Blueberry Yum Yum

Blueberry Yum Yum

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BLUEBERRIES // may help reduce muscle damage after strenuous exercise

Strenuous exercise can lead to muscle soreness and fatigue. This is driven, in part by local inflammation and oxidative stress in the muscle tissue.

Blueberry supplementation may reduce the damage that occurs at the molecular level, minimizing soreness and reduction in muscle performance.

In a small study of 10 female athletes, blueberries accelerated muscle recovery after strenuous leg exercises.


With MS150 training in full motion, proper recovery is essential. Immediately after a long ride I typically hammer some bananas, coconut water and a whole lot of protein to refuel. Not only is potassium key for post-working recovery but apparently blueberries are too!

This recipe is a fun one because it can be made with leftovers; smoothie and chia pudding leftovers, saving you a lot of time! Nothing better than an easy to make snack pack(ed) with nutritious goodness. Here you go!

Blueberry Smoothie + Chia Pudding Snack Pack

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BLUEBERRY SMOOTHIE INGREDIENTS

1 beet

1 banana

5 strawberries

handful of blueberries

2-4 leaves of mint

1/2 cup almond milk

handful of ice

water for desired consistency

CHIA PUDDING INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup chia seeds

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbs local honey

GARNISH + LAYERS INGREDIENTS

handful of blueberries

handful of strawberries

1 banana

handful of almonds

handful of goji berries (optional)

  1. The night before mix all of the chia pudding ingredients together in a seal-able container (I use a glass jar), whisk for 1-2 minutes to ensure no clumping and place in the fridge. The chia seeds need minimum 3 hours to set
  2. That night or the next day (smoothies can keep for up to 24 hrs) blend all ingredients for the smoothie and set aside.
  3. Grab a wine glass, jar, or bowl and make your first layer with blueberries.
  4. Add your desired amount of chia pudding into the dish, next. I added just a few inches to my glass.
  5. Next, add a layer of almonds
  6. Pour a few inches worth of the smoothie on top of the almonds
  7. Garnish with 1/2 of the banana…eat the other half as you stand there
  8. Top the rest of the parfait with goji berries, strawberries, blueberries, almonds and some mint.
  9. Enjoy!

67 DAYS IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY!

-C

Quinoa pronounced KEEN-WAH

Quinoa pronounced KEEN-WAH

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QUINOA // high in minerals that most do not get enough of

There are many nutrients in the modern diet that people tend to be lacking in.

This is particularly true of some minerals…especially Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc and (for women) Iron.

Interestingly, quinoa is very high in all 4 minerals. It is particularly high in magnesium, with one cup having about 30% of the recommended daily amount.

The problem is that quinoa contains a substance called phytic acid, which can bind these minerals and reduce their absorption.

However, by soaking and/or sprouting the quinoa before cooking it, you can reduce the phytic acid content and make these minerals more bio-available.


Most dinners I plan days in advance but with this one that was NOT the case. I literally threw things together that were in my pantry and quite honestly I got lucky with the outcome!

I always keep quinoa, beans and sweet potatoes on hand and I bought a pre-made butternut squash soup that I had been meaning to play around with. I found it in the same section where you would buy broth.

If you’re in the mood for something easy, protein-packed and filled with carotenoids, here you go!

Butternut Squash Soup + Stuffed Sweet Potato

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(Serves 2)

32oz Pacific brand Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

1 can black beans

2 sweet potatoes

1 cup uncooked quinoa

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

S & PP to taste

  1. Set oven to 425, wrap sweet potatoes in foil and cook until soft (60-75 minutes)
  2. Soak/rinse uncooked quinoa for a few minutes before cooking
  3. Add quinoa with 2 cups water or chicken broth. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until fluffy. Set aside.
  4. Pour entire soup mix into medium sized pot and turn heat to medium low and simmer, adding the almond milk and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add black beans to a small pot a cook on low
  6. Once all of the above has been cooked, pour the soup into bowls and add your desired amount of black beans and quinoa.
  7. Top sweet potatoes with beans and quinoa.
  8. Enjoy!

65 days IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY!

(I HAVE NEVER GONE THIS LONG WITHOUT GETTING SICK)

 

Power to Goji Berries

Power to Goji Berries

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GOJI BERRIES // A nutritional powerhouse

Unique among fruits because they contain all essential amino acids, goji berries also have the highest concentration of protein of any fruit.

Goji berries are also loaded with vitamin C, contain more carotenoids than any other food, have 21 trace minerals and are high in fiber.

Having 15 times the amount of iron found in spinach, as well as calcium, zinc, selenium and many other important trace minerals, there is no doubt that the delicious goji berry is a nutritional powerhouse.


Not only have I cut certain protein sources from my “diet” (animal proteins excluding chicken) due to doctor recs but I am also cycling many miles throughout the week. My current goal in life is not only to get well but to gain weight in the process. With those competing lifestyles I have to eat smart to make sure I don’t lose any weight and that I am getting the right nutrients.

With that being said, I do a lot of research on what is best to fuel my body. When I came across goji berries I felt like I had hit the jackpot…PROTEIN, vitamin C, fiber & iron! All in that little berry–so awesome.

This flavorful fruit really makes breakfasts and snacks fun. So far I have put them in smoothies, chia/yogurt parfaits and on toast with almond butter. Today’s recipe will be for a smoothie I made last week. What ways will you incorporate goji berries into your diet?

GOJI BERRY POWERHOUSE SMOOTHIE

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1 beet

1 banana

5 strawberries

3 dates

handful of goji berries

handful of blueberries

3-5 leaves of mint

2 tbsp of chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds

1/2 cup almond milk (unsweetened)

water for desired consistency

5-7 ice cubes

  1. Add all above ingredients in a blender and enjoy!

 

63 DAYS IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY

-C

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

A Hint of Mint

A Hint of Mint

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MINT // relieves indigestion

Mint (Pudina) is packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients that can work wonders for your stomach.

The menthol present is pudina helps the enzymes necessary for digestion. They relax the smooth muscles of the stomach, reducing the chances of indigestion and spasms. They can also act on these muscles to activate them and help work more efficiently to carry out digestion.

Pudina is also known to calm stomach cramps and help beat acidity. According to Ayurveda practitioners, it is also very beneficial for patients suffering from IBS. In fact, mint extracts have been used to coat tablets meant to relieve symptoms of IBS. It helps the muscles in the stomach relax and promotes overall digestion.

Drink a cup of mint tea after every meal by either boiling leaves along with a few green tea leaves or on their own for maximum benefit.


Since having to change up my “diet” I have been giving new ingredients a chance. We all know mint leaves smell great and we like its flavor in our gum but how many of you all have reached towards this herb when cooking?

I have many friends that discuss their GI struggles with me so I really hope you are reading this today. I do wish you will find ways to incorporate mint into your meals and teas so that you can get some form of relief!

Today’s dish can be used 1 of 2 ways. The quinoa can be cooked as a side dish and placed with other dishes or it can be cooked how we cooked it the other night…chicken included. Round 1 included chicken and round 2 (the next day) included just the quinoa. This meal was super easy and I hope you guys love it!

Coconut Curry Chicken Skewers with Ginger Quinoa

(Feeds 2-4)

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2 tablespoons coconut curry paste (international aisle)

1/4 cup coconut milk

4 chicken breast fillets, sliced (or buy already on skewers in meat dept)

1.5 cups uncooked quinoa

1 tablespoon finely grated ginger

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1 green onion finely chopped

1 teaspoon sesame oil

5 mint leaves chopped

1/2 lime, cilantro and mint to garnish

  1. Place the curry paste and coconut milk in a bowl and mix to combine
  2. If not bought pre-made, thread the chicken onto skewers and place on a baking tray
  3. Spread the curry mixture over the chicken to coat
  4. Place quinoa in a large sauce pan, add 2 cups+ of water or chicken broth, place on medium-high heat until boiling, lower heat to low and keep lid on and cook until fluffy (1o minutes or so) Make sure to check from time to time to ensure not all liquid has been cooked out
  5. Cook the skewers under a pre-heated oven on Broil for 5-7 minutes or until cooked through
  6. Place the quinoa, ginger, cilantro, onion, mint and sesame oil in a bowl, toss to combine
  7. Divide the quinoa between serving plates, top with the chicken and serve with lime, mint and cilantro.
  8. ENJOY!

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

44 days

-C