Kim, our Face of FNLer, is now able to accommodate her family’s different tastes and diets down to a “T”. Kim eats a plant-based diet while her children and husband do not. Kim shares some tips on how she balances making predominantly plant-based meals with the inclusion of a few “meat nights” that everyone enjoys.
At this stage in my life, I consider myself vegan. Do I quiz the waitress about whether or not my salad dressing has honey in it, or if there is egg in that veggie burger? No. So I know I’m not perfect. But for the most part, I avoid animal products in all areas of my life. I was not always this way. For the first 39 years of my life I ate the “standard” diet. But a particularly bad stretch of poor health sent me searching for a change. That is when I decided to give plant based eating a try; a particularly tricky feat considering that my husband, children, family and friends do not share my way of eating. So, what does this mean for making healthy meals for my family?
This is a tricky topic for me. I tend to go back and forth on it. Some days I want to cut all the animal products and processed foods out of our lives completely. And as the Mom, I know that my kids’ nutrition is primarily my responsibility. However, my husband is their parent too, and while supportive of my choices, he has not chosen to take this journey with me. My solution so far is to strive for balance and moderation. So what does that translate to at meal times? Well, I would say about 3 nights a week, we all eat a vegan supper. Veggies stir fried over brown rice, whole grain or rice pastas with Italian or Thai inspired sauces, soups, chili, stews and salads are the most common. And I can honestly say that my husband and daughter really enjoy these meals. My 6-year old fussy son is another story. Other nights, I still make a vegan side (which I eat as my main), and I prepare an animal protein to go with it for the other members of the family. Any baking I do now is vegan, and I have replaced dairy milk with almond in cooking and smoothies for everyone. So, I have not converted them to my way of eating, but I have greatly reduced the animal products they consume.
April being Earth month also has me thinking about the ways in which our eating habits effect the environment. Again, there is room for improvement. But some of the things that we do to reduce our footprint include:
- Eating fewer animal products (veg proteins take far less water to produce and create far less pollution than their animal counterparts)
- Shopping for produce at the local farmer’s market from May to October.
- Baking lunch box snacks (like Marni’s Blueberry Banana Spelt muffins!), thereby purchasing less packaged goods.
- Packing drinks in reusable metal water bottles.
- Using more Tupperware and less plastic wrap.
- Walking to school instead of driving when the weather is nice.
- And most obviously, recycling.
How do you strive to keep yourselves, your family and your planet healthy? We would love to hear your tips and tricks.
I must admit, I do LOVE Vega products – it’s that simple! And when I heard about Vega’s new Vega One Bars I was keen to try their new creation! Of course I am a fan of making my own homemade protein bars or energy whenever I can. As you may or may not know, there are a lot of “really bad bars” out there that have many low quality and filler ingredients. But Vega knows what they are doing, and their products truly reflect that.
If you haven’t yet been acquainted with this delicious, nutrient dense bar, you’ll definitely want to try one (side note: see how you can score a free box of Vega One bars below). These bars are a power packed snack or meal replacement (if necessary) with all of the essential nutrients needed for optimal energy and nourishment and they are delicious too!
Everything I love about the Vega One Nutritional Shake is now conveniently packaged in the first ever, all-in-one nutrition bar. In addition to making a delicious Vega One Smoothie every morning…
…you can also have the convenience of grabbing and enjoying a Vega One Bar! These are perfect to put in your bag on the go or for traveling.
Each bar has a balanced combination of essential vitamins and minerals and antioxidants and contains:
- 15 grams of complete protein
- 6 grams of fiber
- 1.5 grams of Omega-3
- A full serving of greens
- 1 billion dairy-free probiotics per bar.
The Vega One Bar is gluten free and contains no artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners. It comes in three delicious flavours: Chocolate Almond, Chocolate Cherry and Double Chocolate flavors.
And to top it off, this nutritionally complete, plant-based bar is dipped in chocolate. =)
For a chance to win a box of these delicious bars, tell @NourishedFully and @VegaTeam how this bar will benefit you. Make sure to include the hashtag #VegaOneBar or #1ofaKind. The contest ends on April 17th!
And come sample the Vega One Bar at Weekday Meal Planning on April 15th!
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s time to treat your heart with the utmost love and care it deserves. There’s one easy fix to this and it includes incorporating legumes into your diet. Legumes are one of the most heart-healthy plant-based foods and are packed with nutrients that are essential to your heart-health and every day functioning.
Being very high in protein and one of the best sources of soluble fiber, legumes are a staple in cuisines from all over the world. Legumes are a staple source of protein with moderate caloric intake, making them ideal for any diet.
Here are a few key reasons why we love beans and why they are our favourite heart-healthy ingredient especially during the cold winter months:
- Controls your weight: Beans are high in soluble and insoluble fibre, which slows digestion and makes you feel full longer.
- Great source of fibre & protein: Combining iron-rich beans with good sources of vitamin C increases the body’s ability to absorb the iron.
- High in protein: Legumes are one of the best sources of protein. They are low in cholesterol and have almost no fat.
- Incredibly versatile: Beans are easy to cook and can be used in everything from Indian curry, bean dip, salad, veggie burgers, soup, falafel and hummus, chilis, and many varieties of salads and stews. While some legumes benefit from soaking before cooking, this step is not necessary for lentils and dried peas. It is important to prepare dried beans, as opposed to canned beans, as they are sodium-free. You can use a one-inch piece of Kombu to reduce the gas. But if you’re in a pinch, you can opt for canned beans the occasional time. EDEN brand is all organic, natural and BPA-free.
- Colorful and flavourful varieties: You will never get bored of them because there are so many different types of legumes that you can eat including kidney, black, navy, lentil, chickpea (garbanzo), adzuki, and mung. They vary in color and size, which makes for a creative presentation of your meals.
- Great for digestion and elimination of toxins: Eating beans helps move things along in the digestive tract. The fibre in beans passes through the gastrointestinal tract relatively intact, and speeds up the passage of food and waste through your gut.
Join us this month at a legume-focused cooking class and help cupid look out for your heart by incorporating more beans in your diet!
Black Bean Salad with Fresh Mint
What’s in it?
1 cup black beans, soaked* or use Eden canned organic beans
3 cups filtered water (no water needed of canned beans are used)
1 tablespoon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
½-1 teaspoon sea salt
¼ extra virgin olive oil
3 red radishes, small dice
3 scallions, minced
¼ cup parsley, minced
¼ cup fresh mint, minced
How it’s made:
- Drain soaked beans and rinse well with water. Drain again.
- Combine beans and water and bring to a boil over high heat. (Alternatively, you can use canned beans but only by EDEN organics)
- Lower heat and cook for 1-1/2 hours. Drain beans
- Whisk together the next five wet dressing ingredients and pour over warm beans.
- When beans have cooled, toss together with vegetables.
As explained in my previous blog, I tested out the new Vega One protein powder and sports hydrator drink. I also had my team give it a try to see how it affected their lifestyle. The fun part about this is that they all used Vega for different reasons. Read on to see how it turned out!
Stephanie – The Fitness Buff
When it comes to training and nutrition a rule that I live by is to train smart and fuel properly. Many people can get to the gym, follow through with their workout but not have the right combination of nutrients to provide their body with the fuel they need to repair, re-energize, and make gains towards their fitness goal.
The focus of my training is to build lean muscle and increase my strength. I’d mix 1 scoop with 350ml of water or rice milk and consume it within 30 minutes after my session. Not only did I notice a difference in my energy levels but my delayed onset muscle soreness was greatly decreased, I experienced less fatigue throughout the day and my workouts the following day always felt better and stronger.
Most recently I have started using the Electrolyte Hydrator. I mix the Hydrator in some water and drink it during my work out on the days that include more anaerobic work, such as sprints, intervals and plyometric training. I also pack it with me for long days at school or work and when I need a little more energy to keep me feeling refreshed.
I have seen huge gains since starting to supplement with Vega’s Sport Performance line and these three items have become a part of my daily training routine! Keep training and re-fuel the right way!
Sophia – Vegetarian Taking it to the Next Level
My non-vegetarian friends always ask me, “Where do you get your protein from if you don’t eat meat?”, and I’m sure vegetarians (and vegans alike) always sigh when they have to give a listed answer. Protein does not exist only in meat – it’s in many foods like grains, beans, nuts, soy or tofu, and yes, protein supplements like powders. And although this isn’t breaking news, you’d be surprised at how many people ask me this question!
I’m picky about what goes into my food and body – I like knowing that my protein shake (among other foods) is full of natural, plant based ingredients, vitamins, and nutrients. Which is why I was so happy to test out the new Vega One Vanilla protein powder. Because I am a petite girl and I tend to lose weight very easily, I like to incorporate high-protein based foods into every one of my meals in the day. I used Vega One Vanilla protein powder as a nutritious liquid meal rather than after the gym like Stephanie and Jordana. I combined 1 cup of hemp milk, ½ cup of sliced strawberries, and 1 tbsp of goji berries, flax seeds, chai seeds, cacao nibs, and coconut nectar (thanks Marni for this simply divine recipe!). I sipped that down with my glass straw and I was full and chock full of nutrients for the next 2 hours. I didn’t feel bloated, stuffed, or heavy like some other protein drinks with questionable ingredients had made me feel previously. It was a great tasting meal that left me full and satisfied knowing that I got both a healthy and generous serving of protein, all in one cup.
Jordana – Before and during a Workout
Chocolate Protein Powder
For breakfast I made myself a chocolate shake using the protein powder. My smoothie consisted of ½ a banana, blueberries, chia seeds, water, almond milk and protein powder. Not only was it delicious, but I was satisfied for hours and it lowered my cravings throughout the day. I’m very much the type who snacks out of boredom, however; I was so full from the shake that I didn’t have these cravings!
For the first time I did back to back fitness classes (2 hours in total) so I knew I needed something to refuel after the first workout. I’m pretty skeptical adding anything to my water, but I figured I would try for the sake of testing it out. After my first workout, I filled up another bottle of water and added the lemon lime hydrator. I’m surprised to say it tasted delicious and quenched my thirst, although on a daily basis I prefer the pure taste of plain water.
After assessing the day, the combination of a balanced breakfast and the electrolyte hydrator definitely contributed to a successful workout!
So there you have it. All my girls found the Vega drinks to accommodate their days pretty well based on their needs and uses. If this post has inspired you to incorporate more protein or fitness foods in your routine, then my Fit and Fabulous class is something you don’t want to miss out on!
Tell us why you want to use Vega and what you’d use it for and we’ll enter you in the contest for a chance to win free samples! At the end of the week, I’ll choose the best answer to be rewarded with the prize. Good luck Torontonians! Contest closes May 11th, 2012.
Note: (Winner must be in Canada)
You can get more delicious knowledge by checking out Marni’s Purely Fit e-book, available here: http://www.marniwasserman.com/ebooks/
It’s that time of year again when seeing the sun come out from behind the clouds makes me want to be outside. I want to play, and I want to get fit!
The question that’s always asked of me though, especially because I’m active and vegan, is how I have enough energy to get through my days and my workouts? Well, I simply say that I have the perfect solution: plant-based foods. Not only are they filled with the most highly nutritious and bio-available vitamins and minerals, but they taste great too.
Plant based foods provide all of the macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) essential in maintaining optimal energy. Since working out causes physical stress, it creates acidity in the body. In order to regain a state of alkalinity, it’s essential to neutralize the body by consuming a plant-based diet filled with neutralizing plant-based foods.
My top sources of energy foods:
- Hemp Seeds – contains omega 3 fats and provides long sustaining energy. I love to put them on salads, in smoothies and cereal.
- Chia seeds – are loaded with fiber and expand when soaked. Chia makes the most delicious morning porridge. Amazing for before my workouts.
- Kale - is a green leafy powerhouse veggie. It is loaded with magnesium and is alkaline forming. Chopped up in a raw salad or steamed on the side of quinoa, kale completes any plate.
- Sea vegetables – storing a wide range of trace minerals and nutrients, sea vegetables provide natural sodium to the diet. My favourite sea vegetable is arame or nori – they give me mental clarity and focus.
- Tempeh – one of the highest sources of plant protein, is fermented, and is easy to digest. I love marinating tempeh with cider vinegar, lemon juice and coconut oil for a boost to my salads and wraps.
- Coconut water and coconut oil – coconut water replenishes the body with much needed electrolytes. So when I am working out, this is my go to beverage. Coconut oil – is loaded with medium chain fats, so they are a quick source of energy and nourishment before and after activity.
- Quinoa - contains all of the essential amino acids which are crucial building blocks for protein. Protein builds muscle, so it is important to consume protein especially after a workout.
- Goji berries – are a natural source of antioxidants, protein and fiber. They are perfect in a trail mix before a workout or great tossed in a smoothie after a workout.
- Cacao – one of nature’s richest sources of magnesium. Gives me a natural boost of energy. Cacao gives me the perfect excuse to have chocolate for breakfast. Tossed in a smoothie or cereal it adds the perfect crunch and kick!
- Honey – loaded with enzymes, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties honey is soothing and easy to take down. It is a natural source of sugar and calories so it makes a perfect addition to my pre workout snack and it also gives me that extra boost of energy.
These are the foods that I reach to when I want to get moving, and I highly suggest them to anyone who hasn’t tried them yet. I know my body’s going to use them well and efficiently, and give me that boost of energy without causing me to crash and burn out. They are sustaining, nourishing, and versatile enough that I can consume them daily in multiple ways without ever getting bored of them.
To learn more ways to fuel your workouts, join us for our Fit and Fabulous cooking class on May 21st where we will be making homemade energy bars, happy hemp loaves and liquid nutrition smoothies that will help take your body and fitness goals to the next level!
The sweet smell of granola baking in the oven is enough to make anyone feel happy and hot! Even better – knowing the ingredients in your granola are wholesome, rich, and pure. My favourite kind of granola is nothing short of one that is homemade. Of course, being the month of February, love is in the air. That being said, something sweet and chocolaty with a hint of red is definitely in store! With the range of goodness offered by Mum’s Originals Superfoods, there’s more than enough goodies to choose from to make this steamy batch of granola.
With the heart in mind this month (and not only for health) I made sure each ingredient was picked with total love and care!
Oats – Oats are rich in fiber and are excellent for reducing cholesterol and provide long lasting energy (a perfect way to start the day with your Valentine)
Coconut Sugar – Low glycemic, slow burning and just perfectly sweet. You can’t get much better than this!
Goji Berries – Tender, juicy, red and filled with antioxidants, fiber and protein. The perfect boost!
Cacao (aka chocolate) – Need I say more? Magnesium, calcium and the best source of energy, ahem, and a natural aphrodisiac.
Coconut Oil - Rich, creamy, and sweet, it makes everything taste delicious. It can be used anywhere on your body too! (Hint, hint)
Banana Powder – Did you know that bananas are full of B vitamins? It helps keep those sex hormones alive!
Hemp Seeds – Shaped like hearts, these little guys loaded with heart healthy omega 3′s and fiber
Sea Salt – We all need a little salt in our diet. It makes the sweet sweeter!
Cinnamon – Sweet, delectable, and spicy cinnamon is great for balancing blood sugar and just makes everything taste good. And it adds a little kick when you need it.
Sweet Loving Granola!
What’s in it?
1 cup quick oats
2 tbsp oat flour
1 tbsp banana
2 tbsp coconut sugar
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp roasted hemp seeds
1 tbsp coconut cacao clusters
2 tbsp goji berries
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
How it’s made!
1. Preheat oven to 300 F.
2. Combine the oats, oat flour, banana, coconut sugar, coconut oil in a bowl and combine until the coconut oil is melted in.
3. Bake in oven for 15 minutes, stirring once part way through. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.
4. Place baked oats in a large bowl and combine with hemp seeds, cacao clusters, goji berries, cinnamon and sea salt.
This Goji Granola, filled with natural boosters and energy-infused ingredients, is a flawless way to begin your Valentine’s Day to keep you and your sweetie invigorated and juiced up into the evening. Try it as a surprise Breakfast-in-Bed, and hopefully what follows next is as hot as the granola!
You can get more delicious knowledge by checking out Marni’s Weekday Meal Planning e-book, available here: http://www.marniwasserman.com/ebooks/
- Being vegetarian and pregnant is frequently a topic of concern for many people – vegetarians especially!. People often wonder if it is safe for both the mother and her baby. Fortunately, there is good news here. It is perfectly safe and healthy to be a vegetarian during your pregnancy; you just have to plan carefully.
Pregnancy is a time for a woman to take her nutrition and health seriously. Whether you need to give yourself a nutrition makeover or you are already health savvy, your body is now the vessel for another life. This means that you have to ensure that everything you do is working towards making your body and your baby as healthy as possible.
If you are currently a vegetarian, then it is essential to learn what nutrients to incorporate during this crucial transitional stage, and the foods in which you will find them. The bottom line is that your body needs appropriate nutrients: enough calories, protein, iron, and vitamins and minerals, all of which can be derived from a plant-based diet!
Here are some key nutrient and food sources for a healthy vegetarian pregnancy:
Protein: You will need to increase your protein intake during pregnancy. This is crucial for the growth and development of the baby and to keep you satisfied as well. There are a variety of incredible vegetarian protein sources such as beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, sprouted grains, tempeh, dark leafy greens, sea vegetables, organic eggs, and sheep’s milk. These foods are also great sources of Iron.
Caffeine should be completely avoided during pregnancy it interferes with your absorption of iron from vegetables. However, enjoying foods that are rich in vitamin C (fruits and vegetables) with meals has the opposite effect and actually helps your body to absorb iron.
Calcium: This is the most essential mineral for the health of a pregnant woman, as it helps to form the bones, teeth, and muscles of your growing baby. Calcium-rich sources of food include green leafy vegetables, sea vegetables, whole grains such as quinoa and millet, nuts, seeds, and organic dairy.
Folic Acid: This is crucial for forming red blood cells and also aids in the growth and reproduction of other cells, particularly in supporting the development of the baby’s nervous system. Folic acid also stimulates the mother’s appetite, which helps to maintain her overall nutrient intake. Sources include green leafy vegetables, whole grains, and organic dairy.
Ensuring that you include foods that provide these main nutrients in your diet on a daily basis will keep you and your growing baby well-nourished. These are the key components to a complete and balanced diet and you can get them all from a variety of plant-based foods, so there is no need for concern, as you can safely be a vegetarian during your pregnancy!
On a personal note, I have yet to get pregnant myself and experience it as a vegetarian. However I feel with the foundation that I have I should have any problems maintaining and achieving optimal health for myself and my baby. I can’t wait to one day share this experience with you on my blog. I understand it is easier said then done to some, so I would love for those of you are veggie moms to share your experience with us below!
Orange-Avocado Salad with Pomegranate Dressing
½ cup arame, soaked
½ cup fresh orange juice
¼ cup pure pomegranate juice
¼ teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 tbsp raw honey
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 bunches baby arugula or mixed greens
3 oranges, segmented without membranes
1 avocado* cut into small cubes
1 cup chickpeas
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ cup chopped parsley or mint
- Rinse arame and soak in a bowl of water for about 20 minutes. Drain and gently squeeze out any remaining water. Discard soaking water.
- Mix together olive oil, orange juice, pomegranate juice and dijon mustard, honey, and cider vinegar.
- Transfer arame into a bowl with arugula, chickpeas, avocado and orange slices. Add dressing.
- Top with pumpkin seeds.
Avocados are rich in folic acid, an essential nutrient during pregnancy which is vital for the brain and nervous system of your baby. They are also rich in essential fatty acids, b vitamins, vitamin C, potassium. Avocados are high in fat (though the very good kind) and calories, so heap them on your plate only if you’re having trouble gaining weight.
Share you experience with us!
Did you have a vegetarian pregnancy? How was it. What challenges did you face if any!
What can you share or tell readers from your experience so that they are informed!
Most people don’t know what a sprout truly is. In fact I get a lot of people who think that when something is sprouted it has gone bad or gone off. In fact, the opposite is true.
When a grain, legume, nut or seed has been sprouted, the nutritional profile has more than doubled. Meaning protein, enzymes, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and are at their optimum potential. Which means you will not only digest them efficiently, but you are getting so much more bang for your buck so to speak. Just a small amount goes a long way nutritionally speaking.
Sprouts are an alkalizing, living foods which continue to grow and gain vitamins after being harvested, which when compared to food bought at the supermarket that begin to lose their nutrient content as soon as they are picked (and are not then consumed for weeks on end), become very attractive – especially if you are trying to add more raw food to your diet.
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind.
How to Sprout
Get yourself a glass jar + cheesecloth or mesh lining. You can also use a stainless steel colander, sprouting jar or sprout kit. (Get your very own glass sprout kit – order one today at firstname.lastname@example.org)
1. Soak your legume, grain, nut or seed for 8-10 hours.
2. Rinse and drain.
3. Continue to rinse and drain for 1-3 days until what you are sprouting starts to grow a shoot. When the shoot is as long as the item itself, it is ready to be consumed. (Important - be sure to rinse and drain at least 2 times/day or more. You can even add in 1 teaspoon of vitamin C or amla powder to one of your rinses to prevent mold growth)
4. After a sprout has formed be sure to consume right away and store in the fridge.
What to Sprout
Legumes: lentils, adzuki beans, chickpeas, mung beans
Grains: brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, kamut, wild rice or wheat berries
Nuts: almonds, cashews
Seeds: sesame, sunflower, chia, flax
Benefits of Sprouts
All LEGUMES such as those mentioned above are highly concentrated in both protein and starch and are acid-forming unless sprouted. Sprouting helps to reduce the acid-alkaline imbalance which might occur when grains, legumes, and other proteins are used.
- Mung beans in particular, are similar in composition to fruits, are rich in vitamins A, C, and B complex.
GRAINS: Sprouted wheat berries has become a favorite with many who try to follow a natural diet. These sprouts contain vitamins C, E, B complex, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, sodium, potassium, protein, enzymes, chlorophyll, and possibly B-17. In its cooked form, wheat is unacceptable to some individuals, causing mucus congestion, allergic reaction, and constipation. In its sprouted form, a large portion of starch is converted to simple sugars, making it a wholesome food acceptable to many who would otherwise need to eliminate wheat as a food source.
- Another way to use wheat is to grow the whole wheat berries as grass. The chlorophyll of wheat grass is very high. The wheat grass should be chewed to obtain the juice, discarding the pulp. Special juicers for wheat grass are now on the market.
Another grain amazing grain to sprout is buckwheat,which is rich in lecithin and rutin.
Most SEEDS contain a great deal of phosphorous, an important mineral for spiritual aspirants, who want to increase their alertness and mental abilities. Phosphorous is also necessary for healthy bones and teeth, a fact which makes sprouted seeds desirable for babies and children.
- Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamins B and D and all the essential amino acids.
- Sesame seeds are a rich source of calcium, iron, phosphorous, niacin, and protein.
- Alfalfa, probably the most popular sprouted seed, contains much chlorophyll, as well as vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E, G. K, and U. It also has large amounts of iron, calcium, phosphorous, and sulphur.
What if I don’t want to sprout?
Then get yourself equipped with some of these amazing products who have done a fabulous job for you!
Navitas Naturals – Sprouted flax and chia seeds
Sha Sha Bio Buds - (lentils, adzuki beans)
Bio Live – legume, rice and seed mixes, sprouted flax powders
Giddy Yoyo – pea shoots and sunflower sprouts – local to Toronto and will deliver to your door!
Wild Wood Tofu - Sprouted Tofu and Tempeh
See my latest ebook Purely Fit – that has a whole section on sprouts + some delicious recipes!
Or join my Raw Essentials Class this spring and learn how to do this hands on!
Soaking vs. Sprouting
When you soak a nut, grain, seed or legume you are making it easier to digest because you are neutralizing phytic acids (which is the indigestible component of grains and seeds). So when they are soaked, they become easier to digest and absorb.
It is possible to soak without sprouting. You can soak your grains before you cook them, for example soak brown rice or quinoa for 1 hour up to 8 hours before it is being cooked. Or you can soak whole rolled oats overnight and enjoy them the next morning either at room temperature or warmed up.
It’s not hard to tell by now if you have been reading my blog that i am a smoothie fanatic. Coming out with new combinations all the time to get my morning fix for a super powered breakfast.
With the help of my friends at Navitas Naturals – I am able to infuse my smoothie with the best of super foods.
I have been sampling this wonderful new dried berry powder from the Macqui berry.
Here are the specs.
The edible purple berries of the native Chilean evergreen shrub (Aristotelia chilensis).
Maqui berries are native to the pristine Patagonia region of Chile, where they are regularly consumed by the Mapuche Indians – one of the longest-living cultures in the world. Recently, scientific research has confirmed a strong connection between the protective nutrients found in maqui berries and richer, disease-free mode of living.
The Power of Maqui
With an amazingly high ORAC value, maqui berries offer more antioxidants than any discovered fruit – with a particularly high potency of anti-aging flavonoids like anthocyanins and polyphenols. Recent studies have demonstrated these antioxidants to support a wide variety of bodily functions, including improved brain performance, heart health, liver strength, anticancer activity and – as the Machupe Indians likely know – overall longevity. Plus, the fruit offers a premium source of vitamin C, calcium, iron, potassium, and is a natural anti-inflammatory food.
With such a profoundly rich supply of health-improving phytochemicals, even using just small amounts of maqui powder will vastly enhance the nutritional benefits of other foods or recipes. Containing a mild, unsweetened berry flavor, maqui is easy to use: try blending with other fruits or sweets in smoothies, desserts, or sprinkle on top of a breakfast bowl.
a herbaceous plant native to the high Andes of Bolivia and Peru. It is grown for its fleshy hypocotyl, which is used as a root vegetable and a medicinal herb.
The root of the maca plant has been used in indigenous Andean cultures as a source of nourishment and healing for many millenniums. A radish-like root, maca is indigenous to the mountainous and ragged terrain of the Peruvian highlands. Although its foliage may be small and unassuming, the harvested root of the maca plant was traditionally used by Incan warriors in preparation for difficult expositions and battles, and was consumed to increase stamina and energy. So esteemed was this special root, that it later became used as a form of currency by the Spaniards — a practice which still carries on in some areas of Peru even today. Enjoying a massive resurgence in use, maca continues to be one of the most appreciated superfoods on the market. Navitas Naturals offers maca in 4 forms to suit all needs: a raw powder, a gelatinized powder, and a capsulated form of each.
Given that this is a superfood powerhouse, different from Acai – which I also greatly love, I am thrilled to have it part of my morning smoothie routine.
To complete my bowl I have added my
Maca Macqui Breakfast Bowl
1 cup almond milk
1 scoop Sun Warrior Protein
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup chopped spinach
1 tsp maqui powder
1 tsp maca powder
1 tbsp coconut oil
Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth! Enjoy and top with some GIRLNOLA granola!
Energy bars and protein bars are perhaps one of most poorly marketed food items. Advertising leads us to believe that many common ingredients found in these all-in-one nutrition bars are actually not that bad for us – or worse, even good for us. The problem is that most of them are not even made from foods at all, but instead from synthetic derivatives from poor-quality sources.
It can be tough to figure this out on your own, so be sure to keep these tips in your back pocket next time you go to grab an energy bar.
High-fructose corn syrup: Added as an inexpensive sweetener, it is worse than regular white sugar. It is genetically modified, and is suspected to cause insulin resistance.
Soy isolate: It may sound natural and healthy, being a soy product, but it’s not something you could make yourself (warning sign!). Instead, it is put through several acidic and alkalizing baths to remove fibre, and separate and neutralize it. It’s also processed at such high temperatures that it can change the structure of some of the protein.
Whey protein: The most popular protein out there isn’t as great as many people assume it is. While it does have a high absorption rate in the body, it is also extremely allergenic. It doesn’t contain lactose, but because it is still a dairy product it can cause mild allergenic reactions such as inflammation and bloating.
Natural flavour: This is the most unassuming item on the list as one would think that “natural flavour” equals healthy, but this ingredient is actually MSG. Commonly known to reside in take-out boxes, MSG is added as a “flavour enhancer” and could have side effects like facial pressure, headaches, nausea, and chest pains.
Fractioned palm oil: A cheap oil used for its high heat stability. It is bleached, filtered, melted, degummed, and refined before it’s ever added to a food product. Look out for palm kernel oil as well, as it can’t be obtained naturally; it has to be extracted from the pit with a gasoline-like solvent.
Maltodextrine (corn): Another corn product finds its way into our food with this cheap, easily digestible sweetener. It is low calorie and absorbed as quickly as regular glucose. It is nowhere near a natural product, and is genetically modified.
Artificial sweeteners (malitol, sucralose): Common sweeteners found in “health food” products are maltitol and sucralose. Maltitol is a low-calorie hydrogenated maltose made from genetically-modified corn starch. Sucralose (yes, Splenda), is calorie-free chlorinated sugar. The problem with these low- or zero-cal products is that their sweetness tricks the body into thinking it is receiving some form of energy (sugar). When it only receives a chemical sweetener, its craving for energy isn’t satisfied, and ends up craving more sugar.
Top five things to look for in a good nutrition bar:
- Natural protein source (nuts, seeds, quinoa, brown rice protein, hemp protein)
- Natural sweeteners (brown rice syrup, honey, maple syrup, stevia)
- An understandable, short ingredient list
- It doesn’t double as a candy bar (by containing 24 grams of sugar, which is the same amount found in chocolate bars!)
- Has as few processed ingredients as possible. When in doubt, just go for the nut and seed bar. Remember to check what the sweetener is!
You can also make your own whole-food energy bars instead, with this recipe.
Energy Granola Bar
¼ cup raw sesame seeds
¼ cup coconut oil
1/3 cup honey
½ cup almond butter
½ cup rice syrup
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup puffed brown rice cereal
1 cup dried apricots and raisins
½ cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup sunflower seeds
1. Line a 13×9-inch pan with parchment paper.
2. Preheat oven to low setting (180-200F).
3. In medium saucepan, lightly toast sesame seeds over medium heat until they brown. Remove from heat.
4. Add oil, honey, almond butter and rice syrup. Stir until smooth.
5. In a large bowl, combine remainder of ingredients. Pour liquid mixture over top, and stir to combine. Do not over-mix.
6. Pack mixture into pan, pressing down firmly with back of warm, wet spatula or hands.
7. Place in preheated oven for 20 minutes.
8. Allow to cool and cut into bars with warm, wet knife. Store in fridge or freeze up to three months.
Get even more fitness-focused recipes in my Fit and Fabulous cooking class on May 7, 2012!
You can get more delicious knowledge by checking out Marni’s Purely Fit e-book, available here: http://www.marniwasserman.com/ebooks/
Share with us!
What do you eat after a workout?
What’s your favourite energy bar?
What’s your favourite type of protein to use?