cleanse

Captures of Yoga & Superfood Smoothies Workshop

What a wonderful weekend. We were so happy to share smoothies and knowledge with everyone at the Yoga & Superfood Smoothies Workshop on Saturday. There was some great Q & A and hopefully everyone is trying out their new recipes this week! We're grateful for Dave Ford's yoga practice, our amazing helper, Maddy Smith, the beautiful well-lit space (aMuse Art Gallery & Meeting Place) in the Mission, and everyone who brought their good energy. It was pretty cool to do yoga in an art gallery. Let us know if you'd like to see a similar event, we'd be happy to host if there's interest - contact Regina at reginafelice@apurifiedlife.com

xx

Captures of Valentine’s Day Chocolate Making Workshop

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There’s no such thing as getting your hands dirty when it comes to chocolate. But if there were, I guess you could say that’s how we spent our Valentine’s Day. At the Chocolate Making Workshop we made rose and fig truffles, chai spiced chocolate mousse, and dark chocolate bark. Everyone got to build their own dark chocolate bark with nuts, seeds, fruit, and superfood powders. There was a lot of love in the air (and in the chocolate) on Saturday! We’re grateful for everyone’s great energy and company.

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Mojito Power Protein Smoothie

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Summer in San Francisco is not really summer, but I still like to enjoy the amazing flavors and make summer treats like this smoothie and plum & coconut popsicles. This mojito power protein smoothie is perfect for an afternoon boost or a well-balanced breakfast. It's packed with healthy fats, two of the best plant-based protein sources (spirulina, hemp seeds), and fresh greens that offer a wide spectrum of vitamins and minerals.

Two of the best plant-based protein sources:

Spirulina - Blue-green algea that grows in fresh water lakes all over the world  and is truly a superfood. It is made up of about 60-70% plant protein, which makes it the world's highest source of protein. Spirulina supports blood sugar regulation, immunity, kidney function, skin issues, cholesterol levels, depression, and provides lasting energy.

Hemp seeds - A complete protein, containing all essential amino acids. They have a perfect balance of protein, essential fats, enzymes, and vitamins. Hemp seeds are excellent for controlling blood sugar, reducing inflammation, improving circulation, muscle recovery, immune support, and providing sustained energy.

Ingredients

1 frozen banana

1/4 avocado

2 heaping teaspoons spirulina powder

1 large handful mint leaves

1/2 cucumber

2 cups spinach

2 cups coconut water (or filtered water)

3 Tablespoons hemp seeds (or chia seeds)

Juice of 1 lemon

Pinch of sea salt

Mojito smoothie

Procedure

  1. Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Pour into fancy glasses and enjoy.

Serves 2 or 1 for a nice big meal (I drink the whole thing for breakfast)

Mojito smoothie 2

 

Probiotics + Sauerkraut Recipe

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Our digestive tract contains both good and bad bacteria. Probiotics are what we call the friendly bacteria, which promote a healthy digestive system and are essential for good health. There are hundreds of types of probiotics. Some of the largest and most common are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. These two support colon health and promote healthy bowel movements. Why is this important to know?

Well, the gut is the heart of most health conditions and we don't even know it. A happy gut is one that has a good balance of good and bad bacteria. The average american tends to feed the 'bad bacteria' more than the good. This provides a imbalanced or highly acidic environment in the gut, which comes form sugar, wheat, alcohol, processed foods, high-stress, birth control pills, radiation exposure, over-the-counter medications, and antibiotics.

A bacterial imbalance in the gut results in:

  • Impaired immune system
  • Impaired digestive system
  • Malabsorption of vitamins and minerals from food - vitamin deficiencies
  • Yeast and fungal infections (Candida)
  • Digestive issues (constipation, diarrhea, IBS, Chron's disease, ulcerative colitis)
  • Skin issues
  • Fatigue
  • Food allergies

This is why it's crucial to eliminate foods and lifestyle habits that destroy the gut lining, and incorporate more fermented foods that are packed with probiotics to help rebalance the bacteria in the gut. There are also probiotic supplements, but having the real deal (fermented foods) is the best way to get them.

My favorite fermented foods are:

  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Fermented vegetables
  • Coconut water kefir
  • Kombucha
  • Coconut yogurt

If you're new to adding probiotics into your diet, start slowly because your body will go into a state of detoxification and you might experiences symptoms such as bloating and possibly skin issues, but you will soon be feeling great and seeing a great difference in digestion and overall health. Then you can move up to having them with every meal (recommended!).

I've been experimenting with making my own ferments at home, and reality is that they're so easy to make and so much more cost effective.

Today I am sharing with you the simplest sauerkraut recipe ever. Hope you enjoy making it!

Ingredients Sauerkraut

1 head purple cabbage, shredded, save outer leaf

1 Tablespoon Sea salt (must be unrefined sea salt)

Procedure

  1. Place the shredded cabbage in a large glass bowl.
  2. Sprinkle with sea salt and massage with hands until wilted and juice covers bottom of the bowl, 3-5 minutes.
  3. Start filling a glass jar by scooping some of the cabbage with it's juice into it with a wooden spoon. Best to use glass or wood because any type of metal will kill off beneficial bacteria. Press down firmly with spoon after each scoop to pack it in tightly. Add remaining cabbage juice to fill jar. Take cabbage leaf that you initially saved, fold, and place at the surface of jar to keep air out and keep cabbage submerged in juice (press down).
  4. Cover jar tightly, making sure no air gets in. Leave on counter and press down on cabbage each day for about 3 days. Taste after 3 days (with wooden spoon). You can ferment it until it reaches your desired taste. Foam and bubbles on the surface are normal and signs of healthy fermentation. When done, cover with a lid and keep in refrigerator.

Enjoy!

Are you new to fermented foods? What are your favorite probiotic-rich foods?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cauliflower Mash

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Cauliflower is often an underestimated. It seems like such a plain vegetable, yet it's loaded with nutrients and health benefits. Nutritional Highlights of Cauliflower:

  • High in vitamin C - immune support, cardiovascular support
  • Rich in antioxidant phytonutrients - help lower the risk of developing different types of cancer
  • Vitamin K - highly anti-inflammatory
  • Sulphur - anti-inflammatory, shown to kill cancer stem cells, helps detoxification
  • Vitamin B6 & Choline - two B vitamins important for brain health
  • Fiber - aids digestion

 

Cauliflower mash

 

This side dish has been one of my go-to's at home lately. My personal chef clients love it as well. It's comforting and doesn't leave you feeling stuffed. It makes a great dairy-free and low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes, especially for those watching their weight. It even tastes better, in my opinion.

I make a batch at the beginning of the week and then sauté or roast a ton of vegetables to go with it. Great for lunch, dinner, or snack.

Ingredients 

1 Tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil

1 yellow onion, sliced

1 large head cauliflower, chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, mashed

1/4 - 1/2 cup water

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil (melted)

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Fresh herbs such as chives, parsley, or cilantro to garnish (optional)

Procedure

  1. Heat coconut oil in a large pan or pot. Add onion and sauté over medium heat until slightly softened, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add chopped cauliflower, garlic, and water (enough water to cover the bottom of the pan). Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and turn down heat to low. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally and checking to make sure there is still liquid at the bottom of the pan. If water has evaporates, add a little more. Steam until cauliflower is slightly tender.
  3. Remove from the heat and place in a food processor or high-speed blender. Season with oil, sea salt, and black pepper. Blend until it reaches mashed potato consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning. Mix in herbs at this time if desired, or garnish with them.

Note: If you do not have a food processor or high-speed blender, you may mash cauliflower with a potato masher. Cauliflower might need to be cooked a bit more to make it easier.

Serves 2-4

What's your favorite way to prepare cauliflower?

 

 

 

Chia Pudding [Video]

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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

 

My Post-Holiday Thoughts and Tips to Get Back on Track

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This is the first time I write a blog post with more of "my thoughts" than nutrition advice. I figured it was time to switch it up a bit. I'm in the mood. It's the week after Thanksgiving and some of us are feeling stressed, low on energy, and in need of a detox. Is this you? I believe that a balance is key for a healthy lifestyle. I believe in the 80/20 approach, which consists of eating healthy 80% of the time and being able to indulge 20% of the time. I don't believe in depriving ourselves from the things we love. Everything should be done and consumed in moderation. I personally used to have a hard time reaching that healthy balance. Once I gave in to the foods that I don't normally eat (refined sugar, wheat, dairy, alcohol), I found it hard to stop. Sugar is like a drug, it leaves you wanting more and more, and turns into a vicious cycle. The more we eat it, the more we crave it.

So how do we handle it? It takes time to get there, but it is possible. First of all, we have to learn to be okay with indulging and not punishing ourselves afterwards. It's about building a positive relationship with food and not a negative one. Second, we shouldn't be afraid of foods we love, but rather be mindful when we are eating them and know that they are only a treat and not an every day thing. If we believe that our body can handle it, then we won't stress about it. If we stress about the food we are eating, our body will not digest it well and cause inflammation and other symptoms. The more mindful we are when we eat, the better relationship we build with food. Don't let guilt dominate your eating experience and learn to enjoy every bite. Chew your food. It's so important to listen to our bodies and learn how food affects us to be able to eliminate the foods that don't make us feel good or don't provide us with energy. Throughout the years (yes, it takes time), I have learned to only enjoy foods that make me happy. Over indulging does not make me happy. In fact, I get in a bad mood when I eat a lot of sugar and not enough whole foods (vegetables, fruits, seeds, etc.).

My boyfriend and I took a road trip this holiday weekend and we could not believe how limited our food options were on the road. Dried apricots is all we walked away with at the gas station when we were feeling hungry. Good thing I had some raw coconut treats with us because there was literally nothing there that was going to give us sustained energy. We got smart on the way back and picked up food at Sprouts. We bought ingredients to make hummus & vegetable sandwiches on black rice bread (gluten-free), and a few bananas with almond butter.

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It often seems to others that I am "too strict" on myself, when really I enjoy eating how I eat and the lifestyle I live. My body and mind have learned to not crave those foods I used to run to when I was feeling stressed or emotional. Those foods that are associated with "living a little." Based on how I feel with the foods I eat and how happy I am, I have never lived better. I do indulge every once in a while, but I never let myself fall into the trap of wanting more. I now know that my body can handle it without gaining weight or losing track completely, but only if I am mindful that it is just a treat and don't associate it with any negative thoughts.

That said, of course I did indulge a bit this past Thanksgiving and I don't regret it one bit. I came back from my trip refreshed and ready to take on a new month. I decided the best way to start was with a detox, so my mom and I started a 6 day detox yesterday. We want to have more energy, lose the bloating/inflammation, clear our skin, and get rid of cravings.

Here are simple tips you can do also to get back on track:

  1. Drink Water. I can't stress how important water is to cleanse the body. Headaches, bloating, cravings, and low energy are all often signs of dehydration.
  2. Eat More Greens. The more greens we eat, the less we cravings we have. Vegetables provide the vitamins and minerals we need daily and reduce inflammation. Are you craving sugar? Eat greens. Are you low on energy? Eat greens.
  3. Eat a Balanced Breakfast. If your breakfast consists of mostly sugar (breads, pastries, fruit), you will crave sugar the rest of the day. Start your day with a breakfast packed with protein and healthy fats and you'll have more energy for longer.
  4. Walk it Out. Walking is one of the best ways to relieve stress. Take a long walk in the morning for the best start to your day or take 10-20 minute walk breaks throughout the day to reduce overall stress in your life. The more we stress, the harder it is to manage weight regardless of how clean our diet is.
  5. Eat Mindfully. Always ask yourself before you eat: "Will this nourish me and give me energy?." If the answer is no, then make changes. Be mindful of what you eat and how you feel during and after. Enjoy every bite and remember that you are the only one that can control what goes into your body.

 

Massaging Raw Kale [Video]

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I know what you're wondering. What the heck does massaging kale mean and why would I want to do that?

Kale is a very powerful leafy green because it's packed with nutrients. But raw kale is tough, fibrous, and very bitter, making it hard to digest. It is recommended to lightly steam, sauté, or massage kale before eating it in order for its fibers to bind better with acids in the digestive tract. The more digestible kale is, the better its nutrients are absorbed. Massaging kale is just a simple way to aid digestion and make it less bitter without having to cook it. Once you've massaged kale, you can use it to make a salad or side dish.

Health benefits of kale:

  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Lowers cancer risk
  • Detoxifies the body
  • High in antioxidants
  • High in vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C
  • High in manganese, fiber, copper, calcium, iron, potassium, and tryptophan

How to massage raw kale:

  1. Place chopped raw kale in a bowl. Sprinkle with sea salt and lemon juice and massage with both hands for 2-5 minutes, until wilted and dark green.

Any variety of kale works. You can also get creative and dress it up with other ingredients such as tahini, extra virgin olive oil, avocado, or nut butter.

Source: whfoods.com

 

 

Green Superfood Granola

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This granola is one of my favorite treats. It is grain-free, gluten-free, low in natural sweetener, high in healthy fats, and packed with energy boosting ingredients. It won't give you that sugar crash other granolas and cereals may give you due to their high amounts of refined sugars and oils. I sweetened this green granola with coconut sugar, which has a low glycemic index and won't spike your blood sugar. So what makes it green? Spirulina powder (Click the link to see the brand I buy). Spirulina is a nutrient-dense superfood that has great health benefits and is a great supplement to a healthy diet. Spirulina has a strong and overpowering taste, but just a little bit provides great nutrition. The taste can be masked with fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats (add it to your smoothies and you won't even know it's there). Check out my Superfood Ice Popsicle recipe for another nourishing spirulina treat.

Aside from spirulina powder, I also used maca root powder and mesquite powder in this recipe. These are two other 'superfoods' that contain lots of health supporting nutrients even if using small amounts. Both maca and mesquite powders have a nutty, sweet taste to them. I often use them in recipes to add sweetness without having to add an actual sweetener.

This green granola has the perfect balance of bitterness and sweetness to take care of that sweet craving, but also provides a nutrition punch. I crave it all the time but only let myself make it every so often because it's so addicting. Even though it's addicting, it's still good for you compared to store bought granolas. You can enjoy it sprinkled on yogurt, chia pudding, or in a smoothie. Eat it dry as an afternoon snack, or pair it with almond or coconut milk to make a delicious healthy cereal.

 

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Ingredients

2 cups coconut flakes

1/2 cup chia seeds

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeeds

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/4 cup raw sesame seeds

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1-2 teaspoons spirulina powder (I used 2 tsps)

2 teaspoons maca powder (optional)*

1 Tablespoon mesquite powder (optional)*

1/2 - 1 Tablespoon coconut sugar (I used 1/2 Tbsp)

pinch of sea salt

*maca and mesquite powders are optional, but since they add sweetness to the recipe, you might want to increase the coconut sugar a bit if you omit them.

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 225 F.
  2. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
  3. Spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and let cool. Store in a sealed container.

Makes ~3 cups