The Microbiome

The microbiome, the term used to describe the microbes in our gut, is something of a buzz word these days . And why shouldn’t it be? With 70% of our immune system residing there (think defense against COVID), it makes sense.

More and more scientists, researchers and physicians are recognizing the important role a healthy microbiome plays in our health and well being and are learning more about how to support that. Basically, the microbiome thrives on a whole foods, plant based diet. (Imagine that!)

Join us to learn some of the latest information about the role the microbiome plays in having amazing health… effortlessly:

So let’s start eating more plants: fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans and lentils to let the good guys in our gut keep the bad guys at bay. The more we learn about our physiology, the more apparent a whole food, plant based diet is the key to amazing health.

The recipe this week is a very high fiber dish of Spanish Paella made with brown rice, tomatoes, peppers, green beans, peas and artichokes. You can also add Vegan sausage to have a more authentic Paella taste. We added the Vegan sausage, and it was delicious. Good brands of Vegan Sausage are Field Roast or Tofurkey or Gusta.

Spanish Paella

To Your Amazing Health,
Connie and Bill

High Fiber Spanish Paella (Serves 4)

Spanish Paella With Vegan Sausage

1 tablespoon avocado oil plus 2 tablespoons purified water
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 red peppers, diced
1 1/2 cups (uncooked) short grain brown rice
4 cups purified water or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon sea salt
14 ounce can diced tomatoes
14 ounce can artichoke hearts
2 cups string beans, cut in pieces
1 cup frozen green peas
2 Vegan sausage, cut in pieces -optional- (Good brands are Field Roast, Tofurkey and Gusta)
Parsley leaves for garnish
Lemon wedges for garnish

In a large pan add oil and 2 tablespoons of water with onions, garlic, turmeric, bay leaves, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes and diced red peppers. Cook for 5 minutes. Push veggies aside in pan to make way for rice.

Add brown rice and purified water or veggie stock and sea salt. Cover and turn heat to simmer. Cook 25 minutes.

Add tomatoes on top of rice without stirring, cover and cook an additional 10 minutes.

Add artichoke hearts and beans and cook 10 more minutes covered.

Add peas and sausage (if using), cook for 5 minutes and turn off heat. Let rest for 15 minutes and serve, garnished with parsley leaves and lemon wedges.

Commitment

Many make commitments to improve their health and lose weight. It’s a great thing. And this time of year it’s often referred to as a New Year’s Resolution. As well intent as we are when we make them, they often go by the wayside unfulfilled. Why is that?

In our experience, there are two types of commitment. One type, that I think we’re all familiar with, is to use will power and determination to “make it happen.” And there’s another type I think most have experienced as well that comes from a change of heart, from seeing what is the obvious best thing to do and being drawn to do it “with all our heart.”

Join us to explore this topic in relationship to food and health.

So, play with this this week. See if you notice a difference between when you’re commitment is more of a mental commitment and you’re working to “make something happen”, or if you find yourself moving forward and accomplishing things by what Joseph Campbell described as “following your bliss” and having doors open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.

The recipe is so very delicious. It’s Pad Thai. Be sure to buy brown or black rice Pad Thai noodles. Their hearty taste makes this dish delightful.

To Your Amazing Health,
Connie and Bill

Pad Thai (Serves 2 to 3)

Pad Thai

8 ounces Brown or Black Rice Pad Thai Noodles
1 tablespoon Avocado oil
1 onion, diced
1 small red onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons Tamari
1 carrot, cut in matchsticks
1 red pepper, cut in 2 inch slices
3 tablespoons Thai Chili Sauce or Srirach
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
1 lime, juiced
1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts
1/2 cup purified water
4 green onions, cut in diagonal
2 cups bean sprouts
Cilantro, wash and set aside for ganish

In a medium pan, add recommended amount of water to begin boiling for noodles. When water boils, cook noodles and drain. Set aside.
In a large fry pan add oil, onion, garlic, 3 tablespoons water and tamari. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are transparent.
Add carrots and peppers and cook 3 to 5 minutes.
Add Thai Chili Sauce, coconut sugar, lime juice, peanuts and remaining water. Stir well and cook for 3 minutes.
Add green onions and bean sprouts. Stir.
Serve in 2 bowls and garnish with cilantro.

Gratitude

“Out beyond ideas of right thinking and wrong thinking, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” Rumi

We woke up this morning feeling a lot of gratitude for all that we have and all that we’ve learned and experienced this last year. And with these feelings came a reflection of where that sense of gratitude comes from. It looks to us like it comes naturally and spontaneously when we get beyond our ideas of right doing and wrong doing, when we step into that field that Rumi referred to.

And we love the practical impact we see in our lives when we come from there, how it changes how we connect with others and how we relate to everything in our lives including our relationship with food and health. Join us to hear more:

When we settle, relax, and our busy mind quiets, we connect with our true nature. Here we are grateful, joyful and compassionate. We see with a much broader vision and have a deeper understanding of life. Even in the midst of challenging circumstances, we can come from love and compassion. What a difference that can make.

This weeks recipe is Roasted Chickpeas. Enjoy making these delicious snacks. They are wonderful on their own or in a salad or as part of a main course dish. They take minutes to prepare and once you taste them, you’ll want more.

To Your Amazing Health,
Connie and Bill

Roasted Chickpeas

Roasted Chickpeas (aka Garbanzo Beans)

28 ounce can organic chickpeas
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon avocado oil

Preheat oven to 400ยบ F.
Drain the chickpeas well.
Add spices and then the avocado oil to a bowl large enough to hold the chickpeas.
Add chickpeas and mix well so all the beans are evenly coated with spices.
Line a large baking pan with parchment paper and spread chickpeas out in an even layer.
Roast for 30 to 40 minutes. You may hear a few beans pop–that’s normal. The beans are done when golden and slightly darkened, dry and crispy on the outside and soft in the middle.

Healthy Holiday Food

We’ve been eating high nutrient dense, whole food plant based for 30 years. That’s not the typical fare during the holidays for most families, ours included. So, how can we handle our different food preferences when we celebrate with family and friends? Our ways of dealing with it have evolved and changed over the years, very gracefully and enjoyably. Here’s a little recap:

Whatever you choose to prepare and eat this holiday season, get truly present with your food. When we’re present we begin creating a deeper and healthier relationship with it. We don’t need to “learn” how to eat to have a high level of health. Our bodies know what is nutritious and what isn’t, but we need to be present with our food to “hear” the messages. When we listen and respect that intelligence, we end up having great health and losing weight naturally. What could be better?

One thing we love when celebrating with friends and family is to contribute to the party with a big dish of dark leafy greens and non-starchy veggies, like kale, string beans, broccoli, zucchini, red peppers and onion. It is so delicious, and we’re surprised how often it’s the first dish to be completely eaten up.

Here are some recipes that go well with the Holidays. People rave about them, so try the one that calls to you.

Raw Cranberry Sauce
Raw Kale and Pomegranate Salad
Holiday Stuffed Winter Squash
Greens with Onion and Red Pepper
Mushroom Gravy
Pumpkin Pie

To Your Amazing Health,
Connie and Bill