Multi-Vitamin Smoothie

Multi-Vitamin Smoothie

Happy National Nutrition Month! This year we’re celebrating a world of flavors with this multi-flavors, multi-vitamin smoothie. 

This smoothie has the important nutrients you can use instead of a daily multi-vitamin supplement.  Plus it tastes yummy too!

Did you know? Supplements are a way to bridge micronutrient nutrition gaps you might have if you’re not eating enough food or eating a variety of foods throughout the day. This multi-vitamin smoothie not only helps bridge these gaps but can help you digest and absorb these nutrients as well. 

Multi-Vitamin Smoothie

Prep time: 5-7 minutes

Servings: 1

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen wild blueberries
  • ½ cup frozen strawberries (around 7-8)
  • 1 banana – peeled and sliced
  • ½ cup tightly packed baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 2 medjool dates – seeds removed and chopped
  • ½ cup unsweetened soy milk
  • ½ cup concord grapes juice – 100% juice, not from concentrate
  • 1 very tiny square of Pacific kombu – I used Emerald Cove and soaked the square overnight so it was easily blended. 

*TIP: To save time: Prepare ingredients the night before in your blender and leave in your freezer or refrigerator overnight. Then whirl and go in the morning!

Preparation

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until thoroughly combined. 

Important MULTI-NUTRIENTS provided in 1 serving: 

Nutrient% of your Daily Recommended Value
Vitamin A 36.2 %
Vitamin B1 (thiamin) 11.7%
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) 23.8%
Vitamin B3 (niacin) 28.6%
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) 12.8%
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) 43.0%
Vitamin B9 (folate) 27.1%
Vitamin B12 (riboflavin) 10.0%
Vitamin C106.8%
Vitamin D  25.0%
Vitamin E    9.3%
Vitamin K212.3%
Calcium  32.3%
Choline    8.6%
Copper  26.4%
Iron  26.9%
Magnesium  39.2%
Manganese 273.2% 
Phosphorus  24.4%
Potassium  42.8%
Selenium  12.5%
Zinc  16.1%

Some other important nutrients (% data not available) are:

  • Biotin – found in the peanut butter.
  • Iodine – from the kombu seaweed. Kombu has the highest amount of iodine compared with other seaweed and is higher than most foods in general. 1 sheet of it can produce about 2000% of your recommended daily amount, why is why we only used a tiny square. Plus it doesn’t have that fishy taste.
  • Chromium – found in the grape juice.
  • Molybedum – found in the peanuts and bananas.

“Pseudo” Salmon for Valentine’s Day

Salmon is one of those elegant looking dishes often served on Valentine’s Day.  It is an impressive, romantic dinner recipe and a natural aphrodisiac. Ooh la, la! But what if you want the sophisticated look but still want to “save the fishy’s?” 

TRY VEGAN SALMON!

This recipe is made with fish-free tofu and includes the seaweed Nori to give it that fishy taste.  It is low in calories and saturated fat, high in fiber and protein too. It is an excellent source of calcium and iron!

I served it with a side of Lemon, garlic hearts of palm noodles and some fresh, crisp sauteed asparagus. I also topped it with leftover marinade sauce. Yum!

PLEASE NOTE: THE TOFU IS BEST MARINATED OVERNIGHT, SO YOU WANT TO START A DAY EARLY ON THIS. 

Servings: 5

Ingredients

  • 1–15-ounce block of extra-firm tofu  
  • 1 cup of vegetable broth
  • 2 sheets of Nori edible seaweed – torn into pieces.
  • 1 slice of raw red beet, skin removed and chopped (approximately 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons white miso paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt-free vegan seafood seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • An additional sheet of nori to assemble the salmon.

Preparation

  1. Prepare the tofu by pressing it for at least 30 minutes. You can also use a tofu press if that is more convenient.  
  2. Once tofu is pressed, place it on a cutting board and cut it lengthwise into 5 salmon-sized pieces.
  3. Then with a small sharp knife, cut 1/8th inch diagonal cuts into the top of the tofu to make it look like flaky fish-like texture. Set tofu aside.
  4. For the marinade, add the broth, nori, beet, vinegar, miso, seafood seasoning and garlic powder to a blender and blend well. 
  5. Place the tofu into a medium size bowl.  Cover and mix thoroughly with the marinade sauce.  Be careful as tofu is fragile. Place it in the refrigerator overnight to really let the flavors meld and allow the color to saturate the tofu.
  6. Once the vegan salmon is marinated and you are ready to cook the recipe, preheat your oven to 400°. 
  7. Prepare a baking sheet. Cover with parchment paper and rub it with a splash of oil to keep the nori skin from sticking.
  8. Cut out nori strips that are the same size as the tofu. Dip them in marinade (so they stick to the tofu) and then attach them to the bottom of the tofu.
  9. Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes on each side. 
  10. Serve immediately with your favorite Valentine Day sides. 

You can also use an air-fryer if you want a crispier texture.

Heart Healthy Tip: This recipe provides less than 1/4th of your daily recommended amount for sodium, which isn’t too bad.  However, if you want to make it more heart beat friendly for your Valentine, replace the white miso paste with a less sodium version and use no to low sodium broth.  

Quick, Simple Sweet and Savory Stir Fry

Quick, Simple Sweet and Savory Stir Fry

This recipe is SO simple to make and the sauce tastes fresh and delicious!!

Stir fry’s are a great after work dinner option, because you can literally take a bunch of vegetables from your refrigerator, cut them up and throw them in a pan to cook. Simple and easy!

I used a TON of vegetables because I like the variety, but you can certainly scale back on the different types that you use. 

This recipe is an excellent source of protein, Vitamin A, calcium and iron.  It has over 230% of your daily recommended amount for Vitamin C!

I used coconut aminos, which contain half the amount of sodium compared to soy sauce. It’s still relatively high in sodium, so if that is an issue for you, you may want to try adding about ¼ cup of water to the mix and spreading the sauce out over 4 meals. 

I don’t add thickeners to my sauces because I don’t like them, but you are welcome to add 1 ½ tablespoons arrowroot and ¼ cup of water to thicken it. 

Servings: 2

Ingredients

For Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup coconut aminos
  • 1 ½ tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon real lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon blackstrap molasses

To make: Place all ingredients in a blender and blend. 

Stir fry ingredients: As mentioned above, you can use any variety of vegetables you prefer.  And there is no need to measure.  You can just cut/chop and add as much as you think you’ll want to eat. 

  • Splash of sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, cleaned and sliced
  • 8-10 snap peas, ends cut off
  • 2 leaves bok choy, chopped
  • ½ head broccoli, cut into florets
  • ½ medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • ¼ medium zucchini, sliced
  • ¼ medium yellow squash, sliced
  • 2 slices fresh jalapeno
  • 1 1/5 cups tofu, cut into chunks
  • Sprinkle of repertoire spices including granulated garlic, granulated onion, sea salt and pepper
  • 1 cup farro (nutty rice)

Preparation

  1. Add sesame oil to a large pan and heat over medium heat.
  2. Add all the vegetables, spices and tofu and cook for approximately 10 minutes over medium heat. Stir frequently.
  3. When vegetables are cooked al dente, add sauce and cook for another 5 minutes or until sauce is warm. Continue to stir while sauce is cooking. 
  4. Divide recipe in ½ and serve over a bed of warm farro rice in two bowls. Enjoy!

How Plants Boost Your Immune System

I’ve been receiving a lot of questions about how to boost your immune system to help prevent the coronavirus.  While I can’t guarantee that you won’t get the virus, here are some of the ingredients that may give your body a fighting chance.

First of all, what is your immune system? It is a conglomerate of cells, tissues and organs working together to help fight off germs. It helps your body recognize foreign invaders. Foreign invaders may include bacteria, viruses or other toxins.

How does the immune system help protect our body? White blood cells are an important part of protecting our body from disease.  This includes the phagoyctes that destroy invaders and lymphocytes that helps the body remember the invaders and destroys them before they can infect you. The T Cells are probably the most important white blood cell in protecting our body from the coronavirus, because they can tailor our immune system to fight against viruses our body has not seen before. They eat them up!

So how can you boost your immune system during this challenging time? Stay physically fit – it raises your levels of T Cells, limit alcohol and get enough sleep.  And of course, eat more plants!

The best plants to consume:

1. The White Ones: A chemical found in white color vegetables (specifically garlic and onions); called allium can significantly boost your immune system. It does this by increasing your white blood count significantly and therefore your ability to fight off disease. Eating 2-3 cloves of garlic a day can give your immune system a big boost. Raw garlic of course is the best choice, but some people cannot tolerate it raw, so adding it towards the end of cooking is best. Plus, cutting the garlic and letting it sit for 10 minutes before using will significantly increase the amount of allium that is released.

Onions are also rich in anti-oxidants to help protect bacteria and viruses from attacking our cells. The darker the onion, the more antioxidants it contains. This means the white onions contain the lowest amount, the yellow have more and the red onions have the most. The onions that have the strongest flavor and therefore make us cry; are also the richest in anti-oxidants. Probably the best onion to consume to boost our immune system is the scallions or green onions with a white bulb. These onions are the closest to their original wild form and have about 140 TIMES the amount of anti-oxidants in them.  Eating at least ½ cup of onions at a meal is the recommended amount.

2. The Pungent Ones: Yes, this includes garlic and onions but also the other strong flavored vegetables like ginger and hot peppers. Fresh ginger contains the active compounds phenolic and terbene that help keep the virus from attaching to our cells which stops the virus it in its tracks. It is especially important for preventing respiratory infections like those found in the coronavirus. These active ingredients also help combat chills and fever. The recommendation is about 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger a day to give your immune system a nice boost.

Hot peppers contain the compound capsaicin, an active ingredient responsible for its heat with anti-inflammatory properties. It contains anti-viral properties but also slightly raises our body temperature, which triggers our immune system to take action. The recommendation is to eat hot chili peppers at least 4 times a week (a couple of slices at a time).

3. Soluble Fiber: There are two types of fiber, the insoluble and soluble ones. Insoluble fiber isn’t absorbed and passes quickly through our digestive system. It bulks up our stool with water and makes it easier to pass.  Soluble fiber on the other hand, takes a longer time moving through our digestive system. It dissolves in water to form a gel (think oatmeal in water) which binds to and carries toxins out of our body.   It also helps protect the lungs from viruses, reduces inflammation and boosts our immune activating T cells. Foods that are rich in soluble fiber include oats, apples, beans, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, broccoli, pears and many other grains and fruits and veggies.

4. Resveratrol rich foods: Resveratrol is a powerful anti-oxidant found in a lot of red, blue or purple colored fruits.  Fruits that contain the highest amount of resveratrol include elderberries, wild blueberries, goji berries, raspberries, cranberries and pomegranates.  Oh and yes, red wine!  Resveratrol keeps viruses from infiltrating our cells and spreading. If you’re looking for an added dose to boost your immune system, consider a whole food liquid supplement that contains a lot of the red berries.

Fun Fact: Sales of elderberry syrup has doubled during the coronavirus outbreak.

5. Herbs and spices: Many herbs and spices, especially as an oil have antiviral properties.

For Example:

      • Oregano contains the compound carvacrol which has been shown to inactivate stomach viruses.
      • Ingredients in the leaves and stem of the sage plant have been shown to prevent viruses from entering cells.
      • Rosemary contains the plant compound oleanolic acid which may keep the virus from attaching to our cells.
      • Curcumin is the bright yellow compound that is responsible for the color of the spice turmeric. One of the main benefits of turmeric is that it reduces inflammation and fights off infection.
      • Cinnamaldehyde, the compound found in cinnamon that is responsible for its flavor and smell has been shown to inhibit the growth of viral infections.

And there are many, many more!

6. Tea: Tea contains powerful disease fighting properties that keep infection at bay. Black tea contains the naturally occurring compounds including polyphenols that can hinder a virus from infecting our cells. Green tea is the most anti-oxidant rich tea and therefore, a stronger anti-viral tea, because it is kept from being exposed to oxygen that changes the color to black, which reduces the amount of antioxidant properties it has in it. It contains catechins that possess antiviral properties that keep the virus from infecting our cells and increasing T cell function so it can do its job.

This is only a short list of anti-viral rich plant foods and ingredients, but hopefully it will give you enough of an idea to get started. If you would like more information on anti-viral foods during the coronavirus outbreak, please reach out.  An Ounce of Nutrition is offering free anti-viral rich foods advice during over the next month.