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.
As a foodie and a nutritionist – I believe that it is possible for food to be both delicious and nutritious – it just takes a little ingenuity in the kitchen!! I love to make “upgraded” healthier version of foods – like this Wendy’s style “Frosty!
When I am choosing what I put into my body, it needs to taste great and support my body and brain to function at it’s best. Foods that are high in sugar might fit the bill on taste – but they will just make you crash and burn and feel like crap in the end. Plus, it is easy to make something taste great if you just load up on the sugar – where is the challenge in that? Overtime, a high sugar diet can lead to a host of health issues – read 20 Reasons to Break Up with Sugar to learn more.
To me, it is just not worth the impact on my health to eat high sugar foods – especially when you can make a healthier version that tastes just as good (I think this one tastes even better than the original).
This smoothie is a delicious recovery drink for athletes too!
Copyright © 2016 Rebalance Life, all rights reserved
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 had a big bunch of mint and a fresh pineapple, and some coconut in the freezer – so this morning I whipped up this pineapple mint smoothie – it was absolutely delicious and refreshing, it made me feel like I was in the tropics!! Pineapple, mint, coconut and chia seeds all support healthy hydration and digestion. I think this will be a new staple for Summer/Spring for me, and I hope for you too. This recipe is dairy-free, vegan and gluten free.
Put the coconut water and chia seeds into the blender – allow to soak. Add in the rest of the ingredients and blend to combine. Add in a handful (or whatever amount desired) of ice cubes and blend. Serve immediately!
*Note: If you are prone to getting canker sores from pineapple, you might want to substitute mango for the pineapple in the smoothie recipe.
Save your pineapple core in the refrigerator or freezer – I am posting a recipe tomorrow that will make use of the core!
I am a big fan of smoothies – so much so, that I have a smoothie for breakfast most days of the week. But sometimes, I just want to mix it up a little – and need a little something special. Let me tell you, this Pitaya Bowl does not disappoint!! And the best part – it is so easy to whip up!
Pitaya is another word for dragonfruit, which is the fruit of a cactus plant. A beautiful exotic fruit, dragonfruit can either be whiteish (pitaya blanca), or a deep dark fuchsia color (pitaya roja). The benefits come both from the seeds (rich in healthy fats), and the flesh of the fruit (of which the deep pink variety edges out the white as far as nutrition).
Photo credit: Fruits Benefit Health (visit to learn more about dragonfruit).
Pitaya Bowl Ingredients:
Note: this recipe is best with a Vitamix or another powerful blender that has a tamper tool that can be used to stir while blending. It should be thick – like the consistency of sorbet.
Some Suggested Toppings (the first 3 are in the pictured recipe):
Soak cashews in water for 10 mins (up to 6 hours), drain water. Put everything into Vitamix or blender (except ice). Blend to combine well, using tamper to stir. Add ice as desired to thicken, blend well, stirring. Spoon mixture into a bowl, add desired toppings and serve immediately.
One of the most interesting things about sweet potatoes, is that despite having “sweet” in their name, and tasting sweet, they are low glycemic. Low glycemic foods gradually raise your bloodsugar. Sweet potatoes spike your bloodsugar significantly less than a regular white potato!
They are a nearly perfect food with high fiber, rich in vitamins like beta carotene (which gives it’s flesh the rich orange color), and have been shown to aid in recovery for athletes. Read 15 Superfoods for Peak Performance to learn about how sweet potatoes and other foods are good for performance and recovery.
I actually prefer yams over sweet potatoes, because they are darker in color, which means richer in vitamins and nutrients (sweet potatoes and yams are often used interchangeably and confused). So this recipe should really be called yam pie – but that does not sound as good.
Last night we had roasted sweet potatoes and I sprinkled on some cinnamon and swirled in some applesauce into them. It was so good – it tasted like a cross between apple and pumpkin pie. So today I decided to recreate that yumminess with a Cinnamon Apple Sweet Potato Pie smoothie!
Cinnamon Apple Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie:
Whip this up before heading to the gym, because it is chock full of superfoods for peak performance!!
* Cinnamon is a wonderful spice for supporting healthy blood sugar levels. The more common form of cinnamon sold in the United States is cassia cinnamon. Cassia has coumarin, a compound that is toxic to the liver in high doses. Although less common in the U.S., Ceylon type of cinnamon is considered “true” cinnamon, and it does not contain coumarin. It might be a little more expensive, but I find Ceylon to be milder, a little sweeter, and more complex – definitely the best cinnamon choice!
The other day I drove into a Rancho Santa Fe gas station, and just as I was about to jump out to go pump my gas, the nice attendant came up and asked me “I’d be happy to pump your gas for you. Premium fuel today?” Yes, please, I respond and get back in the drivers seat. “Wow, they have good service at this gas station,” I say to my son. I glance back at the pump and notice that they also have 100 octane fuel, I had never seen that before, and boy is it expensive – over $6 a gallon! I think to myself, that must be the super premium fuel for all those Ferrari’s and other high performance cars that you see zipping around Rancho Santa Fe all the time. It stands to reason that the higher performance car you have, the higher quality of fuel it needs.
That stop at the Rancho Santa Fe gas station got me thinking about sports nutrition. Athletes are kind of like high performance cars. Just as we expect sports cars to perform better than an average car, athletes put higher demands on their body and seek superior performance. Putting the wrong gas into a Ferrari can mean lower performance, and overtime could land it in the shop for repairs or even create damage to the motor/inner workings. The same is true for young athletes – if they are choosing lots of junk food, they might not end up with optimal performance, or over time could end up with chronic inflammation and be plagued with injuries.
Endurance and elite athletes burn a significant amount of calories, so they can and need to regularly eat a lot of calories to replenish their energy reserves. But just because they can polish off a box of donuts or a large soda and a couple 20 piece nuggets and still not gain weight, does not mean that they should. Just like a Ferrari, athletes should consider putting in the best possible fuel if they want peak performance.
Because of the extra demands they put on their bodies, it is important for athletes to consume a diet rich in plant-based foods, high quality (ideally grass-fed) protein sources, plenty of healthy fats, and limit nutrient-deficient and inflammation-causing foods (foods that contain a lot of sugar, trans fats, or too many omega 6 fats – found in vegetable oils, soy oils, etc).
One of the best foods an athlete can add to their training regime are superfoods. Superfoods are highly nutrient dense foods that provide an abundance of nutrition and can potentially improve performance and overall health…kind of like “super premium” fuel.
At the top of my list of functional foods for athletes are these 15 superfoods.
15 Superfoods for Peak Performance:
As you navigate the party circuit this New Years Eve, here are some tips to help you plan ahead and avoid the ole’ dreaded hangover. Also, watch this segment on Fox 5 San Diego.
How Alcohol Affects Us:
Let’s first understand how alcohol affects the body. Approximately 20% of alcohol is absorbed through the stomach and most of the remaining 80% is absorbed through the small intestine. So making sure to eat something before your first cocktail is important. Then the liver goes to work – it sends out enzymes to break down and metabolize the alcohol. Generally, the liver can only process one ounce of alcohol (approx. one standard drink) on average in one hour. Consuming more than the liver can metabolize, causes alcohol to accumulate in the blood and body tissues.
Alcohol Affects Women Faster:
Women shouldn’t try to keep up pace with their male counterparts – women tend to be affected by alcohol more than men for several reasons:
Alcohol is a toxin:
Consuming more alcohol than the liver can process, will cause the alcohol to accumulate in the blood and tissues. Ethanol is metabolized into acetaldehyde, which is a toxin. Until it can be broken down into acetic acid, the body will be experiencing the negative effects of the acetaldehyde.
Some of the preservatives, sulfites and chemicals in wine and alcoholic beverages can add to the burden on the liver and make you feel crummy the next day, so using more natural alternatives will help lighten the liver’s toxic load.
Ethanol increases urine production, and therefore dehydrates us. Dehydration is one of the reasons we feel terrible the next morning after one too many drinks. Severe dehydration can not only make you uncomfortable, but it can be life-threatening. So preventing dehydration is one key to preventing a hangover and staying safe. One way to prevent dehydration is to make sure to alternate water in between your alcoholic drinks, this will help you stay hydrated, and keep blood alcohol from rising too quickly.
Alcohol can irritate
Not only can excess alcohol make people irritating (LOL), alcohol can be irritating to our stomach lining, which can make us feel nauseated and sick.
Alcohol Can Lead to Bloodsugar Lows
Drinking alcohol can also affect our bloodsugar levels – one reason that we might not sleep as well after having a drink too many – our blood sugar can drop in the middle of the night, and wake us up. Another reason is the glutamine rebound, read more about that here.
7 Natural Hangover Prevention Tips:
If you are heading to a party, a little planning today can go a long way to make tomorrow better…
Moderation – perhaps the most important step in avoiding a hangover is to practice moderation – make sure you do not drink on an empty stomach, limit yourself to no more than what your liver can process (about 1 drink per hour – max), and make sure to alternate with fresh filtered water to stay hydrated.
3 Natural Hangover Treatments:
Didn’t read this article before you went out? Already overdid it? The old adage “hair of the dog” is just going to delay the inevitable pain and discomfort so…instead, try some of these alternative remedies.
If you do decide to take a pain reliever the next day – avoid acetaminophen – because it can harm the already overtaxed liver.
Ultimate Detox Tea Recipe:
Directions: Thoroughly rinse the artichoke – making sure to get dirt out between leaves. Cut it lengthwise twice, so it is in 4 pieces. Peel the turmeric and the ginger, cut into a few slices (use a spoon to peel, that is the best way!). Put the artichoke, ginger and turmeric root into a large pot filled with filtered water (about 8-10 cups) over high heat – once it comes to a rolling boil, turn it down to a simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Take it off the heat and allow it to cool in the pot for about 20-30 mins. When it is cooled, strain it and put it into a glass jar. Squeeze in the juice from 3 lemons, add in the salt, and approx. 2 teaspoons of agave and 10 drops of stevia liquid (or your choice of sweetener – add more or less as you like, to taste). Serve over ice, or room temperature if you prefer (I like it iced).
NOTE: As with all herbs and supplements, please consult your doctor if you are on medication before taking this tea. Herbs can very powerful and may interfere with and interact with medications!
*Contraindications: Turmeric should not be used by people with gallstones or bile obstruction. Though turmeric is often used by pregnant women, it is important to consult with a doctor before doing so as turmeric can be a uterine stimulant.
Usually if something sounds too good to be true – it is. Except in this case!!
This superfood version of chocolate mousse is dairy free and 100% guilt free!! It is also rich in fiber, omega 3s, magnesium, has no sugar and whips up in minutes! I know, hard to believe – but all true! It is a rich and creamy delicious chocolatty delight!! And unlike other chocolate mousses, this one will not spike your bloodsugar. It will fill you up, and keep your hunger hormones in control and keep you satisfied for hours!
* The ice cubes are primarily to chill the mousse, you can omit if you are making it and not eating it right away. Put into the refrigerator to chill.
Note – this recipe requires a Vitamix blender that has a “tamper” – the tool that helps to process thicker recipes, stirring ingredients and removing air pockets in the blender.
Put into a container in the refrigerator, or pour into a dish and enjoy. This can make 1 large serving, or two small ones.
This is a Perfect Metabolism program recipe!
Read Cuckoo for Coconut oil to learn more about the health benefits of coconut oil.
To me, it is just not Fall until I get my first taste of pumpkin. But sometimes I just crave that pumpkin taste, and I don’t have the time to bake muffins or bread. And just say no to those pumpkin spice lattes – they have almost 50 grams of sugar!
Enter the Pumpkin Cacao Chip Superfood Smoothie!!
This delicious smoothie literally tastes like a pumpkin pie in a glass…but unlike pumpkin pie – you will not need to lay on the couch and unbutton the pants and take a nap after eating it, this smoothie has chia seeds to provide lasting energy, and improve focus, attention, and mood – it is one of the favorites from my Perfect Metabolism program.
Download Sara’s free Cooking with Superfoods eBook for some more delicious and nutritious recipes!
© copyright 2017 Sara Vance