issues, lymphoma, kidney infections and all viruses.

It also combats inflammation of all types, aches and pains, tinnitus, tingles and numbness, headaches, jaw pain, spasms, brain fog, heart palpitations, dizziness, muscle aches, joint pain and restless legs. It supports and strengthens the body’s immune system.

If you only took two or three supplements a day, I recommend that Cat’s Claw be one of them. It is that good for you, and that crucial to continuing good health.

Cat’s Claw can be taken in tincture or capsule form, or drank as a hot tea. I buy capsules but I’d like to try it as a tea. I don’t know if Missouri’s climate would support this jungle plant, but how fun it would be to grow the vine with yellow flowers in my herb garden.

One thing is certain for me. I do not allow myself to run out of Cat’s Claw!

Lentils

It’s important, on a plant based diet, to consume plant protein. Lentils, available in a variety of colors, are one of the best sources of protein. Plus, these little legumes are packed with other nutrients and health benefits.

Lentils are an excellent source of iron, folate, zinc, phosphorus, manganese and potassium.

A cup of cooked lentils contains 18 grams of protein, less than one gram of fat, and no cholesterol, making them a much healthier choice than chicken, beef or fish. Lentils’ lean protein can help lower the risk of all diseases, including cancer and heart disease.

Lentils also contain 16 grams of dietary fiber per cup. They are a crucial source of insoluble fiber, which helps to regulate the digestive system and decreases the risk of colon, breast, throat and esophageal cancers. Additionally, fiber rich lentils help to prevent stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure.

I include lentils regularly in my diet. Two of my favorite meals are Lentil Chili, easily fixed in 30 minutes on the stove top, and Lentils and Brown Rice, a pressure pot recipe that also contains potatoes, rosemary and thyme.

Lentils are versatile, economical and full of health boosting benefits, making them an essential part of any diet. They can added to soups, salads, and rice dishes, or eaten alone. Pinterest and the app Yummly have many delicious, easy to prepare recipes. I have so many yet to try!

Yummly App

My daughter Elissa introduced me to this fun and helpful app called Yummly. She successfully tried it out for the first time as she prepped for Christmas dinner, using recipes from the app downloaded on her phone.

I’ve played with the app since downloading it myself. Yummly is my Try This Tuesday suggestion.

Check out these great features:

In the Just for You section, I customized the app for my dietary needs. The recipes Yummly pulls up for me are vegan only, with further restrictions eliminating sugar and soy. The app can be customized to suit any diet or list of restrictions. This delicious looking Vegan Carrot Soup with Ginger popped up for me. I can also search for recipes, such as “vegan potato soup”, by typing in the search bar.

This screenshot shows the list of ingredients for the recipe with nutritional info and options for creating a shopping list and scheduling a time to eat.

I can save this recipe, adding it to one of the collections listed on the right. I added the category Soups.

This is a very helpful feature, in the Explore section. I can click on ingredients that I have on hand, and the app will pull up recipes using those ingredients. I clicked on potatoes, garlic, onion, lentils and rice.

The app listed a dozen recipes for me to try. I love the Moroccan Lentil Rice suggestion!

I saved that yummy looking recipe in the Dinner collection.

Once I’ve saved the recipe, the app asks if I want to set a time to eat? If I had, the app would notify me when I need to start cooking!

Yummly can be downloaded from the App Store located on your phone.

I have had fun discovering new recipes using Yummly . It is handy to have them saved on my phone. I know they will meet my plant based guidelines, meaning I won’t have to adapt the recipes.

I will be making the Moroccan Lentil Rice soon!

B12

This important vitamin is crucial to our health and well being. Anthony William, author of Medical Medium, writes that virtually everyone is deficient in B12. He also states that without B12, we die. That’s how critical a deficiency can be.

Because B12 comes primarily from animal products, it is very important for those following a plant based lifestyle to get this in supplemental form. Look for a time released or slow release B12 tablet, as methylcobalamin and/or adenosylcobalamin.

A special probiotic film covers the leaves and skins of above ground fruits and vegetables. These elevated biotics are able to survive the digestive process and make it to the ileum, the final section of the small intestine, where vitamin B12 is created in the body.

Be selective about which produce is best consumed without washing it first. Veggies out of your own organic garden, sprouts grown on the countertop, and local organic farmers are all good sources. Produce from the grocery store is not. It typically has a waxy film and the skin has traces of pesticides. Wash it before consuming. It’s fine to lightly rinse dirt off of freshly picked garden produce. That doesn’t destroy the biotic film.

B12 is crucial for maintaining a healthy brain and nervous system. It repairs and strengthens both when they have been damaged by the shingles and Epstein Barr viruses.

Additional benefits include:

• boosts mood and eases depression

• maintains a healthy heart

• improves memory, skin & hair, and digestion

• raises energy levels and helps to ease adrenal fatigue

I had never taken a B12 supplement, until I switched to a plant based diet. I started taking it to help fight the shingles and Epstein Barr viruses. I immediately noticed an increase in energy. For all the reasons listed above, B12 continues to be one of my most important supplements.

Amazon carries a great selection of reasonably priced B12 supplements, as do health minded grocery stores and health food shops. Take one tablet a day. And to benefit from the probiotics thriving on the skin of unwashed fruits snd veggies, consider growing your own. I pop unwashed cherry tomatoes into my mouth while working in the garden. And I don’t wash the herbs that I pick for cooking or hot drinks. Unwashed dandelion leaves, from your own unsprayed yard, can be plucked and chewed on as well, or made into a tea.

The important thing is, get this vitamin into your system, and reap the healthy benefits.

Going Bananas

When I switched to a plant based lifestyle, bananas very quickly became foundational to my diet. My day typically begins with a fruit smoothie for breakfast, and a couple of bananas go into the blender first.

And no wonder this powerful antiviral food is an important part of my diet. According to Life Changing Foods, by Anthony William, bananas are high in the amino acid trptophan, and help to ease sleep disorders, reduce anxiety and alleviate depression. They destroy fungus and remove unproductive bacteria in the intestinal tract, while enhancing B12.

Bananas are antispasmodic for hyperactive colons, relieve gastric cramps and help to reverse colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and Crohn’s disease. They are also wonderful blood sugar stabilizers.

Although bananas have been blamed for being too high in sugar, in reality the sugar in the ripe fruit is completely different from processed sweeteners in desserts. The fruit sugar in bananas is bonded to crucial minerals such as manganese, selenium, potassium and copper. The rich supply of antioxidants, vitamins, and phytonutrients in bananas is the reason they are able to help fight diseases.

Not only do I add bananas to my daily smoothie, I include them in my meals in a variety of other ways. I purchase very ripe bananas at the market, slice them up and freeze them in gallon sized bags in a single layer. The frozen bananas are great to add to smoothies, if I am out of fresh fruit, and blended in a food processor or high speed blender, they transform into a cold and creamy dessert with the texture of ice cream.

I chop them up to add to fruit salads, and grab a banana to take with me when I am on the go. They are the best before and after workout food available and make perfect travel snacks. I have tried several drink recipes, with frozen or fresh bananas as the base. This afternoon, I sampled a new one!

Banana Milk

In a blender combine 1 fresh banana, 1 cup of unsweetened non dairy milk, 2 tablespoons of gluten free oats, 1 teaspoon raw organic honey and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Blend until smooth.

This cold, frothy drink makes a great late afternoon pick me up. I savored it. Using a frozen banana would create a milkshake like consistency.

Bananas are at the optimal stage for eating when the skin is yellow, with brown speckles. Purchase them before they are completely ripe, and consume them as they reach peak nutrition.

Anthony writes that on an emotional level, bananas strengthen the core of who we are, encouraging us to peel back our false layers and reveal our true selves. They help reverse a state of mind that is saturated with fear and help us to release unproductive behaviors.

What an incredibly beneficial fruit. Going bananas? Yes, I think I will!

Dairy Free Potato Soup

I love soup! I grew up enjoying a variety of homemade soups and stews. One of my favorites was my mother’s potato soup. A steaming bowl of creamy potato soup is the perfect comfort food for a cold winter night.

This plant based version is just as perfect as the soup from my childhood, and without the milk, cream or butter, it is good for me too!

Dairy Free Potato Soup

Potatoes, like fruit, have gotten a bad rap. They have been blamed for a variety of ills including obesity and diabetes. In truth, potatoes help to reverse illnesses. High in minerals, and vitamins such as B12, and the crucial amino acid Lysine, potatoes help to fight off cancers, inflammation, liver disease, and viruses such as Epstein Barr and shingles. They also strengthen the kidneys and soothe the digestive system.

Try this savory, nutrition packed soup, and bring the goodness of potatoes into your life. I adapted this recipe from my mom’s and a creamy vegan potato soup I found on the recipe app Yummly. More about this great app in a future blog post!

Dairy Free Potato Soup

  • 6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 large carrots, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 cups of water or vegetable broth
  • 1 can coconut milk, or 2 cups of non dairy milk
  • Cashew sauce (directions below)
  • Sea salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat olive oil in large pot. Stir-fry carrots, celery, and onion until veggies are tender, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and parsley and cook 1 minute longer. Add potatoes and water or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Add coconut milk or non dairy milk and cashew sauce, stirring well. Simmer for 5 more minutes, and serve.

Cashew Sauce

Soak 1 cup of cashews in water for 2 hours. Drain and rinse. Combine cashews and 1/3 cup of water in blender. Mix until smooth sauce forms. Add 1 teaspoon salt and dash of pepper.

Dairy Free Potato Soup

This soup was so delicious. The cashews are neutral enough that you can’t taste the mildly flavored nuts at all. However, the cashew sauce adds a richness to the broth that is scrumptious. I included the minced parsley in my soup, but it can be easily left out, if desired.

I loved all the vegetables in this soup. Combined with the potatoes, they make a hearty, flavor packed meal that I will make, and enjoy, often.

Dairy Free Potato Soup