Summer is well underway (although some days it does not seem that way), and summer that means fresh, local produce. Take advantage of these amazing foods and make a smoothie. Smoothies are a great way of sneaking in good amounts of fruits and veggies without feeling like you are eating boring fruits and veggies! Even better, it is a great way to get the kids involved with making healthy choices or “hiding” good food in there under the guise of a TREAT!!
Building a smoothie can be fun as well as a filling and a healthy meal alternative, especially during that morning rush. Here are some tips to building a healthy smoothie that tastes great without going overboard on calories and sugar,
Base Liquid: You can use water, almond milk, cashew milk, coconut milk, or unsweetened green tea or herbal tea
Juices: Choose an unsweetened, pure 100% fruit juice. Place 2 to 4 ounces of the chilled juice in the blender. Examples of juices to use are: Cranberry juice, Pomegranate juice, Dark cherry juice, Purple grape juice, Orange juice
Fruit: Add ½ cup of unsweetened fruit (preferably organic) to the blender. Avoid processed fruits containing added sugars, sweeteners, or syrups. Types of fruits to include are: Apple (or unsweetened applesauce), Peach, Banana, Pear, Berries (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries), Pineapple, Mango, Melon
Vegetables: Add a cup of any seasonal leafy greens or other whole vegetables of your choice. Types of vegetables to include are:Avocado, Mint leaves, Beets, Zucchini, Cucumber, Dark leafy greens (chard, kale, spinach, etc.)
Protein: Add to the blender one of the following sources of protein: Protein powder, Pro-greens, Whey powder, Whole oats, soaked overnight in milk (almond, dairy, ½ c Nut butter (almond, cashew, etc.), 1 TYogurt or kefir (soy or dairy), ½ c Soy powder
Flax Seeds: Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds (or flax meal) to the blender. Store extra ground flaxseed or flax meal in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 weeks.
Ice: Add ¼ cup of crushed ice to the blender if you like your smoothie cold.
Inflammation Control Smoothie
Makes 1 serving (about 12 ounces)
½cup blackberries or black raspberries (or 1 tablespoon black raspberry nutritional powder)
½ cup citrus or tropical fruit (e.g., tangerine, orange, mandarin, papaya, mango, guava, apricot, nectarine, etc.)
1 large collard green leaf
½-inch knob ginger root, fresh
1 leaves kale, large
½ cup pomegranate seeds (or 2 ounces pomegranate juice)
1-inch knob turmeric root, fresh (or ½teaspoon ground turmeric)
Water, for taste and texture
Directions: Place all ingredients into a high-powered blender. Pulse blender a few times, then blend until desired consistency is reached.
Live in the moment…..just BREATHE
Let’s be honest, we are all a little antsy not knowing when things will somewhat resemble “normal” and when we can start planning our lives again. It is important to practice good stress reducing behaviors while we have the time and while it is important to stay resilient. Breathing is one of those stress reducing practices that comes in handy. You don’t need any equipment and you can do it anywhere!
When you mindfully incorporate abdominal breathing exercises into your daily routine, you may find that focusing your attention on your breath during stressful moments becomes easier to do. This is an important skill that can help you deal with stress, anxiety, and negative emotions in a positive way. Mindful, deep breathing can also help sharpen your ability to concentrate.
The following abdominal breathing exercise, often called 4-7-8 breathing, can help you start breathing mindfully:
Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down, with your feet slightly apart, one hand on your abdomen near the navel, and the other hand on your chest.
Gently exhale the air in your lungs through your mouth, then inhale slowly through your nose to the count of four, pushing out your abdomen slightly and concentrating on your breath. As you breathe in, imagine warm air flowing all over your body. Hold the breath for a count of at least four but not more than seven.
Slowly exhale through your mouth while counting to eight. Gently contract your abdominal muscles to completely release the remaining air in the lungs.
Repeat until you feel deeply relaxed for a total of five cycles. You may be able to do only one or two cycles at first.
Once you feel comfortable with your ability to breathe into the abdomen, it is not necessary to use your hands on your abdomen and chest.