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Crave-worthy Detox Smoothie!

Green Pineapple Dream |  yield: 2 servings


Green smoothieGreen smoothies are my favorite go-to healthy breakfast. Tasty and filled with energy-boosting nutrients, you won’t deplete your willpower whipping up one of these beauties!

Green cilantro is anti-inflammatory, cholesterol-lowering, and binds with toxins so your body can release them. (if you’re not a fan of cilantro, swap it for basil or parsley, which are also fabulous!) 

Tropical pineapple is also anti-inflammatory, a good source of Vitamin D, and contains Manganese and  Bromelain, a wonderful digestion-boosting enzyme. 
What to put in your blender: 
 

What to do (AKA directions):

  1. Combine the greens, cilantro and water together and blend until smooth.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and blend again until smooth! Pour, sip and ahhhh! 

Did you love this smoothie?

Leave a comment or please share with friends using the links above!

xo,

Alex

Chocolate IS Love… Vegan Valentine Recipes with Raw Cacao

Chocolate is Love.

At least that’s what our brains think.

See, when we eat chocolate, a whole cascade of happy chemicals and hormones get triggered, making us feel a bit high, happy, relaxed and excited all at the same time.

 

Kinda like love.

Raw Cacao Truffle Recipe

Phenylethylamine is often called the “love drug,” a unique caffeine with stimulating physiological effects, fatty acids called cannabinoids (yes, relatives of those found in pot), which make you feel relaxed and intoxicated, and all of this leads to a release of the pleasure-producing hormones dopamine and serotonin.

 

Top it all off with a dose of sugar normally found in our cocoa treats, and you’ve got a world-class super drug.

 

With all of these happy high chemicals coming in legal, cheap, bite-sized nuggets, it’s amazing we aren’t all on the streets collecting pop bottles and turning tricks to get another fix! (Too much? Ok, maybe just collecting pop bottles…)

 

Luckily, the amounts of these mind-altering chemicals found in chocolate are relatively small compared with other drugs like marijuana, ecstasy, and morphine. Our modern brains are used to the amounts and effects of the pleasure-inducing chemicals released by our coffee, tea, cocoa, and energy drinks, and we can only produce so much dopamine. When we eat a ton of chocolate and release a bunch of dopamine, our bodies immediately seek balance by shutting down the hormone production. This leads to desensitization to both dopamine and chocolate’s effects over time.

 

Which makes me think we should all be living slightly cleaner lives with less caffeine, sugar and other “happy drugs” so that we can really enjoy the effects of chocolate more!

Cacao pod, Costa Rica, Alex Jamieson, raw cacao recipes

Cacao pod

HISTORY OF CACAO

Cacao flowers, Costa Rica, Alex Jamieson, raw cacao recipes

Cacao flowers, Costa Rica

Humans weren’t the first culinary smarties to figure out that cacao seeds were edible. They learned it from watching monkeys. Found in pods growing in South American rain forests, cacao seeds are covered with a slimy, slightly-sweet gel, sort of like leechee fruit.

 

Monkeys and people first cracked open the pods, sucked on the fruit and spat out the seeds. The raw seeds inside were bitter and pretty gross, so few animals or humans ate them, even though they were high in fat.

 

Carrying these seeds along their migrations caused the cacao trees to spread throughout South America and Central America.

 

But what happened next in chocolate’s history took a stroke of luck: someone realized that when you fermented and then roasted those seeds before eating them, the bitter flavor diminished and the ambrosia-like aroma of chocolate began to tickle their noses.

 

Once fermented and roasted, those bitter cacao beans begin to smell like melting chocolate. Grind the seeds, add some sugar, cinnamon, and chili pepper, and you’ve got a Water of the Gods, or cacao agua.

 

I recently visited a rainforest cacao plantation in Costa Rica and watched the traditional methods for making cacao agua, as well as tasting the fruits, and learning about the lifecycle of this magical food.

Raw Cacao Fruit, Costa Rica, Alex Jamieson, raw cacao recipes

Raw Cacao Fruit

 

Until you can get yourself down to Central America to experience this for yourself, I’ve created a few healthy, delicious cacao (raw cocoa bean) recipes to enjoy with your Valentine, or any time!

 

Hot Chocolate of the Gods

Hot Chocolate of the Gods: Vegan Valentine's Hot Cocoa | Raw Cacao Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate of the Gods: Vegan Valentine’s Hot Cocoa | Raw Cacao Hot Chocolate

I know, that’s a bold statement – really, Alex? Chocolate of the Gods? That’s quite a boast for a cup of hot cocoa. I’m telling you! I first drank something like this recipe in Costa Rica on a chocolate plantation in the jungle, and had my first out-of-body experience. In short, I think I saw God. At least I saw chocolate, and for me, that’s pretty good.

2 pitted Medjool dates

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1 cup water

1/8 tsp cinnamon

½ teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons raw cacao powder

pinch sea salt

*1/8 tsp cayenne powder (optional – this is how the ancients did it)

* ¼ tsp peppermint extract (optional – don’t combine if using cayenne)

Directions:

Combine all in a blender and blend until super smooth. Pour into a small saucepan and warm over medium heat until heated through.  Pour into mugs, cozy up under a blanket, turn on Cousins, Diva, or Downton Abbey (or any other romantic movie) and enjoy!

Date Night: Cacao Nibs in Dates

Date Night: Raw Cacao and Medjool Dates, Raw Cacao Recipe, Alex Jamieson

Date Night: Raw Cacao, Almond Butter and Medjool Dates

Medjool Dates, Date Night, Raw Cacao Recipe, Alex Jamieson

Medjool Dates, Date Night, Raw Cacao Recipe

 

4 Medjool dates, pitted and halved

1 tablespoon cacao nibs

1 tablespoon almond butter

Directions:

Scoop ½ teaspoon into each half of the pitted dates. Sprinkle with cacao nibs and gently press in with your finger so the nibs stick. Serve to your loved one on Date Night!

Goddess Truffles

Goddess Truffles: Raw Cacao Recipe, Alex Jamieson

Goddess Truffles: Raw Cacao Recipe

Whether you’re serving them to a Goddess, or you ARE a goddess, these raw cacao truffles are super easy, delicious, and won’t tax your culinary skills. In short, you can show off in the kitchen without trying too hard.

 

2 cups raw nuts (I used 1 cup each almonds and cashews)

½ cup pitted Medjool dates

pinch sea salt

4 tablespoons raw cacao powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon honey

optional: coconut flour, cacao powder, cinnamon for rolling truffles

 

 

Directions:

Combine all (except optional coconut flour, etc) in a food processor. Pulse until the nuts are well ground and mixed with the dates.

Using a tablespoon or a small ice cream scooper, scoop the mixture into your hand and form into truffle balls.

You can now roll in coconut flour or other decorations, or eat raw.

Goddess Truffles: Raw Cacao Recipe, Alex Jamieson, Valentine's Day Recipe, Vegan Valentine

Goddess Truffles: Raw Cacao Recipe

 

 

Serve as is, on top of ice cream, or crumbled on banana slices.

 

 

WHY I USE RAW CACAO

As you may have noticed, these recipes call for raw cacao, which is different from baking chocolate, chocolate chips, and all products made with dutched or processed chocolate. The health benefits of raw cacao are pretty awesome, and you can make a lot of easy treats with it.

 

And for me, healthy + delicious = perfect.

Why Raw Cacao is the best Chocolate

Why Raw Cacao is the best Chocolate

 

BUT, you have to buy the right kind of cacao to get the most benefits and avoid the toxins found in conventional cacao production. Certified Organic Raw Cacao is an excellent source of antioxidants. It it’s NOT Certified Organic Raw Cacao, then you are also eating a lot of chemicals from irradiation and spraying of chemicals which are standard practice in growing cacao beans.

All of my recipes use organic raw cacao powder and raw cacao nibs.

In case you’re wondering, here are some of the health benefits of using raw cacao:

 

Magnesium: Cacao beans are a great source of this mineral (270 milligrams per 100 grams), which is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in our bodies, including muscle and nerve function, and is a muscle relaxant associated with feelings of calmness.

Sulphur: Cacao is also high in sulfur, which helps grow strong nails and hair.

 

Fiber: A chocolate bar doesn’t offer any fiber, but if you eat raw cacao, you’ll get 9 grams per ounce!

 

Iron: An ounce of the raw cacao beans or nibs (crushed beans) contains six per cent of your recommended daily iron intake.

 

Antioxidants: Raw cocoa powder tops the antioxidant list with almost four times the amount of antioxidants as Goji Berries. But be careful! You may be sensitive to the caffeine effects on your nervous system, so take it easy on this stimulant.

 

Now there are 2 compounds in cacao that you might want to be careful of:

 

Theobromine, which makes up 1-2% of the cacao bean and, like caffeine, is a nervous system stimulant that dilates the blood vessels — much like caffeine. This is what makes chocolate unsafe for dogs, and causes uncomfortable sensations for sensitive humans.

 

Phenylethylamine (PEA): While our bodies also produce PEA (an adrenal-related chemical) when we’re excited, it causes our pulse to quicken. While this makes some of us feel alert and excited, it can have an uncomfortable effect on people who are sensitive and wanting to lower their heart rate.

 

With all this in mind, choose the healthiest chocolate for you and your loved ones, and enjoy the natural high of the food of the gods.

 

I want to hear from you! Share your pictures of favorite chocolate recipes, or your version of these recipes here!

Post your pictures to my Facebook or Pinterest page, and leave a comment below about your chocolate discoveries!

Xo,

Alex

Winter Salads: Waste Not Want Not, Cauliflower Leaves

Don’t throw out those cauliflower leaves!

You know those leaves that frame the white, pillowy florets we love eating?

They’re edible, too!


Just peel them off the florets, wash them, dry them, and thinly slice them.

“You mean I’ve been throwing away good greens all these years?!” you ask…

YES! The vitamins are just as high in the leaf as in the head,

and 1/2 cup of cauliflower (leaves or white florets) contains half of your daily Vitamin C and are super high in fiber.

AND cauliflower is part of the cancer-fighting cruciferous family, so hit your antioxidant quota with this simple trick.

Here’s what I did this week while I was steaming the florets:

Slice the leaves up thinly and toss with freshly shredded carrot.

Drizzle with olive oil, a little lemon juice or umeboshi vinegar, and sprinkle with good sea salt.

Toss. Eat. Done.

shredded cauliflower salad Alex Jamieson

Winter Whites: Celery Root & Cauliflower Soup

Creamy Celery Soup 5Winter Whites:

Creamy Celery Root & Cauliflower Soup

You may have passed by the celery root, also known as celeriac, because it looked scary and you couldn’t image what you’d do with that giant root. 

Fear not! That big bulbous root is just the bottom of celery, and you may be able to find it with some celery stalks growing out of the top, which is great for soup garnish. 

Celery root is high in fiber, potassium and magnesium, and make a deliciously creamy (and easily dairy free) soup that hints of sweet celery – just trust me. Make this! 

To prep the celery root, just cut off all the brown outer “peal” with a sharp knife. I recommend you cut it in half first, so you have a flat surface to steady the round root on. Then cube it and cook it! 
Celery Root

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 cups cubed celery root
2 cups chopped cauliflower
1/2 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups water
1/2 cup unsweetened plant-milk 
1/2-1 teaspoon sea salt
Black pepper
Extra olive oil for drizzling and a few celery leaves for garnish

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil over medium in a big soup pot or Dutch oven, and add the celery root, cauliflower and onion. Stir to coat all the veggies with oil.
  2. Cook for about five minutes. Don’t allow to brown, just to soften up. 
  3. Add the garlic, broth and water. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, and cover.
  4. Simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until the celery root is tender. Stir in the plant milk.
  5. Remove the soup from the heat. If you have an immersion or “stick” blender, use it to puree the soup while it is still in the pot. 
  6. If you are using a regular blender, carefully ladle the soup in batches of 3 cups at a time into your blender, puree until smooth and return to the pot. Season with salt and pepper, starting with 1/2 teaspoon of each. Stir well, taste and add more to taste. 

Spiced Red Lentil Stew: Liver Supportive Recipe

Indian Kitchari for Fall Liver Support
Yield: 6 servings

Support your liver this fall with traditional Indian Kitchari stew – a pleasantly spiced, but not spicey-hot, stew. Easy to make ahead for a busy week, simply reheat portions with a little water and serve with a tossed green salad for a great, warming meal!

½ cup brown rice
1 cup red lentils
6 cups water or sodium-free vegetable broth
1 cup carrot, large dice
½ yellow onion, large dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ inch ginger root, freshly grated
1 tablespoon coconut oil or grass-fed butter or ghee (clarified butter)
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon coriander powder
½ teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon sea salt

handful fresh cilantro leaves

 
lentil soup

1. Rinse and drain the rice and lentils, being careful to remove any stones.
2. Add to the 6 cups of water in a large soup pot and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
3. Add the carrot, onion, garlic, and ginger root. Cook for another 10 minutes.
4. While the vegetables are cooking, place the oil, cumin seeds and mustard seeds in a separate skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until they begin to pop. Add the remaining spices and salt and stir for 30 seconds.
5. Add the cooked spices to the kitchari mixture, stir well, and cook for 5 minutes more. Add another cup or two of water if you need more liquid.
6. Top bowls with a few fresh cilantro leaves and serve hot.

Healthy Donuts? You bet. Apple Cinnamon Mini-Donuts | 21 Day Sugar Detox Recipe Review

Alex Jamieson & Diane Sanfilippo, author of
The 21-Day Sugar Detox

This summer I made a new friend, and she’s a friend with benefits: she’s a cookbook author!

Diane is smart, sassy, and doing great work in the world. Her popular online program, 21 Day Sugar Detox, has finally been made into a beautiful book, and I’ve been trying out recipes.

My son and I worked together and put these mini-donuts together with another recipe, her Vanilla Coconut Cream – can you say YUMM!?

Apple Cinnamon Mini-Donuts: Gluten-Free & Sugar-Free! From Diane Sanfillippo's The 21-Day Sugar Detox

Apple Cinnamon Mini-Donuts

Original recipe from Diane SanFilippo’s The 21-Day Sugar Detox

 

2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil or unsalted butter

3 tablespoons coconut oil, divided

1 green apple, peeled and shredded on the big holes of a cheese grater

3 eggs

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

5 tablespoons full-fat coconut milk

1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flour

1/3 cup almond flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Brush a mini-donut pan with the melted coconut oil or butter.
  • In a skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil. Saute the shredded apple until soft, about 5 minutes. Scoop onto a plate and allow to cool.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, vanilla, remaining 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, coconut milk, and vinegar until combined. Add the coconut flour, almond flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cooked apples, and salt to the egg mixture and whisk until smooth.
  • Pour the batter by spoonful into the oiled donut holes, filling each about 2/3 of the way full. The donuts will puff up while baking.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until the donuts are puffed up and golden brown, about 15 minutes.

 

Serve with Coconut Vanilla Cream:

Scrape the beans out of a fresh vanilla bean and smoosh together with a rubber spatula at room temperature  with coconut butter until well blended.

How to make Green Smoothies for Fall & Winter

A reader asked how she can continue drinking green smoothies for breakfast in the colder seasons.
Here’s my quick video answer!

I know adding healthy fats and good protein, as well as the right produce are important for a breakfast that keeps me going.

My favorite Green & Protein Chai recipe

1 scoop vegan gluten-free Chai protein powder 
1 large or 2 small seeded pears
½ cup blueberries (thawed overnight if frozen)
2 cups unsweetened coconut/almond milk
1 tablespoon raw coconut oil
2 large leaves of kale
Blend and enjoy!
Hope this helps you stay on track!

Use it at room temp, or if it’s cold, warm it up on the stove top.
If you use unfrozen berries (room temp fruit) it shouldn’t seize up.

Please share this video with your friends! Just click below to Tweet it!

How to make #green smoothies for fall & winter – @deliciousalex made a quick video! http://bit.ly/18RHmuP

 

 

 

How To Stay Cool (And Drop A Few Pounds) With Natural Foods This Summer

Are you wilting? Living in New York City can be tough on a girl’s hair in the summer. Humidity, heat and shvitzing not only make my ‘do a frizzy mess, but I get cranky, tired and crave cool things to help me get relief.

Rather than reaching for the bucket of ice cream, an expensive iced soy latte or a caffeine filled iced tea, try adding in more of nature’s natural coolers throughout your day. These foods will quench your thirst, cool your internal fires, and help you drop a few pounds if you load up on these instead of the potato salad at the Labor Day picnic! 

COOLING FOODS

Alfalfa
Amaranth
Apple
Berries
Bok choy
Borage
Broccoli
Chinese cabbage
Cilantro
Citrus
Cucumber
Dandelion
Eggplant
Green tea
Kudzu
Lemon
Lettuce
Litchi
Millet
Mint
Mung bean
Pineapple
Plum
Radish
Rhubarb
Seaweed
Sour cherry
Sprouts
Summer squash
Tofu
Tomato
Tropical fruit
Watermelon
Wild blue-green algae

Did you love this idea? Please Click To Tweet & Share! 

xo, 

Alex

 

Compiled From Rebecca Wood’s The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia
http://astore.amazon.com/nutritionforempoweredwomen-20?node=1&page=2

10 Reasons Why Summer Is THE Season for Eating Well

GUEST BLOG by Dr. Hyman

I rarely have guests write on my blog: so today’s post is a special occasion! The smart, and dare I say handsome, Dr. Mark Hyman has inspired thousands to heal their diabesity (diabetes + obesity) with good food. Read this and get inspired:

 

There are so many reasons why I love the summertime: the green grass and warm sunshine, longer days and warmer evenings, more time to savor all the beauty of the outdoors. But the best part by far is the amazing abundance of healthy, fresh, whole foods everywhere you look. In celebration of the richness of the season, I’ve put together my top 10 reasons why there’s no better time to eat well.

1. Food is Fresh, Available, and Affordable

It’s easy to eat fresh, locally grown food when fruits and vegetables are as abundant and available as they are during the summer months. And when food is more available, it’s more affordable, too, since choosing local produce cuts the cost of shipping food from some far-off place.

When food is in season, it’s better for you. Except for freezing, most food storage practices cause a loss in nutrition and quality. Think of all the preservatives and toxic chemicals used to keep packaged foods from going rancid on grocery store shelves. Beware these processed and preserved foods that can’t die. Fresh food is alive, filled with all the nourishment and nutrients needed to keep you alive and thriving!

Eating locally is not only healthy for you, it’s great for your community, too. Participate in the grow-your-own movement by shopping at your local farmers’ market or join a CSA (community supported agriculture). See www.localharvest.org to find a CSA or farmers’ market near you. For more adventurous ways to go local, try that interesting little farm stand you drive by during your daily commute (they usually offer great value for seasonal fruit and veggies) or try a pick-your-own farm.

 

2. You Can Get Back To Basics

Summer is all about unwinding, relaxing, and enjoying the simple pleasures of good food and good company. Always keep basic staples in the pantry, so you’ll be ready for an easy, impromptu meal. They don’t need to cost much. To eat well, you don’t have to indulge in expensive specialty foods or the new, trendy exotic fruit du jour. Keep it simple.

Tip: Get back to basics by creating delectable meals out of everyday foods, such as beans and greens. Beans cost only 50 cents per serving, yet give you 7 grams of blood sugar-friendly fiber. Try the Black Bean Salad recipe from The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook.

 

3. You Can Savor the Flavor

Summer offers so many ways for you to add flavor to your food without resorting to salt and fat. Herbs, spices, and berries are all plentiful during the warmer months. Get creative, and experiment using herbs like basil, cilantro, parsley, or fresh dill. In the summertime, these are so easy to grow right in your own window!

Here are two recipes from Mark’s Book The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook! 

Shrimp Salsa & Whole Foods Protein Shake

4. You Can Lighten Your Load

Produce is available in huge quantities and varieties during the summer months. This wide array of options makes it easy to enjoy a light, plant-based diet, which can keep your heart healthy, your waistline slender, and your blood sugar levels optimized.

Try incorporating meatless Mondays into your weekly meal plan or try eating at least one meal a day without animal protein. This can help you lighten the load on your digestive system, as well as on the Earth, since raising animals for food has a greater impact on the environment than growing fruits and vegetables.

Tip: Choose non-GMO tempeh to replace ground beef in your next recipe. This one change will drastically trim your shopping bill, because tempeh costs about a third of what you’d pay for the amount of meat needed to feed a family of four! Try the Spiced Ground Turkey Wrap With Watercress & Avocado recipe from The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook and replace the turkey with tempeh.

 

5. There Are So Many Ways To Enjoy Your Leftovers

Remember all those leftover berries from the pick-your-own farm or all the fresh zucchini you found from the farmers’ market? Don’t waste them—re-use them! Here’s one great way to use Monday night’s chicken dinner in Tuesday morning’s breakfast: the Roasted Chicken and Egg White Cup recipe from The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook.

 

6. Dine Under the Stars

Add flare to your normal weeknight routine by creating your own summery dinner table outside. No need to go to fancy restaurants to make your meal feel special; decorate your outdoor table with some candles, stones, or fresh flowers to enhance your dining experience! Invite friends over. Make it a potluck! Relaxing under the stars, enjoying a fine meal with friends, will soothe your nerves and help you digest your food, while truly appreciating the magic of summertime.

7. Going Local Can Be Better Than Going Organic

While it’s sometimes OK to choose the conventional versions of fruits and vegetables, whenever possible, it’s best to opt for organic. This limits your exposure to pesticides, fertilizers, hormones, drugs, and other toxins that can be found in conventionally grown food.

When you buy from local farms, you can find fruits and vegetables that are just as nutritious as their organic counterparts, with one distinct advantage: to reach you, locally grown produce doesn’t have to travel the thousands of miles across which some organic foods are shipped. This extra time spent in the back of a truck can make them more costly, yet less nutritious.

8. Summer Food Preparation Is Quick and Simple

When it’s cold out, stews, soups, and slow-cooker meals are best. But these take time to prepare and cook. Summer is all about quick and easy meal prep. Your body craves raw or lightly cooked food, which means less time for you in the kitchen. This gives you more time to get outside and enjoy summer’s simple pleasures.

9. There Is More Than Meets the Eye In Colorful Summer Foods

Summer fruits and vegetables grow in a variety of beautiful colors that make food more pleasing to the eye, and the more beauty on your plate, the more pleasure you receive from your meal. The more pleasure you feel, the less likely it is you’ll overeat. But the beauty of these colorful fruits and vegetables is far more than skin deep. These colors are nature’s way of advertising the phytonutrients, or special, healthy chemicals, they contain. The more color, the better!

10. Enjoy Special Savings When You Buy The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook This Summer

Design the perfect summertime meal plan. Get tips and tricks for making healthy and tasty meals in your own kitchen. Learn what foods you should eat to boost your metabolism, balance your blood sugar, and lose weight. Try more than 175 tasty recipes that appeal to a variety of budgets, taste preferences, health goals, and lifestyles. Click here to learn more about how easy I have made it for you to buy The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook, with these fabulous new bonuses:

  • $20 discount in The Blood Sugar Solution Store with your order over $100. It’s like getting the book for free!
  • Online access to the bestselling UltraMetabolism DVD
  • 10-Day Detox Diet—exclusive preview webinar
  • 10 Myths Sabotaging Your Waistline (and Your Health): an eGuide

When “Healthy” Food Isn’t: The Truth About ULTRA Processed Foods

A reader asked me about veggie burgers and faux-meats on Facebook. “Are these healthy?”
My answer is getting a lot of attention, and may make you question your Whole Foods’ purchases: