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Recipes, Therese Elgquist

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Vegelicious Green Smoothie Bowl

During the spring and summer I tend to eat more smoothie bowls for breakfast (and lunch and dinner). The nice thing about smoothie bowls is that you can blend up virtually anything (well… almost), so don’t be afraid to go outside the frozen-banana-berry-and-acai powder box.

I like to mix as much vegetables as possible since it gives a fulfilling breakfast filled with nutrients. In this particular smoothie I just threw in a bunch of greens and vegetables that I had at home, including my new favorite – chlorella. It gives a really nice color and has mega benefits!

Pause for a second of reflection on the topic of avocados. You have, as myself, likely become aware of the debates on, avocado water use and non-sustainable production as of recent. It is, among other things, regarding the fact that the hip crops are grown in such extreme quantities (as this gives the most yields) that the soils become overloaded.

Despite this, I have not completely stopped eating avocados. I do, however, make the occasions more rare and avoid buying if I do not find organic and grown “near” me or at least the continent I find myself on. Instead of making a point of eating an avocado every day, it is now a luxury that is saved for special occasions. Most recently, avocados ended up in this smoothie, and oh so delicious it was!

Vegelicious Green Smoothie Bowl
(1 bowl)

¼ – ½  fennel
1 handful fresh spinach, or about 4 cubes frozen
1 stalk of celery
½ inch (1cm) fresh ginger
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
½  avocado
1 large handful raspberries
2 fresh dates, pitted
1 – 1½  teaspoons of chlorella water to taste

Topping:
granola or roasted seeds and/or nuts
hemp seeds
coconut pieces
dried berries or fruits, such as inca berries and apricots
fresh mint

Throw everything down in a powerful blender and mix until it becomes completely smooth. Add a little water at a time until you get a consistency that you like. Are you going to drink it on the road? Pour in more water for a looser smoothie or less water for a smoothie that is best eaten with spoon. Top with optional nummies!

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Food Pharmacy, Recipes

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Nutrient Hunter’s Cake

At the end of last year, the world’s first Food Pharmacy baby was born. Two of our very own colleagues welcomed into the world a daughter. Though her taste adventure beyond mother’s milk has only just begun she’s likely bound to be a curious and happy little nutrient hunter.

Since her parents are well aware of the connection between a nutritious diet and good health, her diet consist of an array of superfoods for her gut flora.  It wasn’t exactly the same story when we became new parents. The concept of avoiding sweetened and overly processed food instead of steaming vegetables, making homemade porridges and mashing up avocados felt unnecessary. And we didn’t realize that the immune system is calibrated during the first year and that the intestinal flora is particularly sensitive at that time.

In our past life, we believed, along with so many others, that there was a contradiction between good and healthy. Clearly, we’ve shifted that belief and we love helping others on this quest.  Nutrient hunters don’t have to choose between delicious or nutritious. We can serve treats on friday family movie nights, and baked goods on father’s day, even scrumptiously fun cakes on children’s birthdays, all without having to compromise one thing over the other. We promise!

Speaking of scrumptious cakes. Should you have a festivity in your near future, we highly recommend this classic “princess cake”.  It’s a classic Swedish cake with a nutrient hunter twist, yet another great recipe to add to your arsenal of delicious and nutritious.

Nutrient hunter’s princess cake

Cake:
1 ¾ cup almond flour
¾ cup + 2 tbsp coconut flour
5 dates
⅛ tsp cardamom
1 ½  tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp water

Directions: Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor into a dough. Split into three equal sized balls and roll out into the three layers of cake you will need.  

Custard:
¾ cup of natural cashew nuts
¾ cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
6 dates

Mix in a food processor until it becomes a smooth sweet custard

Cream:
1 can of coconut cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Whip the coconut cream and vanilla until fluffy, be careful not to over whip

Jam:
2 cups strawberries, frozen and thawed
2 tablespoons chia seeds

Combine and allow to rest until thickened, add a bit of honey of the strawberries were too tart

Marzipan:
1 ¼ cup almond flour
2 tbsp honey
2 tablespoons spinach

Pulse ingredients together until you have a smooth mass. Roll out into a thin layer to create the cover for the cake.

Assembly:

After mixing all of the cake components separately, begin assembly.  The trick for a dome shaped cake is to build it up in an upside down bowl, layer by layer. You can make one large cake or mini cake with this technique.

Line the bowl with a parchment paper and dress the inside of the bowl with the marzipan cover. Continue by adding in the coconut cream, cake, vanilla custard, cake again, jam and finally a third layer of cake. Set the bowl in the freezer and let the cake set a bit. Carefully flip the princess cake out onto a serving plate just before serving and decorate how ever your heart desires.

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Henrik Ennart, Recipes

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Grilling Season, AGE and Roasted Carrots

BBQ Season. Hmm. I find myself often pondering between good and healthy, rarely does it become as abundantly clear to me as when grilling season is upon us again.

Almost everything we eat contains some component that can be interpreted as dangerous, but in that exact same bite may also be things that are undoubtedly good for our health.

Even when I think that I manage to make a sensible decision for health purposes, that sand castle can quickly deteriorate when climate, environment, fair trade and animal welfare are also accounted for.

Sigh.
And to add to that stack, it would be nice if the food taste good too.

Barbecue season is officially here and along with it pops up the issue of: AGE. It is an abbreviation of advanced glycation end products. This topic has already been breached here on Food Pharmacy by Stig Bengmark , he has highlighted the dangers of AGE for quite some time and that’s good.

Simplified, it’s about amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) reacting when they come into contact with sugars. AGE is considered to be one of several factors behind the aging process and is considered to contribute to Alzheimer’s. The effect has been similar to when an old rubber band dries up and cracks, with the slight difference of that it is happening within your own tissue in the skin, blood vessels and heart valves.

High blood sugar is a risk factor, but you can also absorb AGE directly through food. The largest direct source of AGE via the diet is by far from consuming meat that is fried or roasted at high temperatures. Other sources are processed food and pasteurized products, including hard cheese made from pasteurized milk.

One way to circumvent this is of course to avoid the dominant sources, but AGE can be formed to some extent in quite a few foods when heated up. One tactic is then to only eat foods that have not been heated above 70-80 degrees, but I think this is a rather sad solution because many flavors and fragrances are released just by heating through the so-called Maillard reaction and also by the process of caramelization. Cooking and heating can also have other advantages such as increasing the uptake of some substances which, on the contrary, are protective.

For the risk averse, there may be a golden middle road. In 2009, a study showed that test persons who ate a low-AGE diet could lower their AGE values ​​by as much as 60 percent in four months. Because AGE is sometimes used as a measure of biological aging, they were, at least according to this single parameter, younger. How did their low-AGE diet look? In addition to eating a lot of vegetables with antioxidants, they prepared their meat by poaching, steaming or using it in stews. Since water never gets warmer than 100 degrees, no large amounts of AGE are formed.

AGE is also counteracted by vitamin E, which is found among other things in nuts and seeds. I myself draw two conclusions, but you’re welcome to oppose. The first is that, it is not just about removing the dangerous sources, but also about adding vegetables to the plate that at least partially neutralize the harmful effects.

The second is that I will once again be taking out the grill this year. No one can live a completely risk-free life. Some want to take their chances parachuting or climbing mountains. I myself choose to not to heavily weigh the dangers of occasionally roasting something like these:

Roasted carrot with arugula, goat cheese, pumpkin seeds and orange

2 bunches of carrots
3 tablespoons olive oil
6-8 thyme sprigs
salt
3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
1 orange
100 g of goat cheese (chevre)
1 handful arugula

Peel and split the carrots lengthwise. Heat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Put the carrots on a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, thyme twigs and a pinch of salt. Roast in the oven until the carrots begin to get some color, about 25 minutes.

Roast the pumpkin seeds in a dry frying pan on medium heat. Grate the peel of the orange and squeeze out the juice. Combine with olive oil and a pinch of salt to create a dressing. Garnish the carrots with goat cheese, orange dressing, arugula and roasted pumpkin seeds.

So simple, so appetizing and so good.

But aren’t there harmful substances formed when the carrot is heated to such high temperature? My Answer: Raw materials stuffed with antioxidants provide protection, but don’t let it burn. The best is just when it starts to take on some color.

Photo: David Loftus

Henrik Ennart, together with Niklas Ekstedt, is the author of the recently published book Happy Food 2.0 (currently only available in Swedish, however your can find their first book Happy Food in English here.).

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Food Pharmacy, Recipes

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The Scoop on Celiacs Disease

Just the other day was International Celiac Day.  Celiac disease, or gluten intolerance, is a chronic disease in which gluten protein causes inflammation that damages the mucosal lining of the small intestines. The ability to absorb vitamins, minerals and other nutrients is destroyed, which can lead to nutritional deficiency and poor health.

In the last few decades the disease has been on the rise in most western countries, ranging between 1-3% of the populations. However, estimates predict that more cases go undiagnosed than diagnosed.

Since we love all things gut health and personally know people with celiac disease, we got to thinking…isn’t it high time for a gut-friendly alternative to ice cream cones so the joy of sunshine and frozen cold treats can be enjoyed by all, including the trillions of microscopic good guys hanging out in our gut?!

Voilà! Gluten-free ice cream cones and a scoop of strawberry ice cream to go along with it.

3 gluten-free cones

2 eggs
2 tsp honey
1 tsp psyllium husk
7 tbsp of almond flour

Heat the oven to 200°C/ 400°F. Whisk the eggs until fluffy and then add in the honey and psyllium. Gently stir in the almond flour. The batter is ready.

Now draw three circles on a baking paper, about 14 cm/5.5 inches in diameter. Use a bowl of similar size to make things easier. Place the paper upside down on the baking sheet (so that the color doesn’t stick to the waffles) and spread the batter into thin, even layers, filling up each circle. Bake for about 5 minutes until they have a golden color.

Once they are out of the oven quickly loosen the waffles from the paper and roll them up into cones by hand. Allow them to cool on a rack before filling them with ice cream.

Lightning fast strawberry ice cream

2 frozen bananas
1 cup frozen strawberries

Combine the bananas and strawberries in a blender or food processor and blend until you have a nice frozen treat. Done! Scoop into your homemade cones and top with desired toppings (we used dried raspberries and cacao nibs).  

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