Green Smoothie with Spinach, Mango, Lime and Mint

The atmosphere in our house is really intense – the teenagers are preparing for exams and they are studying like crazy, really hard!

Green smoothies are the perfect energy kick to feed and nourish  mind and body.

At this time of year, the stores are booming with fresh, soft, sweet and delicious mangos. They are the perfect snack and fantastic in green smoothies.

Here is a smoothie for the hard-working teens (or others) – a real kick of greens!

Lovely mangos

Lovely mangos

 

Green and delicious

Green and delicious

This smoothie is delicious. It’s sweet, intense, powerful and refreshing! A perfect way to boost your concentration and refresh your mind – as well as refreshing and anti-oxidizing your body.

Green Smoothie with Spinach, Mango, Lime and Mint 

1 good handful of fresh spinach

2 ripe mangos

3-4 twigs of fresh mint

2 lime fruits

Ice

Water

Fresh spinach

Fresh spinach

Lime

Lime

Juicy, sweet and delicious

Juicy, sweet and delicious

Fresh mint

Fresh mint

Put the peeled and roughly chopped fruit and herbs in the blender along with some ice and water. Blend until smooth, cool and fabulous.

Enjoy

Enjoy

And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair – Kahlil Gibran

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Be the change

Our children are stressed more than ever. They are on a non-stoppable – high – speed treadmill. Demands from school, parents, extra curricular and a never ending intrusive connection to social media and cell phones. Our children are on 24/7, always on the go.

photo

 

As a tragic result, we see anxious, depressed and stressed out children like never before. Nearly 7% of Canadian teens suffer from some serious and/or disabling anxiety.

According to an article in Globe & Mail ” School study paints a picture of teens under pressure” – this is a serious problem.

The article reveals the Canadian study of 103.000 grade 7-12 students. It  shows that teenagers are under so much stress that they are losing sleep, being driven to tears and experiencing greater levels of stress than parents and teachers expected.

Read the statistics of the study here

Dr. Atkinson, a clinical psychologist working in Toronto, sees children who are confused and overwhelmed, who are not able to experience life in a natural way, because they have to do more and move faster.

I see stress and anxiety as symptoms, a serious wake up call to all of us. Something needs to change.

Underneath stress and anxiety there are needs and suppressed emotions – stress and anxiety are natural reactions to what the children are experiencing, they are signs of overload, but the children have nowhere to go. This way of living has become the norm, we are all stressed. While this unhealthy environment goes on and on, we are creating children who are worn out, burned out before they even begin, maybe for life.

This means that children today need us more than ever.

The good news is that we by pulling the emergency brake can help our children deal with stress and burnout. Not by telling them and staying on the treadmill ourselves, but by slowing down and dealing with our own stress.

They need to see us:

  • get off our own treadmill
  • say “no” and mean it
  • say “yes” and mean it
  • meditate
  • go for walks
  • be mindful and present
  • be in the moment
  • do nothing
  • take a nap
  • have time to chat
  • have time to listen
  • have fun
  • take a long bath
  • do yoga
  • read a book
  • bake a cake
  • take care of ourselves
  • say what we mean
  • listen to our bodies
  • follow our hearts
  • take deep breath
  • have no plans

They need us more than ever: to support them, encourage them and spend time with them. 

It can be hard to do these things, but lets do it, for ourselves, our children and the future.

Be the change you want to see in the world – Mahatma Gandhi

 

Moroccan Vegan Burger with Spicy Homemade Harissa

One of the ways I like to keep healthy by is making some of my meals with plant-based foods.

In general I try to be 80% plant-based as I feel my body thrives and feels content that way. So much so I could never go back to my old “regular” diet. I smile when I see my children eating more and more vegetables too.

Hey they do as you do, not as you say 🙂

This way of eating keeps my cholesterol levels down, naturally. I maintain my ideal weight. I have tons of energy all thorough the day. And the Meniere’s disease I once suffered from, has gone!

Yesterdays plant- based invention was this:

Morrocan Vegan Burger with Homemade Spicy Harissa

Moroccan Vegan Burger

Moroccan Vegan Burger

 

Moroccan Vegan Burger with Spicy Homemade Harissa

3 medium sized yams – cooked until tender

2 cups of cooked quinoa

500 grams dark mushrooms

3 shallots

Olive oil

2 cloves of garlic

3 spoons of flaxseed meal

Sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

Seasoned flour

Spice mix

small 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Small 1/2 teaspoon cardamom

Small 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon

Small 1/2 teaspoon Allspice

1/2 teaspoon Cumin

Finely chop the shallots, rinse and chop the mushrooms – put the mushrooms into a hot frying pan with olive oil and fry until they are until golden brown. Add the chopped shallots and continue frying until they are tender. Add sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

In the blender put the de-skinned baked yams, the cooked quinoa, the cooked mushrooms, the spice mix, the freshly squeezed garlic, the sea salt and the freshly ground pepper-blend. Put the “burger” mixture into a bowl and add 3 tablespoons of flaxseed meal. The mixture is quite soft so it can be a little tricky to work with – you can put the mixture in the fridge for a couple of hours before you make them into patties so they can firm up a bit. Then turn them in seasoned flour like this:

Turn lightly in flour before frying

Turn lightly in flour before frying

Gently fry the patties in olive oil until they are golden brown on both sides.

Serve on a good bun with homemade harissa sauce, slices of red onions and a handful of Arugula or mixed lettuce – (see recipe for homemade rolls here )

Homemade Spicy Harissa

Spicy Harissa Sauce

Spicy Harissa Sauce

I love this sauce on anything – the perfect dip for any vegetable! But also good with fish, chicken, lamb, – well, as I said, anything 🙂

2-3 red peppers

1-3 cloves of garlic depending on how fierce you want it

1/4 cup of olive oil

Red chilli – I use 1/2 , how hot do you like it?

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon of sea salt

Juice of one lemon

Cut the peppers in halfs and bake them in the oven with the skin up until they are tender and the skin is beginning to get dark, actually almost almost black. Leave them to cool and then take off the skin.

Place all the ingredients in the blender and blend into a smooth sauce.

A healthy spicy bite

A healthy spicy bite

How to get kids to eat healthily

Many people have asked me “How do I get my kids to eat healthy?”

It can be a real challenge. Many children are picky and there are many foods they don’t like. It can be really hard to get them to try new things too. And, of course, there is a reason for all of that. Studies from the University of Copenhagen show that there is a significant change in taste perception as a child develops into a teenager. The research shows that first, as teenagers, can distinguish between different flavours and that there is a decreased preference for sweet flavors.

So, until the teenage years, their taste buds are not fully developed. The research also showed that girls taste buds are more sensitive than boys. This means that there are a reason why kids can be picky and boys eat differently than girls and like different things.

Taste buds and flavor preferences change as the child grows.

See a great article by Christine Bude Nyhom here

Without considering this, dinner time can turn into a battle and a power struggle. We want to be good parents, we know the importance of healthy eating. And we get scared and worried if they don’t like to eat the carrots.

Knowing that kids have a legitimate reasons for their food choices helps. They are not just being picky and difficult. Their bodies are growing, their minds and spirits are developing and so are their taste buds.

It is now they build the foundation for a healthy life.

My tips to help encourage kids to eat healthily and establish healthy eating habits

  • Never force them – I remember when I started eating more healthy food, I felt So Great and I wanted the whole entire world to know about it so that they could feel the same! But, I was too pushy, and it had quite the opposite effect. Especially my son made a point of NOT wanting to eat that healthy stuff. So, I had to change the strategy. I actually apologized to him and told him I was really sorry that I had been so pushy. Then I cooked the usual food but I also cooked the new more healthy options – and I allowed everyone choose. To my surprise, one night I had made lasagne, but also raw food “healthy” lasagne instead of a salad. My husband and I took big portions of the raw food plant-based lasagne and we munched away while smiling and saying – “yum, yum, yum – oh, how good this is”. And, the kids looked at us and without saying anything joined in and started to eat the healthy lasagne. By the end of the meal, the raw food lasagne had been devoured and the normal lasagne was hardly touched!
  • Always have fruits and veggies easily available –  Having a fruit basket and plate of cut vegetables available, perhaps with some great dip, or freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices are a great way to get more healthy food. Often, if delicious fresh fruits and veggies are available, and cut into bites or as a fruit salad, kids will snack on it rather then the usual chips and sweets. And setting a good example is a great convincer, if you do it perhaps they’ll follow too. Maybe not at first, maybe even months, but one day they will – in the meantime give them a multivitamin and trust that it will happen and that they will not die of hunger.

  • Make green smoothies. This is such a fantastic way to get some greens and fruits down and it taste SO good! In the beginning make them more fruity and the kids will love them. Then over time add more of the leafy greens that are so good for us. In the beginning my kids did not even want to try it, so I poured some for myself and sat down while I slowly drank it and did a when Sally met Harry stunt”. First, they shook their heads and walked away. But one day my daughter said, “hmmm, can I try that green stuff?” – I wanted to pour her a huge drink in the biggest tumbler I could find in the house, but I restrained myself and poured her a tiny one. “Yum this is quite good, can I have another one?” Victory! My arms were high in the air (metaphorically) !! My son eventually said “Mom, it’s unfair that you always make the green smoothies when I’m in school because then I can’t have one”. As they started drinking the green smoothies they automatically started to crave more greens – so I often see them choose fruits over chips or ask if they can have 1/2 cucumber or an avocado. They make more healthy choices naturally and that is awesome! It took time and patience, but it was well worth it.

  • Freeze smoothies and make ice cream – smoothies make perfect ice cream and the green once make the coolest looking ice cream. A friend of mine who has little kids, came up with the idea of freezing the leftover green smoothies and the kids loved them!! She has promised me a photo 🙂

  • prepare food together – cooking together is so much fun. Yes, it does take longer and yes, there is more cleaning up to do but over time your kids will be little masters in cooking and cleaning up after themselves. They are more likely to try something new if they have helped prepare it and it is a great way to be together.

  • Make dinner time a shared experience – sitting down, having dinner together means so much, in so many ways – socially of course, and also when it comes to establishing healthy eating habits – for everyone.  If they see us take time for eating and enjoying our food that is what they learn. Maybe not today, maybe not right away, but over time – they will treasure that time together and the good food.
  • prepare what you know they like and add healthy sides – allow them to choose. Also try to ‘healthy-up’ old favorites, like adding grated carrots and zucchini to meat balls or add grated vegetables to sauces, or use 1/2 the amount of meat in a chili con carne  and add more veggies and beans instead.
  • Be an example – This is probably the number one most important tip. Be an example, kids look at us and what we eat and if the majority of what we eat is healthy nourishing food, they will learn to eat that way too and enjoy it.

This is a great article about kids and eating:

http://life.gaiam.com/article/10-ways-get-kids-eat-healthier