Spicy Cucumber-Kohlrabi Gazpacho (gluten-free and vegan)

Cucumber-Kohlrabi Gazpacho

You know those times when you think you’re eating something really healthy and then you realize there’s all kinds of hidden food bombs lurking within? Gazpacho might just be one of those great deceivers. It is for me!

Every time I eat a light, delicious gazpacho I forget that most of the time they contain stale bread as a thickening agent. The horror! Now, I’m not gluten-free – in fact I make my own sourdough bread every other week and eat the darn stuff daily – but I don’t like feeling duped by my soup.

In light of this sense of gastronomic justice, I experimented with using Kohlrabi – German for “cabbage turnip” – as a thickening agent…and it worked!

Kohlrabi is not a root vegetable but in fact a member of the brassica family – along with brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower. It grows above ground and is loaded with minerals like copper, potassium, manganese, iron, and calcium, as well as vitamins, such as vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, vitamin A, and vitamin K. It’s flavor  is – in my opinion – unremarkable. So, dress it up in cucumber and spice and let’s call it a day!

Move Well DC - Cucumber Kohlrabi Gazpacho

Spicy Cucumber Kohlrabi Gazpacho

{Makes 4 servings.}

Ingredients:

  • 1 bulb of kohlrabi
  • 2 large organic cucumbers
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened plain almond milk
  • 1 serrano chile
  • 1 Tbs champagne vinegar (or rice vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • Juice of 2 limes (plus the zest of 1)
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds (for garnish)
  • 1/2 cup basil (for garnish)

 

Directions:

  1. PREP: Trim, peel and roughly chop the kohlrabi and cucumbers. Set aside a half a cup of the cucumbers and chop that portion into small cubes. Seed and halve the serrano. Set aside one half and slice thinly for garnish later. Peel the garlic. Cut the basil into small ribbons and set aside for garnish later.
  2. ASSEMBLE: Place all ingredients except the slivered almonds and cucumber, serrano and basil you have set asside for garnish in a high-speed blender. Purée until smooth (note: if you have an older blender you may need to strain the gazpacho with a skimmer or mesh bag to eliminate inconsistencies in texture).
  3. SET: Pour into an airtight container and refrigerate for at least an hour (or up to overnight!) before serve to allow the flavors to meld (note: it will get spicier with time).
  4. SERVE: Place 2 Tbs of cubed cucumber in each bowl and ladle gazpacho on top. Garnish with 2 Tbs of basil ribbons, 2 Tbs of slivered almonds and serrano slices to taste. Drizzle a little extra olive oil and dust with freshly ground black pepper for even more taste impact.

 

BIG Announcement: Coming Fall of 2017 to Takoma….Yoga Heights #2!

Yoga Heights Hero
As Co-Owner of Yoga Heights, I just had to share!! We are so excited for this next big step and can’t wait to bring our community-oriented yoga and fitness classes to a new neighborhood in the District. Stay tuned for photos of the build-out and details on our grand opening slated for this fall.

Yoga Heights Takom

April 27, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yoga Heights, a yoga studio at 3506 Georgia Ave. NW., announced today that they are opening their second location this fall in the Takoma Central Apartment building at 235 Carroll Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.  Yoga Heights is a community oriented studio that offers classes for every body, at every level and every budget.

 

“The love and support of the Yoga Heights community has been overwhelming for the past three years,” said Jess Pierno, owner. “Our students’ enthusiasm for the studio, our teachers, events and community, has made Yoga Heights an incredibly special yoga studio. It was never in the plans to open additional locations, but due to repeated requests to offer more classes, community events and YHDC good vibes, we were inspired to expand our studio!”

 

Yoga Heights will continue to offer all levels vinyasa and power yoga, beginners classes, Rocket yoga, restorative and Yin yoga, prenatal yoga, bootcamps, Pilates, yoga teacher training and community events at both locations.  

 

Yoga Heights Takoma is just steps from the Takoma metro station on the red line and is on bus lines 52, 53, 54, 62, 63, F1, F2 and K2.

Yoga Heights Half Moon

To ensure that their classes work with all budgets, Yoga Heights offers half price “happy hour” classes five days per week, work-study in trade for classes, as well as “Karma Passes” which allows students to pay just $8 per class up to four times per month.Through these programs, Yoga Heights has helped more than 4,000 people afford yoga classes in the three years they have been open.  

 

“We look forward to continuing to be an affordable and community oriented yoga studio for people who are brand new to yoga, as well as regularly practicing yogis,” Pierno continued.

 

More information on class offerings, pricing and events is available at www.YogaHeightsDC.com.

 

Studio owners Jess Pierno and Amy Rizzotto, and their talented team of instructors remain steadfastly committed to working with Yoga Heights’ students to ensure that health and wellness are accessible to all.

 

Yoga Heights is currently offering pre-opening sales on unlimited memberships through its website at www.YogaHeightsDC.com. Visit www.YogaHeightsDC.com to sign up and save today!

 

For questions or comments please contact:
Amy Rizzotto, Yoga Heights
write: Amy@YogaHeightsDC.com

 

Guest Post: 7 Delicious Green Smoothies to Help Lower High Blood Pressure

Kate B. Forsyth of Be Healthy Today writes…

 

In this day and age, having high blood pressure is a common thing. A lot if things can lead to this, like the food you eat, the environment, stress, alcohol abuse, etc. Luckily, there are plenty of ways that can help you with this predicament. Drinking specific healthy green smoothies is one way to combat high blood pressure.

 

There are plenty of smoothie recipes out there that specifically target the lowering of blood pressure. Most of the ingredients used in these smoothies are fruits and vegetables, and just about every kind of each has a positive effect in lowering high blood pressure.

 

It’s best if you look for recipes that contain ingredients with high potassium content. What potassium does is it lessens the effects of sodium. That means the more food rich in potassium you eat, the more unhealthy sodium you eliminate through urination. Potassium also helps ease the tension in the blood vessel walls. This further helps lower high blood pressure.

 

For the average adult, the recommended potassium intake per day is 4,700 mg. Some examples of fruits and vegetables rich in potassium are apricots, cantaloupe, grapefruit, bananas, papaya, strawberries, kiwi, carrots, chard, beet greens, lima beans, spinach, and of course, kale.

 

Along with potassium, there are other elements that naturally lower blood pressure. Some examples are vitamin D, magnesium, anthocyanins, omega-3 fatty acids, melatonin, and acetyl-L-carnitine.

 

To get you started on your journey to a regulated blood pressure, here are some examples of easy-to-make green smoothies great for lowering high blood pressure. And bonus: they taste amazing too!

 

The Blood Pressure Regulator

The banana and spinach used in this helpful smoothie take center stage in beating away high blood pressure.

 

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces pomegranate juice
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 1 apple, cored
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • ice cubes

 

Directions:

Put the pomegranate juice in the blender first. Next, add in the banana and apple. Blend until somewhat smooth. Add the spinach last. Continue blending. Put in ice cubes gradually until desired thickness is achieved.

 

Tomato-Cucumber-Carrot Smoothie

The antioxidant properties as well as the cleansing capabilities of this yummy smoothie promote the elimination of the accumulated toxins from the body. The parsley is a big help in getting rid of the excess sodium and retained fluids in the body that can affect your blood pressure.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • a handful of parsley, minced
  • ½ cup water
  • ice cubes

 

Directions:

Place all the ingredients (except the ice cubes) in a high-power blender. Mix until fully incorporated. Add the ice cubes for desired consistency.

Green Heart-Healthy Smoothie

Practically all the ingredients used for this drink help in lowering high blood pressure. You definitely won’t go wrong with this smoothie.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 frozen banana, sliced
  • ¼ cup raw beets, chopped
  • 1 cup greens of choice (kale or spinach are best)
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, minced
  • ½ cup frozen berries
  • honey to taste

 

Directions:

Put in the milk and beets. It’s best to blend the beets first as it requires more blending time. Once beet root and milk mixture is somewhat smooth, add the rest of the ingredients except for the honey. If it lacks some sweetness, that’s when you can put in the honey, but gradually.

Avocado-Kiwi-Melon Madness

Now this is a smoothie that’s super potassium packed. It contains close to a whopping 1,000 mg of potassium per serving. Now that’s one powerful blend.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 kiwi, sliced
  • 1 cup honeydew melon, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ice cubes

 

Directions:

Blend together the avocado, kiwi, and melon slices. Wait until smooth. Add in the spinach last. Continue blending. Taste the drink to see if sweetness is needed. If so, slowly add in the honey. Put in the ice cubes and continue blending until desired consistency is reached.  

 

Green Smoothie for High Blood Pressure

Here’s another smoothie recipe whose ingredients greatly help in lowering blood pressure naturally.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 green apples, chopped
  • 8-10 ribs of celery, chopped
  • a handful of spinach
  • a handful of cilantro
  • 1 lime
  • ice cubes

 

Directions:

Put in the apples, celery, cilantro, and juice from the lime in a high-speed blender. Mix until fully incorporated. Add the spinach. Resume blending. For the desired thickness, gradually add in the ice cubes.

 

Pineapple-Grapefruit-Spinach Smoothie

Pineapple and grapefruit are some of the most effective natural diuretics that combat fluid retention, lower high blood pressure, and also cleanse the kidneys. Due to their high water content and low calorie count, both are also ideal in any type of diet.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup grapefruit juice
  • 2 slices pineapple
  • 1 handful spinach leaves
  • ice cubes

 

Directions:

Blend the grapefruit juice and pineapple slices in a high-powered blender. As with other recipes using spinach, add in the spinach last. Resume blending until the mixture is lump-free. Add in the ice one by one for desired consistency.

 

Spinach and Carrot Smoothie

Not only will this smoothie positively impact blood pressure, it will also provide your body with that extra kick to increase your physical performance.

 

Ingredients:

  • 5 carrots, sliced
  • a handful of spinach
  • a handful of parsley
  • 2 celery stalks
  • ice cubes

 

Directions:

Put in the carrot slices, parsley, and celery stalks first and blend until lump-free. Add in a little water for moisture, then the spinach. Continue blending until smooth. You can slowly add the ice for a little thickness.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kate B. Forsyth is a writer for Be Healthy Today, who specializes in health and nutrition. Her passion is to help people get an overall transformation of health that lasts a lifetime. In her blog posts, she goes beyond research by providing health-concerned citizens doable and simple tricks to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

 

Sources:

10 Surprising Banana Health Benefits

http://www.incrediblesmoothies.com/green-smoothies/5-green-smoothies-to-lower-high-blood-pressure/

https://steptohealth.com/top-4-green-smoothies-treat-high-blood-pressure/

https://www.healthysmoothiehq.com/lower-high-blood-pressure-with-smoothies

http://juicing-for-health.com/lowering-blood-pressure-naturally

http://www.suesnutritionbuzz.com/2012/07/18/potassium-packed-smoothies-to-lower-your-blood-pressure/

Homemade Peanut Butter (sugar-free)!

When it snows and your noon class gets canceled, what else do you do besides cook? Okay well maybe that’s just me, but snow day = kitchen marathon. I’ve already made these pancakes:

 

 

And of course added my own twist with cacao nibs, unsweetened coconut, banana rounds and chia seeds.

 

Now, it’s time to tackle my first ever batch of homemade peanut butter….

 

 

So many of the brands you’ll find in stores contain sugar and if you haven’t heard, sugar overload is killing us. I’ve wanted to make my own peanut butter for a while, but it wasn’t until a recent trip to Houston, TX that I picked up some fresh, raw peanuts from Frobergs Farm that I finally got the motivation.

 

Turns out, it’s super easy if you have a food processor! Give it a try. Warning: you might never go back to the store bought stuff.

 

 

Homemade Peanut Butter (Sugar-Free)

Makes 1 pint (or 1 wide mouth, 16 oz mason jar)

Ingredients:

For the Peanut Butter –

  • 1lb roasted peanuts, shelled
  • 1 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt (or slightly more to taste)
  • 2 – 2 1/2 Tbs coconut oil, melted

For roasting the peanuts –

  • 1lb raw peanuts, shelled
  • 1 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 1 Tbs coconut oil, melted

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place peanuts in a large bowl and toss with the melted coconut oil and salt until well coated.
  3. Place on 1 non-stick or lined sheet pan, making sure to spread them out into a single layer. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking.
  4. Remove the peanuts from the oven and let them cool before eating/using for Peanut Butter. They will continue to become crunchy as they cool.
  5. To make peanut butter, remove the skin by rubbing the peanuts together in your hands held over a salad spinner, allowing the peanuts and skins to fall into the bowl. Once the skin has been loosened from all of the peanuts close the salad spinner and spin until all of the skin has been separated from the peanuts. (This step is optional – an idea taken from Alton Brown. I skipped it and had a few skins in the mix that didn’t just naturally fall off in roasting and it still turned out well!).
  6. In a food processor, combine roasted peanuts, melted coconut oil and sea salt to taste. Pulse until smooth or slightly crunchy – we all have our  preference!

Note: you can store this in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month.

 

Something for Sundays: Nourishing Miso Breakfast Soup

Miso Breakfast Soup - Move Well DC

One of my all-time favorite detox recipes is this Nourishing Miso Breakfast Soup. Okay, okay, so it’s not exactly a big batch recipe – though you could totally prep all ingredients except the eggs, broth and miso in advance of your work week – but it is easy like Sunday mornings are supposed to be. In under 30 minutes (20 once you get it down), you’ll have a warm, healthy and savory breakfast that will change the way you thing about this meal. If you simply can’t get behind the soup for breakfast thing, this also makes a super quick and convenient weeknight dinner. Go on, get outside your box and try something a little different!

Something for Sundays - Move Well DC - Nourishing Miso Breakfast Soup

Something for Sundays: Roasted Fennel & Butternut Squash

Amy Rizzotto Butternut Squash Move Well DC

Big batch recipes are where it’s at! Save yourself time, money, and brain space by making a sheet pan full of roasted vegetables, 4-5 servings of a healthy whole grain, and a pot full of beans or lentils at the start of each week to make workweek meals easy peasy. You can think of the recipe below like a formula – swap the veggies out for others you like (brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, etc) and change up your spices (cumin, red pepper flakes, curry, etc). Just be sure to keep an eye as you roast different combinations as some vegetables might not need as long to cook. Look for golden brown bits around the edges and avoid letting your vegetables get black and burnt – no carcinogens please!

Something for Sundays - Move Well DC - Butternut Squash and Fennel

Something for Sundays: Papaya Coconut Granola

Work weeks are hectic and weekends are no longer for rest – at least that’s the way I’m feeling these days. In an effort to fit it all in we have less and less time for essentials like sleep, feeding ourselves and down time. What would happen if we all set aside just a few hours, once a weekend, to stay in, read a book, make some food and just plain relax?

Big batch recipes are a great use of our limited down time – good bang for your (time) buck! With that in mind, I’m launching a new series on my blog “Something for Sundays” to provide big batch recipe ideas that will help you maximize your relaxation time. You may have to hang around the house – dare I suggest, read a book, watch a movie, or listen to a podcast – but you won’t have to be too hands on with these recipes. First up…

Move Well DC Papaya Coconut Granola Recipe

 

Foods to Fight Cancer

I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been touched deeply and irreversibly by cancer. The disease – in all its many forms – is not kind, patient, or forgiving. It is surprising, frightening, and debilitating – yet so many of those diagnosed are the strongest, fiercest, bravest and most compassionate among us. Whether you have been directly or indirectly effected by some form of cancer, you can help protect and heal your body through food. Below is a quick list of what to eat and cook with and what to avoid when it comes to prevention and holistic treatment.

EAT/COOK WITH:

  • Ginger root
  • Turmeric root
  • Curry
  • Green tea
  • White tea
  • Spinach, kale, swiss chard, beet greens and collard greens (and all dark, leafy greens)
  • Salmon/fish in general
  • Lean meat – unprocessed chicken, turkey and pork (not the fatty cuts though like bacon or belly)
  • Brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, millet and teff (or any whole, gluten-free grain)
  • Organic veggies (and if this is crushing your bank account just buy the ones on the EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” list organic and the rest conventional)
  • Fruit in limited quantities (no more that 3 servings per day, follow the Dirty Dozen list as well, stick to low glycemic fruits like barely ripe bananas, berries, and tart apples)
  • 2% plain yogurt
  • Folate, calcium and vitamin D supplements (but talk to your doctor about this first)

 

AVOID:

  • Processed foods
  • Red meat and processed meat (like most sausages/hot dogs)
  • Desserts
  • Added sugar of any kind (I’m going to lump maple syrup, honey and agave in here)
  • Fried foods
  • Refined grains (like white bread)
  • Alcohol – it’s basically sugar

 

When cooking to fight and fend off cancer, keep your recipes simple. Try seasoning with warming spices (cumin, turmeric, curry, cayenne, chili, cardamom, coriander, red pepper flakes), citrus (fresh lemon or lime), olive oil, and salt and pepper. Strip away the the excess and eat whole, healthy, real foods. We should all eat this way as often as possible, cancer or not.

5 Poses in 5 Minutes: How to Fit Yoga into Your Hectic Schedule

Let’s be honest, there is never enough time in our schedules for something extra when the groceries need to be bought, our kid has a surprise sports practice, or the laundry has been neglected for another week. Again.

However, despite our crazy and ever-moving lives – five minutes, or an individual minute – is all we need to recollect and calm down to take on the next task. Here are five yoga poses you can do anywhere during the busiest times of your day.

 

  1. After you turn off your jarring (or peaceful) alarm: Reclining Spinal Twist

Goodness, does that back crack a cacophony in the morning! Wipe the tiredness from your eyes and don’t hit snooze. First, stretch your arms straight out to the sides – palms face down – and breathe out slowly. Next, bring one knee into the chest and straighten the other. Then, draw the bent knee across your body over the lengthened leg and breathe out. Place the opposite hand from the bent leg on top of the knee. Repeat on the other side.

 

  1. Making that morning cup of whatever gets you ready: Tree

What do you look forward to in the morning? Rise like a lovely little plant with Tree Pose to bring strength and balance to the start of your day. Draw energy from your core to place one foot on the inside of your thigh, calf or ankle and shift your weight into the standing leg. Slowly bring your hands to your heart in prayer, raise your prayer overhead, exhale navel to spine to find your center, and greet that morning sun rooting as you rise!

 

  1. Those long hours sitting in the office: Crescent Moon

While hustling is never-ending, a yoga break always does more good than harm. To reset during the work day, stand up with your feet hips width apart with your tailbone tucked toward the heels, bring both arms up into a prayer hand position overhead, then arch your body to the side. Repeat this movement on the opposite side of your body.

 

  1. While dinner is cooking: Warrior 2

Whether it’s microwavable Pad Thai or a pot of steaming vegetables, the minute waiting for the heat to start can be spent channeling your inner warrior. Celebrate your strength for you’ve once again tackled the day! Take a step back from the stove top and spread your legs three to four feet apart, with your right toes pointing straight forward and your back foot perpendicular to your front foot. Now, raise both arms out to the sides so that your arms are parallel to your right thigh. Gaze forward over your right fingertips. Repeat on the left side.

 

  1. Before beauty sleep: Child’s Pose

It’s a requirement to be comfortable in your favorite pajamas for this pose. Since you’re laying comfortably in bed, roll over to rest on your stomach. Keep your knees in place while you slide your hands under your shoulders and press back to rest your butt on the heels. With extended arms or with them tucked by your sides – you might find yourself wanting to sleep in this wonderful and relaxing position to put an end to the day. Stay as long as you like and unfurl into your favorite sleeping position when you’re ready.

 


Written by Rachel O’Conner. Rachel is an experienced content writer who has written for a variety of different industries, including fitness, business, travel, education, fashion and lifestyle. She enjoys practicing yoga, training for half marathons, and cooking in her free time. Learn more about her through her website and LindkedIn.