RISE + SHINE: 5 Steps to Become a Morning Exerciser

A guest post from our friends at Sport&Health Club

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Find yourself repeatedly hitting the snooze button? Try these 5 tips to make AM workouts an easy part of your routine. It’s a great feeling to get your workout in early – plus, you’ll have a boost of energy to carry you through the day!

Why Work Out in the Morning?

Morning exercise carries many benefits.  You’ll jump-start your metabolism and keep it elevated for hours.  As a result, you’ll be burning more calories all day long. AM exercise also energizes you for the day and increases mental acuity, which can last four to ten hours after your workout ends. Also, by finishing your workout in the morning, you can better focus on the day that lies ahead. But most of all, nothing can top the feeling of gratification knowing that you have done something good for you.

Here are some steps to help you become a morning exerciser:

Prepare for your workout the night before

Pack your gym bag and lay out your workout clothes. Go to sleep at the proper time each night. The National Sleep Foundation suggests getting between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night to help your body function well the next day. This is the most vital component to becoming a morning exerciser. If we are requiring our body to expend more energy in the morning, then we must prepare it to do so.

Set a time for your workout

When you exercise at the same time every morning, you are regulating your body’s endocrine system and circadian rhythms.  Your body will start to adapt to the pattern that you’re setting and then prepare for waking and exercise several hours before you open your eyes. Amazing, right? Hormones prepare your body for exercise by regulating blood pressure, heart rate and blood flow to muscles. Your metabolism along with all of the hormones involved in exercise will start to elevate while you’re sleeping. You will feel much more alert and energized when you do wake up.

Establish accountability

Schedule exercise with a friend or a certified personal trainer. This will help you gain accountability and give you that extra dose of motivation.

Choose a method of exercise

Whether it’s a group fitness class or a session with a personal trainer, find something that you enjoy and you’ll increase your odds for success. You can choose from so many varieties of fitness: water aerobics, dance, cycling, Pilates, or even team sports. They are all beneficial!

Eat a light snack before your workout

Try a cup of yogurt and a granola bar or pieces of fruit. Combine complex carbohydrates for energy and protein for the best workout recovery. Then eat a healthy meal less than an hour after exercising to start your day properly. You may find that morning exercise regulates your appetite for the rest of the day and will help you choose better portions of healthier foods.

Are you ready to tackle your workout in the morning?

There is nothing more invigorating than the feeling of tying up those laces, heading out the door and welcoming your newfound challenge. Wake up tomorrow morning ready to tackle your workout!

Go to sportandhealth.com for more exercise tips.

 

Fitness Tips for 2017

A guest post from our friends at Sport&Health Clubtrx-2

A sedentary lifestyle is one of the 5 major risk factors (along with high blood pressure, abnormal values for blood lipids, smoking, and obesity) for cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association. Physical activity is key to preventing heart disease and strokes, the nation’s  No. 1 and No. 5 killers.

Here are a few workouts that will give you some amazing heart-health and strength building benefits!

Interval training

While any activity boasts heart-health benefits, interval training is an amazing way to get your blood pumping. Alternate between high intensity intervals and periods of rest or slower paces work – think treadmill sprints followed by a brisk walking break. Be sure you’re working hard enough to get out of breath and then take whatever rest period is necessary to recover. Continuously raising and lowering your heart rate forces the blood to pump a lot harder. In addition to burning tons of calories, it makes the body more efficient at clearing fat and sugar from the bloodstream.

Lap Swimming

If you’ve never taken your cardio workout to the pool, you’re missing out! Try progressing from 6-10 lengths of the pool, trying out different strokes with each workout. Work your chest and back with alternating laps of back crawl and breaststroke. Or try alternating laps of flutter kicks and the front crawl for an amazing upper/lower body workout.

 

Strength training

In addition to building muscle mass, strength training has an incredible impact on bone health and your heart. Over time, your muscles will more efficiently be able to handle the demands placed upon them, easing the burden on your heart. New to strength training? Begin with your own body weight – just be sure that you’re incorporating proper progression over time. In addition to simply adding more weight, you can adjust the tempo of your movements to up the intensity. Once you master 10-12 repetitions of a movement, try challenging yourself by slowing down the movement for an extra burn.

Yoga

Want a more gentle approach to gaining strength and toning muscles? Yoga and Pilates get the job done and also provide amazing heart-health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, boosting circulation, increasing lung capacity and improving respiratory function and heart rate. And bonus – you’ll leave class feeling more relaxed and ready to tackle the day.

Cycling

According to a study recently done by the British Medical Association, regular cycling can reduce risk for coronary heart disease by 50%. Cycling uses the largest muscle groups in the legs to elevate heart rate, boosting fitness and stamina. Try a group cycle class for a fun, interval-based workout or simply hop on a bike at the club for a 20-30 ride!

Ultimately, it’s important to find an activity or training style that you enjoy and will stick to. For those looking to lower blood pressure or cholesterol, the American Heart Association recommends 40 minutes of aerobic exercise of moderate to vigorous intensity three to four times a week to lower the risk for a heart attack or stroke.  For more information, visit sportandhealth.com.

The No. 1 New Years Resolution – Lose Weight

 

A guest post from our friends at Sport&Health Club

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Many individuals resort to the same New Year’s Resolution year after year, to lose weight.

This year, Mitch Batkin, Sport&Health Clubs, Senior Vice President of Fitness, offers the following points that can make sticking to resolutions a breeze:

  • Start today. With the right tools and a little discipline, it is possible to enjoy all foods and stay fit.
  • Find support from a trainer or join a group exercise class. Your success rate increases dramatically with support from others instead of trying to do it alone.
  • Enjoy a healthy snack before a big meal. A cup full of carrot sticks, an apple or a handful of pretzels can be just what you need to curb the appetite, leaving less room for high-fat foods.
  • Eat freely in moderation. Sample the tempting foods on the table, but in small portions. Load up the rest of your plate with vegetables and fruits.
  • Stay active. Perform at least 30 minutes of moderate activity each day. Most fitness experts agree that accumulating about 3 hours of exercise each week, half of cardiovascular conditioning and half of resistance type exercise is best to make significant improvements in your health.
  • Beware of liquid calories. Steer clear of large amounts of alcohol or soda, which will provide little more than empty calories.
  • Drink lots of water. Not only is it important for helping you stay hydrated, it also helps you feel full.
  • Eat only when hungry. Many people eat just because food is in front of them. Pause for a moment before that second or third helping and consider whether you truly feel full.

For more information, visit www.sportandhealth.com.

 

Feed Your Resolution

When January rolls around, many of us make big New Year’s resolutions to change our whole diet in order to start the year off right. But here’s my question… Why not make a resolution to just start the day off right? Making a smaller, simpler promise increases the chances you will stick with it throughout the whole year!

Some of you may be doing great with your resolution and others might already be off the wagon… where ever you are don’t worry! Let’s make this simple pledge to add a healthy breakfast to our day this month.

smoothie

For a quick breakfast, smoothies hit the spot. They are fast to make, satisfying and you can easily take them with you when you walk out the door. The key to making a smoothie that will #FeedYourResolution and keep you feeling full until lunch is to focus on two things: Produce and protein.

Pick Your Produce

The USDA recommends 1 ½-2 cups of fruit per day and for vegetables, the recommendations are even higher at 2 ½-3 cups a day. Adding a smoothie as part of your breakfast, snack or lunch on-the-go is an easy (and delicious!) way to work up to those daily produce goals.

Veggies

Try fresh or frozen spinach leaves, fresh or frozen kale leaves, carrot, cooked sweet potato, cooked pumpkin, beet greens and cooked beets and/or cucumber.

Fruits

Try berries, pears and apples, banana, avocado, pineapple, mango, papaya, kiwi, citrus, figs, plums, melons and/or cherries. Almost all fruit can be used either fresh or frozen.

Pick Your Protein

Adding protein to your blended drinks helps you feel fuller longer —here are easy ways to add extra protein:

Add whole food sources of protein to your smoothie.

Consider yogurt, kefir, nut butters, pasteurized egg whites, or silken tofu to bring richness and flavor to your glass. If you like a thicker, heartier texture boost your smoothie by blending in ground chia, flax seeds, hemp seeds or rolled oats.

Add a scoop of protein powder.

Plant-based protein is a great option that derives protein from nutritious products like brown rice, hemp seed, peas or soy. For dairy drinkers we love grass-fed whey protein—Did you know that at Whole Foods Market, all of our whey protein powder is from cows that are free of growth hormones and antibiotics, just like our milk?

Smoothie Builder

Smoothies are very versatile so you should feel free to experiment with ingredients until you find a combination you love. Check out the diagram below… Simply choose at least one item from each row…then blend your way to breakfast bliss!

builder

Want a tried and true recipe? Here’s one of my favorites:

LEAN GREEN SMOOTHIE

This lean green glass of goodness will keep you energized, full and feeling your best all morning long! Nutrient packed greens join forces with fresh fruit and juice to give you a high impact smoothie.

Makes about 2 ½ cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 heaping cups chopped kale leaves
  • 1 ½ cups cold orange juice
  • ½ of a pear (or apple or mango)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 scoop protein powder (We suggest a Grass-fed Whey Protein Powder, or if you avoid dairy, Plant-Based Protein Powder)

Method:

Remove kale leaves from their rough center stalk and coarsely chop. In a blender, combine kale and orange juice. Blend until no big kale bits remain. Stop blender and add pear, banana and honey.  Blend until smooth. Enjoy!

Supplement Your Workout

Top 10 Supplements for Fitness

Did you make a resolution to work out more in the new year? Here’s a list of popular supplements that will enhance and support your workout and health goals!

What are Supplements?

Supplements are just that — supplements, not replacements. Paired with a healthy diet, they can help keep the body strong by focusing on prevention and support. They can also help to address specific health needs related to your joints, heart, brain, digestion and more. Research indicates that optimal levels of some nutrients are tough to obtain from diet alone, thus… supplements!

1. Energy Supplements

Whatever your workout, energy supplements can fuel your sessions before, sustain your energy during and support repair and recovery after.

  • Natural energy enhancers like green tea and yerba mate will support endurance and mental focus without the jitters or caffeine crash. Boosting your energy with natural ingredients will help increase endurance, aerobic and anaerobic capacity, and enhance mental focus before long and high-intensity workouts.
  • B vitamins are necessary for the body to convert proteins and sugars into energy, and are necessary for peak performance and recovery.

We recommend… Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer and Clif Shot Bloks Energy Chews (with 50mg Caffeine)shot-bloks

 2. Recovery Supplements

Helping your body recover quickly from a tough workout will decrease muscle soreness and help to get you ready for your next workout.

  • Turmeric supports a healthy inflammatory response which supports recovery and pain relief.
  • Ginseng and Rhodiola were traditionally used in herbal medicine to help enhance physical capacity, and reduce training-related fatigue.

We recommend… Gaia Herbs Turmeric Supreme Liquid Caps and Gaia Herbs Adrenal Health Liquid Caps

turmeric

3. Protein powders

Protein provides amino acids, which are vital for lean muscle tissue growth and repair, as well as cellular metabolism.

  • Protein powder is a great way to get additional support if you don’t get sufficient levels of protein from the foods you eat. Most are vegetarian and some varieties are dairy free or vegan.

We recommend… Whole Foods Market™ Plant Based Fit Protein Powder and Garden of Life Organic Raw Protein Powder

protein

4. Bone and Joint Supplements

Make sure you are supporting the bone and joint structure that keeps your body supported! Orthopedic injuries are a very common reason people can’t work out like they want to.

  • Calcium provides critical support for healthy bones. Although it is never too late to nourish your bones, early intervention through adequate calcium intake, regular exercise, and a diet rich in fresh, unprocessed foods will help prevent bone loss in later years.
  • Vitamin D plays a major role in bone development and appears to have a beneficial effect on many of the body’s systems. Most people cannot get needed levels of vitamins D from recommended diets.
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin formulas address joint discomfort by supplementing and supporting components naturally found in healthy cartilage. Glucosamine is a building block of cartilage, while chondroitin sulfate is actually a constituent of cartilage.
  • Zyflamendpromotes a healthy inflammation response that helps support joint health. Perfect for post-workout pain.

We recommend… New Chapter Zyflamend and Adora Dark Chocolate Calcium Disks

calcium

5. Wellness for Cold and Flu Supplements

Sickness is another common reason people have to skip their workouts. These types of supplements support healthy immune systems.

  • Homeopathic flu remedies, when taken at the first sign of sickness, can provide temporary relief of symptoms including fever, chills and body aches.
  • Warm liquids may provide similar soothing effects as steam.

We recommend… Boiron Oscillococcinum and Nature’s Way Umcka Cold Care Hot Lemon Drink

Pro-tip: Experts say, washing your hands is “hands down” the number one prevention for cold and flu.
oscilloccinum

6. Healthy Fats

Healthy Fats are vital for numerous functions in the body, including a healthy cardiovascular system, brain, mood, joints and skin.

  • Fish oil is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are key players in the recovery process. Essential fatty acids found in fish oils may support a healthy inflammation response after exercise. This may help to reduce the post-exercise muscle soreness often felt for hours or days after strenuous or unaccustomed exercise.
  • Plant-based omega-3s, derived from nuts and seeds, are great options for those who don’t consume fish or meat.

We recommend… 365 Everyday Value® Organic Chia Seed, Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts and 365 Everyday Value Fish Oil

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7. Electrolytes

Electrolytes are minerals in your blood that are depleted during training. Great natural sources are coconut water, dried fruits like raisins or dates, and naturally enhanced electrolyte drinks.

Supplements to consider… Nuun Active Electrolyte Enhanced Drink Tabs

nuun

 8. Digestion Supplements

No one likes to work out on an upset stomach, but even more importantly, healthy digestion is key to overall health and maintaining a healthy weight.

  • Probioticsplay an important role in digestion, supporting the immune system and intestinal health.
  • Fiber supports normal blood sugar levels, hunger, cholesterol levels and a healthy intestine.

 We recommend… Garden of Life Raw Probiotics365 Everyday Value: Daily Probiotic With Acidophilus and Manitoba Harvest Certified Organic Hemp Protein Powder with Fiber

probiotic

 9. Multivitamins

Multivitamins contain beneficial nutrients that may be difficult to obtain from food sources alone. They act as nutritional “insurance.”

We recommend… Megafood Women’s Multivitamin, Megafood Men’s Multivitamin, and Hero Nutritionals Yummy Bears Multivitamin

mens-one

10. Superfoods Supplements

Superfoods are packed with essential nutrients and available in a variety of convenient forms, like powders, bars and capsules, which can help you get in your recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

  • Greens and wheatgrass are loaded with antioxidants, fiber and minerals.
  • Maca delivers glucosinolates, the healthy compounds in cruciferous vegetables.

We recommend… Amazing Grass Organic Wheatgrass Powder and Navitas Naturals Incan Organic Maca Powder

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Pro-tip: If you need any supplements right now, don’t miss the sale at Whole Foods Market January 6-8, 2017. These are the biggest discounts on supplements all year!
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How To Host ‘Turkey Day’ If You Have A Guest Who Doesn’t Eat Meat

Do you have a vegan or vegetarian person joining you at your Thanksgiving feast? If you don’t practice these diets yourself, you may be left wondering what to prepare. Well don’t worry… Here are recipes and tips for preparing a holiday meal that will delight everyone at the table!

1.  Offer at least one meat-free entrée

This will make your vegetarian guests feel honored and it’ll ensure they have a festive dish as their main course instead of relying solely on only side dishes. We love these veg-focused “center of the plate” stars:

If you’re already feeling overwhelmed by having to cook the turkey and sides you might opt to try one of our ready-made vegetarian holiday alternatives:

2.  Whenever possible, keep your sides meat-free or meat optional

Thanksgiving sides are often the best part of the meal! Everyone loves the sweet potatoes, squash, Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, salads, etc. With all these options, it may seem like a vegetarian has more than enough choices… But as a host you’ll just need to be aware that we often add animal products to classic sides making them off-limits to our meat-free guests.

No need to change all your prized family recipes, but here are a few easy swaps to make sides more veg-friendly:

brussels

  • Instead of cooking Brussels sprouts with bacon or in drippings: Roast them in a vegetable oil like in this recipe and have crispy bacon bits on the side as an optional topping.
  • Instead of having sausage as the main add-in to your stuffing: Feature savory flavors and mushrooms, or a unique mix-in of dried apricots and hazelnuts.
  • Instead of mashing the potatoes with chicken broth: Use vegetable-based broth and milk. Try this recipe! If you have a vegan guest you’ll also have to leave out the milk and butter (sorry!), however you’ll be surprised how delicious potatoes mashed with garlic, herbs and high quality olive oil can be!

3.  When your vegetarian guest offers to bring a dish, let them!

The best person to make an awesome vegetarian dish is the person who eats that way all the time! So when your meatless loved one offers to contribute, say yes! It will be a win for everyone… one less dish for you to make and they’ll have a favorite recipe to nosh on.

And if they don’t offer to bring something we’ve got you covered. Head to our website for festive vegan and vegetarian recipes that will take you from main course to dessert!

 

WHAT TO EAT WHEN: Tips For Endurance Athletes

Endurance athletes need to be especially conscious of their food choices throughout their training… But in the week, days and hours leading up to the big event, it’s even more important. Here is a plan for what to eat in order to maximize your performance come race time!

what to eat when

 

1 week before

Pre-hydrate with fruits, veggies and water-heavy foods

Most people focus on the day of a race, but getting serious about hydration a full week before a big event helps train your body to maintain proper hydration more effectively on race day.

Pre-hydrate throughout the week leading up to a big event or long training session by eating foods that contain high amounts of water like fruits, vegetables, soups, and smoothies.

Add chia seeds to your diet this week. Naturally high in omega-3 fats and covered in hydrophilic soluble fiber—Chia seeds absorb about 10-12 times their weight in water (watch the gel form around them when put in water). This unique characteristic means chia seeds help your body prolong hydration and retain electrolytes, promoting endurance and recovery in your training.

chia

3 days before

Carb-load

Glycogen is how your body stores extra carbohydrates and it’s the most easily accessible form of energy. Keep in mind that you can’t fill up your glycogen supply from just one meal, so start carb-loading two or three days before your race.

During a half or full marathon you burn both glycogen and fat, but fat is not as efficient, which means your body has to work harder to convert it into fuel. This is why you’ll want to fill your muscles with glycogen before the race.

Try to get your carbs from high quality, whole food-based sources like grains, rice, oatmeal, whole grain bread, pasta, fresh juice, and fruit.

whole grains

Add even more carbohydrates the day before your race, but be careful not to overdo fat and protein intake, as they are hard to fully digest (choose red sauce instead of Alfredo or meat sauce). Another tip is to eat your biggest meal earlier in evening or at lunch. You will sleep better and avoid GI issues if you’ve had more time to digest that big bowl of pre-race spaghetti!

3-4 hours before

Complex Carbohydrates (with a side of protein and fat)

A few performance-zapping blood sugar drops will teach you never to skip a pre-race meal. To avoid drops, choose complex carbohydrates from whole grains. All carbohydrates raise blood sugar, but because complex carbs are digested more slowly, your blood sugar rises at a slower, more even pace. This will give you a consistent source of energy that will continue to release throughout your training session or race.

The fiber in the whole grains slows the digestion of these carbs, but you can further extend their release by adding a little bit of protein and fat. The addition of protein before activity will also help speed recovery after you are done.

Options: Whole grain bread and nut butter, oatmeal with fruit and chopped nuts, or a whole fruit smoothie with yogurt or protein powder.

pb and bread

15-60 minutes before

Simple Carbohydrates

Eat simple carbohydrates to give your body instantly accessible energy. Choose easy to digest, high sugar foods like a banana, dried fruit, or energy gel/gummy. Research shows that runners who consume simple carbohydrates 15 minutes before running are able to run 13 percent longer than subjects who took in nothing. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy… a handful of raisins had equal performance benefits to sports gel!

Eat whole foods or gels/gummies made from real food— you will get clean energy from products made without added chemicals, dyes or sugars.fruit

During an event!

Simple Carbohydrates & Electrolytes (and water of course)

Eat or drink simple carbs to get sugar in your system quickly to refuel muscles. This will keep blood glucose and muscle glycogen levels up, making exercise seem easier, more pleasurable and delaying fatigue! Electrolytes are minerals in your blood that are depleted during training. Great natural sources are coconut water, dried fruits like raisins or dates, and natural gels or gummies. Pro tip: Test foods during training to see how you react to them before the big event.

Take in at least 30 grams of simple carbs (¼ cup raisins) and electrolytes (dried fruit or coconut water) every 60-90 minutes. Hydrate every 15 minutes.

electrolytes

15-30 minutes post

Simple Carbohydrates & Protein

In the 15-60 minutes immediately following a workout, your muscles are primed to receive fuel to start the repair process.  So eat/drink your recovery meal as soon as possible after you workout is complete. Consuming the right foods shortly after exercise can also help prevent muscle damage and even sickness (a drop in the immune system can occur). So respect the 15-60 minute window and refuel!

Ideally, aim for a 4-to-1 carbohydrate-protein ratio to maximize recovery. Snacks like whole grain bread with peanut butter & banana, chocolate milk, cereal with milk & banana, or Lara Bars have the correct ratio.

recovery

1-3 hours post

Balanced meal

Eating a good meal a few hours after your event will support the rest of your recovery. Incorporate plenty of fruits and vegetables to bring your body back from the acidic state created by intense exercise. Keep hydrating and get some extra protein to support muscle repair.

A thick protein shake is a great way to help your muscles recover. Go ahead and have a treat… you earned itextended recovery

Keep reading to find out how professional swimmer Kirsty Coventry eats for training and competition!

Boost your Back to School Breakfast

What you eat for breakfast can set the tone for the entire day. For growing kids, this first meal is especially important! Getting young people into a good breakfast routine early in life will set them up for a lifetime of healthy habits.

Why morning meals matter:

  • Studies indicate that eating a healthy breakfast can positively affect cognitive function and academic performance, and support emotional stability and alertness.
  • Research also suggests that children who eat breakfast regularly are more likely to meet overall recommendations for vitamin and mineral intake.
  • Kids who skip breakfast do not typically make up the nutrients later in the day. Instead, they tend to fill up on nutrient-poor snacks at school and are less likely to eat enough fruits and veggies.
  • Eating breakfast is associated with increased likelihood of healthy weight throughout life.

The Big 3: Protein, whole grains and fruits & veggies

“The Big 3” are the meal components that I believe are the most important parts of a healthy breakfast. Here’s why…

  • Protein will keep you feeling full until lunch.
  • Whole grains give you long-lasting energy so that you can think well and feel energized all morning.
  • Fruits & veggies give you a great source of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to work at its best all day.

If you think you might be skimping on any of the Big 3, here are some solutions!

Do you have enough PROTEIN? If not, then add…

  • Eggs, beans, nuts or nut butter, yogurt, cottage cheese, tofu
  • Try this high protein recipe:

egg white bites

 

Do you have enough WHOLE GRAINS? If not, then add…

  • Oatmeal, breakfast quinoa, whole grain bread or toast, whole grain tortillas, granola, whole grain cereal (choose one with less than 6 grams sugar per serving)
  • Try this recipe packed with whole grains:

 

Do you have enough Fruits & Veggies? If not, then add…

  • Sautéed spinach, mushrooms or peppers with eggs or tofu, fresh fruit on yogurt or oatmeal, avocado toast, apples or bananas with nut butter instead
  • Try this veggie-packed breakfast:

breakfast pita

No time to prepare a recipe? Here are some super easy 3 ingredient breakfasts for busy mornings!

 

3 Ingredient Breakfasts for Busy Back to School Mornings

 

Kids that eat a well-rounded breakfast perform better and are healthier overall. Even though we know this, it can be hard to plan a healthy breakfast in addition to everything else that needs to get done in the morning. Here, I’ve pulled together some super easy and budget-friendly breakfasts that provide the perfect balance of complex carbohydrates, protein and nutrients.

These recipes feature our Whole Foods Market 365 Everyday Value® products. By choosing 365, you get high quality natural and organic choices at value prices every day of the year! It’s a great brand to stock up on for back to school staples.

Check out these easy as 1, 2, 3 breakfast ideas!

 

 

1

365 Touch of Honey Organic Whole Wheat Bread + 365 Organic Creamy Peanut Butter + sliced bananas

 

2

365 Organic Whole Wheat Tortilla + 365 Organic Cream Cheese + sliced strawberries

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The time is ripe for raw foods

crudite

Summer is an ideal time to embrace some raw food eating — this time of year, you’ll find tons of local, fresh produce available. Since it’s so hot, no-cook meals are a simple way to avoid the oven and stove to keep the house cooler.

Why choose raw food?

Raw foods can be higher in water-soluble nutrients like vitamin C and B vitamins as well as higher in some natural enzymes. This is because there are particular vitamins and nutrients that can be diminished in the heating/cooking process. Additionally, eating more raw food meals is a great way to work more fruits and vegetables into your diet.

Read on for some great raw recipes that are perfect for the end of summer!

“Zoodles” a.k.a. Zucchini Noodles

One of my favorite raw meals is zucchini or summer squash “pasta” that I like to call “Zoodles.” This dish can be raw, high fiber and gluten-free! Plus, zucchini and squash are abundant this time of year so you can often find them at great prices from local farms!

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