Category: Healthy living tips

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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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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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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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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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Do you struggle with healthy snack (and dessert) ideas? Do you crave something sweet in the afternoon or after dinner? The perfect snack is healthy but also tasty and satisfying. I have the solution …. the Energy Ball!

These cute little balls are a fabulous way to enjoy something yummy while nourishing your body at the same time. Each of these recipes contain some healthy fat, fiber, a little sweetness from a natural source, and some good quality protein. This combination will give you an energy boost and keep you satisfied longer. They also each contain some kind of “superfood” seed. If you haven’t tried flax seeds, chia seeds, or hemp seeds yet, I encourage you to give them a try. They are full of omega 3’s, protein, fiber and antioxidants. They are so easy to find these days, even in most regular grocery stores. Any of the seeds are interchangeable in these recipes so feel free to try just one super seed for now.

Here are two of my favorites.

HEMP ENERGY PROTEIN BALLS (Makes 10-12 balls)     

1/4 cup hemp protein powder
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sunbutter or almond butter
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons raw cacao (or unsweetened cocoa powder)
1- 2 tablespoons local honey (amount depends on type of protein powder used – start with less and taste)
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds (optional)
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (optional)

COMBINE THE INGREDIENTS. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Stir until ingredients are combined and mixed well. Taste to check sweetness level. Add a little more sweetener if needed.
MAKE THE PROTEIN BALLS. Once ingredients are mixed well, roll into 10-12 small balls. Roll each ball in the shredded coconut if desired. Place on a wax paper lined dish and place in freezer for 10 minutes or refrigerator for 45 minutes to firm up. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator for 3-4 days or freezer for several months.

NOTES: You can use any kind of protein powder for these balls, but I highly recommend giving hemp protein powder a try. Nutiva is a great brand and the only ingredient is pure hemp protein. For other options, make sure you choose a high quality protein powder with no soy, no added sugar or artificial sweeteners, no artificial flavors and preferably a certified organic or Non GMO verified one. If you choose a sweetened one, make sure it is sweetened with pure stevia leaf.  Please do your research. There are many brands with unhealthy ingredients. And I suggest not using protein powder too often. It is still a processed food and getting your protein from real food is a better option most of the time. Plus most of us are getting way more protein than we need.

CHOCOLATE PECAN ENERGY BALLS (makes about 15 balls)

1 cup raw pecans
12 pitted dates (soak in water for about 10 minutes and then drain if dates are really firm)
1 tablespoons raw cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder)
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon flax seeds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon

COMBINE THE INGREDIENTS. Add everything to a food processor and pulse until well combined. Mixture will be crumbly but will stick together when rolled. Form into balls. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator for 3-4 days or freezer for several months.

Here are some of the health benefits of these easy little treats.

  • Antioxidants from raw cacao or cocoa powder
  • Omega-3s from hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds
  • Anti-parasitic and anti-viral properties in shredded coconut
  • A metabolism boost from coconut oil
  • Anti-microbial properties plus a boost of antioxidants from cinnamon
  • Protein and fiber from hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds
  • Extra boost of protein from high quality protein powder
  • Reduced seasonal allergies from local honey
  • Antioxidants from vanilla extract
  • Energy and endurance from chia seeds – excellent for athletes
  • Minerals like manganese, copper, magnesium and zinc  – from pecans
  • Vitamin E which offers cell protection – from pecans and sunflower seeds
  • Selenium which has been shown to help DNA repair in damaged cells – from pecans and sunflower seeds

WOW that is an impressive list. Every ingredients has an important health benefit. That is a far cry from most store bought snacks. They are usually full of ingredients that are actually detrimental to your health. Try whipping up one of these tasty treats to satisfy your taste buds AND provide a whopping nutritional punch!


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What a great start to 2015! I just wrapped up my 14 Day Winter Cleanse and I had such an amazing, dedicated group! I was constantly impressed with them. I think we all learned so much from each other. It was really fun to keep up with everyone’s successes and struggles in our private Facebook group. There are many different reasons to consider doing a cleanse. It helps you break free from your dependence on caffeine, alcohol & sugar. It helps you determine which foods (even foods that you think are healthy) that you may be sensitive to. Most people have no idea that it is probably something they are eating that is causing their achy joints, headaches, skin rashes, insomnia, brain fog, afternoon crashes and cranky moods. It is a great way to jump start your goal of cleaning up your diet permanently. A cleanse also supports organ detoxification for organs that are often overworked like your liver. Many people notice better sleep, more energy, less bloating, clearer thinking, etc.  Losing weight is not the goal but usually a nice side effect. My cleanse is not a juice fast or diet. There are no pills or powders. You eat delicious, REAL food that is satisfying and nourishing.

Here are some things that my cleansers had to say…

“This cleanse has been life changing. I can’t thank you enough for all your knowledge and helpful input in helping me get myself and my family on the right track to a healthier happier life.”

“I love, loved the cleanse! I want to keep going to lose more weight as this has been the only thing I’ve done that has made me lose weight and feel great at the same time.”

“Your kale recipe is delicious and the whole organic chicken in crockpot was melt in your mouth good.”

“Thank you so much for the wealth of information you have shared. I have been pleased (and frankly amazed!) with how easy you have made this program. I have really enjoyed these days of healthy choices. It has taken some intentionality and planning but not much hard work. I have found it very “doable” thanks to all of your great tips!”

“I had more energy, I was better rested, My IBS symptoms were all but gone and the most important and unexpected effect I was happier, always in a good mood which makes mothering a crazy 7 year old so much easier!”

“I felt really proud of myself today at the grocery store when I had a cart full of healthy items. It just makes you want to spread the word of good health!! Feeling good today!!”

I’m going to be leading another group cleanse starting on April 20. Stay tuned for more info! The program is also available anytime for those who are interested in doing it on their own and not with a group. Or, you can get your own group together and pick a start date. You can read more about it here. Email me with questions or for more information about how the program works.

I did some recipe testing during the 14 days to come up with more delicious options for my group and also for a family that I am helping to go gluten free. I came up with 2 really awesome recipes that use a combination of oat flour and almond flour. Even if you are not gluten free, these recipes are for you! They just use healthier flours that also happen to be gluten free. Most cookie and pancake recipes use refined, bleached white flour which has no benefit and can spike blood sugar levels just like regular sugar does. Almond flour and oat flour have fiber, protein and nutrients. These banana pancakes are so good and are cleanse friendly. Yes, you can eat some incredible foods on my cleanse. The chocolate chip cookies are not quite cleanse friendly but the healthiest version of a chocolate chip cookie ever and so darn good! They were a huge hit with my kids!

Hope you enjoy them both. Is 2015 going to be the year that you truly change the way you eat and feel?



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Hi everyone! I am so excited to be able to share some of my favorite tips and recipes with you. My goal is to help busy people learn to nourish themselves and their families with clean, nutritious and delicious food that is easy to prepare. If you have a crazy schedule like most people these days, you are probably like me and love using the slow cooker, especially when it starts getting colder outside. It makes it so much easier to manage dinner on nights that kids have practices and games. Knowing that we are coming home to a healthy home cooked meal waiting for us, is an amazing feeling. I especially love making soups and stews because they are so easy, so versatile and the leftovers are awesome for lunches later in the week.

I am a very adventurous eater and I love to make some crazy (according to my kids) dishes like tempeh reubens or farro risotto at my house sometimes. I am lucky to have a family that will try almost anything I make and they usually like it. But, to keep my peeps really happy, I also make lots of kid, teenager and man friendly basics like pizza, spaghetti, tacos and burgers. I just make a healthier version. I want my kids to understand that it is not a burger itself that is bad, it is the quality of the ingredients that are in it at restaurants and grocery stores that is bad. Here are a few of my favorite tips on how to choose your ingredients to make your favorite recipes healthier and save money at the same time.

MEAT…At my house, we have significantly cut back on the amount of meat that we consume. I only buy organic and/or local meat and grass fed beef. It is a little more expensive so we just eat smaller portions and we eat it less often to offset the cost. We have meatless nights several times a week and I use less meat and more vegetables in recipes. I may use 1 chicken breast in a stir fry that feeds four. Or I will cook one steak and thinly slice it to serve 4. I usually avoid eating meat at restaurants because most of the time it is from factory farms. I don’t believe that factory farmed meat is healthy and I don’t want to support the mistreatment of animals. Factory farms are also contributing greatly to pollution of our soil, air and water. I love buying my meat at a local farmers’ market where I can meet the farmer and I know the animals were healthy, had access to the outdoors and were treated well.

DAIRY…I only buy organic dairy to avoid added artificial growth hormones. I buy grass fed dairy if it is available. Cows are meant to eat grass and when they are fed grains, they can get very sick which is part of the reason that they have to be administered so many antibiotics. Grass fed milk and cheese are becoming easier to find in my area. Just like with meat, we consume much less dairy than we used to. The benefits of dairy are controversial so we choose to cut back.

FRUITS and VEGETABLES… I refer to the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen Lists to know when it is most important to buy organic. This is very helpful to know if you are on a budget or certain organic items are not available in your store. For example, I never buy conventional strawberries but conventional avocados are fine.

AVOIDING BPA…I like to buy tomatoes in glass jars or cartons to avoid BPA. My favorite brands are Pomi and Jovial. For beans, I buy Eden Organic brand because they use BPA free cans. I also like to buy dried beans and cook them myself when I can. This is a huge money saver. I store the cooked beans in glass jars in the freezer so they are ready when I need them for a recipe. I do occasionally buy cans for something like chipotle peppers. I have not found them any other way and I just love the taste. I only use them on occasion.  BPA is a hormone disruptor and there are possible links to some serious illnesses such as heart disease, breast cancer and diabetes. I also recommend avoiding plastic water bottles and plastic storage containers as much as possible. If you do use plastic, never put it in the microwave or dishwasher as heat leaches chemicals out of the plastic even more.

DON’T THROW ANYTHING AWAY…Because organic foods can be more expensive, I try not to ever waste any food. I save almost everything and either use it in another dish, freeze it, throw it into soup or make broth with it. See my tip below for how to save the rest of a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. If you haven’t tried cooking with them yet, they are are awesome – spicy and smoky!

DO THE BEST YOU CAN…Remember, it is not all or nothing. It is perfectly fine to make small changes gradually. Every little bit of progress is beneficial. I do not do all of these things all of the time either, but I feel better knowing that my family is exposed to less pesticides, BPA, hormones and antibiotics.

This is a simple slow cooker soup that is super easy to throw together and my family loves it! If you use some of my tips when shopping, you can feel really good about the quality of the ingredients. Hope you enjoy it!

Mexican Chicken and Black Bean Soup in the Slow Cooker
Serves 6-8

1 pound boneless skinless chicken* breasts or thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
1 large onion, diced
1 red pepper*, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth* (32 oz. carton)
approximately 30 oz. diced tomatoes from a carton or jar if possible
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce from a can, finely chopped (optional)
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained (or about 3 cups cooked beans from 1 cup dried)
2 teaspoons cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
dash of cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
pepper, to taste
1 bay leaf
2 cups frozen corn*

Optional toppings: sour cream*, cilantro, diced avocado, shredded cheddar*, tortilla chips*

1. Put all ingredients except toppings in slow cooker and cook on high 5-6 hours or on low 8-9 hours.
2. Remove bay leaf and add toppings of your choice. Serve with organic tortilla chips on the side or crushed on top.

*I recommend using as many organic ingredients as possible but these are the ones that I think are most important.

-After you use one chipotle pepper out of the can, chop or puree the rest of the can and put into ice cube trays and freeze. After they freeze, pop them into a glass container or ziploc bag and store them in the freezer. Next time you make a soup or chili, just throw one in for smokiness and some heat!


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Contact Krista

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