Braised Kale, Butternut squash and coconut curry.

The Autoimmune Disease Series

I have another recipe for you today.  It is born from my trying to find interesting, non triggering, nourishing foods.  As such I bring to you: Braised kale, butternut squash and coconut curry.

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This recipe is a winner in so many ways:

  • It contains the super food turmeric, which itself contains curcumin, a potent antioxidant that gives turmeric its rich golden colour.  Turmeric is exploding in popularity in health circles as it is being credited with many cures.  It is helping people to lower pain and inflammation, fight cancer, relieve liver and gallbladder issues, heal the gut and delay the onset of diabetes.  Some have even gone so far as to say that it may have been the gold that was given to Jesus!  If you are suffering from an autoimmune or chronic disease eat this daily, or take a supplement.
  • This recipe  contains the healing trio of fat, turmeric and black pepper.  Being fat soluble, you will increase your absorption of the health boosting curcumin (in the turmeric) by cooking it with fat.  The fat will help the curcumin navigate the stomach to the small intestines and then the blood where you will gain the most benefit from it’s miraculous properties.  Taking curcumin with black pepper will increase its bio availability by 1,000 times.  So get grinding.
  • It contains the super food kale which is rammed with antioxidants.  As a green leafy vegetable it also plays host to lots of relaxing magnesium, which will help with tension and muscle aches along with promoting heart health and bone health.  Kale has beta carotene in abundance which among other benefits is known to promote a health lining of the urinary tracts, boosting urinary health.
  • Butternut squash increases the phytonutrient  whammy and something else that I haven’t mentioned yet is the significant amount of fibre, that will aid digestion, promote bile release and enhance good gut flora.
  • I use coconut oil to fry with as it has a high smoke point, avoiding the toxicity produced by damaged heated oils.  Coconut has loads of benefits too; anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral.  It also contains a unique blend of medium chain fatty acids which can be really easily absorbed into your cells.  This can make coconut oil a really useful product for diabetics.
  • I have made a recipe that leaves out the nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, chili powders, aubergines and peppers), which appear to aggravate symptoms of autoimmune disease particularly inflammation of joints.  It is also grain free and vegan.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and sliced into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander seed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin seed
  • 5 garlic cloves, sliced or crushed
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 squeeze lemon or lime juice
  • A sprinkling of pumpkin seeds
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat the coconut oil in a large pan over a medium heat.
  2. Add onion and squash with ginger, turmeric, mustard seeds, coriander and cumin.
  3. Fry gently, stirring frequently, until the onion has softened, about 10 minutes.  If the spices start to burn add a little water to the pan and keep stirring.
  4. Add the kale and garlic, stir for a minute or two and then add the coconut milk, cover and cook, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes.
  5. Serve into bowls.
  6. Add a good grind of black pepper, sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and zing it up with freshly squeezed lemon juice.

There are more ingredients in this than I would like.  I am trying to keep things simple for you.  Many of you, I know, will struggle to look at the page, let alone spend ages chopping and stirring.  I hope that my throw together method will ease things a bit.  By all means half the recipe if you wish, to cut down on chopping time (those butternut squashes can take their toll).  That said I wouldn’t recommend buying pre-chopped butternut squash, or anything else for that matter – I am trying to nourish and sustain you and the pre-packs will leave you with far less nutrients, let alone toxic compounds from anything that may have leached from the plastic packaging.

But that is a conversation for another day.

 

Gemma x

Unhelpful Foods

unhelpfulfoods

The Autoimmune Disease Series

Dump the Junk – Unhelpful Foods

In this weeks blog I will be looking at why the food choices that you make, can have a drastic effect on your overall health and well being.  By cutting out challenging foods you can give your body the best chance of recovery from disease.
 To keep it simple I will first highlight six of the worst so called food offenders in terms of health impact:
  1. Trans fats, or hydrogenated fats ( these fats are found in biscuits, cakes, pastries and ready meals.  Flax oil or olive oil served cold, and coconut oil for frying and cooking should be used when recovering from disease).
  2. Sugar (natural sugars found in fruits are fine)
  3. GM foods, genetically modified foods (Fresh and organic foods should be the only choice when recovering from disease)
  4. Refined and Processed Foods
  5. Ready Meals and Takeaways
  6. Intensively Farmed Foods 

    I am not going to deal individually with each of these items, as most of this advice is already available elsewhere.The main point that I wish to make is that the food that you eat is meant to serve a purpose;  it is meant to fulfill your daily energy requirements and provide essential nutrients that your body can’t make itself.  Your body will use these nutrients to build and repair itself and to aid in enzyme and energy production in addition to many other crucial life processes.  Eating “hollow foods” that just provide energy is simply not enough.The problem with the “off limit” items listed above, is that they are seriously lacking the nutrients that are required for your body.  Modern processing methods strip the valuable nutrients from the foods, leaving them virtually redundant in terms of providing any kind of benefit to you.  In fact your body might actually be left off worse after their consumption.

    So if we take biscuits and most breakfast cereals as an example and the sugar hit that they provide, we can see where your problems can start:

    Dr Natasha Campbell Mc Bride highlights the fact that for every glucose sugar molecule that you eat – your body requires 28 magnesium molecules just to process it.

    Our soils are already massively depleted in this essential mineral:

“Do you know that most of us today are suffering from certain dangerous diet deficiencies which cannot be remedied until depleted soils from which our food comes are brought back into proper mineral balance? The alarming fact is that foods (fruits, vegetables, grains) now being raised on millions of acres of land that no longer contain enough of certain minerals are starving us—no matter how much of them we eat.”
This was a warning given back in 1936 by  74th Congress, 2nd session, Senate document number 264.
We can see how serious this problem can get:  Poor magnesium levels in the body have been linked to heart disease, anxiety and panic attacks, PMS, asthma, bowel disease, diabetes, fatigue, nerve problems and migraines just to mention a few.Magnesium is only one example of many nutrients that we are struggling to meet our basic daily requirements for.  By eating nutrient leaching foods you will take your body further into nutrient debt, depriving your body of those all important life sustaining vitamins and minerals, the building blocks of your life.

The unhelpful foods that I listed, might not just be stripping you of valuable nutrients,  they might actually be toxic for you.  These types of foods carry poisons into your cells in the form of antibiotics, herbicides, fungicides, hormones, nitrates and other carcinogens.

Add to that the chemicals and dangerous metals that leach from the plastic and aluminium containers that many are served in and we can see how the body can become overwhelmed by the toxic cocktail that it is presented with on a daily basis.Even some elements that are crucial to your body, can become toxic if over consumed.  A good example of this is sodium which must be taken in a delicate balance with magnesium, calcium and potassium.  Over salted convenience foods and takeaways can tip this all important balance into a situation within the body, that over time can present a health crisis.

All of these food hazards place a dangerous burden on an overworked system, a system that is already crying out for help and showing signs and presenting symptoms of chronic disease.

Heated fats and oils can present a deadly hazard to your health.  Even oils on the supermarket shelves have probably been heat treated to give them a longer shelf life.  With this in mind also consider that cooked meats are also heated fats and oils and can offer a similar health concern.  Rather than nourish and sustain you these foods can damage cells and enzymes, leaving devastation and inflammation in their wake and a body that is in serious need of repair and restoration.

These types of foods can be hard for you to digest as they may not be recognised as food by your body.  The body can then struggle to process them,  challenging your liver; the organ that you rely on to breakdown and process your food and importantly help you to detoxify your blood.

When your liver struggles, so too can your all important lymphatic system which has a huge role to play in your immunity.  There is a back up of toxicity which sees your blood and lymph getting thicker and more congested, increasing your chances of pain, inflammation and infection.  The very symptoms presented by auto immune diseases.

So if you are struggling with an autoimmune or other chronic disease this is a non-negotiable, no brainer; DUMP THE JUNK.

Don’t feel that you have to get rid of everything immediately, take the time that you need to transition comfortably.  I am not making suggestions for what you can eat at this stage.  I only want to say increase your vegetables and fruit intake significantly if you know that these are areas that you fall short on.   Start to “crowd out” the undesirables.  Use some cooked and some raw.  Think vegetable soups, curries, smoothies, stews and stir fries.
Enjoy your fresh organic veggies!
Gemma x