Goji Berries – A Superfood Growing Adventure

Posted on April 19, 2013. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health, Plants | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Food - Goji Berries 1I’ve been munching on dried goji berries now for a few months.  I’ve also included dried goji berry powder into my superfood fruit smoothies.  I found lots of health benefits to eating goji berries in just a little research.  They include:

  • Antioxidant levels that could help prevent cancer, heart disease, boost the immune system, and lower cholesterol.
  • Vitamin A levels that could have anti-aging effects, protect vision, prevent heart disease and improve immune function.
  • Goji berry compounds may boost brain health and may protect against age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
  • Preliminary studies that show benefits in mental well-being, and calmness, athletic performance, happiness, quality of sleep, and feelings of good health.

So, I wondered if it was possible to grow these wonders myself.  Again, a little research revealed that people all over the U.S. are doing this very thing!  The bushes they grow on are easy to grow and propagate.  They even tolerate harsh winters!  All I had to do was soak a few dried berries for 24 hours in water, then slit open to get the seeds out and pop them into some soil.

Food - Goji Berries 4          Food - Goji Berries 2

Well the little buggers are coming up gangbusters!  The photo above is of seedlings that are only 2 weeks old.  When they get their second set of leaves I will transplant them to individual containers.  I did read, though, that although this seedling method will work, I might not have plants mature enough this year to give me very much fruit.  Hmmm.  I didn’t like the sound of that.  So I hunted around and found someone selling little 2-3 year old plants for about $10 per plant delivered.  That sounded like a fun alternate approach.

Food - Goji Berries 3The arrived today!  They are still getting unbent from their pack into a box, but they have many, many green buds on them!   Now if I could just be patient for the snow to stop and the temperature to rise.

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Superfood Fruit Smoothie Made Simple

Posted on April 12, 2013. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Food - Fruit Smoothie 3

Americans need to take back control of their food!  My neighbor mentioned that she had to get to the store to buy some packets of powdered fruit smoothie so she could make them in her blender again.  You can probably imagine my reaction.  I said, “Why would you pay for that?”  and “Have you looked at the ingredients list?”  Let’s just say she has thanked me profusely several times now for teaching her that she doesn’t need a package from the store that some gigantic food manufacturer has put together.

Fruit smoothies are so simple if you have a blender and a freezer.  The best base for all of them are frozen bananas and other fruits and vegetables.  Peel ripe bananas and slice in smallish slices, then throw in a ziplock bag and freeze flat so you can break off as many as you want when you are using them.  Bananas make smoothies creamy and thick so they are a great base.  After that any other fruit and many frozen veggies work great too.  It’s a very sneaky way to get vegetables into children’s diets!  Basically it is frozen stuff, sweetener (honey, maple syrup, stevia, even dates – your choice), and liquid (milk, nutmilk, water).

Mine above there is a special superfood smoothie.  I included frozen banana, rhubarb (yep, using up last year’s frozen supply before this year’s comes in – low calorie and high nutrient, why not?), kale, and papaya.  Then some stevia for sweetening and 1 T. each chlorella and spirulina and some coconut milk.  Absolutely delicious!

Food - Fruit Smoothie 1          Food - Fruit Smoothie 2

The final product makes it possible for me to consume the spirulina and chlorella because I do not find these palatable, believe me, but their health benefits are astounding so I throw them in here where I can’t taste them.  The final color is surprising, but I think especially boys would like the idea of a pond scum smoothie – eeewww!  Hard to believe, but I’m telling you, it tastes wonderful.  And again, every cell in the body sings, “Thank you for the FOOD!”

By the way, that is a stainless steel straw in there.  What a great concept!  I have tried to eliminate plastic from my food and I didn’t know, until recently, that there was any other choice for a straw, but glass and stainless steel are now available for reasonable prices too.  I invested in 10 of these and I will never have to buy straws again and none will go into the landfill or need to be recycled.  And I won’t be sucking up plastic chemicals along with my smoothie.  Just great!!

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Superfood Energy Balls Made Simple

Posted on April 5, 2013. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Food - Superfood Energy Balls 1          Food - Superfood Energy Balls 2

I love the whole concept of the energy ball or bite (scooped into balls or cut into cubes).  If you have a food processor you can whip these up in a jiffy!  Today’s offering is packed with superfoods.  I find them perfect for a holdover when I’m hungry but I still have a meal to cook, or when I’m having to delay a meal because of an appointment, or even for a super easy, tasty dessert!

These balls have superfood ingredients I ordered from nuts.com which proved to be an economical place to order as well as friendly!  Here is the recipe and the one thing I learned and will do differently next time.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 C. ground almonds

1/2 C. ground pecans

1/4 C. flaxseed meal

1/2 C. unsweetened grated coconut

1 T. maca powder

1/4 C. shelled hemp seed

1 T. mequite powder

1 T. cacao powder

1 T. cracked cell chlorella powder

6 pitted medjool dates

1/4-1/2 C. cashew milk (make super easy by blending soaked raw cashews and water)

Mix all above really thoroughly and then add 1/4 C. tart dried cherries and 1/4 C. cacao nibs for a quick mix.  Then use a small cookie scoop to make about 40 balls.  I rolled them in coconut sugar which became sticky and runny after awhile because of the moisture in the balls.  You would be better off rolling them in coconut or crushed nuts.  Next time!

Just a note about chlorella and it’s cousin, spirulina which I think can be used pretty much interchangeably.  If you smell these powders you may be tempted to throw them out because they are very unappetizing!  Same thing for tasting them all on their own.  But they are worth consuming because these dried algae (yep, basically pond scum!!) are PACKED with amazing health benefits.  In a recipe like this you really will not even know it is there by the taste, but your body will be smiling on a cellular level.  Trust me, it’s worth it!

I’m on about week 4 now of the anti-inflammation eating plan and I feel great!  Mood and energy are up so I’m going to stay with it for awhile.

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Superfoods – The Stash Builds

Posted on March 29, 2013. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Food - Superfoods

I met with my doc yesterday and we both agree that veganism is just too hard!  That said, I am eating no red meat nor dairy, and very little animal products at all.  Some days are vegan for me, but I’m not killing myself to keep it up.  So all in all I have still reduced the inflammatory load on my system by making my diet very clean.  On top of that, I’ve boosted my intake of this new category of foods known as superfoods which are chock full of nutrients the body loves.

Here is my growing stash:  nutritional yeast (yummy, rich flavor component to put on salads), chia seeds (for smoothies and oatmeal – 1 T. keeps me full for hours!), hemp seeds (so delicious as is, but an easy addition to a salad and/or smoothie), goji berries (crunchy and good for a little snack – little because they are very expensive!), and golden berries (puckery tart and chewy, also pricey, so small quantities.)

It’s been fun to play with these new foods.  I’m still enjoying the Superfood Kitchen book and now I’m looking forward to Julie Morris’ new book on using superfoods in smoothies.  Today I made a rice milk, frozen strawberry/blueberry/kale, stevia, vanilla, chia/hemp smoothie.  I wondered if the kale would kill it with yucky greens taste, but no, I couldn’t even tell it was in there!

By the way, I had a cholesterol test done at the local Walmart clinic because I didn’t want any dubious results in my medical record since I pay for my own insurance and it could be disastrous if I got a bad result recorded in my record.  So, I was Mary Smith for the day and for 70 bucks I found out I have a perfect cholesterol panel and perfect glucose as well.  The nurse practitioner said, “I wish I had numbers like these.”  I replied, “That’s a lot of vegetables and exercise!”  She admitted, then, that she should give up junk food.  Well, at least there was an acknowledgement that my lifestyle has at least contributed to those numbers!

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