Guest Blog: Joanne Smith

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You may remember Joanne Smith as one of our first IZ people! Through her nutrition company Fruitful Elements, she's written a book, magazine columns, blogs and more, providing helpful, healthful nutritional tips and advice, especially to those with a spinal cord injury. She's shared some valuable information with the IZ community to help us all achieve optimal health and well-being.
"As someone who has lived with a spinal cord injury for 25 years, I fully understand the unique challenges you face in trying to stay healthy while living a full and active life.  One of the keys to this delicate balance is proper nutrition. After sustaining spinal damage your metabolism is significantly altered and this can contribute to the development of a host of other secondary health complications, which can negatively impact your independence. Incorporating whole foods into your diet is an important way to help maintain your health, improve daily functioning, reduce the secondary complications that come with living with a spinal cord injury, minimize illness, and maximize your potential.
So let’s begin with the most important meal of the day - yes our Mother’s were right… its breakfast! It’s been estimated that people with mobility impairments must exert seven times the energy to accomplish the same physical tasks as an able-bodied person, so it’s vital to properly fuel your body every morning. Now before you pour yourself a big bowl of processed cereal or detour to your local drive-thru for a large sugary coffee and toasted bagel to get your morning kick - wait! These morning meals are loaded with sugar and refined carbohydrates that can contribute to weight gain, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and low immunity. While they may give you a quick energy boost, they'll just as quickly give you an energy crash and before you know it you'll be reaching for the next quick hit of food again. 
 chopped banana
What you need is a quick n' easy food source that also sustains your energy- Breakfast Smoothies are the perfect answer! These delicious shakes only take 5 minutes to make, that is less time than you spend in line at the drive-thru! And the bonus is you will never get bored of eating smoothies because you can mix up your favorite fruits into them. Smoothies are not only high in complex carbohydrates to keep you going all morning, but they're also packed with muscle-building protein & immune-boosting nutrients. On top of all of these tasty health benefits, smoothies also help increase your metabolism so they can actually help you lose weight! All you need are the following ingredients & a counter-top blender or hand blender:

Grounded Earth Protein Smoothie 

½ banana
1 ½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (can substitute soy or rice milk)
2 tsp almond butter
½ cup dates (seeds out)
½ tsp spirulina power (can substitute greens or sea vegetable powder)
1 tsp oat bran


Combine all ingredients in blender and buzz until smooth in consistency

*Spirulina is a nutrient dense algae that can be found in your local health food store and it doesn’t taste bad-I promise! 

You can connect with Joanne for more information through her website or on social media at Twitter and Facebook.