[Video] Why you shouldn’t be afraid of this food

Sardines Blog

I kind of lied the first time I ate sardines.

I was in the middle of my two-year nutrition program at Bauman College in Berkeley, CA.

Not only was I reading and learning every piece of nutrition information I could get my hands on. I was proudly eating my way through a whole list of foods that I had never or rarely eaten.

Then, my friend Jamie invited me over to her house for lunch.

And, sardines happend.

Watch the video below, or read on for the full story.

Jamie had been a health coach for a few years and had become my personal and professional mentor of sorts. Plus, an introducer to new foods.

When I arrived she had sweet potatoes baking in the oven and was making a green salad.

Then, she pulled a can out of her pantry, opened it and asked…

“Do you remove the little bones from your sardines or leave them in?”

I had JUST started eating sardines maybe a week before (because we learned about them in school and I was determined to be a good nutrition student).

Wanting to maintain my “sardine savvy” I cooly responded, “oh, I just leave them in.” Honestly, I was kind of freaking out inside.

“Great! Me too.” She responded.

Whew, nice save Tanya!

Fast forward a few years….

Sardines are a staple in my pantry. I eat them regularly on their own or mixed into tuna salad. I even give samples of them to some of my clients. (Who all have agreed so far that they aren’t scary AND are so good!)

Oh, and Jamie is one of my dearest friends with whom I have shared many more amazing, home-cooked meals….with and without sardines. (By the way…she is launching a free journaling program. You’ve got to check this out!)

I want you to start incorporating sardines too! If I could do it, you can too!

Here is a simple recipe to get you started:

Tuna Salad with Tahini

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

1 can tuna, drained (Wild Planet recommended)
½ small red onion, chopped
1/3 cup tahini
Juice of one small lemon
½ cup warm water
1 teaspoon tamari
handful fresh parsley, chopped
Sea salt and pepper to taste
1 can sardines, optional

Instructions

For the tuna

  1. Drain tuna
  2. Break up in medium bowl with fork (this is where you can add in one or several sardines into the mix)
  3. Add onion and set aside

For the tahini dressing

  1. Small bowl combine tahini and lemon juice
  2. Add water to thin
  3. Add tamari, parsley and pinch of salt
  4. Pour half of mixture over tuna and mix
  5. Season with salt and pepper

Check out the video and get a simple tuna salad recipe that you can easily add sardines to.

Are you already a sardine fan? What do you do with them? Tell me in the comments below!

Cleanse-Banner-for-Facebook with Start Date

P.S. The 14-Day Whole Foods Cleanse is kicking off May 8th! If you are ready to have more energy, think clearly, sleep better and maybe even lose a few pesky pounds come join me.

You can do this online program from the comfort of your home. It includes live classes, cooking demos, over 60 recipes, menu plans and more!

Space is limited. CLICK HERE to learn more.

Comments { 6 } · Posted on April 14, 2015 in General, Healthy Recipes

Make your own gummy candy

Sour Gummy Candies

In the last few weeks I’ve become obsessed.

Obsessed with gelatin.

Yes, it might seem weird. Ok, it IS weird. But, I’m completely fascinated by the stuff.

Gelatin is magical. It’s liquid when warm, solid and gelatinous when cool. Amazing!

Think about it. Cooking bones for a length of time gives us the the most deeply nourishing food – broth.

When done correctly the broth will thicken and become gelatinous when it cools.

Like I said…it’s magical!

If you’ve never made stock I’m sure you’re familiar with gelatin in the form of the shivering colored dessert you enjoyed as a kid. I will never forget the green and pink desserts I had to scoop into plastic containers while working at a grocery store deli in college. Ick!

Today, I’m going to introduce you to a different kind of gelatin. One that has been used in traditional cooking for centuries contains critical nutrients for our health AND can be made into your favorite childhood dessert – a clean food version that is.

What is gelatin?

Gelatin is a translucent, colorless, flavorless solid substance derived from the collagen found in animal bones. It is a great source of amino acids, which support healthy skin, strong bones, proper muscle synthesis and balanced mood.

What are the benefits of gelatin?

Slowly cooked bone broth is also an excellent source of gelatin, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. However, you may not have the time or inclination to simmer bones on your stovetop all day. This is where a gelatin powder can be an great substitute – if it is a variety that has been produced from healthy animals. I like this brand.

At 6 grams per tablespoon, gelatin is a great source of easily absorbable protein. This helps promote growth and wound healing in the body. It also contains collagen and amino acids. Of particular interest is the amino acid lysine since it is utilized in muscle building and calcium absorption – two essential components of building strength in and around our bones.

Gelatin can be especially supportive for people suffering from inflammatory joint or bone diseases like arthritis and osteoporosis can potentially help manage inflammation and pain in the joints.

A compromised gut and digestive system can exacerbate inflammation and autoimmune conditions, many of which are connected to joint health such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and multiple sclerosis. Gelatin has been shown to enhance gut integrity and digestive strength by improving digestion and restoring the mucosal lining in the stomach.

How do I incorporate gelatin?

Gelatin can be stirred into warm water and taken as a drink on an empty stomach.

However, it can also be used in a variety of different recipes (a much yummier way of consuming it). To steer clear of food colorings, processed sugar and other additives gelatin can be heated with a juice or other liquid, sweetener and flavorings to create homemade jello or gummy candies. You can even make your own marshmallows!

Gelatin is an all-around nourishing food that supports joint and digestive health as well as liver health, hormone balance, hair, teeth nails and many other body systems. Certainly a food to start stocking in your pantry today!

A quick Google search for “homemade gelatin gummies” or “homemade chewable vitamins” will yield a long list of recipes to choose from.

The recipe below is the simplest one I’ve found and a great way to get started. You can use different types of juices (think blueberry, cranberry, pomegranate etc), add your favorite essential oils (make sure they’re safe for consumption), and even experiment with some spices. I used ground turmeric and a few drops of ginger essential oil to create an anti-inflammatory version. You can leave these out for your first go around if you want.

The possibilities are endless! I literally spent several hours on Saturday making a variety of different concoctions, using different sweeteners, juices and spices. My fridge is stocked and we’re enjoying gummy candies after dinner….just like 1989 🙂

Gummy CandiesHomemade Sour Gummy Candies with Turmeric and Ginger

Ingredients

2 tablespoons gelatin (I used this brand)
1/3 lemon or lime juice
3 tablespoons honey, maple syrup or xylitol
2-3 drops lemon essential oil (optional)
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
2-3 drops ginger essential oil

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan whisk together the gelatin into the lemon or lime juice and add your sweetener of choice. The juice should be cool. Warm liquid will cause the gelatin to get lumpy. It will be a thick consistency when you first start to add the gelatin.
  2. Heat the juice and gelatin over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the gelatin melts and everything is nice and liquidy (yes, that’s a technical term). Stir in the turmeric and ginger essential oil, if using.
  3. Taste your gelatin liquid and add more sweetener if needed.
  4. Carefully pour your gelatin liquid into small silicone molds, ice cube trays, or a glass baking dish. If you use the glass baking dish you can cut your gummy’s into whatever size you want.
  5. Place your liquid gummy candies in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Once they become firm in the freezer they will keep their form.
  6. Remove the gummy’s from the freezer and remove from their mold. Store your gummy’s in a jar or other glass container in the fridge. They will stay fresh for about 7 days….if they last that long!

Recipe adapted from MommyPotamus

Note: In the above pictures I played around with different mixes of juices and sweeteners. Get an organic juice that is NOT from concentrate to ensure you’re getting the best quality. Read the ingredients so you can steer clear of juice with added sugars and other weird ingredients.

Tell me, what is your favorite gummy candy or flavor as a kid? How can we recreate that into a healthy, nourishing treat?

Comments { 6 } · Posted on April 7, 2015 in General, Healthy Recipes

My method for moving out of a funk

Dance Party Large Final

I gotta tell you….I’ve been in a serious funk lately.

Not just a one or two days of feeling a bit blue.

This has been going on for WEEKS!

It started with an eye twitch earlier this month that lasted for 9 DAYS! It was maddening.

Around the same time I started not sleeping well, having crazy dreams and waking up with my mind racing around 2 am.

I could barely crawl out of bed in the morning (after hitting the snooze so often my alarm clock gives up it’s job of alarming me).

And, I hadn’t been able to take Sky on her usual morning walks (because I’m an hour behind schedule almost every morning).

I have been feeling totally wiped, weak and completely unmotivated, uninterested and out of it.

It’s been terrible!

Of course I immediately started wracking my brain as to what it could be.

I utilized all my usual remedies….loading up on my green veggies, drinking loads of water, enjoying herbal teas, taking my supplements and even experimenting with increasing my magnesium intake.

Nothing worked!

Then, on Friday morning I tried something totally new.

I didn’t turn on NPR and listen to the news like I do every morning.

Instead, I turned on my Spotify channel that has fun, undeniably upbeat, mood boosting music on it.

Songs like Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves and Footloose by Kenny Loggins. And, my most recent favorite, Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon.

Music that you just can’t help but DANCE to. Kind like this….

And, that’s when it happened.

I had a morning dance party….just me and the dog.

I literally danced and sang my way through the morning. In the shower, while blow drying my hair, getting dressed and making breakfast. (Sky hid under the bed embarrassed by the scene).

So, I did it again the next morning. And the morning after that.

Guess what? My funk has pretty much gotten up and danced away!

Just think….if everyone had a mini dance party before they left for work we would have more energy, be happier and healthier.

I’m sure of it!

So, tomorrow morning, bring on your best moves and have a little dance party.

I know I will be! Join me.

Happy dancing and shimmy shaking!

Comments { 10 } · Posted on March 30, 2015 in General

Homemade Coconut Oil Toothpaste

Today, I’m stepping out of the kitchen and inviting you into my bathroom.

I’m still going to share a recipe with you. It’s one you’ll use every morning, but you won’t eat it.

PicsArt_1424756525713

Stay with me here….

Transitioning to eating a whole foods, nutrient-dense diet has been a long journey for me. One, that is my no means over. It never will be.

I am always learning, just like you.

I’ve been on this clean-eating path for about 5 years now, and it’s definitely been a journey with LOTS trial and error.

But, now that I have the clean food thing down MOST of the time (“most” being the operative word here), I’m taking it to the next level by cleaning up the products that I’m using in the shower and at the bathroom sink.

For the last 6 months I’ve been making my own toothpaste. Yep, toothpaste.

It’s so ridiculously easy I can’t believe I haven’t started doing it sooner!

No matter where you on your health journey, this is something that is as easy to incorporate as eating raw nuts or drinking more water.

I know what you’re thinking….

“What’s so bad about toothpaste that I should make it myself?”

First, do you remember the big microbead debacle in late 2014? We were being told there was plastic in toothpaste that was embedding itself in our teeth and gums. Ewww!

First, have you ever read the ingredients in your toothpaste? When I did I realized that I didn’t really know what any of the ingredients really were.

Sodium laurel sulfate, titanium dioxide, sodium hexametaphosphate, triclosan are some that I’ve seen. What are these things? And, should we really put them in our mouths?

Here are three ingredients to know about in your toothpaste. There are many more and I encourage you to do some of your own reading. These are common ingredients that I think are important to know and understand.

1) Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): SLS has been linked to fueling canker sores. The Environmental Working Group SLS has been linked to irritation of the skin and eyes, neurotoxicity, hormone disruption and others. The only purpose for SLS is experience….it provides the foaming we like to correlate to cleanliness. The scraping from your toothbrush and flossing cleans better than the foam from SLS.

2) Triclosan: Tricolsan was first used about 15 years ago because it is known to fight bacteria for up to 12 hours. The Mayo Clinic states that triclosan has been shown to disrupt hormone balance, may contribute to antibiotic resistant bacteria and be harmful to the immune system. Not only is this a concern every time we put this ingredient in our mouth, but it going down the drain and having a negative effect on beneficial algae.

3) Flavoring: Just like we want out toothpaste to foam, we also want it to taste minty fresh. The problem is that many toothpastes contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame, a known neurotoxin. If you decide to not make your own toothpaste but rather buy a more natural version at the store, look for a toothpaste that uses stevia or xylitol as a sweetener.

Ok, so now you’re ready to make your own toothpaste, right? If you have 5 minutes (which I know you do) homemade toothpaste can be yours!

Toothpaste Collage
Here’s what to do:

Homemade Coconut Oil Toothpaste

Ingredients
6 tablespoons coconut oil
6 tablespoons baking soda
2 teaspoons vegetable glycerin
10-15 drops peppermint essential oil

Instructions
1) In a small bowl combine all ingredients with a fork. Add more essential oils to make it as minty as you want.
2) Scoop into a glass jar and store in the bathroom. Simply dip your toothbrush into the toothpaste and brush away!
3) Smile! You have clean, chemical-free teeth!

Recipe adapted from CrunchyBetty.com

Where do you get the ingredients?

Vegetable glycerin, or glycerol, is a clear, odorless liquid produced from plant oils, typically palm oil, soy, or coconut oil. It is used in cosmetics and body care products to assist in retaining moisture and is helpful in pulling oxygen into the skin. You can find vegetable glycerin at most natural food stores or online.

For essential oils I recommend pure, food safe oils. There are many companies out there and I recommend you do your own research to find the company you most comfortable with. Check your local natural food store as they may carry a local essential oil producer. This article goes into more depth about essential oils and how to choose them. Here is another one that is also very helpful.

What are the benefits?

Coconut oil has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Kills any icky germs that are floating around in there. The baking soda creates a mild abrasive that gets cleans all the nooks and crannies. The vegetable glycerin adds a natural sweetness and the peppermint oil of course gives you that sparkly clean taste.

That’s it!

Now get out of my bathroom! I have to….ummm….brush my teeth 🙂

Comments { 12 } · Posted on February 24, 2015 in General

[Recipe] Pasta with Creamy Tomato Sauce *secret ingredient included*

Pasta Recipe FB

What started as a tragedy at the grocery store ended in a delicious and divine 15 minute dinner

Here’s what happened……

A few weeks ago I was in the middle of running the 14-Day Whole Foods Cleanse and was rushing to get home in time to do the mid-weeek check in class and cooking demo.

(By the way….I’m doing it again in May! Learn more about that here).

Ok, back to the story.

It was a full day. I had a long meeting with my tax lady, several client sessions, meetings and was preparing for a health fair.

Envision the tasmanian devil….that was me! Running from one thing to the other.

When I got in my car to rush home I realized that an empty fridge would be looking back at me when I got there. Shoot! We had not food at home. (It happens to all of us).

I made a b-line for the grocery store with a plan to make a pasta dish that I knew would come together quickly and would be delicious.

How did I know this?

Because I’d made it not even a week before. Like I said…..I’m not perfect either when it comes to prepping food sometimes 🙂  But, it’s good to have staple foods on hand.

I rushed into the grocery store, cloth bags in hand. I grabbed some jarred tomato sauce, tahini for the cooking demo I was going to do that night and a few other odds and ends.

Proud of myself for not getting distracted, and buying ONLY what I came in for, I found an empty check out and had my money out before the girl could ask for my discount card.

When I walked out the exit I was looking forward to getting home, throwing off my shoes, making dinner and talking with all m cleansers.

That’s when it happened.

My cloth bag slipped through my hands and two jars of tomato sauce went crashing onto the tile floor.

I froze.

A guy walked by and said, “ooooh, that sucks!” I had to hold back from using my well-worn trucker talk on him.

So much for saving time!

The employees came in droves to clean it up. Thanks God! And I scurried back to the tomato sauce to replace my broken jars.

Once I finally got home, I recounted every gory detail to Mister Wes. His response, “oooh, that sucks.” Watch it buddy! 🙂

But, he made up for it when he paused between bites of pasta to say, “damn this is good!”

Want a quick, easy pasta dish with a surprisingly creamy sauce (without the cream)? This one will please the whole family for sure!

I came across this recipe while scanning Facebook. The wonderful Kris Carr had posted a video demonstrating her version, “Penne Alla Vodka.” I made some tweaks based on what we had on hand and came up with a quick dinner that will be a staple in our house from now on.

Curious about the secret ingredient? It’s cashews! I had never used cashews to make a creamy sauce before. Wow! Is it delicious! If you have a high speed blender like a Blendtec or Vitamix you shouldn’t have to soak them first.

Pasta with Creamy Tomato Sauce (and a secret ingredient)
4 servings

Ingredients

Brown rice pasta (Tinkyada is a good brand)
1 jar homemade or favorite store bought marinara sauce (make sure it doesn’t have added sugar or crappy oils in it)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 cup organic frozen peas (or more if you like)
1/2 cup raw, unsalted cashews. Soaked for about an hour
1 cup of water (to blend cashews)
Olive oil (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Bring water to a boil and add a pinch of salt to the water. Add your pasta to the boiling water and follow the package directions for cooking times. It normally takes about 10-12 minutes
  2. To make the sauce simply pour your marinara sauce into a medium pot. Add the garlic and peas and heat over medium heat until the sauce is hot and peas are warmed.
  3. Strain the cashews from the soaking water and place them in a high-speed blender. Add the water and blend until creamy. Add more or less water until you reach your desired consistency. Ideally, you end up with a thick, creamy sauce.
  4. Pour the cashew cream into the sauce and stir. Continue to cook the sauce until hot.
  5. Strain your pasta when it’s done and return it to the cooking pot. Pour the sauce over the pasta, stir and serve. Enjoy! 

Note: A sprinkle of nutritional yeast adds a wonderful cheesy flavor to this dish. Look for nutritional yeast at your local health food store or in the natural foods aisle of your grocery store. Red Start is a common brand.

Recipe adapted from Kris Carr

Comments { 1 } · Posted on February 10, 2015 in Healthy Recipes

Why Organic Isn’t Everything

Organic Food FB

Organic isn’t a new idea or concept. Before World War II all crops were organic because they weren’t sprayed with chemical fertilizers or pesticides. The USDA Organic label was put into circulation in October 2002 and has since been put on everything from bananas and tomatoes to cereal and frozen dinners.

According to the USDA National Organic Program, “organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.” In short, organic defines how the food or ingredients were created, prepared or raised.

The organic label does not mean the food you are eating is healthy.

A small study done by Cornell University showed that the organic label greatly influenced peoples perception about food leading them to think certain foods were lower in calories and even tasted like they were lower in fat. The organic label is no longer an informative label but rather a marketing label used to sell us more food. Buyer beware!

Reducing the amount of chemicals and toxins in our food is, without a doubt, important and good for our health. But, when transitioning to eating a diet rich in whole, unprocessed, nutrient-dense foods it can seem like eating 100% organic is the healthiest option and and a must. However, this may not be possible depending on where you live, become frustrating and feel very overwhelming.

Here are four things to keep in mind when eating whole foods and choosing organic:

  1. Organic cookies are still cookies: Don’t let the organic label lead you to believe that one cookie is better or healthier than another. It is not. An organic cookie can still contain loads of sugar, preservatives and other unrecognizable ingredients. Same goes for cereals, soups, pasta dishes and frozen dinners. Read every label and ingredient list to become familiar with what’s in your favorite products. Then, put them back and move to step 2.
  2. Eat whole foods: If you want to eat a more whole foods diet don’t let the organic label make it feel impossible or unaffordable. The first step is to eat and cook with whole, unprocessed vegetables and fruits – apples, bananas, berries, cabbage, carrots, avocados, potatoes, leafy greens, mushrooms and more! When you start choosing apples over packaged cookies your health and wallet will thank you.
  3. Choose local first: By choosing local fruits, veggies and meats you’re supporting your local agriculture and farmers. Plus, your food didn’t have to travel thousands of miles to get to you and lose a significant amount of nutrients. Your small local farmers are likely following organic practices but can’t afford the expensive certification. Check out your local farmers market and buy most of your groceries there.
  4. Learn the list: The Environmental Working Group has a list called the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15. This list shows the 12 most sprayed foods and the 15 foods that are either not sprayed or have a thick skin that we don’t eat. When you are ready to start purchasing organic foods use this list as a guideline. You can get the full list at www.ewg.org.
Comments { 0 } · Posted on February 3, 2015 in General

Why I drink salt water

Sole FB Image

You have certainly heard about the powers of sea salt and are maybe even using some regularly in your cooking. I have written about why it’s best to choose a colored sea salt over regular iodized table salt here.

While I do use pink sea salt in my cooking on a daily basis I also drink a salt water solution called sole every morning. Let me explain…

What is sole?

The word sole is derived from the Latin word for sun “sol.” Sole means “liquid sunlight” or “liquid light energy.” Essentially, sole is water that has been fully saturated with natural crystal salt. Salt does not indefinitely continue to dissolve in water. When it reaches 26% salinity the water has been fully saturated and cannot absorb any more of the salt. 

How is sole helpful for the body?

Natural crystal sea salt contains all the minerals and trace elements of which the human body is made – over 80 in all!. Drinking sole provides the body with these minerals and some of the following health benefits:

  • Flushes heavy metals from the body such as mercury, lead, arsenic and amalgam
  • Rebalances pH levels in the body
  • Improves overall mineral status in the body
  • Can reduce muscle cramps through the introduction of minerals like magnesium and potassium
  • Can dissolve and eliminate sediments which lead to stones and various forms of rheumatism like arthritis and kidney and gall bladder stones
  • Stimulates and aids in proper digestion and food assimilation
  • Helps balance blood pressure. It can reduce high blood pressure and raise low blood pressure because of it’s ability to restore balance in the body
  • Improve skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis
  • Reduce and eliminate sugar addiction and other addictions

According to Water & Salt The Essence of Life “People with rheumatic illnesses such as gout, arthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis, having already developed deposits in their joints, should regularly drink sole to keep the body within the frequency pattern. This will result in the  body slowly breaking down the deposits, metabolizing and releasing them.”

How to make sole

Essentially, drinking sole is a powerful but easy way to gently cleanse the body on a daily basis. I have always had a hard time remembering to take supplements regularly. But, drinking my sole every morning has been very easy and been a regular practice for me for almost 2 years.

Here is how to make sole:

  1. Fill a glass jar or container about 1/4 of the way with several crystal salt stones or pink sea salt. Cover the salt with clean, pure water. If you aren’t sure about the quality of your sink water buy a bottle of FIJI water just for this purpose. Cover the container with a plastic lid. Don’t use metal as it will corrode.
  2. After about 2 hours check the salt to see if it has dissolved. If it has then add more salt. Keep doing this until the water can no longer dissolve any more salt. At this point the water has reached a 26% salt saturation level (26 parts salt to 100 parts water). Now you have sole!
  3. As you use your sole be sure that there is always salt in the water to keep the 26% salt saturation level constant. You can always add more water as the water level begins to drop.

How to use your sole

Using sole couldn’t be easier. Here’s how I do it:

  1. Your sole can be stored anywhere. I keep mine on the kitchen counter which helps me remember to take it. But, the bathroom would also work. Anywhere you’ll remember to take it everyday. It will keep indefinitely since salt is naturally antifungal and antibacterial.
  2. Do this first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything. I use this as my morning hydration.
  3. Fill a glass with about 1 cup of room temperature. Add 1 teaspoon of the sole mix and drink up!
  4. If it’s too salty or strong at first then add half the amount of sole and work your way up.

Sole side effects

Because sole is a means of cleansing the body you may have some side effects at first. I personally didn’t experience any side effects that I can remember. Loose stools can happen because the salt can promote digestion. If this happens then start slowly.

According to Salt & Water The Essence of Life,

….salt supports the expression of symptoms….This process oftentimes results in an initial aggravation of the symptoms, as with homeopathy.” In reference to kidney and gallbladder stones the author notes, “the passing of the loosened, dissolved stones can be painful but the body will have managed the process on its own, without surgery.”

Where to buy sea salt or crystal salt

Himalayan Crystal Salt (they sell the larger salt rocks)
Redmond Real Salt
Mountain Rose Herbs

I originally bought my crystal salt rocks in May, 2013 and am just now about to order another box (a year and half later!). This is one of the most affordable and approachable things you can do for your health on a daily basis.

Comments { 5 } · Posted on January 27, 2015 in General

Do you use these four fats?

Fat has gotten a bad rap over the years, being blamed for the increase in our waistlines, cardiovascular diseases and blood pressures. However, healthy fats are essential to our health! Our brains are about 75% fat so fat is a critical for proper repair and function. Healthy fats support our immune system and keep bones strong by aiding in calcium absorption. Fat also makes foods more satisfying and filling preventing overeating and cravings.

While olive oil has long topped the charts as a healthy fat that should be found in every pantry. While the mostly monounsaturated fat certainly has proven itself as a heart healthy option there are a few other healthy fats you should include.

Here are 4 fats to know and start using in your daily cooking regiment:

Butter: Yes, I said butter! Be sure to choose an organic, grass fed butter so it is free from chemical, antibiotics and hormones. Butter contains important Vitamins A and E, which help with tissue repair and healing, ensure healthy eyesight and keep our immune system strong.

How to use it: Use butter at a very low heat as it does burn easily. Melt some butter on your broccoli, carrots, cauliflower or any other veggies. You can mix it with some salt, garlic and parsley to make a delicious herbed butter for fish and meats.

Ghee:
Ghee is clarified butter, and is very popular in Indian cooking. In ghee the milk solids have been removed, so it is very low in lactose making it a good choice for those who are lactose intolerant or avoiding dairy. This also means it can be used at a slightly higher heat than butter.

How to use it: You can use ghee to brown meats, sauté onions and garlic when making soups and stews or scramble eggs in it.

Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is a saturated fat and solid at room temperature. This makes it feared by many but in reality it is very misunderstood. Coconut oil is a type of saturated fat called medium chain triglyceride (MCT). MCT’s do not require bile acids for digestion. This means they are easily absorbed and utilized easily for energy. Plus, it is rich in lauric acid, a fatty acid found in mother’s milk that has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.

How to use it: Coconut oil can be used at a medium to medium-high heat for browning meats, onions and vegetables. It may sound strange, but it is delicious for scrambling eggs!

Avocado Oil: Avocado oil is a bit new on the cooking oil scene. It is reported to have the same cardiovascular health benefits as olive oil with more than 50% monounsaturated fat. Plus, it contains Vitamin E and an anti-inflammatory agent called beta-sitosterol, a phytosterol that can help block cholesterol absorption in the intestines.

How to use it: Avocado oil has a very mild flavor and a less oily feel compared to olive oil. This makes it excellent for salads dressings, roasting vegetables and browning meats and vegetables for soups and stews. Avocado oil has a much higher smoke point than olive so it can be used in higher heat cooking.

Article originally published in The Sentinel and on Cumberlink.com.

Comments { 2 } · Posted on January 20, 2015 in In the Kitchen

Cleanse Q&A

The 14-Day Whole Foods Cleanse starts in less than 2 weeks! Friday, January 16th to be exact.

I’ve gotten some questions about the cleanse and decided to do a quick video explaining the top three questions I’ve been getting:

1. What will we be eating?
2. Will I have to cook?
3. How does an online program work?

Check out the video below and get all the answers.

This program is not about short-lived solutions, but rather about creating real, sustainable change in the way you shop, cook, eat and live.

There is one question I didn’t answer in the video….

How do I know if the cleanse is right for me?

Great question! The cleanse is not for everyone. However, it IS for you if…..

– You’re sick and tired and feeling sick and tired
– You finally want to know exactly what to eat to experience optimal health, great energy, mental clarity and a healthy weight
– You want simple recipes that don’t require 25 ingredients you can only buy at a crazy expensive specialty store
– You’re physically, mentally and emotionally ready to take charge of your health and learn a new way of nourishing your body
You want to learn, have fun and enjoy great food!

You can learn more about the cleanse HERE. I hope to see you there!

Comments { 0 } · Posted on January 5, 2015 in Events

What’s in your salt?

Once considered a precious commodity, salt has been labeled a “bad food” for many years prompting food manufacturers to create a slew of “low sodium” and “sodium free products.” But is salt really that bad for us?

Salt, an edible crystal, has been treated historically as a precious luxury. The word salary comes from the root sal because Romans were paid in salt and African and European explorers traded salt for gold. Salt was literally worth its weight in gold.

Salt is essential for life and health.

Salt gives the oceans their character and our tears their salty flavor. According to trace-mineral expert Henry Schroeder, “life began in salinity, and cannot free itself therefrom.” Unrefined salt is essential for many of our bodily processed, including:

  • Salt is a major component of our blood, lymphatic fluid and even amniotic fluid
  • Salt is responsible for carrying nutrients in and out of our cells
  • The components of salt assist in the firing of neurons in our nervous system
  • Salt plays a key role in digestion. It is our major source of chloride, an important component of hydrochloric acid, which is needed for proper protein digestion.
  • Adequate salt intake helps our adrenal glands produce the hormones needed to keep our metabolism running smoothly.

What is salt?

Salt is often thought to be synonymous with sodium. However, there is more to salt than just this one ingredient. Salt is mostly made up mostly of sodium and chloride. Most commercial table salt is land-mined, whereas sea salt is obtained through the evaporation of seawater.

Remember, our bodies need whole foods that contain a variety of nutrients instead of foods that have been processed down into containing singular nutrients. Missing nutrients lead to imbalance leaving us prone to illness. Sea salt contains 78% sodium chloride and the remainder being made up of magnesium, calcium, potassium and other minerals and micro-minerals. USDA standards for table salt are set to be no less than 97.5% sodium chloride, the remainder being some magnesium and calcium and “approved additives.”

What about iodine?

Standard iodized salt includes potassium iodide to supplement iodine for those who may be deficient. However, when including iodine, dextrose (a type of sugar) is added to prevent the iodine from oxidizing. In turn, sodium bicarbonate is also added to keep the iodine from turning purple as well as various anti-caking agents to keep the salt from sticking.

Instead, iodine can be easily included in the diet through fish, seafood, sea vegetables like kombu and eggs.

When salt is a problem

More than 75% of the salt consumed in the U.S. comes from processed foods, mostly in the form of just sodium. Canned soups, frozen and pre-packaged meals, chips and pretzels, cereals, cheeses, condiments, dips and sauces, deli meats, breads and baked goods all contain large amounts of salt.

The problem is not the salt we add to our boiling water or pasta sauces, but the large amount of salt we consume through packaged foods and restaurant meals.

What kind of salt should I buy?

Redmond-RealSalt-Natures-First-Sea-Salt-Fine-Salt-018788102502In short, just about any sea salt is better than an iodized white salt. Nearly every well-stock grocery store now sells sea salt in its natural foods section and it can also be purchased at health food stores and online.

Look for sea salt that has some color – pink or grey are most common. Salt evaporated directly from the sea is not pure white by nature. White sea salt has most likely been processed in some way to rid it of any color.

I like Redmond Real Salt and The Original Himalayan Crystal Salt.

Comments { 0 } · Posted on January 4, 2015 in General, In the Kitchen