I am not one to drink a glass of milk for a snack – unless it is cashew milk! For some reason – I just love a nice cold glass of cashew milk. If I add a little cinnamon and vanilla to it – it is a serious treat! You could also add a teaspoon or two of raw cacao powder to make this a Mexican Chocolate Milk. This milk is great in coffee, and also quite filling and satisfying due to the healthy fats and protein. The cinnamon supports healthy blood sugar levels too.
And best of all – this recipe whips up in about 3 mins too! Why buy store-bought milk (many of which contain the questionable ingredient carrageenan) when you can make it at home in 3 mins?
Quick Cinnamon Vanilla Cashew Milk:
makes one 8 oz. glass of milk (store any leftover in refrigerator for up to 2 days)
Put everything except the ice into the blender and blend well to combine. Add in the desired amount of ice cubes – blend again – and pour into a glass. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon on top if desired. You could also omit the vanilla and cinnamon if you needed a plain/savory milk for recipes.
Want to make cashew milk using the nut (not nut butter), and find out how to increase the calcium and fiber content? Click to learn more about The Best Alternative Milk!!
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.
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 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!
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.
Some other foods, that despite not being high in water content, when paired with fluids, can help to rehydrate (and even prehydrate) the body as well:
With Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack this Wednesday, and Comic Con this weekend – this is one of the biggest party weeks of the year in San Diego. So as you navigate the party circuit, here are some tips to help you plan ahead and avoid the ole’ dreaded hangover.
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. 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:
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), and make sure to alternate with fresh filtered water to stay hydrated.
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 liver if there is still alcohol in the system.
Fermentation is quickly becoming one of the hottest new trends in the food industry. Perhaps it is the health benefits, the complex and deep flavors, the energy boost fermented foods and drinks offer; or maybe it is that you feel like you have stepped into your own science lab when you are making them.
Watch this Fox 5 Segment about The Health Benefits of Fermentation
What is fermentation?
Fermentation is the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeast, or other micro-organisms; the process of fermentation converts carbohydrates into lactic acid. The process of fermentation is a method of preserving foods that not only keeps the minerals and vitamins alive, it can even manufacture new ones! Foods that have been fermented contain beneficial bacteria, enzymes, and vitamins that can improve our digestion, boost our immune systems, and provide energy. Fermentation can turn regular foods into superfoods!
In contrast, much of the food found in today’s big grocery stores is basically dead. When food is processed most of the natural minerals, fibers and vitamins are removed, so it is then “enriched” to put back some vitamins and minerals. Processed foods are often filled with other things our bodies do not need such as chemicals, preservatives, colorings, and additives.
The Health Benefits
The process of fermentation creates foods and drinks that are filled with bacteria, and sometimes yeasts. Why would we want to eat foods that will introduce bacteria into our bodies? The human body has more bacterial cells than human cells, with over 3 pounds of bacteria in the digestive system alone. According to this article, “The human body should have 20 times more beneficial bacteria than cells to maintain a healthy intestinal tract and help fight illness and disease.” Read The Importance of Good Bacteria to learn more.
Fermenting also breaks food down into more easily digestible compounds. For example, some people who lack the ability to digest milk, are able to digest yogurt or kefir – because fermentation turns lactose into Lactobacillius, a type of lactic acid bacteria that assists in the digestion of milk and other foods.
Fermenting boosts some of the vitamin content of that food, creating new nutrients that were not there before. For example, fermentation can produce vitamin K, which is important for calcium absorption and bone health; it also produces several different B vitamins, which provide energy and are important for manufacturing neurotransmitters. Fermentation also preserves foods, and can remove some of the ‘anti nutrients.’ Grains, beans and soybeans all contain phytic acids, which block mineral absorption and interfere with digestion. Fermentation removes phytic acid and breaks them down to improve digestion and absorption.
Rich Cultural History
Fermentation has been around for centuries, it was a natural way to preserve foods. In 1850, scientist Louis Pasteur was the first to study fermentation. Many different cultures around the world use fermented foods.
How Are Foods Fermented?
Almost any food can be fermented, and there are several methods for fermenting. Some methods of fermentation require a starter culture that contains certain strains of bacteria and/or yeasts. Wild fermentation does not require a starter culture, generally it relies on salt and the exchange of air to ferment. Kombucha is different, as it uses a mother culture called a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast), that is sometimes referred to as a mushroom – although my son says it looks like a big flat jellyfish. Each time a new batch of kombucha is made, it produces a new SCOBY, called a baby. To make kombucha, you brew tea (generally black), and add in sugar. The sugar is not to sweeten the tea however, it is the food for the SCOBY! So the longer the kombucha ferments, the less sugar that is left! I like to also do a second ferment with a little fresh pressed ginger and mango juice, or fresh berries. The second ferment is put into bottles and sealed and left to ferment about 3-5 more days. The second ferment is what makes the kombucha bubbly. It creates pressure inside the bottle, so be careful opening it – I have experienced a geyser in my kitchen after letting the second ferment go a day too long (so now I open them outside usually!)!
What is the Difference Between Pickling and Fermentation?
Foods that are pickled are cured in vinegar, and must be heated, which destroys the live enzymes of the foods. Whereas vinegar is created as a by-product of fermentation, and there is no heat applied (with some exceptions such as yogurt – because the milk is heated, and sourdough breads – which are baked). Because you have to wait for the fermentation to happen, it takes longer than pickling. So take pickles for example. Most pickles were made by combining salt, vinegar and cucumbers, and heating. They also sometimes add preservatives, and a surprising number of them also contain artificial colors. So those pickles do not contain any beneficial bacteria, and are not a health food. But fermented pickles are extremely healthy, and one of the easiest things to make.
Good things come to those who wait….
In an era of fast food, eating on the go, and processed and packaged snacks; food that takes days (sometimes weeks) to prepare sounds like an oddity. Fermented foods and beverages take time to create. Who would want to make something that could not be enjoyed right away? It turns out that a lot of people are becoming interested in fermentation. I decided that not only is it good for my gut, immune system, and energy – it is also good for my character, because I have to practice patience while I wait for my kombucha and fermentations to mature. They are worth the “wait” and their weight in gold.
For devotees that want to go the route of instant gratification – stores like Whole Foods have dedicated whole cases to kombucha and other fermented drinks, and also offer several different brands of raw sauerkraut and fermented cabbages. But a growing number of people are getting into creating their own fermented vegetables, kimchi, kombucha, and yogurts at home.
Beware of Imposters
Not surprisingly, the processed food industry is trying to get in on all the hype. This recent article in the Wall Street Journal revealed that fermented “flavors” are starting to sneak into snack foods like chips. But trying to recreate these complex flavors in a lab is proving difficult, and even if they can get the flavors close – these processed foods offer none of the same benefit as real fermented foods.
Fermented Cabbage Slaw:
For the fermenting “newby”, fermented cabbage is a great place to start, because all you need is cabbage, a jar, some salt, and some time. If you want to make something a little more layered, add some herbs and spices, or try this recipe:
Prepare vegetables, and put into a large bowl. Put in salt, and stir to combine. Allow to sit a few minutes, and then begin to massage the salt into the veggies, squeezing and pressing as you go. They will begin to release water. Keep doing this for quite a while (about 5 minutes), until the veggies are significantly smaller in volume than before, and a considerable amount of liquid is released, the liquid is your “brine.” Put the cabbage into a wide-mouthed jar, and firmly press down the veggies for a few minutes. Keep pressing, you want the brine to be above the vegetables. I like to place a couple of cabbage leaves on top, and then put one of the cabbage stems on it to help the veggies stay under the brine. The vegetables should be at least 1 inch from the top of the jar to allow for expansion. Put the top of the jar, cover with a cloth, and let ferment for 3-8 days (depending on how much fermentation you like). Check on it periodically to make sure the veggies are under the brine. You can also test it after a few days to see if it is how you like it.
The above recipe is a variation of Fermented Carolina Slaw from the book Real Food Fermentation. Written by Alex Lewin, it is a wonderful resource for anyone looking to get a good basic understanding of how to ferment foods and drinks, as well as a nice variety of recipes.
© copyright 2016 Sara Vance