I watch very little television. The bit that I do watch is almost exclusively DVR'd so that I can fast forward through the commercials. I loathe television commercials to the point that it's a house rule that if they're on, they're muted. Today, I was reminded why!
I woke this morning and decided to watch a recorded snippet of Deepak Chopra talking about meditation. About 10 minutes in, I had to make a pit stop (hence, my need for meditation) and therefore didn't fast forward the commercials. As I came back to the TV, I was greeted by one of the most outrageous commercials I've ever seen. I laughed. I pondered. And then, I was simply disgusted, but I'm glad I didn't miss this one because it reminded me just how important my mission to spread wellness really is.
Walgreen's latest marketing campaign aims to make you think that you're crazy if you use nutrition to battle a cold. Yes, they've stooped to the lowest of the low, bashing good wellness practices and insulting our intelligence at the same time. Ouch.
The scene: A slightly overweight woman is standing at her kitchen counter, looking sickly in her bathrobe, wiping her runny nose. On the counter in front of her are several healthful ingredients, ideal for treating illness, that she is reluctantly dumping into a blender, such as kale (my favorite food!), ginger root, lemon, raw egg yolk, sardines, garlic, cayenne pepper sauce, onion, and some orange liquid (presumably orange juice, hopefully fresh squeezed!). As she's looking disgusted at adding ingredients to her concoction, a script plays in the background, spoken by a cheerful male voice (sounding much like the adorable John Corbett):
"When you're sick, seems everyone and their brother has a home remedy to try. But Walgreen's knows that you need advice from an expert. [Scene then pans to the same but now healthy woman, dressed nicely at Walgreen's, talking to a Pharmacist with a box in hand and looking so very comforted.] That's why our pharmacists are trained to know just what you should take for your symptoms. They're here and ready to help. Before you try anything TOO CRAZY. [Scene pans back to woman looking sickly, now smelling the finished blender concoction and dumping the lumpy mix into a glass. She obviously doesn't have a Vitamix. Woman is so disgusted that she puts her glass down, giving up on that "craziness".] You can stop by today for the service you trust, at the corner of Happy and Healthy."
Translation: If you choose natural healing over chemical drugs, you're crazy. Walgreen's lies at the corner of "Happy and Healthy"? Keyword: LIES. Seriously, friends. Walgreen's wants you to skip the nutrient dense smoothie and head to the pharmacy for a drug that will mask your symptoms but do absolutely nothing to heal you or promote your good health in general, leaving you more susceptible to colds in the future and needing a detox to get all those drugs out of your liver! This is not conducive to "Happy and Healthy"; it's conducive to staying sick and unhappy while Walgreen's thanks you for your money.
Things like this keep me motivated on my mission to help people navigate through media and marketing manipulation and to steer themselves to lasting wellness. Here's what Walgreen's doesn't want you to know (or believe) about the healthful ingredients in their commercial that can heal your body, boost your natural immunity, and increase your lifespan:
Kale: Second most nutrient dense food on earth. Full of fiber to cleanse your gut, antioxidant vitamins to fight disease, minerals such as iron and calcium to build strong bodies, vitamin K (for blood, bone, and cell health) and essential omega-3 fatty acids (for heart and brain health and to fight inflammation). Excellent for the lungs.
Ginger: Powerful anti-inflammatory, immune booster, promotes healthy sweating to detox during colds and flu, cancer fighter, boosts gastro-intestinal health and powerful fighter of motion sickness.
Garlic: Powerful antioxidant and natural antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral, assists in normalizing blood pressure and blood cholesterol.
Lemon: Alkalizing (creates an alkaline state in the body, vital to good health), high in vitamin C and flavonoids to fight colds and flu, liver cleanser, anti-bacterial, anti-cancer.
Onion: Antibacterial, promotes cardiovascular health, high in vitamin C to boost immunity, B vitamins for energy, high in potassium for multiple health benefits, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer.
Cayenne Pepper: Promotes circulatory health, anti-fungal, anti-cancer, clears mucous, anti-inflammatory, promotes detoxification.
Egg yolk: Nutrient dense! B vitmains for energy and immune boosting, calcium and magnesium, antioxidants, selenium, zinc (cold fighter!), lecithin to counteract the cholesterol, and more!
Sardine: Promote heart and bone health, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, second highest B12 content of any food, high in vitamin D for numerous health benefits, rich in selenium, high in calcium.
Smoothies are a great way to create a nutrient dense health boost, but adding all the above ingredients together, as the woman in the Walgreen's commercial did, will surely turn off a lot of newbies (a great way for Walgreen's to keep people coming back for more drugs!). So, try adding a few of those ingredients to a smoothie with lots of berries or other colorful fruit. See my KaleBerry smoothie recipe for starters. You'll love it; I promise.
As a health coach, my advice is to add any of these health promoting foods to your diet anywhere you can sneak them in. I also advise that you not take health advice from a television commercial, and most definitely not from a drug store. Even better still, MUTE the commercials!
Cheers to your health.
Smoothies are one of my favorite things, not only because they're delicious and easy, but also because they're a powerhouse of nutrition and a great way to get greens into kids (and adults) who wouldn't normally eat them! This KaleBerry smoothie is one that I make more often than any other for my family. With the right balance of ingredients, the taste of the kale (which I happen to love!) is virtually undetectable by even the most critical tongue.
Kale happens to be the second most nutrient dense food in the WORLD (and my favorite vegetable)! It's chock full of antioxidant vitamins, minerals (lots of iron and calcium), fiber, amino acids, and the ever important omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. It's readily available at supermarkets, and definitely abundant at farmer's markets (my personal preference) where you'll get the freshest crop and therefore the highest nutrient content. It can be bought in bulk at a more than reasonable price at farmer's markets and can be frozen for year round use.
Berries, like strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, also rank very high in nutrition content, being one of the top ten nutrient dense foods on earth. They're loaded with powerful antioxidants, phytochemicals, dietary fiber, and minerals. Berries also have the lowest carbohydrate content of all fresh fruits. They're commonly available at supermarkets and farmer's markets, and, just like kale, berries can be bought in bulk and frozen for year round use. Frozen berries are also available year round in supermarkets, being a great choice because they're picked at peak ripeness and then quickly frozen, preserving nutrient content. For the best price and quality, I prefer Trader Joe's organic frozen fruit. Nature's Promise and Cascadian Farms also market organic frozen fruits which are a little more expensive, but still very good.
I tend not to measure my smoothies by methods other than handfuls, palmfuls, and pinches, even when following recipes that call for it. I prefer to throw things together quickly and experiment with different ingredients each time I make something. The ingredients for this smoothie are pretty basic, and at the bottom of the recipe you'll see suggestions for adding a little flair if you prefer, which I alwasy do. Enjoy!
KaleBerry Smoothie Recipe
Yeild: 4 servings
(all organic highly recommended)
2 large kale leaves, or 1 handful of chopped kale**
1 heaping handful of blueberries**
1 heaping handful of strawberries**
1 heaping handful of raspberries** (these best mask the kale flavor)
enough water (unsweetened rice or almond milk work nicely, too) to cover about 3/4 of blender ingredients
**More can be added once blending has commenced, depending on what will fit in your blender and what consistency you like. The more the merrier!
Purslane is a hardy, annual succulent plant that is viewed here in the United States as a common pesky weed. Much to our surprise, it’s actually packed with nutrition and commonly eaten all over the world. I first came across Purslane when helping my mother weed her vegetable garden many years ago. She found a bunch growing in a raised bed and delightfully exclaimed that it was “Purslane”, having been taught about the plant when she was a child by her father, my grandfather, who was an avid outdoorsman and forestry major in college.
Purslane can be identified by its sprawling, pinkish red stems and succulent clusters of bright green leaves that are paddle shaped and not more than one inch long. It grows along the ground but will grow upward sometimes if surrounded by other plants that are taking up its elbow room. Purslane is well tolerant of drought and poor soil conditions. This explains why it absolutely THRIVES in my well cared for and watered organic vegetable garden, without ever having been invited!
Purslane is unique and wonderful in that it contains more Omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable plant, providing both ALA and EPA. It is full of antioxidants, vitamins A, B, and C, and minerals such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iron. (Note: you want to consume calcium foods that naturally contain magnesium, which aids in calcium absorption. This is nature’s innate wisdom at work.) Purslane is clearly not a “pesky” weed worthy of pulling and discarding. I happily munch on sprigs of it while I garden, fresh picked!
Purslane has a crunchy texture and a very mild flavor with a hint of sweet/sour/tang. All parts of the plant, stems, leaves, and seeds, are edible and can be used in the same way that one would use any other leafy vegetable. Purslane can be added to raw salads, sautéed in a stir fry, or blended into a smoothie for picky eaters. In Greece, it’s sautéed in olive oil with feta cheese, tomato, onion, garlic, and oregano. Give it a try!
Daylight Savings Time begins on Sunday, March 13th, so remember to set your clocks ahead one hour before you go to sleep on Saturday, the 12th. This is the adjustment period where we lose one hour of sleep, so try going to sleep an hour earlier a few days ahead of time so that you can adjust quickly for Monday morning! A diet rich in the broad spectrum of B vitamins will also help you wake with more energy. Foods high in B vitamins include lentils, bananas, oats, wheat bran, leafy greens, avocadoes, and nuts. However, a high quality B-complex supplement can cover all the B bases during a health maintenance and/or adjustment period. Raw (unheated), whole food supplements are always recommended and can be found in your local health food or vitamin store.
In honor of the coming of spring and St. Patrick's Day, we celebrate the common clover! Did you know that clover is edible, and highly nutritious? It's abundant in your own back yard and beyond, and it's abundant in nutrients including calcium, lecithin, chromium, magnesium, potassium, silicium, vitamins A, E, C, B2, and B3. It also has anti-inflammatory, expectorant, and anti-asthmatic properties, as well as being a detoxifier in the body. I'd call that lucky clover, for sure! So, when you head out to hike this spring and come upon some wild clover sprouting from the ground, take a bunch and have a snack. The flavor is refreshingly light and mild, with the youngest shoots showing off a slight lemon flavor. Wild edibles have more to offer than many of us know!