OH, YEAAHH! *Healthy* Kool Aid!

Summer means increasing your water intake. I often liven up boring water; avoiding sugar filled sports drinks and artificial water flavor enhancers, with an herbal infused sun tea.

Today, I stopped by my local food co-op and picked up a loose leaf, fruit blend tea in bulk to try!

This one contains Red Raspberry Leaf, Hibiscus, Orange & Lemon Peel, Rose Hips, and Lemongrass.

I swear it takes me back to my youth – chugging a glass of Kool-Aid after running thru the sprinkler all day..


To Your Health!

~V

Recipe: Summer Thirst Quencher *healthy!

This summer, why not quench your thirst with my recipe for an all natural, healthy, and homemade Electrolyte Drink?

It’s featured HERE on the Institute For Integrative Nutrition’s Alumni Recipe Blog. 

To Your Health!

~V

SPRING!! What better way to embrace the energy of the season than with healthful, light, and delicious salads?

Institute for Integrative Nutrition - Spring Salad Recipe Guide -

Ahh… spring, a refreshing time of year when our bodies naturally yearn towards cleansing and renewal. This is an incredible time for transition, growth, and renewed focus on personal wellness. With fresh, seasonal produce emerging locally, it’s also the perfect opportunity to gently cleanse from the heavier foods of winter and lighten ourselves up, inside and out.

Detoxifying through your diet doesn’t have to mean going hungry or even sacrificing your favorite foods; it can be as simple as just adding more healthy salads to your daily meals.

What better way to embrace the energy of the season than with healthful, light, and delicious salads?

Institute for Integrative Nutrition Spring Salads Recipe Guide is the perfect resource to inspire renewed energy, positive mood, and a balanced immune system.

Click below – The guide includes;
•18 delicious salad recipes submitted by IIN students and graduates.
•Tips for creating your own perfect salad, and preserving fresh ingredients.



Use the IIN Spring Salad Recipe Guide as an inspiration for a 3-5 day cleanse, or simply incorporate more salad recipes into your existing diet. Either way, your body will thank you.

To Your Health!

~V

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Green Smoothies = Pot O’ Gold

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Based on my 2+ years experience with smoothies, I can definitely say that drinking green smoothies is the quickest, easiest way to obtain incredible health results without a lot of fuss or effort.

Simply by adding one green smoothie to your diet every day will likely start to bring about amazing positive change in your body. When the body gets the foods it needs, it can heal itself.

Green Smoothies are fast and extremely easy to make. No matter what your schedule is, you can manage making a Green Smoothie. From start to finish, it takes less than 5 minutes, and that includes cleaning up! And – if you are overweight – you will likely start losing weight really quickly too, because you will be eating less of the fattening foods that you normally crave.

I’ve been drinking them for years, and I honestly cannot remember feeling so vibrant!

Here is my list of why drink green smoothies in no particular order:

1. Green smoothies make healthy nutrition effortless. Let’s face it: most of us are very busy these days, and healthy nutrition is one more item on the already too long to-do list (often falling to the bottom replaced by more urgent tasks). No wonder that eating enough of green leafy vegetables is often a problem with many people, especially children. Fortunately regular consumption of green smoothies forms a good habit of eating greens. After a few of weeks of drinking green smoothies, you may find yourself craving and enjoying greens. You will become addicted to them, which is a good thing!

2. Green smoothies are incredibly nutritious!Because green smoothies incorporate fresh fruits and veggies, they are usually high in vitamins A, C, K, E as well as calcium, fiber, and protein. The darker, leafy greens also provide a variety of important phytonutrients like beta-carotene and lutein, which protect our cells from damage. Some even contain small amounts of Omega-3 fats that are important to brain health and functions. Most experts agree that we need to eat fresh fruits and veggies every day. The USDA recommends that we eat at least 3 cups of the leafy green variety every week.

3. Green smoothies are easy to digest. When blended well, all the valuable nutrients in these fruits and veggies become homogenized, or divided into such small particles that it becomes easy for the body to assimilate these nutrients. The green smoothies literally start to get absorbed in your mouth!
What people don’t typically know is that the cell walls of many leafy greens are incredibly durable and hard for the body to break apart. Chewing really well helps to “break” the cell walls and allow access to the nutrition inside, but very few people chew their food that well, especially children. This is just another reason that green smoothies are so wonderful. Using a blender breaks these cell walls apart and makes these nutrient easily available. The blender “chews” the greens for you!

4. Green smoothies are easy to make, and quick to clean up after. No cooking or washing pots and pans required! It’s also much easier than juicing–even the most health conscious people do not consume enough green juices on a regular basis because it takes too long to prepare them and clean the equipment after juicing. I used to do a lot of juicing in the past and I still do it, but let’s face it – it is quite time consuming and really messy. My problem is over since I started making green smoothies. Making smoothies is a super easy way to eat lots of greens, and a great alternative to juicing.

5. Green smoothies belong to the most palatable dishes for people of all ages.
With a ratio of fruits to veggies as 60:40 the fruit taste dominates the flavor, yet at the same time the green vegetables balance out the sweetness of the fruit, adding nice zest to it. Green smoothies are simply the best tasting dishes for the majority of adults and children.

6. Green smoothies reduce cravings for sugar and other processed foods that are not good for you by flooding your body with nutrients. When you consume your greens in the form of green smoothies, you can greatly reduce the consumption of oils and salt in your diet (in the form of salad dressings and other foods you would normally eat). One reason we crave certain foods, is that these foods contain opiate-like chemicals that make you crave them. The primary addictive foods include sugar, chocolate, cheese and meat. The other reason is this: The diet that an average person consumes today is deficient in many essential nutrients. If your body does not get what it needs to function properly, it will demand you eat more and more food. Green smoothies will provide your body with the nutrients that it needs to function.

7. Green smoothies can help you lose weight by reducing those cravings that keep sabotaging your weight loss goals.

8. Green smoothies are perfect food for children of all ages, including babies of six or more months old when introducing new food to them after mother’s milk. Kids love smoothies and most will never notice they are drinking their vegetables unless you tell them! If you can’t get your kids to eat spinach or kale in their dinner salad, you will be amazed to see them relishing these very same ingredients inside a fruit smoothie. Of course, you have to be careful and slowly introduce new ingredients to avoid food allergies.

9. Green smoothies, unlike juices, are a complete food because they retain all fiber. They provide a feeling satiety, and can be used to replace meals.

10. Green smoothies are loaded with fiber, which helps improve digestion and elimination. The fiber acts like a powerful broom that sweeps the colon of toxins and waste. In each smoothie you’ll be getting plenty of FIBER – so forget about those colon cleansing supplements!

11.Green smoothies allow you to easily use up leftovers, such as leftover fruit and greens in the same way as you might put your leftover vegetables in a soup or stew.

12. Green smoothies can help you achieve beautiful skin, bright eyes, shiny hair, and a more youthful appearance. There is no skin cream or hair conditioner available on the market today that can compare to the beautifying effects of a regular supply of green smoothies. You will also need less makeup, deodorants and soaps.

13. Green smoothies can help you achieve overall improved health, increased energy and clear thinking. In one drink you will be consuming more nutrients than you have in a week if you live on processed foods!

14. Green smoothies will help you save energy and money. You will eat out less (try green smoothies for lunch instead of fast food) and there will be little cleanup. You won’t need any (or take fewer) supplements. You’ll be clean and beautiful from the inside!

You may be wondering if it’s actually possible to experience all these benefits! Actually, it is . I read testimonials all the time from people all over the world who have experienced the power of raw and living foods, and I noticed that the benefits I mentioned above are the ones almost everybody who tries this way of eating experiences!

However, green smoothies habit goes well beyond adopting a few simple recipes for health and weight loss. Don’t let the simplicity of the recipes and ingredients fool you. You will see improvements in your life in many other areas, not just health and weight management.

Adding just one green smoothie a day will affect other areas in your life too. You will cleanse and detoxify your body, and this will lead to trigger the desire to clear and cleanse your lifestyle, your relationships, your work. You are likely to experience the desire to drop unhealthy habits, open your heart more and improve your life in both large and small ways – including, perhaps, adopting a more wellness centered lifestyle.

To Your Health!

~V

You Are What You Eat and What’s Eating AT You – Primary Food; All The Kale In The World Won’t Nourish You

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Food is so much more than what you find on your plate. Healthy relationships, regular physical activity, a fulfilling career and a spiritual practice can fill your soul and satisfy your hunger for life. Integrative Nutrition refers to these lifestyle aspects as Primary Food, which when balanced and satiated, your life feeds you, making what you eat secondary.

Primary Food

To complete the picture, the plate is surrounded with lifestyle factors that create optimal health – relationships, career, physical activity, and spirituality. The elements of primary food often more important than the food that’s on your plate.

Relationships:

Being well connected with others is an essential part of life, and the quality of our relationships explains a lot about the quality of our health.

Career:

Work is a huge part of our daily routine, yet how many of us really enjoy it? Finding work you love or way to love your current work is essential to living a healthy, balanced life.

Physical Activity:

Our bodies thrive on movement, and quickly degenerate without it. Find a routine that can nourish you on a regular basis. Hang up the car keys and run your next errand on foot.

Spirituality:

Spirituality can feed us on a very deep level and dramatically diminish our cravings for superficial rewards of life.

I encourage people to look at these aspects of life as a form of nutrition, a way to feed themselves at a much deeper level than food. The food you eat plays a critical role in your health and happiness, but the four forms of primary food make your life extraordinary.

The Integrative Nutrition Plate (pictured) is adapted from the USDA’s MyPlate nutrition guidelines and emphasizes the importance of local and organic produce, whole grains, high-quality proteins, plant-based fats, and water.

True, organic is best, local is better, and from garden to plate is supreme, I’d like to emphasize that simply starting somewhere; adding more nutrient rich foods and crowding out processed foods is more important.

The Integrative Nutrition Plate serves as a general guideline for healthy eating but should be adapted and customized according to what works best for you. Just as there is a no one-size-fits-all diet, there are no strict instructions on how everyone has to eat all the time.

Here are the essentials you should include every day;

Fruits:

Eat in season, and eat a variety of colors. Enjoy fruit craving sweets and snacks.

Vegetables:

Vegetables are nutritionally rich – so fill your plate! Go for many colors, choosing dark leafy greens as much as possible.I’ll be sharing Green Smoothie recipes later on.

Whole Grains:

Whole grains provide many nutrients and fiber. Avoid refined grains like white bread, white rice, and white flour products. If you cannot digest grains or choose not to eat them, perhaps you’d do better with more veggies instead!

Protein:

Choose healthy varieties such as beans, nuts, eggs, fish, and poultry. If you eat meat, like I do, choose grass-fed, organic for best quality.

Fats and Oils:

Use plant-based oils like olive oil as dressing on salad. Choose wild fish, avocados, nuts, and seeds. Balance your intake of saturated fats like butter, cream, and cheese (hmph! all of my weaknesses). Avoid trans fats.

Water:

Opt for water as your drink of choice. Limit caffeinated drinks and avoid sugary drinks. If you drink dairy, quality is key – choose milk free of added hormones and buy local, organic when possible.

Modern nutrition – carbs, proteins, fruits, and vegetables – is really just one source of nourishment – and these foods do nourish our bodies, but are not able to give us the joy, meaning, or fulfillment that primary food provides.

We hunger for play, fun, touch, romance, intimacy, love, achievement, success, art, music, self-expression, leadership, excitement, adventure, and spirituality. All these elements are essential forms of nourishment, and the extent to which we are able to incorporate them determines how enjoyable and worthwhile our lives feel.

When we use food as a way to alleviate or suppress our hunger for primary food, the body and mind suffer. Weight gain is just one of the consequences. Diet-related disorders such as heart disease, cancer, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes are national epidemics, and one of the main reasons is because we are stuffing ourselves with food when we are really starving for primary food.

Sometimes we are fed not by food but by the energy in our lives. If you’re not getting the primary food you need, eating all the (right) foods in the world won’t satisfy your hunger.

My 1,2,3, Vitality program dives deep into these topics and gives you a roadmap for total wellbeing.