What Gets You Through the Mornings?

For me, I rely on my fresh green juices. Fresh juice from raw foods like spinach, carrots, kale, and collards green are the easiest sources and most effective way to get your greens in your diet. It’s also providing me with high quality nutritional vitamins and minerals. Plus, a boost of energy. You would be surprised by how a cup of fresh green juice can boosts your energy.  Most people start their day off with coffee and honestly, a cup a day won’t hurt. According to a recent study on coffee consumption, healthy people who consumed 4 cups or more a day is associated with a lower risk of death.  I think that’s excessive, even for healthy people. I’m healthy and I can’t manage to even finish one cup. I can’t imagine four cups a day.   If you are a lover of coffee, don’t skip it just add a green juice or two to your daily routine. The greener the veggies, the better.  The green pigment in plants is the chlorophyll, and that’s what detoxifies our blood.  The very best sources of chlorophyll found on the planet are dark green vegetables and algae. Chlorophyll is the cellular organelle that allows for organisms to produce their own food through photosynthesis. All plants and several different types of microorganisms go through photosynthesis. Algae includes several different types of photosynthetic microorganisms, and there are several different types of chlorophyll present in algae.  These chlorophyll supports our cells by revitalizing and restoring them.

In my cup I have spinach, kale, green apple, lemon (without the skin), ginger and celery.  With these simple ingredients you’ll definitely get your energy levels up. The options are endless when it comes to fresh juices.  My philosophy is simple, eat lots of whole plants no matter how you choose to do it, just get the rainbow of colors in your diet. I’m a big lover of salads, smoothies, vegan dishes and fresh juices. Substitute one of your typical meals for a large bowl of salad and add a fresh juice to that also. This way you’ll make your quota for the day.

Fresh Juice Recipes – just a handful of each green plant is needed. 

Classic – kale, Swiss chard, Juice Recipe  spinach, celery, apple, lemon, ginger

Sweet – kale, spinach, pineapple, mint, half of jalapeño

Orange delight – carrots, granny smith apple

Vitamin C Boost– gradefruit, orange, lemon, ginger and dash of cayenne pepper

Article:  

Why Consume More Plants? 

Types of Chlorophyll Present in Algae

Coffee Study: Higher coffee consumption associated with lower risk of early death

Detox Green

My Exotic Green Juice Experiment

I’ve been juicing for quite some time now, and quite frankly, after using the same ingredients day in and day out, my green juices started to bore me. My usual ingredients were kale, beets, spinach, apples, ginger and a citrus fruit. These were my staple ingredients. It’s almost like eating the same bland vegetables all the time, after a while, you’re not going to want to eat them anymore. Well, in this case, drinking the same fresh juices all the time, is basically the same…boring! It’s definitely time for a change!

I thought about trying to juice a cantaloupe or a honeydew but, I had tried them before, so they weren’t enticing enough. Then it came to me, I will experiment juicing a dragon fruit. I had never tasted one before, and it’s totally different from anything I had ever juiced.

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Dragon fruits (Hylocereus Undatus) are amazingly beautiful. It is a tropical fruit popular in Southeast Asia, and it belongs to the climbing cacti (Cactaceae) family.

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This fruit is also native to Central America. Depending on where you’re located, you can find dragon fruits at your local farmers market, Asian market, or at a Whole Foods Market.

I had to do some research, because honestly, I didn’t know how to cut a dragon fruit. I immediately searched YouTube. Just watching one How to Cut Open a Dragon Fruit video, I became an instant expert. All it took was one slice down the center. It was extremely easy. The inside was white like paper, just like the image above. After tasting a small piece, I knew this was the right choice. It was so sweet, similar to the taste of a kiwi or a passion fruit.

To begin this experiment, the first thing I did was juiced the dragon fruit. I used my Juice Fountain Elite Juicer by Breville. I prefer the centrifugal juicers over the slow masticating juicers. The centrifugal juicers juice very faster. I especially like the Breville brands because, for a mother of three who is always on-the-go, they’re extremely easy to clean.

When I placed the dragon fruit into the juicer, barely any juice came down the nozzle. It was a total mess! The dragon fruit was mushy. I love my juicer but, in this situation, I ended up with a glob of mush. The juicer wasn’t the right choice to use.

On my second attempt, I juiced the other ingredients first (see below for the recipe). Then, I brought out my Vitamix. This did the trick. It pulverized the dragon fruit so well that once I added the green juice to it, and gave it another go, everything was completely and evenly blended together.

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My children enjoyed it, and I was very pleased with my wild and crazy new ingredient. At the end, my green juice was a hit. The dragon fruit added just what my green juice needed, an added exotic sweetness. Although, it took me longer than usual, it was all worth it. This post is apart of Williams-Sonoma’s Juice Week. They have amazing offers and a huge selection of all types of juicers.

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My new and improve Exotic Green Juice:
1 Dragon fruit
8 Kale leaves
5 Romaine lettuce
1 Cucumber
2 Granny Smith apples
1/2 lime (peeled)
Ginger (1 inch)

Resources:
Best Place to Purchase a Juicer – WILLIAMS-SONOMA Juicers
Dragon Fruit | Pitaya
Dragon Fruit Photo: by Shutterstock
Dragon Fruit Plant Photo: by City Pass Guide

Raw Foodists For Three Days

I just decided today for the rest of this week, I will only eat raw foods. Eating a raw food diet is vey beneficial to your body. According to The Best of Raw Food website, when your diet consist of more than 75% raw foods, these are some of the improvements likely to happen to you.

  • More energy
  • Up to 3 hours more sleep
  • Weight loss
  • More beautiful skin
  • Clarity of mind and better memory
  • Improved immune system
  • Improved fertility
  • Prevent or even reverse diabetes

  • Raw plant foods are rich in oxidizing, alkalinizing chlorophyll. Live foods contain a specific balance of natural forces. Plant foods like vegetables, fruits, sprouted legumes, and nuts have a collection of proteins, enzymes, minerals, and vitamins found within them. But, what is raw foods? According to The Best of Raw Food, it consist of raw foods that hasn’t been cooked or heated above 42 C/118 F degrees and preferably:

    Unprocessed – as fresh (or wild) as possible
    Organic – no irradiation, preservatives, pesticides or GMO.

    So to kick off my three day raw diet, I started my morning with a fresh organic juice. It had carrots, kale, oranges, ginger and a lemon. Most of these items came from my local farmers market. Please go out a support your local farm.

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    Now raspberries are in season. I was able to get a small batch of blueberries last weekend, so I had some of that for breakfast. My lunch will be a fresh garden salad jazzed up with some raw nuts.

    In between my meals, I’ll drink white/green organic teas, fresh juices and my lemon water.

    If you are interested in a raw food diet. Check out this website. I think it has the best step-by-step raw diet plan that’s easy to follow. Click here for The best of Raw Food website. They also have fabulous raw food recipes to help you along the way.

    References:
    Raw Food – One of Your Keys to Outstanding Health by Wes Peterson, Mercola.com

    Feeling Under the Weather!

    It’s Wednesday, and I’m feeling under the weather. Yesterday I had a sore throat, and today my body aches all over. I don’t normally get sick but when I do, I prefer homeopathic remedies to treat my illnesses.

    For my sore throat, I gargled with peroxide mixed with warm water. What that does is strip all the slime and bacteria off. Then, I gargled with two crushed aspirins in warm water. The aspirin brings down the inflammation. I repeat these steps three times for the day. Today my throat feels 100% better.

    As far as my body aches goes, I’ve been drinking a lot of lemon water and fresh juices. Luckily, I still had a variety of vegetables and fruits available so I juiced kale, apples, carrots, lemon and beets. Now for food, I had some watermelon, peaches, almonds and a coconut yogurt. I’m trying to eat raw foods to help bring down the inflammation in my body. The fresh juices will definitely reboot my body.

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    My cut up fruit and veggies to juice.

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    This really re-energized me. Juicing vegetables gives you all the good enzymes, minerals, vitamins, co-factors, chlorophyll, anti-oxidants, phytonutrients and all other nutrients your body craves. I can’t think of a better way to energize and alkalize my body naturally.

    Day 9: Dinner w/Roti and Juicing

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    For dinner tonight I juiced organic carrots, spinach, celery and beets. The health benefits for juicing your veggies are endless. It’s the best thing you can do for your body. Drinking green juices daily is the optimum way to consume your vegetables.

    Your body can receive enzymes from fresh vegetables and fruits. However, once vegetables are cooked at 118 degrees, they loose their enzyme content. Drink your veggies, it’s best!

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    I also had some of my curry vegetable dish I made on Sunday. I was in the mood for a roti so I made one. I’m actually getting better at it. Roti is an Indian bread. I ran out of whole wheat flour do I ended up using the regular one.

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    I was in a cooking frenzy tonight because I also sautéed bok choy and string beans with garlic and olive oil.

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    I took these pictures after I started eating so it doesn’t look the prettiest. However, it tasted great!

    My smoooooothie!!!

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    Blueberries, strawberries, mangos, raspberries, ice and almond milk. It’s soooo delicious. I love this! I feel awesome eating healthy and clean.

    This is a great way to up your antioxidants intake. Juicing and drinking smoothies just makes consuming your fruits and vegetables easier. It supports a healthy immune system. Plus, your body is getting all the raw enzymes, valuable vitamins and nutrients it needs.

    Juice on!

    Anti-Inflammatory Fruits and Vegetables

    Exposure to potentially toxic substances in our food and water, or in the air we breathe both indoors and outdoors, exposure to allergy-triggering substances, poor general health, dietary deficiencies, use of prescription and over-the-counter medications, and other lifestyle practices can result in a level of danger to our bodies that prompts our inflammatory system to work in overdrive on a 24/7 basis. An anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle are critical for full recovery from diseases.

    Anti-inflammatory foods help to modulate the immune system and give it a more accurate pair of eyes so as to not over-inflame when stimulated. To effectively de-inflame it is key to completely avoid man-made foods, sugars, and food allergens as listed above. The long chain omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA powerfully de-inflame the body by restoring natural balance to the lipid wall of the cell membrane.

    Beware of high-protein diets, sugary foods, white rice, white potatoes, white bread, over-processed cereals, cooking foods on high heat (especially meats), and foods containing omega-6 fats such as corn and soybean oils. They all provoke inflammation, according to Carper. She also says that the high-glycemic foods listed such as sugar, white bread, white potatoes and white rice “spike blood sugar” which in turn “spur inflammation.”

    Anti-inflammatory foods are often found among produce, where more color means a higher vitamin content.

    Vegetables:
    These vegetables below contain great amounts of anti-inflammatory nutrients, antioxidant nutrients, detox-support nutrients, and anti-cancer nutrients. Which is needed to repair and decompose inflammation in our bodies.

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    Purple peppers, purple cabbages, eggplant and radicchio are packed with anti-inflammatory properties.

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    Broccoli, brussels sprout, radishes, red peppers, and rhubarb are extremely high in anti-inflmmatory properties.

    Fruits:
    Anthocyanin’s which is the colorful antioxidant pigments that give many foods their wonderful shades of blue, purple, and red – are usually the first phytonutrients to be mentioned in descriptions of these fruits below. They are rich in antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, vitamin C, E, A and flavonoids; the B vitamins, folate and pantothenic acid; and the minerals, potassium and magnesium; and fiber. Together, these nutrients promote the health of the cardiovascular system and also provide protection against diseases.

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    Purple grapes, pineapple, cranberries, blood oranges, and red pears have more color which, means the vitamins are higher.

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    Blueberries, cherries, purple plums, strawberries and papaya are packed with anti-inflammatory agents.

    Resources:
    http://www.womentowomen.com/inflammation/naturalantiinflammatories.aspx

    Chlorophyll Benefits: Eating More Provides Nutritional Benefits to the Body!

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    Chlorophyll: Refers to the phytochemical that gives plants their green color and pigmentation. This chemical is responsible for absorbing solar energy to facilitate photosynthesis, a process in which plants convert energy from sunlight into sugars. You can get chlorophyll from green vegetables or through liquid supplementation purchased from vitamin stores. Chlorophyll provides nutritional benefits to the body and helps keep you healthy.

     

    Benefits of Chlorophyll:

    Healthy Bones:  Important minerals considered essential for keeping your bones healthy include calcium, vitamin D and magnesium.  When you eat green plants, you take in a high concentration of magnesium, because of their chlorophyll content.  According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, chlorophyll contains large amounts of magnesium, helping keep your bones strong. In the body, about 50 percent of magnesium is in the bones, and the remaining 50 percent is distributed in the cells, tissues and organs.

    Vitamin K: Eating green, leafy vegetables affords you a good supply of vitamin K, an important component that your body needs for your blood to clot properly. Vitamin K deficiency can result in excessive bleeding. If you do not eat enough green, leafy vegetables, such as turnip greens and spinach, you can purchase a liquid supplemental form of chlorophyll over the counter.

    Strong Muscles: The magnesium in chlorophyll also helps your muscles contract and relax and remain strong. Not eating chlorophyll deprives you of a huge supply of magnesium, and deficiency can make your muscles weak. MedlinePlus recommends you not overcook green vegetables, which can reduce the amount of natural chlorophyll.

    Blood Pressure:  One of the many benefits chlorophyll provides is maintaining normal blood pressure. The Office of Dietary Supplements reports that people who take chlorophyll, with its large supply of magnesium, have lower blood pressure compared to those who do not. Taking chlorophyll can also help you if you have Raynaud’s phenomenon, a rare disorder that affects the blood vessels in your fingers and toes and results in loss of blood flow to those areas. The magnesium component of chlorophyll appears to help maintain blood flow in these patients.

     

    References:

    Wheatgrass Tip

    Wheat Grass Tip

    Whenever I drink a shot or two of wheatgrass I like to chase it with a lemon or an orange slice. The wheatgrass leaves a chalky taste in my mouth and an orange refreshes my pallet.

    Eating Green: Beginners Guide to Sustainable Food Choices

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    ByVera Churilov

    News on climate change and species dying can be so discouraging. Since movie releases like An Inconvenient Truth,Food, Inc. and Fresh, many of us feel a personal duty to save the planet through individual actions. But you don’t have to go as extreme as No Impact Man to make a difference! A great way and one of the most important is making sustainable food choices.

     

    I invite you to revisit your grocery list and eating habits to lower your carbon footprint at the dinner table. If you’re skipping processed junk food packed in plastic bags for real food at the farmer’s market, you’re on the right track! Here’s more that can be done:

     

    Eat what’s in your fridge and compost: Food that goes into landfills releases methane gas, one of the worst for global warming — 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Did you know that in America we have so much excess food we dump about half of what’s produced in landfills? In just 2009, we threw away 34 million tons, and of all solid waste, food is the biggest contributor. So get cooking! And please compost spoiled food from your kitchen. You don’t need your own worm bin, just collect food scraps and demand composting in your city.

     Join the locavore moment: Buy local above any other label or certification. Build a relationship with the people selling you food, and they become accountable to you, your community, and the planet. A farm near you may sell high quality produce but may not yet have finished the rigorous process in getting organic certification. As organic moves into the mainstream and stores like Walmart sell organic crackers, our relationship to our food source becomes more distant.

    The Locavore movement goes beyond to establish healthy communities. Since 1994, more than 3,000 new farmer’s markets have sprung up across the nation. East and West coasters have their picks from various neighborhoods throughout the week.If you must have tomatoes in cold seasons, choose Eden canned tomatoes, which are BPA (toxin) free or, my favorite: rehydrate sun-dried tomatoes.

    Remember food miles: Gas prices might remind you of the cost associated with transporting groceries to your local supermarket. Avoid air freighted food as much as possible to reduce CO2 emissions. This includes the transport of tropical fruit. If you love your bananas, for example, like I do, support Earth Farm at Whole Foods, or at least buy non-sprayed organic ones. Develop a walking and biking lifestyle to make up the difference in your carbon footprint.

     Treat meat like a luxury item and eat more veggies! Agriculture is responsible for a third of global warming gas emissions. But livestock production specifically generates nearly a fifth of the world’s greenhouse gases and 18% of global warming gases — more than transportation. These ruminant animals — cows, sheep, goats — are built with long stomachs that produce methane gas in the digestion process, a gas largely responsible for warming the atmosphere. Livestock is also responsible for N2O, Nitrous Oxide, which like methane is far more potent than CO2 in global warming.

     Lower your cheese consumption: Next time you think of Brie with French bread for that dinner party, think Tapenade or Hummus instead. Try vegan cheeses like Daiya or Annie’s Cashew cheese, but consider that processed food also have their carbon footprint. Read my beginner’s guide to a plant-based diet.

     Avoid factory farm-grown food: Manure waste from factory farms is also responsible for polluting huge sources of fresh water, so choose your meat and dairy from responsible sources. Avoid farms that maintain horrible conditions where animals can hardly stretch their wings or turn their necks. Support farming that allows moving creatures to live how they were meant to, buy cage-free and free-range. Watch The Meatrix to learn more.

     Try fish that reproduce quickly: Experiment with fatty fish like sardines and anchovies. These omega-3 rich varieties add so much flavor and nutrition to a loaf of crusty bread, grains like Couscous, pasta, or salad. Treat wild salmon as a delicacy, it still comes from far away. Skip the tuna unless it’s caught responsibly. Follow Seafood Watch to see what fish is endangered and which is not.

    Think “No Impact” in packaging: Switch to green products that prevent waste, especially plastic. Learn how to make your own yogurt, get a compost bin, and reuse glass creatively – it’s one of the healthiest ways to store your food. At home, we reuse Trader Joe’s Raw Almond Butter jars to carry our smoothies to work. Our extras store chia seeds, cacao, and quinoa in our pantry. This is a great way to reuse without spending money for just “more stuff”.

     Try To-Go Ware’s utensils at a discount with code SAMPLE or carry your own. If you love soda, check out SodaStream to make your own healthy version without accumulating waste. Skip plastic straws. Demand that businesses still using Styrofoam switch to companies like Worldcentric. Styrofoam will sit in landfills for eternities and plastic pollutes oceans.

    Get gardening! Visit an urban farm or garden to grow a relationship with your food. Start with a simple herb garden on a raised bed in your own home.