Oatmeal Raisin Cookie NICE Cream

Listen, there is NO reason whatsoever that being a plant-based eater means you can’t indulge every once in a while (on plant based treats, of course). And since this “NICE” cream is made from plant foods, you can have your nice cream without any guilt because you’ll actually be doing your body good.

2 frozen bananas

1/3 cup oatmeal

1/4 cup raisins

2-4 tbsp oat milk

1/2 tsp cinnamon

  1. Add all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. You can add more milk 1 tbsp at a time until it is the right consistency.
  2. Place in bowls and serve immediately.

 

How Ketogenic and Paleo Diets are Killing You

It seems there is a rise in popularity in the Ketogenic and Paleo diets which promote high fat/low carb eating.  It is based on the idea that the cavemen ate mostly meat all day and little to no carbs and starches.

Many people who adopt this lifestyle will initially feel better and possibly lose weight. But is this a false positive? Is this weight loss sustainable for the long term?

People who eat low carb high fat (LCHF) will justify their enjoyment of eating decayed rotting flesh by the movement in numbers they see on the scale.  But did our caveman ancestors actually eat this way? There is an overwhelming amount of research by anthropologists that show that cavemen ate the majority of their calories from starches, in the form of roots, tubers, bulbs, and wild grasses.

Carbohydrates are clean burning fuels, fuels our body prefers to run on, and leave only carbon dioxide and water as waste, which is easily excreted by the lungs and kidneys. On the other hand, flesh is a dirty fuel and leaves urea, ketones, uric acid and other metabolic burdens that stress the liver and lead to gout, kidney stones and other diseases.

When you consume mostly meats and saturated fats it places one in a state of ketosis. When you keep your metabolism in a state of ketosis, which is an emergency state entered into only during times of starvation, you are in a state of low-grade acidosis. Being ketotic day after day, month after month, forces the body to constantly dispose of a heavy acid load. To deal with that acid load, the body will seek support from the calcium in your bones which leads to kidney stones.

Just look to nature. Even true carnivorous mammals don’t eat pounds of flesh every few hours! The health consequences would be quite severe!

The connection between red meat consumption and colon cancer has been well known for years. When you pile your plate with meat, you aren’t leaving room for fiber (plants). We are a nation of fiber deficient people. Without fiber to push the waste through the colon, the rotting flesh is left to linger in the colon for far too long and the toxic waste gets reabsorbed into the blood stream.

It is an overlooked consequence that eating a LCHF diet will alter your gut bacteria. Put simply, plants equal good gut bacteria. Meat equals bad bacteria. That bad bacteria will turn the carnitine in the meat into something called trimethylamine. Your kidney oxidizes that into trimethylamine oxide which is a molecule that drives cholesterol into the artery walls and produces plaque formation in the arteries throughout the body. The kicker is, that even if you look and feel good, this damaging cascade of events could be happening in your body and you will have no idea how unhealthy your arteries are until you have a heart attack.

Those on LCHF diets may even see their cholesterol numbers go down and be encouraged that the diet is working. However, typically those numbers rise back up again. The question to ask instead is, “How healthy are your arteries?” The artery walls are likely being assaulted with atherogenic, oxidized cholesterol particles with every animal-heavy meal, and that will set off a cascade of damaging effects that can lead to blood clots blocking the arteries, heart attacks, stroke, and therefore early death. Flesh-based diets also injure your gut lining and allow food proteins to leak into your bloodstream before they have been broken down enough and will trigger autoimmune diseases.

The bottom line is, this dietary pattern is gaining popularity only because the western industrial meat production is driven by government subsidies which make animal flesh hideously cheap. Folks have been fooled into believing this is a healthy way of eating and the food industries are laughing all the way to the bank at the expense of YOUR health.

Cinnamon Oatmeal Waffles with Sweet Potato Butter

Waffles are such a traditional breakfast food, and one of my favorite breakfast foods. But I have always been a “waffle-snob” and prefer fresh made, never toasted. Those frozen packaged waffles are gross, if you ask me. They don’t even taste like waffles. And they certainly don’t have real food wholesome ingredients. Since it is incredibly easy to make homemade waffles, I always have. You should, too.

“Best waffles ever!” is the response I get when I serve these. And the sweet potato butter on top is to die for. It adds the perfect touch of sweetness without refined, damaging sugar. It tastes similar to pumpkin pie filling. Maybe that’s why we love it so much in my house!

Dairy butter and even vegan butter, which typically contains palm oil, can be highly damaging to the body. The health benefits of sweet potatoes:

anti-inflammatory

anti-aging

promote a healthy digestive tract

high in folate which is necessary for DNA synthesis

strengthens the immune system

prevents heart disease

improves eyesight

maintains fluid and electrolyte balance in cells

reduces water retention

helps normalize heartbeat

For those reasons listed above, I like to make sweet potato butter rather than use oil-based butters. With a great taste and a huge boost to my health…sign me up!

Sweet Potato Butter

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

2 tbsp unsweetened plant milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

  1. Boil peeled and diced tomatoes until fork tender. Drain then place in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients. Pulse until smooth and creamy. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Cinnamon Oatmeal Waffles

3/4 cup unsweetened plant milk

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup aquafaba

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 cups oatmeal

1/2 cup brown rice flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch of Himalayan sea salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

  1. Add all liquid ingredients to a bowl and whisk until combined.
  2. In a food processor, add the dry ingredients and pulse until a course flour forms.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients and mix well. Let the batter stand for 5 minutes while you warm up your waffle iron.
  4. Cook waffles according to waffle iron instructions.
  5. Serve warm with a dollop of sweet potato butter! (tip from my son: you can’t go wrong with a drizzle of maple syrup on top 😉 )

 

Animal Protein is Damaging Your Health

Protein is found in both animals and plants. Our body can make some of the protein it needs, but not all. Therefore, certain amino acids are deemed essential because we must consume them in the foods we eat. It is true that animal proteins contain higher proportions of these essential amino acids, but it is important to note that having a higher proportion of protein is actually quite damaging, not advantageous, to your health.

Animal Protein Lacks Fiber

Plant protein comes packaged with fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. Animal protein comes with exactly none of these. That means that meat, fish, eggs, poultry, and dairy have no fiber whatsoever.

A high fiber diet is associated with decreased cancer risk, specifically colon and breast cancer, as well as other conditions such as Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis, constipation, diverticulitis, and can even decrease the risk of stroke, high cholesterol, and heart disease. No animal food can do that. In fact, animal foods promote those very diseases.

Animal Protein Promotes Production of IGF-1

When we eat proteins that have a higher proportion of the essential amino acids, as animal proteins do, it results in higher levels of the hormone insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). IGF-1 encourages, stimulates, and amplifies cell division and growth in both healthy cells and cancer cells. Consuming animal proteins is like pouring lighter fluid on a flame. It encourages rapid growth of cancer cells which is exactly why high circulating levels of IGF-1 is consistently associated with an increased cancer risk. It is literally speeding up cancer growth.

TMAO

TMAO is a substance that injures the lining of our vessels, causes inflammation, and promotes the formation of cholesterol plaques in our blood vessels which make them less heathy and can lead to heart attack, stroke, and death.

When we eat animal protein, its carnitine interacts with our gut bacteria to form something called trimethylamine which then gets metabolized by the liver into trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO). Consuming animal proteins result in higher levels of circulating TMAO.

Studies have shown that those who eat an exclusively plant-based diet appear to form little to no TMAO.

Choline is another source of TMAO. Here is where it gets tricky. We do not have any dietary need for carnitine, but we do require dietary choline. So how can we get the choline we need while staying protected from TMAO? The protection received from eating a plant-based diet. It seems the plants protect our guts like a coat of armor, so consuming choline will not lead to the formation of TMAO. Even though we eat choline in plants, the protection is in place, relieving the concern of TMAO in plant-based diets.

Phosphorus

Animal protein contains high levels of phosphorus. When we consume too much phosphorus, our body tries to normalize the levels with a hormone called fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23). FGF23 is harmful to our blood vessels, can lead to abnormal enlargement of our cardiac muscle, is associated with heart attacks and even death. So, too much phosphorus results in increased levels of FGF23 which is highly problematic to our cardiovascular health.

Iron

Another big question that plant-based eaters get, besides “Where do you get your protein?” is “Where do you get your iron?” There are 2 forms of iron. Heme iron (animal based) and non-heme iron (plants). The iron in animal foods is highly absorbable. But that may not be such a good thing. Excess iron is a huge problem, more of a problem that anemia (too little iron).

One of the problems with heme iron is that it can produce free radicals. Free radicals damage cell structures such as proteins, membranes, and DNA. Heme iron can also cause the formation of N-nitroso compounds within our body, which are potent carcinogens. So, it isn’t surprising that high intake of heme iron is associated with many kinds of cancers as well as many other diseases.

While we definitely need iron, the absorption rate from a plant based diet is more than adequate and we can avoid the problems associated with heme iron.

High Sulfur

Animal proteins have a higher concentration of sulfur-containing amino acids and this will induce a subtle state of acidosis. To compensate for this highly acidic state within the body, the body will draw calcium from the bones, which has a damaging effect on bone health. Eating cheese and drinking milk, which we have been told will build strong bones, has quite the opposite effect. It damages bone health leading to osteoporosis. Milk, does not do a body good.

Cholesterol

Though the egg industry will tell you that the egg is the perfect protein, that can’t be farther from the truth. Of course the egg industry will fund studies showing that eggs are in fact a healthy part of a balanced diet. It is in their best interest that we keep buying and consuming eggs.  However, eggs are a huge source of dietary cholesterol. We do not need to consume any cholesterol at all. Our body makes and regulates exactly what it needs. Most animal foods, including “lean” meats, contain copious amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol. Currently the number 1 cause of death for both men and women in the United States is heart disease, and diets high in saturated fats and dietary cholesterol directly promotes heart disease.

All the nutrition you need, all of the macro and micro nutrients the body requires without damaging and deadly effects can be found in plant foods. Plant foods are life-promoting. The only 2 things you cannot get from plants are Vitamin D which comes from safe sun exposure and Vitamin B12 which comes from healthy soil. Since you aren’t likely to eat a spoonful of organic dirt, it is wise to look into a safe B12 supplement and get plenty of sunshine daily.

Chocolate Chip Coconut Pancakes

So simple. So delicious.

They freeze well, too. So make a couple batches and freeze them to pop in the oven when you want an ultimate quick meal.

Confession time: we don’t usually eat traditional breakfast foods at breakfast time. We eat them for lunch or dinner. Somehow breakfast food tastes better when it isn’t breakfast. 🙂

If you have never added shredded coconut flakes to your pancakes, you are in for a treat! They add such a distinct sweetness without overpowering the pancake, so even if you don’t like coconut, you’ll love these.

1 chia egg (1 tbsp ground chia seed + 3 tbsp of water = mix in a small dish and set aside for a moment until it gets gelatinous)

1 1/4 cup buckwheat flour

1/4 cup oatmeal

2 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes

1 tbsp baking powder

1 cup unsweetened plant milk

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup coconut nectar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 handful dairy-free mini chocolate chips

  1. Make chia egg.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk the wet ingredients.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, along with the chia egg.
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  6. Heat a griddle to medium heat and ladle out about 1/3 cup of batter for each pancake. Cook for 5-6 minutes on one side, or until browned. Then flip and cook another 5 minutes.

Storage tips: Place leftover pancakes in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 1 month. To reheat, bake in the oven at 350. 15 minutes for refrigerated pancakes and 25 minutes for frozen pancakes.

Pie Crust

A gluten-free and oil-free pie crust?! Yep, it’s possible. And it is better than traditional pie crusts. Pie isn’t my go-to treat. I like pie, but I can say no to pie without having to really discipline myself. This pie, though, I am going to have to call in the self-control troops on this one.

Typically, when making pie, you have to cut in cold slices of butter and that’s what gives it a rich and creamy flavor while keeping the dough together. For this one, I used….wait for it….a cold banana! The texture is absolutely the same. I think it is even easier to work with. And, because of the banana the crust has a hint of sweetness which pairs well with the pie filling. Plus making it is not intimidating. There are only 3 ingredients. That’s it! And it’s super easy to make and to work with.  The best part….it is guilt free!!

 

1 1/4 cup brown rice flour

1 whole banana, cold

1 tsp cinnamon

  1. Combine everything in a food processor and pulse until there are no banana chunks left.
  2. Transfer out onto a clean, floured surface. I love using coconut flour for this because it adds a great flavor and sweetness to the crust.
  3. Add water, 1 tsp at a time, to get a workable dough consistency. Kind of like playdough. Not crumbly and not sticky. I generally only need 2-3 tsp of water.
  4. Roll dough out thin, then carefully pick it up and place it into a prepared pie plate. If any dough crumbles or breaks off you can easily pinch it back together. It is a very forgiving dough.
  5. Pour pie filling into crust and top with either a  top crust (so double this recipe for a top crust) or with a crumble topping.
  6. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

Cornbread Muffins

I love a good cornbread, and this one delivers. They couldn’t be easier to make and are sweet and delicious without any refined sugar.

1 cup non-GMO cornmeal

1 cup oat flour (brown rice flour works well, too)

1 tbsp aluminum free baking soda

2 tbsp coconut palm sugar

1 cup non-dairy milk

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup maple syrup

  1. Heat oven to 400.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined.
  4. Pour batter into prepared muffin pan and bake for 20 minutes.

Peanut Butter Bites

There isn’t much to say about the peanut butter bites except YUM! Most peanut butter bites are made as a dessert and are filled with sugar and coated in processed sugary chocolate. Because of that you wouldn’t really consider them a healthy snack so much as a sweet treat. These bites are different. They are refined sugar free, only have 4 ingredients and not coated in sugar, either. Yet, they taste sweetly delicious. The secret for the sweetness is in the coconut flour. Coconut flour is high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats but low in sugar (and therefore low on the glycemic index). That’s the kicker, coconut flour is low in sugar yet brings a distinct sweetness to any recipe.

 

1/2 cup natural peanut butter (be sure to find PB that does’t have added oil or sugar)

1/2 cup coconut flour

3 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. In a large bowl mix all your ingredients until combined.
  2. Roll into balls a little smaller than golf ball sized.
  3. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to stiffen them. You can store them in or out of the refrigerator in a air tight container. We personally prefer them in the fridge.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookies that are oil-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free sound like they would be taste-free, right? Or at least taste like you’re eating a cardboard box. Who wants, that!? I don’t know about you, but when I have a treat I want full on flavor that tastes sinfully delicious but is not compromising to my health

Good news! These are oil-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free yet they taste unbelievably good, not like cardboard at all. Whew! That means we can eat healthy and still indulge in treats once in a while without completely sabotaging our health just to tickle our taste buds.

3/4 cup brown rice flour

2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder

pinch Himalayan sea salt

3 tbsp coconut palm sugar

3/4 cup dairy-free chocolate chips

3/4 cup creamy almond butter (sunbutter works, too, just make sure you softened it in a saucepan over a warm burner to get the right consistency)

1/4 + 2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp water

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. in a large bowl, add the brown rice flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and chocolate chips. Stir well to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond butter, syrup, vanilla, and water. Whisk until completely smooth.
  4. Pour the wet over the dry ingredients and stir until no more flour is visible. Drop by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.
  5. Once out of the oven, let them cool for 5-10 minutes on the baking sheet, then carefully transfer to a baking rack to finish cooling. Store in an airtight container.