Homemade Chai Smoothie

This may sound blissfully ignorant, but I really didn’t realize that chai spice wasn’t it’s own spice. I just recently found out that it comes from a blend of spices. I usually only order chai tea when I have a cold or I’m feeling a little under the weather, so that is probably why I paused when I spotted this recipe for a chai smoothie on Pinterest.

Here’s the link to this tasty concoction, courtesy of Jenalle at CocoJenalle.

I think it’s great because I can make the chai spice ahead of time, store it in a container, and make like 4-5 smoothies before I mix up some more. It’s also worth mentioning that I didn’t have allspice, so I substituted it with turmeric. I’ve been reading a lot about this “super spice” lately and talked to some vendors about it at Wanderlust. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory that is actually comparable to hydrocortisone and over-the-counter anti-inflammatories such as Motrin.

So… this smoothie will help me get over the soreness from last night’s BodyPump class?! Oh heck yeah. But wait, there’s more. Black pepper enhances turmeric in that if you eat them together, the black pepper aids in the digestion of this little gem of a spice. It’s a win-win! So next time you have your blender out for a morning smoothie, try this one. Not only is it full of health benefits, the taste will soothe you, just like that chai tea you get when you’re sick. Enjoy!

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What’s your favorite smoothie? Have you ever tried turmeric?

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Huntington, WV’s First Farm to Table Dinner: Recap – & Five Reasons to Shop Local

This past weekend, I was fortunate to be able to partner with Studio 8, Park Hill Farms, and various local farmers, vendors, and artisans throughout our region to bring the first farm to table dinner to fruition in Huntington, WV.

It was a labor of love and took an army of volunteers to pull off, but the photo recap below reveals a glimpse of the fruits of Saturday’s labors. (Additional details can be found on Studio 8 Facebook Page.) From the weeks spent building relationships with local purveyors, to the morning of, waiting in line at the Central City Farmer’s Market to ensure only the freshest ingredients were served, it was a rewarding event worth every ounce of sweat and time spent.

While the notion of Farm to Table or Farm to Fork has been around for some time, its impact is just starting to make waves, especially in our area. With a resurgence of farmer’s markets in our state as well as nation wide, and with community run operations such as The Wild Ramp – a local food hub, eating foods closer to their source is now not only possible, it’s convenient as well.

So what’s all the rage with this movement anyway, you might wonder? Is eating locally grown food simply a trendy way of eating, or is there something more? Skim over the list of points below why I feel that eating from the earth, where you are on the earth is not only beneficial to your health and wellbeing, but the health of your pocketbook, your family, your community, the environment, and our social structure as a whole and most importantly, a movement growing roots and here to stay.

Five Reasons to Shop for Local Foods:

1. Better food: I always talk with my patients about my philosophy that there’s no such thing as a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ food. However, there is ‘junk’, there is ‘food’, and there is ‘better food’! It’s the ‘better food’ that you’ll find at most local markets. If you choose to consume foods closer to their source, there’s no doubt going to be more life giving nutrients and fewer potentially harmful ingredients to throw your body out of sync. Beyond nutrient quality are better taste, better prices, and better service. Never-mind the fact that locally sourced and sustainably harvested foods can improve digestion, decrease allergies, improve immunity, and help to get your body in sync with nature and the cycles of seasons.

2. More options: Small scale, local farming means there is more diversity to be had when it comes to food choices. When farming goes large scale, often, genetic traits are selected for, which will allow the plant to ripen faster and more uniformly, survive longer after picking and time spent traveling or sitting on the shelf. Choosing to buy locally supports the natural life cycle of the plant and ensures a variety of crops to choose from.

3. Food safety: When you purchase a tomato at the farmer’s market, chances are, the person you’re exchanging your pennies with is the same person who grew your tomato. Thus, they take pride in delivering you only the safest foods to eat in hopes you’ll come back to support them again and possibly tell a neighbor how ‘delicious Farmer Brown’s tomatoes are’!

4. Helps families and communities: When growers are able to sell direct to the consumer, or within a local economy, it cuts out the middlemen where much of the profits go. More money in the grower’s pocket means more small farmers stay on their land. When farming families keep their land, this lessens the likelihood the land is sold for development.

5. Helps the environment, and our future: Farms can provide means for a thriving ecosystem. When soil is fertile and water sources are protected, carbon can naturally be sequestered from the atmosphere, which allows for a healthier place for us to work and live. Not to mention, supporting local farms and growers ensures a sustainable and secure food system for our future generations to come.

These are simply a few of the reasons why sourcing foods locally is probably a good idea. I’m sure many of you can think of others and we’d love to hear those too. Post a comment below, send us a message or tweet and let us know where your favorite place to shop local is and why!

Nosh Nicely,

Lacy Davidson, MS, RDN, LD, CDE, RYT

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(Central City Farmer’s Market / The Wild Ramp – Huntington, WV)

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(Cherry Tomatoes – The Capitol Market – Charleston, WV)

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(Pre- Dinner Yoga Event – Vino and Vinyasa – Studio 8 & Vu ja De Vineyards)

Practice led by Studio 8’s Sara Limb

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(Vino and Vinyasa – Studio 8, Park Hill Farms, and Vu ja De Vineyards)

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(Food is Medicine – Farm to Table – Huntington, WV)

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(Park Hill Farms – Huntington, WV)

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(Chef – Kelly Dial – Branchland, WV)

 

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(Community Effort – Vendors and Volunteers)

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(Flower Arrangements: Anna Megyresi)

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(Bread – Charleston Bread Company – Charleston, WV)

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(Local Wine: Vu Ja De Vineyards – Spencer, WV

Local Spirits: Smooth Ambler – Lewisburg, WV

Mint: Fungolia Farms – Huntington, WV

Cucumber Juice – Central City Farmers Market)

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Vendor Information Table and Bar – On display:

J.Q. Dickinson Salt Work – Malden, WV

The Wild Ramp – Huntington, WV

Nourish Appalachia – Huntington, WV

Vu Ja De Vineyards – Spencer, WV

Studio 8 – Huntington, WV

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Sous Chef – Park Ferguson

Kitchen Assistant – Daisy St. Clair

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Chef – Kelly Dial – Branchland, WV

Main course: WV Trout – White Oak Farms – Beckley, WV

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Guests of Food is Medicine – Farm to Table Dinner

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Final Course:

Apples – Park Hill Farms – Huntington, WV

Peaches – Hudson Farms – Charleston, WV

Flour – Wisenburger Mills – Midway, KY

Salt – J.Q. Dickinson – Malden, WV

Honey – L2 Apiaries – Wayne, WV

Coffee (not pictured) – Ignition Coffee Roasters – Huntington, WV

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Music – Mark Smith (Guitar)

Host – Sam St. Clair (Harmonica)

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Food As Fuel: When & What to Eat for Performance

It can be a constant battle, timing our activity with our meals & snacks. Given todays fast paced lifestyle along with an endless supply of convenience foods, we don’t always end up making the best choices when it comes to fueling up before an activity. From a leisurely morning stroll at the park, to a mid day hot yoga class, or a long weekend ride or run, we’ve got ideas to get you fueled without fail.

When to eat?

Meals: 3-4 hours pre activity

Snacks: 1-2 hours pre activity

What to eat?

Carbohydrates (mainly) and fluid

3-4 hours: Moderate protein, fiber and lower in fat (slows digestion)

1-2 hours: Rich in carbohydrates, low in all other macronutrients

Early morning workouts?

Snack or sip on a small amount of carbohydrate on the way to the workout

If it’s an endurance event, make up the difference by consuming during

Nervous Belly?

Practice, practice, practice your routine. And stick to that on race or performance day. It’s possible to train your stomach, but more importantly to find the right combo for you. Having fuel on board will help keep your jitters at bay and fuel your performance. Caffeine may add fuel to the fire; so unless you train with it in your system, go easy.

Exercising on Empty for Weight Loss?

It’s true that activity on an empty tank will force our body to turn to fat for fuel and can be a sensible approach to weight loss. However, performance is generally enhanced (harder workout) if we fuel up before. Thus, the post activity calorie burn lasts longer. However, if you’re prone to overeating, this may not be the best approach for you. Trial and error to find out what works best for you is the best approach.

 

Activity

Simple Food

Super Food

Walking

Fruit favored yogurt and hot tea

Plain Greek yogurt with fresh local berries or stone fruit & steeped blueberry green tea

Jogging

Commercially bottled fruit smoothie

Super food smoothie: kale, blueberries, almond milk, chia seeds and plant based protein powder (go easy- protein takes longer to digest.)

Sprinting

Cereal bar and water

TAOS MOUNTAIN Energy Bar (Almond Agave) & water infused with fresh lemon, lime, or grapefruit

Hiking

Sports (endurance) bar and Water in your hydration bladder

Clif Bar & Clif Shot Electrolyte Drink Mix in water

Biking

Whole grain toast with nut butter and fruit spread. Sports drink in your bike bottle.

Ezekiel bread topped with homemade mixed nut butter, freshly sliced peaches, local honey, with a sprinkle of chia and flax seeds

Swimming

Banana and a cup of yerba mate

Opt for an organic banana & brew your mate at home

Rowing

Oatmeal with nuts and dried fruit with a glass of almond milk

Steel cut oats, walnuts, hemp hearts, dried figs and no sugar added almond milk

Lifting Weights

Turkey wrap with mustard and veg. Wash it down with good ‘ole H2O

Boars Head Turkey on Gluten Free Multigrain wrap of choices. Loads of spinach and stone ground mustard for an added testosterone boost

Rock Climbing

Peanut butter and jelly wrap & cup of coffee

Wrap up your ‘natural peanut or sun nut butter’ spread and simply fruit or honey PB&J and slide it in your pocket. Freshly grind your own fair trade beans and pour over into your sustainable travel mug

Yoga Class

Green tea smoothie

Freshly brewed green tea, ice, frozen organic berries with a splash of coconut milk and hemp protein

Zumba Class

Cup of freshly cut or juiced watermelon

Farmer’s market watermelon big enough to share

Spinning Class

Gatorade and water

Coconut water

Share how you fuel up before heading out by commenting below, sharing on our Facebook, or sending us a Tweet!

Nourish Yourself,

Lacy Davidson, MS, RDN, LD, CDE, RYT

Dietitian – Nutritionista – Yogini – Wanderluster

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Get to Know Your Roots: Ginger

-Lacy Davidson, MS, RDN, LD, CDE, RYT

At one time or another, we’ve probably all sipped a subtly sweet and sudsy ginger ale to aide a bellyache, heeding the advice of Dr. Mom. Or, perhaps in an act of bravery or double dog dare, we ventured out to try the pickled pink shavings on the sushi plate in attempt to mellow out the hotter than expected green play-dough looking matter (what we later learned to be wasabi). But beyond this, it’s rare that most of us take the unfamiliar food risk and chance a culinary disaster to harness the flavor enhancing and health promoting properties of the lowly ginger root.

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Photo credit: herbalremediesadvice.org

Ginger, although quite common in many traditional Asian dishes, has rarely been used in North American cuisine. However, given its recent notoriety as a super food and a fiery flavor enhancer, it’s now used more commonly in homes and restaurants than ever before.

What makes ginger so sought after is its more than 80 different nutrients and phytonutrients that aide in treating aliments such as motion sickness, nausea during pregnancy or following one too many cocktails, and inflammation. Ginger has been touted for it’s immune boosting properties and even has research linking it too cancer reduction.

Fresh ginger carries far more health promoting properties than dried or powdered, and while ginger ale may seem to be the antidote to all that ails us, chance are there’s little to no actual ginger in the syrupy drink. (Sorry, Mom!)

So how then can we harness the health properties of ginger at home without getting a culinary degree? Try these 5 quick tricks to savor the flavor and turn up the heat!

1. Peel fresh ginger with a paring knife and slice, dice or mince before adding to a drink or dish.

2. Naturally enhance your water or tea by slicing a few chunks of ginger, squeezing a fresh lemon and sweeten with a splash of local honey.

3. Make your brown rice less boring by grating a bit of ginger into the pot while it simmers.

4. Move over ranch dressing! Mix up a few teaspoons of minced ginger with a dash of soy sauce and a spoon full of olive oil for a quick and delicious salad dressing.

5. Sautee or steam your vegetables with a touch of ginger to enhance the nutrient content as well as the flavor.

What is your favorite way to use ginger? What local restaurants seem to use it best?

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Quinoa: New Spin on an Old Staple:

Ancient Grains Meet Garden Fresh Foods in a Quick & Easy Weeknight Recipe

One philosophy I try to live by is, ‘eat from the earth, where you are on the earth.’ A helpful mantra that reminds me why it’s important to eat locally, not just for the health promoting benefits of fresh, local and seasonal foods, but also for the environmental and economic benefits this lifestyle provides.

I love West Virginia, I love to travel, and I especially love to travel in West Virginia. Whether I travel to far off countries like Peru where grains like quinoa (keen-wah) are a family staple, or back to my home town in Lincoln County, WV, I make it a point to find ways to healthfully incorporate the local fair.

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Photo Credit: http://www.seedguides.info/quinoa/quinoa-seeds.jpg

One quick, weeknight recipe inspired by this philosophy is Farmer’s Market Quinoa Hash. With a blend of protein rich, whole grain quinoa, farm fresh eggs, and seasonal vegetables, this one skillet creation is quick, easy, affordable; sure to please the entire family and the budget. With the broad spectrum of grains now available to us, (check out WholeGrainsCouncil.Org for more info) and the bounty of summer’s fresh vegetables flooding the farmers markets, (find one near you… click here) my favorite part of this dish is its versatility. Give it a try and be sure to share with us how you choose to add your own local, seasonal flare!  

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Photo Credit: http://www.bridgeportresort.net/blog/index.php/tag/door-county-farmers-markets/

Farmer’s Market Quinoa Hash

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

1/2 cup water
1/4 cup quinoa
1 tsp. olive oil
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup zucchini, chopped
1/2 cup summer squash, chopped
1/2 cup sweet tomatoes, cut in half
4 farm fresh eggs
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Measure and rinse quinoa in small sieve.

Bring water to a boil and add the quinoa.

Cook on medium heat for 12 minutes or until water is absorbed.

Remove from heat and let it sit for 15 minutes.

(Can make in large batch and store refrigerated in airtight container.)

In a large sauce pan add the olive oil over medium heat.

Add the mushrooms, zucchini, and squash. Sauté for 10 minutes.
Push the vegetables to the edges of the pan and add the eggs.
Cook the eggs over medium heat to scramble.
Spoon the quinoa into egg and vegetable mixture.

Mix the eggs with the vegetables and add the tomatoes.

Season with salt and pepper and any garden fresh herbs.
Serve while warm.

*Time savers tip – All ingredients can be added to slow cooker the night before for a quick morning meal.

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Kombucha Tea: What am I Even Drinking?

 

Author: Lacy Davidson, MS, RDN, LD, CDE, RYT

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Registered Yoga Teacher

Chances are, unless you’re one of those new age hippies, err hipsters who’ve been sipping or maybe even home brewing SCOBY cocktails for the past few years, you may be wondering, what’s with all the buzz about Kombucha Tea?

Kombucha, translated ‘black tea mushroom’, is actually not a mushroom at all, but a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) allowed to ferment in a vat of typically, sweetened black or green tea. I know… yum, right? While this sort of new drink has been crawling across the nation since its first commercial bottling in California nearly 25 years ago, it’s actually been consumed around the world for over 5000 years!

Kombucha ‘mushroom’ making its tea SOURCE: blogilates.com

With roots in China and Japan, people have taken to drinking Kombucha for a myriad of reasons. From is proposed detoxifying and energizing benefits to its suggested ability to aid in digestion, Kombucha Tea drinkers swear by their daily brew.

While the science is lacking to support any true health benefits, there is no shortage of testimonials expressing what all this magic elixir can ‘cure’. Home brewers and commercially bottled beverage fans alike have made claims of being healed from diseases such as cancer and AIDS to a faster recovery from a belly ache or common cold.

While the jury is still out on if these health claims hold any weight, it is possible the health benefits experienced by regular drinker could be due in part to the chemistry of the cocktail.

Yeasts present in the SCOBY create alcohols which are fermented by the bacteria (think probiotic) into various organic acids (apple cider vinegar anyone?). The mixture also contains energy producing B-vitamins and immune system boosting vitamin C. Because Kombucha is grown in brewed tea, the drink is also caffeine containing, which can impart its own energy buzz. Not to mention it’s a ‘mostly water’ beverage (Yay!) with most brews containing a few trace electrolytes and not too much sugar which we really like. Several commercial brands have even started ‘enhancing’ their brews with chia seeds to up the omega 3 content for brain, heart and joint health benefits and adding functional food ingredients like turmeric and ginger to prevent aging and disease.

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GT Brand Kombucha Tea – Industry market leader SOURCE: http://synergydrinks.com/

We’re not totally convinced it’s the ‘Immortal Health Elixir’ as some might describe, but we’re also not opposed to sipping it from time to time either. Locally, you can find a prepared Kombucha Tea drink at Healthy Life Market and other health food stores in our area.

We haven’t found any local brewers yet, but if you’re out there, give us a heads up! Tell us your experience with Kombucha Tea. Are you a member of the Kombucha Kult or just waiting on this fad to fade?

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Picnic Month

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Looking for something fun to do with the family, with friends or your significant other? Why not have picnics at the park or in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia? This month is National Picnic Month and I want to share with you a few tips on how to keep your foods safe should you choose to dine outdoors.

Temperature and time: Keep in mind that the time that perishable food items can be left out of the fridge or freezer is reduced from 2 hours to 1 hour in temperatures above 90 degrees F.

Bring non-perishable food items: Try baked potato chips or pretzels instead of pasta salads. Bring dried fruit or fruit cups in water instead of fresh cut fruit. Snack on trail mix, nuts or seeds. Here are a few other ideas for non-perishable items: peanut butter, unopened cans of meat, fish, fruit, or salsa, crackers, and unpeeled fresh fruit such as apples, oranges, bananas, etc.

Take 2 coolers: Use one for perishable food items and another one for drinks. Keep items cool by transporting them in an insulated cooler with ice or frozen gel packs. Minimize the amount of times you open the cooler by only opening it if you need to get something out.

Keep it clean: You want to keep your foods and area as clean as possible. Research your area ahead of time. Is there a place to sit and eat or should you bring a blanket? Check to see if there is a source for safe drinking water or should you bring extra water to prepare foods or clean up? If there is water bring soap to wash hands. Bring disposable clothes or moist paper towels for cleaning hands and surfaces.

Properly handle left overs: if leftovers have been sitting out for more than 1 hour, throw them out. Cold foods that are kept in a cooler that still have ice are typically safe. However, if the ice has melted, throw out any food that should be kept cold.

For more information on nutrition education and fitness plans come see us at the Rec! Call today at 304-696-4REC(4732) to schedule your appointment.

What is your favorite picnic spot?

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