How to Find the Healthiest Plant Foods at the Market

This is a guest post by Jenny Prince.

mineralRichAs a longtime vegan turned real foodist, incorporating meat and dairy back into my diet has been a mental struggle. I still cling pretty tightly to that idea that I can satisfy my nutritional needs without disturbing other living creatures. Beans, grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and veggies are still my go-to daily fuel.

However, as a passionate food grower, I’m well aware that many plant foods just don’t stack up nutritionally. Not because they don’t have the potential to be healthy foods, but simply because they were raised without any real attention to their nutritional outcome. I say it’s high time we, as shoppers, figure out how to compare apples to apples, just so that we can always buy the healthier apple.

What if you had a sure-fire way to identify exactly which plant foods at market were the most nutrient-dense and mineral-rich?

No problem. I can totally help you do this.

Calling on all of my experiences as a lifelong gardener and organic soil analyst, I came up with an entirely simple way of finding these nutritional superstars – and it was inspired by pure, spooky fear. Like, horror movie-style.

My girl, proudly chomping on some spinal column

My girl, proudly chomping on some spinal column

My scary story, like all good scary stories, is based on real-life events. I didn’t have a close call with a disease or spend any time in the hospital, but it was definitely a nutritional nightmare.

For three years, I kept finding body parts.

My dog and I take a lot of long walks; we visit about 6 different trails within 40 minutes of home. Over the past few years, I‘ve started to notice bones hanging from the trees everywhere we go. Big, long animal bones, usually still connected (as in femur-kneecap-tibia). I was starting to get pretty creeped out.

Finally, I decided to consult some experts about these bones. Posting in a Real Foods Facebook forum, I asked my most outdoorsy friends:
bones
I figured one of these mountain-dwelling brewers, dairy farmers, scientists, chefs, or organic gardeners would know. And guess what? Seemed like everybody knew but me. Multiple replies confirmed this magical forest tradition:

Hunters return the bones of animals to the forest to decompose. They do this just to keep the soil system rich in minerals.

Why do they care about the soil system? Because they care deeply about plant foods.

Because hunters know that removing minerals (bones) from the forest puts the entire soil system in jeopardy, they also realize that it puts the deer population at risk. If the forest is not able to produce mineral-rich plant foods, then there won’t be any deer left to hunt.

The creepy truth is that:

Plant foods cannot sustain life unless they are mineral-rich.

Now you probably see why I got myself so worked up, huh?

So, what’s the easiest way for a health-minded shopper to source mineral-rich plant foods?

Find a veggie vendor at the farmers market who also sells eggs. Really.

Then you’ll know that your veggies were grown alongside chickens and their shells (remember: animal, vegetable, mineral!). If you can’t get to a farmers market, then ask someone at the health food store if they stock produce from any ‘diversified’ farms.

mineralRichPlantFood

Diversified farming incorporates animals and vegetables together, in efforts to keep a healthy soil system. Generally speaking, the vegetables grown on diversified farms alongisde animals are often richer in minerals than other options.

Have you found a good source of high quality vegetables in your area? What makes you feel good about buying your veggies there?

smJennyJenny Prince is a professional vegetable gardener and soil mineralizer,
as well as the author of Eat Like a Farm Girl: 3-Ingredient Plant-Based Recipes.
She shares her love for all things vegetable at jennygrows.com

Home Made Coconut Ice Cream Recipes

Homemade coconut ice cream

I remember sitting in front of the screen while holding a bowl of ice cream in my lap, and feeling like the luckiest little girl in the world.

Then there were the outings to get an ice cream cone with my parents, and all the holidays in between.

Ice cream has a special place in this recovering sugar addict’s heart.

When I first discovered raw food, I was encouraged to find out that you can make healthy home made ice cream.

I played around with frozen bananas in the blender, and came up with a few varieties that tasted great… but the texture was never quite “ice cream-like” enough.

So that’s when I decided to invest in getting an ice cream maker.

Quick Ice Cream Maker Review

ice cream maker review

I did a lot of research and narrowed down my options based on Amazon’s list of ice cream maker reviews. I ended up going with this Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker, which turned out to be a super choice.

This automatic Cuisinart Pure Indulgence makes 2 quarts of frozen dessert goodness in as little as 25 minutes. The way it works is that you blend up your favorite ingredients together, and place them in the double-insulated freezer bowl.

From there, you hit the on button and the automatic mixing paddle gets the ice cream churning and freezing. The whole process is quick and clean up is easy, too!

So far, I’ve made a variety of different home made ice cream recipes, and each one has been better than the last. The first time I used the ice cream maker, I hadn’t given the mixing bowl a long enough time to freeze so the mixture didn’t become hard ice cream. It was more like a milkshake instead.

I highly recommend investing in an ice cream maker if you’re a big ice cream fan. I was concerned about adding yet another machine to my counters, but it’s been a total treat and the quality of the healthy ice creams I’v been making is just beyond!

Click here to read all the amazon reviews and see if it’s time to invest in your own ice cream maker.

Home Made Coconut Ice Cream Recipes

Now that we’ve gotten the ice cream maker review out of the way, it’s time to talk about the real food that’s going into your ice cream!

A lot of the commercially available ice creams, even the “healthy” vegan ones, are full of fillers and other “non-food” items.

Coconut milk ice cream

Making your own ice cream means that you can fully control what does into your food, and how much sugar, soy, or gluten (if any!) you’ll allow in there.

In today’s post I’ll be sharing two of my favorite home made ice cream recipes, which are both made from a coconut milk base.

You can make your own coconut milk by buying a mature coconut, breaking it open, and blending the hard coconut meat with some water. Then you just squeeze the pulp, like you would when making almond milk – through a nut milk bag.

Alternatively, you can purchase a can of coconut milk from most asian supermarkets or online.

Both options are totally cool, it’s just up to you and how much work you want to do when making your ice cream.

Blueberry Coconut Ice Cream Recipe

Blend until smooth or chunky:

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (I used frozen)
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey

Then add to your ice cream maker and follow directions for yummy blueberry coconut ice cream!

Cinnamon Coconut Ice Cream Recipe

Blend in a blender until smooth:

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 2 tablespoons raw cashew or other nut butter
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Run through your ice cream maker, and once it’s hardened, sprinkle with coconut flakes for added texture. Yum!

Experiment With More Coconut Ice Cream Recipes

Since making these two types of ice cream, I’ve also played around with a cacao / chocolate version, and a banana walnut one, too.

The basics tend to stay the same: start with some coconut milk, add your favorite fixings, blend, and turn into delicious ice cream!

Real Food Reboot

Real food rebootHi there!

It’s been awhile since I wrote to you, and a lot has been happening behind the scenes at the Raw Foods Witch and in my personal life.

Since starting this website and business in 2009 I’ve…

  • Tried every type of raw food eating plan out there
  • Done some detoxing, rebounding, and hot yoga-ing
  • Traveled across North America to attend events and learn more about food and business
  • Started a second business focused on my strengths in technology and business strategy
  • Gotten married to my incredible man Robin (you may remember him from some of the kitchen demo videos we did together)
  • Moved from Canada to New York
  • Started experimenting with new ways of eating for my body’s health

It’s truly been a whirlwind experience, and none of it would have been possible without tapping into my witchy side and starting this whole thing.

But like with everything in life, there are seasons of change.

When I started the Raw Foods Witch I was just out of college, and most of my nutrition know-how was self-taught. I had a handful of clients and I mostly wrote about my experience going from a junk-food lifestyle to a raw food one.

The website took off, and soon people were asking me about my web design skills and how to start a business online.

So I took a detour, listened to my intuition and went on to build a thriving business strategy consulting and coaching company.

Sadly, this meant that the Raw Foods Witch website and brand had to be put on hold. And it started to show some wear around the edges… I just didn’t have the time to dedicate to it anymore, and along the way I started to experiment with different ways of eating.

I realized that the biggest benefits of eating raw food were that I stopped eating processed food. I started working with a naturopathic doctor to uncover some of the symptoms I had started to develop over the years, and together we realized that my body needed more protein to balance out my sweet tooth.

I gently started eating organic, grass-fed, free-range meat and eggs. We worked together to identify what foods were causing issues, and which ones were helping me feel like an energetic 5 year old again.

The big discovery? That real food was the magic ingredient that I had known about all along, and that including a wider range of real food actually made me feel better, too.

That’s when I knew that it was time to come back to the Raw Foods Witch and lend my new-found know-how and experience back into this site.

Real Food Reboot

It’s reboot time!

And we’re rebranding to Real Foods Witch – because even though I haven’t donned my witch’s hat in awhile, I still love our carrot-flying logo, and the focus is now on real whole foods.

On the brand new Real Foods Witch website we’ll still have a ton of useful articles about staples like green smoothies and juices, real food recipes, and healthy living resources.

We’ll also be starting to publish new recipes, articles, and more books on Kindle in the weeks and months to come.

So let’s kickstart this brand reboot with a little celebration!

Head over to our newly rebranded Facebook page for a little socializing.

Thank you so much for your attention, for being here on this journey with me over the years, and for your commitment to trying something new and constantly being on the lookout for the best way to take care of yourself!

Here’s to you!
-Nathalie aka. Real Foods Witch