Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Juicing - the Anti-Depressant

Aside from certain chemical imbalance based depression, juice really can "make you happy!"

A study done by the University of Warwick in conjunction with Dartmouth College (2012) found that within a group of over 80,000 individuals, "Happiness and mental health rise in an approximately dose-response way with the number of daily portions of fruits and vegetables. While in some cases it rounds out at the recommended five per day, well-being appears to peak at seven."

What a testimony to the affects of diet on mental health and well-being!  And what better way to start enhancing that diet to include adequate/increased portions of fresh produce...?  JUICING!

Here are a few ingredients to consider that will have the highest and quickest mood-enhancing properties:

  • Citrus - these fruits pack a bright and joyful flavor as well as an aroma that will naturally brighten mood
  • Mango - the satisfying flavor and texture of this fruit make for a long lasting and sustained energy boost
  • Lemon Balm - an herb known to brighten mood through steeping in hot water
  • Ginger - helps to stimulate the body from the inside out, increasing blood flow, digestion and mood
  • Chamomile - an herb known to calm the nerves and reduce anxiety through steeping in hot water
A simple juice combo for depression:

Be Happy Juice
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 Mango (pitted)
  • 2 Handfuls Spinach
  • 1/4 cup steeped and cooled chamomile, ginger and lemon balm tea
Want some movement to go along with your juice?  Try these 6 yoga poses to help open the body, mind and spirit to the happiness that awaits you!
  1. Child Pose
  2. Forward Bend
  3. Legs Up On Wall
  4. Cat Pose
  5. Back Bend
  6. Hand Stand

As usual, please consult your physician or health care professional with questions or advice about current medications or affects.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Smarter Than a Two-Year-Old - Smoothies!

I'm sitting at the dinner table a couple months ago, while my two-year-old daughter stares stubbornly into my eyes.  The "eat your veggie" stare-down has begun.  I repeat myself one more time, "Isabella Rose, you have two choices; 1) You eat your broccoli, or 2) You eat your carrots." 
The look she gave me was priceless and it took everything in me not to laugh.  She squinted those pretty brown eyes and said, "Berries."  That little stinker!  Alas... it was an all or nothing evening, and she ended up with nothing.  The consequences of the two-year-old decision making cycle.

I've since gotten "smarter than a two-year-old" and found easier ways to hide those veggies.  My favorite method is morning smoothies.  Yes... the juicing-lady does make and drink smoothies too!  Smoothies are a spectacular way for you and our younger generation to get benefits such as:
  1. Increased vitamin and mineral intake
  2. Increase fiber - equating to being full longer which ultimately reduces cravings and the need to "snack"
  3. Increased vegetable intake - drinking your veggies allows for greater volumes and thus greater benefits
  4. Sustained energy - the slow release of the proteins and sugars helps adults and children alike to have even and sustained energy; resulting in higher capacity brain functions, more efficient digestion and overall more even-kieled attitudes and hormone regulation
  5. Hydration - we all know we don't get enough water throughout the day which makes this a no-brainer
  6. Plus... they are quick, cheap and easy!
Here are some tips on making smoothies:
  • Keep stocked on Honey/Vanilla Greek Yogurt - the taste is almost sinful and I have to pry the spoon away from my daughter every time we use it
  • Bananas - sweet, high in potassium and easy to blend
  • Frozen fruits - they are cheap and easy to keep around plus the frozen texture adds a yummy element to the smoothies
  • Coconut and/or Almond milk - a way to regulate the texture while adding nutrients
  • Fun drinking cups, spoons and straws - why not make this an event that everyone looks forward to!
Now for the "healthy stuff":
  • Fresh Avocado - easy to hide due to it's mild flavor and smooth texture, this fruit adds the good oils and fats that everyone is so depleted of
  • Fresh Spinach - another easy to hide veggie which also adds a fun green color to the mix
  • Fresh Papaya - a unique flavor that helps with digestion and also a fun peachy color - we even dry this sometimes as alternatives to gummy-candy
  • Fresh Pineapple - it's just yummy
Others that I like to throw in the mix:
  • Coconut Meat - fantastic proteins, oils and nutrients, plus a yummy flavor
  • Frozen or Fresh Peaches
  • Broccoli - if you are feeling adventurous
Go forth and "Smoothie" my friends... all ages will thank you!