Showing posts with label smoothies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label smoothies. Show all posts

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Did You Know That March is National Nutrition Month?

March is national nutrition month
Image courtesy of Pixabay
As National Nutrition Month, March seems a good time to review ways to increase your nutrition in your daily life.   Most people do not consume the recommended nutrients every day to keep their bodies running in peak condition, so let's look at ways we can fix this.

Of course you could use March as an excuse to give your body a reboot aka a spring clean for your body instead of your house!  This is a great way to start creating your healthy habits.

You may think that's a bit too much so let's look at other things you can do -

  • Reduce your caffeine intake
  • Reduce your salt intake
  • Reduce your sugar intake
  • Reduce your processed foods
  • Increase your fruit and veg intake


We've all heard these comments before haven't we?   The problem is how and where to start so lets's go through them all one by one.

How to Reduce Your Caffeine Intake

Now if you only drink one cup of coffee or tea a day then you are probably okay, but I know many people drink a LOT more than that.  The problem with drinking too much caffeine whether it's from coffee, tea, cola drinks or energy drinks is that caffeine can cause the depletion of certain nutrients such as vitamin B6.   Not only that but it also interferes with your body's ability to absorb essential minerals such as calcium and magnesium.

It can be had to cut back as a lot of the time we grab these drinks out of habit, one way that I've gone down from 10 mugs a day to 1-2 a week is by using Fizz Sticks.  Let me tell you more ...

I like to drink what I call a green ogre drink on my way to work and I find that it gives me the same effect as my morning latte that I used to grab on my way to work at my previous job.   If you start off by just replacing one coffee with this I think you'll find you won't need your next one as quickly because you don't get the espresso crash as the effects of the caffeine from coffee wears off.

If you enjoy having a cuppa when you get up or after dinner then try a few caffeine free teas instead such as these -

Why Drink Peppermint Tea?Why Drink Peppermint Tea?
I love the flavour of peppermint so I'm probably biased as to why you should drink peppermint tea! However it does have a lot of benefits from aiding digestion to helping with concentration.


Review of Lifestyle Awareness TeasReview of Lifestyle Awareness Teas
Lifestyle Awareness is a brand of organic tea and this review focuses on just two of the teas in the range - Immunity Now and Serene Slumber. These teas have medicinal benefits to them as well and we can all use help with boosting our immune systems!



Or I do enjoy a cup of Twinings Chamomile, Honey & Vanilla before going to bed on a cold night.

If you're more of a soda drinker or you feel like you need an energy drink to keep you going then Fizz Sticks are definitely something that you can substitute for them.   You will find that the effects last a lot longer so that you don't need to drink as many. They come in four different flavors and contain a lot less sugar as well as being a lot healthier in other ways too.

How to Reduce Your Salt Intake


Too much salt can adversely affect our sodium/potassium balance and let's face it everywhere you turn you're being told to cut down salt aren't you?

Salt is one of those foods that are often in hidden in the foods you eat, one product that is usually high in salt is commercial stock (especially the convenient stock cubes).   A simple way to deal with this is to make your own vegetable stock, it's very easy as you can see here - how to make veggie stock - and you can make big batches to freeze down.   Using this you can monitor exactly how much salt you add to your food.

Reducing the amount of processed foods will help a lot (more on that later) and reading labels to build your awareness will be quite a shock to you.

How to Reduce Your Sugar Intake


Sugar is empty as far as nutritional value goes and it's also addictive.   I would try and use other products to sweeten things for example when my daughter was younger I would half the amount of sugar a recipe called for to make sweet muffins and throw in a mashed banana to use for sweetness instead.

If you or your children like using flavored drinks instead of water then why not look at putting cubed watermelon in your water pitcher as this fruit contains electrolytes.  Berries or citrus are also great ways of  adding flavor.

Looking on sites such as Pinterest can help with ideas for sugar free or low sugar recipes and I find myself using dates, bananas, apples and even maple syrup in my cooking as a way to keep the sweetness while raising the nutritional value of a dish.

How to Reduce Processed Foods


Processed foods can be devoid of many nutrients as well as containing high amounts of sugar and/or salt - this is especially so with low fat processed foods.

Now I'm not saying you have to totally embrace the whole food movement (although it's really great!), but being more aware of what you're eating is a good place to start.   The best way to reduce processed foods is to start cooking a few things from scratch.

Now with our busy lifestyles it can be hard to imagine cooking everything from scratch so I would recommend starting with one meal a week and cooking double quantities, one lot for that meal and one lot for the freezer which means the next week you have your 'new' meal plus the frozen meal from the previous week.

Snack foods can be the biggest fall down for many households when it comes to processed foods so I like to make sure I have fresh fruit available and have vegetables such as carrot sticks prepared and ready to eat.   I also find making protein balls or bliss balls a great idea.

How to Increase Your Fruit & Veg Intake


We're all told to increase our fruit and vegetables, but how?  If you're starting to cook more from scratch and having it as snacks as well you will find that you start to increase your intake.

I try to throw extra vegetable into my meals when I'm cooking them for example when I cook a lamb or beef satay I will always add green beans.   I also add diced zucchini (courgette) to a number of dishes as it takes on flavors really well.

Another easy way to add vegetables into your diet is by using it to substitute some of your other foods for example use a spiralizer to make vegetable 'pasta' or using cauliflower or broccoli in place of rice.

Another thing that I do is I have a scoop of Greens Balance every day - this contains a rainbow of fruit and veg - and this can be taken on it's own, popped into a protein shake (or the green ogre shake above) or even added into something when you're cooking such as bolognaise.

I did see someone added the greens balance to banana muffins for her fussy child and he ate them because he was told they were made from monsters!

If you don't like eating breakfast or you have a child that doesn't like eating in the morning or at lunchtime then why not try a shake or a smoothie bowl - it's a great way to add in berries and other fruits as well as spinach, kale or a good old scoop of greens balance.

Reviewing Smoothie Bowl RecipesReviewing Smoothie Bowl Recipes
Essentially a smoothie bowl is a thick smoothie served in a bowl with different toppings and it is delicious. You can have a myriad of different flavors and there's really no rules as to what you can pop on top


Tropical Fruit Smoothie Recipe ReviewedTropical Fruit Smoothie Recipe Reviewed
The tropical fruit smoothies taste really good and they are very easy to make. Simply gather your favorite tropical fruits and the blender and you have a quick and healthy snack for breakfast, lunch or after dinner!


Healthy and Delicious SmoothiesHealthy and Delicious Smoothies
Feel more energized and healthier by adding a smoothie to your day, from tropical fruit to green smoothies and so many other recipes in between.



baby step ways to improve your nutrition for national nutrition month and beyond


So, Over to You


What are you going to do to improve your nutritional intake this month?




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Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Hamilton Beach Wave Crusher Blender Reviewed

Make Milkshakes or Smoothies With A Blender

milkshake
Milkshake image courtesy of pixabay.com
Santa brought me a new blender with a travel jar this year for Christmas. I thought that a review of it was in order today. To be honest I didn't ask Santa for a blender and was a little disappointed when I unwrapped the box. I had asked for a milkshake maker so that I could make my own milkshakes. I already have a blender; never mind that it is probably 30 years old or older. The point is that I have a blender and I can make a milkshake in it but it isn't quite the same. When I looked at the box, I couldn't help but think that Santa did not have his listening ears on when I made my simple request. I should have known that most of the time he knows what I need better than I do. 

So, on Christmas morning I am trying very hard to hide my disappointment while secretly thinking that I really don't need another blender. After all of our gifts had been opened, I took the box out to the kitchen to try and figure out where I would put this second blender. As I begin to remove the parts from the box, I ungratefully think that this new one doesn't do even half the functions that my old one does. The little devil sitting on my left shoulder was working overtime to make me think negative thoughts! The little angel on my right shoulder says, "Now, be nice and give it a chance! Look a little closer, dear."  I look at the function buttons and realize that I had rushed to judgement unfairly. The functions are: Mix Milkshake, Puree Smoothie, Dice Chop, Grind Crush Ice. "Well, smack me with butter and call me a biscuit! Maybe Santa had done better research than I had." The little devil grunts and rolls her eyes but the little angel smiles her approval.

Suffice it to say, that I absolutely love the Hamilton Beach Blender with a travel jar that Santa picked out for me. I can make a milkshake in the 40 oz glass jar or I can make one in the 20 oz glass travel jar. The Wave Crusher Blender is really versatile. It is pretty ingenuous, really. The base will hold either jar securely. You see, the blade attaches to the large jar or the smaller one and then to the base. The removable blade makes for a really easy and thorough cleaning, too. No more worry about slicing my fingers while trying to clean the blade! Trust me, that is a real advantage in my case because I have a history of cutting myself with sharp objects. I think they call it the clumsy gene or something like that. 

I have already made a few milkshakes with this new little tool and I was able to find a place on the counter for it. Currently, my favorite is a chocolate peanut butter concoction but I am sure that I will come up with some other ideas as this new year rolls on. I may get brave and make a few fruit smoothies sometime soon. 

Santa knew what he was doing and I am very happy with his choice. I think you might be happy with one, also. 

May this new year bring you much joy, laughter and love! 



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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Saturday, December 15, 2018

Reviewing How To Reboot Your Body

reviewing how to reboot your body
The end of the year is often a time for reflection  and our New Years start off with  promises to ourselves of keeping good habits, kicking bad habits, taking time out for gratitude and other things.

This year I started my January by doing Arbonne's 30 Days to Healthy Living and Beyond plan and I felt fantastic on it.   This plan is a great way to basically give your body a reboot!

I will be 'rebooting my body' again in January 2019 and I'm going to review the reasons why as well as the what, whys and hows of the plan.

Why I Love The Basic Principles of The 30DTHL Plan


There are three principles behind the plan as I see it -
  • First foods that are often allergenic, acidic or hard for the body to digest are eliminated - don't worry it's only for 30 days!
  • Second, you nourish your body with good, clean food and quality supplements.
  • Thirdly you support your body as it goes through it's rebooting process.
Doesn't that sound good?  This was what attracted me to this plan as I had discovered over 10 years ago that a certain food could cause my Rheumatoid Arthritis to flare up and yet other foods that cause other people to flare up didn't appear to affect me.

The idea of eliminating and then (this plan does include the words and beyond) re-introducing the different foods gradually so that you can see how they may or may not affect you, this idea is one that I think is brilliant.  Everyone is different, but I do think that everyone would benefit from a reboot at least once so that they can find out how different foods affect them.

I also love how the importance of nourishing your body correctly is handled.  This program provides you with protein powder to use twice a day leaving you to only have to prepare one meal a day (and snacks).  Initially I was a little unsure how I felt about this, however if I had to prepare three meals to the proportions recommended and not including processed foods I would probably not have lasted the whole 30 days.

We live busy lives and that's what Arbonne gets.   The protein powders are specially formulated (and by the way all of the products are vegan, gluten-free & kosher) and although I was skeptical about them filling me up they really do!   If you don't want shakes that's fine as you can cook with the protein powder too and there are recipes available for protein porridge, pancakes and lots more ideas.

Personally I love making up a shake in the morning as I find it quick, easy and filling.   On the weekends I will often treat myself to a smoothie bowl -

https://www.reviewthisreviews.com/2018/05/reviewing-smoothie-bowl-recipes.htmlReviewing Smoothie Bowl Recipes
A smoothie bowl is essentially a thick smoothie that is served up in a bowl with a variety of toppings. It is delicious and feels like a decadent treat while also being a very healthy choice.

Gently supporting your body in a delicious way with their herbal tea and body cleanse is also great.   If you live in the US, Canada or the UK you also get what they call Digestion Plus to take every day and this works wonders on your gut health which is really important.

Who Needs to Reboot Their Body?

I think most of us need to reboot our body at some point so that it's working efficiently.  I think of when my internet connection is dropping out or just seems to hang, the first thing I do is hit the reset button on my wifi router and 99% of the time that's all it takes.

So why would you need to hit the reset button on your body?  Well let me list a few symptoms that may show your body isn't working as well as it could be -


signs you may need to detox
  • Bloating
  • Bad Breath 
  • Feeling Tired
  • Dry Lips 
  • Insomnia
  • Sore Muscles 
  • Hormonal Imbalance
  • Low Libido 
  • Brain Fog
  • Skin Breakouts 
  • Headaches
  • Depression 
  • Gas
  • Skin Rashes 
  • Low Energy


What Do I Get with the 30 Day Pack?


When you order the plan you will receive 2 x bags of protein, 2 x boxes of herbal tea, 2 x boxes of fizz sticks, 1 x bag of fibre, 1 x box digestion plus*, 1 x box of Body Cleanse and 1 x tub of Greens Balance.

*Only available in the US, Canada & UK

You also get access to a private coaching group on facebook, a downloadable recipe book, 30 days worth of meal plans (both vegan and non-vegan plans) and you can message me any time.   I've actually done this plan a few times so can help with any questions you have.

30 days to healthy living and beyond - rebooting your body the healthy way
30 Days to Healthy Living and Beyond

Changes I Have Personally Experienced


When I did my first 30 days to healthy living I found that I had lost 5kg (11 lb), I had lots of energy, I wasn't experiencing any mood swings (I am menopausal and these had been quite bad), my hot flushes had stopped, my sleeping had improved, my energy levels were really high and (as a total surprise) I was no longer sore or stiff in the morning when I woke up.

Now that last point was a big surprise to me as I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis approx 16 years ago.  I had come off of my medications about a decade ago and had been managing my condition with diet & lifestyle.   I had accepted, however, that I would be stiff in the mornings and sometimes a little sore - a combination of RA and getting older.   I have discovered that while doing this plan that was no longer the case and hasn't been all year!

Now I'm not claiming that this will work for everyone, but I can't think why you wouldn't give it a try!

What Happens After the Reboot


Part of the health reboot is eliminating certain foods for 30 days, now if you want to maximize the effect of this plan you need to gradually reintroduce these foods one at a time over the following few weeks.   This way you can pinpoint which foods (if any) effect you.

Foods can affect you differently as you age as well.  When we get older our bodies produce less digestive enzymes and this is why when I was on an elimination diet over a decade ago only one food seemed to effect me.   I now know that I have to reduce how often I eat other foods too.

The other thing that will happen after you've been making your clean meals for one meal a day (most people have dinners, but you may have chosen lunch) is that it's much easier to make your second meal as well.   I admit that a number of people I know actually continue to have a smoothie for their breakfast after finishing the plan.   In my case it's because it's easy, yummy and keeps me full!

Interested in Learning More?


Contact me via messenger on my Facebook page or leave a comment below and I'll get back to you with more information including how to order it at a discount.





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Monday, June 20, 2016

Healthy and Delicious Smoothies

Photo courtesy of D Sharon Pruitt (creative commons)
Last week I shared my excitement about my new NutriBullet Pro 900 series with you.  I have enjoyed green smoothies for some time now but settled with using an inexpensive blender for far too long. Now that I have a NutriBullet juice extractor, smoothies have become even more important to me and even easier to make on a daily basis.


Why Smoothies Have Become Important to Me


Some time ago I began trying to eat healthier foods and cut things from my diet such as soda.  I find that as the years pass, my health is harder to maintain and my weight continues to increase.  I also began making smoothies because store-bought juices are typically too sweet.  I like water with a splash of orange juice or cranberry juice. So it was an easy jump to the Smoothies.  Finally, when I drink smoothies regularly, I feel noticeably better.

Green smoothies are my favorite. Especially green smoothies using the following ingredients: 
Spinach, orange juice, blueberries, banana, water/ice, and a few leaves of fresh mint from my balcony garden.

My plan is to try many different smoothies.  I now have a recipe book to browse and an app to download. And a NutriBullet Pro that pulverizes ingredients. For more information about my new NutriBullet, take a peek at my review


Tempting Smoothie Recipe Suggestions From a Few Friends


Cynthia Sylverstermouse shares her Tropical Fruit Smoothie with us. If you are a fan of mango, strawberry, and papaya you must take a peek at this recipe. She also suggests we take a look at the Ultimate Smoothie Book for more delicious smoothie recipes.

I love peanut butter, and know that it is considered to be very nutritious, but I have never considered having it in a smoothie with berries. On Recipes for Real People you can find the recipe for Peanut Butter Triple Berry Smoothie.

And if your mouth isn't watering yet, this compilation of Chocolate Smoothie recipes by BuckHawk is sure to cause you to crave chocolate. AND rush right out to purchase a smoothie maker if you do not already own one. I think an Almond Joy Smoothie for dessert sounds like a wonderful thing!  But if almonds, coconut, and chocolate isn't your thing, there are several other chocolate smoothies to choose from. 


Photo courtesy of Ralf Kabelitz (creative commons)





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Monday, June 13, 2016

NutriBullet: Why I Waited Too Long!

NutriBullet Pro 900
I am slow to buy the latest thingamajigs and doodads. I'm not sure why, but my tendency is to not buy things when they are new on the market. I recently purchased a NutriBullet Pro 900 and I regret having waited for so long. If you like smoothies or if you are committing to a more healthy diet, I highly recommend the NutriBullet Pro 900. 


Why I chose the NutriBullet Pro 


My inexpensive blender finally gave up. While it was operational, I thought it did a suitable job making smoothies. I didn't feel like it was a big deal when the occasional banana blob got caught in the straw or the chunk of ice crunched between my teeth. I loved the heavy-duty glass pitcher and it worked well to make my smoothies every few days. But then it wore out and was beyond repair.

I had been reading reviews of different "smoothie" makers.  I've listened to friends talk about their wonderful and expensive blenders. I still procrastinated and didn't make a purchase. I didn't want to spend the money. I didn't want another kitchen gadget. And frankly, I thought smoothie makers were over-priced and just a gimmick.  In the meantime, I missed my occasional morning smoothie much more than I thought I would.

So far, my NutriBullet Pro has done a great job.  Not only does it crush ice completely, and mix the bananas into a smooth drink, it transformed carrots, a splash of orange juice, a splash of french vanilla creamer, ice, and water into an "orange" creamsicle drink!  Yes. Carrots pulverized into a smooth and creamy drink.  I believe the NutriBullet folks refer to it as "extracting" but I prefer the word pulverizing. 

While ultimately, there are more pieces with this system (the base, the two cups, the cup ring, lid, and handle attachments, and the blade assembly), somehow this seems easier than using my old blender that only had three pieces.  With the NutriBullet, I just add my ingredients to the cup, screw on the blade assembly, turn it upside-down and press and turn it slightly into the base. Then I watch it pulverize. When finished, I just remove it from the base (easy), remove the blade assembly, and add the cup attachment I prefer (the sippy-lid).

With my beloved blender, I had to choose a variety of settings (the ice setting first, followed by one of the higher settings). I also had to stop the blender and scrape ingredients from the sides. While I thought I'd miss the glass blender jar, the smaller cups are faster and easier to wash.

I regret having waited so long to add this machine to my kitchen and the health benefits to my life.


Pros


In addition to the creamsicle flavored smoothie, I like the following about the NutriBullet Pro 900:

  • the NutriBullet Pro 900 is 900 watts - which means little to me except that it is far more powerful than my blender was
  • is able to "breakdown" ingredients like carrots, nuts, flax seeds, and so on.
  • it is very easy to use - no fancy buttons or settings
  • it takes up very little counter space 
  • the cups are dishwasher safe (top shelf)
  • recipe book is included & free app with recipes available
  • nutritional information booklet -the reported health benefits of a variety of fruits, greens, and "boosts"
  • a 133 page booklet of recipes, health information, and testimonials

Cons


My only concerns are mild concerns. So mild that I nearly did not mention them here. But I decided to list them in the event someone who designs the future NutriBullet models reads this.  

I am a 51 year old woman with short fingers, weak hands, and apparently with worsening vision. I would still rate my NutriBullet Pro at 5 out of 5 stars. But the following are my concerns:
  • the "max" line on the cups are VERY hard to read with the ingredients in the cups 
  • the attachments (the blade, and the cup ring attachments, etc) are a large size that are nearly too large for my short fingers to grasp while turning
  • the attachments may be difficult for folks with arthritis, or other problems with grasp, to use easily
However, these issues will not cross your mind if you have good vision, average length fingers, and good grip. 

Perhaps the NutriBullet folks will make a NutriBullet Seniors model.

Next week I will explain why smoothies are important to me and I'll share some delicious smoothie recipes from my friends.


NutriBullet Recipe and Information Booklet Included






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