recipes

The Secret Ingredient For Smooth, Sweet, Banana-Free Smoothies + Recipes

 

medjooldates

We all love to throw a banana in our smoothies for that creamy, sweet texture, but sometimes it’s good to take a break. If you’re eating a smoothie every day (or you’re simply intolerant to bananas), there’s a secret ingredient you can use to make sure your smoothies not only taste amazing but also pack a nutritional punch.

Meet Medjool dates!

Medjool dates are a rising star in the produce department thanks to their delicious flavor and powerful nutritional composition. One serving (2 Medjool dates) has 33 grams of carbs and 281 mg of potassium. (That’s 50 percent more potassium by weight than bananas.)

The potassium, fiber, and mineral-filled Medjool dates have a caramel-like flavor that perfectly sweetens smoothies.

If you have a high-powered blender, simply drop Medjool dates in with whatever else you’re blending. If you don’t, blend your Medjool dates with the water first (with greens and any other high-fiber ingredients), then add the frozen components and any other bonus ingredients.

Here are a few recipes to get you started!

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Strawberry and Beet Superfood Smoothie

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 cups frozen strawberries
  • ½ cup sliced beets (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup dark leafy greens like spinach or kale
  • 3 Medjool dates, pitted
  • ½ cup coconut water
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 scoop protein powder

Method

  1. Blend all ingredients together for 60 seconds in a high-powered blender.
  2. Enjoy in a glass or bowl! Add toppings like nuts, seeds or carob chips!

 

Blueberry-Muffin-Smoothie

Blueberry Superfood Smoothie

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 3 pitted Medjool dates
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup chopped raw or frozen kale
  • ¼ cup frozen riced cauliflower
  • 1½ cups unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ tablespoon all natural almond butter (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons oats or oat bran
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

Method

  1. Blend all ingredients together for 60 seconds in a high-powered blender.
  2. Enjoy in a glass or bowl, and top with toppings of choice!

 

 

 

 

detox

5 Easy Tips To Jumpstart Your Spring Cleanse

spring-cleanse-blog

Spring is almost here, and all over the place we’re clearing out our winter clothes, dressing a little lighter for warmer weather, wanting to be more active, and lightening up our diets.

This time of year it’s natural to want to do a bit of a cleanse to shake off those winter blues and clean out our bodies the way we do our closets.

Actually, spring cleanses are age old. From Europe to the US, grandmothers whipped out the spring cleanse bitters this time of year to “get the blood moving.” Even in Traditional Chinese Medicine, spring is the time of the liver, and classic Western herbal spring cleanses included “liver tonic” herbs.

So you want to do a spring cleanse, too?

Here are my five top tips for an optimal spring cleanse, which should last a week:

1. Start every day with an 8-ounce glass of water with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Adding a dash of cayenne will definitely get your blood moving!

2. Eat a very simple diet for seven days: a high-quality protein from food (not a nutrient supplement shake or bar), good-quality fat, and some lightly steamed or raw veggies at each meal, including breakfast. You get bonus points if your vegetables are spring greens such as the slightly bitter dandelion, watercress, or fresh salad mix. And don’t skip meals!

3. Each day, make a snack of fresh vegetable juice made with kale, celery, an apple, cucumber, beets, lemon and ginger. This is cleansing and nourishes your blood.

4. Make sure your bowels are moving every day — at least once! Take between 300mg and 600mg of magnesium citrate every night, and 2 tablespoons of freshly ground flax seed in your food to get things going.

5. Drink a bitter tonic twice daily for one week. You can get one that is ready to drink at any health food store or make your own bitters drink:

Use 1/4 teaspoons each of the following herbal tinctures…

  • Dandelion root
  • Burdock root
  • Artichoke
  • Sarsaparilla root
  • Ginger root

Mix into plain or carbonated water, with lemon for taste if you’d like, and take 1-2 cups daily for a week. It can also be used as a digestive aid after meals on a more regular basis.

Happy spring!

 

health

6 Small Changes That Will Transform Your Health

Purchase this image at http://www.stocksy.com/86304

Ever feel like you’ve fallen too far off the wagon when it comes to your health? Or feel like it would take a miracle to get you back on track with your goals? Fortunately for you, wellness doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing experience. And contrary to what many people think, you don’t have to completely overhaul your lifestyle to gain more energy, balance your hormones, and heal your gut. Small changes can make a huge difference in your health and well-being. Let’s dive into six small changes that can make a real difference in how you feel every single day:

1. Establish a morning ritual.

Start the day off by completing one simple task and you’re likely to complete others later that day. This could be something like reciting a positive mantra every morning before you head out the door, completing a five-minute morning stretch routine, reading one chapter in a non-work-related novel, or simply making your bed!

Did you know that making your bed in the morning may just be the world’s easiest success habit? It starts a chain reaction of other productive habits throughout the day. In fact, Navy SEAL William H. McCraven stated, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”

2. Have a high-protein breakfast.

Fewer than six hours of sleep per day is associated with low-grade chronic inflammation and worsening insulin resistance, as well as increased risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. This is a profound finding as a recent cross-sectional study demonstrated that almost one-third of U.S. adults get less than six hours of sleep. Complete proteins (think clean animal meats, eggs, tempeh, or even a quality protein shake) will increase chemicals in the brain that not only improve sleep but also improve your mood. This is all due to a little amino acid called tryptophan, which is a precursor to serotonin. Serotonin is our “feel-good hormone” and makes us feel happy and motivated throughout the day. Serotonin then turns into melatonin, which helps us sleep at night! Without that complete protein at the start of the day, this conversion can’t take place, leaving you tired and moody.

3. Drink more water.

We are over 70 percent water, which is the basic medium of our blood, excretion, and metabolism. In fact, just two glasses of water a day reduces the chance of developing high blood pressure by 28 percent. Adequate hydration can also make or break the strength and resiliency of your active lifestyle. Getting enough fluids helps balance your muscle’s ability to contract and relax, maintains mental clarity, stops you from overheating, and keeps your joints lubricated and flexible.

The problem is that most people think they’re already drinking enough water. I encourage you to really dive into this one a little deeper to see the real scenario playing out. Use an app like Daily Water or grab your favorite 20-ounce glass or stainless-steel water bottle and find out how many times you’d have to fill it up to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water every day.

4. Choose to stand.

For the vast majority of our evolutionary history, we’ve had to exert more physical energy in a given day finding food, shelter, and avoiding danger just to survive. There really wasn’t much need to “work out” every day when daily activities provided this natural movement and exercise. Today, things are much different. Many of us are sitting at a desk or sitting in a car for the majority of the day. Yet we know that too much sitting is associated with numerous problems, ranging from weight gain to osteoporosis to cardiovascular disease. Sitting for more than two hours at a time without taking a short break drastically increases these risk factors.

So what can you do about it? Before you go out and buy a fancy standing desk—let’s remember that we’re focusing on small changes that will have a large ripple effect. So if you didn’t read No. 3 above, take another look because we’re doubling up here: When we actually drink enough water throughout the day, it provides a built-in reminder to stand up and walk every couple of hours. If you’re drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water each day, odds are you are going to have to stand up to use the bathroom every few hours. If you’re not, you’re not drinking enough water and if you’re not drinking enough water, you’re not standing enough. Boom.

5. Detox daily.

Your amazing body is continuously detoxing, and it doesn’t need a fancy juice cleanse of magic grapefruit concoction to do its job. However, the way we treat our bodies and what we put in them can either assist this process or add to the already heavy load our liver carries. Two tiny changes in your day can give your liver a much-appreciated boost in daily detoxification.

First, skip the late-night snacks. The liver’s regenerative cycle is between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. If your body is busy digesting food at this time, it disrupts the detoxification process. Aim for a 10 p.m. bedtime and about 12 hours between dinner and breakfast. Second, add lemon to your morning smoothie, daily water, or favorite dressing. Lemon has a phytonutrient called d-limonene that supports the liver detoxification enzymes.

6. Eat something fermented every day.

The bacteria found in your gut comprise approximately 2 pounds of your body weight! This is also where about 70 percent of our immune system is housed. Nutritional science is only just beginning to understand the complexity of the microbiome and just how much it has to do with overall health. But no one can deny that the role of the microbiome in overall health is critical.

As Hippocrates stated, “All disease begins in the gut.” Doing just one small thing to love your gut every day will have a major payoff in terms of increased energy, glowing skin, fewer digestive issues, and a trimmer waistline. Pick two or three fermented foods and incorporate just two forkfuls or a few sips of these daily. Try some sauerkraut alongside some scrambled eggs and guacamole! And remember, a true fermented food will be found in the refrigerated section of the store and will not be made with vinegar—only sea salt and the chosen vegetable and spices.

 

health

Heal Your Digestion With These Simple Steps

10-simple-ideas-heal-digestion-naturally

When your digestive system is off, your health can suffer in all sorts of ways. In addition to digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), bloating, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, or gas, you may also experience food allergies, weight gain, eczema, exhaustion, asthma, and more. If unaddressed, these symptoms can manifest into chronic health conditions.

Here are 10 things that you can easily do to heal your digestive system.

1. Chew your food.

Good digestion starts in the mouth. When you chew your food well, it eases the work required from your digestive system, so your body can focus on other tasks instead.

2. Eat real foods.

Focus on whole, fresh foods. Avoid the “fake” stuff, including processed foods and fast-foods, which are typically high in refined salt, sugar, and processed oils. Also, they’re difficult for your body to digest, and they don’t provide any nutritional value.

3. Eat fermented and cultured foods.

Fermented foods are high in “good bacteria” and eating them will help you to regenerate your gut flora naturally. The greater the variety of fermented and cultured foods you can include in your diet, the better. Try eating sauerkraut, kefir, fermented vegetables, kimchi, or Kombucha. If you have a severe gut disorder, start slowly. Allow time for your internal environment to change and for your digestive system to become healthier and stronger.

4. Be good to your liver.

You can heal your digestive system by supporting your liver to work efficiently and effectively. If your digestion can handle it, try to boost your intake of liver-loving foods by consuming carrots, beetroot and leafy greens in soups and freshly squeezed juices. I like to supplement with bitter herbs such as dandelion and/or milk thistle.

5. Get hydrated.

Many people with digestive disorders are extremely dehydrated. If that might be an issue for you, try increasing your water intake today! Try to drink at least one glass of water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice.

Herbal teas are another great way to hydrate and heal your body. Peppermint, ginger, fennel and fenugreek are known for their digestive supporting properties. If you’re looking for a coffee substitute, try dandelion tea with dairy free milk.

6. Manage your stress.

Stress doesn’t just wreak havoc on your mind; it can mess with your digestion! There are many ways to reduce stress and I recommend you discover what kinds of relaxing activities work best for you. I found that gentle activities such as deep breathing has really helped me to reduce my stress levels. For you it may be walking, yoga or meditation that helps. Do what works best for you!

7. Reset with a regular detox.

A gentle detox on a regular basis can be a great way to reset your entire digestive system. Consider including aloe vera juice in your detox, as some research suggests that it may help with digestive issues.

8. Support your body with Glutamine.

Glutamine is one of the most important nutrients that you can give your body as it supports the repair and regeneration of the intestinal lining in your body and also soothes inflammation. You can find glutamine in supplement form and it’s also found in foods such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, beets, beans, spinach, parsley and fresh vegetable juices. This is something I take everyday in powder form and is great for healing leaky gut.

9. Get probiotics.

Probiotics are the “good” bacteria that have been shown to improve gut health. They are easily available as dietary supplements. Start slow and build up your tolerance so you can avoid side effects like gas or upset stomach.

10. Listen to your body.

Let go of dieting dogma and food trends, and instead, build knowledge of your own body so that you can eat and live in a way that serves you. Understanding your body will put you in the driver’s seat of your own health, so you can make choices based on what works best for your body.

If you’re experiencing health disorders, consider that your body is trying to communicate with you. Listen to your body and use these 10 healing ideas to re-balance and heal your digestive system.

health

Roasting Vegetables: Aluminum or Parchment Paper? Which Is Healthier?

veg
Photo: Shutterstock

Should you line the pan with aluminum foil, or would it be healthier to switch to parchment paper?

Yes, when roasting vegetables, parchment paper is better than foil. Recent research in the International Journal of Electrochemical Science suggests that when we use aluminum foil during cooking, some aluminum leaches into food. Leaching increases with higher heat (roasting and broiling) and acidity (tomatoes, vinegar, vitamin C–rich produce).

Is aluminum leaching into food bad? Maybe. The average person consumes between 7 and 9 milligrams of aluminum each day through diet. The Food and Drug Administration considers such levels generally safe, and the Alzheimer’s Association concludes that this normal exposure to aluminum is not a significant risk factor in Alzheimer’s disease.

However, the Center for Disease Control’s Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry suggests that consuming higher levels of aluminum than average may be linked to nervous system, brain, and bone diseases. People who cook often with aluminum foil (and aluminum pots and pans) risk more exposure than normal to the metal. So, although some aluminum in the diet is inevitable, keep exposure minimal with simple changes such as switching to parchment paper over foil when roasting.

Parchment paper can tolerate temperatures up to 420°F. But don’t confuse parchment paper with waxed paper, which can’t withstand high temperatures and will smoke in the oven.

Tip: When roasting, choose oils with higher smoke points (such as grapeseed and coconut oil) to avoid an “off” flavor.

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