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Eating for a Rainbow of Health Benefits

Beige and black may be all the rage in many wardrobes but when it relates to a healthy diet, color is the way to go. Why? One word: phytochemicals. The more colorful your plate the more phytonutrients in your food and the more phytonutrinets on your plate the more health benefits you will be eating. I always say that the best form of health insurance is prevention. As I tell all of my patients, a beige diet may be cheap, taste good to you and fill you up, but it also may cost you more later as they tend to be high in unhealthy fats, highly processed and usually nutrient depleted foods. This puts your health at risk. So choose to eat wisely now and there is no better time then the beginning of summer with the abundance of produce and healthy fresh choices.
Phytochemicals act as antioxidants, can protect your cells from injury, aging and cancer. They can help regenerate essential nutrients and they can also help in the detoxification of certain chemicals that are in our environment and help to inhibit and deactivate cancer-causing substances. WOW! All that in a little color on your plate. And the beauty is that these potent substances occur naturally in plants and because its summer, they are everywhere! Summer time means sunshine, greenery, longer days and warmer evenings, more time to savor all the beauty of the outdoors. Plants are in abundance, beauty abounds, and nature gloriously shares all of its incredible fresh healthy bounty with us. In my healthy world, summer is all about the amazing abundance of healthy, fresh, whole foods and there’s no better time to eat well, be well and feel fabulous.

So what exactly is behind the color of your food?

phytochemical

Green:

The natural plant pigment chlorophyll colors green fruits and vegetables. Green foods are rich in isothiocyanates, which induce enzymes in the liver that assist the body in removing potentially carcinogenic compounds. For example, cruciferous veggies such as broccoli and cabbage contain the phytochemicals indoles and isothiocyanates, which may have anticancer properties.

Green vegetables are also an excellent sources of vitamin K, folic acid, potassium, as well as carotenoids and omega-3 fatty acids. Folic acid is needed to prevent neural tube defects during pregnancy, and vitamin K is essential in blood clot formation. Diets high in potassium are associated with lowering blood pressure, and there is an inverse relationship between cruciferous vegetables and cancer, especially colon and bladder cancers. In addition, sulforaphane, a phytochemical present in cruciferous vegetables, was found to detoxify cancer-causing chemicals before they do damage to the body.

Yellow/Green:

A variation of the green color category, these foods exhibit a richness in lutein. Lutein is particularly beneficial for eye health. There are lutein receptors in the macula of the eye, and lutein helps protect against age-related macular degeneration.

Another reason to grab some yellow/green kiwifruit at the grocery store is its high amount of vitamin C, a super powerful natural antioxidant that is essential for collagen formation in the skin and improving the immune system. Sources of these potent antioxidants include; Avocado, kiwifruit, spinach and other leafy greens, pistachios

Relish Ruby Reds:

Lycopene is the predominant pigment in reddish fruits and veggies and this carotenoid, lycopene, is a powerful antioxidant that has been associated with a reduced risk of some cancers, especially prostate cancer, and protection against heart attacks. Look for tomato-based products for the most concentrated source of this phytochemical. Tomatoes also help to support the health of prostate and breast tissue.

And although some nutrients, such as vitamin C, are diminished with the introduction of heat, the benefits of eating produce are not dependent on eating raw foods. In fact, cooking enhances the activity of some phytochemicals, especially lycopene. Cooked tomato sauces are associated with greater health benefits compared with the uncooked version because the heating process allows all carotenoids, especially the lycopene, to be more easily absorbed by the body.

In addition to vitamin C and folate, red fruits and vegetables are also sources of flavonoids, which reduce inflammation and have antioxidant properties. Cranberries, another red fruit whose color is due to anthocyanins, not lycopene, are also a good source of tannins, which prevent bacteria from attaching to cells.

Yellow/Orange:

Orange foods are rich in beta-carotene, which are particularly wonderful antioxidants. They also contain beta-cryptoxanthin and vitamin C. Beta-cryptoxanthin, beta-carotene, and alpha-carotene are all orange-friendly carotenoids and can be converted in the body to vitamin A, a nutrient integral for optimal vision, healthy immune function, as well as skin and bone health.

Since eyesight is dependent on the presence of vitamin A, it is considered the optimal vision vitamin. Other phytochemicals typically found in yellow/orange fruits and vegetables help to protect the eyes from cataracts and have anti-inflammatory properties. The beta-carotenes in some orange fruits and vegetables may also play a part in cancer prevention; lung, esophagus, and stomach. They may also reduce the risk of heart disease and improve immune function.

Examples: Carrots, mangos, cantaloupe, winter squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, apricots

The beauty of these colorful fruits and vegetables is far more than skin deep. These colors are nature’s way of advertising the phytonutrients, or special, healthy chemicals that they contain. The more color, the better!

Indulge, enjoy and stay healthy!

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Popcorn Cauliflower

If you know me well, or even slightly well, you know that I love, love, love popcorn.  So when I came upon this healthy, yummy alternative, I got super excited…

Popcorn cauliflower is now my new favorite low calorie, healthy, yummy, delicious snack.

3 amazing reasons to eat cauliflower include:

Cauliflower is a member of the cancer-fighting cruciferous family of vegetables

Cauliflower is anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich, and may boost both your heart and brain health

Eating cauliflower will provide your body with impressive amounts of vitamin C, vitamin k, beta-carotene, and much more while supporting healthy digestion and detoxification

Need I say more? And cooking it this way tastes fabulous….let me know what you think and Enjoy!

cauliflower popcorn

Ingredients
4 teaspoons coconut sugar or truvia or a dab of stevia
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 heads organic cauliflower, cut into mini bite-size pieces
coconut oil
Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Whisk sweetener, salt, paprika, turmeric, onion powder, and garlic powder together in a bowl.
Spread cauliflower onto the prepared baking sheet; spray or whisk liberally with coconut oil or oilve oil, can use spray, organic oil version if you like as well. Season cauliflower with spice mixture.
Roast in the preheated oven until cauliflower is tender, 30 to 35 minutes. You can also do a quick broil to make them crispier
once out of the oven, may sprinkle with nutritional yeast and cayenne pepper if you like a little heat
Enjoy

 

 

I Love MACA

 

Why do I love Maca? Maca root is a highly nutritious root vegetable, but also a wonderful medicinal adaptogen, also known as “Peruvian ginseng”. In today’s day and age, with all of the stressers in our daily lives, adaptogenic herbs and foods are our friends, the more we eat the better we shall feel and thrive. I believe that Maca and other adaptogens should be part of our daily diet.

Maca grows in the high mountainous areas of South America, and has been cultivated as a vegetable crop for thousands of years.

Maca’s has some wonderful positive effects of the body and the mind; especially the endocrine and reproductive system. It is known for its hormone balancing and regulating effects and seems very good for the reproductive health of both men and women. Maca root is said to increase fertility, improve sexual function, improve hormone balance, and help increase energy and stamina. It may also help improve mental health, especially mood, focus and learning. WOW!

In Peru, maca is cooked and eaten like a vegetable. Here, it is more available as a dried powdered root and is considered quite the superfood.

Raw maca powder does not mix well with liquids so I like to use it in baking, as a replacemnt for ordinary flour. You can still mix the raw powder into a smoothie or a no-baked recipe, but it needs to be blended quite well. I recommend about 1 tablespoon once or twice a day, and because it might help boost your energy, I usually take it in the morning or early afternoon.

Maca has a pleasant flavor, and I think it tastes creamy and delicious. Some describe it as similar to butterscotch, and it comes in a variety of colors, most commonly yellow, black, and red. All colors of maca have similar benefits, although specific maca types/colors are thought to be more beneficial for certain medical conditions.

Rich and yummy Maca Blueberry Cocoa Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 cup frozen blueberries

1-2 Tsp Maca

2 Tbsp Raw Cacao Powder

2 cups coconut milk, full fat in a can

1 Tbsp raw organic honey

OR 1/4 tsp stevia powder extract

bluebery smoothis

Directions:

Put everything in a blender until well combined.

Drink it all yourself or share it with a lucky friend!

Another awesome Maca recipe is Maca Cocoa Coconut Bliss Balls

bliss balls

Ingredients

10 Medjool Dates (about 10-12)
1/3 cup finely chopped Macadamia Nuts
1/3 cup Goji Berries
2 tablespoons Chia Seeds
2 tablesspoons Cacao Nibs
1 tablespoon Maca Powder
1 Teaspoon Raw Honey (VEGAN VERSION – 3-4 drops stevia)
1 Teaspoon Cacao Powder
Dash of Vanilla Extract
Finely shredded Coconut (for rolling them in)

Instructions

Combine dates, chia seeds, cocao powder, vanilla extract and honey in a food processor and whiz up until you get a fairly smooth consistency.

Stir in the goji berries, macadamia nuts and cacao nibs. Feel free to add or take out any of the nuts and seeds, play with the ingredients anf find a blend that you love.

With clean washed hands, start forming into little balls or fun shapes and then roll them  in the shredded coconut.

Then simply enjoy !

 

 

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Rose Lavender “calm, soothe and relax” Spritz

lavendar-sunriseFloral aromas are often called “heart notes” because they have such a soothing, comforting effect on our hearts. I love them because they smell delicious and yummy! When I use these at work, my co-workers gather around me wondering what smells so amazing. Everyone seems to love them and I guarantee that so will you! My favorite blend combines Rose and Lavender hydrosols or essential oil in a relaxing spritz that you and your kids can spray on you face (this Rose Lavender Spritz is safe for sensitive skin), use as a natural air freshener in your home or car and also as a natural sleep enhancing spray, so spritz around the bed when it’s time to go to sleep. I also use it during the day because it smells so delicious and it calms me down when I feel stressed out. Here is my recipe…

spray-bottleYou can make this in a 2 oz (60 ml) PET plastic spray bottle or glass bottle

  • 1.5 oz (45 ml) Rose hydrosol (Rosa centifolia) or 10 drops of concentrated rose essential oil

  • ½ oz (15 ml) Lavender hydrosol (Lavandula angustifolia) or 10 drops of concentrated lavendar essential oil

Enjoy…

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Avocado and Coconut Ice Cream

This is a great refreshing summer treat that is gluten free and dairy free, raw and vegan,  bringing only good fats and yummy healthy tasty delights to the dessert table…wow!!! Need I say more?

I know I could stop there but I cannot help myself. I get excited about avocados and here is why…

The avocado is such a unique fruit. Most fruit consists primarily of carbohydrate, the avocado is super high in healthy fats. Numerous studies show that it has powerful beneficial effects on health including the following:avocado-coconut-ice-cream-in-glass-landscape-large (1).jpg

  1.  avocado oil are high in monounsaturated oleic acid, a “heart healthy” fatty acid that is believed to be one of the main reasons for the health benefits of olive oil.
  2. Avocados tend to be high in fiber, about 7% by weight, which is very high compared to most other foods. Fiber can have various important benefits for weight loss and metabolic health and cancer prevention and cardio-protective.
  3. Avocados are high in antioxidants, including Lutein and Zeaxanthin. These nutrients are very important for eye health and lower the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
  4. Numerous studies have shown that eating avocado can improve heart disease risk factors like Total, LDL and HDL cholesterol, as well as blood triglycerides.
  5. One dietary survey found that people who ate avocados had a much higher nutrient intake and had a lower risk of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.
  6. Studies have shown that eating avocado or avocado oil with veggies can dramatically increase the amount of antioxidants you take in.

A single serving of avocado also contains these amazing nutrients

  • Vitamin K: 26% of the RDA.
  • Folate: 20% of the RDA.
  • Vitamin C: 17% of the RDA.
  • Potassium: 14% of the RDA.
  • Vitamin B5: 14% of the RDA.
  • Vitamin B6: 13% of the RDA.
  • Vitamin E: 10% of the RDA.
  • Then it contains small amounts of Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorous, Vitamin A, B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin) and B3 (Niacin).
  • Avocados do not contain any cholesterol or sodium and they are also low in saturated fats

So top off tonight’s dinner with this awesome dessert and enjoy!

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 zest of limes variety
  • 2 ripe avocados peeled & pitted
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1 cup coconut milk sweetened

Mix in a blender and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.

Preparation time: 20 minutes, Ready in: 120
 
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Posted by on August 16, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

My herbal travel rescue kit

We have all been there; traveling in a developing country and suddenly you do not feel so great. Whether its stomach issues, cuts and bruises, insect bites or a nasty flu,
smart travelers should pack a good first aid kit, full of all those things you may need in case of an emergency.

Sadly, I have no travel plans this month but my girlfriend J is on her way to Thailand and asked me to share with her my traveling secret remedies. Of course, I want you all to stay healthy too, so I am forwarding my list of remedies to her and to all of you as well. This list of wonderful remedies is also in my medicine cabinet at home so if you are stuck here this summer like me, no worries, this list may still end up coming in handy.

Here is the list and it includes some great natural remedies that I love and that can help prevent many travel related ailments.

13698228_10153783644511705_3225095798230110961_o.jpg(This amazing photo is courtesy of my ex neighbor in Minneapolis, the talented Edward Bock. You can learn more about him and his work on http://www.edwardbock.com .)

By the way, this list is a work in progress and so if you have any remedies that you love, please feel free to share them with mesince my list is always evolving

1. Good Quality Probiotic

This is probably the single most important natural remedy you can carry in your first aid kit. Traveller’s diarrhea is one of the biggest issue most of us face when travelling through developing countries.

Probiotics increase the number of friendly bacteria in your gut and these little guys can help keep the not so nice ones in check. Be mindful that your immune system is closely tied to the health of your gut flora, so having a happy gut, will keep you strong and healthy as well.

The best kind to bring with you are ones that do not need to be refrigerated. So read the label carefully on the product that you choose and at least try and get one with 1 billion live strains.

2. Oil of Oregano

This is another great remedy that I always include in my travel kit. Oil of oregano has many different uses that can help you on your trip. Oil of oregano contains antimicrobial, antiviral, anti parasitic, anti allergenic and anti fungal properties. A study from the US Department of Agriculture showed that oil of oregano was effective against Salmonella and E. Coli bacteria. So if you find yourself coming down with something, whether its a stomach bug, flu, cold like symptoms or sore throat , take 3-5 drops under your tongue, 3 times a day until you are feeling better.

Just a reminder that oil of oregano is potent, so this remedy is not recommended for everyday use. Just use it when you think you need it. And brace yourself, the taste is quite strong.

essential oil.jpg

3. Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit seed extract is a concentrated blend of pink pulp, orange skin and seeds of the grapefruit. Like oil of oregano, it is a potent antibacterial, antiviral, anti fungal. I always carry a little bit of this stuff while travelling to disinfect suspect food and water. Sometimes you may find yourself somewhere with no clean water to buy. You can put a few drops of this into questionable water to kill anything in there that could make you sick. Sometimes while travelling on long bus rides, your only choice for food may be street vendors. I have put this stuff directly onto sketchy looking food to make it safer for consumption.

When buying grapefruit seed extract, make sure to find a good quality brand. Some products have been found to contain synthetic additives which could cause you harm. Visit your local health food store and talk with someone in the know.

4. Magnesium

Magnesium has a couple different applications that can be useful during travelling. Taken orally, magnesium has the ability to relax the intestines and colon. This is a great thing to take if you are experiencing constipation. There is nothing worse than being on some remote backcountry trek and being all blocked up. It can make you bloated and irritable. Magnesium can clear this issue up within 24 hours.

Since magnesium is a relaxant, it is also great to take at night before bedtime. So if you ever experience insomnia while travelling, magnesium can calm you nerves and help you get that much needed rest.

There are a variety of forms of magnesium available out there and they are all not absorbed equally in your system. The best forms are magnesium glycinate and magnesium taurate.

5. Activated charcoal

This supplement is good for relief from food poisoning, gluten exposure if you need it, stomach bugs, gas, bloating and diarrhea. It reduces toxicity by adsorbing chemicals in the GI tract. Be sure to take with plenty of water and stay very well hydrated with clean filtered water while taking this supplement.

charcoal

6. Ginger capsules or ginger chews
Great remedy for tummy upsets, including motion sickness, morning sickness and gas.

7. Echinacea and Goldenseal

Echinacea helps support a healthy immune system, and has antibacterial and antibiotic properties. If you start to feel an illness coming on, dosing yourself with a tincture of echinacea is a good way to help you stay healthy.

Goldenseal is a powerful antibacterial, antibiotic, and antiparasitical potion. In powdered form, it can be applied to open cuts to help them from getting infected. You can also take this internally for infections as it acts as a natural antibiotic.

8. Lavender essential oil

Lavender essential oil is my favorite essential oil because it smells divine but also because it can be used topically on the skin for irritations, wounds bites and burns and also can be used to help with insomnia, anxiety and headaches. For most people, it can be applied directly to the skin. One drop takes the swelling and itch out of mosquito bites. It is an anti-inflammatory and has antiseptic properties.

9. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a great natural moisturizer. This stuff can be incredibly hydrating if you are travelling in a country with a dry climate. You can rub this stuff all over your body and it makes your skin soft, smooth and shiny. Using this product is truly the best thing you can do for your skin. It can offer protection against a number of harsh weather conditions including wind, sun and snow. I often put coconut oil on my lips when they are chapped and in need of some TLC. Aside from being a great natural lubricant, coconut oil also contains a little SPF and it does have some antimicrobial and antifungal properties as well so can also be used for calming a number of skin conditions including rashes, eczema and acne.

Of course, you shouldn’t just stock your first aid kit with natural remedies. It is always good to have some good backups, just in case, especially if you are travelling to remote areas with little access to emergency services.

If you stock your first aid kit with these things, and make sure to take your probiotic everyday, your chances are high of having the healthiest trip you have had yet.

Safe travels and namaste!

 

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Water…hydrating, replenishing, nourishing, juicy…but are you getting enough?

water-life-cropAll the cells in our body need water for biochemical reactions, optimal function, detoxification and lubrication. Our bodies are made up mostly of water ,60-65% water, so staying hydrated is really important for your optimal health.  Do you feel sluggish throughout the day, have cramps, dry skin, urine infections, headaches, constipation? If so these may be signs that you are not getting enough water.

Some of the amazing qualities and reasons to drink water and stay hydrated include;

Increases your level of energy

Relieves chronic fatigue

Promotes weight loss…need I go on?

Water is so beneficial that I just have to tell more….

Improves your skin complexion; keeps your skin plush and hydrated and moist

Flushes out toxins by nourishing your kidneys one of the major detoxification centers in our body

Keeps you regular and free from bloating by lubricating the GI system.

Relieves cramps and headaches caused by lack of hydration.

Also, drinking water will help you to save money because water is free and as you know, lattes and juices and bottled beverages are not.

As an aside, did you know that Vitamin Water the bottled stuff in the store that claims to be full of life-giving vitamins and minerals actually isn’t? This should not actually come as a surprise since it is owned by Coca-Cola. I mean , the second ingredient is crystalline fructose aka corn syrup. So, you are basically drinking sugar water slightly fortified.

Also consider the beneficial impact on your body and the environment from drinking less bottled, store bought beverages, like less plastic, which I approve of and thus less hormone distruptors from the plastic and the BPA.

So let’s assess: less plastic, save money, better health…hmmm …How can you beat all of these juicy good reasons to drink water?

I have always told my clients to drink half their body weight in ounces daily. But for some people this can be super challenging. That’s why I am going to share with you some of my secrets on how to make your own delicious water. I am going to share delicious healthy water recipes so that your wallet , your body and your taste buds with be super happy!

You can make your own vitamin water at home and it will be natural, organic if you want, and personalized. You can make many more flavors than you could ever find in the store and it will be without any plastic or strange ingredients and color additives that are bad for you.

These recipes are using just fruits and herbs. YUM!

watermelon smoothieFresh, ripe, in-season fruits provide your vitamins and antioxidants in a refreshing sip. And ounce for ounce, herbs contain more phytonutrients than almost all the produce sold in your supermarket. They are not only hydrating but can even lower blood pressure (basil), promote digestion (mint), improve memory (rosemary), relieve bloating (sage), prevent blood clot formation (tarragon), and even protect brain cells from free radicals (thyme). All that in a few little sprigs of herb. Wow!

So here are some recipes.

Spa Vitamin Water
Makes 2 liters

Ingredients

9 cups water
1 small cucumber, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
2 tablespoons minced mint

Citrus-Rosemary Vitamin Water
Makes 2 liters

Ingredients

9 cups water
1 small grapefruit, sliced
1 small orange, sliced
1 tablespoon minced rosemary

Berry-Sage Vitamin Water
Makes 2 liters

Ingredients

9 cups water
1 cup whole berries (blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, or a mix)
1 tablespoon minced sage

Watermelon-Lime-Mint Vitamin Water
Makes 2 liters

Ingredients

9 cups water
1 cup cubed watermelon
1 lime, sliced
2 tablespoons minced mint

You can infuse almost any fresh fruits and herbs together, so give a hand at your own combinations and go crazy with it. And if you find a recipe that you love, please share with me. I am always interested in other’s creative juices.

Stay cool and enjoy!

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2016 in Uncategorized

 
 
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