Archive for the ‘superfood’ Category

Perfection in a Glass

No, I haven’t started drinking again! But I have created (for now at least) my all-time favorite raw food recipe: Almond Maca Chia Cacao Shake with Goji Berries and Cacoa Nibs. Though considering that I spend most of my spare time in the kitchen, that – I am sure – is subject to change! :)

This all started earlier this summer, when I had a Chocolate Maca shake at Planet Raw, this phenomenal raw food restaurant in Santa Monica, California. It came out in a 16 ounce tumbler, lightly dressed with nuts, goji berries, and cacao nibs – and it was heavenly. Not only was it delicious and ridiculously good for you, it also had the additional benefit of the maca/cacao buzz.

(If you’re familiar with maca – which is a peruvian superfood with slight psychedelic properties – you know what I’m talking about. If you’re not, it’s sort of hard to explain, but I’d recommend that you try it. Without putting too fine a point on it, it’s sort of like malt, with benefits. Mix that with a little raw cacao and you’re in for a supersonic treat!)

Anyway, I digress.

Since then, as you might imagine, I have been trying to replicate it with more or less success.

But the big breakthrough came with the Almond Maca Chia Cacao Shake I came up with a couple weeks ago. It was pretty close. The chia gel gives the shake a nice consistency – whereas the one at Planet Raw relied on coconut meat.

(Though I might use coconut meat too if I could figure out how to open one!)

But since I love nothing more than playing in the kitchen, the recipe continues to evolve – so maybe I should have called this post – Nearing Perfection in a Glass.

Almond Maca Chia Cacao Shake with Goji Berries and Cacoa Nibs (1 serving)

1 cups almond milk (I used Almond Breeze, Unsweetened Chocolate – though I’m sure it would be better if I made my own)
3 Tbs chia gel
1 Tb maca
1 Tb chocolate rice protein powder
1 Tb raw cacao powder
1 Tb dried goji berries
1 Tb psyllium husk (or Yerba Prima Colon Care, which is much finer)
cinnamon, to taste
vanilla, to taste
5 drops chocolate stevia
8 ice cubes

Blend together in a high speed blender! Garnish with raw cacao nibs and goji berries and enjoy!

Note: although this may look/sound like dessert, it can definitely be used for a meal replacement. It’s chock full of protein (close to 15 grams), fiber (close to ten grams), and essential fats – not to mention all of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in the cacao, the goji berries, and the maca.

Recipe: Almond Maca Chia Cacao Shake

More fun with chia seeds! It’s amazing how creative you can get when that’s one of your only three acceptable snack options!

Almond Maca Chia Cacao Shake (2 servings)

2 cups almond milk (I used Almond Breeze, Unsweetened Chocolate)
1 Tbs soaked chia seeds
1 Tbs maca
1 Tbs ground flax seeds
cinnamon, to taste
2 teaspoons of agave nectar (or 5 drops chocolate stevia and 1 tsp of agave nectar).
8 ice cubes

Throw all ingredients into a blender and blend!

I drank one for my morning snack and will have the other as my afternoon snack. Yum-my!

Recipe: Raw Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

This is my new snack option – incredibly filling and incredibly fibrous. In other words, this puppy will fill you up and clean you out!

Raw Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

2 cups almond milk (I used Almond Breeze, Unsweetened Chocolate)
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tbs raw cacao
cinnamon, to taste
liquid Stevia, to taste (I used chocolate)

Mix all ingredients in a mason jar, then put on the lid tightly and shake.

Let sit in the fridge for a couple of hours until nice and thick.

I think I waited about 4-5 hours, though a lot of recipes suggest that you let it sit overnight.

It stays good in the fridge, so I think there’s some wiggle-room.

If you’ve never had chia seeds before, they make a nice tapioca like pudding, and they are incredibly nutritious.

p.s. I’m sure you could make it with Vanilla milk, vanilla stevia, and without the cacao, but why would you want to? ;)

Eat more fat and eat less, period?

For the last couple of years, I’ve been told about the importance of eating high quality fats for weight loss (not to mention overall health more generally). And though it made sense, intellectually, I just couldn’t get myself to do it. I mean, I’ve had a bottle of Udo’s 3-6-9 tablets in the fridge for well over two years and I may have – maybe – taken about a third of them.

A few weeks ago, I went to a nutritionist, who wanted to see a list of everything that had gone into my mouth for a week. SInce I was still counting calories then (more on my experiences not counting calories to come) I had a very detailed account of what I had been eating, not just for a week, but for months (if not years).

After about ten minutes of flipping through print outs she asked, “Where are you getting your fat from?”

I looked at her sort of funny and said, “Well, as you can see, I eat a lot of tahini. It used to be peanut butter, but I can’t control myself around that. I had switched to almond butter, because I didn’t like it as much and then eventually got to be just as much as a trigger food as peanut butter. Now it’s tahini.”

She flipped through another few pages. “Do you eat olive oil? Fish? Flax?”

Uhm, not really. Mainly I had stopped eating all of that stuff because my nut butter compulsions were so out of control.

Her suggestion: Maybe the reason I can’t control myself around peanut butter, almond butter, and (while not quite as bad as the other two) tahini is that I’m fat deficient.

To be honest, I almost laughed.

Until she started giving me the symptoms associated with fat deficiency: constipation, dry hair, brittle nails, dry skin, fatigue, depression, anxiety – you name it, I have been experiencing it.

Prescription: eat more fat.

More to the point: eat a wider spectrum of fats.

Since I met with her I have really upped my fat intake and, importantly, reduced my nut and seed butter intake dramatically. So instead of eating nut butters and or tahini straight out of the jar and feeling like an out of control pig in the process, I am consciously adding fat to every meal.

To my morning smoothie, which is heavy on the rice protein, raw cacao, and dark leafy greens, I am adding 1 tablespoon of Barlean’s Chocolate Raspberry Swirl Essential Oils for Women. (If you haven’t tried this stuff, it is so good that you could eat it – literally – off the spoon or as a topping for ice cream. Seriously, it’s that good!)

To my lunch, I have added an avocado.

For my snack, I am having 1, if not 2, tablespoons of coconut butter. (If you haven’t tried this either, get some, as it is truly divine. I am not kidding, it is absolutely heavenly!) This particular brand comes in regular, which is just straight coconut and in chocolate – aptly named Raw Organic Cacao Bliss, which is coconut and raw cacao. Either way, it’s delicious. It’s a bit hard to deal with in the summer months because it goes liquid at 72 degrees, but where there’s a will, there’s a way! And trust me, its inconsistent consistency hasn’t stopped me yet. Again, delicious straight off the spoon, off my finger, or as a spread.

For dinner? Well, it depends. Sometimes it’s more avocado. Sometimes it’s sesame oil. Sometimes it’s flax seed. Sometimes it’s olive oil.

Bottom line: I am now eating essential fats at every meal.

And guess what? I’m no longer binging on peanut butter, almond butter, or tahini. In fact, it’s been days since I’ve had any of those things and I haven’t even missed them!

As someone who has counted calories (and fat) for years and who has tendencies to binge on high fat foods, the notion of adding fat purposefully and consciously into my diet not only seemed counter-intuitive, but also scary. However, it’s eliminated the binging and, more importantly, all of the subsequent guilt, self-abuse, and self-ridicule.

And how has this affected the scale, you might be wondering?

Well, I couldn’t tell you, because in addition to ditching the calorie counting, I also have stopped weighing myself. But it appears – by sight, by the fit of my clothes, and by the number on the measuring tape – that Barlean’s claim to be an “approved belly fat cure” may not be as overstated as I originally thought.

Got fat?

Seems hard to believe

Men get peanut butter and pizza sauce while women get flaxseed and tofu?

What’s wrong with this picture?

Though, to tell you the truth, I’d take flaxseed over pizza sauce almost any day of the week!

More to the point, if I were eating meat, I’d certainly take buffalo over oysters!

The Colors of Health: Red, Gold, and Green

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, going raw has really opened up the world of vegetables to me – well, that and joining a local organic CSA.

Over the last three weeks, we’ve probably gone through four (if not six!) heads of cabbage – some of them green, some of them red (or, technically, purple).

Anyway, I started off using the larger, outer leafs as wraps for burritos and using the smaller, inner leaves for making small batches of slaw.

That was until I made a batch of raw hummus out of tahini and zucchini that was just begging for some chips – hence the habit of tearing red (or purple) cabbage leaves into chip sized chunks was born. Trust me, no one was more surprised than me about how good raw cabbage leaves taste when combined with a little hummus! Let’s just say that life was good.

But then the CSA cabbage started.

I had one head left over from the week before, had just bought a red one, and got two more!

At this point in my life I am committed to two things when it comes to food: don’t waste it and (obviously) don’t cook it!

So, racking my brain for an answer, I hit on a solution: slaw. And lots of it!

Now, if you’re like me and grew up anywhere remotely resembling the south, your idea of slaw probably involves a lot of mayonnaise and other sundry items – none of which resemble anything close to being raw (let alone good for you). But I was determined, and here’s what I came up with:

1 head of cabbage (green), shredded
3-4 carrots, finely grated
1/2 cup of parsley, finely minced (I’ve also used cilantro)
Braggs Liquid Aminos, to taste (at least 3 tablespoons, for those of you who aren’t familiar with Braggs)
2 limes, juiced
1/2 – 1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon of cinnamon (or more, to taste)
1 teaspoon of turmeric (or more, to taste)
1 teaspoon of cumin (or more, to taste)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Himalayan sea salt (pink), to taste

This stuff is seriously delicious. I’ve been eating it by the plate – sometimes alone, sometimes mixed with Shirataki noodles, which aren’t technically raw, but aren’t technically food, since they’re all fiber and are, by design, indigestible.

Since I was eating so much cabbage – as wraps, as chips, and as slaw, I found myself wondering what nutrients cabbage actually contained. I mean, it wasn’t like I didn’t know what cabbage was prior to my latest pro-cabbage phase, but I certainly hadn’t ever given it much thought. I mean, it’s cabbage. Not that interesting. Right?

Well, not really.

Cabbage, as it turns out, is a cruciferous vegetable – as are other well known superstar vegetables (a/k/a super food veggies) such as broccoli, kale, brussels, and bok choy. According to the Whole Foods website:

The phytonutrients in cruciferous vegetables initiate an intricate dance inside our cells in which gene response elements direct and balance the steps among dozens of detoxification enzyme partners, each performing its own protective role in perfect balance with the other dancers. The natural synergy that results optimizes our cells’ ability to disarm and clear free radicals and toxins, including potential carcinogens, which may be why cruciferous vegetables appear to lower our risk of cancer more effectively than any other vegetables or fruits.

For more information about cabbage, go here. And to learn more about the health benefits of cruciferous veggies and how to get more of them into your diet, go here.

Now, some of you might be thinking: Well, that’s all well and good, but I thought cabbage gave people gas.

Well, yes and no.

Personally it doesn’t bother me, but I know it does some people. That’s where the turmeric comes in. And besides it’s wonderful flatulance reducing properties, turmeric is a superfood in it’s own right.

Trust me, if your not getting enough cruciferous vegetables or turmeric in your diet, you might want to consider adding more. Men in particular, should seriously consider increasing their intake of turmeric – especially to any recipe including cauliflower (which is, you guessed it, another cruciferous veggie)!

So, if you’re stuck in a rut on your vegetable consumption, branch out. And whatever else you do, eat your turmeric!

Quick and Healthy Snack Options II – Crustless Pecan Pie Bites

Again, another super quick and easy snack option!

Dates
Raw Pecan Halves

Slice the dates open on one side, then insert the pecan!

If you’re craving pecan pie but you want to avoid all of the sugary, buttery, and glutenous goodness that goes with it, this might be just the thing you’re looking for.

I made these at Christmas and they practically flew off the platter!

Enjoy

Quick and Healthy Snack Options – Raw Chocolate Almonds

Particularly during the holiday season (not to mention just during the cold winter months) it’s important to have healthy snack options around. When you have healthy options around, you’re less likely to reach for the unhealthy crap that seems to just materialize out of thin air. So instead of reaching for a piece of left over fudge or the Christmas cookies that seem to linger until Valentines Day, try these on for size.

Raw almonds (only make as many as you think you’ll eat in the day).
5 or 6 drops of liquid Chocolate Stevia
1/2 cup of water.

Put the almonds – I usually make about 24 at a time to last for the day – in a small Zip lock baggie. I tend to use the snack size, because they’re perfect for making (and storing and packing) this particular treat!

Cover the almonds with water (purified water if you have it) and then add 5 or 6 drops of the liquid Stevia. You can use any flavor, but I’m loving the chocolate these days. You can get liquid Stevia in a variety of flavors, including Cinnamon, Vanilla, Creme Brule, etc.

Zip up the bag and let sit overnight.

In the morning, drain off the water and enjoy!

I originally came across this recipe via a woman named Rose Cole. Check out the video of her making these, below!

If you need a little more encouragement to toss these puppies into your dietary rotation, check out all of the health benefits of almonds!

Enjoy!

KJ’s Favorite Green Smoothie (a/k/a Slime-ade)

For the last two weeks, I have been drinking green smoothies. That is, RAW green smoothies.

For the most part, green smoothies are very forgiving – some of them aren’t even green! In fact, my first one literally looked like a vat of figgie pudding. Well, I assume that that’s what it looked like. Too many blueberries.

Essentially, you put in a lot of leafy greens (spinach, cilantro, kale, romaine lettuce, etc) and whatever else strikes your fancy.

Some people put in a lot of fruit, because they like them sweeter.

I started there, but quickly moved to the less sweet variety.

My favorite to date, is sort of Mexican-y and smells a little bit like a summer garden. Check out the details here.

Over the holidays, I made one every day and split it with my sister. She, who has recently gone gluten-free, actually got a little zing of energy with her first slug. Talk about an instant convert. In fact, before the holidays were over, she had ordered her own high speed blender and packed a smoothie to go for her long drive ahead.

Not everyone in the house, however, was a convert. My parents were not sold – at all. And every time my father saw me with one, he’d just laugh and shake his head (not necessarily in that order).

My father’s snarky asides eventually got so bad that I eventually made him an offer he couldn’t refuse: you stop ragging on me because of my slime-ade and I’ll stop bitching at you about your Vienna Sausages (otherwise known as Viennie Weinies).

Personally, I think he got a pretty good deal. Because there’s a lot more that I could say about the wonders of potted meat than he could about the hazards or fresh, organic spinach.

KJ’s Slime-ade Recipe

Delicious and refreshing. And, according to my sister, gives you an energetic little pick-me-up!

4 cups raw baby spinach
1 medium tomato, quartered
1 yellow (or red) bell pepper, quartered
1 pear (seeds and all), quartered
1/2 bunch cilantro
1/2 tsp cumin
1 cup of water, to blend
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Green Tabasco Sauce, to taste

Freshly squeezed lemon (optional)

Using a high-speed blender, add the high-water foods in first: the tomato, the pepper, the pear, and the water.

Blend until relatively smooth.

Add the rest of the ingredients: the spinach, the cilantro, the cumin, the pepper, and the Tabasco.

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, add some lemon – or better yet, some lime!

Blend until smooth.

This may require that you stop the blender and push things down and start again.

This makes about a quart of yummy green nutrition. Bottoms up!

The Easiest, Healthiest (and some of the most delicious) Fudge You’ll Ever Make

A few weeks ago, I made the decision to add more raw food into my diet. In fact, I just made the pledge (on twitter @KJLively) that no baked desserts shall pass these lips over the holidays. Somehow, it seems like making a higher pledge (like no gluten, no baked goods) and sticking to it will be easier than making tons of decisions on a dessert-by-dessert basis.

But, not to be a dessert killjoy during the holidays, I have sat up the raw food lab in the kitchen. I have a ton of raw almonds, cashews, walnuts, as well as dates, raisins, bananas, raw cacao powder, cacao nibs, coconut oil, zucchini, and (don’t ask) avocado. For those of you who don’t do raw, you’ll be relieved to know that all this does not go into the same recipe. :)

I decided to start simple, with Mint Chocolate Fudge balls, recipe courtesy of the Raw Foods Witch, Nathalie Lussier. You can also download her free cookbook: “28 Desserts You Can Eat Everyday,” in exchange for your name and email. Not a bad deal, if you think about it.

I am definitely making these this year at my parents’ house!

Mint Chocolate Fudge Balls

• 1/2 cup raw nut butter of choice (almond butter, cashew butter, hazelnut butter, etc.)
• 1/2 cup soft dates
• 1/4 cup raw cacao powder or carob powder
• Drop of mint or peppermint oils

Blend the dates separately first, to ensure that they will be smooth in the final product.
Then add the remaining ingredients and blend until the entire mixture forms into a ball of
dough.

Take pieces of dough and roll in your hands to form balls.

Store in freezer or fridge.

Makes 16 small balls

Per 2: 127 calories, 7.8 g fat, 0.7 saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 2 mg sodium, 12.3 g carbohydrates, 3.6 g fiber, 6.9 g sugar, 4.4 g protein

These are super easy – and rich enough that the two (or even one) just might do you!

Note: I put these in the freezer and it dried them out enough that they’re more like cookies – think Newman’s Mint Chocolate Chocolate Chip!

Eight Fat Fighting Foods (and other tips from Self)

Check them out here.

And don’t forget to follow their other links as well – especially the one on stress fighting superfoods!

Eating Your Way to Health: Reducing Inflammation

Great article from U.S. News and World Report on creating a diet that reduces inflammation in your system!

Inflammation, normally part of a healthy immune response, is increasingly thought to play a leading role in encouraging a number of major killers, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s. Dangerous chronic inflammation occurs when the immune system stays turned on and starts attacking healthy cells and tissues-triggering, say, cancer-causing genetic mutations or the bursting of artery plaque. What you eat, though, helps determine how much inflammation you produce. Certain foods promote it, while others are inflammation-fighting superstars, says nutritionist and family physician Ann Kulze, author of Dr. Ann’s 10-Step Diet.

Check out their recommendations of what to go for and what to avoid here. Admittedly, I don’t usually read US. News and World Report, but you’ve got to love any list that actually tells you to “go for” more wine and chocolate – within reason of course!

Now the funny thing about seeing this article this morning (as well as the one on pomegranates that I posted a few days ago), is that all week I’d been thinking about writing about these berries that I had started eating, which 1) are classed as superfoods and 2) reduce inflammation. Serendipity or synchronicity? Or both?

Just as a quick reminder, superfoods are foods that have high concentrated nutritional value that many physicians and holistic health practitioners believe also have healing properties.

While exploring warm wheat-free breakfast options (as drinking frozen hemp shakes in Northern New England gets increasingly challenging as you roll into winter) I came across a hot cereal recipe comprised of gluten-free oat bran, flax meal, and organic shelled hemp seeds. It was suggested that you also toss in some goldenberries, goji berries, and mulberries to “make it a tropical treat.”

No problem I thought. I like tropical treats. But what the heck is a goldenberry?

Well, it turns out that a goldenberry is one of those superfoods that reduce inflammation. As are goji berries and mulberries.

While you can buy them directly from Navitas Naturals (which has one of the most beautiful websites I’ve seen in a while), I admit that I tend to order things through Amazon for the convenience, since I tend to also be ordering things from Nutiva at the same time and, sadly, because it’s cheaper.

Just as an aside, it never ceases to amaze me that all of the healthy stuff is always about 15 times more expensive than the crap out there. Just think how many bags of Cheetos you could get for one bag of goji berries. Not that you’d want that many bags of Cheetos, mind you, even though they are technically gluten-free! ;)

The good news, however, is that the goldenberries, goji berries, and mulberries are so dense with nutritional value that you really don’t need that many in order to feel satisfied. Notably, since I’ve started eating a handful or so of them straight out of the bag (I’ve never gotten around to making the cereal that I bought them for!), I’ve actually stopped eating other calorie dense, quasi-expensive gluten free nutrition bars and organic nuts that I had been snacking on during the day. And finally, assuming that the legions of doctors and health care practitioners out there singing superfood’s praises are on to something, you’ll probably save a bundle over the long term by reducing future medical bills and lost productivity due to the experience of chronic illness!

Even if you’re not a fan of raisins or other dried fruits, check these out. The goji berries are reminiscent of dry cranberries, the mulberries figs or nuts, and the golden berries sweet tarts. They’re really quite delicious! And seriously, check out the nutrition on these things: in addition to sugar, which granted there is a lot, there are also a ton of vitamins, fiber, and even protein!
golden-recipe

Introducing superfoods into your holiday meals!

Check out these gorgeous and healthy recipes featuring the beautiful antioxidant-rich superfood pomegranates! Just think how lovely any one of these dishes would be decorating your holiday tables! And what a welcome relief they would be from the artery clogging and calorie packing “joy” of the stuffing and candied yams (but see my healthy version of the latter here)!

Special thanks go to my friend, Wadeane, for drawing my attention to this. I’m particularly stoked about trying the guacamole!

Question: What’s your favorite, yet healthy, holiday food? Conversely, what is the one thing that you simply “have to have,” no matter how bad it is for you? And, more to the point, what substitutions have you tried? What’s worked? What hasn’t?
healthy-pomegranate-recipes

My new favorite dessert: candied yams without the candy

As we roll into autumn, my new favorite snack is yams.

Yes, you heard me, baked yams.

I simply wrap them in tin-foil and bake them like regular baked potatoes.

(350 degrees for approximately an hour or until soft)

Then, when I’m ready to serve them, I top them with a dollop of Nutiva’s coconut oil.

Much like vanilla bean butter, coconut oil is wonderfully fragrant and is just a little bit sweet. It’s also incredibly good for you!

Because in addition to just tasting great, coconut oil also boosts your metabolism. And if that weren’t enough, it can also be used as a skin and hair conditioner, as well as deodorant and toothpaste!

I bought the 15 ounce jars on Amazon as a test, but I’m pretty sure that my next order will be the 54 ounce tubs!

Seriously, check this stuff out. It’s amazing! It’s also great for sauteing kale and texturizing smoothies!

sweetpotato

Pimping the Hemp

I’m not sure when (or even how) hemp surpassed chocolate as my superfood of choice, but there it is. Seriously, at this point, I need to take out stock in Nutiva.

Okay, so why hemp?

Well, to tell you the truth, it all started with that ridiculous YouTube video that I posted a couple of moths ago. As soon as I did, every time I turned around someone was talking about the health benefits of hemp (as a food source, that is). And these weren’t just some random people, these were people who I thought, “Wow, I wouldn’t mind looking like them!”

So, I took a leap of faith and actually bought the hemp, the maca, and the cacao. In addition to the basic health benefits, I was also getting increasingly concerned about consuming so much soy. Let’s face it, the reports on soy are mixed and it’s harder and harder to find non-genetically-modified soy products. Further, from an environmental perspective, soy is a resource intensive crop. Nutritionally, hemp is a raw food and has much higher percentage of digestible protein than soy and a full complement of essential fats. Click here to see more about the nutritional benefits of hemp. And environmentally, let’s face it, it’s a very easy crop to grow.

To date, I have worked my way through most of Nutiva’s hemp based product line. And, as promised, here’s the scoop:

I started with the Hemp Plus Fiber, Cacao, and Maca self-blend, then fell back to the pre-made shake mixes: Chocolate, Amazon Acai, and Berry Pomegranate.

Of the three, the Chocolate is my favorite. I tend to mix it with unsweetened organic vanilla almond milk, ice, banana, stevia plus, and my new favorite condiment (which tastes amazingly like pine nuts alone and hazelnuts when mixed with chocolate): shelled organic hemp seeds. In second place is the Berry Pomegranate, to which I routinely add banana and frozen blueberries. And last, and certainly least, the Amazon Acai Blast, which, unfortunately, has a strange aftertaste that I just can’t seem to shake. (No pun intended.)

Now you might be looking at the price of all these things and thinking, “Oh my God!” But keep in mind that these are – in some cases – five pound bags and you’re using only 2-4 tablespoons at a time! If you’re thinking about trying them – and I really recommend that you do – then you might want to start smaller. I actually bought the big bags up front because I’m cheaper than I am picky, so I figured that way I’d eat it even if I didn’t like it. Luckily for me, I really, really liked it. I also liked the way I felt – that is, super nutritious and environmentally virtuous – after eating it! Not to mention feeling really full, given all the easily digestible protein and insoluble fiber!

My best practice shake at the moment is thus:

Two trays of mini ice cubes
1 cup of organic unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 banana

[crush the ice]

4 tablespoons of Hemp+Fiber
2 tablespoons of raw cacao
1 tablespoon of maca root
1 serving of Emerald Balance Plus (Chocolate)
Stevia Plus, to taste
1 teaspoon of spirulina
2-4 tablespoons of shelled hemp seeds

It’s delicious! Even Michael is hooked and I’d been trying to get him to drink my Spiru-tein shakes for years!

New Smoothie Recipe: Chocolate and Banana Hemp

Recently I’ve been experimenting with different smoothie recipes and today’s was a winner. It was exceptionally good.

Because of all of the controversy around soy, I’ve started supplementing my smoothie making with almond drink and substituting the protein powder with hemp powder+fiber. Although the almond drink is really just liquid (only 2 grams of protein), the hemp+fiber product has a ton of protein and fiber! It also has the advantage of being a raw food product, with all of the benefits that entails. In fact, other than the almond drink, which is really just a carrier, all of the ingredients are raw!

I actually buy all of the powdered ingredients on amazon.com, where I can get the hemp product in bulk. They have a re-ordering program for grocery products where they give you a discount if you sign up for automatically recurring shipments! Who knew?

1 cup of unsweetened chocolate Almond Breeze
1 banana
2 trays of mini-ice cubes

(crush ice)

Add:

3 Tbs of hemp+fiber powder
throw in some Stevia Plus
2 Tbs of Cacao Powder
1 Tbs of Maca Root
a serving of Chocolate Emerald Balance
1 tsp of spirulina powder, which you can get just about anywhere, including the bulk section of most health food stores.

Use the pulse feature to make sure that all of this powder is well mixed.

I love them, though I admit that the first one I had was not the best. It takes some experimentation, but once you figure it out, it’s worth it! I am much more satisfied during the day when I start my day off with this concoction and I have a ton more energy! I still have my spiru-tein shakes, but to tell you the truth, I have downgraded those to dessert!

P.S. Apparently Nutiva makes a Hemp Shake product, which would be easier to make. I haven’t tried it out yet, but it’s on my list. As soon as I do, I’ll let you know!

Tired of water? Mix it up (and drink it down)

No matter whether it’s six or eight glasses a day, it’s common knowledge that the body needs water to function properly – it is primarily made of water after all! When you’re dieting or trying to lose fat, it’s even more important to drink water, as it’s the water (and the associated lymph) that carries all of that fat out of the system! When you drink lots of water (another recommendation is half of your body weight in ounces), you’re also less likely to be hungry, less likely to overeat or to fill up on junk in order to feel more energetic. The latter is especially true because water actually gives you energy by removing all of the toxic stuff out of your body! And if that wasn’t enough of a why, it also improves skin elasticity and makes you look younger!

Even though I know that drinking water is just as important (if not more so) as maintaining a healthy food diet and getting regular exercise, it tends to be the first thing I let slip when I’m tired or stressed. It’s ridiculous. Why would I stop doing something that’s so simple, especially when it gets me such great results? It’s particularly stupid because I’ll exercise and not drink enough water, which leads to an even more advanced stage of dehydration. Now a lot of people think that they’re not dehydrated because they’re not thirsty. Thirst is a warning sign! When you start feeling thirsty, it’s too late. Most nutritionists recommend that you take a sip of water every fifteen minutes! Whether you feel thirsty or not!

So why would I not drink water? Why might you not be drinking enough?

Personally, I get bored. It’s not that I don’t like the taste of water; I do. But then again I have a well and am not dependent on city tap water, which does (unfortunately) come in a variety of flavors, largely based on your location! But filters do work wonders and there are a number available all at varying price-points for sale on-line.

But, when I am legitimately tired of water, I do sub in other options that still count as water. So, how to get more water into your diet?

As I mentioned before, I make protein shakes. I tend to mix the protein powder and liquid with two trays of ice cubes; although frozen, ice does count as water! You even burn more calories because your body has to bring it up to temperature!

Another way to make water more exciting is just to simply make up a pitcher of ice water and cucumber slices and let the flavor seep in. I had this at a spa recently and it was fabulous! Unbelievably refreshing! Since then, I’ve seen people do the same thing with fresh mint, fresh blackberries or fresh raspberries.

My personal favorite, especially in the winter months (which, unfortunately are back on the horizon) is to drink caffeine-free herbal tea. Stay away from decaffeinated coffees or black tea, which contain marginal amounts of caffeine, as well as all of the residual chemicals that it took to decaffeinate it to begin with! This works especially well for me because you can really mix up the flavors and you can mess with the intensity and sweetness by varying the steeping time as well as the amount of sweetener (if any) that you use. My favorite sweetener is Stevia Plus, by Sweet Leaf. Stevia Plus is an all natural supplement that contains no saccharin, Nutrasweet, aspartame, refined sugar, maltodextrin fructose, or any artificial sweeteners of any kind! It’s called plus, because it also contains inulin fiber (F.O.S.) which selectively nourished the friendly bacteria (lactobaciilus and bifidobacteria) in the intestines!

During the winter I tend to drink eight to ten cups of herbal tea a day! I drink a number of brands, but my house tea is Celestial Seasonings. 1) It’s cheap (as am I). 2) There are a ton of flavors so I am less likely to get bored. 3) There is minimal packaging – they are the ones that don’t use strings or tags!

And for those who can’t imagine drinking hot tea in the summer (or are too impatient to brew it hot and then ice it), they have just come out with a product that steeps in cold water in just five minutes! Unfortunately only of of these is caffeine-free, but I’m hopeful they’ll expand the line if it’s a success! Or with enough push-back from interested buyers!

Another way I get my water in is to drink my green stuff mixed in 24 ounces of water! Again, cold improves the taste. Sometimes I toss the glass into the freezer for 15 minutes or I mix it with ice.

And, finally, a fourth way I get water in when I’m bored is to drop in a couple of nuun tablets in a quart sized Sigg bottle. Nuuns are electrolyte-enhance sports drink tabs, which I drink while I exercise, especially if I am doing something that is going to involve a lot of sweat. Six calories per tablet; all are caffeine free with the exception of the cola flavored one, which has about as much caffeine as a cup of green tea. So, although it doesn’t count as water, per say, because of the caffeine, it does actually taste enough like cola to kill the craving (that is, if you have craving for cola). Personally, the lemon-lime and ginger orange are my favorite!

So, if you find yourself feeling sluggish or overly hungry during the day, ask yourself the following question: How much water have I had today?

And if you’re not even close to 1/2 your body weight in ounces, drink some water! If you don’t like water (or think you don’t) because it doesn’t taste like anything, try something new to jazz it up. And you’d be surprised. Just as it does with sugar, the more water you drink, the more your body will want.

Let me know what you come up with!

Airport Food

I am totally impressed! I just toured through one of the gift shops at SFO and there were four – yes four – displays of health food snacks and other nutritious options! Hopefully this trend spread east soon! Of course there were also displays of non-healthy snacks (actually fewer relatively speaking), sourdough bread, chocolate, and wine (the latter two are officially superfoods, but I’m not buying it at the moment).

Anyway, totally impressed, very envious, and more than a little hopeful given that there were a lot more Chips Ahoy left on the shelves than there were dark chocolate and flaxseed biscuits!

This cracked me up: Attract Girls By Eating Best Food on Earth!

I guess there’s more than one way to convince guys to be healthy.

But just as you know, I eat a lot of these foods, but I’m not attracting too many women! Though I’m assuming it works to get guys too! ;)

And, if you’re a woman, this is not the best advert for Royal Jelly (if you know what I mean)!

However, check it out. In addition to the Edward Cullen vibe, there’s actually a lot of good information!

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