“Burgers”! Vegan and Raw

I’m excited to finally share with you a very delicious recipe: Raw Vegan “Burgers”!

I made them for the first time around Thanksgiving holiday, and later I experimented with the recipe and tried a few different versions of it.

The bottom line: these “burgers” do not have any animal ingredients, so please do not expect that the taste and texture will be just as it usually is in an animal-based product.

However, these vegan “burgers” are still super delicious, satisfying, filling, and quite addictive in a good way (meaning that it could be difficult to stop after eating just one “burger”). The recommended serving size for this recipe is about 2 or 3 “burgers”, depending on their size, so it means you can eat more than one!

I just wanted to mentioned one more thing: some people pay attention to the color of the vegan “burger”, and, as I learned, it mostly depends on the ingredients that you use.

This recipe will have a brownish-reddish-purple color because of the beets, and if you decided to replace the beets with a green vegetable (such as celery), the color of your product will be brownish-green. As you can see on this picture, the colors are different, but the taste and texture will be similar.

What you will need:

  • Ingredients:
    • nuts, seeds, vegetables, herbs, and spices.
  • Equipment:
    • a knife, cutting board, food processor (I like Cuisinart), a large mixing bowl.

Method of preparation:

  • Process the nuts and seeds into a fine powder.
  • Process the vegetables and herbs into a smooth mass.
  • Combine the dry and wet ingredients, form patties, and assemble them into a “burger” meal.
  • The whole process takes about 15-20 minutes.

Download a full recipe here: Burgers raw and vegan

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 2 cups sunflower seeds
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 small beet, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 carrot, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 small handful parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbs ground flax seeds
  • 3 Tbs nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbs dried herbs (Italian seasoning)
  • Optional: 1/16 tsp sea salt

Yield: 5 cups or 9 burgers, Serving size: 2-3 “burgers”

Method of preparation:

  1. Process spices, nuts, and seeds in a food processor into a powder and set aside in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Process all vegetables and fresh herbs in food processor into a smooth mass.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine processed dried and wet ingredients using a large spoon or your hands, until it becomes a homogenous mass (if it is too wet, add more of the dried ingredients such as extra powdered nuts or seeds). The final texture should be not too soft or too wet.
  4. Measure about 1/2 cup of the mixture to make one patty.
  5. To serve, place a patty on a lettuce or cabbage leaf, and decorate with slices of bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, and parsley.
  6. Store in a refrigerator for up to 3 days, freeze up to 2 weeks, or serve immediately and enjoy!

Finally, I’m including my quick video with some ideas on how to make a “burger” meal and serve it in a beautiful and delicious way. Hope you find it helpful.

The inspiration for this recipe came from the book by Baird and Rodwell (referenced below).

Bon appetit and happy holidays!

Nataliya.

References:

Baird, L. & Rodwel, J. (2005). The Complete Book of Raw Food. Healthy Living Books: New York, NY

Pomegranate Seeds

Do you like pomegranate seeds? They are available only once a year, usually around the holiday season, in November and December.

Tasting delicious and looking gorgeous, they can add beautiful decor to any dish (think about a salad, dessert, main dish, or a breakfast smoothie bowl). But this is not all – pomegranate seeds have many health benefits!

They are rich in polyphenols, flavonoids, antioxidants, anthocyanins, tannins, alkaloids, simple organic acids, vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Pomegranate seeds are small but mighty inhibitors of inflammation and have anti-atherogenic and anti-hypertensive qualities (Zarfeshany, Asgary, & Javanmard, 2014; Shahindokht, 2018).

Do you know how to get the pomegranate seeds out in a fast and non-messy way? I can show you one idea; it takes slightly more than a minute to get all the seeds out from a pomegranate.

You will need the following equipment:

  • a bowl
  • a cutting board
  • a knife
  • a ladle or an oversized spoon

 

 

 

The steps:

  1. Wash the pomegranate and cut it in half (or quarters, if it is a big fruit).
  2. Put a bowl into a sink, take a piece of a pomegranate in your hand, and turn it upside down so that the seeds are facing the bowl.
  3. Start tapping on a pomegranate using a ladle, until all seeds come out into a bowl. One fruit can yield about 1/2 cup or more of the seeds.
  4. Use immediately or store the seeds in a glass jar in a refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  5. Add to your salads, smoothie bowls, desserts, or main dishes.

Here is a quick video that explains all the steps:

If you know a better way to remove the pomegranate seeds, let us hear from you! 🙂

Enjoy!

Nataliya

 

The Homemade Beans: Yummy!

Recently, I had to cook a batch of soybeans for a client. Yes, they were organic and non-GMO, and it took some time to find. If you are lucky to live near a Natural Food Store such as Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco or others that carry them in bulk, that’s great. Online shopping is another option; the Nuts.com, Amazon, and some farmers sell the dried beans online.

Dried soybeans.

Step 1. Soak the beans.

Before I soak the beans, I like to rinse them once. Then, in a bowl, I put 1 cup of beans and add 4 cups of cold water. Why so much water? The beans expand about 3 times from their dried size and they soak up, like a sponge, a lot of water. At this point, I add a teaspoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to assist with the fermentation process. Then, I leave the beans on the counter overnight or for at least 8 hours. Read the recipe here.

This is how the beans look after soaking. Notice their expanded size. If you look closer, you will see the tiny sprouting tails.

Step 2. Cook the beans.

After soaking, I drain the water, rinse the beans, place them into a pot, and add about 2 cups of water. I bring them to a gentle boil and cook on the lowest temperature for about 10-15 minutes. After I turn the heat off, I let the beans sweat under the closed lid for 10-15 minutes. (The cooking time differs for different types of legumes, but in general, it takes less time to cook pre-soaked beans.)

Fully cooked soybeans. They expanded just a bit more during cooking and sweating process.

Step 3. Decide how you want to eat them.

If I plan to eat the beans on the same day, I usually drain the liquid and add the beans to salads, main dishes, soups, casseroles, or snacks. If I want to eat them a few days later, I do not drain them and keep the pot in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If I plan to freeze them (which I rarely do as they usually run out after 2 days), then I would drain them first, and them freeze in portion-size containers.

Step 4. Making soymilk.

This time, I wanted to experiment and make my own organic, non-GMO soymilk.

I soaked and cooked the beans, and let it cool. I had about 1 and 1/2 cups of cooked beans and about the same amount of cooking liquid. Then, I blended the beans and the cooking liquid in a blender. After that, I poured the mixture into a nut milk bag to separate the liquid from the solids. After squeezing the liquid out well, I got about 3 cups of delicious, silky, smooth, slightly sweet soymilk. I think it is worth trying the homemade soymilk at least once in a lifetime because the taste and the texture are amazing and way superior to the packaged soymilks from the stores. Notice that I did not add any sweeteners, salt, or other ingredients; the soymilk was amazingly delicious in its plain version and it had no beany or pasty taste. It can be stored in a refrigerator for up to 3 days, and used in smoothies or Buddha bowls.

Homemade soymilk and the bean balls.

Step 5. What to do with the soybean pulp?

The soybean pulp that remained in a nut milk bag can be used in different ways. The fastest way is to put it into a compost. However, my favorite way is to utilize it into a recipe as it is full of nutrients and fiber. This time, I mixed it with some ground flax seeds, oregano, garlic, onion, salt, and lemon juice and rolled them up into the savory bean balls (falafel-like) and served them as snacks.

Hope you found this post interesting and got some inspiration for trying new recipes. Feel free to leave any comments.

The Recipe: Homemade soy milk

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup soybeans, dried
  • 4 cups water for soaking and cooking

Yield:  1 cup cooked beans or 3 cups of soy milk

Equipment: a bowl, a pot, a nut milk bag

Preparation:

  • Place the dried beans into a bowl and add 2 cups of water.
  • Soak overnight or for 8 hours.
  • Drain soaking water, rinse the beans.
  • Place soaked beans into a pot, add 2 cups of water, bring to boil and simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes.
  • Turn the heat off, and let the beans sweat under the lid for another 10-15 minutes. Let cool.
  • In a blender, blend the beans together with a cooking liquid until smooth.
  • Pour the mixture into a nut milk bag and squeeze as much liquid out as you can. This is the soy milk.
  • Pour the soy milk in a cup and enjoy the pure deliciousness!
  • Pour the rest of it into a glass jar and store in a refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Remove the pulp from the nut milk bag and either compost it or include it in other recipes. You can mix it with some ground flax seeds, spices, and salt and make the bean balls.

Cheers to healthy and fun eating!

Nataliya.

 

Tomato Celery Cucumber Juice

It is the end of summer and I like to celebrate it with vegetable juice prepared from some local and seasonal produce.

My favorite is a homemade version of V-8 juice. The original V-8 recipe calls for eight vegetables such as tomatoes, carrots, celery, beets, parsley, lettuce, spinach, and watercress.

However, I found that if I only have three ingredients, it still tastes pretty yummy.

For this Tomato Celery Cucumber Juice recipe, I like to juice tomato, celery, and cucumber, in any proportion, depending on what I have. The taste of this juice is sweet and salty and can satisfy the salty cravings in a very nutritious way.

To make an easy homemade version of V-8 juice, you will need these ingredients:

  • Tomatoes, 8-10, average size
  • Cucumber, 1 large, or 2 small
  • Celery, 2 stalks

Preparation

Wash and scrub the vegetables. Depending on your juicer, you may need to cut them in halves or quarters. Put the vegetables in the juicer. Enjoy immediately or store in a refrigerator for up to 12 hours to preserve the maximum nutrition.

Here is a quick video on how to make this juice.

To your health,

Nataliya

Reference:

Campbell’s. (2018). V-8 vegetable juice. Retrieved from https://www.campbells.com/v8/vegetable-juice/v8-vegetable-juice/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwiJncBRC1ARIsAOvG-a5wF6jqgUboThqErspcWGGcFK8tUE-FmjSz-EGGVAd2690ad0Le10QaAoiFEALw_wcB

No-Grain “Cereal”

Hello!

How many of you love to enjoy a bowl of cereal for breakfast? Surely, it is a very comforting meal.

Some of my clients as well as myself have sensitivities to the processed grains and added sugars. What to do? What to eat?

Today, I would like to share with you an easy no-grain “cereal” (or muesli) recipe that has no grains! Yay!  Best of all, it is free from added sugars, gluten, and any processed ingredients.

This “cereal” is delicious, pleasantly sweet, and has a creamy-crunchy texture that many of us love. It can be served for breakfast, or as a snack or dessert.

For this   No Grain “Cereal”  you will need:

  • 1 ripe banana, frozen or fresh
  • 1 cup of fresh seasonal fruit, cut in small chunks
  • 1/4 cup of fresh berries
  • 2 dates, pitted
  • 3 Tbs nuts
  • 3 Tbs seeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 cup of water

 

 

Watch this quick video on how to assemble this recipe:

The recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana, frozen or fresh
  • 1 cup of fresh seasonal fruit, cut in small chunks
  • 1/4 cup of fresh berries
  • 2 dates, pitted and chopped
  • 3 Tbs raw nuts, chopped
  • 3 Tbs raw seeds, chopped
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 cup of water

Yield: 2 ½ – 3 cups, Serving size: 1 cup

Equipment: Cutting board, knife, blender, serving bowl

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Method:

  • Put sliced fresh fruit and berries into a bowl.
  • Blend 1 banana with water, cinnamon, and dates until smooth and creamy.
  • Pour the mixture over the fruit and berries.
  • Top with nuts and seeds, and gently mix together.
  • Enjoy for breakfast or as a snack or dessert.

Keep in a refrigerator for up to 2 days

Recipe variations:

  • You can use such fruits as apple, pear, nectarine, or figs
  • Any type of fresh berries can be used
  • Any type of nuts or seeds can work in this recipe
  • You can use plain coconut milk instead of water

Let us know if you have any questions!

The inspiration for this recipe came from Fully Raw Christina blog at https://www.fullyraw.com/ and Cafe Gratitude https://cafegratitude.com/

Enjoy and Bon appetite 🙂

Nataliya.

Basic Chia Pudding

Hello,

I want to share another very simple and delicious meal with you. The basic  Chia Pudding is made with only three ingredients, and it still tastes pretty amazing.

It is my favorite choice for breakfast and for a midday snack. If you are still eating cereals or granola for breakfast, give this recipe a try and you might like it even more.

This recipe tastes best when it is made 2-3 hours in advance or overnight. The reason is that the chia seeds need some time to absorb the liquid, become softer, and develop a pudding-like consistency.

If you are in a rush and want to make a chia pudding and eat it right away, you may first need to grind the chia seeds into a fine powder in a dry blender or coffee maker and then use it for this recipe.

The best thing about this recipe (at least, for me) is that it doesn’t need cooking :). Also, this recipe can work with a variety of diets (vegan, vegetarian, Paleolithic, Mediterranean, and, probably, many others).

You will need:

  • 1 cup of coconut or almond milk ( I prefer the unsweetened, raw, and homemade versions)
  • 4 tsp of chia seeds, whole
  • 1/4 cup of fresh berries of your choice (sliced strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Yield: 1 and 1/4 cup

Preparation:

Pour almond or coconut milk into a bowl. Mix in the chia seeds and cinnamon. Add berries. Mix everything gently and let sit for at least for 2 hours, or preferably overnight. Enjoy for breakfast or as a midday snack.

You can view the preparation steps in this short video:

Thank you for viewing and/or trying this recipe!

Enjoy 🙂

The inspiration for this recipe came from the Medical Medium’s blog.

Nataliya.

Easy Quinoa Salad

Hello everybody,

I feel inspired to share with you an easy quinoa salad that I have been recently making. It tastes delicious and satisfying and takes under 30 minutes to make.

Quinoa is a gluten-free seed, and, according to Filho et al. (2017),  it has all essential amino acids. The vegetables and spices provide minerals, vitamins, anti-oxidants, and fiber.

You will need the following equipment:

A mixing bowl, a spoon, a knife, and a cutting board.

You will need the following ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup cooked quinoa (I used multi-colored quinoa)
  • 1/3 cup raw shredded or julienned carrots
  • 1/3 cup raw shredded or julienned cucumbers
  • 1/3 cup cut broccoli florets (raw or steamed)
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1/4 cup green onion, sliced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 Tbs raw apple cider vinegar, diluted with 2 Tbs filtered water
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Yield: 2 cups, Serving size: 1 cup

To assemble the salad, mix all the ingredients together.

As an option, you can add other sources of protein such as tempeh, nuts, or seeds. This salad may also work as a pleasant side dish that can complement many different dishes.

Recipe variations:

  • Add different fresh or dried herbs (mint, rosemary, dill, cilantro)
  • Add different seeds (flax, sesame, sunflower)

Here is a quick video on how to assemble it:

Thank you for visiting and happy eating!

Let us know if you have any questions!

Nataliya

References:

Filho, A. M. M.,  Pirozi, M. R., Borges, J. T., Pinheiro Sant’Ana, H. M.,  Chaves, J. B. P.,  &  Coimbra, J. S. (2017) Quinoa: Nutritional, functional, and antinutritional aspects. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition,57(8), 1618-1630, DOI: 10.1080/10408398.2014.1001811

Let’s Talk About Oats and Gluten

Hello,

this post is for people who are still eating or potentially interested in eating oats, either regularly or occasionally.

I know that some people avoid eating oats. The most common reason is following gluten-free or grain-free diets. The definite sources of gluten are wheat, barley, and rye; the oats, technically free from gluten, can often get cross-contaminated.

Being genetically predisposed to the gluten sensitivity, I have been following a gluten-free diet for several years. However, I discovered that occasionally I can eat oats and feel pretty good after that.

I want to share with you the tips that work for me.

  1. It is crucial to get the certified gluten-free oats. It means that they have been processed and packaged on a gluten-free, uncontaminated equipment, or, at least, the chance of the cross-contamination is small (Verma et al., 2017). You may want to try different brands to see which one works better for you.
  2. My top preference is the certified gluten-free raw whole oats. Yes, I mean whole kernels or groats. They are sproutable and very minimally processed, with only the outer husk being removed.
  3. The gluten-free steel-cut oats are agreeable with my body as well. They are, however, a bit more processed with heat than the whole kernels, and, therefore, carry a higher chance of cross-contamination.
  4. The gluten-free oat flakes do not work for my body, most likely because they are the most processed oats available.
  5. I soak the oats overnight to soften them, start sprouting process, and make them more digestible.
  6. Then, I blend the soaked oats in water, together with cinnamon, one date, and some probiotic powder. Sometimes, I add a drop of raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar. As a result, the oatmeal becomes silky soft, easy to chew, and very filling and digestible.

According to the recent systematic review and meta-analysis, the oat consumption did not affect the gastrointestinal symptoms, histologic findings,  the degree of the intraepithelial lymphocyte infiltration, or the results of the serologic tests in both adults and children with celiac disease (Pinto-Sanchez et al., 2017).

The avenin, a protein found in oats, is immunologically different from the gluten, a protein of wheat, barley, and rye. According to Glissen, van der Meer, and Smulders (2016), the oats could be introduced into the diets of celiac or gluten-sensitive individuals after the gut mucosa has been healed from inflammation.

The more rigorous, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized controlled trials, that compare the different types of oats and their effect on celiac or gluten-sensitive people are still being in progress.

I encourage you to notice how your body feels after eating the oatmeal. If you have a documented or suspected celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, consult your doctor and contact a certified nutritionist to get professional assistance with the individual and anti-inflammatory adjustment of your recipes and meal plans.

Feel free to let me know if you have any questions.

Happy eating!

Nataliya.

References:

Gilissen, L. J. W. J., van der Meer, I. M., & Smulders, M. J. M. (2016). Why Oats Are Safe and Healthy for Celiac Disease Patients. Medical Sciences4(4), 21. http://doi.org/10.3390/medsci4040021

Pinto-Sánchez, M. I., Causada-Caio, N., Bersik, P., Ford, A. C., Murray, J., Armstrong, D., … Leffler, D. (2017). Safety of Adding Oats to a Gluten-Free Diet for Patients With Celiac Disease: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Clinical and Observational Studies. Gastroenterology,153; 2, 395 – 409.e3. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2017.04.009

Verma, A. K., Gatti, S., Galeazzi, T., Monachesi, C., Padella, L., Baldo, G. D., … Catassi, C. (2017). Gluten Contamination in Naturally or Labeled Gluten-Free Products Marketed in Italy. Nutrients9(2), 115. http://doi.org/10.3390/nu9020115

Graduate School Experiences: The Final Exams

I’ve been busy lately preparing for my final exams on Anatomy and Physiology and Graduate Topics in Holistic Nutrition at the American College of Healthcare Sciences.

I feel like my success depends entirely on the quality of my long-term memory. The long-term memory has enormous capacity, and it may last a lifetime (Marieb & Hoehn, 2016).

To prepare for the final exams, the students are using the declarative or factual memory. It entails learning the precise information and lots of details and facts. It requires the conscious processing and association with previously learned facts (Marieb & Hoehn, 2016). That’s why it may feel so overwhelming!

I wanted to share four critical approaches that can strengthen the long-term memory (Marieb & Hoehn, 2016; Marx & Gilon, 2013):

1. Maintain an alert, aroused state of consciousness.
I notice that when I feel tired, my brain and memory do not work well. Taking breaks and bringing myself back to a conscious state helps to come back to studies with a refreshed mind.

2. Repeat and rehearse the facts and details.
Repeating and revisiting the information is crucial, as it is hard to remember all the tiny details from the first time.

3. Create associations between new information and previously learned information.
When I try to integrate the new information with what I already know, it seems to cling to my brain with less effort. I noticed that being creative in making these associations makes the learning process more fun.

4. Allow time for chemical and structural changes to occur in the brain.
I think it helps to know that the absorption of new information takes time and that it can not be forced into the memory. Even at rest and during sleep and extracurricular activities, the brain is still working on consolidating new information.

And I would also add that eating quality foods, getting daily exercise, and allowing some downtime to rest and unwind can help to support the health of the brain cells and the body as a whole. I might write a separate post on this topic later.

Wish me good luck with the finals 🙂

Thanks for visiting my blog and good luck to all the students out there!

References:

Marieb, E. & Hoehn, K. (2016). Human Anatomy & Physiology (10th ed). San Francisco: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.

Marieb, E. & Hoehn, K. (2016). Human Anatomy & Physiology Study Guide (10th ed). San Francisco: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.

Marx, G., & Gilon, C. (2013). The Molecular Basis of Memory. Part 2: Chemistry of the Tripartite Mechanism. ACS Chemical Neuroscience, 4(6), 983–993. http://doi.org/10.1021/cn300237r

New Year Resolution: New Foods and Beverages

Happy New Year! Have you decided on your New Year resolution yet?

Mine is to continue experimenting with the plant foods and new ways of growing, preparing, and eating them.

A few days ago, I tried acorn squash for the first time, and it amazed me by its deliciousness.

I cut it across in half, removed the seeds, and steamed both halves at low temperature. It was soft, slightly sweet, and filling.

I washed, dried, and saved the seeds to plant them in spring.

Nutritionally, acorn squash is high in fiber (9 grams per 1 cup!), and many vitamins such as vitamin C, B1, B5, B6, pro-vitamin A (carotenes), and folate.

As for the minerals, it is a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, and manganese, and has traces of zinc, selenium, and copper.

Acorn squash is low in fat, calories, and glycemic index, and a good source of omega-3 fats (76 mg per 1 cup). One cup of cooked acorn squash contains 2.3 g of protein, 0.3 g of fat, 30 g of carbohydrates, and 115 calories.

Stay tuned for more ideas on plant-based foods and beverages!

We wish you a happy, healthy, and fulfilling new year!

References:

National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. (2016). United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. Retrieved from https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3186?fgcd=&manu=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=50&offset=&sort=default&order=asc&qlookup=Acorn+squash&ds=&qt=&qp=&qa=&qn=&q=&ing=

SELF Nutrition Data. (2014). Squash, winter, acorn, cooked, baked, without salt. Retrieved from http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2645/2