Stroke Victims, This Strawberry Flax Smoothie Bowl Is Packed Full of Healthy, Healing Foods


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Recovering from a stroke can be difficult, especially when you’re also expected to overhaul your diet to prevent further complications.

Patients who are recovering from a stroke in the hospital are often handed a list of foods that they now need to avoid.  Needless to say, feeling like you have to give up all of your favorite foods can feel pretty stressful, especially when you’re already in the hospital due to a serious health complication.

You can show your support for a loved one who is going through this difficult time by preparing a beautiful and delicious smoothie bowl that proves healthy eating doesn’t need to be bland or boring.

Often the most challenging step in transitioning toward a healthier lifestyle is simply the act of becoming more familiar with plant-based ingredients and cooking techniques.  For this reason, I love the idea of starting with a simple, 5-minute smoothie bowl.

Unlike regular (drinkable) smoothies, smoothie bowls are usually made to be a bit thicker and eaten out of a bowl with a spoon instead of out of a glass.

My favorite thing about eating smoothies out of a bowl is that it allows for a beautiful display of healthy toppings!  The result is a dish that’s wholesome enough for breakfast yet tasty enough for dessert too.

Besides great taste and eye-catching presentation, this Strawberry Flax Smoothie Bowl is filled with foods that support optimal cardiovascular health.

Strawberries, for example, contain a number of heart-healthy nutrients, including vitamin C, fiber, and protective phytonutrients that support optimal cholesterol levels and blood sugar control.

Flaxseeds are another beneficial addition to a heart healthy lifestyle.  These cardiovascular benefits are in part due to high levels of an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid.  Omega 3’s and flax have been shown to suppress the hardening of arteries (a major risk factor for future stroke).

Smoothies and smoothie bowls are best served fresh but they can easily be partially prepared in advance for added convenience.  To partially prepare a smoothie bowl, add all ingredients except milk and toppings to a freezer-friendly bag or container and freeze.  Once ready to serve, just transfer contents to a blender, add milk, and blend until smooth.

And don’t forget the toppings!

They’re not only beautiful to look at and fun to eat, but also provide an opportunity to add even more heart-healthy antioxidants, fiber, and healthy fats.  Use my suggestions from the recipe below or express a little creativity by adding in your own favorite nuts, seeds, fresh or dried fruits, herbs and spices, etc.

Opt for lots of color and texture to create a healthy breakfast or dessert that’s just as good for your heart as it is fun to eat!

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7 Comforting Gifts For Friends & Families with Breast Cancer

7 Comforting Gifts For Friends & Families with Breast Cancer

Learn about some of the best gifts for a friend or family member battling breast cancer. At the same time, remember that being there for them is one of the best gifts you can provide.

Courtney Hale / istockphoto

Meal trains can be incredibly helpful for anyone going through difficult periods in life. When someone is going through chemotherapy, planning to feed their family should be the last thing on their mind. In saying this, gathering a group of individuals from the community and forming a meal train can make a world difference. Before starting one, it is a good idea to check if the recipient and their family have any food allergies or dislikes of particular foods. This way, supporters can provide options that won’t go to waste and that no one will be limited from enjoying.

Another essential thing to determine when setting up a meal train, is the frequency and schedule at which people can sign up to to provide meals.

You want to have a combination of both meals that can be heated immediately and other meals that can be frozen and cooked later. This helps the recipient not have to worry about making food and not worrying about food going bad too quickly. We also recommend adding a sticky note or heating instructions with meals that can be frozen. Then the recipient knows how long to reheat frozen foods for, as well as have some idea of when food will be best by. A final note about why meal trains are excellent gifts is that so many different recipes exist, possibilities are endless. 

Liudmila Chernetska/istockphoto

Coloring is a calming and mentally refreshing activity you could provide for a friend fighting breast cancer. The recipient would be able to easily take it to the hospital and color as they undergo treatment or monitoring. It can be a distraction from the current environment and a soothing activity to do while home in bed relaxing.

There are so many different coloring books; how do you decide on just one? They vary from mandalas to animals, even to inspirational quotes. There are so many different choices out there that the possibilities to choose from are endless. 


Escaping reality, even for a short time, can be a great gift to give a loved one with breast cancer. Misery loves company, and having the chance to read the latest gossip and celebrity secrets can be a great way to think about the lives of others rather than worry about your own. And with brain teasers, there are many different books, from trivia and cross-word puzzles to adult connect-the-dots and sudoku.


This gift has been mentioned several times before but is hard to beat. With journaling, the possibilities are endless. Whether you gift someone a blank one or perhaps even one with prompts provided, journals permit individuals to sit down and write about whatever they think or feel without being judged. When going through tough moments in our lives, sometimes it can be easier to sit and write what you are genuinely thinking and feeling; to just let everything out. The writer can share their journal  entries with others if they choose or can be kept for their eyes only. It just permits a safe place to write and let out everything they may be feeling and thinking.


When going through treatments, it is normal for chapped lips to be a side effect of chemotherapy. One of the best ways to battle chap and dry mouth is to use chapstick and consistently hydrate. One of the most helpful ways to remain hydrated is to have a cute water bottle–or just a bottle in general–that you enjoy using. We highly recommend looking at the different brands of insulated bottles. 

The beauty of these is that they can keep your drinks warm or cold for a copious amount of time, depending on the individual’s drink preference. Another bonus is that they are easy to take to and from the hospital. Those with flip lids/lids that fully cover your mouthpiece when cold are especially recommended because your immune system isn’t at its best when fighting a disease such as cancer. It’s easy to contract germs in public places.

Olga Chetvergova /istockphoto

Now this is a gift that you can give someone by providing them with a giftcard. Going with them is a great activity when they feel up to it. Going out and having someone pamper them for a few hours. Who doesn’t enjoy sitting back and being pampered?


Whether at the hospital or hanging out at home, pajamas are an excellent gift for an individual battling cancer. No matter the season or time of year, you can’t go wrong with pajamas.


A must-have comfort accessory for recovering from any type of breast surgery. Provides security, comfort, and protection especially when wearing cross-body car seatbelts.

The most important thing to remember when caring for a loved one with breast cancer is to be gentle and listen to their needs. This is a great starter selection of gifts. 

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Featured Image Credit: TanyaLovus/istockphoto.