THE MAGIC INGREDIENT: A SUPER HEALTHY SUNDAY BRUNCH (IN BED)

Two high vibe and super healthy Sunday brunch recipes we’re currently crushing on…DIY Faux-coa Puffs & Chia Chickpea Pancakes w/ Coconut-Cinnamon Whipped Cream. By Raquel Griffin. Photo: Ashley E. Davidson

DIY Cocoa Faux Puffs (V,GF)
Filling, healthy, and party in your mouth!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED
1/4c raw amaranth
1c unsweetened fresh (or store bought) almond milk
2T maple syrup [or honey, brown rice syrup, etc..]
2-3t unsweetened cocoa powder
1t vanilla extract
1/4t cinnamon
2T dried unsweetened coconut

DIRECTIONS
Pop amaranth, 1-2T at a time. Popping instructions. In a bowl mix together amaranth, cocoa powder, cinnamon, dried fruit + coconut. Pour 1c milk in a bowl and whisk maple syrup + vanilla in until combined. Pour milk over your new favorite Saturday morning treat and dig in!

***Optional additions for the adventurous or… not so much ***
Add in chopped nuts to up the crunch factor (almonds, walnuts and pecans could all be major). Add in dried fruit like raisins, cherries or goji berries to give your faux puffs a little haute healthy flavor. Not a fan of dried fruit or coconut? Leave ’em out – it’ll still be a party in your mouth.

Chia Chickpea Pancakes w/ Coconut-Cinnamon Whipped Cream (V,GF)
This recipe has been my go-to for the last month. I cannot seem to get enough pancakes, but then again can you really ever have enough pancakes when they’re gluten-free, vegan, AND crazy high protein? I think not.

So before we jump right in let me give you the stats on these beauties. Two medium pancakes have about 20-22 grams of protein, 19 grams of fiber – plus you could easily hit 25+ grams of protein by adding a smattering of nuts into the mix. And did I mention they taste great and not like chickpeas at all? So buckle your seat belts because this recipe is about to become a mainstay in your Sunday morning repertoire.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
1T Chia (soaked for 10 min in 3T water)*
1T flax seed
1/2c chickpea flour
1/4t baking soda
1 capful of white vinegar
1/3c water
1 1/2t stevia
sprinkle of sea salt
Coconut oil (enough for frying pancakes)

For Coconut-cinnamon whipped cream
1 can full fat coconut milk *(stored in the fridge overnight)
1 1/2t ground cinnamon
1 capful vanilla extract
Sweetner to taste

DIRECTIONS
For the Pancakes
Combine all ingredients in large bowl and mix until lump free. Heat your lightly oiled pan over low-med heat. Next, pour or scoop the batter into the pan, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Cook on both sides till golden brown, serve hot and topped with coconut-cinnamon whipped cream.

For the coconut-cinnamon whipped cream (v,g)
Take your chilled coconut milk and empty the entire contents into a bowl and add your sweetener of choice, plus 1 1/2t of cinnamon and a capful of vanilla extract. Finally, whip on high using an electric mixer for 5-7 minutes until the whipped cream is soft, fluffy. Et voilà!
*Sealed in an airtight container the whipped cream will hold for approx. 4-5 days in the fridge.

***Optional additions for the adventurous or… not so much ***
Top with jam (I’m currently obsessed with fig, but orange marmalade, ginger, and of course any berry could all equally rock your world!) And of course, one can never go wrong with the classic pairing of nuts + fresh fruit + maple syrup.

THE MAGIC INGREDIENT: 10 HIGH VIBE PANTRY UPGRADEs

Up the ante of your high vibe pantry and feel the magic in every bite, says Raquel GriffinPortrait: Margarita Corporan

From nutrient dense sweeteners great for raw foodies to high-energy crystal charged water – it’s all about the magical, the medicinal AND the delicious here. So read on for a shopping list of the foods you need right now to create your very own high vibe pantry hit list.

1. High-vibe: Natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, stevia
Way higher-vibe: Organic un-sulphured Black Strap Molasses

Black strap molasses is a double duty sweetening super food that approaches coconut oil territory when it comes to nutrition and sheer versatility. You can bake with it, use it for greater regularity, and to stimulate hair growth and banish grays – it can even double as a hair de-frizzer when mixed with warm water and applied as a mask. It’s low-glycemic, high in calcium and iron, and it’s great for vegans! Five tablespoons of blackstrap molasses contains 50 percent of the recommended daily allowance of calcium, 95 percent of iron, and 38 percent of magnesium.

Yes, it has a strong flavor so it can’t totally replace all other sweeteners, BUT its high vibe qualities definitely merit adding it into heavy rotation. Ease into using BSM by adding 1-2 tablespoons to your morning Chai and top it off with a splash of almond milk. This old school come new school super food can be found almost any local supermarket.

2. High-vibe: Kale
Way higher-vibe: Purslane

Although nothing can technically replace kale (Goddess forbid) this juicy, slightly lemony edible weed gains super star status in your kitchen due to its incredible nutritive and medicinal properties. For example, it’s the richest known plant source for Omega-3 fatty acids (usually found in fish oils). A one cup serving gives you all the Vitamin E you need in a day, and it’s also one of the best sources of magnesium as well as being high in calcium, potassium and vitamin C.

Used externally, it has similar properties to aloe and calendula in that its sticky broken leaves can soothe burns, stings and swellings while the juice can be used to treat ulcers, wounds, sores and gastrointestinal problems. And last but certainly not least, it’s also one of the five herbs richest in anti-depressant substances. Purslane is usually available in the summer and fall but you can always order Purslane online. Eat this green in salads, soups and smoothies, or fried in oil with chopped onion as a side dish. (And FYI – Purslane can get slimy so make sure to add it at the last minute to your recipes!)

3. High-vibe: Standard water filter
Way higher-vibe: Alkaline Water filter

Berkey, a Zen Filter or a Zero water carafe – if you can’t harvest actual fresh spring water it’s all about these gravity filters. So what’s all the hoopla with the alkaline water you say? The Alkalinity is referring to the pH level of the water, and the higher the pH, the more water helps hydrate the body on a cellular level. Water in its most natural state — untouched by pollution — is water that is highly alkaline (a high pH-balance between 9-11). However, most of the water we drink today (i.e. tap or bottled) is anything but, with most clocking a pH of somewhere between 4-8.

And when our bodies get out of balance (i.e. too acidic), we can experience low energy, fatigue, excess weight, poor digestion, aches and pains, and all sorts more serious disorders. Not to mention that high acidity in the body is one of the major factors effecting overall cell aging. So long story short, we want to get more alkaline any way we can – and these filters are a great way to do it. Now there are some Rolls Royce’s out there like Kangen Water Filters but if you’re not looking to shell out upwards of $5K the above mentioned filters are a super option.

4. High-vibe: Water with lemon
Way higher-vibe: Laminar Crystal Charged Water

Part Muscovite Mica, part food-safe clay, Laminar Crystals have the capacity to not only make water more physically absorbable by the body (which equals far superior hydration) but they are also able to pick up and transmit many life-supporting cosmic frequencies, including those that support energetic balance and continually cleanse the surrounding environment. Cool additional factoid: Laminar crystals were used in the capstone of the Great Pyramid in Egypt! So you can only imagine what happens when you add these babies to your water! Users, including myself, have been known to experience less pain, better moods, clearer thinking, better toxin elimination, gorgeous skin and unbelievably increased energy levels…my assistants have affectionately dubbed it “crazy crack water.”

So what’s the skinny? When laminar crystals are added to water they energetically lower the surface tension of water – making it more easily absorbable and more “life giving” for the body. Most of us drink some form of tap or bottled water, which has considerably higher surface tension and is therefore much harder to absorb. And water that’s not absorbable is no bueño – kind of like trying to eat food without a fork. So where to get your hands on these little pearls of goodness? Numerous places on the Internet offer various Laminar crystal products but I highly recommend the Precious Prills brand available through Life Enthusiast.

5. High-vibe. Organic grass-fed milk / butter
Way higher-vibe: RAW organic grass-fed milk / butter

On the rare (or maybe not) occasion that you consume dairy, upgrade by going RAW. Why? Because while all grass-fed dairy (vs grain-fed dairy) contains a little known vitamin called K2, an essential component in building healthy teeth, bones and the magic ingredient in healing cavities naturally, it’s in its most potent energetic state when “live” (ie. non-pasteurized). Though still technically “illegal” in many U.S. states, for hotly contested reasons which you can learn more about here – raw grass-fed dairy can still be had through many raw dairy farmer affiliated food buying co-ops. Or, if you’re lucky enough to live in a pro-raw milk state like California, right off your supermarket shelf. And for all the Vegans, never fear – Natto is here! A popular Japanese fermented soy bean product, Natto is the highest source of plant based K2 currently available.

6. High vibe: Any Random Green Superfood powder
Way Higher Vibe: Dried Moringa Leaf Powder

Moringa leaf is pretty much the cat’s meow when it comes to all around nutrition. Native to Asia and Africa moringa has been used there for centuries but is just now making its way to our shores. Available for consumption as both a tea and a powder, dried Moringa leaf has the following staggering stats…1 gram of Moringa leaf powder = 7x the vitamin C in oranges, 4x the calcium in milk, 2x the protein in milk, 4x the vitamin A in carrots, 3x times the iron in spinach and 3x times the potassium in bananas.

So to call this baby a super food is an understatement — think of it as the holy grail of plant based nutrition. That’s right vegans, raw foodies, and vegetarians…Morninga is about to be your J-A-M. Sprinkle the powder in your tomato sauce, add it to your smoothies or drink it as a tea…Whatever way you get it, it’s all good. Moringa seed oil has also been shown to regenerate skin cells – I’ve actually used it on my scalp to increase hair growth, and it can also be used for inflammation, psoriasis, eczema and shingles. Holy grail indeed.

7. High Vibe: St. John’s Wort
Way Higher Vibe: Ormus gold

Discovered by farmer turned researcher, David Hudson in the mid 1970’s while mining for gold on his farm in Arizona, a substance dubbed ORMUS was found to contain mineral elements (such as gold, palladium, iridium etc.) that were able to exist in a special energetic state described as “reserved for things like the ‘dark matter’ that astronomers look for in space, the Earth’s magnetic field, healthy soil, weather phenomena like lightning…even consciousness itself”.  WOAH.

There’s still much that is unknown about the full capabilities of ORMUS, but simply put ORMUS is considered to be “life force energy” in material form. Pretty radical, huh? ORMUS has been known to increase feelings of awareness, connectedness, psychic phenomenon, dream lucidity, anti-aging, increased metabolism, miraculous healing and when added to water makes it more easily absorbable by the body. Most commonly available for consumption in tincture form ORMUS goes way beyond the classification of mere “supplement” – and could even be considered the ultimate magic ingredient.

8. High Vibe: Mugwort tea
Way Higher Vibe: Wild Asparagus root tea

For those looking for something that goes a step beyond mugwort, make Wild Asparagus root tea, aka the other “dream time tea” your go-to. Similar to mugwort, Wild Asparagus (or Tian Men Dong as it’s known in China) is great for lucid dreaming and was known by monks there as the “flying herb” due to the “flying dreams” it stimulates. However, what really sets Wild Asparagus root apart are it’s heart opening effects and ability to help you move into alignment with spirit. Also used widely in Ayurvedic preparations as a women’s health tonic it can also be found under the name “Shatavari.” So before you go cozy up under the covers with some regular ol’ tea, if you’re up for a heart opening dreamtime adventure consider making a “trip” of it.

9. High Vibe: Chlorella
Way Higher Vibe: Bentonite Clay

Bentonite Clay is composed of aged volcanic ash and is taste and odorless. Largely produced out of Fort Benton, Wyoming, Bentonite Clay is unique in its ability to produce an “electrical charge” when hydrated. SCIENCE STUFF COMIG UP. Upon contact with fluid, its electrical components change, giving it the ability to absorb toxins. As Bulk Herb Store explains: “think of the Montmorillonite (aka Bentonite) crystal flake resembling two pieces of bread, with a strong vacuum pulling the filling in between them. Whatever lands there (Sodium or Calcium) determines what kind of sandwich it will be. Now when you activate this clay sandwich, it will magnetically grab the junk in your body (heavy metals, toxins, acid, etc.) and trade it for the “filling”, taking the toxins out in your waste.”  Got it?

This amazing “dirt” also has an alkalizing effect on the body and can help balance gut bacteria, along with quelling nausea, vomiting & diarrhea. P.S. For most internal uses (oral & intestinal) a little goes a long way (ie. a 1/2t in a 1/4-1c of water) so make sure not to overdo it, and be sure to avoid storing or mixing in metal containers since metal reduces it’s efficacy.

10. High Vibe: Green Tea
Way Higher Vibe: Chaga & Reishi Mushroom Tea

Looking to crack open your pineal gland in between visits with the Grandmother? If Chaga & Reishi are not already in heavy rotation in your regimen – they should be. Both Chaga and Reishi mushrooms are grown in the northern hemisphere, and once foraged and consumed (as a water-soluble tea or alcohol soaked tincture), they both actively work to decalcify and activate the pineal gland (your third eye) in addition to helping you relax, handle stress and sleep better.

They’re also digestive aids, immune boosters and contain some of the highest antioxidant effects on the planet. And when adding these magic mushrooms to your regular routine don’t be surprised if you find yourself more easily moving into “flow” states or rising to howl at the moon.

HERBAL BEAUTY: LOVE THE SKIN YOU’RE IN

Calling all New York Numis! This coming Wednesday March 26, Victoria Keen will host green witch Robin Rose Bennett in a special Urban Wellness Workshop on herbs to lift your spirit and enhance your natural beauty. And why not let vanity be your gateway into the magical world of healing herbs?

Ahead of the event, we caught up with Robin for a crash course in herbal enhancements…

WHAT WAS YOUR INTRODUCTION TO WORKING WITH HERBS?
I was looking for answers to my own health challenges that no doctor or dentist could solve for me and thus my deepest, most frustrating and painful physical challenges led me to my path and purpose and greatest joy. I always think it’s worth pointing that out. It can help us to focus on the expansions that naturally follow contractions when we’re going through difficult times, and help us to trust life more. And in fact, this is the best beauty treatment there is!

WHICH ARE THE HARDEST WORKING HERBS IN NATURE’S BEAUTY CABINET?
Roses. Both the flowers and the berries are rich in skin-healing compounds that increase the circulation in our skin and also smooth out wrinkles. The same is true of elder blossoms. The bio-flavanoids in these flowers are beautifying as they nourish the skin, just as you nourish your body when you are hungry. I believe we should think of our skin as another mouth – and only put onto the skin things we would put in our mouths.

Oats are another favorite, both used externally as smoothing scrubs and internally to build the health and vitality of our skin, hair, nails and bones, not to mention our nervous systems through an abundant array of vital minerals and vitamins. Calmness shows up as glowing vitality, a natural beauty, and so your constitution, whether you run hot or cold, lethargic or have too much energy, will influence the herbs, both internal and external, that will be the best ones for you.

Roses: increase the circulation in our skin and smooth out wrinkles

WHY DO OUR EMOTIONAL AILMENTS WREAK SUCH HAVOC ON OUR SKIN?
Well, this is a great question that we’ll explore more deeply in the workshop, but one way I look at it is that our skin is the natural “boundary” between us and everything outside of us. When stressed, that boundary often feels violated which will show up on the skin through inflammation that occurs as rashes, pimples and the like.

WHAT ARE THE OTHER ROOT CAUSES OF MOST WOMEN’S SKIN PROBLEMS?
Challenges in the body’s other natural filtration systems are the root causes of most skin problems. When the kidneys, liver, or lungs are in need of more support to work optimally, our skin will often do its best to filter out what our body can’t use. So skin challenges are a call to investigate what other systems deeper inside the body and psyche are in need of more nourishment.

Of course, when you put the right substances into the body, you don’t need to be so worried about what to remove. Having said that, sometimes certain foods trigger skin reactions. Also, hormonal system nourishment, particularly through aiding the liver which performs over 500 known tasks for us on a regular basis, will often help clear up and beautify skin and hair.

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR OWN HERBAL BEAUTY REGIME?
Well, I’d like to quote musician-artist Joni Mitchell. When she was getting older and her mother was challenging her lifestyle choices, she replied; “Mom, happiness is the best face-lift!”

Joni Mitchell: Happy

So, it starts with attending to my happiness, which means getting enough physical movement and time outdoors with my feet on the earth, barefoot as often as possible, taking in the plants through my skin, and when that’s not possible, taking in the plants through putting my hands on the trunks of trees. Making time for myself and what feeds me is something I’m learning how to do more than ever before.

I also love oil baths with homemade oils such as pine needle oil, herbal infusion baths with oatstraw and facial masks with homemade herbal honeys infused with roses and violets (see recipe below).

A fresh clay masks is another one of my favorites. I harvest clay from a natural clay bed upstate once every couple of years and keep it covered in a jar with fresh water and it keeps wonderfully well. When you don’t have fresh, mixing dried green clay with water or aloe gel is a good second choice.

Finally, I use olive oil and coconut oil on both my hair and skin.

An herbal beauty regime is another form of nourishment. And nourishing ourselves translates to healing ourselves and healing ourselves translates to owning our gifts and our power, so that we then have vitality and energy to use in service of our Earth family, including all of nature, which, as we all know, is imperative.

The below recipe is from Robin Rose Bennett’s newest book, The Gift of Healing Herbs. With its aphrodisiac zing, she suggests it as the perfect “remedy” for spring fever!

ROSE VANILLA BEAN HONEY

Fresh rose blossoms or buds of any fragrant species – unsprayed
1 dried vanilla bean, as fresh as possible
1 jar wildflower, linden or clover honey

Cut off the ends of the vanilla bean, open it up lengthwise and scrape out the insides. Then cut the pod into small pieces and place every part of thr bean into a pint jar. Fill the rest of the jar with the fresh rose blossoms or buds. (If you are using dried roses use about 1 cup to fill the jar half full). Cover the herbs with honey and stir gently, poking here and there with a chopstick to make sure the honey saturates the herbs completely, and continue filling the jar to the top. Cap it, and wait six weeks or more before decanting. When you’re ready, decant the herbs by gently heating the honey until it pours like water, through a strainer into a fresh bottle.

Meet Robin Rose Bennett in person and get a lesson in creating your own herbal infusions for the skin and the spirit on Wednesday March 26 as part of Victoria Keen’s Urban Wellness Lecture Series. Tickets are $40 and available thought this link.