Very Berry Smoothie; A sipping drink for summer

From salads, soups, jellies and jams. The main star of a dish, or served as side order. Whatever role it plays in my kitchen, I enjoy fruit. I cannot get enough of them. They come in a perfect package, that in most cases is ready to eat.

When it comes to desserts, fruits are my dessert of choice, I normally eat them plain. They are the perfect food to have on hand when you don’t feel like cooking.

Ever had one of those days when you really don’t feel like cooking, or you’re so busy you don’t have the time to cook? Yesterday was one of those days. Although I did have the time to prepare a meal, I simply didn’t feel like making anything. Thankfully we had plenty of leftovers available. Just in case, I had chopped up vegetables and fruits standby in case we had an attack of the munchies.

Now that I think about it, I did make something yesterday, the Very Berry Smoothie!

Very Berry Smoothie

    • 3 cups of unsweetened apple juice, water, or ice cubes
    • 1 cup strawberries
    • 1 cup blueberries
    • 1/2 cup blackberries
    • 2 plums
    • 1 peach
    • 3 cups of dark leafy greens (I used a mix of collards and kale)
    • 1 tablespoon of spirulina

drop Spirulina into the liquid without touching it, or the spirulina will gum up the spoon

Directions

Combine ingredients in blender, blend, serve and enjoy!

*I prefer my smoothies to be very thick, however it if it’s too thick for you, just add more liquid.

Experiment

Of course, you can select your own fruit too, say you want a sweeter smoothie you could add a few cups of pineapple or mango to the blend. Do you like a slight tart taste? Toss in some a few kiwis. The beauty of smoothies is that you can add or take away the fruits that you don’t like and make your own personalized smoothie. Have fun, and experiment with your foods.

spirulina_powder.07.19.10.jpg

Spirulina powder
A few facts about Spirulina…

I was introduced to spirulina in the early 90’s. I was living in downtown Baltimore at the time, to be more specific I lived in Mount Vernon. The place had a Bohemian type vibe to it that I really enjoyed. I was introduced to a lot of things while living there, became interested in Aromatherapy, got aromatherapy certifications and really started experimenting with my own skin care products. I met some fabulous crunchy folk during my time there, and some of them gave me gushing reviews about Spirulina.

Spirulina is a blue green algae that thrives in fresh bodies of water, like lakes and ponds. Numerous research has been done about spirulina; it’s purported to contain a numerous health benefits for the body. If you can, try adding spirulina to your cabinet. Include it in your smoothies or sprinkle it over your food. It’s a great way to enhance the nutritional benefits of the foods you consume.

It’s loaded with nutrients that are good for our body. Spirulina is 60% protein, which is higher than any other food. It’s also the highest source of B12. Did you know it contains ten times more beta carotene than carrots? It also contains iron, vitamin E and a whole host of nutrients that I won’t discuss here. You can learn more by reading up on the health benefits of spirulina. That’s pretty impressive right, I call Spirulina a super algae. Since its health benefits blow me away, I make sure I keep it in stock.

This very berry smoothie made a fair amount; we didn’t drink it all. About half of the smoothie was used to make fruit popsicles. It’s a healthier choice than the majority of the empty calorie popsicles you see at the store. The smoothie is an excellent sipping drink for the hot days of summer.

 

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Moondancer, Recipes, Smoothies, Vegan, Vegetarian, whole food

 

Vacation Recap; Chatting about nutrition and Lou Gehrigs disease

As I mentiond in my prior post my July 4th vacation didn’t go as I planned, since I didn’t create any beaded jewelry. *sighs*

I did get to spend time with family, we visted a lot of folks. One of the last stops we made was to visit one of my mother’s first cousins. She was recently diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Some of you might know the other name Lou Gehrnigs disease. My cousin was always thin but now, she’s skin and bones. She’s about 5’7″, and only weighs 85 pounds! When she left the hospital she weighed less, so it’s nice to see she’s improving. However, since I haven’t seen her since Thanksgiving 2009, it still was a shock.

You want to know something? We talked about nutrition. Although it’s something I read about several times weekly, It’s not something I always talk about. I try to get a feel for the environment, before I chat about it. Let’s face it, at times some people can get very defensive about their eating lifestyles and although I don’t have a problem making people think about their eating choices, I’m not the type to be constantly shoving nutrition religion down anyones throat. I led by example.

Ok back to the cousin and nutrition… My father drew me into their nutrition conversation, since he knows I’m a health/nutrition fanatic. I’m proud to admit over the past few years he became really interested in his health, sought me out, pestered me with questions, he got fired up and did additional research, but that’s another story. Now this cousin and I’ve always chatted briefly before but never at this level. She wanted to know where she could get protein (besides meat and dairy.) I told her a few ways; greens, lentils, soybeans, quinoa, peas, almonds, broccoli, spinach, sunflower seeds, Those are only a few non meat sources. We already know that too much protein isn’t good either. I’ll name two; thing, too much protein can lead to kidney problems, and it can be a cancer risk. When I chat with people I try not to preach. I did mention briefly the politics behind food, and the importance of educating yourself about what you put into your body too.

Regarding the fresh vegetables, she has a garden (yep has soybeans too) so it would be easy for her to get protein from vegetables. Granted she’s not actively working her garden anymore, but she has her husband at the house, and a few daughters that live at home. They’re being supportive which is fabulous! Since she’s trying to gain weight I suggested some calorie rich smoothies also. I tend to make those for myself when I’m hitting the gym hard. I’ll be sure to post some of those recipes since I’ve been doing that over the past few months.

Regarding my cousin, I’ll be working up a meal plan (complete with recipes) for her over the next week, and sending it on to her. Although I’m not expecting her to follow it 100%, she did ask my advice on it so I thought it would be ‘ok’ to follow up with her, not to mentione she asked me too. Besides, the drop in weight, her speech has slowed down considerably.

Although I had seen the movie about Lou Gehrig and had an general unerstanding of the disease it wasn’t until I did a few hours research after arriving home today that I got a better understanding of it. Quoting from one Dherbs.com

In layman’s terms, Lou Gehrig’s disease is basically a situation or condition (disease) whereby the nerves become degenerative due to lack of nutrition and the muscles of the extremities atrophy or waste away. The disease was named after famed New York Yankees slugger, Lou Gehrig, who died of the insidious disease in 1941. Most who develop lou gehrig’s disease are between the ages of 40 and 70 years old.

The article goes on to say that highly acidic diets are formed by consuming foods high in animal products, meat and dairy. Yep definitely describes my parent’s family, especially my mothers. From the neck to the feet (chicken) they ate it. They did what they could to get by. This was back in the 1950’s. My moms parents, doing the best they could. They ate how their parents ate. A cycle, that can be broken. As we get older, we can make a change if we choose, right? As they became adults, the majority of their diets consisted of animal foods. Think of ‘Black soul food’, that’s what my mothers’ family eats. I’m definitely the odd sheep. I stand out.

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whole food

Raw Vegan: Savory Green Smoothie

green-smoothie.06.29.10.jpgI really love vegetables! At times, making that simple statement gets me odd looks. Since I know there are people who don’t share my veggie love. I can think of friends and family members that would turn up their noses at seeing an abundance of vegetables on their plate.

More on ways you can incorporate vegetables into the vegetable haters meal, after I post the savory green smoothie recipe.

About an hour ago, I made a delcious savory vegetable green smoothie. I’m a savory girl, always have been and so the savory green smoothie was delicious. You do realize that green smoothies don’t have to be sweet, to taste good right?

Raw Vegan: Savory Green Smoothie

  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 3 large collard leaves
  • 5 Romaine lettuce leaves
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 cups of water (add more if desired.)
  • *Pinch of Sea salt (optional)

That’s it, serve and enjoy!

Soon after making this, I poured myself a large stainless steel cup of the savory green smoothie. I enjoyed drinking this savory, delicious, and nutritious treat.

Introducing vegetables into a ‘vegetable haters’ diet can be challenging. I’ve met people that wanted to include more vegetables in their diet but were unsure of how to do so. Developing a taste for something you normally don’t eat can take some time to get used to. For example, in my early twenties I didn’t like eating raw collards or kale. Now, I happily munch on them daily. In time, I developed a taste for them. For those of you who are a little skeptical about grazing on a big bowl of raw dark greens I’ve included a few ways you can add more vegetables into your daily routine.

Creative ways to add vegetables into a daily routine

  1. Naturally sweet (raw) smoothies/juices can be a delicious way to sneak vegetables a meal
  2. Add vegetable juices into your sauces/gravies
  3. Make frozen fruit pops with your fruit/vegetable smoothies
  4. Mix vegetable pasta in with the regular pasta
  5. Incorporate finely chopped vegetables into stuffed dishes; peppers, lasagna, potato boats

The key is to introduce things slowly, although some people can do a complete change overnight, others take time to transition to a healthier way of eating. Of course, you don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to eat healthy, but you do have to make healthy decisions about the types of foods you, or your family does eat. I’ve met some vegans and vegetarians that weren’t healthy because of the bad choices they made. Their selections were highly processed vegan foods, and very little whole foods.

The bottom line is taking care of your body. We cannot turn it in because we’ve abused it. It’s the only body we’re given. Knowing that, it’s important to think about our food choices. That’s where it gets tricky, we usually don’t see the direct effects of bad food choices until weeks, months, or even years after eating a certain way. It’s important to be mindful of the food choices we make. Don’t blindly accept what anyone tells you, do the research, and take note of the effects when you add healthier options into your daily lifestyle.

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Moondancer, Raw food, Recipes, Smoothies, Vegan, Vegetarian, whole food