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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Energy drinks hogwash...create your own health smoothies

Had enough of the holiday treats and thinking about the diet again?

 Follow the nature's trail, very simple tips to stay healthy via some health drinks (see recipes below by Charles Ayers, Chef Calafia, Malene Koch and Lisa Books-Williams)
And Energy drinks? They are spiraling towards a free fall....stay away from them

Juices and smoothies to reboot that New Year's diet

Updated:   01/03/2013 07:51:27 AM PST
Recipe: Google Gulp

Recipe courtesy of Charlie Ayers, chef Calafia, Palo Alto

Google Gulp

Serves 1

3 ounces black iced tea

3 ounces rice milk

2 ounces orange juice

1 ounce strawberries

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 a banana

Level scoop of ice

Blend all ingredients on medium speed for 1 minute. Serve immediately.

-- Charlie Ayers, chef, Calafia


Recipe: Facebook Freeze

Serves 1

1 ounce blueberries

1 ounce peaches

4 ounces milk

1 tablespoon peanut butter

1 teaspoon agave syrup

1 ounce plain yogurt

1 level scoop of ice

Blend all ingredients on medium speed for 1 minute. Serve immediately.

-- Charlie Ayers,

Recipe: Carrot Cucumber Lemonade

Carrot Cucumber Lemonade

Serves 1-2

Note: If you are making this in a blender, add ice cubes and enough water to help the blades turn smoothly.

1/3 English cucumber, peeled

3 carrots, peeled

2 teaspoons lemon juice

Cucumber slice, for garnish

Combine the cucumber, carrots and lemon in a blender; puree. Strain into a glass, then garnish with a cucumber slice.

-- Charlie Ayers,

Recipe: Pineapple Grapefruit Juice

Pineapple Grapefruit Juice

Serves 1-2

Note: This juice is delicious but expensive, unless you can score a good price on pineapple.

1 ruby red grapefruit

1 small pineapple

1. Thinly pare a strip of zest from the grapefruit, then cut into thin strips.

2. Peel the rest of the grapefruit. Juice it with the pineapple. Pour over crushed ice and serve, garnished with the grapefruit zest.

-- Charlie Ayers

Recipe: Strawberry Banana Orange 'Julius'

Strawberry-Banana Orange "Julius"

Serves 1

Note: This slimmed-down version of the classic drink supplies the protein of one egg (without the fat) and 1½ servings of fruit in just 130 calories.

1/3 cup frozen strawberries

1/3 cup light orange juice

1/2 small banana

1/4 cup liquid egg substitute

4 teaspoons granulated no-calorie sweetener (2 packets)

2 tablespoons low-fat milk

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup crushed ice

Place all the ingredients except the ice in a blender. Blend to mix. Add crushed ice, and blend on high until the ice is completely incorporated.

-- Marlene Koch


Recipe: Lisa's Winter Green Smoothie

Recipe courtesy of chef Lisa Books-Williams

Lisa's Winter Green Smoothie

Serves 1

1 1/4 cups water

1/2 cups ice cubes

2 Bosc pears, cored

1 banana, optional

5 kale leaves, stems removed

3 sprigs mint leaves, stems removed

1-inch piece vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of sea salt

Place all items in blender, and blend until smooth.

-- Lisa Books-Williams
  • Eating more fruits and vegetables is like hitting a diet reset button. It's a chance to start over after weeks of indulging in holiday fare. But sometimes we need an extra nudge to add the good stuff back in -- and it had better be tasty, or the habit won't stick past Groundhog Day.

That's why juices and smoothies are so popular -- and these days, chefs are combining fruits and vegetables in imaginative new ways.
Consider the Godzilla, chef Charlie Ayers' favorite breakfast juice, which combines arugula, kale, spinach, cucumber and apple with a splash of lemon. Ayers cooked for the Grateful Dead and techies at Google before opening Calafia, his restaurant in Palo Alto. But the chef has always had a penchant

Starting the year off right eating healthier is on many folks to do list and it can come in the form of juice, Walnut Creek, Calif., Dec. 27, 2012. (Susan Tripp Pollard/Staff)
for juices and smoothies, and he gets a kick out of giving them quirky names."A lot of people say they don't want to drink something green because they think it's going to be nasty," Ayers says. "But (the Godzilla is) very balanced with the sweetness of the apple, and the arugula is just a little bit peppery. The kale and cucumber give you many of the nutrients you need."
Ayers also serves his Silicon Valley customers a Facebook Freeze, a smoothie that mixes blueberries, peaches, peanut butter, yogurt and agave syrup. His Google Gulp blends black tea, rice milk, strawberries and banana with a touch of orange juice and honey.
The magic of juices and smoothies, of course, is that a single glass can pack several fruits and
vegetables -- and all of their vitamins and minerals -- into one meal or snack. That makes it easier to increase the fruits and vegetables we eat, which is just what the doctor ordered for many of us. When you make drinks at home, you control the ingredients, flavor and texture, says Marlene Koch, a Los Gatos dietitian and author of "Eat More of What You Love" (Running Press, $27, 352 pages). People generally want their smoothies to be fruity, creamy or both, so Koch starts with whole fruit and adds water or low-sugar juices. Be careful of ingredients such as apple juice, she says, which lacks the fiber of whole fruit and adds extra sugar.
"Also remember, all calories count," Koch says. "Even fruit in its whole form contains sugar, so you need to be aware of how much fruit fits in your diet."
The same goes for thickening agents. Smoothie shops may add frozen yogurt or even ice cream to thicken a drink, but there are far more healthful alternatives. Frozen fruits, which are just as wholesome as fresh, thicken a smoothie beautifully. When Koch makes her Strawberry-Banana Orange Julius, she pours in ¼ cup of egg substitute to add protein and that signature froth. When she wants a creamy smoothie, she adds a dollop

Charlie Ayers, executive chef and owner of Calafia Cafe and Market A-Go-Go, with some of his smoothies at Calafia Cafe in Palo Alto, Calif. on Friday, Dec 28 , 2012. (John Green/Staff)
of Greek yogurt or cottage cheese to the mix.Change up your smoothie and juice recipes with the seasons, and don't be afraid to experiment. During the winter, there are plenty of greens, carrots, beets and apples for juice, says AshEL Eldridge, founder of S.O.S. Juice, an urban culture and community health organization in Oakland that serves fresh organic juice at its community events. Adding almond or cashew butter boosts the protein, too.
Vegan chef and Pleasanton educator Lisa Books-Williams uses herbs and spices to add flavor, mixing fresh mint and vanilla bean to Bosc pears, bananas and kale for a Winter Green Smoothie.
Pears play into the smoothies at Frog Hollow Farms as well. Rebecca Courchesne uses Warren pears from her Brentwood farm to impart sweetness and a creamy texture to her smoothies, but she says the sky -- or rather, the orchard and produce garden -- is the limit.
"I make smoothies for my kids," she says, "and I never make them the same way twice."
No juicer?
No problem
You don't need a fancy, expensive juice machine to make fresh juices at home. Most bar blenders work just fine for making juice, chef Charlie Ayers says.
Juices made in a blender have more texture; just pour the drink through a fine-mesh sieve to reduce the amount of pulp. Ayers also adds a few ice cubes with his fruits and vegetables before flipping the switch. The ice helps prevent fruit bruising and keeps the blender from getting too hot.
How much?
Fruits and vegetables are so essential to a healthy diet, half your plate should be filled with produce, according to the federal government's MyPlate recommendations, which replaced the old food pyramid in 2011. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say adults are eating far less produce than they should. Only 40 percent of California adults eat fruit two or more times a day, and just 27 percent eat vegetables three or more times a day -- rates that fall below targets for reducing the risk of illness and managing weight.
For more information on your nutritional needs, based on your age and activity level, go to www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/fruitsvegetables/howmany.html.

FDA posts injury data for 3 energy drinks

Updated:   11/15/2012 08:56:52 PM PST

As its policies on highly caffeinated energy drinks are scrutinized, the Food and Drug Administration publicly released records Thursday about fatality and injury filings that mentioned the possible involvement of three top-selling products.
The Web posting of the records by the agency included 13 previously undisclosed injury filings that mentioned Rockstar Energy. The FDA also released filings related to 5-Hour Energy, a popular energy shot, and Monster Energy, another popular brand.
The agency's action comes a day after The New York Times reported that the agency had received more than 90 filings about 5-Hour Energy, including reports that cited it possible involvement in 13 fatalities. In late October, the FDA confirmed it had received five fatality reports that cited Monster Energy.
The filing of an incident report with the FDA does not mean that a product was responsible for a death or an injury or contributed to it in any way.
The makers of 5-Hour Energy and Monster Energy have insisted their products are safe and unrelated to the problems reported to the FDA
Officials of Rockstar Energy Drink, which is based in Las Vegas, did not return calls Thursday seeking comment
The release of the filings may represent a turnabout in agency policy. While units within the FDA that oversee prescription drugs and medical devices make adverse event reports about those products available to the public through websites or
other means, the unit that oversees dietary supplements routinely does not do so. Shelly Burgess, an agency spokeswoman, said the agency had decided to release the records "in an effort to be transparent." She added that the filing of a report did not show a product was at fault.
"If we find a relationship between consumption of the product and harm, FDA will take appropriate action to reduce or eliminate the risk," Burgess said.
Many medical experts say that healthy adults can safely consume 400 milligrams or more of caffeine daily, or about as much as caffeine as in several 8-ounce cups of coffee or in two 16-ounce cans of many energy drinks.
There is scant data, however, about whether such levels are safe for young teenagers to whom energy drinks are frequently marketed. Along with caffeine, energy drinks typically contain other ingredients like high levels of certain B vitamins and a substance called taurine, which exists inside the body.

Scant proof is found to back up claims by energy drinks

Updated:   01/01/2013 08:43:20 PM PST

Energy drinks are the fastest-growing part of the beverage industry, with sales in the United States reaching more than $10 billion in 2012 -- more than Americans spent on iced tea or sports beverages like Gatorade.
Their rising popularity represents a generational shift in what people drink, and reflects a successful campaign to convince consumers, particularly teenagers, that the drinks provide a mental and physical edge.
The drinks are now under scrutiny by the Food and Drug Administration after reports of deaths and serious injuries that may be linked to their high caffeine levels. But however that review ends, one thing is clear, interviews with researchers and a review of scientific studies show: the energy drink industry is based on a brew of ingredients that, apart from caffeine, have little, if any benefit for consumers.
"If you had a cup of coffee you are going to affect metabolism in the same way," said Robert Pettitt, an associate professor at Minnesota State University in Mankato, who has studied the drinks.
Energy drink companies have promoted their products not as caffeine-fueled concoctions but as specially engineered blends that provide something more. For example, producers claim that "Red Bull gives you wings," that Rockstar Energy is "scientifically formulated" and Monster Energy is a "killer energy brew." Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., has asked the government to investigate the industry's marketing claims.
Promoting a message beyond caffeine has enabled the beverage makers to charge premium prices. A 16-ounce energy drink that sells for $2.99 a can contains about the same amount of caffeine as a tablet of NoDoz that costs 30 cents. Even Starbucks coffee is cheap by comparison; a 12-ounce cup that costs $1.85 has even more caffeine.
As with earlier elixirs, a dearth of evidence underlies such claims. Only a few human studies of energy drinks or the ingredients in them have been performed and they point to a similar conclusion, researchers say -- that the beverages are mainly about caffeine.
Caffeine is called the world's most widely used drug. A stimulant, it increases alertness, awareness and, if taken at the right time, improves athletic performance, studies show.
"These are caffeine delivery systems," said Roland Griffiths, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University who has studied energy drinks.
"They don't want to say this is equivalent to a NoDoz because that is not a very sexy sales message."

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