Berry Green Pecan Smoothie


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BERRY GREEN PECAN SMOOTHIE

INGREDIENTS

INSTRUCTIONS

Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Add more water as needed (1/4 cup at a time) to achieve desired consistency. Enjoy immediately.

NOTES

Use organic ingredients when possible. If you are currently on the AIP or a gut-restoring protocol, eliminate the ground flaxseed and cauliflower rice and swap out the Truvani plant-based protein powder and nut butter using the Simple Swaps guidelines below.  Save on pantry staples like organic ground flaxseed, pecan butter, and more by shopping online at Thrive Market. Click here to get 40% off your first order!

 Simple Swaps:

  • Unsweetened coconut milk (homemade or from the can) for filtered water. 
  • Be Well By Kelly's collagen protein powder instead of Truvani. 
  • 1 tablespoon Bulletproof Brain Octane, MCT oil, or 1/4 - 1/2 avocado for nut butter. 
  • Blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, raspberries, or strawberries for mixed berries. 

Blueberry Muffin Superfood & Adaptogen Smoothie


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Stay calm, focused, and energized & counteract the effects of daily stress with this tasty Blueberry Muffin Superfood & Adaptogen Smoothie featuring three of nature’s most powerful adaptogens combined into one convenient and affordable blend.

WHAT ARE SUPERFOODS?

According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, a superfood is a food (such as salmon, broccoli, or blueberries) that is rich in compounds (such as antioxidants, fiber, or fatty acids) considered beneficial to a person’s health (1). I love this definition because it reminds us of two things. First, superfoods are available to all of us privileged enough to have access to real, whole foods. Second, we don’t need to travel to exotic locations across the globe or buy the latest supplement to experience the health benefits of superfoods. Most of us can choose to grow them in our gardens or purchase them at our local farmers’ markets or grocery stores.

My Blueberry Muffin Superfood & Adaptogen Smoothie includes five superfoods (eight if you count the adaptogens) and is surprisingly simple to make. You can find most of the ingredients at an affordable price at AldiTrader Joe’s, and Thrive Market, with organic options available.

WHAT ARE ADAPTOGENS?

Adaptogens are a class of herbs that help the body resist or “adapt” to physical and mental stress and fatigue (2). In other words, adaptogens can help protect your body from a wide range of stressors and restore balance. Adding adaptogens to your wellness routine can improve sleep, mood, energy levels, mental focus, immune function, and more (23).

While I’m not going to detail specific adaptogen herbs and how they can support the body in this post, it’s important to know that not all adaptogens are the same. Some adaptogens, such as ashwagandha root, are more nourishing and calming, while others, such as Rhodiola, are more energizing (4). The adaptogens found in this recipe were selected to help calm your body and enhance your mood. Plus, they can be purchased together in one convenient powdered mix that’s easy to add to any smoothie or beverage.

The adaptogens found in this recipe include:

  • Maca – A nutrient-dense root that boosts mood, energy, and fertility (5).
  • Reishi – A medicinal mushroom used to improve mood, energy, and overall well-being (67).
  • Ashwagandha – A mood-enhancing herb that protects the body from stress and anxiety (8).

ARE ADAPTOGENS SAFE?

Like any other herb or supplement, it’s always wise to consult with your doctor before adding them to your wellness routine. While adaptogens are generally safe for most people – they can pose risks to those with nightshade sensitivities, allergies, or other underlying health conditions such as diabetes (9). Adaptogens should also be used with caution by individuals taking medications (9). If you are pregnant or nursing, please speak with your doctor or a qualified healthcare professional before taking any herbs and supplements, including adaptogens.

LEARN MORE ABOUT ADAPTOGENS

Want to take a deeper dive into the world of adaptogens? Here’s a list of reputable, evidence-based articles and books to explore:

Blueberry Muffin Superfood & Adaptogen Smoothie

INGREDIENTS

INSTRUCTIONS

Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Add more water or almond milk as needed (1/4 cup at a time) to achieve desired consistency. Enjoy immediately.

NOTES

Use organic ingredients when possible. Truvani’s Vanilla Plant-Based Protein Powder is my go-to protein powder for this recipe. Ancient Nutrition's Collagen protein would also taste great! 

 Simple Swaps:


DIY Pink Grapefruit Salt Scrub


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I wish you could smell this Pink Grapefruit Salt Scrub through your screen because it smells heavennnnnnnly! Seriously, friends, I’m in LOVE.

Before I share this super simple and inexpensive recipe, let’s highlight a few health benefits... shall we?! 

Massaging your body with a salt scrub helps remove dirt and dead skin, stimulate circulation and encourage new skin cells' regeneration. This process of removing dead surface layer skin cells (known as exfoliating) leaves the skin soft, smooth, and glowing. 

The essential oils selected for this recipe also help support the circulatory system, lymphatic and immune system, and the appearance of healthy skin. Blended, they create the most uplifting and energizing aroma. You have to experience it for yourself!

Tip: When making your own salt scrub, it’s best to use fine sea salt and avoid anything too coarse as you don’t want to scratch or damage your delicate skin.

PINK GRAPEFRUIT SALT SCRUB


INGREDIENTS 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a small glass or stainless steel mixing bowl, combine the sea salt and coconut oil. 
  2. Add the essential oils. Mix well to combine. Add more coconut oil, if needed, to achieve desired consistency. 
  3. Transfer the scrub to an 8 oz glass or PET plastic BPA-free container with an air-tight lid. Label and store in a cool, dark place.
HOW TO USE

Wet the skin. Gently massage salt scrub all over your body in circular motions. Once you’ve massaged your whole body (avoiding the face & neck), rinse your body with warm water.


NOTES

  • Avoid using salt scrubs on the face as the skin is too delicate and prone to scratching. 
  • Use a clean spoon to scoop the salt scrub out of the container instead of wet hands. Adding water promotes the growth of bacteria, yeast, and mold. 
  • Be sure to moisturize your body with a natural body oil or lotion to feed and replenish the newly exfoliated skin. 
  • Use 2-3 times per week for best results. If you have sensitive skin, reduce to 1-2 times per week.
Tell me, do you exfoliate your body regularly? If so, what are your favorite products to use?!

How To Make A Matcha Green Tea Latte


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My favorite way to start each workday is by sipping on a warm cup of matcha green tea. I first learned about this energizing, antioxidant-rich green tea when I worked as a research assistant at the University at Buffalo’s School of Public Health and Health Professions during grad school. My colleagues and professors would sip on their green tea and tout its health benefits. They were so convincing that I swapped my afternoon cup of coffee for green tea too. Then one day at a trendy coffee shop, I noticed a different type of green tea on their menu, matcha, and I had to give it a try. I’ve been hooked ever since!

WHAT IS MATCHA?

Matcha is a Japanese green tea powder made from finely ground green tea leaves. Known for its delicate, umami flavor and vibrant green color, this tea is a favorite in Japan and worldwide. While matcha was traditionally reserved for the Japanese tea ceremony, it’s an everyday drink today, thanks to its health benefits.

MATCHA GREEN TEA BENEFITS

Matcha is jam-packed with health-promoting compounds, including chlorophyll and catechins, a class of plant compounds with potent antioxidant properties. Catechins, specifically epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), inhibit cellular oxidation, prevent free radical damage to cells, and are considered the most effective cancer-fighting polyphenol in green tea (12).

Unlike loose-leaf tea, matcha contains the nutrients from the entire tea leaf, resulting in greater antioxidants than regular green tea. In fact, one study showed the concentration of EGCG available from drinking matcha to be 137 times greater than China Green Tips green tea and at least three times higher than the largest literature value for other green teas (3).

Frequently referred to as mood and brain food, matcha is also rich in L-Theanine, an amino acid that improves mood, focus, and concentration (4). Matcha has also been shown to improve attention, reaction time, and memory (56).

Other studies suggest that matcha may improve heart health (8910), support a healthy metabolism (1112), and decrease the risk of liver disease (13).

My personal fascination with matcha is how it makes me feel. There’s a level of calm, focused energy from drinking matcha that I don’t get from coffee. I also don’t get heartburn as I used to when I drank two cups of coffee every day. These are major benefits in my book!

WHERE TO BUY MATCHA GREEN TEA

Buying matcha for the first time can be a daunting task – there are so many brands to choose from, and they vary widely in quality. The first and most important thing to know is that matcha is customarily divided into two grades: ceremonial and culinary. The separation comes down to harvest times, impacting each grade’s color, flavor, and uses. Ceremonial matcha has a bright and vibrant green color, fresh and slightly sweet flavor, and is most suitable for drinking in teas and lattes. On the other hand, culinary grade matcha has a less vibrant green color, bitter and robust flavor, and is typically used to cook and bake.

To make the best tasting matcha green teas or lattes, look for an authentic (Japanese origin), organic, high-quality ceremonial matcha with no added sugar. My favorite brands are Pique and DōMatcha, which you can get on Amazon or their websites. Pique screens all of its teas for heavy metals, pesticides, and toxic mold. DōMatcha is also clean, additive-free, and tested by an independent lab for residual chemicals from pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and radiation. I switch back and forth between Pique's Sun Goddess Matcha and DōMatcha's Ceremonial Organic Matcha and Summer Harvest Organic Matcha. DōMatcha's Summer Harvest is higher in catechins and has an earthier flavor than their Ceremonial Organic Matcha, which has a sweet, clean flavor. Experiment and see what you like best!

HOW TO MAKE MATCHA GREEN TEA

Traditionally, matcha green tea is made using a sievebamboo whisk, hot water, and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon matcha. You can also add your favorite milk and adjust quantities for thick or thin matcha as you prefer.

  1. Sift matcha: Sift 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of matcha green tea powder in a large mug or drinking bowl. The amount varies depending on how thin or thick you like your matcha (1 teaspoon is a great place to start).

  2. Add hot water: Add a small amount of hot water (2-3 fl oz). The ideal water temperature for matcha is 80°C or 176°F (below boiling).

  3. Whisk: Whisk in a light, zig-zag motion until a layer of green froth appears.

  4. Add more hot water or milk: Add more hot water to make a tea or warm milk (3 to 5 fl oz) to make a latte.

Optional:

  • Sweeten it to taste using organic liquid stevia or raw local honey if desired.
  • Supercharge it: Give your matcha green tea latte a boost by adding 1 teaspoon maca powder and/or 1/2 teaspoon ashwagandha powder. Maca and ashwagandha are powerful adaptogens, helping your body better adapt to stress and fatigue (15).

Don’t have a bamboo whisk? Don’t stress! Add your chosen ingredients to a blender and blend on high for 15 seconds until frothy and smooth. Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy!

OTHER HELPFUL TIPS

If you see matcha on the menu at your favorite coffee shop, ask if it’s premixed with sugar before ordering it. I was shocked when I found out how much sugar was in Starbucks’ matcha green tea. A 16 fl oz grande contains 32 g of sugar, while a 20 fl oz venti contains 43 g of sugar (16). That’s more sugar than a Snickers bar! Avoid the potential sugar crash and save money by making your own matcha green tea lattes at home.

MY GO-TO DAIRY-FREE MATCHA GREEN TEA LATTE RECIPE 

EQUIPMENT

  • Sieve
  • Bamboo whisk
  • Large teacup or drinking bowl  

INGREDIENTS

Optional: 

INSTRUCTIONS 

  1. Sift matcha in a large teacup or matcha bowl.
  2. Add a small amount of hot water (2-3 fl oz). The ideal water temperature for matcha is 80°C or 176°F (below boiling).
  3. Whisk the matcha and water in a light, zig-zag motion until a layer of green froth appears.
  4. Add warm milk.
  5. Sweeten it to taste if desired. Stir and enjoy!

NOTES

Use organic ingredients when possible.

SIMPLE SWAPS

  • Coconut milkcashew milk, or milk of choice for almond milk
  • Raw local honey for organic liquid stevia 

Don’t have a bamboo whisk? Don’t stress! Use an electric frother or add the ingredients to a blender and blend on high for 15 seconds until frothy and smooth. Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy!

Have you ever tried matcha? If so, what’s your favorite way to make it? Do you supercharge it with any other ingredients? I’m always looking for new ways to pump up my matcha, so please share. I’d love to hear from you!


Homemade Almond Milk


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HOMEMADE ALMOND MILK

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup raw almonds, soaked overnight
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • pinch Celtic sea salt
Optional Add-Ins:
 
INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the almonds in a glass container and add enough water to cover the almonds by about 2 inches. Cover and refrigerate overnight or about 12 hours. 
  2. Drain and rinse the soaked almonds and place them in a high-speed blender. Add filtered water and optional add-ins (if using). 
  3. Blend on high for 2-3 minutes until smooth & creamy.
  4. Pour almond milk into a nut milk bag or cheesecloth over a large bowl. Squeeze the bag so that the milk flows into the bowl. The almond pulp should be left inside the bag and discarded.
  5. Pour milk into a glass container. Cover and refrigerate. Use within three days. Stir or shake well before using.

 
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