Chocolate Maca Smoothie

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Caffeine and chocolate fiends, unite! This smoothie is the perfect wake-me-up for summer. Here’s the recipe we made today along with ideas for modifications:

Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links or discount codes, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may make a commission.

Yields: 2-4 servings

Ingredients

1/2 banana
1 pint blackberries (or blueberries)
3 tbsp cacao nibs
5 tbsp cacao powder
3 tbsp shredded coconut
2 cups swiss chard leaves
2 cups non-dairy milk (we used hazelnut milk from Elmhurst)
2 cups water
1 cup coffee
1 tsp maca powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ashwagandha powder (optional)

This recipe is meant to be healthy and full of veg! If it’s not sweet enough for you, consider adding your favorite form of sweetness (e.g. more fruit, stevia, dates, etc). Looking for more greens-based smoothies that are lower in sugar? Check out theGreen Smoothie Challenge eBook! It has recipes, grocery lists, along with tips and tricks for making smoothies part of your life.

Instructions
You know what to do here – load all ingredients into the high-speed blender, cover, and blend to desired consistency. Enjoy!

Blame it on the Alcohol?

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Image source: pixabay.com

Jamie Foxx’s song “Blame it” encourages blaming alcohol for all ruined relationships, unsafe situations, and perceived enhancement of other’s attractiveness. Outside of the many issues and poor decisions can that can result from a night of boozing, including a high credit card bill, higher risk for accidents, and even a 2am Taco Bell run…there are more. During Covid-19, some are hitting the wine and beer harder.

Let’s review the basics: alcohol interferes with communication between nerve cells and all other cells in the body. Moderation (the amount considered to not contribute to any major health concerns) for the average woman is defined by the CDC as not more than one drink per day and for the average man as not having more than two.

A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics asserts, “there has been an increase in the proportion of US adults who drink on any given day and an increase in calories consumed from alcoholic beverages when drinking occurs.”

What effect is this having on us from a weight loss perspective? Or a liver-health one?

Now we appreciate the humor some of you bring to our appointments:

“I think I’m drinking enough water. There’s water in beer, right?”

“I’m not too concerned. It’s called a liver, not a die-er”

“Wine-o? Maybe; I prefer ‘wine-yes'”

With alcoholic beverages being among the top five contributors to total caloric intake among US adults, this is something we need to talk about. But beyond calories, here are more reasons to explore your relationship with alcohol:

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Drop the Sweets!

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Put down the pieces of candy picked up from your coworker’s desk.

The Reese’s cups from the vending machine.

The 3rd cup of coffee for today.

It may be 3pm and the post-lunch energy lull can cause us to reach for the drugs that pep us up. Yes, drugs. Sugar and caffeine – legal though they way be, beware of how they can be robbing you of your natural energy and more.

In an exercise during our recent Sugar Busters class, we explored the history of sugar, the estimated consumption, and then what the average ‘healthy’ American’s intake is. The result was rather shocking. After the coffee and hazelnut creamer, granola and Greek fruit yogurt for breakfast as well as a turkey sandwich and side salad with dressing for lunch, the total is 64 grams of added sugar. That’s before stopping by the coworker’s desk for two fun-size Twix bars (they’re really tiny, we know, but you’ll need to add another 16 grams). So now we’re at 80 grams of added sugar for the day and before dinner! In a game of Sugar Monopoly, you’re about to land in blood-sugar-dysregulation ‘jail’, do not pass go, do not collect $200.

Are you aware of the World Health Organization’s recommendation limiting our added sugar intake to 5% or less of our daily calorie needs? Or to have less than 25 grams of added sugar per day?

The truth is, for most of us trying to follow a healthy meal pattern, there’s generally a layer of ‘frosting’ on top of our nutritious choices. Whether the client is vegan, following Weight Watchers, or some other diet program, the sugar seems to seep in.

Added sugar in the diet has been the cause of many of our ills, as a people. Our poor pancreases haven’t been able to keep up with the onslaught of added sugar in the diet since the time the first sugar refinery opened in the United States. The fact that sugar is a negative-nutrient should cause alarm. This is not the food equivalent of Sweden. It is not a ‘neutral’ agent in your body, only supplying a few extra calories. In order to break it down, the body’s reserves of vitamins and minerals are used – in effect, sugar ‘steals’ these nutrients from you! Let this sink in. This important concept should help us realize and treat items with this added sugar with a sense of suspicion, disdain, and then complete eradication. If that seems too strong for you at this point, try to focus on reduction of added sugars in your diet. You’ll still be heading in a better direction and help yourself possibly side-step diabetes and other chronic disease.

Here’s your mission, should you choose to accept it: track the added sugars in your diet. Use labels to see how much added sugar is in your bread, salad dressing, instant oatmeal, or barbecue sauce. Or use an app such as MyFitnessPal or Cronometer to track it. Then, if you know you need to make some changes, head on over to join the rest of us in the upcoming Sugar Detox Challenge! The journey starts this Sunday, January 26th.

Change your toxic relationship with added sugars and change your LIFE.

Top 5 Plant-based Breakfasts

Guten Morgen! Buongiorno!

If it’s not already a good morning, we present to you our top five plant-based breakfasts which provide:

  • Fiber to help your digestive system get moving as you start your day
  • Protein – seeds and nuts are great sources of plant-based protein, as is amaranth (technically a seed, though typically considered a whole grain)
  • Fun – these are colorful and customizable, so get your DIY on!
  • Antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals so you’re taking care of your body right out of the gate!
  • Fuel for the morning! Test your coffee and bagel against any one of these options and you’ll see which ones hold you until lunch.

Without further ado, your new breakfast options!

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  1. Amazing Amaranth Bowl – Move over, porridge! We have a higher-protein option that also provides minerals such as iron, manganese and phosphorus.

express detox green smoothie

2. Express Detox Smoothie – Love your liver by providing it with the vitamins and minerals it needs from greens! This recipes takes less than 5 minutes and is one of the most-loved from the Green Smoothie Challenge eBook.

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3. Sweet Potato & Black Bean Southwestern Skillet – Smoothie. Oatmeal. Rinse & repeat. We know that breakfasts can get a bit repetitive and unimaginative so we’re going to shake it up with this inspired southwestern dish. Make it vegan by not adding an egg on top.

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4. Great Goji Groatmeal – This easy recipe can be popped into the slow cooker and you can get fancy with goji berries and other accoutrements. Enjoy this warm breakfast on a cold morning!

cherry almond pancakes

5. Cherry Almond Pancakes – Waking up and enjoying a fresh stack of cherry almond pancakes is both a joyful and nutritious way to start the day. May it be the same for you!

Remember to try the 7-day Breakfast Experiment to see which breakfasts work best to fuel you for your day!

The Perfect Cuppa ‘Joan’ 🍵

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There are many theories as to why a cup of coffee is referred to as a ‘cup of Joe’; two strong contenders emerge. One involves “joe” being a slang derivative from the other commonly-used slang words for coffee: “java” and “jamoke” (the latter of which is composed from the words “java” and “mocha”, kind of like what we did for the 5-spice Hot ‘Choffee’ recipe blog). So it’s possible that asking for a “cup of java/jamoke” could have easily turned into asking for a “cup o joe.”

The other theory is that “joe” was slang that referred to the common man, perhaps similarly to the way we might say, “hey man, good to see you” or “alright, dude.” Even the term “average joe” gives the idea that joe, or coffee, was a beverage for the common man. Have a little bit of fun and do your own research though; some fun slang we put together from the 1920’s: “You think he’s the bee’s knees? Horsefeathers! He’s zozzled, a wet blanket AND a lollygagger. Let’s blouse.” Care to translate? (Read our answer at the bottom.)

If a cup of ‘Joe’ is coffee, we think of a cup of tea as ‘Joan.‘ With the masculine name of “Joe,” we are given a clue to how coffee reacts in the body. The caffeine content of coffee can provide the rather aggressive ‘jolt’ we need to wrestle ourselves from the tendrils of sleepiness that remain so that we can start our days.

While tea can have an effect with its caffeine content, it’s generally not as severe. Depending on caffeine content and your sensitivity to caffeine, it could be more of a gentle ‘lift’ into your day. Studies show that tea has a multitude of health benefits too.

The Many Beautiful Faces of ‘Joan’

Tea is so much more than just Earl Grey or green. There are more than 3,000 varieties of tea, including oolong, green teas (including matcha), white tea and so many options with herbal teas (think beyond peppermint, chamomile, and ginseng). In fact, we have a whole cabinet dedicated to our teas. As we check in with the body each morning, it may signal the need for a bit of a pick-me-up, in which case the white tea or ginseng may be chosen. Maybe red raspberry tea for hormone health. If we’re feeling a bit under-the-weather, our cold and flu tea blend will come out. Jasmine is a relaxing favorite that has currently joined us for this writing.

Join the Tea Party

Whether black, green, or white, these teas all come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. Rooibos (also known as red tea) and herbal teas are exceptions. The color of the tea depends on the processing method and how much oxidation it undergoes during production. Generally speaking, the less oxidized a tea is, the lighter color it is…and the more antioxidant and polyphenol compounds it contains. Also, tea typically has much less caffeine than coffee, and some teas are naturally caffeine-free.

The health benefits of tea come from a tea’s polyphenol content. Research shows that tea drinkers may have stronger bones, lower incidence of cancer and cardiovascular disease, and lower cholesterol levels.

From most to least oxidized:

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In the Client Spotlight!

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“Working with you was the first time I have ever worked with a nutritionist and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Now having done so I can confidently say I’m very happy I did!

As a result of our work together I changed daily food choices in my lifestyle including but not limited to: ditching sugary creamer, consuming less coffee, drinking more water, adding in kale to my daily egg breakfast routine (which I love), lowering my overall weight average by 5 pounds (my husband lost about 10lbs), incorporating more veggies in my meals, and most importantly getting my digestion back on track. I’m proud to say I’m “regular.” 🙂 I also no longer weigh myself after ‘eating bad’ and punish myself by skipping meals. I give myself grace and let my body get back into balance.

Adrienne, you are a wealth of health knowledge! I loved listening to your ideas on how to achieve my overall best level of health—both body and mind, internal and external. I also really enjoyed the ways you help break down my calls to action after each meeting. Additionally, you are full of grace and never made me feel bad if I didn’t stick with something we agreed to. Another benefit is that I look at food and my body in a healthier way. I also think more about ways to improve my mental health on a daily basis by doing things that bring me joy and help my brain breathe.

I’m also happy I did this program as I recently found out I am pregnant with our second child! I feel like it will be easier to cut out coffee now as well as deal with the hormones and cravings for things like nachos and sweets. I know I’ll be eating healthier as a whole.

The most important thing I tell others that you will learn so much about food, your body, and yourself and you’ll be so thankful you did!”

– Christine Y., London, Ohio


You know what ‘sparks joy’ for us? Well this client was not only a lovely, bubbly person to work with but her enthusiasm and gratitude for all she had accomplished reminded us of why we do this work. It is a great honor to guide her, and all clients, from a place where they feel stuck, hurt and in pain, or feeling like something is ‘off’ to where they feel light, whole, confident, and vibrant! Our long-standing mission in life is to help others heal and reach their potential. Thank you for allowing us to work our magic :).

Stay tuned, more client spotlights to come!

10TV Recipe: Cocoa-Maca Energy Balls

cocoa-maca energy balls

If you watched last month’s segment on 10TV, you learned about the factors which can make us feel FAT & TIRED as well as the top 10 foods for increasing our natural energy levels. One of the ideas featured was our Cocoa-Maca Energy Balls; it’s a great pick-me-up for the 3pm slump and a delicious, chocolate-y treat.

Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Servings: 24 energy balls

Ingredients

1 cup coconut oil, melted
2.5 cups shredded coconut
1 cup cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp maca powder

Instructions

Put shredded coconut, cacao powder, cinnamon and cayenne in medium bowl. Mix melted coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract and pour over dry ingredients. Combine well and put in freezer for about 15 minutes. Remove mixture and shape into balls; recipe makes 24. Store in fridge for up to a week or in freezer for up to 3 months.

 

Recipe: Peppermint Eggnog & Vegan Nog

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Our first eggnog experience was rather unremarkable and with concerns about foodbourne illness from raw eggs, we’ve never pursued it…until now. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a tasty peppermint eggnog recipe for you which can be made safely with eggs AND we have an eggless, vegan version which is equally delicious. We love to be the bearers of joyous tidings, and this beverage is one of them.

Eggnog is technically stirred custard, very similar to ice cream.

Peppermint Eggnog

6 organic large eggs
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 cups non-dairy milk (we used unsweetened almond milk, you can DIY here)
1/2 can or 6.5 oz coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of cloves, if desired

Instructions

Whisk eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla extract together in large saucepan over low-medium heat until combined. Then pour milk in slowly while whisking to fully incorporate into mixture. Whisk ingredients over heat constantly, until thermometer reads 160 degrees, about 30 minutes.  This is an important step; should you leave the eggnog mixture to cook on its own, you’ll likely get an unappealing scrambled egg-in-milk, porridge-y mixture.

After cooking is complete, pour mixture through fine sieve over a medium bowl, cool for a few minutes, and stick in refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight. You can also do an ice-bath to help cool mixture down faster. You’ve made a custard; great job!

Remove custard from refrigerator and set aside as you put coconut milk cream in a bowl and mix well. Then fold into eggnog custard mixture until combined; fill cups with this delicious, creamy eggnog.

Option to add alcohol. To garnish beverage, sprinkle with finely crushed peppermint, nutmeg, cinnamon, peppermint or cinnamon sticks, or whatever strikes your festive fancy.

Vegan Peppermint Eggless Nog

The only real difference here in terms of ingredients is the fact that we’re using frozen bananas instead of eggs. Because of the natural sweetness they provide, you may want to consider decreasing the amount of maple syrup added or omit it.

4 bananas (peeled and frozen)
1/2 cup maple syrup, if desired
3 cups non-dairy milk
1/2 can or 6.5 oz coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of cloves, if desired

Instructions

Even easier! Put all ingredients in a blender and blend it until smooth. Garnish as above with your favorites.

Besides being delicious, eggnog is quite versatile and can be added to coffee, used in making french toast, quiche, and more! We hope you enjoy these egg- and/or dairy-free versions of eggnog with your friends and family over the holidays.

Halo Top Ice Cream: Health Halo?

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We may not actually scream for ice cream (we’re all adults here), but, to be honest, there’s usually a squeal of delight involved.

While visiting the beautiful land of Italy, we neither confirm nor deny placing an equal importance on finding the very best gelateria as visiting all the historic landmarks. We have priorities though and are happy to say we found the top-source gelato in Rome.

This is really to say that we love ice cream. Love it. From putting it in coffee at breakfast to having it as a meal (yes, you read that correctly), it’s pretty much a perfect treat for whenever.

However, anyone who has indulged on a regular basis knows that nothing seems to add on some poundage faster than this creamy delight. So, when our very favorite non-dairy ice cream was discontinued from Giant Eagle Market District, there was a mix of disappointment and relief. Then, curiously, Halo Top emerged into and around the space instead. Eventually we took the mint chip version home and found it to be very light (more air incorporated into the product) and, frankly, delicious.

So what’s in it? Here’s ‘the scoop’ on the mint chip flavor ingredients:

Milk and cream, eggs, erythritol, prebiotic fiber, milk protein concentrate, chocolate chips (sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, butter, fat reduced cocoa powder, soy lecithin), organic cane sugar, vegetable glycerin, sea salt, natural flavors, organic carob gum, organic guar gum, organic stevia.

How do they keep the calories low? Part of the reason why they can do this is because they use three different sweeteners: erythritol (a sugar alcohol), organic cane sugar (really just a fancy way of saying white sugar), and organic stevia. The erythritol contains less than .5 calorie per gram, sugar has 4 calories per gram, and stevia is a no-calorie sweetener which is a couple hundred of times sweeter than sugar.  The other reason is that the Halo Top ice cream is physically lighter (a 1/2 cup serving weighs in at 64 grams vs. about 95 grams for other ice creams). With more air incorporated, you’ll have less calories and ice cream in general.

The calories, fat, saturated fat and sugar content for Halo Top are less than traditional ice cream, while providing fiber and protein. This does not replace vegetables, fruits, healthy protein and fat sources in the diet, but, as far as ice cream goes, it’s a pretty decent choice.

That being said, this product still has dairy (so if you have issues with milk products, beware) and, for some people and in generally higher amounts, the sugar alcohol can cause digestive upset, headaches, gas, and diarrhea.

There is likely to be a bit of a health halo effect with this product – with less calories, it can be very easy to over-consume. Remember to exercise portion control and enjoy it mindfully.

5 Spice Hot ‘Choffee’

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Cold mornings require some extra effort and incentive to get out of bed. This warming, caffeinated, chocolate-y drink will help provide a firm boost as you launch into your day!

Ingredients

8oz coffee
4 oz non-dairy milk (coconut milk or almond milk)
1 tbsp cacao or cocoa powder
1 or 2 anise pods
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp honey
optional (cloves)

Instructions

Prepare coffee as per usual (we used a moka pot) and heat milk on stove top along with cacao or cocoa powder, cayenne, cinnamon stick, black pepper, anise pods and honey. Simmer for about 5 minutes and add milk to coffee.