Wellness Wednesday: YELLOW!

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I was approached by fellow health blogger Allison In Wellness Land a few weeks ago about participating in a weekly posting called “Wellness Wednesdays”.  The goal is to highlight a different colored food each week in an attempt to promote the great advice to “eat a rainbow”!  Well, obviously I was on board, but if you notice, today is definitely NOT Wednesday, and last time I checked, the rainbow starts with red.  Okay, so I’m a few weeks late to the party, which accounts for the fact that Yellow is now the highlighted color of the week!  As for my tardiness, that’s all on me.  I woke up Wednesday fully prepared to talk all about the healthy benefits of lemons and lemon water as a part of a daily morning routine, but that clearly didn’t happen.  I received some unfortunate news about an old friend yesterday, and as a result was very distracted. 

Things work out, though.  This morning, I woke up feeling slightly off, and after being at work a mere 2 hours, a headache, clogged sinuses, and a wicked sore throat were threatening to derail me.  School was all but unbearable as I struggled to remain conscious during a 3 hour lecture on disease outbreak and transmission.  By 6 pm, my day was done and I was finally able to focus on getting over this horrendous cold.  

An old boyfriend once told me that the best way to beat a nasty bug like this is to “sweat it out”, and what better way to do so than to sweat this cold out in the sweatshirt he left at my place?  Big, baggy, comfy, and definitely got me feeling like a sauna. 

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Yeah, I may be sick as a dog but I’m still rockin’ the trophy hoodie, don’t deny it! I bet you’re wondering how yellow food plays a role in this.  Well, I’ll tell you!  My go-to flu buster juice just happens to be lemons, garlic cloves, and ginger root, all three of which are very yellow foods with very healing properties!  Mix in some cayenne pepper, and my throat feels so much better.

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I’ve also taken to nibbling on some raw yellow onion, which has notorious anti-inflammatory properties as well as plenty of B6. They are also alliums, which means that yellow onions (as well as the raw garlic I was juicing) are natural antibacterials and anti-fungal foods.  

Hippocrates once said “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”  By eating a rainbow, we can do just that, and expose our bodies to a plethora of phytonutrients and vitamins essential to thriving health and a flourishing life! 

Stay happy, stay healthy, and stay juicing!

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Kale Chickpea Curry & Tropical Smooth Dessert Smoothie

I started off my day right this morning with one EXTREMELY green juice!  Celery, cucumbers, kale, spinach, lemon, ginger, and an apricot.  Holy yum!  I felt great and was ready to take on the day!

No amount of juice could have prepared me for the weather though.  The weather today has been absolutely insane.  Most businesses in the area shut down around 3:00 due to a tornado warning AND a flash flood alert.  The sky turned an eerie green almost instantaneously and torrential downpour stranded me as well as the rest of the city.  Hail pelted relentlessly at my windows and I thought to myself “I had better cook some food while the power’s still on!”  The only question was what to make?

I don’t know about you all, but lately I seem to be on a Middle Eastern/Indian food kick.  Curry powder, cumin, and paprika have been my go-to spice trio for the past few months (My Italian mother is not at all thrilled by my lack of basil, oregano, and thyme).  I ended up throwing together a kale and chickpea curry, served over a bed of brown rice, and what’s better to wash down that tastiness with than a mango-papaya smoothie?  Enjoy both of these recipes.  Whether you make them together or separate, they will taste amazing!

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Kale Chickpea Curry on Brown Rice

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp red curry paste
  • 1 can chickpeas, undrained
  • 1/2 bunch kale (4-6 stems), roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 cup brown rice, uncooked
  • Unsweetened coconut shavings, for garnish (optional)

Start cooking the rice while you work on the rest of the dish on another burner.  Once your rice is simmering, pour the olive oil into a separate pan and cook the garlic and onion on medium heat for 5 minutes.

Add in the tomatoes after the onions have become translucent, and add in your seasonings as well (curry paste, paprika, cumin, coriander).  Let simmer for another 5 minutes.  Then add your can of undrained chickpeas.  The liquid should give the mixture a stew-like consistency.  Simmer the mixture for 10-15 minutes.  

Right before taking the mixture off the heat, add the kale.  Cook just until it wilts.  

Serve over a bed of brown rice.  Add coconut shavings for garnish.

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Tropical Smooth Dessert

  • 1 cup frozen mango, cubed
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple, cubed
  • 1 cup frozen papaya, cubed
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk

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Add all ingredients into your high-powered blender and blend on high until the consistency reaches that of ice cream.  You must freeze the fruit thoroughly prior to blending for this recipe to work properly.  

Enjoy!

Apple Coconut Popsicles- Utilizing Juicer Pulp: Part One

Welcome back!  I know it’s been a while, but I’m back and ready to get you pumped up about juicing again!  I submitted my last final exam for the semester Monday, and I immediately felt the summer arrive! Now that school is done for the summer, I can get back to posting delicious recipes and advice on here.  Sorry about the hiatus, but you best believe I am back full force with tons of great stuff on the way!

Today was an amazing day.  Starting off the morning with a little yoga and some hot lemon water was just what I needed.  After spending all morning in the kitchen, I got to spend the afternoon going for a 6 mile hike.  It was GORGEOUS!

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Today was day 2 of my Spring juice cleanse.  I spent the morning juicing lots of fruits and veggies.  I used two bags for pulp, switching them out between juicing the fruits and the vegetables.  After bottling up the juices and storing them in the fridge, I set off on a mission to utilize all my pulpy leftovers.  Yesterday at work, my coworkers and I got into a discussion about juicing, and they mentioned that juicing was a waste since all that pulp gets thrown out.  Now, I’ve used juicing pulp in recipes before, but a lot of times I put the pulp outside for the animals around my house.  They love it!  Not now, though.  Now, I felt an overwhelming need to prove a point (gotta love stubbornness).  Since I’m fasting, I know I can’t eat anything right now, which begged the question, what can I cook with this pulp that will stay good until this fast is done?  As far as the fruit went, that was easy.  I could make fruit leather, or I could make some fruit pops!  I’m all about fruit leather, but that’s more of an overnight endeavor since the oven’s gotta stay on for about 9 hours, and I wanted to be outside today!  That meant it was fruit pop time!  These popsicles have tons of fruits in them, but mainly the fruit pulp was full of apples. I imagine you can use any fruit with this recipe, so make it how you want!

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Apple Coconut Pops

  • 2 cups fruit pulp
  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup full fat coconut milk
  • Agave nectar, to taste (if needed)
  • ½ lemon
  1. Boil the water in a pot and add the fruit pulp.  Add the lemon juice.
  2. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Pour the mixture into your Ninja or other blender and blend for 1 minute.
  4. Add the coconut milk and agave nectar and pulse until it is evenly distributed throughout the mixture. 
  5. Distribute the mixture into popsicle molds and freeze!

These fruit pops are heavenly on a hot day like today was!  I won’t be able to enjoy these fruit pops today, but you best believe I will be smashing on them in a couple weeks!  For now, I’m making do with very yummy kale-carrot lemonade, and it is refreshingly delicious!  Juice fasts are definitely easier with the warm weather; an ice cold juice really hits the spot!

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apple, ginger, kale, carrot, lemon, and spinach

What did I do with the vegetable pulp from my daily juicing?  I’ll have that awesome recipe in my next post!  Stay healthy, be well, and happy juicing!

To Stay on Track? or Feel Like Crap? Hmmm…

First of all, I want to give a shout out to my friend Danielle, who is on DAY 2 of her first juice fast and still going strong!  You may be back in Toledo girl, but I’m still cheering for you back here in Cleveland!

Okay, now down to business.  It was a long weekend for Ethan and I, full of weddings, dance competitions, and lots of processed foods.  All I have to say right now is I MISS JUICE! And so does my stomach.  For the past four days, it’s been screaming WHAT ARE YOU PUTTING INTO ME!  STOP IT!  Sorry, stomach!  It’s amazing how different a person can feel just by what they eat.  5 days ago, I ran 6 miles.  This morning, I did a 15 minute weight routine and then went for a run, but after cheesy puffs, m&ms, and greasy lasagna all week, I only made it 2 miles before my body simply shut off.  And my dairy sensitivity has done nothing but heighten since I cut it out of my diet for good.  But when you haven’t eaten all day and you’re eating whatever the banquet food is, you take what you can get.  I did manage to avoid meat (go me!), but all the vegetarian options were stuffed, drizzled, or fried with cheese.  Ugh.  I was so starving on one of the days that I just had to suck it up and eat the cheesy ravioli, and then suffer the headaches and twistingly knotty stomach cramps. Joy.

4 days.  Only four days of not looking out for my body like I should, and it feels like it’s falling to pieces! I could have kicked myself for not making at least 4 miles this morning, but I didn’t even have the energy to do that!  Whole foods are seriously amazing, and I only now fully appreciate their worth in my life.  I was so happy this morning when I got back from running and got to drink a coconut water (nature’s natural energy drink!).  I made a really yummy smoothie this morning, too, from strawberries, carrots, apples, ginger, and blueberries, and I swear my stomach was grinning and humming.

I think I’ll opt for some raw carrot-ginger soup tonight, which means I have to pick up some more avocados!  I agree, carrots and avocados sound like an interesting combination, and when I say interesting I mean not so appetizing.  But don’t knock it till you try it!  I tweaked the recipe I found a little, first because it made too much for my blender, and second because I didn’t like some of the ingredients, like EVOO.  I’m trying to stay AWAY from that stuff!  Here’s what it boils down to (ha ha ha… soup boiling down… but this soup is cold, so no boiling!)”

  • 1 avocado
  • 1.5 cups carrot juice, courtesy of your juicer!
  • 1-2 tbsp. agave nectar
  • .5 inch ginger root skinned and chopped
  • A pinch (or two) cayenne pepper

 

Cut the avocado in half.  Throw one half into your blender, along with the carrot juice, agave nectar, ginger, and cayenne.  Blend for about 10-20 seconds (it won’t take long since everything is so soft).  Put your soup into a bowl (I prefer a mug).  Now cut up the other half of your avocado into little cubes and plop them into the soup for some texture/garnish/whatever you want to call it.  Stick it in the fridge to get colder or enjoy right away!  I prefer to eat it right away because when I decide to make it, it’s usually because I’m starving!

This is the easiest recipe ever, and I’m definitely no cook (just ask Ethan.  I’d starve without his kitchen smarts!).  If I can whip this dish up solo without supervision, I bet 99% of the population could, too!  Here’s the nutritional breakdown of just a few of the nutrients in this yummy bowl (or mug) of chilled soup!

  • 375 calories
  • 0 sodium
  • 29 grams sugar
  • 22.75 grams fat

 

I know what you’re thinking: look at all that sugar.  I might as well go get a smoothie from jamba juice and save myself the hassle.  This sugar is different, though!  While packaging doesn’t distinguish between refined sugars and natural sugars, it should!  The sugars in this soup are 100% unrefined, natural sugars, which are easier for your body to break down than that refined gunk.  The same goes for the fats: these are good fats, people! The fats in this soup, which mainly come from the avocado, are mostly monounsaturated fatty acids, or MUFAs.  MUFAs lower your LDL levels (bad cholesterol) and raise HDL (good cholesterol), as well as regulate blood sugar.  All in all, this soup (or just plain avocados) are a win-win food!