5 Ways To Boost Your Smoothie!

Smoothies have become a popular choice for breakfast these days and why not?Many people are concerned about their well-being and are looking for ways to eat healthier. Smoothies provide a quick, easy way to include a variety of healthy, whole food ingredients in your diet. They also can be fun to make, as there are many options and combinations you can try. While many people use protein powder and fruit, there other selections you can add to your smoothie mix to add more vitamins and boost your nutrient intake to make it better for you. In this blog, I wanted to share 5 ways to boost your smoothie. Let’s take a look…

Learn 5 Ways To Boost Your Smoothie:

Boost Your Smoothie

  1. Greens—Many people naturally add a banana or another type of fruit to their smoothie, but adding vegetables, especially greens, is a great way to boost your nutrient intake. Try adding a handful of spinach, or kale to your smoothie for some added vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin K, vitamin B6, iron and more. When I was dealing with iron deficiency anemia, smoothies became a staple in my diet. Many protein powders contain a healthy dose of iron and when you add greens and other vegetables, it boosts the iron content even more. In my book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, I talk a little about the importance of eating vegetables at every meal and how adding more greens to my breakfast smoothie helped improve my energy level. As an added bonus, I became less prone to getting sick. Make sure you experiment with adding more greens to you diet to experience a boost in your nutrient intake and health too.
    spinach greens
  2. Super Foods—Why not start your day with an added boost of energy? Super foods are foods that are considered nutrient dense and extremely beneficial to the body. Try adding super foods such as coconut oil, maca powder, cacao nibs, or chia seeds to your morning smoothie to help improve your well-being.  Super foods can help make you feel super good and super energized and who doesn’t like an extra kick-start to get the day going? Try adding one or 2 to super foods to your smoothie to see how they make you feel. As you go along, you can try more or mix them up and see how your energy improves.
    coconuts
  3. Protein—Over the last several years protein powders have become extremely popular and many people like to add them to their smoothies. There are many options when it comes to protein powder including, whey, vegan and bone broth varieties.  Make sure you choose one that works best for you and look for a good, quality brand, (one without a lot of additives and sweeteners).  If you are not a protein powder fan, try adding peanut butter, another nut butter, nuts or seeds to your smoothie to get your morning dose of protein. Play around and see what you like best.
    peanut butter
  4. Healthy Fats—Avocados are another nutritious item you can add to your smoothie. Avocados contain healthy fat and fiber your body needs and craves. Try adding a half of avocado to your mix to not only get some good fat, but some extra vitamin C, E, potassium and more. You can also add cashew butter, peanut butter, almonds, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds.
    avocados
  5. Spices—You can also add a variety of spices to your smoothie to enhance the nutrient content and flavor. Try adding cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne, nutmeg or ginger to your smoothie. Many spices contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that help promote good health. Some of them also contain warming properties, which are especially beneficial during the winter months.Try adding some fresh ginger to help fight a cold, the flu, or aid in digestion.
    ginger

Thanks for reading and happy smoothie making!

Barb

P.S. If you are looking for more ways to improve your health and live a healthy life-style, you might want to check out my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living. You can grab a FREE chapter here to preview.

Recipe: Easy Sausage Spinach Vegetable Lasagna

In this blog, I wanted to share a recipe for some easy sausage spinach vegetable lasagna that I made over the weekend. This recipe is a favorite of my family and I make it quite a bit, especially in the fall and winter months, when your body craves more comfort foods. It combines a healthy dose of vegetables including spinach, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, onions and olives that not only are good for you, but provide a host of vitamins and nutrients your body needs. I also put in some options if you have a gluten sensitivity, or prefer a vegetarian version. Give it a try if you are looking for a new recipe to try for dinner.

Easy Sausage Spinach Vegetable Lasagna

spinach lasagna

  • 1 small box lasagna noodles (1/2 lb or approximately 9 noodles).
    You can use a gluten-free variety if you have issues with gluten.
  • 1 24 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
    I used a local brand called Anna Lisa Spicy Pasta Sauce I got at Whole Foods that had no sugar or preservatives added. I really like this brand, but you can use any variety you like.
  • 1 container cottage cheese
    You can also use ricotta cheese
  • 2-3 cups shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese
    I usually shred my own to avoid the added cellulose in cheese and other pre-packaged foods used to prevent caking. It is derived from wood pulp. Yes-wood pulp.
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
    You can also leave this out if you prefer to make a meatless version of lasagna
  • 1/2 bag of fresh spinach
    You can also you kale
  • 1 small red onion diced
  • 1 small green pepper chopped
  • 1 small package fresh mushrooms
  • 1 small can black olives
  • 1/2 jar green olives
  • 1-2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 medium size tomatoes diced
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cajun seasoning

Fill a large pot with boiling water and add the lasagna noodles. Turn down heat a bit and boil the noodles for 10 minutes and then strain off the water and set aside.

In a large skillet, brown the Italian sausage. Add the garlic, onion, green pepper and mushrooms. Stir the mixture until the vegetables are slightly browned. Add in the olives and the salt, pepper and cajun seasoning to taste and stir. Add the spaghetti sauce to the meat and vegetable mix and stir to combine all of the ingredients. Add the tomatoes to the top and stir, just so they become warn and then remove from the heat.

Grease a 13″ x 9″ cake pan with olive oil. Place 3 noodles on the bottom of the pan. Then spoon about 1/3 of the meat and vegetable sauce over the noodles. Grab a handful or so of the spinach and place it on top of the sauce. Next scoop about 1/3 of the cottage cheese on top of the spinach and then add a layer of the mozzarella or cheddar cheese.

lasagna layers

Repeat these steps 2 more times to create 3 layers total.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Place the prepared pan of lasagna in the oven and bake for 30-40, or until slightly crisp on the top. Remove from the oven and let set and cool for another 30-45 minutes. Serve warm with a fresh garden salad.

Enjoy!

Barb

P.S. If you are looking for more good recipes to try and ways to live a healthy life-style, you might want to check out my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living. You can grab a FREE chapter here to preview.

Healthy Breakfast—Spinach, Tomato & Sausage Frittata

Did you know that breakfast is thought to be the most important meal of the day, according to some nutrition experts? That’s why it is important to eat a healthy breakfast. After a long night’s sleep, your body needs nutrients to give you energy to get you going, whether you are heading out the door to work, to the gym, on a walk, or something else. In my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, I talk a little bit about how you can take charge of how you eat and make conscious choices about what you eat and when you eat. Eating a good, healthy breakfast is a simple way to get started.

In this blog, I wanted to share a healthy breakfast recipe I made over the weekend. I had some friends up at the lake and we decided to try something new. This particular recipe was great and easy to prepare. It included some wholesome, healthy ingredients too, including spinach, tomatoes and fresh chives, which I got out of my garden. It is always good to get a dose of morning greens and a few veggies to kick-start your day! If you are looking for something tasty and easy to prepare for breakfast, you might want to give this recipe a try.

Healthy Breakfast—Spinach, Tomato & Sausage Frittata

Spinach Tomato & Sausage Frittata
Spinach Tomato & Sausage Frittata

10 large eggs
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 package Italian sausage or turkey sausage
4 cups spinach (You can also use kale, or arugula)
Handful cherry tomatoes (sliced in half)
2 Tbsp. fresh chives, or 1 small red onion

Directions:
In a large bowl, lightly whisk together the eggs, cheese, milk salt and pepper. Set the mixture aside.

In a frying pan, brown the the Italian sausage over medium heat. Stir to break up the meat and cook until slightly crisp. Add the spinach and chives and stir until the spinach is slightly wilted. Remove from heat. Drain off any excess fat from the meat mixture. Set the pan aside.

Spray the bottom of a 9″ pie plate with cooking spray. I used an olive oil spray. Pour the meat mixture in the pie plate. Pour the egg mixture over the top of the meat. Top with the cut cherry tomatoes. Place the pie plate in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes or so and then run a paring knife around the inside edges to release the frittata. Cut into wedges and serve warm. You can serve it alone, or with some avocado slices or fresh fruit.

Spinach Tomato & Sausage Frittata
Spinach Tomato & Sausage Frittata

Enjoy!

Barb

Healthy Mediterranean Chicken & Vegetable Salad

In this blog, I wanted to share a recipe for some healthy Mediterranean Chicken & Vegetable Salad that I made over the weekend. It is easy to make and includes some greens, nutrient dense vegetables and protein that your body needs and craves. It is also quite tasty. Give it a try if you like.

Recipe: Healthy Mediterranean Chicken And Vegetable Salad

Healthy Mediterranean chicken and vegetable salad_2
Healthy Mediterranean chicken and vegetable salad
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut in small pieces
  • Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 package bagged spinach
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 small cucumber, diced
  • 1 small red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup chopped black olives
  • 3/4 cup feta crumbles or Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • Pita bread, wrap, or corn chips for serving

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

Coat the bottom of a  frying pan with olive oil. Add the cut up chicken. Season with Cajun seasoning, or another favorite seasoning to taste. Saute the chicken breast in the oil, until browned and slightly crisp. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, combine all of the vegetable and dill. Mix together and then add in the chicken. In separate smaller bowl, combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Italian seasoning, salt and black pepper. Stir until well blended and then pour over the vegetable and chicken mix, stirring until the vegetables are coated.

Healthy Mediterranean chicken and vegetable salad
Healthy Mediterranean chicken and vegetable salad

Serve alone, or in a wrap, pita bread, or with Tostito chips. Top with the feta, or Parmesan cheese.

Healthy Mediterranean chicken and vegetable salad
Healthy Mediterranean chicken and vegetable salad

Enjoy!

Barb

P.S. If you are interested in other healthy recipes, as well as finding out more about living a healthy life-style, you might want to check out my new book, Wholey Cow a Simple Guide To Eating And Living,” which is available on Amazon.

10 Iron-Rich Foods To Sustain Your Energy…

Did you know that iron deficiency anemia affects more people than any other condition?¹

That’s right! For some of you that may be surprising or alarming, given the fact that many people aren’t aware of the symptoms or the condition. I was one of these people, that is until a few years ago, when I was diagnosed with it myself and had to deal with the ailment. In my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, which is available on Amazon, I talk a little bit about the causes of iron deficiency and how it lead me on a path to learning more about nutrition. I also talk about how eating a healthy diet and living a healthy life-style can help with a host of health problems, including vitamin deficiencies. In this blog, I wanted to share some information on 10 iron-rich foods that can help sustain your energy, whether you are iron deficient, or not.

Let’s take a look…

  1. Spinach—

    Spinach is rich in many minerals and nutrients that are beneficial to your body. It contains non-heme iron, which is the type of iron found in plant-based foods. When I was diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia, I started eating a lot of this leafy green, as I needed to consume a certain amount of iron-rich foods. I also added spinach to my morning smoothies, as well as other main dishes I would cook. Many people enjoy spinach salad, but this powerhouse vegetable can be added to many entrees. Try adding it to your spaghetti sauce, chow mein, lasagna, stir-fries and more for added energy and nutrients.
  2. Kale—

    Kale is another green that is rich in iron. In fact, kale contains more iron than spinach. (Kale contains 6 % iron, where spinach contains 5%.) Kale is also rich in fiber and other vitamins including vitamin A, B6, C, folate, calcium, copper and more. Kale has a unique taste and a texture that is course and dense. Some people like kale salads, while others may mix it with other greens. Kale can also be added to smoothies and can be eaten raw or cooked. It can also be added to other main dishes for an added boost of vitamins and minerals. I enjoy kale, as well as spinach. Give it a try if want to add more nutrients to your diet.
  3. Black Beans—

    Black Beans are not only good for you, but taste great. It is no wonder they are a popular food in many cultures. They are rich both in iron and fiber and also contain plenty of protein. They also contain other valuable vitamins and minerals including calcium and manganese and have trace amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for you. Black beans have a dense texture and can be eaten alone, or added to other entrees or dishes such as rice or quinoa. I like to add black beans to taco meat and rice. I also like to eat black beans as a side dish. They are delicious heated with a little spinach, onions, tomatoes, and spices including tumeric and cajun. Give it a try if you like, or come up with your own favorite recipe.
  4. Beef—

    Beef is rich in heme iron, which is found in animals and attached to proteins. If you happen to be iron deficient, heme iron is the best source of iron for your body. That is why I eat beef several times a week. Growing up, I ate a lot of beef, but as I got older, I kind of got tired of it. Over time however, my body began to let me know I needed to add more of it back into my diet. If you enjoy beef, know that you are getting a healthy dose of iron, as well as other vitamins and minerals. Keep in mind that a serving of beef, or other meat should only be the size of your fist.
  5. Chicken—

    Chicken also contains heme iron and other vitamins. It is a popular choice for many consumers and can be prepared in a variety of ways. Many people enjoy it as a main entree, or use it in other dishes such as pasta, enchilada’s, stir fries, etc. Chicken is also a healthy addition to salads and various side dishes. Again—Keep in mind that a serving of chicken should also be the size of your fist.
  6. Eggs—

    Eggs have been a  staple in the diets of many consumers for years. It’s not surprising, as eggs contain protein, carbohydrates and fat. They are also a good source of choline and iron, which is found in the yolks. Eggs contain a healthy mix of both heme and non-heme iron, making them unique. Eggs can be prepared in a variety of ways and are a popular breakfast item. I like to add a variety of vegetables and meat to my eggs to enhance their flavor, as well as their nutritional value. Feel free to add whatever vegetables you enjoy with your eggs to help boost their nutritional value.
  7. Nuts—

    Nuts are a great snack food and are not only delicious, but nutritious. It is no wonder they are a  a popular snack choice for many consumers. Nuts are loaded with many healthful nutrients too including protein, vitamin E, magnesium, selenium and copper. They also contain healthy fats (MUFAS), which your body needs and craves. Many nuts are also rich in iron, which helps deliver oxygen to your cells. It is especially important for those with iron deficiency anemia and works to prevent it as well. I enjoy almonds, cashews and other varieties of nuts daily. Make sure you grab a handful of nuts to snack on to enjoy their health benefits.
  8. Strawberries—

    Strawberries are a popular fruit and enjoyed by many consumers. They are sweet, delicious and loaded with a variety of vitamins and minerals. They actually are considered a super food since they are nutrient dense and promote well-being. Strawberries contain vitamin C, which helps promote eye health and immunity. They are also rich in fiber, which helps aid digestion and contains some iron, which helps to carry oxygen throughout your body. Snack of this tasty fruit and enjoy its many healthy benefits.
  9. Apricots—

    While there are many varieties of fruits, the apricot is considered one of the healthiest in the world.² It is loaded with healthful nutrients and has many benefits. Apricots contain vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and contain plenty of fiber. They also contain a healthy dose of iron, which is a vital element for muscle and brain health and also works to regulate body temperature. Although I like apricots, it wasn’t a fruit a bought a lot of. When I developed iron deficiency anemia however, I began buying dried apricots to snack on. They are sweet and make a healthy snack.
  10. Pumpkin Seeds—

    If you are looking for a crunchy, tasty snack, why not try some healthful seeds such as pumpkin seeds? They are good for you and packed with a bunch of feel-good nutrients. Pumpkin seeds contain a variety of nutrients including magnesium, manganese, zinc, protein, and copper. They are also high in fiber and are a good source of iron and omega 3 fats.  You can eat them alone, or add them to yogurt, smoothies and more.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:

¹Wpadmin. “22 Shocking Iron Deficiency Anemia Statistics.” HRFnd. N.p., 23 Dec. 2014. Web. 15 May 2017.

²Nandy, Priyadarshini. “8 Amazing Apricot Benefits: The Nutritional Heavyweight Among Fruits.” Food.ndtv.com. N.p., 19 Apr. 2016. Web. 16 May 2017.

³”9 Amazing Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds.” Mercola.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 May 2017.

Go For The Green…

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Some people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by wearing green, going out for Irish food or having an Irish coffee. Others may enjoy a green beverage such as a green beer, green martini, or margarita.  In this blog, I  thought I would give you another green beverage option, which is healthier. In fact, this beverage is packed with plenty of antioxidants and healthful nutrients your body craves. I have been enjoying this juice all winter and believe it has helped me stay well this cold season. Give it a try if you would like a burst of energy for your day and some morning sunshine!

Green Juice Blend


1 large handful spinach or kale
½ cucumber (cut in slices)
1-2 stalks celery (cut in pieces)
1 slice fresh ginger or 1 tsp. shredded
1 small banana
4 large chunks fresh pineapple
1 tbsp. coconut oil
6-8 oz. water or coconut water

Add all ingredients to Ninja or Vitamix Blender or blender cup. Blend on high speed until thoroughly blended and mixed. Serve and enjoy. Recipe makes 1 serving.

Note: You can also add 1 tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar if desired, or a scoop of protein powder. I use Bone Broth protein. It is good for you and contains no sugar, or sweeteners.

Enjoy!

Barb

Vegetables For Vitality—Spotlight On Kale

In this post, I wanted to spotlight the vegetable kale.

Kale is a popular vegetable and powerhouse  when it comes to greens. Kale is loaded with vitamins and minerals and considered one of the most nutrient-dense foods available. It is no wonder it has become trendy to eat. I can’t think of a better way to get a healthy dose of vitamin A, C, K, B6, magnesium, calcium, potassium and more from a single 1 cup serving.

Kale also contains powerful antioxidants, such as beta carotene and flavanoids that help fight off free-radicals. Additionally, kale contains lutein and xeaxanthin, which helps protect your eyes as you age. If you are looking to build your iron, kale is a must to eat. Kale contains more iron than beef and can be added in to your diet in a variety of ways.

You can enjoy kale in a salad.

Add kale into your smoothie for a morning boost of energy.

Grab a handful or two of kale and add it to your stir fry.

You can mix it in with a pasta dish or spaghetti.

There are numerous possibilities.

Kale grows above ground and is a member of the cabbage family like broccoli, cauliflower and other collard greens. There are a variety of different types of kale available. Some kale has dark, green leaves, while other types of kale may have purple leaves. The shapes of the leaves may also vary from curly to more straight with longer stems.

Kale is anti-inflammatory, may help prevent cancer, is loaded with fiber and helps build immunity. No matter what variety you choose, rest assured you will reap the benefits by adding this vegetable to your diet.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:

http://www.organicauthority.com/health/reasons-kale-is-the-new-beef-nutritious-sustainable.html

https://authoritynutrition.com/10-proven-benefits-of-kale/

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=38

Are You Going Green?

Most people know that going green is good for the environment and can help make the world a better place, but did you know that going green is also good for your health? That’s right! Greens are rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E & K, which are good for our bodies.

salad-lamb-s-lettuce-lettuce-leaves-green-60505-large

They also provide a host of other benefits such as improved circulation, blood purification, improved liver and kidney functioning, a strengthened immune system, and more.  Greens however, are the most common missing food for most people. While many people these days may have a salad for lunch, or add one to their dinner, we should really be including greens into our diets at every meal we eat to get enough of their healthful and beneficial nutrients.

salad-fresh-food-diet-54322-medium

Although many people do eat greens and other vegetables, most people are definitely not including them at every meal. How about you? Where can you add in more greens? Maybe it is lunch time, or dinner, or perhaps an afternoon snack? How about breakfast? That one hits home and used to be problem for me, but over the last couple years I made some adjustments and now eat greens and vegetables pretty much every morning.

Adding in greens to your diet does not have to be complicated. It can be as easy as adding a little spinach, or kale to a smoothie, making some green juice, or adding some spinach, kale or chopped vegetables to your morning eggs, etc. You can also add greens into a stir fry,  chow mein, spaghetti and more. There are many ways to add more greens to our diets. All it takes is a little brainstorming, thinking ahead a little, and shopping, so you have what you need on hand.

vegetables-frying-pan-greens-medium

Here are some Popular greens you can include in a variety of food dishes:

  1. Spinach
  2. Kale
  3. Collards
  4. Swiss Chard
  5. Cabbage
  6. Arugula
  7. Romaine lettuce
  8. Radicchio

When we choose whole foods that contain the nutrients our bodies were made to thrive upon, we naturally feel better, so what is holding you back from making healthier choices? Go ahead and go green! Your body will thank you.

Thanks for reading!

Barb