Sunday, October 18, 2015

It's Sunday, which means pancakes or waffles for breakfast at our house. I have been working my way through a bowl of pomegranates this week, and I modified a recipe I found online and came up with this today. I'm pretty sure you could switch out the flours for a gluten-free blend, such as Bob's Red Mill. Maybe I'll try that next time. 

Cacao and Pomegranate Pancake Stack


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2 cup  + 2 Tbls sparkling water (divided)
1 teaspoon coconut oil
2 tablespoon agave or honey
½  tsp. vanilla extract
1-1/2  teaspoon Cocoa Powder
1 large or 2 small Pomegranates, seeded

Deseed the Pomegranate. Click here if you don't know how (bonus recipe, too):
In a medium mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix.
Add in the cup (minus 2 tablespoons) of sparkling water, the agave or honey and oil. Whisk until smooth.
Pour half of the batter in a second, small mixing bowl.
Add in the vanilla extract to one of the bowls and whisk again. Fold in ¼ cup pomegranate arils. 
Add the Cocoa Powder and the remaining 2 tablespoons sparkling water to the other bowl and whisk.
Heat the griddle to medium heat. 
Pour the batter and cook pancakes until bubbly and the edges are dry, then flip and cook another minute or two until done.
Alternate the vanilla pomegrante and cacao pancakes on plates and top with additional Pomegranate Seeds and honey, if desired. 
We found Pomegranate Syrup at a gift shop recently and that was a superb topping for these.

Pomegranates are in season now!
Pomegranate is a nutritionally rich fruit with unique flavor, taste, and heath promoting characteristics.

Health benefits of Pomegranate
*100 g provides 83 calories, slightly more than that in the apples. 
*It is a good source of soluble and insoluble dietary fibers, providing about 4 g per 100 g (about 12% of RDA)
*Boosts immunity, improves circulation, and offers protection from cancers.
*Certain ellagitannin compounds such as Granatin B, and Punicalagin are found abundantly in the pomegranate juice. Studies suggest that punicalagin and tannins are effective in reducing heart-disease risk factors by scavenging harmful free radicals from the human body.
*High in antioxidants (ORAC 2341)
*Regular consumption of pomegranate has been found to be effective against prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), diabetes, and lymphoma.
*A good source of many vital B-complex groups of vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), folates, pyridoxine and vitamin K, and minerals like calcium, copper, potassium, and manganese.

Enjoy pomegranates in your pancakes, salads, and more! 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Safe Cookware

Someone asked about safe food storage containers and cookware in a group I'm in, so it inspired me to show you what I use regularly.

Part 2: Cookware

As for cookware, I regularly use stainless steel saucepans, ceramic lined skillets, a giant steel wok, lots of old Pampered Chef stoneware, and a I have 3 sizes of stainless steel pressure cookers. I have a stainless steamer basket, too.
I use the smaller pressure cooker at least once a week.

The pressure cookers save a lot of time when prepping for the week. Cooking time is cut significantly for beans and brown rice. The pressure cookers are also great as stock pots for soups and stews and can be used for canning and preserving.

10' braiser/baker comes with silicone handle grips

I recently invested in an Xtrema Ceramcor Braiser/Baker with cover. If you choose to go the full ceramic route, be prepared for a learning curve. These pots and pans heat up slowly, and retain heat well after the stove is turned off. They are versatile for the stovetop, oven and broiler and pretty enough to serve from at the table. Learn more about their products here: Ceramcor

While I do own a cast iron skillet, I rarely use it. I do use my wok regularly.  I use the stoneware for
baking, but if I were to buy new I might go with glass baking dishes to save money and be able to stick everything in my fancy new dishwasher. I  have a 13 x 9 x 2 glass baking dish and several of my glass dishes that I regularly use for storage are also able to go in the oven.

I have a wide range of stoneware, and it's lasted me 15-20 years so far. I have 3 sizes/shapes of flat stones, a loaf pan, a square pan, an oval pan, a muffin pan, a bar pan, a mini bar pan, and 2 sizes of round bakers. It sounds like a lot, but they were collected years ago over time when those Pampered Chef parties were all the rage.

The one item I don't think I could do without is my Vitamix. While technically not cookware, I feel the need to include it as I use it every day. I make my own nut butters, flours, hummus, dressings, smoothies, whole food juices, and more. I grind my own coffee beans and when my kids were little I made baby food in it. I've even cooked hot soup with it.

I had my machine for 22 years when I recently called for a blade replacement because it wasn't performing up to snuff. . For about $80 more than a new blade assembly, I got a refurbished new model, with a 5 year complete warranty, with their trade-in program. My “new” Vitamix ended up costing me half of what I could buy one for at Costco! While others may balk at the price, I feel like I got a great value and a product that served me faithfully for over two decades. Here's the model I currently own: C Series Vitamix

Friday, September 11, 2015

Food Storage

Someone asked about safe food storage containers and cookware in a group I'm in, so it inspired me to show you what I use regularly.

canning jars, vacuum canisters & snaptop glass storage containers

Part 1: Storage Containers

The storage container I use most often is the lowly canning jar. You can buy a case of them at almost any grocery store or Target, Walmart, etc. They come in a variety of sizes, ranging from tiny 2 oz jars all the way up to 2 quarts.

I use plastic reusable lids for them since I'm not using them for canning, and the regular lids and bands rust over time. You can get some here:Reusable Lids. There are also flip top lids available for pouring liquids. 

I also use glass storage containers with plastic snap lids. They are available at Costco, Target and similar stores. While all of my glass containers have lids, not all of them have lids that truly seal. Some of my glass dishes are suitable for the oven, which is a big plus.

I have a vacuum sealer that I use to extend the shelf life of many items. There are plastic vacuum bags which work great for freezing, flours, and things you don't open often. Meat will keep longer without freezer burn, if vacuum sealed in the bags. There are canisters of various sizes for things like rice, flours, beans, etc.

If I make a big batch of soup or vegan chili I freeze it in a vacuum bag that is clipped shut with a binder clip. Once it is frozen solid I seal it. I still cook meat for my husband, and one of his favorite dishes is beef stew. I brown stew meat and seal it in vacuum bags and then chop stew veggies and sealed them. I store a bag of meat and a bag of veggies together in a zipper bag in the freezer. Then when I want to make beef stew for him, I simply empty the bags into the crock pot with some liquid and spices and voila! I can prep several batches of stew at once and not have to deal with browning meat again for months.

I've bought nuts in bulk and vacuum sealed them in bags and stored them in the freezer. I've also used the bags for freezing firm fruits and vegetables. I freeze individual servings for hubby's dinners when I will be away. All he has to do is heat them up. (never microwave in plastic, btw)

The bottom line is that I use mostly glass for food storage. The plastic vacuum bags that I use are reused until they become too small to be useful, and I never reheat food in them. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Should You Eat Raw?

Raw food diets are gaining in popularity. One such example is the 80-10-10 Diet, in which the goal is to get 80% of your calories from carbohydrates--primarily raw fruit--and 10% each from raw, plant-based protein and fat. While I am all for people eating more produce and no processed foods, I don't think this plan quite hits the nail on the head.

In this diet, you eat a lot of sugar. It's all from fruit, but it's still sugar. If you have diabetes or hypoglycemia, this could be a problem. If you want to eat more raw foods, eat loads of veggies but stick to no more than 4 servings of fruit a day.

I've posted before on vegan protein sources. See Where Do You Get Your Protein. While I do believe that the low-carb, high protein trend is also unhealthful, I also think that cutting back too far on protein, especially if you exercise daily, is also a bad idea. Protein is important for regulating appetite, maintaining lean muscle mass, tissue repair, and healthy brain function. Losing weight on a diet like the 80-10-10 plan, especially if you are over 50, could mean you are losing muscle. 

Finally, let's address fat. Fat used to be a bad word, but now we know that the right kinds of fats are very important for good health. Fat helps slow down the absorption of sugars, thereby stabilizing blood glucose levels and providing a steady supply of energy and tempering appetite. Without enough fat, important fat-soluble nutrients like Vitamins A, D, E and K cannot be absorbed. Did you know your brain is made up mostly of water and fat?

Also, some foods’ nutrients are better absorbed if they are cooked slightly. Here is an example using spinach:
Raw spinach is  rich in many essential nutrients, some of which are more available to our bodies when we consume them raw. These nutrients include folate, vitamin C, niacin, riboflavin, and potassium.
When you eat spinach that has been heated, you will absorb higher levels of vitamins A and E, protein, fiber, zinc, thiamin, calcium, and iron. Important carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, also become more absorbable. 

The 80-10-10 diet also eliminates all legumes and grains (as well as meat and dairy). While I do not usually eat meat and dairy, I do eat a lot of legumes and a moderate amount of grains. This is where my complete proteins come from. I would be worried about someone becoming deficient in important nutrients like B vitamins, proteins and healthy fats on this plan. 

I strive to eat at least 50% raw food each day. Sometimes is a little less, sometimes much more. I think eating 80-10-10 is OK for a day or two at a time, but as a lifestyle, it is too extreme. 

That being said, here is a tasty raw food recipe for you. Try it for breakfast or an afternoon snack! 

Blueberry Cereal

1 cup of Blueberries 
2 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
2 Tbsp crushed almonds or walnuts
1 Tbsp Hemp Seeds
1Tbsp crushed Flax seed

Pour fresh non-dairy milk over all. (By the way, I soak all of my nuts)

Monday, June 8, 2015

Big Prep Day...and a Couple of Recipes

I spent the whole day in my kitchen yesterday! While I do food prep every week, I don’t normally dedicate an entire day to it!

Usually, on Farmers Market Day I wash, dry, and store all of my produce, and assemble salad greens for the week. I always make salad dressings for the week and cook things like chickpeas, lentils, quinoa, brown rice, etc. that are more time consuming while I wash and chop produce. That is easy, but yesterday was a Stock the Freezer Day. I love my vacuum sealer. I can use the bags for freezing soups, burgers and more, and also for storing flours and grains in my cupboard. I also have the handy vacuum canisters for things I open often, like beans, lentils, and oats. I keep my week’s worth of salad in a big vacuum-sealed canister in the refrigerator, where it stays fresh and crisp all week.

I had an abundance of zucchini and cauliflower in my frig, so I started there. I made an awesome Zucchini Dip which I will use as a raw veggie dip, and in my daughter’s lunchbox wraps. I used it as a condiment on her veggie burger yesterday, and it was a hit. The recipe is on my Facebook Fan Page here:

Next I made a curried cauliflower soup. I put half in a mason jar in the frig for the coming week, and the rest I froze for the future. I also made a double batch of lentil soup and did the same. 

I also made two kinds of veggie burgers. Crispy Chickenless Burgers are one of my kid’s favorites. They are made with tempeh and quinoa, so they pack a lot of protein (more than a hamburger!). I also made Black Bean Burgers, which are our standby burgers. Now we are all set for summer BBQ season! Here is a tutorial on how I make them:

I made turkey and veggie meatloaf in muffin pans for the husband. They freeze well and he is able to feed himself by just heating up a couple of them with a potato. Yeah, he’s a basic unit. 

I used a fresh young coconut to make some coconut milk for my grain-free blueberry cereal, and I made some hemp milk for the week ahead. I whipped up some Ginger-Miso dressing for salads this week, too. 

I made a couple of salad dishes, Moroccan Carrot Salad from the Ultimate Reset and Blackberry Green Beans, and I cooked Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Grapes from the Team Beachbody Recipes section and Curry Spiced Spaghetti Squash for dinner. 

Tomorrow is Farmers Market Day and I’ll be washing fresh produce. Other than that, there will be little to do the rest of the week for lunches and dinners, which makes me happy since it’s a busy last week of school full of fun activities.  As a matter of fact, we are headed to the beach with the musical theater families now!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Just Rolling Along...

One of the best ways to relieve sore muscles is to gently stretch and ROLL. I use a combination of foam rolling and my Roll Recovery gadget for myofascial release. 

Dr. Mark Cheng recommends rolling BEFORE your workout, to “take off the parking brakes.” Try taking 5-10 minutes before your workout to loosen up and see if that doesn't help with your soreness today.

Don't have a foam roller? Do you have a pool noodle out in the garage? A scrap piece of PVC pipe? Try a rolling pin or a lacrosse ball or tennis ball. 

Here is a link for some tips on how to foam roll from Dr Cheng. 

Here is the Roll Recovery website:

If you are in a rehabilitation situation from an injury, surgery, or accident, Dr. Cheng's program, Tai Cheng, could be for you. Here is a video about it: Tai Cheng Video It is available here:  Tai Cheng
I have done the program...and even went back to it 3 days post-knee operation! It's great for gaining flexibility, strength and balance with absolutely no impact. This is not a weight loss or fitness program, per se, but excellent for gentle rehab and recovery.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

New Performance Line Supplements Coming Soon

Beachbody, the company that brought you Shakeology™ and dozens of top workout programs, is launching a new supplement line this summer. The Performance Line system consists of five powder drinks that are formulated with key ingredients scientifically shown to be effective.

There are supplements for increasing energy and endurance, hydrating during exercise, muscle recovery and reducing soreness, an overnight recovery formula and a creatine formula for reducing muscle breakdown and improving high intensity performance.

It looks like two of the five formulations are not vegan, as they contain whey and casein (only an issue if you avoid dairy), but the other three are.

The new supplements were designed by Harvard-trained scientists and based on cutting-edge sports science, exercise physiology, and nutrition research. The Performance Line contains scientifically proven performance enhancing ingredients and plant-based nutrients to help maximize exercise performance and recovery safely, effectively, and naturally.

As you'd expect from Beachbody, there are no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives.

To find out more, and to be notified as soon as Performance Line products are available for purchase, please enter your email below.
  • Performance Line 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Don't eat C.R.A.P.

It's Day 15 for me on my Ultimate Reset. The Detox Phase is over and the Restore Phase has begun! I'm feeling great, and have never felt deprived. As a matter of fact, I can't finish all the food sometimes because the portions are so generous. I love every recipe, and the structure of knowing exactly what and when to eat helps me get back on track. 

This week the food will all veggies and fruits--no legumes or grains--so that the gut can rest, heal and repopulate with the help of the probiotic supplement. So far I'm down 2 inches off my waist, and even more from my lower abdomen, midriff and back. 
Those pesky pounds I put on are finally leaving! 

I'm thankful for this annual fresh start. Now I need to start thinking about what fitness program I'm going to start when I'm finished next week! Perhaps I'll bust open that Les Mills Pump that's still in the box since Christmastime!

Focusing so much on my Nutritional Therapy course and what I put into my own body these last two weeks inspired me to share a little nutrition advice:

One sure way to improve your health is to eliminate C.R.A.P. foods. Get these out of your house, and out of your mouth, and you WILL have more success with your scale and tape measure, as well as your blood tests and energy.

C.R.A.P. foods not only are packed with empty calories, but also contain ingredients that rob your body of essential nutrients, which make you feel sluggish and tired.They can also trigger overeating, which means you put on extra pounds fast.

For good health, limit, or ideally, eliminate, the following foods:

C. Carbonated drinks -- one of the leading causes of today's Obesity Epidemic

R. Refined sugar -- including white sugar, white flour, and high fructose corn syrup

A. Artificial colors and flavors and Alcohol -- Addives are anti-nutrients, which rob the body of nutrients instead of  providing nutrition

P. Processed products -- can contain all of the above as well as trans-fats. (eat WHOLE food!)

All of Beachbody's fitness programs come with healthy meal plans. Shakeology™ contains no C.R.A.P. ingredients and provides a plethora of superfood nutrition. If you are struggling to change your eating habits, Shakeology™ can help you reduce cravings, get regular, and increase energy. You can learn more about it here:

In addition, the 3-Day Refresh ( can help you get back on track without feeling deprived. 

If you are seriously committed, the Ultimate Reset ( is a 21 Day Cleanse that will help you reset your metabolism, bust sugar and caffeine addictions, detox, and change the way you look at eating. 

As always, message me with your questions and concerns. I love to share my experience and knowledge to help End the Trend of Obesity! Email me at

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

I'm on Day 8 of the 21 Day Day Ultimate Reset. I decided to do this program again because I had a few stubborn pounds creep on in the last 6 months, and I know I had a few too many "cheat days." I also had a couple of super-stressed out months and I knew my mind and body were due for a little gentle cleanse.

I love this program!! I did it last spring and WAOW what a difference it made to my health! My total cholesterol dropped 33 points, LDL (the BAD cholesterol) dropped 28 points, and triglycerides went down 26 points. My HDL (good cholesterol) held steady. IN JUST 21 DAYS.

I also lost 10 pounds and 7 inches. You can read about my last reset results in my blog archives here: 2014 Reset Week 3 and here: 2014 Reset Lab Results

So far, after my first week, I'm down 2 pounds. I feel great. The meal plan for the first 2 weeks isn't much different than how I've normally been eating for the past year, but it is very structured and there are additional supplements. Also, the portions are HUGE (and tasty!)  I have not felt deprived once. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t finish all my dinner tonight!
Just a few of the delicious dishes that are part of the Ultimate Reset

Another aspect of the program is resting your body from strenuous exercise. It's a total reset of mind, body and spirit. In the past week I had an easy, short bike ride, a walk, and some yoga. No cardio or strength training, but I did do a few ab exercises.

If you would like to learn more about this amazing, gentle way to reset your metabolism and clean up your eating, message me! Oh, by the way, Beachbody has extended it's special pricing through May!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Planning Ahead for Success

Planning ahead and prepping are important habits for your success in maintaining good health. When you are prepared, healthy meals and snacks can be made quickly. Here are a few tips for easy meal prepping:

* Plan for the week ahead on the weekend, and shop from a list

* Wash produce in a 1:10 vinegar solution and dry thoroughly before storing. 
* Cook grains (brown rice, quinoa, etc), beans and lentils and store in the frig for your weekly recipes and sides. I use a pressure cooker to save even more time.
* Cook chicken breasts by grilling or baking and use for salads or main dishes throughout the week.
* While grains and/or meats are cooking, assemble salad ingredients (minus dressing) in serving sized baggies or containers if you pack lunches. You can also chop veggies for recipes to save time on busy weeknights.
* Make a batch of salad dressing to last the week. It takes 5 minutes, you'll save money and you won't be ingesting weird ingredients from bottled dressing. Here's an easy one: 3 Tbl Balsamic Vinegar, 2 Tbl fresh lemon juice, ½ tsp. Raw honey, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 3 Tbl extra virgin olive oil---whisk or whir in a blender and voila!

* When you make soups or crock pot meals, make enough to freeze half for another week when you may be too busy to cook or forgot to plan something.

* Buy seasonal fruit on sale, chop and freeze some for smoothies and Shakeology add-ins. I have frozen all kinds of berries, watermelon, pineapple and peaches. It's best to freeze on a sheet in a single layer, then transfer to a bag so the pieces don't stick to each other. 

* Along the same lines, when your bananas get too soft, just peel them and freeze them for your shakes. I even freeze my banana peels and when I get a bagful I blend them with water in and feed them to my roses. Recycling to the max!

My friend has a prolific lemon tree. Every few weeks she lets me pick a large sackful of lemons and I keep some in my fruit bowl and squeeze the rest with my Kitchenaid stand mixer juicing attachment. I fill several ice cube trays and store the cubes in a freezer bag. It only takes about 15 minutes. When I'm out of fresh lemons for my dressings, hummus, or lemon water, I just head to the freezer. One cube is about 2 Tbls of lemon juice. I use A LOT of lemons so this saves me money, too! 

I've also been known to freeze leftover coffee for iced coffee or an occasional mocha Shakeology. You can roughly chop spinach or kale in a blender with some water and freeze in ice cube trays for a green boost to your shakes and smoothies, too!

Invest in some good glass food storage containers and stock up your frig every weekend for almost grab-and-go simplicity. I use a lot of canning jars to store my nuts and seeds, nut butters, dressings, hummus, and leftovers. You can even get reusable plastic caps and dissolvable labels for them (check I also try to repurpose empty vinegar and oil bottles. 

If you have more meal prep tips, feel free to share them on my Facebook Page at

Summer is on the horizon! Are you ready for skimpier clothes and swimsuits? I've got a free 21 Day Fix coaching group starting on May 1st on Facebook. If you have the program and want in, just drop me a line saying you want to be added to the group. 

If you don't have the program, why not check it out here:

As always, I'm available to answer your questions about nutrition and all of the Beachbody fitness programs and Shakeology. Just drop me a line

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Skin You're In

You're making great improvements. You're exercising daily and paying attention to what goes in your body. Have you thought about what goes ON your body, too?

Chemical ingredients in cosmetics and toiletries may be harmful to your body. Ingredients like parabens, sulfates, formaldehyde, SD alcohol, petroleum-derived ingredients, artificial colors and fragrances can all be found in many everyday products that we put on our skin. Many of these chemicals can be absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream. As a matter of fact, about 60% of anything you put on your skin gets absorbed!

The skin is the largest organ of the human body. It has many functions:

It is the first line of defense against pathogens.
It facilitates sensation of temperature, pressure and touch via nerve endings
It provides thermoregulation utilizing sweat glands, blood vessel dilation and tiny erector pili muscles (goosebumps).
It acts as a storage center for lipids and water.
It provides a barrier to reduce fluid loss.
It absorbs oxygen and aids in the synthesis of Vitamin D from sunlight.

One of the first products I ditched when decided to ditch the chemicals was anti-perspirant. First of all, sweating is how the body thermoregulates when it gets too warm. Sweating also helps to eliminate toxins through the skin. Sweating is not something we should inhibit, especially when we are exercising. Odor is not caused by the sweat, per se. It is caused by the byproducts of bacteria which multiply in a warm and dark environment (a sweaty armpit) and to some extent, by certain foods or pharmaceuticals that were ingested. So, we can still let the body do it's detoxing and cooling things but manage the odor that might be less than pleasing. Here's a recipe for a simple and inexpensive alternative to deodorant that is free of chemicals that many people wish to avoid:

Mix together ¼ cup each melted coconut oil, baking soda and corn starch or arrowroot powder and 10 drops of essential oil of your choice. (a blend of tea tree and lavender works well). Pour into a glass jar and cover. It will solidify when it cools. Apply to your armpits with your fingers. The baking soda absorbs odor, the starch absorbs wetness and coconut oil is an anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and moisturizer. (Some people find the baking soda is a bit abrasive or irritating, so you can leave it out if you experience redness.)

Since coconut oil melts at 76 degrees, you may want a firmer deodorant that you can pour into a push -up tube (just clean out your old deodorant tube and reuse it!) Since I live in a warm climate, this is what I use:

  • 3 Tbls coconut oil
  • 2 Tbls beeswax
  • 2 Tbls baking soda
  • 2 Tbls arrowroot
  • 1/8 tsp tea tree essential oil
  • 1/8 tsp lavender

Just melt the oil and beeswax in a double boiler over low heat. Whisk in the powders, remove from heat, then add the oils. Pour into your empty deodorant container and let cool completely before capping.

Let me know if you make one of these deodorant recipes. I swear they work, and you won't have to worry about clogging up any sweat glands or absorbing any toxins.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

No Whey!

I choose plant proteins for numerous reasons: some are environmental, some health related, and some compassionate. Today I want to give you some health reasons for switching from whey to plant proteins, such as pea, rice and oat. 

Even high-quality, grass-fed, organic whey is problematic from a metabolic standpoint. One study found whey creates an insulinogenic effect similar to white bread. In other words, whey protein is absorbed quickly and can elevate blood sugar (and subsequently, insulin) levels similarly to a high-carbohydrate food like bread.*  An excess of insulin encourages the body to store fat. 
Because whey is absorbed so quickly, insulin levels will peak quickly then crash, so you may no feel satisfied for long. Slower-absorbing proteins should provide more satiety.

Sports nutritionist John Berardi, PhD, notes several other problems with whey. Even though whey is mostly lactose free, even high-quality whey protein can contain traces of this sugar. Dried whey, a common food additive, contains almost 77% lactose.*

If you are trying to lose or maintain weight, or struggle with sugar cravings or candida, whey should be avoided.

Berardi also states that whey can create excessive inflammatory immune responses and food intolerances. Like other dairy products, whey may induce gas, bloating, nasal congestion and excessive mucous production.

As a vegan, I often supplement with protein powders and bars. I drink Vegan Shakeology (Available in Chocolate or Tropical Strawberry here: for complete nutrition but sometimes make smoothies with a mixture of brown rice and pea protein powders when those flavors just won’t work or when I want to cook with an added protein boost (i.e. adding it to pancakes, etc). I find rice protein powder to be more gritty and less dissolvable than oat or pea, but it also has a better amino profile, so I tend to blend them.

You can also boost your protein by 5 grams by adding 2 tablespoons of PB2, and 2 grams with a teaspoon of Spirulina (bonus 150% RDA Vit. B12!)

These days there are many alternative options to whey protein. I encourage you to give them a try! 


Saturday, January 31, 2015

Get Back In Your Kitchen!

I see this scenario too often. You’re busy with work, school, household chores, or fill-in-the-blank. The last place you turn your attention to is the kitchen. This is a mistake! Your performance in every other area of your life depends on what happens in your kitchen. Let me explain.

When you delegate food growth, production, and preparation to industries, you will generally find that their greatest interest lay in profit margins. This often results in culture, the environment, and ultimately our health being compromised. Healthy cooking or food preparation of your own foods assists you in taking full control of your life.

If we really knew how most of the food we eat was grown, handled, and treated most of us would think twice before eating it. Preparing your own food is the best way to control what is best for ourselves. Does the guy running the machinery in the factory truly care about your health? Does the cook at the local diner? Does the Mad Man at the advertising agency?

When you start preparing your own food, you will find that you start to reconnect with your body, and when you eat out or occasionally fall back on some processed food you will understand how that affects you. When you take the time to purchase, stock, and prepare the whole, clean foods you and your family consume, you are far more in control of exactly what goes into your body, and you will feel better, think clearer, and see better results from your workouts. Remember, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet! 

When you buy pre-made or processed food you are giving that power and control to others that do not have your best interested in mind.  Don’t give away your power! Be a little bit of a control freak. Of course, we all find ourselves eating out from time to time, and we make the best choices we can when we do. However, we can strive to find a little time for meal planning, and food prep during our week. It takes no more time to create a healthy meal at home than it does to drive to the take-out place, order, and wait for them to do it for you (with who knows what ingredients!) It’s also cheaper!

So, will you let your inner control freak out for a bit this week?

Monday, January 19, 2015

I've started a new habit, and I think it's beneficial. Many sources that I use recommend drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning. There are many benefits to this habit: 

  • The lemon triggers bile flow, aiding in digestion
  • Lemons provide vitamins and antioxidants that help boost the immune system. 
  • It helps balance pH in the body while hydrating tissues. 
  • It helps dissolve uric acid, which can cause joint pain and inflammation
  • It provides minerals and helps prevent overgrowth of pathogens. 
  • It helps stimulate elimination.
  • It generally just helps wake you up .
For the past several weeks, instead of rolling out of bed and reaching for the coffee, I pour boiling water over a squeezed lemon quarter instead. I sip this while I set my intention for the day and make my to-do list. Once I've finished that, I fill my big water bottle and get my workout done before breakfast.
I feel that this new habit has helped me cut down on my coffee consumption, but I still usually have a cup after breakfast. I like waiting to eat until after my workout so my body can focus on the workout and not on digesting. Then my breakfast becomes recovery fuel (usually in the form of a Shakeology) for my muscles. However, if I am unable to workout until later, or if I'm headed out for a bike ride I eat after my lemon water.

Are you willing to give it a try? You don't have to give up coffee...just put it off a bit.  Let me know what happens after two weeks.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Excessive sugar in the diet has been linked to obesity, and a higher risk of chronic diseases. Sugar contains no nutrients, healthy fats, proteins, or enzymes. It is more than empty calories. Sugar pulls minerals from the body as it is digested. It is addictive: It creates a hormone cascade when consumed that starts a positive feedback loop in the body to encourage more consumption. Sugar increases triglycerides and bad cholesterol, can stress the liver, and cause weight gain.

In the United States, most adults consume 22 teaspoons (355 calories) of sugar a day, yet the recommended intake is only six teaspoons (100 calories) for adult women and nine teaspoons (150 calories) for men. Back  in the early 1800s, Americans were consuming just 3.8 teaspoons of sugar per day.

While you are trying to avoid or reduce the sugar in your food beware of artificial sugar replacements! Read labels carefully. Very often, chemically created artificial sweeteners are added to make up for the lack of natural sweetness in a product and these are highly toxic for the body. Artificial sugars should be eliminated completely, which includes high fructose corn syrup, Aspartame, and Splenda.

Know sugar's aliases. Sugar hides under many sneaky names: fructose corn syrup, dried cane syrup, invert sugar, molasses, sucrose, glucose, dextrose, fructose, brown rice syrup, honey, and maple syrup. Many processed foods may list more than one of these ingredients, an indication that the food is unhealthy.

Of course, if you don't buy processed foods you'll greatly reduce the amount of sugar you consume. Even most commercial peanut butter has added sugar! Why? Because sugar is addicting. By adding it to packaged foods, aka factory food,  the manufacturers are increasing the chances that you'll buy it again. 

It may take a couple of weeks for you to lose your sugar cravings, but be strong! Be conscious of what you put into your body. Stick with whole, unprocessed foods (organic when possible and always non-GMO) and soon your cravings will lesson. Your taste buds will adjust. Super-sweet foods like ice cream and candy will start to taste too sweet. When you could have a whole slice of cake before, now a couple bites will be enough. You'll notice the natural sweetness in fruits and vegetables—and yep, they'll taste better, too.

Here are few tips for reducing sugar throughout your day. Gradually move towards less sweet food and your palate will change. 

  • Try stirring unsweetened applesauce and cinnamon into your morning oatmeal instead of sugar, or cook your oats with a chopped date or two. 
  • Buy plain, unsweetened yogurt and stir in some fresh pomegranate or berries. 
  • Try whole grain pasta with sauteed fresh tomatoes and veggies instead of sauce from a jar.
  • Try Banana Ice Cream (recipe and tutorial here: instead of sugary store-bought ice cream. 
  • If you're having trouble refusing a sweet treat, remove yourself from the situation. Perhaps take a walk or busy your hands with a craft project. 
  • Don't skip meals. When you go without breakfast, lunch, or dinner, your blood sugar levels drop, propelling you toward high-sugar (often convenience, ie processed) foods to quell your cravings.
  • Don't go cold turkey. Sugar is highly addictive and trying to cut it all out of your diet at once can leave you feeling deprived, tired, or headachey. Try going half and half for a couple of weeks and gradually weaning off of it. 
  • Avoid sodas--even sugar-free ones which are full of toxic chemicals. Stick with water and flavor it with mint or fruit if you like. 
  • Bump up the flavor with cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice or vanilla.  

Shakeology is also a great tool in your arsenal against sugar. the proteins and amino acids help keep blood sugar steady and reduce hunger and cravings. In a study of 3000 people, 81% reported a reduction in junk food cravings. That's what feeding your body with superb nutrition does! 

You can try Shakeology for 5 Days, in conjunction with my personal email coaching with nutrition and exercise tips and a sample meal plan. Email me at for more info!