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Is Raw Food Still Relevant?

Pure Joy Planet was created from a passion for sharing the amazing healing benefits of raw, unprocessed foods. Raw foods have been our heart and soul for almost 20 years, and recently my team and I have begun to ask , “Is raw food still relevant? Are people still interested in raw food in 2016?”  Buzz words like,”Plant-Based” seem to be the new “Raw” and are popping up everywhere. Cafes, restaurants, and even festivals are picking up on the demand for more veggies. The problem is, the vegan and plant-based buzz words don’t necessarily mean healthy or unprocessed.  Did you know that oreo cookies and gram crackers are vegan?! I recently stumbled upon a meat-free processed food company that is claiming to be ‘vegan’ and ‘healthy’ yet the main ingredients listed on one of their top selling products include soy protein isolate*, vital wheat gluten*, expeller pressed canola oil*, methylcellulose,  yeast extract, potato starch, enriched wheat flour, modified corn starch. Seriously? This is what companies are claiming to be healthy?

Packaged foods are not cool and not healthy! When we eat Frankenfoods (like the food referenced above), too many sweets and moldy grains such as corn and wheat, we can end up worse off than we were before starting a plant-based diet.

Eating clean, Plant-Based foods is more important than ever!  With scientific studies pointing to how sugar and grains are compromising our brain and gut health, and how plastic and packaged foods are contributing to hormone chaos, there is no better time than now to start making your own food and eating it as whole, raw and local as possible. We don’t believe in diet dogmas; we do believe in the benefits of adding more plant foods into your diet.

Here are 6 easy ways to merge raw and cooked food and make your own raw-cooked (Rawked) fusion meals:

  1. Follow the 80-20 Rule– Fill your blender, bowl or plate with 80% raw fruits and vegetables, and the other 20% can be something cooked and warm.  You  can either use a measuring device and recipe or your body’s knowing to guestimate how much to pour into your bowl or blender. My favorite raw items are leafy greens, some kind of fat (seeds, coconut butter or avocado), seasonings (Himalayan salt, onion powder, cumin, cayenne), veggies (lettuce, red bell pepper, tomato, zucchini, carrots, etc.). My favorite cooked items are artichoke hearts, hummus, jars of salsa, steamed beets, onions, garlic, winter greens, squash and sweet potatoes. See # 3 below for Rawked Fusion ideas.salad-copy-2
  2. Be a Locavore- Start by shopping for local foods at Farmers Market, and if you can, buy most of your produce for the week while there. You will be getting the freshest and most locally grown items. Eating locally will help you stay in tune with the seasons, which means fewer colds, fewer food allergies, more variety in the long run and lower food costs. Also, when you are buying food from countries that are not regulated, you don’t always know what you are getting. Some countries pick under-ripe fruits and vegetables and die them richer colors before shipping them to us! Watch this Indian Vegetable Scam
  3. Quick and Easy – Buy lemons, garlic, and onions in large amounts so you can use them all month. Pre-juice all the lemons and store them in a jar in the fridge for drizzling over salads and pouring into sauces. Order your grains, beans, nuts and seeds from companies that sell in bulk online. Store the extra food in your fridge or freezer if you have space or use a vacuum sealing system. We use Terra Soul Superfoods for our bulk orders.
  4. Get Creative!– Now that you have stocked your kitchen with veggies, decide which ones to cook and which ones to eat raw. I always cook my onions and garlic for easier digestion. What else should you cook? Chard, kale, collards, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and quinoa. These can be your base food (your 20%). Now top those cooked items with fresh leafy greens, herbs, fresh tomatoes, spiralized zucchinis, etc. Mix them all together and have a warm bowl full of veggies. Make a raw sauce or red pepper dressing for the top, then pour over your bowl.  If a bowl sounds too heavy, try a light soup. You can steam up some kale and squash, add sauteed onion, then blend it all together with a raw avocado or 2 Tbsp. coconut butter, a handful of spinach or basil, a tomato, and a carrot. Voila! Soup! Eat a 100% raw at breakfast by making a green smoothie filled with leafy greens such as spinach or parsley, hemp seeds, frozen berries and a scoop of green powder such as Vitamineral Greens, or a chia porridge:  1/4 cup chia soaked overnight in 2 cups sweetened almond milk. Top either one with bee pollen, dehydrated pumpkin seeds, cacao nibs, or some goji berries.Chia Pudding 3.jpg
    This is a coconut milk chia pudding topped with fresh seasonal berries and local bee pollen
  5. Have Fun!– Are you still confused about whether you should be raw, vegan, paleo, 80-10-10, high carb, high fat or bulletproof? Relax! Dogma and stress are not your friends! You really can’t get this wrong. Follow your healthy cravings, eat what’s local and fresh, and remember that whatever you make at home is going to be 100 times healthier than anything you can buy at a restaurant or store. Plus you get to make it exactly the way you like it. Check in with your body often by journaling to see what is working and what is making you feel bad. Cravings for junk? Snacking is my favorite way to beat cravings. A little organic pumpkin seed butter or hummus with some celery sticks, apple slices, snap peas or red bell pepper slices are the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.
  6. Worried About Protein? – This is a common concern. Funnily enough, most people eat a lot more protein than the human body requires. Consumption of more than 5% animal protein has been linked directly to tumor growth in animals.  Plant-Based amino acids (proteins) are in all vegetables but are highest in hemp seeds, vegan protein powder, and Spirulina.berry-smoothie-2

 

Motivated to start adding more plant-based recipes into your diet but need a little more help?  Check out our 4-week Plant-Based Bootcamp! Join our team and other participants on November 7 through December 5, 2016. Learn how to  immerse yourself in the lifestyle, make simple and easy recipes for daily living and get fit! Indulge in some of the best recipes on the planet while nourishing you and your family. Get the download on the most cutting edge nutrition and diet information and personal lifestyle guidance from Elaina Love. Learn all about superfoods and herbs and how to concoct your own medicinal teas and smoothies. Get the best plant-strong fitness tips, workouts and meal plans from our award winning fitness model, Ali Stringer.

All recipes from the recipe book and video demonstrations are completely free of gluten, dairy, processed, and soy, so you can truly feel what it’s like to eat clean and be full of energy. Find out what it’s like to live in a healthy, vibrant body. Get more information and join our healthy family here.


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Can Being Outdoors Make You Superhuman?

I just got back from camping in Sedona over Labor Day weekend. To say it was Epic is an understatement. The first night, I camped with a group of beautiful people near a river. It was deeply gratifying to sleep on the earth in a sleeping bag and to stand around the campfire chatting under the stars. I spent most of the next day sitting in a chair staring at the trees in a deep state of relaxation. My mind felt very still and I was content to just be and not do.  By the end of the day, I crawled into my tent with the sound of crickets to keep me company and drifted off to a peaceful sleep. The last night was by far the most epic! I hiked out to meet my friends in a remote canyon. It was a 6-mile hike into the wilderness and I tracked through deep water and swampy grasses. Our sensational, private, camping spot was nestled up on a canyon wall in the red rocks of Sedona. It had an overhang that was almost like being half inside and half outside of a cave. The campsite was pristine, had it’s own fire ring, rock lounge chairs that someone before us had created, and even a secret ledge that overlooked the water below. It was our favorite spot for early morning river viewing and late night star gazing. Peace, Victory, and Bliss are just a few words I can use to describe the experience. We made lovely warm meals over the campfire from the food we packed in, but our food was not the main source of nourishment. It was the air, the earth, the water, and fire. I began to remember that The Elements feed us on a core level. Connecting and blending with them without the distraction of technology of any kind was the best gift I’ve had in a long time. After a day and night out in the river, basking in the sun, swimming in the streams and swimming holes, getting up close and personal with the flowers, plants, and rocks, I felt full and satisfied. I’m sure I could have spent many more days out there and definitely will go back again, but even just the weekend getaway was enough to rejuvenate and replenish me.

Here are some ways in which nature provides:

  1. LOWER STRESS HORMONES AND FEEL HAPPIER-Various studies have found that urban dwellers with little access to green spaces have a higher incidence of psychological problems than people living near parks. City dwellers who visit natural environments have lower levels of stress hormones immediately afterward than people who have not recently been outside. Source: NY Times.  Walking in nature can make you feel happier and reduce your anxiety and negative thinking. According to Gregory Bratman, a graduate student in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford University, participants in a study who walked in nature vs. in traffic showed that the participants who walked in nature had improved quieting of the mind and improved moods. Meanwhile, the participants who walked on a busy street had no mental improvement and they still felt negative upon their return
  2. VITAMIN D– Did  you know that Vitamin D is a hormone not a vitamin? It plays an important role in balancing our moods and creating a healthy immune system. Those who don’t get enough Vitamin D have higher risk of cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and heart disease. Spending just 20 minutes a day in sunlight  (nature) can increase your vitamin D levels.tumamoc-sunrise
  3. IMPROVED EYE SIGHT-If you work a lot on a computer or watch TV or Netflix most evenings, you’re at risk of developing blurred vision, double vision, dry/red eyes, eye irritation, headaches, and neck or back pain.  Getting outside and focusing on objects farther than two feet in front of your face can greatly help to prevent and even reverse these symptoms. Natural light is healing for the eyes. Contrary to popular belief, one should not wear sunglasses while in the sun. Exposing the eyes to natural light can recalibrate your brain and help improve your eyesight. So take a break from reading this right now and go outside and breathe for a moment!
  4. LUNG HEALTH– Speaking of breathing, filtered air through air conditioners or heaters is not ideal for the lungs or the mind. Getting fresh, unfiltered air is ideal. The lungs are our main source of detoxification so breathing in clean fresh air is so important! That is one of the main reasons I moved out of a downtown area in Tucson and into the hills of Marana. I get to wake up every morning, walk a couple miles, and breathe in the freshness of the day. Even if I only have 20 minutes, an outside walk can make a huge difference in how the day unfolds.
  5. GET GROUNDED– Go barefoot whenever possible. Have you heard of earthing or grounding? This is an ancient remedy. You can’t see the Earth’s energy but it can be felt. You may experience it as a pleasant sensation rising up through your body as you walk on the beach or on hard, cool dirt in the forest. Books on Earthing give excellent facts on how sleeping, walking and immersing ourselves in earthly substances can completely change our sleep patterns, mood, outlook, and create a new sweet spot in life. We have evolved away from sitting on rocks and squatting on dirt, we have replaced our earth with rubber shoes and synthetic flooring. This has completely messed up our connection with Mother Earth. Getting outside and going barefoot will reconnect you with nature, help you to feel more balanced and peaceful and may even make you want to garden or give back to the earth in some way.feet-tumamoc
  6. BEST SLEEP EVER!-The best part about camping is sleeping on the Earth, staring up at the stars and hearing nature sounds. You may wake up early, eager and refreshed. There is no better remedy for insomnia or sleep problems than a night out in nature. As a matter of fact, even though I love the luxury of sleeping in, I don’t feel the need to do so when I’m sleeping outside.

Do you need more proof that we need nature, and we need to spend more time outside?  If you live in a city, make it a point to go on nature hikes during your down time. Go out to a park during your lunch break and just sit or lay on a blanket on the grass for 20 minutes. You can also meditate outside in your backyard or in a quiet spot. Being in nature may become one of your new favorite ways to feel Super Human!

Want a nature rejuvenating experience like mine? Inspired by my new found passion for getting outside and helping others do the same, I have teamed up with Eden Hot Springs Return to Eden Retreat to give my students a chance to get earthed, re-energized and connect with other like-minded souls while eating the best food ever. Check out my upgraded Level 3 plant-based chef certification and join me for an Epic adventure into the healing hot springs of Eden.

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10 Steps to Eliminate Sugar

Sugar is a hidden ingredient in many foods you may never have known even contained sugar.

sugar drug

Did you know sugar is in many seasonings and condiments you use daily? From ketchup to pickles, even savory foods are not exempt. Now more than ever, we are being bombarded by sugar in almost everything we consume. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is even worse than sugar and is being used in cereals and many products on the grocery shelves. I actually just saw HFCS in a jar of salsa! What’s so bad about HFCS? Dr. Mark Hyman, an advocate of limiting sugar intake says in a recent blog:

  • We are consuming HFCS and sugar in pharmacologic quantities never before experienced in human history–140 pounds a year versus 20 teaspoons a year 10,000 years ago.
  • High fructose corn syrup is always found in very poor-quality foods that are nutritionally vacuous and filled with all sorts of other disease promoting compounds, fats, salt, chemicals, and even mercury.

A recent study on rats showed that sugar can be more addicting than concaine and heroin! Isn’t it time to start taking a look at this super villain and finding ways to either cut way back or completely eliminate it from your diet?

Here are 10 steps to help you and your family reduce or eliminate processed and refined sugars for good:

  1. Eat whole foods
    • Go Fresh by buying eating delicious and colorful fruits, berries, sweet tomatoes, sweet peppers and mineral rich greens
    • Avoid produce that has been picked unripe and trucked across the world by shopping for your produce at your local farmers market. Eating ripe and local gets your body in harmony with the area of the planet you are living on. This helps keep your core temperature and immune system stay more balanced.
    • Avoid the middle of the grocery store where all the packaged foods live. Most cookies, chips, and other snacks are packed with hidden sugars and other harmful chemicals, even organic and natural snacks are often very high in sugar.
    • Order online to avoid temptation. I get my dry items, spices, coconut aminos, oils, nuts, and seeds from Thrive Market which offers discounts on organic, non-GMO, whole foods.
  2. Use low glycemic natural sweeteners in place of sugar
    • Stevia is a natural plant  which is 100x sweeter than sugar, and is 100% sugar-free. It doesn’t raise blood sugar or insulin levels. It can be bitter if you use too much, but in moderation, it adds a beautiful sweetness to coffee, tea, desserts, and chocolate. If your goal is to lead a sugar-free life, definitely try stevia. Start with 1 or 2 drops in water or tea to try it out.
    • Use Monk Fruit in desserts: Monk fruit sweetener, also known as Lakanto, has a 1:1 ratio to sugar.It is ultra low glycemic and does not spike insulin levels in diabetics. You can use this as a substitute in your baking and in raw dishes that call for honey, agave or maple syrup. I’m not against honey and maple syrup in small amounts, however, they can be unsafe for diabetics or cancer  patients who are determined to heal once and for all.
    • Avoid at all costs: Nutrasweet and Sweet and Low, aspartame, sorbitol and malitol as these  products are damaging to the body and brain even though they are touted as sugar alternatives.
  3. Use fruit as dessertberries
    • Low glycemic fruits like green apples, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries make a great snack. They can be topped with  coconut yogurt or nut cream and enjoyed as a dessert.
  4. Make food at home
    • Let your creativity loose in the kitchen! The best ways to avoid added sugars and fake ingredients are to make food from scratch. It can be fun and easy once you get the hang of it! Come to one of our courses to learn more or check out some of my low glycemic ebooks. and free recipes
  5. If you do go to a restaurant, ask questions
    • Don’t be afraid to ask your waiter or the vendor what is in the food you are ordering. Say something like: “Can you tell me which items are gluten free…dairy free…have olive oil…are sugar-free?” If they don’t know they will usually go ask. Avoid anything fried or breaded. Sauces can contain large amounts of sugar too, so be careful with marinara, Thai sauces and Chinese foods, and even Caesar dressing.
  6. Read your labels
    • Even if you think you already know what is in a product, sometimes ingredients can change depending on the company (they may start adding sugar or agave to make more money).
    • Added sugar is in 74% of packaged items. Even non-sweet items. If sugar is listed as one of  the first 3 ingredients, put it down.
    • I aim for items (if I am buying a drink or chocolate) that have between 0 and 5 grams of sugar per serving. Also remember that the serving size is important. If the package says it has 4 servings, you need to multiply the amount of sugar listed by 4.
    • Be aware of the many names for sugar:Vanilla Cupcake-2
  7. Just say no!
    • It might take 2-4 weeks but if you make a choice not to eat sugar or high glycemic foods, your palate will adjust. Take the sweets out and wait. It won’t take that long for foods to start tasting too sweet once you’ve eliminated sugar from your diet.
  8. Lower sweet cravings naturally
    • Believe it or not, fermented foods like sauerkraut and coconut kefir can stop your sugar cravings in their tracks!
  9. Drink a green juice
    • Even though it’s usually the last thing you would think of having when you are craving a sweet snack, green juice works! It makes your body more alkaline and has electrolytes, so it satisfies your body on a cellular level.
    • Make 4 bottles of green juice with added lemon juice and store it the fridge. This way, you can always have a cold one right out of the fridge when sweet cravings sneak up on you.
  10. Get more sleep!
    • Getting enough sleep is a popular topic right now and for a good reason. One of the biggest reasons we tend to overeat and crave sugar is due to lack of sleep. Most of us turn to caffeine or crave something sweet as the body attempts to look for energy. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night drastically helps with controlling sugar cravings.

Have faith! Once you decide once and for all to eliminate sugar, you are on your way to a healthier, happier you. Your mood, skin, weight and feelings of well-being will begin to improve. If you slip up, just get right back on track at the next meal. Before you know it, sugar will become a thing of the past.

 

 


How to Eat a Healthy Plant-Based Diet

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Eating foods that are organic, locally grown, plant-based and 80% raw, can increase your lifespan and your quality of living. People who eat high raw, plant-based diets experience stronger bone density, age less quickly (reduce wrinkles, hair loss and even eye health), get sick less often, and are able to reduce the risk of getting a long list of common ailments such as diabetes, depression, overweight, lethargy, fatigue, arthritis and even cancer. So let me help you get healthy!

  • Write down 3 things you are currently proud of. Start by looking at what you eat each day. What healthy choices are you  already making? Make a list. Maybe you are already drinking a quart of water a day, having a green smoothie or eating salads or organic veggies with your meals. Super!
  • What can you change?  Most of us can find something in our diet that is unhealthy.  Maybe it’s eating hormone-laden meats and dairy or eating too many glutinous grains (white flour, tortillas, whole wheat bread, bagels, muffins, scones, etc.). By eliminating even one of these foods,  your body can become more vibrant.
  • Start adding in 1 healthy upgrade a week. That’s it. You don’t have to cut out everything. Most people do better going slowly to accomplish their goals. This will reduce the possibility of binge eating or yo-yo dieting. Some suggestions are:
    1. Try a new healthy recipe: There are plenty of easy, tasty recipes on my website to help you start on plant-based eating. Try one to two new recipes a week.
    2. Drink 64 oz. or more of water – I can’t emphasize this enough. Water flushes toxins and plumps up your skin. Already drinking? Upgrade your water by adding 1/8 tsp of Himalayan salt and 1 tsp. lemon juice. It sounds strange but mineral salt actually helps you hydrate and helps with mineral imbalances and autoimmune conditions.

      lemon water

      Mineral water with lemon

    3. Bring your lunch instead of going out to eat. Use your Sunday afternoon to prep your lunches for the week. Get my recipe books for inspiration. This will help you to feel satisfied at work and less tempted to go out.
    4. Cut out 1 habit that you feel is most harmful. Suggestions:
      • Red meat – especially farm raised meats and meat cuts
      • Dairy – including milk, cream, cheese and ice cream
      • Flour products – white flour, cornmeal and even whole wheat flour can be harmful and inflammatory
      • Processed and packaged food – these can be loaded with processed sugar, chemicals, and other harmful chemicals.
      • Alcohol – cut down to just one or two drinks a week. This is a quick way to drop a few pounds and reduce your sugar and yeast consumption. If you have already eliminated alcohol, good job! You are well on your way to thriving!
      • Eating out – restaurants are known to skimp on ingredients for cheaper alternatives. Highly processed and rancid oils as well as added cream, flour and sugar are most common when eating out. Who needs that?
      • Add in new recipes. There are plenty of easy, tasty recipes on my website to help you start on plant-based eating. Try one to two new recipes a week.

 

  • Breakfast. If you are currently eating meat, eggs and dairy every morning, or even veggie sausage, pick one of these to eliminate. These foods are hard to digest and can make you acidic. They produce an acid ash in the body, making you more susceptible to inflammation, arthritis, diabetes, cancer, and chronic neck and back pain. If you are already eating a high plant based diet, you might start to give up other acid forming food like bread, bagels, cereal, oats and pastries. Replace these foods with steamed veggies and quinoa topped with MCT oil, or some chia porridge. For extra points, go raw and sugar-free by having a green smoothie with vegan protein powder. It’s filling and an easy meal replacement, especially when topped with crunchy things like coconut flakes and cacao nibs.
  • Lunch. Are you eating sandwiches every day with gluten, processed meat, and mayo? If so, replace them with a big salad. It’s way more exciting than you might imagine. I add lots of yummy toppings to make it extra satisfying (see list below). You can even roll  your salad in a paleo wrap or nori sheet for variety.
  • Dinner is where you can add more comforting, cooked meals. One simple thing you can do is sauté up an onion in a large skillet (I like the Green Pan). Don’t use oil, just a bit of coconut aminos or water to cook in. After the onion gets tender, add a head of chopped kale, collards, spinach or chard with a chopped tomato. Season with a little Himalayan salt and cumin or curry powder and cover until well steamed. Now you’ve got a great side dish or meal. For added flavor and richness, try coconut curry sauce and zucchini noodles to mix in after your veggies are cooked.
  • Why I don’t cook my oil and sauces- My coconut curry sauce contains coconut butter and sesame oil so I don’t cook it. Cooked fats are harmful to the body . Scientists have discovered that heating up vegetable oils leads to the release of high concentrations of chemicals called aldehydes, which have been linked to illnesses including cancer, heart disease, and dementia. Fats are good for you as long as they are healthy and raw. Here is my recommended list, look for extra virgin and virgin or unrefined as these usually mean they are unheated. Another word used on labels is cold pressed:

100coldpressed

  • almonds, almond butter, almond oil
  • avocado meat or oil
  • coconut meat, coconut butter, coconut oil, (virgin) or MCT oil
  • olives or olive oil (extra virgin)
  • pumpkin seeds and their oil
  • Sunflower seeds
  • tahini or sesame seeds and their oil (make sure it’s unrefined)
  • walnut butter or walnut oil

Your homework this week: Watch these informative movies:

  • Forks over Knives
  • Cowspiracy
  • Fed Up
  • Fat Sick and Nearly Dead
  • Read my  blog posts to get and sfat sicktay motivated and inspired. Congratulations, you are on your way to a more healthy, vibrant you!

 


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How to De-Junk your kitchen

Are you ready to upgrade your health but don’t know where to start?

The best place to start is in your kitchen. Let’s go on a little tour together. Start by opening your kitchen cupboards. What’s the first thing you see? Half-eaten chip bags, cereal boxes, and stacks of canned goods? Don’t worry, you are not alone and I have some super easy solutions for you. Let’s do this together!

What you will need:

  1. 2 to 3 hours of free time.
  2. A label maker with a large amount of ribbon or a roll of masking tape and a black sharpie (permanent marker).
  3. 24 quart (liter) sized mason jars or glass jars with lids.
  4. 24 pint (2-cup) sized mason jars with lids.
  5. 24 cup sized mason jars with lids.
  6. 20 clear glass sized spice jars.  Here is a search link  for a variety of jars.
  7. A great attitude with lots of enthusiasm for getting organized. I’m getting excited just thinking about your pantry makeover.

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What to do:

  1. Start by taking everything out of your cupboards or pantry where you store your food and spices.
  2. Throw away anything that is more than 6 months old or that you don’t recognize or won’t eat. This includes oils as they go rancid easily (especially olive oils). If you feel like you are wasting food, think about the waste you are putting in your body. Which do you choose? A landfill or a sluggish body?
  3. Wipe down the shelves with some hot water and cleaning spray. (I use 1 capful of white vinegar or a squirt of natural dish soap in a bowl of hot water).
  4. Separate everything into categories:
    1. spices, sweeteners, and flours
    2. grains and cereals
    3. snacks: crackers, olives, cookies, granolas, bread, seaweeds, teas, etc.
    4. nuts and seeds
    5. oils and nut/seed butters
    6. condiments: unopened mustard, coconut aminos, tamari, apple cider vinegar, etc.
    7. superfoods: green powders, goji berries, cacao, protein powders, etc.
  5. Put any of the foods you are keeping that don’t already have a glass jar or nice container into one of the mason jars you purchased. Label each one. (it is best to use a label maker but evenly cut pieces of masking tape are fine too). Be sure to put the date you purchased the item on the bottom of the jar (spices lose much of their freshness after 6 months).
  6. Organize your jars into your cupboards or pantry in a way that makes the most sense to you. You can alphabetize the spices and put them in a separate drawer or cupboard near the blender or stove. Put the superfoods and things for smoothies in a cupboard or on a shelf above where your blender sits.
  7. Take a break and pat yourself on the back! (maybe snack on a few of your newly organized healthy snacks).
  8. Next, it’s time to tackle the refrigerator. Take everything out. That’s right, you heard me! Now get all the goop off the shelves and in the produce drawers. A clean fridge = the start to a  clean, healthy body.
  9. Throw out anything questionable. Even 1-day old leftovers start to grow bad bacteria and are not worth eating and can lead to a weakened immune system and poor gut health. Remember: Your body is not a garbage disposal!
  10. Now it’s time to put it all back in an organized manner (see photo)Fridge photo
  11. Do the same with the door of the fridge (see photo)Fridge door
  12. Save the freezer for another day, but make sure you get to it. You will feel so much better about your health, your kitchen and your life once you get this done. Now, remember to keep it this way and enjoy being able to find your healthy foods easily.

Thanks for reading and be sure to follow my blog to make sure you get my next 3 upcoming blogs on:

  1. How to get started on a plant-based (vegetarian) diet
  2. 10 easy steps to go processed sugar-free
  3. How to go 80% raw (even if it’s just for a week)

Do you need to go gluten-free?

Have you wondered what all the hype is about gluten-free foods? Is it just for people with Celiac disease, a way to sell books or just trendy? Turns out, there is science behind this food craze and people are getting amazing results from quitting their daily habit of bread, pasta, and muffins.

Newly surfaced medical evidence is showing that glutenous grains can be destroying your brain! Even whole grain bread is not the healthy alternative we once thought it was. Eating gluten can be tied to dementia, ADHD, anxiety, chronic headaches, depression, and much more. If you are not sure if gluten is causing you problems, try a 1-week experiment and stop eating it. The real proof is when you add gluten back in and find that you feel tired, foggy, lack of energy or digestive distress. More symptoms of gluten intolerance are rashes (especially in kids) headaches, weight loss, weight gain, intolerance to dairy, heavy PMS symptoms, malabsorption and more.

Be aware that it may take years to see the effects of gluten on your body. Some people feel fine eating bread and have no desire to give it up until fasting from it.

What has gluten in it?

Gluten is everywhere! Besides the more well-known foods like pizza, pasta, bagels, bread, baked goods, cakes, etc there are many items that have hidden gluten in them. Items like licorice and soy sauce contain gluten. Even shampoo, toothpaste, fruit juices or a simple communion wafer can contain gluten.

Here are some of the grains and additives that contain gluten:

  • Atta (chapatti flour)
  • Barley (flakes, flour, pearl)
  • Beer, ale, lager
  • Breading and bread stuffing
  • Brewers yeast
  • Bulgur
  • Communion wafers
  • Couscous
  • Croutons
  • Spelt
  • Farro or Faro (also known as spelt)*
  • Graham flour
  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • Kamut
  • Malt, malt extract, malt syrup and malt
  • Flavouring
  • Malt vinegar
  • Malted milk
  • Matzoh, matzoh meal
  • Modified wheat starch
  • Oatmeal, oat bran, oat flour and whole oats
  • Pastas
  • Rye bread and flour
  • Seitan
  • Soy Sauce
  • Wheat bran
  • Wheat flour
  • Wheat germ
  • Wheat starch

Have no fear! There are tons of gluten-free alternatives that are satisfying and taste delicious. But be aware, many ‘gluten-free’ products on the market are loaded with sugar GMO corn, potato starch and other additives. Stay away from the boxed cookies and crackers. I encourage you to start making your own gluten-free bread and treats so you know exactly what is in them.

Here are some ingredients that are gluten-free:

  • Amaranth
  • Arrowroot flour
  • Baking soda
  • Bean flour (can be hard on digestion and high in carbs)
  • Buckwheat
  • Cassava
  • Chick pea flour (can be hard on digestion)
  • Chia, black and white
  • Coconut and Coconut flour (my favorite for cookies, etc.)
  • Corn flour (not recommended)
  • Cornmeal (not recommended)
  • Cornstarch (Masa farina)
  • Dal or Dahl (Legume from India)
  • Flax (ground), gold and brown
  • Irish Moss Paste (creates a gummy texture in gluten-free recipes)
  • Lecithin (use NonGMO such as Quantum)
  • Legumes (whole, cooked beans)
  • Millet
  • Oats* (pure uncontaminated)
  • Psyllium Husk Powder (I use for a glutenous texture in my bread)
  • Quinoa
  • Teff
  • Xanthum gum (not recommended)

All of these ingredients can be used to start making your own gluten alternatives. Here are some more ways to give up gluten without feeling deprived:

  1. Try Paleo Wraps which are made from coconut or try this tortilla recipe. You can also try Nori Sheets. They can be used anywhere you need a wrap or tortilla.
  2. Make your own gluten-free scones from almonds, carrots, and apples or my gluten-free almond bread or cookies. You can also check out gluten-free bagels, bread, and wraps in the freezer section of your health food store.
  3. Buy organic, buckwheat granolas or learn to make your own at Pure Joy Culinary Academy.
  4. Keep experimenting with recipes but remember that most of the gluten-free flours contain GMO corn, potato starch, tapioca, garbanzo bean flour  and other questionable ingredients which may leave you feeling more lethargic than ever. Garbanzo bean flour makes me feel like I swallowed a brick.
  5. Make your own food as much as possible and get creative with gluten-free pasta, zoodles (zucchini noodles) and brown rice noodles. Remember that restaurants are famous for adding flour to soups and sauces as a thickener and even veggie burgers can contain gluten. A friend of mine was bed-ridden after having french fries. After checking back with the restaurant, she found that they were coated in white flour before frying to make them crispier. Keep asking questions, be sure to request gluten free alternatives and after a while, you won’t even miss the wheat and gluten.

What can you do today if you want to try going gluten-free?

The best thing to do to find out what is going on in your body is to start a food journal. Write down everything you ate and how you feel after eating it. This is a good practice for everyone, even if you’ve already given up gluten. Maybe there is another trigger food that you don’t know about. Remember that manufacturers are not looking out for your health, that’s your job. You may discover that what you thought was not causing you problems might be standing in the way of more vibrant health.

Books to read:

 

 

 


How green juice can take you from 0 to 60 in seconds

One thing I hear over and over again from friends, co-workers, and students is that once they started drinking green juice, their lives changed for the better.  I hear things like, “I just don’t feel right if I don’t have my green juice every day.” Or “I can get away with not eating super healthy as long as I drink a green juice most days.” Or “It’s the best hangover cure I’ve found!” Personally, drinking 1 to 2 pints of green juice in the morning keeps me feeling nourished, hydrated and mentally sharp. Yes, it’s that amazing!

What’s the difference between drinking green juice and a smoothie? Green juice doesn’t have fiber, so the liquid is able to immediately penetrate your cells through your bloodstream without having to be digested. This means a more quick transit time and quicker absorption. What does that mean for your body? Immediate hydration, increased enzyme activity, higher alkalinity, and mineral absorption. No middle man (the digestive tract) needed. Another benefit of drinking green juice vs. smoothies (not that smoothies are bad, they are just needed at a different time of day such as after a workout) is that green juice is uber-low glycemic. When we drink juices that don’t have fruit, we are getting all the vitamins and minerals from the veggies without the insulin spike and the subsequent hit to the pancreas. It’s been well documented that increased insulin spikes lead to premature aging and death. Not sexy!

So, the next time you really want to feel amazing (perhaps after a night of drinking or a weekend BBQ) take 15 minutes (yep, that’s all the time you need) to make a quick and easy green juice (no juicer necessary). Here’s how to do it:

GREEN JUICE LEMONADE

  • 2 large organic cucumbers (the fatter the better)
  • 2 bunches of organic celery 
  • 1 bunch of parsley, dandelion greens, kale, cilantro or spinach
  • Juice of 2 lemons or limes

Directions:

  1. Chop all the vegetables into 1-inch chunks.
  2. Put into a Vitamix or Blendtec Blender
  3. Blend for only 10 seconds using a plunger to make sure all the veggies get blended but stop before they get too oxidized.
  4. Pour into The Amazing Nut Milk Bag and squeeze the liquid into a pitcher or bowl.
  5. Add the lemon juice and store in 2 pint sized jars (I like to save my leftover kombucha bottles)

Shopping Tip: for 2 days worth of juice, buy twice as much produce and wash it all at the same time. Wrap 1/2 of the veggies in a towel and place in a plastic bag in the fridge for easy juicing the next day.

Tip #2: Buy a large bag of lemons or limes and Juice them all at once. Store in your fridge for up to 2 weeks in a glass jar.

Tip #3: For an even tastier juice that picky eaters and kids will love, try my Green Juice Cappucino. It’s green juice to the max!