Ginger Berry Smoothie

When I think about foods that really work for the health of my body, blueberries and ginger usually come somewhere in the top 10. They’re both have a lot to offer, including detoxifying properties, and taste really good – especially when paired together.

Blueberries contain a potent flavonoid called anthocyanins. Research has shown that consumption of blueberries is associated with protection against cardiovascular disease, diminished vision, diabetes, high LDL cholesterol and varicose veins.

With few exceptions, when you cook, process or allow a food to be exposed to the elements for too long, nutrients dwindle. The reason why I like to use, and recommend, frozen blueberries for this smoothie and my the 3-Day Cleanse of The Belly Burn Plan is because the nutrients stay intact, or at least aren’t as affected if you were to let them sit in the refrigerator for a few days. If you decide to go the fresh route, I highly recommend buying them organic.

Ginger contains the strong anti-inflammatory compound, gingerol. Found in fresh ginger specifically, this compound has shown promise with anti-cancer and anti-rheumatoid properties.

This recipe calls for freshly grated ginger. Grating ginger doesn’t need to be tricky. Simply use the fine side of a regular cheese grater and work away.

Serves 1

Ingredients
1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (coconut, almond, hemp)
½ cup blueberries, frozen
1” fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp honey

Preparation
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend for 60 seconds, or until mixture is smooth.

 

Gluten Free Banana Chia Muffins

Growing up, I was never really a big fan of bananas. I think it was a texture thing. Yet as a mom, I find myself buying them all the time…mostly because they’re healthy and convenient; self-sealed and completely germ-free…at least until my kiddos get their hands all over them. But the second my kids see one brown speck on a banana, they start seeing a fine fruit past its prime. On the flip side, I start seeing an baking ingredient that often comes in very handy when I’m in a pinch. This was the case when I wanted to bake with my kids last week.

I always have a bag of chia seeds around, and love baking with them, too. The subtle crunchy-pop they make with every bite is really appealing to my kids. They also add quite a bit of nutrition and act as a binder. I bake entirely gluten free, so baking with ingredients that help bind (something glutenous foods naturally do), is very helpful. This ensure that the end result will stick together instead of falling apart.

I know not everyone follows a gluten-free diet, but I truly believe most people have no idea how good they could feel if it was eliminated – especially if you’re dealing with inflammation. We’ve all dealt with inflammation, and many of us are continuously dealing with the chronic variety. It’s important to remember that you will never regain complete health until you get inflammation under control. Eliminating gluten can help. Try eliminating it for a couple weeks, then re-introduce it. You’ll notice very quickly if you’re at all sensitive to it.

Giving up gluten is not the end of the world. In fact, these days it couldn’t be easier. That said, I strongly encourage people who commit to a gluten free diet NOT to substitute commercially made gluten free products (like cookies, etc). They’re great for some occasions, but are still typically loaded with sugar – another key contributor to inflammation.

On to the recipe. I took it easy on adding sweeteners in this recipe, but I really feel the bananas helped out tremendously. These muffins are delicious and moist. Store them in a sealed container and refrigerate or freeze to grab when you need a healthy snack or complement to a nutritious breakfast.

Each muffin is just 122 calories, and contains 5 grams protein, 12 grams carbohydrates and 6 grams of fat. Perfect!

Banana Chia Muffins
Makes 12 Muffins

Ingredients
2/3 cup buckwheat flour (<—-yes, buckwheat is gluten free!)
1/3 cup almond flour
3 tablespoons chia seeds
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 bananas, mashed
1 egg, room temperature and lightly whisked
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/3 cup apple sauce
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 375 and line muffin pan with cups, or grease with coconut oil
2. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, combine all wet ingredients. Mix thoroughly.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.
5. Using a ladle, pour mixture into muffin cups, filling halfway.
6. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until tops are golden brown and the center of the muffin passes the toothpick test.

 

 

Summer Crunch Cabbage Salad

I’m a big cabbage fan. Can’t say I was a big cabbage fan growing up, but over the past ten years, I’ve grown to love all varieties of this incredibly nutritious vegetable beloging to the Brassicaceae family. Closely related to broccoli and Brussels sprouts, there are plenty of good reasons to eat this fiber-full food.

You can steam, roast and pickle cabbage, too (check out this pickling recipe).  I made this crispy salad using raw cabbage. Because green cabbage can be a little tough to chew, I prefer to chop my cabbage up as finely as possible.

Of the many reasons why I love this salad, here are a few of my favorites. This salad is anything but dead calories. Loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber, it’s the perfect summer (or anytime) salad.

  • Green Cabbage contain lots of vitamin K to boost bone health, vitamin C for your immune system and glucotropaeolin to help fight cancer. It’s also worth noting that cabbage juice has long since been touted as a great remedy for peptic ulcers.
  • Carrots contain lots of vitamin A to help your vision, potassium to reduce high blood pressure and stress, fiber to help remove toxins from your body.
  • Green Onions contain a compound called allyl sulphide, which has been shown to fight colon cancer, sulfur to ward off fungal infections and quercetin to help reduce inflammation. 
  • Cashews contain quite a bit of copper which helps to improve connective tissue and fight free radicals that damage our body from the inside out.

Summer Crunch Cabbage Salad
Serves 6

Salad
1 medium green cabbage, finely chopped or shredded
6 green onions, chopped, include white and green parts
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 cup cashews, crushed

Dressing
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon peanut butter (preferably organic)
1 tablespoon gluten free tamari or soy sauce

1. Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside.
2. In a small mixing bowl, combine all dressing ingredients. Whisk thoroughly.
3. Toss the dressing into the salad mixture for at least one minute, or until all vegetables are covered.
4. Refrigerate or serve immediately.

Note: If you have a tough time digesting raw vegetables (a lot of people have know idea they do), simply allow the dressing to marinate with the salad a little longer (a few hours or up to a day). This will help to break down the hard-to-digest nutrients, making the enzymes more available to you.