Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Anti-Aging Beet and Blueberry Smoothie

WOW, this smoothie is loaded with super anti-oxidants!  Containing beets, blueberries and watermelon, this power-combo may just become one of your favourite beauty elixirs.
Beets are chocker-block full of betaine, which helps to protect your cells from environmental stress (which contributes to the aging process). The vibrant crimson color indicates powerful phyto-nutrients (which are proven cancer-fighters). Beets also purify the blood, so they are great for detoxing and they even boost your immune system!
Blueberries are high in anti-oxidants, which are vital for the nervous system and brain health - they can improve your memory! They have a low glycemic index, so they are a great fruit option for blood sugar regulation.
Like tomatoes, watermelon is high in lycopene (a phytonutrient), which is great for cardiovascular health as well as vitamin C.
Coconut water is a great addition to any smoothie. It replaces electrolytes which are lost during dehydration. Overnight our bodies lose hydration  - think about it - on an average of 8 hours without water our cells are aching for re-hydration so that our finely tuned machine can fire on all cylinders. And first thing in the morning is the best time to down at least half a litre of water - before eating. I add a cup to my smoothies to help in the blending process, plus I get the benefit of all natural electrolytes (none of that Gatorade stuff for this body). Coconut water is the best electrolyte drink for exercise - no added sugar, artificial colors or flavouring.
This super food smoothie is so delicious - the bright color is enough to make you want to gulp it down and its isn't overly sweet (great to stave off sugar cravings)...
Anti-Aging Beet And Blueberry Smoothie
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup diced raw red beets
  • 1 cup diced watermelon
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 handful fresh mint leaves
  • optional: 1 teaspoon chia seeds
Place all ingredients but the chia seeds in a blender. Blend until smooth. Stir in chia seeds, if desired. Makes 2 servings.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Super Foods Green Smoothie

Want to kick-start your day with some super foods that will keep you going all morning...? This smoothie is not only power-packed with vitamins and minerals, its also SUPER delicious!

Super foods are foods that pack a punch of extra power like anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, as well sustaining powers, so you don't get hungry half an hour after your last meal.

I used to be a huge fan of smoothies, drinking at least one several times a week. But I had to put them on the back burner after greatly reducing my sugar intake for some major health reasons. But now I am back at it, except the make up of the ingredients has changed dramatically! They are much more healthy - loaded with anti-oxidant rich greens! My recipe for this beauty is posted below.

In keeping with my avoidance of drinking smoothies (and let me tell you, I missed them dearly) I began juicing. This was something I decided to commit to after seeing my Naturopath back in March, who gave me some pretty crappy news about my health. Let me back up a bit - I am a 7 year breast cancer survivor and have suffered from chronic pain (fibromyalgia) for 13 years. The bad news thankfully was not related to my cancer, in fact I am now considered fully cured of it! The bad news was about the impact the cancer and related treatments and stress had had on my body's cells. 

The juicing regime came recommended by my ND as a quick, no nonsense way to inject my cells and tissues with real, pure food plus vitamins and minerals - which I was greatly lacking (who knew, I eat veggies everyday along with some of the healthiest foods available since my cancer diagnosis). But there was a lot of congestion and inflammation in my tissues and organs, and thus the vitamins and minerals were not getting to the finish line. My recovery protocol included deep cleansing (liver, kidney and candida) and a few extra tricks to get me back on track, I am feeling fantastic! 

Why was I juicing over smoothie-ing you ask? Same ingredients, but more fiber in the wouldn't the smoothie be a better option?

The reason for drinking freshly 'juiced' is that all of those great veggies and fruit that you just fed through your juicer are ready to be immediately absorbed into your cells - no messing around with the stomach and digestive tract, where all that smoothie-fiber would have to be broken down first. This is like instant "WHOA" - like getting a shot of caffeine, except without the caffeine! 

I have become a huge advocate of making juicing a part of my daily routine to get healthy, stay healthy and live longer - when I sip my fresh juice, I just think of it as all those anti-oxidants punching out the oxidative stress in our bodies from environmental and food contamination. And I want to make sure my cells are strong enough to K-O any and all free radicals floating around in my precious temple!

So after 6 months of daily juicing, I have decided to get back into smoothie-mode and alternate each day with a delicious smoothie. But the focus is still on mainly veggies people! Its easy to get on the "milkshake" smoothie bandwagon and fill your blender or magic bullet with nothing but sugary fruit and juice. Nope. If you want to stay healthy, you need to go down that veggie path...that path that right now may seem too scary, overgrown with dark and well, green things...

Don't we all want to strive towards longevity...? Trust me, you will thank me later.

If you want to create a happy and healthy environment in your temple, you will need to follow this one rule when juicing or smoothie-ing: Keep things alkaline! What does that mean? Simply put - more veggie, less sugar. The majority of your smoothie ingredients should consist of veggies, preferably the deep dark green ones. These are alkaline - not acidic, which is what sugar is acidic. Yuk! And an acidic environment creates inflammation and eventually disease. So stick to the greens, then add in a bit of fruit for sweetness like berries, apple, pear or even some watermelon or musk melon. The key is to have about a 70/30 ratio on the veg to fruit. Easy, right?

Now once you have your veg and fruit figured out, you can decide on the liquid. I like to use coconut water as its is the perfect hydrator that replenishes the electrolytes in our bodies (almond or rice milk and sometimes even just filtered alkaline water works, too. Finally I add in a tablespoon of healthy oil like flaxseed, or an avocado for creaminess and Omega 3 and 6. For that extra punch, I add some Matcha tea powder or ginger or cayenne pepper and chia or hemp seeds. The possibilities are as great as your imagination...

Or just keep checking back for more juicing and smoothie recipes right here on my blog as well as my other great healthy recipes!

Here's to good health!

~ Marlies

Super Foods Green Smoothie

What you will need:
3 large ribs green or purple kale, torn 
4 stalks celery with leaves, coarsely chopped
1 cup musk melon cubes (like cantaloupe, casaba or honeydew)
1 avocado
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 cup coconut water or any type of milk (cow, almond, rice, soy)
1 tsp Matcha green tea powder
Optional: 4-5 ice cubes for a more slushy smoothie.

Place all ingredients in blender. Puree until smooth. Enjoy!

Friday, August 08, 2014

Kale, Beet and Berry Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

Kale is one of those super foods that everyone who dreams of longevity should really make a part of their weekly ritual - as many days a possible! I love kale raw, cooked, baked into kale chips and blended into my juices and smoothies. I bought some gorgeous golden and red beets at the market and boiled them for this vitamin loaded super salad. The Raspberries on our bushes are just about finished, but the blackberries are in full swing. I had just enough raspberries to make a beautiful vinaigrette dressing and a few to spare as a garnish. Added in toasted pumpkin seeds and this salad will give you enough vitamins and minerals, antioxidants and energy needed to get through any type of day!

What You Will Need
6-8 cups fresh kale leaves (Costco sells pre-washed organic bagged mixed kale)
2 medium golden beets, 2 medium red beets, boiled in skins, cooled, then skins removed and diced
1/2 small red onion, sliced thin
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup fresh raspberries and blackberries

Place kale greens in serving bowl; top with diced beets, red onion slices, pumpkin seeds and berries; serve with raspberry vinaigrette.

1/4 cup avocado oil or grapeseed oil ( you want to use a mild flavoured oil)
1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp honey
1/4 cup crushed raspberries
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Whisk together vinegar, Dijon and honey; slowly whisk in oil until it forms an emulsion (thickens); stir in crushed berries; add salt and pepper to taste.

Easy Thai Fish Cakes with Spicy Peanut Sauce

I am a huge fan of Thai food, having travelled to this amazing country and having sampled the incredible, flavourful local cuisine. So much so, that I keep most typical Thai staple ingredients in my fridge and cupboard - like curry pastes, coconut milk, fish sauce, kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass to name a few. 

I was at the fish market yesterday and picked up some local fresh cod and decided to make a fish cake, infusing the great exotic flavours of Thailand. The spicy, but tiny bit sweet peanut sauce is the perfect balance to the bold flavours in this delicious fish cake.

What You Will Need 

The Fish Cakes
350g fresh cod filets without skin, pin bones removed
1 Tbsp Thai fish sauce
2 tsp Thai red curry paste
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
4 dried kaffir lime leaves, crumbled
1 egg white
3 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
*Panko bread crumbs
Coconut oil for shallow frying

The Peanut Sauce
1 small red Thai chilli with seeds (de-seed for milder sauce)
1 Tbsp Bragg's or low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
3 Tbsp crunchy natural peanut butter
4 Tbsp coconut milk

How Its Done

  1. Put the fish filets in a food processor with the fish sauce, curry paste, lime juice, garlic, lime leaves and egg white; process until a smooth paste forms.
  2. Stir in cilantro and process until just mixed. Divide mixture into 8 pieces and roll into balls. Flatten to make round patties and set aside.
  3. For the dip: finely chop Thai chilli; place in a small saucepan with remaining ingredients and heat gently - do not boil. Adjust seasoning.
  4. Place Panko crumbs in a shallow bowl; dip each fish cake into crumbs to coat evenly; shallow fry fish cakes in about 1 inch of coconut oil for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve with spicy peanut sauce.
* Panko crumbs are available in Asian markets

Serves 4

Adapted from Quick and Easy Thai

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Rice Fettucine with Italian Sausage, Peas, Ricotta and Arugula

Instead of telling you a whole story about how I came up with this recipe, I am going to keep the comments to a minimum, because it all just came together...that easy!

So all I will say are these three words:

Delicious. Easy. Healthy. (oh, and its gluten free!)

I would love to know what you think so...please feel free to add any additional text in the comments section below... :) 

What You Will Need

400g package thick rice noodles (available in the Asian section of your supermarket)
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 mild Italian sausages, (casings removed)
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
4 Tbsp basil pesto
3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 bunch, about 2 cups fresh arugula, torn
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped
Parmesano Reggiano, grated
Sea salt and pepper to taste

How Its Done

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat; add sausages and break up with a fork; brown well and drain off excess fat; set aside.
  2. In the meantime boil rice fettucine (Asian thick rice noodles) according to package directions; drain.
  3. Toss hot pasta in skillet with Italian sausage, lemon juice, pesto, peas and arugula; heat through; season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place pasta in serving bowls and top with dollops of ricotta, shavings of Parmesano Reggiano and fresh basil. 
Serves 4.