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I think many of us can say that they still remember the Popeye cartoon, where he eats his cans of spinach, flexes his bicep and breaks into song saying, “I’m quick to the finish, ’cause I eats me Spinach, I’m Popeye the sailor man!”

How can we forget that?  Unfortunately as a child, it didn’t make me want to eat spinach.  I don’t even think I factored that into the importance of the show.  I’m sad to admit that I didn’t eat greens until I was in my 20’s.  I know!  My poor body.  At least I make up for that now and fill my diet full of green juices, green smoothies and gigantic salads.

Spinach is one of my favorite greens and I love to eat it raw in salad or thrown into a smoothie.  Occasionally I sauté it with garlic and pine nuts.

It’s delicious and it like most greens, it has superfood qualities!

Spinach is a good source of vitamins A, B2, C, E and K, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, copper, folate, protein and dietary fiber. Plus, it is loaded with flavonoids and carotenoids.

Here are 5 awesome benefits of spinach

1.) It boosts muscle strength

Popeye wasn’t wrong! Just make sure you eat raw spinach instead of canned.  Who even wants canned spinach?  Not me!

A study published in the journal Cell Metabolism in 2011 indicates that eating about 300g of spinach can reduce the amount of oxygen required to power muscles during exercise by almost five percent.

Researchers believe it is the energy-boosting nitrates in spinach that help the muscles run more smoothly and efficiently. Nitrates make the mitochondria of cells function more efficiently.

2.) It’s high in iron

Spinach is an excellent fat and cholesterol-free source of iron. Iron is an important component of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen throughout the body.

A lack of this essential nutrient can cause fatigue and affect the functioning of everything from your brain to your immune system. It can also lead to conditions like iron-deficiency anemia.

Plus, iron is important for maintaining healthy cells, skin, nails and hair. One cup of cooked spinach provides about 35 percent of the daily amount of iron required by the body.

3.) It helps fight cancer

These days everywhere we turn, we are exposed to cancer causing agents.  Who doesn’t want to eat foods that help fight cancer?

Spinach is rich in flavonoids and antioxidants, which helps combat different types of cancer. Researchers believe that the carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin and neoxanthin present in spinach may help remove free radicals from the body before they cause damage and reduce the risk of endometrial, ovarian, lung, colorectal and prostate cancer.

A study by National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences also found that eating spinach and carrots twice weekly may cut the risk of developing breast cancer by 44 percent, thanks to their beta-carotene and vitamin A content.  Plus, the folate and fiber in spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables also reduce the risk of certain cancers.

4.) It helps with inflammation

I’ve had my share of nasty inflammation in my body.  My gut got worn down and got leaky and started letting microscopic particles of food into my blood stream.  Well….that’s not supposed to happen (if you didn’t know 😉 ) and when it does, inflammation happens in the body.  It can rear it’s ugly head in many ways, but for me my joints were extremely affected.  I healed my gut and you can read my story here.  During that time of healing, I ate A LOT of leafy greens and spinach was one of my favorites.

Spinach has anti-inflammatory properties that can be attributed to its flavonoids and carotenoids. Researchers have identified more than a dozen flavonoid compounds in spinach with anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits.  In addition, spinach is a good plant source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) that has been found to exhibit potent anti-inflammatory activity.  Fighting inflammation reduces cancer risk and growth, and also helps control inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis, asthma and migraines.

5.) It protects the brain

And really….who doesn’t love and want that?

Spinach is packed with lutein, folate and beta-carotene, and is a wonderful brain food as these nutrients are linked with a lower risk of dementia.

Researchers have found that the flavonoids present in spinach work as potent antioxidants that slow the effects of age-related decline in brain power by protecting the brain from free radical damage.

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So there ya have it!  5 awesome benefits of spinach.

Go have a big spinach salad or green smoothie with this fabulous green.

Here is a favorite smoothie recipe in our house.

 

We call it the Tootsie Talarurus and it’s in my kids green smoothie e-book called Dinomite Green Smoothies and Juices.  If you want more recipes like this one that are fun for kids and adults alike, you can find it HERE.

Tootsie Talarurus

4 frozen bananas

3 dates

1/2 tsp almond extract

large handful of spinach

raw cacao powder to taste

Blend and enjoy!

XOXO

 Fabulous info about spinach came from Top 10 Home Remedies

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I love coconut water.  I have to admit.  When I first started drinking it 7 years ago, I didn’t really know what I thought.  I blame that on my messed up, used to overly processed food taste buds because now it’s a regular in my diet.  I always try to find the fresh young thai coconuts in the stores and if I can’t find those, I spend the extra money to buy raw coconut water.  I used to drink the stuff in cans, but it just doesn’t taste the same and doesn’t have the same benefiting properties as the raw stuff does.

I already know I love it.  My kids love it.  We love both the water and the coconut meat.

Here are 5 more great things about coconut water that will make you a fan if you aren’t one and an even bigger fan if you already love it.

1.) It hydrates

Coconut water has been compared to blood plasma.  It is loaded with electrolytes and is kinda like your favorite sports drink, but without all of the icky dyes and unnatural preservative.  Because of its electrolyte composition, coconut water is used to rehydrate the body in case of dehydration and fluid loss due to diarrhea, vomiting or excessive sweating. A good source of carbohydrates, it also helps lift your energy level.

2.) It lowers blood pressure

Thanks to its vitamin C, potassium and magnesium content, coconut water is know to be good in helping to control blood pressure. Potassium, in particular, helps lower blood pressure by balancing out the negative effects of sodium.

A study published in the West Indian Medical Journal in 2005 also found that coconut water helps control hypertension.

To help reduce high blood pressure, drink a cup of FRESH, RAW coconut water twice a day.

3.) It ‘s great for the heart

According to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, both tender as well as mature coconut water have beneficial effects on lipid metabolism to counteract increased total cholesterol, very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL), LDL and triglycerides.  Cholesterol- and fat-free tender coconut water offers cardioprotective benefits. It helps lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL or the ‘bad’ cholesterol) and increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL or the ‘good’ cholesterol) levels, thus reducing the risk of heart disease.  Who doesn’t love that?

4.) It can prevent headaches

Most headaches, even migraines, are triggered by dehydration. In such cases, coconut water can be of great help in supplying electrolytes to the body and boosting hydration.  Coming from someone who has had headaches in the past and who still occasionally gets a migraine, I know that drinking coconut water is helpful.  If I do get one, I make sure to drink as much coconut water as I can get my hands on that day.

Coconut water is also rich in magnesium. People who suffer from migraines often have low levels of magnesium. Studies also suggest that magnesium can help reduce the frequency of migraine attacks.

5.) It balances PH levels

Stress, toxic load and a diet high in acid-forming foods, such as processed fast foods, often contribute to acidic pH levels that cause low energy and reduce the body’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals.

Plus, an acidic pH contributes to problems like stressed liver issues, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure and immune deficiency.

Coconut water has an alkalizing effect that helps restore a healthy pH in the body. It also helps alkalize the acidic pH levels caused by acidity and heartburn.

So…what’s not to love?  Drink it plain or add it to your favorite smoothie.  It’s one of nature’s amazing superfoods that almost everyone can benefit from.

XOXO

 

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I never liked pecan pie.  My family never made it and I honestly had never even heard of it until I moved to Kentucky when I was 16.   I found that pies were a big thing in that area of the country and I started trying them.  I enjoyed chocolate pie, but pecan pie was too sweet and I wasn’t a fan.  I also didn’t really care for pecans back then.

I know.  Something was wrong with me.  Or my taste buds honestly.  I didn’t like nuts!

Ugh.

I had bad taste.

Fast forward lots of years to when I was cleaning up my diet.  One day while browsing my cookbooks for vegan recipes, I came across a recipe for a pecan pie.  I didn’t care for the amount of refined sugar so I got creative and used maple syrup and molasses instead.  The recipe has stuck around and now I make it gluten-free as well.

This year I got super ambitious and tried to make decorative leaves with gluten-free pie crust.

Was it tricky?

Yes.

Do they look like leaves?

MMM maybe?  A little?

Would I try it again?

Yes.

I need to invest in some cute cooky cutters in the shape of leaves.  Do those exist?  They must right?

I’ve been baking up a storm the last week so when I saw these gluten-free, vegan pre-made pie crusts, I jumped for joy.pie-pic

Gluten-free AND vegan pie crusts can be tricky.  They can turn out super crumbly or super tough.  I’ve had great experiences with making them and really horrible ones.

I’ll give you a recipe for a gluten-free, vegan pie crust in my recipe below and in another post some day, I’ll get photos of this pie crust.  BUT, for crust in these photos I used these Wholly Gluten-Free Pie Crusts.  Two come in a package.  I defrosted them and of course used one for the pie bottom and cut out leaves and very carefully placed them on top of the pecans.

The dough is sticky, yet it stayed together enough to get the leaves cut out.

 I know you can make cute leaves shapes out of any gluten-free crust with a gentle touch and parchment paper.

Parchment paper is key for gluten-free, vegan baking.  I don’t know what I did before it.  I think there was a fair amount of profanity.

 

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Anywho…

This pie is delicious and easy.

It doesn’t take long to throw together…unless you decide to cut out small leaves in gluten-free pie dough.

It only uses maple syrup and molasses so I kinda feel that it’s OK to eat for breakfast. 😉

I haven’t cut this pretty pie open yet because it’s for Christmas, but I’ll make sure to update this post once I do.

I hope you enjoy it!

Make sure to tag me if you make it and post it on Instagram @indiemamahealth or on Facebook -indiemamahealth

XO

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Pecan Pie .:. Gluten-Free & Vegan

Ingredients

  • Pie Crust
  • 1 cup Earth Balance or Coconut Oil
  • 1 cup almond milk or alternative milk
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour blend or my Indie Mama Flour Blend
  • pinch of sea salt
  • .:.
  • Filling
  • 3 cups pecans
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 TBS molasses
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 TBS arrowroot powder
  • 2 TBS almond butter

Instructions

  1. For pie crust: In a mixing bowl, add the boiling water to Earth Balance and mix until it has a a thick, creamy texture. Add the flour one cup at a time, stirring with a fork. Add salt and almond milk, then stir until it becomes doughy. Roll out onto parchment paper and gently flip into a greased pie pan.
  2. For filling: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. In a food processor, mix all ingredients except the pecans. Then add the pecans and process until the nuts are chopped and mixed with the other ingredients. Pour this into the pie shell and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://www.theindiehomestead.com/pecan-pie-gluten-free-vegan/

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These are so so good and so so easy.  I’m giving them away as gifts this year…well if we can stop eating them long enough to package them up!

As soon as I bring the food processor out, the kids come running because they know it’s their job to push the button.  I just have to keep Theo from trying to stick things down the top of the processor lid opening.

You can make these in 30 minutes start to finish and impress your family in friends with a healthier version of a peppermint patty.
My husband loves these.  The kids loves these.

They are gluten-free and vegan and only use a small amount of maple syrup.  The semi-sweet chocolate chunks have a small amount of cane sugar, but it doesn’t normally bother me.Peppermint Patty .:. Indie Mama HealthPeppermint Patty .:. Indie Mama HealthPeppermint Patty .:. Indie Mama HealthPeppermint Patty .:. Indie Mama Health

We store them in the freezer to make them extra pepperminty fresh.  😉

I hope you enjoy and make sure to tag me on Instagram @indiemamahealth with a picture of your peppermint patties!

XO

 

Easy & Quick Peppermint Patties .:. Gluten-Free & Vegan

Prep Time: 30 minutes

20-25

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Over a double broiler, melt your chocolate chips and 1 TBS of coconut oil over low heat. Stir often so that the chocolate doesn't burn.
  2. While the chocolate is melting, put shredded coconut, coconut butter, maple syrup and peppermint extract into a food processor and run it until the ingredients start to ball up and stick together. It should easily roll into a ball together in your palm and stick together.
  3. Place small balls of coconut mixture onto parchment paper and then flatten with the bottom of a glass.
  4. Gently dip the coconut patties into the melted chocolate to completely cover.
  5. Place covered patties into the freezer to set quickly then devour!
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http://www.theindiehomestead.com/quick-easy-peppermint-patties-gluten-free-vegan/
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We’re really into gingerbread this week.  There is just something about the taste that brings me back to childhood.  Milo woke up requesting pancakes today and after making gingerbread cookies a few days ago, I wondered how gingerbread pancakes would taste.  I mean…you can’t really go wrong with molasses and cinnamon.
These were easy and delicious.  Both boys helped make them and by help I mean made a mess.  😉

They are gluten-free and vegan, yet light and fluffy and stay together when you cook them.

 

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I hope you enjoy them and make sure to tag me on IG @indiemamahealth if you make them!  I love to see your creations!

XO

Gingerbread Pancakes .:. Gluten-Free & Vegan

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups Indie Mama Flour Blend
  • 2 TBS coconut sugar
  • 2 TBS baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 1/2 cup coconut milk or almond milk
  • 1/2-3/4 cup water
  • 1 TBS olive oil

Instructions

  1. Heat large skillet over medium-low heat. Brush with oil.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients
  3. In a smaller bow, whisk together wet ingredients, then pour into dry mixture.
  4. I've found that there is some leeway with texture. The batter will be thick and I've added small amounts of water until I get to a good consistency. It will still be thicker than typical wheat gluten pancake batter.
  5. The thing with gluten-free flours is that they tend to absorb moisture rather quickly, yet if you add too much liquid, you'll end up with a gooey, rubbery pancake that nobody wants to eat. 😉
  6. 1/2-3/4 cups water should be just enough. The batter will get very bubbly and light from the baking powder.
  7. Scoop batter to pan and gently smooth out. Flip pancake when golden brown on underside and an easily be lifted.
  8. Continue to cook on other side until done.
  9. Repeat until all the batter is used.
  10. Serve warm with some earth balance, syrup and persimmons.
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http://www.theindiehomestead.com/gingerbread-pancakes-gluten-free-vegan/

 

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