Tag Archives: green smoothies

Wellness Junkie Confession: My Sugar Habit

sugarIf I look back on what I was eating 5 or 10 years ago, it’s mind-blowing how my diet has changed and how much better I feel.  Like anything, making long-lasting changes to your life require small, baby steps.  It’s your willingness to make the effort every day, in little ways and stick to it over the long run that brings about sustainable change.

So, after many a juice,  detoxing heavy metal chelation, saying goodbye to gluten, limiting dairy, limiting meat, banning processed foods and GMOs (if I know about them)…. I’m feeling great.  But…there’s one more thing that has to get under control: sugar.

I’ve always had a sweet tooth…and I remember racing through meals so that I could get to the best part: dessert.  After entering into the 40 Club, I’ve noticed changes in my body, my metabolism that I’m not liking and it’s caused me to jump over this last obstacle to my healthy, balanced eating and that’s my sugar addiction. There, I said it….I am addicted to sugar.

I couldn’t elaborate better than this video:  How Sugar Affects the Brain

So…I’ve started with just a few baby steps that made sense to me:

  • Dessert/Sweets are SPECIAL treats, reserved for a once in a while treat or to celebrate a special occasion and NOT an everyday or every meal occurrence (BIG mindset change for me)
  • In addition to being just a special treat, I will continue to avoid processed, refined, high fat cheap sweets. Only the good stuff in tiny amounts.
  • I’m reading all labels on everything I buy for sugar content in grams, as well as those sneaky sugar words like evaporated cane juice, agave nectar and anything ending in -ose.  When we’re more aware we make better choices.
  • I’m paying special attention to foods that I eat everyday like what I put in my coffee and what I have for breakfast.  Yes, for those that regularly read this blog, you may remember that I was coffee-free for awhile, but I’ve allowed coffee back in, in moderation and have made the decision to not eliminate coffee and sugar at the same time…I’m sure those closest to me are happy about this decision.  So, I’ve cut sugar from my morning coffee and added just a very small amount of stevia, a natural sweetener.  For breakfast, I eat a half grapefruit and a bowl of GF steel-cut oats with 1/2 banana, handful of walnuts and handful of berries.  So far, it’s working for me…the oatmeal in the morning is satisfying and the berries give it just a bit of sweetness.
  • I’m not going overboard and limiting all sugar… Fruit, in moderation, is good for you.  I’m just paying better attention to which fruits and how much sugar they have.  Sometimes the antioxidants or other nutritional benefits of the fruit make it worthwhile.  And, if I’m going to have sugar, I want to enjoy it in a bowl of berries and not hidden in our pasta sauce.
  • I’ve cut the sugar in my green smoothies and made them a bit more green.  We planted a garden this winter and have been enjoying homegrown kale and swiss chard which has been amazing.  So my typical green smoothie recipe looks like this:

1 cup coconut water,  4-5 leaves of greens, stems removed, handful of berries, 1/2 cup of frozen pineapple, 2 T. yogurt (I use coconut plain yogurt), 1 scoop of non-GMO protein powder ( I like Tera’s Whey or PlantFusion)

Here’s a good article on sugar and its connections to inflammation and other chronic health issues:  http://experiencelife.com/article/sugar-breakdown/

Here’s an article from one of my favorite health news resources about healthy foods to eat to cut sugar cravings:  http://www.naturalnews.com/041463_sugar_cravings_healthy_foods_appetite.html

So…I’m sure I’ll be writing more on this topic in the future.  What about you all?  Any sugar elimination/reduction success stories out there to fuel the rest of us on?

 

 

Green Smoothie for Energy

I added just a few things to my usual green smoothie and the results were yummy. The important thing to remember is to always add a little sweetness to balance the bitterness. Apple, pineapple, mango are good choices. And don’t forget the protein. The best protein powder is Vega Whole Food Smoothie Infusion with hemp and pea protein plus fiber and greens.

Green Energy

1 cup coconut water

2 T. Greek-style yogurt

1 lemon, peeled and halved

2 small oranges or 1 large, peeled and halved

1 cup kale

2 -3 romaine leaves

1 cup pineapple or other frozen fruit

2 inches peeled fresh ginger

2 scoops protein powder

Healthy Ingredients For Your Next Green Smoothie

Some of my favorite add-in’s this week for my typical green smoothie (see recipe below) are:

  • 1 Clove of Garlic
  • Dash of Salt & Black Pepper
  • Slice of Fresh Ginger
  • Tablespoon of Coconut Oil

I guess the point is we really should CHANGE it up!  No one wants to drink the same green smoothie every morning and guess what – you probably won’t if you’re forcing it down…I will confess that I’m a horrible recipe follower. I throw in a little of this and a little of that and sometimes it’s perfection.  Sometimes not.  On the flop days, adding in one or several of these ingredients makes my green concoction a success again.

Salt & pepper with a clove of garlic is a great combination.  Garlic is so good for us – boosts our immune system and helps manage high cholesterol. Black pepper actually has antioxidant qualities and helps our digestion.  I use iodized salt because I’m working to improve my thyroid function, but iodized salt has many of benefits:  Iodized Salt Benefits

Ginger is also helpful for our digestion, can soothe nausea and has anti-inflammatory properties.

The benefits of Coconut Oil are many: skin care, hair care, cholesterol levels, stress relief and more… here’s a great list: health benefits of coconut oil.

My Typical Green Drink (with my Vitamix):

1 cup Coconut Water

1 lemon, peeled and cut in half

1 tomato, quartered or full handful of cherry tomatoes

1/3 cucumber, peeled and cut in half

1 cup of greens (you pick – I love kale or chard)

1 apple or pear, cored and quartered

1 banana (optional but if you have picky drinkers – definitely add the banana)

1 cup of ice

PLUS one or several of the add-ins above to taste…

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Vega Whole Food Smoothie Infusion

First, let me say that I’ve tried so many different protein and fiber powders for my smoothies.  I’ve even blogged about them – Smoothie Taste Test Post.

My complaint about most of these powders is either taste or consistency or they now contain an ingredient I’m trying to avoid (such as dairy or soy).  It may also help that I’m now enjoying my Vitamix blender (detailed post on that coming soon) which really helps to blend the powder in well.

My new most favorite smoothie addable is Vega’s Whole Food Smoothie Infusion.  It’s gluten, dairy, sugar and soy-free.  It contains pea protein, hemp protein, flax seeds, brown rice protein and an organic green food blend.  Whereas in some powders that are 100% hemp or 100% pea protein, that particular taste can be overpowering.  Here, because it’s blended with other great ingredients it makes for a more mild taste that just complements what it’s in. You can also find more recipes and other health information on the VEGA website.  What I love is that it’s got protein, fiber, Omega 3′s and my greens.

How to use: I put 2 scoops in my Vitamix morning smoothie after the other ingredients are pretty well blended.   So for instance, this was my morning cocktail today:

Green Bliss Drink

1 cup of water

1 medium tomato, cut in half

1/4 avocado

1 lemon, peeled and cut in half

1/4 cucumber, peeled

bunch of baby spinach

2 -3 leaves of romaine lettuce

1/2 cup of fresh pineapple chunks

1 banana (I freeze my bananas so that they stay fresh longer and make for a more refreshing smoothie)

1 cup of ice

and lastly, 2 scoops of Whole Food Smoothie Infusion.

So yummy.  What is your favorite add-in to your smoothies?