Watch this YouTube video to see a pretty telling expose on blueberries in processed foods. Muffins, cereals, even “health” food bars like FiberOne use fake blueberries instead of real ones to save cash. Nothing like a healthy side of “blueberry crunchie bits” that contain nothing but sweeteners, low-grade starches and artificial colors…
Have you heard of yerba mate yet? It’s the new kid on the block in tea-land. I first heard of it this summer while at Phoenix on Lee, where they had an iced version blended with lemonade (delicious). The nice lady at Phoenix explained that it has energy-boosting properties that are slightly different from caffeine. Upon further reading, it appears that there’s some debate as to whether the caffeine chemical is the same or different than coffee, but most agree that the energy you get from drinking the tea is distinctly different than a coffee buzz. It’s more subtle, sustained a bit longer, and there’s no fast high or accompanying low. I also notice that there’s a big difference depending on how I steep it – if it’s steeped for a long time (say 10 mins) covered so the water stays really hot, the tea is definitely stronger and thus bigger energy kick.
Yerba Mate comes from South America, and is a natural herb growing in the rain forests of Argentina (where it’s the national drink!), Chile, Peru, and Brazil, and Paraguay. Even better, it’s crazy loaded with antioxidants – up to 2x the amount in green tea! (This depends, of course, on the grade of teas and brewing method). That’s a lot of anti-oxidants! I like the flavor, too. It’s mild, slightly sweet, and less grassy than green tea. I like this brand, which is pretty widely available. It’s organic and shade-grown, which is the plant’s natural state and thus preserves the nutrient level. Enjoy!
Nothing’s better on a cold winter evening than a bowl of warm, creamy soup. Even better is one that’s also nourishing. This recipe is revised from a recipe I found in The Complete Book of 400 Soups by Anne Sheasby. With my 21-Day Cleanse coming up (see below), I was inspired to try a vegan version, which turned out great. If you don’t feel like making the cashew cream (it’s easy though, I promise), just add another potato.
Creamy Potato Leek and Arugula Soup
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 leeks, cleaned and chopped
2 lg or 3 medium russet potatoes, diced
2 cloves garlic
5-6 cups of broth or water
3 cups of chopped fresh arugula
2/3 cup of vegan heavy cream (coconut cream – recipe follows)
1/2 Tablespoon sea salt
fresh black pepper
optional: dash of nutmeg
1) Heat olive oil in a soup pot
2) Add veggies and garlic and saute until tender
3) Add broth, salt and pepper, and nutmeg and bring to a simmer for 20 minutes until vegetables are tender
4) Blend soup in a blender – a hand-held blender is even easier
5) Stir in vegan cream and arugula
6) Taste and adjust seasonings if needed, serve warm
Vegan Heavy Cream
1 cup of raw whole cashews
Cover cashews with water and soak for several hours. Rinse the cashews and place in a blender. Cover with fresh cold water and blend until cream is very smooth (2-5 minutes depending on your blender).