Why “Eat the Rainbow”?

I was drinking my Blueberry post workout shake this morning while contemplating an article that I recently read by Ronnie Landis called “The Color Code of Food“. We’ve all heard the term “Eat the Rainbow” before but how important is this? Well, it turns out that it’s really important. You see, the entire plant family consists of main color groups (similar to that of a rainbow). Aside from looking really cool, these pigments actually serve a greater purpose; in fact, each individual color provides unique health benefits all to their own. Plant pigments come from metabolic molecules called Flavonoids. These molecules are known to pack super antioxidant power which aid in the maintenance, repair and vitality of the many functions of the body.

For instance, Red foods are beneficial to the heart and circulatory system. The green family takes care of the lungs, respiratory and immune systems. Yellow is for the skin and digestive system. And my favorite; Purple is exclusively fuel for the brain, memory and helping fend off certain cancers. We have Anthocyanin to thank for that! Anthocyanin is the flavonoid which gives certain plants, fruits and berries their vibrant, purple color as well as a host of free-radical crushing power!

That said, one of my all-time favorites from this family are Blueberries. Originally, I loved them mostly for their taste but have come to learn of the massive health benefits they provide. From fighting cancer and diabetes to preventing aging and improving blood pressure; they’re oxidation’s worst nightmare. Blueberries also help protect our LDL (bad cholesterol) from oxidizing, a process which can usually lead to heart disease. And lastly, one of the benefits that led me to write this in the first place; these berries help reduce muscle damage after a tough workout. This means a shorter recovery time between workouts. Who doesn’t want that?

To see for yourself, try out this quick and easy recovery shake after your next workout and start on the path to upping your rainbow intake!

BLUEBERRY OAT RECOVERY SHAKE

8 oz Almond Milk
1 Banana
1 Cup frozen Blueberries (if fresh, add some ice cubes)
1/4 Cup Whole Grain Oats (Raw)
1 serving Vega Sport Vanilla Performance Protein

Blend all ingredients on high speed until smooth. Drink up and enjoy!

Grapes n’ Greens Smoothie

Whoulda’ thunk that Grapefruit, Red Grapes and fresh Organic Greens could taste so good together? Blended with all the other ingredients I chose, it seems to be the perfect balance of sweet, tangy and nutty. And as far as nutrition goes, today’s concoction is no lightweight. In fact, this heart healthy smoothie is literally packed with Potassium, Protein, Antioxidants, Phytonutrients, Polyphenols, Flavonoids; I mean, this list goes on and on.

But what does all of this mean for you? It means you are helping your body to fight the very diseases that are killing the majority of our nation. Obesity, Diabetes, Cancer, Coronary Heart Disease…you name it, these illnesses are not “random acts of god” nor can they be simply shrugged off as “genetic”. You can stop the cycle by simply changing your diet. We’re going to prevent these epidemics by starting with ourselves first; by eating whole, plant based foods.

Drink it, don’t overthink it.

8 oz Almond Milk
2 large handfuls of Mixed Baby Greens (I used Kale, Spinach and Chard)
1 Banana
1/2 Cup Red Seedless Grapes
1/2 Grapefruit (no rind but keep pith)
1/4 Quinoa Flakes
2 Turkish Figs
1 serving Vega One Protein (I used Coconut Almond)
1 Tbsp Maca Powder
1 Tbsp Chia Seed
5 Ice Cubes

As always, the best way to break down the greens is to blend them first with the liquid base. This will allow the blades to really work the leaves into the liquid without leaving a gritty texture. Once you’ve done that, you can add everything else in there and blend it again on the high setting until it’s super smooth. Enjoy!

Grapefruit Strawberry Sour-Puss

This morning I was stumped for a breakfast idea. I roamed about the kitchen in hopes for an epiphany when it finally occurred to me that I had a Pink Grapefruit in the fridge. And what better way to use Grapefruit than in a smoothie? Well…eating it, of course but thats never any fun…boo. In any case, Grapefruit is packed with immune boosting Vitamin C, cancer fighting lycopene and stimulates metabolism to aid in weight loss; so what’s not to like? Full disclosure, I was never really a fan of it’s super bitterness but have recently come to love it. So for this experiment, I Blended in some plump fresh Strawberries, Pineapple chunks and fresh Ginger Root to give this smoothie a really bright tangy zip with just enough sweetness. And I didn’t forget the Vega One…never! Adding in the Vega takes a smoothie from regular fuel to high octane! Don’t be afraid of nutrition, your body sure isn’t.

8 oz Filtered Water
2 Cups Baby Spinach (tightly packed)
1/2 Large Pink Grapefruit (peeled but keep pith on)
1 Cup fresh Strawberries (keep leaves on for added digestion benefits)
1 Cup fresh Pineapple chunks
1″ Fresh Ginger Root (peeled)
1 serving Vega One (Natural)
2 tsp Maca Powder
1/4 tsp Camu Camu
1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
Splash of Pure Maple Syrup (optional)
5-6 Ice Cubes

Add the water into the blender along with the Baby Spinach and blend on high until greens are completely broken down and smooth. Now add in the the remaining ingredients (except the ice) and blend once again until very smooth. Lastly, add in the ice cubes and blend on the ice crush setting until you reach your desired consistency. Sprinkle with Shredded Coconut and Camu Camu.

Enjoy with a reusable GlassDharma straw!

JUST DANDY! (Strawberry Dandelion Coconut Smoothie)

What’s the matter? Hasn’t your doctor ever told you to eat your weeds?! Ok, maybe not (neither did mine). But it’s an absolute shame they didn’t. As far removed from popular food culture as it is, the Dandelion is actually pretty damned amazing. So, why is it so important? Well…for a number of reasons which should get you excited. Throughout history, Dandelion has been used in many cultures as herbal medicine to treat infections, liver problems and as a diuretic. Dandelion has also been known to help reduce the risk of cancer, multiple sclerosis and stroke. It contains powerful properties which can ease inflammatory disease, asthma, improve skin, help digestion and purify the blood.

In addition to Dandelion, fresh, leafy greens (of all varieties) are real medicine, straight from the FARMacy! Let’s pretend, for a moment, that you do not have a cabinet filled to the brim with random pharmaceuticals. You’d probably wonder how you’d get by without them, right? Well, the fact of the matter is that pills do not “repair” anything; they temporarily mask symptoms while the extraneous lab chemicals absorb into your soft tissues, muscles and organs. Not only do we not understand what these chemicals are, our body sees these drugs as invasive foreign entities as well; it cannot fully break them down nor can it expel them efficiently. Later on in life, these toxins may even manifest into some fairly ugly diseases.

The current practices of the pharmaceutical/medical industry “power couple” would have you believe that plants are not considered to be a valid tool in treating disease. On the contrary, plants can actually detox/reverse the damage that prescription drugs have already caused you. Did someone say “detox”? Oh, yes…definitely. This is why juicing leafy greens or eating them raw is a fantastic aid in cleansing the body. So if you’ve got some Dandelions growing outside, go harvest those leaves and you will have yourself the most potent multivitamin that nature has to offer.

Combined with the amazing benefits of Strawberries, this delicious smoothie boasts a laundry list of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants (A, B1, B2, B6, C, K, thiamin, beta carotene, potassium, riboflavin, calcium, iron and protein; to name a handful). You’d be hard-pressed to get nutrition like this from any other beverage you may fill your glass with today. And the taste? Dandy…just dandy!

8 oz Almond Milk
1 Cup Dandelion Greens (tightly packed)
8 large fresh Strawberries (keep leaves on for added digestion benefits)
1 Banana
1 serving Vega One (French Vanilla)
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
2 Tbsp Coconut Flakes
1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
1 Tbsp Pure Maple Syrup
5-6 Ice Cubes

Add the nut milk into the blender along with the Dandelion Greens and blend on high until greens are completely broken down and smooth. Now add in the Strawberries, Banana, Vega One, Coconut Oil, Coconut Flakes, Chia Seed and Maple Syrup; blend again on high until smooth. Lastly, add in the ice cubes and blend on the ice crush setting until you reach your desired consistency. Garnish with Shredded Coconut, Fresh Strawberries and Dandelion Leaves (if you wanna be a fancy-ass).

Enjoy with a reusable GlassDharma straw!

HOLY CACAO! (RAW CACAO PEANUT BUTTER OAT SMOOTHIE)

Who doesn’t like a thick, chocolaty, peanut buttery smoothie in the morning? Not this guy. I absolutely love raw cacao; and for more reasons than I can count on both of my hands…

* ANTIOXIDANT
* CANCER FIGHTER
* CARDIOVASCULAR/HEART HEALTH
* GREAT FOR WEIGHT MANAGEMENT
* VITAMIN C
* MAGNESIUM
* OMEGA 6
* TRYPTOPHAN (AN ESSENTIAL AMMINO ACID)
* SERATONIN
* HELPS REGULATE BLOOD SUGAR
* HELPS FIGHT CAVITIES
* LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE

This list doesn’t even touch all of the nutrient dense power within raw Cacao. Through phytochemical analysis, raw chocolate has been proven to be one of the most chemically complex foods on earth. In fact, there are still some compounds within it which have yet to be discovered! Not sure about you, but I find this stuff fascinating.

Information on raw, live, plant-based superfoods are readily available without much red tape; that is, if you’re willing to do a little research. Unfortunately, foods such as Cacao, Spirulina, Chlorella, Acai, Maca (and many more) are not hugely popular or readily available in most chain grocery stores. Cheap, highly refined and processed foods are what the masses are buying up by the cart load; this type of “food” will never feed the body what it needs to function properly; instead, it will create imbalance inside the body, promoting obesity and illness.

Begin taking some steps to take control of your health and wellbeing. Why not start with this wholesome smoothie? You and your tastebuds will be glad you did. Keep it up!

8 oz. FLAX MILK
1 FROZEN BANANA
1/4 CUP WHOLE GRAIN RAW OATS
2 TBSP RAW CACAO POWDER
1 SCOOP VEGA ONE MOCHA
2 TBSP NATURAL PEANUT BUTTER (NO SUGAR ADDED)
1 TSP CHIA SEEDS

Add all ingredients to your blender and blend on high setting until super smooth. Pour into a glass and sprinkle some shredded Coconut and Ground Cinnamon on top. Drink with an awesome, reusable glass straw from Glass Dharma. Enjoy!

TURMERIC MANGO TANGO (Smoothie)

ALMOND MILK, BANANA, MANGO, POMEGRANATE SEEDS, GOJI BERRIES, TURMERIC, VEGA PROTEIN (VANILLA), MACA POWDER, GINGER, CINNAMON, COCONUT OIL AND CHIA/FLAX BLEND

(Adapted from “Turmeric Smoothie Recipe Makes A Delicious & Powerful Antioxidant” by Joe Martino; Collective Evolution)

I am so completely engaged in the flavors of autumn here in New England…pomegranate, cranberries, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, etc. Tart, nutty & sweet (my favorite flavor combo). This smoothie takes that to an even higher level with the addition of Turmeric. When I came across Joe Martino’s recipe online, I just had to make it myself. And, as usual, I tweaked it a bit. I won’t go into huge detail about all of the benefits since you’ve probably read my rants before about how good Turmeric is for you (anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, cancer cell fighter, improved brain function, etc) but the simple fact of the matter is the more Turmeric you put into your body everyday, the more help you’re getting in fighting off disease. And a smoothie (or juice) is the easiest, most perfect vehicle to deliver it to your system.

8 oz Almond Milk
1 Fresh Banana
1/2 Cup Frozen Mango
1/2 Cup Pomegranate Seeds
1/4 Cup Goji Berries
1 scoop VEGA PROTEIN SMOOTHIE (VIVA VANILLA)
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Maca Powder
1/2 tsp Ginger (peeled, chopped)
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1 Tbsp Chia Seed
1 Tbsp Flax Seed

Pour Almond Milk into the blender along with the Banana, Mango, Pomegranate Seeds and Goji Berries. Blend on crush ice setting until cracking stops…then blend again on liquify setting for about 30-40 secs. If too thick, you can always adjust by adding more Almond Milk. Add Vega, Coconut Oil, Turmeric, Maca, Ginger, Cinnamon Chia and Flax and blend one more time on liquify until very smooth. Pour into a large, tall glass. CLEAN UP BEFORE DRINKING (this reenforces good habits and a new regimen). Enjoy!

Don’t forget to check out all of the great plant-based, whole food products from Vega. Their smoothie powders are delicious, nutritious, animal-free and are the foundation for all of my smoothie recipes. http://myvega.com/

Enjoy your smoothie w/ your favorite straw; although, for Earth’s sake, I recommend a glass one from Glass Dharma http://glassdharma.com.