Energy and Vitamin Packed Smoothie

Many friends and family members ask me about the green smoothie that I make. I decided to post an article to explain the recipe and why I use each ingredient.

First-things-first… You need a blender or mixer to make this bad boy. I personally have the Vitamix 5200… It rocks!

I suppose I should get the dang disclaimer out of the way… You know that you can choke drinking a thick shake… Right? hehe… Seriously though:
WARNING: Mixing random foods, supplements, and other concoctions can be dangerous. Allergies and other issues can easily crop up when you don’t know what you’re doing. The opinions, stories, and ideas presented here are my own and do not constitute a recommendation of or endorsement for any particular or general use. I strongly recommend doing your own research and evaluations, including knowing thyself! Especially if you are over the age of 40 or have high blood pressure, genetic heart problems or conditions, immune system disorders, or elevated cholesterol levels. If you choose to follow a specific diet or nutritional plan, you do so at your own risk. In addition, high-quality recipes and homeopathic panaceas requires patience, diligence, and above all else, using good products. Never drink or eat something that you know nothing about! Most important: listen to your stomach and body…

Let’s start by listing the ingredients, tell you what I do, and then list a few of the benefits of each potent item that I add. Also, remember to tailor this recipe to your taste and needs… Everyone has different wants and you should adjust and play with this smoothie until you find your perfect one. Most of all, enjoy the entire process… No shake or smoothie should taste like shit and be hard to put down. If you don’t dig what you make you will not stick with it. So, carefully craft your brew to not only give you maximum benefits, but also taste splendid!

INGREDIENTS

2 cups Spinach (kale is also great, but doesn’t taste as good to me)
2+ cups Water (or coconut water, almond milk, etc.)
1 Tbsp. Hemp Seed Oil
2 cups Fruit (fresh or frozen)
2 Tbsp. Ground Flaxseed
1 Tbsp. Cinnamon (Ceylon)
2 Tbsp. Hemp Seeds (shelled)
1 Tsp. Fiber
1 Tsp. Premium Matcha Tea
1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
3 Stevia Leaves (or drops of liquid)
1 Tbsp. Raw Honey
2(ish) cups Ice (1 cup should be enough if you used frozen fruit)

One of my tricks to having a true smooth smoothie is to blend it in stages. Many folks I know just pile in the ingredients (I’ve been known to do this), but I think it is best broken down like this:

1. Blend the spinach and liquids;
2. Add fruit and blend some more;
3. Add the remaining things and blend one last time.

Here is some information on the ingredients and why I choose to include them…

Spinach

Vitamin C. Lots of it. Spinach is my favorite form of vitamin C! Popeye introduced me to spinach, and I truly believe it’s the miracle food. Along with vitamin C, spinach is also a great natural resource of vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, copper, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin E, calcium, potassium, fiber, vitamin B1, phosphorus, zinc, protein, choline, omega-3 fats, vitamin B3, selenium, and pantothenic acid. And, it has been proven to prevent some forms of cancer! Also, it provides glycoglycerolipids, which are known to protect your digestive tract. Like I said… It’s the miracle food!

Water

Your smoothie won’t be drinkable unless you add a liquid. I use water for the simplicity, but you can add any number of nutritious liquids. Try different things out, and find one that tastes great and works for you.

Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp seed oil (not to be confused with hemp oil) is an aliment obtained by pressing the raw seeds of the hemp plant, scientifically called Cannabis Sativa (yes, pot). Hemp seeds contain protein, polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega 6, omega 3, and insoluble fiber. They are also a great source of vitamin E antioxidants (tocopherols), potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, calcium, phosphorus, strontium, thorium, arsenic, and chromium. The flavor isn’t grand, but in small amounts it can go unnoticed. The benefits far outweigh the taste. Also, hemp seeds are proven to aid with your immunity and counteract aging. Not to mention helping to balance hormones! Good stuff!

Also, Omega 3 and 6 are hard to find as a vegetarian or vegan… This is a great way to get ’em!

I believe that hemp seeds are nutritionally superior to most other sources of protein and essential fatty acids.

Hemophiliac sidebar: Hemp oil is an anticoagulant, and it can have an anti-clotting effect on the blood. Nothing is perfect… Just saying.

 

Fruit

Not only does fruit contain lots of goodies for your body and health, but they also sweeten the whole shake! Even though I see clear benefits from using fresh, raw, and ripe fruit, I prefer frozen fruit. It really helps to chill the smoothie, and it is easier to keep for longer. Here is a little somethin’ somethin’ about fruit. If you use fruit with big seeds, make sure you remove them.

Flaxseed

There are several forms of Omega 3 & 6… Flaxseed is one. Checkout this article for another type. Along with Omegas, flaxseed also gives you a good source of fiber and can reduce hypertension. Remember to grind up your flaxseed before pouring it into the blender. If you buy it pre-ground, you can/should store it in the fridge or freezer to keep the healthy benefits for longer.

Cinnamon

There are two primary types of cinnamon and each offers different benefits. I only use ceylon, not canela molida. This is mostly because of my bleeding disorder, but my research has also revealed the benefits of ceylon to be better (in my humble opinion). Read more about cinnamon here.

Hemp Seeds

We already added hemp seed oil, but I like to double up on a good thing.

Fiber

Fiber is good and you need it. Remember that not everyone can take psyllium. Some fiber alternatives include: flaxseed, glucomannan, methylcellulose, and inulin. This is an article that talks more about fiber.

Premium Matcha Tea

Matcha tea gives you energy in a mystical meditative way. It has been called a state of relaxed alertness. It increases thermogenesis and boosts metabolism; which burns calories. It detoxifies and relaxes the body, calms the mind, enhances concentration. Matcha is filled with fiber, chlorophyll, and vitamins, improves your mood, and prevents disease. Matcha is one of the only sources of the amino acid L-Theanine (suntheanine); which may reduce stress and prevent some types of cancer. It also provides vitamin C, zinc, selenium, chromium, and magnesium. On top of that, it lowers cholesterol and blood sugar. All that aside, I think one of the best parts of matcha is that it is packed with a mega dose of antioxidants including the powerful EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate). If there ever was a super tea, I believe it’s matcha.

Coconut Oil

Many benefits come from the coconut. Did you know that societies that have coconut in their daily diet are among the healthiest in the world? Also, it balances out your energy usage and helps with metabolism and burning fat! Coconut oil is also scientifically proven to lessen your chances of heart disease. All around good!

Secret Tip: Coconut oil liquifies above 75 degrees. So, use hot water to clean your tablespoon and the blender. Also, using a hot spoon makes it easy to carve out of the container.

Stevia

Stevia rebaudiana is a plant that has been used for more than 1,500 years in South America by the Guaraní. They called it ka’a he’ê; which translates to sweet herb. Your smoothie will most likely be pretty hard to swallow without some form of sweetening… Try this on for size!

Raw Honey

Raw honey, unlike pasteurized honey, promotes digestive health and is a powerful antioxidant that strengthens the immune system with anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties. It is believed to eliminate some allergies. Honey is also an excellent remedy for skin wounds and all types of infections. Need I say more?

Ice

There isn’t much to explain about this… Suffice it to say that a cold smoothie is more refreshing. If you add too much ice, it will turn out overly thick… If that happens, simply add water to dilute it.

Optionally, I often add protein. There are many forms and that is another whole article. However, if I’m being pure and true, I think that protein derived from hemp is the best bet. Make sure you try adding your own magical ingredients, and please share what you find in my comments below!

I should mention that I really dig the benefits of garlic, and eat a clove each day. That said, I NEVER add garlic to my smoothie, because it will wreck it! My preferred method of injestion, is to simply eat it. This is not always easy, and it’s certainly an acquired taste. Do what you like.

Note: If you call yourself vegan, than the honey should go. Veganism is a way of living which excludes all forms of exploitation and cruelty to the animal kingdom. Unfortunately (or, fortunately depending on how you think of it)… This includes honeybees. Also, some things on my list may not be gluten free. You need to figure that part out on your own.

Along the nutritional needs line, you might really enjoy this article: Nutrition in a Nutshell.

Most important (I can’t say it enough), live your life and experience things the way you like… This is merely a guideline… You must find your own path and walk it.

Cheers,
Vaughn

Please comment and let me know what you drink in your smoothie. Also, let me know if this kind of article is helpful and so on.

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Thanksgiving 2013

Many of my posts talk about being grateful and expressing gratitude for all of the things that you have in life. As a matter-of-fact, I have one article, healthywealthytribe.com/what-are-you-grateful-for, that is specifically written around this topic. Well, what better time to tackle gratitude again than on Thanksgiving Day?

Thanksgiving is a national holiday that was originally celebrated as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest. In the United States, it is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. More recently it is known as the holiday where you stuff your face with turkey (among other fatty foods) and watch football all day. I prefer to remember that it was (and is) a time to express thanks for EVERYTHING in our lives.

Many of us (me included) often feel worried about family events that will end with fighting and misery… Unfortunately, there are frequently practical brawls when we get estranged family members together. It is imperative that we find the good in our family and friends during these special holidays. Put your disagreements aside and love one another! You only have to do it once a year, people! If you are one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have any problems with family during these times than consider yourself lucky and disregard this paragraph… HA!

Regardless of what you believe or think, the name sums up this most excellent holiday. Thanksgiving is easily rearranged to “giving thanks.” If you dig, use this time to meditate briefly and concentrate on what’s important to you. Think about all of the fortunate things you have in your life. And, share your feelings and gratitude with those closest to you.

I’ve already mentioned my “thankful list” in that previous post, but I thought I would add to it a hair, and list it again as a reminder to myself… In no particular order, I am eternally grateful for:

  • Kristine
  • Trinity
  • Xander
  • Brothers and sisters
  • Moms and dads (yes, that is plural… HA!)
  • In-laws (all of them!)
  • My longevity and ability to outlive everyone’s expectations
  • Work (yep… I love it, and am grateful for it)
  • Hobbies and fun stuff
  • Home Sweet Home (shelter over my head)
  • Food on the dining room table (and in the fridge)
  • Five senses (fortunately I have all five at my disposal)
  • Arms and legs (not everyone is as lucky as me)
  • The sun (and the moon)
  • Computers
  • The snow
  • Four seasons
  • Social networks
  • My gift of writing
  • Internet access
  • Life coaches and mentors
  • Challenges (yes sir… Very grateful for these, because they help me grow!)
  • Decent brains
  • Music
  • Pets (dog, snake, fish, and even the cat)
  • Modern medical treatments and science
  • Filet mignon and lobster tail

What are you grateful for?

Enjoy yourself! Eat lots of food! And, most of all… Tell your friends and family that you are thankful for having them in your life!

I’m also thankful for you!

-Vaughn

p.s. I’d like to add one thing to my Thanksgiving Day prayer… “May the Dallas Cowboys get their proverbial butts kicked!” hee hee…

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Fish Oil Might Help

Let’s discuss Omega-3 fatty acids and their potential benefits!

Back a few articles ago (as you know) I started talking about different foods, drinks, and vitamin supplements that I ingest on a daily basis to increase the strength of my immune system and add to my overall health and longevity. This whole thing was originally kicked off with my post about oranges. Today is really no different, except the topic shifted slightly… Let’s dig in!

As most of you know, there are lots of health benefits that come from taking a daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 (EPA and DHA) has been proven to help lower triglycerides and blood pressure. Studies also show that omega-3 may help with other conditions like: asthma, Alzheimer disease, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, inflammation, among others.

Hemophilia Alert: Omega-3 may cause the blood to thin and cause excess bleeding. This is not necessarily bad, but should be considered if you have a bleeding disorder, or are taking anticoagulant drugs.

 

There are three main types of omega-3s: EPA, DHA, and ALA. Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids in our diets. ALA, DHA, and EPA are not made in our bodies; therefore, we must get them from our diet. Two of the most important fatty acids that come from omega-3 are EPA and DHA; which are found in certain fish. The third one, ALA, can be found in plants, oils, and walnuts.

Whenever possible, the best possible way to get your omega-3 fatty acids is from fresh foods. You can find good natural sources of DHA and EPA omega-3s in the following fish:

  • trout
  • tuna
  • anchovies
  • bluefish
  • herring
  • mackerel
  • salmon
  • sardines
  • sturgeon
  •  

    If you cannot eat these fish three times per week, then you should consider supplementing with an omega-3 capsule.

    You can find ALA in:

  • walnuts
  • flax and flaxseed oil
  • canola oil
  • olive oil
  • soybean oil
  •  

    I’d love to get my daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids directly from fresh food sources, but I rarely do… So, I pop an omega-3 pill twice a day. Essentially, I do this to ensure that I get the proper amount of DHA and EPA.

    Do you make sure to get a daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids?

    Please comment by clicking “Leave a Comment.” And, if you dig, share this article! Also, please type your email address into the “Subscribe” box up top to get updates each time I post a new blog article.

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    Cinnamon and Longevity

    Back a few articles ago (as you know) I started talking about different foods, drinks, and vitamin supplements that I ingest on a daily basis to increase the strength of my immune system and add to my overall health and longevity. This whole thing was originally kicked off with my post about oranges. Today is really no different, except the topic shifted slightly… Let’s dig in!

    Cinnamon is loaded with fiber, calcium, and iron. It also lowers blood sugar levels! And, has been shown to help with diabetes! So, why wouldn’t you take a daily dose??

    You can add it to fruit juice, milk, tea, or other liquids. I simply stir a tablespoon (just over 6 grams) into water at the same time with my fiber and put it down like some freaky concoction from Dr. Jekyll’s laboratory… But, I’m kind of weird. Make sure you pick something that will taste good to you, so that you’ll do it each and every day! Start Today!

    Before we talk about the benefits, let’s discuss what it is, and where it comes from… Cinnamon is a spice that comes from wild trees native to the Caribbean, South America, and Southeast Asia. And, there’s two main types of cinnamon: Ceylon and Cassia (Chinese cinnamon). Mankind has been consuming the spice for at least 4,000 years! For more than 1,000 years, cinnamon has been used for it’s medicinal value and doctors have given it to cure many ailments.

    Editor’s Note (added after article was published): My friend, Jeanie Zak, pointed out that Ceylon is the “true cinnamon” that gives the most benefits. I did a little research and found that my McCormick Cinnamon; which says, “Canela Molida” (means “ground cinnamon”) is actually the cassia type. My research unveiled that cassia is cheaper and more common. Further searching and reading revealed an even scarier thing… Cassia has a much higher dosage of coumarin, which is an anticoagulant… This is particularly bad for hemophiliacs!!! Thanks for pointing me in the right direction, Jeanie. I will switch immediately!

     

    These days, research has shown that cinnamon can help with diarrhea, muscle spasms, vomiting, infections, common cold, loss of appetite, and even erectile dysfunction (sign me up!)

    Cinnamon might also lower blood sugar in people with type 1 or 2 diabetes. It has been shown to help improve glucose and lipids levels. Supposedly, cinnamon will reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. That alone is more than enough reason to take it!

    Research is also pointing to cinnamon helping to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, and stopping the destructiveness of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

    In addition, recent investigations are pointing to cinnamon helping fight HIV. I’m not sure where it will lead, but I love the idea of trying!

    Some of my friends like to mix cinnamon with honey (especially local honey) to help prevent allergies, but studies show there’s not any proof that this works.

    Do you take a daily dose of cinnamon? If so, how do you take it?

    Enjoy staying healthy,
    Vaughn

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    Fiber Glass

    No, no, no… Not fiberglass as in the itchy stuff in your attic… I’m talking about a “glass of fiber” or psyllium. Today we will talk about how to help your digestive system and hopefully making you a more regular person. HA!

    Back a few articles ago (as you know) I started talking about different foods, drinks, and vitamin supplements that I ingest on a daily basis to increase the strength of my immune system and add to my overall health and longevity. This whole thing was originally kicked off with my post about oranges. Today is really no different, except the topic shifted slightly… Let’s dig in!

    I take a tablespoon of Konsyl psyllium fiber each and every night. This amounts to approximately 15+ grams of fiber. Considering the daily recommended does is around 30 grams, I’m halfway there with a single 8 ounce glass of water. I try to obtain the remainder of my daily fiber from good sources like breads, nuts and seeds, spaghetti, vegetables, rice, cereal, and legumes. Dr. Oz does a great job of listing many of the fiber filled foods here: www.doctoroz.com/videos/50-fiber-rich-foods.

    Natural fiber has been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol. Along with that, it also relieves occasional constipation and induces “regularity.” You might be surprised to hear that it also helps with diarrhea. This is actually why I take my daily dose! And, it’s used to help relieve a variety of gastrointestinal disorders, such as diverticulosis and Crohn’s disease. Suffice it to say, fiber has many great benefits with little to no adverse side effects. Why not go for it?

    Fiber is also believed to help prevent cancer. Isn’t that enough of a reason to eat it??

    I’d love to write a much longer article that goes into crazy detail, but the truth is… This ain’t rocket science, folks. Fiber is a necessary carbohydrate that helps ease our bowel movements and slows down sugar absorption. It is a great addition to a healthy diet and also easy to include. This one is simple… As the people at Nike like to say, “Just do it.” No matter whether you choose Benefiber, Konsyl, or some other brand… Make sure you add a fiber supplement to your daily plan.

    Thoughts?

    Talk to you soon,
    Vaughn

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    Orange is the New Apple

    The old adage, “an apple a day” is, oddly enough, still a very valuable saying. Fresh fruit have been proven to be so incredibly awesome for natural dietary doses of certain vitamins and minerals. Eat fruit! Every day!

    I’m no doctor. I’m no nutritionist. Heck, I’m not even a health food fanatic… However, I do study food, nutrition, and healthy supplements. I can’t guarantee that my daily concoction actually works, but my studying and investigating has helped me to create a healthy daily panacea of stuff that is good for me. I recommend that you do your own investigating and research before following any of these ideas.

    That said, I have discussed my nutritional choices and needs with doctors and nutritionists. Together, we have narrowed down my daily intake to include some very important foods and supplements. Over the next several weeks I will have an occasional post that discusses one of the many things I ingest on a daily basis.

    Today’s discussion is about oranges. Actually, it’s about good sources of vitamin C, so we will discuss several vitamin C rich foods and ways to get the best bang for your buck. Even though I take daily vitamins and minerals in pill form, I am not a fan of processed vitamins. I’m a firm believer that the absolute best way to get nutritional needs is through fresh food. Vitamin C is no different. Even though there are tons of pills, capsules, and other forms of vitamin C, I prefer to get my C via fresh fruit. In particular, I am a fan of naval oranges. I eat two fresh oranges each and every day.

    Vitamin C can reduce the severity of cold symptoms, by acting as a natural antihistamine. It may also reduce histamine levels. Vitamin C can often shorten the duration of the cold as well. Along with cold prevention, vitamin C is useful in wound healing of all types. Cuts, broken bones, burns, and recovery from surgical wounds all heal faster and better when you’re taking good high quality vitamin C. Its antioxidant properties protect cells from damage and mutation. It also supports the immune system; which is the first line of defense against cancer. This in turn prevents many cancer-causing compounds from appearing. What does that mean? You ask… Essentially, vitamin C reduces the risk of getting almost all types of cancer.

    As an antioxidant, vitamin C helps to prevent cataracts and possibly improve vision. As with many other antioxidants, vitamin C helps to prevent heart disease, keeps cholesterol in the bloodstream from oxidizing, and improves high blood pressure. In other words, vitamin C is a cheap and simple solution to lower one’s risk of heart disease and strokes!

    Finally, asthmatics and diabetics can benefit from extra vitamin C in their diets as well.

    These are not the only things that vitamin C helps with, but it is a good list that certainly makes it very enticing… Wouldn’t you say?

    As I alluded to, oranges are not the only natural food sources of vitamin C. As a matter of fact, there are tons! Among many healthy vitamin C options are: red and green hot chili peppers, guavas, bell peppers, fresh herbs (thyme and parsley), dark leafy greens (kale, mustard greens, garden cress), broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kiwi fruits, papayas, tangerines, and strawberries. So do not limit yourself to just oranges, or even citrus fruit… Make sure you do some research and play around with some additional food options.

    Oranges and their zest (zest is the shavings of the orange peel) are all high in vitamin C. Eat the zest along with the juicy meat of the citrus fruit and you’ll be in business.

    Today’s motto is, “Two oranges a day will keep colds at bay!”

    I hope this was helpful. And, please chime in and tell me what you eat to get your daily dosage of vitamin C.

    -Rip

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