Posts Tagged ‘vegetables’

Inspired Beverage – The Green Smoothie

Photo by Ashley Teplin

I love smoothies–especially green smoothies made from a combination of green vegetables and fruits. They give me energy—make me want to do backflips or break out in a dance routine to “Footloose”.

Most of the time, I use a similar base of ingredients; banana, blueberries, broccoli, green peas, kale, almond butter and water. Next, I add whatever else calls to me; apple, plum, pear, spinach, chia seeds … I sometimes switch the almond butter for hemp or pea protein powder. Now and again I change up the kale for wheat grass powder. With all the tossing of this and that into the blender, sometimes the smoothie goes south and I have to work to bring it back into the realm of palatable.

Like last week, during a photo shoot for Mutineer Magazine. I’m being featured in a spread named, “Inspired Beverage Voices-Napa Valley”. My green smoothie is the rising, non-alcoholic, star beverage. On November 6th, I’ll be attending the Mutineer Red Carpet Party, without my blender in hand. While trying to impress the Publisher and Editor, Alan Kropf, I was once again clearly reminded of the art of green smoothie making and the pressure to tweak recipes.

Photo by Ashley Teplin

Why was my smoothie so thick? Of course I had used more kale than usual to impress my new smoothie converts. I ran out of blueberries and had to substitute raspberries. I added a plum and voila … my smoothie tasted okay, but not yet yummy. It needed help to rise to the stature of smoothie masterpiece. I added another banana (after all it was a smoothie for three people), one scoop of “GreenSuperFood with Goji and Acai by Amazing Grass” and poured in more water. Pure healthy, smooth, deliciousness!

Sometimes our beverages just need a little more inspiration to shine and be the best they can be. What inspired ingredients do you have up your sleeves, Healthy Junkies?

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Whatever Floats Your Nutritional Boat

With boat loads of information and conflicting viewpoints, it’s hard not to be confused about nutrition. Many of us are overwhelmed. What should we eat? What shouldn’t we eat? What’s healthy? What’s necessary? What’s good? What’s bad? Lately, I’ve been approached by many Healthy Junkies who are confused, annoyed and weighed down with information.  Some have stepped off the boat and given up on finding their way to better nutrition. Many have bought into the unattainable concept I like to call the “Nutritional Martha Stewart.” That is unless we’re eating only hand-picked, farmed-fresh, from our own backyard produce and meats, we’re simply not cutting it.  If we allow our vessel to be tipped over, and attempt to abide by every rule, we may find ourselves hard-pressed to find anything perfect enough to eat.

My first piece of advice is, relax! Cruising toward good health is not made any easier by stressing. However, incorporating healthier foods and cutting out the sludge can make us feel better and increase our energy. It’s really not that complicated to row our boats many waves closer to improved health. If we exclude non-foods from our diet and incorporate clean, whole foods, we’re sailing on the boat to healthy.

If we focus our attention on the structure we already know, our boat can afford a little sugary and non-nutritious cargo. Eat a range of foods; proteins like nuts, seeds, wild fish, organic eggs (the whole egg),clean meats that are free-range and not injected with hormones or antibiotics, and plain yogurt; whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, millet and oats; legumes such as black, pinto, garbanzo and adzuki beans; fruits (especially berries); and vegetables (the focus). It’s worth repeating—eat LOTS of veggies every day (no joke—this is key). If you’re already doing all this, good for you! Your boat can handle a mild storm of cupcakes, or too much wine, every once in awhile.

Regardless, we can all benefit from the Eat Healthy Challenge. It’s designed to help us really step into a healthier way of looking at food and ourselves. Some of us Healthy Junkies are making it more difficult this time by eliminating gluten for the twenty-eight days. But remember, health is not a competition. Go one stroke further ahead from where you are right now and forget about the other boats. It’s your boat that matters!

Top Ten Foods

Every day we should eat at least one serving from the following food groups. Repetition within the vegetable groups is always recommended. The following foods have one or many healing properties. Examples include; anti-cancer, antioxidant, colon cleansing, bacteria balancing, immune building, blood cleansing, and enzyme and antibody building. I eat at least one serving from every group every day.

  1. Dark leafy greens – like kale, spinach, collard greens, Swiss chard, beet greens and so on.
  2. Cruciferous vegetables—my favorite is broccoli, but all cruciferous veggies have anti-cancer properties, such as Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy and kale. 
  3. Berries—like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and others.
  4. Whole grains—like millet, quinoa, bulgur, oatmeal, brown rice, etc.  
  5. Legumes—like black beans, split peas, lentils, chickpeas, adzuki beans, kidney beans, pinto beans and so on.
  6. Nuts and Seeds—for example, a handful of almonds, Brazil nuts, pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, or sesame seeds.
  7. Fibrous vegetables—artichokes, peas, green beans, broccoli, sweet potato, yams, eggplant, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, collard greens, kale, spinach, pumpkin, raw beets and so many others. Apples, dried figs, and pears are high fiber fruits.   
  8. Plain yogurt—As long as you are not lactose intolerant, yogurt is a great food packed with healthy bacteria that helps to keep the flora of the gut in proper balance. Choose plain yogurt, adding sugar defeats the purpose.
  9. Protein—proteins are involved in almost all cell functions. If you are vegetarian focus on whole eggs, nuts and seeds and incorporate whey or a plant-based protein powder into the diet. Meat eaters should incorporate more fish, like salmon or halibut. Choose lean meats like chicken and turkey.
  10. Healthy “fatty” foods—flaxseed oil has a very high content of EFAs (essential fatty acids). Deep water fish like salmon, anchovies, albacore tuna, cod, halibut and others are high in omega 3s. Eat hemp seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, flax meal, chia seeds, avocados and other foods. Use grape seed oil on salads and cook with olive oil.   

Every morning, I blend up my green smoothie giving myself a significant head start to the day. On top of adding banana, wheatgrass powder and water to my smoothies, I cover six of the ten groups listed above by putting the following raw ingredients my blender:

  • Frozen blueberries
  • Frozen broccoli
  • Frozen green peas
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • A handful of nuts or a non-sweetened whey powder
  • Chia seeds

The key is to keep it simple—eat lots of vegetables (especially the green ones), whole grains, legumes, lean proteins (increase fish) and some fruits and nuts every day.

Everyday Breakfast Smoothie

Jay and I drink this smoothie every morning for breakfast.  My friend Julia is an advocate for the green smoothie revolution and I’ve incorporated many of her ideas into this smoothie.  The following recipe contains more servings of fruits and vegetables than a typical American consumes all day.  *Excluding potatoes, on average Americans consume a combined total of only three servings of fruits and vegetables per day.  The Everyday Breakfast Smoothie has about five servings of combined fruits and vegetables per person.  

You are going to need a blender.  The idea is to drink fresh veggies and increase overall nutrition.  So play around with the ingredients if you want.

Everyday Breakfast Smoothie (serves 2)

  • 1-2 bananas
  • 1 apple
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup of blueberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas
  • 4 large stalks and leaves of kale
  • 1/2 red or green pepper
  • 1/4 bunch of fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp wheatgrass (bought from a Health Food store)
  • 2 tbsp of flaxseed oil
  • water to blend 

You can also eat a handful of nuts for protein on the side. 

Serve and enjoy!

Source: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/vegetables-full-story/index.html

Messy Baked Burritos

We had these Messy Baked Burritos for dinner last night.  It’s not the prettiest dish in the world, but I’m always more concerned with nutrient density than appearance.  As long as I think it tastes delicious and the dish is nutritiously up to standards – I like it.  I especially like it if I’m also satisfied after eating it.   I say it serves six because there are six tortillas.  But really the portions are large.  So it probably serves six of me or eight to ten less hungry people.  The Messy Baked Burritos is a Community Cleanse friendly recipe.  Anyone on a Candida cleanse omit the goat feta and plain yogurt.

 

Baked Burritos (Serves between 6 and 10)

  • 1 package Ezekiel wraps (6)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 1 big sweet onions
  • 2 peppers mixed colors
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 1 head of Swiss chard
  • 1 firm block of tofu – (you can substitute chicken, ground turkey or extra lean ground beef)
  • 1 package of organic taco, enchilada or burrito mix – read labels 
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can crushed black beans
  • 1/2 pound of goat feta (or not)
  • Plain yogurt (or not)
  • Salsa

Step one:

Saute onions, ginger and garlic together in some olive oil

Add blocks of firm tofu (mashed – you can use your fingers)

Add the taco seasoning package

Step two

Stir fry all vegetables until cooked nicely (peppers, zucchini, broccoli and Swiss chard together in some olive oil or sesame oil).

Mix in the can of tomato sauce.

Step 3

Mix all cooked ingredients together

Add mashed can of black beans (mash them in a bowl)

Add feta goat cheese

Step 4

In a large baking pan –  put a little of the tomato mixture or some salsa on the bottom of the pan to keep the wraps from sticking.  

Put two large scoops of the mixture into each Ezekiel wrap and fold them together like a burrito and place them one beside the other in the baking dish (they can be tightly beside each other).

Save some of the mixture and scoop half a large spoonful on top of each burrito in the pan.

Step 5

Bake at F350°, 15 minutes

Serve with a dollop of yogurt and salsa on the side.

Red Pepper Smoothie

Red Pepper Smoothie

When peppers came into season about one month ago, I thought I’d try a little different smoothie action in the blender.  I used one full red bell pepper and the result was pure deliciousness.  My husband exclaimed, “Oh this tastes amazing, like mouthwash for your insides.”  Now granted he’s fully drank the kool-aid and is onboard the health train, I still consider him a good solid guinea pig.

Yummy and oh so healthy!
(the recipe is for two people)
put the following ingredients in a blender…bottoms up…
2 bananas
1 apple

10 strawberries (I used frozen)
1 red bell pepper
One third of a bunch of cilantro
just a little water – start with a ¼ cup and add more if necessary to blend (add ice instead if your berries are not frozen)

I love eating vegetables this way (in the blender) because they’re raw. It’s not often I sit down and eat half a bell pepper and loads of cilantro.  It’s super easy to increase our intake of fresh veggies, when we throw them in the blender. You can try any variety of them, maybe just not mustard greens.  Take my word for it, mustard greens taste horrible in a smoothie – wasabi shooter smoothie – no thank-you.