Tuesday, August 15, 2017

3 Green Summer Veggie Superstars




To fill up without filling out, try your hand at including broccolini, arugula, and zucchini (my 3 green veggie superstars) into your weekly meal plan. Keep on reading to discover tips, recipes, and health information, plus discover how to keep food prep easy, delicious, and packed with great nutrition.

The produce mentioned is available this summer at your farmer’s market, local health food store or nearby market, as well as in-season in many home gardens. Produce that is sold by the unit (weight) is usually less expensive and fresher than processed or prepackaged foods. It’s more eco-friendly too. If you’ve read my blog before, you know I buy organic whenever it’s available, as I know it tastes better and my research shows it’s better for my family’s health.

Broccolini


This slender green stalked vegetable is a cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli. All parts of it are edible. Eat it raw as a snack, use it to dip into olive tapenade, enjoy its crunchy texture in a salad, or steam it (retains nutrients this way). Serve in a hummus wrap, veggie stew, or portabella burger sandwich. This vegetable goes well with many foods, and adds a bright green splash of color, nourishment, and flavor to whatever you serve it with.
Broccolini may look like broccoli, but it’s a hybrid. Although you may see broccolini labelled “baby broccoli,” this is mislabeling and misleading.


Elements in broccolini help repair skin damage, thanks to an antioxidant glucoraphanin. It enables the skin to detoxify and repair itself. A small portion of broccolini (3 oz.) contains 20% of the DV (daily value) of Vitamin A, 140% of the DV for Vitamin C, and 8% of the DV for Calcium. It also has a high amount of potassium, magnesium, and calcium that help regulate blood pressure. The potassium in broccolini helps maintain a healthy nervous system, optimal brain function, and regular muscle growth.

My preferred method to cook it: Place a Dutch oven or pot made for steaming on the stove top and bring 1 to 2 inches of water to a boil. Arrange florets, stalks, and leaves that have been cut into bite size pieces evenly in a steamer basket, making sure the water does not seep into the bottom of the basket. Cover and steam for 3 to 4 minutes. Place cooked broccolini in a serving dish. Squeeze on fresh lemon juice. Then add salt, pepper, and sautéed minced garlic to taste (I used 2 cloves). Serve immediately. When broccolini marinates in the lemon juice, it will turn to grayish-brown. See more about how to keep the green in green vegetables.


Arugula


Arugula is a spicy tasting dark green leafy cruciferous vegetable, most frequently eaten raw as a salad green. This annual plant is commonly  known as rocket. It goes by the names of rucola, rucoli, rugula, colewort, and roquette too. Eating 2 cups of arugula provides 20 percent of the DV for vitamin A, over 50 percent of vitamin K, and 8 percent of vitamin C, folate, and 32 grams of calcium. If an all-arugula salad is too strong tasting for your palate, combine it with sweet tasting lettuce like red leaf, butter or Bibb lettuce, or fruit like oranges, mango, or watermelon. To illustrate how important it is to get enough calcium rich foods read information from the Cleveland Clinic about Why it May a Good idea to Increase Your Intake of Calcium. Also see Which Plant-based Foods Have the Most Calcium. Here's a treat: How to Create Flavorful, Filling, User Friendly Vegan Salads.


Zucchini


Zucchini or courgette is a mild tasting summer squash that’s low in calories. One medium zucchini makes about 1 ½ cups of raw slices. It has about 33 calories and is loaded with anti-inflammatory elements. The seeds are edible and contain many types of phytonutrients that help fight inflammation and oxidative stress. Much of zucchini’s antioxidant content is found within zucchini’s skin, so it’s a good idea not to peel your squash. Scrape the skin instead. 

Here’s one of my favorite recipes and pictures of what zucchini looks like when the skin has been scrapped. How to Make Zucchini Lasagna. Raw zucchini tastes delicious grated into a salad. Steam lightly as a veggie side with a drizzle of olive oil, or add it to ratatouille, a dish that combines zucchini with eggplant, tomatoes, and other summer veggies. Nowadays zucchini is the key ingredient that's spiralized into noodle recipes, but here's a much simpler recipe for Grilled-Zucchini-with-Herbed-Bread Crumbs.

This veggie grows on a vine, and multiplies in great profusion in a home garden or on a farm. This green squash (which technically is a fruit) is good for both your health and your figure. It contains no fat, low-sodium, and very low cholesterol. It’s a good source of plant protein. One medium zucchini contains 2 grams of protein. It has Vitamin A, Thiamin, Niacin, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber (2 grams), Vitamin C (56 % DV), Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6 (21 % DV), Folate, Magnesium, Potassium, and Manganese.


Eat these green summer vegetables to reap big health and taste rewards. Also remember to eat other summer green produce like spinach, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, collards, chard, kale, broccoli, green lentils, dark leafy salad greens, parsley, celery, asparagus, string beans, and beet greens. It’s best to vary your selection to cover all your nutritional bases.

Please comment or share that you've been visiting. Did you see me at a blog party or when you surfed the Internet? I'd appreciate knowing, especially if you like what you see. Hopefully my post has helped you discover how many health benefits there are in eating broccolini, arugula, and zucchini. Has it given you ideas, tips, and motivation to prepare each? Do you have a favorite plant-based recipe using any of these ingredients? If you do and want me to consider using your recipe in a guest blog, please let me know.




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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

How to Harness Solar Plexus Energy to Empower You

Would you like to feel more self-confident, act from the center of your personal power, and accomplish goals you never dreamed were possible? I’ll provide details to help you use third chakra/solar plexus energy and its corresponding color-golden yellow, to invigorate and transform you.



A chakra is a Sanskrit word and means disk, circle, or spinning wheel of light energy. In yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda, this term refers to wheels of energy throughout the body. The seven main chakras, which align the spine, start from the base of the spine through the crown of the head. To visualize the chakras in the body, imagine swirling wheels of energy from the root chakra to the crown. 

The symbol for the third chakra is a yellow shape with a downward pointing triangle within. Located at the base of your breastbone, spreading to points just above your navel, the third chakra’s Sanskrit name is Manipura. When this area is aligned and open, you feel self-confident, determined, and step ahead of the pack to lead.





Look at the ideas shown below. Each can increase self-assurance, your resolve to stay optimistic, and encourage you to complete goals with mental clarity and enthusiasm.

Sport yellow hued clothing. A yellow cap, blouse, scarf provides yellow energy vibrations that assimilate into your body, mind, and spirit. This color can lift your mood and enliven your wardrobe.

Display yellow decorative items in your home and office. This color is a cheery one to use as an accent color in your abode or any space you want to open up, expand, or help you to think more clearly in. The vibrational frequency of golden yellow brings energy to the spleen, liver, pancreas, and stomach and draws healing to these organs. Paint one wall in your office golden yellow and notice whether it helps you feel clearheaded, as you learn to make positive change in how you think of yourself.



Eat yellow fruits and veggies. The ones below are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Plant-based eating provides fuel for your body to work at high efficiency, fiber to help digestion and elimination, and a healthy supply of water to hydrate you. Yellow-colored fruits and veggies also help stabilize emotions and elevate your mood. Following are yellow fruits and veggies you can savor:

Pineapple is an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese, good source of copper and vitamin B1, vitamin B6, dietary fiber, folate and pantothenic acid.
Bananas provide a very good source of vitamin B6, manganese, vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber, potassium, biotin, and copper.
Corn (fresh ear of corn) is a phytonutrient-rich food that provides antioxidant benefits and is a good source of the mineral manganese and vitamin B5. 
Yellow Summer Squash contains antioxidants and nutrients, including the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. Summer squash is an excellent source of copper and manganese, and a very good source of vitamin C, magnesium, dietary fiber, phosphorus, potassium, folate, vitamin B6 and vitamin K. In addition, it is a good source of vitamin B1, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, niacin, vitamin B2, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, choline and protein.
Lemon is a yellow fruit powerhouse. Use its juice to bring out the flavor of other foods. It’s rich in vitamin C and good source of folate.
Casaba Melon, Yellow Peppers, Yellow Onions, and Yukon Gold Potatoes are additional yellow-colored produce to include in meal plans. For more see Why-We-Need-to-Eat-Orange-Fruits-and-Veggies-Daily .
Listen to Music to help heal energy blocks in the third chakra. This chakra resonates to the musical note E and the selection provided in the link is on YouTube from Dewdrop.

Channel the third chakra element of fire to serve you. Visualizing fire can help you convert negative thoughts into positive ones. A fire meditation for the solar plexus creates confidence, energy, and power to lead. A good way to check whether this chakra is out of balance is to evaluate whenever you fear rejection, lack passion, or are frozen in indecision. Here’s a Fire Meditation for Awakening the Solar Plexus Chakra  from Meditative Mind.

Recite affirmations to transform thinking. The solar plexus chakra corresponds to your sense of individuality and the vision you hold of yourself. If the affirmations I wrote and shared below don't apply to you, compose and recite ones that do.

Say This Affirmation Aloud. “I meet every challenge with inner strength, and move forward with mindfulness and skill.”
Say this Affirmation Aloud. “I take steps to further my goals, enhance my spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional health, and possess confidence as I fulfill my life purpose, moment to moment.”


Use your imagination to visualize a yellow or amber solar plexus gemstone or crystal. Ones that are popular for balancing and healing the solar plexus chakra are Golden Calcite, Citrine, Amber, Sunstone, Yellow Topaz, Golden Yellow Labradorite, and Tiger-eye stones. 

If you prefer, purchase third chakra stones and hold the gems in your hand. Place a chakra crystal on your body in the solar plexus area. Place crystals in your home or office, where you'll see them. Enjoy wearing a piece of jewelry made from one of these stones. 

Your mind is powerful; use it to envision solar plexus energy bringing crystal clear focus to the thought process. Let third chakra energy help you sense how brave you really are. 



When the Solar Plexus Chakra is Balanced You Feel

Self Motivated and Confident

On Track, Focused on Your Goals

Strong and Centered

Able to Process Emotions with Equanimity

Willing to Explore New Territory and Risk Change

Proud of Your Accomplishments

Skilled at Letting Your Mistakes and Past Go

Comfortable Living in Your Own Skin

Manipura is the Sanskrit name for the third chakra, and its translation is “lustrous gem.” Shower yourself with gem-like chakra energy and make this day one where you look for new, loving ways to appreciate yourself.



Want to get guidance and support to learn new ways to increase self- confidence? Pick up your copy of Colors of Joy: A Woman's Guide for Self-Discovery, Balance, and Bliss. This journal program helps you use color themed activities, affirmations, journal writing, and reflection, with tips for self-care. Colors of Joy provides hours of entertainment and discovery, and is a non-fattening way to learn and grow. In fact, it's a special book you're sure to treasure. Looking for a unique birthday or thinking of you gift for all the women you care about? Buy Colors of Joy Now!


Minka R. and her copy of Colors of Joy

Please comment in the space provided below. Hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post and will try out the exciting ways I mentioned to harness solar plexus energy to empower yourself. If you like what you see, please share on social media, and follow me.

Discover Colors of Joy Here.



This post was last updated 9/24/17




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