Author: Krista Sigmon

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Veganism! Everyone is doing it. What is all the hype about?!? It’s surprising, how many people I’ve heard from or read about lately that are going vegan. Eating vegan means not consuming any animal products so no meat, fish, eggs or dairy. I’m always curious (because it sounds SO hard) and usually ask “Why did you decide to go vegan?” 9 times out of 10, it’s because they watched the documentary What the Health. A few months ago, I decided I should watch it too to see what is so powerful about it that people everywhere are deciding to go vegan. My teen son and I watched it together and both agreed that it was extremely one sided, overly dramatic and probably downright wrong in some ways. There is no way that eating one egg is the same as smoking 10 cigarettes!

There was some good information in there too. The fact that our diet DRAMATICALLY affects our health is a huge point that I want everyone to hear about! I’m thankful that part of the movie is reaching people. My son and I both knew before we watched it that we were never going to be completely vegan but after watching, we were motivated to eat less animal products and we decided to eat vegan for 10 days to see how we felt. The first cleanse that I ever did several years ago was for 3 weeks and it was vegan based along with no sugar, caffeine, alcohol, gluten, soy etc. That is the best I have ever felt so I felt it was time to try it again.

Do I think that a vegan diet is healthy? It depends. Everyone is different and I think that some people can thrive on a vegan diet and some people thrive on more of a Paleo diet. I encourage everyone to experiment with their diet and figure out what works best for them. But if you are going to eat vegan,  you need to make sure you do it in a healthy way. Lots of junk food is vegan!

I personally think that I feel better eating minimal animal products but I will never cut them completely out. I don’t like any diet that is so restrictive – that is just no way to live! (unless you have true allergies of course)

The bottom line for everyone is that we all need to eat WAY more fruits and vegetables and other plant based foods like nuts, seeds, beans. And if you do eat animal products, eat smaller portions, eat them less often and please choose higher quality. Most of the meat and dairy sold in the US is very low quality. The animals are raised in poor conditions, they are miserable, sick, they are fed genetically modified feed and given antibiotics and hormones. Choose meat from local farms if possible (or organic or grass fed) and choose dairy that is organic and/or from grass fed animals.

Here is what we ate for 10 days…

1. Brown Rice Pasta with Creamy Cashew Sauce

2. Stir fry with tofu, broccoli, onions, carrots, celery, bok choy – served over brown rice

3. Veggie burgers with caramelized onions, avocado, lettuce and pickles. Served with baked steak fries  – veggie burger recipe from The Oh She Glows Cookbook. These are the best veggie burgers I have ever had.

*Grey’s favorite meal

4. Take out Thai Food – vegetarian curry and a rice noodle dish – one with tofu, one with extra vegetables

5. Vegan Lasagna – I have made this lasagna several times and it is delicious.

6. Vegan Nachos – from Oh She Glows Everyday. Absolutely fantastic! The “cheese” sauce is made from soaked cashews, carrots, potatoes and nutritional yeast – blended into a sauce that looks just like the baseball stadium cheese sauce. The taste is different but delicious! *my favorite meal

7. Spaghetti and Meatballs  – I made these delicious vegan meatballs and served them over brown rice spaghetti

8. Baked Sweet Potatoes topped with black beans, guacamole and leftover “cheese” sauce from nachos

9. Black Bean Burgers at a restaurant (the worst thing we ate during the 10 days)

10. I ate another veggie burger at a restaurant for a work dinner. The family got Chipotle – their sofritas (tofu) are delicious and taste so meaty! They use non organic (non GMO) tofu which is a bonus.

How did we feel? Here are some things we noticed: better bathroom habits, better mood, more energy!

As you can see, I cooked almost every meal. It was a bit time consuming but we ate food that was really delicious and satisfying. (if an 18 year old boy is satisfied, you know it’s true!) If you do not cook, I do not see how you can eat vegan in a healthy way unless you live in a really big city with tons of healthy vegan options in restaurants. In Charlotte NC, it is very hard to choose healthy vegan in restaurants. If you survive on salads and pasta with marinara, bagels, and french fries you are going to be unsatisfied and under nourished.

If you are going to experiment with a vegan diet, please do it in a healthy way. Think of it as a whole foods vegan diet vs. a processed foods vegan diet. And you don’t have to be 100% vegan, everyone can benefit from eating less animal products and more plant based foods.

Things to Eat:

Fruits and Vegetables – eat tons of them, as many as you can fit into your diet. And get a variety! Everyday – lots of different colors. And buy organic whenever you can. You don’t want to be consuming herbicides and pesticides.

Beans – chickpeas, kidney beans, navy beans, lima beans, black beans, lentils etc.

Whole Grains – brown rice, quinoa, wild rice, black rice, farro, millet – try new grains!

Oatmeal – real oatmeal like rolled oats or steel cut oats – not flavored instant packets. Flavor yourself with honey or maple syrup, berries, nuts, seeds

Nuts and Seeds – preferably raw – cashews, walnuts, pecans, almonds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds etc.

Smoothies – you do not need dairy to make great smoothies – for the liquid use unsweetened non-dairy milk (almond milk, cashew milk, hemp milk, flax milk, coconut milk), water, coconut water, or green tea.

Nut butters – made from above nuts or seeds – store bought or homemade. Looks for brands with no sugar or oil added

Healthy oils/fats – extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, olives, avocados

Things to Avoid:

Bread, bagels, pancakes, pretzels, white pasta

Processed oils – soybean oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, vegetable oil

Foods with added sugar

Peanut butter like Jif, Skippy etc. They are full of bad oils and added sugar. If you do eat peanut butter, buy an organic, natural brand. Almond butter or cashew better are better choices.

Potato chips, french fries

Any foods with empty calories – always choose foods that nourish you





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Hello friends!

We all want to be healthy, right?! What is one thing that we all need to do to improve our health? We need to eat more fruits and vegetables! Most Americans don’t even get close to the recommended daily amount – especially kids. If I can serve something that will make my kids eats more salad and veggies, then I’m all for it. Everyone loves ranch dressing. Unfortunately, store bought ranch dressing is pretty scary (sorry to be the bearer of bad news!). Making your own is so much better for your health and it seriously tastes delicious!

Hidden Valley Ranch ingredients: Vegetable Oil (Soybean and/or Canola Oil), Water, Egg Yolk, Sugar, Salt, Cultured Nonfat Buttermilk, Natural Flavors, Dried Garlic, Dried Onion, Vinegar, Phosphoric Acid, Xanthan Gum, Modified Food Starch, Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), Artificial Flavors, Disodium Phosphate, Sorbic Acid and Calcium Disodium EDTA as preservatives, Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate.

Here are the issues that I have with some of those ingredients.

Soybean and Canola oil are highly processed oils that are inflammatory to our bodies. Inflammation is the root of most major diseases. These oils are also most likely genetically modified (GMO) which I try very hard to avoid. Here is a great article about the dangers of GMOs.

Added Sugar – we are getting so much added sugar from places that we don’t even expect it like yogurt, granola bars, marinara, ketchup and yes, salad dressing. Sugar is addictive, causes inflammation, is toxic to the body and feeds cancer.  Salad dressing does not need sugar.

Natural Flavors are flavors extracted from nature but then manipulated in a lab to create the “perfect” flavor that makes us want more. Many different ingredients can hide under natural flavors too.

MSG is an excitotoxin which means that it excites brain cells, sometimes to the point of damage or death. It is added as a flavor enhancer and actually makes you crave more.

Artificial Flavors are flavors that are not derived from nature, they are made in a lab. They are nowhere close to “real” food.

Other Additives – Plus, there are a number of other additives in there that act as flavor enhancers and preservatives. I encourage you to eat food that has no ingredient list or one with ingredients that you recognize and would use in your own kitchen.

My version of Ranch Dressing is super simple to make and uses ingredients that you probably have on hand. It is very versatile too. You can add a splash of buttermilk instead of the lemon juice, you can use plain whole milk yogurt instead of sour cream. And feel free to try different spices. Fresh herbs are a great addition too if you happen to have some.

It’s not exactly the same taste as store bought ranch because all of the chemicals give Hidden Valley (and most store bought versions) a “special” taste that is hard to replicate. My version is garlicky, herby and creamy – what’s not to love?!?!


1/2 cup organic whole milk sour cream
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (or white wine vinegar)
1/2  teaspoon sea salt
black pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 small garlic clove, minced or pressed
dash of cayenne (optional)

Mix everything together and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to develop. I like to shake it in a glass jar. It’s more fun than stirring or whisking. I imagine that I am shaking a martini!



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Don’t give your loved ones crappy chocolate full of chemicals and toxins. Take a few minutes (they are so quick) to make these delicious brownies full of clean, healthy ingredients. Yes, they have a little sugar but they are brownies after all.

1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup certified gluten free oat flour (or all almond flour or all oat flour)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (or dark chocolate unsweetened cocoa powder)
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar (or regular sugar)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2  teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup unsweetened organic applesauce
1/4 cup melted coconut oil + more for greasing pan
2 eggs, preferably pastured and/or organic
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I like to use 365 brand dark chocolate chunks or a 3 oz. dark chocolate bar, chopped)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8 x 8 pan with coconut oil. In a medium bowl combine flour(s), cocoa powder, sugar, salt and baking powder. Mix well with a whisk.

To the same bowl, add applesauce, coconut oil, eggs and vanilla. Whisk until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.

Pour into greased baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out mostly clean. Cool pan on a rack before cutting. Makes 16 brownies.

Notes:  I like them best with dark chocolate cocoa powder but my kids prefer the regular. If you haven’t tried coconut palm sugar yet, it is a great 1:1 substitution for regular sugar – it is still sugar though so use in moderation.




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Happy New Year!! I have a feeling that 2016 is going to be a fantastic year. Being healthy and feeling great will help make that come true! I’m not big on New Year’s Resolutions because most of the time we don’t stick to them and then we are disappointed in ourselves. So this year, instead of BIG hard to reach goals, try making some really simple, small changes that will greatly benefit your health in the long run.

Drink More Water. The kind of water you drink is so important too. Invest in a good filter at home and take water with you in glass or stainless steel bottles. Tap water is full of chemicals, pharmaceuticals and chlorine. Plastic water bottles can leach chemicals into the water. Plus, they are an absolute nightmare for the environment. I take a big water bottle (or 2!) with me everywhere I go. Make water your main beverage in 2016.

Take a Probiotic Daily. Most people have some kind of digestive issues – bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, acid reflux…These are not normal and it is important to figure out what is causing them and get rid of them for good. Many things can disrupt the good bacteria in our gut such as pesticides, chlorine, BPA, toxic skin care products and cleaning products, over the counter medications, pharmaceuticals and stress. It is important to avoid these things as much as possible and to add good bacteria back into our gut. That is what probiotics do. A large part of your immune system is located in your gut, so let’s keep that gut healthy!

Make Sleep a Priority. Most people that I work with or talk to have sleep problems – trouble falling asleep, trouble going back to sleep or just not sleeping long enough. Not getting enough good quality sleep is linked to so many issues such as gaining weight or trouble losing weight, stress, poor diet choices, excess caffeine consumption, negative mood, lack of concentration and lower immune function. All of these things can eventually lead to health problems. 

Here are some helpful tips: Read a book for an hour before bed instead of watching tv or being on your phone or computer, practice deep breathing and/or stretching before bed, take an epsom salt bath with lavender essential oil, drink a mug of herbal tea specifically blended for better sleep, avoid eating and drinking alcohol several hours before bedtime, don’t have any caffeine after lunchtime and keep your bedroom super cool.

Aim for 8 hours every night. Sleeping is the bomb. It is my favorite healthy habit. I hope you can learn to love it again!

Cut Back on Sugar. Way Back. Most Americans are consuming so much more sugar than they realize. Many foods that are considered “healthy” such as cereal, yogurt, salad dressing, protein bars and smoothies most likely have large amounts of added sugar. The food companies purposely add tons of it to make your taste buds get used to that much sugar and crave more. Read labels and avoid foods with added sugar or artificial sweeteners. Better yet, avoid most processed foods.

Switch to Organic Coffee. And only drink one cup. Coffee beans are one of the most heavily sprayed crops in the world and it is something that most of us consume regularly. Try and find a great local company that uses organic fair trade beans and support them. It will be more expensive but that is even more reason to only drink one delicious perfect cup. Quality over quantity!

Cook Most Meals at Home. Eating in restaurants is not only expensive but most food is full of sugar, salt, trans fats and loads of empty calories. Give your family the gift of good health this year and learn to cook simple, delicious meals that everyone will love.

If you have any questions about how to incorporate any of these changes into your life this year, let me know! I’m here to help.

I hope you have a HAPPY, HEALTHY 2016!



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Yippee! The Holidays are here!  I get so excited about parties and dinners and spending time with friends and family. (and eggnog martinis!) But, I also want to continue to feel my best. An overindulgence here and there does not bother me but a month of them can leave us all feeling very bloated and sluggish. I want to share some of my favorite tips for making it through the holidays without feeling terrible and still having a BLAST!

WATER WATER WATER! Each morning, right after you wake up, drink a large glass of water before you have anything else. We are more likely to get dehydrated during the holidays so drink plenty of water all day as well. I drink a glass of warm or room temperature water with ½ lemon squeezed in and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper every morning. The lemon boosts your immune system, aids your digestion and the cayenne gets your metabolism going. Getting sick during the holidays is no fun!

BREAKFAST. Make sure that you begin each day with a healthy breakfast. This is super important during the holidays when you have temptations all around. If you have something with refined carbs and sugar like a donut, bagel or cereal, you are more likely to be cranky and tired, have a sugar crash late morning and experience more cravings for the rest of the day. Choose a breakfast that has some healthy carbs, high quality protein and a little healthy fat. It will keep you satisfied much longer and help you make better choices for the rest of the day. I love to start my day with a delicious green smoothie or oatmeal with fruit and nuts. My favorite way to have oatmeal is to make overnight soaked oats – no cooking, just make up a few jars and they are ready in the morning. Some of my other favorite breakfast options are gluten free or sprouted grain toast with avocado and a fried egg on top, sautéed veggies and eggs or a brown rice cake with almond butter and sliced banana.

SOUP. I love soup! Make a big batch of soup that is heavy on vegetables at the beginning of the week and eat it for lunch or dinner several more times that week. It is so easy to make, so delicious and can be extremely light and filling. If you eat healthy homemade soup 2 or 3 nights for dinner during the week and then drink eggnog martinis on Friday, you’ll feel much better about your choices. TRUST ME, I know from experience. Two of my favorites are Creamy Butternut Squash Soup and Quinoa Vegetable Soup. Did I mention how much I love soup?!!

EAT BEFORE THE PARTY. Eat something substantial before you go to a party. I know you’ve heard this advice before but have you ever really tried it? It is awesome! You are probably in the mindset of not wanting to eat to save the calories for the party but try looking at it a different way. Eat a big salad or veggie wrap or a bowl of soup before the party and then you will be much more content to have less party food because you are not starving. It really helps!

ALCOHOL. If you drink alcohol, try drinking one glass of water between each alcoholic drink. Talk about a dramatic difference in how much alcohol you drink AND how you feel the next morning. Remind yourself you are going to do it before you get to the party or you’ll get caught up in the moment and totally forget about it. Hmmmm I might have experienced that one too. Drinking only in moderation is very important to your health and I know it is harder during this festive season!

EXERCISE. Do not give up on your exercise routine just because you are busy and it is cold outside. A brisk 30 minute walk will do wonders for your mood and stress and it will motivate you to make better choices for the rest of the day. You will sleep better at night too.

SLEEP. Many people don’t get enough quality sleep all year round but especially during the holidays. Getting enough sleep is SO important to your overall health. More important than most people realize. Make it a priority to get 7-8 hours every night. There are many things that affect sleep – some of them are things on this list! It helps to get enough exercise, reduce stress and don’t drink too much alcohol. Also, keep your bedroom very cool, stay off electronics for an hour before bed and keep your cell phone out of your bedroom while sleeping. If you use it for an alarm, please put it on airplane mode. The alarm will still work and you won’t get radiation while you sleep.

SWEETS. You are probably going to eat more sweets during the holidays which will lead you to crave more. (remember sugar is more addictive than cocaine) Have a small amount of something delicious when you are at a party but on the nights when you are home, keep it healthy. Try a cup of hot herbal tea while you are sitting by the Christmas tree. Peppermint is yummy this time of year. It is so satisfying and good for you. Choose an organic brand because tea and coffee are heavily sprayed with pesticides. Having hot tea can help you wind down and sleep better. If you want a little sweet treat to go with it, try buying dates in the produce department, take the pit out of one and spread a little almond butter in it. Tastes like candy – soooo good!

Or make healthy hot chocolate. Just put one cup of organic whole milk or almond milk in a small saucepan. Whisk in 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon real maple syrup and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Keep whisking until well blended and hot.

Another favorite night time drink of mine is called Teeccino. It makes a tasty “Latte”. It is an herbal tea that tastes a little like coffee. I brew a cup and then put it in the blender with one teaspoon of coconut oil and one teaspoon of honey. Blend for about 30 seconds, pour into a mug and top with cinnamon. I know the oil sounds weird but it doesn’t make the coffee oily at all. It just makes it creamy and frothy. Yummy! Contrary to what you may have heard about coconut oil, it is a healthy fat that helps keep you satiated. Some other benefits include helping to balance blood sugar and hormones and helps burn fat.

Enjoy this precious time with friends and family. Cheers to Healthy Happy Holidays!


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Happy Fall! Football season is one of the best things about fall for many people. Although I’m not a big fan, (sorry don’t judge!) I do love getting in the spirit with certain foods like nachos, pizza and of course, wings. The boys in my house love it when I say I’m making football food.

We love chicken wings! I try to stay away from the sports bar wings though – deep fried, poor quality chicken and msg. Have you ever noticed how you don’t sleep well after eating restaurant wings???  Making them at home is really easy and they taste awesome!


2 pounds chicken wings (preferably organic and/or local pastured)
1/4 cup whole grain flour of your choice (I use buckwheat flour – gluten free)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 – 1/2 cup bbq sauce (I like Bone Suckin Brand)
celery sticks and carrot sticks

Preheat oven to 425.

Toss flour, smoked paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a large Ziploc bag and shake to blend. Add wings and shake again to evenly coat them.

Shake off excess flour and place wings in a single layer on a large baking pan covered in foil and then topped with parchment paper. Or use a pan with a metal rack directly on the foil if you have one.

Bake wings for 40-45 minutes, turning them once half way through cooking time. Remove from oven, brush with bbq sauce and bake for 5 more minutes. Serve with blue cheese dressing (recipe below), carrot and celery sticks.

NOTES: Look for a high quality bbq sauce. Make sure it doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup.

I don’t like to cook with my food touching foil as aluminum is linked to health issues including Alzeimer’s Disease. That is why I recommend parchment paper if cooking directly on pan.










If you want a super healthy, meat free option, this buffalo cauliflower recipe is so unique and yummy. You get the same delicious buffalo wing flavor that we all love. My husband and I had something similar at this restaurant in Park City Utah recently and I’ve been working on creating it since we got back. It was the best thing I ate the whole trip.


2 cups buttermilk
12 oz. bottle Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (reserve 3 tablespoons for serving)
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
celery sticks and carrot sticks

Mix buttermilk and Frank’s Red Hot Sauce together in a large storage container. Add cauliflower, stir well and marinate overnight.

Preheat oven to 475.

Drain cauliflower well. Place cauliflower florets in a single layer on a large baking pan covered in foil and then topped with parchment paper. Or use a pan with a metal rack directly on the foil if you have one. Season with black pepper.

Roast for about 20 minutes, turning florets over half way through cooking time. Turn oven up to 500 and place cauliflower on top rack for 5 more minutes to brown it more. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn but it is tasty with some dark brown spots on it. Serve with blue cheese dressing (recipe below), carrot and celery sticks.

Buffalo Cau









Of course both of these recipes are perfect with homemade blue cheese dressing. If you have never made your own, you do not know what you are missing. It could not be easier and tastes fantastic. Soooo much better than anything you could buy!

BLUE CHEESE DRESSING makes about 1 1/2 cups 

1/2 cup full fat organic sour cream
1/4 – 1/2 cup buttermilk, depending on how thick you like your dressing
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 small clove garlic, minced or pressed
black pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients and refrigerate for several hours before serving.

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Hi friends. I cannot believe it is September already. School is back in session and it’s almost Fall! Summer was awesome but if you’re like me, you are ready for some CHANGE. These are some changes that I look forward to in the fall… more structure, cooler weather, weekends in the mountains, bonfires, big pots of soup, lots of roasted butternut squash, and full bodied red wine. I’m also ready to get back on track with some healthy habits that may have slipped away a little during the summer. I’m offering a 14 Fall Cleanse starting September 21 so if you are also ready to change the way you feel, now is the time. My cleanses are about learning to eat good, clean, REAL food and figuring out how awesome you are capable of feeling. They are not about dieting or deprivation. You can eat delicious food and plenty of it. Read more about how the program works here.


This time of year, you might also be ready for some new breakfast choices. Here is a fantastic, gluten free recipe that is perfect for the whole family!

These “muffins” are the ideal make ahead breakfast or snack. You can add whatever ingredients you like…bacon, mushrooms and swiss, sautéed veggies and goat cheese, spinach, tomatoes and feta – you get the idea. They are also delicious with no cheese if you are dairy free. Clean out your fridge on Sunday afternoon and have nutritious breakfasts all week! This is a breakfast that you will feel good about feeding your kids before school.

(makes 12 muffins)

coconut oil for greasing pan
8 large eggs (preferably cage free and organic)
½ cup milk (organic cow’s milk or any unsweetened non-dairy milk)
sea salt and black pepper, to taste
¾ cup cooked crumbled high quality breakfast sausage (I buy mine from a farmers’ market)
¾ cup finely chopped spinach or swiss chard
¾ cup freshly grated cheddar cheese (I use this one)

PREPARE. Preheat oven to 350Grease a 12 muffin pan with coconut oil.

ASSEMBLE. Whisk together eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour eggs evenly into muffin pan. They will only fill about ½ of each cup. Evenly distribute 1 tablespoon sausage and 1 tablespoon spinach into each cup and gently press down into egg mixture. Top each one with about 1 tablespoon grated cheese.

BAKE. Cook for 20-24 minutes or until eggs or set. They will keep in the fridge for 5 days and they freeze well too.


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Happy Summer! I try to stick with most of my healthy habits in the summer but sometimes it is sooooo hard! I don’t know about you, but I tend to drink more alcohol in the summer. We get together with friends and family more in the hood, at the pool and at the beach. Plus, a cold drink just seems to taste better in the summer! Of course moderation is important, (and so challenging sometimes!) but the quality of what you are drinking is important too. Don’t get sucked into making frozen drinks with a store bought mix. The ingredients are downright scary and they have loads of added sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Try this simple recipe that uses high quality and super healthy ingredients and tastes fresher and more delicious than any mix!

Piña Coladas

Serves 4

1 can full-fat coconut milk (I like Native Forest Brand because they use BPA free cans)

2 cups frozen pineapple chunks

1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1/4 cup honey (preferable local and raw)

2-3 cups ice

6-8 oz. rum

Blend well and serve with umbrellas and lime slices, if desired. Enjoy!




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Ahhhhh summertime!

There is nothing better. The kids are out of school, it’s time for beach vacations, the hectic pace of life slows down…I like to get into a carefree frame of mind for the summer. But, I still don’t let my guard down when it comes to protecting myself and my family from the sun and from dangerous chemicals.

Have you given any thought to the kind of sunscreen that you use lately? There are some pretty scary ingredients in most of our favorite brands of sunscreen. Our skin is our largest organ and anything that we put on it is absorbed and can affect our health. Some functional medicine doctors that I trust believe that chemical sunscreens are contributing to the rise in skin cancer. Another contributing factor to skin cancer may be that many people are deficient in Vitamin D which is sometimes caused from using so much sunscreen. Low Vitamin D is linked to many types of cancer. Make sure you get yours tested the next time you go to the doctor.

But isn’t getting sun dangerous?

We all know that too much sun exposure can be dangerous. So what is the solution?  In my opinion, the best option is to get a small amount of sun exposure each day (my dermatologist does not agree) without sunscreen to get some Vitamin D and then try and stay out of the sun as much as possible during peak hours. Of course that is easier said than done especially when you are at the beach or the pool. For times when we do need sunscreen, I do my very best to find some of the safer options. Finding safe sunscreens (that we like to use) is not always easy. There are 2 basic types of sunscreen – chemical and non-chemical (mineral). Mineral sunscreens physically block the rays with ingredients like Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. Yes, it’s the same idea as the white nosed lifeguards but most of them today are not that white! I have tried so many and lots of them are very thick and hard to apply and do still leave your skin with a slightly whitish tint. That is not a problem for little kids because they don’t notice but don’t try and get your teenagers to use it. No way!

How do I choose?

The best resource is Environmental Working Group’s Sunscreen Guide. revised sunscreen This year, they rated 1700 sunscreens and you can go to their website to find out how each one is rated for safety. They also have an app so that you can scan barcodes when you are at the store. They rate them from 1-10, with 1 being the best. sunscreenI was discussing with my dermatologist a few years ago how it is hard to find a non-chemical one that my teens will use. She suggested that I try some of the sunscreens that are not mineral but have better ratings. For example, this Banana Boat Sport Spray scores a 5 (moderate risk) while this Coppertone Sport Spray that I used to buy has a score of 7 (high risk). I now use this Neutrogena Beach Defense stick instead of this Coppertone one that I used to buy. There is a wide range of scores in each brand, so you really have to look up the specific one you are buying. For young kids, I would suggest finding something that has a score of 1 or 2 to be extra cautious. The Honest Company makes some good ones that have a score of 1 and you can sometimes find them at Costco.

My faves.

My absolute favorite non-chemical facial sunscreen (for me) is TIZO 3 Solar Protection. It is tinted so there is no white glow and it gives your face a matte finish almost like a really nice foundation. It is a little pricy but it lasts forever and it is so worth it to me. I just found a mineral spray sunscreen at Target called Bare Republic and it has a 3 rating! It goes on a little white but it is not bad at all. We also like this Alba Sport Sunscreen Lotion.

Something else to consider is the danger of inhaling spray sunscreens. I would love to stop using them altogether but I know it is hard to give them up. I usually make my kids use a lotion first and then use a spray to reapply. Be sure to never spray directly on your face and do your best not to inhale them. I tell my kids to hold their breath, spray their body, then step out of the cloud to breath. Many sprays have worse scores than lotion for that reason.

Hope you have a safe and happy summer!

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any condition. It is based solely on my opinion and is not meant to take the place of any advice from your doctor.

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Sugar is everywhere. It’s not only in obvious places like our pastries and desserts, but it is also in our coffee, cereal, soup, even in salad dressings! And I’m talking about significant amounts of hidden sugar. Guess why food companies add so much sugar to foods? So they will taste really good and make you want more of course! It looks like it is working. And our health has never been so bad.

Most of us get much more sugar in our diets than we realize. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, author of The Blood Sugar Solution, the average American consumes 152 pounds of sugar per year, much of which is hidden in processed foods.

“I eat really well but I can’t give up sugar.” I hear this all of the time from clients. We all know that sugar is not a health food and that it can lead to diabetes and weight gain, but most of us don’t know all of the other ways that it can affect us. And keep in mind, processed flour (even whole wheat flour) has the same effect on the body as sugar so try and get your whole grains from less processed grains like quinoa or brown rice. Here are a few things that you might not know about sugar.

  • Sugar is toxic to the liver.
  • It causes inflammation in the body which is linked to all major diseases.
  • Sugar feeds cancer cells.
  • Sugar contributes to belly fat which is the most dangerous place to have excess weight.
  • Many experts now believe that it is the sugar, not the fat, that contributes to heart disease.
  • Sugar is highly addictive, maybe more so than cocaine! Therefore, it is very easy for people to over consume and not have control of their eating.
  • There are no nutrients whatsoever in sugar and it can strip your body of nutrients.
  • Sugar can damage your metabolism and weaken your immune system.

So you can see why it is important to kick sugar to the curb and swap it out for healthier alternatives. The cravings will go away.  And please don’t think it is wise to replace sugar with artificial sweeteners. They affect your health in many negative ways as well.

I’m not about deprivation. Not in the least. I like a sweet treat as much as the next person. There are so many delicious, healthy ways that you can eat a little something sweet without the sugar bomb! I make sure that what I’m eating regularly isn’t going to negatively impact my health. I choose things like a small piece of dark chocolate, a few dates with almond butter, a chocolate smoothie or a dessert that is sweetened with a small amount of a healthier natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup.

Once you start switching to healthy sweeteners and naturally sweet foods like fruit, you’ll notice that you have fewer and fewer cravings for sugar. You’ll also find that you’re tasting the natural sweetness of fruits and vegetables. Your taste buds really do change. Suddenly, the sweet foods that you used to enjoy start tasting too sweet.

Getting off of sugar will help you to ditch the afternoon energy crash, stabilize your blood sugar and create a more alkaline environment that your body will thrive in.

Try this chocolate smoothie when you crave something sweet. Or, make it for your kids after school and they will be so pumped!!

Chocolate Smoothie (makes 1 serving)

1 small frozen banana
1 tablespoon raw cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder)
1/4 cup raw cashews (optional but gives the smoothie more thickness and protein)
1 cup almond milk
1 cup ice
1 pitted date
1 teaspoon ground flax seeds or hemp seeds (optional)

Blend well and add a little more almond milk or water if needed for desired consistency.


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Please feel free to contact me. Send me an email with the form below or at 704.575.4777


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© Copyright 2015 Krista Sigmon