Strawberry Feels Forever

Strawberry Feels Forever

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STRAWBERRIES // build a better brain

Sadly, it is very common that aging adults begin losing their memory and control over certain activities, muscles and limbs. This is due to either the natural or premature aging of their brain and nervous system.

Free radicals are the agents responsible for signs of aging because they have an adverse effect on both of these systems.

Due to the activity of free radicals, the brain tissues start degenerating and the nerves become weaker.

The vitamin C and the phytochemicals in strawberries neutralize the effects of these oxidants and rejuvenate the system. Also, strawberries are rich in iodine as well, which is very helpful for regulating the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system.

Potassium, which is found in significant quantities of strawberries, also has been linked to improved cognitive function by increasing the blood flow to the brain.

Research studies on students have shown that when potassium levels are high, concentration, memory and recall abilities seem to be strengthened in test-taking.

There is a good reason why strawberries and bananas are considered “brain food.”


Today’s recipe really can interest many groups; kiddos, students and us aging adults. Basically, if you are a living, breathing human, this recipe will benefit you.

Big in the food-stagram world currently is something delicious called “Nice Cream.” Nice Cream is basically healthy ice cream. The constant ingredient in Nice Cream is frozen bananas and the rest that goes in there is up to you! Imagine a thicker, prettier smoothie.

I personally enjoy these because if you know me well you know I love sorbet ice cream and have a mean sweet tooth and this version gets me further away from diabetes. They take no time to make and can really mix up your morning routine. OH and they’re good for you and your brain! Enjoy!

STRAWBERRY (N)ICE CREAM

3 frozen bananas

2 handfuls of raspberries

handful of blueberries

1 small beet

5 strawberries

2 tbs chia seeds

2 tbs hemp seeds

2 tbs flax seed

1/4 cup almond milk

  1. Mix all above ingredients in either a food processor or blender
  2. Top with berries and chia seeds

-C

 

56 days IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY

Shine Bright like an Almond

Shine Bright like an Almond

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ALMONDS // loaded with antioxidants

Antioxidants help to protect against oxidative stress, which can damage molecules in cells and contribute to aging and diseases like cancer.

The powerful antioxidants in almonds are largely concentrated in the brown layer of the skin. For this reason, blanched almonds (skin removed) are not the best choice from a health perspective.

A clinical trial of 60 male smokers found that 84 grams (3oz) of almonds per day reduced oxidative stress biomarkers by 23-24% over a 4-week period. These findings support those of another study, which found that eating almonds with main meals reduce some markers of oxidative damage.


Whenever I start my mornings, they are typically rushed because I love staying in bed until the very last second. Because of this cozy routine, I typically don’t have time to create something that keeps me full for long.

This chia seed fruit parfait literally takes 5 minutes to put together and is nutrition packed! It takes some night-time prep but I assure that too only takes 2 minutes and it can makes multiple parfaits. Side note, if chia seeds aren’t in your mix, please add them! They are a great source of fiber, omega 3, protein and they keep you fuller longer! Also, for those who suffer from IBS or indigestion, this recipe includes mint!

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Chia Pudding Parfait

1/4 cup chia seeds

1 cup almond milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp local honey

1/4 cup granola

1/4 cup almonds

1/4 cup yogurt (almond, coconut, etc)

1/4 cup raspberries & strawberries diced

5 mint leaves diced

  1. Mix in an air tight jar the chia seeds, almond milk, local honey and vanilla extract. Make sure you stir the contents for up to a minute to ensure no clumping. Place in refrigerator overnight or for a few hours if being made for an afternoon snack.
  2. In a glass or jar, layer the remaining ingredients into layers of your choosing.
  3. The layer order I used: Chia Seeds, fruit, almonds, yogurt, mint, granola, fruit.
  4. Garnish with granola, almonds, fruit and mint.
  5. Enjoy!

DAYS IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY

47

-C

Nothing Beets This

Nothing Beets This

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BEETS // boost your energy level

Beets contain a significant amount of carbohydrates that provides fuel for energy and prolonged sports activities.

These are the natural building blocks of energy metabolism and beets provide them without any of the negative side effects of many other carbohydrate-heavy foods.

When the body has a sufficient amount of carbohydrates, it is easy to fuel all of the necessary bodily functions as well, including the important metabolic reactions that keep your organ systems functioning efficiently.


A few years ago I had the pleasure of working with my fabulous sis and that was the time I was introduced to our dear friend, beets. She loved beets so much then and still does to this day. She would always try to get me to eat them and I just couldn’t get into. They tasted very “earthy’ to me.

Sadly, it wasn’t until a month or so ago, I learned to appreciate beets. I found an awesome bottled juice by Vim + Vigor and decided to research the most striking ingredient; beets.

What struck me is not only are beets a HEALTHY carbohydrate, but it would properly fuel the necessary body systems. I am currently training for the MS150 and with my newly formed nutritional lifestyle, I really must fuel properly, never cutting my body short of any ingredient it may need to perform well. The last thing I want to do is bodily harm; the current goal is the heal it. Being counterproductive thru poorly fueled exercise would not only really bum me out but it would harm me.

A fun fact for me when it comes to the MS150:

Cyclists who drank a single large serving (16oz) of beetroot juice were able to ride up to 20% longer, and let’s be honest, I am going to need as much of an advantage as possible!

The reason for this boost in energy is because beets are high in natural nitrates which are converted to nitric oxide in the body…nitric oxide increases the efficiency of the mitochondria AKA your energy powerhouse.

Next time you’re thinking about enduring a lengthy workout, down some beetroot juice, add it to your yogurt, smoothie, etc…it’s really good!

If hearing me say smoothie made your ears perk, here you go!

“Nothing Beets This” Smoothie

1 small beet, skinned and sliced

10 strawberries

4 leaves of kale

1 banana

1 handful of goji berries

5+ mint leaves

1/2 cup almond milk

1 cup water

handful of ice

ENJOY!

If you are feeling generous, please donate to my MS150 page HERE!

Side note, I have decided to track down here how many days I have been free from a cold or sinus infection AKA how many days I have been IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY!!

46 DAYS

-C

Pineapple Express

Pineapple Express

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PINEAPPLES // have improved immune function and reduce inflammation

The immune system protects our bodies against diseases, fights off harmful microorganisms and repairs damage.

Test tube studies have shown that bromelain strengthens the immune system and reduces inflammation.

Animal studies have also shown that bromelain may reduce the severity of inflammation, stimulate immune responses and have beneficial effects in asthma and allergic airway diseases.

Human studies have shown that intake of pineapple or a bromelain supplement, may shorten the duration of sinus infections, stimulate immune responses, prevent the formation of blood clots and reduce inflammation.


Last week I discussed a way to boost your immune system; passion fruit. This Monday’s ingredient gives me even more excitement…turns out pineapple not only can strengthen your immune system but also reduce inflammation. I will be honest, I never really obsessed over pineapples because I always chose the fruits rich in antioxidants first (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries) because I felt they offered me more benefit. Someone who gets recurring sinus infections and has a crappy immune system, I really should have been incorporating pineapples into my diet more frequently.

Over the last few years I have been avoiding antibiotics at all costs. I used to get sinus infections quarterly and my ENT handed out antibiotics and a steroid shot like candy! I trusted his judgement but after being on 4-6 antibiotics a year, I started to wonder what they were doing to my body…there is no way it’s good that someone be on them this often. After some research I found out that just one round of antibiotics can alter your good gut bacteria for up to one year. (Gut to brain health is a fairly new topic in the medical world but it truly is something to read up on…)

I started treating my sinus infections naturally and haven’t needed an antibiotic since. I truly was dependent on them because of the blinding pain the sinus infections caused but I just needed to be patient vs needing that quick fix. I now use a Neti-pot every morning, eat foods that aid in inflammation and load up on H20. It may take a little longer to get rid of them but it turns out I am able to get rid of them without medication. I even get them much less than I used to.

If it wasn’t for my EDS, I never would have started researching these fun food facts. Food truly can be medicinal and I can thank my mother for mentioning the bromelain that is in pineapples and how helpful it can be. For my next sinus infection I will definitely be loading up on pineapple!

Her fun fact inspired this delicious dish. I made it for breakfast but it can be made for any meal or snack. Enjoy!

Pineapple Express Yogurt Bowl

2 cups vanilla yogurt

1 passion fruit

1/2 cup pineapples

1/2 cup raspberries

3/4 cup granola

3 tablespoons chia seeds

  1. Combine all above ingredients in a large bowl
  2. Enjoy!

 

-C

Passion in a Glass

Passion in a Glass

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PASSION FRUIT // boosts our immune system

Immunity is our body’s defense system against various pathogens like a virus, bacteria, toxins, etc. that make the body unhealthy and lead to disease and infections. Our immune system is responsible for our immunity.

It has an important role in identifying the threat and eliminating it from the system before it causes significant damage. Antioxidants are termed as “friends” of our immune system.

Vitamin A, C and phytonutrients like Xanthin and Beta Carotene are highly effective in optimizing  the immune function of our body. It results in higher resistance against common diseases like cold, flu and other infections.

Vitamin C is particularly known for alleviating cold  and cough;  and since it is a water-soluble vitamin, it’s loss from the body is at a higher rate. This loss can be replenished by fruits like passion fruits that are a rich source of Vitamin C.

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If there is anything I am good at, it’s getting sick. Starting in college it was always something; minor but reoccurring…quarterly sinus infections, strep, bronchitis, colds, migraines, whatever!. When I went into my Sophomore year, I realized I couldn’t blame it on good ole Miller Dorm’s “asbestos in the walls” — shout out to my wifey, Leslie and room 6-3-5!

Too many years later, I realized that what I put in my body could have a tremendous effect on my health. The transition started small but after more and more research, I fell into this delicious rabbit hole that has completely transformed how I view food. So, the question I ask myself as I continue to get sick with colds, fevers, migraines and other random diagnoses…is it worth it??

HELL YES.

I now don’t get as sick as often..fewer migraines, fewer sinus infections, fewer colds.

Less frequent = more living and I will take that any day! If you are sick of being sick, take a look at what you’re ingesting and go for it 100%

Now, on to today’s feature food…Passion Fruit. Sometimes, I will add it to my yogurt, smoothies or just eat it with a spoon, solo-style. This morning I was over it looking like Spring but feeling like Winter, so I decided to make this super tropical smoothie to pretend it wasn’t cold out. It is packed with cold-fighting ingredients that will build up your immune system but also keep your taste buds happy. Here you go!

The Tropical Crud Buster

1 Passion Fruit

1/2 cup Blueberries

1 cup Strawberries

1 cup Pineapples

1 cup Papayas

1 cup Kale

1 cup Almond Milk (unsweetened)

2 tsp Chia Seeds

1/2 inch cut Turmeric Root

1/2 inch cut Ginger Root

Handful of Goji Berries

Handful of Ice

(If the smoothie is too thick, add some water to get to a desired consistency)

Blend and Enjoy! Reminder – If you have extras, smoothies keep up to 24 hrs.

-C

Snap, Crackle, Pomegranate

Snap, Crackle, Pomegranate

POMEGRANATES // have impressive anti-inflammatory effects.

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Chronic Inflammation is among the leading drivers of many killer diseases. This includes heart disease, obesity, cancer, Alzheimer’s and Type 2 diabetes.

These anti-inflammatory properties are mediated by the antioxidant properties of the punicalagins.

Test tube studies have shown that it can reduce inflammatory activity in the digestive tract, as well as in breast cancer and colon cancer cells.

When it comes to the syndrome I have (EDS), an anti-inflammatory diet is the best way for me to be pain and symptom free from many different issues affecting my body — sinuses, gut, joints and heart to name a few. Unfortunately, SO MANY of the foods we ingest cause inflammation.

 Just because my condition benefits from an anti-inflammatory diet, doesn’t mean others couldn’t benefit from one, too. I personally have benefited from removing gluten from my diet which is why I am so passionate about what I eat. These benefits include improvements with my heart, thyroid, skin, migraines and chronic sinus issues.

Removing these common ingredients from our diets (gluten, dairy, red meat, etc) is tough to do consistently and should require proper discussion and follow up/blood work thru your doctor or licensed nutritionist. You must make sure you’re not denying your body proper vitamins and nutrients thru elimination.

I personally encourage this lifestyle for those who have the above diseases running in their families; obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and/or Alzheimer’s. Not only those diseases but also if you’re suffering from IBS, Celiac/gluten intolerance, thyroid issues and/or migraines. Choose a health issue that is ailing you and eat the foods that will counteract the symptoms. Food can act as powerful medicine.

Heads up — those who don’t realize yet (or care) that food can improve how you feel, will give you grief for this lifestyle. People can simply be jerks when it comes to something that’s not the norm but stand strong because you CAN change the way you feel.

If you could prevent these diseases from reducing your quality of life, why wouldn’t you? What if it could be as simple as a dietary lifestyle change? DO IT. Cast aside whatever is holding you back, and do know feeling better can be done effectively and affordably.

Alzheimer’s currently affects my grandfather and all I want to do is force my father and siblings on a gluten free, anti-inflammatory diet, but that is not up to me. It truly doesn’t hit most people that a dietary change is necessary until they are faced with something so life changing that they have no other choice. What breaks my heart is the group that still won’t change even when they’re facing something that could kill them. I am constantly reminded not many people care about nutrition like I do which is why “The Informal Grub” was born. I care deeply about my friends and family and just want them educated, happy and to live forever. Is that too much for a girl to ask??

I will end my rant and give you guys a super quick and easy snack packed with a powerful antioxidant which will aid with inflammation…Pomegranates! Great for on the go or just a quick snack to make at home.

Snap, Crackle, Pomegranate Rice Cakes

Rice cake

Almond Butter

1 Banana

Pomegranate Arils

Teaspoon of Chia Seeds

  1. Spread the almond butter on the rice cake
  2. Cut the banana into half inch slices and place on top of almond butter
  3. Sprinkle the pomegranate arils on top
  4. Finally, sprinkle the chia seeds on top
  5. ENJOY!

 

-C