🐉 Dragon Fruit Delight: The Surprising Benefits of Pitaya for your Skin + Gut

Are you tired of eating your boring old bananas and fruits? Well, then say hello to pitaya, also known as dragon fruit! This spiky pink fruit is not only visually stunning; it is also packed with amazing health benefits that can do wonders for your skin and gut.

Dragon fruit benefits the skin

Let’s start with the benefits to our skin. Dragon fruit is the perfect fruit to combat ‘dragon skin’. Pitaya is loaded with vitamins such as vitamin C, which helps to promote healthy skin and wound healing. Because pitaya is rich in antioxidants such as betalains and flavonoids, it can which help to protect cells from free radical damage, reduce inflammation, and slow down the signs of aging. Say goodbye to fine lines and wrinkles and hello to youthful and glowing skin! Not to mention, the fruit’s high water content helps to hydrate your skin from the inside out. Yes, please!

Pitaya is a gut superhero!

Its high fiber content helps to promote digestion and prevent constipation – essentially, pitaya helps you poo! Plus, the fruit’s probiotic properties help to maintain a healthy gut flora, which can boost your immune system and improve your overall well-being.

Dragon fruit helps your heart and nervous system too

Pitaya is a good source of magnesium, an essential mineral that plays a role in heart health and nerve function. The iron contained in dragon fruit is responsible for red blood cell production and oxygen transport in the body. It also contains potassium, which is an essential electrolyte that helps regulate blood pressure and fluid balance along with calcium which aids in muscle and nerve function.

Now that you know what pitaya can do you for your body, make sure you put this fabulous fruit on your grocery list!

How to eat dragon fruit + ways to incorporate it into your diet

Now, we know what you’re thinking. “How do I even eat this funky-looking fruit?” Well, fear not, friends, for there are countless ways to include pitaya into your culinary creations.

First up, smoothies! Simply blend pitaya with some fruit, non-dairy milk of your choice, nuts or protein powder. Here’s the 🦄 Pink Unicorn Smoothie ✨ to try

A variation of this would be a pitaya smoothie bowl which you could top off with your favorite granola, such as DIY Hippie Granola, and fresh fruit. Voila! A nutritious, Instagram-worthy breakfast.

But wait, there’s more! You can also slice up pitaya and add it to your fruit salad, mix it with some coconut water (or a margarita) for a refreshing summer beverage, make it into salsa, or even grill it for a unique and flavorful taco ingredient.

The possibilities are endless with pitaya, so get creative and enjoy this versatile and nutritious fruit in any way you like!

There you have it, folks. Pitaya, the superfruit that not only looks good but tastes delicious and also benefits your skin, gut, and heart. So go ahead, give it a try, and thank us later!

In the Client Spotlight

client spotlight of recognition

“I was a little nervous that maybe you wouldn’t be very patient or understanding if I struggled with making some of the changes to my diet and lifestyle. Luckily, that hasn’t been the case at all!

  • I have lost weight
  • I have improved my body composition
  • I have not had any more kidney stones *knock on wood*

I don’t dread seeing you like I would dread going to the doctor. You’re very friendly and easy to talk to! You’re extremely knowledgeable and I like that you give me background information about the foods. The recipes you give me are always quick, easy, and yummy! You’re also very understanding if I struggle with a certain area and try to come up with new ways to approach it that might work better for me. You’re also interested in aspects of my life outside of food.”

Results:

  • I’m trying all kinds of new foods and recipes!
  • I’m doing a better job at seeing connections between the foods I eat and how I feel after eating them
  • I’m more conscious of food labels. Even though something might look healthy or be vegan it might actually be loaded with sugar, etc.
  • I’m better about getting in bed early.
  • I’m doing a better job at handling skepticism about my vegan diet from others.
  • I’m more informed about a variety of issues such as GMOs and political intervention in the food industry
  • I have developed new methods of handling my stress.

“I think many people are uninformed or misinformed about nutrition. Obviously, many people struggle with weight. I’ve been spending more time at the hospital recently because of my kidney stones and I’m always surprised by how many people are there. It definitely makes me wonder if some of their issues could have been prevented/improved by making different dietary choices. I think many lives could be improved by seeing a dietitian rather than just automatically turning to medication or just accepting their situation and not doing anything at all.

I would recommend YOU in particular because I think you’re really fun, knowledgeable, down-to-earth, and you really care about your clients!

If they [people] allow themselves to be open to new experiences and are receptive to your advice then this can really be life-changing! This is a great way to invest in yourself – this experience has really added a lot of value to my life!

You’re just all-around awesome and I’ve really enjoyed working with you!”

H.R., Foundations of Health Graduate


Update:

We followed up with this amazing client and our work together from two years ago. Here’s what she wrote:

“I’m happy to report that I still haven’t had any more kidney stone incidents and rarely get sick anymore! I think both are mainly attributable to my healthier eating habits so I’m very thankful for you helping me find my way with that :)”

She has really made our work together the foundation of her life and is reaping the benefits, years later. This is a beautiful part of our mission of empowering others to live at a higher level. We are grateful for the trust you put in us and the process.

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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Recipe: Lemony Kale & Almond Salad

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We’ve tested it thrice so far with the crowds at Thanksgiving, a holiday party, and recent Friendsgiving with rave reviews. Here we share the zingy, tongue-tingling Lemony Kale & Almond Salad! May it serve you and yours well during holiday celebrations, potlucks, a light dinner, and even just for a mid-day snack. The dressing’s simple ingredients become something greater when combined, like when the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers connected their rings. Also, *voice lowers* it’s gluten-free and vegan…not like anyone will hold it against you :).

Yields: about 12-15 servings

Prep time: about 25-30 minutes

Ingredients

1 lb kale (we’ve used a clamshell of baby kale)
2 cups almonds, chopped
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
6 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
1 tsp sea salt
Optional: pepper to taste

Instructions

Let garlic steep in olive oil. Toast almonds in pan until golden brown, then set aside to cool. During garlic-steeping and toasting of almonds, cut small batches of kale into thin strips and place into a very large bowl (with lid, for transport to holiday gathering). In a separate bowl, put dressing together by adding lemon juice, salt, and garlic-steeped olive oil. If you don’t want garlic in the end-product, remove crushed garlic from oil and discard. If you are a garlic-lover, use the finely chopped garlic, without sieving, in the dressing. Combine almonds and dressing into larger bowl with kale and toss with tongs. For best results, serve within about 1 hour. Note: the more oil used, the heavier the kale leaves will be and it will reduce volume of salad within the bowl.

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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Surprise! Sardines

sardines on grill

Photo source: Pixabay

The term “sardine” has been in use for over 500 years and is thought to have come from the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, Italy where sardines were found in abundance. around which sardines were once abundant. Like most fish, which can be enjoyed fresh, sardines are perishable; this why they are commonly found canned.

Sardines only feed on plankton, which is why they do not contain the high levels of mercury and other heavy metals that other fish often do (this could be a safer fish to eat for pregnant women and older adults). According to the Marine Stewardship Council, they are sustainable fish to eat.

Need some other reason to consider eating these little fish? How about good ole nutrition? Because sardines are a nutrient powerhouse, they can help keep the body healthy and prevent diseases.

Let’s talk vitamins; these fish are a great source of vitamin B-12, which helps improve energy and the functioning of the cardiovascular system. They also contain vitamin D which is important for bone health and mood. Niacin assists in regulating ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol as well as boosting brain health.

In terms of minerals, sardines are an excellent source of calcium (good for those who are allergic or sensitive to dairy, or who are lactose intolerant), iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Protein content – just once ounce of sardines contains 7 grams of protein.

Sardines are a source of healthy fats. These omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that can help prevent cardiovascular disease. These beneficial fats can also lower blood pressure and reduce risk of blood clots.

Selecting Sardines

Ready to shop? Choose canned sardines packed in water or olive oil; remember to check expiration dates. If buying fresh, the sardines should be firm, with bright eyes and shiny skin. They shouldn’t smell too fishy.

How to Incorporate Sardines in your Diet

Rinse canned sardines under cold water; gut and rinse fresh sardines. Now you’re ready to go!

Like most protein sources, sardines are a very versatile food and can be easily added to salads (like our Mediterranean salad), eaten with mustard and crackers, rolled in grape leaves to make a wrap, or made into a main dish, such as a curry.

Recipe: 8-ingredient Quinoa Salad

8ingredientquinoasalad

We initially debuted this 8-ingredient Quinoa Salad during National Vegetarian Month on 10TV with Valencia Wicker and Ross Caruso – watch here if you’d like. This dish is quick, delicious as well as gluten- and dairy-free! Enjoy!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
8 servings

Ingredients
2 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 cup chopped radishes
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Instructions
Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl and mix well. Garnish with cherry tomatoes.

Female Friendships: Part I

FriendShip is a Sheltering Tree

Friendships are an important aspect of a happy, healthy life.

As part of our work with clients, we address social support systems – not just to figure out potential obstacles with newly developed healthy eating patterns (i.e. how to now navigate book club, happy hour, pizza night) but to also check in and see how to supported our client feels in life and how to improve it further. Studies show that, particularly for women, social support is a determinant for health.

In addition, the concept of ‘soul-food’ comes into play. Sure there’s nutrition that helps build our bones, cells, muscles, but there’s also invisible energy that also ‘feeds’ us on a deeper level. Think back to your childhood or adolescence when you went outside to play with friends for hours or were thoroughly engaged with a project of your choosing. Your parent might have called you in for dinner but you were so involved in the game or in a state of ‘flow’ with your individual enterprise that you responded with “I’m not hungry!”

While we know that social media is not a substitute for creating deeper friendships, it’s often easier to scroll through our feed, “like,” and move on with our day. We create a self-deceptive illusion of not being isolated; instead, we believe we are ‘connected’ with our community and x-number of friends (followers).

The common challenge for many clients is that, particularly for those in their 30s-50s, the busyness of work and family life, moving away or having friends relocate, changing jobs, and the changing seasons of our lives can loosen the bonds of friendship and social support. It may be years before one even realizes the effect these gradual changes have had on their previously-strong support system.

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In the Client Spotlight!

client spotlight of recognition

“Fall 2018: While eating my second to last of an entire package of cookies (chocolate macadamia nut I believe they were) and calling it lunch, the thought that I love sugar a little too much once again crossed my mind. Those tasty treats also reminded me of my life-long turbulent love affair with sugar… remember when my dear love sugar gave me diabetes for an anniversary present about 10 years ago! While eating that last cookie, I pulled up an article that listed the characteristics of a sugar addict and I think I nailed 5 out of 6! Maybe… maybe now is the time I can do something to gain control over what looks more and more like a real addiction. Oh yeah, also around this time seemingly in the midst of a complicated (aren’t they all) personal low period, just to bring more fun to the party…

Research led me to One Bite Wellness and Adrienne. Conversed with her about the hypnotic hold cookies (my drug of choice!) have had upon me since birth! Bragged that I am a certified master cookie enthusiast, and that with a small taste I can tell where the ingredients of a finely-baked cookie were grown. I learned from Adrienne how to collect data (this appealed to my scientific mindset) to help more clearly identify patterns, issues and barriers. She helped me see in a deep and meaningful way… It’s ALL about the connections and it goes waaaay beyond food! As part of my work with Adrienne, I now see my life as many pieces of a puzzle (about 10,000 I’m thinking), with the Diet/Nutrition puzzle piece being far larger, more central and more complex than I’d ever imagined, and… it connects with damn near ALL the other puzzle pieces!

Spring 2019: So there I was… standing on a digital scale in my closet looking down at a weight I haven’t seen since the 10th grade (that’s 37 years ago if you’re curious)! A fun moment for sure, made all the sweeter by feeling that this has been accomplished in-part through knowledge based healthier eating and not a short-term diet. Working with Adrienne, I had the benefit of not having to go it alone while working through this difficult process. Adrienne is a trusted resource on call… a provider of both intellectual and emotional support.

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Had to get photographic evidence of that moment in case no one believed me!”

– Steven H., Columbus, OH


Note: Steven has gone on to lose an extra 4 pounds, as of our last meeting…but weight isn’t the whole story! He’s feeling better in many areas of his life that nutrition alone couldn’t touch.

As we’ve said before, it is a great honor to guide our clients from a place where they feel stuck, addicted, 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, Steven, for trusting us to guide you on this path of total transformation.