I have a new friend in my kitchen: The NutriBullet blender.
Now, you might be asking yourself why I would buy this when I have both a Vitamix and a Blendtec. I bought it for two main reasons, well, three kind of.
- The first – AND MAIN – reason is for travel. The NutriBullet makes a great travel blender (or for having at work). Up until now I was using a Tribest Personal Blender for traveling, but it recently puttered out (it’s cute that Tribest advertises its motor as powerful with 200 watts, but the NutriBullet boasts 600 watts of power – now that’s rightly powerful). As I was researching the new options for a travel blender, I became aware of the NutriBullet, and after reading the great specs and reviews, I decided that it was the best option for me.
- I also bought it because I am adding Superhero Superherb Superfood Tonic Elixirs into our life, and the NutriBullet fits the bill for making these (so does any blender though – for the most part).
The components. It’s a 12-piece set.
Furthermore, (the third reason) it’s no surprise that I enjoy protein shakes – um, hello, (normally) yummy Immortal Machine (read my updated review of this product). Although a lot of people just shake and go (mixing protein powder with water in a shaker bottle and physically shaking it), I prefer mine blended up (quickly) so they get really smooth (zero clumps). Well, my cute little NutriBullet does this great, and if I want, I can drink it right from the BPA-free carafe it’s blended in. Helpful in times of rushing out the door. However, I usually transfer it to a fancy or fun glass. Any blender does the job for blending protein shakes, but since I needed something for travel, I can use this as well. And, I’ll be honest, when I have new kitchen friends, I’m inspired and motivated for healthy living and foods, so whatever it takes, eh?
Tonic ingredients getting ready for a quick but effective blend.
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Although I don’t normally subscribe to people getting lots of protein in their diets, there are two groups that I believe should get a little more – pregnant moms and growing children. How much is “a little more?” Well, that is a good question and I don’t really have an answer. But, here is how I’m handling it with my pregnancy (I’ll address growing children and protein when I have one). I’m not a midwife or a doctor or a nutritionist, so I’m taking in information from various experts I know and sources (including lots of books and online research with my MacBook), and I’m adding my own mama intuition to weave my own blanket of a plan.
I’ve been advised by some people (as well as what I’ve read in some natural childbirth books) that a pregnant mom will do well with a daily protein consumption of 75-90 grams a day (the higher range being extra recommended during the third trimester according to some experts – for baby brain development). Some of these books and experts support a vegetarian diet for pregnant moms, so I know that they “get it” at least to some degree. 75-90 grams a day is a bit high for me when I’m consuming mostly raw… unless I want to drink protein shakes with Raw sprouted brown rice powder. I do this on those days that I want to tip the scale higher for protein (it’s easy and quick). But, I don’t always want to rely on it for protein because whole food sources are healthier. On the days that I have cooked organic vegan protein such as beans, lentils, quinoa, organic tofu, etc… it’s easier to get a higher quantity. However, having one meal like that doesn’t always get my day’s total to 75 grams when the rest of my day is Raw. That being said, I also believe that Raw protein is better assimilated and better digested. Therefore, I probably don’t need as many grams as 75-90 most days since that recommended 75-90 grams is likely based on cooked protein recommendations (not much is written about pregnant moms and Raw vegan protein), and it probably takes more cooked protein to assimilate what I might get with a Raw diet. Hhmmm… but I don’t have the magic answer.
So… what makes me feel most comfortable is to have a mix. Some days I get higher protein with both Raw and cooked vegan protein sources. Some days I get whatever protein comes naturally with my Raw food intake. Plus! I consume various superfoods (I just love that word… makes me feel like a superhero, Wonder Woman – lol – I’m a kid at heart). Pretty much on a daily basis I have hemp foods. Did you know that a mere 2 tablespoons of Manitoba Harvest hemp seeds contain a whopping 11 grams of complete vegetarian protein? And, I also add Manitoba Harvest Hemp Protein Powder to some of my smoothies (2 heaping tablespoons give about 15 grams of complete vegetarian protein). Then, probably 3-5 days a week, I take spirulina tablets, wheat grass tablets, and chlorella tablets. Those pack a nice punch of protein.
So… what do you think about the protein debate with respect to children and pregnancy?
“Superfoods” is a buzz word in the Raw vegan world, but it’s usually referring to some exotic ingredient such as maca or goji berries. But, what earns the right to be classified as a “superfood?” Does it have to be hard to get? Not at the common store? Full of mystical powers – or at least it makes you feel as such? Or, does it just mean that it’s chock full of awesome compounds including precious antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals?
I came across an article, Top 10 Superfoods for Winter and I wanted to share some of it here. The following list includes some foods you might not have considered “superfoods” in the past if you got caught up in the typical sexy superfood whirlwind we frequently hear about in Raw circles. However, these foods deserve some cheers and should be included.
I was excited upon reading the article that eight of the ten foods listed can easily be consumed Raw. Sa-weet! Here are some bits from the article, along with my own spin on things, including links to recipes of mine featuring some of the superfoods. Enjoy!
Cinnamon has always been one of my mom’s favorite spices so she has been adding it to her recipes for most of my life. So much so that my brother and I started teasing her about it when we were growing up. Well, well, well… what do ya know? It turns out that mom knows best (sorry, Mom, it took me twenty-some years to come to this realization!). It’s been said that the compounds in cinnamon can help moderate blood sugar, improve capillary function, fight candida and inflammation, improve digestion, and may help reduce blood pressure. Cinnamon rocks the house!
Here is a recipe to get you started adding more cinnamon to your life: Blissed Out Chocolate Runner’s Smoothie.
According to the article, “Pecans have shown to significantly lower LDL cholesterol and increase HDL. Frequent consumption of nuts is associated with a lowered risk of sudden cardiac death and other coronary heart disease, as well as a lower risk of Type II diabetes in women.”
Here is an easy and delicious cookie recipe that people love love love! Pecan Spice Delight Cookies.
The article also stated that “a Penn State-led review of the available evidence from 66 published studies, supports the view that consuming flavonoid-rich chocolate, in moderation, can be associated with reduced risk for cardiovascular disease. Chocolate that is minimally processed and has the highest cocoa content (which means the darkest chocolate) has the highest level of flavonoids. With dark chocolate, even eating as little as 30 calories per day can have a moderate effect. (But more can make you really happy.)”
I totally agree with the author there! For a truly decadent experience with plenty of Raw vegan chocolate, you gotta make this recipe: Organic Double Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake.
The article mentions consuming pomegranates in the form of juice, but in my opinion, the pomegranate is best experienced in the whole form, i.e. the seeds. I want to feel spoonful after spoonful of juicy seeds burst in my mouth. My ritual of many years is donning a t-shirt that I’m happy to stain with pomegranate juice, as I seed 2-3 pomegranates at a time. I carry my bowl of precious seeds upstairs and I take pleasure in them as I enjoy a long, warm bath. That being said, I do realize the juice is much easier to come by year round.
In the Greek myth of Persephone, the pomegranate is called the fruit of the underworld. This legend tells the story that Persephone was bound to hell because she ate a pomegranate seed(s) from Hades. I don’t know about you, but a pomegranate might just be worth it… to me they’re glamorous and sensuous. Cutting into a pomegranate is like opening a treasure chest…inside you find brilliantly sparkling, sweet-tart flavored ruby-like seeds.
The joy doesn’t stop there though. The pomegranate has anti-inflammatory effects and high levels of anti-oxidants. It offers you potassium, vitamin C and niacin, making this labor intensive fruit worth the effort.
Apples are awesome. I mean, hello, an apple graces the cover of Twilight! But seriously, apples are filled with antioxidants for helping fight cancer and improve cardiovascular health. But, that’s not all. Apples also contain pectin (a great source of soluble fiber), bone-building boron, and Vitamin C. If you want the most bang for your buck when it comes to selecting which variety of apple you enjoy, consider this – Red Delicious apples are reputed for having the highest levels of anti-oxidants.
Here is a great green smoothie recipe that includes both apples and cinnamon!
Fluffy Green Smoothie
Yield 1 serving
1 1/2 – 2 cups water
2 apples, cored and chopped
2 handfuls spinach
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Blend it up and enjoy!
Blueberries are crazy awesome for you. They’re rich in phytonutrients and shown to be some major brain food from an anti-aging perspective. In fact, they may help keep your memory sharp. The next time you forget where you park your car, eat some extra blueberries. However, there’s more to blueberries than just some brain power… Wild blueberries, in particular, are shown to help improve eyesight by reducing eye strain and improving night vision. Total score – Night Vision! Next time you want your kids (or husband – haha) to eat healthier, give them a bowl of blueberries and tell them it’ll help their night vision. :) I’ll bet they gobble them up without a second thought.
All in all, blueberries rock. They are so good for you. And, I’ve read that you can get these benefits by eating fresh or frozen blueberries (get the “wild” ones if you can). This makes eating blueberries year round much easier.
No recipe here… I just eat them straight up by the bowl!
Prunes (dried plums) are not just for shuffle board players. They’re a force to be reckoned with and should be enjoyed by people of all ages. Prunes are loaded with antioxidants (LOTS!), fiber, vitamins A & C, potassium, iron and more.
Updated 2/8: And, check this out… Plums Poised To Give Blueberries Run For The Money.
Although, I typically eat prunes by themselves, here is a delicious dressing recipe with prunes: Creamy Kickin’ Dressing.
According to the article, “A New York Times article in December suggests that cabbage is the most important [vegetable] in the world from the point of view of nutritional benefits and cancer-fighting ability. Cabbage possesses phytochemicals including sulforaphane, which studies suggest protects the body against cancer-causing free radicals, and indoles, which help metabolize estrogens. It’s also an excellent source of vitamins K and C, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6, folate, manganese and Omega 3 fatty acids.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself! Now, most people associate cabbage recipes with cole slaw. And, it’s definitely a good source for it. However, to concentrate lots of those valuable nutrients in one serving, I also get my cabbage in the form of fresh organic Plant Blood. When I juice it, I include lots of purple cabbage, an apple or two, a carrot or two, and fresh ginger.
So, there you have it. 8 great superfoods for winter (and year round if you ask me!).
For those of you who think living the Raw vegan lifestyle could be costly, let me help break it down because it doesn’t have to be. In the beginning stages, it can seem expensive, but in the long run, it’s not. Keep the five following points in mind:
>If you are new to Raw, you’re probably going to try lots of new recipes and you typically don’t have all of the ingredients on hand. As a result, you’re frequently buying new ingredients as you stock up your pantry. Once you’re stocked up with all the appropriate seasonings, herbs and ingredients then you’ll only purchase them occasionally.
>You may find yourself making all kinds of food for others to sample (in getting them to understand and support you, or maybe just trying to impress them, or even encouraging them to try the lifestyle for themselves). It’s all perfectly natural, but keep in mind that these – exotic foods, learning materials, parties, etc. – can increase the financial cost of going Raw.
>Super foods can be expensive (goji berries, green powders, raw cacao, etc) and many people don’t find them necessary at all. Personally, there are times I enjoy them and times when I don’t have them for months on end. It just depends on my preference at the time. For example, if I find that it’s been a couple of weeks without much variety in my diet, I’ll add them to make sure I’m getting a more balanced diet. Or, if I’m traveling, I always take a green powder to mix with water or juice so I’m still getting my greens. Just keep in mind that overall, if you use a lot of super foods, they can add to the cost of your Raw vegan lifestyle.
>Living the Raw lifestyle means not eating out at restaurants very often. This alone can save money! The equipment cost you pay in the beginning can add up, but remember you probably won’t need to buy these items again (or for a very long time) if you purchase high quality equipment. Ask for these gifts for holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
>Remember the things you will not be buying, which will save you money. Meat is expensive. Supplements are VERY expensive – most (if not all) will no longer be necessary. Processed and packaged food is expensive. Going to restaurants is expensive. Doctor co-pays and bills are expensive. Prescription drugs are expensive. Being sick and staying home from work is expensive. Not having enough energy to really pay attention to your kids and be there for them 100% is expensive.
Large green juice
Large green juice
2 of my Heavenly Cookies
Large salad of lettuce, red bell pepper, carrots, celery, tomato topped with a zesty Raw Italian Dressing YUM!
3 of my Heavenly Cookies
Check out today’s feature on Yahoo: 4 Healthy Superfoods and why you should add more of them to your diet…Raw, of course, or you risk destroying the very nutrients you’re trying to get! Here are some easy ways to get more folate (lowers homocysteine levels), sulforaphane (cancer fighter), lycopene (not from tomatoes!), and lutein and zeaxanthin (retina protection).
Today’s food intake:
Upon waking: warm water with fresh squeezed lemon and lime juice
Breakfast: 3 large bananas
Snack: 1/4 cup soaked pumpkin seeds (getting more zinc in my diet)
Lunch: 2 cups Lemon Mint Zucchini Bisque with 1 cup chopped beets
Snack: small Green Smoothie (water, swiss chard, banana)
Dinner: 1 cup Lemon Mint Zucchini Bisque, large Perfect Salad
I’m doing a few minutes of jump rope every couple of hours. Tonight, I’ll take one of my epic walks.
As we look deeply within, we understand our perfect balance.
There is no fear of the cycle of birth, life and death.
For when you stand in the present moment, you are timeless.