Orange Dream Smoothie

August 27, 2017
Orange Dream Smoothie

I love smoothies – because they are quick & easy to make, portable, and a great way to just load up on the fiber & superfoods – to deliver long-lasting energy and support digestion, brain function, etc.

This Orange Dreamsicle smoothie is so good – your kids won’t even know that it is good for them – it’s tastes like a creamsicle, but it is loaded with brain-boosting omega 3s, digestion-boosting fiber, and immune-boosting vitamin c and beta carotene – it’s like a dream!

This recipe makes one large smoothie, or two smaller ones.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup of coconut water
  • 1 whole peeled small orange
  • 3-4 organic baby carrots, (or 1 peeled small carrot)
  • 1-2 teaspoons of white chia seeds
  • 1/2 scoop of vegan vanilla protein powder (I like Warrior Blend vanilla)
  • 1/2 of a frozen banana
  • 1/2 of a cup of frozen mangos or peaches
  • 1-2 teaspoons of Barleans Omega Swirl – Mango Peach flavor (2 teaspoons contains 790 mg of DHA/EPA omega 3s)
  • splash of vanilla extract (about 1/4 teaspoon)
  • Small pinch of Real Salt – brings out flavors and sweetness – but just a pinch!
  • Ice – as needed to thicken

Directions:

  1. Put the liquid, carrots and orange into the blender* – blend for a couple of minutes to completely liquify.
  2. Add the chia seeds and protein powder – stir to combine, and then let soak for 2-3 mins.
  3. Then add in the banana, mangos, Omega Swirl, vanilla, pinch of salt – blend.
  4. Add ice if you would like it thicker.
  5. Pour into a glass, and enjoy!

*A powerful blender like a Vitamix is best for this recipe.

 

Sara Vance 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.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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Make Ahead Breakfast – Overnight Oats

August 22, 2017
Overnight Oats

It Back to School time – and one of the best things a student can do to get their brain in gear for the school day is to have a healthy breakfast.

Starting the day with a sugary breakfast is a bad idea – because it provides short-term energy, which is often followed by a crash – negatively affecting energy, mood, and brain function – not what you want in your mid-morning math class!

Instead – you want to make sure breakfast has some protein, and/or healthy fat and fiber – this will balance the blood sugar to deliver long lasting energy, balance the mood and brain function.  Including some brain boosting omega 3 fatty acids too will really help to turn on the brain, boost the mood, and reduce inflammation.

Overnight Oats

No cooking required – just mix ahead, put in the fridge and they are ready to go the next day.  You can also double these recipes for a larger serving.

Chocolate Nut Butter

  • 2/3 cup non-dairy milk – such as coconut, almond or pea protein milk
  • 1/2 cup whole rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon of vegan vanilla protein powder (I like Warrior Blend vanilla)
  • 1 teaspoon of raw cacao
  • 1-2 teaspoons of Nuttzo 7 seed nut butter (contains 900 mg. of ALA omega 3 per serving!)
  • 1 teaspoon natural sweetener like honey, maple syrup, or organic stevia to taste
  • Splash of vanilla
  • Dash of high quality unprocessed salt – I like Real Salt brand
  • Banana slices
  • Dark chocolate chips

Directions: Whisk together the milk, protein powder, cacao, nut butter, vanilla, salt, and sweetener.  Pour into your jar or container.  Add the oats, stir to combine.  Top with banana slices and a few mini chocolate chips.

Brainy Mango Peach

  • 2/3 cup non-dairy milk – such as coconut, almond or pea protein milk
  • 1/2 cup whole rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon of vegan vanilla protein powder (I like Warrior Blend vanilla)
  • 1-2 teaspoons of Barleans mango peach
  • 1 teaspoon natural sweetener like honey, maple syrup, or organic stevia to taste
  • Splash of vanilla
  • Dash of high quality unprocessed salt – I like Real Salt brand
  • Mango chunks
  • Optional – coconut flakes

Some other great make ahead breakfast ideas for kids:

Egg cups

Make & bake these ahead of time, and you will have a ready to go breakfast for the next 4-5 days.  Eggs are rich in an important brain nutrient called choline.

Superfood Smoothies/drinks:

  • Mint Chip Shake – tastes like dessert, but healthy enough for breakfast!
  • Blue Brain On Milk: Serve this amazing brain-boosting milk alongside your breakfast, add it to your smoothie, or as a meal replacement.  Blue green algae may help boost focus, attention, mood, and energy.  See recipe.

 

Sara Vance 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.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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“Brain ON” Blue Milk (dairy & gluten free)

August 21, 2017
"Brain ON" Blue Milk

Brain ON Blue “Milk”

It’s Back to School time – which means kids need to switch from summer brain to their focused school brain.  This delicious dairy-free milk gets it’s amazing blue hue from a very special living superfood called blue green algae. Algae is a superfood that supports healthy brain function, mood, and energy.  Learn more about this amazing superfood: E3 Live or E3 Live Brain ON.  It’s a great time to try E3 Live – because they are currently offering free shipping use code: FREESHIP.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup of almond, coconut, pea protein or another alternative milk (I often recommend taking a break from cow’s milk/dairy if there are focus & attention or digestion issues)
  • 1 scoop or package of E3 Live or E3 Live Brain ON
  • 1-2 teaspoons of white* chia seeds (optional)
  • Splash of vanilla extract (I like to use alcohol free for smoothies)
  • Optional – 1-2 teaspoons of your favorite natural sweetener – like raw honey, organic stevia, or a couple of pitted dates.
  • pinch of Real Salt (brings out flavors and sweetness)
  • Optional – a couple of ice cubes.  Thickens and chills it.

Directions:

  1. Put the milk and E3 Live into the Vitamix or shaker bottle – swirl around until combined well.
  2. Add the chia seeds and soak for a couple minutes.
  3. Add the vanilla, salt and sweetener, and blend to combine.
  4. Add the ice cubes if desired, blend well.  Serve & enjoy.

Other great additions – 1/2 scoop of vegan protein powder, cinnamon, frozen banana, blueberries, raw cacao, dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs.

*Chia seeds offer ALA omega 3s, fiber and a wide range of vitamins and minerals. I like to use the white chia seeds in kids smoothies – because they blend in invisible.

Sara Vance 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.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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The Mint Chip Shake

July 10, 2017
Mint Chip Shake

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!!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of coconut water
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened alternative milk (I like to use Ripple pea protein milk)
  • 1/2 of a small avocado
  • 1/2 scoop (approx. 2 teaspoons) of moringa powder  (or substitute a greens powder if you can’t find moringa)
  • 1 tablespoon of chia or hemp seeds
  • 1-2 drops of peppermint essential oil (such as doTERRA, or you can use peppermint extract)
  • 3/4 tsp. of organic stevia & monk fruit powder (I like to use Pyure)
  • small pinch of Real Salt (brings out the flavors and sweetness)
  • 1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract (I prefer to use this alcohol-free brand in smoothies)
  • optional – 1/2 scoop of vanilla vegan protein powder (I like Warrior Blend Vanilla)
  • Ice as needed to thicken – about 1/2 cup
  • a small handful of dark chocolate chips or raw cacao nibs

Directions:

  1. Put the liquid into the blender, add the chia seeds and let them soak for a couple minutes.
  2. Add the avocado, moringa or greens powder, peppermint oil, the pinch of Real salt, vanilla, protein powder (if using) – blend until smooth.
  3. Add in the ice, blend until smooth and desired thickness.
  4. Add in the dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs – blend until mixed in.
  5. Enjoy!

About Moringa:

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.

About Peppermint:

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 read:

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.

References/Resources:

http://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-moringa-oleifera

https://draxe.com/essential-oils-for-headaches/

Peppermint oil

Sara Vance 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.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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Tiger Nut & Cashew ‘Horchata’

September 11, 2016
Cinnamon Cashew Milk

I could call this the “Sleepy time” drink because resistant starch (found in tiger nut flour) can support healthy sleep and stable blood sugar levels.  So this would be a great bedtime snack – because it could help you get a good night’s rest!  But it is also great during the day because resistant starch helps to provide long lasting energy too.

Ingredients:screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-10-00-30-am

  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 rounded teaspoon of cashew butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon of Tiger Nut Flour
  • cinnamon – to taste (I use about 1/4 teaspoon)
  • pinch of Real Sal
  • 1-2 cubes of ice if desired to chill
  • Optional – 1/2 scoop of vegan vanilla protein powder (such as Warrior Blend or Pure Lean Protein)

Directions:

Put the liquid into the blender, add the cashew butter and blend it thoroughly to make into a milk.  Add the Tiger Nut flour (and protein powder if using) and let it sit for a couple minutes to soak.  Then add the vanilla, cinnamon, and pinch of salt  – blend well.  Add a cube or two of ice if you wish to chill it, blend again.

Pour into a glass and serve.  Give this a try before bedtime and see if you don’t sleep like a baby!!

In addition to improving sleep, and energy – resistant starch can help us feel more satisfied and full, it can also benefit digestion, even potentially lowering the risk of colon cancer!  To learn more about the benefits of resistant starch, and get some more recipes – sign up for my eCourse: All About Resistant Starch.

screen-shot-2016-07-12-at-5-59-35-pm

 

 

Sara Vance 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.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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Chive & Zucchini Mini Baked Omelettes

May 3, 2016
Muffin Tin Omelettes

I love making these mini omelettes in  muffin tins – because they are easy and you always have leftovers.  These are easy enough to get the kids involved – so why not make a batch for Mom for Mother’s Day?  Bonus – because this makes quite a bit, there should be leftovers so mom won’t have to make breakfast on Monday either!! 

Ingredients:

  • 9 large organic free range eggs
  • 1 medium sized organic* zucchini, grated (diced asparagus or broccoli would work great too)  – approx. 3/4 cup
  • 3/4 cup of chopped baby spinach (about 3 handfuls before chopping)
  • chopped fresh chives – about 1 Tablespoon (add more if you like more!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of high quality salt
  • 1/4 cup of water

Optional:

  • 1/2 cup of grated cheese
  • 1-2 slices of bacon or ham, chopped

Optional for serving:

  • Salsa (I like green salsa with this) or hot sauce
  • Avocado slices
  • Roasted new potatoes

Other good veggies to include in these:  onions (I sauté these first), chopped tomatoes, red peppers, or your favorite.

Eggs in muffin tinsDirections:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

  1. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin with butter or avocado oil
  2. Grate the zucchini.
  3. Finely chop the chives and chop the spinach
  4. Crack the eggs into a large bowl, add the water, and lightly whip.
  5. Add in the salt, zucchini, spinach, chives, and any other ingredients you choose.
  6. Spoon evenly into muffin tins (should come up about 3/4 of the way – leave some room, as these will poof up).
  7. Bake for about 17 mins.
  8. Take out of the oven and serve!

 

  • I recommend using organic zucchini because zucchini can be GMO.

 

Signature

 

 

Sara Vance 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.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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Mini Banana Muffins (Grain Free)

February 12, 2016
Mini Banana Muffins (Grain Free)

These “better for you” banana muffins are easy to make and instead of being full of white flour, they use ground flax seed*, which is rich in ALA omega 3s.  They are high in protein due to the eggs and nut butter, and have way less sugar than most muffins.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup of nut butter (I used cashew butter – found at Trader Joes)
  • 2 and 1/2 ripe bananas
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt (add a little more if using unsalted nut butter)
  • 1 cup ground flax
  • 1 TBS. virgin coconut oil (soft or melted – plus more to grease muffin tin – if not using muffin papers)

Optional additions (fold these in later after mixing together the above):

  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (I like Enjoy Life brand)
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts work great, so do pecans)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Mix together the ingredients in a blender, food processor, or using a mixer.
  3. Gently fold in your chocolate chips and/or nuts – or you can just press them into the top after pouring the batter to the muffin tin.
  4. Grease mini muffin tin, or line with muffin papers.
  5. Fill batter almost to the top. Top with additional mini chocolate chips if desired.
  6. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 17 minutes.

Omega 3 fats are delicate.  Make sure to buy cold pressed ground flax and store it in your refrigerator to prevent oxidation. 

Note – if you are used to super sweet muffins – these might not taste sweet enough at first – but once you get used to eating less sugar – these will taste plenty sweet enough!  It takes time to adjust your taste buds to enjoying less sweet foods.

 

Sara Vance 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.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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Sara’s Healthy Holiday Gift Picks (plus Giveaways)

December 12, 2015
Sara's Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas

 

Give the Gift of Health – 14 Gift Ideas!

Ho Ho Ho!!  It’s holiday time – which means celebrating and merriment and gift giving!

Do you have someone on your list that you really care about and want to get them the best gift ever?

What better gift is there than the gift of health?

I have rounded up some of my favorite healthy holiday gift ideas for 2015 to help you get your holiday shopping done!  And don’t worry if you missed out on Black Friday and Cyber Monday – several of these companies are offering special holiday deals right now!

The best part of all?  I am doing a raffle – and giving away over $600 worth of healthy holiday gifts!!!

Note: raffle has ended. 


1: Annmarie Gianni Skincare

Give the gift of glowing & beautiful skin!!   For someone who deserves to be pampered!

Chapter 5 of my book The Perfect Metabolism Plan encourages people to reduce the amount of toxins in our lifestyle – because toxins can contribute to stubborn weight gain & higher disease risk. One sneaky way that chemicals are getting in – are through our skincare products.  So cleaning up our personal care products is important!

That is why I love Annmarie Gianni Skincare products – their products are organic and completely non-toxic, and smell great.  I have been using them for about a month, and every time I wash my face – I feel like I have been to a spa.  And what can I say about their coconut honey mask – it makes my skin feels as soft as baby’s bum.

Sara's Holiday Gift Picks Ann Marie GianniAnne Marie Gianni has gifts for all budgets!

  • The Annmarie Balance Gift Set -$160.00. This skin care gift set is great for all skin types and will help keep your skin in perfect balance! Includes an Aloe-Herb Facial Cleanser, Ayurvedic Facial Scrub, Neroli Toning Mist, Herbal Facial Oil for Normal and Combination Skin, & Purifying Mud Mask – which all work together to leave your skin fresh, moisturized, and glowing.
  • The Annmarie Travel Essentials – $24.95. This kit contains the Rosemary Peppermint Body Wash, Coconut Body Oil and Radiant Skin Silk Body Lotion – which all work together to leave your skin feeling refreshed and hydrated. Using these products in your daily routine is also an amazing aromatherapy experience.
  • Annmarie Gianni Sample Kits – these are great stocking stuffers!
    • Skincare sample kit: $10 each – Give Annmarie Gianni skincare a try – with sample kits. 
    • Sunscreen sample: $5 each – created for people who want to protect their skin from the sun’s rays without exposing themselves to harmful chemicals found in most commercial sunscreens.

ps. Don’t forget to order something for yourself!! 


2: Kraut Source Fermenting Gift Set

Sara's Picks 2015 - Kraut SourceGive the gift of healthy digestion, moods, and immunity.

Studies show that eating fermented foods can support a healthy gut – which is linked to many health benefits ranging from better digestion to weight balance, improved moods, better immunity – and more!

I love Kraut Source fermenting jars – because they are designed to keep the veggies under the brine which is important when making fermented foods. They also have a lot of really good recipes and videos on their site too!

  • The Kraut Source Holiday Gift Pack  $56.00 (usually $70.00), Includes a fermentation kit (one Kraut Source, one quart-size Mason jar, 4 oz pack Celtic Sea Salt, and a pack of organic spices, a handmade maple wood pounder, a jar opening gripper.

3: Skinny & Co. Coconut Oil

Give the gift of sparkling clean teeth, fresh breath and detoxification!  

Sara's Picks - Skinny & CoDid you know that studies show that coconut oil is an effective way to combat tooth decay?  Read this BBC article to learn more!  Oil pulling is also a great way to detoxify – and has a rich history in Ayurvedic cleansing traditions.   This uniquely formulated oil protects tooth enamel and dental fillings while it removes plaque, freshens breath, and whitens teeth, naturally.  Skinny & Co also offers high quality cold pressed alkaline coconut oil for cooking and eating, and wonderfully silky and decadent coconut based moisturizing skincare items too. 

  • The Skinny Coconut Oil Pulling Kit – $30.00.  Includes an 8.5 oz Skinny Oil Pulling Jar – infused with blue peppermint leaf oil & a proprietary blend of essential oils, SKINny Lip Balm, a 100% Natural Bamboo Spoon to reach every drop, plus a How-To Oil Pull Guide.
  • Other nice gift options include the Skinny Beauty Box ($90.00) & the Skinny Facial box ($58.00)

 4:  Four Sigma Foods Mushroom Coffee

Sara's Picks - Four SigmaGive the gift of über healthy coffee – superfood mushroom coffee!

The ‘fun guys’ at Four Sigma foods are bringing you the superfood powers of fungi (mushrooms) combined with coffee – to make a delicious superfood drink.  They are in convenient on-the-go packets, so you can take your superfoods on the road with you!!   Mushrooms are adaptogenic – meaning they adapt to meet our bodies needs to best support our health – such as reducing stress and boosting immunity.

  • Mushroom coffee with cordyceps – $15.  Mushrooms are adaptogenic – so they adapt to help reduce stress and boost immunity.  Cordyceps are known to support for the adrenal glands.   With half the caffeine, double the effects (40 milligrams of caffeine per dose), you have less acidity than regular coffee – no more stomach burn.
  • Reishi Tea – $35. For relaxation and deep sleep. Reishi mushroom is generally known as “the queen of mushrooms” due to its body-and-mind balancing properties. This ancient mushroom drink calms you down and ensures better sleep by naturally regulating the hormonal system and lowering cortisol levels. Contains 20 packets.

 5: Beaming

Sara's Gift Picks - Beaming

For the person on your list that wants to be beaming!! 

Walk into one of the 6 Beaming Superfood stores in Southern Cal – and you will instantly know that you are going to be taken care of with the highest quality clean juices, smoothies, superfood salads, soups and yummy muffins and snacks!  Everything they do is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants – and also super delish!   I love that their cleanses are not just juice cleanses, and they know the importance of healthy fat to manage hunger hormones and boost the metabolism.  So don’t worry about doing their cleanses – you will NOT be hungry.  Maybe someone one your gift list deserves a 1 day reset, or perhaps they are needing a 21 day reboot!

  • Beaming Gift card – holiday special – buy a $100 gift card for $80.
  • Beaming Superfood Smoothie Kit – $75.00.  Contains all of the ingredients needed for you to blend and experiment to your heart’s (and body’s) content – Superfood smoothie blend and superfood protein blend, as well as a smoothie ebook and  2 protein powder packets.
  • The mini purse pack essentials – $12.00 (great stocking stuffer).  Want to know the sign of a true foodie? They carry around their own high quality mineral-rich salt to season their foods – this purse pack of essentials contains 2 different kinds.  And if you want to avoid the blue, pink and white sweetener packets – you will have your low glycemic coconut sugar with you too! I just LOVE the Beaming purse pack of essentials! 
  • Beaming’s Signature Cleanse – Starts at $85.00.  A great way to detox from the holidays and let the body release some unwanted water retention and toxins – choose the one that suits your needs best – perfect for getting ready for New Years!

Sara's Gift picks Yoga Six6: Yoga Six

Give the gift of relaxation and rejuvenation!

Do you know someone that loves yoga, or has been wanting to give it a try? Or just needs to de-stress?
Give him/her the gift of relaxation, flexibility, strength and more !

The 6 in Yoga Six refers to the 6 results of a consistent yoga practice: Stronger, Leaner, Calmer, Clearer, Braver, Further. With 4 beautiful studios around the San Diego area – and more locations in Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin – Yoga Six is a great place to de-stress your life and support a healthy metabolism!  They offer hot yoga, flow deep stretch, boot camp, meditation, and much more!

  • Holiday Special – Purchase a $100 Gift Card and get 1 FREE Month of Unlimited Yoga to Give to a Friend!

 7: Mizu

Give the gift of (BPA free) hydration and protect the environment at the same time – with beautifully designed Mizu!

Sara's Picks MizuI encourage all my clients to stay hydrated throughout the day.  And one key way to do that – is to carry your water bottle around with you. But I don’t recommend drinking from plastic – because plastics can interfere with hormones and is terrible for the environment.  Plus – it is just way more expensive too!

Mizu makes reusable products to hold your drinks – which are designed to help reduce the over abundance of single-use plastics produced and discarded each year.  Hot or cold drinks – wine, coffee, and water – Mizu handles it all with ease and beauty!  Plus -their insulated bottles will keep your cold beverages cold for 24 hours!  This is a practical gift – that anyone can use!  

If you have shied away from reusable water bottles because you don’t like the taste – Mizu uses only the highest quality 18/8 food grade stainless steel (has 18% chromium and 8% nickel) – leaves no metal taste and is durable, easy-to-clean and corrosion resistant.

  • The Mizu Yoga Kit – $64.95 – For the yogi on your list. All new Mizu yoga gift set includes a multi-use G7 glass bottle (for hot and cold drinks), insulated camp cup (coffee and Moscow Mules), and the zen-inducing M8 “fade” bottle.
  • The Mizu Wine Kit – $64.95. For the wine connoisieur on your list. The insulated V8 (800ml) bottle can store an entire bottle of wine at the desired temperature for over 12 hours, and 2-set of stainless steel wine cups provide a stylish yet durable solution to wine drinking outside.

Sara's Holiday Picks - Ab Carver Pro8. The Ab Carver Pro

For the person that wants to rock some rock hard abs – and exercise smarter, not harder!!

I don’t know about you – but I am not a fan of abdominal crunches – and neither is trainer Ben Greenfield (who I interviewed for The Metabolism Summit – coming Feb 1). Check out what his Huffington Post article has to say about crunches (to summarize – they don’t work).

The hot new trend now is to exercise smarter – not harder.  So if you want to rock some rock hard abs in just a few minutes at a time – try out the Ab Carver Pro.  A bonus – it also works your arms and back at the same time!

  • The Ab Carver Pro: $39.99. The kinetic engine provides resistance as you roll it away and assistance on the way back up. This motion works all your abdominals as well as the muscles in your arms. The ultra-wide wheel and performance grips offer stability throughout the completion of your effective core workout.

Sara's Picks - Trigger Point GRID9. TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller

Help the athlete in your life recover better! 

Also when I interviewed Ben Greenfield on The Metabolism Summit – he had just finished the Tough Mudder – which is 24 hours of extreme endurance exercise.  I asked him what he was doing to recover from that, and he told me that he spent an hour that morning on a foam roller – to help his muscles loosen up and recover!  The GRID foam roller is uniquely designed with a ‘Distrodensity” three dimensional surface which replicates the feeling of a massage therapist’s hands.

  • The TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller: $39.99.  – The GRID foam roller is for anybody who wants to move better. Use the GRID for a self-massage and roll through the tight muscles, knots and kinks that prevent feeling good and moving well.

10: Generation UCAN

Sara's Picks - UCANFor the endurance athlete that needs the ultimate fuel.

Have you heard of SuperStarch?  It is a complex carbohydrate (derived from non-GMO corn) that stabilizes blood sugar so you avoid crashing.  It helps you perform better while using fat for fuel. It was discovered to help a boy named Jonah, who had a rare disease, where he could not store carbohydrates – so he needed to eat every 2 hours to live.  With SuperStarch he can go 8 hours.  It is an all-natural, slow-releasing carbohydrate that provides steady energy and blood sugar levels.

Generation UCAN helps to sustain energy, without a crash – or inhibiting  fat-burning. Whether you’re running a marathon, climbing a mountain, competing on the field, or live an on-the-go lifestyle, UCAN is ideal for maintaining steady energy.  Try it as a pre-workout snack, a post-workout shake to optimize recovery, between meals to control cravings, or a meal replacement shake.

Use code: HealthyHoliday to save 15%! 


Sara's Holiday Gift Picks Perfect Metabolism11: The Perfect Metabolism Plan

What better gift could you give someone that the gift of a healthy metabolism?

Okay – yes, I wrote this book. So I probably am a little biased – but wrote it because I know so many people are struggling with their weight and health – and doing everything they have been told to do like counting calories, cutting fat, exercising more and eating less – and are frustrated because it is just not working. Believe me, I’ve been there too (I share a lot of my story in the book).

But the truth is – many of these approaches to weight loss simply don’t work, and they could even be making your metabolism AND YOUR OVERALL HEALTH worse!

One tip from the book that might help this holiday season with sugar cravings – and that is to put coconut oil in tea!

  • The Perfect Metabolism Plan by Sara Vance: $16.95 – Understand the 10 keys that you need to optimize to reboot and reset your metabolism – the real secret to achieving vibrant health!  It also has over 50 recipes and a plan to put it into action. 

12. Cocoa Parlor Dark Chocolate – $5.00/bar (great stocking stuffer)

Sara's Gift Picks - Cocoa ParlourDark chocolate to satisfy your sweetheart’s sweet tooth! 

One of the treats that I recommend to clients that are trying to break free from sugar addiction – without feeling deprived is dark chocolate.  It is good to have especially this time of year – because you can have a square of dark chocolate when you get tempted by the cookies and treats.  But don’t be fooled by beautiful packaging and expensive pricing.  Check out this article written by The Food Babe about how even the most expensive chocolates can be made with cheap GMO ingredients and use artificial flavorings!

So – scurry on past the expensive brands with the beautiful gold packaging and red bows – and grab some Cocoa Parlour instead – a great stocking stuffer!   Check out the ingredient list on a Cocoa Parlor bar – and you might be surprised to see just 3 ingredients for many of their bars!  Unlike many of the chocolate bars on the market – these are made with simplest ingredients – and do not put any soy lethicin into their bars.    They also sell raw chocolate bars – which is even better – because it is higher in antioxidants!

I have tried many different brands – and I have to tell you that Cocoa Parlour comes out on top for me.  My absolute favorite is their Popped Quinoa bar.  I also like their salted almond dark as well – salt, chocolate and almonds – the perfect combo.


Sara's Gift picks - KivaSun13. KivaSun Bison Jerky – $7.99/pack (great stocking stuffer)

High-quality protein-dense gluten-free snacking. 

Not all jerky is created equal – or gluten free.  Kiva bison jerky is gluten free, antibiotic free, contains no added hormones, is high in protein, contains no nitrates or nitrites, and tastes great.

  • Try the Hatch Chile or Original Flavor & taste the KivaSun difference!

14. The ReFuel Bar – $2.49/bar* (great stocking stuffer) 

Refuel BarStuff the stocking with some snack bars that aren’t too sweet. 

Are you frustrated with bars that are too sweet, or have ingredients that you are trying to avoid like soy, gluten, or dairy?  So was I – that is why I created the ReFuel bar!  Just the right hint of sweetness (6 grams – from dates), 8 grams of vegan protein (from pea and hemp), and 9 grams of fiber (from chia seeds and a prebiotic fiber – which is food for the probiotics – keeps your tummy bugs happy and fed).

  • Special Holiday Deal – Save 30% regular price of $29.95 on all ReFuel Bars!  Code HOLIDAY30 should come up automatically.  Expires Dec. 16th.  Order here.

The Giveaway – 4 Amazing Gift Sets!!

I am giving away over $600 worth of healthy holiday gift sets!!!  Enter to win below!! 

Would you like to be the lucky winner of one of these awesome gift sets?

The Home Spa Gift: Value $190 value

  • The Ann Marie Gianni Balance Gift Set -$160.00 value
  • The Skinny Coconut Oil Pulling Kit – $30.00 value

The Healthy Metabolism Home Chef Gift: $102 value

  • The Kraut Source Holiday Gift Pack: $70.00 value
  • The Perfect Metabolism Plan: $16.95 value
  • Four Sigma Foods Mushroom coffee with cordyceps – $15 value

The Work Out Smarter Not Harder Gift: $110 value

  • Generation UCAN multi-flavor sample pack with blender bottle: $29.75 value
  • Ab carver Pro: $39.99 value
  • Trigger Point GRID Foam Roller: $39.99 value

The Stylish Yogi Gift:  $210 value

  • 6 passes to a Yoga Six studio: $120 value
  • The Mizu Yoga Kit – $64.95 value
  • Beaming Superfood Smoothie Blend: $24.95 value

How to Enter: Please note that this raffle has now ended. 

  1. Give us your name, email, and shipping address below. (you will also be added to our newsletter –  you may opt out at any time).
  2. Head over and Like my Facebook page. – Sara Vance at Rebalance Life – and feel free to add your comments to the Healthy Holiday Gift post about which products you can’t wait to try (and feel free to say why).
  3. Wait to see who won the big prizes!!  The winner will be chosen by a drawing that will be held on Wednesday, December 16th at 8:00pm PT!  Remember: You must fill out the form below and also Friend Sara Vance ar Rebalance Life on FB to win! Gift sets will be shipped the next day to address listed on the winning entry forms.

Please note:  Includes shipping within the U.S.  If a winner outside the U.S. is chosen – shipping costs will need to be paid by the winner, or they may forfeit the prize.  All attempts will be made for gifts to arrive before Dec. 25th, but it is not guaranteed.  Must be 18 to enter. 


Don’t forget to sign up for The Metabolism Summit – coming Feb 1st!!

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Note: some of the above links are affiliate links – meaning Sara Vance will earn a small commission for referring you.

Sara Vance 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.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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Athletes Need Sodium!

August 18, 2015
Young athlete drinking water

We are told that we all need to cut back on the salt. And for most people – this is very prudent advice – especially those who are inactive or eating highly processed diets – which generally delivers too much salt.  Excess dietary salt can increase blood pressure, which is linked to an increased risk of stroke and heart attacks, and can also strain the kidneys. For high risk people, cutting back on high salt foods and increasing the intake of potassium-rich foods could reduce stroke by 21% studies show. (Read: Shifting the balance of sodium and potassium).  Often – just cutting way back on processed foods can accomplish that! 

But is a ‘healthy low salt diet‘ – truly healthier for everyone?
No.

Certain people might actually need more sodium than they are getting – including those suffering from adrenal fatigue/hypofunction, chronically low blood pressure, and endurance athletes.

Sodium is an Electrolyte

Salt is a combination of sodium and chloride – which are two important electrolytes. Electrolytes are electrically charged ions in our blood – they regulate our fluids balance, blood pressure, are needed for the proper functioning of nerves and muscles, and energy production – they are kind of like our ‘spark plugs.’ When an athlete works out – they sweat – which means they lose fluids and electrolytes. So if an athlete gets depleted of electrolytes (including sodium) – they could start to feel fatigued, weak, sore and generally could run out of steam. If allowed to progress – it can become more serious, even life-threatening.

If an athlete has worked out hard for more than an hour – especially in hot conditions – plain water is not likely enough to properly and fully rehydrate. In fact, guzzling a lot of plain water when someone is dehydrated can lead to a condition called hyponatremia – which is a low concentration of sodium in the blood.  Generally chronic hyponatremia (which develops more gradually) produces milder symptoms, while the acute type can be very serious, potentially leading to brain swelling and coma. According to the Mayo Clinic, “A normal sodium level is between 135 and 145 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L). Hyponatremia occurs when sodium levels fall below 135 mEq/L.”

Dehydration can cause muscle aches/cramps, headache, and nausea. If caught early when symptoms are mild, these generally will respond to a rehydration drink or salty/mineral-rich foods paired with water. But if an athlete displays any signs of serious dehydration or hyponatremia – including disorientation, slurred speech, weakness, or strange behavior – seek medical treatment immediately as it can be a life-threatening situation.

Some signs you could be deficient in organic sodium – muscle weakness, spasms, or cramping; loss of flexibility; headaches/migraines; heart burn or digestive issues; stiff or painful joints; fatigue; restless legs; osteoporosis; and hardening of the arteries.

Not all salt is created equal

Foods with naturally occurring organic sodium or a high quality unprocessed salt like pink Himalayan, Celtic, or Real Salt brand are not the same as table salt.  Processed table salt typically has anti-caking agents, and processing removes all of the trace minerals, which makes the remaining sodium and chloride less bio-available to the body – and it is more difficult to excrete excesses too.   It may not be possible to always get the good quality salt – but it is the only kind we use in our house. Note: unprocessed salt generally should have some color – pink, grey, etc.  Potassium-rich foods help to balance out our sodium levels.

  • Food sources of sodium include soups/broths, jerky, traditional fermented foods (like kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles), seaweed snacks, celery, salted nuts/nut butters, coconut products, organic corn chips with salsa, and also sports drinks (just avoid the ones with artificial colorings and flavorings).
  • Food sources of potassium include winter squash, sweet potato, banana, avocado, coconut water, tomato sauce, spinach, yogurt, orange juice, sports drinks and replenishers.

Be Prepared.

The best thing for an athlete to do – is to follow the good ole’ boy scout motto – and be prepared. Come to your workouts and competitions well-hydrated, and have everything you need in your bag to stay that way.

  • Get in the routine of having at least a full 8 oz. glass of water first thing after arising every morning. If you had a hard workout the day before – put a pinch of high quality “real” salt in there, and you could also squeeze in the juice from 1/4 – 1/2 of a lemon (or another citrus fruit). I also like to add trace mineral drops too.
  • A good hydrating pre-workout meal or snack would be a smoothie made with 1 cup of coconut water, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1/2 – 1 cup of berries, a half or whole banana and a pinch of high quality unprocessed salt like pink Himalayan, Celtic, or Real Salt brand (brings out the flavors and sweetness too). Another good addition would be half an avocado, or a spoonful of nut butter. Add ice to thicken.
  • Another pre-workout snack could be chia pudding, with some berries and hemp hearts or chopped nuts – and a pinch of good salt – this can be made the night before and grabbed on the way out the door!
  • Avocado toast is another good option – spread 1/2 an avocado on top of your gluten free or sprouted organic toast and sprinkle some Real Salt on top. My kids love this snack for before workouts!
  • Post workout – a protein smoothie is ideal – 1 cup of coconut water, add in a half a scoop of protein powder (I like Warrior Blend vanilla), a Tablespoon of raw cacao powder, 1/2 or a whole banana, a handful of baby spinach, a spoonful of raw honey or agave, a pinch of salt, and some ice. Other good post-workout options are an acai or pitaya bowl, a fresh pressed juice with a handful of nuts, chocolate almond milk, or a coconut water and some nuts, seeds and dried fruit. Magnesium is another important electrolyte – and cacao (chocolate) is an excellent source.
  • Another option is to put a tablespoon of chia seeds and half a scoop of protein powder into a 16 oz. of coconut water after a workout – shake it up and let it hydrate for a few mins before drinking – I call it the “quick pick me up” drink.
  • Get your fruits & veggies! A diet high in plant-based foods supports hydration. Read: Hydrating foods to beat the heat.

Products to consider packing in your bag:

  • Clif Shot Blok – I like these because they are made with organic ingredients, contain no artificial colorings or preservatives, and use Real Salt brand (high quality unprocessed salt). The margarita flavor contains higher levels of sodium than the others (150 mg). These also help to replenish depleted glycogen stores too. Careful – some flavors do contain caffeine, so read the label carefully.
  • Skratch Labs – This brand uses real food ingredients, and doesn’t have the artificial coloring or preservatives, and is easy on the stomach. They also have 3 levels of hydration products – a “daily electrolyte” mix (100 mg. of sodium) for after a light workout, an “exercise hydration” product (350 mg of sodium) for after an intense training session, and also a “rescue hydration” product – that can be used in cases of diarrhea and more serious dehydration (750 mg of sodium). Read more about their Rescue Hydration product.
  • Coconut water – is an excellent source of potassium, a good source of sodium and 3 other electrolytes. Note: Sodium content will vary slightly between brands.
  • Sea weed snacks (40-65 mg of sodium per pack) – check out the chipotle flavor from Sea Snax!
  • Jerky (350 mg. of sodium) – brands that use higher quality ingredients that I like are Krave, Field Trip, and Tanka (no nitrates, preservatives or antibiotics or hormones used)

You could also make your own homemade sports drink by combining 8 oz water (or coconut water), with 8 oz. fresh juice (such as orange), 1/8 tsp high quality salt (300 mg of sodium), and 1/2 tsp honey or your favorite natural sweetener. Here are some other homemade sports drink recipes to consider trying too.

Some other considerations:

  • Athletes suffering from digestion issues (such as loose stools) should not ignore those issues – they could make them more prone to dehydration, nutrient depletion, fatigue, and also could be contributing to chronic inflammation, which can lead to repetitive injuries. If there are chronic digestion issues I highly recommend having a food intolerance panel run as well as a stool test to check for infection, parasite or bacterial imbalance. Another good test would be a Spectracell micronutrient test – to see if there are already micronutrient deficiencies.
  • Athletes should not train if they have had diarrhea or vomiting within the past 48 hours – because in addition to potentially being contagious, it could raise their risk for dehydration. Get well and rehydrated before getting back into your workouts. Working out when you are depleted could actually set your training back.
  • Young athletes should stay hydrated all day long while at school or camp. Unfortunately, not all teachers allow water bottles in class or on desks. It is a surprisingly common practice for teachers to restrict bathroom breaks because they find them disruptive. If your child says they are not allowed to have water bottles on their desk, or use the bathroom when needed – talk to the teacher or principal – and let them know your child is an athlete and needs to stay hydrated throughout the day.

Research shows that the majority of kids today are chronically dehydrated, with 1/4 of all kids drinking no water all day long! Young athletes need to take their hydration seriously. One reason that kids may not be drinking enough water – is because they are not thirsty! You might find that adding a little more sodium-rich foods to the diet can help to re-stimulate the thirst mechanism. On hot days, I often put a small pinch of Real Salt in my kids water bottle that they bring to school, especially the morning after a hard workout. I also like to use a trace mineral supplement called SpectraMin which contains 63 ionic trace minerals and helps support hydration, it also pairs well with a product called Rehydration – which together helps to encourage thirst and get the fluids and electrolytes into the cells.

Some additional reading/articles:

 

Sara Vance 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.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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5 Key Performance-Enhancing Superfoods

November 21, 2014
athlete

I just watched the Showtime documentary Stop at Nothing the other night, this powerful film profiles Lance Armstrong’s obsession with winning, fame, and power.

Watching that film got me thinking about the one thing that all serious competitive athletes have in common is – they have a very powerful desire to win.  In order to win, an athlete knows they need to set goals, train hard, and that means that they need to be able to push through pain and overcome adversity.  Often they have to make sacrifices in other areas of their lives to truly commit to their chosen sport.

The better an athlete gets at their sport and the tougher the competition gets – the harder it gets to stay on top.  I understand the immense pressure Lance Armstrong and other serious athletes are under to win.

Unfortunately, Lance chose to take the illegal and unethical path of using banned substances to gain an unfair edge. It eventually cost him everything – his Tour de France titles, all his lucrative contracts, and the respect of the world.  His actions and choices led to disgrace. I hope one lesson that young athletes can learn from Lance’s mistakes, is that it is not worth compromising your character to win, and that trying to rely on the “quick fix” might come back to bite you in more ways than one.  Because even some of the legal substances that athletes think will help them gain an edge can potentially lead to deficiencies in other areas of performance or recovery, and potentially even serious health trouble (ranging from dehydration to cramping and even organ dysfunction).  Just because a product might make your muscles look bigger, does not mean that they are necessarily stronger, or will make you be able perform better.

The good news, is there are a number of natural and healthy ways for athletes to gain a competitive edge today. One area that all too often gets overlooked is the power of using foods to improve performance and recovery. And the cool thing about nutritional approaches?  Beyond the performance & recovery benefits, they can also offer other health benefits ranging from disease prevention to brain function and balancing mood.  The first step is simple –

Just get the junk out!

Realize that the majority of people (yes, even athletes too) are eating way too many processed foods and getting too much sugar (read about what happened to a man who ate 40 teaspoons of sugar a day in just 60 days – which is a little more than the average teenage boy gets).  The more processed foods in your diet – the more energy the body has to expend on detoxification, the more bogged down the body will become, and the less energy you will have for your training. Processed diets are nutritionally deficient – and athletes need nutrients to perform and recover. Another thing that happens to the body when the diet has too much sugar or processed ingredients – inflammation.  An athlete’s enemy, inflammation leads to swelling, pain, and can degrade performance, range of motion, flexibility, and recovery. Inflammation raises our risk of overuse injuries, asthma, and almost every major disease.  Simply cleaning up the diet and staying properly hydrated, and getting more plant-based foods, high quality grass fed or organic proteins, and cutting out the junk – will give an athlete an edge over the competition.

Got a clean diet and ready to take it a step further?  Check out these superfoods to see if they can help to take you and your performance to the next level.

5 Performance-Enhancing Superfoods:

1. Mushrooms

Although not typically the first thing that comes to mind when talking about athletic performance, mushroom’s are one of nature’s most powerful superfoods – and could be an athlete’s secret weapon.  Mushrooms are a type of fungi, or bacteria that can offer a wide range of health benefits ranging from immune-boosting to performance-enhancing effects. They have been used medicinally in Asia for thousands of years.  Although you will get health benefits from adding a few button mushrooms into your omelette, for performance enhancement, athletes will want to look to medicinal-grade mushrooms like cordyceps, reishi, turkey tail, and lion’s mane. An ideal way to incorporate them into an athlete’s diet is with certified organic mushroom powders, which can be added to things like smoothies, soups and drinks.  Interested in seeing how mushrooms can boost your performance?

A local company called Mushroom Matrix, offers organic mushroom powders, and have extended a 10% off coupon for me to share with you, enter: rebalancelife at checkout to get your 10% discount. Some Mushroom Matrix organic powders to try:

  • Cordyceps, is one of the best mushrooms for athletes, because it boosts oxygen delivery and ATP synthesis – which is critical for energy production. Cordyceps support energy, stamina, recovery, and endurance. Discovered by Tibetian herdsman, cordyceps mushrooms are unique in that they grow on insects.  Other potential benefits of cordyceps include: reducing inflammation, supporting a healthy mood, a healthy weight, healthy cholesterol levels, as well as anti-tumor effects, and blood sugar management.
  • Reishi mushrooms are adaptogenic, which means they adapt to help support the body recover from physical and mental stress.  Often called “the mushroom of immortality,” reishi mushrooms support the immune system and the cardiovascular system.  They support aerobic capacity and recovery.
  • “Fit” formula, which combines both Reishi and Cordyceps powders into one to create a powerful formula to support respiration, endurance, and recovery.

Make sure to choose organic when purchasing mushrooms or mushroom powders/supplements.

2. Beetroot juice or powders 

Google beetjuice and performance, and you will find a plethora of articles touting the benefits – “beets are like legal blood-doping” and “like taking performance enhancing drugs.”  At the Olympic training center in London – athletes were eschewing the brightly colored sports drinks and downing bright pink cocktails of beet juice, pineapple, ginger and orange juice instead. The benefits of beet juice come from their high content of nitrates, which are converted in the body into nitric oxide – which causes blood vessel dilation, and improves energy production and usage – which makes the body more efficient, and supports the heart to do it’s work.  You can juice whole organic beets, or buy a beetroot powder. I recommend if you do incorporate beets/use a powder, to make sure it is non-GMO or organic. Add some spinach, chard and celery to your drink too – as they also are high in nitrates.  One example of a organic beet powder to try is Superbeets organic beet powder, just 1 teaspoon is equivalent to eating 3 organic beets.

One thing to point out with beetjuice – it can change the color of your stool and urine.  So don’t freak out the day after trying beet juice when your toilet water looks pink.

3. Chia seeds

From the book Born to Run: “In terms of nutritional content, a tablespoon of chia is like a smoothie made from salmon, spinach, and human growth hormone.” An ancient Aztec superfood, chia seeds may rival mushrooms as one of the oldest performance-enhancing foods. Chia seeds gave the ancient Aztec warriors the long-lasting energy and endurance they needed to go into battle.  Chia seeds boost endurance, energy, hydration, focus/attention, and reduce inflammation.  Chia seeds are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids, and are also high in fiber, protein, and have a number of minerals including calcium, magnesium, and potassium – all important for athletes.  Omega 3s are shown to lower inflammation – critical for recovery and injury prevention.  Unlike flax, chia is rich in antioxidants, which means it will not go rancid after grinding, and helps to prevent free radical damage.  Chia seed are uniquely hydrophillic, so when they come in contact with water, they form a gel-like substance.  This chia gel slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, helping to level out bloodsugar and maintain energy/endurance.  Chia gel also holds on to water, which helps to maintain hydration – very important for an athlete.  Always make sure to consume chia seeds with plenty of water or liquids to prevent dehydration, I like to soak the chia seeds for about 5 minutes before consuming to ensure they are hydrated.  Add chia seeds to your smoothie, or make chia pudding.

4. Virgin Coconut Oil

Medium chain fatty acids (MCTs) which are found in coconut oil have been known in the body building industry for a few decades as a superior form of fat.  Medium chain fatty acids are more readily converted to energy by the body, so it is also less likely to be stored as fat. Coconut oil is more easily digested, so it is less likely to cause stomach upset than other fats. Taking coconut oil in the morning helps to train the body to use fat as fuel, instead of glucose.  If an athlete can get their body out of sugar-burning mode – that can be a key advantage over the competition.   I recommend adding a teaspoon or two of coconut oil to your morning smoothie, chia pudding, or oatmeal.  A 1978 study also found that coconut oil increases the body’s production of hGH within 30-90 minutes of ingesting it.  Coconut oil has some other key advantages – first, it is a m

5. Goji berries

Another ancient superfood with a rich history, the goji berry is a small red berry that has a slightly tart flavor.  Also known as wolfberries, they can be eaten raw or made into a tea. Goji berries are known to naturally increase the body’s production of human growth hormone – which is known to improve performance and also has anti-aging effects.

Using nutrition is a healthy and ethical way for athletes to improve their performance, endurance, and recovery.

Note: although some foods can impact performance immediately, others will take longer to build up into the system – so allow up to 4 weeks of consistently taking them to reach the full benefit. Also, some people might notice a difference/benefit from adding superfoods, while others may not.

The other benefit of adding superfoods to your diet – is that they can offer many benefits beyond just performance and recovery enhancement – ranging from immune-boosting to disease-prevention.

A final word of advice to gain an edge? Don’t undervalue recovery.  Like all things in nature, the body has a yin and yang, and in order to perform at your best – you need to be allowing your body the time to recover in order to perform at your best (read: The Yin and Yang of Sports Recovery and  Are you Headed for Performance Burnout?).

Some links to studies/articles:

Sara Vance 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.

*This article is for educational purposes only. The content contained in this article is not to be construed as providing medical advice. All information provided is general and not specific to individuals. Persons with questions about the above content as how it relates to them, should contact their medical professional. Persons already taking prescription medications should consult a doctor before making any changes to their supplements or medications.

©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.

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