Cancer Causing Chemical Found in Tap Water of 218 Million in US

Chromium - 6  has been found in dangerous levels in the tap water of over 200 million American households.  

Chromium - 6 gained national attention after the release in 2000 of the movie "Erin Brockovich", the true story about an activist who discovered that chromium - 6 had polluted the water in a small town in California.

An interactive map by the Environmental Working Group based on findings from the ​EPA illustrates a breakdown of the findings. It clearly illustrates the presence of chromium - 6 in water systems in all 50 states.   The report compiled thousands of samples from across the country from 2013 to 2015. The metal was found in almost 90 percent of the water systems sampled. Surprisingly, the EPA has never set a limit for the amount of chromium - 6 allowed in drinking water.

California is the only state which has enforced a maximum contaminant level of 10 parts per billion​ (the equivalent of 10 drops of water in an Olympic - sized swimming pool).  It's worth noting that the Environmental Working Group has stated that even California's stringent standard still allows for an unsafe level of chromium - 6.

Activist Erin Brockovich has issued a written statement stating that "whether it is chromium -6, PFOA, or lead, the public is looking down the barrel of a serious water crisis across the country that has been building for decades".  Brockovich went on to state that the reason for the crisis comes down to "corruption, complacency and utter incompetence". 

So what exactly is chromium - 6 and why is it harmful?

Chromium - 6, also known as hexavalent chromium, is a naturally occurring element found in rocks, soil, plants, volcanic dust and gases, and even animals, according to the National Toxicology Program. ​ There are several different types of chromium, not all of which are harmful. For example, chromium - 3 is actually an essential nutrient for the body. On the other hand,  chromium - 6  is a chemical compound and is very rare in nature.  Hexavalent chromium can cause lung cancer if inhaled and lung tumors if ingested, according to federal health officials. In 2008 the National Toxicology Program conducted a 2 year study and found that drinking water with chromium - 6 caused cancer in laboratory rats and mice. Chromium - 6 has also been found to cause liver damage as well as reproductive and developmental problems. 

So what does the Environmental Protection Agency have to say about the dangers of hexavalent chromium?  The EPA did not directly address the Environmental Working Group's report. Instead, an EPA representative  ​stated that the agency is working on a health assessment of chromium - 6 that will be released in 2017. 

Bill Walker and David Andrews of the Environmental Working Group have stated that this means more delays and a whole lot of wasted time. "When you find widespread evidence of contamination, do something about it. Don't just study it to death," Walker said, noting that the new report is not about "trying to raise the alarm about a single chemical. We're kind of using chromium - 6 as a poster child for systemic failures of drinking water regulation."

Read the full report here. ​

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

This Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal is absolutely delicious! It's the perfect fall breakfast. 


Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Comfort Food, Clean Eating
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
Clean Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal - YUM!
  • ¼ c. skim milk
  • 6 Tbsp. water
  • ¼ c. old-fashioned oats
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • ⅛ c. canned pumpkin
  • ⅛ c. sliced almonds
  • ⅛ c. water
  • ½ scoop vanilla protein powder
  1. In a small saucepan, bring milk and water to a boil over medium heat. Add oats, cinnamon and nutmeg. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Once the liquid is absorbed, stir in pumpkin and almonds. Set aside.
  3. Combine water and protein powder in a separate bowl. Mix with a fork until protein powder is absorbed. Pour protein mixture over oatmeal. Makes 1 serving.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 232 Fat: 8 g Carbohydrates: 25 g Protein: 21 g

Sweet Potato Macadamia Salad

Looking to shake up the boring salad routine? This salad is anything but boring!


  • ​1 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, cooled, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup canned or frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp mayo 
  • 2 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped


Cook sweet potatoes in boiling water until tender, about 8 minutes​. Drain and set aside until cool. 

In a large bowl combine potatoes, eggs, corn, onion and carrot. Season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl combine mayo and yogurt. Pour over sweet potato mixture and toss until coated. Sprinkle with macadamia nuts just before serving. ​

How Determined are You?

How do you decide whether to do something or pass? How do you decide which business to start? Which job to take? Which place to live? What's your barometer for making decisions in your life? Mine is this: If it isn't a hell yes, it's a no. If you're not excited enough by an idea to feel that pull, that passion, that feeling of "Hell yes!" then don't freaking do it. Cause if you're not passionate about an idea in the beginning stage of it, you sure as hell aren't going to be any more enthusiastic 6 months in. 

How do you decide whether to do something or pass? How do you decide which business to start? Which job to take? Which place to live? What's your barometer for making decisions in your life? Mine is this: If it isn't a hell yes, it's a no. If you're not excited enough by an idea to feel that pull, that passion, that feeling of "Hell yes!" then don't freaking do it. Cause if you're not passionate about an idea in the beginning stage of it, you sure as hell aren't going to be any more enthusiastic 6 months in. 

What if you don't feel that way about anything right now? Then what? Ask yourself one question: What do I want to do every day for the rest of my life? Then go do that. Figure out how to to monetize it. Start blogging about whatever your passion is. Start a YouTube channel. Think up  a domain name and buy it. Just start moving in the direction of what brings you happiness. You and I are super fortunate to be living in a time where it is amazingly easy to start a business.  

Even if you have a full time job you can still pursue your passion as a side hustle. ​It's surprising how much doing a little bit every day can give you major results in not that much time. I remember when I started this blog 8 years ago I was a stay at home Mom with a toddler and a baby. I had no idea how I was going to start and maintain an online business. I had zero experience in running a business but what I did have was passion. Passion about my health and my children's health as well as serious concern about what was happening in the food industry. That passion is what fueled my desire to write, to build a brand and to motivate others to take charge of their health through proper nutrition and exercise. 

So ask yourself what your "Hell yes" is. Today do one thing ​that will propel you in the direction of your passion. You don't have to write an entire business plan. You don't need to know the end result figured out. Today take a step to start living your "hell yes" life right now. 

Why You Should Be Eating Blueberries

Blueberries are just so darn good! Not only do they taste delicious, they are vitamin rich, aid with digestion and help to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. Here are some ways to incorporate blueberries into your diet:

  1. Use blueberries as fresh toppings on oatmeal, pancakes, yogurt or cereal for an extra burst of flavor in your breakfast
  2. Whip up a quick and easy smoothie using frozen berries, low-fat milk and yogurt. Here’s a great smoothie recipe.
  3. Mix fresh or dried blueberries into a spinach salad with walnuts and feta cheese
  4. Fold them into muffins or blend them in a food processor with a little water and use as a fresh syrup to top desserts or breakfast foods.

Stop “Supposed”

stop supposed

I’m on a mission, people –  a mission to stop “supposed”.  We all need to drop this dreaded word from our vocabulary. “Supposed” gets us into a world of trouble, especially when it comes to achieving goals and facing challenges on the way to those goals.

Nothing will ruin my day more than ruminating on the way things are “supposed” to be. What usually gets me onto this line of thinking is when I’m having a difficult day. I get angry and start to believe that this shouldn’t be happening. Then I start wondering why it’s happening and why I’m being “punished”. And what “lesson” am I’m supposed to be learning?

But guess what? Whatever is happening in my life IS supposed to be happening. Know how I know this? Because it’s happening – otherwise it wouldn’t be happening. Okay, I admit this sounds like circular logic but it’s absolutely the truth. So many of us hold this picture in our mind about how our lives are supposed to be. The expectations we hold are often our undoing. Instead we can choose to let go.  This doesn’t mean to sit back and let life happen to you. You are in control. Yes, the ship may be heading toward some rocks but YOU steer the ship to where you want it to go. You can design the life you desire without being rigid on how it’s all supposed to unfold.

So let’s all agree to ditch the “supposed” word. Find peace with whatever may be happening right now, regardless of whether it’s “good” or “bad”.

What if Women Decided to Like Their Bodies?


What if Women Decided to Like Their Bodies? The diet and fitness industry can be a slippery slope when it comes to “self improvement”.  If we’re never satisfied with how we look, if we always see ourselves as less than, if we constantly compare ourselves to others, then they can sell us the newest gadget, book or pill. Because if we purchase that product then maybe, just maybe, we’ll feel better about how we look. Advertisers sell their products by preying on our insecurities.

I believe in health and wellness. I’m all for being the best you can possibly be. I started this blog for the purpose of helping others live a happier, healthier life. I believe in eating the most nutritious food possible. I believe in being physically active. But I’m also for feeling good about yourself right now, whether you fit into the traditional standard of beauty or not.

Sweet Potato Coconut Smoothie


Sweet potatoes are incredibly healthy AND incredibly delicious. Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamins C and A and also contain loads of fiber and potassium. Drinking this yummy Sweet Potato Coconut Smoothie is a super healthy way to start your morning!

Makes 2 servings


  • 1 (8 oz) sweet potato, baked and peeled
  • 1 1/2 cups of coconut or almond milk
  • 1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups ice cubes
  • 2 Tbsp shredded coconut


Combine sweet potato, coconut or almond milk, yogurt, honey and nutmeg in a blender and blend until smooth. Add ice and blend again. Pour into two glasses and add shredded coconut.



5 Immunity Boosting Foods


There are many things that can affect your immunity in a negative way. Lack of sleep, stress along with poor eating habits can hamper your immune system. This can leave you vulnerable to colds and flu and also may make you more likely to develop more serious illnesses like cancer and diabetes.

But you can strengthen your immune system by simply adding a few foods to your diet. Finding ways to destress by getting adequate sleep, managing stress and including daily exercise in your life. Try adding these 5 foods t your diet:

1. Garlic – The sulfuric acid compounds in garlic aid in eliminating bacteria and infections. In addition, studies show that garlic consumption may reduce the risk of developing several types of cancer, especially cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.

2. Chicken Soup –  Chicken provides cysteine and amino acid which help to break up congestion, while the hot soup can strengthen the movement of white blood cells and the broth is ultra hydrating. Any combination of bone in chicken and broth slow cooked with celery, onion, carrot, and herbs is all you need to make a tasty soup.

3. Turmeric – Turmeric is a cancer cell destroyer and works on nearly every type of cancer. Its active compound, curcumin, has the ability to simultaneously kill and promote healthy cellular growth.

4. Mushrooms – Shiitake, Reishi, and Maitake mushrooms stimulate the immune system, build up our resistance to viruses, and block tumor formation. The ABM mushroom (Agaricus Blazel Murill) is clinically the strongest cancer-fighting and immune-boosting mushroom available.

5. Foods rich in zinc – Organic grass fed beef, chicken, shellfish, or lamb are all rich in zinc. Zinc helps in building immunity and is also an anti-inflammatory. Vegetarians can include ample amounts of legumes and nuts to maintain zinc levels.

7 Delicious Clean Eating Smoothie Recipes

Who doesn’t love a smoothie? NO ONE – that’s who! Smoothies are an excellent breakfast when you’re eating clean. They’re healthy, portable and super delicious! Here are my favorite 7 delicious clean eating smoothie recipes:

  1. Spinach Blueberry Smoothie – A delicious way to eat your greens!
  2. High Protein Smoothie – The perfect pre-workout meal.
  3. Kiwi Berry Smoothie – Yummy and refreshing, this smoothie makes a tasty snack.
  4. Banana Chocolate Smoothie – Tastes just like a peanut butter banana milkshake!
  5. Oatmeal Smoothie – This one is a great way to have “breakfast on the go”.
  6. Cherry Chocolate Smoothie – So rich and creamy, you’ll forget you’re eating clean!
  7. Pumpkin Smoothie – You’ll love this one – tastes just like pumpkin pie.


It Pays Off

sweat,smile and repeat
sweat,smile and repeat

It pays off. It really, truly does. When you have a fitness goal it can be very easy to get discouraged when you’re not seeing the results you want like, right now. We live in an instant gratification kind of world. We all want what we want right friggin’ NOW. Know what makes this worse? When you start comparing yourself to the super fit person working out right next to you in the gym. This is where the ego takes over and you start beating yourself up mentally. The in your head conversation generally goes something like this: “WTH? Why can’t I look like that? OMG that chick has the perfect body. It’s not fair! I am killing myself in here every day and I don’t look like that. This sucks. I hate her. Why am I even bothering? I’m wasting my time. Is it even worth it when I’m not seeing any results?”

Sound familiar? Now let’s look at it from a logical, sane perspective. First of all, the only person you need to compete with is the person you were yesterday. What someone else is doing or looks like has absolutely zero to do with you. ZERO. So cut it out. Second, you have no idea how long that person next to you has been working out. If they have an awesome bod then they have worked damn hard to get it. They didn’t get super fit by eating chocolate cake and watching “Real Housewives of Wherever” marathons on TV every night. I guarantee they get after it in the gym – A LOT. They are hyper focused on their diet. And they have made a commitment to be the best version of themselves as possible.

So realize that all this sacrifice your making – getting up at zero dark thirty to run, turning down the tempting donut at the office, packing your lunch every day instead of hitting the drive through. All of those good choices you’re making are paying off. Just because you’re not seeing results yet doesn’t mean you’re not making progress. So stop comparing yourself to others and focus on you. Keep consistently working toward your goals and you WILL see a payoff.

Bottled Waters Containing Fluoride and Why You Should Care

Does your bottled water contain fluoride? More importantly, why should you care about fluoride?

  1. Fluoride affects the brain. The EPA lists fluoride among about 100 chemicals for which there is “substantial evidence of developmental neurotoxicity.” There have been over 100 animal experiments showing that fluoride damages the brain and impacts learning and behavior.

  2. Fluoride causes symptoms of arthritis. According to the CDC (2002), 1 in 3 Americans have some form of arthritis. Unfortunately, few studies have been done to determine whether the high prevalence of arthritis in America and other fluoridated countries could be related to growing fluoride exposure.

  3. Fluoride may increase incidence of hip fractures in the elderly. High doses of fluoride (average 26 mg per day) were used in trials to treat patients with osteoporosis in an effort to harden their bones and reduce fracture rates. This treatment actually led to a higher number of fractures, particularly hip fractures.

  4. Fluoride may cause lowered IQ, particularly in children. One research team estimated that fluoride may lower IQ at 1.9 ppm (parts per million), while a recent preliminary study found a lowering of IQ in children drinking water at levels ranging from 0.3 to 3 ppm. The authors of this latter study reported that for each increase of 1 ppm fluoride measured in the urine there was a loss of 0.59 IQ points. According to the National Research Council, “the consistency of the results [in fluoride/IQ studies] appears significant enough to warrant additional research on the effects of fluoride on intelligence.”

It's truly important to try to avoid fluoride as much as you possibly can. To see if the bottled water you drink contains fluoride, check out this printable list from

FDA Looks to Cut Salt Content in Food

fda to cut salt content in food

This week the FDA issued guidelines targeting packaged food and restaurant meals that contain the majority of sodium that Americans consume on a daily basis. These voluntary proposals are the result of the Obama administration’s efforts to push the food industry to reduce the amount sugar and certain fats in an effort to improve the health of consumers and reduce medical costs.

Food industry critics maintain that these efforts are based on conflicting scientific evidence and could increase food costs and impact the taste and texture of certain foods. The fight against salt has been brewing for several years, with studies linking prolonged overconsumption of salt to elevated blood pressure, which can contribute to the incidence of heart disease and strokes.

So what exactly are the FDA’s recommendations? The FDA wants to cut individual daily salt intake to 2,300 milligrams over the next decade. (The current average is around 3,400 milligrams.) The agency is targeting 150 categories of food, including deli meats, soup, bakery items and pizza. Officials have stated that it’s been difficult for consumers to control their sodium intake on these particular items because the sodium is already added.

The proposed FDA rules give food manufacturers 2 years to begin cutting sodium levels in products and up to 10 years to make further cuts. The longer time period is to recognize the time it takes to reformulate new food products. The majority of the burden falls on prepared foods, which the FDA says accounts for about 70% of all sodium consumption. This puts the pressure on companies such as PepsiCo, currently the largest US manufacturer of salty snacks, to reformulate their products.

Sodium is used as both a flavoring and a preservative in packaged foods and reducing salt in products will require a substantial investment from food makers. A few companies have already committed to cutting sodium levels in their products. General Mills Inc. committed to cutting sodium by 20% in 10 categories by 2015 and reached it’s goal in seven of those categories. Mars Foods Inc. said it has reduced sodium in it food products and chocolates by 25%  since 2007 and wants to cut levels by another 20% by 2021.

The initiative is estimated to cost at least $20 million and take 20,000 employee hours to achieve. This includes reformulating products, putting healthier recipes on packages and improving employee cafeteria meals, according to a spokesperson.

Click here for suggestions on how to reduce your sodium intake.

The Delicious Pineberry


Have you ever tried a pineberry? They look like white strawberries but taste like a pineapple! Believe it or not, this cute little berry is NOT a genetically modified fruit. It’s actually a hybrid of the South American strawberry variety Fragaria chiloenis and the North American strawberry variety Fragaria virginiana. The tasty result is a conical white berry with red seeds. Sort of a reverse looking strawberry!

You may have to do a bit of searching to find pineberries as they tend to only be available in gourmet and specialty food stores. You may see pineberries under the names white pineberry or pineapple strawberry. They are in season from spring to early summer. Here are a few things you need to know when you bring home these delicious berries:

  • Pineberries are delicate and very perishable – keep them in the fridge and eat them as soon as you can.
  • Although they can be used in salads and desserts, pineberries are best enjoyed all by themselves.
  • Pineberries are a good source of vitamins A and C as well as folate. They help strengthen the immune system and also support heart health.

Read more about pineberries including how to grow them here.

Why Should You Eat Clean?

women eating 1


women eating 1

The number one question many people often ask me is HOW to eat clean. But the second most frequent question people is WHY. Why should I eat clean? It’s absolutely a valid question. Without a doubt, it’s super important to know why you’re doing what you’re doing. If you don’t know the “why” part then it can be difficult to stay motivated. Knowing the “why” gives you purpose and helps you to set goals and actually be able to ATTAIN those goals.

The most important reason to eat clean is the impact it has on your health. Eating clean will certainly make you healthier and will definitely help you to feel better. Another good reason to eat clean is that it can help you lose weight.

The whole reason I started this website is because of my own personal struggle with losing weight. It began several years ago shortly after the birth of my second child.  I was getting extremely frustrated because I was working out like crazy yet I wasn’t losing any weight. At that point I began eating “clean” and that’s when the weight finally started to come off. I lost between 1-2 lbs. a week over a period of about 6 months. It was so gratifying to finally unlock the secret to losing weight and, more importantly, keeping it off. My own personal journey aside, here are a few more reasons you should consider eating clean:

  • Two thirds of all US adults are overweight

This is due to the unfortunate fact that most people tend to eat all the wrong things. Fast food, processed food, too much sugar…it’s all bad stuff. By eating clean, you eliminate anything processed. The beautiful thing about clean eating is that it isn’t necessary to count calories because everything you eat is all real food. If you don’t eat junk then calorie counting becomes unnecessary. Pair clean eating with daily exercise and you won’t be in the majority of adults with a weight problem.

vine tomatoes

  • 1 in 3 people will develop cancer in their lifetime

Isn’t that alarming? It is estimated that up to half of all cancer cases could be avoided if people made changes to their lifestyle, such as stopping smoking, moderating alcohol intake, and maintaining a healthy body weight. I firmly believe that one of the main reasons cancer rates are so high is because of the amount of processed food most people put into their bodies. Things like trans fats and high fructose corn syrup are absolutely deadly for the body. Clean eating eliminates all man made chemicals and replaces them with healthy, natural REAL food.

  • 29 million people in the United States (9.3 percent) have diabetes and 86 million adults aged 20 years and older have prediabetes

Diabetes is a serious, preventable disease. Your risk of developing diabetes can be significantly lowered through physical activity and proper diet. Another important part of diabetes management is reducing other cardiovascular disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and tobacco use. People with diabetes are also at increased risk of serious health complications including vision loss, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, amputation of toes, feet or legs, and premature death.

Eating clean is THE WAY my friends. It really, truly is. And the beautiful thing about it is that it’s simple. You don’t need to count points, follow some complicated diet plan, or spend a ton of money on pre packaged meals. You just eat real, unprocessed food the way nature intended.



Want to Lose Weight and Sleep Better? Eating More Protein May be the Answer!

weight loss high protein diet sleep quality

Recently many studies have shown that better sleep may lead to weight loss.

But is it also possible that the opposite may be true? Could weight loss lead to better sleep? A recent study revealed some interesting results.

A team of researchers at Purdue University investigated the effect of a weight loss diet on sleep quality. Their findings,  which were recently published in the American Journal of Nutrition, revealed that those who followed a high protein diet for several months achieved better sleep quality.

The study involved 44 volunteers who were either obese or overweight. One group followed a high protein diet and the other group consumed an average amount of protein.

Volunteers consumed either 0.8g or 1.5g of protein per day per kg of body mass for 16 weeks. Protein sources came from beef, pork, soy, legumes and milk. Each month researchers gave the volunteers a questionnaire to evaluate participants sleep quality. After 3 to 4 months, scientists found that the volunteers with the highest protein intake reported an improvement in sleep quality.

 “Short sleep duration and compromised sleep quality frequently lead to metabolic and cardiovascular diseases and premature death,” explains Jing Zhou, the study’s first author. “Given the high prevalence of sleep problems it’s important to know how changes to diet and lifestyle can help improve sleep.”

Although these are certainly interesting findings, it’s worth noting that this was a very small study and not necessarily a comprehensive study on the relationship of high protein diets to weight loss and sleep quality. When it comes to maintaining optimal health (including sleeping well) eating clean is a huge step in the right direction.

Do you follow a high protein diet? Has it led to weight loss and/or improved sleep for you? Let us know what you think in the comments!


The Amazing Elderberry!

homemade elderberry syrup

If you’re looking for a natural (and tasty) way to strengthen your family’s immune system this winter look no further than the wonderful elderberry!

The elderberry bush, a member of the honeysuckle family, is really a small tree with delicate white flowers which eventually turn into berry clusters usually between the months of August and October. They thrive in northeastern and northwestern areas of the US and Canada. The elderberry has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years across Europe, Asia, Africa as well as North America.

Due to its antiviral and anti inflammatory properties, the elderberry has been quite useful in treating and preventing the flu, colds, coughs as well as aiding in lowering cholesterol and treating yeast infections.  Elderberries contain potassium, beta carotene and fiber. They provide 17% of daily value of vitamin A, a whopping 87% of vitamin C and 13% of iron.  As you can see, elderberries are a serious powerhouse when it comes to fighting all kinds of ailments!

So how can you incorporate elderberries into your diet? Make elderberry syrup! I’ve been giving my kids elderberry syrup for about 2 years now and they rarely get sick. And what’s really great is that they love the taste. It kind of tastes like blueberry and cherry mixed together. I give my kids one teaspoon every morning with their breakfast and I take one Tbsp each morning.



2/3 cup black elderberries

3 1/2 cups water

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 cup raw honey ( I buy mine at the local health food store)


In a medium saucepan, add water, elderberries, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about an hour or until mixture is reduced by half. Remove from heat and set aside. Let cool slightly. Pour through a strainer into a glass bowl or jar.

Discard elderberries and let the liquid cool until lukewarm. Add the honey and mix well. Pour mixture into pint sized jars or any 16 ounce glass container. Store in the refrigerator. The mixture will be good for about 2 months.

Dosage recommendations: Adults: 1/2 to 1 Tbsp daily; Children: 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp daily. If you or your children are ill, increase the normal dose from once a day to every 2-3 hours until symptoms disappear.



How To Eat Clean During the Holidays

It’s holiday season once again! Is it just me or does it seem like from Halloween to New Year’s it’s just one eating temptation after another?  It can be super difficult to resist the abundance of holiday goodies that pop up around this time of year. Here are some strategies that always seem to help me stay on track:

  • ALWAYS eat something before going to a holiday party. The plates of appetizers and dessert trays will be far less appealing if you eat a healthy meal at home beforehand. Even if you just have a protein bar in the car on the way there, that’s better than going to the party hungry.
  • Watch the alcohol intake. You can pack on serious calories with alcohol. And it’s not just obvious things like eggnog. Beer, wine and mixed drinks are all loaded with calories. If you really want to have a drink then consider it a cheat and have just ONE light beer or wine spritzer. Try to avoid drinking alcoholic beverages for the rest of the week.
  • When attending a holiday meal with family and friends, offer to bring something. I think people actually appreciate having a healthy alternative to all the junk that’s usually served at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Most people won’t even realize it’s a clean item!
  • Avoid “emotional eating”! It’s stressful this time of year with all the shopping,  expenses, visiting relatives, finding the perfect gift, traveling, etc.  Many times when we’re stressed we overeat and don’t even realize what we’re putting in our mouths. Find some time to relax with a cup of tea, meditate for 10 minutes or call a friend who always makes you laugh.
  • Keep up with your exercise routine! I know it’s tough this time of year to fit in exercise with the gazillion other things there are to do. Even if you just walk a few times a week, that’s better than nothing.
  • Weigh yourself daily. Some people advise against this but I’ve found it’s the best way to keep myself in check. It’s too easy to go into denial mode and simply ignore the scale. Seriously, wouldn’t you rather know NOW if you’re starting to gain weight rather than discovering in January that you’ve packed on 10 pounds?

Remember, it’s okay to indulge a bit every once in awhile. Life isn’t supposed to feel like deprivation – you’re allowed to enjoy yourself.  By practicing awareness while eating, you’ll not only get more pleasure out of eating, you’ll eat less as well!


Homemade Gingerbread Latte

gingerbread latte

Love the Gingerbread Lattes from Starbucks?  Starbucks took a step in the right direction when they disclosed the ingredients in their Pumpkin Spice Latte. The problem is they have yet to reveal the ingredients in all of their drinks. Until Starbucks decides to be completely transparent about what they're using in their products, I just don't feel good about drinking them. 

Not to worry - you don't have to go without those delicious Gingerbread Lattes! You can simply make them at home. This recipe contains only 6 ingredients - hurray for simplicity! Also, this version contains coconut palm sugar which is much healthier than white sugar. Oh, and it's also MUCH cheaper! Here's the recipe:


4 inch piece of ginger

2 cups water

1 cup coconut palm sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

5 whole cloves​


  1. Peel and thinly slice the piece of ginger. ​
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine water and sugar. Simmer until sugar is dissolved. 
  3. Add remaining ingredients except the vanilla extract and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered,  for 15 - 20 minutes, until the mixture starts to thicken. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
  4. Strain syrup through a sieve to strain out the ginger and the cloves. 
  5. Let cool and store in the refrigerator in a glass container with a lid. 

Instructions for making a latte: 

  1. Put 2 Tbsp ginger syrup in a coffee mug.
  2. Heat 6 oz milk in a small saucepan. While milk is heating up brew a cup of strong coffee.
  3. Take milk off the burner before it begins to boil. Pour into blender and blend until milk is frothy. 
  4. Pour 1/4 cup off brewed hot coffee into mug with ginger syrup. Pour milk into cup and stir. Enjoy!

6 Healthy Weekend Habits

6 healthy weekend habits

Don’t undo all the hard work you’ve done this week! Limiting alcohol intake, planning meals for the upcoming week and getting plenty of rest are all great habits to incorporate into your weekend routine.

Weekends are also a great time to incorporate something new into your life. If you’re not already doing so, meditating or taking a walk in nature are wonderful ways to reconnect with yourself and recharge.

Why Your Organic Food May Contain Harmful Chemicals

what food labels mean

Your organic food may contain harmful chemicals. How is this possible? The”USDA organic” label does NOT mean chemical free. So what does the label actually mean? If you see the “USDA Organic” or “Certified Organic” seal, the item must have an ingredients list and the contents should be 95% or more certified organic, meaning free of synthetic additives like pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and dyes, and must not be processed using industrial solvents, irradiation, or genetic engineering, according to the USDA. The remaining 5% may only be foods or processed with additives on an approved list. The question at hand is which, if any, chemicals should even be allowed in organic food?

Recently a committee called the National Organic Standards Board conducted their semi annual meeting in which they discussed which synthetic substances organic farmers and processors may use.  Although most would prefer to exclude the use of all synthetic chemicals, there are some  herbicides, fungicides, emulsifiers and other additives that some organic farmers say they cannot do without. At the meeting a potato grower from Chin Family Farms acknowledged that a natural substance, clove oil, can be used to keep potatoes from sprouting. But a chemical known as “3-decene-2-one” or “3D2,” works much better. He even showed pictures to prove his point. “Clove oil has been a wonderful product,” he said. But “we don’t feel it is effective enough. It’s hurting our business.”

Organic food is a $2 billion industry and continues to grow. Yet how is the consumer supposed to know what is truly organic and what is just mostly organic? This is where understanding food labels becomes crucial. Click here to read more about food labels. If you truly want chemical free food you’ ll need to look for the “100% organic” label or, better yet, grow your own!



Live Without Limits!

live without limits

Are you putting limits on yourself? Have you gotten into a rut in your workout, your professional life or in your personal goals? If you’re feeling stuck then it’s likely that you have come up against a dreaded plateau.

Here’s the thing. You CANNOT just stay there. You can’t achieve your dreams if you don’t test your limits. You’ll never know just how far you can go if you don’t bust out of the comfort zone, break down your fears and go for yours. So if you feel stuck then I suggest you do something different. Anything different. Try a different type of workout. Learn a new skill. Take a class. Just do SOMETHING that will stretch you intellectually, emotionally or physically.

How Sitting Too Long Affects the Body

how sitting too long affects the body


Do you have a job where you have to sit most of the day? You are more than likely doing your health a major disservice! A few health concerns caused by sitting for long periods of time include:

Cancer – Low physical activity occupations have an increased incidence of cancer. A study found women’s chances of developing breast and ovary cancer were heighten if working in a sedentary job.

Heart Disease – Sedentary behaviors increase the risk of heart disease by up to 64%

Slower metabolism – The decreased muscle contractions that occurs with prolonged, immobile sitting slows the clearance of fat from the blood stream and decreases the effect of insulin.

Compromised posture – Sitting causes the pelvis to rotate backward and puts pressure on the lumbar discs. This position forces the head forward and cause the shoulders to curve to compensate for the weight transfer.

So what can you do to offset the negatives effects of being sedentary? Here are some suggestions:

  1. Periodically move around in your seat.
  2. Stand while talking on the phone or eating lunch.
  3. Use a stand up desk.
  4. Have organized breaks throughout the day.
  5. Walk laps with your colleagues rather than gathering in a conference room for meetings.
  6. Position your work surface above a treadmill so that you can be in motion throughout the day.

(Photo courtesy of To see a larger version of this photo click here)


Avocado Spinach Panini

avocado spinach panini
Avocado Spinach Panini
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
Smoked sun-dried tomatoes give this sandwich a meaty taste and texture.
  • 2 avocados, halved and thinly sliced
  • ⅓ cup julienned, smoked sun-dried tomatoes (1 oz.)
  • 2 Tbs. diced red onion
  • 2 cups lightly packed baby spinach
  • 4 4-oz. ciabatta rolls, split in half
  1. Layer avocado slices, tomatoes, onion, and ½ cup spinach on each roll.
  2. Spray panini with cooking spray.
  3. Coat skillet or grill pan with cooking spray, and heat over medium heat.
  4. Place panini in pan; weight with smaller-diameter saucepan weighted with 1 or 2 cans.
  5. Cook 2 minutes, remove weight, flip panini, replace weight, and cook 1½ to 2 minutes more (or cook 4 minutes in panini maker.)

Are You Too Busy to Take Care of Your Health?

are you too busy to take care of your health

Are you "too busy" to eat healthy? Is now just not a good time for you to begin to take care of your health? When WILL it be a good time? 

The single best way to stay in optimal health is to eat real food. It's the whole "garbage in - garbage out" thing. If you eat crappy food then you'll feel like crap. And if you feel lousy then you'll have zero energy. If you have no energy then you won't feel like doing all the other things you need to do to be healthy, like working out.

Think of food as the base of the "feeling good" pyramid. When you eat better, you feel better. When you feel better you have the energy to be active. When you're active, you sleep better. When you sleep better you reduce stress levels in the body. All healthy habits build on each other. 



The Health Benefits of Lavender

health benefits of lavender

I love lavender!
Want to stay  healthy during cold and flu season? Here are some helpful ways to use lavender to fight off all those yucky germs lurking everywhere this time of year:

1. Make your own hand sanitizer

– In a leak proof  bottle combine 1 tablespoon aloe vera gel, 3 tablespoons grain alcohol and 10 drops lavender essential oil. Shake thoroughly and use liberally throughout the day.

2. Direct use

–   By placing a few drops of lavender oil on the skin several times per day, the immune system will be ready to tackle cold bugs and flu viruses.

3. Antiseptic soap

– Washing your hands frequently is one of the best way to prevent illness. To take it up a notch, use lavender oil to make a natural germicidal soap. In a mixing bottle, add 20 drops of lavender essential oil per 8 ounces neutral liquid soap (such as castile). Shake vigorously to combine. Transfer to a hand soap dispenser and use frequently.

4. Disinfectant

– Use lavender essential oil as a disinfectant spray!  This will help keep your environment free of breeding pathogens. Add 40 drops of the oil to a spray bottle and fill with 2 cups water. Shake
well before each use. Use it to spray countertops, toilet seats,handles and doorknobs as well as cell phones and other high traffic surfaces.

5. Air sanitation

– This is a simple practice which minimizes infectious disease at home or in the office. By placing several drops of lavender oil in a pot of simmering water or use a nebulizer you will disinfect the air naturally and your immune system will get a boost! Diffuse for about 30 minutes.

Apple Pecan Salad

apple pecan salad

This Apple Pecan Salad is absolutely delicious. It makes for a perfect light meal! 

Apple Pecan Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
  • 3 Tbsp coconut palm sugar or turbinado sugar
  • 3 Tbsp finely chopped pecans
  • 3 small apples, halved and cored
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup apple cider
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 6 cups mixed organic greens
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil; lightly coat with cooking spray. In a bowl combine sugar and finely chopped pecans. Place apple halves, cut side up, on baking sheet. Brush tops of apples with butter; sprinkle with sugar mixture. Bake 15 minutes or until just tender when pierced with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, in screw top jar combine oil, cider, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper. Cover. Shake well.
  3. Arrange greens on platter; top with apple halves. Spoon melted sugar and pecans from baking sheet onto salad. Shake dressing. Drizzle desired amount on salad. Sprinkle with coarsely chopped pecans. Pass remaining dressing. Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 380 Fat: 30 g Carbohydrates: 28 g Sodium: 328 mg Fiber: 4 g Protein: 4 g

Tough Times Don’t Last

tough times dont last
tough times dont last

Are you going through a difficult situation right now? Keep in mind that NOTHING lasts forever, not even this rough patch. It will come to an end. I know it’s tough to know this now because you’re in the eye of the storm.

Try not to worry about the worst case scenario. Chances are excellent that it won’t happen. Don’t believe me? Think of all the times in the past when you thought something horrible was going to happen and IT DIDN’T HAPPEN. You got this. Just remember that tough times don’t last.

Stuffed Red Peppers

stuffed red peppers
Stuffed Red Peppers
Serves: 4
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1⅓ cups water
  • ⅔ cup quinoa
  • 1 (16 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (16 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
  • ¼ cup walnut pieces
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced, white parts
  • and tops separated
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon dried mint leaves
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • 2 large red bell peppers, halved
  • lengthwise, seeds and membrane
  • removed
  • ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with olive oil.
  2. Bring water and quinoa to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Mix garbanzo beans, stewed tomatoes, walnuts, raisins, white parts of green onions, lemon juice, chili powder, garlic powder, mint, and cinnamon together in a bowl; stir in cooked quinoa.
  4. Arrange red bell pepper halves in the prepared baking sheet. Spoon quinoa mixture into each red bell pepper half.
  5. Bake until bell peppers are tender, about 30 minutes. Spoon a few teaspoons of drippings from the bottom of the baking dish over each stuffed pepper; top each with 1 tablespoon goat cheese and green parts of green onions.

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