Orange is the New White: 3 Reasons the Turmeric Challenge is Worth It

Over the last ten years, interest in homeopathic, naturopathic, alternative and natural health has completely skyrocketed. I believe this is all for a very good reason —

We’re not recovering anymore. Our society is ridden with chronic ailments that are passed from generation to generation, and we’re tired of it.

That being said, a need for chemical-free, naturally occurring sources of vitality are becoming more valuable. Considering that alternative medicine usage among Americans in all adult age groups hover around 33%, there’s room to grow in such a beneficial resource. I believe the most important time to introduce alternative and holistic health practices is in childhood. Remember: this form of wellness is best introduced as a preventative lifestyle practice. If you think about it, the accumulation of our childhood exposure to the world manifests within our adult bodies. Why not take care of it from the very start?

All of this brings me to the reason for this post. Let’s say you’re new to this whole floofy-doofy health thing. You could be skeptical of how it truly works, or if it actually benefits you. Let’s start with something that over 80% of Americans want — white teeth.
It’s a fantastic change to your entire well being. When we interact with each other, a person with white teeth will appear more healthy and attractive than someone with stained chompers.  It’s no wonder we’re all shelling out cash for whiter teeth. Before you portion out $20 for your next drugstore fix (or worse yet, $200 for a dental whitening), let me convince you to take the holistic road to get to your destination.

The average person swallows 25% of the chemicals stuffed into teeth whitening products and trays, which contain harmful substances you would never think of eating normally. Coal tar and benzene, which are known to lead to lymphomas when inhaled (think of what ingesting them will do), are in whitening products. We can’t forget to mention that the use of teeth whiteners means a heightened tooth sensitivity to hot and cold, which is never a sign of a strong and healthy smile.
The cost of whiter teeth with chemicals can mean a lessened quality of life later down the road.

turmeric

If you’re looking for the 3 reasons this challenge is worth it already, thank you and I’m excited to bring you on board with me! This challenge will give you a naturally brighter and whiter smile without any harmful side effects or causing any foreign materials to be absorbed into your blood stream. This bright orange powder can lift stains and strengthen teeth in ways you may have never known!

This blog lays out the steps beautifully for anyone interested in trying this.
I’m going to try 1/2 tablespoon of turmeric with drops of water until it becomes a paste, and one drop of peppermint oil to give that zing of flavor and cooling effect that’s reminiscent of toothpaste. It’s not needed, nor is it necessary.

Turmeric is the star in this challenge, and here are the reasons that this challenge is worth trying today:

Anti-Inflammatory Heaven

Turmeric is highly anti-inflammatory for the body, and it is also an antioxidant warrior. The compounds within the herb fight inflammation in the body, which is believed to be the source of all chronic diseases. By introducing turmeric into your life, your body can only boost its natural stress fighting resources. Talk about a double whammy.

Banish the Blues

Did you know that this herb has been proven to be as effective as Prozac in treating depression? Believe it! The tiny serving of one gram a day fared exactly as a dosage  of Prozac did in this study. While you’re getting your pearly whites, you can boost your mood even more!

Free Yourself

This last, and frankly most important, reason is not backed by science or proven in a laboratory under strict conditions. It is, however, a source of true freedom for you. Imagine a life where you’re not dictated by schedules and regimes of when you wake up, when you sleep, and which colored pills to take at which times. Imagine feeling a sense of relief instead of dread when you’re reaching for the NSAIDs or allergy medication.
Close your eyes. When you open them, you can be there. In an instant.
I truly believe that it takes small steps to accomplish any goal you set. By starting with small adjustments, like this turmeric whitener, you can gain the momentum to make more small changes until you free yourself from the pains of stress and weight of bad health.

In the inspiration of positive and healthy lifestyles, who’s doing this challenge with me?

Advertisements
Orange is the New White: 3 Reasons the Turmeric Challenge is Worth It

Low Carb, Gluten Free Infinity Muffins

Long time no see, foodie bloggers and foodie browsers!
It’s been a very extended break (unintentional) from this blog. I don’t really mind– it’s mostly been spent working, studying in school, and reading other food blogs.

We have to get inspiration from somewhere, right?

Black bean as a brownie, cake batter as a milkshake (don’t forget it’s vegan!), and low carb cookies made out of coconuts?! The world, seriously, is evolving into a bakery and I’m kind of liking what I see.
So long as the ingredients are thoughtfully sourced, ethically made, and organically treated though.

Which brings us to today:
I’ll be honest; eating out and eating pre-made foods has pretty much been a staple in my diet since said break from blog. Kind of depressing. My stevia didn’t even see the light in the kitchen, only to be used when I felt like making a muffin in the microwave. Or a single-person batch of fiber cookies.

Baking became my necessary — in order to get fiber in for the day. Not because I wanted to.
WHAT?! But I was still concocting fun and exciting flavors in my head. Raspberry pistachio mousse, basil orange scones, chocolate ancho chile cookies! For crying out loud!

But let’s cut to the chase here. As appetizing as these recipes sound, I don’t quite have the time yet (or the money) to make them.
Also, a rather big note, pretty much all recipes from here on out will be LOW-CARB and maybe even sometimes KETOGENIC.
This means low in carbohydrate (but not fiber), and high in fat (but not artery-clogging).

Since the start of 2013, I’ve been toying with the idea of going vegetarian (and -gasp- even VEGAN) because most of the time, being low-carb means your only option at restaurants is a bun-less turkey burger (I don’t eat much beef), or some other meat-laden dish. No problem, but the source of the meat is what spooks me. Who knows what factory farm their piggies and chicks came from?!

All considerations aside, we can now properly introduce today’s sparkling, illuminated, brand-new all original RECIPE!

It’s a BASIC recipe but can be modified hundreds of ways.
Especially if you aren’t low-carb, adding fruit (dried or fresh) would seriously up the wow factor on these slam-dunk snacks.

I stuck with a basic vanilla-cinnamon theme. These tasty morsels work great for mid-day munches, teamed up with some ice cream or yogurt for a healthy dessert, and even as a savory dinner item (minus the vanilla of course).

This recipe makes 4 muffins. I usually only need 4 at a time. Double it for friends or family. They’ll be asking for it.

InfiniteMuffin1

Infinity Muffins (Low carb, sugar free, dairy-free options)

Serves 4

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup flax meal
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 5 scoops Trader Joe’s Organic Stevia (or about 1/3 cup erythritol, xylitol, Splenda)
  • 3 T Just Like Sugar (Most Whole Foods carry it)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Wet ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 3 T egg whites (alternately, another egg)
  • 2 T greek yogurt (or pumpkin for dairy-free)
  • 1/2 tsp Penzey’s Double Vanilla (or 1 tsp any vanilla extract)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Here is where it gets fun: Add in another extract, such as lemon, maple, or almond for a kick.

Combine the wet into the dry ingredients, whisking as you hear the sweet, sweet sound of baking soda and apple cider vinegar combining. This is what will give your muffins RISE!
Pour into muffin tin and bake for 15-17 minutes. Mine took about 18 minutes for a nice crunchy, slightly toasted top (how I like it).

For a savory muffin, leave out the stevia and vanilla. Opt for spices like rosemary, thyme, tarragon, or basil. Add chopped sun-dried tomatoes or crushed walnuts. Enjoy spicy muffins by adding cayenne and your favorite shredded cheese to the batter.
Let me know if you try another variation and how you liked it!

InfiniteMuffins

A good muffin is always a fantastic recipe to keep on hand for parties, celebrations (add a few extra ingredients and you’ve got a cake/cupcakes), and breakfast champions.

Here’s to a new year full of life, fun, and MORE RECIPES!

I missed you.

Low Carb, Gluten Free Infinity Muffins

Talk About a Scandal: Coffee


Special thanks to Flickr users Market Lane Coffee, ubrayj02, & turoczy for images.

Deep, dark, dreamy, perk-you-up java. Just the mere sight and smell of the magical coffee bean calls you to royally bow in its presence. Your taste buds are  dancing on the tip of your tongue, awaiting the sweet reward of that very first sip of your muddy cup.

Don’t be surprised– 3 out of 4 Americans drink coffee. Roughly 60% enjoy their routine and drink it daily. Here in Seattle, people watching and coffee cup counting should be a sport. We just aren’t as complete without our earthy, rich and zesty brew.

If we had sunnier weather, on the other hand…
 

All gripes aside, coffee seems to be under the radar as of late. This is for many different reasons. Today’s post will hone in specifically on coffee bean composition, and the concerning changes that coffee companies worldwide are making.
Why? Because coffee enthusiasts are griping– for good reason.

“The Bitter Truth”

Daily Finance wrote a short article covering the recent Arabica and Robusta scandal. If you are well-versed in coffee bean location and how this affects flavor and quality, you already may know about why this is concerning.
Being a coffee enthusiast, but not a coffee bean archaeologist, I found out that Arabica beans and Robusta beans are entirely different strains of java once they are brewed.

Arabica Versus Robusta

Arabica coffee beans originate from high and cool mountain environments and come in 25 different bean varieties. Many people consider Arabica as the “gold standard” in coffee bean. Why? Their “inferiority” in flavor: Arabica is the boldest, richest, and most full-bodied cup of joe.

Sounds like a dream?
Don’t worry. You’re likely already drinking it. 70% of all coffee production is based on Arabica beans. If you visit cafes or coffee houses, many of them refuse to sell anything but the best.

Everything that Arabica is, Robusta is not. Not to harp on Robusta, the response of Arabica versus Robusta is extremely apparent. A higher acidity and bitter flavor dominate Robusta’s best qualities.

Guess what? Because the demand in Robusta beans has risen, due to crop yields, coffee companies everywhere are infusing their delicious all-Arabica coffee with rudimentary Robusta.

Even though Robusta tastes worse than Arabica, the fact that there’s more Robusta available is reason enough to degrade coffee quality.

Kristine put it simply in response to Daily Finance’s post:

And, like in most cases, the change in flavor isn’t the only problem.

You pay more to get less.

We’re still being charged just as much money for our beans, without the high-quality Arabica beans our hearts have swooned over for decades. It has become a blended coffee.

Other Americans, like Lila, prefer to voice their concerns and empathize with many other coffee courting folks, disappointed in the loss of flavor and complexity in their java. “WHAT is the HARM?!” she writes. “Are you serious? It does NOT taste the SAME and we are being CHARGED the same.” 

This issue is also bringing up common complaints in the slightly sketchy, tasteless tactics of our food industry’s reputation. “At least the new ingredient is actually coffee beans. I wouldn’t have been, and would not be, surprised if it turned out to be … a filler,” commenter smjonz writes.

But, we’re living in a “recession.”

It’s easy to see that during our ever-changing global economic state, all aspects of everyday living are affected in their own way. This switch to Arabica-Robusta blends is being met with great resistance, and I hope to see major changes in the way that coffee producers and growers approach their product development.
Brand reputation and customer satisfaction used to be the marker of success– but when money seems to be a rare commodity, basic human values like trust and genuine intent are carelessly tossed out the window.

I wrote a quick and brief post on the lovely Jolkona blog last year in celebration of World Coffee Day, focusing on the environmental effects of coffee production. Offset your “coffee footprint,” and find out why this is so important.

What issues surrounding coffee have been “grinding your gears” lately? Do you drink coffee? How important is taste and quality in your coffee bean?

Talk About a Scandal: Coffee

Simple and Quick 10-Minute Paleo Chocolate Sauce

I get a thrill when I cook.

For some people, they may call this thrill an “adrenaline rush;” a moment in time where all of your superhuman powers of culinary conception collide into an incredible attack that results into an explosion of awesome for your taste buds.

Lemon pepper and rosemary ham? Genius. Beefsteak tomato jalapeno grilled cheese? A-may-zing.

Truly, these people are born with a gift. If this sounds like you, embrace it!

Why?

I am not one of those people.

My chicken is either raw or stringy and dry. I always put too much corn starch into everything so every soup becomes a gravy.
For the dry chicken.

Needless to say, today’s post is exciting and a Kayleigh form of culinary genius.

Hand crafted, home made and a paleo-friendly chocolate sauce!

Even if you’re not paleo, I highly recommend you prepare this sauce.
This baby can be used with anything: ice creams, as a mix in for brownies and cookies, and for a mole recipe are my favorite ideas so far.

Well, let’s get on it! Here’s your recipe:

everyday chocolate sauce (refined sugar free, paleo, vegan)

1 cup filtered water
1/3 cup cacao (stabilizes blood sugar), cocoa, or carob (caffeine-free) powder
pinch of sea salt
cinnamon to taste (optional, i like it for blood sugar stabilizing properties)
dash/capful of vanilla bean extract (or use vanilla beans if you have them!)
1/2-3/4 cup maple syrup (i used 1/2 but my sweet tooth is not pronounced)
why i sweeten with maple syrup.

Begin by pouring water and cocoa powder into a pot, transfer to the stove on medium-high heat. Stir in until cocoa powder is well incorporated into the water, and you have chocolate water.
Warning: It will smell amazing, but tastes gross. I tried. You’re welcome.


Allow the water to begin boiling. Once the chocolate water begins to thicken up (you will know because it’s shiny and looks like gravy– oh wait, I know that one well) turn the stove on medium heat. Add in  salt, optional cinnamon, and vanilla. Stir briskly. Add in maple syrup slowly, and mix.
I found a small candy whisk worked great for this recipe. You can use a big whisk too, especially if you’re doubling this recipe.
Wait for the chocolate sauce to begin boiling again. After about 4 minutes, still on medium heat, your chocolate sauce should thicken again. If it’s not like gravy, don’t worry!
Take the sauce off the stove and let rest for 5-10 minutes. I taste tested my results to make sure I had enough sweetener. This would be a good time for you to do the same.
Pour the sauce into an old jam jar, glass container, or syrup bottle. Store in the refrigerator covered. Use when needed.

Regarding sweetener– Don’t shy away from using honey, agave, turbinado sugar, or another sweetener of your choice.
I’m sure liquid and even powdered stevia will work just fine in this recipe. 

Regarding flavor– I wanted so badly to try adding extracts to this recipe as a non-paleo treat like mint, hazelnut, or banana.

Let me know what modifications you try! 

I promptly made a cayenne mocha with this new-found cooking success and now I’m a happy camper. I hate Sundays, so this is a very good thing.
But that’s another blog post, for another day. A very unenthusiastic day.

Which day of the week do you dislike the most? What are your favorite uses of chocolate sauce?

Simple and Quick 10-Minute Paleo Chocolate Sauce

Love animals? Let’s give them better chances at happy lives.

You know those people who instantly transform into 5 year old children when they see a dog pass by? The ones who bend slightly at the knee, lean forward, and have the goofiest smile on their faces while exclaiming how adorable the “puppy” is, no matter how old or young that dog may be? Something chemical occurs in the minds of those mesmerized by our beloved furry friends.

I know, because I’m that person.

Today’s post is all about cute dogs, young dogs, old dogs, fluffy dogs, tiny dogs, ginormous dogs, funny dogs, human-like dogs, frustrating dogs, and all other dogs on this big ol’ planet Earth.

My mother and stepfather own a Lab-Mastiff mix named Buddy, who was really cute as a puppy.

This is young buddy.

As he grew, something miraculous happened. We discovered he was part Mastiff. We knew something was up when people asked if he was mixed with bear or horse.

He grew. A lot!

I love Buddy so much. He is a gentle dog with a sweet, relaxed disposition. However, if he spots a rabbit in the woods, he will run and his primal instinct kicks in. This same mechanism causes him to find the UPS man a threat, and the mail man. No one else seems to get this kind of treatment. Poor postage carriers. I apologize for his apparent prejudices against the modern postal system.

Then, there’s Ke’koa. My uncle’s Husky dog is another one of my favorites. He is just as easygoing as Buddy, except he has a tiny quirk.

Kekoa and I in 2009

If you leave him unattended without his daily walk or run, he will go and independently get his exercise on his own via, well, alternatives. There is no fence he can’t scale or dig under, and no leash he can’t unlatch from. This dog takes his cardiovascular health seriously. My uncle is extremely frustrated by this, but I find it hilarious and kind of adorable.

If he was my dog 24/7, I might change this perspective. But ignorance is bliss, and Ke’koa is still cute.

Husky dogs may have a special, preserved, untouched, rather large portion of my animal-loving heart though.

Moving on.


I love animals and believe they deserve as much support and help as they can get. As humans, we can access a very loud and understandable method of communicating: our voices, our words, our actions, and our universal connection as all being a portion of the human race. Animals, however, often get swept to the side. I believe this is due to the fact that they cannot express themselves in a way that we can clearly understand. If a stray dog looking for a meal to eat in a world of garbage and polluted streets could speak English, what would he tell the first person he came across?

Would you listen?

Many people adopt animals from local shelters. However, over 60% of the animals admitted to shelters are euthanized every year. Imagine if the entire population of Tibet were eradicated every 365 days– that is 3,219 people daily. How do we solve the issues surrounding animal shelters, including brand recognition, raising relative adoption percentages, and keeping the pet population at a controlled, comfortable level?

The Seattle Animal Shelter is active in my community toward improving these depressing statistics and encouraging local adoptions based on owner-pet connections, rather than selective breeding methods that often result in the animals being sheltered for “personal preferences.”

One way I’m getting directly involved is by running the Furry 5K this year in Seattle. It is on Sunday, June 10 at Seward Park– a beautiful location for this year’s participants! Did I mention this 5K allows you to walk or run with your leashed dog? So cool!

My job, as an advocate for animal awareness and support, is to encourage those locally to donate their time or money to Seattle Animal Shelter. As a 5K runner this year, my personal goal is to raise $300 with the help of my family, friends, and (if I’m lucky) you, the reader! Your support speaks volumes when a smaller, community-minded business receives direct donations. My promise is to make each donor known, loud and clear, on the day of the race and to the Seattle Animal Shelter. This is to let them know how large the network of support is for animal lovers all over the world.
Join me in giving.
E-mail me at confusedtruffle@gmail.com to donate.

What are your thoughts on animal shelters, the Furry 5K, donating to good causes?

“It is not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.” -Mother Theresa

Love animals? Let’s give them better chances at happy lives.

Talk About a Scandal: Wine

Wine. It comes from grapes, or other fruits. It’s alcohol, and we love to tote its nutritional and health benefits. So why are there issues? My theory is that people love a controversy. I’ve taken the liberty of finding out wine’s dirty little secrets to share with all of you.

The soil that wine grapes grow in are more important than the grapes themselves. The difference between wine and rich, flavorful, potent wine is truly the soil it is grown in. This is before cellars, barrels, and even human influence on wine making. ‘Tis true that generating product is sometimes more important than quality control. Here is where the soil comes in: all wines are starting to taste the same. Why?

We’re all using the degraded soil on Earth to grow the grapes in. Not to mention global warming, which is directly related to the top two wine grape must-haves: Climate, and Soil. If the proper temperature is not present, the wine grape will suffer and potentially affect an entire season of crops.

There is relief: GIS, or geographical information systems, are used to pinpoint exactly where the best crops of wine grapes can be planted. The detailed scientific information GIS retrieves about the soil can make or break a winery. Naturally, the demand for viable land is turning into a requirement. Chateau St. Michelle, here in Washington, assures their wine livelihood through the use of this technology.
Growing wine grapes in the right soil is like floating in equilibrium. The grapes taste better, ripen more evenly, and become a hardier, healthier crop. Who doesn’t want grapes of steel in their bottle of wine?

We are all aware of the impact that chemical fertilizers and pesticides have on our bodies and the environment. Wineries do not shy away from the use of these toxic terrors. Why? To ensure that they have a product to make profit from. Devrinol, Karmex, Surflan, and RoundUp are just a few chemical pesticides that are commonly used on grape vineyards to preserve crop viability. Unfortunately, these chemicals have been found to appear in the foods we eat, causing question among wine drinkers everywhere. “Will I be affected by this?” The verdict is “no, not really.” The use of chemical pesticides in wine has decreased steadily and looks to be near or at zero by 2016.

It looks like the controversy with wine has been recognized and answered rapidly. Wine growers everywhere embrace the idea of organic farming because it directly affects wine quality and demand. The higher quality a wine is, the more likely brand loyalty will be established by the consumer.

If this kind of drive to better business practices isn’t convincing, what is?

If you’re secretly saddened by the lack of controversy in this post, I suggest you check out a detailed list of minor issues within the wine sector, such as “corks or screws?”

Talk About a Scandal: Wine

Talk About a Scandal: Wine, Chocolate, Coffee.

Coffee, chocolate, and wine.

Three wonderful, beautiful, delicious food stuffs that humans are blessed to have available for overconsumption. Every morning, a freshly brewed up of espresso or drip coffee accompanied by a chocolate chip scone, and in the evening, a deep dark merlot with dinner, only to be finished with rich decadent chocolate cake.

Then you wake up and do it all over again!
Or is that just me? 

It’s not just a sensory love I share with these three beauties: an ethical love naturally follows it. Kind of like when a cat owner sees a stray cat running and wants to find out if it has an owner, I too, want to be sure my chocolate, wine, and coffee are treated fairly.

Come to find out, they’re not. Coffee is grown in deforested, environmentally toxic conditions with no chance to grow as it naturally had for hundreds of years.
Chocolate is no better. Children in the Ivory Coast are being trafficked into working long hours with no breaks and are often beaten if they don’t work “hard enough.”
Wine has had its own share of unsustainable woes, but now we are finding out that pesticide residue, chemical flavorings, and modern industrial demands destroying wine quality.

I will be covering each issue in depth over the course of this week, highlighting major problems and getting to the truth to figure out exactly what will bring the right kind of positive change to these injustices.

Or, at least, raise our awareness of them.

What do you know about the issues surrounding coffee, chocolate, and wine?

Talk About a Scandal: Wine, Chocolate, Coffee.