Always eat breakfast.

I'm sure you've heard many times that "breakfast is the most important meal of the day". Guess what? It is!!! Breakfast is really "breaking the fast". The last meal you had was the night before probably about 10-12 hours prior to waking up.

I loved Dr. Don Colbert's analogy of breakfast and how it affects the rest of your day: "When it comes to breakfast, think of your metabolic rate as a fire in the fireplace. By morning, the fires of metabolism have all but gone out. In order to get the fire going again, you need to eat a healthy breakfast."

So what is a healthy breakfast? One that gives you energy and boosts your metabolism. I'll discuss great breakfast options in a minute, but first let's talk about metabolism. 

We hear all the time about thin people having a "fast metabolism", but many don't actually know what metabolism is or does. Metabolism is defined as the chemical processes continuously going on in living cells or organisms that are essential for the maintenance of life. Basically, it is composed of ALL the chemical reactions in the body. The metabolic rate is contributed by all those reactions, such as your heart pumping, lungs breathing, liver doing all 500 functions its meant to do, muscles working...etc. 

Since it takes energy for your body's organs to function properly, the metabolic rate is simply the rate you burn calories in a nonactive state (aka: doing nothing...=p). Typically, our bodies burn up to 75% during this nonactive state. So many factors make up the metabolic rate, but one of the biggest factors is: SKIPPING MEALS. 

When you have not eaten for more than 12 hours, your metabolic rate goes down by 40%. This is why it is so important to eat breakfast. A good breakfast boosts your metabolic rate and gets your day going strong.

Here are a few breakfast options that are full of fiber, vitamins and minerals to start your day strong:
  • Kashi or Cascadian Farms cereals (contain 6-10 grams of fiber per serving)
  • Oatmeal with raisins 
  • Whole wheat toast
  • Fruit
  • Fresh Orange Juice or Fresh Apple Juice
  • Pancakes
  • Plain yogurt with fresh fruit and wheat germ
  • Almond milk*

For all you coffee lovers, that is not a complete breakfast =). I've heard many of you tell me that eating breakfast makes you nauseous. Start slowly, but for your health, you MUST train yourself to eat a healthy balanced breakfast. Skipping meals, especially breakfast (which is the meal that jump starts your metabolic rate and energy for the rest of the day), will lead to a lower metabolic rate and weight gain.    

 *I'll be blogging soon on Cow Milk...stay tuned...

My favorite pizza.

About a year ago, I couldn't say what I can now: I love to cook! As a result of searching out healthier ways to cook dishes I love, I've been creating in the kitchen. Something I've never done.

Because we love pizza but don't eat anything white - as in white flour, white pasta, white bread, etc. - I began making unleavened bread from scratch. From there, an array of dishes came. One being my new favorite pizza.

I don't know the exact measurements because I change this pizza every time. Today it happened to be absolutely amazing (but at least I remember what I did)!

First, I make the dough. Three ingredients is all you need: 100% Whole Wheat flour, EVOO, and water. Simple enough.

Start with 2 cups of flour, 1 tbs of EVOO, and add water until you get the proper consistency. If it feels too sticky just add a little flour.
Then, roll it out. For extra taste, add some garlic salt =)

Then comes the best part...the toppings. Here's what I've used in my pizzas:
  • Spinach
  • Tomato sauce
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • Fresh onion
  • Fresh garlic
  • Mushrooms
  • Broccoli
I'm sure there's more, just add the ingredients you love (and that are healthy), bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes and ENJOY!

Healthy American Classic.

Yesterday, my husband and I decided to make an classic American dish: Hamburger and fries, BUT with a healthy kick of course =)

Let's start off with the fact that it was not red meat. We made a delicious turkey burger on 100% Whole wheat thin bread from Nature's Own and homemade potato chips. 

Here's what we did:

Turkey Burger
1 lb - lean ground turkey
2 tsp - Bragg's Amino Liquids (or soy sauce but Bragg's is so much better for you)
1 tbs - lemon juice
1/4 cup- organic ketchup or tomato sauce
1/4 cup - chopped onion
1/2 cup - Japanese bread crumbs (you can use any bread crumbs)
Pepper - use as you like 

Bread = Nature's Own 100% Whole Wheat flats

Spinach, Mustard, Organic ketchup (contains NO High Fructose Corn Syrup)

Potato Chips
1-2 thinly sliced potatos (don't remove skin, it contains nutritional value - fiber)
Place on baking pan (spray the bottom so the potatoes don't stick)
Lightly coat EVOO and then garlic powder or garlic salt
Put in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes

This makes an absolutely deliciously healthy meal. I promise!

Vitamins and Minerals do what?

We have always known vitamins and minerals to be good for our body, but sometimes we don't really know off hand what they're good for in terms of keeping us healthy and how they support our many bodily functions.

So here's a quick list* that you can refer to regarding these natural substances and what they can do for you:
  • Vitamin A; Retinol; Beta-Carotene  = Fights infection; healthy vision and skin; bone growth; cell division
  • Vitamin B; Thiamine = Energy release; growth; healthy nervous system
  • Vitamin B2; Riboflavin = Energy release; growth; healthy eyes, skin, hair, and nails; formation of red blood cells
  • Vitamin B3; Niacin = Manufactures hormones; healthy eyes, skin, hair, and nails
  • Vitamin B5; Pantothenic Acid = Adrenal function; anti-stress
  • Vitamin B6; Pyridoxine = Protein metabolism; growth; infection protection; forms red blood cells and neurotransmitters; maintains hormone balance; healthy immune function
  • Vitamin B12 = Forms red blood cells; protects nerves; DNA formation
  • Biotin = Metabolism; fat synthesis; waste excretion
  • Vitamin C = Makes collagen; antioxidant; aids in iron absorption; essential for formation, growth, and repair of bones and skin
  • Calcium = Healthy bones and teeth; nerve impulses; muscle contraction
  • Choline = Metabolism
  • Copper = Blood and bone formation
  • Vitamin D = Calcium absorption; immune function
  • Vitamin E = Antioxidant
  • Folate; Folic Acid = Fertility; health during pregnancy; essential for healthy cell formation
  • Iodine = Thyroid hormones; metabolism; growth; reproduction
  • Iron = Forms red blood cells; circulation
  • Vitamin K = Protein created for blood clotting; bone health
  • Magnesium = Enzymes activation; energy production; cellular reproduction; muscle relaxation
  • Manganese = Antioxidant; energy production
  • Molybdenum = Iron usage; DNA metabolism
  • Phosphorus = Strong teeth and bones
  • Potassium = Fluid and pH level regulation; blood pressure regulation
  • Selenium = Antioxidant
  • Sodium = Fluid regulation
  • Zinc = Immune function; tissue formation
These are just a few of the more common vitamins and minerals. There are several more unlisted here but this is just to give you an idea of how these are used in our bodies.

You will always here me saying I recommend vitamins and minerals be absorbed in their natural state (fruits, vegetables, whole grains..etc), but there are times where supplements are necessary.

*List gathered from An A-Z Guide to Healing Foods by Elise Marie Collins

A salad to write home about.

I wanted to share an easy lunch or dinner salad recipe that is easy, delicious and of course healthy =)

Here are the ingredients:
  • Organic Spinach leaves
  • Carrots
  • Tomatos
  • Feta Cheese
  • Cashews, Almonds, Walnuts
  • Craisins
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
I have also made it with the following added which makes for an excellent meal:
  • Black olives
  • Cooked and seasoned red beans
  • Organic chicken (cooked with sea salt as the seasoning)
This can easily be your days serving of vegetables. Please note, there is NO ranch, italian, or blue cheese dressing. Keep it fresh, keep it natural and it will keep you healthy!

Bon Appetit!

A great morning start.

This morning I was able to make my husband breakfast. So, I decided to make an all-American favorite: Pancakes! But...this was a very healthy pancake that leaves you full with just one. I took a typical recipe and tweaked it with all natural ingredients and few extras =)

Here it goes:

1 3/4 cups - WHOLE Wheat Flour (make sure you do not use white)
2 tbs - brown sugar
2 tsp - baking powder
1/2 tsp - baking soda
1/4 tsp - salt (organic, kosher or sea salt is best)
1 egg - slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups - Almond Milk (either Vanilla or Original) <-- Here's the catch
3 tbs - extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
1/2 - flaxseed (or whatever you - didn't really measure, just poured)
Cinnamon - sprinkle away =)
100 cups - Love =p

***You can add raisins, blueberries, strawberries or any other fruit***

Mix it all together and start the pancakes. Spray the pan using fat free cooking oil spray, but NO butter. Then top it off with 100% maple syrup (yes there is only one ingredient in this...maple syrup). Don't kill this healthy pancake mix with fattening High Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrogenated syrup!

I actually poured a little syrup all over my one pancake and let it soak in. I didn't have to refill or add anything else. It was delicious.

P.S. I was the one who would put butter on my pancakes after it was cooked in butter and used so much syrup it would drown my plate. Trust me...this is good, filling and nutritious.

Bon Appetit!

Got Fiber?

While in the grocery store, I started picking up random items I used to purchase regularly (my eating habits and shopping habits have drastically changed the past 3-4 years). As I looked at the fiber content, I noticed most foods we enjoy as a society have 0% to 1%. As a result, my husband and I made sure that our first and most important meal of the day had 8-10 grams of fiber.

Cereal is probably our favorite item in the house. No we don't buy Fruit Loops, or Trix or Fruity Pebbles or any other sugar infested, artifically colored cereal. Instead, we have a small section of the long cereal aisle called the organic section. We now buy Kashi and Cascadian Farm. This is just one example of where I get my fiber.

The daily fiber recommendation is anywhere from 25-30 grams. Because the majority of what we consume, as a society, lacks fiber we're lucky if we receive 8-10 grams per day.
Many individuals take fiber supplements. I don't recommend the fiber supplements because many are processed (aka: Metamusal) and even have food coloring. In addition, it's quite simple to get your necessary intake of daily fiber by simply eating the proper foods daily. Absorption of fiber is much higher when you eat the actual foods as opposed to supplements (This applies not just to fiber, but all other minerals and vitamins).
Here are a few great foods to get your necessary fiber:
  • Flaxseed, Flaxseed oil
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts, seeds
  • Fruits
  • Broccoli, carrots
  • legumes (beans, lentils, peas)

Here a few tips on how to get a little more:

  • Buy flaxseed flatbread instead of flour tortillas (great for wraps)
  • Buy high fiber cereal
  • Buy wheat germ (refrigerate) and put it some in your yogurt.
  • When you make pancakes, use 100% Whole Wheat Flour and add some Flaxseed

Homework: Go into your pantry and fridge and see where your receiving your daily fiber and how much of it you're intaking. Remember you should be in the range from 25-30 grams per day.

In Season.

Last week I was researching when certain fruits and vegetables were in season and where they were grown. From there, I printed out articles showing the time during the year to buy those fruits and vegetables and when to avoid them despite the fact that they may be sold in the grocery stores.

Please keep in mind that when you see a label reading South African grapes or Argentinian blueberries, remember that they've traveled further than you do to work and back in a week. Through travel, just imagine the amount of toxins that get into our fruits and vegetables from pollution, smog, and chemicals to preserve it for the journey.

This is the reason many people are now buying local. Not only are you supporting your local farmers, you know what your getting and where it's growing.

Rich Pirog, the Associate Director of the Leopold Center at Iowa State University, says that when consumers learn about an issue such as the tomato scare during the salmonella outbreak, their first reaction isn't necessarily to think, Oh, I should eat local. He says, "The common response is, 'Wow, I need to pay more attention to where my food comes from and how it's grown.' Local provides answers to those questions people are asking.

"It's difficult to always buy local, and the fruits and vegetables you love most may not grow in your area or even state, but it will help you from buying fruits and veggies that come from too far and aren't even in season.

To find out what's in season in your area visit

I'm an official health nut!

I haven't really blogged in a while because I've had so much to say so I've said nothing at all. For the past 5 years, I've been studying holistic nutrition at my own pace. I've read medical journals, peer reviews, books, articles, watched documentaries, videos by naturopathy doctors, etc.

As a result, I have slowly been moving toward vegetarianism and complete holistic living. That's where this blog comes into play. This blog will be primarily focused on my passion for nutrition and holistic living and findings.

There's so much to write about that I don't know where to start.

For now, I'll leave you with this recommendation: "Food, Inc." About 2 months ago, I was introduced to this documentary which confirmed many of the things I had been studying over the years and I'd love for you to watch.