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15 Healthy Smoothie Making Tips – great for athletes 

Change up the ingredients.
Using different fruits and vegetables will help you get an even amount of nutrients and health benefits from the varying components.
Fresh is always best
The fresher the juice and ingredients you use in your smoothie, the better the flavor and nutrition. Use organic ingredients in your smoothie whenever possible, not only to increase nutrition and avoid pesticides, but also for better taste.
Healthy Tea Time
Use a healthy tea instead of water, milk, or juice as the base of your smoothie to boost the nutrition.
Smoothie Sweetness
Using dates is a great way to sweeten your smoothie. Remove the pits and soak them overnight or for at least an hour before blending. If using a sweetener, stick to the good ones. Honey, maple syrup, and stevia are excellent choices. In the winter you might find your fruits are not as sweet as you’d like, causing your smoothies to not taste the best ever. Try using fruit juice as the base of your smoothie instead of water.
Juice it up
Juice your own fruits and vegetables for use as the base of your smoothie. Nothing is fresher, tastier, or healthier.
Add in some Kefir magic
Milk and young (Thai) coconut water kefir deliver a probiotic punch while improving digestion and nutrient assimilation.
Spice it up
Various spices enhance both flavor and nutrition. Play with them and perfect the taste. Cinnamon, cayenne pepper, ginger, and nutmeg, are a few good options.
Protein Power
A good protein can go along way, especially for guys looking to put on muscle. Make sure you’ve got a good source, Juice Plus Compete is what I use. For more information, check out Juice Plus Complete.
Healthy Fats
A good fat like coconut, flax, or hemp oil, an avocado, or cream will keep you satiated and full of energy for hours, and put the smooth in smoothie.
Get Salty
Adding a high quality salt to your smoothie not only provides much needed minerals, but also enhances the taste. Celtic Sea salt, Himalayan Pink salt, and Redmond salt are excellent options.
Fresh-Fruit-Smoothies
Superfoods
Experiment and try different superfoods to really boost the nutrition of your smoothie. Maca, cacao, goji berries, bee pollen, aloe vera, coconut oil, hemp seeds/protein, spirulina, and acai are great to start with.
Seed it
Flax, hemp, and chia seeds are perfect for boosting the nutrition of your smoothies.
Herbalicious
Adding Chinese herb powders like Ginseng, Astragalus and Rhodiola is a great way to increase the medicinal properties of your smoothie.
Turn up the Base
Don't skimp on the base of your smoothie. Use high quality water (filtered or spring water), almond, coconut, or raw milk, or fresh juice. One of my favorite bases is water from a young (Thai) coconut, which provides sweetness and a bevy of electrolytes.
Have Fun!
Get everyone involved in making smoothies – your friends, family, children – and have fun! Note, if you dance while making your smoothie it will turn out much better :)

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Top 10 Magnesium Rich Foods

spinach#1: Dark Leafy Greens (Raw Spinach)

Magnesium in 100g 1 Cup Raw (30g) 1 Cup Cooked (180g)
79mg (20% DV) 24mg (6% DV) 157mg (39% DV)
Other Greens High in Magnesium (%DV per cup cooked): Swiss Chard (38%), and Kale (19%). [divider style="dashed" top="20" bottom="20"]

pumpkin-seeds#2: Nuts and Seeds (Squash and Pumpkin Seeds)

Magnesium in 100g 1/2 Cup (113g) 1 Ounce (28g)
534mg (134% DV) 606mg (152% DV) 150mg (37% DV)
Other Nuts and Seeds High in Magnesium (%DV per 1/2 cup):Sesame Seeds (63%), Brazil Nuts (63%), Almonds (48%), Cashews (44% DV), Pine nuts (43%), Mixed Nuts (39%), and Peanuts (31%), Pecans (17%), Walnuts (16%) [divider style="dashed" top="20" bottom="20"]

goldfish#3: Fish (Mackerel, not goldfish.  ;) )

Magnesium in 100g Per 3oz Fillet (85g)
97mg (24% DV) 82mg (21% DV)
Other Fish High in Magnesium (%DV per 3oz fillet (85g)): Pollock (18% DV), Turbot (14% DV), Tuna (14% DV), and most other fish at an average of 8% DV. [divider style="dashed" top="20" bottom="20"]

legumes#4: Beans and Lentils (Soy Beans)

Magnesium in 100g 1 Cup Cooked (172g)
86mg (22% DV) 148mg (37% DV)
Other Beans and Lentils High in Magnesium (%DV per cup cooked):White Beans (28%), French Beans (25%), Black-eyed Peas (23%), Kidney Beans (21%), Chickpeas (Garbanzo) (20%), Lentils (18%), Pinto Beans (16%). [divider style="dashed" top="20" bottom="20"]

brown-rice#5: Whole Grains (Brown Rice)

Magnesium in 100g 1 Cup Cooked (195g)
44mg (11% DV) 86mg (21% DV)
Other Whole Grains High in Magnesium (%DV per cup cooked): Quinoa (30%), Millet (19%), Bulgur (15%), Buckwheat (13%), Wild Rice (13%), Whole Wheat Pasta (11%), Barley (9%), Oats (7%). [divider style="dashed" top="20" bottom="20"]

avocado#6: Avocados

Magnesium in 100g 1 Avocado (201g) 1/2 Cup Pureed (115g)
29mg (7% DV) 58mg (15% DV) 33mg (9% DV)
An average avocado provides 322 calories, half a cup pureed contains 184 calories. [divider style="dashed" top="20" bottom="20"]

#7: Low-Fat Dairy (Plain Non Fat Yogurt)

Magnesium in 100g 1 Cup (245g)
19mg (5% DV) 47mg (12% DV)
Other Dairy Foods High in Magnesium (%DV per 100g): Goat Cheese (Hard) (14% DV), Nonfat Chocolate Yogurt (10% DV) and Nonfat Mozzarella (8%). [divider style="dashed" top="20" bottom="20"]

#8: Bananas

Magnesium in 100g 1 Medium (118g) 1 Cup Slices (150g)
27mg (7% DV) 32mg (8% DV) 41mg (10% DV)
[divider style="dashed" top="20" bottom="20"]

#9: Dried Fruit (Figs) (caution:  sugar content)

Magnesium in 100g 1/2 Cup (75g) 1 Fig (8g)
68mg (17% DV) 51mg (13% DV) 5mg (1% DV)
Other Dried Fruit High in Magnesium (%DV per 1/2 cup): Prunes (11%), Apricots (10%), Dates (8%), and Raisins (7%). [divider style="dashed" top="20" bottom="20"]

#10: Dark Chocolate

Magnesium in 100g 1 Square (29g) 1 Cup Grated (132g)
327mg (82% DV) 95mg (24% DV) 432mg (108% DV)
1 square of dark chocolate provides 145 calories.

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Being low in Magnesium is serious business

Magnesium Deficiency is serious business, and athletes need to pay attention to this one!

Magnesium is arguably the most important mineral in the body.
"Every known illness is associated with a magnesium deficiency and it’s the missing cure to many diseases."According to Dr. Norman Shealy.
Ok.  I'm not sure about EVERY known illness but the point is still very valid.

Magnesium is crazy important!

Not only does magnesium help regulate calcium, potassium and sodium, but Magnesium (Mg) is essential for cellular health and is a critical component of over 300 biochemical functions in the body. Even glutathione, your body’s most powerful antioxidant that has even been called "the master antioxidant", requires magnesium for its synthesis. Unfortunately, most people are not aware of this and millions suffer daily from magnesium deficiency without even knowing it.

Causes of Magnesium Deficiency

Once thought to be relatively rare, magnesium deficiency is more common than most physicians believe. Here's why: [tie_list type="checklist"]
  • Soil depletion - Genetically modified organisms (GMO) and the chemicals in our food have created a recipe for disaster. As minerals are removed, stripped away, or no longer available in the soil, the percentage of magnesium present in food has decreased.
  • Digestive disease, like leaky gut can cause malabsorption of minerals including magnesium. Today, there are hundreds of millions of people who aren’t absorbing their nutrients. Also, as we age our mineral absorption tends to decrease, so the probability of having a deficiency increases across the board.
  • Chronic disease and medication use is at an all-time high. Most chronic illness is associated with magnesium deficiency and lack of mineral absorption. Medications damage the gut which is responsible for absorbing magnesium from our food.
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Should you worry about magnesium deficiency?

Maybe, maybe not, it all depends on your risk factors and presenting symptoms which are covered in this article. Also, approximately 80% of people have low levels of magnesium so the chances are you are probably deficient. Take note of this...only 1% of magnesium in your body is in your bloodstream, so often you can have deficiency and it would not even be discovered by a common blood test.

Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms

Many people may be magnesium deficient and not even know it. But here are some key symptoms to look out for that could indicate if you are deficient: [tie_list type="checklist"]
  • Leg Cramps
    70% of adults and 7% of children experience leg cramps on a regular basis.  Because of magnesium’s role in neuromuscular signals and muscle contraction, researchers have observed that magnesium deficiency is often to blame.

    More and more health care professionals are prescribing magnesium supplements to help their patients. Restless leg syndrome is another warning sign of a magnesium deficiency. To overcome both leg cramps and restless leg syndrome you will want to increase your intake of both magnesium and potassium.
  • Insomnia
    Magnesium deficiency is often a precursor to sleep disorders such as anxiety, hyperactivity and restlessness. It has been suggested that this is because magnesium is vital for GABA function, an inhibitory neurotransmitter known to “calm” the brain and promote relaxation.

    Taking around 400mg of magnesium before bed or with dinner is the best time of day to take the supplement. Also, adding in magnesium rich foods during dinner like spinach may help.
  • Muscle Pain / Fibromyalgia
    A study published in Magnesium Research examined the role magnesium plays in fibromyalgia, and uncovered that increasing magnesium consumption reduced pain and tenderness and also improved immune blood markers.  Oftentimes linked to autoimmune disorders, this research should encourage fibromyalgia patients because it highlights the systemic effects that magnesium supplements have on the body.
  • Anxiety
    As magnesium deficiency can affect the central nervous system, more specifically the GABA cycle in the body, it’s side effects can include irritability and nervousness. As the deficiency worsens it causes high levels of anxiety and in severe cases depression and hallucinations. Magnesium is needed for every cell function from the gut to the brain, so it is no wonder that it affects so many systems.
  • High Blood Pressure
    Magnesium works partnered with calcium to support proper blood pressure and protect the heart. So when you are magnesium deficient, often you are also low in calcium and tend towards hypertension or high blood pressure.
  • Type II Diabetes
    One of the 4 mains causes of magnesium deficiency is type II diabetes but it is also a common symptom. UK researchers, for example, uncovered that of the 1,452 adults they examined low Mg levels were 10.51 times more common with new diabetics and 8.63 times more common with known diabetics.
  • atigue
    Low energy, weakness and fatigue are common symptoms of magnesium deficiency. Most chronic fatigue patients are also magnesium deficient.
  • Migraine Headaches
    Magnesium deficiency has been linked to migraine headaches due of its importance in balancing neurotransmitters in the body. Double-blind placebo-controlled studies have proven that 360 – 600mg of magnesium daily reduced the frequency of migraine headaches by up to 42%.
  • Osteoporosis
    The National Institute of Health reports that, “The average person’s body contains about 25 grams of magnesium, and about half of that is in the bones.” This is important to realize, especially for the elderly, who are at risk of bone weakening.
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Are you at risk?

So who is most susceptible to a magnesium deficiency? According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), not every one is created equal in regards to metabolizing and assimilating magnesium. In fact, certain people are inherently at a greater risk of developing Mg deficiency.  Magnesium deficiency can be inherited genetically as an inability to absorb this important mineral.  Also, a diet low in high magnesium foods, or even emotional or work stress can drain magnesium from the body. Whether inherited, through a deficient diet, or even stress, a magnesium deficiency can lead to side effects of migraines, diabetes, fatigue and more!  The 4 most prominent at-risk groups include: People with GI complaint, Type II diabetes, Elderly and people struggling with alcohol dependence. Excessive drinking often experience Mg deficiency because of a combination of the reasons above. The easiest way to understanding this is to see alcohol as an “anti-nutrient.” It literally sucks the nutrients out of your cells, and prevents proper absorption/utilization of the vitamins and minerals that you consume. I would even go one step further and suggest that regular recreational alcohol use, not just alcohol dependence, can lead to Mg problems. Consuming 1-2 glasses of wine a week is fine for most people but much more than that is highly taxing on your liver. Alcohol can also deplete the minerals in your body because it causes dehydration, gut floral imbalance, immune system compromise, disturbed sleep patterns, and premature aging[/box] So, what if you don’t fit in any of these buckets and you’re young, vibrant, and seemingly healthy? Does this mean that you’re off the hook? Not exactly. Magnesium used to be abundantly present in most foods. However, in recent years food has less and less magnesium due to the farming practices and changes in growing cycles over the last century. Studies have shown, for example, that the produce we eat holds a shadow of the nutritional quality that they did just 60 years ago. According to a 2011 report published in Scientific American:
"The Organic Consumers Association cites several other studies with similar findings: A Kushi Institute analysis of nutrient data from 1975 to 1997 found that average calcium levels in 12 fresh vegetables dropped 27 percent; iron levels 37 percent; vitamin A levels 21 percent, and vitamin C levels 30 percent."
A similar study of British nutrient data from 1930 to 1980, published in the British Food Journal, found that in 20 vegetables the average calcium content had declined 19 percent; iron 22 percent; and potassium 14 percent. Yet another study concluded that one would have to eat eight oranges today to derive the same amount of Vitamin A as our grandparents would have gotten from one. The bottom line is that even if you eat a completely organic, non-GMO raw food diet, you’re still at risk because of soil depletion and our current capitalistic farming practices.

START WITH MAGNESIUM RICH FOODS FIRST!!!

Even with this, you still want to make sure you are getting plenty of high magnesium foods in your diet and if you want a comprehensive list check out my article on the TOP 10 MAGNESIUM RICH FOODS.

Best Magnesium Supplements

If you think you might be more severely magnesium deficient and you want to improve your levels more quickly you may consider taking an all-natural supplement.
Magnesium Chelate
A form of magnesium bond to multiple amino acids that is in the same state as the food we consume and highly absorbable by the body.
Magnesium Citrate
This is magnesium with citric acid, which has laxative properties so is often taken for constipation.
Magnesium Glycinate
A chelated form of magnesium that tends to provide high levels of absorption and bioavailability and is typically considered ideal for those who are trying to correct a deficiency.
Magnesium Theonate
A newer, emerging type of magnesium supplement that appears promising, primarily due to its superior ability to penetrate the mitochondrial membrane, and may be the best magnesium supplement on the market.
Magnesium Chloride Oil
This form of magnesium is in oil form. It can pass through the skin and into the body. For those who struggle with digestive issues like malabsorption this is the best form of magnesium to take.
NOTE: Just as a reminder, when taking 600mg or more of magnesium, 20% of people taking magnesium as a supplement can experience diarrhea.

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Why Green Smoothies make you warm, even if you’re that “cold hand person”

Kale, and cruciferous veggies in general, that you might be putting in your smoothies will make you warm. This is because, along with all the awesome benefits of this food group, they contribute to vasodilation. Vasodilation occurs when blood vessels expand, allowing larger amounts of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to the muscles of the body. What results is that wonderful feeling of skin and muscle swelling which is called the “pump” after an intense workout, or the “runner’s high” after an invigorating run. There are several ways to increase vasodilation. As mentioned, intense exercise is the best way to open up your blood vessels. However, for the elderly or infirmed who cannot participate in rigorous exercise, massage is used to better circulate the blood and increase vasodilation. Or if you are an athlete that needs targeted/localized increased blood blood to promote healing... Essential oils are often used for this purpose which combines the beneficial elements of such natural ingredients as lemon, lemongrass, marjoram, cypress and myrtle, all of which have been used since ancient times to dilate capillaries and improve circulation. Prescription vasodilators can also be obtained through a doctor, blah blah blah. Call if you need to.

Natural Vasodilators and Their Sources

kaleWhen it comes to exercise, vasodilation occurs naturally within the body. Nitric oxide is a powerful vasodilator and its effects are increased by eating foods rich in nitrates, flavonoids, L-arginine and other natural vasodilators. Nitrates are contained in such foods as spinach, leaf lettuce and beets. When eaten, the saliva in the mouth turns natural nitrates into nitrites which then get swallowed and arrive in the stomach where nitrite is converted into nitric oxide by gastric acid. Nitric oxide is then used by the body to relax and dilate the walls of blood vessels. Flavonoids play another key role in producing nitric oxide and can be found in foods like broccoli, spinach, kale, hawthorn and dark chocolate. Flavonoids magnify the effect of nitric oxide synthase which is the catalytic enzyme used in nitric oxide production. Therefore, flavonoids increase the activity of nitric oxide synthase which, in turn, increases the amount of nitric oxide produced by the body. The more nitric oxide coursing through the body, the more dilated the blood vessels become. The amino acid L-arginine is another powerful vasodilator which research is finding is used by the body to assist with the synthesis of nitric oxide. Natural food sources which supply L-arginine are red meat, chicken, fish, cheese, milk and eggs. You can also obtain it from almonds, walnuts and cashews.

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7 Tips to feel Fabulous during the holidays

Being really busy through the holiday season can rob us of our energy and leave us feeling depleted and not able to deal with the stress.

We can roll through the holidays in a better fashion though!  With lots of energy and on a more even keel.

Take a crack at this list of 7 simple ideas to help you feel SUPER FABULOUS!

Focus on nutrient-dense foods most of the day
Working to keep your focus on clean, nutrient-dense foods will help you maintain high energy, combat the holiday stress AND not get sick. Think green leafy veggies, raw fruits and don't forget about the healthy fats. Eat you some nuts!
Eat healthy fats
Healthy fats help you to feel satisfied and are needed by the body. Eating healthy fats will help you not eat a ton of junk. Think olive oil, real butter, coconut oil, seeds and nuts and avocados. Healthy fats will help you keep your cool during the holidays while sugar, alcohol and what not can make you a bit crazy.
Eat breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Set yourself up right!  Keep a good clean breakfast.  Think oatmeal, chia seeds, honey, rice milk eggs and smoothies.
Keep the caffeine and alcohol in check
While caffeine seems like a good idea of the short term, it really does take a toll on your body and end up leaving you more tired. Try drinking water first. A full glass. Then have your coffee or wine. This habit will leave you feel more energetic.
Water water water
Drinking more water is the number of biggest habit that you can change to make a big impact on how you feel. And PEOPLE! Its the easiest! Being dehydrated leaves us feeling tired, anxious and might even cause your heart to beat irregularly. Think adding cucumbers, berries or a fresh slice of lemon into your water to jazz it up (and make it more nutrient-dense).
Eat small meals frequently, regularly
Your body will feel a ton better if you fuel it regularly. When you eat a ton of calories all at once, part of the reason you feel tired is that your body is re-directing it's energy to digesting food. Eating smaller meals will help your energy stay on a more even keel and will keep your waist line slim and trim.
Schedule in some "you-time"
Taking care of yourself during the holidays, even just 20 minutes of alone time, will help you to feel less stressed and capable of dealing with all the things to do. It can be very easy to get caught up in all the excitement, just remember, slowing down, relaxing and doing some "self care" will recharge you. Think bubble path, quiet walk with yourself, sitting in the park for a moment or taking a quiet drive.
Try one of them or all seven! They will certainly help you enjoy the holiday season even more! Which is what it's all about. Right, folks?

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7 Foods that hide MASSIVE Sugar

It's hard to avoid sugar when many common foods secretly contain loads of it. You know that eating an excess of sugar will derail your fitness progress and quickly lead to an increase in body fat, but recent studies are proving that sugar is much more dangerous than we once thought.

Your risk of heart attack doubles when 20 percent or more of your calories come from sugar, according to a new study published in JAMA International Medicine.

That is no joke! So with obesity and heart disease on the line, let’s uncover the 7 common foods that you might not know contain sugar.
Fruit Yogurt
Yogurt is packaged and marketed as a diet food for women, which is outrageous. The pretty little packages may be low in fat, but just one serving contains a whopping 19 grams of sugar.
Pasta Sauce
This one may come as a surprise, since pasta sauce is considered to be a savory food, but alas, it has loads of sugar hiding in it. For every half a cup of store bought pasta sauce you’re ingesting 12 grams of sugar.
Agave Nectar
Many think of agave nectar as a free pass, since it has been so cleverly marketed as a health food, but sadly this sweetener is just as dangerous as white sugar. Agave nectar is 85% fructose.
Dried Fruit
Yes, even our fruit isn’t safe anymore. Most companies are adding extra sugar in with their dried fruit, making it as sweet as candy. Just 1/3 of a cup contains 24 grams of sugar.
Granola Bars
It may boast wholesome, whole grains on the package, but your favorite granola bar is hiding a sickly sweet secret. The average packaged granola bar contains 12 grams of sugar.
Energy Drinks
When you need an afternoon pick-me-up, think twice before reaching for that energy drink. Mega energy drinks contain up to 83 grams of sugar.
BBQ Sauce
There's a reason that those BBQ chicken wings are finger licking good…all that sugar it's hiding. A 2 Tablespoon serving will set you back 13 grams of sugar. Start eliminating the sugar-packed foods in your diet today. Your body and your heart will both be in better shape for it.

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