Change up your Total Gym FIT BLAST Protein Shake with Zucchini and Figs!

There’s a warm and fulfilling sensation when your taste buds savor certain foods. It could be the smell, the texture, or the flavors that you enjoy. Certain foods can trigger old, fond memories with just a whiff.

 

The thought of my mom’s homemade zucchini bread takes me back to the moments when I would pick the ripe zucchini and she’d prepare loaves of goodness! I’m sure you have fond memories of those special home cooked favorites as well.

 

Home Grown

Growing up, my mother gave me the experience of planting a variety of fruits and vegetables in our garden every summer. It was a normal summer routine for me to grow tomatoes, zucchini, corn, and herbs, among others. During that time, I thought it was what most people did if they wanted fresh seasonal produce, or from visiting a local farm.

 

As an adult, I realize how precious it was to actually grow our own vegetables to make delicious meals, as well as desserts that I am still fond of today!

 

Gardening and growing your own organic foods or herbs have increased in with the growth in interest of  ‘clean living’. However, it’s not as common today due to most people’s busy lives. Therefore, we must take advantage of local farmers markets, organic shares, or those who garden to enjoy the produce in season.

 

Seasonal Produce

The summer heat may be starting to cool down, but that means we have different seasonal produce to look forward to! Two great items to feature into a variety of recipes are zucchini and figs.

 

Zucchini

Zucchini is one of the most popular summer squashes in America and Europe. It’s smooth skin, tender yet crunchy flesh and small edible seeds make this squash a delight to enjoy in an array of cooked, raw, and blended recipes. Along with its ease of use in a number of delicious recipes, they contain many beneficial health properties to nourish and heal the body.

 

Zucchinis are nutrient dense and great for your overall health. They contain vitamin A, B1, B6, and B2, along with calcium and necessary minerals , such as magnesium, folate, potassium, copper, and phosphorus. This summer squash also has a high content of omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and niacin and is a great source of protein.

 

Benefits of eating zucchini

 

Heart Health

Zucchini contains large amounts of potassium that help reduce blood pressure. It contains folate, which breaks down amino acids like homocysteine, which can cause heart attacks and strokes. It also contains magnesium, which helps keep a normal blood pressure rate and a steady heart rhythm.

 

Aids in Weight Loss

Zucchini is incredibly low in calories and contains fiber, which makes it perfect for weight loss goals. The fiber helps burn extra fat in the body and allows you to feel satisfied.

 

Hydrating Effects

Zucchini is 95% water; therefore, it’s hydrating for your skin, provides energy, and allows you to feel full longer.

 

Improves Eye Health

Zucchini’s rich water content aids in removing swollen or puffy bags around the eyes due to excessive water retention. The vitamin A in squash helps develop cells in the eyes, which enhances vision and prevents age-related conditions such as macular degeneration.

 

Fights Asthma

Vitamin C is a powerful anti-oxidant that combats asthma. Its anti-inflammatory properties help keeps the immune system healthy, fights respiratory problems, and keep the lungs open and clear.

 

Strengthens Teeth and Bones

Zucchini contains calcium to help the nervous system function properly and strengths the teeth and bones.

 

Lowers Cholesterol

Zucchini contains a high fiber content, which helps lower cholesterol. Vitamins A and C delay the process of cholesterol from oxidizing in the body’s blood vessels and this magical vegetable helps rid the body of excess toxins.

 

Skin Health

Gives skin a natural glow and restores moisture.

 

The benefits of zucchinis are vast and not limited to just these! Begin enjoying this wonder-working vegetable in your diet to reap the benefits it provides.

 

Fun Facts about Zucchini

  • The Italians first brought zucchinis to the United States in 1920!
  • Zucchini is derived from an Italian word, which means ‘squash’.
  • The flower of the zucchini plant is edible.
  • One zucchini contains only 25 calories!
  • A zucchini has more potassium than a banana.
  • The most flavorful zucchinis are small-medium sized, so biggest is not best!
  • Zucchini can be substituted for pasta!

 

Figs

There’s nothing like the unique taste and texture of fresh figs. They are sweet with a texture that combines the smoothness on their outer skin, chewiness on the flesh inside, and crunchiness of their seeds. Figs are a seasonal fruit available June through September that are grown in California and in western Asia, but you can enjoy nutritious dried figs all year round!

 

Figs are one of the sweetest fruits that contain natural sugar and have a very sweet aroma. The fig tree is a member of the mulberry family. They are uniquely created by having an opening called the “ostiole” or “eye,” which is not connected to the tree, but it helps the increase the fruit’s development to communicate with the environment!

 

Figs contain many vital minerals and vitamins like vitamin A, C, E, B1, and B2. They also contain a variety of antioxidants and omega fatty acids that are essential to our daily diets.

 

Benefits of eating figs

 

Weight Management

The fiber in figs promote weight loss. However, their high calorie count can result in weight gain when consumed with dairy or in excess.

 

Respiratory

The fig leaves prevent and reduce symptoms of asthma

 

Disease Prevention

Reduces the risk of abdominal and colon cancer

 

Digestion

Strengthens bones and prevents urinary calcium loss

 

Diabetes

Figs are rich in potassium, which helps regulate sugar absorption in diabetics so they can live a normal life!

 

Heart Health

Lowers cholesterol, decreases the risk of coronary heart diseases and prevents hypertension

 

Lowers Cholesterol

Figs contain pectin, which is a soluble fiber that moves through the digestive system to “clean up” excess buildup of cholesterol and flushes them to be eliminated from the body.

 

Healthy Flow

Figs are one of the most fiber dense foods and can have a laxative effect. They promote healthy, regular elimination as well as prevent constipation. Fiber is needed in the diet, but beware of eating too many figs as it may cause you run to the restroom too often!

 

Strengthens Bones

Figs are rich in calcium and phosphorus, which helps strengthen bones and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.

 

Promotes Youthful Skin

Figs are used to promote youthful looking skin with its tightening effects.

 

Fun Facts about Figs

  • Figs range dramatically in color and texture.
  • Figs can be used in natural remedies to help cure kidney stones, acne, sore throats, and chicken pox at the early stages.
  • Figs can be made into wonderful face scrubs to promote natural glowing skin.
  • Figs are excellent to maintain and condition a healthy scalp and hair.

 

Delightful Dessert Smoothies

With the delicious taste of zucchini bread in mind, I have some special smoothie recipes to share that are excellent for your health and are so tasty your soul will feel it!

 

Zucchini Bread Smoothie

  • 1 cup of cut fresh Zucchini
  • 3 fresh or dried figs
  • 1 tablespoon of nut butter of choice
  • 1 scoop of FIT BLAST protein powder
  • ½ teaspoon of Cinnamon (1 tablespoon if you like spice)
  • 1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 – 3 ice cubes

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Sip and enjoy!

 

Cherry Tart

  • 1 cup of fresh or frozen cherries
  • 2 fresh or dried figs
  • ½ cup of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 scoop of FIT BLAST protein powder
  • 1 of cup water
  • 2 – 3 ice cubes

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Sip and savor!

 

Almond Butter Cookie

  • 2 table spoons of almond butter (substitute any nut butter)
  • 1 cup of zucchini
  • 3 pitted dates
  • 1 scoop of FIT BLAST
  • 1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 – 3 ice cubes

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Sip and devour!

 

 

Non-Smoothie, Non-Baked Goodies

 

Chocolate Zucchini and Oatmeal Bites

Oatmeal Bites make a super healthy snack that is gluten free, low in calories, and easy to make in 15 minutes or less! This might be your new go-to snack!

 

Ingredients

  • ½ cup of zucchini
  • ½ cup of almond butter
  • 3 tablespoons of honey
  • 1¼ cups of oats (gluten free)
  • ¼ cup of mini chocolate chips, dairy free or cacao nibs
  • ¼ of teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons of flax meal

 

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Make small bite-sized balls from the batter and place them on a cookie sheet. Place in refrigerator to chill and store. Enjoy this bite-sized healthy treat!

 

Be sure to check out the video to see how to prepare the tasty Zucchini Bread Smoothie!

 

These recipes are packed with rich nutrients that will not disappoint your palate!

 

Enjoy blending up these smoothies and experimenting with other recipes that include zucchini and figs. You will be amazed at how delightful tasting these seasonal produce are, and how simple it can be to include them in your food habits!

 

 

Best in Health,

 

Maria

http://www.groovysweat.com

http://www.groovysweatstore.com

http://www.youtube.com/groovysweat

Maria Sollon
Maria Sollon Scally MS, CSCS holds a Master’s Degree in Performance Enhancement/Injury Prevention and Kinesiology. She has obtained numerous certifications in various areas of fitness and is a national conference presenter. Maria specializes in Pilates, Performance Coaching, and Corrective Exercise Techniques and Kettlebells. She is the creator of the Plyo Pilates Method and has developed a series of amazing workout DVDs. She is a Master Trainer for Total Gym, Resist-a-Ball, Body Blade, Peak Pilates, Kettle Bell Concepts and is a freelance writer for Fitness accredited magazines, newsletters, and fitness blog sites. Maria demonstrates her knowledge each day and uses her dynamic creativity throughout her specialized line of work.

http://www.groovysweat.com
http://www.groovysweatstore.com (purchasable workout videos)
http://www.youtube.com/groovysweat (workout clips)

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