Good Bye Foodie Bitch – Hello Natural Life Foundation!

Natural Life Foundation

Wondering why we haven’t been posting much lately on Foodie Bitch?

We’re still here!

Head on over to Natural Life Foundation and see what we’ve been up to!

In all honesty, I was getting a bit frustrated with limiting our conversation to just food.  Although I absolutely ADORE food, and am fascinated with the amazing healing qualities (as well as the disease-causing qualities) food can have, I know that there is so much more involved in living a healthy life than just what we eat.  I felt I needed to include these other areas in our conversations.

Think about it: Haven’t we all seen some people who eat all the right kinds of foods, yet still seem sickly and depressed?

And, contrarily, haven’t we all seen people who live on fast food and convenient snacks, but still look healthy and happy?

I wanted to start sharing some of my research and experience that may shed light onto why this happens.

So, over at Natural Life Foundation, we’ll still be talking about food – it’s still a huge passion of mine and is such an integral part of our lives, culture, economy, and history.  Now, however, we’ll also be sharing insights on exercise, happiness, relationships, philosophy, organic gardening and farming, herbs, essential oils, alternative healing, animals and nature, and a number of other areas.  Our hope is that, with this broader range, we can all move closer to a more balanced, healthy, and passionate life… naturally.

Come and join the conversation at Natural Life Foundation!

Nancy  Smorch

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Almond Carrot Smoothie (Inspired by Green Sage Cafe in Asheville, NC)

Almond carrot smoothie

By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

Mike and I were just in Asheville, North Carolina this past weekend.  We had heard so many good things about this city that we had to go check it out for ourselves.  I had seen pictures of the mountains in Asheville and I didn’t realize it was between the Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains.  And, of course, we had to check out the food scene – there were soooo many great restaurant options, coffee shops, and specialty food stores!

Unfortunately the weather wasn’t the greatest while we were there.  I didn’t mind the cooler temperatures, but the fog and the low-lying clouds made the mountain views pretty much impossible to see.  But I knew they were there, so I just used my imagination and as I looked out toward the mountains, I would just bring up images of the pictures I had seen.  Close enough, right?

The food, at least did not disappoint!  When traveling, I like to make sure I know what the healthier restaurant options and food sources are.  It’s really important in staying healthy while I travel.  One of the places I found on line before our trip was The Green Sage Cafe in downtown Asheville.  I just about teared up when I looked over their menu!  They had so many tasty sounding options – like their Pura Vida Bowl for breakfast.  It had black beans, brown rice sunny side eggs, sautéed kale, grilled sweet potatoes, avocado and cilantro salsa.  And, all of the ingredients were organic!  They had gluten-free pancakes, gluten-free biscuit and toast options, along with a ton of other gluten-free and vegan options.

I knew I probably didn’t need to have a smoothie for breakfast along with the Pura Vida Bowl, but I couldn’t pass up tasting the Almond Brothers smoothie.  It sounded like a weird combination, and my curiosity led me to order it.  It had carrots, unsweetened almond milk, bananas, almond butter and spices, according to the menu.  It was amazing!  Mike ended up ordering it again the next morning.

So I thought I would try to duplicate it when we got home.  I had all the ingredients, but then there was the vague “spices” listed in the ingredients list.  I wasn’t quite sure what that was all about, but I tried to figure out what would go good with the carrots, almond butter, and bananas, and I came up with the idea to try cinnamon and nutmeg.

We arrived back home late Saturday night and on Sunday, I decided to try to make it.  My first try was actually pretty good.  It didn’t taste exactly like they made it, but it was still really good in it’s own way.  They didn’t say that they put any kind of sweetener in it, and it would probably be fine without it, especially if you’re used to not having much sugar or sweetener… but I thought I would add a little sweetness with some maple syrup, and that actually worked out really well.

So, anyway, here’s the recipe I ended up with, as I tried to recreate this awesome drink:

1 banana

2 carrots

1 1/2 Tbsp. almond butter

3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (I use Silk brand because it has no carageenan)

1 Tbsp. grade B maple syrup

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

ice

Put all the ingredients into the blender and mix until smooth.  If you like a thicker smoothie, add more ice.  A thinner one, add less ice and/or more almond milk.

Try it for yourself, and experiment with the spice blend. If you find a different blend that works for you, let me know.  I’d love to give it a try!

Homemade Cough Syrup

Homemade cough syrup

By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

The ups and downs in the temperature this fall can put a strain on the immune system – one day it’s in the 60’s and sunny, and the next, it’s raining and in the 30’s!  Or snowing, in Michigan!  Add to that any stress (or perceived stress)  you are experiencing with travel, family situations, new experiences, work-related issues, or any other uncertain environment, and your immune system is compromised even more.

And so Lindsey’s immune system has recently become compromised.  She just returned from Dallas (yes, we let her go to Dallas – no worries about ebola).  She was at Tony Robbins’ UPW (Unlimited Power Within) weekend, and from Thursday night, when they did the “fire walk,” until Sunday evening, when they covered some really great health information, Lindsey was going non-stop.  She and another 6,000 people were packed into the convention center for some pretty intense personal work and discovery.  If you ever get a chance to go to one of Tony Robbins’ events – take it!  They are amazing!  Check out this video to get a feel for what it’s like:

To make a long story short, Lindsey got a little run down and caught a bit of a cold.  So we’ve been strategizing to make sure she’s getting enough of the right foods and nutrients to allow her immune system to heal her body.  A couple of things we’re doing in addition to food is using essential oils.  I’ve been giving her capsules filled with frankincense, lemon, and lavender essential oils twice a day, and I put together a “cough syrup” with a honey base.  She doesn’t have much of a cough, but the honey is a great base to get the oils in so they can go to work on her congestion and start attacking whatever it is that is causing her to  feel less than 100%.

This cough syrup is something I’ve used for years and it really does help with coughing, sore throat, and overall recovery.  So, I thought I would share it with you in case you need some extra tools in your cold and flu first aid kit this season!

Cough Syrup Ingredients

1/4 cup raw honey

1 drop Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree essential oil)

1 drop clove essential oil

1 drop rosemary oil

2 drops cedarwood oil

3 drops peppermint oil

2 drops frankincense oil

Remember when using essential oils, use therapeutic grade essential oils; that way you can be confident they are made in such a way that preserves the oils’ therapeutic qualities rather than destroys them.

I mix all of the ingredients together and take 1 tsp. as needed.  If this is too strong for you (although I think it can’t possibly be worse than the cough syrup you get at the drug store!), you can dilute it with more honey.

I actually like the taste of it.  You can even add it to a cup of your favorite tea or with a cup of warm water and lemon juice.  If you’re up for an extra zing, try adding some grated ginger!

Remember, the best defense is a good offense (I’ve got college football on my mind – go Michigan State!), so make sure you take care of yourself in the first place.  Get plenty of good quality sleep, eat fresh organic foods, do some sort of movement and exercise, and take time to be good to yourself and have fun!

Oh, and have a Happy Halloween!

Asian Inspired: Sesame Ginger Dressing!

Sesame ginger dressing

By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

It’s one of those dreary, cool, drizzly fall days here in Michigan.  I needed a little pick me up for lunch – something with some zest and lots of nutrients – and something other than roasted fall vegetables, which my family would probably say I’ve been making a little too much of this past week.

So, I thought a more lively salad with some home made salad dressing would be just what I needed.

I have a newfound love for salads – especially after eating at the vegan and raw foods cafe Prasad, in Portland.  But I needed some creative, homemade salad dressings to dress them up a bit.

I love the Asian ginger dressing that you get on salads at sushi bars or Japanese restaurants, and although I wasn’t going for that same exact taste, I did want to incorporate a little ginger and sesame flavors into my dressing, so I played around with a few ingredients and came up with what I think (and Lindsey and Frankie agree) is a pretty darn good salad dressing!

To get the sesame flavor, I used toasted sesame oil (not regular sesame oil).  And for the ginger flavor, rather than using freshly grated ginger, I used ginger juice.  Have you ever seen this?

Ginger juice

I saw it for the first time at the health food store the other day and decided to pick it up, figuring I’d experiment with it.  So this dressing was the perfect excuse to try it out.

If you have someone reluctant to eating a salad, a good salad dressing drizzled on top just might be enough to entice them to munch on one.

Here’s how I made my Asian-inspired Sesame Ginger Dressing:

Ingredients:

1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil

3 Tbsp. honey

2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil

1/2 – 3/4 tsp. ginger juice (depending on how much ginger flavor you want)

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Asian dressing

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, whisk together, and drizzle over salad.

Hopefully this brings a little brightness to your day, if it happens to be dark and rainy where you are as well!