Pears for Healthy Digestion

Dry weather and oily, rich winter foods can cause constipation, gas and bloating. If your digestion suffers in the winter because the air is so dry and the meals are heavier, pears are a perfect antidote.

Pears are loaded with flavonols, plant nutrients that provide anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant support. They are high in pectin, a sugar loaded with galacturonic acid, which coats and soothes the intestines to reduce symptoms of heartburn, ulcers, GERD, acid reflux, and colitis. Pear fibers bind with bile acid in the intestines, making them soothing and easily digestible. They are an important part of a low-allergy diet and. In my native Italy, they are one of the first foods given to infants.

These recipes also feature cardamom and olive oil, both of which support digestion in crucial ways.

Cardamom is a fragrant and floral spice native to Southeast Asia that reduces gas and bloating. Its warming and soothing quality makes it a perfect pairing to pears.

Olive oil is a polyunsaturated fat that hails from various parts of the world, including Greece, Syria, and Italy. First cold press olive oil is high in anti-inflammatory polyphenols, which reduce risk of heart disease, maintain a balanced cholesterol profile, and reduce the overgrowth of ulcer-inducing helicobacter pylori bacteria in the intestines. 

Pear, Almond, and Chocolate Muffins

These delicious muffins are more like dessert. They are gluten-free, (almost) dairy-free, and free of refined cane/beet sugar (adapted from the Five and Spice blog).

You will need:

  • 2 cups almond flour (I like Bob's Red Mill brand or you can make your own in a food processor)

  • ½ cup rolled oats (replace this with more almond flour if you want grain-free muffins)

  • a pinch of sea salt

  • ½ teaspoon each: nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom

  • ¼ cup maple syrup

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • ¼ cup coconut milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 large egg

  • ½ cup chopped dark chocolate

  • 1 small pear, diced into little pieces

Heat your oven to 375 degrees and grease a muffin pan with olive oil.

In a medium bowl, stir together the almond flour, oats, spices, and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry mix and add the maple, oil, coconut milk, vanilla, and egg. Whisk these together and then fold dry ingredients into wet until mostly smooth and fully combined.

Add the chopped chocolate and pear at the end. 

Spoon the batter into muffin tins, filling each cup almost to the top. Bake until brown and a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean, 15-18 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan before removing and serving.

These muffins are best eaten the day they are made.

Pear Almond Cake

This light, fluffy tart is a wonderful brunch addition or a simple treat to serve at the end of a holiday meal.

You will need:

  • 2 cups almond flour

  • 1/2 cup oat flour (buy flour or make it by grinding rolled oats in your blender or food processor)

  • a pinch of sea salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon and cardamom

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

  • 1 egg

  • 1 pound Anjou pears

  • lemon juice and water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9 inch pie plate or cast iron skillet with olive oil.

Slice pears in half, core them, and then slice each half into about 3 smaller slices. Place these slices them in a bowl of lemon juice and water to keep them from browning. Set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together flours and spices. Make a well in the center and add the rest of the ingredients, minus the pears. Whisk these together, then incorporate them with the dry ingredients. 

Pour batter into greased pan. Pat pears dry and arrange them in a circle over the batter. Bake for 25 minutes and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Would you like to learn more about which foods are ideal for you? 

Try a free initial consultation with Lisa.

sergey-zolkin-1882-unsplash.jpg

Spices for healthy holiday cooking

The early winter holidays are traditionally a gathering time. Come together with friends and family, slow down and enjoy the peaceful darkness of long evenings. As you circle around the meal table, remember that the light will return at winter solstice, December 21st.

Honor the peace that comes before the light slowly starts returning. Nourish yourself and your loved ones while staying healthy by incorporating these spices into your holiday cooking. You probably already do.

CINNAMON

During the colder months, cinnamon increases warmth and circulation and supports efficient digestion of fats and heavy foods. It counteracts the congestion that is often accompanied by dairy-rich foods.

Cinnamon also brings relief from the common cold and flu by dissolving mucus and resolving coughs and bronchial congestion. 

NUTMEG

Nutmeg is a highly prized digestive aid, commonly added to cheese sauces and creamy desserts. Enjoy it! It mediates the effects of rich food, sweets, overeating and late-night eating. Watch this short video on how to make a vegan cream sauce that mimics the flavor of dairy.

CLOVES

This potent spice comes from a beautiful beautiful tropical bush, the clove bush. It can develop into a large woody shrub. I have seen it growing in the shade of coffee trees in Indonesia. It is antimicrobial and antiseptic, particularly for the gums and teeth. Heavy holiday desserts are known to clog the sinuses and produce mucus. Cloves clear the sinuses, encourage mental clarity and clear mucus. Hence, they are a perfect addition to sweet treats as well as savory dishes.

Try these recipes to incorporate a taste of health into your meals.

COCONUT CARROT RICE PUDDING

You will need:

  • 1 can organic, full-fat coconut milk

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 cup uncooked long grain brown rice

  • 2 medium carrots, grated

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: salt, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger

  • 1/3 cup raisins

  • 2 tablespoons raw honey to finish

In a pot, bring coconut milk, rice and water to a boil.

Meanwhile, grate carrots.

Reduce heat to low; add carrots, vanilla, spices and raisins.

Stir well, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes, until rice is tender. The mixture will still be liquid, like a thick stew. Cook it down more if you like or try it as is.

Remove from heat, stir in honey, and serve in small bowls, perhaps with an extra sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

GET CREATIVE! Two ideas: substitute parsnips for carrots. Instead of raisins, add chopped almonds and dates.

BAKED APPLES STUFFED WITH ALMONDS AND FIGS

You will need:

  • 1/2 cup dried figs, chopped

  • 1 cup almonds, chopped

  • ¼ cup red wine

  • 6 tart apples

  • pinch salt

  • 3 tablespoons butter OR coconut oil

  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon and nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine chopped figs, almonds and wine in a small bowl. Set aside.

Chop apples in half, remove core, and place right-side up in a greased baking dish that has a lid. If you do not have a lid, cover tightly with aluminum foil.

Fill apples with fig almond mixture.

Whisk together remaining ingredients, pour over apples, seal tightly, and bake for 1 hour. 

Serve with ice cream or whipped cream if you like!

monika-grabkowska-437279-unsplash.jpg