Lauren’s Favorites

Season’s Greetings on Christmas Eve!

New Fantastic Food:

I found a fabulous new line of nut cheezes that are made from cashews and coconut oil! I was so delighted to find vegan cheeses that have healthy, familiar ingredients! I have tried the shredded Mozzarella, Cheddar and Pepper Jack and they have worked very well in my recipes including: Quiche, French Onion Soup, Enchiladas, Lasagna, Pizza, Grilled Cheeze on SRSLY Sourdough and much more. They have hard and soft cheeses in a variety of  fabulous flavors.

Parmela Cashew Cheeze-Our nut milk cheeses are made using traditional cheese making techniques.  Rich nut milks made from blending cashews and almonds with filtered water form the base.  These are much thicker than the nut milks you would drink, and amazingly have more flavor potential than dairy milks.

It took over 2 years and 2,000 iterations to get the cultures to grow properly in the thick cashew milks and unlock true cheese flavors for the Creamy Treenut Cheese.  In crafting our new aged cheeses we up over 4000 iterations of cultures grown.

The nutmilk cheeses can be found in Whole Foods, New Leaf Markets and other natural food stores or ordered directly  http://www.parmelacreamery.com 

 

SRSL Bread-Gluten-free, Dairy-free San Francisco Sourdough Bread and Rolls! 

SRSLY Bread

http://www.breadsrsly.com

OMG, I thought I’d never be able to eat Sourdough again…until now! I did the happy dance when I found this amazing bread. I am a traditionalist so I like the classic best, but the seeded is very good and my husband loves the Kale(me too). The sandwich rolls are made out of just Sorghum flour so its great for people who have multiple grain sensitivities. She also makes a huge Pullman Loaf that you can special order!

WHY SOURDOUGH?

Bread SRSLY is committed to making nourishing bread. Each loaf is leavened with wild yeast, cultivated from the air and grain. Unlike commercial yeast, wild yeast helps to break down the grains, making them easier to digest, and adding a pleasant tang that we call sourdough.

WHY SERIOUSLY?

We created our bread only after months of research, applying traditional sourdough techniques to our gluten-free recipes. We learned that good bread takes its time to rise. Each Bread SRSLY loaf rises for more than 12 hours, making it SERIOUSLY good for you. In addition to being gluten-free, all Bread SRSLY products are free of dairy, egg, soy, nut, potato, tapioca, and garbanzo.

Available at Health Food Stores including New Leaf Market, Staff of Life, Bi-Rite Markets or Order at: http://bread-srsly.myshopify.com

 

Want to bake your own Bread?

Manini’s Bread Mix & Fresh Pasta

These pastas and breads are so nutritious and have great texture! I’ve enjoyed Manini’s Spaghetti, Lemon-Thyme Linguine and Lasagna Noodles(not the ravioli b/c they contain diary) and bread mixes which are easy and nutritious. Even my Italian friends are now loving this pasta!

At the heart of our commitment to quality is our dedication to making all of our fresh pastas, breads & bakery products and flours from naturally Gluten Free Ancient Grains. Our Ancient Grains include Amaranth, Teff, Sorghum, and Millet, plants that are essentially unchanged from hundreds of years ago. The result is a nutritious, fiber-rich, great-textured food that is delicious and superior in taste, texture and nutrition to the vast majority of typical rice and corn based Gluten Free foods.

http://www.maninis.com

Want less carbs and more protein in your pasta go for: Tolerant Red Lentil or Black Bean Pasta which have great texture and tons of protein and nutrition! Available at Health food Stores and online.

Tolerant Pasta

Sonoma Pasta SauceSonoma Mushroom Pasta Sauce. I had to stop eating tomatoes due to arthritis and was so happy to find this tomato-free sauce! They have many flavors, but not all are dairy-free. I do still make my own with wild mushrooms and sherry, but nice to have a jar in the pantry in a pinch. Available at Health food Stores and online.

 

Paleo-Cake-Therapy-Paleo-Chocolate-Cake-Mix.jpg

Cake Therapy  Paleo Cake Mix: offers gluten free and paleo baking mixes, made from quality natural ingredients, without preservatives or additives. Cake Therapy’s products are always free of gluten, dairy, soy and corn, with grain free options.

Paleo Chocolate Cake Mix Ingredients: Organic coconut flour, arrowroot, almond meal, organic coconut sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla powder, salt, baking soda, baking powder.

I’ve tried all three flavors: chocolate, vanilla and spice, and love them all! They make a moist and tasty cake or cupcakes. I used my Chocolate Ganache Frosting  with Lily’s Stevia Sweetened Chocolate Chips and Cashew Cream Frosting with them. They have recipes and adaptations on their website too! I used the Spice Cake Mix to make a Carrot Cake and it was so delicious.

Teas to go with your dessert or just enjoy anytime:

Art of Tea: Chocolate Mint Tea which is so rich and tasty it does not need anything else. Great way to avoid sweets, drink this tea instead!  www.artoftea.com 

Numi Turmeric Teas are anti-inflammatory and very tasty especially when I add some local raw honey, ginger and homemade cashew milk! Available at health food stores or http://www.Numitea.com

Steven Smith Lord Bergamot Earl Grey Tea

A few other goodies I’ve fallen in love with this year:

Lily’s Fair Trade Stevia Sweetened Chocolate Chips

We love premium dark chocolate. We don’t like sugar. The addition of stevia to premium dark chocolate is a perfect fit. It makes our favorite food even better. Click to learn more about why we love stevia.http://lilyssweets.com

 

 

Chai-I

Vixen Kitchen Premium Vegan Gelato!  So creamy and delicious you will think you are in Italy!  The first time I tasted this luscious Gelato I was in San Francisco on a cold windy day, but had to have it as my teeth chattered! OMG, I was in Heaven and forgot about the cold the first lick! I love that they sweeten with real maple syrup and use cashews as the base! Again, nutritious and delicious and guilt-free! It is expensive b/c they use the highest quality ingredients and it is worth it! Available at health food stores, including Staff of Life. Flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla, Chai, Coffee, Mint,Blueberry.  http://vixenkitchen.co

Xyloburst Chewing Gum, stays soft, sweetened with xylitol which is great for teeth and tastes good! Available at health food stores,  iherb.com and Amazon.com

My new favorite website to buy all the aforementioned goodies and many more at a 25%-75% discount/usually 25% is at http://www.ThriveMarket.com

 

Kitchen Tools:

  • Kitchen Aid 7 Quart Mixer is the largest capacity home mixer and I love my new one in Candy Apple Red! I also bought the:
  • Spiralizer Attachment that also slices and peels fruit and vegetables!

Body Care Products: Many skincare products contain gluten and dairy which go into your bloodstream within 30 seconds! Yes, it will cause you just as much trouble as eating it!

  • Nubian Heritage Soaps and Lotions
  • Evoli Body Butter & Lip Balm, made from all organic healthy oils
  • Zoya Nail Polish, free of formaldehyde and other bad chemicals available at Whole Foods
  • DoTerra essential oils: I do not travel without the OnGuard and put it on my feet every night! DoTerra.com
  • For the Bathroom: Poo Pourri toilet spray. This is so Brilliant! You spray your favorite essential oil based Poo Pourri into the toilet before you go and it acts as a barrier to help keep your bathroom smelling good! It really works, honest! I keep one in my purse and in our bathroom.

Healthcare/Natural Medicine:

  • Alpha CF Homeopathic liquid is lactose free and is what I use at the first sign of a cold or flu and it usually gets rid of it right away or at least shortens the duration to a few days instead of a few weeks. Available at health food stores, you may have to special order the liquid form.
  • Occiliccocinum homeopathic cold and flu, Walgreens, CVS and healthfood store. Pellets contain lactose so either dilute a dose in water and only take a teaspoon or find the Alpha CF liquid.
  • Deep Lung is great for respiratory infections.
  • Chestal Homeopathic Cough Medicine with honey, health food stores and CVS and Walgreens.
  • Yin Chao Chinese Medicine for colds that start with a sore throat is great.
  • High Dose Vitamin C Meyers Cocktail Infusion through an IV drip or push by a naturopathic doctor. http://www.naturopathic.org or wwwCalND.com in CA. This saves me every Christmas/Winter, including this week!

Books:

  • Can’t go to Italy this year read, Dolce di Love By Lynch
  • for Humor and belly laughs read Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris
  • go to http://www.hayhouse.com for many inspirational and spiritual books, audio books and DVD’s for adults and children
  • Listen to shows on:
  • http://www.HayHouseRadio.com

Games:

  • Kids and Adults: Simon, an electronic game that lights up and tests your memory. Can be played with 2-4 people
  • Adults: Rummikub, a game with tiles and numbers. Good mental challenge and fun.

 

Clothing:

  • Nomads Organic Clothing, this Canadian company uses all organic fabrics made from hemp, soy, bamboo and cotton. It feels so good on and will not disrupt your hormones or endocrine system and it’s great for the environment. A win-win-win! Just wish they did not make them in China. Sometimes you have to compromise. These clothes feel really soft and warm; and look stylish.                                   Available at https://nomadshempwear.com
  • Synergy Organic Clothing, mostly cotton, made in Nepal. Stores in Santa Cruz and San Francisco and available online http://synergyclothing.com
  • Smart Wool Socks, wool that doesn’t itch and keeps your toes and feet warm in the coldest weather! They also make runners socks-breathable and cushiony! Available at The Sock Shop and online http://www.smartwool.com

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Healthy, Happy New Year filled with wonderful food, friends, family and goodies that improve your health and life! Love and Blessings to all! Please Comment and share with us your favorite  Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Vegan, Organic food, things & products.

Be Well and Thrive into your Dreams! 

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Natural Alternatives to Refined Sugar

Are you looking for an alternative to refined white sugar? Are you confused about all the natural alternatives or just want to learn more about them? Don’t want your children or yourself to be bouncing off the walls and having a meltdown after eating sugar? If you answered yes, read on and learn more! There are answers/alternatives and I use many of them in my new cookbook, No Wheat No Dairy No Problem-see Orders page!

Many of us have made the choice to eliminate refined white sugar and high fructose corn syrup(HFCS) from our diets and replace them with an array of more natural sweeteners. There are many alternatives for sweetening, but what are they and how do they differ?  Many of these alternatives have a lower glycemic index which will eliminate the highs and lows associated with refined white sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

The research on high fructose corn syrup is mixed. However, it does suggest that consuming it can promote diabetes, obesity and  heart disease. Studies have shown a correlation between HFCS and the increased incidence of obesity and diabetes. Anyone who has eaten white sugar knows that it causes spikes in blood sugar followed by the sugar lows.

Agave nectar and palm sugar are suitable for diabetics because they are very low glycemic index. However, if you are a diabetic please consult your physician and try them in small quantities to begin. I hope they work well for you and you can have dessert again without suffering!

Many of us also experience inflammation in our bodies and get hives or feel “spacey” when we eat white sugar. Since refined sugar can be associated with inflammation, it can aggravate any pre-existing inflammation such as arthritis. I personally, cut it out of my diet many years ago and feel so much better. If I do eat some refined sugar, I break out in hives! It is very difficult to avoid it when eating out, but it is something we have complete control and choice in our own homes/kitchens. Read labels and make your own choice. It is hidden in all kinds of food, even salad dressing!

White sugar is highly processed and can be very toxic due to the chemical solutions,  bleaching and filtering with bone charcoal(not vegan). Yes, bone is used to filter sugar. This processing is not only unhealthy for our bodies, but is doing harm to the environment.

The sugar cane itself is not the  problem, but how it is processed and refined is a problem. There are less refined/processed sweeteners made from the sugar cane such as sucanat and molasses-see below.

Healthy Alternatives to refined white sugar(GI80): Available at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods Market, health food stores, some ethnic grocery stores and online

Agave nectar: (GI 32)Tastes sweet and neutral. Extracted from the Blue Agave Cactus. Raw agave syrup has a low glycemic index and is absorbed into the body much slower than sugar. It eliminates the highs and lows experienced with eating refined sugar. Dissolves in cold liquid. Available in light and dark, use light unless recipe indicates dark.

Palm Sugar/Coconut Sugar:(GI35) One comes from the palmyra or sugar palm and the other from coconut palm, but both are produced from the sweet, watery sap that drips from cut flower buds.  The sap is boiled down to concentrate it and evaporate the moisture. Low glycemic index!

Date Sugar: (dates are about GI44, but sugar GI is not available) finely ground dried date crystals. Can be used in place of sugar. Very expensive.

Maple Syrup: (GI 54)syrup/sap from the Sugar Maple Tree that is boiled and evaporated. A flavorful sweetener.  Also dried and made into crystals, known as Maple Sugar.

Honey: (GI58)derived from the nectar of flowers gathered by bees. Available in liquid and crystal form. Sweeter than sugar. Anti-bacterial and anti-microbial. Do not feed to infants under 2 years of age.

Molasses:(GI54) use unsulfured. Cane sugar syrup, unrefined/unprocessed. Great in gingerbread/snaps.

Sucanat: (GI55)dehydrated, unprocessed sugar cane juice. Fine ground golden brown crystals. An affordable, raw sweetener with a light molasses flavor. Interchangeable with maple/date sugar.

Give these alternatives a try and find your favorite. Please post a comment on this blog and share your experience or thoughts about alternative natural sweeteners.  See Recipe of the Week to get a homemade ice “cream” recipe made with agave or honey-fabulous on top of the Summer Fruit Crisp made with agave and one of the natural sugars above!

Enjoy and Be Well, Lauren Hoover

Agave Nectar Article in the News!

Hi Everyone,

The San Jose Mercury had an article in SVLife today on agave.

One problem I saw was the price was wrong. Whole Foods sells a 23.5 ounce bottle for $5-$6, a fraction of the cost the newspaper mentioned. Enjoy the article. I placed a Summer Fruit Crisp made with agave onto my blog site for this week. Hope you will give it a try and let us all know how you liked it. Be Well, Lauren

Blue Agave Cactus-produces Tequila and a low glycemic natural sweetener!

Yes, agave is known for making tequila, but it is also a wonderful natural sweetener! White sugar can have many negative effects on our bodies including the highs and lows associated with it.  Now there is a great low glycemic alternative called Agave Nectar. And, many diabetics can tolerate agave too, but check with your physician first. So far it is only available in a liquid state, which can be used in place of sugar. It is a bit sweeter than sugar so you can use a little less than sugar. Did you know that sugar is actually a liquid although it comes in dry granules? Yes, in baking it is considered a liquid. Therefore, agave being a liquid is fine. It can be a little tricky when converting a baking recipe. I will be placing a space on my blog site soon where you can submit recipes for conversion. Keep an eye on the blog…or click on the subscribe button to get automatic updates via email.

Agave nectar: Tastes sweet and neutral. Extracted from the Blue Agave Cactus. Raw agave syrup has a low glycemic index and is absorbed into the body much slower than sugar. It eliminates the highs and lows experienced with eating refined sugar. Dissolves in cold liquid. Available in light and dark, use light unless recipe indicates dark. Dark has a molasses flavor and the light is very neutral and mild. Madhava is also making flavored agave that can be stirred into hot or iced coffee: Vanilla, Hazelnut, Amaretto and Cappuccino.

Enjoy!

Available at Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s and local health food stores or online at http://www.madhava.com, it is on sale at http://www.vitacost.com now