Archive for November, 2010

Butternut Squash Ravioli: Almost Decadent Enough for DessertB

We adore butternut squash and really anything sweet in our house so this is one of my favorite recipes once the weather starts getting a bit more nippy and we want something warm and comforting!

Butternut Squash Ravioli

Butternut squash ravioli (Eli’s or Whole Foods both have great ones!)
Olive oil
Pumpkin Spice
Parmesan (optional)
Walnuts (optional)

Boil pasta per the instructions on the package. Place in big bowl and liberally dash cinnamon and nutmeg on top. My rule of thumb is twice the amount of cinnamon to nutmeg. Then cover with olive oil and mix. The sauce will become a reddy carmel color. Top with walnuts and parmesan. Yum!

Not only are butternut squash high in high in vitamin A (beta-carotene,) which improves the health of our skin and prevents acne and other skin disorders but they are also high in vitamins C, D, E, G and K.  Because root vegetables contain natural sugars that elevate your blood sugars gently rather than delivering a quick jolt like refined, simple carbohydrates do, they can safely reduce your cravings for sweets.

Additionally, cinnamon is known for regulating blood sugar levels.

This is a very satisfying dish that can be used as a main dish with a green salad or sauteed green or as a side dish.

Blue-Green Algae: “Superfood” for a Super-Busy World

What is blue-green algae and should you add it to your diet? In the past month, I have been inundated with questions from friends and clients- especially those preparing for marathons and triathalons- about blue-green algae.

Before you think this information does not pertain to you and your eyes glaze over, I encourage you to take a minute to learn more about this “superfood” that will give you a big dollop of nutrition and increased energy and is so easy to integrate into your diet.

Even if you are one who does not like to take a lot of vitamins or pills, I encourage you to keep an open mind about this one. Whether you are an athlete, a busy multi-tasking mom or someone who works long hours in a stressful job, I highly recommend them to give you that extra nutrition and umph that you need.

So, what exactly is super blue-green algae?

Blue-green algae is a type of microalgae phytoplankton that is literally the green grass of the sea and forms the foundation of the food chain. Scientific evidence indicates that microalgae phytoplankton was one of the very first organisms to populate the Earth and may have been around over 2 billion years ago. Blue-green algae is one of over forty thousand different species of microalgae phytoplankton that grow in both salty and fresh water.

Microalgae phytoplankton have the richest source of chlorophyll found in nature, which enables them through a process called photosynthesis to transform inorganic minerals, water, sunlight and carbon dioxide into usable vitamins, proteins, amino acids, and carbohydrates, in essence creating  an estimated 80% of the earth’s food and oxygen supply.
Super blue-green algae, also known as Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA) grows in the spring-fed, pristine waters of Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon, an area relatively untouched by civilization and toxin-free. This blue-green algae is a wild algae and has been harvested, filtered, cleaned and dried using the highest, most natural standards.

AFA blue-green algae consists of  60% protein containing all 8 amino acids and is high in iron, zinc, selenium, magnesium, B-vitamins including B12, vitamin C, Omega 3’s, phenylethylamine (PEA), polysaccharides, live-enzymes and antioxidants such as the carotenoids (beta-carotene, lycopene and lutein), phycocyanin (the blue-green pigment) and chlorophyll.

AFA blue-green algae helps increase energy levels, improve digestion, increase alkalinity in the body, adapt to stress, reduce inflammation, maintain and repair tissues in the body, boost immunity, ward off disease and eliminate heavy-metal toxins such as cadmium, mercury and lead, treat anemia, fight chronic fatigue syndrome and even boost mood and reduce depression.

Why should you add blue-green algae to your diet?

If you are suffering from low energy, anemia, depression, have a poor immune system or are down in the dumps, why not? If you are super-busy and burning the candle at both ends, then you may need something a little extra in your tool box to enhance your body’s stamina and health. My husband was skeptical but once he started taking them he felt an immediate increase in his energy levels in the afternoon.

What do I use? And, what do I recommend?

My current favorite brand is Ancient Sun’s Crystal Manna, which is blue-gree algae harvested from Upper Kalmath Lake. Ancient Sun’s Crystal Manna comes in capsule as well as powder form. I use the capsules because I find them easy to take but the powder can be put in smoothies, juice, or even water.

I alternate between using Crystal Manna with another brand called E3 Live Brain On, which is also a blue-gree algae havested from Upper Kalmath Lake. E3 Live comes in a bottle and is stored in the freezer. When you want to take some, you defrost the bottle, take a shot (usually between 1-2 oz.) and then put the bottle back in the freezer. Because this requires freezing and defrosting, when I am traveling I always opt for the Crystal Manna.

Whether you take a capsule (Crystal Manna or E3 Live) or drink a shot of E3Live, it is all personal preference. If you are traveling or at your desk a lot then the capsules might be right for you. I usually take a shot of the E3 Live in the afternoons and find that it gives me an immediate boost of energy. Some people even add it to their smoothies but I prefer to get mine done and dusted quickly!

If you are training for a sports event, have low energy or iron levels, are juggling multiple responsibilities, are studying for a big exam or just feel run down, I highly recommend adding blue-green algae to your diet!