Beauty, Desserts, fiber, Health, potassium, Raw, triptophan, Uncategorized, Well being

Cucumber Banana Sorbet with coconut

My lovely neighbor created her own improvised garden. She is growing squash, pumpkins, amazingly yummy cherry tomatoes, basil, and cucumbers. Well, lots of cucumbers–not only did the plant flourish–it produced over 5 times the projected number of cucumbers, and is still going. Long story short, after my friend was tired of making pickles, cucumber salads, cucumber water, cucumber ice cream, cucumber…….she gave some of the delicious, all natural goodness away to me. In fact, I now have tons of it. And aside from the usual salads, I made myself a very simple, easy to prepare summer treat, which also turned out to be fun and delicious: cucumber banana sorbet.

There’s nothing to it, really. I pureed 4 cucumbers with 1 banana, a little bit of cocoa, a tiny bit of simple syrup (really no more than a spoonful), and sprinkled some coconut just because I love the flavor. Froze the puree for about 1 hour and…voila! So refreshing yummy!

Enjoy 🙂

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Beauty, Carbohydrates, fiber, Health, potassium, Raw, Science-based nutrition, Smoothies, triptophan, Uncategorized, Vitamin A, vitamin C, Well being

Why add cocoa?

In the past two days I have been adding cocoa powder to my smoothie recipes- a recent ingredient for me. In the spirit of this blog, I thought I would offer an accessible study, which exposes some of the established nutritional and health benefits of cocoa intake, its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Find it here: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/119/10/1433.long

and try adding a scoop of cocoa to 3 cups of Kale, 1 cup of spinach, 1 banana, 1/2 cup of oats, 1 table spoon of flaxseed and 1 cup of almond milk. Super tasty, rich in iron, potassium, vitamins A and K, antioxidants, protein, and fiber.

I have increased my intake of iron and carbs in proportion to an increase in running mileage–about 10K/day.

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Enjoy!

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Carbohydrates, Desserts, fiber, Health, Love, manganese, potassium, Raw, Running, triptophan, Uncategorized, Vitamin A, vitamin C, Well being

Post work out snack

Well now that you’ve completed a work out, don’t you deserve a sweet treat to refuel, speed up recovery, and give an electrolyte kick?

I made some blueberry sauce from 2 cups of blueberries, flaxseed, and a tiny bit of almond milk, and covered with it one banana,then sprinkled coconut on top. Very satisfactory!

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Science-based nutrition, triptophan, Uncategorized

Why do I mention tryptophan? Go Bananas.

As some of you may have noticed, I often mention tryptophan availability in certain foods, many of which are better known for containing other micronutrients (i.e. vitamins and minerals), and you may wonder why.

Our diets are, quite obviously, a primary source of the “stuff” critical for the healthy functioning of organs and systems. And while proper functioning and health are frequently (and correctly) associated with measurable, identifiable values (heart rate, blood pressure, blood glucose levels, etc.), we are somewhat more prone to dismiss or at least undervalue the impact of nutrition on less tangible, but important, variables, such as mood, motivation, drive.

It is somewhat due to this intangibility and the associated difficulty to provide precise measurements as evidence for a deficit or a cause for a symptom that the aforementioned “variables”– mood, drive, “will,” if you like, have been seen as inhabiting the “other” realm of the mind-body dualism that still confuses the way we speak of (and, consequently, understand) ourselves–the “mental” realm.

What I am clumsily suggesting here is that “mental” illness, often explained via descriptors such as “sad, fatigued, lethargic, withdrawn, fearful, apprehensive, anxious,” and so on, is more accurately understood as a medical problem with psychological (or “mental”) symptoms or manifestations. I think to a considerable degree, this view invites a more physical and less metaphysical look at causally relevant processes. Finally, it makes the relevance of food intake more obvious to a discussion of mental health.

Some of you might be familiar for some reason or another with the debilitating symptoms of depression–disturbances in sleep, motivation, appetite, marked sadness, among others. Treatment of depression usually includes psychoterapy as well as pharmacotherapy (treatment with medications), and the latter often involves targeting the neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HT), believed to be involved in the regulation of mood, sleep, satiety.  And although serotonin per se is not easily made available in the central nervous system through diet (for reasons we do not need to be concerned with now), its precursor, tryptophan, is.

The article below provides valuable insight in the potential of a tryptophan-rich diet to mitigate depressive symptoms.  Of course, this blog is not to suggest that diet alone should be used in every case to cure depression. It merely states that diet matters, and can help. And before I paste the link, here are some tryptophan-rich vegan foods:

bananas, mangoes, dates, beats, kelp, potato skins, hazelnuts, peanuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, oats, brown rice, wheat, beans, lentils, chickpeas, soybeans, soy milk, tofu, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds.

Happy reading!

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23306210

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Beauty, Carbohydrates, carotene, Carrots, fiber, Love, potassium, Raw, Smoothies, triptophan, Uncategorized, Vitamin A, vitamin C, Well being

A wonderful day

Hello, everyone! I hope you woke up to a lovely Sunday morning. Here in Pilly, it’s a day to enjoy the cooling breeze, the final stage of The Tour de France and the magical award ceremony at dawn, to look forward to a run and some weight work outs later.

The best part is the kick start to this gorgeous day–a green, light, iron and vitamins-rich smoothie cherished on a sunny rooftop next to a very friendly and quite handsome saint bernard.

Just mix 1/2 cup of almonds, 1 banana, 2 plums, 4 strawberries, tons of spinach, 1 large carrot, 1 cup of almond milk, and 1/2 lemon and blend!

Perfect.

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Amino acids, Carbohydrates, fiber, potassium, Raw, Smoothies, triptophan, Uncategorized, Vitamin A, vitamin C

Berry-spinach-banana smoothie

Carrying 20 pounds of fresh, beautiful fruit in the summer heat has never been more worth the trouble. A bounty of ripe, fresh, glowing raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, mangos, kiwis, bananas, plums, and papaya. Reward yourself with a delicious, frosty fruity drink, rich in iron, vitamins A, B, C, and K, potassium, antioxidants, and protein.

Mix a cup of blueberries

2 cups of raspberries

4 large strawberries

1 banana

2 cups of spinach

1/2 cup of flaxseed

juice from 1/2 lime

1 cup of almond milk

ice.

Well worth the summer walk!

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Carbohydrates, carotene, Carrots, fiber, potassium, Raw, Smoothies, triptophan, Uncategorized, Vitamin A, vitamin C

Apple-banana-carrot smoothie

Just another light middle of the ay snack (in my case–breakfast).

Add 2 sliced red apples and a handful of baby carrots to one banana, 1/2 cup of flaxseed, and a cup of almond milk, and bled. Abundant in vitamin A, C, carotene, carbs, protein, and fiber. Image

 

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