Category Archives: smoothie

Healthy Happy Liver

Right now I’m taking a herbal medicine class at school and I am LOVING it! It has been so interesting learning about the power of herbs! One class I enjoyed in particular was all about digestion (I have celiac… AKA I have major digestive problems!). The class discussed the use of bitter herbs and how they stimulate the production of digestive juices as well as aid the liver in detoxification. I feel like we can all use a little help in the digestive/ detox department!

Unfortunately, because of its unpleasant taste (to most people), we have almost eliminated bitter tastes completely from our western diet. It’s such a shame too because some of the most common diseases, such as indigestion, acid reflux, any digestive issues and most metabolic disorders are derived from the lack of bitter in our diet.

Interested in adding a little bitter back into you life? A few examples you should try:

  • Arugula, kale, dandelion and endive is a great addition to any salad
  • Cacao- not to be confused with a bar of chocolate 😉
  • Sesame seeds, sesame oil
  • Cumin, turmeric

Easy enough right!

I’m currently doing a liver detox with some friends from school as well as the man friend. Although I believe the body is made to detox itself, I also recognize we live in a much more toxic environment than ever before so a little help never hurt!

We aren’t doing anything too extreme just a herbal detox with a simple diet. We created a herbal tincture to help us detox and support our livers through the process, it contains:

  • Dandelion root- great for liver detox! helps stimulate the secretion of bile
  • Milk thistle-great to help increase the secretion and flow of bile from the liver and gall-bladder
  • Licorice- an all around super herb! Licorice is a great adaptogen used to help the body adapt and deal with stresses, it also contains anti-inflammatory and anti- spasmodic actions which are all great for the digestive system because as we all know stress causes inflammation and also has a huge impact on our gut health.
  • Schizandra berry- another adaptogen known for its amazing health and body regulating abilities. Also known as a whole body tonic.
  • Turmeric- the super herb! Honestly turmeric has so many amazing properties it’s hard to do it justice. Turmeric is a carminative meaning it helps relieve gas and bloating, it stimulates bile production in the liver, is anti-inflammatory to the mucus membranes that line our GI tract, is anti-spasmodic to help decrease digestive/menstrual cramps…. Basically it’s the best, and it’s super yummy-bonus!

The diet we are following for the detox is merely a whole food, no sugar (including honey, maple syrup and molasses), no dairy, no gluten, no booze (duh!) diet. We are doing the detox for 2 weeks total so I’ll keep you posted on how I’m feeling! Right now I’m on day 3 and I have to say I’m HANGRY! I’m definitely having some sugar cravings but I know those will pass…I’m excited to see how I feel at the end. Wish me luck!

So what will I be eating during this 2 week period? Well , lots of fresh fruit and veggies, quinoa, organic meat and eggs, nuts, seeds and lots of avocado 🙂 It’s actually been really delicious so far!

I’m also trying to add as many greens as possible, I have been using 2 different products to try and make this easier. The first is called organic greens + and the second is vega’s chlorella. During the winter I sometimes struggle to find good quality organic greens, these definitely make life easier. Both are amazing sources of chlorophyll, protein, vitamins and minerals- sounds great to me!

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To make life a little easier for the man friend I made him some portable protein bars as well as a breakfast bake, both loaded with quinoa and hemp hearts to help him feel extra satisfied.

Apple cinnamon quinoa bake:

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2 cups cooked quinoa

1 tbsp coconut oil

3 apples chopped

1 ½ tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

½ cup chopped walnuts

3 eggs

1 cup almond milk

¼ cup hemp hearts

¼ cup chopped dates

Cook the apples in coconut oil over medium high heat on the stove with the cinnamon and the dates. While that’s cooking whisk the eggs with the vanilla and slowly add in the cooked quinoa. Once the apples are cooked, add them to the quinoa egg mixture and stir in the walnuts and hemp hearts. Pour into a greased casserole dish and bake at 350 for about 40 minutes. Serve with a big dollup of almond butter for a super filling yummy breakfast

Next up

Almond butter quinoa protein bars:

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2 cups cooked quinoa

¾ cup almond butter

1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2cup sunflower seeds

1/2cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 hemp hearts

¼ – 1/2 cup chopped dates

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

Heat the almond butter in a pot on the stove over medium heat, once warm and gooey stir in the vanilla, cinnamon, quinoa, seeds, nuts and dates and stir until well combined.  Pour dough into parchment lined casserole dish and press down firmly. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes; allow bars to cool completely before cutting. The bars will be quite crumbly so I keep them wrapped individually in the freezer for easy grab and go convenience.

I used walnuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds because that’s what I had on hand but feel free to use whatever mix-ins you want.

Hope you enjoy!

 

I should also add a little note: if you’re preggo, be cautious with bitters because they have the ability to cause uterine contractions which is obviously not a good thing until you close to your due date!

The Usual

As I’ve stated a few times before I am a creature of habit. I get up at the same time, eat my meals at the same time, workout at the same time and generally eat similar meals.

I know this meal time repetitiveness can lead to nutritional deficiencies so I always try to squeeze as many nutrients into my meals as possible. For the past few months I have been on a serious smoothie kick, with the weather being much warmer theres nothing better than a post workout smoothie. Smoothies are the perfect vessel for nutrient overloading, you can basically keep adding and adding whatever you’d like and as long as you have a banana it will generally still taste delicious.Image

When making my smoothies I always make sure to include lots of healthy fats, fresh organic fruits and veggies and a clean source of protein.

My go to these days is a delicious blueberry banana protein smoothie: 1/2 ripe avocado, 1-2 tbsp chia seeds, a few handfuls of kale, 1/2 frozen banana, 1/2-3/4 cup frozen blueberries, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I use raw sunwarrior sprouted protein powder) and 1 cup almond milk… blend until nice and creamy 🙂 Avocado in your smoothie is a game changer! honestly it makes the smoothie so thick and creamy.

Another favourite of mine is a almond butter, banana and date smoothie: 1-2 tbsp almond butter, 2-4 dates (depending on sweetness), 1 frozen banana, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1 tsp cinnamon, a handful of kale, 2 tbsp hemp hearts, and 1 cup almond milk… blend until smooth 🙂

The balance between protein, fat and carbs really helps keep you satiated, it’s the perfect start to the day!

I don’t know about you, but I find starting the day with lots of fruits and veggies really sets me up to make more nutritious decisions throughout the day.

Hope you enjoy 🙂

Whey… yay or nay

Before I jump into things I thought I’d share my yummy breakfast this morning, oatmeal minus the oats, I’d seen a few versions floating around the web and thought i’d give it a try.

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Basically you blend ½ cup almond milk, 2 egg whites, 1 ripe banana, 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed and a pinch of cinnamon. You then heat the mixture up in a pot on the stove for about 5 minutes until it is the right consistency and your good to go. I added blueberries and almond butter to mine this morning and I loved it!

On to the protein powder chat

Protein powders are very popular these days; they are not just for the extreme athletes anymore.

The most common type of protein powders are whey and hydrolyzed whey based but most people, myself included, don’t really know what whey really is. Last class our teacher went on a bit of a tangent about whey protein powders and I thought I’d share.

So what is whey, well it is basically the byproduct from cheese production. That sounds relatively harmless however, in order to isolate the high source of protein, as well as eliminate the fat and lactose, the whey is heated and treated with acids which actually end up damaging the protein. So what is left is an unrecognizable food source to our body, full of whatever antibiotics and hormones were initially added to the dairy. Hydrolyzed whey is just one more step of processing, much more heat and chemical treatments are added leaving the protein even more degraded.

Of course there is some usable, readily available protein left (as well as concentrated hormones and antibiotics left from the dairy), but our body does not necessarily want that kind of protein. Too much protein, especially readily available sources that bypass digestion, can actually be an extreme burden on our liver and kidneys as well as lead to bone calcium loss and increased intestinal ‘bad’ bacteria.

So why do we feel we even need to supplement with protein powders? Can we not just get enough from the foods we consume? Is too much protein dangerous? These are topics for another day 🙂

Here are some ideas if you really feel like you need a little boost of protein.

Make your own whey: take some organic non homogenized yogurt and pour it into some cheesecloth over a bowl and leave in the fridge overnight. In the morning you will see a clear (ish) liquid in the bowl, that is whey, just add to your normal shake for an added kick or shoot it back as you wish.

Another idea is to add beans, a white bean will be much milder in flavor, to your normal smoothie, not only will it give you the protein your looking for but you’ll get a good dose of fibre and a great creamy texture.

Pumpkin pinto bean spice smoothie, submitted to slightly indulgent tuesday:

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1/4 cup canned pinto beans, 1/2 cup canned pumpkin, 1/2 frozen banana, 1/4-1/2 cup almond milk, maple syrup to taste, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp ground ginger, pinch of nutmeg, pinch of ground cloves and a pinch of all spice… blend blend blend (add ice for a cooler version)

Back to school, back to school…

Last night was orientation/ first night of classes! Lets just say there was more poop talk than I’ve ever had with strangers J. We did the usual meet and greet and dove right into the first class: Nutrition and Health: The Fundamentals. Because it was the first class we mostly just talked through the basics. We touched on the 3 different components of wellness: dietary, functional and lifestyle and some of the many barriers people might encounter trying to attain each. Other topics we briefly skimmed over was the difference between organic and non organic farming, including some of the pesticide and herbicides used (historically and presently), soil and soil health, and then we finished the night by briefly looking at cells and their different components.

Although this was not an in depth intense session, I can already see from reading through the syllabus as well as the required readings, that this is going to be 2 of the toughest, most rewarding years of my life and I can not wait!

I will pop back on Friday to fill you in on all the fun stuff I learn Thursday night. Until then I will leave you with 2 yummy treats I’ve been enjoying basically every day

My go to mango ‘ice cream’: 1 cup frozen mango, 1 cup ice, 2 cups spinach, ¼ cup almond milk- blend blend blend

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And the very yummy chocolate banana ‘soft serve’: 1 frozen banana, 1 cup ice, 1 scoop chocolate protein powder (I use raw sunwarrior protein), ¼-1/2 c almond milk- blend blend blend

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Last minute trip

This morning I got an invitation from a friend to head out of town for 2 days: swimming, tanning, sleeping, eating, drinking here I come :), never needed a break more.

Seeing as this trip came completely out of the blue I am leaving behind a full fridge with a lot of produce… I hate things to go bad so I did what I always do when I notice the produce is at the end of its life, I made a everything but the kitchen sink ‘soup’ of sorts. I just chopped up everything I had in my fridge, added a can of chickpeas and a carton of chicken broth and vola ‘soup’

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I just baggied it all up into single portions and threw it in the freezer… now i’m ready for the inevitable back to school sickness, that I will pick up from over working/under sleeping.

Last night I had my sister and her boyfriend over for dinner, I made pulled pork tacos with a bunch of yummy taco fixings…

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I made a raw corn, avocado, tomato salad a avocado and mango ‘salsa’, a tomato and red pepper salsa, and a mexican (ish) slaw. After a long day of work it was nice to just sit out on the patio and catch up over good food.

okay well i’m off for a little vacay, i’ll be back soon with some more yumminess

What does everyone else do when they have expiring veggies to use up? any other everything but the kitchen sink ‘recipes’ out there?

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