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Posts Tagged ‘fiber’

Beat the Sugar Blues

In Nutrition, Recipe on January 7, 2016 at 4:35 am

sugar cookie

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” ~Marcel Proust

It’s the new year and everyone is suddenly “cleaning up” their act. The list of restrictions and no-no’s add up and SUGAR might be on 2016’s list of banned foods. Taking a hard look at your sugar consumption is always a good idea. Merely shining the light of awareness on an issue automatically changes the situation.

Eliminating sugar cold-turkey is quite difficult; however, making a real attempt at reduction is a worthy use of your intention and effort. If you are one of the few who still aren’t convinced that sugar is harmful, check out this and this and then get back to me when you’ve left the land of denial.

Here are some suggestions for scaling back your intake and reducing sugar cravings as well as a recipe to help you ease into healthier options that include a bit of sugar  along with a bunch of healthy other stuff like fiber and healthy fats to balance out your blood sugar.

Get honest about your relationship to sugar. Decide what level of importance you will give to this topic. Maybe it’s just not a priority for you. Maybe other issues in your life require more attention at this time. That’s OK, just demonstrate consistency with whatever approach and focus you choose.

hot chocolateMake sure you are getting enough carbohydrates as well as enough calories. Calorie deficits create cravings for fast energy sources (sugar!). It is very common to under-nourish yourself just enough to NOT lose significant weight but instead instigate late evening carb cravings due to lack of sufficient calories. Fueling yourself with plenty of HEALTHY carb calories from whole fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans will keep sugar cravings at bay.

Natural consequences. Maybe you are a bit of a masochist or need to be smacked upside the head before you make a change? If that sounds familiar, then allow yourself an opportunity to OD on sugar and suffer the consequences. Dehydration, headache, fatigue, need for more sugar – sound like an addict yet? The only permanent damage is the vivid memory of your choices.

Treat sugar as an actual “treat”. It’s become such a staple in our diets that we eat it daily instead of occasionally. Know which seemingly healthy foods have added sugars (yogurt, muffins, energy bars, cereal) and which are too high in natural sugars without the benefit of fiber (fruit juice, refined grains & flours). Combine protein and fat with all carbohydrates to curb the sugar spike & crash. Fiber helps with this issue as well.

If you feel unqualified to make decisions regarding this topic, The Nutrition Source by Harvard School of Public Health is great website with very accessible information for making healthy food choices based on science.

You can feel good about these muffins and so will your family. My kids declared these to be “delicious” and asked “when are you going to make these again?”

Winter Weather Muffinsmuffins - dry ingredients

1.5 cups white flour

3/4 cup ground flaxseed

3/4 oat bran

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon muffins - fruits and seeds

1 1/2 cups grated carrots

2 apples, peeled and diced

1/2 cup golden raisins

1 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup milk (cow, almond or soy)

2 eggs, beaten

1 tsp vanilla

Hemp or sunflower seeds (for muffin tops)

Combine dry ingredients. Combine milk, eggs, sugar and vanilla. Pour liquid into dry. Mix until moistened (don’t over-mix). Fold in carrots, fruits, and nuts.muffins - winter weather

Fill greased muffin tins to about 3/4 of the way then sprinkle with 1/2 tsp hemp or sunflower seeds. Bake at 350 for 12-15 mins. Smother with butter and enjoy! 

If nutrition is your thing then read this: good source of fiber, vitamin A, thiamin, manganese, and omega-3s.

1 muffin = 203 kcals, 9g fat, 8g sugar, 5g fiber, 6g protein.

Moroccan Carrot & Garbanzo Bean Salad

In Nutrition, Recipe on May 7, 2015 at 10:03 pm

“Life is a long preparation for something that never happens.” ~William Butler Yeats

peeled carrots

Carrots ready for the mandolin

Scientific inquiry has finally figured out why we consume sugar in response to stress. Apparently sugar reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. For the general public, this big reveal was kind of a “so what?” or “duh!” moment. Any super stressed-out human being has known that they feel soothed after eating sugar. However, scientists and nutritionists are excited because perhaps understanding metabolic pathways sensitive to sugar will lead to answers for treating stress-related conditions.

moroccan salad

Carrots, mint, dried fruit.

It seems the human condition is forever chasing the solution to reducing stress levels because, well, stress will kill you (recommended reading: Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers). And, unfortunately, so will our most easily abused response to stress, sugar. When you are listening to Pink Floyd on a gloomy May Gray day (as I will admit to now), the inclination is to reach for something comforting. I recommend backing away from the dessert items (even if it is Chia Pudding) and embracing soothing sugars in the form of complex carbohydrates and fiber such as a salad of beans, root veggies, and dried fruit.

Yes, I am being serious. This approach is just as effective without the dreaded sugar hangover along with guilt. Luckily, this comfort food salad gets better with time so make a batch, store in the fridge and break it out for emergencies. All the sweet carbs – garbanzo beans, dried apricots & plums, and carrots – break down getting all mushy and marinated in the cumin, oil, lemon juice, and honey – yum!

Serve tossed with arugula and chopped almonds as a salad or layer it on a romaine leaf (a ala Salmonberry Spread) with avocado and more cayenne. Drink hot mint tea while consuming. Perfection. Here it is…

Dressing: 1 TBSP cumin seeds

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 TBSP fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

cumin and oil

Toasted and ground cumin seeds with olive oil.

Salad: 2 cups carrots, sliced whisper thin on a mandolin (shredded works too)

2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (or one 15- ounce can, drained and rinsed)

1/3 cup dried plums, chopped

1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped

1/3 cup fresh mint, torn or chopped

To make the dressing, first toast the cumin seeds in a dry skillet until fragrant and lightly browned, a minute or two. Let cool, and grind to a powder with a mortar and pestle. Yes, this is more work but totally worth it.

In a bowl or jar, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, ground cumin, salt, and cayenne pepper. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the carrots, garbanzo beans, dried fruit, mint. Gently toss with dressing until everything is evenly coated and refrigerate. Store for up to 3 days in the fridge.

moroccan carrot salad

Serve on a romaine leaf topped with avocado and cayenne.

Pink Parsley Salad

In Nutrition on November 19, 2014 at 9:31 pm

‘Tis the season for long-storing, high-starch, root vegetables.

Carrot-Beet Salad

Carrot-Beet Salad

Already bored with roasted root veggies? The cold, dry, winter months are not ideal for eating raw foods but Southern California’s Santa Ana conditions – hot desert wind that dries out your eyeballs – means we get a blast of summer in the middle of winter. Hydrating summer vegetables are what we crave during these Santa Ana events but what’s in season are beets, carrots, turnips, potatoes, squashes, etc.

Grating raw – or even gently steamed – beets and carrots and tossing them with rich dressing is reminiscent of summer but still in current season of storage and warmth. Use your leftover tahini dressing from Creamy Tahini Noodles on this high fiber, low sugar, raw salad.

Warning: this dish works your jaw allowing you to practice your mindful eating skills. Drink plenty of water with all this fiber.

Ingredients:

2-3 large carrots – grated

1 large beet – grated

large handful of parsley – chopped

2-3 TBSP unsweetened, coconut flakes

Toss the carrots and beets thoroughly with tahini dressing. Don’t skimp on the dressing…it’s an important source of fat and protein allowing for normal blood sugar and balanced mood. Top with parsley and coconut flakes. Pretty!

Nutritional Info: Off-the-charts source of vitamin A and good source of fiber (um, yeah, all those raw root veggies), folate, and vitamin K.

Fiber, Fermented Foods, & Your Gut

In Nutrition on July 11, 2013 at 1:30 am
kale, onions, strawberries, peaches

Kale with onions & garlic. Strawberries and peaches.

OK, so this topic is not super sexy but a healthy gut – gastrointestinal (GI) tract – is essential for our overall health and wellness. First a little primer on your large intestine – exciting! – and then we will discuss what to eat and why.

photo (11)

Mangoes – a high fiber fruit.

We all know the large intestine is in charge of eliminating “that which is of no use to our bodies” aka waste or non-digestible food products. During this process of elimination, the large intestine reabsorbs water and sodium back into our bloodstream, a very important function, and, also very important, the large intestine is the site for synthesis of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), B-vitamins and vitamin K. The aforementioned nutrients primarily feed the cells of the GI tract. You want to keep those GI cells happy because it turns out the cells lining our GI tract serve as the largest immune tissue in our bodies! Even more amazing is recent understanding that the cells of our GI tract secrete enough regulatory hormones to be considered the largest endocrine organ in our body!

cauliflower

Huge head of homegrown cauliflower.

How do we love our GI cells so they function properly?

Eat plenty of fiber and fermented foods (also, avoid sugar but that’s another discussion).

Fiber is considered a prebiotic while fermented foods are considered a probiotic. Both are essential to gut health.

Found in WHOLE plant foods (fruits, veggies, grains, nuts, and seeds), fiber is used by the large intestine to feed the “gut flora”. Our gut flora is composed of healthy bacteria who use fiber as a medium to synthesize those nutrients (SCFAs, vitamin K, and B-vitamins) that are so essential for properly functioning GI cells.

kombucha bottles

Cactus fruit kombucha from Robin’s Nest.

Fermented foods, such as miso, tempeh, cultured dairy (kefir, yogurt), kombucha tea, kimchi, sauerkraut, chutneys and any fruit/vegetable fermented using lactic acid, support a healthy gut flora by providing a source of healthy bacteria – Lactobacillus acidophilus – for that fiber that the GI cells needs to synthesize SCFAs, B-vitamins, and vitamin K…you see the relationship?

So, please, please, please…eat MORE fiber and fermented foods and LESS sugar and refined foods. Your gut will love you for it and your ability to fight the common cold and chronic disease depends on it.

Happy Gut, Happy You

In Mindfulness, Nutrition on July 11, 2013 at 12:27 am
gooey chocolate cookie

Gooey, chocolatey, sugar bomb.

Gloomy weather, stressful relationships, lack of sleep, can all affect our sense of well-being and kick sugar cravings into high gear. Mindlessly giving in on just a few occasions only intensifies our cravings and the vicious cycle begins. Why do we turn to sugar when we are feeling anxious and stressed? Perhaps conditioning – for some, sweets are associated with reward or comfort. Or perhaps it’s physiology – adequate amounts of carbohydrates allow for increased seratonin production, aka the “feel-good hormone”.

What does this have to do with your gut? Well, it turns out the GI tract produces 95% of our body’s seratonin! Taking care of our gut allows GI cells to produce all the seratonin we need. In turn, we will be less likely to turn to sugar when we’re sad, lonely, anxious, and stressed.chocolate bars

In a another post, I discussed beneficial foods for our gut – fiber and fermented foods. The question begs: “Are there foods that are harmful to gut health?” Yup, and I’m sure you’ve guessed it…Sugar! Sugar provides fuel for certain gut bacteria to proliferate far beyond what is healthy leading to a bacterial imbalance. So, even if we consume adequate fiber, we won’t have enough beneficial bacteria to fuel our GI cells. They’ve been outcompeted by other, less-helpful bacteria due to sugar-induced overgrowth.

What are the consequences of GI cells not getting the fuel they need? At the very least, you will have gas and bloating or, worse, suffer from anxiety and depression.

packaged veggies

Pre-washed and chopped veggies. High in fiber. The fuel our GI cells need.

Our gut is often referred to as the “second brain” because it has its own complex nervous system and is highly influenced by our thoughts and psychological stress. Most of us know this on an intuitive (and experiential) level and certainly Traditional Chinese Medicine and other healing traditions have recognized this for generations. Finally, western medicine has acknowledged the huge role our gut plays in our immune, endocrine, and nervous systems. Recent research has shown that tweaking the balance between beneficial and disease-causing bacteria in an animal’s gut alters brain chemistry leading it to become more bold or more anxious. Alternately, even mild stress can tip the microbial balance in the gut, making us more vulnerable to infectious disease.

What is sugar? It is a carbohydrate of which there are 2 general categories: indigestible (fiber) and digestible (everything else). Your body does not absorb fiber but your colon uses it for many healthy functions (as discussed here). Digestible carbs are those used by your body for energy – or, if you are taking in more energy than you are expending, they are stored (in your fat cells).

To balance your mood, regulate your blood sugar, and keep your gut bacteria in balance, remember these 3 things when consuming carbs/sugars:

dates

Deglet dates. Often used to sweeten desserts but loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Limit added sugars. Most added sugars are refined carbohydrates meaning it has been stripped of other nutrients and comes in a potent package that is a shock to our bodies. Added sugars include the “natural” sugars, too. Remember, “its not the vehicle, its the payload.” Use sweeteners sparingly – even honey and dates.

Eat carbohydrates higher up on the “whole foods” chain.

What does this look like?

Brown rice -> brown rice pasta/bread -> energy bar w/ brown rice syrup

Apples -> applesauce  -> apple juice

Steel cut oats -> rolled oats -> quick oats -> instant oatmeal packet

peppers, goat cheese, bread

Red peppers with goat cheese and honey on toast. Balanced protein, fat, and carbs.

Combine carbs with fat and protein at each meal. Toss sunflower seeds and unsweetened coconut on that fruit salad. Mash avocado on whole-grain toast. Add flax oil and walnuts to your banana-berry oatmeal.

Curb your sugar cravings: easy on the salt and animal products, eat sweet vegetables (tubers and roots), choose sprouted products, eat more sour or spicy flavors, and, finally, fully chew all carbs b/c those grains, legumes, and veggies will become sweeter the longer you chew.

Perfect Parfait

In Nutrition, Recipe on July 10, 2013 at 11:00 pm
fruit, yogurt, go raw

Fruit, yogurt, Go Raw Original Granola

Please step away from the acai bowls! They are loaded with added sugars. Sugar is added to those little, frozen packets of smashed berries and to the nut milk that is blended with it and, finally, the granola that gets tossed on top. No wonder they are a big hit – you might as well be eating dessert!

You can do a much better job by BUILDING YOUR OWN breakfast bowl with fresh fruit that hasn’t been processed, packaged, and flown in from Brazil. I eat a lot of fruity, nutty, yogurt-y concoctions. Some might call them parfaits, others might call them fruit salad. Either way, the hot summer months, with their abundance of fruit, call for cool, juicy breakfasts with enough fat and protein to keep you satisfied and nourished. On the outset it appears that the parfait is ‘healthy’ but there is much variance as to the value of each ingredient so I think it merits a discussion.

papya parfait

Papaya, yogurt, hemp seeds, coconut, & sunflower seeds.

There are usually 3 components to a parfait: (1) yogurt (dairy or vegan), (2) the fruit, and (3) the ‘toppings’ (hopefully nuts & seeds). What I find is that most parfaits resemble dessert in that they are much too high in sugar and other carbohydrates. Let’s leave the job of providing sugar and fiber to the fruit (choose a colorful variety) and do our best to eliminate it from the other two components.

Begin by choosing a sugar-free – yes, that means PLAIN – version of yogurt, whether it be a Greek dairy yogurt or coconut milk kefir or soy yogurt. This is not always easy, especially with the diary substitutes, but it can be done. Also, choosing a FULL-FAT version is essential for 2 reasons: (1) the balance of protein/fat/carbs is more supportive of health (nonfat yogurt is heavy on carbs) and (2) the plain flavor is not as sour b/c the fat is still included (hence less sugar needed to make it palatable). Even if you are trying to lose weight, a full-fat version is more supportive of satiation, smaller portions, and weight control (I promise!).

go raw simple

Go Raw brand granola – unsweetened or sweetened with dates & raisins

End by choosing toppings that include healthy fats and no added sugars. Sorry, folks, but ‘granola’ is not going to do it here. Yes, it’s delicious but it’s usually very high in added sugars. Low sugar varieties are available, such as those from Go Raw that are sweetened with dates and raisins, and, yet, this healthy choice is still adding unnecessary carbs to the balance. It’s much healthier to take a deconstructionist view of granola as a topping. Say what? Sprinkle on sunflower seeds or almonds or walnuts or hemp seeds or coconut flakes or chia seeds or pepitas or sesame seeds…you get the idea. These toppings add healthy fats and protein as opposed to more carbs.

Finally, add a little shake of cinnamon or cocoa or fresh mint to up the flavor factor without adding more volume or calories.

Building your own breakfast bowl ensures you get ‘good’ carbs, a healthy amount of (the good) fat, and plenty of fiber and antioxidants. Have fun and get creative!

Red Velvet Soup

In Nutrition, Recipe, Yoga on May 16, 2013 at 10:03 pm
IMG_3407

Beet root, red lentils, tri-color quinoa.

I honestly cannot find the original source for this recipe which is a shame because I did not modify it at all (except for the name!). It is simple and brilliant just as it is. I’ve made it for two SoupAsana groups and was met with rave reviews. Both times, during the prep and cook process, I was skeptical due to the color and consistency but once I started simmering the spices in coconut oil, I knew everything was going to turn out just fine 🙂 Beautifully-colored and deliciously-edible, this soup is high in fiber, antioxidants, folate, and iron. Even more delicious served with corn muffins.

Ingredients:

boiled-over pot

A watched pot never boils but an un-watched pot boils over!

1 cup dried red lentils
½ cup quinoa
1 medium beet root, grated
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
¼ cup diced red onion
1 bay leaf
4 cups water
2 TBSP coconut oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp turmeric powder

Garnish w lime wedges, rock salt, honey Greek yogurt or feta

beet lentil stew

Stew topped with feta and lime

Place lentils, quinoa, grated beet, ginger, onion, bay leaf and water in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Heat coconut oil in a small pan. Add cumin seeds, coriander, and turmeric and lightly saute for 1-3 minutes on medium heat (making sure they don’t burn). Add to stew…do a little taste taste…perhaps add fresh ground pepper and/or tamari.

Cleanse – Day 2

In Mindfulness, Nutrition, Yoga on April 29, 2013 at 7:21 am
cauliflower and cayenne

Steamed cauliflower with cayenne.

“Witnessing can be called the seed and enlightenment can be called the flowers. But begin from witnessing, and then it starts growing. Go on nourishing it, go on caring for it, go on watering it, strengthen it in every possible way — and one day it is going to blossom. That day will be the greatest day of your life.” ~Osho

Day 2 went much smoother. I had to be at the studio at 6am to open for sunrise yoga and I contemplated stopping at Brick ‘n Bell for a decaf coffee (I stop there every morning that I open the studio) but I didn’t think I could resist the smell of baking pastries (mmm, slowly savoring a cranberry scone in my mind right now). Had cleansing soup and green juice for breakfast at the studio. Went straight to DMV (had an appointment – painless). Then to my home studio to teach a class at noon. It was a gorgeous day so after class I took my soup bowl down to the beach and ate it while sitting in the sand. Getting outside and into nature as often as possible during your cleanse makes the 10th bowl of soup in 2 days taste sooo much better. Nature has a grounding, calming effect. Ever take a wailing newborn outdoors and suddenly the crying stops?

beach at westbourne2

Beach at the end of my street.

I had errands on my to-do list for that afternoon but the beach was too beautiful to miss the opportunity to dig my toes in the sand and write in my journal. I had also planned to go to power yoga in the early evening before full-moon meditation but, as usually happens during these cleanses, my energy starts dipping in the afternoon, so I skipped it and worked on my computer instead. I hesitated when deciding to skip yoga. It was tempting to just power through the fatigue. My ‘stay-cation’ was the reason I had an opportunity to attend that class and part of me was saying “grab every opportunity, every time”. It’s the part of me that believes in scarcity. I’d rather choose the abundance mentality as often as possible because who wants to live believing there is never enough or will never be another chance?

cleansing soup

Cleansing Soup.

Full-moon meditation was very intense. The energy was thick as I dropped right into a deep state and was grateful that I had taken the time to eat enough and had not pushed myself too far physically. The thing about this cleanse is that you’re eating all day long. Since the meals are only veggies, they are not calorically-dense but they are high in fiber; therefore, there is only so much volume you can eat in one meal. Fiber may make you feel physically full but it’s fat that is linked to satiety (fat delays gastric emptying – stomach to small intestine). The carbs in veggies are digested quickly and moved from your stomach into your small intestine for absorption and then, bingo – you’re hungry again. I carry around baggies of steamed sugar snap peas (and veggie juice) to make sure my blood sugar doesn’t get too low. I must have eaten 5 bowls of soup this day and I just couldn’t eat another so I simmered cauliflower in veggie broth, onions, and garlic for a quick meal before meditation. With a sprinkle of cayenne, it was a delicious change of pace and exactly what I needed to get to that place where everything just falls away…

Chakra Salad

In Nutrition, Recipe on April 18, 2013 at 11:34 pm
photo (42)

Chakra Salad

Springtime is the perfect time to gorge on fresh, sun-soaked vegetables. Raw veggie salads are high in fiber, water, and antioxidants, especially colorful ones like this salad of purple cabbage, red peppers, and carrots. It’s important to dress your salads with healthy monounsaturated oils which allow fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) to be fully absorbed and utilized by your body. The fats in this salad come from a perfect combo of nuts, seeds, and avocados. High fiber will keep you feeling full and fats will keep you satisfied. Don’t be shy with the dressing. Its only 30 calories per tablespoon so dress it up and enjoy this power-packed salad that is perfect for hot weather. Sweet, nutty, crispy, crunchy…YUM!

Peanutty Dressing

chakra salad dressing

Sesame oil, tamari, apple cider vinegar, peanut butter.

Whisk together:

1/4 c raw peanut butter + 1/4 c coconut water + 1/2 c apple cider or rice vinegar

Then add:

3 T honey

1 t salt

1 T tamari or Bragg’s liquid aminos

1 T raw sesame oil

Raw Shredded Salad 

(high in vitamins A, C, K, B6, and folate and manganese and phosphorous)

chakra salad ingredients

Purple cabbage, red pepper, green onion, orange carrot.

Toss together:

4 cups purple cabbage – finely shredded

1 red pepper – thinly sliced

5 scallions – green parts, chopped

2 carrots – grated

Top salad with:

raw sunflower seeds

unsweetened coconut flakes

avocado

2 cups salad mix + 1 T coconut + 1 T sunflower seeds + 1/4 diced avocado + 3 T dressing

= 295 calories, 19g of fat, 9g fiber, 16g sugar, and 9g of protein.

Salmonberry Spread

In Nutrition, Recipe on April 16, 2013 at 6:06 pm
Salmonberry spread on romaine leaves topped with avocado, lemon, and cayenne.

Salmonberry spread on romaine leaves topped with avocado, lemon, and cayenne.

This one is a crowd pleaser. Be you raw, vegan, omnivorous, or on a “cleanse”, you really will love this fresh and tangy alternative to tuna salad. This nut-based recipe adds in some herbs and veggies with a bit of sweet and sour flavors.

Soaked almonds and sunflower seeds, red pepper, parsley, lemon.

Soaked almonds and sunflower seeds, red pepper, parsley, lemon.

Using raw nuts and seeds maintains the integrity and; therefore, healthfulness, of the essential fatty acids found within. Fatty acids are the building blocks of cell membranes, the gatekeepers of our cells, which regulate the flow of nutrients, water, electrolytes, and enzymes. Healthy, functional cell membranes are critical to the life of the cell and; therefore, critical to the life of our tissues, our organs, and, finally, our body. Nuts and seeds are also high in fiber, protein, and minerals such as phosphorous (bone health)  and copper and manganese (enzyme function).

Ingredients:

1 cup raw almonds (soaked in water for 24 hrs)

1 cup raw sunflower seeds (soaked in water for 5 hrs)

honey lemon garlic

Honey, lemon, garlic.

1 lemon – juiced

1 T honey

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/4 cup parsley

1/2 red bell pepper

1 small jalapeño

4 green onions (white parts too)

1/4 t pepper

1/4-1/2 t dulse

1/2 t dried or 2 T fresh dill

Serving (1/2 cup) = 400 calories, 34g of fat, 8g of fiber, 6g of sugar, and 13g of protein

mock tuna ingredients

All ingredients into processor.

Toss all ingredients into food processor and process until desired consistency.

Serve on romaine leaves with avocado, lemon, and cayenne as a light, hot weather meal. Also wonderful as an appetizer topping a cucumber or apple slice. Experiment with turning it into a paste (highly processed) and spreading inside a pita stuffed with veggies or keeping it chunky (less processed) and tossing on a bed of greens.