Monday, April 1, 2013

Spring Forward Cleanse - Have More Energy in just 15 Days!

Image courtesy of Suat Eman/
Spring is finally arriving in Chicago and across the country and with it comes a sense of renewal. Spring is the time to clean out the house and get rid of all of the clutter that has accumulated in the past year. Time to put away the bulky sweaters and jackets and start dreaming about days outside, summer vacations and trips to the beach.

Um yes, that sounds great, but what about these extra pounds I put on (to keep me warm) this past winter? And what about these bad habits I seem to slip into that result in me finishing off Jane's grilled cheese or eating my entire meal while sitting in front of the computer? Yep, its that time of year to not only clean up my house but clean up myself as well.

A few years ago I did my first cleanse and although it was challenging, it was also invigorating and exciting and renewing.  I lost about 5 pounds, felt lighter and more energized and I experienced better digestion after the cleanse was complete. I felt a sense of accomplishment that motivated me to continue eating well and drop some of the bad habits I had accumulated. Luckily I had Jon as my partner in the cleanse which made a huge difference. We supported each other and cheered each other on (there might have been a few grumbles in there as well - mainly from him).

I remember thinking "everyone should do a cleanse." This is what motivated me to launch a cleanse that is doable for the average person who might initially freak out at the thought. The heart of my detox is only 7 days (a 4 day elimination diet to start and a 4 day transition diet to end - 15 days total) and it involves eating real food. You won't be starving or at a loss for what you can eat. I've designed my program so that your detox experience will be positive and you will succeed!

Some of the benefits you can expect from my detox include increased energy, better digestion, weight loss, recharged metabolism, bad eating patterns dropped, toxins flushed from your body and much more.

The cleanse starts April 11th and I would love for you to take this journey with me. I will be supporting you every step of the way, including doing the cleanse myself. There will be a Facebook group for us all to encourage each other and share our experiences. My detox guide and kick off tele-class will give you everything you need to know, including recipes and other detox tips, to succeed. If you have any questions along the way I will be giving personal email support as well.

What do you have to lose? Grab a friend, co-worker or spouse and join me and other like-minded people and let's all Spring Forward!

You can learn more about the cleanse and sign up here: or email me at

The cleanse is only $39, quite the bargain for everything you will receive. If you really want to do the cleanse but the cost is prohibitive, please reach out to me at - there are a few scholarships available.

Friday, March 29, 2013

"Kitchen Sink" Smoothie and the Importance of Mixing up your Greens

This morning I was able to go on a walk outside (yeah spring!) with a good friend. When I got home I had a hankering for a green smoothie, but knew we were pretty low on groceries as I have been traveling a lot lately.  I quickly scanned the fridge and was encouraged when I found a handful of cilantro. I've been in a kale/spinach rut lately and have been meaning to start incorporating more greens into my smoothies so this was the perfect chance. Changing up your greens is important to get nutritional diversity. But even more importantly, you should change them up because all greens contain small amounts of toxins that are present for the plants to protect themselves from predators. For example, kale contains goitrogens which could interfere with thyroid function in some people. Spinach contains oxalic acid which in large amounts can potentially be harmful. Most likely it would take months straight of eating 1-2 bunches a day, but each person is different and you never know your exact limit.

Luckily there are lots of leafy greens that can be added to your smoothies. Kale, collards, bok choy, parsley, cilantro, basil, mint, chard, lettuce, broccoli and beet greens to name a few. As I have committed to mixing up my greens, I'll be sure to share recipes with you.

I thought today's smoothie turned out delicious and was quite a mix up from my standard smoothies. I encourage you all to get adventurous and try different greens, veggies and fruit in your routine as well.

Pineapple Cilantro "kitchen sink" smoothie
1 handful cilantro
1 celery rib
1/4 cup fennel
1/4 cup honeydew melon
1/4 cup frozen pineapple
1 inch fresh ginger
1 cup coconut water

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Coconut Oil - The Latest Health Craze

Everywhere you turn someone is talking about coconut oil. So what is all the hype about?

For years coconut had a bad reputation because of its high saturated fat content. 40 years ago a study linked saturated fat to increased heart disease. However, this study was flawed in that it used hydrogenated coconut. The negative effects of hydrogenated oils are now well known and the thought that saturated fats are bad for you is being re-evaluated. 

Coconut oil is derived from the meat of matured coconuts. It is slow to oxidize or become rancid and has a shelf life of approximately 2 years. Coconut oil is comprised of medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) which are found to not have a negative effect on cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease. The gall bladder and liver do not need to process MCFA’s which results in instant energy, an increase in metabolic rate and improved circulation. 

Coconut oil solidifies at 76 degrees so in the summer it will be liquid in your pantry and in winter it will be solid. You can simply heat it in the oven or stove top if you want to bake with it and need it in a liquid form. 

Coconut oil has a smoke point of 350 degrees so it is an excellent choice to bake with or cook with at moderate temperatures. Avocado oil remains that top oil to cook with at high temperatures. 

Health Benefits:
  • anti-viral - it contains lauric acid which converts to monolaurin which is toxic to viruses, bacteria, fungeses and other bacteria
  • hair care - deep conditioning and anti-dandruff benefits
  • skin care - excellent skin conditioner and protects against ultraviolet exposure
  • weight loss - can speed up metabolism
  • lowers risk of diabetes, heart disease and improves cholesterol levels
  • improves bone health - aids in the nutrient absorption of minerals such as calcium and magnesium
  • fights chronic fatigue - medium chain fatty acids produce energy as opposed to body fat which improves metabolism and prevents fatigue. It has been shown to kill organisms in the body that steal your strength and can cause fatigue
  • Alzheimer’s Disease - documented cases of supplementation with coconut oil improving this disease

Other Interesting Facts about Coconut Oil:
  • the only other source of lauric acid is breast milk
  • regular consumption of coconut oil has been associated with improved immunity and reduced sickness
  • it is a natural remedy for pneumonia
Have you started using coconut oil yet? 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

picture courtesy of
Avocados are so good for us! Although they were shunned in the low fat craze days, they are now highly regarded as a super food.  They are high in vitamin E, anti-inflamatory, lower cholesterol, improve your vision, protect your heart and fight against certain types of cancer.

Although I love avocados added to many of my meals (salads, sandwiches, veggie burgers, mexican food, etc), the little one won't go near them. Unless of course they are disguised as chocolate. Lucky for me there are many recipes I can use to incorporate cocoa powder without all of the sugar you find in processed chocolate products.

If you haven't tried an avocado pudding recipe yet, I urge you to give it a chance. You'll be surprised how delicious it is.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding (from

Makes 1 cup pudding, enough for 2 to 4 servings, depending on how chocoholic you and your guests are
1 avocado, ripe and soft
¼ cup to ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Trader Joe's)
¼ cup milk (I use almond milk but you can use regular milk or any other milk substitute)
3 tbsp maple syrup or liquid honey
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Scoop out the flesh and put in a blender, or the bowl of a food processor. Add ¼ cup cocoa powder and the remaining ingredients. Process until smooth, occasionally scraping down sides. Taste and add more cocoa powder until the pudding is chocolatey enough. Add more maple syrup (or honey) if you’d like the pudding sweeter, and milk, if you’d like it looser. Divide between serving cups and serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to serve.

kid tested, mother approved!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Janey's Saturday Morning Smoothie

This past weekend Jane decided that she wanted to make a smoothie. She has been on a kick lately of only wanting chocolate banana smoothies so when she expressed interest in making up a new one, I was very excited. We looked through the fridge together and she decided on an apple banana concoction.

 At the last minute she decided to add a few strawberries.

Apple Banana Strawberry Green Smoothie

1 handful spring salad mix (can use any greens)
1 banana
1 small apple - seeds removed
a few strawberries
Kid tested, mother approved!
1 Tbs hemp seeds (mom's idea for a little added protein and good fats)
1 cup Good Belly probiotic juice drink (can substitute other juice, water or almond milk)

Blend and enjoy

Monday, January 21, 2013

The skinny (or should I say fatty?) on Omega 3 fatty acids

Good sources of Omega 3 fatty acids

Omega 3 essential fatty acids are one of the most needed nutrients for our body, yet most American's are deficient in them. They are referred to as 'essential' fatty acids because the body cannot make them on its own so we need to acquire them through an outside source, like our food. We receive a broad spectrum of benefits from them and it is well known that they are essential in brain development and function.  Also, they are anti-inflammatory which results in them lowering your risk of heart disease - the number 1 killer in America.

Omega 3's are known to protect against arthritis, cancer, dementia and depression. In children Omega 3's have been shown to reduce the effects of ADHD and improve concentration.

There are 3 different types of Omega 3 fatty. DHA and EPA, which are found in fish, have been studied most extensively and appear to have the greatest benefits. Salmon, mackerel, lake trout, sardines, anchovies and tuna are the fish with the most omega 3's. The other form, ALA, is found in chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, dark leafy greens, and vegetable oils.

Although it is always best to get our nutrients from our food, it is hard to get the needed amount of omega 3's strictly from our food. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least 2 servings of fish per week, however we need to be careful of our fish intake (particularly larger fish like shark, king mackerel, and tilefish ) as they can be contaminated with mercury. To help protect against this you can remove the skin and fat prior to cooking fish.

In our house we take a fish oil supplement in addition to eating fish once or twice a week. You need to ensure you buy fish oil from an established company that certifies their products are free of heavy metals. I take Metagenics Brand now but have heard great things about Young Living's Omega Blue and will be ordering these when I am ready for my next bottle (contact me if you are interested in getting these as well when I place my order).

Nowadays the word is out about Omega 3's and you can find many items at the grocery store that claim to be high in them. Unless it is a nut or seed in its raw form, you want to be careful of anything that is in a package as there is a good chance it is a processed food. I recently learned that Omega 3 eggs are not a good option. To get the chickens to produce eggs that are high in Omega 3's, they feed them flaxseeds. However, chickens are not meant to eat this food so it makes them sick and their eggs are then of poor quality. I always try to get eggs that are from pastured chickens and get my Omega 3's from other food sources that are naturally a good source and not artificially designed.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Ginger Pear Smoothie

With the flu and all of the cold viruses that are spreading like wildfire around me, I'm taking every precaution I can to stay healthy. For me this means eating lots of fresh fruits and veggies (especially greens), using my anti-bacterial, anti-viral essential oils and getting lots of sleep.

This morning I made a very tasty smoothie that I want to share with all of you. I used swiss chard as my greens but you can use any greens (kale, spinach, collard greens, etc).  The ginger gave it that little extra zing that made the smoothie complex and had a warming effect inside my body. If you don't have fresh ginger you can use 1 tsp powdered ginger.

Ginger Pear Smoothie
1 handful of greens
1 banana
1 pear
1 inch knob of ginger (if you don't have a high speed blender, grate the ginger)
1 TBS flaxseeds or chia seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Cup Almond Milk

Blend all ingredients and enjoy. Add ice or use a frozen banana if you prefer your smoothies cold.