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.

The Tropical Life

It was 1972 when Harry Edward Nilsson III told listeners to “put de lime in de coconut, you drink ‘em bot’ togedder, put de lime in de coconut and you’ll feel better, put de lime in de coconut, drink ‘em bot’ up, put de lime in de coconut and call me in the morning.” What Nilsson didn’t know was that not only was he writing a catchy song, which will stick with you forever, but that he was giving you some of the best nutritional advice around.

Limes

Although many people think of limes as the lemons unwanted cousin, there truly is an inherent value in incorporating more limes into your daily diet. Like most citrus fruits, the lime is a significant source of Vitamin-C, providing nearly 32 percent of your recommended dietary allowance. Vitamin C is considered the “grandfather” of antioxidants, helping to boost immunity and limit inflammatory causing free-radicals in the body. Vitamin C is also essential to the development and repair of soft tissues such as muscle and cartilage. Other antioxidants provided by limes include Vitamin A and Vitamin E.

Limes also provide vitamins and minerals that are essential in supporting, and developing, healthy and strong bones. These include low levels of calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, and vitamin K. In addition to helping with bone support, Magnesium plays a vital role in metabolism (ATP production), inflammation control, DNA repair, regulation of muscle spasms (including the gastrointestinal tract), and repairing connective tissue. Recent research has even shown that magnesium deficiency has a high correlation to artery plaqueing, and is a much greater risk factor than having elevated cholesterol levels.

coconut

When people think of coconuts they typically think of shredded sweetened flakes, macaroons, and pina coladas. However, as research continues to amass on the many benefits of coconuts (both health and non-health related), numerous products are starting to emerge and become easily accessible on the market. These products range from unsweetened coconut flakes to coconut water, oil, milk, sugar, and flour. Each of these products is very different, and can be utilized in its own unique and varying application. Coconut oil is a very stable, saturated fat, which makes it an ideal option for cooking. Due to its increased stability, coconut is the only oil that will not oxidize under heat, meaning no free-radicals are formed. Contrary to popular belief, traditional forms of saturated fat are actually heart healthy, and are an essential component of cell walls. The inflammation associated with omega-6 rich “vegetable oils” is much more detrimental to our everyday health than saturated fats. Due to its ability to combat free-radicals, coconut oil is also highly valuable in combating skin damage when applied as a lotion.

People that are actively “dieting” may also like to know that coconut oil, and coconut water, consumption has been linked to improved weight loss. Not only is coconut oil rich in electrolytes, without the added sweeteners and artificial ingredients of many sports drinks, but it is an excellent source of medium chain fatty acids. MCFAs are typically smaller than long chain fatty acids, found in many common vegetable and seed oils, which makes them easier to absorb by our cells. MCFAs are typically easier to digest and are shunted directly to the liver where than can be instantly converted to energy. This conversion process gives your body the fuel it needs to function without causing a spike in insulin that is often associated with grains and sugar. Lastly, coconut oil has been found to be abundant in lauric acid, a form of MCFA that is present in breast milk and thought to be one of the main sources of its immune boosting ability. The list of benefits go on and on.

margarita

On a side note, while it is widely known that excess alcohol consumption is detrimental to your health, research suggests that individuals who consume no alcohol throughout life are likely to have higher levels of inflammation. So, responsibly and within moderation, feel free to put de lime in de coconut (with a little rum) and drink ‘em bot’ up.