Blood Building Hot Cereal with Goji Berries

goji berries

Goji Berries or Gou Qi Zi are an awesome Traditional Chinese Herb. They are used to help build the blood, supplement the energy, and build the Liver blood and are good for the eyes. They also happen to be super tasty. Since I have a 2 year old and we are raising her vegan it is always on my mind to make sure to get her the right kinds of foods that will keep her healthy and strong. In Chinese Medicine veganism is sometimes looked upon in not the best light because there is a fear that if you don’t eat animal products you can become blood deficient. Well I have been vegan for almost 20 years, had a vegan pregnancy and then gave birth to an amazing daughter. Pregnancy and childbirth are some of the things that can really tax our bodies and take a lot of extra blood and energy to accomplish. Many of my non-vegan friends had issues with anemia during pregnancy and I was never even close. I was hiking and riding my bike right up to the day Jade was born.

Goji Berries are a fun herb to grow in the Pacific Northwest too, but I am yet to find the best location in my garden. The first year I was growing them I got a few berries and then not much since. I think they just needed a bit more sun than what I was giving them. If anyone has some tips on growing them in the NW please let me know.

Toddler Approved Hot Cereal

Toddler Approved Hot Cereal

Here is the hot cereal recipe:

Hot Cereal with Goji Berries

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup millet
  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • 2-3 TB Coconut flakes (unsweetened)
  • 1 TB sesame seeds (unhulled)
  • Generous handful of Goji Berries

Put all the ingredients in a sauce pan and cover with water about a 1/2 inch over the dry ingredients. Then bring to a boil and cover, turn down heat and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. I also added a pinch of cinnamon and a couple TBS of coconut oil.

Chinese Medicine Properties:  The goji berries, sesame seeds and coconut are blood building. The bland flavors of oats, millet and quinoa are beneficial to the Spleen and Stomach and are good for supplementing them which is also helpful in building the blood. The cinnamon is good for increasing digestive fire, which is important since too many blood building foods can be harder to digest. The cinnamon helps to aid the digestion. Enjoy!!!

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Healthy Holiday Cookies

Christmas CookiesI usually don’t make Christmas Cookies or Holiday Cookies, but am motivated to send some to my brother. He has moved to his on the road lifestyle, I decided that I needed to send him some holiday cheer in the form of vegan and gluten free goodness!!! You can follow my brother, Michael and Tara’s blog here at RVegan Adventures. Get it RV and Vegan… Awesome!!! Currently they are stopped in Texas, which in my mind is a far, far away place you don’t mess with that is even farther away from vegan goodies.

Hence my inspiration this year to attempt to make healthy Holiday Cookies. They are the same base dough with some slight tweaking. Although there is still some sugar there is 1/2 of what would normally be in a cookie and plenty sweet from all that coconut. Also coloring is from plant sources: chlorophyll and turmeric.

Here is the base dough: (Split into 4 balls, each kind of cookie makes a dozen or more)

  • 3 cups Bob’s Redmill GF flour
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 2 cups powdered sugar (organic that has tapioca flour and no corn starch is preferred)
  • Sprinkle of salt
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup coconut oil (unrefined and melted)
  • 1/2 cup or more rice milk or nut milk (see directions)

Mix all ingredients and add just a little more rice milk until dough is easy to form and you are able to roll it out. I know some sugar cookie recipes require refrigeration to make the dough easier to work, but honestly I am not that patient and I have a two year old running around so it is a better idea to just get it done as quickly as possible. I then divide the dough into 4 equal balls.

Here are the variations:

Green Christmas Trees with Red Lentil Ornaments

Add 10 drops chlorophyll to turn dough green, roll out, cut cookies and then sprinkle some red lentils on the top. Bake 10 minutes at 350.

Tree Cookies

Christmas Cookies

Lemon Almond Drop Cookies

Add juice of 1/2 lemon, pinch of turmeric (for color), zest of one whole lemon, and I also added 5 drops lime essential oil (since I was out of lemon). Roll into balls and then bake for 11 minutes at 350. I pressed an almond into the center and although the picture doesn’t look very yellow they are yellow.

Christmas Cookies

Chocolate Star Cookies

Roll out dough and cut into star shapes. Bake 10 minutes at 350. After cookies are cooled I melted equal parts vegan chocolate chips and coconut oil. Then I dipped the cookies in the super runny chocolate mixture so just the face side had chocolate, but hey you could dip the whole thing in too!!

Christmas Cookies

Raspberry Walnut Linzer Cookies

First I made 1/4 cup walnut meal and put that in a bowl. Then I added 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and a pinch of cinnamon. Mix this up. Then add your last dough ball and thoroughly incorporate. Roll out balls and put a generous thumbprint indentation in the center. Then add small spoonful of raspberry jam to make a pool in the center. Bake these for 12-14 minutes at 350. Don’t make the mistake I did and sample while still warm!!!! The jam inside turns into runny liquid hot magma and burns your hand, mouth, whatever it touches. Once these are cool the jam becomes semisolid again.

Hope you enjoy these cookies!!! Happy Holiday! And remember Peace on Earth starts with Peace on Your Plate, GO VEGAN!!!

Giving and Receiving: An afternoon of Yoga, Self-Care and Gift Making

Giving and Receiving: An afternoon of Yoga, Self-Care and Gift-Making
with Anastasia Gambill and Genevieve Johnson
Sunday, December 6th 2-5pm
Cost: $40 (includes gift-making materials), $35 for Yoga Refuge membersAs we enter the season of festivities, feasts, and family, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and fall into habits of stress. How can we celebrate our loved ones and learn to give and receive without becoming maxed out? Can we care for ourselves first so that we have more generosity of spirit for others?

The first half of this 3-hour workshop will combine meditation and intention setting with a gentle yoga practice that will help you to refocus your holdiays into a celebration of self care and giving from the heart. After this nourishing practice, participants will enjoy a tea tasting and learn to make an enlivening body scrub, refreshing toner, and a soothing salve, all wonderful as both gifts and self care. Materials will be provided and you will leave with gifts in hand! Workshop participants will also get a 10% discount for the afternoon on any items in the Yoga Refuge boutique, which includes yoga mats, yogi toes towels, handmade eye pillows and other accessories for self-care practice.

SIGN UP HERE

Some of the products we made in the Body Product Class

Fall into Good Health

leaves

The leaves are so beautiful!!! We have been back in Portland now for just over a year, after living on the coast in beautiful Cannon Beach. This has not changed my passion for all things vegan and gluten free. Especially since my daughter was born almost 3 years ago. With her arrival I have been on the quest to not only do vegan and GF, but also as many super densely packed nutritious meals with minimal ingredients.

As all of you Portlanders know we have had an amazingly beautiful spring, summer and fall! Very dry in fact. At times a little too dry with the surrounding droughts. But alas the rains have finally come and mother nature has indicated that Fall is here.

Fall in Chinese Medicine

In Traditional Chinese Medicine Fall is a time of the Lungs, which belong to the Metal Element. This is traditionally a time when dryness and wind have a factor in our health. The Lungs are associated with the exterior of our body and when we catch a cold (or wind-cold in Chinese Medicine) the Lungs have been compromised. This is evident by the chills, fever, body aches, sniffles, and cough that may be productive or dry.

What can we do in Chinese Medicine to treat a cold/flu?

First and foremost there are many common herbs you probably already have in your kitchen that are great for those beginning stages of a cold; ginger, green onion, mint, garlic.

Make a really strong ginger tea with a 2-3 inches chopped fresh ginger root in 6 cups water. Boil the ginger and let simmer for 15 minutes and add some maple syrup or honey to cut the super pungent flavor (optional). Let the tea cool slightly and drink throughout the day.

Go see your acupuncturist or get one!! They will have some great formulas on hand like, Yin Qiao San, Gan Mao Ling or Chuan Xin Lian. These are all great formulas to have on hand for the cold and flu season, but you want to make sure to get them from a trusted source. Also acupuncture can cut the time you are sick in half and who doesn’t want to feel better now.

How we can strengthen our immune system to prevent getting a cold/flu

The best way to strengthen our immune system is to eat a whole foods diet that has lots of veggies!!! This is probably redundant to many of you who would be reading a health blog. But still eat lots of veggies!!!

In TCM we look at things a little differently, our immune system has a direct link to the Lungs (remember they govern the exterior of the body to protect us).

Some simple foods to support or tonify  the lungs are: nourishing soups (recipe below), pears, pumpkin, apple, brown rice, porridges, and mushrooms.

Foods that can help get phlegm out of the lungs are: garlic, fresh ginger, fennel, and seaweeds.

Foods for a dry cough (meaning the Lungs need to be moistened) are: microalgaes, pears, string beans, herbs like lily bulbs, marshmallow root, and licorice tea.

Miso Ingredients

Time for Fall Soup (Nourishes the Lungs)

  • 2-3 stalks green onions
  • 3 cloves garlic (double with a cold)
  • 1-2 inches fresh ginger (double with a cold)
  • 2 astragalus roots (optional for extra immune boosting)
  • 4-5 mushrooms (I prefer shiitake)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1/2 package tempeh
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4-1/3 cup miso

Chop the green onions, mushrooms, carrot, celery, and tempeh (the garlic and ginger can be grated ro finely chopped). Add the 2 astragalus roots whole (so you can remove them before eating the soup). Add all ingredients to the water and boil for 8-10 minutes. After all veggies are tender turn OFF heat and add sesame oil and miso. A tip for the miso is to whisk up with 1/2 cup water before adding to soup so it will be uniform in texture. Also we add miso at the end after heat is turned off to preserve all the healthy probiotics.

This soup has nourishing ingredients (astragalus, carrots, mushrooms, celery, tempeh and miso) to boost the immune system. And it has Lung opening and phlegm reducing herbs (green onions, garlic, and ginger).

Also by boiling the ingredients we preserve the nutritional elements in the soup broth and this method of cooking is seen as very neutral in Chinese Medicine. Meaning that it is great for all constitutions so enjoy!!!

Miso Soup

Playing in the Hay: An Unconventional Cure for Hay Fever

I had the privilege to visit Green Acres Farm Sanctuary on Saturday. It was a work party I found out about from PAWAPortland Animal Welfare Advocates. We got to do lots of hay clean up for composting and then put down fresh hay for the animals to roll around in and munch on. It was awesome to see how happy the ducks and chickens were with their new fresh spaces. And it was super awesome to see such a fun group of people working together to help out some amazing rescue animals. 

What I really was the most surprised with was how my hay fever was totally non-existent. I used have severe allergies to grasses and hay and when I was a kid going to a farm if I touched anything I would practically just break out in hives. I honestly believe that because I have a super clean and anti-inflammatory diet that my allergies have disappeared. It was only more of a confirmation to see such a drastic change when I was just playing (well working) in the hay!!!

Hershey the Calf at Green Acres Farm Sanctuary

Hershey the Calf at Green Acres Farm Sanctuary

So what the hay… try to go vegan and see how much better you feel! Go vegan for this “little” guy named Hershey, he’s a steer at Green Acres who is only a year old. He was brought in by someone at a veal auction that was disturbed how the animals were treated and brought to the Sanctuary when he was only 3 days old!!! He is awesome and wants to play and is doing amazing because of dedicated animal lovers!

NW VEG VANCOUVER POTLUCK AND CHINESE MEDICINE TALK

NW Veg Business Member

Thursday, March 26 (6:30 PM)

Join us for a community potluck followed by a presentation on Traditional Chinese Medicine Perspective on Healthly Vegan Living by Genevieve Johnson, L.Ac., acupuncturist and herbalist. Genevieve will also give us a demonstration of how to balance our foods using a Chinese Medicine Perspective.

Genevieve Johnson, L.Ac. is an acupuncturist and herbalist that focuses on plant-based nutrition and a healthy lifestyle for optimal well-being. She first became a vegetarian at the age of 12 when she was given her first pet, Buddy a parakeet. A few years later she decided to go vegan. When she was in college she had great success with acupuncture, herbs and diet dramatically impacting her health and decided to become an acupuncturist. She has worked in a variety of clinical settings ranging from hospitals to drug rehab facilities and private practice. She now practices at Portland Family Acupuncture in SE and downtown. Genevieve has lots of great recipes and resources available on her website veganacupuncture.com.

Come to the potluck at 6:30, the talk at 7:30, or both! The potluck and demo will be in the Oak and Elm Rooms at the Marshall Center, 1009 E. McLoughlin, Vancouver, WA 98663 [see map]. This is just over the I-5 Bridge – very quick to reach from Portland.
For the potluck, please bring a plant-based (no animal products, including honey) main dish, salad, or dessert; a card listing its ingredients; and plates and utensils for your use. Need plant-based ideas? Click here. If you come alone, figure the amount to serve 4-6; increase the amount 4 servings for each additional person in your party/family. Northwest VEG potlucks are alcohol-free events. For more information email info@nwveg.org. A donation of $2-5 is suggested to help cover the cost of the room rental.