Monday, December 31, 2012

Bison and Butternut Squash Chili

A hearty, winter chilli that will put your whole family into a food coma. And a cooking tip that will keep you cooking squash all winter long!

Bison is an excellent alternative to ground beef, mostly because it's nice to change things up a bit. Of course if you can't access bison meat you can always use ground beef or ground turkey, of course of the highest quality. A true chili must also have beans so I used an heirloom variety I had on hand, anasazi beans, but of course you can choose any bean like black beans or pinto. What makes this chili so special is the hidden butternut squash, so you can't replace that!

I love it because people who say they don't like squash still love this chili. Sometimes winter squashes can be daunting even for those who like the flavors because cutting into a raw, hard squash can be difficult. The squash in this recipe is cooked in the oven so that it is soft when you cut it open and the flesh simply scoops right out. The consistency is like mash potatoes and mixes right into the chili making it have a thick texture. Plus you get all the amazing health benefits of butternut squash! More on this cooking tip to come. For now we'll focus on this chili recipe.

1lb bison meat, preferably grass-fed
1/2C anasazi beans, soaked and boiled
1 small butternut squash
1 medium sized onion
5 cloves of garlic
2 28oz cans crushed tomatoes
2T paprika
2T chili powder
1T oregano
2t cumin
pinch of sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350° and place whole squash in oven dish or directly on rack.
2. Place soaked beans in pot with water, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer.
3. Dice onions and garlic. Brown the meat with onions, garlic and chili powder.
4. After the beans have been cooking for about 20-30 minutes and the meat is browned, strain the water from the pot leaving in the beans. Add the meat to the pot with the tomatoes, paprika, oregano, cumin, and sea salt. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer.
5. When a knife pierces through the squash very easily, it is ready about 35-45 minutes depending on the size. Cut it in half, scoop and discard the seeds. Using a big spoon scoop out all the soft flesh and add to the pot of chili. If some parts of the squash are harder, dice into very small pieces before adding to the pot. Discard the skin.
6. Let cook for at least another 10 minutes letting all the flavors mingle. Ladle into deep bowls and top with chopped red onion, grass-fed cheddar cheese and freshly cracked black pepper.
Have a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Give the Gift of Health

Christmas is around the corner and I am sure that some of us still have many last minute gifts to gather together. So why not give the gift of health and offer your friends and family something that will carry on long through this season?

Wholesome Practices is now offering gift cards for the many services that we offer. My Health Food Store Tours will introduce your friends or family to shopping in a whole different way. They have an hour to ask me any and all of their looming nutrition questions while becoming acquainted with shopping the healthy way. The tour is more than just nutrition, it's a time saver, it's the link between what you learn about food and how to properly implement it. This is my favorite service and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to take the next step in implementing a healthier lifestyle. My Farmer's Market Tour is another great way to welcome your friends and family into the realm of local and organic shopping.

Now of course my Consultations are another great option. They are for those who need more specific help with an area of concern in their health. I work one on one with weight loss clients, people suffering from digestive ailments and the many arenas that encompass Women's Health from PMS to menopause. 

So treat your friend or family with the gift of health. Better yet, tell your husband to treat you this Christmas with a Wholesome Practices gift card! It's the perfect last minute gift idea!

To order your Wholesome Practices gift certificate email Gift cards can be sent over email for your convenience!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Coconut Date Rolls

Christmas is a season of family, friends, parties and the inevitable that comes with it: sweets, desserts and lots of treats. The key to joining in the festivities without sacrificing your health is to prepare your own wholesome desserts using the highest quality, freshest ingredients. These Coconut Dates Rolls are incredibly sweet and satisfying while being all natural and contributing positively to your health. Let me tell why it's vital this season to pass on refined sugary treats and choose the healthy yet delicious alternatives.

Refined sugars damage the immune system, contain absolute no nutrient value, and cause blood sugar imbalances. They contribute to emotional imbalances, hyperactivity, cavities and bacterial overgrowth in the gut. Refined white sugar has even been linked to progression of cancer growth and it literally leaches minerals from your bones. While refined sugars are clearly incredibly damaging to your health the natural sugars we have access to are extremely beneficial to our health. So don't fret, you can have your cake and eat it too, just make it right! Choose natural sugars like raw local honey, organic maple syrup, molasses, and even better fresh dates!

Traditionally dates would have always been harvested when they were ripe off the trees and then consumed fresh. Unfortunately, like everything else that comes to the market these days traditional practices are sacrificed in the name of 'efficiency'. Most dates today are harvested at only one time at the end of the season to save on costs. The dates are then dry on the trees similar to raisins. Next, they are steamed before packaging to ensure they remain soft for consumers. Not only is the taste completely different but the sugars are then changed from mostly fructose and glucose to sucrose which is more likely to cause blood sugar spikes. Not to mention nutrients are lost in this process. You can still find farmers who harvest their dates the traditional way. Lucky for us, Four Apostles Ranch sells their dates at the Santa Barbara Farmer's Market on Saturday and Tuesday at Milliken Family Farms. They just started carrying them at Isla Vista Food Coop in the deli section so you can find them anyday! The new season has started and the dates are being harvested fresh as we speak, come try one and taste the difference for yourself!

15 dates
1t vanilla extract
15-30 raw almonds
1C unsweetened coconut extract

1. Remove the pit from the center of the dates and throw pits directly into the trash.
2. In a small mixing bowl, mash the dates with the vanilla extract. Using your hands is messy but it's easy and gets the job done best. You can add more vanilla extract as needed for flavor.
3. Grab a small spoonful of the date mix and roll into a ball. Take one to two almonds and place in the middle of the ball, roll around to make into the shape of a finger. 1 date should make 1 roll.
4. Roll in plenty of coconut shreds and place on a serving plate.
5. They can be served immediately, kept in the refrigerator for up to a week or frozen for later use.

Everyone should enjoy the holidays, so don't restrict yourself instead indulge in healthy desserts!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes

Pancakes are a breakfast favorite, especially around the holidays with family. After several attempts to find a favorite alternative to white-flour, sugar laden pancakes I have finally found one that is well-liked! This simple whole-grain pancake recipe is made with only four ingredients and naturally contains no gluten. Buckwheat flour works great for pancakes because of it's thick texture and nutty flavor. Soaking the flour overnight, as my recipe calls for, allows for easier digestion and better absorption of the nutrients it contains. Getting in the habit of soaking your grains and flours is part of my wholesome cooking practices.

Pure maple syrup is a lost tradition, replaced by the cheapest, mass produced sweetener; high fructose corn syrup. Do not be deceived by the false advertising from the corn industry, this modern syrup derived from GMO corn is literally toxic to your body. But the health benefits of pure maple syrup are extensive! Maple syrup supplies minerals to your body like manganese and zinc that help strengthen your immune system. Maple syrup has anti-cancerous properties,. The darker, the better, so always choose Grade B.

No pancake should go with out a slab of butter, so be sure you're getting grass-fed, or pastured butter to ensure you're getting all the nutrients supplied by grass-fed milk. When cows are fed grass the milk contains heart healthy, anti-inflammatory Omega 3 fatty acids and the anti-cancerous compound CLA. Even better, if you can get your hands on some raw butter made by Organic Pastures then you'll get all of the enzymes and healthy bacteria present in raw milk. Their butter is one of my favorites, find it at your local health food stores or check your farmer's market.

3C organic buckwheat flour
4C water
1/2C blueberries
1/2T cinnamon
pinch of pure stevia powder*
2T aluminum-free baking powder
extra-virgin coconut oil
grass-fed butter
organic, grade B maple syrup

1. Mix flour and water in a large bowl, cover with a plate or towel and soak overnight.
2. In the morning, when you are ready to make your pancakes, stir and mix with mashed blueberries, cinnamon, a pinch of stevia and baking powder. *If you are using pure stevia powder be sure to only use a pinch as it is very sweet, taste your batter and add more as desired but start small.
3.  Heat your hot plate to 400 degrees. Smother the plate with coconut oil and ladel batter onto pan. After a few minutes, flip and let cook a few more minutes on the other side.
4. Serve warm.
Topped with creamy, rich grass-fed butter and organic, dark maple syrup, this meal is the perfect wholesome breakfast. Enjoy with out any guilt. You may even help yourselves to seconds...or thirds :)

p.s. These can easily be frozen and then reheated in the toaster or oven! Talk about easy right? And who isn't looking for more easy n' healthy ideas!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Finals Survival

The Finals Survival Talk and Tour was such a success that we will be holding the same event again next Friday! So don't fret if you missed it, be sure to come this upcoming Friday, December  7th at 2pm!
Worried about finals? Concerned about not getting enough sleep? Or not passing classes? Well, worry no more! Come learn about fueling your brain, how to stimulate memory and other study tips! Isla Vista Food Coop will be hosting Finals Survival, an event to help college students during the demanding time of finals. I will be giving a talk on my tips for brain health, study patterns and eating well through the stress. Madia, IV Coop's own Nutrition Educator, will be walking the store with me as we tour you through our aisles pointing out all of our favorite Finals Survival foods! Be sure to come by our Finals Survival demo table, which will be up all week in the store. My Office Hours are today from 3-4 in the afternoon and I will be at our demo table to answer any questions! Hope to see you this week and good luck on finals!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Cinnamon-Spice Baked Apples

The sweet smell of these Cinnamon-Spice Baked Apples filled my grandmother's home as we finished off our Thanksgiving dinner. These baked apples have a way of coming to the table amazingly delicious and still wonderfully healthy. The key to a wholesome dessert is simple: quality ingredients with natural sweeteners. There are plenty of natural sweeteners that don't have the harmful effects of white sugar. Natural sweeteners like raw local honey, organic maple syrup and, as used in this recipe, fresh dates are nutrient dense foods that have additional health properties. Dates are rich in potassium, iron and other nutrients while aiding in digestion and the function of your nervous system.

5 medium sized apples
5 fresh dates
1/4 C chopped raw walnuts
1t cinnamon and a few cinnamon sticks
1/2t allspice and few whole allspice berries
1/2t nutmeg and a few nutmeg kernals
1/2t ginger
maple syrup
Pasture-raised cream

1. Find a corning ware dish with a lid that your apples fit inside nicely. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
2. Core the apples using an apple corer or sharp knife.
3. Using a food processor, or simply a bowl and spoon, mash the dates with a bit of water to make a thick paste. Start with just a drizzle and add as needed, the amount will depend on the softness of the dates you're using.
4. Mix in chopped walnuts and spices.
5. Stuff the cores with the date/walnuts mixture and cover the tops of the apples, rub the leftovers all over the apples.
6. Place a small bit of water in the bottom of your dish, a quarter of a cup is plenty. Place the cinnamon sticks, allspice berries and nutmeg kernals in the bottom of the dish.
7. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the apples are soft to the touch with a knife but not mushy.
8. Pour cream into a large bowl and whisk at a constant pace until the cream begins to whip, be careful not to turn it into butter. Serve each apple with a very large dollop of  freshly whipped cream., a sprinkle of cinnamon and a drizzle of maple syrup, if so desired.

These apples are a favorite in my family. Try them for any dessert not just thanksgiving as they are quite the hit!

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Wholesome Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time of food, family and of course, giving thanks. And what a better way to give thanks than to make a meal with the abundance of healthy food we are so lucky to have access to. It is actually surprising how delicious a healthy, wholesome thanksgiving can be. One of the most simple ways to improve the health of your thanksgiving meal is to improve the quality of the food you are cooking with. Always choose organic to reduce your body's toxic load, choose whole foods rather than refined, processed packaged foods, and choose fresh produce rather than frozen, packaged or canned.

For your superstar bird choose a high quality turkey that comes from a farm where the animals are raised in pasture. This is the highlight of any thanksgiving meal, especially a wholesome one and your extra dollars spent will be well worth it. Conventional turkeys are raised in filthy, overcrowded, dark coops and fed an unnatural GMO diet, laden with pesticides and even anti-biotics because of the prevalence of disease. Spare your family the negative health affects that come along with eating animals raised in this way and buy a high quality turkey this year.

Farms I like:
-Mary's Turkeys
-Diestel Farms
-Shelton's Turkeys

For your stuffing choose a whole grain variety in place of the traditional refined, white bread packaged variety that often contains sugar and rancid oils. Frankly, thanksgiving would not be thanksgiving if it didn't have stuffing so find a wild rice stuffing or use my favorite: Mark Bitman's Autumn Millet Bake. The millet adds a nutty flavor, the butternut is sweet and the cranberries tart, so it's the perfect blend of flavors.

For your side dishes, choose fresh organic produce and use the most traditional oils for cooking and baking. Choose ghee or coconut oil for high heats, and butter for lower heats. Always use grass-fed dairy to ensure you're getting the heart health omega 3 fatty acids and cancer protective CLA compounds. I like Straus Family Creamery for milk, Organic Valley Pastured butter and Kerygold butter. Make a simple vegetable dish like roasted shallots with steamed green beans, kale sauteed in ghee and garlic, or baked sweet potatoes.

Always serve a salad and use organic extra virgin olive oil to make your own healthy dressing, I love this Maple Vinaigrette for fall salads. Make your own gravy and use gluten free flours, like oat flour. Buy free-range, organic turkey or chicken broth, I like Imagine Foods. Always use sea salt with grey coloring so you know it contains minerals and plenty of organic dried spices for their antioxidant value! For your pie try this Whole Wheat Pie Crust and even try substituting oat flour for a gluten-free version. For your cranberry sauce try other sweeteners like raw honey and freshly squeezed orange juice in place of white refined sugar. Have some fun and let your kids whip the organic cream into fresh whipped cream! There are so many lost traditions because of the convenience of processed foods but making a truly home-made thanksgiving meal is worth it on every level.

It's not as difficult as you might think to improve your thanksgiving meal but it does take a little inspiration and effort to plan. Use this post as a starting point and use your friends as a resource for healthy recipe ideas. Make this thanksgiving different by really changing the quality of the food you purchase for your meal. It's important to feel good about what you are bringing to the table and feeding your family.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Book Signing of The Passionate Vegetable

No chef, kitchen nor home-maker is complete without a proper cookbook, one with nourishing recipes using the highest quality ingredients. Afterall, a meal prepared with careful thought and proper preparation is part of living a wholesome lifestyle. The Passionate Vegetable, by organic chef Suzanne Landry is a beautiful guide to healthy recipes for you and your family. The cookbook is complete with an introduction to 'true food' and nutrition. There are recipes for every meal from 'Health Start Breakfast' to 'Salads that Satisfy'. Suzanne's 'Good for You Dessert' section is complete with plenty of options for the health-food sweet tooth.

This Saturday, November 10th from 3-5pm IV Coop will be hosting a book signing where Suzanne herself will be offering up her 'Tips Chefs Love'. She'll be doing a demonstration of dicing onions, mincing garlic among other basic chef tips while I will be teaching on the health benefits of these wonderful foods. Learn how to easily incorporate them into your everyday diet for optimal health! Her cookbook will be for sale and you can have her personally sign it! It will be an afternoon of celebrating health, good recipes and real food so be sure to come by!

You can also find out more about Suzanne Landry's work and her cookbook, The Passionate Vegetable here.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Project We Own It

Isla Vista Food Coop has been committed to enhancing the health of the community by providing you with organic, high quality, sustainable food for the last 40 years. They have helped local farmers bring their produce to the marketplace. They have helped families find the real food they need to support their health and well being. They have helped students by offering a convenient shopping location. They have more than helped this community and now they are asking for your help.

When the Coop was alerted that their current home, a building settled in the heart of Isla Vista was going to be sold this next year they made the choice to buy it and secure their future for years to come. That is where Project We Own It began; a movement to bring about an awareness to the community that Isla Vista Coop is fund-raising to purchase their building! Please visit their website to learn more about it and offer any support that you can! Spread the word about the coop, become a member, do your shopping there, bring in friends to shop and teach them about becoming members, there are endless ways to help! Be sure to come check out the tour we will be having this Friday!

Hope to see you all there!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Yes on 37

If you've been reading this blog then you've heard me mention GMO's before, but finally the time has come for California to make history regarding this issue. We have the opportunity with the first proposition on a ballot to begin labeling genetically modified foods in this country.

This is about money for companies like Monsanto and Dow Chemical, but for us it's about health, nutrition and food freedom. The facts are already in, GMO's are highly inflammatory, linked to allergies and pose an even higher risk to your children. Animals don't even eat GMO foods when they are given a choice! The problem for us is that GMO foods are incredibly deceiving; they look the same, smell the same, and often most people can't taste the difference. So how do you know if they aren't being labeled? These foods are far from natural and the body can not recognize or metabolize them properly.

This proposition is a big deal, probably bigger than most of us even realize. Companies like Monsanto and Dow Chemical have controlled the food industry through fear because of their financial capabilities, threatening to sue the state or shut down businesses. But California is about to be able to make the biggest stance against them yet and give people back their basic right to know what's in their food.

We have a choice to vote for our right to know or to deny the millions of Americans the food freedom they deserve. Don't be confused by the misinformation about GMO's. Do the research yourself and vote Yes on 37.

To learn more visit the Right to Know website or even better watch the documentary "Genetic Roulette" here. Another great resource is the Say No to GMO's website. Tell your friends, family and coworkers about the importance of voting Yes on proposition 37 and hopefully on November 6th we'll find that California wants the right to know.

***Filmaker Deborah Koons Garcia has just made the film The Future of Food free for viewing until the election!! Watch it below!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

It's Official!

After fifteen months of rigorous studies I have completed my certification from Bauman College and am now a licensed, certified Nutrition Consultant! Wholesome Practices is my own private nutrition practice where I consult individuals in the areas of food, lifestyle and nutrition. The business is further meant to be a bridge between what people know about nutrition and actually implementing all the right practices into their lifestyle. Like I have said before, transitioning to a healthier lifestyle can be challenging but it's worth it. Allow me to demonstrate why and to make the transition as smooth and enjoyable as possible. View the Services Tab on the top of the page to learn more about how I can help you begin living your healthy, wholesome lifestyle today. Look out for more information on the upcoming launch for Wholesome Practices which will be sponsored by Isla Vista Food Coop!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cod Liver Oil

My grandmother turned 80 this year and still remembers her mother lining her and her brother up side by side for their spoonful of cod liver oil every night. This tried and true practice of giving our children and ourselves cod liver is invaluable. Especially during the winter season. Here's why.

Cod liver oil has been used for centuries for its health giving properties. Many cultures along the north Atlantic Ocean highly valued fish oils and seemed to understand them better than we do! Full of Vitamin A, Vitamin D, and essential fatty acids, cod liver oil enhances our immunity to infection, disease and the common cold. Several studies have found that cod liver oil can profoundly reduce the incidence of respiratory infections. While another study actually found that children who experienced frequent infections the prior year were completely infection free during a season with regular consumption of cod liver oil.

While Vitamin A deficiency is rare, that mighty D vitamin is something we Americans do not get enough of. This is actually considered to be a global issue as most people around the world don't have adequate amounts of Vitamin D. Yet, we know it's critical for development, growth and maintenance of a healthy body not just in childhood but throughout our lives.

Essential fatty acids are a vital part of a healthy immune system and crucial for preventing chronic inflammation. Historical trends however have seen deficiencies in the United States in these fatty acids since the 1900's. They are far and few in the Standard American Diet so supplementation is often necessary.

Unfortunately for my grandmother and many others the foul taste and texture of this fishy oil has turned them off. But this didn't keep mothers of the 1800's from making sure their child got that daily spoonful of cod liver oil. Today we are without excuse as well considering manufacturers have brought flavors and capsules to the market. Enhance your immune system and protect your body from the common cold or seasonal flu this year by taking cod liver oil just like your grandmother would have.

As usual be sure you're getting the highest quality
cod live oil, to learn more about where to buy your cod liver oil contact Wholesome Practices at

*Sources: Therapeutic Nutrition by Ed Bauman

Monday, October 1, 2012

Building a Partnership

Educating the community about real food, the importance of sustainability, and optimal nutrition is the purpose of Wholesome Practices. Finding others with this same goal and working together is part of fulfilling that purpose. While watching as people one by one begin to transform how they eat, shop and think about food is seeing it come to pass.

Wholesome Practices has partnered with Isla Vista Food Coop in this very endeavor. For those of you who don't know, Isla Vista Food Coop is a natural and organic foods cooperative that exists to provide reasonably priced foods, products and services to help promote a healthier lifestyle for the local community. The Coop is community owned meaning that you put forth a membership fee that becomes working capital for the coop to not only exist but to improve upon the services it offers you. When you move, you get your money back and can hopefully put it forth towards another coop. This market is different because it is bringing food to the community for you and not for profit.
I have personally been shopping the coop for five years now and have yet to be disappointed. The environment is friendly and you will find that there is always someone willing to help you. They carry the highest quality food at the most reasonable prices in town and are always willing to look into carrying new products if they don't have what you're looking for!

Please consider visiting the coop during my "Office Hours" on Fridays from 11am-12pm where I will be available to answer questions and offer introductory consultations. This is a unique opportunity for you to meet me and learn more about my practices, all complimentary! I can also direct you through the store to find exactly what you need. My "Office Hours" start this Friday, October 5th and will continue every Friday at the same time. Look for me sitting out front on the patio!

Monday, September 24, 2012

SOL Food Festival

The 3rd Annual SOL Food Festival is one of the biggest events in Santa Barbara County supporting a seasonal, organic and local food culture. On Saturday, September 29th from 10-6pm come out and join the festivities as farmers, chefs, holistic practitioners, and health minded individuals make there way to this educational event.

The event is child friendly and will feature educational resources for your children to learn about farming and food as well. Locally owned restaurants will be serving their favorite dishes featuring fresh produce from local farms. There will be hands-on kitchen workshops, food demonstrations, lectures and more! Whether you can only briefly stop by or make a day out of it, this is an event that you don't want to miss.

You can be sure to find me browsing vendors all afternoon and then from 5-6pm I will be giving a lecture on Eating for Healing v. Eating for Health. While many don't realize there is even a difference between the two, I will give my personal story from sickness to health and teach on four different levels of eating I have learned about while studying at Bauman College.

Don't forget that your Saturday farmer's market will still be going on, conveniently located right next to SOL Food!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Farmer's Market: Tips and Tours

Farmer's Markets are growing all over country and are becoming increasingly popular. In a society where we have become so disconnected from our food, I find it's amazing that people are choosing to get right back to the source: the farm. Understanding food, where it comes from, how it's produced, and why it rightfully costs what it does is the start to changing how we not only eat but how we look at food in this country.

The farm is the foundation of food production and the effort that real farmers put into their work is to be greatly valued. Farmers who treat their animals with care and the soil with the respect it deserves are bringing back traditional practices and honoring the principles of sustainability. Without such practices, food won't exist as it does today for the generation of tomorrow. We are already suffering from a lack of this in the food brought to our tables today. The nutrient values of fruits and vegetables grown conventionally can be 40-60% less than that of organically grown vegetables.  An apple today has less than 40% of the Vitamin A it contained in the 60's while a serving of collard greens has lost more than 80% of the calcium it once contained. These are key nutrients that support our everyday health and keep our bodily systems functioning optimally. With effort, they can be restored but without they will only continue diminishing.

Don't assume that every vendor at your farmer's market is organic because often they are conventionally raising their crops using synthetic, chemical fertilizers and spraying with pesticides, herbicides or fungicides. Today more than 2.5 million tons of pesticides are applied to the major food crops in the United States. This is a tragedy for farming and for health. Always ask questions and most importantly get to know your farmer.

As a Nutrition Educator and farmer's market vendor myself, I understand the incredible value of local, organic and seasonal foods. One of my favorite services that I offer is a thorough  Farmer's Market Tour with tips and tricks for making it your choice for shopping. I provide a brief introduction to my favorite local farms and why I love them so much. I show my clients how to save money and shop on a budget while providing real food for a family. The tour is highly recommended for anyone who is interested in taking the next step in their health journey as the farmer's market is the best place to purchase your weekly produce and other food items. In Santa Barbara County we are lucky enough to have 8 markets, 6 days a week. There is a market for everyone's busy schedule.

There is hidden joy in coming back to the farm, to food from its closest source. Cooking becomes an adventure as you try new foods and recommendations from your local farmer. Eating becomes exciting when you understand the work that went into the meal you're enjoying, when you know your every dollar was well spent. The Farmer's Market is invaluable to me and my practices in restoring health to the family and the community. Please contact me at for more information on my tours and how they might benefit you and your family. You can also read more about this topic on my Wholesome Shopping page.
Photo Courtesy of Israel Cohen

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Fermented Salsa

Why ferment salsa? Because it's easy as ever and you get tons of gut-friendly probiotics! These healthy bacteria fuel your immune system and I can not emphasize enough how important they are to have daily! Learn more about cultured and fermented foods here. Fermenting your salsa will also create an abundance of B vitamins and Vitamin C. B vitamins are necessary for proper cell metabolism while Vitamin C is the one of the most potent antioxidants whose job is to protect your body from disease! Who would ever eat regular salsa again?

All you need is salsa, plus a starter culture, a clean mason jar, warm weather and three days later you can enjoy this delicious and remarkably healthy condiment. Salsa is easy enough to make yourself but you could purchase a high quality, fresh salsa and simply add your starter. My recommendation: purchase some ripe, juicy, heirloom tomatoes from your local farmer's market and whip up your own salsa creation! Add spicy, sweet or mild peppers, onions, garlic, lemons or lime, plenty of cilantro, and even corn.

There are couple options for starter cultures. I chose to use some juice from my home-made sauerkraut. Store bought sauerkraut will most likely either be pasteurized or have been sitting too long to contain healthy enough live bacteria to ferment the salsa, unless of course you know your getting it from a reliable source. You can use whey as well which makes this a lacto-fermented salsa or you can use a purchased vegetable culture packet.

5-7 medium tomatoes
1 green bell pepper
1/2 sweet onion
1 bunch cilantro
2-4 cloves garlic
1 lime
sea salt
starter culture
Step 1: Cut tomatoes, bell pepper, onion and garlic into large chunks.
Step 2: Remove cilantro leaves from stems. Discard stems and chop cilantro.
Step 3: Add to a food processor with the juice from the lime.
Step 4: Blend to your desired preference and sea salt to your taste. I left mine somewhat chunky like pico de gallo.
Step 5: Add your starter culture and mix thoroughly. If you're using juice from sauerkraut 1-2T is good. If you're using whey 1/2C is good. Use directions on your starter culture packet if choosing that option.
Step 6: Pour into clean mason jars. This recipe will make about 1 quart give or take. I divided mine into two 16oz mason jars. Close the lids on tightly and leave sitting at room temperature for 2-3 days.

Do I even need to suggest ways to enjoy this salsa? Trust me, make a couple batches.

Friday, August 24, 2012


The topic of vaccinations is one of the most controversial, especially among parents. When you educate people it gives them the freedom to make well-informed decisions for themselves and for their children.  That's what "The Greater Good" is all about: exposing the truth about vaccinations, their effectiveness, side-effects and hidden motives within the government and pharmaceutical companies. It is a film to be seen by all not just parents.

The number of vaccinations that children are given has risen dramatically. Are we even sure they are effective? Or necessary? Are you aware of the adverse side effects that could potentially occur? Or of the toxic effects of additives vaccines contain? Probably not and neither was I until I began researching and educating myself about this emotionally charged topic. There is no harm in opening yourself up to the conversation of vaccines and finding out for yourself if they are really the best option for you or your children.

The Weston A. Price Foundation is holding a screening this weekend of The Greater Good. The film will be shown on Sunday August 26 at 4:00pm at Santa Barbara Family Chiropractic. Learn more on the Weston A. Price Meet-Up page. As always the events are free and a wonderful way to meet other health conscious members of the Santa Barbara community. If you cannot attend this screening the film can also be purchased here. Don't wait to start learning about vaccinations and make knowledgeable decisions regarding their use for you and your children.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Book Review: The Diet Cure

After hearing Julia Ross speak at the release of the updated version of her best-seller, The Diet Cure, I knew this book was a must have. Her application of amino acid therapy in the lives of overweight, depressed, hormonal woman and men has proved to be ground breaking. There is no single explanation and answer but rather multiple different imbalances that occur in the body creating symptoms you can't seem to overcome. And you won't. Not on your own and not until you understand the chemistry behind why you've been feeling the way that you have. With proper diet, supplementation, guidance and support thousands of her clients and readers have found health and stability....naturally.

This book is your outline and explanation. It could free you from dieting forever. Hence, the title, the diet 'cure'. There are actually many dangerous side effects of dieting such a nutrient depletion and neuron damage as she goes through in more detail in the first chapters of the book. Not only have our eyes become heavily distorted as we look at stick figure models portrayed as 'beautiful' in the media but now we are causing major health issues as we try to become that image. On the other end we have a whole line of new 'food products' if we can even call them that, like high fructose corn syrup and genetically modified soy that have proven to be quite toxic. Even white refined sugar and refined grains are products that have become to removed from their original source I simply can not call them food any longer. And your body feels the same way. The way that your body and brain react towards these foods is not far off from drugs and alcohol stimulating major blood sugar spikes and straining the endocrine system. I am telling you, this book is a MUST READ!

Within it's pages you will find quizzes and questionnaires that help you defined what imbalances are causing your symptoms. Keep in mind that everyone is individual and unique in our bodies needs, which is one thing works great for someone and horribly for another! There are diet and supplement recommendations for each imbalance that can help restore the balance that is required for optimal energy, mood, and weight. If you feel that you need additional help my services are just within reach. Look for my contact information on the left side bar of the page, I can be reached anytime by email at

Purchase your copy of The New Diet Cure and explore Ross' website where you will also find her quick and easy questionnaires to get your started!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Padron Peppers

It may surprise you that these little green peppers are actually mild. Known for their great flavor rather than their heat, only one in ten will spark a flame resembling more of a jalepeno. It's like a "Russian Roulette" with your dinner. They are a traditional Spanish favorite served commonly as a tapas, sauteed in a bit of olive oil with freshly cracked sea salt. It's really that simple and people love them. They come back week after week buying more baskets than the last time calling them their latest addiction. You can't just have one of these, they melt in your mouth as you keep grabbing for more. Perfect for any dinner party as they are quite a guest pleaser.

These peppers have a striking nutrition profile, full of vitamins and minerals with therapeutic value as well. They actually aid the digestive system and have even been noted for quickening the healing of scar tissue. They help promote blood circulation, lower cholesterol and reduce high blood pressure. All while tasting fantastic!

If you have never tried these delicious Spanish peppers I highly suggest you get out to your local market and find them! These won't be found in a supermarket. May I also suggest starting out by serving them the traditional way: satueed until golden brown in a bit of extra virgin olive oil served with freshly cracked sea salt. After that you can venture into adding them to your favorite Spanish meal. Find them at the Milliken Family Farms stand on Tuesday or Saturday at the Santa Barbara Farmer's Market. For my Santa Cruz viewers I know that you can find them at New Leaf Community Markets and on Wednesday at the Farmer's Market downtown.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

'Tis the Season for Tomatoes

It is the most precious time of the year for tomatoes. Yes, precious. They are perfectly in season, ripe, sweet and juicy. Cherries, Heirlooms, Green Zebras, Purple Cherokees, Sun Golds, Indigo Rose, it seems there are an endless variety of tomatoes to be found at your local farmer's market. And if you think you don't like tomatoes, I dare you- get to your local market and try one of the many delicious, flavorful tomatoes grown in the richest soil in this fabulous summer sun. Supermarket tomatoes don't even compare,  some are actually picked green and ripened using ethanol gas to bring tomatoes to your table year round. This is not natural by any means and eliminates the beauty of eating seasonal foods.

Tomatoes are a nutritional powerhouse full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Most commonly known for their high content of lycopene, an antioxidant that is extremely protective against breast, prostate, colon, lung and skin cancer. It is also helpful in lowering the risk of heart disease. Lycopene is actually more readily absorbed if the tomatoes have been cooked and are consumed with extra virgin olive oil. This is one of the many reasons why the Mediterranean diet is so healthful. So you can eat your bowl of spaghetti with a smile on your face knowing your body is loving that rich tomato sauce. Use brown rice pasta if you want an even bigger smile :)

Simply Marinara Pasta
5-6 large Brandy Wine tomatoes
1 large yellow onion
2-4 garlic cloves
1/2 C freshly chopped basil
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper
brown rice pasta 
1. Slice, dice, chop the tomatoes however you please. They will cook up anyway you cut them. Place in a dutch oven.
2. Slice, dice, chop the onion. Again, you can do big chunks or dice them, whichever you prefer. Add to your tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for 2-4 hours.
3. Mince garlic and chop your fresh basil.
4. When ready to eat, cook your pasta according to directions. With rice pasta you want to be sure to not overcook it, generally 8-10 minutes is plenty.
5. Place steaming hot pasta in a large bowl, top with tomatoes and onions, the raw garlic and fresh basil, plenty of extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and freshly cracked garlic.

This pasta is very versatile and gives you a nice foundation for any Italian meal. You can substitute any tomatoes and add other veggies like sliced zucchini or yellow squash, kale or throw in a handful of raw spinach and let it wilt. Add shrimp, some grass-fed ground beef, or sauteed chicken. The variations are endless! Adding the raw garlic in at the end preserves it's nutrient value. Likewise with the olive oil you are preventing any heat damage and keeping the quality of the fats intact by adding it to the pasta once it's been removed from the stove top.

Buon Appetito!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Broccoli Sprouts

Sprouting your own seeds, grains or legumes is not only inexpensive and easy but dramatically increases nutrient values. Sprouts contain up to 30% more protein, 34% more calcium, 40% more iron, 285% more Vitamin A, and on an on in comparison to their unsprouted counterparts. The increase in Vitamin C is nearly infinite! Besides the popular alfafa sprouts sunflower, radish and broccoli sprouts are delicious as well. Eat these sprouts raw while sprouted beans like lentils, chickpeas and mung beans should be steamed before eating. The same goes for sprouted grains like buckwheat or wheat berries.

Specific seeds, grains or legumes have their own therapeutic value as well. Sprouts from broccoli seeds are full of anti-cancerous phytonutrients. They are the richest source of sulforaphane, the phytonutrient responsible for the cancer preventative nature of the cruciferous vegetable family. A study found that 3-day old sprouts of certain cruciferous plants, like broccoli and cauliflower contain 10-100 times more of this nutrient than did the mature plants. So research tells us that small amounts of these sprouts may protect against the risk of cancer as effectively as large amounts of broccoli or cauliflower. Pass the sprouts please!

Sprouts go great on salad, in a sandwich or stuffed in a pita. Look for broccoli or other sprouts at your local health food store, farmer's market or learn how to sprout your own at the Sprout People's webpage.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Roasted Garlic

Garlic is a culinary and medicinal herb that has been used for centuries. Therapeutically garlic is renowned for it's antibiotic properties protecting from an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the human body. It helps lower cholesterol, increase iron metabolism, decrease inflammation and support a healthy immune system. Garlic contains many sulfur containing compounds which are excellent for liver health and preventing cancer. It is also an excellent source of selenium, one of the most potent antioxidant minerals that is lacking in our diets today. Garlic should be consumed daily for it's excellent nutritional value.

Roasting or cooking garlic does decrease it's medicinal value so it is best consumed raw. If raw garlic can not be tolerated then add freshly chopped garlic to dishes towards the end of cooking to increase nutrition. There are times however when roasted garlic is just calling your name. Always use a Tera Cotta or other ceramic dish to roast your garlic. Using aluminum foil has become a common practice however aluminum is a toxic heavy metal that is stores in the brain causing numerous issues. You can find inexpensive garlic roasters at your local health food store.

To Roast Your Garlic:
Step 1: Peel off the outer layers of your garlic.
Step 2: Using a serrated knife cut off the top 1/4'' or so of each head of garlic so that the cloves are exposed.
Step 3: Rub a dab of extra virgin olive oil on the top exposed part of each head of garlic.
Step 4: Set garlic cloves on the plate of your ceramic roaster and cover with the lid.
Step 5: Place in the oven and turn heat to 350°.
Step 6: After 45 minutes check garlic by piercing the cloves with a knife. When they are soft and golden then remove ceramic roaster out of the oven and your garlic is ready to serve.

Roasted garlic is creamy and almost buttery when cooked to perfection. Squeeze from the bottom and the garlic will squeeze out from the top. You can spread it on crackers or serve with an antipasto plate. It pairs excellent with Italian favorites like capers, roasted red bell peppers, kalamata olives and artichoke hearts.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Fermentation Festival

Another exciting, interactive and informative event put on by the Weston A. Price Foundation in Santa Barbara. Come learn about the what, why's and how's of fermenting foods. This practice has been a part of nearly all traditional cultures for hundreds of years but in the last few decades has nearly disappeared in our society. Whether our ancestors fully understood the benefits of fermenting foods we don't know but we are certainly aware of it now. Gut health, immune function, disease prevention-all are highly supported by probiotics.

But what are fermented foods? How do you prepare them or where do you get them? Whether you know a lot or very little about fermenting foods this event is the place for you. Entry is free but bring cash for the other various activities offered. There will be a raffle and several do-it-yourself booths where you will prepare your own fermented foods to take home. There will also be lunch for purchase featuring Rancho San Julian burgers, a local grass-fed sustainable ranch recommended by Wholesome Practices.

The event will be quite an enjoyable afternoon so bring your friends, family, kids and be prepared to learn a lot! More information can be found at the WAPF Santa Barbara website. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Red, White and Blue Smoothie

Everyone needs to add a little more red, white and blue to their 4th of July so I whipped up these color coordinated smoothies for breakfast! They turned out to be quite messy and more like purple then blue, but hey it's the thought that counts right? The red is strawberry flavored, the white is banana flavored and the blue is blueberry flavored. A perfect combination of fruit flavored smoothies enriched with the highest quality whey protein powder and flaxseeds. These smoothies are filling and satisfying especially on a warm day. Enjoy them for a wonderful breakfast, a nourishing snack or even for dessert! Great for the whole family as kids love them too!

Protein powders are a great way to ensure your body is getting adequate protein. Now, of course the quality of the protein powder you buy makes all the difference. I recommend whey protein powder over soy, rice or pea. But only the highest quality, non-denatured, cold pressed or minimally processed whey from cow's that graze on fresh grasses. This kind of whey contains plentiful immunoglobulins to support a healthy immune system. It's one of the most bioavailable sources of protein, second only to eggs meaning that your body absorbs and utilizes the amino acids very easily. Be sure to get a powder made from whey concentrate not whey isolate so the proteins are intact and active. Whey protein powder is easy to digest so it works well for people with compromised digestive systems and is actually quite healing to the digestive tract. Certified organic is preferable however many companies are sourcing their whey from uncertified farms because of the cost. Do your research, know where the whey you're buying comes from. Also, check the other ingredients and be sure there are no added sugars or preservatives. I have listed my favorite whey powders at the bottom of the post for your convenience.

The Recipe serves 3
For the Blue
1C frozen blueberries
2 scoops whey protein powder
2T freshly ground flaxseed

For the White
1 large frozen banana
2 scoops whey protein powder
2T freshly ground flaxseed

For the Red
1C frozen strawberries
2 scoops whey protein powder
2T freshly ground flaxseed

For each color of the smoothie add the frozen fruit and a small amount of water, blend until smooth adding more water as necessary. Add the protein powder, let it thicken for a bit as it blends and then add the flax. You can also add some ice if you want it a little thicker. Start with the blue, pour evenly into three glasses, rinse the blender and make the white section, pour on top of the blue evenly into the three glasses. Rinse the blender again, whip up the red section and pour over the white in the three glasses.

My favorite whey protein powders:
-Source Naturals Whey to Health and True Whey
-Tera's Whey
Find them online if your local health food store doesn't carry them.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Walnut Butter

Nuts and seeds are an essential part of a whole foods diet. Rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, protein, vitamins and minerals: walnuts prove to be extra special among nuts as they are one of the few sources of our vitally important Omega-3 fatty acids. These are highly anti-inflammatory fatty acids that promote heart health, immune function, and brain quality. Eating walnuts can decrease your cancer risk, regulate blood sugar levels, and lower total blood cholesterol. They are not only delicious but extremely healthy and should become part of your regular diet. Nut butters are an excellent way to add nuts into your diet. Walnut butter is creamy and rich, slightly sweet and perfectly satisfying. You can buy nut butters at your local health food store. If you have a masticating juicer, like the Champion, nut butters are easy to make and you will save quite a bit of money.

Making walnut butter:
-Start with organic raw walnuts
-Soak them for at least 8 hours for easier digestion
-Drain and push through the juicer with the blank screen in place
-Pack in a jar and keep refrigerated

Fresh walnut butter spread on toast with fresh fruit is a great way to start your day. Make walnut butter and jelly sandwiches instead of the usual peanut butter. Apple and banana slices are delicious with walnut butter for a perfect snack. Even celery and carrots pair great with walnut butter. The possibilities are endless, get creative and try other nut butters like almond or pecan!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Grow Your Own

Tomato Bushes
Yes, garden. With a little encouragement anyone can do it! You can manage some plants with little space or even just pots. Gardens are the best way to bring the freshest, most naturally grown vegetables to your dinner table, not to mention the most local! With a garden you have the freedom to plant whatever it is you love; heirloom lettuces, golden cherry tomatoes, arugula, lacinato kale. The choices are endless and the joy of watching your veggies grow from seed, to sprout, to flowering, to producing fruit is priceless. The best part, eating a meal with your own grown vegetables. There's nothing quite like it.

Now is the time to get your plants in the ground if you haven't already. It's a little late but summer crops will go for months. Some common garden vegetables that grow nice and easy are lettuces, zuchinni, kale, chard, beets, and of course tomatoes. Some plants will produce fruit over and over like kale. You can pick the leaves off whenever they are ready and you'll notice they just keep producing. Some plants like head lettuces and beets after you pull them up will not reproduce, you have to replant them. Herbs are a wonderful addition to any garden or potted in any yard. Basil, cilantro, parsley and thyme are just a few. These will add flavor and health benefits to any meal.

When just starting out it's easiest to buy from seedlings, venture into starting from seed later on. Buy from a locally owned nursery and find organic and heirloom varieties to get the most out of having your own garden. Don't be afraid to try something new and different, like crookneck squashes or persian cucumbers. Be sure to buy organic soil and add in plenty of your own compost. Water gently, lots of love and you'll have some beautiful vegetables in the months to come.

Heirloom Lettuce
Heirloom Red Lettuce

My favorite local nursery is Island Seed and Feed where I purchased all of these plants you see pictured. They supply plenty of seedlings of many different varieties. They have a wonderful selection of seeds, soil, compost, and your other garden needs.