Juicing Versus Blending: Which is Better?

Green Smoothie
To blend, or not to blend, that is the question. Whether it is healthier for the body to gulp down the slings and arrows of hard-to-digest fiber, or to take arms against a sea of health problems by drinking juice? Okay, while I could write a sonnet to my juicer, I will spare you the rest of the soliloquy. Which is better: to juice or to blend?

Either way, you are getting an incredible wealth of nutrients. The only difference is how much fiber you’re ingesting, and how the fiber or lack of fiber affects your body.

We know that fiber slows digestion, which is great for dieters looking to feel full on fewer calories. But the argument for juicing versus blending is that by removing fiber, nutrients move into the blood stream faster and the body receives nearly instant fuel. The idea is that when our bodies don’t have to expend energy on digestion, it will spend that energy on repair. And, you’ll consume more vegetables in a juice than in a smoothie.

The argument for blending is that, well, smoothies fill you up and help you stay feeling full. Unless your goal is a cleanse (and no cleanse is easy), feeling full is a good thing.

Personally, I prefer juicing. First, because it’s so good for your body and there’s nothing like a juice cleanse to feel refreshed, inside and out. But mostly because… I think juices taste better. There, that’s perfectly scientific, right?

If you’d like to try out a juice cleanse before investing in a juicer, check out our line of fresh raw juices!

The Power of the Peel

Lemon zest - used with permission by Creative Commons http://www.flickr.com/photos/grongar/

Lemon zest – used with permission by Creative Commons http://www.flickr.com/photos/grongar/

Pucker up, everyone. Lemon peels aren’t to be glossed over. For one thing, they’re sweeter than their pulpy insides. But for another, that yellow flesh is full of healthy citrus bioflavonoids sure to keep you feeling sensational.

Zesty Health Facts

How healthy are those lemon peels you’ve been tossing out? Lemon peels pack 5 to 10 times more vitamins than fresh-squeezed lemon juice. And we’re not just talking Vitamin C here, which all citrus is known for. Lemon peels tout fiber, potassium, magnesium, calcium, folate and beta carotene to boot. That’s practically half your vitamin pill, all found in nature.

Got Lemons? 

Bone health isn’t just powered by milk and soy-based products. Small but mighty, lemon peels have a high density of calcium and have been shown to help in preventing diseases such as osteoporosis, inflammatory polyarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. And those aren’t the only quality of life blasters that lemon peels are kicking to the curb, as they are naturally packed with fiber and Vitamin C, too.

Say Goodnight, Cancer

Lemons are a natural sanitizer (one of the reasons humans love lemon-fresh scents in our soap products!). Well, lemon peels are busy giving cancer some trouble, too. When eaten, lemon peels help prevent numerous types of cancer, including skin cancer, colon cancer and breast cancer. Especially when eaten fresh, lemon peels (and other bioflavonoid citrus) help remove carcinogenic elements from toxins in the body. Sanitizing us inside and out!

Peel More: Here’s How

Incorporating lemon peel into your diet is simple, promise. Buy organic lemons, and ask about their freshness. Remember, the longer any citrus spends off the tree, the more they lose their anti-oxidant value. When you get home, either zest the lemon before you use the fruit, or freeze the lemon and zest the entire thing, peel, fruit and all.

Then, sprinkle away: Add lemon zest to salads, smoothies, casseroles, stir fry, pasta sauces, yogurt, pudding, even brownies and home-baked bread! Some people even toss lemon peel in their wine or whiskey for a new flavor on an old treat. There is no wrong way to eat a lemon peel.

Spice Up Your Valentine’s Day with This Aphrodesiac Dinner Menu

Cherry Tomato & Watermelon Salad

Valentine’s Day is only a few days away, and while many of you probably have dinner reservations, I have a menu full of aphrodesiacs that will tempt you to dine in.

Forbidden Fruit

Start the evening off with a salad that includes watermelon, like the one above. Not only does this add a sweet, fresh flavor to your greens, but watermelon is sort of nature’s little blue pill. The phytonutrient citrulline has the power to relax blood vessels, like Viagra. You could even use a cookie cutter to make little red hearts out of sliced watermelon.

A Fine Red Wine

Have a glass with dinner to unwind, and enjoy the heart-healthy antioxidants in the world’s favorite romantic beverage. Besides relaxation, the resveratrol boosts blood flow and improves circulation. Just don’t over-indulge, or you might pass out before the fun really starts!

Spicy in the Kitchen = Hot in the Bedroom

If you like spicy food, then you are in for a treat – in more ways than one. Capsaicin, the chemical that makes peppers hot, increases circulation and gets blood pumping, while stimulating nerve endings. Of course, you don’t want to go too hot, unless you’re into a little culinary kinkiness. Try my Spicy Chili Rellenos recipe below to get you in the mood.

Forget Chocolate – Try Vanilla this Valentine’s Day

I realize that what I’m about to say is sacrilege to chocolate-lovers, but while chocolate is an aphrodisiac, vanilla too often gets short shrift. When you use real vanilla bean in a dessert recipe, you’ll reap the rewards – it mildly stimulates nerve endings, so you’ll feel electricity in every caress. Try this vegan vanilla cake with lemon coconut frosting recipe (minus the food coloring).

Chili Rellenos
Intelligent Gourmet’s Spicy Chile Rellenos
Yield: Makes 4 peppers (4 servings)

Ingredients:
• 4 medium to large Poblano chile peppers (choose firm vegetables with a shiny dark
green skin)
• 2 fresh plum tomatoes, chopped and seeded
• 1 small to medium sweet onion, finely chopped
• 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
• 1 – fresh lime
• 2 – tablespoons of Cholula* Chili Lime Hot Sauce
• 1 tsp of ground cumin
• 1/4 tsp of red chili powder
• 2 ounces of grated queso blanco (white melting cheese)
• pinch of sea salt
• 3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts thoroughly trimmed of all fat
• 2 – 12 ounce bags of fresh spinach, washed, with large stems removed
* this particular brand is gluten free

Preparation:

Wash the 4 Poblano chilies and put in an oven proof pan with a 1/4 inch of water in the bottom, cover tightly and roast in a hot oven 350 degrees for 10 minutes (just until soft.) Remove from oven set-aside until cool to the touch. Poach chicken on stove top in 2 cups of water at a slow simmer for 10 minutes, remove from stove and cool to touch. Take the Chiles from the pan and reserve the liquid. Make a slit lengthwise in the pepper being careful to leave the stem in tack, gently remove all the seeds from the chili pepper and place in a baking safe dish. Mix chopped and seeded tomato with 1/2 the onion, and 1/2 the fresh cilantro, season with sea salt and toss with the juice of 1 – fresh lime, refrigerate until ready to serve.

Pull the chicken into 1/4-inch strips into a medium bowl; add grated queso, remaining onion and cilantro, ground cumin, chili powder, Cholula chili lime sauce, and all of the spinach. Toss until everything is blended and well coated with the spices and herbs. Stuff each chili pepper until bursting place in back in backing dish and pour the reserved water over the peppers. Cover with foil and finish in the 350-degree oven for 12- 15 minutes or until heated through. Serve immediately with the tomato, cilantro, onion, and lime salsa on top.

Chef Notes:

  • To make this meal comply with Ideal Protein® protocol we omit the queso blanco, and use flax seed dissolved in water as a binder.
  • To make this recipe Vegetarian change out chicken for quinoa, or lentils. You may also use a vegetable “ cheese” style product. 
  • Average calories per serving: 237; 219 without the cheese, all nutritional information is calculated on the web and is accurate to the best of our ability. Full nutritional information is available on request.

Chinese New Year SuperFoods To Ring in the Year of the Snake

Mandarin Oranges Reduh

There are so many beliefs and traditions surrounding the Chinese New Year, especially when it comes to food. Considering that China boasts the world’s oldest living person, a 127 year old woman, maybe these rituals have something to them. So, in honor of the Chinese New Year on February 10th, let’s take a look at what they’re eating in the East!

Go Veg

Many Chinese choose to go vegetarian for the 15 days of the New Year celebrations, which some believe aids in longevity. We’re inclined to agree, especially since the “Buddhist’s Delight” veggie dish – traditionally served on the first day – is packed with powerful nutrients. Bamboo shoots are thought to bless one with longevity, but I think all the fresh ginger in the recipe might have more to do with it. Ginger has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, plus it can help relieve cold symptoms and nausea. Now – if you want to add a little extra good fortune, see if you can hunt down these hard-to-find ingredients: black moss for wealth and lotus seeds for fertility. There’s a great recipe for “Buddhist’s Delight” here.

POM Power!

Whether bright red pomegranates really repel evil spirits and increase fertility is up for debate. What isn’t up for debate is that pomegranates are packed with  antioxidants and vitamin C. They’ve been linked to fighting cancer, Alzheimer’s,  arthritis, flu, and improving cardiovascular health.

Orange You the Lucky One

Tangerines and oranges sound like the Chinese words for luck and wealth, and are therefore thought to attract good fortune. I don’t know if eating an orange has ever made anyone wealthy, but all that Vitamin C, fiber, folate, Vitamin B1, potassium, and calcium – along with phytonutrient compounds – lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, are anti-inflammatory, and support your immune system. That sounds pretty lucky to me. And hey, when you’re not sick, you can spend more time making money, right?

The Wishing Fish

It’s customary to serve fish on New Year’s Eve, since the word for “fish” sounds like the words for “wish” and “abundance.” The fish is served whole with head and tail attached, symbolizing a good beginning and end of the year. Abundance is right – fish have an abundance of lean protein, omega-3 fat, vitamin D, zinc, magnesium and iron. In fact, studies have shown that eating seafood just twice a week can lower your risk of dying from a heart attack by 30 percent.

With these foods for dinner, I can already tell you what your fortune cookie will say: “You will have a healthy and prosperous 2013!”