Juicy Wednesdays: Fat-Burning Juice

So this morning I had a kitchen-sink cooking moment when I gathered everything I could find to make a nice juice, and accidentally made a juice that is perfect for anyone trying to shed a few. Please note, this juice has many other benefits aside from being a weight loss aid, it’s excellent for general detoxing, plus it’s refreshing with a nice amount of zing.

fat burning juice

Fat-Burning Juice

serves 2

1 cucumber

1 grapefruit

1 apple

1 lemon

1 thumb of ginger

Peel the cucumber, lemon, and grapefruit. Juice everything. Enjoy!

 

Benefits:

Grapefruit contains an antioxidant called naringenin that can help your liver breakdown fat. Grapefruit also has high levels of Vitamins A & C which are great for your immune system, and can beautify your skin. Lycopene, a phytochemical found in grapefruits, has powerful antioxidant properties which helps fight free-radicals in the body.

Cucumbers are full of skin-friendly minerals (magnesium, potassium, silicon). They also flush out toxins and have a soothing effect on the body.

Apples are a good source of pectin which aids in digestion. Apples are also very high in Vitamins A & C, and many other minerals. Furthermore, Apple juice is an excellent source of fiber and sufficient fiber is one of the keys to weight loss.

Ginger aids digestion and has many anti-inflammatory properties, but it works as a weight loss tool by having thermogenic effect on the body that helps activate your metabolism. Hence… the burn!

Lemon is just an all-arounder. It naturally alkalizes the body, aids in digestion, fights fluid retention, and is another Vitamin C superstar. I rarely exclude lemons from my juices.

 

xo,

Natalia

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DIY Juice Cleanse

In a few weeks I will be headed to the States for TWO MONTHS. This will be the longest amount of time I have spent on American soil in nearly six years. Cray. The trip will be jam-packed with celebrations as I am headed over for two of my closest friends’ weddings. So that means twice the bachelorette and wedding fun, and just to put two cherries on top of that cake: I get to be home for my birthday and the 4th of July. I can barely stand the excitement.

The first bachelorette is in New Orleans, home of jazz, hurricanes, beignets, and legal public drinking. So while I’m having crazy pre-party jitters that could use a sedative (wine)… I am also trying to stay extra healthy until I go.

A while back my friend Amy and I did a juice cleanse. This was before they were readily available in South Africa (can we just talk about the sudden juice boom in Johannesburg??? love it), so I did some research and basically designed my own juice cleanse from a combination of popular ones in the States and UK. This takes a lot of work, because you’ll be juicing a TON of produce, but it can be interesting and if you live in the States or UK, it will save you quite a bit of money. Juice cleanses are fairly inexpensive in South Africa compared to overseas, so for as long as I live here I will pay for the convenience of having someone else juice huge quantities of produce for me. However, if you have a juicer and want to save some money, here is my juice cleanse:

***note: this is an intense green juice cleanse, if you want something a little less hectic, replace the 5th juice with another root juice***

DIY juice cleanse

in-a-day:

breakfast– sweet greens 1

mid-morning– root juice

lunch– very green (no fruit)

mid-afternoon-sweet greens 2

dinner– very green (no fruit)

dessert– almond milk

 

Shopping list per day (remember to always buy organic where possible!):

5 apples

32 celery stalks

3-4 cucumbers (depending on size)

22 spinach leaves

12 kale leaves

2 heads of Romaine/Cos lettuce

3 lemons

1 beet

5 carrots

parsely, mint, ginger

24 almonds

 

The juices:

Sweet Greens 1: juice 2 apples, 6 celery stalks, 1/2 cucumber, 6 spinach leaves, 3 kale leaves, sprig of mint

Root Juice: juice 5 carrots, 1 apple, 1/2 cucumber, 1 beet, 1/2 lemon

Very Green (x2): 10 celery stalks, 1 cucumber, 1 lemon, 1 head of romaine/cos, 5 spinach leaves, 3 kale leaves, bit of parsley and mint, 1 inch of ginger

Sweet Greens 2: 2 apples, 6 celery stalks, 1/2 cucumber, 6 spinach leaves 2 kale leaves, 1/2 lemon, 1 inch of ginger

Almond Milk: In a high speed blender, blend 1 tsp of raw honey, 400 ml of water, 24 almonds (soaked over night), dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, pure vanilla extract, and sea salt. Squeeze through a nut milk bag. (For more detailed directions on making almond milk, see here)

Some tips:

  • You can repeat this for as many days as you’d like, but it isn’t really necessary to do more than 5 days, 3 days is my preference.
  • The second day is usually the hardest, if you’re a caffeine/sugar junkie, prepare for headaches… but they pass. I promise.
  • If you’re STARVING have a piece of fruit, or some carrot/celery sticks, half an avocado would also be fine, but try to avoid eating. The juices are giving you nutrients so you won’t feel as hungry as you might think.
  • Don’t have anything else, the idea is to cleanse, flush out toxins, and give your digestive system a break.
  • Herbal teas are fine accompaniments, but make sure they’re caffeine free and don’t add any sweeteners or milk. A squeeze of lemon is fine though.
  • Drink water.

Let me know if you give a shot! Happy juicing 🙂

 

xo,

Natalia

Friday Delights

Happy Friday!

 

Any plans for Mother’s Day? Mother’s are so special, and definitely have one of the hardest jobs. I’m lucky to have a mama who always let’s me know she’s close even though she lives in another hemisphere. She’s a special lady, with one of the biggest hearts, and is someone I continue to learn from everyday. Here are a few delights that I have on mind in honor of Mother’s Day:

parents

(my parents <3)

1) This recipe for Raw Chocolate Brownies. My mom would probably roll her eyes and say “let’s just make the real thing”, but I have a feeling she wouldn’t turn these down… Chocolate is chocolate.

2) Tulips, mine and my mom’s favorite. I know it’s Autumn here in South Africa, but to me Mother’s Day means spring flowers, specifically Tulips. How gorgeous is this arrangement? Tulips, green snowball viburnums, peonies, and geraniums.

3) This cocktail… Blood Orange Tyme Paloma. I love a good Paloma, but this is a lovely spin and perfect for a sunny lunch.

4) Ceviche. I would love to share my mom’s recipe for this delicious Peruvian dish, but she has yet to share it with me! It’s such a tasty, fresh, and healthy dish, I could eat it daily.

5) This video. No words, just watch it.

 

Before I go… A little cuteness overload. Check out our little house guests! Their new mom (Matt’s mom) will be collecting them this weekend, but she might have to pry them out of my arms.
puppies

 

Have a great weekend, and don’t forget to give your mamas some love 🙂

 

xo,

Natalia

 

Chocolate: The most important food group

I’m baaaaaaaaack! Yikes! Sorry for my absence, lots and lots of stuff happening over here and unfortunately the bloggie got pushed to the side 😦 but onwards and upwards, let’s get to the exciting little treat I’m sharing today. I’m a boring breakfast gal, I like my fruit and coffee and that’s it. Matt (le boyfriend) is so much better at breakfast than me and does this overnight oats concoction with all kinds of superfoods mixed in. Sometimes I get jealous and sneak a few bites, but I always go back to fruit. Anyway, this morning I was feeling adventurous and decided to make my own version using chocolate Sun Warrior. I always thought protein powder was reserved for those who are interested in building some serious muscle. Then I realized, as a wannabe vegan, I’m not getting much protein any way so a little extra can’t hurt. Sun Warrior is of the raw vegan variety and the ingredients are phenomenal (hemp seed protein, pea protein, cranberry protein, and so on). This recipe is a delicious little breakfast, but also a perfect pre/post workout snack. It hit the chocolate craving sweet spot and I will definitely be making it again. After all, chocolate is the most important food group. Right?

chocolate chia pudding

Chocolate Chia Pudding

serves 1

1/2 scoop of Chocolate Sun Warrior

1 TBS of chia seeds

1/2 TBS hemp seeds

1 TBS of unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably raw cacao but I didn’t have any)

coconut milk

dash of sea salt

 

Place the chia seeds and hemp seeds in a small bowl and cover with coconut milk. Leave to thicken for at least 15 minutes (preferably over night). Then mix in the Sun Warrior, salt and cocoa, if the mixture is too thick add a bit of water until you reach your desired consistency. I find Sun Warrior sweet enough, but feel free to add a bit of stevia/honey/agave if your sweet tooth calls. Devour.

 

Enjoy your Monday!

 

xo,

Natalia

Juicy Wednesday: Watermelon & Bubbles

Ok so this post is two-fold… on the one hand we have a simple delicious juice and on the other we have a naughty juice… a.k.a. a cocktail. I think this is appropriate considering it’s hump day, so we could all use a little health AND a little naughtiness to help us get to the weekend 🙂

One of my favorite things about summer is that watermelon is in season. I could subsist on watermelon. It’s versatile, delicious, and the health benefits go on and on. Here are a few:

  • Alkaline-forming
  • Low in sugar and calories
  • Natural diuretic (yay for kidney health!)
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • High in antioxidants
  • Natural electrolyte (hello, post-workout food)
  • Can reduce body fat

Yum. While you can put watermelon through a juicer, it’s not really necessary. The fruit is so high in water that it’s worth keeping the pulp and just popping some chunks into the blender.

Watermelon Cooler

serves 2

1 cucumber

handful of mint

2 cups of chopped watermelon

Blend the watermelon. Juice the cucumber and mint. Mix the two. Voila!

 

Watermelon Bellinis

chopped watermelon

champagne/sparkling wine (just make sure it’s dry, the watermelon adds sweetness and you don’t want a sickly sweet cocktail)

mint to garnish (optional)

1. Blend the watermelon until smooth.

2. Fill a champagne flute 2/3 of the way with champagne, then carefully top with the watermelon juice.

3. Enjoy!

watermelonbellinis

We enjoyed a few of these over the weekend and I have to admit, they go down WAY too easy. Delicious, refreshing, simple, and screaming summer.

Cheers to hump day!

 

xo,

Natalia

Focus On: Buckwheat

I have a new lover… Buckwheat.

buckwheat

Despite its name, Buckwheat is not a grain or wheat, it is in fact a seed that has grain-like qualities and can be used as a grain substitute in many dishes. Some benefits:

1. Buckwheat is gluten-free.

2. Buckwheat is a complete protein in terms of amino acids, easily digestible and highly nutritious.

3. Buckwheat can reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol.

4. Buckwheat grows quickly and does not require chemicals or pesticides, therefore it is generally chemical-free.

5. Buckwheat ranks low on the glycemic index.

6. Buckwheat is high in iron, zinc, copper, selenium, and manganese.

7. Buckwheat is high in fiber.

8. Buckwheat can help regulate blood sugar.

9. Buckwheat can aid in weight loss.

What a doll. I seriously can’t get enough. Currently my favorite way to enjoy this superfood, is by sprouting it and turning it into Essene bread. Below is my go-to recipe for a plain and simple Essene bread base. To spice this up you can add herbs, olives, honey, etc and vary the flavor. This bread is very healthy and high in protein. Should you wish to dehydrate it instead of bake it, I recommend dehydrating for 12 hours, just keep an eye on it and take it out once there’s a nice crust.

Sprouted Buckwheat and Lentil Essene Bread

2 cups of sprouted Buckwheat

2 cups of sprouted Lentils or Chickpeas (or both)

1/4 cup ground flax seed (linseed)

1 tsp of sea salt

2/3 cup of water

any add-ins (fresh rosemary, chopped olives, garlic, sunflower seeds, etc)

1. Blend the sprouts, flax seed, salt and water in a food processor until a “dough” is formed. This should be slightly sticky and firm enough to form a loaf. If you haven’t already sprouted the buckwheat and lentils, soak them in water over night, and then sprout in a sieve, occasionally rinsing, for at least 1 day. They will be ready when you see little white sprouts coming out of each seed and are soft enough to chew.

2. Fold in any add-ins.

3. Grease a baking sheet with a bit of coconut oil and spoon out the dough. Form a long loaf-like shape. This dough will look a bit like ciabatta, flat and rectangular. Mine is usually about 2 inches in height.

4. Either bake at 275 F/140 C for 2 hours, or dehydrate for 12 hours.
This can be enjoyed as you would enjoy any bread (with avocado, hummus, butter, honey, etc). I sometimes like to cut mine up into cubes and enjoy it in salads as croutons (you can toast these pieces for extra crunch if you’d like).

rawbread2(Buckwheat and Lentils… grainy)

rawbread1(Buckwheat and Chickpea/Mung mix… feel free to experiment)

I really really love bread, so this spin is a nice and healthy alternative that can be enjoyed all day every day.

Snack time!

xo,

Natalia

Juicy Wednesdays: Family-Friendly

Is it really only Wednesday?! Yes, yes it is. But while it’s only Wednesday, it is more importantly also my Dad’s birthday and therefore I’ve been thinking about him quite a bit today. My Dad is a father, a husband, a New Yorker, an academic, a friend, a guru and my rock. He was also one of my first inspirations when it came to living a life that was more conscious and green. My dad HATES toxins, and weekends spent reluctantly pulling weeds from his proudly organic garden, were a regular thing growing up. As youngsters, my sister and I often suggested he use Round-Up (weed killer) so we could be free of this dreaded chore, but his insistence that it was toxic and we must always first look for natural solutions is something I now regard as a lesson.

Natural solutions are great when there is an existing problem, but nature is also an excellent source for preventing problems and maintaining health and vitality. My parents love fruits and vegetables, but superfoods and green juices/smoothies are not in their regular regime, and I find some of these superfoods are nature’s best source of preventative medicine. While I was home I decided to make them a mix and instructed them to add 1-2 TBS of the mix (each) to their breakfast daily (it mixes well in smoothies, oats, yogurt, or over fruit). I believe this mix is best enjoyed in a green smoothie, but truthfully its nuttiness and texture is a delicious addition to most sweet breakfast foods. Below is a recipe for a kale smoothie that I made several times for my parents while I was home, and below that is the recipe for the mix. It’s full of natural goodness that will start your day off beautifully and keep you feeling strong and healthy.

kalesmoothie

(Vitamix…how I miss you)

Berry-Banana Kale Smoothie

serves 2

4-5 leaves of kale, washed

1 cup of berries

1 large banana

1.5 cups of almond milk

4 ice cubes

3 heaped TBS of the Family-Friendly breakfast mix

honey or agave to taste

1) Start with ice, kale and almond milk and blend until smooth.

2) Add berries, banana, mix and optional sweetener and blend.

3) Enjoy!

Family-Friendly Breakfast Mix

equal parts of the following:

Chia seeds

Flax seeds

Goji berries

Hemp seeds

1) In a blender, blend the chia and flax seeds until they become meal, be careful not to over-blend, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

2) Pour the meal into a container, add the goji berries and hemp seeds and give it a good stir with a spoon.

3) Add 1-2 TBS to your breakfast and store in the fridge.

*note: This mix must be enjoyed in its raw form in order to reap all the benefits, therefore if you are adding it to something cooked like oatmeal, dish out your oatmeal first and then sprinkle the mix on top right before you dig in.*

Some benefits:

Chia-Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, excellent for joint health and weigh loss/management. Flax– have a protective affect against some cancers, can lower cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, and great source of Omega-3 and fiber. Goji Berries– incredibly high in antioxidants which fight against free radicals in the body and can slow down ageing, high in Vitamin A and beta-carotene, and they have been found to help control the amounts of cortisol released by the body when under stress. Hemp seeds– high in protein (containing 10 essential amino acids), anti-inflammatory, Omega-3 AND Omega-6 fatty acids, high in zinc, iron, and other minerals.

Cheers to you Dad!

xo,

Natalia