A healthy drink that helps create smoother, hydrated skin and also helps boost weight loss? Sounds good to me!
I came across a smoothie recipe called the "Spa Skin Cleanse" on SimpleGreenSmoothies.com that seemed too good to pass up. With ingredients like pineapple and coconut water, how could I not give it a try? It's tropical (hey, enough already with pumpkin-inspired everything, right?), filled with healthy fats and tons of vitamins that do wonders for skin and overall health, including weight loss.
How to Make the Healthy Skin & Weight Loss Smoothie
Ingredients (serves 2)
First blend the spinach and coconut water until the mixture is smooth.
Add pineapple and avocado to mixture, blend again.
Talk about easy : )
Smoothies are not only great for people on the go, but they're a great way to be sure to get the daily dose of fruits and veggies. Plus, for those not wild about certain foods like spinach, adding items like the ones in this smoothie mask the flavor while still allowing your body to get in on the healthy goodness.
Here's what's in it for you:
Pineapple, while high in sugar (the key though, is that it's natural, and much better than added sugars like ones found in additives or packets of artificial sweeteners), is low in calories. Just one slice has about 40 calories.(1) However, most of us know that losing weight isn't about just counting calories, but rather eating the right foods to help with the process.
Since the fruit is rich in fiber and water -- two key ingredients for those seeking weight loss -- it's a great food for those who crave a sweet treat that's incredibly filling. (1)
When it comes to coconut water, it's touted as being healthier than many popular sports drinks that have been found to contain artificial color-enhancing dyes.(2) Instead, coconut water is fat-free, low-calorie option that's also brimming with potassium, which is needed to replenish the electrolytes that are typically lost during exercise. Often referred to as a "fluid of life," eight ounces of it has approximately 15 times more potassium than most sports drinks and more potassium than one banana.(2)
As for skin, naturopathic doctor Bruce Fife, N.D., explains that it's a good source of cytokinins which are plant hormones that have may have an anti-aging effect on cells.(3) Drinking coconut water, he says, can help repair skin from the inside out and keep skin from sagging and becoming misshapen.(3)
I recently celebrated a big birthday and try to do all I can to keep in shape, and that includes paying attention to the shape of my skin. Sipping on this smoothie not only tastes wonderful, but helps my skin look softer. Win-win!
Spinach is considered one of the most nutrient-dense foods, making it ideal for weight loss rather than foods that are low in calories but void of the ability to deliver proper amounts of vitamins and minerals to the body.(4) Not only is spinach low in calories (one cup has just 40 calories), but it's rich in vitamins K and A, folate, manganese, calcium and fiber, and has also been shown to reduce skin cancer.(4)
Last but certainly not least, the avocado (one of my favorites) is filled with healthy fats. Its fats are responsible for keeping the skin's top layer soft, and according to experts at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, they play a role in protecting the skin against sun damage and inflammation.(5)
Furthermore, they contain antioxidants that help boost production of collagen and also have the ability to fight free radicals that can wreak havoc on skin's elasticity.(5)
What are you waiting for? This tropical smoothie is filled with healthy foods that keep weight loss (or maintenance) goals in check while keeping skin glowing.
Go for it!
The other day, I went out to see how the garden was doing and discovered not one or two, but over a dozen ripe tomatoes staring back at me! While we've been getting a few here and there, I was surprised to see so many, so suddenly. Needless to say, I was in tomato heaven, itching to whip up a homemade tomato sauce recipe.
The fact that this was my first time making homemade tomato sauce was exciting, as I'm all about making use of the foods I have at home to make complete meals. The more I become aware of the hidden ingredients, additives and colorings that exist in so many store-bought foods, the more keen I am on making foods, as naturally as possible, at home. I did this recently with a raw banana and nut butter oat bar, as well as a homemade strawberry rhubarb jam.
Now, it's all about tomatoes, which I've been known to bite into like an apple. Delicious!
The Homemade Tomato Sauce Recipe
Health Benefits of the Homemade Tomato Sauce Recipe
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, the phytonutrient responsible for their deep red hue.(1) Time and again, numerous studies have pointed specifically to tomatoes' lycopene and other phytonutrients as being a key factor that leads to the death of cancerous cells, keeping certain cancers like lung, prostate and breast at bay.(1)
As for baby bella mushrooms, there have been findings demonstrating that they, along with the likes of button varieties and oyster mushrooms, play a role in staving off the growth of breast cancer cells.(2) Additionally, these mushrooms contain minerals that help with the development of connective tissue, prevent inflammation in blood vessels, and can even keep blood sugar levels steady.(2)
Garlic is another health food superstar; its active substance, allicin, works to relax blood vessels and break down blood activity in a way that lowers cholesterol levels and platelet aggregation.(3)
What's not to love about this tasty recipe? It's wonderful knowing that the tomatoes came fresh from the garden, weird-shaped ones and all, and ended up being part of a healthy, homemade sauce.
Sometimes it's tough to keep weight loss and fitness goals on track. Whether it's due to hitting a plateau or just giving in to those Oreo's that have been staring at you for days, slipping up is not uncommon. We're human!
It's when we keep giving in to those potato chips and new Ben & Jerry concoctions (I admit that I'm fighting very hard to not buy their Hazed & Confused flavor, a fusion of hazelnut and chocolate chip ice creams with a Nutella-esque core) that the pounds stay on. Sigh.
Thank goodness, then, for healthy indulgences like the raw banana-honey granola bar recipe I found in Better Nutrition magazine. It's easy-to-make, brimming with tasty ingredients, and is the perfect way to satisfy cravings without the insane calories and unhealthy additives.
How to Make the Raw Banana & Nut Butter Oat Bar
Mix banana, oats, nut butter, honey, pollen, vanilla, and cinnamon in bowl and stir into stiff dough ball. Blending in a food processor works too. But hey, every opportunity to exercise and work those biceps is a good one right? All that mixing by hand must be helping, I imagine : )
Coat a 9-inch square pan with coconut oil, and oil your hands as well. Press dough evenly into bottom of pan. Cover, and place in freezer for 24 hours, which allows the flavors to mix and the texture to be chewy, not crumbly.
Cut into 3-inch squares, then cut each square in half for a total of 18 bars. Store bars in tightly sealed container in freezer, and consume within 2 weeks for the best flavor and texture.
Health Benefits of the Raw Banana & Nut Butter Oat Bar
Of course bananas taste great, but they're also linked to improved athletic performance because their combination of vitamins and minerals helps to reduce muscle cramps.(1)
The fact that ripe ones are used in this recipe is also beneficial; banana skins that have developed the telltale signs of ripeness such as brown spots are an indication that it actually has more antioxidants than a ripe one.(2) This is due to the fact as a banana ripens, chlorophyll begins to break down and turn into antioxidants.(2) Gotta love antioxidants for their ability to boost overall health and fight the free radicals that can increase disease risk and cell damage.(2)
As for nut butters, because they're made from nuts which are known to fight weight gain and boost metabolism (yes, contrary to popular thought, it's true), they're a far superior choice over traditional, spiffy-named brands often found in the PB&J aisle.(3)
When it comes to oats, they also play a role in helping with weight loss goals or weight loss maintenance, as they're rich in fiber which produces feelings of fullness.(4) In other words, no need for that Hazed and Confused!
As if this isn't good enough, it's great knowing that this is all raw. No secret ingredients, no unpronounceable additives or items disguised to sound healthy when they, in fact, are not...just pure goodness from made right in your own kitchen!
While food shopping at Hannaford the other day, I decided to grab an issue of fresh, the grocery store's publication. It's filled with all kinds of healthy eating tips, articles and recipes. Gracing the cover was the eye-catching simplicity of summery fruit slushies and headlines urging me to check out tons of scrumptious recipes.
Did I ever.
Their carrot-ginger-peach juice caught my attention and I got to it. In no time at all, I was enjoying the delicious orange drink, a sure way to fight cancers and improve overall health. Not to mention it consists only of natural foods, so you don't have to worry about throwing your weight loss (or maintenance) goals off track with added sugars and unhealthy extras.
It's the perfect health pick-me-up that also tastes great: it has a subtle sweetness with a hint of ginger and lemon kick.
Making this juice is simple, thanks to the fact that it only includes a few, common ingredients. No need to go on a mad search to several different stores to find what's needed; they're probably already right in the kitchen!
Slice the carrots, peaches, bell pepper, apple, ginger, and lemon.
Health Benefits of the Carrot-Ginger-Peach Juice
Carrots are brimming with phytonutrient and traditional antioxidants, including beta-carotene and vitamin C, both of which work together to deliver whole body benefits.(1) According to one of my favorite sites, The World's Healthiest Foods, "The synergistic effect of carrot antioxidants is a great example of a whole food and its uniqueness as a source of nourishment."(1) And we all know that antioxidants play a huge role in fighting off those nasty free radicals that can accumulate in the body and throw it out of whack.
Consumption of them does wonders to boost heart health, fight cancers (especially colon and lower digestive tract), improve vision and provide overall protection.(1) Not bad, right?
Ginger, which has been my latest kitchen must-have, has a long list of health benefits. It's heralded as a great way to fight cancers such as colorectal and ovarian, ease menstrual cramps, maintain bone health, keep colds at bay, help with detoxification, and *wink wink* aid in boosting sexual activity due to its ability to increase blood-flow.(2)
One large peach has about 68 calories, making it a sweet treat that's perfect for those keeping an eye on their weight.(3) Furthermore, they too, are rich in antioxidants that combat inflammation and fight cancers. Their antioxidants even help slow the aging process. What a great bonus! Peaches are also filled with minerals that are necessary for proper functioning of the nervous system, red blood cells and bones.(3)
Drink up happiness and health today!
Sources for this article include:
©Copyright 2011-2014, Jennifer Lilley, FlabbyRoad.com, Flabby Road and Flabby Road: Moving on & Leaving the Elastic Waistbands Behind. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Lilley and Flabby Road with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Jennifer Lea Reynolds
Jennifer Lea Reynolds is a weight loss success story who enjoys living a healthy lifestyle. A fan of the elliptical, roasted asparagus and remembering to put the lid on the blender, she’s appeared in many national and local print publications. She lives in New England where she writes professionally about health and wellness in online publications including U.S. News & World Report, Reader's Digest, Woman's Day, The Huffington Post, and more.