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Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Chia Seed Recipes

chia seed drink

Chia seeds are a nutritious little seed from Mexico, that are gaining popularity because they’re rich in fiber, minerals, and essential fatty acids. Their protein content is about 4 to 6 grams per 2 tablespoons, (depending on which report you read) and are a source of complete protein (meaning they contain all the essential amino acids). It’s also said that they have a lubricative effect on the lining of the colon, improving waste elimination, which is good news for any one suffering from bowel problems or autoimmune diseases.

Chia seeds don’t have a flavor of their own, but take on the flavor of anything they’re mixed with. They will absorb the moisture of the other ingredients and swell to form a gelatinous membrane, creating a pudding or jello like consistency. Once moisture is absorbed, they’re no longer crunchy, which makes them great for flavored drinks, smoothies, or juices. When you mix these little guys in, you can get your serving of fruit without worrying about sugar levels spiking. The fibers, fats, and proteins of the chia seeds will prevent it.

Here’s my recipe for chia drink:

1 16 oz bag of frozen berries and cherries (or your favorite fruit), defrosted and pureed in a blender

pour 4 oz or ½ cup of the pureed fruit into 4 glasses

add 1 ½ cups water to each glass

add 2 tbsp chia seed to each glass and stir well *

sweeten with stevia

refrigerate 20 minutes before serving

optional: sometimes I add chlorophyll drops or fresh spinach to the blender to get a serving of greens.

*Note: you’ll need to stir for about a minute or two to prevent clumping.

I use the 16 oz plastic cups you see in the picture above, because they have lids and measurement lines on the side to make measuring ½ cup easier.

Recipe for chia pudding:

1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or your favorite milk)

3 to 4 tbsp chia seed

1 tsp vanilla extract ( or your favorite flavor)*

sweeten with stevia and stir well

refrigerate over night

*Note: some extracts are stronger than others. Peppermint and anise only need ¼ tsp. Almond extract only needs ½ tsp.

This makes a great desert for those times you want to treat yourself and not feel guilty. The only sugars are from the milk, and if you use unsweetened almond milk, there is no sugar.

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Avocado Salad Dressing

avocado dressing

A client gave me this recipe, even though neither she nor her husband liked it. It looked interesting, so I decided to change it up a bit.

Here’s the original:

1 lg avocado

½ cup Greek yogurt

1 tbsp hot sauce

¼ cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic

¾ tsp salt

mix together in a blender

Here’s my version:

1 lg avocado

½ cup almond milk

½ small tomato

1 jalapeño (I removed the seeds, but it wasn’t spicy enough)

¼ cup onion (approx.)

¼ cup coconut oil

2 cloves garlic

¾ tsp salt

mix in blender

I loved the unique flavor that the coconut oil gave it, subtly sweet with a hint of the onion coming through. My jalapeño wasn’t very hot, so next time I think I’ll only remove half the seeds. There isn’t any vinegar in this dressing, so it needs to be spicy.

It will get thicker in the refrigerator, because coconut oil, like olive oil, solidifies at cold temperatures. In the picture above, it looks like guacamole, because I had just taken out of the refrigerator.

Why these ingredients?

My client couldn’t really tell me why she didn’t like it, and I know she loves avocados, so I guessed that the Greek yogurt was too tangy for her taste and overpowered the avocado. Since I can’t have dairy anyway, I switched to almond milk. Either way is healthy.

Raw vs. Cooked

I used fresh veggies rather than hot sauce for two reasons. One is because almond milk is blander than yogurt, and fresh tomato, onion, and jalapeño would have stronger flavors.

The other is because raw vegetables offer more nutrients than cooked. When these same ingredients are cooked to make hot sauce, the enzymes they contain are destroyed. The body uses enzymes to help break down and absorb food. As we get older, our bodies aren’t as effective at producing its own enzymes, so raw fruits and vegetables are needed to help the body get the nutrients it needs.

For those trying to lose weight, it becomes a matter of making every calorie count. If you can get more nutrients for the same amount of calories, you will be less hungry later. The hunger mechanism is not only triggered when deprived of calories, but can also be triggered when deprived of nutrients. So it’s possible to eat enough calories and still be hungry, because the calories we’re consuming have very little nutritional value. Put another way, the more nutritional the food, the less we need to eat.

Coconut Oil

Both olive oil and coconut oil are good for you in different ways. Many people think coconut oil is bad, because it’s a saturated fat, but what they don’t know is that it’s a medium chained fatty acid, and can be converted to fuel by the body as fast as carbs without raising sugar levels. Most fats are long chained, and take longer for the body to digest. What this means for people who are trying to lose weight is that it speeds up the metabolism. Here’s interesting article about how it was used in the 1940’s as a cheap way to fatten cattle, only to find that it made the cattle leaner.

I use coconut oil, because of reports that it helps Alzheimer’s, and since I have a family history of it, I’m hoping to prevent it. There are no studies yet that substantiate these claims, but I have a client who feels that it’s helped with what his doctors call pre-Parkinson’s tremors. So far, it hasn’t hurt, and I do feel more energetic. I even lost a couple of pounds. I don’t eat it everyday, just in recipes that I think it would taste good in. And to me, this is one of them. Olive oil and avocado didn’t sound good to me. I use olive oil in so many other things. A change is good. It’s not good to eat the same things day after day.

Superfoods

This is a popular buzz word lately in the health and fitness industry, because, as I was saying before, being healthy is about making every calorie count, not counting calories. Superfoods are foods that are nutrient dense for the amount of calories they contain proportionately. In other words, an avocado might have as many calories as an order of fries at Jack in the Box, but it’s nutritional value is much higher. The internet is full of superfood lists, and you’ll probably find avocados on every one of them. I love them.

My friend, Joe, likes them in his smoothies. I decided I had to try that. Wow, it’s like drinking a malted milk shake: so creamy you could eat it with a spoon.

Here’s an Avocado Berry Smoothie recipe:

½ avocado

½ berries (I usually use blueberry, but recently discovered that strawberries are good, too)

3 tbsp hemp seed (equals 10 grams of protein)

1½ cups almond milk (more or less depending on how thick you like it)

dash of cinnamon (to taste)

stevia (to taste)

Enjoy!

avocado berry smoothie