Easy Pomegranate Smoothies

Pomegranates must be one of the most beautiful and delicious fruits in the world. The fact that they are only available at a certain time of year makes them even more special.

It takes a bit of work to dig out all the little ruby seeds, but it is always worth it. They are often eaten straight, or in salads. In some parts of the world, they are made in to a fresh juice. I sometimes put a handfull of them in my strawberry smoothies.

Pomegranate Facts

  1. Pomegrates are native to the Middle East and northern India, and have been cultivated for thousands of years.
  1. A large pomegranate may contain over 1000 seeds.
  1. Pomegranate trees are fairly small; about 15 to 25 feet tall. They love dry areas, and can survive with very little water.
  1. Pomegranates are used as a natural remedy in traditional Indian medicine (ayurveda). Pomegranate juice is considered to be good for the heart.
  1. In the natural medicine traditions of many countries, pomegranate seeds and rind are considered contraceptive, and also believed to be something to be avoided when pregnant.
  1. Pomegranate seeds are high in vitamin C, vitamin K and fiber.
  1. Pomegranates are a symbol of prosperity and fertility in many cultures. They are referred to several times in the Bible, the Quran, and in Hindu texts. In many Christian paintings, Jesus is depicted holding an opened pomegranate, as symbol of his life. In Hinduism, the fruit is associated with Bhoomi the Earth goddess, and with Ganesh.

How to Get the Seeds Out

There are three different tricks that I have heard of, for getting the seeds out more easily.  I don’t use any of them. I just cut mine in to quarters, and pull them out the hard way.

  1. Freeze the entire pomegranate.
  1. Do it in a big bowl of water. Pomegranate seeds sink, and the peel bits float, so it becomes easier to separate that way.
  1. Cut the pomegranate in half, then make a few cuts in to the back of each half. Hold it over a bowl and hit it with a spoon untill all the seeds come out.

Here are a few recipes for you to try.

Easy Pomegranate Strawberry Smoothie

Pomegranate Strawberry Smothie

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • 5 strawberries
  • half cup pomegranate seeds

Mango Pomegranate Smoothie

Mango Pomegranante Smoothie

  • 1.5 cups almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • half cup strawberries
  • half cup pomegranate seeds
  • half a mango (half a cup)

Pomegranate Blueberry Smoothie

Pomegranae Blueberry Smoothie

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • 5 strawberries
  • half cup blueberries
  • half cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 cup baby spinach

Pomegranate Apple Smoothie

Pomegranate Apple Smoothie

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 5 strawberries
  • half cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 apple

I find that almond milk is a good combination with pomegranate, but you can also use pomegranate juice if you like, or homemade coconut milk, or any other kind of non-dairy milk. If you want more pomegranate flavor, try using more seeds, and less banana.

Happy smoothie making!

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Fermented Radish Root

For years, synthetic preservatives have been viewed as a necessary evil in water-based beauty products. Of course, there’s a lot of research indicating possible links between these synthetic preservatives and health issues – from causing cancer to disrupting hormone functions. No thanks. Since many brands, despite claiming to be natural or organic, still use synthetic preservatives, I have found them difficult to avoid. Most times my options are:

  • Buy products made by companies that don’t use any preservatives. This can be expensive and a little risky, because they have a short shelf life, raising the risk of microorganisms growing. Of course, that can cause unpleasant skin reactions and nasty infections.
  • Make my own. This option is a little cheaper, but still risky and also time consuming.

Of course, there are grapefruit seed extract, vitamin E rosemary oil extract and honey, but a lot of manufacturers debate the efficacy of each of these depending on the formulation of the final product. And these aren’t broad spectrum and therefore isn’t effective for water-based products. There is now another option: Fermented radish root. Never heard of it? Well, reputable beauty companies are already using and loving it. Here are some quotes about it:

“We are very strict about all of the ingredients that we use in our products, and this has worked well for us,” says Clare Albers, a marketing manager at Tata Harper. “Radish root is used in all of our water-based formulas.” – Clare Albers, Marketing Manager, TaTa Harper

“I am using the radish root extract as a preservative system for all of my products,” says founder of Luminance Skin Care Kim Emanuel. “It is simply the most effective and non-harmful preservative I have ever found.”

Fermented radish root sounds like an odd thing to use on skin, but when you understand how it works and how it was created, it makes a lot of sense.

Fermented radish root extract is also referred to as Leucidal Liquid, named by its creator Active Micro Technologies (more on them later). Basically, Leucidal Liquid acts as a broad spectrum antimicrobial– meaning, like any artificial preservative, it prevents microorganisms from growing in beauty products, extending shelf life and keeping them safe for use.

Leucidal Liquid is created through the fermentation of Lactobacillus—a microorganism used to make the popular Korean dish Kimchi. Kimchi is a known probiotic and offers those who eat it many health benefits, so it isn’t a surprise that it is safe to put on our skin.

The acidity of the Lactobacillus, as well as the antimicrobial peptides it produces, prevents micro-ogranisms from growing. This makes it a great option for use as a natural preservative, without the potential side effects of synthetic preservative.

The back story on how radish root extract made it into cosmetics is fascinating. Several years ago, during a SARS epidemic, Korean researchers looking for a cure, did an experiment and observed that chickens eating Kimchi were recovering more quickly than chickens not eating it. The kimchi was clearly doing something to assist in defeating the virus.

Active Micro Technologies (then known as Active Micro Systems) wondered if Lactobacillus could potentially prevent the growth of other microorganisms, leading to questions about preserving skin care. So they began experiments. They are now the leader in the natural preservation market.

Parabens, Phenoxyethanol, and Isothiazolinones aren’t the only preservatives out there. Many companies still use them, so continue reading labels, but rest assured we now have more to choose from.

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It’s beet season now, folks.

Ok.  I suck at being a consistent blogger.  Why?  Well, it’s not for a lack of wanting to blog – it’s for the sheer lack of time.

Just want to say hi to all y’all out there and thanks for your patience.  I have to blog more and focus on writing.  It’s just hard when there’s only 24 hours in the day.  Dang it!  There’s so much to do and so little time.  I’m missing out on the critical seasons!

It’s beet season now, folks.  I suggest you stop by your local farmer’s market (or, eep, Whole Foods) and get some of each to roast off in your oven.  Beets – lop off the tops, clean, wrap in foil and place on a cooky sheet.  Roast in a 425 oven for about 45 minutes.  When they’re done (check ‘em like you would a potato – it’s done when you can easily stick a knife through the center), pull them out and let them rest for ten minutes.  Remove the foil, rub the beet to remove the skin and cut into cubes.  Place in a bowl and dress with extra virgin olive oil (Greek!), salt, pepper and a hit of lemon juice to taste.

I use only extra virgin olive oil from Greece.  Yes, Greece.  Specifically extra virgin kalamata olive oil from Crete.  Why?  Because I love the rich, round, bright – yet soft – green flavor.  It’s not spicy, harsh, sharp, bitter or grassy (What the hell!  Like I want my olive oil to taste like GRASS!  I’m not a cow for pity’s sake.).  Try it, you’ll like it.  Trust me.

And yes, handling beets will make your hands pink.  Eating a large bowl of beets will make your, um, numbers 1 and 2 pink.  True story – I forgot to warn the +1 about this small side effect after the first time I made roasted beets for him.  He’d never had it before and I thought it would be nice to make a huge bowl of it.

Yeah, that was a fun call to take at work.  Whoops…

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Why Organic Apples are Great for Your Health

The debate of organic foods versus non-organic foods can be simplified by just looking at an apple. It should be no surprise that organic apples are grown differently, have very different nutritional values, and have different effects on the body than an apple grown under non-organic conditions. The following is a list that explains exactly what those differences are and why you should switch to eating only organic apples as soon as possible.

Non-organic Apples can be Cancer Inducing

Non-organic foods in general are heavily treated with pesticides to protect the product from disease-ridden pests. However, though the FDA claims the limited use of these pesticides is not harmful for consumption, other studies have shown that these pesticides have increased the rate of cancer and obesity. Needless to say, more research is required on the safety of non-organic foods, but in the meantime, sticking to organic foods is the best route.

Organic Apples Prevent Cancer Development

Organic apples have heightened levels of Quercetin, a type of organic antioxidant, which has been shown to lower the development of tumor cells and promote regulation of cell regeneration. Quercetin has specifically been shown to lower cancers of the lung, liver, and colon.

Other natural chemicals found in organic apples, such as triterpenoids and pectin, have also been proven to kill cancer cells while promoting growth of normal, regulated cells.

Helps Whiten Teeth

The natural chemicals found in an organic apple can efficiently kill bacteria on your teeth and helps scrub your teeth to promote whitening.

Higher in Fiber

Organic apples are higher in fiber, while lower in sugar content. This means that you can feel fuller by eating fewer apples, while ensuring you are not taking in too much sugar.

Richer in Essential Nutrients and Minerals

A single apple contains many important nutritional elements such as vitamins B6, K, C; in conjunction with essential minerals such as potassium and magnesium. Because organic apples are free of pesticides, these vitamins and minerals are not inhibited and able to efficiently provid a wide range of benefits. Some of these benefits include:

  1. Elevated mood and brain health because of vitamin B6
  2. Increased healing of wounds and purification of toxins due to vitamin C
  3. Heightened ability to dissolve fats due to vitamin K

Final Thoughts

Needless to say, a single apple is packed with many nutrients and antioxidants that promote overall body health. But when choosing between an organic or non-organic apple, organic is the best way to go.

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Why Organic Foods are Superior

Many people are switching from non-organic to organic foods, and for good reason too. As more and more studies are being conducted, it has been shown that the pesticides used to produce non-organic foods are linked to various diseases such as cancer, obesity, liver problems, and much more. Though the FDA claims these pesticides to be safe for consumption in small amounts, studies are beginning to slowly prove this to be false. Of course, further research is required to completely understand the health implications behind non-organic foods, but in the meantime, it may just be better to stick with organic foods that are proven to not have added chemical substances. On top of this, organic foods are known to have many more health benefits than compared to their non-organic counterparts. The following is a list of the various health benefits that organic foods have to offer.

Greater Antioxidants

Pesticides degrade natural antioxidants in food, making their toxin removing properties much less useful. Organic foods on the other hand have uninterrupted antioxidant properties, and have more antioxidants per gram than non-organic foods. Antioxidants are especially important in removing cancer-causing toxins circulating the body, helping skin look and feel beautiful, promoting brain health, and improving vision.

Improves Cardiovascular Health

Animals such as chickens and cows under organic procedures are fed only grass and have increased grass feeding times. This increases the levels of CLA, a natural chemical found in animals that promotes heart health and general cardiovascular protection.

Have More Nutrients and Vitamins

Organic produce normally is more nutrient, mineral, and vitamin dense because of the way the foods are grown. Organic produce is grown using “crop rotation” which means different patches of soil are used to grow crops year after year. By doing this, the soils are less likely to be depleted of their nutrients, and have time in between crop growths to regain some of their nutrients. This in turn helps grow crops that are overall healthier for the body and nutrient dense.

Lower Likelihood of Food borne Illnesses

Though non-organic foods are pumped with antibiotics, genetic modification, and pesticides; these foods end up having a greater chance of conferring food borne diseases. This is partly due to bacteria gaining antibiotic resistance, which in turn requires producers to use even more antibiotics to stop bacterial growth. To skip this headache, consuming organic foods is the best way to go as there are no antibiotics or genetic modification used. As a result, organic foods have been proven to induce less food borne illnesses.

Anything Else?

Consuming organic foods is part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and ensuring that your body is working as efficiently as possible. If you’re worried about the harmful effects of pesticides and other modifications, growing organic foods in your own backyard is an effective means of making sure how your produce is made, helping to ease a lot of headache.

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Why Sheep’s Milk is Better than Cow’s Milk

Though sheep milk is not as popular for consumption in America compared to cow’s milk, sheep milk is definitely more nutritious and tastier. Sheep's MilkSome benefits of sheep milk are increased ability to protect against cancer, boosted immune system function, proper growth and development, and prevention of birth defects.  Unlike cow’s milk, which has larger fat globules, goat’s milk has smaller fat particles and therefore is easier to digest. On top of this, blind taste testers have consistently rated sheep milk has being more delicious than either cow or goat milk. Needless to say, there are a multitude of benefits from consuming sheep’s milk, and the following are just a few more.

More Effective at Regulating Blood Pressure

Sheep milk is packed with many medium-sized essential amino acids that are essential for protein formation and for regulating blood pressure throughout the body. This in turns gives less strain on your heart, arteries, and blood vessels; and improves transport of oxygen within the body.

Suitable for Lactose Intolerance and Other Diseases

There is still research being conducted to figure out why sheep’s milk has been observed to be more suitable for individuals suffering from lactose intolerance, but studies have shown that more individuals are able to tolerate sheep milk when compared to cow or goat milk. The smaller fat droplets and smaller amino acid sizes may be part of the reason for this characteristic.

It has also been seen that sheep’s milk can help individuals suffering from eczema (inflammation of the skin) and certain allergies; a result of the heightened number of nutrients and minerals found in sheep milk.

Prevents Cancers and Promotes Cellular Regeneration

Sheep milk has elevated levels of nucleotides, a biological compound that has been shown to promote cellular growth and repair, combat cancer, and regulate the functions of the cell to ensure they are doing their job without errors. The abundance of minerals like zinc, calcium, and B12 also help in promoting proper brain functioning, red blood cell formation, and immune system activity.

Final Thoughts

A downside to sheep’s milk is the relatively higher calorie count; therefore sheep’s milk is not especially recommended for individuals suffering from obesity. Also, it is a bit more expensive than regular cow’s milk. However, consuming sheep’s milk in moderation and incorporating a healthy lifestyle such as exercise, stress management, and proper sleep can offset the high caloric intake of sheep’s milk. Moreover, the greater price is well worth the multitude of health benefits.

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