Curried Coconut Tomato Soup with Lentils and Greens

IMG_6368

This hearty soup is warming, delicious, healthy and so filling!

Ingredients

(Makes 6-8 Servings):

  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 large vidalia onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ginger, minced ( or substitute ground ginger)
  • 2 tbsp. curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (more if you like it hot!)
  • pink salt to taste
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 13.5 oz. can lightcoconut milk
  • 1 13.5 oz. can full-fat coconut milk
    • if you like your soup on the richer/creamer side, use two full fat cans and omit the light can
    • if you like your soup lower calorie and less creamy, use two light cans and omit the full fat can
  • 1 1/2 cup uncooked green lentils, rinsed
  • 2 cups spinach, washed and de-stemmed
    • You can use any type of green! Kale or escarole are great too!
  • Bulgarian or Greek Yogurt for serving (omit if vegan)

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a pot over medium
  2. Add onion and cook/stir until softened & browned, about 10 minutes
  3. Add garlic, ginger, curry powder, and red pepper flakes, and cook/stir about 3 minutes
  4. Add lentils and cook/stir about 3 minutes
  5. Add 5 cups of water, tomatoes, and pink salt to taste, stir
  6. Add the coconut milk, bring to a boil
  7. Reduce heat and simmer the soup until the lentils are cooked, about 25-30 minutes.
  8. Garnish with yogurt and crushed red pepper
  9. Enjoy!

 

*This recipe is candida safe, refined sugar free, gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan!

Advertisements

Vegan Gluten Free Blueberry Banana Oat Bran Pancakes

image1

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups Oat Bran
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 squeeze of lemon juice or a teaspoon of lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4 cup fresh organic blueberries
  • coconut oil
  • optional spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom
  • optional: if you are not vegan and would like to, you can add an egg as well for a better consistency

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients besides the blueberries and oil, and stir or blend until smooth (if you use lemon zest, you will want to blend)
  2. Heat coconut oil or spray a large nonstick skillet over medium heat
  3. Spoon enough batter for 3 separate pancakes into the skillet and sprinkle each one with fresh organic blueberries
  4. Once you see bubbles on the surface, flip the pancakes and cook until the other side is browned
  5. Serve pancakes with your choice of toppings such as pure maple syrup, nut butter, or jam!

*This recipe is safe for vegan, gluten free (if you have celiac disease be sure the oat bran is labeled gluten free), vegetarian, candida, leaky gut, and low FODMAP diets

It’ll grow back

There were a lot of things that really sucked about having Candida, but I think the hardest part was losing my hair. I tried to tell myself it wasn’t that much, but every time I showered I’d lose wads and wads of hair. It was the most depressing thing I’ve ever experienced. I felt ugly and like I was losing my femininity. I’m Persian, obviously, and we are known for having big beautiful thick heads of hair. When I started losing that feature, I started losing myself. I would spend all day on the internet reading about ways to help my hair re-grow, reading supplement reviews, and reading stories about people going through the same thing. “Don’t worry,” they said. “It’ll grow back,” they said. “It’s just hair,” they said. It’s not just hair, its a part of you and no matter what stage you are at in life or what the reason is, losing hair is never easy. I tried my best to stay positive but other than being in pain every single day, the hair loss was the hardest obstacle to overcome.

Well here I am about 9 months out of being candida-free, and I can finally say that my hair is coming back. It’s really, really coming back. I never thought I’d see the day. I have baby hairs everywhere and they look ridiculous but I don’t care. My hair is also almost down to my butt. I’m so grateful that I’m finally starting to feel normal again and so many of the symptoms I was suffering from are slowly disappearing. If you are experiencing hair loss as a result of autoimmune conditions, digestive disorders, or anything else, I can’t promise you that it’ll come back, but I can tell you that there’s a pretty good chance that it will. It’s so tough to deal with because stress also makes you lose hair, but how are you expected not to feel stress when you can see your health and the things you used to love about yourself fading? I want to share with you some of the things I did that I felt helped my hair to re-grow:

  • Castor Oil & Rosemary Essential Oil
    • Add a few drops of organic rosemary essential oil to castor oil and massage it into your hair and scalp. Leave it for an hour and then wash. Do this once a week.
    • Heating the castor oil before hand is also a good technique
    • Castor oil is absolutely incredible for your hair and I truly believe this was a HUGE factor in helping my hair re-grow
  • Bamboo
    • Take a bamboo, horsetail, or silica supplement daily (with the OK from your doctor)
  • Collagen
    • Great Lakes brand collagen powder is very helpful for hair and skin
    • follow the instructions on the container for best results
  • Biotin
    • The best way to increase your intake of Biotin (B7) is to get it naturally from foods such as; salmon, avocado, raspberries and cauliflower
  • Fenugreek
    • Make a paste out of fenugreek seeds and apply it to the scalp/hair. Leave for an hour then rinse
    • This method has to be done every day for results
  • Aloe Vera
    • Take 1 TBSP of pure aloe vera juice on an empty stomach daily
    • This not only helps with hair, but digestion as well
    • You can also apply aloe vera gel to the scalp for 2-3 hours a few times a week
  • Diet
    • Make sure you maintain your healing diet and are getting the proper nutrients
    • If your nutrients are low-level, be sure to supplement with your doctors guidance until you are feeling better
  • Treat your hair with love
    • Don’t use products that contain sulfates and other chemicals
    • Don’t heat treat it while you are trying to re-grow it (straighteners, blow dryers, etc)
    • Massage your scalp while laying upside down to get the blood flowing to the follicles

IMG_4916

Check out my baby hairs and my re-growth 🙂 They’ve been growing so quickly and soon they’ll be just as long as the rest of my hair! It will grow back!!!

Vegan Sweet Potato and White Bean Curry

IMG_4410 (1)

This is a tomato based curry packed with nutrition and perfect for an easy vegan dinner!

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 1/2 Large Onion, chopped
  • 2 Tsp Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Curry Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Cumin
  • 1 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Tsp Garam Masala
  • 2 Cups Fresh Spinach, washed
  • 2 Large Sweet Potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Can White Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 Can Diced or Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Boil peeled and chopped sweet potatoes, or place in a veggie steamer for about 15 minutes until you can easily puncture them with a fork
  2. While sweet potatoes cook, heat coconut oil over medium heat
  3. Add onions and sauté 3 minutes
  4. Next, add all the spices and stir to coat the onions evenly
  5. Add tomatoes with their juices, and the white beans, stir to combine
  6. Add ½ cup water and raise heat up to a strong simmer for about 2 minutes
  7. Next, add the fresh spinach a little at a time, and stir to coat with the sauce
  8. Cover and simmer until the spinach is just wilted
  9. Add the cooked sweet potatoes to the sauce and stir to coat
  10. Simmer for another 5 minutes
  11. Serve over Basmati Rice

 

IMG_4416

 

*This recipe is safe for gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, candida diets diets.

Somewhere in San Francisco on a back porch in July, Just looking up to heaven at this crescent in the sky

One of the hardest parts of spending a whole year sick was that I couldn’t take any vacations or even weekend trips without having to worry about every little detail. What would I eat? Would I find something organic? Would I remember to take all my supplements? Would pain prevent me from doing things I wanted to do? Would I be a burden to whoever I was with? It was horrible and everywhere I went, whether it was New York for a weekend, or Birmingham for New Years, I was faced with obscene amounts of stress and depression. Since I healed my Candida this past spring, I have been dying to go on a trip and experience something new without intense feelings of sadness and longing to be normal again. This past weekend, I finally got that chance.

Since discovering the Grateful Dead at the age of 15, I have always wanted to visit San Francisco. Not only is it the mecca for hippie culture and the music of the 1960’s, but Northern California is just one of those places that everyone needs to visit in their life time. The stars just so happened to align, and my boyfriend was going to be playing some shows in the northwest. After being sick for a year and not being able to do anything, I had accrued so much time off at work, that we were able to make a vacation out of this. Thanks to JetBlue and my roommate’s Virgin America buddy passes, I was able to travel for $130 round trip.

I flew in on a Wednesday morning and met up with my boyfriend who had arrived in San Francisco the night before. We went to Brenda’s French Soul Food, which was one of the many restaurants on my list, and enjoyed an amazing brunch. Once we were done, we realized that our hotel was only a few doors down. We checked in, and then got to exploring. Day one, my main priority was checking out the Haight Ashbury district. We walked about two miles and arrived to the place where so many legendary musicians lived, played, and wandered. That day, it was my late Uncle Dave’s birthday, and he was the person who made me love the Grateful Dead. It was so important and special to me to be there on that day. As we approached 710 Ashbury Street, the home where the Grateful Dead lived in the 60’s, an intense wave of emotions came over me. Tears clouded my eyes as I walked up and saw the stoop where Jerry and the gang would sit and play music. Obviously I had a photo shoot there and took it all in. I signed me and my uncle’s name on the tree out front, and then we continued the journey. Next stop was the legendary Amoeba Music record shop. I had heard about this place years ago and was so excited to be there. There were crates upon crates of records new and old, and the walls were plastered with original, first print Grateful Dead posters. It was truly a beautiful sight. After basking in the glory of crossing things off my bucket list, we made our way across the bridge to Oakland, where my boyfriend was playing a show at Wormhole Wednesday.

Day two was dedicated to hitting all the tourist attractions in San Francisco. We walked around Union Square, Chinatown and North Beach. We worked our quads while climbing up the famous Lombard Street and were blessed with a gorgeous view of the city and the ocean. We then stopped at Ghirardelli Square to see how their chocolate is made, and then made our way to Fisherman’s Wharf. We strolled along the water, tried some clam chowder, and enjoyed the ocean air. By the afternoon, we ended up at Pier 33, ready to take the ferry to Alcatraz Island. On the ride to the infamous prison, the views of the San Francisco skyline were jaw dropping. I never realized their skyline was so incredible. We arrived at the prison and took a tour, learned about people who tried to escape, heard captivating stories, and even got to sit in the jail cells. It was an awesome piece of history to learn about. After getting back to land, we met up with my cousin for dinner. Its so nice having friends and family all over the world.

Exploring San Francisco was beautiful, but the real beauty began on day three when we picked up a rental car and made our way to the Redwood Forest. Our points of interest were Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. The sights when the drive started to change from highway to scenic back roads were so beautiful. The smell of garlic overwhelmed us as we drove past the garlic fields in Santa Cruz. Every mile there was a farm stand selling fruit, garlic, and 6 for $1 Avocados. When we finally approached the foot of the mountain, everything completely changed. The air was cleaner, the sun shone brighter, and all you could see was nature. I will never forget driving up the winding roads to the Redwood Forest, blasting Pink Floyd, with the California sun shining on my face. We pulled up to the forest and spent the day exploring, finding all the best views, and getting awe-inspiring footage for my boyfriend’s music video. What an incredible backdrop for my person’s creative vision. As we left the forest, the sun was setting and the sky was filled with the most intense and gorgeous pink color I have ever seen. We threw on some Lil’ Peep and felt the presence of the pink-loving, fallen musician all around us. Next order of business was making a pit stop at In N Out before stopping in Folsom for the night.

On day four, we traveled to Tahoe City where my boyfriend would be playing the last show of his West Coast tour. We pulled up to Lake Tahoe and our jaws hit the floor. We had no idea the type of beauty we were going to witness before arriving and all we could say was “Oh my fucking god.” The sights of beautiful Lake Tahoe with snow-capped mountains in the background was easily one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen.  We stood there in awe and soaked it all in, and then hit the famous Moe’s BBQ joint. Later that night, my boyfriend played a show at Wormhole Tahoe. The venue was a fun little Mexican restaurant/bar on the water. The vibes at this event were some of the best I’ve ever felt. The promoters were incredibly accommodating and hospitable, the sound was absolutely excellent, and the crowd was filled with beautiful, sweet people who just wanted to have a good time. It’s amazing that we can travel all the way across the country and be treated better than we are in my boyfriend’s home town. There’s just something calming and pleasant about the West Coast attitude.

The next day we began the journey back to San Francisco where we would hit some more tourist destinations. We ended our trip with the most spectacular view of the Golden Gate Bridge from a mountain top in Sausalito. Actually, spectacular doesn’t begin to describe it.

I’m so grateful that I was able to experience something new. I’m so grateful for my person and that I have the means to adventure when I can, when so many don’t. I’m grateful that I have my health almost 100% back and can go on trips and not have to worry anymore. I’m grateful for the messages I received from friends telling me that they’re happy for me, and that the smile on my face in the pictures from my trip made their day. The smiles were so genuine. I’m so grateful to be back to smiling on a regular basis. I truly can’t wait for my next adventure.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

 

Don’t Let The Holidays Get You Down

So this time last year, I was a couple months into my Candida diet and absolutely dreading the holidays. I kept thinking about my step dad’s stuffing, my mom’s creamed corn, and my grandma’s homemade rolls and coconut cream pie. The thought of not being able to touch any of these culinary traditions seriously made me miserable. Instead of heading home early to help my mom prepare, I had to wake up early to make myself an entire Thanksgiving spread, completely moderated to fit my depressing, gut-healing diet. What is thanksgiving without gluten, sugar, and dairy? Sounds boring, right? Well, I reluctantly made it work. My mom and step dad hooked it up with an organic turkey, and I made myself some slammin’ sides and gut-friendly desserts.

If you’re going through something like I did this holiday season, I’m with you. I know how much it sucks. Believe me, I cried over it and felt super sorry for myself. God, I was really annoying. But when all was said and done, my special thanksgiving wasn’t half bad. At least I was surrounded by family and had food in front of me. My situation could have been a lot worse.

Below are some recipes I used, and some recipes that I think look good. Best of luck. It won’t be this way forever. Don’t let the holidays get you down. This time last year, I was super sad, super skinny, and never thought I would be able to enjoy food again. Well here I am, prepping to smash Thanksgiving this year. I’m looking extra forward to the leftovers sandwiches come 9 PM Thanksgiving night 🙂

  1. Roasted Winter Squash with Caramelized Onions and Olives
  2. Thyme Roasted Sweet Potatoes
  3. Pomegranate Butternut Squash Quinoa
  4. Mashed Cauliflower
  5. Fennel Apple Slaw
  6. Whipped Japanese Sweet Potatoes
  7. Raw Cranberry Sauce
  8. Apple Cranberry Stuffing
  9. Stuffed Turkey Breasts 
  10. Herb Roasted Turkey Legs
  11. Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Squash 
  12. Herb Gravy 
  13. Coconut Ginger Cookies
  14. Cinnamon Pecan Crumb Cakes
  15. Vegan and Grain Free Pumpkin Pie
  16. Apple Crisp

5 Years Ago Today

1451417_10201083015017899_2001230508_n

5 years ago today, I met the love of my life….

In 2012, I met a huge group of people who loved the same DJ that I did. I thought I was the only one who traveled to see this man perform, but I was wrong. I joined a Facebook fan group, and by November 2012, I was getting ready to go on a 5 night show run with friends I hardly knew. It was a cold Thursday morning in November when I embarked on my journey to U Mass Amherst for the second stop of the tour. On the way, I found out floor wristbands were all given out, and that i’d have to enjoy the show from the bleachers. Also on the way, I got a message on Twitter from the very DJ that I would be crying over just hours later. One thing I love about Bassnectar is how much he interacts with his fans, and how genuinely happy he is to do so. Anyway, he knew I was a huge fan, and sent me a message telling me to come say whats up after the show. I told him I didn’t get a floor pass, so I wouldn’t be able to make it down, and that I’d see him in Jersey the following night. A few hours later, a friend and I were heading to the venue, when I received a call from someone on Bassnectar’s crew. He told me that Bassnectar wanted me to have a floor wristband, and to meet him outside the venue. I was so excited and grateful. I couldn’t believe he’d go out of this way to do that for me. I got there, met up with this person, got my wristband, and I went inside. I ran straight to the sound booth, where I shared my first hugs with friends I had made in the Facebook group. I planned on standing there for the remainder of the show, but then ran into a friend that grabbed my hand and brought me all the way up to the front row. And that is where I met Eric. I still remember the way he looked at me when he turned around and saw me there. The smile on his face had to have been a reflection of the smile on mine. I decided to spend the rest of the night up there with him. We had the best time together. It felt amazing to be with someone who loved Bassnectar as much as I did. Up until that point, the only people who really attended these shows with me were friend’s who didn’t know his music. Having someone to dance with, to get excited about all the same songs with, and someone to freak out with when I met Bassnectar later than night, was seriously the most beautiful gift. I knew Eric was different. It was truly fate the way it worked out. We spent the remainder of tour together and the rest is history. Thank you Bassnectar, for bringing me to my person, to some of my closest friends, and for giving me irreplaceable experiences that I will never ever forget.