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Happy Earth Kitchen ©

Eat Chew Renew – Healthy Digestion

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You Are What You Eat.

Did you know that our body turns food into (a new) us! How? Our body continuously replaces our cells. Cells in our digestive system for example are replaced daily. Our taste buds renew themselves every 10 days. Our skin is replaced every 30 days, our lungs every six weeks and the heart is replaced every six to nine months! The quality of the replacement of cells relies on the food that was available when the replacement took place. So we literally become what we eat. The food we eat becomes us. The food a pregnant woman eats turns into a small human being… Isn’t that mind-blowing?

Once you know that you are what you eat, you can change the way you perceive food and your diet. Don’t make weight loss a mission on its own. Don’t think losing weight or gaining muscle with powders, pills or highly processed (diet) foods. Think nourishing your body on a cellular level with high quality, whole, nutrient dense, living foods. When nourishment becomes the new focus, your weight, your appearance and your fitness will all fall into place.

The human diet: Aren’t we omnivores by nature?

“Animals that live on other animals eat raw meat, straight from the flesh, eating muscles, organs, blood and other body fluids as well. Humans do not enjoy devouring bones, gristle, raw fat, flesh and bits of hair”. – Dr. Douglas Graham

According to the book ‘The 80/10/10 Diet’ a few of the many differences between human anatomy and that of omnivores and carnivores:

• We lack claws, making ripping skin and flesh extremely difficult. We possess much weaker, flat fingernails instead.
• Our opposable thumbs make it easy to collect fruit. We could no more catch and rip the skin or tough flesh of a deer than a lion could pick mangoes or
• The digestive tract of a carnivore is only 3 times the length of his torso, which is necessary to avoid rotting or decomposition of flesh inside the animal body. Ours is roughly 12 times the length of our torso, which allows for the slow absorption of sugars and water-borne nutrients from fruit.
• Our ability to grind our food is unique to plant eaters. Meat eaters have no lateral movement in their jaws.
• The teeth of carnivores are pointed and sharp. Ours are primarily flat, for mashing
• The stomach acidity of carnivores is at least 10 times to even 1000 times stronger than humans.
• Our digestive enzymes differ. We produce ptyalin to initiate the digestion of fruit, meat-eaters don’t.

So what should we eat for good health, especially for good digestion?

As I experimented to manage my IBS (Irratable Bowel Syndrome) and my food allergies, as I tried many different ways and theories, as I educated myself about nutrition, digestion and health, as I got into eating for athletic results, I came to the following conclusion:

  • Eat real food. Food that is as close to its natural state as possible (potatoes instead of potato chips. Apples instead of prepackaged apple juice etc.).
  • Eat whole, plantbased foods.
  • Eat the rainbow (brightly colored, deeply pigmented fresh produce).
  • Avoid processed food. Vegan Shmegan. Processed food is bad for you, don’t care if its vegan.
  • Eat mostly local, seasonal and organic.
  • Avoid soy, sugar, artificial sweeteners, dairy, meat, alcohol, caffeine and gluten and limit salt intake.
  • Hydrate with water.
  • Include (green) smoothies and cold pressed vegetable juices in your diet.
  • Heating damages nutrients and kills enzymes in food. Aim for (at least) 50% of your diet to be raw.
  • Pay attention to proper food combining (I will write a blog on this topic soon).
  • Focus on alkaline forming foods (will also write a blog on this topic).
  • Give your body and digestive system a rest every once in a while by eating monomeals or by fasting.
  • And last but not least, pay attention to the signals your body is sending you, weather it is really understanding the sensation of hunger and fullness, or why you are low in energy, sick or in pain. Train yourself to listen to your body.

“The body knows how to heal itself. It does not want to be sick. If you eat healthfully, live healthfully and move joyfully, your body will be kind to you.” – Dr. Klaper (M.D. and leading educator in applied plant-based nutrition and integrative medicine)

Chew!

There is one thing more important than eating the right foods, and that is absorbing the right foods. Dr. Klaper states: “You are not what you eat. You are what you absorb”.

All the good nutrients of plant-based foods are locked up in though cellulose walls. In order to absorb the nutrients from these foods, we must break down the cell walls. The bad news is that we lack enzymes to do this, but nature never fails, so the good news is that we were provided with perfect natural ‘juicers’: mainly flat teeth, perfectly designed to chew, grind and extract the juice of plant materials.

Using our teeth and chewing our foods properly makes the digestion easy. Not chewing our food properly will not only cause bad digestion (bloat, gas etc.) but will also prevent the absorption of the highly needed nutrients. So taking time, lots of time, to chew our food before swallowing it is very important. Once the food reaches our stomach, the acid continues the breakdown of the food. From there the digested food moves into the small intestine where nutrients are absorbed for use in the body. The final stop is the colon, where water and some minerals are absorbed. In this stage, whatever your body hasn’t absorbed you excrete as waste.

Natural ‘juicers’ versus mechanical juicers.

Mother Nature put a set of great juicers in our mouth, which we should use thoroughly, but there is nothing wrong to help nature a little from time to time by mechanically breaking down plant cell walls with the use of a blender, processor, juicer or hot water (steaming / cooking). Where blending and juicing maintains living enzymes (essential to cellular health and growth) cooking does not. On the other hand blending and cooking maintains fiber, where juicing does not. Finally the benefit of cooking compared to juicing and blending is that it maintains structure, which allows you to chew your food, which in turn has a positive effect on your digestion because the process of chewing releases digestive enzymes. There is no 1 absolute way to health. Mix it up a little. Drink fresh vegetable juices on an empty stomach to spoil your cells with all the living nutrients, add greens to your smoothies and keep them chunky so you have something to chew on. And when heating your food, go for short and lightly, so you maintain as many nutrients as possible.

Juice & smoothie recipes
Smoothiebowl recipes

With Love from the Happy Earth Kitchen

 

References 

The 80/10/10 Diet – Dr. Douglas N. Graham
The PH Miracle – Dr. Robert O. Young
Gutbliss – Dr. Robynne Chutkan
Digestion Made Easy – Dr. Michael Klaper

Happy Earth Kitchen ©

Non-Attachment

blog

You know that feeling of having a closet full of clothing, yet nothing to wear? Well, desires and wants have no end. Once you have one thing you don’t want the next one any less. First you just want a car and next you want a nicer car and then a bigger one. More is more and even more. If we don’t want to work at jobs we don’t like, doing things we don’t enjoy, we must learn to deal with our attachments. If we want to preserve our planet, we will have to give up on some conveniences.

Ask yourself, do I need this or do I want this? “I really need a pair of new shoes.” Really? Or am I tired of wearing the same ones for the last 2 winters now? Do I need a new coat or is mine just a bit out of fashion? It’s all tempting and nothing but natural that we want to be in style, look nice, live up to expectations, but decisions we make have multiple effects. On a philosophical level attachment contributes to concepts as jealousy, greed, violence and even wars. On a more practical level it contributes to financial responsibilities and the destruction of our planet. The production of just 1 cotton t-shirt demands 2700 liters of water. Imagine, just one t-shirt! So if you decide to buy a new t-shirt, choose well, make it a good purchase, one that you will take care of and love wearing. One that is made with love and is well crafted. Not one that is produced by modern day slaves, one you would throw away after wearing a couple of times.

140 liters of water is used to produce just 1 cup of coffee. Imagine how much water that is for communities that have no access to clean drinking water. So live simply, have your coffee if you enjoy it, but also be aware of the facts. Maybe choose for a glass of tap water the next time.

Conveniences made our lives so much easier, but also so much more polluted, both literally and figuratively speaking. Can we imagine living a week without producing any waste at all? No probably not. I sometimes think that we are so used to all the waste, that we don’t even realize the amount of it. Why do supermarkets pre-package my vegetables? The first thing I do when I get home is throw away the plastic package anyway. Yes, wet towels come in handy, but imagine all the waste it creates and all the energy that is needed to produce them in the first place. The only ones who really profit are the multinationals that are selling us the convenience.

Happy_Earth_Motivational_Quotes_4

Do our laundries really have to smell like a fabricated rainforest, or does it only need to be clean? Should our armpits smell like cucumber melon (I swear to God, that stuff exists) or is a neutral body odor perfectly fine? Did you know that bacteria wash away after 20 seconds of rinsing with plain water, no antibacterial, skin drying, earth polluting, expensive, chemical soaps needed. What on Earth’s name do manufacturers put in toothpaste and do we need it to maintain healthy teeth? Why do we cover our babies in creams and lotions that are made in factories with chemicals we can’t pronounce? Are we really driving everywhere we need to go and then pay membership to the gym to be on a thing called a treadmill? Do beauty products make us more beautiful? Do specific superfoods make us healthier? Did you know that raising animals for food contributes to more greenhouse gasses than the entire transportation industry? That means all the cars, trucks, planes and ships combined! (See TIME article by Dean Ornish)

Think about how many industries would go out of business if we would be happy with ourselves as we are, as we are designed and meant to be. It’s not realistic to give up on everything, in the end we do live in the 21st century. For the one person nice smelling laundry is important, the other couldn’t imagine cutting all the meat out, and the other wouldn’t want to give up on fashion or cosmetics because it makes them feel pampered, but we can choose to reconsider, maybe eliminate things out of our lives that once seemed so important, but in the bigger picture they’re actually not. We can choose to reduce, reuse, recycle and renounce. It will help preserve the earth and will make a huge difference in your budget. Money we can spend on quality. I met people who had a €4,- Starbucks coffee in one hand, wearing a €100 euro Chanel perfume, but claiming €1,50 for an organic cucumber is too expensive… Both the Earth and our bodies are the only places we have to live in, let’s take good care of them.

With Love from the Happy Earth Kitchen

Happy Earth Kitchen ©

Orange Beet Pre-workout aka ‘Galatasaray Juice’

Fully Raw, Juices & Smoothies, Recipes, Workout & Recovery

I nicknamed this Orange Beet Juice ‘Galatasaray Juice’ because, obviously, its red/yellow color, but also because of its sports performance-enhancing results.

Beets are an appropriate choice before a workout because of their high carbohydrate content. The sugar and other carbohydrates in beets fuel your body with easily accessible calories for quick energy. The nitrate in beets widens blood vessels, lowering blood pressure and getting more oxygen-rich blood to the muscles. Ultra-Marathoner Chris Carver even credited his 2010 win to drinking beet juice daily for a week before the event.

Oranges on the other hand are also a smart choice before (and after) a workout, because of their high levels of water, potassium, carbohydrates and numerous vitamins and minerals.

During strenuous workouts of 90 minutes or longer you may sweat enough to lose significant amounts of electrolytes (primarily sodium and potassium), which can result in dizziness, disorientation, impaired mental function and in extreme cases even death.

So train smart and make yourself a nice Orange Beet juice just 30 minutes prior to a workout. Wanna mix it up a little? Here’s a smoothie recipe you might wanna give a try before working out.

I nicknamed this juice 'Galatasaray Juice' for obvious reasons

I nicknamed this juice ‘Galatasaray Juice’ for obvious reasons

 

Recipe

Makes 1 serving

Equipment

Juicer

Ingredients

2 oranges
2 beets

With Love from the Happy Earth Kitchen

 

Happy Earth Kitchen ©

Gooey chocolate-date pudding

Desserts & Snacks, Fully Raw, Recipes, Workout & Recovery

The good thing about cooking with healthy, nutrient-dense, whole foods is that dessert doesn’t turn out to be something you have to feel guilty about. As a matter of fact you can have dessert for breakfast or lunch, as a pre- or post-workout meal or just as a treat. This pudding is date based. I use medjool dates, for their softness and sweetness. If you opt for a different kind, make sure to soak them first to get them juicy and plumpy.

Dates contain lots of fiber, which helps you maintain a healthy digestion and keeps you satisfied for a longer period of time. They are a great source of instant energy (I always have some whole dates or datorade with me during long runs, the greatest runners fuel if you ask me. Dates are also good source of iron and potassium, which are essentials for maintaining healthy heart function and blood pressure, as well as helping to prevent muscle cramping after exercise.

The ground chia and flax seeds in this recipe not only help the pudding set (as they absorb the water, forming a gel like substance), but are also a rich (plant)source of omega-3 fatty acids. Cacao is well known for its mood enhancing property (it raises the levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin and endorphins, yeayy!!) and is one of the highest providers of magnesium. But above all, cacao is what makes this pudding simply irresistible!

Whole, plant based ingredients only

Whole, plant based ingredients only

Holy Cacaoly

Holy Cacaoly

Happy Earth Pudding

Happy Earth Pudding

 

Recipe

Makes 1 portion

Equipment

I use an immersion blender, because it’s practical for smaller portions, but a food processor or high-speed blender will work as well. When using the latter, you might want to consider making at least 2 portions to achieve proper blending of the ingredients.

Ingredients

4 medjool dates
100 ml plant milk*
1 full tablespoon of cacao (preferably raw)
1 full tablespoon of ground chia & flaxseeds
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
pinch of salt
Topping of choice

Method

– Blend all ingredients well until you get a smooth, pudding-like texture.
– Transfer to a bowl and let it set for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.
– Serve it with your favorite topping. I used pistachio nuts, for its lovely taste and vibrant color, but any other nut, coconut flakes or even fresh fruit like strawberries work great as well.

* Hempmilk, coconutmilk or ricemilk are great in this recipe. If you make your own nutmilk at home, that is of course even better. Try to avoid processed soymilk.

With Love from the Happy Earth Kitchen

Happy Earth Kitchen ©

Fully Raw Tangerine Pear Salad

Fully Raw, Recipes

Sometimes simple, easy and efficient is all you can handle. Although preparing this salad doesn’t take longer than 10 minutes, it is very appealing to the eye and taste buds. It’s fresh, crisp, sweet and savory at the same time.

The salad is full of fibre, which will keep you satisfied for a long time. The simple sugars in the fruit will give you instant energy, while the almonds will sustain you for a longer period of time.

Mostly I eat this salad for lunch, but it’s a great breakfast option as well. Salads for breakfast may sound unconventional, but consider this as an unblended green smoothie. The chewing process is actually important for our digestive system. Keeping smoothies chunky and alternating breakfast smoothies with breakfast salads does great things for your body. The nutrients in the raw ingredients are absorbed by our bodies more easily on an empty stomach and provide us with that extra energy throughout the day. Bonus!

According to Dr. Hay’s research, nuts and seeds combine well with acid fruits such as citrus fruit and sub-acid fruits such as apple and pears. Other than that I wouldn’t recommend mixing fruit with protein like dairy or nuts and seeds, because they’re digested at a different rate. When you eat several foods that digest at different rates, your digestion gets out of whack and things begin to rot and ferment in your body. When your body can’t digest food properly, it doesn’t absorb the nutrients properly, leaving your body tired and stressed.

I didn’t include measurements in the ingredients list, because it’s all up to your appetite and personal preference for ratios. So I suggest you get a plate or bowl that meets your appetite and start peeling, chopping, tossing and chewing!

Fully Raw Pear-Tangerine

Fully Raw Pear-Tangerine

Let's get messy

Let’s get messy

 

Recipe

Salad Ingredients

Baby spinach
Tangerine peeled
Pear peeled and cut into slices
Red cabbage shredded
Raw almonds preferably soaked overnight

Dressing Ingredients

Juice of half an orange
1 teaspoon tahini paste
1 dried fig preferably soaked

Method

– Prepare dressing by blending dressing ingredients.
– Mix salad ingredients.
– Drizzle fresh dressing over salad.

With love from the Happy Earth Kitchen. 

Happy Earth Kitchen ©

Skinny pink loves Iron Juice

Fully Raw, Juices & Smoothies, Recipes

As you might know by now, I don’t believe in miracle drinks, magic juices or quick fix programs in order to achieve healthy weight and fitness, but I couldn’t resist naming this juice ‘Skinny Pink’. First of all let me say that I’m a big believer of consistency. If you look after yourself consistently, that is what will get you on the right track, not that one healthy habit a day. I met people who truly think drinking lemon water with some curcuma in the morning is their cure to a healthy weight and longevity, while they’re enjoying a pre packed cheese sandwich and soy frappucino in the afternoon.

Anyway, this juice is named Skinny Pink because, obviously, its pretty pink color but also because its fat burning properties and the grapefruit’s ‘negative calorie’ quality, meaning it takes more calories to digest it than exist in the fruit (yes, you can reread that sentence and be really excited ;)).

The amount of iron absorbed from plant foods depend on the other types of foods eaten at the same meal. Citrus and spinach are a match made in heaven, because the vitamin C in citrus aids in the absorbtion of iron in spinach in this case. The opposite effect is the issue with coffee, tea, legumes, milk and dairy products. They actually can decrease the amount of plantbased iron absorbed at a meal. So if getting enough iron in is the goal, you might want to focus on proper food combining.

The beauty of Grapefruit

The beauty of Grapefruit

Skinny pink loves spinach

Skinny pink loves spinach

Recipe

Equipment

Juicer

Ingredients

2 grapefruits
2 hands ful of spinach

With Love from the Happy Earth Kitchen

Happy Earth Kitchen ©

Green Smoothiebowl with Strawberries & Seeds

Fully Raw, Recipes, Smoothiebowls, Workout & Recovery

Much as I like to use fresh produce, keeping frozen fruits and veggies in my freezer makes kitchen life a whole lot easier, healthy choices always within reach and food waste almost impossible.

As I wrote previous post bananas are one of my staple foods. Besides bananas I always have organic spinach, kale, berries, cherries and mangoes in my freezer. A cupful of either one combined with 2 ripe bananas is enough to create a quick, tasty and filling smoothie. When my bananas are almost over-ripe, which means totally covered with brown spots I either bake banana bread or cut them in pieces and throw them in the freezer for smoothiebowls and nicecreams.

I often drink a green smoothie in the morning, using nothing more then 2 bananas, 2 cubes of frozen spinach and a cup of water. It’s sweet, tasty, quick and you get your greens in first thing in the morning. But from time to time, mostly weekends, I like to make a smoothiebowl version, taking more time to prepare it with nice toppings and making time to enjoy it at a slower pace.

Weekends ask for smoothie bowls

Weekends ask for smoothie bowls

Recipe

Equipment

(immersion) blender or food processor

Ingredients

2 frozen bananas
2 cubes of frozen or a handful of fresh spinach
A sprig of mint
1 teaspoon or spirulina or chlorella (optional)

Blend until smooth and top with strawberries, mint and some seeds of choice (poppy seeds, hemp, sesame etc).

With Love from the Happy Earth Kitchen

Happy Earth Kitchen ©

Easy Blueberry Banana Smoothie

Fully Raw, Juices & Smoothies, Recipes, Workout & Recovery

Bananas and (frozen) berries are my kitchen staples. Bananas are a perfect to-go snack, a beautiful pair with oatmeal and an excellent base for smoothies, smoothiebowls and nicecreams. They’re good fuel with plenty of fibre, loaded with potassium and easy to digest when fully ripe (aim for brown spots, or leopard skin as I like to refer to it).

My banana pantry.

My banana pantry.

Besides bananas I always have soft fruits and frozen leafy greens in my freezer, since fresh ones go bad very quickly. It’s one of the easiest ways to create healthy morning habits. Must haves for me are spinach, kale, berries, cherries and mangoes. A cupful of either one combined with 2 ripe bananas is enough to create a quick, tasty and filling smoothie.

I like to keep mornings raw and simple. For proper digestion, always eat fruits alone. Combining quickly digestible fruits with foods that take longer to digest, like protein or grains, make the fruits ferment in your stomach, which lead to acidity of the body and may cause discomfort.* By keeping it simple you’re not only out of the kitchen before you know it, but you’re also being kind to your body.

For this smoothie you just need bananas, blueberries and water.


* (The exception to this food combining mentioned above is combining fruits that don’t readily ferment, like bananas, apples or coconut, with complex carbohydrate rich foods such as oats, or millet. Also, according to Dr. Hay’s research, acidic fruits like oranges and lemon combine ok with nuts).

Oohlala Blueberry Banana...

Oohlala Blueberry Banana…

Recipe

Equipment

High speed blender

Ingredients

2 ripe bananas
1 cup of frozen or fresh blueberries
1 cup of water

Put all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.

If you’re using fresh blueberries and you like your smoothies cold, you might want to consider substituting the water with a couple of ice cubes, or 1 of the fresh bananas with a frozen banana.

With Love from the Happy Earth Kitchen

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