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Love Potion - Chocolate Raspberry Beet Smoothie

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Love Potion - Chocolate Raspberry Beet Smoothie

Spring is finally here, which is the perfect time to cleanse our bodies from the calorie dense foods of winter. Let’s show our livers some love with my love potion smoothie. What’s the big deal with our livers you say? 

The main function of the liver is to convert glucose to glycogen and back again if necessary. Glycogen is a carbohydrate that is used to store glucose, which is used by the body as energy.

Basically, this means that the liver regulates the amount of glucose in the human bloodstream and therefore dictates your ability to gain or lose fat depending on how efficient this process is combined with your consumption of carbohydrates (simple and complex).  The liver is also a filtering organ, so if your liver is not functioning properly, toxins can build up and hinder weight loss and overall health. 

Since beets are known for cleansing the liver this is the perfect intro to a Spring detox to begin to flush the meats and heavy starches away and start to new season off right. 

beet choc love potion no words.JPG


Love Potion - Chocolate, Beet Raspberry Smoothie

Serves 1

Vegan - Raw - Sugar Free - Paleo - Gluten Free - Grain Free

Ingredients

  • 1 Small Beet peeled, chopped in small pieces
  • 1 Cup Frozen Raspberries
  • 2 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk (or non dairy milk of choice)
  • 2 Tbl Flaxseed Meal
  • 1 Cup Loosely Packed, Beet Greens (about a handful - see notes for substitutions)
  • 2 Tbl Raw Cacao
  • 1 Tbl Unrefined Coconut Oil
  • Stevia, maple syrup, soaked pitted dates to taste

Optional

  1. Top with cacao nibs for crunch

Instructions

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender a slowly bring the speed up until mixture is smooth adding more liquid as needed.

Notes

  1. Beet greens can be substituted for spinach, collards, or any other green of choice or omitted entirely if you want a sweeter smoothie.

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Protein Rich, Skin Boosting Hot Chocolate

hot chocolate

I swear on all things Holy and true that this is the LAST cold weather recipe I will be posting this season. 

It is currently 12 degrees where I am….winter is a cruel mistress that won’t quite take the hint and get the heck out of here already!!! Oh well guess it’s just another excuse to drink more of my latest obsession….

How, you say, can a hot chocolate be high in protein, good for you skin, dairy free, and paleo!?!?

GELATIN!!!!!

I know you may have weird memories of jello from your childhood or stays in the hospital but gelatin (from a reputable source like the one pictured above from Great Lakes) can be amazing for skin health, bone health, and a rich source of protein from the natural collagen. I love the Great Lakes brand because it comes from grass-fed cows and it is Kosher so you can feel good about the quality of this gelatin. Recently a client of mine, when I introduced her to the wonders of gelatin, said she didn’t know why she was spending so much money on bodybuilding supplements like BCAAs and protein powders when she could get all that she needs from one tablespoon of this gelatin for half the price. I know girl. 

So how do we get this gelatin into our hot chocolate? Its easy, I dissolve a heavy handed tsp in some cold almond or coconut milk while I heat up the rest of the milk, add some raw cacao (like this one) for a boost of natural caffeine and a huge dose of antioxidants, stir in the bloomed gelatin, whisk , add my sweetener of choice and BOOM! Protein rich, paleo, dairy free hot chocolate that will starve off hunger, curb that sweet tooth and give your skin and joints a nice boost of collagen. 

Protein Rich Hot Chocolate

Serves 1

Paleo - Sugar Free - Gluten Free - Dairy Free - Grain Free - Low Cal 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tsp Gelatin (Grass fed, High Quality Please)
  • 1 1/4 Cup Non Dairy Milk (Almond , Coconut, Hemp etc)
  • 2 Tbl Raw Cacao Powder
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • Sweetener of Choice to Taste (Maple Syrup, Liquid Stevia, Coconut Sugar, Raw Honey etc)

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl add 1/4 cup non dairy milk of choice and sprinkle the gelatin over the top and stir to combine.
  2. Set aside.
  3. In a small sauce pan add the remaining non dairy milk and heat over medium high heat.
  4. Whisk in the cacao, salt, and sweetener of choice.
  5. When the milk comes right under a simmer add the bloomed gelatin (you may need to use a spatula because it will be a solid mass) and whisk to melt and incorporate.
  6. When the mixture is heated to your desired temperature remove from the heat and pour in a mug.
  7. Drink up!

Optional add ins

  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • pinch of cayenne
  • You can also substitute a dark chocolate for the raw cacao and omit the sweetener. Use about 1-2 oz or to your level of liking.

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Pain Relief Tea - For aches, pain, and inflammation

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Pain Relief Tea - For aches, pain, and inflammation

turmeric tea words

Are your bones and joints feeling the effects of this winters cruel weather like mine are?

If you answered no then that’s great! For the rest of us injured, arthritic, or just plain ol tired folks out there who said yes I have something that may help.

I make this tea when I am fighting inflammation and especially when my back is bothering me. I don’t take pain killers, over the counter NSAIDS or Tylenol because of the effects they have on the liver and stomach. In addition to the harms I am allergic to most other drugs so I have had to become pretty resourceful in how I fight pain after 3 back surgeries. Now you may say “oh but I only take Tylenol sometimes and its sold over the counter so it can’t be that bad”. I thought the same thing and ended up with esophageal burns, ulcers, stomach and intestinal bleeding that I am still trying to heal. 

An excerpt from Natural News regarding Tylenols dangerous effects:

“Even when taken at recommended doses, acetaminophen, the primary active ingredient in Tylenol, can cause major damage to the liver, potentially leading to liver failure and even death…The drug is so toxic that as many as 80,000 people are rushed to the emergency room annually due to acetaminophen poisoning, and another 500-or-so end up dead from liver failure.”

Read more from this article about the deadly effects of Tylenol

Ok so enough of the scary talk , lets talk natural solutions to pain that you can make with food right from your kitchen.  

Here are the active ingredients in my pain relief tea:

Turmeric-  Is a natural anti-inflammatory due to its content of curcumin (this gives turmeric its famous orange color). In numerous studies, curcumin’s anti-inflammatory effects have been shown to be comparable to the potent drugs hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone as well as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents such as Motrin. Unlike the drugs, which are associated with significant toxic effects (ulcer formation, decreased white blood cell count, intestinal bleeding), curcumin produces no toxicity.  Turmeric may also benefit your digestive system by stimulating your gall bladder to make bile, speeding breakdown of dietary fats.

Ginger- Modern scientific research has revealed that ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects, an ability to inhibit formation of inflammatory compounds, and direct anti-inflammatory effects. Ginger has also been shown to aid in gastrointestinal issues and very effective in aiding the symptoms of nausea, motion sickness, and sea sickness. *

Cayenne – Gets its heat from large concentrations of a substance called capsaicin. Capsaicin has been widely studied for its pain-reducing effects, its cardiovascular benefits, and its ability to help prevent ulcers. Capsaicin also effectively opens and drains congested nasal passages.

Lemon- An excellent source of vitamin C which not only helps strength the immune system but it also neutralizes free radicals in the body. Free radicals can interact with the healthy cells of the body, damaging them and their membranes, and cause a lot of inflammation, or painful swelling, in the body.*

Black pepper- Due to its analgesic (pain relieving), anti-inflammatory, and anti-spasmodic properties black pepper has been shown to aid with poor muscle tone, arthritis, muscle and/or nerve pain. The oils in the black pepper has these properties which is why I strongly suggest you use freshly ground or buy black pepper essential oil. 

Both ginger and turmeric are generally considered safe and without significant side effects, and both are available as capsules from health-food stores. However, each may interact with certain prescription medications, and neither should be taken if you are pregnant. Always check with your physician if you ever have any concerns about adding a new food or supplement. 

Pain Relief Tea

Serves 4

Vegan - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Paleo 

Ingredients

  • 40 oz filtered clean water (about 5 cups)
  • 4 - 1'' coins of ginger (or use 1 Tbl powdered ginger)
  • 1 Tbl + 1 tsp Powdered Turmeric (organic high quality if you can)
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1-2 Tbl Maple Syrup or Raw Honey to taste (see note)

Instructions

  1. Pour the water into a large sauce pan.
  2. Squeeze the lemon into the water and place the squeezed lemons into the pan too.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and warm over medium heat until it comes to a boil.
  4. Whisk to combine the spices.
  5. Remove from the heat. (This can be left overnight to infuse further with the ginger too)
  6. Strain into mugs and stir in raw honey or maple syrup to taste.
  7. Keep stirring while drinking this because the spices will settle to the bottom.
  8. You can also stir the spices together and pour hot water over while whisking for a quicker version without the ginger. (see notes below)

Notes

  1. I drink mine unsweetened because I like to keep my sugar levels low and I consume this drink regularly. Adding raw local honey will make this a great immunity boosting drink. Feel free to add your sweetener of choice according to your taste.

If you need a quick single serving

  1. Mix 1 heaping tsp of turmeric, pinch of cayene, tiny pinch of black pepper, 1/2 tsp powdered ginger (optional but recommended) and pour hot water over while whisking to combine. Squeeze half of a lemon and drink immediately

*References

 

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All Natural Pre Workout Juice for Champions

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All Natural Pre Workout Juice for Champions

Beet juice words

There is a lot of hype out there in the bodybuilding/workout community advertising pre workout supplements. I would be lying if said I have never tried one…ok truth talk I have tried about all of them. I use to be somewhat of a gym rat and if a supplement helped my lifts and gave me energy I didn’t really pay attention to any of the additives, dyes, or crummy ingredients written in tiny print next to a warning label….whoops :/

Now a days I haven’t been in the gym in a few years due to a couple of back surgeries ( a story for another time) so I have had the luxury of looking at these supplements with an unbiased perspective and the view is not pretty.

Top selling pre-workout supplements such as USP Labs Jack3D, MusclePharm Assault, & MuscleTech NeuroCore contain the following chemically derived ingredients:

Sucralose: An artificial chlorinated artificial sweetener in line with aspartame and saccharin, with detrimental health effects to match(aka Splenda). Sucralose has been show to decrease gut health by 50% and despite its “diet” artificial sweeteners have been shown to: 

  • Stimulate your appetite
  • Increase carbohydrate cravings
  • Stimulate fat storage and weight gain

FD& C Red #40: 

  • A petrochemical. A highly processed, petroleum based chemical used to color foods to make them more visually appetizing.
  • It goes by several names including: Allura Red, Food Red 17, C.I. 16035, FD&C Red 40.
  • It is banned and/or being phased out in much of Europe due to concerns over health effects.

Acesulfame-K: is a potassium salt containing methylene chloride, a known carcinogen.

Reported side effects: Long term exposure to methylene chloride can cause nausea, headaches, mood problems, impairment of the liver and kidneys, problems with eyesight and possibly cancer. Acesulfame-K may contribute to hypoglycemia. 

Concerns: Of all artificial sweeteners, acesulfame-K has undergone the least scientific scrutiny. Early studies showed a potential link between the sweetener and development of multiple cancers in laboratory animals. 

When you take a step back and think about the long-term damage you are doing to your body for short-term gains in the gym it seems pretty insane. 

So whats the solution to still getting huge pumps, increased lifts, and long-lasting energy to tear the gym a new one?

BEETS!!!!

Natures Candy
Natures Candy

So why are beets the key to succesful workouts?

  • Beets are a great source of inorganic nitrates which friendly bacteria in the mouth convert to nitrate, and then through the body is converted to nitric oxide. Ever heard of it? If you are a gym rat you probably are very familiar with nitric oxide as a pre workout supplement that helps increase your lifts because of its positive effect on blood flow, muscle contraction, and neurotransmission. Basically bigger lifts and more energy. 
  • Beet juice has been shown to drop systolic blood pressure by 5-10mmHG depending on the dose. The more the better (1 cup is a good serving suggestion) but you will want to start small (about 1/4 cup) or else you could feel a bit light-headed if you are an athlete and your blood pressure tends to run on the low side. 
  • It is best to drink this a few hours (2.5 hours to be exact) before your workout for the peak levels to be reach while exercising but one hour before will still yield positive results.  

 Great article on the scientific benefits of beet juice and energy output

Other health benefits from Beet Juice:

• It is an amazing antioxidant and helps prevent the formation of cancerous tumors. 

• Beetroot juice detoxifies the liver and aids in healing diseases of the digestive system. 

• Good source of folic acid and helps in providing protection against birth defects.

• Beet juice lowers bad cholesterol level.

You can buy a beet root powder but I like to juice mine fresh along with turmeric ( a natural anti-inflammatory which will help decrease muscle soreness), ginger (for added heat to increase blood flow and beat muscles soreness), and carrots for some sweetness and to prevent muscle cramping. This juice is also an amazing pain killer for post workout as well so basically anytime anywhere you can drink this juice and feel amazing!

Bonus Add ons:

  • Maca Powder: A powerful adaptogen that increases oxygen, energy, and balances hormones
  • Scoop of favorite protein powder to balance the natural sugars and give your body more to work with for extended workouts.
  • 1 tbl of chia seeds to aid in fluid retention, halting absorptions of sugars, and for a boost of protein. 

Pre Workout Beet Juice Drink

Yields 3

Vegan- Alkaline - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Paleo

Ingredients

  1. 3 Organic Peeled Beets
  2. 4 Organic Peeled Carrots
  3. 2 Small (about 1'') Pieces Peeled Turmeric
  4. 1 Small Coin of Ginger
  5. Optional: Maple Syrup, or Honey to Taste but raw and pure is best

Instructions

  1. Juice all of the ingredients in a juicer and store in an airtight glass container.
  2. One serving is 4-8oz (1/2 -1 cup) but start small.

Notes

  1. Don't have a juicer? Chop all of the ingredients into very small pieces and add them to some warm water in a high power blender and puree then strain through cheesecloth.
  2. Feel Free to add in protein powder for extended workouts and maca powder to increase energy and oxygen levels.
  3. Excessive consumption of beet juice may cause your urine to turn pink. This is normal and nothing to be worried about.

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Natural Remedies for Bloating and Water Retention

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Natural Remedies for Bloating and Water Retention

bloat post

This may not be the most appetizing of subjects but I thought it was time for me to dive into the health and wellness portion of avoiding gluten and other allergen foods. One of the biggest complaints from people with food allergies is bloating and digestive health. Here are some of the natural remedies my family and I have come to live by for preventing and helping a stomach “situation” .

Natural Food and Supplements for Bloating and Water Retention:

  • Bitters – Teaspoon of Angostura bitters or digestive bitters can ease indigestion and acid reflux. 
  • Peppermint Oil and Caraway oil - Adding some to water can ease indigestion. 
  • Activated charcoal capsules – Take following a meal to help with bloating and gas.
  • HCL with Pepsin – These are the enzymes from papaya which helps with digestion if taken with a meal 
  • Papaya (fresh, or in chewable tablets) – Help in digestion when taken with or after a meal. 
  • Digestive Enzymes- Best if taken before a meal. Invest in a high quality enzyme with no fillers!
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – Drink 1 tbl diluted in 8 oz of water to reduce bloating. Best if before a meal but can be taken anytime. High quality vinegar only please. I prefer Braggs.
  • Turmeric – Has fabulous anti-inflammatory properties. Can be taken in pill form, used as a spice in cooking, or stirred into drinks (scroll down for recipe). 
  • Pineapple – The enzyme Bromelein helps break down protein (Do you think it is any coincidence that Chinese restaurants serve pineapple at the end of meals?) Bromelein works synergisytcally with turmeric so I buy the tables that contain both.
  • Potassium Rich Foods – Bananas, cantaloupe, mangoes, tomatoes, nuts and asparagus (asparagine amino acid that acts as a diuretic) can all help with fluid retention. 
  • Fennel – Try chewing on some seeds or infusing in hot water for a tea to aid in indigestion. 
  • Tea – Ginger, Fennel, Chamomile, bitter orange all help relieve gas and bloating. Don’t have any on hand? Add 3 coins of peeled ginger or fennel seeds to a pot of water, bring to a boil and blamo….ginger or fennel tea.)
  • Parsley – Is a natural diuretic so try chewing on some or adding it to your meals to aid in digestion.

 Tips to Prevent Bloating and Water Retention:

***Make an appointment with your doctor if you have chronic bloating. I am not a doctor so do not ignore habitual health issues. 

Now lets Detox the delicious way! 

Beat the Bloat Ginger-Mint Lemonade

Serves 4

Helps with water retention, alkaline balance, and elimination of uric acid.

Raw - Vegan - Alkaline - Gluten Free - Paleo - Sugar Free

Ingredients

  1. 4 cups water divided in half
  2. 2'' knob of ginger
  3. 1 English Cucumber
  4. Juice of 3 lemons
  5. 20 Mint leaves

Instructions

  1. Blend half of the water along with all of the ingredients in a high power blend and then strain the mixture.
  2. Press the solids with the back of a spoon or spatula to pull as much juice out as possible.
  3. Add in the remaining water, taste for sweetness.
  4. Keeps for 3-5 days in the fridge covered, but best if consumed immediately.

Notes

  1. You can add more water or sweetener to your taste.

Turmeric Tummy Warmer

Serves 4

Aids to flush out the lymphatic system and reduce swelling

Raw - Vegan - Alkaline - Gluten Free - Paleo - Sugar Free

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of water divided
  • 2 in knob of ginger
  • 2 tsp tumeric powder
  • pinch of cayenne
  • juice of 4 lemons

Instructions

  1. Blend all the ingredients in a high power blend and then strain the mixture.
  2. Press the solids with the back of a spoon or spatula to pull as much juice out as possible.
  3. Keeps for 3-5 days in the fridge but best if consumed immediately.

Notes

  1. Add as much or as little heat as you like. If you don't have cayenne pepper you can blend a 1/2'' piece of your favorite pepper just make sure you are familiar with the heat of the pepper you are using so you don't blow your head off. I prefer Serrano or Fresno peppers in this blend. If you can find turmeric (use a 2'' knob) in its root form and have a juicer I would recommend juicing both the ginger and turmeric, but powdered turmeric is a perfectly acceptable substitute.

Adapted from Linda Wagner

The Green Monster Detox Drink

Serves 4

A strong diuretic that aids in Kidney cleansing and liver detoxification

Raw - Vegan - Alkaline - Gluten Free - Paleo - Sugar Free

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of filtered water divided
  • Handful of Fresh Parsley
  • Handful of Fresh Cilantro
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • Zest and juice of 2 limes
  • Juice of 1 grapefruit

Instructions

  1. Blend 2 cups of water with all of the ingredients in a high power blend and then strain the mixture.
  2. Press the solids with the back of a spoon or spatula to pull as much juice out as possible.
  3. Taste for sweetness and dilute with more water if you like.
  4. Keeps for 3-5 days in the fridge but best if consumed immediately.

Notes

  1. Do not be alarmed if you are peeing a lot after drinking the green monster. This is a very strong diuretic so only have one small glass at a time to gauge your reaction.

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My newest obsession....Tea Pops!!!

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My newest obsession....Tea Pops!!!

Tea Pop Mise

I have a new obsession that I need to share with you….its called the Tea Pop. 

A tea pop consists of a really strong concentrate of your favorite tea, a big glass of ice, soda water, and your sweetener of choice. Crisp, refreshing, amazing!

I didn’t come up with this idea so I have to give credit to the new tea place in the Boston area called Davids Teas. They are like Teavanna except they are more like a tea bar but with the coolness turned up a notch. They have endless flavors combinations that make crazy delicious tea pops, natural sweeteners like pure stevia leaves in their teas, you can buy any of their teas by the ounce (or online) and the prices are not outrageous.  For the tea pop it would be best to use a fun flavored loose leaf tea but it can also be done with regular tea bags. 

Heres the skinny

  • For one tea pop use 4X the amount of tea you would normally use for an 8oz cup. So if its loose leaf around 4tsp and if its bags use 4 bags.
  • Steep in just enough water to cover the tea. You want it strong because you will be diluting with soda water. 
  • Allow to steep for the allotted time for the specific tea you are using. 
  • Fill a glass with ice and pour the tea concentrate over the ice. 
  • Add sweetener of choice (liquid stevia, honey, raw agave etc)
  • Top off with soda water and a cool bendy straw. 
  • Drink the deliciousness and revel in the tea pop euphoria. 

Seriously this is the best summer drink ever. Plus if you are feeling frisky you can add some booze. I mean vodka goes with everything right? ;)   Check out this fair trade vodka made from quinoa...who knew drinking could be so healthy? j/k

Check out my friends new tea line New England Tea Co for some of the rarest Chinese teas and insanely creative flavor combinations. 

Pop Pop!


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Make your Own: Summer Fruit and Herb Spritzers

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Make your Own: Summer Fruit and Herb Spritzers

Summer Spritzers

Looking for some new and refreshing summer beverages? Look no further because the possibilities are endless with the bountiful options of Summers harvest. For many years I worked in restaurants and spent most of my time behind the bar slinging cocktails so drinks are kind of my thing.Some of my favorite concoctions would always start the same way:

  • Some type of fresh fruit/citrus (cherries, cantaloupe, orange, lemon, lime etc)
  • Some type of fresh herb (cilantro, thai basil, mint, thyme, parsley etc)
  • Sweetener (ex  honey (raw if possible), lacuma powder, yacon syrup, maple syrup, stevia etc)
  • Alcohol/Wine/Cordial or Soda Water / Juice for a Mock-tail 

This formula gives you alot of wiggle room to be creative and make some fun and interesting drinks. There is no reason you need to spend $13 to have a special beverage when you have all the ingredients you need right at your fingertips.And do not feel like you have to use alcohol to make these, I don’t drink alot so I make all of these as “mock-tails” (no alcohol) and I think they rock!Some of my Favorite combos right now:

Spicy Melon Margarita

  • 1/4 cup Cantaloupe + 10 Cilantro Leaves + 4 Serrano Pepper slices + 4 Lime Wedges +lacuma powder/yacon syrup/honey/Stevia+ pinch sea salt
  • Muddle and crush ingredients
  • Add 2 oz Tequila (optional)
  • Shake. Strain over fresh Ice top with soda water 

Cherry Basil Spritzer

  • 4 Basil Leaves + 4 Mint Leaves + 2 Slices Orange + 2 Wedges Lime + 6 Cherry halves + lacuma powder/yacon syrup/honey/Stevia
  • Muddle and Crush Ingredients
  • Add 2 oz Campari or Aperol (or any Rose wine or white wine. Again alcohol optional)
  • Pour into large wine glass filled with ice
  • Top with Soda Water

 

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