Tag: chef v

Intermittent Fasting + Green Drink

Intermittent Fasting and Green Drink

Trying to lose weight and get those abs to poke out? Try intermittent fasting AND breaking your fast with my Chef V Green Drink. Even better: do an early-morning yoga routine, before your first meal of the day. It doesn’t have to be very long. Even 10 minutes will do wonders. That combo works great for me … and you should see what my husband looks like. (Wink)

I’m having a little bit of a dilemma. Maybe you can help by telling me what you think.

You see, Brandon, my husband (and CEO of my nationwide Green Drink and Cleanse delivery operation) is looking like one of those Greek God statues you see in a museum.

Whereas in the past when “six-pack” was synonymous for Brandon with beer, these days, six-pack refers to his absolutely chiseled abs. Actually, 8-pack is more like it.

Brandon is absolutely shredded, chiseled and lean. He hasn’t put an ounce of flab on even though we’ve been under a lot of stress lately opening up our new Chef V store in New Jersey (NYC metro area).

So where’s the problem, you might be wondering? After all, isn’t every lady’s dream to have a gorgeous, sexy partner?

The problem is … he’s starting to look leaner than me. That ain’t right! So should I tell him to stop doing what he’s doing?

Actually, here’s what I’ll do. I’m going to put aside my petty insecurities and rechannel that negativity into something positive. And that’s sharing with you these 3 super easy things that Brandon has been doing these past six months that have resulted in his mad sexy physique.

It seems so easy. And in fact, it is. I’ve actually been doing the three things he’s been doing, too. It’s just that my weight has stabilized and I’m not really looking to break a plateau or anything.

Without further ado here are the three things you can easily do to melt body fat….

intermittent fasting table 16:8 method

What Do Beyonce & Brandon Have In Common?

Besides a killer smile that seems to stop time, what Queen Bey and my hubby have in common is success with intermittent fasting.

Human beings have been intermittent fasting since prehistoric times. But as a diet, this is the one method that seems like it has the potential to kill the diet industry. In other words, it’s not a gimmick, like this:

Brandon, Bey, and thousands of other people, are experiencing very impressive intermittent fasting results.

And the reason why is simple. You’re not doing a crazy starvation diet like the Master Cleanse (fasting on lemon water for several days) or the hCG diet (500 calories a day plus an injection of a pregnancy hormone) or the baby food diet (no explanation needed).

Intermittent fasting restricts when you eat, not what you eat. There are a few different ways to do intermittent fasting (I.F.). Brandon prefers the 16/8 method. That’s when you eat only during an eight-hour window and fast for the other 16 hours.

Fasting for 16 hours is a form of mild stress. That might not sound good to you. After all, most people have too much stress to begin with. But the mild stress from intermittent fasting can actually help you live longer.

And there’s no doubt I.F. will make you leaner.

Making Cleansing Easier Cookbook

How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?

Researchers are now just starting to discover why intermittent fasting can help make you live longer. (If you want to geek out on how it works, read this article published by Harvard University.)

But I.F. might take some getting used to. This is especially true if you’re prone to feeling “hangry,” you know, that combo of feeling hungry and angry at the same time.

A lot of times, though, you think you’re starving when you’re actually not. What’s more likely is that you’re used to eating a lot of starchy and sugary foods and your brain/belly axis of evil is saying, “Mmmm, give me more … now!”

If you can lower the amount of sugars and starches in your diet, those hangry feelings will likely fade away like your waistline.

And here’s why….

Unless you’re running an ultramarathon, a good chunk of your meal will be stored as sugar (glycogen) in your liver. However, after not eating anything for 16 hours, your sugar storage tank, so to speak, will be depleted.

So what does your hot bod do for energy if it doesn’t have any sugar to burn? It starts using fat for energy. Specifically, your fat cells release ketones (fatty acids). These ketones are converted in the liver as usable energy for your brain. Ketones also get released into your bloodstream to supply the rest of your body with energy.

My book, Making Cleansing Easier, is full of recipes for foods with low, healthy levels of sugars and starches. Use it to reset your appetite.

Kickstart Your Fat Loss With Chef V’s Intermittent Fasting Cleanse! Need someone to hold your hand getting started with Intermittent Fasting? Want to maximize your body fat burning potential? Let me help! Introducing Chef V’s Intermittent Fasting Cleanse, where on each day (you choose: 4, 7 or 14 days), you get 16 oz. of Green Drink, one packet of Chocolate Protein Shake and one Detox Soup (alternates between Carrot Ginger and Sweet Potato Curry). And that’s just for your “break-fast.” For lunch and dinner, you’ll be using my Healthy Eating Guidelines, which includes the following 3 easy to follow things: Eat This, Not That Chart (takes the guesswork out of what to eat) Healthy Portions Chart (takes the guesswork out of how much to eat) Download of my recipe book Making Cleansing Easier, with delicious healthy recipes for smoothies, snacks, soups, appetizers, salads, entrees and desserts. Recommendations for non-caloric drinks to keep your energy up during your fasting window (including my recipe for Electrolyte Cocktail). Intermittent Fasting isn’t a diet. It’s a lifestyle! And with Chef V’s IFC, you’ll quickly learn how to combine time-restricted feeding with healthy eating habits you can use for the rest of your life.

Survival Mode But Not Starvation Mode

Sorry, I seem to have gotten carried away and slightly geeked out. All you really need to know can be summed up in one sentence: By not eating for 16 hours your body goes in survival mode and burns fat for energy.

Try fasting for 12-14 hours for a week or two before working your way up to 16 hours. That’s what Brandon did. (I tried calling Bey to find out how she got started but she hasn’t returned my call … yet. haha)

Just to be clear, I.F. is not a starvation diet. True starvation is going for many days without food. But since we’re still wired like our prehistoric ancestors, our bodies go into survival mode. And to survive, our bodies shift from burning carbs for fuel to fat.

Is it making sense now why I.F. is so easy? And you don’t have to be crazy strict about sticking to 16 hours of fasting. If you go one day cutting it down to a 14 or 15 hour window, you’ll still see results.

Jill Ramirez testimonial

Breaking the Fast Without Breakfast

And if you follow this second tip for easy weight loss success, you’ll experience even more impressive results.

You might be tempted to break your 16-hour fast by pigging out with a large breakfast. But there’s two reasons why you shouldn’t do it. First of all, your stomach’s holding capacity will shrink after not eating for 16 hours. Thus, you simply won’t feel like or be physically able to eat a large stack of pancakes.

Secondly, you don’t want your first meal of the day to put you in a food coma. Instead, drink a couple glasses of water first thing when you wake up. And when it’s time to break your fast, have a Green Drink. The seven certified organic greens will help wake up your belly and gently cleanse your system.

There are other methods of doing I.F. such as the 5:2 method. This is when you take a couple days a week and eat only 500 calories.

Regardless of what I.F. method you choose, always break your fast with a Green Drink. Another benefit is you’ll be providing good bacteria in your gut with food (prebiotic fiber) that they need to multiply and keep your immune system strong.

The healthier you are, the better your fat burning potential.

Yoga Before Breaking the Fast

And if you really want to accelerate your weight loss, do some moderate exercise before your first meal of the day. I prefer doing yoga shortly after I wake up. Depending on when I finished the previous night’s meal, I might take a 16 oz bottle of Green Drink with me to stay hydrated during class.
Keep in mind that having a Green Drink will break your fast even though it’s not a meal. The simple reason why is that it has calories and will provide glucose (blood sugar) for your liver to burn.

However, let’s say I’m done dinner at 8 p.m. If I’m taking a 10 a.m. yoga class, I might sip on a bit of Green Drink throughout the class. I’m not super strict about always doing a 16-hour fast window; that’s more Brandon’s thing.

But the key takeaway here is that you should give exercising before breaking your fast a try. You’ll already be in fat-burning mode. And light exercise like these 3 detoxifying yoga poses may help accelerate your weight loss. Just make sure not to do any strenuous exercise when you’re first getting used to I.F.

So there you have it. Three simple strategies for long-term weight loss success: try eating only during a 8 hour window (work your way up to a 16-hour fast); break the fast with Green Drink and do some yoga in the morning before breaking the fast.

Kickstart Your Fat Loss With Chef V’s Intermittent Fasting Cleanse!

Need someone to hold your hand getting started with Intermittent Fasting? Want to maximize your body fat burning potential?

Let me help! Introducing Chef V’s Intermittent Fasting Cleanse, where on each day (you choose: 4, 7 or 14 days), you get 16 oz. of Green Drink, one packet of Chocolate Protein Shake and one Detox Soup (alternates between Carrot Ginger and Sweet Potato Curry). And that’s just for your “break-fast.”

For lunch and dinner, you’ll be using my Healthy Eating Guidelines, which includes the following 3 easy to follow things:

  • Eat This, Not That Chart (takes the guesswork out of what to eat)
  • Healthy Portions Chart (takes the guesswork out of how much to eat)
  • Download of my recipe book Making Cleansing Easier, with delicious healthy recipes for smoothies, snacks, soups, appetizers, salads, entrees and desserts.
  • Recommendations for non-caloric drinks to keep your energy up during your fasting window (including my recipe for Electrolyte Cocktail).

Intermittent Fasting isn’t a diet. It’s a lifestyle! And with Chef V’s IFC, you’ll quickly learn how to combine time-restricted feeding with healthy eating habits you can use for the rest of your life.

Chef V Ranch Dressing

Total: 10 Min

Prep: 10 Min

Serving Size: 2-4 people

INGREDIENTS

1 cup Chef V Mayo (recipe HERE)
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. fresh parsley, chopped
½ cup unsweetened almond milk

INSTRUCTIONS

Mix or blend all of the ingredients together. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to chill before serving.

My Ranch Dressing is a great dip for watching football! Made with vegan mayo and almond milk, it is healthy and delicious.

Fantastic Fungus! Why I’m Feeling Groovy About Mushrooms!

I told you recently how I was high on weed these days. Seaweed that is. There’s another substance that I’m taking more of lately that can be mistaken for a psychoactive substance: mushrooms.

But of course I’m not talking about the ones that make you see things. I’m talking about non-intoxicating, edible mushrooms. There’s a good reason why mushrooms are one of the biggest trends in wellness. They deserve to wear capes for they are truly superfood heroes! Mushrooms are nutrition powerhouses, loaded with vitamins, minerals and lots of phytonutrients that you won’t see listed on nutrition labels.

If you’re disgusted just by the thought of eating mushrooms, I don’t blame you. I used to be revolted by the squishy little buggers. In high school, whenever my friends and I ordered pizza, there was always that one person who was adamant about including ‘shrooms on the pie.

But edible mushrooms have come a long way. No longer are they a tasteless, chewy and squirmy substance drowned in water in a can, reserved for pizza and, well, I can’t think of any other foods I used to see with mushrooms back in the day.

These days, practically every entree I make, especially stir-frys, includes mushrooms. Personally, I don’t drink coffee, but I do know plenty of people who mix mushroom powder into their morning cup. Lately, I started experimenting by adding mushroom powder into herbal tea.

Benefits of Mushrooms

So after years of being revolted by mushrooms, why did I hop on the ‘shroom bandwagon? Why am I taking the time to slice the blooming fruit of fungus (that’s what edible mushrooms are) and tossing it in not only stir-frys but also soups and stews and other dishes? And why has mushroom powder become a thing?

First, let me say that if you really detest the texture and taste of mushrooms, you may want to still consider buying mushroom powder. They have a mostly neutral taste. If anything, they have a subtle nutty, Earthy flavor profile. At least the couple different brands that I’ve tried.

The reason I want you to consider incorporating more ‘shrooms into your diet is that they are one of the best foods on Earth for supporting the immune system.

And lord knows we all need that these days.

Why are ‘shrooms beneficial for immunity? Let’s start with vitamin D. Certain species of mushrooms are very rich in vitamin D, which is crucial for maintaining a balanced immune system.

That means that if you do become infected by a pathogen, your immune system won’t go out of control and attack your body. Obviously, there’s no guarantee that eating mushrooms or taking a vitamin D supplement offers 100% protection, but I’m putting my money on my health by making sure I’m getting enough vitamin D.

Best Mushroom For Vitamin D

According to the Mushroom Council, the maitake (“My Tock E”) species of mushrooms contains over 230% of the daily value of vitamin D, which is very difficult to obtain from the diet alone. That’s because there are relatively few natural foods that are rich in vitamin D.

As a side note, I wouldn’t rely on mushrooms alone for obtaining vitamin D. The reason is because mushrooms are rich in vitamin D2, but not so much in vitamin D3. D3 is the more “active” form of vitamin D that our bodies use to produce hormones and perform lots of other important functions. Still, your health will benefit from consuming rich sources of vitamin D2.

below, Maitake mushroom

Mushrooms: A Good Sugar?

The all-star phytonutrients in mushrooms is beta-glucans, which is actually a sugar. Who says sugar is bad for you? Well, too much added sugars in the diet contributes to disease. But certain natural sugars that are trapped in the cell walls of plants can help us stay healthy.

Beta-glucans support the immune system by activating specialized immune cells that target potentially-harmful pathogens for destruction and clean-up the crime scene after they’ve been assassinated.

shitake mushrooms

above, dried shitake mushrooms

Eat These ‘Shrooms For Health

Another fabulous fungus that supports the immune system, and one that’s found in many supermarkets is crimini. Zinc might be the trace mineral that gets all the immunity-seeking attention. But selenium is arguably just as important. That’s because selenium has been proven to prevent viral replication. Brazil nuts are probably the best plant-based source of selenium. But crimini mushrooms are an excellent source as well. One serving contains about a third of the daily recommended value.

To support your bones, the Mushroom Council recommends shiitake (“Shee-Tock-E”), because it’s rich in copper, a trace mineral few of us ever think about, especially for bone health. But there’s more to healthy bones than calcium.

There are so many varieties of mushrooms. You really can’t go wrong with whatever variety you go with. Toss any variety available at your local health food store into stir-frys, soups, and yes, even on top of a healthy pizza (with cauliflower crust).

If you have the funds for it, buy mushroom powder, which contains other varieties that you wouldn’t be able to get at your local supermarket. I’m talking about reishi, turkey tail, lion’s mane, etc.

Why I’m High on Weed – Seaweed that is!

Chef V Interview - Cleansing your Body

Here’s why seaweed is good for you…

Reasons to be High on (Sea) Weed

Most of the food crops grown in the U.S. come from monoculture farming practices. What this means is that huge plots of land grow only one crop like soy, corn or cotton. This type of modern, industrial farming poses several problems. First of all, over 90% of the most common food crops (again: corn, soy, cotton; for cottonseed oil) are heavily sprayed with synthetic herbicides like glyphosate (RoundUp).

We then eat the crops and are exposed to glyphosate, which has been linked to cancer by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Second, monoculture farming doesn’t allow the soil to recover (heal) naturally. Growing the same crop over and over again also requires more synthetic chemicals to fertilize the soil. The problem with synthetic fertilizer is that it only contains a few minerals that are necessary for plants to turn green and sprout. But food grown on monoculture farms with synthetic fertilizer, and weed killers like RoundUp, are seriously lacking in trace minerals.

And that’s a huge consequence for human health. In fact, most chronic diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes are associated with diets low in minerals and trace minerals.

Eating a diet that consists mostly of organic and non-GMO foods is one way to ensure that you’re getting more minerals in your diet. Another way to get more minerals, which function as catalysts for enzymes, is by eating seaweed.

high versus low glycemic index

My Favorite Sources Of Seaweed

When I feel like being lazy and watching TV, just like most people, out of habit, I’m tempted to reach for a snack. And when that craving hits, I get some roasted teriyaki seaweed from the pantry. These dried and crunchy treats look like a square, oversized communion wafer.

If you’re managing your weight, a box of roasted seaweed snack from Trader Joe’s is a smart snack because a whole package contains just 60 calories. Plus, you’re also getting almost 20% of your daily value of vitamins A and C. But nutrition labels don’t always tell the whole story. The content of trace minerals such as boron, which is important for bone health and copper, which forms red blood cells, is missing.

Go Fucoid Yourself!

Seaweed also contains compounds called “fucoidans.” They’re important for cellular communication, tissue regeneration and immune function. The first fucoidan was discovered over 100 years ago, and since then, they have been found to help prevent all kinds of health problems.

So how else do I get seaweed in my diet? Whenever I go for sushi, I get a couple appetizers: edamame (soybeans) and seaweed salad. Seaweed salad isn’t crunchy like roasted seaweed snacks. I actually don’t love the texture of it; it takes some getting used to. But I like it enough to order it, and I know that I’m doing my body good by getting trace minerals.

Sometimes I forget I have it in my pantry, but another source of seaweed I have is kelp flakes. Rich in iodine, which is vital for thyroid function, kelp flakes can be sprinkled on rice, salads, soups, pasta, and just about any entree. (If you have a thyroid disorder, check with your doctor if kelp flakes are safe for you to consume.)

Here’s one more way I occasionally get seaweed in my diet: seaweed smoothies! Doesn’t sound very appetizing does it? Actually, it’s not what you think. You don’t stuff a handful of seaweed from the ocean into your Vitamix and blend it on high. Instead, you can buy spirulina or chlorella powder. These two algaes (seaweed is algae) mix easily with your morning veggie drink. You can even add a teaspoon to your daily Organic Green Drink for extra minerals.

Does Seaweed Have Heavy Metals?

Some people are concerned that seaweed might be contaminated. If the world’s oceans are polluted, it would stand to reason that algae is teeming with heavy metals and other pollutants. For sure, I wouldn’t want to eat seaweed from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, from what I’ve read, most seaweed is sourced from relatively clean deep waters. I also came across a study that made me feel better about eating seaweed. The study comes from South Korea, which as a nation eats way more seaweed than we do. Levels of heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, mercury and cadmium were tested in dried seaweed. The result of the study: “low probability of health risks from these metals via seaweed consumption.” 

So next time I get a craving for a late-night snack, I’m getting high on seaweed.

Why Zinc Matters Now More Than Ever

Chef V Interview - Cleansing your Body

Do I ever have any fun? 

Do I ever stop practicing what I preach? 

Or am I constantly perched on this virtual altar spouting natural health gospel? 

If you’ve been following my recent articles, you might think that I never stray from the healthy path. 

But that couldn’t be further from the truth. You see, I follow the 80/20 rule: eat healthy and practice other wellness-forming habits 80% of the time and let yourself “cheat” a little the other 20% of the time. (Maybe it’s more like 85/15.)

Want to know my secret indulgences? Here’s a few of my occasional transgressions: French fries, wine, and chicken sandwiches.

I guess because of the pandemic, I haven’t let you, dear reader, see the human, relatable side of me, the side that’s just as prone to stress-eating temptation as you might be. 

(The key to conquering snack food cravings: indulge in kale chips instead of regular chips. Eat almond flour crackers instead of white flour crackers.) 

This blog has focused on different ways to stay healthy during these challenging times. That doesn’t mean, however, I don’t celebrate life by indulging in crap from time to time. 

But I do stick to a healthy routine, including daily yoga/meditation and Organic Green Drink. 

Sorry for the long-winded intro. I just needed to get the fact that I’m only human off my chest. 

Now back to my regularly-scheduled next health spiel…

Why Zinc Is Important

All dietary minerals are important. But in 2020-2021, zinc just might be the most important. It’s received a lot of attention in research studies. That’s because zinc can help prevent viruses from replicating in cells. In order to become infected by a virus, the virus needs to first penetrate your cells and then start making copies of itself. Zinc is like  anti-virus software that prevents your computer (the cells) from getting hacked. 

There’s also one other function of zinc that’s very appropriate for the times. The mineral, which is the fourth-most abundant metal on Earth, is essential for maintaining your sense of smell. 

I’m sure you’ve heard that one of the first tell-tale signs of COVID-19 infection is loss of smell. Could it be that zinc deficiency or suboptimal levels is to blame for infection? I found a research study from September of last year published in the International Journal of Infectious Disease that supports this theory. The researchers write in the conclusion of the study: 

“The data clearly show that a significant number of COVID-19 patients were zinc deficient. These zinc deficient patients developed more complications, and the deficiency was associated with a prolonged hospital stay and increased mortality.”

Does reading that conclusion make you want to open a new browser and order a zinc supplement this instant? I don’t blame you. After all, if you want a balanced immune system, one that won’t go haywire and attack your organs should you God-forbid become infected, then you need to make sure you’re getting enough zinc. 

Sample Code

high versus low glycemic index

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Best Sources of Zinc

But getting enough zinc is just half the story. Absorbing it is another issue. Most Americans eat stuff with plenty of zinc, especially meat. A serving of ground beef contains about half of the recommended daily value (according to the FDA: men need 11 mg, women require 8 mg). Pork,  seafood and chicken are also rich in zinc. 

Animal protein, especially oysters, which contain the highest zinc content of any food (over 65 mg per 3.5 ounces!), are the best sources of zinc. So what’s a plant-based dieter to do? Fortunately, some of my favorite vegan treats like pumpkin seeds, cashews, and chickpeas are solid sources. 

But both carnivores and vegans face an inconvenient truth about zinc. Because of both natural factors and man-made environmental concerns, we’re not absorbing enough zinc as we should. 

Why We’re Zinc Deficient

What’s to blame for zinc malabsorption? Let’s start with an issue that affects vegetarians and vegans…

In nature, plants have developed ways to protect themselves from insects. Beans and lentils come from plants that have a coating that contains phytates. Phytates are anti-nutrients. That means that they interfere with mineral absorption. 

As the song goes, “Beans, beans they’re good for your heart,” but the more you eat of them, without soaking them, the less zinc your body will absorb. So if you’re buying beans or lentils in a can from the supermarket, soak them overnight in pure water to eliminate some of the phytates. 

Recently, I wrote about glyphosate, the most heavily-sprayed chemical on food crops in the country. Glyphosate prevents plants from uptaking zinc and other minerals from the soil. Unfortunately, just about everything we eat contains glyphosate residue. The best way to minimize your exposure is by eating organic.  

Conclusion

This weekend, I’ll probably kick back and enjoy a glass or two of wine. I might even get some carry out Thai (tastes amazing but lots of carbs) and partake in another as of yet to be determined indulgence. But I’m going to make sure I’m eating a ton of organic plants (and drinking them) to make sure my cells are supplied with enough zinc to keep my immune system balanced.

 I’ll also be taking an ionic zinc supplement (liquid drops that the body absorbs much better than pills or capsules).

Cleansing With Food Chef V Interview

Cleansing with Food
an interview with Chef V, Veronica Wheat

Chef V Interview - Cleansing your Body

Rico Caveglia: Hello, I am Rico Caveglia, and this is your Ageless Body Self-Care Guide, operations manual for your body and for your mind.

The title of today’s interview is about cleansing. This is such an important topic these days. I’m sure you probably know that we live in quite a toxic environment these days. We’re getting toxins from the air, the water, the food, beauty products, building material products. We’re getting bombarded with toxins all the time, so it’s so important to learn about what cleansing is and what it can do for you and how to do it.

We’re very fortunate today to have one of the top experts. Her name is Veronica Wheat, and she is known as Chef V. She is a private chef, a nutritional therapist, and owner of Chef V. It’s a green drink and cleansing program company that actually home delivers. She’s offering quite a great service. Chef V, Veronica Wheat, thanks so much for being here.

Veronica Wheat (Chef V): Thank you for having me, Rico.

Rico: Thanks for coming to share your knowledge and wisdom with us. I really appreciate that. Let’s get right into it. Always the first question is, how do you define what a cleanse is? What is the definition of cleansing the body?

Chef V: Basically, our bodies are designed to naturally cleanse and detoxify themselves. Every night when you go to sleep, your cells start going to work detoxing all the impurities, breaking down foods, getting the nutrients from the food, and really getting rid of the rest of everything. We come in contact with so many toxins.

Our bodies do naturally cleanse; however, in today’s world, like you’re saying, we are loaded with toxins. All the preservatives in the food, all the additives, the colors, the dyes. In beauty products alone, there’s 2,000 chemicals that some companies are banning, and they’re not regulated here in the United States. Air pollution has lots of toxins. While our bodies they do naturally detoxify, there’s a lot of things out there that our body – it’s bombarded. It’s too much. So we really do need to give it a break.

Sample Code

high versus low glycemic index

Sample Code

If you’re really a very healthy person and you avoid perfumes, dyes, bad products, lotions, even toothpaste, shampoos – there’s so many chemicals in all these things we’re using. If you eat really clean and avoid toxins in all these areas, you’re a lot better off. But 95% of the population is unaware of all these things. They’re thinking that things are safe from them and putting them in their body or on their body or breathing them in or ingesting them, and it’s just too much. Your body starts breaking down. Autoimmune diseases, diabetes, all these different ailments that people are starting to see.

It’s important to add cleansing things into your diet. Lemon water detoxifies the liver first thing in the morning, if you’re doing that. You’ll notice in the morning when you wake up, your pee might be a little darker. You’ll have bowel movements. That’s really your body cleansing and detoxifying. Your body naturally does cleanse, but there’s also ways to add more cleansing and detoxifying systems into your body.

Rico: I want to add to exactly what you said. Unless you live on top of a mountain somewhere in purified air and have your own organic garden, no matter what we do, even if we eat organic, we’re still getting lots of toxins all the time. So it’s so important.

Talk to us a little bit about – it’s all about our immune system, especially these days with the virus going around and all that. I think an important thing for people to realize is that these toxins are cumulative. You might say “Just because I eat this apple and maybe it’s got preservatives on it, so what?” But the thing is all these things are cumulative, all the different ways we get it. How does that work? When we get too much overload, our immune system breaks down? Is that what happens?

Chef V: Yeah. Everyone’s really different in how they hold on to toxins, especially if you exercise a lot. That really helps detoxify the body. So if you’re exercising and eating well, you are naturally cleansing your body in certain ways.

But a lot of people are not exercising and they’re eating really horribly and they’re using all these lotions and perfumes, dyes, air fresheners. There’s so many chemicals. People think “Oh yeah, I’m going to spray Febreze around my house to make it smell good!” You’re inhaling chemical toxins into your body. There’s just so much out there. I think a lot of people think that things are regulated and things are safe for them just because they’re on a store shelf when that’s completely far from the truth.

We’re not infinite beings. Your body has limits, and when you’re putting so many toxins – cigarette smoke, lots of alcohol. It can only handle so much, and then you might get lung cancer or liver cancer or something like that. By helping to cleanse and take breaks from certain things – not saying you can never have a drink in your life. It’s just if you’re going to drink, make sure the next morning you’re having lemon water, cleansing, something healthy, a smoothie, a nice salad. If you want to eat pizza for dinner, then make sure you’re having something healthy for lunch that’s cleansing and detoxifying.

It’s all about balance. It’s really hard to avoid everything, and it’s not going to be fun if you’re not enjoying your life. But you do have to balance everything out for the wellbeing of your immune system. Otherwise your body will start shutting down.

Rico: Very well said. What are some of the main benefits you’ve seen from doing cleanses?

Chef V: I have developed different sorts of cleanses. I have a whole 3, 5, 7 day cleanse where you’re not having any solid foods. You’re just having green drinks, protein shakes, and soups. I can go more into that later. But also, what I really practice and preach is having a green drink every day first thing in the morning for breakfast. That way it’s the first thing you’re putting in your body. It’s the first thing processing through your liver, through your colon, and helping you cleanse and detox.

Sorry, what was the question again? I got off-track.

Rico: No, that’s a really good point of doing that first thing in the morning so you cleanse your liver so your liver is ready for whatever else it might have to deal with during the day.

Chef V: Oh, what have I seen from the cleansing.

Rico: Yeah, some of the benefits.

Chef V: I’ve had people that have done a 3-day cleanse rid themselves from autoimmune medication in just 3 days. Someone who was on autoimmune medication for 5-10 years. I had a guy that had gout on his leg – huge gout on his leg for 10 years. He did a 3-day cleanse; it completely melted away.

And it’s miraculous because it’s like, wow, if you’re just giving your body this little break – your body is amazing. It does miraculous things. The body can live on Top Ramen, cigarettes, and Coca-Cola. It can survive. It’s not going to be thriving, but that’s how miraculous the body is.

So when people just give it this little reset, this little break – and I’m not saying don’t eat. Don’t do lemon water and cayenne for 3 days. If you give your body nutrients and just take a break from all of the crap, the toxins, the alcohol, the gluten, the dairy, the processed meats, all of these things, your body really can function at its best. So that’s the things I’ve seen just from people doing a 3-day cleanse.

But I’ve had people that do the green drink every day – not just a full cleanse. They have food, they live their normal life, but just by having the green drink every day, I’ve seen people rid themselves of adult acne, rosacea, eczema. I’ve had one person lose 245 pounds, my biggest testimonial. He’s lost 245 pounds in 14 months, and his whole life has been changed.

I had another lady who did the green drink for a year. She had Type 2 diabetes, she had Graves’ disease, and she rid it completely just by implementing a green drink daily, which is just basically cleansing and detoxifying your body and giving your body this influx of nutrients. The most important is empty stomach. That way your body can absorb everything and your cells can get the most benefit from it.

I’ve seen a lot of amazing things. I could go on for hours, and I have tons of testimonials on my website and Facebook and Yelp.

before and after cleansing

Rico: It works. Talk a little bit about some of the plant-based foods or different plants and herbs and things that are cleansing to the body.

Chef V: In my drink, I use seven certified organic greens. I’ve chosen these specific greens because each one has a different function. These are not the only healthy foods that you can use. There’s tons more, and I can go a little bit into that.

But specifically for my drink, I use green and black kale because they are the highest phytonutrient greens on earth. The phytonutrients help fight free radicals in the body, which combats cancer. We also have green chard, which helps control your cholesterol. The collard greens help regulate your blood sugar. Dandelion greens specifically cleanse the liver. Parsley has folic acid and the green leaf lettuce is great for your hair, skin, nails, even your teeth. And then I have a little healthy dose of the apple, which also is healthy to have a little apple in your diet.

Rico: I’m actually a testimony for you as well because as you know, you’re a friend of mine, and you’ve actually contributed some of your green drinks to some of the workshops and things I’ve put on here in San Diego. I’ve had your green drinks quite often, and I have to say they’re the best tasting.

Whenever I try to make my own green drink and I put it in a blender and put all the stuff in, it always comes out like – oh man, I can hardly get it down. But you got the formula down. It actually tastes good and it’s smooth and easy to drink.

Chef V: Thank you. There’s also tons of other foods that are really healthy, cleansing, detoxifying. Anything green is going to be great in your diet. Ginger is great, garlic, onions. Berries are great. They have lots of antioxidants. There’s tons of other foods that are out there.

During COVID, I’ve done an immune boosting workshop that I’ve gone live with and talked about different foods and how to get more of them into your diet and why you should get them in your diet and easy ways to include them. There’s tons of foods that are detoxifying. You can even just google “cleansing foods, detoxifying foods,” and try and get more of those into your diet. Not saying that’s the only thing that you can eat or should eat, but you just eat more of them.

Rico: What would your recommend for someone who’s never done a cleanse at all and says “Maybe I should try something”? What would you recommend? How would they get started?

Chef V: Typically when people come into my store or call or reach out to me through the website or whatever and they want to do a cleanse, they say, “I want to do a 7-day cleanse because I want to get the most benefits.” I say, “Why don’t you start with a 3-day cleanse?” I put you on a 2-day pre-cleanse of elimination diet. No caffeine, alcohol, no red meat, no gluten, no dairy. Not saying you can never have that; again, just giving your body a little break from that. 

Most people lose 5 pounds on the pre-cleanse alone, and they just feel great. Their stomach is flatter, they have more energy, more vitality. Then I have them do a 3-day cleanse. I say anyone can do anything for 3 days. It’s pretty simple. By Day 2 you’re more than halfway through. I do give you everything that you need for the cleanse. You get four 16-ounce green drinks a day, two protein shakes a day, and then a yummy detox soup at night. By the time you get to that soup, it tastes like a steak because you’re so ready for it. [laughs]

I always tell people, it’s your cleanse. Listen to your body. If you need to add something into the day, like if you’re like, “Oh my gosh, I’m not going to make it,” most of the time it’s in your head. We’re so conditioned to have breakfast by this time and lunch by this time and dinner by this time because of society. So I tell people, be easy on yourself. If you need some raw nuts or some fresh vegetables or even just a clean piece of protein at the end of the day, make it your own.

But the purpose of cleansing basically is you don’t want to have as many solid foods because your body is usually always busy breaking down foods and digesting foods and assimilating where the proteins go, the carbohydrates, all these things, and then getting rid of the waste. That takes a lot of work and energy for your body. So at night, your body gets this break, and that’s when the most miraculous things happen in your body – at night, when you’re sleeping. If you’re young, you’re growing in your sleep. Your body is detoxing and doing all these things.

So basically when you’re doing my 3-day cleanse, you’re just extending that process. Everything that we serve is blended, not juiced. You’re getting all of the fiber, but it is blended so that your body doesn’t have to break it down and work so hard to digest it. And when your body is not working so hard to digest things, it can go and use all that energy to do other amazing, miraculous things, like rid that guy of gout that he had for 10 years, or help the immunity build itself back up.

That’s what the purpose of cleansing is, so I tell people if you can, try not to eat anything other than what we’ve provided you. But again, don’t make it miserable. Don’t feel like a failure and then give up because “I had to have a piece of chicken or some nuts” or something. Just keep going. You’re still doing way better than you would if you hadn’t done anything at all.

Rico: I’ve found too that sometimes when you think you’re hungry, you really maybe are thirsty. Just drink some water sometimes or go for a walk or something. Brush your teeth. Then you don’t feel like eating anything. It’s all little things that you can do. But yeah, again, I like what you said: you don’t have to be so strict and think that you lost it all. Anything you do is better than nothing.

Don’t you find, too, that if you want to do a little bit longer one, once you get through about 3 days, it gets a lot easier, doesn’t it? 

Chef V: Yeah. I have so many people that tell me, “Oh my gosh, by Day 3, I could go two more days!” I always tell people, “Cool. If you live around here, if on Day 3 you’re feeling like a million bucks, come back and we’ll give you two more days and you can keep going on the 5-day cleanse.” But a lot of it is mental. If you think “I have to do 5 days,” by Day 3 you’re like, “Oh God, I’m barely halfway done.” It’s mental, and that’s where a lot of people can choke up.

But if you’re listening to your body and really paying attention to what it’s telling you – because your body will tell you what it needs and what it wants. Your body tells you when you’re hungry. Your body tells you when you need to go to the bathroom. A lot of times people don’t listen to their body. And just like you said with the water – I’m a nutritional therapist, and I counsel a lot of my clients in their health journeys, and you’d be surprised. 90% of people do not drink enough water. Not even close.

I had a client that said, “Oh, I definitely drink enough water.” I have this scale that I would bring around if I’m counseling in person – most of the time it’s via Zoom or telephone – and it tells you what your body water percentage is. This woman who thought she was getting enough was way under the percentage. It was supposed to be around 50-60% and she was about 42%. She was really shocked. She said, “That’s so strange.”

Then we got to the bottom of it and she was counting the green drink and her collagen tea that she was drinking as water. I said, “No, as soon as you mix more than one ingredient with water, it’s no longer water. You need to just be drinking water.” It’s an example of why people are so confused. There’s not really this book that you’re handed as a child or even an adult that tells you, “This is how you need to eat. This is what you need to do. You can have this much water.”

There’s so much noise out there about nutrition and what to eat or not to eat, don’t eat gluten, you’ve got to be vegan, you can’t eat after 7:00. There’s just so much noise out there. It’s really not that hard, but the food industry has made it extremely hard and the diet world has made it extremely hard for people to be healthy and be successful in their food journeys.

pregnant lady drinking Green Drink

Rico: Absolutely. That’s what this project is all about. I’m getting experts and people who I know that really have concern for their patients and their customers, and it’s all information you can trust. That’s what this project that you have is all about: giving you the right information so you can get past all the misinformation and the overwhelm and you’ll know exactly the best ways to care for your physical body.

One more question. How often do you recommend people do a cleanse?

Chef V: Again, this is a question that I get all the time, especially when people have great success on the cleanse. For me, I don’t really do a 3-day cleanse that often. Probably the last time I did one was 2 or 3 years ago. You might think, “What? Chef V doesn’t do a 3-day cleanse?”

But that’s because I’m doing something for myself every day, and that’s the most important thing. The reason why I created the cleanse is because, yes, it works and people are successful. But really, the success and lifelong changes come with what you’re doing every day.

I make sure that I have a green drink or something very healthy first thing that I put in my body. If I’m traveling, I either try and find some place to make a smoothie, or if the hotel will make something, or if not, I go into the grocery store and get a piece of fruit or I eat a salad for breakfast. No one’s ever taught us to eat vegetables for breakfast. Have you ever seen a salad on a breakfast menu? No. You have cereal, pancakes, eggs, bacon, toast. Lots of carbohydrates. What that does is puts your body more at a halt. It’s not really helping your metabolism speed up and turn on.

But when you’re giving your body living nutrients, vegetables, salad – the other day I had a Thai salad leftover in my refrigerator. I’m in a hotel right now in New Jersey, and I didn’t have my green drink, even though my store is not far. I had to do some work in the morning and I was hungry, so I took the Thai salad out and started eating the cucumbers and the carrots and the lettuce out of there. That was my breakfast.

Then I can wait till lunch and I can be a little bit more lax and have a sandwich or a piece of pizza or something. It’s not like you have to eat that way for every single meal. Just try and get more of those nutrients in your body.

And the most important, like I said, is first thing. What are you putting in your body first? That’s the first thing after your body has worked so hard all night to cleanse and detoxify, and then you’re going to shove it down with bacon and sugary orange juice? That’s not really beneficial. It’s really going to make your body have to work harder in order to cleanse and detoxify itself. But if you’re putting something that is healthy and cleansing or detoxifying first thing, again, you’re prolonging that cleansing process that your body is naturally doing, and you’re helping aid that cleanse and detoxification process.

Rico: Such good information. Thank you. I just want to add, I think the point you were making earlier was if you do a clenase and then you go back to eating junk food and don’t change your lifestyle habits, then you’re going to get real toxic again real quick, and you’re going to need to do it again a lot sooner.

But even if you’re trying to have some green drinks every day and be as healthy as you possibly can, a lot of people recommend doing a cleanse with a change of the seasons, maybe four times a year is a good thing to do. But I agree with you; I try and do a daily detox. I exercise and sweat and drink lemon water, drink green things. If you incorporate that into your lifestyle, you don’t have to do a regular full-on cleanse quite so often.

Chef V: Yeah. To further answer your question – sorry, I got a little sidetracked and excited – when people ask me, “How often can I cleanse?”, I say everyone’s different. If I’ve learned anything in the 10 years I’ve been doing this, I know that everybody’s different. Everyone’s different in the way they cleanse, in the way they detox, in the toxins they’ve held on to, in the amount of toxins, the different toxins that they’ve ingested or taken throughout their life.

Some people are way more toxic than others, and they probably do need a nutritional reset more often, and they’re probably not taking care of their bodies in between these 3-day cleanses or whatever. So when people ask me, “Can I do a cleanse every week?”, that’s probably not a healthy option. Your body does need calories. It does need nutrients to survive. The cleanse is low calorie, but it’s very high nutrient.

So I tell people maybe every 3 months, twice a year. At least maybe once a year doing something to nutritional reset. Some people will just take January and do no alcohol for January. That’s a perfect example of a nice little cleanse or reset. There’s different ways. It’s not just one magic potion that works.

But mine has had great success, and I highly recommend people try it if they are feeling toxic. Or maybe they’ve been on medication, in the hospital or something like that. There’s so many things. Everyone has a different journey, and I’m happy to answer anyone’s questions if they do have questions about their specific needs. You can always email [email protected]. We’re happy to assist you and tailor something that works for you.

Rico: So well said. Really good information, Chef V. Thank you so much. On that same note, I want to remind you that this video training comes with a PDF. You have a transcription, so you can read it, and we definitely always recommend that you go to all of our experts’ websites. They have lots of information there. Often they have free gifts for you, they have special offers. I know Chef V does. And they’re there also to give you some coaching, to give you some training or give you some help. We really recommend that you stay in touch and keep on learning from our experts.

Being healthy and creating wellness is an ongoing process. It’s a lifetime process. Stay connected to all this great information. We’re all learning as we go as well, so as you stay connected with our experts, you’ll be updated with all the latest scientific information and things that can really help you achieve optimal health and wellness. That’s what this whole project is all about.

Chef V, that was so good. Thank you for that great information. I really appreciate it.

Chef V: You’re welcome. Thank you for having me. Again, if anyone needs anything, you can email, reach out. I also have our website, www.chefv.com. We do 50% off your first order on cleanses.

Also our green drink subscription, which is a monthly subscription to our juice, and it comes every week like the modern day milkman. It’s a 100% money back guarantee on our green drink delivery, so you can taste it, try it out. Or if you’re next to one of our stores – we have a store in West Caldwell, New Jersey as well as San Marcos, California. You can come in, taste the drinks, ask questions, and we’re happy to help always.

Rico: You can find all this information in the PDF. Once again, thank you, Chef V. And thank you for being here.

Chef V: Thank you.

My predictions 2021 – Health & Wellness

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My predictions 2021 – Health & Wellness

Chef V New Years

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Food trends usually quickly come and go. I remember about a decade ago, exotic superfruits like acai, goji berries and mangosteen were all the rage for a couple years. Then it seemed like overnight, coconut oil was king. Fast forward even more recently and fermented drinks like kombucha flooded farmers markets and supermarket chains. Even alcoholic kombucha surged in popularity.

But I think the biggest health trends of 2021 will be less fly-by-night and won’t be dictated by more youthful market drivers like kombucha (“booch”) and fast food vegan burgers. Instead, next year’s trends in nutrition and wellness will be more permanent and predicated on people’s motivation to stay healthy during the pandemic.

So scoot your boot, booch, and make room for things that are going to exert a more positive impact on immunity and overall wellness.

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high versus low glycemic index

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#1: Low-Glycemic Diets

Back in the summer, even though the pandemic was only a few months old, it seemed like things were a lot less critical compared to now.

That’s because in the summer, people spend more time outdoors and aren’t challenged by viral infections nearly as much as in the winter.

But during the summer, I cautioned that it’s critical to pay attention to blood sugar levels and eat a low-glycemic diet so that your immune system stays strong in the transition to fall, which is when people get hit the hardest by viruses.

Unfortunately, we’re seeing a dramatic manifestation of that with Covid infections spiking.

Research shows that the virus that causes Covid-19 makes copies of itself by feasting on sugar. That’s not surprising as many viruses use sugar to reproduce. Data also shows that people with type 2 diabetes who have high blood sugar levels (in other words, those who have diabetes and aren’t controlling their blood sugar) are more at risk of developing severe Covid symptoms and dying from it.

Despite the promise of a Covid vaccine, many natural health-minded people realize that a vaccine alone does not provide an injection of wellness. I predict that more people will commit to eliminating added sugars from their diet.

I don’t know if the prediction will come true. I hope it does, obviously. Maybe I should retitle this post, Chef V’s Top Hopes For 2021. Nah, let’s stick with the prediction. I’m optimistic more people are going to experience a wake-up call and start taking charge of their health!

#2: Symbiotics For Gut Health

You don’t have to be a psychic to predict that probiotics will remain a major nutrition and wellness trend. But not everybody is as well informed about natural health as you are. Think about the millions of people who still are unaware of the link between gut health and immunity, mood stability, sleep quality, and a long list of other wellness factors.

I wrote about the importance of having good gut health a few years ago. But my thinking and knowledge about gut health has evolved since then. I no longer think that the secret to obtaining gut health is as simple as popping a probiotic pill. Not that I really ever thought that; I know that you can’t eat junk food and think that taking a probiotic pill will miraculously wipe out the harmful effects of a nutrient-poor diet.

But what I didn’t realize back when I wrote the post is that there are certain foods that are the cream of the crop for feeding the good bacteria in your gut. These foods contain prebiotic fiber, and I revealed them here.

I predict that in 2021 and for the next several years, symbiotic supplements are going to become a household name. Symbiotic supplements contain both prebiotic fiber and probiotics.

The reason you can’t achieve good gut health if you eat lots of processed food, even if you take a probiotic supplement is that without prebiotic fiber, your good bacteria has nothing to feed on; your gut’s friendly microorganisms won’t be able to flourish.

As more people delve into the inner workings of gut health, knowing that achieving it is essential for a healthy immune system, I expect symbiotics to be a booming business.

By the way, green leafy veggies like the 7 different kinds in my Organic Green Drink (delivered to your home for your convenience) are excellent sources of prebiotic fiber!

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#3: Mushrooms

As a certified nutritional therapist, I’ve been aware of the therapeutic benefits of edible mushroom for years. Many people, however, equate mushrooms with a squishy, tasteless pizza topping or afterthought in a stir-fry dish. But mushrooms are already a big trend, and I expect fabulous fungi to get placed even higher on the superfood A-list.

The pandemic has more people seeking out foods that have anti-viral, immune-boosting capabilities. And mushrooms are all that and more. Some nutrition brands are making a killing peddling mushroom powder. I prefer to eat whole mushrooms but some people may prefer taking a mushroom powder supplement; eating fleshy, earthy-tasting mushrooms can be an acquired taste.

Obviously, eating mushrooms or taking mushroom powder is no guarantee for Covid prevention. But mushrooms truly are an immune-boosting superstar. If you’re not including them in your diet, start doing it now.

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#4: Vitamin D

One year after the pandemic started making headlines, most people are aware of the connection between vitamin D and the severity of Covid symptoms. People whose lives have been tragically cut short by Covid are more likely to be vitamin D deficient. The alarming thing is that 9 out of 10 people may at the very least have suboptimal levels of vitamin D.

I talked about the connection between Vitamin D and the immune system earlier this year. (Read about it here.) The big takeaway from the article, in regards to Covid is that having enough vitamin D is an easy and effective way to reduce your risk of developing a respiratory infection.

Unfortunately, the only way to know for sure if you need to take a supplement is to get a vitamin D blood test. You can either get it from your doctor or order one online.

Vitamin D research organizations recommend taking more D than what the federal government recommends, which is 400 – 800 IUs per day. Instead, aim for 4000 to 5000 IUs, especially in winter when it’s next to impossible to synthesize enough active vitamin D from the sun.

The importance of vitamin D has been well documented for years. But because of the pandemic, it’s going to be at the forefront of many people’s minds for months if not years to come.

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#5: Adapting to Stress

Right before Thanksgiving, I recommended doing these 5 things everyday to stay healthy during the holidays. One of them was supplementing with adaptogenic herbs. And I’m here to remind you to take adaptogens every single day.

In addition to balancing the immune system, and regulating blood sugar levels, adaptogens help the body get back in balance by neutralizing the harmful effects of stress. Adaptogenic herbs are the very best therapeutic plants Mother Nature has to offer.

They may not magically eliminate the stressors from your life, but they help your body and mind and even your spirit cope with stress. Adaptogens can improve stamina, libido, concentration, and sleep quality, all while helping you feel more relaxed and calm.

Conclusion

The toll that the pandemic is taking on people’s mental health is staggering. I realize that those who have lost jobs might not be able to afford to supplement with adaptogenic herbs, probiotics, vitamin D, not to mention vitamin C and zinc, all of which contribute to a healthy immune system.

But at the very least, eating a diet consisting of real food with no added sugars, and maintaining a daily meditation or deep breathing practice can help keep you healthy. Hopefully, these healthy habits will not only be trending in 2021, but will endure for the long haul.

That’s So Cheesy! Nutritional Yeast

‘NOOCH’ – The Plant-Based Superfood That Makes It Easy To Give Up Cheese

“There’s no way I can give up cheese!”

If I had a dollar for everytime I heard that one, I could buy a couple pounds of pule. Pule is the most expensive cheese in the world, fetching up to $1,000 per pound. And get this, it doesn’t come from sheep, cows or goats, it comes from … wait for it … donkeys! 

But I digress. Point is, giving up cheese for many people is as difficult as going cold turkey for a 2-pack-a-day smoker. 

If you can’t picture a life worth living without cheese, I’ve got some good news. Thanks to a flaky, yellowish powder that looks just like sprinkled, crumbly parmesan on pasta, you can experience cheesiness without the dairy. That’s good news for people like me who feel bloated and weighed down after eating anything with dairy.

I’m of course talking about nutritional yeast, the darling of the vegan culinary scene. I’m not 100% vegan, but I have been using nutritional yeast for several years now. (I can’t believe I haven’t blogged about it until now.) 

In this post, I’ll discuss what nutritional yeast is and focus on its health benefits.

Why You Should Replace Regular Cheese With Nutritional Yeast

I don’t like being told what to do (ask my husband, Brandon) and I don’t like telling people what to do. So I’m not going to lecture about the evils of cheese and dairy and tell you that you should give up cheese. All I can say is that for many people, dairy tends to promote inflammation. 

But wait! What about the French? How do they get away with eating all that cheese and not suffer from the same chronic diseases endemic in American society? Ah, that’s what they call the French Paradox

While French eat plenty of cheese, they also eat a Mediterranean Diet and don’t snack all day like Americans. In traditional French society, people walk everyday and buy fresh, local, small-batch, artisanal foods. If you want to go ahead and eat some cheese here and there, fine. But if you’re not eating a Mediterranean Diet and living like the traditional French and other Mediterranean cultures do, then eating cheese is like pouring fuel on the inferno of metabolic disorders. 

If you eat plenty of fresh, local, organic produce and avoid processed foods, go ahead and enjoy a portion of pule. But if you’re like the average American who has trouble with controlling portion sizes and leading a mostly sedentary life, reduce your cheese intake. Start replacing regular cheese with “NOOCH.” 

What Is Nutritional Yeast?  

Nooch (not to be confused with booch) is the most common yeast in food fermentation. Afraid of getting a yeast infection? Don’t freak out. You won’t get one by eating nooch. Nonetheless, it is a yeast. But it’s not the same as brewer’s yeast that makes beer bubbly (and bad for your gut). It’s also not the same yeast that makes bread and baked goods rise. (Nooch doesn’t rise and it’s not doughy.) 

But the cheesy, nutty taste and mouthfeel will make your spirit soar because if you haven’t yet experienced it, you’ll be amazed by how much it tastes just like regular cheese. (I can’t say if it tastes specifically like donkey cheese because I’ve never tried pule.) 

I want to reiterate that nutritional yeast won’t contribute to an overabundance of harmful yeast in your gut. Sprinkling some nooch on farro, couscous, or other grain, or making a velvety faux-cheese sauce isn’t a recipe for having to do a Candida cleanse. To be sure, nutritional yeast is the same species as brewer’s yeast. But it’s a radically different product. Brewer’s and baker’s yeasts are active yeasts; nooch is an inactive yeast.

Not only is nooch cheesy, it also has an umami profile. If you’re not sure what umami is, it’s one of the five food tastes. There’s sweet, salty, bitter, sour and savory. Umami describes a rich, savory flavor. 

Health Benefits of Nutritional Yeast

I could regurgitate a bunch of nutrition facts like one tablespoon of nooch contains 17.6 micrograms of vitamin B-12. But you’ll probably forget these stats. What’s important to know is that nooch is one of the best sources of vitamin B-12 for vegans. B-12 is one of the hardest nutrients for the body to absorb. And if you don’t have good gut health, you’ll have a difficult time absorbing B-12, which is necessary for cellular energy. 

But the good news is that, at least according to an exhaustive study in the journal Nutrients, nutritional yeast seems to be good for the gut. I’ll get into that in a sec. 

Nooch also contains an impressive amount of protein, fiber, minerals and other B vitamins in just a small serving size. If you’re making, say, a big casserole, you’ll need more nutritional yeast, so you’ll get even more of the health benefits. 

The Nutrients study says nooch increases the absorption of minerals and helps detoxify mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are pathogens that grow on mushrooms. Nooch also helps lower cholesterol levels in the blood, and acts as an antioxidant. 

Nooch might be good for your gut because of its probiotic effects, says the study. It helps maintain the epithelial barrier integrity of the intestinal mucosa. What does that mean in plain English? It means like bone broth, it might be one of the best foods for preventing leaky gut.

Nutritional Yeast Probiotic

A while back, I wrote about traveling with kids. I revealed the best probiotic to take on your trip to prevent traveller’s diarrhea. It’s called saccharomyces boulardii. It’s actually not a bacteria like all other probiotics, rather it’s a yeast. S. boulardii is the only yeast that has been shown in research studies to benefit the good bacteria in your gut. 

Why am I mentioning this? Because research has shown that S. boulardii is virtually identical to Saccharomyces cerevisiae, aka nutritional yeast.

So while regular cheese can make the belly’s of lactose-sensitive people squirm, nooch seems to actually offer protection against inflammatory gut reactions. 

That’s the cherry on top for this cheesy topping that goes great on popcorn, sauces, soups, stews, and lots of other recipes

The Truth About the “Booch”

The truth about the “Booch”

I recently hopped on the kombucha bandwagon and here’s what happened….

Now before I put the wagon before the horse, just in case you’re not exactly sure what kombucha is, here’s a crash course….

What is Kombucha? 

It’s fermented tea. That might not sound that appetizing, and the truth is that many kombuchas taste awful. And as I’ve come to find out, I wish all the ones I tried tasted awful because I would have spit them all out, and not experienced any negative side effects (more on this in a little bit.) 

The ones that do please the palate have a slightly bubbly mouthfeel and taste tarty. When it’s hot out and you don’t feel like drinking room-temperature water or hot tea, a glass of cold bubbly booch really hits the spot. 

And I thought by drinking a lot of it, I was being healthy. That’s because kombucha is supposedly loaded with probiotics. Because of the rise in consciousness with gut health, fermented foods and drinks have become mega popular. That’s why if you go to your local farmer’s market, you’ll see weird fermented drinks that weren’t around 5-10 years ago like beet kvass and, of course, kombucha.

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Kombucha

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How is it Made?

Traditionally, kombucha is made with either black or green tea. Lately, I’ve seen recipes featuring other tea varieties such as rooibos. I’ve also tried so-called high-alcohol kombucha, which is fermented for longer. All kombucha, because of the fermentation process, contains a little alcohol. 

So if you’re in recovery or trying to detox from alcohol, you might want to think twice about drinking a lot of it. People think it’s healthier to get buzzed on high-alcohol kombucha because it contains probiotics. 

But one truth about kombucha, at least the kind that can really get you buzzed is that there’s probably very little probiotics left—the alcohol kills it. And high-alcohol booch isn’t safer than drinking beer or wine. On the contrary, BoochCraft and other brands of alcoholic kombucha contain more alcohol per volume than beer and wine. 

The process of making regular kombucha is like a science experiment. First, you brew a high-sugar sweet tea. 

The high sugar should have been a red flag for me; I was oblivious to the potential dangers because of the hyped-up health claims.

After the sweet tea is brewed, a milky, cloudy, stringy yeast and bacteria starter culture called SCOBY is added. SCOBY stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. Yum! The brew is refrigerated for 7-10 days.

No doubt the way kombucha was traditionally made, beginning over 2000 years ago in China, offered health benefits. But today’s booches surely aren’t the same as what was made during the Qin dynasty. 

One word of caution if you’re going to try to make kombucha on your own: if it’s not prepared properly, it can contain nasty bacteria or mold.

Chef V’s Kombucha Experiment Gone Wrong

I don’t think I drank any bad batches of booch. But the mistake I made was drinking it every day. I admit: I became addicted to it. And my addiction eventually caused problems. Mostly, I experienced bloating or an upset stomach. Feeling like I was tricked by kombucha, I did some digging and found out that I wasn’t the only one having problems…

Kombucha

Can Kombucha Cause Yeast Infections?

As I read more and more about the dark side of kombucha, I learned that it can cause adult acne. And if you’re concerned about getting a bacterial yeast infection, after reading this next thing, you just might hop off the booch bandwagon forever….

According to this food microbiology journal, after the 7th day of fermentation, candida is the most abundant yeast in kombucha. 

Now, don’t freak out entirely about candida. Everyone has a little bit of the yeast in their mouth and intestines (gross, right?). But if you already have an overgrowth of yeast because of a poor diet (too much sugar and starchy carbs), kombucha is the last thing you should be drinking; just stick with lots of water and low-sugar Green Drink!

If you’re struggling with energy; get recurrent UTIs or sinus infections; or have poor digestion and skin problems, these are tell-tale signs of candida overgrowth. If this is the case, go on a candida cleanse and just say no to kombucha! (First steps in a candida cleanse: probiotic supplements, low-carb diet, drink lots of water and Green Drink.) 

The Truth About Kombucha: Is It Good For the Gut?

The main selling point about kombucha is that because it’s fermented, it contains beneficial microbes that may help colonize the gut. Gut health is so important and I’m glad that the topic of gut health has gone mainstream. Gut health not only affects our digestion, it’s directly linked to our cognitive function, immune system, and mood.

But the truth about kombucha is we don’t know for sure if it’s even good for the gut. As this study from just last year, published in Nutrients points out, “[T]here are no studies of the effects of kombucha on gastrointestinal health and microbiota in humans.”

Another study, also from last year, reviewed 310 articles about kombucha. The researchers were unable to find even one random clinical trial (the gold-standard of research studies) that proves it can help gastrointestinal disorders, “including any of the functional bowel disorders.”

I realize that random clinical trials are super expensive to run. For the most part, only pharmaceutical companies have a vested interest in running a clinical trial with lots of people. Your average kombucha new kid on the block isn’t going to have the millions to fund an RCT. But I think it’s pretty telling that in over 300 studies on kombucha, the researchers weren’t even able to find one study with, say, 10 people, that offers some proof about kombucha’s supposed health benefits on the digestive system.

But hey, if you love it and you think it works for you, then by all means continue to drink it. Personally, I think it’s overrated, especially the big brands sold in supermarkets.

making Kombucha

Is Kombucha Healthy? Conclusion

If you want to support your gut health, first of all, you need to limit your sugar intake and consume lots of veggies that contain indigestible prebiotic fiber. Prebiotic fiber feeds the good bacteria in your colon. (Score another point for Green Drink: the 7 leafy greens have the fiber your gut needs.)

And if you want to colonize your gut with even more beneficial microscopic bugs, eat other fermented foods that don’t have added sugar. Think: plain yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi (cabbage), and fermented soybean dishes like natto, miso soup, and tempeh. 

Is kombucha healthier than cola? Sure. But is it healthier than Organic Green Drink? No way. Is high-alcohol kombucha better for your health than a glass of wine because of the probiotics? I think not. Dry wines contain only 1 gram of residual sugar. Plus you get the anti-aging benefits of the chemical, resveratrol, which is abundant in grape skins. 

(Want a boozy drink without the alcohol? Try my low-sugar, high-nutrient-density mocktails.)

I’ve seen some brands of kombucha contain as much sugar as a glass of orange juice (over 20 grams per 8-ounce serving). Drinking that much sugar everyday is just asking for a yeast infection. Even lower-sugar varieties of kombucha, I’ve realized, have too much sugar for my system. (You can water down the booch by making a spritzer.) 

And that’s the truth about the booch. 

Summer Mocktails

mocktails

Sample Code

Looking to enjoy refreshing summertime drinks but hate the added alcohol calories? Take a break from the added sugar and try one of these refreshing mocktail recipes. Treat your body to a summer break and give the following recipes a try!

Sample Code

Spicy Margarita (serves 1)

Ingredients

  • 8-12 oz.sparkling water
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 cup of ice
  • 1 tsp. organic sea salt
  • tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 lime slice for garnish

Directions

Pour the salt and cayenne in a shallow dish that will fit the cup rim. Rub the lime slice around the rim of your cup and dip the cup into the salt mix. Fill the cup with ice and sparkling water. Garnish with a lime slice on the rim.

Blackberry Mojito (serves 1)

Ingredients

  • 8-12 oz. sparkling water
  • 3-4 organic blackberries
  • 2 organic lime slices (save one for garnish)
  • 4-5 mint leaves
  • Half a glass of ice

Directions

In a glass of your choice, or in a cocktail mixer, muddle the blackberries, mint and 1 of the lime lime slices together. Fill the glass halfway with ice and add sparkling water. Garnish with lime slice or mint.

Sample Code

Sample Code

Moscow Mule (serves 1)

Ingredients

  • 8-12 oz. sparkling water
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. grated ginger
  • 1 cup ice

Directions

Combine lime, lemon juice and ginger in your mug (copper is best). Add ice and sparkling water.

Cucumber Cooler (serves 4-6)

Ingredients

  • 1 organic cucumber, skinned and thinly sliced
  • 6 cups filtered water
  • 2 lemons, sliced
  • Ice (per serving)

Directions

In a large pitcher, add cucumber slices, water, and lemon (you can also add mint or basil for extra flavors). Leave the pitcher in the refrigerator overnight (try to get at least 4 hours) to marinate. Add ice to cups and pour cucumber cooler in cups to serve. Garnish with sliced cucumber.

© 2020 Chef V, LLC.