Archive for August, 2010

Goji Berries: Nature’s Perfect Protein

Have you ever heard of goji berries? If you have not, then it is time to get to know them!

Goji berries, sometimes called wolfberries, have been a staple food in Chinese culture and herbal medicine since the first century A.D. and are perhaps one of the most nutritionally dense fruits on the planet.

Goji berries are small and red and look a bit like raisons. Goji berries contain 18 kinds of amino acids, more beta-carotene than carrots, more vitamin C than carrots and up to 21 trace minerals such as iron (more than soybeans or spinach), zinc, copper, calcium, germanium, selenium, and phosphorus.

Goji berries have been recommended for anemia, dizziness, inflammation, enhanced immunity, improved circulation, stronger eyesight, liver and kidney health as well as an increased sense of well-being. They are also one of the only known foods to stimulate the secretion of human growth hormone thought to inhibit the classic signs of aging.

Goji berries are a perfect high-protein snack to grab before or after a workout, to add to your morning smoothies or even to sprinkle on top of salads or yogurt. Not only are they portable, but they can be found easily at your local health food shop or Whole Foods.

4 Easy Ways to Add More Greens to Your Diet to Look and Feel Fantastic!

Many of the clients I see do not want to completely remake their whole diets but would like to make a few changes in order to look and feel their best! And, that is what my message is all about- helping others to make changes that are easy for them and that add balance to their lives!

In the summer, we all tend to be out and about more whether it is running around with our children, exercising outdoors or just enjoying a meal outside at our favorite restaurant. Generally all of this running around means that we cannot always control what we are eating at each meal. You may not be able to change what you are served at a pool party but you can add a few foods to your day that will make a huge difference in the nutrition you are giving your body.

In my opinion, there is nothing more powerful than adding more greens to your diet! Greens are high in calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, zinc, Vitamins A, C, E and K, folic acid and chlorophyll. Greens help purify the blood, prevent cancer, improve circulation, strengthen the immune system, improve liver function, clear congestion, improve skin quality, lift spirit, eliminate depression and increase energy and vitality.

They are also high in fiber and, uhm, get things moving if you know what I mean! In Asian medicine, green is related to the liver, emotional stability and creativity. Who wouldn’t want to have all that? So, read below for 4 easy ways to add more greens to your diet to look and feel your best!

1) Start Your Day off With a Green Smoothie

One of the best ways to start your day off on the right foot is by having a green smoothie or green juice! For those new to green smoothies or juices, I urge you to give them a try!

Not only will you get a huge quantity of greens in right off the bat to supply your body with optimal nutrition but they are tasty and delicious once you get used to them. I promise you your body will begin to crave them! All you need for smoothies is a blender and fresh, organic produce!

Having a liquid meal such as a smoothie or juice for breakfast is also easier for your digestion and helps give your digestion a break so you will be assimilating nutrients better. Below are a few of my favorite smoothie recipes!

Celery, Banana & Cucumber Green Smoothie

4-6 stalks celery
½ cucumber
1 medium frozen banana
1-2 cups vanilla almond milk
Handful of parsley or spinach
Optional: maca (immunity, energy),chia or hemp seeds (Omega 3’s for brain power, focus, well-being), goji berries (antioxidants)

Blend in your blender and enjoy!!! It is so refreshing and has become my favorite morning smoothie!

Green “Power me Up” Smoothie

1/2 head kale (locinato or dinosaur kale is my favorite!) or spinach
Unsweetened almond milk
1 frozen banana
Handful of blueberries or goji berries (full of antioxidants)
2 tbsp chia or hemp seeds/powder, or flax seed oil (Omega 3’s for brain power, focus, well-being)
Optional: 1 tbsp maca (immunity, energy), pumpkin seeds (prostrate cancer prevention for males), 1 tbsp coconut butter

Blend in blender and enjoy! I usually make it the night before and then in the morning I will send it in a to-go mug for my husband to take to work and will put some aside in the blender to blend with fresh frozen berries and give that to my children!

2) Have a Green Juice Every Day!

Juices furnish the body with a substantial amount of vitamins and minerals and live enzymes that bring an alkaline force into the body to help neutralize the toxic acidity that we have as a result of our modern diets. They also speed the recovery from disease by supporting the body’s own healing activities and cell regeneration, and improve the cell’s ability to absorb nutrients and eliminate waste and other toxic material from the body.

So, why wouldn’t you just eat your greens? Good question! You can (and you should!) but think of your juice as your liquid vitamin for the day! When you begin to juice you will see the sheer quantity of greens that goes into one juice and you will see that there is NO WAY that you could eat the same quantity of greens as you can get in a glass of green juice! By juicing you will be able to consume a larger quantity of nutrients in proportion to your consumption.

Having a green juice every day is easier (and more enjoyable) than it might sound! Of course, I recommend that you purchase a juicer and make healthy green juices every day. However, I also recognize that this is way too much for some people! So, here are all your options:

Option 1:

Purchase a juicer and begin experimenting with juicing different combinations of fruits and vegetables.

Option 2:

Buy juices from your local health store or juice bar. Of course, I recommend that everyone have a juicer but for those who are not ready to make that step yet, find a favorite juice bar that uses organic ingredients and is convenient. Not only are you more likely to juice if it is easy for you but it is also a great way to get to know the juices you like!

Option 3:

Purchase a high-quality green powder to add to almond milk, fruit juice such as apple cider or orange juice or even water! If you are at your desk all day and unable to leave to get a juice or have an empty pantry this may be the way to go for you.

3) Make At Least One Of Your Meals a Big Salad

I just love to have a big salad for dinner! Not only will you find it satiates you but you will wake up feeling light and energized. If you like to have a more substantial dinner, then at least have a salad for lunch. Try to vary what you put in your salad each time you make it, but I basically have a fairly simple formula and choose 1-2 from each category.


spinach, romaine, kale, mixed greens, arugula or a mixture of whatever greens you have!

Add ons:

grated carrots, sliced tomatoes, grated beets, sliced red or yellow peppers, dulse, and, again, whatever veggie you have in your fridge!

Protein/fat source:

avocados, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, pistachio nuts, macadamia nuts

Choose from each category and throw in a bowl. Dress with olive oil, lemon and a dash of sea salt and you have a delicious meal!!!

4) Serve Greens as a Side Dish or as a Part of the Main Course!

This could mean that you serve a simple green salad before your big meal or you could cook or grill a vegetable to serve in or alongside your main course. I recommend that my clients fill 2/3 of their plate with healthy greens and the other 1/3 with whatever else they are having.

There are so many greens to choose from so first of all find ones that you love! The favorite greens in our house are spinach, romaine, kale, swiss chard, Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Others include bok choy, collard greens, watercress, the cabbage family, beet greens and dandelion. Lettuces such as mesclun, arugula, endive, chicory and wild greens are also included in this category. Buy what’s in season and fresh and try to have fun with it!

Grilled Kale

1 head of kale (can be red or green)
Olive oil
Sea salt

Preheat oven to 370 degrees. Cut kale into small pieces and wash and let fully dry so it does not wilt. Coat a casserole dish with olive oil and place the kale in the dish. Slather with olive oil and place in oven for approximately 10-15 minutes until looks a bit “crispy”. Slice a lemon and squeeze over and add a sprinkle of sea salt.

This is delicious and one of my family’s favorites! They sometimes literally devour it before it even makes it to the table!

Broccoli Pasta

Penne, Rigatoni, Farfalle or Shell pasta
Head of broccoli
Olive oil
Optional: walnuts

Boil the broccoli until soft (or defrost frozen ones.) Drain broccoli in a colander and mash with a wooden spoon until it is primarily chopped into tiny pieces but do leave a few small-medium size pieces (this is the reason you do not want to use a food processor for this.)

Place the broccoli in an omelet pan with some olive oil and cook for approximately 5-10 minutes on medium heat until it starts turning a bit brown or “toasty” looking.

Cook pasta as noted on the package while you are cooking the broccoli. Drain and spoon up broccoli with a slotted spoon and add to the pasta. At this point you can choose to add more or less of the olive oil. Finish by adding parmesan and, if you desire, a few walnuts and you have another balanced, delicious meal!

This is a recipe that I developed living in London several years ago with a toddler when I wanted to expand the types of vegetables my children were eating.