Detox Day 7: More Superfoods

Can you believe it’s the last day FINALLY? What a super journey this has been! Now that you’ve graduated from inhaling so many of nature’s powerfoods (berries, quinoa, broccoli, kale, spinach, beans, lentils…), I thought this would be a good opportunity to introduce the next class of the not-so-common ones so you can consider taking your newly found health one step further. What you’re already eating/not eating is HUGE, and these extras might just help you be even MORE superpowered!

Blue Green Algae: Superstar immune-booster. Basically flavorless and comes in powders, flakes, or frozen. Can be tossed into smoothies without changing the flavor. The TJ’s Very Green Dietary Supplement contains spirulina, a popular blue green algae. But, lots of folks swear by E3 Live.

Chia Seeds: Loaded with antioxidants, essential fatty acids (more than salmon), protein, and fiber, these little guys help keep you energized and help reduce unhealthy cravings. They are easy to digest and don’t need to be ground like flax seeds. Add them to breakfast cereals, muffins, cookies, smoothies, pancakes, anything really! Find my recipes for Chia Blondies and a Chia Colada here.

Maca Root Powder: Helps to balance hormones and battle stress by strengthening the adrenal gland. Has proven helpful in treating fertility, poor libido, and menopause. Can be added to oatmeal, smoothies, or rice dishes.

Raw Cacao: Helps elevate mind and mood, and is skyhigh in antioxidants. It contains theobromine which promotes alertness without the side-effects of caffeine. Add it to smoothies, or use it in baking or for puddings. Find it at your local health food store or check it out online as seen here.

Congrats on all you’ve learned, changed, and become this week. Cheers to energizing food and living life to its fullest! I’d love to hear how you benefited from these 7 days–please share! XOXO

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Detox Day 6: Thinking About Days 8, 9, & 10….

Mmm! A half-plate of veggies

Happy Day 6! What’s the latest? Still feeling good? Sleeping well and feeling energized? Now is a perfect time to start thinking about what happens the day after tomorrow. Will you go back to your pre-Detox eating? A modified version? Take today and tomorrow and make a plan for what you’d like to do long-term. Here are some popular, healthy, and realistic post-Detox modifications to consider:

1. Go back to drinking the morning cup of coffee you missed, but with vanilla almond milk instead of cream and sugar. Try this creamy, dairy-free concoction. Or, enjoy green, white, or black tea as your morning caffeinated beverage.

2. Continue eating the level of fruits and veggies with a giant heaping of cooked veggies at either lunch or dinner, and a giant serving of raw veggies at the other meal. Shoot for HALF your plate being veggies (either raw or cooked) at mealtime.

3. Continue with shakes or smoothies in the morning, but add a protein powder such as this hemp seed one from Trader Joe’s or Planet Fusion’s Vanilla Plant Fusion. High in protein, fiber, and essential amino acids, and makes your morning drink more filling.

4. Add a more substantial morning meal such as gluten-free oatmeal (Trader Joe’s has amazing gluten-free oats that seem exactly like traditional rolled oats) with a handful of dried cranberries for sweetness, raw cashews, cinnamon, and cooled down with a dash of unsweetened non-dairy milk. Or heat up a cup of cooked quinoa from the previous night’s dinner with dried fruit, nuts, cinnamon, and non-dairy milk.

5. Enjoy a raw food bar in the afternoon to satisfy your sweet tooth–they’re easy to keep on hand, easily survive life in the bottom of bags, and can be stepped on without changing shape. Examples: Larabar, Pure Energy, and KIND. These can all be found in any old grocery store, TJ’s, or Whole Foods.

6. Continue with the Detox as your constant (developing your own menus using the guidelines), and veer from the Detox for special weekend days, when you go out to eat (trying your best to keep with the guidelines, but allowing yourself those treats you may have been missing), have potlucks, or attend parties.

7. Do the Detox 1-2 days per week or 7 days a month, and a modified version on the other days.

What else will you do to carry on the healthy changes you made once the Detox is done? Hopefully you’ll all continue drinking all those energizing fluids!

Enjoy this day and the new, healthy you! XOXO

Easy-as-Pie Low Sugar Monkey Cake

Light, Fluffy, Rich, Lower Sugar!

Looking for a sweet dessert without the chemicals, weird artificial flavor taste, and without added sugar? Impossible! Forget it! Oh wait. Enter: Monkey Cake.

Sugar–with it’s highly inflammatory, blood sugar-spiking, acne-growing, and teeth-rotting attributes, combined with the fact that it doesn’t even do your laundry–has sent me on a dessert mission. A mission to create a lower sugar baked good that’s not only highly tolerable, but bordering on cravable. This one does it, especially if you’re part monkey. The sweetness comes from bananas and a touch of Truvia, a natural calorie-free sweetener from the stevia plant. The coconut oil–gaining new health praise–adds a subtle tropical kick. Give it a whirl–it’s easy as pie!

Money Cake (Low Sugar)
Makes 12 hunks
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes

2 very ripe bananas
1/2 cup filtered water
3 Tablespoons Truvia Baking Blend (or other stevia leaf extract for baking)
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted, or vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (like Bob’s), or 2 1/2 cups brown rice flour (like Bob’s)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Mash banana, water, and stevia together, and stir in oil and vanilla until well-mixed.

Sift flour, baking soda, and salt together in a separate bowl. Combine flour mixture and cinnamon with wet mixture by stirring in gradually.

Pour mixture into a greased 9″ x 9″ square or 9″ round baking pan. Bake for 40 minutes, until top is golden brown. Let the cake cool before cutting.

Nutrition Info Per Hunk: 150 calories, 5 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 202 mg sodium, 24 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 3 g protein, 7% Iron.

The trick with using stevia baking blend in recipes is to substitute it at a 1:2 ratio for sugar. The stevia is sweeter and has a nasty aftertaste if overdone. The original version of this recipe called for 1/2 cup sugar (8 Tablespoons), and 3 Tablespoons of stevia baking blend does the trick without any nasty.

Vitamin D DanDy

Photo by: Barry Bridges

Are you feeling unexcited about your recent lottery win, or less energized about the energizing aspects of your life? If so, it may be time to load up on vitamin D. New stats show that 70% of Europeans have low Vitamin D levels, and I was reminded of this potential as I gazed out my window this morning at a snow-covered yard and a sun-deficient sky. Also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D is produced when ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight strike your skin. It’s found naturally in very few foods, added to some foods, and also available as a supplement.

SPF 8 and glass windows block vitamin D’s synthesis, darker skin produces less vitamin D with sunlight exposure, and cloud cover and shade reduce UV rays by about half, which is why it’s no surprise that many, many “I used to have energy” folks are coming up short this time of year. If you live at 42 degrees north latitude (I’m talking to you, northern Cali to Boston!), UV energy is insufficient from November through February. Once summer hits, it’s crucial to soak up a little bit of sun to refuel your tank.

How much do you need?
Just 5-30 minutes of summer sun from 10 AM – 3 PM twice a week to your face, arms, legs, or back without sunscreen will do the trick. You make about 20,000 International Units (IU’s) with just 20 minutes of summer sun. If you go the supplement route—necessary in winter months—the recommended intake is 400-1000 IU’s per day. However, some doctors and researchers recommend 2,000-4,000 IU’s daily for people with normal levels, and 5,000-10,000 IU’s daily for people with below normal levels. Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol, a synthetic form of D) is less bioavailable than Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol, animal-derived, and the kind that the sun makes in your skin), which means you need more D2 than D3 to increase your blood levels of Vitamin D when sunshine isn’t around.

Why is D so essential?
Bones need it for calcium absorption, and it’s also critical for neuromuscular and immune function, reduction of inflammation, and may be helpful in preventing cancer of the breast, ovary, colon, and prostate, and improving mood, depression, and energy levels especially during winter-time months. Plus, vitamin D research is getting close to proving it’s key role in preventing and treating type 1 and type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and glucose intolerance, heart disease, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, and other medical conditions.

Anything else?
A brand spankin’ new study just found that adequate Vitamin D could reduce inflammation and aging of the eyes as it improves retina health. Plus, previous studies have found Vitamin D deficiency to be a complication with liver disease and linked with increased risk of asthma among African American kids. Adequate Vitamin D levels are crucial for cancer prevention and survival, and are even pointing to increased survival among elderly women. For more info on D facts and figures, check here.

Where to Get It in the Winter
Many foods are fortified with Vitamin D, and say so on the label: Super sources are non-dairy milks including Earth Balance Soymilk which contains more Vitamin D than other non-dairy milks (120 IU’s per cup compared to 100 IU’s per cup). Non-dairy milks are also fortified with Calcium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin B12.

So where do you get your D? Time for a sunny vacation perhaps?

Detox Day 6: Time to Start Thinking About Day 8

Mmm! A half-plate of veggies

Happy Day 6! What’s the latest? Still feeling good? Sleeping well and feeling energized? Now is a perfect time to start thinking about what happens the day after tomorrow. Will you go back to your pre-Detox eating? A modified version? Take today and tomorrow and make a plan for what you’d like to do long-term. Here are some popular, healthy, and realistic post-Detox modifications to consider:

1. Go back to drinking the morning cup of coffee you missed, but with vanilla almond milk instead of cream and sugar. Try this creamy, dairy-free concoction. Or, enjoy green, white, or black tea as your morning caffeinated beverage.

2. Continue eating the level of fruits and veggies with a giant heaping of cooked veggies at either lunch or dinner, and a giant serving of raw veggies at the other meal. Shoot for HALF your plate being veggies (either raw or cooked) at mealtime.

3. Continue with shakes or smoothies in the morning, but add a protein powder such as this hemp seed one from Trader Joe’s. High in protein, fiber, and essential amino acids, and makes your morning drink more filling.

4. Add a more substantial morning meal such as gluten-free oatmeal (Trader Joe’s has amazing gluten-free oats that seem exactly like traditional rolled oats) with a handful of dried cranberries for sweetness, raw cashews, cinnamon, and cooled down with a dash of unsweetened non-dairy milk. Or heat up a cup of cooked quinoa from the previous night’s dinner with dried fruit, nuts, cinnamon, and non-dairy milk.

5. Enjoy a raw food bar in the afternoon to satisfy your sweet tooth–they’re easy to keep on hand, easily survive life in the bottom of bags, and can be stepped on without changing shape. Examples: Larabar, Pure Energy, and KIND. These can all be found in any old grocery store, TJ’s, or Whole Foods.

6. Continue with the Detox as your constant (developing your own menus using the guidelines), and veer from the Detox for special weekend days, when you go out to eat (trying your best to keep with the guidelines, but allowing yourself those treats you may have been missing), have potlucks, or attend parties.

7. Do the Detox 1-2 days per week or 7 days a month, and a modified version on the other days.

What else will you do to carry on the healthy changes you made once the Detox is done? Hopefully you’ll all continue drinking all those energizing fluids!

Enjoy this day and the new, healthy you! XOXO

Detox Day 5: Alkaline and Feelin’ Fine

Tahini Dressing for Veggies, in SKINNY DISH!

Woohoo to Day 5! You are just a few days away from multigrain tortillas! That is going to be one fantastic burrito 🙂

You may or may not have caught the acid/alkaline breeze in the Detox wind convo. Well, here’s the deal: Our blood and tissues love to be at a pH (measure of acidity/alkalinity) of about 7.35-7.45, which is slightly basic/alkaline. This is where your immune system is an immediate bad-guy destroyer and your overall health is sky high. As you loved learning in high school chemistry, the pH scale ranges from 0 to 14 with 0 to 6.9 being acidic, 7 being neutral, and 7.1 to 14 being basic (alkaline).

Contrary to what you may think, foods that are more acidic do not make your blood and tissues more acidic. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Oranges, tomatoes = acidic. But shocker, they make your blood and tissues more alkaline. As you could have guessed, pretty much all veggies, fruits, dark leafies, unprocessed grains, and other healthy foods help to make your blood and tissues more alkaline, while meats, dairy, eggs, sugary goods, highly processed foods, coffee and alcohol make your blood and tissues more acidic. One reason loading up on healthy fluids, fruits, and veggies, and avoiding all the other foods is so good at helping you detox, is because you’re working the alkalinity. For more on pH, check here and here and here.

Now for some extra credit: Want to check your very own pH? Using your SECOND urine of the day, pee on one of these test strips (or ones similar). Is the Detox working? Hurrrahh!

You never thought this would be so much fun! Keep truckin’ and Happy Weekend! XOXO

Detox Day 4: Calories

Broccoli Leek Soup, SKINNY DISH!

No doubt you’re feeling pretty jazzed that it’s Day 4. Afterall, you’re a Detoxing star! You’ve got your little ziplocks, you’re all smiles, and hopefully the days have gotten easier, the cravings for unhealthy foods are dissolving, and you’re feeling lighter and freer (but restraining from bra-burning…). Someone said the other day that this Detox is downright easy. Not just “not bad,” but simple! Well that’s exactly what I was hoping for. While challenging at times, it is completely doable and perhaps even enjoyable.

Alright, so what’s the deal with calories on this plan? Are you feeling lighter and freer because of the magic plant foods that raise your metabolism, the lower calories, or just because I keep saying that you’re feeling lighter and freer…. yoooou’rrree getttting skiiinnnnyyyy…? A little bit of all that!

Each Detox day has about 1500 calories at a minimum, 60-80 grams of protein, and around 50 grams of fiber. Adding extra servings of nuts, seeds, avocado, fruit, etc. increases all those numbers. This is not a starvation diet, juice fast, or air diet. It’s plentiful, nourishing, and reboots your body. It can be short-term or long-term. Either way, it should include supplemental vitamin B12 and vitamin D (the amounts in a common multivitamin are perfect). Both vitamins are needed because you’re not eating many–if any–foods that are fortified with these little dudes. Vitamin B12 is actually a bacteria found in animal-derived foods and dirt. I imagine you’re washing the dirt (and B12) off your produce (a wise move). Vitamin D is made in the body after sun exposure, and many latitudes aren’t getting adequate sun this time of the year. Foods that ARE typically fortified with B12 & D are non-dairy milks, cereals, and fake meats. So, not a bad idea to supplement when you’re relying heavily on raw foods.

As an example, Today’s Plan including a 2-cup serving of Purple Nurple, a 2-cup serving of Curried Lentil Stew, and all the other recommended serving sizes has 1459 calories, 61 grams of protein, and 49 grams of fiber. The average American gets about 12 grams of fiber a day. You may or may not have been the average American prior to this Detox. Regardless, you are moving some serious crud out of your system. Cheers to crud movement!!

So, March On!, and clean, cleanse, and recharge your core some more. Just a few days left!

And We’re Off! Detox Day 1 with Green Apple Juice Video

Here we go! I feel great already, how about you?

So, yes, I (too) ate a big fat peanut butter sandwich last night on some thick, thick bread. It was DIVINE, but now that that’s over, let’s get ’em!

To start out Day 1, here’s a quick video of the Green-Apple Juice in a juicer (ignore my 6-year-old daughter who thinks she’s Inspector Gadget). I do prefer this concoction juiced vs. blended, but blending is perfectly wonderful too. If you’re blending and you don’t have a high-power blender like a Vitamix or a Blendtec, the first thing you need to do is put one of those on your 2012 holiday wish list. Or, perhaps you need to think about rewarding yourself at the end of this Detox with one of those. The next thing you need to do is if you don’t think your blender can handle the raw apple and leafies even with the 4-8 ounces of water and ice, consider using a food processor for the veggies and apples, and then blending that concoction with the water and ice. It can’t hurt.

Juice vs. Blend? Check this quick info by my pal Kris Carr of Crazy Sexy Life. She talks chlorophyll and alkalinity–it’s worth a read. And as for types of juicers, I was given the Jack Lalanne Classic Juicer as a brand new hand-me-down, and I really like it. It runs about $100 if you buy it from their website. Just an FYI. Please feel free to share juicing/juicer/blender/blending tips if you have them. As another FYI, I use my Vitamix daily (smoothies, soups, hummus, dips, etc.–I even got rid of my food processor!), and my juicer once or twice a week. Not saying that’s what everyone should do, but just facts on one nutrition professional’s appliance usage.

Still feeling good? Hungry? This day is by far the hardest, but you can TOTALLY do this. Don’t forget, however, that you can increase your serving sizes of Detox food if you’re feeling like you’re really low on calories. Add fresh fruit, raw nuts and seeds, or an avocado for quick, extra energy.

Good luck today! Please don’t forget to laugh, taste and savor every morsel and sip, and let us know how you’re doing — use the Comments section to share and question! XOXO

Cow-less Milk

Photo by: Tasty Yummies

Milk alternatives are on the up and up, and with them, our health. Here is a cool rundown of the main milk alternatives (almond, coconut, hemp, rice, and soy) and their pros and cons by dietitian Eliza Zied.

Personally, I like protein-rich unsweetened soy milk in my cereal and vanilla almond milk in my latte, and my kids down vanilla and chocolate versions of both like they’re going out of style. As for “too much soy”, up to 25 grams a day of soy protein is incredibly heart-healthy and wildly cancer-preventative. One cup of soymilk has 7 grams of soy protein. And if you’re wanting to replace buttermilk in a recipe, you must mix 1 cup soymilk with 1 Tbsp lemon juice until it curdles. Since protein is necessary for the desired curdling, it won’t happen with the lower protein milk alternatives.

While slightly harder to find (go to a health food store or Whole Foods Market), other great dairy alternatives include oat milk and hazelnut milk as well as multigrain milks. Oat milk is higher in calories (130 per cup of the Original variety), but moderate in protein (4 grams per cup) and fiber (2 grams per cup), and higher in sugar (19 grams per cup of the Original variety). Hazelnut milk has 110 calories, 2 grams protein, and 14 grams sugar per cup of the Original variety. And if you’re feeling extra daring, you can make your own non-dairy milks, which is far easier than trying to make your own dairy milk. Here’s a great step-by-step for homemade almond milk. Cheers to health and cheers to life!

Other whens and hows with dairy alternatives?

Sundowner Smoothie: A Sweet Way to Wind Down

If we’ve crossed paths over the past few weeks, you’ve no doubt heard my spiel about how great tart cherry juice is for promoting restful sleep. (Aside from chocolate, sleep is the answer to most of life’s troubles.). So tonight I attempted a tart cherry smoothie nightcap of sorts to neutralize the tart in the juice. This one includes soymilk which is also naturally rich in the sleepytime amino acid tryptophan. Heck, you might want to sip it in bed in case you dose off midway through.

Photo by: kochtopf

Sundowner Smoothie
Serves 1 Wired Individual

4 oz tart cherry juice
4 oz unsweetened soymilk
1 organic orange, peeled
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
4 ice cubes

Blend until smooth. Tastier than chamomile tea for sure!

Nutrition info per sleepyhead: 172 calories, 2 g fat, 60 mg sodium, 33 g carbohydrates, 3.5 g fiber, 18 g sugar, 4.5 g protein, 8% vitamin A, 117% vitamin C, 20% calcium (200 mg), 3% iron. 

Are you asleep yet?

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