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.
*A powerful blender like a Vitamix is best for this recipe.
Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, author of the book The Perfect Metabolism Plan A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, you can see many of Sara’s segments on her media page. She also offers corporate nutrition, school programs, consultations, and affordable online eCourses. Download her free 40+ page Metabolism Jumpstart eBook here.
©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As someone gets older, they might fall more often, need a cane to walk, or get a little more forgetful. But what if in some cases – those things weren’t actually due to ‘old age’ – but a vitamin deficiency, that was treatable!
Vitamin B12 is important for energy, mood, memory, focus and metabolism of fats and amino acids. A deficiency can cause anemia, memory and focus issues, a sluggish metabolism, and nerve damage. But in severe cases that are left to progress, vitamin B12 deficiency can even lead to death.
The thing about B12 deficiency – is it is often missed or misdiagnosed as other conditions like Parkinson’s, MS, or dementia. Because it often happens to the elderly, the symptoms can simply be attributed to ‘old age’. But B12 deficiency does not just affect the elderly population, it can even affect babies and young children, and it can mimic the symptoms of autism and ADHD.
Let me share a story – a couple years ago, a young girl mentioned to me that she was getting tingling and numbness in her arm. I asked her if she had seen a doctor about it. She told me yes, but that the doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her. She said they eventually pulled her parents aside and told them that she was “making it up, or just saying it to get attention.”
That is not something a child would make up! Neurological symptoms should never be ignored or dismissed. I mentioned B12 deficiency to her mom, and guess what? They tested her and she was deficient. She is doing well now on B12 supplements. In fact, if she stops the supplements, the tingling and numbness comes back.
But what if she hadn’t gotten tested or supplements? The sad thing is, there are many people in a similar situation – who are being misdiagnosed or told it is “in their heads” every day.
A deficiency in B12 can cause neurological issues, fatigue, dementia, depression and other mental illnesses – even psychosis. It is linked to anemia, infertility, autistic symptoms, learning and motor delays, elevated homocysteine, clumsiness, frequent falls, and so much more. B12 deficiency is often misdiagnosed as MS, Parkinsons, dementia, and more. If left untreated, severe B12 deficiencies can even lead to death. It can take years before symptoms of a B12 deficiency show up.
Because B12 is only available in animal products, vegans and people who eat very little animal proteins are one of the higher risk populations for deficiency. People with inadequate levels of stomach acid, digestive issues, or who have had gastric or intestinal surgery are also higher risk for deficiencies. People who have genetic mutations which limit their bodies ability to convert B12 to the active form can be deficient, as well as those with autoimmune conditions like pernicious anemia.
If you are currently taking a B12 supplement in your multivitamin – go take a look and see what form it is. Is it cyanocobalamin? That is one of the most common and cheapest forms – so that is why many multivitamin companies use it. But conversion of B12 in the body is not a simple mechanism, and some people are not able to convert cyanocobalamin into the useable form (such as anyone with a genetic MTHFR mutation). So the optimal forms of B12 for absorption and bioavailability are methylcobalamin, adenosylcobalamin, or hydroxycobalamin.
Curious if B12 deficiency could be affecting you or a loved one? Get tested*! You want to ask for a Serum B12 and a urinary MMA. Other tests to consider are homocysteine, serum iron, and ferritin. Find the complete list of tests to consider in the book Could it Be B12? Also, find more information and a complete list of symptoms on this site: B12Awareness.org.
Some people with digestion/ absorption problems, low stomach acid, or very low B12 levels – will benefit from B12 injections, a sublingual, or a liquid form of B12.
The B vitamins work together synergistically, so it is a good idea when supplementing to take a high quality multivitamin with the full B complex, or taking a B complex vitamin along with your multivitamin.
*Note: if you are already supplementing with B12, realize that your test results may not accurately reflect a deficiency. So if you are not supplementing and suspect a deficiency – try to get tested right away, before beginning to supplement.
Read more: Inexpensive Vitamin Treats ‘So Many Diseases’ It Threatens Big Pharma
Note: Tingling and numbness in extremities can also be a sign of diabetes, but it is important to rule out a B12 deficiency as well.
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.
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.
It’s official. I’m obsessed with this recipe. I seriously daydream about it.
Now, if we are being honest here, there are no actual “noodles” in this recipe…but when you taste it, you won’t care.
I almost called this recipe Spaghetti Squash Garlic “Bread“, because this recipe tastes just like garlic bread – well, without the actual bread part. But since spaghetti squash is kind of like spaghetti, I thought calling it garlic ‘noodles‘ was less of a stretch than garlic bread in this case.
Bonus – this recipe is super simple, it is great as a side or a main course, and it is also good leftover!
And did I mention…? It tastes like garlic bread!! Yeah, I think I probably already did mention that…
For someone who has been gluten free for a long time, getting to have garlic bread without the bread is the bomb.com!!
Two other great ways to top spaghetti squash are marinara sauce and pesto.
If you are growing tomatoes in the garden this summer – you might be looking for delicious recipes…
This cream of tomato soup is super simple – containing essentially just 4 ingredients. It is easy to make and the flavor does not disappoint. And with the beautiful swirl of cashew cream – you would never guess that it is dairy free!!
Makes 2 main dish portions, or 4 side dish/appetizer portions.
Optionally – serve with sourdough or gluten free croutons.
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:
You could add any other fruit you like to this – grapes, pineapple, etc.
Or if you want to make this into a beautiful fruit skewer centerpiece – watch this video (you don’t need the lime and mint syrup for this)
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).
Do you like ginger? Ginger root is warming and calming to the digestive tract. It can help to reduce gas and indigestion, and can even help to relieve nausea and motion sickness. It has potent anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties, potentially even offering relief to arthritis and asthma sufferers.
Research published on September, 2015 found a compound in ginger to be 10,000x more potent than chemo against cancer cells, read more here.
I have been literally obsessed with ginger lately – it is featured in my Green Lemonade recipe, and it is the star of this fresh Ginger Lemonade – a wonderful way to include ginger in your life!
Ginger Lemonade Ingredients:
*avoid sugar made with sugar beets – as that is typically GMO.
Ginger Cucumber ‘Spa’ Water:
This water supports hydration, digestion and is anti-flammatory.
Put all of the ingredients into a large jar – allow the flavors to come together for a couple hours. Strain as you pour into a glass. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Learn more about Ginger:
A few years ago, I used to be a wheat-loving gal. I pretty much sustained myself on it – most mornings I would have a high fiber cereal for breakfast, a sandwich on whole wheat for lunch, pretzels for a snack, and quite often pasta for dinner.
After years of trying to figure out what was causing my laundry list of health complaints (joint & muscle aches, foggy brain, thyroid issues, fatigue, general puffiness, etc), I finally found significant relief by giving up gluten and wheat, and increasing my intake of inflammation-lowering omega 3s. Although the transition was not easy initially (what change is easy??)…now, I can’t imagine eating that way anymore! Instead of cereal I usually start my day with a superfood smoothie with energy and mood-boosting chia seeds, I have salads or soups instead of sandwiches, and zucchini pasta in place of regular pasta.
But I will admit, there are a few things that I do miss…and I know this might sound like a weird thing to be longing for, but I used to love me a good raisin bran muffin! And for some odd reason, this morning, I had a hankering for one!
When I realized that I had a bag of ground flax in the fridge, some organic eggs, virgin coconut oil and coconut palm sugar – I decided to see if I could whip something up that resembled my beloved bran muffin. And guess what? They turned out great*, I’d say better than regular bran muffins!! And best of all – because these are made with flax – they are inflammation-lowering and high in brain and mood boosting omega 3s!
Raisin “Bran” Muffins – made with flax (free of wheat, gluten & grains)
*Boy, do I love it when my kitchen experiments come out great the first time (because let me tell you – I have had more than my share of missteps – especially when it comes to baked goods)!!
© copyright 2017 Sara Vance