Friday, March 26, 2010

Apple Pie Green Smoothie

Today I made an Apple Pie Green Smoothie. Watch my camera man's reaction after he tastes this delicious concoction.

Have a happy healthy day!

I love you!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Green Smoothie Article for The Green Dove Magazine

As a passionate raw foodist, I often teach workhops on this lifestyle that I love so much. One of these workshops is titled “Demystifying the Green Smoothie.” I love this one for many reasons. It’s fun and easy for people to realize how simple it is to incorporate healthy foods into their lifestyle with simple tools and techniques and very fast results!

1. You need a blender to make green smoothies. You don’t have to go out and purchase a high dollar Vita-Mix or a Blendtec to get started. A basic blender will do. However, you can also use a personal blender, such as a Magic Bullet as well. These are really great if you travel a lot and want something small to take with you so that you can continue enjoying green smoothies wherever you are.

2. You need to have some type of liquid in your blend to start the blending process and keep your smoothie from being too thick. This can be anything from filtered/distilled water to juice to tea. Whatever you would like that you think would blend well. I typically used my own Roxtract filtered water, but will sometimes use juice depending on the kind of smoothie I want to make. I typically put about a cup of liquid in the blender first. Of course you can adapt this for a smaller or larger blender.

3. Assuming you will be making a sweet smoothie, you will need to have fruit of some sort for your smoothie. This can range anywhere from fresh organic apples to frozen organic fruits. I try to always make mine as organic as possible. I recommend using organic bananas for what I refer to as the “basic” green smoothie. Bananas just have the amazing ability to cancel out the taste of the greens if you are getting started so I strongly suggest using them for your first green smoothie. You want to use about two or three bananas. I always make the “basic” smoothie first in my classes just so individuals can experience a smoothie that is easy and tastes delicious. I am often told by my workshops participants that they would have never even tried the smoothie on their own once they knew they would be drinking kale or spinach. They can’t believe that it tastes so good!

4. The most important part of the green smoothie is the GREEN! This is a great time to explore various types of fresh organic leafy greens. There are a variety of lettuces as well as kale, spinach, Swiss chard, parsley as well as collard greens and other hearty greens. Sticking with the basic smoothie recipe, I would recommend kale for its nutritional content as well as its ability to marry so well with banana. These two are just perfect together when starting out with green smoothies. Wash and place four or five kale leaves in your blender. Make sure that you de-stem them for a regular or personal blender as they are too fibrous for them to blend smoothly. If you are using a high power blender, such as a Vita-Mix you can just place the whole leaf in to blend.

5. For my workshops I often bring a sweetener to add to the smoothie. At this point I no longer use anything for my own smoothies, but I do use something when I teach. After drinking green smoothies for awhile, you will find your taste changing and you may need less and less sweetener and more and more greens. You can use raw organic honey, raw organic agave nectar which has a lower glycemic index or even Yacon syrup which has a glycemic index of zero. I usually use the raw agave for this particular smoothie. You may want to taste you smoothie at this point to see if you need much of a sweetener to be sure before you start loading it up.

6. Add extra goodies! I always like to use organic vanilla extract or vanilla beans in the basic smoothie. It really enhances the flavor of the smoothie and gives it more of a banana pudding like taste. Cinnamon is another great addition to the basic green smoothie. It gives an all around rich taste to the smoothie and many individuals find it to be quite comforting, mimicking the taste of a cooked food item.

7. Enjoy and play with your food! Green smoothies are fun. Feel free to experiment with the combinations. You can freeze the fruit prior to making the smoothies or add ice if you want a cold smoothie. Play with spices and come up with an easy smoothie that you can pull together quickly for those times that you need a quick fix. There are plenty of web resources for green smoothies as well as my personal blog for whenever you need an idea boost. Remember to use raw, unpasteurized ingredients and as organic as possible. Don’t forget, green smoothie mustaches are sexy!

The Silent Giggle

It sounds kind of eerie, the silent giggle as I like to call it, but it is incredibly effective. What is it? It’s my favorite tool to pull out of my arsenal when I’m having a bad day or when I just want to really plant a positive seed. Actually I really like to use it as much as possible.
So what is the mysterious silent giggle? Exactly what it sounds like. I teach this one regularly in my workshops. It’s very easy, but does require a bit of practice so you don’t come off as a raving lunatic at times. Simply put the silent giggle is that tickle of joy or that funny joke or silly song that you keep in the back of your mind. You just don’t outwardly laugh. Keep your laughter inside, but allow the joy to flow through your eyes and voice without laughing. Sometimes when we practice this in my classes, I do admit that some of my students come off a looking a bit deranged, which is hysterical and really great for a Laughter Yoga class, but to truly hone in on the benefits of this technique you really need to be able to use it publically. You can always hear a smile through the phone. Go on practice it. You can literally hear the smile in some ones voice. Now just remember the silent giggle of joy. That really amps up your phone calls and messages. It is amazing how people will respond to the sound of your voice when you use this technique. Feel free to try this out by recording yourself saying the same message once normally, once with a smile and then again with the silent giggle. You can notice an immediate difference! It had made many opportunities available for me that I never knew existed. This sis because the joy spills out and people are just drawn to you. Another great way to use the silent giggle in a public or one on one meeting is to just remember to hold on to your thought that make s you giggle. Don’t let it go. You will express absolute joy with your eyes and yet again people are drawn to you. I can’t tell you how this has opened doors for me as well. It’s as if the whole world is in on your secret. Individuals open doors, give you parking spaces, offer you free coffee and the list goes on to even further things to such as offering of jobs and the like. The trick to it is to be sincere with your level of joy from the silent giggle. Don’t force it and don’t come off as if you are laughing at anyone. Just BE in that place of joy that comes from the giggle and know that you are planting a positive seed.
What are the Laughter Yoga benefits from this if you are not outwardly laughing? I still believe that this technique can reap numerous benefits, a boost in your self-esteem and ease from stress for starters. Also, you may cause overflowing joy in another and there may at some point be some genuine outward laughter as well. At the very least you will cause yourself to just feel good, but more than likely it will spread out to those around you as well.

Laughing when it isn't funny

As a Laughter Yoga leader I am often presented with the question of “what if it just isn’t funny?” There are many times in our lives when nothing is funny. Everything thing has turned upside down, we experience grief, are bogged down with life circumstances, are sick or just simply forget to have a moment of enjoyment. It’s easy enough for this to happen to all of us. It’s called LIFE.

I have great news for those of you that suddenly forget to find a moment in your life to laugh. You don’t have to find anything funny to enjoy a hearty laugh. That’s right. You can still laugh for no reason. Why do this you ask? By allowing yourself a chance to experience laughter in the face of everything that life offers you, you allow yourself an opportunity to reconnect with yourself and those around you. You allow yourself a break or a mini vacation rather from whatever challenges you may be facing at the moment.
How is this possible? Scientific research has found that the body does not know the difference between real and fake laughter. Fake it! I have many times found myself doing this. Sometimes the whole session is fake, but often I am able to start genuine laughter after faking it because I simply get tickled at myself.

Sometimes it is just too hard to try and yes, there have been times that I faked it when I felt terrible and even started to cry. That’s ok too. Keep trying and you can learn to get a good laugh in. Find someone willing to laugh with you or watch funny videos. YouTube has many things to choose from for a quick fix to help you get started. You may need to practice a bit and that’s fine. Lock yourself in the bathroom, look at yourself in the mirror and start fake laughing. Usually just the thought of someone accidently hearing me is enough for me to get giggling. Remember to take a basic breath in through the nose and out through the mouth during the rest periods of laughing to ensure proper oxygenation.

So, back to the whole idea that the body doesn’t know the difference between real and fake laughter, your amazing body will still produce all the movements in a fake laugh that it will in a real laugh. These abdominal movements cause a massage of the internal organs and your heart rate will still rise with the activity. Your body will also still release the same hormones during fake laughter as well. Some of these include endorphins which aid in pain management and dopamine, the feel good chemical.

Stress relief and relaxation also occur after a good laughing session. Allow yourself the opportunity to reap these health benefits and more by really trying to get in a laugh when you know that you need it, especially when you are to a point that it seems impossible to even try. This is probably when you need laughter the most. So go ahead and grab a mirror and find a special spot to let yourself loose. Nothing has to be funny at all. Just practice and you will discover the powerful ability your body has to cope, rejuvenate and enliven itself.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Who says raw snacks can't be easy and fun?

I was in the mood for a little snack, but really didn't want to take the time to whip up anything too fancy like a cake or pie. I needed something NOW. So I made this plate of goodies to share. Very quick & easy. Most importantly, it was delicious!

First I made the banana sandwich cookies which are nothing but banana slices with raw almond butter sandwiched between the slices. That's easy enough and always a crowd pleaser.

Next I got creative with some leftovers and made pear "fries" and Strawberry Raspberry "Ketchup". To make the "ketchup" I blended one large handful of strawberries, about 1/3 cup raspberries, 1/3 cup young coconut meat, 4 brazil nuts and a squirt of agave nectar. It was delicious, but I imagine that you could get creative & make any kind of fruity sauce using some red berries and it would be wonderful. I was just using up leftovers and had no idea that it would turn out so delicious. Asian pear slices were used for the "fries."

I must warn you that this is a great snack and I have had to make it repeatedly upon request for several days now.