My favorite fruit and veggies as a kid were green apple Jolly Ranchers and the infamous steakhouse bloomin’ (fried) onion. As I grew older, I walked away from candy and fried foods, thinking I was eating healthy with my bag of Baked Lays and fruit infused frozen yogurts. It wasn’t until my wake up call with stage IV disease that everything in my diet changed. Truth be told, it wasn’t just my diet that shifted, it was my mindset about the food we eat and how nutrient dense food was important for my survival.
I’ve been painting the town green the past five years. What I mean by this is that I’ve been telling everyone and anyone about my love of plant-based eating, as well as drinking green juices and smoothies. My family has been on board, knowing that I feel vibrant and my health is stable. (So there aren’t many “EWWWWW, that looks gross” comments.) We hit a huge milestone four years ago. Not only did my then, 6-year old, ask to try my green smoothie recipe, but he also wanted seconds. That interested my husband, who has been craving them ever since.
I don’t enjoy cooking. Following recipes takes too many steps and bores me. When I do prepare meals, I often experiment with ingredients and use only a few. Sometimes they work, other times they don’t. My goal is to satisfy my child with hidden nutritious ingredients. In addition, the preparation must around 5-minutes. When it comes to snacks, I try to serve clean and healthy ones. While I don’t love to cook, my mother still enjoys her kitchen. My childhood memories include the sweet scent of blueberry and zucchini muffins baking in her oven. To make her proud, below is a quick recipe for healthy banana blueberry muffins that even my husband ate.
I’m a juice junkie and obsessed with green smoothies, but I wasn’t always this way. As a former work-aholic, I spent years consuming energy drinks, cups of caffeine and carb-loaded meals. I thought these would bring me energy. I was right, just the wrong kind. You can feel a BIG difference between an immediate energy spike from a sugar-laden coffee vs. the mind-clearing, sustainable energy that wholesome foods provide. One of the BEST choices I made when I changed my lifestyle was to eat and drink more plants. And when I speak or write about taking small steps toward better health, my recommendation for everyone is to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet, which is easy when you start incorporating homemade juices and smoothies.
When people say that chocolate is healthy, they unfortunately don’t mean the sugar-filled Belgium truffle or bakery fudge bite. The true gold mine of health in regards to chocolate is cacao. Cacao nibs are raw dark chocolate cocoa beans that were dehydrated and crushed without further processing. Filled with tons of antioxidants and magnesium, unsweetened cacao nibs are perfect to add to shakes, smoothie bowls and yogurt parfait. Even though my sweet tooth has lessened now that I eat clean, I still enjoy the sweet taste of cacao. In my quest to find healthy treats, this healthy fudge recipe has easily fooled my dessert-loving friends, and kids think it’s a decadent and sugary snack.
I love smoothies. There are so many deliciously nutritious recipes that can fool a kid or even an adult into eating more veggies. Any mom, dad, kid or busy individual can make a smoothie filled with fruits and vegetables. It’s simple and not very time consuming. The fiber from the produce often satisfies cravings and fills you up. It just takes a little trial and error to find the right ingredients .