Avoiding that Birthday Cake Poison

We strongly believe in birthday treats and, well, just treats in general. But when it comes to holidays and birthdays, many of us throw in the towel and eat cake and cookies that aren’t even food at all. I am certainly not going to tell you to eat fruit instead of cake to celebrate your special occasions. You’re talking to the world’s #1 chocolate fan here. But what IS important is that we are actually eating REAL FOOD.

Awhile ago someone gave my husband a cake from a popular grocery store for his birthday (a very nice gesture, of course). I was curious of the ingredients so I flipped over the chemical laden, earth killing plastic container to take a peek.  I was shocked this is even sold as food. It was literally all chemicals and very few even recognizable ingredients! Yes, I do shop at our local, healthy grocery stores and of course am use to Nourish where a preservative doesn't exist, but I honestly thought this type of "food" wasn't even sold anymore. I'm not expecting that all desserts are made with almond flour and manuka honey, but at least just use flour, sugar, eggs. Like what's in this cake!? Polysorbate40, aluminum phosphate, partially hydrogenated cotton seed...?? And this cake wasn’t cheap so we can't use that excuse. Your body already has to work a little harder to deal with the higher sugar indulgence from even real food so you certainly don’t need to sound emergency alarms, back up your body’s detox pathways and increase the toxic burden with all of this nonsense.

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So what’s a birthday girl/boy to do?

Don’t fret! I have come with alternatives and suggestions for you to indulge and still live a healthy lifestyle. Typically, when you purchase from local cake/dessert makers they will be using actual food to create your dessert. Think Peggie Jean Pies, Merriweather Cafe, Range Free and, ahem… Nourish. Real food taste waaaaaay better than any commercial food store, the desserts are beautiful and supporting local businesses is always a great thing.

My favorite business partner, Nourish co founder, and head chef, Kimber Dean, has taken our healthy desserts at Nourish to the next level. She makes our chocolate mousse pie creamy with avocado, raw cacao and maple syrup. Sound odd? Just wait until you try it. Zero post dessert shitty feelings, just pure chocolate bliss. Below I listed the desserts we always have made at Nourish but you can always order an entire pie or cake. Kimber is always experimenting because she is a healthy baking genius. Everything she makes is free of gluten, soy, corn, refined sugar and any preservatives, whatsoever. Even our cookies, muffins are made with local, brown rice flour and sweetened with organic maple syrup. From there it’s real, simple, whole food ingredients.

Raw Vegan Desserts made from scratch at Nourish

Berry Tart - seasonal berry compote filling with a walnut crust

Lime Creme Pie - fresh lime and avocado custard filling with an almond crust

Chocolate Mousse Pie - raw cacao and avocado custard filling with an almond crust

Lemon Cheesecake - fresh lemon and cashew filling with a walnut crust

Truffles - raw cacao truffles (orange, ginger, espresso, sea salt)

Cookie Dough Fudge - chickpeas, nourish chocolate sweetened with maple syrup

Almond Butter Cups - nourish chocolate filled with almond butter

Kimber’s desserts have become so popular at Nourish (both as individual portions for the everyday indulgence and entire desserts for parties) that she created a cookbook, Happy Baking and Desserts. The Chocolate Cake recipe is from her cookbook!

HAPPY FOOD CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE ICING

from Happy Baking and Desserts

from Happy Baking and Desserts

(makes 2, 8” round pans)

for the cake:

Ingredients:
• 2 cup coconut sugar
• 1 cup brown rice flour
• ¾ c arrowroot starch
• 1 tsp guar gum
• ¾ c raw cacao powder, plus more for dusting the pans
• 1 tsp salt
• ½ tsp baking powder
• ½ tsp baking soda
• 1 cup boiling water
• 2 eggs
• 1 c unsweetened nut milk
• ½ c avocado oil
• 2 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 ℉. Grease 2, 8” pans; then, dust the 8” pans with raw cacao powder.

2. In a large bowl, stir together to coconut sugar, brown rice flour, arrowroot starch, guar gum, raw cacao, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

3. In a saucepan, turn water on high heat, and bring to a boil.

4. While water is getting hot, add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla to dry ingredients and beat on medium to high speed for 2 minutes. Stir in hot water into cake batter ¼ cup at a time until all the water is incorporated.

Note: Batter will be thin. Pour batter into prepared cake pans evenly.

5. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean in the center of the cake.

6. Cool for 5 minutes, remove from pans, and let cool completely on a cooling rack before frosting.

Note: For cupcakes - grease cupcake pan or liners, fill 3/4 full in the liners. Bake for 28-32 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

CHOCOLATE ICING

for the icing:

• 1 c coconut oil, room temperature not melted
•⅔ c raw cacao powder
• 3 c arrowroot starch
• ½ c maple syrup
• 2 tsp vanilla
• ¾ c unsweetened nut milk
• 1 cup avocado, mashed

Note: add ¾ guar gum if you want chocolate fondant.

1. Add all ingredients into a large bowl and mix with hand mixer on medium to high speed for 10-15 minutes until icing is fluffy, smooth, and incorporated.

Note: You can make this in a Kitchen Aid with the whisk attachment.

Note: Icing only spreads easily at room temperature. Once refrigerated, it is harder to spread unless brought back to room temperature. Using fresh is best.


Another company we at Nourish love is Simple Mills. We sell their almond flour crackers and they are delicious! If you want to make a grain free cake (only partially from scratch) try out their mixes. The ingredients are simple and clean and all of their products are taaaasty! You can get Simple Mills at Clover’s and Natural Grocers!

We hope these tips will inspire you to have your birthday cake and eat it too. Topped with a little gratitude and positive self talk and you are set.

Eat Real Food

“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.”

I just want to start off by saying I am not a doctor or medical professional or an RD….maybe one day! I simply love to learn about the latest in wellness and even more, I love to share what I spend my time reading about and listening to. So here is what I know can apply to nearly every single person: (but “please consult your doctor”, “these statements have not been proven by the FDA”, “this information is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease…”) Did I miss any?

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This may seem obvious, or possibly it never occured to you, but everything is affected by the food you put in your body.

Heart disease, cancer, diabetes etc may run rampant in your family but according to epigenetics you can turn on and off how that gene is expressed. Actually 90% of your health is determined by the food you eat, how toxic your environment is, stress, thoughts and movement or lack of. I think this is one of the most empowering pieces of information out there. You are ultimately in charge of your health, regardless what genes have been passed down to you. Food is freaking powerful and can nourish your cells or cause chronic inflammation which can cause all of the above issues.

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We make all of our sauces from scratch at Nourish so we can avoid added sugar (and so we don’t have to have preservatives in our food). We also create our smoothies with 1/2 a banana so we can keep sugar content in check. Did you know certain chain smoothie shops have the same sugar content as 2 sodas? Yikes! Yes fruit is waaaaaay healthier than soda but it doesn’t do anything for your blood sugar, hunger and hormones in that high of doses.

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If you can’t afford to eat all organic consider the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen. This tells you which produce contains the most pesticides which grown conventional. Speaking of conventional and industrial farming…it’s terrible for you, farmers, our planet and the animals. Where you get your food not only matters to your health but you also vote with your dollars. Support farmers and stores like Clovers and Natural Grocers who actually care about the quality of the food they sell.

For grass-fed or sustainably raised animal products check out the EWG’s Meat Eater’s Guide to eating good-quality animal products that are good for you and good for the environment.

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Our bodies are all different and regardless if you are vegan or paleo, basing the majority of your diet on healthy fats, vegetables and fruit is always a good idea. Some (well most) people have food intolerances of one kind or another. Consider doing an elimination diet or get tested so you know what foods to eliminate while you heal your gut then you can typically add those foods back in safely.

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Food should not be boring but full of flavor and something you are excited to eat everyday…food you crave! Season and sauce it up! Spices and herbs are loaded with phytonutrients and often have more disease fighting antioxidants than fruits and veggies.

And just a little extra while it’s on my brain:

It’s no secret that I have dealt with major hormone imbalances/infertility for years. I have become passionate (borderline obsessed) with balancing my hormones naturally and getting to the root of the issue. Even if you aren’t interested in having a baby, if you’ve ever had your hormones out of whack, you know what a huge role hormones play in your body: mood, anxiety, hunger, weight, fertility…all the things. And what you eat can literally turn off hunger hormones, clear up your skin, eliminate mood disorders and truly change everything. Here are 2 of my favorite hormone books as they pertain to the female hormones!

I also want to iterate that while yes food is crucial to your health, so is your mental, emotional, spiritual state. We live in a time where it’s more and more difficult to turn inward and do things that actually bring us joy, not just things we think should bring us joy. There are so many incredible resources in Columbia from acupuncture, EFT (tapping), energy workers, yoga, etc. But to start now (and for free) just remember to get outside everyday, sit quietly without distractions for even a couple of minutes, do movement your body craves, breath so deeply your belly sticks out like a baby and think of a few things you are so damn grateful for.

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Ora Products and Healthy Snack Recipes

"Food can either be the slowest form of poison or the best medicine."

By now you know we are insanely passionate about wellness and especially innovative products that make having a vibrant mind and body easier to achieve. Any product we select to serve at Nourish (and consume ourselves) is always the highest quality that we can get our hands on.  When we were researching our protein powder (and I did ALOT of research) we came across a brand called Ora.  I fell in wellness love with their similar mission driven business, high quality, organic ingredients, sustainable packaging and chef created flavors. 

This protein powder is plant based and has 2 servings of organic greens in every scoop along with prebiotics and digestive enzymes. Not only are you getting a clean organic, plant based protein made without dairy, gluten, soy, GMOs, peanuts, tree nuts, added sugars, filler ingredients, artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners or preservatives but you're also consuming some major superfoods. We were so excited about Ora's protein we decided to carry their other products in our Market.  See below what we currently have, and I'm sure we'll be adding to the mix! We'd love your feedback.

Kimber came up with some delicious recipes using the products that we wanted to share with you. (even if you don't have Ora I'm sure you can make substitutions using what you have!) 

Organic delicious greens powder made from over 20 veggies, grasses, herbs, algae and superfoods  Alkaline veggies helps detoxify the body, delivers high amounts of antioxidants and provides greens specific phytonutrients. Contains the Ayurvedic herbs Ashwagandha and Triphala to boost the immune system, support stress relief, aid in digestion and add powerful cleansing antioxidants  Carefully crafted delicious taste comes from organic fruit and prebiotics - no sugar or flavors added, perfect for kids

Organic Greens Powder

Organic delicious greens powder made from over 20 veggies, grasses, herbs, algae and superfoods.

Alkaline veggies help detoxify the body, deliver high amounts of antioxidants and provide greens specific phytonutrients. It also contains the Ayurvedic herbs Ashwagandha and Triphala to boost the immune system, support stress relief, aid in digestion and add powerful cleansing antioxidants

Carefully crafted delicious taste comes from organic fruit and prebiotics - no sugar or flavors added, perfect for kids

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Omega 3 Spray

The first ever omega-3 spray, delivering 600mg of vegan omega-3 per serving.

Sustainably sourced from microalgae farmed in pure waters outside of the oceans, and thus free of mercury, pesticides, PCBs, heavy metals and other ocean pollutants.

Formulated with MCT Oil from coconut to deliver nutrients quickly to the brain as well as organic sunflower lecithin, a phospholipid, to aid in omega-3 absorption and bioavailability.*

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Prework out Powder

Renewable Energy is a vegan and USDA certified organic clean source of energy, that doesn’t leave you strung out and comes in a delicious organic pomegranate and berry flavor.

Start your workout (or work-day!) with 80mg of caffeine and a jitter-free energy boost thanks to a balanced blend of organic green coffee bean, yerba mate, matcha tea, eleuthero root and ginseng.

Sometimes raw energy isn’t enough though, and that’s why we’ve included nitric oxide boosting fruits and vegetables as well as an organic adaptogen blend.

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Turmeric

It's the first Turmeric Curcumin Tablets with Organic Black Pepper! Each serving contains 1,500mg of Organic Turmeric Curcumin and 15mg of Organic Black Pepper to enhance absorption.

Curcumin is the primary active ingredient in this product and is made from Organic Turmeric sourced from India.

Turmeric Curcumin supports the body’s proper response to everyday joint stress and supports the health of the cardiovascular system. As a potent source of antioxidants, Curcumin can also neutralize free radicals.

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Protein Powder

Available in vanilla and chocolate flavor. Organic and vegan superfood protein.

Packed with 21g of protein per serving, a complete amino acid profile and two servings of organic greens in every smoothie, adding crucial macro & micronutrients for proper cognitive and muscle function.

It’s also easier to digest than other plant proteins because it has a full spectrum of digestive enzymes to support digestion and bioavailability of nutrients.

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Probiotics

Organic Probiotic and Prebiotic with 16 billion probiotics per serving and 6 strains support optimal digestive health and peak immune function.

This probiotic contains some of the most clinically documented and acid resistant probiotic strains in the world so you can get back to trusting your gut. It's packed with organic prebiotics because prebiotics serve as fuel for probiotics - they help the good bacteria thrive in your gut so your probiotics can get to work!

No filler ingredients, artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners or preservatives. This probiotic does not need to be refrigerated because I’m freeze-dried


Recipes

Nut Butter Cookies

makes 10 cookies

½ c coconut sugar
½ c nut butter, I used almond butter
1 egg
½ c ora vanilla protein powder
½ tbsp baking powder
Pinch sea salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350, and spray a cookie sheet.

  2. In a food processor, or high powered blender, add coconut sugar, nut butter, and egg. Blend for 30-60 seconds until everything is smooth and incorporated.

  3. In a mixing bowl, add wet ingredients from the blender, protein powder, baking powder, and sea salt, and mix with a wooden spoon or hand mixer until incorporated.

  4. Scoop cookies onto prepared pan. I used a ¾ ounce ice cream scoop. Bake for 10-13 minutes, until the bottoms are golden brown.

  5. Let cool completely on cooling rack before enjoying!

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Protein Brownies

makes 9 brownies

1 ½ c avocado, mashed
¼ c maple
1 c ora chocolate protein powder
½ c raw cacao or cocoa powder
1 tbsp baking powder
Pinch sea salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350, and spray an 8x8” baking dish.

  2. In a food processor, or high powered blender, add avocado mash and maple syrup. Blend for 30-60 seconds until everything is smooth and incorporated.

  3. In a mixing bowl, add wet ingredients from the blender, protein powder, cacao powder, baking powder, and sea salt, and mix with a wooden spoon or hand mixer until incorporated.

  4. Dump batter into prepared baking dish, and press down with moist hands until smooth and level. Bake for 28-32 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

  5. Let cool in pan completely before eating, enjoy!

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Citrus Greens Energy Bites

makes 10 bites

4-5 strawberries, about 1 cup
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 scoops ora greens powder
2 scoops ora probiotic with prebiotic powder
1 c oats

  1. In a food processor, or high powered blender, add strawberries and maple syrup. Blend for 30-60 seconds until everything is smooth and incorporated.

  2. In a mixing bowl, add wet ingredients from the blender, greens powder, probiotic  powder and oats. Stir with wooden spoon until ingredients are incorporated.

  3. Scoops desired sized bites into tupperware, separating stacked bites with parchment paper. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes before eating.

  4. Store in the refrigerator for at least a week in an airtight container.

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Chocolate Blueberry Smoothie

 

1 cup almond milk (less for thicker smoothie)
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 frozen banana
handful of spinach or kale
1 tablespoon raw cacao
1 tablespoon almond butter
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1 scoop Ora chocolate protein powder
1/8 tsp cinnamon
superfood extras: maca, collagen, chia seeds

1. Place all ingredients in high powered blender and blend on high! Enjoy the energy boost!

Our Favorite Health Takeaways from 2017

What's  deemed "healthy" is always changing and sometimes it can seem overwhelming to keep up with the latest science. Remember when we were told via the food pyramid to eat low fat with loads of carbs (ie grains), and 100 calorie packs of processed food were considered healthy? Yikes! Luckily, we love to learn about the latest in Health and Wellness because not only is it our passion for our personal lives but it's our passion to share with others.  We all have our reasons for seeking healthier habits and though I've lived a healthy lifestyle for years now, my curiosity and desire to learn more has been intensified by my infertility. I used FSH shots to get pregnant with my son and I'm determined to get pregnant naturally with another baby. So for whatever your reason it's important to stay in the know. Here is what we took away from 2017! 

Gut Health
Doctors and scientists are beginning to realize that our gut flora is responsible for more actions in the body than we ever imagined. Studies show that microbes help with the absorption of nutrients and vitamin that are essential to overall health. Over 80% of our immune system is regulated and developed in the gut. Autoimmune disorders like IBS, type 1 diabetes, lupus, celiac disease, and rheumatoid arthritis are associated with a dysfunctional microbiome. But it gets even better, over 90% of serotonin is produced in the microbes of the GI tract. So your mental health is greatly affected by your gut health. Healthy gut, happy life? Maybe! It also has a direct link to your weight. 

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Diet, stress, sleep, exercise, and environment all affect the health of your microbiome. In terms of diet, it goes beyond taking a probiotic. Certain foods are rich in probiotics: kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha and other fermented foods feed the microbiome. Prebiotics and fiber are also crucial for gut health. Foods like asparagus, bananas, onions, garlic, legumes, artichokes are great sources of prebiotics. 

Healthy fat
One thing we now know is fat is GOOD, healthy fat that is. Think avocado, coconut oil, nuts, fatty fish, olive oil, ghee, even fatty organic, grass fed meats.  Fat is satiating, turns off hunger hormones, balances hormones, reduces waistlines, improves brain function (our brain is made mostly of fats), improves skin. High-quality fat has proven to improve mood and mental disorders. So then, High fat, happy life? Maybe! Studies link a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and even violence. A low fat and higher carb diet contributes to insulin resistance, obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and many other health issues. Beyond nourishing your heart and brain, eating the right fats helps you shed fat, so add avocado to your salad and add MCT oil to your coffee or tea....and put down the cupcake.  

Polyphenols
Polyphenols neutralize free radicals and prevent them from doing damage to your cells.  Polyphenols are said to lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, prevent platelet clumping, improve arterial flexibility and improve life span. So where do you get these magical plant based chemicals? All vegetables have them but the darker and more colorful the better. Here are some top sources: blueberries, dark chocolate, coffee, green tea, pomegranates, red cabbage, cloves, oregano. This is your permission to grab a glass of red wine and some really dark chocolate.  

Our Matcha Latte and Latte using locally sourced (Fretboard) Espresso are both great sources of polyphenols. 

Our Matcha Latte and Latte using locally sourced (Fretboard) Espresso are both great sources of polyphenols. 

Natural Wines
This one really blew our minds because we never knew there was such a thing, and we love wine! When we decided to carry wine at Nourish we wanted to stay true to our mission of chemical free.  Enter Natural Wines. Natural wines are simply grown naturally, without chemicals or extra sugars to speed up fermentation as they rely on the art of wine making. These vineyards focus on quality over mass quantity.  It turns out often the headachey or general crappy feeling you can sometimes feel after drinking wine has to do with the 200 additives that are legal in the United State to add to wine. Conventional wine makers will add sulfites, sugars, extra yeast, and fining agents to improve flavor, color, drinkability. Do you know that when you mouth turns really purple it's because of a chemical called Mega Purple that corrects the color (think carmel color in sodas).  We sell 5 natural, biodynamic wines at Nourish. Another place to get natural wines are Top 10 Wines in Columbia or the online wine subscription Dry Farm Wines.  Once you make the change you will actually be able to taste the chemicals in conventional wines. Kind of like how a Little Debbie just doesn't taste like it used to after you have cleaned up your diet. The worst offenders are mass produced vineyards (often well known...ahem Caymus and Meiomi) so if you don't know whether something is natural just choose a smaller more boutique wineary. Cheers!

Biodynamic Pinot sold at Nourish

Biodynamic Pinot sold at Nourish

 

 

Wishing you all a Happy New Year! We look forward to nourishing you in 2018!