orig photo credit:  paperlief.com

Sigmund Freud did not invent the concept of the three levels of consciousness but he brought it to the forefront of science.  It’s mind boggling when you think about it being the era that this came to life. Sort of when you think about how a cellphone came in our day!  What’s next?  

Whatever the mind can think and see – it is!! 

What I want to convey is how much of your very own unconscious thoughts are running and possibly maybe even ruining your life? And, you thought bad luck had something to do with it!  Or, that you don’t have control of what your mind thinks!  

You do!!!

The mind is nothing but an energy field on the quantum level. Our entire body is truly just ball of energy not matter. The mind sits outside our body as a swirl of energy attracting like energy.

What’s truly fascinating is that 90-95% of your brains activity is beyond our conscious awareness and resides in the unconscious mind.  And, 5-10% of our cognitive activity resides in the conscious mind.   When I was researching, there were conflicting percentages but for the sake of this post I’m leaving it to two.  I honestly don’t remember learning this in school but this would be a great lesson to learn!  And, as much as I’ve been learning about this for the last 15+ years it’s not that easy to truly change our subconscious beliefs and thoughts – but it is possible!

This is where Sigmund Freud’s “Tip of the Iceberg” analogy comes in.  The vast majority of our lives is being driven by our unconscious minds where we are totally unaware or even know that we are thinking these thoughts – and my gosh in massive state.  Just look at the picture!  You can clearly see that the most important part of that iceberg is underneath where you can’t see, just like your unconscious.

This isn’t hokey pokey stuff – this is learning how to direct your life in the way that serves you best. 

Don’t you want to be in the drivers seat of your life from now on!  You may think you are but most of your actions are on autopilot driven from the thoughts you are thinking subconsciously.

Whether you want to believe your unconscious mind is directing your life or not – it is!  It’s the law of the universe.  The entire universe is governed by the mind – the Law of Attraction. Everyone and everything on this earth is energy! 

Now to put this to use for your life:  Let’s use an example such as “You may want to make more money!”  If your subconscious mind is telling you (conscious mind) that more money isn’t good, is hard to come by, or has you believing you are not worth that much money – you will never attract it no matter how much you want it.  Or, you may make good money especially if you are inspired and driven but somehow you always make it disappear.  Or, I’m sure you read stories where people that won the lottery and are broke in two years! Your car breaks down, you have unexpected expenses, you give it all away as soon as you get it, even worse repel it by being totally careless with your money.  Money is just an exchange of energy. 

If your thoughts about money are any of those I mention above, money wouldn’t spend that much time around you.  It would go looking for someone with beliefs of respect, worthiness, deserving, helping others, etc. 

Same goes for overeating or eating unhealthy on purpose.  You can say you don’t want to overeat and you want to lose weight. You even get all excited about the new you that you are creating!!  But little by little you find yourself overeating, you are eating things that are not healthy and you don’t even know why.  You drive yourself bonkers with cravings then you beat yourself up for overeating and wonder what’s wrong with you and you give up.  Well, nothing is wrong with you!  

Most people are not even aware of the thoughts they are keeping that are leaving you in the dark your entire life.  And, year after year you try, try and try again but you don’t really succeed to the level you wish.  Or, things are good for a little while but you wind up going back to your old ways.  

Living with regret and mediocrity.

We are all born with a blank slate.  

It’s through our parents, caregivers, family members, mentors, teachers, friends, environment, etc that help form the beliefs that are so locked up in our unconscious minds.  As children, we are like magnets just taking in all this information.  But as a child we don’t have the analytical skills to really figure right or wrong – we just absorb this information and store it in our subconscious and unconscious mind.  

We become ashamed, resentful, anxious, fearful, scared, embarrassed to name a few. Maybe not at that given time because we don’t even know any better – we just take it in.  Just remember it’s not your parents fault – they are just doing the best they can/did given how they grew up.

There is no blame.

Now you know this – you can change your thoughts so you can have the life you truly desire.    

Your mind’s job is to keep you safe and out of danger.  This is how the subconscious/unconscious works.  It is constantly trying to keep you safe – even if at this present time that isn’t serving you or complete opposite of what you want to do.  It’s just doing it’s job.

Does this sound familiar?  “Hello!  I’m ready to jump into a new business but I’m scared of  “fill in the blank” so I never really do what I need to do. Keeping myself comfortable and in the right lane of life – just plugging by, making excuse after excuse as to why you can’t do what your true dream is.  Sound familiar?

So what’s next?

Once you understand how your actions are created from the above diagram you can truly create anything you desire.  I’m not going to pretend it’s easy especially if you’ve been believing a certain thought your entire life.  But – if you want to change what you are doing or not doing you have to change your thoughts! Your thoughts are causing you to feel a certain way which in turn is causing your actions or in action.

This isn’t going to require hours of therapy, dragging up the past, beating yourself up or hours of soul searching.  You can start right here – right where you are – now!

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. How am I feeling upon doing or not doing a specific action? i.e. overeating, drinking, taking action on business goals or sabotage
    • anxious, stressed, disgusted, annoyed, etc ?
  2. How and why do you feel this way?  If you say, you don’t want to feel this way but you are still doing it…
  3. What’s causing it?  
  4. What thoughts are creating this feeling?  
  5. Where are these thoughts coming from?  Your childhood?  Your parents, teacher, friend, etc?

Just understanding and being aware these thoughts, feelings and where and why you have this belief will help you move forward.  You also need to have compassion for yourself and not beat yourself up.  If you skip this step, you will land right back in the road to nowhere!

Write this down.  Do not spend hours, days, weeks, years doing this exercise.  Just think where these thoughts could be coming from. 

 Everything in your life right now is a reflection of your thoughts. 

Remember, you are exactly where you need to be.  Once you understand why or what this thought that you are having is making you feel a certain way, it triggers a certain action or in action.  You can change your thought pattern (even if you don’t believe it to be true!).  Your unconscious mind does not know truth from lie.  

  1. Rewrite your new beliefs and truths that will create your desired results.  
    • ie.  I am worthy.  I am enough.  I am important.  Money supports my happiness., whatever is true for you, etc.
  2. Keep these new beliefs with you, in the forefront of your mind, read them, morning, noon and night and more!  Write them on your bathroom mirror.  Say them aloud and have some emotion around it.
  3. Visualize your new self, your new manifestations as if they already are here. Close your eyes and just feel the emotion around it.  See it as real, even if it has not happened yet.
  4. Use Mel Robbins 5 second rule to stop yourself and interrupt your thought pattern (if you don’t know Mel Robbin’s 5 second rule – google it.) if you still are having old self-destructing thoughts or not doing what you desire.  Ready – 5 4 3 2 1 – bam!

We all live by our feelings.  We go through life wanting to feel a certain way at any given moment. It’s why we do the things we do.  

If you try to go about it just like 95% of the world does.  Such as…

I want to go on a diet —> You go on a diet —> You start out great —> lose 30 lbs  —> little by little you are back into your old habits and 10 lbs heavier than when you started.  

It’s because you haven’t changed your beliefs.  

Or, possibly you only got to day 3 and you are raiding the cookies because some how you think you can live on lettuce alone.  Weight-loss has nothing to do with willpower!  Your brain will always win! Stop beating yourself up!

It’s your subconscious/unconscious mind that keeps us stuck in our old patterns. It keeps you comfortable.  You might be saying well I’m not comfortable being 40 lbs overweight.  If you think about where your thoughts are around food or the feelings that is driving that behavior that is causing you to eat something that you know  you shouldn’t or don’t really want to eat can really help put a stop to it.  Think about your childhood where is coming from?  Do you use food to comfort yourself because to you food creates a feeling of comfort.  These are just examples to help you do a little investigating as to how you came to believe these thoughts.  And, they are not right or wrong – they are just thoughts and they are not serving you in your adult life anymore.      

I want you to succeed to your highest self no matter what that looks like for you.  

No matter where your thoughts are today we can change our thoughts and beliefs so that we can live a life that we truly are meant to live.  

It’s available to us right now if we choose it to be!

Do you notice when you follow so many different bloggers whether it’s for recipes, business or fashion you kind of lose your own creativity. You can’t seem to come up with something different. Or you think, why bother since it seems someone else already did it. I definitely have been feeling this lately and took a much needed break from social media so that I can let my own creative juices start cranking again. Also, it’s been a total refresher not even to open emails from so many different people. Using the delete key has been very liberating. It’s not to say I don’t enjoy their content but when you have your own business and need to flourish yourself a much needed break from other peoples ideas really help make your own shine through.  

Truthfully that’s how I decided to make this recipe. I stopped looking and started listening to what was inside and this dish was born.  And, it’s a keeper!  Feel free to add some shaved parmesan upon serving but it’s good all by itself without adding the dairy.

It also comes together quickly despite a few things that you need to do.  My whole family really enjoyed this. It’s perfect for spring – it’s a light lemony healthy pasta dish!  

5 from 1 vote
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Penne with Grilled Chicken, Arugula, Roasted Fennel & Lemon

A lemony light gluten-free pasta dish that is loaded with yummy flavor.

Course Main Course
Servings 4 people
Author Stacey Diverde

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs Organic Boneless Chicken Breast marinade below
  • 2-3 ea Lemons 2 zested and juiced (reserve 1 for end)
  • 5 ea large garlic cloves roasted
  • 2 ea fennel bulbs trimmed
  • 1 ea vidalia onion quartered, sliced
  • 5.5 oz organic baby arugula 1 container
  • 1 lb brown rice penne Tinkyada brand
  • 1/4+ c extra virgin olive oil
  • crushed red pepper to taste
  • Himalayan pink salt

Marinade for Chicken:

  • 1/4 c EVOO
  • 1/4 c Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ea lemon juiced
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 ea garlic cloves grated
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp pink salt

Instructions

  1. Trim and slice the chicken breast to approx 1/2”. Marinate chicken in above ingredients for approx 1/2 hr. Grill over a preheated med high heat until done. let sit for 10 minutes before slicing against the grain.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 (convection roast if have). Cut fennel stems off, core and quarter, then slice in 1/2” slices. Spread out on a parchment lined cookie sheet and add sliced vidalia onion. Drizzle a little evoo over and sprinkle with pink salt, toss. Roast for approx 1/2 hr or until golden brown and slightly burnt on edges.
  3. In a separate aluminum foil packet, place 5 large garlic cloves (w/peel) with a little evoo, seal it and roast along side fennel (check garlic after 15 minutes-roast until soft and golden). Set aside.
  4. In the meantime, boil 4 qts water in a dutch oven and cook according to package directions (al dente). Reserving about 1/2 cup of pasta water.
  5. While the pasta is cooking, in a separate bowl, juice and zest 2 lemons. Add pink salt to taste, 5 roasted garlic cloves squeezed from peels, 1/4 c evoo. Mash and emulsify with a fork, whisk or emulsion blender.
  6. Drain the pasta reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water. Return pasta back to the Dutch oven.
  7. Toss pasta with arugula while it’s still hot. Add lemon dressing, sliced grilled chicken, roasted fennel/onion mixture. Toss to combine.
  8. Adjust seasoning to taste. Add more olive oil if needed and squeeze one lemon over the pasta if desired. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper.

How many times have you changed your “mindset” about something only to find yourself right back in your old habits in days or weeks? Sort of like when your New Year Eve’s resolutions went out the window by the second week of February!

Habits are just that – habits!  They are not really connected to anything.  It’s something that we do subconsciously without even thinking about it.  Like brushing your teeth or getting dressed.

We actually have the power to change anything in a heartbeat as Tony Robbins would say.  I know that’s hard to believe when you’ve tried everything in order to quit smoking, stop drinking, quit junk food, change your eating habits, start exercising, save money or whatever it is that you want to change but keep resorting back to your old habits.  

We associate change with being hard, don’t we.

As humans, we ultimately work from what is called the primal brain or the reptilian part of the brain.

Those are where your habits come from.

We think we just need to think our way through it or reframe your mindset (the prefrontal cortex part of our brain). It’s much deeper than that.  Habit’s come from the survival part of the brain or reptilian/primal part of your brain.

It’s where your beliefs are about yourself.

Your identity (who we are at an unconscious level).

So if you don’t think very highly of yourself for whatever reason at the core level/identity level (primal brain) it will be a constant conflict with your thinking part of your mind (prefrontal cortex).

You can’t be anything other than what you believe about yourself is.  Your thoughts and energy create your reality. 

Your thinking part of the brain/prefrontal cortex is your “wants” part of your brain. Example:  I want to quit stop drinking – that’s your prefrontal cortex speaking. But the habits come from the reptilian part of the brain…the part that says you have to have a drink in order to survive.

Guess who wins?  The reptilian part! 

The reptilian part believes that whatever habit we have is necessary for survival. Even if it’s not in our best interest or even what we want. 

We tend to work from the outside in when we want change.  You get the healthy food, leave your running shoes where you can see them, join a gym, replace chewing gum with cigarettes, etc. Changing your environment or behavior only gets you so far for so long. You need to change from the inside out for lasting change.

We do what we are. 

Now that I’ve explained a little how habits come from the primal brain and the prefrontal cortex is our thinking part. The part that wants us to change but primal brain always wins.  

How do we actually make lasting change?

Especially if who we identify with is not who or what we want to be. 

I’m going to use a client setting a goal to lose 25 lbs but doesn’t follow through to eating in a healthy manner.

In order to reach your ideal weight or whatever goal you have set (financial, health, business, whatever)…

Focus on what you want! Not on what you don’t want.  

Energy flows where your attention goes.

This is where we usually focus on what we can’t have and feel deprived – but we are focusing on the problem.  

We need to see ourselves as the person that is 25 lbs lighter – all day, everyday.  We need to see ourselves as healthy and fit.  

Seeing ourselves as what we want to become will help us to make the right choices.

This is more than visualization.  The brain learns from repetition and the reptilian brain does not know truth from a lie.

We need to write it down, look at it, hear it, feel it, emotionalize with seeing ourselves as the healthy fit person.  Look at ourself in the mirror and love what you see – even if you don’t believe it! Continue to tell yourself you do.

What does that feel like?

What do you see?

If negative self-talk comes in, just know it’s just a thought, take a few deep breaths in through your nose, hold it for a few seconds and out through your mouth and just be.  Love yourself.  The thought can be dismissed and replaced if you choose.  Let it go and replace it with a good thought.

Repetition and more repetition will slowly start to reprogram your brain.  Doing this over and over you start changing little by little, doing different things. You start to love the changes you are seeing.

You notice you are focusing more on the energy you want to create vs the energy you don’t because it feels better. Slowly it becomes a habit. Your reptilian brain realizes “hey she’s not taking the urge I’m giving her to go for the food you shouldn’t be eating” and slowly your new healthy option becomes the habit. You start to change the person at the identity subconscious level. 

Habits can be changed and change doesn’t have to be hard. 

You have to become (relentlessly) the person you want to become now.  In your thinking, not just your doing.  The doing will come naturally when you change your thoughts about who you believe yourself to be.

Start by declaring the change you want to see.  Write it down.  Look at it several times a day. Get immersed in it. Write as if it already IS.

Become who you want to be now as if it is true.  Ask yourself what would that person be thinking and doing.

Don’t use words like can’t choose words like don’t.  For example, I don’t eat chocolate cake rather than I can’t eat chocolate cake. It can make a world of difference when you are around friends and family.  And, you don’t have to say it to anyone but yourself.  No explanation is needed. 

It’s not just about what you are eating, it’s about why you are eating it (without blame please).

Ask yourself “who was I being that created the person 25 lbs heavier than I am now”.  If self-worth is low on the list.  Start by writing “I am worthy.”

Remember one thing:  You have the power to change your beliefs no matter what they are!

Above all, the most important thing is to love and have confidence in yourself no matter where you are on your health journey every step of the way.

namaste.

It seems the 20 years of the “Got Milk” campaign has really got us believing that milk is so good for our health and bones.  But is Dairy really good or not?

Now a days there are all kinds of nut milks on the market. Is it a fad, is everyone allergic or lactose intolerant? 

There are some cultures that can tolerate lactose (milk sugar) – but many do not. There is also casein (one of the proteins found in milk – the other is whey) which is another issue for some and is slow to digest – it takes around 7 hours to digest. 

Dairy was not even consumed until after the agricultural revolution. Here in the U.S. parents usually switch their babies to cow’s milk after age 1. We are the only species that drinks another animal’s milk which if you think about it – it’s kind of weird! Babies produce lots of lactase which is an enzyme that helps absorb our mother’s milk.  After weaning, they stop producing as much lactase which is why some become lactose intolerant. Like I said, certain populations tolerate it better(1).

Dairy in general is inflammatory, mucus producing and is growth producing. 

It has been linked to ear infections in children, tumor growth, joint inflammation, increases insulin, skin issues like acne, psoarsis and eczema as well as respiratory and cardiovascular issues.  

Dairy sometimes produce vague symptoms. And, by vague I mean you are not having an acute reaction to it.  It shows up in different ways – usually inflammation of some sort. If you are lactose intolerant, you may have an acute type reaction usually within an hour or so – such as stomach pain, diarrhea, gas or bloating.

If you are drinking conventional dairy you are likely adding hormones and antibiotics that causes issues in your gut and disrupts your endocrine system. Furthermore, most milk here in the U.S. is produced from A-1 cows which is part of the problem. And before I totally go off in another direction on A1 vs. A2 cows because that in itself is a whole other story. I’ll just give you the short version. Regular milk mostly here in the U.S. contains A1 beta-casein, which is partly broken down to beta-casomorphin-7 (BCM-7) in the stomach. BCM-7 has been linked with several adverse health effects. In Europe, they have A-2 cows and it seems they do not have the problems we do with dairy. 

RAW, full-fat, organic grass-fed dairy on another hand is said to be extremely beneficial to our health. New York is one of 26 states where it can be bought with restrictions although where I live I have not come across where you can buy raw milk. California for example is much more readily available and even sold in stores because it’s legal. Pasteurization in conventional milk kills any nutrients that are valuable to our bodies which is why raw milk is the better option.  Raw milk contain live bacteria which is what makes it beneficial. If you do find raw milk in your area, make sure you are aware of the farmer’s practices so to be sure it is safe.  The FDA will demonize raw milk, however, I don’t have confidence in an agency that is paid by the US treasury as well as receives pay checks from drug companies. They are far from protecting us from dangerous foods on the market.

Organic, raw, grass-fed fermented diary in the form of kefir or yogurt has beneficial nutrients and in some cases healing to your body. Be sure to make sure the yogurt you are buying is not filled with sugar and other fillers.

What about Calcium?

There really is not a high amount of calcium in milk and there are much better sources. There is actually more calcium in leafy greens then there is in dairy.  Nuts and seeds are another excellent source of calcium besides it also has fat which helps absorption. Many people are under the assumption drinking low-  or no-fat milk is good but it leads to low absorption of calcium. Sardines is another excellent source of calcium. Dairy is acidic and vegetables are alkaline so another plus for eating vegetables over dairy for calcium. Plus, because dairy is acidic your body naturally aims to neutralize the body and will take calcium from your bones. Much contrary to many beliefs about dairy for preventing osteoporosis.  Studies show vitamin D is better for your bones than calcium.

Bottom line:

For me, I don’t drink milk or eat yogurt for quite a number of years. But I do eat grass-fed butter, ghee (which his actually dairy free but I mention it as a butter alternative as it also has a lot of healing properties) and occasionally eat cheese. When I do eat cheese, my joints are inflamed and my face breaks out – so I always regret it.  It also causes me digestive distress and bloating. It has caused me more harm than good so I stay away for the most part.  I seem to be okay with grass-fed butter on occasion or at least I think so.  Even with all the negative side affects it has been the hardest for me to 100% give up.  I try not to focus on it honestly and it works for the most part.  
 
It’s always good to declare you don’t eat something rather than you can’t have something (even if it’s only you are talking too :).  When your brain hears can’t it connects it with deprivation. 
 
Now, that’s not to say you will have the same issues. Some tolerate dairy well but I’d source your dairy from grass-fed cows at the very least.  And, if you are able to get raw dairy from a reputable farmer/source that would be your best option to reap the beneficial nutrients.
 
Cows that are raised on pasture and eat grass have a different nutrient profile than cows that are eating grain (which actually makes them sick which is why they need to give them antibiotics). Grass-fed/grass-finished cows have more more Omega-3 fatty acids and up to 500% more Conjugated Linoleic Acid.  The omega-3 to 6 ratio in grass-fed cows is perfect.  Grain-fed/conventional raised cows omega-6 ratio to omega-3 ratio is about 20 to 1.  The much higher ratio in omega-6 creates inflammation.  And if the cow is eating antibiotics so are you causing disruption to your microbiome.  This is the same for eating conventional beef vs. grass-fed.
 
Dairy sometimes has vague adverse symptoms and the best way to see if you have a sensitivity is to do an elimination diet for at least 7-9 days then reintroduce it for 3 days and see how your body reacts.  Most people do not even realize that dairy is in fact causing a lot of disruption to your health until you take it out.  
 
Here is a website I found very informative about milk facts from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences – Cornell University.
 
How well do you tolerate dairy?  What’s your take on it?  I’d love for you to share in the comments.  

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!

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. 

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.

But, we are overloaded with harmful chemicals that are wreaking havoc on your health. 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 until something goes wrong. 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. 

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. 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.

Check out The Environmental Working Group (EWG) website which was developed in 1992.  Although some ratings may not seem totally fair, they are based the available data and still a good resource to see where your product rates. 

I know I was very disappointed to see method brand products not rate well.  I really liked them. I have since switched to greener products or usually make my own. 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. 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.

Click Here to download a FREE guide to safe and natural products I love and use.

Additional References:

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

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

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)

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.  

 

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.