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

 

 

Broccoli Ginger Noodle Soup

Hey kids. Would you look at these veggies and tofu just taking a bath in this glorious, golden, gingery broth? Looks like they’re having a pretty good time doesn’t it? That’s because this is the most delicious damn broth your veggies will ever take a dip in. Hell, I’d even go for a swim in it if I could conjure up enough of the stuff (probably ill advised though, so I won’t).  This recipe comes courtesy of Priscilla Timberlake and Lewis Freedman’s amazing book, The Great Life Cookbook. Have you ordered your copy yet? No? Better get on it! Enter the code: Peaches&Greens at the checkout to get a lovely 20% discount especially for Peaches and Greens followers, not too shabby eh?
Broccoli Ginger Soup

 

We begin each and every Friday Macro dinner with a bowl of soup. Some soups are good, and some soups are really, really good. This particular soup would fall under the latter category. Obviously this soup is good for you (just look at all those veggies, duh), but this soup is more than just a charming bowl of nourishing food; it might actually be some kind of shamen-blessed panacea for the soul. I bet it’s probably that. Akin to a good cup of tea, this soup will make anything seem at least a little bit better. 

Broccoli Ginger Noodle Soup

Ginger Broccoli Soup
Print
Ingredients
  1. 3 medium heads broccoli (7 to 8 cups)
  2. 1 (12-ounce) package of small rice noodles
  3. 16 ounces firm tofu, cut in ¼ to ½ inch cubes
  4. 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil (optional)
  5. 2 two-inch pieces of wakame or alaria seaweed
  6. 4 quarts water
  7. ¾ cup wheat-free or regular tamari
  8. 2 medium onions, diced small (~2½ cups)
  9. 4 tablespoons fresh ginger root, minced or finely grated
  10. 3 tablespoons mirin (rice cooking wine)
  11. 6 medium carrots, diced (~3 cups)
  12. 4 medium parsnips, diced (~2 cups)
Instructions
  1. 1. Separate broccoli stems from tops. Remove tough outer layer from stems and cut stems into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
  2. 2. Separate broccoli tops into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
  3. 3. Cook, strain and cool noodles. Set aside.
  4. 4. Sauté tofu in sesame oil for 3 to 4 minutes. Add 4 teaspoons tamari and sauté another 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside.
  5. 5. Place wakame or alaria seaweed in 4 quarts of water and bring to a boil.
  6. 6. Lower heat to medium, add onions and cook for 10 minutes.
  7. 7. Remove sea vegetable and cut into small pieces, returning it to the pot.
  8. 8. Add ginger, remaining tamari and mirin.
  9. 9. Continue cooking on medium heat for 5 minutes.
  10. 10. Add carrots, parsnips and stems of broccoli. Cook for 2 minutes.
  11. 11. Gently stir in noodles and sautéed tofu. Cook for 1 minute.
  12. 12. Add broccoli tops. Simmer until broccoli is tender, about 2 or 3 minutes.
Notes
  1. This makes A LOT of soup. I ended up making around 2/3 of the recipe enough enough to last all week. If you expect to have left overs then don't add the noodles into the main pan of soup, just reheat them as needed so they don't go soggy!
Peaches and Greens http://peaches-and-greens.com/
I pressed my tofu in my Tofu Xpress before sautéing it up in a cast iron skillet with a little coconut cooking spray to get it golden brown and crunchy. I also toasted some black sesame seeds because I’m pretty obsessed with those little guys, and they really work well but I imagine normal ones would be pretty tasty too. The noodles I used were gluten-free quinoa ones, but I know Priscilla uses brown rice noodles at macro dinners, so whatever takes your fancy is fine.

Broccoli Ginger Soup

I couldn’t go to Macro dinner this week on account of the fact that I have been gallivanting all over the state, but I did enjoy more than one bowl of this soup instead, and it wasn’t a bad substitution at all! So stop wasting time reading this and go and make a giant pot of this soup to have for lunch this week! Please take a moment to like The Great Life Cookbook and follow them on Instagram!

I’m off to California next week for some eat, beach, sleep, repeat action (with some work mixed in too I suppose). I’ll post all my faves here when I get back so you can live vicariously ;)  

Until then, be cool.

Laura xx

 

Just my Cup of Tea – Priscilla Timberlake

Those of you who are ardent reader of Peaches and Greens may have heard me mention ‘Friday Macro Dinners’ in the odd post, or perhaps you’ve seen me post pictures of one of these fabulous meals on Instagram.  Today I’m beyond pumped to welcome the host of these delicious, wholesome, community meals in the second instalment of ‘Just my Cup of Tea’. Along with her husband Lewis Freedman, each Friday evening Priscilla serves dinner to 40-50 of Ithaca’s finest vegans, including The Meaty Vegan, Sherry Colb, occasionally Colin Campbell , the Cornell Vegan Society, and of course, yours truly! Here’s Priscilla with a little more on Friday dinner:

On a typical Saturday morning, I sip twig tea and reflect on the previous night. There is usually much to ponder, as Friday evenings are full of activity. Nearly every Friday for the last 17 years, we have hosted locally grown, macrobiotic vegan dinners in our country home in upstate New York. A feeling of deep satisfaction flows through me for having accomplished something tangible and satisfying for my family and friends. However, these dinners are more than a shared meal; they are meaningful acts of love for our community.

This is hands-down  my favourite meal of the entire week! Always so fresh, tasty, and prepared with love and kindness. If you’re even in Ithaca of a Friday night then I really must insist that you come along!

PT

Priscilla and Lewis have compiled their delicious recipes from Friday dinners into ‘The Great Life Cookbook’, the pages of which are filled with beautiful pictures and gluten-free, seasonal, macrobiotic vegan recipes for a crowd (the recipes can be halved or quartered for a smaller group, although they usually have to double the recipes to feed everyone on a Friday night!).

May Menu

 

Here’s a litte taster of what you can expect to eat if you head to Priscilla and Lewis’s house for dinner this month! Each meal begins with a soup, followed by a perfectly balanced macrobiotic meal of local seasonal vegetables, grain, a pressed salad, greens, and a sea vegetable. the pièce de résistance is obviously the dessert. I took a couple of pictures of the lemon tart with blackberry topping from last week’s dinner, it was ah-may-zing! (Also massive props to Hannah for food styling!) 

Lemon Tart with Blackberry Topping

 

Priscilla is always radiant and so full of energy so I asked her to share a few of her secrets, and here’s what she had to say!

Can’t start my morning w/o: Sitting in meditation for at least 15 minutes and then walking in the woods for 20-30 minutes with my lovely, gentle, 9 year old, black lab mix, Angel.

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Top of my reading list: Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition, by Paul Pitchford, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice During Difficult Times, by Pema Chodron , Petals of Grace: Essential Teachings for Self-Mastery, by Sai Maa Lakshmi Devi.

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Pantry staple(s): Brown rice, carrots, mochi, tahini, tofu, nori sea vegetable, miso, tamari, umeboshi vinegar, greens, greens and more greens, to name a few.

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Snack of choice: Apples, carrots,pumpkin seeds and almonds.

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Natural beauty product: Aqua Marina, a fresh facial cleanser made from sea weeds by the environmental and animal friendly company, Lush.

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My food philosophy (in a nutshell): Plant-based, whole foods, local when possible. Gratitude towards all beings who helped in the food production, farmer, harvester, trucker, distributor, food coop & grocery store workers, etc.

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Top health tip: Vitamin D is essential to calcium absorption, 20 minutes a day in sunshine will produce this wonderful important vitamin.

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How do you take your tea? Many times a day! Twig tea, also known as Kukicha tea, is the best. Made from the actual twigs of the traditional tea plant, harvested in the fall and then roasted for the delicious flavor. It is very low in caffeine and offers some much needed calcium.

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Ok, so now that you know all about Priscilla, Friday dinners, and The Great Life cookbook, you probably dying to get your grubby little paws on the the recipes. Well, I have a special treat in store for you! Priscilla and Lewis and offering a 20% discount on The Great Life cookbook exclusively for Peaches & Greens readers!  Just type in ‘Peaches & Greens’ at the check out! The book is available here. Alternatively, you can download the ebook or one of the four seasonal ebooks, all of which are on super sale at the mo! I couldn’t recommend this book more, so stop dilly-dallying and get yourself a copy!

Also, do me a solid and follow The Great Life Cookbook on Facebook and Instagram? Also, please, please share this post with your friends so we can get the word out about this awesome book! Maybe you can even have your friends over and host your very own Friday dinner. Doesn’t even have to be on a Friday if you don’t feel like it, any day will do!

Next week I’ll be sharing on of Priscilla’s amazing recipes, so check back then!

Be well,

Laura xx

 

 

Wild Harvested Ramp and Toasted Pepitas | Pesto and Hummus

Yeah, yeah. I know what you’re thinking. “OVERLY EDUCATED WHITE GIRL POSTS HUMMUS RECIPE ON HER VEGAN FOOD BLOG”. I’m. The. Worst. The worst! What a cliché. I can’t abide going to vegan blogs and seeing 3 billion variations on hummus. *So derivative*.  I swore I’d never post a hummus recipe, because everyone knows how to make the stuff, yet here I am…

Wild Ramp Hummus and Pesto

I’m going to try and redeem myself here though (and beg your pardon for this unholy offence), because this isn’t your generic hummus recipe.  First of all, it contains the most highly revered of springtime vegetables, the ramp. Secondly, boring old tahini has been replaced with homemade toasted pepita butter (pepita’s just the posh name for pumpkin seeds). Then the ramps and pepita butter are blended into the most phenomenal pesto you’re ever likely to put in your pie hole. The toasted pepitas lend a nutty, slightly cheesy flavour to the pesto, so that you don’t even notice there’s no actual cheese in it. And the ramps… oh the ramps!!! AKA my new boyfriend. Totally smitten. Like head over heels. A little garlicky. A little oniony. A lot perfect. And when you blend the pesto with some chickpeas, magic happens!

Ramp Pesto

My favourite thing about this recipe is that it happened quite by accident.  Yesterday I found some elusive wild harvested ramps at the Ithaca farmers’ market and snapped up THREE bunches, knowing that these little treasures weren’t going to be around long. Then today I realised that I really ought to do something with them while they were still nice and fresh. My friend had suggested that I make pesto from them, but I didn’t have any pine nuts (because nobody’s that rich) or walnuts and I couldn’t be bothered going out to get any. That’s when I remembered I had a shit-ton of pumpkin seeds (apparently I’ve been hoarding them?). I toasted up the pepitas and blended them up in the vitamix until I had a crumbly seed butter. Then I sautéed the  ramps in some water, blended them up with some of the pepita butter, lemon juice, and salt, and hey pesto! …sorry, I won’t do it again. 

Ramp Hummus

It was at this point that I realised this was blog-worthy and had to post immediately. Ramps are only available for a few weeks a year, so time is of the essence! So I got my camera out and set about shooting this instead of doing the things I was supposed to do today. I don’t normally do blog posts off the cuff like that; there’s usually a lot of planning, shopping for ingredients, picking out plates and napkins, testing recipes and such that goes on beforehand, so I’m pretty chuffed at how this one turned out with absolutely no forethought! Isn’t it great when things come together like that? And since I had some chickpeas soaking anyway, I thought, well why not use the ramp pesto to make a hummus? I’m not going to lie, I’m a little smug about this happy accident. 

Ramp hummus on cracker

Legend slash Wikipedia says that the Appalatian people celebrated the arrival of spring by eating ramps  and believed that they had medicinal value and warded off winter malaise. Indeed, ramps are high in selenium, a mineral that is critical for the function of the antioxidant enxyme glutathione peroxidase. It’s selemium’s role in the enzyme which is thought to give it anti-ageing and anti-cancer properties. Selemium is also really important for normal thyroid function. Ramps also contain a lot of chromium, a mineral important for helping metabolise glucose and to help stabalise blood sugar.

Ramp Hummus and PestoSpread the hummus on a cracker and top with fresh veggies like I did above, or use it as a dip for crudités. Drizzle the pesto over some grilled asparagus or some roasted veggies. I think it would also be really fantastic as a dressing for quinoa, maybe with some lovely fresh spring peas! I doubled my pesto recipe so I might actually try that. I’ll post it on my Instagram if I do!

Ramp Pesto and Hummus
Print
Pesto
  1. 2 cups pumpkins seed, raw
  2. 15-20 ramps
  3. 1T Fresh lemon Juice
  4. 1/8 -1/4 Pink Himalayan sea salt
Hummus
  1. 1/4C Ramp pesto
  2. 2C Cooked chickpeas***
  3. 2T Lemon Juice
  4. 1T Pepita butter
  5. Salt and pepper to taste.
For the Ramp Pesto
  1. Make the pepita seed butter by toasting the raw pepitas in a dry pan over medium head for 2 minutes, shaking the pan often and making sure they don't burn. Allow them to cool before adding them to your food processor and bending until a smooth paste forms*. Set aside.
  2. Prepare your ramps by trimming off the roots, a bit like a spring onion, then roughly chop.
  3. In a shallow frying pan, head around 1/3C water until close to boiling, then add your ramps and allow to simmer gently for 2 minutes until the leaves are wilted.
  4. Transfer the ramps and water into your food processor, add the salt and lemon juice and blend on high until smooth. Add 1/2C pepita butter and blend, adding water until you reach the desired consitency (I made mine quite thick so as I had a concentrated flavour to add to my hummus, but feel free to thin it out for drizzling purposes).
Hummus
  1. Add all ingredients to your blender and pulse until desired consistency is achieved, adding water as necessary** Feel free to add more or less pesto depending on how strongly flavoured you want it.
Notes
  1. *I used my vitamix but if you have a less powerful food processor then you may need to run if for a quite some time to achieve the right consistency, and scrape down the sides with a spatula often. Don't worry if it's not totally smooth, it won't matter too much for the pesto.
  2. **I intentionally didn't add any oil to this recipe as I think it's uncessecary but if you'd like a creamier texture then I'd suggest adding some avocado, that way you get all the nutrients from the avocado and not just pure fat!
  3. *** I soaked my chickpeas overnight so they only took around 30 minutes to cook in a pan of salted water.
Peaches and Greens http://peaches-and-greens.com/

If you can get your paws on some ramps then I really reccomend making this, and if not, I think garic scapes would work quite nicely here too. Report back if you try this!

Have a fantastic week!

Laura xx 

 

Smooth Operator

Oh hai. Apologies for not posting last week. I don’t even have a good excuse, I just couldn’t be bothered. Not the blogging powerhouse of perfection that many ladies out there are. Actually, come to think of it, I think I was travelling for work? Maybe let me know in the comments? Anyway, hopefully I’ll make it up to you with this genius smoothie, designed to do a little spring cleaning for your insides.

Spring Cleaning

 Yeah so in case you didn’t get it, this smoothie is good for digestion. Mint, pineapple, and ginger all support digestive health. So um yeah, triangulation?  The smoothie gets its amazing emerald green colour from spirulina, a badass algae that has hella protein. It’s also believed to stabilise blood sugar and help reduce cravings. If you’re not keen on the taste of spirulina then start with 1/8 teaspoon instead of 1/4. Or if you’re a total pansy, leave it out altogether. Also, I’m sorry I called you a pansy; that was rude. 

Pineapple

I have been LOVING this recipe lately. I have had one every day for about a fortnight now. I make up little smoothie packs of the fruit, veg, and ginger, and freeze them so that I only need to add the spirulina and coconut water before I blend it up, pour it in a bottle and drink it on the way to work. At the very least, I’d recommend freezing your pineapple to make everything nice and cold!Smooth Operator

 I’m not going to get into the whole smoothie versus juice debate, but I like that this has the best of both worlds. The consistency is a bit more juic-y thanks to the high water content of the spinach and celery (and the actual water), but it still has the fibre and won’t cause a mental spike in blood sugar. 

Smooth Operator
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 C pineapple (frozen)
  2. 1 stalk celery
  3. Small piece of ginger (up to you how much)
  4. 20-25 mint leaves
  5. Handful of spinach (I used baby)
  6. 1/4t spirulina
  7. 200ml coconut water
Instructions
  1. Add everything to your high speed blender and blend until smooth and slightly frothy.
Notes
  1. Coconut water is pretty expensive so I sometimes opt for coconut water powder. Despite being rather unfortunately named, it's a much cheaper option and has all the nutrients and benefits of the real McCoy.
Peaches and Greens http://peaches-and-greens.com/
Smooth

In conclusion, this is the most nutritious and tasty smoothie ever created (prolly) so you might as well get rid of all your lesser smoothie recipes because you’ll never need them again. Or at least until I come up with another equally brilliant smoothie recipe.

Flowers

These flowers have nothing to do with the recipe. I just think they’re nice. 

Lastly, I just want to say how bloody difficult is is to make a jar of gloopy green liquid look appetising. For every photo you see here, I have around a hundred that look like bottled pond scum. Anyway, don’t let me put you off. I promise this smoothie is actually really refreshing and magically restores you to human mode after a night of  too much wine…or so I’ve been told :)

Hope your weekend is glorious! 

Be well,

Laura xx