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The Official Blog of The GEM.

Diamonds on your inside. That’s what we want. Don’t you? This blog is a place to visit for guidance, humor and wit about healthy, happy lives. We only have one life. Make it count!

Tag Archives: smoothies


Healthy Tips for Feeding a Teenage Athlete – Part Two

Posted on by diamondsonyourinside and currently has No Comments on Healthy Tips for Feeding a Teenage Athlete – Part Two

Many struggle with knowing the healthiest ways to feed teenagers. Feeding a teenage athlete is even trickier. featureblog2

As discussed in last week’s post, optimal physical performance for your teen athlete requires preparation—not just daily practice, but as it relates to daily dietary input. You can’t expect to put cheap and crappy fuel into your car and expect it to run optimally. The same goes for your body.  What are appropriate pre and post game hydration and energy food options?

Last week’s post covered what your teenage athlete should eat – as a general diet, before training, and before sporting events. But what happens when your athlete is on the go? What choices can you make when you don’t have a great deal of time or the choices are limited and they need quick energy?

Sugary sports drinks and energy bars can actually do more harm than good. Beware of chemical laden, sugar filled energy bars that tout performance improvement.

Healthy and quick pre-game nutrition ideas on the go should be clean and simple:

  • Keep bananas, oranges and green apples on hand. (great with almond or organic peanut butter)
  • Pumpkin seeds, raw trail mix, GEM Remix*
  • Lentil Soup or Quinoa–packed with energy boosting nutrients 
  • Green juice – don’t underestimate the power of green juice! Packed with energizing nutrients that are delivered immediately into the bloodstream. Green Glow is a great pre- and post-game choice.
  • Healthy smoothies (made at home or from a reputable smoothie place without added sugar)
  • Go Lean Crunch or healthy cereals that contain good protein
  • Beet shots – increases endurance, reduces oxygen consumption, increases blood nitrate levels and reduces resting blood pressure. It might be a stretch for some of our teens, but major athletes swear by them!

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Bars are an easy and convenient way to keep your teenage athlete fueled, but choose carefully. Our favorites:

  • Tosi Bars*
  • Square Bars (peanut butter chocolate is the best!!)*
  • Epic Protein Powders (show them how to make their own smoothies!)*
  • GoMacro*
  • Perfect Bars – they require refrigeration but are amazing
  • Kind Bars Strong & Kind
  • Vega One Sport – this company has an entire line of products aimed at sports performance
  • Lara Pro-Bars
  • While not perfect, Clif bars are an energy option that is available even in the most remote of convenience stores.

*Available inside The GEM

Remember: clean and simple food choices are the way to go with your teenage athlete.  And don’t forget – water, water and more water!

Next week, we wrap up our series by tackling hydration and sports drinks. Until then, drink your juice!


Your Biggest Enemy: Stress. By Way of Sugar

Posted on by diamondsonyourinside and currently has 1 Comment on Your Biggest Enemy: Stress. By Way of Sugar

We know the visible suspects of stress: hectic schedules, poor relationships, lack of sleep. In addition, there are invisible factors that trigger the same stress response. It’s as ubiquitous as the air you breathe. It’s called sugar …

Photo cred: Vig Foto

Photo cred: Vig Foto

What you’re about to learn should change how you think about stress and, if you’re smart, how you interact with sugar—especially when stressed.

Surprisingly, one of the biggest causes behind stress could be your blood sugar. The more time spent outside of a healthy blood sugar range, the more your body feels stressed. Excess sugar causes the same physiological changes that external stresses do!

Blood sugar spikes seriously affect stress and inflammation levels in your body. I’ll spare you the physiology lesson, but spiked blood sugar causes stress in your body, which causes your adrenal glands to produce cortisol. Cortisol manages stress and it also manages blood sugar. When blood sugar levels change too fast, your cortisol is used to pull it back up again. Unstable blood sugar can make you feel the same as you feel when an event makes you angry, frustrated, frightened, i.e., STRESSED. So … sugar makes your stress response worse.

We already know stress is a really bad thing when it comes to your health and happiness. Chronic stress can be as fatal as smoking and a predictor of weight gain even more than genetics.

Even when you can’t control every cause of stress in your world, the simple act of keeping your blood sugar levels stable will make you more resilient, less irritable, better able to “deal.”

When I’m stressed AND sugared up, I become the most irritable lunatic. Everyone benefits from me steering clear of sugar! In addition, stable blood sugar levels help you stay lean and energized. This is because unstable blood sugar (and cortisol) causes you to make fat storage hormones like insulin and affects sleep patterns, which causes weight gain and fatigue.

Photo cred: Vig Foto

Photo cred: Vig Foto

If some of this sounds like you, let’s talk about management. What can you do to keep your blood sugar stable?

Throughout the day, many factors protect or damage your blood sugar. However, what happens in the morning affects your day than any other time. So …

START YOUR DAY OFF RIGHT.

Your morning routine can start the downward spiral that keeps you in a constant state of stress– raising stress hormones from the get go.

  1. Eat a high quality protein filled breakfast – Kick Captain Crunch out of your kitchen, because he, along with high sugar breakfast foods (bagels, overly sweetened yogurts, junk smoothies), sabotage your blood sugar, your mood, your waistline. You will function SO MUCH better when you stay under seven grams of sugar from all sources combined. Stick with high quality protein, pastured eggs, raw plant protein powders, paired with good fat sources like coconut oil or avocados.
  1. Don’t skip breakfast  Having no food lowers your metabolism in preparation for famine. This makes you less able to burn fat for fuel. The “Amazing Crown Jewel” smoothie gives you the fat and protein you need to power through your morning!
  1. Drink green juice – The phytonutrients from alkalizing greens and vegetables help maintain blood sugar while flooding your system with immunity boosting, inflammation quelling, energizing enzymes and nutrients. Look for juices that are a minimum of 70% vegetables, like the Flawless, or Disco. Even the classic Green Glow packs a punch!

CONSIDER A 3 DAY JUICE CLEANSE TO REBOOT YOU SYSTEM—GET RID OF THOSE CRAVINGS. Want to chew too? Reserve a Juice Then Dinner Cleanse and enjoy a little mastication!

  1. LAY OFF high amounts of caffeine  Why does caffeine give you energy? Because it causes you to raise your blood sugar in the same way that sugary food does. Then THE CRASH. Drink organic green tea instead
  1. Physical activity – Anything works: walking, running, yoga, you name it. It helps regulate your blood sugar too.
  1. Stay psychologically centered – Start a gratitude journal. Mentally rehearse your day, and set your intention to be healthy, happy and calm. Grab our GEM Journal for amazing prompts to maintain a health-filled day.

 

Your body and mind strive to reach states of balance and happiness. Even though you cannot control the world around you, you can help yourself become healthier and more resilient by making easy adjustments in your daily habits.


Snack Ideas for Healthy Teens [Part Three in Four-Part Series]

Posted on by diamondsonyourinside and currently has 1 Comment on Snack Ideas for Healthy Teens [Part Three in Four-Part Series]

Snack ideas for healthy teens got you stumped?

The key is to BE PREPARED. Remember from last post? If you have good food in your fridge, Healthy Teensyou will eat good food. This is true for all of us. So make regular trips to the grocery store, with a list of things that will sustain your teens (and their friends) for the week.

Be Ready!! Don’t wait for them to start rummaging through the kitchen. They will snack on what is in front of them. So have it out on the counter.

  1. Organic popcorn made in a Whirley Pop with coconut oil and sea salt. You and your kids will flip for this stuff. Don’t have a Whirley Pop? Just in a lidded pot. So easy. DEE-LISH. Tiny but Mighty brand popcorn kernels are pretty cool to eat.
  2. Sliced cucumbers/carrot rounds marinated in lime juice and sea salt. Don’t underestimate this one!
  3. Tex Mex rules! Keep grass-fed taco meat ready to go. Always have these in your fridge:
    • Fresh pico, salsa and bean dip. Nachos with pinto beans and cheese knock Cheetos out of the park!
    • GUACAMOLE is awesome AND Organic chips are a must. Make sure your tortillas are fresh and without chemical ingredients. (Say goodbye to Mission brand)
    • Bean Roll-Ups Spread bean dip on a whole wheat flour tortilla, top with shredded organic white cheddar and roll up. Brush with oil or grass fed butter and bake 10 minutes at 400 degrees F. Serve with salsa.
  4. GEM hummus with jalapeno pesto. Grab one of our snack packs for their lunch too!
  5. Sunflower seeds. Pumpkin seeds. Pistachios are fun to eat. Keep in a bowl on the counter.
  6. Sliced apples with organic peanut/almond butter. Even sunflower butter is great (for nut allergies)
  7. Slice bananas and freeze them. AWESOME. Grapes, too. Cutie oranges are fun to eat.
  8. Make smoothies! Keep frozen berries (1c), 1 frozen banana, (1) almond milk (1c), pomegranate juice (1/2c) and plant based protein powder. (We use Epic inside The GEM.) They will love you!
  9. Applegate Farms Turkey or chicken with a little mustard wrapped around a sesame breadstick.
  10. Mini pizzas made with whole grain English muffins, fresh marinara (no sugar, all natural), organic mozzarella.
  11. Sami’s Cinnamon Chips will disappear at carpool time. Everyone LOVES these high fiber, low sugar (but don’t tell them that) chips. Available at The GEM.
  12. Whole wheat pasta already made. Or, Tinkyada brand gluten free pasta. Find a pomodoro sauce that is clean and healthy with nothing but tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, spices. NOTHING ELSE.
  13. Make your own pita chips–sprinkle whole grain pita chips with parmesan cheese and broil until golden brown. Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies–in a pinch–are okay. Annie’s makes all kinds of convenience foods that can help make a transition into cleaner snacks.
  14. Steam frozen ORGANIC edamame and add sea salt.
  15. Roasted chickpeas. So fun!
  16. Brown rice sushi pieces—cucumber rolls, California rolls.
  17. Make your own cookies and brownies as a special treat. Just use organic flours, whole butters and real chocolates. A little goodness goes a long way. Stay away from Betty and Duncan. They are toxic sh*t storms.
  18. This ain’t working for you? Still need some frozen snacks? Try these. Amy’s Nacho Snacks, Pizza Rolls or Burritos. Available at most grocery stores.
  19. Popsicles? Frozen fruit ones are great–make sure to read the ingredients. Try these GoodPops out of Austin.

 

These are not all super-food healthy snacks–because we aren’t dummies. They are, however, CLEAN, free of harmful chemicals and dyes. This is really important to remember when feeding your families.

What are YOUR go-to healthy snack options? We’d love to hear!

Next up … bad@$$ breakfast ideas!


Yoga for Stress Relief

Posted on by diamondsonyourinside and currently has 2 Comments on Yoga for Stress Relief

Have to preach this … yoga is a critical component for stress relief. yoga and juice equal peace

Don’t turn off the screen just yet. Yoga doesn’t have to be:

  • Difficult to practice. Simple postures can be done anywhere, anywhere.
  • Intimidating. If you don’t already practice yoga, don’t be scared. You gotta start somewhere. Most folks can’t twist into a pretzel and stand on one finger.
  • Practiced on a mountaintop in white robes. It’s not weird. I ran from the idea of yoga just a few years back, and now can’t live without it! Plus, it is one of the oldest defined practice of self development.

 

Yoga may be more familiar than you think. Many popular techniques found to reduce stress derive from yoga:

  • Controlled breathing. This stuff works.
  • Meditation. Be grateful for your life and the big and small things in it.
  • Physical movement (exercise)
  • Mental imagery. See it, think it, be it.
  • Stretching. It’s crazy what a difference a few stretching poses can make.

 

Yoga can provide the combined benefits of these activities in one technique. It brings together the mind, body and spirit. Whether you use yoga for spiritual transformation or for stress management and physical well-being, the benefits are numerous and undeniable. Those with physical limitations can and actually SHOULD practice yoga, just make sure you have a good instructor.

There are several different styles of yoga, some moving through the poses more quickly and other styles relaxing deeply into each pose. Some have a more spiritual angle, while others are used purely as a form of exercise. Certain poses can be done just about anywhere and a yoga program can go for hours or minutes, depending on your schedule.

This is what yoga can do for you:

  • Reduce stress, anxiety and muscle tension
  • Increase strength and flexibility
  • Reduce cortisol levels–which make you hold on to fat, among a million other things.
  • Lower blood pressure and heart rate
  • Spiritual growth. It can happen, regardless of your religion.
  • Sense of well being. Well, sign me up!

 

Yoga’s benefits are HUGE—it gives a crazy high payoff for the small amount of effort you have to exert.

There are so many studios that offer beginning yoga, often with incredible guidance from the instructor. You really want to have that extra attention at the beginning to learn proper form and be more engaged. Places like Sunstone offer classes that are heated, slower, and more methodical. Start with Spark and work up to Fire Class. Water class (a true spiritual experience, in my opinion) is my personal favorite. Exhale & We Yogis have lots of different varieties of classes.  We Yogis even has classes for kids and teens. Dallas Yoga Center has classes for beginners and even some that focus on meditation. Try a few online videos and images (simple beginner poses), though the energy of a live class is so much more therapeutic.

Select a place that you feel comfortable with and try it out. Give it several tries with different types of yoga until you find what is right for you. Private yoga sessions including guided meditation are an incredibly rewarding option!

Bottom line: Make the connection between knowing your stress levels and changing your behaviors. Managing stress in a positive way will make a life-changing impact your body and your life.

Do you have a favorite yoga studio? Share it with us!!

Peace. Happy. Yoga.


Superfoods = Super Meals Part 2

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GEM-4_Heart-GEM_mech_8in_lowres-01One of our last posts addressed specific foods classified as SUPERFOODS, which are in a group of foods and supplements that pack an exceptionally healthy and healing punch to your nutrition.

Superfoods help us feel more energetic, provide protection against disease and promote a longer, happier and healthier life and slow the ageing process.

These antioxidant rich products are overachievers in a class that helps eliminate chemically active oxygen molecules thought to contribute to aging, immunity and chronic ailments such as cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

There are many nutrient dense foods and supplements that are SUPER. The supplements seem to be a little more obscure, but at The GEM, we use them everyday. We’ve listed both a daily application you can do at home as well as our favorite GEM application.

1. MACA:  This superfood made from a South American root, dates back at least 3,000 years ago.  Maca nourishes and enhances endocrine system, which controls such functions as:

  • Sexy: fertility and sexual function, libido
  • Get Moving: digestion and absorption
  • Happy: brain and nervous system physiology including mood moderation
  • Sparkle: helps increase energy AND calms the stress response (supports the adrenal glands)

Maca is considered to be adaptogenic, meaning it will work on the body according to needs, age and gender of the person taking it – allowing both males and females of all ages to benefit from taking it regularly. Magic Maca is more like it.

Daily Application: Add this caramel-ish powdered gem to your daily smoothies!

GEM Life: Crown Jewel, Tahitian Pearl smoothies

2. SPIRULINA:   One of the oldest life forms on Earth, this blue-green algae has reached powerhouse status. Consumers of spirulina usually notice an increase in energy and overall health. It balances pH to reduce inflammation, the root of much disease.

  • Healthy: increases antioxidant protection
  • Young: fights the aging process
  • Smart: protects the brain and detoxifies the liver and kidneys
  • Skinny: curbs appetite and promotes weight loss

Daily Application: Add it to your regimen slowly or you may experience the ill effects of detoxing. Add a ½ teaspoon to a smoothie!

GEM Life: Daily Bright Like a Diamond Shots pack a seriously energizing punch.

3. CINNAMON:   Scientists are finding that cinnamon has a unique ability to keep blood sugar steady and alleviate symptoms of diabetes and pre-diabetes. Cinnamon’s bright color indicates significant antioxidant levels. Even smelling cinnamon has been show to boost brain function!!

Daily Application: Sprinkle it on your oatmeal or on your sweet potato for a deceivingly sweet treat.

GEM Life: We use a good quantity of this unique spice in our Matcha Latte, Crown Jewel and Chocolate Diamond!

4. CHIA:   Ch-ch-ch-chia! Yep, this little seed is the same as those weird little ceramic animal planters as seen on TV! Chia seeds are loaded with the most essential fatty acids of any known plant. Plus, one serving of the stuff is loaded with magnesium, iron, calcium, and potassium.

Chia seeds are a really good, plant-based source of Omega 3, as well as protein and fiber. You can buy them in either their true seed form or in a chia oil version; the seeds can be added to salads, smoothies, or anything else that sparkles your fancy.

Daily Application: Chia pudding, drop some in your kombucha, add to your oatmeal.

GEM Life:  Add to any smoothie for a creamier drink—it adds no flavor at all. Your kids and you will never know it’s there!!

5. GINGER:   Slightly spicy but oh-so-enjoyable, ginger has been used for years as a delicious flavoring and an all-natural remedy for everything from an upset stomach and nausea to unwanted inflammation. It is a great immune system booster.

Daily Application: Use fresh ginger for amazing Thai-inspired dishes.

GEM Life: Ginger is everywhere at The GEM. Boost your Forever Young Iced Green Tea, drink a Green Glow or grab a ginger shot and go.

6. CACAO:   Cacao powder contains flavonoids, which are known to help lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to the brain and heart. A wonderful mood booster too. Cacao provides a strong chocolate flavor without the guilt.

Daily Application: Dark chocolate squares can satisfy a sweet tooth and do wonders for your mood and your body.

GEM Life: Chocolate Diamond, Crown Jewel, Tahitian Pearl. Enough said.

7. TURMERIC:   In Ayurveda, turmeric is known as a powerful antioxidant that fights cancer-causing free radicals; it’s also an antiseptic and has natural anti-inflammatory effects.

  • Prevents prostate, breast and colon cancers
  • Wards off Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • Nature’s Advil—allays joint pain and inflammation

Daily Application: Add the fresh root to your cooking (Indian inspired)

GEM Life: Grab a fresh pressed turmeric shot (we also will press in bulk for you!), throw a boost into your green juice or tea. Give yourself a big treat and get an ImmuniTEA made with lemon, ginger, turmeric and local honey. Dang, that’s good!

8. Organic BLUEBERRIES:   In fact, they’re nutritional superstars, filled with fiber, vitamin C, immune boosters and cancer-fighting compounds. And, studies suggest blueberries may even improve memory. That’s something to remember. And DON’T FORGET to make them organic!

Daily Application: Keep blueberries on hand for a quick snack.

GEM Life: A Crown Jewel smoothie a day keeps all bad things at bay!

9. HEMP SEEDS:   These super seeds contain GLA—a super special type of highly anti-inflammatory omega-6 “super fat” that not only reduces inflammation but also supports a healthy metabolism, nourishes your hair, skin and nails and even helps regulate hormones. In addition, it is a great source of protein: 3 tablespoons = 11 grams of protein.

Daily Application: Sprinkle on your salads, toss in your smoothie, or even as a quick and simple snack.

GEM Life: Add hemp seeds into your smoothie for an extra secret weapon. We make our own hemp milk too!

10. Organic APPLE:   An Apple a Day … This overlooked superfood protects the body from nuclear fallout, kills a wide range of cancers, and keeps the arteries unclogged. The high levels of pectin help prevent disease, including enhancing cardiovascular health — to name but a few, experimentally confirmed ways in which the apple is one quiet, bad ass fruit.

Daily Application: The obvious sliced ORGANIC apple

GEM Life: Add some liquid sunshine to your day with a Green Glow JUICE, which contains the juice an entire apple.

Dive into health. You’re worth it!


To Juice or Not Juice – Revisited

Posted on by diamondsonyourinside and currently has No Comments on To Juice or Not Juice – Revisited

This is an oldie, but a goodie! This is a repost of our February 12th blog.

What an amazing week! The GEM is open and it is, I must say, FABULOUS. It’s interesting how clean, vibrant things attract bright-eyed, vibrant  people. It is SO much fun being there serving raw juice and smoothies to these SHINY, HAPPY PEOPLE.

So the question arises, “Should I juice, or should I smoothie? What is the difference?

GET JUICED UP! Juices provide nutrients at top speed.  The lack of fiber means our body can assimilate the nutrients in a matter of minutes. Your body has time to heal itself rather that having to work at digestion.  My afternoon green juice during chemo was the shot in the arm I needed to keep going after 3pm.

By doing this daily, you provide your body with a high dose of naturally-derived nutrients that boosts your health, support your body’s natural cleansing processes, and helps keep you well-protected against toxins and disease. A fresh juice stands in a league of its own.  It is simply the best energy drink on the market! Take that, Red Bull.

BE A SMOOTH OPERATOR … Smoothies are a vibrant man’s comfort food. There is nothing better than a rich, yummy smoothie. They can be fruit based, raw chocolate or coconut. It doesn’t matter. They all can offer great benefits for skin, digestion, weight control.

Smoothies contain a good deal of fiber, something that is an important nutrient in itself (see Emerald City Smoothie at The GEM). Fiber is an essential and all-too-often lacking ingredient in our diet; it keeps our gut moving and helps it to stay healthy with the right levels of good bacteria. Smoothies, when done right, can be an excellent meal replacement too–with veggies, fruit and protein mixed happily together in a party cup.

BUT, don’t be fooled by that creepy, fake crap served at fast food joints or even at the self-acclaimed healthy smoothie chains. So much of that is processed and sugar laden. You might as well eat some Ben & Jerry’s. Or … the famed BACON SMOOTHIE from Jack in the Box. A bit of a bellwether for the state of America’s health. Smoothies gone wrong. Watch out for it.  Juice over Smoothie?  We need both.