My name is Alece and I am a nutrition nerd.
Oh wait. You already knew that? Silly me. I thought I hid it so well.
I have spent the last few years devouring books, articles, studies, and documentaries about the correlation between food and health. Each fact I learn only serves to confirm that my choice in eating a whole foods, plant-based diet is the healthiest choice that I can make for myself and my family. I am in constant amazement of what science is revealing every day about the healing powers of fruits and vegetables. We instinctively KNOW that fresh produce is good for us. I don’t know that anyone would argue against the amazing nutritional value of fruits and vegetables (though I am sure the internet trolls will try to prove me wrong).
Husband is one of those types of people that doesn’t need to know why something is good for him. If it is, he’ll happily eat it, as long as it tastes good, of course. Me? I want to know why. I NEED to know why. This deep need to know WHY has led me to read book after book and study after study about the effects of fruits and vegetables on our bodies and overall wellbeing.
Recently, I have been making my way through Dr. Greger’s book How Not to Die. He is the voice of nutritionfacts.org– which according to their website is a “501c3 nonprofit charity that provides free updates on the latest in nutrition research via bite-sized, easy to understand videos. It’s a strictly non-commercial, science-based public service provided by Michael Greger, MD. There are hundreds of videos on more than a thousand topics, with new videos and articles uploaded every day.” Dr. Greger’s videos cut through the media-fueled noise surrounding fad diets and gets straight to the facts. It is the first place I send people when they ask me questions like “are eggs really that bad for you” or “can soy give you cancer?”
Armed with so much new information as to why certain foods are beneficial, I decided to create a power-packed smoothie utilizing some of them. While it is always best to eat foods in their most natural whole form, we all lead busy lives and smoothies are a perfect way to get in lots of nutrients on the go. Smoothies are also great at disguising greens, spices, or other ingredients with strong flavors to which picky-eaters may object.
Wild Blueberries: Not only do blueberries improve memory abilities, but they also reduce the rate of cognitive decline as we age. Organically grown berries have been proven to suppress cancer cell growth and even reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Blueberries specifically have been shown to double the number of the body’s natural killer white blood cells (natural killer cells are part of the immune system’s rapid response to virus and cancer cells).
Cardamom: This warming spice has been shown to have digestive benefits, but more importantly, boosts the body’s natural killer cell activity by a factor of 10!
Cinnamon: This antioxidant-rich spice has long been praised for it’s ability to lower blood sugar levels. Studies have also shown cinnamon to lower cholesterol levels and help fight agains bacterial and fungal infections.
Hemp Hearts: Best known for their essential fatty acid content, hemp hearts contain omega 3, 6, and gamma-linoleic acid in perfect balance. They are the richest known source of polyunsaturated fats. They are also rich in vitamin e, which has amazing benefits for the skin.
Raw Cacao Powder: The high antioxidant content of raw cacao promotes the release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and endorphins, which are feel-good hormones, making it an excellent mood elevator.
Chocolate Blueberry Boost Smoothie
- 2 frozen bananas
- 1/2 cup frozen wild blueberries
- 1 TBS hemp hearts
- 1 TBS raw cacao powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/4 tsp Ceylon cinnamon
- 1.5 cups unsweetened plant milk
- Place all ingredients in the blender and process until smooth. I was able to use the medium size bullet on my Ninja blender. Serves 1.
Do you feel the need to know why foods are good for you? Or are you more like Husband and have no desire to know why? Share your stance in the comments below.
Full disclosure: This blog post contains some affiliate links. Meaning, basically, if you make a purchase from any of these links it doesn’t cost you anything extra, but I may make a little money. So thank you in advance for supporting my family 🙂