Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Green Smoothies and nutrient density / ANDI

I get asked quite often, "What do you put in your green smoothie?" There really is no set recipe, but there are a few basic things I do each time. For instance, bananas make it SMOOTH and have a higher caloric density than anything else I put it. If it were not for the bananas, I would be hungry a lot sooner! Mangoes are a good substitute for bananas or a nice addition. I also always put in 2T fresh ground flax, a slice of ginger and a nice slice of lemon, peel included. Berries have become a staple as well; antioxidants and nutrient dense. One or two other fruits and one or two kinds of greens round it all out.

Rabbit trail ...
Dr. Joel Furhman has this nifty chart that gives several foods a 'nutrient density' score (ANDI or Aggregate Nutrient Density Index). Kale is at the top of the list along with collards, and a few other greens are right up there as well. I aim to eat a lot of the foods high on this list each day. Of course if we only ate foods high on this list we would wither away to nothing due to lack of fat and calories!! Dr. Furhman gives this caution: "Keep in mind that nutrient density scoring is not the only factor that determines good health. For example, if we only ate foods with a high nutrient density score our diet would be too low in fat. So we have to pick some foods with lower nutrient density scores (but preferably the ones with the healthier fats) to include in our high nutrient diet." Here is a picture of that chart along with another one I liked:

For further reading: Nutrient Density and ANDI Food Scores.

These charts are a good reminder and a good way to 'un-learn' some bad habits and instill good ones ... but really we do not need to get that technical. Just eat a lot of colorful vegetables and fruits each day, being sure to get plenty of dark green leafy things. Stay far away from processed stuff and bad fats. Keep your animal product consumption on the low end. This is not new news nor is it difficult to comprehend. Eat food as close to how God made it as possible. Stay away from man-made junk.

One more thing ... this is a nice, quick video from Jeff Novick (via vegsource.com) about the density of the foods we eat. Among other things, he talks about blending foods, which I think is important to keep in mind!! It's easy to eat more calories if we blend our foods, so be careful that you are not just adding a healthy smoothie on top of the same junk you normally eat. It will not help you and will probably only make things worse. 

Ok, back to my green smoothie ... today I decided to weigh my ingredients and let you know EXACTLY what is in my smoothie. Here goes:


294g banana
194g mixed berries
131g apple
121g orange
112g celery
85g spinach
25g lemon (peel included)
24g (2T) fresh ground flax
7g ginger (peel included)
2T kelp granules (not pictured above nor in the nutrition information below)
3g (1t) spirulina powder
and water to make it blend smooth

According to Nutridiary.com my smoothie has
621 calories 
11g fat
31g fiber 
16g protein

Of course there is sugar in there too, but it's all raw, unprocessed fruit sugar, which sits in your body a lot differently than refined sugars (including sugar from cooked fruits or fruit juices). Also, I prefer to always have kale in there, however the only green we have ready in the garden right now is spinach.

The finished smoothie looks like this:

That's 3 cups for breakfast, 2c before lunch and 1c for a snack some time in the day. I also have some sort of lunch (usually a big salad, some rice noodles and veggies or something like that) and a 'normal' supper with the family ... as long as it sticks to the diet I am following for MS.

Now you know!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A new addition

About 1 1/2 months ago we got a Border Collie puppy. We are raising her and doing some basic training with her and then when she is nearly a year old David (our pastor/elder) plans to train her to be a cattle dog. So, it's a 'joint custody' thing. She is quite the character to say the least. And, as far as dogs go, she's really smart.

Here are a few pictures of her, younger pictures first and older ones last. Maybe some day we'll have a nifty video to share.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Wood Cookstove

Last week someone in our church gave me a wood cookstove in exchange for the wood stove at our house. I have always wanted a cookstove but thought there was no way I'd ever get one ... but, here it is. I am thankful. I thought it would be somewhat difficult to learn how to cook on it, however that has not been the case. At first I was really afraid to have the oven or stove top too hot, so I made the opposite mistake of having it too cold and things took a lot longer to cook than they should have. Gradually I learned how to regulate and control the temperature. Besides the obvious of being prepared with the fire ahead of time for baking (which could sometimes take an hour or so), it is not much different than a 'normal' stove. A benefit is that I can have several pots on the stove at one time - even my big 4 gallon pots.

Here are a few pictures, more for my sake than anyone else ... this blog has been a great journal for me!

moving day
sourdough english muffins
sourdough pancakes
That's all I have time for right now. Have a good day!