Yes!  And, it’s nutrient packed!  This came about because as my boys get older, the harder it is to get them to drink green smoothies or green drinks.  Such a bummer.  But, they love chocolate…especially the younger one!  So, since I am determined to get as much healthy food in them as possible, I figured chocolate would be how I was going to make it happen.  This yummy smoothie does have some green in it that is thankfully, in this case, hidden by the chocolate.  But, even without the green ingredients, it is full of some powerful nutrients that make this smoothie anything but sinful, even though it tastes like it!

Here are the ingredients that will ignite your feel good receptors while infusing your body with some much needed phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals…..just to name a few. 

Cacao is what’s behind the bliss in this yummy drink, and not just because of it’s pure chocolatey taste, but mostly because it contains one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants and magnesium in nature.  Did you know that magnesium is one of the minerals the standard American diet is most deficient in?  So, it’s really important that we eat foods as close to their natural state as possible in order to give our bodies what they need to be healthy.  We need magnesium because it is an anti-inflammatory mineral that offers protection against illnesses like arthritis and Alzheimers disease.  And, since inflammation causes many problems in our bodies that can lead to disease, we don’t want to miss out on nutrients that fight inflammation!   Read more

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In an effort to help my twin sister who has to assemble four lunches for her children every school day, I came up with three of the most nutritious options for trail mixes I could think of, taking into consideration each of their preferences. Two of the girls love fruit, so I mixed nuts, fruit and the chocolate chips for them.  Her only boy likes straight forward and simple.   So, for him, I did almonds, peanuts and chocolate chips.  Girl number three wanted everything but the fruit. Easy!  I will do anything for these kiddos….I call them the fantastic four and I am the very proud founder of their official fan club!

I started this little experiment with raw nuts from the bulk section of Whole Foods.  I also picked up some dried papaya, pineapple, wild blueberries and cranberries.  Oh, and dark chocolate chips!   All of the nuts went onto two large pans and into the oven at 250 degrees for 30 minutes.  While the nuts toasted, I sliced the papaya and pineapple into little pieces and set them aside.  Then, after the nuts were toasted and cooled I started assembly. Tons of nutrients, phytochemicals and antioxidants without all of the added and probably rancid oils present in most packaged trail mixes and packaged nuts!   Read more

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This is how I start my day……and how I energize myself in the middle of the afternoon.  It’s where I go when I need a little boost or self-care.  Five minutes in the kitchen with my Vitamix and carefully selected ingredients gives me the power to set everything right.  It replenishes, recharges and renews.  It has to be green, because green is vitality, life and positive energy.  I don’t just limit myself to the typical greens such as spinach and kale.  I go deep.  I need spirulina, blue-green algae, phytoplankton and chlorella just to name a few of the serious ingredients that are part of my daily regimen.  I hope this inspires you to get creative with your blender drinks!  xxo!

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Wow!  I did not think this existed……..a gluten-free pizza/flatbread crust that is actually nourishing.  It does!!   Yes!!   I love pizza and bread of any kind, and I do not have a need to be gluten-free, except that I do feel better with less gluten in my body.  Quite honestly though, if I am trying to replace regular breads or crackers with a gluten-free version, I do not feel any healthier, any lighter, any less bloated.   It feels the same as eating white bread to my body.  It just as anti-nourishing as gluten-containing bread in my opinion.  
One night I was flipping through a cookbook I had not looked at in a while and noticed a beautiful photo of a very healthy looking pizza.  As I started reading about it, I noticed it was GF….expecting way less than I was initially, I scanned the recipe to see what the crust was made of.  Cauliflower, almond flour, oats, eggs and spices.   This did not sound like anything GF I have ever tried before.  Since I had those few ingredients on hand, I went for it.  Ten minutes later, probably less, I had everything mixed up, rolled out and in the oven.  
Seriously.   Twenty-five minutes later, I pulled out a beautiful golden circle shaped crust.  Now for the real test….toppings.

Over the last couple of days, I have been researching how to make a delicious roasted carrot puree……in hopes of being able to recreate my most favorite dish ever….Pizza Domenica’s roasted carrot pizza.   I cannot roast golden beets without thinking of that pizza.  But, it is an occasional treat for me, not because it is unhealthy.  Because, I can finish off close to an entire pizza and not even feel stuffed.  But, that isn’t so good for me, so I only allow myself to indulge every so often.   Read more

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When I posted this pic on insta a few minutes ago, I had initially put they were seemingly sinful (but not!).  The more I thought about it, I decided to go back and edit my description because they are sinful, but not that sinful.  Here’s why they are not so sinful…..they are made with pure whole foods, nothing your body is going to not know what to do with.  They will provide your body with energy, fiber, antioxidants and love!  Sure, they have calories and unfortunately sugar, but the sugar is balanced out by the fiber content.  Huge in making them not so sinful!  Also, they are made with pure butter.  I am not so sure one can find cookies made with just simple organic butter.  Pretty much all cookies, crackers, cakes, pies, breads and basically all packaged foods are made with several cancer promoting oils that are most likely rancid at the time of processing and tons of other chemical compounds that only do harm to your body.  This includes the bakery items that are baked and packaged in the store.  Huge takeaway here!  These cookies are made using just a few basic ingredients that when combined and placed in a hot oven for a few minutes, are so dreamy delicious.  And, they really only take a few minutes to whip up……a bit faster using a stand mixer and about twelve minutes in the oven.  The extra time is so worth it when you know you are crowding out the disease causing convenience foods with health promoting whole foods.  xxo!

 

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I decided to do this blog post as a video, in hopes to inspire everyone to see just how easy it is to make your own homemade nut milk!  And, it is so crazy yum, you will never buy store bought again!  Enjoy…xxo!

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Here’s a little peek into my winter morning routine.  Rarely do I stray away from just fruit for breakfast, but with the chilly weather and feeling not at the top of my game, I kept craving a warming cereal………I knew it wasn’t oatmeal I needed but I wasn’t sure exactly what kind of hot cereal would satisfy my craving…..so off to go see Thaddeus at Whole Foods Market….. If I can’t figure this out, I know he will help me.  Usually, cereals of any kind make me feel like I am dragging a sack of rocks around so I was a bit hesitant to listen to my body in order to quell my craving, but I had to.  It never leads me astray.  
Once there, I was astounded at number of warm cereals there are.  Thankfully, almost immediately, one particular Bob’s Red Mill bag caught my eye.  It was a brown rice farina hot cereal.  And, gluten free so maybe it wouldn’t kill my energy.  Once home, I cooked it a little longer than the package directions and added in quite a bit of brazil nut milk…..oops! forgot to put that in the pic!!!   So, I grated a bit of ginger and tumeric, added in the berries, honey and toasted slivered almonds.   Amazing, but I think the tumeric would be better reserved for my ginger, tumeric, citrus drink.   Second try with the tumeric taken out was heaven.   Absolute heaven.  And, I never felt tired…not immediately after, not thirty minutes after, not even an hour after.  In fact, it gave me energy.   I felt so good after this little bowl of goodness I couldn’t wait for tomorrow morning!  Give it a try, it will make you so happy!  xxo!

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Ditch those processed energy bars and spend twenty minutes in your kitchen whipping up these über-healthy morsels.  I was so humbled recently when www.romneypilates.com asked me to do a guest post on their gorgeous new blog www.abeautifulmovement.com.  I had been experimenting with creating a healthy snack that was cute enough to take to a holiday party, but also perfect to toss into my bag for those times when I need a little extra nourishment, like right after an intense workout.  So, when the opportunity arose to write for www.abeautifulmovement.com, these came to mind almost immediately.    
Energy bars do have their place, they fill a need.  But, we don’t have to burden our bodies with crazy ingredients in order to recharge and replenish depleted energy stores.  I am sure there are some minimal ingredient, somewhat healthy packaged snacks and bars available, I just haven’t taken the time to find “the one”.   That would take a lot of time….a trip into any grocery store will prove just that with a significant amount of shelf space dedicated to numerous brands and types of “bars”.  Granola bars, energy bars, protein bars……whatever your need, there is a bar to fill that need.  But, they are basically an expensive candy bar in disguise.  And, they are processed…..our bodies don’t need that!  We want to “crowd out” the processed stuff with pure, whole foods so our systems don’t have to deal with trying to decipher foreign chemical compounds.  They can go straight to utilizing macronutrients, phytochemicals, antioxidants and other nourishing ingredients that they know how to break down.  It is the most efficient way to feel good.  Eating clean foods, meaning unprocessed and pure, is perfect positive reinforcement, because your body rewards you almost immediately with a renewed energy and alertness. 
    
 These homemade snacks have only a few ingredients and take maybe twenty minutes to prepare from beginning to end, with each of the ingredients having a purpose to energize, balance and nourish your body.  Here’s what’s in them……ground flaxseeds, chia, freshly ground almond butter, oats, ground coconut, honey and mini dark chocolate chips.  Seeds and nuts are an important food source, providing specific nutrients our bodies need.  Flaxseeds have a really high omega-3 fatty acid content, phytoestrogens, ligans and other super health supportive substances.  Chia seeds add in fiber and fuel for energy.  Almond butter is a great source of protein which will help provide a steady source of energy, while also delivering significant amounts of calcium……a much better way to get your calcium than from dairy!  Magnesium to benefit the health of your bones and copper to nourish your nervous system.  Oats for their insoluble fiber, coconut for it’s medium-chain fatty acids, honey and dark chocolate for even more antioxidants, phytochemicals and sweetness.   These are purpose-driven treats……..to help you feel happy and healthy.  xxo!

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Needing a little something to perk up?  This is it!  A yummy blend of fruits, chia and spices will brighten everything about your day…..it is a burst of phytochemicals, antioxidants, immune strengtheners and metabolism boosters.  I rarely stray away from green when I make my almost daily smoothie.  But, this morning I needed bright, juicy, energizing goodness and with beautiful persimmons and pomegranates on my counter, I knew just how I was going to make that happen.   This creation was totally in that realm of thinking outside the box for me in using persimmon, pomegranate and satsuma as a base, but it sounded so good I knew I couldn’t go wrong.
I have been trying hard to fit pomegranate into my diet but quite honestly, I find the edible seed part so hard to chew.  I feel like I am eating grapes with seeds…..not so enjoyable.  Then, out of the blue, I thought about a smoothie……and how well the Vitamix breaks down even citrus seeds.  The pomegranate seeds would be nothing compared to those!  Huge feeling of accomplishment now that I have figured out how to work this über super fruit into my diet. The power in this beautiful fruit is astonishing, both for health and for beauty.  The deep red juice of a pomegranate contains more antioxidants than blueberries or green tea and is said to be a powerful cleanser of lymph and blood.  All of the phytochemicals and antioxidants make it a huge protector against cancer and this fruit also helps to maintain our natural levels of nitric oxide, which boosts blood flow to organs and cells to keep our circulatory systems strong and healthy.  With regards to beauty, pomegranate has remarkable antiaging and antiwrinkle properties thanks to the phytochemical ellagic acid which helps to prevent aging inflammation in the body and prevent the breakdown of collagen.  I am all about trying to keep my skin youthful.


The satsumas are incredibly high in immune strengthening vitamin C.  They are bursting with antioxidant bioflavonoids that boost immunity and help our bodies absorb plant-based iron. The phytochemicals in satsuma’s help boost circulation which brings nourishment and a radiant glow to the skin.  You even get a benefit in peeling a satsuma……the fragrant essential oils are known to lift your mood, calm nerves and ease depression.
Soaked chia seeds go into every smoothie or green drink I make.  It adds fiber and helps me to keep my body hydrated throughout the day.  Read my earlier post on water for more info on the importance of hydration!
Finally, I chose to add ginger for it’s health promoting properties, as well as, cayenne and tumeric.  These three add a little spice and tons of nutrients.  Ginger is antiviral, immune strengthening and anti-inflammatory.  Cayenne and tumeric also have very powerful inflammatory inhibiting agents, plus they boost the metabolism and defend against alzheimer’s disease.  And, persimmon…..wow!  Not only is it gorgeous and so visually appealing, it is rich in cancer fighting, heart strengthening, disease preventive nutrients and phytochemicals.
Add a little honey into this beautiful energizing elixir and you will have given your body the ultimate in love and caring……nourishment.   xxo!

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So it’s supposed to be fall, but here in New Orleans it is steamy and balmy and very unseasonably warm.  And, it’s November.   Ugh!   Tired of willing fall to arrive by eating tons of warming soup, I have decided to just give in to the heat and attempt to counteract it with cooling salads.  But, it just feels too summery.   On a mission to keep cool and give my body what it is craving; grounding seasonal fall fruits and veggies, I headed to Whole Foods.  Three times in one day.  I was determined to get this right and after several tries, I did!  I made a salad with cooling romaine, spinach and arugula but also added in kale and swiss chard since they are heartier greens.   In my desperation, to achieve a not so warming but seasonally fall salad, I grabbed a few persimmions.  I am embarrassed to admit this, but before yesterday I had never tried a persimmon.  I have missed out on so much bliss.  Persimmons are unbelievably amazing….and so fall.  Toasty walnuts and cranberries were easy add-in’s  that are fall/winter foods and always elevate a salad to that other worldly amazing status.   A little goat cheese and lots of garbanzo beans to round out all of the flavors and textures and make this light salad a little more filling.  Perfection.  I had been adding roasted buttercup, acorn or butternut squash to my salads; which I love; but, they were a touch too warming for this unseasonably balmy weather we are having.  That’s where the persimmons came in.  The perfect combination of fall and grounding without being too warming.

What I was envisioning as I constructed this was more of a lunch salad since that is when the heat and humidity really get you.   With that in mind, this salad had to be light enough to not induce tiredness but satisfying enough to keep me from wanting to snack throughout the afternoon.  I find, if I am just having salad, if I don’t include beans I will be distracted by feeling like I need more to eat until dinner.   
Our bodies are very in tune with the seasons and are much more balanced and happy when we give them foods that are abundant during whatever season we happen to be in.  So, even though salads are more summery, they can be made to fit into every season just by varying the ingredients.  Persimmons are a fall/winter fruit, not too sweet or juicy, but amazing and such a treat to the senses.  They are warming and grounding but not so much as some of the other fall/winter fruits and vegetables.   Interestingly, the Latin word for persimmon means “food of the gods”.  After my first taste, I could see why.  Taste isn’t the only reason.   This gorgeous fruit contains a vast amount of phytonutrients, flavonoids and important antioxidants known as catechins, as well as gallocatechins and betullnic acid, a tumor inhibitor.  Also included are more common but still very powerful antioxidants;  beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein and cryptoxanthin.   Many of the major vitamins and minerals are there too, plus a lot of fiber.  
All of the other ingredients in this fall salad are packed with nutrients and are included specifcally with the purpose to nourish, cleanse and fuel the body while satisfying the palate and the mind.  Give it a try, but first start with a persimmon……you won’t be sorry!  Oh, peel it first!  xxo! 

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