October 22, 2011

Recipes: Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Gluten-Free Almond Flour Chocolate Chunk Cookies

These delicious little treats taste exquisite fresh out of the oven -and they only take 15 minutes to make, so they are a perfect delight to whip up on a moments notice. They are made with protein and nutrient rich almond flour, sweetened with raw coconut crystals (palm sugar) which is a low-glycemic index food -win! I got the basis for the recipe from my favorite gluten-free blog, www.elenaspantry.com, but made some changes to suit my liking.

2 1/2 C. Almond Flour (must be blanched, and for some reason Bob's Red Mill brand doesn't work well. I order my almond flour from www.nutsonline.com).
1/2 C. Raw Coconut Crystals
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 Tbsp. Organic Vanilla (gluten-free)
1/2 C. Organic Coconut Oil
1 Organic Egg
1 C. Super Dark Chocolate Chunks (I love using Bakers Semi-Sweet Chocolate Squares -I chop them into chunks myself)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Combine wet ingredients in a smaller bowl and mix well, then combine with dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chucks.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and form dough into 1 in. balls and space approximately 1.5 inches apart. Bake at 350 for 7-10 minutes (usually 9 minutes works for me, 8 if they are smaller size balls of dough).

Enjoy with a glass of unsweetened almond or coconut milk -Mmm-Mmm Good!!!



October 3, 2011

Recipes: Balsalmic & Pesto Black Eyed Salad

This was another one of my spur-of-the-moment lunch creations. I knew I wanted salad, needed protein, didn't feel like meat, and wanted to feel like I just had something delicious and light for lunch.

Excuse the iPhone shot of the salad, as I was nearly halfway through eating it before I realized I forgot to take a picture of it for the recipe. :) Ah, Mommybrain.


1 C. Organic Baby Spinach
1 C. Organic Mixed Greens
Several leaves of fresh organic Basil, sliced
3-4 Organic, multi-colored sweet small peppers, thinly sliced
3-4 Organic Baby Bella Mushrooms, thinly sliced
1-2 Organic green onions, sliced
1/2 C. Organic Black Eyed Peas (unsalted, then sprinkle with a small amount of seasoned sea salt)
1/2 package of Organic Basil Pesto seasoning (I use Simply Organics when no time to make from scratch)
2 Tbsp. Fig Balsamic dressing (or plain balsamic vinegar and a drizzle of grapeseed oil)
1 tsp. balsamic glaze (if you have it, or reduced balsamic vinegar)
1 tsp. grapeseed or coconut oil

Toss spinach and spring mix together in a large bowl, along with the green onions, mushrooms and peppers. Place black eyed peas (well rinsed, then lightly sprinkled with sea salt) in a separate bowl, along with the 1/2 packet of pesto seasoning and 1 tsp. grapeseed oil, and mix together. Drizzle balsamic dressing over salad, then layer with the black eyed peas. Garnish with freshly sliced basil, and enjoy!!!



September 1, 2011

Beautifully Broken

See these two sand dollars? They are broken, like the hundreds on the shore in Pacific Beach, WA. Not all were broken, while walking with my daughter Mia, now 18 months, we found a dozen or so whole sand dollars, and she gleefully picked each one up and placed it in her pail like I’d shown her to do. Earlier that morning I’d gone for a run along the shore, under the crystal clear robin’s egg blue sky, with the salty mist in my lungs and the wind across my body, I ran my heart out in that exquisite moment of perfection. That is why I had to stop and look at the broken sand dollars. 
There they were broken, broken in my exquisite moment of bliss on that shore, and yet although broken, they were perfect. Perfect because they were right where they should be, at the edge of the ocean, right where they were supposed to be in that moment.
I saw that they were beautifully broken, not just half a shell. They were in that spot for a reason… if no other than to make my moment perfect.
I think that so often after child birth we girls can feel oh so broken, imperfect. We’ve been stretched, stressed, burdened, huge, heavy, and sleepless, aching, hurting, and all the while in love with our new bundle, yet we do not feel like ourselves (at least most of us don’t).
 Our bodies have been out of our control for nearly a year, and counting, as we adjust to postpartum differences, breastfeeding, and a myriad of emotions that we can rarely put a name to. It can be difficult, and some of us struggle with things long after birth… I myself still have a couple little quirky issues that linger from birth, and since I am still breastfeeding, I some days still do not feel like I have my old body back (as much as I love being able to continue breastfeeding).
So here is my thought in this moment… You are beautifully broken. You may not be completely back to normal no  matter how many ab exercises you’ve done, how many miles you’ve run to burn off the baby weight, no matter what your issue is, maybe you’re feeling broken just today… but it is beautiful because it is exactly where you are supposed to be in your own moment. You are supposed to be here, right now, with your new baby or toddler, feeling all these emotions and taking this journey not back to who you were, your old body and self, but a journey forwards, morphing into the woman you are becoming. The mother, the lover, the homemaker or working mom, it doesn’t matter.
This is your journey, your moment, and you are exactly where you are supposed to be, broken and all. Let yourself be in this moment and chose to see it as beautiful, and know that it is only temporary. Because love conquers all… love of one’s child, love of one’s self, and love of life. If you are broken, or just feeling broken, be beautifully broken, and don’t underestimate yourself. The best is yet to come, if you so desire.



July 8, 2011

Got Acne, Zits, Pimples, Breakouts, a Blemish, or as Mia calls them, “Mommy hurt?”

Let’s get real –we all get them from time to time, some worse than others… we all want perfect skin, and we all go through phases of glowing, blemish free skin to days when we feel like a leaper. Ugh! Those pesky things! I hate them! I went through most of my teens, my entire twenties, pregnancy and 1.5 years post partum with barely a blemish, and all of a sudden I started getting a few… then more and more! No! Tried everything –my diet was/is already very clean, I tried eliminating more foods and implementing others, but nothing worked. It had to be something else; hormones? I could only speculate. I began trying… everything!  My normal (religious) facial care seemed to be doing nothing, and even harming my skin, making it worse. I’ve always had the “perfect balance” when it came to facial products and make-up (or the lack thereof… not a foundation girl, keep things to a minimum. Light powder, eye makeup, that is about it) so why did everything just stop working? At a time when I am already overwhelmed with classes and being Mia’s full time Mommy, I barely have time to get in my exercise, much less deal with concealer and spot treatments.  I started doing some serious research, and started to realize it was indeed because of my hormones… what is up with turning 30 and everything in your body switching up on you –again! As if puberty, our monthly little visits, pregnancy, postpartum and then menopause aren’t changes enough, we have to deal with wacky hormones at the most inopportune times in life. C’mon!
 I had an ‘inkling’ of what was going on… had to be low estrogen along with maybe some vitamin A deficiency. Again, this was all speculation. I began eating more Maca… organic powder that I add into my smoothies. I also added evening primrose oil. I kept on with my beauty pearl, and doubled the dose (Beauty Pearl from Sunrider.com). I started researching more and more, and finally stumbled across some information from a Natropathic Doctor who is also a Holistic Esthetician in Portugual. Her words of wisdom –bless her words of wisdom! Have worked like a charm… things are starting to clear up, wonder of wonders! So I am passing on this information because it is so good, and I’ve been using it on myself with great success… I’d never pass on info that I didn’t already test on myself, so take it with your own personal grain of salt, try if you wish, and let me know if you get the same great results as I did from these natural solutions.
Here is what she recommended:
First of all, she prohibited the consummation of any/all pork products, because pork meat tends to carry the parasite/worm Trichinosis that causes severe acne. She then recommends doing a cleanse if this parasite is suspected, using a treatment with cloves, absinth and wormword for 21 days (I did not try this, and would go see a Naturopathic/other doctor if I thought I was infected with this parasite for a treatment under their care). After the 21 days, she says to fill your diet with water, herbal teas, fresh fruit and vegetables, as much as you can eat (obviously this part I was already doing, and still do -70/30 alkaline fruits and veggies with cooked food/grains/proteins. She says to exercise, and avoid all soy products as soy products negatively affect your endocrine system (and ultimately your hormone balance). She says to avoid all gluten and diary and start consuming whole leaf Aloe Vera. She then recommends to do an external treatment consisting of clay (I use bentonite mixed with apple cider vinegar) mixed with grated yam (I did organic jeweled yams, about 1 Tbsp) and freshly grated ginger (I did about 1 Tbsp). Apply to affected areas and leave on for 1 hour per day, 15 days in a row. She says to not use soap or any products containing detergent like products, because they make the skin produce more oil, causing more breakouts. She said to wash with water only, and then afterward apply raw organic apple cider (I use Bragg’s) with a cotton ball, then organic, “biological” coconut oil (I use organic raw coconut oil). She said coconut oil is the very best moisturizer and product for your face because it is antiviral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial. She ends by saying that “anyone who does these things will no longer have problems with acne.”
I for one thought that putting oil of any kind on my face after years of adhering to a strict oil-free everything regimen would certainly cause a massive breakout… but instead, my skin is glowing, and clearing like I can’t believe. I am excited… especially because these are natural solutions and I’m not spending hundreds of dollars on synthetic products that pour more toxins into my body. I’m loving the results and just had to pass it on. Cheers to your own personal glow!



June 12, 2011

Long Lost Blogger Mom

So I have had NO time lately to work on my many unfinished blog posts... Ahhhh, the folder under documents that says "Blog Posts" has a dozen or more deep-thought, research ridden nuggets to be shared, and eventually some day I am sure I will get to them each. But for now, I am caught up in the magical mayhem of life with a [nearly] 16 month old, a full school load (online so I can be at home with Mia) and just life.

Mia's first Easter egg hunt! She did such a good job!

Every day I have to adjust and readjust my "to-do" list to make it more manageable, because as a good friend told me at my baby shower, "cross off 'today' and write 'month' at the top of your to-do list... you'll be a happier person." As I have done that, I have also been coming up with various things to make life easier as a Mom and human being; small adjustments and shortcuts and time-savers. I thought I'd share a few with you since I think we're all in the same boat. Forgive the randomness, it is what it is. ;)

Workouts: Yes, working out is still a #1 priority for me. It HAS to be. And anytime that little voice starts to speak up saying that I should be doing something else with my time, I shut it down, because working out (at least for me) is one of the best things that I can do to make life better not only for myself, but for my family. If I've had a chance to burn off some stress, get my blood pumping and serotonin cruising, then I am happier, I am more relaxed, I have more energy and that radiates into my day and those I spend time with. Getting in the workout can be hard, especially with little ones, but it is crucial for your mental state. I have come up with many avenues of getting it in.
1. Jump up first thing in the morning, babies in the jogging stroller and take off running. You can get in an amazing calorie kick and day-long burn if you start with some sprints. Warm up for 5 minutes, then start in on 30 seconds of your fastest sprint possible, then reduce to a slow jog or race walk for 90 seconds. Repeat 8 times and head home! I run along a wall in my neighborhood. And after my 30 seconds of sprinting, I park the stroller and do triceps extensions on the wall, followed by single-leg and formal wall squats.
2. P90X Ab Ripper. This will get your tummy back from baby, and get you a 6 pack you've never seen before. The best part is that this particular segment is only 16 minutes long. I do with Mia climbing all over me after a run, or after I've read her 13 books in a row and need  a break. She is happy and fine to play by herself for 16 minutes while I get in some core work. This is very doable, and if you can work it in 4x/week, you'll have a sculpted core in a couple of weeks. It's amazing! Best ab workout, ever.
3. Stretch with your kid(s). Mia now knows when I am "exercising" or "stretching" and she is starting to get into it. What a good example to set for them about staying physically active and healthy. She loves it when I'm on the floor with her anyway, and throwing her around is almost better then a session of kettlebells (my second fav workout).

Mia swimming with her cousin Mark; she loves the water!

1. One of my favorite short-cuts lately are lemon cubes! I snagged a bag of lemons off my brother and sis-in-law's trees, came home and juiced the whole bag, and used a couple jars of fresh juice, but froze most of it in ice cube trays, and that has been amazing! I will make a smoothie and toss 1-2 lemon cubes in with a handful of spinach, a dropperful of stevia, green powder, coconut milk, handful of blueberries, and an avocado, and BAM, awesome smoothie. I put a cube in my water with a drop or two of stevia for fresh lemon water, and add a couple mint leaves from my garden. Delicious. I've even added a cube to my vegetable stir fry. They come in really handy.
2. As soon as I get my organic produce for the week, I take the 30-60 minutes when I get home to "prep" it all for fast use during the week. This seems like a pain but it ends up being a huge time saver. I chop melons into cubes and put them in a container, I wash grapes, lettuce, carrots, celery, etc., chop it all and place into separate baggies for easy snacking and access.
3. I make a triple batch of organic quinoa 1-2 times per week. I use chilled quinoa on top of my salads, or I just toss in some cucumber and avocado with the quinoa and drizzle balsalmic on top for a snack. I sautee veggies and eat them over quinoa, or I have quinoa with almond milk and fruit for breakfast. In short, it is an amazing gluten-free, protein rich grain that has proven essential to have ready-to-use in my fridge.

1. Yah right! Ha... :) They are never ending, but as long as I get 3 things done everyday, I don't sweat the rest. If those three things happen to be super basic, like Mia's laundry, a load of towels, and a trip to the grocery store, I call it a super day. Don't sweat the small stuff. I focus on the basics -if I can get the floors done and counters disinfected, and a "quick sweep" of the bathrooms, I am learning to live with that for the time being. It just not worth worrying about! Errands I can take Mia with me, and I can involve her in cooking and make it fun, but just take one day at a time and don't worry about what you don't get to.

The best "job" in the world xo

Mia has grown up so much in the past several weeks. She is signing like crazy thanks to the introduction of the Baby Signing Time videos from my girlfriend... Mia signs cat, dog, thank you, please, sleep, poop, eat, all done, more, car, cracker, bird, bunny, frog, horse and many, more, and she gives kisses all day, and blows kisses... it is precious! She talks up a storm, having double the verbal vocabulary as her signing one... saying "flower, butterfly, kiss, dog, Dada, Mama, Gramma, sleep, rest, cracker, more, please, sign, curtain, truck, choo-choo, Kipper, uh-oh, uh-uh, help, stuck, hug, etc. It blows my mind how fast time is going. She runs around in her little pig tails, smiling with blue sparkling eyes... she is getting into coloring, and is growing out of all her baby toys. She is obsessed with her new wagon, and wants nothing more then to be in the water all day... whether it's helping Mommy water the garden and flowers, swimming in the pool, or playing in the bathtub. And who knew how much fun a couple of kitchen utinsels and a bucket of water on the porch could be? And she loves "painting" our brick fireplace with a paint brush and a cup of water (very supervised of course). I am loving every minute of being a Mom, and learning to adjust to life outside of the ridged structure and task-completion that I was once used to.

Becoming quite the little person with a huge personality!

The other day she finally managed to scale the railing of her crib and flipped out. It was horrifying but we managed to get through, with just a bump on the forehead. As I speak a muffin crumbled Mia is looking up at me having just awoken from a nap and had her snack, so I am off once again on the Mommy Marathon, but can do so with more peace then ever knowing that I only have to take things one day at a time.



June 3, 2011

Recipes: Killer Quinoa Muffins

I got the base of this recipe off the back of my quinoa flakes box, but it needed some serious fixing up. So after I made a couple of changes, and added a thing or two, these muffins were the perfect start to my Sunday, and Mia ate them up. Completely gluten and dairy free, they are rich in protein, and melt in your mouth.


2 Ripe Bananas
2 Eggs
2 Tbsp. Organic Raw Honey
7 drops Liquid Stevia
1 tsp Organic (gluten free) Vanilla
1/2 tsp Pink or Sea Salt
1 tsp Banking soda
2 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 C. Quinoa Flakes
1/2 C. Blanched Almond Flour

Preset oven to 400 degrees. Mash bananas and combine with vanilla, stevia, honey and eggs. Stir together well. Whisk together dry ingredients in separate bowl, then combine all ingredients. Grease muffin tins (I use coconut oil spray) and fill about 2/3 full with batter.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, possibly more or less depending on your oven (start checking about about 13 min). Mine were perfectly done at 15 minutes. Mix it up by trying the recipe with peaches or blueberries, both also SUPER yummy! Also, you can add 2 Tbsp of cacao powder to make them chocolate banana muffins... probably the best thing you'll ever taste muffin-wise. :)




May 2, 2011

Recipes: Wonder Wrap of the Week!

What have I been eating for lunch this spring? Lots of "wraps" since my swiss chard grew like a weed, and my Grandmother's as well, so we had to get creative as to how to use it up. Since I am gluten free and don't typically use bread (even the gf stuff is an occasional treat) wrapping things in lettuce, chard and kale has been one way I've done lunches. But this one I've been making for a few weeks takes the cake, so I thought I'd share as summer is fast approaching and cool lunches are a must! Try and make all the ingredients organic, especially the lettuce.

2 large lettuce leaves, your choice, washed
2-3 leaves of swiss chard, stems removed, washed
2-4 slices of organic turkey* (or any meat of of choice, as long as it's ORGANIC; if vegetarian, skip it)
2-4 thin slices of cheddar style goat cheese
Drizzle of Organic Honey Mustard
Several sweet basil leaves, sliced thin, or not


Pile everything in the center of the leaves, and fold like a burrito! Some variations I've done include drizzling balsamic glaze instead of honey mustard, fig infused goat cheese vs. the cheddar style, and I also enjoy adding some sun dried tomatoes!


I have traditionally been vegetarian, or mainly "pesatarian" but lately due to my health issues and the guidance of my naturopath, I've had to incorporate some organic lean meats again. If you are vegan, try omitting the turkey and cheese for jalapeño almond cheese, and replace the turkey/meat with a large sun dried tomato or some grilled portobello slices -also super yum!


*I'm currently loving Applegate Organics Herb Roasted Turkey slices, they are gluten free too, yum!



April 15, 2011

Recipes: French Fries My Way

Craving something indulgent yet guilt free this evening? Try these tantalizing fries with a twist! Sure to satisfy with half the calories and oodles of nutrition!


1-2 Organic Sweet Potato's
2-4 Organic Turnips
1/8-1/4 Cup Grapeseed Oil
1/2 tsp. Sweet Paprika
Dash or 3 of your favorite "Garlic & Herb" seasoning (I love Mrs. Dash)
Fresh ground pepper and Pink (or Sea) Salt to taste

Wash and scrub turnips and sweet potato's thoroughly (leave skins on -super nutritious!). Cut into even slices, then sticks, about a 1/2 inch or so, just eyeball it.
Place all slices in either a large bowl or a gallon size zip lock, drizzle grapeseed oil and spices. Coat fries evenly with your hands, or working on even coat over in the bag.
Use parchment paper to cover two baking sheets, and lay fries out, try to avoid piling. Bake at 425 for about 20 minutes, or until crisp and brown as you like! It is a good idea to take them out about half way through and turn fries over so they are evenly crisp.

Enjoy with a salad or some lettuce-wrapped ground turkey. Yummy!



April 12, 2011


So I know I am slacking on posts, life with a one year old is crazy-busy! I have a lot of articles in the works; I just need time to finish them –thanks for being so patient with me!
You THINK you're going to have all this time to get things done when they are napping or playing, but it's not so. When my daughter is up, she is UP and ABOUT and there is no slow-down in her day. She wants interaction, stimulation and education without pause. She is my tiny sprite, whom I adore, and who runs me ragged. She couldn't be a happier one year old, saying so many new words (diaper, dog, duck, "buh-fly", bird, all done, peas, broccoli, nana, book, ball, bubbles, swing...) and learning her signs (please, all done...) she fills my heart with joy, and I love attempting to match her energy every single day.

A quick SUP (paddleboard) lesson for Mia before Mama hit the ocean with her girlfriends last weekend!

So not to be behind the gun, but let’s chat about spring cleaning -not your house but your temple. Your insides! The reason why I usually wait to address this until later in the spring is because when spring first hits, I just want to enjoy it! I want to squeeze the fresh OJ from the fruit on my trees, and plant some new seeds and veggies to have during the summer... If I can keep he AZ heat from killing them that is. So when the temperatures do start to rise, like now (80's here!) that’s when I start thinking cleanse because I realize that bikini season is fast approaching. 
By the way... although I just used that phraseology, I HATE thinking "bikini season" or "swimsuit season." the reason why? You should be swimsuit ready year-round! I figure if I "pretend" like I'm going to have to hop into a two-piece at anytime during a year, and stick to my exercise and healthful eating, then there is no rush nor panic as soon as the weather warms, and I don't have to crash-cleanse just to jump start my way into shape. But what do I do when I’ve had an especially hectic week or weekend with little to no self-care? Or when I’ve recklessly eaten some foods that I exclude from my diet normally? (corn, rice, diary… I have never wavered on gluten) I do a quick 1-3 day retox. 

Why “Retox” and not “Detox? Because I believe that you don’t suddenly need to remove everything “toxic” out of your body in a harsh manner, as some do with teas, laxatives, food fasts, etc. I believe that if you provide your body with everything it needs to nourish and support its systems, that it will naturally purge itself of toxins and waste debris on its own… with a little help. So here is what I do:
  •          Immediately exclude all diary, meats (except fish), refined sugars, simple carbs and coffee (I do not drink sodas or any similar beverages so those are a non-issue for me).
  •          I minimize the cooked foods I eat… I’d say raw vs. cooked becomes an 80/20 ratio, respectively.
  •          I cut out all grains at first (I’m already gluten free, 4 years and counting!), replace with organic beans, and eventually may add organic brown rice and/or organic quinoa (occasionally gluten free oats). Those are the only grains I typically ingest.
  •          I add juice. Not your typical juice nothing you buy pre-made, I’m talking what you get at the Whole Foods juice bar… and not the fruity stuff. The hard core stuff… like “I’ll take a 20oz of all the greens you have, plus lemon, plus garlic and a little green apple” kind of juice. I also do one that is just carrot and apple. In the mornings I pick oranges from my trees and juice them and drink it in the morning. About 16oz. I would say that I would take in 40-80oz of these juices (only 16oz of the oj) on one of these retox days. And as much as I can on the other days. Garden of Life does have a raw green powder that you can use with some fresh lemon and a few drops of stevia when you can’t get to a juice bar or juice at home http://www.gardenoflife.com/ProductsforLife/SUPPLEMENTS/FoundationalNutrition/PerfectFoodsupsupRAW/tabid/1836/Default.aspx.
  •         I do coffee enemas [GASP!] Yes, I do coffee enemas. Before you flip out and start thinking of piping hot java powering up your rear like Old Faithful, calm down and hear me out. The coffee enema is not like colon hydrotherapy or similar therapies (for those of you so lucky to have experienced). The tube is tiny, and it is something you can easily do in the privacy of your own bathroom/room and isn’t as “invasive” as anything you would do otherwise. Now let me shed some light onto the biological basis of “why” with these java treatments, as I refer to them. “The coffee, once introduced to your colon, dilates the bile ducts. The coffee stimulates an enzyme system in the liver known as glutathione S-transferase (GST) that removes a vast variety of free radicals from the bloodstream. Under the influence of a coffee enema, the GST enzyme system increases in activity to 650% above normal and removes free radicals (electrophiles) from the bloodstream. No other material other than coffee is known to stimulate free radical quenching in such proportion (not even coenzyme Q10 or OPC). The free radicals are mopped up and removed by GST enzymes through the use of coffee cleansing of the lower gut. During the time the coffee is being held in the gut, all the blood in the body passes through the liver at least five times (12-15 minutes). The blood circulates through the liver every three minutes. The palmitate compounds and the caffeine, Theobromine, and theophylline in coffee cause dilation of the liver’s blood vessels and bile ducts, relaxation of smooth muscles, stimulation of intestinal peristalsis and elevation of bile flow. Toxic bile is flushed out along with its bile salts to bring about effective dialysis that is advantageous. The coffee [enema] removes ammonialike products, toxic-bound nitrogen, protein derivatives, polyamines, amino acids, coagulated clumps, and complexes, all of which are waste products of metabolism. Getting rid of them frees the body from becoming poisoned by its own wastes.”(The Gerson Way -Charlotte Gerson, Morton Walker D.P.M. via Dr. Max Gerson) http://gerson.org/store/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=1&zenid=19bc134ecbcf069f12f7f84942a2124d

  •          I eliminate as much salt as possible from my diet by consuming all the fresh fruits and vegetables, lightly cooked vegetables and raw juices. I add no salt to my cooking during this time, and eat minimal salt period. The reason for this also goes back to my following of the Gerson Therapy (which I stick closely to on a daily basis, and strictly to when I am sick, or feel like I am coming down with something). Dr. Max Gerson believed that one of the basic problems of disease was the loss of potassium from tissue cells and the penetration of sodium into the cells. “The cell, in attempting to maintain its integrity, binds the toxic sodium material with water. This is called edematous fluid retention. With the penetration of sodium into the cell, and therefore into tissues, enzyme function is inhibited and the normal tissue activity becomes disturbed or at worst, blocked. While a minimum of sodium is needed by the body for normal function, this inorganic substance is also considered to be an extracellular mineral, since it must remain outside of body cells in their fluids. Potassium is the intracellular mineral, since it is needed for metabolism within body cells. When the extracellular/intracellular balance is disturbed, health problems start from damage to the cells. The body is normally able to excrete excess sodium through the kidneys and feces, but when it becomes overwhelmed daily, year after year, with huge amounts of excess sodium, there comes a point when the body’s ability to excrete this excess is reduced or lost. Now a person’s many enzyme systems, his or her immune system, and eventually the liver, are damaged. The result is symptoms of illness and the creation of disease dysfunction.” (The Gerson Way -Charlotte Gerson, Morton Walker D.P.M. via Dr. Max Gerson)
      So that’s what I do to “retox” –I retox my body with all the superfood-good-stuff in order to naturally detox. I start adding in SO much of the good things, raw fruits, vegetables, freshly pressed green and other juices, and minimizing animal protein/dairy, almost exclude salt, do a couple of “Java Rx’s” and wham! I am feeling mighty fine. Trust me… for a couple of days you won’t be missing any of your typical go-to food items. You will be SO full on fruits, veggies, juices, beans, organic raw cold pressed flax oil (two tablespoons per day!) that you won’t miss any of it. You will sleep deeply, you will be hypereliminating  and streamlined for the rest of your week, month, spring or summer. You will feel amazing. Your energy levels will be so high… You have to trust me. I have always advocated that if you introduce enough good things, nourishing, raw, healthy things to your body, your cravings and desires for the “bad” will just slowly shrink away on their own. This is a much better approach than to simply STOP all your normal behaviors and try and starve your body into healthful submission any other way. When you have time, mindfully add in some yoga, an early morning jog (plunk baby into the stroller and take off!) or swing some kettlebells (can you get in 250 swings a day?) Just get your blood pumping... You know how I feel about the 100/100/100!

      Enjoy your own retox and revisit it frequently so that when you start smelling spring in the air in the future, you don’t catch your own breath and start to meltdown because you have to have flat abs yesterday. Relax… and Retox.



February 8, 2011

Why No-Soy for Me

I cannot but imagine that many of you will not be appreciative of this blog post. I know many of my vegan/vegetarian/raw (and so on) friends are big fans of the bean, but over the past few years I have steered clear of the product. Initially it was because I noticed that when I regularly included it in my diet, my skin broke out, so for me initially the decision was purely vain. I started doing research and my Naturopathic physician at the time actually told me a few reasons why to avoid soy. I’m not saying that I avoid soy at all costs, well most of the time I do, or that I never occasionally indulge in my favorite treat –a tall soy chai no water latte from Starbucks –but I avoid it as a rule in my daily diet. Not just soy, but all soy derivatives (soy lecithin, etc.) Just like gluten, you would be shocked to find out how much soy is artfully crafted into millions of food products. Remember, too much of anything is generally no bueno for you. Before I continue let me make a distinction. Fermented soy products are totally different and do not wreak havoc on your body the way unfermented soy products do. Examples of unfermented soy products to which I am referencing as having a negative impact on your health in this blog are soy milk, soy cheese, soy ice cream, edamame, etc.

SO, why no soy… in Timothy Ferriss’s book The Four Hour Body he uses a quote from Dr. Richard Sharpe, director of the Medical Research Centre for Reproductive Biology in Edinburgh, Scotland which states: “I’ve seen numerous studies showing what soy does to female animals. Until I have reassurance that it doesn’t have this effect o on humans, I will not give soy to my children.” This was exactly the way I feel and why I have never, nor will I ever allow my daughter to have soy (as far as I can help). I love what Tim says following up that quote, “Food is complex and humans are overconfident.”

That being said, in a nutshell the #1 reason why I go “no-soy” is because most soy available today, 91% to be exact, is GMO (genetically modified organism) soy.
Why do they genetically modify soybeans? Because they have to make them resistant to the herbicide Roundup which means the soy you eat is loaded with this toxic pesticide. The plants also now contain genes from bacteria that produce a protein that has never been part of the human food supply, and is causing huge problems with allergic reactions and more in our bodies.
In special regards to women and our babies… Since the introduction of GM foods in 1996 there has been an upsurge in low birth weight babies, infertility and other problems in our population, and animal studies thus far have shown devastating effects from consuming GM soy. Soy infant formula… nearly 20% of U.S. infants are now fed soy formula, but the estrogens in soy can irreversibly harm the infants’ development and reproductive health. Infants fed soy formula take in an estimated five birth control pills’ worth of estrogen per day. Infants fed soy formula have up to 20,000 times the amount of estrogen in circulation as those fed other formulas or human breast milk -(http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/01/02/soy-formula-part-seven.aspx). And unfortunately, in recent Russian research soy is being linked to infertility in future generations. After being saturated with herbicides, the harvested soy is separated into soybean oil and soybean protein, neither of which is natural. These products are foreign to our bodies and our bodies naturally therefore attack them upon consumption (check out Dr. Kaalay Daniel’s ‘The Whole Soy Story’ for thousands of studies) which causes complete immune system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and infertility, to name a few. All of you soy-fans out there are going to be very unhappy and argue with me about this, but remember, all of the “health benefits” from “soy” are actually only from fermented soy products. Those advertising how good soy is for you are lumping fermented with unfermented, which we know is not the case.

Examples of fermented soy which is good for us: Temph, Miso, Natto and soy sauce. Examples of unfermented soy which you want to avoid: Soybean oil (check ingredients listed), soymilk, soy cheese, ice cream, yogurt, soy “meat”, soy protein of any kind, edamame, soy infant formula.

Soy lecithin (found in everything!!!) is used as an emulsifier in many foods and supplements and is derived from soy but there are some newer products that extract it from sunflower. Look for those products instead and try to avoid soy lecithin.
So the reasons why fermented soy products are good for us are that it is the best food source of Vitamin K2. This vitamin helps prevent against osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and diseases of the brain such as dementia, and protects against various cancers including prostate, lung, liver cancer and leukemia. Vitamin K acts synergistically with Vitamin D to keep you healthy.

A few other reason why non-fermented soy products do us harm are that they contain goitrogens which are substances that block the synthesis of thyroid hormones and interfere with iodine metabolism thereby inhibiting normal thyroid function. They contain hemagglutinin which is a clot-promoting substance that causes your red blood cells to clump together. These clumped RBC are unable to properly absorb and distribute oxygen to your tissues. Soy contains phytates which bind to metal ions, preventing the absorption of certain minerals, including calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc –all co-factors for optimal biochemistry in your body. Soy has toxic levels of aluminum and manganese because they are processed by acid washing in aluminum tanks, which can leach high levels of aluminum into the final soy product. Soy formulas have up to 80 times higher manganese than is found in human breast milk. These are just a few reasons why unfermented soy is no bueno for you.

According to Timothy Ferriss’s recent research (The 4 Hour Body) he has learned that “the phytoestrogens in soy are dangerous for adults and, to a greater extent, children, even when used in moderation.” Studies have demonstrated that “… just 30 grams of soy per day (about 2 Tbsp.) for 90 days can disrupt thyroid function.” The Swiss Federal Health Service equated 100 milligrams of isoflavones (phytoestrogens) to a single birth control pill in terms of estrogenic impact. “How many birth control pills are you inadvertently eating each day?” Tim asks. WOW –this sealed the already pretty much decided deal for me. “Estrogen dosing isn’t good for either gender unless you’re aiming for sterility.” He gives some stats of total isoflavones in 100 gram servings:

Instant Soy Beverage: 109.51 mg
Raw Soybeans (Japanese): 118.51 mg (in less than ½ cup)
Fried Tofu: 48.35 mg (7-8 small pieces)
Temph: 43.52 mg (in less than 2/3 of a cup)
Common Infant Soy Formula: 25 mg

So now you’re wondering why I ruined your day with this blog post. I’m truly sorry about that, but you know me, I like to read and report –especially when the reports concern the health of our babies and children, and our own bodies’ during/before/after pregnancy.
Plus I’ve received many questions the past few months about soy, and many observers asking why I don’t include it in my diet at all. As far as I’m concerned, my daughter will not be given soy as a part of her diet, not at all, not in the least, no exceptions. When she is out in the world making her own decisions that will be up to her.
As for myself, I’ve avoided soy for vanity purposes for a while, and now I know why –my particular body doesn’t like that much estrogen, and since I’m already gluten intolerant, it’s easy to see why other foreign substances like GMO soy products are attacked by my body, making me feel super icky.
But aside from that, I am a huge avoider of all GMO products anyway.
You’re asking “what about organic soy?” well it’s certainly better for you than non-organic GM soy, but remember, regular soy isn’t a health food that benefits your body- only fermented soy products like the ones afore mentioned.
Obviously what you do with your own diet and body is totally up to you, and as I always say, find your own balance in whatever you choose. Don’t freak out over this blog post, do your own research and do what is best for you, your body and your family. Just be aware of what you’re being “sold” out there, and be your own best doctor. An educated mind won’t ever go to waste. Educate yourself on what you’re putting into your body. Read ingredient lists and labels. You’ll be surprised how often they sneak soy and other (like corn) products into your food.
If you are a soy milk advocate, give almond milk a whirl. Or even hemp. Tasty stuff! If you like tofu burgers, try temph. There are options for you. I personally can’t wait for the day that Starbucks offers organic coffee and almond milk options… but for now I typically patron Mom & Pop coffee shops who offer those choices, or every once in a while, yes, I have been known to consume a chai soy latte. I don’t live in fear that it will put me in the grave, but I just order a “Short” latte vs. the Tall latte (yes, they have a Short size, which I’ve been ordering for years, and everyone acts shocked, but that is the normal small in Europe!). Follow your gut, always follow your gut and you will be doing well. Here’s to your health!



My Sources:

The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America's Favorite Health Food by Kaalay T. Daniel, PhD -http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0967089751/optimalwellnessc

Timothy Ferriss –The 4 Hour Body http://www.fourhourbody.com/




January 20, 2011

A Little Bit 'O Almond by Your Side: Why You WANT to Soak Your Almonds!

My Almond Notes:

Almonds [Organic, Raw] are a staple in my diet. They are easy to grab 'n go, they travel well, they are packed with nutrition. If eaten [properly] they can be an amazing source of nutrition. I survived on them (quite literally -being gluten free and not being able to eat crackers during the first trimester of my pregnancy, I ate almonds allllll day; and being in full time school until the end of my pregnancy, almonds kept me sane in long lectures). Almonds are so high in nutrition and are one of the greatest energy sources during pregnancy -trust me! They provide excellent nourishment for both you and baby... eat up!

Almonds have one of the highest protein concentrations ounce for ounce than any other food. Sixteen times more protein per milligram than any other protein source. Digestion in your body is set according to the first foods you put int your mouth in the morning. Eating protein first lets the pancreas know how much protease to release for proper digestion. Eating carbohydrates before protein gives the pancreas an inaccurate account of how much protease to have available to process the food as it travels down the intestines. *

This is why first thing in the morning I eat 11-12 soaked almonds. I soak them in purified water overnight at least, sometimes longer (never soak more than 72 hours). Soaking the almonds in purified water releases the nitrogen, which when digested will set the full strength of hydrochloric acid in your stomach for a day of optimal protein digestion.

Almonds are covered in toxic enzyme-inhibiting substances (for their own survival) which is not really beneficial to us. Soaking the almonds overnight (at least 6 hours, no longer than 72 hours) removes these toxic enzyme inhibitors so that the enzymes secreted during digestion can do their job. Phytic acid (can inhibit some absorption of minerals) is reduced. You can see the debris in the water from these soaked almonds:


These almonds are raw, organic almonds... you should see the almonds I bought once that were non-organic. I soaked them overnight, and you literally could not see through the water. It was murky and there was an overwhelming amount of gross debris. Triple the amount in the ones I have pictured here. Moral of the story? Buy organic and soak overnight! You'll love the benefits.



*(Yes, No, Maybe, Chronobiotic Nutrition by Marcella Vonn Harting and G.I. "Atom" Bergstrom )

Recipes: Ridiculously Delicious Caramelized Onion, Sweet Golden Beet & Kale Salad

I made this for dinner last night... it was ridiculously delicious :)


Caramelized Onion, Sweet Golden Beet & Kale Salad
(Serves 6)

2 Heads of Organic Rainbow Kale (or your choice of Kale, coarsely chopped)
1 Large Organic Sweet Onion (coarsely chopped)
2 Organic Golden Beets (this is really good with red beets as well if you can’t find golden)
1 Tbsp. Organic Coconut Oil
¼ C. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
20-30 Drops Liquid Stevia (or add a couple drops at a time, tasting as you go; stevia and liquid aminos are my standard mixture for a “teriyaki” type of flavored sauce in all my cooking)
Ground Pepper to taste

It’s a good idea to cook the beats prior in the day in a Crockpot (or oven), on high with a little bit of water for 2 hours or so, depending on if you halve or quarter them. Keep testing for softness with a fork. Gently heat coconut oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add chopped onion and sauté until caramelized, about 10-15 minutes. Do not add salt. Add beats (diced into large chunks) until they warm, then add the kale, sautéing and stirring constantly for about 5 minutes, then remove from heat and cover to let the kale steam for another 5 minutes or so. Grind a bit of pepper on top, and there you have it. Simple, easy, and ridiculously delicious! A great compliment to a salmon dish, or even chicken… it is also delicious as its own meal (vegans) served over organic brown rice.



January 5, 2011

Recipes: Grain-Free 'Almond Joy!' Cookies

This fabulous recipe is from one of my favorite blogs:

http://www.lauraschmittne.com/2010/02/almond-flour-cookies-gluten-free-dairy.html and these cookies are dairy and gluten free... and could be vegan, although I did not make them that way. Check out Laura's blog for more great recipes. I've modified this recipe to my liking, and to make the cookies a little bit more moist and chewy. I found the originals to be a bit dry.

They are protein packed, superfood packed, and even though they are a sweet treat, they are great to grab for an on-the-go snack that is good for you and will keep you satisfied.


2 1/2 Cups Organic Almond Flour (the last 1/2 cup you can also sub Coconut Flour)
1/2 Cup Organic Medium Shredded Coconut (or more Coconut Flour)
1/2 Cup Organic Raw Almond Butter (or Organic Peanut Butter is yummy too!)
1 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips (you can also make your own Raw Chocolate and break into pieces!)
1/4 Cup Organic Coconut Oil
1/2 Cup Organic Honey, or Grade B Maple Syrup
1 tsp. Organic/Gluten Free Vanilla
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
1 Organic Egg (for vegan you can sub 1 Tbsp. milled flax seed with 3 Tbsp. hot water; this = 1 egg)

(I've done this recipe also with adding a 1/2 Cup Organic Applesauce to make them even more moist and tasty!)


Mix all ingredients into a bowl, spoon into balls and press down with a fork or spoon. Bake at 325 degrees for 12-17 minutes (15 minutes usually does the trick) and ENJOY!!!