Renew Week Superfood Day 3: Maca Root

Today’s superfood : Maca Powder

This superfood has been a staple in the Peruvian Andes for thousands of years. In fact, it is still called “theimages-2 food of the gods” in many cultures because of the wide variety of health benefits this superfood contains.

The Maca root resembles a very large radish, however for convenience and potency levels it is mostly taken in the powder form. Maca has an extensive and vast variety of health benefits. It is known to increase energy, endurance, strength, immunity, circulation, fertility, and libido. One serving of dried Maca powder contains more than 10% protein, nearly 20 amino acids, including 7 essential amino acids.  The Maca root contains more than 50 phyto-chemicals including many vitamins such as B1, B2, B12, Vitamin C, and zinc. It also contains calcium, phosphorous, protein and fiber.

images-1Maca is also known for thyroid regulation, helps to lower blood pressure, regulate blood sugar levels, and enhance memory. Feeling stressed? This superfood helps to relieve stress by reducing the effects of cortisol on the adrenal glands. Maca not only helps relax your nervous system and reduce stress, it also give you a boost of natural energy. This root vegetable contains energy producing properties, but unlike caffeine, it does not adversely affect your nervous system. Essentially, it gives you a non-jittery boost without the crash.

As with all concentrated superfoods, Maca should be taken in recommended doses. Start by adding a dose each day to your smoothie, you will almost immediately begin to feel the benefits of this powerful root.

*Maca should not be consumed if you are pregnant or lactating

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Renew Week Superfood Day 2 : Goji Berries

Goji Berries

Used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 5,000 years, Goji berries are regarded as a longevity, strengthimages-building and immune boosting food. They are also the most nutritionally dense fruit on earth. This superfood contains 18 kinds of amino acids, including all 8 essential amino acids, up to 21 trace minerals, iron, polysaccharides, B & E vitamins, and many other nutrients. Goji berries have a very high amount of antioxidants and also contain beta carotene, which is great for healthy skin. They also contain astaxanthin, an anti-oxidant that protects against harmful UV rays, and even helps reverse skin damage.

The Goji berry contains natural anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial compounds. This nutritional powerhouse actually contains the highest concentration of protein of any fruit and more than 15 times the amount of iron found in spinach, as well as calcium and zinc.

imgresWhether you incorporate Goji powder in your smoothies or snack on these tart berries in their true form, you will be doing yourself a huge favor. Consumption of Goji berries have shown large improvements in overall health – in boosting your immune system, gaining energy and an overall increase in vitality and well being. When taken regularly, along with maintaining a healthy lifestyle, Goji berries can increase your mood, energy levels, quality of sleep, eye health and digestion. They are also known to reduce stress levels, depression, and fatigue. These berries may help lower blood pressure, lower the “bad” cholesterol, and help with diabetes, liver disease, and depression.

So simply start incorporating these impressive berries in your diet today and get one step closer to reaching your optimal well-being. You’re worth it! Invest in your health – your body and mind will thank you 🙂

***If you are taking medication for diabetes, or blood pressure, or take the blood thinner please consult your doctor before consuming***

fall inspired repair and replenish post-workout smoothies

These three recipes are a must try! They help to replenish and repair after a workout, boost your immune system and taste delicious. They are also packed with essential vitamins and nutrients like fiber, healthy fats, B vitamins, and much more. If you’re like me, these will quickly become smoothie recipe staples. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Powerhouse

Pumpkin is loaded with vitamin A, which protects against the cell damage that occurs during Pumpkin Smoothie aboveexercise. Avocados are high in monounsaturated fat—specifically oleic acid—which is been linked to reduction in inflammation.

Ingredients
½ c canned pure pumpkin, frozen in ice cube tray7 oz 2% Greek-style yogurt of almond milk
½ c water
¼ avocado
2 Tbsp ground flaxseed
1 Tbsp maple syrup
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice

Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Pear Ginger
Gingerols, compounds in ginger root, act as potent anti-inflammatories that speed your recovery time. Meanwhile, fiber-rich flaxseed satisfies hunger, so you’re less likely to find your stomach rumbling later in the day.

imagesIngredients
½ c  Greek yogurt, almond milk, or dairy-free yogurt (almond or coconut milk)
1 ripe pear, cored and cut into large chunks
1 c pear juice, coconut water, or diluted aloe vera juice
½-inch chunk of fresh ginger root or ⅛ tsp dried ground ginger
2 c baby spinach leaves
1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
½ cup ice cubes

Blend all ingredients until smooth.

 

Gingerbread Smoothie

Greek yogurt provides the protein necessary for repairing and rebuilding muscle tissue, and the banana replaces the carbohydrates and potassium lost during exercise. Molasses is a good source of iron that aids in the delivery of oxygen to muscles.

Ingredientsimages
7 oz Greek or dairy-free yogurt1 c ice cubes
¼ c frozen sliced banana
2 Tbsp almond butter
1 Tbsp molasses
1 tsp grated ginger
¼ tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp each nutmeg and cardamom
Pinch of clove

Blend all ingredients until smooth.

adapted from prevention.com

Aloe : skin saver or delicious and healthy beverage?

The cool, jelly like substance that comes in a transparent bottle and is usually an electric green color or a frigid blue. Give the bottle a nice squeeze and the gel oozes out with an odd squishy noise following it. It’s our dear old friend aloe that only shows its face in the summer hot months. Sticky, cold and leaves you stuck in scarecrow position for a few minutes to let it sit in and dry off, then you try to sit down and realize it’s less painful just to stay in that position because Mr. Golden Sun did a number to your skin earlier today. But, I’m not here to remind you to put your sunscreen on or to bring back painful memories of a family member rubbing aloe on your bright red back, I’m talking about drinking it. NOT the topical kind!!! Have you ever considered drinking the juice from an aloe vera plant?  Is it good? Is it healthy for us? Let’s dive on in.

ganoderma-aloe-vera-juvebrew
Benefits:
Detox: aloe works as a natural detox. Aloe contains different trace elements, vitamins and minerals that help the body flush out.

Digestion: Aloe has the power to increase protein absorption and regulates the bowel. Aloe helps reduce yeast and bacteria by moving it along the digestive system and aloe soothes heartburn.

The Immunity Booster: Full of antioxidants! Sending those free radicals away with a dose of aloe.

Anti-inflammation: Aloe Contains 12 different substances that reduces and prevents inflammation. The kind of inflammation that aloe can help with are swollenness, stiff or painful joints.

Healthy Skin: We all know aloe helps are skin on a topical level, but consuming the drinkable kind of aloe can repair out caloe-vera-juiceollagen and elastin from the inside. Aloe also helps sooth minor skin irritations, scrapes, cute and burns.

Energy: Because aloe works our digestive system, this can go hand in hand with energy. Aloe regulates the system which prevents you from feeling sluggish.

Vitamins: Aloe includes Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, niacin and folic acid. In addition chromium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, potassium, iron and calcium. Maybe it would have been easier for me to list what aloe doesn’t contain!

Amino Acid: Aloe contains amino acids which aid the process of building protein.
Smile: Aloe helps your gums and mouth hygiene. It helps with mouth ulcers and bleeding gums.

Cardiovascular Health: Aloe boost the ability to diffuse red blood cells in return aids the oxygen transportation. It improves the oxidation process, circulation and lowers cholesterol.

As you can see, the benefits of consuming Aloe Vera Juice are abundant. There are brands at local health food stores and Whole Foods that are ready to drink. Others are concentrated and can be diluted in water or juice. I love adding either kids to my smoothies as well for added benefits.

Let’s get one thing straight, we are drinking only the consumable kind of aloe, NOT the topical kind. Drink up and enjoy, let us know your thoughts on the taste, results or experience you have with drinking aloe vera juice.

Tea : Powerful Health Benefits + Recipes for Energy, Stress-relief and Detox

Next to our number one hydration buddy, water, tea is the runner up on the most consumed beverage in the world. I love this statistic! Whether you like it for the taste, the endless health benefits, the comforting warmth or just the sophistication of having a cup of tea, there are plenty of health benefits as to why we should up our tea consumption. Eastern medicine has looked towards teas and herbs for centuries, and there are proven studies to show just how powerful these plants can be in health and longevity. The 5 most common teas are black, white, green, herbal and oolong. Each tea has its own special powers  – all benefitting our body in different and powerful ways.

Tea_in_different_grade_of_fermentation

Below we give a brief summary of the main benefits of the different popular types.

Looking and feeling younger is something that we all aspire  – white tea can give us a lift here. The properties of white tea can help inhibit the wrinkle process with its power of strengthening elastin and collagen. Goodbye crow’s feet and forehead wrinkles!

Black tea is shown to lower our blood pressure, decreasing out risk for a heart attack or stroke.

Green tea is our saving grace with its ability to increase the body’s ability to burn fat. Also, with weight loss, green tea is shown to increase our metabolisms, therefore making it easier to burn off calories faster. The antioxidants in green tea help our immune system put those free radicals to rest – fighting off cancer and other harmful disease. Green tea can also strengthen our bones.

Oolong tea is fragrant with a fruity hint that includes multiple benefits to our bodies. Oolong tea can help reduce heart disease, inflammatory issues and aids with high cholesterol levels. Many Eastern practices use this for weight loss as well.

Herbal teas have endless amounts of health properties and medicinal purposes.  Depending on what you need (stress relief, sleeping aid, energy booster) specific herbs blends in can be your cure-all in a cup. From detoxing, energy boosting, nausea reducing, skin healing, constipation, even helping mother with lactation and women with menstrual cycles, different herbal teas and blends can work wonders. Do some research on what you are looking for and go to your local loose leaf supplier for the cure  (instead of your pharmacy!) Make sure to contact your physician or an experienced herbalist when consuming large amounts or different herbals teas/blends (especially when pregnant).

Also, make sure you aren’t overdoing teas that contain caffeine (green, black, white and red). Caffeine is good in moderation but can also cause added anxiety, sleep disturbances and dehydration. Feel free to sip on most herbal teas all day though!

Now let’s get specific. What do we need? What does our body crave? Check out these 3 tea recipes: one for detox, energy and last but not least a stress reliever tea!

Ginger Turmeric Detox Tea Recipe
Ingredients:
• 2 inch knob of ginger
• 2-3 inch piece of turmeric root or substitute 2 tsp turmeric powder
• 1-2 dashes of cayenne (or you could juice 1/2 a habanero or jalapeño pepper)
o Circulatory stimulant: increases pulse of lymphatic and digestive rhythms
• 4 lemons (3 for juicing and 1 for slicing as a garnish)
• 3 droppers vanilla stevia
• 2 quarts waterginger_tea

1. In a juicer, juice your ginger root, turmeric, and 3 lemons
2. In a large pitcher add your juice to about 2 quarts of water, a couple droppers of vanilla stevia to taste, a couple dashes of cayenne and your thinly cut lemon slices.
3.  Mix well with a wooden spoon and adjust flavors to taste.
4. Let sit for about 10 mins before serving to let the flavors blend. Will last about 5 days in the fridge.

Heath Benefits

Ginger:
Colon Cancer Prevention
Reduces Pain and Inflammation
Cold and Flu Prevention Treatment
Turmeric:
Natural Antiseptic and Antibacterial agent
Natural liver detoxifier
Assists in healing of damaged skin
Cayenne
Anti-Cold and Flu Agent
Anti-fungal Properties
Digestive Aid

Give Me Energy Tea
Ingredients:
• A clean glass bottle or container
• 1 kaffir lime leaf
• Organic yerba mate – about 3 tablespoons per cup of water
• A few slices of fresh ginger
• Water

1)Combine all ingredients, stick’em in the bottle.
2)Let it sit overnight.
3) Bottle up and enjoy!
Yerba mate is full of antioxidants, aids digestion, and has a natural caffeherbal_lavender_flower_tea_1ine

Stress Relief Tea
Ingredients:
• 1 Tbsp St John’s Wort (suggestion)
• 1 Tbsp Oatstraw
• 1/3 c Chamomile
• 1 Tbsp Lavender
• 2 Tbsp Lemon Balm
• 2 tsp Catnip
• 1 Tbsp Orange or lemon rind.

1. Heat 2 quarts water until almost boiling.
2. Add the St. John’s wort and oatstraw and steep for 6 minutes.
3. Add the rest of the herbs and steep for an additional 3-4 minutes.
4. Strain herbs and sweeten with honey if desired.

I love purchasing loose tea in bulk- it cuts down on price and more importantly – wasteful packaging materials. If you do prefer buying packaged bags that are conveniently prepared, make sure the tea is organic. Many commercial tea bags can contain harmful toxins and chemicals that will end up counter acting the health benefits from the teas. My two favorite brands for herbal and medicinal teas are organic Alvita and Traditional Medicinals.

The importance of anti-inflammatory foods

Recently I’ve had a lot of client and readers ask questions about inflammation and what are the most anti-inflammatory foods they should be consuming, as well as those foods to avoid.

Trying to keep it in the most simple terms as possible, below is the main difference between acute and chronic inflammation.  I have also included a list of foods to totally avoid, as well as those you should be consuming daily. It’s so important to include foods these foods that promote the anti-inflammation to avoid illness, fatigue, chronic pain and more.

Acute Inflammation

Acute inflammation is a natural defense mechanism that is initiated when body tissue is damaged.  Typically, inflammation is a healthy immune response to injury, illness, or infection. “Healthy” inflammation carries isolates, identifies and removes bad bacteria and cells. The inflammatory response prevents the spread of damaging agents to nearby tissues, disposes of cell debris, and sets the stage for the repair process. It is crucial for our bodies in recovery and healing to experience acute inflammation to encourage recovery, as well as to protect surrounding healthy cells and tissue. The redness, swelling, and pain are all signs of healthy inflammation when our bodies are recovering.

Chronic Inflammation

After the healing process has come to an end, the inflammation response should too. However, in many cases inflammation continues, whether it was brought on from trauma or was present before any healing process has even begun. Chronic inflammation is when our body is unable to turn off the inflammatory response and starts to attack the surrounding healthy tissue. It can manifest in your gut, destroying stomach lining and causing digestive issues, may attack arteries causing heart disease, or in your joints, resulting in arthritis. Many of us experience chronic inflammation, whether we are aware of it or not. Chronic inflammation in our system is caused from poor diet, high stress, and an imbalance of Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio. Chronic inflammation is the number one factor for numerous health issues and is the culprit for most illness and disease such as cancer, joint disease, autoimmune disease, and heart disease.

As you can see, it is crucial to keep inflammation under control. Be sure to eat an anti-inflammatory diet, get adequate rest, and aim to reduce stress in all areas of your life.  It is also a good idea to eliminate pro-inflammatory foods such as sugar, refined grains, alcohol, processed foods, among others. Also, lifestyle suggestions that will help reduce inflammation and boost the immune system are meditation, yoga, exercise, any stress reducing activities, acupuncture, and massage.    TopAntiInflammatoryFoods

  Top Anti-inflammatory Foods

Ginger

Turmeric

Garlic Leafy Greens (spinach)

Beets

Fatty Fish (wild caught Alaskan Salmon, Sardines, Black Cod)

Healthy Fats (Avocados, extra virgin olive oil, expeller pressed coconut oil, nut: walnuts, hemp seeds, flax seed/oil)

Berries and Lemons

                           Pro- inflammatory Foods/Additives to Avoid

Processed Foods

Refined Grains (white bread and pasta Sugar Feed-lot raised meat (fed soy, corn and processed grains) Dairy (limit)
Alcohol Gluten Trans Fats

Omega 6 Fatty Acids (found in low quality oils used in most packaged foods)

MSG

 

 

          List of Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Alfalfa Alfalfa Sprouts Almonds Artichoke Avocado Barley Grass Basil Bee Pollen Beef-grass fed, organic Beets
Boy Choy Boston Lettuce Brussels Sprouts Buckwheat Cabbage Carrots Cauliflower Cayenne Pepper Celery Chard
Cherries Chives Cilantro Cinnamon Cucumber Cumin seed Eggplant Endive Fennel Seed Figs
Garlic Ginger Horseradish Root Jicama Kale Kamut Lemons Lentils Leeks Limes
Mushrooms Mustard Greens Navy Beans Onion Oregano Onion Oregano Parsnips Peas Pecans
Pumpkin Radishes Rutabaga Salmon-wild caught Sardines Sea Vegetables Seaweed Sesame Seeds Spelt Spinach
Sprouted Seeds Squash Sweet Potato Tomatoes Turmeric Turnips Walnuts Wheat Grass Yams

 

 

Re-New Week Day 2: Cayenne and L-Glutamine

With processed foods, chemical & artificial additives, over use of antibiotics, and stress  no wonder our gut lining is increasingly weakened. Digestive discomfort and disorders are more prevalent today than ever before. The first and foremost preventative or corrective measure is a healthy diet –  lots of vegetables, super foods, fish and lean meat (best to avoid processed foods, sugars, excess dairy, limit OTC drugs and antibiotics).

However, aside from a clean diet it is also a good idea to introduce a daily probiotic.  A probiotic is mostly healthy bacterium that reduces harmful bacteria and helps prevent infections in the digestive tract as well as reducing inflammation. It is crucial to have a healthy digestive system, as 80% percent of your immune system is located in your gut. Symptoms of digestive disorders vary, from indigestion, bloat, constipation, candida, even depression and mood swings.

Seeing how important is to keep your digestion in top shape, there are other natural aids to help support gut health. The amino acid L- Glutamine is a wonderful supplement for a healthy stomach and digestive system.  It is one of my favorites to add to smoothies for all of its wide range of health benefits.

First, L-glutamine is known to dramatically strengthen the stomach lining. It provides cells in the digestive tract with a crucial source of energy which aids in development of new cells, as well as increases the absorption capability of existing cells.  L-Glutamine helps with water absorption in the gut, which in turn aids in hydrating the entire body. Always a plus!

Aside from assisting in healthy digestion and gut repair, L-Glutamine works as an inherent neurotransmitter, aiding in healthy brain function and memory recollection. It is greatly used by athletes, as it helps to rebuild muscle while simultaneously breaks down fat.  In addition L-glutamine is known to help regulate blood sugar levels, enhance immune performance and fight infection, speed metabolism and may even decrease sugar and alcohol cravings.

The best way to take L-Glutamine is in powder form, making it readily digested. Add recommended dosage in your morning smoothie or juice and enjoy all of the wonderful health benefits it has to offer!

In addition to the daily probiotic, I added L-Glutamine to our smoothie today. I also added a serving of Spirulina, one of my favorite superfoods.    It is a micro-alga that has a high concentrate of protein, specifically made of essential amino acids.  Spirulina is great to add during our digestive restoration week, as it helps produce healthy stomach flora and  that repromote digestion. It is also has a high content of calcium, vitamins, nutrients and trace minerals, as well as iron and beta-carotene. Spirulina stimulates and boosts the immune system and detoxifies the body of pollutants and heavy metals. It is high in Chlorophyll, which purifies the blood, removing toxins from your system. Last but not least, it contains anti-inflammatory properties, may lower cholesterol, and even fight off allergies due to its histamine blocking effects.

Today’s Cucumber Melon Cayenne Smoothie contains loads of alkalizing vegetables and fruits, as well as the therapeutic spice- cayenne.    Cayenne is well-known for its digestive aid properties, among many other health benefits. It stimulates the digestive tract, which increases the flow of enzyme production, aiding is metabolizing food. It also reduces acid (very alkaline forming!), relieves gas and bloat, and helps digestion with absorption and elimination. It also aids in the digestive process by stimulating saliva. Cayenne also supports cardiovascular healthy, weight loss, natural detox, relieves joint pain and migraines, and has many anti-inflammatory, anti-allergen and ant-fungal properties. Cayenne is a great ant-flu and anti-cold agent as well, as it breaks down mucus and flushes from the body.

pepper

 

join nourish + nosh and Nava Yoga on our Fall 5 day smoothie detox!

Join us in our Fall 5 Day Detox! Why detox you ask? There are countless reasons why a natural detox will tremendously benefit your body and mind.

First, your body needs a break! There are so many factors in our busy lifestyles, physically and mentally, that cause us to have an overload of harmful toxins in the body and mind. The first step to a beneficial detox is to eliminate these harmful factors that cause stress on our bodies. These include processed foods, excess sugars, stimulants, stress, chemicals, and any other environmental toxins. Secondly, you need to give your body the nourishment and proper nutrition it needs. These include foods that will help flush out the toxins, as well as repair and replenish the body with alkalizing properties that will cause the body to find proper balance and optimal vitality.

By eliminating the above toxins, adding detoxifying and cleansing foods to your diet, practicing mindfulness and light physical movements through gentle yoga, and also by getting an adequate amount of rest- you will soon be feeling the benefits of a natural cleanse!

Here is a short list of the many reasons you should join us in the 5 day smoothie detox:

  1.  Eliminate toxic build up in your organs and tissue, caused by processed foods, pesticides, food preservatives, external pollutants and heavy metals. Even if you consider yourself a clean eater- there are unavoidable toxins that find a way in!  They affect our behavior, sleeping patterns, immune system, skin, and energy levels. Even more serious- they may lead to chronic disease.
  2. Experience energy and vitality on a whole new level! You won’t believe how much energy it takes our bodies to digest the not-so-clean foods and toxicity we tend to consume. When we give our digestive system a break, the abundance of energy once needed to process the foods we were ingesting is now being redirected to repair and regenerate damaged cells. We are able to rebalance and recharge from within- allowing us to experience optimal vitality and inner strength and wellness.
  3. Gain more mental clarity and mind + body connection. When your body is not spending so much precious energy digesting food, we are able to also redirect that energy to our brains. This causes us to think more clearly and attain mental clarity and peace.
  4. Boost our immune systems. Our immune systems are often compromised by certain health conditions related to stress -mentally and physically, hormonal imbalances, weakened adrenals, inadequate nutrition. A detox will help to restore the imbalance we unfortunately experience due to certain lifestyle choices and even external factors we can’t control.
  5. Lose weight and excess body fat your body stores. A detox can help flush out the impurities and fat stored in cells, and also reduce Cortisol levels and increase your metabolic rate.
  6. Restore balance in your life- all of your systems from the digestive to nervous system are connected and work together. When you achieve balance through detoxification and cleansing, they will work together harmoniously as nature intended, allowing your body to function fully in all areas.

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By joining us on this 5 day cleanse and following the basic guidelines of a gentle detox- you will be improving your overall quality of life and well-being.

Try it! You have nothing to lose but some excess belly bloat, mood swings, and that afternoon sluggishness you find yourself battling daily  🙂

Details of the Fall 5 Day Detox:

Fall Detox runs through October 21st– 25th. Fee of $30.00 includes a delicious detoxifying smoothie each day, as well as basic detoxifying guidelines from me, Laura Ferro of Nourish + Nosh.

Nava Yoga Center will be offering 5 days of yoga designed to cleanse, restore and renew. All classes are drop-in $15, class cards available . Pick up your smoothie after class at the Galley Cafe, located in the Lobby of Vincera Institute.

A few examples of what smoothies you can look forward to:

  • Refreshing Cucumber + Mint – hydrating and alkalizing
  • Pear, Avocado + Spinach –  Antioxidant rich and provides Omega 3s, protein, and fiber
  • Mango + Coconut Keifer – Restores healthy and beneficial stomach flora through probiotics as well as packs a large vitamin and mineral boost, and antioxidants

All smoothies are vegan and include superfoods such as spirulina, chia seeds, flaxseed oil, and more!

I look forward to helping you through this wonderful journey of gentle detoxification. Prepare to experience rejuvenation, mindfulness and optimal vitality.

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maple quinoa power granola

Making some power granola for my morning meeting with the girls of Nava Yoga Center at The Navy Yard. So excited to work with them!  Get ready for amazing events and collaborations at Vincera Institute with nourish + nosh at The Galley and Nava Yoga.

Check back here and on facebook for updates and details!

 
QGran

This nutrient-rich granola is made with quinoa, chia seeds, coconut oil, heart healthy almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds. It’s loaded with protein, fiber, omega 3’s, and antioxidants. It contains minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc. It’s also vegan and is sweetened naturally with maple syrup and turbinado sugar.

Eating this is great way to start your day or for a mid-afternoon boost. It will provide you with so much energy and keep you satisfied all day long.

Come visit me and try some of this deliciousness at the Galley cafe in the The Navy Yard.