Seven Tips for Self Care

Self-care isn’t selfish, it’s actually really important for your health and wellbeing. It’s also important to focus on self-care during The 21 Day Sugar Detox. Here are my Seven Tips for Self Care:

  1. Create. Whatever you like to do to be creative, schedule some time for yourself. Some ideas include: playing an instrument, cooking (although you may be tired of that during the detox! :-), home DIY, adult coloring books, sewing, scrapbooking, painting, writing. The list can go on and on.
  2. At-Home Relaxation. Schedule a playdate for the kids, hire a babysitter, or call in a favor from a family member. Do whatever you need to do in order to have some time for some at-home relaxation. The great thing about these suggestions is that they are low/no cost. Winning!! This is can include an at-home facial, a relaxing bath with epsom salts, diffusing some calming essential oils, unplug from devices, an at-home foot soak, scrub, and foot massage, or self-massage with a foam roller and/or Yoga Tune Up balls (this is my personal favorite!).
  3. Relaxation. These relaxation suggestions will set you back a bit of money, but are so worth it if you can budget them in. Ideas include: massage, reiki, acupuncture, chiropractor, manicure, pedicure, facial, or even a spa day. These are also good ideas to use as rewards for yourself when you complete the detox. 🙂
  4. Quiet Time. In our modern world we have so many auditory inputs that it can be very taxing on our system. Sometimes we all just need a little piece and quiet! Because we are also living such scheduled lives, it can be hard to know what to “do” during quiet time (sounds a little ridiculous, right?). Here are five ideas for your quiet time: read, write, keep a mental or physical list of things you are grateful for, meditate/pray, or even sleep!
  5. Personal Connection. Humans need human interaction and not just virtual interaction, the live and in-person kind too. Try to schedule some time to connect (or even reconnect) with friends, family, or your children. My personal goal is to have a connection with friends and family at least once per week. You may also consider joining a group of like-minded individuals to provide you with more or different personal connection. Maybe you can join a book club, hiking group, bunco group, sewing group, or a meet up group in your area to increase the amount of personal connection in your life.
  6. Exercise. It’s good for your body and your mind. Our ancestors walked 6-12 miles per day! In our modern world, most of us do not get nearly that much movement in. Whatever you like to do, make time to do it each week. The options are endless, but here are a few ideas: yoga, cycling, crossfit, running, swimming, walking, hiking, tennis, pilates, barre workouts, HIIT, and so on.
  7. Treat Yo’self. Treat yo’self to a 21DSD compliant dinner out. It’s likely that you’ve been cooking more than you normally do and it can be exhausting. Treat yo’self to night (or day) of not having to cook. Sit back, relax, and enjoy every moment of not having to shop, chop, cook, and clean up. Ahhhhhh.

BONUS: Sunshine. Go get some sunshine! Make some vitamin D and feel the sun’s glorious rays on you. The stack your life version of self-care would be walking with a friend (exercise, sunshine, and personal connection) or swimming with your kids (exercise, sunshine, and personal connection).

Five Tips to Improve Sleep

Most Americans are under slept and without enough sleep we are setting ourselves up for unstable moods, hunger cravings, and challenges with weight loss. In fact, in Robb Wolf’s book, Wired to Eat, he notes that Americans, on average sleep 2.5 hours less per night than Americans in the 1970’s. We often taught sleep deprivation like a badge of honor, but it is really a disservice to our health. Wolf also goes on to explain that in order for humans to deal with the stress of sleep deprivation, we are wired to seek out any food, especially highly processed foods. In fact, we have less willpower to resist these foods when we are sleep deprived. Lastly, Wolf goes on to point out there is a relationship between poor sleep and the inability to lose fat.


Five Tips to Improve Sleep

Room Conditions:

  • As dark as a cave! Make sure your bedroom is as dark as a cave. Not only do your eyes have light receptors, but all of your skin does too.The light that is often emitted from electronics should be turned off or covered up. This includes clocks, night lights, TV, etc. Using electrical tape or a washcloth can help. I also LOVE sleeping with an eyemask. I have linked to my favorite Eye Mask and my husband’s favorite eye mask (Blinks Luxury Ultralight Comfortable Contoured Eye Sleep Mask). Blackout Curtains are something else that I HIGHLY recommend. Here is a link to my favorite brand, Eclipse.

Cool it Now! Your body temperature needs to fall a degree or two for optimal sleep and so your bedroom must also have a lower temperature. Between 64°- 66° is the optimal bedroom temperature according to Wolf. 


Magnesium naturally relaxes the body and reduces stress. A supplement like Natural Vitality Natural Calm Magnesium (unflavored for the 21DSD) is great way to get magnesium citrate.

Vitamin D can be hard to get enough of in our modern lifestyles due to indoor living and loads of sunscreen. A Vitamin D3 Liquid Supplement can be helpful for improving sleep.

* Be sure to discuss supplements with your doctor before taking any new supplements.

Bedtime Routine:

Folks with children know that bedtime routines really help with getting a restful night’s sleep. The same is true for adults. Having a consistent and regular bedtime along with a regular routine (that hopefully doesn’t involve screen time) will help power down your brain and get your body ready for sleep.


Additional Resources:

Balanced Bites Podcast 303 All About Sleep

Balanced Bites Podcast 287 with Robb Wolf

Go To Bed by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne

Eleven Tips for a Better Night Sleep

Swannies Blue Light Blocking Sleep Aid Glasses

April 2017 Book of the Month – Go To Bed

Sleep. Nearly all of us should get more sleep. Some of us know it and other of us are currently in denial (you know, the “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” crowd). I certainly know I should be getting more sleep. Enter Dr. Sarah Ballantyne‘s book, Go To Bed. I first saw the Go To Bed program on Ballantye’s Instagram account. It struck me as an interesting challenge because I know that I need to work on my sleep habits. After checking out the ebook and program, I bought the book. It took me almost year to finally get a chance to read it, but I am so glad that I did!

I am not an insomniac and actually I have very little trouble with falling asleep or staying asleep (I know, some of you probably would like to kill me!). Although, during chemotherapy, I had a helluva time trying to sleep, so I DO know what it is like for you insomniacs! My problem is that I have ALWAYS had such a hard time waking up. My mom would tell you that, even as a child, it would take me 30-60 minutes to wake up!! I figure that if I got more restful sleep, I should wake up with relative ease, even at 5:30am. So while on the surface, I don’t have a major sleep problem, being tired all the time and taking 30 minutes to wake up were red flags for me.

In this e-book, Ballantyne digs deep into the science of sleep which I found fascinating to read. She then details how sleep impacts human health. The remaining part of the book discusses the things you can do to improve your sleep, including how to make sleep a priority, how to troubleshoot sleep problems, and ending with her 14-day Go To Bed Challenge!

I highly recommend reading this book and embarking on your own Go To Bed Challenge! 



The 52 New Foods Challenge – Pomegranates

This is the FINAL post for The 52 New Foods Challenge! WOW! It has taken me MUCH longer that 52 weeks to blog about this, but hey, I stuck with it!!

Pomegranates are a fruit that I didn’t really eat until I was an adult. I loved buying the ready-to-go pomegranate seeds at Trader Joe’s! So easy! They are quite a fun snack, although they are a bit of work when you buy the whole fruit. I also enjoy adding pomegranates to salads. The seasonal Thanksgiving salad that I mentioned here, also had pomegranate seeds. Danielle Walker of Against All Grain adds them to a Brussels sprouts dish, which adds a delightful twist.

Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests making a sauce using pomegranates instead of cranberries or add them to a wild rice and pistachio dish. Both sound delicious!

Food Facts:

  • Pomegranates are thought to be the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, rather than apples.
  • They originate from Iran.
  • The red seeds are called arils.
  • Pomegranates are a good source of vitamins K, E,  and B6, and folate, potassium, manganese, and pantothenic acid.
  • Rich source of antioxidants, especially tannins and flavonoids.
  • Studies show that pomegranate juice can inhibit the growth of breast, prostate, colon, and lung cancers.
  • Pomegranates have been shown to be heart protective, as it can improve blood pressure and improve blood flow.


The 52 New Foods Challenge by Jennifer Tyler Lee and Superfoods by Tonia Reinhard.

Mar. 2017 Book of the Month – Eat the Yolks

On my first day of nutrition consultant classes at Bauman College, as we were going around and introducing ourselves, one of my classmates had mentioned that Diane Sanfilippo had attended Bauman College and wrote the forward to the book Eat the Yolks. I was still a bit of a newbie in the Paleo/ Nutrition world, at least when it came to “celebrities”, so I hadn’t heard of the book yet, but I added it to my ever growing “to read” list on Goodreads. At some point, I was able to find enough time to read Eat the Yolks by Liz Wolfe, and boy was I glad that I did!

First, Liz is funny! No seriously funny! She has a section titled, “Let’s talk about fat, baby!”. I mean talk about a girl after my own heart. How wouldn’t I love a book with references to 90’s R&B culture!?!? Liz does an amazing job of breaking down the complicated science of nutrition into easy to understand chunks and incorporating humor into it all the while.

She goes over the three macronutrients in DETAIL, dedicating a chapter to each. In the chapter on fat (and therefore cholesterol), she states, “This is me beating a dead horse: Lower cholesterol doesn’t prevent heart disease, because cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease (Wolfe, 2013, p. 59)”. Wolfe debunks the myth that animal proteins are bad for us in the chapter on protein. She refutes The China Study,  that is often used to argue against the consumption of animal foods.

Then, Wolfe details important nutrients that we can only get from animals. If you’re a vegan, she gets it. I get it. But the science of why we need animals in our diets for optimal nutrition is clear. She goes on to illustrate many of the lies of the nutrition industrial complex. Wolfe teaches that Vitamin A can only be obtained from animals. I know, you’re thinking, wait what?? Hello, um, carrots??  The thing is that plants contain beta-carotene, which is a precursor to vitamin A. As Wolfe explains, “…it can, in some circumstances, through a series of chemical conversions within the human body, be converted into true vitamin A (Wolfe, 2013, p.202)”. There are many more mind-blowing gems like this one throughout this book.

Needless to say, I HIGHLY recommend this book. It’s actually one of the the few books that I recommend to nearly all my private nutrition clients. It’s just THAT GOOD. Oh and it’s on Audible. 😉




The 52 New Foods Challenge – Persimmons

Persimmons are not a “new” food for me, however, I’m not a big fan of them. This is probably the only fruit that I don’t really like. From what I gather, if you grew up eating them (probably because you had a tree in your yard – at here in silicon valley), you like them, if you didn’t grow up eating them, eh, no so much. You guessed it, I didn’t have a tree in my yard or in any of my relatives’ yards. And while I don’t have many recipes for using persimmons, I have made a seasonal salad at Thanksgiving that included persimmons, and it was delish!

Jennifer Tyler Lee recommends baking persimmons, making a persimmon cake, or making persimmon chips.

Food Facts:

  • Persimmons are a relative of the apple and the pear.
  • Good source of vitamins A, C, B6, E, and K,  maganese, potassium, and copper.
  • Good source of fiber.
  • Persimmons contain antioxidant carotenoids, including: lycopene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, and phenols.
  • Because of the nutrients they possess, persimmons are heart protective.
  • Studies have also shown that persimmons have an anti-viral effect.
  • In season in late fall and early winter.
  • A new study shows persimmons being used to combat breast cancer cells while not harming regular breast cells. This is due the content of fisetin, a flavonoid.
  • Originally from Asia.
  • There are two types of persimmons, astringent and non-astringent. The astringent persimmons are bitter when eaten raw.
  • Fuyu are best peeled and eaten raw and can be eaten while the fruit is still firm.
  • Hachiya are best used for baking. They are also commonly dried by hanging them from a string and allowing the sun to “candy” them.
  • Hachiya have an elongated shape and the Fuyu are short and stout.


The 52 New Foods Challenge by Jennifer Tyler Lee, Superfoods by Tonia Reinhard, and


The 52 New Foods Challenge – Apples

While Apples are pretty much a staple in most homes in North America, I imagine that there are many varieties that you have yet to try! My grandparents had an apple tree in their backyard and I grew making apple crumbles and apple pies with my grandma. Despite all those apples as a kid,  I did not really like raw apples until I was an adult. Green were too tart for me and red and yellow were always too mealy (I now know that’s because they were OLD – many months out of season). Americans are so used to getting all types of produce year round in super markets, but in reality, those foods are either stored in cold storage for many months, grown in a different climate and shipped in, or grown in a greenhouse.

As an adult, I have come to really like all kinds of pink apples: pink lady, fuji, gala, and honeycrisp. I also only eat apples during apple season and during the very early weeks of cold storage. In Northern California, apple season begins in mid-late July and generally lasts until October. Thus, I  only consume apples from July-December.

Besides eating apples with almond butter, my favorite thing to use apples for is apple pie, any surprises there??? Jennifer Tyler Lee recommends that folks make an apple galette, warm cinnamon apples, or apple chips.

Food Facts:

  • Wild apples have SIGNIFICANTLY more phytonutrients than our domesticated varieties – some wild varieties have up to 475 times more phytonutrients than certain domesticated varieties.
  • If you were to plant the five apple seeds from an apple, you would get FIVE different varieties from those new trees. Once a variety is identified, new trees are grown by grafting (a method that involves cutting off branches from a tree and attaching that branch to a less desirable tree that has been trimmed back). This is known as extreme heterozygosity.
  • Any apple that is less than two inches in diameter is considered a crabapple.
  • Most of our modern apples can be traced back to central Asia.
  • There were once 15,000 varieties of apples growing in the United States, now there 500 varieties.
  • Apples harvested at the end of apple season will store the longest – several months, as compared with apples harvested in the beginning of apple season – several weeks.
  • Apples store best in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.
  • An apple with the peel contains 50% more nutrients than an apple without the peel.
  • Raw apples contain more nutrients than cooked apples.
  • Apples are a good source of vitamins C and K and potassium.
  • Good source of pectin and other fibers.
  • Rich source of flavonoids.


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


The 52 New Foods Challenge – Butternut Squash

The first time I bought a butternut squash, I had no idea what to do with. I found a recipe in my Clean Food cookbook for roasted butternut squash with almonds and a touch of maple syrup. It was exciting to try new a food and a new recipe and really like it! The next week, at the farmer’s market, I went back for more butternut squash. This time I found a recipe for butternut squash soup. I’ve been hooked ever since! Here’s my favorite Butternut Squash Soup Recipe.

Jennifer Tyler Lee also suggests butternut squash soup and a maple roasted butternut squash. Yum!

Food Facts:

  • Member of the cucurbitaceae family.
  • Because of the thick skin, winter squashes, like butternut squash, can last in cold storage for up to six months.
  • The deep orange coloring is a sign that it contains high levels of beta-carotene, a vitamin A precursor.
  • Of all the winter squashes, pumpkin contains the most beta-carotene.
  • Foods rich in carotenoids, like beta-carotene have been shown to be protective against many cancers, especially lung cancer.
  • Carotenoid rich food is also protective against heart disease and the development of type 2 diabetes.
  • Good source of fiber.
  • Good source of vitamins B1, B5, B6, and C, and folic acid, niacin, potassium, and manganese.

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