I have always loved the combination of peppermint and chocolate – it is a classic. And mint chip ice cream? It’s like a Summer dream…well, except for the nightmarish amount of sugar it typically contains. And if you are dairy intolerant – the pain & discomfort that can follow.
Never fear – I have created a delicious, nutritious and easy superfood mint chip shake that rivals mint chip ice cream – but it has no sugar, no dairy, and is loaded with superfoods – yes, really!!
Also known as the horseradish tree and the drumstick tree, the moringa tree is native to North India – and it’s leaves & pods offer a number of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Moringa is an excellent source of iron, vitamin B6, protein, magnesium, vitamin A, potassium, vitamin C, and other important vitamins and minerals. It may help to reduce blood sugar, cholesterol, and chronic inflammation. There is not enough research to determine if moringa is safe during pregnancy – so therefore talk to your doctor first.
Did you know that peppermint can be a useful remedy for headaches and digestion issues? Peppermint has a mild numbing, cooling, and anti-spasmodic effect, and can even improve the flow of bile, and kill certain types of bacteria. Peppermint may help reduce bloating and gas, and indigestion. However, persons with reflux or GERD may wish to avoid using peppermint. Peppermint may also help to thin mucosal secretions and help to decongest stuffy noses. Applied to the temples (make sure to avoid the eyes!), peppermint may help relieve headaches in some individuals.
Please be very cautious with using peppermint essential oils – as they are very powerful and could burn if applied directly to the eyes or skin, or mouth. Peppermint oils should NOT be used on infants or small children, or taken internally with persons with GERD or reflux. Talk to your doctor before using peppermint oil if you are pregnant, nursing, or taking medications. If using peppermint topically – always dilute it with a carrier oil like coconut oil. If consuming peppermint oil internally, always make sure it is a certified therapeutic grade essential oil – and use only 1 or 2 drops diluted in your beverage or food. Learn more about doTERRA essential oils.
Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, author of the book The Perfect Metabolism Plan A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, you can see many of Sara’s segments on her media page. She also offers corporate nutrition, school programs, consultations, and affordable online eCourses. Download her free 40+ page Metabolism Jumpstart eBook here.
©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.
Have you heard of “skinny starch”? It is also called “resistant starch” – because it resists digestion. What that means is that it moves slowly through the digestive tract – so it helps to keep your blood sugar more stable, it is a prebiotic – meaning that it serves as “food” for the good bacteria in our colon. It is called the “skinny starch” because it can improve digestion, blood sugar, energy, and gut bacteria – all of which could potentially mean flatter bellies and weight loss. But before you run out and eat a lot of skinny starch – realize that like any fiber – especially a prebiotic one – you want to begin to incorporate it slowly, or it could potentially cause digestive upset.
One of the best sources of resistant starch in my opinion comes from a small tuber called a tiger nut. You can eat the nuts whole, or I like to add tiger nut flour to my daily smoothie. Resistant starch can also help you sleep – so this Tiger Nut & Cashew Horchata drink is a nice thing to have before bedtime. I also like to add tiger nut flour to desserts – like this raspberry tart!
“Sugar Cookie” Crust:
Put all the ingredients into a food processor, process until still crumbly, but starting to come together.
lightly grease a tart pan, and press the crust into it (I like to use my fingers to spread it around, then a flat bottom measuring cup to get it even. Press it so it comes up about halfway up the sides of the tart pan.
Put into freezer for about 20-30 mins.
Put all of the above into the Vitamix, and blend until combined.
Take crust out of freezer, and pour filling onto the crust – spread with a spatula or spoon. Return to freezer to set – at least 2 hours, up to a day ahead. Remove from freezer before you want to serve, add the raspberries, and whipped cream if you like (see below).
Coconut Whipped Cream (optional)
Put the coconut milk in refrigerator the day before you want to make the cream. Open the bottom of the can, and pour off the coconut water (reserve for smoothies, or another recipe).
Scoop out the coconut cream and put it into a bowl with the other ingredients, using a electric mixer – whip it up. Taste and adjust. Spoon onto slices before serving.
Want to learn more about Resistant Starch and get more delicious recipes – including “skinny starch” chocolate nut butter cups and cookie dough balls? Take my Resistant Starch eCourse!
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I was walking by the bakery section of the grocery store and got a whiff of fresh baked muffins. I knew I had to bake some muffins when I got home (those store muffins have about 8 teaspoons of added sugar – more than a woman should have all day long!).
I have a fool proof recipe for Flax Raisin muffins that I have made many times, but I decided to take that recipe and spruce it up with orange and dried cranberries! And since I have been really getting into essential oils lately – I thought – instead of grating orange peel, why not just use a few drops of orange essential oil instead? They turned out amazing!! I hope you enjoy them!
Optional – sprinkle a little cinnamon coconut sugar on the tops before baking them.
*Always make sure to use high quality certified therapeutic grade essentail oils if ingesting them.
If you are interested in learning more about essential oils contact email@example.com
The secret ingredient in this chili is cauliflower – and you would never know it was there!! A member of the cruciferous family, cauliflower adds fiber, vitamins, minerals, and also helps to give it some “body.” Cauliflower is rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, and sulfur – which supports the liver. But the real star of this dish is the tomatillos and poblano chili peppers – they are so delicious!! My whole family loves this one pot dinner! You could also make it in a slow cooker – but it would take longer.
Serves 6-8 people.
Note: If you don’t have time for steps 1-5 and want a quicker and easier version – you could replace steps 1-5 with a jar of green tomatillo salsa – I like the Hatch chili kind at Trader Joes.
Recipe developed by Sara Vance. All rights reserved.
I love using fresh herbs – they really brighten up and transform a salad or soup. As far as herbs go, dill is right up there with basil and mint at the top of my list!
This dill soup is very refreshing, and easy to make – it literally whips together in about 3 minutes! And besides the broth – this is totally raw!
Dill is a wonderful herb – and can be helpful to relieve headaches, which can occasionally happen when detoxing, it is a natural anti-fungal, and has even been found to have anti-cancer properties (learn more about dill in this article from Dr. Mercola).
Do you like ginger? Ginger root is warming and calming to the digestive tract. It can help to reduce gas and indigestion, and can even help to relieve nausea and motion sickness. It has potent anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties, potentially even offering relief to arthritis and asthma sufferers.
Research published on September, 2015 found a compound in ginger to be 10,000x more potent than chemo against cancer cells, read more here.
I have been literally obsessed with ginger lately – it is featured in my Green Lemonade recipe, and it is the star of this fresh Ginger Lemonade – a wonderful way to include ginger in your life!
Ginger Lemonade Ingredients:
*avoid sugar made with sugar beets – as that is typically GMO.
Ginger Cucumber ‘Spa’ Water:
This water supports hydration, digestion and is anti-flammatory.
Put all of the ingredients into a large jar – allow the flavors to come together for a couple hours. Strain as you pour into a glass. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Learn more about Ginger:
This green lemonade recipe is my go-to favorite juice – it features alkalizing lemons & greens, warming & soothing ginger, a little sweetness and detoxifying malic acid from the granny smith apples, heavy metals-detoxifying parsley, and the celery adds organic sodium – a very important electrolyte for proper hydration and muscle/nerve support.
Ingredients (makes about 24 oz. of juice):
Directions: Put everything (except the avocado oil/chia seeds) into the juicer.* Pour desired amount into a glass, save the rest in a glass jar in refrigerator up to 1 day. Stir in the avocado oil (or if using chia seeds – stir and allow them to soak 3-5 minutes before drinking). *If you don’t have a juicer – use your blender and strain out the pulp if you like!
*Why add the chia seeds or avocado oil to this drink?
Many of the vitamins in a green drink are fat soluble, so in order for them to be properly absorbed, there needs to be a carrier – a fat source. The fat also helps to keep the blood sugar stable, which is important for a healthy metabolism. You could also have this juice with a handful of almonds, half an avocado, or you could take your fish oil supplement too!
Read more: The Key Ingredient Your Green Juice is Missing.
**Note: when making juice – I highly recommend using only organic ingredients – because each 8 oz. serving can contain 2 pounds of produce – and conventional fruits and vegetables can be treated with pesticides (especially important for the Dirty Dozen and anything that you do not remove the peel). Also – make sure to rinse (or peel) your ingredients before juicing. **
I love the Fall – the leaves are changing, there is a bit of a chill in the air, and we get to pull out the sweaters. But perhaps one of my favorite things about the Fall – is pumpkin!
Pumpkin is a member of the winter squash family – an excellent source of fiber, which supports a healthy digestive system. The deep orange color of the pumpkin flesh tells us that it is a rich source of beta carotene (vitamin A) – which is important for healthy eyes, and boosts the immune system too (important this time of year).
Growing up, it just never quite feel like Fall until my mom made a batch of her pumpkin bread. Moist, delicious, pumkin-y and fragrant with spices. But her recipe was made with white flour, lots of sugar, and vegetable oil (the recipe actually calls for ‘salad oil’). So I decided to reinvent her pumpkin bread into these delicious grain free anti-inflammatory pumpkin mini muffins – with healthy coconut oil replacing the ‘salad oil’, ground flax and coconut flour in place of the white flour, and waaaay less sugar. Plus, these are also nut free for my friends that can’t have nuts.
The plethora of spices in these muffins fill the kitchen with the scent of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves while they bake.
Mini Pumpkin Flax Muffins
Makes about 24 mini muffins.
Serve & enjoy! These are extra yummy with a little grass fed butter on them.
I don’t think that Vitamin D gets enough credit for how important it is for our immune system to properly work, and in the fight against the flu and other viruses. Optimizing your vitamin D is perhaps is the #1 step to take to prevent the flu!!! Studies have shown that low levels of vitamin D could increase your risk of getting influenza. An estimated 70% of the population is deficient in vitamin D, and because the sun is the best source – Winter and Spring tend to be when it dips the lowest (it should come as no surprise that is when colds and flu spike too!). Vitamin D is very important for cancer prevention, and also shows some promise for asthma symptoms and several skin conditions too.
Vitamin D is very important for the immune system – without sufficient Vit D, our T cells (important immune cells) can’t be activated properly. This is important for fighting the flu, and also for prevention of cancer – it is estimated that 75% of breast cancers could be prevented simply by optimizing vitamin D levels. Vitamin D also is found to be effective in preventing and treating skin conditions like eczema, psoriosis, and even recurring infections like Staph, and MRSA as well. Other signs of deficiency can be muscle aches and pains, fractures, depression, blood sugar issues, and more.
According to studies optimal Vitamin D could also benefit asthma sufferers. Asthma makes kids particularly susceptible to getting more serious complications of flu and Enterovirus.
How to get it? Sunshine is your best source – which is why it is called the sunshine vitamin. But you can also supplement – make sure your supplement has the D3 form (cholecalciferol), which is better absorbed than D2 (ergocalciferol, which is a cheaper form, and also the kind added to milk).
How much to supplement? It depends. The right amount will depend on your blood levels of vitamin D, so it is a good idea to have your vitamin D levels checked this time of year. Ideal blood levels are between 40-65 ng/dl. If your levels are really low, your doctor might prescribe a high dose to quickly boost your levels. But generally, adults can very safely take 2,000- 2,500 IU daily, and studies show that 1,200 IU for kids ages 6-15 benefits the immune system. The RDA is 600 IU for kids, and 800 IU for adults, but many physicians and experts feel that those amounts are not high enough to get levels to where they need to be. Talk to your doctor or practitioner about getting your vitamin D checked, or ask how many IU that they recommend that you/your family supplements. Also – magnesium is needed for absorption, so make sure you are getting plenty of leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, raw cacao, nuts, or taking magnesium supplements (avoid the oxide form which is poorly absorbed).
In Sanskrit, coconut trees are referred to as “Kalpa Vriksha” which means: “The tree that gives all that is necessary for life.”
This is no exaggeration, because the coconut supplies water, oil, and it’s flesh can be made into many different products from coconut milk to coconut flour, which is popular with the Paleo crowd because it is versatile, grain-free and high in fiber and nutrients. The coconut really is one of the most amazing superfoods ever.
Coconuts are technically what is called a “drupe,” which is a type of fruit.
A young coconut has a smooth green exterior, but usually when you find it in the store, that will have been removed, and it will look white. As the coconut ages, the exterior will become more brown and hairy. The flesh becomes more dense and nutritious as the coconut ages, because it soaks up more of the minerals from the water. So if you want to drink the water, make sure to get the young coconuts, because there will be more of water, and it will have more nutrients. The flesh of the young coconut is softer than the mature coconuts.
I recently discovered this really cool tool called the Coco Jack, which makes opening a young coconut a breeze (and it is fun to get a little bit of your aggressions out too). Check this video out to see how easy it is to use! It also has a cool tool that you can use to scoop out the flesh too. My 12 year old son is a coconut water snob – he only likes to drink it straight out of the coconut, and he is an expert at using the Coco Jack!
If you can’t get your hands on a young coconut, try Harmless Harvest raw coconut water – it is totally raw, so it is not pasteurized, which means it retains all the natural nutrients and tastes just like it came right from the fresh coconut – because it did!! Because it is raw, you will need to refrigerate it, and you will find it in the refrigerator section of the grocery store.
There are many different products that are made out of coconuts. One of the most amazing foods for our metabolism, is coconut oil, which is made by extracting the oil from the flesh. I like to put it in my tea or coffee every morning to stimulate my metabolism and energy. When choosing a coconut oil, make sure to look for quality unrefined, organic cold pressed virgin oils. If you are planning to cook it at a very high heat, you can use refined coconut oil. Read Cuckoo for Coconut Oil to learn more about the health benefits and uses of coconut oil.
Some of my other favorite coconut products:
© copyright 2017 Sara Vance