Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Egg Salad

This delicious egg salad is a wonderful sandwich filler, salad topping or a dip for crackers! It's loaded with antioxidant rich spices like turmeric, fresh parsley and paprika. Extra virgin olive oil and avocado provide plenty of monounsaturated heart healthy fats and the eggs provide easily absorbed proteins. The rich egg yolks from pastured raised chickens are full of Vitamins A and D, choline and brain supporting B-Vitamins.

Soft boiled, where the yolk has only just begun to harden is a safe way to cook the eggs without the harmful effects of oxidation. When fats and oils are heated above their smoke point they are easily denatured and actually create free radicals in our body. I'm sure you have seen hard boiled eggs with that grey-green ashy outline around the yolk, this is actually a sign that the fats have oxidized. Beware, this is very damaging to our bodies and results in inflammation that can eventually contribute to heart attack, oxidized cholesterol and even cancer. But eggs can be safely and healthfully enjoyed poached, lightly scrambled or soft boiled! Be sure you know your source and make sure those chickens get plenty of sunshine!

The Recipe
serves 2

4 eggs
2T extra virgin olive oil
½ avocado
¼C Chopped red onion
¼C chopped celery
1-3T chopped fresh parsley
Sprinkle turmeric, mustard powder, and paprika
¼ sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

Step 1: Soft boil your eggs. Bring water to a boil. Place eggs in boiling water, leave for one minute and then cover, remove from heat and let sit for 12-14 minutes.
Step 2: Place in ice cold water immediately. Peel and compost the shells.
Step 3: In a small bowl add oil and avocado and mix well. Add red onions, celery and parsley. 
Step 4: Sprinkle liberally turmeric, mustard powder and paprika. Taste and add according to your preference. I think I used almost a tablespoon of mustard and turmeric and 1t of paprika.
Step 5: Add sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Mix and serve over salad, with crackers or on sprouted wheat bread.

Eggs are an amazing food and healthful addition to a whole foods diet. Please do not eliminate eggs from your diet especially out of fear that they have too much cholesterol! If you buy high quality the eggs can have up to 35% less cholesterol than conventional eggs. Choose organic, pastured, free-range and cage-free to the best of your ability.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


The wonderful benefits of juicing reach far beyond what I could even tell you in a simple post. So I will do my best to keep this precise yet convince you that juicing is a must.

All disease occurs at the cellular level in our bodies. It is a must to get nutrients into the cells to keep cellular function occurring optimally and to heal the body from disease. Juicing is so powerful because the separation from solids and liquids has already taken place and the nutrients from the liquid go directly to the cell. The solid, which is the pulp from your juice contains the fiber which contains little to no nutrients. Raw, freshly pressed juices contain HUGE amounts of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. About a pound of vegetables will make 8oz of juice. Most of us could not imagine eating a pound of raw carrots! Your body would also have to expel a lot of digestive energy in the process of breaking down the foods. A small glass of refreshing juice on the other hand? Very doable and quite enjoyable.

In raw, freshly pressed juices all of the enzymes are intact and living providing your body with the powerhouse it needs to digest easily and quickly. Enzymes give you greater energy and health in the long run and are only active in raw foods because they are easily destroyed by heat. The easily assimilated nutrients in fresh juice quench the free radicals we encounter everyday from polluted air, second hand smoke, ultraviolet light, medications, microwaves, our water, the list goes on and on! For centuries juices have been used therapeutically in healing and preventing disease. My mom and I experienced this ourselves, you can read more in My Story.
Juicing is an extraordinary way to a large amount of nutrients in a such a small quantity of food to consume. There's really nothing like it. You can boost your immune system, decrease inflammation, cleanse your liver and increase digestion all in one glass of fresh vegetable juice! Make your next investment a juicer and you won't be sorry.

Juicing Tips:
-Always buy organic vegetables! You don't want to be drinking toxic chemicals in your juice.
-Use carrots, celery or cucumbers as your base adding in beets, romaine lettuce, kale, parsley, cilantro, ginger or garlic. You can get very creative and experiment as your taste buds grow to love vegetable juice.
-Rinse your vegetables thoroughly before juicing.
-Use a masticating juicer like the Champion, Green Star or Omega Juicers. Do not use a centrifugal juicer like the Jack Lalanne Juicer. Masticating juicers are more efficient and retain more of the nutrients and enzymes.
-Drink 6-8oz at one time. Best 1/2 hour before a meal or 1-2 hours after a meal. Up to 8 glasses day can be consumed if healing from disease.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Lentil Soup with Chard and Cumin

Lentils make the wonderful soup and are quite possibly my favorite legume. Green lentils, beluga lentils, red lentils, you name it I love them all. Each pairing better with certain dishes and flavors. This spring soup uses French green lentils, soaked and sprouted if you can manage. Soaking and sprouting enhances nutrition and begins the breakdown of anti-nutrients like phytic acid so that our bodies can easily absorb the minerals. Be sure to add plenty of fresh cilantro and parsley at the end which will greatly enhance the flavor and preserve the nutrients since you are not cooking them a long while.

The Recipe
serves 6-8
1 C French green lentils
1 leek, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 sweet potato, diced
1 large carrot, finely diced
1 large celery stalk, finely diced
1 bunch green chard, finely chopped
1C chopped cilantro
¼ C chopped parsley
1-2 quarts home-made bone broth
2 T cumin
1 bay leaf
Pinch of cayenne
1-2 T lemon juice
Sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

1.Soak the lentils overnight in a large bowl covered with filtered water. Drain and add to your crock pot.
2. Add leek, onion, garlic, sweet potato, carrot, celery, chard and 1 quart bone broth to the crock pot. Additional broth or water can be added as needed to cover all the vegetables.
3. Next add in the cumin, bay leaf, and pinch of cayenne. Stir well and cover. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. 
4. Before eating add the cilantro, parsley, and lemon juice. Stir in well and let sit for a few minutes to let the flavors mingle. 
5. Ladle the soup in bowls and serve with sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. 

Soup doesn't just have to be a cold nights dinner, try this light and spring flavored soup served with salad and a wedge of home-made bread for the perfect lunch!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Favorite Spring Beverage: Green Tea

There couldn't be a better way to cool down in this warm spring weather than with a glass of iced tea. And I'm not talking Arizona high-fructose sweetened iced tea. I'm talking organic harvested, anti-oxidant rich green tea, freshly steeped and poured over plenty of ice. Tea is one of the most calming beverages in the world and with all the stress we encounter in our everyday lives I think most of could use a lot more calm here and there.

Green tea is full of polyphenols the most abundant anti-oxidants in the diet. Especially important is epigallocatechin gallate, also known as EGCG. This potent anti-oxidant has been used therapeutically in of many disease from chronic fatigue syndrome to cancer. Particularly in the prevention of breast cancer and prostate cancer. Green tea also has been shown to protect the heart and vascular system by lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, stroke risk and inflammation. The thermogenic properties of green tea increase fat burning in the body and help promote weight loss. Thirsty anyone?

There are many varieties of green tea available to suit your taste buds and now you can find all different flavors from mint to pomegranate. Think you don't like tea? Keep trying because this amazing beverage is sure to increase vitality and healthful aging for everyone.

Brewing your perfect cup of tea is quite easy. Simply pour boiling water over tea bags or loose leaf tea. If using loose leaf tea you will need paper filters or teaware with an infuser; 1-2t to 8oz water. Steep, preferably covered, for 3-5 minutes, any longer and the tea will become bitter. Add honey, lemon or stevia as desired. Pour over a glass full of ice and enjoy the spring sun as the calm sets in.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Hummus: Spinach and White Bean

This traditional Middle Eastern dish has made quite an impact on American cuisine and is now a popular food item in grocery stores and restaurants today. There are plenty of different flavors to suit your palate and hundreds of different brands on the market. But beware even this healthy food can be made into an unhealthy, heat-damaging food if the wrong ingredients are used. So what makes up the traditional hummus that is both delicious and healthy?

The traditional hummus was always made with these main staples; chickpeas, extra virgin olive oil, tahini, lemon and garlic. Tahini is a paste made out of hulled sesame seeds containing plentiful amino acids, vitamins and minerals. The combination of legumes, seeds, heart-healthy fresh pressed oil and spices makes up the most creamy, satisfying and nutrient dense food. This perfect blend of whole foods is wonderful used as a dip, spread, or paste. Use in place of mayo on sandwiches or serve as an appetizer with vegetables and whole grain crackers.

The once healthy dip has of course been tainted by the American food system. Extra virgin olive oil has been replaced with canola, soybean or other highly processed and inflammatory oils. Refined salt takes the place of mineral rich sea salt and often refined sugars are added. Some hummus brands boast about being 'low fat'. One of the reasons hummus is so healthy in the first place is because of the heart-healthy fats from extra virgin olive oil! Don't be deceived by the very label 'Hummus' slabbed on every 8oz tub in the grocery store. Read the ingredients and buy an honest product that is made with high quality foods. Better yet, try this recipe and make your own! Get creative like this one and try different beans or flavor with vegetables and spics. Perfect for kids because you can sneak in extra vegetables like dark leafy greens!

 The Recipe
2C white cannellini beans, soaked, drained, cooked and rinsed
3 cloves garlic
1 small onion
1/2t cumin
1/8t chili flakes
1 1/2 C spinach
1C beet greens
1/3C roasted tahini
1/2C extra virgin olive oil
1/4C lemon juice
2T lime juice
sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper

1. Soak white beans covered in filtered water overnight. Drain and cook in fresh water until soft. Remove from heat, strain the beans and set aside.
2. Dice onion and heat in 1-2T olive oil on LOW heat. Saute until soft and translucent. Add garlic, cumin and chili flakes.
3. After another minute of cooking add spinach and chopped beet greens. Gently fold with the onions until lightly wilted.
4. In a food processor blend beans, olive oil and tahini.
5. Slowly add in the onions and greens, continue blending until smooth. Adding lemon and lime, salt and pepper gradually until it reaches your desired taste.

Enjoy with veggie sticks like carrots, celery, cucumbers or bell peppers. And of course everyone loves a delicious cracker. My favorite crackers are Mary's Gone Crackers that come in Original, Caraway, Onion, Herb and Black Pepper. Made with organic whole grains, flax and sesame seeds, sea salt and added spices for flavoring. Completely guilt free and deliciously crunchy! Find them at your local health foods store, Whole Foods and even some Costco's.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


What an introduction! Now let me give you the slow version of GMO's.

Genetically modified organisms means that the genes of these organisms have been altered in a laboratory. Oftentimes the seeds of plants are implanted with a gene to resist pesticides or bugs which allows for mass aerial spraying of pesticides that will kill everything else besides the growing crop. There are even genetic modifications going on with animals like fish. Our animal livestock are being fed GMO foods and the effects are trickling down into the meat and dairy we consume everyday. GMO's are not only completely unnatural but shown to have negative effects on the environment and our health.

They can trigger an immune response in humans which leads to inflammation and allergies. In one situation where soy beans were genetically modified with a gene from Brazil nuts people consuming the soy beans with nut allergic had serious allergic reactions. Children are particularly vulnerable as they are three to four times more prone to developing allergies anyways.

Currently, your best bet for avoiding GMO's is buying organic but the regulations for labeling are poor and there is a push for GMO's to be allowed 'certified organic'. It is imperative that we as a society know which foods are genetically modified and which are not. The Right-to-Know campaign has been collecting signatures that would place an initiative to label genetically modified foods on the 2012 ballot for California.
I'm sure by now you've been asked to sign the petition to label genetically modified foods. They collected almost 1 million signatures which puts the chances of the initiative in high standing since only half a million are required. The requirements can get tricky so keep your fingers crossed for now.

How else can you help? 

Get educated on GMO's and help spread the world others! Visit this site for more information.

Sign the petition here.

Watch this video by Dr. Mercola to understand how this effects not just California but the whole country.

Donate to the Money Bomb, an initiative to raise $1 million in order to fight against the million dollar food corporation Monsanto that has been the headway for GMO's. If $1 million is raised by May 26th a group of benefactors will match this goal totaling $2 million!

There are 40 other countries in the world, from Europe to China that have laws set up requiring the labeling of GMO's. We have a right to know, help join the fight for this right!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Cultured Vegetables

Cultured foods are one of the most beneficial foods for the human body. They contain plentiful amounts of naturally occurring probiotics that populate our guts and contribute to GI health and immune function. The immune system is one of the most important systems, as it is our bodies main defense mechanism against pathogens, bacteria and any other foreign substances. What might be surprising is that almost 80% of our immune system resides in our guts and is largely based upon the amounts of healthy bacteria, aka probiotics that live there. 

Probiotics have become quite the new 'trend' in supplemental nutrition but probiotic foods have been consumed by traditional cultures for centuries. It seems that every culture had its cultured food (pun intended) that was consumed regularly. Germans ate sauerkraut, Japanese miso, Koreans kimchi, Greeks and Turks yogurt, Russians kefir, the list goes on and on. Unfortunately, today's modern diet contains no traditional, truly cultured foods. Some people may have never actually had a truly cultured food in their lives. Today's commercially made products are not the same. They are not fermented with the same traditional care and attention as they once were.
There are a lot of probiotic supplements on the market but my recommendation is always the most traditional way. Cultured vegetables are a great way to get a good supply of naturally occurring probiotics into your body. You can choose to make cultured vegetables with just high quality sea salt or with a purchased vegetable culture. I use the Body Ecology's Veggie Culture Starter to ensure that there is a good supply of probiotics in every batch.

The Recipes
All the vegetables should be organic and fresh or the ferment won't occur as evenly and properly. This recipe is not exact, simply gather all your vegetables, make a brine, slice your veggies very thinly, mix together thoroughly, pack tightly in glass jars, seal, leave in a warm place, undisturbed for 2-3 weeks. More detailed instructions are found below.

Carrot Dill 
1-2 heads green cabbage
2 bunches carrots
1 bunch dill
1 stalk celery

Beet, Dandelion and Cilantro
1 large green cabbage
5-6 beets, peeled
1 small fennel
1 bunch dandelion greens
1 bunch cilantro

1. Wash all vegetables thoroughly. Peel beets, remove celery tops and the outer leaves of your cabbage.
2. Using a Cuisinart food processor or a Vitamix, blend the celery with a bit of water (start with a half a cup) until you get a watery blended mixture. This is your brine. Add one of the packages of your veggie culture starter. If not using, you can add 1 T of sea salt or 1/2C whey to the brine. Let sit while your dice your veggies.
3. Shred your vegetables using a food processor, add the grate blade and shred the vegetables. Remove the stems on greens or herbs and dice finely using a sharp knife.
4. In a large bowl mix together your veggie combinations. For this recipe I had one for the carrot dill and one for the beet, dandelion, cilantro.
5. Pour the brine onto your vegetables. Mix thoroughly using a wooden spoon or your hands (after thorough washing). 
6. Pack tightly into glass mason jars. Leave a few inches at the top because they do expand.
7. Leave in warm place, depending on the weather you may want to wrap them in a towel. The time length depends on the weather as well. When you notice the little bubbles coming up from the bottom of the jar have stopped this is a sign your veggies are thoroughly fermented. You can also taste them and if you taste that 'zingy' taste you're good to go!

Consume a small amount of the veggies each day with a meal, only a tablespoon or so is needed to inoculate our gut with a healthy source of probiotics.You may notice adverse affects at first as most of our bodies are not attuned to fermented foods, if so start with a smaller amount, a teaspoon maybe or even a teaspoon of just the juice. Slowly, very slowly increase the amount. Eventually you will work up to 1/2C or so if you like! They are an acquired taste but you will likely find a combo you enjoy! Don't give up, there are so many herbs and different veggies you could try, for the benefits of probiotics, it is worth the effort!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Beef and Black Bean Chili

Chili is one of those easy, hearty, delicious dinners that when it's done right can be extremely nutritious. Grass-fed beef, beans from scratch, farmer's market veggies, organic crushed tomatoes and aromatic spices all come together in this traditional Spanish meal.

The Recipe

Serves 6-8
1 lb grass-fed, ground beef
2 C black beans
1 large onion
4-5 cloves garlic
1 green bell pepper
4 cans crushed tomatoes
3 T chili powder
1 T cumin
1 T oregano
2 t paprika
1 t sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper
(scallions, red onions, or cilantro for garnish)
1. Chop onions, garlic, and bell pepper.  Combine in a large pot with tomatoes and all the spices. Mix together and heat on low.

2. Add black beans. Preferably home cooked which is so simple. Soak the beans covered in water overnight or for at least 8 hours. Drain out the soaking water. Cook on high in fresh water until boiling. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes or until beans are tender.

3. In a skillet brown the ground beef. Add to your pot of beans and veggies.

4. Stir everything together well, mixing all the flavors throughout the pot. Heat on low for a 2-3 hours, 1 hour minimum. The longer it cooks the more flavorful it will be.
Once your ready to eat ladle the chili into bowls and garnish with chopped scallions, red onions, or even cilantro. Serve with whole grain corn bread, organic corn tortillas or brown rice and always with a crisp garden salad. You've got yourself a bowl of heart healthy fats, essential amino acid proteins, anti-cancerous veggies, immune boosting alliums and anti-oxidant rich spices. What's not to love about that?!