German Chocolate Cake Ice Cream (with veggies!)

German Chocolate Cake Ice Cream (with veggies!)

German Chocolate Cake Ice Cream
Serves 4
What's in it? Kale, spinach, carrots, and avocado. What do you (and your kids) taste? Chocolately, fudgey coconut and almonds! Yum!
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Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
2 min
Total Time
4 min
Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
2 min
Total Time
4 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup cocoa powder OR chocolate protein powder (for less sugar)
  2. 1 tbsp agave nectar OR 3-4 dates
  3. 1/4 cup coconut coffee creamer (found at health food stores like Whole Foods or Sprouts) -- optional
  4. 4 baby carrots
  5. Small handful, kale
  6. Small handful, spinach
  7. 1/4 large avocado (skinned)
  8. 1-2 cups ice
  9. 10-12 raw almonds
  10. 2 tbsp coconut flakes (not shredded, if possible)
  11. 1 tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips or carob chips
Instructions
  1. Blend cocoa/protein powder, agave/dates, veggies, and ice in a high speed blender like a Vitamix on high speed. If using a Vitamix, use the tamper to push all ingredients repeatedly into the blades until you have four glossy, creamy mounds.
  2. Drop speed to Level 4, remove the plug in the lid, and drop in almonds, coconut and chocolate/carob chips. Use tamper to push these ingredients into blades so they are chopped and retain some texture. Serve and enjoy.
Notes
  1. If you don't have these specifics veggies, use any mild vegetables; squash, cabbage, collard greens, etc.
  2. If you are trying to reduce sugar, use Stevia instead of dates or agave nectar, and protein powder instead of hot cocoa. Raw cacao will work, but you will need to add one of the above sweeteners or else the mix will come out bitter. Unless you like that sort of thing.
  3. Thanks to The Vintage Mixer for the photo.
Learn2Blend http://learn2blend.com/
German Chocolate Cake Ice Cream (with Veggies!)

Good Nutrition For Kids

Good Nutrition For Kids

The subject of adequate nutrition for kids rarely has a clear cut answer.  How much protein should they be getting, how many carbohydrates…it can get overwhelming at times.  

When it comes down to it, embracing good nutrition for kids is not about counting calories or micronutrient values; it’s much more about instilling positive eating habits from a young age.

Addicted to Spuds

Kids are most susceptible to poor eating habits, as they are most often targeted by the food industry.  Flashy packaging, vibrant colors, fun shapes and sizes; these are all tactics used by advertisers and food producers to widen eyes.  And typically, these foods are processed, refined, and laden with sugar, oil, salt, and chemicals; all elements that are designed to elicit a response from your child’s impressionable brain.

Once kids take the first bite of these literally-addictive substances, neurochemicals like dopamine (a brain chemical associated with pleasure) goes surging through their bodies.  They literally feel “high.”  It’s almost the same physiological response achieved by taking illicit drugs like cocaine (obviously at a much lower intensity). 

But just like a drug, those chemicals eventually wear off.  When that happens, your kids’ bodies go through a type of withdrawal.  You’ve likely seen it; not only do they become tired, crabby, and whiny, but since their bodies are craving more of that substance, they want more of the food they ate (or something else like it).  It’s literally a vicious cycle.

By teaching your child to avoid refined, sugary and fatty foods, you are giving your child the opportunity to start a positive, lifelong cycle of good nutrition. 

If They Know What’s Good For ‘Em…

But it can’t just be about what to avoid; good nutrition for kids includes teaching them what is good for their bodies.  And this starts with a lot of fruits and vegetables.  Varieties of fresh, frozen, cooked, and steamed fruits and veggies will give your child a great foundation for a healthy mind and body.  They will feel and behave better.  In fact some studies have shown that avoiding fatty, sugar foods can help reduce or even eliminate symptoms of ADD and ADHD. 

Other than that, positive nutrition for kids also includes limiting the amount of animal products in their diets.  Cut down on full-fat dairy and beef (hello, cheeseburgers!). 

Whole grains like quinoa are terrific (and a complete protein as well).  Wraps made with whole wheat tortillas and pitas can mean good nutrition for kids, but be aware that wheat gluten is not only an allergen in some children, it has been shown to exacerbate symptoms of not only ADD and ADHD, but in rare cases, also symptoms of autism.

Another great tool that helps with nutrition for kids is teaching them how to make their own smoothies.  By combining fruits and veggies into something drinkable, it’s no longer about fighting each other over a plate of Brussels sprouts.  I talk to parents all the time whose kids love vegetables, and they learned it from drinking smoothies.

Start From Scratch

At any rate, center your efforts to bring positive nutrition for kids around instilling positive habits from the very beginning, and train your kids’ taste buds to enjoy fresh, unrefined foods whenever possible.  This will start them down a path that’s much easier to shape now (even with a little resistance) than it will be 20 or 30 years from now.

Image courtesy of www.HerDaily.com

Dr. Fuhrman’s Orange Sesame Dressing

Dr. Fuhrman’s Orange Sesame Dressing

Dr. Fuhrman's Orange Sesame Dressing
Zesty and full of citrus, this fantastic salad topper doesn't use any oil, cutting out calories and making your greens even better.
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Prep Time
7 min
Cook Time
2 min
Total Time
9 min
Prep Time
7 min
Cook Time
2 min
Total Time
9 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/8 cup unhulled sesame seeds
  2. 1/4 cup raw cashew nuts or 1/8 cup raw cashew butter
  3. 1/2 cup orange juice
  4. 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. Heat a skillet on medium high and toast half the sesame seeds for 2 minutes, shaking often. In your high-powered blender, combine sesame seeds, cashews, orange juice, and balsamic vinegar. Blend for 30 seconds or until well mixed. Chill before use.
Notes
  1. Thanks to Spicy Foodie for the spicy pic.
Adapted from Dr. Joel Fuhrman
Adapted from Dr. Joel Fuhrman
Learn2Blend http://learn2blend.com/
Orange Sesame Dressing

Knowing When to Say “When,” and When to Say “Yes”

Knowing When to Say “When,” and When to Say “Yes”

What do you do when your job involves drinking alcohol?

Last week I had a great conversation with a friend of mine who works in an industry where she’s around beer and wine all the time. She’s extremely knowledgeable on the subject, and it’s actually part of her job.

Recently she realized that drinking has become an escape for her, and more so than she would consider to be healthy. It was also allowing her to avoid facing some insecurities and relationship issues. She’s not an alcoholic, but realized that she’s drinking more than she should be and for some of the wrong reasons.

She has made some major lifestyle changes, but still struggles with how much drinking is okay.

My suggestion to her was this: Since she is in an industry where beer and wine aren’t just alcoholic drinks, but are considered food, why not treat it like food?

That means think about, and potentially even keep a journal of her thoughts on each drink and how it tastes, what kind of food it would pair well with, etc. When she hits that blurry line between intellectualism and escapism, that the indication when to stop. 

That way, she is using the more “thinking” part of her brain, and being aware of each drink, instead of allowing her emotions to take over.

No one says this process is easy; limiting both alcohol and food involve a lot of willpower. But that can come from practice and determination.

What would your suggestion be in this situation?  When you’re in times of food-or-beverage-related peril, what helps you just say no?  Leave your suggestion in the comments below.

P.S. Thanks to www.nickiherman.com for the cool pic.

Loving Moderation in a World of Food Extremes

Loving Moderation in a World of Food Extremes

Moderation?  Really? 

Tell that to the Big Macs.  The Whoppers.  72 oz. steak challenges.  Venti caramel macchiatos with extra whipped cream. 

We are a culture that steers away from moderation.  We’re American.  We’re big, loud, proud, and we like our burgers stacked 10 high with 5 lbs. of fries on the side.

Of course, we like to pretend we don’t know the effects of all that gorging.  We all have that voice that, just before we open our mouths for the first delicious bite, whispers to us: “Cancer, heart disease, obesity.  This will make you fatter.”

That, of course, is quickly squashed by your stomach pushing that voice aside and screaming: “WANT!  NOW!”

But, let’s listen to that stomach for a minute.  What if you stopped gorging yourself at every meal and finishing everything on your plate, and started listening to your body.  When your body starts saying, “Okay…I think I might be full, maybe,” what if you stopped?

And then 20 minutes later, when you’re not stumbling back to the car clutching your painful, bloated belly, you realize, “Hey…this wasn’t so bad.  Yeah, I left some food on my plate, and I was sad about that, but I feel better than I normally do.”

Much of how we eat is based on how we feel before the meal.  You’re hungry and feel like eating a burger or spaghetti or cucumbers.  Or you had a rough day and know that chomping through that entire pizza in 4 minutes will help you forget about it.

Next time you eat, think about how you’ll feel after the meal.  Keep that in mind with every bite.  

And look at your closed fist; that’s the size of your stomach.  Only put that much food on your plate.  When you’re done, drink a full glass of water. 

Try it for a week, and see how you feel.  The cravings won’t go away immediately, but your body will begin to function better.  You’ll have more energy, less gas, less bloating, and might start enjoying food more for how it tastes, not how it makes you feel.

Give it a try.

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