Thursday, June 30, 2011

Breakfast Smoothie

My daily Breakfast is an energizing delicious 18 oz dairy-free Fruit Smoothie that may vary in the fruits I add, such as mango or peach, but 9 out of 10 times contain the exact recipe below.  This is a great summer breakfast. 
I use Hamilton Beach Single Serve Blender With Travel Lid. Only costs $12 at Walmart. I do love it but I'm looking to get a BPA-free blender soon. 

Frozen Fruit and Berry Pomegranate Hemp protein Smoothie Ingredients:
1.       ½ cup or so of crushed ice (0 cals)
2.       ½ cup frozen blueberries (40 cals)
3.       ½ cup of strawberries (25 cals)
4.       ½ a frozen banana* (45 cals)
5.       1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (only 35 calories!)
6.       1 tsp of ground flax seeds* (freshly ground before use) (60 cals)
7.       4 tbsp of Berry Pomegranate Nutiva Organic HempShake mix  (90 cals)
8.       1 tsp organic maca powder (20 cals)
9.       1 packet of SweetLeaf (stevia- healthy sweetener) (0 cals)
10.   ¼ tsp pure resveratrol powder (0 cals)
Total calories- 315 calories

Smoothie Tips-* peal your bananas Before freezing. They are very hard to peal when frozen…it’s like chipping paint.  At first I would shave of the peal with a knife but my fingers would freeze by the time I was done.   Cut them just in half before freezing for portion control and place in a zip lock bag in the freezer. They are very easy to chop up in small pieces when ready to use.  

*You want to grind your flax seeds because it’s easier to digest and you get more health benefits by doing so right before use. To grind my flax seeds I put it in a plastic sandwich baggy and smash it with a manual ceramic spice grinder on the counter until it’s all ground. I smash it using the length of it to get it done faster. But my new blender will have a chopper that will grind them for me! 

My daily supplements and vitamins
a.)    1 teaspoon of Carson’s lemon cod liver oil (45 cals)
b.)    ½  cup of orange juice to chase down the cod liver oil (55 cals)
c.)     1 serving (4 caps) Twinlab- Women’s Ultra Daily multi-vitamin (0 cals)

 Total calories- 100 calories

Fruit Smoothie Recipe
1.       Add crushed ice and blueberries, SweetLeaf sweetener and a dash of almond milk in blender and pulse blend.
2.       Then add remaining powders and freshly ground flax seed and blend adding a little bit more of the almond milk as needed.
3.       Add banana and strawberry and push to bottom with a long spoon. 
4.       Pulse until it no longer blends, then add the remaining almond milk.
5.       Keep stirring and pushing fruit to the bottom of the blender to make sure all is blended evenly.
6.       Lift cup off the mixer, stick a straw in and enjoy:)

*With the new blender I will be able to just throw everything together and blend!

 Dry and wet ingredients
 Fruits and sweetener
 Flax seeds before grinding
 Flax seeds after grinding
 Add blueberries, ice and Sweetleaf sweetener and blend
 Add a little almond milk to help blend
 Add powders and ground flax seeds and blend
 Add frozen banana and strawberries with almond milk and blend
 Stick a straw in, lift out of the bottom motor, and your smoothie is ready to go!
 Sip and enjoy a refreshing 18 ounces of goodness :)

Fruit Smoothie Health benefits and more info:

1.       Crushed ice- Adds H20 to your meal

2.       Blueberries-  Ranked in the U.S. diet as having one of the highest antioxidant capacities among all fruits, vegetables, spices and seasoning.  Excellent source of vitamin C, good source of dietary fiber, and excellent source of manganese.  Also a good source of the antioxidant vitamin E. If you can go organic, do! (Organically grown blueberries turned out to have significantly higher concentrations of total phenol antioxidants and total anthocyanin antioxidants than conventionally grown blueberries, as well as significantly higher total antioxidant capacity...not to mention pesticide-free).  

3.       Strawberries-  One cup of strawberries contains an incredible 136% of the RDA of vitamin C, an effective antioxidant that can help lower blood pressure, ensure a healthy immune system, and ward off the development of age-related ocular diseases, such as cataracts and macular degeneration by over one-third. It has over 13% of the RDA of dietary fiber, yet only 43 calories, that helps to keep digestion regular, as well as lowers blood pressure and curbs. overeating.  Contains 21% of manganese, an essential nutrient that acts as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent that fight against many inflammatory disorders, such as osteoarthritis, asthma and atherosclerosis, by inhibiting the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX) in the same way that the drugs aspirin and ibuprofen do.  Manganese is also great for the bones, helping in bone building and maintaining proper bone structure.  And also to fights against the onset of many different forms of cancer thanks to the vitamin C, folate, and the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol that they also contain.  

4.       Bananas- Bananas contain a high dose of potassium - an essential ingredient to keep your heart and nervous system in good shape.  They’re good for your kidneys and bones, can help stop constipation, can act as mood enhancers or mild sedatives, a natural anti-acid, and are one of the highest sources of naturally available vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 plays an important role in converting tryptophan to serotonin, and also helps the body to make hemoglobin - a crucial ingredient of your blood.  

5.       Unsweetened vanilla almond milk- One of my favorite new finds! Now that I’ve given up dairy I was very happy to have found that I love almond milk.  The sweetened Vanilla one is deelishh, but I can easily sweeten mine with stevia for no additional calories and added health benefits, so that is what I do.  Almond milk not only has 50% more calcium than daily milk (dairy contains 30% DV of calcium, almond milk contains 45%), but it has less calories and no sugar!  In one cup there are only 35 calories and provides an excellent source of natural antioxidants, with absolutely no cholesterol, saturated fat, sugar, lactose, dairy or soy, and it has 1 gram of protein, 1g dietary fiber, and 2.5g of healthy fats, and other vitamins….after all it’s made from almonds, a super food:) Unlike milk it also provides vitamin K.
6.       Flax seeds-  I use Now foods Flax seed Certified organic flax seeds. It’s very cheap to purchase, around $3 for a lb. and can be found many places such as  Flax seeds are an important source of polyunsatured fatty acids, including Omega-3, plus Magnesium, Zinc, dietary fiber and phytochemicals called lignans.  Flax seeds are commonly used as a laxative (to improve digestive health or relieve constipation). Both flax seed and flaxs eed oil have been used to help reduce total blood cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol levels and, as a result, may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Although flax seed oil also contains omega-3 fatty acids, it doesn't have the beneficial fiber that the seeds have.  Best consumed freshly ground. 

7.       Berry Pomegranate Nutiva Organic HempShake mix-   The ingredients are (Organic Hemp Protein, Superberry Blend (Organic Mesquite Pods, Organic Strawberries, Organic Blueberries, Organic Raspberries, Organic Cherries, Organic Pomegranates, Organic Sambazon Acai, Organic Goji Berries, Organic Guar Gum, Inulin From Chicory Root), Organic Fair Trade Certified Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Berry Flavor.)  What I love is that it is made of all USDA-certified-organic ingredients; high in protein, fiber; sweetened with Fair Trade cane juice.  I buy mine on amazon.  I get Two 32 oz jars for under $20 with the extra savings with an autoship subscription for shipment every 3 months. 

8.       Organic Maca powder-  Maca powder has a really nice nutty smell to it.  Studies have identified four alkaloids present in maca known to nourish the endocrine system. Maca root has been used as a stress-fighting adaptogen to increase stamina, boost libido and combat fatigue. Maca is a nutrient-dense whole food packed with vitamins, plant sterols as well as many essential minerals, fatty and amino acids. Maca is used to treat conditions such as osteoporosis, stomach cancer and stomach ulcers, erectile dysfunction, depression, leukemia, AIDS, HIV and tuberculosis.  Scientists and doctors are now finding maca to be one of the best natural ways to regulate and support endocrine health.  Thankfully, maca does not contain hormones itself (which is why I gave up dairy). Instead it provides a unique set of nutrients that directly fuel the endocrine system and help the glands to produce vital hormones in precise dosages predetermined by one's own body.   I also buy my maca powder on amazon for under $15 for a 16 oz pouch with 90 servings, on autoship (you get to choose how many months before the next shipment).  The brand I get is Navitas  and it’s certified Organic, Kosher, Vegan and Raw, made from pure, 100% organic Maca roots.  

9.       SweetLeaf- Made from an extract of the stevia rebaudiana plant, stevia boasts zero net carbs, zero calories, and a rating of zero on the glycemic index. It’s also about 300 times sweeter than sugar, so only a tiny amount is needed. It does have a reported slight aftertaste, but I don't notice it at all in my smoothie.  You can read more about Sweetleaf here-  SweetLeaf® is the only chemical free, Zero Glycemic Index, Zero Calories, Zero Carbs, Zero Chemicals, Zero Additives, Zero Solvents, Zero Sugar Alcohol, Zero Aftertaste, Gluten Free, 100% natural sweetener there is.  It’s made by taking the highest quality leaves of the stevia plant and extracting their naturally sweet taste with only cool, purified water.
10.   Resveratrol powder-  Since I do no drink alcohol (red wine) at all I get my resveratrol from a powder (so I get the benefits minus the damage caused by the alcohol in red wine).  The kind I get is 99.5% Pure Trans Resveratrol Powder from CurEase. It has no additives, no fillers, no flowing agents.  In a bag you get 240 servings, and only need a ¼ of a teaspoon a day.  You can get the 99.9% one for $15 more. Resveratrol exists in two different isomers, trans-resveratrol and cis-resveratrol. Researchers have identified trans-resveratrol as the biologically active of the two isomers, which means it’s in a form the body can absorb and use.  Benefits include cancer fighting (by killing cancerous cells while protecting the heart by preventing cell damage) and weight loss (as an antioxidant, it helps break down the fats stored in the white adipose tissue of our body so they get metabolized by the liver).   Also, it is believed that resveratrol works as an effective anti-aging ingredient… its dual role in maintaining a healthy heart and blood circulation with low doses, while counteracting tumor cell growth in larges doses. As a result, Resveratrol not only has health promoting, medicinal properties, it also prolongs life. 

a.)    Carson’s Norwegian cod liver oil (lemon flavor) To see product details you can view it here  I purchase mine from Costs around $23 for 16.8 fl oz, 100 servings.

Cod liver oil is amazing for your body! I searched and found this product to be the highest rated cod liver oil out there…very healthily prepared and it’s very pleasant tasting!  I got the recommendation from Kandee Johnson. She recommended the Pomegranate Hemp protein shake too, and I'm so thankful! In this cod liver oil, the only taste is a very slight hint of lemon.  I chase mine down with OJ just because I’m not a fan of oily textures (not that i can't tolerate taking it alone) so I hold the tsp of cod liver oil at the roof of my mouth and swallow it with my first sip of OJ then drink the rest, and it’s like I didn’t take it at all…I only taste the orange juice. 

~  Cod  liver oil is naturally rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin D3, EPA and DHA.   The omega-3 fatty acids like EPA and DHA found in cod-liver oil are known to be effective in treating/preventing various medical conditions like cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 1 diabetes, neurological illnesses like Alzheimer’s and autism, arthritis, asthma and various learning disorders. Moreover, regular cod-liver oil supplementation has also been proven to aid normal neurological development in infants and better brain function and focus in adults.
~  Vitamin A present in cod-liver oil helps maintain vision and skin health. It also plays an important as one of the many immune system vitamins and also helps in preventing night blindness.
~  Cod-liver oil is also a great vitamin D source which is also known as the “sunshine” vitamin. It keeps the bones healthy. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets, arthritis, juvenile diabetes and even cancer. Thus regular cod-liver oil supplementation is extremely helpful in avoiding vitamin D deficiency.

b.)   Orange juice-  We usually get the low-acid OJ.  Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C. They are also a very good source of dietary fiber. In addition, oranges are a good source of B vitamins including vitamin B1 and folate as well as vitamin A, calcium and potassium.  Oranges provide healing phytonutrients, a healthy dose of vitamin C for antioxidant protection and immune support, a glass of orange juice more protective than vitamin C alone, protection against cardiovascular disease, long-acting liminoids in citrus add to Their ability to promote optimal health, possible cholesterol-lowering benefits, compounds in orange peel may lower cholesterol as effectively as statin drugs, A very good source of fiber.  In addition to oranges' phytonutrients, vitamin C and fiber, they are a good source of thiamin, folate, vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), potassium and calcium. Prevent kidney stones, help prevent ulcers and reduce risk for stomach cancer, protect respiratory health, protection against rheumatoid arthritis

c.)    Multi-Vitamin- It's absolutely crucial that your body gets the nutrients it needs to function effectively and efficiently. The daily stress of pollution, fatty and processed food, and stress deplete your body of nutrients and it's up to you to replace these nutrients. You can do this through healthy nutrition, or even better, through healthy nutrition and proper supplementation. For the average person, it's difficult to get the proper amount of nutrients needed from food alone each day. Even the healthiest of eaters might not be getting the recommended amount of vitamins and minerals. 

 I usually take this right before I make my smoothie

Did you know- The fistin in strawberries improves long-term memory and helps you think faster.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Welcome to my Health Blog:)

Hello, and Welcome to my health blog!  I'm so excited to get this going, as ideas on what I would like to share have been streaming though my mind for weeks now. On this site I would like to share my personal journey to living a toxic-free, greener, and healthier the best of my ability.  Some things I will share include healthy meals I enjoy and their benefits, beauty and cleansing products I’ve tried or recommend based on research of harmful ingredients to avoid, and I plan on posting a Food of the Day/Week to help spread the word on healthy foods, and I will try to share as much health information with you as I possibly can, as it will keep me motivated to live a cleaner life and hopefully influence you to make some positive lifestyle changes as well:)

Personal blurb about myself…
Since my teenage years I have been quite obsessed with living a healthy life.  It began in my very early teenage years when I lost quite a bit of weight, and as the years passed on I went from an obsession to losing weight to an obsession of being healthy, with losing weight coming secondary.  I have never smoked, and try my best to keep away from second-hand smoke, and I do not drink any alcohol.  Chocolate however is a huge part of my life!  As I take my journey to optimal health I will keep chocolate in my life:) and move on to eating only dark chocolate, which has amazing health benefits (in moderation).  I have already acclimated to 72% dark chocolate; 70% cocoa or more is recommended for optimal health benefits from dark chocolate.

I have recently become a Pescetarian (Vegetarian that only eats fish) and so far it’s going great!  I can definitely see myself maintaining my new lifestyle, although I am realistic and know life can take us down unpredictable roads, so I take things one day at a time with short goals.  Since I lost weight I was never a big red-meat eater, in fact I gave it up for many years at one point…but I always did love my chicken. I have to admit i will miss chicken tikka!  But I am happy to give it up and explore new protein sources for as long as I can.   

After doing many days of research I also decided to give up dairy products completely (apart from dark chocolate of course…the only exception).  I have been dairy-free for 2 weeks now and I have to say it’s been very easy for me, (my new favorite alternative being Vanilla Almond milk).  I will explain why I’ve chosen to make all these changes in my lifestyle in upcoming blogs.  

Basically, anything I can do to live healthier, I plan on attempting to do it.  So I can stay young, disease-free and live longer.  I will only have one body in this lifetime so I plan to to take exceptional care of it.    

Along with all the ingredients I will avoid in foods I eat, I have also recently come to learn about all the crazy unhealthy ingredients you can find in most very common beauty products.  Coming upon this knowledge has definitely jolted my lifestyle to take a turn.  I can’t unlearn what I have so can’t consciously put certain products in or on my body any more! Having learned what I have, I got rid of the majority of products that I used to use or held on to (that I probably should have thrown away ages ago…I have a bad habit of savoring sentimental or what I considered exception products...not to mention expensive).  Literally 3 plastic bags full of products gone! I certainly didn't need that many to start off with.  Switching them with healthier organic and natural ingredient products.  I'm actually very lucky and don’t particularly have “sensitive” skin, or any allergies that I know of, but I plan to make choices as though I do, as allergies can accumulate in time.

One thing I will have a tough time parting with is nail polish...grrr. I love doing nail art and have a ton of colors I really don't want to part with, so I will just take precautionary measures while I maybe wean off them by using them only on special occasions, and replace them with safer product in time. 

Another tidbit about me is that I love to spend time on the internet to learn and research topics that I am curious about, health topics being the number one thing I research. So along with that I have come across several amazing individuals who have youtube channels or websites who I follow and will often reference in my blogs.  Among them is a healthy fat loss expert, skin expert, make-up artist, and several doctors who have all blown my mind with insight. I look forward to sharing what I have learned from them with you.  

Along with physical health and well being I believe that a positive outlook on life is extremely important in living a healthy life.  Reducing stress is such a huge part of well being.  I'm convinced that the placebo effect of sugar pills is due to the person's stress level dropping when they "Think" they are taking something to help their condition.  Not to mention the extreme benefits of deep breathing and relaxation. In general I am a very positive person, and believe wholeheartedly that there is a silver lining to everything, sometimes you just need to dig deep, or take a life lesson from a bad situation.  Acknowledge a bad feeling, feel it for a moment and let it go (learned that in a Buddhist class in college and hung on to it every since, reminding myself of that in tough times).   I have also been blessed with an amazing family and relatives who I love dearly, and surround myself with positive people as well, which does make life a lot sweeter.

I want to thank you for taking the time to read my intro post.  I hope my blog can encourage you to also live a healthier life, and if nothing else to inspire you in one way or the other to have a more positive outlook on life.
Thank you for visiting, and Enjoy!

Don't forget to feed the fish;)

ciao ciao, Anita 

"Life is like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you represents determinism; the way you play it is free will.  ~Jawaharal Nehru"