Happy Re-New Week at Vincera Institute! Repair and restore with me…

Happy New Year friends!  I hope everyone is doing great and enjoyed the holidays. You may have heard Vincera Institute’s team has come together for Re-New Week through January 13-17.

If you are like a majority of us, the overindulgence of the holidays has left you dragging. You may be feeling bloated, tired, irritable, you may even be experiencing indigestion and digestive disruption.

The Happy Re-new Year cleanse will focus on restoring healthy gut flora and balancing pH levels to help rid these discomforts. Our digestive systems are often disrupted during the holidays from all of the over-indulging in rich food, alcohol, and even from being off of our normal routine. Thus we create an acidic environment, which more than likely has an overgrowth of ‘bad’ bacteria. When there is not enough of the good bacteria unpleasant symptoms and health issues occur  such as constipation, bloat, excess belly fat, moodiness, hormonal imbalances, candida, allergies, and many more.

I will be creating  fresh smoothies/juices daily that will contain healthy probiotics and supplements such as L-Glutamine to repair and regulate your digestive system, restoring the good bacteria needed to heal. They will help with bloat, acidity, inflammation, constipation, and the rebuilding a healthy flora. We will work together on creating an environment that will promote healthy digestion and overall health.

I’ll be giving daily tips and suggestions on supplements and foods to incorporate to maintain a healthy gut and pH levels.

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We will also focus on balancing  pH levels by introducing more alkalizing foods and supplements.  I will guide you in neutralizing the highly acidic environment caused from rich foods, sugars, alcohol consumption, stress, and/or simply from going off of your daily eating rituals during the hectic holiday season.

Many people underestimate the importance of a healthy digestive system and stomach flora. Not only is it crucial for nutrient absorption and proper waste elimination, but did you know that 80% of your immune system is located in your gut?  It is only when we have healthy digestion that we can experience optimal health and vitality, physically and mentally.

Vincera has amazing offers and events going on, from yoga to acupuncture to massage therapy. Learn more details here.

Join me for a week of restorative smoothies and guidance for a healthy gut and digestive system. Get that belly back in shape, gain energy, and nix those mood swings and irritability.

Details: $45 a person. 1 restorative smoothie a day for 5 days. Sign up via email or in person at The Galley.  Please let me know in advance if you will be picking up smoothie in am/pm.

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The many reasons to eat Butternust Squash right now

We really don’t need another reason to eat butternut squash other than it’s creamy, buttery texture and comforting goodness. However, we can happily add to the list with the abundance of nutritional benefits and vitamins and minerals butternut squash has to offer.

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Health Benefits: Butternut squash is naturally low in fat and contains high amounts of folate and fiber- a great heart healthy food! (The fiber helping to you feel fuller longer and aid in digestion as well). It contains Vitamin B6, which is essential for a properly functioning nervous and immune system. Butternut squash is high in potassium, which helps to regulate water retention and also improves bone health.

The most noteworthy benefit is obvious in its deep orange coloring. This rich color signifies the ample amount of nutrients called carotenoids, which are big protectors against heart disease and promote eye health. It is also high in Vitamin C- helping to keep that immune system in top shape. Just one cup has 1/3 the daily dietary needs of Vitamin C. Its high antioxidant count contributes to its anti-cancer properties as well as helping to maintain that youthful glow we all strive for.

Last but not least is its anti-inflammatory benefits. Many of us have inflammation in the body that manifests in different ways. Some of the obvious are joint pain, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and many other -itis diagnosis. We all could use anti-inflammatory foods to help balance and protect against those that cause inflammation from packaged and processed foods.

How to chose: Look for those free of bruises and blemishes as well as one with a matte finish as well as shiny (not ripe enough). Check to feel the weight and aim to buy one that is heavy for it’s size. Store in a cool dry place, do not refrigerate.

How to prepare: There are numerous ways to prepare butternut squash. You can cut the squash in half length wise using a large chef knife. Scrape out the seeds, lay flesh side up on a baking sheet or pan. You can fill with 1/4-1/2 inch water to prevent from burning the bottom. Brush with coconut oil, butter or another high heat oil, and sprinkle with sea salt and your favorite spices. I bake mine on 400 for about 45-1 hr, or until soft when pierced with a fork. You can cut width-wise and carefully remove skin with a sharp chef knife (be careful!) Cut into cubes and roast, steam, or saute. You can also cut into round rings and then again into half moons, baking on high heat. Another option is to pierce the squash whole with a knife, and bake until soft, about an hour. Cut in half and scrape out skin, removing seeds.

Check back soon for my Roasted Butternut Squash with Sage + Apple soup recipe I have been selling like crazy at The Galley. 

Final Day of our Fall Detox!

I can’t believe we are on the final day of our Fall Detox! I hope everyone is feeling energized and grounded after nourishing our bodies and releasing those unwanted toxins. Do you feel a difference in your energy level? Your mood? Your cravings? I would love to hear your feedback.  I really enjoyed seeing everyone and working together this past week. It’s always great to have support during a cleanse or any kind of health goal you are trying to achieve.

Today’s smoothie is especially appropriate for the noticeably colder weather today. It is grounding and filling, packed with antioxidants, fiber, essential fatty acids, vitamins and other nourishing components. It is also creamy and delicious, and the warming spices are especially comforting.  It contains three different parts of the coconut, which in my opinion is one of the most underrated foods for all of its various health benefits. In sanskrit, coconut is referred to as kalpa vriksha, which is literally translated to ““the tree that supplies all that is needed to live.”

Coconut Chai -Chia Smoothie (say that 3 times) Image

1/4 cup organic shredded coconut, unsweetened
1/2 cup coconut milk, unsweetened
1/4 cup coconut cream, (canned or homemade)
1-2 T Tbs cashew or almond butter
1 tsp chia gel (soaked chia seeds in water overnight)
1 scoop of ice
1/4 c filtered water
1 tsp cinnamon
dash of nutmeg and allspice
1/2-1 tsp ginger (depending on how spicy you like it)
thin slice of fresh ginger
*make sure to blend on high

Health Benefits

Chia Seeds are tiny, yet mighty. They are loaded with omega 3s, which are essential for optimal health, specifically in healthy brain functioning. Chia also help to slow digestion, preventing blood sugar from spiking. Chia’s stabilizing effect on blood sugar may also fights insulin resistance which can be associated with excess belly fat. They also contain a high dose of fiber (11 g in 1 oz serving), aiding digestion and helping to keep fuller longer. They pack in a healthy dose of protein, calcium, phosphorous and manganese.

Coconut – the flesh of coconut contains essential fatty acids (the medium chain), fiber, manganese (helps stabilize blood sugar and aid in a healthy immune and nervous system function. It also contains copper, which promotes healthy red cell production and potassium, which maintains proper level of water in the cells and helps regulate water retention.  The coconut cream is just the water of the coconut blended with the coconut meat (usually found in a can, or you can make your own).  Coconut water is very hydrating and restores and balances electrolytes. Although coconut oil isn’t added into this smoothie, it definitely can be. I already went over the benefits of coconut oil here. Coconut is also known to speed your metabolism while regulating blood sugar and keeping you full. Although it is often looked down upon because of its high saturated fat content, I believe it should be included in a healthy diet. As I mentioned in my previous post, the fat comes from Medium Chain Fatty Acids, which have healthy benefits, unlike the Long Chain Fatty Acids.

Cinnamon not only adds flavor to any meal, it has many notable health properties. Cinnamon is known to increase energy, vitality, and circulation. It is also known to level blood sugar levels and also have anti-inflammatory properties.

I hope you enjoyed the smoothies and your week of mindful eating and cleansing. Remember to slowly ease off of your cleanse and try not to indulge too much too soon! You don’t want to overload your body with sugars, caffeine, alcohol, or meats if you have been totally eliminating. You may experience some digestive discomfort if so. Just introduce foods you were cutting out gradually. It is a great idea to just avoid processed and high sugar foods all together  😉

Be sure to check back on my blog for healthy tips and some yummy recipes! Please be in touch and let me know any health questions or concerns you may have.

Day 4… did somebody say chocolate?

Yum. Today’s smoothie is packed with a ton of health benefits and anti-oxidants from the mix of berries and raw cacao powder. Cranberries are highlighted in this smoothie, not only are they in season and deliciously tart, they contain loads of detoxifying properties!

Super Antioxidant Berry and Cacao Smoothie

3/4 cup mixed berries (blueberries, blackberries, cherries and raspberries)
1/4 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup almond milk, unsweetened (or your choice of non-dairy milk)
1/4 avocado, optional (I included to add more protein and healthy fat, also helps to keep you fuller, longer)
1 slice green apple, optional
1/2 cup filtered water
1 Tbs raw, organic cacao powder (or more to taste)

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Health Benefits

Cranberries – they contain one of the highest count of antioxidants of all berries. They also contain high amounts of fiber and phytonutrients. These phytonutrients give cranberries their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties, In fact, cranberries have been shown to provide crucial anti-inflammatory benefits for the cardiovascular system and for many parts of the digestive tract (including the mouth and gums, stomach, and colon). Cranberries help to balance out the good and bad bacteria in our stomach and are proven to reduce the risk of urinary track infections (because they contain proanthocyanidins (PACs), which fight certain ‘bad’ bacteria, including E.coli). They help to keep the kidney functioning well and flush out unwanted waste and bacteria.

Raw Cacao Powder – (another superfood!) is high in magnesium and iron content, and contains other essential minerals such as calcium, sulfur, zinc, copper, potassium, and manganese. It is loaded with antioxidants, protecting and neutralizing against free radicals and contains heart-healthy fat  oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat.  Cacao improves digestion, stimulating the body’s production of digestive enzymes, helping with elimination (essential for a detox).
Certain components of cacao powder help to stimulate the central nervous system and dilate blood vessels, causing you to experience elevated energy boosts. Also, certain chemicals, referred to as “bliss” chemicals,  improve circulation, increasing the amount of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, which helps to improve mood and fight depression.

Berries  – in general berries contain the highest amount of antioxidants of fruits. Specifically blueberries and cranberries.   They contain anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties, as well cancer fighting components. They also contain high amounts of Vitamin C and fiber, which as we know is great for eliminating during a detox. The high fiber and other components of berries help cardiovascular health and decrease the LDL levels of cholesterol.

You can find the health benefits of apples and avocados from our Day 1 smoothie recipe this week.

Who knew raw cacao and the taste of chocolaty goodness had so many amazing health benefits. Add it to smoothies and desserts for the added health benefits and decadent taste.

Enjoy!

Day 3 + half way through our detox!

Mango, Ginger + Coconut with Aloe Vera Juice

This smoothie has all sorts of goodness in it. Get ready to wake up your tastebuds, body, and mind with its refreshing and invigorating ingredients.

1/2 cup mango
1/4 inch cube fresh ginger, peeled
2 tsp coconut oil
2 oz natural aloe vera juice, unsweetened
1 Tbs ground flaxseed (can reduce)
1/2 cup coconut milk, unsweetened
1/2 cup pure/filtered water

Mango is rich in vitamins, minerals, pre-biotic dietary fiber, and antioxidants. It is an excellent source of Vitamin-A and flavonoids beta-carotene, alpha-carotene,and beta-cryptoxanthin. It is high in Vitamin C, which helps neutralize harmful oxygen-free radicals and contains potassium which is essential in maintaining healthy blood pressure and fluid balance.  Compared to most fruits, mango is fairly low on the glycemic index chart (41-60),  so enjoying mango occasionally will not spike your blood sugar levels.

Aloe Vera is an incredible plant that has many health benefits and medicinal uses. It contains loads of  health benefits and components such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, polysaccharide, and fatty acids.  Some vitamins include, folic acid, choline, Vitamins A, C + E, B vitamins, including B12 which is rarely found in plants. Minerals include calcium, magnesium, as well as selenium, sodium, iron, potassium, copper, and manganese. Aloe vera also contains all 8 essential amino acids, as well as fatty acids which help lower fat in the blood cells and help reduce allergy symptoms as well as acid indigestion.

Aside from all of the vitamins and minerals aloe vera juice is extremely beneficial in the detoxification process. It also helps to soothe the digestion track, and regulates the digestive system. Because aloe vera is a gelatinous plant, when digested,  the gel moves through the intestines and absorbs any toxins and unwanted waste, helping to eliminate and flush out of the body. Aloe vera is alkalizing, which helps balance the pH in your body, as well as an anti-inflammatory and immune booster.

Ginger is a great anti-inflammatory and immune booster. It helps to also improve digestion, absorb and assimilate essential nutrients throughout the body, ease muscle or joint discomfort, clears ‘microcirculatory channels’  (including sinus cavities),  and helps to clear nose and throat congestion. 

Flax seeds – these tiny little seeds are nutritional power houses. First, they are a great source of fiber, helping to regulate digestion and aid in the detoxification process. Flax is a great plant source of the essential fatty acid, Omega 3. Theses little seeds also contain potassium for a healthy heart and muscles, as well as iron and zinc to boost your immunity. They contain trace minerals such as riboflavin and niacin, thiamin, and B vitamins (all which help to turn food into energy). They must be ground in order to gain all of the benefits they have to offer. When consumed whole they pass right through and are not digested fully.

Coconut oil is an amazing superfood filled with so many health benefits and nutrients. Coconut oil contains antioxidants, helps to absorb nutrients and vitamins, has antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. It is made up of mostly  Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFAs), which unlike Long Chain Fatty Acids, are sent straight to the liver for energy production. It kills candida growth,  corrects many skin conditions, helps with hypothyroidism, and helps speed metabolism.

Day 2 of our 5 Day Fall Detox

Blueberry Super Detox with SpirulinaDivine Organics Inka Spirulina

  • ½ cup blueberries
  • ½ banana (may be replaced with 1/4 avocado)
  • ¼ green apple
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp spirulina
  • filtered/pure water

Health Benefits

Spirulina is on my list as one of the top superfoods. It is a micro-alga (you can’t taste it inthe smoothie, I promise!) that has a high concentrate of protein, specifically made of essential amino acids. 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. It has anti-inflammatory properties, may lower cholesterol, and even fight off allergies due to its histamine blocking effects. Spirulina also helps produce healthy stomach flora and promote digestion.

Blueberries are full of anti-oxidants such as vitamin C, B complex,vitamin E, vitamin A, Anthocyanin, copper, selenium, zinc, and iron.  Blueberries help to build the immune system and repair free radicals caused by oxidative stress (helping to combat the effects of aging) These tiny berries contain high amounts of fiber, which promote a healthy heart by lowering LDL or ‘bad’ levels of cholesterol.

Spinach- so many reasons to love this dark leafy green! It has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory components and helps fight against cardiovascular problems. Spinach is loaded with Vitamin K, calcium and magnesium-all which help promote strong bones. It is also loaded with Vitamin C + A and Iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins. among others.  It is great for your skin as well, fighting acne and giving you that natural glow we all want. The high count of lutein in spinach helps to keep your eyes healthy and clear.

The added purified water in the smoothie helps to hydrate your body while flushing out the toxins that are being lifted from cells and tissues.

Make sure to continue drinking lots of water throughout the day. Its benefits are maximized when drank at room temperature, with fresh juice from half of a lemon.

Remember to embrace the mindfulness and awareness you are practicing while making healthy choices this week. Make sure to be good to your body and give it credit for being the tool that which allows us to move through life.   Our bodies are so resilient that even through times when we aren’t so good to it, we are able to restore and rebuild within by nourishing ourselves with all of these nutrient- dense foods.

So love your body today and everyday. Keep nourishing and it will love you back 😉

Day 1 of the 5 Day Fall Detox

Yay for the start of our detox!  It is the beginning  of a week of cleansing and rejuvenation. I hope everyone had a great weekend and is feeling as excited and ready for the detox as I am. If you are just learning about the detox, it’s not too late to sign up or join me, using my smoothie recipes I will be posting this week. Read here for more details about the cleanse and some basic  guidelines on what foods are included and what to avoid.

I started to ease myself into our cleanse last week and began my detox Saturday.  I also did a meditation course on Saturday that was amazing, helping me to mentally prepare. I really enjoy meditation and try to incorporate it in my daily life. Meditation helps me feel grounded, reminds me to practice mindfulness + compassion, and helps to put things in perspective.  It is also a great way to take a few minutes out of our stressful and busy routine, to breathe, reflect and look deeper into our inner selves.  If anyone is interested in meditation in the Philadelphia area I highly recommend going to the Shambhala Meditation Center. The mediation instructors (in my humble opinion) are the best in the area. 

Back to the detox.  I am already feeling my energy levels rise and my mood more positive and stable. I rarely feel THIS good on a Monday.. and I don’t think it’s a coincidence. 😉 Aren’t you excited to start feeling great?

Our smoothie this morning is packed with so many great ingredients and some of my favorite foods. It is extremely refreshing from the cucumber and mint, and is loaded with kale and spinach. The only bit of sweetness comes from half of a green apple, which contains many detoxifying properties itself. I added hemp protein powder, which I love because hemp seeds naturally contain 21 known amino acids, including the 9 essential amino acids. This makes hemp a complete protein. It also contains the proper 3:1 ratio of Omega 3 and Omega 6.  Hemp protein is more easily digested because of the globular proteins it contains. Globular proteins dissolve faster and are thus more readily used. Hemp protein is a great source of plant protein, providing a large dose of healthy fats and protein. It also happens to be one of the most earth friendly proteins. Because it grows tall and extremely fast- being naturally invasive to all weeds that may grow around the crop- the use of herbicides or pesticides is not necessary. My favorite brand is Manitoba Harvest. It dissolves great in smoothies and doesn’t seem to leave a chalky after taste.

I recommend making this smoothie on a daily basis. It will give you more energy than any cup of coffee, not to mention providing many nutrients and vitamins your body needs. It is great for healthy skin, digestion, hydration, and obviously works wonders in the cleansing process. Enjoy!

apple-kale-ginger-smoothie

Day 1 Smoothie

Green Refresher

  • 3-4 kale leaves
  • handful of spinach
  • ½ green apple
  • ¼ avocado
  • ½ cucumber
  • 2 celery stalks
  • ½ c coconut water
  • ¼ c unsweetened almond or rice milk
  • 1 scoop vanilla hemp powder
  • ½ lemon
  • mint


Health Benefits

Apples aid in blood sugar regulation (nixing sugar cravings), contain loads of antioxidants, vitamins and fiber. They help to slow down carbohydrate and glucose absorption, lessening the sugar load on our blood stream.

Kale provides one of the most powerful antioxidant and detox properties than any other leafy green. When digested, kale forms a substance called sulforaphane, which causes the liver to produce enzymes that actually flush out harmful chemicals that cause cancer. Kale is high in fiber, Vitamin A, C and E, iron, and calcium.

Cucumber has many detoxifying, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is high in fiber, Vitamin A and K, hydrating, improves digestion, helps to eliminate constipation and reduces the risk of colon, breast and ovarian cancer.

Avocados are high in heart healthy fat  Omega 3s. Fat is important during detoxification as it promotes the release of bile from the gallbladder, aiding in the elimination of toxins from the body and the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Avocados contain a healthy dose of potassium, folate, Vitamin E + B5 and fiber.

Lemons are a powerful detoxification aid.  They are alkaline forming, helping to balance the pH balance in the body. The citric acid allows the breakdown of bile and dissolves any other toxins in the body, also helps flush out the kidneys and colon of toxic build up. Lemons also contain Vitamin C, which helps to neutralize free radicals and boost the immune system.

Mint is a natural stimulant, which helps with digestion and soothing the digestive track. It also stimulates the digestive enzymes that absorb nutrients from food and consume fat and convert it into energy. Therefore, it is helping you convert the food you consume to energy rather than storing it as fat. As a natural stimulant, mint is known to naturally combat fatigue and help to recharge your batteries. Great for a Monday morning boost!

The Galley Cafe will be using fresh produce daily from Lancaster Farm Fresh

We’re getting close to The Galley Cafe opening date at Vincera Institute in the The Navy Yard!

So excited to place my first produce order with Lancaster Farm Fresh… locally rooted, sustainably minded.

ImageWhat is not to love about organic, local and seasonal produce delivered daily? It’s important to support local and be as active as you can in the sustainable food movement!  Foods that are grown with chemicals and pesticides adversely affect your health, causing toxin build up, hormonal imbalance, brain and nerve cell damage, cancer, and infertility. Not to mention organic fruits and veggies taste better and are found to have a higher content of vitamins and minerals than those filled with harmful pesticides and/or genetically modified.

So eat up the good stuff and join your local CSA today or check out farmers markets and natural health stores in your area. To get information on your local CSA, farmers markets, or sustainably grown food in your area click here.

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Check back for updates and cafe opening date details!

farmers market quinoa salad

 

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Ingredients: Red and white quinoa, kale, spring peas, zucchini, apples, scallions, toasted almonds, avocado,  and sunflower seeds.

This is one of my favorite summer quinoa salads. Made fresh with local farmers market veggies and full of fresh herbs, tossed in a light lemon-basil vinaigrette. It’s also vegan and gluten free.  

Light, but filling, this nutrient-dense salad will keep you energized and full throughout the day, without weighing you down. It’s a perfect lunch and will add to your daily dose of fiber, protein, omega 3’s, antioxidants and B vitamins… and much more!   

The Farmers Market Quinoa Salad is on the summer menu at the Galley Cafe,  come and get it!  

The Galley cafe is located in the Vincera Institute at 1200 Constitution Ave, Philadelphia.

 Opening soon!