Cashew Cream Dessert

I am sooooo excited to share this incredible recipe with you. It came to me originally from my mom, Tosca Reno, who made cashew cream as the dessert course at our Power of Women dinner held a few weeks ago. It was a pretty special meal joined by my sisters, friends (including personal trainer extraordinaire Andie the Fit Geek) and very special colleagues. The best part about this cashew cream dessert is that it tastes wonderfully decadent all while being pretty darn healthy, hearty, and raw.

The original chocolate version can be found here on ToscaReno.com, and today I will share the vanilla version with you...

NOTE: THIS REQUIRES OVERNIGHT SOAKING

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup raw unsalted whole cashews (not pieces)

1 cup almond, rice or coconut milk

1 scoop Sun Warrior Warrior Blend Vanilla Protein Powder

1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

1 Tbsp maple syrup (this is an optional addition if you desire more sweetness)

1 pint organic raspberries

Methods:

  1. Cover cashews with water and soak overnight in fridge
  2. Drain cashews and place in a high-powered blender. Top with milk of your choice, protein powder and vanilla extract. Blend until you reach a creamy, pudding-like consistency - this may take a few minutes.
  3. Divide into 1/2-cup serving dishes and refrigerate for at least an hour. Garnish with maple syrup and raspberries.

Perfect Raw Brownies

Yep! You heard me - brownies. Yum! But these raw brownies are healthy with brain-beneficial cacao, heart-healthy nuts and coconut oil, and poo-friendly dates. Believe me - they taste just as good as the real thing. I wouldn't lie about that as I am a brownie lover!

I have spent the past week trying out recipes to come up with the perfect, no-bake, chocolatey, gooey treat so I could share it with all of you.

And here it is - Enjoy!


Ingredients:

  • 12 Medjool dates, soaked (soak them by covering them in water for 10 minutes)
  • 3/4 cup almonds
  • 3/4 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 4 Tbsp raw cacoa powder (I really like this one from Organic Traditions)
  • 2 tsp melted coconut butter
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup (leave out if your diet is sugar-free)

Method:

  1. I like to start out by grinding the dates into a paste. They can be tricky to deal with so add them into the processor 2 at a time until a paste has formed. Now, use a spatula to scrape out the paste into a bowl and set it aside.
  2. Grind the hazelnuts and almonds on high until they have formed a nut flour.
  3. Add in the sea salt and cacao powder. You'll begin to notice the chocolately flavor now.
  4. Gradually add in coconut butter, almond butter and dates allowing the food processor time to catch up with the thick mixture. If you need to, use the pulse setting until well mixed.
  5. Use a spatula to scrape this mixture either into an 8"x8" square baking dish or roll the mixture into tablespoon-sized balls. Serve & enjoy. Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.

NOTE: I recommend a really good food processor for this recipe!

Chocolate is on the Naturopath's Menu

There is a little café down the street from my apartment that offers the best accompaniment to any hot drink – dark chocolate! Don’t you agree? But the best part about chocolate really has to be that it’s good for you. Before I move onto the health benefits, let me clarify – I’m talking about dark chocolate. Not milk and not white. These are impure forms of chocolate and sugar that do nothing but cause trouble. Dark chocolate, on the other hand, does wonders because it is full of antioxidants and minerals.

Chocolate comes from cacao – a seed pod harvested from deep in the tropics. It is used to make cocoa powder and chocolate after a process of fermentation and roasting. From there cocoa solids and cocoa butter are used in varying amounts to create different forms of chocolate. Dark chocolate contains a very high amount of these solids.

Flavanoids, like theobromine and phenylalanine, and minerals, like magnesium, are the main special elements of chocolate providing benefit to your circulatory system, brain function and energy levels. The key is to use it in moderation. Try 1 square of dark chocolate each night.

Just be careful about the brand you buy. Chocolate has history of corrupt and unethical treatment of its farmers and workers. Here is a list of Fair-Trade, Slavery-Free Chocolate brands.

My favorite brand is Green & Blacks.

Chocolate – Just what the naturopathic doctor ordered!

Quinoa Dessert Recipe

I’m sure by now you all have heard of quinoa (keen-wa). It is that little grain/seed that everyone in the health world seems to fawn over. Quinoa does indeed deserve a lot of praise. It is a grain-like crop harvested for its seeds. Did you know you can even eat quinoa greens? You can, but they are very difficult to find commercially. For now let’s stick to learning more about quinoa seeds. In ancient Peruvian times it coined its funny name, which means “mother of all grains”. It provided a great deal of nutrition to these people and has now resurged amongst the healthy crowds of North America.

½ c of quinoa contains half of your recommended folate (B9), magnesium and phosphorus and a third of your thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), B6, iron, and zinc. Wow! That is impressive. Better yet, it also contains 14g of complete protein, meaning all of the essential amino acids are present. This is a rare find in plant form.

Best of all, quinoa is gluten-free. No wonder it is so popular.

Quinoa is best-prepared like rice or couscous. But one extremely important tip is to remove the saponin coating on the quinoa before using. To do this, strain quinoa under cool water for a few minutes until all of the bubbles disappear. Now you are ready for cooking. Do 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and let simmer for approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand until all of the water has absorbed. Now you are ready to use quinoa in whatever way you would like – as a breakfast food, in quinoa cakes, as a side dish, or as a main.

Scouring the internet will lead you to lots of quinoa recipes, but here is one of my favorites specially donated by Tosca Reno, author The Eat-Clean Diet.


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup / 240 ml quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 4 or 5 dates, chopped
  • 2 cups / 480 ml no-sugar-added grape juice
  • ½ cup / 120 ml raisins

Method:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a pot and cook on medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until quinoa grains are cooked.
  2. Serve hot or cold.

Vegetarian Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Kisses

Vegetarianism a hot topic! I assume most people out there think that all naturopathic doctors are vegetarian when in fact many of us aren’t. I myself am not a vegetarian, however, I do believe in incorporating meat-free meals into my omnivore diet. That is why I am so excited to have a fabulous resource for you. New York Times best-selling author, Tosca Reno, has finally debuted her Eat-Clean Diet Vegetarian Cookbook. It is full of healthy, clean, and tasty vegetarian recipes as well as informational pages covering many aspects of vegetarian health. Tosca has generously shared one of her recipes here with us:

Ingredients:

  • 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) vegan unsweetened protein powder, as natural as possible
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) hulled hemp seeds
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) flaxseed, cracked
  • 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) unsweetened dried cranberries
  • 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) vegan semisweet natural chocolate chips
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1 cup (240 ml) all-natural peanut butter, sugar and salt free
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) brown-rice syrup, yacon syrup or pure honey

Directions:

In a large bowl, mix together oats, protein powder, hemp seeds, flaxseed, dried cranberries, chocolate chips and sea salt. Add peanut butter and syrup or honey and mix together. Using your hands, knead mixture together thoroughly. Drop by rounded teaspoonful onto a baking sheet, or use a mini ice-cream scoop. Using your hands, roll into balls. Wrap kisses in squares of aluminum foil, twisting tops to seal, or store them unwrapped in an airtight container.

Most importantly, enjoy!

Should you choose to be vegetarian just remember that it requires a lot of education and diligence about one's health. Vegetarians need to be extra cautious about iron levels, vitamin B12 levels, protein intake and carbohydrate selection. It’s easy to be a bad vegetarian who relies solely on fats and sugars. Oh my!

Meat-free meals are just what the doctor ordered!

Treat Yourself - My Visit to NY's Magnolia Bakery

Today we are on the topics of treats – yes, treats! I may be a Naturopathic Doctor in training, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the occasional sweet. In fact, years before I began my schooling I had a sweet tooth I needed to seriously reign in. Years later, I have weaned myself down to the occasional indulgence. And one of my favorite places to do just that is Magnolia Bakery in Manhattan’s cozy West Village. I doubt I am the first person to write about Magnolia, and I certainly won’t be the last, but it’s popularity is due to it’s perfect little product. And it’s sweet. From Red Velvet cupcakes to perfect lemony bottoms with buttercream tops, this bakery boasts the most delicious cupcakes ever.

Since my first Magnolia experience years ago, I now compare every cupcake I have to theirs.

In fact, I even had my mother carry one home for me all way to Toronto on her return flight from New York City. It was during a frightful exam period and I savoured every bite of my cupcake. This treat was enough to restore my focus for one more night of studying.

For this reason alone I completely encourage treats. It’s unrealistic to avoid sweets at all costs, but it is a matter of being reasonable. Treats are meant for special occasions. They shouldn’t be a daily occurrence.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine terms, the spleen controls the sweet cravings.

Having just a bit of sugar will stimulate the spleen, but having too much will lead to major health issues. So limit your sweet treats to special occasions. Also, learn to recognize “sweet” in some of nature's healthiest fare – carrots, peas, fruit, and more all lend a natural sweetness perfect to satisfy the Spleen and your tastebuds.

One of these just might be on your next trip to New York City. Expect a wait in either location – but enjoy the treat! It’s just what the doctor ordered!