Eat Your Yolks!

Eat your yolks!  They are considered the perfect food and the healthiest part of the egg! They provide so much more than what is found in the whites. The yolks provide valuable vitamins such as A, D, E & K, omega-3 fats, folate, antioxidants and choline!  It is also not the demon of what is associated with high cholesterol levels in your blood or heart disease.  Your liver actually makes about 75% of your body’s cholesterol so whether you are eating it in your diet or not you are still producing it. One the reasons your body produces it is because it needs it. Every single one of your cells produces cell membranes made from cholesterol.  

One of best reasons we need to eat the yolks is that it contains choline!  Which has been identified to be an essential nutrient that we do not get enough of. Choline functions like b-vitamins so it’s often grouped in this category because it promotes optimal health in the liver, nervous system, decreases heart disease, helps support cell structure and metabolism. 

The source of your eggs makes a huge difference in quality of the nutrients it provides. You want to eat “pastured” eggs from organic chickens!  Once you have eaten pastured organic eggs you will never want to eat commercially raised eggs again.  You will notice the difference in the color of the yolk! An organic pastured egg has deep rich orange color where as a commercial raised egg lack color mainly because they are not exposed to sunlight and have a diet that is depleted in nutrients.  

Eating the whole egg helps lower blood pressure which most people think the complete opposite as well as helps individuals with diabetes 2 and is rich in brain fats so it’s great for neurological function too.

Eating raw eggs is actually more nutritious than eating cooked eggs. Make sure if you are eating raw they are from a high quality source you trust as well as organic and pastured. There is a warning for food safety when consuming raw eggs. The risk is high if you are eating conventional eggs where Salmonella is more probable than a small organic farmer. Cooking destroys some of the nutrients of the yolk so if you cook them the best way would be soft boiled or poached where the yolk is still runny.

So let’s recap, most of the nutrition in the egg yolk not the white which is merely protein. The yolk is loaded with nutrients, like bioflavonoids, brain fats like phosphatidyl choline, powerful antioxidants and sulfur. Eat your yolks and not just 1 or 2 a week! It’s without a doubt better than eating cereal that is processed (no matter how healthy you think it might be) and probably will raise your blood sugar.

Try eating the whole egg for a nutrient dense meal!  Let me know in the comments if you love eating  yolks or are you a die hard egg white person!

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Winter Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad

This shaved winter brussel sprout salad is delicious and light!  I’ve made it a few different times over the last few weeks for my clients.  It’s always a welcome addition in the winter.  Although not completely necessary to make the dish with a mandoline, it makes it so much easier to get the thin shreds you want.  You can also use a food processor shredding blade or a sharp chefs knife will work as well but may take you just a bit longer.  These are the times when you wish you had one!

I purchased mine on Amazon – Swissmar Borner V Power Mandoline and have had it for many years and use it often.  It works great because it’s a very sharp blade!  You have to be careful for ones that are not as sharp because that could be dangerous for slipping.  And on the other hand you have to be careful because whatever you are cutting you don’t want to go all the way down to your fingers or you will slice them.

Try this delicious salad as a light lunch or as a side with your dinner.  It’s delicious and comes together so quickly.  It also holds up in the fridge for a few days too so it’s an added bonus!

Winter Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad

Delicious raw winter salad!

Course Main Course, Side Dish
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Stacey DiVerde

Ingredients

For the Salad:

  • 2 packages raw brussel sprouts shaved
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup shaved parmesan (or buy pre-shaved) BelGioioso Parmesan Shaved Cheese, 5 Oz

For the Dressing

  • 3 ea lemons freshly squeezed
  • 3-4 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp grated garlic
  • 1 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/2-1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp raw honey
  • 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

Instructions for salad:

  1. Shave the brussel sprouts with a mandolin being careful of your fingers in a large bowl.

  2. Add cranberries, slivered almonds and shaved parmesan.

Instructions for Dressing:

  1. In a glass jar or bowl, squeeze lemons, add rest of ingredients and shake the jar or whisk to emulsify and toss well into the salad. Adjust seasoning to your taste. 

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13 Toxic Chemicals You Need to Avoid for Better Health

There are so many toxic chemicals we use on our skin, mouth and in our daily household cleaning regimen that IS making you and those you love sick! Your body is meant to naturally detox. However, we are overloaded with harmful chemicals and carcinogens our organs can’t do it’s job and that’s when disease sets in! These toxins also travel through our blood stream directly absorbed from our skin. It might not be apparent in your everyday life that they are making you sick,  But they are wreaking havoc on our bodies causing disease slowly. Hello breast cancer! Hello depression! Hello weight gain! Hello hormonal disruption! Hello infertility! Hello thyroid condition! Hello liver & kidney damage! Hello skin rash! Hello brain & gut disfunction! Hello allergies! Hello developmental delay! You get the picture ~ it IS affecting your health every single day in every single way!  

The US is about the only country that allows all these harmful chemicals in our products. Most of these chemicals are banned from other countries. Would you believe the US only bans 11 toxic chemicals but Europe has 1,300 on their list of banned chemicals? What? This is crazy!

It’s really up to us – the consumer – to stop buying and using these products that are killing us and our children. Apparently, children absorb 40-50% more than adults making them at higher risk for disease.  Not to mention the rate of children with learning disabilities, ADD, ADHD, autism, depression, mood disorders and allergies has skyrocketed the last 50 years!! This is just sad but often ignored as a trigger! There are so many people still using harmful chemicals on their bodies and household cleaning. These chemicals have direct impact to how well our endocrine and neurological system is working especially your Thyroid! Once absorbed they produce systemic damage to internal organs.

13 Toxic Chemicals You Need to Avoid:

  1. BPA – (bisphenol-A) is a chemical that is added to many commercial products. Most widely used in the lining of cans, plastic food containers, bottles as well as hygiene products. The reason why they use it in the lining of cans is to keep metal from corroding. It is also found in CDs/DVDs, thermal receipts, plastic containers and bottles, toiletries, feminine hygiene products, eyeglass lenses to name  few. Because BPA is estrogenic (mimicking estrogen properties), it has the potential to affect hormone-mediated neurologic and behavioral development in early life(1) and is recognized as an endocrine-disrupting chemical as well as linked to breast cancer. It can bind to estrogen receptors which can influence growth, cell repair, fetal development, energy level and reproduction. It also can alter the function of your thyroid and your entire endocrine system.  Unfortunately, recent research is showing BPA has been replaced by bisphenol-S (BPS) or bisphenol-F (BPF) which may also disrupt the function of your cells similar to BPA(2). Using glass whenever possible is best for food storage and avoiding plastic overall when possible to avoid these harmful chemicals.
  2. Plastic – Use glass whenever possible especially heating your food (not that microwaving your food is good either). Toxic chemicals leach out of plastic and are found in the blood and tissue of nearly all of us. Exposure to them is linked to cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption and other ailments.
  3. Parabens. Parabens are widely used preservatives that prevent the growth of bacteria, mold and yeast in cosmetic products. While that might sound good, parabens possess estrogen-mimicking properties and are linked to breast cancer and are found in biopsies of breast tumors. The skin is one of the largest organs and it’s directly absorbed into your body. Parabens can be found in makeup, lipsticks, body washes, deodorants, shampoos, conditioners and facial cleansers, lotions and creams, etc.(3)(4)(5) 
  4. Imidazolidinyl Urea and Diazolidinyl Urea — These are the most commonly used preservatives after the parabens. According to the American Academy of Dermatology they are the primary cause of contact dermatitis. 
  5. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) – is used as a sudsing and foaming agent which penetrates the skin. Harmful effects include reproductive and developmental toxicity, tissue damage that could result in chronic liver, brain, heart, lung damage and may include cancer. SLS has been found in the tissue of these organs so it accumulates in the body. It is found to be a contributor to acne, eczema and other dermititis skin irritations.  It also disrupts your skin’s natural oil balance because of its harsh agents.(6) 
  6. Tricolsan and Tribclocarban – found in toothpaste, deodorant and antibacterial soaps and   handsanitizers. We have become so obsessed with germs that it is actually causing bacterial resistance which is opposite of what we want. We need microbes in our gut to keep us healthy. It also disrupts our endocrine system, impairs muscle and immune function and allergies.
  7. Benzalkonium chloride, benzethonium chloride, and chloroxylenol – these are the chemicals that have been replaced in some antibacterial products and are showing just as harmful affects as Tricolsan and Tribclocarban (7)
  8. Phthalates – a group of chemicals used in products to increase the flexibility and softness of plastics. It is used in cosmetics and personal care products such as nail polish, perfumes, moisturizers, deodorants, and hair spray.  They are endocrine disruptors and have been linked to breast cancer as well. Unfortunately, companies are not obligated to disclose their secret formula of fragrance which is a major flaw in the law. 
  9. Polyethylene/PEGs – PEG, which is the abbreviation of polyethylene glycol.  It’s most common form is plastic and when combined with glycol, it becomes a thick and sticky liquid. It’s found in cosmetics as emollients which help soften and lubricate the skin, it’s also an emulsifier and it helps deliver other ingredients deeper in the skin (ugh!!!). They are used in cosmetics for scrubs and exfoliants as well as body wash. These PEGs wind up traveling through our waterways and collecting more pollutants along the way ultimately being consumed by fish and other marine mammals.
  10. Dibutyl phthalate, toluene – linked to endocrine disruption, respiratory issues, birth defects and headaches.  They are found in nail polish and nail products and other cosmetics.
  11. BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) – synthetic antioxidants used as preservatives in lipsticks and moisturizers, among other cosmetics. They are also widely used as food preservatives such as some potato chips, cereals as well as oils. They are beneficial because they help prolong the shelf life of certain items. This doesn’t mean it’s safe.  Though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has determined that BHA is “generally recognized as safe,” The Department of Health and Human Services, however, cautions humans to avoid BHA because certain studies show it is linked to cancer. It also can accumulate in the body and can be considered a human carcinogen.   Evidence shows high doses of BHT may mimic estrogen resulting in hormone disruption. 
  12. Formaldehyde – Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and poses significant danger to human health (it has been linked to nasal squamous cell cancer(8).  It is also skin irritant that can cause allergy-like reactions including watery, burning eyes and throats, stuffy noses, and skin rashes. It is mainly used in the production of industrial resins such as particle board.  It also can be found in furniture, permanent press clothing, draperies, glues, adhesives, cleaning, beauty products and in some brands of baby wipes(9).
  13. Mercury – Exposure to mercury impairs neurological development, and recent research has linked high levels of mercury to ADHD. Because neural development happens rapidly in pregnancy and early childhood, it is important to eliminate exposure where possible(10) (11)   Oxidative stress is associated with the cause of neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease(12)(13). Mercury enters the environment through air pollution and industrial waste. When mercury enters water, fish absorb it through their gills. The primary exposure to mercury is from consuming large, older, and predatory fish (ahi tuna, swordfish, shark, orange roughy, mackerel,  yellowfin tuna, sea bass, blue fish, grouper). Here’s a list of the levels of mercury found in fish/seafood from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration so you can decide which seafood is best for you to consume.

As you can see every single one of these chemicals are an endocrine & neurological function disruptors.  They are linked to many cancers and diseases.

Now, if you think I’m being overly cautious, I’m not. It’s up to us to start making these changes for our health and our children’s health. I don’t even like the fake and strong smells from the cleaners that are on the market. If you think Mr. Clean, 409, Fantastic, Gain, Palmolive or Dawn dish detergent is safe to use they are not. Once you switch to a healthier cleaning regimen and skin care you will notice the difference. I know it has made a difference in my own thyroid function and that is coming from someone that no longer even has a thyroid. 

One of the most popular laundry detergents on the market – Tide –  is loaded with toxins for example.  I’ve ditched Tide about 20 years ago!  There are many natural detergents that are on the market today that work well!  You can also make a homemade natural detergent too using simple ingredients like borax, washing soda and natural soap such as Dr. Bronner’s. 

Here’s list of ingredients for Tide detergent:

  • water
  • alcoholethoxy sulfate
  • linear alkylbenzene sulfonate
  • propylene glycol
  • citric acid
  • sodium hydroxide
  • borax
  • ethanolamine
  • ethanol
  • alcohol sulfate
  • polyethyleneimine ethoxylate
  • sodium fatty acids
  • diquaternium ethoxysulfate
  • protease
  • diethylene glycol
  • laureth 9
  • alkyldimethylamine oxide
  • fragrance
  • amylase
  • disodium diaminostilbene disulfonate
  • DTPA
  • sodium formate
  • calcium formate
  • polyethylene glycol 4000
  • mannanase
  • Liquitint™ Blue (a dye)
  • dimethicone

Wow – that’s a long list of toxicity! Apparently, there is a petrochemical solvent known as 1,4-dioxane that is found in Tide that is also used in paint and varnishes.  The EPA (Environment Protection Agency) considers this solvent a human carcinogen(13).

Companies are tricky in making you think something is natural and safe – like Tide Free and Gentle is not “free and clear” of all chemicals!!  Thankfully, in a 2013 press release noted on EWG’s website, Procter & Gamble has agreed to reformulate Tide and other popular laundry detergents to reduce contamination with 1,4 dioxane, defined as a carcinogen by California consumer product safeguards known as Proposition 65. The giant multinational’s action came in response to a lawsuit filed by an Oakland-based nonprofit called As You Sow. My understanding is as of today, 1,4 dioxane has been taken out of Tide Free and Gentle, however, EWG.org website still rates this product an “F”. I would stay away from all conventional detergents that are in the market despite Tide being the most popular laundry detergent on the market. Read your labels – natural or free doesn’t mean that it is non-toxic and chemical free. I try my best not to use harmful chemicals on my skin or in my home. The chemicals that are in your products have a direct connection to how your hormones work (both in women and men!) as well as can cause many different cancers. We must all be conscious consumers and realize that these very products are making us sick in more ways than we care to believe.  

Unfortunately, the cosmetic industry is also unregulated and the FDA doesn’t require them to make safety assessments on their products.  There are tons of products on the market starting from the conventional deodorant that has been linked to breast cancer to the foundation make-up that is loaded with chemicals that are being absorbed through our skin. Harmful ingredients are often masked with the label of “fragrance” or sometimes they are labeled with the actual chemical but are not required to inform the consumer of its harmful affects on our health. Wouldn’t it be nice to know if the products you use everyday are harming your health?

Check out how your product rates.

If you’d like to see how your cleaners or skin care products rate on The Environmental Working Group (EWG) website which was developed in 1992. You can visit their site at www.ewg.org to look up your product.  Please note that ratings are based on the scope of ingredient safety data contained in Skin Deep®, and the number of studies available in the open scientific literature so I find some of the ratings not totally fair but still a good resource to see where your product rates.

I know I was very disappointed to see a brand of cleaners I used to be fond of not rate well – method brand.  Unfortunately, another misguided product on the market making it seem they are made from safe ingredients.  While method products are definitely “greener” than conventional products apparently they are using ingredients that are still considered unsafe.  Since there is no regulation, I’d rather be safe than sorry and stick with a product I know is safe for myself and my family. Not all the method products are rated poorly but a lot of them are. As consumers it’s extremely important to read labels because many of these products are misleading making you think they are perfectly safe and natural.

Please tell me some of your favorite products that you love down in the comments!

These toxic chemicals are a huge factor in so many diseases that we are an aware of.  The first place we need to clean up is our skin care and cleaning products.  Many chemicals cross the skin barrier and are absorbed directly into your blood stream.  Once absorbed they produce systemic damage to internal organs.

Additional References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3554682

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4702494/

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Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

This little chia seed is packed with high fiber, protein and omega 3 fatty acids! The raspberries are an extra boost in fiber and one of the highest amount of fiber in berries!

I’ve been hooked on this since I started making this a few months ago.  I eat it several times a week.  It’s a great breakfast because all you need to do is open your fridge – and – wah la – it’s ready!  It also keeps you satisfied for a long period and it makes you feel like you are eating something luxurious due to how creamy it is! It doesn’t seem like it is healthy! 

Chia seeds benefits include promoting healthy skin, reducing signs of aging, supporting the heart and digestive system, building stronger bones and muscles, and more. 

One cup of chia seed pudding has 16.9 grams of fiber, 8 grams of protein (not including the cashew milk that it’s made with) and 14.8 grams of healthy fat!! This one cup is literally half of your recommended fiber intake for the day and we know how hard it is to get a lot of fiber in your diet. It’s a win win for weight loss as well as lowering your risk for heart disease and diabetes!! Fiber slows the rate the sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream! 

It’s loaded with ALL 8 essential amino acids, a host of trace minerals and micronutrients ~  manganese, phosphorus, calcium, zinc, copper & potassium!  It has the highest amount of omega 3 of any plant source. And while the best source for omega 3s is oily fish due to EPA and DHEA – a recent study found (Appalachian State University) that when female subjects tested took 25 grams of milled chia seeds over a 7 week period their EPA plasma increased not just ALA. This is awesome for vegans and vegetarians that need to get their omega 3s from plant sources. I always put chia in my smoothies but I just love the pudding!!

Fiber is a very important part of our diet especially for weight loss and something that is often overlooked. This one is packed with all the essentials – fiber, protein & fat and a little carbohydrates.

You can find chia seeds at your local supermarket or health food store.  However, if you have a local Costco by you they sell a huge bag of organic chia seeds for under $7.00. Can’t beat it!

Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup 8 tbs - chia seeds
  • 2 cups cashew milk (I love Elmhurst Milked Cashews - so good!)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 6-8 raspberries

Instructions

  1. Put ingredients in a container with cover and mix together thoroughly with a whisk. It's not completely necessary but I find it comes out better if you stir it half way or after an hour or so of settling.  Sometimes I will just shake the glass container!

  2. Let it sit in the fridge overnight (or at least several hours) and place a handful of raspberries on top when serving. Enjoy!!

Recipe Notes

You can also make this with coconut milk if you are allergic to nuts.  Use half canned coconut milk and half carton (mixed well before other ingredients are put in)

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Anti-inflammatory Golden Milk

Achy joints may need extra attention especially in the winter when you may not be moving as much! Do you know that stagnation is not good for achy joints? You need to keep moving if you want to help your joints. I know that sounds counter-intuitive but they need movement to keep them healthy. You just want to make sure you are doing the right exercises. For example if you suffer with bad knees or hip issues, jogging would not be good. You get the picture!

This drink is so comforting – perfect for winter! It’s soothing and immune boosting! Drinking it before bed actually helps you have a more restful sleep while boosting your immunity while you sleep.

The secret spice actually is the curcumin in the turmeric that has numerous health benefits. Curcumin has been extensively studied. It has shown benefits to support digestion as well as alleviate inflammation in your digestion system. Boosts immunity, reduces inflammation due to osteoarthritis to name a few and has numerous studies in reduction in many types of cancer.

Too many benefits not to include this in your diet several times a week! If you aren’t allergic to tree nuts, I find it’s most delicious using cashew milk (regular dairy is inflammatory so I wouldn’t use that). I used cashew milk but it’s commonly made with other non-dairy milk such as almond or coconut or any combo of them both.  

If you can find fresh turmeric it really comes out so delicious vs. dried turmeric in your spice aisle – although that is good too but fresh just has a different flavor.  You can find fresh turmeric at your local supermarket (my stop & shop carries it), Whole Foods, or health food store should also have it if they sell produce.   Here’s a picture so you know what you are looking for:

Anti-Inflammatory Golden Milk

Servings 1
Author Stacey DiVerde

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cashew milk my favorite is Elmhurst Brand (so creamy)
  • 2 tsp grated fresh turmeric or 1 tsp dried turmeric (fresh is best)
  • 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger or 1” sliced
  • Pinch black pepper freshly cracked
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp organic raw coconut oil or ghee
  • 1 tsp raw honey optional

Instructions

  1. Heat in a saucepan, over medium heat until hot but not boiling.

  2. Stir and let steep for about 5 minutes. 

  3. Strain through a fine mesh sieve over a mug. 

  4. Serve with an additional sprinkling of black pepper (helps with absorption) and an extra sprinkle of cinnamon.

Recipe Notes

You can find fresh turmeric at your local supermarket (my stop & shop carries it), Whole Foods, or health food store should also have it if they sell produce.  

 

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Pumpkin Paleo Waffles

Lets just say I’m not big on waffles.  But, I am loving these pumpkin paleo waffles especially since they are gluten free and you’d never know it.

Yup that’s me! Not even the kind that you would get wrapped around an ice cream cone. I really never got into what was so special about waffles even before I was gluten free.  I guess it’s because I rarely ate that kind of stuff when I was a kid probably because my mom didn’t buy or make them.  This waffle maker was given to me at my bridal shower 26 years ago – hence the hearts ;).  The recipe would be even better if I had a belgium waffle maker but this did the trick for now.

A few weeks ago one of my personal chef clients requested chicken and waffles for the kids!  Ever since then I’ve been kind of craving waffles plus my kids prefer waffles over pancakes. Happens a lot when I cook for my clients.  When Sunday rolled around, this was exactly what we had two weeks in a row!  

Enjoy!  Let me know if you try them and what you think!

Pumpkin Paleo Waffles

Delicious light and fluffy paleo pumpkin waffles.

Servings 6
Author Stacey DiVerde

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup organic pumpkin puree
  • 4 ea eggs
  • 2 tbs avocado oil
  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened almond milk (can use vanilla almond milk)
  • 2 tbs organic maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour + 1 tbs
  • 1/2 cup arrow root flour + 1 tbs
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour + 1 tbs
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Heat your waffle maker as you are putting together the recipe.

  2. Blend all the wet ingredients (pumpkin puree, almond milk, eggs, vanilla, avocado oil). 

  3. In a separate bowl combine all the dry ingredients. 

  4. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients while whisking either by hand or with a powered hand blender until it is completely combined.  It will thicken a bit as it sits.

  5. Spray your waffle iron with oil so it doesn't stick.  Pour the waffle mixture in the middle of your iron.  I can't tell you exactly how much because every iron is different.  Mine makes 4 waffles at a time.  Mine also beeps when it's ready although I prefer to check it a little before I know it might beep otherwise mine gets a bit too dark.  You want to cook them until they are golden and crisp.

  6.   Serve with maple syrup and grass-fed butter if you choose.

 

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Chick Pea Curry with Kale & Basmati Rice

This is the perfect warm and comforting dairy-free vegetarian/vegan dish for a cold NY night!  

I don’t eat rice very often because I have a very slow metabolism and well rice just doesn’t do well when you have a slow metabolism!  Lots of my clients have either a love or a hate relationship with curry but I encourage you to try it.  I didn’t love them years ago but I do now!  They are very comforting and grounding especially in the winter months they are perfect because we need to incorporate more warming foods! Both the inflammatory spices of ginger and turmeric in this dish help with inflammation and are good for your gut as well!

Let me know in the comments if you try the recipe what you think!!  I would love to hear your results!  The recipe is super easy and comes together so quickly – my kind of recipe!  It’s easily a mid-week meal!

Chick Pea Curry with Kale

Dairy-free Chick Pea Curry with Kale & Basmati Rice

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author Stacey DiVerde

Ingredients

  • 3 cans organic chick peas drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cans coconut milk organic native forest brand
  • 2 cups vegetable stock I like natures promise (1/2 box)
  • 2 tbsp madras curry
  • 1 1/2 tsp grated ginger heaping
  • 1 dash garam masala optional (it's not completely necessary)
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 3 ea plum tomatoes seeded and diced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste heaping
  • 1 bunch kale large bunch - stemmed and chopped
  • 4-5 ea carrots sliced
  • 1 med onion small dice
  • 2 cloves garlic grated
  • 1 tsp Himalayan pink salt or to taste
  • evoo for cooking
  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice (dry to cook)
  • crushed hot pepper upon serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prepare basmati rice according to package directions and cook for approximately 18 minutes on low.  Set aside when done.  

  2. Meanwhile, saute onion in extra virgin olive oil in a wide braising type pan or dutch oven.  Add carrots, ginger and garlic and continue heating for just a few minutes more.

  3. Add coconut milk and vegetable stock, diced tomatoes, stir in tomato paste.  Add curry and rest of spices.

  4. Add rinsed chick peas. Add the chopped kale and bring to simmer. Reduce and adjust spices according to taste.  Sprinkle with crushed hot pepper for extra spice when serving.

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Balanced Healthy Life – Mind, Body, Spirit

While we sometimes do need a prescription for certain ailments or life threatening situations true health arises when we balance our mind, body and spirit.  We need to look to ourselves for the answers.

What Does a Balanced Healthy Life Really Look Like?

Getting there doesn’t happen overnight and it’s not really a destination!  Good health nourishes you from inside out.  Starting with the how we talk to ourselves – self love. Our bodies are meant to work like a well-oiled machine and in perfect harmony.  It’s truly miraculous!  When given the right ingredients your body can heal itself but you need to be aware of what’s going on and do not ignore the symptoms it gives you.  A healthy balanced life doesn’t have debilitating side effects like some prescriptions do especially if taken long term for a chronic issue.  Especially most of them weren’t even designed to be taken that long (ie. acid reflux medicine!!).  

It probably doesn’t look like the super-model on the cover of Vogue either!  Get comfortable in your own skin!  

Balance isn’t Perfect Everyday!

Balance isn’t perfect everyday but a practice over time to what feels good for you. Listen to your body and look to your higher self for the answers, it knows intuitively what it needs as well as has all the answers it needs. Symptoms pop up to tell us “hey, something is off, come look a bit deeper to finding the root cause”.  Try to get out of the habit for looking for the quick fix or pop a pill to put a band-aid approach to a bigger issue.  Question your health care professional, seek a second opinion, don’t believe everything you read, what is good for one might be poison to another.  

Stress can Wreak Havoc on Our Bodies

Stress is also a huge factor in our lives today especially with all the technology that is literally coming at us every minute of the day.  

Stress comes in many levels. For example, your body can be stressed internally from a simple sugar overload which is difficult for you organs and blood to process.  Or you may be eating a food that you don’t even realize you are sensitive too which is causing digestive distress.  Top that with stress from business or job, financial pressures, family, relationships, etc.  You could be eating all the super-foods in the world and if you have a lot of stress in your life you can kiss your health good-bye.  On the flip-side, some small level of stress, helps keep us motivated and strive for something better so that’s where balance is key.  Do what feels good and practice what keeps you peaceful!

12 Steps to balance your life for better health:

  1. Take 6-8 deep belly breaths, breathe in through your nose while your belly expands (not your chest) and hold for 5 then out through your mouth slowly for 6-8 when you first wake up or anytime you want to recenter yourself.  This helps trigger your parasympathetic nervous system and awaken more happiness, peace as well as productiveness in your life!
  2. Get a morning daily ritual that includes some self-care.  Meditation, reading, journaling are all great to include.  Time to reflect and appreciate the day that is coming.  Also a gratitude journal is also a great way to start your day.  Gratitude truly can be a game changer!  
  3. Just eat whole foods (forget food with labels and boxes, fast food and it would be a good idea to try to eat home as much as you can).  Restaurants are known for using bad oils and unhealthy ingredients.  However if the restaurant you frequent is using healthy ingredients and preparation  than go for it!  And, please share in the comments who they are!  Even Whole Foods is using canola oil in preparation of their already prepared food station — canola oil is not a healthy oil!
  4. Drink more water!  When you urinate your urine should be light not yellow and dark (although if you are taking supplements they do cause yellow urine).
  5. Exercise!  Find what works for you but get moving to create oxygen and move stagnant energy that might be stuck in your body!! It doesn’t have to be hard core as a matter of fact over exercising is not good either!  Walking or stretching is great way to start!
  6. Body Tapping! Your body is energy! If you’ve been sitting for a long time or when you first wake up you want to wake up your organs and get the blood and energy moving and release stagnant energy in your body.  This helps to release toxins as well.  First rub your hands together in quick motion creating energy or even clapping is great.  Start with your ankles and move all the way up the back of your legs, arms (each one), neck/sternum, chest, back and kidney area.  The whole idea is to move the energy in your meridian lines in your body and helps balance your chakras (your energetic/emotional body).
  7. Eat more vegetables! I don’t subscribe to one style of eating but everyone, everyone could benefit from eating more vegetables!  They are nutrient dense and help with so many ailments.  Please note eating cold salads everyday doesn’t necessarily mean that they are good for you if they cause bloat and gas.  This typically means that you may not be digesting them and cooking them would be ideal for you.
  8. Sleep! You should shoot for 7-9 hours of sleep a night.  For some that might seem like a dream but if you are not sleeping, your health will deteriorate in some form or another.  You need to restore and rejuvenate, to grow muscle, repair tissue, and synthesize hormones.  It all happens when we sleep.
  9. Dump the chemicals you are using in your home, on your skin and in your food!  Nowadays it is easy to find natural products in regular stores as well as online.  Chemicals disrupt hormones, cause cancer, breathing/lung issues, asthma, brain fog, ADD, ADHD, contributing to you not losing the weight you want to lose, inflammation, organs not working optimally…just to name a few!
  10. Prepare and plan!  Food, schedules, life needs to organized not wake up and figure it out in a scattered mindless way. You set your day up for failure that way.  Focus and allow yourself enough time to plan your week and day.  Everyone has a different system but find one that works for you.  If you are running late all the time for appointments, going through the drive through or just plain exhausted you need a better plan!  We all get 24 hours in a day – it is a choice on how we choose to use it ~ no excuses!
  11. Eat mindfully.  Sit down and really enjoy your food and praise it.  Take time to really appreciate it.  You might think this is something you can skip but digestion starts the minute you look at your food.  Digestive enzymes are start to churn in your mouth the minute you look at your plate!  Take time to chew your food that is half the battle of helping it to digest!
  12. Feed your mind with good thoughts!  Your beliefs DO rule your life.  It’s good practice to continue to feed your mind with positive thoughts several times a day if you tend to have negative self talk.  Just be aware of the thought and then send it on it’s way then replace it with something positive even if it’s not really true.  Believe first, then see!!! Not see and believe!
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Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Sauteed Spinach & Shitake Bacon

Coconut bacon seems to be very popular these days and my next post may be just that but I think more with a breakfast type food.  I actually bought the coconut I needed because that was my intention when I went to the store.  I’m so intrigued that you can turn coconut into bacon and I needed to taste it!  Now that I think of it I don’t know why I would think “why wouldn’t that be the norm” you can turn coconut into almost anything these days without it truly tasting like a coconut ~ aka coconut aminos, coconut vinegar (my favorite and actually has more benefits than apple cider vinegar).  Neither of these taste like coconut and are good for you!!

So lets get to the yummy shiitake bacon – that’s what I’ve created here.  It truly does taste like bacon and has a similar texture as well.  It was the perfect topping to my spaghetti squash with spinach & tomato – it made the recipe so much more flavorful.  The best part is it took no time to make.   You can make it in like 5-10 minutes which is less than what real bacon takes.

Here’s the recipe for this delicious meal!

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Sautéed Spinach & Shiitake Bacon

Delicious vegetarian dish adding the extra flavor of shiitake bacon!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 1 person
Author Stacey DiVerde

Ingredients

  • 1 ea spaghetti squash
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes cherubs
  • 1/4 ea large viladia onion sliced
  • 1-2 ea garlic cloves grated
  • extra virgin olive oil for drizzling or as needed
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt

Shitake Mushroom Bacon

  • 1 5oz sliced shiitake mushroom package
  • 4 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika heaping
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt fine grated
  • 1/2 tsp Hickory liquid smoke (found in spice section)

Instructions

Roasting the Squash

  1. Preheat oven to 385. Slice you squash in half lengthwise. Scoop of the seeds/middle with an ice cream scooper for easy removal. Drizzle Extra Virgin Oil over the flesh. Roast squash flesh side down for approximately 30 minutes or until the skin is soft when pressed.  

Shitake Bacon

  1. While the spaghetti squash is roasting, Mix the avocado oil, smoked paprika, liquid smoke and salt together in a bowl. Large enough to toss the mushrooms in (I used a 1/2 aluminum tray).

    Spread out on a large rimmed baking sheet that is lined with parchment or a non-stick foil. Roast on 385 degree preheated oven (convection if you have or bake is fine) - top rack. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until starting to crisp being careful not to burn. Cool on the baking sheet. 

Putting it all together:

  1. While the spaghetti squash and mushrooms are roasting. Sauté the onion and tomatoes in a little extra virgin olive oil on the stovetop in a non-stick pan over med-high heat. Add the garlic last and saute for just a little longer. 

  2. When the squash is cooled to touch, take a fork and scrape one half of the squash into the pan. Add spinach and stir until wilted. Add Himilayan pink salt to taste.

  3. Transfer the squash mixture to a bowl and top with the shiitake mushrooms and serve. 

 

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Roasted Dandelion Root Latte

Roasted Dandelion Root is the perfect restorative tonic to support your liver and help get it in optimal functioning shape. The liver is so taxed from our everyday environment, household cleaning chemicals, poor diet, etc. Not only does the liver detoxify it also helps convert T4 (inactive thyroid hormone) to T3 (active thyroid hormone). If your thyroid is sluggish it’s something to consider cleaning up the function of your liver besides just looking at your thyroid for optimal functioning.  

Roasted Dandelion is bitter which is what the liver loves to help clean it up – bitter foods/herbs! Other plants/herbs that are bitter and helps support liver function are the dandelion greens itself, asparagus, arugula, kale, cilantro, parsley, milk thistle, to name a few.  Adding these foods to your diet will help support your liver.  

In this latte, I’ve used the dandelion root itself and turned it into a powder to make the latte.   Using roots keeps it fresher for long term storage vs. buying the powder.   You can also make dandelion tea by steeping the root.  It is actually a good replacement for coffee as well.  You can purchase dandelion root tea right at your local grocery store.  The roots and other herbs I buy from a reputable supplier such as Mountain Rose Herbs.

I hope you enjoy this healthy and detoxifying latte!!  

Let me know in the comments if you give it a try!

Roasted Dandelion Root Latte

Great detox tonic for your liver!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings 1

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp Organic Roasted Dandelion Root Powder
  • 1/2 cup full-fat organic coconut milk such as Native Forest Brand
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • dash of cinnamon sprinkle on top after blended

Instructions

  1. In your high speed blender (or regular blend) add ingredients and blend it all up until frothy.  Enjoy.  

Recipe Notes

I like to buy roasted dandelion root in its whole form and make powder in a high speed blender (you can use a spice grinder or nutribullet to do this as well) instead of purchasing it in powder form for optimal effectiveness as well as freshness.  Unless you plan on using the powder within a short time.