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Archive for the ‘disease prevention’ Category

spices help warm your smoothie up!

Brrrrr, it’s starting to get chilly out there, which means a vibrant, nutrient-rich smoothie may not sound so good.

But what if you could have all the yumminess,  health benefits AND convenience of a smoothie and not be left shivering and unsatisfied.

Well, allow me to introduce the “winter smoothie”. The winter smoothie uses ingredients that may be a little denser than your light summertime smoothie. The winter smoothie never uses ice, but instead uses spice! The winter smoothie uses secret immune boosters to help keep you sniffle free all season long.

So if you love healthy fast food as much as I do, read on for how you can give your smoothie a winter makeover.

How to winterize  your smoothie is 6 simple steps:

Fatten up. That’s right, adding healthy fats to your smoothie can create  luxurious mouth experience that helps insulate you from winter cold. Winter is not the time for a low fat diet, but it is also not the time to overindulge and feel like a bloated penguin. : ) With good fats like almonds and almond milk, avocado, coconut oil and coconut milk, you will be well on your way to looking and feeling a like winter goddess instead.

Spice is nice. Adding spices to your smoothie adds a whole new dimension of flavor and health benefits. Spices help warm things up, aid in digestion, can boost metabolism, increase immunity and stimulate circulation to give you a winter glow! Try cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, anise, cloves, black pepper, turmeric, cayenne, fennel, coriander and even curry. Keep it simple and experiment a little bit.

Not just for smell. Therapeutic grade essential oils can add an exotic depth to your smoothie. Oils in the citrus family like grapefruit, orange, tangerine and lemon can be especially nice at this time of year because they boost mood and provide concentrated vitamin C and antioxidants to ward off winter colds. Be sure to use ONLY pure, unadulterated oils for internal purposes. Do not buy just any oil. The only brand I work with for internal use is Young Living. To learn more or to order visit youngliving.us and use customer code 904207.

Add heat. When the weather is cold outside it is not a good idea to introduce cold food or drink into the body. It halts digestion (meaning you get digestive issues, low energy and fat storage), can make you spacey and unfocused, and just makes your body have to work that much harder to keep body temperature up. This is one of the many reasons I like the Vita-Mix Blender because it can gently heat whatever your blending when you keep it going for more than 2 minutes. Try a warm almond butter, cacao, almond milk, cinnamon and banana smoothie and you will feel like you are having something decadently naughty for sure!

Skip the dairy. Besides the fact that pasteurized dairy causes mucus, allergies, hormonal imbalance, digestive issues and much more, it is cooling. Instead go for coconut milk, almond milk,  young coconut meat or hemp milk. Add an avocado or soaked almonds or cashew for thick richness.

Think outside of the box. Use some new and different winter ingredients like sweet potato, pumpkin, beets, almond butter and even cabbage. All of these are warming foods, so they support your body in the colder times. The orange veggies provide much needed beta-carotene to help boost immunity. See the Pumpkin Pie smoothie recipe below.

Winter Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

1 cup peeled, cubed raw sweet potato

1/2 an avocado, peeled and pitted

8 oz. fresh carrot juice

splash (or more) coconut or almond milk

small wedge green cabbage (optional, but you won’t taste it & you’ll get a great nutrient boost)

liquid stevia to taste (try 2 drops to start)

1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

pinch Celtic salt

Put everything but the avocado in the Vita-Mix Blender and blend on high until smooth. With the blender running, drop in the avocado and blend another 30 seconds. Enjoy with a little cinnamon sprinkled on top.

Would you like to sail through the holidays with energy to spare and a slim figure to flaunt at New Year’s? Contact me for a special 20-minute complimentary Holiday Body Bliss Breakthrough Session through Dec. 29th. Just send an email to devana108@gmail.com to schedule this phone session today!

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Flourless Chocolate Cake Last weekend I had the opportunity to celebrate a delicious birthday with my dear friend Nora. I have been gluten-free for a while (and have been feeling and looking sooo  much better for it), so I was ecstatic to find out Nora had decided to create a totally gourmet gluten-free feast in honor of her own dietary transition.

This recipe was a total hit, which is why I am sharing it with you. I modified it to be sugar free as well, using xylitol (a sugar alcohol derived from birch or corn). I recommend buying the kind made from birch, which is also called birch sugar sometimes. Xylitol can just about be substituted cup for cup with regular sugar, but will not spike blood sugar or cause any of the other funky sugar issues.

Enjoy this healthier indulgence during your next celebrations! (Thank you Nora!)

Nora’s Birthday French Flourless Chocolate Cake (Gluten-free)

Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients:

7 oz (200 g) semisweet chocolate (45-50 % cocoa)

8 oz (225 g) organic butter, ghee or coconut oil (unsalted)

just under 1 cup xylitol (get the birch kind made from birch, not corn)

5 eggs, separated

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

2. Line a 9 in (23 cm) cake tin with greaseproof or other non-stick paper and butter the tin. (Nora didn’t use the paper)

3. Break the chocolate into small pieces and melt it with butter or ghee over hot water, or in the oven works also

4. Beat the egg yolks with half of the xylitol. I put in all the sugar with the egg yolks and added a couple of tablespoons of warm, not hot water

5. Fold in the melted butter and chocolate mixture – be sure that its not to hot otherwise you cook the eggs

6. Beat egg whites until frothy by using an electric mixer; (gradually add the remaining xylitol,) beating until stiff peaks form.

7. Fold in the beaten egg whites.

8. Bake at 350 degrees until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, approximately 40 minutes.

9. Use a knife to separate the cake from the non-stick paper. Please observe that the cake is quite sticky!

The Flourless Chocolate Cake may be served warm or cold with Cashew Whipped Cream or Coconut Bliss (yumm!). The cream may be dusted with raw cacao powder before serving, and decorated with raspberries or strawberries.

For more amazingly delicious, simple and healthy gluten-free, sugar-free recipes (including a raw, vegan rich chocolate tart), please check out my e-recipe book: “Quick. Healthy. Delicious. 50 Favorite Recipes to Feed Your Life!”

Click the button below to instantly download your copy for only $19.97

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Just in the nick of time to celebrate National Yoga Awareness Month . . .

Enjoy this simple yoga pose to tone your belly, energize your mind, open your lungs, cleanse your body, lengthen your spine . . . And so much MORE!

xox Ana

Ready to get your fall detox on?

Join my proven 14-day online Total Body Reboot & Cleanse and be on your way to an energized, vibrant and younger looking you!

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Ah, sugar, sweet sugar.

It seems so benign and docile as a white powder would, but as a former sugar addict, I know what it’s capable of.

And a lot of it’s not that pretty.

Now, I don’t like to demonize foods, but if we look at the fact that most sugar is not a food, but a highly refined chemical produced from a food, I feel a little better about sharing its dirty truths. : )

“Mood-damaging, personality-bending, health-destroying, confusion creating – Research reveals that repeatedly overconsuming sweeteners, dessert foods and quickie carbs wreaks havoc on your blood sugar levels, overstimulates insulin release, triggers inflammation, and could contribute to more than 150 health problems, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, polycystic ovary syndrome, severe PMS, failing memory, mental confusion, Candida, sexual dysfunction, infertility, wrinkles, acne, depression, anxiety, migraines and early aging.” (excerpted from Sugar Shock, by Connie Bennett)

Whew! No wonder I felt so awful.

So rather than focusing on the negative, let’s move on to 6 easy steps to Stop Singing the Sugar Blues, shall we?

  1. Reduce or eliminate coffee – Yup, I know the coffee drinkers out there are not too happy about this step, but the truth is, the ups and downs of caffeine (especially from coffee), include dehydration and blood sugar swings, causing sugar cravings to be more frequent. Try DandyBlend or  Teechino, a great rich drink you brew just like coffee.
  2. Drink water – Sometimes sweet cravings are a sign of dehydration, Before you go for sugar, have a glass of water and wait to see what happens. Bonus tip: add a drop of flavored stevia to satisfy the sweet tooth without upsetting blood sugar.
  3. Eliminate fat-free or low-fat foods – I ate tons of these in the height of my sugar head days, but these (fake) foods contain high amounts of sugar to make up for the lack of flavor and fat. Eat full fat whole foods and you will find you need less to satisfy.
  4. Eat sweet vegetables and fruit – They are sweet, healthy and delicious. Try winter squash, carrots, beets, yams, onions, parsnips and lower sugar fruit like berries, apples and grapefruit.
  5. Get exercise – Start with simple activities like walking or yoga. Start with 10 minutes a day and gradually increase. Moving your body helps release feel-good hormones, which means you will be less likely to look to sugar.
  6. Slow down and find sweetness in non-food ways! – Your body does not biologically need sugar, but it does long for hugs, time with friends, time outdoors, workouts, massages, etc. When life becomes sweet enough itself, no additives are needed!

If you are really struggling with sugar and cravings, check out my 10-week Body Transformation Virtual Group Coaching Program, which focuses on getting the sugar out and the sweetness into your life, so you can enjoy a slim, stress-free and energized body and life. Learn more here.

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For details of this promotion click here.

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Hmm, sexy foods, quite an intriguing concept really. Foods that are sexy and foods that can make us feel and look sexy are interestingly often one and the same. In honor of the arrival of summer, which is the most playful and sexiest of seasons, I thought I would explore our sexuality through the avenue of food. Sexy foods are nutrient-dense foods, often high in vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Not only will sexy foods feed your hormones, but nutrient dense foods support a healthy weight as well. So the outcome is both looking and feeling sexy.
One note: if you do intend to apply these foods to your diet in the name of sexy, remember that overeating even the best of foods never feels sexy. So, enjoy these items in slow, relaxed and measured doses for best results. Better still; have them fed to you by a significant other. (wink, wink)

Almonds – high in vitamin E and essential fatty acids both of which a vital to sex hormones. Conversely, bad fats are deadening to sexuality. How sexy do you really feel after a double bacon cheeseburger with fries?

Asparagus – Yes, this vegetable is visually suggestive, but its nutritional profile is what gives it high marks. Among many other vitality-giving nutrients, this springtime favorite is very high in vitamin E, thought to be the “sex vitamin”.

Avocado – Besides being richly indulgent, this fruit helps boost both male and female libido. Avocados are also high in folic acid and B6, which help boost sexual energy and regulate hormones respectively.

Banana – Here again we have the visual suggestion, but it is the enzyme bromelain and the B-vitamins, which are especially beneficial to sexual health and energy.

Basil – Who doesn’t love basil? Besides inducing a sense of well-being and lifting mood, basil stimulates circulation, increases fertility and boosts sex drive.

Bee Pollen – In nature, pollen’s role is to fertilize. This super food from the bee world has energy giving properties, is high in B-vitamins and contains all essential amino acids. It is thought to most benefit male sexual health.

Berries – Berries are one of our most potent plant foods. They are lower in sugar than many other fruits and pack a load of nutrition into each tiny package. There is also something very seductive about a deep red, ripe berry. A wonderful food to be slowly savored and shared.

Click here for a delightfully rich chocolate pudding with fresh berries

Cardamom – A common aromatic spice used in Indian cuisine, cardamom helps increase circulation and is viewed by some cultures as a powerful aphrodisiac. Try combining with chocolate and maca for a dip for your berries!

Celery – A seemingly unlikely sexy food, celery helps boost the production of a powerful substance known as androsterone – an odorless hormone released through male perspiration that is attractive to women.

Chilies – Chilies boost circulation, increase sensitivity in nerve endings and contain capsaicin, a substance that triggers the release of feel-good endorphins.

Chocolate – Ahhh, chocolate. Most of us treat this food as a guilty pleasure, but it is really the highly processed, overly sweetened and highly denatured variety we need to be wary of. The minerals in raw chocolate (especially magnesium) provide necessary nutrition and promote a sense of relaxed well-being, while theobromine (a stimulating alkaloid similar to caffeine) gives a heart-centered buzz. Chocolate also helps the brain produce feel-good serotonin. Try raw or at least dark chocolate for best effects. You can get raw chocolate at most natural food stores or click here.

Garlic – Not only will it keep your immune system strong, but garlic also contains high levels of allicin a compound that can improve blood flow to the sexual organs.

Goji Berries – These super berries from Asia are best consumed dried, as that is closest to their original form. They contain all essential amino acids and help boost libido in both men and women by increasing testosterone. Find goji berries at  your natural food store or click here.

Figs – There is really nothing quite like a perfectly ripe, lusciously sweet fig. Figs are another plant food high in amino acids, which is helpful in increasing sexual stamina and libido.

Maca – A lesser-known tuber from Central America, maca is gaining some notoriety as a wonderful adaptogenic and tonic food. It has been shown to increase sperm counts and testosterone in men, while supporting sexual desire in women. Fun stuff, really!

Oysters – Oysters are a classic aphrodisiac, and for good reason: they are phenomenally high in zinc. Low levels of zinc are associated with sexual dysfunction in both men and women, along with a host of other problems. Try these on the half-shell with a side of omega-3 rich caviar and you are well on your way to a sexy meal.

Pumpkin Seeds – The plant world’s answer to the zinc-rich oyster, these delicious seeds are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, critical to sexual and hormonal health. A wonderful regular addition to the diet, as most of us are not indulging in oysters on a regular basis.

Food is something we do every day, multiple times a day, so why not make it fun. Nutrition does not need to be heady and dry, in fact, as we see now it can be down right sexy!

Enjoy your sexy foods in good company.

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Sugar Snap Peas – Nature’s Snappy Candy

Every year around this time, one of my favorite healthy whole food snacks begins to appear in the local farmer’s market – sugar snap peas.

If you have never eaten these little green jewels in an edible shell raw, you are in for a tasty surprise. They are sweet, yet low in sugar.

They’re refreshing, especially when stored in the fridge. They make the perfect dipper or can be eaten as is. And their crisp personality will satisfy the snacker in you.

The best news is they’re fast food! Just wash, drain and toss them in a to-go container. You can pull the tops off and “de-string” them as you eat.

These delicious members of the legume family pack some nutritional punch as well. They contain vitamin K for bone health and blood clotting, B-vitamins including folic acid, and plenty of vitamin C.

Look for ones whose pods are firm, velvety and smooth. Their color should be a lively medium green. Those whose green color is especially light or dark, or those that are yellow, whitish or are speckled with gray, should be avoided.

Enjoy them right on the spot or store in the refrigerator for tomorrow’s feast.

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