Category Archives: Healthy Eating

Nutrition Power Summer Series: Melons + Berries


The spotlight for this segment is berries and melons. Both berries and melons are linked to numerous health benefits with some of the most profound being associated with brain function. Focus, memory improvement, and prevention of age related memory loss are all commonly reported advantages of consuming these types of fruits. Additionally, both berries and melons have been known to work wonders on the skin. Berries are high in Vitamin C which helps to hydrate skin and increase collagen and elastin levels. Melons utilize their vitamin A, B, and C levels to provide anti-aging effects to skin.



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As one of the few fruits native to North America, blueberries have been enjoyed here for hundreds of years. They are typically available it two major varieties: your classic blueberry and the wild blueberry (which are smaller and contain almost twice the amount of antioxidants). Many studies have linked regular consumption of blueberries to improved memory function and focus. Blueberries score pretty low on the glycemic index making them alright for people with diabetes. In fact, blueberries have been proven to have positive effects on insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. The nutritional benefits of blueberries are most potent when eating them in their raw form. Freezing the raw berries is a great way to extend the storage capacity of the berries, and it does not reduce or damage its antioxidant properties.

This smoothie recipe from the 1° of Change Cookbook takes advantage of the powerful benefits of blueberries.


Blueberry Blast Smoothie:

Serves  2


  • 1-2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond, cashew, macadamia, hemp, or soy milk
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice or apple juice
  • 2 medium bananas
  • ¼ cup raw almonds
  • ¼ cup raw walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon flax meal


Put all of the ingredients into the blender. Blend on high for 30-60 seconds or until smooth and creamy. Add more liquid if your prefer a thinner consistency.




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Strawberries have been enjoyed in culinary feats since the Roman times. Strawberry is actually a misnomer. They belong to the same family of plants as roses. Strawberries have been used medicinally throughout history for relief from digestive ailments, teeth whitening, and lowering blood pressure. Their fiber and fructose content may help regulate blood sugar levels by slowing down digestion. Strawberries are an excellent source of potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin C. The peak season for strawberries is between the months of April and June. Choose brightly colored, firm, shiny berries that still have their fresh, vibrant green tops attached. Typically, the smaller the berry the more intense the flavor. Be sure to take advantage of the many wonderful health benefits that strawberries have to offer this season.  


This Strawberry Bruschetta recipe is a great way to capitalize on the mouth-watering strawberry flavor in a twist on traditional summer fare.



Watermelon is one of the most recognizable fruits in the world. When you think of summer fruit you undoubtedly think about watermelon. Melons are some of the best natural sources of antioxidants. Watermelons are available throughout the year but they are at their sweetest in the summer and early fall. Watermelons contain 92% water, making them excellent for preventing dehydration during the summer heat. Watermelon is a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin B1, beta carotene, vitamin B6, magnesium and potassium. Watermelon’s secret weapon is lycopene. Lycopene is the red carotenoid pigment found in watermelon, pink grapefruit, pink guava, and especially tomatoes. It is great for promoting bone health, neutralizing free radicals, and muscle building. Don’t limit yourself to just the flesh of this fruit. Watermelon rinds (usually white/ light green) contain citruline, a compound that relaxes blood vessels and maintains elasticity of blood vessels and arteries.  This watermelon salad capitalizes on watermelon’s ability to pair well with savory items just as well as it does with sweet ones.   

Nutrition Power Summer Series: Beta Carotene

Now that summer is in full swing, the question on everyone’s mind is: How do I get a summer glow? The answer is pretty simple; eat foods rich in beta carotene. Beta Carotene is a red-orange pigment that gives fruits and vegetables its coloring. Our bodies convert beta carotene into vitamin A, which we need for healthy skin.  



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Carrots are the quintessential beta carotene food. Carrots are available all year round, but they are at their freshest and most flavorful during summer and fall. That is when local varieties of carrots are in season. Carrots, belonging to the umbelliferae family of plants, are cousins to parsnip, fennel, anise, caraway, cumin and dill.  In addition to its positive effects on skin and eye health, studies have linked regular intake of carrots to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Select carrots that still have greens attached, as these tend to keep better and taste fresher.


Recipe NYT Roasted Carrot Recipe


Sweet Potatoes:

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Sweet potato is regarded as one of the oldest vegetables known to mankind. It is believed that sweet potatoes were first domesticated thousands of years ago in Central America. In some studies, sweet potatoes have been shown to be a better source of absorbable beta carotene than green, leafy vegetables. Storage proteins in sweet potatoes (sporamins) are produced by sweet potatoes whenever the plants experience physical damage. Their ability to heal the plants from this damage is highly linked to their role as antioxidants. Especially when sweet potato is digested inside of our gastrointestinal (G.I.) tract, we may receive some of these same antioxidant benefits. Regardless of the season, sweet potatoes are always a versatile, healthy option for a colorful, filling meal. The 1° of Change Cookbook is a staple resource for nutritious and flavorful meal ideas. The recipe below is perfect for every season!


Sweet Potato and Spinach Curry with Quinoa:

1 cup quinoa, rinsed

3 ½ cups vegetable broth, divided

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons curry powder

⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 ½ cups coconut milk

8 cups (packed) fresh spinach

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Sea Salt and pepper


In a medium saucepan, combine quinoa and 2 cups of the broth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.


Meanwhile in a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, for 6-8 minutes or until softened. Add curry powder and cayenne; cook, stirring for 30 seconds.

Stir in sweet potatoes and the remaining broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and boil for 12 minutes. Add coconut milk, reduce heat, and simmer. Cook an additional 3-7 minutes until sweet potatoes are tender. Stir in spinach and lime juice; simmer for 1-2 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Season to taste. Serve over quinoa. Serves 6.




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Cantaloupe is undoubtedly a summer fruit. It is light, fresh, sweet, and juicy. It grows naturally on the continents of Africa and Asia, and the cantaloupe belong to the same family as cucumbers, pumpkin, and squash. Don’t let the pastel color of cantaloupe’s flesh fool you, it is a very important source of beta carotene. Researchers have measured the carotenoid content of cantaloupe and determined that it is about 30 times higher than the beta carotene content of fresh oranges! Cantaloupes are best if the netting is an even, yellow color with little to no green. Cantaloupe is one of only a few fruits that continue to ripen after it is picked. Be sure to refrigerate as soon as the cantaloupe ripens to ensure maximum freshness. This cantaloupe recipe allows even those of us who are familiar with cantaloupe the opportunity to experience the fruit in a new way.


Nutrition Power Summer Series: Taste of the Tropics


Our Nutritional Power section will be broken into a four part series that will cover a little sample of the best that summer has to offer. To kick off our series, we’ve focused on a “A Taste of the Tropics”. Our first installment features fruits that will whisk you away to soft, sandy beaches just by indulging in them!




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Papaya is a spherical, pear shaped fruit that is believed to be native to Central America and Mexico. The edible seeds have a somewhat spicy taste to them (it’s reminiscent of black pepper). Papaya is not only super tasty but packed full of nutrients that aid in the health of both hair and skin. Potent enzymes present in papaya help to make it a great wrinkle reducer, skin moisturizer, and hair conditioner. Additionally, papaya as a part of your diet helps to prevent macular degeneration, boost immunity, and aid in digestion. Look for papayas that are mostly yellow and a little green to ripen at home. Papaya is fully ripe when it is bright yellow. To give the power of papaya a try, check out this recipe for Thai Green Papaya Salad.  




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Pineapple is probably the unofficial mascot of the tropics at this point. It pairs well with other ingredients but it can also stand alone and steal the show. Pineapple can be eaten fresh, juiced, cooked, and preserved and their leaves are even used some places for wallpaper and ceiling insulation. Pineapple is a powerhouse fruit. It is loaded with health benefits that help to enhance your quality of life. Pineapple has the ability to improve respiratory health, improve digestion, reduce inflammation, and increase heart health, just to name a few. Picking the perfect pineapple is a pretty simple process: The bottom of the pineapple is where it is most fragrant, so if you detect a sweet scent wafting from it then you have a winner! If you don’t smell anything, the pineapple is most likely unripe. Pineapple also contains relatively low traces of pesticide residue, making it safe to consume through conventional farming methods. Try out this fun and fast salad recipe to reap the benefits of pineapple in a new and interesting way.




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Mango is the final member of our Tropical fruit trio. Mango is actually a member of the stone fruit family and its origins can be traced to Southeast Asia. Some of the health benefits associated with mango include normalizing insulin levels in blood, alkalizing the whole body, clearing skin of clogged pores and acne, protection against heat stroke, and lowering of cholesterol levels. Ripe mangoes give off a fruity aroma at their stem ends and give a little bit when you place pressure on its skin with your fingers. The great part about mango is that it has two growth seasons: one in the spring/summer and one in the fall/winter. These overlapping seasons makes mangoes available all year round. This raw mango, lime, and coconut pudding is a great way to add more mango into your diet.

Nutrition Power: Juicing

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Juicing is gaining attention on the health and wellness circuit as a popular method for increasing your fruit and vegetable intake. The nutritional benefits of juicing are often debated in the medical community, but proponents of juicing give it credit for weight loss, faster nutrient absorption, detoxification, increased hydration, and prevention of illness. Juicers work by extracting the liquids, vitamins and minerals from raw produce, leaving behind the fibrous pulp. While fresh juice is not a substitute for whole fruits and vegetables, it is an excellent way to incorporate a wider variety of fruit and vegetables into your diet.


Fresh juice is not pasteurized, so it must be consumed very quickly. For optimum nutrient absorption, you should drink your juice the same day it is made. Keeping a batch of fresh pressed juiced for no more than 2 or 3 days is the best way to avoid foodborne illnesses.


What’s in your juice is super important too. Be cautious of recipes that are heavy on the fruit. While it is sure to taste delicious, fruits contains way more calories and sugar than their vegetable counterparts. It diminishes the nutritional value and it can ultimately lead to weight gain when you add too many fruits. The most nutritious method is to have a vegetable based juice with one or two fruits added for flavor enhancement.


If you plan to incorporate juicing into your nutritional regimen, the big question is: Do you make the juice yourself or do you rely on store bought varieties?

The answer will depend on a few factors. The most important factor being time. If you have the time to make your own juice  that is probably the best way to ensure that the quality and freshness of your juice. Plus, you are in complete control of the juice production process. You can pick the fruits and vegetables that best meet your nutritional needs and you can make the amount of juice you desire. That being said, one thing to be wary of when making homemade juice is the source of your produce. The Dirty Dozen is a list of the 12 most contaminated (with herbicides and pesticides) fruits and vegetables. This is the list of produce you should try and buy organic whenever possible, but especially when juicing. It’s relatively cost effective to make homemade juice and there is a juicer on the market at every price point. However, making juice at home can be a time consuming process, so for those with tight schedules buying juice from your local juicery may be the best plan of action. Doing your research before settling on a particular juicery is the best way to ensure both quality and happiness. Looking into the juice blends that they make, where they source their produce from (is it local? is it organic? how often do they receive deliveries?), how often they make juice (how many times a day), if they allow custom juice orders, their prices, and the cleanliness of the establishment is of the utmost importance.

If you’re considering juicing and looking for a local juice shop to try out, look no further than Happy Apple Juicery. Happy Apple Juicery is “a mobile delivery service of fresh, raw, cold-pressed organic juice- serving Charlotte and its surrounding areas”.  It started as a way for owner Shatarra Deveaux to manage her severe acid reflux, and her passion project turned into a full fledged business aimed at making healthy accessible. Deveaux contributes daily juicing combined with a healthy diet to removing the need to control her reflux with daily medication. Deliveries and pickups for Happy Apple Juicery’s delicious products are Sunday and Thursday of every week!


Whether you juice at home or visit your local juicery, consuming freshly pressed juice is a quick and easy way to help you reach your daily fruit and vegetable limits (quotas). For people who don’t like fruits and vegetables, juicing them may be the key to increasing your daily intake. Either way, juice is an excellent source of vitamins and phytonutrients!! Just remember to be mindful and do your research!!


It is important to note that if you are currently taking prescription drugs, you should consult your doctor before juicing extensively to avoid any potentially adverse reactions.




CNN Health


A Beautiful Mess


Mayo Clinic Healthy Lifestyle Blog


Nutrition Power: Wild Copper River Salmon

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While we have yet to discover the elusive “fountain of youth”, consuming salmon regularly might get you pretty close.  Salmon  contains an antioxidant (Astaxanthin) that helps slow down the aging process. Salmon is an easy protein to digest, easy to prepare, and highly nutritious.  While most are aware that salmon contains a healthy dose of  omega-3 fatty acids which help to keep skin soft and selenium which provides the skin with protection from sun exposure, few realize that salmon is also a rich source of vitamin D, and research shows us that many people are deficient in it.
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It’s All About the Kale!


“It’s all about the Kale!”

Everyday we are inundated about the merits of kale, however is kale all that it’s cracked up to be or is it just another fad or passing craze? Of all the dark leafy greens, I simply LOVE kale and never get tired of eating it! It’s sweet in taste and is able to be consumed in a plethora of ways, including baked, broiled, fried, steamed, juiced, etc. Kale delivers a hefty supply of powerhouse vitamins like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K, as well as other essential nutrients for the skin and hair.

Vitamin A is one of the most skin-essential vitamins around. Vitamin A supports skin cell turnover, the process of replacing dead skin cells with healthier new skin cells. Without adequate Vitamin A, skin becomes dry, tough, and scaly, because the top layers of dead skin cells are continuously building on top of each other, and not being removed and replaced by newer skin cells. Lack of vitamin A can also weaken the skin, so wounds heal at a slower pace. So since your skin is an integral part of your immune system, strengthening this barrier by promoting cell production will help protect your skin from infection or other unhealthy irritants.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which helps reduce damage caused by free radicals. This damage includes premature aging of the skin caused by overexposure to the sun. Antioxidants in kale can help keep your skin youthful!

Vitamin K is as a powerful ingredient found in many skin care products that helps diminish puffiness and dark circles under your eyes. Like Vitamin C, it also has anti-inflammatory benefits that helps with bloating and prevents puffiness around your face. The anti-inflammatory property also reduces redness and flakiness of the skin.

The mineral Copper boosts the production of melanin, a pigment that protects your skin from the sun. Copper also helps produce more collagen like its buddy, Vitamin C and promotes wound healing.

Omega-3, Omega-6 fatty acids, and iron are also found in kale. These nutrients can help boost the elasticity, strength, and growth of your hair.

So, without hesitation, dive into one of my favorite superfoods…the queen of Vitamin A and a powerful source of other noble nutrients…ALL HAIL TO THE KALE!

Note: My other green and leafy top picks include the following: spinach, turnip greens, broccoli, arugula, swiss chard and bok choy.