Creamy Cannellini Bean Sauce over Spelt Fettucini, Summer Green Beans & Peppers–How is Your Stress Level?

by Julie on July 8, 2011

Well that was fun, a long weekend to play a little.  Did you have a break this last week at all? I really think that one long weekend per month would be quite alkalizing for so many of us that don’t take time to chill out!-don’t you think? We are short a few in a year so I find ways to make my own.  Sometimes I’ll just sneak the kids out of school early or keep them home on a Friday so we can play.  It’s nice now that summer is here, we have the luxury of enjoying  lazy days, staying up late and rising when we feel the sun on us.

Minimizing stress and relaxing is actually a great way to ensure you are not forming acids in your body from an abundance of on going stress that increase cortisol levels, hardly ever giving our body a chance to return to normal levels.  Higher and more prolonged levels of cortisol in the bloodstream (like those associated with chronic stress) have been shown to have negative effects on our health causing a myriad of symptoms as stress is highly acidifying for our body.  Stress was designed to assist us with the fight or flight response and to be only triggered when we were in danger.  We have evolved into hard working and emotional beings who suffer from on going high levels of stress that can really do some serious damage even if we eat a perfect alkaline diet.  It is counter productive to be highly stressed while eating a clean diet thus one must consider ones emotional and mental lifestyle and diet along with regular exercise to be optimally healthy.  However, if you are highly stressed and you do eat an alkaline diet you will be much better off than being highly stressed with a high acidic diet-this is a recipe for heart attacks, strokes and other very serious diseases.

Being proactive with a stressful lifestyle can dramatically change your life.  Perhaps it’s a good time to check in with yourself and feel your stress level.  What’s happening in your life that creates stress?  Do you take time to manage it or take time out to escape it often enough? If you are not sure how stressed you are the best way to assess this is to have a live blood analysis done.  This visual picture of your blood will show you, right before your eyes, the signs of stress in your blood and it’s effects.  The therapist can then prescribe supplements and lifestyle guidelines to balance your stress molecules that are messing up your blood and your potential for optimal health.  I highly recommend it as I have it done a couple times per year just to check in, tweaking my regime each time.  Being a very active person myself, I never feel stressed, but it always seems to show up in my blood making me that much more aware of my necessary lifestyle adjustments instead of carrying on obliviously, thinking I’m fine…. I’m not stressed.  Now that summer is here, it’s a great time to find ways to de-stress and a perfect time to have your blood checked and then clean up your act while all this wonderful produce is growing and waiting for us to nourish our bodies.

During the summer I have more time and even more inspiration to prepare healthy food and I always enjoy dreaming up something new.  This recipe was a family pleaser all around so I had to share it.  I am always trying to find ways in which to incorporate nourishing foods that my younger kids, 5 & 9, seem to turn their noses up at and beans is a tricky one for us for some reason.  So I had this notion that perhaps white beans would be a nice creamy mixture to pour over noodles and replace the ‘heart attack in a bowl’ typical fettucini alfredo with a healthy version.  I loved how silky smooth the beans blended up and no one said a word about tasting anything ‘beany’!  Phew, I did it!  Now I don’t feel so bad serving a pasta dish when every element is as good as it can get, beyond making the spelt pasta myself, which I WILL do…. one day.  I’ve experimented with other versions of thickening up nut milks and they were okay but this one was quite tasty and got higher votes!

Now of course, I always incorporate some kind of veggies in any pasta dish and the higher the ratio of veggies to noodles the better.  And still I serve a salad and raw crudites for the kids as I believe in always providing enzymes to aid in digestion of cooked foods and…. we always need our greens, right? So be sure to not just eat a huge bowl of pasta, always balance your plate with 30% pasta and the balance with steamed and raw veggies for optimal nutrition. In the past I used to feel soooo sluggish after a large pasta meal and now I understand how it dramatically slows my blood down as the sugars from the carbs are digested.  So by adding veggies to lighten the affects and adding a salad, I can still enjoy a tasty whole grain pasta.  Since I had a nice bunch of asparagus on hand I also added it to the mix and served up one hearty meal.  With the summer markets offering such a variety of veggies you can play with this and incorporate zucchini, onions, thin carrot strips or even toss tomatoes in at the end.

When I was in London in June I was thrilled to find produce to shoot so I could archive a few veggie shots.  This Lincolnshire asparagus was gorgeous but of course staying in a hotel meant I couldn’t purchase any since the hotel chef would wonder why I had brought my own produce!

Creamy Cannellini Bean Sauce over Spelt Fettucini, Summer Green Beans & Peppers
Yield: Serves 6-8, along side a green salad
1 pk spelt fettucini noodles, yielding approx 4 cups cooked noodles
10 cloves garlic, halved
3tbsp extra virgin olive oil + 1/4c
1-14 oz tin cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1/4 – 1/3 c unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp + 1/4 tsp celtic sea salt
1 lb fresh green beans, sliced lengthwise & in half
1 large bunch thin asparagus spears, cut in 1/2 (if fat slice length wise)
2 red peppers, cut into 1/4′ thin strips
pistachio topping
1. Prepare all veggies and place in steamer basket ready to go over a pot of water. Do not steam quite yet.
2. Fill another large pot with water, add 1 tbsp celtic sea salt, and place over high heat, ready for pasta.
3. In a small saute pan add garlic and 3 tbsp olive oil and carefully saute over medium heat for 3-5 mins until garlic is soft or translucent, then remove from heat to cool somewhat.
4. Place cannellini beans, sauteed garlic in oil, + 1/4 cup additional oil, rosemary, lemon juice, and 1/4 tsp sea salt in blender, process until silky smooth.  Adjust seasoning as needed or thickness with extra almond milk, yielding a heavy but pourable sauce.
5. Now add pasta to boiling water, cook as directed-may be approx 8-10 mins.
6. Steam veggies for only 3-4 mins once water is boiling and producing steam-don’t over cook, they should still be firm but slightly tender.
7. Drain pasta and place in large serving dish, adding steamed veggies and then gently pour creamed bean sauce over and toss carefully, but thoroughly.
8. Serve with crushed pistachio topping. See note below.

Pistachio Topping:
1/2 cup raw pistachios, lightly toasted or not, healthier raw, but you decide
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
pinch chilli flakes
finely grated zest of  1/4 lemon
Place all ingredients in blender or food process and grind until chopped but not completely uniform.  Use as topping for pastas, rice or salads.

Here you can see the consistency of the creamy sauce.  And again, don’t be afraid to try a variety of veggies this summer and noodles for that fact, with this delicious, gently flavoured, protein rich sauce will enhance many veggies.  Who knows what this sauce will end up on top of but be sure to fill me in–I’m always curious to hear about your creations too!

Back to the stress discussion, if you are keen, let me know and I can help you the best I can to find a microscopist who analyzes blood near you.  If there isn’t someone in your area, maybe your summer travels will find you near a therapist.  Drop me a line and I will do my best.  It will honestly change your life–not only for assessing your stress but a well trained microscopist can see pre-cancerous cells, parasites, yeast imbalances, and the general health of your blood cells and whether they are hydrated, receiving enough protein, lethargic and causing a lack of energy….. it’s endless what you will learn about your health from this river of your life.  It’s the most proactive thing you can do for you health and may very well save your life.

Enjoy the weekend and of course after all this stress talk, take time to de-stress! Lay in a hammock, find a cozy place to read or go for a nice easy swim. See you next week:)

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Liz July 8, 2011 at 6:25 pm

This looks incredible, what a great summer dish! I just added this to my menu for the week!

Sherilyn @ Wholepromise July 9, 2011 at 3:34 pm

This sounds wonderfully nutritious and the beans offer a wonderful alternative to cream. I am certainly going to give this a go and see for myself.

Zita July 22, 2011 at 1:22 am

This is a stunning, healthy, nutritious meal! I will definitely make it!

hannahmarie October 12, 2011 at 6:29 pm

I just wanted to let you know that I just made this recipe (er, a little after you posted it but better late than never!). It was delicious and if felt so good to make a simple, comforting meal that is also healthy! Thanks so much, your blog is great!

Lauren November 6, 2013 at 6:33 pm

I made this for dinner tonight and it was AWESOME. I spiralized zucchini to use in place of the pasta. LOVED the creamy cannellini bean sauce

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