"Eat food, not too much, mostly plants", I love this quote by Michael Pollan, journalist and food activist. "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food", another great quote from Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine. These are two quotes that sum up my beliefs about food, especially the plant based diet that I have followed for the past 21 years!! I remember going to my first vegetarian cooking class at UNLV, taught by a woman named Yogi G. She made healthy eating look simple and fun as we learned how to make home made salad dressings and prepare meat free dishes. This class was life changing for me as I saw how easy it was to transition to a plant based, vegetarian diet. From this point on, it really wasn't hard for me to stop eating meat or dairy products. It was never hard for me to "give up" cheese or animal products. These things didn't really make me feel good anyway, so why not try a different way of living. I was never stressed about how I would get my protein as there were plenty of plant based options (even more so today)! My mom was a huge influence as well. We have attended many raw food and vegan cooking classes together over the years (and today I am teaching plant based cooking classes)! We had a food dehydrator and learned how to make healthy snacks and experimented with raw -vegan foods. My mom even helped start the first raw food meet up group in Las Vegas and hosted many pot lucks in her home. My father was also on board with this healthier lifestyle and also created healthier versions of favorite dishes. Over the years, the raw food and vegan community grew in Las Vegas and still is growing to this day! I attended many healthy workshops and cooking classes that always inspired me to continue this journey, and connect with many friends and professionals that inspired me to continue to follow this path. One of my favorite conferences was Health, Healing and Happiness that brought together many plant based doctors, experts, holistic healers and motivation for this lifestyle.
My journey to plant based eating wasn't a drastic measure to defeat major health conditions. For me, it purely was a journey to a healthier way of living. I had minor health issues, but all healed quickly due to the removal of dairy, meat and other animal proteins. I just felt better overall eating a fresh, plant based diet that consisted of fruit, vegetables, grains, nuts and legumes. I studied from many plant base doctors such as Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Dr. McDougall, Dr. Neil Barnard, and many others doctors and plant based/vegan specialists over the years. I realized this journey was mine to create, and I continued to experiment with different super foods, herbs, essential oils and many healing foods over the years. Cooking, nutrition and food became a true passion for me.
My healthy diet was put to the test when I was pregnant in 2007. I was determined to have a 100% vegan pregnancy, and I thankfully was successful. I had tended to always test low in iron, so at one point when my iron was low my doctor recommended that I eat meat. Knowing that I could eat plant based sources of iron and take an extra iron supplement, I listened to my body and ate the plants that I needed. To make a long story short, I had an extremely healthy pregnancy, and ended up having a beautiful, drug-free home birth with the assistance of a mid-wife. I know that this was mostly due to the healthy preparations that I had made during my pregnancy.
Fast forward to the present, my diet has changed slightly. I have studied nutrition and many diet theories over the years. I have learned there is not one diet that will work for everyone. I have also learned that our bodies change so much as we age. I still eat a full plant based diet, but I occasionally incorporate minimal animal protein (turkey, fish, eggs) when I feel my body wants it and maybe sometimes craves it. I do this without judgement. I know it's not important to have a label on how we eat. What's important is knowing where our food comes from (eating mostly organic, unprocessed food), and knowing how we feel after we eat this food. Food is supposed to make us feel good, energized and satisfied, if it doesn't then we shouldn't be eating it.
In my current career as a Certified Health Coach, I inspire other to eat more plants, to eat the rainbow, to eat greens and nutrient dense superfoods (superfoods are defined as the most nutrient dense foods on the planet)! We live in a very processed, fast food world, and I want to make a difference by inspiring others to make small changes in their diet. It doesn't have to be drastic, and it doesn't have to be hard. You don't have to go 100% vegan or forever give up your cheese (but you might want too)! All you have to do is "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants", thank you Michael Pollan. My work has focused mostly on nutrition for children and families. I saw first hand with my own son, who is now 12, as I cooked with him, planted edible gardens in our backyard and taught him over the years. I also manage the Chef and Nutrition Program for Green Our Planet, which is the largest school garden company in the United States. I teach hundreds of kids and parents how to eat real food growing right in the school garden. I love the healthy journey that I have been on, and I love inspiring others.
Please reach out to me if I can help YOU on your healthy eating journey!
I was introduced to essential oils many years ago. I love the many amazing benefits that essential oils provide, and that they all come right from nature. Essential oils are extracts from plants and are distilled from the bark, leaves, stems, roots and flowers of different vegetation from all over the world. Essential oils have been used by ancient civilizations across the globe for aromatherapy, personal care, healthcare practices, religious ceremonies, beauty treatments and in food preparation. I recently started incorporating dōTERRA brand essential oils into our family and love this addition to our healthy lifestyle.
Every month, I join my good friend and dōTERRA Diamond Wellness Advocate, Natalie and our team, for a dōTERRA product of the month party. We test out new ways to cook with essential oils and infuse our dishes with the oil of the month. Below is my collection of recipes I have created for this series and some of the many benefits of the oils.
Product of the Month: Rosemary
Most of you know, how much I love making hummus! There are so many different variations! When I found out the product of the month, I was excited to try rosemary in a white bean hummus! What a delicious addition! We also tried rosemary tea using fresh rosemary and added a few drops of rosemary oil.
Benefits of Rosemary:
Rosemary is commonly used in cooking and has a woodsy aroma. Rosemary also has many internal benefits, such as, supports a healthy digestion; supports respiratory function and helps reduce nervous tension and fatigue.
Product of the Month: Clementine
One of my favorite childhood drinks was an Orange Julius, which was a blended drink made with orange juice, milk, sugar and vanilla. When I heard this month's Product of the Month, Clementine, I immediately created my new healthy version of an "orange Julius".
Benefits of clementine essential oil:
The aroma of orange or clementine alone is enough to lift your mood and energize you! When taken internally, clementine supports healthy digestion and metabolism, is cleansing and purifying, and supports a healthy immune system and an inspiring environment.
Product of the Month: Grapefruit
Grapefruit is one fruit that I don't eat often enough. I was reminded how much I like it when experimenting with a new grapefruit vinaigrette and using fresh grapefruit in this spinach salad.
Benefits of grapefruit essential oil:
Grapefruit essential oil has a fruity, floral aroma that is energizing and mood uplifting. It is cleansing and purifying, and is frequently used for skin care to improve the appearance of blemishes. Grapefruit essential oil also supports a healthy metabolism.
Having fun in the kitchen with DoTERRA! This is my special cooking corner at Natalie's house! Reminding myself to use more grapefruit!
Product of the Month: Clove
Nothing says the holidays like the delicious taste and smell of clove. I usually use ground cloves in my holiday energy bites recipe, but tried it with a drop of clove essential oil, and it was delicious! It really brought out the clove flavor. These holiday energy bites have other holidays flavors, but feel free to make these any time of year!
Benefits of clove essential oil:
Clove essential oil has a soothing, warm aroma. When used internally, it has powerful antioxidant benefits. Clove oil also helps clean teeth and gums.
Thank you Natalie, Brian and Team Revolution for allowing me to share my passion for healthy eating and for testing my Essential Oil infused recipes. Thank you for sharing your inspiration with so many through your journey with dōTERRA!
Want to find out more about dōTERRA or attend a Product of the Month party with us?
Contact me today! Check back often for new recipe additions.
I have used essential oils over the years for many reasons, but have decided this year to dive a little deeper and learn more about the many benefits and uses of essential oils. I will be experimenting with different dōTERRA brand oils throughout the year for cleaning, cooking and natural health promotion and health remedies. Simply defined, an essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants. Essential oils give plants their distinctive smells, protect plants and play a role in plant pollination. In addition to their intrinsic benefits to plants and their beautiful fragrance, essential oils have long been used for food preparation, beauty treatment, and health-care practices.
Below are my personal reasons for incorporating more essential oils into our family’s natural medicine cabinet this year.
I am excited to incorporate more oils into my family natural medicine cabinet this year and share how these essential oils work for our family.
Do you use essential oils? What are your favorites?
There are so many different diets that it can be hard to decide which one is best. Trying to “stick” to a diet can often lead to frustration, deprivation and overeating. Over the years, I have followed different diets, such as, Vegan, Raw and Vegetarian, but have found that I personally don’t like to have a label tied to the way that I eat, or have a strict diet that is hard to "stick" to. I like to focus on eating nourishing, plant-based, real food that keep me healthy and provides my body with the nutrients that it needs. What has worked for me and my family is “Clean Eating” which is consuming primarily whole, unprocessed, real food. While clean eating may not sound very exciting or flavorful, it actually can provide an array of flavor and options. Eating a clean diet of whole foods and unprocessed ingredients ensures you get adequate amounts of essential nutrients and minerals, like vitamin B12, magnesium, calcium, fiber and much more. Whole foods boast incredible nutrition profiles, and it’s best to eat a wide range of nutrient dense foods to ensure any nutritional void is filled. When you stick to whole foods, you’re much more likely to keep your caloric intake at an appropriate level for your body and maintain a healthy weight as a result.
Whole foods actually fill you up and fuel you, whereas empty calories, like those found in processed foods like, candy and chips, fill a mental craving, but don’t physically fill you up. Your mindset will improve when you switch to whole foods since it’s hard to feel guilty after filling up on genuine nutrients. Whole foods also regulate cholesterol levels and ward off cancer, heart disease, dementia, and many other conditions. In addition, the high fiber content of fruits, vegetables, and grains keeps the digestive system in tip-top shape, which is essential to optimal health. Other benefits of clean eating include, weight loss, increased energy, clearer skin, shinier hair, better sleep and increased mental well-being.
The 12 steps below will help you start on your journey to eating clean. Pick one or more to try each week.
1. Eat Whole Foods
Whole foods are those that occur in nature and don’t go through a lab or another manufacturing unit. Have you heard the statement: "If it comes from a plant, eat it; if it’s made in a plant, avoid it"! Examples of whole foods include fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
2. Spend time in the kitchen
When you cook for yourself, you’re almost guaranteed to up the nutritional value of your food. Experiment with new recipes each week. Try meal prepping to have healthy items on hand and ready to go for quick meals. Restaurant food is more processed, less fresh, and often over seasoned. Keep it simple and then build your repertoire as you learn more.
3. Eliminate refined sugar and carbohydrates
You’ll want to remove white foods (like white sugar and white flour) from your diet if you’re aiming to eat clean. This includes all standard desserts containing white sugar, as well as, white pasta, white rice, white bread, and pastries.
4. Drink Water
Start each day with a glass of fresh lemon water. The many benefits of this include: helps flush the digestive system and rehydrate the body, helps purge toxins from the body, balances the acidity in your body and boosts your immune system. Make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day. Add lemon or fruit to make water more flavorful.
5. Maintain blood sugar.
Keeping your blood sugar stable greatly contributes to healthy food choices. When you wait too long between meals or eat processed foods that spike blood sugar – leading to a crash in energy – you’re more likely to reach for sugar, fat, or caffeine to keep your energy up. If you continue this cycle, you’ll always feel irritable and exhausted. If you ensure you eat whole foods every 3–4 hours, your blood sugar and mentality will remain stable.
6. Remember the magic combination of protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates.
You should aim to get a serving from each group at every meal. This will create optimal blood sugar levels and stave off your cravings and brain fog. Some examples of great protein sources include fish, tempeh, and tofu. Top-notch fat options are avocado, olive oil, nuts, and seeds. When reaching for complex carbs, try quinoa, brown rice, or sweet potatoes.
7. Add herbs and spices
Adding herbs and spices will enhance the flavors of your dishes and add many health benefits without the extra calories.
8. Watch out for fat, salt, and sugar.
This is easier than you think, particularly if you’ve cut out processed foods, which are responsible for most of our excess calories and high levels of fat, sugar, and salt. Clean foods are usually naturally low in all of these ingredients. Try natural sugars such as raw honey, maple syrup, or dates.
9. Don’t drink your calories.
High calorie drinks like specialty coffees and soft drinks can tack on many extra calories. Always choose water first or unsweetened tea.
Regular physical activity is a must for many reasons. Not only does it decrease fat, strengthen and build muscle, and help you burn more energy at rest, it keeps your heart, lungs, and bones healthy and strong.
11. Savor Your Food
Take your time to enjoy meals whether alone or with family. Sit down and enjoy all of the flavors of the meal. Try to keep distractions such as phone and television out of reach to fully enjoy the meal.
12. Clean Out Your Pantry
Toss foods that contain processed ingredients such as, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, artificial flavors or sweeteners and any ingredient that you don’t recognize or cannot pronounce. These processed ingredients can be harmful to your health.
*Adapted from Integrative Nutrition, Inc.
I definitely owe my love of natural healing solutions to my mom. Growing up, anytime we were sick, my mom would always turn to natural remedies before taking a trip to the doctor. While there is certainly a need for medical treatments for some illnesses, we always research a natural solution first. She bought me my first natural solutions book, “Prescription for Nutritional Healing” by Phyllis A. Balch, over 20 years ago and it’s still on my bookshelf today! It’s been a great resource for drug-free remedies using vitamins, minerals, herbs and food supplements. Instead of a “medicine cabinet” at home, we have a “natural solutions” cabinet. It is filled with essential oils, supplements and herbs. I grow some of my favorite herbs in our backyard garden, and dry them to use for cooking and in making tea.
I have many other herbs that I use in my Natural Solutions cabinet, but these are my top 5 herbs that I always have growing in my garden.
I love having mint in my garden. Not only does it grow well, (sometimes too well and takes over the entire garden) but it is so fragrant! There are hundreds of varieties of mint: chocolate mint, peppermint, apple mint, spearmint to name a few of my personal favorites. A few ways that I use mint are to make freshly brewed tea, to flavor my drinking water, in salad dressings and added to a fruit salad. There are so many wonderful health benefits of mint. Some of the benefits include: relief from depression, headaches and fatigue. It also relieves congestion, and is used in the treatment of respiratory disorders and seasonal allergies. Mint is also beneficial for memory loss, weight loss and skin care issues. It is good to consume mint after a meal to help with digestion or to relieve indigestion. Mint is also great for oral health (think mint toothpaste)! Mint is rich in antioxidants which protects the body from oxidative stress and damage to cells. In addition, mint is a good source of Vitamin A which is beneficial for eye health.
One of my favorite scents in the garden: Basil! This beautiful, fragrant herb is one of healthiest! Want to boost your immune system? Try eating basil! Basil is considered “the King of all herbs!” There are over 35 different types of basil including sweet, purple, bush and Holy basil. Holy basil is most known for its healing properties and is considered a sacred herb. Holy Basil is referred to as Tulsi in India, and has been used in many Ayurvedic healing treatments for thousands of years. Basil is high in Vitamin C and K, Iron, Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium. Benefits of basil include: acts as an anti-inflammatory, contains disease fighting antioxidants, fights cancer, reduces pain and fevers, prevents diabetes, protects liver and protects against harmful bacteria growth. When I smell basil I usually think of Italian food or Thai food, two of my favorite cuisines. Basil is always the perfect flavoring for these dishes. I also love adding it to salads, smoothies, sandwiches, and of course, in pesto!
Lemon Balm is a new favorite in my garden. A member of the mint family, lemon balm is a calming herb and has been used to reduce anxiety and promote sleep. Lemon balm contains a lot of antioxidants and nutrients that are beneficial to many systems in the body. This powerful herb is good for rejuvenating and revitalizing aging skin, improving heart heath, relieving digestive issues, treating diabetes symptoms and strengthening the immune system. I love adding lemon balm to my smoothies and water for a touch of lemon flavor and combining it with mint in a brewed tea.
Relax and balance your mood with the soft smell of lavender. Lavender is beneficial for your nervous system and can reduce anxiety and depression. Lavender also promotes restful sleep, helps with skin irritations, helps to maintain healthy skin and hair, prevents infections, reduces inflammation and is beneficial for digestion. Lavender is used in many different applications from food and fragrance to cosmetics and herbal medicine. It is full of essential oils and is a very powerful and healing herb. I love to use lavender in an essential oil form, especially in a room diffuser. I also use lavender in tea and lemonade, and as a flavoring spice in sauces, dressings and desserts. Lavender contains vitamin A and calcium. Lavender also contains caffeic acid which is beneficial for cancer prevention.
When I first think of sage, I think of it as a spiritual house cleanser for driving off negative energy. This cleansing ritual is called smudging. This sage smudging ritual dates as far back as the ancient Romans, Greeks and many Native American cultures who believed this practice of burning sage would rid any negative or harmful energy. Every time I move into a new home, I tie a bundle of sage and burn it to cleanse the space. Sage is a fragrant, woody herb and can be used fresh or dried. Sage is high in antioxidants and has many health benefits with both culinary and medicinal uses. Some of these benefits include: lowers inflammation, boosts the immune system, improves brain function, regulates digestion, keeps skin healthy, helps in the growth and development of bones and aids in preventing diabetes. It’s usually common to pair sage with chicken or meat dishes, and it can be added to sauces and dressings. It is delicious with pumpkin and vegetable dishes. It is another herb that I like to use in brewed tea.
Just as important as it is to eat your fruits and veggies, it is just as beneficial to eat your herbs too!
Stay tuned for future posts on my favorite herbs and our recipes using herbs. There are so many more that are beneficial for our health. What are your favorite herbs?
Join my email list and immediately gain access to my TOP FIVE SMOOTHIE RECIPES right now as a thank you!!
NEW RECIPES DELIVERED FOR FREE!
Get the latest recipes delivered straight to your inbox, and be the first to hear about new cooking classes, workshops, blog post updates, and more! Give it a try...you can unsubscribe at any time. :-)
And, of course, I promise to never spam you or sell your email address to anyone.
PLEASE NOTE: The information provided throughout my website pertaining to your health or wellness, is not intended to be a substitute for the professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by your own physician or health care provider. It is intended to be provided for informational, educational, and self-empowerment purposes only. This information should not be used to diagnose, treat or cure any illness or health condition. If you have, or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your physician or health care provider. A Health Coach is defined as a guide and mentor who empowers clients to take responsibility for their own health and supports them to implement and sustain lifestyle and behavior changes that will contribute to the achievement of their personal wellness goals. I became certified as a Health Coach because of my passion for health and wellness, and to work with others on incorporating positive and healthy changes in their lives.
© 2018 Web Design by Lisa Smith, Geek Girls In Vegas