Walking the Walk

new juicer

I’ve been preaching a lot about the wonders of fresh squeezed green juice. I’m loving the effects of juicing on my body and mind, but not so much on my wallet. And to my shame I did not have a juicer of my own.

Until now.

I am the new proud owner of a retro chic Jack LaLanne Power Juicer that I found on Craigslist for $30.

It’s not the juicer I set out to buy. It’s been well used. It’s named after a retro fitness guru. (Although I do own a George Foreman Grill – maybe they can lift together.) And I need to use chopsticks to remove the blade because the former owner lost the tool. But the price was right, and now I have fresh juice whenever I want it. And for a lot less than the $6-7 a pop most juice bars charge.

There are a bewildering number of juicer options out there – masticating, single gear, twin gear. Spendy, super spendy, and “cost of a small car”. They all have benefits and drawbacks. Some work quickly and are easy to clean, but don’t get all the juice from your veggies. Some are very efficient but painfully slow. And some are just too far outside of most people’s budget.

In nutrition school I learned that the best juicer for you is the one you’ll use.

For $30, I know I’ll get my money’s worth from this little guy.

Welcome to my kitchen, Jack LaLanne!

xoxo,
Sondra

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What do you juice?

green smoothie prep

There’s nothing like a fresh green juice, bursting with the flavor of organic vegetables – and maybe a little fruit.

Here are some of my favorite things to juice – what are yours?

  • Apples help protect your bones, prevent cancer, and even promote weight loss. A little bit of their natural sugar can help regulate your blood sugar.
  • Beets are a juicy, delicious root with tasty greens. The root is rich in folates, potassium, B vitamins, iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium. The greens are full of vitamin C, carotenoids, and vitamin A. They help keep our mucus membranes and skin healthy, and boosts vision.
  • Carrots are full of antioxidants which can help prevent cancer. And the beta-carotene in carrots is converted to vitamin A, protecting our eyes and skin.
  • Ginger adds a spicy twist to your fresh juice while aiding digestion. Ginger also helps fight inflammation, colds and flu, and nausea.
  • Kale is rich in antioxidants as well as vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, and manganese, plus Omega 3 fatty acids that help fight inflammation. And kale’s natural sulfur helps your body detox!
  • Spinach is also rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, and manganese – plus vitamin E, beta-carotene, zinc and selenium. Spinach supports the immune system, vision, blood pressure, skin, the nervous system, and brain function.

Share your favorite juice — or smoothie — recipes in the comments. I’d love to try them!

xoxo,
Sondra

 

Let it go—Juicing Edition

juice

I cannot get the song Let It Go from the movie Frozen out of my head. It bursts into my head as I’m driving, walking, reading—even sitting on the toilet. Very apropos.

It also rears its pretty head when I come face to face with my bad habits.

The other night I was feeling a bit bored so I opened the pantry door for a snack: “Let it go, let it goooooo…” Ok, no snack.

Another night I was tired from work and didn’t want to go for a walk, so I plopped down on the couch with my book. “Let it go, let it goooooo, can’t hold it back anymore.” So, I guess I’ll talk a walk, right?

It’s like the ghost of bad habits past, haunting me.

Something I do need to let go is a little winter weight. It happens to all of us—when the weather gets colder, our bodies naturally slow down and crave carbs. Root vegetables, popcorn, homemade bread. What’s winter without them?

But now that we’ve let go of winter, it’s time for some spring cleaning.

When I thought about changes I could make to “Let it gooooooo…,” I thought of juicing.

Green juices deliver a potent burst of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals in an easily digestible form. Fresh juices support your immune system, enhance your skin, brighten your eyes, and can help you lose weight.

They’re a healthy burst of energy in a cup!

Everyone is going gaga for them. All the usual suspects love them—cancer survivor Kris Carr, raw food activist David Wolfe, inflammation expert Dr. Andrew Weil , and Joe Cross, author of Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. Joe went on a juice fast for 60 days and lost a ton of weight, and now he makes his living off the movie and book. If that’s not inspirational, I don’t know what is. 😉

If you’ve been over-indulging, they can help heal your digestive system while encouraging your liver, kidneys and gallbladder to release toxins. They also help restore your body’s PH balance. Foods like meat, fish, chicken, and grains have high acidic values. Vegetables are alkaline–they cancel out the acid and bring your body back into balance.

When should I juice?

You can juice any time of day, but morning and afternoon are best. Try one instead of your morning coffee or your afternoon snack for a natural energy boost.

A morning juice will wake you up naturally without caffeine. Have a big glass of juice alone to power through your morning. Or combine juicing with lean healthy protein like beans or eggs, some healthy fat in the form of avocado, chia deeds, flax seeds, or some almond butter, and a little carbs in the form of starchy vegetables. You’ll have everything you need to get you out the door and into your day. Adding a little something sweet, like a chunk of apple or pear, can help even out your blood sugar throughout the day.

An afternoon juice provides energy just about the time you’d reach for that snack. Try a juice with a little less sugar, like a carrot-beet combo or a green juice with kale, spinach, and a little pear. Add some kick with a smidge of cayenne powder or part of a jalapeño pepper.

What should I juice?

Fill your juices with fresh, organic super foods, including:

  • Apples help protect your bones, prevent cancer, and even promote weight loss. A little bit of their natural sugar can help regulate your blood sugar.
  • Beets are a juicy, delicious root with tasty greens. The root is rich in folates, potassium, B vitamins, iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium. The greens are full of vitamin C, carotenoids, and vitamin A. They help keep our mucus membranes and skin healthy, and boosts vision.
  • Carrots are full of antioxidants which can help prevent cancer. And the beta-carotene in carrots is converted to vitamin A, protecting our eyes and skin.
  • Ginger adds a spicy twist to your fresh juice while aiding digestion. Ginger also helps fight inflammation, colds and flu, and nausea.
  • Kale is rich in antioxidants as well as vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, and manganese, plus Omega 3 fatty acids that help fight inflammation. And kale’s natural sulfur helps your body detox!
  • Spinach is also rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, and manganese – plus vitamin E, beta-carotene, zinc and selenium. Spinach supports the immune system, vision, blood pressure, skin, the nervous system, and brain function.

Add fresh juices into your weekly routine and you’ll be surprised how well your body responds.

It’ll help you let it all go.

Happy spring!

xoxo,
Sondra

Where do vegans get their protein?

pondering

During the course of my health coach training I’ve experimented with what feels like a million different dietary theories – Raw, Atkins, Hunter-Gatherer, Vegan, Blood Type, Mediterranean, South Beach, Zone, Macrobiotic, and Slow Food, to name a few.

By far the one I was most nervous about, in a “will I have enough to eat?” sort of way, was going vegan.

I was concerned about more than feeling full – I also had no idea where I was going to get my protein without partaking of our planet’s adorably delicious fish and animals.

My school’s blog provided some useful guidance, vegan classmates were generous with recommendations, and the internets provided the rest. Did you know there are a plethora of vegan foodie blogs? Though a startling number of the recipes are for desserts. We all know what happened to the last gal who suggested that we subsist on cake! Luckily there are real-food recipes as well. Thug Kitchen, Bunny Kitchen, The Sweet Life, Kris Carr, and This Rawsome Vegan Life are some of my favorites.

My favorite gluten-free bakery and café, Flying Apron, is also vegan, and their lovely menu was a nice start. Salads, soups, and gluten-free vegan pizzas, pot pies, and lasagna were all filling and made this seem doable.

So that took care of “will I have enough to eat?” Those recipes would more than cover three meals a meal, and snacks are easy – almonds, green juice, cut up veggies with hummus, a piece of fruit.

Which freed me up for my next anxiety. What about my daily nutritional requirements? Where is my protein supposed to come from?

Beans, seeds and grains provide a ton of protein!

It turns out the whole-food vegan world is chock full of protein, mainly in the form of beans, nuts, seeds, and grains. These little powerhouses contain all of the protein, fiber, and fat you need, and when combined with a rotating selection of fresh vegetables and fruit, ensure a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals in your diet.

Notice I say “whole-food vegan world.” Many vegans get a portion of their protein from soy products including tofu, soy milk, tempeh, soy yogurt, and soy-based faux meats. I’ve worked hard to reduce the amount of processed foods in my diet, so that seemed like backwards progress. It’s a personal choice. Manufactured foods usually have more sugar, sodium, and unexpected chemicals than you’d think, and the processing removes nutrients, so you can end up just as unhealthy on a vegan diet as your average American. Which kinda defeats the purpose, at least for me.

Ok, so I figured out where to find protein on a vegan diet – but how much did I need? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended dietary allowances for protein intake by age group. According to the CDC, adults need between 46- 56 grams of protein a day, small children from 12-19 grams, tweens around 24 grams, and teenagers from 46-52 grams of protein a day.** As an adult female who’s neither an athlete nor pregnant, my target is 46 grams.

Which is great, but how does an adult woman get 46 grams of protein a day from beans, nuts, seeds, and grains? After reviewing the nutritional information for everything vegan in my pantry, here’s a roundup:

  • ½ cup of cooked black beans:    7 grams*
  • ½ cup cooked lentils has:           9 grams*
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds:                     6 grams*
  • ¼ cup of almonds:                      6 grams*
  • 2 Tbsp flax seeds:                      3 grams*
  • ½ cup of uncooked quinoa:        12 grams*
  • 2 cups vegetable broth:              2 grams*

(* Estimates based on the packages at hand.)

Add these up and you’re more or less covered.

What can you do with these goodies? Make black bean patties from the beans, quinoa, and flax seeds (play around with this recipe); sprinkle the chia seeds into your daily smoothie; make a quickie warming soup with the veggie broth and lentils; and enjoy the almonds as a mid-day snack.

And there you go – your vegan protein needs are met! Deliciously!

xoxo,
Sondra

** You can find a lot more information about the recommended daily allowances of protein, and a handy chart, on the CDC web site.

Food (Processor) Love IV: Chocolate Coconut Tahini Balls

Chocolate Tahini Balls

Lest you think I had forgotten about my shiny new Cuisinart in all of the excitement about my shiny new health coaching career, I have yet another gem to share with you. These amazing Chocolate Coconut Tahini Balls come from our friends at Addicted to Raw.

I love this recipe. It’s a sugar free frozen desert with a satisfying dark chocolate peanut butter cup taste. It kind of reminds me of the Halva candy I ate growing up–the neighborhood delis in Philly sold it by the pound, and my mom could always be counted on to buy a chunk.

Like the last three food processor recipes, this is easy to make. Fun, even. As you may have guessed, this dessert contains nuts–it can’t really be made without them, sorry. I usually double the recipe and leave them in the freezer until the snacking urge hits. This is basically a frozen treat – they get all gooey and melty if left out too long. If that happens, just refreeze.

Chocolate Coconut Tahini Balls
Gluten free, dairy free, sugar free.  *Not* nut free.
Yield: Makes about 6 balls.

Ingredients:

  • 2 heaped Tbs of almond butter
  • 2 heaped Tbs of tahini
  • 4 Tsp of raw cacao
  • Pinch of good quality salt
  • 4 Tsp of ground chia seeds
  • Stevia, honey or agave to sweeten to your liking
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened dried coconut
  • 2 Tbs of hemp seeds or flax seeds
  • 1/2 – 1 Tsp of spirulina (optional but why not get some green in there when you can)
  1. Grind your chia seeds fresh.
  2. Add all ingredients into a food processor and mix well. You can also use a bowl, but I’ve found the food processor works better. When the ingredients turn into a nice ball that looks like dough, it’s done.
  3. Scoop out a tablespoonful, roll it into a ball (I use my hands), and then roll in coconut, sesame seeds or hemp seeds. This is the fun part!
  4. Freeze for about 20 minutes, till they firm up.
  5. Store in freezer and eat straight from there.  Well, this part is fun too 😉

That’s it!  I hope you enjoy them as much as I have. And don’t forget to check out Addicted to Raw – lots more good stuff there!

xoxo,
Sondra

Curious about raw foods but don’t know where to start?

Wondering what all the fuss about raw foods is about?

My school, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, has created a handy-dandy free raw foods guide. It explains what people mean by raw foods and super foods, discusses the common ways to store them, and even has a few (okay, three) recipes.

Click the colorful banner and download your free PDF guide today!