Chocolate Banana Cream Pie

If you know me you know that I love bananas. I also love coconut cream. I always have a stash of Trader Joe’s coconut cream in the cupboard. I little while ago Trader Joe’s was out-of-stock and I almost went crazy! Well, not quite but close.

I would like to share one of my favorite recipe that is really easy to make and is guaranteed to please your guests for any occasion. If you are not vegan, you can use real whipped cream too. This will save you a trip to Trader Joe’s.

Continue reading “Chocolate Banana Cream Pie”

How Much Turmeric Should You Take?

Turmeric is an ancient herb that comes from the root of the curcuma longa plant.

While you may be familiar with its warm, peppery and bitter flavor when used as a cooking spice—often in curry—it has actually been used for over 4,000 years as a medicinal remedy for countless conditions.

Researchers today claim turmeric is not only a powerful anti-cancer, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory agent but also a potent remedy for digestive issues.

How Much Turmeric Should You Take?

Depending on the reason you are using this herb and the form in which you take it, the dosing for turmeric will change. But here are some specific guidelines from some well-established health professionals and institutes.

The first thing you should know is that there are essentially two types of turmeric dosing:
Preventive—Preventative dosing is typically a low dose that can be taken for as long as needed or even indefinitely.

Curative—A curative dose is typically much higher than a preventative one and is used for a specific diagnosis. A large dose is not meant to be taken indefinitely, but until the issue is resolved.

In the below recommended doses, you will notice that some of the larger, curative doses are recommended for people suffering from extreme pain as in case of arthritis or for cancer patients.

Turmeric is also available in the following forms:

Cut root: This is essentially fresh turmeric that still contains the plant’s natural moisture (water). You can add this to other foods such as salads or even a vegetable dish. Do not cook or heat it however as that will destroy the valuable nutrients in it.

Dried root: Turmeric powder is made by freeze drying the fresh cut root and then grinding it into a powder. Supplements are typically in this form. Curcumin is extracted from the turmeric and then concentrated to make standardized powders (each dose must contain the exact amount of active ingredients to be called standardized.)

Fluid extract: This is a liquid form of the active ingredients typically mixed with vegetable glycerin, and water.

Tincture: Tinctures are made with alcohol as the delivery method. Tinctures can range in strength but the basic ingredients are turmeric, distilled Water and 20% alcohol

Tea: Turmeric root is available as a tea. Some people like to add a little coconut oil/milk and black pepper or you can add milk and honey. See recipe here.

Note: Piperine, the active ingredient in black pepper will increase significantly the bioavailability of curcumin by 2000%. As will the use of coconut oil. Read more here.

Ideal Turmeric Dosage

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the following are standard doses for adults:

  • 5—3 g fresh cut root, daily
  • 1—3 g dried powdered root, daily
  • 400—600 mg, curcumin (standardized powder) 3 times daily
  • (1:1) 30—90 drops fluid extract, daily
  • (1:2): 15—30 drops, tincture, 4 times, daily

According to WebMD, the following turmeric dosages are required for each specific ailment:

  • Upset stomach: 500 mg of turmeric, four times daily
  • Osteoarthritis: 500 mg of a specific turmeric extract for this condition that contains 95% standardized powder, twice daily
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: 500mg of curcumin, extract for this condition that contains 95% standardized powder, twice daily

According to Dr. Weil:

  • 400mg – 600 mg curcumin (standardized), 3 times daily.

The dosing instructions can also vary in cases if you are in an acute stage, where you are in severe pain for instance.

In such a case you may need a higher turmeric dose for a few days to get things under control until you are feeling better, then the standard dose will be suggested.

How Much Turmeric For Cancer

Week 1: Start with a small dosage of 1 gram of curcumin per day. If you see no side effects, take it for a week and proceed to dosage of week 2.

Week 2: Increase the dosage of curcumin to 2 grams/ day. Again check for any issues side effects etc. If everything looks fine, take it for a week and proceed to dosage of week 3.

Week 3: Double the dosage again to 4 grams/ day. Again if things look fine, continue for a week and go for the final step.

Week 4-8: Double a final time to 8 grams/ day. Continue this dose for 5 weeks.

Note: You should consult your physician or other health care professional before starting this or any diet program to determine if it is right for your needs.

Possible Side Effects of Large, Long-Term Turmeric Doses

  • Turmeric can lower blood sugar as such diabetics and hypoglycemics should consult their doctor before taking.
  • In high doses, turmeric lowers blood pressure as such do not take it with herbs that have a similar effect or with drugs such as antihypertensives that artificially lower your blood pressure.
  • Do not take turmeric if you are taking cholesterol lowering medications as turmeric also lowers LDL (bad) and raises HDL (good) and can boost the effect of these drugs.
  • Turmeric is a natural blood thinner and should not be taken in conjunction with blood thinners such as warfarin, coumadin, clopidogrel, or aspirin, or with herbs such ginko biloboa or garlic, all of which have blood thinning properties.
  • Stop taking turmeric at least a week prior to surgery as turmeric thins the blood and can make it harder to stop bleeding during medical procedures.
  • Turmeric can cause nausea if taken on an empty stomach.
  • People having problems with the gall bladder or gall stones should avoid therapeutic doses of turmeric as it increases the bile production.

Turmeric is very safe in general. Side effects rarely occur and usually only when extremely high turmeric doses are taken for very long periods of time.

As such, if you are taking high doses, you should consult your health practitioner, especially if you will be taking it long-term.

You can also see Cognitune website for interesting information about turmeric.

sources:

https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/turmeric

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-662-turmeric.aspx?activeingredientid=662&activeingredientname=turmeric

http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03001/Three-Reasons-to-Eat-Turmeric.html

Thanks to http://dailyhealthpost.com/how-much-turmeric-you-need-to-treat-diseases/

Golden Milk Tea Recipe

The healthful properties of turmeric and ginger are just now beginning to emerge in the West.

Asian cultures have used these herbs for millennia, not only for their flavor but for their medicinal power.

Everyone likes a warm drink on a cold day.

Rather than imbibing on a cup of sugar or caffeine, you can enjoy something that will not only give you that warm, fuzzy feeling but will help your body as well.

Savory Flavor with an Impressive Impact

The rhizomes of turmeric and ginger are used in cooking and teas and as supplements. Turmeric is known for its deep yellow color and is what makes golden milk golden.

A common herb used in curry, turmeric has a little bite to its otherwise rich, metallic taste. The curcumin in turmeric has been shown to reduce blood pressure [1], perform better than Prozac at treating depression, and protect the body from various toxins. It also is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Sounds very much like a superfood.

Ginger could be referred to as a super herb. Whether used to aid digestion, as a detoxifier or to fight cancer, ginger also has a flavor kick that adds depth.

Raw ginger is carried by most large markets and will keep for a long time if kept cool and dry. Fresh turmeric is more difficult to find but health and Asian markets carry it, more so in the winter months. Either in its powdered form is a viable second choice.

Honey is a superfood whose benefits for human health are too numerous to list here. With antioxidant and antibacterial properties, it is used in this recipe because it is a healthy sweetener.

A Warm, Delicious Superdrink

Food is all about chemistry: individual ingredients interacting and combining to form different compounds. Given the nutritive factors of turmeric, ginger, coconut oil, honey, and milk, when combined their impacts expand:

When turmeric and ginger are mixed with coconut oil, they become more readily absorbed by the body (one of the important features of healthy saturated fats). Combined with piperine found in black pepper, absorption of the curcumin in turmeric is increased exponentially.

All that being said, here is a recipe for a delicious drink that will warm and nourish your body.

Golden Milk Recipe

Turmeric Paste

Ingredients:
¼ cup turmeric powder or 1-inch knob of fresh turmeric, finely grated
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ cup filtered water
Optional: 1/8 teaspoon powdered ginger or ½-inch piece of fresh ginger, finely grated

Directions:
Cook all ingredients together in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir well until the mixture thickens—it doesn’t take long. When a paste has formed, remove from heat and allow to cool.

Golden Milk

Ingredients:
1 cup milk (almond, coconut, or organic cow’s milk)
1 teaspoon raw organic coconut oil
¼ teaspoon turmeric paste (or more, to taste)
Honey, to taste (unpasteurized and local, if you can get it)

Directions:
Combine all ingredients except honey in a small saucepan. Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly. When completely blended and hot (but not boiling), remove from heat and add honey to taste, stirring until dissolved.

Thanks to http://dailyhealthpost.com/turmeric-ginger-golden-milk-drink-recipe/

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Read This Before Ever Using Turmeric Again

Turmeric is gaining in popularity and for good reason!

The yellow pigment found in turmeric, which is also responsible for the majority of its medicinal properties is called “curcumin.”

Study abstracts from the National Library of Medicine’s bibliographic database known as MEDLINE show over 600 potential health benefits of turmeric, and/or its primary polyphenol known as curcumin.

While adding turmeric to your diet is a sure way to boost your overall health, there are a few things you need to know about.

Turmeric’s Key Nutrient Isn’t Easy To Absorb

As mentioned previously, curcumin is the active compound you want to absorb from eating turmeric. However, a big problem with turmeric is that curcumin isn’t easily absorbed (1).

Various animal and clinical studies reveal that the concentrations of curcumin in blood plasma, urine, and peripheral tissues, if detectable at all, are extremely low regardless of dosage size (2). And low absorption rate will not give you the health benefits of this medicinal food.

How To Skyrocket Turmeric’s Bioavailability?

Fortunately, there are simple kitchen strategies that you can use to boost turmeric’s bioavailability.

1. Always Mix With Black Pepper

Black Pepper is a powerful medicine in its own right and a Potent Turmeric Adjuvant.

“If people are given a bunch of turmeric curcumin, within an hour there’s a little bump in the level in their blood stream. We don’t see a large increase because our liver is actively trying to get rid of it. But what if the process is suppressed by taking just a quarter teaspoon’s worth of black pepper? Then you see curcumin levels skyrocket. The same amount of curcumin consumed, but the bioavailability shoots up 2000%. Even just a little pinch of pepper—1/20th of a teaspoon—can significantly boost levels. And guess what a common ingredient in curry powder is besides turmeric? Black pepper.” via NutritionFacts

One Study entitled: Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers demonstrated that when piperine was co-administered with curcumin and given to human subjects the bioavailibity of curcumin increased 2000% (3).

2. Add a Healthy Fat to Turmeric
Since turmeric is fat-soluble, in order for your body to fully absorb it and experience its amazing health benefits, turmeric needs to be combined with a fat.

When eaten with healthy fats, such as coconut, ghee or olive oil, curcumin can be directly absorbed into the bloodstream through the lymphatic system thereby in part bypassing the liver.

This is very important because less curcumin is exposed to metabolic enzymes and remains in a free form allowing it to stay in the body longer. via DrNibber

3. Heat Increases Turmeric’s Bioavalibility
“The potent ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which, despite its power, is not easily absorbed by the body without assistance. This is where the sauté pan and a little warm oil come into play,” Dr. Sukumar explains.

“I use it [turmeric] in every sauté, just a quarter teaspoon, a half teaspoon is enough. But you don’t have to use it sparingly – use it lavishly.”

“The better way to take it, I feel, is to use it in your cooking very extensively. If you have any sauté, just sprinkle it in. The moment you heat oil and add turmeric to it, it now becomes completely bioavailable to you.”

Bottom Line

To maximize the effectiveness of the turmeric you’re eating always make sure to do these 3 things:

  1. Activate turmeric by heating it up.
  2. Boost turmeric’s absorption by 2,000% by combining it with some freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Mix turmeric with a healthy fat to bypass the liver.

Dosage guidelines according to the University of Maryland Medical Center:

  • Cut root: 1.5 – 3 g per day
  • Dried, powdered root: 1 – 3 g per day

If you’re interested, here’s a golden milk recipe that’s worth trying.

Sources:
[1]http://www.mccordresearch.com/sites/default/files/research/Curcumin-Bioavailability.pdf
[2]http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/biof.1042/abstract
[3]http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9619120

Thanks to http://dailyhealthpost.com/improve-turmeric-bioavailability/

Neapolitan Raw Cheese Cake

This was a nice treat for New Year’s Eve. I had saved a few pieces of Neapolitan raw cheesecake I had made for a dinner I had with friends the week before. I wanted to save these pieces to end the year with a Bang!

This raw cheesecake is so good and smooth that it is a  great alternative to the lactose version. It is pretty easy to make and a little more time consuming if you make it in 3 colors, but it is worth it.

Ingredients:
Crust:
1 cup raw almonds (pecan or walnuts will also work)
1 cup soft Medjool dates
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼- ½ tsp sea salt

Filling:
3 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 5 hours, overnight is best for a very smooth texture
juice of 4 lemons
the seeds of 2 whole vanilla bean (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
2/3 cup raw coconut oil, melted
2/3 cup raw honey (solid or liquid.)(Vegans use agave nectar.)
½ cup (or more to taste) sifted raw cacao
1 cup strawberries (thaw completely if using frozen)

Directions:
Crust:
1. Place the nuts in the food processor and pulse to chop until the large pieces are broken down.
2. Add the dates, sea salt and vanilla and pulse to chop until it starts to stick together. (It is preferable to have a finer crust than a chunky one). If you find it hard to get it to stick together, just add a few drop of water as you pulse and it should do the trick.
3. In a 9″ spring-form pan place in the bottom a cut round wax paper. This will help avoid your crust to stick to the bottom of your pan.
4. Scoop out the mixture and evenly tap it in the bottom of the pan. Place it in the freezer.

Filling:
1. Warm coconut oil and honey in a small saucepan over really low heat until liquid.
2. In the most powerful food processor/blender you own (if you have a Vitamix or Blendtec, use that) place all liquid ingredients (melted coconut oil, honey, lemon juice, vanilla) and mix well.
3. Drain and rinse the cashews and gradually add them to the liquid.
4. After you have mixed it well and you get a homogeneous mixture, you should have a little over 5 cups of thick liquid. you now have to separate it in 3. 2 cups for the vanilla part, 2 cups for the chocolate part and 1+ cup for the strawberry part.
5. Mix the sifted cacao with 2 cups of the mixture and pour it on top of the crust and place it back in the freezer for it to harden a little.
6. Mix the melted or fresh strawberries with the 1+ cup of the mixture until smooth. Pour on top of the chocolate mixture. You might have to wait until the chocolate part in the freezer has hardened a little. Then pour the remaining vanilla mixture on top of the strawberry and place in the freezer until solid.

To serve:
Remove the raw cheesecake from the freezer at least 30 minutes before serving.
Run a smooth, sharp knife under hot water and cut into slices.
Serve on its own, or with fresh fruit or make a strawberry coulis by melting 2 cups of strawberries and mix it in the blender until smooth and pour on top of the cut pieces. If you find it too bitter, you can add some sweetener.
Store leftovers in the freezer (if any).

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Succulent Chocolate Mousse Cake

Rich, succulent and melting in your mouth is the best way to describe this recipe.

I was out for dinner a few weeks ago and I ordered a dessert and got really surprised with the taste and the texture. I had to ask the server what were the ingredients of this amazing dessert. The one that gave me an Ah Ah moment was the full-fat coconut cream… When I heard it, I say “Of course!” and it gave me the idea to create this dessert.

I am sure you will love it and don’t be shy to share it with your friends and family.

Crust:
½ cup pecans
½ cup walnuts
½ cup raisins
½ cup Medjool dates
1/8 tsp salt

Filling:
2 cans of full-fat coconut cream
¼ cup maple syrup
½ cup cacao powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

Topping:
½ cup cacao powder
¼ cup of melted coconut oil
½ cup of maple syrup or liquid sweetener of your choice

Crust direction:
1. Place the nuts, raisins, and dates in a food processor and mix well until the mixture stick together.
2. Mix in the salt
3. Press the crust in the bottom of a 9 in x 9 in or equivalent glass pan.

2015-11-14 11.25.44

Filling Direction:
1. Pour the 2 cans of coconut cream into a large bowl.
2. Mix well with a hand mixer until you get a soft mixture.
3. Add the vanilla and maple syrup.
4. Add the cacao powder slowly and keep mixing as you do so.
5. Keep mixing until you get a smooth uniform mixture.
6. Pour the mixture on top of the crust and place in the freezer.

2015-11-14 11.26.07

Topping directions:
1. Mix the coconut oil, maple syrup and cacao powder until uniformly mixed.
2. Once the filling is frozen, pour the chocolate mixture on top of it and spread uniformly.
3. Put back in the freezer.

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Remove from the freezer 20-30 minutes before serving.

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