So I have been raving about this recipe to a few people and gotten a very similar reaction from all of them, which sort of goes like this – ‘Huh!?!’

This is closely followed by – ‘you put what in it?’

(Seriously, it does seem crazy, but bear with me, it is worth it – I promise).

Mystery Ingredient

So straight off the bat I am going to say what that ingredient is. It’s cauliflower.
I would love to take the credit for being the genius that decided to put cauliflower in a smoothie, but I cannot. Folks have been doing it for a while and with good reason.

Taste

Firstly – it does not taste weird at all, it actually makes your smoothie creamy and thick without the need for any dairy. Cauliflower is a high fiber food and excellent for gut health, but its also that fiber that gives the smoothie such a good mouth feel.

Nutrient Powerhouse(i)

Another little known fact is that cauliflower is loaded with Vitamin C; as are all the veggies found in the cruciferous family (i.e.: kale, broccoli, cabbage). Unlike the rest of its family its not green. At this point you may be remembering an article or something about avoiding white foods. Generally white foods are highly processed (breads, crackers, cereals, baked goods, sugar), and have low nutrient values, which is a good reason to avoid them. Cauliflower is the exception.

The leathery leaves that surround the cauliflower protect it from the sun and hinders the chlorophyll development, which is why, unlike its cousins, it’s white.

The nutrients remain though. Besides the fiber and Vitamin C you also get Vitamin K, potassium, phosphorus and a range of vitamin B’s.

Cancer(ii), Hormones(iii) & Plastic(iv)

Cauliflower contains glucosinolate compounds which have been shown to assist in the elimination of carcinogens. Most notably indole-3-carbinol, sulforaphane, di-indolmethane, and isothiocyanates have been the focus.

Indole-3-carbinol has also been found to assist in the regulation of estrogen activity and metabolism.

This is significant considering the issue we have with so much plastic in our food chain and home environment. Plastic chemicals mimic hormones (in particular estrogen) in our body and act as hormone disruptors. While we now have the option to purchase BPA free items, the hormone disruptor effects remain.

I’m not sure why cauliflower isn’t considered a superfood, but perhaps that’s a good thing. It seems superfoods come with a hefty price tag and we don’t want that to happen to this gem.

Bad Rep

Healthy food gets a bad rep sometimes as they can be a little bland or have a strong flavor that isn’t always that nice. Raw cauliflower can potentially fit into this category as there is a slight bitterness to it. (We can thank those nutrients I mentioned earlier for this). This can be remedied easily by lightly steaming it.

Avoid over cooking as it will become more bitter and lose much of its nutrient value.

The Many Ways to Enjoy Cauliflower

You can make so many things with cauliflower, it truly is a versatile vegetable. Here are some ideas:

  • Cauli-rice: grated, raw and flash fried, it makes a great substitute for rice
  • Cauli-pearls: raw stems, chopped into small pieces, lightly steamed make a great substitute for pearl barley
  • Cauli-mash: entire cauliflower (not the leaves), broken into chunks, steamed, add spices and your favorite milk/mylk, and mash it
  • Cauli-sauce: entire cauliflower (not the leaves), steamed, add favorite spices, dash of lemon and olive oil, your favorite milk/mylk blend well and you have a dairy free white sauce
  • Cauliflower: lightly steamed cauliflower with some spices or your favorite sauce over it is also great, no need to be fancy all the time.
  • Zero Waste: the leaves are edible! They can be added to a stir fry and enjoyed with other greens. All cauliflower scraps can be added to stews and vegetable broths

Then of course there is this smoothie recipe. I dare you to try it at least once. You don’t even have to use blueberries – try variations and make it your own!

Blueberry Smoothie

A creamy dairy free smoothie with loads of flavor
Prep Time10 mins
Course: Breakfast, Drinks, Snack
Keyword: dairyfree, glutenfree, nutfree, soyfree, vegan, vegetarian
Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 2 cups oat milk cold, use more if required
  • 120 grams Cauliflower frozen
  • 220 grams Blueberries frozen
  • 25 grams Pitted Dates usually 2 or 3

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth
  • Serve and enjoy

Notes

No Oat Milk: Use your favorite dairy, seed or nut milk if you don't have oat milk
No Blueberries: Use your favorite frozen berries or fruit instead
Frozen Cauliflower: If you cannot find any in the store, then make your own.
Lightly steam cauliflower florets, allow to cool. Spread them out on a baking tray and place in freezer. Once frozen, place in a container and store in the freezer 

References:

Inflammation is at the root of many diseases, yet often overlooked when dealing with the management or treatment plan of a condition. Another aspect that gets overlooked is diet. But, before we look at how food can help reduce that nasty inflammation, lets first define inflammation.

There are two primary types:

Acute meaning short, sudden, sometimes severe, may last a few days or weeks.

Chronic meaning slow, creeping, mild to severe and develops over months and years.

Acute Inflammation

We all know acute inflammation. The insane headache, the fever or the heat you feel when you get a mild infection or injury. These are all good indicators of acute inflammation. However this is usually short lived and is a physical manifestation of your body mobilizing a very effective defense strategy. It’s actually a good thing.

Our first reaction may be to stamp it out immediately and take pain medication. (It is after all very uncomfortable and it’s in our DNA to avoid pain). Pain and discomfort aside, this process is doing exactly what it needs to be doing. Our immune system is going into hyperdrive to speed up the healing process and get us up and running as quickly as possible.

THE QUESTION: If inflammation is good, why would it be at the root of diseases?

Excellent question, so glad you asked!

The problem is that when the inflammation doesn’t go away, it leads to chronic inflammation.

Chronic Inflammation

Unlike acute inflammation, chronic inflammation isn’t always as obvious. I am tempted to use a heavy word like insidious but in truth it is, yet again, the body correctly reacting to its environment. Correct or not, long term low level inflammation can be very damaging to us. The immune system gets overworked and becomes like a toddler that’s just been given a few caffeine concentrated energy drinks. Anything and everything is fair game for an enthusiastic attack. Basically your immune system struggles to discern good from bad and can begin attacking healthy cells. This leads to disease.

This is all a very descriptive way of explaining inflammation. The folks at Harvard Medical School did a great job of explaining it from a medical perspective. If you are dealing with any form of inflammation or the diseases listed below, I highly recommend reading the article: Understanding Acute and Chronic Inflammation

Diseases Caused by Inflammation

Most of our health issues can be traced back to chronic inflammation, but here are some of the big ones. I would love to say these conditions are rare, but they are almost as common as the flu: (The list is also much longer, but these are the most common)

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Allergies
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Intestinal Permeability (aka: Leaky Gut)
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes

Inflammation can also cause general pain and discomfort that do not fall neatly under a diagnosis.

So What Does Food Have To Do With All Of This?

Food actually has a lot to do with it. There are many foods in our modern diet known to cause inflammation. Granted, these foods have varying levels of inflammatory effects. Much of the reaction depends on the person, but they cause inflammation none the less.

If you are battling with general malaise, pain or one of the many conditions linked to inflammation you may want to consider cutting some of these foods out. (See below)

The good news is that there are also foods that help our body fight this inflammation and they are readily available, we just need to know the difference. To help you, here are some foods to avoid and foods to include that can assist you on your anti-inflammatory journey.

Obviously if you have an allergy or sensitivity to any of the foods you will want to skip them, but you get the idea.

These foods are all natural and are abundant in the nutrients and compounds our bodies need to optimize health.

The foods we need to exclude are vastly different. They are often devoid of nutrients and made from one or two very common, cheap and exploited ingredients. Here are some foods to exclude if you are wanting to avoid or reduce inflammation:A Little More on GMO Foods
Each country allows for various levels of chemical exposure or genetic modification to food items. It is always best to investigate your region or country’s policies if you are looking to incorporate clean or organic eating.
Just for fun here’s a link to one of my favorite ads about the amount of chemicals found in food. It’s called the Worlds Most Skippable Ad. You most likely will only watch the first few minutes, but it’s enough to illustrate the point.

Essentially a diet that focuses on fresh whole foods is the ultimate way to optimize your health.