Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Start Your Day Right with Nutritious Smoothies

My glass of green goodness
What is your idea of a “breakfast for champions”? How can we start every day eating right our way? Breakfast smoothies can be your secret to health, vitality, and a day filled with energy. They can be made with just about anything you want and like, but grouping ingredients in several categories with their nutritional benefit in mind is a good way to get you started.
The first ingredient required for a smoothie is a liquid, and some of the best choices are nut and seed milks such as almond, coconut or hemp milk. Almonds are a good source of protein, fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, and phosphorus. Coconut helps prevent digestive disorders and boosts your immunity and your metabolism. Hemp is a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids. The next group of ingredients you want to add are fruits and vegetables. Here are some suggestions:

  • Pair bananas and pears with spinach, kale or arugula for a bright green smoothie. Dark green veggies are loaded with vitamin A, C, K, calcium, iron, and numerous phytochemicals that have anti-cancer properties.
  •     Combine a variety of berries with avocado. Blueberries, for example, contain anthocyanin, an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. Avocados contain monounsaturated fat which can help reduce the risk of diabetes and cancer.
Finish off your smoothies by adding a “Superfood” as the final ingredient. “Superfoods” commonly added to smoothies are different types green powders such as spirulina or wheat grass, protein powders, bee pollen, and chia seeds. Bee pollen has been called “nature’s perfect food” because it contains many different vitamins, and almost all known minerals and trace elements. Chia seeds are another great source of Omega-3’s, and green powders provide minerals, chlorophyll, protein, and healthy fats. Protein powders are a good addition for athletes who need a little extra nutrition before their morning workout.

Tags: smoothies ingredients, superfoods added to smoothies

Boweden, J. (2007). The 150 healthiest foods on earth. Gloucester, MA: Fair Winds Press.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

What do you eat for breakfast?

I have been asked the question many, many times. Healthy breakfast options seem to be the problem for most people (those that eventually get tired of good old oatmeal that is).

Lately, my absolute favorite breakfast has been a fruit & veggie smoothie (recipes coming soon). I like to get a couple of servings of fresh F&V in as soon as I wake up. However, some of us do need something a little bit more substantial on occasion, and here are a few tasty suggestions. Some of these are my own concoctions, and the others are variations or recipes that came from various sources I failed to record (apologies to authors).

Breakfast Options:

My Omega Miracle Powder

In a coffee grinder grind 2 Tablespoons of each:
Flax seed
Whole organic sesame seeds
Organic raw pumpkin seeds

Place in a container with a lid and keep in a fridge for up to 7 days. Add 2 tbs daily to your cereal, salads and/or smoothies. This just might save your life! J 

Apple Berry Porridge

1 large apple, peeled and diced
1 cup berries
¼ cup pumpkin seeds, soaked overnight
2 dried figs cut in half
1 table spoon ground flaxseed

Blend first four ingredients in food processor and sprinkle with flaxseeds.

Buckwheat-Flaxseed Blueberry Pancakes

Serves 6 (makes twelve 5-inch pancakes) / Ingredient tip: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, high-fiber flaxseeds offer nutrient benefits only when ground (whole flaxseeds pass right through), so opt for the most finely ground flaxseeds you can find, or grind your own in a coffee grinder.

2 cups (one 8-ounce pack) strawberries, thawed if frozen
2 tablespoons light agave nectar, divided
3/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1/4 heaping teaspoon finely grated orange zest

1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup ground flaxseeds
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons light agave nectar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 cup (one 4.4-ounce pack) blueberries, fresh or frozen

1. For toppings: Quarter strawberries, then stir in 1 tablespoon agave nectar. Set aside. Stir 1 tablespoon agave nectar and orange zest into yogurt. Cover and refrigerate.
2. For pancakes: Sift dry ingredients together into a medium mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together agave, eggs, oil, and buttermilk. Whisk wet mixture into dry ingredients until just incorporated. Do not over mix.
3. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Brush lightly with vegetable oil, then drop about 1/4 cup batter onto skillet. Cover with blueberries (no need to thaw if frozen). Fill skillet with as many pancakes as will fit, leaving a small space between. Cook until set around edges, 2–3 minutes. Flip and cook for another 1–2 minutes, until cooked through. Top each pancake with a dollop of yogurt and a scoop of strawberries.

PER SERVING: 296 cal, 33% fat cal, 11g fat, 2g sat fat, 75mg chol, 10g protein, 40g carb, 6g fiber, 535mg sodium

Flax Spread

4 tablespoons raw flax seeds
1/2 lemon, juiced
Celtic sea salt to taste
2 tablespoons of water

Grind the flax seeds to a powder using a coffee or seed grinder. Add the remaining ingredients and mix into a paste.

Hot Breakfast Quinoa

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
½ cup chopped apples, pears, raisins, soaked almonds, or dates
½ cup rice milk
1 tablespoon maple syrup or raw honey

Rinse one cup of quinoa and drain. Place the quinoa in a saucepan over a high heat, add the water and salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add whatever fruit you desire and continue to simmer until the water is absorbed. Serve with rice milk and a drizzle of maple syrup/honey. Add cinnamon to taste.

Pink and Purple Quinoa

Wheat-free, soy-free, nut-free, dairy-free, egg-free
Serves 4 /Keep some plain, cooked quinoa in the refrigerator for other meal bases. Ingredient tips: People with milk challenges often can handle ghee (clarified butter) because it is basically free of casein, or milk protein. Hempseed, available at natural products stores, is an excellent source of protein and omega-3 essential fatty acids. It is best used uncooked, straight from the package, to retain the valuable—but delicate—omega-3s.

1 cup quinoa, well washed
2 cups water
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash of salt
3/4-1 cup fresh or frozen cherries or blueberries, or a combination
1 tablespoon ghee (optional)
4 tablespoons hempseed

1. Combine quinoa and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 12-15 minutes.
2. Remove from heat and stir in cinnamon, salt, and berries. Add ghee, if using, and sprinkle each serving with a tablespoon of hempseed.

PER SERVING: 258 cal, 30% fat cal, 9g fat, 1g sat fat, 0mg chol, 10g protein, 35g carb, 12g fiber, 12mg sodium

Rise Up Millet

2 cups water
1 cup millet
1 cup almond milk
4 tea spoons unsweetened coconut flakes
Agave syrup or stevia to taste
4 tea spoons chopped nuts or pumpkin seeds

Toast millet until fragrant and lightly colored. Bring water to a boil and add millet. Simmer until all water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. At this stage, the millet will keep for several days, refrigerated in sealed container. For  each serving, put ½ cup millet in a bowl and add ¼ cup almond milk, coconut flakes, agave syrup, and nuts.