In Bloom

Japanese cherry blossoms (DI02402)

 

This past Tuesday, the grass here officially began to grow. Not only because it was the fourth day of spring (yay!), but also because grass ceiling had its very first client. I was lucky enough to spend the afternoon educating a lovely group of student athletes along with a few coaches from Matawan High School in New Jersey on the criticality of nutrition – not only in their athletic careers, but in the overall quality and health of their bodies as well – which are budding at a faster rate than the cherry blossoms south of the Mason-Dixon line right now.

 

This period of physical instability in their lives makes for a fantastic window for a nutritionist-to-be to impart not only some of my academic knowledge, but anecdotes from my own personal health experience as well. More importantly, I was given a platform to effectively communicate what the highschoolers would not find in textbooks or hear in the popular, and oftentimes, misinformed media. I shared the truth, which hopefully opened their eyes a little bit and removed some potential ceilings from their very bright futures.

 

Part of this truth included the negative, catabolic effects stress has on our muscular tissue – which is integral to an athlete’s success (not to mention a teenager’s self-confidence). The metabolic consequences stress wreaks on our muscular health is a topic I definitely plan to delve into on a future blog post.

 

One subject we also touched upon was the importance of proper hydration. During any physical exercise, we are actively depleting both glucose and electrolytes from our body; our muscles are burning glucose as their quickest source of fuel, and electrolytes are draining from your pores via sweat and being scavenged by our muscles during contractions of both skeletal and heart muscle. Given the math behind this reaction, we need to replace both glucose and electrolytes to bring us back to homeostasis.

 

Instead of loading up on Gatorade and Powerade or any other chemical-laden sports drink (although, having these during strenuous activity is actually healthier than having just pure water), I provided the students with a do-it-yourself home recipe for a glucose-electrolyte beverage as a toxin-free alternative. Honestly, it’s delicious and I highly recommend giving it a whirl:

 

electrolyte drinkcc: everydayroots.com

 

Ingredients: lemons, limes, oranges, sea salt, honey (preferably raw), water, and natural cane sugar.

 

Lemon/Lime

 

–              ¼ cup of freshly squeezed lime juice

–              ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

–              1 ½ to 2 cups fresh water (depending on how strong you want the flavor)

–              1/8 teaspoon sea salt

–              2 tablespoons honey or natural cane sugar, to taste (not too much!)

 

 

Orange/Citrus

 

–              ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

–              ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

–              1 ½ to 2 cups fresh water

–              1/8 teaspoon sea salt

–              2 tablespoons honey or natural cane sugar, to taste

 

 

While the grass starts to flourish both here and in your backyards, I hope you are all enjoying the first glimpses and scents of spring.

 

For those of you who follow this blog, I apologize for my lack of presence on the site lately. Life and school have been dense with to-do’s, but the good thing about that is it provides me with a reservoir of topics that will eventually deluge themselves onto your screens. Some of these include: the misconceptions of vitamin D, a genetic mutation that could be causing your fatigue and inflammation, and an overview of what the many different types of health practitioners do in the event you are unsure which way to turn during a tough-to-diagnose-and-treat medical issue.

 

In the meantime, stay tuned. And, if you or anyone you know of may be interested in an AMAZINGLY INFORMATIVE presentation on nutrition and functional medicine for student athletes, tell them to holler at your girl here. Have presentation queued, will travel 😉

 

On a personal note, interacting with the student athletes at Matawan High School was a pivotal moment for me. It marked an official first step in a new direction in my career and future. It also fortified my love of what I’m studying and planning to do with the rest of my life. In other words, I felt as though I was in bloom.

 

happiness_gandhi

 

 

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oat Bars: Guilt-Free and Gimme Gimme

pumpkin chocolate chip oat bars

Mom’s kitchen, November 2014

Happy Thanksgiving, ceiling fans!

I apologize for my lack of web presence over the past two months. I am in the homestretch of my first full semester in grad school, and I haven’t had as much time as I would like to put an honest effort into a worthy blog post. Lucky for you, I have been learning a ton in my Biochem of Nutrition class that I am very anxious to apply to a relevant topic to breakdown and share with you after my finals and paper wrap up.

 

Nevertheless, I wanted to at least say hello and provide you with a delicious and nutritious recipe that can be used in these last weeks of Fall (courtesy of Ambitious Kitchen). What I lack in creative juice at this point, I can make up for in pumpkin-flavored goodness.

 

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones and enjoy the long weekend. I am thankful for so much this year, especially to be able to share my insights, growth, and life with all of you!

Ingredients:

3 cups gluten free rolled oats

2 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

pinch of ground cloves

1 cup canned natural pumpkin

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling on top

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 8×11 or 9 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. (I prefer coconut oil spray over Pam because of the canola oil content)

Make oat flour: Place oats into blender or food processor and chop for 1-2 minutes until mixture resembles flour. You may need to stop blender and stir oats a couple of times to ensure all have been blended.

Measure out just 2 1/2 cups of the now oat flour and place in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk in baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in this bowl as well; set aside.

In a separate large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, brown sugar, vanilla extract, coconut oil, and applesauce for 1-2 minutes until the consistency is smooth and creamy. Slowly add in oat flour mixture and mix until it becomes a batter.

Gently fold in 1/3 cup of chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips on top. Bake for 15-25 minutes or until knife inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. Timing will depend on what size pan you use, but definitely check around 15 minutes. Once finished baking, cool 10 minutes on wire rack. Cut into small squares.

 

Perfect for dessert, but also great for breakfast – Shhh 🙂 

 

Catch up with you soon!