The Green Smoothie Challenge is now into week 2 and we have been mixing up delicious green based smoothies to pack more greens into our routine. So far we have enjoyed spinach, rocket, avocado, carrots, beetroot, coriander, basil, parsley, coconut, flaxseed, chia seeds and a variety of antioxidant rich fruits.
Why green smoothies? Because we are just not eating enough vegetables daily and more importantly raw 'live' vegetables. When we eat raw vegetables we are providing our body with live enzymes that help our cells function at an optimal level for health and aid in the digestion of our food to the smallest molecules that get absorbed into our blood stream and used for cellular energy.
Combining 'live' raw foods with lightly cooked foods through the day gives our body the highest sources of vital nutrients it needs to thrive and survive.
Now what about all those powders and potions that are being added to smoothies these days? Is there any health benefit by adding them to our green smoothies?
The answer is YES! There are many amazing 'superfood' powders that can be added to your smoothies that all offer their own health benefits, but the one I wanted to look more closely at is a Greens Powder.
Since we are trying to get more greens into our routine, it may be worth looking a a greens powder that you can add into your daily blend that combines wheatgrass, spirulina, barley grass and chlorella. Here are the health benefits of each.
Wheatgrass: Provides you with all the vitamins & minerals you need daily allowing the body to preform at its highest levels. It contains high amounts of Vitamin E, Calcium, Iron, Zinc, Copper, Fibre & Protein. Helps to keep your skin glowing, your hair shining and your energy soaring.
Spirulina: A blue green algae that is known for its high levels of plant based protein. It is also an excellent source of B Vitamins, Calcium, Magnesium & Iron. It provides high levels of antioxidants that help protect our cells from damage and also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Chlorella: Another blue green algae that is rich in phytonutrients, including amino acids, chlorophyll, beta carotene, potassium, phosphorus, biotin, magnesium and B Vitamins. It is shown to detoxify the body from heavy metals, supports the immune system, promotes weight loss, helps you look younger, fights cancer, lowers blood sugar & cholesterol.
Barley Grass: A concentrated source of over 3 dozen nutrients particularly Vitamin A, C, B1, B2, Folic Acid, B12, Calcium, Iron, Potassium and chlorophyll.
You can now see why having a greens powder every day has been part of my daily routine. There are various brands available in health foods shops or online, however buying an organic source is essential. It will ensure there is no contamination which can occur if appropriate standards are not met for these delicate super greens.
We all know that nourishing our bodies with whole foods is the answer to all of our health concerns, illnesses and disease. However, with a lot of the mixed messages that are circulating in the media and news it can become very confusing to really understand and know what makes up the foundations of optimal health.
When I meet with my clients for their initial consultation this is what I see time and time again. They are confused about which foods they should be eating for optimal health and which foods may be resulting in their health concerns. They have been misinformed for years which may explain their low energy, weight gain, hormonal issues, PMS, digestive complaints and much more.
So I thought I would provide you with some helpful tips to get you started on the road to improved health. It all starts in your shopping cart, it is here that our health choices are made and where you can choose to support your health, or support disease. We want to make sure that what we are bringing into our house to be used in recipes or as snacks or desserts are going to feed our cells and allow our body to thrive and survive.
Here are Simple Foods that you should always have in your pantry/fridge to support optimal health and wellbeing:
Fresh Vegetables: These are the powerhouses/superfoods of nature and we are just not eating enough of these on a daily basis. Focus on those that are seasonal and local which will boost nutrient content, also organic where possible (see previous post on Clean 15 & Dirty Dozen). The best to include are: Kale, Swiss Chard, Spinach, Spring Greens, Broccoli, Asparagus (now in season), Cauliflower, Green Beans, Rocket, Mixed Leaves, Watercress, Cucumber, Peppers, Celery, Sweet Potatoes, Squash, Beets, Onions, Leeks, any other UK varieties
Fresh Fruits: These are packed with antioxidants and other important vitamins & minerals that help support our health. Although they have many health benefits they should not be eaten in excess as they are still high in natural sugars. Enjoy them 1-2 times per day. The best to include are: Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, other varieties of berries, green apples, pears, kiwi, oranges, lemons and limes.
Healthy Fats: Avocadoes, Coconuts, Coconut Oil, Olives, Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, Avocado Oil, Walnut Oil (all cold pressed), Nuts, Seeds, Nut/Seed Butters, Ghee, Grass Fed Butter, Wild Fish
Animal Protein: Pasture Raised Chicken, Turkey, Eggs, Wild Fish, Nitrate Free Bacon, Grass Fed Beef/Lamb in moderation (once per week)
Herbs/Spices: These are great for adding into various recipes. Basil, Coriander, Parsley, Mint, Dill, Chives, Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano, Chillies, Garlic, Ginger, Turmeric, Himalayan Salt, Black Pepper, Cayenne, Paprika, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, All Spice any others you enjoy cooking with.
Wholegrains: When it comes to wholegrains there is still alot of confusion, we want to focus on the grain that grows from the plant and hasn't been processed/milled or changed into something else. The best to include are: Quinoa, Buckwheat, Millet, Wild Rice, Organic Oats, Amaranth.
Frozen: Organic frozen vegetables, frozen berries, extra protein like wild fish and chicken
Sauces/Spreads: This is where our fridge and pantry can get cluttered and filled with foods packed with added sugars, additives, preservatives and chemicals that do not support optimal health. Instead focus on healthier choices. The best to include are: Dijon Mustard, Tamari (GF), Tahini, Coconut Aminos, Balsamic Vinegar, Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, Hot Sauce like Srirancha, miso, kimchi, fermented vegetables
Healthy Snacks: We all like to have snacks on hand for those moment when we need a little boost in energy, but this is where a lot of us fail when it comes to optimal health. The best to include are: Nuts, Seeds, Nut/Seed Butters, Avocadoes, Naked Bars, Primal Bars any other raw food bar that only has dried fruits and nuts/seeds in it, coconut, 70% or higher dark chocolate, hard boiled eggs, vegetables, homemade hummus.
The one thing I tell all my clients is:
'If it grows from the ground or eats what grows from the ground then enjoy eating it, if it is made in a factory by someone in a lab coat then put it back on the shelf'
Debbie Vanderboom, Nutrition Advisor
To book an initial consultation and work with me on a nutrition plan that is right for you and your needs please do get in touch. Special Summer Package Now Available.
There are a variety of essential fats that our bodies need in order to protect our cell membranes, allow us to absorb fat soluble vitamins, are needed for hormone, brain health, heart health and much more.
Some of these fats can be created in our body, while others we need to provide through the food that we eat. Some of the best sources of healthy fats to include daily are listed below. Although these foods do contain higher amounts of calories, they are calories from nutrient dense, vitamin and mineral rich plant sources that our bodies use for optimal health and wellbeing.
Here are some of the best sources:
Coconut Oil - Best to cook with and raw (high heat stability) contains medium chain triglycerides that have been shown to boost metabolism and burn fat.
Avocadoes - Contain mono unsaturated fats that help lower cholesterol, reduce belly fat, and curb those unwanted cravings. Great on it's own, in smoothies, juices or dressings.
Nuts & Seeds and their oils - Provide protein along with omega 3 & Omega 6 fat great for those times when you need a boost of energy that packs a punch.
Oily Fish - An excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids (which are anti-inflammatory in the body and have been linked to improving brain function and brain development in babies) also help boost metabolism, fat burning and suppress appetite.
Olive Oil/Olives - Live like the Italians and drizzle 1 tbsp. per day of olive oil on soups, veggies, in dressings, marinades or salads (not stable to cook with) great for the heart
Try to include one of these each day to help boost your overall health and wellness.
There are many foods that help boost our brain energy and improve our overall health. Here are some of the top 5 foods I feel are essential to a happy brain.
There is so much information out there discussing the importance of post workout snacks and meals but are you giving your body what it really needs to rebuild and repair after an intense workout?
Eating a balanced meal or snack 1-2 hours after a workout has been shown to be a good recovery timeframe to consider.
Here are 10 nourishing suggestions you may want to give a try:
1. Handful of Nuts with a Banana
2. Primal or Nakd Raw food Bar or homemade energy bites
3. Apple with 1 tbsp. almond butter
4. 250ml of green smoothie
5. 1/2 cup of organic natural yogurt, 1/2 cup of blueberries, 1/8 cup of walnuts/pumpkin seeds
6. Grilled Chicken with Roasted Root Vegetables and Steamed Kale
7. Courgette Noodle Pasta with Chickpea Meatballs and Tomato Sauce
8. Wild Salmon Fishcakes Steamed Greens and 1/2 sweet potato
9. 1/4 cup of homemade nutty granola with 1/2 cup organic kefir yogurt & pear
10. 1/2 cup of soaked oats with carrot, cinnamon, nutmeg and topped with 2 tbsp. seeds
Optimal health = 80% nourishing foods & 20% exercise.
Over the past 3-4 months I have been searching for various recipes which are grain free and delicious of course. I must admit some that I have tried, or altered have been complete disasters (we have to start somewhere right?), while others have been a huge success.
This recipe which I whiped up last night for dinner was adapted from Oh She Glows, a wonderful blog for anyone who is leading a vegan lifestyle. Angela Liddon combines a variety of nourishing foods to really give the body what it needs to thrive. Although I do still eat 100% grass fed meat, organic poultry, eggs and fish, most of my meals are made up of at least 50-75% vegetables, nuts, seeds, quinoa, minimal fruits and occassionally brown rice, buckwheat and GF Oats.
I believe that beginning a new eating plan, whether by choice or because of health reasons, should be enjoyable and fun. Take this opportunity to try things you may not have thought of, or combinations that may not be the norm. You may be surprised what you are really capable of.
Here is my adapted Grain Free Quiche Recipe (Gluten Free):
1 cup ground almonds
1 cup ground GF Oats ( I just used my spice/coffee grinder for this)
1 tsp of mixed herbs
pinch himalayan salt
1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp warm water
1 tbsp olive oil
1-2.5 tbsp water
1/4 cup frozen organic peas
1/4 cup frozen organic corn
4 diced sundried tomatoes (soaked in water from dry)
1/4 cup of grated organic mature cheddar
1) Heat oven to 175C and grease a 20" tart tin with olive oil/coconut oil
2) Mix the flax with the water and let sit for 5 minutes until thick
3) Mix all the dry ingredients, then add the oil & flax egg, then slowly add in water and mix to combine until a crumble forms and it sticks together when pressed between your fingers
4) Line the tin with the mixture and push up around the edges
5) Bake 13-17 minutes until browned slightly (may vary depending on oven)
6) Meanwhile mix the 6 eggs in a large bowl, and add in the vegetables (can add in anything here really I would have added kale, peppers, courgette but I was using what I had)
7) Add grated cheese, tomatoes and cheddar and mix to combine
8) Take the base out of oven and top with the egg mixture
9) Turn up the temperature to 190C and then bake the quiche for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through
Serve with a large mixed leaf salad with any vegetables you would like.
Enjoy. Serves 4-6 people.
Eating seasonally can be a great way to boost your nutrient intake in an easy and simple way. Who wouldn't want a fresh strawberry, or a juicy tomato or a perfectly blanched asparagus spear? Okay maybe some of you wouldn't want the asparagus but when we choose produce that is in season we not only get the most nutrients, but also the most flavour.
Not only that when we buy locally produced fruits and vegetables we also pay less. Why? Because the farmers can sell their crops at less and so we are getting better food for better value. Another benefit of eating seasonally is that we support local farmers who are doing their part to provide us with amazing food grown right her in the UK.
So why go to the grocery store to pick up your blueberries from spain, or your beans from guatemala when you can get fresh strawberries picked right off the bushes, or peas picked right out of their pods right here at home?
If you are not sure what vegetables and fruit are in season I have provided a list for those available in June, so pop by your local farm shop or grab a local organic box scheme to enjoy a whole range of delicious foods.
June Seasonal Produce
Let's start to eat for our health and support local farms (choose organic when possible and watch out for the dirty dozen - found in upcoming post)
1. Take 1 cup of your favourite nut or seeds and soak it in 2 cups of water overnight
2. Then rinse the nuts or seeds thoroughly and then place them in a blender (this doesn't have to be a high speed blender) and top it with 3 cups of water.
3. Blend until it gets to a creamy consistency
4. Pour it through a sieve or if you want you can buy a milk bag (but you don't need one) and push it through until you are left with the pulp.
Now enjoy your chemical and additive free milk in your favourite smoothie, or on top of homemade muesli/granola or just drink a small glass as is.
DON'T throw the pulp away because there are lots of great recipes out there that use the pulp in biscuits, cakes even pizza bases.
Why not give it a go, your body will only be thanking you for it!
Many of us spend our day sitting at a desk, staring at a computer screen and even rushing through our lunch while answering emails and phone calls. Our lives have become so busy that we often forget our bodies and our mind need fuel (from healthy food) to get us through the day. So what do you bring with you to work, or what do you buy for lunch or a snack at the local cafe/shop? Are you choosing the right foods to keep your energy up, or choosing food that leaves you feeling drained mid afternoon?
Here are some simple and easy energy boosting foods that should keep you going throughout the day. Give them a try and see how you feel.
1) WATER - This is the most important to have on your desk, to sip at throughout the day. Without water our brain and body can not function properly, we will be left feeling hungry and tired and grabbing for snacks to give us a quick pick me up. Fill a 500ml water bottle and leave it on top of your desk. Try to drink at least 1-2 of these each day
2) ALMONDS - These are a great source of protein and essential fats that keep us feeling full for longer, can help with weigh loss in moderation, and give us energy. Try 5-8 along with an apple and you will feel satisfied more then a couple biscuits
3) BERRIES - These are packed full of antioxidants that keep us looking young and healthy, they are a great snack to have alone or paired with a small tub of natural yogurt and a few pumpkin seeds.
4) HARD BOILED EGG - This is a great snack for those who are looking for something a bit more savoury, they contain healthy fats that are great for heart health, our skin and our bones. Slice it on top of two rice cakes with sliced tomato and avocado for a great mid afternoon snack idea
5) BANANA - Probably one of the most popular fruit choices, they are great for energy and a perfect pre-workout snack (30 minutes before a 1 hr medium to high intensity workout) or mid morning snack try it with a bit of almond butter (YUM)
6) OATMEAL - Not just for breakfast, why not have it mid morning or mid afternoon with some berries/sliced apple/sliced pear and some ground flaxseed. Packed full of fibre and B Vitamins that are great for keeping us full for longer and energy.
Debbie Vanderboom is a Nutritional Advisor, Natural Juice Therapist and foodie who loves using fresh, wholesome food to nourish the body. Educating her clients on the importance of choosing healthy foods on a daily basis is her focus. She provides her clients with recipes, resources and meal plans to help develop healthy eating habits for life.