Friday, December 28, 2012

Raw Chocolate Sugar-Free Frozen Fudge and the scoop on Canola Oil

After Christmas already! A new year is on the way. "They" are saying it will be 1000 years of enlightenment from here on out. I am so ready to hear that!

Part of my new Healthy Habits is staying away from sugar. Sugar is very addictive-it causes our body chemistry to become more acidic, which could leave us vulnerable to imbalances (ie: maladies such as colds, candida, diabetes, arthritis, obesity, etc...). This is a huge subject and I will write more on that at another time.

A sugar-free chocolate food is what I really want. Chocolate releases endorphins in the brain that promote relaxation. It is also very high in Magnesium - a mineral a lot of people are deficient in. Raw chocolate is a powerful antioxidant, elevates your mood and gives a boost in energy.

If I can substitute something chocolate, fresh and raw, AND easy to prepare, I won't be looking for something else that may have sugar in it. This recipe is making a difference in my creation of new healthy habits. I hope it will help others stay on track also.

Raw Chocolate Sugar-Free Frozen Fudge

2 Cups Walnuts or Pecans, soaked in good water for at least 6 hours
16 Dates, pitted, soaked in warm water to cover
1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract (optional)
1/2 cup organic raw powdered Cacao
about 1 cup water (use the water the dates were soaking in)

Soak 2 cups of walnuts in water to cover for 8 hours or more (This removes the tannins from the outside of the nuts and makes them much easier to digest)

Soak the 16 pitted dates in warm water at least 30 minutes.  
My Sam's Club in Asheville has a good quantity of dried Medjool dates for a reasonable price. Raw organic Cacao powdered can be purchased at health food stores and online.

Walnut and Pecan "pieces" instead of whole, are often less expensive. 

I use a food processor and a blender may also work - you might need to add more liquid.

Drain and rinse the Walnuts

Add Walnuts into the food processor with the water from the dates and process.

Then add the Dates, Vanilla, Cacao Powder and process.

Spread on a sheet of parchment paper or baking paper (plastic wrap also works but sometimes sticks) 1/4" or thicker/thinner. Put into the freezer for at least 30 minutes or until it is solid.  

I clear a space 1st in the freezer and put my parchment paper on a glass cutting board that also keeps the fudge colder so it doesn't melt when I cut it up later.

I like to use a heavy-duty pizza cutter or a butcher knife to cut it into 1-1 1/2" pieces that go into a container and directly back into the freezer.

Get Creative with your ingredients!
I add 1 tbsp Ceylon Cinnamon (helps you loose weight) and 1/2 tsp ground Cayenne (good for circulation) for a Mexican Chocolate version.

I recently found an ice cream substitute that uses coconut products called Coconut Bliss. Last I checked, it only uses Agave as a sweetener and has ingredients that are very healthy.

I read labels all the time and am still a bit surprised when I find sugar or a corn product in something it has no place being in. And Canola Oil (rapeseed oil). Does that sound like something you would put into your body?

Here's the scoop on Canola Oil from with a few comments from me in purple:

"We've all been told at some time or another that canola is one of the healthiest oils on the market. Canola, which is an amalgam of the words "Canada" (whence it originated) and "oil," is actually derived from the rapeseed, a member of the mustard family which is generally unfit for human consumption and was once more commonly used as a potent pesticide and lubricant, among other things. 

Chemically, canola breaks down at 5% saturated fat, 57% oleic acid, 23% omega–6, and 10–15% omega–3. 

The reason canola is particularly unsuited for consumption is because it contains a very–long–chain fatty acid called erucic acid, which under some circumstances is associated with fibrotic heart lesions. 

Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions, notes that the omega–3 fatty acids of processed canola oil are transformed during the deodorizing process into trans–fatty acids. She relates that one study indicated that "heart healthy" canola oil actually created a deficiency of vitamin E, which, as many of us know, is essential to our cardiovascular health. And on the practical side of things, canola isn't that good either. Because of its high sulphur content, it goes rancid easily, and baked goods used with the oil develop molds rather quickly. 

Healthfood store operators parrot the hype without checking any facts. Consumers search out various products with canola oil in them because they believe this is somehow much healthier than other oils. All foodgrade canola, including the varieties sold in healthfood stores, are deodorized from its natural terrible stink with super high temperature refining. You cannot cook a vegetable oil at this extremely high temperature and leave behind anything much edible. And originally I had posted the "actual" super-high temperature here and someone hacked in and changed it to 300's actually 100 xs that... we shall see how long this stays up : )

Research at the University of Florida– Gainsesville, determined that as much as 4.6% of all the fatty acids in canola are "trans" isomers (plastic) due to the refining process. Contrary to popular opinion, saturated fats, especially those found in coconut oil are not harmful to health, but are important nutrition. There are no trans isomers in unrefined coconut butter, for example. This refers to many published research papers by Mary Enig, Ph.D. that refutes all the establishment propaganda condemning saturated fats."

So that's the scoop on Canola Oil. Choose wisely! 

Until next time,  
Resplendence Happens! 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Holiday Healthiness & Survival

It's the time of holiday parties and lots of food that we are not used to eating. Sometimes it agrees with us, and sometimes it does not. Last night "it" was not "agreeing" with my housemates tummy. So, after I dosed her with the cilantro, and delivered her Ginger Tea, I thought it might be a really helpful hint/good reminder for some of us this season.

If you find that your tummy is upset after one of your festive occasions, it is always good to have some ginger root around. I slice it thinly and add it to boiling water to make a tea. It is potent and spicy. Usually one cup is all it takes to settle my stomach. (My friend Marion taught me this!)

Ginger has been in use since ancient times for its anti-inflammatory, carminative (able to relieve flatulence), and anti-microbial properties.

The root contains essential oils such as gingerol, zingerone, shogaol, farnesene, and small amounts of B-phelladrene, cineol, and citral. Very health benefiting! Gingerols help improve the natural movements in the intestines and have anti-inflammatory, painkiller (analgesic), nerve soothing, antipyretic (preventing or alleviating fever) as well as anti-bacterial properties.

It may reduce motion sickness or pregnancy nausea and help relieve migraine headaches. Zingerone is effective against diarrhea from E.coli, - good to use it for children with this condition.

This herb root contains no cholesterol. It has essential nutrients and vitamins such as vitamin B-6 & B-5 and also a healthy amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure.

An EASY and quick stomach remedy is Cilantro Leaf Tincture. Put 30 drops in a cup of water, and drink it down. It's amazing! It has cleared my stomach upset in 20-30 minutes. It is also a remedy for food poisoning. I like to keep it in the house.

Cilantro also helps pull toxins and heavy metals like mercury, out of your body.

Cilantro contains vitamin C, cineole and linoleic acid. It can help to increase excretion of excess fluids from the body, reduce swelling and decrease symptoms of arthritis.

Parts of this are from a great article on Cilantro by Emily Creasy at: 

And remember, a bit of exercise or gentle stretching will help relieve the stress of this busy season. A pleasant stroll or walk around the block, helps us connect with nature and gives us time to exhale, perceive a different perception or just be silent with ourselves... breathing.

Have a terrific day! Next blog I will share with you a recipe for raw, sugar-free freezer fudge. Your taste buds will be amazed!

Resplendence Happens!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

New Nutrition Blog

Here we are already into December 2012. The end of the Mayan Calendar! Looks like we get to write this next chapter ourselves! What an amazing time to be alive!

What a year it has been. I pretty quickly (no fooling around) got my nutrition/health act together this summer, (again, this is an ongoing endeavor), and want to thank Jim, Jan and all the lovely people over at Asheville Integrative Medicine ( for all the guidance, info, and support while I was getting help getting my nutrition straightened out and kicking out some unwelcome invaders (more on this later). I am feeling leaner and healthier now! YAY!

The challenge now is to stay on track!

I have decided to use this blog as an outlet to share my ongoing "self researched" knowledge of nutrition, raw and healthier recipes, info about eating better, interspersed with hints to help others get off the sugar "Roller Coaster" and my experiments going "Gluten/Grain-Free".

I have always loved to research nutritional info. As a teenager, I would ride my bike to the only health food store in town, to purchase supplements and herbs that I had researched. My mom was into it too in the 60's when for awhile there, most everything she made us kids, had some wheat germ in it... or was it nutritional yeast. I remember it fondly now that I know she was really trying to help us all eat better. At the time though, it was disappointing as I already thought I knew how the dish "should" taste. Now I throw all kinds of things together, sometimes successful tastebud-wise, sometimes I just drink it anyway because it's good for me.

Life as an experiment.

I also love to create in the kitchen and find streamlined ways to prepare super healthy meals, snacks and desserts. I am often telling friends about what I am doing, and they are asking for the links and info so I have decided to do a nutritional blog. I hope you will comment and add your own healthy ideas and favorite recipes too.

Here we go,

Sunday, December 9, 2012 
I received a book called I am Grateful, Recipes and Lifestyle of Cafe Gratitude as a gift from a good friend. This is a beautiful book in thought and essence! I have found I LOVE the recipes - especially Raw Cashew Ricotta/Sour Cream. It is a versatile topping for so many dishes, is great on crackers for a quick snack and it is so easy to make!

You rinse and soak the cashews at least 6 hours (I use about 2 cups), drain and put it into a blender with about 1/2 cup of water to start (add more to your desired consistency, juice from 1/2 lemon and salt to your taste. You process it till smooth and creamy - YUM!

Cashews: This food is very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Magnesium, Phosphorus, Copper and Manganese.

Check out their website and their books.

I recently purchased a NutriBullet (a bit more powerful than it's predecessor) with an online coupon for 20% off at a local housewares chain store. It was under $100. I bought it on a recommendation from a friend who was so excited about her purchase and how it has changed her life. This is the friend who is usually running all day and in bed at 8:00ish, she is now calling me to   
talk later and later in the evening. I suggested to her that her newfound energy might be from using the "bullet" as she hadn't changed much else lately in her life.

I had been considering buying another popular blender but had been prohibited by the purchase price. This was just right. I find I use it at least once a day, to make a healthy raw smoothie with my greens and a couple pieces of fruit, I add coconut water, chlorella and maca - loose and also a pinch of kelp. If not sweet enough, I add Stevia in the liquid form. You only need a drop or 2 as it is pretty potent. The NutriBullet has basically 2 parts that need to be cleaned and that's it!

I am excited about my new high-powered blender and I believe you can taste the difference. First time I tried a smoothie from this appliance, I was aware of a lively zing and more vibrant taste... so fresh.

And remember - Organic IS better - for many reasons, which I will go into at a later date.

Thanks for reading. Please follow/subscribe if you are interested.

Resplendence Happens!