Superfood Series: Goji Berries

This superfood is known to have adverse effects when combined with diabetes medication, blood pressure medication, and the drug Warfarin.

image

Who doesn’t love berries, right? My little girl certainly does (and also the dog she occasionally feeds them to). Goji berries may not be readily available in all fresh produce sections, but I have found them dried (which does not take away the super nutrition) in my local grocery and health food stores.

What are they and where do they come from you ask? The simple answer would be, an Asian berry. Dried and packaged, sent to local stores near you, to be enjoyed by the health conscious folks. To me, they taste like a mix of strawberries and blueberries. Not too exotic. Definitely chewy, as all dried fruit is.

image

Now for the health benefits, what we’ve all been reading for! Goji berries are prized for their high concentration of antioxidants. Those wonderful little miracle workers reduce the free radicals in your body, preventing cholesterol from oxidizing (becoming a solid) in the arteries.  The berries are also known for the protein punch they pack, being mostly made up of monounsaturated fats (the good kind your body needs). Not only that, but they have more vitamin c than a fresh lemon, more carotenoid than any other fruit, and loads of trace minerals (zinc, calcium, selenium, etc.), and more iron than a serving of spinach!

In addition, the goji berry is known in Chinese medicine for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties.

These berries can be enjoyed straight from the bag, tossed in a salad, oatmeal, trail mix, cereal, and more! They can also be soaked in water and the water and berries can be used in smoothies or by themselves. These wonderful berries are very versatile and can be consumed in plenty of different ways!

image

Lemon Blueberry Chia Pudding

In reference to the superfood chia seeds, here’s one of my favorite pudding/breakfast recipes. There are many different flavors you can make, just look on Pinterest! This recipe in particular is good for morning energy!

image

Lemon Blueberry Chia Pudding
*Half cup almond milk, unsweetened or coconut milk
*1/4 cup Greek yogurt
*1/2 lemon, zest and juice
*2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*3 tablespoons chia seeds
*1/2 cup blueberries

Add all ingredients except blueberries, (liquids first) to a container with a tight lid. Whisk until combined. Store overnight in the fridge or at least 6 hours in the fridge. Stir again before topping with blueberries and enjoy!

Keeps good refrigerated up to 5 days. Chia seeds can also be used in baking, on top of cereal, or in smoothies! Pinterest is my go-to place for recipes!

image

Superfood Series: Chia Seeds

Ah chia seeds…they may be familiar through the old chia pets. Who doesn’t love growing grassy stuff out of your favorite character’s head right? I actually still own a Hello Kitty chia pet. Anyways, those chia seeds are not what everyone in the health community is talking about. The ones we are going to be discussing in this article are harvested for human consumption. Usually organic and GMO (genetically modified organisms) free.

image

These little buggers may be tiny, but just 2 tablespoons pack a real nutrition punch! Oh yes, just one ounce has roughly the following:

11 grams of fiber
4 grams of protein
9 grams of fat (5 of which are omega-3)
18% calcium
30% manganese
30% magnesium
27% phosphorus
B vitamins, antioxidants, and zinc

Crazy right?! Almost all of the carbs in those things are fiber! They also have a good amount of protein. Calculated by weight, about 14% of your daily value of protein can come from just two tablespoons of chia seeds!  Now let’s adress those nutrition benefits seperately.

First on the list is fiber. Fiber is used in the digestive tract to move things along, so yes it’s quite important in a balanced diet. All that fiber causes the seeds to expand about 10-12 times their size when exposed to liquids (either before you eat them or in your tummy). This, in turn, fills you up and decreases appetite. Fiber also feeds the good bacteria in the intestines, keeping your gut bugs nice and happy!

Protein. We all know that we need protein. Either from meats or other sources. Chia seeds are perfect for vegans or those who don’t consume a lot of meat. Protein keeps you full for longer, and has been shown to decrease obsessive thoughts of food, and nighttime snacking (a problem for me).

Fats. Now a know what you’re thinking. Fats are bad! No! Your body needs some fats. The chia seeds have omega-3 fats, which benefit hair and nail growth and help control weight.

Calcium, Manganese, Phosphorus, and Magnesium. These four nutrients found in chia seeds are very good for you. Especially your bones, which we all have and need to live. Most know that calcium comes from dairy or other superfoods (Kale, Collards, Nuts). The above mentioned nutrients have been shown (over time) to increase bone density and strength. So if you’re clumsy like me, or just want healthy framework, this is good.

Antioxidants. These are mentioned frequently in the health world. Why? They reduce the free radicals in your body! Always helpful for the immune system.

So just to clarify, chia seeds are good for you. There’s a reason it’s called a superfood! I’ll be adding a recipe, if you like pudding, check it out!

image

Fancy Spa Water: Better Than You Think

Water, as you know is one of the fundamental elements of life. Whether you realize it or not, at least 70 percent of the human body is made up of water. In fact, most of your brain is water. When your body gets sick what are you told to do? You are told to drink water.

Let’s fast forward to today. You walk into a fancy spa anywhere and find water. In fact something to hotels even have it. You know those fancy pitchers of water with fruit and cucumbers floating around? Sure you think of it as just another amenity to the spot you’re in, but it’s more than that.

Fresh fruit not only adds hydration, but benefits your health as well. Berries are bursting with antioxidants that fight the free radicals in your body. They also add a great boost in energy if your feeling sluggish. Cucumbers are made up mostly of water, and add them to water not only increases it effectiveness but gives your body that oomph it’s always looking for.

So next time you find a nice pitcher of fancy spa water, don’t pass it up!

For a recipe to make it yourself, check my recipe category!
image

Fancy Spa Water Recipe

Ok first things first, the pitcher. If you have a fruit infuser pitcher, great! If not…don’t worry, you can just muddle the fruit a bit more.

-Water. Duh…but I prefer filtered water. Fill the pitcher, presumably 6 cups of water should do.
-Fruit or cucumber . Whatever fruit you like. 1-2 cups of sliced or muddled fruit/cucumber. It’s basically how strong of a flavor you like. Apples generally don’t work well in drinks.
-Extras. This includes any herbs you might like to add (think mint, Lavender, terragon, or basil). If you do this, it does need to be fresh. Just chop and add about a tablespoon.
-Let the mixture sit 2-4 hours in the fridge before drinking. The longer you wait, the stronger the flavor!

Combinations I Recommend
-Strawberries and mint
-Blueberries and juice of half lemon
-Watermelon and terragon
-Cucumber
image

Why and How to Detox

If you’re a dummy when it comes to naturopathy, it’s important to start at the beginning. If you’re not a dummy when it comes to this subject, it’s still vital to go back to the basics occasionally.

When beginning any lifestyle change, even the most minute change is made more effective after a good detox. To detox, essentially, is to remove built up toxins from the body, either internally or externally. There are a few different ways of doing this, as I will outline below. For now, let’s get to the why.

Over time, the human (and every other living) body accumulates toxins. This can be from food, environment,  chemicals, and stress. Yes, stress is a toxin! Even if you are living naturally, toxins are unavoidable. It’s quite unfortunate, really.

The benefits of detoxing are numerous! The benefit I appreciate the most is energy! With all those yucky toxins gone, your body doesn’t have to worry about breaking them down! Other benefits are: a boost to the immune system, improved skin (think hydration and texture), healthier hair (the hair begins at the root), clearer thinking, feeling lighter, and an overall feeling of well-being. Sounds nice, right?

Now for the good stuff, the different methods of detoxing. If you’re a newbie, I’d start small.

External Detox Methods:
-Bath with Epsom Salts (2 cups). To this, you can add *baking soda to remove chlorine from the water (1/3 cup). *apple cider vinegar to get your body alkaline (1 cup) *ground ginger to raise the sweat factor (2 tablespoons). Use warm water and soak at least 40 minutes (20 to detox and 20 to alkaline). Optional essential oils, I recommend Tea Tree for cleansing, or Lavender for relaxing (5-7 drops). Make sure you drink lots of water!
-If you have access to a sauna, sweating is also a great way to detox. But remember to drink water!

Internal Detox Methods:
-Tea. Many tea brands offer a variety of detox tea bags ready to use! Make sure to read instructions carefully.
-Juice cleanse. I personally haven’t tried this method but there are plenty of testimonials! All you need is a blender and fresh ingredients! The length of this method is up to you, but three days is generally a good median.
-Full body/Colon cleanse. Make sure if it’s your first time doing this method, you choose one that’s designed for first time users or specifically states “gentle”. My advice for choosing the right brand/product is to do lots of research to find what works for you and what you wish to achieve. It’s very imperative to do as the directions say for the full benefits. This method should only be done 2 or 3 times a year.

You can interchange the methods above as you see fit, but the most important thing to remember while doing a detox is to drink, drink, drink! Water, of course. For added benefits adding sliced fruits or cucumber to the water is always a refreshing idea! Hint hint: there will be a post coming up about why fruit/cucumber water is so great! Let me know in the comments if you have a different way to detox, or your results! Testimonials are always welcome here, (me being a southern Baptist and all)!