Dragon Fruit Smoothie

I've been making smoothies without bananas or dates lately to decrease my sugar and carb intake especially earlier in the morning. Using coconut meat or avocados instead of bananas emphasizes on eating more healthy fats, which are still filling and low-glycemic. 

Avoiding sweet and high carb foods in the morning will help decrease sugar cravings throughout the day. This smoothie does contain fruit but not a lot of high carb fruits and the dragon fruit packets are unsweetened. 

The best part about this smoothie is that it's naturally bright pink! Dragon fruit is naturally bright fuschia pink. It's also filled with iron, fiber, and magnesium, which should be incorporated into our daily diet. 

The cocao powder makes this smoothie taste like a chocolate milkshake, for all you chocolate lovers out there. Hope you enjoy it!



Ingredients:

2 packets of Pitaya Plus

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

1/2 cup mango

1/2 cup almond or coconut milk

1 Tbsp. Cocao powder

1/2 Tbsp. Maca powder


Instructions:

1. Blend together all ingredients until smooth. Add more almond milk if it needs to be less thick. Enjoy! 

Bai5 Ipanema Pomegranate Hot Chocolate with Whipped Cream

Well a girls gotta survive this brutal winter somehow, right? Hot chocolate and winter are a match made in heaven, and I decided that Bai5 Ipanema Pomegranate and dark chocolate would go together just as well, and man was I right! I mean dark chocolate anything is good in my books...

I always opt for using high quality dark chocolate 72% or more. I also added cocao powder, for a boost of superfood nutrients and added chocolate flavor, can't hurt right? Again, I sweetened this recipe with an all-natural sweetener, maple syrup. The dark chocolate and cocao powder can be quite bitter, but the maple syrup and Bai5 Ipanema Pomegranate balance out this hot chocolate perfectly.

There are a variety of health benefits form eating dark chocolate as well. Not as sinful as you originally thought, huh? Disclaimer: everything in moderation. Dark chocolate and pure cocao are extremely high in antioxidants, one in particular,  resveratrol, which has been demonstrated to protect the heart from heart disease. Dark chocolate and cocao are also high in iron and magnesium, so you may want to think twice next time you are crave chocolate, because your body may be trying to tell you something.

Oh and it gets better…I even whipped up a dairy-free but heavenly whipped cream!! It came out tasting like vanilla ice cream, I almost ate the entire jar…And guess what it's made out of…almond milk!

Ok now heres the best part, the recipe. I'll let it speak for itself. Hope you find an excuse to curl with this hot chocolate to keep you warm!

Ingredients:

Makes 2 servings

Pomegranate Hot Chocolate:

Whipped Cream:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup almond oil (or other oil that isn't overpowering)
  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. xantham gum (optional)
  • Ice (optional)

Directions:

Pomegranate Hot Chocolate:

1. On low heat whisk all ingredients together in saucepan and mix until chocolate is completely melted and mixture has begun to boil.

Whipped Cream:

1. Place all ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor, if using a vitamin, start on low speed and then gradually to high speed.

2. Blend until desired consistency is reached, it won't get too thick without the anthem gum. If serving immediately add a few ice cubes to cool down.

3. I didn't have xantham gum, so I placed my mixture in the freezer for about and hour and then scooped a dollop for on top of the hot chocolate, and it was perfect!

Banana Berry Pancakes

This pancake stack of heaven right here, was inspired by my intense craving for pancakes! And yes, I gave in. I'm all about feeding your cravings, but with a healthy alternative. This my friends is gluten-free, and vegan friendly. You may have never heard gluten-free and fluffy in the same sentence before, but these pancakes will have you understanding what I mean. Your mind will be MIND BLOWN, thats how amazing they are.

You may be thinking, wait I should feed my food cravings? But aren't food cravings always bad? It may seem that way, especially when you are craving fast food and sugary foods, but your cravings are also telling you something you don't know and you can't see, that you're body is deficient in some way. These deficiencies display themselves through your body as cravings. For example, when you crave chocolate, your body isn't lacking chocolate, its lacking magnesium, which dark chocolate is rich in.

When you crave sweets, its a sign that your blood sugar is fluctuating. "Whether your sugar cravings are sporadic or chronic, it is important to choose the right type of food to bring your body back into balance. Giving in to cookies, cakes, candies, or other refined sweets will only make the problem worse and cause a blood sugar roller coaster that leads to more crav­ings. Instead, choose a piece of fruit when you’re craving sweets." In the long-run, add more fiber rich foods like beans and legumes, and complex carbohydrates like whole grains to give you the fuel you need without the blood sugar spikes.

When you crave salty foods like french fries and chips, this is an indication of  stress hormone fluctuations in the body. "The adrenal glands help your body cope with stress and, in our fast-paced, hectic lives, tend to become worn out, especially from stress-hormone production." Stress management practices I follow and reccomend are mediation, breathing exercises, and yoga. Prevent yourself from becoming stressed and you will prevent yourself from giving in to unhealthy cravings. Eating leafy green vegetables helps to supply the minerals that support the adrenal glands, especially potassium.

Do you feel like you crave cheese all the time? This craving is associated with fatty acid deficiency. Eat more nuts, avocado, and wild fish if you include that in your diet. Flaxseed oil supplements as well as high quality fish oil supplements will help with this deficiency as well. These supplements provide beneficial Omega 3s, and fats, and make sure they contain both EPA and DHA for best results.

Red meat cravings indicate iron deficiency. You may be reaching for a greasy burger or steak during these moments. Eat more iron-rich beans and legumes, unsulphured prunes, figs, and other dried fruits. If you eat meat you can also choose lean, organic red meat like beef or bison as a source of iron. "Just remember to keep meat consumption to within 15 percent of your total daily diet." Taking a vitamin C supplement or eating foods rich in vitamin C will also help with the absorption of iron. Eating citrus fruits, red peppers, tomatoes and berries along with iron rich foods will aid you retaining the iron nutrients.

If you feel like you could eat all day long, and that snacking has now become your sport, this is a great indicator that you aren't eating a healthy balanced diet. Your body is probably lacking a variety of nutrients and it shows up in sporadic salty and sweet cravings. This will only satisfy you temporally, but what will get rid of these cravings for good is implementing a new healthy and balanced diet. This will ensure that your body is provided with all the nutrients it needs to run properly and it will eliminate unhealthy food cravings.

I work with clients to eliminate cravings and teach them about what foods they should include in their diet. It can be overwhelming with all the information out there on whats good and bad, what to eat or to avoid. Getting on track is the first step. Reach out to me today if you need any help getting back to living and eating a more balanced diet. Eliminate your cravings to  feel less controlled by food and have more energy from what you eat!

These pancakes definitely filled my craving, but they were made to also be healthy and be filled with fruit as well as deliciousness. You don't have to sacrifice flavor or our favorite foods when eating differently, you just learn how to be creative. Reach for an apple and nut butter when you crave a snickers bar, and drink a glass of water before deciding if you need another snack. A lot of the times you mistake being thirsty as behind hungry. Listen to your body, but don't forget to nourish it properly.

Makes 6 medium sized pancakes

Ingredients:

Toppings:

  • Sliced almonds
  • Shredded coconut
  • Mango and strawberry slices
  • Honey or maple syrup

1. Combine all the ingredients together well. Add a little bit more almond milk if needed. The consistency of the batter needs to be a little runny.

2. Coat pan with coconut oil. Add about 1/3 cup of the batter to a heated skillet on low-medium heat, and cook for about 2-3 minutes on low heat until golden brown on each side.

3. Cook all of the batter, and plate pancakes with more fruit, shredded coconut and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup over your pancake stack. Enjoy!

Source:

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/what-your-cravings-mean.html

Improve Your Health With Gratitude

After recently returning from my trip to Guatemala, where I visited beautiful rural areas on Lake Atitlan, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude and happiness. Happiness from visiting such a welcoming country with friendly and loving people. Gratitude for being where I am today and having the opportunity and means to travel and see as much as I have. Many of the indigenous people living on Lake Atitlan don’t have much in life. They may not have an education, much money, or food to feed themselves and their children, or real homes to sleep in and protect them from the cold or rain, but they laugh, have families, and communities to support one another. The timing of my trip coincidentally fell before Thanksgiving. As I reflected about my my trip  over the holiday it gave me time to think about all the things in my life I’m grateful for. Gratitude is such an important part of life. It’s humbling, reflective, and provides a sense of peace and calmness.

Life can be overwhelming at times, and it’s so easy to take little things for granted, like having a warm bed to sleep in, and food on your table. It sounds cliche, I know, but without these kind of thoughts and without realizing how much we have, its easy to create a little bubble where only your small petty problems matter. This way of thinking unravels into selfishness and sadness most of the time. Not being able to see outside the walls that you have caged yourself in will only allow you to see the insignificant things compared to the big picture of life.

One way that I like to incorporate gratitude into my everyday life is keeping a gratitude journal. This not only allows me to have “me time” but it also allows me to reflect on my life and put things that may be stressing me into perspective. Okay, I know I have to work on a new project and do a number of meticulous tasks, then go to work at night, and run errands in between, but I also have so much to be grateful for at the same time. Like being able to have such opportunities and work for myself. You see, instead of feeling bad for yourself you can change your attitude to having a more positive outlook.

Living with gratitude has a multitude of health benefits. In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events. Also, those who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based) over a two-month period compared to subjects in the other experimental conditions.*

Gratitude is also linked to sleeping better.* Researchers have also done studies and found that writing 15 minutes before bedtime about what you are grateful for, will allow you to fall asleep more easily and sleep for longer.

How else can you incorporate gratitude into your life? You can thank your friends and express how much you appreciate what they’ve done for you. Wouldn’t you like to know if you affected someone in a positive way? I know I would, and your compliments and positivity will spread. It will make your friend more happy and you will feel better for just doing that.

Another way is remembering the good times. Look back on experiences, people you’ve met, you’re childhood, and anything that will help reconnect  you to where you have been, what you learned and whom you have loved along the way. I always find myself reflecting on my childhood, when I had no worries about paying rent, and ran around knocking on my friends houses to see who could play outside with me. Remembering allows me to never forget and to forever be grateful about my past and upbringing because it has molded who I am today.

Place gratitude reminders around your room, house, office, anywhere you will see these notes throughout the day. Use visual cues that elicit feelings of gratitude and happiness. Putting them in different places where you will see them throughout the day and constantly be reminded of these good warm feelings will help support your feelings of gratitude.*

Gratitude’s value is intrinsic, but it also has many health benefits. Those who take time to be grateful may enjoy improved sleep, lower stress levels, enhanced overall well-being and even improved heart health. Practicing gratitude has also been linked with stronger personal relationships, higher self-esteem and greater life satisfaction.*

As the holidays are approaching I think we should remember to be thankful for what we have and give to others more than wanting so much for ourselves. Whether it be giving  toys, a hot dinner, or just some advice, it all is meaningful and appreciated, and whoever receives your gifts will be filled with gratitude.

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mequilibrium/gratitude-benefits_b_3321351.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/26/benefits-of-saying-grace_n_6200202.html

Chocolate Cinnamon Oatmeal

10408167_10154550050085085_3238723662919438372_n
10408167_10154550050085085_3238723662919438372_n

Oh cinnamon..a beautiful fragrant spice that is reminiscent of the Fall, apple picking, and halloween. Cinnamon not only smells good, but has a plentitude of health benefits. In Chinese medicine  and Ayurveda, cinnamon is recognized as a superpower spice used to treat colds, indigestion, and cramps. It’s also believed to improve circulation and increase your energy! Here are some other benefits:

  1. Honey and cinnamon combined have been shown to relieve arthritis pain.
  2. When cinnamon is added to food it acts as a natural preservative, preventing food spoilage.
  3. Cinnamon is a natural and effective remedy for healing migraines and headaches.
  4. Cinnamon helps to stabilize your blood sugar, which is great for if you’re wanting to lose weight!
  5. Cinnamon is anti fungal and fights candida infections and makes your immune system stronger.
  6. Smelling cinnamon alone, improves memory and cognitive function.
  7. Cinnamon kills cancer cells by stabilizing blood sugars, and has been shown to help stop the production of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells. It also is a promising treatment for tumors, gastric cancers, and melanomas.
  8. Just a 1/2 teaspoon a day of cinnamon can lower your bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and lower your blood sugar levels to help treat Type 2 Diabetes.
  9. Cinnamon is a natural E-coli disinfectant. You can mix cinnamon oil with hydrogen peroxide and spray your cutting board and kitchen sink especially after you have cut meats. Spray it in your refrigerator. It’s safe and natural.
  10. When you begin to feel that cold coming on, add some cinnamon to your tea and stop the cold in its tracks. Cinnamon’s anti-bacterial properties will kill off anything causing your sore throat, cough, or cold.

Now you can see why other cultures revere cinnamon as having super healing powers. But don’t overdo it on the cinnamon, eating too much of this spice can be toxic. It’s only recommended to ingest in small amounts. So add it to your smoothies, oatmeals, teas, or any other warming dishes. Include more cinnamon into your diet this season if not for its undeniable health benefits, than for its irresistible smell and taste!

Yields 2 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 TBSP cinnamon
  • 2 TBSP cocao powder
  • 1 TBSO honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk

Toppings:

  • Almonds
  • Chia seeds
  • Shredded coconut
  • Cocao nibs
  • 1 TBSP Peanut Butter
  1. Mash the banana, and cook on low heat with cinnamon, cocao powder, honey or maple syrup, vanilla extract, almond milk, and oatmeal.
  2. Cook on low heat stirring frequently until oatmeal is fully cooked and creamy, about 20 minutes.
  3. Serve in bowl with an assortment of toppings! Enjoy!