Lucuma? Here’s the sweet story…

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First of all….did you even know there was a lucuma tree? With lucuma fruit? Well, you’re in for a sweet treat!

Apparently, Lucuma trees are native to the highland tropics of the Andes mountains in South America.  They are also the national fruit of Chile.  Side note: USA does NOT have a national fruit, but some individual states do.  You’re welcome.

And they’ve been around forEVER without my knowledge.  They are also called, ‘egg fruit’ since the fruit has a dry flesh (think hard boiled egg yolk texture).

So here we have a fruit with a dry flesh and a taste that is sort of maple syrupy and sweet potato rolled into one!  Some say it tastes like custard and a bit like pumpkin, but you will have to judge it for yourselves. You can purchase it HERE.

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Benefits?  How about beta carotene, 14 trace elements, potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus…to name a few!

So what do we do with it?  You can purchase lucuma powder and use it in baking cakes, cookies, pies and muffins. Lucuma powder can also be used to sweeten smoothies, yogurt, or just eat it raw!  There are so many possibilities!  It has a naturally sweet taste and does NOT increase your blood sugar levels! 

Try this smoothie from Navitas Natural

J+C Detox Smoothie

afternoon pick me up

Need a lunch meal replacement or an afternoon pick me up? This is a Navitas office favorite.

Ingredients

2 Tbsp Navitas Naturals Chia Seeds (*for Chia Gel)

2 Tbsp Navitas Naturals Lucuma Powder

2 tsp Navitas Naturals Wheatgrass Powder

1 Cup Water (*for Chia Gel)

1 Cup frozen Mango

1 Cup Pineapple

1½ Cup Pineapple Orange Juice

1 Cup Almond Milk

½ Cup Coconut Water

1 Cup Green Mango Peach Green Tea (cooled)

1½ Cup Ice

2 Tbsp Lime Juice

1 Tbsp Coconut Oil

Directions

*This recipe calls for ½ cup chia gel. Click here for the Basic Chia Gel recipe.

Blend ½ cup chia gel and remaining ingredients – enjoy!

Yield: 5-6

Submitted By

Navitas Naturals

Cacao! Cacao! (not a bird call)

Ahhh….the lovely cacao nut.  It’s latin name, Theobroma cacao, means “food of the gods”.  And why shouldn’t it be called that!!  Did you know that all chocolate is made from cacao beans (aka Cocoa beans)?

Those crazy Mayans even used cacao for currency!  Crazy Mayans.

Cacao offers cardiovascular benefits and cancer protection, and also helps lower cholesterol.  Raw cacao has a higher antioxidant rating than blueberries, acai, and even goji berries. It really is a superfood! 

Here’s the cool part….there is no cacao season.  Chocolate is always in season!  Wooo hoooo!!  Cacao trees trees grow in the shade, mostly in Central  and South America and Southern Mexico.  Their flowers have five petals with a lightly scented, pale, mushroom like growths which grow straight out of the trunk or large branches.

Did you know that you can purchase cacao trees from the internet and place them in a greenhouse?  They’ll be lovin’ them some humidity….just like the crazy Mayans!

What’s in it for me?

  • antioxidants
  • magnesium
  • iron
  • chromium
  • manganese
  • zinc
  • copper
  • vitamin C
  • omega-6 fatty acids

How do I use it? (via)

  • Purchase raw cacao products (beans, nibs, powder, butter) and blend them into your favorite beverage.  One tablespoon of cacao powder per quart works great with any beverage.  Blend cacao into coffee for a special treat!
  • Sprinkle raw cacao beans (nibs) on your favorite dessert instead of chocolate chips.  They are the original chocolate chips!
  • Add to trailmix
  • If you love dark, bitter chocolate, eat the beans by themselves.

Know before you go: (via)

Raw cacao is just like most things in the world of health and nutrition- the information changes fast. You need to keep on top of the news. There are many that believe that chocolate, even in it’s purest form of raw cacao, is still not very good for you, perhaps even toxic. The stimulant quality may agitate kidney and liver functioning. Some tests find it to be addictive, leading to mood swings and other withdrawal symptoms when not consumed regularly. Sexual dysfunction has also been listed as a possible side effect of chocolate intake- yikes! Certainly you must never blindly trust the information given to you by someone who is selling the product. Conduct your own research and see what the experts are saying. Though chocolate may not be the knight in shining armor that so many of us wish it was, when eaten in moderation, it doesn’t seem to be causing too much harm either. To play it safe, consume chocolate on special occasions and look for your magnesium and antioxidants elsewhere.

seasonal eating…

Since produce is available to us year round, it can be difficult trying to understand what is actually in season and what is not.  Of course you should always look for ripe, fresh fruits and vegetables, however you might want to check with your local grocer to see what is the perfect food for each season.  But until then…..here is a simple guide to help get you started…

FALL FOODS

winter squash (acorn, butternut, buttercup, delicata, hubbard, kabocha)

apples

beets

belgian endive

brussels sprouts

cranberries

figs

grapes

mushrooms

parsnips

pears

pomegranates

pumpkin  

sweet potatoes

swiss chard

WINTER FOODS

chestnuts

grapefruit

kale

leeks

lemons

oranges/tangerines

radicchio

radishes

rutabaga

turnips

SPRING FOODS

apricots

artichokes

asparagus

avocados

carrots

cherries

chicory

chives

collards

dandelion greens

fennel

mangoes

mustard greens

new potatoes

peas

rhubarb

spinach

spring lettuces

strawberries

sugar, snap and snow peas

watercress

SUMMER FOODS

bell peppers

blackberries

blueberries

raspberries

broccoli

corn

cucumbers

eggplant

green beans

nectarines

okra

peaches

pineapples

plums

summer squash

tomatoes

watermelon

zucchini

HEY, WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?:

  • healthier
  • cost effective
  • enjoy a greater variety
  • better for the environment
  • very delicious!

According to Esther Blum, author of Eat, Drink and Be Gorgeous: A Nutritionist’s Guide to Living Well While Living It Up, fresh food is also the most nutritious. And that nutritional boost might pay off under the mistletoe: “When your diet is naturally richer in vitamins and minerals then you are going to increase your chances of beating a cold and keeping your immune system solid through the holiday party season,” says Blum.

Yummm!!!  That’s good enough for me!!

it’s time for more FALL FAVORITES…

Yummy fall drinks and comfort foods…….sound good?  How about….the “not so fattening” favorites???

That’s what I’m talking about……..

PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE

1 cup coffee

1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk

1 packet Stevia

2 Tbs. Pumpkin Puree

1 tsp. Pumpkin Spice

Blend together milk, puree and spices, then add to coffee.

(optional: whip almond milk until frothy and sppon on top of drink…sprinkle with add’l pumpkin spice!)

PUMPKIN PIE PROTEIN PANCAKES

1/4 cup egg whites

1/4 cup Pumpkin Puree

1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder

1 Tbs. Ground Flaxseed

1 tsp. Cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg

Pinch of Pumpkin Spice

Mix together and pour onto griddle.  These are perfect with a little maple syrup or sliced bananas.

BAKED APPLES WITH CINNAMON AND WALNUTS (via)

2 Baking Apples, cored (like McIntosh)

1 cup Unsweetened Pomegranate Juice

1 tsp. Cinnamon

16 Walnut Halves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the apples in a baking dish. Pour the pomegranate juice over the apples. This will become a syrup as the apples cook. Sprinkle with the cinnamon and bake for 30 minutes, basting with the syrup, or until the apples are soft, but still hold their shape. Serve each apple topped with walnuts and syrup.

VEGETARIAN FOUR CHEESE LASAGNA  (via)

2 cups peeled and diced pumpkin

1 eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds

5 tomatoes

1 pint ricotta cheese

9 ounces crumbled feta cheese

2/3 cup pesto

2 eggs, beaten

salt and pepper to taste

1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce

1 pkg  pasta sheets (lasagne noodles)

1 1/3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place pumpkin on a baking sheet and roast in oven until browned and tender, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grill eggplant on a charcoal grill or fry in a skillet, turning once, until charred and tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Halve tomatoes and place on baking sheet in oven for last 15 minutes of pumpkin time; cook until tender and wrinkly.

In a medium bowl, stir together ricotta, feta, pesto, eggs, salt, and pepper until well mixed. Fold roasted pumpkin into ricotta mixture.

Spoon half of the tomato sauce into a 9×13 baking dish. Lay two pasta sheets over the sauce. Arrange a single layer of eggplant slices over pasta and top with half the ricotta mixture. Cover with two more pasta sheets. Arrange the roasted tomatoes evenly over the sheets and spoon the remaining half the ricotta mixture over the tomatoes. Sprinkle with half the mozzarella. Top with remaining two sheets of pasta. Pour remaining tomato sauce over all and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.

Bake in preheated oven 30 to 40 minutes, until golden and bubbly.

if you don’t like these pumpkin recipes, you’re out of your gourd…..

Creamy Pumpkin Rice Pudding  (Find the recipe at Better Homes and Gardens or click HERE)

Yummy Pumpkin Spice Granola  (Find the recipe at Disney Family or click HERE)

Fresh Pumpkin Ravioli (Find the recipe at Love and Olive Oil or click HERE)

Pumpkin Pancakes with Cinnamon Syrup (Find the recipe at Tastes Better from Scratch or click HERE)

Pumpkin Maple Macaroni and Cheese  (Find the recipe at The Fig Tree or click HERE)

THESE ARE ALL SUCH GREAT RECIPES, I WANTED YOU TO SEE THESE WEBSITES FOR YOURSELF!  ENJOY!!

your kid’s lunchbox…what’s inside?

Little Bobby backed up?  Well, with school starting up for most kids in  AZ, we need to be sure that we have lots of fiber in his lunchbox!

So one of the best ways to keep your child regular and promote his digestive health is to feed him plenty of fiber. Instead of sitting him down at the counter with a big bowl of sugary cereal, try these dietitian-approved, kid-friendly snacks and lunch items that will go down easy in every way. ( via WebMD)

Homemade Trail Mix

Help kids make their own trail mix by putting out bowls of dried fruit, nuts, or seeds along with a higher-fiber cereal, and mixing them up into to-go containers or plastic bags, recommends Louise Goldberg, RD, LD, owner of An Apple A Day Nutrition Consulting in Houston, Texas, and formerly a dietitian at the Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Houston Medical Center. (Just be sure to minimize the sugary “treat” ingredients, like chocolate chips or other candies.)

Flavorful Fruits and Veggies

Many fruits and vegetables are high in fiber –particularly with the skin on. If your child resists them, try making them fun by spearing fruit and veggie slices onto a kebab, or making a face with sliced-up fruits and veggies, suggests Beth Pinkos, MS, RD, LDN, a dietitian for the department of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology, nutrition, and liver diseases at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Rhode Island.

“You can use raisins for eyes, baby carrots for a nose, and celery for eyebrows, and an apple slice for a smile,” she says.

Remember not to give carrots to children younger than 3 or raisins to kids younger than 4 as they can be a choking hazard.

Creamy Dips

Kids who resist fiber-rich fruits and veggies may also be more adventurous if they can dip them in something first — like yogurt, peanut butter, salad dressing, or hummus.

Mixed-Up Cereals

Having trouble getting your child to try that whole-wheat fiber cereal? Try mixing up a couple of high-fiber cereals with a small amount of one of the less good-for-you options that your child may be drawn to in the cereal aisle.

“Kids like to mix and match cereals like little chemists,” says Pinkos. “Look for a high-fiber cereal that has 3 to 5 grams of fiber per serving, and then let them mix it up with just a little bit of one of the junkier ones.”

Sandwich in Some Fiber

Just as with cereal, the whole-grain breads or wraps you’re using for your kids’ sandwiches should have at least three grams of fiber per serving.

“Check the package — just because it’s called ‘whole grain,’ that doesn’t always translate to fiber,” says Goldberg. “And don’t be fooled by red- and green-colored wraps — that doesn’t necessarily translate to fiber either.”

Add Color With Berries

In addition to being colorful and sweet, “berries with seeds are very high in fiber, and kids usually love them,” says Goldberg.

Perhaps the highest-fiber berry is the little raspberry. They can be expensive, but it doesn’t take much to amp up the fiber. “Just a quarter cup has about the same amount of fiber as almost an entire apple,” she says.

Grab Some Granola

The granola bar aisle at your local supermarket is probably packed with high-fiber bars. They’re easy to pack and often appealing to kids.

“Kids really like some of the flavors they have now,” says Pinkos. But take care if your child starts treating the bars like candy. “Don’t let them go crazy and go from eating a low-fiber diet to three high-fiber bars a day, because they’ll become gassy and uncomfortable.”

‘Secret’ Ingredients

Some kids may not mind — they may even enjoy it — if you stir some high-fiber granola into their yogurt. Others may rebel against the unexpected crunch. But Goldberg says you can often sneak a little flaxseed into yogurt, applesauce, or a smoothie without your child noticing.

Pop Some Popcorn

What kid doesn’t like popcorn? It’s rich in fiber, and as long as you avoid the heavily salted and buttered varieties, it’s pretty healthy in general as well. “You can also try making popcorn balls with dried fruits and nuts, assuming your child is old enough for these,” says Pinkos.

3 Snacks to Skip

There are some foods that tend to cause, rather than ease, constipation in children. Two particularly “binding” snacks that are often a big hit among kids are bananas and cheese. There’s no problem with either in moderation, but if your child is having trouble in the bathroom these days, you might try cutting back on the cheese sticks.

Another barrier to good digestive health: heavily processed foods. “For good digestive health, minimize your reliance on refined foods like white sugar, white flour, and white breads and pastas,” advises Goldberg.