Orange is the New Green (Smoothie)!

For those of you looking for a little variety, in your smoothie quest for health, try this sweet and delicious (yet nutritious) sweet potato smoothie.  Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin-A (hence the orange color), providing nearly 400% of your daily recommended amount.  Sweet potatoes also contain low levels of important minerals, including magnesium, potassium, iron, and manganese.  Potatoes, in general, also provide small amounts of protein and fiber (roughly 2 g. and 3 g. respectively).  Fiber is essential for blood vessel and intestinal health, and provides the body with general inflammation support.  Although sweet potatoes are high in carbohydrates, many of them are complex in nature.  Complex carbs typically breakdown slower in the body, causing a more controlled release of sugar and insulin (essentially eliminating blood sugar spikes).

As stated in my previous blog post, Drink Your Way to a Healthier New Year, one of the best, and perhaps easiest, life-style changes a person can make is to begin incorporating healthy, live foods into their daily routine.  When thinking of a food as “living” or “dead,” there are two important aspects to consider; will it nourish my body and will it expire in a reasonable time period.  Unless food is preserved in a historical manner ( e.g. fermenting or canning), it should be unable to “survive” in your pantry for years at a time.  This extended shelf life, in most processed foods, can be attributed to chemical additives and preservatives that often promote inflammation and toxic overload in our bodies.  While these processed foods can be found in most meals throughout the day, a main offender is often breakfast and/or snacks.

My proposal, to you, is that rather than reach for a granola bar, bagel, donut, or sugary strudel, make yourself an Orange SmoothieThis smoothie is quick and easy to make, provides tons of essential vitamins (including Vitamin-C), minerals (Magnesium and Potassium), and fiber (to help remove “Bad” Cholesterol and leave you feeling fuller longer).  Best of all… KIDS LOVE IT!!!

Orange Smoothie Recipe

Sweet Potato Smoothies

1  1/2  Cooked & Peeled Sweet Potatoes

1 Banana (Preferably Frozen)

1 Madjool Date (Pitted)

1 C. Almond Milk

1 C. Water

Dash of Cinnamon

A Few Ice Cubs

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until a smooth consistency is obtained.  Add additional liquid, as needed, if smoothie remains thick/unprocessed. Drink the smoothie within 20-30 minutes of blending to receive the most health benefits from your “living” food.

TIP:  It is always best to rinse the blender out immediately after use, to avoid stubborn stuck on pulp.

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Drink Your Way to a Healthier New Year

With the New Year just around the corner, and the” heaviness” of holiday eating weighing us down, many of us set resolutions to exercise more, stress less, and lose weight (often by crash dieting).  Rather than going on a fad diet, or cutting your calories back to an unrealistic, un-maintainable level, try making smaller life-style changes.

One of the best, and perhaps easiest, life-style changes a person can make is to begin incorporating healthy, live foods into their daily routine.  When thinking of a food as “living” or “dead,” there are two important aspects to consider; will it nourish my body and will it expire in a reasonable time period.  Unless food is preserved in a historical manner ( e.g. fermenting or canning), it should be unable to “survive” in your pantry for years at a time.  This extended shelf life, in most processed foods, can be attributed to chemical additives and preservatives that often promote inflammation and toxic overload in our bodies.  While these processed foods can be found in most meals throughout the day, a main offender is often breakfast and/or snacks.

My proposal, to you, is that rather than reach for a granola bar, bagel, donut, or sugary strudel, make yourself a Green Smoothie!  Packed full of fruits, and vegetables (hence the green part), this smoothie is quick and easy to make, provides tons of essential vitamins (including Vitamin-C), minerals (Magnesium and Potassium), healthy fats (Omega-9’s), and fiber (to help remove “Bad” Cholesterol and leave you feeling fuller longer).

Green Smoothie Recipe

Green Smoothie

1/2 Apple

1/2 Banana

1 Handful of Frozen Mixed Berries or Tropical Fruit

1 Handful of Spinach

1 Handful of Kale (Stems Removed)

Dash of Cinnamon

1/2 Avocado (optional – makes smoothie creamier)

1 C. Water

Loosely combine all ingredients in a blender and process until a smooth consistency is obtained.  Add additional water, as needed, if smoothie remains chunky/thick.  Substituting additional spinach for equal parts kale may also help to resolve any texture issues, as kale can be a bit more fibrous.  Drink the smoothie within 20-30 minutes of blending to receive the most health benefits from your “living” food.

TIP:  It is always best to rinse the blender out immediately after use, to avoid stubborn stuck on pulp.

Scratch Made Chili Seasoning

With winter upon us, and the cold wind knocking at our doors, it is safe to say that “soup season” is upon us.  While “soup” is unique in that there is so many varieties, ranging from chicken noodle and tomato, to gumbo and chowders, no “soup” is as hearty and fulfilling as chili.  Made properly, chili can be a highly nutritious, and relatively affordable meal.

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The average chili contains: Beans (which while slightly inflammatory, contain a large amount of fiber that is both Gastro- and Heart Healthy), Ground Beef (which if organic and grass-fed, contains a significant amount of anti-inflammatory Omega-3’s, and CLA fatty acids, that significantly help to reduce the risk of chronic disease, including heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s), Tomatoes (which help to combat prostate cancer with Lycopene), and perhaps the most important aspect of chili, the seasonings (cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, and chili powder).

While it is easier to simply go to the local grocery store and buy a packet of pre-made chili seasoning, making your own mix can not only save you a few pennies, but can also spare you the “natural flavors,” additives (like hydrolyzed yeast – think MSG), anti-caking agents (like silicon dioxide), trans fats (partially hydrogenated soybean oil) and preservatives (like citric acid).  The recipe below works well for both chili and tacos, and can be adjusted to satisfy each individuals personal taste preference.

Chili Seasoning

  • 1/4 C. Garlic Powder (anti-inflammatory)
  • 1/4 C. Onion Powder
  • 1/4 C. Chili Powder (contains anti-inflammatory capsaicin)
  • 1/4 C. Ground Cumin (helps improve hypoglycemia and digestion of fats)
  • 1 T. Crushed Red Pepper (also contains capsaicin, which can boost metabolism)

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Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly in an airtight container.

Add as much seasoning to chili base as you see fit.

Enjoy!