Let’s talk about store-bought granola for a second, shall we?
Yes, it’s delicious.
Yes, it’s crunchy.
And yes, it’s often (totally unnecessarily) loaded with refined sugar.
But here’s the good news! You can make a homemade granola that is just as delicious, crunchy, and clustery as its store-bought counterpart. The best part is, it is sweetened with just one, all-natural ingredient: bananas! That’s right. No refined sugar or even honey is needed for this deliciousness.
I highly recommend baking up a batch of this Banana Coconut Granola at the beginning of the week and dividing it into containers for munching on throughout the week. You can serve it with almond milk, oatmeal, with berries in a yogurt parfait or even on its own.
2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
½ cup pumpkin seeds
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 ripe banana, mashed
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
Preheat oven to 300°F.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, and sea salt.
Add the mashed banana and coconut oil into the bowl with the oat mixture. Use a spoon to mix ingredients until evenly distributed.
Spread mixture in an even layer on a large baking sheet. Press down slightly and place in oven.
Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, checking and tossing every 15 minutes. Break up large clusters if necessary. Once the granola is evenly browned and no longer feels damp, remove from oven. (Note: As it cools it will crisp up even more, so do not over-bake.)
Once cooled completely, store in an airtight container at room temperature up to one week, or store in the freezer for a few months.
We all know that a plant-based lifestyle is better for our bodies and for the planet. And while it can seem overwhelming at first, the truth is that making the switch to plant-based living can be pretty easy. There are so many fun, delicious, and healthy ways to use plant ingredients in your everyday routine. Here are six swaps that will bring you closer to a 100 percent plant-based life. Get ready to be inspired, you’ll feel better about yourself while and the planet!
Use nut milk in your favorite morning rituals
If you’re super attached to your morning coffee or tea with milk, I get it. But there are so many amazing nut milks out there that you’re definitely missing out on if you haven’t tried this simple swap.
2. Take a look at your supplements
This may surprise you, but a lot of supplements and vitamins contain animal products. The good news is it’s a simple fix. There are tons of vegan options for supplements. Garden of Life came out with a MyKind line that is perfect for making this swap.
3. Ditch the honey
Every now and then, we all need a little something sweet. But before you reach for the honey, why not try a whole-food sweetener like banana or dates? They’ll add that little sweetness to your oatmeal or chia pudding without adding any animal by-products.
4. Veganize your smoothies
I think of green smoothies as the ultimate health food, but if you’re using whey protein, you’re not quite plant-based. So next time you make a smoothie, experiment with some vegan protein and see what you think.
5. Healthy fats don’t just come from fish
So many of us depend on fish for our healthy fats, but flax and chia seeds are great sources of omega-3s. Try sprinkling them on your favorite salad for some added sustenance.
6. Make a creamy salad dressing
Want to go plant-based but worried you’ll miss your favorite dressing? You can make a super-creamy salad dressing by adding some avocado or unsweetened coconut yogurt to your recipe. Just blend in the blender and enjoy!
Making these swaps will bring you six steps closer to a plant-based lifestyle, and you’ll barely have to lift a finger. After all, living your healthiest life should be more about mindfulness than time and effort.
Like everyone else, I’m obsessed with all things avocado. This ice cream recipe is creamy, despite being totally dairy-free, and the avocados provide a hefty dose of heart healthy fats to keep your skin plump and belly full.
3 ripe avocados
1 frozen banana
1 cup coconut cream (the thick cream that forms at the top of a can of full-fat coconut milk)
1/2 cup honey
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
Remove the pits from the avocados (discard the pits), separate the thick cream from the top of the can of full-fat coconut milk (save or discard the water at the bottom) and blend all ingredients together in a high speed blender or food processor.
A tip for the coconut cream: place the can of coconut milk in the fridge upside down for 4-6 hours before using it and the cream will solidify, leaving the water at the top of the can. I always keep a can of coconut milk in my fridge so it’s ready to use when I need it.
Once the ingredients are blended, pour into a container and freeze, covered, for 4-6 hours or until frozen. Once frozen, remove from freezer and let it soften on the counter before trying to scoop it.
If you’ve been following me for a while now, you may have noticed I like to eat my greens. I try to find ways to incorporate different greens into my diet and this chlorella milk is perfect for that.
Chlorella is rich in beta-carotene, the antioxidant form of vitamin A. You may be familiar with beta-carotene as an important nutrient for eye health, but it’s also an important nutrient for the skin because it may help inhibit sun damage and regulates collagen and healthy skin cell production. Low levels of vitamin A have been linked to acne, which suggests beta-carotene from whole food sources, such as chlorella, may be a helpful natural remedy for clear skin.
Chlorella is also one of the only plant foods that offers a highly absorbable form of vitamin B12. B12 is mostly found in animal products such as meat, eggs and poultry. While some plant foods contain small amounts of B12, most aren’t efficiently absorbed. This makes chlorella an amazing green superfood for those who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, as one serving of chlorella offers 100% of the daily recommended value of B12— and a form your body can actually use!
Another unique benefit of chlorella is that it contains a nutrient that cannot be found in any other food on the planet.
This nutrient is called Chlorella Growth Factor, or CGF. Chlorella Growth Factor allows chlorella to multiply by 4 every 24 hours. Now, that’s a remarkable benefit in the plant kingdom, but how does that benefit your body?
When we ingest CGF, these “growth factor” benefits transfer to our internal health, and help our cells repair and regenerate. Found in Chlorella Growth Factor are the nucleic acids, RNA and DNA, which may help promote healthier cells, increased energy, improved skin health, cognitive function and a stronger immune system.
Give this creamy protein and mineral rich milk a try. It’s vegan, raw, gluten free, dairy free, and paleo.
2 tablespoons chlorella, organic and powdered
2 cups filtered water
½ cup cashews, raw
½ cup almonds, raw
3 dates, pitted
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
Soak the cashews and almonds for at least 2 hours in water, discard the water after soaking.
Blend all the ingredients in a blender until smooth.
Chill before enjoying.
Shake well before serving if it’s been stored or a quick reblend will help.
Keeps for 2-3 days in the fridge.
A couple variations
Try adding 1-2 tablespoons of good quality cocoa or carob powder to create a chocolate milk
Lower in sugar option: use stevia to taste instead of dates
Higher protein option: add a scoop of your favorite protein powder, shake well.
Mineral and protein boost: add double the amount of chlorella, which will also make this richer in color
As a society we are surrounded by more toxins than ever before. On a daily basis we are exposed to a plethora of chemicals in the products we use and genetically modified foods sprayed with pesticides and herbicides in our grocery stores and restaurants.
Our genetics have not caught up with this onslaught of toxins, and it is evident in the rise of inflammation based health problems. Now more than ever it’s important to make sure we are diligent in avoiding as many toxins as possible as well as detoxing them. But we can’t live in fear. Your body is amazingly strong and resilient. Instead of curling up in a ball and deciding to live in a bubble, let’s cultivate ways to live cleaner.
The last thing we need is another quick-fix cleanse, so make your everyday life a detox. By using specific food medicines and functional medicine tips and tools, you can support your detoxification pathways so your body can do what it is designed to do naturally: thrive.
1. Add parsley to your smoothies.
This little green plant packs a mean detox punch. Add some to your favorite smoothie to boost the liver-supporting goodness.
2. Eat three cups of sulfur-rich vegetables.
Onions, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower all support methylation detox pathways. By bringing these foods into your diet on a regular basis you are supporting detox and naturally making your life a cleanse.
3. Sip on a blue-green algae latte.
Spirulina, chlorella, and blue-green algaes are epic detoxifiers. Add a teaspoon (or two!) into some steamed or iced almond milk for some detox magic.
4. Eat three cups of dark leafy greens.
Vegetables like kale, collards, spinach, and chard all contain folate, which is needed for methylation. Some of my favorite ways to include these into my daily diet are through smoothies, salads, and just sautéing them right up with whatever vegetables I am having for lunch or dinner.
5. Add garlic to every recipe.
Certain foods have detoxing properties especially beneficial if you have high levels of heavy metal toxicity in your body. Garlic is one of them and also aids in methylation. So add it to any dish you please, as garlic enhances the flavor of almost all recipes!
6. Unwind with some dandelion tea.
Drink some dandelion tea in the evenings to help you relax from the day. Dandelions contain many B vitamins that will continue to help support methylation and also help the body flush out toxins.
7. Munch on blueberries.
This one is super simple. Get additional help with detoxing by including blueberries to your diet. These berries will satiate your sweet tooth and help flush out any toxins in your body. Bake with them, put them in smoothies, or just eat them by the handful for maximum benefit!
8. Dress up your food with cilantro.
This powerful superfood is something that can easily be incorporated into your diet. Sprinkle freshly chopped cilantro over salads or on top of everyone’s favorite obsession—tacos! Make Taco Tuesday a regular occurrence to take advantage of nature’s toxin-reducing plant power.
9. Get moving.
Make exercise a part of your daily routine by picking activities that not only get your heart moving but make you work up a sweat. Sweating is your body’s way of clearing out toxins. If you can’t handle high-impact workouts, hot yoga is a great way to get your sweat on.
10. Green up your home and workplace.
Purify the air you breathe by bringing some fresh plants inside your house and workspace. Spider plants, dracaena, garden mum, and peace lilies are nature’s air purifiers.
11. Relax in an infrared sauna.
Start sweating a different way by sitting in an infrared sauna. Not only will you release toxins through your sweat, infrared saunas have been shown to reduce inflammation, which can be a hindrance to proper detoxing. And bonus: They also help promote relaxation and reduce stress!