Tag Archives: Spiritual Food

Juice Feasting and how it saved my life.

I’d like to use this outlet (SpiritualFoodie.org) to speak not as an expert, but to share some information I’ve gathered from my experiences as someone who frequently Juice Feasts and offer some insight into why I or anyone for that matter might want to participate in a fast. I’ll also share some of the things I struggle with when aiming to live a healthy lifestyle and what I do to overcome those hurdles. I’m doing this with the realization that there are so many people who are actively trying to live a healthy lifestyle but who, like myself, tend to fall off course and return to a path less desired, you are not alone. There are also those of you who have heard of juice fasting, but wouldn’t actually know what to expect from one or where to begin and I am also speaking to you. When referring to the practice of juice fasting I use the word Feast intentionally because I find it’s not a fast, a word that has the intonations of being rather depriving but instead I feel as though it is a feast indeed, feasting on compacted nutrition rather than for gluttonous satisfaction.

How my Journey Began:

Several years ago my mother discovered juice fasting as a way to possibly help me alleviate pain I experience on occasion from Crohn’s disease, which includes acute arthritis and serious digestive issues. She tried it out first for herself and then sent me on my way. My life took a turn for the best and has never been the same since.

That being said, the Journey for health is a continuous Journey, one in which offers endless opportunities to make decisions that will affect us either positively or negatively. i.e. to eat the piece of cake or to choose a healthy alternative.  (but more on that at towards the end)

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What to expect:

I highly recommend attending a retreat and immersing yourself in a relaxing and supportive environment especially if you are preparing to fast for the first time. And although there are an abundance of places that offer such an experience the only one I will recommend is Gentle Earth Retreats because it is Heaven on Earth and the best place worth visiting.

My mom and I each attended our first retreat here at Gentle Earth Retreats in the Finger Lakes region of New York and have returned yearly either to the beautiful upstate NY location or to the blissful grounds in Cabuya, Costa Rica (a personal favorite of mine). I cannot recommend it highly enough, because the experience is so much more enjoyable then trying to prepare all juices, soups etc for myself while also trying to do my daily activities. Best to get away for awhile!

We return year after year in order to relax, rejuvenate and restart our digestive systems so to speak while in the most supportive of environments. The juices are prepared fresh daily for us with some of the tastiest recipes available with only the freshest ingredients and the highest quality of produce.

Here is a sample meal schedule (day):

9:00  Melon Juice

11:00 Vegetable Broth

noon: Gentle Yoga

1:15 Fruit Blend

3:15 Red Drink

5:45 Dinner as a group, Soup with Rejeuvelac and shot of Wheat Grass

7:00 Sorbet

9:00 Green Drink

(With plenty of water and tea throughout the day!)

*Retreat organizers are happy to pack cold lunch bags with juices in order to accommodate any excursions either alone or with the group.

The retreat itself and the evening gatherings are led by Katherine Croll, who is both a biologist and a nutritionist. She and her husband provide invaluable information regarding health and nutrition and do so in a casual and comfortable evening space which creates room to chat openly and to ask any questions that may and will inevitably arise. Katherine is a dear friend, a wonderful inspiration and truly an encyclopedia of information. She has opened my eyes to a world of information I didn’t have access to previously and she continues to inspire me daily by living life as a positive example and a wonderful role model.

Following retreats, I always return home energized and encouraged to continue making healthy lifestyle choices. I do feast on my own periodically throughout the year, although usually only for 2-5 day periods as opposed to 10-14 days while on a retreat.

My saving grace is being able to return year after year to Gentle Earth Retreats, to the loving arms of Katherine, her wonderful husband Jeff and their mighty dog Pedro. The community of health conscious individuals that attend these workshops and retreats also draw support from one another in their efforts to regain and maintain health themselves. Close friendships have been formed and huge strides towards health have been made!

Some of the benefits of juicing for long periods of time are:

  • encourages deeper detox
  • increases energy levels
  • reduces painful symptoms
  • regulates digestive system
  • changes tastebuds to appreciate healthy food.
  • more positive outlook on life
  • sheds excess pounds of unnecessary weight
  • deeply nourishes with nutrients and minerals
  • deepens appreciation for food, healthy food in particular
  • inspires creative ideas and interest in cooking/raw food prep
  • deeper, more sound sleep
  • vivid dreams
  • brighter skin, stronger nails & hair
  • detox, detox, detox

Last summer I had the pleasure of traveling with my mom to NY for our first retreat together.

My mom is a natural explorer, so here are just a few places we visited together:

 

The struggle is real:

Now with all these wonderfully positive things I’ve had to say, here’s where I’d also like to be forward and forthright in sharing my experience of what it’s like trying to stay on a healthy path. To begin, there is no such thing as ‘Perfect Health’. Someone recently explained health to me in a way that really resonated: Health can be viewed on a spectrum, and since there is no such thing as perfect health you are either dead or somewhere in between. I know I sound frank and possibly morbid, but death is inevitable so we may as well live as best we can while we are here. With this new information my goals have dramatically shifted and rather than aiming for a state of perfect health I can now aim my efforts to place me swinging on the spectrum of good health and leave the state of perfection out of the equation. With the realization that perfect health is no longer my goal, but rather a pain free and enjoyable active lifestyle is, the reins that held me in a negative and judgmental state towards myself anytime I slipped off course have been released. The expectation of perfection is too heavy a burden. It’s a tremendous amount of pressure to place on one’s self that we ‘must’ be raw, vegan, gluten-free, whatever the case me be ALL the time. I’ve given all these things a try, and they all hold a very important role on my quality of life. That being said I would much rather identify with ‘mostly vegan’ rather than to rigidly attempt to box myself into a mere category that feels limiting.

I feel called to share this aspect of my journey ‘the struggle’ because I know I am not alone in feeling that a healthy lifestyle can resemble at times a box, or one of lack. Wether it’s a sense of limited options being available or that taste must be lacking in order to be healthy, these are misconceptions. A healthy diet can feel both limitless and can be delightful to the tastebuds! I do fall victim to food cravings and sugar addiction but rather than beat myself up over any poor choices I may have made, I remind myself that every moment of every day we are always faced with more decisions and the opportunity to make positive choices is always available. There are infinite resources available and it’s really a matter of finding out what’s most important to you and what your goals are in order to find the information and answers that best suit your needs. I have turned to juicing pure fruits and vegetables in order to overcome some pretty trying health complications, as many people have. However the benefits are endless and extend to those in good health as well as in poor. The benefits or juicing and a healthy lifestyle are extraordinary and worth checking out for yourself. Do you have any experiences with juicing you’d be willing to share? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section!

If you’ve gotten this far, THANK YOU for taking the time to read this blog post. I began my blogging journey by sharing a number of dishes that I’ve created and enjoyed and now I’ve really had to step into the space of  sharing some deeper content, writing from my heart and sharing more in depth about myself and my Journey.

I hope you are feeling inspired to try juice feasting for yourself or at least to prepare something healthy to eat today. Let’s take our health into our own hands and see the world and it’s inhabitants as our allies, here to support  us and be supported by each other.

Much LOVE & Cheers to Good Health!

-Spiritual Foodie :0)

 

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Raw ‘Cheesy’ Roasted Red Pepper Kale Chips

Raw Cheesy Roasted Red Pepper Kale Chips

While juicing recently I spent a lot of time online looking at online videos of recipes and bookmarked several that I knew I wanted to try. This was one of the first things I made and has also turned out to be the most repeated thing I’ve made over the past few weeks. I am eating kale chips almost daily thanks to this recipe, and they never taste the same. I have been able to use an assortment of nuts, a variety of peppers, and both straight and curly kale to mix things up.

Here is a link to the original recipe I found online:

For the nut cheese, she uses walnuts in her video where as I chose to use a combination of soaked cashews and macadamia nuts instead because they were what I had on hand at the time. I’ve tried walnuts once and liked the kale chips just fine, but the cashew and macadamia nuts really seem to set this recipe apart from anything I’ve had before.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of kale (curly or straight)
  • 1 red bell pepper (or more)
  • 1 cup of soaked raw nuts (macadamia nut & cashew..  or any variety)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (or less)
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (or less)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)

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Sweet Potato and Chickpea Bites

Sweet Potato, chickpea bites

These delicious bites turned out better than I’d ever hoped. I’m really pleased with how tasty they are.

Original Recipe:

http://cheapeatsforthegreenbean.com/2014/08/03/sweet-potato-and-chickpea-bites/

I modified the recipe to include ingredients I already had on hand. I only had one sweet potato for instance, and I used Tarragon as a garnish instead of scallions as the recipe originally calls for.

Ingredients I used:

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • equal amount chickpeas as sweet potato (I used frozen, thawed)
  • Kale, fine chopped
  • Garlic
  • Coconut Milk
  • Coconut Oil
  • Seasoning: paprika, cayenne, red chili flakes, curry powder, nutritional yeast, salt & pepper
  • Fresh Herbs I used: Thyme & Tarragon

 

Directions:

  1. Boil sweet potato & prepare chickpeas (frozen, thawed on stove)
  2. Sautee garlic (briefly, until fragrant)
  3. Add Kale and reduce heat to low, cover and steam (very briefly)
  4. Season with: Paprika, cayenne, red chili flakes, curry powder
  5. Add thawed chickpeas and stir well.
  6. Combine in a large bowl with sweet potato mash, 3-4 tablespoons of coconut milk and nutritional yeast.
  7. Add S & P and any additional seasonings. I added fresh Thyme and Tarragon from the garden.
  8. Bake in a greased muffin tin (coconut oil works well for greasing) –  20 minutes at 450 degrees.

Voila !

 

 

Raw Almond Thai Noodles

Raw Almond Thai Noodles

I am often creating dishes from whatever I have and here is an example of something I threw together in a hurry before work recently. I am really pleased with how it turned out and have since recreated this dish several times.

I recently started eating a lot of zucchini noodles, and this is by far my favorite version I’ve made yet. If you’ve never used or even heard of a spiralizer be sure to check out this link:

http://www.amazon.com/Essential-Spiralizer-Tri-Blade-Spiral-Vegetable/dp/B006THC75E/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1406215399&sr=8-4&keywords=spiralizer

Without a Prime membership to Amazon.com there may be a cheaper option available (I didn’t check shipping prices) however, with Prime I found this to be the cheapest option. If you are not used to unusual kitchen appliances, do not be intimidated! Here’s a link to a video I like that shows just how simple and straightforward using it really is:

Ingredients:

  • Raw zucchini noodles, spiralized
  • Pine Nuts
  • Cilantro
  • Shelled Hemp Seeds
  • Pairs well with Avocado

Sauce:

  • Almond Butter
  • Water
  • Hoison Sauce
  • Gluten Free Soy Sauce (or Braggs Amino)
  • Lime juice
  • Coconut Milk (optional)
  • Udo’s oil (add last, also optional)

To make the sauce I whisked together a fair amount of Almond Butter (main ingredient, be sure to use enough) with just a bit of water until the consistency was smooth and creamy.  And then I added about a tablespoon of Hoison Sauce, a dash of GF Soy Sauce, squeezed the juice from about half of a lime, a tablespoon or so of coconut milk and at the end I also added a bit of Udo’s oil for added nutrients.

I hope you give this a try and enjoy it as much as I have!

Cheers to good Health!

Carrot Ginger Delight

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Carrot juice is one of my least favorite things to drink, though I love the way I feel afterwards, so it’s worth it in the end. Here’s what I put together today, and it turned out great!

Ingredients:

  • 6 large organic carrots
  • generous chunk of fresh ginger root
  • 1 green apple

I just processed it through my Champion Juicer and voila!

 

Quinoa and Mung Bean Soup with Kale

Quinoa and Mung Bean Soup
A wonderfully comforting dish for a chilly winter day or anytime.

Ingredients:

  • Quinoa
  • Mung Beans
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Kale
  • Ghee
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Seasonings: mustard seeds, curry powder, cayenne, and S & P

Directions:

  1. Prepare Quinoa and Mung Beans together, 1/2 C Quinoa with 1/2 C Mung Beans and add 4 C of water or broth. (I used half water and half broth and the flavor is wonderful!)
  2. Prepare Vagar (Ghee with seasonings): adding mustard seeds first, and once they pop add curry powder, cayenne or spices of choice, then saute onions, adding garlic towards the end.
  3. Once mung beans and quinoa are cooked fully, texture should be a soft consistency (about 20 minutes) add onions and chopped Kale, cover and let simmer on low for an additional 10 minutes or so.
  4. Add extra seasonings if needed and top with nutritional yeast before serving.

Enjoy!

*Note: Before adding water/broth I like to allow quinoa to rest for a moment on the hot surface of pot to enhance it’s toasty flavor.

A sweet hello from a beautiful friend this morning.
A sweet hello from a beautiful friend this morning.

Quinoa with Fruit and Nuts

Quinoa with Fruit and Nuts

The last breakfast quinoa dish I created was so well received that I wanted to go ahead and share another wonderful creation. When I prepare food, I know that I am still learning as I go and I can’t even begin to express the amount of joy I am filled with when I am able to successfully create a healthy dish that tastes as wonderful as this, and it was so simple to make!

Ingredients:

  • Quinoa
  • Raw cashew pieces
  • Dried cranberries
  • Fresh sliced mango
  • Ghee and Coconut Oil
  • Seasoning: Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Coconut Sugar

Directions:

  1. Prepare quinoa, 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water.
  2. Add Ghee and coconut oil, and seasoning, sparingly at first and then to taste.
  3. Mix in raw cashew pieces, cranberries and top with fresh mango.

Simple and delicious!

Breakfast Quinoa

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An ensemble of ingredients on hand.

Ingredients:

  • Quinoa
  • Organic dried cranberries
  • Organic raw cashew pieces
  • Banana, thinly sliced
  • Organic Raw Pecans
  • Coconut Oil or Ghee
  • Unsweetened Vanilla Almond milk (or other milk substitute)
  • Seasoning: Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, coconut sugar, pink Himalayan sea salt, maple syrup
  • ‘The Perfect Snaque’ coconut almond quinoa crunch (optional)

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Directions:

  1. Cook quinoa: 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer until water is absorbed and quinoa is a soft and fluffy texture, about 20 minutes.
  2. Add coconut oil (or ghee) generously, almond milk, maybe 1/4 cup only, a little at a time, and seasonings: a generous amount of cinnamon, a dash of clover and nutmeg, just a hint of salt to balance the sweet from a dash a maple syrup (or agave) and coconut sugar.
  3. Once seasonings are mixed, add any ingredients you’d like. I used raw cashew pieces, dried cranberries, halved pecans, and thinly sliced banana.

This recipe came together this morning when I was craving something warm and soothing, a dish high in protein and nutrients and not too heavy on the digestive system. This is what I came up with and I’m very pleased with the results. If you decide to give it a try, I’d love to hear from you, see how you liked it and what other ideas you may have come up with.

Thank you for your continued support,

Spiritual Foodie  ~  Brooke Ridgeway

Enjoy!

 

Making Healthy Food Fun for Kids!

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Working as a nanny I have found that the most important thing to getting kids to eat healthy food is to start when they are young, and as they get older, making healthy food fun really helps them to stay on the right track. As parents and caregivers to the children in our lives, we are able to help pave a path that they can take and benefit from for the rest of their lives.

When working with infants I like to begin introducing solids with savory soft foods first like squashes and avocados and waiting before introducing sweeter foods like bananas and apples. Once they’ve acquired a taste and liking for sweet foods, it’s likely going to be harder to get them to eat their vegetables as well.

I’ve worked with a lot of infants and really young children over the years, and more recently have been working with older children as well, around the ages of 3-6. I am encouraged seeing how much kids really enjoy healthy food when they have the taste for it, when they get to participate in the preparation or be engaged with the food in some way while eating it and when it’s just fun. Kids always want to have fun, and this carries over into food. One way to make food fun is with the presentation and here are just a few protein and nutrient rich food ideas that I’ve used and had success with over the years. I will continue to add more with time. I do love these tasty treats and eat them regularly myself.

Almond butter is great of course because it is rich in protein. Apples, bananas and celery make for a great base, and cinnamon and honey are full of immune strengthening and anti-inflammatory properties.

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I set these up usually to allow the kids to have as much participation as possible, unless under a time constraint of course. They love topping the celery with either raisins or Goji berries. Apples and bananas with either cinnamon and/or honey, and on special occasions I even pull out the sprinkles. If there is something here you’ve tried before or plan to make, I will love to hear what other wonderful ideas you come up with!

Note: A fun trick to making something like a plain apple or banana fun to eat is to slice a few pieces and then put them back together. Sell it to the kids as ‘Puzzle’ fruit!

Bon Appetit and cheers to good health!