Tag: chef v

Is There Any Proof Green Drink Improves Sleep Quality?

A few Chef V customers recently posted how having a Green Drink first thing in the morning has improved their energy throughout the day and even their sleep quality. So I decided to look into the connection between how green leafy veggies affect sleep quality. I also provide a handful of tips on how to get restful zzzzz’s. 

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it a thousand more times…

The easiest, healthiest thing you can do to start your day is to have 8-16 ounces of Organic Green Drink. It’s not a shameless sales pitch. Ask any of the thousands of Chef V customers who follow this daily piece of advice and they’ll tell you that it just sets you up for a great rest of the day. Your energy will be rock-steady. You’ll be slightly buzzing with a high vibration. Not jittery buzzing, but just an optimistic, pep-in-your-step great feeling.

But there’s a catch…

If you’re having a Green Drink in the morning, will the good vibes last well into the night? In other words, can consuming green leafy veggies actually support sleep quality?

Well, because my body was in desperate need of a rest from playing too much pickleball, I had some free time on my hands to geek out on research journals and here’s what I found.

V’s 3 Most Important Sleep Tips (Besides Green Drink)

In addition to eating (and drinking) lots of organic green, leafy veggies and other produce, here are 3 things that help me get better sleep:

  • Meditate 

With so many meditation apps to choose from, many of them free, you don’t have to be a Buddhist monk in order to achieve a more restful, relaxed state. My favorite app is the Calm app.

I listen to the daily Calm every morning for 10 mins and usually every night before I go to bed.
It also helps me if I wake up too early – I can do the daily mediation and usually get back to sleep.

Try to listen to a sleep or meditation app for 15 minutes before you try to fall asleep for the night. If you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep, follow along to the app for another 10-15 minutes.

  • Feast at lunch, eat a light dinner

A lot of people are so busy during the day that they barely have time to eat lunch and when they do, it’s usually something not substantial enough and not well-balanced. Turkey sandwiches come to mind. Instead, try carving out time and eating a large lunch with a healthy grain like quinoa, a big portion of roasted/steamed veggies and a lean piece of protein like fish or tempeh. Then for dinner, have soup and salad.

  • Get Adequate Exercise

I notice that on days when I’m not as active as I’d like to be (hasn’t been happening that much lately because of my new pickleball obsession), I don’t sleep as well.

Make sure you move your body enough during the day. I know it’s tough for many people who work remotely on their laptop all day. But try to take a few mini-movement breaks during the day.

And don’t forget to start each day with Organic Green Drink! Here’s to getting plenty of restful zzzzz’s.

Leafy Greens in Green Drink Block Blue Light

I also came across a study in the curiously named journal, Cureus, which said that leafy greens contain micronutrients that can positively influence sleep:

  • Tryptophan
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Fiber
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin C
  • Lutein
  • Zeaxanthin
  • Choline
  • Beta carotene

So let’s talk about some of these micronutrients that are in Organic Green Drink. For starters, the researchers of this study said that fiber “has been shown to be associated with deeper and more restorative sleep.”

So in case you’re wondering what the heck lutein and zeaxanthin are, they are the most important antioxidants for vision and eye health. And the cool thing about these two micronutrients that are also found in Green Drink is that they are natural filters of high-energy blue light. That helps support sleep because blue light, which is emitted from smartphones and other electronic devices, suppress your body’s production of the sleep hormone, melatonin.

And that’s the reason why you should always put your phone in airplane mode when you go to bed and turn off all other electronics in your room a good hour before you want to fall asleep. If you have a TV in your room, get rid of it; move it into another room and stop watching well before bedtime.

Look, I could go on and on with these research studies. If you want to check more out, here ya go.) Now I’m not saying if you struggle with really difficult insomnia that having a little Green Drink in the morning is the cure, or if you eat a salad for dinner you’ll sleep like a baby. But there is plenty of evidence that associates green leafy veggie consumption with better sleep quality.

The 5 Best Natural Supplements To Prevent Traveler’s Diarrhea

After a very long two years, people are once again traveling all over the world. But when you visit an area of the world with microbes your body isn’t used to, there’s a good chance you can get an unwanted souvenir: traveler’s diarrhea. Sharing her wisdom gained by visiting Southeast Asia, Veronica “V” reveals her favorite natural remedies for prevention. 

It’s a near certainty that if you travel anywhere in the world, especially somewhere with a developing economy, your digestive system will be attacked by a pathogenic bacteria, virus or parasite. In fact, according to the Cleveland Clinic, up to 70% of people who travel abroad will become stricken with traveler’s diarrhea.

The good news is that the overwhelming majority of people who experience loose watery stools will have a mild case that will go away on its own after a few days.

So there’s no reason to panic about traveler’s diarrhea. Go on your trip and fully experience the food and culture! Don’t let fear of the runs stand in your way. Life’s too short to eat all your meals in the hotel restaurant. Live a little and eat some street food you’ve never tried before.

Still, experiencing traveler’s diarrhea is no fun. Most of the time, the culprit is bacteria. In fact, according to the journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases, bacteria is responsible for roughly 90% of all traveler’s diarrhea cases, with e. Coli being the pathogen most likely to cause it.

Viruses are to blame for about 10% of all cases. Nasty parasites might receive all the gory attention because they can wreak havoc on the digestive system and they can be really hard to get rid of. But thankfully, parasitic causes of traveler’s diarrhea make up a tiny fraction of all cases. The bad news is that with traveler’s diarrhea that lasts for over 2 weeks, the cause is almost always a parasite.

But fear not because I have 5 supplements that may help prevent being glued to the porcelain throne during your trip (or when you come home).

Probiotics

Having a lot of friendly bacteria in your gut and lots of different varieties (strains) of probiotics are crucial for defending against pathogens. But not any probiotic will do. There’s one in particular that’s been the focus of many research studies on diarrhea prevention or treatment. And it’s the only probiotic that’s a yeast rather than a bacteria. It’s called Saccharomyces Boulardii, or S. Boulardii for short.

It comes in capsule form and you don’t need to refrigerate it so it’s really convenient for traveling. It takes a few days to fully build up in your gut so I start taking it about 4 days before I leave for an overseas vacation. I’ll continue taking it as long as I’m away and then I’ll stop taking it 3-5 days after I get back just to make sure all’s good back there.

You can take other probiotics at the same time you’re taking S. Boulardii. But for diarrhea prevention, only S. Boulardii is backed by extensive research.

Oil of Oregano

So the next supplement that may help prevent ruining your bucket-list trip is oil of oregano. It’s a very potent natural antibiotic. And remember, the most likely cause of traveler’s diarrhea is a bacteria (which is caused by consuming contaminated food and/or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces).

You can tell that oil of oregano is potent just by the taste. It’s so strong so don’t say I didn’t warn you. Some people put oil of oregano drops directly on their food just in case the food is contaminated. But talk about ruining a meal! I prefer to use it away from meals so I can actually taste the food.

It’s probably not a good idea to take oil of oregano for a very long time. So if you’re traveling for a few weeks or longer, use it sparingly, like maybe every other day or every few days.

Oregon Grape Root

Another herbal tincture, Oregon Grape Root contains the active ingredient berberine, which has been shown in research to help prevent diarrhea, and not just against bacterial pathogens that cause it but also viral, parasitic and fungal. So it’s like a broad-spectrum antimicrobial. And it doesn’t taste as harsh as oil of oregano.

Activated Charcoal

This is what they give to people (usually kids) in the ER at hospitals who accidentally swallow something poisonous. Activated charcoal, which is a black odorless powder,  binds to toxins and removes them out of the digestive tract. Personally, I wouldn’t use it for prevention but it’s one natural supplement I would consider for treating traveler’s diarrhea.

Grapefruit Seed Extract

GSE is a liquid that some people squirt directly on their food to neutralize any potential pathogens. It doesn’t taste as harsh as oil-of-oregano, but it’s pretty close. Again, I wouldn’t want to alter the flavor profile of a meal I’m enjoying just to prevent a mild case of the runs. So GSE is something I’d use away from food or for treatment.

At the end of the day, a mild case of traveler’s diarrhea is no big deal. It’ll usually go away on its own within 1-3 days. But if you’re on a very long bus or plane ride, I wouldn’t blame you if you took an over-the-counter remedy to stop things up. I should also point out that if you do have bloody loose stools, call your doctor right away to get checked out.

But no matter what … keep on traveling!

Pickleball: V’s Newest Obsession

what do I eat today liquids

It’s never too late in life to get a new hobby. For “V” (Veronica, the “V” in Chef V), her new hobby is more like an obsession. And she’s not the only one who is mad about pickleball, the fastest growing sport in America.

You’d figure that an unbearable late summer humid heat wave lasting several days with temperatures approaching triple digits would deter V from pursuing her latest passion: pickleball, which if you don’t know is an exciting game that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis.

It would be one thing if V were playing pickleball indoors. But nope, she’s been playing pickleball al fresco, with not a care in the world that rivulets of sweat are pouring down her face. After all, the entrepreneur behind Organic Green Drink home delivery is a devotee of hot yoga.

Pickleball: Serious Business

So why has V become so obsessed with playing pickleball, often testing her skills in matches six days a week for the past several months? Well, for starters she’s not alone. According to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, pickleball participation has grown nearly 40% of the past two years. Currently, there are nearly an estimated 5 million people who regularly play pickleball, making the sport the fastest growing in the U.S. for the second year in a row.

And if V continues to improve her game, watch out, because who knows, it’s never too late for another professional side hustle. In fact, pickleball is such a hot sport that there’s Major League Pickleball (MLP)… who knew? And MLP is no joke. We’re not talking about beer pong prize money here. The winning team from a recent tournament in Newport Beach, CA walked away with a prize of $100,000. Even former NFL quarterback Drew Brees owns a team in the MLP.

Pickleball is clearly not in the same league as beer-guzzling “sports” like darts, horseshoes and cornhole; it’s serious business. Don’t bother showing up unless you plan on bringing your A-game! (Or at least learn how to play with serious intent.)

berry parfait

Stay Out of The Kitchen

But let’s get back to V and why she was called to the activity, nay, sport, nay, way of life and obsession. Maybe it’s the fact that there’s an area of the pickleball court called the kitchen. And if you’ve been following V’s recipes over the years, you know she loves being in the kitchen. Although to be sure, in pickleball, it’s a no-no to volley the ball in the kitchen. Perhaps this is the rare time that V likes to be out of the kitchen.

creamy carrot soup

Immediately Hooked

Actually, V started playing on a more social level. So she and hubby, Brandon, went to a “learn how to play” pickleball lesson and subsequently went on to win 4 matches to advance to the championship game. And before she knew it, she was hooked.

“From the very first day I loved it and my goal was to immediately learn how to get really good and get to the next level,” says V.

While V hasn’t specifically mentioned an aspiration of making it to the majors (MLP), she does plan on dominating her “Chickleball” league, a pickleball competitive group for ladies in the region of San Diego where she lives. And how cute is this … wait for it … V personally named her team the Volley Llamas. (Get it?) An appropriate pickleball pun for someone who places as much emphasis on spiritual development as physical and business.

Photo by Frankie Lopez on Unsplash

A Vehicle For New Customers

And of course it wouldn’t be V unless she quenched her thirst on the court with Organic Green Drink. V brings plenty of Green Drink with her, not only for herself and Brandon but for other pickleball players who have never experienced the crisp, refreshing taste. (So much more satisfying than water, especially in this recent heat wave.)

“The Green Drink has been a big social hit,” says V, adding, “When it’s hot and you need nutrients back in your system fast, it’s the perfect beverage.” And just as V has become obsessed, some of her new pickleball friends have become obsessed with Green Drink.

Chef V Life Facebook Group Success Stories – October 2022

chefvlife success stories

Above, Chef V clients’ before/after photos

chefvlife success stories

What Do I Eat Today – Pumpkin!

what do I eat today liquids

This month's menu will convince you that pumpkins can be refreshing and delicious anytime. Pumpkin recipes aren't just for cold weather!  And they are a super food, with “substantial medicinal properties” says the NIH.

Start your day with lemon juice & water, then followup with Green Drink. Breakfast is a yummy Pumpkin Protein Smoothie and lunch is a filling Pumpkin Squash Salad with Quinoa. For an afternoon snack you get my Spicy Pumpkin Hummus, and dinner is Curried Pumpkin Soup.

First Thing in the Morning

I have lemon water in the morning and then I wait until I'm hungry to have my Green Drink.

berry parfait

For Breakfast – Pumpkin Protein Smoothie

This smoothie tastes rich and decadent – but it is vegan and gluten free as well. I use raw cashews and my own Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend to make this a healthy, delicious treat that won’t make you bloated. – Veronica

Get the recipe

creamy carrot soup

Lunch – Warm Pumpkin Salad

Warm pumpkin salad: this is a delicious fall treat for those first cool days that signal the end of summer. It’s very filling and makes you feel full even though it’s a salad. It’s also very healthy and vegan.

Get the recipe

Afternoon Snack – Spicy Golden Pumpkin Hummus

This treat is so yummy you can eat it with gluten free crackers, veggies, on a veggie sandwich. For a party or everyday, I know you’ll enjoy it.  make it with my Organic Pumpkin Purée.

Get the recipe

Dinner – Creamy Curry Pumpkin Soup

The only thing more comforting than a bowl of soup is a bowl of homemade soup that is both vegan and gluten-free. There’s something special about cooking comforting meals like this during the Fall that will warm you up and have your kitchen smelling festive.

Cozy up with someone you love and enjoy this delicious pumpkin soup on a cool fall night!

Get the recipe

Why I’m Out Of My Gourd About Pumpkins

Chef V hand and pumpkin

Pumpkins: can we all agree that the whole pumpkin spice and PSL (latte) thing has gotten out of hand? It’s gotten to the point that PSLs are released with a whole month left of summer to go. In fact, Dunkin Donuts beat Starbucks to the pumpkin punch this year, releasing its own PSL on August 19.

When it’s still 100 degrees outside and I’m trying to cool off in the pool the last thing I want to think about is a steaming hot PSL. And as a certified nutritional therapist, I suggest you just say no to PSLs.

According to Starbucks.com, a grande (16 oz) contains 50 grams of sugar! Fifty! 5-0! There are four grams of sugar in a teaspoon, which means a grande PSL has 12.5 teaspoons of sugar. The American Heart Association suggests women should have no more than 6 teaspoons a day. You don’t have to be a brilliant mathematician to figure out that PSLs are no superfood.

(Want a healthier drink to get your day started? My Organic Green Drink contains only 6 grams of sugar per 16 oz and 7 leafy green veggies.)

pumpkin spice latte

Remove the Sugar, Pumpkins Are Healthy

But pumpkins are a superfood in their natural state. One study on these “gourdgeous” (sorry for the pun; pumpkins are gourds) fruits that are often mistaken for vegetables, says that pumpkins contain “Substantial medicinal properties due to the presence of unique natural edible substances.”

Pumpkins possess a plethora of the following phytonutrients:

  • Alkaloids
  • Flavonoids
  • Palmitic acid
  • Oleic acid
  • Linoleic acid
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Potassium
  • Copper
  • Manganese

Nutrition researchers love pumpkins not because of how well it tastes in a caffeinated drink, but rather for its “medicinal properties including anti-diabetic, antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and others [that] have been well documented.”

Edible pumpkins contain a high amount of the antioxidants called carotenoids. Carotenoids are the colorful pigment that give carrots their orange hue, and their name (“carot”enoids). All types of pumpkins have the following three anti-aging all-star carotenoids: zeaxanthin, lutein, and beta-carotene, which is a precursor to vitamin A.

All three are great for the eyes. So when you eat pumpkin seeds or organic canned pumpkin, you’re protecting your peepers from age-related macular degeneration. These antioxidants are actually found in human eyeballs! So pumpkins are sort of like a multivitamin for your eyes.

Pumpkin seeds ripen in August through September. So this is the time of year you should be eating whole pumpkin (take it easy on pumpkin pie) along with its fall cousin, squashes.

pumpkin seed nutritional facts

Pumpkin Nutrition Facts

Pumpkins are nutrient dense. They’re low in calories but mega rich in vitamins and minerals. There’s several benefits of eating pumpkin. It doesn’t matter whether you’re eating this cucumber-related fruit (yes, it’s technically a fruit, not veggie) raw, boiled, canned or the seeds.

First, pumpkins contain lots of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants kill free-radicals. We all need a certain amount of free radicals in our body. It gives something for our immune system to do, namely killing free radicals. But when free radicals outnumber white blood cells and other immune-system sentinels, that’s when disease takes root.

Beta-carotene is what gives carrots their orange color. And it’s this pigment in beta-carotene that helps fight cancer, prevents premature aging as well as heart disease. Some of the beta-carotene you eat converts into vitamin A, which is a nutrient vital for vision and one that many people simply don’t get enough of. (Do you eat enough beef livers? Probably not.)

Pumpkin is also relatively high in minerals such as potassium, copper, manganese and vitamins C and B2. Pumpkin even contains essential omega-3 fatty acids.

Usually, I don’t recommend eating anything from a can. There are a few exceptions: wild salmon and sardines. (I won’t let hubby Brandon near the house with sardines. They smell disgusting. But they are very healthy.) If you’re going to buy canned pumpkin, though, make sure it’s organic, in a BPA-free can.

Canned pumpkin is like a vitamin A pill. There’s a whopping almost 800% of your recommended vitamin A intake. The one downside is there’s 8 grams of sugar per serving. But the sugar is balanced by 7 grams of fiber (almost 30% daily value). Also, there’s 50% daily value of vitamin K (good for your bones and blood) and 20% daily value of iron.

Pumpkins: Pumpkin Seed Oil

I’m still waiting for pumpkin seed oil to become the next avocado oil. Just as avocado oil has become a viable healthy cooking oil alternative to olive oil (and most definitely, canola oil), pumpkin seed oil has the potential to become a staple in every healthy kitchen cabinet. That’s because like avocado and olive oils, pumpkin seed oil is technically a fruit oil.

Studies like this one show that pumpkin seed oil can help lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Pumpkin oil is also beneficial for the skin, and it helps the body’s detoxification processes.

pumpkin seeds

Pumpkins:  Best Foods To Eat

So we’ve ruled out PSLs and, sorry to be a buzzkill—pumpkin pie. If you’re able to exert some willpower, limit yourself to three big bites of pumpkin pie and eat each bite very, very slowly. But if eating one bit is the equivalent of turning one cigarette into a pack-a-day habit, then do your best to just say no.

What, then, is the best pumpkin food to eat? Although as I’m writing this in mid-October, it’s still bikini weather in much of the West, any week now, the nights will be chilly. I look forward to breaking out the quilts and making hearty, warm, nutrient-dense pumpkin soup. I love adding some green onions and gluten-free croutons.

pumpkin spice latte

Make Your Own PSL

If you’re addicted to PSLs, seriously, you should stop. Did I not mention 50 grams of sugar. And to think that there are people who drink two of them a day. But a much healthier way to get your PSL fix is to make it at home yourself. Using a blender, buy some pumpkin spice and other spices. Pumpkin spice is itself healthy: pumpkin, clove, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg. I’m not a coffee drinker, but if I were, I’d also experiment with cardamom and turmeric, both of which are potent anti-inflammatory ingredients.

In a blender, place the coffee, spices and my recipe for creamy almond milk. Now simply replace the 50 grams of sugar with stevia, monk fruit extract, or yacon syrup, all three of which are natural and contain less than one gram of sugar per serving.

A Pumpkin Spice Latte that tastes amazing, is basically sugar-free and helps cut down on inflammation? Now that’s worth getting excited about—anytime of year.

Chef V

How To Read The Nutrition Facts Label & Why It Matters For Your Health

We all lead super busy lives. So when we go food shopping, who has time to scrutinize every single ingredient listed on every single nutrition facts label printed on every single item that we’re considering throwing in the shopping cart? Well, if you want to eat as clean as possible so that you can be as healthy as possible, learning how to read the nutrition facts label is critical. Thankfully, as a certified nutritional therapist, I’m here to break it down for you.

Food manufacturers are trying to pull a fast one on you. If you purchase any item that’s in a jar, can or box—with the exception of fresh produce—there’s a decent chance it contains the following:

  • Added sugars
  • High levels of net carbohydrates
  • High levels of sodium
  • Very low levels of beneficial minerals
  • Rancid vegetable oil or seed oil
  • Artificial preservatives

Now, I realize that we don’t live in a perfect world. And so if you’re buying one processed snacky thing like gluten-free pretzels and enjoying it in moderation, I’m not here to judge.

But, have you ever heard the expression, “Death by a thousand paper cuts”? The idea is that one little nick won’t hurt you. But 1000 painful paper cuts could lead to a nasty, fatal infection. This same principle applies to the world of nutrition. When you go food shopping, your goal should be to limit the number of nutritional paper cuts that you put in your shopping cart.

Added Sugars

The first place my eyes immediately go to when I’m purchasing an unfamiliar product is the nutrition facts label. Thankfully, a handful of years ago, our federal government (the FDA) finally did something about the over-consumption of added sugars in the Standard American Diet (SAD).

Let’s ignore the fact that the government itself is largely to blame for that because … well, remember those food pyramids? So what do you think will happen if you eat 6-11 servings per day of bread and other grains? But that’s for another topic…I digress.

Anyhoo, in 2016, the FDA issued rules that updated the nutrition facts label. The biggest update was added sugars. This was such a profound update because it’s shocking how many unsuspecting foods contain added sugars. We expect soda to contain added sugar but not salad dressing, bread, peanut butter and I could go on and on…

According to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, adult women should have no more than 24 grams of sugar per day and 36 grams for most men. That translates to 6 and 9 teaspoons of sugar, respectively. That’s still too much in my book. But again, that’s for another topic…

Now if you’re someone who doesn’t make a lot of meals from scratch and instead rely on packaged foods, the amount of added sugars in your diet can add up real fast. So that’s why I highly encourage you to read the nutrition facts and check out the number of grams of added sugars. If the label says 1 gram of added sugars, well, I can live with that.

But for metabolic health and weight loss, the goal should be close to zero grams of added sugars. Eventually, you’ll become familiar with the healthiest packaged foods at the markets where you shop. So you won’t need to spend as much time scanning the nutrition facts.

Watch out for added sugars in so-called “healthy” juice drinks. You might be surprised, and not pleasantly.

Veronica with high sugar bottles

Net Carbs

“Net Carbs” is NOT something you’ll see listed on the nutrition facts label. To put it simply, net carbs is the number of grams of total carbohydrates minus the number of grams of fiber (as well as sugar alcohol; but try to avoid sugar alcohol if you have gut issues).

Here’s an example:

Total Carbohydrates: 15 grams

Dietary Fiber: 5 grams

Net carbs = 10 grams

Both total carbohydrates and dietary fiber are listed on the nutrition facts label. If even doing some simple math sounds like a chore, then no worries, you don’t have to whip out your calculator. The important thing is to notice how many grams of total carbohydrates a particular food has. If it’s a very high amount, say, like 40 grams or higher, there should be a significant amount of fiber to offset the total carbs.

If there’s very little fiber, then the high amount of carbohydrates can quickly spike your blood sugar levels. Healthy grains like quinoa may have a high amount of carbohydrates but they also have a decent amount of fiber as well as protein.

nutrition label carbs

Fat

When it comes to dietary fat, I’m actually not particularly concerned with the amount of fat unless it’s insanely high, like 50 grams.

What matters more is the type of fat. The Mediterranean Diet continues to have a reputation of being perhaps the single healthiest type of diet on the planet not only because it calls for lots of fresh veggies. Another key component is heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that come from foods like olives, olive oil, avocado (and avo oil) and cold-water oily fish.

I’m also not too concerned about saturated fat although there are some people who need to be careful about their intake of it because their genetics puts them at greater risk for atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

The biggest issue with fat is where it comes from. The unhealthiest sources of fat come from vegetable oil and seed oils. Now I know that may sound counterintuitive because vegetables and seeds sound healthy. But the problem with these oils is that they are heavily refined and they spoil very easily. And how consuming these oils in large amounts may affect your health is that they may cause high inflammation in various parts of your body.

Heavily-processed, packaged foods are typically made with these poor oils that food manufacturers love to use because they are cheap. So if you see corn oil, soybean oil, canola oil or cottonseed oil, try to avoid it. When cooking at home, use avocado oil, walnut oil, ghee (clarified butter) or coconut oil. (Just be careful of the high amount of saturated fat in coconut oil if you have a family history of heart disease.)

healthy oils

Everything Else

Sodium

As for sodium, unless you’re on a sodium-restricted diet or have edema, I wouldn’t pay too much attention. If you buy bone broth or soup stock, it will likely have a lot of sodium. The problem with most high-sodium, packaged foods is that they lack vitamins and minerals. And when you consume too much sodium and not enough beneficial nutrients, it can throw off your electrolyte balance.

Cholesterol

Cholesterol used to be demonized by the mainstream medical establishment. Eating a diet high in cholesterol—mainly anything that’s made from an animal—was thought to be a sure ticket to developing heart disease.

But just in the last handful of years, many (but not all) health experts have changed their stance and no longer regard cholesterol as a nutrient of concern. Why after so many decades did the so-called experts change their mind? Well, the latest research studies cast big doubts about the link between cholesterol consumption and cardiovascular disease. So unless your doctor has advised you to curb your cholesterol consumption, don’t pay too much attention. Just make sure you’re eating clean, organic/wild humanely-raised animal products.

Vitamin D/Iron/Calcium/Potassium

These 4 nutrients are required on nutrition facts labels. Vitamin D is hard to get from food alone so you may want to consider getting it in supplement form, especially in the winter. Many people who eat a high-processed food diet are lacking in iron, calcium and potassium.

So the moral of the story is, if you’re eating lots of fresh produce or drinking low-sugar leafy greens, you don’t have to worry about diligently scrutinizing food labels. At the end of the day, you should be eating real food 90% of the time. The ingredients should be easy to pronounce (salad, fish, Green Drink, brown rice), mostly consisting of plants.

Veronica cooking

Chef V cooking at her Joshua Tree retreat in 2021

Monitoring Blood Sugar Levels: When Being Normal is Good

Monitoring your blood sugar? If you are pre-diabetic or suspect you are, monitoring your blood sugar levels is vital. But what levels should you shoot for and how do you test blood sugar? I explain and offer a few simple tips for helping keep blood sugar levels normal.

It’s so easy for someone like me, or anyone, really, to say, “avoid added sugars.” My Green Drink is one of the lowest sugar green drinks available. Check out the chart below and compare mine to the rest – the amount of sugar in the most popular “green juice” products is staggering.

You can think you are eating healthy and not realize your blood sugar is high. The only way to know for sure is to track it by using a meter.

Approximately 84 million American adults—more than 1 out of 3— have prediabetes, and more than 90% of people with prediabetes don’t know they have it. (Center for Disease Control)

Therefore, if you want to reduce your chance of becoming type 2 diabetes (or reversing it if you already have it), avoid high sugar foods and start monitoring your blood sugar levels.

prediabetes chart

What do the Numbers Mean?

However, if you monitor your blood sugar levels and just get a reading, that’s like weighing yourself on a scale. When you weigh yourself on a scale, what’s staring back at you? Just a number, right? The number on the scale doesn’t divulge how much of your weight is body fat or lean muscle or water weight. (Unless it’s a really good scale.) Sure, you can tell if your pants are feeling tighter. And if so, then, you’re probably storing body fat. Likewise, if you feel sluggish, moody or foggy brained, you might be able to conclude that you’re consuming too much sugar.

The name of the game in preventing full-blown type 2 diabetes is learning what foods (and drinks) will provide you with steady energy throughout the day. Food should make you feel energetic. But not hyper. And, of course, the reverse is true as well. After a meal, you shouldn’t feel like you need a nap.

Monitoring blood sugar levels: what’s a normal range?

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or just want to make sure you don’t develop diabetes, I recommend frequently monitoring your blood sugar levels. But first, you need to know what normal blood glucose levels are.

Now here’s the thing about normal blood sugar levels…. You’ll often come across two different charts. One will be blood sugar levels for people who don’t have diabetes. The other will be for people with type 2 diabetes. (I will be focusing this post on those with type 2 diabetes. Obviously for those with type 1 diabetes, like Whitney (her photo is below) the focus is also on preventing blood sugar levels from precariously dipping too low.)

If you have type 2 diabetes, I want you to shoot for normal blood sugar levels. But not for someone with diabetes. Rather, I want you to shoot for normal blood sugar levels for someone without diabetes. That’s because when you’re able to get your blood glucose levels down to normal levels, you’ll likely avoid any complications caused by systemic inflammation (nerve pain, for example).

With simple lifestyle changes, it’ll totally be doable. And I’ll share some simple tips with you shortly.

But first, let’s review what normal blood sugar levels are. Actually, even before doing that, you should know that you’ll want to monitor your blood sugar more than once per day.

Whitney, diabetes monitor

Test Throughout the Day

By testing your blood sugar levels throughout the day, you will learn your body’s response to sugar. Blood sugar levels fluctuate throughout the day, in different ways for different people. Obviously, they can go up after eating. Blood glucose (the term “glucose” is interchangeable with “blood sugar”) can also lower after you exercise. Because of this, it’s a good idea to test your blood sugar levels after you take a walk after eating. That’s because you’ll get validation about how easy and simple it is to normalize your blood glucose. Just a 10-minute walk is all it takes!

Monitoring blood sugar levels: shoot for normal

As I say above, try to get your blood sugar levels down to that of someone without diabetes or pre-diabetes. According to this diabetes management website, your blood sugar level when you wake up before eating should be under 100 mg/dl. And before meals, normal levels are 70-99 mg/dl.

You’ll want to take your blood sugar levels two hours after a meal. And when you do test after a meal, blood glucose should be under 140 mg/dl.

Guidelines from the American Diabetes Association state that for those with type 2 diabetes, blood sugar 1-2 hours after a meal should be under 180 mg/dl (and from 80-130 mg/dl) before meals. But, again, to hammer the point home, I think if you have type 2 diabetes and are serious about reversing your condition, shoot for levels for normal blood sugar levels.

Over time, you’ll remember these numeric guidelines as easily as your own phone number. But if you’re new to monitoring blood sugar levels, make a note on your smartphone or use an app.

Another blood sugar range you should memorize is your A1c level. Your A1c level is more like a snapshot of your blood sugar levels over the last couple months. It’s more a longer-term overall picture of what your levels are. It’s a good idea to monitor both your everyday levels before and after meals, as well as your A1c level. But you don’t have to test A1c every day. Once a month is sufficient. Shoot for an A1c level of less than 7%.

comparing sugars in Green Drink and other juices

Monitoring blood sugar levels: Chef V’s easy tips for lowering blood sugar

Want to lower your blood sugar levels? I realize sometimes it’s really hard to make lifestyle changes. But I truly believe these following tricks to manage diabetes can produce noticeable results in a short time.

#1: After you wake up and monitor your blood sugar, drink 8-16 oz. of pure water. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice into the water.

#2: About a half hour after drinking water in the morning, have 16 oz. of Organic Green Drink. The seven green, leafy veggies in Green Drink are clinically proven to increase insulin sensitivity.

#3: Always have my Easy Trail Mix with Goji Berries with you. Whether at home, at school, at the office or in the car, if you feel hunger, tame it with my recipe. My version of trail mix has low-glycemic, delicious berries that are good for you and won’t spike your blood sugar.

#4: Eat healthy fats! I’m shocked how many people still think that eating dietary fat will make you fat. On the contrary, it’s sugar and starchy carbs that make you fat. Furthermore, dietary fat can help you actually burn body fat. So eat a moderate amount of nuts, avocado, wild salmon, olives and olive oil. These fats will also help you feel full so you won’t be tempted by sugary snacks.

#5: Take probiotics. You need more good bacteria in your gut to help fight yeast overgrowth and other harmful bacteria in your belly. When you have too much yeast or bad bacteria, you crave more sugary foods. That’s because the yeast like to feast on sugar. And when the yeast fungus is hungry, they send a signal to your brain for more sugar.

Monitoring Blood Sugar Levels: Keep your eye on the prize!

I’ll be offering more tips that hopefully you’ll find helpful in the near future. Until then, start monitoring blood sugar levels at least a few times a day. And shoot for normal, normal. Not diabetes, normal. Good luck! I know you can do it. With just a few weeks of constant monitoring and a daily Green Drink, you’ll likely see positive results!

Veronica drinking green drink in urban setting

Avoiding Added Sugars: What to eat

leaky gut

Added Sugars: the Maximum Amount Of Sugar You Should Be Eating Every Day

Stop reading this right now and go to your pantry. I want you to grab any product that has a Nutrition Facts label. After you’ve done that, come back to this article. I’ll be waiting to help you get healthier…

Got it? OK. Now, take a look at “added sugars” in the Nutrition Facts. Last year, the FDA required that all food manufacturing companies with sales of over $10 million list “added sugars” in the Nutrition Facts label. Smaller companies had to start complying with the new rule at the beginning of this year.

To make healthier choices for yourself (and your family) I want you to really start paying attention to added sugars on the nutrition facts label. One of the reasons why the FDA wanted “added sugars” added to Nutrition Facts is because there are dozens of nicknames for sugar. Unless an ingredient says “cane sugar” it can be very easy for consumers to overlook added sugars. Dextrose, maltodextrin, molasses, dextrin, agave, evaporated cane juice … These are just a few of the 56 secret sugars food manufacturers use to artificially sweeten food.

As a certified nutritional therapist, I’m glad that added sugars is finally on nutrition labels; it’s long overdue considering the pervasiveness of obesity and diabetes. But there’s a misleading problem with added sugars. Next to the amount of grams of added sugars is listed the percentage of daily value of added sugars.

added sugars

Percentage of Added Sugars In The Diet Should Be…

And while that may seem like a good thing to know, I consider this very misleading. That’s because if you’re trying to manage weight, blood sugar and inflammation, the percentage of added sugars you should have is ZERO!!!

If you’re eating real food then you’re consuming no added sugars. I understand that we’re only human. So if you want to sweeten your coffee or tea with a packet of low-glycemic coconut sugar, which is an added sugar, I can live with that. But when it comes to buying peanut butter, salad dressing, condiments, bread and the dozens of other foods and drinks that you purchase from the supermarket, make sure that the added sugars are as close to zero as possible. Because if you watch out for added sugars, your sugar intake is going to decrease and you'll be healthier.

leaky gut

Winning by Eliminating Added Sugars

I’m sure I’ve written about high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) before so excuse me if I’m repeating myself. But it’s totally worth hammering in your brain how dangerous artificial sweeteners like HFCS are. In a nutshell, what HFCS and synthetic sugars like aspartame and sucralose do is block your brain’s ability to get the message from your stomach that you’ve had enough to eat.

Also, eating lots of fructose causes the proliferation of compounds in the body known as advanced glycation end products. These products have a very appropriate acronym: AGE. AGE-products accelerate the ageing process in the body.

It used to be that only alcoholics developed fatty liver disease. But now, because of the pervasiveness of fructose in the food supply, the rates of fatty liver disease in non-alcoholics is soaring.

It’s important to mention that I’m not talking about fructose from whole fruit. I’m talking about the cheap, synthetic artificial sweetener.

To me, it’s a little insane that the American Heart Association recommends a daily limit of 6 teaspoons a day of added sugars for women and 9 teaspoons for men. Considering that high sugar intake leads to heart disease, you would think that the AHA would simply advise keeping added sugar intake to as close to zero as possible. You can feel better every day, just by watching out for those sneaky added sugars.

nutrition facts label

IMAGE ABOVE COURTESY US FDA

How Much Sugar Should I Have?

Hopefully, the next time the FDA revises the Nutrition Facts label, it will make it easy for consumers to know the maximum amount of sugar—keyword: natural sugars—they should eat in one day. Let’s do away with percentages because ain’t nobody got time to do the math when we’re in a rush.

So, FDA commissioner, in case you’re reading this, let’s prominently place the number of maximum grams of sugar per day that should be consumed.

And that amount is…

Well, in the past, the World Health Organization used to say that no more than 10% of your daily calories should come from sugar. Then the WHO realized that that recommendation was ridiculous, so they lowered it down to 5%.

The average American consumes roughly 80 grams of sugar a day. Keep in mind that’s average. There are certainly many Americans eating twice that amount. I realize that everybody is different biochemically and some people exercise more than others. But if you had to put a number on it, what is the max amount of sugar you should have?

For most healthy people, I would recommend 40 grams of sugar from whole food sources such as fruits and vegetables. And you will thrive.

Daily Sugar Intake For People With Diabetes

If you have type 2 diabetes, you should probably limit your intake of total sugars to 20 grams per day.

Also crazy if you ask me is that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with diabetes should aim to get about half of their calories from carbs. That means if you eat 2,000 calories a day, 1,000 can come from carbs? What does the CDC think carbs convert into … magical unicorn fairy dust? Carbs convert into sugar. How can consuming half of your calories from carbs be considered smart blood sugar management? (It’s a rhetorical question; it’s not smart.)

In order to manage your diabetes, or even send it into remission, I recommend really upping your intake of natural, healthy fats like avocado, nuts, seeds, salmon, organic dairy, olives, olive oil, etc…

If you have type 2 diabetes, ignore the recommendation to eat a low-fat diet. Eating fat helps stabilize blood sugars and keeps you full, and prevents cravings for empty-calorie, blood-sugar spiking foods. “Fat” foods are not your friends, they are your metabolic friends!

The Leading Source Of Added Sugars

Beverages are the biggest offenders, accounting for nearly half of all added sugars. Obviously, soda is a big culprit. But what many people still don’t realize is how much sugar is contained in so-called “healthy juices.” You can drink healthier by checking the labels and making educated choices.

The big brand-name label juice companies that have been gobbled up by giant food conglomerates add a huge amount of sugar to their juices. And some of these juices at first glance appear healthy. They look green, loaded with green leafy vegetables. But if you take a look at the amount of sugar in the bottle, you’ll be floored.

I’m not one to name names, so I won’t throw the competition under the bus—even though they kind of deserve it because they are misleading people into thinking they are buying a healthy product when in fact it’s harming it.

Most store-bought juices contain 25, 30, 35 or even up to 50 grams of sugar per 16 oz. container!

Low-Sugar Nutrient-Dense Green Drink

If you’re looking for the healthiest juice possible, look no further than cold-blended Organic Green Drink with 7 leafy greens and only 6 grams of naturally-occurring sugar per 16 oz bottle.

2 Easy Hacks for Lowering Blood Sugar Levels

walking for diabetes

Living with diabetes isn’t a life sentence. In fact, it is possible to reverse diabetes. Sure, it’s going to take a lifestyle adjustment, including getting regular exercise and diet modification. But with these 2 easy hacks, you’ll be on your way to managing your diabetes.

Hack #1: take a walk

A simple way to have your blood sugar return to normal after a meal is by taking a walk. It doesn’t have to be a super vigorous hike, but getting enough exercise is important for managing diabetes and this is especially true if you’re sedentary for most of the day.

Even more important than the advice to exercise is learning when to exercise. And if you only have time (or the motivation) to move your body once per day, research strongly suggests you should do it after dinner.

Most people eat their heaviest meal at night. And the biggest spike in blood sugar occurs after eating a large meal, especially if it contains lots of carbohydrates that have the potential of converting into sugar. (Think: pasta, bread, rice and other starchy carbohydrates.) Walking after a heavy meal is a proven way to improve blood sugar levels.

Consider this study from New Zealand. Two groups of people, most of whom had type II diabetes for 10 years, were compared. One group walked for 30 minutes a day for two weeks. The other group went for a 10-minute walk after each main meal. The results: blood sugar levels were significantly lower when participants walked after meals compared with the group who only went for one walk a day.

Meanwhile a different study compares exercising before a meal and after. The group with the lower blood sugar levels exercised after their meal, not before. This supports the first study that it’s vital to move around after eating a meal.

Hacks 1.1 and 1.2: When weather is bad, Use an App and watch lots of TV (while moving)

Hack 1.1 within this hack is to either set a timer or use an app to alert you to move and remind you to be more active. It’s important to emphasize that you just need to go for a walk. Not a power walk. And not a steep hike, or a jog. Or, God forbid, wind sprints. Just a casual stroll after each meal is all it takes to lower blood sugar. The problem with this solution of post-meal walks is that many of us are so busy that we often forget to go for a walk. The gravitational pull of the couch is so strong when you’re tired at the end of a long day. All you want to do is binge watch your favorite Netflix show.

Hack 1.2 is to beat the weather with a treadmill, or just walking in place.  Weather can prevent some people from walking after a meal. If it’s -30 degrees outside, the last thing you’re going to want to do is go outside. The easy hack: walk in place while you watch TV.  If you can make it a habit to just walk in place (or if you have a treadmill at home) while you watch TV, before you know it, you’ll have walked 30 minutes or even an hour. And you don’t need to be drenched in sweat to reap the benefits of a post-meal walk.

To reiterate, just move. Walk at a comfortable but not laborious clip. That’s all it takes to normalize your blood sugar level after a meal.

(Suggested reading: “Blunting post-meal glucose surges in people with diabetes”) 

medical cannabis

Hack #2: Eat Healthy Cereal – Easy Way to Lower Blood Sugar

Breakfast cereal is one of the most popular meals in the morning for people who need to quickly wolf something down before school or work. But most breakfast cereals are loaded with heavily processed grains (which are carbohydrates.) In fact, using as an example, Kellogg’s Raisin Bran, just one cup (and who eats just one cup?) contains almost 50 grams of carbs. That means if you pour yourself a big bowl of cereal in the morning, and add some banana slices you’ll start your day with over 100 grams of carbs. And that’s not even counting the sugar from milk.

It’s no wonder that many people by 10:30 or 11 in the morning need their third cup of coffee just to stay awake and be productive until it’s time for lunch. That’s because high carb breakfasts such as cereal and bagels, toast, muffins, danishes, donuts, etc. contain too many quick-burning carbs. These carbs quickly spike blood sugar levels. And what quickly goes up must come crashing back to Earth. It’s these blood-sugar fluctuations that produce mood swings, not to mention chronic metabolic disorders such as type II diabetes.

So what’s a cereal lover to do? You can’t paint stripes on a donkey and call it a tiger. Telling someone to stop eating cereal who has been eating it for decades may not be the best coaching advice. Instead, try Chef V’s Recipe for Healthy Cereal.

We’ll be offering more easy blood sugar lowering hacks and recipes in the future. But for now, enjoy a bowl of this yummy low-carb cereal. The recipe comes from the cookbook, Making Cleansing Easier by Chef V, aka Veronica Wheat Kress, the first entrepreneur to offer nationwide overnight delivery of 100% certified organic, cold-blended Green Drinks.

Healthy Cereal Recipe With Chef V’s Raw Almond Milk

Healthy Cereal

  • ½ cup Chef V’s Raw Almond Milk – recipe below – or use coconut milk
  • ¼ cup crushed raw almonds
  • ¼ cup crushed raw walnuts
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut

Instructions

To make the cereal, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and serve.
 
Chef V's Raw Almond Milk
  • 3 cups raw almonds
  • 3 cups filtered water
  • High power blender (I prefer Vitamix)
  • Nut Milk Bag or Cheesecloth

Instructions

To make the almond milk, process 3 cups of raw almonds and 3 cups filtered water in a Vitamix until liquefied. Strain through a cheesecloth into a mason jar and seal. Will keep for up to 3-5 days refrigerated.

Pumpkin Smoothie

This smoothie tastes rich and decadent – but it is vegan and gluten free as well. I use raw cashews and my own Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend to make this a healthy, delicious treat that won’t make you bloated. – Veronica

pumpkin pie smoothie

Ingredients

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a Vitamix or blender. Blend on high speed until smooth. Serve in glasses with a straw or a spoon. – Veronica

Coconut Sugar: Is It Healthier Sweet Stuff?

Coconut Sugar

Coconut Sugar?  What do you get when you cross my 7-year-old, four-legged furry kid with sweetener? 

You get my very own sweet sugar baby – my dog Coconut!

Sorry for being corny—again. 

But in all seriousness, one of the most common questions I get asked as a certified nutritional therapist and creator of The Chef V Organic Cleanse is this: Is coconut sugar healthier than regular sugar?

Let’s dive in and find out what the research says…

Coconut Sugar: Is It Healthier Sweet Stuff?

What Is It?

Actually, before we follow the science on coconut sugar, let’s cover some basic facts on the natural alternative sweetener. 

It does not come from the meaty white flesh of the nuts. It’s also not produced from the husky shell. And it’s not made from the liquid within the nut (coconut water). 

So what is it made from? It’s made by dehydrating the sap contained in the flower bud of the stem of coconut palm trees. You could say that the sap is the circulating life force or the blood of the tree. And just like the blood circulating through your veins contains minerals and trace minerals that are vital for energy, coconut sap is rich in minerals. But we’ll get to that in a bit…

Coconut blossom sugar, is all-natural. Although it comes from the coconut palm tree, do not confuse it with palm sugar. Regular palm sugar is sourced from a different type of tree than coconut sugar. 

True coconut sugar resembles granulated raw brown sugar. And if you’re an animal lover or vegan, there’s one big plus about using it instead of regular table sugar. 

According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), table sugar is sometimes whitened with bone char. What’s bone char, you ask? It’s charred cattle bones. Think about that next time you sweeten your coffee at your favorite diner. And according to PETA, brown sugar can also be processed with bone char. Brown sugar, which is not healthier than table sugar (it’s just as refined) is colored with molasses, so don’t get fooled by regular brown sugar. 

But coconut sweetener is a healthier brown sugar that is not refined and therefore does not get processed with bone char.

coconut plant

Benefits

I found an interesting study published in Food Science & Nutrition, co-authored by researchers from Malaysia, a country thought to be the first to commercialize it for the U.S. market. 

The researchers concluded “Coconut sap could be served as a potential healthier sugar source compared with sugar palm and sugarcane as it carries more minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins.”

Another reason the researchers think it is a healthier alternative to refined sugar is that it has a lower glycemic index. The GI ranks the rise in blood glucose after the consumption of carbohydrates on a scale from 0–100.  A food with low GI raises blood glucose less than that of the food with high GI. 

Coconut sugar’s GI ranks about 35, which is only 10 points higher than fructose from whole fruits. In comparison, refined sugar has a GI that’s almost twice as high as coconut sugar. 

For this reason, the researchers suggest that coconut palm nectar (another way to say coconut sugar) can be part of the solution in curtailing the diabetes and obesity epidemic. 

Vitamins & Minerals

The researchers detected vitamin C, B1, B3, B4, B2, and B10 in samples. Of those, vitamin C, B3, B4, B2, and B10 in coconut nectar were significantly higher than in table sugar. In addition, coconut sugar contained higher levels of three important electrolytes: potassium, sodium and magnesium. Many Americans are deficient in magnesium, a mineral that’s important for helping to relax muscles. 

By the way, you can also get the benefits of these minerals from coconut water, which is why I use both coconut sugar and coconut water in several of my recipes. 

And in comparison to regular sugar, coconut nectar is relatively high in other minerals such as zinc, calcium and iron. 

Coconut Water

For Gut Health?

Another reason to swap regular table sugar for coconut is that it contains a type of fiber called inulin. This special fiber acts like fertilizer for a type of friendly bacteria in your gut called bifidobacteria, which is a common live culture added to yogurt. 

Inulin is considered a post-biotic fiber. Postbiotics are the healthy short-chain fatty acids released by probiotics. Probiotics are essential for a healthy gut and immune system, but it’s actually the postbiotics that make the magic happen!

Is It Healthier: Chef V’s Verdict

Now don’t get me wrong … even though I think it is healthier than regular table sugar, I don’t rely on it to get my daily dose of essential minerals and trace minerals. The dark leafy greens in Organic Green Drink provide me with an excellent low-sugar source of minerals without spiking my blood sugar. 

If you have type 2 diabetes, don’t get fooled into thinking that it is a miracle sweetener. It may have a lower glycemic index than regular sugar but that doesn’t mean it gives you a free pass to go crazy with it. 

So don’t use it as a multivitamin, antioxidant supplement or probiotic. Instead, just like all other sweeteners, use it sparingly. But when I do use the sweet stuff, I reach for COCONUT and a little coconut sugar. 

Veronica and Coconut

Warm Pumpkin Salad

This is a delicious fall treat for those first cool days that signal the end of summer. It’s very filling and makes you feel full even though it’s a salad. It’s also very healthy and vegan. – Veronica

pumpkin quinoa salad

Serving Size: 2-4 people

Ingredients

Warm Pumpkin Salad

  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup diced sweet or yellow onion
  • 1 small pie pumpkin, skinned, seeded and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups wild greens (arugula, spinach, or mixed lettuces)
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds

Directions

Warm the pumpkin: In a large non-stick pan, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and pumpkin. (The smaller the pumpkin is diced the more quickly it will cook.) Sauté the pumpkin and onions over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the squash is soft. Do not burn the pumpkin or onions.

Add the garlic, nutmeg and thyme, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer the pumpkin to a bowl and stir in the cooked quinoa. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cool mixture in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

To serve, mix the dressing ingredients and drizzle over greens. Top with cooled pumpkin mix and garnish with pomegranate seeds. Serves 2-4.

Spicy Golden Pumpkin Hummus

This treat is so yummy you can eat it with gluten free crackers, veggies, on a veggie sandwich. For a party or everyday, I know you’ll enjoy it. – Veronica

sweet watermelon crunch salad

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups Chef V’s Organic Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/4 cup organic lime juice
  • 1/4 cup organic tahini
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp organic sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp cold pressed olive oil

Directions

Blend all ingredients together in a Vitamix or food processor. Slowly add the olive oil while blending low. Continue to blend until smooth. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving and serve cold. Bon Appetit! – Veronica

Creamy Curry Pumpkin Soup

The only thing more comforting than a bowl of soup is a bowl of homemade soup that is both vegan and gluten-free. There’s something special about cooking comforting meals like this during the Fall that will warm you up and have your kitchen smelling festive.

Cozy up with someone you love and enjoy this delicious pumpkin soup on a cool fall night! – Veronica

vegan ambrosia salad

TOTAL: 1 hour

Prep Time: 30 Min
Cook time: 30 Min

Serving Size:2

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • ½ cup organic Crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 ½ tbsp. gluten-free flour (we like Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 3 cups organic vegetable broth
  • 2 cups Chef V’s Organic Pumpkin Puree (see recipe HERE)
  • ½ cup of canned coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp organic sea salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper

Directions

Bring oil to medium high heat and saute onion and mushrooms for 3 minutes or until onions are translucent.

Add garlic, curry powder and gluten-free flour to the pan to continue to cook for one more minute.

Slowly add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil.

Cook and stir for a couple of minutes until the soup starts to thicken.

Add the pumpkin puree, coconut milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Continue to stir and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Blend small batches of soup in a Vitamix or blender to a get a smooth texture and serve hot.

Organic Pumpkin Purée

Making your own pumpkin purée means you get a fresher, more flavorful product, and you know where the pumpkin can from – and that it was grown organically. Use this recipe in my Creamy Pumpkin Curry Soup.

pumpkin puree

TOTAL: 1 hour

Prep Time: 10 Min
Cook time: 45 Min

Ingredients

  • 1 pumpkin

Directions

It’s so easy to make your own pumpkin purée. Just cut the top off any pumpkin, cut into 4 quarters and remove all the seeds and guts. Place in the oven for 45 minutes at 350 F (do not use oil). Remove from the oven and peel off the pumpkin skin.

Place your pumpkin in Vitamix or blender and puree. Use this purée for my recipes or any recipe that calls for canned pumpkin puree. The difference is AMAZING! You can store in the refrigerator or freezer for later use.

Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend

This pumpkin pie spice blend recipe is easy to make on your own, especially if you have a lot of spices in your cupboard. The recipe below is much better but you can always buy this one pre-made too.

  • 2 1/2 tbsp ground organic cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp ground organic ginger
  • 2 tsp ground organic nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground organic cloves

DIRECTIONS
Mix spices together and use for your pumpkin pie recipes this year.

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!

DOWNLOAD RECIPES PDF

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.

Chef V’s BBQ Salmon

Get outside for the last enjoyable parts of summer!  Chef V founder Veronica Wheat created this BBQ salmon recipe as the main course of a special outdoor meal for her husband Brandon.

BBQ salmon

Serving Size: 2 People

Ingredients

  • 2 salmon fillets (6 oz.)
    (skin on preferred)

Marinade

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp organic honey
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Directions

Marinate the salmon in the sauce for 30 minutes on the counter. Then, slap the non-skin side down on a bbq grill heated to 375 degrees.

Cook for 3-5 minutes and flip to the skin side with a large spatula. Cook an additional 3-5 minutes depending on the thickness of the salmon and how much you like it done. I personally like it medium rare and under cooked. I can’t stand dry over done salmon. You can always add it back to the grill if need be, but not the reverse.

Serve with a salad, rice, sweet potatoes, or any side you desire.

Grilled Mango Salad

My Grilled Mango Salad is perfect for a hot summer day. It combines the hearty flavor of black beans with the luscious richness of mangoes and avocado, all in a healthy salad, perfect before or after a Chef V Cleanse.

Chef V’s tip: Add grilled chicken or fish for more protein!   – Veronica

grilled mango salad

Serving Size: 4 People

Ingredients

  • 1 to 2 mangos, peeled and cut into thick slices
  • 4 cups mixed greens (use your fav!)
  • 1/2 cup red onion
  • 1 cup cooked and cooled or 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup Chef V’s Cilantro Lime Dressing

Directions

Preheat a grill or grill pan on a stove over medium-high heat. Place the mango sliced on the grill rack or pan and cook for 1 minute, or until grill marks appear. Transfer to a cutting board and cut the grilled mango into smaller chunks.

Plate the greens and top with grilled mango, red onion, and black beans. Drizzle with dressing and serve.

Grilled Artichokes with Two Sauces

Grilled artichokes, precooked and finished at the picnic. They’ll love these on the barbecue. Serve with my two vegan sauces:  Raw Horseradish Mayonnaise, and  Vegan Herb Aioli.

grilled artichokes

Serving Size: 2 People

Ingredients

  • 6 cups filtered water
  • 1 large fresh artichoke
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

Bring the 6 cups of water to a boil in a stockpot.

Trim the thorns from the artichoke leaves with scissors. Cut the artichoke in half vertically and remove the fuzzy center. To the boiling water, added the artichoke, garlic, and onion. Boil, covered, for 45 minutes – one hour, or until the leaves pull out easily. Transfer the artichoke halves to a paper towel cut side down or drain the water.

Heat a grill or grill pan. Place the artichokes cut side down on the hot grill or grill pan and char for 2 to 3 minutes, until you get good grill marks. This will add a nice smokiness. Plate the artichoke halves cut side up. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice and vinegar, drizzle over the artichoke, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, and serve with Vegan Herb Aioli or Raw Horseradish Mayo.

Top Five Ways to Use Green Drink – Perfect Morning Detox

Top 5 Ways to Use Green Drink

Now that your Green Drink has arrived, what do you do with it? Here are the top five ways to use Green Drink.

Should you chug the whole thing in one sitting like you’re at a frat party? Or do you daintily sip it like Mary Poppins drinking a cuppa tea? Whether you chug or sip is totally up to you. More important is learning how to incorporate Green Drink into your everyday routine.

top 5 ways to use Green Drink #1

Top 5 ways to use Green Drink #1: Perfect Morning Detox

When you wake up in the morning, it’s the perfect opportunity to gently detox your liver. So here’s how to do it. After you wake up in the morning, drink at least 8 ounces of water. Optional: add a lemon wedge or some lemon juice. (Lemon juice helps assist the detox process.)

But don’t have your Green Drink just yet. Wait for about half an hour. Give your liver some time to do its purification thing. This is the one time of the day when your liver won’t have to process anything you’ve eaten.

OK, now it’s time to have some Green Drink. Drink at least 16-24 oz. in the morning. The 7 certified organic green veggies will quickly fuel your cells with the nutrients they need for energy and metabolism.

If you’re going to eat solid food in the morning, try to wait half an hour after consuming Green Drink. Again, this is the time of day when you want to give your liver the best chance to flush out trapped toxins.

Many people make the mistake of eating in the morning, before drinking water and Green Drink. When you eat food, your liver doesn’t get a chance to rest and detox. In fact, not eating breakfast is another way you can use Green Drink, which leads us to the next way to use it….

Top 5 ways to use Green Drink #2

Top 5 ways #2: Wait Until You’re Hungry

I actually wait until I FEEL hungry before having my first serving of daily Green Drink. It’s amazing … after two 8-ounce servings, my hunger instantly vanishes. And then, I’ll actually wait a little longer before I eat my first solid meal of the day.

If you want to accelerate your weight loss, do this before every meal. Wait until you’re hungry, then have some Green Drink. If you want to make your Green Drink last longer, you can do 8 oz. in the morning and then 4 oz. before both lunch and dinner.

top 5 ways to use Green Drink #3

Top 5 ways #3: Drink it All Day 

A Green Drink customer owns a yoga studio right down the street from where our East Coast Chef V Cafe is located. (If you’re ever in West Caldwell, NJ, stop by and say hi!). From time to time, random people will come into our cafe and say, “We saw this woman in great shape with your drink. She told us she gets a big jug of Green Drink in the morning and sips on it all day until dinner.”

Now, you don’t have to just eat one meal a day. But if you want to lose some weight quick, say, for a wedding, having Green Drink for breakfast and lunch (or breakfast and dinner) is an awesome way to shed the pounds, fast.

Intermittent Fasting

Top 5 ways #4: Intermittent Fasting

You’ve probably heard of intermittent fasting because it’s become very popular. My husband, Brandon, and I have actually been doing intermittent fasting long before it became a health trend. We feel great doing it. It’s not a diet, it’s more of a lifestyle!

In case you’re not familiar with it, here’s the skinny: When you go several hours between dinner and your first meal the following day without eating, your body burns its reserves of fat for energy, instead of sugar. Brandon and I usually fast for 16 hours.

Not only will fasting 16 hours help you get leaner, it offers other health benefits such as improved focus and concentration. Studies suggest it might even lengthen your life. But you don’t have to fast for 16 hours at first.

For the first week, try 12 hours. Push it to 14 hours the following week and then 16 if you’re feeling great. Sixteen hours has shown the most benefit. But even if you just fast for 12-14 hours, you’ll likely experience positive results. 

The most important thing is when you break your fast, break it with 16-24 oz of Green Drink. My body is so used to fasting that I’m never hungry in the morning. Come to think of it, that’s another way I use Green Drink….

For my complete Green Drink Intermittent Fasting Guide click here

smoothie

Top 5 ways #5: Make It Into A Smoothie

To make a smoothie: Add ½ cup ice and ½ cup unsweetened almond milk.

For Green Drink smoothie recipe ideas, I’ve included this handy download for you.

Despite Its Buzz, Are Doctors On Board With Intermittent Fasting?

clock on plate

We're all down with the Intermittent Fasting trend here at Chef V. My husband, Brandon, looks totally chiseled because of it. Several of our Customer Relations Specialists have lost lots of weight following it. And their cravings for sugary snacks have diminished like their waistlines because of following a time-restricted diet plan. And me? Well, I've been doing Intermittent Fasting before it was even recognized as a health trend. I credit it greatly for the reason why I wake up buzzing with energy.

But even though us Chef V peeps have had success with it, I wanted to see what the mainstream medical community thinks about Intermittent Fasting. After all, anybody can have short-term success when they modify how–and when–they eat. But that weight can quickly come back on and then some. And more than that, certain diets can have unintended consequences. Remember when low-fat diets were all the rage? People started eating tons of carbs instead, which has greatly contributed to the obesity and diabetes epidemic.

So, are doctors on board with Intermittent Fasting?

Health Experts See Great Promise In Intermittent Fasting

I don't need a doctor to tell me that Intermittent Fasting works for weight loss. I've seen it with my own eyes. I've even read an incredible story in People about a physician who lost 125 pounds because of time-restricted feeding.

But beyond incredible weight loss success stories, I was really interested in finding out about the effects of time-restricted feeding on heart health. After all, many people who struggle with their weight also have other chronic health problems such as high blood pressure and type-2 diabetes.

I was happy to discover that Monique Tello, a medical doctor, who is a contributing editor with Harvard Health Publishing, is all in favor of Intermittent Fasting. She says, “[Intermittent] fasting, when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle, can be a particularly effective approach … for people at risk for diabetes.”

Dr. Tello was also impressed by a University of Alabama study, which concluded that after five weeks, the Intermittent Fasting group had dramatically lower insulin levels and significantly improved insulin sensitivity. The test group also had significantly lower blood pressure. Not only that, the group also had significantly decreased appetite.

Intermittent Fasting: It's Good For Your Heart (And May Prevent Cancer)

Fasting for short periods of time isn't just good for your belly. It's also good for your heart. According to a web article on the highly-regarded academic medical center, Cleveland Clinic, temporary fasting can help lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, control diabetes and reduce weight.

These four health markers constitute the greatest risk for developing heart disease.

Cleveland Clinic even acknowledges that some studies also show that “fasting may help prevent cancer or increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatment.”

The good news about Intermittent Fasting keeps rolling in. Consider this article in the New York Times, which says that more studies are showing that eating late at night and snacking during the day is a major culprit of weight gain and metabolic dysfunction. The recipe to break this cycle: time-restricted feeding.

The NYT article references a study of prediabetic men. The men who ate only during a six-hour window had lower insulin, reduced levels of oxidative stress, less nighttime hunger and significantly lower blood pressure.

Doctors Warnings About Intermittent Fasting

Just like everything else in life, there are pros and cons about doing intermittent fasting. From a health perspective, some doctors and researchers are warning people about temporary fasting. The reason? Not eating for, say, 16 hours (which is how long I recommend not having calories), can deplete your cells of electrolytes. Electrolytes are like spark plugs for your cell; they ignite cellular energy.

That's why I recommend having a non-caloric electrolyte drink before you go to bed and when you wake up. A simple way to get electrolytes without breaking the fast is adding a teaspoon of Himalayan sea salt to a glass of water. Or buy some cream of tartar. (Cream of tartar tastes nothing like tartar sauce. In fact, it's often used in baking.)

Another thing you should keep in mind about intermittent fasting is that you shouldn't pig out when you break the fast.

“You don’t want to shock the system,” Dr. Haitham Ahmed tells the Cleveland Clinic. Ahmed recommends breaking the fast by snacking on a few dates or other dried fruit. Then take a break, he says, and then eat fruit and other light foods at first.

I both agree and disagree with Dr. Ahmed. I agree that you shouldn't eat a huge meal when you break your fast. But eating dates and then more fruit after that? I strongly disagree. Just eating a few dates contains 25 grams of sugar. And eating more fruit? That's going to add more sugar to your system. Sure, natural fruit sugar is better than added sugars in junk like soda, but isn't the name of the game when it comes to weight loss and other positive health outcomes curbing sugar intake?

That's why I recommend breaking your fast each morning with 16 oz of Organic Green Drink, which contains 7 leafy green vegetables, and a wee bit of organic apple and apple juice to sweeten things up. Containing only 3 grams of sugar per 8 oz., Green Drink is a great way to start your day and get your daily dose of disease-fighting antioxidants.

After having Green Drink, you can eat a sensible breakfast (example: an egg or two with low-carb/high-fiber bread and a slice of turkey bacon and a serving of fruit).

I'm sure most doctors would get on board with my recommendation to combine Green Drink with Intermittent Fasting.

Chef V

Consumer Reports on Green Juice: Chef V Excels

Consumer Reports on Green Drink

What's the healthiest green drink? According to an article on Consumer Reports, some of the most popular brands fail to meet their strict criteria for what constitutes a healthy green juice. And according to what Consumer Reports says, my recipe has all the  features they regard as healthy, and none of the unhealthy. My Green Drink passes with flying (green) colors! 

Recently, the hugely influential consumer advocacy research entity, Consumer Reports, investigated the health claims of leading brands of green juices. Although Chef V wasn’t specifically mentioned, I want to show you how my recipe stacks up against the most popular green juices. Does my Green Drink meet the stringent criteria of what Consumer Reports considers a healthy green juice? Actually, scratch that. We don’t merely want to meet the criteria. We want to blow it out of the water…. And we do.

The report paints a picture of the green drink health craze. What was once a niche product not even a decade ago is now a mainstream product. But as Consumer Reports cautions, not all green juices are good for you.

The Consumer Reports says you should check for sugar, a high veggie to fruit ratio, fiber, and level of sodium when purchasing a bottle of green juice. And we meet or excel in all of them! Just check out the calorie and sugar comparison chart below!

Green Drink Comparison

Healthiest Green Drink: watch out for sugar

We’re not into naming names and pointing fingers when it comes to our competition. But Consumer Reports does. So we’ll let them do the dirty work. And the first brand that Consumer Reports mentions is Naked Juice. Naked Juice is owned by PepsiCo. You don’t need to have a Ph.D. in nutrition to know that consuming lots of sugar is bad for you. However, Naked Juice Green Machine contains a whopping 53 grams of sugar. That’s even more sugar than in a bottle of PepsiCo’s regular Pepsi soda, which contains about 40 grams of sugar in a can.

When a product is named “Green Machine,” the consumer probably assumes there’s lots of healthy, high-fiber green veggies. However, one may regard the name Green Machine as false advertising. That’s because there’s far more fruit than low-sugar green veggies in Green Machine. And it’s the fruit that gives Green Machine its high sugar content. Eating a small portion of whole fruit won’t skyrocket your blood sugar levels, which ultimately results in a sugar crash. But drinking lots of fruit sugar will.

Moreover, the case for false advertising is strengthened when considering what it says on Naked Juice’s Green Machine label: “no added sugars.” This gives the consumer the impression that it’s a healthy product. But if you were to swallow a quarter cup of table sugar, which is the same amount as in a bottle of Green Machine, you’re also not consuming any “added sugars.” Does that mean it’s healthy? Of course not. In fact, Consumer Reports cautions about the label on Green Machine, “don’t be misled.”

Green Drink comparison nutritional labels

Healthiest Green Juice: high veggie to low fruit ratio

How does Chef V Green Drink fare in Consumer Reports’ criteria for being low in sugar? One 8 oz. serving of Green Drink contains only 3 grams of sugar. Go ahead if you want: drink a whole 16 oz. bottle. That’s only 6 grams of sugar.

The reason Chef V’s Green Drink is so low in sugar is because it contains a lot of vegetables and a minimal amount of fruit. As Consumer Reports explains, “Green drinks that are heavy on apple or other fruit juices have significantly higher levels of sugars than those that are mostly vegetable juice. Although the sugars in fruit juice are naturally present (not added) and fruit juice provides some nutrients, the sugars are processed by your body in the same way the added sugars in soda are.”

Green Machine is not the only Naked Juice offering to be slammed by Consumer Reports. In Naked Juice Pressed Citrus Lemongrass, three of the four top ingredients are fruit juices. Although there’s almost half the sugar in this juice in comparison with Green Machine, it still contains a whopping 33 grams of sugars per 12-ounce serving.

In light of this, Consumer Reports warns, “Beware of drinks that look green but are essentially fruit-juice blends.”

That’s no problem with Chef V Green Drink. It contains seven certified organic green leafy veggies. And it only has a tiny bit of just one fruit (apple).

Healthiest Green Juice: contains fiber

Fiber is a nutrient that helps you feel full. It also helps push waste out your colon. And fiber also helps slow down the rush of sugar into your bloodstream. But most green juices don’t contain any fiber (bad news if you’re drinking a green juice with 50 grams of sugar). Consumer Reports explains why:

“When you press vegetables to extract their juice, you usually leave the fiber behind.”

We had this fact in mind when we came up with the processing method for our Green Drinks. Instead of pressing the veggies, we cold-blend them. The cold-blending method preserves the fiber contained in the skin of the veggies.

“Unfortunately, most bottled green juices contain less than a gram of fiber,” says the report. But each 16 oz. serving of Chef V Green Drink contains two grams of fiber. That’s a pretty healthy way to start each morning by drinking 7 certified organic green leafy veggies that help you detoxify and contain fiber.

And if you eat one salad for lunch with greens and cook a dinner with them, you’ll get more than enough fiber in your diet.

Healthiest Green Juice: low in sodium

Most green juices aren’t very high in sodium. That’s because fruits and veggies are naturally low in sodium. Most of them. But some brands of green juices contain as their primary ingredient veggies that contain the most sodium in the plant kingdom. Celery comes to mind. Consumer Reports says Starbucks-owned Evolution Fresh’s Essential Greens contains 300 mg of sodium per serving. In comparison, Chef V Green Drink contains less than a tenth of that amount: 24 mg.

Sodium from natural sources aren’t that much of a health concern. However, considering most Americans consume far too much of it from heavily-processed foods, it’s probably prudent to eliminate extra sources of sodium.

Healthiest Green Juice: final verdict

The Consumer Reports article on green juice contains a couple other factors to consider: serving size and label claims. As for the former, we already mentioned that even if you have a 16 oz serving of Chef V Green Drink, you’re only consuming 6 grams of sugar. And as for the latter, we’ll let our customers’ success stories speak for themselves.

Of course we wish Consumer Reports would have mentioned Chef V in their article. It’s definitely our goal that Chef V Green Drink becomes a household name. In the meantime, we take pride knowing that our Green Drink would far exceed the criteria put forth in the Consumer Reports article.  

Yoga + Green Drink to Stress Less, Feel Better

yoga and green drink

I’m finding it harder to stay centered. Are you stressed out too?

Stress can have a major influence upon mood, our sense of well-being, behavior, and health. Acute stress, especially if the threat is unremitting, can damage health.

To stay centered and calm, my go-to is yoga.  Yoga can reduce stress, shift your mindset, and help you feel better.

Before coronavirus,  I made sure to do a minimum of 10-15 minutes of yoga every day. Now, I’ve increased my practice and recommending that all my friends and clients fo the same. The more stressful your day, the more you need to start your day off with yoga. To those who know me, I might seem centered but without meditation and yoga, I might be a mess.

Here are some of my favorite yoga poses for reducing stress and getting back to center. Zen out in the comfort and safety of home.

Cheers to your very best health –  Veronica

yoga - downward dog

DOWNWARD DOG

Place your hands on the ground, shoulder width apart, and stretch your feet out behind you about 3 feet apart from one another with your hips high in the air. You should look like an upside down letter “V.” Because your heart is higher than your head, this pose causes blood to flow to your brain, which calms the nervous system, improves memory, enhances concentration and relieves stress. Downward Dog also gently tones your abdomen, which stimulates digestion.

tree pose - virksasana

TREE POSE (VIRKSASANA)

Start by focusing the balance on the left foot. Lifting the right foot to the ankle, calf, above the knee or in lotus position (inside the hip joint), bring your arms to prayer position in front of your heart center. Straighten the back, tuck in the pelvis and breathe.

On an inhale, extend your arms over head into any hand mudra you desire; pinky to thumb, thumb to index finger or thumb to middle finger. Hold here for 5-10 inhale and exhale breaths.

prayer pose

PRAYER TWIST

Stand with your feet about 3-4 feet apart. Look toward your right leg as you turn your torso and your hips towards your right leg.

Bend your right knee at a 90 degree angle, keeping your left leg straight so that you are in a low lunge. Bring your hands to prayer position in front of you.

Inhale and on an exhale, twist to your right, bringing your left elbow over your right knee. Look up and make sure your elbows are facing in opposite directions with your right elbow facing up at 12 o’clock and left facing down at 6 o’clock.

Hold this pose for 5-10 inhales and exhales. Slowly release, coming back to center. Repeat on the other side.

Look toward your left side, bend your left knee at a 90 degree angle and move into a lunge by keeping your right leg straight. Inhale and exhale to twist to the left, hooking your right elbow over your left knee. Breathe for 5-10 inhales and exhales.

The twisting of the torso in this move applies pressure to your muscles, increasing toning and detoxifying powers. Fresh oxygen rushes to the area once the twist is released, which helps flush toxins within the body and improve digestion. This pose is great for balance, energy and confidence – plus, it tones your legs, hips and butt.

supine spinal twist

SUPINE SPINAL TWIST

Lay on the ground with your legs stretched out in front of you. Bend your right knee, bringing it close to your chest.

Take your left hand and slowly guide your (bent) right leg over to the left side of your body. Look right and breathe 5-10 inhales and exhales.

Slowly come back to center with both legs stretched out on the ground. Reverse on the other side by bending your left knee toward your chest.

With your right hand, gently guide your left leg over to your right. This time, look to the left and breathe for another set of 5-10 inhales and exhales. This spinal twist will help to release lower back tension, open tight shoulders, improve digestion and elongate spinal muscles.

Don’t worry if it doesn’t come easy at first. Like all things, yoga takes time and practice to get right, but you will start feeling the detoxifying benefits right away. Just start with slow and steady breaths and the rest will follow!

Chef V and kale

Intermittent Fasting + 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.

Add Length to Your Life with These Foods and Drinks

You know that eating certain foods are great for your health, like these 7 leafy green veggies you can conveniently drink and have delivered right to your home. But what you might not realize is the length of time that eating certain foods can prolong your life, in minutes. And on the flip side, if we knew that having a cheat meal would rob our lifespan by “X”  minutes, maybe we’d have an easier time thinking twice about eating fast food. 

But thanks to researchers at the University of Michigan, we can do just that. The researchers evaluated almost 6,000 different types of foods and ranked them by their potential to create disease in humans. The neat thing about their research, which was published in the journal, Nature, is that each food had a corresponding length of time that the food either added to or subtracted from a lifespan. 

For instance, if you’ve ever been to a baseball game and were bored out of your mind (guilty as charged) and tried to make the most of it by eating a hotdog, well that frankfurter just cost you 36 minutes of your life, according to the researchers. 

Instead of eating a hotdog, if you have sunflower seeds or peanuts, it will add nearly a half hour to your lifespan.

Foods That Make You—And The Earth—Live Longer

The cool thing about the research is that not only was the disease burden to humans measured, so was the environmental impact. One take away from the study was that substituting processed meat like chicken wings and deli slices for a mix of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes and certain seafood like wild salmon can extend your life by almost 50 minutes. Moreover, doing this would reduce your dietary carbon footprint by one-third.

As I alluded to, the problem with nutrition advice is there’s not enough real world, consequential associations with food choices. In other words, can you imagine if every food you purchased from a supermarket had a plus or minus along with a number that corresponded to how many minutes of life you would gain or lose? That would really put things in perspective. 

Katerina Stylianou, one of the researchers in the study said, “Generally, dietary recommendations lack specific and actionable direction to motivate people to change their behavior, and rarely do dietary recommendations address environmental impacts.” So true!

Another thing I liked about the work by these researchers from UM is that they split the foods according to the three colors of a traffic light. Go for green foods, yield to yellow and stop and think twice before eating foods in the red category. 

Green foods are not only healthy, they have the lowest carbon footprint. They are: 

  • Field-grown vegetables, like the organic leafy greens Chef V uses for Organic Green Drinks
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Fruits
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes (beans, soy beans, lentils, peanuts)
  • Sustainably-raised, wild-caught seafood

Red light foods should be avoided as much as possible because they don’t contribute to a longer lifespan and also carry a heavier ecological burden. Foods in this category are processed beef and pork products. 

fresh veg

Think In Minutes, Not Calories

If you want to geek out and read the study, check it out here. I wrote this article because I really dig the concept of thinking about food choices in the context of lengthening your lifespan. 

For some people, hearing that a certain food has this many calories or that many grams of carbs or this many grams of sugar or this much fat rings hollow; it doesn’t sink in. I know it’s wishful thinking, but maybe this study will spark a movement for a lifespan ranking to be added to food labels. 

Look, I realize that it’s not shocking to say that organically-grown, fresh fruits and veggies along with other plant-based foods add the most amount of time to our lifespan. And the cherry on top is that they are the most environmentally-friendly. But maybe for those who struggle with food choices, placing more emphasis on whether eating a certain food will add to or shorten lifespan will have more of an effect than merely saying, ‘eat this because it’s healthy and don’t eat that because it’s bad.’ 

Add Minutes To Your Lifespan With Organic Green Drink

The same goes for my Green Drink. When you swap a typical American breakfast for Green Drink, just think that you’re adding at least half an hour to your lifespan with every bottle!

Mediterranean Butternut Squash + Carrot Stew with Quinoa

My Mediterranean stew is made with mellow spices for a flavorful and healthy meal.

This stew can be prepared a day ahead. It's great to take to work or enjoy for dinner the next day, or for a warm and healthy meal for the kids to come home to and easily reheat.

mediterranean stew

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons cold-pressed olive oil
  • 1 cup white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: black pepper, ground coriander, ground cumin, ground turmeric, ground ginger, cayenne pepper
  • Pinch saffron
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1 cup cooked lentils (if canned, do not drain: if cooked, save 1/4 cup of the cooking water)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cups (about 1& 1/2 pounds) cubed butternut squash
  • 2 cups peeled carrots, cut into 3/4 inch slices

QUINOA

  • 1 tablespoon cold-pressed olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced white onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups filtered water

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Directions

First, prepare the stew. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft, stirring often, for about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add the dry spices. Add 1 cup water, lentils (with liquid from the can or reserved 1/4 cup cooking water), and lemon juice. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add the squash and carrots. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Keep warm until the quinoa is finished, or cover the stew and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Next, prepare the quinoa. Place the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, covered, until translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes, stirring often so the onion does not burn. Add the garlic, salt, and turmeric, and sauté for one minute. Add the quinoa and stir for one minute. Add 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, for about 15 minutes.

To serve, stir half the cilantro and half of the basil into the warm stew. Spoon the quinoa onto a platter or divide among bowls and form a well in the center. Spoon the stew into the well and garnish with the remaining cilantro and basil, if desired.

Chef V Tropical Smoothie

Chef V’s tip: Mangos contain tartaric acid, malic acid, and a trace of citric acid, which help maintain the alkaline balance of our bodies. Use my Tropical Green Drink as the base for this recipe for a cool, refreshing smoothie.

For a variation on this recipe, add fresh ginger, fresh turmeric, and vanilla pea protein powder.

pumpkin puree

TOTAL: 10 minutes

Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen mango pieces
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen pineapple pieces
  • 2 large kale leaves
  • 2 cups Chef V Tropical Smoothie Green Drink
  • 1/2 cup ice

Directions

Process all ingredients in a Vitamix for 1 to 2 minutes, or until smooth. Will keep for up to 3 days refrigerated.

Bon Appétit!

CRP: The One Blood Test You Should Beg Your Doctor To Take

CRP: The One Blood Test You Should Beg Your Doctor To Take

CRP is the one blood test you should beg your Doctor to take. Virtually every disease is caused by inflammation. Inflammation manifests in many different ways, from auto-immune disorders to cancer and diabetes, and even weight gain. But how do you know if your body has inflammation? After all, sometimes, inflammation has no symptoms–until a heart attack or stroke strikes.

Thankfully, there’s a simple blood test you can get from your doctor. It’s called the “C-Reactive Protein” (CRP) blood test. Next time you go for your checkup, ask your doctor to test your CRP levels. If you are diagnosed with high levels of CRP, then you can make some lifestyle changes before serious symptoms or disease occurs….

What is C-Reactive Protein?

So what do my Organic Green Drinks and Cleanses have to do with a protein called CRP that’s created by the liver when the body’s inflammatory response kicks in?

They have everything to do with C-Reactive Protein, that’s what. You see, one of the best ways to stay healthy and avoid disease is to have as little CRP as possible. CRP isn’t inherently bad. You actually need some of it to fight infections. But when levels of this protein are high, it’s an indication that there’s too much inflammation in the body. This is why its important to know what can raise your CRP levels, and how to reduce CRP levels.

CRP and inflammation

As I mention above, all disease is triggered by inflammation. Even diseases that are passed down by your ancestors are at greater risk for being expressed if you have more inflammation in your body. In other words, if you eat healthy, just because you may inherit a disease potential does not mean the genes for that disease will express. However, if you eat a diet that’s full of refined carbs like bread and baked goods and lots of added sugar, you’re at more risk for those genetic switches being turned on.

That’s where my Green Drinks, Detox Soups and Vegan Protein Shakes come into play. The antioxidants and other nutrients are a great way how to reduce RP levels, which means your body will have less inflammation.

Whether your goal is to stay healthy and prevent disease or to lose weight (or both), the 7-certified organic green leafy veggies in my Organic Green Drinks can play a big part in preventing inflammation.

But how do you know how much CRP you have?

CRP Blood test

Take a C-Reactive Protein (CRP) Blood Test 

Recently, I wrote about a new health trend you’ll be hearing much more about in the near future: DNA testing for weight loss.

Basically, I said that until the science catches up, getting your DNA tested to find out the best form of exercise and supplements to take is probably a waste of money.

But there is one test I’m all in favor of you getting: the C-Reactive Protein Blood Test, or CRP Blood Test. It’s easy to do and your health insurance plan (if you have one) likely covers it in a normal panel blood test (along with A1C blood sugar and cholesterol markers).

Your body has dozens of inflammatory markers. CRP is the easiest one to test and it seems to provide good insight into your inflammation levels. (Don’t get a test done while your sick, especially if you’re fighting an infection because your body’s CRP levels will be inflated and won’t give an accurate reading of the levels when you’re healthy.)

Why is CRP so important? Because it’s a good predictor of heart attacks and strokes. It can also reveal if you’re at risk for developing diabetes and arthritis. In fact, according to WebMD, a Harvard Women’s Health Study revealed that in healthy postmenopausal women, those with the highest CRP levels were more than four times as likely to have died from heart disease or suffer a non-fatal attack or stroke, compared with those with the lowest levels.

See why CRP is so important?

CRP test and inflammation

How to Reduce CRP Levels

Look, I realize that CRP might not be a super sexy health topic. It’s not as celeb-gossip worthy as Intermittent Fasting or Keto. But as a certified nutritional therapist, I feel it’s my duty (and honor) to share with you simple yet important wellness advice. It’s easy to fall prey to food, drinks and other lifestyle choices that can cause serious inflammation in your body.

But it’s just as easy to avoid it.

Start off each morning by lowering your CRP levels with 16 ounces of my Organic Green Drink.

CRP and green drink

If you have time before you go to work, do a little yoga routine at home or go take a class (or do yoga any other time of day). Think I’m biased because I love yoga myself? Well, I do love yoga. But I bet you didn’t know that yoga is clinically proven to reduce CRP levels. Don’t believe me? Check out this research. And as you might expect, mindfulness, meditation, breathing exercises, and moving meditation exercises such as Tai Chi, can also reduce CRP levels. (So, too, can sex! Again, don’t take my word for it; look at the research.)

A few more simple ways to keep your inflammation level down is by taking a quality fish oil supplement and probiotic and getting 7 or more hours of restful sleep every night. And remember to keep your added sugar intake to a minimum and exercise almost every day.

Eating the right foods makes a difference in your CRP levels. Try healthy wild salmon, real olive oil, cruciferous veggies, and nuts and seeds.

If you’re feeling great and doing most of these things already, then no worries. But if you are concerned about the level of inflammation in your body, it’s really easy to get a CRP blood test (unless you’re like me and deathly afraid of needles; sorry can’t help you with that phobia!

To your health (and low levels of CRP),

Veronica “Chef V” Kress

Chef V

Chef V Q & A – She Answers your Questions About Cleansing – Headaches, Hunger, Exercise

Below, “V” answers your questions about how to maximize your CLEANSE success and why it’s so important to do a brief pre-cleanse. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say they are about to feast on fast food because they’re starting a cleanse the next day.

But if you don’t want a pounding headache or feel like you’re having a mild flu, make sure to check out my responses to our awesome Chef V customers below…

Question:

I’m on day 3 of my 5 day detox…. Any tips on getting rid of a headache?  Everything else is going well.

V answers: 

I’ll admit that sometimes headaches are unavoidable. This is especially true if you did not do the precleanse for at least 2 days before Day 1. When you purchase a Chef V CLEANSE, you get clear instructions on exactly what to eat and what to avoid – check out my article – (EAT THIS/NOT THAT!). So make sure you stick to my recommendations to the “T” or “V” as I like to say (haha). Also, during the cleanse phase, take it easy on the exercise since you won’t be eating solid food. Walks are good. Zumba: not so good.

Question:

I’m on Day 1 of Day 5. I’m not very hungry, but I feel light-headed and my brain is ‘fuzzy.’ Are these normal detox symptoms? When will I feel better?

V answers: 

It depends on how your diet was before the cleanse. Obviously, most people do a cleanse because their diet before the cleanse is not super clean. Has your diet been nowhere close to clean?

And by that I mean plenty of low-starch veggies, moderate servings of fruit, whole grains, lean protein, a little bit of healthy fats/oils/seeds/nuts and no added sugars? The more processed foods, alcohol and caffeine you’ve been consuming, the longer the pre-cleanse should be.

Even if you follow my precleanse recommendations to a V for 2 days, there’s no guarantee you won’t feel detox symptoms—especially if you’ve been overindulging lately.

healthy foods

Question:

I ordered my 5 day detox and will start next week! HOW important is pre-cleansing? I live in a household where I am not allowed to cook. It’s complicated. Any ideas for what I could eat for a pre-cleanse dinner that does not involve cooking?”

V answers: 

The precleanse is extremely important to your success! It helps prep your system. If you drink alcohol and eat fast food and then start a cleanse the next day, your body will need to eliminate and detoxify that stuff first. So you won’t get as much benefit out of the cleanse. By eliminating alcohol, caffeine, red meat, gluten and dairy, you’ll kickstart the cleansing process.

As an added bonus, you’ll probably lose a couple pounds during the precleanse phase. And you’ll likely have less detox symptoms during the CLEANSE phase.

Now as far as what to eat during the precleanse, you can get some precooked chicken or salmon (prefer organic and wild) and eat that with a large salad of mixed greens and chopped veggies. You can also eat that with brown rice or quinoa and broccoli for another easy meal. A good low-sugar dipping sauce is honey mustard.

Finally, in addition to learning what to eat and avoid during the pre-cleanse, this may be a good time to start learning how to prep some easy healthy meals for yourself. For some healthy recipes that Brandon and I love, check out my cooking videos. Wishing you much success!

Question:

I’m on day 11 of my 21 DAY DETOX. I have lost 20 lbs. Did I read somewhere that it is okay to drink coffee in moderation on Healthy Routine days?

V answers: 

First of all, Wow! Congratulations on your amazing results. So inspiring!!!

Now look … I realize how challenging it can be giving up caffeine, at least temporarily. And caffeine isn’t really toxic on its own. The problem is that during a CLEANSE or longer 21 DAY DETOX, the goal is to reboot the body’s digestive organs. Caffeine over-reliance is a sign that the body needs to detox. So I don’t recommend any caffeine on the 21 day challenge. You can have decaf if you need to but it’s best to supplement organic herbal tea. If you absolutely MUST have green tea you can have a little bit.

Question:

Can I take a probiotic supplement on the cleanse and if so when’s the best time? Thanks!

V answers: 

You can take a probiotic supplement before or after your cleanse. But I don't recommend using any probiotic or supplement during the cleanse. I ask you to stick to just what we give you.

probiotic

Question:

Just wondering why eggs aren't allowed on the pre or post cleanse. What is bad about them?’’

V answers: 

Eggs are a major food allergen. Most people don’t know they’re allergic to them. So for this reason we are cutting it out of the cleanse to help heal the gut.

Question: 

Day 3 on the 21 DAY DETOX. I actually have struggled more than I ever thought. First days days were rough. I felt ok in the morning but by late evening I had headaches and nausea due to hunger. I've done lots of cleanses but never purely liquid. The support is needed. The good news is I’m down 5.5 lbs and looking less bloated. My husband commented on this morning.

V answers: 

Typically hunger is in the mind not in the stomach. True starvation is in the stomach whereas our brain often tells us we’re hungry because of boredom, emotions or habit. This cleanse will teach you to listen to your body, not your mind (which is filled with tons of marketing bs around food). I have confidence this cleanse will really help you! If you absolutely need something, have a piece of fruit, or a handful of raw nuts. Or if you can hold out until dinner and add some avocado or coconut oil to your soup at night, it won’t derail your efforts.

Question: 

I’m new to cleansing and trying to be more proactive about making healthier choices. My metabolism took a nosedive once I had my baby so now I need to work harder at eating better. My question is after you cleanse, do you eat less carbs? Follow a lean diet? I guess I'm trying to ask what kind of meal plan (diet) do you follow to continue losing weight?

V answers: 

When it comes to carbs, choose smart carbs like fruits and veggies and whole grains.  Avoid high starchy carbs like white bread, wheat pasta (gluten-free & corn-free pasta like brown rice, quinoa or lentil pasta is ok) and potatoes (sweet potatoes are ok). Also avoid processed foods. Stick to Whole Foods, a little protein, veggies and some rice or quinoa. I hope that helps!

To your cleansing success,

Love, V

veronica

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.

Sample Code

Kombucha

Sample Code

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. 

Kale Nutrition: This Superfood Ain’t Going Out Of Style Anytime Soon

kale

I’m not bragging, but I jumped on to the kale bandwagon long before the wagon rolled out of hipster neighborhoods and restaurants, serving kale chips and kale smoothies along the way. I may have jumped off other superfood bandwagons–mangosteen: that was fun while it lasted in the early 2000’s but açai berries won over my heart and tummy–but I plan on never abandoning you, kale, even if you do eventually lose hipster cred status.

Kale Nutrition: A Vitamin, Mineral & Antioxidant Powerhouse

If you’re wondering about what’s in kale that makes it so healthy, I’ll get to that in a second. First, though, if you’ve never visited my website, allow me to briefly introduce myself and tell you why my husband, Brandon, calls me the “Queen of Kale.” You see, years ago, I earned a certified nutritional therapist credential. I also became a private chef. Soon after launching my career as a chef, I created a recipe for an Organic Green Drink, featuring seven leafy green veggies with not one, but two varieties of kale.

My Green Drink became so popular that I created a business delivering organic green drinks with kale all over the country. This business–CHEF V–has evolved into a nationwide leader of shipped veggie juice and cleanse products. Sure, it took hard work to build what was once a small clientele into a customer list of thousands. But this success story isn’t about me; it’s all about kale playing a huge part in the amazing health transformations of thousands of CHEF V customers.

Here’s why I decided to use two varieties of kale in Green Drink:

  • Each cup of raw kale has 3 grams of proteins but only has 33 calories
  • Good source of fiber: 2.5 grams per cup, which is great for blood sugar levels and preventing cravings
  • Super rich in vitamins A, B, C and K
  • Good source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids
  • Rich in minerals such as calcium, zinc, phosphorus, potassium
  • Loaded with antioxidants

kale varieties

Kale: The Leafy Green That’s So Nice, I Added It Twice

As I mentioned above, my certified-organic Green Drink has two types of kale: black and green.

Black and green aren’t the only types of kale. In fact, there are three main types and within each type there’s different varieties. For instance, the green kale I use is commonly known as curly kale. As for the black kale, its leaves actually have more of a bluish-green tint. You may hear black kale referred to as either Tuscan, dinosaur, or Lacinato.

Green kale is the one you’ll most likely find at the supermarket. For CHEF V Green Drinks, I source all the kale for 100% organic certified local farms.

In addition to curly/green and black kale, there’s also some interesting heirloom varieties that you might come across at a farmer’s market:

  • Premier kale: can withstand cold temperatures
  • Kamome Red: extremely bitter
  • Siberian: even hardier than premier for surviving brutally cold weather
  • Redbor: has a captivating psychedelic purple tint
  • Red Russian: similar to Siberian; there’s also White Russian
  • Walking Stick: can be used literally (the stems are huge!)

But wait! There’s more kale to try. There’s also Gulag Stars, Dwarf Blue Vates, Red Nagoya, Chinese Kale, and Sea Kale. If variety is the spice of life, then go get your kale on and try different types.

Veronica and Coconut and kale

Why Is Kale So Good For You?

The reason why kale isn’t likely to fade away as a health trend anytime soon is because it’s not only super healthy, but it’s extremely versatile. That’s why you can make baked chips with it, along with soups, salads, smoothies and so much more. Sure, there’s tons of other superfoods and leafy green plants that deserve equal hipster cred pedestal status. (Cauliflower now seems to be enjoying its 15 minutes of fame.)

But let’s get back to focusing on the health benefits of kale. Why do so many medical experts consider it an important part of a healthy diet?

According to Dr. Drew Ramsey, someone whom I really admire for his work on treating depression, anxiety and emotional disorders through nutrition, kale offers some very impressive benefits:

  • Fights inflammation
  • Improves the liver’s detox ability
  • Protects brain cells from stress

I love what Dr. Ramsey says about kale: “It talks to your DNA and tells it to sing the sweet, slow song of health and happiness.”

You won’t find that conclusion in the New England Journal of Medicine, but lots of other health experts agree that kale is worth including in your diet pretty much every day. (With one major exception: don’t eat too much of it if you take blood-thinning medication; the vitamin K in kale can interfere with the medication and cause blood clotting.)

According to Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, green leafy veggies like kale have natural chemicals that act as a first-line defense for plants. These chemicals protect them from bugs and fungus. And it’s these same substances that may help protect us against certain types of cancer and heart disease. [SOURCE]

Vitamin K

What Can Kale Do For You?

Researchers are still learning more about the natural compounds in kale and other leafy greenies.

But what we already know is that a diet rich in plants, especially leafy greens is beneficial for health in many ways:

  • Antioxidants, vitamins and minerals boost your immunity and help prevent disease
  • Keep blood sugar levels under control (prevent or manage type 2 diabetes)
  • Fiber helps keep you full so you’re not tempted to eat empty-calorie snacks

I’ll admit though that eating raw kale everyday would be a drag. That’s why my mission of improving the health of thousands of people in the easiest way possible was born. My Green Drinks are cold-blended to preserve the fiber and nutrients. There’s no easier way of consuming leafy greens than by getting on a Green Drink subscription and having a serving each morning.

Don’t take my word for it though….

Kale Yeah! Green Drink Success Stories

Pashelle's green drink

“Thank you so much.  I work about 13-14 hrs a day in the wardrobe department of a television show. It is so easy to eat junk all day.  Me and the driver of my wardrobe trailer committed to the 3 day cleanse and we feel amazing.  Day 1, was the toughest day.  Day 2,  I saw the difference in my everything. And Day 3, was an introduction to my New Self. We Thank you Chef V!” — Pashelle

Heartwarming Success Story: K.I. Lynn

From bestselling author K. I. Lynn on Facebook:

LONG post ahead. I hope you’ll read.

I haven’t updated any of my weight loss because I wasn’t really seeing it, but today, I did. Plus, I hate people seeing me like this.

When I left my job it was not because my books had done so well I was going to write full time. In fact, I was just beginning to edit Breach. I left as just a pause, one that ended up being needed, because within a few weeks I hurt my knee and my beloved grandmother passed away. The next year, I released Breach and my hubs said “Ok, you don’t have to go back to work.” BTW, in that time I’d had to have surgery on the injured knee.

Between the surgery and writing full time something happened that I did not expect.

I gained weight.

It wasn’t a lot at first, but it did scare me when I passed the highest I’d ever been. Then I cried when I passed the number I said I never would.

Each year, I gained more weight. All the travel and stress and another surgery and needing something quick and easy started to add up, and in 4 short years, I’d put on around 100 lbs. That’s a lot of weight!!

I felt terrible about myself. I hated going to signings because I hated how I looked and felt. I didn’t FEEL good.

The biggest thing about weight loss that people don’t understand is that it’s not about WANTING to lose weight, it’s about having the MOTIVATION to lose weight. Wanting can lead to depression as you stare in the mirror, and you lose any desire to eat healthy.

Earlier this year I’d finally had enough. I didn’t have the motivation, but I was sick of it all. Olivia Kelley-Santos had told me about her green drink that she drank that made her feel good, so I went on and saw they had a 21 day detox and I said “That’s what I need. That’s the push.”

I needed to purge all the bad stuff from my body and start fresh. I already knew I want to do low carb. Low carb, not Keto. The box full of everything I needed came in mid-March, right in the middle of working on Welcome to the Cameo Hotel.

The detox did exactly what I needed it to do, and I lost about 20lbs in a few short week. It gave me my motivation, so when it was over, I continued on eating healthier.

I try and stick to a max of 40 net carbs a day. As many of you know, I am a cheese fanatic, and cheese is life and in about every meal. It’s what keeps me going and on a healthier way of living.

For weeks, I watched the scale go down, little by little. I saw a stall, but moved past it. I avoided temptation, and if I did fall, I had only a very small portion.

Then, in July, it happened – I hit my first milestone.

50lbs gone

Elena M. Reyes came to visit and there were some signings, but I managed not to gain any weight. For my birthday I splurged for almost a week eating anything I wanted, because for my birthday, that was all I wanted.

However, that splurge came with consequences. I had the taste for carbs and sugar again. I got back on my diet, but I found I was caving to cravings with little arm bending.

So here I am, doing a small 3 day cleanse with the green drink to get me back on track. I’m down 54lbs in total, and hope to be down quite a bit more by Wild and Windy.

I have goals, and one of them is to get this 100lbs off by the end of the year. I think I can do it. There are more goals after that, but for now, my eye is on the prize.

Just going to keep swimming.

Chef V’s Mason Jar Salads

mason jar salad

Mason jars are my favorite accessory. I use them every chance we get – filling the empty jars with fresh cut flowers, refreshing drinks or a variety of veggies for delicious salads on the go.

Below I share with you my foolproof guide for creating the best and most nutritious mason jar salads that you – and your kiddos – will love, as well as three of my go-to mason jar summer salad recipes. – Veronica

added sugars

How to Build the Perfect Mason Jar Salad

  1. The Dressing. Add about 2 tbsp or less
  2. The Veggies. Select ones that won’t absorb the dressing (i.e. onions, carrots, beans, snap peas, etc.)
  3. The Fruit (or more veggies). Another layer of your favorite fruit or veggie
  4. The Grains. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of cooked and cooled quinoa or rice
  5. The Greens. Add about a cup of your favorite leafy greens
  6. The Protein. Top it off with your choice of protein – nuts, cheese or meat

Layer all ingredients from bottom to top. Start with the dressing on the bottom. If using chicken or other meat, add it to the jar the morning you want to eat it.

mason jar salad

Chef V’s Garden Salad

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup garbanzo beans or kidney beans
  • 1 tbsp chopped green onion
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped cucumber
  • 1/4 cup chopped apple (i.e. Fuji, honey crisp or gala)
  • 2 thinly sliced radish
  • 1 cup lettuce (spinach, mixed greens, kale, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup grilled chicken (optional)

Directions: Layer all ingredients from bottom to top. Start with the dressing on the bottom. If using chicken or other meat, add it to the jar the morning you want to eat it.

nutrition facts label

Chef V’s Mexican Salad

  • 1 tbsp Chef V’s Spicy Cilantro Dressing (see below)
  • 1/4 cup black beans
  • 1/4 cup chopped mango
  • 1 tbsp chopped green onion
  • 1/4 cup cooked and cooled brown rice
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup fresh arugula or spinach
  • 2 tsp raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup grilled chicken (optional)

Directions: Layer all ingredients from bottom to top. Start with the dressing on the bottom. If using chicken or other meat, add it to the jar the morning you want to eat it.

Spicy Cilantro Dressing

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 small jalapeno
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup filtered water

Directions: blend ingredients together in a Vitamix or blender for 1-2 minutes until well blended.

Chef V’s Thai-Noodle Salad

  • 1 tbsp Chef V’s Spicy Cilantro Dressing (see above)
  • 1 tbsp chopped green onion
  • 1 tbsp shredded carrot
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cucumber
  • 1/2 cup cooked and cooled brown rice noodles
  • 1/2 cup green cabbage
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint
  • 1 tbsp chopped raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup grilled chicken (optional)

Directions: Layer all ingredients from bottom to top. Start with the dressing on the bottom. If using chicken or other meat, add it to the jar the morning you want to eat it.

Summer 2022: What’s Chef V Up To?

Is V living the glamorous life of an entrepreneur, jet-setting to Paris for lunch, then off to the Greek Islands for a 2-week idyllic escape? Well, not exactly. But for someone who works her tail off, V knows how to have some fun on the road—even while she’s working. Let’s check out what V’s been up to this summer…

JUNE: Cape Cod & Newport, RI

When V was living in West Caldwell, NJ—CHEF V’s East Coast hub—for a few years, she regretted not exploring more of the beautiful parts of the East Coast. Thankfully, she can now cross off some of those sights off of her bucket list.

After leaving the CHEF V store in NJ, V, along with husband Brandon, and Coconut, explored the charming port town of Newport, Rhode Island, a seemingly entirely different planet than the desiccated, searing heat of Palm Desert, CA, where V grew up.

Picture V and Brandon as the Kennedys of the blended juice world, enjoying boat rides from one marina to the next, from one charming port town to another, sipping not on champagne but on Green Drinks.

That’s not to say V and Brandon didn’t indulge a little in the local fare. In Newport, they ate healthy, fresh seafood, which is to say, they just said no to greasy lobster rolls.

From Newport, V went to Cape Cod for the first time, calling the quaint town of Harwich, MA home for a night, melting the stress away at a little resort called Wequassett and playing 18 holes at Cape Cod National Golf Club, a really difficult course with tall grass above your knees. “I lost lots of balls,” V jokes.

While on the Cape, V and Brandon took a 90-minute boat ride and enjoyed perfect 75-degree, low-humidity weather and enjoyed some of the best meals of their lives. That’s saying something considering V herself is a seasoned chef.

“One of the best mouth explosions I’ve ever had was this amazing oyster dinner, each one topped with caviar, fresh tuna and lychee puree. It was phenomenal,” says V.

Another indulgence V shamelessly enjoyed was a pasta dish, which is something she rarely has. But a lobster carbonara was a delicious splurge she couldn’t resist.

Did V fall off the wagon and stop practicing what she preaches? Hardly.

Says V, “On vacation I’m adamant about sticking to a routine. Each morning, I still have lemon water, Green Drink, and practice 30 minutes of yoga. And when I follow the routine on a trip, I feel that the rest of the day I can be more relaxed about what I choose to eat and drink.”

Hamptons retreat

July: Colorado River & Paso Robles Wine Country 

Parker, AZ

Enjoying the outdoors when it’s 115 degrees? No problem! Not when you’re hanging out with friends on a pontoon boat on the Colorado River. Just jump in the 80-degree water to cool off. Rinse and repeat.

V grew up going to Parker, AZ, which has a much more family-friendly vibe than the nearby, debauched Lake Havasu. V whisked Brandon away to Parker in early July for his first trip there.

Unlike most people who party on the river, with an IV of beer hooked up into their veins, V made healthy smoothies, veggie plates with hummus and fruit plates for herself, Brandon and friends. She also cooked healthy meals for everyone on the boat.

Hamptons retreat

Hamptons retreat

Paso Robles, CA

Then, on July 30th, V and Brandon’s sixth wedding anniversary, the couple spent time in California wine country—Paso Robles to be exact.

“I love Paso. It’s more laid-back and not as snooty and pretentious as other towns in  more well-known wine areas of California like Napa,” says V, who has a decent knowledge of wine from spending a couple years in the industry years ago.

V doesn’t drink wine very often, but when she does, she knows exactly what she’s looking for. While in Paso, V played golf at Hunter Ranch where, unlike her mulligan-filled outing in Cape Cod, she played rather well.

V and Brandon hit a winery of note, Tobin James, where they enjoyed ambience and the wine. Then they went a French restaurant, Le Petite Canailles, that served a deboned Dover sole seasoned on a wood plank, topped with edible flowers. For a side: V describes it as “bougie tater tots with caviar.” It was phenomenal!

A splurge? V’s bank statement says yes but at least it was a healthy one. And hey, when you’re working your tush off, you deserve to treat yourself.

Hamptons retreat

Hamptons retreat

V and B also hit J. Lohr vineyards, Daou, and to celebrate their anniversary, the couple visited JUSTIN vineyards and enjoyed a four-course tasting menu with paired wines, featuring a trout tartarte with edible flowers, and a pasta agnolotti with truffle.

Again, another well-earned splurge!

“I like to have fun, too. So many people think that I’m a flawless saint when it comes to nutrition. I still take care of myself with Green Drink and my routine but I do enjoy myself,” V says.

Rawgust: Oregon 

V’s hubby, Brandon is originally from Lake Oswego, Oregon just 8 miles from Portland. Since Covid, the couple has driven (with Coconut of course) up there every year and has come to enjoy the ride. So recently, the trip hit the road from San Diego for the long haul.

V’s “Nana” lives in Southern Oregon near the Rogue River so they stopped there first. Then, the couple went up to Lake Oswego for an annual boat party on the lake with 8 floating docks, live music and a floating dance floor.

It might not be St. Barts but to V, this is a slice of heaven—and she’s earned it.

3 Reasons Why Summer’s The Best Time To Do A Cleanse

summer cleanse

Thinking about doing a cleanse? There’s no better time than now. Here are 3 reasons why summer is the best time to do a cleanse.

Last week, I admitted that I indulged to the max while on my European vacation, and how when I got back home, I decided I needed to be a Chef V customer.

I’m happy to report that I just wrapped up a 7 Day Cleanse.

So far so good.

I don’t feel like I’m missing out at all.

In fact, I feel so good, I might do a 21 Day Detox.

And right now, in the heart of the summer, there’s no better time to do a cleanse or a longer detox.

Let me share with you my top 3 reasons why it’s easy to do a cleanse in summer.

Hack #1: take a walk

A simple way to have your blood sugar return to normal after a meal is by taking a walk. It doesn’t have to be a super vigorous hike, but getting enough exercise is important for managing diabetes and this is especially true if you’re sedentary for most of the day.

Even more important than the advice to exercise is learning when to exercise. And if you only have time (or the motivation) to move your body once per day, research strongly suggests you should do it after dinner.

Most people eat their heaviest meal at night. And the biggest spike in blood sugar occurs after eating a large meal, especially if it contains lots of carbohydrates that have the potential of converting into sugar. (Think: pasta, bread, rice and other starchy carbohydrates.) Walking after a heavy meal is a proven way to improve blood sugar levels.

Consider this study from New Zealand. Two groups of people, most of whom had type II diabetes for 10 years, were compared. One group walked for 30 minutes a day for two weeks. The other group went for a 10-minute walk after each main meal. The results: blood sugar levels were significantly lower when participants walked after meals compared with the group who only went for one walk a day.

Meanwhile a different study compares exercising before a meal and after. The group with the lower blood sugar levels exercised after their meal, not before. This supports the first study that it’s vital to move around after eating a meal.

chef v summer cleanse

Summer is Best Time To Do a Cleanse — Reason #1: You’re not as hungry

Ever watch a nature documentary that shows bears and other animals seemingly eating non-stop during the summer?

The reason bears and other creatures of the forest binge eat in summer is, of course, because they have to fatten up for the winter hibernation.

Sometimes in winter, I feel like hibernating.

But I also feel like eating a lot more in winter than I do in summer. The hot, sticky weather in summer kills the appetite, at least for hearty foods that we usually crave in the winter like stews, meat and starchy carbs such as pasta and bread.

Most people tend to crave fruit in the summer. And unlike meat and starchy carbs, fruit is a safe food to eat while doing a cleanse.

How I start off each morning while I’m doing a cleanse is drink two glasses of water. I like to add some electrolytes to the water to provide the energetic spark plug my cells need (pink sea salt does the trick).

About a half-hour later, I’ll have 16 oz of Organic Green Drink. Shortly after that, I’ll have a handful or so of berries.

This holds me over until it’s time for my vegan protein shake.

Even though I’ve done plenty of cleanses in winter with no problem, I have to admit that summer is my favorite season for detoxing. Simply for the fact that I’m usually not as hungry as I am in the winter.

But be careful to not exercise too much when you’re doing a cleanse in summer. You’re already limiting your calorie intake to begin with. Plus, with the heat, you’re at risk for heat stroke.

So just stick to walks early in the morning and/or evening.

Summer is Best Time To Do a Cleanse — Reason #2: Swimsuit Psychology

It might sound too good to be true. But we’ve had plenty of customer success stories with weight loss of 10 pounds or more within just 7 days.

Reading these success stories that make their way to my email inbox every day is a huge reason why I wake up excited to get to work.

I love hearing from women that a Chef V cleanse helped them look and feel sexier, especially in time for the summer swimsuit season.

Here’s what “Wenderful” says about her experience:

I lost 10lbs!… This was the perfect start to leaning out for summer….Thank you Chef V….What a great experience!!

Now, I know what you might be thinking….

Sure, it’s great she was able to lose 10 pounds. But what’s going to happen once the cleanse is over?

Well, if “Wenderful” follows my cleanse daily schedule and post-cleanse tips, she’ll have no trouble keeping off the excess weight.

In winter, my hubby Brandon likes to joke that my legs need to be shaved with a lawn mower. Because of body consciousness, summer time gives us extra motivation to get leaner and look our best.

Summer is the best time to do a Cleanse
Reason #3: Salads

If you’re doing a cleanse or longer detox, one of the hardest things is going to a restaurant with friends.

However, in summer, it’s easy to join your friends at dinner. Just order a salad. Make sure to order the dressing on the side.

Most restaurants have at least one veggie they can steam or lightly grill for you, such as broccoli or asparagus.

A large spinach salad (no croutons!) with a side of veggies will fill you up. And because of the hot weather, you’re not going to feel like sinking your teeth into a burger like your friends.

If you’re having a hard time losing those last stubborn 10 pounds, there is no better time to do a Chef V cleanse than right now.

Do it now because in the blink of an eye, you’re going to feel like hibernating. And when that happens, you won’t have the luxury of sleeping the winter off like a bear. You’ll be craving high-calorie foods to make it through those long dark nights.

Poached Pear with Gluten Free Crumble & Vegan Ice Cream

Although alcohol is not recommended for cleansing, this recipe cooks out any of the alcohol and makes this a decadent dessert. You can always omit the champagne and use any liquid, even water, for this recipe.

poached pear

TOTAL 80 minutes

Serving Size: 6 people

Ingredients

  • 1 cup champagne or other liquid
  • 3 pears (d Anjou, Bartlett, Asian) halved and scooped with melon ball 
  • 1 tbsp honey 
  • 1/2 cup gf flour 
  • 3/4 cup gf oats 
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar 
  • Pinch sea salt 
  • 2 tsp vanilla 
  • 3 tbsp vegan butter 
  • Vegan ice cream to serve 

poached pears in oven

Directions

Preheat oven 375 F. Mix honey and champagne together.

In a shallow baking pan lined with foil, lay the scooped pears on the pan, skin side down. Pour champagne mix to cover. Cover with foil and bake 10 minutes. Add another 10 minutes if pears are not ripe.

While pears bake, mix flour, oats, sugar, salt, butter and vanilla.

Remove pears and foil. Top evenly with crumble. Continue to bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the crumble is golden brown. Remove pears.

Serve on a plate with scooped vegan ice cream. Enjoy this delicious and healthy dessert! 

Give This Organ Some TLC For Cleansing & Weight Loss

cleansing juices and soups

Want to know the simple secret to losing up to 20 pounds in just 5 days? 

It’s this: my 5 day Cleanse. 

Thousands of people have successfully lost weight and have kept it off with my Cleanse or longer 21 Day Detox. That’s because when you consume a minimal number of calories with everything your body needs (phytonutrients, protein and fiber), you’re giving your body a metabolic reboot. Excess body fat starts to easily burn away, revealing a more sexy, slender you. 

When it comes to cleansing and detoxing, most people associate just one organ with the process: the liver. 

But there’s far more to detoxification than the liver. While it’s true the liver plays a critical role in breaking down heavy metals and other toxins from the body, there’s another organ I want you to know about that’s just as important.

Over 700,000 Americans Have This Detox Organ Removed Every Year

You probably think about your liver every once in a while. Like when you know it’s time to do a cleanse or detox: bad skin breakouts, can’t concentrate (brain fog), you’re gaining weight even though you’re eating the same amount of food, you get sick often, and you need a few cups of coffee to wake you up from the dead every morning. 

Or maybe you apologize to your liver after a night of having one too many glasses of wine. 

While the liver gets all the detox attention, I want you to give some thought to another organ. I admit, I don’t think about this organ enough. But if you get plenty of fresh, organic leafy green veggies in your diet, like the 7 different kinds in Organic Green Drink, you won’t have to think about this organ that much. 

That’s because kale, collard greens and other leafy greens help the liver break down toxins into smaller components so that they can be moved out of the body. 

But if you’re eating a lot of snacky, empty-calorie foods and not enough nutrient-dense produce, your liver is going to become sluggish. 

And when your liver is backed up, it affects the next detoxification organ down the line. 

Over 700,000 Americans have this particular organ removed every year. Obviously, you can live without it, otherwise surgeons wouldn’t recommend removing it. It’s galling to me that mainstream medicine just treats this organ like it’s a throwaway part when it’s so critical to detoxification. 

So … Do you know which organ I’m talking about? Hint: read the last sentence of the above paragraph; it’s the italicized word. 

apple cider vinegar

You Can’t Lose Weight If You Can’t Digest Fats

Yes, it’s the gallbladder. 

The gallbladder is best known for secreting bile. Bile is kind of disgusting because if you’ve ever had a night of heavy drinking back in the day, you probably at one point puked it up. Not a pleasant thought. 

But here’s why bile is so important…

It helps break down dietary fats so your gut can absorb it. It’s actually the liver that produces bile. But when your liver is backed up like an LA freeway, your liver doesn’t produce as much bile—and your gallbladder will have trouble secreting the bile that is produced. 

So if you have low bile production, it’s very likely that you’ll put on weight very easily. That undigested dietary fat has to go somewhere!

But beyond the bile storage and secretion, the gallbladder is also involved in detoxification. It sponges up toxins and other things that shouldn’t stay in your body like excess hormones. 

With so many people having sluggish livers and clogged bile ducts, it’s no wonder skin problems, hormone imbalances and digestive disorders are so common. Autoimmune disorders and allergies can also be blamed, at least in part, on bile deficiency. 

Wanna Go Keto? Don’t Try It Until You Improve Gallbladder Function!

Super low carb diets are popular, promising rapid weight loss—if you can just get over the hump of the dreaded “keto flu.”

What’s keto flu? It’s when you suddenly stop eating carbs (for the most part), your body switches to your stored body fat for fuel instead of the sugar in your blood from the carbs. 

But the problem is that if you have a sluggish liver and low bile production, a keto diet, which is at least 75% dietary fat, is going to make you fatter and make you feel awful, at least at first. 

Before going keto, I highly recommend giving your liver and gallbladder some much needed TLC by doing a 5 day cleanse. And if you feel great after doing a 5-day cleanse (which thousands of customers have successfully accomplished), you can further purify your system with a 21 Day Detox

Most cleanse and detox programs help you lose weight—but at the expense of making you feel awful. The difference with CHEF V is that you’ll get plenty of clean, plant-based protein and the perfect amount of dietary fat and fiber so you won’t waste away; you’ll actually feel amazing (usually by day 3!). 

Best Foods For Bile

In addition to eating plenty of leafy green veggies, there are specific foods that are thought to enhance bile production. These include beets, artichokes, sunflower seeds, apple cider vinegar, arugula and dandelion, which is one of the 7 leafy greens in the Green Drink delivery plan

Go Green For Your Gallbladder

If you’re not living each day with vibrant energy then something’s off. Consider cleansing and flushing your liver and gallbladder. If you’re not sure how to start, I highly recommend a CHEF V CLEANSE. There’s no guesswork involved. You’ll get easy instructions on how to successfully give your detox organs and metabolism the reboot it needs so you can start feeling awesome again.  

And if your doctor ever recommends removing your liver, ask for a second opinion!

Tips for Vegan Food Swaps

Whether for climate change, health reasons, or limiting animal cruelty, the vegan population worldwide continues to rise. In fact, more than 620,000 vegans across 220 countries and territories signed up for the 2022 Veganuary Campaign. In the United States, people are turning vegans six times faster in 2022 as compared to previous years.

But going vegan isn’t easy, especially when you don’t know what things to consume and avoid. The vegan market has many plant-based and vegan food options, but finding the right alternatives to your favorite food items can be a little daunting. 

So without overwhelming you with this challenging transition into the vegan lifestyle, here are a few amazing hacks and tips to find the perfect vegan options for your meats, milk, and other go-to grocery items. We’ve tried to keep the nutritional needs of a vegan diet in mind while preparing this list to add high-energy and healthy food alternatives for you. 

1. The perfect meat alternative 

If you’re new to veganism, giving up your usual meaty diets will be challenging, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. You can find the same fibrous texture and nutritional values of chicken, beef, or sausages in their vegan alternatives, including tofu, jackfruit, and soy-based protein.

Lentils make the perfect protein-rich substitute for minced meat. You can use the same spices and a variety of boiled lentils to make vegan patties for your burgers and sandwiches. Moreover, lentils are one of the most affordable meat alternatives for vegans. 

2. Say yes to the right dairy products

Thinking about how you can give up your milky cappuccino while going vegan? Well, you don’t have to. You can ditch your regular cow milk with creamier, thicker, and sweeter vegan options like soy, hazelnut, and almond milk. 

You can use coconut milk as it’s thicker and sweeter, whereas rice milk makes a perfect vegan option to add to your smoothies, shakes, overnight oatmeals, and cereal bowls. Cheese is a food item most vegans miss in their diet, but you can swap your cheese with the nutty hemp seed or vegan kimchi queso alternatives. 

Also, don’t forget to add peanut or almond butter to your cart while grocery shopping, as they make the perfect vegan option. 

3. An ideal vegan option for spreads

Love mayonnaise? Try hummus. The creamy texture of blended chickpeas with herbs and garlic of hummus makes a healthier and tastier vegan option for your regular mayonnaise. You can swap maple syrup with honey to drizzle on your waffles and pancakes as a vegan option. Avocados, apple sauce, and pumpkin puree are among some vegan spreads that complement toast the best. 

4. Vegan options for ice cream

Don’t worry about giving up ice creams while going vegan because you’ve many healthy and vegan substitutes for your regular ice creams. To relish a creamy dessert, try frozen bananas, strawberries, or blueberries blended with your favorite nuts. Add any fruit of your choice and freeze it to prepare vegan sorbets and sundaes. 

5. The perfect vegan option for weight loss

If you’re a vegan and want to lose those extra pounds, you can try my 100% organic green juice. It’s healthy, vegan, and made from seven superfoods, including green kale, black kale, collard greens, dandelion greens, and green chard. All these green ingredients are packed with essential nutrients, minerals, and anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to help you lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

Moreover, this green juice for detox helps you stay energized by making you feel fuller every time you consume it, eliminating the urge to eat non-vegan or unhealthy food items. You can begin your weight loss journey with a 3 day juice cleanse plan and move further with the specially designed 21-day detox challenge

Chef V strives to help you achieve your health goals, which also includes debunking myths about what you and can’t eat as a vegan and helping you discover tasty vegan alternatives.

Want to learn more about the available detox and cleanses? Visit the Chef V website.

Ginger Apple Berry Smoothie

This ginger apple berry smoothie not only tastes great but is loaded with antioxidants to fight free radicals and reduce inflammation. 

Antioxidants are substances that may prevent cell damage. Berries are great natural sources of antioxidants.

Enjoy this popular smoothie in the morning after your 16 oz. of Organic Green Drink.

ginger apple berry smoothie

TOTAL 10 minutes

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Serving Size: 1 Person

Ingredients

  • ½ Fuji apple
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • ½ cup raspberries
  • 2 small pieces organic red chard
  • 1 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced (I use a garlic presser)
  • 1 cup ice
  • ¾ cup almond milk
  • Optional: 1 serving of vegan protein powder (hemp, pea, or brown rice)

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend 1-2 minutes until smooth. Add ¼ cup filtered water if necessary. Bon Appétit!

RAW Chocolate Avocado Mousse

DIRECTIONS

Combine ingredients in food processor or vitamix and lick it clean, no seriously!! I know you will! Top with raw crushed nuts and/or shredded unsweetened coconut for variety.

Bon Appetit!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large ripe organic avocado
  • 3-4 tbsp. of raw cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp. raw coconut nectar

Why Chef V Finds Fruit Fantastic

If you’ve noticed Chef V’s glowing skin, you might be curious as to the reason. Well, some part of the credit goes to the bowl of fresh fruit she eats every day. In fact, the dietary guidelines set out by the United States Department of Health and Human Services suggest consuming fruit and vegetables as part of a healthy diet. 

Fruit is an excellent source of minerals, antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber, which helps you stay healthy and hydrated. Moreover, fruit is a good substitute for unhealthy, sugary, processed snacks, including artificially flavored candies and gummies. 

If you still wonder why adding fruit to your diet is important, read below to learn about some benefits and facts of consuming fruit. We’ve also come up with a list of Chef V’s recommendations for great fruit that we know you’ll love to check out. Take a look!

Why is fruit great?

Eating fruit generally benefits your overall health and prevents common diseases like diabetes and related complications by providing necessary nutrition. They offer an expansive range of antioxidants, such as flavonoids, health-boosting fibers and vitamins. Surprisingly, one banana alone can provide 25% of your average daily fiber intake. 

They help your digestive system, boost metabolism, and keep your body hydrated. Watermelons and strawberries have more than 92% water content, so if you often skip chugging down plain water, you can eat fruit high in water to meet your water requirements.

Most people argue that fruit contains sugar, so are they bad or any better than other sugar alternatives? Yes, fruit contains sugar, but it’s natural sugar, which is a mix of glucose, fructose, and sucrose. Despite the sugar levels, whole fruits still make an ideal choice compared to candies, canned fruit, dried fruit, and soft drinks available on the market. Because whole fruits contain sugar, they give you a fuller feeling, eliminating the need to consume unhealthy snacks and beverages. 

Fruit is also great for individuals on a weight-loss journey. They contain fewer calories, meaning you can swap your regular high-calorie snacks with the fruit of your choice. Fruits like apples, oranges, bananas, and strawberries contain a high amount of fiber, which helps suppress the appetite to prevent overeating. 

Moreover, if you don’t like eating whole fruits, have them as a smoothie, juice, dessert, or salad. You can find hundreds of smoothie recipes for intermittent fasting or go on a cranberry juice detox. Find the best ways to consume fruits and say hello to a healthy lifestyle.

Some of our favorite fruits 

All fruit is fantastic but they vary in nutritional values and health benefits. Here are some of Chef V’s favorite fruits to include in your diet.

1. Lemons 

Lemons are a great source of vitamin C, potassium, carbohydrates, and calcium. They contain antidiabetic and antibacterial properties, which help you deal with indigestion and inflammation.

2. Strawberries 

This juicy, red fruit contains a lot of water, minerals, and vitamins. You can have strawberries in a smoothie, with your cereals, or put some on top of your pancakes for added flavor and a punch of sweetness. 

3. Oranges 

Oranges are the richest source of vitamin C, which fulfill 117% of a person’s daily requirement of vitamin C. They boost your immune system and contain a good amount of iron and fibers to keep you going throughout the day. 

4. Avocados 

Want a low-sugar fruit option? Avocados are a superfood with less sugar content but high potassium and protein. They contain oleic acid, a type of monounsaturated fat, which helps maintain lower cholesterol levels. 

5. Apples 

Eating apples daily can reduce the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and certain cancers, which is why you say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Apples contain a high amount of minerals, vitamin C, and antioxidant properties, which are great for people losing weight or monitoring their fat intake. 

The bottom line 

Chef V finds fruit fantastic because of its innumerable health benefits and properties. Adding fruit to your diet motivates you to step forward to a healthy lifestyle. You can begin by consuming fruit in smaller portions or in a form that best suits your taste. You can swap between different fruits for all the necessary nutrition for your diet. 

Check out our Chef V cleanses, specially curated organic green juice and protein shakes, which aim to help you achieve your body and weight goals. Visit our website or contact us today to learn more. 

3 Ways To Feel Unstoppable In the Morning—Without Coffee

Do you feel like a slug in the morning? Is guzzling three cups of coffee the only thing that wakes you up from the dead? Chef V offers up 3 caffeine-free ways to help you conquer the day…

So … you’re addicted to coffee? Well, I’m not here to tell you to quit. But what I will say about caffeine is that because it’s a drug, you’re going to need more and more of it over time. Remember the good old days when one cup of coffee would make you feel invincible? But these days, there’s a good chance that if you’ve been a coffee drinker for years, just one cup is no longer going to do the trick.

The danger of drinking a lot of coffee is that it can mess with your cardiovascular system. Research shows that drinking coffee raises your blood pressure, heart rate and stimulates your sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is your body’s fight or flight response. If you’re trying to be more chill and less stressed-out, then activating your sympathetic nervous system is the last thing you want to do.

OK, so I’m done with my spiel about the evils of caffeine. Again, I’m not saying that you should quit. But what I am saying is that if you feel like that without it, you’d be a worthless lump of coal, then maybe it’s time to reconsider your morning routine. For instance, try doing one of these 3 things to wake your butt up.

#1: Cold Showers

I admit that on a frigid February day, taking a cold shower at 6 in the morning is the last thing on Earth I’d want to do. But if it’s energy you desire, taking a cold shower will jolt you awake more than a Jolt cola.

There’s even research to back this up. According to Healthline, cold water sends electrical impulses to your brain that … and here’s that word again … “jolt” your system to increase alertness, clarity, and energy levels. The so-called happy hormones known as endorphins are also released. So not only can taking a cold shower wake your butt up in the morning, it could also make you feel happier and more optimistic—at least after the shower is over and you’ve dried off.

Another possible benefit of taking a cold shower is that it may increase your metabolism. Researchers aren’t exactly sure how cold water plunges may help with weight loss. But hey, a replacement for coffee that may help you lose weight? I think it’s worth a try.

veronica and coco green drink

#2: Replace Breakfast With Green Drink 

If you’re somebody who eats a typical American breakfast of toast, cereal, orange juice and coffee before heading out the door to work, listen up. OK, so the first problem with this breakfast is that it’s pretty much all carbs.

Even if the coffee gives you an energy boost, here’s probably what’s going to happen within an hour of your breakfast. Your blood sugar levels are going to rise from the cereal, milk sugars, toast and orange juice. Later, your blood sugar levels will drop to a level that’s lower than what it was before you ate breakfast. So what’s going to happen is you’re going to feel tired and need a second or third cup of coffee.

To prevent this blood sugar spike and dip, ditch the regular breakfast and replace it with Organic Green Drink. The 7 dark leafy greens are sweetened with a tiny bit of apple. And with only three grams of sugar per serving, you won’t have an energy crash.

But will Organic Green Drink give you that pick-me-up that coffee does? Well, not in the same jittery way. However, the 7 dark leafy greens are so nutrient-dense that they will flood your cells with energy in a very short amount of time. And if you must have your coffee, drink it at least one hour after having a Green Drink.

#3: Exercise

If you don’t want to get out of bed in the morning, just repeat this mantra: Get up, get up, get busy, do it. Get up and move that body. Anybody remember that song (from the one-hit wonder Techtronic way back in 1989.)

So I guarantee you that if you take a cold shower in the morning—even if it’s just for 30 seconds—and have a serving of Organic Green Drink, you’ll feel ready to conquer the world. And, if you can find time to do 10 minutes of exercise before you start your work day, you will feel absolutely bulletproof. Go for a walk, do a mini-yoga routine. It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise you do, just do it.

Hopefully, having Green Drink in the morning plus taking a cold shower and/or exercising will wean you off caffeine.

The Health Benefits Of Drinking Breakfast

drinking breakfast

Genetics isn’t the only reason V maintains a slim figure. For years, a vital component of her weight-management and gut-health strategy has been breaking the daily fast with liquids. Replacing a conventional breakfast with liquids has many health benefits and V’s here to explain…

If you’ve been following me for years, you already know how important NOT eating breakfast is.

But if you’re new to this concept, maybe you’re thinking, “Wait. I thought breakfast was the most important meal of the day.”

Now, I don’t wanna suggest that your mom didn’t know what she was talking about when you were a kid. Without doubt, eating nutrient-dense foods like fruit and eggs is important for a developing brain and body.

However, now that you’re an adult, your metabolism might be starting to slow down. And one reason why might not have anything to do with your age. Rather, it’s the fact that your body has a high toxic load. In other words, your detoxification organs such as the liver can’t clear toxins out more quickly than they accumulate.

There are several reasons why toxic overload occurs. For example, heavy metals can accumulate in your body. There’s pesticides from the food supply and harsh chemicals in skin care products, hair care products and household cleaners.

So what does this have to do with not eating food for breakfast and instead only having liquids when it’s time to break your fast?

The answer is that by not eating food, you’re giving your body a longer time to detoxify.

lemon water

V’s Liquid Breakfast Routine

Actually, before I break my fast with Organic Green Drink, I have a tall glass of warm lemon water. Then I wait until I’m hungry to have a Green Drink.

Like naturally waking up with the morning light instead of being startled awake by a harsh alarm clock, a liquid breakfast gently wakes up your digestive system. And the water and Green Drink keeps the detoxification going. Your body naturally detoxifies every night. Or at least it tries to. But when you eat a standard breakfast first thing in the morning, your digestive and detoxification systems are hard at work again.

Now, in order to feel satisfied with a liquid breakfast, here’s what I do…

About half an hour after having my Green Drink, I’ll make a smoothie with fruit, veggies, vegan protein (pea protein is my fav) and healthy fats such as avocado, chia and flax seeds.

With my cookbook, Making Cleansing Easier (which you can get as a complementary download with a purchase of a CHEF V 21 DAY CHALLENGE), you’ll never get bored of smoothies.

In addition to my cookbook smoothie recipes, I have even more smoothie recipes on my blog.  My Tropitaya Smoothie, featuring super-easy-to-digest pea protein, is one of the most popular. I also like to add ginger and turmeric to it to support my metabolism and keep inflammation in check.

berry parfait

Benefits of Drinking Your Breakfast

In addition, I’ll add ingredients that support my gut health without bloating my belly, such as bio-k fermented vegan products. Unlike regular probiotic drinks that have dairy—one of the biggest triggers of inflammation in the body—the vegan probiotic drinks I use have fermented oat and pumpkin seed as a base.

Not only does a liquid breakfast make it easy for the digestive system to “wake up,” there are other benefits as well.

Of course, you could have a liquid breakfast consisting of coffee, orange juice and Red Bull to kickstart your day. Obviously, that ain’t healthy. But as long as you’re sticking to a routine of lemon water or herbal tea; Organic Green Drink followed by a smoothie with vegan protein and a small amount of fats, you’ll be supporting your health in many ways.

Healthy liquid breakfasts may help prevent overacidity in the gut enviroment (stimulates alkalinity) and help cleanse the colon of harmful bacteria.

But don’t just take my word for it. There’s plenty of research that supports this. For instance, a study in the British Journal of Nutrition, suggests that a liquid breakfast improved the blood sugar levels of 123 patients with type 2 diabetes.

Another study in the journal, Appetite, concluded that a plant-based liquid breakfast (made with plant protein) led to consuming less calories and was more satisfying to the subjects than eating a conventional breakfast.

In general, I believe that liquid breakfasts are awesome for improving digestion, boosting detoxification and sharpening mental focus.

Give it a try for a couple weeks and see how you feel. For me and my husband, Brandon, and for thousands of Chef V customers, making the switch from a conventional breakfast to a liquid one has been one of the simplest yet most profound things we’ve done to look and feel our best.

Love,

V

What Do I Eat Today – The Importance of Liquids

what do I eat today liquids

This “What Do I Eat Today” menu focuses on the importance of liquids, especially at breakfast.

Liquids are alkalizing to the gut, help cleanse the colon, and have so many other benefits.

Start your day with lemon juice and water, followed by Green Drink. Enjoy my Herbal Tea recipe with ginger and cinnamon, and take a probiotic- I like Bio-K+.

Chose from two smoothies – my Tropitaya Smoothie, this month with fresh Ginger and Turmeric, or my Tropical Green Smoothie with Ginger.

For lunch we have Creamy Carrot Soup, and Raw Cucumber & Avocado Gazpacho is a cooling afternoon snack. For dinner, Creamy Broccoli Soup finishes the day.

lemon water

First Thing in the Morning

I have lemon water in the morning and then I wait until I'm hungry to have my Green Drink.

berry parfait

For Breakfast – Tropitaya or Tropical Green Smoothie

This “What do I Eat Today” menu includes a Tropitaya or Tropical Green Smoothie. The Tropitaya Smoothie is one of the most popular smoothies (and one of my favorites) at our stores in New Jersey and San Diego. In this month's menu, I add fresh turmeric and ginger.

Get the recipe

An alternative to my Tropitaya Smoothie in this menu, my Tropical Green Smoothie adds fruit and vegetables to Chef V's Tropical Green Drink. Optionally you can add 1 tbsp pea protein, 1 tsp fresh ginger, 1/2 tsp fresh turmeric to the smoothie.

Get the recipe

creamy carrot soup

Lunch – Creamy Carrot Soup

Creamy and delicious without dairy, this Carrot Soup recipe uses cashews to add richness and flavor. Fast and easy to make, the recipe is perfect for two, tasty and healthy. Add fresh turmeric and ginger for additional benefits.

Get the recipe

Afternoon Snack – Chef V's Raw Cucumber Avocado Gazpacho

Cool and creamy, my Gazpacho is a great light snack. You can easily double or triple my recipe and have delicious leftovers. The beauty of my veggie-rich recipe is that its high water and fiber content slows how fast you eat and fills you up quicker.

Get the recipe

Dinner – Creamy Broccoli Soup

My Creamy Broccoli Soup is for dinner. Made with coconut milk and coconut oil, the fiber in this soup supports gut health and has anti-inflammation and antioxidant properties. For additional gut health assistance, try my recipe variation adding fresh turmeric and ginger.

Get the recipe

Creamy Carrot Soup

Chef V’s Tips: Many raw food recipes call for soaking nuts. Why? Soaking nuts (from 2 hours to overnight) improves the flavor and nutritional value of the nuts by releasing dust, residue and tannin into the water, leaving the nuts with a softer, buttery texture and increasing their digestibility. Never use the soak water – always discard it.

A healthy variation on this soup adds fresh ginger and fresh turmeric.

carrot soup

Ingredients

  • 1 to 2 teaspoons coconut oil or cold-pressed olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 cups sweet onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 pounds (about 5 cups) carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 3/4 cup cashews, soaked and drained
  • 1/2 cup Chef V's Raw Almond Milk or coconut milk
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

OPTIONAL TOPPINEG

fresh chives, flat leaf parsley, raw cashews

For a healthy variation to this recipe, add 1 tbsp fresh ginger and 1 tsp fresh turmeric.

Directions

Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Add the carrots, vegetable broth, and 2 to 3 tablespoons of grated ginger. Bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Turn off the heat and allow the soup to cool for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse the cashews well.

Add the cashews and almond or coconut milk to the soup. Transfer to a Vitamix in batches, if necessary, and process until smooth. Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper, if desired. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish as desired.

The Benefits of Eating More Locally

Eating locally doesn’t mean getting take-out from a nearby Italian restaurant. The most simple definition of eating local is stopping by your local farmer’s market and shopping for fresh produce. In the United States, the average meal travels more than 1,500 miles to get to your plate. Imagine the freshness and taste of the products by the time it lands in your kitchen; they may be gone by then. 

Moreover, the country’s population of locavores or people who choose to eat more locally is rapidly increasing. A consumer survey revealed 96% of people believe that a product must be grown, produced, and handled within 100 miles of its market to retain its freshness, quality, and taste.  

Below, we touch on different points, including the benefits of eating locally to drive you toward a healthy lifestyle. 

What are the benefits of eating locally?

The concept of eating local is primarily based on distance; the basic idea is to cut down the miles your food needs to travel before it gets to your table. The food you get in your local market, such as fruits and vegetables, tends to have a higher nutritional value, mainly because they’re prepared fresh without processing or getting through an artificial harvesting process to outpace the ripeness. 

Here is a list of benefits of eating locally: 

  • Eating locally benefits the environment. When you shop in a local market, the food doesn’t have to travel from one corner to another corner, reducing greenhouse emissions and consequently improving the carbon footprints. 
  • When you eat locally, you say hello to good health and well-being. Fruits and vegetables, including green beans, broccoli, tomatoes, kale, red peppers, and apricots are prone to nutrient loss when they travel long distances, so it’s always good to shop for these items locally. 
  • You’re supporting local farmers and shopkeepers. Take advantage of local green juice delivery to taste fresh, organic, pure juice, which will be far better than what you get at a supermarket. The idea is to support your local communities to help them strive and thrive while they continue to produce quality products.
  • It also eliminates the need for intermediaries from the supply chain, which benefits local farmers and business owners. When you purchase directly from farmers at the local farmer’s market, all the profit will go to them. 
  • When you buy from local producers, you’re contributing to the local economy. 

Tips for eating more locally

If you’re all set to turn into a locavore, here are a few tips that’ll help you find easy ways to eat locally.

Shop at your local farmer’s market 

Think of the last time you had freshly squeezed juice. With the availability of processed juice and other products, we’ve forgotten what new things taste like. This is precisely why you must go to your nearby farmer’s market. These markets often stock a wide assortment of colorful and vibrant seasonal fruits, freshly baked bread, and free-range meats. Shopping locally not only means getting fresh food at good prices, but it also allows you to meet people within your community. 

Have your own garden 

Trust us, it’s the best thing you can do for yourself. There’s nothing more local than growing your own herbs, fruits, and vegetables. You can choose the kind of plants you want to grow and nurture without artificial fertilizers. Plus, gardening is a healthy habit, which takes you closer to the earth.  

Become part of community-supported agriculture (CSA)

If visiting a farmer’s market looks like a lot, sign up for a CSA program that brings fresh produce to your doorstep weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, depending on the subscription plan. You can choose the food you want, such as dairy, poultry, and fresh produce while opting for the subscription plan. It works the same way as Chef V, which provides organic green drink delivery to your home. 

Grow with the season 

With the availability of cold storage units, you get access to all fruits and vegetables throughout the year, which isn’t a healthy choice for people turning toward a balanced lifestyle. The best idea is to try seasonal produce to enjoy the freshness and unbeatable quality. 

Look for farm-to-table restaurants 

Give up eating at a fast food restaurant that only serves processed or reheated food. Instead, try eating at a local farm-to-table restaurant. At some of these, you can witness how your meals are prepared, using fresh and locally procured ingredients. In fact, the menus are designed to let customers know how the meals are prepared and with what products. 

The bottom line 

Eating locally isn’t just a lifestyle. The philosophy ties you back to your local community through food. With simple steps like shopping at your local market or small businesses, you’re helping farmers, local producers, and their families continue producing the freshest and tastiest food. It also helps contribute to the economy and a healthy environment. 

So, the next time you search for a juice cleanse near me, give it a try at your local juicery, or you can visit Chef V, a platform serving organically produced green juices, plant-based food items, and protein shakes. Our specially curated detox plans help our clients meet their body goals. 

Warm Butternut Squash Salad

Warm butternut squash: this is a delicious fall treat for those first cool days that signal the end of summer. It’s also a hit at Thanksgiving dinner. It’s very filling and makes you feel warm inside even though it’s a salad. It’s also very healthy and vegan. – Veronica

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warm butternut salad

TOTAL 30 minutes

Serving Size: 2-4 people

Ingredients

Warm butternut squash

  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup diced sweet or yellow onion
  • 1 small butternut squash,
seeded and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups wild greens (arugula, spinach, or mixed herbs)
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds

Directions

Warm butternut squash: In a large non-stick pan, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and butternut squash. (The smaller the squash is diced the more quickly it will cook.) Sauté the squash and onions over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the squash is soft. Do not burn the squash or onions.

Add the garlic, nutmeg and thyme, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer the butternut squash to a bowl and stir in the cooked quinoa. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cool mixture in the refrigerator.

To serve, mix the dressing ingredients and drizzle over greens. Top with cooled butternut squash mix and garnish with pomegranate seeds. Serves 2-4.

Vegan vs. Vegetarian

Choosing a healthy lifestyle is always the best choice. But it’s important to be mindful of the diet you opt for because it needs to be compatible with your lifestyle, sync with your weight goals, and meet nutritional requirements. 

Some of you may think of going meat-free or giving up dairy products, which often motivates people to turn vegan or vegetarian. Please note that these lifestyles are different from each other; both may include giving up meat, but vegetarians consume dairy and other animal products in their diets whereas vegans don’t. 

Curious to know which one’s best for you? Should you turn vegan or still enjoy your cheese and take the vegetarian route? At Chef V, you’ll get all your answers as we briefly discuss vegan vs. vegetarian with their benefits and downsides. 

Vegan vs. vegetarian – What’s the difference? 

Let’s take a look at the difference between vegan and vegetarian.

Veganism

Veganism is a lifestyle that encourages you to give up all animal products, ranging from clothes to food items, in an attempt to save the climate and limit the exploitation of animals. It’s a lifestyle that motivates individuals to consume plant-based and dairy-free products, including whole fruits, seeds, nuts, legumes, beans, and vegetables.

More than for social reasons, people are opting for veganism or a vegan diet because of its varied health and wellness benefits. According to a 2022 report, Americans are turning vegan six times faster in 2022 than they did in 2014.  

As more and more people move toward veganism, the market is experiencing a change. Due to the increasing demand for vegan products, the global market for plant-based products is likely to grow by 12.95%. 

There are many vegan food options and alternatives that won’t let you miss your usual meat-based diet. There are vegan smoothies and burgers; you can also go for an organic juice cleanse diet and bake with plant-based ingredients, such as coconut milk and vegan meat.

Vegetarian 

A vegetarian diet excludes consuming meats, which include all animal flesh, seafood, or insects. Vegetarians may choose to only give up eating animal products but still wear materials made from their skins, such as leather jackets, wallets, or shoes. 

Vegetarian diets are mainly divided into three categories:

  • Lacto vegetarians: don’t consume meats, seafood, and eggs but do eat dairy products, including cheese, butter, and cow’s milk;
  • Ovo vegetarians: consume eggs but avoid dairy products and animal flesh; 
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarians: consume eggs and dairy products in a diet but avoid meat or meat products. 

Most of the 22% of the world’s population of vegetarians have opted for this lifestyle because of health-related factors. Conversely, only 1% of people actually turned to vegetarianism out of choice. 

To make the most of your vegetarian diet, add various nutritious foods, including vegetables, fruits, dairy, legumes and nuts. A well-planned diet helps keep you healthy and protected against common health-related problems. You can fulfill your daily intake of fiber from fruits, protein from lentils, and energy from nuts and seeds. 

The pros and cons of vegan and vegetarian diets

Benefits of a vegetarian and vegan diet

  • Research on dietary patterns and the heart shows the health benefits of a vegan and vegetarian diet. Individuals following these diets have low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and a healthy heart. 
  • When you consume a healthy diet containing whole fruits, nuts, and vegetables, you get all essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that protect you against common diseases and boost your immune system. 
  • Older research suggests a vegan diet can lower asthma symptoms. Apart from that, a vegetarian and vegan diet also boosts bone density and prevents type 2 diabetes in some individuals. 
  • Cutting down on meat or other animal products will help curb cruelty against animals and benefit the environment with low carbon emissions. 

Downsides of a vegan or vegetarian diet 

  • Most people following a vegan or vegetarian diet need to take vitamin B12 supplements to fulfill their daily vitamin B12 needs. The most significant source of B12 is seafood, including fish, sardines, and clams, but since vegetarians and vegans don’t consume animal flesh, they take medications or other substitutes to meet health requirements. 
  • The limited option for complete proteins is also a significant downside of a vegetarian diet. Complete proteins contain nine amino acids, which are rare in plant-based diets. You may need to add a variety of different proteins, such as legumes, lentils, and nuts to meet daily protein needs. 
  • Believe it or not, a vegan diet can also result in weight gain because you tend to eat more to meet your daily nutritional requirements, which is why you should always include a juice cleanse diet or intermittent fasting in your lifestyle while turning vegetarian or vegan. 
  • Going vegan is challenging; be aware of whether the food item is vegan or not before putting it on your grocery list. It requires a complete behavioral and consumer change, especially when new to the diet and philosophy. 

What works best for you? 

This mainly depends on your lifestyle, weight goals, and health requirements. The journey will be tough if you eat meat and want to give it up to become vegan or vegetarian. Plan things accordingly to deal with cravings, find substitutes for favorite dishes and how you can accommodate the change in lifestyle. 

Both vegan vs. vegetarian are lifestyle choices, and both do wonders for your health by encouraging you to eat healthily and focus on your overall well-being. You can always move back to your standard diet if things don’t go according to plan or expectation. You just need to take that one step toward a healthy lifestyle.

Learn more about this on Chef V, a platform that helps you achieve your body goals. We offer multiple juice cleanses, ranging from one day to 21-day detox challenges to take you a step closer to a healthy lifestyle. 

Plant Based Protein Vs Plant-Based Meat

If you need a detox and digestion makeover, “V” encourages a pretty strict plant-based diet. That’s because meat is hard to digest and if your digestion is sluggish you should give it a rest.

But that doesn’t mean you should be eating vegan fast food burgers every day. There’s a big difference between plant-based meat and plant-based proteins. In fact, eating mock meat may be worse for your health than regular meat. Instead, find out what the healthiest plant-based proteins are…

Plant-Based Meats Vs Regular Meat

Which type of protein does your body absorb more of: plant-based meats like the Impossible Burger or regular meat such as beef or chicken?

The surprising answer is regular meat.

A recent study, published June 22, 2022 in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry compared protein absorption from plant-based (fake) chicken with regular chicken. And what they found was that plant-based protein was absorbed less during a test-tube simulation of digestion than protein from chicken.

The plant-based chicken was made from soy and wheat gluten. Those are two big strikes against your health right there. That’s because soy and gluten are two of the biggest food allergy triggers.

Consuming lots of soy can not only bloat your tummy if you’re sensitive to it. It can also cause estrogen dominance in pre-menopausal women.

That means that there’s an imbalance of sex hormones caused by too much soy, which is a phytoestrogen (an estrogen found in plants). A little bit of fermented soy in miso soup is healthy. But I highly recommend avoiding processed soy if you’re looking to improve your digestion and detoxify your body.

And as for wheat gluten, well, we all know how that can trigger major inflammation in the body.

Getting back to the fake meat vs. regular meat study…

Another problem associated with the lower absorption rate of plant-based meat is that it contains antinutrients like phytates. Phytates interfere with mineral uptake by the cells. The problem with phytates is that they bind to nutrients like iron, zinc and calcium. And not only does it block the absorption of these minerals, antinutrients like phytates also interfere with the digestion of other starches and proteins that you eat.

OK, but what about other plant-based meats? Might they be healthier than the fake chicken used in the study.

Unfortunately, not really. A study in the journal, Nutrients suggested that the nutritional benefit of plant-based MEAT is minimal. In fact, according to SciTechDaily, which summarized the study, “Diets that substituted animal products with the plant-based alternative were below the daily recommendations for vitamin B12, calcium, potassium, zinc and magnesium, and higher in sodium, sugar, and saturated fat.”

Plant-Based Meat Doesn’t Mean Healthy

The moral of the story here is, just like gluten-free doesn’t mean healthy (gluten-free chips, gluten-free crackers, gluten-free pizza), plant-based meat doesn’t mean it’s healthy. In fact, a strong case could be made that grass-fed, grass-finished beef grown on a regenerative farm is way healthier than an Impossible Burger.

But what to do if you want to take a break from meat for a little while in order to reboot your digestive system?

The answer is to focus on plant-based proteins that are 100% natural. Out of the 20 amino acids that form all the proteins in your body, nine of them are considered essential. The problem with plant-based proteins is that they don’t always contain all 9 essential amino acids. But some of them do. Here are the ones I like the best:

  • Nutritional yeast
  • Quinoa
  • Hemp seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Tempeh (a fermented, healthy soy)
  • Spirulina

In addition, you can combine veggie proteins to get all 9 nine essential amino acids.

The most famous combo is beans and rice. But just make sure you eat beans that are soaked overnight in water to remove the antinutrients I talked about earlier.

Other plant-based protein combos include:

  • Tahini or hummus with whole wheat
  • Broccoli with whole grain pasta
  • Oatmeal with almond butter

Eat “Real” Plant-Based Food 99% Of The Time

This article isn’t meant to be a crusade against meat. Well, maybe against factory-farmed meat. A small amount of high-quality, organic meat can be part of a healthy diet.

But if you want a do-over for your digestive system, skip breakfast, do intermittent fasting, break your fast with Organic Green Drink and get your protein from real (not lab-produced) plant-based foods.

To your health,

V

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