Food Fact #1

"Food Fact: Asparagus is high in glutathione, an important anticarcinogen and is good source of vitamins A, C and E, B-complex vitamins, potassium and zinc. It also contains rutin, which protects small blood vessels from rupturing and may protect against radiation."

(Dr. Mercola)

Paleo Granola

  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil 
  • 1/4 cup RAW honey (regular honey has no benefits whatsoever).
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup dried cranberries or blueberries or whatever you prefer
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon (or more if you're like me)
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (optional.  And by the way, SALT IS NOT BAD FOR YOU!)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Add all ingredients in a large bowl and MIX (you will want to heat up the coconut oil and raw honey to melt it down and pour over your goods)
  3. Place on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally to help it not burn.  (The longer it cooks, the crunchier it will get).
  5. When you pull it out of the oven, mix in dried fruit. Let cool.
  6. EAT! And store in a tight lid glass jar and keep it in your pantry for a weeks worth of breakfast YUM.  Have with almond milk or coconut milk (optional).

Fruit and Vegetable Pesticide Loads

Are All Vegetables the Same?

Conventionally farmed vegetables are not your best choice. Organic vegetables are a much better option.   Why?  USDA Organic farmers must use different standards when growing vegetables. These standards include never using:

  • Synthetic Fertilizers
  • Ionizing radiation
 The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers 60 percent of herbicides, 90 percent of fungicides, and 30 percent of insecticides to be carcinogenic, and most are damaging to your nervous system as well. In fact, these powerful and dangerous chemicals have been linked to numerous health problems such as:
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Disruption of your endocrine system
  • Carcinogenicity
  • Immune system suppression
  • Male infertility and reduced reproductive function
  • Parkinson's Disease

The following fruits and vegetables have the highest pesticide load, making them the most important to buy organic:
  • -  Peaches
  • -  Apples
  • -  Sweet bell peppers
  • -  Celery
  • -  Nectarines
  • -  Strawberries
  • -  Cherries
  • -  Lettuce
  • -  Grapes (imported)
  • -  Pears
  • -  Spinach
  • -  Potatoes

The following fruits and vegetables have the lowest pesticide load, making them the safest bet among conventionally grown foods:
  • -  Broccoli
  • -  Cabbage
  • -  Eggplant
  • -  Banana
  • -  Kiwi
  • -  Asparagus
  • -  Sweet peas (frozen)
  • -  Mango
  • -  Pineapple
  • -  Sweet corn (frozen)
  • -  Avocado
  • -  Onion

Why Eat Healthy?

1.  You will feel better, lighter, and more energized.  No more wanting to nap after every meal or that desperate reach for coffee at 3pm.  When you eat optimally, your body performs in response to it.

2.  You will think clearer.  No more of that toxic garbage living inside you.  No more sugar highs and then lows, carb cravings and crashes, affecting your gastrointestinal tract, which affects your hormones, moods, state of being, etc.

3.  You will look better. This is an obvious one and ought not to be your sole motivation, but let's face it, looking healthy is a huge plus.  Clothes will fit better, sizes will go down, and confidence will go up.  When you are beginning an exercise regimen, 70% is nutrition.  You can workout all you want, get faster and stronger, and hardly make a difference in your weight if you don't alter your diet accordingly.

Things to Remember!

1.  Enjoy eating.  So often we are rushing through our meals, eating while driving, walking, sitting at our desk.  Take your food ELSEWHERE, sit down, relax, breathe, chew and enjoy yourself.  Not only is the rest and slowing down good for you, it's good for your digestion.  This will take some discipline at first.  But reassure yourself that taking some time out of your day to rest and enjoy your meal is a PRODUCTIVE thing to do.

2.  Pre-cook your food.  Spend a few hours at the beginning of the week (or on a Sunday) and pre-cook some meals.  Stews, soups, chicken, cut up some fresh veggies, egg muffins, etc. This will free you up during the week and also keep you from rushing about, skipping meals, eating out, and reaching for that carb-loaded muffin in your office break room or the local coffee shop.

3.  Cook bigger batches.  When cooking my dinners, I often cook more than I'll need and I'll eat it for lunch the next day.  Or I'll make a big egg scramble on a Sunday morning and savor the rest on Monday and Tuesday mornings. Preparation is key.  This will also take some discipline at first.

4.  It's about PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION.  So instead of going cold-turkey and simply cutting yourself off from all those non-healthy foods you are currently in love with, simply eat smaller amounts of them on those rare occasions.  For some, going cold-turkey is the only way, but don't beat yourself up if you slip.  You will find that in time the cleaner you eat, the less you will begin to crave those "junk" foods.  You're re-training your mind and body and this takes time.  Also, when you're eating clean and you do slip and eat "junk" (ie: sugar or carbs), you won't feel so great afterward! That is your body reacting to the food that isn't nutrient rich and doesn't quite know what to do with it.  LISTEN TO IT!

5. Don't buy junk food.  Easier said than done.  But if it's not in your house, you won't be tempted to eat it. So don't buy it. Shop at the perimeter of the grocery store and stay away from the refined and processed foods.

6. Do NOT run out of food.  This is no fun.  When you run out of food, you get lazy - you'll order out and eat junk. Grocery shop frequently (or what works for you if you buy in bulk at the beginning of each week).  This is part of the "preparation is key" and running out of food is not a good idea!

7.  Learn to use spices.  Learn to enjoy color.  One thing that eating healthy will do is push your comfort zone and press you to seek out new variety of foods.  This is supposed to be FUN.  There is so much good food out there, but we get so stuck in our habits and routines we truly miss out!

8. Carry a snack with you.  Whether it be an apple and some almond butter or some bell pepper sticks or a handful of almonds.  If you're on the go (and let's face it, most of us are) have food with you just in case something comes up. If you're working out and eating clean, your body will burn clean (think of it as an engine running on clean fuel and oil).  You won't be exerting all that "exhaust" so to speak.  You don't need to eat every  hour so listen to your body (this is important).  Since you're running on clean foods your body will begin to perform at a more optimum level; in light of this the last thing you want to do is go into starvation mode or mess with your "engine" and eat something unhealthy mid-day...your body will NOT be thanking you for that!

9.  Eat to live.  In our culture, we live to eat. Now, this may sound contrary to my #1 and that is to "Enjoy eating," but it is not.  I want you to enjoy what you eat and savor it.  But since changing your diet is a lifestyle change, you need to alter the way you behave toward it. It can and is a pleasurable thing to eat good foods - but it's main goal is to give you nutrients, to keep you healthy and alive.  When you want your car to run well and last long, you take care of it right?  You fill it up with the gas it needs, you get oil changes, new tires, you take it in for check-ups, you wash it - you do all you can to protect your investment in it so it lasts long and stays healthy.  Sure, you may add some "extra pleasure things" to it to make it look nice and for fun, but all in all, you want it to run and run well.  Is your body not more valuable than a car?

10.  Listen to your body.  I have said this more than once here already.  This is a trick you will need to learn.  As you begin to change your eating habits, be in tune with how your body responds to what you eat.  At first, you will experience fatigue and hunger. This is normal.  As your body detoxes and your stomach shrinks (as it should) the first few weeks can be the hardest.  But it does get better.  Soon your body will want different foods - healthier foods - and you will listen to it!

11. Don't beat yourself up.  Whether you have embarked on a new lifestyle of eating to lose weight, or for body maintenance and overall wellness, do me a favor, don't be so hard on yourself if you slip.  Be well aware that this is very difficult at first - especially if you are doing a complete overhaul.  Your body is going to go through a detoxificaiton and a withdrawl stage from the foods you ate daily that you are eating no longer. You are going to crave things and sometimes want to give up.  DON'T.  You are not only retraining your body, but your MIND.  Your body lives in response to your mind - you tell it what to do, what to eat, and when.  This change is going to affect you emotionally and hormonally (come on now, you knew all these were related, didn't you?)  So go into this knowing this is not just a "physical thing" - you are going to feel it's effects in your entire being.  You have a relationship to food right now and we are in an effort to fundamentally TRANSFORM IT.  We are transforming your behaviors, habits, and thought-processes that will, as a consequence, change your diet and move you into a healthier, more whole lifestyle based on good, clean foods. 

Have FUN with this.  After all, you are on your way to a new, clean, and healthier lifestyle!

Coconut Cosmetics

I love coconut.  Truly, I cannot get enough of it. Coconut oil, unsweetened coconut flakes mixed in with homemade coconut pudding (recipe to follow), and organic coconut milk (used in the French press coffee as the best creamer you’ve ever had- none of that “Coffee Mate” crap!)
Not only do I like ingesting it for its incredible benefits, but putting it on the skin proves to be just as beneficial.
Here’s a coconut oil trick, hint, and under-rated tip that is a VERY inexpensive cosmetic secret:
Use coconut oil around your eyes each night (Ladies, just like you would use under eye moisturizer or that wrinkle cream you spend an arm and a leg on).  No need to slather as a little goes a long way.  Dab it around your eyes just as you would any other eye cream.   
TIP: I keep a tiny bit of coconut oil in the medicine cabinet in my bathroom.  I scoop some into a small dish and leave it there.  If it's cold out it will harden, but the minute you put some in your hand it will melt with your body heat.

Coconut oil helps protect your skin from the aging effects of free radicals and can help improve the appearance of skin with its anti-aging benefits.  Many experts believe coconut oil may help restore more-youthful looking skin.  When it's absorbed into your skin and connective tissues, it helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by helping to keep your connective tissues strong and supple, and aids in exfoliating the outer layer of dead skin cells, making your skin smoother. 

(While you're at it, why not take some into the shower and lather up, shave with it, and use it to get the eye makeup off).

I have a few close girlfrieds who use this little coconut oil trick of the trade.  But don't just take our word for it, try it out yoursef!  You may never need to buy those expensive under-eye, anti-aging, antioxidant creams ever again!

(PLEASE REMEMBER!  You ONLY want to use Pure Virgin Coconut Oil when cooking and using it on your skin as the other stuff contains additives and goes through chemical processes that ruin the integrity of the oil.  It must not be heat-processed, refined, bleached or deoderized.  The reasoning for that is pretty self-explanatory.  My favorite bran is Nutiva.  I order this by the huge jug (54 oz) from the wonderful Vitacost as it is one of the greatest deals out there for this quality and size)