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Greens for your green smoothies ~ How yummy they are!

Greens for your green smoothies ~ How yummy they are!

Honestly, making green smoothies can be a little tricky. Most of us drink them for the health benefits but we make them completely unhealthy by adding so much sugar in the form of fruit to mask the taste of the greens. Especially in the beginning, it might be a wise choice to choose milder greens while your taste buds get used to the less sweet flavor of greens. Essentially, I’m suggesting you might want to pass on the kale. lol It’s so bitter it might turn you off completely. Not to mention that it’s not the best choice for those with hypothyroidism.

So let’s get to it…

Swiss Chard

bunch-of-swiss-chardsSwiss Chard has a milder flavor than other greens like kale. It’s closer in flavor to spinach although it is slightly more bitter with a touch of saltiness. It’s great for juicing and blending. Pair it with bold sweet flavors like banana, citrus fruits and pineapple.

Swiss chard is full of fiber, iron and vitamins A, B6, C, E and the amino acid glutamine. Therefore, it boosts the immune system and helps your body heal.

Spinach

bunch-of-spinachSpinach is the holy grail of green smoothie greens. It is mild and the flavor is easily masked by almost any other flavor. Baby spinach in particular is great for smoothies because the leaves are soft and blend up smoothly. Spinach is low cost and high nutrient value. It’s an anti-inflammatory, gives you great skin, boosted immune system, heart health and energy. Spinach is high in  iron; calcium; protein; vitamins A, B6, C, and E; fiber. Combine spinach with citrus like lemon or orange to boost its nutritional absorption and with strawberries, blueberries, apples and pears for a low sugar, high flavor smoothie. 

Beet Greens

bunch-of-beet-leavesI love me some beet greens! I’ll I don’t use them in smoothies often but juice them almost daily. I love beet juice and the greens add an earthy, mild flavor. They’re similar to spinach and swiss chard in that they blend up easily. Any sweet fruit will mask the flavor that is milder than Swiss chard. Mix them up with whatever fruit you love. You won’t regret it.

Romaine

romaine-lettuce

We all know romaine. It’s a salad staple. It’s crisp and light which is why it’s so perfect for salads. That makes it even better for smoothies. It’s s close to undetectable as it possibly can be. It’s chocked full of calcium, vitamins A, the B’s, K and the minerals copper, potassium zinc and phosphorous. You can feel safe to mix it with anything!

Dandelion Greens

dandelion-greensYes, those dandelion greens, the ones that grow in your yard that you used to make wishes on. Now they’re meeting your wish for a powerhouse green full of calcium, iron, vitamins A and C. They clean the liver, act as an anti-inflammatory, support eye, heart and lung health. Even better they are a complete protein! If they’re so perfect you must be wondering why don’t you see them everywhere? They are very bitter. They are even more bitter than kale. Blend them with citrus, strawberry and banana to ease the bitterness. They are definitely an acquired taste so be sure to taste test them before serving it to newbies.

kale-leavesLast but not least is kale. Some folks swear by this nutritional powerhouse and just as many loathe it, or maybe it’s just me! lol Kale definitely falls into the acquired taste category with dandelion greens. It’s loaded with cancer-fighters like iron, calcium, protein, potassium, beta carotene, fiber, vitamin A, B6 and C. It’s also an immune booster! Using baby kale is a good way to sidestep the infamous bitterness. Others describe the flavor as earthy and fresh. Similar to dandelion greens, a sweet fruit goes best with kale in a smoothie. Try mangoes and bananas to blend up a tasty morning pick-me-up.

I hope you have fun playing with these greens in your smoothies. Let me know how it goes!

 

Greens for your green smoothies ~ How yummy they are!

5 Hacks to Make Mindfulness Feel Better

Mindfulness 101Think mindfulness maybe just isn’t your thing? Maybe not but maybe it’s all in your approach. If you’d like to finally calm your mind and increase your focus, keep reading!

“My problem is I can’t get my mind to stop.”

“I can’t sit still when I’m thinking about everything I have to do.”

“Focus was never my strong suit.”

I totally get that. When I first started meditating I was a new mom trying to find a moment to unplug. I was following the awful advice to sleep when she slept and that left me a anxious, mentally frantic mess. On the outside I looked fine but in my mind, my thoughts were constantly racing and I craved a moment of mental emptiness but I couldn’t find it while I was awake. I was on autopilot, like so many of us are these days. I found myself increasingly doing things and not remembering how I did them. I was checked out of life, but in a high functioning way. There was no time to sit on the couch and veg out the way I’d done before being a mom. I kept moving but I wasn’t paying any attention to my life. What happens when you’re not paying attention? You make mistakes. Right? Well making baby-connected mistakes meant when I finally did pay attention to things it was frequently connected to a ton of guilt and shame. My mindfulness practice became my refuge but there were still times when I couldn’t slow down mentally to sit and my practice didn’t reach into my hour to hour existence.

If you can relate to finding yourself increasingly on auto pilot even as you’re trying to incorporate mindfulness into your life, here are some suggestions to make things easier.

5 Mindfulness Hacks

  • Be Gentle with Yourself ~ When you are sitting in meditation and you notice your mind wandering there’s no need berate yourself. Simply and gently return your awareness to your breath or whatever your anchor is (mantra, bodily sensation etc.). You are literally practicing mindfulness every time you notice where your mind is and direct it back to where you want it to be. This applies to when you notice you haven’t been paying attention to the drive home also. Tip: When you notice your mind has wandered labeling it a word like “thinking” or “planning” is a great way to short circuit a negative inner dialog.
  • Act like a 3 year old ~ Part of why we lose interest in some of life’s more routine tasks is because we think we know what’s coming next. We’re jaded.childlike-mindfulness Have you ever watched a 3 year old taking a walk through their neighborhood? They look at everything like it’s brand new. The notice things that their caregivers never would have. The adults are usually shocked at what the little person “discovered” that was right there all along. Even as you dash through your day you can bring your attention to what’s around you. On your cushion each day will be different as well, notice it. Tip: Choose one of your life’s routine tasks, something you do every single day, to give your full awareness. As you complete the task, practice feeling each and every motion, each second of the experience.
  • Practice makes habit~ We are creatures of habit. When we’re upset we go to our default settings. That why we blow our diets when we get sad when we’d been great for weeks. The old habit of grabbing chips rears it’s ugly head because we’re stressed. Thankfully it’s also true for good habits. Practice mindfulness on a regular basis, when you’re not stressed or emotional and the likelihood that you’ll use it when you are under pressure increases. Tip: Set a timer in your phone to remind you to do 5 minutes of mindful breathing a couple of times a day. Try to get in 4 practice sessions each day.
  • Know what you’re doing~ Your mind is going to think. Asking it not to think is like asking your stomach not to secrete digestive juices. Getting mad at your mind for thinking is just as ridiculous as being upset with your stomach. The goal of meditation is not to stop your mind from thinking. The goal is to observe your thoughts without getting attached to them or feeling like you have to act on them. Tip: Download the picture below and read it in the morning when you wake up and once before you end your day. Think about what all the words mean to you.
  • Choose what’s right for you~ A key component of mindfulness is being nonjudgmental. A main reason people force themselves to a mindfulness practice that is uncomfortable for them is because they have judged one practice to be better than another. The best practice is the one that works for you. Some people love using mantras, others choose mindful walking, some choose chanting. Some sit on cushions, some on the bare floor, others on their knees and some in lotus. The best practice is the one you do. Tip: Try different practices on for size if you are finding your daily meditation to be onerous. Use a mala. Try a mantra. Practice walking meditation. If you’d like help structuring your practice download this free Meditation Basics ebook.

mindfulness definition

Mindful living shouldn’t be hard. It’s about living a more vibrant, energized and intentional life. There’s no need for you to force the fit. Connect with what feels good and increases your peace. If you take nothing else away from this post getting that could change your life. Move toward your joy and bliss. Connect with your breath and reconnect with the present moment. Your peace, focus and answers all live there.

Greens for your green smoothies ~ How yummy they are!

Tropical Green Smoothie Recipe ~ Drink it and be happy!

To whet your appetite a little for our Green Smoothie Challenge I’m sharing this Tropical Green Smoothie recipe. Gotta love it! If you can’t find the toasted coconut almond milk you can feel free to add a little coconut extract to taste. The spinach is so mild it doesn’t impact the taste at all! Enjoy!

 

tropical-green-smoothie

Tropical Green Smoothie Recipe

Ingredients:
2 scoops Vanilla Shaklee Life Shake
1 cup toasted coconut Almond milk or milk of choice
1/4 cup frozen pineapple chunks
1/2 cup spinach
1/2 banana
Ice as desired

Directions:
Mix all ingredients in a blender. Blend until creamy.

 

Have you heard about the  14 Day Green Smoothie Challenge that starts May 1st?

 

14-day-green-smoothie-challenge

It’s Great if you want to
1. Get back into the smoothie routine
2. Get more greens into your diet
3. Add a super nutritious meal to your day
4. Improve your digestion
5. Lose Inches
6. Improve Energy
and so much more! The challenge starts May 1st.

Talk to me about adding a cleanse on for your first week to really up the feel good quotient.

Please click the link to register if you are interested in getting recipes and encouragement directly to your inbox.
https://anamariaserrano.com/green-smoothie-challenge/

Greens for your green smoothies ~ How yummy they are!

Boost your energy with B vitamins

girl-meditatingB vitamins are vital to living a high energy life.

Almost every metabolic function in our bodies requires B vitamins. Most chemical reactions in our bodies need B vitamins to help the process along. Without B vitamins, we cannot make energy from food, manufacture red blood cells, send a nerve impulse, metabolize food, produce energy, or create hormones.

We all get some B vitamins in our diet, but most of us don’t get enough. If you are walking around feeling sluggish and tired, are not in a good mood much of the time, or your brain is in a fog, you may need more B vitamins.

B vitamins are water-soluble—that means we don’t store them and they are easily washed out of our bodies. We need a constant source of B vitamins or our body doesn’t work well and our energy fades.

Getting enough B vitamins is easier said than done:

  • We are not getting enough B vitamins. Studies show the nutritional content of our food has dropped over the last few decades.[i] Add to that, most of us don’t get the nutrition we need on a daily basis—especially the B vitamins. Recent studies suggest that up to 40 percent of Americans don’t have adequate levels of B12 for optimal health.[ii]
  • Daily stress can place a big burden on our bodies. Stress, alcohol, and poor eating habits all put great demands on our bodies for more B vitamins.
  • Certain populations need more B vitamins. Vegans, vegetarians, people who’ve had gastric bypass surgery, and anyone with digestive conditions are typically at risk of not getting enough B vitamins. And if you are pregnant or contemplating pregnancy, it’s very important that you consume adequate amounts of B vitamins, especially folate, for the health of your baby.

If you want to take on your day full of energy, then make sure you are getting enough B vitamins in your diet. Supplementing is a good choice if you are not sure you are getting enough of these important vitamins in your food.

The next time you are out running (or just out running errands), working, or playing and you feel that dip in your energy, reach for a good multi-B vitamin supplement to make sure you are getting all the B vitamins you need.

If you are looking for a high quality supplement I encourage you to take a look at this high potency B Complex vitamin developed with a unique folic acid coating that makes the nutrients more accessible to promote absorption.

Via Naturally Blog
[i] Davis DR, Epp MD, Riordan HD. Changes in USDA food composition data for 43 garden crops, 1950 to 1999. J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Dec;23(6):669-82. PMID: 15637215.
[ii] https://www.ars.usda.gov/news-events/news/research-news/2000/b12-deficiency-may-be-more-widespread-than-thought/

Greens for your green smoothies ~ How yummy they are!

5 Tips to Calm Down and Kick Anxiety Away

Anxious mindWhy does this mindfulness work to calm the anxious mind? We don’t know all the mechanisms that make mindfulness so powerful but we DO know that the practice of mindfulness allows up to sidestep the mental reactions that lead to anxiety, fear, foreboding and worry. Showing up for the present moment without judgement alters the way you experience the information you’re receiving from your senses, thoughts and emotions.

Mindfulness can be cultivated through the practice of certain traits which serve to calm an anxious mind. When you’re feeling stressed and worried use any one of these concepts and the accompanying activity to ease your distress.

5 Tips to Calm An Anxious Mind

  1. Beginner’s Mind ~ While your anxiety may feel like a familiar friend, experiencing with curiosity like it’s a new experience can be transformative. Beginner’s mind kicks anxious mind’s butt ALWAYS! Practice– As you feel what you define as anxiety, begin to explore the sensations in your body that let you know anxiety is present. Where in your body do you feel your anxiety? Does it feel hard and small? Or large and diffuse? Is it hot or cold? Explore your bodily sensations with interest and non judgement. Then breathe slowly and deeply into the areas where you feel anxious. Evision your breath releasing whatever sensation is present. With practice this process can be done in 1 breath. In the beginning allow yourself as long as you need to explore and release.
  2. Impermanence ~ Be patient with yourself.I know it sounds crazy to talk about patience when this post is about how to stop your mind from racing, but it’s an integral part of calming your mind. Through patience you allow yourself to know and believe that this too shall pass. Nothing good is forever and nothing bad is forever. Embracing this truth that is impermanence allows you to endure tough times and anxiety attacks with greater grace and ease. Practice ~ For 5-10 breaths (or as long as you need) take a deep, slow inhale and say or think “This too shall pass.” On the exhale say or think “I am perfect peace.”
  3. Intention~writing-positive-message As you think, so will you be. Decide how you want to feel and your mind will help you. Most of the time that anxiety is crippling us we are imagining a negative future. You are free to claim a different experience in the present. Practice ~ Feel free to use your own affirmation of it resonates with you more than the ones I’ve offered. “I am cool, calm and collected.” “Each in breath brings me peace, each exhale releases tension.” “I transcend all stress and strife. I am above the fray.” “My future is beautiful. I look forward to it with joy and hope.”
  4. Self-compassion~ I tell everyone I talk to that they must be kind to themselves. Speak gently to yourself. Some of us have a brutal internal monologue. When your anxious mind in control and stress is high there’s a great chance that there are some pretty harsh critical beliefs playing on a loop in your head. Use the practice to just stop it! Practice –   Hand-on-Heart
    • When you notice you’re under stress, take 2-3 deep, satisfying breaths.
    • Gently place a hand over your heart, simply feeling the gentle pressure and warmth of your hand. If you wish, placing both hands over your heart.
    • Feel the natural rising and falling of your chest as you breathe in and as you breathe out.
    • Linger with the feeling for as long as you like.
    Some people feel uneasy putting a hand over the heart. Feel free to explore where on your body a gentle touch is actually soothing.  Some other possibilities are:
    • Cupping your hand over a fist over your heart
    • One hand over your heart and one on your belly
    • Two hands on your belly
    • One hand on your cheek
    • Cradling your face in your hands
    • Gently stroking your arms
    • Crossing your arms and giving yourself a gentle squeeze
    • Gently stroking your chest, back and forth or in small circles
    • One hand tenderly holding the other
    • Cupping your hands in your lap
  5. Equanimity ~ Do not crave and do not avoid. We cultivate a steadiness of mind by combining a inner knowing of the Truth of impermanence coupled with a willingness to practice experiencing it without negative emotions. We don’t crave happy times nor do we try to avoid or deny the experience of difficult times. Craving and avoidance is the domain of the anxious mind. We of the calm mind tribe accept whatever is showing up in the present moment without wishing it to be different than it is. Practice – Sit in comfortable position and focus on your breath for a few breaths until your mind and body have settled. Focus on a sense of internal and external balance and relaxation.

    Breathing in, I calm my body.

    Breathing out, I calm my mind.

    May I be balanced.

    May I be at peace.

    May I learn to see the arising and passing of all things with equanimity and balance.

    May I be open and balanced and peaceful.

The point of these meditations is not to have you float away to la-la land where everything is perfect. Life is nuts and sometimes pretty awful! lol It’s a rollercoaster ride filled with bliss, grief, excitement, disgust, love and loathing. Taking meditation and mindfulness off the cushion and into life is not for us to disconnect from our reality but to allow us to experience reality without being overwhelmed and fearful. Living in a constant state of fear is not living. Living life knowing, believing that whatever comes in the next moment, we can handle it one moment at a time, one breath at a time is where it’s at. You got this!

P.S. If you’d like additional support to develop a consistent and powerful mindfulness practice you have to do my 28 Day Spiritual Cleanse. It will change your mind and your life!

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