Kale Mango Green Smoothie

Two of the newest fads in the food world is kale and green smoothies. Unlike many other food fads, these are ones I can get behind. I want to share with all of you a recipe I learned earlier this year for a Kale (Or Spinach) Green Smoothie.

Kale is a great dark green vegetable that provides vitamin A and K. The high fibre content in kale gives it a really interesting texture that I liken to collard greens. What I love most about kale salads is that unlike lettuce or other salad mixes, the dressing won’t wilt it down in just a couple of hours. It stays vibrantly crisp even after cooking it down in soups.

kale-by-b2

I had this smoothie while I was doing my Stage at Royal Victoria College – a McGill residence. They make this smoothie in their dining hall. I immediately told my supervisor, family and friends that I had just drank the best smoothie I’d ever had in my life. A couple of months later, I taught a basic nutrition class at two elementary schools and the kids loved it! They said “ew” and “gross” as they watched me pour all the kale into the blender but soon after, they oo-ed and ah-ed and proceeded to ask me for the recipe to give to mom and dad at home to make for them. I was really pleased with the outcome.

I love kale and spinach. However, I realize that not everyone does. BUT I can assure you that this smoothie may likely change you and your children’s minds about these dark and nutritious vegetables.

So follow this recipe and have a taste. It’s the closest I’ve gotten to the smoothie I had at RVC.

Kale Smoothie 2

Kale Mango Soy Smoothie (it’s Vegan!)

Makes 4-5 cups

  • 2 cup vanilla soy milk
  • 1 cup no-added sugar orange juice or apple juice (or even just regular milk or water!)
  • 1 banana
  • 1.5 – 2 cups of kale (or spinach!!) – or more
  • 1 cup of frozen mangos

Directions

Add it all into the blender – I usually go with the exact order I listed (liquids first!). The recipe is approximate, and feel free to have fun with it. Add a lot of kale and spinach! If you like your smoothie thicker – add more frozen mango.

The secret is, the vanilla soy milk. It adds a nutty and sweet flavour to the smoothie that milk or regular soy milk just doesn’t. Try it with other smoothies too! This is great for those who are lactose-intolerant or have dairy allergies.

As the weather in Montreal is getting nicer, try this and let it become a summer staple.

D the Intern

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Weekend Tips from Diane – Travel Edition

It struck me yesterday that my diet habits change very drastically when I’m on “vacation”. The excitement of being somewhere different compels me to explore restaurants and eat out more often especially at places that aren’t available at home. Naturally, I forget about proper vegetable and fruit servings, portion control and eating regularly. It sometimes seems like there’s not much I can do about it. Visiting relatives means eating big meals with them all the time. Visiting friends means going out and eating too much. I am snacking all the time and trying new foods. It seems there is always a good reason to eat more than we can handle……

I thought about some things that have helped me be more careful with my diet when I’m on vacation and here they are!

1. Do groceries!
Find a grocery store where you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits are something that a lot of people love, but for those who can live without it, it’s good to get your favorites. For example, I really like grapes and watermelon. Picking favorites will ensure that I will want to eat it and maybe even leave space for it. Find a way to get your favorite healthy foods.

2. First thing in the morning: Heathy Breakfast!
Eating a healthy breakfast starts your day of right. Opt for more fruits and even vegetables if you know that you will not be eating that much of it during the day.  Having oatmeal or whole wheat toast also helps with your day’s fibre intake.

It’s not that after eating a really wholesome breakfast, you can forget about eating well for the rest of the day, but it helps me reach a healthy standard when I know I will be BBQing with family, eating at restaurants (probably more high fat/high sodium) or too busy sightseeing to stop for a decent meal.

3. Set aside one meal where you pay more attention to the nutrition in your meal!
As a student, traveling means spending more money. Doing groceries saves money and helps me stay healthy. I like to save money and watch my total caloric intake very carefully while I am away.  I pick meals or days where I make sure I eat lower calories or just get more nutrients in much the same manner as I watch every dollar I spend.

I hope these tips are helpful! I admit that I don’t always follow them, but having them at the back of my mind helps keeps me in line.

How do you eat when you travel? How do you remind yourself to stay on top of your nutrition? What are some of YOUR tips?

With a satisfied stomach,
– D the Intern

Video

Video Blog Episode 2 – How to choose your cereals?

Some tips from Janna Boloten R.D.!

Food of the Gods

I was at the health food store the other day picking up some moisturizer and while waiting in line I spied a bag of chocolate.  I thought to myself, what can I use this for?  I’ve been baking a lot lately and thought maybe they would go well in some chocolate chips cookies.  I brought the bag to the cash and the girl asked me what I planned on doing with them.  I said maybe baking and then she warned me of their bitter taste.

Being the type of person who needs instant gratification, I got into the car and ripped the bag open.  I grabbed a few nuggets of what is supposed to be the food of the gods and tasted it.  I nearly spit it out.  I wondered how the connection was made that this stuff could be combined with other ingredients to make it heavenly.  Chocolate in it’s raw form tastes  well, ick.  However, The mouth feel of raw chocolate is exceptional.  It’s crunchy with the right amount of smoothness.  But it does taste very bitter.

Some experts believe this a superfood.  I think if you like chocolate it might be fun to experiment with raw cocoa.  I have been adding about a tablespoon to my oatmeal.  I also add frozen blueberries and cinnamon.  I find this combination very flavorful.   I also tried it in my tea.  I added about a teaspoon of the raw cocoa to my tea bag along with some very aromatic rooibos leaves.  The cocoa gave a nice subtle yet surprisingly non-bitter flavor.

Sometimes trying something new even for a short period of time has it’s benefits.   I am not sure I will re-buy this again or even put it in a cookie dough batter.  All I know is that I had to try it.  I was curious about this power food and now I know what it is like.   I am enjoying it in my oatmeal and will likely finish the bag.

Ernie’s Success Story

I have a friend that I have known since kindergarten. Let’s call him Ernie.  As long as I have known Ernie, he has been on the pudgy side.  He was never obese but could always stand to lose a few pounds.

Earlier this year he started asking me nutrition questions.  He would call me, text me, email me and I started to realize that he was serious about changing his eating habits. Ernie is a bachelor and lives alone.  He didn’t used to cook for himself .  I am not really sure how he ate.  All I know is he had an epiphany and new he needed to make some changes. He was always semi active with golf, tennis and skiing but he suffered from back issues.  If his back was out then he was not active at all.  Since losing over 20 pounds his back is better and he enjoyed a lot of tennis this summer.  Actually, he is now active at least 5 times a week!

Ernie made and continues to make small dietary changes.  Each change that he makes is something that is manageable for him.  For example, he switched from white refined pasta to whole wheat.  He did the same for all breads and other grains like rice. He believes one of his keys to success was cutting out all refined processed white foods. Whole grain is more satiating than white resulting in less calories consumed which leads to weight loss.

Ernie started to scrutinize his portions.  This was a significant step in reducing his calories. Ernie started cooking more and learning how to prepare food in a healthier way.  He had a few cooking disasters along the way like burnt sweet potato fries but that is part of the learning process.  Cooking mistakes always lead to greater success later on.

I guess the biggest change that Ernie made was developing an awareness of what he put in his mouth.  I don’t think he ever thought much about it before.  He was at my house over the weekend and it got to be supper time but he didn’t want to eat with us because he was expected at his parent’s house for supper.  I could tell he was hungry and Richard offered him some homemade wrap pizza he had just made.  Ernie took 3 small slices equivalent to one bread serving just to tide him over.  In the past, he probably would have eaten a lot more at our house and then gone for supper anyway.

Why is Ernie so successful?  You can read about all of his changes here in his own words. But, in my opinion the reason he doing so well is simply because he was ready!

In Ernie’s own words

-My LA friend told me about his weight loss experience and I immediately brushed it off as “undoable ” for me
-it helped to have bought a designer shirt that made me look pregnant and kept me motivated.
-One day, I was at a business lunch and people noticed I was eating salad… they said “what are you on a diet?” I said “yes, I just started yesterday”, we all laughed and took it as a big joke, but it committed me to the idea and that day was day one! Announcing your intention to people publicly keeps you committed to the cause (it’s a Tony Robbins thing…)
-My focus was purely on eliminating white carbs and sweets also (not adding) sugars to my food…calorie count, etc… was not my focus.
-I think by focusing on one thing (in my case 2 ) I was able to keep disciplined.
-I have never been a “scale ” person, but did a weigh in every 2-3 months….good things were happening and undoable became achievable
-Over the summer, I was very motivated to keep a healthy lifestyle, the goal was 4-5 activities / week (tennis,  swimming , hiking , walks…keep it fun & light )
– I lost 20 pounds between Jan-June, then put on 7 pounds in the summer….and since September that weight is off !
-the weight loss was steady, nothing drastic, and except for the summer glitch (which was due to mom’s pasta, which I have since got her to buy whole wheat) everything is back on track.
-another friend recently came over and warned me about the dangers of sodium. He went through my fridge and cupboards and told me how everything was a killer! Now I can spend 5-10 minutes in a grocery store comparing sugars & sodium content in granola cereal!!!!
-As you take the first step and get a comfort zone with it, you will be ready to add to the mix…first sweets then carbs, then sodium, then calories…until eventually I’ll be a pure vegan one day, Never !!!
-I am reading more articles and more keen to learning about nutritional/ health….and slowly you try to implement those lessons learned
-I’m not that obsessive, nor consider myself a detail oriented person, but I started to get it
-nutrition is also a great ice-breaker conversation topic…I find people latch on to the topic and more often than not people are concerned and taking steps to improve their health through nutrition & fitness. People want to let you know what they’re doing and want to talk about it…
-cheats: at first I went “cold turkey , but came to understand that the body can take small doses and restrictions are negative, so on the odd occasions a slice of cheesecake or tiramisu is in order, but a small piece !
-success leaves clues….people have noticed a change and are impressed, they want to know what I did , how I started and hopefully they find their own motivation and their own tricks for getting into better shape, for their reasons…

Crazy Confusing Carbohydrates

The world of nutrition has been rocked by some recent studies.  In the past, the belief was that dietary fats were primarily responsible for heart disease and obesity.  The food industry responded by cutting fat in all their processed products.  Fat was replaced by sugars.

North Americans kept getting bigger and the problem with heart disease was getting worse.  People became fat phobic and shunned anything they perceived to be high in fat including healthy fats found in nuts and seeds, olive oils and even avocados.

It should come as no surprise that current research indicates that dietary sugar is problematic.  It seems that highly refined carbohydrates are worse for your heart than saturated fats.

Consequently, the term carbohydrate is horribly confusing for most people.  I ask all of my patients to define it for me.  90% will say bread, pastas, rice and cereal.  They are not wrong. However, those foods are considered simple carbohydrates because they are made from refined white flour.  Complex carbohydrates are not highly processed and have a low glycemic index value.  These foods include: legumes, brown rice, whole grain bread and whole wheat pasta.

To make matters even more confusing there are carbohydrates in fruits, vegetables and even milk.  However, the fiber in the fruit and vegetables and the protein in the milk are good for you.  These combinations are beneficial.

Consider foods such as pastries, cookies, Danish, muffins, crackers, chocolate bars, candy, cake, pies and you’ve got a list of foods made with added sugar and some of them with refined white based flour.  These foods are addictive and can lead to weight gain and health issues like heart disease and diabetes.

If you reduce your intake of sugar containing foods and sugar containing beverages like regular soda (and even diet soda) and juice then you can significantly improve your diet.

Replace white pasta with whole wheat and white rice with brown rice.  Use only whole grain breads and rolls when making sandwiches or toast.  Experiment with legumes in recipes.  Try making a lentil vegetable soup or a chickpea salad.  Instead of making mashed potatoes with white potatoes, use sweet potatoes as a substitute.  Consider baking with whole wheat flour and cutting down on the amount of sugar in the recipe.  Try using unsweetened applesauce in place of sugar.  Instead of juice, try homemade smoothies made from frozen fruit of your choice and milk or yogurt.