fruits

Matcha Mint Acai Bowl

MatchaAcaiBowl Featured Image

I'm sure you've all seen the beautiful acai bowls popping up at your local shops. I think it's great that we have easier access to these superfoods such as acai and matcha now, which do not originate in our country but are packed with incredible nutrients that support longevity and overall wellbeing. Did you know that both of these foods are two of the top foods highest in antioxidants? Antioxidants are essential vitamins that help our bodies kill off and prevent free radicals, which form in result to cell damage due to acidity in the body from high levels of stress (physical/emotional/mental), highly refined sugars and processed food intake, smoking and alcohol, and environmental toxins. An excessive amount of free radicals in the body leads to disease, illness, and aging at early stages. As an added bonus, antioxidants support beauty and skin health.

That said, let's get some antioxidants in you!

In my opinion, the best part of having access to these wonderful foods is that we can recreate our own goodies with even higher nutrient value and unrefined ingredients at home.

Below I'm sharing one of the many acai bowls I've created. I intentionally added the matcha to this one, not only for it's antioxidant content, but for a nourishing afternoon energy boost that won't spike blood sugar.

MatchaAcaiBowl
MatchaAcaiBowl

Ingredients

1 frozen acai pack (I use Sambazon)

2 cups frozen wild blueberries

1 yellow peach, pitted and chopped

1/2 cup spring or filtered water - just enough to help blend but not too much so it doesn't thin out

2 Tablespoons sunflower seed butter (or any nut/seed butter of choice)

1 Tablespoon raw honey (or 1-2 medjool dates)

2 teaspoons Encha Matcha Culinary Grade - Amazing quality!

Generous handful of fresh mint leaves

Juice of 1 lime

Pinch of sea salt

Procedure

  1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. You may need to use a spatula to move things around a few times. It's meant to be a thick sorbet-like consistency.
  2. Top with toppings of choice. I topped mine with some homemade gluten-free granola and fresh blueberries.

Serves 1-2

I hope you enjoy this recipe and share with me what variation you come up with!

xx,

Giovanna

Citrus Cream Tarts

citrus8

Taking advantage of the wonderful citrus season to make all creations possible. These little tarts are simple and sweet. I know you'll enjoy them.

Ingredients

Crust

½ cup raw sunflower seeds

15 soft medjool dates

½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon sea salt

Citrus Cream

1 cup coconut cream

1 Tablespoon coconut nectar

½ teaspoon vanilla

¼ teaspoon sea salt

Zest of ½ lemon

Zest of ½ orange

Juice of ½-1 lemon

Procedure

1. To make crust: Place all crust ingredients in a food processor and process until mixture holds together when pressed with fingers. Line a small pie pan or 3-individual size pie pans with parchment paper and press mixture into bottom and sides of pan. Place in the refrigerator while you make filling.

2. To make filling: Place all citrus cream ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust sweetness if needed. Pour cream over crust and place in freezer for about 30-45 minutes, until filling has set.

3. Once tart cream has set, garnish with desired toppings and slice to serve.

Beautiful pictures by Micaela Hoo.

Caramel Apple Smoothie

CaramelAppleSmoothie featured image

Ah, I love thriving off whole foods! Don't you? The best thing about eating unrefined whole foods is creating your favorite flavors without harming your health, and instead, providing a nutrient-rich and tasty experience. It's a win-win if you ask me. I hope you enjoy this guilt-free sweetness! I encourage you to play with the ingredients to adjust flavor to your liking.

Ingredients

1 large apple, cored and chopped

2 cups nut milk of choice

2 Medjool dates, pitted

1 Tablespoon homemade sunflower seed butter (Or almond butter)

1 Tablespoon chia seeds

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon Levity (Red Asparagus Root from Longevity Power), optional but has a caramel-like taste

Pinch of sea salt

CaramelAppleSmoothie

Procedure

  1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

Serves 1

 

X,

Giovanna

Strawberry-Matcha Sorbet

strawberrymatcha_10

I used to love ice cream and sorbet growing up. It was my treat of choice (after chocolate, of course). I love being able to make my own now that is both delicious and good for me. Completely guilt free!

I created this recipe for the lovely Oh My Drifter, and she photographed it. Treat yourself to this simple and refreshing recipe. 

Ingredients

– 1 cup frozen strawberries
– 1 teaspoon matcha green tea powder
– 1-2 medjool dates
– 1/3 cup coconut water
– Juice of 1/2 lemon
– Pinch of sea salt

Procedure

1. Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. You might need to stop blender and use a spatula to push ingredients down from time to time (if using a Vitamix, just use the tamper to keep things moving).

2. Once smooth, place in the freezer for about 20 minutes to firm up, sprinkle on your favorite toppings (we used coconut flakes), then enjoy!

Enjoy!

Summer Mango Salad

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Oh, the lovely colors and flavors of summer. I created this refreshing salad for Oh My Dirfter. I whipped it together, and Micaela worked her magic with the camera.

Ingredients

– 1 large mango, diced
– 1/4 red onion or 1/2 cup radishes, sliced or diced
– 1/2 avocado, diced
– 1 cucumber or zucchini, cut in half and sliced
– Small handful of chopped fresh mint
– Juice of 1 lime
– Juice of 1/2 – 1 lemon
– Pinch of chili flakes
– Pinch of sea salt

Procedure

Place all ingredients in a medium-large bowl and mix to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve on a bed of greens or as is along with a side of seed crackers.

To learn how to make your own Seed Crackers, click here.

Plum & Coconut-Maca Popsicles

Plum & coconut popsicles featured image

There is lots of plum and coconut going on in my house these days. It's stone fruit season here in California and plums are just too good to pass up at the farmers market every week. This is a very simple recipe and perfect for an afternoon craving on a hot day. You can substitute any stone fruit for plums. Peaches would also taste amazing.

Besides the great taste and vitamin benefits of plums, an added health benefit to this recipe is the maca powder. Maca is an adaptogenic root full of super powers. Adaptogenic means that it works to balance any system that is unstable/unbalanced in the body (nervous system, endocrine system, cardiovascular system, musculature). It also provides energy, enhances stamina and libido, increases endurance and strength, boosts mood, and balances hormones (aids with PMS). It has a nutty and delicious flavor. Make sure to purchase a raw and organic maca powder to get the full benefits and added chemicals.

Ingredients

Plum Layer:

3 fresh plums

1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder (or vanilla extract to taste)

Pinch of sea salt

Coconut-Maca Layer:

1 cup full-fat coconut milk (homemade or Native Forest Classic Coconut Milk - BPA free and organic)

1-2 Tablespoons coconut nectar, raw honey, or pure maple syrup (to taste)

1 Tablespoon raw maca powder

Pinch of sea salt

Plum & coconut popsicles

Procedure:

  1. Make plum layer: blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and place in freezer for 10-15 minutes for it to begin setting before you pour the next layer.
  2. Make coconut-maca layer: Blend all ingredients until smooth. Once plum layer has nearly set, pour coconut mixture over it to fill molds. Place in freezer for another 15 minutes.
  3. Insert popsicle sticks and return to freezer until fully frozen. To take out popsicles, run molds under cold water for about 10 seconds. Enjoy!

Makes 6 popsicles

For another delicious plum recipe, check out my previous treat: coconut-lavender pie with plum sauce.

Tell me, what's your favorite stone fruit?

Creamy Fig and Cacao Smoothie

Fig cacao smoothie featured image

Figs are in season here in California! Naturally, I created a creamy and decadent chocolate smoothie with fresh figs. The great nutrition components of fresh figs:

  • Fiber - supports bowel health, regulates blood sugar, lowers cholesterol, helps maintain a healthy weight
  • Vitamin B6 - brain health, detoxes the liver, aids in the metabolization of carbohydrates
  • Copper - builds strong bones and tissue, energy production, balances cholesterol levels,
  • Potassium - helps control blood pressure
  • Manganese - supports skin health, controls blood sugar, protects free-radical damage, aids in bone production

I don't have much else to say about this recipe other than encourage you to run to your farmers market to buy some fresh organic figs.

fig cacao smoothie

Ingredients

7-8 fresh figs

1 1/2 cups creamy coconut milk

1 cup water

2 heaping Tablespoons raw cacao powder

3 Tablespoon raw hemp seeds

2 teaspoons maca powder (optional)

1 teaspoon ashwagandha (optional)

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

Pinch of celtic sea salt

Pinch of stevia

Splash of lemon juice

Procedure

  1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Enjoy in the sun.

Serves 2

 

What is Clean Eating?

What is clean eating

You've probably already seen or heard the term 'clean eating' or 'eating clean.' But what does it mean? What is so great about it? I'd like to clarify what it means for those of you who are wondering and what it's benefits are. Clean eating is not a specific diet, it's a lifestyle choice.

First of all, there are many different definitions of clean eating, depending on what meal regimen one follows and recommends (paleo, raw, vegan, vegetarian, etc). For example, a vegan might say that a clean eating regimen is one that omits all animal products, someone that only eats a raw food diet might say that clean eating is an all raw-food diet, and so forth. I don't believe that one is better than the other, it is just a matter of finding what works for you.

My definition of  'clean eating' is to eliminate all refined and processed foods from your diet. Foods like white sugar, white rice, bleached flour, white flour, and enriched flour all are foods that have been refined in some way. When refined, their nutrients are removed resulting in ingredients that only provide empty calories (calories with no nutritional value) with a blood sugar spike.

A clean eating regimen consists of whole, unrefined foods in their most natural state. These foods are:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Pasture-raised eggs and poultry
  • Grass-fed meats
  • Full-fat dairy products

Be sure to read labels when buying things in a package. Just because the box says "whole grain" or " natural" doesn't mean they really are. Read ingredients closely and choose grains that don't have additives. You'd be surprised what's in that box of "whole grain" cereal you love so much, not a whole lot of nutrition. Chicken that is labeled "all natural" is interesting to me. Shouldn't chicken be natural? Sadly it's almost always not the case; instead they are fed antibiotics and hormones. Labels are misleading and most of the time not true.

Talk to the butcher at the grocery store, ask questions, and read the ingredient list. Try buying products that have 5 or less ingredients. And make sure they are ingredients that you can pronounce and that are unrefined. Visit my post on reading labels for more information.

Benefits of a clean eating lifestyle:

  • Weight loss/fat loss
  • Increased energy
  • Better skin and hair
  • Better health
  • Increased mental focus
  • Better sleep
  • Better mood
  • Decreased cravings and sugar addiction

As you can see, eating clean is a great thing. It seems to have become more and more popular these days, when in reality, it has been around for a long time and just now people are starting to realize how important it is to make this lifestyle choice in order to be healthy and happy.

How to transition to a clean eating life:

  • Eat whole fruits and vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats,  and whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, amaranth)
  • Drink at least 8 cups of water each day
  • Eat 5-6 times a day to reduce cravings and keep blood sugar regulated - include protein in every meal
  • Avoid all processed and unrefined foods (sugar, candy, pastries, white flour, white rice, bread, cereals, packaged goods, etc.)
  • Avoid beverages that are packed with sugar (soda, juice, Gatorade, energy drinks, sweetened tea, coffee drinks)
  • Avoid trans fats

Clean eating is the lifestyle choice I made and what I preach every single day. I have never been happier and felt more comfortable in my skin. If you are just transitioning to a clean eating lifestyle, take it slow and make small changes every day. It takes time, but don't give up. Know that your body will love you for it and you won't regret the health benefits from it.

Trust the process.

Grapefruit Pancakes

Grapefruit-pancakes_v2

I'm constantly on a mission to find nutritious alternatives to the most common foods that we love to eat. I spend hours on Instagram, Facebook, health and food blogs, reading recipe books, and writing/testing my own recipes.

I personally am not a huge fan of pancakes, but I am most definitely a fan of pancakes that are sweet, fluffy, made with unrefined ingredients, AND nourishing. These pancakes are high in protein, gluten-free, filling, and really easy to make. I was completely satisfied with them and I hope you will be too.

Ingredients

Makes 4 small or 2 large pancakes

3 Tablespoons coconut flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3 drops stevia (I don't love the taste of stevia, but you can add more if you'd like)

Zest of about 1/4 grapefruit (to taste)

1 Tablespoon greek yogurt

1/4 cup almond milk

3 organic egg whites

1 Tablespoon coconut oil (for cooking)

Procedure

  1. Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Combine wet ingredients, except coconut oil, in a separate bowl and whisk together. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and incorporate well. Batter should be thick. The thicker the batter, the fluffier your pancakes will be. Taste and adjust flavors to preference if needed.
  3. Heat coconut oil in a medium-large size pan. Make sure pan is very hot. Spoon batter onto pan, cover, and cook for 3-5 minutes (until bottom is browned, but not burnt). Flip and cook for another minute. You can make pancakes as big as you want. I chose to make 4 small ones.
  4. Stack pancakes on plate and top with slices of grapefruit, sauce, and anything else you desire.

Grapefruit sauce:

1 Tablespoon kefir (can also use yogurt)

1 teaspoon grapefruit zest (to taste)

1/2-1 Tablespoon fresh juice from grapefruit (to taste)

1/2 teaspoon grade B maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon chia seeds (optional, for thickness)

pinch of cinnamon

-Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Taste and adjust. Pour over pancake stack.

Other recommended toppings:

  • chopped almonds
  • chopped walnuts
  • more cinnamon
  • shredded coconut

Recipe adapted from clarkpharm.blogspot.com