Thursday, December 4th, 2014

Top 5 Energy-Boosting Foods for Cold Weather

Today I have the privilege of sharing a guest post with you from my friend and fellow mom, Registered Dietitian Frances Largeman-Roth. I am always very interested in her ideas and what she can teach me. She has so much knowledge about eating and living better! – Veronica

It can be tough to stay focused and motivated to eat healthy and exercise when the temperature starts to dip and we’re bundled up from head-to-toe. Though you might be tempted to hit the couch and cuddle up under a warm blanket, it’s actually healthier for your body and spirit to keep moving—even when it’s freezing outside. And while those holiday treats are tempting, taking care of ourselves nutritionally is vital to combat the risk of cold and flu, and seasonal affective disorder. Here are my 5 top foods to boost energy, improve immunity and put a smile on your face. Eat up and stay healthy!

1. Eggs: The incredible egg is one of the few food sources of vitamin D, which most of us don’t get enough of in the dark winter months. A vitamin D deficiency can leave you with a weakened immune system. Whip up a tasty egg dish and make sure to keep the yolks in–that’s where the vitamin D is! Two eggs have 160IU of vitamin D.

2. Mango: In addition to a burst of vitamin C, fresh mango is loaded with beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A. Vitamin A is vital to a healthy immune system. One cup of sweet, juicy mango has 75% of your vitamin C for the day, and 25% of your vitamin A. Below there’s a quick recipe from my cookbook, Eating in Color. The addition of turmeric means that the smoothie also fights inflammation.

3. Walnuts: You’ve probably read that walnuts contain heart healthy fats, including ALA omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for your heart and your skin. They also contain biotin, which helps you metabolize energy from the foods you eat. Walnuts won’t give you a jolt of energy like caffeine, but they will give you a boost when added to your morning oatmeal. Stick to a 1-ounce serving, which is 14 walnut halves (185 calories).

4. Yogurt/kefir: A healthy gut helps protect you from getting sick. It’s like a safety net, but on the inside of your body. Probiotics in yogurt and kefir help to keep your gut in balance, and therefore healthy. If you can’t tolerate dairy, try other foods with probiotics, like kimchee, kombucha and sauerkraut.

5. Carbs! There’s a reason why our bodies crave carbohydrates—they are the number one fuel for our brains. And when you’re active, your body uses up your stored liver and muscles glycogen (the storage form of carbohydrates). If you don’t replenish them, you’ll feel sluggish—especially during a workout. Fuel up with complex carbohydrates, which include healthy whole grains (barley, oats, quinoa, amaranth, etc.), products made with whole grains (breads, bars, cereal, pasta), beans, potatoes, and peas.

Frances Largeman-Roth, RD, is a best-selling author and nationally recognized health expert, who has helped thousands of women across America lose weight and feel incredible with her healthy recipes and smart diet and nutrition advice. Passionate about helping people make the right choices to lead healthier, more active lives, Frances provides real world advice and motivation to reach your goals. Whether it’s choosing the best foods for a healthy pregnancy, dropping 20 pounds the right way, or learning how to incorporate more fruits, vegetables and whole grains into your meals, Frances provides the tools you need.

Recipe: Frances’ Coco-Mango Smoothie

Coco-Mango Smoothie

Makes 2 servings

Fruit of 1 large ripe MANGO, peeled, pitted, and diced
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 LIME
1 teaspoon ground TURMERIC
1 cup WATER
1 cup (100g) ICE, plus more for serving

In a blender, combine all of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour into 2 glasses over additional ice, if desired, and serve.

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Check out Veronica’s new cookbook Pure Food!

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Gluten-Free Quinoa Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh is a delicious and popular Lebanese dish that is traditionally made with chopped tomatoes, fresh minced parsley and mint, and chopped onion mixed with wheat bulgur or cracked wheat and drizzled with a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt. Arguably with all of the fresh and raw ingredients, it is one of the healthiest dishes you can eat.

However, with so many people sensitive to wheat, they may be missing out on the amazing health benefits of tabbouleh because they avoid wheat products. So I decided to try to make a version of tabbouleh that substituted cooked quinoa for the wheat bulgur, and I was pleasantly surprised at how fantastic it turned out. Quinoa makes tabbouleh gluten-free and provides complete vegan protein as well. Mix that with the incredible health benefits of the other raw ingredients and you have a superstar salad that is hearty enough to be a main meal (my hubby even ate it for breakfast).

- Veronica

Recipe: Quinoa Tabbouleh

Serves 4

1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups water
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup minced mint leaves (optional)
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Place quinoa, water and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a pan and bring to a boil. Simmer and cover for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed and quinoa is soft. Let the quinoa cool for a half hour. Mix in tomatoes, parsley, mint and onion. In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon and salt. Drizzle over the tabbouleh and mix well. Chill and serve.

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Thursday, November 6th, 2014

I Accidently Ate Vegan Yesterday

When it comes to food I am not into depriving myself. That may not make sense to some when I tell them I am a vegetarian. But I didn’t become a vegetarian “cold turkey” (excuse the pun). When my daughter became a vegetarian at age 6 for ethical reasons, I found myself cooking and eating more vegetarian foods. What started to happen was that gradually meat didn’t sound good to me anymore. I would occasionally still cook it or order it at a restaurant and it started not to taste good to me anymore either. I also found myself thinking more seriously on Anna’s perspective of killing animals for food.

My body led me down the path to vegetarianism somewhat involuntarily. The more vegetarian foods I ate, the more I craved them instead of animal foods. That, combined with rethinking my views on how we raise and eat meat in this country started me down a path that was very natural for me.

To think that I would also give up milk and eggs and *gasp* cheese, was never actually a serious thought, but lately I’ve been realizing that we hardly go through milk anymore and cheese seems to last forever or go moldy and there many days that I wake up and say to myself “I ate completely vegan yesterday!”

I listen to my body and its cravings more than ever, which are definitely changing and I’m ok with that because there are so many great vegetarian and vegan dishes to enjoy!

- Veronica

This page on our website has some of my all-time favorite vegan and vegetarian recipes (gluten free too)!

Order Veronica’s cookbook, Pure Food

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

New York and the Pure Food Cookbook

I have to admit that I am in a bit of a state of shock. I am feeling very grateful and excited because I finally held the completed manuscript of my first book this week, the Pure Food Cookbook. I am so delighted to share this with our newsletter community first!

It has been over 3 years in the making and a wonderful learning experience as well as a test of my patience and discipline. I felt like I was back in college writing a term paper….every day! True, it was more fun because I was creating in the kitchen as well, 120 vegetarian recipes to be exact, all of which I have tested on my family and friends. Pure Food also includes pure living tips and stories about growing up in the Midwest watching my mom and grandma cook from scratch.

I had a wonderful trip to New York to share the first peek of the Pure Food Cookbook with editors from O, The Oprah Magazine, Women’s Health, Life & Style and many more. Even though the book will not be published until February, they are excited to feature recipes and ideas already!

In Pure Food, I’ve taken many of my favorites like Grandma’s Blueberry Buckle Coffeecake and replaced ingredients like wheat flour with gluten free brown rice flour, and butter with coconut oil, and cow’s milk with almond milk. I want to show my readers that we can still make our family favorites, but with better ingredients. I also encourage readers to experiment with diverse foods like amaranth for a hot cereal breakfast, and coconut flour to make indulgent gluten free coconut pancakes. There are many vegan recipes too, like when I remake my mom’s custard, vegan style!

I am passionate about getting people back in the kitchen and finding confidence there to create simple healthy meals and snacks, and that is what Pure Food is all about. If you are interested in learning more, you can read about the book and even preorder on at a very attractive price, around $13.00, a 33% discount!

- Veronica

To learn more about the Pure Food Cookbook by Veronica Bosgraaf, click here.

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Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

The Perfect Halloween Treat

Does an organic, gluten free treat, made with fruit and vegetable purees and juices as well as ingredients like vegetable juice and turmeric for color instead of artificial ingredients, sound too Pure to be true? As a mom, I agree that it may sound unbelievable but trust me when I say that my kids and their friends can’t get enough of our Pure Fruit Snacks and I feel very good about that (plus they are on sale on our website right now)!

I totally understand the frustration moms feel with their kids wanting junk food while we try to feed them healthy foods. We created Pure Fruit Snacks because we want a better fruit snack option. Even most organic fruit snacks have tapioca syrup and cane sugar as the first two ingredients. Not Pure. It is my go to treat for lunches and convenient sweet snacks.

This Halloween it will also be the treat that I give out of my front door. I want to show moms and kids that real and healthy food can be delicious, and stand up for what I am so passionate about, eating real organic food.

Pure Fruit snacks are on sale on our website right now, plus you can get free shipping on orders over $39.00! This fall, let Pure Fruit Snacks help you live a little healthier and easier.

- Veronica

Monday, September 29th, 2014

5 Easy Ways to Lower Your Energy Bill

In Michigan, we are already starting to batten down the hatches and get ready for the cold weather. After months of fair weather, open windows and smaller energy bills, we dread the change because we know that colder weather brings higher bills. No matter where you live though, there are simple ways to chip away at your energy bills. Not only will this save money, but especially if many of us change our habits, we can create a cleaner and less polluted world.

- Veronica

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Alkaline vs. Acidic Foods

There is a lot of buzz in the natural food world about eating the right foods to keep your blood PH alkaline rather than acidic. What we know is that certain foods release either more acidic or more alkaline chemicals into your body as they are digested, but what we don’t know for certain is how much these chemicals actually influence your body’s internal PH.

Proponents of an alkaline diet say that eating too many acidic foods can lead to an acidic internal environment in which disease thrives. Our cells become damaged by trying to compensate for the acidic environment by leaching minerals and nutrients, this leads to cell damage, decreased energy and an increased potential for heart disease and cancer.

Research has shown a connection between a diet high in alkaline foods and better overall health, we are just not sure whether that is because of the alkaline nature or the other benefits of these alkaline foods. When I look at which foods are more alkaline and which are more acidic, it makes sense that many of the alkaline foods would be better for us. Alkaline foods are all fruits and vegetables which are high in fiber and antioxidants whereas foods like white flout, processed sugar dairy, meat and processed foods are all acidic. However there are some acidic foods like blueberries and walnuts that are very healthy.

I can understand why a diet high in alkaline foods would lead to better health, but that doesn’t mean that ALL acidic foods are bad for you. To me, it is still more about eating whole, real, simple unprocessed foods more than anything else. Check out the list below of alkaline and acidic foods and let me know what you think!

- Veronica

Click here for the chart.

Source: Dr. Ben’s Mindset

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Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Curried Sweet Potato Fries with Greek Yogurt Dill Sauce

A few weeks ago I was in a restaurant and ordered the “Sweet Potato Fries”. I had visions of crispy chewy thick strips of well-seasoned, slightly browned sweet potatoes. Instead, I received orange waffle chips out of a bag that were pretty much potato chips. Ugh! As I often do, I started thinking about how to make my own and do it better than a restaurant (not too hard it seems these days!). I created a nutritionally balanced recipe that combines my favorite things; curry, yogurt, olive oil, dill, lemon juice and sea salt with delicious sweet potatoes.

What I love about this recipe is that every ingredient is good for you. It is also balanced, providing protein from the yogurt, and fiber, healthy carbs and antioxidants from the sweet potatoes and spices. And even though we are calling them “fries” they are baked with olive oil and curry. Also, don’t worry; they will blow away any french fry in taste as well. My kids scarf these down faster than I can make them, so even though I wrote the recipe per sweet potato, I always bake big batches.

- Veronica

Curried Sweet Potato Fries with Greek Yogurt Dill Sauce

Serves 1-2

1 large sweet potato (washed and dried thoroughly)

2 teaspoons tapioca starch (flour)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon curry
For the Yogurt Sauce
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
3 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh dill
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Chop the sweet potato into half inch thick strips or “fries”. Place the strips in a bowl and sprinkle with the tapioca starch. Mix well. Add the olive oil and mix until all strips are coated. Add the sea salt and curry and stir until evenly coated. Place the strips on a lightly greased baking sheet so they are not touching each other. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, flip them over and bake for 10 to 12 minutes more.

Meanwhile, combine the yogurt, olive oil, dill and lemon juice in a bowl. Mix well.
Remove fries from the oven and serve warm or at room temp with the yogurt sauce.

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Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Sacha Inchi, the Next New Superfood?

I like to refer to sacha inchi as the best ingredient nobody knows about. I was introduced to it two years ago at Natural Products Expo West, and was intrigued by its stellar nutritional benefits as well as how it is produced in a sustainable and fair way, helping many families to thrive in the regions where it is grown. In fact, I was so impressed that I decided to use sacha inchi protein in our Cashew Coconut Pure Bar!

The vine-like sacha inchi plant is native to Peru and the rainforest area, and produces a fruit which contains the nutty sacha inchi seed, also called the mountain peanut or Inca peanut. This seed is highly nutritious, loaded with protein, omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, vitamin A and vitamin E. It is often roasted and seasoned to provide a delicious snack. The seed is also ground for protein and cold pressed into oil that can be substituted for olive oil in dressings and recipes, although I don’t recommend heating it because it is fragile and can easily break down.

For more information on this incredible superfood, and to experience it in our Cashew Coconut bar, see the links below!

- Veronica

Learn More about Sacha Inchi

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Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Avocado Mousse Recipe from Kathryn Budig

Guest Blogger and Pure Ambassador Kathryn Budig shares this fun and healthy recipe with our Pure community this week.

This is definitely one of those “Don’t knock it until you try it” recipes! Who knew a vegan desert could be the highlight of your summer menu? With this tasty avocado mousse, perfect for a hot summer day, you’ll have the best and healthiest cook out in town! It’s delicious, full of omega fatty acids, bright and honestly kinda quirky. If you’re serving to people who will freak out at the sight of green just add cacao powder and tell them it’s chocolate pudding. They’ll never know! :)

For more information on Kathryn Budig head over to her website,

Avocado Mousse

Ingredients (serves 2):

2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
juice of 4 limes
3 T raw blue agave
1.5 T raw cacao nibs (optional)

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Serve.

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Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Mediterranean Cous Cous

A few weeks ago I bought a boxed meal of Mediterranean Cous Cous. It contained a few servings of dry cous cous and a packet that contained some dried vegetables like peas and onions and spices like turmeric and curry. I added it to boiling water to prepare. It wasn’t bad but it didn’t make enough to feed my family of five, and for the price I realized I could make a whole lot more, plus I could use fresh organic ingredients from my refrigerator.

My big “Ah ha” moment lately is that many of the “meal in a box” items we buy in the store can be easily mimicked at home for much less cost and with fresher ingredients. The Mediterranean Cous Cous below is a great example of this. Another plus when you mimic a boxed meal is that you can tailor the dish exactly to your family’s tastes. My Mediterranean Cous Cous was a big hit and will become a staple around our house!

- Veronica

Mediterranean Cous Cous Recipe

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 17 minutes

Serves 5

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 large carrots sliced thin

1 teaspoon curry

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup dry cous cous

1 1/4 cup water

1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add the onion and carrot and simmer, covered for 10-12 minutes, until soft. Add the curry, turmeric, cumin and frozen peas. Mix well, cover and simmer for 5 more minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium sauce pan, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add the cous cous and mix well. Cover, remove from heat and let stand for five minutes. Fluff the cous cous with a fork and combine it with the spice and vegetable mixture. Serve immediately.

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Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Junk Juice

Wait! Don’t throw away those wilting vegetables in your fridge, drink them! If you haven’t already, it’s time to start expanding your juice horizon beyond apples and carrots. Every week or so we make a “Junk Juice” with whatever fruits and veggies need to get used up. Putting greens like parsley, broccoli, cilantro, and celery into your juice exponentially enhances the nutritionals. If you’re worried about ruining the flavor, try adding lemon or lime plus a sweet fruit like grapes to mask the slightly bitter flavor of greens.

When my son was a toddler, he drank juice with kale, parsley, grapes, apples and lemon. There is no way a 2 year old would eat kale and parsley on his plate, but he sure did drink them! Maybe you have a teenager or significant other who also has a hard time eating greens. Juicing them is a great way to get them into your family and out of your fridge before they go bad!

- Veronica

Making Broth

I also use wilting vegetables as well as the scraps of onions, carrots, celery and herbs into a big pot of water with some salt to make my own vegetable broth. It works terrific and tastes much more fresh and delicious than boxed or canned broth.

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