Minty Fruit Salad

May 3, 2016
Minty Fruit Salad

Want to make a fruit salad that will stand out from the crowd?  This is it!  

The fresh mint and lime dressing really takes it to a whole other level.  Kind of out of this world.

Great for Mother’s Day Brunch or any other celebration – or maybe “just because!”

Get the kids involved – kids love making and eating this fruit salad too!

If you want to make the melon balls and kiwi shapes – you will need the following equipment:

Ingredients:

  • Minty fruit salad1 mini watermelon
  • 1 honeydew or cantaloupe
  • 1 pint of strawberries
  • 1 pint of raspberries or blueberries
  • 3-4 kiwi fruit
  • 3 limes
  • Mint – finely chopped (about 3 Tablespoons)
  • 2 or 3 teaspoons of raw honey (or your favorite natural alternative sweetener – like stevia or monk fruit)
  • Pinch of salt – to taste

You could add any other fruit you like to this – grapes, pineapple, etc.

Directions:

  1. Rinse the outside of the melons well (this helps to remove any potential bacteria)
  2. Slice the melons in half – and scoop out the flesh using the melon ball tool (or you can cut it into cube shapes if you don’t have a melon ball tool)
  3. Wash & dry all the berries.
  4. Slice the strawberries into bite sized pieces
  5. Cut the kiwi fruit into slices (about 4 centimeters thick).  Press the mini cookie cutter into the center – to create a kiwi shape!
  6. Put all the fruit into a bowl.
  7. Put into a glass measuring cup the juice from 2-3 limes, the honey, mint, and a pinch of salt.  Pour over fruit and stir to combine
  8. Serve & enjoy!

 

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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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Quick Cinnamon Vanilla Cashew Milk

April 12, 2016
Cinnamon Cashew Milk

 

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)

  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 rounded teaspoons of raw cashew butter (available at most health food stores)
  • 1/3 – 1/2 scoop of vanilla protein powder (I like Warrior Blend Vanilla).
  • pinch of Himalayan salt to taste (omit if using salted nut butter)
  • vanilla extract – to taste (I like about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • cinnamon – to taste (I prefer Ceylon cinnamon – and used about 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 2-4 ice cubes (to make milk cold)

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!!

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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Detoxifying Dill Soup

March 31, 2016
Detoxifying Dill Soup

I love using fresh herbs – they really brighten up and transform a salad or soup.  As far as herbs go, dill is right up there with basil and mint at the top of my list!

This dill soup is very refreshing, and easy to make – it literally whips together in about 3 minutes! And besides the broth – this is totally raw!

Dill is a wonderful herb – and can be helpful to relieve headaches, which can occasionally happen when detoxing, it is a natural anti-fungal, and has even been found to have anti-cancer properties (learn more about dill in this article from Dr. Mercola).

Ingredients:

  • 1 big handful (about a cup) of organic baby spinach (could also use chard, kale, etc)
  • 1 cup of organic chicken bone broth (or vegetable broth for vegan) – use homemade or store bought
  • the flesh of 1/2 a ripe avocado
  • juice from 1/2 of a lemon
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 clove of garlic (optional)
  • small handful of fresh dill (or about 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • Himalayan or celtic salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Warm up the broth on the stove for a couple minutes.
  2. Put the broth, garlic & greens, avocado, lemon, dill & celery the Vitamix and blend to combine.
  3. Taste & adjust salt. Add any other seasoning you desire (sometimes I add some Trader Joes 21 Spice blend).
  4. Pour into bowls – sprinkle on some alleppo peppers if you want to give it a little kick!
  5. Serve & enjoy!

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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Zippy & Refreshing Ginger Lemonade

March 9, 2016
Ginger Lemonade

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.

GingerResearch 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:

  • 1 piece of ginger root (about 3 inches long – more if you like more ginger flavor)
  • 3-5 lemons
  • 2.5 cups of filtered or alkaline water
  • a pinch (up to 1/8 tsp) of Himalayan or Celtic salt (brings out the sweetness and flavors, adds minerals and sodium – an important electrolyte).
  • Your choice of natural sweetener

Directions:peeling ginger

  1. Peel the ginger root (I use the end of a spoon to remove the peel), then grate or thinly slice it.
  2. Add the ginger to the water on the stove, bring it to a boil, then turn off the heat and cover it with a lid.
  3. Allow the ginger to steep for about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Strain the liquid through the grated or sliced ginger out (reserve to make ginger and cucumber water – see below).
  5. Squeeze your lemons into the ginger liquid.
  6. Add a pinch (up to 1/8th a teaspoon) of Himalayan salt (Don’t skip this – it brings out the sweetness and flavors, you will need less sweetener if you use the salt!).
  7. Add your favorite natural sweetener to taste – and stir to combine. Suggestions: stevia, monk fruit, raw honey, coconut sugar, organic cane sugar* or rapadura sugar – or a blend of the above).  Try 1/4 teaspoon of stevia, and 1-2 teaspoons of raw honey – taste and adjust. Start with less sweetener – you can always add more as needed (make sure you added the salt – you will need less sweetener).
  8. Pour over ice.  This is fairly concentrated – so feel free to add a little additional water if you like, or you could also add a little sparkling water if you want this to be fizzy!  This also can make a delicious cocktail. 
  9. Enjoy!!

*avoid sugar made with sugar beets – as that is typically GMO.

 

Ginger Cucumber ‘Spa’ Water:

This water supports hydration, digestion and is anti-flammatory.

Ingredients:

  • Ginger cucumber mint water2 quarts of filtered or alkaline water
  • the ginger leftover from the above recipe (thinly sliced ginger is a little prettier and less messy than the grated for the water)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Celtic or pink Himalayan salt
  • 1 small cucumber – sliced
  • optional – a few sprigs of fresh mint – really makes it fragrant and fresh!

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:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=72

 

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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Pineapple Mint & Coconut Smoothie

May 4, 2015
Pineapple Mint Refresher

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. 

Pineapple Mint Coconut Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup of coconut water
  • 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen pineapple* chunks
  • 1/3 cup of fresh or frozen coconut flesh (find inner eco frozen coconut in freezer section – use 1 packet, or you can sub 1/4 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut, or 1 Tablespoon of coconut manna).
  • 1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves (or combination of fresh mint and baby spinach)
  • 1-2 big pinches of high quality salt – like pink Himalayan
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of chia seeds
  • Ice as desired to thicken/chill.

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!

Nutritional Benefits:

  • Pineapple: One of America’s top two favorite tropical fruits – second only to the banana – pineapples are in peak season from March through June. One cup of pineapple also provides a full day’s supply of vitamin C, is an excellent source of manganese, and a good source of fiber and a number of other nutrients including vitamin B6 and copper. Pineapple is also rich in bromelain, which is an enzyme that can be helpful to digestion and provides anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Mint: A wonderful herb for digestion, mint also has antiseptic qualities and can be used as a mouth refreshener. Steep mint leaves to make a tea that is calming to the digestion. Fresh mint is a wonderful addition to iced tea as well. And the oil of the peppermint leaves has a number of uses ranging from digestion to relaxation.
  • Coconut – the flesh of a coconut provides a wide array of nutrients – from vitamins and minerals to healthy fats – which help to stabilize blood sugar, increase satiety, and supports the absorption of fat soluble vitamins. The fat in coconut is high in medium chain fatty acids, which is more easily converted to energy. Coconuts are also naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, which helps to cleanse and detox. Coconuts are rich in electrolytes – which makes them a useful tool for hydration.
  • Chia seeds: One of the reasons I became a Nutritionist – I could not believe how much just adding this one seed to my diet could change my energy, digestion, hydration, and more.  Chia seeds are a great addition to smoothies because they boost the fiber, protein, healthy fat, and omega 3 content of the smoothie.  Chia fiber is unique in that it soaks up about 10 times it’s weight in water, creating a gel.  Chia gel helps the body to hold onto hydration, slows the absorption of sugar into the blood stream, and helps to keep you fuller/satisfied longer. If you have sensitive digestion – start with less chia seeds – and make sure they are well hydrated before eating them. Read Pre-hydrate with Chia to learn more about this amazing seed.

*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!

Sources:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=34

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=102

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-mint.html

 

 

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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Crock Pot Pumpkin Spice Latte (dairy free)

November 18, 2014
latte

I love pumpkin.  In fact, I always say it doesn’t really feel like Fall until I get a taste of pumpkin.  Did I mention that I absolutely LOVE pumpkin?  Pumpkin is part of the winter squash family, which are rich in immune-boosting beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.  And are also an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber – which most of us are not getting nearly enough of. Want to learn more about the myriad of health benefits of winter squash? – visit WH Foods

So considering all that – a pumpkin spice latte should be good for us, right?

Not so fast…since there is usually no actual pumpkin in most pumpkin spice lattes, plus there is also over 50 grams of sugar (that is 12 teaspoons – double what an average woman should get all day long)!  And that is not the whole story – the Food Babe recently revealed in this article – that in addition – the Starbucks version is made with a caramel coloring that could be harmful to our health, uses genetically modified ingredients, artificial flavors, and preservatives and sulfites. Yikes!

Now that we got the bad news out of the way…ready for the good news?  It is pretty easy to make your own pumpkin spice latte at home!  You just need some coffee, pumpkin puree, natural sweetener, and your favorite non-dairy milk!

You can make a small batch of this for yourself, or the full batch to feed a crowd. And to make this even easier?  Make it ahead and put it into a crock pot for a Thanksgiving treat your guests will love – a bonus – your house will smell terrific.

Not a fan of coffee?  Not to worry – this is delicious as a chai tea pumpkin latte too (I love to make decaf chai lattes for dessert in the evening)!  Just brew (decaf or regular) chai tea, and top with the pumpkin creamer (and optionally foamed non-dairy milk and cinnamon).

Ingredients:

Serves 12-14 people

  • 10 Medjol dates, soaked & pitted (or 1/3 cup of maple syrup or another natural sweetener)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • Approx. 1 Tablespoon of the soaking liquid from dates
  • 1/8 tsp of high quality salt (brings out the sweetness and flavors)
  • 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks (plus more for garnish/stirring)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 5-6 cups non-dairy milk of your choice  (I like to use a combination of 1 can of full fat coconut milk, plus 3-4 cups of homemade cashew cream/milk* – but feel free to use boxed almond mix, coconut milk – or another combination, or if you tolerate dairy – you could use cow’s milk). 
  • 8 cups strong-brewed coffee (choose swiss water processed decaf if serving late at night – so your guests aren’t cursing you at 2:00am when they are wide awake).

*To make cashew milk – soak raw cashews for about 1 hour to overnight, drain, and put the cashews into a blender with filtered water. For a richer more cream-like texture – start with a 1:1 ratio and adjust from there. For milk, it usually is a 1:2 ratio cashews to water, add more if you want it thinner. Add a pinch or two of salt, taste  & adjust. Blend on high for a few minutes until very smooth. You can strain through a fine sieve or cheesecloth if desired.

Directions:

  1. Soak the dates for 2 hours to overnight. (Skip this step if just using maple syrup).  Remove them from the water, and remove the pits.
  2. Now make the pumpkin date paste.  Put the soaked pitted dates in food processor or blender with the 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, 1 Tablespoon of the soaking liquid, 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice and 1/8 tsp. salt. Process (drizzle in more of the water the dates soaked in as needed) until it forms a very smooth paste – the processor should run about 4 minutes. (This date paste also can be stored in refrigerator for up to 4 days and added to your non-dairy milk as needed). The date paste should be very smooth (see photo). If you do not want to make the date paste – you could replace the dates /paste with 1/3 of a cup of maple syrup.
  3. Add the non-dairy milk(s) of your choice into the blender with the date paste, blend to combine well.  Store in a glass container in fridge for up to 4 days if not using the crock pot (I recommend making a half recipe if you are not serving a crowd).
  4. For a big group, put the coffee, cinnamon sticks, and pumpkin creamer mixture into a crock pot, stir well and put the temperature on high for 30 mins, and then reduce to low or warm for up to 4 hours. Sir occasionally. Or you can put in a heavy bottom pot on the stove and keep it on a very low simmer.
  5. If you have a milk frother – like this one  – put some extra coconut milk, cashew milk, or non-dairy creamer (like So Delicious coconut or almond creamer) into a glass jar for frothing, and spoon out froth to top each cup.  You can also leave some cinnamon sticks out for decoration/stirring.  And sprinkle a little cinnamon (or cinnamon with a little organic sugar or coconut sugar on top to decorate).

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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Creamy Broccoli Soup (deliciously dairy free)

November 15, 2014
soup

My son loves soup.  You name it, he loves it.  Chicken noodle, clam chowder, beef stew, lobster bisque, miso, lemon artichoke chicken, and even cream of broccoli soup.  Sometimes we stop at Whole Foods for a snack, and more often than not he has – you guessed it – soup!  The other day we were stopping in for a cup of soup when I saw it – broccoli cashew soup!  Wow – what a cool idea, a dairy free cream soup made with cashews. We had a little taster, and both loved it.  The lightbulbs started going off – oh the things I could make with cashew cream – cream of broccoli, clam chowder, alfredo…. I couldn’t wait to put my chef hat on, and give it a go myself. In fact, we had had broccoli with dinner the night before, and as I always do – I made extra, so I had some steamed broccoli already in the fridge.  I grabbed some cashews, chicken stock (I love this new chicken bone broth from Pacific foods), and we were off.  This is the delicious result!

Creamy Broccoli Soup:

  • 1/2 onion – chopped
  • 2 tsp. coconut oil (or you can use ghee or avocado oil)
  • 2/3 cup cashews – soaked, drained
  • 3 cups chicken stock (can use vegetable stock for vegan version)
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 2 cups steamed broccoli
  • 2 tsp. 21 spice blend (Trader Joes)
  • 1 tsp. salt (taste & adjust as needed)
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbs. Nutritional Yeast (optional)
  • Optional – Aleppo peppers or cayenne

Directions:

  1. Soak your cashews in water for 2-6 hours. Drain.
  2. Blend cashews in the vitamix with about 1/2 cup of water (if needed, add more to blend, it should look like cream).
  3. Steam your broccoli, until fork tender, but still bright green
  4. Chop 1/2 an onion
  5. Put your coconut oil into a large saucepan heated over medium.
  6. Add the onion to the pan and saute until translucent.
  7. Add in the chicken stock, spinach, 1 cup of the broccoli, salt, pepper and spices. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 5 mins.
  8. Meanwhile – chop the other cup of broccoli to small pieces (if you do not want your soup chunky, skip this step and put all the broccoli into the pan). Reserve on the side.
  9. Using an immersion blender, puree the broccoli soup. Alternatively, you could put into a blender, or food processor).  Stir in about 1/2 cup of the cashew cream (reserve some for topping the soup).
  10. Add in the chopped broccoli, simmer for about 5 more minutes.
  11. Pour into bowls and top with more cashew cream, and optionally Aleppo peppers or cayenne.
  12. Enjoy!

Store any extra soup in the fridge for up to 3 days.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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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Pitaya Bowl

November 12, 2014
piyata

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):

  • shredded unsweetened coconut
  • gluten free granola
  • sliced banana
  • bee pollen
  • hemp hearts

Directions:

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.

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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Cinnamon Apple Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie

June 10, 2014
smoothie

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:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cooked sweet potato/or yam (I prefer using roasted) – you could also use pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 2 Tablespoons chia seeds
  • 6 raw cashews (ideally soak for 2-6 hours, then drain) – you could use 1-2 Tablespoons hemp hearts, or a scoop of vanilla Warrior Blend protein powder instead – this adds creaminess
  • 2-3 Tablespoons organic applesauce (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Ceylon cinnamon* (or more if you prefer – I do!)
  • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil, or raw coconut meat (supports energy & metabolism)
  • dash of pink Himalayan salt (I add this to all my smoothies – brings out the sweetness, flavors, boosts the trace minerals, supports the adrenals).
  • Splash of pure vanilla extract.
  • Ice as needed to thicken

Directions:

  1. Put the water and coconut water into the blender, add the chia seeds and let them soak for 3-5 mins.
  2. Then add in the rest of the ingredients – blend.
  3. Add ice as desired to thicken.
  4. Taste and adjust.
  5. Serve & enjoy!

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!

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 Amazing Artichoke!

May 6, 2013
bigstock-Artichoke-91296

Artichokes do not get the credit that they deserve as a superfood.  But their antioxidant capacity puts them in the top four vegetables and seventh overall according to a study conducted by the  U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. The Artichoke, also known as cynara, is a member of the thistle family, a group of flowering plants that have sharp leaves (and also Winne the Pooh’s friend Eeyore’s favorite food!). The edible part of the plant is the flower base which if allowed to blossom, can create a beautiful huge purple flower.

A wonderful spring vegetable that are packed with phytonutrients, artichokes were prized in Ancient Roman times as an aphrodisiac. A wonderful natural remedy for elevated cholesterol, the artichoke doesn’t just lower cholesterol, it optimizes it – lowering LDL levels, and raising HDL levels. A double-blind placebo controlled German study found 1,800 mg of artichoke extract to lower LDL by 22.9% in just 6 weeks (compared to 6% in the placebo group), read more!  Artichoke is also supportive of liver detoxification, which is important for healthy cholesterol levels, hormone regulation, and much more.

Although most people’s favorite part of the artichoke is the heart, the leaves contain the vast majority of the cynarin, which offers the powerful health benefits.  You can buy the extract, or artichoke supplements, but one of the best ways to extract the nutrition is to make organic artichoke tea.

Artichoke tea:
The green liquid left in the pot that most people throw away after you cook an artichoke is basically artichoke tea!

  1. I always start with an organic artichoke, because I don’t want to be drinking pesticide tea. Non-organic artichokes are heavily sprayed with pesticides.
  2. Rinse the artichoke off well to get rid of any dirt or critters, and cut off the very bottom of the stem.
  3. Slice it lengthwise down the middle into 2 parts, put them into a large pot of fresh clean filtered water, and bring it to a boil.  Optional – you could add a quarter sized slice of peeled fresh ginger root, and even a peeled turmeric root.
  4. Once it reaches boiling, lower the temperature and cook for about 20 mins on a very low simmer.
  5. Turn off the stove, and remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool for about 20-30 mins. Take out the artichoke – and eat it.  I like to save some of the leaves, see below.  The leftover water is your tea.
  6. Now you have artichoke tea!  It can be consumed warm or cool.  Add a touch of your favorite natural sweetener if you like it sweetened.  I also like to add in fresh squeeezed lemon juice too.
  7. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (before you put it into the refrigerator, make sure it has cooled to room temperature first).

Note: if your tea is a drab brownish green color, you might have overcooked it.  Sometimes, the tea will start out a lightish green and will brighten in the refrigerator over a few hours.
Artichoke tea supports the liver to cleanse by enhancing the excretion of unwanted toxins in bile. When the liver is better supported, it can help to improve hormone regulation, and improve the quality of the skin:

  • Drinking 1-2 cups of artichoke tea daily is a nice remedy to try for the treatment and prevention of acne.
  • After you cook your artichoke, store the leaves in the refrigerator.  You can cut them into little half moon slices, which you can put under the eyes to help to reduce inflammation – similar to how you might use a cucumber.  They will last about 4 days in the refrigerator. Note: You can store them in the freezer to make them last longer – but make sure to completely thaw them out before putting them on the tender skin under the eye first.

The above recipe is one of the over 50 recipes in Sara’s book The Perfect Metabolism Plan.

Note:  Persons taking prescription medications or with an existing health condition should consult a doctor before taking the above foods, herbs, vitamins or supplements to be sure there are no interactions.  Do not stop taking your prescription medications without consulting your doctor.

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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