Sep. 17—Hitting your recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables doesn't need to feel difficult.
Just ask Jamie Heenan.
The owner of Keep Well: Fuel Well and Feel Well, 413 S. State St., Clarks Summit, specializes in all-natural, no sugar-added smoothies, bowls and cold-pressed juices that help customers take in the nutrients they need. They also can find extras like "immunity shots," ginger lemon water and protein balls on the menu.
"I'm always trying to tap into new things and find new flavors," she said. "I really take pride in the recipes that I come up with."
It's easier than ever to make smoothies and juices at home, so Local Flavor reached out to Heenan for tips.
"If you have fruit at your house and you know it's going bad and you don't want to lose out on it, freeze it, mix it up in a smoothie," she said.
Pick a fruit and/or vegetable combination and from there, you just need a base. Heenan recommends almond milk or coconut water, which is refreshing, hydrating and filled with electrolytes.
She likes to add a source of protein, too, like natural peanut butter or cashews. For an additional heaping of protein, she said to try hemp powder, pea powder or others on the market. Put it all in the blender and you're ready to go.
"It's a great way to get a huge dose of your vitamins, minerals, everything that you'd like to take in for a meal," Heenan said.
No matter the combination, she said it always tastes good. Heenan doesn't know a lot of people who dislike fruit, but vegetables are a different story. Luckily for those people, it's easy to sneak a vegetable like spinach into a smoothie or juice.
"Really, mixed with fruit, you cannot taste it," she said. "Clearly, you'll recognize the color, which is always what throws people off."
BowlsHeenan's also a fan of smoothie bowls that make a balanced meal with toppings like granola, seeds and fresh fruit.
Customers at Keep Well love the Passion Smoothie Bowl she shared with Local Flavor that blends five types of berries — blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and strawberries — with lemon juice and hemp protein powder or seeds.
Heenan tops it with additional berries and Purely Elizabeth granola that's organic, gluten free and made from ancient grains.
"Chances are, after a bowl, you're going to be satiated. Chances are, you're not going to be wanting to have a second serving or something else with it," she said.
JuicesIt's a bit more expensive to make homemade juices, Heenan said, but nowadays people can find juicers for less than $100. Smoothies keep all the fiber packed in, whereas it's stripped in juices. However, you're still taking in a ton of nutrients, she said.
"It's become a lot more popular and a lot more common, which is great," she said. "It could be a great way to step into a healthier transition, a new lifestyle."
People can customize smoothies and juices to their own needs. For instance, those who struggle with digestion especially love Keep Well's Amethyst juice with pineapple and red cabbage.
Getting children involved in the process isn't only fun, but guides them toward healthier choices, she added.
Produce tipsHaving a shop focused on nonperishable food, Heenan tries to get the most life out of her produce to reduce waste.
Be mindful of produce that gives off high amounts of ethylene — a gas that accelerates ripening — and produce that's most sensitive to it. For example, she suggests keeping apples, pears and bananas separate from all other produce.
Other methods to keep produce fresh include storing cleaned strawberries refrigerated in a glass jar, wrapping stems of bananas in foil and keeping whole lemons and limes in a glass jar filled with cold water in the fridge.
Heenan also suggested wrapping celery in foil and fresh herbs in paper towels. Refrigerate both, and stand the herbs up in a glass jar.
It's also important to let seasonality and location dictate the fruits and vegetables that you plan to consume, she said. Whenever possible, she recommends shopping locally to find the freshest produce as opposed to fruits and vegetables shipped to Pennsylvania from across the country.
"When consumed shortly after harvest, you'll be providing your body with the highest levels of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins," Heenan said. "We are so lucky to be surrounded by so many farms including a few that do not spray pesticides. Plus, you're supporting the local economy."
Heenan said while it's better to buy organic, that isn't feasible for everyone. She suggested making a solution using 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon of baking soda to soak non-organic produce. Let the produce sit in the solution for at least five minutes, then drain and rinse.
Especially make sure to soak fruits and vegetables that fall into the "Dirty Dozen," she said, a list the nonprofit Environmental Working Group considers the most heavily sprayed with pesticide: strawberries, spinach, kale, collard and mustard greens, peaches, pears, nectarines, apples, grapes, bell and hot peppers, cherries, blueberries and green beans.
For more information about Keep Well, go to
keepwellfuelwellfeelwell. com or its Facebook page.
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