Grow your roots for everyday living.

Posts from the ‘Super Foods’ category

Getting Green and Juicy

Summer is almost here, fruits and vegetables are abundant, and I’m getting back into the routine of blending.  The best part of ‘juicing’ is that you can use almost anything.  Whatever you have lying in your fridge that is not already accounted for in tonights dinner, is worthy of being blended into a magnificent concoction.  Not only is this easy to do, but you are nourishing yourself with an abundance of nutrients.  This can also be done on the cheap, using whatever is in season and most affordable.  I get most of my fruits and veggies at a fruit stand, which means that they sell excess produce super affordably and the produce that is on its way out is extra cheap, making it perfect for being thrown in the blender!

Todays Blend:
1/2 cucumber
1 medium carrot
1 1/2 cups of spinach or so..
handful of grapes
4 dates
1 scoop protein powder
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup ice

This made enough for 2 people, or 1 of me spread over the course of the afternoon..  Truth is you can blend whatever you desire and is available..

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Sardines Anyone?

Give these highly nutritious guys a try!

Enjoy them as a snack or as part of a meal.  You can eat them anyway you want: whole, filleted, grilled, stewed, sweet and sour.

Sardines are an oily fish, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and contain no carbohydrates. That helps stabilize blood sugar levels. This particular fish is one of the richest sources of fish protein and contains vitamins – A, B, C, D and E.  Sardines are also packed with minerals including: iron, calcium, selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.  They are one of the few foods that contain the antioxidant Coenzyme Q10 which is important for heart health.  These fish are fantastic for brain function, heart and kidney health, energy and vitality.

Start them young with SARDINES!
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Pretty Chard

Chard, is a leafy green vegetable often used in Mediterranean cooking.  The leaves can be green or reddish in color. The chard stalks also vary in color, such as these found at Pike’s Place in Seattle.  Chard leaves are packed with nutrients and minerals, making them a nutritional powerhouse.

Benefits –
– Houses many phytonutrients that have health promoting and disease preventing properties.
– Excellent source of vitamins K, A, and C.
– Good source of magnesium, potassium, iron, and dietary fiber.

Eat –
Raw or lightly sautéed with olive oil, garlic, sea salt, pepper..
Baked in a quiche or potato frittata.
Wrap the leaves around shrimp, chicken or steak and drizzle with your favorite homemade dip or sauce ..tzatziki, savory sweet and sour, red curry aioli, pesto..

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7 Superfoods

What would you put on your list of Superfoods and Must-Haves?

Berries (blackberry, blueberry, strawberry, gogi, acai..), Seeds (chia, flax, hemp, quinoa, sunflower..), Nuts (almond, walnuts, cashew), Cruciferous Veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, spinach..), Roots (maca, ashwagandha, eleuthero, Asian ginseng..), Oils (coconut, red palm, macadamia nut, sesame, avocado, olive oil..), Fermented Foods (sauerkraut, tempeh, kombucha, kimchi, kefir..), Bee Products (raw honey, propolis, royal jelly, pollen)..Chocolate (raw dark chocolate, yes please!)

*If you are not familiar with some of these foods, pick one to incorporate into a meal or smoothie.  It is important to add different foods into your diet, just as it is important to add new components into your life.  We need to stay satisfied and stimulated in all areas.

–Do you live near a Whole Foods?
If so, buy a few freshly prepared foods that look good to you.  Then you can then recreate the dish at home because many of them have the recipe right on the package!  This is a fun way to try something new, fresh and healthy.

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Crazy for COCONUTS

Coconuts have become oh so popular, but what does that mean for you?

I constantly hear people questioning the nutritional validity as coconut oil is one of the most misunderstood dietary fats/oils.  They are predominantly over 90% saturated fat, and this is where the confusion begins.  As I say time and time again, saturated fats are not all bad!  The distinguishing feature between coconut oil and other saturated fats and triglycerides is the shorter length of the fatty acid.  I’m going to get a little technical because it helps people to better understand.

Coconut oil is a medium chain triglyceride (MCT), 6 to 12 carbons long, as opposed to long chain triglycerides being over 12 carbon lengths long.  Long chain fatty acids must be broken down before being absorbed and are the main form of fat found in western diets.  Coconut oil being high in short and medium chain fatty acids, makes it much easier for the body to digest, absorb and process; as the breakdown requires less energy and enzymatic action that what is needed for longer chain triglycerides.  Once broken down into medium chain fatty acids and absorbed, they are delivered to the liver where they can be used as a primary energy source.
Traveling directly to the liver creates an increase in metabolism, ultimately resulting in an improvement in blood lipid levels.  Because MCTs are sent directly to the liver no bile or pancreatic enzymes are needed for digestion, making coconut oil a healthy food for those with diabetes or those with gallbladder ailments.  Also worth noting is in eastern Asian cultures where coconut oil is a significant source of fat, rates of heart disease, atherosclerosis among other ailments are much lower than in their western counterparts.
WHY Coconut?
-Boosts metabolism and aids in satiety – can lead to weight loss.
-Beneficial for those with Alzheimer’s by improving cognitive function and memory.  This is because Alzheimer’s patients are not able to use glucose as readily which is the preferred form of fuel for the brain.  However, the brain can use ketone bodies and MCT’s are excellent sources of ketone bodies.
-Loaded with antioxidant compounds – protecting from oxidation and degradation.
-Powerful antimicrobial/antifungal/antiviral compound – can fight infection and flu, and active against a plethora of candida strains ansd fighting yeast infections in the body.  This is because of the lauric acid found in coconut oil.  Lauric acid is found in abundance in human breastmilk and converts to a substance called monolaurin in the body.  Monolaurin has been shown to be useful in increasing immunity and fighting viruses and diseases.
*Take Lauric acid in coconut oil in combination with oregano oil to fight staph bacteria.
-High lauric acid content – help lower cholesterol/blood pressure, doesn’t increase LDL.
-Shown activity against oral pathogens and skin pathogens associated with acne.
-May help increase thyroid health.  Because of nutritional properties and ability to travel directly to liver without the need for hormones or enzymes in digestion.
-Can increase bone strength by allowing better absorption of calcium, vitamin D and other minerals.

WHERE to use Coconut?
-Coconut can be used for everything from cooking and baking related to as a body product such as lotion or eye makeup remover.
Refer to Wellnessmama for more info:

Cherry Coconut Ice Cream/No Bake Chocolate Balls/Coconut Love

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The skinny on FAT

Fats aren’t all bad for you.  I feel this is a misconception created years ago amidst other diet trends.  Yes, the hydrogenated fats or “trans” fats used in prepared, processed foods can be extremely damaging to the body which is why they are outlawed in some states.  These fats can be damaging to your cardiovascular system, immune system and lead to a gamut of behavioral problems; not to mention weight gain, skin problems, high blood pressure and organ strain.

Unfortunately many people think fat makes you fat, and in fact this is quite the opposite.  Our bodies need fat to burn fat.  Fat is important for nutrient absorption of vitamins and minerals, proteins and carbohydrates; metabolism control; normalized hormone levels; insulation and lubrication.  Without fat skin becomes dry and hair loses its luster.   Fat also makes give you a sense of satiety and tastes good, it raises endorphins giving way to a sense of pleasure.

Sources of Healthy Fats:  –  Organic/local eggs, wild salmon, fish, meat.-  Nuts and Seeds – especially almonds and walnuts.-  Butters and Oils – sunflower, almond, coconut, ghee, lard, tallow, duck fat.
Organic, cold/first-pressed extra virgin olive oil, macadamia nut, walnut,
avocado, flaxseed, sesame oils.
–  Full-fat dairy-  Avocados
–  Olives
–  High Temperatures (stir-frying, baking)  – ghee or coconut oil.-  Lower Temperatures (sautéing) – extra virgin olive oil.-  Unheated in sauces/salads – extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed, sesame, walnut.

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5 Foods to Feast On

Spring is a great time to try a few new foods.  Just because you haven’t cooked with it before, or you are pretty darn sure you or your loved one isn’t going to like it, GIVE IT A GO.  You may be surprised!

1.  Kale
– Packed with nutrients: High in antioxidants, loaded with vitamin C, rich in vitamins A and K; very low in calories.  Sautee in a pan and drizzle with Bragg’s, and balsamic vinegar if desired.
2.  Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans
– Good source of protein, fiber, and folate; low in fat and calories.  A half-cup serving has more than 7 grams of protein and 6 grams of dietary fiber.  Put in a salad, soup, or make hummus!
Holly’s Hummus:  Blend – 1 can chickpeas (including 1/2 the water in the can), 1 red bell pepper, 1 tsp. sea salt, 1 tsp. pepper, hot sauce, season to flavor: cumin, tumeric, rosemary.  Serve.
3.  Bulgur
– More dietary fiber than oats, millet or buckwheat, adds to your iron supply (especially for those vegetarians, or people lacking in greens).  A half-cup serving prepared has 4 grams of dietary fiber.
4.  Spaghetti Squash
– One of my favorites!  Use this like spaghetti, its a fantastic replacement for starchy carbohydrate.  1 cup cooked has ~1/4 the carbohydrate as cooked spaghetti, not to mention all the nutrients: Rich in antioxidants, fiber, iron and vitamin B6.  Cook as you would other hard-shell squash.  Cut it in half lengthwise, scooping out the seeds and either boiling or baking the halves till tender.  If baking: bake for ~45 min at ~375 degrees.  Once cooled, scoop out the flesh, which breaks into high nutritious strands and serve the same way you would any pasta; using your favorite sauce or simply drizzle olive oil and sprinkle seasonings and freshly grated parmesan over the top.
5.  Sunflower Seeds
– Very versatile and a great way to get some protein.  A quarter-cup serving of dry roasted seeds supplies ~4 grams of dietary fiber, 6 grams of protein and is an excellent source of vitamin E.  Sprinkle on salad, cook into a granola bar, cookie, or eat as a snack by themselves.
*Try combining: kale, chickpeas, bulgur and sunflower seeds into a salad that wakes up your taste buds and packs on the nutrients.

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