DID YOU KNOW? Hibiscus tea is loaded with antioxidants and could be helpful in reducing oxidative stress in the body.
Oxidative stress occurs when free radicals invade the body and the body doesn’t have enough antioxidants to combat them. Free radical damage may contribute to many health issues ranging from cancer to aging skin, so hibiscus tea can be helpful.
In fact, hibiscus has been shown to contain ORAC values twice as high as matcha tea, which was previously thought to be the most potent tea source of antioxidants.
Give my Cold Lemon Hibiscus Tea a try. It’s great for the warmer months, when you’re craving something refreshing.
I steep this tea in a mason jar, store it in the fridge overnight then add fresh lemon to it in the morning. It’s awesome to sip on throughout the day!
Are you hesitant to give smoothies a go because you feel you won’t be completely satisfied with drinking your food and would prefer to chew your food?
I completely understand the need for chewing. After all, we’ve been wired to chew food to obtain nutrients and calories which are used to fuel our bodies.
Chewing is important because it stimulates digestive enzymes, which are essential in breaking down food therefore allowing us to process and absorb nutrients. In addition, chewing plays a significant role in oral health.
In my early smoothie days I felt that I was missing an important part of what consuming food is all about – chewing. So, I began to add different crunchy/chewy foods into my smoothie after blending to create a smoothie that I could sip on and chew through at the same time.
Not only has this little hack made smoothies more filling and satisfying for me, but it has also allowed me to add more nutrients into my already nutrient-packed smoothie.
So, before you write-off smoothies completely, I highly recommend trying this …
After blending your smoothie, stir in 1-2 tbsp. of the following:
Check out some of my go-to brands by clicking on the links above.
Go wild and mix 2 or more of these crunchy and chewy foods into your smoothie.
Even if you’re completely satisfied with the current way you prepare your daily smoothie, I still recommend giving this smoothie hack a try. You might just be pleasantly surprised at how much you enjoy some crunch to your smoothie.
Would love to hear about the crunchy and/or chewy foods you add to your smoothie after blending. Share in the comment section below.
Have you come across information that talks about the dark side to green smoothies?
Maybe you’ve heard about how too many raw green vegetables can cause things like kidney stones and thyroid dysfunction?
Are you concerned that your green smoothies – that you’ve grown to love – are doing more harm than good?
As always, I’m here to help bring clarity to any confusing topics around smoothies so you can continue to enjoy your delicious and nutrient-rich smoothies without worry.
In this article I’ll talk about the top 3 reasons why consuming large amounts of vegetables may not lead to optimal health and practical tips to ensure your smoothies are safe and healthy.
REASON # 1: Thallium
A toxic heavy metal found in cruciferous vegetables like kale, broccoli and cabbage.
How to reduce your exposure to thallium: Use only organic cruciferous vegetables in your smoothies. Organic farms have soils that are rich in carbon-based matter which obstruct the transfer of thallium into plants.
The takeaway here is that organic produce may contain lower levels of heavy metals, like thallium, compared to produce from conventional farms, resulting in a healthier green smoothie.
REASON # 2: Goitrogens
Naturally occurring plant chemicals found in cruciferous vegetables that can lower thyroid function by inhibiting iodine uptake.
How to reduce your exposure to goitrogens: With plant chemicals the poison tends to be in the dose. Consuming large amounts of raw cruciferous vegetables can lead to issues such as reduced thyroid function in this case. It’s much easier to consume large amount of raw vegetables when they are blended or juiced which is why this is a hot topic in the smoothie world.
The best way to reduce your exposure to goitrogens is to avoid eating/drinking raw cruciferous vegetables in excess. What is excess? Think of how much vegetable you would consume in whole-food form (not juiced or blended) in a given meal – this is a safe and reasonable amount to be adding to your smoothie. For most, this amount would be around 1-1.5 cups.
Another way to reduce your exposure to goitrogens (while still preserving the nutrients in your greens) is to slightly cook/steam your cruciferous vegetables. Cooking these vegetables stimulates the production of an enzyme that helps to deactivate goitrogens. If you decide to add slightly cooked vegetables to your smoothies, I recommend cooking, cooling and freezing large batches at a time to make the process time-friendly and sustainable.
REASON # 3: Oxalates
Plant-based compounds found in a variety of vegetables and fruits (high amounts are found in spinach, chard, dandelion greens, beets, collard greens, berries, broccoli, cabbage, and carrots) that may promote kidney stone formation and inflammation.
How to reduce your exposure to oxalates: Similar to goitrogens, the best way to reduce exposure to oxalates would be to not over-consume these vegetables.
Another effective way to reduce oxalate exposure would be to rotate the variety of greens you use in your smoothie. So, if you tend to always use spinach in your smoothies try some low oxalate greens like mustard greens, watercress, and lettuce; this may help prevent oxalate overload.
In addition, incorporating probiotics and fermented foods into your diet to help restore beneficial gut bacteria may assist in the breakdown of oxalate, since several probiotic species have been found to degrade dietary oxalate.
To sum things up, here are a few practical tips to help you avoid heavy metals and plant chemicals/compounds found in vegetables, so you can continue to enjoy your smoothies and all the benefits that come with them:
Use organic fruits and vegetables (fresh or frozen).
Limit the amount of raw vegetables in your smoothie to 1 cup.
Rotate your vegetables and try new ones – like mustard greens, watercress and lettuce. Use different recipes like the ones found in my smoothie challenge e-book to help inspire new ideas and flavours.
Slightly cook (cool and freeze) your vegetables before adding them to the blender.
Switch it up – 1-2 days/week replace your green smoothie with another nutrient-rich meal like eggs with fresh tomatoes and avocado – one of my favourites!
I hope you found this information to be helpful. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns in the comments section below.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The smoothies from my 14-day smoothie challenge are safe and healthy for most people since large quantities of vegetables and fruits are not being used. That being said, I encourage you to enjoy these nutrient-dense smoothies while putting into practice my above recommendations (in particular if you are dealing with issues surrounding your thyroid, kidneys or other health concerns). Chat with your health care provider if you’re uncertain if smoothies are right for you.
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Are you feeling discouraged by the number on your scale?
Have you started a new exercise program and/or weight loss/nutrition plan, but despite all your efforts your weight just doesn’t seem to budge in the right direction?
What up with that?!?!
Well, I come bearing great news …
Believe it or not, no changes in your weight can still mean your moving in the right direction with your health and fat loss. Here’s how this twisted idea works…
What your scale fails to tell you is how much fat, muscle, bone and water mass you have (also known as body composition). This missing piece of information is key since body composition tells us more about a healthy body than just weight alone.
Now wrap your head around this crazy idea…
Muscle weighs more than fat, which means that as you become leaner – and start losing fat – your weight may not shift much and … wait for it… your weight may go up!
This is a common story for someone who starts an exercise program or changes their diet to include more nutrient-dense foods that help burn fat and build lean mass.
So, contrary to popular belief – no changes or an increase in your weight when starting new healthy habits, may in fact be great news for you.
Ok, moment of truth – how many times have you stressed out about this? …
Going up 1lb then coming down 1lb then going up 2lbs, but then coming down 2lbs. Now I’m up 3lbs, but wait I’m back down 3lbs. Oh s#!%, now it’s back up 1lb, but if you give me a moment to pee I can get it down another pound. Now I ate a bag of potato chips and I’ve gained 2lbs, so maybe I’ll skip breakfast and look, I’m back down 2lbs …
Yep, unfortunately this song is a top hit on my music charts — and we need to have a little chat before I go bananas from hearing it one more time.
Small changes on the scale over a short period of time are usually an indication of fluctuations in water weight NOT fat weight. For example, if you consume extra salt in your diet, your body may respond by retaining more water which will increase the number on your scale. This increase in weight has nothing to do with fat but instead is a reflection of an increase in water weight.
So, next time the number on your scale goes up and down and all around from morning to night, PLEASE sip on some calming herbal tea and stop stepping on that damn scale!
Now that you have a better understanding of the downside to using weight as a tracking tool, let’s chat about markers that are more accurate for tracking healthy weight loss and changes in health.
5 ways to track healthy weight loss & positive shifts in your health
1. Body measurements
Track changes in your chest, waist and hip measurements since these numbers are a better indicator of fat loss. Also, pay attention to changes in how your clothing fits. Are your jeans feeling looser and more comfortable?
2. Energy levels
Track changes in your energy levels throughout the day. Are you experiencing more energy in the morning and/or sustained energy throughout the day with fewer afternoon crashes?
3. Digestive health
Track changes in your bowel movements (do they feel and look healthier?) and GI symptoms (are you experiencing less bloating, gas, heartburn, pain, etc.?)
Track changes in the quality of your sleep. Are you falling asleep faster, waking up less throughout the night and/or feeling more energetic upon waking?
Track changes in your emotional state. Are you feeling happier, less stressed, more connected with friends and family, etc.?
If you’d still like to use the scale as one of your tracking tools, here’s what I suggest…
Weigh yourself once a week, in the morning before any food or water is consumed.
For women – since weight tends to fluctuate more due to our monthly cycles, I recommend weighing yourself once a month (at the same period in your cycle) to avoid getting discouraged by large weight fluctuations that can happen during the course of a monthly cycle.
If you are having ANY negative thoughts and/or feelings around weighing yourself – I highly recommend getting rid of your scale since it will not contribute to your health and may hinder it (both mentally and physically).
At the end of the day, the number on the scale is just that – a number. It can tell you a small story about changes in your overall weight when looked at over longer periods of time, but it doesn’t tell you a whole lot about your body composition and overall health.
I hope you found this article helpful. Leave a comment below and let me know if there are any specific topics you’d like me to address in future articles I write.
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INGREDIENTS: (serves 3-4)
8 bay scallops
8 tiger shrimps
1 head cauliflower
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed) – optional
1 red pepper (finely chopped)
1/2 red onion (finely chopped)
1 avocado (cubed)
1 cup cherry tomatoes (halved)
1 lime (juice only)
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
3 tbsp. avocado oil or coconut oil
2 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
Cilantro to garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Put cauliflower pieces into food processor, process until rice like bits are formed, then spread onto baking sheet.
3. Add 1 tbsp. coconut/avocado oil and sea salt. Mix together and bake for 30 min (or until cauliflower starts to brown)
1. Put black beans, red pepper, onion, avocado and tomatoes into a bowl.
2. Add olive oil, lime juice, sea salt and black pepper. Mix together.
1. In a bowl, mix together chili powder, cumin and 1/2 lime juice. You can marinade shrimps and scallops in this mixture while prepping other ingredients.
2. On medium-high heat, heat 2 tbsp. avocado/coconut oil in a pan.
3. When oil is hot, place shrimps and scallops into pan, season lightly with salt and cook for 2-4 min per side.
4. Remove when scallops become opaque and shrimps turn pink.
Layer this dish with cauliflower rice at the bottom, fresh mixture in the middle and seafood on top. Garnish with fresh cilantro.