Aro Ha's Earl Green

Back in 2013 I developed a signature menu for Aro Ha to get them up and running — dozens and dozens of recipes for smoothies, salads, appetizers, snacks, sandwiches, etc… For those of you who don’t know, Aro Ha is an award winning retreat center in New Zealand co-created by my dear friend (and fellow New Mexican) Damian Chaparro. I was flipping through their website the other day and discovered an old post I had written for a fun breakfast smoothie, and thought it would be great to share again here. Feel free to cruise over to their site to view the original post, or the sumptuous photos of their eco-luxury wellness experience. Enjoy!

Aro Ha’s program is similar to the Ashram’s: hiking, yoga, massage, and a world class menu of garden fresh fare!

Aro Ha’s program is similar to the Ashram’s: hiking, yoga, massage, and a world class menu of garden fresh fare!

Earl Grey was my mother’s favorite tea all throughout my childhood.  When I was a teenager, I imitated her by ordering it for myself as soon as I began exploring coffee shops. It was on one such occasion when I discovered that something called “bergamot” imparted Earl Grey Tea with it’s signature flavor. Anyone who drinks Earl Grey figures this out this sooner or later, but for my epicurious adolescent self it came as quite a discovery that the ingredients in Earl Grey were not rare herbs or special varietals of tea plant; but simply black tea flavored with bergamot essential oil. It came as another revelation (many years later) to learn that bergamot was a kind of citrus fruit, an orange to be exact.

Unlike Jean-Luc Picard, my mother’s favorite way to drink Earl Grey was always with a splash of cream and maybe a bit of honey. Earl Grey in this fashion is like warm, sweet milk, perfumed with an exotic summer afternoon. Earl Grey’s capacity to evoke ethereal notions is probably why it exploded on the scene as a tea time favorite in the UK all the way back in the 1820s. In honor of the love affair we’ve all been having with Earl Grey and the bergamot orange for nearly 200 years, I would like share my latest green smoothie breakfast solution, which brings the thrill of Earl Grey back to mornings without the caffeine.


I call it, The Earl Green.

  • 1 1/2 c. your favorite nut milk or Honey Almond Milk (see recipe below)

  • 1/2 c. young coconut meat

  • 1 orange, peeled

  • 1/4 c. fennel, chopped

  • 1-2 handfuls of greens (romaine, spring mix, spinach, kale, etc.)

  • 1/2 t. (or more!) spirulina, E3Live, or Billy’s Infinity Greens

  • 5 drops liquid stevia (to taste)

  • 2-3 drops bergamot essential oil

  • 1 cup ice

Blend everything together until smooth and creamy, and enjoy! This recipe makes about 3 cups and is a good serving for one person. Drinking your greens in the morning is a great way to start the day, and the more greens you eat, the more you start to crave them. Green smoothies are something of a catch-all solution to many common health ailments, and if you’d like to read more about their restorative powers I totally recommend Victoria Boutenko’s book Green For Life.

For those of you who haven’t kicked caffeine or the Earl Grey habit yet (don’t worry, you’re not alone) here’s an upgraded way to enjoy your hot beverages. Once you’ve soaked the nuts, this sprouted nut milk takes less than 10 minutes to put together and is totally free of the preservatives and natural/artificial flavors commonly found in cartoned nut milks you buy off the supermarket shelf. As an added bonus, it comes alive and kickin’ with enzymatic activity and precious healthy fats. Woo hoo!

Honey Almond Milk

  • 1/4 c. raw pine nuts, ideally soaked for about 2 hours to sprout.

  • 3 T. raw almond butter

  • 2 T. raw, unfiltered honey (swap in some stevia if you’re avoiding sugar)

  • 1/4 t. ground vanilla bean

  • 1/4 t. vanilla extract

  • 2 pinches sea salt or pink Himalayan salt

Combine the above ingredients and blend with 1 cup of water for a few minutes until totally smooth. This ensures your milk is ultra creamy and you don’t have any little bits of nuts floating in it. Then blend the milk with another 3 cups of water to expand and froth it up. It’s almost like foamed milk at this point and super awesome for lattes. Strain it if you like to enhance it’s silkiness, and store in a clean quart jar in your fridge — it will keep for about a week.

Maitake Miso Soup (and other tips for surviving cold/flu season...)


It's November. The sugar laden late night debauchery of Halloween is behind us and the full blown holicraze of sweets and heavy meals and anxiety producing family get togethers (or lack thereof, which produces an equal if not greater amount of stress and depression) looms before us. School children are swapping snot and contagions in the petri dish of their classrooms and bringing all their cooties home to snuggle with us. Joy to the world. Yes, it's that time of year, the "season of the switch" between summer and winter... the time when immune, allergy, and health crisis hit hard.

I know it's not just my family, because I've been sharing booger horror stories with the other moms at my son's school all week. So rather than live in a state of denial about the runny nose and scratchy throat I've been attempting to fight off with capsule after capsule of grapefruit seed extract the last few weeks, I think it's high time to pull out the big guns and give my immune system a veritable nuclear blast to use against the viral invaders attempting to get in my face.

Oh yeah, and did I mention it's delicious and will impress your friends at dinner parties?


Power Miso Wakame Soup

I took a trip to my local Asian market here in the San Fernando Valley, and I must say I was beyond impressed with the quality and selection of ingredients. "Greenland Market" is a must, and every ingredient in this soup can be purchased there or at your local Asian Market. FYI, most Asian markets accept EBT, so if you're broke and making excuses about not being able to afford healthy food, just know that they're not going to fly with me! Organic Maitake Mushrooms cost a mere $1.79 a package. "Maitake" means "dancing," and these mushrooms were named such because in days of yore people used to dance for joy when then they found them -- not only because they have awesome anti-viral & anti-cancer properties, but also the renown for their curative powers would fetch them a fair price in the market. I know I personally did a little jig after I found these Maitake Mushrooms...

A reason to "maitake" at Greenland Market in Van Nuys, CA


3 T. Wakame, dry -- soak 5 min. in cold water

2 1/2 T. Unpastuerized Red Miso

1 1/2 Maitake mushrooms, minced

1 T. Green onions, diagonally sliced 

1 t. Sesame seed, raw/unhulled ground

1 t. Ginger, grated/minced

1/2 t. Garlic, minced (or more!) 

1 dash Hot Sesame Oil

1 little bunch of radish sprouts

1 1/2 - 2 c. hot water

Optional: 1 T. Goji berries


Put some water in a tea pot to boil, and consider making yourself a cup of Echinacea Tea to go along with the soup. Soak your Wakame while the water boils, and get about to grating the ginger and mincing the garlic right into your serving bowl. Dollop in the miso. As soon as the water is hot, turn it off and let the temperature come down for a minute or two. Do not pour boiling water over your miso/ginger/garlic. Once the water has cooled off a bit, add a small amount to your bowl and use your spoon to mix everything together and get the lumps out of the miso paste. Then add the rest of your hot water. If it tastes too salty, add a little more hot water.

Drain the seaweed and add it to your soup, and top it with the ground sesame, green onions, Maitake mushrooms, radish sprouts, and a few drops of hot sesame oil to put it over the top! Maybe toss in some Goji berries, too?

Wakame is an Asian variety of kelp, and has recently taken over San Francisco Bay...

Real quick, let's talk about why this soup is so SOUP-ER AWESOME:

Wakame is loaded with vitamins and minerals, especially calcium and iodine, and for this reason it is traditionally consumed by women after they've had a baby to help them regain their strength! Wakame also activates fat metabolizing proteins in fatty tissues, and has powerful anti-viral and anti-cancer properties. It's rich in bioavailable iodine, which makes it great for keeping your thyroid in tip top shape... this last feature -- along with seaweed's unique ability to bind with and neutralize harmful radioactive particles makes it particularly useful for protecting against radiation poisoning. 

Garlic is another potent anti-viral, so much so that Napoleon used to feed it to his troops to keep them healthy. It's been referred to as "Nature's Penicillin" and tops the list of anti-cancer foods out there.

Ginger stimulates the flow of digestive juices and soothes an uneasy stomach, and it's also anti-inflammatory.

Fermented Soy, like miso, is the only form of soy worth eating. All other soybean products (even sprouted ones) contain "major anti-nutrients" like phytates, enzyme inhibitors and goitrogens which can wreck havoc with your digestion, iron absorption, allergies, hormones (PMS, sex drive, etc...) and endocrine system in general. However, eating a little bit of naturally fermented soy like unpasteurized miso can benefit your intestinal flora and thus fortify your immune system! Moreover, fermented soy contains the compound genestein, which has also exhibited anti-cancer properties.

Radish Sprouts, like all sprouts, are amazing; but cruciferous veggies like radish and broccoli are particularly so because they contain so many beneficial nutrients, enzymes, and sulphur compounds called sulphoraphanes, which not only promote intestinal health but also have the ability to communicate directly with out DNA and tell it to behave. Very few substances are able to go and have a conversation with your cellular DNA, and this is one reason why things like broccoli, brussel sprouts, radishes, kale, etc... are so powerful when it comes to fighting cancer and mobilizing the immune system. The literally go in and have a chat with your errant cells. If you cell insists on being bad, these sulphur compounds will initiate their cellular death programming and basically induce them to commit suicide. So it's shape up or ship out when Mr. Radish Sprout comes to town! 

So slurp up and kiss that cold goodbye :)

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