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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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Did you know that many common foods cross-react with gluten? Check out this list….

I just saw a client that has migrated by necessity to a gluten free diet and has removed all gluten from her diet for over 3 months. We also did a cleansing of her entire GI tract and healed the damage done by years of exposure to this toxin.

Initially she felt dramatically better but now she says that some of symptoms have come back. Hence this blog. I wanted to share with you that some foods, even though they do not contain gluten, can look like gluten to your immune system and then cause a similar response. I thought that if she needed this info, maybe you do too.

Here is the list:

Coffee, corn, dairy ; including Alpha-Casein, Beta-Casein, Casomorphin, Butyrophilin and Whey Protein. Also; buckwheat, amaranth, chocolate (I know, this is painful one), corn, hemp, millet, eggs, oats, potatoes, rice, sesame, soy, tapioca , yeast and eggs.

Obviously this a long and daunting list and you may not be sensitive to all of these. Yet if you are gluten-intolerant and you are still having issues despite removing gluten from your diet, try eliminating the above foods for at least three weeks to one months and see if your symptoms improve. Then you may reintroduce the above foods one at a time to determine which ones you are having challenges with, if any.

Let me know how it goes.
To your heath!
Dr in The Kitchen

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Love, Health and Chocolate

darkchocolateNothing says I love you better than sweet, velvety, creamy chocolate melting you into the world of cocoa and its heart loving antioxidants and healing polyphenols. In fact, raw cocoa powder and dark chocolate (greater than 60%) have the same polyphenol content and greater antioxidant and flavanol content of many popular super fruits. 

Aside from its physical health benefits, dark chocolate is also known as a mind altering ‘feel-good food’. Studies have shown that eating a few ounces of dark chocolate per day improved people’s moods. Add to that the combination of the emotional response when eating chocolate -the smooth creamy texture, sweet aroma, and good memories it produces, along with its dash of caffeine and wow, chocolate becomes the most fabulous happy food.

So this Valentine’s day, indulge and enjoy.

And for your optimal health, pair your gift with a box of flackers; crunchy, savory, high in protein, fiber and  omega-3 -these snacks are the perfect balance to chocolate. And we all know that love and health are all about balance!

So this Valentine’s Day declare your love to yourself or to that special person with two of my favorite healthy things flackers and chocolate!

Much love, much health!

Dr in The Kitchen…Alison Levitt, MD

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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The happy mood grocery list

This season is challenging for me, dark and getting colder are not any of my favorite things! So anything that I can do to boost my mood, I say sign me up! It turns out that maintaining a healthy diet does more than just improve our physical health. Studies have shown that there is a strong connection between the foods that we eat and our mood.

T’’is the season to eat foods that will also help to boost your mood. Here is how you can do this. “Happy Foods”, as I call them, should be added to your grocery list immediately and become regulars in your kitchen. Here is a list of the few that are my favorites.

Chocolate (you knew this would be number one on my list right?)

A study in the Journal of Pharmacology found that eating a few ounces of dark chocolate per day improved people’s moods. Add to that the combination of the emotional response when eating chocolate – the velvety texture, sweet aroma, and good memories it produces – along with its dash of caffeine and its sugar content, which boosts serotonin levels, and you’ve got one fabulous ‘feel-good food’.

Dark chocolate is best for a few reasons; as you may already know, sugar is a contributing cause of the blues and is typically found in higher content in chocolate as the percentage of cocoa goes down. Cocoa on the other hand is very good for boosting our mood, so the higher the percentage of cocoa the better. The flavonoids found in cocoa and chocolate are full of antioxidants that help to lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to the brain and heart.

Other foods containing flavonoids: cranberries, apples, red wine, peanuts, onions

Flax seeds and Walnuts
A study conducted by researchers at Harvard University and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) found in flax seeds and walnuts,  alleviates symptoms of depression.

Flax seeds and walnuts contain some of the best sources for omega-3 fatty acids and walnuts have the bonus ingredient uridine, which in combination with each other, help improve communication between the neurons in your brain. This is the same action that some antidepressant drugs perform – just in an edible delicious  natural way!
Other foods containing ALA: soybeans, flackers, hemp seeds, chia seeds

Avocado
Soft, nourishing, and rich, this fruit is surprisingly rich in good fats, protein and fiber. While quite heavy in texture, it is gentle on your stomach, heart healthy, calming to your system, soothing to your skin and joints and creamy delicious. Avocados help to build strength and a healthy immune system.

Avocados contain a wide variety of good healthy fats that can help to increase serotonin levels in the brain. 3 types of phytosterols are also packed into its nutrition profile, contributing to its natural ability to control inflammation. Enjoy with a dab of lime, pinch of salt and cilantro.

Other foods containing healthy fats: olive oil, nuts, and most cold water fishes

Seaweed: Rich in minerals, vitamins, and easily digestible protein, seaweed is almost a perfect food. I love it raw (after I soak it) on my salads or sautéed with garlic and sesame oil. Seaweeds can help keep your thyroid running smoothly and efficiently which is very important for maintain good energy levels and a balanced mood. This nutrient dense food is ideal for nourishing the entire body with a plethora of essential vitamin and minerals that offer the perfect nutrition to help you be energized and feel balanced. If you are frightened by the thought of trying seaweed start with a seaweed salad at any Japanese  store or restaurant. They have mastered the dressing so that the real raw taste is masked in a delicious form that you may enjoy.

Spinach
A study in the Journal of Nutrition showed that people who consumed the lowest levels of folate were 67 percent more likely to suffer from depression than those who took in the most. Popeye was right on with this one. Spinach is rich in folate, another nutrient that helps to boost serotonin levels in the brain. That’s incentive enough to stock up on this nutrient food.
Other foods containing high levels of folate: asparagus, broccoli, and beans

Bananas

A report from researchers at Oxford University found that women recovering from depression who were deficient in tryptophan had a higher chance of regressing back to depressive states. So if you’re feeling a bit down, grab a banana….Bananas contain the amino acid tryptophan plus vitamin B6, magnesium and potassium which, working together to help the body produce serotonin.

So make eating healthy, eating for energy and a balanced mood a priority today. Start with one or two of these items and enjoy them, experiment with them and most importantly watch the evidence ;  a happy , clear, strong mind and good health.

And the best part, we do not really have to compromise, I mean chocolate is on the list right? Sweet!!!

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Don’t leave home without these…my favorite fabulous travel companions

Just got back from a very exciting trip to NYC, ok beyond exciting, thrilling actually. Yesterday I met with The Bobbi Brown! And she was absolutely fabulous and wonderful and I am so grateful that I could spend time with such a talented superstar who by the by, also adores flackers. ( especially the new ones, cinnamon currants.)

Well I can go on about that but I digress….So what are my favorite travel companions? Well, naturally they are food, aside from a few items of clothing I would guess that at least a third of my baggage is filled with edibles. You never know if you will get stranded, or delayed and so I make sure that in case of an emergency, I will not go hungry, nor will I miss out on my daily nutrition! 

For starters I always travel with flackers to make sure that I am going to get omega-3 fatty acids and of course plenty of fiber. Traveling and sitting on long journeys really can slow down the GI system so many people including myself have to have fiber. The other item I never leave home with is chocolate, dark chocolate to be specific. I add a few sprouted nuts and seeds to my mix so that my sweet tooth is balanced with protein and good fats, and I am god to go!

We know that it is good for you-and thank god for that! They make for the perfect sweet snack that I can enjoy daily without any guilt. I always take my own because I want to make sure that the cocoa content is greater than 65% and I want to make sure that the main ingredient is not sugar. The only way I can do this is to bring my own.

My next favorite must have when traveling is a chocolate green beverage that I adore called ‘amazon chocolate’ and/or ‘amazing grass”, both wonderful. Just add water and voila, I have my rich tasting, healthy low-calorie, superfood beverage. I actually carry a BPA free bottle with me, pour in the powder but no water until I go through security, (yes, it is still code orange alert these days), but then simply add H2O and it is fabulous. Keeping well hydrated is key to successful traveling. It will keep you feeling energized and well lubricated on those dry flights. 

Naturally I have a few more goodies in my travel bag but no matter if I am traveling across the country or just within city limits, these are my favorite saviours that have served me quite well.

http://amazinggrass.com/

www.greensplus.com

www.flackers.com

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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