Sexy salads and smoothies

1

May 8, 2012 by theoghartiens

My husband and I checked out the raw food bar at Whole Foods over the weekend. The menu left quite a bit to be desired, but I ordered a raw (dehydrated) chalupa with mixed greens. I thought it would be a huge portion, since it was $8, but it wasn’t. I did enjoy having the dehydrated tortilla and it was nice to have a salad type meal that someone else prepared, but I really wasn’t impressed.

So, in true “Erin” fashion, I came home and got to work on making my own version of the dish. Here is what I came up with (this is very simple and REALLY good!).

Here’s what I used:

1 bag organic mixed greens

1 package organic Broccoli sprouts

Salsa*:

3 large tomatoes, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 small bell pepper, chopped

1/2 jalapeño, seeded and chopped

1 handful cilantro with stems (about 1/4 bunch), rough chopped

Juice of 1/2 lime (more to taste)

3/4 tsp sea salt

Using a food processor or blender, pulse tomatoes, onions and cilantro until well combined. Add remaining ingredients and process until a smooth (salsa) texture is achieved. Remove from processor/blender and stir in 1 cup fresh or frozen sweet corn. Makes about four cups.

To serve, put two or three handfuls of greens in a bowl. Add a handful of the broccoli spouts to the mix. Pour 1/2 cup of salsa (or more, if you like) over the greens. Top with diced avocado, hemp seed hearts  (soft, inner part of the seed), a few cherry tomatoes and a handful of crushed blue tortilla chips. Finish with salt and pepper to taste.

*Salsa will last up to a week in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

This salad was AH-mazing! The crunchy texture of the chips on top was just enough to make me feel like I was eating a chalupa or taco salad.  In reality, I only used a handful of chips for a huge salad and the flavor was just incredible. I added the broccoli sprouts after finding them at my favorite store, Natural Grocers. Consuming broccoli sprouts has been shown to decrease the risk of developing  stomach, breast, prostate, colon, skin, lung and bladder cancers in research studies. I also picked up a small bag of the hemp hearts for under $5, since they add “good fat” and protein. One fourth cup of hemp hearts has about 15g protein, 2.5g dietary fiber, 4.5g  carbohydrates and 15g fat, 2g of which is saturated. The seeds contain no  cholesterol, are sugar-free and are suitable for people with allergies or  sensitivities to nuts, gluten or lactose!

Since I started eating more fruits, veggies and unprocessed foods (in February, 2012), I have lost about 30 pounds. I have more energy and feel more alert, and find that my overall mood is greatly improved. I want to share the foods I am creating as I continue to tweak my diet. I hope that I will encourage others to add more of these types of meals to their daily routine – for example, the salad and salsa listed above can be made the night before and combined before eating! Smoothies and juice can also be made the night before and last up to two days in the refridgerator.

One question I get a lot is, ‘Where do you get your protein?’ It can be hard to get enough protein without knowing where to find it (when not eating meat, eggs, soy, beans or dairy). I have continued to make shakes daily and can get quite a bit of protein by adding a hemp powder or (my new favorite) SunWarrior powder. I have also researched the protein from various plants, seeds and nuts. I normally use homemade almond milk in my smoothies, and add seeds to my salads. Nuts are full of fiber and a great source for many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Almonds, for example, provide iron, calcium and vitamin E. Cashews have vitamin A and peanuts offer zinc. While nuts are generally high in fat, it is largely unsaturated, the “good” kind of fat that can lower your cholesterol and boost your cardiovascular health. Many nuts and seeds, particularly walnuts, flax seeds and hemp seeds, are high in omega-3 fatty acids¹. I also LOVE quinoa, which is full of protein. According to the World Health Organization, the protein found in quinoa is equivalent to that found in dehydrated whole milk.

I usually start my day with a protein-packed smoothie as breakfast. No need for sugar-filled cereals (really, cereal is not good for you!) or dehydrating coffe when you fill up on fresh fruit and easily digested proteins! I love “green” smoothies (which have spinach or other greens blended in), but I craved a more tropical taste this weekend. Here is a beautiful and super sweet smoothie that I made on Saturday – I call it the “Sunrise smoothie!”

What you’ll need:

Meat from 1 Thai coconut + coconut water. I used the young Thai because the meat is softer and so much easier to extract than a mature, brown coconut.  I buy them at Whole Foods for around $3! Here is a video that shows how to open them and extract the meat.

2 cups brewed tea. I brewed one bag of Yerba Mate and one bag of Zhi Tea, Sweet Desert Delight to make a latte (with fresh almond milk, YUM!), then saved the rest and let it cool overnight. You can read more about the benefits of Yerba mate tea here. Zhi Tea is made in Austin, Texas! You can use any tea base you like, but the Zhi tea blend works really well in this smoothie. I bought it at Central Market for under $5. 🙂

1 bag frozen organic pineapple

1 bag frozen organic mango

2 tablespoons soaked Chia seeds. Chia seeds are one of my favorite seeds – they have so many uses! Chia is a low-glycemic food and high in fiber, both of which can help stabilize your blood sugar levels and prevent overeating. In a small jar, add two or three tablespoons and a cup of water. Soak overnight and add to smoothies to keep you feeling full and satisfied.

2 ripe bananas. Did you know that bananas contain tryptophan, an aminoacid that can be converted to serotonin, leading to improved mood? Me neither! They are also high in potassium, low in sodium, contain iron, fiber, and are an exceptionally rich source of fructooligosaccharide, a compound that nourishes probiotic (friendly) bacteria in the colon. Research published in the International Journal of Cancer has shown that daily consumption of whole fruits and vegetables, especially bananas, is highly protective to kidney health. The results show that, over a long timeframe (13.4 years), women eating more than 2.5 servings of fruits and vegetable per day cut their risk of kidney cancer by 40%²!!

Optional: 1 handful of dried Goji berries. Goji berries are sweet and tangy, and they plump up in liquid (like a raisin). Goji berries have compounds rich in vitamin A that may have anti-aging benefits. These special compounds help boost immune function, protect vision, and may help prevent heart disease. There may be some possible herb-drug interactions with goji berries. If you take warfarin (a blood thinner), you may want to avoid goji berries. Goji berries may also interact with diabetes and blood pressure drugs. Also, if you have pollen allergies, you may want to stay away from this fruit. However, when eaten in moderation, goji berries appear to be safe³.

Optional –  1 scoop Sun Warrior protein powder. Local peeps: I bought a one pound bag for $25 at Daily Juice in Austin.

Here is a helpful hint for making really smooth smoothies – blend all room temperature or cold ingredients first. Stop your blender, add the powders and slowly blend them in until fully incorporated. I usually blend powders for a full minute. Add the frozen fruits last so the smoothie will stay ice cold!

And there you have it – two more recipes and plenty of information added to the arsenal! Now, go forth and be healthy! 🙂

Erin

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One thought on “Sexy salads and smoothies

  1. […] Finally, I tried out a roasted-tomato bisque recipe from my fellow Austinite, Linda Wagner. I had never roasted tomatoes before, and this soup made me realize that I was missing out! I bought several pounds of heirloom tomatoes from my favorite health food store, Natural Grocer, then roasted them according to the directions in this recipe.  This meal takes a little longer to create with the added step of roasting the tomatoes, but I know you will love the outcome. I served the soup with a side of lentil salad, but it also pairs really well with my sexy summer salad. […]

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