Purple Monster Smoothie

This summer I am working at my local Earth Fare grocery store making smoothies and juices. It’s the perfect job for me as someone who is an avid smoothie and juice drinker! It’s tons of fun seeing what the customers can come up with for their drinks and I love being able to sneak a sample every now and then to taste their creations. It is great to be able to interact with a customer base that is often as interested in nutrition and health as I am. I have also been able to try new foods like wheatgrass and ginger shots and I’ve learned to like the taste of beets when juiced with other ingredients- I still can’t eat them on their own! 

The other day, a customer came in and ordered a smoothie for lunch and there happened to be extra so I set the remaining smoothie out in sample cups. A woman tried the sample of that smoothie and loved it so much she wanted the same one. I bet that man would be proud that he put together such a good smoothie that other customers wanted his creation for themselves! I myself also tried it and thought it was a good combo of ingredients. I wrote down the ingredients so I could make it for myself at home. I thought I’d share the recipe for this purple drink on my blog. 

Purple Monster Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen banana (or 1 whole frozen banana)
  • 1-2 handfuls of spinach
  • 1/2-1 tablespoon almond butter
  • coconut water 

Directions

  1. Add the fruit, spinach and almond butter into a blender.
  2. Pour enough coconut water over the ingredients just to cover them.
  3. Blend.
  4. If you want a thinner consistency, add more coconut water and adjust to your liking.

Enjoy!

 

Foodie on Campus: Summer Internship

Hello! I’m writing for an online magazine called Foodie on Campus this summer so I wanted to share what it’s all about. The goal of the blog is to help college students make informed food choices when the dining halls and grocery trips seem dizzying! It is a really great experience for me to be working with a registered dietitian, Faye Berger Mitchell, who started Foodie on Campus with a vision to help make eating well more clear for college students. I’m super excited I was able to write my first article about how to stay plant-based in college. Check out the link here:

Vegan on Campus

You will find all sorts of topics on food, fitness, mind, body and soul. We also write about topics “beyond campus.” All of the writers are students in college, so they have experience learning how to stay healthy on campus. This summer we plan on focusing on summer topics as well as information for starting the upcoming fall semester off on the right foot in terms of nutrition. Hope you find something helpful or that you can share with a college student you know! I hope the magazine reaches incoming freshman as they prepare for their first year at a university!

~Anna

Update!

Hi readers! Long time no blog! Oops! I think that after finals and finishing up sophomore year I was burnt out from writing and cramming my brain with knowledge so I took a short break form my little blog. Now I’m back and ready to share some of the food I’ve been mixing up and what I’ve been up to.

I am not free from school since I’m currently taking microbiology at IUPUI, but it keeps me busy. And honestly it’s super nice only having to focus on one class. In a few weeks I’ll start my macronutrient metabolism class which I’m taking online through Purdue. I hear that class is challenging, but I am actually excited to be able to learn some interesting things about nutrition and the macronutrients we consume!

In other news, I caved and bought a Vitamix! I bought a reconditioned one from the Vitamix website and it is like brand new but for a slight discount. It came in the mail two days ago and I’ve been super impressed with the way it has worked so far. I knew I could expect greatness from this beast of a blender. I can’t wait to experiment more with my new kitchen tool. I foresee lots of smoothies in my future-more than now!

I’ve been busy making lots of yummy food now that I am home for the summer. I am being inspired by all the delicious fresh food that is coming into season. The farmer’s market is full of vibrant greens that beg to be put into smoothies and salads. Here is some of the food I’ve eaten lately:

20140517_120507Summer squash noodles with tomato/onion/cilantro topping.

IMG_20140516_093031I eat fruit whenever I can for breakfast. Two of my favorites: bananas and mango!20140518_084407I’ve been downing fruit infused water lately! Normally I just throw some berries and lemon slices in a mason jar at night and it’s ready in the morning to quench my thirst. Here I let a few frozen raspberries and a slice of lemon sit over night and in the morning I gave it a stir and strained out the fruit pieces for a beautiful pink drink.20140520_112843 I love when apples still have their leaves!20140520_115022Spiralized carrots with shredded kale coated in mashed avocado and a little lime juice. Heavenly!
IMG_20140520_102804 I’m excited about our garden. Besides kale and arugula we also have spinach, green beans, tomatoes, lettuce and cilantro growing!20140520_161813These raw ‘fig newtons’ taste just like the real deal! I saw the recipe on compassionateclimber’s Instagram. I linked the recipe if you want to give it a try! They are made from dried fruit, various flours, and other things including orange juice-interesting!

20140521_085311 First smoothie in the Vitamix! 2 cups kale, 2 cups spinach, orange juice, 1 mango, 2 cups berries. Smoothest smoothie ever! I love how the Vitamix can pulverize the seeds in berries so they don’t get stuck in your teeth. This also releases all the nutrition in the seeds :)ABM_1400701478These zucchini noodles are the best kind I’ve made. This is a recipe from Fully Raw Kristina and I would eat this every day! I spiralized 2 zucchinis. I use this tool to turn zucchini into noodles.  The sauce is 2 mangos, a sliver of avocado, 1 green onion (mostly the green parts) and a bit of cilantro. So sweet!

Enjoy this beautiful day! God bless!

~Anna

Finals Week Stress Eating

fb3da5ad2bf9d45948fdd0e6ac7f1bb9Finals week is coming up! For Purdue students, it’s a week away, but many other colleges around us are finished after this next coming week. Studying for important exams like finals can cause a lot of stress to the body. Everyone deals with it differently. Some people don’t eat anything, which is bad. Some people eat everything they see, which is bad. What is key to dealing with finals is to limit the extent to what you can eat to fuel late night studying by carefully choosing healthy snacks to have on hand. It is also helpful to find an activity to reward yourself with for a study break. I’ll suggest some good snacks to have available as well as some healthy break ideas. Accept the challenge this is finals!

Snacks to fuel your brain

  • When you have large bags of snack foods, like pretzels, crackers, popcorn, chips etc, it is so easy to open the bag and mindlessly eat food due to stress. I know I’ve done it! I won’t even be hungry, but I keep shoving pretzels in my mouth while I work on a paper because the food can be a comfort for me. To prevent these binge sessions, make sure to only buy pre-portioned bags of these foods, or not buy them at all. There are plenty of other options for snacking.
  • My go-to snacks are always fruit. If I have ample fruit on hand, I go for the grapes, bananas, or oranges. Fruit is sweet so it satisfies your sweet tooth but offers so many more benefits as nature’s candy. Blueberries are particularly good for your brain. Feel the need for extra brain power? Blueberries help prevent degenerative diseases as well as improve neural communication, memory, and comprehension.
  • Healthy fats are integral to brain health. Plant sources of these fats include avocados, chia seeds, nuts flax seeds and sunflower seeds. Most of these sources, especially chia and flax seeds, contain omega-3 fatty acids which improve blood flow to the brain for clearer thinking. Look for these ingredients in packaged foods like granola bars and cereals.
  • Make sure to get enough carbohydrates. It’s simple. The brain runs on glucose. Ever wonder why when you are low on carbs from not eating in a while you’re body feels lethargic an your brain struggles to function? Your brain uses glucose since it is the most efficient source of energy. Carbs from fruits, vegetables and grains are all healthy choices so think of them when going for lunch at the dining courts or your own kitchen prior to an exam. Complex carbs that come with fiber are important for slowing the rate of absorption of glucose. High amounts of refined sugar increases insulin’s response which leads to a sugar crash, and therefore, a tired brain and body.
  • Stay hydrated to prevent deviations from focus and short-term memory loss. The brain is composed of fat and water. Water increases circulation in the brain and prevents overheating. I came across an article that said by the time you feel thirsty, you have experienced a 10% decline in cognitive function. I always like to have my water bottle next to me while working on school work. Drinking water can also make you feel fuller and less inclined to eat mindlessly.
  • If stress is tearing you down, bananas are a great option! They contain tryptophan which is converted into serotonin in the body. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter in the brain related to mood and encourages a relaxed state of mind.

Study breaks

  • Exercise. Get your blood pumping and you’ll be more apt to think clearly after your sweat session. Exercise is also a common stress-reliever for many people.
  • I love to put in my headphones, sit on the floor and stretch. It loosens up the tenseness in my body and I feel great after stretching. Listening to music drowns out the racing thoughts in my head about schoolwork and allows me to get the most out of my break. I’m still working on those splits for my New Year’s resolution!
  • Watch a favorite t.v. show. Right now I’m hooked on Scandal. I use it as motivation to get work done so I can watch an episode. (Or two!).
  • Similar to exercise, go for a walk. It’s been beautiful out recently and taking leisurely walks with my roommate are fun and a great way to take a break from the busyness of college.
  • Read a novel.
  • Do anything else that you love! These are just suggestions of what I do on my breaks. Breaks keep me sane.

Oh, and one more suggestion. Make sure you are getting ample sleep! Sleep is so important for alertness and feeling prepared to take an exam. Being tired is one of the worst feelings you can have before an exam if your brain is not fueled and reseted. Sleep! I know my limits for staying up late and studying. For me, I will not be productive at anytime past 11 or 11:30. I prefer to go to sleep and then wake up a little earlier to fit in more studying before and exam.

Good luck to all you smarty pants college students out there! Remember to fuel your brain and provide your body with quality nutrition! You made it through another year! Keep being awesome, friends!

~Anna

Super Smoothies

fruit-banner
Smoothies: 5 Ingredients or Less

My lovely friend Katie from high school thought of the great idea for me to write about my favorite smoothies, seeing as the warm weather is ahead of us and summer is just around the corner! I don’t know many people who don’t like smoothies and they are pretty much the perfect food for maintaining a plant-based lifestyle. You can easily make them vegan and they are always full of energizing and smile-inducing ingredients! They are perfect for on the go- just what college students need! I’m really thinking about investing in a Vitamix for my apartment next year since I know I’d use it often if not daily! Compiling my favorite smoothie combinations is making me crave a giant blender full of fruit! For the ideas below, I do not list amounts for each ingredient. Don’t worry-there really is no way to mess up a smoothie! Add however much of each ingredient you like to taste! That is the best part about simple recipes like these. There is no right or wrong way to make a smoothie. Here are my favorite smoothie concoctions:

The Oh-So-Simple OJ&B

From the name you may be able to guess at least one of the 2 ingredients!

  • Orange juice
  • mixed frozen berries

That’s it! I love this one because it is super quick to make. Just throw everything in and blend! If you don’t have frozen berries, use fresh and add some ice!

Banango

Mango is my favorite fruit (for now…) and I love to combine it with sweet banana! This one will fill you with energy and the sweetness of the fruit will satisfy you like a dessert.

  • Frozen (or fresh) mango
  • ripe, spotty bananas
  • spinach for a green color and a boost of iron, calcium and Vitamin K to name a few!
  • nut milk of choice, or water. I add enough water to cover the fruit first, then if I want it to be thinner after I’ve blended, I add more liquid as I see fit.

*A trick about adding greens: if you don’t want to see the green color, use mixed berries in the smoothie since the dark red and blue colors will mask the green!

Pink Refresher

One of the most refreshing fruits is watermelon. It is 92% water and full of vitamin C and lycopene! Stay hydrated with this slushy-like drink.

  • ripe watermelon chunks
  • coconut water (full of hydrating electrolytes)
  • a squeeze of lime, if you desire

Blend! If you want to add ice, go for it. I’d just make sure my coconut water was cold!

Health Kick

If you’re feeling daring, or if you love when you can taste the health in a smoothie like me, give this a shot!

  • 2 oranges
  • 2 bananas
  • 2-3 dense handfuls of greens like spinach or kale-or both! (get fancy with basil, arugula or swiss chard!)
  • water, nut milk or coconut water
  • Chia seeds for a helping of healthy fats

If you don’t have a super great blender, adding tougher greens like kale or swiss chard may leave chunks in your drink. That’s fine if you can get past the texture but use your judgement if you want it to be smoother.

Tropical Tang

This one will remind you of an island vacation!*Paper umbrella optional*

  • Pineapple
  • Orange
  • Coconut water

The coconut water will add even more sweetness. You can even use pineapple coconut water to add more fruity flavor!

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

These are just a few of the smoothies I’d think about making when going to whip up something good! I really decide what to put in my smoothies based on what I have in the freezer/fridge. I love smoothies and I will often make them into a meal! They are filling, nutritious and the easiest food to make! Just throw everything in a blender and blend! Don’t forget to do a dance while blending! Hope you enjoy one of these!

~Anna

 

Question Me

Hi. If you’ve found yourself on my blog, first of all thanks. I appreciate every reader.

Second, I’m so happy to see you probably have even the slightest interest in your health through nutrition. If you weren’t aware, this blog is about maximizing your life one plant-based meal at a time. It’s about myself too; how I am growing as a person, in knowledge as a dietetic student as well as personally.

I’ve said this before, but I don’t care about the amount of people that see my posts. All I want to know is that I can help just one person out or encourage just ONE PERSON in realizing their full potential health-wise.

Therefore, I really want anyone who happens upon this humble little blog to know that I love to give advice on vegan diets, being a college student in dietetics, where to find a certain product, ETC. Are you wondering about my protein? Are you wondering why I eat SO MUCH DARN FRUIT!? Won’t that make me fat from all the sugar? Ask it!!! If you keep questions bottled up and continue to wonder about things you’ll never know!

My brother just texted me today about where to find a recipe for zucchini noodle pasta he loved. He also asked about suggestions for food processors- a had so much fun researching for him and giving him my thoughts! Things like that, I love to do!

If you ask me a question and I don’t know the answer, I will research it and find one or refer you to a resource I trust.

I would also love to see suggestions on improving my site or what to write about. The times that this blog has been most rewarding is when I have interacted with readers. I absolutely love talking to people about nutrition.

I just wanted anyone who stumbles on to my site to know that this blog can be a helpful resource to you. Ask me questions if you feel the urge- I’d be more than delighted to answer them!

Sending love,

~Anna

Don’t Touch Your Phone for 10 Minutes, Provide a Day of Clean Drinking Water For a Child In Need

Dorm Foodie:

This is so neat, I had to share! I love how little projects like these can help make a difference. It also makes you realize you don’t need to check your phone every time you have a second to spare. Love this!

Originally posted on Higher Learning:

UNICEF recently teamed up with clothing designer Giorgio Armani for the latest campaign in the UNICEF Tap Project, which has been striving to increase access to clean water for children worldwide since 2007.

For this latest scheme, they have created a mobile website app (you don’t have to download anything) that can tell when your phone is not being used. For every 10 minutes you leave your phone alone, Armani will provide a day of clean drinking water to a child in need.

According to UNICEF, 768 million people lack access to safe, clean drinking water, 2.5 billion people live without proper sanitation and 1,400 children die every day from diseases linked directly to unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation.

Millions of children lack clean water. How long could you go without something far less vital… like your phone?

Visit the homepage of the UNICEF Tap Project on your phone and…

View original 2 more words

Spring Break Eats

Well, I’m back at school for the last 7 weeks of the semester after spring break. I thought I’d share some of the foods I ate over the past week while on vacation. My family was in Florida for 5 days and I was home for 4 days so it was a nice balanced break for me. I do miss the bright cheery sunshine Florida has to offer! Being a nutrition nerd, and a vegan who is at greater risk for vitamin D deficiency, I was excited for my cells as they soaked up the soothing rays! After a long and bitter winter, the heat on my skin felt like heaven. It just makes me want summer to come quick! Here are a few examples of the nourishment I enjoyed:

20140317_084654
This may be my new obsession: Kombucha. It’s a fermented tea drink that offers probiotics for healthy digestion thanks to its living bacteria and yeast.  I love the kind with chia seeds inside! Not to mention it’s loaded with antioxidants. LOVE IT!20140318_083956

Smoothie of banana, mango, almond milk and kale!
20140321_141203

Big huge salad with collards, carrots, green onion and a dressing of tomato/cucumber/avocado/carrot juice.20140322_183434

Vegetable rolls (!), purple rice and a salad. Yum x 10!ABM_1395354748

Whole Wheat (I used corn pasta) pasta with Tofu and Cucumber -Delicious (will make again!)!!
ABM_1395713316

The cutest little watermelon-I ate the whole thing as a snack :)IMG_20140321_091013More kombucha tea and a few perfectly spotty bananas

I hope you found some of these eats interesting and deliciously appetizing. I don’t have much time at the moment to write a ton, but I plan on writing more posts soon! Thanks for stoping by :)

~Anna

Prevention Through Plants

fruit love

“Yeah, heart disease is the number one cause of death, but what if your cholesterol is normal? I hear that all the time for patients. [I] have to break it to them, ‘look having a ‘normal’ cholesterol in a society where it’s normal to drop dead of a heart attack- not necessarily a good thing!’”- Dr. Michael Greger

I love that point made by Dr. Greger! Heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases are so common in our society and this should make us re-think what we consider to be acceptable ranges of cholesterol. He continued (based on this study),

“Almost 75 percent of heart attack patients fell within recommended targets for LDL cholesterol, demonstrating that the current guidelines may not be low enough to cut heart attack risk in most who could benefit. Specifically, these patients had LDL cholesterol levels that met current guidelines, and close to half had LDL levels classified in guidelines as optimal (<100 mg/dl).”

Dr. Greger went on to say that not only do we want to aim for lowering cholesterol levels, we should be making it our goal to PREVENT incidences of heart disease. How would we do that? I vote through our diets! Forgo the easy route through drugs if possible and avoid the many side effects that come with it. Plants don’t come with negative side effects. In fact they come with lots of positive side effects- great energy, better skin, better mood, longer life expectancy, stronger brains, disease protection! Dr. Greger summarized it this way: “The side effects of a plant-based diet is less diseases over all.”

Another side of the coin is the inflammation that comes with eating a meal high in animal fat. Dr. Greger noted that eating a diet high in meat, dairy and eggs will leave your body in a “chronic state of low-grade inflammation” which increases the risk of inflammation related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Reducing intake of these inflammation-inducing foods should be a no-brainer, right!? To me it’s a great “prescription” for prevention and disease risk reduction because at the same time, you get to eat delicious foods that make you feel alive. Eat living foods to feel vibrant- not dead animal carcasses!

Here is the video I reference in this post. It’s a long one but oh so interesting! It relates a plant-based diet to prevention and even reversal of all of the top causes of death.

As a side note, we are in the middle of National Nutrition Month! This month is devoted to spreading nutrition awareness, but I believe the WHOLE year should be full of good nutrition :) Keep smiling, do something you love and remember to enjoy the abundance of fruits, vegetables and other plant foods that God made just for us! Sending my love to you!

~Anna <3

Got Phytochemicals?

fb9434427f2111e3bf2412329a6f3ed4_8You may have heard the term phytochemicals tossed around in various nutrition articles or maybe on food labels. It sounds like a science-y word but these little structures are important parts of our diets and I find it fascinating that they are all found in plant foods! I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it, but plants are full of life-sustaining nutrients beyond those we commonly think of like vitamin C, potassium, or iron.

The latin word phyto means plant! I want to share several phytochemicals and where you can sneak them into your diet.

Allyl sulfides/organosulfides are found in garlic, onions, and leeks and may help lower lipids and blood pressure.

Saponins are found in garlic, onions, licorice, and legumes and act as natural antibiotics and may have anticancer properties.

Carotenoids are found in orange/red/yellow fruits and vegetables and have antioxidant properties that are involved in cancer and heart disease protection as well as enhanced immune function.

Monoterpenes are found in oranges, lemons, grapefruit and rosemary and they have antitumor properties

Capsaicin is the active ingredient in hot chili peppers which acts as a vasodilator and is a common addition to pain-releaving creams

Lignans are found in plant compounds such as flaxseed, berries and whole grains and can protect against cancers-especially those that are hormone-sensitive like breast, uterine and prostate cancers

Indoles are in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and kale and possess protective anticancer properties

Isothiocyanates are also found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli. These phytochemicals help neutralize carcinogens, reduce their poisonous effect and stimulate the release of other substances that help combat them.

Phytosterols are found in a wide variety of plants like soybeans, legumes, cucumbers and other fruits and vegetables. They offer many health benefits including lowering cholesterol.

Flavonoids can be found in citrus fruits, pinions, apples, grapes, wed wine, tea, chocolate and tomatoes, to name a few sources. They have anticancer, antioxidant and antiallergy properties. Over 4,000 flavonoids have been identified!

Isoflavones are found in soybeans and other legumes and can help ease menopause symptoms as well as fight cancer with their antioxidants.

Catechins are found in green tea and cinnamon and can inhibit the activity of free radicals and in turn aid in cancer prevention.

Ellagic acid is present in strawberries, raspberries, grapes, cherries, apples, bananas and nuts. It has been shown to be anti carcinogenic and antimuagenic, inhibiting tumor grown.

Anthocyanins are found in red, blue and purple plants like eggplant, blueberries, cherries and red cabbage. They improve vision and grain function, guard against  macular degeneration and help relieve inflammation.

Fructooligosaccharides are found in onions, bananas and oranges and are useful for good gut bacteria. They are also known as prebiotics.

Stilbenoids (e.g., resveratrol) are found in blueberries, grapes, peanuts and red wine and are associated with anti-aging effects, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and lower cancer risk.

Go on, eat those gorgeous and colorful plant foods to reap the benefits in your health!

~Anna

Sources: The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth by Jonny Bowden/Wardlaw’s Perspectives in Nutrition