Spicy Cucumber-Kohlrabi Gazpacho (gluten-free and vegan)

Cucumber-Kohlrabi Gazpacho

You know those times when you think you’re eating something really healthy and then you realize there’s all kinds of hidden food bombs lurking within? Gazpacho might just be one of those great deceivers. It is for me!

Every time I eat a light, delicious gazpacho I forget that most of the time they contain stale bread as a thickening agent. The horror! Now, I’m not gluten-free – in fact I make my own sourdough bread every other week and eat the darn stuff daily – but I don’t like feeling duped by my soup.

In light of this sense of gastronomic justice, I experimented with using Kohlrabi – German for “cabbage turnip” – as a thickening agent…and it worked!

Kohlrabi is not a root vegetable but in fact a member of the brassica family – along with brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower. It grows above ground and is loaded with minerals like copper, potassium, manganese, iron, and calcium, as well as vitamins, such as vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, vitamin A, and vitamin K. It’s flavor  is – in my opinion – unremarkable. So, dress it up in cucumber and spice and let’s call it a day!

Move Well DC - Cucumber Kohlrabi Gazpacho

Spicy Cucumber Kohlrabi Gazpacho

{Makes 4 servings.}


  • 1 bulb of kohlrabi
  • 2 large organic cucumbers
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened plain almond milk
  • 1 serrano chile
  • 1 Tbs champagne vinegar (or rice vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • Juice of 2 limes (plus the zest of 1)
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds (for garnish)
  • 1/2 cup basil (for garnish)



  1. PREP: Trim, peel and roughly chop the kohlrabi and cucumbers. Set aside a half a cup of the cucumbers and chop that portion into small cubes. Seed and halve the serrano. Set aside one half and slice thinly for garnish later. Peel the garlic. Cut the basil into small ribbons and set aside for garnish later.
  2. ASSEMBLE: Place all ingredients except the slivered almonds and cucumber, serrano and basil you have set asside for garnish in a high-speed blender. Purée until smooth (note: if you have an older blender you may need to strain the gazpacho with a skimmer or mesh bag to eliminate inconsistencies in texture).
  3. SET: Pour into an airtight container and refrigerate for at least an hour (or up to overnight!) before serve to allow the flavors to meld (note: it will get spicier with time).
  4. SERVE: Place 2 Tbs of cubed cucumber in each bowl and ladle gazpacho on top. Garnish with 2 Tbs of basil ribbons, 2 Tbs of slivered almonds and serrano slices to taste. Drizzle a little extra olive oil and dust with freshly ground black pepper for even more taste impact.


Guest Post: 7 Delicious Green Smoothies to Help Lower High Blood Pressure

Kate B. Forsyth of Be Healthy Today writes…


In this day and age, having high blood pressure is a common thing. A lot if things can lead to this, like the food you eat, the environment, stress, alcohol abuse, etc. Luckily, there are plenty of ways that can help you with this predicament. Drinking specific healthy green smoothies is one way to combat high blood pressure.


There are plenty of smoothie recipes out there that specifically target the lowering of blood pressure. Most of the ingredients used in these smoothies are fruits and vegetables, and just about every kind of each has a positive effect in lowering high blood pressure.


It’s best if you look for recipes that contain ingredients with high potassium content. What potassium does is it lessens the effects of sodium. That means the more food rich in potassium you eat, the more unhealthy sodium you eliminate through urination. Potassium also helps ease the tension in the blood vessel walls. This further helps lower high blood pressure.


For the average adult, the recommended potassium intake per day is 4,700 mg. Some examples of fruits and vegetables rich in potassium are apricots, cantaloupe, grapefruit, bananas, papaya, strawberries, kiwi, carrots, chard, beet greens, lima beans, spinach, and of course, kale.


Along with potassium, there are other elements that naturally lower blood pressure. Some examples are vitamin D, magnesium, anthocyanins, omega-3 fatty acids, melatonin, and acetyl-L-carnitine.


To get you started on your journey to a regulated blood pressure, here are some examples of easy-to-make green smoothies great for lowering high blood pressure. And bonus: they taste amazing too!


The Blood Pressure Regulator

The banana and spinach used in this helpful smoothie take center stage in beating away high blood pressure.



  • 8 ounces pomegranate juice
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 1 apple, cored
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • ice cubes



Put the pomegranate juice in the blender first. Next, add in the banana and apple. Blend until somewhat smooth. Add the spinach last. Continue blending. Put in ice cubes gradually until desired thickness is achieved.


Tomato-Cucumber-Carrot Smoothie

The antioxidant properties as well as the cleansing capabilities of this yummy smoothie promote the elimination of the accumulated toxins from the body. The parsley is a big help in getting rid of the excess sodium and retained fluids in the body that can affect your blood pressure.



  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • a handful of parsley, minced
  • ½ cup water
  • ice cubes



Place all the ingredients (except the ice cubes) in a high-power blender. Mix until fully incorporated. Add the ice cubes for desired consistency.

Green Heart-Healthy Smoothie

Practically all the ingredients used for this drink help in lowering high blood pressure. You definitely won’t go wrong with this smoothie.



  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 frozen banana, sliced
  • ¼ cup raw beets, chopped
  • 1 cup greens of choice (kale or spinach are best)
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, minced
  • ½ cup frozen berries
  • honey to taste



Put in the milk and beets. It’s best to blend the beets first as it requires more blending time. Once beet root and milk mixture is somewhat smooth, add the rest of the ingredients except for the honey. If it lacks some sweetness, that’s when you can put in the honey, but gradually.

Avocado-Kiwi-Melon Madness

Now this is a smoothie that’s super potassium packed. It contains close to a whopping 1,000 mg of potassium per serving. Now that’s one powerful blend.



  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 kiwi, sliced
  • 1 cup honeydew melon, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ice cubes



Blend together the avocado, kiwi, and melon slices. Wait until smooth. Add in the spinach last. Continue blending. Taste the drink to see if sweetness is needed. If so, slowly add in the honey. Put in the ice cubes and continue blending until desired consistency is reached.  


Green Smoothie for High Blood Pressure

Here’s another smoothie recipe whose ingredients greatly help in lowering blood pressure naturally.



  • 2 green apples, chopped
  • 8-10 ribs of celery, chopped
  • a handful of spinach
  • a handful of cilantro
  • 1 lime
  • ice cubes



Put in the apples, celery, cilantro, and juice from the lime in a high-speed blender. Mix until fully incorporated. Add the spinach. Resume blending. For the desired thickness, gradually add in the ice cubes.


Pineapple-Grapefruit-Spinach Smoothie

Pineapple and grapefruit are some of the most effective natural diuretics that combat fluid retention, lower high blood pressure, and also cleanse the kidneys. Due to their high water content and low calorie count, both are also ideal in any type of diet.



  • 1 cup grapefruit juice
  • 2 slices pineapple
  • 1 handful spinach leaves
  • ice cubes



Blend the grapefruit juice and pineapple slices in a high-powered blender. As with other recipes using spinach, add in the spinach last. Resume blending until the mixture is lump-free. Add in the ice one by one for desired consistency.


Spinach and Carrot Smoothie

Not only will this smoothie positively impact blood pressure, it will also provide your body with that extra kick to increase your physical performance.



  • 5 carrots, sliced
  • a handful of spinach
  • a handful of parsley
  • 2 celery stalks
  • ice cubes



Put in the carrot slices, parsley, and celery stalks first and blend until lump-free. Add in a little water for moisture, then the spinach. Continue blending until smooth. You can slowly add the ice for a little thickness.




Kate B. Forsyth is a writer for Be Healthy Today, who specializes in health and nutrition. Her passion is to help people get an overall transformation of health that lasts a lifetime. In her blog posts, she goes beyond research by providing health-concerned citizens doable and simple tricks to achieve a healthier lifestyle.



10 Surprising Banana Health Benefits






Something for Sundays: Papaya Coconut Granola

Work weeks are hectic and weekends are no longer for rest – at least that’s the way I’m feeling these days. In an effort to fit it all in we have less and less time for essentials like sleep, feeding ourselves and down time. What would happen if we all set aside just a few hours, once a weekend, to stay in, read a book, make some food and just plain relax?

Big batch recipes are a great use of our limited down time – good bang for your (time) buck! With that in mind, I’m launching a new series on my blog “Something for Sundays” to provide big batch recipe ideas that will help you maximize your relaxation time. You may have to hang around the house – dare I suggest, read a book, watch a movie, or listen to a podcast – but you won’t have to be too hands on with these recipes. First up…

Move Well DC Papaya Coconut Granola Recipe


Garden Fresh Kale-Almond Pesto

I’m an Italian girl with Mediterranean taste buds so when summer rolls around pesto comes into the forefront of my culinary rotation. Pesto is so easy to make and can be played with endlessly. My little urban garden is currently overflowing with at least four varieties of heirloom kale and a gal can only eat so many kale chips, eat so many kale salads, and drink so many kale smoothies before she gets kale’d out. The solution to my kale fatigue? You guessed it, presto pesto!

Kale Almond Pest

My kale pesto has the same umami goodness of a more traditional recipe, but with a little extra kick from the bittersweet taste profile of this blend of kale leaves. I used a mix of laccinato, curly, and a purple-stemmed kale whose name I don’t know but you can use whatever looks fresh and delicious. If you don’t have almonds, pine nuts or walnuts work well too.


I quadrupled this recipe to make 4 quarts, which are now sitting frozen in my freezer for a crazy week when I don’t have the time to cook. These will stay fresh for up to 3 months when frozen, but I wouldn’t leave them sitting for more than a week in your refrigerator. Enjoy with eggs, grains like farro or quinoa, and of course on pasta. Green goodness in a jar – what more could you want from a summer haul!


Kale-Almond Pesto

(yields one quart)



  • 6 heaping handfuls of kale (I used 22 leaves de-stemmed)
  • Juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted almonds


  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until it’s an even consistency.
  2. Scrape contents into a wide mouth mason jar.
  3. Store in the fridge for up to 10 days or freezer for up to 3 months.

Mindful Eating Boosts Productivity

We live in a busy world where everything moves fast and we often barely have time to eat, yet food is one of our most important sources of pleasure.  Unfortunately, as a result of our hectic schedules when it comes to eating food we’re often distracted by something else (cell phones, computer, kids, laundry, getting ready for bed, etc). In a rush, we often chew and swallow fast and end up eating more…and more. Voilà, mindless eating!

According to the CDC more than 34% of all us adults are obese and half as many children are as well (17%).

This is certainly not all a result of mindless eating but it is certainly a contributing factor for many people. Mindless eating is a reflection in many ways of just how disconnected we are from our food.

Perhaps a bigger problem than mindless eating itself is than in doing so we’re actually rendering ourselves less productive. I know, I know. Many of us think that by multitasking our meals we’re getting more done in our days, but recent research has really debunked the theory of multitasking being genuinely productive.

In fact, only 2% of us multitask effectively.

On the flip side, mindful eating does make you more productive. Mindful eating, like all mindfulness practices, helps increase our focus and concentration. Also, by eating until we’re satisfied rather than stuffed, we’re less likely to get the lethargy and brain fog associated with over-eating.

So what is mindful eating and how do you start to incorporate in your busy life?

Mindful eating is an application of the Buddhist philosophy of being in the moment, which is thought to be a huge part of the path to contentment and ultimately enlightenment – or as we say in the yoga world, “bliss.” Mindful eating is about making deliberate choices about the food you choose to nourish yourself and those you love with. It is also about slowing down and becoming aware of how we eat. A mindful eater focuses on all the sensory experiences around food: identifying tastes, observing colors, smelling aromas, and noticing textures.

Try this mindful eating exercise to kickstart more awareness and presence around the process of making and eating food. The more we learn to focus on the task at hand, whether than be eating our lunch or knocking out a work email, the more efficient and ultimately content we’ll all be.

Chilled Spinach Detox Soup for your Meatless Monday

Whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan, conflicted omnivore or ardent carnivore, it doesn’t hurt to give yourself at least one day each week where you focus on a plant-based diet. I love the Meatless Monday movement for this very reason. It’s approachable, non-preachy and good common sense. I’m completely inconsistent with my posts to this end and am way overdue in offering a new recipe for you all.

As some of you know, I am a big believer in whole foods, home cooking-focused detoxes. I’ve guided over 100 different folks from all over the country through my seasonal detoxes over the course of the last two years and really enjoy coming up with meals that are simple, tasty and clean. My latest 4-day detox includes the following recipe. If you want to buy the self-guided version it’s now available through my online store.


I love picking up ingredients for this and all detox recipes from my local farmers market. Food is always better – both in taste and nutrient density – when locally grown with less transport and shelf time.


Chilled Spinach Detox Soup

{makes 4 side portions or 2 mains}


  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs organic unsalted butter
  • 2 small sweet onions (the size of baseballs)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp muchi curry powder
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 5 oz baby spinach
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Top with a couple tablespoons of low-fat, plain Greek yogurt


  1. Sauté onions in butter and oil over medium heat until soft, adding a generous pinch of salt as you stir.
  2. Add curry powder and garlic. Sauté another minute until fragrant.
  3. Add stock and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add spinach and thyme and simmer another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
  5. Blend until smooth.
  6. Served hot or chilled and garnish with yogurt and ground black pepper. Stir well and enjoy!

Peanut Butter Cashew Coconut Granola


Oh boy, it’s here! Another gluten-free granola recipe for you. All of my others have had very fall-like flavor profiles (pumpkin and sweet potato) but it’s time for spring y’all. Not that peanut butter and cashews exactly scream spring like asparagus and artichokes do, but they’re tasty year-round so just enjoy.

MOARfit by Amy Rizzotto Peanut Butter Granola

This yummy, crunchy, savory-sweet granola is great fuel  before a workout. Grab a small handful about 30-45 minutes prior to heading out the door. After a sweat session, top 3/4 cup low-fat plain greek yogurt with 1/4 cup granola and half an apple chopped for a well-balanced recovery meal. Add an extra dash of cinnamon for a more heart-healthy edge!

MOARfit by Amy Rizzotto Peanut Butter Granola


Peanut Butter Cashew Coconut Granola

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 cup raw cashew pieces
  • 1 cup unsweetened shaved coconut
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (liquid or melted)
  • 3/4 cup all-natural peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean scraped
  • Optional: 1 cup chopped dried Turkish apricots

How to Make It:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, cashews, and coconut.
  3. In a blender, blend together the coconut oil, peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon until smooth.
  4. Pour blender mixture over your dry ingredients and stir until evenly coated.
  5. Spread the mixture on a lipped baking sheet, pressing it down to evenly cover all the way to the edges.
  6. Bake for 1 hour, gently turning the granola with a spatula every 15 minutes. Flip in sections so that you keep some clumps. Move some of the granola from the edges to the middle and from the middle to the edges about halfway through so that it cooks evenly.
  7. After an hour, turn the oven down to 275°F and cook another 10 -20 minutes. You’ll know it is done when it is dry to the touch and piece left to cool on the counter turns crispy. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely.
  8. If you’re adding dried apricots, stir them in while the mix is still cooling.

Note: store in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.


Recent Events: Fueling Amazing with Athleta and Nutrition for Athletes with Off Road Cycling

The first official weekend of summer was jam-packed with fun. Not only was I at the studio (Yoga Heights) more than usual with my business partner getting some well-deserved R&R, but I had one MOARfit event each day to make it extra special.

First up – Fueling Amazing with Athleta Georgetown:

I had such an awesome group of yogis Saturday, June 21 for the Athleta Summer Solstice celebration down on The Labyrinth at Georgetown Waterfront Park.

Amy Rizzotto MOARfit Athleta 2

More than 25 people braved the temperamental weather and didn’t let a few rain drops during our sun salutations dampen the fun. Amy Rizzotto MOARfit Athleta

A great big THANK YOU to everyone that came out for the event and to Athleta for including me as their teacher for this powerful group!
Amy Rizzotto MOARfit Athleta 3

Stay in the know on future FREE Athleta Georgetown events by following them on Twitter @Athleta_DC. And while you’re at it, follow me @MOARfit! #fuelingamazing

To cap off the weekend – Nutrition for Athletes at Off Road:

Nutrition for Athletes MOARfit Amy Rizzotto

A fit-fabulous group of 15 runners (and some cyclists) came out to Off Road Indoor Cycling Sunday, June 22 for my Nutrition for Athletes Workshop. We covered pre-, during and post-race nutrition, all the while sampling delicious granola from my girl Alicia at Greenheart Wellness and smoothies concocted by yours truly.

Greenheart Wellness

Keep checking the blog for a little fit-focused nutrition knowledge coming your way in July!

Announcement: I’m opening a yoga studio!

Yoga Heights_Jess and Amy

Yoga Heights–aka my amazing business partner and friend Jess Pierno’s and my baby–will be the District’s newest yoga studio and wellness center. Our goal is to offer balanced wellness for every body, at every level and every budget.

We open our doors in less than two months (March 22, 2014) at 3506 Georgia Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. YHDC (hastag that!) will offer a variety of different yoga classes–including power yoga, fusion yoga, prenatal yoga, and yin yoga–as well as yogalates, pilates, meditation, nutrition education and more. Jess and I are so excited to bring moar yoga to our new neighbors in the Columbia Heights, Petworth, Parkview and surrounding neighborhoods.

To ensure that wellness classes are affordable to everyone, YHDC will offer a unique “Karma Pass” that will subsidize the cost of classes for students who are unable to afford regularly priced offerings. Students may apply for the “Karma Pass Program” and receive up to three classes per week at a steeply discounted rate. Funds raised through a weekly donation class, as well as donations from other students who wish to support the Karma Pass Program will be matched by Yoga Heights to fund the program.

Stay in the know on opening events, pre-sales and special deals by visiting our new website–www.YogaHeightsDC.com.

Thanks for all the love and support!