Articles with 'natural foods'


Hey Michelle Obama! What Did You Do Now?

 

Cereal NutritionI’m not into politics. Really.

I vote with dollars and my food purchases, not at the polls.

But, I gotta tell ya… I really like Michelle Obama’s food sense.

A few years ago she launched Let’s Move. A program that teaches kids and their parents the importance of moving their butts and eating better food otherwise the economic health and security of our nation is at stake.

With over one-third of the population diagnosed obese, it’s just a matter of time before America sinks into the ocean (figuratively speaking) unable to support the weight of its gluttony.

If we are unhealthy in body, we may be unhealthy in mind and spirit as well. A nation of fat, sick and depressed people can be a HUGE drain on our resources and our strength.

Michelle also planted an “organic” garden at The White House. Ahhhhh, an earthmother, disguised as a politician!

I love that she dug deep and got reconnected to the earth, and back to the very mother that supports us all. She recieved some serious flack from the big chemical companies about her little garden that doesn’t use pesticides and herbicides.[1]

I know her garden is not certified “USDA organic,” but that’s okay. Any garden that is clean and pure and not doused in chemicals is akin to the Garden of Eden to me.

Now she’s at it again! Michelle has taken on the notorious food labeling system. Most folks don’t realize that the portions of food they are being fed may NOT be the best size for the sake of their health and well being.

Her new labeling system also makes it pretty clear how much sugar and calories something contains. Very smart!

This new move has the manufacturers of food products a wee bit angry. But, that’s okay.

Michelle, I want you to know that I got your back. And, I know that thousands of Health Coaches around the world have got your back, too.

You’re speaking the language we understand and promote on a daily basis… “You are what you eat.”

For the next go round maybe you could consider adding these two ideas for the new labeling system as well:

  • How much love went into the making of that food product? It could be an outline of a heart on the package. If the heart is filled in, then a whole lotta love went into the making of that food. If the heart is empty… well… it may have a similar effect on the person eating it.
  • Was that food naturally grown or grown in a laboratory? A simple yellow smiley face would work. The more natural the product, the bigger the smile.

I’m sure your hubby knows how important your work is to the health and happiness of the people in this country, and to people around the world. America is a BIG influence on many countries.

From one earth mother to another… keep up the great work!


[1] http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-war-over-michelle-obamas-sort-of-organic-white-house-garden/

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Bean & Buffalo Chili

 

chili

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 8 oz ground buffalo meat
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves peeled and minced
  • 2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 & 1/2 cups kidney beans, cooked (if using canned beans, rinse the beans)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, 15 oz.
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • ¼ cup of parsley, minced

In a deep pan or medium sized soup pot, sauté onion 1-2 minutes. Add ground buffalo meat. With a large spoon, chop the buffalo meat into bite sized pieces as it cooks. Add carrots, celery, garlic, and spices and cook 5-7 minutes. Add cooked beans and tomatoes, cover and cook 15-20 minutes. Adjust seasoning if needed. Garnish with fresh parsley.

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Tasty Travels!

 

P1000837Eating, for me, is just as high a priority as finding shelter. I certainly would not plan a trip without figuring out, beforehand, where I was going lay my sleepy head for the night!  As a conscious eater, before traveling, I do food research too.

I’m not the kind of person who shows up in Podunk, USA, and plops myself down into any old restaurant for a meal. My travel itinerary always includes eating the best quality food available.  Once I know my needs for food and shelter are met, I can truly relax and enjoy the destination.

Thanks to the internet, locating great food is practically effortless. It’s as simple as entering the name of the city where you are headed plus the words, “local, seasonal, organic, naturally raised or pastured meats and restaurants.”  If there is something in that area it will pop up in an article, website, or blog. You could also go to localharvest.org and enter the zip code or city where you are headed to help you find farmer’s markets, grocery stores, and natural foods restaurants.

This little bit of detective work makes discovering new places a yummy experience instead of a frantic search for food after arriving famished from a long day of traveling.  Once food becomes a priority, it’s pretty darn easy to eat well no matter where you are.

You may be surprised to learn how many restaurants and chefs are sourcing high quality ingredients and they are proud of it – they boldly showcase local farmers and artisanal food producers on their menus. Savvy chefs and restaurateurs purchase from people who care about the products they create. For example, you may see something like this on a menu: “Appearing at Big Bob’s diner… Martin Farms pastured chicken, Stoneledge Farms Heirloom Tomatoes, and Squiggly Piggly Farms Heritage Bacon.” Farmers are certainly the new rock stars!

If you don’t have access to the internet, try the old fashioned way of digging up information: call the hotel, inn, or place you are going to be staying and ask if they know any local, natural, seasonal restaurants, or health-food stores in the area. The local town-folk may know where to get the best homegrown fresh products.

I love exploring new places and savoring local, seasonal, and indigenous ingredients. As an added bonus, eating locally grown food helps my body become physically acclimated to each new environment and eases the effects of jet lag and general fatigue from traveling. For example, I live in NYC, which has a temperate climate.  If I were traveling to Costa Rica or some other tropical climate, upon arrival, I would need to eat the food growing in that area of the world to help balance my body. Eating locally in Costa Rica includes more fish and coconuts, as well as tropical fruits and other foods that help cool the body and keep it naturally balanced in the sweltering heat. 

HOTEL, MOTEL, HOLIDAY INN…

Clients sometimes tell me that they don’t have the option of leaving the hotel due to seminars, meetings, and other business obligations. In that case, it’s imperative to check out the hotel restaurant menu before arriving. Many hotels have restaurants with great food on their menus. Some offer international fare for people traveling from all over the world.

If the hotel doesn’t provide any quality food, or doesn’t have a restaurant on site, ask if they have a room with a kitchenette. If yes, bring some simple travelling food: a small plastic baggie filled with rolled oats, dried fruit, and nuts and seeds (trail mix). With these few ingredients you can prepare a nourishing breakfast in your room.

If you don’t want to travel with food, you could always find something to eat somewhere.  This is America for gosh sakes! When I worked for MTV Networks, I remember getting off the plane and driving directly to the nearest Whole Foods or natural foods market to stock up on eggs, bread, oats, butter, yogurt, and snacks like hummus before going to my hotel. I simply stored that food inside the small refrigerator in the hotel room.

If you do not have a room with a kitchenette and/or stove, you can still make a variety of foods in the coffee machine. Yes, that’s right; I said, “in the coffee machine.”  To prepare basic oatmeal, we only need hot water. The same goes for soft-boiled eggs. You can acquire magical cooking liquid by running the coffee machine without adding coffee. Voila! You’ve got hot water.

For oatmeal, pour the hot water on top of rolled oats and let it sit covered overnight. In the morning pour a little more hot water on top, add some trail mix, a dab of yogurt, and you’ve got a nourishing breakfast.

To soft-boil an egg, fill a coffee cup with hot water and let the egg sit in it for 3 to 5 minutes. Change the water 3 to 4 times to achieve desired consistency. The longer you continue adding hot water, the more the egg cooks and the firmer it will be.

Or you can drink the eggs “Rocky-style”; gulped down raw. Bleachhh!  Not my favorite. And, I can’t believe I’m going to tell you this; but, you could even fry an egg on top of the coffeepot heating element (although not recommended, and very messy). By sharing that last tidbit of coffee-pot-cooking knowledge with you, I may have just been banned from every hotel in America.

Depending on how long you are traveling, you may want to consider renting a house or an apartment instead. They usually come equipped with stocked kitchens. The Egg Burrito pictured above was prepared in my apartment/hotel in Miami. What a great way to start the day.

All you have to do is bring some food savvy and cooking skills with you wherever you go and you’ll always have access to good food.health-is-wealth

Want more tips on how to make food a priority for you? Check out Health is Wealth – Make a Delicious Investment in You! And, get ready to book your next trip to anywhere without any fear.

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Kale Salad with Fried Quail Eggs

 

kale salad with quail eggs

  • 2 bunches of kale
  • 1/2 cup organic olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. prepared mustard
  • 1 tsp. local honey
  • 1/8 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 cup pepitas (toasted pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2-3 quail eggs per person
  • Grass-fed butter
  • Sea salt

Remove stems from kale and discard. Chop kale leaves and wash thoroughly. Spin dry (in a salad spinner) and put the leaves into a large mixing bowl. Combine lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, honey and sea salt. Pour over kale. Massage dressing into the kale using your hands until leaves soften (about 2-3 minutes). Add pepitas and cranberries and toss the salad. In a small frying pan, heat butter. Crack open the quail eggs and fry 2-3 minutes or until cooked. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place fried eggs on top of salad. Enjoy!

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Massaged Kale Salad with Pepitas & Cranberries

 

IMG_7550

  • 2 bunches of kale
  • 1/2 cup organic olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. prepared mustard
  • 1 tsp. local honey
  • 1/8 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 cup pepitas (toasted pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • Parmesan cheese

Remove stems from kale and discard. Chop kale leaves and wash thoroughly. Spin dry (in a salad spinner) and put the leaves into a large mixing bowl. Combine lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, honey and sea salt. Pour over kale. Massage dressing into the kale using your hands until leaves soften (about 2-3 minutes). Add pepitas and cranberries and toss the salad. Top with grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

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It’s Party Time!

 

FAVORITE_01How many times have you attended a party and midway through the festivities noticed your belly felt uncomfortably swollen? You filled up with chips, pretzels and other junk food because there was nothing else to nosh on. Ugh!

Notoriously, party foods tend to be highly refined junk foods loaded with salt, sugar and other belly-ache making crap.

When throwing your next party, keep this in mind and wow your guests with something delicious that won’t leave them feeling like they need to go on a three day food-fast to feel better.

Or, if you are attending a party, bring either of the two dishes below as a gift for your lovely hosts. They’ll appreciate you for it, and you will get to eat something yummy that won’t leave you feeling crummy!

These are two of my favorite tasty treats for the perfect party food. What is your favorite party snack?

White Bean Bruschetta on Whole Grain Baguette

 Andrea_bruschetta[1]

Easy Hummus

Hummus8

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Stop Dieting and Start Losing Weight!

 

At 12 years old, I wasn’t a fat kid. As a matter of fact, I was pretty skinny (that’s me on the right). But, all the girls at school were on diets, and the women’s magazines were recommending diets, and my mom was on a diet, too. I remember thinking, “I should really go on a diet.”

It began by eating “diet” food and drinking diet soda. I also ate low-fat or, better yet, non-fat, yogurt.

And, an interesting thing happened – I began gaining weight and didn’t understand why.

By the time I was 15 years old I had a warped idea about food.

I remember going to my best friend’s house every day after school. Omi, her grandmother, would prepare us the most delicious meal – Braised pork or chicken with gravy, creamy mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables. Twenty minutes after we ate, we would lock ourselves in the bathroom and forcibly get that homemade food out of our bodies.  I remember Omi knocking on the bathroom door asking, “Are you girls okay?”

We’d say, “yeah we’re fine,” and turn the radio louder so she wouldn’t hear us throwing up.

But, the truth is we were NOT okay. We were damaged. It was the 1980’s and we were brainwashed by the dieting industry to think food with fat would make us fat.

At 17 years old I attended Weight Watchers “fat camp” in Pennsylvania. It was sensible dieting. We ate meals that were very low in fat, drank diet soda, used artificial sweeteners instead of sugar, and slathered fake butter on our bread.

I remember one night at camp, I got stoned (hey… I was a teenager), broke into the food shack, and stole, and ate, an entire jar of peanut butter.  Apparently, my body was craving fat.

After fat camp, I joined weight watchers and bought a food scale. I weighed and counted every fat gram and calorie that went into my mouth. Unfortunately, this made eating a laborious task.

Eventually, I grew tired of weighing and measuring and counting, and joined Jenny Craig. They sold boxed food that was already weighed and measured. It certainly wasn’t delicious, but it did the job and I lost a few pounds.

With every diet, I initially lost weight but always gained it back…PLUS some! I was not obese, but I was chunky. And, it seemed the more I dieted, the chunkier I grew. At my chubbiest I was 149 pounds, which is not FAT. But, I’m a shorty! At 5’ 3” (and a 1/2), I was 25 pounds heavier than I am right now, and I felt bloated and uncomfortable.

My mom was diagnosed with cancer for the second time when I was in my early 20′s. After chemo and radiation we tried something called a Macrobiotic Diet.  It wasn’t about counting fat grams or calories; it was about the quality of food and how it affected the body energetically, physically and spiritually. It was an entirely new concept for me.

The diet consisted of whole grains, beans, vegetables, sea vegetables, fish, nuts and seeds, and fruits.  And, it was very low in fat, so it fit perfectly with my “dieting” mentality. Eating that food made my body feel good and helped me go to the bathroom – which, as a chronic dieter, was a rare occurrence. As a result, I dropped a few pounds… literally, right into the toilet.

After mom died, I kept some of the Macrobiotic principles and my weight leveled off at 139 pounds. But, mostly I went back to my unhealthy “dieting” ways.

Finally, a gift from the gods came. At 28, I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and a goiter. After watching mom suffer, and eventually die from chemo and radiation, I decided radioactive iodine was NOT an option for me (Radiate My Thyroid? No Freakin’ Way!).

I stopped the nonsense and stopped dieting. Instead, I focused on eating the best quality food to help my body heal.

Within the first 4 months I dropped 18 pounds. It’s been 16 years and I’ve never gained back that weight. I don’t ever think about dieting anymore. I just eat food, real food, with all of its nutrients intact, including the fat.

Below are some steps to help you break free from a dieting mentality and lose weight.

STOP dieting:

  • Dieting deprives us of physical and emotional nutrition
  • Dieting creates dysfunctional behaviors
  • Dieting contributes to weight gain

Eat Real Food: see pictures below. This is what food looks like.

Drink Water: there is no better beverage for your body.

Ditch Chemical Sweeteners: These chemicals disrupt endocrine function, lead to weight gain, contribute to depression, and destroy brain cells. Not only that, artificial sweeteners are so unnaturally sweet that they compromise the delicate palate in your mouth. No longer will a fresh berry taste as sweet as it naturally is if you eat chemical sweeteners.

Sit Down to Meals: Do NOT walk or stand and eat. Digestion needs relaxation to function properly. If you are stressed out, or walking and eating, stress hormone rises and digestion shuts down.

Move Your Body: A simple 35-40 minute daily walk can help. You don’t need to pump iron, you just need to move your butt EVERY SINGLE DAY.

If you find you are stuck, here are some common dieting mistakes:

  • Eating cold foods and/or too many salads – dampens digestive fire and slows metabolism
  • Forbidding foods – the dieter becomes obsessed with forbidden food
  • Eliminating fat – creates wild cravings and the dieter is never fully satisfied
  • Emotional eating – what are you really craving? Love? Companionship? Inspiration? Creativity?
  • Impatience – it took time to gain the weight, it’ll take time to take it off.
  • Lack of self love – if we don’t love ourselves exactly as we are right now, we won’t take care of our body.

Stop the nonsense and stop dieting!

If you need more guidance, sign up for health-coaching and I’ll support you through the delicious process of achieving your ideal weight.

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What Supplements Do You Take?

 

Clients and students often ask me what type of vitamin and mineral supplements I take. It’s simple… I don’t take any. But, I used to take a lot! Before taking charge of my health, I spent thousands of dollars buying vitamin and mineral supplements to help make up for my dietary deficiencies and lack of knowledge about good nutrition.

The supplement industry is a BIG industry and is making millions (probably more like billions) of dollars annually, catering to folks like you and me who are concerned about health.  I used to believe supplementation could help heal my ailments and make up for my lack of proper nourishment and/or understanding of food.  Boy, was I mistaken!  I wasted a lot of money chasing wild claims and may have harmed my body in the process, too.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, antioxidant vitamins increased a person’s risk of dying by up to 16 percent.  The University of Washington found that vitamin E elevates lung cancer risk, and researchers at the National Cancer Institute found that men who took more than one multivitamin daily had higher rates of prostate cancer.[1]  According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal, below is a list of popular supplements and their toxic effects:[2]

SUPPLEMENT POTENTIAL TOXIC EFFECTS
Vitamin A Hepatoxicity (liver damage), increased risk of hip fracture
Beta carotene Increased risk of lung cancer, yellowing of skin, diarrhea, arthralgias (arthritis)
Vitamin C Diarrhea, gastric upset
Vitamin D Calcification of the soft tissue
Vitamin E Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, fatigue, blurred vision
Vitamin B6 Sensory neuropathy, ataxia (lack of coordination and muscle movements)
Vitamin B3 Vasodilation, gastrointestinal upset, hyperglycemia

 

These are just a select few of the more common supplements and their toxic effects.  All supplements, when taken in excess, can have negative effects on the body.One important thing to keep in mind is that animals in the wild do not need supplements to thrive — and neither do humans.  We are a part of nature, and the wholesome food naturally provided by our environment contains all the elements we need in perfect balance (fiber, water, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates).  Our body uses what it needs and discards the waste.  Overdoses of isolated supplements accumulate and can wreak havoc in our system.  In the short term, supplements may do some good; but in the long term, they can cause serious harm.

There are better and more delicious ways to get the vitamins and minerals your body needs without the toxic side effects.  For example Mussels contain Vitamin B12, Zinc, Selenium, Omega 3’s, and they are delicious. And, sweet potatoes are rich in Beta Carotene, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin E.  So, the question you need to ask yourself is, “Would I rather eat a handful of hard coated supplements, or enjoy something delicious?”

Steamed Mussels with Mirin & Baked Sweet Potato Fries


[1] http://www.rd.com/living-healthy/are-vitamins-really-that-good-for-you-/article46647.html

[2] http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/content/full/169/1/47/T127

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Sauteed Summer Fruit with Fresh Whipped Cream & Mint

 
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 4 nectarines, pitted and diced
  • Sea salt
  • 1/2 pint of blackberries, washed
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla flavoring
  • 2-3 fresh mint, leaves sliced thin
  • Cinnamon

Procedure:

  1. Saute nectarines in butter, with a pinch or two of sea salt, for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Let cool.
  3. Place nectarines in individual bowls and top with a few blackberries.
  4. Whip heavy cream and vanilla until it becomes whipped cream.
  5. Top fruit with a dollop of whipped cream.
  6. Dust with cinnamon and garnish with mint.
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Health Care? I Don’t Buy It!

 

The health care system in America is corrupt and broken, and I don’t waste money buying into it. Our system is designed, not for health-care but disease-care. People pay monthly premiums ensuring their diseases are well taken care of after they have manifested. This does not keep insured people healthy, but it certainly profits the trillion dollar medical and pharmaceutical industries. I believe we need to begin spending money where it can benefit us most – on exceptional self-care, great quality food, prevention of and curing disease.

I’ve been living outside the modern health care box for over sixteen years and my health has never been better.  When I mention to clients and other folks that I do not have health insurance, they are shocked and always offer the same response, “what if you get hit by a bus?” Their concern is valid.  What if I got hit by a bus?  What are the odds of that happening? I checked with the National Center for Disease Statistics to get clarity.

Top Causes of Death in the United States:

  • Heart disease: 631,636
  • Cancer: 559,888
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 137,119
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 124,583
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 121,599 (this statistic would include, but not be limited to, getting hit by a bus)
  • Diabetes: 72,449

Of even more interest to me is that iatrogenic diseases (not listed above) are the third leading cause of death in the United States. Iatrogenic diseases refer to the adverse effects or complications resulting from medical treatment. Over 284,000 people die every year due to negative effects from medication, infections in hospital, and unnecessary surgery. So it would seem I run a greater risk of dying inside a medical establishment than out on my own in the busy NYC streets surrounded by buses!

Buying into the modern health care system is a crutch, and statistically speaking, an early death sentence. Many people purchase health insurance then consciously or unconsciously put their health and wellness last because, “my insurance has it covered.”  They go to work, pay the bills on time, but neglect the most fundamental things; self-care and proper daily nourishment (physical, spiritual and emotional).

Our disease-care system will always keep us sick and unhealthy. If we experience a symptom in our body the doctor prescribes medication that covers it up or suppresses it, keeping us from taking appropriate action. If there is no symptom we no longer have to address the root cause or underlying problem.  We simply pop a pill, get back to our daily business and continue living exactly as we were without making diet or lifestyle improvements.

A patient suffering from acid reflux is prescribed an antacid or proton pump inhibitor, sent on their way, and told to return in a few months to renew the prescription or to discover a new debilitating symptom that has arisen from taking the initial medication. All prescription medications come with a slew of negative side effects. The patient may receive another medication, and another beyond that, until the entire bathroom cabinet is stacked with rows of little plastic bottles filled with symptom-suppressing and downright dangerous pills.  When I say “dangerous” I don’t mean that lightly, I mean that literally. Many prescription medications kill hundreds of thousands of people per year before they are eventually pulled off the market.  Some examples include Vioxx (for pain relief), Trasylol (to decrease bleeding), and Avandia (Diabetes).  These drugs all have two things in common – they were approved by the FDA and they are all deadly.

Meanwhile acid reflux is a simple problem with an even simpler solution; eliminate offending foods that may be upsetting the digestive system, or quit working at a job that creates daily stress, or take the time to properly chew food and digest, or release a bad relationship that is causing agita. All of these diet and lifestyle behaviors are effective for eliminating acid reflux, as well as many other conditions.

WORK WITH THE BODY, NOT AGAINST IT

Treating disease by masking symptoms alters the body’s natural chemistry and self-healing ability. The human body is brilliant and perfectly designed by the universe. It is always seeking balance.

Symptoms should not be suppressed – this is where disease begins.  When the body shares a symptom with us, we need to hear it and honor it. We have been programmed by the disease-care system to shut ourselves down, stop listening to the body and tune out divine intuition. Whether it’s an ache or pain, frequent colds and flu, skin rashes, allergies, acid reflux, cancer or other discomfort, these are all indicators that the body/mind/spirit is imbalanced. If we are to remain in a state of good health, or reclaim our failing health, we need to listen to the body and care for it on a deeper level.

Modern medical science does not get to the root cause of the problem.  The health care system that is being forced upon us, discovers disease after it has already manifested and then destroys it, and the body, simultaneously. I urge you not to willingly put yourself in harms way. Get the heck out of this system while you are still alive!

I don’t suggest abandoning the health care system entirely, or to stop using the parts of it that do work. Trust me, if I experience a traumatic accident, like getting hit by a bus, I absolutely want a doctor to put me back together again. I certainly don’t want to be wrapped in seaweed and chopsticks and left out in the sun to dry! Stitches, resetting broken bones, or anything traumatic that happens to the body requires professional medical services. As far as “health-care”… pumping the body full of chemicals, suppressing symptoms that result in more sickness and the eventual removal of body parts is not a method of healing.

Put your money where it can do the most good; self-care and proper daily nourishment (physical, spiritual and emotional). I did, and here’s what happened: My Story 

Excerpt from:

The Whole Truth, How I Naturally Reclaimed My Health and You Can Too!

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