There’s a lot of talk and publicity at the start of each New Year about resolutions, goals, detoxes, liquid cleanses, fad diets and so on. I work closely with my clients on a number of food based cleanses and smoothie reset challenges and when they finish the question I get asked the most is: I love the way I feel, how can I keep eating this way to stay healthy of the rest of the year?
I was faced with a glut of pears in my CSA box this week. I love eating pears and so do my kids – in fact, it was their first ever solid food when they were babies and they both love eating pear slices for breakfast or after school snack. Pears remind me of growing up in the English countryside and my Granny and colder weather and the pear tree in our garden that always seemed to produce hard pear bullets year after year that we didn’t quite know what to do with.
Happy New Year! At this time of year, we’re bombarded with talk of New Year’s Resolutions. Some people swear off alcohol in January. Some people quit sugar, wheat or meat. Some people hastily become members of their local gym or sign up for a half marathon.
Many of us make these resolutions because we feel negative about ourselves. We could be fitter, thinner, healthier, nicer, better looking, kinder…and we make lofty goals to try and achieve that. But, aren’t we starting off the New Year in a negative way: criticizing ourselves for last year’s failures and making every intention to correct them? Where will we be in December 2015? Probably at the same place again. Frustrated with ourselves. Making a whole new set of resolutions for the next year.
It’s been so cold this week in the Northeast, I think many have us have wanted to hibernate at home with a DVD box set and eat meal after meal of stodginess just to keep us warm until June.
Eating in the fall or winter months can be such a huge shift to what we were eating just weeks before when the days were long and hot and all you wanted to eat all day was sweet watermelon.
As much as I love smoothies and juices, sometimes I find the thought of them hard to digest when it gets cold! However, I was determined this week to find a juice that would work for me when the temperatures dipped. That would make me feel refreshed and warm inside. That would have seasonal ingredients that I could pick up at the local Farmers Market or CSA. And here it is. Simple but nourishing and a little spicy. I added the turmeric for its super anti-inflammatory properties and you don’t taste it a bit here. The ginger is also really great for your digestion.
In the Northeast right now, we’re experiencing some crisper mornings, shorter days, orange leaves on trees…fall is right around the corner. It’s my favorite season of the year. The temperatures are so much more comfortable for me (I’m an English Rose suffering in the NYC summer heat!) and I love to get out on my bike, take a run in the local park or go hiking in the local mountains. I love the colors, the food, the chance to drink more tea, make soup and cosy up with a good book.
At this point in the year, I think it’s important to take a little step back and reflect on our health.
As they say, September is the new January and with kids back at school and a renewed energy in our workplaces it’s time to set some new health and wellness goals for the fall.
Have you joined the smoothie craze?
There are so many benefits to starting your day with a delicious smoothie including glowing skin, improved digestion, more energy and extra vitamins and minerals all in one lovely glass.
Unfortunately, so many people add too much fruit and extra sweetened milk drinks into their smoothies. When you throw in a banana, mango, pineapple and sweetened almond milk into your blender the end result may be delicious but you are going to cause a spike in blood sugar and you will have a huge crash in energy hours later.
That’s not what drinking a smoothie is all about.
I believe in adding very high quality pure protein powder and more greens than fruit. This way, it’s a low glycemic meal and your energy levels will be sustained for several hours after drinking the smoothie.
Here are three helpful ways to add more greens and goodness into your morning smoothies:
- Throw in a handful of spinach, kale, watercress or chard into the smoothie. Steamed broccoli is also delicious. You don’t have to measure exactly but a small handful is what I go for. Tip: add this into a berry smoothie (blueberries, blackberries etc.) and you won’t even notice that there is anything green in there. This is a great tip for fussy kids.
- Do you like salad? Add your salad to your smoothie! Romaine lettuce, parsley and cilantro are all wonderful choices and provide additional flavor.
- Add green powder. I like a teaspoon of spiraling or wheatgrass powder to my morning smoothie for an extra concentration of protein and iron.
Here is a simple recipe for a summery green smoothie that I’m loving right now:
Summer Greens Smoothie
1 small handful spinach
1 small handful kale, roughly chopped
1 sprig cilantro (or to taste – it’s quite a strong flavor!)
1/4 ripe avocado
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 frozen banana
2 scoops chocolate or vanilla protein powder: I love Shaklee 180 protein powder
Blend together until smooth and enjoy immediately
Our local food coop in Brooklyn organizes monthly cooking classes with students from the Natural Gourmet Institute. It’s a fantasy of mine to attend this school one day, but for now I’m happy to attend these monthly classes and learn from the culinary masters. Recently, we were shown how to make this delicious Greek (or Mediterranean inspired) chopped salad and here’s my version of it. It’s so fresh and perfect for picnics and summer gatherings and will be sure to impress your friends.
I love this kind of summer cooking: using the freshest ingredients with the freshest of flavors. The original recipe calls for sour cream but I think it makes it too rich and I love the tangy taste of Greek yogurt here. This salad has beautiful notes of lemon and dill and tastes just like a Greek summer holiday in a bowl. Enjoy!
Summery Greek Chopped Salad
Makes 8 servings
1 tub organic cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 large long cucumber, diced (you can peel it if you want to)
1 can chickpeas, rinsed
6 oz feta cheese, diced into small pieces or crumbles
1 small bunch of fresh dill, finely chopped or 1 tbsp dried dill
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 large clove of garlic, minced
Sea salt and black pepper
- Mix the Greek yogurt, zest and juice of lemon, dill and garlic together in a small bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes so that the flavors mingle beautifully together. Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
- Chop cucumbers and tomatoes. Rinse the chickpeas. Chop the feta cheese. Place in a large salad bowl.
- Pour over the yogurt dressing and toss. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.