Articles with 'Organic foods'

Sweet and Savory Beet Soup with Creme Fraiche


beet soup 4

Put beets into a pot with water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook on medium heat for 40 minutes or until beets are pierce-able with a fork. Drain the beets and let cool. Peel beets and chop into quarters.

In a soup pot, sauté onion in olive oil on medium heat until translucent (3-4 minutes). Add sea salt, beef stock, dill, white wine vinegar and quartered beets. Cook all ingredients together for 7-10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the vegetables from the soup and puree in a food processor or blender. Add the pureed vegetables back to the soup. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Whisk in sour cream. Reserve 1 tbsp. of sour cream and dilute with water so you can make a pretty white swirl on top of the soup.

*For a lighter beet soup, omit the beef stock and use veggie stock or water.

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A Cheat Sheet



During a recent health coaching session, a client mentioned how she wants to add more variety to her meals, but feels confused and overwhelmed by “which foods are which” and “what is missing”. I wrote this to help clarify and simplify!


Plants- It is what gives them shape and allows them to stand up tall! It is what provides crunch (an no, potato chips do not count)

Fruits (strawberries, apples)

Vegetables (dark green leafy ones and the skins of root veggies)

Legumes (peas, garbanzo beans)

Nuts (almonds)

Whole Grains (oats, brown rice, popcorn)


a.k.a. Amino acids. Think outside the cow/chicken/pig on this one. Plant-based sources of protein are cleaner, more sustainable, have a greater concentration of vintamins and minerals, and are cheap and easier to prepare!

Vegetables (avocado, peas, dark leafy greens)

Legumes (soy (tofu, miso, and tempeh), chickpeas, lentils)

Nuts & Seeds (nut butters, pumpkin and sunflower seeds)

Non-dairy milks (hemp, almond)

Unrefined Grains (quinoa, brown rice, oats, sprouted grain breads)


Key to a healthy, happy life! Do not fear fat. It is necessary for most basic biological functions, cushions the organs, and is a fuel source. The key is quality over quantity.

Avocado, durian (on my food bucket list!), coconut oil, flax seeds, chia, and other nuts and seeds, and olive oil. Try to include one high quality fat at eat meal to aid in vitamin and mineral absorption, as well as feel sated, and look gorgeous (I am convinced fat cured my skin woes).


The most misunderstood word in our language, thanks to the media, book sales, food marketers, magazines, etc. etc.

Everything is either a cab, a fat, or a protein. More specifically, most foods contain all three, just the ratio varies.

I met a woman who recently finished a nursing program. She was going to be giving out information at a health fair on diabetes and diet and did not know that broccoli was a carbohydrate!!!

Sure, some carbs are better than others (brown rice vs white), but listen to your gut. You are smart. Broccoli, or any vegetable, is a better choice than a low-carb snack bar, or a burger without a bun.

And in case that doesn’t simplify it enough, here is how to make your salad/pizza/sandwich/pasta dish more fulfilling.

Whole grain base + protein + leafy green + colorful veggie(s) + healthy fat = sustained energy and a happy tummy!

Ex 1: Brown rice + black beans + kale + red bell pepper + olive oil = fiesta bowl

Ex 2: Sprouted bread + tempeh + spinach + tomato + avocado = super sammy

Ex 3: Oatmeal + walnuts + apple + coconut yogurt = a great way to start the day

Have fun playing with this formula!

Think whole foods. Think color. Think variety. Don’t get caught up in labels or serving sizes, or points. Simplify your life by eating real food. And don’t be shy! I am here to support and guide you along the way!
– See more at:

Jennifer Jakes

Holistic Health Coach

(1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

Shrimp with Sauteed Swiss Chard and Tomatoes



  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, or 2-3 smaller tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 bunch swiss chard (3-4 leaves), chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. Sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. each dried oregano and dried thyme
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tbsp. butter (optional)
  • Micro basil or 2-3 fresh basil leaves, chopped

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil, on medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, oregano, thyme and sea salt, and cook 5-7 minutes. Add swiss chard, shrimp and butter (optional). cover and cook 3-4 minutes or until swiss chard is wilted and shrimp is bright pink. Toss in basil and adjust seasoning. Spoon shrimp, vegetables and liquid from the pan on top of polenta.


  • 3 cups water, veggie stock or chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 cup fine ground organic polenta

Bring water and salt to a boil. Stir in polenta and bring back up to a boil. Lower heat to low and cook until polenta thickens, stirring frequently, 7-10 minutes.

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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 in the blue jeans).

But, all the girls at school were on diets, and the women’s magazines were recommending diets, and my mom was on a diet as well.

I remember thinking, “I should really go on a diet.”

My chronic dieting began by eating “diet” food and drinking diet soda. I also ate low-fat and non-fat, yogurt and cheese.

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

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

I remember going to my best friend’s house every day after school. Omi, her German 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 force 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 eating 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 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, measuring, counting and scrutinizing every morsel that went into my mouth.

So, I joined Jenny Craig. They sold boxed food that was already weighed and measured. Whew! What a relief. It certainly wasn’t delicious, but it did the job and I lost a few pounds.

The interesting thing is 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 became. 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 now, and I felt bloated and uncomfortable.

An interesting diet entered my radar when I was in my early 20’s. My mom was diagnosed with cancer for the second time. After her chemo and radiation treatments we tried something called Macrobiotics.

It wasn’t about counting fat grams or calories; it was about quality of food and how it affected the body energetically, physically and spiritually. This was an entirely new concept for me.

The diet consisted of whole grains, beans, vegetables, sea vegetables, fish, nuts and seeds, and fruits.  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 I finally STOPPED dieting.

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

Within the first 4 months I dropped 18 pounds. To date, I’ve never gained back that weight (almost 20 years). 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: Chemicals disrupt endocrine function, lead to weight gain, contribute to depression, and destroy brain cells. Not only that, artificial sweeteners are so unnaturally sweet they compromise the delicate palate in your mouth. No longer will a fresh berry taste naturally sweet 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 what they cannot have
  • 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. Relax.
  • Lack of self love – if we don’t love ourselves exactly as we are, in the body we have right now, we will continue the self abuse and chronic dieting behaviors.

Stop the nonsense and stop dieting!

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Want Health Care? Try Self-Care


We all have an innate healing wisdom that lives within us. I often hear it when clients sign up for health coaching.

During a session they’ll say, “I know I need to eat better, I know I need daily exercise, I know I need to quit my job, I know I need to end my dead-end relationship, I know…”

Most of us know exactly what we need to do to help ourselves, but we don’t take action on it.

Why not?

I believe it’s because we haven’t been taught to make our self and our health our number one priority, and to understand that we are responsible for our life.

Self-care is not on the agenda at our schools and it’s not taught in our homes or workplace. So where the heck are we supposed to learn this valuable information?

For me, experience was the best teacher. I learned about self-care and the body’s natural ability to heal through my own sickness. I was dysfunctionally programmed, like many other humans on this planet, to wait until disease came and knocked me to the floor before I made an effort to do something.

The “something” I did was not recommended by my doctors. It was considered radical and unconventional.

Instead of taking radioactive iodine to destroy my thyroid and take synthroid for the rest of my life, I chose to take full responsibility for the disease I manifested; the disease living inside my body, being fed by my poor diet and lifestyle choices. Read that full story here: Radiate My Thyroid? What?! No Freakin’ Way!

Within fourteen days of taking responsibility for my health and incorporating self-care, I noticed improvements; clear skin, better sleep, regular bowel movements, and increased energy. Very quickly, I made the connection that within me lives an innate healing power. All I had to do was nourish it with the proper physical, emotional and spiritual food it needed to thrive.

It’s been over sixteen years since making that initial commitment to self-care, and today my vibrant health (as well as the health of many clients and students) is proof that Thyroid disease, and other diseases, is curable.

The ability to heal an imbalanced or diseased condition takes patience, persistence and hard work, but you are worth it. It’s time we learned how to put our health first and incorporate self-care as an option for our health-care.

Here are some simple steps to activating your body’s innate healing wisdom:

STEP ONE – Take responsibility for your illness. This may sound harsh, but whatever the condition is, own it. It is yours.

STEP TWO – Become aware of your physical body and notice how it “feels” on a daily basis:

  • Is it aching?
  • Is your skin irritated?
  • Do you have vibrant energy?
  • Are you struggling to get through the day?
  • Are you sleeping well?
  • Is your digestive system functioning properly?

If your body is not functioning properly it’s time for some serious self-care. Hire a health coach for gosh sakes!

STEP THREE – Eat clean and get off the crap! Our daily food becomes our cells, our blood, our organs, our body, and our mind. We are what we eat. And, I mean that literally! If we eat food filled with indigestible chemical substances that impair the immune system, we cannot create vibrant health. Stop spending money on healthcare that doesn’t create health and put your money where your mouth is. Purchase local, seasonal food that is naturally grown and lovingly prepared. It’s as simple, and as hard, as that.

STEP FOUR – After getting “clean” dig deeper into the emotional body (the chakras). It’s here you can begin recognizing behavior patterns that may or may not be health-supportive. It’s time to discover who you are and what is your relationship to the world around you. If I had simply changed my diet and my lifestyle, without working on my emotional body, self-healing may not have been quite as effective.

STEP FIVE – Incorporate ancient healing techniques or use any modern healing practice that works with the body/mind/spirit, and not against it. Some healing methods I use include acupuncture, massage, reflexology, aromatherapy, chiropractic, shamanic drumming, chanting, chakra healing, meditation, and many others.

Some of my favorite healers in NYC:

James MacLean – Acupuncture, Reiki and Chinese Herbs

Master Jey Park – Peace of Mind Healing, 212-604-9595 

Dr. Susan Bradley – Chiropractor

I love and appreciate my healers and I’m happy to share their info with you.

Of course, there are many more steps to healing, but these are the basics. Remember, as long as you are alive and breathing you can improve any condition. When we become aware of our situation and take full responsibility for what we have created, we can flip the switch from disease-promoting to self-healing at any time.

If you are a health coach and want more information on how to diagnose conditions, join my “The New Healers – Master Coaching Program” These classes are designed to give health coaches and other health practitioners the tools needed to help understand the physical, emotional and spiritual body on an intimate level to help clients (as well as themselves) start the healing process.

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Radiate My Thyroid? What?! No Freakin’ Way!


In 1996 I was diagnosed with an incurable condition. I had a goiter (picture at left) and auto-immune thyroid disease. Plus I was suffering with allergies, cold sores, poor immunity, and was 25 pounds heavier. My doctor recommended that we radiate my thyroid.

My gut instinct said, “no freakin’ way!” I questioned that treatment for thyroid disease. And, if I hadn’t, I would not have a thyroid today.

Year’s prior to my diagnosis, I watched my mother go through the modern medical treatments for cancer. In the 1980’s she had a radical mastectomy plus radiation. Subsequently, five years of blood testing and MRI’s showed her to be cancer-free. The surgery and radiation had apparently worked.

But, eleven years later, mom fainted and couldn’t stand up. At the hospital they discovered that the breast cancer had come back with a vengeance. It was now everywhere: in her lungs, her brain, her liver, and her bones.

I remember taking my mom to the hospital in Long Island for weekly radiation and chemo treatments. She never wanted to go. She told me it made her feel sick and she wanted to stop. But, we didn’t stop. We followed the modern medical protocol and didn’t question it.

As I watched her suffer, I began questioning that treatment. So did my father. He read an article about a doctor that had healed himself of pancreatic cancer using a natural diet. So we tried it.

We switched mom from standard American eating to a more wholesome diet and immediately noticed changes. Her lips regained their pink color instead of the bluish gray they had become from the cancer treatments. And, the ashen color of her face was growing peachy once again.

It was obvious this new food was giving her a little more life. Like a houseplant that hadn’t been watered for a while; once you add water the plant perks up. That’s exactly what happened; she perked up a bit, but it wasn’t enough to bring her back (Honoring My Mother’s Journey).

After mom died I vowed that if I got sick I would not destroy my body with surgery or radiation. I would try a natural approach first.

So there I was… exactly four years to the date after my mother’s death. Sitting on the examination table listening wide-eyed as my doctor advised me to take radioactive iodine to destroy my thyroid. She said my condition was “incurable.”

She was right. According to what she had learned in medical school, my disease was incurable.

Thankfully, I didn’t go to medical school, so I had a different perspective.

I said, “hey doc, instead of destroying my thyroid, what if improved my diet?”

She said, “your diet has nothing to do with your thyroid.”

I didn’t believe that, and instead of leaving her office with a prescription for thyroid destruction, I left with a focus on improving my diet and lifestyle to heal my body. I began by eating wholesome foods direct from the earth that didn’t come out of colorful pre-packaged boxes.

Four months later I returned to the doctor and my blood tests showed that my thyroid was indeed changing. My hormone levels had dropped from dangerously high to just above normal.

My doctor said, “it’s still not in the normal range. You need medication.”

I said, “Thanks, but no thanks, doc. I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing.”

For the next two years I went for periodic blood testing with a new doctor each time to get a second and third opinion. Each doctor informed me I had a new and exciting disease. First it was hyperthyroid, then it was hashimotos thyroiditis, and then it was hypothyroid. They all recommended some type of medication to eliminate the symptoms my body was experiencing – all of which I refused.

Two years after my initial diagnosis with an “incurable disease,” I no longer had a goiter and my thyroid tested normal. It took time, patience, and a whole lotta self-love and self-care, to rebalance my body’s condition.

Sickness doesn’t happen overnight. My thyroid disease took twenty-eight years to develop. If you’re thinking about incorporating a natural healing plan, keep in mind that health and wellness doesn’t happen overnight either. Improved health doesn’t come after one magical cup of soup. It can take years of eating well, exercising, and other natural healing practices to correct imbalances.

I am healthy today, but still consider myself in the process of healing. First my physical body, then my emotional body, and then my spiritual body – all of the layers that make me human.

Here are some basic steps to healing the thyroid:

  • Eat organic and clean foods: This is a no brainer. Pesticides, herbicides and fungicides are endocrine disruptors. The thyroid lives on the endocrine system. Eat clean to ensure the endocrine system is not disrupted.
  • Eat Local and Seasonal: Food grown in or near the environment where you live is the best choice for your body. The pineal gland takes information from outside your body and relays it to the inside of your body. Eating out of season and/or out of climate sends mixed messages to your internal system, throwing the thyroid and endocrine system out of balance.
  • Eat Naturally Raised Animal Products: Factory farmed animals live in highly stressed conditions without access to fresh air, clean food and sunshine. If you eat animals that live a crappy life you will absorb that energy. This can disrupt the body physically, emotionally and spiritually.

The above tips are a great place to start, but there is much more to healing the thyroid. If you want to learn about specific foods, plus how to heal the emotional and spiritual components of thyroid imbalance check out my Nourishing Thyroid DVD or watch my Nourishing Thyroid Video Series for the guidance you need.

And, if someone tells you to radiate your thyroid or that your disease is incurable, question it.

Then give your body the best physical, emotional and spiritual food (plus patience and love), that it needs to truly heal.

You can do it!

(6 votes, average: 2.33 out of 5)

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]

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



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Beat the Heat!


Summer, according to the Nei Ching (The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine), is a most active and fully expanded time of the year. It’s a time when everything is in full bloom. It can also be a time of extreme high heat! And, that can be unbearable for many folks, especially those that are eating out of season.

As we move into a new season, we need to switch-up our food choices once again, to help us naturally cool down. During the summer months, crisp cooling salad greens are available as a well as an abundance of succulent watery fruits, cucumbers, tomatoes, sea vegetables, and fish.

Eating the foods that Nature provides for us at this time of year can naturally cool us down. Foods that grow with a lot of sunshine contain high levels of potassium. Excess potassium in the diet has a cooling effect on the body.  On the other hand eating foods high in sodium, and/or eating an excess of meat and meat products at this time of year has a warming effect on the body.

Basically, that means if you go to the family BBQ this summer, remember to enjoy lots of cooling summery foods, and have smaller portions of warming foods and meats. Especially, if you are trying to chill out!

It’s amazing how the earth effortlessly provides us with the foods we need to satisfy our physical body at every time of year.

Join me for a Cooling Summer Foods Cooking demo, LIVE via your computer, and learn how to Beat the Heat. I’ll prepare a couple of summer dishes that are sure to delight your palate and cool your body, too. Plus, you’ll discover easy cooking tips that can help you spend less time in a hot kitchen!

Cooling Summer Foods

Use this coupon code to receive 30% off! LTT2ZNDC


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Bulk Up and Save Money!


In tough financial times, its a wise idea to figure out how to reduce our cost of living. One place to start is with our food. Many health food stores carry “bulk” food items.  These include a wide variety of whole grains and grain products, beans, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, snacks, and other foods that are not packaged but are kept in large bulk bins.

Bulk foods generally cost less than packaged foods because you are not paying for the “designer” bags and containers they are kept in. Those containers inevitably wind up in the garbage at some point anyway, so why dish out the extra dough?

It’s not as if someone will peer into your pantry, notice the bulk-bought raisins stored in a glass jar, and say, “Hey, those raisins are not in a pretty package!”  And, the next thing you know you have been mysteriously blacklisted from the local community or PTA meetings.  Oh the ridicule!

C’mon… who the heck cares what anyone thinks? Don’t let pride get in the way of making smart purchasing choices.  The bottom line: bulk items cost less and can help save money.

Let’s take a look at some of the savings you could make by purchasing bulk food items:

Beans   2.29   3.62  $1.33 
Rolled Oats   1.40   2.76  $1.36 
Cranberries 10.99 17.16  $6.17 
Walnuts 12.99 20.77


Prices may vary from store to store, but the savings are still quite significant.  Buying in bulk is an easy way to save money.

All you need to do is store bulk-bought items in either plastic or glass containers to keep them fresh and safe from hungry closet critters.

And, if you want to save more money, you don’t even have to purchase storage containers for these bulk items. After finishing a jar of pickles, sauerkraut, pasta sauce, or other bottled item, instead of throwing out the container, recycle it for your own use.  Soak the jar overnight in warm water to remove the label. Once it is cleaned, you have a handy-dandy container at no extra cost.  I have many recycled bottles in varying sizes.  I even recycle jelly jars to store delicious dressings and sauces.

For more smart money-saving tips check out my latest book Health is Wealth – Make a Delicious Investment in You!

Only $22! ADD TO CART



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From Porridge to Prosperity


Ricepudding3 porridgeNo ifs, ands, or buts about it: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I realize I may sound like a nagging wife or mom and I don’t care. Moms and wives (and dads and other caretakers) instinctively know loved ones need proper nourishment to start the day. If you are the modern American who typically skedaddles out of the house without eating breakfast, it’s time to sit your butt down and listen up!

“Breakfast” literally means to break the fast. When we sleep at night, we are fasting (not eating food) and not consciously moving our muscles; this causes a lowering of our body temperature.[1] In the morning it’s best to break-the-fast with something warm to help heat the body and slowly bring it up to speed (metabolic speed). Eating something ice cold (think frozen smoothie or cold cereal with milk) requires extra effort from the body to stoke our digestive fire. Over time, consistently eating iced or cold food in the morning can exhaust energy reserves.

Many cultures around the world traditionally ate warm soft porridges or gruel, and a variety of soups or congees made from cooked rice, corn, rye, and other grains combined with water, animal milk, or coconut milk for breakfast. Some heartier breakfast options included eggs, bacon, and sausages. And, on a lighter note, warm tea or coffee with whole grain bread and butter was another simple way to start the day. Below is a quick overview of some traditional breakfasts from around the globe:

Africa – fermented porridge called Ogi, made from corn and milk.

Britain and Ireland – grain porridge, eggs, bacon, black pudding (sausage prepared with boiled animal blood – this is also a favorite breakfast treat for vampires).

Denmark – soft boiled eggs, warm bread with butter or cheese.

India – steamed rice with coconut milk (Ganji), fermented rice with dal (made from lentils or other legumes), warm breads with fresh butter and tea.

Japan – okayu (rice boiled in 5 times the amount of water), eggs, pickles, miso, seafood, warm tea.

Russia – kasha, eggs, meats, whole grain breads with butter, oatmeal.

Scandinavia – whole grain porridges, eggs, cured meat, whole grain bread.

South America – tortillas (flat bread made from maize or wheat), arepas (bread made from corn), meat, beans, coffee, bread with butter.

It seems all over the world, warm breakfast was an important start to the day.  Even in fairy tales, Goldilocks and the Three Bears had a piping bowl of hot porridge on the morning menu. Warm breakfast foods ready our digestive system for absorption and assimilation of nutrients.

In the past one hundred years or so, we have radically altered that traditional warm morning start and now begin the day with the exact opposite: frozen smoothies, hard cereals with ice-cold milk; or worse yet… skip breakfast entirely.  Egads!  This can be a recipe for disaster.

For the sake of convenience and time, cold boxed cereals took the place of warm homemade whole grain porridges. This unhealthful takeover may have occurred when women stopped cooking in the kitchen and started working outside the home. Without mom cooking breakfast, the kiddies and the men were left to fend for themselves. Our loved ones need nutritional guidance, and they’re certainly not going to get it reading the back of a highly processed cereal box.

On a recent visit to the supermarket, I discovered Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs, and Cookie Crisp (and many other highly processed cereals) stamped with a “Whole Grain Guaranteed” label. Besides being a very distant-cousin-once-removed from the whole grain family, the ingredients that make Lucky Charms “magically delicious” are various types of sugar, corn syrup, and dextrose (more sugar). And, as far as Cocoa Puffs and Cookie Crisp go… well… let’s just say I believe they are “Crack in a Box.” The glycemic index on these and other highly refined sugar-coated breakfast cereals is so high  it can have kids (and adults) bouncing off the walls, unable to concentrate at school or work, and doped up on Attention Deficit Disorder drugs.

For those of you doing a mad dash out of the house in the morning without eating breakfast – yikes! It’s time to slow down and enjoy a warm bowl of morning porridge; or, at the very least, sit down to a cup of tea with whole grain bread and a little pat of butter. Skipping breakfast contributes to increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol and mood swings, and has been linked to higher rates of obesity. And, get this –skipping breakfast has also been associated with many other bad habits: lack of exercise, smoking, and caffeine/drug/alcohol addiction.[2]  Holy Whole Grain Porridge, Goldilocks — imagine that!

The American Dietetic Association’s Complete Food and Nutrition Guide states that breakfast is imperative because “the brain needs a fresh supply of glucose, its main energy source, because it has no stored reserves.” Studies have shown that people who eat breakfast perform better at both work and school, have a better attitude, higher productivity, more strength and endurance, and improved concentration and memory.[3]  Wow!  This means we have the opportunity to begin the day smarter, stronger, healthier, more focused, and even more fabulous.  What could be better than that?

Rise and shine – it’s time for breakfast! Below is one of my favorites. Or, click here for a fun Breakfast Porridge. What is your favorite way to start the day?

Simple Poached Eggs on Root Hash!




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