Papaya Smoothie

Yesterday I made a great smoothie in the morning for all of us.


1 Papaya cut up in chunks
1/2 cup of leftover greens*
2 leaves collard greens
Juice from a freshly squeezed Orange*
a little extra water

This smoothie was the product of those last food items we didn’t want to go bad!

* I always buy Organic Girl Greens for our salads. I use super greens, 50/50 mix, spring mix, spinach, whatever I find. The last time I made a salad there were some greens left over that just didn’t fit in our salads and I didn’t want to throw them away. So I put them back in the fridge for the next smoothie. They made it into this one! I try my best to avoid wasting food.

* I only had 1 orange left in the fridge. Its easy to get the juice out. I bought this little cheap manual juicer at Target and its great for squeezing lemons and oranges. So I squeezed the orange I had and tossed in the juice for the base. There wasn’t that much juice so I had to add a little water to the smoothie to make it blend better.

The kids loved the smoothie.

Health Benefits of Papaya:

  • Papayas have antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, vitamin C and flavonoids; the B vitamins, folate and pantothenic acid; and the minerals, potassium and magnesium; and fiber. Together, these nutrients promote the health of the cardiovascular system and also provide protection against colon cancer.
  • In addition, papaya contains the digestive enzyme, papain, which is used like bromelain, a similar enzyme found in pineapple, to treat sports injuries, other causes of trauma, and allergies.
  • Women need about 400-800 mcg of folate per day if they are trying to get pregnant and during their pregnancy. 1 medium papaya has about 116mcg folate in it.



We all look forward to the weekend so we can relax, sleep in (if we don’t have children!), and do whatever we want to do. But if you’re new to eating healthy, you might be a little afraid of the weekend because with the routine goes the packed lunches, the planned dinners, and the smoothies for breakfast. We used to feel the same way. We didn’t want to eat completely unhealthy but we also didn’t want to feel like we were on a diet and couldn’t eat a pizza if we wanted to. So we do a little bit of both.

One of our favorite weekend things to do used to be going to Chili’s for lunch. Lunch is good for us because our kids are little and we like to put them to bed early. Then we looked up the nutrition guide online for Chili’s and that was the end of that.  The queso dip, which was my favorite, is scary bad for you!!!!!! So we stopped doing that, and that kind of sucked.

But then we found an alternative.  There is a new little place we found that we love:

Green Shack Juice Bar

Categories: VegetarianJuice Bars & SmoothiesGluten-Free

9818 SW 77 Ave
Miami, FL 33156

(305) 279-1955

This place is tiny and doesn’t have a lot of options. But its owned by a young, married couple with their 6 kids and we like them a lot. The food they have is good. My favorite smoothies they have are The Crazy Monkey (I ask for NO agave) and The Hulk.

They also add their daily menu on Facebook so you can see what they have on Saturday and choose whether to go there or not.  Unfortunately they are closed on Sundays.

For the rest of the weekend, our suggestion is try to pay attention to your choices. If you go out to dinner and eat pasta maybe try to avoid the bread. Or add more veggies to your meal than you normally did. Instead of having a mixed drink with tons of sugar in it…have a glass of wine instead. Or if you go to a cuban restaurant, try to avoid the rice. We have grown to love black beans as a soup instead of on top of rice. Orlando can confess he thought that would never be possible and yet he loves it now!

If you’re having dinner at home with friends, experiment with a cool new meal like the cauliflower pizza.

And don’t forget to carve out a little time this weekend to plan your meals for next week. Maybe even visit a local farmer’s market and check out some interesting vegetables or fruits that you can try.

Have a great weekend!!!

Carb alternatives

We do not follow Atkins, however, we do believe that you need to eliminate the rices, breads, pastas, crackers of  your daily diet. The problem is not that “Carbohydrates” are bad for you. Carbs provide energy and energy is necessary for life. The problem is that we are living in a society where wheat (gluten) has been altered to the point that it is dangerous for you. The rise of Celiac’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome are highly attributed to these products.  It used to be that the white carbs were the bad ones because they were processed and that continues to be true…however, we are fooled into thinking that whole wheat is  a “healthy” alternative, when the research is now proving otherwise. Unfortunately, even when you shop at the store and read titles like “Multi-Grain” bread or chips, if you follow our principle of READING THE INGREDIENTS, you will find that these products are made primarily of whole wheat. You need to stick to WHOLE GRAINS and it has to be 100% whole grains.

Now, we are Cuban. We eat double and sometimes triple carbs in most meals (white rice, black beans, and yucca is a common example).  It is tough for us to make a meal without “carbs”until this day. What do we do?  We have learned to replace the carbs that we are used to (rice, pasta, potatoes) with vegetables that are satisfying, delicious, and starchy.

Here’s a a general idea…

You want a baked potato= make a sweet potato (no butter or sugar needed) it is sweet and healthy on its own.

You want mashed potatoes= make a cauliflower mashed potato. You won’t know the difference.

You craving pasta? Instead of pasta, roast a spaghetti squash, make a simple tomato sauce with ground turkey, and pour it atop the squash. Is it identical? No. But you won’t miss the pasta after a while.  (This is just one website to teach you how to make the spaghetti squash but you can google it and find other informational websites)

Often times rice is the cornerstone of all meals. Rice is easily replicated by whole grains. Don’t fall into the “brown rice” scam. Most brown rice is just white rice with molasses and not a whole lot more nutritious.  Get whole grains like Quinoa, cracked bulgar, and millet.

You can also put raw cauliflower in a food processor and it will turn into “rice-like” portions that you can saute and serve in place of rice. You can actually make a pizza crust out of it.

PLEASE NOTE: Don’t dream about making this pizza recipe without PARCHMENT PAPER. The crust is too sticky and won’t succeed without parchment paper.

For a great article on the evolution of wheat, please read this article:

Salads for Lunch

Anyone that knows me knows that i’m not a cook. I depend entirely on my husband to make dinner and I’m not good in the kitchen. For years this has limited me to the point that its easier to eat cereal from a box or go out to lunch than make my own food.

But I’ve discovered that we don’t have to know how to cook to succeed in Piling on the Greens. In fact, eating Raw vegetables is the BEST way to consume your veggies because you are not eliminating any vitamins and nutrients with heat.

So here’s what I do with my salads.

I’ve established a few staple ingredients that I put in my salad every time.

  • Organic Girl 50/50 greens mix or the super greens mix or the spinach. (I like them all)
  • Sliced almonds
  • Corn
  • Craisins

DISCLAIMER:  Craisins have added SUGAR!!!! I literally sprinkle 5-9 craisins in my salad because I absolutely love the taste that it gives the salad. They are not necessary and if you can find a healthier alternative that tastes good, please comment on this blog. Occasionally I skip them now, but when I started making my salads they were a must.

Besides these basics every day is a new day for my salad. I include ingredients such as:

  • mini red, orange and yellow peppers
  • sliced carrots
  • tomatoes
  • raw broccoli
  • raw red onions
  • mushrooms (raw or cooked if we have leftovers from dinner)
  • avocados
  • cubed roasted butternut squash (when we make it for dinner I make a separate batch to include in my salads)
  • raw pecans (not glazed!!!!!! like those salad toppers ones sold at the store. Buy plain raw pecans)
  • walnuts
  • sliced apple
  • sliced pear
  • sliced pineapple
  • mandarin oranges
  • raw cabbage
  • red beets
  • sunflower seeds
  • grilled chicken
  • salmon
  • steak
NOTE: I do not put animal protein in my salad everyday. We have greatly reduced the amount of animal protein we consume because our society tends to over-consume animal protein. We never eat it twice a day – either lunch or dinner. And we try to go 2-3 days a week without any animal protein. But if we know we’re going to have a light soup for dinner then I’ll plan a heavier salad that includes chicken or steak or salmon. And the steak or salmon is only used when it is left over from dinner, then I put it in lunch the next day or a couple of days later.

For dressing I use simply:

  • Olive oil and Vinegar
  • Lemon (which is actually quite delicious and eliminates the need for dressing)

You can pick and choose any of these ingredients and make a delicious salad. Obviously I don’t use all these ingredients all at once and sometimes it really depends what I have left in the fridge, especially towards the end of the week or what we made the night before. But you start getting combinations you like more than others. For example, I love combining the butternut squash with grilled chicken and lemon instead of olive oil and vinegar. And my husband’s favorite salads are the ones with avocados, or the ones with pineapple and sunflower seeds.

Between your smoothie for breakfast and your salad for lunch you are consuming more vegetables and fruits than you probably consumed in a week before. This eliminates the need for fiber supplements and solves constipation issues. It helps lower cholesterol, lower your sugar levels, and clean out your liver. In my husband’s case, it actually took away his acid reflux completely!

NOTE:  The avocados and nuts provide the GOOD FATS that we ALL need in our diets…even those trying to lose weight.

  •  Once again, this is a perfect meal solution for those who are in a rush in the morning because it can be prepared the night before.
  • Taking your lunch to work is a lot cheaper than eating out every day, so it offsets the additional cost of buying some items Organic. (And it is way better than ordering a salad from a restaurant which is much more expensive and you really don’t know the quality of what you’re eating)
  • If you have a good work group and a kitchen at work, you can all pitch in and buy ingredients and make group salads for each other instead of ordering pizza or chicken kitchen. You can make some extra chicken the night before and bring it for the group the next day, and your co-worker can bring the roasted butternut squash another day.
  • BJ’s and Costco are adding a lot of organic bulk items that are great for salads such as the greens, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, apples, pears, etc. I also buy my plain nuts there. Its a good way to buy cheaper and in large quantities for the whole family.

FOR THE KIDS: Kids need to start eating salads from as little as possible. My 1 1/2 year old and 3 year old eat salads all the time. I chop up the greens into tiny tiny pieces and make sure to always put a fruit in there to entice them to eat it. In my experience, what helped my 3 year old the most was to watch me eat it. Kids want to copy their parents, so whenever I ate my salad my son would sit next to me and ask me if he could try it. He was picking off of my plate which didn’t make him feel like he was being force fed. The result was that now I serve him his own plate because i’m sick of him eating all my food!  PARENTS WE LEAD BY EXAMPLE!!!! LET’S GIVE OUR CHILDREN GOOD EATING HABITS!

If I can make these smoothies and salads, anyone can. We can not hide behind the excuse that we are not good in the kitchen to avoid eating healthy!!!!!

Smoothies in the Morning

For most of us, we wake up and have for breakfast any of the following

  1. cup of coffee
  2. bagel with cream cheese
  3. special K cereal with milk
  4. tostadas
  5. eggs
  6. glass of orange juice
  7. breakfast granola bar or protein bar
  8. protein shake

The problem with these items is that usually they are quick to go items that are loaded with either sugar, or aspartame, or tons of processed ingredients we can’t pronounce. Even if the item is a “diet” item such as a protein shake, I have been finding that a lot of those shakes are LOADED with sugar and sometimes even have corn syrup. (HOW DARE THEY!)

I decided to change that system in my home.  I still have my cup of coffee EVERY morning because I love it and I have researched that coffee is actually GOOD for you!

But after my delicious cup of coffee, I make SMOOTHIES for my husband, my kids, and myself.

We kick start our morning with Fruits and Veggies full of fiber and good stuff to get our bodies going.

Here’s how I started:

  1. I went to publix to the produce aisle and asked an employee where I could find KALE. I had never even heard of it before. It is the Green garnish that you see as decoration when you go to parties and eat buffets.
  2. I bought bananas
  3. I also bought from the frozen isle “frozen organic berry mix”
and I made my 1st Smoothie
1 cup of KALE
1/2 banana
1 cup of berry mix
water to blend 
  • I use a magic bullet to make my smoothies which is a nice option because it is easier to clean. However, we are drinking so much of it that I find myself making multiple batches and I think i’m going back to a regular blender.
  • the measurements vary on how much you’re making and of course to taste.
  • I try to buy the berries and the greens organic but that’s your choice. I buy regular bananas.

Once I tasted that smoothie and realized that it actually tasted GOOD. I started exploring all sorts of smoothies and different greens.

I also like:

1 cup of Collard Greens
1 apple (even with the core and seeds)
1/2 mango
1/2 banana
1/2 inch piece of ginger
1 cup of romaine lettuce
water to blend 
2 medium sized oranges
1 stalk of celery  
1 carrot
a 1/2 inch piece of ginger 
What really shocks me about these smoothies is how much my kids LOVE them. Some of my smoothies actually come out green. I would think that my 3 year old would reject it because its green. But I have a rule in my house… YOU DON’T HAVE TO EAT IT, BUT YOU HAVE TO TASTE IT.
Both my kids tasted my smoothies, and now can’t get enough. They always ask for more when they finish their cup and I always end up giving some of mine (Hence why the bullet isn’t working for me anymore!)
FOR THOSE OF YOU HAVE AN IPAD OR IPHONE. I found an awesome app with tons of smoothie recipes.
Just look in your app store for RAW FAMILY, GREEN SMOOTHIES.  A great thing about that app is that you can look for ingredients, and they tell you the health benefits of that ingredient and then you can search for recipes with that ingredient.
My challenge for you this weekend is to go to the grocery store and buy KALE, FROZEN BERRIES, and BANANAS and make a smoothie for breakfast. 
  • Place all the ingredients in the blender the night before and put in the refrigerator. This causes the frozen fruit to melt a bit but stay icy.
  • This eliminates the prep time in the morning and all you have to do when you wake up is blend and serve.
  • It’s also a great tip for blending because the frozen fruits are harder on the blender when they are rock solid.
Instead of starting your day with processed foods, sugar, corn syrup, aspartame and tons of carbs….try starting off your day with fiber, vitamins, minerals and enzymes that clean out your liver and eliminates toxins.
  • For your digestion, the best time of the day to consume fruits is in the morning.

The Principles We Live By…

We have found that instead of dieting, it is much more sustainable to apply principles to the way you eat. If you adopt certain principles, and choose to live by them, it is much easier to apply them in any situation you’re in. Furthermore, sometimes you may choose to deviate from some principles, if for example, you’re eating out at a restaurant. But what we have found is that once you really start applying principles, you may deviate from one, but still follow the others.  These principles will help you make better choices, even if they are simple choices…and those simple choices will affect your life in big ways.

So here are some of the principles we live by.

1. PILE ON THE GREENS … this has been the most impacting principle of all the ones we’ve learned. Add vegetables any time you can. If you’re going to eat an omelette, add mushrooms, green peppers, spinach, onions, red peppers, etc. If you serve yourself a plate, make the largest portion the veggies. Eat a salad every day. You have the opportunity to add veggies to your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks- sometimes you don’t even taste them but the benefits are astounding.

2. TRY NEW FOODS… most of the time, people are afraid to try certain foods because they are afraid they won’t taste good, or they look weird, etc. The path to becoming healthy is a path of learning new things. The only way you can break away from your old habits is if you adapt your palette to new flavors. They say that kids need to try a new flavor 10 times before they can really start liking or disliking it. Adults are the same way. You may think you don’l like broccoli because you remember the mushy, bland broccoli your mom made when you were little. Well, there are a ton of ways to make broccoli. Try it roasted, or steamed, try it mixed in with other veggies you like … you’d be shocked to discover that maybe you didn’t dislike broccoli, you just disliked the way it was served to you.

3. READ THE INGREDIENTS… People nowadays have become much more label aware. So they get a box of cereal or chips, or anything else and they say “oh this only has 2 grams of sugar, or it has 0 grams of fat” those numbers comfort you and you eat the product guilt-free. Well there is a lot more to that product then what you’ve just read. For example, maybe the only reason it has 2 grams of sugar, is because it is sweetened with aspartame. Or it has no fat, but it has high fructose corn syrup.  What you really want to look at is the part under the Nutrtition Facts …The INGREDIENTS. That fine print will shock you what the product contains…which leads me to my next principle.

4. EAT WHOLE FOODS… In an awesome documentary, Hungry for Change, Kris Carr said, “if it takes a laboratory to create it, it takes a laboratory to digest it.” We try to eat foods with as little ingredients as possible. That leads us to eliminate a lot of boxed foods, and eat lots of fruits and vegetables. An apple has 1 ingredient “apple.” We look for foods that don’t include contents we can’t pronounce. Every whole food…bananas, pears, spinach, asparagus, melon,berries, nuts, cheese, fish, chicken, sweet potato, olive oil…etc, has a little bit of everything. These whole foods have sugar, fiber, protein, fat, etc, but because they are “Whole” they are digested in your system the way they are supposed to. Of course depending on your dietary goals and/or needs,  you may choose to consume higher quantities of one whole food as opposed to another. But they are different from processed, boxed foods or “diet” foods that  are not digested properly in your system. They go straight to your liver and prevent your body from functioning properly. Eventually, these diet foods can actually make you gain weight instead of lose weight.