Peaches & Chia Seeds

Sometimes simplicity is best. Sun-ripened fruit and berries, oats, milk and chia seeds. Nothing ground breaking, but it's just so delicious I had to share it! 

With the weather starting to warm up, the price of fruit and berries is starting to come down and I'm all about gettin' in when the gettin' is good. For the absolute best deals, I hit up the farmers market right before they close to scoop up all the goods they are looking to get off their hands. Today, I shelled out 7 euro and marched home feeling rich as could be with my bag full of raspberries, peaches, mangos and cherries. Bonus: Not only do fruits and veggies that are in season taste better, they are more nutritious for you! Cheaper, tastier and more nutritional bang? What are you waiting for, go treat yourself to some!

I know peaches 'n chia seeds is not quite as catchy as peaches 'n cream, but I promise it's pretty gosh-darn delicious and will keep you full for considerably longer. I went on a bit about the wonders of chia seeds in a post on chia seed pudding a while back. If you have not tried this superfood yet, do it now, now, now! I am so in love with them that I just ordered my second 2 lb. bag of them online. They are the perfect fast, filling snack. For a quick recap of their nutritional stats, they are a good source of protein and calcium and full of brain- and heart-healthy omega-3s and blood sugar-regulating fiber

But what I really want to talk about here is fruit! Pretty much all berries are full of antioxidants that help fight cell aging and damage from free radicals. To give you a better picture of what that means, just imagine what happens to a slice of apple that's left out. That browning is due to oxidation and the same thing happens to cells in our body! Yikes! Blueberries happen to have the highest oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) value of any food in the world. But this breakfast has more to offer than that:

Blueberries: Everyone talk about salmon being brain food, but blueberries are perhaps even more impressive in this department. They are memory food! They contain a compound called polyphenol that helps your neurons talk to each other and even promote the growth of new neurons! They also help fight inflammation, which is involved in pretty much every major illness from alzheimer's and heart disease to arthritis and diabetes. Extracts of the phytochemicals in blueberries are also shown to significantly decrease growth of cervical and breast cancer.

Strawberries: Much like blueberries, strawberries are full of phytochemicals like phenols and anthocyanins that help inhibit cancer. Strawberries are also specifically shown to significantly inhibit growth of liver cancer cells. Extracts from strawberries may also help improve short-term memory!

Peaches: While nothing steels the show in terms of health benefits like berries, this stone fruit is not too shabby either. They are a good source of fiber, have a low glycemic load (won't spike blood sugar), contain carotenoids that promote eye health and prevent macular degeneration and contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin A, C and K. All this at less than 40 calories a fruit! 


Sesame Korean Beef Bowl

So after recovering from the blogathon that was the Sugar-Detox Challenge, I am finally back again with new recipes! This rainbow of a meal is light and fresh, but filling. My favorite part has got to be the caramelized beef. It's sweet and savory thanks to tons of fresh ginger, pressed garlic, a splash of soy sauce and a touch of coconut sugar (more on that below). I spoon this meat mixture into a bowl of crisp lettuce along with a little rice, crunchy red cabbage, sweet carrots and yellow bell pepper. Just top it all off with some sesame seeds and Sriracha and you have yourself a pretty kick-ass salad.  
The health rundown:
  • Protein: Beef is very high in protein (building muscles) and good source of iron (transporting oxygen to brain and body). Regrettably, beef is high in fat and cholesterol so eat it in moderation, like in this salad, and opt for the lean version (90-95% fat free) when you can.
  • High in fiber: The lettuce, carrots, cabbage and bell pepper are all high in fiber, which keeps you full longer, regulates blood sugar and is important for your digestive and heart health. The fiber ensures you have more time to digest and absorb nutrients and helps you eliminate toxins and waste from your digestive system more effectively!
  • Great source of Vitamin A & C: The veggies are chock-FULL of this stuff. Think beautiful skin (cell repair), a strong immune system and eye health.
  • Carotenoids: Your parents were actually right. The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin found in carrots promote eye health.
  • Phytochemicals: Thanks to the indoles, dithiolethiones, isothiocynates and sulforaphane found in cabbage, this meal also helps protect you from cancer! They help fight damage from free radicals and carcinogens.
I also want to take a minute to talk about coconut sugar. Seeing as how I just finished my Sugar Detox, using "sugar" in my very first recipe post following it may seem a little...well hypocritical. But now that I've kicked my intense sugar cravings in the butt, I do like to include natural, unrefined sweetners in my diet. To read more about what natural sweeteners are great options, read this post by the Food Babe (so proud that she is from my hometown!). Coconut palm sugar is obtained from drying the sap from the coconut palm. Because it is not bleached it is full of vitamins and minerals that would otherwise be stripped away in processing. Food Babe explains: "It is naturally high in amino acids – has 10,000 times more potassium, 20 times more magnesium and 20 times more iron than conventional sugar." While they are not the most nutritious calories you will ever consume they are certainly not empty and the best part is you can use them in the same ratio in baking and cooking as regular sugar! Because it’s glycemic index is half of that of regular sugar, switching to coconut sugar lowers your risk of developing diabetes and makes sugar cravings less likely.