Raw Veggie Chard Wrap with Ancho Chili Dip–The Balancing Act of Alkalizing Daily

by Julie on October 25, 2012

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So, I know this chard wrap idea isn’t rocket science nor is it original but the dip….oh mee oh my!  The thing is if you are going to eat a bunch of regular old veggies why not jazz ‘em up so you love ‘em even more!  That’s my idea of a great veggie recipe. Sure, I really enjoy the pure fresh goodness and flavour of organic produce but I eat so much of it that this sauce business totally rocks my veggie wrap!  This recipe was inspired by a dear classmate Lauren from nutrition school who often brought a very similar dip to school.  A nibble of it really got me going and I made my version of something kinda similar but added the dried ancho chili powder to switch it up and wowsers!  I haven’t used ancho chili powder in many recipes so I am still experimenting with it’s rather sweet raisin flavour and with what ingredients it might complement.  But what I know for sure, according to my taste buds, is that it works well with this combination.  You’ll have to try it for yourself.  You will first have to locate some of the spice.  I found some in a Mexican shop that sold a variety of chili powders from obscure to everyday peppers.  You might also have luck at a specialty gourmet shop.  I’m pretty sure they carry some at the South China Seas in Granville Island market in Vancouver BC if you happen to live near there.

You’ll notice that I shot this when the pretty blue corn flowers were blooming in the summer with these yummy basic veggies but I’m sure you’ll still be able to find a variety of fresh veggies to tuck into some winter chard.  I like to have some sprouts, avocado, peppers, cucumber and sometimes slivered carrots too.  I’ve had this recipe up my sleeve for sometime but was saving it for you.  This is a great recipe to whip up for your lunchbox.  Just have the dip pre-made and a few veggies chopped and then it’ll only take a few minutes to put together a couple wraps in the morning, then just roll and wrap ‘em up!  You can always bring the whole avocado along, with a knife, and add it later so it’s fresh.

Raw Veggie Chard Wrap with Ancho Chili Dip
Yield: 2 wraps
For the Dip- yields 1/2 cup
3 tbsp raw almond butter
3/4 tsp fresh grated ginger
3/4 tsp fresh grated garlic
3/4 tsp dried ancho chili powder
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or raw almond oil
2 tbsp filtered water
2-3 drops stevia- this is optional depending on  your desire for sweetness
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
For the Wrap
2 large chard leaves
1/2 avocado
4″ pc cucumber, sliced lengthwise into 10 slender strips
1/2 small red pepper, thinly sliced
sunflower sprouts & radish sprouts or other sprouts
Method
Combine all dip ingredients except lemon juice in a small bowl, adding the lemon juice last (so it won’t seize up) once it is well mixed, then set aside to allow flavours to mingle while you prepare the wrap.
Wash and pat dry the chard leaves and trim stems.  Place on large plate, then lay strips of veggies length wise down the center of the leaf.  Roll leaf to close and use toothpick to hold in place or wrap in a napkin to secure.  To pack in lunch box, use parchment paper or reusable waxed wraps like the Abeego.
Serve with dip which can be spooned onto each bite as you enjoy the wrap.  The more dip the better:)

This is a better example of the flowers that are currently in season now in October in my garden and on the roadside.  Bye, bye bachelor buttons… hello hydrangeas that are turning from periwinkle blue to pretty shades of green, Michaelmas daisy asters (purple with yellow centers), wild rose hips, winter fern and Nigella blooms that are still hanging on.  It was fun putting these autumn bouquets together for you and to then enjoy on these damp grey days that are now much more common.  This is my therapy and of course chopping veggies:)

Now, I’m wondering how you are doing with the balancing act of this lifestyle diet, rich in alkaline foods?

Stuck in a rut? Can’t get motivated? Bored with your food?  Surrounded by unhealthy eaters? Or are you over analytical and causing yourself too much stress?

The more you work at in the beginning, the easier it becomes, like a habit.  But you do have to put in the effort to make the change stick and to become comfortable with the lifestyle.  It’s crazy to obsess over it, but for a while, until you find your groove, you will notice yourself evaluating your meals with scrutiny.  I find that for myself it comes naturally now to eat this way but it did take a while.  I do however think about how I’m going to balance my intake if I choose to perhaps indulge in a baked vegan cookie.  In this case I’ll be sure to have an extra glass of super greens, or drink some green juice, nibble on extra raw veggies as a snack later on or have a 2nd helping of salad.

Most of the time, I find that I am truly drawn to and crave the foods that are most alkaline and I tend to minimize my portions of say brown rice or sprouted grain bread at a meal.  If I do have a craving for more than usual I’ll up my intake of veggies to balance it out.  This just happens naturally for me at this point.  I’m not saying I get it perfect all the time, far from it, I’m only human!  But I truly want the healthy body I deserve so I do my conscious best to find ways back to balance and that sometimes means juicing for the entire day! or two or three!  After being away in Mexico and having a few desserts along the way I am now cleaning up the residue. That quote comes to mind again, “It is easier to stay well that to get well.”  Taking stock right after a vacation versus making it an excuse for a years worth of unhealthy eating is a lot easier and way less painful, right?

How’s it going for You? What helps you to stay on track and what throws you off kilter? Can you share any recent successes you’ve had where perhaps you’ve held your healthy ground at a social function or  you maybe ate a salad at home before joining friends at a not so healthy restaurant?

A 70-30% alkaline to acid food ratio or 80-20% are ideal if you are not experiencing any ailments or chronic disease, which ever you can maintain and it may of course fluctuate each day since it’s more about eyeballing than measuring. For example, filling your plate approx 3/4 full with salad or veggies and then about 25% with legumes, organic whole grains, organic proteins either plant or animal become a well balanced meal.  If you suffer from symptoms of disease you truly need to make it around 90-95% or do 100% as a juice feast to flush those acids and continue on in a very high disciplined alkaline fashion to regain the required balance.  In this case alkaline water is your best friend to help carry out the toxins and assist your liver in dispensing with the old so the new cells can flourish and bath in alkalinity which is where they are happiest.  This post here sheds more light on why you need water.

I’d love to hear from you on this topic so that in the comments section we can help each other find ways to keep up the good work that we do everyday to maintain our healthy wonderful bodies or heal our precious bodies from the symptoms we are experiencing.  My goal is to continually inspire you to make the best choices possible to maintain a healthy alkaline state thus your comments are of great value and I truly appreciate the time you take to write them.

I hope you have a wonderful week and do let me know how you like the simple wrap & the dip or if you have a fave ‘go to’ dip:)

Julie

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Michele October 25, 2012 at 6:03 pm

I have found it very hard to keep alkaline this year. I have RA and am on DMARDS and NSAIDS and losec all which acidify my body and which also mean it is hard to absorb nutrients.

To help alkalise, I take barley grass capsules from Lifestream, juice, drink alkaline water, and eat lots of lovely salads and vege soups. Unfortunately it just isn’t enough. It’s pretty hard to detox when I’m always retoxing with the meds.

This post has inspired me to not give up and to keep trying, so thank you! Xx

julie October 27, 2012 at 11:15 am

Michele, you have the choice and the power. You just need to set your intention. What is your priority, health or illness? If you get serious you will no longer need the medications. The meds will surely be creating a compromised digestive track that won’t properly absorb the nutrients you are consuming. You need enzymes with every meal, probiotics n between and L-glutamine to heal the gut. Good protein at each meal is also mandatory to heal, plant protein powders are great in smoothies etc. A live blood analysis will clearly identify this but you can harmlessly work on it yourself. See a holistic nutritionist or speak with an educated health food store owner. If you support and repair the gut your healthy food will do more for you to facilitate elimination of your meds. Keep me posted on your progress:)

Michele October 27, 2012 at 6:20 pm

Oh thank you so much! I have just started reading about gut healing and its relationship to overall health – it’s fascinating and if you consider I spent most of my childhood on antibiotics and the meds it’s no wonder I’m having issues. ;) Anyway, onwards and upwards! I’m going to try the products you mentioned and rearrange my diet a bit. Thank you so much for your encouragement and support, it’s so nice of you!

Caro November 7, 2012 at 7:27 am

Hi Julie,
I just discovered your site last week, and I have to say, it’s amazing! I have already tried a handful of the recipes and will certainly be checking out more. I truly appreciate all the information you give along with the recipes, it’s very informative and it is helping me make the change to a much more alkaline, balanced life.

Now I have a question to ask. Based on your knowledge and your studies, as well as your personal experience and perhaps the stories others have shared with you, what do you know about IBS and eating alkaline/juice fasting? I am in my late 20s and have suffered from IBS for around 10 years (I don’t even know if it is truly IBS or just simply chronic constipation/incomplete evacuation and a constant feeling of heaviness and bloating). I always thought I ate healthy and balanced, but the more I research into the acid-alkaline way of eating the more I realize that our Western/European ideas of balanced eating our skewed… even a small portion of meat or a small slice of cheese EVERY day is way more than we need. Doctors, gastroenterologists, nutritionists all seem to think I am more or less fine and I just need to learn to live with this horribly heavy feeling, which also makes me feel lethargic, depressed, irritable and inhibits my ability to concentrate (basically like a really crappy version of myself). Since I started drinking the green juice a couple weeks ago I’ve noticed major differences in my energy levels/concentration, and I’m going to the bathroom more often, but I think my bowel is nevertheless severely irritated from being forced to work so extra hard throughout my life I’ve always more or less stayed away from processed food, however, and am close to underweight, so overeating isn’t really a problem with me).

All this rambling is to say, is it, in your opinion, possible to overcome severe constipation/slow transit issues through a very high alkaline, low acid diet? I haven’t tried a juice fast yet, but what do you know about this in relation to constipation? I am truly motivated to make a major lifestyle change if it means healing, but I really would love some more information / encouragement. If you have any links to more information I would be interested as well, because I haven’t found much concrete evidence regarding the relation to juice fasting/alkaline living and healing constipation/ibs, despite the fact that it seems to make a lot of sense.

Thanks again for your inspiring site.

julie November 7, 2012 at 9:51 am

Caroline, don’t apologize for rambling, I luuv hearing peoples stories and the more info the better. You are right where you need to be right now and that is on this healing alkaline journey!! It’s truly what your body needs and you CAN heal completely!! from your IBS if you so choose! It’s not a life long sentence, let me tell ya, most doctors are completely out of tune with diet and how it can directly improve your colon and digestive track.
So here’s the deal, I’ll share the protocol for this nasty IBS!

The juicing is beautiful for your system because you are giving it a vacation from processing unwanted foods, it will feel like a spa visit for your body, time out to rejuvenate! If I were you I would continue juicing and eating lots of veggies, blended in green smoothies, which is excellent, as it is predigested and very gentle on your system and if you like steamed veggies or veg soups. The raw whole foods may take a bit to work into as they are a little rough on your tender system. You will get the raw goodness from juicing and blending your veggies. Just be sure to add a good plant protein powder to smoothies as you need lots of good amino acids (protein is made up of these) to rebuild your cells and you will need a good 3-6-9 omega oil, plant or preferably fish oil right now (more quickly converted to useable molecules than plant for the meantime if you are not vegan) ensure to have this protein 3x’s daily and fish oil daily. I also suggest multi-spectrum enzymes with every meal and a probiotic 2x’s daily to build good flora in your gut. You may need to assess you HCL -stomach acid level to see if it is ample and supplement with Betaine HCL if it is not. With out ample HCL you are not able to properly break down your foods, so this is very important in the digestive track along with probiotics for good bacteria and enzymes to break food down. Lastly, you may also suffer from a leaky gut that is caused by a variety of things including stress, and high levels of yeast (candida) where a few spaces occur between the cells in the gut lining and allow undigested food to escape the gut, causing problems. I had this positively identified with a nutritionist who looked at my live blood cells, this is the most reliable way to check it. Otherwise, one could just self-prescribe a supplement; an amino acid called L-glutamine 2x’s daily to heal the leaks. It is harmless to supplement with this but so beneficial if you need it! Get the powdered source and use for a couple months.

Some home testing can also be done at your own risk…If you have tried antacids and acid-blocking medications, and they don’t seem to work for you, try drinking one to two tablespoons of pure apple cider vinegar (or mix it with a small amount of water in order to swallow) when you are suffering from indigestion. If this soothes your indigestion, you most probably have low stomach acid.

or try testing with baking soda like this from this site

Here’s the quick, at-home way to see if you have low stomach acid:

Mix 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda in 4-6 ounces of cold water first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything.
Drink the baking soda solution.
Time how long it takes you to belch. Time up to five minutes.

If you have not belched within five minutes stop timing.

In theory, if your stomach is producing adequate amounts of stomach acid you’ll likely belch within two to three minutes. Early and repeated belching may be due to excessive stomach acid (but don’t confuse these burps with small little burps from swallowing air when drinking the solution). Any belching after 3 minutes indicates a low acid level.

Also eliminate wheat, it’s a night mare for digestive issues, this will help immensely! Read the book Wheat Belly and you will understand.

Please follow all my suggestions at your own risk but know that you are the master of you own body and you need to listen to it and nurture it as it needs. You can do it:) Please keep me posted on your progress:)

Kindly, Julie

Skylor @sproutlifestyle November 7, 2012 at 12:23 pm

dips! dips are key to getting people to eat veggies i think. it takes a very refined palet to enjoy the taste of plain veggies – and the texture is something some people never warm up to. But add a dip and it cures both resistances!

Caro November 7, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Julie, thank you! I didn’t expect such a thorough response.

I have been on this journey for a long time, trying a million different things to no avail, being told by several doctors I just have to live with this. I have really had a breakthrough over the past several weeks though- I don’t know why no doctors ever mentioned that a disturbed ph balance can lead to a host of problems with your gut flora. Also, thanks for the link to that site, I found it to be very useful.

I noticed that for the greens you use Innerlight…. do you use the same brand for your other supplements, enzymes included? I live in Belgium (originally from Vancouver though), and any sort of high quality supplements are much harder to find, so i’ll most likely have to order them on the internet. What would you recommend for enzymes/probiotics?

I will let you know how things go. I plan to just juice a lot and continue to eat vegan as I’ve been doing, but almost entirely vegetables, gently steamed, for the next few days, until I’m able to get my hands on some essential supplements and I’ll try a 3 day fast for starters. It won’t be easy, but I am so ready to heal and to start living life with a clear mind.

I also have to mention that, the more I read everywhere that IBS and digestive issues are a phenomenon of our time/culture, the more I am convinced that it is possible to heal. Not only is it true that our Western diets, even the really “healthy”, balanced ones are hard on our bodies, but it is true that stress/lifestyle affects things so much. I had a real awakening these past couple weeks. I used to be mildly anorexic– I ate very healthy/very little most of the time, but was also addicted to splenda, and also tended to binge in social situations to the point of being uncomfortably full, in order to prove I was “fine.” Because I never really gained weight, and the majority of the time I ate my veggies, I didn’t think much of it. Now, I realize, this is my gut’s reaction to years of warped eating habits and occasional food/alcohol binges that young “resilient” teenagers/twenty-somethings do. My gut is now officially irritated, and despite what any doctor tells me, I know full well why it is now in this sad state, and what I need to do to fix it.

So, thanks again for your site…. I’m kind of shocked, I’m not usually one to share things on a website like this, but I feel like I’ve reached a breakthrough, and it feels good to know that there are others out there who experience this. I am currently trying to make my husband understand all of this, that I’m about to go on a “healing” journey, that will be rather dramatic compared to our normal lives (he’s French as well…. always eating cheese!), and that I need all the support I can get. In any case, I appreciate your response immensely, it feels so good to know that there are others out there who get it, and who can offer encouragement, support, and especially knowledge.

Off to bed now… In the morning I’ll do my acid test. And I’m strangely excited for it!

Caroline

Matt November 19, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Just made this for dinner–delicious!

(A bit messy given the fact that I didn’t have any toothpicks lying around…)

You’re right–that’s one delicious dip!

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Disclaimer: The content on this site is not written with intentions to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatments. Our content is for information purposes only and should not be used to diagnose or treat health issues of any sort. Our information and statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Copyright Julie Cove and Yvonne Becker, 2009-2010. Please do not use or copy any information, recipes or photos without permission or without noting its origins on your blog or website.