Archive for protein

superfood smoothie march

Superfood Smoothie

It’s a new month, which means time for a new resolution! February’s daily meditation proved to be a challenge for me, but one that has absolutely changed me for the better.

Half of the month was spent on vacation, 10 days in Mexico, and a week in my home town, Calgary. This made it particularly difficult to remember to take time out of my day to sit and be still, especially since coming home and running around like a mad woman. The most difficult of all was when I was so stuffed up from my cold that I couldn’t breathe through my nose. Open mouth meditation was odd, and unenjoyable, but I suffered through it :p

My most important lessons from February:

  • stop with the excuses
  • there is always time to meditate, even if it’s just a minute or two
  • meditation should not be looked at like a chore, but rather something that will enhance your day (and believe me, it did!)
  • you can meditate anywhere, in any comfortable position
  • use a little help if you need it – I loved the guided meditations on yogaglo, they helped me get into a deeper meditation then I can do on my own (I’m still a rookie)
  • most importantly – just do it!

If you still haven’t tried meditation I highly encourage you to give it a go! I certainly intend on continuing myself.

superfood smoothie marchI have decided to focus my march resolution on a nutrition goal, something I already love, and should be easily achievable for my followers. One superfood smoothie per day!

Superfood smoothies have been one of the single greatest additions to my diet since becoming a nutritionist. They were one of the first changes I integrated into my life, that made the biggest impact. If I get one superfood smoothie in every day I know that at least one meal a day was nutrient PACKED, and lets be honest, that would be a great start for many! I currently don’t always have one per day, so it will still be a “challenge” for me too!

When I first introduce clients to superfoods I tell them the easiest way to integrate them into their life is through a smoothie, now who doesn’t like a smoothie? They are quick, easy, and so tasty! There are many components that I feel are necessary in my superfood smoothies. They are:

  • 1/2 cup high antioxidant frozen (or fresh) fruits – like (organic of course) blueberries, strawberries, mangoes, any fruit really!
  • 1 banana for potassium, flavor and creaminess (or try 1/4 avocado)
  • 1 scoop (2 tbsp) protein – it’s not just for body builders! Failing to add protein to your smoothie may send your blood sugar soaring, which is followed by the inevitable crash. Protein will also help you feel full longer, making your smoothie more of a meal then a snack. Good choices include VEGA (Sport, Smoothie Infusion or ONE), Ruth’s Hemp Protein Powders (which can also be bought with superfoods already added, easy peasy!), AOR Advanced Whey (if you can do dairy), or Interactive Absolute Vegetarian.
  • 2 tbsp fiber – for so many reasons! It keeps you regular, balances blood sugar, pulls toxins out of the body, and if you use sources such as chia, hemp or flax seed, adds omega 3’s and lots of additional nutrition.
  • a handful of greens – why not?! You don’t taste them anyway, not with all the delicious fruit and yummy protein powder. I usually do either kale or spinach for extra folic acid and energy boosting B vitamins.
  • 1 cup liquid. It can be filtered water, unsweetened milk substitutes (I like almond, oat, hemp, or brown rice), you can even add freshly squeezed juice of your choice!
  • 1 tbsp omega 3 fats – usually in the form of a high quality flavored fish oil supplement, or you can try flax or hemp oil. We need more omega 3’s and putting them in a smoothie sure beats taking it off the spoon! I like Ascenta NutraSea or Seroyal
  • 1 tsp – 1 tbsp of any or all your favorite SUPERFOODS! Well we couldn’t call it a superfood smoothie without them right? If you want the biggest bang for your buck (nutrient wise) try spirulina and chlorella. A tsp to tbsp depending on how adventurous you are of either will suffice. Bee pollen, for more B vitamins, protein and allergy prevention, maca root powder for hormone balancing and libido, raw cacao powder for anti-stress magnesium, and don’t forget the high fibre seeds are omega 3 rich superfoods as well (chia, hemp and flax).
  • other optional ingredients include 1 tbsp black strap molasses for pregnant or nursing moms, it provides an extra iron boost. 1-2 tbsp non GMO soy lecithin is great for fat digestion (if the fish oil makes you burp) and elimination. 1/4 cup kefir (a fermented dairy beverage) is loaded with good bacteria and yeast for your gut.

This is just a rough recipe, get creative and remember recipes are only guidelines! Now it’s time to run out and buy smoothie ingredients for a month…come on you can do this one with me!!

convenience veg + a protein packed lunch

convenience kale

Every time I go to a new country I am always curious to see how the grocery stores are different from back home. One of the biggest differences here in the Netherlands is the size of the produce department in comparison to the rest of the grocery store. More accurately – there are less processed food aisles. You all know the rule right? Shop only on the perimeter of the grocery store! (Check this video from Michael Pollan).

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are a fair share of junky fast foods in the Netherlands…(um have you heard about fast food from the wall?). Yeah…don’t ask, don’t try…I made that mistake 5 years ago on my first visit to the Netherlands (before I knew anything about healthy food).One of the main things I noticed in the relatively large produce departments is that a significant section is dedicated to what I call “convenience vegetables”. You know, pre-washed greens, pre-chopped broccoli, mini carrots, those kinds of things. In fact, it is rare to buy kale here in it’s whole big leaves, thick stem “normal” form. Occasionally they offer it this way at the farmers market, but most often it comes pre-washed, de-veined, chopped into tiny little bits, and ready to eat. I am most definitely not complaining, I do believe whole and as natural as possible is best, but since discovering ‘convenience kale’ I have to say my consumption has at least doubled. I kid you not, I have been scarfing that stuff straight from the bag…and it is damn good (for real). I must add that kale is an incredible source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, and fibre…it’s basically every nutritionist’s favorite leafy green. (Have you seen “Shit Nutritionists Say”?)

Making your own convenience veggies is something I have always recommended to my clients. Buy fresh, local, organic produce (whenever possible), bring it home, wash and chop it so that it is ready to eat when you are hungry. If you come home starving and making a salad means you wont be eating for 15-20 minutes, then chips and dip are going to be all that much more appealing. On the other hand, if you have veggies and convenience kale all ready to go, your salad is in your mouth within minutes. Or you can dip your convenience veggies into hummus, or kale pesto (recipe coming). This makes achieving the seemingly unachievable 5-10 cups of veggies a day a breeze.

Now, don’t go whining about how your veggies aren’t going to last. Buy what you need for a few days, eat them fast (and you will if they are ready to go!), then go back to the grocery store to re-stock.

Marinated Tempeh & Portobello Mushrooms Salad

Now here is one of my favorite convenience kale recipes for your eating pleasure. Ever since I taught a raw pie making class with the lovely Lindsey from Tasty Living, I have fallen in love with a new snack – marinated portobello mushrooms (it was a raw pizza pie – ew can you imagine them in a dessert pie?). I have since turned this snack and my oh so handy dandy convenience veggies, into one of my favorite high protein lunches.

Tempeh is a fermented soybean product, I want to say “like tofu” but it is really much different, actually better, in consistency, taste, texture and nutritional profile (personally, I am not a big fan of tofu – I much prefer superior fermented soy). To find tempeh you will likely have to visit your local health foods store. You must marinate tempeh, like you would meat, and it will be incredible (cooked or raw). If not, you probably aren’t going to like it. The marinade below is so quick, easy, and delicious.

Fermented soy, like miso and tempeh, has the added benefit of adding good bacteria to your gut, it is higher in protein than non fermented soy, and is easier to digest. Remember, soy is often genetically modified, so you must buy it organic!

Marinated Portobello Mushrooms & Tempeh

1 block tempeh, chopped into 1-2 cm cubes
2 portobello mushrooms
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (acv)
2 tbsp GF tamari (or Bragg – but I cant find it in the Netherlands :( )
1 – 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
2 tsp dried basil
1-2 cloves raw garlic, chopped (optional but delightful and bad bacteria killing)

Mix together in a stainless steel or glass bowl and let sit for 8-12 hours.

….and the rest of the salad

1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 red or other bell pepper, chopped
2-4 cups kale – or “convenience kale”

Add the rest of the ingredients, toss and use the left over marinade as a dressing (add more evoo, acv, and tamari if needed).