superfood

Chocolate For The Heart

It's no coincidence that chocolate is the treat of choice for the love holiday. Here are 3 benefits of cacao that nourish the heart:

Heart Opener

Cacao, in its raw and unprocessed form, is a food that naturally opens and connects us to our heart space. It allows us to feel deeper into our emotions and desires. This is why we share chocolate with loved ones so we can be open and connect with one another perhaps on a more meaningful level. 

High in Magnesium

Another major health property of raw cacao is that it is the highest food source of magnesium, which is an essential mineral for many bodily functions. It relaxes muscles and the nervous system, aids digestion, and alkalizes the body. Raw cacao also improves sleep, hydrates, and supports bone health. Magnesium is important for heart health because it keeps calcium levels balanced.

Cacao as an Aphrodisiac

Cacao contains Theobromine, which is a natural occurring chemical that is a stimulant similar to coffee but without the caffeine. It also relaxes blood vessels, dropping blood pressure, and allowing us to relax. The Aztecs referred to cacao as food of the Gods mainly due to it containing theobromnie and using it as a healing and opening substance before making love - an aphrodisiac!


Live A Lot Superfood Chocolate is intentionally made with the highest quality fair-trade raw cacao to obtain the endless health benefits of this food. We infuse our bars with a blend of medicinal mushrooms to make them more nourishing and delicious. 

These bars are decadent on their own, but if you feel like getting creative, there are many ways to enjoy this chocolate. One of my favorite ways is simply melting it down and drizzling it over fresh fruit. 

For an extra playful experience in the bedroom with your partner, melt the chocolate down and let your imagination and playfulness flow. 

Chocolate Dipped Fresh Figs and Chocolate Drizzled Fresh Apples

Chocolate Dipped Fresh Figs and Chocolate Drizzled Fresh Apples

Melted Chocolate Drizzled on Creamy Coconut Ice Cream

Melted Chocolate Drizzled on Creamy Coconut Ice Cream

xx,

Giovanna

Best Ever Apple Pie

ReishiApplePie2.jpg

What makes this apple pie the best ever is the love and quality ingredients that went into it. My lovely friend Julia from Dessert Medicine was visiting and we got busy in the kitchen. 

It's a wonderful experience to share space in the kitchen with someone and let each others intuitive powers flow and blend together. 

We had an abundance of apples and a vision of an apple pie a few days prior to making this, and without rules, recipes, or expectations, we joined to execute the most amazing pie I've ever created. Julia made the crust and I made the filling. Together we made magic! 

I invite you to play in the kitchen with friends, lovers, and family. You too can create something delicious, wether you're a self-proclaimed chef or not. All you need is some inspiration, a few ingredients, and some good intentions. 

Ingredients

Crust:

2 cups gluten-free oats

1 cup almonds

2 Tablespoons flax seeds or chia seeds, plus 1/4 cup water

2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 Tablespoon lucuma powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon each ginger, nutmeg, cardamom

1/4 teaspoon himalayan salt

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

 

Apple Filling:

5 apples, sliced

¼ cup coconut palm sugar

3 Tablespoons melted coconut oil

2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

2 Tablespoons lucuma powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon cardamom

½ teaspoon reishi powder

Pinch of nutmeg

Pinch of sea salt

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. 

To make crust:

  1. Grind flax or chia in a spice grinder, to make a powder and mix with water to make a gel.
  2. Blend oats and almonds in a high power blender, into a flour. 
  3. Melt down coconut oil, if not already liquid.
  4. Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix by hand.
  5. Press crust mixture into a pie dish, evenly pinching the sides and set aside.

To make apple filling:

  1. Combine all filling ingredients in a bowl. Taste and adjust flavor/sweetness to your preference.
  2. Pour over crust and spread out evenly in pie pan.
  3. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until crust is slightly browned and apples are cooked through and soft. 

Serve with ice cream. We served it with a homemade Honey Lavender Coconut Ice Cream that I had in my freezer (recipe coming soon!). 

Chocolate Dipped Persimmon Bars

If you haven't noticed by now, dessert is one of my favorite things to make (and perhaps eat). I love creating treats that are indulgent but also provide nourishment and satisfaction. I believe that dessert is one of the best ways to connect with others and build stronger relationships. Because who doesn't love dessert? 

I had the pleasure of spending a day creating treats with my amazing friend, Julia Corbett. She has a beautiful blog where she shares inspiration and recipes for Dessert Medicine (Yes, that exists!).

This recipe was specifically created to share in Dessert Medicine. Julia and I made magic in the kitchen and then played at the park while we enjoyed these delicious bars. Hop on over to her blog to get inspired and see pictures of the process: http://www.dessertmedicine.com/blog/2015/10/30/dessert-maker-giovanna-garcia. I also share how I personally get inspired to create healthy desserts and why I created my superfood chocolate bars.

Photo by  Julia Corbett

Photo by Julia Corbett

Ingredients

4 Fuyu persimmons, chopped

2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

3/4 cup Medjool dates, pitted

1/2 cup dried figs

1/3 cup goji berries

1/2 cup gluten-free oats

1/4 cup coconut flour

2 Tablespoons lucuma powder

1 teaspoon he shou wu powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder

Sea salt, to taste

4 Superfood chocolate bars, melted

 

Procedure

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. 

2. Place chopped persimmons in a baking dish and toss with coconut oil, cinnamon, cardamom, and a pinch of sea salt. Bake for 10-20 minutes, until soft. 

3. In a food processor, combine baked persimmons along with remaining ingredients (except chocolate). Process until mixture sticks together when pressed with fingers. 

4. Line a dish or baking tin with parchment paper and press mixture down to flatten into desired thickness. Place in the freezer while you melt your chocolate. Melt chocolate on a double boiler. 

5. Remove dish from freezer and cut mixture into bars. Dip each bar into melted chocolate and place on a  parchment-lined plate or baking sheet. Once finished with all bars, place back in freezer until chocolate firms up. 

6. Remove from freezer and enjoy! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

Makes ~10 bars

 

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

Spiced Sweet Potato Wedges + Avocado Superfood Dip

Spiced sweet potatoes featured image

There's something about sweet potatoes. Don't you love them? I do! Sweet potatoes are the healthy alternative to regular potatoes because they actually pack a punch of essential vitamins and minerals. They are anti-inflammatory and help balance blood sugar. The words 'yams' and 'sweet potatoes' are often interchangeable. They are actually two different vegetables, but are both great options.

Staying clear of all whites is always best (white breads, flours, sugars, etc.), but there is an exception... Japanese sweet potatoes. They are white-light yellow inside and have a purple skin. These are actually the most nutrient dense of all sweet potatoes. So enjoy your sweet potatoes/yams, especially the Japanese ones!

Spiced Sweet Potato Wedges

Ingredients

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges (I used yam & Japanese sweet potato)

2 Tablespoons melted coconut oil

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon turmeric

Pinch of cayenne

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Place sweet potato wedges in an oven safe dish.
  3. Combine coconut oil and spices in a small bowl and drizzle over potatoes. Mix to coat well.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until tender. Turn broiler on towards the end if you want them crispy.
  5. Serve with avocado superfood dip (recipe below).
Spiced sweet potatoes

Avocado Superfood Dip

Ingredients

1 ripe avocado

2 Tablespoons raw tahini

1 teaspoon spirulina (I use HealthForce brand)

1 teaspoon raw honey

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 cup water, or to desired consistency

Procedure

  1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Garnish with fresh herbs and enjoy.

What's your favorite way to eat sweet potatoes? Share your creations and recipes below or on social media with #apurifiedlife

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

The Easiest Green Drink

APL_Yoga&SmoothiesFEb28_DFY3

Some days there seems to be no time to even blend something for breakfast and take it on the go. On those days, I like to make something that only takes less than a minute, yet is filled with vitamins and minerals. Vitamineral Green is a powdered blend of green superfoods to enhance detox, support the immune system, balance blood sugar, rejuvenation, aid organ function, and support longevity. I simply mix this magical supplement with a few magical ingredients in a jar of spring water to get a healthy start. BCFebPhoto16

Ingredients:
2 cups water
1 Tablespoon of Vitamineral Green
Splash of lemon juice
2-3 drops of Vanilla Stevia
 
Get going on a good, green note! 

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

Superfood Hot Chocolate

superfoodhotchocolate featured image

Every year I come home to visit for the holidays with a new favorite drink or food that I'm eager to share with my family. This year, I've been on a hot chocolate kick for about a month now, and it's been a healing and delicious journey. This has been the morning drink of choice at my house for the past few days, and I encourage you to give it a try if you're looking for a cozy nourishing start to your day. Especially around the stressful holiday season, starting with a warm pre-digested drink like this will sooth the digestive system instead of causing more stress first thing in the morning. You'll feel lighter and more energized.

Ingredients

2 cups herbal tea -Any herbal tea of choice works.I use a loose leaf mixture of dandelion root, holy basil, gynostemma, and chaga mushroom. (I order my herbs online from Mountain Rose Herbs)

2 Tablespoons hemp seeds

1 Tablespoon raw cacao powder

1 Tablespoon coconut oil

1 teaspoon raw honey

1 teaspoon raw maca powder - Boosts energy, balances mood, influences stamina, and aids sexual function

1/4-1/2 teaspoon ashwagandha powder - An adaptogenic herb that helps the body deal with stress, strengthens the immune system, and boosts energy. 

1/4 teaspoon he shou wu - Strengthens the immune system, supports adrenals, calms the nervous system, and maintains youthful condition and color of hair. 

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1-2 drops of vanilla stevia (Omica Organics)

Pinch of sea salt

Pinch of cayenne pepper

superfoodhotchocolate
superfoodhotchocolate

Procedure

  1. Place hot tea and remaining ingredients in a blender and blend until creamy and frothy.

Note: This drink is not by all means limited to these ingredients only. My hot chocolate is never the same. I like to switch off using different superfoods depending on how I feel that day. Play around with what calls you. Other ingredients I often use: mucuna, shilajit, lucuma, stevia, dates instead of honey, tahini, cinnamon, medicinal mushroom powders (reishi, cordyceps, turkey tail, shiitake, etc.), and Everlasting Vitality & Youth.

Let me know what ingredients you try and how your specialty superfood hot chocolate turns out.

Enjoy & Happy Holidays!

x, Giovanna