All posts by Mira


About Mira

Mira Dessy is The Ingredient Guru. A holistic nutrition professional, author, and a popular public speaker, she knows that it's not just what you eat, but what's in what you eat. She is the author of The Pantry Principle: how to read the label and understand what’s really in their food. Dessy is a Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner whose mission is to educate and empower consumers. She curates the Lean Clean Green Subscription box, the premier, organic, earth-friendly, healthy, sustainable subscription box which can be found online at https://theingredientguru.memberbox.com

Winter Hydration Tips

Winter Hydration Tips

Why hydrate in cold weather?

We’re used to thinking about hydration when it’s hot outside. After all, when we’re active and sweating we’re losing moisture. But you may not think about the importance of winter hydration. It turns out staying hydrated in the winter is equally as important. During these colder, usually dryer, months, you are drying out both through your skin and by breathing. 

When cold, dry winter air hits your lungs, they have to warm it up and humidify it. This takes moisture from your body. And if you’re spending lots of time outside, especially if you’re a winter sports enthusiast, you’ll need even more hydration because the more effort you expend, the more humidity your body releases.

If you’re sweating you may not realize how much moisture you’re losing. That’s because when it’s dry out sweat evaporates much more quickly. And because you’re already cold you may not notice the increased cooling that comes from sweat drying.

Signs of dehydration

Dehydration can suppress your immune system and also leads to a number of other health challenges. Be on the lookout for these signs that you may need to drink up:

  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth 
  • Dry skin
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Low blood pressure
  • Muscle weakness or cramping

The hydration factor

Before we get to the tips to support healthy hydration in the winter it’s important that you know what your hydration factor is. This formula is a general guideline. If you’re spending lots of time outdoors, or expending extra effort, or even if you’re at a higher elevation (say for skiing), you’ll need to consider increasing how much hydration you’re getting.

To figure out how much hydration you need, calculate your body weight. Divide that in half for the number of ounces needed to be properly hydrated. Divide that number by 8 to get the number of cups of fluid.

For example:

     150 pounds
     divided by 2 = 75
     divided by 8 = 9.4 cups

Take that number, divide it by four and then set a “hydration alarm” approximately every two hours. When the alarm goes off put your beverage in front of you with the goal to drink it before the alarm goes off again.

Remember that this does not mean plain water. Too much water is not healthy either as it can dilute your electrolyte balance. Adding hydrating foods or other beverages is a good option to support your body and help avoid dehydration.

How to hydrate in the winter

Winter tends to be the time of year when we turn to warm liquids such as herbal tea and soup. This is not only a comforting idea, but it’s also better for us. This is because room temperature or warmer liquids actually help to stabilize your core temperature. 

Here’s a list of a few of my favorite soups for winter. They’re not only warming and delicious, but they’re also nourishing:

The types of liquid you consume during the winter is also important. Avoiding excess consumption of caffeine (found not only in coffee and tea, but also in that wintertime favorite, hot chocolate) and alcohol is helpful.  Both have diuretic qualities and can contribute to dehydration.

Not just soup

In addition to including herbal teas and soups, it’s a good idea to add fruits and veggies to your diet that have more moisture in them.  These include:

  • apples
  • pears
  • citrus fruits
  • winter squash

Top tips to avoid dehydration

In addition to making sure you’re getting plenty of fluids, there are a few things you can to to help avoid dehydration:

  • Bring a water bottle with you everywhere you go (this tip is year-round, not just for summertime)
  • Layer appropriately – Have layers that you can add and remove as needed.  Overdressing so that you are hot and sweaty actually contributes to hydration loss)
  • Use a humidifier in your home to help keep the air comfortably moist (your dry skin and static-y clothes will thank you)
Mockstroni soup recipe

Mockstroni Soup

What is mockstroni?

I love minestrone soup. But it tends to come with pasta and I find I do better when I avoid eating gluten. This soup was born out of a need to avoid gluten but also not wanting to include gluten-free pasta. While I’m not opposed to gluten-free pasta, I find that it tends to disintegrate pretty easily in soup, especially if there are leftovers. So I created this very satisfying soup that features that classic minestrone combination of herbs, beans, and vegetables. Because it’s not your classical minestrone I decided to change the name and call it mockstroni.

This soup is very hearty and can be served either as a starter to a meal or simply use bigger bowls and it becomes a meal all by itself. Don’t forget that the traditional way to make this soup was to use whatever was in season. So feel free to experiment with whatever vegetables you happen to have on hand. Fresh herbs are always best, but in the wintertime (my favorite time to make this comforting soup) dry herbs are fine.  And if you want to make a vegetarian version, you can simply use vegetable broth instead of the bone broth.

Mockstroni Soup

Mockstroni Soup
Print
Ingredients
  1. Serves: 6-8
  2. 3 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided
  3. 2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  4. ½ medium yellow onion, chopped small
  5. 3 medium carrots, chopped small
  6. 3 large stalks celery, chopped small
  7. 1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
  8. 2 cups cooked beans (cannellini and red kidney beans work well)
  9. 4 C bone broth*
  10. 2 bay leaves
  11. 1 T. fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped (or 1 t. dried)
  12. 1 T. fresh thyme leaves (or 1 t. dried)
  13. 1 T. fresh oregano leaves (or 1 t. dried)
  14. ½ T. crushed red pepper flakes
  15. Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  16. 2 c. fresh green beans, cut into ½” pieces
Toppings
  1. 1/4 C. freshly parsley, minced
  2. Shaved parmesan
Instructions
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and garlic in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat
  2. Sauté garlic, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes or just until the garlic starts to turn golden brown
  3. Add chopped onion, carrot, and celery and cook for another 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until vegetables are soft and tender
  4. Add diced tomatoes, beans, broth, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and red pepper flakes to the pot, stir to combine
  5. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste
  6. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low
  7. Cover and simmer 20-25 minutes.
  8. Remove the cover from the pot and add the green beans
  9. Stir to combine and continue cooking, uncovered, another 20-25 minutes or until green beans are crisp-tender
  10. Add additional broth, if needed, stir to combine
  11. To serve, divide among individual serving bowls and top with chopped parsley and freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.
  12. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. * If needed use extra broth to reach the desired consistency
The Ingredient Guru, Mira Dessy https://www.theingredientguru.com/
Instant Pot Split Pea Soup

Instant Pot Split Pea Soup

The recipe is originally from my book The Pantry Principle.  Back then it was designed for a slow cooker.  Now that we have Instant Pots the recipe has been modified.

This is a delicious way to utilize split peas from your food storage.  If necessary this recipe can be modified to also used dried vegetables from your storage however this will require the addition of extra liquid.  See the parenthetical notes in the recipe for food storage modifications.

IP Split Pea Soup

Serves 6

The addition of the dulse, an edible seaweed found in the North Atlantic, to this recipe adds a wonderful flavor and a big boost of iodine and the other trace elements our bodies need. If you want to make this as a vegetarian dish simply substitute vegetable broth or water for the bone broth.

Making this soup in the Instant Pot is a great way to have a quick hot meal ready to eat after a long day.

2 carrots, diced (1 cup dehydrated carrot slices)
2 ribs celery, diced (1/3 cup dehydrated celery)
1 onion, diced (1/3 cup dried onion)
1 pound dried split peas, picked over and washed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
6 cups bone broth 
1 teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons dulse (a type of seaweed), crumbled

Place all ingredients except salt, pepper, and dulse in an Instant Pot. Stir well to combine. 

IP Cook Time 15 minutes  Natural Release approximately 15 minutes.

Slow Cooker Time – 8 hours on low

Remove bay leaf
Add salt and pepper
Blend together with an immersion blender
Ladle into bowls to serve and top with 1 teaspoon crumbled dulse

Roasted Vegetable Soup

Roasted Vegetable Soup With Tomato And Fennel

As the weather gets chilly and the days get shorter I find an increased desire for soup. Nourishing and warming, soup seems to really hit the spot.  Plus it’s so versatile. Soup is great as a snack, as a meal starter, or in some cases as the meal all by itself. 

This particular roasted vegetable soup is a favorite. After all, who doesn’t love tomato soup? But part of what makes this so wonderful is the fennel which gives it a delicious flavor boost. This soup tastes even better the second day, so be sure to make a lot (this recipe doubles or even triples with ease) to ensure you have leftovers.

Roasted Vegetable Soup with Tomato and Fennel
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1½ lbs. Roma tomatoes, halved
  2. 2 medium red bell peppers, deseeded and quartered
  3. 1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  4. 2 large carrots, cut in half lengthwise
  5. 2 medium shallots, outer skin removed and halved
  6. 4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  7. 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  8. Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  9. 2 T. fresh thyme leaves
  10. 4 c. organic chicken bone broth
  11. ½ c. full-fat coconut milk
  12. ½ c. fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F
  2. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat and set aside
  3. Arrange the tomatoes, red peppers, fennel, carrots, shallots, and garlic in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and black pepper, to taste
  5. Toss to combine and sprinkle veggies with fresh thyme leaves
  6. Place baking sheet in preheated oven and roast until vegetables are tender and lightly charred, approximately 20-25 minutes
  7. Transfer the roasted veggies and any juices from the baking sheet to a large soup pot and add the bone broth
  8. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until hot and and bubbly
  9. Remove from heat
  10. Using an immersion blender, blend contents of the soup pot until completely smooth
  11. Stir in the coconut milk and fresh basil, and serve
  12. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. Safety Tip: If you don’t have a stick or immersion blender, it is possible to use a blenders to process the cooked veggies and liquid. However it is important to be sure your blender lid is vented  properly to prevent the hot liquid from exploding when you turn on the blender.
The Ingredient Guru, Mira Dessy https://www.theingredientguru.com/

Store in the refrigerator for several days. It can also be stored in single-serving containers in the freezer for a quick meal or snack later.

The Lean Clean Green Hydration Box

Hydration

Each month here at the Lean Clean Green Subscription box I create a theme and then curate products around that. One because it’s fun, two because it gives me the opportunity to share some great information about how to create your best, healthiest life. What I call the Ingredients For A Healthy Life.

Hydration is a theme that is near and dear to my heart. I feel that many people don’t realize how important it is to stay adequately hydrated. And while not everything in the box is drinkable, it all ties together. But before we run through the products I wanted to share a few links that I believe are helpful:

  • Staying well-hydrated is one way to help support your body when it’s hot and humid outside or if you’re exercising a lot. It’s also important in the colder months because you may not realize you are getting dehydrated. This article shares some good info plus gives you the hydration factor so you can figure out exactly how much you need to drink to stay well hydrated (hint: it’s probably not the 8 glasses you thought it was)
  • Hydration is more than just drinking water. We can also meet some of our hydration needs through the foods we eat. Check out this post to see which foods are the best when it comes to hydrating your body.
  • Sometimes you want something that’s not water but is still hydrating. A couple of my favorite choices are agua fresca and water kefir
  • And remember that if you’re looking for hydration, please don’t rely on sports drinks. They’re not as good for you as the manufacturers would have you believe.

What’s in the box?

We’ve got some fabulous products in this month’s box and I know you’re going to love them too.

But first…The disclaimer:  I’m not pulling stock photos when I share the contents of the box with you. These are my pictures taken of the products in my box. I’m learning how to take better pictures but I wanted you to know this is real life and yes, these are from my personal subscription.

Strawsome Glass Straws 

I’m a big fan of reusable straws. And there is nothing better, in my humble opinion, than having your own straw with you, especially when you are out an about. 

I’ve given you not one but two straws. You can leave one at home and take one on the road, or simply share a straw with a friend.  The only hard part about sharing may be that they don’t want to give you back your straw. Making it a perfect opportunity to go into the marketplace and order one for each of your friends so everyone has their own.  And each tempered glass straw comes with their own cleaning brush. 

Lean Clean Green Hydration Box - Sipping Vinegar

Sipping Vinegar 

These delicious vinegars from Vermont Village are just fabulous. I’ve chosen the blueberry flavor for you but you can also get them in other flavors (their Turmeric & Honey is pretty awesome too). 

Each bottle comes with raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar. That means the mother is still in the bottle.  These are great as a shot, as a sipping drink, or to add to other beverages for flavor and health benefits. You can even add these delicious sipping vinegars to other dishes. I’m thinking of adding some of this blueberry to my Thanksgiving homemade cranberry sauce to give it a little blueberry lift. Of course, I’ll need to buy more because we all know it’s not going to last from now till then.

 

Lean Clean Green Hydration - Wine Wands

Wine Wands

Of course if you’re looking for a more adult beverage you may be thinking about wine. Part of the challenge with wine, however, is some of the ingredients.  I’m talking about the sulfites and the histamines. Those ingredients responsible for that “not so great, got a headache” feeling after you drink wine. While you can buy sulfite-free wines they’re often expensive. And they still come with histamines.  

Using a wine wand allows you to remove both the sulfites and the histamines so you can enjoy a glass without worrying about the headache.  I’m not sure how their patented process really works (I think it’s magic), but they’re winning rave reviews. 

Try it and let me know what you think.

Lean Clean Green Hydration Box - Americona Almonds

Americona Sprouted Almonds 

Of course you can’t have all that hydration with a little snack. And these are my new favorite sprouted almonds. These crunchy little gems are just amazing. 

When you sprout nuts (and seeds, legumes, and grains) you remove the phytic acid coating that interferes with nutrient absorption. The process of sprouting helps to boost the nutrition just a little bit. Sprouting also improves digestion. It’s really the best way to eat almonds.

The folks at Americona use only 100% pure olive oil plus sea salt to make a truly tasty treat for you to enjoy.

Lean Clean Green Hydration - Healthy Honey Facial Spray

Healthy Honey Facial Oil 

Okay so you can’t eat or drink this one. But it’s like a hydration drink for your face. This facial oil/spray feels so good you’re going to wonder how you managed without it.  One of the things that I love the most is the clean ingredients. After all, what we put on our skin can migrate into our bloodstream. That’s part of why using lotions and potions that contain things like artificial colors, sorbates, EDTA, and other negative ingredients is never a good idea. 

Admittedly it’s not always easy to find great personal care products, but I’m a fan of this facial oil. Filled with antioxidant rich ingredients and amazing for the skin, it’s definitely a perfect addition to your skincare routine.

 

 

When you join the Lean, Clean, Green Subscription box family you’ll get a themed box filled with holistically healthy, well-sourced products personally curated by me. Each month you pay only $47.

The September 2019 HydrationBox is worth $97.97!!

* The best part about the box is that you’re in control of how often you get it. Monthly, every other month, every three months, it’s up to you. And if you miss a box, or need a refill on any of these fabulous finds, as long as you’re a subscriber you have access to the Marketplace. That means you can log in and still get the items you want.

If you’ve just found this post and you’re not a member of the Lean Clean Green family, join us, you’ll be glad you did.

Should you do low FODMAP

Should You Try A Low FODMAP Diet?

What is a FODMAP?

FODMAP is an acronym used to identify a series of short-chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols in foods that are either naturally occurring, or used as food additives. This acronym stands for:

Fermentable – these items are broken down by the bacteria in our large bowel
Oligosaccharides – “oligo” means “few”, “saccharide” means sugar. These are individual sugars which are chained together
Disaccharides – “di” means two meaning this is a molecule with two sugars
Monosaccharides –(non-intoxicating) sugar alcohols
And
Polyols – a form of carbohydrate that is only partially digested

Does your gut hurt?

Do you have significant digestive health issues? After you eat do you feel ill or very tired? Do you have cramps or other digestive health issues? If so you are probably one of the millions of people who struggle with some form of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). The causes of IBS are many and varied but the one thing that they all have in common is that they start in the gut. And many of these issues can be resolved by changing your diet. 

Some people with gut health issues may try a gluten-free diet. If that doesn’t quite seem to do the trick they then look at the possibility that it’s not the gluten but the glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup which is used to dry out crops before harvesting) that is the problem. So they avoid that. And while that often helps it may not be enough. If the issues are IBS, or if there are concerns about digestion in general, you may find that a low FODMAP diet is the answer.

Common Symptoms of Digestive Health Issues

While a low FODMAP diet can be a good choice for people with IBS or related issues, it can also be supportive for those with general digestive health problems. A low FODMAP diet does this by eliminating those foods which might be triggers. Some of the signs that you may want to consider this diet include:

  • Abdominal pain after eating
  • Bloating
  • Bowel Incontinence
  • Cramping
  • Regular Constipation or Diarrhea
  • Nausea or vomiting

Is your gut health getting worse?

Maybe you are one of those people who has had some form of mild digestive health issues for years. Or you’ve been diagnosed with IBS but it’s never been “that bad.” But your gut health has been getting worse lately. While there is always a possibility that this can be part of the aging process, it can also be due to your diet.

If you have regular bloating or stomach upset after eating but can’t identify what’s causing the problem, food journaling and a dietary change can be a good way to figure out what your triggering foods are. Part of the issue is that our meals are/should be made up of a variety of foods. This makes it difficult to pin down specifically which foods are causing the problem.

And while your gut health issues might be related to any of the common food allergens such as gluten, dairy, nuts, etc, it could also be other foods. Following a FODMAP diet removes these foods, plus others, from the diet while you work on restoring gut health.

If you enjoyed this article, please join my community to receive more information and special offers with my free newsletter, Food News You Can Use (I do the research so you don’t have to). This concise, informative newsletter gives you updates you need to know about the ingredients for living a healthy life.

But the label said no nitrates

But The Label Says No Added Nitrates

What are nitrates?

Nitrates and nitrites are preservatives frequently found in preserved meats such as deli meats, hot dogs, sausages, etc. Nitrates are seen as the less harmful of the two, however, they can turn into nitrites which are linked to more serious health concerns.

Nitrites help keep the meats looking pink and can prevent the growth of listeria or botulinum bacterias. Unfortunately, however, consuming high amounts of nitrates and nitrites can be bad for your health. And nitrites can further degrade into nitrosamines (which are highly carcinogenic) when exposed to the amino acids in the stomach. 

Health impact of nitrates

Studies have shown that people who eat a lot of processed meats tend to have a higher than average risk for cancer including pancreatic and gastrointestinal cancers. Other studies indicate a link between nitrosamines and diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and liver disease. So even if you’re not highly sensitive to nitrates, consuming a lot of them is not a good idea. 

“No nitrates” on the label

Sometimes you’ll see labels that say “no nitrates.” You may be wondering how they’re preserving the food.  The answer is they’re still using nitrates, they’re just using a different form, usually celery juice or celery salts.

This is a case of manufacturer manipulation. Because of what these food/based nitrates are, the current FDA rules allow for the product to be labeled either No Nitrates or No Added Nitrates. (Similar to how they allow certain glutamate-rich products to be labeled no added MSG).

Because of consumer demand for cleaner labeling, some food producers are choosing to manufacture with these food-based nitrates. They then use Front-of-Package terminology to lure consumers to their products. However, some people are very sensitive to nitrates, even the food-based ones. So once again it comes down to reading the ingredient panel and knowing what’s in what you are eating.

Symptoms of allergy or sensitivity

The symptoms of nitrate sensitivity include headaches, sinus issues, stuffy nose, sneezing, runny nose, itching, hives, or asthma. It can be difficult to pick out if it’s specifically due to nitrates as these symptoms can be found with other ingredients as well.

If you think you are sensitive you can check with a doctor for an allergy test. You can also do an elimination diet and avoid all sources of nitrates. Those added to the food, as well as the vegetable-based sources listed below. When doing an elimination diet it’s important to keep a food journal so you can closely track your symptoms in relation to the food you are consuming.

Food sources of nitrates

High nitrate vegetable sources include:

  • Beets
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Collard Greens
  • Green beans
  • Lettuce
  • Parsley
  • Radishes
  • Spinach

Plus, when these ingredients are juiced, the longer they sit the more the nitrates convert to nitrites. So if you make juice that includes these kinds of vegetables, it’s best to drink it right away rather than letting it sit.

If you’re looking to consume low nitrate vegetables, these are:

  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Broad Beans
  • Eggplant
  • Garlic
  • Green beans
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Peppers
  • Summer Squash
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Tomatoes

It’s also important to know that industrial fertilizers are high in nitrates. This means that commercially grown crops tend to have higher levels. In other words, the more nitrate-rich the soil they are grown in, the higher the nitrate level in these vegetables.

Sources
 

  • Hord N.G., Conley M.N. (2017) Regulation of Dietary Nitrate and Nitrite: Balancing Essential Physiological Roles with Potential Health Risks. In: Bryan N., Loscalzo J. (eds) Nitrite and Nitrate in Human Health and Disease. Nutrition and Health. Humana Press, Cham.
  • Nothlings, Ute, et al. Meat and Fat Intake as Risk Factors for Pancreatic Cancer: The Multiethnic Cohort Study. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Vol. 97, No. 19. October 5, 2005.
  • Tong, M, et al. Nitrosamine Exposure Causes Insulin Resistance Diseases: Relevance to Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis, and Alzheimer’s Disease. J Alzheimers Dis. 2009; 17(4): 827–844.
  •  

If you enjoyed this article, please join my community to receive more information and special offers with my free newsletter, Food News You Can Use (I do the research so you don’t have to). This short newsletter gives you updates to help you stay informed about the ingredients for living a healthy life.

Instant Pot vs Air Fryer

Instant Pot Vs. Air Fryer

What do you do if you’re an Instant Pot fan, you really want to get an Air Fryer, but you have no kitchen counter space? Do you have to pick one or can you have both? This was me. Fortunately, I found a solution.

I love my Instant Pot

I’m a big Instant Pot fan. Ever since I got mine it has migrated to live permanently on the kitchen counter and I use it several days a week for a wide variety of things. When I got my Instant Pot I was able to get rid of my popcorn popper, my rice cooker, and my pressure cooker. My husband was pushing for me to get rid of the slow cooker as well but I defended it because (a) I’ve had it since I was 18 and I’m kind of attached to it, and (b) when you have a party sometimes you need an extra cooking device.

For me, having an Instant Pot has been a game-changer in my kitchen. I use it for a so many things, especially this delicious Instant Pot Summer Vegetable Soup.

But I want an Air Fryer Too

When I heard about Air Fryers I was tempted. I’m seeing them everywhere. They are very popular and everyone seems to be getting one. But after much careful consideration, I decided not to get one.

Sure an Air Fryer is a cool idea. It uses only a tiny bit of oil plus some heated air to ‘deep fry’ your food. Okay, it’s great that you can make “fried” foods that are healthier and cook them really quickly. I was seriously tempted.

But then I looked at my kitchen and realized that counter space was at an all-time premium. In fact, I joked that if Instant Pot came out with a new version that did air fryer plus the other 11 functions I would be all in, but until then I was sticking with my IP. 

How does an air fryer work?

For all you Air-Fryer-Curious people, let’s look at how an air fryer works. Unlike the multi-function Instant Pot, it’s pretty much a single-use device. With just a little bit of oil, a high temperature (an average of 392°F / 200°C according to my research), and air circulating rapidly, you get convection cooked food with a “fried” texture. Due to the convection cooking, foods do cook in much less time than actual frying.

Although the process is somewhat similar to a deep fryer, the Air Fryer uses a lot less oil so the idea is that you are getting a healthier “fried” food. This cuts down quite a bit on the fat and calories. However, you still get to enjoy the crispiness of fried foods. 

The Solution

While I wasn’t prepared to give up my Instant Pot I was very tempted by the idea of an Air Fryer (have I mentioned that?). Then a friend shared something I had never heard of before. A Mealthy Crisplid.

What is a Mealthy Crisplid? It’s a lid that converts any 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker into an Air Fryer. It’s kind of like the best of both worlds because you get to keep your Instant Pot but you don’t have to have another big counter-space-required appliance for air frying.

I was blown away by this concept. And I bought one.  Of course, now I’m having to learn how to make air-fried things. And while I don’t plan to make a lot of them, it’s a nice way to be able to add that to our meal planning.

Basic Tips

I’m still learning how to use my crisplid, but I’ve learned a couple of tips that are important whether you have an air fryer or a crisplid.

Do the Prep Work

Prep work is key for this method of cooking. You have to take your time to make sure that things are properly coated, that they’re seasoned or oiled as required, and that you’ve followed instructions on how to prep the food. The recipes are not like traditional deep-fried recipes where you can just throw it in the oil and it mostly sticks together. 

Loading Your Air Fryer

You’ll need a basket to hold the food in so that it can get good circulation (the Mealthy comes with a trivet and a basket). I’ve learned the hard way that you need to (a) not overcrowd the basket, and (b) flip the food partway through to make sure the browning and crispiness is even. I’m still working on perfecting French fries (this is where I’ve really learned the importance of not putting too much into the basket).

Be aware of temperatures

Your Mealthy, and I’m assuming an Air Fryer too, gets HOT. You need to use caution when handling it, have a good surface to set the lid down when flipping items over, be careful when handling the parts, and remember the foods come out fried-food-hot. You also need to wait until the device is completely cool before you clean it. So caution and patience are the words of the day here.

Quick Recipes

If you’re looking for a solution to the Instant Pot vs. Air Fryer dilemma, this may just be the answer you are looking for.

As I mentioned above, I’m still learning, but here are a few quick recipe ideas that I’ve found as I’ve been doing my research. I’m going to keep experimenting and learning as I continue to use my Mealthy Crisplid but I’m glad I got it.

Mozzarella Sticks

Instead of the melted cheese thing that tends to happen in a deep fryer, air frying is an easier way to make mozzarella sticks. Cut mozzarella sticks in half, dip them into beaten egg and roll in grated parmesan with 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning. Then put them into the air fryer (spray the basket with olive oil) at 390°F for 4-6 minutes.

Fried Broccoli

This can be a delicious way to eat broccoli. It comes out with a crispy edge. Soak small florets in water, and drain. Then roll in almond flour with a seasoning of your choice. Put into your sprayed air fryer basket and cook at 400°F for 10 minutes.

Banana Chips

I love banana chips and this could be a great way to make them at home and skip the preservatives that they typically come with. It’s important to use bananas that are greener and not too soft or mushy. Slice thinly, mist with a little olive oil, add salt, cinnamon, or any other seasoning you’d like. Place into an oiled basket and cook at 395°F for 15 minutes.

 

The Self-Care And Pampering Box

I’m thrilled about the contents of this month’s Lean Clean Green Subscription box. This first box has some great products and the theme for this month is self-care and pampering. Why? Because let’s be honest, most of us are so busy taking care of others that we often forget to take care of ourselves. And it’s difficult to carve out that time for yourself. Well now I’m sending you a self-care kit.* In a box. Delivered right to your door. So there’s no excuse.

This month’s products

Valor Facial Lotion - LCG BoxValor Facial Lotion

This amazing lotion is so smooth and wonderful (and it smells absolutely fabulous). One of the things I love best about it (aside from how great my face feels when I use it) is that you can actually read all of the ingredients without needing a magnifying glass. And even better, they’re all real words. No degree in biochemistry needed to understand what you’re putting on your face. 

 

Essential Living Witch Hazel - LCG Box

Essential Living Witch Hazel Toner

This wonderful toner is made from 100% American witch hazel. There’s no alcohol or preservatives in the bottle, just witch hazel. Of course, I’ve never understood why anyone would put alcohol into something that’s supposed to be good for your face, alcohol just dries out your skin.  Witch hazel is useful for:

  • Nourishing for dry skin. And if used immediately after a shower can help seal in moisture
  • Reducing acne and redness
  • Helps to relieve sunburn discomfort
  • Supportive against itching and inflammation from eczema
  • Soothing against razor burn
  • Can help reduce bruising (apply 3 times per day to the affected area)

Turkish cotton makeup towel - LCG BoxTurkish Makeup Towels

I love these towels. It honestly never occurred to me to wonder why we always use white towels to remove makeup. But after 2-3 months of daily use, you just throw it out. Even though you’ve been running it through the wash, it looks like an art project, with lipstick, eye-liner, eye shadow, blush, foundation, whatever you wear. And it just looks gross. Even if you don’t wear much make-up, white towels still get stained with skin oils and daily pollution exposure. Now with this wonderful, soft, Turkish cotton towel, you don’t have to worry about that.

Turmeric Tea and If You Care Tea FiltersTurmeric Tea + Filters - LCG Box

This tea is amazing!! I wish I had smell-o-vision right here on the screen so you could enjoy the fabulous aroma of this incredible 100%-organic-no-added-crap tea. It’s delicious hot or cold and I can’t make up my mind if I like it better as a morning cuppa or in the evening (even though it’s called Dawn).

And these filters? They’re unbleached, durable, and really wonderful. The great thing is that you can use these filters for more than just tea. Check out this video on my Facebook page to learn how else you can use them.

 

Himalayan Salt for Sole - LCG BoxHimalayan Salt 

Rounding out this month’s amazing box is this bag with CHUNKS of Himalayan Salt.  Use this to make Sole (pronounced solay) an adrenal support drink. It is very supportive for those with low energy, fatigue, or anyone who needs a good mineral boost.  Here’s how you make it:

Fill a glass jar about 1/4 of the way with Himalayan salt chunks
Fill the rest of the way with water
Let sit 24 hours so that the water becomes super-saturated
The salt will still be visible at the bottom of the jar
Take 1 teaspoon of the sole, mixed into some room temperature water first thing in the morning (if desired this can be put into a cup of nourishing broth)
Keep refilling your jar with water when it runs low
As the salt run out add another chunk

This bag should provide around 9 months of sole if used daily.

When you join the Lean, Clean, Green Subscription box family you’ll get a themed box filled with holistically healthy, well-sourced products personally curated by me. Each month you pay only $47.

The August 2019 Self-Care Box is worth $78.62!!

* The best part about the box is that you’re in control of how often you get it. Monthly, every other month, every three months, it’s up to you. And if you miss a box, or need a refill on any of these fabulous finds, as long as you’re a subscriber you have access to the Marketplace. That means you can log in and still get the items you want.

If you’ve just found this post and you’re not a member of the Lean Clean Green family, join us, you’ll be glad you did.

sprout nuts and seeds

The Easy Way To Sprout Nuts And Seeds

Why Sprout Nuts and Seeds

Nuts are one of the healthiest and nutrient-dense foods. They are known to contain high levels of key minerals such as calcium, iron, omega 3 fats, and vitamin E. Studies have shown that consuming nuts may also help fight various conditions such as cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and depression.

Although rich in many nutrients, they have a mechanism that makes it rather hard for the human body to absorb these items. Enzyme inhibitors and toxic substances such as goitrogens and phytic acid make it hard both to digest and take up the nutrients contained in the nuts and seeds.

Fortunately, there’s a simple and natural way to get rid of these substances. Sprouting, sometimes referred to as soaking softens and readies the nuts or seeds for germination. When they are sprouted it forces them to get shed the phytic acids and other protective substances that ensure their survival but inhibit nutrient absorption. It also gives a little bit of a nutrient bump due to the sprouting activity.

It is, therefore, really important to soak and sprout nuts and seeds before consuming them in order to get the most nutrition possible out of them.

Once soaked, the nuts make the perfect snack or addition to your smoothies. They are also great for making nut-butters which are a great snack when added to sliced apples or pears, on celery, or used in a wide variety of recipes.

How to Sprout

Sprouting the nuts and seeds is quite simple.  All you need is a glass jar, some sea salt, water, and the nuts or seeds you want to sprout. If you’re using a quart jar you can make 4 cups, a pint jar will yield 2 cups.  For ease of use, it’s best to get wide-mouth canning jars.

The nuts and seeds need to be raw, unroasted, and unsalted in order for this process to work.  I do not recommend mixing the nuts and seeds together, even if they require the same amount of time for soaking. Personally, I find it better to soak each one individually. If you want to turn them into a trail mix or use them combined you can do that after they have been sprouted and dried.

Simply put the nuts in the jar, add two teaspoons of sea salt, fill it up with water and leave to soak for the required period of time.

How long to soak for sprouting

Every nut or seed has a different soaking period. Here’s a chart to help you understand the timing needed to soak each different kind.

Type of Nut/ Seed Soaking (Hours)
Almonds 8 – 12
Brazil nuts 8
Cashew nuts 2 – 3
Hazelnuts (filberts) 8 – 12
Macadamia nuts 2
Pecans 4 – 6
Pistachio nuts 6 – 8
Pepitas 8
Sesame 8
Sunflower seeds (no hull) 2
Walnuts 4 – 8

Once you have removed the seeds and nuts from the water, you can dry them; the best way is to use a dehydrator or oven. If you opt to use the oven, set it at 150F and let the seeds and nuts dry for 12 to 24 hours. Make sure that they are completely dry before removing them. For the dehydrator, it depends on how well yours works, if you have a manual you can check it for recommended drying times.

It is important to note that not all seeds can or should be sprouted. In particular, avoid sprouting chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, and pine nuts.

In conclusion, sprouting nuts and/or seeds is easy to do and it comes with numerous benefits. Adding these amazing, nutrient-dense items to your diet is both good for you and delicious.

Sources
  • https://www.fastachi.com/nuts_health_benefits
  • https://www.foodmatters.com/article/the-benefits-of-soaking-nuts-and-seeds
  • Shahidi, Fereidoon, et al. 8 Almond and Almond Products: Nutraceutical Components. Tree Nuts: Composition, Phytochemicals, and Health Effects (2008): 127.
  • Vinson, Joe A., and Yuxing Cai. Nuts, especially walnuts, have both antioxidant quantity and efficacy and exhibit significant potential health benefits. Food & function 3.2 (2012): 134-140.
  • Yadav, Mukesh, et al. “Medicinal and biological potential of pumpkin: an updated review.” Nutrition research reviews 23.2 (2010): 184-190.