Saturday, June 11, 2016

TINA'S PURE VITA BLEND AND BLUEBERRY SMOOTHIE with ginger, turmeric, and tiger nut milk

There's this myth in summer that cold will cool you down. The thermometer climbs to 80 and we all rush to the nearest ice cream or frozen treat stand, willing this sweet concoction to work magic and stop the internal heat wave happening within our cells. The frustrating thing is, momentarily we may feel blessed relief and satisfaction but within minutes the sweat returns. Blast.

Not often understood is this idea that thrusting cold or frozen drinks and food through our digestive system actually halts digestion in it's tracks. We have something called "internal fire" which has a host of different meanings, one being this delicate balance of a metaphorical fire that resides within our center, among our digestive organs. Too much fire and our bodies react with redness, swelling, pain or inflammation, and agitation [among many other symptoms].  However, too little fire and our bodies can't take in the nutrients that come packaged within the food we eat. They simply can't break the food down.

This is of course an oversimplification of an extremely intricate process: sensing our food, taking it into our body by way of a host of organs and systems, and  moving through the eliminatory process. This simple explanation also doesn't take into account the fact that your liver, for instance, can have excess fire while your stomach is as cold as ice. There are nuances and details far to numerous to describe here and in need of a trained Chinese Medicine or Ayurvedic practitioner for a thorough explanation. However this basic principle is centuries old, withstanding the test of time and science.

So here we are, looking into the face of summer, hot, sweaty and swollen, possibly irritable, maybe uncomfortable.

Luckily our land pushes up natural cool therapy in the form of sun-warmed greens bursting with chlorophyll, rhubarb, asparagus, berries, peas, peppermint, lemon balm, and parsley, among others. Chives come up in early spring, a touch of warmth to stimulate digestion without creating excess heat. Mama earth knows best. Soon cucumbers and melons will abound, both high in water content which is vital in combating the heat. Hydrate, hydrate!

It also happens to be a popular time for smoothies and rightly so. It's a good way to give your body a high-nutrient boost without demanding a ton of digestive effort. Well, smoothies without the ice that is.

The principle holds true: pack your smoothies with frozen fruit and ice often enough and you may force your digestive juices into hibernation.

A more balanced way to enjoy a smoothie is to use fresh fruit and vegetables and/or steam or roast your fruit and veggies prior.


For example, the recipe listed here uses blueberries that have been gently cooked down with ginger and turmeric. Berries rank neutral, meaning they have a balancing effect on the body's internal heat meter. Ginger helps stimulate digestion while turmeric combats inflammation. Cooking a large batch and refrigerating provides a cool rather than cold berry drink.


Give it a try. One morning make a smoothie with frozen fruit and ice. Drink, chew*, and see how you feel. Really pay attention.

Then on day two, try the recipe suggested here. Drink, chew*, and see how you feel. Really pay attention.

Watch both scenarios over the course of a day. Does it make a difference? What do you observe in your body?

Then trust it.

*Chew a smoothie? Chewing helps stimulate the stomach's digestive enzymes signaling that food is coming. Essentially it's a rally call to prepare the troops. So yes, chew your smoothies!

Serves 2

1 1/2 c. of cooked blueberry blend*
Heaping tablespoon of Pure Vita Blend [see recipe below]
2 c. milk of choice [I recommend homemade tiger nut or rice milk]

*Place 4 cups of blueberries, berry of choice, or mix of berries [frozen or fresh] in a medium size pot. Add 2 T. grated ginger and 2 T. grated turmeric. Cook on low until berries burst and become soft. Cool to room temperature and then use or store in refrigerator for up to a week. 

Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend on high until mixture is smooth and creamy. Divide between two glasses and serve immediately.

Makes 5 cups

Note: it's important to use raw, organically and ethically grown powders. As always when using herbs, research for yourself and know the herb you're consuming. Check all contraindications against any pre-existing ailments you may have. Each herb listed here is linked to a viable source for both information and purchasing. 

1 c. lucuma powder
1 c. mesquite powder
1 c. hemp protein powder
1/2 c. maca powder
1/2 c. rhodiola root powder
1/2 c. ashwangandha powder
1/4 c. sweet cinnamon or Cassia cinnamon powder
1/4 c. ginger root powder

Place all in large glass jar. Tightly seal with lid and shake until well blended. Store in a cool, dark place.

Don't feel like making it yourself? You can purchase a variation of this blend from Essential Living Foods either through their website or via Vitacost or Thrive Market. Please note that the ingredients are different so read label carefully.


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