Green Tips

Halloween Treats! Superfood Monster Heads


I had the pleasure of joining the founder of Beaming, Lisa Odenweller, and Brad Wills on Fox 5 San Diego last week to talk about ways to “Trick Out Your Halloween Treats” … via, you guessed it, SUPERFOODS! Watch the full clip HERE as we talk about what makes superfoods so incredible, then grab the recipe we made on air below to make your own healthy (and super fun) treats!

SUPERFOOD “MONSTER” HEADS

A great project for kids to put together and enjoy superfoods! Makes about 1½ dozen “monster heads.” Adapted from “No Bake Brownies” from Superfood Kitchen © 2012 by Julie Morris, Sterling Publishing Co.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup raw walnuts

1 cup Medjool dates, pits removed

½ cup cacao powder

2 tablespoons Beaming Protein Powder (or your favorite protein powder)

pinch sea salt

¼ cup chocolate shavings or mini chocolate chips

[Toppings (each in small bowls]

  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • spirulina powder to preference (about ½ -1 teaspoon)
  • a few spoonful’s Goji berries
  • a few spoonful’s hemp seeds
  • a few spoonful’s sunflower seeds
  • a few spoonfuls cacao nibs
  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil

DIRECTIONS

In a food processor, briefly grind the walnuts into a coarse flour. Add the dates and process until chunky. Add the cacao powder, protein powder and sea salt and process once more until a crumbly dough has formed. Test the constancy – dough should be stick together easily and slightly malleable, if not, blend in water – 1 teaspoon at a time. Transfer to a medium bowl.

Lay the wax paper on a flat surface.  Mix coconut flakes and a little spirulina in a bowl to create light green flakes, and spill out the mixture onto wax paper. A tablespoon at a time, pack the cacao dough into a tight ball by hand, and roll around in green coconut, using a dab of coconut oil if needed to adhere more coconut. Use toothpick to help shape a mouth (etc) and other toppings to make eyes, nose, teeth, etc with different toppings. Stick with a toothpick and transfer to a serving plate.

Lessons from The Grand Chia Master


My friend Lizzie does Ironmans. You know, that little thing where you swim 2.4 miles, race 112 miles on a bike, and then run a full marathon (26.2 miles). In a day. Right.

She’s also a mom of two, and from the looks of things, her kidlets are sprouting into little superheroes of their own. In fact, her five year old son, Bryce (see picture above), has taken a particular interest in his nutrition. After babbling about “antioxidants” since he was a toddler, Bryce has recently crowned himself with the honorable title of “The Grand Chia Master.” (I believe this position of power is a “forever” kind of deal, in case you were wondering.) GC Master looks forward to the event of making homemade superfood smoothies (aka a “science experiment”), adding in colorful powders, vivid fruits, leafy greens, and chia seeds (of course!) before creating the most awesomely delicious kid-friendly sludge.

Did I mention he’s five?

Kids may be picky, but it’s not the nutrients in food they’re picky about; many times it’s the way nutritious food is offered in the first place. When presented with tasty healthy options — and given the opportunity to make their own choices — the beneficial foods children gravitate toward is often genuinely inspiring.

A while back, I read about a fascinating study done on sugary cereal. The goal was to test how much sugar made a child happy enough to eat his or her breakfast. In the study, two separate groups of young children were allowed to help themselves to cereal, fruit, sugar packets, milk and juice for breakfast. The only difference between the two groups was that while one group was offered sugary cereal like Fruit Loops and Frosted Flakes, the other group was given low-sugar cereal like Rice Krispies. The children were instructed to simply prepare breakfast for themselves.

Although both groups ate almost the same amount of calories, the calories derived from sugar in the sugar-cereal group were almost double compared to the low sugar cereal group — even though many children in the low-sugar group added sugar packets to their bowl. Additionally, “more than half of kids given low-sugar options added fruit to their bowls, versus 8 percent of those eating sugary cereal.” Can you imagine the results if they included a third group, with a make-your-own smoothie option?

Children eat profoundly instinctively — very much on a “want” basis — and although taste (and presentation) is a defining factor too, sometimes it’s just about presenting a child with a choice (such as the choice to include sugar in cereal as opposed to a pre-sweetened variety). Including abundant nutrient-dense superfoods like yum-worthy seeds, berries, and even hidden greens, can be excellent ways to keep children happy, stocked with healthy nutrition, and inevitably too full/satisfied to crave refined or sugary foods. This method is known as the “crowding out” theory.

In fact, the crowding out theory works with adults too. Which, if I’m not mistaken, means the Grand Chia Master indeed has a lesson to share with us all.

Bryce’s Grand Chia Master Superfood Smoothie Recipe

frozen mango chunks, to taste

frozen mixed berries, to taste

1 frozen acai smoothie pack

1 banana

18 drops Chloroxygen (liquid chlorophyll drops)

2 tablespoons chia seeds

2 tablespoons ground flax powder

2 tablespoons hemp seeds

2 tablespoons cacao nibs

2 cups arugula

1 scoop Macro Greens powder

2 cups coconut water

Blend until awesome, and serve.

Beauty Secrets of Superfoods

The new best friends of beauty don’t come from a tube (or a pill, or an infomercial, or the, er, “special doctor”). The beauty boost you’ve been looking for comes straight from the kitchen! A radiant exterior starts with a well-nourished body, and while there are many foods that offer beautifying benefits, nutrient-dense superfoods are ideal for getting that long-term glow. Add these 5 extraordinary foods to your diet for the healthiest (and most delicious!) beauty upgrade ever:

Hemp Seeds
Among their many benefits, hemp seeds are an exceptionally rich source of essential fatty acids (EFAs). EFAs serve as a crucial element in the development of new cells by helping to compose the cell membrane itself. Because the cells that compose our body’s exterior have an especially high turnover rate, eating foods with quality EFAs influences an increase in renewed and vibrant skin, hair, nails, etc. Hemp seeds also supply a good source of Vitamin E, the famous beauty nutrient known for its natural moisturizing and anti-aging qualities.
Try them in: Hemp Hummus

Wheatgrass Juice or Powder
Being a potent natural source of chlorophyll (the green “blood” of plants), wheatgrass is profoundly alkaline. This quality means wheatgrass assists in increasing circulation, promotes detoxification of impurities, neutralizes acids and toxins, and at the same time replenishes cells with essential minerals. While all this beneficial activity builds a clean body internally, these perks also translate to vibrant, lustrous skin and bright, clear eyes.
Try it in: Green Energy Bars

Berries
Nutrient-dense berries such as strawberries, blackberries, goji berries, or acai berries share a common benefit: concentrated antioxidants. Antioxidants help fight free radicals in the body, thus providing defense against cellular oxidation (disease and aging). Consistent consumption of high antioxidant foods can delay signs of aging by keeping the body’s cell structure strong on both the inside and out. Eating these “superberries” can be especially helpful in preventing the acceleration of skin damage (like wrinkles!), as well as delaying (even reversing, according to some reports) graying hair.
Try them in: Indigo Granita Dessert

Camu Camu
As the world’s highest known source of Vitamin C, camu berries are a standout superfood in a beautifying diet. Vitamin C plays a crucial role in beauty because in addition to contributing to tissue growth, this nutrient is also essential for the formation of collagen – a protein responsible for giving skin its elastic quality (among many other things!). Plus, being an antioxidant in and of itself, Vitamin C is another premium tool in the anti-aging arsenal. Consuming vitamin C in a natural, whole food form like camu (as opposed to a synthetic vitamin pill) ensures this helpful nutrient is digested and assimilated by the body to the fullest extent.
Try it in: Camu Berry Lemonade, from Superfood Cuisine: Cooking With Nature’s Most Amazing Foods

Coconut Oil
Granted, coconut oil may not be a superfood per se, but its incredible benefits earn it a paramount position in the natural beauty regimen. When enjoyed as a food, coconut oil makes a nutritious cooking oil full of energy-giving medium chain fatty acids that are easily (and deliciously) used in place of harmful fats. Used externally, coconut oil serves as nature’s premier moisturizing lotion – an ideal remedy for dry or wrinkled skin. Rubbed on the body or face, the smooth oil is easily absorbed, softens the skin, and provides an instant radiance.
Try it in: Heavenly Baked Delecata Squash

These foods can be sourced at natural food stores, through various web-based retailers, or through my online shop.

Refueling the body: one superfood smoothie at a time

Life is too short for blandness and blahness (which is, indeed, a philosophy I live by for food and beyond). But flavor aside, a food’s function is also a top priority … what benefits can it offer? It’s always my mantra to marry the taste/function combo in any recipe I make.

Currently, with the warmer weather getting started, I’m SO ready to rev up my running schedule, which has been on a lighter “maintenance” mode while I was finishing up my new book. I have all the running motivation I need: a new pair of *amazing* athletic crop pants (I may never take them off), the nag of a new yellow bikini (no polka dots, sorry), and a brand new post-workout smoothie recipe that’s 100% bland/blah-free while FULL of function.

Post-workout nutrition is of premium importance: not just because you’re hungry after being active, but because any kind of activity essentially breaks down the body, so that it can rebuild itself even stronger. It makes sense that if we eat properly after a workout, we’re giving the body the tools it needs to construct the strongest and healthiest machine possible. While a slice of pizza may not make this “eat properly” cut, a delicious superfood smoothie certainly does. Hydrating, filling, and easily assimilated, these smoothies are among the most efficient ways to stockpile nutrients after a workout – be it a bike ride, a hike, a yoga session, or in my case, a run. I’ll admit, I often rely upon a “lazy” smoothie, using premade formulas like Vega Sport which provides everything I need in one trustworthy fell swoop. But sometimes I like to make my own blends too, as I enjoy being conscious of each and every good ingredient I’m putting into my body.

So while sharing my newest post-workout superfood smoothie recipe below, in addition to the “how” of the recipe, I also wanted to shed some light on the “why” – aka the function. There’s no scientific proof that being keyed into the nutrition of food actually makes it any more beneficial, but I like to think that self-satisfaction is a virtuous nutrient in its own right.

Strawberry-Banana Post-Workout Smoothie

This smoothie refuels the body with over 20 grams of protein, immune-boosting vitamins, lubricating healthy fats, and stress-reducing superfoods.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tbsp hemp protein powder (A concentrated and easily-digestible protein essential for building/repairing muscle tissue.)
2 Tbsp hemp seeds (Packed with essential fatty acids lubricates joints and decreases inflammation; another protein source as well.)
2 Tbsp cashews (Full  of minerals like copper and magnesium – supports collagen production and muscle relaxation.)
1 tsp maca powder (A potent adaptogenic herb supports the adrenal glands [which get heavily taxed during exercise], responsible for regulating stress and hormones.)
1 banana (Easily digestible carbohydrates – needed for re-energizing.)
2 cups frozen strawberries (Concentrated source of antioxidants and vitamin C essential for supporting the immune system.)
1½ cups coconut water or regular water (To rehydrate and replace electrolytes.)
stevia, to taste (To sweeten without adding unnecessary post-workout refined sugar.)

DIRECTIONS:

Use a blender to mix all the ingredients together (except for the stevia) until smooth. Stir in stevia to taste to adjust sweetness, if desired. Serves one-ish.

Note: Length of activity, exertion level, and body size will dictate the amount of smoothie/calories/nutrients needed after a workout; this smoothie is intended as a guideline.

New cookbook offers the definitive guide to cooking with superfoods

Coming super soon…

Superfood Cuisine: Cooking With Nature’s Most Amazing Foods

I’m so, so excited to share the news with you that I have a cookbook coming out. (!!!) This has been such a fun, rewarding project to work on. In case you’re wondering, the book cover above features a shot of one of my favorite recipes: a silky-smooth Carrot & Yacon Root Soup, topped with plumped goji berries and microgreens (insanely good, fantastically easy, and majorly glow-inducing).

I’m sure you’re aware of the exciting culinary revolution that’s taking place – the beneficial mantra of natural, organic, whole foods and plant-based diets is hotter than ever before! And now, superfoods are coming to the forefront as a fabulous (healthy!) way to even further fast-track our energy levels and longevity. This book explains the philosophy behind a superfood-strong lifestyle, and demystifies how to use them through delicious new dishes.

Superfood Cuisine includes:

- Over 100 plant-based, superfood recipes
- Full-color photography
- A guide to over 30 top superfoods and healthy pantry staples
- A convenient “pantry list” of what you need and where to find these special foods
- Natural cooking techniques and product sources

The book will be available late spring of this year (launch date and ordering details announced soon)! In the meantime, please join me at Superfood Cuisine on facebook for the latest updates, inside information, and bonus material. I’d love to see you there, and I cannot WAIT to share this special book with you!

Spring into Green!

I seriously can’t believe spring is already here – it seems like just yesterday I was dusting off my pumpkin knife and looking for any and all excuses to put the oven to some loving use. But the flower buds outside have a schedule to keep. And as for the rest of us, it’s time to get recharged and re-greened.

Greens are becoming more and more popular lately, not only because they’re super nutritious, but because they’re super delicious too! Excitingly, it’s easier than ever to get the vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, and alkalizing antioxidants that greens provide in inventive ways that go beyond “just a salad.” Here are a few of my key ways to keep my favorite food group in constant rotation – and ensure that this spring is energizing, clean, healthy and green!

5 Great Ways to Get Green:

1. Bars: If you eat energy bars, don’t short-change yourself with ones that just have natural ingredeints … make sure they contain some kind of green powder as well (like freeze-dried vegetables, chlorella, grasses, etc.) You won’t taste a difference, and you’ll get all the benefits of green! (Of course, you can always just make your own, too.)

2. Wraps: Time to ditch the tortilla, taco shell or bread. Instead, try using a big green leaf such as swiss chard, collard greens or kale to wrap up your favorite savory fillings. These leaves make a fantastic natural wrapper, contain very few calories, and add plenty of nutrients.

3. Smoothies: It’s no secret that one of the smartest tricks amongst healthy know-how’s is the great “Green Smoothie.” By blending up handfuls of mild greens (like spinach) with sweet fruits (like pears, apples, bananas, or mangos), the vibrant color may just be the only giveaway that your fruity treat is full of the extra good stuff.

4. Sauces: Customize a pasta sauce with some hearty minced kale or spinach. My method: saute finely chopped greens for 1-2 minutes in a little safflower oil and minced garlic to soften, then stir them into the finshed sauce-of-choice for an exceptionally tasty and textural addition.

5. Plate fillers: You’ve probably heard dietitians recommend portioning out foods groups by size: such as a serving of cereal equaling the size of your hand. In the case of greens, aim to make them cover the base of your plate (placing the entree on top of the green bed). Not only will they instantly make your dish look more beautiful, the greens will also lend an extra-tasty touch (green vegetables go with almost everything). Try lightly-dressed arugula, fresh and peppery watercress, or marinated kale for a seriously boosted plate.

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