Smoothie Making 101

Green Smoothie 
Highway 30a

If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably noticed I really like green smoothies. 99% of my days start out with a green smoothie. Not to sound like a total cliche, but I believe they changed my life. It started about three and a half years ago. After feeling really sluggish at work for a few months, I decided something had to change and embarked on a personal nutrition challenge: seven days of green smoothies.  Before the challenge, most mornings started with a "healthy" cereal. I thought cereal was a pretty good choice - boy was I wrong! Once I dropped the box of Kashi, I realized it was the reason I was having digestive problems, feeling overly full, bloated, and constant sugar cravings. Ew. Who wants to feel like that all the time? ....not me.  

That seven day challenge turned into a nearly 4 year love affair with greens. Smoothies are super refreshing and provide a blast of nutrients first thing in the morning. The changes I felt were so profound, it became a lifestyle. Some of the changes I noticed after the first month were, increased energy, mental clarity, healthier food cravings and weight management. The best part? You can really pack a ton of nutrients into 1 drink! AND - they are super low maintenance. You just need a blender and 3-5 minutes. Of course, you can find tons of recipes online, so I'm not going to give you one today. Instead, I'll share my Smoothie 101 tips, so you can figure out your own delicious concoctions! 

Smoothie Building Blocks
1. Choose a creamy base: banana, mango, peach
2. Choose a complimentary flavored fruit: apple, pear, berries, citrus
3. Add 1-2 handfuls of greens *if you are worried about it tasting green, start with a small handful and work your way up!
4. Choose an unsweet liquid: water, coconut water, almond milk, coconut milk
5. Blend your HEART out!

Pro Tips:

  • Less is more. The best smoothies are the simple ones. You don't need 10 different fruits and veggies to have a nutrient dense and flavorful smoothies. My favorite recipes usually include 3-5 ingredients. 
  • Consider your nutrients. Greens + Protein + Healthy Fats
    • Greens: spinach & chard have a mild flavor = beginner friendly! Start there. 
    • Protein: hemp seeds, chia seeds, whole food nut butters, full fat greek yogurt
    • Healthy Fats: avocado or coconut oil are great to start with. 
  • Don't make a sugar BOMB
    •  30%-40% greens + 60%-70% low glycemic fruits is a good starting place.
    • Added sweeteners should be natural (raw honey, maple syrup) and used sparingly. 

You can follow me @emiliemaynorliving for weekly inspirations or sign up for the next Blend Your Heart Out Smoothie Challenge!  Feel free to comment with any smoothie questions or share your favorite recipe!

Thanksgiving Nourishment: It's not all about the food.

It's December now and many folks are focused on the holiday hustle and bustle, but I've still got Thanksgiving on my mind. I think it goes by too fast. The moment the clock strikes midnight, we move away from gratitude and on to Black Friday, then to Cyber Monday, then Giving Tuesday and now it's officially the Holiday Season. If you've moved on, that's ok - but I'm holding on to Thanksgiving just a teensie bit longer.

Over the past few years, Thanksgiving has been a time of big life transitions for me. I got married the weekend before Thanksgiving. Spending Turkey Day in Seagrove Beach for the past 5 years, was the impetus for my parents to sell our home of 28 years and moved to Highway 30a full-time. Therefore it's become a holiday filled with gratitude, reflection and excitement for new adventures. This year was no different. 

My Pack

My Pack

My husband and I decided to be "practical" and use the time-off to complete some much needed house work. It is the first time I've been in charge of the food, entirely, and the first time we've shared the holiday just between us. On Thursday, we went for a good hike at Ruffner Mountain. It was nice to slow down and spend the day together. 

Bottle and Bone Boudicken

Bottle and Bone Boudicken

After the hike, we enjoyed a unique Thanksgiving Feast! Since it was just the two of us, we (I) opted out of cooking a huge turkey. Instead, we got a delicious creation by Bottle & Bone of chicken breast stuffed with boudin.  It did not disappoint!  The rest of the fixin's were more traditional: pinto beans, green bean casserole, corn bread, sautéed greens and my favorite wine, Joel Gott Cabernet. . MMMMM....delish!                         
                          The Boudicken------> 
Despite thoroughly enjoying the downtime with my husband, I woke up Friday morning really missing my family. Bill pointed out that most of the work required power tools and therefore, I would be of little use to him with home repairs. So I hit the road (mostly guilt-free) for Highway 30a! I had the best road trip; enjoying all my favorite music on my super old iPod that magically started working again last week. Shameless car dancing, singing and bopping down I65 may have been my favorite part of the trip. No doubt I looked like one of those dashboard bobble-heads. Here's a taste of the playlist:
Red Road, Chris Robinson
And She Was, Talking Heads
Jolene, Dolly Parton
Bron-Y-Aur-Stomp, Led Zeppelin
Bobby McGee, Janis Joplin 
Hurts So Bad, Susan Tedeschi 
Don't Do It, The Band
...and lots of Golden Oldies :)
Spending those few days with my family was fantastic. When we all get together, there is no shortage of food, fun and activities. Here are a few pics from the trip:

Mom, sister, me & some fun toys!

Mom, sister, me & some fun toys!

The Beach Crew (minus Bill) Dan, Claire & The Chester (my parents best beach buds), mom & dad, Chrissy & Ryan at  Great Southern Cafe . 

The Beach Crew (minus Bill) Dan, Claire & The Chester (my parents best beach buds), mom & dad, Chrissy & Ryan at Great Southern Cafe

This.View. 

This.View. 

In Integrative Nutrition, there is a concept called Primary Foods. These are the non-food elements of your life that nourish you: family, relationships, career...etc. When these aspects are imbalanced it translates to feeling undernourished which creates dietary imbalances and pesky food cravings. The entire chain of events was just what I needed to rebalance my own Primary Foods. The nostalgia the music created, the freedom of a solo road trip, time with family - Each aspect played a roll in helping me feel whole and nourished. I want to encourage you to consider your own primary foods. Keep things slow and mindful through December to notice what aspects of your life need a little TLC and rebalancing. 

Wishing you balance and nourishment,

Emilie

Cook Once, Eat Twice: How to Optimize your Time in the Kitchen

I've been sick and generally low energy for over a week. Like a good holistic yogi, I tried all the go-to home remedies first. Young Living Essential Oils, elderberry syrup, hot teas, rest, even suffered through a daily nasal rinse with a nettypot. (Ladies: using a nettypot can be super effective, but as you may imagine, nasal draining is NOT.PRETTY. If you want to keep romance alive in your house, close the bathroom door during this practice.) 

Impressive, over the top breakfast: Scrambled eggs, sautéed collards, onions, mushrooms in coconut oil with a side of fresh avocado and tomato slices. 

It took me nine days to finally cave and go to the doctor. Turns out, my simple cold had spread into a nasty upper respiratory infection - glad we caught it! Fortunately, I don't get sick too often and rarely have to take medicine so, when I do, it works. Fast. I woke up bright-eyed and bushy tailed feeling like the energizer bunny. Happy to be feeling well, I was a regular Chatty Cathy. Unfortunately, Mr. Maynor didn't share my 6am enthusiasm to talk about the joy of life and lovingly suggested that I shift my glorious energy elsewhere. So, I went to the kitchen to fix an unusually big breakfast: scrambled eggs, sautéed onion, collards and babybella mushrooms, garnished with 1/2 an avocado and fresh tomato. Totally over the top for a Wednesday morning, I know, but I'd rather think of it as opportunistic. When life offers you an energy boost, ya gotta do something with it!

I've found over the years that eating well on a consistent basis is not just about planning ahead, it's about using your time and energy wisely. To do that, I use a simple rule to optimize my time in the kitchen: Cook Once, Eat Twice. It's really as simple as it sounds, if you're already spending a bit of time in the kitchen, cook enough for another meal. Perfect example, our breakfast this morning was also prep for dinner tomorrow. I cooked double the amount of veggies we needed  and plan to toss them on pasta tomorrow night for a quick dinner. I didn't spend any extra time cooking today, and tomorrow's dinner will be all about boiling water and melting butter. BOOM. It's that simple. 

Here are a few ideas to help you implement this time-saving tip at home:
1. Dried Beans - cheap and low maintenance = no brainer! Throw a bag of beans into the crockpot along with your favorite seasonings and let them cook overnight. Voila! You wake up to a healthy, protein packed food that will make your cooking load so much lighter through the week. I really like pintos, cannelloni or great northern beans, myself. 
2. Rice - I keep a huge bag of brown rice from Costco on hand all the time. Making a big serving at the beginning of the week saves time and gives you options. (Really, any grain would work well here!)
3. Boiled Chicken - Boiling 2 chicken breast on Sunday evening, while I'm cooking saves me tons of time and increases meal flexibility. Once cooked, chop or shred the chicken and use it to top salads, add to pasta or wraps. You can check out this Behind the Scenes with Nourish post to learn more about prepping chicken ahead of time! 
*Keep healthy wraps or pita pockets on hand for a quick lunch. Throw the beans, rice and chicken in with a light sauce or dressing and you've got yourself a delicious, low effort, home-made lunch!