Hemp Seeds for Optimal Protein

Building muscle on a plant-based diet can be challenging…at first.  Once I did my research I found out that there are plenty of very healthy and viable sources for protein  within the plant based food groups!

I drink about one smoothie a day and when I am doing a lot of weight training I like to get my post workout protein in this way. The best way I have found to get this protein is to make smoothies with a base of hemp seeds.  What I especially like about hemp seeds is that they are affordable, last a while, are RAW, provide a high amount of bioavailable (the degree to which it is absorbed) protein AND when mixed with water, they create a milky base for smoothies. Having this “base”  opens up a whole new world of recipe possibilities not to mention works well with the good old standby vanilla, chocolate or strawberry smoothie flavors.

In terms of the best brand, I have tried several I like them all but my favorite is Nutiva.  Their Organic version is readily available and affordable. Sometimes I can’t get organic in the other brands. Also, make SURE you get the RAW HULLED/SHELLED SEEDS! If you buy the hemp powder, you will get a very green taste, not ot mention a more processed product. These are my top three favorite brands of hemp seeds.

  1. Nutiva Hemp Seeds (Organic)
  2. Navitas Hemp Seeds (Organic)
  3. Manitoba Hemp Seeds (Conventional)

I have a few favorite hemp seed recipes, but below is my current favorite.

Blueberry Hemp Seed Smoothie

Blueberry Hemp Seed Smoothie

Blueberry Hemp Seed Blend/Smoothie

3-4 Tbsp Raw Organic Hemp Seeds

1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract

1/2 Frozen Blueberries

1/2 Banana

In blender on high speed, mix together about 1/2 cup water and hemp seeds until milky, then add blueberries, banana, vanilla blend until smooth.

Organic Cilantro Coconut Lime Brown Rice

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Organic Cilantro Lime Brown Rice!
Slow cooked in light coconut milk (use veggie stock if you are watching fat) this is a great recipe! I are the entire batch in one sitting.
Recipe:
1 small onion
2 Cloves Garlic
14 oz light Coconut Milk
1 C Brown Rice
2 Limes
1 C Cilantro
2 dried red chiles
Cumin
Cayenne
Sea salt/pepper
*sub veggie stock for coconut milk if you are watching fat

Sauté chopped onion and garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil for 3 to 4 minutes, add rice cook 3 to 4 minutes at low heat, add a dash of salt & pepper. Add coconut milk and enough water so that there is a knuckle widths space between the top of the liquid & the rice. Add zest of one lime and juice of one lime. Add bay leaf. Bring to boil, cover, cook until rice is finished.

Remove from heat, stir in chopped cilantro and juice of one lime & zest of one lime – add dash of Cayenne & two dashes cumin, add salt & pepper to taste. Crush the red chiles and stir into rice.

Baked Butternut Squash Latkes with Apple Salsa

This is an oil free, gluten-free, vegan recipe that is delicious! A warming dish that has a hint of curry, cinnamon, a little heat and fresh cilantro. A great way to prepare root vegetables.
Recipe:
Oven 425

1 Med russet potato
1 Med butternut squash
2 tbsp ground flax seed, mixed with ¼ cup of water
3 Tbsp soy flour
1/4 Tsp sea salt
1/8 Tsp pepper
2 Tsp curry
Pinch of baking powder
Cpl Dashes cayenne
1/4 to 1/2 Tsp cinnamon
1 Onion
1/8 Cup red onion
1 Apple
1/2 Lime
4 Tbsp Cilantro

1. Finely dice apple (do not peel) toss with 1/8 cup finely diced red onion and 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro, juice of 1/2 a lime. A pinch sea salt. Cover and refrigerate.

2. In a food processor or by hand shred the peeled potato and the peeled butternut squash. Place in a colander to drain excess liquid pressing down with spoon. Let sit for 30 minutes. Next shred onion. Set aside.

3. Mix together soy flour, curry, cinnamon, salt, pepper, cayenne. In a large pool bowl pour flour mixture over shredded vegetables (potato, BN squash and onion). Mix flax meal and baking soda into mixture.

4. Place on sheets of parchment paper on baking sheet. Bake for 30 mins and flip. Bake for another 20 mins.

Note: I used a very small ice cream scoop to form latkes. Pressing down slightly onto parchment.

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Dessert Anytime!

Blueberries topped with Vanilla Soy Yogurt and Lemon Zest

Blueberries topped with Vanilla Soy Yogurt and Lemon Zest

Just a quick post today about dessert… its hard for those of us with sweet toothes to refrain from induldging. Especially this time of year. I try to keep things in the house that will satisfy my cravings when the hunger for sugar strikes. Frozen fruit is one staple in my freezer.

This was a simple remedy for my craving today, frozen blueberries, topped with vanilla soy yogurt and fresh lemon zest. The cold blueberries actually started to freeze the yogurt…satisfaction :)

Beautiful Basil: DNA protection and natural anti-bacterial

Organic non-gmo basil grown in my raised bed garden.

Organic Basil from my raised bed garden.

Basil. There are many varieties, each with a slightly different flavor and aroma. My favorite is Genovese Basil (Ocimum basilicum var genovese). I grew this basil pictured above from organic non-gmo seed I ordered from High Mowing Seeds in Vermont. It grew fast and was very hearty. Of course lots of pesto was made this summer and fall! I also love to put fresh basil on sandwiches. Benefits are best received when herbs are consumed raw.

Herbs have tremendous healing power. Basil in particular has two main qualities that provide our bodies with remarkable health benefits, particularly in areas of DNA protection and anti-bacterial properties. According to research cited on Worlds Healthiest Foods website, basil displays unique health-protecting effects in two basic areas: basil’s flavonoids and volatile oils.

“The unique array of active constituents called flavonoids found in basil provide protection at the cellular level. Orientin and vicenin are two water-soluble flavonoids that have been of particular interest in basil, and in studies on human white blood cells; these components of basil protect cell structures as well as chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage.

In addition, basil has been shown to provide protection against unwanted bacterial growth. These anti-bacterial properties of basil are not associated with its unique flavonoids, but instead with its volatile oils, which contain estragole, linalool, cineole, eugenol, sabinene, myrcene, and limonene. Lab studies show the effectiveness of basil in restricting growth of numerous bacteria, including : Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli O:157:H7, Yersinia enterocolitica, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.” Source: WHF

One of my favorite breakfast foods!

Raspberry Cacao Chia Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a great and inexpensive way to start your day. I like to add chia seeds soaked in vanilla almond milk to my oatmeal. Sometimes I use a multi-grain hot cereal instead of just oats. Whatever your choice, always keep it organic! For a healthier version make “Overnight Oats” with apple cider or your choice of nut milk. Overnight oats are simply oats you soak overnight in whatever liquid you choose. This eliminates the cooking process, yet most oats are subjected to heat when they are rolled. The only oats I know of that are not processed in any way are oat groats.

Maple walnut chia oatmeal

Maple Apple Walnut Chia Oatmeal

Why start your day with oatmeal?
Oats contain beta-glucan, which is known to lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar and heighten immune response. It also has a good amount of fiber which we know is key to colon health and oatmeal also is great in helping people with Type 2 Diabetes.

Cinnamon Apple Raisin Oatmeal

Cinnamon Apple Raisin Oatmeal


How Do You Like Your Chlorophyll?

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Greens are a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. I get most of mine by drinking plenty of green smoothies, I aim to drink at least one a day, typically in the morning or post gym.
Seems everyone has their own way of making the “green smoothie“. I tend to go through phases. Lately it has been spinach or kale and frozen bananas with almond milk and usually some random other piece of fruit (usually blueberries) thrown in.  Other times I love fresh red grapes, blueberries and kale; one of my all time favorites.

Why is green so important?

Because eating them is like harnessing the power of the sun and putting it into your body!  One of the most interesting aspects of chlorophyll is how closely it resembles our red blood cells, known as hemoglobin, the pigment that gives our blood its red color as well as its oxygen-carrying capacity. The hemoglobin of the red blood cell and the chlorophyll of the plant are so similar in molecular structure, with the only difference being the center atom.

Chlorophyll is a powerful blood cleanser and blood builder. Chlorophyll delivers a continuous energy transfusion into our bloodstream, replenishing and increasing red blood cell count. Hemoglobin carries oxygen to our cells, and since disease-promoting anaerobic bacteria cannot live and thrive in the presence of oxygen, this is a vital process that must occur for us to stay healthy!

However it is you get your greens, just make sure you get those greens on a DAILY basis! The chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals and of course fiber (colon health!) is so crucial to promoting optimal health.
Please feel free to share your favorite green smoothie recipe!