Chickpea Burgers
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 4
  • Calories: 328
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 58 g
  • Sugar: 11 g
  • Fiber: 11 g
  • Protein: 17 g
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1½ tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1½ tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1½ cups chickpeas
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • cooking spray
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  1. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan with 3 cups cold, salted water. Boil the potatoes until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large, non-stick skillet. Add the onion, pepper, garlic, tomatoes and cumin and cook over high heat until lightly browned and dry, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, parsley, chickpeas and potatoes and simmer for a few minutes. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
  3. Coarsely puree the chickpea mixture in a food processor, adding the breadcrumbs as a thickener. (Run the machine in short bursts and don't over-process.) Wet your hands and form the mixture into 4 patties. Arrange the patties on a plate spread with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours.
  4. Grill the burgers as described above, spraying the vegetable grate with cooking spray. Alternatively, arrange the burgers on an oiled, non-stick baking sheet, lightly spray the tops with oil and broil. To sauté, add a teaspoon or 2 of oil to a non-stick skillet. Cook the burgers over medium heat until crusty. Whichever method you use, you'll need about 4 to 6 minutes per side cooking time. Turn the burgers with a spatula as gently as you can.
  5. Serve the burgers on rolls with onions, tomatoes, lettuce and your favorite condiments.







Gluten Free Vegetable Lasagna
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 4
  • Serving size: 8 oz
  • Calories: 250
  • Fat: 10 g
  • Carbohydrates: 19 g
  • Sugar: 9 g
  • Fiber: 6 g
  • Protein: 23 g
Using cottage cheese instead of ricotta cuts the fat in this recipe in half! You could also use goat cheese! Yum!
  • 1 lb eggplant, sliced into ½ in. thick rounds
  • 1 zucchini, cut into ½ in. thick rounds
  • 1 yellow squash, cut into ½ in. thick rounds
  • 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ large yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ cups low fat cottage cheese
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 6 oz. part skim mozzarella, shredded
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and spread the eggplant, zucchini and squash out in a single layer on sheets.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes and remove from oven.
  4. Set aside.
  5. In a large nonstick skillet heat oil on medium for 1 minute.
  6. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently for 5 minutes.
  7. Add garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat and stir in cottage cheese and oregano.
  9. Lightly coat an 11x7 inch baking dish with extra virgin olive oil.
  10. Line bottom of dish with zucchini and squash, using all rounds and overlapping them so dish is completely covered.
  11. Top with cottage cheese mixture. Arrange eggplant over cottage cheese in overlapping rows and top with mozzarella.
  12. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbling. Serve immediately.


sick doggie


Being sick sucks, doesn’t it? What if there was a way to reduce or completely eliminate illness from our lives? Clean eating is the answer, people! Personally, I haven’t had a cold or the flu since I started eating clean.

So here are some suggestions on how to eat to boost your immunity:

1. Consume 5 to 6 servings of brightly colored fruits and vegetables daily. Foods such as oranges, sweet potatoes, carrots, cherries, squash and pumpkin contain beta carotene and/or vitamin C. Vitamin C increases the production of white blood cells and antibodies which helps to fight infection. Vitamin C and beta carotene help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by raising HDL levels in the blood.  Beta carotene also stimulates the immune cells called macrophages which help to kill cancer cells.

2. Eat yogurt. Good quality yogurt contains live cultures which improve and strengthen intestinal flora, thus decreasing the instance of colds by as much as 25%. Opt for plain unsweetened yogurt or Greek yogurt and add your own fresh fruit and raw local honey.

3. Add some zinc. Zinc increases the development of white blood cells which help fight infection in the body. It also increases killer cells that fight against cancer. It’s best to get zinc from your diet instead of  supplements as too much zinc can actually inhibit immune function.You want to aim for no more than 15-25 milligrams daily. Here are some foods that contain rich sources of zinc:

  • oysters
  • crab
  • beef
  • turkey (dark meat)
  • beans

4. Consume garlic. Garlic is an incredible immunity booster that improves natural killer cell activity, stimulates white blood cell production, and reduces the build up of free radicals in the bloodstream.

5. Drink tea. A cup of black or green tea daily is a fantastic way to ward off colds. Tea contains polyphenols which help to clean up free radicals. Free radicals can actually damage your DNA and accelerate aging.

Not so difficult right? I want all of you get through the  cold and flu season illness free!


Apple Tuna Salad
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 1
  • Calories: 397
  • Fat: 11 g
  • Carbohydrates: 38 g
  • Sugar: 27 g
  • Sodium: 401 mg
  • Protein: 41 g
  • 3 oz tuna
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp walnuts
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups chopped Romaine
  1. Mix all ingredients except Romaine in a bowl. Pour salad on top of chopped Romaine. Makes 1 serving.





Summer is over, kids are back at school and once again it’s back to a more structured and sometimes hectic schedule. Part of that routine is the scramble to make the kids lunches every morning. After the unscheduled, hanging out in pjs until 11:30 routine, it can be really tough to get back into the swing of things. Here’s how I make life easy for myself:

Prep veggies and fruits in advance. Every weekend I take the time to wash and cut up vegetables and fruits and put each into their own container. While this might sound like a lot of work, it saves me LOTS of time during the week. It takes me about 30 minutes to clean and prep my fruits and veggies and I probably save 15 minutes a day during the week doing prep work. SOOOOOO worth it!

Grate your cheese for the week. Do NOT buy pre shredded cheese! (Check out my post here to find out why.) Buy cheese in blocks and shred what you need for the week.

Make hard boiled eggs! My 6 year old LOVES eggs so I frequently put hard boiled eggs in his lunch. They are an awesome source of protein and make a convenient snack. They are also great to slice up and put on salads.

Make homemade salad dressings and dips. My kids like Clean Eating Hummus as well as Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette

Cook and slice up some chicken breasts. I use these for Chicken Sandwiches and Eat Clean Chicken Salad.

Do your kids love macaroni and cheese as much as my kids? Check out this lower calorie recipe for mac and cheese here

Looking for more ideas for those lunch boxes? I found a ton of creative ideas here!

I realize this looks like a lot of work but trust me, you will be pleasantly surprised how much quicker the lunch making assembly line will go when you prep food beforehand. Plus, you will have the satisfaction and peace of mind knowing that your kids will be eating a healthy and delicious homemade lunch!


Blueberry-Ricotta Pancakes
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 4
  • Serving size: 2 pancakes
  • Calories: 238
  • Fat: 8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 30 g
  • Sodium: 334 mg
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 12 g
Keep finished pancakes warm in a 200°F oven, if desired, while cooking the rest.
  • ½ cup whole-wheat pastry flour (or almond flour flour)
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or almond flour)
  • 1 teaspoon sucanat or turbinado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¾ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • ½ cup nonfat buttermilk,
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil, divided
  • ¾ cup fresh or frozen (not thawed) blueberries
  1. Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and nutmeg in a small bowl. Whisk ricotta, egg, egg white, buttermilk, lemon zest and juice in a large bowl until smooth. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined.
  2. Brush a large nonstick skillet with ½ teaspoon oil and place over medium heat until hot. Using a generous ¼ cup of batter for each pancake, pour the batter for 2 pancakes into the pan, sprinkle blueberries on each pancake and cook until the edges are dry and bubbles begin to form, about 2 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes more. Repeat with the remaining oil, batter and berries, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent burning.



Pine Nut Basil Pesto with Mint
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 4
  • Calories: 425
  • Sugar: 4 g
  • Sodium: 356 mg
  • Fiber: 6 g
  • Protein: 19 g
  • 1 pound pasta
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 3 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup fresh mint, torn
  1. Cook pasta according to the package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, place the garlic, pine nuts, basil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. While the machine is running, drizzle in ¼ cup of the oil through the feed tube, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the Parmesan.
  3. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and ⅛ teaspoon black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the mint.
  4. Divide the pasta among bowls and spoon the pesto and zucchini over the top.



Maple Raisin Oatmeal
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 4
  • Calories: 203
  • Fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 44 g
  • Sugar: 25 g
  • Sodium: 10 mg
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 5 g
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  1. Combine all ingredients with 1½ cups water in large saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 5 minutes, or until thick and creamy. Serve immediately.



Roasted Pineapple with Honey and Pistachios
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 4
  • Calories: 283
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 60 g
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Caramelized pineapple with a honey-orange glaze makes for a quick and elegant weeknight dessert.
  • ½ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 medium ripe pineapple, peeled, cored, cut lengthwise into 8 wedges
  • ¼ cup crème fraîche or yogurt
  • ⅓ cup natural unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons torn fresh mint leaves
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Stir first 3 ingredients in a large bowl until sugar dissolves. Add pineapple; toss to coat. Let marinate, tossing occasionally, for 10 minutes. Place pineapple, one flat side down, on prepared sheet; reserve marinade.
  2. Roast pineapple for 15 minutes. Turn, brush with marinade, and roast until tender and caramelized, 10-15 minutes. Drizzle remaining marinade over; let cool slightly.
  3. Divide pineapple among plates. Spoon crème fraîche alongside. Garnish with nuts and mint.



Turkey Salad
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 1
  • Calories: 354
  • Fat: 18 g
  • Carbohydrates: 11 g
  • Protein: 37 g
  • 4 oz ground turkey
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ¾ cups cooked black beans
  • ½ cup tomatoes, diced
  • ½ cup cottage cheese
  • 2 Tbsp diced onion
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  1. Cook turkey in garlic powder and cumin. Put spinach on plate and put turkey mixture, black beans, tomatoes, cottage cheese and diced onion on spinach. drizzle with vinegar and olive oil. Serves 1.



how to keep it clean


How do YOU “keep it clean”? We have all developed strategies for maintaining our clean eating way of life. I have found that sometimes it ends up being the smallest tricks that keep me on the path of healthy eating. Some tips that have helped me tremendously throughout the years include:

– No eating after 8:00. I simply tell myself the kitchen is closed and I don’t go in there. If I absolutely MUST have something I drink a cup of peppermint tea. I’m not even sure why this works but it seems to help calm my food cravings in the evening.

– Get adequate sleep. This is a biggie. When I’m tired from lack of sleep I tend to eat the wrong things and at the wrong time. I also tend to graze more when I’m tired. Go to bed!

– ALWAYS eat breakfast. think about it this way: You’ve just gone several hours without eating. You need to eat something shortly after waking up. Skipping breakfast is like saying you’re going to drive from Florida to Texas without putting gas in the car. Even if it’s just a piece of toast with a bit of peanut butter, that’s better than nothing. Eating breakfast will also prevent you from overeating at lunchtime. Eat!

– Include protein at all meals and snacks. Protein makes you feel full! Great protein sources (in addition to meat) include nuts, Greek yogurt, cheese and eggs.

– Replace soda and juice with water. This is one of the best things you can do for your body. We all need to consume lots of water to aid digestion, flush out toxins, and stay hydrated throughout the day. Sodas and fruit juice are full of sugar and chemicals that do not belong in the human body. If you already have a serious soda addiction try gradually replacing one can of soda a day with a glass of  water. Then work up to replacing two cans a day with two glasses of water, and so on. You’ll feel so much better after you rid yourself of soda!

What tips help you to stay with your clean eating lifestyle?



Pasta salad loaded with mayo? No way! Fresh herbs take center stage in this delicious recipe.


2 cups asparagus, chopped into 1 inch pieces

12 oz rotini or penne pasta

Extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/4 cup light coconut milk

‘1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 Tbsp honey

1 love garlic, minced

12 oz cooked skinless chicken breast, shredded

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, cilantro, dill and mint

3 scallions, thinly sliced


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add asparagus and cook for 1 minute. Remove from pot and put in a bowl of ice water to cool. Transfer to a large bowl.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, toss with 1 tsp olive oil and cool to room temperature.

Prepare dressing. In a small bowl whisk together yogurt, coconut milk, lemon juice, honey and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To the bowl with asparagus add pasta, chicken, herbs, and dressing and mix well. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired. Makes 8 servings.

Nutritional Information (per serving): Calories: 251, Fat: 3 g., Carbs: 37 g., Fiber: 5 g., Sugars: 4 g., Protein: 21 g. Sodium: 114 mg.




Are you getting enough minerals in your diet? If you’re not eating enough fruits and vegetables then chances are you are lacking in one or more essential minerals. Why do you need minerals? Minerals help to prevent chronic diseases, regulate blood pressure and energy level and also aid in preventing osteoporosis. Here are 5 minerals you may be lacking and how to get them into your diet:

1. Calcium: Calcium not only builds strong bones, it also helps in regulating blood pressure. Calcium is found in milk and dairy products, spinach and beans.

2. Iron: The primary function of iron is to carry oxygen throughout the body. When you’re lacking in iron you may feel tired and have trouble concentrating. Eat oysters, beef, chicken and iron fortified cereals in order to achieve optimal iron levels.

3. Zinc: Zinc is essential for a strong immune system. This mineral helps to fight off infections, aids in the healing of wounds and keeps your sense of taste and smell sharp. Oysters, crab, beef and pork are foods that are high in zinc.

4. Potassium: Potassium is crucial in regulating blood pressure by offsetting the effects of sodium.  This mineral is primarily found in fruits and vegetables, which most of us don’t get enough of. Not only are bananas high in potassium, so are raisins, baked potatoes, tomatoes and artichokes.

5. Magnesium: This mineral is involved in over 300 chemical reaction in the body. Magnesium helps regulate blood pressure, prevents migraine headaches and insulin resistance, promotes healthy cell function and strengthens bones. Almonds, bran cereal, brown rice, Swiss chard and molasses are all rich in magnesium.



meaning of clean eating

What is “clean eating”? This is by far the most frequent question I get. There appears to be much confusion about what the term clean eating truly means. Adding to the confusion are the many different theories about the best way to eat including paleo, vegan, gluten free, sugar free, and raw just to name a few. I’m all about simplifying things and clean eating is a great way to keep life very simple.

To begin let’s examine what clean eating truly means. The basic definition of eating clean is eating foods that have been as minimally processed as possible. This means consuming real food from nature as opposed to pre packaged foods that were made in a factory. A clean eating diet consists primarily of fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, dairy and protein.

Clean eating also means eating every few hours. To be honest, this is really what initially attracted me to the idea of eating clean. Eating 3 times a day is not really the best thing for your metabolism. Before I discovered the correct way to eat, I’d eat breakfast around 7:00 and be starving by noon when it was time for lunch. As a result I would eat way too many calories. I would then eat dinner at 6 and overeat yet again because it had been too long since I had eaten anything. Sound familiar? Eating every few hours keeps your metabolism running smoothly and keeps blood sugar levels on an even keel so you don’t overeat at mealtime. An average day on a clean eating plan looks like this: Breakfast – Snack – Lunch – Snack – Dinner. Eating this way means you’re eating every few hours and you  never feel overly hungry.

Clean eating does not necessarily mean gluten free, paleo, sugar free, low fat, low carb or vegan, although you can be a vegetarian or gluten free and also be eating clean. (Check out our vegetarian and gluten free menu plans here and here.)

Clean eating simply meaning eating as close to nature as possible. If mother nature made it then it’s clean. If it was made in a factory then it is NOT clean.

Here are some questions I get asked on a regular basis regarding the basics of eating clean:

Can I be  a vegetarian and still eat clean?

Yes! It is very easy to maintain a vegetarian lifestyle and still be a clean eater.

What about red meat? Do I have to give it up in order to eat clean?

The good news is no, you don’t have to give up red meat. However, if you absolutely have to eat a hamburger or a steak, make sure it’s grass fed beef. Read here about the benefits of grass fed beef.

Can I drink alcohol?

The short answer is no. Alcohol turns to sugar in the body and many alcoholic beverages are made with gmo’s. See which beers to avoid here. Alcohol also contains lots of calories which can contribute to weight gain. It’s always best to avoid drinking your calories if at all possible. If you absolutely MUST have an alcoholic beverage, try to limit it to 1 or 2 a week.

What about “cheating”?

I actually encourage cheating. It helps you stay on track and gives you a reward for all that hard work you’re doing. Limit your cheats to one meal a week.

What are some recommendations for snacks?

Snacks are great and are encouraged when you’re eating clean. Snack suggestions include yogurt, dried fruit, veggies and hummus, nuts (watch your portion sizes), fruit, air popped popcorn, smoothies, nut butters, whole grain crackers, tortilla chips and salsa.

What about special occasions such as parties where I don’t know what foods will be served?

This one can be tricky. One method you can use is to eat before you go to the party. That way you won’t be tempted to eat a bunch of unhealthy food just because it’s there. Another option is to offer to bring a dish. This way you know at least one of the items there will be a healthy one.

What about kids? How do I get them on board with eating clean?

I have 2 children so I know how tough it can be to get healthy food into the little ones. It makes it even harder when their friends are eating foods that are less than healthy. Getting your kids involved in food preparation has really helped our family tremendously. Kids are much more likely to eat food they’ve had a hand in preparing. Taking kids to farmer’s markets, to the grocery store and getting them involved in growing their own vegetables goes a long way toward helping children become healthy eaters. Keep in mind that you as the parent control what foods are kept in your home. Offer them 2 healthy options so they feel like they have some control over what they’re eating. Keep cut up fruit and veggies in the fridge so they’re easily available for snacking. Hard boil a few eggs for a healthy high protein snack. Make your own granola and have them help you! Here’s a great granola recipe everyone will love.

I love eating clean because it makes eating and meal planning simple. It’s made me and my entire family much healthier. And isn’t having a simple, happy and healthy life what we all really want?













Did you know that magnesium is super crucial for your body? Magnesium is the second most abundant mineral in the body, second only to calcium. Admittedly  I never really gave much thought to getting enough magnesium. You certainly don’t hear about magnesium as much as other crucial minerals like calcium and iron.

I’m sure you already know that calcium is essential for strong bones and that that iron helps carry oxygen through the body. Why do we need magnesium? Magnesium is involved in over 300 chemical reactions in the body and is responsible for the following:

– Provides the body with energy and enhances optimal functioning

– Maintains and keeps cells healthy

– Aids in helping cells communicate with each other

– Helps to regulate blood pressure

– Prevents insulin resistance

– Keeps bones strong

– Aids in the prevention of migraine headaches

So how do you know if you’re lacking in this important mineral? Here are some signs that you may be lacking  in magnesium:

• heart disturbances
• issues with nerve conduction and muscle contraction
• muscle cramps and spasms
• poor coordination
• weakness
• chronic fatigue
• headaches ( including migraines and tension headaches)
• appetite loss
• insomnia
• cravings for sweets
• mental confusion
• irritability
• personality changes
• being easily stressed

Did the “cravings for sweets” symptom get your attention? Me too. I’ve found that when I have a craving for sweets if I eat a handful of nuts it will eliminate the craving. If you feel you may be lacking in magnesium try including the following magnesium rich foods into your diet: bran cereal, brown rice, almonds, Swiss chard, molasses, kelp,  buckwheat, wheat bran, wheat germ, millet, rye, tofu and nuts, including almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, peanuts, pecans and English walnuts.



road tripSummer is here and for many people that means a road trip or two is in the near future.  One of the big rules of clean eating is to ALWAYS bring food with you if you’re going to be away from home and in the car for awhile. So what’s a clean eating person to do if you can’t be at home to prepare healthy meals? Eating clean can get challenging if you’re travelling for longer periods of time. Are there any acceptable quick car food type snacks that won’t wreck your waistline? Here are some places to get relatively healthy meals and snacks while on the road:

Gas stations: Surprisingly, you CAN find relatively clean food at gas stations. You can almost always find some sort of fresh fruit at the register. Beef jerky, nuts, dried fruit and trail mix are all acceptable snacks. I’ve even occasionally even found decent protein bars at gas stations!

Grocery stores: Going to the store doesn’t tend to cross your mind when thinking of a quick meal. However, all of them are have a section with fresh produce and fruits. Places like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods often have ready-made sandwiches and salads that you can grab on-the-go with nutrition information attached. This is my favorite thing to do when I travel, because most grocery stores now are carrying organic products.

Fast food: Fast food places are an absolute last resort. Having said that, there are a few rules to follow if this is truly your only option. First, select meat that is grilled, not fried. A grilled chicken salad (dressing on the side) is usually a pretty safe option. Watch out for condiments! Fast food condiments can add a lot of fat and calories — like mayonnaise and oil based sauces. Use a little ketchup, mustard, marinara, or BBQ sauce instead of creamy sauces and spreads. Half a packet of BBQ sauce or honey-mustard sauce from most fast-food chains, for example, will add about 23 calories, no fat grams, and about 80 milligrams of sodium. Another thing to watch out for is side items. Avoid french fries and onion rings! If you need something to keep your entree company, look for fresh fruit cups or side salads. One last point about fast food places is to avoid drinking your calories. Sodas, sweetened tea, lemonade, and fruit drinks all give you calories with absolutely no nutrients.

Eating on the go doesn’t have to be an unhealthy situation. Choose wisely and you’ll look and feel better all summer long!


metal pail maple syrup
Which maple syrup is best?
I absolutely love maple syrup! I’m talking about REAL maple syrup, not the gross pancake syrup you’ll find in most diners and various chain restaurants. So what’s the difference? More importantly, why is the real stuff so expensive?
Pancake syrup is not real maple syrup. It contains corn syrup, liquid sugar, salt, natural and artificial flavors, sodium hexametaphosphate and sodium benzoate and other processed ingredients. If you look on a bottle of pure maple syrup it lists one ingredient: maple syrup. Pure maple syrup is simply clear sap, tapped from spring warmed trees and boiled to remove most of the water.
You may be surprised to hear that maple syrup contains trace minerals including manganese and zinc. Manganese is essential for strong bones and collagen production and it’s also considered an antioxidant! Zinc plays a role in a healthy immune system.
What do the different grades of maple syrup mean? Grade B maple syrup is perfect for baked goods and drinks. Grade A is more delicate and is best when used straight.
Why is maple syrup so expensive? Collecting maple syrup is a very time consuming process. It’s also a lot of work to collect the sap and it takes gallons of sap to produce a very tiny amount of syrup. But the taste is so worth it!
Maple syrup can be used in lots of different ways – not just on pancakes! Here are some non breakfast ideas for syrup:
Sugar substitute: Maple syrup is considered a “clean” sweetener but it is sweeter than white sugar. Replace 1 cup regular sugar with ¾ cup maple syrup in baked goods. Also keep in mind you’ll need to reduce any liquids in a recipe by 3 to 5 tablespoons.
Marinade: Combine 1/3 cup maple syrup, 1/3 cup tamari sauce and a tablespoon of Dijon mustard. Pour over pork tenderloin, salmon fillets or chicken breasts. Marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour before roasting.
Vinaigrette: Whisk ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, 3 tablespoons champagne or white balsamic vinegar, 1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup and salt. Drizzle over spinach and arugula, orange segments and toasted nuts. 

Spinach and Goat Cheese Frittata
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 4
  • Calories: 399
  • Fat: 31 g
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 23 g
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, thinly sliced
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 5 oz baby spinach
  • 10 large eggs, beaten
  • 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • 5 oz mixed greens
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Add the spinach and cook, tossing, until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the eggs and sprinkle with the goat cheese. Cook until the mixture begins to set around the edges, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the skillet to oven and bake until set, 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Dividing evenly, place the greens on plates and drizzle with the vinegar and the remaining oil; season with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Serve with the frittata.



fridge pic

Planning on doing some spring cleaning? Why not start with your fridge?  Stocking your fridge with accessible, nutritious food will help you to maintain a healthy diet and limit temptation. Here’s how to get started:

  1. What you see is what you get. If you don’t buy it then you won’t eat it. It’s much simpler to avoid eating cookies if they’re not in your house. ALWAYS make a list before you go grocery shopping and stick to the list. Making a list makes it a lot less likely that you’ll go wandering down the cookie aisle. And NEVER EVER go to the grocery store hungry!

  2. Give your fridge “eye appeal”. Usually people put the fruits and veggies in the bins at the bottom. This is a bad idea because you won’t see them when you open the fridge door. It’s estimated that the average household wastes more than $10 a week on produce that has spoiled. That’s because it’s out of sight. Use the bins for meats and keep the fruits and veggies at eye level. You’re much more likely to pick a healthy snack if it’s the first thing you see. Also, give other healthy items like natural peanut butter and hummus a prominent place in your fridge.

  3. Wash it and chop it and bag it. As soon as you get home from the store, wash and prepare your fruits and vegetables. Separate food into individual portions in order to prevent overindulging. Fruits and vegetables should be washed and cut up so they’re ready to be eaten at a moment’s notice.

  4. Freeze it. Frozen bananas are great as a snack and give smoothies a nice creaminess. Frozen grapes make tasty snacks too! Kids love them as a sweet treat.

  5. Hide it. If you keep your indulgent items hidden in the drawers below you may just forget they’re even there.

The refrigerator really can be your best friend when you’re trying to lose weight. Replace high fat foods with fruits and vegetables and keep all produce at eye level. This way when hunger strikes you’ll be sure to pick something healthy.




These are like little bites of heaven…… oh, and they also make an excellent lunch or dinner!

Makes 4 servings

2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp finely chopped canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 cups shredded red cabbage
1 medium carrot, shredded
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed
1 ripe avocado
1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp minced red onion
4 (8- to 10-in) whole-wheat wraps or tortillas


Whisk vinegar, oil, chipotle chile and salt in a medium bowl. Add cabbage, carrot and cilantro; toss to combine.

Mash beans and avocado in another medium bowl with a fork. Stir in cheese and onion.

To assemble the wraps, spread about 1/2 cup of the bean-avocado mixture onto a wrap (or tortilla) and top with about 2/3 cup of the
cabbage-carrot mixture. Roll up. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Cut the wraps in half to serve, if desired.

Nutritional Information (per serving): 346 Calories; 17 g Fat; 44 g Carbs; 12 g Protein; 13 g Fiber; 462 mg Sodium; 491 mg Potassium


clean gluten free or paleo

Are you considering eating clean but not sure what that really means? What about gluten free and paleo diets? There is quite a bit of information out there regarding what is considered clean, paleo and gluten free and not all of it is accurate. While these three eating styles contain a lot of the same food recommendations, they are quite different from each other.

Eating “Clean” – The definition of clean eating is essentially eating foods that have had little or no processing. This way of eating includes primarily fresh vegetables, fruits and lean protein. Clean eating DOES include whole grains and dairy. Eating clean does not mean eliminating beef and chicken. On the other hand, you can absolutely be a vegetarian or vegan and eat clean.

Gluten Free – Eating gluten free means excluding all foods containing gluten. Gluten is a protein complex found in wheat (including kamut and spelt), barley, rye and triticale. A gluten-free diet is the only medically accepted treatment for celiac disease.

Paleo – This way of eating mimics the way hunter-gatherers ate during the Paleolithic era, the time period from about 2.6 million years ago to the beginning of the agricultural revolution, about 10,000 years ago. These foods include fresh meats (preferably grass-produced or free-ranging beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and game meat), fish, seafood, fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and healthful oils (olive, coconut, avocado, macadamia, walnut and flaxseed). Dairy products, cereal grains, legumes, refined sugars and processed foods are not recommended.

So as you can see there are some big differences when it comes to each of these lifestyle choices. Despite the differences, there are a few guidelines that apply to all of them. First, when it comes to eating fruits and vegetables, try to buy locally grown organic as often as possible. You’ll avoid pesticides and help your local farmers too! Check out this guide ( showing where to find local produce in your area. 

Next, you’ll want to purchase grass fed beef, organic free range chicken and local seafood. Industrial beef that comes from commercial feedlots is filled with antibiotics and hormones. Grass fed beef is much healthier for you! Read about the awesome benefits here (

As for poultry, organic, locally raised free range chickens are healthier birds and are less likely to contain antibiotics.

If you’re lucky enough to live near a coast, always purchase seafood from local farms and fishermen. You’ll get the benefit of knowing where it comes from plus you’ll support your local economy. In addition, you’ll help the environment since fewer carbon emissions are released than when food is transported by trucks for long distances.

Regardless of whether you’re eating clean, gluten free or paleo, the goal is to eliminate processed foods and eat fresh, whole foods the way nature intended!


The Donut Duel: Me vs. Top Pot

You are being lied to about what clean eating really means.

I’ve recently seen recipes online for clean eating brownies, doughnuts and, most recently Pop Tarts.  Yes, you read that correctly. Pop Tarts.

Now, if you look through this website you’ll find recipes for Clean Eating Cupcakes and a few cookie recipes so I’m not saying that you cannot make certain recipes a bit healthier by changing a few ingredients.What I have a problem with is promoting junk food as healthy simply by  slapping a “Clean Eating” label on it.  This is just a slimy way to sell you a cookbook or promote a product. The whole point of eating clean is not to eat “healthy” junk food. It’s about turning away from that stuff and turning toward eating real, healthy whole foods!

I think it’s helpful to remember what clean eating really is. It means eating vegetables, lean protein, whole grains (unless you’re gluten intolerant), fruit and healthy fats. The point of eating clean isn’t to take junk food and make it “clean” by simply changing the sweetener or eliminating corn syrup in a recipe. You should not be eating Pop Tarts and doughnuts in the first place. No one should be eating those things if they want to live with optimal wellness!

I’m not suggesting that you can’t have a cheat now and then either. The occasional cheat meal or snack is what keeps many people (myself included) motivated and allows them to stay on a healthy eating plan the other 99% of the time. I’m all for a cheat as long as it is truly an every once in awhile thing and not an all day eat fest. It’s also worth noting that a cookie, no matter how healthy it is, is still a cookie. You’ll need to practice moderation because these items are usually pretty  high in calories.

Clean eating is about health and eating foods that will improve  your way of life. Are Pop Tarts and doughnuts really the direction we want to be going?




Sometimes certain situations arise that really make eating healthy quite challenging. Recently I experienced one of these challenges when we moved out household. The move itself wasn’t really difficult. It was in the same city, just a different house. What complicated things was that we had a few days between the time our new place was ready and the date we needed to be out of our previous residence. This meant we had to stay in a hotel temporarily. It also meant the temptation to eat unhealthy food was ever present. My family decided to make it an adventure and we were quite successful in keeping our eating habits relatively intact during this transition. Here’s how we did it:

The first challenge was the food in our fridge. I had pretty much scaled down trips to the grocery store so we wouldn’t have to toss out a bunch of perfectly good food while we were in between households. I stocked up on a lot of healthy but not overly perishable items. I bought Larabars, dried fruit, nuts, bananas and apples. I also kept a cooler with us so we could have cheese, yogurt and veggies while we were at the hotel.

Speaking of hotels….

ALWAYS choose a hotel with at least a fridge. If it has an oven, dishes and utensils that’s even better. Fortunately these are pretty commonplace. The easier it is for you to cook or at the very least throw together a sandwich the less likely you’ll resort to fast food.

Now let’s talk about those free continental breakfasts. I’m always happy to have these at a hotel. It just makes life much easier to have at least one meal a day paid for and convenient. Navigating this can be a challenge though. Many times you aren’t presented with many healthy options. My first suggestion is to get there early so you at least have more choices. The good thing is that it really is possible to eat clean in this situation. Most breakfast buffets in hotels will have some fruit, usually bananas or apples. You can occasionally find oatmeal and yogurt also. You’ll probably want to avoid the cereals they offer. (The hotel where we stayed gave you a choice of Fruit Loops or Corn Flakes – yuck!) Also stay away from the “make your own” waffle/pancake stations. These are pre made mixes full of artificial sweeteners and all kinds of unhealthy ingredients. I think it goes without saying that you should avoid the muffins and pastries.

Moving can be stressful but it doesn’t have to be unhealthy! Packing a cooler will not only save you money, but it will keep you from getting derailed from your healthy eating lifestyle.





Brownies!!! Yummy!!! This is the brand I used to buy before I discovered clean eating. I suppose my rationale was, “Hey, it’s Ghiradelli so it must be a quality product.” Ummm…no.

Here are a few of the ingredients:

Enriched wheat flour: All “enriched” means is that it has been processed and all the nutrients have been stripped out of the product.

Soy lecithin: Soy has been linked to many health related problems such as breast and thyroid cancer. Soy increases the body’s need for B and D vitamins and soy foods contain high levels of aluminum which is toxic to the nervous system and the kidneys. You can read more about the dangers of soy here.

Canola oil: Yuk! Did you know that up to 40 percent of canola oil comes from trans fats? Trans fats, as you probably know, have been associated with inflammation and insulin resistance.

What’s the alternative? Try this fantastic recipe for clean eating cupcakes. Yummilicious!




hippie pic

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how living in a deliberate way can quite literally transform your life. What exactly do I mean by deliberate living? Deliberate living means focusing on creating your life instead of simply responding to your physical surroundings.

What in the world does this have to do with clean eating? Clean eating, for me, has always been about making choices which enhance my life. Eating in a healthy way not only helps you to feel and look better, it is also a way to honor your higher self. It means making choices based on respect of self. Many people begin the journey of wellness by eating clean and then broaden their journey to include general wellness (as in yoga and meditation), exercise, and holistic healing. It’s all part of the  journey toward living in optimal health for the rest of your life.

I encourage you to begin eating foods that will keep your body functioning in the best possible way. That includes LOTS of vegetables (especially green ones), fruits and lean protein. Choose organic when possible. Definitely buy local. Eating in a deliberate way takes time and attention. It means taking the time to prepare your food yourself instead of hitting the drive through.  It means actually SITTING DOWN at a TABLE to eat – not eating standing in the kitchen over the sink or at the kitchen counter. (I’ve done both of those way too many times!) Eating is supposed to be a sacred act. It’s a time to slow down and nourish your body and appreciate what you are eating. It is a way to respect your body. Eating out of a bag in your car is not what I would call a spiritual experience.

This may seem a little hippie-ish to some. I’ve been playfully teased plenty of times by people who see me as a “hippie”. I take it as a compliment. By the way, do you know what the definition of a hippie used to mean? Back in the 60’s it meant someone who meditates, attends outdoor concerts and eats organic food. All of those things are mainstream today.

Today practice being a deliberate eater. Eat clean. Purchase from local farmers and farmer’s markets. Incorporate lots of fresh, whole foods into your everyday life. SIT DOWN when you eat. Smile and say thank you when people call you a hippie.




  Do you want to eat clean but feel like it will be too expensive? Let’s put that myth to rest! There are lots of ways to incorporate eating clean into your life without busting your budget.

1. Shop at farmer’s markets. Once spring hits, farmer’s markets start back up again. If you happen to live in a temperate climate, they sometimes stay open year round! You will always be able to cut costs by buying directly from the farmer because you cut out the middle man. Plus, it’s always beneficial to actually speak to the person who grew your food. You’re also helping your local economy so it’s a win all the way around!

TIP: You can sometimes get an even better price on items at farmers markets if you shop late in the day.

2. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, buy items that are in season. It’s always cheaper to purchase seasonal produce.

3. Shop your pantry FIRST. Before you head off to the grocery store, shop your pantry and fridge. This will keep you from unintentionally buying duplicate items. I’ve even had times when I was able to throw together a meal with items I forgot I had in the pantry!

4. Have breakfast for dinner once a week. Kids really love this idea. Something about having breakfast at night makes dinner fun for everyone! It sort of shakes up the routine a bit.

5. Join a CSA. CSA stands for community supported agriculture. With a CSA you pay your local farmer up front at the beginning of the growing season and you’ll receive a box of produce every week throughout the entire season. It ends up being a much cheaper way to get your local vegetables every week.

6. Grow your own! Growing your own vegetables is not only economical but it’s  a really satisfying experience. And it doesn’t have to be a big time commitment either. You can grow vegetables in containers if you don’t want to put in the time on an entire garden. If you’re limited on space you can simply use containers to grow your produce.  Every year we grow vegetables in containers and my two kids LOVE it! There’s just something so fantastic about eating something that you grew yourself.



Protein bars can be really expensive. The solution? Make your own! I love pumpkin so this recipe is one of my favorites!
½ c sucanat or turbinado sugar
1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 ½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 large egg whites
1 – 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
2 c oat flour or almond flour
2 scoops vanilla protein powder
½ cup almond or soy milk
½ c chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350.
Spray a 9 X 13 dish with non-stick spray.
Combine first 11 ingredients and mix well. Add last three ingredients (plus walnuts if using).  Mix until incorporated. Spread batter into dish and bake for 30 min.
Makes 24 squares.
Nutritional Information (without walnuts): 1 square – 47 calories, .7 g fat, 8 g carbs, 3.7 g protein
Nutritional Information (with walnuts): 1 square – 63 calories, 2.3 g fat, 8 g carbs, 4 g protein