Nutrition and Fitness with Randa

Secret Super Smoothie

You would never guess what two super healthy ingredients are in this protein smoothie. My kids like to call it Molly's Smoothie, because our friend and babysitter recommended we try it and now they are hooked - they ask for it. Thanks, Molly!

As with any smoothie, you can change the ingredients based on what you like - so you use milk or juice instead of water, or add a banana or some mangoes if that pleases your taste buds!


Smoothie with two super ingredients

  • 2 cups frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (or 2 scoops)
  • 1 cup water (you may need more or less depending on the consistency you prefer)
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 tbsp organic sugar, splenda or natural sweetener (optional)
  • Secret Ingredient #1 (2 cups)
  • Secret Ingredient #2 (1/2 -1 tbsp)

Blend together first six ingredients in a blender. When blended, add in secret ingredients and d continue to blend for 10-15 seconds. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Nutrients per serving-2 servings: 218 Calories, 2g Total Fat, 0.5g Saturated Fat, 26g Carbs, 11.5g Fiber, 20g Sugars, 13g Protein

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Is Organic Better?

Is organic really superior to non-organic? Is organic better for my health?  Is it worth the additional cost? Or is just a "fad"? These are questions I hear often.

Though this post could be a novel, here are some interesting, basic facts about organic foods:

What are organic foods?

  • Technically, organic foods are grown without pesticides and are not processed with chemicals like antibiotics, preservatives or hormones.
  • Organic foods are minimally processed without artificial ingredients, preservatives, or irradiation to maintain the integrity of the food.
  • They are also produced in a manner that reduces pollution and conserves water and soil.

Are organics better?

  • Organic foods have lower levels of pesticides than conventionally grown food - children and adults who eat them have lower levels in their bodies.
  • Critics say: "So what? Pesticides are safe. Nobody has ever died from eating the small amounts of pesticide residues on food." Ummm, if they are harmful to farm-workers and kill pests, can they be good for you? Why should the government bother to regulate them if they are completely harmless and benign?
  • Are fruits and vegetables better if they are organic? Probably, but not necessarily for nutritional reasons. Consider the words of Joan Gussow, former head of the nutrition department at Columbia University: "Isn't the most important story that organic production conserves natural resources, solves rather than creates environmental problems, and reduces the pollution of air, water, soil...and food?"

So what?

  • Wash those veggies before eating them, especially if they have been sitting on shelves in the produce section getting misted at regular intervals. In the teeth-gritting words of Marion Nestle: "It is best not to look too closely at the misting devices...some are covered with green algae or encrusted with mold." So wash up! Washing cannot remove all microbes, but it takes care of most of them.
  • Pesticide-free produce may not look as pretty, but if you want fewer pesticides in your body, buy organics.  (The cost or organic produce is definitely a factor for many, so if you are considering organic and when to spend your money on it - check out the Environmental Working Groups Dirty Dozen list below)

What’s the Difference?
EWG research has found that people who eat five fruits and
vegetables a day from the Dirty Dozen™ list consume an average of
10 pesticides a day. Those who eat from the 15 least contaminated
conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables ingest fewer than 2
pesticides daily. The Guide helps consumers make informed choices
to lower their dietary pesticide load.
Will Washing and Peeling Help?
The data used to create these lists is based on produce tested as
it is typically eaten (meaning washed, rinsed or peeled, depending
on the type of produce). Rinsing reduces but does not eliminate
pesticides. Peeling helps, but valuable nutrients often go down the
drain with the skin.

The best approach: eat a varied diet, rinse all
produce and buy organic when possible.

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Goji Berries

The Lycium fruit, otherwise known as Goji berry, goes by many names but is all the same fruit with one great common purpose: To improve health naturally through amazing nutritional power! The fruit is native to southeastern Europe and Asia. Lycium is grown on plantations mostly in the north-central region of China where they have been cultivated for more than 600 years on the fertile floodplains of the Yellow River. This fruit is the ONLY source of therapeutic grade fruit containing nutrients and phytochemicals used by practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine.

They are power-packed with essential amino acids, vitamins, carotenoids including beta carotene lutein, lycopene and numerous antioxidants and dietary minerals.

Research shows that eating berries -- like blueberries, acai berries, cranberries, strawberries, and cherries -- offers some definite health benefits. Berries like the goji berry are filled with powerful antioxidants and other compounds that may help prevent cancer and other illnesses, including heart disease.

Eating foods high in antioxidants may slow the aging process. It does this by minimizing damage to your cells from free radicals that injure cells and damage DNA. When a cell's DNA changes, the cell grows abnormally. Antioxidants can take away the destructive power of free radicals. By doing so, antioxidants help reduce the risk of some serious diseases.

Goji berries also have compounds rich in vitamin A that may have antiaging benefits. These special compounds help boost immune function, protect vision, and may help prevent heart disease.

Some research suggests that goji berry extracts may boost brain health and may protect against age-related diseases such as Alzheimers.

Goji berries can be difficult to find - try looking for them at your local health food store (such as Lassens or Whole Foods).

Use them in:

* Muffins

* Breads

* Cookies

* Granola or oatmeal

* Trail Mix

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