Sunday, March 29, 2015

Damien's Veggie Lasagna

Damien's Potluck Veggie Lasagna

This weeks recipe comes from a good friend and co-worker.
    Not surprisingly, he created this awesome and healthy dish for less then $4.00! 
After thinly slicing the veggies, he made layers of eggplant, portabello mushrooms,
onions, spinach, tomatoes, potatoes and peppers. Between each layer went homemade spiced tomato sauce. He also added some leftover veggie meatballs throughout the mixture. Then topped it off with zucchini and squash, sprinkled with nutritional yeast. Bake for 45 minutes at 350'.

No meat, dairy or eggs!

Also the potatoes, spinach and tomatoes were from his garden. Everything else came from the reduced bin at the produce store, all for under $4.00
" Its a shame eating healthy is so expensive"... (plant based sarcasm) Damien.

Damien is in the process of starting a blog on growing your own veggies/fruit in a limited space.
I will keep you informed on the progress.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

World Water Day

Happy World Water Day

We take it for granted, but it is a finite resource.  Turn on the faucet, its always there. 
But what happens when its not. It has been said, that there will be wars over water.
 In California, there already is. Farmers need it to produce enough crops to feed us.
Municipalities need it to provide clean water for its citizens.
In my profession (Ecosystem Manager), I am considered a Steward of Water. I am proud to do my part in maintaining, preserving and restoring our watersheds.

Here are a few things to read and view on our water issues:
Water by Conservation International

We have to change our frame of reference when it comes to water.
We cannot live without it.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Barefoot Farmer

Tomazin Farms

This a shout out and a huge THANK YOU to my friend and veggie supplier:
"The Barefoot Farmers"
Paul you are the best!
Rain or shine, summer or winter he is always barefoot!

Tomazin Farms in Samsula, Florida have been around since 1915!!
They produce the best quality, freshest vegetables in my area.
They harvest on Tuesday and Thursday, and you can pick up your order the following day.

Fresh picked Beets, Spinach and Radishes
in the wash bin.

If you live in the New Smyrna Beach area, and want to order veggies, leave a comment and I will give you contact information.

Otherwise find a local farmer in your area and SUPPORT them!!

Great Morning Rituals

A Great Morning Ritual

According to Ayurvedic philosophy, choices that we make regarding our daily routine either build up resistance to disease or tear it down. Ayurveda invites us to get a jump-start on the day by focusing on morning rituals that work to align the body with nature's rhythms.  Once we begin to get into a good morning ritual and begin to see results, we start to wonder why we didn't start doing it earlier.
I start every day with Oil pulling. I use organic unrefined coconut oil and the process attracts and removes bacteria and toxins that accumulate in your mouth and throat overnight. It also pulls mucus and congestion from your sinuses. Coconut oil also helps in whitening your teeth! 

But, if you can only make time for one ritual that will improve your health, let it be this...
Start your day with a cup of warm water and the juice of half a lemon.
The benefits are amazing:
1- It boosts your immune system: lemons are high in Vitamin C and potassium.
Vitamin C is great for fighting colds and flu, and potassium stimulates brain and nerve function, and helps control nerve function.
2- It Balances pH: lemons are an incredibly alkaline food, although very acidic on there on, when metabolized they are alkaline. An alkaline body is the key to good health.
3- Aids in digestion: warm water stimulates the gastrointestinal tract and the lemons (high in minerals and vitamins) help loosen toxins.
4- Gentle natural diuretic:  Lemon juice helps flush out unwanted materials because lemons increase the rate of urination in the body. Toxins are, therefore, released at a faster rate which helps keep your urinary tract healthy.
5- Clears skin: Lemon water purges toxins from the blood and Vitamin C decreases winkles and blemishes.
6- Helps with weight loss: Lemons are high in pectin fiber, which helps fight hunger cravings.
7- Hydrates the lymph system: This starts your day on a hydrated note. When your body is dehydrated, or deeply dehydrated (adrenal fatigue) it can't perform all of it's proper functions, which leads to toxic buildup, stress, constipation, and the list goes on. Your adrenals happen to be two small glands that sit on top of your kidneys, and along with your thyroid, create energy. They also secrete important hormones, including aldosterone. Aldosterone is a hormone secreted by your adrenals that regulates water levels and the concentration of minerals, like sodium, in your body, helping you stay hydrated. Your adrenals are also responsible for regulating your stress response. So, the bottom line is that you really don't want to mess with a deep state of dehydration! (from an article by Ashley Dentino on

Sunday, March 1, 2015



Eating a plant-based diet for more then five years( vegetarian for 7 yrs.),
I get asked many questions:
Where do you get your protein?
Do you just eat salads?
Are you healthy?
What about calcium? 
You know we need milk to keep our bones strong.
Your food must be pretty bland.
The list can go on.

Most prepared foods don't have that much flavor without spices. I remember eating plain boiled chicken breast  (a long time ago), without spices, its pretty bland. Add spices, and what a difference. For a plant-based alternative try, Beyond Meat Chicken, you will be amazed. They have a new product out called "Beastly Burger". I haven't tried them yet but will be in the next few weeks.
I will let you know how they are.

That's where spices come in.
Most raw foods don't even need them.
They are full of nutrients and minerals are body needs, and in their natural form, they
supply us with just what we need at that time.
Many of the spices we use to make our food taste better also have medicinal properties
and other health benefits. You not only will get more enjoyment out of your meals, but
you will also be healthier overall.

There are an endless amount of different spices you can use to season your food.
I saw an article on  Natural News, here are 7 spices most everyone has in their pantry 
and their benefits:

1. Cinnamon

1) High in Nutrients – It is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.
2) Yeast Infection Help – In some studies, cinnamon has shown an amazing ability to stop medication-resistant yeast infections.
3) Anti-Clotting – It has an anti-clotting effect on the blood.
4) Arthritis Relief – In a study at Copenhagen University, patients given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning before breakfast had significant relief in arthritis pain after one week and could walk without pain within one month.
5) Anti-Bacterial – When added to food, it inhibits bacterial growth and food spoilage, making it a natural food preservative.
6) E. Coli Fighter – Researchers at Kansas State University found that cinnamon fights the E. coli bacteria in unpasteurized juices.
Suggested ways to add its health benefits to your diet daily:
  • Put 1/2 to 1 teaspoon in your coffee grounds before brewing
  • Stir into your honey to sweeten your tea
  • Mix cinnamon into yogurt or sprinkling it on oatmeal
  • Sprinkle into a traditional PB&J

2. Oregano

1) Immune System Support – It has one of the highest antioxidant activity ratings, with 42 times the antioxidant punch of apples.
2) Antifungal/Antibacteriall – Its essential oils may kill the food borne pathogen Listeria and the superbug MRSA; making it a useful addition to hand soaps and disinfectants.
3) Anti-inflammatory – It contains beta-caryophyllin (E-BCP), a substance that inhibits inflammation and may also be beneficial for conditions including osteoporosis and arteriosclerosis.
4) Treatment Of Respiratory Infections – It encourages sweat production as a mode of detox, and ingesting it may help your body to get rid of unwanted phlegm in your lungs.
5) Cancer-Fighting Effects – It has also been “evaluated for anti-cancer properties in prostate, breast, skin, leukemia, and colon cancer with promising results (Source).”
Suggested ways to add its health benefits to your diet daily:
  • Add oregano to commercial or homemade pasta or pizza sauce
  • Sprinkle oregano onto a grilled cheese sandwich
  • Sprinkle a sliced tomato with oregano, a grind of pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

3. Rosemary

1) Immune Booster – It boosts the immune system thanks to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic properties. Because it is healing in so many ways, it boosts the overall health of the body.
2) Pain Relief/Anti-Inflamatory – Its essential oil can be applied topically as a natural treatment for arthritis, sore muscles, and other joint and muscle pains. It also contains two potent anti-inflammatories, which inhibited COX-2, an enzyme that causes pain and inflammation in the body.
3) Digestive Health – It is often used to help treat digestive problems such as upset stomach, constipation, indigestion, and almost any other digestive related problem. It also helps to prevent food borne illnesses when ingested with foods such as meat or eggs.
4) Fresh Breath – It can be used as a natural mouthwash and is said to work very well.
5)Diuretic and Detoxification Properties – It is a mild diuretic, and can help the kidneys function at optimal levels to help get rid of excess water in the body. It has also been used to treat liver problems for thousands of years; the ancient Greek doctor Hippocrates even prescribed it for this purpose.
6)Respiratory Health – It is a great natural remedy for respiratory problems. Breathing in the scent of the essential oil can help with congestion due to colds, allergies, respiratory infections, and the flu. Doing this has also been shown to help alleviate migraine, as well.
Suggested ways to add its health benefits to your diet daily:
  • Include rosemary in marinades for meats and tomato sauces
  • Add it to whole grain breads and rolls
  • Steep in a pint of heated water, strain, and use as a mouth rinse
  • Boil fresh rosemary in a pot of water, and breathe in the steam

4. Turmeric

1) Natural Antiseptic – It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns. As a result, it speeds up wound healing and assists in remodeling of damaged skin.
2) Detoxification Properties – Is a natural liver detoxifier.
3) Alzheimer’s Prevention – It may prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain.
4) Natural Painkiller – It is a potent natural anti-inflammatory that works as a natural treatment for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
5) Depression – It has been used as a treatment for depression.
6) Skin Condition Treatment – It may help in the treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.
Suggested ways to add its health benefits to your diet daily:
  • Stir into egg salad, chicken salad and tuna salad mixes for lunch
  • Add to simmer sauces for poultry
  • Whisk into dips and vinaigrettes for cooked vegetables

5. Thyme

1) Anti-Inflammatory – It contains anti-inflammatory properties and may help prevent chronic inflammation of the body systems.
2) Antibacterial – Its antimicrobial properties have proven to help fight a variety of bacterial and fungi, including e. coli, staphalococcus aureus, and shigella. Thyme oil extract shows good efficacy against antibiotic resistant strains of several different types of bacteria.
3) Respiratory Health – It has been used for centuries to treat chest and respiratory conditions like coughs and bronchitis.
4) High In Iron – It can provide nearly 20% of the DV per 2.8 grams. Iron is essential for energy production and iron deficiency may cause anemia, fatigue and make the body more susceptible to infection.
5) Bone Health – It is a good source of iron, calcium and manganese which are all essential to promoting proper bone growth, maintaining strong, healthy bones and preventing bone disease.
Suggested ways to add its health benefits to your diet daily:
  • Mix with honey and tea for a good cold/flu remedy
  • Whisk it in salad dressings and creamy dips
  • Sprinkle it on cooked vegetables and fish
  • Include it in stir-fries or sautes

6. Ginger

1) Morning Sickness Relief – It is just as effective as vitamin B6 in the treatment of morning sickness.
2) Motion Sickness Remedy – It has been shown to be an effective remedy for the nausea associated with motion sickness.
3) Reduces Pain and Inflammation – It has anti-inflammatory properties and is a powerful natural painkiller.
4) Heartburn Relief – It has long been used as a natural heartburn remedy. It is most often taken in the form of tea for this purpose.
5) Cold and Flu Prevention and Treatment – Long used as a natural treatment for colds and the flu. Many people also find ginger to be helpful in the case of stomach flu or food poisoning, which is not surprising given the positive effects ginger has upon the digestive tract.
6) Menstrual Cramp Relief – In Chinese medicine, ginger tea with brown sugar is used in the treatment of menstrual cramps.
Suggested ways to add its health benefits to your diet daily:
  • Sprinkle onto fresh fruit slices
  • Stirred into yogurt or ice cream
  • Mixed with honey and use as a glaze, marinade, or sauce
  • Steep in a tea

7. Dried Red Peppers

1) High In Vitamin C – Besides being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C is also needed for the proper absorption of iron. If you are iron deficient, try combining red peppers with your iron source for maximum absorption.
2) Decrease Anxiety – They are high In vitamin B6 and magnesium, which used on combination helps decrease anxiety, especially related to pre-menstrual symptoms.
3) Natural Diuretic – The vitamin B6 in red peppers can decrease bloating and prevent against hypertension.
4) Promote Healthy Night Vision – They are high in vitamin A, which helps to support healthy eyesight, especially night vision.
5) Increased Metabolism – Sweet red peppers have a mild thermogenic action that increases metabolism without increasing heart rate and blood pressure like the hot peppers do.

Adding Flavor, Naturally

Here's another great article from Whole Foods on cooking with spices:

Have a great day, and add some spice to your life!
Thanks for reading.