national coffee day

“Coffee is the best thing to douse the sunrise with.”

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Happy National Coffee Day! I have a love for coffee that probably borders on obsession. It is one of  the first things I think about when I wake up.  I luxuriate in that first sip of hot, bold, dark coffee. It gives me a sense of joy, delight, and comfort…ready to take on the day. So, to all you other coffee-lovers out there, enjoy your cup of Joe a little more today….Cheers!

And if you are a nerd like me, and want to read up on some of the benefits of coffee, check out this article from the NY Times.

lemon love

Lately, I have been reading about the health benefits of lemons and drinking lemon water. An idea which at first glance didn’t seem too revolutionary to me. I grew up with a slice of lemon in every glass of water or iced-tea, and with a grandfather who instead of ordering us soda at restaurants, would order water for the table and a plate full of lemon slices. He would then squeeze the lemon juice into our water, add a touch of sweetener and we would have fresh lemonade.  Looking back, I now know a lot of it had to do with him being, shall we say frugal. But as it turns out it was also a lot healthier than ordering a soda. Lemons pack a powerful kick; they are a low-calorie fruit with numerous health benefits.  They are high in vitamin C, have good levels of potassium, and are a tremendous source of citrus bioflavonoid and anti-oxidant phytonutrients. So, what does all of this mean? Here are just three amazing reasons to drink your lemon water:

  • Aids in Digestion: High in dietary fiber and citric acid, lemons help flush you out. They have also been associated with improving liver function and dissolving kidney stones.
  • Clear Skin:  Lemons have been said to help purge toxins from the blood, maximize enzyme function, stimulate the liver, and aid in detoxification.  All of which can help keep skin clear and radiant.
  • Hydrate & Energize: Water with lemon provides the body with hydration, anti-oxidants and electrolytes (such as potassium, calcium and magnesium). Lemon is a tremendous source of citrus bioflavonoid and anti-oxidant phytonutrients that have been known to help energize.

All of this sounded great to me, so I jumped on board.  It seems one of the tricks to benefiting from lemon water is to drink it first thing in the morning before you have had any other food or beverage, and especially before you reach for that first cup of coffee.  Here are just a few ways I have incorporated lemon water into my daily routine:

1. First thing in the morning. Boil a teapot of clean water. I drink mug after mug of warm water with at least half a lemon squeezed into the cup. If you aren’t a big fan of lemon, I would suggest starting with just a bit of lemon and working your way up to half a lemon per cup of warm water. Still not working for you? Perhaps try adding a dash stevia to sweeten it up a bit.

2. I carry a large re-usable water bottle with me everywhere I go, so I have simply started adding a few large slices of lemon in the morning. And will drink it through out the day.

3. On those rare days that I know I will be home for a long period of time, I load a pitcher with filtered water and simply add slices of lemon, cucumber, mint and sometimes orange.  It is delicious and refreshing!

I am by no means a health expert, so if you would like to learn more check out these sources:

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the joy of tea

Growing up in South Carolina, it’s not hard to believe that I am a tea fanatic. I no longer drink the sweet iced-tea loaded with sugar that I grew up loving (okay, maybe a glass or two when I go back home). Now, I truly enjoy tasting the actual tea and what better way to do this than with loose leaf. There are hundreds of different varieties and with the option to blend flavors, the possibilities are endless.

For the past few years I can’t get enough of the extraordinary Sugarbirds Sweets+Teas … The owner Kei just knows what she’s doing.  I head to the South Pasadena farmer’s market every Thursday to grab a bag or two.  At the moment I am loving the {olivia}, a blend of vanilla+chamomile+mint. But my tried and true favorite will always be the {zoe}, a blend of mint+chocolate+green tea. Both are absolutely delicious hot or iced. Not a fan of tea? Give these a try, and you just might change your mind!  I am sipping on a cup right now; perfect for this cold, rainy winter day!

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recipe | green smoothie

Recently, it has become my morning ritual to have a green smoothie; loaded with dark leafy greens and valuable nutrients to get my day started off right. I have always been a huge believer in breakfast, and personally my body needs a little something to get moving.  For years I was eating oats for breakfast accompanied by a GIANT cup of coffee, and noticed that I always felt sluggish by 10am.  But, with the green smoothie I get the nutrients and vitamins my body needs to start the day without the feeling of being weighed down. I have also noticed my craving to eat a snack an hour or two later has gone away.  There are thousands of recipes for green smoothies out there; and my suggestion would be to start with the basics and then experiment until you find a flavor combination that you enjoy.  For me, I started by using kimberly snyder’s glowing green smoothie recipe and then modified it until I found flavors that I actually looked forward to drinking.  Her original recipe, which I know is very healthy and has the extra veggies, was just a little too much for me first thing in the morning.  Who knows? I may work may up to that, but for now I am a fan of this little concoction:

GREEN SMOOTHIE {ADAPTED FROM KIMBERLY SNYDER’S RECIPE}

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups filtered water
  • 4 cups kale
  • 4 cups spinach
  • 1 small handful parsley, chopped
  • 1 small organic banana, sliced (i freeze my bananas first)
  • 1 small organic pear (or 1/2 pear and 1/2 apple), diced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp of chia seeds
  • handful of ice cubes

DIRECTIONS:

Blend the kale, spinach, and parsley on a fairly low-speed until smooth. Depending on the type and size of your blender, you may have to blend a few cups of greens and then add the rest as it blends.  Once this mixture is smooth and creamy, add pear and /or apple chunks, banana and juice of lemon. Blending again until smooth.  Last add a few ice cubes and blend once more. This makes 2 servings, one which i drink right away and the other I place in a glass jar and have ready for the next morning.  To me the flavor and consistency is still great for drinking.

One thing to note; depending on the quality of your blender, you may still have some small particles from the greens.  These little pieces don’t bother me at all, and I can’t justify buying a vitamix at this point in my life. Also feel free to try other fruit combinations. I almost always use a pear and a banana, but have also tried it with apples, blueberries, and even dates.

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