This blog is about gut flora, good bacteria, scientific research, and anti-inflammatory food. It’s a prescription for anyone who wishes to eat their way to a healthier life. It’s impossible to overdose on this course of treatment.

Food Pharmacy

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Guide to Lectins

The general concept of being a Nutrient Hunter is that we eat an abundance and variety of vegetables and in our latest book Nutrient Hunter (coming out in english soon) you will not only find a vast array of vegetables but a lot about legumes as well. Beans, peas and lentils are good for both our health and the environment – they are rich in protein, vitamin B, fiber and iron and are a healthy, sustainable and climate-smart alternative to meat. But, because we get many questions about lectins, we felt it was time for a guide on how to prepare legumes to avoid them causing lectin poisoning.

Simply explained, beans, peas and lentils should not be served raw or semi-cooked since legumes that are not properly cooked contain lectins that can cause problems such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain. By soaking and boiling, however, the lectins are destroyed and become harmless. Our tip is therefore that you make it a habit to read the instructions on the packages extra carefully and not skimp on the soaking and cooking times suggested.

But, what the heck are lectins?

Lectins are a group of proteins found in all dried and fresh legumes, such as beans, lentils, peas, haricot verts and wax beans. Different legumes contain different amounts of lectins, for example red kidney beans contain a lot while mung beans, chickpeas and adzuki beans contain less. Even elderberries and mushrooms can contain lectins.

Why should I avoid consuming lectins?

Lectins can cause quite unpleasant symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain. Symptoms usually appear about 1-7 hours after ingestion and last for about 3-4 hours.

Okay, but how do I minimize the risk of consuming lectins then?

When it comes to dried beans and peas, soaking and boiling is the key. We usually do not encourage food waste but in the case of soaked legumes, always throw out the soaking water, as it should not be used in cooking (chickpeas water is often used in cooking and baking instead of egg white, but even though chickpeas contain relatively low levels of lectins, people who are sensitive to lectins can be affected).

When it comes to fresh peas and beans, they should also be cooked briefly before you eat them, In the case of lentils, they should always be fully cooked. Planning on sprouting beans? Sprouting reduces the content of lectins, just keep in mind that they should be soaked first and that the soaking water should be discarded.

Thanks for the tips! Do you have any good recipes with legumes?

Do we have recipe? Of course! How about, mung bean bread, a quick tikka masala with carrot and black beans, black bean patties with golden pumpkin mash or our oat crispbread with red lentils, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds!

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Food Pharmacy, Recipes

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Fall Birthday Cake with Sweet Potato and Cinnamon Frosting

This cake is what cake dreams are made of. Moist, flavorful and frosting so good you’ll lick the bowl clean before the kids even get a chance. 

This recipe calls for sweet potato puree and we are going to get that from baked sweet potatoes. You can bake them just for this cake or bake a few extra next time you make some so that you can make this cake with the leftovers. Either way if you bake some sweet potatoes, whole and pricked with a fork, at 200C/400F for about 40-60 minutes you’ll have perfectly baked taters on your hands. Then just puree them in a food processor and your ready to go.

And the frosting… made with cashews?, you say. Yes! we assure you it does not taste one bit like cashew butter, it is creamy silky sweet and tangy just like a traditional cream cheese frosting. And incase you didn’t have time to soak your cashew nuts, you can use our time-saver tip and boil them in a pot of water for 20 mins, they’ll be perfectly soft and ready to mix up, just make sure to rinse them cold first. Unless hot frosting is your thing?

Cake with Sweet Potatoes and Cinnamon Frosting
(serves 8 pieces)

2/3 cup (140g) pureed baked sweet potatoes
1/3 cup (75g) coconut oil – melted
1/2 cup (118ml) plant-based milk
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 cup (50g) honey or maple syrup
3 eggs
2 cups (200g) almond flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda

2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight or boiled for 15 minutes and cool rinsed
4 tbsp coconut oil, melted
½ cup honey
¼ tsp cinnamon
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/3 teaspoon sea salt
2 tbsp water

Put the oven on 350F/175C. Combine all of the cake ingredients in a large bowl, and mix well. Grease a springform pan with coconut oil and pour the batter in.  Bake the cake in the middle of the oven for about 40 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean).

Allow the cake to cool and mix up the frosting meanwhile. Add all of the frosting ingredients to a high speed blender and mix until smooth and creamy. If the frosting seems too thick you can make it fluffier and creamier but adding a bit more water. You can also adjust sweetness with honey and tanginess with more lemon juice as desired. 

You can split the cake into two layers like we did or just frost the cake and enjoy. We decorated with walnuts, cinnamon and dried cranberries for an extra autumn touch.

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Food Pharmacy, Recipes

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Hot Chocolate x 4

Fall is upon us my friends, the air is crisp, raindrops keep falling on our heads and suede shoes are clickety-clacking everywhere. Time for some warm and cozy drinks! And who doesn’t like hot chocolate? Whether you’re a white chocolate kind of person or you’re all about adaptogens we’ve got you covered, we even found a nutrient hunter’s dream – red beet hot chocolate!

Vegan White Hot Chocolate

Have you ever heard of something so decadent? This recipe uses cacao butter which isn’t exactly an at home staple but those who have tested it can attest the luxurious buttery chocolate touch it lends. Worth the effort to find and add to your shelves at home! This recipe is from the minimalist baker, one we’ve followed for awhile and can warmly recommend!

Maca Hot Chocolate

A recipe that tastes good and does good, this one combines cacao and maca. Maca wha? you say. Maca breakdown: a perusian root the has a flavor profile of vanilla, caramel and nutty. It is an adaptogen and is said to increase both energy and sex drive (ahem, make a double!). If you like us realize that you have a bag of maca laying around that you once upon a time bought then this is how you should use it up! Love and Lemons is another great site, by the way, we like to follow for inspiration, check out the instagram here.

Food Pharmacy’s Hot Chocolate 2.0

This hot chocolate is more of a classic, but classics are a classic for a reason right?! Sometimes though we throw in a twist and add a few chili flakes.

2 fresh dates, pitted
1 tbsp cold pressed coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla powder
2 tbsp raw cacao
2 cups plant-based milk
1 pinch chili flakes (if you’re feeling bold)

Mix everything in the blender and then warm up in a pot. Fill a thermos to bring on an adventure or pour into some cozy mugs. 

Beet Hot Chocolate

Oh, and this one is too lovely not to toss in this collection! @amychaplin is yet another super insta tip, unfortunately she doesn’t share the recipe here but you can find it in her book called “Whole Food Cooking Every day” – 250 vegetarian recipes free from gluten, dairy, and refined sugar. Definitely worth looking into by the sounds and looks of it! Either way you at the very least have a new delectable insta feed to check out!

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Recipes, Therese Elgquist

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Buckthorn Carrot Smoothie

This bright and colorful smoothie is a new fav! It’s carrot cake flavors but in smoothie form. You can make it for on the go by adding some water or keep it thick and use as a compliment on your chia pudding. The cinnamon notes make it cozy, perfect for a fall Sunday brunch!

Buckthorn Carrot Smoothie
(2 large portions)

2 medium carrots
¾ cup frozen buckthorn
2 celery sticks
1 green banana(best if frozen in slices)
2 cm organic ginger
2 fresh dates, pitted
2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp turmeric
½  tsp cardamom
½-1 cup water or plant-based milk 

Chia pudding:
2 tbsp chia seeds
¾ cup oat cream or plant-based milk
1 pinch of salt
1 dash of vanilla

Topping ideas:
granola eller musli
chopped red apple
light tahini
fresh herbs like mint or basil

Mix the chia pudding ingredients together and let rest for 5 minutes before stirring again to avoid clumping. Leave it to swell overnight or at least two hours.

Mix all of the ingredients for the smoothie together in a high-speed blender until it is smooth and creamy. Enjoy as a smoothie or use as a complement to your chia pudding, garnish with a favorite topping. 

Follow Therese Elgquist on Instagram @plantbasedbythess, or look for other inspiration by Therese on her website