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!