Join Annette in her kitchen as she shares her favorite, go-to Green Juice with you.
Join Annette in her kitchen as she shares her favorite, go-to Green Juice with you.
When spring time comes around, many of us get the mental and emotional awakening – we feel happier, more positive, ready to get outdoors, explore, try new things and new foods! This explosion of energy and excitement also often comes in a physical sense, and we wake up feeling fresher, energized and ready to take on another beautiful day.
If you’re NOT feeling that way this spring, it may be due to your diet. If you wake up feeling sluggish, perhaps with a headache and would prefer to go back to sleep, you may need to revamp your food habits. And this can be easier than you may think!
Below are five fabulous food habits to add to your life. Try one or try them all, but you will undoubtedly be feeling far more energized, fresh, healthy and ready to jump into another spring day!
We were once juicing virgins too, and it was a bit overwhelming to know where to start. Still, underneath that juicing newbie anxiety, there was some serious excitement brewing! We were ready to take that step to see what all the fuss was about, knowing we would be doing something amazing for our health. It’s kind of like going into a health food store or visiting a farmer’s market for the first time. It’s unknown territory, but also a bit of a thrill to be exposed so much healthy food and healthy living practices.
If you’re new to juicing, we want to help get you started, so you can begin your raw juice adventures with a little more security. Then, when you’re ready, you can take on our 7 Day Juicing Jumpstart Challenge!
Step #1: Get an Electric Juicer. You may want to borrow one from a friend or be tempted to buy a very inexpensive one for under $50. Borrowing is great. Buying a cheap juicer is usually not so great. You definitely want to make sure you have a juicer that will last, can juice leafy greens and wheatgrass, and cleans fairly easily. It’s likely you’ll need to spend over $100 for a decent juicer. There are three main types of juicers (in order of expense, low to high): centrifugal, masticating, twin-gear. We both own a masticating Omega juicer (Kendall upgraded from the Jack Lalanne centrifugal style, which worked well, but didn’t juice leafy greens as well and was a pain to clean!). We love the Omega 2006! Be sure to give your new juicer a good wash before using it (soap and hot water).
Step #2: Buy some vegetables and fruit. Keep in mind, juicing mostly vegetables will result in lower naturally occurring sugar that is found in most fruit. A good rule of thumb is to stick with a 4:1 ratio of vegetables to fruit. Fruit helps to sweeten, if that makes your juice more enjoyable. Great produce to juice includes: carrots, beets, kale, collards, spinach, lettuces, parsley, celery, fennel, cabbage, cucumber, ginger root, apples, pears, oranges, lemons, limes – just to name a few! Also, it’s best to stick with organic produce, since one of the biggest reasons to juice is to help flush toxins from your body. Using produce that has been sprayed with chemicals defeats that purpose.
Step #3: Decide on your juice combo. Which veggies/fruits are you juicing first? There really aren’t any rules – just juice what appeals to you. Two easy combinations to try are 1) carrot, spinach, cucumber; 2) kale, lemon, apple, celery, ginger root.
Step #4: Prepare your produce. Wash your fruit/veggies – scrub with a produce brush. Use a natural produce cleaner if you prefer. Get out your knife and cutting board and chop up your fruit and veggies small enough to fit down the juicer chute. Don’t worry about seeds, apple stems, skin – for the most part these can stay on. Cut off any “bad” or browned areas/stems/roots. With citrus fruits, remove the bitter peel, but leave most of the white pith on. How much to prepare? It’s really up to you! The amount of juice you get will vary by juicer and fruit/veggie, so start with a smaller amount and add more if you wish. A good goal would be to produce 12 ounces of juice.
Step #5: Start your engine! Power up your juicer, and add your fruit and vegetables a little at a time. The juice will be caught in one container (some juicers include this containers, some don’t – use a glass or bowl to catch juicer if needed), and all of the fibrous parts in another.
Step #6: Clean your juicer. Ok, you don’t HAVE to do this now, but we recommend quickly cleaning your juicer before drinking your juice. Otherwise, you might procrastinate like we tend to do. Then you have a mess.
Step #7: Drink your juice! Enjoy your juice and all it’s nutritious goodness soon after juicing. Juice can be stored in an airtight container for a day or two, but keep in mind that the longer it sits, the more nutrients it loses, and of course, it will spoil. Still, a fresh juice made from home that is a day or two old is most likely better than a bottled juice you buy at the store!
So…what’s your first juice gonna be?!
If you’re ready for a week of juicing, along with some healthy whole food recipes, try our 7 Day Juicing Jumpstart Challenge!
So many of us are running out the door in the morning – heading to work, bringing the kids to school – so breakfast sometimes just has to be quick and easy. As much as we know how important and helpful it is to our psychological and physical health to sit down, eat slowly and be mindful of the time we spend eating (rather than scarfing down your food, or skipping breakfast altogether), it just isn’t always easy or even possible.
Here is a very quick and simple breakfast that still packs a nutrient-rich punch: a green protein-rich smoothie and sprouted whole grain toasted with coconut oil. This can also be a great quick breakfast option for kids.
The bread we like is the Food for Life Ezekiel brand, which includes whole sprouted grains, no added sugar or really much of anything else. It is NOT gluten-free, however sprouted gluten-containing grains are often easier for many people to digest. This particular bread also has raisins and cinnamon. Add some coconut oil and you get some healthy fat as well (and it tastes so yummy on this bread!).
For your smoothie, you can make any combination that appeals to you, just be sure to add in some protein, greens and good fats (like coconut oil, chia seeds, avocado or nut butters) to help sustain you. You may also want to add a banana, berries or a little honey to help sweeten. This smoothie has water, banana, baby kale, coconut oil, almond butter, and avocado. You can adjust each ingredient to your liking.
Then, just grab your smoothie and toast and you’re out the door!
We hear so much about the latest diet fad and how to lose those extra 10, 20 or 30 pounds with some special pill or drink. Many of us have grown up seeing advertisement after advertisement for the next big weight loss program or quick fix. This leads to yo-yo dieting and feelings of failure and inadequacy when we can’t lose the weight we want to lose.
For many cancer survivors, excess weight is one more crappy side effect of conventional treatment, and can add to the lack of energy, strength and balance we feel once treatment is done.
The truth is losing weight is just one part of the picture. And very often fad diets and magic pills might help with weight loss but they create imbalance and stress in the body, weaken the immune system, create fatigue, disrupt proper hormonal function and even put us on an emotional rollercoaster. Even if the weight is lost, it is likely to come back and there are usually other issues in the body that are not addressed or resolved.
When we begin adding in real, whole foods, mostly plants, and focus on that on a daily basis, rather than going on a strict diet or restricting certain foods, the results are amazing, real and long-term. How we eat, our health, our weight – these things are all a result of a lifestyle shift. Rather than going on the on-again, off-again dieting route, instead, it could make all the difference if we begin to make changes in food and diet that we plan to maintain permanently.
To make this work, we can’t be eating in a way that causes deprivation of foods we love, starvation from not getting enough nutrient-dense calories, or an inflammatory, imbalanced environment in the body.
We’re saying get stop dieting, stop counting calories and points. Get real with food and with yourself. Eat in a way that is enjoyable AND health-promoting. Eat more veggies. Eat whole grains. Eat more plant proteins. Eat healthy fats. And as you do, you will naturally crowd out the processed, sugary foods and too much animal protein. You will also find a balance that works well for YOU. After all, there is no one right diet for every body.
To get you going, here are 10 specific tips that you can begin today (or try one new tip a week) for losing unwanted weight effortlessly and bringing harmony to your body:
If you’re like us, you want to avoid getting the cold, flu or anything in-between as much as possible! Especially if you’re dealing with cancer, getting even a minor cold can be absolutely exhausting. And, if you’re in treatment with low blood counts and a compromised immune-system, the fear of catching something is even more prevalent. Then, there are those of us with kids – isn’t if awful when they get sick?! – or working a busy full-time job and we just don’t have time to get sick, do we?
Fortunately, there are many natural ways to help your body fight and heal from disease, from the common cold to cancer. Whether you combine these with conventional medicine practices or not, know that you’ll be helping your body our big time when you implement some of these tips. Getting the right food into your body, getting enough rest, keeping stress at bay and getting fresh air all play a large role in staying well.
Take a look at some of our tips for preventing illness and helping your body to heal from it. These can be done on a regular basis AND when a cold or other illness strikes. Do you have a great natural cold remedy? Please share in the comments below!
One of the easiest ways to get your green-on (leafy green, that is) is by adding leafy green veggies to smoothies. Have a smoothie for breakfast, lunch, part of a meal or a snack. And you can easily blend your ingredients and take it with you in a glass jar or other travel container.
Leafy greens are very nutrient-rich, detoxifying, and energizing. They strengthen the immune system, nourish the blood and support the skin – to name just a few benefits!
If you are new to leafy greens (kale, collards, spinach, watercress, mustard, dandelion) and a little unsure of how to add them in to your diet or aren’t a fan of their taste, throwing them in a smoothie is a fab way to eat (or drink!) them regularly and you can easily hide the flavor. Although, we love how leafy greens taste, and we encourage you to try them steamed, sauteed, in soups and so many other ways (check out our book for ideas and recipes!).
We suggest making a blender-full of smoothie and pouring anything you don’t drink right away into glass mason jars for you and your family to drink for a couple days. Don’t store your smoothies longer than a couple of days in the fridge.
We have an entire section devoted to smoothies in Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen, including some green ones! We hope you give them a try.
Here are some ingredients we love in our green smoothies:
We’d love to hear what you put in your green smoothie!
Making the decision to begin changing your diet can feel overwhelming and confusing – possibly so much so that you end up making no changes at all! And that’s not what we want to see happen. Once you’ve decided you’re ready to begin eating better (which is really the first step!), then take on the rest in baby steps. Go one day at a time and one goal at a time.
Perhaps you decide to begin eating a leafy green vegetable every day or 4 days of the week. Maybe you want to try drinking more water or eating more whole grains (like brown rice) instead of processed grains (breads, pastas – especially the white flour ones!). Start small and add on as you go.
Here are 7 general steps to finding your groove with food. These are great areas to start with, and you may want to break down your steps and goals even more. Remember to be realistic, but also push yourself to see just what you can do! You’d be surprised!
1.) Drink more water: There is no right amount of water to drink, but generally the bigger and more active you are, the more you should drink. A good rule of thumb is a 1/2 ounce of water per pound of weight. So a 160 pound person might start with 80 ounces of water (or 10 eight-ounce cups). Staying hydrated is imperative during cancer treatment! This will help to increase your energy, support your immune system, reduce nausea and other treatment and cancer side effects.
2.) Practice cooking: Cooking is a fundamental step to healthier living. By making your own meals you know what’s going into them. Meals don’t need to take hours to prepare and involve multiple ingredients. Pick a healthy recipe or two a week to add in to your routine.
3.) Increase leafy green vegetables: These are seriously lacking in the American diet and they are most essential for creating long-lasting health. More specifically they help eliminate depression, improve liver, gallbladder and kidney function, increase energy and boost your blood. Try kale, collards, mustard greens, dandelion greens, spinach, and chard.
4.) Increase whole grains: It’s not these types of carbohydrates that have led to the obesity epidemic, but rather the processed goods like doughnuts. Whole grains are some of the best sources of nutritional support and provide long-lasting energy. Try brown rice, quinoa, oats, and millet.
5.) Increase sweet vegetables: People forget that these exist and they are the perfect medicine for the sweet tooth. Instead of depending on processed sugar, you can add more naturally sweet flavors to your diet and dramatically reduce sweet cravings and better support your body. Try sweet potatoes, beets, carrots and squash.
6.) Experiment with protein: The majority of Americans eat way too much protein and mostly in the form of animal meat. Pay attention to how different types of protein make you feel. Try other forms like beans, lentils, nuts or fermented soy (tempeh, miso).
7.) Eat less meat, dairy, sugar and processed foods; consume less coffee, alcohol and tobacco: Did you notice we said eat less instead of don’t eat? If we told you not to drink coffee or eat sweets you would want them even more. By increasing your whole grains, vegetables and water you will naturally crowd out the more processed items, so this step often comes naturally (and it’s much easier to add in good food than try to restrict yourself from the not-so-good foods).
Adapted from 10 Steps to Boost Your Health for Life, Joshua Rosenthal, IntegrativeNutrition.com
You may be used to seeing kale as a garnish on your dish in a restaurant, but this leafy green veggie is much more beneficial when it IS your food, rather than simply decorating it. This nutrient powerhouse has been repeatedly shown to have powerful antioxidant capabilities as well as offer protection against certain types of cancer. Like broccoli and cabbage, kale has the ability to activate enzymes in the liver, which detoxify cancer causing substances, reducing their ability to damage cells. It’s also an excellent source of vitamins K, A, and C as well as the carotenoids that are important for good vision and the prevention of cataracts. It’s also rich in calcium.
If you aren’t familiar with kale, it’s time to get friendly with it! It’s an easy veggie to add to any meal as a side dish (but make it a BIG side dish!) or tossed right in with other food. Kale can be steamed, sauteed with a little garlic, olive oil and sea salt, eaten raw in a salad, added to soups, rice or pasta dishes or baked into crispy chips. Once you begin eating kale and other leafy greens on a regular basis, you’ll begin to feel the difference and you’ll likely notice that you begin to crave not-so-healthy foods less.
Here is a tasty and easy kale recipe to try (from Integrative Nutrition):
Massaged Kale and Raisin Salad
1 bunch kale
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/3 cup raisins
3/4 cup diced apple (about 1/2 apple)
1/3 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons unfiltered apple cider vinegar/red wine vinegar
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After their cancer diagnoses, Kendall Scott and Annette Ramke learned how to thrive through cancer and beyond by taking an integrative approach to healing, with a focus on whole, plant-based food. Kendall and Annette are the authors of Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen and received board-certification in Health Coaching through Integrative Nutrition and the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP). Read More…