Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Year End Housecleaning

We are doing some year-end house cleaning on the blog,
 but we should be back to normal within the year end.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Gifts of The Magi

The Gifts of The Magi

The gifts of the Magi were carried a long distance from the east (Eastern medicine) to be presented to the newborn Christ.  The gifts of  Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh were highly valuable (and still are) revered herbs that were potent medicines.  The resins of Frankincense and Myrrh have been used for over 5000 years to treat everything from serious infections to spiritual practices. 

Myrrh seems to be brought as a gift for use in an antiseptic purposes for both Jesus and Mary, healing wounds, umbilical cord cleansing etc. We can only imagine the sanitary surroundings of a manger in a stable.  It has many benefits including:
*Heals wounds.
*Skin diseases (ringworm, eczema).
*Gum and mouth ulcers. 
*Stimulates uterine health, relieves contractions and cramping.
*Strengthens the immune system.
*Prevents/helps microbial infections.
*Works as a fungicide.
*Stimulates blood circulation, digestion and nerves.   

Frankincense is similar to Myrrh having some of the healing properties.  Its sweet woody scent has a soothing and calm effect on our mind and body.  Some of its health benefits include:
*Heals and protects skin from boils, acne and wounds.
* Eliminates germs (antiseptic).
*Promotes urination to purify the body of toxins.
*Relives body pain, headaches, toothaches and reduces fevers.
* Strengthens absorption of nutrients.  
*Regulates estrogen helping PMS.

As for the "gold" gift, scholars note that the word gold was often used interchangeably for the golden spice turmeric.  The gold the Magi gifted to Jesus may well have been turmeric.  All three were highly prized for their powerful medicinal properties.  Here's two great articles on turmeric benefits and Golden Milk.

These gifts can be used by us today also.

 As the year comes to an end, lets all make a choice to live a healthy and "wellthy"  life.

Have great week. 
Be kind.
Be yourself.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Wellness Gift Guide

Wellness Gift Guide

This week's post is a guest post from our daughter Bree.  With the holiday season upon us here are a few suggestions for gift ideas.   You can check out her own blog at Young Sophisticate.  We are so proud of her accomplishments and of the many more to come.

A dry-brush makes for a great, simple gift for anyone interested in wellness and beauty. The jute brush from Pursoma is high quality and beautiful to look at---a perfect combination.

For an envy-inducing gift, present a sculptural diffuser along with a set of essential oils like lavender, sweet orange, and eucalyptus.

I don't know anyone who wouldn't love this gift. You may think groceries are boring but for health-food lovers, an extra $50-$100 to spend at Whole Foods is a godsend.

Create a wonderful gift set by pairing this beautiful french press with a selection of organic teas or fair trade coffee.

Moon Juice dusts are a wellness cult favorite and the best way to determine which ones you like best is with a sachet sampler box which includes 12 single-serving packages, 2 of each variation.

Since zoodles are huge right now, a great, affordable kitchen gift is a spiralizer from a brand such as OXO. The recipient can use this to make noodles from their favorite vegetables for a healthier take on pasta.

Have a great week.
Be kind. 
Be yourself.

Sunday, December 11, 2016



Pumpkin seeds are nutritional power houses packed in a small package!  Just one cup of seeds gives you almost 12 grams of protein and  500 mg of potassium, which makes it a great post heavy workout treat.  The additional potassium from the seeds will re-balance your body's electrolytes faster.  This allows muscles to repair faster and function better,  Plus one cup also provides the complete RDA of magnesium, which helps control blood pressure and prevent sudden cardiac arrest, heart attack and stroke. They are a go-everywhere snack that doesn't need refrigeration. 

They are an amazing source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids and have been very effective in supporting men's prostate health, because of their high zinc content.  Most of us know that turkey has the amino acid trytophan, which has a bad rap of making you sleepy on Thanksgiving. (Most experts agree that it is the carb-heavy overeating that does that, not the trytophan.)  But pepitas  have it also, and you NEED trytophan which your body converts it to serotonin.  One of the major ingredients to a better sleep and a good mood booster.

Other benefits include;
Reduces LDL(bad) cholesterol.
Cancer prevention(beta-carotene).
Rich in Natural Phytoestrogens helping in PMS.

For the optimal benefits they should be raw, soaked and sprouted then used on salads , soups, smoothies, oatmeal and consumed alone as snacks.  You can slowly roast the seeds on low heat to preserve the healthy fats. Lightly oil with coconut oil, sprinkle with Himalayan Sea Salt and roast at 150' for about 15-30 minutes. Stir once or twice.
Eat more seeds!

Have a great week.
Be kind.
Be yourself.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Miracle of Moringa

The Miracle of Moringa

Not very well known, Moringa has been used in Ayurveda Medicine for thousands of years.  Native to India, Pakistan and Nepal it is said in India's ancient tradition, that Moringa can prevent over 300 diseases.   Modern research has confirmed that the whole plant is in fact a nutritional powerhouse.  It has been used in Eastern medicine to treat and prevent diabetes, heart disease, anemia, arthritis, liver disease, respiratory, skin and digestive disorders.

In fact, in 2008 the National Institute of Health called moringa (moringa oleifera) the “plant of the year,” acknowledging that “perhaps like no other single species, this plant has the potential to help reverse multiple major environmental problems and provide for many unmet human needs.
NIH March 21, 2008

Sometimes called the "miracle tree" its small round leaves are packed full of  calcium, protein, beta carotene, vitamin c, and potassium.  This fast growing tree can be planted in the worst of soil and growing conditions and still be harvested many times per year.  In Third world countries these "miracle trees" can be a valuable source of nutrition.  In these dry, semi-arid  areas these "weed-like" growing plants can be life savers.  They can be grown in tropical and subtropical areas around the world.  

Reasons why Moringa is being hailed as a superfood:
*9 times the protein of yogurt.
*10 times the vitamin A of carrots. 
*15 times the potassium of bananas.
*17 times the calcium of milk.
*12 times the vitamin C of oranges.
*25 times the iron of spinach!

Moringa powder can be found online or many health food stores and can be used in smoothies, teas and green juices.  The leaves can be eaten in salads or steamed like spinach.  The seed pods are being used as water purification filters with amazing results in impoverished areas to treat unclean water sources.  Even better results then normal filters.  It seems that entire plant is a "miracle tree".

Here is a short video on its benefits:
Also a great article from Wellseek:

Have a great week.
Be kind.
Be yourself.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Clove Essential Oil and Oil Pulling

Clove Essential Oil
Oil Pulling

Clove has a very strong aroma and has many uses in both health and food preparation.
The warm spicy smell of it in Chai tea or during the holidays with the cloves stuck in the peel of an orange for a great festive aroma. For over two thousand years, clove has been used for fragrance and spice.  Clove's first form is the handpicked flower buds of the "Eugenia caryophyllata" tree found in the Maluku Islands in Indonesia.  Each bud is dried until the pink blossoms have turned brown. From there the dried cloves are ground and used in cooking or distilled for their essential oil content.

Nutritionally, they are a good source of vitamin k, fiber, iron, magnesium and calcium.  But where they shine is in manganese.  2 teaspoons of clove boast over 120% of our RDA!  Manganese helps in prevention of osteoporosis, anemia and PMS.  Cloves are one of the highest valued antioxidant available to us, with no other coming close to its measure of greatness.  This means that clove is a key ingredient for anyone who wants to detox and rid their body of harmful toxins.  As a concentrated essential oil, there is no comparison!  But with great power comes great responsibility!  High doses of  (Eugenol ) clove is not good for the health of our liver. This should only be an issue for those with inflammation of the liver, hepatitis or cirrhosis, etc.  Clove Essential Oil is a powerful substance!

With its anti-inflammatory capability it is very beneficial for disease prevention and especially for oral health.  It is antibacterial, antifungal, analgesic and very antiseptic.  Which is why CEO is a longtime dental remedy dating back to 1640 where the French and Eastern medicine was a go-to for dental needs.  The Journal of Dentistry published a comparison between CEO and Benzocaine for its numbing effect.  There was no difference recorded, indicating the same numbing effect.  CEO's benefits extend to slow decay and helping in remineralization of teeth.  It's interesting that fluoride is so heavily used and recommended when there are clear, natural alternatives.  It seems that we have to go back to ancient wisdom to move forward in natural health solutions.

An estimated 80% of disease symptoms are caused by problems in the mouth.  Experts claim that it is possible to reverse cancer by eliminating oral infections and 90% of all heart attacks are caused by oral pathogens.  Autoimmune disorders can be resolved by getting rid of toxic dental materials.  Reversing gum disease can help with digestive problems and root canal procedures can increase your risk of cancer and other degenerative diseases.

Used primarily in Ayurvedic medicine, oil pulling has gained some popularity in the U.S., and it happens to be one of the lost keys in abundant life health.  Oil pulling is a fantastic oral detoxification procedure that is simply done by swishing a tablespoon of oil (organic coconut is my favorite and very pleasant in taste) in your mouth for 10-20 minutes.  Do not swallow the "toxic swish", but just spit into a garbage can not your sink as it will solidify.  Rinse your mouth with warm water and brush your teeth normally.  It prevents bad breath, bleeding gums, throat dryness and tooth decay.   But more importantly, it is a way to remove the deadly toxins from your body and mouth very easily in addition to strengthening your gums, jaws and teeth.  It creates a clean, antiseptic oral environment needed to prevent cavities and disease.

By adding a drop of clove with orange, lemon or peppermint essential oil to the coconut oil (which is a carrier oil) you have just supercharged the process! 
Just remember never use clove oil by its self as it will burn you!
If you have an sore or infection in your mouth, mix clove with oregano or tea tree oil, as both of these are very good for combating viruses.
Make this a daily ritual or at least 3-5 times per week to see what differences you notice.

I am excited to say that next week our daughter will be doing a guest post for us. Here is a link to her own blog: Young Sophisticate

Have a great week. 
Be kind.
Be yourself as there is no one else like you.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Lemongrass Essential Oil

Lemongrass Essential Oil

Lemongrass is a perennial grass native to tropical areas such as Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Indonesia etc.  It grows in large dense clumps and has bright-green sharp edged leaves.  It commonly used  as a flavoring in Asian food and drinks.  But its essential oils are one of the most versatile used oils today.
It is used in many skin care, deodorants, shampoos and lotions because of its calming aroma.  Because of its refreshing scent it helps to relieve stress, anxiety, irritability and insomnia.  It soothes sore muscles, period cramps and headaches.  It can also be used to kill fleas and lice on your dog!

Like most essential oils, lemongrass is highly anti-bacterial, antimicrobial, fungicidal and antiseptic.  Which makes it great for both internal and external infections including ringworm and athletes foot fungus.  It reduces inflammation and helps in digestive issues and even hair loss and scalp issues.  Remember most oils need to be mixed with a carrier oil such as coconut, olive, jojoba etc. when using them topically.

It makes a great and inexpensive cleaning product that is free from nasty chemicals.  But also gives your home, bathrooms and kitchen a clean fresh smell!  You can use it on all your counter tops, glass, toilets and showers. 

Multi-purpose Cleaner:
     In a 32 oz spray bottle mix 1 cup distilled white vinegar with 3 cups distilled water.
20-25 drops of Lemongrass Essential Oil
(Opt- 10 drops Tea Tree oil for stronger bacterial cleaner, but not necessary)
That's it!
You can spray it in your toilets and let soak while you clean the rest of bathroom.
You will be amazed how fresh your home feels and smells when using this chemical free cleaner.
It will also make you feel better by not breathing in nasty chemicals.

Here is a 20 minute video on the benefits of some essential oils by The Truth About Cancer.

Have a great week.
Be kind.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Eucalyptus Essential oil

Eucalyptus Essential Oil

The Australian Aboriginal people have a history dating back tens of thousands of years.   They have been using eucalyptus leaves and oils extensively for its healing properties for quite some time.   They would bind leaves around serious wounds to prevent infection and promote healing.  They also used its lung-opening aroma for clearing respiratory congestion and to help suppress coughing.   Kris and I spray eucalyptus oil into the hot steam of the shower for an invigorating clean feeling.  Eucalyptus oil, along with the oil of citronella is a excellent insect repellent with no harsh chemicals for you to absorb.  It can also be used a rub/bath for sore muscles, joint pain and even headaches.  The Aborigines would sometimes burn the leaves and inhale the smoke to relieve headache pain.

It has an anti-viral, antibacterial and antiviral properties against common pathogens such as E.coli, Streptococcus, Canida and several others.  German researchers in 2001 found that eucalyptus and tea tree oil inhibited both herpes simplex virus 1 and 2.  Nature sure is incredible!  

Some other health benefits of eucalyptus are;
*Regulates blood sugar levels.
*Pain reliever and fever reducer.
*Lowers blood pressure.
*Boosts brain functions.

Here are two ways to use eucalyptus oil;
Inhalation: providing instant relief for upper respiratory issues, place a few drops of oil in your palms, rub together and place over your nose and mouth(STAY AWAY FROM EYES). Breathe in deeply for a few minutes.
External Application: Using an organic carrier oil( coconut, almond, olive etc) dilute and massage into your skin around neck, ears and chest.  You can also add a few drops into one cup of Epsom salts, dissolving into a hot bath for sore muscles and soothing for urinary tract infections.

Essential oils have been used by many cultures for thousands of years.  Besides the Aborigines, Chinese and Indian cultures have used oils for a wide range of medical conditions.  Now Western cultures are becoming more aware of their excellent benefits.

I will go deeper into the wonderful benefits of using Essential Oils over the next few weeks.

"Walk with integrity.  Lead with love.  
Exude the change you want to see in this complicated, divided world"
Rich Roll

Have a great week.
Be kind.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Vegan Cream of Wild Rice Soup and 'Chick'n Soup

Vegan Cream of Wild Rice and 'Chick'n Soup

As I am writing this the soup is cooking.  Last week I said the recipe was coming, well here it is: 
*8 cups vegetable stock ( we use 4 Knorr's vegetable bouillon cubes with 8 cups filtered water).
*2 carrots, diced.
*2 stalks of celery, diced.
* 1 white onion, diced.
*2 garlic cloves, minced
*1 tsp. Italian seasoning.
*1 8oz. bag of Lundberg Organic Wild Rice.
*3/4 cup raw cashews.
Your choice of vegan 'chick'n': Gardein  Chick'n Scallopini or Beyond Meat Chick'n Strips.

Add vegetable stock, carrots, celery, onion, garlic and seasonings to a slow cooker on a high setting.  Once it is hot, add wild rice and cook for a minimum of 4 hours.   Approximately 1/2 hour before serving remove 1 cup of the broth and blend with cashews in a Vitamix or high speed blender.  Add back into soup and stir all together.  The cashews will give it a creamy healthy texture.

Top off soup with homemade Maple Croutons:
Preheat oven to 325'.
Cut a french baguette into cubes and toss with olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper.
Spread evenly on baking sheet and bake 25-35 minutes until crisp and lightly browned. turn with a spatula every ten minutes.

For a delicious sandwich to enjoy with the soup try "Hummus and Caramelized Red Onion" on Ciabatta Bun.
Slice a red onion and slow cook in Earth Balance 'Butter' for approximately 30 minutes until caramelized.  While onions are cooking make some quick hummus. Toast some Ciabatta Buns adding the onions and hummus.

Have a great week.
Be kind.

Here's a few photos of the finished meal.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Power of Pumpkin

Pumpkin, The Secret Superfood

Image result for pumpkin 

When we think of pumpkins we think of  carving a spooky face into one.  The hassle of scooping out the slimy flesh and seeds and getting our hands sticky comes to mind.  Usually that all goes into the trash and we are left with hollowed out shell that shrinks and collapses before Halloween even arrives.  Good times.  Unless we enjoy a slice of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving or Christmas, its the only time most of us have ever eaten it.  
Pumpkins are more than just a "pretty face".  They are a nutritional powerhouse and moderately priced superfood.   They are full of vitamins and minerals like: 
Vitamin A and C, which promotes healthy vision and sustaining wellness.
Cancer fighting beta-carotene.
Potassium, which helps balances electrolytes (more than bananas).
Fiber, (3 grams per cup) which fills you up, slows digestion keeping blood sugar level and keeps you feeling fuller.
For a great bonus, SEEDS packed with nutrients and  phytosterols which help protect your heart and immune system.

Here's a easy way to prep a pumpkin. for roasting or mashing etc.  Don't forget to roast the seeds.  There are many ways to enjoy pumpkin, check out: How to cook with Orange Beauties.

You can even get a workout with your pumpkin before cooking it.

Kris made the best "Wild rice and 'chickin' Soup" yesterday.  I need to go enjoy a bowl right now.  Recipe coming next week.

Have a great week.
Be kind.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Butternut Squash Soup

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Soup

Autumn seems to be just around the corner here in Florida.  I know the further you go north its already arrived.  Personally, I love the heat but I am ready for some cool weather.  That's why its soup time!  Kris loves to make different types of soups and one of her favorites is Butternut Squash.  I am not sure of the origin of this recipe but it is delicious.

2 cups vegetable stock.
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced.
1-2 carrots, peeled and sliced.
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and cubed.
1 medium (uncooked) butternut squash,
peeled, seeded and cubed
1 sprig of fresh sage.
1 white onion, diced.
1/2 tsp salt.
1/4-1/2 tsp black pepper.
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper.
pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg.
1/2 cup (unsweetened) coconut milk.

Add all ingredients, except the coconut milk, to a large slow cooker/crock pot.
Toss to combine.
Cook for 6-8 on low or 3-4 hours on high until squash is completely tender and mashes easily with a fork.  Stir in coconut milk.  Transfer the soup into a high speed blender or Vitamix and puree until smooth, (or mix directly in the pot with an immersion blender).  BE CAREFUL WHEN WORKING WITH HOT LIQUIDS.

Top with homemade croutons:
1 French baguette, cubed.
1/4 cup olive oil.
1 tbs maple syrup.
Salt and pepper.
Stir together to coat evenly.
Bake at 325' for 25-35 minutes, flipping every 10 minutes


Here's the recipe for Beet Ketchup from last weeks post:

Three 2" to 2 1/2" diameter beets.
1/2 cup ketchup (organic).
2 tbs EVO (extra virgin olive oil).
2 tbs plus 2 tsp balsamic vinegar.
1- 1/2 piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced (or you can use powdered).
1/4 tsp sea salt.
1/8 tsp black pepper.

In a small saucepan boil the beets in water over high heat for 30-40 minutes.
Drain the water and rinse the beets in cold water.
Rub the outer layer off the beets.
Don't forget they will stain everything!
Cut into 1 inch chunks and transfer to food processor.
Add all other ingredients and process until smooth, 2-3 minutes.
Transfer to a small bowl, cover and refrigerate.

More soup recipes to come.

Have a great week.
Be kind.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Give me a cup of coffee!

Give me a cup of coffee!

Most people love their morning cup of coffee and I am no exception, but it has to be a good quality of bean.  Folgers or Maxwell House just doesn't cut it for me.  Most of our parents or grandparents grew up drinking "percolated" sludge and most don't like the flavor of Starbucks type of coffees.  WTF!  While traveling for work, I bring my own "cold brew" or a french press to brew a great cup of java.

Just a few short decades ago quitting coffee was a requisite for adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle.  I am sure glad that recent studies have shown that there are many healthy benefits from daily consumption of coffee.  Last year, the Harvard Gazette reviewed a number studies and found that coffee is "a potentially powerful elixir" against a range of ailments from cancer to cavities.


The benefits seem to be:
*Overall Longevity (prevents heart disease)
*Cancer Prevention (including prostate, skin, liver and colon)
*Alzheimer/Parkinson Prevention
*Diabetes Prevention (you have to drink a lot of it)
*Liver Health (helps to prevent cirrhosis-cut out the alcohol!)
*Fighting Depression
*Oral Health (kills bacteria, leave out the sugar/creams)
*DNA Protection (stronger white blood cells)
*MS Prevention
*Muscle Soreness (2 cups reduces soreness by 50%)

Fun facts:
*Dark roasted beans have slightly less caffeine than lighter roasts.
*Arabica beans have a richer flavor then Robusta beans(which are used in less expensive coffees).
*The heaviest coffee consumption is in areas that are overcast, dreary and drizzly,
 like the Pacific Northwest.  
*Finland is the #1 coffee consumer in the world  (2.6 cups per day).
*9 out of the top 10 coffee consuming countries are in Europe, with Brazil at #10.

Take this Quiz:  Do you know Joe?
For a great documentary on coffee check out: Modern Marvels; Coffee 

As usual Kris prepared a delicious dinner last night, which included veggie burgers from
 The Plantpower Way with sweet potato fries and "beet ketchup", followed with Chocolate Cream Pie from Chef Chloe's Vegan Desserts.  Kris puts her heart and soul into her cooking and I am blessed to be able to partake. We need to have a plant-powered food truck!

Have a great week.
Be kind.

Sunday, October 2, 2016



We spent the week in NYC for our 25th anniversary.  Blue skies,🌞 and 65', 30% humidity greeted us on Saturday morning.  You couldn't ask for nicer weather, considering the last few months at home it's been high 90's feeling like 100'.  Saturday morning began with breakfast at Bluestone Lane Cafe, with warm banana bread and chilled coconut quinoa porridge.

Next stop was the Union Square Farmers Market.   You could stock up on a whole weeks worth of fresh veggies and fruit, not to mention fresh cut flowers, herbs and breads.  Most were organically grown, non-GMO and there was a large selection of gluten-free items as well.

There are so many places and things to do, which can be overwhelming.  
  I would try to get a short run first thing in the morning while Kris got ready for the day.  You can pick a route, head west to the Hudson River or east to the East River.  Manhattan is only  approximately 3 miles across.  Early morning runs have less traffic and you get to experience the grittiness of NYC.
East River- Brooklyn Bridge                                                          FDR Drive morning traffic

West Side/ Hudson River/Battery Park                     Battery Park with New Jersey in background

After my run, I would head to Juice Press for a quick cold-pressed post run pick-up.

When we vacation, we don't go to the usual "tourist spots" like Times Square, etc.  We usually rent an AirBNB apartment in a residential area so as to get the real NYC feeling.  On this trip, we did spend one day as a tourist and rode the Staten Island Ferry with incredible views of the Financial District, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Governors Island.  Afterwards we had an emotional visit to the 911 Memorial and went to top of One World Observatory.  Words cannot express the feeling.

 911 Memorial                                                                                         One World Observatory

View from atop One World

I'm amazed and fascinated by this city and its diversity.  
 We ate at so many great restaurants while there but my favorite was by CHLOE.
Everything was incredibly delicious and I could eat there everyday! 
.There are so many things to do and places to visit, you just can't possibly do it all in one trip.

Have great week.
Be kind.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Curved Yellow Fruit


Bananas are very interesting fruit; they're natures fast food.  They come in there own wrappers and are packed full of nutrients and fiber.  Even the peels can be used (relieve bug bites and even remove warts, among other benefits).  Most people believe bananas are high in sugars and should be avoided, but the primary source of  these sugars are naturally occurring fructose, which comes with a bundle of nutrients and fiber. 10% of RDA fiber is provided in one banana, along with acting as a prebiotic, which stimulates the growth of friendly digestive enzyme in our gut flora.  In endurance activities, eating a banana every 15 minutes provides the needed potassium for optimum performance.

The benefits of bananas are endless.  Read here: "Bananas aren't just for monkeys".
Bananas provide both prebiotic and probiotic benefits depending on ripeness. Prebiotic (ripe) stimulates growth while probiotic (unripened) feeds the gut enzymes with digestive-resistance starch.

If you are in a hurry to get out the door in the morning (you really should slow down!), grab a couple of nature's fast foods and enjoy the benefits.  They are also great in the evening to help you relax, containing magnesium and trytophan which converts to serotonin and melatonin) helping to have a restful sleep.
There's really no need to buy organic bananas unless you are using the peels.  


Here's a link to an older Rich Roll podcast on the benefits of eating fruit:
 Michael Arnstein "The Fruitarian"

Check out the best pharmaceutical ad: Nature RX

Have a great week.
Be kind.
Eat more veg.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Power of the Sweet Potato

The Awesome Sweet Potato

Most everyone has sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving.  Sweet potatoes, commonly known for their high content of beta carotene, are one of the worlds most nutrient dense foods.   High in fiber, almost twice as much as white and yellow potatoes, it gives them a "slow burning" quality which helps to ensure a balanced supply of energy.  Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet and their sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream as not to increase sugar spikes.  They are a great source of vitamin B6 and magnesium(which is the relaxation and anti-stress mineral), which is necessary for healthy arteries, blood, heart and nerve function.  It is estimated that 80% of  North Americans are deficient in this important mineral.  Being high in beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, make the sweet potato a powerhouse food for healthy skin and hair.

Fiber, fiber, fiber!
Sweet potatoes are one of the best foods for weight loss.  Being high in fiber, nutrient dense and a slow burning energy they are weight loss super-foods.  Served with the skin on, they contain a certain type of fiber called resistant starch.  Foods high in this type of starch helps reduces obesity.  Here's a great article about sweet potatoes and weight loss.

Here's a link to a great podcast with Dr Garth Davis a leader in bariatric medicine.

A quick and easy recipe from Chef Chloe Coscarelli and her "Vegan Italian Kitchen cook book.
Rosemary Sweet Potatoes with Sweet "n" Spicy Mustard
Preheat oven 450'
Cut unpeeled 1-2 lbs sweet potatoes into bite-sized cubes.
Toss potatoes with olive oil and fresh chopped rosemary and sea salt.
Roast on a flat baking sheet for 30-40 minutes stirring frequently until tender.

Dipping sauce:
In a small bowl combine 1/3 cup spicy brown mustard and 1/3 cup of brown sugar

Serve with steamed broccoli with garlic"butter"sauce(garlic salt,nutritional yeast and "Earth Balance")

Have a great week. 
Be kind.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Make a Change, Let's Get Healthy!

Make a Change, Let's Get Healthy!

It seems like every commercial on TV wants to sell you a new automobile or a big pharma has the next best drug to help you with what ails you.   Most physicians are quick to write a new prescription to solve your woes.   Instead of going to the pharmacy, we should head to the "farmacy" for a real dose of medicine.   The United States is in a major health and environmental crisis.  The Standard American Diet (yes it is "SAD") is the leading cause!   It isn't just killing people its also killing our planet.  Whether you want to believe or not, industrialized animal agriculture is the number 1 issue to almost every environmental problem we are having.  From fertilizer induced algae blooms to the loss of  oxygen producing rain forests. Mass clearings for crop feed production for animal agriculture are dwindling our precious life-giving resources.
One way we can help do our part to stop this insanity is to start eating a plant-based diet.  Heart disease, obesity and diabetes are the number one killers in America.  They can be prevented and even reversed through a plant-based diet.  According to Kaiser Permanente it's not hype, it's a proven fact.  

On the latest Rich Roll podcast he talks with Alexis Fox and Micah Risk from Lighter.
Lighter is a powerful tool to help us eat better.   By answering a few questions about yourself you will then get a weekly menu with daily recipes.  All of it is plant-based and helps us to know what to eat, how to prepare it and even what groceries to buy.  Soon they will even offer grocery delivery to your door!  I have already tried many recipes and they are awesome.

Here is a quick snack I made today:

Smoky Roasted Chickpeas
 1/3 tsp smoked paprika.
1 1/2 tsps olive oil.
1 1/2 pinches salt
1 15oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed.

Preheat oven to 425'
Pat dry chickpeas (dry=crispy).
Toss in olive oil, paprika and salt.
Spread in one layer on a baking sheet.
Bake 30-40 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.
For more info on Chickpeas.

It's up to us to make a change.  Let's get healthy, the planet needs us.

Have a great week.
Be kind.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Be Smart, Eat the Right Foods, Part Two

Be Smart, Eat the Right Foods, 
Part Two

In this second part on "brain foods", we will look at Avocados.   Avocados have been dubbed "the world's most perfect food".  Also known as the "alligator pear", it provides nearly 20 essential nutrients that support heart health, inflammation, improves blood sugar levels and is high in heart-protective HDL cholesterol  and low in LDL cholesterol.   The monounsaturated fats support the production of acetylcholine, which helps in memory and learning.   Avocados are high in vitamins C, E, K, and the B complex.  They also act as a "nutrient  booster to help in absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, and are very high in tyrosine which helps keep you motivated and focused.  Our brains are around 60% fat and every cell in our bodies need "good fat" to perform at its best.  Avocados do just that, by providing more calories per gram than any other food.  Far from being empty calories, they are a functional food that provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition.  Here's a great article on their benefits: Avocados: Nutritional Benefits.

I usually eat 5 avocados per week.  On sandwiches, salads, toast, and in buddha-bowls, they are incredible gifts from nature.  You can also use avocados as a dairy replacement  in many ways. 

Kris makes an awesome "Green Goddess" salad dressing with avocados, here's the recipe:
In a blender or food processor mix;
10 fresh basil leaves.
a couple of chopped green onions.
2 tbs of Italian seasoning.
1/2 -1 ripe avocado(peeled!).
1/4 cup non-dairy "Vegenaise or "Just Mayo".
2 tbs honey.
2 tbs white wine vinegar.
Juice of 1 lemon.
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil.
1/4 cup filtered water.
1/2 tsp sea salt.
1/4 tsp black pepper.
Store in a Mason jar for up to a week.
You'll have used it before then!

Go get smart!
Have a great week.
Be kind.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Be Smart, Eat the Right Foods

Be Smart, Eat the Right Foods
Part One

Did you know that with every bite of food, we choose to either deplete or nourish our brains.   The right food choices can help us to be mentally sharp, positive and productive.  While the wrong choices can leave us feeling foggy, groggy, anxious and depressed(like sugars and chips, etc.)   There are certain foods which are high in nutrients that are needed to create, protect and repair our brain cells.   These are called "brain foods".  They supply the building blocks of neurotransmitters that control how we learn and remember, how happy and motivated we are and how we can relax and enjoy life. Give me a second helping please!  These foods will protect us against mental disorders now and degenerative diseases in years to come.  

Over the next few blog posts, I'm going to cover several different plant-based "brain foods" that will keep us protected and healthy in our wellness journey.

#1 Walnuts

Walnuts are the #1 nut for brain health, they even look like a brain!   They are the best plant source of  ALA Omega -3   They are one of the best foods that contain mood-elevating serotonin and help in reducing brain inflammation.  One study on adults of all ages found that eating walnuts  improved reaction time, learning and memory recall.  That will help us to remember to store walnuts in the refrigerator!
Just a few walnuts a day is all we need for better brain function.

Here's a good article on walnuts and almonds from One Green Planet.
Here's a short video from Dr. Micheal Greger; Which Nuts Fight Cancer Better?

Next week brain foods is Avocados!
Have a great week.
Be kind.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Eating Weeds

Eating Weeds  

Backyard weeds are a big nuisance for most homeowners.  Dandelion greens are probably the most notable, especially when its bright yellow flower turns to seed.  Dating back to the 10th century it has been used for medicinal treatments because of its highly nutritional value.  High in Vitamins K,A,C,B6, iron, calcium and many other nutrients.  They might be bitter when eaten raw but are very tasty when cooked and seasoned.  I remember picking them with my grandmother in her backyard along with rhubarb.

Another weed you might not know is edible but I'm sure you have seen is Purslane.   Purslane(also known as "portulaca") sprouts from sidewalk cracks, invades gardens and grows just about everywhere.   But it also happens to be a "superfood" high in heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids and beta carotene.  The leaves and stems are both edible.  It has about half the amount of Omega-3 as salmon but no worries on mercury levels.  The moisture-rich leaves have a tart cucumber-crisp lemony tang with slight taste of pepper.

Next time you weed your garden or on a walk keep an eye out for it.  It even grows in cracks on city sidewalks.  Just remember to wash it thoroughly before eating, you don"t know what dog might have strolled by.  

I just got a bunch from my local farmer "Tomazin Farms" and am making a easy salad recipe today.

Purslane, Cherry Tomato and Cucumber Salad
1 bunch purslane.
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes cut in half.
1/2 medium cucumber cut into thin slices 
1/4 cup olive oil.
4 teaspoons red wine vinegar.
1/2 teaspoon sea salt.
1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

Here's a quick video on other edible "weeds" from Wildman Steve Brill

Have a great week.
Be kind. 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Amazing Apple Cider Vinegar

The Amazing Apple Cider Vinegar

It is said that vinegar was discovered around 5000 BC!   Some unattended grape juice turned into wine and then vinegar.   It was originally used as a food preservative then for medicinal purposes.  Hippocrates first used it for wound care and then more practitioners begin to use it for everything from treating poison ivy to stomach ailments, even diabetes.   It has been credited for curing hiccups to aiding in weight loss and preventing acid reflux (drink one tablespoon of unfiltered organic ACV in a glass of water).  

Vinegar in french means "sour wine".  Traditionally made through a long slow fermentation process.   This process leaves it rich in bio-active acids giving it potent antioxidant, antimicrobial properties.  The longer fermentation period allows the accumulation of a non-toxic "slime" made up of  yeast and acetic acid bacteria known as the "mother"   The "mother" is a cobweb like amino acid-based substance found in unprocessed, unfiltered raw vinegar.  You should always purchase raw organic vinegar that has the "murky" look, this indicates the best quality and is the best to type to consume.  If using for cleaning purposes, the clear white vinegar is all you need.

Just a few wellness benefits of ACV:
*Helps control blood sugar levels.
*Lowers cholesterol.
*Aids in weight loss.
*Relieves sinus congestion.
*Relieves sore throats.
*Freshens bad breath.
Helps digestion issues.
*Skin irritations, including removal of warts.
*Energy boost. (Switchel)

Here's a recipe from "It's All Good" Gwyneth Paltrow:
Apple Cider Vinaigrette
1 tbs. Dijon mustard
3 tbs. ACV
2 tbs. maple syrup.
1/2 cup olive oil.
Course sea salt.
Ground black pepper.
While whisking together, slowly drizzle in olive oil.
Makes about 3/4 cup of awesome dressing!

Here's two great articles on the benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Thrive Market: 13 Uses for ACV
Raw Foodist David Wolfe on ACV: "1 tbs of ACV for 60 days"

Here's a link to Dr. Michael Greger's latest video. 
"How Not To Die" 82 minute version
"How Not To Die" 17 minute version.
Don"t hack, watch the long version if you can!

Great article in the Huffington Post from Dr. Joel Kahn:

Have a great week.
Be kind.