energy

Superfood Breakfast Bowl

Dear Leah Renee,

This question is a little broad, but it seems like you eat so healthfully most of the time.  How are you so disciplined and what makes you stick to it? ~Ally, Seattle WA

Firstly, thank you!  I’m certainly not perfect all the time and I will dive into a bowl of peanut M&M’s if they’re there–nasty food coloring, sugar, and all!  There will come times of temptations, going on a vacation, and social gatherings that you should most definitely enjoy yourself, whatever that means to you.  For the most part, in daily life, I choose to eat foods that are nutrient dense.

The biggest reason I eat the way I do: it makes me feel SO good. For me, it’s not even a question.  I want to feel good.  I want to feel energized.  I want nice skin.  I desire a strong body.  I like to be in a good mood.  Each and every day, I look to acheive that.  There are many ways to do so, but one of the power players in the equation is how you nourish yourself with food.  It’s a choice– yours, mine, and one that I am happy to make.

One of the most energizing and nourishing meals I consume is at the beginning of the day.  After I’ve had a cup of warm water with lemon, I make a super-food smoothie bowl (I don’t know if this is a term, but this is what I’m calling it!).  It looks like this:

brekky bowl
There’s a lot of goodness that goes into this, and the beauty of it is that the options are endless!  Sometimes I mix it up daily while other times I go on kicks of making it the same for weeks.  Depending on what’s in season, what’s on special, and what’s speaking to me that day determines some of the ingredients.  Here is what I put into my Vitamix to make the ice cream-like foundation (the green stuff!):
smoothie ingredients
Ingredients:
  • 1 scoop of Barleans Greens
  • 1/4 cup coconut water
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen organic spinach
  • 1/2 large ripe banana, frozen
  • small nob of organic cucumber
  • 1 tsp of matcha powder
  • 1 stick organic celery
  • Toppings of choice!  The toppings shown in the picture are: hemp hearts, organic blueberries, brazil nuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, and pepitas.

Directions:

Using a high speed blender or food processor (I use a Vitamix), put all the ingredients, except for toppings, starting with the liquid in.  I start on a low setting and work my way up, using the masher so help the process along.  I like the consistency of ice cream, so that means being patient and adding liquid if/as needed!  Blend until smooth.  Add toppings of choice!

Endless possibilities for both the base and toppings include: protein powder (I like hemp), maca powder, flaxseeds, peanut (or any nut) butter, pineapple, strawberries, blackberries, cacao nibs, avocado, coconut oil, kiwi, spirulina, kale, oats/granola, acai, goji berries, mango, romaine lettuce, pear, and many more!!!

What makes this super you ask?  Here’s a breakdown of what you’re gaining from this bowl:

  • Spinach: Rich in Vitamins A, C, and K.  High in manganese, folate, magnesium, and iron. That means healthy skin, blood, energy, muscles, and hair.
  • Coconut Water: Potassium, electrolytes, enzymes, Vitamin C.  Translation: energy, beauty, hydration, recovery.
  • Almond Milk: Calcium.  Strong bones!!!
  • Banana: Potassium, B6, fiber.  These guys will help you prevent high blood pressure, aid in elimination of waste through the body, and aid in the metabolism of carbohydrates.
  • Cucumber: Vitamin K and flavonoids.  That means healthy blood and lots of super rich antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits.  Eat them with the skin on!!!
  • Celery: Digestive tract support (digestion), antioxidants, anti-inflammatory.
  • Matcha (green tea) Powder: High in antioxidants, catechins, L-theanine.  What this means for you is strong immunity, detoxification, energy, good mood, and concentration!  Yes, please!
  • Powdered Greens: In this case, Barleans brand, is a great top-up on anything you may otherwise miss out on.  This is basically a multi-vitamin packed with vitamins and minerals that can help energize and alkalize your body.  It most often also includes chlorella, wheatgrass, and spirulina which have incredible health benefits including vitality and detoxification.

Now go enjoy some superfoods for an even more super-you! 🙂

What are your favorite superfoods?!  I’d love to know!!!

 

Scrumptious Smoothies Every Time

Dear Leah Renee, 

I’ve heard that smoothies are similar in health benefits to that of juicing, but more filling.  I have found that most smoothies are really high in sugar and made with ingredients that aren’t that healthy.  Do you have some good tips for making smoothies to keep my diet on track and still get extra nutrients that I need?  Thanks so much!  ~Amanda, TX

So true, Amanda!  The smoothies we get from some of those chain stores are not the same as the smoothies we can make ourselves at home with fresh, local ingredients, minus any additional sugars, preservatives, or even yogurt and ice cream many of them use.  Smoothies can be super nutritious, or worse than having a candy bar.  Juicing and blending offer different nutritional benefits which you can read about here.

Below is a list of some of the amazing ingredients that make up a nutrient-packed beverage to keep your energy levels strong.

smoothie chart

 

As you can imagine, making a list for any of the ingredients above could be endless, but I chose to highlight ones I think are the easiest to access and work best.   All of these ingredients should be pretty easy to find in your local natural foods store, and buy organic whenever possible!  Sweeteners should be kept at a minimum if your concerned with sugar content, including fruit, dates, and honey.  You can choose one from each category, or multiple from just a few–it’s up to you!  The servings are a guide.  I think half the fun is the trial and error!  If it’s too bitter, add a little more honey.  If it’s lacking some flavor, add some cinnamon or even some good quality salt.  If it’s too thick, add some more liquid.  Too runny?  Throw some ice in the blender or add a little more banana.  If you are looking to really fill up, or are a male reading this, add some extra protein.  If you’re looking for a snack, then just throw in only a few ingredients like a fruit, greens, antioxidant, and a few nuts (you may use nut butters interchangeably-1 TB should suffice!) .  The additions at the bottom are best at 1 teaspoon – 1 tablespoon.

Fruits can be fresh or frozen.  It’s a common misconception that you lose a lot of nutrients if the fruit is frozen.  I think in some cases, it can be just the opposite!  Unless you are buying local, grow it yourself, or you’re choosing fruits that are in season and did not have to travel far, chances are you’re not missing out–the fruits and veggies are usually picked, packed, and frozen so nutrients remain intact.  Don’t forget you can freeze your own fruit too!  Take advantage of the summer months when fruit in plentiful, in season, and on sale.  Buy more and store!  Make sure to wash them first before putting them in the freezer!  Banana’s?  Freeze them too!  Peel off the skin and break them in half.  Frozen bananas make a nice thick smoothie texture (as do avocados).  Are you salivating yet?!  Go!  Start blending!

Try my smoothie recipe to get you started:

smoothie


Ingredients: 1-2 cups spinach, a (pitted) date, 1/2 a banana, 1/2 avocado, 1 TB hemp protein powder, 1 teaspoon Spirulina, 1 TB raw honey, and 1.5 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (and ice), pinch of cinnamon.  A sprinkle of goji berries or cacao nibs on top!