GREAT New Antioxidant Smoothie Mix-In (Even Kids Love)!

Written by: on Friday, May 17th, 2013
Berry Smoothie

Start your smoothie with organic berries (fresh or frozen)—and you're already getting a lot of antioxidants!

I am a HUGE fan of antioxidants. It’s the closest thing we have to the fountain of youth, in my opinion. Why? First, a very brief, but important, science lesson:

After we breathe in oxygen, it travels from our lungs to every cell in our body, helping to turn food into energy. But oxygen can also have negative effects. Body cells are stable when their molecules have a full set of electrons. When oxygen enters the picture, though, they can lose an electron, becoming unstable or oxidized—the same chemical reaction that causes metal to rust.

Stick with me here, the science lesson is almost over (but this is really important to understand, because free radicals are what trigger premature aging—of the body and the skin).

Losing an electron converts that cell’s molecule to an unstable, and damaging, atom known as a free radical. Free radicals can be formed in the body because of sun exposure; smoking (or exposure to secondhand smoke); car exhaust and factory pollution; exposure to allergens; exposure to pesticides (why organic is best) and chemicals (like home cleaning products); and even eating highly-processed foods. Exercise—while amazing for your body and mind—can also create free radicals in the body.

What to do? Well, that’s where antioxidants come in. Antioxidants are nature’s defense against free radicals; they donate missing electrons to free radicals and return them to a normal state.

That’s why I ingest as many antioxidant-rich foods as I can: organic berries; green tea; fresh herbs like oregano and cinnamon; dark

Healthy Smoothie Mix-Ins

Williams Sonoma also makes an Omega-3 Smoothie Mixer (with chia and flax seeds, and cranberries).

chocolate; almonds; beans; and brightly colored veggies like spinach, broccoli, and red/orange peppers. (I also slather antioxidant products on my skin—day and night.)

But I also look to other sources of antioxidants—and found this great Antioxidant Smoothie Mixer from, of all places, my local Williams-Sonoma (it’s also available online at williams-sonoma.com). It’s a brick-red powder that’s certified organic, vegan (and dairy free), and gluten free—and it’s made from crushed goji berries, pomegranate açai, blueberries, and camu-camu (all amazing sources of antioxidants).

Just mix it in with juice and fresh or frozen berries and some crushed ice (I added a frozen banana instead of ice). And you’ve got a powerhouse drink—for breakfast or a snack anytime. The only downside: it’s $24.95, but you only need one or two tablespoons per smoothie—so the bag should last you a couple of weeks, depending on how often you smoothie! (And if you buy three: one of these Antioxidant Mixers, the Omega-3 Mixer, and their Protein Mixer, you only have to pay $49.95—so definitely a better deal than just buying one.) If you’re into keeping your body as healthy as possible, this is definitely worth a try!

Bonus: my kids LOVE it. In fact, my 18-month old is having his second cupful as I type! But be forewarned: this is one smoothie that stains!

 

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These Skincare Products Work! Chance to Win!

Written by: on Thursday, June 28th, 2012
Replere skin-care products created by Dr. Debbie Palmer

I use these products religiously!

Sure, you already know to slather on sunscreen to protect your skin from aging UVA rays and burning UVB rays (and if you don’t, you need to start today!). But what you may not know is that you also need antioxidants to protect your skin. UV rays create something called free radicals in the body (and the skin) that can trigger premature aging—and may even contribute to cancer and other diseases. Antioxidants help neutralize the free radicals. We get antioxidants through fruits and vegetables (and even our vitamins), but applying directly to the skin can help, too.

And that’s why I love these Replere skin-care products (replere.com) created by a mom and dermatologist, Dr. Debbie Palmer. They contain some of the highest amounts of antioxidants in skin-care products—and I trust them because I trust Dr. Palmer. I’ve noticed that my skin has never looked better so far this summer: it’s clear, radiant, and looks healthy.

Don’t expect any fluffy, sweet-smelling creams with these products; they’re meant to be medicinal and repair your skin. They’re brown in color and a bit tacky in feel, but they absorb quickly and get the job done.

And I slather them on my eight-year-old son’s skin at night; he’s gotten a little too much sun lately being outdoors all day (even with sunscreen on), so I feel confident when I put these products on his skin before he goes to sleep. (They’re paraben-, fragrance-, and dye-free.)

Replere Deep Clean & Clarify Face Wash created by Dr. Debbie Palmer

You can win this foaming face wash if you vote now!

If you’re willing to take a shot at these products, go to this link by tomorrow (Friday, June 29)  http://www.qvc.com/qic/qvcapp.aspx/app.html/params.file.|sprouts|sprouts,html and vote for the Replere Deep Clean & Clarify face wash (it’s a super exfoliating face wash); the first 5 people to do this and e-mail me to valerie@valerielatona.com will win the face wash (be sure to send me your address). Dr. Palmer is trying to have her products featured on QVC and I want to help her spread the word about these amazing products!

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The 6 Best Pre- and Post-Workout Foods

Written by: on Thursday, February 23rd, 2012
Chocolate milk good workout snack

Who would have thought this childhood fave would turn out to be so good for you?!

If you ask most people what’s the best pre- or post-workout meal or snack, they’ll probably mention sports drinks, protein powders, protein bars, and anything but plain old food.

Well, this is continually being proven wrong by researchers, sports nutritionists, and exercise specialists.

The latest research by McMaster University professor Stuart Phillips shows that the top foods for athletes—and regular exercisers—are:

1) Chocolate milk: offers post-workout water, protein, electrolytes, and carbohydrates—and not to mention, it tastes good too! According to Phillips, chocolate milk helps rehydrate your body after exercise and recharges damaged muscles. For these reasons, it’s far superior, he says, to water and sports drinks when it comes to post-workout recovery.

For more information on chocolate milk, click on rechargewithmilk.ca (full disclosure: this site, recommended by Phillips, is sponsored by the Dairy Farmers of Canada—but it’s actually quite informative and packed with good information—why I’m okay with linking to it. They’re also sponsoring the giveaway at the end of this piece…and free stuff is always good!)

steel cut oats

Try steel cut oats: they take longer to cook (about 30 minutes) but have double the fiber of rolled oats!

2) Oatmeal: contains carbs, fiber and B vitamins (which are key for the breakdown of carbs into glucose and energy in the body—among other things).

Oatmeal, with protein-packed almonds, is the perfect pre-workout meal (particularly if you’re exercising in the morning). I also like to add dried cranberries, zest from a lemon, cinnamon (which helps control blood sugar), and a drizzle of agave nectar into mine. Just had a bowl this morning!

3) Salmon: rich in protein, iron, vitamin B12 (critical for healthy nervous system functioning and making blood cells) and omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for brain function, reducing inflammation in the body, and normal growth and development.

My favorite way of cooking it: Marinate it in a little lemon juice and spices (try O&Co Salt & Herb Mix for Fish, $8.50; www.oliviersandco.com/salt-and-herb-mix-for-fish.html), drizzle with olive oil, and cook covered at 400ºF for 20 minutes. Shut off the oven, take off the cover, and let sit in the warm oven for another 15 minutes.

4) Blueberries: high in carbs (key for energy) and free-radical-fighting antioxidants (more free radicals are produced in the body during exercise).

I like to add frozen blueberries to almond milk and blend up with a frozen banana and some agave nectar—the perfect fuel-up smoothie!

grilled salmon

Did you know? Salmon is rich in selenium, a free-radical busting antioxidant.

5) Sweet potatoes: chockfull of iron (which helps your body produce oxygen during exercise) and antioxidants beta-carotene as well as vitamins C and E.

Don’t have the patience or time to cook them in the oven? Simply puncture a few times with a fork and cook them on high in the microwave, on a paper towel or plate, for 4 to 5 minutes.

6) Yogurt: high in calcium (important for strong bones and muscle contractions) and energy-boosting vitamin B12. Look for yogurts with little to no added sugar and gut-busting lactobacteria or acidophilus (healthy bacteria that helps digestion).

I love Greek Fage (pronounced “fah-yeh”) Total 2% yogurt with granola (for carbs and taste) and a tiny bit of honey mixed in.

There’s no Gatorade on Phillips’ list, no packaged protein bars, no fruity gummy chews.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I’ll probably still stick these into my bike “bento” snack pack (http://www.teamestrogen.com/prodFB_840200.html) for races because they’re so convenient, but the important take-home message from Phillips’ research: you don’t have to spend a lot of money on processed sports foods at other times.

Real food is still your best bet.

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