Aug 21 2018

Probiotics for Summer Beverages

Lately I have been getting questions about probiotics.  Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for you, especially your digestive system. There is a wide variety of probiotic supplements and foods.  Today I thought I would introduce two options for probiotic beverages. Most people know about the probiotic benefits of yogurt, but two lesser known options are water kefir or kombucha.

Water kefir is a fermented beverage made with water kefir grains. Water kefir grains are used to culture sweetened water, fruit juice, or coconut water. The water kefir grains consist of bacteria and yeast existing in a symbiotic relationship. The term kefir grains are used to describe how the culture looks, however, it does not contain any grain products at all. This is especially good news for people who have sensitivity to gluten or other grains.

Kombucha is another fermented beverage that starts with a sweetened tea along with the addition of an active culture (also called a SCOBY: Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). The tea and culture is fermented for up to 30 days.

Kombucha is often thought of as an aid to digestion, whereas water kefir is considered a general probiotic beverage. Both beverages have beneficial digestive bacteria and enzymes, and both can be used as healthy sources of hydration. Consuming one or both is a matter of individual taste.

You can purchase bottled kefir water or kombucha in the supermarket or health food store. Some people like to ferment their own beverage. With the proper starting culture, you can easily add your own sugar, juice, or tea to make the drinks. My next blog post will tell you more about making your own probiotic beverages, so stay tuned!

Here is a recipe using Kefir Water to make a refreshing “Cocktail” without the added alcohol.  I especially like serving this beverage in my beautiful copper mugs because they are perfect for are perfect for keeping drinks icy cold!

Kefir Watermelon Agua Fresca – Makes 2 Servings

1 ½  Cups cubed watermelon

4 oz. water

12 oz. Kefir Water – bottled (or home fermented)

½  oz. fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice

Mint Leaf Garnish

Add watermelon and water to blender and pulse until well blended. Place a strainer over a bowl and strain the blended melon.

Reserve the watermelon liquid.

Pour the watermelon liquid, kefir water and lemon or lime juice over ice. Garnish with mint leaves.

Refreshment and probiotics all in one!

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Jul 15 2018

Eat More Vegetables the Easy Way

We have all heard this: we need to eat more vegetables!

People who follow a weight loss or calorie restricted diet are used to hearing about all of the foods that they cannot eat anymore. It’s nice to know that there foods that they can eat more of! That’s where vegetables come in. Vegetables in their fresh state is one group of foods that not only provides variety, but it’s something that gluten free followers can eat without worry! Given the importance of a nutrient dense diet when counting calories, vegetables should be a staple.

Unless consumed raw, fresh vegetables will require some preparation. The time involved in prepping vegetables is the part that trips up many people…how often have your purchased fresh vegetables only to have them rot in the vegetable bin??

I really like the idea of making the process of vegetable prepping easier by adopting what I call the “batch cook” method. This means prepping several fresh vegetables in 2-4 different ways at one time. The idea is to make ahead and have later.

Here’s an example of how this is done:

Steam carrots on one burner, sauté leafy greens on another burner, roast a tray of mixed vegetable (such as Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, or beets) with a little olive oil in the oven on one or two large trays. Store ready-prepped vegetables in plastic containers.

In less than an hour’s time there’s enough veggies cooked for several days. This is a great way to get a meal on the table quicker and with fewer pans to clean up. And, you have your vegetables ready to go! Use any leftover veggies can be added to a soup.

This is one of the best tricks I know work in more vegetables. Quick and easy!

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May 09 2018

Preventing Cross-Contact at Home

Courtesy of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and author Rachel Begun, MS, RDN we found a new article entitled “Preventing Cross-Contact at Home”.  This article isn’t really an article… it is more of a guide.  Cross-contamination is often confused with cross-contact.  According to Ms. Begun “Cross-contact is when the food allergen or gluten is transferred to a food meant to be allergen or gluten-free. A key difference here is that offending food proteins remain dangerous after cooking.”

The article includes shopping, storage, cooking, washing and serving. You can find this comprehensive article on cross-contact at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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Apr 11 2018

Don’t Buy The Dirty Dozen: Pesticides In Produce

Spring has sprung and we’re dreaming of parties, barbecues, festivals and farmer’s markets. There is so much juicy fruit and vegetables that we don’t know what to pick for dinner.

As lovely as the fruit and vegetables look they can harbor an invisible poison… pesticides. Starwberries are the worst offender according to 2018 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.

There isn’t any foolproof way of ensuring that your produce doesn’t contain pesticide residue but there are ways to reduce your exposure. Buying organic as often as you can is one way to reduce pesticide in your food.

Following are some resources that can help you decide what fresh produce to serve to your friends and family:

The Pesticide Data Program
EWG’s 2018 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™
The Dirty Dozen List

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Feb 28 2018

Don’t Diet… Get Healthy Step By Step

We go through this every year.  We start off with New Year’s resolutions.  We’re all committed and energized.  We jump in with both feet and try to overhaul our life overnight.  The following week we realize we bit off more than we can chew and we start cutting back on resolutions.  We might go to the gym a few times and cook more often at home but as we get busy those resolutions fall by the wayside too.

It isn’t the resolutions we make that is the problem.  It’s the stress we put on ourselves.  It is possible to change but it doesn’t happen overnight.  The right way to make change is by going step-by-step.  So instead of resolutions, start each year off by keeping a gratitude journal.

Don’t push yourself.  Start out writing in your journal two times a week, focus first on your strengths and then write about the people you care about.  Reflect on the situations that make you happy.

Once you’re in the habit of writing in your journal add another step to your wellness journey.  Perhaps you will cut back on the number of times you eat fast food each week, or you’ll try some new healthy recipes or start walking for fifteen minutes three days a week.  Add a new step once you get settled with your previous changes.  Slow down when you get overwhelmed.

Following is a selection of Gratitude Journals from (we may receive a small commission if you purchase through our links):

The Gratitude Journal for Women: Find Happiness and Peace in 5 Minutes a Day

Good Days Start With Gratitude: A 52 Week Guide To Cultivate An Attitude Of Gratitude

The One-Minute Gratitude Journal

The Secret Gratitude Book

Gratitude Journal: Today I am Thankful for…

Gratitude Journal: Tree Branches and Leaves 52 Weeks Writing Cultivating Attitude of Gratitude

For more ideas on how to eat healthy read my book “The Quick Start Guide To Healthy Eating” at

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Jan 30 2018

Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

healthy hot chocolateYes, there are parts of the world that are warm but most of us are still cleaning snow and sleet from our car windshields every morning.  It’s cold, cold, cold and one of the ways to warm yourself up is with warm beverages.  You could go to Starbucks and give them lots of money in exchange for calorie laden drinks but that isn’t something you can afford to do every day.  We have a better idea. Why don’t you make the most famous warm drink…. hot chocolate… at home?

Yes, hot chocolate can be unhealthy if you make it the traditional way.  If you want to drink it more often you need a healthier version.  You’ll also reap the benefits of chocolate when you sip the warm, chocolate goodness. Chocolate is thought to reduce stroke risk, boost your mood, reduce your chances of having heart problems, improve blood flow and more.

We’ve researched the healthiest recipes for you but if you have some you’d like to share please leave them in the comments below!

Healthy Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate
35-Calorie Hot Chocolate
5-Minute Vegan Hot Cocoa
Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe
Healthy Homemade Hot Chocolate (Paleo, dairy-free)
42-Calorie Almond Milk Hot Chocolate
Healthy High Protein Sugar-Free Hot Chocolate
Healthy Hot Cocoa
Ginger Hot Chocolate

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Nov 24 2017

Healthy Holiday Leftovers

Some people believe that holiday leftovers are even more delicious the second, third or fourth time around!  We would agree.  However, you might not realize that you can use holiday leftovers and make them healthier that you normally would.

Below you’ll find some resources that can guide you to getting the most out of your leftovers without jeopardizing your New Years Resolutions!

20 Healthy Recipes To Make With Your Thanksgiving Leftovers
3 Delicious Ways to Turn Holiday Leftovers into a Healthy Lunch!
5 Healthy, Creative Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes from Around the Web
Nine Holiday Leftovers You Can Make into Deliciously Healthy Meals
Nine Holiday Leftovers You Can Make into Deliciously Healthy Meals
Easy And Healthy Holiday Leftover Recipes

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Oct 11 2017

Do You Love Pumpkin?

The world must believe that everyone loves pumpkin because every fall pumpkin flavored products are everywhere.  Not just pumpkin pie but pumpkin coffee, tea, candy, cookies, soup, biscuits, popcorn, lattes, ale and the list goes on and on.

Many of these pumpkin products are high in fat and sugar so it’s a good thing that they are seasonal.  You, however, can make pumpkin flavored food year round.  Pumpkins are a nutritious powerhouse that provides you with potassium, vitamin C, and beta carotene making it a good addition to your diet.

We scoured the internet for the healthiest and tastiest pumpkin recipes available.  Try out those below that appear to you and share  your favorite recipe in the comments!

Pumpkin Hummus
Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Oatmeal Pumpkin Spice Bread
Baked Oatmeal with Pumpkin and Bananas
Pumpkin Spiced Crepes with Pumpkin Butter
Crock Pot Turkey White Bean Pumpkin Chili
The Ultimate Healthy Pumpkin Pie
Skinny Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer
Skinny Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

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Sep 06 2017

Everyone Is Going Crazy For Avocado Toast!

Avocado Toast

Everywhere we go someone is talking about, preparing or eating avocado toast!  It’s become a thing!  Why is everyone obsessed with avocado toast and how do you make it?  Inquiring minds want to know!

First of all, we’ve talked about avocados in two previous posts:

Summertime Avocado Recipes
Avocados: Any Variety You Use Is Good Bet!

Everyone agrees that an avocado is an excellent addition to your healthy diet.  The nutritional advantages of avocados are numerous including good fats, Vitamins A, C, D, K and E, folate and potassium.

So why the obsession with avocado toast?  No one knows for sure but it probably became popular because of the nutritional  value combined with the fact that it is easy to make.  In order to keep avocado toast on the healthy side it is important to choose a whole-grain bread without  added chemicals, artificial color and flavors  or preservatives.

There are dozens of options for making avocado toast.  Following are a few recipes we thought you might enjoy:

California Avocado Toast Three Ways
My Go-To Avocado Toast
11 Easy Ways to Fancy Up Your Avocado Toast
Sweet Mango Avocado Toast
Avocado Toast With Heirloom Tomato and Balsamic Drizzle

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Jun 15 2017

The Benefits of Meatless Monday

Everyone has heard of Meatless Monday but they may not know that eating less meat may reduce the risk of diseases like cardiovascular, cancer, diabetes and obesity. The other benefit to eating less meat is that your food budget will shrink. Meat is usually much more expensive than other foods.

Meatless Monday is a nod to the World War I food rationing and was launched internationally in 2003. The theme focuses on encouraging individuals and families to have one day where recipes will not include meat.

We have compiled a list of meatless recipes that can get you started on your journey to Meatless Mondays.

Garlic Scape Ricotta Tart
Mediterranean Grain Medley
Spaghetti Aglio e Olio with Lots of Kale
Veggie Loaded Pizza
Creamy Polenta Bowl with Oven-Roasted Tomatoes and Zucchini
Wild Rice Bowl with Red Lentil Curry and Spinach

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