Cranberry Orange Fig Relish

  • 8 dried figs, softened and chopped
  • One 8 oz bag fresh or frozen cranberries (about 2 cups)
  • 1 navel orange (rind removed using a sharp vegetable peeler and chopped, peel and cut into chunks)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar, powdered
  • 2 tablespoons or more, coarsely chopped crystallized ginger

 

Coarsely chop the figs in a food processor. Add cranberries, orange pieces and rind and pulse to chop and combine with figs. Add in remaining ingredients and pulse to combine.  Pour into container and refrigerate overnight for best flavor.

If the sauce is overly liquid, add a tablespoon ground chia seeds, stir well to mix evenly and let sit to thicken.

Can be made one week ahead. Keeps well in fridge and/or freezer. Serve at room temperature.

Enjoy this relish with herbed hemp spread, as a tart filling with sliced fruit, as a canape topping or spooned over roasted squash! Or really any way you wish.

Gear Up for Healthy Holidays!

It’s officially the time of year when we are surrounded with cookies, baked treats, candies and rich foods at celebrations and family gatherings.  Can we partake, enjoy and still stay healthy? My first answer is yes, in moderation, because stressing over food is often more harmful than a few “treats” you choose to eat. But in saying that, for me, I have to decide that I will only partake of so many and no more, just so I can enjoy the tradition and childhood memories that come along with having these special holiday goodies. On the other hand, if I know I have a problem controlling how many I will eat or I get unhealthy reactions, then abstaining or finding a healthy alternative may be the best choice.  The other factor to consider is knowing how these goodies will affect how you feel after eating them. If you are sensitive to the cream and gluten in the cookies and pudding, and you know that your stomach will be cramped and you get migraines after eating sugar, you need to decide if you want to feel that way in order to taste and partake of the goodies.  Ultimately the risk is up to you. There are also more serious risks that need to be considered if there are blood sugar issues, insulin resistance, and inflammation. These risks need to be evaluated in order for us to become more aware of our state of health and take personal responsibility for our health.

So, the first thing I want to propose is a change in the way you think about these special celebration foods. Knowing that they do not bring greater health when eaten, we should not call them “treats” or “goodies” because we do not want to treat ourselves to poor health. It would be a bit harsh to think of them as poison, but in effect they are to some extent, depending on how your body tolerates them. When you choose to partake, take a small amount, savor the flavor, and enjoy. Then find something healthy to enjoy so you don’t continue to eat foods that will bring unhealthy results. In many instances, this may require you to bring along something that is more appropriate for your food choice and for your health.

The other thought pattern I want to address is how we can stress out over food, worrying about every ingredient or how it was prepared or cooked. If we are eating whole foods most of the time, 80% of the time, and we decide to have a piece of traditional pie or a few cookies made with ingredients we no longer include in our diet, I think our bodies will be able to handle it without much trouble. ( If there is an allergy or other serious health consideration, then I do not recommend even a small amount) But if we are worried and stressed about eating those things, I believe stress can do more harm than the actual “bad” ingredients, because our bodies are miraculous in the way they were created to deal with eliminating toxins from our system. (That is dependent upon how well your body can detoxify itself and how much toxic load you are exposed to. Which includes all toxic exposure from food, water, air, drugs, amalgam, product off gassing, radiation, etc. – this is another topic all together)

Now, I propose that you have on hand some remedies and tips to help you stay healthy through the holiday season. First, sugar intake decreases proper immune function and increases inflammation in the body. Some tips to keep in mind when eating sugar include: eat some fibrous veggies and good fats at the same meal, which will slow down the sugar absorption and will cut down on sugar spikes; eating raw fermented foods will increase probiotics in gut and increase immune response – these foods, kefir, krauts and kombucha, also cut sugar cravings; and finally, including garlic, turmeric and cider vinegar in teas and recipes will have anti-inflammatory actions in the body.

Having a couple of recipes that are healthy alternatives to conventional foods that you can bring to a party are important to have on hand and have practiced so they become easy for you to whip up.  I hope I can help you find some recipes you enjoy, that are easy to put together and you will want to share. See Recipes section.