Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding

Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding [Paleo, GF, Primal, Vegetarian]

1 can full-fat coconut milk

2-4 tbsp. chia seeds (2 for a thinner pudding and 4 for a thicker pudding)

10-15 organic strawberries, rinsed and trimmed

1 tsp. vanilla

2 tbsp. raw honey


  1. Place coconut milk, chia seeds, and strawberries in food processor and pulse until it becomes a smooth consistency.
  2. Add the vanilla and honey. Pulse until just incorporated.
  3. Place into small jars and store in refrigerator for 1-2 hours or overnight. Chia seeds become gelatinous and will thicken the pudding as it sits. It can also be eaten right away.


There are many other options for chia seed pudding. Try experimenting with other seasonal fruits like peaches, raspberries, pears, blueberries, and even pumpkin. Also consider adding nuts, other seeds, and spices. The possibilities are endless!

Coconut Milk comes from the coconut and is found in tropical regions in Asia, Latin America, and the Pacific Islands. Coconuts contain healthful medium chain fatty acids such as lauric acid and capric acid, which are antiviral and antibacterial. These medium chain fatty acids are easily absorbed by the body and help to increase the metabolism. They also protect against heart disease and promote weight loss. In addition to fatty acids, coconuts also contain healthy carbohydrates and some protein. Coconuts are a good source of manganese, molybdenum, copper, zinc, and selenium. When choosing a coconut milk, avoid the low fat options because the beneficial medium chain fatty acids have been removed.

Chia seeds are those same seeds that are used in the popular Chia pets. They come from the plant Salvia Hispanica that grows in the deserts of Mexico. They help to reduce food cravings, reduce blood pressure, control blood sugar, and they are easier to digest than flax. Chia seeds should be soaked in water before using, creating a chia gel, which helps to hydrate the body. Chia seeds are rich in Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids. They are also a good source of antioxidants, potassium, calcium, iron, dietary fiber, and they have some protein too!

Strawberries are the most popular berries in the world and are native to many parts of the world. Strawberries are rich sources of vitamins C, K, B6, and B1, silicon, fiber, flavonoids, manganese, pantothenic acid, iodine, folic acid, and biotin. Their flavonoid content helps to protect against inflammation, cancer, and heart disease. When storing berries, do not wash them until you plan on eating them because berries start to breakdown when they are moist. Strawberries are consistently on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list, so it is very important to buy organic strawberries.

Honey is one of the four items that bees produce. Honey is rich in riboflavin, iron, manganese, and vitamin B6. It is also rich in antioxidants and it is an antiseptic. Local honeys are also said to help with seasonal allergies.

Nutrition Facts for one 1/2 cup serving

Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding Label

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a Registered Dietician or Medical Doctor. As such, I do NOT provide medical nutrition services, or diagnose and treat disease. Rather, I educate people on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to improve their quality of life. I advise people with existing medical problems to consult with medical doctors. I shared evidence-based health information, whether to class participants, wellness counseling client sessions, or on this website.


Bauman, E. & Friedlander, J. (2014). Foundations of Nutrition. Penngrove, CA: Bauman College.

Environmental Working Group (EWG). (2014, April). EWG’s 2013 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Retrieved from

Murray, M., Pizzorno, J., & Pizzorno, L. (2005). The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York, NY: Atria Books. (2014, April). 7 Good Reasons to Start Eating Chia Seeds. Retrieved from

WebMD. (2014, April). The Truth About Chia. Retrieved from

In Season, in September


In September, I feel like summer foods are starting to “die down”, so in my mind, this is the one last month to get the summer foods in before they start disappearing for the season. I’m always excited to see apples appear back on the seasonal lists because I usually start boycotting apples in January/February. (They are about 3-6 months old by that point and to me, they begin to get that mealy texture around then.)

Go to your local farmer’s market this weekend and get some local food!

Health & Hugs <3,



The 52 New Foods Challenge – Watermelon

This week’s food is WATERMELON! I LOVE watermelon – this is quite exciting! Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests making watermelon ice pops, watermelon smoothies, or [GET THIS] watermelon gazpacho – that sounds very exciting!! I love unique foods and unique food pairings and combinations. Some of my other favorite watermelon recipes include watermelon caprese salad, watermelon feta appetizers, and pickled watermelon rinds! What unique recipes have you tried with watermelon?

Food Facts

  • Watermelon is rich in lycopene – 40 percent more lycopene per ounce than ripe tomatoes and small watermelons have more lycopene than large watermelon
  • It also contains other antioxidants including beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, and phenols
  • To choose the ripest melon: look for a melon that is beginning to lose the gloss and the “ground spot” should be yellow, not green or white
  • Antioxidant values  continue increasing after the fruit has been picked – as long as they’ve stayed out of the fridge
  • It is in the Cucurbitaceae family and is closely related to squash, cantaloupe, and pumpkin
  • They are a good source of vitamins A, C, B5, and B6, biotin, thiamine, magnesium, potassium, and copper
  • High in fiber
  • Hydrating due to its high water content and is a diuretic
  • Lycopene has been shown to be protective against colon cancer and people with the highest levels of lycopene in their blood had a lower risk of stroke

From The 52 New Food Challenge by Jennifer Tyler Lee, The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno, Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson, and Super Foods by Tonia Reinhard

Health & Hugs <3,


10 Free Things to Improve Your Health

Ten Free Things to Improve Your Health

  1. Chew Well! – This is like pre-digestion. Your digestive system will be able to absorb more nutrients and work more efficiently with well-chewed food.
  2. Sit & Relax During Meals – When you are eating while standing, driving, sitting at your desk, or eating while stressed, your brain is in “fight or flight” mode and that’s all your body can do. When you eat, in order to truly digest food and absorb nutrients, your brain and your body need to be in “rest, digest, feed, and breed” mode. Take the extra time during each meal to sit, relax, and enjoy your food.
  3. Meal Planning – Planning your weekly meals at the beginning of the week and before heading to the store can help lower your grocery bill and help you stick to your eating plan.
  4. Drink more Water – Are you drinking 64 oz. of water each day? Try keeping track of your fluid intake to see how much water you drink.
  5. Exercise Each Day – Make sure you get at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Nearly every health condition can be helped with physical activity.
  6. Sleep – Try making your bedroom as dark as a cave. Using technology (especially tablets and smartphones) before bed is not recommended. Getting 7-9 hours of sleep is recommended. Your organs repair and regenerate while you sleep, not enough sleep means much more than just feeling tired.
  7. Elimination – How often are you having a bowel movement? What is the consistency like? Everyone is different, but adults should be having at least one to two bowel movements each day (should be semi-firm).
  8. Relaxation – Find some way to relieve stress and relax each day. Exercise and/or prayer/meditation are good ways to relieve stress.working in my garden
  9. Socialization/Connectedness – This is another way to help relieve stress. Humans are naturally social beings and today we are often very isolated from others. Joining a club or organization is a great way to get connected.
  10. Go Outside! – Get some sunlight and vitamin D and connect with nature. Try “Earthing” by walking barefoot and absorbing the Earth’s energy and negative ions.

Health & Hugs <3


Ditch the Diet (And Other Sodas too)!

Why You Should Ditch the Diet Sodadiet soda

  • Diet sodas usually contain aspartame, which is a potential neurotoxin (Bauman, 2014) meaning it can change the chemicals in the brain
  • Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than regular sugar
  • It can be addictive
  • Can contribute to the decline in kidney function
  • Can contribute to weight gain – the body is unable to recognize the difference between real and artificial sweeteners
  • Excess body aches and pains have been tied to aspartame in the diet
  • Monsanto (large pesticide and GMO conglomerate) owns aspartame
  • Aspartame was discovered when Monsanto was investigating new pesticides (NutraSweet)
  • Can possibly turn into methanol in the digestive tract
  • Aspartame is linked to brain tumors, headaches/migraines, seizures/epilepsy, autoimmune conditions, and depression
  • Diet Pepsi also contains Acesulfame Potassium which is 200 times sweeter than sugar

Soda’s Hidden Dangers

  • Hi-Fructose Corn Syrup is damaging to the liver and causes huge spikes in the blood sugar
  • Sugars are more addictive than cocaine
  • To process sugars, vitamins and minerals must be taken from the tissues, therefore repeated exposure can lead to nutrient deficiencies
  • Can contribute to candida (yeast) overgrowth
  • High blood sugar, as a result of sugar ingestion, is linked to an increased risk of cancer
  • Soda leaves an acidic residue in the body – an acidic environment is a contributing factor in many health problems
  • Splenda isn’t any better – a chlorine molecule is added when they make this low calorie sweetener
  • Sugary drinks actually change the taste buds to crave more sugar (Axe, 2015)

    Soda Alternatives

    • Teas – iced or hot, herbal, green, black, or white, sweetened with a little honey (if needed)
    • Coconut water – look for raw coconut water (processed without heat)
    • Water – sparkling or still – try adding fresh fruit, lemon juice, or cucumber and mint to water or try Stevia Drops to add a little flavor and sweetness
    • Fresh-pressed fruit and vegetable juices
    • Chia seed drinks
    • Nut milks (almond, coconut, hemp, etc.)

Health & Hugs <3



Axe, J. (2015). Step away from the diet coke. Retrieved from

Bauman, E. (2014) Foundations of Nutrition. Penngrove, CA: Bauman Press.

Bye Bye Dryer Sheets!

Bye bye dryer sheets!

Hello organic wool dryer balls and lavender oil. (Actually, I said good-bye to dryer sheets long ago, but I had been using Trader Joe’s lavender dryer bags and the hard plastic dryer balls.) While that was ok, I the plastic dryer balls eventually start to fall apart, so I had to throw them away. And the lavender dryer bags was still creating some waste also. I like this newest option the best because the clothes smell great and very little waste is produced. And not much static either! Have you gone dryer sheet free?

The 52 New Food Challenge – Peaches

Welp, I’ve fallen off the wagon. The “post a new food each week” wagon. But this week I’m getting back on the wagon. Rather than trying to play catch up for about 2-3 months worth of foods, I’m just going to start with the current food of the week: PEACHES!!

Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests that you grill peaches (I’ve done this: YUM!), make peach ice cream, or try making fruit leather. Recently I made some paleo turkey meatballs with Thai chili and peach jam. Jim said, “the peaches are what make this dish!”. 

A little background: I started this challenge to encourage myself, a notoriously picky eater, to try and to LIKE more foods. This is my first post on the blog, but I’ve been posting these since December 2014 on my Facebook page and my Instagram page. I was a very picky eater as a kid, and although, I’m much less picky now, there are still more vegetables that I would like to ENJOY eating. From personal experience, I’ve found that the more often that I am exposed to a vegetable, the more I like it. This has been my experience with Kale, Beets, Tomatoes, and Cilantro.

Food Facts:

  • Peaches and nectarines are identical except for one gene – the “fuzziness” gene (it also happens to affect a couple of other minor traits)
  • Nectarines can spontaneously appear on peach trees and vice versa (WOW!)
  • Stone fruits, including peaches, are picked when unripe and continue ripening after being picked but if not kept in ideal conditions, they become mealy, brown, leathery, or dry. This is what causes most conventional grocery store peaches to leave people feeling disappointed. (read: buy your peaches at the farmers’ market)
  • White-fleshed peaches and nectarines have more antioxidants than yellow-fleshed peaches and nectarines
  • The white-fleshed fruits are also sweeter
  • Peaches and nectarines are consistently on the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list, so you should buy organic and eat the skins (it is the most nutritious part)
  • Peaches and nectarines are good sources of vitamins A, C, and E, potassium, niacin, and copper. Peaches are also a good source of vitamin K and manganese
  • Good source of fiber
  • High in antioxidants – especially carotenoids and flavonoids (white-fleshed have less carotenoids)
  • Peach extract has been shown to inhibit breast cancer cell growth
  • They help to protect against Heart Disease, Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome

From The 52 New Food Challenge by Jennifer Tyler Lee, The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno, and Super Foods by Tonia Reinhard

Health & Hugs <3,


peaches - in season in august
Peaches – In season, in August

Is Gluten Free For Me?

Gluten is one of the proteins found in several grains including wheat, barley, rye, bulgar, sometimes oats, and possibly spelt and kamut. There are several problems when it comes to digesting this protein. First, gluten is an inflammatory that damages internal organs and tissues. When a peglutendiagramrson’s body has a negative reaction to a food, the body sends out inflammatory molecules, cytokines, to identify the food as an enemy. The immune system continues to attack the enemy, which can cause damage in the digestive system. These cytokines also cause a great deal of damage in the brain (Perlmutter, 2013).

Furthermore, gluten is one of the few foods that can cross the blood-brain barrier. This barrier exists to protect your brain from things that are foreign. Because it can cross the blood-brain barrier, it can have a negative effect on brain function. Dr. William Davis (2009) examines studies that have shown ingesting wheat has been associated with worse symptoms with those diagnosed with ADHD, schizophrenia, and the autism spectrum.

In addition, gluten also causes spikes in the blood sugar after it is consumed. The glycemic index is the extent of which a food raises a person’s blood sugar (and insulin) relative to glucose (glycemic index of 100). The glycemic index of whole wheat bread is 72, while the glycemic index of table sugar (sucrose) is 59, thus whole wheat bread raises blood sugar more than regular sugar (Davis, 2009; Pollan, 2013). Other physiological effects of gluten consumption include sleepiness after consumption and an increased appetite after consumption (Davis, 2009).

Furthermore, the wheat that we consume today is not genetically or physiologically similar to the wheat of decades ago. The first cultivated wheat, einkorn, has only 14 chromosomes and produces a less stretchy and stickier dough that rises very little (Davis, 2011; Pollan, 2013). It also has a less appealing flavor than the current wheat strains. Current wheat strains, triticum, are genetically very different, having 42 chromosomes, and it produces a much higher yieldwavesofgrain in the field, and is elastic, pliable, and rises nicely, which is ideal for baking (Davis, 2011; Pollan, 2013).


Additionally, wheat causes an exorphin release (similar to endorphins, but originating from a source outside of your body) in your brain, making your body crave it the more you eat it. Digestion of wheat “…yields morphine-like compounds that bind to your brain’s opiate receptors. It induces a form of reward, a mild euphoria” (Davis, p. 50, 2009). This creates an ongoing cycle of eating wheat and craving wheat that can be hard to break.

Lastly, gluten is so prevalent in foods today that many people consume wheat without even realizing it. Besides the obvious breads, cereals, pastas, cookies, and cakes, gluten is also found in soy sauce, salad dressings, spice packets, cheeses, gravies, sauces, French fries, prescription medications, cosmetics and so much more (Perlmutter, 2013). It also has many aliases as well, including names like modified food starch, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, seitan, and textured vegetable protein, which are misleading and may be challenging to identify as wheat (Davis, 2009).

There is a wealth of evidence showing that gluten has many adverse effects on our health, you’ll have to decide for yourself, is gluten free for you?

Health & Hugs <3,



Bauman, E. & Friedlander, J. (2014). Foundations of Nutrition. Penngrove, CA: Bauman College.

Davis, W. (2011). Wheat Belly. New York, NY: Rodale Inc.

Perlmutter, D. (2013). Grain Brain. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

Pollan, M. (2013). Cooked. New York, NY: Penguin Group.

Get off Gluten blog (2014, April) Flowchart of wheat retrieved from

Mitsides Group (2014, April) Image of wheat retrieved from

In Season, in August

I LOVE eating seasonally for three main reasons. 1) Seasonal produce usually grows locally and is therefore fresher because it hasn’t traveled nearly as far as when it is not in season. 2) It promotes local jobs and boosts our local economy. 3) Seasonal produce TASTES significantly better than when it’s picked unripe in order to travel, then traveled for many days, and then gassed with ethylene gas to artificially ripen them. I make very few exceptions to my seasonal eating rule [frozen berries, bananas, plantains, and that’s pretty much it].

In Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle she discusses eating tomatoes so much while they are in season that you almost become
sick of them. You don’t crave them as much during the offseason and you’re not tempted to eat a tasteless mealy tomato in January, because your tomato craving has been satiated for the year. I love this way to view it and have tried to really adopt this mentality since reading her book in 2011.

Go to your local farmer’s market this weekend and get some local food!

Health & Hugs <3,




July 2015 Book of the Month – The Candida Cure


On my flight to Europe this past month, I read The Candida Cure: Yeast, Fungus & Your Health – The 90-Day Program to Beat Candida & Restore Vibrant Health by Ann Boroch. Before I review the book, let me back up a little… When I was about 17, I was seeing a dermatologist for acne on my face, chest, and back. Among the things she put me on was amoxicillin. This was supposed help clear up my acne. Um, I have no idea how, and can’t remember her reasoning then, but I was 17, so I just went with it. I’m not sure that it helped much, but I was on it for 1-2 years. (I can’t really remember exactly how long). What I do know, is that ever since then, I have had a systemic candida albicans overgrowth. I know this now, but I didn’t know it then. I knew that I was prone to vaginal yeast infections (getting an infection every time I take a course of antibiotics). In recent years I would combat my post antibiotic yeast infection with a high dose of probiotics (500 billion everyday for about a week would do the trick).

It wasn’t until I was in my Bauman College nutrition classes over the past few months that I learned that I have a systemic Candida overgrowth. After taking the Candida Health Questionnaire, it was clear to me, that I needed to treat myself for a Candida overgrowth (BTW, my score is about 280!! yikes). Besides the antibiotics that I was in my late teens, I have been on a least one course of antibiotics per year, throughout my 20’s, pair that with chemotherapy and radiation, and I have no doubt that I’ve stumbled upon a major key to my road back to health.

Boroch recommends that you follow her program for 90 days, and I will. But I have concerns that since I have had this issue, untreated for at least 12 years, that I may need to continue this for up to 6 months.


The Candida Cure is a well-researched and thorough guide to helping yourself overcome a Candida overgrowth. Boroch states, “Conservatively speaking, one in three people suffers from yeast-related symptoms or conditions” (2009, p. 3). In the book, she explains how this has become such a pervasive problem, the symptoms that are associated with candida overgrowth, and the she provides you with a step-by-step guide on how to fix it. I asked my doctor for lab testing to identify if I have a candida overgrowth and she told me that the lab does not perform those tests, which supports Boroch’s claim that “… western medicine does not recognize intestinal and systemic candidiasis as a health condition” (Boroch, 2009, p. 15). She provides lists of the foods to eat and the foods to avoid and even provides a “slow-start” version for those people that need to make more gradual changes. Lists of supplements are provided in addition to two-week sample menus, and 40 pages of recipes and food brands to help make this as easy as possible. If you suspect you may also have a candida overgrowth, I highly recommend checking out her book.

I have not yet started the 90-day cleanse. I’ve been back from Europe for about a week now and I have ordered the supplements that she recommends, and I have been working on detoxing from the yummy vacation food (goodbye gelato, buffalo mozzarella, and rice!). We have a wine tasting trip planned for the last weekend in August (Napa Valley Wine Train here we come!) so I will start after that. It’s a family trip that we’ve been planning for about a year, so one last time to live it up! Until then, I will be phasing out dairy, sugar, forbidden fruits, and carbs. Wish me luck!!

Health & Hugs <3,