My Favorite Thickener!

Chia as a thickener for your recipes #chia #superfoods #omega3

Cha Cha Cha CHIA!!!! Yes, that’s right, Chia! It is by far my most favorite way to thicken just about anything that I am cooking or creating that also has amazing health benefits. One of the best things about Chia is that it can be heated and it will not lose any nutritional value!

Chia as a thickener for your recipes #chia #superfoods #omega3

There are so many health benefits gained when consuming Chia seeds. They are an excellent source of protein and fiber, which is essential in any diet. Per weight, they are 14% protein, which is incredibly high for any non-animal product. Not only are they filled with good fiber in the form of carbohydrates to fuel the body, but they also have loads of Omega-3 Fatty Acids. They are a great way to supplement eating things such as salmon or other fish products as you don’t necessarily want to eat fish everyday. But enough about why you SHOULD eat chia, let me tell you how you COULD eat Chia!

My favorite way to eat Chia is honestly to sprinkle some in my morning coffee along with some coconut oil! The heat makes the chia quickly begin to produce that gelatinous coating over each seed, aka the thickening agent! Then magically my morning Jo-Jo coffee just got a bit more “Jo” added to it! But instead of coffee, there are literally thousands of ways to enjoy chia! You can sprinkle the raw seeds over salads, yogurt, oatmeal, cereal, rice, etc. It also makes a great addition to any smoothie or baked good that you are making! But it is this gelatinous coating that really helps make chia a great thickener. And if you're wondering what that coating is, well it's actually…water! The outside of the chia seed has little fibers that absorb water. When fully “gelatinized,” a chia seed has actually gained 9 times its weight in water with that little coating!

When added to hot products, such as coffee, oatmeal, soups, etc. the coating materializes fairly quick. But if you are adding chia to cold substances, it will usually take about 12 hours for the seeds to fully gelatinize. So if you are making special puddings, deserts, or yogurt treats, I would plan ahead and make it a day before you want to consume the yumminess. I am including a delicious recipe below that I learned to make from a friend and it is so yummy, a great mid morning boost or pre-workout energizer and it tastes just like an orange creamsicle!

My Chia Dreamsicle

½ cup Vanilla Greek Yogurt (No Sugar Added)

2 cups Orange Juice (favorite brand or home-juiced)

½ cup water

1 ½ Tbsp Chia Seeds

Add all ingredients together, give it a really good shake, and then store in the fridge over night! This makes about two servings of this yummy drink and it can be enjoyed with, or for, breakfast or as a snack or pre-workout drink!

Give it a try, start experimenting, and simply enjoy and be Vibrant!


Additional Sources:

About Rachel Priest: After growing up in Knoxville, TN, Rachel moved many times with her family and then continued to travel the world globally through the years. After struggling with an 8 year long battle with eating disorders, Rachel Finally found her freedom and self acceptance and love through the practice of yoga and rock climbing. Rachel promotes self-love and acceptance to all students, especially those who struggle with creating a positive self-image for themselves and their life. Rachel believes that through loving your body and the world, we can all create a positive and fulfilling life with the understanding that we are all already a perfect being.

Rachel currently lives in Los Angeles and teaches at various gyms and studios in the area, promoting the idea of self love and acceptance. Beyond Teaching, Rachel is a beach bum at heart and loves the waves and ocean and soaking up the sun.

6 Common Eating Snafus

Sometimes the things we choose to eat or not eat, thinking we are making the healthy decision, are incorrect. Here are some common mistakes. #vibranthealthblog

Sometimes the things we choose to eat or not eat, thinking we are making the healthy decision, are incorrect. Here are some common mistakes. #vibranthealthblog

Snafu #1: Judging Your Salt Level by Taste

So….you’ve cut back on your salt intake to prevent high blood pressure. Let’s take a quick taste test: Which has more sodium, a serving (a half cup) of instant chocolate pudding or a serving (1 ounce) of salted nuts?

         Believe it or not the average pudding contains 450 mg while the nuts have less – 160 mg sodium. Yep, nuts will taste saltier, but that’s because there’s no sugar or cream to hide its flavor.

Healthy Change: Learn your food labels. A low-sodium food should have no more than 140 mg sodium per serving. A “very low sodium” food tops out at 35 mg.  Even better, make low-salt food from scratch or fill up on fruits and vegetables. Many are rich in potassium, which can blunt negative effects of excess sodium.

Snafu #2: Skipping Salad Dressing

Okay, so you figured out that eating your salad without the dressing cuts down the calories, but guess what?  You’re losing out on a vital health perk. Without some fat, your body simply can’t absorb the disease-fighting phytochemicals (such as alpha- and beta-carotene and lycopene) that are crammed into those wonderful veggies like tomatoes, carrots, red peppers and spinach.

Healthy Change: Watch your calories, but don’t leave out fat entirely. You can leave your salad undressed only if you’re getting fat through other sources – nuts, meats, cooking oils, or avocados – within the same meal,.

Otherwise, add a couple tablespoons of dressing.

Snafu #3: Sprinkling Whole Flaxseeds On Food

You heard somewhere that adding flaxseeds to your morning oatmeal will fulfill your daily dose of cancer-fighting Omega-3 fatty acids, right? Ummmm ~ not exactly.

         Here’s the thing ~ because of their tough outer coating, whole flaxseeds will pass right through your body undigested. To extract the good omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseeds must be ground.  So just chewing whole seeds doesn’t cut it.

Healthy Change: You can buy ground or milled flaxseed, or better yet grind your own in a coffee grinder so that they’re fresh. Just mix a tablespoon or two into your pancake batter, yogurt and smoothies.

One more tip: Ground seeds will spoil very quickly, so always store them in the refrigerator or freezer.

Snafu #4: Buying Fish Oil that’s missing EPA or DHA

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to be important for heart & brain health but, not all brands are created equal.

         If your fish oil is low in amounts of Omega-3s like eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), then you’re simply not getting the inflammation-fighting properties, which combat arthritis, asthma, heart disease, stroke, psoriasis and more.

Healthy Change: Read.  Always check the ingredients list for the EPA and DHA amounts. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends 1,000 mg daily for those with coronary heart disease. Unfortunately, there are no government-recommended daily requirements for EPA and DHA. You’ll find that even in some high-quality brands, the capsules have 1,100 mg of fish oil but, still contain only 300 mg EPA and 200 mg DHA – less than half is omega-3 fatty acids.

         Before you take any supplement, consult your doctor.

Snafu #5: Cooking Your Garlic

Studies have proven that thanks to its allyl sulfur compounds, garlic can fight cancer, but heating instantly deactivates these natural compounds.

Healthy Change: Chopping or crushing the herb preserves it better. In fact, the American Institute for Cancer Research says that you should chop, then stop for 10 minutes. Apparently, allowing your garlic to sit at room temperature before cooking helps it retain most of its disease-fighting compounds.

Snafu #6: Depending on Cheese or Yogurt for Vitamin D

You’ve decided that you can easily get vitamin D’s bone-building and heart-healthy benefits through nibbling on your favorite dairy snacks, right?
Wrong. Yogurt and cheese are usually made with unfortified milk, which contains no Vitamin D.

Healthy Change: Read. Before you toss it into your grocery cart, carefully check the nutrition facts on yogurt or cheese packages. You’ll find that while some contain 20% of the Daily Value for vitamin D; others have absolutely none. Also, consider some non-dairy sources of Vitamin D like Salmon, Sardines, Eggs (with yolk) or our Vitamin D supplement.

About the author: Jeanne Ricks is a Holistic Health Coach & Clinical Hypnotist who provides personal diet, wellness & nutrition coaching combined with Hypnosis to help you achieve your personal best.


Iron and Bio-Availability

black tea

It’s not simply whether a food or supplement has nutrition value on its own.  Nope!  What use is it if your body can’t access those nutrients?

To get any use out of food and supplements the nutrients in them must actually be available for absorption and utilization in your body cells and tissues. We call this Bio-availability. In other words ~ those nutrients that you ingest but, are not released during the digestive process for absorption, are of absolutely no nutritional value. Get it?

To make matters even more interesting ~ some things you eat or medicines you take may block your body’s ability to get at those much needed nutrients.  So you may have a meal which you believe to be brimming with all the ‘good stuff’ and yet ~ your body’s ability to either break down the food to the necessary level to release nutrients or be hindered from really absorbing the released nutrients.

Let’s look at iron for tea

Are you a tea lover?  Tea contains oxalates ~ oxalic acid compounds impair your absorption of iron. These same oxalates can also be found in spinach, kale, beets, nuts, chocolate, wheat bran, rhubarb, strawberries and herbs like oregano, basil and parsley.  All of these to varying degrees hinder your absorption of iron.

walnutsWalnuts ~ another great food rich in valuable Omega-3’s and in 2003, the FDA even recognized their benefits and role in heart disease prevention BUT they can reduce the amount of iron which your body absorbs from iron-rich foods. How? Walnuts contain phytates and even in low levels, these have a strong inhibitory effect on your body’s ability to absorb the iron, zinc, manganese (and, to a lesser extent calcium) from foods. Phytates are also found in soy, almonds, sesame, dried beans, lentils, peas, cereals and whole grains ~ All great foods. These phytates can reduce iron absorption from your food by approximately 50 to 65% according to the Iron Disorders Institute.

Don’t worry – don’t worry, you most likely consume enough minerals in common foods to more than make up for the small amounts of these micronutrients that might be affected by phytates or oxalates.  These examples were only used here to show you the many types of hidden challenges that your body hurdles every day in order to get the nutrients it needs.  But if iron is a problem for you ~ care should be taken in eating too much of these foods.

Coffee lover spoiler alert: More serious care needs to be taken with your daily intake of Cocoa and Coffee; both can inhibit iron absorption in coffeeyour body. Polyphenols or phenolic compounds are the villains here.  But wait ~ they’re also important antioxidants that help you to remove damaging free-floating cells from your body.  Yet, according to the Iron Disorders Institute, cocoa can inhibit 90% of iron absorption in your body.  One cup of coffee can prevent your iron absorption by as much as 60%. This same phenolic acid is also be found in apples, peppermint, walnuts, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and some herbal teas or spices.

Here’s a surprising culprit ~ Calcium!  That’s right. Even milk can prevent your body from absorbing iron in adequate amounts. Why? This essential mineral is also the only known substance to inhibit absorption of both non-heme and heme iron when 300 to 600 mg is consumed on a daily basis. [By the way, one cup of milk contains approximately 300 mg of calcium.] Large amounts of calcium can also be found in yogurt, cheese, sardines, canned salmon, tofu, broccoli, almonds, figs, turnip greens and rhubarb.

So, how do you balance getting beneficial calcium and polyphenols from their less positive effects on iron? Simple ~ it’s important that these foods should not be consumed two hours prior to (or following), your main iron-rich meal to insure proper absorption.

This important need for bio-availability is the reason that in our Green Vibrance we've included only plant calcium and also, CalZbone® extract of Cissus quadrangularis which supports osteoblastic (bone building) activity while inhibiting osteoclastic (bone destroying) activity.

Now you have some tips on how to maintain and improve bio-availability from some of the most nutrient rich fruits and veggies that your body needs!

About the author: Jeanne Ricks is a Holistic Health Coach & Clinical Hypnotist who provides personal diet, wellness & nutrition coaching combined with Hypnosis to help you achieve your personal best.