Arugula: More than just healthy.

A friend gave me an arugula salad a few weeks ago and sparked my taste buds. Where have these greens been all my life? I have had it a few times but always neglect it at the grocery store.

Some fear peppery flavor, but paired with the right dressing or ingredients its delicious. And the best part? It’s great for you in more ways than one!

Arugula can be eaten raw or lightly cooked; although it is most nutritious raw.

Arugula contains tons of vitamin B, vitamin K, chlorophyll, folate, and much more. It also aids in cleansing due to its high fiber content and antioxidants. It has also been shown to serve as an anti-inflammatory!

 

Arugula was used as a very strong aphrodisiac during the ancient civilization of Rome. 

Oh yeah- I said it! Break out the oysters over arugula! Romans also ate arugula for good luck (obviously 😉 ) It was used as a love potion around the world, often mixed with lavender oil and chicory. Some say the “sensual” effect could be a combination of the energy boost from vitamins and the spice heating your core temperature. I believe its magical, so jot down my recipe and get your arugula on!

 

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh arugula

1 ripe mango; sliced or cubed

1 diced avocado; optional

2 tbs Champagne Vinaigrette  (click to find recipe)

squeeze  of lemon

salt and black pepper to taste

 

Toss ingredients together and enjoy! Delicious when paired with grilled white fish or shrimp.

 

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Overnight Oats

Meal prepping for breakfast can be challenging if your looking for a change. Sometimes I get into a “hard boiled egg” rut when looking for a quick grab and go meal in the morning. “Overnight oats” has been a tasty solution which gives me great energy and keeps me satisfied well until my next meal or snack.

 

Easy Recipe:

1 cup Unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1.5 cups Rolled oats

.5 Chopped banana, ripe

.25 cup Fresh blueberries

1 scoop (or .5 serving) Vanilla protein powder

1 tsp chia seeds (optional)

 

Mix together in to-go container and let sit in fridge overnight.

 

…and just like that, you have a delicious breakfast ready to enjoy in the morning!

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Champagne Salad 

This fresh, crisp salad is just what I needed today. Sometimes I get stuck in a salad rut, using the same ol’ ingredients over and over….and over. It makes me want to ban salads from my lunch forever! Refresh your palate with this fun combination of ingredients.

#2 Champagne Salad (minus the bubbly)

Toss all salad ingredients lightly or just drizzle the dressing over the salad. This is a very elegant salad; too delicate to chop and toss. 

  

  
  

 

Banana Apple Smoothie 

Who needs new recipes for the new year? I know I do! One of my resolutions is to try something new in the kitchen each week  day. I almost set the bar to just one new recipe weekly, but I thought why not take it up a notch?! Some simple drink recipes, some more involved meal recipes….its time to be creative. I need to jazz up my healthy menu and this is the perfect time to take on a challenge. I thought the least I could do is share with you! Stay tuned for the rest of the year to see what I come up with. 

Happy and Healthy 2016 to you and yours! 🎉
#1: Banana Apple Pie

A simple and delicious smoothie, perfect for a light breakfast or a snack. Be prepared to share; kids will love this, too!

  

Leigh’s Green Smoothie

Everyone should have one easy, go-to green smoothie! A nutritious smoothie makes a quick and easy breakfast option when you’re on the go. Be sure to use a high-powered blender so that its extra creamy!

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Leigh’s Green Smoothie

1 cup unsweetened vanilla Almond Milk

1 ripe Banana

2 handfuls Baby Spinach

5 fresh Strawberries

1 tbs Ground Flaxseed

4-5 Ice Cubes

Blend and enjoy!

Leigh’s Favorite Blender:

Vitimix

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PS…

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Butternut Squash “Fries:

Need to satisfy that “carb” craving? Don’t blow your day! Try this healthy twist on fries instead!! No they aren’t really fried; they’re roasted and you won’t be able to tell the difference. They are so flavorful and delicious. Be sure to bookmark this post because I know you’ll be coming back for more. 😉

 

Butternut Squash Fries

Wash and peel the squash.

Slice into strips (about 3-4 inches long; .5 inch wide)

Toss in a very small amount of olive oil (just enough to coat; drowning them will make them soggy)

Sprinkle with a few dashes of each: Salt, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper. 

Place in a single layer on baking sheet.

Convection Oven: Bake for 18 minutes @ 400 or until golden brown. Toss halfway through.

Regular Oven: Bake for 23 minutes @ 425 or until golden brown. Toss halfway through. 

Enjoy!

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Oil Pulling: Does It Work?

Oil Pulling

 

A few months back, I kept seeing the headline “oil pulling”. At first I had NO clue what it was, I thought it had something to do with a car or the earth. 😉 One day, I finally decided to click and was surprised at what I saw….

I was all over it the topic and read multiple articles about oil pulling. There were mixed reviews: some called it a folk remedy with no proof, while others swore it was a miraculous health remedy.

I weighed the pros and cons, and there really were no cons. It was said to be harmless. What was the worst that could happen if I tried? Well, other than wasting 20 minutes of my life, nothing!

Below are the basics of what I have learned about oil pulling.

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What is Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling is is an ancient remedy used for cleansing your body of harmful toxins and bacteria. It started in India thousands of years ago and was introduced to the US in the 90’s. There are many testimonials about how oil pulling has helped improve dental health and other issues such as acne and headaches. The main claim, among other many potential health benefits, is that it improves the health of your teeth and gums by capturing and removing bacteria and plaque.

What are the prospective benefits of oil pulling?

*whiter, more polished teeth

*TMJ relief (jaw pain)

*cavity prevention

*stronger teeth and gums; gingivitis prevention

*bad breath remedy

*headache relief

*skin clarification

*hangover remedy

*natural, harmless detoxification

What kind of oil is used for Oil Pulling?

In my research, I found that the two best oils available for oil pulling are sesame oil and unrefined coconut oil. Be sure not to confuse the sesame oil with “toasted” sesame oil, which is a specially oil used for flavor in Asian foods.

When and how do I use the oil? 

Oil Pulling is said to be most effective first thing in the morning. Before eating or drinking anything, gently swish 1 tbs of oil around your mouth. It doesn’t have to be vigorous to where your jaw and cheeks become fatigued afterwards. Gently move the oil around your mouth in order to make it through your teeth and around your gums.

How long do I “swish”?

It is recommended that you swish for 15-20 minutes. Supposedly, 15-20 minutes is long enough to remove the toxins from your mouth. Keeping the oil in your mouth for too long can have an adverse effect. If you swish for more than about 20 minutes, it is said that the bacteria can be re-released back into your mouth. So play it safe with a 20 minute time cap (you will probably be ready to spit by then anyway 😉 )

What do I do with the oil when I am done?

Whatever you do, do NOT spit it down the drain! Be sure to have a container ready to spit in and toss into the trash. I usually have a container with some tissue ready for safe disposal. It can clog your pipes and cause some major problems since the oil does turn into a solid when at room temperature.

 

 

My experience:

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I started out with sesame oil. I found the flavor a little funky, so I quickly switched to unrefined coconut oil. The texture was weird at first because it starts out as a solid, but it quickly turns to liquid (hang in there!).

At first, swishing for 15 minutes felt like a lifetime. I was watching the clock and could not WAIT to spit it out! After a few times, I got used to it just like anything else. Instead of counting down the seconds to spitting,  I just set my alarm while I made the bed and did other morning duties until the time was up.

I did find that the swishing relieved tension in my jaw. I guess the motion loosened it up after clenching at night (which I sometimes do when under stress). It became relaxing to me.

It is unknown to me if it actually pulled out any toxins or cleansed my mouth of harmful bacteria. However, I did notice that my teeth became a little whiter and felt more polished after brushing.

So, I generally oil pull about 3 times a week. I especially do it the morning after a cheat meal (or wine). I also make sure to oil pull if I feel a cold coming on just incase it really does get rid of bacteria and viruses…it can’t hurt! If nothing else, I can see the whitening benefits and I’m happy with a brighter smile! 🙂

P.S…

 

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