Friday, August 21, 2009

True Blue Berry Benefits

Meatout Mondays - Kick the Meat Habit One Day at a Time!
August 24, 2009
True Blue Smoothie

This fun recipe is adapted from the cookbook, Go Dairy Free. The author Alisa calls it a “go-to smoothie.” Despite its name, the color is actually purple. Alisa says, “Trust me on this one… don’t omit the spinach. I don’t care who you're serving it to, they will never know it is in there. The blueberries mask the green color, resulting in a beautiful purple beverage. As for the flavor… even the most adamant non-believers come back to me with surprise comments of delight.”


1 medium very ripe banana, broken into chunks
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 to 1 cup vanilla almond, soy, or rice milk
1/2 cup packed fresh baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup ice
1 Tbs. flax seeds (whole or pre-ground)
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon (optional)


  1. Toss the banana, blueberries, and 1/2 cup almond milk into blender, and process until smooth.
  2. Add cinnamon and flax seeds (if using); add spinach and blend until green specks vanish.
  3. Blend in ice and more almond milk until it reaches your desired consistency.

For this and more great recipes, visit Alisa's website at!

Almond Breeze

Almond Breeze, a non-dairy beverage made from real almonds, has an all-natural, smooth and creamy taste with just a hint of almond flavor. Besides being lactose and gluten free, this beverage contains no cholesterol, animal ingredients, hormones, saturated fat, or added oils. Low in sodium and enriched with Calcium and Vitamins D and E, Almond Breeze contains high levels of unique phytonutrients, and is a good source of Vitamin A.

Enjoy it chilled by the glass and on your cereal. You’ll love how it froths in coffee drinks, enhances fruit smoothies, and more. It's available in three enticing flavors, sweetened or unsweetened: Original, Vanilla, and Chocolate.

For nutritional information and product details, visit!

Berries Boost Heart Health

A Finnish study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that eating berries may increase HDL (good) cholesterol and reduce blood pressure. For the study, researchers recruited 72 middle-aged men and women with some risk factors for heart disease – including mild hypertension (high blood pressure), elevated LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, and low HDL cholesterol.

Half of the volunteers ate two portions (about 2/3 cup) of an assortment of berries – including bilberries, lingonberries, black currants, strawberries, chokeberries, and raspberries – either whole, pureed, or in juice form every day for eight weeks. After eight weeks, HDL cholesterol levels of the berry eaters increased an average of 5.2%. Systolic blood pressure (the top number on a blood pressure reading) decreased by an average of 1.5 points; the greatest decrease was seen in those with the highest blood pressures initially.

Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants, but berries contain particularly high levels of antioxidants known as polyphenols. The researchers estimate that the berry eaters in the study consumed about three times the amount of polyphenols as the non-berry eaters and had higher levels of polyphenols in their blood.

To read the study article, click here!

Healthy Lunch is Elementary

Eight-year-old Jasmine Messiah from Miami is an enthusiastic vegetarian who totes salads and fruit to school every day because she finds the alternative in the school cafeteria "not healthy."

Her efforts to introduce her friends to the benefits of eating a healthy diet have lead to her being the real-life poster child of a campaign aimed at persuading Congress to require schools across the country to offer students more fruits and vegetables. The non-profit health organization Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has launched 15 posters bearing Jasmine’s beaming face and the message: "President Obama's daughters get healthy school lunches," referring to Sasha and Malia Obama, who attend a private school that offers vegetarian alternatives. "Why don't I?"

The posters are located at the Union Station Amtrak and commuter rail station near the Capitol in Washington, D.C., and will stay up for a month as part of an effort to influence Congress as it reauthorizes the Child Nutrition Act.

Jasmine has also written letters to the first daughters, Florida's two senators and Rep. Kendrick Meek, a Miami Democrat. "A lot of schools, including mine, don't offer enough healthy fruits, vegetables and vegetarian meals," she wrote to the Obama girls. She hopes the experience will lead more children to eat their vegetables.

To read more about Jasmine and PCRM's campaign, click here!
Find out how you can help get healthy options in schools at!

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