Healthy Foods for the Liver

Maintaining healthy liver function is essential to ridding the blood of harmful toxins and promoting healthy digestion. Smoking and drinking alcohol in excess and dehydration all negatively impact the liver and increase the risk of heart disease, liver failure, chronic headaches and fatigue, and digestive problems. But even if you are drinking enough water, you don’t smoke, and you don’t drink alcohol much or at all a healthy diet is still so important for a functioning liver. Here are five brilliant foods for you to add to your diet:

  • Garlic—This potent food may not be the best choice for the day of a big date, but it is amazing at  cleansing the liver because of its high amount of allicin and selenium. It also helps the liver activate enzymes that flush out toxins, and adds a burst of flavor to any dish.
  • Beets—Beets are high in plant-flavonoids which help maintain a healthy liver. They are great in salads or as a refreshing juice.
  • Grapefruit—Also delicious as a drink or eating whole is the grapefruit. High in detoxing properties, antioxidants, and vitamins, the grapefruit is great at flushing out those nasty toxins.
  • Turmeric—This spice stimulates the production of bile, digests fats, and helps detox the liver. Try this vibrant flavor in my Creamy Corn and Coconut Casserole from my book The Goddess of Raw Foods.
  • Walnuts—High in omega-3 fatty acids and glutathione, walnuts are great for cleansing the diet. A handful is great as a satisfying snack or you can add them to salads and other dishes! Try adding them to my delicious Apple and Parsley Salad from my book or for a sweet option, my Banana Pudding.

And always remember that you should never sacrifice taste for health, because they work best together.

Stay happy and healthy!

The benefits of Seaweed

Seaweed is high on the superfoods list. The fantastic plant from the sea is nutritionally dense and packed with minerals—one of the best in the world. Nori (the seaweed used for sushi rolls) and kelp are the most common, but you should also try arame, wakame, and dulse. Some say seaweed is the reason for Japan’s low rate of disease. And here’s why you should include this amazing food in your diet:

  • Detoxifying—seaweed is a great detoxifying food because of its rich chlorophyll content which works wonders at eliminating toxins and waste.

 

  • Alkalizes and purifies your blood—because the chemical composition of seaweed is close to human blood plasma, it is a great food to regulating and purifying your blood. Seaweed also neutralizes the acidity that comes with most of the foods we eat.

 

  • Weight loss—the high level of iodine stimulates the thyroid gland, thus boosting and maintaining the metabolic system. The stimulation of the thyroid can also prevent fatigue, high cholesterol, and muscle weakness.

 

  • Anti-cancer properties—seaweed can help regulate estrogen and estradiol levels; these are two hormones that maintain healthy sexual organs and keeping the levels regulated can help prevent against breast cancer.

 

  • High in antioxidants—the high level of antioxidants found in seaweed can help prevent inflammation and thus avoid asthma, obesity, arthritis, depression, and, muscle weakness.

 

For some ideas on how to incorporate seaweed into your meals, check out my book The Goddess of Raw Foods for recipes including my Goddess of the Sea Salad and my Seaweed Miso Soup. Seaweed with some sesame seeds and seasoning is great as a side dish, or you can buy dried sheets from the grocery and store for a low-cal high-nutrient snack.

Stay happy and healthy!

The benefits of Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is an incredibly versatile plant for your health. Its benefits can help you externally and internally. The plant is high in vitamins such as A, C, E, folic acid, choline, B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, chromium, selenium, sodium, iron, potassium, copper, and manganese. Aloe is also high in those essential amino and fatty acids. Here are just five active ways this powerhouse plant can improve your health:

  • Aloe aids digestion—the soothing juice found within the leaf is an adaptogen, which means it can help with either constipation or diarrhea, regulating your elimination cycles. It is also beneficial for people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome and acid reflux, and decreases the amount of bad bacteria in your gut thus balancing your flora.

 

  • Aloe alkalizes the system—making sure the body is alkalized if one of the best things you can do for your body to avoid acidic digestion and prevent disease. Disease is more prone in acidic conditions.

 

  • Aloe is an external disinfectant—its active ingredients are sulfur, salicylic acid, lupeol, cinnamic acid, phenol, and urea nitrogen. They all protect against bacteria, and are antimicrobial thus fighting off infections externally and internally. Great for healing scrapes, cuts, and soothing burns. It is also really hydrating for your skin as it is made of 90% water.

 

  • Aloe helps boost the immune system—with its rich antioxidant content and polysaccharides, aloe vera juice can help stimulate macrophages (white blood cells that fight off viruses) and thus prevent illness and promote wellbeing.

 

  • Aloe is anti-inflammatory—aloe contains B-sisterole which can slow down or prevent inflammation, helping with joint stiffness and pain, and can promote joint flexibility.

 

You can buy aloe vera juice at the store, or buy a plant and make your own! It’s an added boost to your cooking, smoothies, or on its own. And don’t forget about its amazing skin benefits. Having a plant in the kitchen is great for any emergencies (cuts, scrapes etc.), especially with children around.

 

LiveWell!

 

Mood Lifting Foods

With the shorter, colder, and darker days just around the corner, this time of year can be a depressing one for a lot of people. In addition, more and more studies show that depression and the stress that comes with it is becoming one of the greatest dangers to our health in the US. And when the blues kick in, it is easy to reach for the comfort foods such as chips and cookies, but they have a negative effect on our brains making us sluggish, fatigued, and generally just down. There is a beacon of hope though as the following foods can actually lift our moods in a healthy and satisfying way.

  • Bananas—Luckily we can buy these mood-boosters all year long here in the US. Bananas are a great source of tryptophan which can aid relaxation and boost happiness. They are also high in carbohydrates that increase the production of serotonin. For a delicious treat to kick a craving and boost your mood, try my Banana Pudding from The Goddess of Raw Foods.
  • Walnuts—Another food with tryptophan along with omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin B6 make the walnut a great mood-booster. They are also a good source of folate which studies have linked to happiness and easing anger
  • Cacao—Raw cacao can do wonders for your health and happiness. Rich in tryptophan, it aids production of serotonin. Plus, it is one of the most antioxidant-dense foods—even more so than blueberries.  If you’re more in the mood for a chocolatey dessert rather than banana, try my Live Chocolate Mouse.
  • Avocado—Rich in omega 3 fatty acids, avocados are generally good for brain healthy and mood-boosting. They are also high in folate, reducing anger and depression.
  • Spirulina—This blue-green algae is rich in antioxidants, chlorophyll, and fatty acids omega 3 and 6 which promote brain health and boost your energy and mood. This superfood can be consumed in powder form in water or your juices and smoothies for a boost to your day.

Stay healthy and happy!

The benefits of coconut oil

Coconuts are hot on the health-food scene right now, and deservedly so! They are so versatile in what parts can be used—oil, water, sugar, flour, milk, or flesh—how each part can be used, and their health benefits. Coconut oil, however, is becoming more and more popular for its cure-all properties. This healthy fat made from pressing mature coconuts is a great substitute for, or addition to, your traditional kitchen oils and fats.

 

  • Lowers “bad” cholesterol—Despite being high in saturated fat, coconut oil is an exceptional food because these fats are healthy for your body. One of the fats, lauric acid, a medium chain fat, increases the good HDL cholesterol in the blood thus improving healthy cholesterol ratios.

 

  • Boosts the immune system—Rich in anti-oxidants, coconut oil can prevent heart disease and promote overall wellness. Coconut oil is also rich in anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, and studies have shown a connection between the oil and helping to prevent certain cancers.

 

  • Skin and hair care—Coconut oil can promote glowing, moisture-rich skin and hair internally and externally. The fatty acids help your skin stay youthful and clear, and your hair soft, strong, and shiny. But when applied to the surface of your skin, it can perform as a non-greasy moisturizer or anti-aging cream. It can also be a great conditioner for your hair, and can be mixed with other ingredients to make more products such as body scrubs for a natural glow. A great alternative to the harsh chemicals we find in commercial products.

 

  • Improves brain function—Coconut oil is said to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and this is because of the connection between the medium chain fatty acids (MCTs) and brain function. These healthy fats may maintain cognitive functioning and good memory as well as helping to repair neural pathways.

 

Don’t dismiss the rest of the coconut though! Coconut water is extremely refreshing and hydrating as it is high in electrolytes. Give it a try it in my Green Goddess Smoothie. Dried or fresh coconut flesh is a great low G.I snack to give you energy and it is packed with fiber. The meat also works well for cooking, like in my delicious Unbaked Creamy Corn & Coconut Casserole.  Check out these recipes and more in my book, The Goddess of Raw Foods.  

 

Happy healthy eating, all!

Foods to Lower High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, in this country is a growing epidemic. It occurs when the force of blood against the artery walls is too high so that it can lead to heart disease. And if it is ignored it can also lead to stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, and blindness.  An effective way to avoid high blood pressure or to lower you blood pressure without relying on medication is to include these five foods in your diet.

  • Avocado—This nutrient-dense food contains heart-healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. It’s so versatile too, making it easy to incorporate into your diet! You can add it to salads and smoothies, or make it into dips and salad dressings. From my cookbook, The Goddess of Raw Foods, try the cucumber avocado salad dressing—a refreshing and healthy addition to your salads.
  • Dark Chocolate—Hurray! Dark chocolate is antioxidant-rich, and packed with bioactive phytochemicals called polyphenols that are proven to protect against vascular and heart disease. This is great news for those with a sweet tooth.
  • Blueberries, Raspberries, and Strawberries—These berries contain compounds called anthocyanins that protect against hypertension, and can lower your blood pressure. The Oh So Berry Smoothie from my book is perfect for a vitamin and antioxidant-rich breakfast or as an afternoon snack.
  • Unsalted Sunflower Seeds—These little seeds are jam-packed with magnesium, and make a perfect snack or an addition to salads for heart-health. Make sure you go for unsalted though; salted can be really high in sodium which will have a negative impact on your blood pressure if over-consumed.
  • Oats—A diet rich in fiber and whole grains such as oats has been proven to help keep blood pressure low, and can decrease both systolic and diastolic pressure. For a delicious and healthy start to your day, try my Rawsome Oatmeal and add berries and bananas for an extra boost to your vascular health!

Stay Healthy & Happy!

5 Tips for Eating Out as a Vegan

Eating out as a vegan can feel like a difficult task, especially in a group where you may be the only one. You probably don’t want to draw attention to yourself when ordering, but you don’t want to leave the restaurant feeling hungry. Here are a few tips to having a seamless and enjoyable outing with friends while still maintaining your healthy lifestyle.

  • Ask for a vegan menu—Restaurants are increasingly offering more options to those with dietary restrictions but may not always offer the altered menu up front. Very often if you just ask, they will deliver.  And servers are trained now to know the vegan options and the gluten-free options.
  • Order sides—If the restaurant doesn’t offer a vegan menu, get creative and order some sides; chances are you can create a balanced and nutritious meal. Make sure to ask that they hold any butter and/or cheese.
  • Plan ahead—Look the restaurant up online and read through the menu. If you don’t see any dishes that you would eat or that you can easily alter, give the restaurant a call and see what they can do to accommodate your needs. When you warn the kitchen of any alterations ahead of time, it makes it easier for them (especially on a busy Friday or Saturday night) and you feel like less of a liability.  And the chefs sometimes love the challenge or preparing a vegan meal.  So if you humble yourself and allow the restaurant to accommodate you, they usually will.
  • Choose the place—If you’re going out with just a friend or a small group, and you know they’re flexible or not too fussy then suggest a restaurant of your choice that you know is vegan or will have vegan options. Very often non-vegans are pleasantly surprised at the exciting and different flavors dishes at vegan restaurants offer.
  • Eat ahead of time—If you know there’s nothing or very little on the menu that you can order or alter, eat a meal or a snack before you go out, and order something small or a beverage at the restaurant. Going out with friends is about enjoying the company and the atmosphere; you don’t have to be hungry!

Share with us what do you do when going out to a non-vegan restaurant as a vegan!

Pregnancy and The Vegan Diet

There are a lot of minerals, nutrients, and vitamins that are essential for pregnant women to consume to maintain their own health and to produce a healthy baby. Iron, calcium, and protein are extremely important, and while these key items are typically sourced from meat and dairy products, there is a huge range of plant-based foods that offer those vital nutrients and more.

Iron—Iron is important for cardiovascular health, brain development, and the immune system. Therefore the iron intake for a pregnant woman needs to be higher because of the increase in the mother’s blood and the blood for the baby. Some plant-based sources of iron include:

  • Collard greens and other dark leafy greens
  • Chickpeas
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Dried Apricots

From my book, The Goddess of Raw Foods, I have a recipe for collard green burritos which is perfect for an iron-rich meal as in addition to those collard greens, the recipe contains tomatoes and spinach. It’s delicious, and inexpensive and easy to make.

Protein—Protein is the building block to our bodies, and therefore essential to healthy baby growth. Some foods that are an excellent source of protein include:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Hemp
  • Beans
  • Lentils

Another great recipe the hemp burger. The burger is high in protein thanks to the hemp and sunflower seeds, and is a fabulous and healthy alternative.

Calcium—Calcium is important for strong bones, and even more important during pregnancy for the mother because of the stress put on the body and for healthy growth of the baby’s bones and teeth. Calcium is also essential for healthy muscle development and function.

  • Almond butter and milk
  • Broccoli
  • Oranges
  • Figs and black molasses
  • Kale and leafy greens

In the book, My Apple Butter takes almond butter to a whole new level with flavors of cinnamon and maple. Its decadence makes it deceptively healthy, and as an added bonus is high in calcium.

And considering we are expecting our little one in December, we know that she will be off to a good start with healthy eating habits!

Are you a woman who is pregnant and wants to go vegan or is thinking about more vegan options?  Share with us your story and qustions.

What Doctors Need to Prescribe for Patients……

When we think of the term doctor, we think of someone who is known to heal and take care of people. It is sad that we live in a medicine driven culture where we are conditioned to think that written prescriptions are the cure all for everything.

I believe that a healthy lifestyle and eating habits inclusive of fruits, vegetables, and grains can prevent many diseases as well as prolong life. When I read an article on NPR http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/07/24/205124705/nyc-doctors-are-now-prescribing-fruits-and-veggies  a couple of weeks ago, I was excited to learn that doctors are now prescribing fruits and vegetables to obese or overweight patients. The Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program is based in New York City and launched by deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs and Health Commissioner Thomas Farley.

The purpose is to give at-risk families greater access to healthy foods.  In the program, families will be prescribed Health Bucks which are redeemable at farmers markets. Health Bucks are through Grow NYC’s  initiative to make fresh and locally grown produce available to low income families in New York.

This is a great start to a healthier nation. I feel more people are paying attention to preventive care and finding ways to have healthy eating optional for everyone. Once the healthier food choices are prescribed, this can become a positive lifestyle habit that can last a lifetime.

We would love to hear from you.

What do you think about doctors prescribing fruits and vegetables?

Please leave a comment with your answer.

Green Smoothies…Why Drink Them?

They are refreshing, healthy, delicious and green. Yes it is a smoothie. Green smoothies have so many nutritional benefits that can help aid you in weight loss, enhance energy and get your daily consumption of fruits and vegetables. When it comes to the main ingredients…greens, there are some top picks that will get you going and feeling great all day long.

Kale

It might be the unassuming decoration on a lot of party trays but this green is packed with many vitamins and minerals. Kale has calcium, fiber, beta carotene, vitamin K, and vitamin C. Kale is also known for its powerful antioxidants that help protect against cancer. The leafy green is also wonderful for detoxing and cleansing while boosting the immune system.

Cilantro

This little green leaf has a plethora of healing properties. Known as a metal detoxifier, cilantro is able to remove aluminum and mercury from fat tissues. With vitamins such as A, C, and K and minerals such as magnesium, calcium and iron, cilantro is known to have more antioxidants than most fruits and vegetables.

Collards

These large leaves are big in benefits. A wonderful source of vitamin C, K, and E, they also have wonderful minerals such as calcium, copper, manganese, selenium and zinc. Collards are a wonderful source of fiber and contain many cancer-fighting agents through their large antioxidant properties.

With the benefits of green smoothies, it is a great way to start your day. Here is a recipe to get you started.

Ingredients:

A handful of black or lacinto kale

1 pear

1 mango (or frozen mango chunks)

1 apple

1-2 bananas

2-3 dates (pitted)

Use apple juice or water for your base Instructions In a high speed blender blend all the ingredients together to the consistency you prefer. Make sure you pit the dates first by taking out the seeds.

If you want more recipes click our Recipe Page

We would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below.

Do you drink green smoothies?