Almond and Banana Smoothie

I love delicious, therapeutic food, so I was delighted recently when a friend’s eczema cleared up after I taught her some new recipes. We aren’t exactly sure which ingredient or combination of ingredients worked it’s magic, but the common denominator throughout was almonds, so they are our primarily lead in this wonderful investigation. Having said that, they true champion may be the way certain foods and plant constituents are working together as a whole.

Why might almonds help eczema? Good question. Here are some thoughts:

*In eastern medicine, Almonds clears stagnant Qi from the lungs and lubricate the intestines. When elimination organs like the bowels and lungs are working more efficiently, this supports the health of the skin (another elimination organ).

*Almonds are high in calcium, and in the vegan cheese and dessert recipes I taught my friend, the calcium becomes very bio-available because the Almonds are being softened and moistened by the addition of water. Eczema is associated with calcium deficiency.

*Other potentially eczema-helpful nutrients in almonds include Vitamin E, EFA’s, zinc, B vitamins, biotin, flavonoids, methylquercetin, and catechin.

ALMOND & BANANA THICKSHAKE

*Soak a handful of almonds in water, in the fridge, overnight
*Peel and freeze 1-2 bananas overnight
The next morning, drain and rinse the almonds, and break the frozen banana into smaller pieces so they will fit in your blender.
Add both to the blender along with 1-2 pitted dates for extra sweetness as required, and a dash of vanilla essence to make it even more yummy.
Add soy/nut/oat milk, so that it covers all the ingredients. Soy milk is an excellent calcium choice.
Blend and drink!


(if you would prefer to have this drink towards the end of the day or for dessert/dinner, do the freezing and soaking in the morning rather than the evening)

For extra calcium in your shake:

*Replace the dates with dried figs. You could experiment with chopping and pre-soaking them to make them softer.
*Add 1/2 a teaspoon of powdered kale, which you can get from supermarkets (woolies?)
*Add a few spinach leaves

FB_IMG_1435203512238 Here is a photo from one of my friends, of a drink he made based on this recipe. He added a handful of mixed berries! This is how he describes his technique:

“1 handful of almonds soaked in water overnight. I banana chopped and and frozen. 1 handful of mixed berries. Add to blender, cover with liquid of choice, blend and enjoy. Add more liquid as needed.”




Snack foods high in calcium:

*Dried fruits, esp mango and figs, are very high in calcium, but keep in mind the effect of sticky, chewy sugar on teeth!
*Pink Grapefruit

Other foods high in calcium:

*Parsley and Basil can be grown in pots at home, chopped finely and added to salads, or sandwiches, soups, vegan cheeses/dips/salad dressings etc
*Garlic cloves
*Spinach
*Almond butter spread (instead of butter on sandwiches)
*Chia seeds (instead of muesli, or sprinkled over muesli for breakfast)
*Sesame seeds (try tahini paste an another alternative spread, or use multigrain bread with sesame seeds)
*Tofu
*Blackstrap molasses.

Flowers and Berries Ice-cream Cake

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Being a herbalist I often don’t see much distinction between food and herbs. They all contain the same phytochemicals and can have a therapeutic effect, they are simply used in different ways. Many herbs used in herbal medicine are also considered foods and visa versa, such as oats, nettles, dandelion leaves, artichoke, aniseed, rosemary, turmeric, alfalfa, fennel, ginger, garlic, kelp, tamarind, peppermint and so on. For me, the lines tend to blur between them at times. I delight in pondering the herbal actions of specific foods and exploring the food-like uses and qualities of herbs. And when I’m in the kitchen, this merging of herbs and food can be a lot of fun! Continue reading

Berry Bliss Cake

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This is an uncooked cake. It will store in the freezer. The only layer that will feel cold in your mouth might be the top layer because it’s water content could be higher. You could adjust this by adding nuts to the final layer if you wished!

PREPARE BASE

*1 and a half cups of nuts. (I used brazil nuts and walnuts)

*6 large medjool dates (pit them!)

Blend in food-processor. I left mine a bit chunky so that it will have more texture and a bit of crumble. You could also use oats, toasted buckwheat groats, pepita seeds, linseeds etc. Press this mix very firmly into the base of your storage dish.


MIDDLE LAYER

*1 cup of blueberries (Mine are frozen because I live in the tropics)

*1 banana

*1 cup of nuts (I used cashews)

*Scraped out insides of 1 vanilla pod

Blend together in food processor. This time, leave it on for longer so that the mix becomes really smooth. It helps to have a powerful blender if you (like me) aren’t going to add any extracted oils to liquidity the mix. You may need to stop it a few times and push the mix back down from the sides with a spatula. If it won’t mix, add some coconut oil e.g. 1 tablespoon.

Spread this layer over the base layer and scatter some blueberries over the top of this, pressing them so you can just see their tops.


TOP LAYER

*2 bananas

*At least 1 cup of raspberries

Blend in food processor. Spread over middle layer. Slice half a banana into pieces and press into the top layer for decoration.


Put the container in the freezer to set overnight. When ready to eat, remove from freezer and let sit for 5-10 minutes, then cut into slices and serve.


Banana Walnut Cake

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7 medjool dates

3 medjool dates soaked in water overnight

2 cups of brazil nuts soaked in water overnight

Combine the ingredients in a food processor and blend them together. I prefer a little chunkiness to my mix, but you can keep going until it becomes smoother if you like. Spread this mixture over the bottom of a cake tin. (the kind with sides that spring open when you are ready to release the cake!)


THE BODY

3 peeled bananas

2 cups of walnuts soaked overnight

1/2 cup of sunflower seeds

1/2 vanilla pod

1/4 cup of coconut oil

Add all of the ingredients (except for two of the bananas) to a food processor and blend until relatively smooth. Spoon half of this mix onto the previously prepared base. Then cut one of the bananas up and press the pieces into this layer. When down, add the rest of the mix. Smooth the surface and cut up the third banana, pressing it into the surface. Add a few pieces of walnut to complete the decoration, then put in the freezer to set overnight and eat the next day.