The Peaches and Greens Book Club

I’m starting a book club and I want you to join me.

Each month I’ll pick a book (I’m totally open to suggestions too) and we can all read along. At the end I’ll write a review and include your comments/critiques and people can chime in on the comment section if they wish!  The first book is called Lessons From the Fat-O-Sphere by Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby. And by all accounts, it’s pretty baller.
Peaches and Greens Book ClubOK, so this may not seem like the most obvious choice for a plant based nutrition blog; let me explain. In the book club I want to explore issues related to health. Physical health, mental health, and things that threaten them, and particularly those that affect women. Distorted body image is one of those things that is really common in both men and women. As part of my training in dietetics I’ve had the opportunity to work with patients who suffer from disordered eating and body dysmorphia, and have seen first hand the devastating consequences. If you’re unfamiliar with how all-consuming and debilitating eating disorders can be for sufferers then take a look at this photo essay of a bulimia sufferer. Powerful stuff. 

Now, there are lots of seriously complicated reasons as to why people develop disordered eating habits, but they are always underlined by an unhealthy body image, something that is perpetuated by the unrealistic images of rail thin women and totally ripped dudes we see in the media erryday. 

The standards that women are held to in the media is completely unacceptable. This isn’t news to any of you. But how do we change perceptions?  Well I’m not a sure and that’s exactly the reason I want to explore the issues of fat-shaming and how damaging they can be. I’m a firm believer that healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes and I’m delighted to see the upsurge in body positive media from places like Refinery 29 (who always share great fashion advice for curvy girls) and particularly their Anti-Diet Project. I’m so sick of the BS low-cal, fat phobia movement that makes people buy aerosol cans of whipped cancer to spray on their strawberries. SPOILER ALERT: That shit’s not good for you. JUST EAT REAL FOOD. If it’s coming from whole foods, who the fuck cares? I could go on and on about the medicalisation of nutrition (in fact I wrote a book chapter on the issue) but I’m not going to bore you. The point is that fattist thinking and prejudices have very real and tangible consequences and is seriously uncool. 

I don’t know much about this book yet, other than it’s supposedly hilarious. Amazon says “Lessons from the Fat-O-Sphere: From the leading bloggers in the fat-acceptance movement comes an empowering guide to body image–no matter what the scales say.” It’s also one of the top body positive books on Good Reads and seems like as good a place as any to start! I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in to this book!

What I’d love is for you to read along with me, send me your thoughts and reviews, just let me know what you think. At the end I’ll write a review post including your take on the book, along with my comments. Leave a comment below, or email me at laura@peaches-and-greens.com, or hit me up on Facebook. I got my copy of the book on iTunes to read on my iPad, but if you’re retro, you can order the book from Amazon or get it for your Kindle if you’re that way inclined (UK people, Waterstones don’t stock it, soz). You have until mid-September to send me your reviews. 

Last thing, remember my Banana-Coconut Cream Pie from last week that I entered in the Great British Bloggers Bake Off? Well I totally won! Massive thanks to Amy Liz for hosting such a fun and excellent competition. Go over and take a look at the other awesome entries

Ok this is actually the last thing, promise! Remember that secret I’ve been wanting to tell you? I’ll be revealing it soon! Can’t. Even. Wait.

 

 

The Great British Blogger Bakeoff – Banana Coconut Cream Pie with Macadamia Nut Crust

It seems only befitting that my first blog post back on British soil coincides with Amy Liz’s Great British Blogger Bake Off, which she is running to celebrate the return of The Great British Bake Off to TV this week. Now, not going to lie, never actually seen the GBBO,  (on account of not living in the country for the past seven years) but I have it on good authority (my Facebook feed) that it’s very entertaining and riddled with innuendo. So when I saw Amy’s post challenging bloggers to get their bake on, I thought why not get in on the fun? Y’know, apart from the fact that I just moved into a new flat with a sparsely equipped kitchen… 

Banana Coconut Cream Pie | Peaches and Greens

Oh and the fact that my kitchen tap has straight up forgotten how to tap and is slumped over into the sink doesn’t help matters much either. But you persevere, and despite my jank ass kitchen situation, I think this pie turned out to be not too shabby. In fact, I think it’s quite good. Here are the reasons why:

Banana Coconut Cream Pie | Peaches and Greens

The beautiful, buttery, golden brown crust is made from toasted macadamia nuts (oh and it’s gluten-free in case that’s how you roll).

Banana Coconut Cream Pie | Peaches and Greens

Then there’s a layer of freshly sliced banana (those darker ones are from teeny-tiny mini bananas, so cute I couldn’t not buy them). Also, who doesn’t love a good ‘nana?? 

Banana Coconut Cream Pie | Peaches and Greens

OK, this is where things really start to get exciting. I don’t even know what to call this, it’s like some kind of coconut, caramel, custard-y stuff of dreams. 

Banana Coconut Cream Pie | Peaches and Greens

Then I made the pie fancy as hell. Toasted coconut flakes, freshly sliced bananas, and shaved dark chocolate. 

SOLD!! Amiright? 

Oh yeah, and 100% plant based, gluten free ingredients, because that’s how much I love you. You’re welcome. 

Banana Coconut Cream Pie | Peaches and Greens

Alright, confession time. The first iteration of this pie was an aboslute shitshow. I made the stupid mistake of blending the bananas into the custard and then heating it up with the cornflour to thicken it. Well, anyone who knows, well anything really, about baking knows that bananas will turn a putrid shade of bleh when heated. This resulted in a rather delicious tasting filling that was a fugly shade of grey, somewhere between concrete and  lead. Not appetizing. It was perfectly edible but aint nobody wanna see that up in hurr so I had to do it all again (I nipped out to get more macadamia nuts for round two and now the guy at the nut stall in the market now thinks I’m a total loon for buying half a kilo of macadamias within 24 hours). 

Luckily the second version turned out to be pretty eff’n great. Also, it’s a bonus that it’s not made with a shitton of crisco or whatever the hell else insane ingredients are usually in pies. 

Banana Coconut Cream Pie with Macadamia Nut Crust
Print
For the crust
  1. 2 C raw macadamia nuts
  2. 1/2C rice flour
  3. 3T Coconut Nectar
  4. 3T Coconut Oil
  5. Pinch Salt
For the filling
  1. 2 ripe bananas
  2. 1 can coconut milk (room temp)
  3. 1/2C coconut nectar
  4. 1/2C almond milk
  5. 2t vanilla extract
  6. pinch of salt
  7. 1/4C cornflour/starch
To decorate
  1. 1C shredded coconut
  2. Sliced banana (or other fresh fruit)
  3. Dark chocolate
For the crust
  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C/150*F. Place nuts on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and toast for about 8 minutes in the oven. Keep an eye on them so they don't get too golden as you'll bake them again when you cook the crust. Once the nuts have cooled, transfer them to a food processor and pulse until you get a fine, crumb-like texture. You may need to scrape the sides down a few time to achieve this. Add the macadamia nut meal, rice flour, coconut oil, coconut nectar, and salt to a mixing bowl and stir all together until a dough forms. Turn the dough out into a lightly oiled pie dish and press the dough down into the dish. The crust should be thinner along the bottom and a bit thicker up the sides. Poke several holes in the bottom on the crust with a fork and then bake uncovered for 12-15 mins until golden brown, turning 180* half way through. Don't let it get too dark or let it burn (14 mins was perfect for me in a convection oven). While the oven is still hot, you might want to toast the coconut and then save it for putting on the top of the pie later on. Spread coconut on a baking sheet and toast until lightly browned (around 6 mins).
  2. Allow pie crust to cool completely. Set coconut aside.
For the filling
  1. While the crust is cooling you can begin to prepare the filling. Add all of the ingredients except the cornstarch to a medium sized pan and whisk thoroughly (I actually ran mine through the food processor to make sure there were no lumps but I think that was unnecessary). Heat the pan on medium heat until the mixture gets warm before adding the cornflour. Carefully whisk the mixture so as the cornflour doesn't get all lumpy. Keep whisking frequently until the mixture gets nice and thick, around 7 minutes (it may take a little more or less depending on how hot you have it, just keep an eye on it).
  2. Slice the fresh bananas and arrange them at the bottom of the pie crust before pouring the over the top until bananas are completely covered. Allow to cool for a little while before transferring to the fridge to finish setting up.
Decorate
  1. I layered the coconut straight on top of the filling, and then placed fresh banana slices on top and finished by grating some dark chocolate over everything. Feel free to add different fruit, chocolate chips, or even nuts to the top.
Notes
  1. I imagine you could replace the bananas in this with just about any fruit you fancy, Strawberries would be an excellent choice!
  2. If you can't find coconut nectar you could probably use agave or maple syrup, you just might want to adjust the amount depending on sweetness.
Peaches and Greens http://peaches-and-greens.com/
Banana Coconut Cream Pie | Peaches and Greens

One last borderline-gratuitous photo! 

Thanks to Amy for hosting this fun competition. Head over to Amy’s blog to see the other entries of the Great British Blogger Bake Off and check back on Monday to find out who won! Also give Amy’s Facebook a like to keep up with her awesome blog (I particularly recommend her Weekend Link Love posts – always something really interesting to dig into, and she’s a fantastic writer!). 

One last little thing before I leave you for the week. I’ve been in Leeds for a whole eight days now. I’m pretty smitten with the place (although I can’t with the rain) but my absolute favourite part so far is the message someone had written in the ladies’ toilet in a pub (a relatively nice one too) that simply read “Hey up, bollocks”. I. Totally. Lost. My. Crap. Yorkshire FTW \o/ 

Has baking fever struck you too? What will you be baking this weekend?

Be well,

Laura xx

So…what’s next?

Those of you who know me IRL, and those of you who keep up with the blog on the reg probably know by now that I’m MOVING TO ENGLAND! Like, today. In Fact, when this post publishes, I’ll be flying across the Atlantic ocean. These past two weeks have been insane (you think moving within a city is bad, try moving CONTINENTS!) so it’s only now sinking in what’s about to happen. Feeling all the feels; sad to leave my ‘Mercan friends, but so unbelievably excited to be reunited with old friends and to be closer to my family. I’m scared and nervous but can’t wait for my new adventure to begin!

So, what exactly am I going to do when I get to England you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. From September I’ll be back at Uni studying dietetics to ultimately become qualified as a dietitian. Lololol yes, more education. The obvious next question is why do I need to study dietetics if I already have a PhD in nutrition? Well essentially I am missing the clinical practice hours required to become an accredited dietitian. This limits me to only being able to work with healthy people who are looking to make diet and lifestyle changes, but not with people who have a diet-related condition or disease. Having this credential will allow me to work with people who may need my help the most!

BUT that’s not all. I have a couple of super-secret but super-badass blog-related projects that I can’t wait to share with you! Not today though, but soon, promise!

Back to Blighty Bar | Peaches and Greens

I have too many excellent memories of my time in the US to name them all but here are a few highlights: Bumping into Jenny Lewis and Mike Mogis in a car park in Omaha, NE after a Rilo Kiley show, a private Neva Dinova show in the back of a tour bus in ATX (both of those were with the same friend from Scotland who I can’t even wait to see when I get back), every SXSW, but especially the one where Elizabeth from Summer Camp told me I was pretty, and we sang louder than the band at a Slow Club show (again, with aforementioned friend), road trips to Canada, Friday afternoon vampire dancing in the lab (don’t ask), stealing cowboy hats from poor unsuspecting cowboys while decidedly not two-steppin’, summer afternoons by the pool that turned into summer nights by the pool, raiding the horticulture garden on campus for fresh melons (and all associated Comm Garden activities), and so, so many more. If you know me, please add your favourite memories of our time together in US and A! (keep it clean guys!). 

To celebrate my triumphant return to the UK I made these (incredibly delicious) ‘Back to Blighty’ bars. They’re a riff on the Vbars I fell in love with in California earlier this year, but are potentially even tastier! I made a few test batches and neither of them last very long around my friends! They’re literally the easiest things in the world to make too. 

Back to Blighty Bar | Peaches and GreensBack to Blighty Bar | Peaches and Greens

 

Back To Blighty Bars
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1CAlmond butter (I used raw)
  2. 1/2C Maple syrup
  3. 1t vanilla extract
  4. pinch of salt
  5. 3/4C Shredded coconut
  6. 2C Puffed brown rice
  7. 1/2 Cup dried berries (I used unsweetened goji and aronia)
Instructions
  1. In a blender or food processor, combine almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla, and sea salt. In a large bowl combine coconut, rice, and berries, then pour the almond butter mixture on top. Don't worry about crushing the rice puffs, that will actually help them stick together a bit better. Press the mixture down with the back of a spoon into a 9x9 baking tin that has been lined with parchment paper. Let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour. Lift the mixture out of the pan using the parchment paper and cut into squares or rectangular bar shapes - totally up to you.
Peaches and Greens http://peaches-and-greens.com/
 

Back to Blighty Bar | Peaches and Greens

Don’t forget to leave a comment with one or two of your favourite memories of us in America from the past 7 years! I’ll look forward to reading them when I land, but for now, I’ve got a plane to catch. America, it’s been real, but it’s time to go home.
Laura xo

Summer Salad Idea

Hey kiddos. I can’t believe I’m moving to England NEXT WEEK. Crazy! Anyway, since I still have an indecent amount of packing left to do I wanted to keep this post brief. I’m really excited to share this inspiration for a summer salad though; it’s based on a salad I had for dinner at a local restaurant which I decided to try and replicate; it turned out to be pretty sensational! Oh and super easy!

Berry Nice! | Peaches and GreensBerry Nice! | Peaches and Greens

I got most of what I needed for the salad from the farmers’ market \o/ I really love how light and fresh tasting this salad is. Straight up a perfect summer dish.

Berry Nice! | Peaches and GreensBerry Nice! | Peaches and Greens

Here’s what you need to do:

Cucumber - Berry - Mint Salad
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 small cucumber, sliced
  2. Juice of one lemon
  3. 2t apple cider vinegar
  4. 1T maple syrup
  5. Blueberries, raspberries, handful of each
  6. 20 large mint leaves (use more of the little baby ones)
  7. Walnuts
Instructions
  1. Combine lemon juice, ACV, and maple syrup and pour over cucumber slices, let flavours meld for one hour up to overnight. Drain cucumber and arrange on two little plates or in a bowl (save the dressing). Add berries and walnuts on top and garnish with mint, drizzle with the remaining dressing.
Notes
  1. You can use candied walnuts if you fancy. I used Emmy's sprouted walnuts with coconut sugar on them but I think you can only get them in Ithaca :-/ You could also toast the walnuts if you feel so inclined!
Peaches and Greens http://peaches-and-greens.com/
Plumot| Peaches and Greens
Also, did you see me post this to my Instagram earlier this week? If you guessed it was a pluot you were correct! It’s a cross between a plum and an apricot and it has beautiful ruby red flesh. It also tastes amazing so if you see them in the shop I recommend picking some up! GIT YOU SUM!
Hoping to write a post with more details of my move and my next steps soon (including some really big and really exciting news!), until then, be well!
Laura xx

JUICE, there it is.

Bitches LOVE their juice cleanses. Except, juice cleanses are something that some marketing asshole made up, and we fell for it. Hard. Yup, yet another case of bro-science, or whatever the equivalent is for the basics

Juice isn’t some magical elixir that will remove toxins from your liver. The only way to ‘detox’ is to not eat/drink crap in the first instance, or you know, at least try and minimise it. So why then do people claim to feel “AH-MAY-ZING” after doing a juice cleanse or detox or whatever? It’s probably because they’ve stopped binge-drinking and rehydrated with actual water instead of some weird artificially sweetened cancer bomb. Or their headaches have disappeared because they’re not  strung out on caffeine. Or maybe they say they’re not so bloated, but it’s because they’re not filling their pie hole with, well…pie. I know it’s not glamorous, but eating a sensible diet and living a healthy lifestyle are the best ways to avoid needing rehab in the first place.

Juice! | Peaches and Greens

That said, there may be some benefits to drinking juices as part of a healthy diet, like increasing the bioavailability (basically how easy it is for your body to get the nutrients from food) of certain nutrients like, beta-carotene, beet juice may help improve athletic performance, and kale juice may stimulate the immune system and reduce cardiovascular disease risk factors.  

Because fruit and vegetable juices can be high in natural sugar, there some concern that they may increase the risk for type 2 diabetes. I had a look at the scientific literature and there’s a bunch of conflicting studies. For instance, this study from Japan found that drinking juice was not a determinant of whether men and women got the diabeetus, but this one from the states did! So science still has some sciencing to do to figure this whole thing out. To do this though, they need to ask the right questions. How does juice affect blood sugar levels in someone who eats a healthy diet vs a shitty one? Do fruit and vegetable juices affect blood sugar differently? What about if it’s a blend of fruit and vegetable juice, and lastly, what if you’re eating juice with a meal? 

Smoothies on the other hand are less controversial and have been shown to improve nutrient concentrations in the blood while keeping blood sugar from going cray

So what does that mean, well here are the things I think about when I juice. Juice is now a verb. 

*Don’t drink the stuff that comes from concentrate or the kind of shit that would survive the nuclear holocaust. I only drink 100% fresh-pressed fruit and vegetable juice.

*Juices are NOT a substitute for whole foods or meals. I recommend drinking juice alongside a bowl of oatmeal or a piece of fruit.

*If you want to drink juice on the reg, opt for fruits and veg that aren’t super sweet: spinach, cucumber, celery, ginger, parsley, lemon etc…

*Cool your jets when it comes to very sweet juices, ones that are primarily fruit based like the recipe I’m sharing here. Only drink these in moderation.

*If you want to go bananas with the fruit (not sorry) then opt for smoothies, the fibre will help keep your blood sugar levels stable. 

*Add greens to your smoothies for an extra burst of nutrition. Spinach and cucumber are mild tasting and a good place to start if you’re a bit scared.

Juice! | Peaches and Greens

This juice was inspired by a juice I had while in Milwaukee a few weeks ago. It’s super refreshing; the lime cuts the sweetness and makes it nice and tart.  

Laura 2
My friend was taking my photograph and I apparently found it hysterical and lost my shit!

Juice, there it is.
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 Medium red beet
  2. 2 Red apples (I used Gala)
  3. 8 Strawberries
  4. 3T Lime juice
Instructions
  1. Juice the beet, apples and strawberries in your juicer and then add the lime juice from freshly squeezed limes. Serve over ice if preferred.
Adapted from From this place in Wisconsin
Adapted from From this place in Wisconsin
Peaches and Greens http://peaches-and-greens.com/
 
Juice! | Peaches and Greens
Enjoy!
Laura xx

That’s My Jam – July Edition

Hey guys! Preparation for moving back to the UK is in FULL SWING. Man moving is the worst. But when you’re moving to another country it’s the absolute worst! I have a tendency to get pretty wound up and anxious with big changes like this so I’m trying to do what I can to squish my inner anxious girl! I’ve basically been drinking this stuff  to help me calm the eff down (actually just putting a few drops on my pillow or in a diffuser, but you know).

When I get stressed like this I need to take lots of time and space to clear my head. This can be really hard when people all around you are vying for your attention and filling your head with their problems/negativity. So, I’ve developed a few coping strategies to help me deal when I’m feeling a bit frazzled like this. First of all, I’m not above ignoring people who bum me out with their shit. We all have friends like that, the ones who complain incessantly and generally have a negative vibe. Most of the time I’m happy to listen and help them talk through their crap, but sometimes you have to be a bit selfish and ignore their calls. At least until you no longer feel like you’re being mentally tasered.

Equally, if you feel like you need to be around people, surround yourself with people who lift you up and want to help get you through your rough patch. I had a great friend give me a little pep talk the other day and it was basically along the lines of “you do you, put yourself first and don’t worry about all those other bitches”. I needed that.

Lastly, practice self-love. No, no, not that kind of self-love. Well, maybe that kind if that’s what works for you. Perhaps I should rephrase? Ok, how about this: be kind to yourself. Better, no? When I’m under pressure or freaking out about something, it’s even more important for me to practice healthy habits. For me that means setting myself a bed time (and sticking to it), exercising/moving my ass, eating properly (duh), and staying hydrated. All of these things help me from totally losing my shit and turning into a basket case. So in the spirit of being kind to oneself, I’ve compiled a list of things I’m vibing on right now that are making this challenging transition a little more pleasant! 


That's My Jam | Peaches and Greens

As you can see here I also got my haircut because having someone pamper you is scientifically proven to reduces stress. I assume. Side note: my hairdresser straight-up asked me who I was having sex with. Is this a thing hairdressers are doing now? We weren’t even talking about dudes! What the hell man?

That's My Jam | Peaches and Greens

1. Reed’s Culture Club Kombucha. I’m a bit of a kombucha aficionado and am quite concerned about the current state of affairs in the UK vis-à-vis good quality kombucha; last time I visited the only stuff I could find tasted filthy and basically bankrupt me. Point is, I’m trying to get my kombucha fix while I can. I used to think that GT’s was the epitome of the cultured beverage world but then I became a member of the club and have never looked back. Ginger Hibiscus is clearly the best (because flowers, duh and or hello), but honestly, they’re all pretty solid. There are debates about how good kombucha is for you; it’s obviously not going to cure cancer but in my experience it does help settle your tummy if you’re feeling ropey and helps bring you back to life if you’re feeling under the weather. Give it a try if you haven’t already!

2. Coconut Secret Coconut Aminos. Here’s another thing I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get my hands on in the UK (can someone do some recon and get back to me please?). Maybe I’ll pack a few bottles just to be safe. Essentially, coconut aminos are a soy-sauce substitute made from coconuts that are exponentially better than soy sauce. They’re a little sweet, a little salty, a bit sassy. Oh and, they have 65% less salt than soy sauce. The same friend who gave me the pep talk I mentioned earlier practically infuses this stuff straight into her veins. Yup, it’s that good. I splash mine over my salad, grains, veggies and I’m pretty sure they’d make an excellent dipping sauce (on it!). Gotta try this one too.

3. Apparently August is National Peach Month, but IDGAF, I’m eating peaches now and LOVING THEM. So far I’ve just been eating them as is, but I plan on getting fancy with some peach salsa real soon. I also puréed some for bellini ice lollies I made for my going away party this weekend. Peaches have a really high water content and are considered to have a mildly laxative effect and can help keep you regular! Although, all bets are off when you start mixing them with prosecco. 

That's My Jam | Peaches and Greens

 

I nommed that peach so hard after I took this pic (also note the alternate presentation of the fringe, do we like?).

4. Produce Candles – Melon. About 2 weeks ago I had a little accident in Anthropologie and walked out with this top (which I adore) and this candle (among other things). I justify this by reminding myself I have a birthday coming up (not even a little bit valid). Anyway, I spent around 20 mins sniffing all the candles in the shop and came to the conclusion that this was the best. It’s a beautiful, fresh scent that makes me a little hungry and reminds me of long summer days in TX when I’d pick a melon straight from the garden and eat it while it was still warm from the sun. Perfect. 

5. Edible flowers are everywhere at the moment. But mostly they’re in my salads (and the aforementioned bellini ice lollies). Check out this handy little guide below from Pure Green Mag and git yoo sum!

Edible Flowers

6. Coco Hydro is basically coconut water that has been dehydrated and powdered. Reconstitute it with water or blend it into your smoothies or juice. It’s around $10 for a bag but lasts ages and is way cheap compared to the equivalent amount of coconut water. Good for getting your electrolytes on while you’re having a summer fling or whatever you kids are up to these days.

7. BONUS: I can’t get enough of this song, It’s so sweet and lovely and adorable and the video is beyond cute. Feel free to serenade me with it.

So, how do you cope when you’re going through a stressful episode? Do you indulge in a spot of retail therapy? Maybe you work it out at the gym. Leave me a comment and let me know how you stay cool. I recently read this post from Yes and Yes via Amy Liz and it has some great tips for looking after you! 

I have an AWESOME juice recipe to share with you next week, until then, be well!

Laura

The Science of the Yams

Hey boo! I’m a little late posting this week because I’ve been at a conference in Wisconsin (lolwtfidk) for work. Anyway, I wanted to get this bad boy up before the 4th incase anyone was looking for inspiration for a potluck dish. Sorry it doesn’t exactly scream ‘Merca but I give zero fucks about this holiday (also this for some lols). It also makes a really yummy brunch alongside my tempeh scramble from last week. Speaking of which, I was pretty floored by the positive feedback from that post (both VegNews Mag and Vegansaurus showed serious love on Twitter, cheers lads!) and I’ve had countless people telling me they need to check their soy habits! And that’s EXACTLY what my blog is all about; empowering,  supporting, and (hopefully) inspiring people to make healthy changes! \o/ 

Science of the Yams | Peaches and Greens

 Alright, enough of the heart on, back to business. When people ask me what they should eat, one simple thing I like to tell them is to choose things with lots of colour; that’s pretty simple right? Side note: I once received an email from a lady who had bumped into my mum in the supermarket and they got talking about nutrition for one reason or another. Apparently my mum told the lady about my blog and told her to eat more colourful varieties of fruits and veg! Moral of the story 1) my mum is a baller 2) eat a goddamn rainbow. The logic here is pretty simple – more colour –> more variety –> more nutrients. Got it? Cool.

So, what does that mean in practical terms? Well, it could mean going for a red onion or red cabbage instead of the white versions. Same for grapes. Going for deeper, darker shades of greens instead of iceberg. And it certainly holds true for sweet potatoes over white ones.

Now, I don’t mean to vilify any food, and I’m not into scaremongering BUT, there’s some research to indicate that white potatoes may not be the best for you. They contain a group of chemicals called glycoalkaloids which are natural insecticides to help protect the plant from getting eaten by bugs, and are suspected to be toxic to humans (by causing GI irritation and nervous system problems). I’d like to stress that the evidence on this isn’t conclusive but it suggests you may want to cool it with the white spuds. Again, what are the practical implications here? Try swapping out your regular old potatoes for sweet potatoes! 

Sweet potatoes are considered to be one of the most healthy foods ever!  They be rich in dietary fibre, beta-carotene (the precursor to vitamin A), complex carbs, vitamin C, vitamin B, as well as being a respectable source of calcium. Also, people who eat a lot of beta-carotene containing foods have been shown, by actual science, to be total baes, because they by give the skin a golden glow. P.S. You can’t fake it using supplements, so don’t even bother! I eat a sweet potatoes most days for breakfast, which is probably why I’m so fine… Whaaa…?

Science of the Yams | Peaches and Greens

This recipe calls for a little oil, something I tend to avoid because it adds unnecessary calories without nutrients, that said, you really need it in this recipe to stop the potatoes sticking. If you really wanted to avoid using oil, you could sautée the peppers in water/broth along with the spice mix and then add everything to the cooked potatoes. I haven’t tried this though so not sure how it’d turn out.

Science of the Yams | Peaches and Greens

Serve the hash with this ‘Blurred Limes’ crema to take the heat off. Coconut milk, avocado, and lime. You won’t be disappointed. 

Science of the Yams | Peaches and Greens

Spicy Sweet Potato Hash and Blurred Limes Crema
Print
Blurred Limes Crema
  1. 1 very ripe avocado
  2. 1 can coconut milk
  3. 2T lime juice
  4. 1t lime zest
  5. 1t apple cider vinegar (more to taste)
  6. Salt
  7. 2-3T chives to garnish/stir in
  8. Sweet Potato Hash;
  9. 2 medium sweet potatoes, par boiled for around 7 mins
  10. A little coconut oil
  11. Spice mix (I used 1/4t chipotle, 1t cumin, 1t paprika, 1T oregano - but use what you fancy!)
  12. Salt
  13. Red and yellow peppers, deseeded and diced
  14. Chives (chopped) and chive flowers to garnish
For the crema
  1. Add all ingredients, except chives, to blender and process until smooth. Garnish with chives.
For the hash
  1. Heat a little coconut oil in a cast iron skillet, add spice mixture and salt to oil (this will help coat the potatoes) and stir for 30s. Add the potatoes and sautée for 5 mins until golden over a medium heat. Move potatoes to one side of the pan and then toss in peppers, you want to cook them just long enough to get the raw taste out of them but so that they are still firm and then combine them with the potatoes. Garnish and enjoy!
Notes
  1. You want the sweet potatoes to be par boiled until mostly softened but with a bit of bite to them so they don't fall apart in your skillet.
  2. You could add other veggies here too, like broccoli florets or some greens!
Peaches and Greens http://peaches-and-greens.com/
 

Science of the Yams | Peaches and Greens

I found these edible chive flowers at the farmers’ aren’t they festive?

What healthy treats do you have planned for this holiday weekend? I have a couple of test recipes in the works that I’m hoping to perfect so I can share them with you, lovely friends!

Be well,
Laura xx

“Soy Will Give Me Man Boobs” and Other Bro-Science

People cast a lot of shade on soy but I’m not even totally sure that they know what they’re talking about. Today, I’d like to set the record straight. This is a lengthy post, but I hope you find it useful and it helps answer some questions. Please share it with people who may be confused by the whole soy situation and need a little clarity.

Tempeh Scramble | Peaches and Greens

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about soy; some claim that it’s real bad for you and that if you eat too much of it you’ll grow a second head. Others say it’s a ‘superfood’ that can cure whatever ails ya. My opinions about soy lie somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. Here’s a quick list of questions I put together based on what I hear the common concerns are with soy. And yes, a bro at Cornell did ask me if soy would give him boobs. Hit me up in the comments section if you have more questions and I’ll add ‘em in.

What are the benefits of eating soy?

Here’s what we know: diets high in soy are protective against breast cancer in women. They appear to also help protect against breast cancer recurrence in survivors and increase survival rate. And like, there are a shit ton of studies that show this. There’s also some evidence linking it with lower cholesterol levels. It can also help reduce symptoms of menopause (so you can focus on being hawt and not hot), and can reduce the risk of osteoporosis. It may also be protective against other forms of cancer, like endometrial cancer. Pretty. F’in. Sweet.   

Are some types of soy better than others?

Prolly so. Just like with any food, the more processed it is, and the less it looks like its natural form, the less of it you want to eat. So, you probably want to give soy nuggets (even just typing that made me gag) a body swerve. Same goes for other fake soy meats (that are made using this highly disturbing process, in case you wondered). Look out for ‘hydrolysed soy protein’ on food labels too. Aside from the fact that it’s highly processed, that shit has hella glutamate in it and can be a particular problem for people with MSG sensitivities. 

Tofu and soy milk are the middle ground here, in that they are minimally processed. Soy milk is just soy beans (edamame) that have been boiled, blended up with water, and strained. The liquid part becomes the soy milk, and the solids that are left over usually just get thrown away. This is no different than how you make any other nut, seed, or grain milk. The problem I have with soy milk is not the stuff you make at home, but the commercial stuff you buy at the shop that has weird shit added to it. Read this post for more on that. If you want to make your own soy milk, then go for it. Tofu is just soy milk that has been set using a coagulant, and depending on which one they use, it can actually be a pretty good source of calcium (look for brands set with calcium chloride). 

The best sources of soy, and the least processed, are edamame and tempeh. Edamame are straight up soy beans. Tempeh is a whole bunch of fancy soy beans that have been fermented into a little cake. Unlike tofu, tempeh is made using the whole soy bean. There’s some evidence to suggest that tempeh may be nutritionally superior to edamame because the fermentation  process makes the soy more digestible AND gives it antimutagenic properties (i.e. no growing a second head). Fermenting also has the benefit of reducing phytic acid, a compound that’s present in plant foods that can interfere with the absorption of some minerals in the gut. One last quick note r.e. ‘fu, pick sprouted tofu if you can get your filthy little paws on it because it also has lower levels of phytic acid \0/

Soy suppresses thyroid function, amiright?

Not exactly, soy does indeed have a ‘goitrogenic’ effect in people with marginal iodine deficiency. But so do cruciferous veg like broccoli, as well as flax seed. The answer here is not to avoid these healthy foods but to make sure you have optimal iodine intake: good sources include sea vegetables (kelp, and dulse for example), and strawberries. Failing that, table salt in the US is iodized, just don’t use this an excuse to go cray with the salt shaker.

How much is too much?

So just like with anything, you can have too much of a good thing. A diet that’s really, really. really high in soy can increase the levels of insulin-like growth hormone (IGF-1). This compound is a total bummer and causes cancer and ageing. It’s bad news. BUT, and I want this to be very clear, you have to eat a massive amount of soy for this to be an issue.  We don’t know the exact amount that will cause problems, but we can safely say that anywhere below 5 servings of soy foods PER DAY won’t do any harm at all (and it’s actually kinda hard to reach 5 servings per day). I personally think that’s too high for other reasons; eating too much soy can also lead to sensitivities or even allergies. Also, if you’re eating that much soy, then you’re probably not eating other healthy things, you need to get some variety up in there. I’d recommend no more than a couple of servings per week.

But, I’m a dude?

I hear ya bro, you’re worried about growing boobs, or becoming infertile. It’s because dumb people work in the media and like to scaremonger with headlines like “Eating Soy Decreases Sperm Count”. Truth is eating soy doesn’t decrease your sperm count. BUT. It increases your ejaculate volume. So although the concentration is lower, the total number of swimmers stays the same. Plus, what lady isn’t impressed with a large ejaculate volume? As as for the boob thing, total bro-science, you’re not gonna get boobs dude. Lastly, and most importantly, there’s some pretty compelling evidence that soy foods can help prevent prostate cancer.

That’s a lot to digest, so here’s a handy little guide.

* Avoid highly processed soy foods/ingredients like fake meats

* Choose fermented versions of soy like miso, tempeh, and soy sauce for best nutrition

* If you’re really into tofu then get the sprouted variety 

* Don’t overdo it: you don’t need soy up in your business every single day. Mix it up with other beans and legumes and limit soy to a couple of portions per week

* Opt for organic and non-GMO varieties where poss

 Now for the fun part! FOOD. 

Roasted Tomatoes | Peaches and Greens

Roasted Tomatoes | Peaches and GreensTempeh Scramble | Peaches and GreensTempeh Scramble | Peaches and Greens
 

 
When I posted this pic on Insta, you guys went mad for it! Glad to finally share the recipe with you! What you need to know is that this recipe makes for a baller weekend brunch, but the leftovers also works well cold as a summer lunch or dinner alongside a lovely green salad. The recipe calls for tempeh but you could sub tofu if you fancied.

Roasted Tomato, Kale and Herb Tempeh Scramble
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1.5 C cherry tomatoes, halved
  2. Vegetable broth
  3. 1 sweet onion, chopped
  4. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 3T fresh herbs, finely chopped
  6. 2 packages organic tempeh, grated with a cheese grater
  7. 1T unsweetened dairy-free milk (I used coconut)
  8. 2-3 T nutritional yeast
  9. 2 cups Kale (I used mixed curly/lacinto/purple), destemmed and finely chopped.
  10. Hot sauce for serving
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 200*C/400*F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place tomatoes cut side up on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a very light coating of coconut oil (I used the spray version). Pop in the oven and roast for 30 mins or so. Give them a little stir halfway through.
  2. While the tomatoes are roasting, heat a little vegetable broth in a cast-iron skillet over a medium heat, probably around, 1/2 C or so. Have more to hand incase you need to deglaze the pan. Once the broth is simmering, add onions and cook for 7-10 minutes until translucent and slightly browned, adding more broth as necessary. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add the herbs and tempeh and mix well. Allow to cook through for a few minutes before adding the milk and nutritional yeast. Stir in the chopped kale and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the freshly roasted tomatoes just before serving (you might want to keep a few to garnish with if you're serving straight from the skillet like I did in the pics above). Add a few glugs of hot sauce and enjoy!
Notes
  1. I made mine with oregano, rosemary, and sage, because that's what was available at the Farmers' market that day but you could use whichever ones you prefer.
  2. To get the kale into such teeny tiny pieces, I add it to my vitamix while the blades are running and it smashes it up into kale confetti for me. Can probably also be done in a normal blender.
Adapted from Edible Perspective
Peaches and Greens http://peaches-and-greens.com/
 Tempeh Scramble | Peaches and Greens

Thanks for all the love on last week’s post. Not sure if it was the lists or the shameless selfies you liked more, but expect another edition of ‘That’s my Jam’ next month!
Be well,
Laura xx

That’s My Jam – June Edition

This month’s edition of That’s My Jam  pays homage to the early days of summer and the easy, carefree(ish) vibe that comes with the longer days and the warm sun. I sprinkled a little of my beauty faves in this list since this is, after all, supposed to be a lifestyle blog. Also, full disclaimer/warning: THERE ARE SEVERAL PHOTOS OF ME IN THIS POST. I *despise* having my photograph taken, because, well, who isn’t self conscious about that kind of thing? BUT 1) people have asked to see more of me in my blog (in the literal sense) and 2) I’m trying to give less of a fuck about what people think of my appearance and just keep doing me. So here I am, like it or not. Expect more of the same in the future!  

June Jams

 Here’s what’s jammin’ this month:

1. John Masters Organics Sea Mist. I have really shitty hair. No volume or texture, straight as an arrow, and finer than frog hair. Doesn’t really matter how I style it, it more or less always looks the same. I also get super anxious when I go anywhere near the beauty section of big shops and retreat pretty quickly before the deluge of products induces a full on panic attack (the struggle is real). So, you see the conundrum here, yes? I would rather deal with crappy tresses than drown in a sea of hair products. Lucky for me then that I spied this sea salt spray in my local coop (it’s like 2 aisles of beauty stuff, about the max I can deal with). It had got some decent reviews online, so I figured I’d give it a bash. Turns out I love it! Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you’re going to get Gisele style beachy waves here but you’ll certainly have a bit more going on in the hurr department. Oh, and best part is, it has 3 ingredients: water, sea salt, and lavender. No weird chemical shitshow here thanks. AND I feel like I’m getting my beach bum on!

2. Rosebud Salve. So yeah, I found this in a clothes boutique. Didn’t even have to go into Sephora’s sadistic World of Suffering for this one. I thought the tin was cute, so I bought it, because that is obviously a solid barometer for gauging how good it will be. My instincts didn’t disappoint though. Again super simple, cruelty-free ingredients that smell like flowers and heaven. Here’s a picture of me modeling it while pulling a silly face. As you can see, it’s a very pretty but subtle rose pink, and has a texture similar to vaseline. It can be used as a mosturiser and to tame flyaway hairs. Also useful for styling eyebrows if that’s your thing. Check out the full list of uses on the website (link above). I like it because it’s 

TMJ

3. Peonies. I have very strong opinions when it comes to flowers. I maintain that every house should have fresh flowers. It’s just good for the overall vibe of a home. I also believe in buying flowers for yourself. I don’t believe in giving flowers as an apology because I don’t want to associate them with whatever dick move is being apologised for every time I look at them. Better strategy: don’t be an asshole in the first place. I also buy into the whole colour of flowers symbolism too, but whatever, I’m weird like that and I’m OK with it. Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s talk about peonies. Definitely in my top 10 flowers. In China, they’re known as the flowers of riches and honour. They’re in bloom at the moment in Ithaca so I’ve been getting a fresh bunch every week for my apartment. There’s also row of peony bushes on my cycling route to the lake; you can smell them way before you see them and it’s divine (smells like the rosebud salve if you need a point of reference!). Here’s a picture of me with a peony in my hair, just for fun.

Laura and Peony

4. Strawberries! This is really self-explanatory. Strawberries are in season. They’re delicious. I’m going to pick some at the weekend and make some strawberry ice lollies because it’s hella hot up in here! Strawbs are high in quercetin, a natural allergy reliever, and can help reduce symptoms of eczema, asthma, and hay-fever . Also good for bruises,  and varicose veins.  Oh, and one last one, it helps reduce arthritis symptoms. Snack on berries, put them in your salad, make a tasty and healthy frozen treat (sans added sugar), so many ways to enjoy!

5. Dang Coconut Chips. Despite the unfortunate name, these are to die for! Sweet and salty with a little crunch that melts into creamy coconut bliss in your mouth. Good luck trying not to eat them all at once. Oh and, simple ingredients: coconut and salt (a little coconut sugar if you get the salted caramel ones, but they taste the same as the original ones if you ask me!). I got these while I was in Buffalo; unfortunately I can’t find them in the Ith. Trader Joe’s also has their own (lesser) version, but they add in superfluous shit, and aren’t as crunchy as the Dang ones. I like to eat these straight out of the bag as an alternative to dried fruit, but I also like them on salad or on top of a baked sweet potato. So coconut, much healthy.

6. Vbar. These bars are basically just little puffs of brown rice nestled in a blanket of sunbutter, with various nuts, seeds, and fruit thrown in. Sometimes chocolate chips or carob when they’re feeling fancy. Basically, all things that are good and decent are in this bar. In addition to what they have, it’s important to note what they don’t have: these are sans soy, there’s no weird gmo stuff going on, and they don’t have the glutes. It’s everything I’ve been looking for in a granola bar, so obvs you can only get them in California. If you’re lucky enough to have access to these, then consume with abandon. Otherwise, wait until I post my version of these. I made a test batch last week and I’m pleased to report they turned out not too shabby at all. Another batch or two and I should have the recipe down.

7. Myer Farm Gin. Another purchase made solely on pretty packaging (I’m such a sucker for good packaging!). My usual gin was out of stock so I naturally went with the next prettiest bottle. Turns out this one is a game changer. Tastes like a summer garden after the rain, and also green. Oh and, turns out the distillery is only up the road, where all the Amish people live (I have an inexplicable fascination with Amish people) so I’m hoping to visit before I peace out of Ithaca in July.  I like to drink this gin really simply, with sparkling water, and a couple of slices of fresh cucumber.

Lastly here’s a photograph I took of the peonies in my apartment. 

Peony

Have you tried any of these products? What are you digging at the mo? What do you love most about early summer? Does anyone else get totally overwhelmed by the beauty aisle? Let me know in the comments!

Since I posted my herby kale and roasted tomato tempeh scramble on FB and Insta people haven’t stopped asking me about it so I promise I’ll get the recipe up next week! 

Until then, be well,

Laura xx

 

Just my Cup of Tea – Jessica Murnane

Hey guys! Did you miss me? I was on the left coast for a few weeks for a conference and decided to stick around a bit and get a little R&R (not ritalin and Redbull, the other R&R). It took a few days to switch into vay-cay mode, but then I went full-on beach bum and it was glorious. All the stress and anxiety I had about my conference, work, and moving all disappeared  but I had resigned myself to the fact that it would all come tumbling back as soon as I got back East. Today’s guest Jessica Murnane from One Part Plant had the same feeling about her recent vacation, and put together this awesome guide to staying in holiday mode at home! And yes, it involves showing more T&A! Lucky for me this falls in line with my new MO of being a beach bum. No, but really, how can I make that my job? 

I’ve been working on a bunch of new recipes to share with you that I’m really pumped about but for now, put the kettle on, make yourself a cuppa, and kick back with Jessica from OPP!

It’s no secret that I love One Part Plant and the gorgeous lady behind it all, Jessica Murnane. What I really appreciate about Jessica is how real and honest she in on the blog. I think it’s super easy for bloggers to create this polished and glamorous facade that is so far out of touch with reality, without acknowledging how much of a struggle it can be for the average joe to eat well when everything around you is going to shit. Jessica recognises that change is hard, and she doesn’t pretend to be perfect (although she’s pretty close!). Like the time when she blogged about getting loose with gluten; I laughed so hard! Jessica is all about simple and easy changes that fit in with your lifestyle and that help you get your sparkle on. Here’s a little more from Jessica:

I changed my diet four years ago because I have severe endometriosis. I was faced with a hysterectomy or crazy drug therapy. But then a third option was discovered – good food. I cut out gluten, dairy, and soy…and all my pain went away. And then took it to the next level by cutting out packaged foods and sugar (I ate a ton of candy!!). This made me feel even better. I’ve never looked back. I launched One Part Plant to spread the good word on good food. My restaurant partner program has been one of the most exciting parts. Working with some of the best chefs in the country to get more plant-based items on their menus. I do wellness coaching and about to launch big new project on OPP. I was recently diagnosed with Hashimotos Disease. Which has been a whole new thing to navigate. The cool thing is that I have a great foundation in place in terms of my diet to help me feel my best. And the big positive is that I can now help other people with navigating it too.   

So not only does Jessica partner with local restaurants to encourage them to put plant-based options on the menu, she also shares recipes and words of wisdom on OPP, she organises a monthly For Reals Meals  lunch series, AND coaches people transitioning to a plant-based diet! On top of that, she wrote a badass ebook A Year of Cookiesand is starring in the upcoming documentary, Food Choices. Yup, I feel lazy after writing all that (and a little guilty about my Sunday OITNB mini-binge) but I also can’t wait to see what’s next for Jess! Get to know this superhuman a little more below!

 Jessica Murnane

Top of my reading list: Daily Rituals by Mason Currey.

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Pantry staple(s): Nutritional Yeast, Almond Butter, Veggie Broth…if I have these and some veggies anything is possible!

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Go to snack: Celery with baba ganoush. 

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My food philosophy (in a nutshell): It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Do your best and listen to what your body has to say about it

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Top health tip: Pobody’s Nerfect!

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Best fast food option: Chipotle Salad Bowl with beans and veggies. No dressing, do guacamole instead. Protein Bar in Chicago has great fast options too.

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What’s for breakfast? Greens, blueberries, coconut water, celery, frozen acai pack all blended up. 

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Plant-based cookbook you love the most: Clean Food by Terry Walters. I swear that woman taught me how to cook. 

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Plant-based blog you’re totally into: Um, Peaches & Greens. Obviously. But besides that First Mess always rules. 

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Natural beauty tip: I haven’t washed my face in years. Just water. And remove my makeup with SW Basics makeup remover (all natural).

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How do you take your tea? Mint with a squeeze of lemon.

I hope you’ve enjoyed hanging with my bud Jessica; I for one hope she can come visit again soon! In the meantime I’ll be keeping a close eye on her via Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Join in the par-tay!

Be well,

Laura xx