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). 
  • 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. Roughly chop.
  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 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 and put on high for 30 mins, and then reduce to low for up to 4 hours. 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 frother – like this one – put some extra 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).

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 from Sara’s Perfect Metabolism book, which is coming out in 2015.  She also offers 2 Perfect Metabolism eCourses, which are self-paced online classes.

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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Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes (Gluten Free & Vegan)

February 10, 2013
Screen-Shot-2013-02-08-at-9.47.48-AM-300x265

Serve these delicious Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes for Valentines Day!

  • They are gluten free – so your gluten free loved ones can enjoy a special treat this Valentines Day.
  • These cupcakes contain a healthy dose of cacao, which is high in magnesium and polyphenols – important for heart health.  Dark chocolate has been shown to lower heart attack and stroke risk by 30%.
  • Made with coconut oil which is high in lauric acid, which is useful for lowering cholesterol and protecting the heart.  High in medium chain fatty acids, coconut oil is more easily converted into energy than other oils, so it is less likely to get stored as fat.  Coconut oil also in a natural antibacterial, antiviral, and so it is a powerful tool for our immune system.  Coconut oil is also good for the thyroid too.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 1 & 1/2 cup gluten free flour blend
  • 3/4 cup cacao powder (such as Sunfood), if you can’t find cacao powder – you can use cocoa powder.
  • 1 teaspooon gluten free baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon aluminum free baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (such as Real Salt)
  • 1 large avocado
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup agave (such as Nature’s Agave)
  • 30 drops of Stevia liquid
  • 3/4 cup flaxmilk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 15 drops of Stevia
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 Tablespoon of flax milk (or another alternative milk)
  • 1/4 cup of fresh or frozen raspberries (optional)
  • Fresh raspberries to top each cupcake (optional).

Frosting Directions:

Melt the coconut oil gently over low heat on the stovetop, or in a Pyrex dish in a hot water bath. Then mix together all the ingredients in a blender or food processor (except the raspberries).  Add the 1/4 cup raspberries and process until combined*. If using frozen, it will instantly thicken the frosting.  Spoon out into a bowl and place in refrigerator to chill.  Rinse and set aside the fresh raspberries for topping the cupcakes.

*Note: If you do not want the frosting to be raspberry flavored, just omit the raspberries.  It will have a slight coconut taste – if you do not like that – replace the coconut oil with organic butter (this is a non-vegan option).

Cupcake Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line the mini muffin tins with paper lines, or grease with coconut oil.
  3. If you did not line them, mix together 3 Tablespoons of cacao powder and 3 Tablespoons gluten free flour, and use it to dust the muffin tin, pour out excess. This is not essential, but will help the cupcakes to release from the pan.
  4. Whisk together the dry ingredients and set them aside.
  5. Slice the avocado open, remove the pit, and spoon the flesh into a food processor, puree it until it is smooth.
  6. Then add in the sweeteners, flaxmilk, vanilla, and pulse to combine.
  7. Add the dry ingredients, and mix until combined.
  8. Finally, add the melted coconut oil, and mix until combined.
  9. Spoon batter into mini muffin tins.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 17 minutes – test with a toothpick to see if the cupcakes are done, it should come out clean when poked.

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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CocoNuttZo Dark Chocolates!

February 2, 2013
Screen-Shot-2013-02-01-at-5.55.26-PM-240x300

It is no wonder we celebrate Valentines Day with chocolate – cacao, one of chocolate’s key ingredients, contains high levels of Phenylethylamine, referred to as the love chemical, because our bodies produce it when we fall in love!

A heart healthy food, dark chocolate is perfect for February, because it is National Heart Health month.  Studies have shown that eating dark chocolate lowers the risk of heart disease, stroke, and even Alzheimers disease.

This recipe for CocoNuttZo Dark Chocolates takes chocolate to a whole other level, combining some of my favorite superfoods to make a super healthy chocolate!

Scroll down below the recipe for more information about the superfoods in this recipe.

 

 

CocoNuttZo Dark Chocolate

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup virgin fresh pressed coconut oil (I use Barleans)
  • 1/3 cup of NuttZo nut butterred-jar
  • 1/4 cup of raw cacao powder (I use Sunfood)
  • 2 teaspoons of organic agave nectar (I use Nature’s Agave)
  • 12 drops of Stevia liquid
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • small pinch of high quality salt, such as Real Salt.

Directions:

  1. Gently warm the coconut oil over low heat on the stovetop, until it is melted.
  2. Take off the heat and allow to cool for a minute or two.
  3. Put the melted coconut oil, NuttZo, raw cacao powder into blender and blend on low speed to combine.
  4. Taste and adjust for sweetness (some might like these a little sweeter, just add a little more agave or Stevia).
  5. Pour into silicon ice cube trays, or candy mold trays.
  6. Pop into freezer for ten mins – and they are ready to eat!
  7. These are best kept stored in the freezer.

More about the Superfood ingredients in this recipe:

CACAO:  Historically, cacao has been used both as medicine and as currency.  Cacao is the #1 food source of magnesium, which is probably one of the big reasons it is so good for our heart – magnesium has been shown in studies to lower the risk of heart disease mortality by 50%!  Cacao also contains potassium, iron, polyphenols, flavanols, theobromine, and proanthocyanidins.  Cacao’s long list of health benefits include reducing heart attack and stroke, lowering blood pressure, boosting mood and brain function, protection against Alzheimers disease, lowering stress, relaxing muscles, boosting our skin’s internal SPF, and much more.  I choose Sunfood raw cacao, because raw cacao has a higher antioxidant content than cocoa, and it even has a higher antioxidant rating than blueberries, acai, and even goji berries.

COCONUT OIL:  In Sanskrit, coconuts are called “Kalpa Vriksha” which means: “The tree that gives all that is necessary for life.”  Coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid, which gets burned as fuel faster (so less likely to be converted to fat). It is also one of the most beneficial oils for our heart heath. Coconut oil is comprised of about 50% lauric acid, which is immune boosting, anti viral, anti bacterial, and helpful in lowering high cholesterol & high blood pressure. Coconut oil boosts HDL cholesterol, which helps to usher out the bad cholesterol. It also helps to regulate our hunger hormones and insulin levels. Coconut oil helps the body to absorb vitamins and minerals, and it also is more stable – meaning it will not oxidize – oxidized fats promote heart disease, certain cancers, and other diseases.  Coconut oil has also been touted for prevention/treatment for Alzheimers disease. When choosing a coconut oil, I like to look for quality unrefined, organic cold pressed oils – such as Barleans.  Because of all the benefits, I recommend to all my cleanse participants to take coconut oil every day. But not everyone is a big fan of eating straight coconut oil – so that is why I came up with this recipe for dark chocolates made with Nuttzo nut butter.

NuttZo:  The best nut butter on the planet, NuttZo is a wonderful blend of 7 different organic nuts and seeds. NuttZo contains chia and flax seeds, which provide a healthy dose of omega 3 fatty acids, which are critical for prevention of heart disease and many other diseases.  It also contains Brazil nuts, which are one of the best food sources of selenium, a powerful antioxidant which has been proven to protect the body against infection, and certain types of cancer.  And it has pumpkin seeds which are naturally anti-bacterial and anti-parasitic.

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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Chia Seed Pudding

November 19, 2012
Screen-Shot-2012-11-18-at-7.44.51-PM

Chia seeds are a superfood – they are high in omega 3 fatty acids, protein, calcium, and many other nutrients.  They are also high in a very unique fiber – that is hydrophillic – meaning it soaks up a lot of liquid, creating a gel.  This gel helps to keep us hydrated, give us energy, and slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.  Great for athletes, and anyone looking to boost their energy, endurance, and overall health. Chia seeds make a delicious, nutritious and easy to make – pudding!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut or almond milk
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup fresh or frozen organic blueberries, or pomegranate seeds or other berry
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped walnuts or hemp seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder or extract (and/or cinnamon)
  • optional – a few drops of stevia or a drizzle of agave

Directions:

  1. Stir chia seeds and vanilla into milk, put in refrigerator for 10 mins*.
  2. Top with blueberries, nuts, and a few drops of stevia or a light drizzle of agave (if using), serve.

*If you would like to serve it warm, warm up milk in a saucepan, stir in chia seeds, take off heat and and allow to sit and soak up milk for 3-5 mins.  Top with cinnamon and nuts or hemp seeds – serve.
Great for breakfast, a snack or dessert!

Make ahead idea:
Put all the ingredients in a glass container before bed, give it a stir, cover and put into refrigerator.  Ready in the morning for breakfast or to take to work for a snack.

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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Golden Milk Tea

May 5, 2012
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A rich history in Ayurvedic medicine, tumeric it is one of the most revered roots.

Tumeric is an incredibly powerful anti-inflammatory & anti-oxidant herb.  Tumeric has been shown to detoxify the liver, assist in the removal of mucus, lower cholesterol, help to manage weight, treat IBS, provide iron, and and is a wonderful herbal remedy for the treatment of stiff, sore, arthritic, or inflamed joints. Studies suggest it could be useful in preventing cancers, heart disease, type 2 diabetes. It is also a digestive tonic, antiseptic, antiparasitic, astringent, pain reliever, blood purifier, wound healer, kidney-stone dissolver, eczema treatment, and more.

Golden Milk Tea is made from tumeric, and is a nice sweet treat in the evening, or some may find this a preferred coffee substitute.  Putting oil in tea may seem strange at first, but the result is delicious, and please remember – fats do not make you fat (unless you are still eating lots of wheat and simple carbs).  Read this article to learn more about the importance of healthy fats.  Substitute water  for milk if you prefer a lighter variation, or add a little water at the end.

If you know anyone suffering from Alzheimers – the coconut oil version is a MUST, as research shows that coconut oil can have preventative effects for Alzheimers symptoms (and can even reverse some). Read article from Natural News.  Coconut oil is also a natural antiviral and antibacterial, so it is helpful in detoxing and cleansing.

Note:  Start with 1 teaspoon of the oil, and gradually work your way up to 1 Tbsp.

Golden Milk Tea

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 c. Your choice of milk alternative: Almond, Hemp, or Coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. (up to 1 Tbsp) coconut oil  (start with less oil, and gradually work your way up).
  • Optional spices – cinnamon, cardamom, ginger (to taste)
  • Agave Nectar, honey, or stevia to taste (does not need much!)

Directions

  • Place 1/4 cup water and turmeric in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer, stirring for about 5-8 minutes until it is like a paste.
  • Add the milk (and other spices) to the saucepan and heat until the milk just starts to comes to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes.  Take off the heat.
  • Stir in coconut (or you could use almond oil if you do not like coconut) – stir it in just after taking it off the heat.
  • Add agave or stevia to taste.  Allow to cool just a bit and serve.

You may double or triple this recipe and store extra in the refrigerator.  You may also make a bigger batch of tumeric paste and store in refrigerator for later use.

As with all herbs and supplements, please consult your doctor if you are on medication before taking this tea.  Herbs can very powerful and may interfere with and interact with medications! 

Contraindications: Turmeric should not be used by people with gallstones or bile obstruction. Though turmeric is often used by pregnant women, it is important to consult with a doctor before doing so as turmeric can be a uterine stimulant.

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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Dark Chocolate Made with Coconut Oil

February 24, 2012
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Homemade dark chocolate is one of the easiest things to make, this recipe has only 5 ingredients and is ready in no time.

Dark chocolate is shown to lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and even Alzheimers.  Cacao gives dark chocolate it’s flavor and also is high in minerals and antioxidants, read I Heart Dark Chocolate to learn more about the many health benefits of cacao.  In this recipe, I also use coconut oil, which offers many health benefits – including Alzheimer’s disease prevention, and potentially even reversal, according to this article.   It is estimated that as many as 80% of Americans are deficient in magnesium, which is also linked to Alzheimers and other disorders like ADD, muscle aches and osteoporosis, read article from Natural News.  This homemade dark chocolate is a delicious and healthy way to get a daily dose of heart health benefits and Alzheimers protection – so enjoy a square of this dark chocolate without any guilt!

Homemade Dark Chocolate

Ingredients:

Melt the coconut oil (I like to use a double boiler on simmer), allow to cool just slightly, then put all ingredients into a bowl – whisk together to combine well.  Pour into a mold (I like the Tovolo ice cube molds), and put in freezer.  They should be ready in 15 mins!!

They taste a little like a Mounds candy bar. This recipe has to come with a warning – you will find it hard to buy dark chocolate at the store ever again after trying this!   Best kept stored in freezer.

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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