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Monday, August 5, 2013

Raw "Oatmeal"

I'm a big fan of eating in season. Living in Southern California the summers are so warm that my body is always craving raw foods.

You all know I'm a huge fan of raw foods like juice, smoothies, cheesecake and pasta for their living, nutrient dense properties; lately i've been wanting to expand. I used to have oatmeal almost everyday but in the warm weather my body just didn't want it - and sometimes I was being left very tired and over full. Then I discovered raw and grain free oatmeal from one of my favorite nutritionists.

Hopefully you have seen my cinnamon buckwheat pancake blog (because you are really missing out if not) to learn the incredible benefits of raw groats. So here is a raw way to incorporate groats in your diet. 

Fast, easy, delicious, and nutrient dense - the perfect breakfast! I felt full and energetic for hours after this. 

What you need
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 cup soaked oat groats or buckwheat groats
  • 1/4 tsp pink himalayan salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Water as needed
Possible supper food additions
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • Vanilla
  • Clove
  • Nutmeg
  • Chia Seeds
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Cacao Nibs
  • Cacao Powder 
  • Soak groats overnight then rinse well. 
  • Place groats and avocado in a food processor. and processes well.
  • Add salt and maple syrup pulse until well mixed.
  • If you want a smoother consistency add water and mix. 
  • Top with super food additions and enjoy! 
To really make yourself a priority have some celery, carrot sticks or a handful of greens before hand to alkaline your body and prepare your GI tract. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Cinnamon Buckwheat Pancakes

When I first went gluten free I never thought I would never have good pancakes again! I tried all of the mixes and a few rounds of making my own batter but was never satisfied.

After many trial and error recipes I finally nailed it using buckwheat (or oat groats)! I have been doing pancakes on Saturdays as a special treat and then I realized I was feeling really great after.

So what is buckwheat?

It’s actually derived from the seed of a flowering plant. Not a grain or cereal and it is in fact gluten free! Just disregard the very confusing name. 

Health Benefits:
  • Fiber, Magnesium, copper, calcium, potassium, and small amounts of B vitamins.
  • Diets that contain buckwheat have been linked to lowered risk of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
  • Buckwheat's beneficial effects are due in part to its rich supply of flavonoids, particularly rutin. Flavonoids are phytonutrients that protect against disease by extending the action of vitamin C and acting as antioxidants.
  • Helps maintain blood flow, keeps platelets from clotting excessively which helps to protect against heart disease.
  • The nutrients in buckwheat may contribute to blood sugar control.
  • Canadian researchers, publishing their findings in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry have found new evidence that buckwheat may be helpful in the management of diabetes.
  • May prevent inflammation in the body.
So how do we consume these health boosting granules of delicious? PANCAKES!

  • 2 cups of buckwheat flour - I made my own buckwheat flour (blog coming) but you can get it in the store as well.
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2- 2 ½ cups water

  • Sift all dry ingredients together. (If you don’t have a sifter just mix well)
  • Slowly add water and slowly mix well. You don’t want it to be too watery or too thick.
  • On low to medium heat warm up coconut oil and pour batter into the pan. Drop in chocolate chips or any other additions you might want. Wait for it to brown on one side and slightly bubble on top.
  • Flip over until golden brown.

Drizzle with maple syrup and enjoy!

Now your favorite guilty pleasure breakfast can be your favorite Make Yourself a Priority breakfast.

** I recommend eating these with raw sauerkraut (trust me the sweet and sour thing totally works) or a handful of greens to help with digestion. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Home Made Nut Butter

One of my favorite snacks is nut butter of just about any kind. Nuts have a variety benefits including protein,  antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids. It can also aid in stress reduction: the nutrients in several types of nuts can help protect your body against the damaging physical effects of being stressed out. Boosts the immune system with vitamin E, vitamin B and magnesium. Improving heart health: may help reduce LDL cholesterol - According to a Harvard review. And so much more!

I really love nut butters but like most products, the store bought brands aren't up to standard! They often contain harmful oils, sugar, preservatives, aren't raw, are loaded with sodium, or are just over priced. Once I realized how unbelievably easy it was to make them I'll never go back!

Hopefully you caught my blog the other day about juicing -  one wonderful perk to the kind of juicer I have is that it can also make nut butters (and pasta). I've had an Omega 8000 series masticating juicer for about 5 years now and it is still going strong. For a solid 2 years I was using it daily and I've seen this model take a beating! If you do the math on this:  juice can be anywhere from $7-$14 in LA and I got the juicer for about $250, if you juice daily it will pay for itself in a few weeks! And thats not including the yummy, healthy, raw, nut butters you can make.

Lets get down to business. For this I used hazelnuts so that I could make a raw chocolate hazelnut cheesecake. 

Step one. Decide on your nut butter - literally the hardest part.
Step two. Assemble your juicer with the proper parts. Follow instructions that came with your particular juicer.
Step three. Turn on the machine and slowly start to feed the nuts through. You will get a nut meal/flour type of substance and first, this is totally normal. Go with it!
Step four. Feed the ground up nuts back through 5-6 times. You will eventually get a paste.
Step five. Add your favorite healthy oil - for me it would be cold pressed coconut oil. Just add a little bit at time until you get the consistency you want.

And thats it! I was skeptical at first because it didn't come out all creamy from the get go but trust me this is way worth it. The entire process took less than 10 minutes and I felt so DIY.

Taking control of the ingredients in your nut butters is an easy way to make yourself a priority - and feel like a total bad ass!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Juice Cleansing!

Summer is approaching and for many of us that means being more active, fresh produce, and bathing suit weather!

Doing a juice cleanse is a great way to gain more energy, start eating healthy and drop a few pounds. You may have seen the great film “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” that features a man who used an extended juice cleanse to take himself from obese, ill and medicated to active, healthier, happier and younger looking. By doing a cleanse – even a short one, you can reset your system and develop positive habits for long term health success; making yourself a priority daily!

What is juicing? Squeezing, or shredding and spinning vegetables, fruits, herbs, or roots using a machine to separate the liquid from solids.

Benefits of juicing: enzymes, phytochemicals, vitamins, along with minerals can be trapped in the indigestible fiber and cannot be assimilated by the body. But once liberated from the cellulose in the pulp, nutrients can be taken into the cells of the body. This saves the energy required for digestion and allows the body to rest while detoxifying or cleansing, before or after physical activity or while recovering from an illness.

Juices you see in stores have a few flaws.
  • Usually contain added sugar and preservatives.
  • All juice “dies” (loses its nutrients) with in 15 minutes of being extracted; unless it is stored in an air tight glass container (it will last for up to 3 days).
  • Most companies don’t use fresh produce. More times than not they take the unsellable produce – damaged, moldy, old etc, and turn it into juice. Yuck.
  • They may not use a cold press, meaning the juicer heats up the product and kills your delicious vitamins and minerals.

Tips for cleansing:
  • Buy cold press juices or purchase a masticating juicer and make them at home.
  • Make juice daily instead of doing really large batches.
  • Glass bottle storage.
  • Get a variety of fruits and vegetables – think all the colors of the rainbow!
  • Use detoxifying plants: dandelion, lemon, burdock, cabbage, ginger, green apples etc.
  • Make sure to hydrate! Coconut water, cucumber, and filtered water are great ways to ensure you stay hydrated.
  • If you are planning to juice for an extended period of time consult a professional that is familiar with doing cleanses.
  • If you are purchasing a cleanse from a store or company – ask questions, find out when and where the juices are made.
  • If you have a pretty unhealthy diet, ease your body into it. A week or two before incorporate more juices, smoothies and raw food into your meals each day. Other wise you might have an uncomfortable experience.
  • No caffeine or alcohol! The point is to give your body, especially your gastrointestinal tract, a rest.
  • Be prepared to use the rest room. Since you’ll be taking in a lot of liquid a lot of liquid will be coming out! Also if you have some “build up” you might be – well let’s just say it – pooping a lot the first day. But you will feel so much better releasing the toxins, and clearing yourself out.
  • Start with a three day cleanse. The standard is 6 juices a day with a variety of colors and flavors.
  • Recruit a buddy to join you! It’s always nice to have a pal along for the ride. You can bounce ideas off each other, chat about your experiences and encourage each other.  

I tried to keep this short because there is so much information on juicing! Remember that you don't have to do a cleanse to benefit from all that juicing has to offer. Fit it in a few times a week or even daily if you can. Planning ahead really helps.  If you have specific questions feel free to leave a comment below, hit me up on twitter or Facebook!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Kombucha Mojito

With the long weekend coming up hopefully booked with parties, family, and the outdoors I wanted to leave you with another way to make yourself a priority! 

If you are at a party but don't want to/aren't able to consume alcohol, or even want to try something new a kombucha cocktail will do the trick. 

When you are having a stressful day this is a refreshing little pick me up and a healthy alternative to alcohol. 

Kombucha Mojito

Don't forget all the benefits of kombucha!

-8oz of original flavored kombucha
-1 Handful of fresh mint
-Juice of 4 medium sized oranges
-Juice of 4-6 limes
-Maple syrup or agave to taste 

1. Juice limes and oranges.
2. Blend juice, mint, and sweetener until mint is well incorporated.
3. Combine blended juice and kombucha. Serve over ice.
Serves 2-4

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Black Forrest Smoothie

I was at the farmers market the other day and saw some really beautiful organic black cherries. I made this really simple yet delicious smoothie with just a few ingredients and packed full of nutrients!

You may have seen this one on my twitter or instagram where I post new ideas almost daily! 

Black Forrest Smoothie

For the picture it is in a 5oz glass. The recipe will make 2-3 servings. 

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 8-10 pitted black cherries
  • 1 generous spoonful of raw cacao
  • 1-2 cups of ice
  • 1/8 or more coconut water (filtered water, nut milk, or seed milk will work as well)
Add all of the ingredients into a high powered blender and process until a smooth consistency has been reached. 

Black cherries - may contain 15 or more antioxidants. Relieves inflammation from arthritis. Can reduce muscle damage after exercise. Has helped with insomnia. Has been used to treat colds, digestive problems, and pain. 

Bananas - Contain potassium (great for preventing muscle cramping). Naturally fat and cholesterol free. Vitamins A, C, B-6, E. Manganese for bone health and metabolism. Fiber. And more!

Raw Cacao - Iron. Calcium. Zinc. Potassium. Antioxidants. Promotes the release of neurotransmitters, which promote a positive outlook and bodily rejuvenation, and release feel-good hormones. Raises levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter, and acts as an anti-depressant that can help reduce symptoms of PMS. Can help improve circulation, regular heartbeat and blood pressure.

This smoothie truly feels decadent but is a quick and easy way to make yourself a priority. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I'm on vacation! Healthy travel tips.

Ok. So it has been entirely to long since I've posted anything. There is no good excuse but I'm back!! In our time apart I have been really focusing on my healthy desserts and taking on some personal chef work. Hopefully you have been following me on instagram and checking out what I've been creating.

In my time away I also took a vacation to Mexico and it got me thinking about making yourself a priority even when you don't have all the resources you are used to.
  • Call the resort or hotel ahead of time to ask about options for your meals. I did this for my trip and they made gluten free vegan pizza and pasta among many other great dishes. 
  • Check out the restrictions on airlines then bring your own food and snacks! You know how I love to plan ahead.
  • Try vega one bars. These might be my new favorite thing in the world. On top of being incredibly delicious they are packed with all the vitamins and minerals you need. 
  • Make time to get some exercise in. See if your hotel has a gym, or free classes like yoga or dance. If not look around and see if there is anything close by. Even swimming, hiking, or snorkeling can be great ways to keep yourself moving. 
  • Bring along probiotics that can be stored at room temperature. 
  • Remember to stay hydrated. (I always get really dehydrated on long car trips and planes).
  • Try not to stray too far from your usual healthy routine. I heard the phrase "you're on vacation" often as an excuse to put some not so great foods in your body. Although you should enjoy yourself, you can create some bad habits or fall out of good ones by indulging too much.
I promise I'll be posting regularly again!