Monday, December 28, 2009

Yerba Mate

Yerba Mate is a favored drink of many health conscious people.
It is a tropical plant whose leaves and twigs are dried and then made into tea, know as Mate. The common misconception is that Yerba Mate does not contain caffeine when if fact it does. Many people believe that it is caffeine free and only boosts your energy naturally.
I tried it with that misconception in mind.
Well, I got the boost and wow, was it a boost.
Maybe I have been off of caffeine for too long and my body was simply jolted, but I can honestly say it works. So well in fact that after a week of drinking it every morning I found that I was a bit irritable and anxious. After stopping the Mate, those symptoms subsided.

I recently came across a brief note on the Mayo Clinic's website with their input on Yerba Mate.
If you are a Yerba Mate drinker...It is worth reading.


If you have not tried this grain, it is a "must" to add to your list of food to try!
Quinoa is a grain that is loaded with nutrients.
It contains protein that is complete, which means it has all 9 essential amino acids. Amazing! It is a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and swiss chard.
It is a great source of manganese and also fits the bill as being a Whole Grain food... which makes it especially valuable in regulating blood sugar.

Now, the flavor of Quinoa....
It has a nutty flavor that is delicious on it's own and excellent paired with mild seasoning. You can use it in place of any dish that calls for rice or couscous.
Imagine...adding a nutrient dense food to your cooking that actually taste great!
One key tip to making your quinoa...
Be sure to rinse the quinoa thoroughly before cooking. It has a natural saponin coating which makes it bitter if not rinsed. This is one of the culprits for turning people off to the flavor of Quinoa. Without that bitter coating it is wonderful.

  • Try a Moroccan dish and use Quinoa instead of couscous as your side dish. Add some slivered almonds and currants. It will delight your taste buds.
  • Cook up a batch of quinoa on Sunday and keep it in the refrigerator for quick and easy weekday meals.
  • Serve it up for breakfast warm with a bit of milk/soy milk, Cinnamon, and agave... YUM.

A New year is around the corner...
Gear yourself up to try some New healthy food options that will fuel your body
and by the way....taste great!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Soy Whipped Cream

I have a NEW find!...

A soymilk based whipped cream. It is amazingly tasty!
I usually prefer fresh whipped organic cream, however, my desire to slow down my dairy intake has put a damper on that craving. I still have that from time to time but, most often I enjoy Soyatoo. You will be amazed at how great this tastes.

Whip up some hot chocolate or your favorite coffee drink then top it with this creamy soy based whip cream. You won't be disappointed... plus, all of you lactose intolerant people will feel blessed that you can enjoy whipped cream without the discomfort of dairy.

I found Soyatoo at Whole Foods Market. Check it out..and be sure
to follow the directions!
I have lost too many cans of this stuff by thinking
I could ignore the directions.
You would think it should be simple to spray a can of whipped cream, right?
Seems odd, but You'll see.

Happy Dairy Free Holidays!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Food - Mood Connection

The holidays can be a time of immense joy,
yet it also adds additional stress to our already hectic lives .
Our schedules will be bombarded with additional responsibilities.
This added stress can push the limit on our bodies thus affecting our mood.

During this season our body could use some additional help to counter balance the excess load.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Keep blood sugar in check

Many people have some form of blood sugar mood swings. You don't have to consume excess sugar to have a problem. Often it stems from yes, our food choices, but also by not eating regularly. Take the time to eat at least 3 times a day with small snacks.
A handful of nuts or a cup of yogurt is perfect.
Just be sure each meal and snack contain protein.
Protein is the KEY component in regulating blood sugar.
Try to always consume sufficient protein, fiber from whole grains, and healthy fats.
This combo will keep that blood sugar in check which by the way helps your MOOD!
How many of us walk around grouchy when all we needed was a bit of food.

Let's eat regularly and loose the grouch for the Holidays!

Support your Adrenals

Our adrenals are the manufacturers and the gatekeepers of stress hormones. Chronic Stress overworks them. Be sure to get your 8 hours sleep. Preferably starting at 10:00 pm. This is the best reset time for your adrenals. Try this! You will notice the difference in the way you feel at 6-7 am after you have fallen asleep at 10pm as opposed to any time later. This may not always be possible, but take those moments when you can. Your body will be grateful for the benefits from recharging your adrenals. Trust works wonders!
Eating regularly, cutting out or limiting caffeine,
and cutting down on sugar also supports your adrenals.
Never underestimate the power of your Adrenals to either keep you steady or bring you down.
Compromised Adrenals tend to not only bring down your energy...
they bring down your mood or fill you with excess anxiety.
Let's keep those Adrenals happy.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, November 13, 2009

PUMPKIN PIE... with a healthy twist!

Thanksgiving is coming and I have been searching out recipes and ideas that will allow me to make an amazing meal that has some healthy elements. I just came across this Tofu Pumpkin Pie recipe on The site includes a lot of information on macrobiotic eating. Incorporating macrobiotic eating concepts into your already balanced and healthy diet routine can help you add additional veggies into your repertoire. I am exploring the macrobiotic philosophies intently and will update my blog with anything that is worth sharing....

This recipe looks like it will be delicious. I have not tried it yet. I plan on giving it a test run before Thanksgiving. It has to taste amazing in order for my brother and Nephew to be tricked into eating it....

Give it a go and post your findings!

Tofu Pumpkin Pie


1 can (16 ounces) pureed pumpkin
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground allspice, optional
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, optional
2-3 tablespoons cornstarch to firm up the pie filling
1 package (10-12 ounces) silken/soft tofu
1 9-in unbaked vegan pie shell

Preheat oven to 425 F.
Blend the pumpkin and sugar.
Add salt, spices, cornstarch and tofu, mix thoroughly.
Pour mixture into pie shell and bake for 15 minutes. Lower heat to 350 F and bake for another 60 minutes.
Chill and serve.
NOTE: Don't use the low fat tofu, then the pie tastes like it was made with tofu.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Flu Prevention

Flu season has arrived.
H1n1 plus the normal flu has become a concern for most of us. Our best prevention is to boost our bodies natural immunity.

Some people may take the flu shot.
Whether you do or don't, it is important to boost your
bodies natural defense system during this season.

Here are a few tips for keeping your bodies natural defenses up.

1. Take N-acetylcysteine This is a natural substance found in our bodies. It helps our encourage our body to produce glutathione. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that detoxifies the liver. It is well known an immune booster. The best way to get additional glutathione is to increase the N-acetycysteine in our body since the body assimilates N-acetylcysteine more efficiently than synthetic forms of glutathione. Take 600 mg. twice a day. For children 150 mg twice a day. **N-acetylcysteine is also fantastic for asthma symptoms. It bring down the mucus in the lungs. I have tried it. It works!

2. Use natural hand sanitizer Ok, this should be a no brainer. If you aren't near a sink to wash your hands, keep some sanitizer handy.

Boost immunity with vitamin C We should all be taking at least 1,000 mg of C daily for general well being and immunity. During flu season or if you are stressed, traveling, or sick, take 1,500 - 2,500 depending on your tolerance. Take 500mg doses every 3 hours.

Teach kids not to rub their eyes, put fingers in their nose, and to keep their hands away from their face....great advice for adults as well...don't touch your face.

Eat 5 servings of fresh veggies and fruit, good proteins, other vegetables, and a real meal 3 times a day Let's do this anyway people! Your body will be oh so pleased.

Take Chinese herbs like Zhong Gan Ling and Yin Chiao or try the homeopathic remedy, Oscillococcinum. Flu viruses have difficulty growing in the presence of these herbs. If you think you have been exposed or are exceptionally vulnerable try these herbs. Follow the directions on the package and take them for about 10 days. Be certain that you are buying herbs produced in the U.S., not in china. The herbs coming from china are loaded with contaminants. Read the labels.

7. Vitamin D Vitamin D is extremely important for the strength of our immunity. Vitamin D is not found naturally in food. We get it from sunlight. Problem is most of us do not spend enough time in the sun, especially sans sunscreen, to get enough D. Our body produces vitamin D in reaction to the sun. Fascinating! Pick up a vitamin D supplement. I take 1,000 mg a day. Check with your doctor to determine your individual dosage.

This is how Vitamin D works:

The body's immune system naturally produces antimicrobial, (destroying or inhibiting the growth of microorganisms), peptides or (AMPs). These AMPs won't work with every virus it comes in contact with, but for the ones they do, the body's immune system automatically springs into action.

When microbes like the influenza virus reach upper respiratory airways, they stimulate the production of an enzyme that converts 25(OH)D, the circulating inactive form of vitamin D, into the hormonally active 1,25(OH)2D (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D). 1,25(OH)2D is needed to activate the genes that produce antimicrobial peptides.

Bottom line, without vitamin D there is no innate immunity in the body.

All of these immune boosters are important to know with our without the threat of the flu.
Why not give your body a boost?

We expect a lot from our bodies and often give it little help in return. Think about all of the stress and bad food we often expose our body to...and then expect it to run at %100.
Try tuning in to your body and it's needs.
If you are hungry...EAT! If you are tired...SLEEP!

You will reap huge rewards by simply paying attention to your bodies basic needs.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Another Reason to LOVE Green TEA!


Green Tea has been proven to prevent breast cancer
by 50%! WOW!

We need to drink 3 cups a day to achieve this benefit!

I need to thank my body for giving me a coffee allergy thus promoting
my massive consumption of Green Tea over the years.

Start Brewing Ladies!

....and Gents too!

Green Tea is on the list for cancer prevention.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cinnamon....A special flavor with powerful benefits.

This time of year provokes my senses and my taste buds to
search out culinary delights that contain cinnamon.
I love it!
I love the way it smells and the way it tastes.

It is a classic that always evokes a sense of home or nurturing,
not to mention a luxurious almost exotic flavor.

What you may not know is that cinnamon has been proven in recent studies to promote health.

Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine have always touted cinnamon for it's ability to warm the body and stimulate the appetite.

Recent studies have shown that cinnamon works as a potent antioxidant. Yay! We could always use more antioxidants. In fact, out of 300 foods tested, Ceylon cinnamon ranked 3rd for it's antioxidant capacity! ....
Cassia cinnamon was found to have a powerful effect on blood sugar levels. It lowers the blood sugar of type 2 diabetics by a whopping 29%. Cassia cinnamon was also found to reduce the LDL and total cholesterol levels. A huge benefit for diabetics since they also suffer from an increased risk of heart disease.

Although the benefits are powerful be careful not to overdose on cinnamon
as a means to achieve health benefits. Cassia cinnamon contains 5% coumarin
which can cause liver irritation in some people. We shouldn't eat more than
1/3 teaspoon a day of Cassia cinnamon for every 100 lbs of body weight.
However Ceylon cinnamon contains much lower levels of coumarin.
In any event, don't ingest it as medicine.

Simply use it to flavor food and you are set!

Find ways to incorporate cinnamon into your diet.
Here are a few ideas:

My personal FAV... Cinnamon toast with your morning tea/coffee.

Search out some wonderful Moroccan Food dishes as they often contain cinnamon and taste amazing!

Toss cinnamon sticks into stews and meat dishes. They will add an exotic flare to your dish!

Another FAV... use cinnamon sticks as stirring sticks for mugs of hot cocoa or mulled cider. Perfect time of year for sipping hot drinks.

Add ground cinnamon to your coffee grinds before you brew the pot.... this one is simply fantastic! You must try this to understand.

Search out a delicious cinnamon ice cream, or make your own. YUM!

Use a grater to grate fresh cinnamon sticks. Grate the cinnamon on top of top vanilla ice cream, or soy ice cream...add some chocolate shavings for an additional kick.

Make some homemade banana sure to add cinnamon. I even add a bit of cinnamon
to my chocolate chip cookie recipe. Sounds odd but tastes amazing!

Take time to read the label on your jar of cinnamon, or go to the market to by a fresh jar.
It might be interesting to know whether you are eating Ceylon or Cassia cinnamon.
This way you will more clearly understand how the Cinnamon is effecting your body.

Happy Cinnamon shopping!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Homemade Nut Milk

I discovered the benefit of fresh homemade Nut milk a few years ago while I was exploring the Raw food world. I found that an entirely Raw food diet was not for me yet, some of the recipes have stuck with me. Our bodies are most happy when we feed it an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, and seeds. Drinking homemade nut milk allows you to add yet another fresh enzyme packed element to your diet. It is easy and oh so good!

I like to add Almond or Hazelnut milk to my morning Green Tea and to my morning smoothie. You can make a nut milk with Walnuts, Almonds, Hemp Seeds, Hazelnuts (fantastic!), or pumpkin seeds.

It is simple.

Add about a 1/4 cup of nuts and 2 cups of water to a high speed blender.

*Add a 1/2 tsp of vanilla (alcohol free) or even better... toss in some vanilla beans from the inside of a vanilla pod.

Blend in a High speed blender until it becomes liquid.

Strain with a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth.

Your Milk will last about 3 days in the refrigerator.

* A quick alternative is to mix a nut butter, like almond butter, with water. You will need about 2 tablespoons for 2 cups of water. The outcome is about the same but need to strain out the excess husks.

Post your thoughts after you try your homemade Nut Milk.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Super Foods!

There are many food choices available to us on a daily basis.
We all pretty much know what to eat if we want to stay healthy.
Some foods however offer additional and almost medicinal benefits.
I have made it my mission to find these foods
and incorporate them into my diet.

Here is a short list of Foods that I LOVE for the their nutritional value, and a few super foods that I read about from Dr. Oz There are many more but these top the list for being the foods that most people will enjoy...check it out...

  • Almonds : The BEST snack of all! These are high in fiber and protein. They will satiate you so hunger will not overtake you between meals. Pair them with a cup of plain Greek yougurt for extra protein and a dab of honey just for taste...YUM!

  • Broccoli : Broccoli acts like a medicine in our body. It helps to remove toxins from your liver like no other medicine or food available! I add huge chunks of broccoli to my daily veggie drink. If you don't have a juicer for your veggies, simply add broccoli to your daily veggie intake. Make it one of the 5 fruits and vegetables you consume daily.

  • Green Tea and Coffee : OK, here it is.... the more I read this about coffee the more I am convinced... Coffee does contain antioxidants! It's shortcoming lies in the caffeine which can overstimulate the nervous system, the adrenals (which help regulate your stress response), and your heart. If you want the punch of antioxidants without the caffeine overload, grab a cup of green tea. Even caffinated green tea has much less caffeine than coffee. Maybe have that morning cup of coffee and then switch to green tea for that late afternoon pick me up.

  • Dark Chocolate : The chocolate of choice needs to be at least 70 %. This high quality bittersweet cocoa contains flavinoids (natural antioxidants) that improve blood vessel function. Enjoy an ounce or two a day! By the way..milk chocolate does not count. It is loaded with milk fat...pass on that one.

  • Oatmeal : Steel cut oatmeal is loaded with healthy fiber which makes it an excellent choice for breakfast. Top it with fruit to beef up your fruit/veggie quota and add some nuts for extra protein and healthy fats! I like to add a bit of plain yogurt for an extra dose of protein and a healthy dose of probiotics. Buy the plain greek yogurt since it contains no added sugar. You can always add some agave or honey if you have a desperate sweet tooth that needs it's fix.
Enjoy Your Super Foods!
Your body will be pleased.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Energy Tips

I just read an article by Dr. Andrew Weil which lists a few ideas for picking up your energy.
Most of us could use an energy boost from time to time! I have been known to pop a dose of D-Ribose to boost my energy... It works wonders and tastes like sugar, yet it contains no sugar...interesting. I recently read that D-Ribose could be used as a sweetner. D-Ribose to sweeten my tea, hmm?

Dr. Weil's list contains information on D-Ribose and a few other

herbs/supplements you might try.

Here It Is:

  1. Magnesium and calcium. Oral magnesium supplementation has been shown to help reduce symptoms of fatigue, especially for those with low magnesium levels. I have tried this one and can attest to it's value. Take equal parts magnesium to calcium. Your body will thank you. It loves to have it's mineral requirements met.
  2. Coenzyme Q10. This vital nutrient is involved in cellular energy production throughout the body.
  3. Cordyceps. A traditional Chinese medicinal fungus that may help fight fatigue and boost energy levels. It is used as an energizing tonic and to help increase aerobic capacity and endurance.
  4. D-Ribose. A five-carbon sugar used in the generation of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), it helps maintain energy production in cells and can be especially beneficial for those with chronic fatigue. Love this one, great pre or post workout!..make sure to take in the AM to be sure you don't have trouble falling asleep. I buy mine from Jarrow. I find it online cheaper. Try for great prices on supplements.
  5. Ginseng (American or Asian). Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) and American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) are used for stimulant and adaptogenic (stress-protective) properties, respectively.
  6. Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus). A woody shrub from northeastern Asia with properties similar to those of ginseng, it has a long history of use to maximize athletic performance. Studies show that eleuthero can help enhance mental activity as well.
  7. Arctic root (Rhodiola rosea). An adaptogenic herb that helps prevent fatigue, stress and the damaging effects of oxygen deprivation.
  8. Vitamin B complex. B-vitamins act as cofactors in many metabolic reactions and assist in themetabolism of carbohydrates into energy. It is a good idea to take a B Complex daily regardless of your energy reserve. B Complex will help your body cope with the everyday stressors that can create energy drag. They call B vitamins the anti stress nutrient for a reason! They directly impact your nervous system. Bring on the B's!

  • photo credit: Morgan Webb

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Breakfast is one of the most important meals of our day.

Eating breakfast helps set the stage for our metabolism and our blood sugar levels for the day.
Without it, our metabolism wanes and our blood sugar levels drop, leaving us feeling far less than optimal... not to mention cranky. Some form of breakfast is better than nothing....and that morning cup of coffee only exacerbates the blood sugar roller coaster your body is on from not eating. Caffeine has a direct impact on blood sugar as it spikes insulin levels and sets your blood sugar into imbalance. Not that you have to stop drinking that delicious cup of Joe.... however, adding a bit of breakfast that includes protein will help your body take that roller coaster ride a bit more smoothly.

I found this adjustment to breakfast years ago when I discovered that I had hypoglycemia. Turns out my favorite strong Italian roast coffee and luscious sugar laden muffin or Scone were not the best options for my body...oh and pancakes?..forget it. Once I started incorporating a breakfast with some form of protein (and quite honestly fewer cups of coffee) energy levels rose dramatically and I lost my morning anxiety or irritation. Thank God for Breakfast!

Since changing my eating habits I have come up with a few simple breakfast ideas that work well when I am in a a hurry in the morning.

Try these when you are running out the door:

  • Fruit Smoothie Toss in your favorite fruit. I love to add Raspberries or Strawberries! You can easily buy frozen fruit so it is readily available for you. Add a large scoop of protein powder. Whey, Soy (non-isolated), and Hemp are great options. Look for the protein powder to contain at least 12 grams of protein and NO sugar. You may have to search but you will find a zero sugar protein powder. It is well worth it. You will already be getting enough natural sugar from the fruit. ** To add an additional kick of nutrients include: a tablespoon of ground flax seeds and a handful of RAW almonds, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds. These will incorporate a dose of healthy fats into your drink which will help you keep you full and provide your body with the benefits of those OMEGA 3's.

  • EGGS! You can hard boil a few eggs on a Sunday and they will be ready to grab on your way out the door the rest of the week. They are packed with protein!

  • Whole Grain Toast with Nut butter. Toasting a piece or two of bread is pretty quick and I gurantee that extra minute to add some nut butter will not slow you down. This option will give you a balanced option of protein to Carbs. It is not as satisfying on it's own....Combine it with a smoothie and you are set. Without the smoothie, it will keep you going until you reach for that mid-morning snack of possibly yogurt and nuts.

  • Yogurt. This is a great way to get some protein and healthy Acidophilus into your body. Be sure to pick up plain yogurt as it contains the least amount of sugar. The 0% to lowfat versions of plain greek style yogurt are amazing! You can add some fresh fruit and nuts on top to get additional antioxidants and healthy fats. If you are picking up a yogurt parfait from a cafe or coffee shop you may want to remove the granola. Most of the time the Granola is loaded with unhealthy fat and sugar. So, if you have to grab one of these pre-made parfaits in a hurry?.....simply eat around the granola.

  • JUST PLAIN Protein powder. This is something I do when I truly have zero time to stop and eat breakfast, or a snack. It is not appetizing but my body loves the effect. I just add a scoop of protein to a small glass of water and down it. This gets my blood sugar in check until I can eat a balanced snack or meal that actually tastes fantastic! It works wonders! This one is not about taste, it is about balancing my body.

Try some of these tips and come up with some of your own.
Post your ideas here!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Know Where Your Food Comes From....

I just saw a movie that has inspired me to spread the word on the necessity of understanding the evolution of our food supplies. The movie is Food Inc. It will give you a snapshot of where your food is coming from and how it is produced. Not to mention the inside scoop on how few food companies dominate the food markets.

I read a quote in Variety referencing this movie that I think personifies the film....
"Does for the supermarket what 'Jaws' did for the beach." -John Anderson

Once you see the film you will understand this quote and you will walk away with a thirst for additional
knowledge and a desire to find ways to make a difference. At the very least everyone will start reading food labels more often and continue making smarter food choices. I personally will avoid all pork products from a particular company which will remain nameless on this blog.

You can to go the to the films website to find additional information and movie locations.

I hope you get as much out of it as I did.

The Beauty of Omega 3's and Omega 6

By now we have all heard about the value of adding Omega 3's into our diet. They are power horses at bringing down inflammation in the body which, without reduction, may ultimately lead to various illnesses. They have also been found to keep your brain sharp and ease mild depression. Not to mention the added benefit of giving you glowing skin! I love that benefit!

The most common source comes from fish. A few which are loaded with Omega 3's are :

  • Salmon (my Favorite choice)
  • Black Cod
  • Sardines
  • Anchovies

You can also find them in vegetarian sources like:

  • Flax Seeds
choose whole seeds and grind one tablespoon daily in a coffee grinder. Simply add this to a cup of water or your favorite smoothie to get your daily dose.

  • Walnuts

It is important to maintain a proportion of 2 to 1 of Omega 3's to Omega 6. Unfortunately our diet contains too many forms of Omega 6 so we need to compensate by adding additional Omega 3's to maintain the balance. A disproportionate level of Omega 6 in our body causes an increase in inflammation, a decrease in insulin sensitivity, and raises the risk of heart attack. All of which we want to avoid and prevent with our diet.

Here are a few ways to maintain that perfect 2 to 1 proportion of Omega 3's and 6:

  • Replace processed vegetables oils with extra virgin olive. Just toss a green salad with a wedge of lemon/ or balsamic vinegar and olive oil! Easy and fantastic!

  • Choose Grass Fed meat over grain fed meats. Grain Fed meat is shown to have high levels of omega 6, as opposed to grass fed meat which seam to contain omega 3's

Include these Omega 3 rich foods into your diet to bring a healthy balance to your body.
You can also take a supplement of Omega 3's. I do this daily in the morning and night to be sure I am getting an adequate supply. If you pick up a supplement be sure that it is free of mercury. If the bottle does not say molecularly distilled or free from probably contains mercury. Trader Joe's cells a fantastic Omega 3 oil which has been molecularly distilled...try it!

Include these Omega 3 rich foods into your diet to bring a healthy balance to your body.

Embrace those Omega 3's!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Nut Butter

In the morning I often grab a piece of whole grain toast loaded with a nut butter to get a dose of protein and healthy fats in the morning. Raw almond butter or walnut butter are often my nut butters of choice. However, a few of my friends prefer peanut butter and I just can't convince them to try another nut butter.

So, I decided to do some research and find the most healthful peanut butter choice out there...

I found that Whole Food Market sells a private label brand called 365. You can pick up a jar of 365 brand creamy or chunky peanut butter, which contains no added sugar or salt!! Amazing!

I bought a jar for myself and am now rotating it with my almond butter. It is fantastic!

Pick up a jar today and reminisce the childhood days of PB and J's!
It will bring a smile to your soul.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Smart Snacking

Snacking is something I tend to do a lot. I am consistently teased by my friends for my bag of snacks or protein bars that I carry everywhere I go. Funny thing is...I end up sharing my snacks with everyone since they suddenly realize they are hungry when they see me eating.
Snacking can become a way of life if you have blood sugar issues like I do.

Even if you don't have blood sugar issues you can benefit from snacking as your blood sugar levels are constantly fluctuating according to what you eat... or don't eat. It also turns out that eating several small meals throughout the day is an exceptional way to maintain a healthy diet, conquer cravings, stay lean, and get all of your daily nutrient requirements.

Here is some info on snacking habits:

1. Eating three meals a day with two or three snacks in
between meals can make your
metabolism more efficient.

It's as if you are continually adding fuel to to the fire
that is your metabolism.
The idea is to never let your energy wane or go without a bite
for so
long that you get ravenous.

2. Snacking helps you eat less at mealtime!

This works especially well between the hours of 2pm and 7pm .
You can have two small
snacks during this period.
You will find you will eat less at dinner.

Choose a snack that has about 100 - 200 calories with a healthy
balance of protein,
carbohydrates, and healthy fat. This combo will balance your blood sugar which will in turn keep you satisfied. * * If your snack is high in refined carbs or sugar,
your blood sugar levels
will jump (yay!) and then crash and burn (yuck!)...
leaving you feeling tired and even more

3. Snacking helps fill your body with your daily vitamin requirements.

This is a huge advantage for most of us as it is extremely
difficult to fulfill our daily
nutrient requirements within 3 meals.
As an example, snack on low fat plain yogurt with a

handful of almonds/walnuts to add additional calcium to your diet
(the nuts add additional protein and fiber). Plus, with this snack
you are getting a perfect ratio of carb/protein/fat.
Also, try to include a fruit or vegetable in
every meal or snack.
Try dipping cucumbers or celery in hummus,
or eat an apple or celery
sticks with your favorite nut butter.
By adding veggies you will consume less calories while
additional antioxidants to your diet. Perfect Combo!

4. Snacking puts you in a good Mood!

This is important for most people. I know it is important for me!
When blood sugar starts to
wane, we can become irritable and have
trouble concentrating. Most of the time we don't
realize our blood sugar
is low, we just think the world around us is exceptionally irritating.
I am a prime example of this: I was recently deemed "snappy" by my
nephew on a morning drive in Hawaii...actually I heard a few cat hiss
sounds from mynephew and my brother as they described my behavior
to our surf instructor that morning. Not flattering, but funny! I had not eaten breakfast yet and it was 9:30 am...apparently not a good combo for me. A few bites of
food brought me back to normal. Next time
you get this feeling stop
and ask yourself when you ate last.
Try a snack that includes the
carb/fat/protein combo.
Your mood will lift and your energy will rise enabling you to tackle
your day....and the people
around you will be much happier and oh so grateful!

Here are a few snack suggestions:

3/4 cup of shelled edamame 150 calories 12 grams of protein

Protein bar choose a bar with a low sugar content and at least 6 grams of protein

Hummus and veggies

Apple with nut butter, or a handful of nuts

Low fat cheese and veggies

Whole grain waffle with nut butter.... One of my FAVS!

Hard Boiled egg

Whole grain bread or english muffin with nut butter

Cottage cheese with fruit and nuts

Start Snacking People!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Healthy Dinner in a snap!

I recently created an easy and healthy dinner for myself that has turned out to be my favorite GO-TO quick meal!

It is simple, quick, healthy, loaded with antioxidants from spinach, and oh so good!

Hope you like spinach.

Judi's Spinach Quesadilla

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach (you can also use regular spinach, just cut it up a bit) Feel free to add as much as you can fit into the tortilla! I add a different amount each time.
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic (depending on your love of garlic)
  • 1 whole grain flour tortilla (I use spelt due to a wheat allergy. You can also use brown rice tortilla's if you can't tolerate wheat or spelt)
  • crumbled Feta Cheese
  • sliced, cooked chicken breast and/or * diced Tofu (pick up a pre-cooked roasted chicken from the market. You will be able to create several meals from one chicken!)
  • Fresh Salsa
  • Light Sour Cream or * My FAV... Toffutti Sour cream

Finely chop the garlic. Saute the garlic with a tablespoon of Olive Oil. Add the spinach to the pan and saute until it starts to soften. (If you are adding diced Tofu...add it with the spinach). Once the spinach looks wilted it is ready!
*You can always add additional veggies. Think about some of your favorites and decide if they might taste good with this combo. I could imagine adding: red peppers, sliced onions, or maybe thin sliced kale.

Spread the spinach mixture on half of the tortilla. Top with the sliced chicken and a small amount of feta cheese. (If you are allergic to dairy, try a tasty soy or almond cheese!)

Fold the tortilla in half over the spinach/chicken/cheese combo. Place the tortilla in the saute pan, which should already have enough olive oil from the spinach saute to brown the quesadilla...if not, add a small amount.

Brown both sides. Cut the quesadilla in half. Top with salsa and sour cream! Yum!

Serve this with a large bowl of Salad tossed with more of your favorite vegetables. You could add
cucumbers, tomatoes, thin sliced kale, sprouts, carrots.... you get the idea! The more the better.
The best dressing is truly just a little olive oil and fresh lemon juice or balsamic vinegar. Keeps the calorie count down as long as you don't add too much oil.

You will find this to be a quick and healthy meal for yourself or as an easy dish for friends and family!

If you are serving it to a group: set out the Sour Cream, Salsa, and maybe some Cilantro into small cute serving bowls so everyone can add their own toppings...makes it more festive.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


I am a huge fan of skin lotion. All types: body lotion, face lotion, foot lotion. All of my friends tease me about this...or just give me some sort of lotion for birthday knowing I will be in Heaven! I think this started because I grew up in the High Desert of California and I tend to have dry skin. Not a good combo.

I am constantly on the hunt for "The Best" lotion Products at preferably a decent price. As I began to explore and discover the world of natural and organic food, I found myself interested in natural body products as well. I have come to realize that many body products contain chemicals that can have adverse effects on our disrupting our hormone levels! Who needs that? Our hormones fluctuate enough on their own. The idea is to nurture their balance, not present our bodies with a chemical that will interrupt their natural rhythm.

So, my NEW find:
Burt's Bees Beeswax and Banana Hand Creme. It comes in a jar. It is amazing! It is completely free from hormone disrupting or cancer promoting chemicals, smells fantastic, and has a rich creamy texture that somehow does not leave excess grease on your hands. It costs about $8 a jar, but it will last for a long time! I found mine at
CVS pharmacy!

Pick up a jar and let me know what you think.

Happy Fourth of July!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I LOVE Blueberries... I especially love the fact that they are packed with antioxidants...those compounds that protect our cells from free radical damage, thus slowing down the aging process and keeping us healthy.

Blueberries are low in calories, high in fiber, and are a low glycemic fruit which means that they won't spike your blood sugar levels! Plus, they contain 14 mg of vitamin C per 1 cup of blueberries.

I try to eat them every day. If you can't get them fresh... pick up organic frozen Blueberries from Trader Joe's. They are reasonably priced and delicious!

You can:

  • Toss them in the blender for a morning smoothie...don't forget to add protein powder to start your day with balanced blood sugar levels.

  • Add them to your morning cereal.

  • Spread almond or peanut butter on toast and top with fresh will love this one!

  • Or, toss them in your salad for an extra kick of antioxidants.

Pick up some Fresh or Frozen blueberries to amp up your antioxidant load. The best part is they taste amazing so you won't realize that your are eating something that is so good for you!

Monday, June 29, 2009


All of us need calcium at every stage of life. Children need calcium to build healthy bones and teeth. Adults need calcium to support bone density. Most people do not get an adequate supply of calcium from their diet alone. This is probably due to the fact that most people eat a diet with high levels of processed food and not enough healthy dairy products or vegetables that contain adequate levels of calcium. This is especially true for children who often maintain a diet filled with refined foods. Due to this factor it is highly important to consider supplementation in order to keep your body and your child's up to date with daily calcium requirements.

Here are the basic daily requirements (from the National Institute for Health):

6 - 10 years old 800- 1,200 mg
11 -24 years old 1,200 - 1,500 mg
WOMEN 25 - 50 years old 1,000 mg
MEN 25-60 years old 1,000 mg

The best way to fill up on your daily vitamin/mineral requirements is through your food. Think of supplements as your necessary back up plan.

Here are a list of foods that contain high levels of calcium.

  • Yogurt, plain
  • Milk, low fat or nonfat
  • Milk, whole
  • Cheese, including American, ricotta, cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese
Getting enough calcium can be a especially hard if you or your kids are allergic to milk. These nondairy foods can be good choices for people with milk allergies who need calcium:
  • Salmon
  • Tofu
  • Rhubarb
  • Sardines
  • Collard greens
  • Spinach
  • Turnip greens
  • Okra
  • White beans
  • Baked beans
  • Broccoli
  • Peas
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Bok choy
Enjoy these calcium enriched foods, your body and your bones will be pleased!
More later on the Calcium/Magnesium connection....

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Babycakes NYC

I have already raved about the cookbook for Babycakes NYC however, I just realized that you can order delivery anywhere in the United States! Yes!
So, I placed my first order dozen wheat and sugar free cupcakes for my bday! I was going to make them myself with the cookbook recipe but this is so much easier!, I don't want to make my own birthday cupcakes...this way is much more fun!
Go the their website for more info

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Walnuts....your new healthy snack!

I remember the days when all of us were cutting fat out of our diet as a way to be healthy and lose weight. Turns out we were missing the value of some quality fats that actually contribute to our health. Nuts contain these healthy fats if consumed in moderation. Some more than otheres....Walnuts are one of my favorites! Here is the lowdown on tasty walnuts:

Walnuts are...

1. Loaded with a vegetarian source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are protective fats that promote cardiovascular health, help maintain cognitive function, and tone down inflammation in the body.....I need to write an additional post on Omega 3's alone...they have numerous nutritional benefits! The more Omega 3's the better!

2. Provide heart healthy monounsaturated fats.

3. Contain ellagic acid, which is an antioxidant compound that helps support a healthy immune system.

4. Yield high levels of essential amino acid which promotes healthy blood pressure.

You can add walnuts to your morning oatmeal, toss them into a cup of yogurt, or just grab a handful of (*non-roasted) walnuts and snack away!

*roasting nuts turns the healthy fats into non-healthy fats.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


As I sit here enjoying morning cup of Green Tea I am pondering the reasons why I started drinking this little gem of a Tea. I used to drink Green Tea every afternoon with a little snack. My morning routine consisted of a luscious cafe latte with soy milk. Pete's coffee made the best! I sadly discovered that I had formed an allergy to coffee. Can you believe it? I have it tested every year in the hope that I can start drinking my cafe latte's again in moderation, but no luck. I would at least love to enjoy a bit of coffee after a lovely Italian dinner! However, I have found that Green Tea is an excellent replacement for my morning coffee...especially when I add a bit of steamed soy or almond milk and make it into a green tea LATTE! Now I can't imagine drinking anything but green tea in the morning.

Green Tea has many special health benefits that inspires me to drink it daily. It's secret lies in the fact that it is rich in polyphenols. Polyphenols are the same ingredient in Red Wine that everyone is raving about. The polyphenol in red wine is in the form of resveratrol. These polyphenols are powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants from plant foods are important as they seem to stabilize "free radicals", protecting DNA damage that could allow cancer to develop.
Fruits and vegetable also contains antioxidants that combat free radicals. I eat as much as I can plus I even juice my veggies daily to get my load of antioxidants. It is nice to know that my morning cup of green tea gives my body the additional boost of antioxidants it needs.

Try it out.... Skip that morning cup of Joe and Try a refreshing cup of green tea. Your day will begin with a load of antioxidants! If you can't get skip that AM coffee, which I understand, try it with your afternoon snack. If you don't snack between lunch and dinner this is your excuse. Choose a snack that has a bit of protein and carbohydrate, like sliced apples and a handful of walnuts. With the walnuts you are sneaking in a hit of Omega 3's! Your body with thank you for the blood sugar balancing of the snack and the load of antioxidants from the green tea.

Grab your cup of Green Tea and ENJOY!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Raspberry (Wheat, Dairy, & Sugar Free) Scones

I have discovered an amazing Gluten free bakery in New York called Babycakes. They are planning on opening a location in Los Angeles soon, however in the meantime I found their cookbook online...and WOW! I have made a few of the recipes so far and this Rasberry Scone recipe is at the top of my list! I love it so much that I must share the recipe!

This recipe is perfect for anyone who is has a Wheat intolerance (like me). It utilizes spelt flour...which is in the "wheat" family, however some people can handle a bit of spelt where they can't handle wheat. Spelt protein can be easier to digest for some people. Just try it and see how you feel. *I do not suggest this recipe for anyone who has been
diagnosed with a gluten allergy because spelt does contain gluten.

Along with whole grain spelt, this recipe uses coconut oil instead of butter and Agave instead of sugar. The coconut oil is an excellent alternative to butter as it is high in Omega 3's and contains lauric acid which fuels your body with energy instead of storing it as fat. As an added benefit, coconut oil stimulates your metabolism! The Agave is the perfect low glycemic alternative to sugar. Bring on the SCONES!

Raspberry Scones
from: Babycakes NY

2 cups whole Spelt Flour
1 tblspn Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Coconut Oil, plus more for brushing
(you can place it in the microwave to melt it down)
1/3 cup Agave Nectar, plus more for brushing
1 tblspn Pure Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup hot water
1 cup Fresh Raspberries * I defrosted frozen raspberries and they worked great!

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the oil, agave nectar, and vanilla and stir together until a thick, slightly dry batter is formed. Pour the hot water into the batter and mix. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the raspberries just until they are marbled throughout the batter.

For each scone, scoop 1/3 batter onto the prepared baking sheet. Space the scoops 1 inch apart to allow them to spread. Lightly brush the tops with the oil. Bake the scones on the center rack for 14 minutes, rotating the sheet 180 degrees after 7 minutes. The finished scones will be golden and slightly firm. Remove from the oven and brush with agave nectar.

Let the scones stand on the sheet for 15 minutes, then carefully slide a spatula under each and transfer it to a wire rack and cool completely. Store the scones in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Whip up these scones for a Sunday Morning and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Neti Pot and Allergies

If you have seasonal allergies you want to know about the NETI POT. I use a Neti Pot every morning and sometimes every night during peak pollen season. It is simply amazing. You may find the concept and the shape of the Neti Pot a bit intimidating, as I did, but once you get used to it you will not be able to live without it.

To the right is a picture I found online of a brave girl using a Neti Pot on the Oprah show. It gives you an idea of how this works...

Basically, it is a sinus irrigation pot. It floods your sinus membranes with a saline solution. This action will clear out any pollens or allergens you have inhaled and also encourage your bodies natural mucus membrane system to stay active. This is much healthier than having dried out sinuses. You are more likely to contract a sinus infection when you have chronically dried out sinuses. If you live in a dry climate and have will Love the relief this little pot can provide. You can buy them either online or at your local health food store. Ask the sales person at the health food store....they will know what a Neti Pot is and where to find one!

I would gladly explain the way to use the pot however, I think it is best that everyone get their directions from the Neti Pot box. It is very easy... You can even go to youtube and type in Neti Pot. You will find numerous videos of people using their Neti Pot... It is actually funny but, I have no intention of posting a video of myself using mine. I have already shocked my brother and my nephew with the sight of me doing this!

Go get your Neti Pot and relax as your sinus problems slip away.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Pesticides in our Fruits and Vegetables...

Conventionally grown fruits and vegetables are sadly laden with pesticides.

Firstly, these pesticides apparently break down the nutrient content of the fruit or
vegetable. So we are getting much less of the nutritional value we are searching for in our

Secondly, they just taste better! Try it a taste test. The Organic (pesticide free) fruits and veggies are bursting with luscious flavor!

Finally, Pesticide ingestion is obviously not good for us. It has been known to cause mild symptoms like headaches and fatigue as well as being linked to cancer and parkinsons disease. Please pass me the Organic Fruits and Veggies!!

I have found the list below to be extremely helpful in shopping for my fruit and vegetables. You will find that some are listed with much lower levels of pesticides so it is ok to buy conventional in those cases.

Let's face it, organic is expensive so a list like this will help you navigate the produce department with ease and without crashing your budget.

1. I highly suggest trying out Trader Joe's for well priced organics. The package will clearly tell you if it is organic.

2. I know Costco sells organic spinach.

3. Your most interesting and fun option is to hit a farmers market in your area. The produce will be organic, plus it is usually local so your veggies were probably just plucked from the soil! Nothing taste better than fresh plucked veggies or fruit.

The full list is below...but, here is a link for a wallet version to take with you to the store!

1 (worst)Peach100 (highest pesticide load)
3Sweet Bell Pepper83
10Grapes - Imported66
13Collard Greens60
16Green Beans53
17Summer Squash53
21Grapes - Domestic44
28Winter Squash34
31Honeydew Melon30
33Sweet Potato29
41Sweet Peas - Frozen10
45Sweet Corn - Frozen2
47 (best)Onion1 (lowest pesticide load)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Earth Day! New ways to pack your lunch.

I made a few discoveries on Earth Day that I must share...

I often take my lunch or snacks with me to be certain I eat the food my body craves for energy. I just discovered two companies that make environmentally friendly lunch bags, utensils, and food carriers. The great thing about these products is the fact that they are free of plastic. Certain plastic containers contain possible carcinogens so it is best to avoid them. So, we are helping free our environment of excess plastic waste and avoiding the chemicals that have the potential to harm us.

Quick tip on plastic containers: Be sure to avoid placing hot food in them or using them in the microwave to heat your food... The heat releases the nasty chemicals that we should be avoiding. If you must use the microwave, switch to glass!

The two companies that make these fabulous products are:

They sell a
stainless steel straw!! This is great because I make smoothies every day and love using straws...this way I won't be constantly throwing away plastic straws! Very Cool! I feel better about the environment already!

PLUS: In honor of Earth Day.... go to to pick up 20% off coupons for both stores!

Sunday, April 19, 2009


I just made an incredibly tasty, and healthy, dip that is perfectly dairy free!

Try it with cut celery, carrots, or your favorite dipping cracker.

In a blender add:
1 package of silken Tofu (you can also sub with plain yogurt or Tofu Sour cream)
2 tablespoons chopped mint
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped onions... that you have sauteed in olive oil to soften the flavor.
1/2 of a lemon... squeeze the juice into the mixture
pepper - best to use fresh ground pepper

Whip it up in the blender until it is smooth.
Place it in your best looking small bowl serving bowl and refrigerate at least an hour.
It tastes best cold!

Enjoy.....and let me know what you think!

You will be enjoying a protein filled and tasty snack that is perfect
for parties or, just a special treat for yourself!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The JOY of Chocolate!

I LOVE Chocolate!!

Turns out that dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants!
The Cacao Plant
is a rich source of Flavonoids! Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants! Now we can enjoy the tasty goodness of chocolate every moderation of course.

Your best bet is to choose a dark chocolate bar that contains at least 70% cocoa. If you like the taste of a higher percentage bar then go for it! The higher the percentage of cocoa the better. As a comparison, Milk chocolate contains only 20% cocoa. You will also find a much lower fat and sugar content in dark chocolate. This combo of lower sugar and fat makes dark chocolate the best choice overall.

In terms of moderation, keep in mind that your diet needs to mainly include fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grain carbs. You don't want to add a daily dose of chocolate if you are already consuming excess sugar and calories. By daily dose I mean.....just breaking off a square or two from that chocolate bar. I enjoy having it with a cup of Decaf Green Tea in the afternoon....this way you get double your load of flavinoids! more on green tea later.........

Choose the BEST chocolate bar you can find. I love Dagoba and Green & Black. Start taste testing. You will find that a little bit of chocolate goes a long way in fulfilling your sweet tooth!

Monday, March 23, 2009

B Vitamins

B Vitamins are incredibly important in our stressful lives. Most multi - vitamins do not contain enough of these valuable nutrients. B vitamins are water soluble and therefore are not stored in the body. For this reason we need to be aware of the need to supplement. They support the nervous system and therefore can be helpful when we are fatigued or under stress. Some of these B's can be readily found in a Whole grain/Whole Food diet, yet most of us don't quite get enough of these whole foods to make a huge impact. So here is a mini breakdown of the necessary B vitamins and their basic dosage suggestions. Check with your doctor if you intend to take more than these dosage suggestions.

Your Best bet is to pick up a B COMPLEX that contains all of these listed below. Just check the dosage amounts to be sure your chosen B complex fits the bill!
* If you are taking a multi vitamin check the B vitamin levels... and then pick up a B complex to fill in the gaps.

  • B1 (Thiamin) 20-50 mg found in brown rice, spinach, nuts, legumes, cauliflower.
  • B2 (Riboflavin) 50 mg found in eggs, whole grain bread, leafy green veggies. B5 (Panothenic Acid) 25-100 mg found in whole grains and legumes
  • B6 (Pyridoxine) 50-100mg found in Broccoli, Kale, and asparagus. *helpful with PMS
  • B12 (Cyanacobalamin) 50 mcg found in animal products...dairy, meat, fish. Very important for vegetarians to supplement.
Your body will thank you for supplying it with the nutrients it needs to make it through a stressful day!

Monday, March 9, 2009

CHIA Seeds!

If you have not already heard about these little seeds...let me introduce you to them!
Chia seeds are part of the mint family. They consist of 31% healthy fat, 16% protein and 44% carbohydrate (38% of which is fiber), and some antioxidants.
Most of the fat contained in the seeds are OMEGA 3 fatty acids which have been shown to regulate cholesterol and decrease inflammation in the body. Chia seeds increase HDL (your good cholesterol) and decrease triglycerides (blood fat content). Their best attribute is the fact that they are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber helps control cholesterol, while soluble fiber helps slow the breakdown and digestion of a carbohydrates. This helps keep your blood sugar steady which is always a good thing! Perfect for anyone with hypoglycemia or diabetes, or for anyone looking to maintain energy levels throughout the day. Oh, and adding extra fiber helps with weight loss.

Simply add a tablespoon or two into a smoothy or soup. I often just add 2 tablespoons with a bit of water and just down it before breakfast. Beware of adding it to your smoothies because it does expand and hold water... you may need to start with one tablespoon and add extra water.

I have found these seeds at Whole Food market and online at Try any health food store.

Plus, Dr Oz, on Oprah recommends these seeds and eats them daily! I'm in!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cinnamon Toast!!

Ahh...the tasty luxury of Cinnamon Toast! I thought those days were over once I discovered that I had a sensitivity to sugar cane and wheat, let alone blood sugar issues.
I have now created a wonderful alternative to this traditional favorite.

I toast whole grain spelt bread (sans the Yeast).
Then I top it with a healthy buttery spread like
Earth Balance Soy Garden Spread
a bit of cinnamon,
and then a wonderful sweetner called AGAVE.

  1. made from the cactus plant
  2. perfectly sweet
  3. pours like honey
  4. a low glycemic food
You will need very little AGAVE... you will have to figure out how much your taste buds desire by taste testing.

Simply spread the ingredients on your toast and enjoy!