Feb 12, 2015

"living candida-free" + giveaway

I have reviewed a few cookbooks over the years, but very much like the last book I reviewed, this one is not just a cookbook - it is a guide. It is a very important guide to living with candida. Candida is a yeast that lives in our bodies - in all of our bodies - but sometimes that yeast grows too big and begins to affect our health.

Symptoms of candida-related illness can range from fatigue, memory loss, brain fog, depression, problems in the bathroom, headaches, to rashes and hives. Ricki Heller, author of Living Candida-Free, details how she herself was diagnosed with candida and her ordeal over many decades to find treatment.

Ultimately, as we all know, the most effective treatment for bodily illnesses is through diet. Your diet determines the health of your immune system among other systems in the body, however, where candida is concerned, it is a  most vital part of the treatment.

Ricki Heller, with Andrea Nakayama, provides a complete three-step program to help you conquer candida  and live as candida-free as possible in this groundbreaking book, Living Candida-Free.

Candida grows in your body based on what you eat. Certain foods, such as sugar, feed the yeast and make it grow. When it grows out of control, it causes an imbalance in your body and results in noticeable and negative reactions.

Ricki covers all the nuances of treatment, offers her three step plan, details the foods that are good to eat and ones that can make the candida flare up and, most importantly, provides us with recipes of delicious food that puts you on the path of health.

You might think that this book has nothing to do with you, but, since all bodies live with candida, there is a chance that your candida is out of whack. To help determine if you are one of the folks with a candida imbalance, there is a Yeast Assessment Form in the book that helps you gauge your risk factor.

If you already know that there is a good chance that you have candida out of control, then this is definitely the book for you. Don't even wait, go and buy it right now. For the rest of us, this is an excellent book to assess just how much candida has grown in our bodies and how to treat it before it gets out of control.

Ricki Heller and Da Capo Publishing have given me permission to share one of the recipes from Living Candida-Free. Get the recipe and enter to win the book at the end of the post.

This is one book I think everyone can benefit from. More than just a cookbook, it is a guide to improved health. Contest open to US and Canada residents. Contest ends Monday, February 23.

"Conquer the hidden epidemic that is making you sick!"

Almost Instant Grain-Free Breakfast Porridge
Good for: Stage 2 and beyond (or all stages if fruit is omitted)

I came across this recipe when I first taught a course with Andrea and it was included in the recipe packet for course participants. It was definitely love at first bite! This porridge is quick and easy, and infinitely variable: use sunflower or hemp instead of the pumpkin seeds; substitute another favorite nut instead of the walnuts; include the coconut or omit it, as you wish. It’s also a great year-round breakfast as you won’t have to heat up the kitchen cooking it on the stove top.


2 tablespoons (30 ml) unsweetened coconut flakes or shredded coconut
1 tablespoon (15 ml) raw pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon (15 ml) raw whole flaxseeds
2 teaspoons (10 ml) chia seeds
1 tablespoon (15 ml) raw walnuts (about 6 walnuts)
½  teaspoon (2.5 ml) ground cinnamon
½  to ¾  cup (120 to 180 ml) very hot water
7 to 10 drops plain or vanilla pure liquid stevia
2 to 4 tablespoons (30 to 60 ml) coconut milk
(page 99), almond, or other milk of choice
½  cup (120 ml) blueberries or other fresh berries, or chopped fresh apricots

In a coffee grinder, grind the coconut, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and cinnamon. Transfer to a bowl and cover with water. Let sit for a few minutes to thicken. Add the stevia, coconut milk, and blueberries and stir well.

Note: You can make a large batch of this cereal in advance and store it in single
servings in the freezer so it’s ready to go when you need it: thaw overnight in the refrigerator and enjoy! It’s also great for traveling. Just bring single servings of the dry mixture with you in resealable plastic bags, empty into a bowl, and add hot water for a quick and delicious breakfast.

From Living Candida-Free by Ricki Heller. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2015.

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Jan 16, 2015

"the vegetarian flavor bible" giveaway + karen page

I am very pleased to be a part of Karen Page's blog tour for "The Vegetarian Flavor Bible." I purchased this book based on Robin Robertson's recommendation and couldn't have been happier about its contents! 

The book contains a brief run-down of the history of food with special attention to vegetarian and vegan food, but the bulk of the book is of flavor profiles - which flavors go best together. These are tried and true flavor profiles that will make any cook into a chef!

You simply choose an ingredient, find it in the alphabetical listing and check out what other ingredients are best with it. Then you get in the kitchen and make some magic. Consider the book a road map to successful flavor combinations. 

Karen has offered to write a guest post for Zsu's Vegan Pantry and it really is the best way to show you what this book has to offer. Thank you, Karen, for such an amazing reference book for everyone!

Don't take my word for it, though. Enter to win a copy of your very own. The Rafflecopter giveaway, open to U.S. residents, is right below Karen's blog post. This is a huge, hardcover, full-color volume. Contest ends Monday, January 26. Good luck!

Around the World in 80 Dishes:
A Sampling of Flavors from Restaurants Featuring Plant-Strong Global Cuisines
by Karen Page

When I mentioned to friends who have known me as a lifelong omnivore that I had stopped eating meat and had embraced a plant-strong diet, their reactions often suggested that they felt badly for what I was missing out on.  I honestly feel no sense of deprivation whatsoever.  Instead, I’m thrilled about the new ingredients and flavor affinities I’ve been discovering through a wider range of cuisines than I ever imagined possible.

I’ve enjoyed Ethiopian cuisine since college, but I love it even more now as a fun way
of eating vegan. Because of the culture’s traditional periods of fasting and avoiding
meat, eggs, and dairy, every Ethiopian restaurant I know has a vegan combination option that includes the spongy pancakes called injera, which are used to scoop up bites of various braised legumes, greens, and other vegetables.  I love the all-vegan Bunna Café in Queens (pictured ahove), as well as the vegan combination platter at Injera restaurant in Manhattan.

Ethiopian Flavor Affinities:

berbere + garlic + onions
collard greens + garlic + ginger

Pastas and pizzas have long been vegetarian staples, but restaurants like Brooklyn’s
Paulie Gee’s (pictured, above) and Portland’s Portobello Vegan Trattoria are doing their part to make pizza a vegan staple, too. Paulie Gee’s, which is right around the corner from Kickstarter’s international headquarters is worth getting there right when it opens to avoid the otherwise ever-present lines out the door.

Paulie Gee’s Vegan Pizzas Flavor Affinities:

arugula + lemon juice + nutritional yeast + olive oil
arugula + cashew ricotta + olive oil + pickled red onions
chile + garlic + olive oiil + sea salt + spinach

Enthusiasts of Japanese cuisine welcomed Manhattan’s vegan Michelin-starred restaurant
Kajitsu, which specializes in dinnertime tasting menus showcasing seasonal ingredients
such as matsutake mushrooms (which are as prized in Japanese cuisine as white truffl es are
in Italian). Lunchtime is a great value; a composed tray might feature a main dish of ramen
noodles seasoned with three different kinds of miso, or rice topped with bamboo shoots,
alongside seasonal vegetable accents and perhaps a spring roll or yuba (tofu skin) filled with
seasoned rice. Manhattan’s popular Beyond Sushi (pictured above) creates vegan sushi from ingredients such as “mighty mushrooms” served on a six-grain blend.
Beyond Sushi Flavor Affinities:

barley + black rice + brown rice + pearl barley + red rice + rye berries  (six-grain blend)
cashews + enoki mushrooms + ginger + hot pepper paste + romaine

I’ve been a fan of Manhattan’s oldest Mexican restaurant, El Parador Café, for two
decades of its fifty-five years in business. (How can you not love a restaurant whose motto
is “The answer is yes. What’s your question?”) And I discovered a year or two ago that it
offers vegan salsa upon request (its standard warm salsa is not vegetarian), along with an excellent vegetarian / vegan menu. After two decades of loving one of America’s most renowned Mexican restaurants — Chicago’s Frontera Grill — and later its sister restaurant,
Topolobampo, I was surprised to discover that the latter, too, offers a veg menu. It
blew me away — especially chef Andres Padilla’s extraordinary chayote dish, the best I’ve
ever tasted.

Mexican Flavor Affinities:

acorn squash + chayote + mole verde + pumpkin seeds
avocado + cumin + lime
cilantro + corn + cumin + onions
chocolate + cinnamon + nuts + orange + vanilla

Once you know a few flavor affinities (featured at length in THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE), you can use them to inspire your own experimentation in the kitchen.  Enjoy the journey!

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