Super Green Smoothie

Here it is, people! This is a super green smoothie that will put a smile on your face and a pep in your step. It’s delicious and filled with nutritious foods. There’s fresh pineapple to help boost your immune system. It supports respitory health and provides a good dose of vitamins, potassium, copper and magnesium to name a few. I used spinach for the greens in this smoothie. Spinach is a powerhouse greens filled with niacin, zinc, calcium, iron and even protein! 

So what are you waiting for? Start your morning right. Stay healthy. Stay happy! Enjoy!

Super Green Smoothie

1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks

1/2 of a medium banana

Juice of 1/2 a fresh lemon

2 cups fresh spinach 

1 cup coconut water (more for a thinner smoothie)

Put the spinach into a blender and add coconut water. Puree until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients then blend again. Pour into your favorite drinking vessel and enjoy!

Mad Mango Green Smoothie

It seems it was just a few days ago that I blogged, but I realize that a bit more than a few days has passed.  I find it ironic that I am about to share about a smoothie I made this morning when my last post was complaining about the inconveniences I experience in making them!

Ha!  I was whining.  I get like that about my kitchen.  It just lacks the space I want.  However, I am quite content with my sweet little place overall.  I am getting so close to having a completely furnished studio apartment!  Yes, heading toward my tenth month of being here; it has taken quite some time to thoughtfully recreate my small home into functional, usable space without being over crowded.  I recently got the perfect bookcase that fits the space I wanted it like it was meant to be right there.  I finally unpacked a box just marked “home” not knowing what I would find inside.  I discovered all my wonderful books and spiritual totems that were in the former “Zen room” as “M” and I liked to call a room at the old house.  It was the only room in the house that felt peaceful and calm to me.  It was the only room “M” did not go into to except for plant watering, thus the tranquility!  It was my refuge and it was the room “M” had much scorn toward.  Too much feeling stuff could happen in that room!  That’s why I loved it.  That is why “M” didn’t.  I remember my beautiful symbols that grounded me and brought me back to center were called “clutter”.  Well, I am thrilled to have my totems, books and pictures that bring me so much happiness displayed where I can see it all again.  This is no clutter!  This is what guides my life! Visible in a lovely cabinet I scored at a bargain price!  A glimpse over to my fireplace mantle, rustic and charming; there is an arrangement of memorabilia dedicated to my childhood and my mom along side my most precious spiritual totems.  It makes my heart so happy.

I woke up way too early this morning.  I’m not sure why and I really wanted to sleep more, but my body said no so I was putzing around before the sun was up.  That used to be a regular waking time for me, however I now enjoy sleeping an average of seven hours nightly and generally sleep much later than in the past.  This is another interesting observation I have made in my time away from “M”.  Some of the worst sleepless nights I experienced were while I was living with “M”.  I now enjoy some of the most restful nights ever in these past nine months! Amazing, isn’t it?  I think it’s fantastic.  I suppose that is why most mornings I wake feeling energetic and motivated to begin my day.  Even though this day began around 4:30 a.m. I feel happy and excited for the day ahead.  I have enjoyed the company of one of my favorite out of town friends this past week and hope to catch one more glimpse of him before he heads back to the east coast later today.  I’ve spent my early morning finding peace in my tranquil environment, candles burning, fall decor surrounds me.  I love this time of year.  My little place is comfortable, homey and cozy.

It put me in the mood to take some time to continue this good feeling by fueling my body with healthful food to start my day.  I have had frozen mango chunks in my tiny freezer and want to move them out so I can make room for jars of chicken soup I’ll be making later today.  I went a little crazy with chicken on my recent shopping trip!  More on that in another blog!  I came up with this delicious breakfast treat that satisfied me and had the perfect flavor.  I also feel really good knowing I’ve begun my day with wholesome, fresh goodness!  Give this smoothie a try, drink (or eat) and feel great!

Mad Mango Green Smoothie

2/3 cup frozen mango chunks

1/2 medium banana

1/2 cup packed purple kale

1 cup cashew “milk” (or other milk of your choice)

sprinkle of nutmeg

drizzle of pure vanilla (about 1/4 tsp)

Blend all ingredients in magic bullet or other blender until smooth.

Mine was just thick enough that I decided to enjoy it with a spoon!!  YUM!

Thick enough to enjoy with a spoon!!

Thick enough to enjoy with a spoon!!

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Clutter?? Phooey!!

Clutter?? Phooey!!

Purple Power Smoothie

I was in the mood for something a little different than my usual breakfast smoothie this morning. Digging through my cupboard I happened upon an open bag of raw cocoa nibs. Why I’ve been sitting on this bag of healthful jewels is a mystery to me!  I pulled them out from the basket and decided to use them as part of my smoothie!

Raw cocoa nibs provide some amazing health benefits. They are a great source of iron, manganese and copper.  Cocoa nibs are known to be one of the foods with the highest source of magnesium. They are also high in flavonoids which are plant-based compounds with powerful antioxidant properties.  Believe it or not, they even provide a good source of fiber at nine grams per ounce!  If all that good stuff isn’t enough, these little brown nibs also give you a boost of some essential minerals that we humans are often deficient of so if you’ve got these dark nibs hiding in your kitchen, pull them out and get this smoothie going!

Yesterday was my long day with work then class.  It got me home late, but because of an intense resident issue at work and my excitement over an upcoming community event I’m planning at my “home base” building, I was up even later with thoughts swirling!!  Even with a solid night of sleep, I woke up feeling a little slow to shake the brain fog.  One more thing that is fabulous about cocoa nibs is their caffeine content, though lower than the average cup of coffee, nibs provided an added boost with naturally occurring stimulants called Theobromine and Phenylethylamine, which act as mood enhancers and increase energy.  Like I said, why have I been letting these sit in my cupboard!?

I got on to making an incredible breakfast drink that is waking me up and making me feel ready for my day!  Seriously, give this a try.  It tastes great.  It’s quick and easy to throw together and it’s super satisfying.  Oh, yeah….one more thing; cocoa nibs helps stabilize blood sugars and with that good dose of fiber, your tummy will feel happily full for hours! Cocoa nibs; my new super-food of the day!

Purple Power Smoothie

small banana

1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

2 Tbsp flax meal

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 Tbsp raw cocoa nibs

1 cup almond milk

Add all ingredients to blender.  Blend until smooth.  Pour into a glass.  Enjoy!!

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Put That Prilosec Down!

My co-worker and I have been complaining to each other about our irritating issues with heart burn we’ve had recently.  Not one to usually suffer from this ailment, I have had increasing bouts in the past several years after my stay in the hospital for a surgical procedure.  The anesthesiologist insisted on pumping my IV with Prilosec.  She said it would lower stomach upset and vomiting, common side affects of the anesthetic used during surgery.  We battled one another as I demanded she listen to my request and honor my refusal of Prilosec.  The after affects would be much worse, she contended.  I said I was willing to take my chances.  I knew the evils of this nasty drug and I did not want it. Frustratingly, she gave it to me anyway and the results were disastrous.  I’ll spare my readers the awful details, but I will tell you I suffered horrible heartburn and acid reflux daily for five full months after my surgery.  I had the most difficult time enjoying food.  I could not eat without pain.  My beloved coffee was the worst culprit.  I reluctantly gave it up.  I felt horrible.  Heartburn ruled my life.

When I was fed up enough with my anguish I sought out more permanent relief.  I could not imagine suffering at this level for much longer.  I began researching natural relief from heartburn.  I finally made an appointment with my naturopath to get her advice when all other attempts failed.  She prescribed a probiotic with 20 billion CFU.   This is when I learned about the amazing benefits of this wonderful supplement.  It helped to restore beneficial bacteria in my belly and prevented the overgrowth of bad bacteria as well as naturally lowering my stomach acid.  She helped me come up with a new diet plan to incorporate healing foods and I was on the path to recovery.  Within a month my symptoms were gone.   As I healed I began to integrate my regular diet back into my life.  I eased back in to coffee drinking; a love (and addiction) I truly enjoyed.  Things were back to normal for me and I felt good.

Over the years I have had a few mild cases of heartburn that resolved quickly with some temporary diet changes.  Recently though I have been suffering again, rather severely.  I made diet changes to no avail, I lowered my coffee intake, but just cannot eliminate it completely.  The pain of caffeine withdrawal is not something I want to endure.  I know, this is bad, but I’m picking my battles right now.  I purchased the same probiotics that had been recommended to me years ago and I think I am breaking the cycle, though it’s precarious.  I must be careful with what types of foods I consume so as not to upset the delicate balance I’m trying to create in my gut.  I have begun the ritual of drinking one half cup of homemade ginger lemon water each morning upon waking.  A mason jar filled with this healing liquid sits on my kitchen counter and it is the first thing I put in my body.  Lemon is a great detoxifier and ginger is a wonder spice filled with digestion friendly properties.  It also gives my sluggish metabolism a kick start, an amazing side benefit that has resulted in a bit of weight loss.  I drink licorice tea and chamomile tea through out the day.  Chamomile calms the spasms of the esophagus when it is under duress and licorice reduces acid reflux.  I deduced that I need to keep a grain free diet as it seems to exacerbate my symptoms.  My diet has consisted of fresh made juices, smoothies and salads topped with various proteins. I am beginning to feel better, however if I stray from the strict diet I’ve created, my body reacts and lets me know I better stay the path.

My co-worker on the other hand, says she has suffered from regular heartburn for 15 years. A recent story she shared about waking in the middle of the night and vomiting stomach acid horrified me.  This is when I learned she has taken Prilosec for as many years as she has suffered.  I explained to her that what she thinks is helping is actually systematically destroying her digestive system and making her ailments worse.  While Prilosec does suppress the secretion of stomach acids, over time it actually does the opposite.

It takes time to heal your body from the affects of heart burn.  Prilosec is the “quick fix” most people look for, which is unfortunately the way of our society these days.  Kick the symptoms and keep on moving.  This is all prilosec does.  It reduces symptoms, but it does not heal.

Here’s a look at what I’ve been eating and drinking to heal my malady.  It has taken time; about two weeks.  I still haven’t remedied all my symptoms, but I am much better.  To me, it’s worth the work and time.  I want to heal my body, not cover my symptoms.

Ginger lemon water-  Fill a pan with filtered water, add one half of a medium sized lemon and about a two inch knob of fresh ginger.  Set on stove top and heat to boiling.  Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour.  The goal is to extract all the goodness you can from the lemon and the ginger.

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 A spot of tea…..IMG_1918 IMG_1919

A nice carrot ginger juice soothes a rumbly tummy.

A nice carrot ginger juice soothes a rumbly tummy.

I have been getting creative with proteins and veggies.  Our lettuce, spinach and arugula are growing well and producing delicious greens for meals.

I love grilling season!!!  Here are some grass fed, organic tip steaks getting the heat!

I love grilling season!!! Here are some grass fed, organic tip steaks getting the heat!

freshly grilled beef on top of a bed of quinoa, carrot shreds, various spices and a mix of greens from our garden!

freshly grilled beef on top of a bed of quinoa, carrot shreds, various spices and a mix of greens from our garden!

More grilled meat!!  This time it’s chicken breast sitting on a delicious mix of veggies.  There’s shredded raw yams and carrots, minced fresh ginger, sliced white onions, candied pecans made with pure maple syrup all on top of more yummy green veggies from our garden!

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A Dijon vinaigrette sprinkled on this salad was delightful!

A Dijon vinaigrette sprinkled on this salad was delightful!