Healthy Probiotic “Soda”

Do you love soda? Are you addicted to it and can’t get enough? I am absolutely addicted to soda! I crave it. It is definitely my Achilles heal. I tell myself I can have just a little, just like an alcoholic would talk him/herself into a “small drink”. One small drink won’t hurt, right? Wrong! Sugar and corn syrup are as addictive as cocaine and heroin, maybe more so. We all know, in order to give up alcohol or drugs, there is no in between. The same goes for soda/sugar. I’ve given up soda dozens of time, for weeks, only to talk myself into “just a small glass. This turns into two, then three. Before you know it, I can’t make it through my day without a soda. The rest goes down hill, my diet, along with my weight and my health.



Well, no more! This time is the last time. That’s why this soda recipe is so important for me. It is changing my life. It tastes amazing! I use organic sour cherry juice concentrate. Tart cherries are amazing. They are known to tame inflammation. Tart cherries are scientifically proven to lesson inflammation and boost melatonin in the body. They are also high in melatonin, a super-hormone that plays many important roles in the body, not just for sleep! One thing you need to know is not to drink too much at once. I only drink it twice a day, with my lunch and dinner, as a tasty way to get my probiotics at each meal.

Here are links to two scientific articles researching the benefits of tart cherry juice:

I also use stevia extract (liquid), not pictured


This recipe for a healthy soda will build your microbiome instead of destroying it! The combination of organic juice concentrate, kefir, stevia and mineral water bring you sweetness, flavor and even the bubbles needed to imitate a tasty soda!

Quick & Easy Italian Style Pasta Salad (Gluten-Free)

A Middle-Age Pathway Recipe

I threw this salad together yesterday as a quick lunch. I am currently working on cleaning out my pantry and had some gluten-free spaghetti to use. I also had some left over pepperoni from making homemade calzones. I always try to keep cheese on hand and Braggs is my go to for bottled vinaigrette.

Why do I use Braggs? Because, sometimes I get lazy, and don’t feel like making my own dressing, so I use bottled dressing. I’m sure many of you can relate. HOWEVER, it is nearly impossible to find bottled dressing that DOES NOT contain soy oil. I like Braggs because it has cold pressed olive oil instead of highly processed soy oil. For this recipe, use your favorite vinaigrette, whether bottled or homemade, the choice is yours.

This recipe came together very quickly and I had a lot remaining. Today, when I had some left over, it was a bit dry, so I added a bit more dressing, to jazz it up.

To add even more flavor to this salad, I’d recommend adding some high quality olives. Kalamata olives are my favorite, but you pick your own. I didn’t add olives this time, mainly because I didn’t have any on hand.

Another optional addition would be to top it with parmesan cheese prior to serving. This would add some zest and a bit of nutty flavor to the dish.

Here’s the recipe!

Quick & Easy Italian Style Pasta Salad

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: very easy
  • Print

Need a quick lunch or side dish? This comes together in a jiffy.


Credit: Purple Almond Wellness

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sliced pepperoni – quartered
  • 1 zucchini – quartered and sliced
  • 1 red pepper – diced
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup Brags Vinaigrette (or your favorite homemade recipe
  • 4 cups cooked gluten free pasta (I used spaghetti)
  • OPTIONAL: Black olives, shredded parmesan cheese, diced red onions

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Chill prior to serving.
  3. If salad appears a bit dry, add a bit more dressing to taste.

A Middle-Age Pathway Recipe: Anti-inflammatory Tart Cherry Gummies

We all hate to admit it, but eventually, aches and pains creep in with age and arthritis gets the better of us. As part of my thesis, I did some research on the health benefits of Tart Cherries and Tart Cherry Juice. It turns out to be one of the best sources of plant based melatonin. So, that means, if you have insomnia, you absolutely should be including this in your daily diet and supplement regime. Not only that is it good for insomnia, it has several other wonderful benefits, including: (2 , 3 , 4)

  • reduces muscle soreness
  • increase strength
  • helps reduce symptoms of arthritis, gout and inflammation
  • promotes brain health
  • boosts immune health
  • helps regulate blood pressure
  • cancer prevention
  • aids weight loss

So, knowing tart cherries are so healthy, I wanted to add them to my diet. I decided to experiment with unflavored grass-fed gelatin and homemade gummies, something I’ve been wanting to try for a while. Why grass fed gelatin? Some known benefits of gelatin include: (1, 5)

  • immune support
  • joint protection
  • healthy hair
  • reduce inflammation
  • helps to balance hormones
  • reduce signs of aging
  • strengthen teeth
  • aids in sleep and insomnia
  • improves gut health
  • aids digestion
  • improves cognitive ability
  • improves skin health
  • strong bones

So, after looking at the health benefits of these two powerful foods, I knew it was a winning combination. But, I had never even tried making gummies before. Before I created my own recipe, I experimented with a few others. The photo on the left is pureed strawberries, sweetened with maple syrup. The one on the right is turmeric, also sweetened with maple syrup.

After making the strawberry, and turmeric gummies, I found they were a bit bland, especially the turmeric one. So, when I created my own version, I opted to double the amount of concentrate, otherwise used if a glass of juice was being prepared. The ratio is typically 2 tablespoons per 8 ounce glass, or 1/4 cup per 2 cups of water. I doubled that ratio for my recipe. The result is a pleasing tart cherry flavor in the gummies.

Here are the ingredients for this simple, but super healthy recipe:

Anti-Inflammatory Tart Cherry Gummies

  • Servings: 32 squares
  • Difficulty: very easy
  • Print

Do you have some aches and pains? Is arthritis creeping up on you? This combination of grass-fed gelatin and tart cherry juice will help ease the pain


Credit: A Purple Almond Wellness Recipe: thepurplealmondwellnesskitchen.com

Ingredients

  • 2 cups filtered water
  • ½ cup Organic Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate
  • ¼ cup Honey
  • 4 packets organic Stevia powder (optional)
  • 4 tbs grass-fed unflavored gelatin powder

Directions

  1. Mix first 4 ingredients in small pan.
  2. Heat until steaming.
  3. Sprinkle gelatin in pan over other ingredients.
  4. Stir throughly, until gelatin is dissolved and all ingredients are combined.
  5. Pour into 9×9 square pan. Cover and chill for a minimum of 4 hours.
  6. Remove from refrigerator and cut into 32 small squares…ENJOY!

Closing thoughts

I hope you give this a try. I have found these gummies are super easy to make. In my experience, once the gelatin sets, the resulting gummies can be a bit bland. My best tip would be to “over flavor” the initial combination of ingredients, so you almost have something that is “too sweet” or “too strong”. So, when the gelatin sets, the result will be a gummies packed with flavor!

Until next time…namaste my friends.

Tamara

Sources

  1. https://blog.paleohacks.com/gelatin-benefits/
  2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-tart-cherry-juice-benefits
  3. https://www.organicfacts.net/tart-cherry-juice.html
  4. https://www.naturalfoodseries.com/11-health-benefits-tart-cherry-juice/
  5. https://draxe.com/nutrition/gelatin/