Tag Archives: nutrition

chocolate ice cream… for breakfast!

the greatest day of my life was probably the day that I realized that it was not only completely acceptable, but also actually healthy, to eat chocolate ice cream for breakfast. Okay, maybe that’s a little bit of an exaggeration – but still. The discovery of the smoothie bowl was a pretty serious game changer. So, for those of you who aren’t currently eating chocolate ice cream first thing in the morning, hold tight, because your morning routine is about to get rocked. There are a million different types of “smoothie bowls” you can make – the idea behind it is essentially just a slightly less liquid smoothie that is served in a bowl instead of a glass. Surely there’s some impressive psychological reason for why eating something with a spoon out of a bowl makes it much more filling than drinking it from a glass, but I just know that where regular morning smoothies never seem to fill me up, a thick and delicious smoothie bowl is always enough to get me through the morning. So why a smoothie bowl, instead of just a regular plate of fresh fruit? One of the reasons is that you can sneak all sorts of healthy additions into a smoothie bowl, things that would be a litttle bit more noticable when added to a plate of fruit – like greens, for example. There aren’t too many people out there who would be stoked to see a massive pile of kale on top of their chopped strawberries and blueberries, but in a smoothie bowl, you can dump all kinds of kale, spinach, and even chard if you’re feeling saucy, and you won’t be able to taste it at all (just be careful about coloring… sometimes too much green can leave you with a really weird looking bowl. That’s why I love the chocolate ones – it makes sense for them to be a slightly questionable brown shade!) Also, you can add some really nutritious and wonderful toppings to your blended bowl that would be a little less easy to get onto a regular plate – bee pollen, hemp seeds, goji berries, even some maca powder or chia seeds. Literally limitless options here, and you can tailor it to exactly what your morning holds: feeling a little sleepy? Add in a spoonful of maca powder. Have a super-intense workout planned? Sprinkle on some hemp seeds. Need a little extra sustainable energy? Toss in some raisins. The list goes on and on. Or just sprinkle cacao nibs on top of it, because who doesn’t need a little extra chocolate? The main point is that you have so many more options to play around with a smoothie bowl, and it offers a wonderful way to fuel and nourish your body in the mornings, while still making for a really delicious breakfast.

My favorite smoothie bowl recipe is the one pictured below, which is just a simple chocolate-banana bowl, but there are hundreds of different recipes and mixtures you can throw together. There is usually a base of frozen bananas, but after that, the possibilities are absolutely endless. This one consists of:

1 1/2 frozen banana

2 tbsp raw cacao powder

1 tbsp maca powder

1/2 cup hemp milk

1 tbsp peanut butter

1 handful of kale (frozen optional)

1 handful of spinach

1 dried, pitted Medjool date

to make it, simply toss all of these things into a blender, and let it blend until smooth. Then pour it into a bowl and add toppings! I put in walnuts, bee pollen, chia seeds, hemp seeds, raisins, and goji berries, and sprinkled it all with a little bit of cinnamon. Happy breakfasting!

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food spotlight: chickpeas

announcement: the little chickpea goes so far beyond the world of hummus. Even though chickpeas, both canned and dried, are a pretty consistent staple of my cupboard, I’ve realized lately that most people tend to shy away from this magnificent bean in daily cooking. Hopefully this post will remedy that, because the chickpea, or garbanzo bean, is a nutritional powerhouse, and also a ridiculously easy and filling addition to any meal.

In regards to buying and storing chickpeas, places like Earth Fare do offer dried chickpeas in their bulk section, so you do have the option to cook them yourself, but almost any grocery store will have a good selection of canned chickpeas… I’m not always one to promote canned foods, but in this case, I’m all for it. Whereas a lot of vegetables can lose some of their nutritional value in the canning and storing process, there isn’t really a huge difference in the nutrient profile of canned chickpeas and home cooked ones – just make sure to rinse the canned ones over a few times before using them.

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Now that you know how to get them, here’s a little bit of information on why to get them:

– 1 cup of chickpeas is a whopping 273% of your daily molybdenum needs. What the heck is that? It’s a trace mineral that your body needs to help metabolize fats and carbs.

– chickpeas are one of the highest available food sources of manganese, which helps with bone formation, is needed in the process of turning carbs into energy, and also is a necessary component in the production of the structural collagen in skin.

– in addition to the previous energizing element, they’re also high in iron, which is a key nutrient in energy production and metabolism. So, in a few different ways, chickpeas are a shot booster for your energy and metabolism, two things we’re always trying to boost.

– they’re an awesome source of insoluble fiber. Which everyone always needs more of.

– they’re crazy filling. A lot of times, when I’m in a rush, I’ll have straight spoonfulls of canned chickpeas for a meal-to-go. Studies actually show that a diet that includes garbanzo beans leaves people feeling more full, and therefore consuming less food.

– finally, chickpeas are a great source of both fiber and protein, the combination of which work to better regulate the blood sugar and stabilize the flow of food through the digestive tract.

All great reasons to add more chickpeas into your life. Now… how?

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My current favorite way to get my chickpea fix is to simply throw a few spoonfuls of them into whatever salad I’m making, a la our most recent recipe post, or to bake them with honey and spices for a sweet and savory snack. However, if you prefer something a little bit more substantial, chickpeas also happen to be one of the most versatile foods I’ve ever encountered. Here are a few awesome chickpea recipes that I’ve been loving lately:

– Pumpkin Hummus – 1 can of pumpkin, 1 can of chickpeas, 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds, 1 tbsp of tahini, 1 tbsp of maple syrup, 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (trader joe’s has a great one…), 1 tsp sea salt, the juice of half a lemon, and a dash of cayenne pepper. to make: simply soak the pumpkin seeds for a few hours, then throw everything into the blender and blend! top with a little extra cayenne pepper, just for an added bite.

– Sweet Potato Falafel – 2 sweet potatoes, 1 tbsp cumin, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 tsp coriander, a handful of cilantro, the juice of one lemon,
1 cup of chickpea flour, a dash of olive oil, and 1 tbsp sesame seeds. to make: Boil the sweet potatoes until they’re soft, and then toss them into a bowl with the chickpea flour. Grate the garlic, chop the cilantro, and then toss everything into the bowl. Mix well, and then form the dough into little balls and place them on the baking pan. Cover with another dash of olive oil, and bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.

– Moroccan Carrot and Chickpea Salad – 5 whole carrots, 1 can of chickpeas, 1/2 cup of dates, 1/3 cup of fresh mint, 1/2 cup of almonds. for the dressing: 1 tbsp cumin, the juice from 1 lemon, 2 tsp honey, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 2 tbsp olive oil, and a dash of sea salt. to make: finely grate the carrots into bowl. Place the chickpeas and the almonds on a baking sheet, and bake for about 10 minutes at 345, remove the almonds, and then let the chickpeas bake for another 5-7 minutes. Once the almonds have cooled, chop them and place them into the bowl. Chop the dates (if dried, let soak for an hour before cooking) and the mint, add those in as well. Once the chickpeas are slightly browned on the outside, throw them in too. Mix the dressing in a separate bowl, and then add it, stirring everything well.

– Spiced Sweet Potato and Chickpeas – and some link love for our final chickpea recipe, Sprouted Kitchen’s amazing take on this little bean. (while you’re over there, check out the pistachio falafel too… it’s amazing!)

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food love: the seasonal compromise

last time I was in Whole Foods, I noticed that the woman who was ringing my groceries up had a pin on her apron that said something along the lines of “I ate a salad today, how about you?” Well, of course: I had a blended salad for breakfast, a sauteed salad for lunch, and a roasted salad for dinner. But the pin got me thinking – during the winter, I get so excited for a steaming meal of warm, filling veggies (often of the root variety), and forget about my deep love for a plain, simple, cold raw salad bowl. And while there is absolutely not a thing wrong with cooking, roasting, steaming, or otherwise preparing your vegetables, sometimes I get the craving for the fresh, light, hydrating and nourishing feel of a raw salad. I miss the summer, where I could happily eat bowls of raw salad for all meals of the day, but in the colder months my body just always seems to crave more. So this is a seasonal compromise salad: it’s raw, yes, light airy and delicious, yes, but it’s also got a pinch of heaviness to it, it has substance, and it’s also got a light sweetness to it that helps to satisfy my on-going winter sweet tooth (which has been thoroughly showcased in every food post on this blog thusfar…). One of the things that helps to make this salad into more of a light and comfortably digestible dish is that instead of being just straight up raw, the kale is massaged with sea salt and olive oil, which simply means you give the raw kale a pinch of both (or just warm water, if you’d rather), and run it down for a few minutes before making your salad. This helps to break up the roughness of this fantastic green just a little bit, making it a little less hard and chewy.

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So, to make the salad, simple massage your kale, and then toss it into a giant salad bowl with:

1 can chickpeas

1/4 cup of chopped red onion

1/4 cup of crumbled cauliflower

1 sliced avocado

1.5 tbsp sesame seeds

and then I made a little dressing-ette, combining a generous squirt of honey, some warm water, and sea salt in a jar, stirring it up well, and splashing that over the salad, just to give it a little bit of sweetness, and the honey always seems to really accentuate the flavor of the chickpeas beautifully.

So, there you have it! A simple winter salad that will hopefully help you rekindle your love for raw food bowls as we reach that final stretch towards springtime.

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