Food Pharmacy, Recipes, Therese Elgquist

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Microflora Lentils with coriander, turmeric and garlic

Today’s recipe is a real powerhouse, full of gut friendly and flora enhancing ingredients. Don’t be put off by the slightly long ingredient list – half of it is just spices that are commonly found in any grocer. Spices and herbs are not only good but the good bacteria in your gut actually thrive on them because they are full of antioxidants, and mixing several different spices together only makes it better.

This recipe also embraces Food Pharmacy’s half & half cooking philosophy. Simply explained, half & half is referring to consuming both cold/raw and warm/cooked foods because our gut flora loves raw vegetables. Think raw vegetables added to a hot soup, or cooked fish served with a raw salad. You can read more on that whole topic here.

Today’s lentil dish is served with grated raw carrots, spinach and cilantro..

Microflora lentils
(4-6 servings)

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon of chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 pinch of freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons cold-pressed coconut oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons ginger grated (or 1 tablespoon ground)
1 tablespoon of fresh turmeric grated (or 2 teaspoons ground)
1 ⅓ cup red lentils
¼ cup of organic raisins
1 can crushed tomatoes (500 g)
1 ¾ cup water
1 ½ cup coconut milk

For serving:

5 carrots, finely grated
100 g organic baby spinach
1 package fresh cilantro
sea ​​salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a heavy bottomed pot start by sautéing the dried spices on low heat in oil until they begin to be fragrant. Add onions and garlic and cook until slightly softened. Throw in the ginger, turmeric, lentils, raisins, tomatoes, water and coconut milk, and simmer on low heat for about 40 minutes until you have a creamy lentil stew. Stir every now and then. Adjust thickness by adding water as desired. Remove from heat once the lentils are done and allow it to stand covered for awhile prior to serving so the seasons can melt together and deepen the flavor.

Grate the carrots (scrub well and keep the skin to maximize nutritional content) and rinse spinach. Then mix the carrots, spinach and fresh coriander together to garnish the stew just before serving. Save a little to have alongside as well. Done!

If you want to kick it up a notch, you could add a dollop of coconut yoghurt and a little apple chutney (cook up some apples with a little cinnamon, cardamom and ginger).  And if you don’t like fresh cilantro, try replacing it with Thai Basil – it will be just as good!

Tip!

Pre-mix a large batch of the spices into a mixture and keep around for future meals. Take all 5 spices for example and store in a jar. Next time it’s time for a lentil stew or soup, just take 3 tablespoons of the mixture instead of measuring each spice everytime. Easy as pie!

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Food Pharmacy, Therese Elgquist

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Plant-Based Protein (part 3)

It’s time for the third and final part of our blog series on plant-based protein (you’ll find the first post here and the second one here). And once again, our beloved blog-chef and protein expert, Therese Elgquist, is taking the wheel.

In her previous posts, we’ve learned about the difference between animal and plant-based protein. Today, Therese provides us with a glorious list of great plant-based foods with high-protein content. Let’s go!

Top 10 Sources of Plant-Based Protein


Buckwheat
A source of complete protein. Mix soaked whole buckwheat into overnight oats, add to a smoothie or cook with oatmeal for a warming porridge. Soaked or roasted, the whole grains are also good for baking. Roasted, they’re a great topping for your favorite salad or porridge.

Quinoa
A source of complete protein. A filling protein-rich base for salads, veggie patties, as topping or in wraps or porridge.  

Sorghum
It’s basically quinoa’s twin. We usually have a jar of boiled quinoa, sorghum or some other base in the fridge – saves almost any meal!

Chickpeas
Roasted chickpeas are perfect as snacks and will spice up any soup. Also, add them to your favorite salad or mix them into a hummus. Flavor your hummus with herbs, beets, sweet potato, or whatever you feel like. The sky’s the limit!

Soybeans
A source of complete protein. Choose from whole soybeans (they come in many different colors, but green and white are probably the most common ones) or soy foods such as tofu, tempeh and soy milk.

Beluga Lentils
A filling protein-rich base for salads or wraps. Add some to your oven-roasted root vegetables and you’ll have a great addition to the buffet table.

Hemp Seeds
A source of complete protein. Small seeds to sprinkle on top of porridge, or add to your granola, smoothie or salad.

Pumpkin Seeds
Easily toasted in a skillet on the stove or in the oven. Wait until they pop, then add to your favorite salad or eat them as they are. Or mix into a green pumpkin seed butter!

Peanuts
Put some peanut butter on your morning porridge, or add to a smoothie, waffle or dressing. And of course, eat whole nuts as a snack.

Nutritional Yeast
A deactivated yeast with a strong nutty or cheesy flavor – the perfect substitute for cheese. Sprinkle over a plant-based risotto, baked kale chips, oven-baked root vegetables or a pizza. Or mix into a pesto with kale or spinach, garlic and herbs.

Raw Cacao
We love chocolate and if you ask us, all smoothies and baked (raw or not) goodies get so much better with a little bit of cacao. Yummy!

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Recipes, Therese Elgquist

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Sweet Almond & Oat Scones with Chia Seeds

These naturally sweet almond and oat scones are truly delish. Try serving them with avocado and sprouts (yum!), or perhaps coconut cream and mashed berries? Thanks to the almond flour, they are both creamy, juicy and crispy at the same time.

To help strengthen the good bacteria in the colon, bake the scones at low temperature, around 212° Fahrenheit (or 100° Celsius), and wait for 1 hour before removing them from the oven. While you’re waiting, feel free to read some poetry or fold socks.

Sweet Almond & Oat Scones with Chia Seeds
(9 small scones)

1 cup almond flour
almost 2 cups oat flour
a few tablespoons oat flakes
1 Tbsp potato flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1/2 tsp salt
a handful dried fruits or berries, such as organic apricots or mulberries
5 Tbsp cold-pressed coconut oil, melted
almost 1 cup plant-based yoghurt

Preheat the oven to 212° Fahrenheit (or 100° Celsius) and finely chop the dried apricots. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl, then add coconut oil and stir until crumbly. Add plant-based yoghurt and chopped apricots. Mix.

Form 9 small scones and place on a baking sheet. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 1 hour (or until crispy). Serve right away, for breakfast or together with a hot soup.

Tip!
No oat flour? If you have run out of oat flour (or just don’t want to buy it), making your own is super easy. Add whole rolled oats or oat flakes to your high speed blender and mix. Done!


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Plant-Based Protein (part 2)

A few weeks ago we kicked off our new blog series on plant-based protein. Ringing any bells? Therese Elgquist, our admired blog-chef and protein expert, is taking the wheel again today for part two. If you missed part one, click here.

What is protein?

As you may already know, we are made up of an incredible amount of cells that build up everything from skin to muscles and organs. Protein is the body’s building blocks and its primary purpose is to repair and build all of our cells, a job that is constantly going on throughout the entire body. In addition, protein is involved in other bodily functions, such as our hormone system, functioning as enzymes and is needed for a healthy immune system. As you can see, this is important stuff and has a deep impact on the well-being of the body. It involves much much more than just achieving big pumping muscles.

Since exercise and protein is often a focal point for many questions, I’ll dive right into that and go a little deeper. Protein, as mentioned, is needed to repair and build muscles. Since exercise, of all different forms, breaks down muscle cells, extra protein is then needed to repair and strengthen. If you work-out a lot, you typically get an increase in muscle mass which – quite logically – means a higher turnover of muscular cells. Often, you will feel more hunger, which leads you to eat more, thus increasing your food intake – and consequently, protein. So that piece solves itself completely naturally. Nice, right?!

Animal vs. plant-based protein

Where do we find this vital protein then? Oddly enough protein exist, in a variety of sizes, in more or less everything we eat – yeah, everything from avocado to lentils (truly a wonderment how INCREDIBLY smart life on this planet is!). Here comes a short protein school – join me!

Protein is made up of 20 different so-called amino acids (imagine letters being put together to build a word – an amino acid is a bit like a letter). 9 of these 20 amino acids can not be created by our bodies themselves, we must therefore get them through the food we eat. These 9 are called essential amino acids. In animal protein (e.g., protein from meat, bird, fish, shellfish and dairy) we find all the essential amino acids, that is the 9 we have to get through food. It is usually called a complete protein. Here in lies some differences with plant-based protein sources.

In many plants all 9 essential amino acids are not sufficiently present in one and the same protein to be considered as complete. BUT (and this is important to understand), these 9 amino acids are distributed in a variety of vegetables, and when we eat a large and varied intake of plant-based foods, these vital essential amino acids – simply explained – accumulate together.

Examples of types of plant-based protein that together become complete are cereals (e.g., oats or rice) and legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas). It was previously believed that the different proteins needed to be eaten during the same meal, but today it is known that it’s enough for them to be consumed during the same day. The body takes care of the rest on its own!

With this method, protein from plant-based sources can also be complete! And there is a whole world of plant-based, natural foods that contain all the protein we need.

Protein highlights

  • Protein is made up of amino acids in a specific order.
  • A protein that contains all the amino acids we need to consume via food, in sufficient quantity, is called a complete protein. Plant-based protein can be complete when we combine different types of plant-based proteins throughout the same day.
  • Buckwheat, hemp, soy and quinoa are examples of plant-based foods that are complete protein sources on their own.
  • Having an dietary intake that meets your energy requirements is necessary to enabling your body’s use of protein as its building blocks, in short this means, you eat enough calories per day. If you have a deficit, the protein is used as energy instead of, for example, building and repairing cells.


In Part 3, Therese gives more plant-based protein recommendations.

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