Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Farmers’ Market + Backyard Tomato Salad

Farmers’ Market + Backyard Tomato Salad
Photo from Instagram @MyPoorTiredLiver

This week’s recipe couldn’t be more refreshing, nourishing, and SIMPLE. We’ve all been seeing bright, colorful tomatoes at the markets lately. Let’s put them to good use!

You cannot find better tomatoes than what’s available at the local farmers’ markets right now in any grocery store— I guarantee it. Most of the fruits and vegetables found at your local chain supermarkets have been shipped in from California, Mexico, or Florida and were harvested before they reached peak ripeness on the vine. Because shipping a juicy ripe tomato would lead to bruising, splitting, and spoiling, the tomato industry picks them when they first show a hint of color but are still mostly green. Over the course of about 2 weeks (the lengthy time it takes for the tomatoes to reach your local supermarket in many cases) these premature tomatoes will turn red and partially ripen. Another way the tomato industry gets those seemingly perfect tomatoes to your grocery store is through force-ripening in warehouses with the use of ethylene gas. Sounds appetizing, doesn’t it? These grocery store letdowns are less sweet, more acidic, and lack any wonderful aroma that healthy, ripe tomatoes should have. To wrap this section up: buy freshly-picked, perfectly ripe tomatoes from your farmers’ market! They are picked the day before or same day you’re purchasing them.

Choose whatever kinds of tomato you like best. As a general rule, the deeper red the tomato is, the more lycopene. Small, dark red tomatoes have more vitamin C and lycopene per ounce than larger tomatoes… but I like to mix big beefsteak tomatoes, Cherokee purple, and yellow tomatoes in this salad, too. Variety of tomato (and color) provides this simple salad with depth of flavor and visual appeal.

In addition to the gorgeous tomatoes you’ll use for this salad, you can include other ingredients picked right from your own backyard! Dandelion greens are one of my favorite bitter greens for a number of reasons: 1. They’re free! 2. I love the bitter taste… they are an excellent addition to this otherwise sweet salad. 3. Dandelion greens are nutritional powerhouses; high in calcium, rich in iron, loaded with antioxidants AND dandelion greens have more protein per serving than spinach. (If only Popeye had known!) Dandelion leaves contain 14% protein and contain all essential amino acids. One cup of dandelion greens contains 1.5 grams of protein!

Dandelions are also great for detoxification. Whenever I see my skin start to break out, I start including dandelion greens in my diet in the form of salads and tea… clears my skin right up! The condition of your skin is a great way to tell how your liver’s doing. (If you’re interested in learning more about holistic detox and plant-based nutrition, join me on one of Grow Yoga School and Hot Yoga Plus’ upcoming Living Foods & Yoga Retreat this September!)

Make sure, if you forage this element of the salad, you’re picking greens from an area that’s free of pets, roadside pollution and pesticides. If you don’t have access to an area like this, you can usually find dandelion greens for sale at Whole Foods in Green Hills.

Farmers’ Market + Backyard Salad Ingredients:
1 pint of organic mixed cherry tomatoes, quartered
1-2 organic beefsteak tomatoes, large dice
1 cup raw dandelion greens, torn into ½ inch sections
1 cup arugula
½ cup fresh basil, chiffonade cut
2 tbsp shallot and/or green onion, chopped

Vinaigrette Ingredients:
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp lemon, orange, or lime juice
1 Tbsp local raw honey (or agave)
1 small garlic clove, crushed, peeled and allowed to rest 10 minutes
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black peppercorn, to taste
¼ cup olive oil (or ¼ avocado if you’re avoiding oils)

·      Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in blender (except for oil) and blend until uniform throughout.
·      Drizzle oil in slowly while blending to emulsify.
·      Add all salad ingredients to large bowl and toss with vinaigrette
·      Garnish with basil flowers, salt & pepper, and additional chopped fresh basil.
Consider this: Next time you’re weeding your garden, save the dandelion greens that pop up for salad! You can also eat the yellow flowers and stems.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Raw Vegan Summer Squash Soup

We’re well into summer now and our city is in full bloom! Every day of the week, Nashvillians can explore one of the many farmers’ markets and take home armfuls of fresh, organic produce. Some of us are even members of the various CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programs around town and get to enjoy a box full of colorful, delicious produce each week that changes as new crops become plentiful.

Every now and then, you may find something at the market or in your CSA box that intrigues you, but you have no clue how to prepare it. Allow me to help!

This week, I picked up an overflowing box from Delvin Farms at the 12 South Farmers Market. In it, I found three squash I have never prepared before, so I was excited to try something new.

Pattypan squash are mild, similar to zucchini, and absolutely gorgeous! They are the yellow and green squash you’ve been seeing, with the scalloped edges. They are growing like crazy right now and they are good source of magnesium vitamins C and A as well as niacin. If you are trying to consume less calories and fat, adding summer squash of all kinds to your diet is an excellent idea.

I decided to make a raw, dairy-free soup with my pattypan squash. I also used fresh carrots, white onion, purple bell peppers, garlic, dill, and cucumber… all from the farmers’ market! Only a couple ingredients below were store-bought at Turnip Truck in the Gulch. I hope you try this recipe and enjoy a brand new way to enjoy this week’s summer produce!

Ingredients Part 1 (Broth):

2 cups [1 small, 6 inch across] pattypan squash
½ cup water
1 tbsp organic lemon juice
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (Grapeseed oil will work too)
1 tsp organic white miso
¼ cup shelled hemp seeds (or ¼ ripe avocado for creaminess)
¼ tsp sea salt
Dash of cayenne pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed and allowed to rest 10 minutes
1 tsp minced onion
1 tsp fresh dill
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional, adds cheesy flavor)

Ingredients Part 2 (Texture):

2 carrots, small dice
1 ear corn, shave off the kernels with a knife
1 purple bell pepper, small dice
½ cup zucchini, small dice
½ cup yellow squash, small dice (more pattypan will work, too)
¼ cucumber, peeled & small diced (filet out the seeds, save them and add to a salad later!)
¼ avocado, small dice
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
½ tsp fresh dill, minced


  • Dice all Part 2 veggie ingredients and combine in a mixing bowl
  • Toss with rice wine vinegar, gently massage everything together and set aside
  • Blend all Part 1 ingredients except for olive oil until smooth
  • Stream olive oil in while blending all other ingredients to emulsify
  • Choose your serving bowls and, using a cookie cutter or ring mold, press Part 2 ingredients in firmly to get the shape shown above
  • Gently remove the cookie cutter or ring mold, leaving just the veggies in your bowl
  • Drizzle broth into your bowl around the shape you’ve created
  • Garnish with fresh dill, and extra drizzle of olive oil, and some crushed black pepper
  • Enjoy!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Dressing-Free Middle Eastern-inspired Salad

The Full Recipe from my segment on The Pura Chica Natural Podcast
Dressing-Free Middle Eastern-inspired Salad
Feeds 3-4 people

1 head rainbow chard
3 cups spinach
1/2 cucumber
1 cup fresh mint
1 avocado, halved
1/4 cup desiccated, unsweetened coconut
1 mango
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 lime
Pinch sea salt


  • Chop rainbow chard into bite-size peices, using the stalks and leaves
  • Add to a big salad bowl with your spinach
  • Squeeze lime over greens
  • Cut avocado into cubes and gently massage half of the avocado into the greens, reserving 1/2 avocado to be added after in bite-size peices
  • Add fresh mango, fresh mint leaves, remaining diced avocado, and diced cucumber to greens
  • Top with cayenne, cumin and coconut... add a tiny pinch of sea salt to taste!
  • Toss and serve
  • Eat seconds... and thirds. :)

For more information on Pura Chica and to listen to our podcast, visit purachicanatural.com

Friday, March 28, 2014

Join Me on a Living Foods & Yoga Retreat with Grow Yoga School in Bali this Summer!

I'm so excited to return to Bali this July with Grow Yoga School's Yoga & Raw Foods Retreat! If you are looking for culture, community, and inspiration, then Ubud is your dream destination.

Scenic rice fields, small villages, ancient temples, palaces, rivers, and the unique spirituality present in Bali is all represented in abundance in Ubud. The Grow Yoga School staff will help you experience Bali off the beaten path and help you immerse yourself in the Ubud way of life.

The Grow Yoga School Bali retreat offers powerful vinaysa flow classes, gentle, rejuvenating restorative and deep stretch classes and healing meditations with experienced teachers.

Our yoga classes are meant to help you release and relax through breathing, letting go and moving freely.

All Grow Yoga School retreats are catered by me, Jess Rice. Here in the US, I teach raw foods and plant-based nutrition classes with Metro Nashville and offer intense detox coaching and meal plan services to private clients as well as group programs.

In our raw foods classes on Grow Yoga Retreats, you will have the opportunity to learn...

  • Original recipes for healthy, raw, vegan food that you can easily prepare for your friends & family
  • Juicing and smoothies, entrees and desserts
  • Theory behind different types of raw food diets
  • Specific ways to improve your personal health
  • Plating, presentation, plate composition and basic photography of your raw food
  • Detox tips & tricks

Price and Details: $1950 includes:
  • Lodging for 6 nights/7 days at the beautiful Dragonfly Village
  • Guided run each morning
  • 2 yoga classes each day
  • Raw vegan cooking class each day
  • Group detox coaching session each day
  • One 1-on-1 detox coaching session

We will also organize fabulous dinners and outings that may include guided hikes, scuba diving excursions, spa treatments, visits to healers, visits to temples, volcano hikes and more. We can also arrange plans for you to take any of these excursions on your own. Dinners and excursions are not included in the cost of the retreat.

Receive $100 off by liking the Grow Yoga Facebook Page
Receive $150 off if you and a friend sign up together! ($300 total)
We'll also schedule a complimentary Balinese massage for you during retreat if you sign up during the month of April!

Daily Schedule
Please remember that this retreat is YOUR vacation. You may choose to join any and all meals, classes, etc…or none!

7:00 – 8:00am - Guided morning run

8:00 - 9:15am - Yoga

9:30 – 10:30am - Breakfast

10:30-11:30am - Raw vegan cooking class

12:30-1:00pm - Lunch Afternoon free with organized outings and dinner reservations*

7:00 – 8:00 pm - Group Detox Session

8:00 -9.00 pm - Yin/Restorative Yoga

*Our organized outings may include guided hikes, scuba diving excursions, spa treatments, visits to healers, visits to temples, volcano hikes etc.,.

We can also arrange plans for you to take any of these excursions on your own.

If you'd like to join me and Grow Yoga School in Bali this July 28 - Aug. 3rd, send me an email (MyPoorTiredLiver@gmail.com) and/or Susannah@GrowYogaSchool.com to secure your spot. Space is limited! I can't wait for you to experience Bali life. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

News: Wellness Retreats

I recently wrote a blog post for Nashville-based blog, Newganics, about my time in Bali studying with Naturopath Doctor, Amy Rachelle. You can read the story straight from the source here.

If you're interested in going to Ubud, you can join me and Hot Yoga Plus and Grow Yoga School from July 28th - August 3rd for the living foods & yoga retreat of a lifetime! We're also hosting a retreat in Rosemary Beach, FL this April from 24th - 26th.

Stay tuned for more information and visit MyPoorTiredLiver.com for more upcoming events.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Cleanse Phase 2: Raw Food

 Organic sweet fruits

As of tomorrow morning, the 18 participants in our "New Year, New You" active cleanse will have officially made it to the raw food portion of the program! *cue sound of wild applause*

Juice cleansing isn't easy for everyone. All bodies are different and most of our participants are juicing and eating fully raw for the first time ever. I have been reminding everyone to take time each day to practice self-love and express gratitude through journaling, meditation, exercise, and consistent pats on the back... 3 days IS a big deal when you're going outside your typical comfort zone in an effort to improve your own well-being. Bravo!

With every cleanse or fast, it tends to get easier. I find that I'm able to go a little longer juicing and I don't CRAVE food; I'm now able to identify true hunger and allow my body to tell me when my "cleanse" or "detox" is ready to end. (Remember, our bodies are always cleansing and detoxing... but for the purposes of this blog post, the words will refer to specific programs with a given structure. This particular 7-day group cleanse consisted of personal detox coaching sessions with me, 3 days of organic cold-pressed juice + 4 days of raw vegan food provided by my team, My Poor Tired Liver, and unlimited yoga, thanks to Hot Yoga Plus here in Nashville, TN.)

Farm Pressed Juice is a cold-pressed juicery in Nashville, TN
who juice 100% organic fruits and vegetables

So, how do you transition back to consuming solid food after a cleanse?

In short, our cleansers are transitioning from 3 days of intense juicing SLOWLY. Their 1st day of meals are 100% fresh, raw, low-fat, vegan foods. Breakfast consists of easily digested fruit, followed by leafy greens and more fruits throughout the day. When you're juicing, your body is being nourished without the arduous task of digesting fibers and heavy proteins, so to move from juicing to eating easily digested foods (fruit, smoothies, warm broths) will make your transition a smooth one.

As the 4 days of our regimented raw meals progress, items will become "heavier." We'll slowly incorporate healthy dehydrated items and more complicated (but still low-fat) gourmet raw meals. Participants will continue to start their mornings with warm lemon water, possibly followed by a green smoothie, another juice, and/or the fresh organic fruits we've provided them with.

Raw Vegan Falafel Collard Wraps with Low-Fat Raw Hummus
With cleanse and detox programs I'm involved with, I try to relay as much information (HOW and WHY) to participants as I can. The idea being that some (if not all) of what they learn will become part of their regular habits. At the very least, we're providing them with a valuable tool in their self-care toolbox.

Organic Spring Rolls with Mango, Strawberries, Purple Cabbage, Mung Bean Sprouts, & Fresh Basil

In the same way that we gradually move participants back onto solid food, it's also important to not "seesaw" and go on a juice cleanse, off a juice cleanse, on a juice cleanse, off a juice cleanse... and so on. The idea is to gradually shift your body into fasting mode... to go back and forth constantly is just as much of a shock to your body as going straight to a bowl of pasta after juicing would be. The preparation we do before a cleanse begins and just before it ends is equally as important as the cleanse itself.

Low-Fat Raw Vegan Kale Pesto Pasta

A couple tips:

Continue to keep a big bowl of raw greens on hand at all times in your fridge! If you find yourself hungry throughout the day, grab a handful and squeeze lemon on it for a quick, simple salad fix. Don't spring for unhealthy food during your cleanse. On the go? Grab a bag of prepped celery, cucumbers, and carrots from your refrigerator before you run out the door.

Drink plenty of water.

Continue to drink juice! Locate a juice bar close to work, juice at home, or pick up a few bottles from your local Whole Foods or cold-pressed juicery.

Incorporate smoothies into your diet in the morning (or throughout the day) to give your body easy access to whole fruits and vegetables.

Continue to check in with your body at every meal. How are you feeling? What's your stomach telling you? Take note of every flavor and texture and sit with every meal. Getting in touch with your body during a cleanse is a skill... Your senses are heightened right now, so practice at every meal.

Two amazing ladies who helped me in the kitchen ALL DAY LONG.
Lots of love to Karen and Jess! You made my day even better!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Pre-Cleanse: Don't Panic!

Clockwise from top left: Fresh citrus, a dry brush, epsom salts with essential oils, and turmeric.

I don't have official statistics on hand, but I'm willing to bet January is one of the most popular months to "cleanse," thanks to the new calendar year and springtime seemingly within reach.

What does it mean to CLEANSE?

Our bodies are in a constant state of cleansing (detox). In fact, your body is working to detox every time you exhale. So what's the big fuss about going on a specific cleanse program to start your year off right?

When your body is being fueled with a nutrient-dense, alkaline, plant-based diet, it's going to thrive. Our bodies are meant to function properly. We are not supposed to be diseased, obese, malnourished, irritable, or sick. If you start giving your body the tools it needs in order to function properly (a nutrient-rich, plant-based diet), you'll be shocked at what it can do, how little you'll become sick, etc. Truth is, most of us don't eat this way on a regular basis, even though we know we should. So, a structured cleanse is the path many choose to take to give themselves a boost. As you cleanse more often and change your eating habits for good, you'll notice that your detox symptoms will change. As you become more experienced, you may challenge your body and mind with a more intense cleanse.

I'm about to lead a 7-day cleanse with Josh Thamm and friends at Hot Yoga Plus here in Nashville. Participants will receive 3 days of raw, organic, cold-pressed juice from Farm Pressed Juices and 4 days-worth of organic HEALTHY raw vegan food, supplied by my team! (And yes, there is a difference between healthy and non-healthy raw food... we'll get into that later.) During the week-long cleanse, they will be able to practice yoga whenever they please at any of HYP's studios and will also be able to participate in 5 exclusive restorative classes. (Hello, hip openers! I can't wait.)

I recently received my detox coaching certification after studying with Naturopathic Doctor, Amy Rachelle in Bali this past November, so I'm especially excited for this cleanse.  

For some of the cleanse participants, this is their first time juicing, eating raw food, and exercising regularly. Others are more seasoned yogis, very familiar with all kinds of cleansing and methods of detox. My favorite part of the cleanse is the group support aspect. Personally, I know I cleanse most thoroughly when I'm supported by a group who's equally as dedicated as I am. I can't wait for our cleansers to experience it for themselves.
A few MPTL tips to help you ease into a juice cleanse...

3 days leading up to your cleanse, start to ditch any/all animal products in your diet. (If you aren't already vegan, this is important! I'll be typing the rest of this entry as if you are vegan.) Try fresh fruit, organic oatmeal (cooked with water), or sprouted granola for breakfast. Lightly steamed vegetables and/or a big green salad make a delicious lunch or dinner. Craving something a littler heavier? Combine some of your favorite vegan sides like wild rice, fresh cooked beans (not from a can), sweet potato, steamed green beans or broccoli. Or, try this creamy vegan tomato soup recipe.

I recommend curbing your caffeine intake at least 3 days out. If you're really hurting for caffeine and are experiencing headaches... (P.S. this is your body detoxing!) try drinking organic green tea to help ween you off your morning cup o' joe. 

Try to only eat when you are truly hungry... and finish your last meal at least 2 hours before bedtime so your body has enough time to digest, leaving you relaxed and better able to have a (truly) restful night's sleep. 

2 days out, start to wean your body off any heavy starches and begin to limit your portion sizes... stop eating when you feel full. Try eating steamed veggies, salads, and fresh fruit throughout the day when you are hungry. I recommend replacing your typical breakfast or lunch with a delicious smoothie! Try a clear broth vegan soup for dinner. Drink plenty of water and herbal teas.

Here are a few easy (and delicious) raw vegan smoothies you can try:

MPTL Chocolate Covered Cherry Smoothie:
1 cup raw sweet cherries
1 banana, frozen
1 tbsp raw cacao powder or carob powder (NOT cocoa)
1 cup coconut water or raw almond milk.

MPTL Blue Hawaii Smoothie:
1 cup fresh pineapple
1 banana, frozen
¼ cup blueberries
1 cup coconut water

MPTL Green Smoothie:
1 cup fresh spinach, tightly packed
¼ lime, peeled
1 bunch cilantro
1 cup pineapple
¼ avocado
1 cup organic, fresh-squeezed orange juice

The day before your juice cleanse, try replacing one or two of your meals with a raw vegan smoothie and have a light supper. A delicious green salad is the way to go. 

Check your fridge and make sure you have fresh, organic veggies like cucumbers and celery chopped, portioned and ready to go, just in case you have a terrible snack attack during your cleanse... it's better to snack on something cleansing and easy on your body than to cave when you see a fast food restaurant while driving to and from work.

Pro Tip #1: 
Not planning to do 100% juice during your first cleanse? Prepare a large bowl of raw greens with fresh, chopped, raw veggies and have it in your fridge so you can grab a handful as needed and still stay on track. 
 My favorite clean salad dressing recipe:
MPTL Raw Green Salad Dressing
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 avocado
1 green onion
Pinch of sea salt
Water, as needed, to facilitate blending
Blend until smooth and creamy!
(Simple lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt is also great for a salad dressing... I highly recommend that you stay away from bottled dressings during your cleanse)
Homemade herb-infused water
Pro Tip #2:
Go buy a few Mason Jars and start infusing your own citrus and herb waters so you can enjoy them leading up to and during your cleanse!
My personal favorite flavor combinations are... 
Oregano... just fresh oregano in water (but not too much! Oregano is very strong.)
Lemon & Basil
Lemon & Mint

Lemon & Parsley
Lime & Cilantro
Orange & Mint
Orange & Basil
Grapefruit and Fresh Rosemary

I hope this helps you prepare for an upcoming cleanse. I'll be posting more useful tips and tricks over the next two weeks, so stay tuned.

Up next... During A Juice Cleanse: Things to Consider