As we emerge out of winter into longer, sunny spring days, the opportunity to bare our skin can make us more body-conscious than ever. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to take advantage of the season’s nutrient-dense foods, otherwise known as super foods. These super foods are rich, alkaline producing foods, which assist with a healthy, natural pH balance. Overall skin health, and particularly a healthy complexion, is the result of a body that is in pH balance internally and externally.
What we fuel our bodies with has a direct impact on the pH levels of our body and skin. When it comes to how the body processes what we eat, foods are metabolized as either acid producing or alkaline producing. A diet that is rich in refined sugars, proteins and processed carbohydrates causes the body to create high acid levels. When the body produces excess acid (known as acidosis), it struggles to find its balance.
When the body’s cells become acidic, they will begin to deteriorate. Alkaline rich foods are beneficial for the body’s pH level because they help neutralize acidity within cells. Alkaline foods also help the body maintain high energy levels while simultaneously promoting weight loss. If alkaline-rich food comprises the majority of one’s diet, cell degeneration will be controlled, aging will decelerate, and mineral absorption will be optimized. Alkaline foods prevent the body from feeling fatigue and stress while also maintaining a healthy heart, causing greater vitality and mental clarity, and aiding the detoxification process from the ingestion of acidic foods. In addition, alkaline-rich diets have been found to not only prevent, but also cure many chronic diseases such as arthritis, and degenerative and auto-immune diseases such as acidosis, arthritis, and acid reflux.
Simply put, the benefits of alkaline foods are tremendous, and the following recipes pack in potent nutrients loaded with amino acids, Omega-3’s, low-fat protein and antioxidants. They make a most convenient method for you to enjoy eating your way to a healthy pH and a glowing complexion.
Green Tea–Poached Chicken with Lemongrass, Green spring Onion and vegetables over wild rice
Green tea is a top super food! This dish it is a perfect rendezvous of spring vegetables and spices to balance your pH levels with a gourmet flair.
6 cups water
6 high quality green tea bags (choose brands that use longer leaves such as Mariage Freres, Mighty Leaf or Teaforte)
2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
1 cup wild rice
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons curry powder
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
3-4 pieces of lemongrass using the bottom of the stalk (3 inches or so)
4 skinless, hormone-free chicken breasts, on or off the bone (4 halves)
2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1/4 cup celery heart (finely chopped)
2 carrots (diced)
4 spring onions (chopped)
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 Asparagus bunch – cut in 2 inch pieces, discard the bottom
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoon Braggs amino acid, or wheat free tamari
1-2 limes (juiced)
1 bunch of cilantro leaves (chopped)
2 tablespoons cashews (finely chopped)
- Bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add 6 bags of green tea to the water. Let the tea steep for a minimum of 10 minutes, up to 20 minutes. This tea will serve as liquid for poaching the chicken and for cooking the rice. If some of the tea leaves escape the bags, it will only add to the flavor and presentation.
- Heat the coconut oil in a saucepan and add wild rice. Coat the rice with oil, sea salt and pepper, allow the rice to toast for 2-3 minutes. Add two cups of green tea with 2 stalks of lemongrass, garlic and curry. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to a simmer, cover the pan, and let it cook until wild rice is done, about 45 minutes.
- Place the remaining 4 cups of tea into a deep sauté pan and place the chicken breasts into the liquid. Add in apple cider vinegar, ginger, pinch of white pepper, sea salt, and the rest of the lemongrass.
- Poach the chicken for about 30 minutes over a low flame (chicken on the bone may take slightly longer, up to 40 minutes). When the chicken is done, remove it from the broth with tongs and place on a plate until cool enough to handle. Shred the chicken and place it back into the broth with the honey, carrots, asparagus, spring onions, celery and pepper flakes. Add Braggs amino acid, and poach for another 4 to 5 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add chopped fresh lime, cilantro and chopped cashews.
- Serve the chicken and vegetables over wild rice. Spoon the broth over chicken if desired. Broth may be reduced for a richer taste.
This salad is a perfect mate with the Green Tea Poached Chicken.
The beauty of super foods is that they are nutritionally economical. Instead of packing a hefty lunch, we can get ample vitamins and minerals from a few clever combinations, since these foods deliver more nourishment and benefits per calorie than other foods on their own. Loaded with antioxidants to combat the wear and tear a body receives from stress, pollution and a poor diet, these phytonutrients increase energy, strengthen immunity, and battle cellular depletion, cancer, heart disease, and the effects of aging.
Super foods can help you optimize your overall wellness and health and aid your springtime workouts, whether you do an early morning Pilates session or Bounce and Shake with Dr. John Gray.
The simplest way to incorporate these wonder foods into your diet is to simply add more fruits and veggies, an easy task since the warmer months bring an abundance of fresh, delicious produce to our local farmers’ markets. Think vibrant colors when selecting foods: avocados, papayas, pomegranates, kiwis, berries, greens, herbs and citrus all boast high on the antioxidant chart. Aim for eight to ten daily servings (1 serving= ½ cup veggies, 1 cup of leafy greens, or a medium-size piece of fruit) per day. With a little practice, eating super foods will become second nature.
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
2 tablespoon unfiltered apple cider vinegar
1 lime (juiced)
4 tablespoons virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
1 tablespoon mint (chopped)
2 large ruby red grapefruit (segmented)
2-3 ripe Hass avocado, cut into ½-inch cubes or sliced
1 cup papaya, cut into ½-inch cubes or sliced
1 cup fennel root, thinly sliced.
4 cups water cress or arugula (washed and dried)
4 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
4 tablespoons walnuts
- In a large bowl, whisk together garlic, chili pepper, salt, pepper, mint, vinegar and lime juice. Keep whisking the mixture, while slowly drizzling oil in a steady stream until all is emulsified.
- Gently toss in grapefruit, avocado, fennel and papaya. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.
- Add watercress to the mixture and lightly toss. Arrange on plates and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and walnuts.