antioxidants

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

Chia Pudding [Video]

APLChiaPudding

If you know me, you know I love my chia pudding. It's a very easy and tasty energy boost. Chia seeds are packed with fiber, omega-3, calcium, protein, and antioxidants. Chia pudding is a great snack and breakfast option. It only takes 15-20 minutes to prepare and can also be made the night before.

Visit my post on 12 Reasons to Love Chia Seeds to learn more about the great health benefits of chia seeds.

Ingredients

Basic Recipe

3 Tablespoons chia seeds

1 cup almond milk, or milk of choice (recipe for almond milk here)

A few pinches of ground cinnamon

Additional Ingredients for Chocolate Flavor

1/2 Tablespoon raw cacao powder

1/2 Tablespoon coconut sugar, raw honey, or grade B maple syrup

Procedure

  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk for about 30 seconds. Let sit for 15-20 minutes until it reaches desired consistency. Add desired toppings or enjoy as is.

Serves 1

 

Spicy Chai

chai feature image

I recently learned that the word 'chai' means 'tea' in India and other parts of the world. I realized how little I knew about the beverage and what it did for me so I did some research. Here's a brief description: Chai is a drink that contains black tea, a combination of spices, milk, and a sweetener. The spices vary depending on the region, but they all make up a warming and nourishing beverage. Chai is great for digestive health, supports the immune system, and boosts mood. It is full of antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory (if made with dairy-free milk).

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I've been making this chai on a weekly basis lately and I'm excited to share the recipe with you. This is a bit different from a chai latte since it doesn't contain steamed milk, but it's still just as delicious and has way less sugar than the concentrates that we find at stores and coffee shops. Enjoy it hot or cold.

Ingredients

4 cups water

1-inch piece of ginger root, sliced

2 cinnamon sticks

6 cardamom pods

5 peppercorns

4 whole cloves

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

2 Tablespoons loose leaf black tea (or 3 tea bags)

½ cup milk, unsweetened (almond milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, hemp milk)

½ Tablespoon coconut sugar

Procedure

  1. Grind spices cardamom, peppercorns, cloves, and fennel seeds in spice grinder or mortar and pestle (make your own with a bowl and a rock or back of a spoon).

  2. Place water, all spices, and ginger root in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat. Add tea and let steep for 5-6 minutes. Remove tea.

  3. Add milk and sweetener and mix. Strain and serve.

Makes ~4 cups

 

How to Make Almond Milk [Video]

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Almond milk is a delicious and healthy alternative to cow's milk. It's fresh, light, and dairy-fee, which supports those with lactose intolerant or dairy sensitivity. Making your own at home is both fun and more nutritious because it doesn't contain additives, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives that the store-bought almond milk does.

Almond milk is low in calories, and high in vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. Making it at home is very simple and often money saving. In 10 minutes, you will have fresh almond milk to add to your oats, smoothies, sauces, or simply drink as is.

Plain almond milk has a great rich flavor, but you can use a natural sweetener to give it additional sweetness and flavor. I love mine plain.

 

You will need

Blender

Nut milk bag or cheese cloth

Large bowl or pitcher

 

Ingredients

1 cup raw almonds (soaked overnight in filtered water and drained)

5 cups filtered water

Flavoring options

1/2-1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

2 pitted dates

1-2 teaspoons cinnamon

pinch of sea salt

 

Procedure 

  1. Soak almonds overnight in filtered water. Soaking overnight makes them more digestible and increases nutritional value. If you forget to soak them overnight or don't have much time, soaking them for at least an hour is good enough.
  2. Drain almonds and rinse well.
  3. Add almonds and water to blender and blend until smooth, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Place nut milk bag or cheesecloth in bowl and pour mixture through it. Gently squeeze to strain until all liquid is extracted from solids. Enjoy!
Homemade almond milk

Balsamic-Ginger Glazed Carrots and Chard

Balsamic-glazed-carrots

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Summer is one of my favorite seasons. I love going to the farmers market and being surrounded by all the wonderful colors of fruits and vegetables.

Have you seen those beautiful rainbow carrots yet? And the amazing varieties of cucumber? What about the juicy peaches and plums?

I can spend hours at the market just admiring (and tasting), but mostly, I go to get influenced to create new and delicious recipes. This week, I chose to make something different with carrots.

Carrots are available year round, but they have the most nutrients, freshness, and flavor when they are in season (fall and summer). They are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin K, fiber, and antioxidants (vitamin C and beta-carotene). They are anti-inflammatory, a good source of complex carbohydrates, and help cleanse the liver.

Ingredients

1-2 Tablespoons unrefined sesame oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan)

1 bunch rainbow carrots, washed and cut into 2-inch pieces

4 large leaves red chard, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1-inch ginger root, minced

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

juice of 1/2 lemon

sea salt

Procedure

  1. Cut off the large end of carrots. Cut carrots in half long wise, then cut into 2-inch pieces with a diagonal cut.
  2. Heat sesame oil in a large pan. Add carrots and a generous pinch of sea salt and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, ginger, balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice and cook for another 5 minutes or until carrots are tender.
  4. Add chard and sauté for another few minutes until chard wilts. Serve.

Note: You can garnish with chopped herbs and/or seeds.