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Midweek Pick-Me-Up: Smoothie Bowl

Looking for something new to try in the morning? We have the perfect fix for your Wednesday blues! This filling smoothie (pictured in a bowl for something different, but you can also have it the traditional cup and straw way) is sure to give you a burst of energy to finish out your week. Eat this like you would soup, and be sure to mix all of the toppings up before serving.

Super Smoothie Bowl

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Ingredients

HUGE handful of organic kale

1/4 cup of organic pineapple

1 whole organic banana

1/4 apple

1/4 cucumber

4 organic baby carrots

1/2 TBSP fresh ginger

6 ice cubes

3 TBSP egg whites
1/2 -1 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 TBSP ‘Superfood Smoothie Mix-Antioxidant Acai & Goji’ made by Essential

living foods (Found it at TJ Maxx)


Toppings

Organic unsweetened shredded coconut

Hemp seeds

Goji berries

Granola

Chia seeds

 

Combine all ingredients (except for toppings) into a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl, and top with the extras. Stir and enjoy!

Special thanks to Andrea Valente for the picture! 

 

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Memorial Day Monday

memorialdayMegan Monday articles are written by Megan Kalocinski, a Certified Nutrition and Health Coach.

I hope that if you are reading this today on America’s national day of remembrance for all of those who lost their lives while defending our country, you have been (or will be able to) take some time out to really reflect on the meaning of Memorial Day.  Last year, I wrote a piece on Memorial Day that still exemplifies my sentiments about this day that is often mistaken as a “vacation day” or “holiday”, when in reality, it’s far from that.  Today should be a day where the countless lives lost of the men and women who protected our country and freedoms are honored and appreciated to allow their legacy to continue on.  I have had the privilege to know several of these heroes, although it makes it that much harder when they are no longer with us.

Please take some time out of your day today to pay respect to those lost; they ultimately laid their life on the line to defend our country, the country of others, and ultimately the freedoms that allow us to live the lives we do (and that others are not able to in other parts of the world).  Today is a day when all political differences, etc. should be put aside and just dedicated to the spirits that protected us here on Earth and continue to look over us from above.  Perhaps take a few moments to count some of the things you are grateful for or some things that you are most proud of as a citizen.  Maybe make it a goal to pay it forward in honor of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom by thinking of an act of kindness you can carry out for a fellow citizen in need.

What are some of your favorite Memorial Day ideas or ways to honor those lost?  Who in particular are you honoring today?

Megan Monday articles are written by Megan Kalocinski, a Certified Holistic Nutrition and Health Coach and Owner/Founder of Empower Nutrition & Health Coaching, LLC. Megan educates and empowers women, men, and children of all ages to learn the true ins-and-outs of “feeding the brain with knowledge about the best foods, products, and habits for one’s body” in order to reach optimal health and wellness potentials. Visit her website today to learn more:http://www.exponentialhealthandwellness.us or feel free to send her an e-mail at:megan@empowerhealthcoach.com. Follow Megan on Twitter (@MPowerNutrition) and like her on Facebook (Empower Nutrition & Health Coaching, LLC).

 

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BEST BETS: 5 Memorial Day Ideas

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Memorial Day is quickly approaching–a day of BBQs, family, friends and fun. To help you plan a weekend of red, white and blue, we rounded up the best Memorial Day ideas. Have a great weekend, and feel free to post your favorites in the comments

BEST CRAFT: Handprint American Flag {She Knows}

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How cute is this handprint flag? Super easy to do, and requires materials that you probably already have lying around.

BEST FRUIT DESSERT: Fruit Pops {Bakers Royale}

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This super healthy dessert features apples, watermelon, and blueberries. Grab a star shaped cookie cutter and you are all set!

BEST NON-FRUIT DESSERT: Pretzel Americana {Poca Cosa}

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This take on chocolate-covered pretzels is super easy, and is a cute decoration for any barbecue.

BEST MAIN DISH: Spinach Turkey Burger {Big Sis, Lil Sis}

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This burger adds spinach and mushroom for a healthy and tasty alternative to beef.

BEST WILD CARD: Memorial Day Printables {Catch My Party}

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This set of printables are sophisticated, while still being fun and patriotic.

 

We hope these ideas help to make your Memorial Day a bit different this year. Enjoy 🙂

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MEGAN MONDAY: Family Matters…Grand Grandparents

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Megan Monday articles are written by Megan Kalocinski, a Certified Nutrition and Health Coach.

It is with a heavy heart that yet again, I find myself in front of my computer writing about a loved one versus the latest nutrition trend. However, these instances in life can have more of a poignant impact on our overall well-being than scarfing down a kale shake every day or counting every gram of sugar you take in (although I am not discrediting the importance of these things!). On Mother’s Day, I received a call that my grandmother, whom I share a birthday with, was in hospice house and not expected to live long. Thankfully, we currently live close to her and I was able to quickly pack up the baby and head over there. It was ironic for me, as exactly two years ago, I spent my first Mother’s Day in hospice house with my dad as he was nearing the end of his life. I just remember sitting there crying, feeling like complete garbage – so sad…like a million pounds were on my shoulders. I just remember thinking it was all a bad dream and that this really wasn’t happening. I really wasn’t spending my first Mother’s Day sitting a foot away from my dad watching him slowly deteriorate, right? While so many moms were enjoying their day with their kids, I was sad, but thankful I could be there with my dad. I knew the following year would be better and that is what got me through the day. I was thankful that I still had my mom and I would head home to her that night, in addition to being able to talk to all of the moms in my life that day – including my grandmother (who was ultimately losing her son at that moment, too). I wondered what it must have been like for her – being nearly 88 years old, and knowing that she was going to lose another child of hers. Out of her nine children that she gave birth to in her lifetime, she had already had to bury three sons – something I couldn’t even imagine. However, she was resilient – something pretty common for people of that generation – something that I admire and find to be a dying trait of many people. I always was proud of that trait of my grandmother – she was tough, and she taught me to be as tough as possible. I always gravitated to the complete opposite of what everyone else was doing, and she and my grandfather encouraged that in me. Grandparents play such a pivotal role in our lives when you really think about it – they raised your parents, who in turn, raised you. I always thought of grandparents as a set of second parents, and I see this already with my two children – how blessed we all are to have such active grandparents in my sons’ lives. I so dearly wish my dad was around to be there, too, but I know he is present in other ways.

As I drove the hour and a half to see my grandmother, I didn’t feel despondent like I did with my dad. Yes, it was Mother’s Day, and plans took a sudden change in direction, but I wouldn’t have it any other way – I had to see my grandmother, and I knew she would want to see me. We were born on the same day and that was always a special bond she and I had. It hit then that this will be the first year I won’t be celebrating my birthday with my grandmother this year, and she would have been 90, but….I will be celebrating her. It made me think of all of my friends and their grandparents – in fact, most people I know lost their grandparents awhile ago, so I feel really fortunate that I had her in my life as long as I did. I also thought to all of the grandparents I know and how much of an integral part they played in so many people’s lives. From the unconditional love, awesome cooking (usually), weekend visits, and stories told aplenty, grandparents offer something that really nobody else can provide. I know that not every child has the luxury and privilege of having a grandparent, but hopefully there is another figure in these children’s lives that can take the place of a grandparent. Through my years of teaching before becoming a health coach, I saw how so many grandparents even stepped up and basically raised many of the children I taught. I admired these angels so much for their role – they basically rescued these children from a life of utmost despair. While they may not have had the fanciest of things, they had what mattered most – love and someone caring for them. I had to give grandparents so much credit; I know how hard it is chasing after kids at my age of 33 – how do people twice my age or older do it? It warms my heart to see grandparents with their grandkids. I rarely see an instance where either person is not having fun.

Upon walking into the hospice house with my baby in tow, it brought back so many memories. I almost felt like I was stepping back in time, except this time, I did not feel the heavy weight of sadness that I did with my dad. While I was definitely sad to be saying goodbye forever to my grandmother, I had this overwhelming sense of happiness for her life wash over me – there was so much to celebrate in the 90 years she had been alive and all of the impact she created on this earth. As I walked through the halls to get to her room, the familiar sights and smells seemed to blur by. When I got to her room, an American flag and a Marine Corps flag were proudly displayed next to the door, which didn’t surprise me in the least. My grandmother was one of the most patriotic people I knew; she and my grandfather taught me from a very young age what it meant to sacrifice for your country. Both she and my grandfather served as active duty Marines during World War II – something I will forever be proud of them for. They were role models to me growing up – teaching me what it means to love and respect one’s country, even if you do not agree 100% with everything that goes on. I learned how to care for the American flag; I knew all of the patriotic songs; and moreover, I learned what it meant to really thank and appreciate a Vet. We would make donations to all kinds of organizations that helped Vets of all the wars, and to this day, I am still beyond moved when the National Anthem plays or when we learn of someone paying a sacrifice to protect our country.

As I entered my grandmother’s room, she was no longer awake or cognizant of what was going on, which was exactly how my dad was exactly two years ago that Mother’s Day. However, I knew my grandmother was ready to go; she wanted to be with my grandfather who passed away several years ago and with my dad and uncles. It was time for her to give up the harsh physical battle of diabetes and kidney disease that had been slowing taking over her body for several years now. I always joked that she had nine lives – which I kind of feel that she did. It’s something that we wish all of our grandparents had. I was at ease sitting with my family and just being with my grandma. I recalled all of the fantastically fun times I had with her and my family and I thought about how much of a matriarch my grandma was – she was the head of a huge family –a family that never experienced a dull moment or boring trait. Her Irish and Cherokee Native American roots ran through her veins with such pride, which she passed on to her grandkids. I think it’s one of the neatest things for kids to learn about their family from their grandparents. I know for my generation, many of our grandparents immigrated to the US and had to work from nothing to earn every tiny thing that they had in life. Hearing stories of the Great Depression and the hardships that my family went through stuck with me my entire life, making me grateful for everything that I had, while appreciating and caring for whatever I possessed, because I knew that many other people out there didn’t even have the bare essentials to get by. I learned how to thank and appreciate the hard work my grandfather, grandmother, mom, dad, aunts, uncles, etc. did in their life to support their families and provide with whatever they could.

Upon the close of my visit with my grandmother, I asked her to squeeze my hand if she could, which she did a little bit. I knew she knew I was there with my baby. I smiled for her, for that is what she’d want. Grandparents never want anyone upset over them – they are always the stoic rocks that keep everyone stable and safe. I am sad that my grandmother passed away two nights later, which was two days before the two-year anniversary of my dad’s passing away, but I was comforted to know she passed while smiling and calling my grandfather’s name. It really illustrates that even during the worst times, grandparents show their best. While I no longer have any living grandparents, I couldn’t imagine what my childhood would have been like without them when I was younger. I think it is so wonderful for anyone with grandparents still alive – if you are one of those fortunate people, you should treasure their presence here on Earth while they are still with you. Get to know more about your family while you have the best source around. Let your grandparents know how you appreciate them and what they probably have been through in life in order to make a great life for your family. I also completely understand that not all people are fortunate enough to have loving grandparents; if this is you, think about the people who could have acted as your grandparents instead – they played just as integral of a role. Lastly, if you are fortunate enough to have loving parents, cherish and embrace the new role that they will transition into – not only are they your parents, but they are going to take over that responsibility of being the steadfast pillars to the family to you and your children.

Megan Monday articles are written by Megan Kalocinski, a Certified Holistic Nutrition and Health Coach and Owner/Founder of Empower Nutrition & Health Coaching, LLC. Megan educates and empowers women, men, and children of all ages to learn the true ins-and-outs of “feeding the brain with knowledge about the best foods, products, and habits for one’s body” in order to reach optimal health and wellness potentials. Visit her website today to learn more: http://www.exponentialhealthandwellness.us or feel free to send her an e-mail at:megan@empowerhealthcoach.com. Follow Megan on Twitter (@MPowerNutrition) and like her on Facebook (Empower Nutrition & Health Coaching, LLC).

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Apple Pie Day Ideas

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Happy Apple Pie Day everyone! While you may think of apple pie as a fall treat, there are plenty of ways to switch it up for spring. Check out a few of our favorite (healthy!) pie recipes, perfect to pair with a BBQ.

 

Whole Wheat Apple Pie: Sugar Free Mom

No sugar added, but still full flavored! The crust is completely whole wheat, and Brenda is able to cut the calories in half. Delicious!

This recipe substitutes shortening for butter and uses fat free milk, making the crust much healthier.
 

 

This may not be the pie you’re used to, but still is a delicious option! This version is baked right inside the apple, so it only has a bit of crust on the top. It still has all of the flavor of the original, though.

 

This pie only has crust on the bottom, but makes up for the flavor with plenty of cinnamon and honey on top. Perfect with a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt.

 

How do you plan on celebrating Apple Pie Day? Let us know in the comments, or tweet at us (@mysuperfoodsco) You may be featured!
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How Everyone Can Benefit From a Garden (Especially for Kids)

Little boy gardenerMegan Monday articles are written by Megan Kalocinski, a Certified Nutrition and Health Coach.

With summer (hopefully) around the corner, many people are taking advantage of the warmer weather and getting their flower and/or fruit & veggie gardens ready to take off.  Even if you live in the middle of a city, you can still create a garden of sorts.  Last year, I wrote the article: Go, Go Gadget Garden (check it out here) that described my version of how to set up a garden, but more importantly, how gardening played a huge role in my life since childhood.  Still to this day, I love my garden and am thrilled that I have instilled a green thumb in my 2-year-old son.  From a former teacher perspective and that as a current health coach, I feel children can learn and gain so much from learning how to and participating in any garden activity.  Whether it’s a large backyard garden that yields baskets of fresh produce or a simple one-container window box garden, everyone can benefit from cultivating some love and living food from the soil.

Here are some specific reasons why and how children in particular can benefit from any gardening activity:

  • It’s an activity to do!  We all love new activities and it gets kids away from the TV, iPad, etc. When boredom strikes, there’s always work to be done to care for plants.  Whether it’s weeding, watering, planting new seeds, harvesting, or tying up growing stems, I’ve yet to come by a day when something doesn’t need can’t be done in the garden.
  • You have control over what the plant grows in and what goes on it, so you can cultivate true ORGANIC food that will nourish your family.
  • Children learn an appreciation for healthy, fresh-picked foods.
  • Gardening helps to teach kids about the environment and why it’s important to care for our land and soil = what goes into/onto it eventually goes into our food.
  • Children (and adults!) are more likely to eat the fruits and vegetables they grow, so it’s a great way to help ensure (if not simply encourage) kids will eat healthy choices while cultivating.
  • Gardening takes a level of responsibility.  Starting as early as 1 year of age, children can be given little “jobs” that pertain to caring for a garden (i.e. watering it or picking weeds) and love seeing how their participation contributes to the growth and success of something they can harvest.
  • Physical activity is encouraged when gardening, which is always a plus!
  • Gardening usually requires family time if parents or an adult helps the child – this gives an opportunity to bond and spend quality time together.
  • Gardening also allows for independent or alone time.  I know some of the most therapeutic relaxing time for me is when I can spend a few moments by myself with my thoughts in the garden.  This can also be beneficial for children or young adults who need time away from the craziness of life – and usual distractions like multimedia devices.
  • Kids love watching plants grow from seeds.  Teach them about the growth process and allow them to document the progress by drawing pictures, journaling, making a video, taking pictures, etc. This is a great way to integrate learning with fun – they also learn about important sequencing and cause/effect relationships.
  • Gardening teaches children patience.  Gardens take time to grow.  There is so much instant-gratification in our world today, children and adults alike are growing way too impatient.
  • Kids love getting their hands (and feet) dirty!  What better way to constructively play than for children (and adults!) to dig their hands in the dirt to care for their plants?
  • Gardening grounds us to the Earth – even if your garden is a small box garden.  We are becoming more and more disconnected from our Earth and what it feels like to be “grounded”.
  • It’s so much fun to harvest and pick the fruits and vegetables!  Kids get a kick out of describing what they collected from the garden versus what would be purchased in the store.
  • Sharing or giving away the produce grown is rewarding and teaches care, compassion, and sharing.

 

If you are interested in starting your own garden, read my former article to get some ideas and know-how.  If you already have a garden, think of ways to get your children involved.  Remember that even simple flower gardens can yield the same great benefits!

Here is a list of the best crops to grow for children: http://eartheasy.com/grow_gardening_children.htm

Here is a list of when to plant certain crops: http://www.thegardenhelper.com/vegtips.html

Better Health Channel offered some other great suggestions:

  • Keep the garden simple so it’s not too overwhelming if you’re not an avid gardener.
  • Be sure to give kids their own garden space (and it doesn’t need to be large).  Even a container or pot will work.
  • Involve the kids in the planning and design of the garden.  They love to give their input.
  • Use appropriate garden tools: light-weight, not sharp, and easy to use.
  • Encourage digging in the dirt!
  • Grow interesting plants that will be fun to watch grow (i.e. sunflowers, corn, strawberries, pumpkins, etc.)
  • Plant flowers that attract butterflies, birds, bees, or other interesting insects.
  • Make a scarecrow to place in the garden.
  • Install a water feature, birdbath, or sundial.
  • Set up a worm farm.
  • Visit community gardens, children’s farms or botanic gardens for ideas.
  • Always keep chemicals, sprays, pesticides, etc. away from children and the garden.
  • Provide shade and proper hydration in the summer.
  • Don’t leave unattended buckets of water around children; this can pose as a drowning risk.
  • Here is a list of great sensory or textural quality-plants that will be fun for kids to investigate while growing:
    • TOUCH – Wooly lamb’s ear, succulents (like aloe vera), snapdragons.
    • TASTE – basil, strawberries, peas, rosemary, carrots, cherry tomatoes.
    • SMELL – jasmine, sweet peas, lavender, mint, lemon balm.
    • SOUND – corn, bamboo, grasses (these create rustling when the wind blows).

If you’re not able to grown your own garden, then try and visit a farm as often as possible so children can partake in some gardening activities!

What are some of your favorite garden stories or tips?  Please share!!

Megan Monday articles are written by Megan Kalocinski, a Certified Holistic Nutrition and Health Coach and Owner/Founder of Empower Nutrition & Health Coaching, LLC. Megan educates and empowers women, men, and children of all ages to learn the true ins-and-outs of “feeding the brain with knowledge about the best foods, products, and habits for one’s body” in order to reach optimal health and wellness potentials. Visit her website today to learn more:http://www.exponentialhealthandwellness.us or feel free to send her an e-mail at:megan@empowerhealthcoach.com. Follow Megan on Twitter (@MPowerNutrition) and like her on Facebook (Empower Nutrition & Health Coaching, LLC).

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