My secrets for a GREAT Salad

My secrets for a GREAT Salad

Can you believe it’s Monday already? And we’re already in February!

How was your Super Bowl Sunday? I only watched the halftime show, and I thought Katy Perry and Missy Elliott did a great job. Oh, and Lenny Kravitz was great too, but I’m all about girl-power, so I really enjoyed watching two beautiful women creatively express themselves in such a strong, powerful way. What an amazing show!

And I don’t know about you, but Monday morning came too soon, eh? Although I’m not a sports fan, I was busy all day yesterday. While Greg enjoyed the game, I got some household chores done, did some self-care, and even knocked out a couple of chores in my home office. I probably overdid it with the vacuuming – my back is sore, and in big need of some massage therapy!

But still, it was a really good weekend. And now it’s Monday morning, and I’m excited to get back to work, as I’ve got some exciting projects lined up for this year.

Well, anyway, back to the purpose of this email. I wanted to disrupt your Monday with a healthy recipe. It’s similar to the ones in my 28 Day Jumpstart To a New You program.

I love to make this recipe, and this is one of my family’s all-time favorites. And guess what? It’s 100% HEALTHY, EASY and DELICIOUS!

BLUEBERRY SMOOTHIE

Makes 2 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 handful frozen or fresh organic wild blueberries
    1 banana
    1 tablespoon extra-virgin coconut oil
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 tablespoon hemp seeds
    1 tablespoon chia seeds
    1 pinch of cinnamon
    ½ cup to 1 cup hemp milk, almond milk, oat milk, or coconut water as your base
  • Optional: Stevia, or 1 tablespoon raw honey if you need to sweeten it. Add more water if it’s too thick.DIRECTIONS
    Put all ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until creamy (1-2 minutes).

AND…I didn’t forget about that salad.

My Secrets for a GREAT Salad

Here’s my secrets for making a GREAT salad:

  1. The trick to making a great salad is to always use FRESH, organic ingredients when possible.
  2. If I use organic pre-rinsed salad mix, I still rinse it again 2-3 times. I’m picky like that, but do what feels right.
  3. I never use pre-washed spinach – the chlorine water gives it a gritty texture that sticks to my teeth when I chew it.
    If you prefer spinach, grab the unwashed spinach, and when you get home, put it in a bowl of water and add a splash of veggie wash. Let it sit for a few minutes, and then agitate it with your hands to loosen the dirt and sand. Do this as often as you need, until your spinach is clean. I have been known to rinse my spinach 5-6 times, if it’s really caked with mud. And I love it when my veggies still have the dirt from the ground on it, it means it came straight from the farm to my kitchen!
  4. Rinse loose leaf greens in cold filtered water and use a salad spinner to discard excess water.
  5. Place loose leaf greens in a large bowl, and drizzle it with about 1-2 Tbsp of good quality organic extra-virgin cold pressed olive oil.
  6. Add a pinch of sea salt flakes. I prefer Maldon Sea Salt.
  7. Using a large wooden spoon, stir the salad until all leaves are well coated with the olive oil.  THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT – NEVER SKIP THIS STEP!!!
  8. Now you’re ready to add all your other salad fixings. I like to put my salad toppings in little serving bowls, and let my family members build their own salad.

Salad Fixing Suggestions:

  • Grab olives from Whole Food’s olive bar. Seriously, you can’t go wrong with anything there, but make sure to skip the olives that aren’t pitted. Your teeth will thank you.
  • Diced cucumber (peel off the skin first).
  • Diced green apple
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Sliced heirloom tomatoes, topped with a finishing sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, thinly sliced basil, drizzled with olive oil
  • Thinly sliced red, yellow and orange bell pepper (seeds and stem removed)
  • Orange slices (peeled, remove all seeds, pith, and skin)
  • Fresh chopped herbs like mint, basil, or cilantro
  • Chopped watermelon (goes well with mint and balsamic vinegar)
  • Thinly sliced red onion
  • Steamed peas, chickpeas, or black beans
  • Sliced avocado (my substitute for cheese, as I am lactose-intolerant)
  • Pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • Hard boiled egg
  • Splash of fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice

Enjoy!

 

Hydrate in Summer Heat

Hydrate in Summer Heat

What coconut water can do for you…and how it probably saved my life.

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Okay, maybe that was a small exaggeration. But coconut water did save me from an overnight stay in the hospital.

My Story with Coconut Water

In 2009, I started fitness training with a workout buddy, and came down with with Rhabdomyolysis (the rapid breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue). I ended up in the ER with chest pain, lethargy, and difficulty breathing. The doctors ran tests and found my  put me on an IV of fluids to flush out the poison from the muscle that had been released into my blood stream. If I had waited any longer, I could have had permanent kidney damage, or worse, even died.  I did not want to stay in the hospital overnight, so made a deal with the doctor, and promised to drink LOTS of water in the next 24 hours, and call if symptoms returned.

Over the next few days I drank coconut water around the clock, and it helped me so much I began to give it to my sons who were playing football in extreme heat.

Coconut water is a great source of potassium, electrolytes, and it tastes great! You can swap it out for water in smoothies, add it to raw veggie juice, or you can mix it with water or other fruit juice for a refreshing and hydrating drink. Sometimes when I decide to do a food fast, I drink nothing but coconut water all day, and it certainly sustains me.

Other foods to help you stay hydrated:

  • watermelon (you can juice an entire watermelon, including the rind!)
  • veggie juices (minimal fruit) (celery, cucumber)
  • smoothies
  • clear broth soups
  • vegetable salads
  • cruciferous veggies like cabbage+ tamari & toasted sesame chili oil
  • fresh fruits
  • spa water (simply add fruit and herb combinations to water, leave in the fridge overnight, and enjoy  the next day! Try strawberry + fresh basil, or cucumber + mint, or pineapple + rosemary.
  • coconut water – my favorite hydrating beverage! You can purchase at Whole Foods or HEB grocery stores, or you can make coconut water yourself.

 Want to try Coconut Water? Play it safe!

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Important rules with coconut water:

  • Be sure it’s raw.  Pasteurized means it has been heated to a temperature that kills all the living enzymes that make it a powerful food beverage. No bueno.
  • Be sure it’s 100% PURE.  This means NO added fruit, color, sugar or preservatives or flavorings. Otherwise it’s degraded to those popular sports drinks, which are not healthy for you.

 Learn to crack a young Thai coconut and make your own coconut water – save money! Here’s a quick YouTube How To Crack a Coconut demonstration.

 Where to buy coconuts:

I’d love to hear from you! Do you drink coconut water? Where do you buy it from, or do  you make it yourself?

Mmmmm…… Ch- Ch- Chia Pudding

Mmmmm…… Ch- Ch- Chia Pudding

Sing for Pudding

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Yes, you probably want to start singing the jingle from the commercial:
Ch-ch-ch-chia…remember the pet planter?
And yes, you can eat this seed! Who would have thought it was so healthy back in the day? This recipe is so easy to make it’s almost too good to be true.
For 1-2 servings:
  • 1 cup coconut, almond, or hemp milk
  • 2-3 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 banana
  • ½ cup blueberries (frozen are OK)
  • Handful of almonds or walnuts, if desired
  • Cinnamon, to taste
Mix all the ingredients together and let them sit in the refrigerator for a few minutes. Stir after a few minutes, as the chia is “gelling” into a pudding-like consistency. Let it sit in the refrigerator about 20 minutes or until ready  to eat.  If you find the pudding too thick, you can add more milk or a little water. If you find the pudding too thin, add more chia or any of the other ingredients to make it thicker. You really can’t go wrong with chia  pudding, which is why I love making it so much.
Now, let’s talk about the health benefits of chia. It is a superfood, for sure! According to Dr. Andrew Weil, chia is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids and provides fiber as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese,  copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc.
Another great benefit of chia seeds is that they are good for travel. Pack them in your suitcase and have them readily available to make chia pudding for breakfast or a snack in your hotel room. You can also pack travel size  containers of almond milk (if checking luggage), as well as nuts and just pick up fresh fruit in your destination city.
Soon you will be singing ch-ch-ch-chia right along with me.  Enjoy!

 

Ah, Avocado. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways

Ah, Avocado. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways

Avocado Love

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How much do I love avocados? Let me count the ways…

  1.  I love that your decadence tastes sinfully delicious, yet it’s the “healthiest” of fats.
  2. I love that you make my skin beautiful. The antioxidants in avocados help to get rid of toxins that promote premature aging and wrinkling of the skin. A lot of the toxins on your facial skin are the residue of makeup. Applying 1 mashed avocado as a facial mask and leaving it on for about 20 minutes before rinsing will help to remove these toxins and soften the skin. I promise, in the end, you will not look like the Wicked Witch of the West.
  3. I love to use you as a spread on my Ezekiel bread toast with a sprinkle of pink Himalayan sea salt, and red pepper flakes.
  4. I love that you make my hair shiny.  One avocado mashed and mixed together with 1 egg and your favorite essential oil is great for conditioning your hair. The healthy oils in the avocado help to moisturize and soften dry and brittle hair, and the vitamin E helps to restore a natural shine to your hair. To obtain these benefits simply massage the avocado and egg mixture into your hair and scalp and leave in for about 20 minutes. Then wash and condition with your favorite shampoo and conditioner.
  5. I love to use you in my salads. Any kind of salad.
  6. I love to use you on my sandwiches in place of mayonnaise.
  7. I love that you complete me. Avocados provide all 18 essential amino acids necessary for the body to form a complete protein. Unlike the protein in steak, which is difficult for most people to digest, avocado protein is readily absorbed by the body, because avocados also contain fiber. If you are trying to cut down on animal sources of protein in your diet, or if you are a vegetarian or vegan seeking more protein, avocados are a great nutritional ally to include not merely as an occasional treat, but as a regular part of your diet. Highest protein content of any fruit (yes, it’s a fruit).
  8. I love to use you in my smoothies to add some creamy richness.
  9. I love to scramble you in my egg white omelet.
  10. I love that you help me with my ABCs. While avocados have a high caloric count (one avocado is 320 calories), the various nutrients and “healthy” fats make it a must-eat. They are an alphabet of vitamins.  One avocado provides your body with vitamins A, C, E, K and B6, along with an enormous amount of potassium and “healthy” fat. Perhaps the biggest health benefit of avocados is that by adding avocado to certain foods, you can improve your absorption of nutrients. This means that when you combine other fat burning foods with avocado, you can improve your nutrient absorption up to 400%!

Oh, yes, I truly do love you, avocado!