Monday, February 28, 2011

Have some irony, it’s good for the soul

If you spent any time reading my blog you know that I am by NO means a vegan or even close to being a run of the mill vegetarian.  I am, without a doubt, omnivore with a decidedly carnivorous leaning. 

That being said, I can appreciate many aspects of raw food diets.  I’m of the opinion, for whatever that’s worth, that combining this type of regimen with a typical omnivorous meal plan is a healthy means of losing weight and staying healthy.

A raw food diet is based on consuming unprocessed and uncooked plant foods, such as fresh fruit, vegetables, grains and nuts.  It’s believed that cooking food destroys enzymes essential to proper digestion and nutrient absorption.   Some of the benefits of eating raw foods are increased energy, improved digestion, and weight loss.   Some drawbacks are that when consuming only raw foods your diet could be lacking in calcium, iron, B12, protein and calories.

While it’s true that enzymes are destroyed when food is heated, your body has it’s own enzymes that it produces for the purposes of digestion.  And, although before the caveman created fire our bodies were accustomed to eating only raw food . . . over the course of scads of years our bodies have adapted to eating cooked foods.

That is why, although I am no expert . . . not by any stretch of the imagination . . . I think that combining raw food diet elements into a diet of cooked foods . . . including meat . . . raaaawr! . . . is healthy combination for good nutrition, variety and balance.


Surprisingly Yummy Green Smoothie

16 Ounces Water (more or less depending on how thick you want the smoothie)
2 Small or 1 Large Granny Smith Apples
1 Cup Packed Spinach Leaves (use fresh not frozen) 
1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder (flax seed can be substituted)
1 Tsp Cinnamon

Add the water, cinnamon and protein powder to the blender.

Peel and core the apples.


Add apples and spinach to the blender.  I used bagged spinach just because it saves time.  If you’re using bunch spinach, make sure you wash it thoroughly to remove any grit and sand. 

Blend it up and drink!  

I put mine into a plastic bottle to bring to work with me.  It’s surprisingly tasty and not too sweet.  The cinnamon brings out the sweetness of the apples without adding any extra calories.  It’s actually quite filling and makes a low calorie, vitamin packed, fiber filled breakfast or light lunch.  It’ll will leave you feeling light and energetic. 

You can use whatever fruits you like – bananas, pears, peaches, strawberries – whatever.  Spinach and Romain lettuce are the most innocuous and don’t overpower the fruit but you can use any greens you like, as well. 


If you’re wondering why I chose the ingredients I did for my green smoothie, I will try to explain to you my choices.

Cinnamon . . . besides adding flavor and enhancing the sweetness of natural sugars in foods, cinnamon is beneficial in many other ways.  It improves brain function and memory . . . goodness knows I can use that . . . just ask my husband!  It regulates insulin levels and helps to decrease blood sugar levels.  This helps you to avoid a growling tummy and food cravings.  And, boosts your body’s metabolic rate; it actually helps control how your body uses and stores fats.  Cinnamon also facilitates faster and more efficient burning of calories.   

Researchers from the United States Dept. of Agriculture have also said that consuming only 1 ½ teaspoons of cinnamon can boost the body’s metabolism 20 times beyond its natural rate.

Cinnamon is high in calcium, iron, fiber, vitamins C, K and manganese.

Spinach . . . is a natural fat burning food!  The combination of a diverse array of vitamins and minerals helps to fight inflammation and increase metabolism.  It helps convert carbs, fats and proteins into energy and regulates blood sugars. 
Spinach has more iron than meat, without any fat and few calories.

Spinach is considered a 'superfood' by many nutrition and health experts as it is a rich source of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that impart a host of health benefits.

Spinach is high in fiber, carotenoids, Vitamins C, K, iron, zinc, niacin, folic acid, calcium, copper, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium.

Apples . . . sweet and, satisfying.  Apples contain boron, which protects and strengthens bones.  They promote brains health, aid in digestion and regulate blood sugar levels.   As an added bonus, the keep the doctor away!

In a recent Cornell University study has found although apples has only a small amount of vitamin C, eating 100 grams of apple provides the same amount of antioxidant activity as taking 1,500 milligrams of the same vitamin.

Apples are an excellent source of Vitamins C, B6, E & A.  Plus Niacin, Pantothenic Acid and Folic Acid

Protein Powder . . . besides the obvious addition of protein which helps with building muscle mass, it helps boost to immunity and promote healing.  It also helps you feel full longer so it staves off food cravings and hunger.

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