Post-Workout (Hangover) Smoothie

It’s no secret that eating and drinking after a workout (or a night out) is important. It not only replaces lost fluids and brings your blood sugar levels back up, it actually shortens your recovery time if done within 30 minutes of working out.* That’s why I try to get a smoothie in after a gym session.
My go-to recipe is just banana, cucumber and lemon with a few berries for a splash of color and antioxidants. It gives your body fluid and a little boost of potassium and magnesium to prevent muscle cramping, helps replace muscle glycogen and neutralizes the acid that forms in your body from exercise (and alcohol!!). Plus a tough workout (or night drinking) can weaken your immune system. The vitamin C from the fruit and veg helps boost your defenses.
This smoothie is very light intentionally. If you want to thicken it up add less liquid. For a little more protein (the optimal post-work ratio of carbs to protein is about 4:1), feel free to blend in some soaked chia seeds or quality protein powders. If you want a stronger alkalizing effect, leave out the berries and add a few leaves of romaine lettuce in. I promise you won't even taste them!
Recap of the benefits:
  • Hydration: After sweating it out at the gym or a late night out, you need to replace those fluids! The fruits and veg really make the water more enjoyable to drink.
  • Faster recovery: The carbs help stimulate insulin production which aids in replacing muscle glycogen.
  • Acid neutralization: Working out or drinking alcohol causes your body to form acid. To neutralize this acid, your body uses valuable minerals, like zinc, potassium, iron and calcium. Cucumbers, bananas and lemons (yes, even though they are acidic) have an alkalizing effect on your body. This way you don’t lose valuable minerals!
  • Blood sugar boost: After working out or drinking, your blood sugar is likely on the floor. Having easily digestable carbs helps bring it back to a healthy level and ease a headache.
  • Immune system boost: Vitamin C!
  • Antioxidants: The antioxidants from the fruit (especially the berries!) help fight the oxidation process that can cause damage to cells in your body.
  • Flushout toxins: The lemon also stimulates your liver to flush out toxins, which is extra important after drinking!
  • Extra potassium and magnesium: Help prevent muscle cramping.
* Read more here.


Pumpkin Granola

I can’t help myself… I just keep buying pumpkins. It’s a strange problem to have, but, all things considered, it could be worse. I’m not racking up credit card debt and I end up with delicious pumpkin pancakes, soups, breads, cakes, muffins …and now granola!
While someone in my house is starting to get sick of pumpkin, I am NOT!  In fact, the pumpkin pie I ate over Thanksgiving left me wanting to bring spiced pumpkin into my everyday life. So, I decided to use my cherry-nut granola recipe as a base for some crunchy pumpkin granola. This time around I’ve also added more fiber and chia seeds!
You can read up on all the great benefits of oats in my last post, which include regulating blood sugar, lower cholesterol and supporting a healthy heart. The almonds, walnuts and chia seeds also give you protein and healthy fats that boost brain function!


Raspberry-Walnut Oatmeal with Sautéed Bananas

To celebrate the first of Advent, I went on an obstacle trail run outside of Frankfurt this Sunday. I know, it's not everyone's idea of a good time. When you live in the city and work at a desk all week, though, there is nothing better than some fresh air and exercise to remind you you're alive! Two loops on a 2.6-km trail with nine stations. Box jumps, pull ups, push ups, sit ups, dips plus a few other fun ones. Needless to say, I needed a breakfast that was going to (help me) go the distance.

Oatmeal was the clear choice. It's provides easily accessible energy for your body, but is filled with fiber that keeps you full and allows for the slow release of energy. My absolute favorite way to eat oatmeal is with raspberries, a pinch of cinnamon, sauteed banana and toasted walnuts. Yummm. There is just something so comforting about sitting down to a warm breakfast when it's cold outside. Cooking the bananas makes them even sweeter so you can skip (or go lighter) on the brown sugar or honey. 

What to love:
  • Fiber: Oatmeal contains a great mix of both soluble and insoluble fiber. The soluble fiber also known as beta-glucan helps lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Plus it keeps you full!
  • Beta-glucan also helps boost your immune system’s response to bacterial infection by activating your white blood cells.
  • Low glycemic load: Yes, oats have carbs, but the soluble fiber is made up of polysaccharides (long chains of glucose) that are harder to breakdown. This allows for the slow release of energy into your blood stream. No blood sugar spikes.
  • Oats also contain the antioxidant avenanthramidethatis believed to have anti-flammatory effects. It prevents free radicals from damaging LDL (the bad) cholesterol, thus reducing risk of heart disease.
  • Protein: 8.5 grams per 2/3-cup serving, which helps your body build strong muscles.
  • Good source of iron, which is required for the production of red blood cells and to the transport of oxygen throughout the body.
  • Bananas: Good source of potassium and vitamin C.
  • Raspberries: Filled with vitamin C and fiber.
  • Walnuts: Contains protein, omega-3s (help reduce plaque formation, reduce blood pressure and inflammation, support brain function, control appetite and improve mood) and more antioxidants per serving than blueberries.
*Click for nutritional data