On a night with blowing snow in December, I invented a newer, better for you hot chocolate recipe: Paleo Hot Chocolate Recipe with added protein! The protein comes from gelatin, made smoothe through heating. This delicious hot drink recipe also is dairy-free (non-dairy), and sugar-free. I crave dessert, but don’t want to take the “express train to diabetes-ville.” I hope you like this drink as much as I do!
Spicy, Dairy-Free Paleo Hot Chocolate Recipe:
Total time: 10 minutes prep
Dissolve 2 TB gelatin (pastured source preferred, 24 grams protein!) into 4 TB (1/4 cup) water. Stir and let sit.
In a medium sized pan, add 1-2 TB coconut oil on low heat. Add these spices: a few shakes of ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ginger, 1/8 tsp cloves (go easy or it will taste like metal), 1/8 tsp fresh nutmeg, three shakes ground chipotle powder (cayenne could substitute). Stir about 30 seconds to release the spices’ fragrance.
Next add 3-4 TB cocoa powder, 1/2 can coconut milk (7 oz, use fresh for GAPS & SCD diets), and 1/4 cup water. Add gelatin and water mixture. Bring to low-medium boil for 1-2 minutes. Take off heat, add 1/4 tsp vanilla and 2-5 drops Now brand Better Stevia (one stevia that isn’t bitter and chemically). Now serve end enjoy! Super good! Here’s a video of the finished product.
This hot cocoa drink recipe is non-dairy/dairy-free, as well as legal for the GAPS and SCD diets if you use fresh coconut milk from the nut. It’s great for anyone on the Paleo or Primal diet lifestyle, who desires some fat and fun, along with the protein, without the normal sugar yo-yo.
Blood Sugar Reaction:
Anything tasting sweet on the tongue does cause an insulin release, because everything in nature that tastes sweet has natural sugar in it. This recipe may cause your blood sugar to fall as the body reacts to a sweet taste that doesn’t include sugar. I believe this is better that raising it and lowering it again and again like a yo-yo, as we often do from eating muffins and desserts.
But 24 grams of protein, plus the brain-healthy lauric acid in coconut milk are definite plusses!
I don’t want to ingest sugar that will tip over blood sugar, but also cause artery-dangerous insulin release, as the body responds to sugar. This is thought to be real cause of heart diseased cholesterol deposits – our body is trying desperately to protect itself from insulin.
Most sugar forms (except honey) can also feed gut bacteria. This can be a problem if any of them are bad or overgrown, as after antibiotics use.
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What’s cooler than knowing how to make your own herbal medicine and herbal products? Now you can learn more about herbal medicine and how to use it more in your life. I wanted to share with you a great book to get you started on your herbal education, and even continue learning, too. Today I’m reviewing the book “The New Age Herbalist” by editor Richard Mabey. This herbalist book review is one of many to come!
This herb book was borrowed from my library, but I already know that I’d like to own a copy. It has a great glossary of herbs, with many clear, full color photographs of helpful plants (seen in part below). The glossary lists the Genus and species (very helpful when ordering, so you don’t confuse safe plants with something dangerous). It talks about the plant parts used and constituents. The latter are the chemical and active medicinal properties of the plants, like allantoin in plantain leaf (used heavily in cosmetics), vitamins, minerals, tannins in several herbs (including black tea), and others.
Then The New Age Herbalist has sections for herbs used in fabric dyes (listed by color), aromatherapy (smells), pot-peri SPELL natural plant insect and bug repellents (that you can place next to garden plants), how to plant herbs in your own garden, what types of soils each herb likes, and – my favorite – recipes.
The author has thoughtfully included recipes for homemade, do-it-yourself herbal butters, herbal vinegars, herbal oils, cheesecakes made with herbs like Calendula or rose geranium, herbal beers and wines, and a few herbal tea recipes. [*Note that the calendula used in herbal medicine is not the common garden marigold. You want Calendula officinalis (genus species).]
Lastly, Mabey has listed physical body systems and disorders, and then listed what herbal formulations (a fancy word for herbal “mixtures”) may be helpful for each illness or condition. This section is pretty extensive. It even includes herbs that I haven’t heard of in ten months of advanced herbal medicine education.
The New Age Herbalist book is by editor Richard Mabey (Collier Books, Macmillan Publishing). It’s a great book! I highly recommend it.
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Do you want to become healthier in the New Year through better nutrition and lifestyle habits? Want to learn more about using herbs like Rosemary? Want to find out how to improve your micro biome (gut flora)? Do you want to be a healthier, better version of you – You 8.0? Great News! Watch or listen to my free Transform Health iTunes Podcast channel.
There are several podcasts published and ready for you to listen to right now. They are listed as both video and audio versions – your choice.
Plant Spirit Medicine Lecture Part 1 (Parts 2-3-4 on YouTube/Links included.)
Wheat Analogs – Gluten-Free foods that act like wheat in the body (sesame, GF grains, more)
How to Lower Inflammation: 8 Simple Tips (Nutrition and herbal medicine)
Post-Antibiotic Recovery and Rebuilding of Gut Flora
Carrot Tops! Who ever heard of eating those?! “Isn’t that the part we throw away?” you ask-
I was really skeptical, too, when I heard about making an Italian pesto out of them. This crazy recipe was invented and shared by an East Indian acquaintance. I had to guess at the proportions, but it was wonderfully delicious and bright green that I had to try making it myself!
The first attempt was great! I had to share it with you! It’s an easy way to get greens that aren’t kale (shudder!).
it was wonderfully delicious and bright green
Chili Lime Carrot Top Pesto Recipe:
Put into a food processor or other high-powered juicer/blender, and mix until smooth. You might need to scrape down the sides with a spatula and pulse it. Don’t blend too long, or it will get hot form the motor. (That may have caused the color change, as I kept blending it and adding more lime.)
1.5-2 Limes (more if necessary to get a balanced sour flavor)
2/3 cup Sunflower Seeds, roasted & salted
About 1.5-2.25 cups/ 2″ squished down in blender – Carrot Tops (thickest stems removed)
3/4 Serrano Chili – stem cut off and seeds removed (Could substitute jalapeño)
1.5 large garlic clove– chopped
1/3 tsp Sea Salt
1/4 dry measure cup (like a flour mixing cup) – Olive Oil (cold pressed preferred)
1/4 cup Water (liquid measuring cup)
That’s it! I hope you like it as much as I do!
**This recipe is safe for the Paleo diet, GAPS diet, and SCD diet, as long as you don’t have trouble with chilies (a nightshade family ingredient) nor seeds. It is a nut-free pesto!
I added a small handful of cilantro in my first try, but that may have been a mistake. It tasted good, but turned an unappealing grey-brown quite quickly even with lime in it. I would suggest blending it with the lime in it at first, to stop any color changes. I made it the first time with avocado oil, but I think olive would be better. 2nd making – I liked it better with olive oil. It’s definitely better without cilantro.
I made it in a food processor and the texture was fairly smooth. I would suggest blending it in a blender next to get it to a “creamy” state. You could probably also use a Magic Bullet or other super-powered blender or juicer. I don’t think you could use a regular blender very easily at first, because the carrot tops are fluffy, and won’t touch the blade. There just isn’t enough liquid.
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Black Bean Brownie Recipe – Why Add Black Beans to Dessert Brownie? The beans in the recipe add fiber, which can slow down the absorption of white sugar and white flour in the recipe box. Slower sugar absorption slows the body’s reaction to sugar, which causes the release of insulin. This yo-yo of raised and lowered blood sugar can lead over time to insulin resistance and diabetes. And it is now thought that the body deposits cholesterol in the arteries to protect it from insulin, NOT from the eating of cholesterol.
This recipe came from my friend Mary. It can be made with wheat or made into gluten-free brownies if you use a gluten-free brownie mix.
Heat the oven to the temperature listed on the brownie box. Choose the right pan size and type (metal or glass). Grease pan if required, but only halfway up. You actually want the brownies to be able to cling to the sides about halfway up the pan.
Drain and rinse one 15 oz can of black beans. Return drained black beans to can and add new water to cover. Then blend to a puree.
Combine bean puree and one box of brownie mix in a mixing bowl. Add 1 large egg if you would like a softer spongier consistency. Mix well and bake according to box directions.
*Note: You may need to cook the brownies longer than usual, because of the increased water, from the beans. Cook until the edges start to pull away from the sides, and the middle is no longer liquid. You can test them by dipping a toothpick into the brownie, and pulling it out. Normally you want to see no crumbs on the toothpick. In this case, you want to pull them out a little before its all the way done, so it doesn’t end up overdry. The brownie will continue to cook after its removed from the oven.
Cool on a wire rack. Cut from the pan.
Taste The Results~
The resulting brownies tasted just like normal brownies, but with a nice moistness, and earthiness that was satisfying. You won’t get quite the blood sugar spike from eating them, either. The color looked just a little darker than normal chocolate brownies. Enjoy!
I’m proud to announce a new social media channel for those of us who like colorful herbal teas, Paleo recipes, and “food porn photos” of homemade chocolate: Instagram!The account is called “transform_health_co” – please click on this link to follow us today on Instagram social media.
My film major really comes in hand when crafting social media photos of delicious meals and herbal tea mixtures! And can’t tell you how great it is to be able to have so much versatility with today’s phone cameras, and adjusting all the colors, contrast, etc.
Here’s a sample of what is my Transform Health Instagram page right now ~ It’s so new, I better go add some more fun photos! Click Follow to keep up with my latest works of art.
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If you like our page, please share it with your friends with the buttons below. And check out my online course, Raising Your Immunity Through Herbs, Nutrition and Lifestyle Methods. Here’s a course coupon, too!
Great News! My Transform Health blog is now publishing through the Apple News app, which is available on iPhone, iPad, and Mac computers! This blog specializes in educating the public about functional nutrition, alternative & herbal medicine, common nutritional deficiencies, the Paleo Diet, special digestive diets like GAPS & SCD, and using holistic health knowledge to combat the spread of common diseases, and incidence of chronic diseases.
Why is this health education work important? Here’s a quote from Dr. Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain:
We spend nearly 20 percent of our gross domestic product on health care [in the US]… although we are presently ranked first in the world in health-care spending, we are ranked thirty-seventh in overall health-system performance, according to the World Health Organization. [bold added]
And another quote, from the same source:
We live in an exciting time in medicine…But we also live in a time when the number of people dying from chronic disease (including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria), maternal and perinatal conditions, and nutritional deficiencies combined.
The Transform Health blog is written by me, Diana Sproul, a health coach based in northern Colorado, who helps clients nationally. Besides free health articles and recipes on the Paleo, GAPS and SCD diets; articles comparing the nutrition between wild and farmed salmon, and info about the importance of the Omega 3 to 6 balance (nutrition geeks – you know who you are!), I have these free resources:
a Transform Health Pinterest page with recipes, health videos (including her own), and a lot of nutrition, alternative medicine and holistic health info. Also includes recipes for these diets: Paleo, SCD, & GAPS.
I hope you’ll join me online, or through our newsletter, and that you benefit greatly from reading my health and nutrition articles on the Apple News app! Self-education is the best path to preventative health and a healthy lifestyle.
Can I help you on your journey toward better health? Just Contact me at this link. I would be happy to talk with you further.
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Hi,everyone! I have a new podcast channel for my company, Transform Health. It’s available now at this podcast channel link(by Libsyn), an will hopefully be approved to be on iTunes in a few weeks. I’ll keep you updated.
Future podcasts will be on anti-biotic recovery of the micro biome (gut flora), a green tea latté recipe, functional medicine, beginning herbalism tips and info, alternative medicine, preventative health, recipes for the Paleo or GAPS or SCD diets, historical nutrition, Weston Price, food allergies, vitamin deficiencies, nutrient dense foods, and mineral bioavailability (sometimes we eat it but can’t use it). I hope you will tune in! But since it’s a podcast, you can download it and listen at your leisure.
Now that it’s Fall, I’m discovering smooth, brown acorns around the oak trees in the neighborhood. I think they’re so pretty! I wondered how to prepare and eat acorn as a wild-foraged food, even though I live in a city. One source said that acorns were eaten more commonly in the past than wheat and rice combined! Acorns were historically eaten on four continents: New England and dry California, Europe, Asia, and even northern Africa.(1) Isn’ that amazing? They are a nutritious food source, and work well as a cooking binder, similar to wheat products.
Plentiful Food: One video producer estimated there was over 88 pounds’ harvest from one oak tree alone based on his gathering sampling of 8.8 pounds (250 grams) in 1 square meter. And because there were seventy-five large oak trees in one area, he was wondering why we weren’t utilizing this wild-foraged harvest as large as 3 tons!(4) (All video sources included at end of article, so you can watch them, too!) However, they are eaten by deer, squirrels, and other forest animals, so they’re not going to waste.
Acorn Nutrition Information- Vitamins and Minerals:
According to Arthur Haines, acorns are rich in nutrition: calcium, potassium, B vitamins, phosphorous. They have all eight essential amino acids (essential meaning that we need to eat these substances for fuel to build our own body proteins.)
One video producer, brawny03, said that a mere one ounce has 142 calories, 9 grams of fat and 2.3 grams protein. Historically, we needed a lot of fat to get through winter, even though our metabolism became slower during cold months. Today we still need fats for every cell wall in our bodies, brain function and more.
They are high in Omega 6 Essential Fatty Acid (EFA), which we can’t make in our bodies, but have to take in with food. This EFA is good, because its in a natural state, but most of us get too many Omega 6 EFA’s already from grains in our diets and our meat & dairy animals’ feeds. Omega 6 EFA’s are best if eaten with ample amounts of Omega 3 EFA, which is found in plants like flax seed and purslane herb, as well as wild and grass-fed (pastured) animal meats and dairy. But historically, food and fats were scarce, and most hunted animals were wild game anyway, and already high in Omega 3’s.
I found these beautiful acorns around several oak trees at our local mall, of all places! They were on a parking island. They’re really pretty. I found two kinds: long and thin, and wide and round.
Different Kinds of Oak Species:
According to Arthur Haines, there are two kinds of oak trees and acorns: black oaks and white oaks. Black oaks have a sharp end lobe on their leaf tip, the acorns have hairs inside the shell, and have a long collection season from Fall through Spring. I think he said that they ripen over a longer period, as well. This makes them super important historically, when food may have been scarce after October. Black oak acorns also dry more easily, and are less prone to spoilage than the White oak acorns.
White oaks have a blunt tip lobe on their leaf tip, no hairs inside the acorn shells. They have a shorter collection season because they drop all at once in Fall. And they are more prone to spoilage. There were other species differences on the leaf sides, too.
Within each of these two species there are many different kinds of oaks. They vary the world over as to the growing environment that they like, some preferring drier conditions, some liking having wet “feet.”
How to Harvest Acorns: Wild Foraging Instructions
Video producer Arthur Haines recommends avoiding collecting acorns with holes, caps still on (shows they are immature), and those with black streaks, which can show that fungus is present. Video producer Green Deane recommends avoiding eating green acorns, and waiting until they ripen (turn brown in color) before eating them.
Tannins/ Tannic acid in Acorn Nuts:
Before being eaten, acorns need to be soaked in several changes of either hot or cold water to neutralize two things: 1) phytic acid, an anti-nutrient that becomes a phytate, binding to our vitamins and minerals and washing them out of the body, as well as 2) the bitter taste of tannins in the nuts. In the videos, people soaked (or leached) the acorns either whole in the shell or after grinding during their processing to remove the tannins. (Just FYI, phytic acid is found in all seeds and nuts, including our grains. We’ve just forgotten how to neutralize them through soaking, sprouting and sourdough processes. See cite 5 below to read more about this.)
According to Green Deane in his YouTube video channel “Eat the Weeds”, the larger the cap size to nut generally shows that they have more tannic acid. He collected or foraged acorns from a neighborhood Live Oak, explaining that hardly any leeching was needed as they were just not as bitter as other species. (I’m not sure where he filmed his video, but I know that Live Oaks grow in southern California with dark glossy leaves and great outstretched arms. They look cool and sinister in dusk light.)
How to Process Acorns to Eat as Food, According to Arthur Deane:
The most elaborate and traditional method was in the video by Arthur Deane, who used traditional preparation methods used by Native Americans with cold water leeching. Dried acorns store a very long time in the shell: two to three years!Important Tip: He said that acorns are much easier to shell after they’ve been dried, as the inner nut shrinks in a bit, and loosens from the outer shell. In fact, I saw another Youtube video (not cited), and the creator was trying to shell green acorns. It was a slow process with a lot of grousing.
Remove non-food bits from your acorn bag. Rinse them. Dry acorns in 1 layer in the sun for two weeks, bringing the acorns inside each night to avoid dew fall and on rainy days. (These instructions are for black oak acorns; white oak acorns take 2-3 times longer.)
If you’re going to store the acorns in the shell at this point, it’s recommended to store them in a cold dry place, as the high fat content can make them rancid.The video producer brawny03 said that you should eat them immediately if they start to germinate. However, she said that long sprouts (3/4″) were not good to eat.3
How to Shell Acorns for Food Eating:
Shell them like this: hold the acorn’s pointy end down into a wood board. Pound the blunt back end with a rock and the shell should break apart. Other people showed pliers or nut crackers in their videos, or hit them with a hammer on their side. Don’t worry about removing the red paper on the nut. Grind the acorns to a fine meal or flour size. Mr. Deane used a corn mill (grinder) that he ran the acorns through twice.1
How to Leach Tannins from Acorn Meal:
Then Mr. Deane put the meal into a large bowl (much larger than the meal), and added water to the rim. The meal sank to the bottom. Change the top water once or twice daily for 5 days to prevent spoilage. The acorn meal is done leaching when it stops tasting bitter or astringent (dry & tightening taste on the tongue). (Acceptable bowl materials include glass, porcelain and stainless steel.)1
Acorn Meal Preparation: Draining After Leaching
Pour off the top water only into a drain, well above the sunken acorn meal on the bottom. Strain the rest of the acorn meal through a cloth-lined strainer, into a bowl. Gather the cloth and squeeze the water out well. Use the prepared acorn meal immediately, or dry it to use later. Brief recipes are below.
Acorn Meal Drying Process: Spread 1/4″ layer onto a flat baking sheet in the sun for a few days, or use a dehydrator for several days.1 (I am wondering how we can avoid having squirrels eat them at this point.) Avoid high temps until the cooking time. A different video producer said that if you introduce heat before the actual cooking time that the meal would lose its ability to stick together. I do know that if you heat soaked nuts over 150 degree Fahrenheit, that their enzymes are destroyed.4
Acorn Drying, Shelling and Leaching According to ACampfireProduction:
The video by ACampfireProduction dried the acorns in the sun for 5 days. To shell them, he cut off the top and bottom ends crosswise while holding them sideways on a cutting board. Then he cut down into the acorn lengthwise and removed the shell. He put them into boiling water, and changed the top water for new water about 5 times or more. He didn’t really say how long he boiled them like that. From other videos, I learned that they are done boiling when they’ve lost the bitter tannin taste. This might come out as an “astringent” taste, drying to the tongue similar to black tea.
How to Dry Acorns:
Then this video host dried them in a small, dry pot. There was no duration given. (Alton Brown videos used to make fun of chefs who wrote, “Cook until done.” When was that?} The video producer then pounded the acorns into a flour using a wooden post and wooden metate. He made the acorn meal into a pancake, using these rough ingredients (no measures given): acorn meal, white flour, egg, milk, small amount honey. He fried the acorn meal pancakes for ten minutes in fat, presumably turning the pancake halfway through. He said it held together OK until the end. (This makes me wonder if the sickness factor goes away with overcooking, like it does for arrowroot powder.) The taste was sweeter than he would have thought, because he only used a bit of honey.
Leach Tannins from Acorns in Cold or Hot Water:
Green Deane from EattheWeeds.com recommended leaching the acorns or acorn meal in your choice of either only cold water or only hot water. Mixing the two methods would make the meal bind to the tannins, and leave in the bitter taste, so avoid this! He wanted us to avoid cooling them in the middle of the heating process, for instance. Heating them probably makes the acorn meal lose its binding/stickiness factor. And different people leached the tannins from the acorns either when whole or after grinding.
Green Deane leeched his acorns whole, then dried them, shelled them, ground in the food processor, added water, and then strained the meal through a cloth and sieve into a bowl. He made the acorn meal into an Acorn Bannock, but didn’t give an actual recipe. (Bannock bread is an Irish baking soda-risen bread, with no yeast for the riser. It’s a “quick-bread.”) It looked like flour, baking soda, acorn meal, and water from the time in the food processor. He fried it in oil on both sides to make a flat bread. (Maybe you could get a bannock bread recipe and replace some flour with the acorn. It sounds like acorn has binding qualities, like its more flour-like in recipes. Nuts can only be used to replace a small amount in a recipe, because they don’t act the same as wheat gluten and other binders.)
Green Deane said that if you’re boiling the acorns, the fat will separate and rise to the top. It can then be taken off.
Next – Trying to Prepare Acorns Myself:
OK, the next step is trying this process myself. Wish me luck! If you want to join me, write in the comments section. I’ll write again to update you on what I discover from doing it hands-on.
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Did you try it? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks! Happy Cooking!
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