Oatmeal smoothie or my green tinge smoothie

I've been making a new breakfast smoothie lately instead of having oatmeal or muesli.  I'm loving it so I thought I'd share it with you.  While initially it was my "oatmeal smoothie", for the last few days, I've been adding a green tinge to it - not from veggies, but from green tea, so now its my "green tinge" smoothie. Yes, another way to get green tea into my diet when I don't like the taste of green tea!  And just a tinge of green as sometimes, I just don't fancy veggies for my breakfast!


I vary it most days but the basics are:
1/4 cup rolled GF oats
1 cup organic, unsweetened soy milk
1 small banana
1/2 tablespoon matcha green tea
1 tbsp of sun choke or yacon syrup (optional)
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed.

Here the reasons for my ingredient selection:
I use soy milk in this, as it has a higher protein level than other non-dairy milks.  While I am definitely not one to say we need a lot of protein in our diets, it is good to have a little in every meal/snack.  Almond milk, which I like a lot, only has 1g protein per cup, whereas soy milk has 9g per cup.  I need about 45g a day so this smoothie provides about 15g in total - a third of my daily needs.


The sunchoke syrup - or as its called above, sunroot sweetener, is a relatively new product on the market and worth a try for its health benefits  It is a prebiotic made from sunchokes/Jerusalem artichokes. Prebiotics are functional foods that your "good" gut bacteria thrive on. Basically it is something that we can't digest ourselves, so it passes to the colon and, bacteria, particularly bifidobacteria just eat it up! They thrive and their numbers increase and that helps us thrive.  Yacon syrup is a similar product but made from yacon root ( and is more expensive!).  It is a syrup - even though its only made from sunchokes/yacons, so can be used as a sweetener. I don't think this smoothie needs sweetening actually, but I use it for its prebiotic component.  1 tbsp has 7g of fiber in it. Added to my flaxseed in this smoothie and other ingredients and I'm getting a total of 14g a fiber, just for breakfast.

Our lovely green nectarines are ripe on the tree right now so I've been swapping out the banana for them some mornings, so choose whatever fruit you have ripe right now.  I actually prefer it with the nectarines - but I'm using the ones that fall on the ground so as not to waste the perfect ones. Yes, they are green - outside and in. Not sure what the varietal is but they are wonderful.

What's your morning smoothie right now with all this yummy fruit and veggies in abundance? Share your recipe.
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Green Tea and Ginger Oatmeal

I've mentioned before on this blog that I don't like the taste of green tea if I'm drinking it. However, I do love all the healing aspects of green tea with its high antioxidant levels, EGCG, anti cancer effects, anti-inflammatory effects etc etc and so I try to cook with it instead of drinking it.


I often boil my rice or quinoa or other grains in water with matcha green tea powder, or use green tea bags in the water. I make a green buddha bowl that I love.....but lately I've been wondering about how else I could incorporate it in my cooking - and I came up with the idea of adding it to my oatmeal water!


Ta Da!  Green Tea and ginger oatmeal was born!  Yes, it has a green tinge to it - but I - and you can get over that!


Its tasty but doesn't taste of green tea! The whole idea.

Here is how I made it:

1 cup water
1 tsp matcha green tea powder or 2 green tea teabags
1/2 cup rolled oats (I used gluten free)
2 tablespoons of ground flax seed
Ginger pieces - to your taste
1/4 cup goldenberries

Add the matcha tea or tea bags to the water in a small saucepan and bring to just below a boil.  Remove the teabags if using.  Add the remaining ingredients and cook for 5 - 10 minutes.  The flax does thicken it so if you prefer runny oatmeal, add some more water.

Serve with additional fruit or ginger on top and non dairy milk, if you choose.  (The ginger I used was rehydrated dried ginger - I just keep some in water in the fridge or you can use crystallized and wash off the excess sugar.)

And to think for my breakfast, I've started the day with the omega 3 fats that I need from the flax seed, plenty of fiber and vitamins from the oats, the healing benefits of green tea, anti-inflammatory effects of ginger, anti oxidants from golden berries...and its only 8am!!!

Hope your new year starts are well as my day has started today.  Wishing you a happy, healthy, and hopeful 2014. xxxx
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Quince and Matcha smoothie

The classes I have been teaching this week have been focusing on the immune system and sustained inflammation in the body.  One of the foods that is important in this area is Green Tea.   Green tea consumption can lead to an increase in the production of  Treg cells which stop inflammation, and act as an off switch to the killer T cells and B cells in our immune system which cause inflammation.  While we need those killer T cells and B cells at certain times - it is when they become out of balance and dysregulated that we get immune issues and sustained/chronic inflammation that leads to disease.


However,  I personally don't like the taste of green tea, and so I use it in cooking, instead of brewing it for a drink.

Today's quince recipe uses Matcha - which is ground green tea - in a smoothie.  Matcha a great source of green tea as you eat the powdered leaves -  so its not just a steeping of the leaves.  It is a little pricey,   but a little goes a long way so my jar has lasted a long time.

Here is today's breakfast smoothie that I am enjoying as I type:

Quince and Matcha Smoothie:


1 cup quince puree  (preparing quince blog post & after roasting, blend with a little water in a blender)
1 cup water
1 banana
3 handfuls of spinach
1 teaspoon matcha powder
2 tablespoons hemp hearts

Blend the ingredients together in a Vitamix or powerful blender and add more water if you prefer runnier smoothies!

Its a great way to start the day - omega 3 fats from the hemp hearts, and plenty of catechins from both the Matcha green tea and the quince - never mind all the phytonutrients in the spinach and banana.


As I was thinking up this recipe, lying in bed last night - an old song came into my head.  I wonder if you know it.  I was thinking about the colors in the smoothie ... "green and yellow, green and yellow, Mother come quick....."

Did any of you sing it as kids?  Its not a nice song and I hate to associate it with a delicious smoothie but as all the ingredients are green and yellow, its tricky not too!  I can bet my sister is singing it as she reads this however!   The song is all about this little boy Henry, who doesn't feel well and has been eating worms. His mother asks what color were the worms - "green and yellow"!  We used to sing it in the car as we were travelling somewhere - with a few actions too!!!  But this smoothie won't make you feel ill like green and yellow worms do - I can assure you,  so try it and enjoy it!
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Healing Trees recipe

The Cancer Journey conference at Ceres on Sunday seemed to go very well. They sold out and I had some great interactions with people in the resource room.




I demo'd making my "healing tree" morsels, and share the recipe with you here:

Ingredients
1 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon Matcha green tea powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1//2 tablespoons date paste *
Zest of 1 lemon
Grated fresh ginger (approx 1 inch)
15 whole raw organic almonds

Directions
[*Make the date paste first - you will only use a small portion of this.  Process 10 pitted dates with 2 tablespoons of water. This makes a thick paste that is a great substitute for refined sugar.]

  1. Place all the ingredients except the whole almonds in a food processor and process until smooth.  This matcha mixture should hold together when squeezed but not be too sticky. If it won't hold, process longer, or add 1/2 tablespoon more of date paste.  If too sticky, add a little more almond flour.
  2. Cut the whole almonds in half, width ways.
  3. Take approx 1 teaspoon of match mixture and shape it into your hands to form a cone shape
  4. Stand up half an almond on it's cut side and gently push the matcha cone onto the almond, so that it looks like a tree.
  5. Repeat with the rest of the matcha mixture and almond halves to create your own forest of healing trees.
  6. Can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, or else the matcha mixture can frozen before shaping.

The healing qualities of these trees come from:
the green tea has excellent anti-cancer properties and is high in anti-oxidants;
the ginger and dates settle the stomach and help with digestion;
the lemon is a great source of anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals;
the almonds are a good source of easily digestible fiber, vitamins and minerals;
and finally the cute shape of the trees lifts your spirits!

These are lovely to make for yourself, but make a great gift for someone who needs some healing.
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Healing Trees

As I mentioned last week, I am participating in the Ceres Cancer Journey event this Sunday in Santa Rosa.

I will be in the resource room, and for some of the time, I will be doing a short cooking demo.

I will be making these little "healing trees", a recipe that I developed myself.


They are made with green tea, almonds, dates, ginger, and lemon. I'll post the recipe here next week after the demo.

The healing qualities of these bite-size morsels include:  the green tea has excellent anti-cancer  properties and is high in anti-oxidants;  the ginger and dates both help to settle the stomach and calm digestive issues;  the lemon is a great source of anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals; and the almonds are a good source of easily digestible fiber, vitamins and minerals.

AND the cute shape of the trees lifts your spirits!



I hope if you are in the area that you will call by for the event and hear some wonderful speakers and experience nurturing, love and good food.

If you attend, do come and find me in the resource room.

Ceres Cancer Journey Event
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Green Tea Benefits

After yesterday's post about hibiscus tea being higher in anti-oxidants than green tea, you may be left thinking you should make a switch from green to hibiscus tea....but before you throw out that green stuff, let's look at some of the other benefits, above and beyond anti-oxidant activity, that green tea has to offer.


Although coming in second place to hibiscus tea, green tea does still have a very high antioxidant value (see yesterday's table) and is also a detoxifier by activating enzymes in the liver that eliminate toxins from the body.

It is rich in polyphenols including catechins and particularly EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate-3).  EGCG is one of the most powerful nutritional molecules against the formation of new blood vessels by cancerous cells (angiogenesis) needed for tumour growth and metastases.   Green tea also facilitates the death of cancer cells (apoptosis) and has been seen to enhance the effects of radiotherapy on cancer cells.


Pretty impressive stuff heh?  And so many good clinical studies on it's effects.

Japanese green tea - called Matcha - has even higher levels of EGCG than chinese green tea, as matcha is ground up tea leaves rather than just steeping the leaves in water.



EGCG is not present in black tea as it is destroyed during the fermentation process required to make it.  However, decaffeinated green tea still contains all the good polyphenols that caffeinated green tea does, so its preferable to go with decaf.

After two or three cups of green tea a day, EGCG is plentiful in the blood and spreads throughout the body by means of our small capillary vessels.  These surround and feed every cell in the body.  EGCG settles on the surface of cells and blocks the "switches" or receptors on the cells, whose function it is to set off a signal that allows the penetration of neighboring tissue by foreign cells, such as cancer cells.  Once the receptors are blocked by EGCG, they no longer respond to the signal that cancer cells send to invade tissue and to make the new vessels needed for tumor growth.

Studies have shown green tea to substantially slow the growth of leukemia, and breast, prostate, kidney, skin and oral cancer.

It has been found that green tea has even greater effect when combined with other molecules commonly found in Asian diets, such as soy.


So hibiscus tea or green tea?  I don't see any reason to choose just one - why not just drink both?  Both have benefits and both taste very different from each other, so if you are in the mood for something fruity, try the hibiscus, otherwise, go green.

And don't limit yourself to just drinking your EGCG - you can add it to yoghurts, smoothies, ice cream, cakes, desserts - especially if you use the powdered Matcha.  Even Nestle have come out with a green tea KitKat bar in Japan!

How will you get your green tea?
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Best beverage

We've heard for a long time about the high antioxidant and health benefits of green tea, but a study published in 2010 in "Nutrition Journal", has found another drink that has even greater antioxidant levels.

The study was very extensive, comparing the antioxidant levels of more than 3100 foods, beverages, herbs and spices. Can you even think of 3100 different foods?  I'll be sharing some of the other results in future blog posts.



But the beverage that came out tops of 283 beverages was Hibiscus tea.  Some examples of the antioxidant content for popular drinks are:

  • coke/pepsi 1
  • white wine 5
  • black tea 23
  • green tea 36
  • red wine 38
  • coffee 47
  • matcha tea 100 (matcha is powdered green tea)
  • hibiscus tea 132


An example of a readily available hibiscus tea in a tea bag is Red Zinger.  Alternatively, you can purchase dried hibiscus flowers from Mexican food stores and steep your own tea. Hibiscus teas don't contain caffeine and, as well as their antioxidant powers, they are also seen to lower high blood pressure.


Michael Greger, M.D. suggests preparing a day's worth of hibiscus tea as follows:
8 glasses of water, 4 bags of hibiscus tea, juice of one lemon, sweetener if desired (eg erythritol or blended dates).  Mix together and put in the fridge overnight. Remove the tea bags in the morning and drink throughout the day.

I fancy adding some ginger to the above too....Do you have other ideas?  I'm going to give it a try.

By the way, I met Dr. Michael Greger this weekend at a great nutrition conference I attended in Santa Rosa.  What an entertaining man and so informative. I highly recommend his website where he posts a new video every day - http://nutritionfacts.org.


BUT, before you throw all that green tea away, while hibiscus tea may have a higher level of antioxidants, green tea also has many other health benefits, especially anti-cancer properties from EGCG - a compound in the tea.  I'll tell you more about that tomorrow.
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