Tag: chef v

Raw Cucumber + Avocado Gazpacho

Cool and creamy, soups are a great way to start a meal, but are also awesome as a main course. 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.

raw cucumber + avocado gazpacho

TOTAL TIME: 15 min

SERVES 2-4

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 2 cups filtered ice water
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • OPTIONAL TOPPINGS
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Fresh chopped chives
  • Cucumber slices

Directions

Refrigerate all the ingredients overnight. Peel and seed the avocado and peel the cucumber and garlic.

Place all the cold ingredients in a Vitamix and process until smooth.

The colder the ingredients are, the less foam there will be. Serve cold and top with chopped tomatoes for a bright pop of flavor.

Eat This, Not That … In The Summer

Veronica slicing cucumber

Are you stoked to finally be able to gather with friends and family this summer? You should be. After the summer of 2020 deprived many of us of pool parties, backyard barbecues and trips to the ice cream store, we should have a newfound appreciation for these favorite summer pastimes. 

I don’t blame you for celebrating life to the fullest. But before you party with reckless abandon this summer, there’s a danger posed to your health with every summertime gathering. No, I’m not referring to the C-virus; there’s already enough media attention surrounding that … you don’t need to hear it from me, too. 

The danger I’m talking about isn’t potentially lethal like the C-virus, but it can cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and other unpleasant symptoms better left unspoken at the dinner table. And I’m not talking about the side effects of partying too much. Obviously, chugging beers by the pool under the blazing sun can make you feel like you’re dying. 

traditional Chinese Medicine

Worst Foods To Eat In Summer

What I’m talking about is a 5,000 year-old concept from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It’s called Damp Heat. What does an esoteric ancient philosophy from the Orient have to do with grilling it up in your backyard with friends? 

You see, eating fatty, greasy food isn’t a recent health problem. Thousands of years ago, ancient Chinese enjoyed finger-lickin’ good pork, sometimes to excess. The ancient Chinese philosophers and doctors of their day noticed that just as the air outside can be hot and sticky, eating and drinking certain things in excess can create heat and dampness in the body. 

Not to get too textbook-y here, but the basic theory of Dampness in TCM is that it occurs when there’s too much moisture or water trapped in the body. Anybody who feels like they have swollen extremities (edema) can relate. 

Unfortunately, many of the most common foods and drinks people have in the summer can create excess Damp and Heat in the body. The offenders include: 

  • Dairy (ice cream)
  • Grilled meats (barbecue)
  • Alcohol (beer)
  • Added sugars 
  • Ice-cold drinks

Am I saying you should never have ice cream? No, I’m not that puritanical of a certified nutrition therapist. But what I am recommending is that the next time you get invited to a backyard gathering, don’t have ice cream and 3 beers and 3 burgers. As always, moderation is the key. 

Another thing that Chinese medicine textbooks say to avoid in the summer is lots of raw food like salads. Wait, what? Aren’t salads super healthy and really desirable this time of year? Well, for starters, I sure eat a ton of salads and my digestion is fine. 

But the reason you’re not supposed to eat lots of uncooked veggies, according to the theory, is that it requires a lot of energy for your Spleen organ system to process. In Chinese medicine, the Spleen is the organ that’s responsible for transforming nutrients into usable energy. No double pun intended, but this is an instance where I go with my gut and throw theory to the wind.

summer vegetables

Best Foods To Eat In Summer

Yes, I’m totally throwing salads on this list, despite what traditional Chinese medicine theory says. But by all means, if you notice that after you have a big salad that your digestion is off, maybe dial it down and have a much smaller one. And start taking digestive enzymes.

Here’s some other foods I love to feast on this time of year:

  • Berries (I top them on my salads)
  • Avocado and guacamole
  • Corn (Buy organic; over 90% of the conventional corn grown in the USA is genetically-modified.)
  • Zucchini
  • Melons
  • Cucumber
  • Asparagus
  • String beans
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes
  • Spinach and other leafy greens (I drink leafy greens every morning doing this.)
  • Apricots
  • Quinoa
  • Other low-starch grains
  • Lean fish like mahi-mahi, poke, sashimi
  • Eggplant (Want to get your barbecue on, plant-based style? Grilled eggplant is one of my faves.)
  • Mango (My go-to healthy dessert; I’m only human so sometimes I top it with whipped cream; whipped coconut cream that is!)

Any seasonal fruit and veggie should be high on your list of foods to eat this time of year. Support small family farms by shopping at local farmer’s markets. 

And make sure you don’t overdo it by eating typical summertime unhealthy foods. Not only does barbecued meat have the potential to cause Damp Heat in the body, it also produces Advanced Glycation End (AGE) products in the body. “AGE” is a very appropriate acronym because having lots of AGE products causes premature aging. 

To a happy, healthy summer!

Chef V and tropical green drink

Creamy Avocado Dressing

Chef V’s tip: Most of my salads are delicious with my Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette or Creamy Avocado Dressing. Use these on any salads unless otherwise specified.

creamy avocado dressing

TOTAL TIME: 10 min

SERVES 4-6

Ingredients

1 large ripe avocado
1/2 small white onion, minced or grated
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 small lime, juiced
1 tablespoon cold-pressed-olive oil or avocado oil
1 teaspoon sea salt

Directions

Process all ingredients in a Vitamix until smooth and well combined. Serve immediately.

Berry Blast

Chef V’s Tip: want to get more calcium into your diet? Look no further! My Berry Blast is chock full of calcium from sources you may not know –  almonds (from my raw almond milk), chia seeds, and flaxseeds. Calcium is essential for a healthy heart, bones, blood, and more.

berry blast

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Serving Size: 1 person

Ingredients

1 cup Chef V’s Raw Almond Milk or coconut milk
1/2 Fuji apple, cored and seeded
1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 teaspoon raw chia seeds
1 teaspoon raw flax seeds
1 cup ice
1 tablespoon vegan protein powder, optional

Directions

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

Creamy Berry Parfait

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.

creamy berry parfait

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Serving Size: 2-4 people

Ingredients

Nut Mix

1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 raw sunflower seeds
1/4 raw flaxseeds

Raw Cashew Vanilla Cream

1 cup raw cashews, soaked and drained
1/4 to 1/2 filtered water
1 tablespoon raw coconut
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch sea salt

Berries

1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh raspberries

Directions

Combine all the nut mix ingredients in a bowl. Next, process the Raw Cashew Vanilla Cream ingredients in a Vitamix until smooth and creamy.
To serve, assemble the parfait in a mason jar or clear glass:
Step 1 : Place 1/2 of nuts on the bottom;
Step 2: Sprinkle 1/2 of the berries over the nuts;
Step 3: Spoon the cashew cream over the top;
Step 4: Sprinkle the remaining nuts over the cream;
Step 5: Garnish with remaining berries.
For easy breakfast planning, my Raw Cashew Vanilla Cream recipe can easily be doubled and will keep for up to a week refrigerated.

What’s Fueling The TikTok Chlorophyll Trend?

chlorophyll

Drinking liquid chlorophyll is one of the hottest trends right now. And we have TikTok to thank for it.

The short form viral video app hosts dozens of videos showing people — mostly young women in their early 20s—sipping on green water, swearing that liquid chlorophyll cures all.

The majority of the liquid chlorophyll Tik Tok videos claim how the drops are amazing for the skin. Other TikTok users swear by it for weight loss, and pretty much every health concern under the sun.

In this post, I’ll explain what chlorophyll is, its benefits, and I’ll weigh in on whether or not I think it’s worth it to drink liquid chlorophyll…

First off, let me just say that it’s actually kind of refreshing to see young women fueling a health trend. While I’m not jumping on the liquid chlorophyll bandwagon just yet (I’ll explain why below), adding chlorophyll drops to your water is for sure waaaaay healthier than vaping, which is pretty much the only other trend I’m familiar with when it comes to late teens.

What Is Chlorophyll?

Remember learning about photosynthesis in school?

If not, no worries, I’ll catch you up to speed…

Photosynthesis is a chemical process. Plants use a green colored pigment—chlorophyll—to trap sunlight. Carbon dioxide and water are synthesized from sunlight to nourish the plants. In essence, photosynthesis is the transfer of energy from the sun to plants.

Chlorophyll helps plants create sugar molecules. Without chlorophyll, plants wouldn’t provide us with phytonutrient-rich, health-supporting food. It’s no wonder that some people refer to it as “plant blood.” In fact, chlorophyll, when viewed through a microscope, looks very similar to human red blood cells!

My sixth-grade chemistry teacher would probably give me a “C minus” at best for that clunky explanation. But that’s really all you need to know about chlorophyll. To sum up: it’s a pigment that gives plants their green color and abundant micronutrients.

If that’s the case then you should definitely stop reading this article right now and purchase liquid chlorophyll, right? Well, not exactly. I’ll explain why in a little bit.

avocados for brain health

Benefits of Chlorophyll

One plant that’s really rich in the green pigment is wheatgrass. Some people can’t stomach the taste of wheatgrass shots because, well, it tastes like grass. Chlorophyll makes up approximately 70% of the solid content of wheatgrass.

In lab studies, wheatgrass has been shown to reduce oxidative damage in cells. If there’s too much oxidation in your cells, you age prematurely. There have also been studies on people showing that wheatgrass helps reduce the side effects of chemotherapy.

Wheatgrass has also been shown to lessen the severity of several chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis. Chlorophyll-rich foods and drinks like wheatgrass may also help improve metabolic disorders like diabetes and obesity.

The problem with wheatgrass, besides the grassy taste, is that you need a wheatgrass juicer at home to use it on a consistent basis. Plus, you also need to have a steady supply of the grass.

And that brings us back to the TikTok sensation…

melted cheese

Benefits of Liquid Chlorophyll

Squirting a few drops from a bottle into a glass of water is far easier than the messy hassle of wheatgrass shots.

But are the liquid drops the same as the green pigment in its natural form?

No, liquid chlorophyll is not the same as chlorophyll naturally found in plants.

The liquid drops are synthetic. (Synthetic chlorophyll is called chlorophyllin.) But that doesn’t mean that all these TikTok users are wasting their money or even harming their health.

In fact, liquid chlorophyll, just like natural chlorophyll found in whole plants, may help activate enzymes that play a role in eliminating toxins.

So could it be that the skin benefits many TikTok users are experiencing are from liquid chlorophyll?

It could be. Put it this way. If your diet isn’t exactly wholesome to begin with, adding an alkalizing, anti-inflammatory substance that’s rich in vitamins A, C, E, K and magnesium to your diet could very well seem like a miracle.

Another benefit of liquid chlorophyll is that it builds red blood cells. If you’re going, say, on a ski trip or hiking adventure to a high-altitude destination, chlorophyll drops may come in handy.

But it takes a good 2-3 weeks to build red blood cells so make sure you start using it well in advance of your trip. The copper in liquid chlorophyll drops is highly-concentrated. You need copper (and iron) to form red blood cells. Eating a salad every day isn’t enough to combat the effects of high-altitude sickness.

When it comes to preparing for a high-altitude trip (in my book that’s 9,000 feet or higher), I might consider taking liquid chlorophyll drops.

Side Effects of Liquid Chlorophyll

If green poop grosses you out, lay off the liquid drops. Aside from discoloration of stool, overdoing it on the drops can lead to diarrhea. But the only other serious concern of chlorophyll supplements is that, just like any other health supplement, it’s hard to know how much of it your body is actually digesting and absorbing.

Is Liquid Chlorophyll Worth Buying?

Aside from preparing for a high-altitude trip, no, I don’t think liquid chlorophyll supplements are necessary. Not if you’re eating plenty of whole-food green leafy veggies or having a daily dose of organic Green Drinks.

Best Natural Sources of Chlorophyll

Edible seaweed and superfood powders are excellent natural chlorophyll sources. Superfood powders often contain spirulina, chlorella, or some other combination of blue-green algae. Edible seaweeds include nori (sushi roll wraps), wakame (in miso soup), kombu (found in ramen), dulse flakes and Irish moss.

But I prefer whole foods every time, and that means eating lots of veggies, especially green-leafy ones.

Kale is one of the best sources of chlorophyll. So is parsley, collard greens, chard, and dandelion greens. Organic Green Drink contains these chlorophyll-rich green leafy veggies. And the best part is you can have it delivered right to your home. No messy juicer needed!

So young TikTokers, good on ya for doing something healthy. But make sure you get plenty of whole-food fruits and veggies in your diet. Oh, listen to me, I sound like a mom!

Chef V and kale

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette Dressing

Chef V’s Tip: Most of my salads are delicious with my Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette or Creamy Avocado Dressing. Use these on any salads unless otherwise specified. Dressings serve 4-6. – Veronica

creamy avocado dressing

TOTAL TIME: 10 min

SERVES 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons cold-pressed olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cold filtered water

Directions

For Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette, process all ingredients in a Vitamix until smooth and well combined. Will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Shake well before each use.

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.

Chef V Raw Mayonnaise

Sometimes you just need a luscious rich tasting spread – so I created this cashew-based mayo. Easy to prepare, you can use it in dressings, dips, on a sandwich, anywhere you want that mayonnaise experience – only healthier. – Veronica

raw mayonaise

TOTAL 10 minutes

Serving Size: 1 Person

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews, washed and drained (pre-soaked 1 hour)
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • ¼ cup of lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. of lemon zest
  • ½ tsp. organic sea salt to taste
  • 1 tsp. raw coconut sugar

Directions

Blend mayo ingredients together in a Vitamix or food processor.

How To Prevent Food Poisoning (From Food & People)

how to prevent food poisoning

The news cycle moves at warp speed so you may not remember that recently I wrote about why I don’t include romaine lettuce in my Organic Green Drinks.

In case you missed it, let me sum up: more than any other green leafy veggie, romaine is the most susceptible to e. coli poisoning.

If you want to keep your gut healthy, don’t buy store bought bagged lettuce. It’s like playing Russian roulette with your immune system. Instead, try growing your own.

But eating contaminated food isn’t the only way you can get sick. In fact, not to freak you out or anything but a recent Consumer Reports article says many people “caught” food poisoning not from the romaine, but from people who ate it.

I wanted to share with you some tips from the article on how not to “catch food poisoning.”

food poisoning bacteria

Hand Sanitizer vs Hand Washing: Which Is Better

If you’re on a cruise, definitely use hand sanitizer whenever possible. Norovirus is a disease caused by food contamination. It most often occurs when you’re shacking up in close quarters to other people.

But when you’re on land, hand sanitizers are overrated. They don’t kill all the bad germs. You’re better off just washing your hands with soap and warm water for about 20 seconds.

And definitely don’t ever use antibacterial soap. It weakens your immune system. You see, you want your hands to be clean. But not too clean. You want your immune system to “exercise” by being exposed to and fighting pathogens. Antibacterial soap also kills your good bacteria. Another concern about antibacterial soap is the potentially cancer-causing chemical, triclosan. Triclosan can also make you more vulnerable to developing allergies.

I prefer to use natural products whenever possible. That’s why I use Dr. Bronner’s hand sanitizer. You can also make your own natural hand sanitizer using a blend of essential oils. To make one, you’ll need a carrier oil like coconut or jojoba. A few of the best essential oil sanitizers are lemon, tea tree, and orange. You can also add some aloe vera oil.

But if you do want to protect yourself with commercial sanitizer, get one that’s alcohol-based and contains at least 60 percent alcohol (ethanol or isopropanol). Any less and it won’t kill all the bad germs.

food poisoning good bad flora

Opening and Closing Doors

Let’s say you’re a good boy or girl and you just went potty in a public bathroom and washed your hands with warm water for 20 seconds.

You’re feeling all high and mighty about your sanitary practices and open the door to go back to your table at the restaurant. But what if the person who just went to the bathroom before you didn’t wash their hands? And what if they have a food-borne illness that’s brewing but not yet fully developed? That person just grabbed the metal door handle and you just touched it.

So whenever you have to open a metal door, even if it’s right after washing your hands, use a paper towel. Even better, to be more environmentally friendly, tear off a small extra piece of toilet paper to open the door. If you have to touch a metal surface like a door handle or railing, make sure you sanitize your hands afterwards and definitely do not touch your eyes or nose with your hands before doing so.

Sorry if it seems like I’m being your mommy. I’m sure you don’t need me to remind you to wash your hands. You’re probably doing that already.

But keep in mind that 2018’s e. coli outbreak was the deadliest in decades. About 200 people got sick and 5 people died.

Some of the people who got sick didn’t eat the contaminated romaine. Rather, they became ill by somehow being in contact with people who ate the bad romaine.

Now I hope you’re not eating while you’re reading this. Because what I’m about to tell you is gross: E. coli can be transmitted through the tiniest piece of poop. All it takes is a trace amount, a microscopic, nano-poop-particle, to both become sick with food poisoning or to infect someone else.

See why I’m preaching hand washing in this post?

True, I might be slightly nagging like a good-intentioned mama. But I do care about my follower’s health and wellness….

Preventing Food Poisoning: Conclusion

Again, sorry if I seem a bit over cautious. I don’t want you to live in fear. Eat, drink and be merry! (In moderation, of course.)

But don’t forget this sage sanitary advice to prevent food poisoning.

Keep in mind the stronger your immune system is, the lower your chance of getting sick from contaminated food. Of course, if you’re on a trip to a foreign country and drink water with bacteria your system isn’t used to, you may get a touch of traveller’s belly. That’s why you should carry a potent probiotic with you.

The strain, “Saccharomyces boulardii” is a great one. It’s a tropical species of yeast that’s naturally found in lychee and mangosteen fruit. Buy it and bring it with you for overseas trips. If you get the “D word” (it’s so nasty, I don’t even like spelling it out) from eating or drinking, it can help. I actually recommend taking it as a preventative. You can take it for several months in a row without side effects.

And don’t forget to feed the good bacteria in your gut with “prebiotics.” Prebiotics are non-digestible fibers. They are what the bacteria in your gut love to chomp on.

Know what’s a great source of prebiotic fiber for your gut? Green leafy veggies. My Organic Green Drinks contain 7 green leafy veggies. It’s the perfect way to start the day and make your belly bacteria happy. And a happy belly means a strong immune system.

To your health….

Chef V

Chef V and tropical green drink

Go With Your Gut: 3 Ways to keep your microbiome healthy

your microbiome

Scientists say that the state of our gut is vital to good health and influences our ability to lose weight. Each of us have a “microbiome” in our belly – our own set of bacteria. Staying mindful of the impact of what we eat on our gut and following a healthy diet  has a huge impact on how we feel. The good news is that most of the bugs in your gut are friendly. But when the bad ones start multiplying, that’s when your skin and digestion can suffer. Here’s 3 things you need to know about your microbiome.

It’s kind of creepy when you think about the fact that there are about 100 trillion bugs (bacteria) in the human gut.

Imagine looking under a microscope and seeing all those critters swimming around in your belly, enjoying a buffet of the food that’s in your gastrointestinal tract.

If you think you’re human, think again. We’re actually more bacteria than we are human. In fact, your body has at least 10 times more living organisms in your gut alone than your whole body has human cells.

your microbiome - bacteria

1. Your Gut controls your health – understand it.

Think about that. All the cells that make you, well, you, including skin cells, bone cells, and muscle cells, all over your body is tiny in comparison to the number of bacteria that’s living inside of you. Scientists consider your gut so important that they call it your “second brain”.

The good news is that the majority of the bacteria in your gut is friendly. Friendly microbes play an important part of your immune system.

But because of several factors including genetics, antibiotic use and lifestyle choices (poor diet), you may have too many unfriendly bacteria.

Researchers just a relative blink of an eye ago have discovered that the bugs in your gut more than anything else including diet and exercise determine your health.

For example, we now know that obesity isn’t just linked to eating too many calories and junk food. It’s also a consequence of lacking certain beneficial bacteria. (Want to read more on this topic? Here’s a good article.)

weight and your microbiome

image courtesy Custom Probiotics Inc

The Gut Health Overall Health Connection

In addition to the examples of the overall connection between bacteria in the gut and overall health, here’s another one: joint pain.

It used to be assumed that joint pain was a result of simple wear and tear. But now, researchers believe that the bacteria in your gut can determine whether or not you develop osteoporosis and other joint disorders.

The bugs in your gut can also determine how healthy your blood vessels are and whether or not you’ll develop hardening in your arteries.

Moreover, all kinds of inflammatory disorders such as autoimmune disease and cancers of the GI tract may be caused by poor gut health.

Your mood can also be directly related to your gut bacteria. Anxiety and depression may not only be the result of circumstantial, external factors, but also because of your internal environment.

As you can see, having a diverse amount of good bacteria is perhaps the biggest influencer of  overall health. Gut health can even determine skin health.

If you spend a lot of time and money on skin care products, perhaps you need to rethink your skin care regimen entirely. That’s because poor skin, from excessive dryness to acne and other skin conditions can be traced to what’s inside your gut.

skin health and your microbiome

2. Feed Your Gut Good Stuff – Probiotics & Green Drink

But if genetics is a major determining factor in your bacteria portfolio, is there anything that can be done to change what’s inside your gut?

The good news is there are a few simple things you can do to boost the number of beneficial bacteria.

For starters, if you’re not taking a probiotic supplement, buy one today and start taking it every day. It should contain at least 10 billion colony forming units (CFUs) per serving (usually one or two capsules).

Like any other supplement, not all probiotics are created equal. If you buy a cheap one from Rite Aid it might not be effective. Do some research before you buy.

Another easy thing you can do to improve your gut health is having 16 oz of my Green Drink every morning. Good bacteria love to feast on the seven certified organic green leafy veggies in my Green Drink. The veggies contain prebiotic fibers. You can think of prebiotics as food for probiotics (good bacteria).

You can take the most expensive probiotic supplement in the world, but if you’re not feeding the good bacteria with prebiotics, they’re not going to flourish and multiply and colonize your gut.

Which is why if you haven’t been eating healthy lately, I also recommend doing a Chef V Cleanse. With a Chef V Cleanse, you get four Green Drinks per day plus a detox soup for dinner and two vegan protein shakes in between. The soup and shakes also are loaded with prebiotic fuel to stimulate beneficial bacteria in your gut.

probiotic

3. You can reset your Gut Health with a Detox

Diet is crucial for gut health. Even if you eat a large salad with organic veggies every day, if you’re also drinking beer and eating bread and other foods that are rich in either white or wheat flour, your good bacteria won’t flourish.

That’s because drinking beer and eating baked goods causes yeast overgrowth in the gut. Too much yeast results in the good bacteria not being able to do its job effective of protecting your immune system and fighting inflammation.

Bloated belly, foggy brain, chronic congestion and indigestion … all these are symptoms of poor gut health. And yeast overgrowth (especially from the species, candida albicans) is often the culprit.

If you need a longer digestive system overhaul that will keep the yeast at bay, I recommend trying my 21 day detox challenge. It’s easy to follow. I provide all the coaching and instruction you’ll need to easily finish it through, and give your gut the fuel it needs to populate good bacteria.

After your 21 day detox is over, you won’t be tempted by eating yeasty, sugary foods again. And I’ll teach you what to eat after the detox is over to ensure that your success will carry over and your good gut bacteria will thrive.

In the meantime, to boost the friendly bacteria in the gut, you can also eat foods that are rich in probiotics. Drinking kombucha is an easy way to get some probiotics. So, too, is eating fermented foods  like kimchi (Korean cabbage), tempeh and sauerkraut. If you happen to live in a town with good farmers markets, look for stands that sell fermented foods and drinks.

Here’s to your (gut) health….

Love,

Chef V

21 day detox from Chef V

Do You Have a Parasite in Your Gut? How to Kill it

gut parasites

How To Kill Parasites In Your Gut The Natural Way

Got a freeloader living in your gut? If you have been diagnosed with parasites, is it possible to kill them off with natural ingredients? Keep reading to find out…

It’s got to be one of the most embarrassing and self-deflating situations: You’re shopping in the supermarket when all of a sudden a stranger asks, “How far along are you?” 

The problem is that you’re not pregnant. But your belly looks like you could be two or three months along in the prenatal journey. 

For some of the 60 million people(!) in the U.S. that, according to the CDC, are living with toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection, a chronically-bloated belly isn’t the only concern. 

gut parasite

Top Signs You May Have a Parasite

Parasites can also cause brain fog, skin problems, constant fatigue, muscle pain, an itchy anus, frequent hunger and a long laundry list of digestive issues. 

Another nearly 4 million people, says the CDC, have a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by another parasitic infection called trichomoniasis, or trich for short. And here’s another scary stat from the CDC: More than 14 percent of people in the U.S. are exposed to the roundworm parasite that lives in the intestines of dogs that causes toxocariasis.

Sorry, Coconut (my 4-year old four-legged furry pet child): I just don’t know if I can look at you the same way for the next couple days after learning that. But thank God for heartworm pills!

gut health - Coconut and roundworm

Parasites: Not Just A Problem in Poorer Countries

I admit that I thought parasites were mostly something people picked up by visiting a developing nation in the tropics, where hot, damp and humid conditions are rife for all kinds of creepy microorganisms. 

But clearly, there are many among us right here in the good ol’ USA who are walking buffets for parasites. Now, I’m not intentionally trying to scare you; lord knows we have enough things right now to worry about. The good news is that if you have a healthy immune system, your body will be able to prevent parasites from taking up residence in your intestines and stealing your vital nutrients. 

However, thousands of people each year succumb to parasites, mainly by eating or drinking contaminated food and beverages. 

And if that’s you, natural ingredients may help…

natural remedies dried herbs

Treat Parasites Without Medication?

Unfortunately, many symptoms of parasitic infection mirror those of digestive disorders. The only way to know for sure if you have a parasite is by getting your stool tested. Another bummer when it comes to parasitic infections is that stool samples don’t always detect parasites, even when there is one. Far and away, the best stool sample analysis for detecting parasites, says the CDC is the ‘Wheatley method trichrome staining technique.’

If you have a parasitic infection confirmed, your doctor will likely recommend taking a prescription medication for the specific parasite.

Taking medication probably is the quickest way to eradicate the infection. But they don’t always work. Parasites are notoriously difficult to completely wipe out. And if your immune system is compromised and your gut microbiome doesn’t have enough friendly bacteria, there’s a good chance the parasite could re-emerge bigger and badder than before.

Some people would rather go about treating parasites (and candida, which is an overgrowth of a yeast fungus; technically it’s not a parasite) with natural remedies. If that’s you, the best ingredients that are backed by at least some decent research include:

  • Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE)
  • Aged garlic extract
  • Oregano oil
  • Black walnut
  • Clove oil

gut parasites remedies- grapefruit and garlic oils

There’s one more natural antiparasitic ingredient I’d like to mention. And that’s Pau D’Arco, which is the Portugese name for ‘lapacho,’ the bark from a tree found in South America, including the Amazonian rainforest. Pau D’Arco is actually a natural anti-bacterial.

If you have a parasite, your doctor may want you to also take an antibiotic just in case you also have a bacterial infection. But antibiotic medications wipe out all the good bugs in your gut. This weakens your immune system, making conditions more likely for the parasite to grow.

Pau D' Arco tree

Eat This, Not That … For Parasites

So what are the best foods to eat for killing parasites? Well, let’s start with the worst thing to consume if you have a parasitic infection: sugar. And I’m not just talking about the added grams that come from soda, snacks and the like. You also should avoid starchy foods that easily convert into sugar like white rice, white flour, wheat flour and high starch carbs like mashed potatoes.

According to Mount Sinai of New York, raw garlic, pumpkin seeds, pomegranates, beets, carrots and a mixture of honey and papaya seeds may be beneficial for killing parasites. And don’t forget to use herbal remedies such as wormwood, barberry, goldenseal, oregon grape, anise and garlic. Mount Sinai adds that homeopathic remedies may also help.

Make sure you also support your liver’s detoxification pathways. One great way to do that is with Chef V’s Cleanse or 21 Day Detox.

Conclusion

Well, I hope a parasite isn’t to blame for what’s bugging you. But if a lab test reveals that you indeed have one, don’t despair. You can kill it and come out the other side stronger than ever.

What Is Leaky Gut & Do You Have It?

leaky gut

Leaky anything never sounds good: Pipes. Faucet. Radiator. Can you think of a situation where leaking is a good thing? I can’t think of one. The worst leak of all, one that affects millions of people’s health and happiness is leaky gut. 

How Do You Fix Leaky Gut?

Fixing a leaky gut isn’t easy and it takes time. Unlike calling a plumber, you can’t call a GI handyman to fix it fast. This is especially true if you’ve been experiencing the above symptoms for many years. 

The first step in conquering leaky gut is to stop it from leaking more. And to do that, you need to stop eating and drinking things that will continue to weaken it. For this, I recommend two options. The more accurate but more expensive way is to get a food sensitivity blood test. That takes the guesswork out. If you want to go the cheaper but longer route, follow an elimination diet. That’s where you avoid all potential allergenic foods like gluten for at least 4 weeks and then reintroduce them one by one to see if you have any allergy symptoms. 

There are certain foods like bone broth and collagen protein that may actually help repair the gut lining. But you can’t just sip a cup of bone broth and continue eating allergenic foods expecting miracles. 

As a certified nutrition therapist, I wish I could work one on one with you to help repair your gut. But one recommendation I have for you—besides replacing the typical American breakfast every day with my Organic Green Drink—is working with a functional medicine doctor or naturopathic doctor. Through diagnostic testing and supplement recommendations, these natural health experts can help you overcome leaky gut and get you living your best life. It’ll cost a pretty penny but isn’t looking and feeling your best worth it?

Gut: Not The Same As Belly

You’ve probably heard of leaky gut but aren’t quite sure what it means. In order to understand what leaky gut is, it’s important to first understand what the gut refers to. 

Many people think the gut is the stomach or abdomen. But your belly is just a small part of your gut. Your gut, or gastrointestinal (GI) tract actually begins in your mouth. Digestion begins even before you take the first bite of food. When you so much as look at or even smell what you’re about to eat or drink, saliva starts forming, ready to soften food for transit down the digestive tract. Eventually, what you eat is eliminated through your backside, which is where the gut ends. 

So now that you have a clear definition of what the gut is, let’s focus on a specific area of the gut that heavily influences your immune system, mood and overall health… 

Your intestines are home to trillions of bacteria. It’s also here that 80% of your immune cells reside. Some people believe that in order to have strong digestion, you need a strong stomach. But actually, the part of your body that has the most influence on your health is called the intestinal mucosal barrier. 

stomach mucosa - leaky gut

The Mucosal Barrier & Gut Health

Years ago, when I first heard the term mucosal barrier, I was kind of grossed out. When you hear the word mucus what do you think of? Disgusting runny noses, right? But it turns out that mucus is one of your best friends. Your intestines are lined with a mucosal barrier. This barrier protects you from potentially-disease-causing pathogens like harmful bacteria, viruses, fungus, etc. In addition, the barrier interacts with immune cells, absorb nutrients and is also responsible for directing waste out of the body. 

Your mucosal barrier is lined by epithelial cells. A healthy mucosal barrier has tight junctions between the cells. 

Leaky Gut Explained

So here’s where we get to leaky gut. Because of several reasons I’ll mention in just a sec, the tight junction can weaken over time. And when this thin intestinal mucosal wall leaks now you have a leaky gut. What exactly is leaked? Undigested food particles, toxins and microorganisms (bacteria, etc.). 

leaky gut

What Happens When You Have Leaky Gut?

Bad things. Autoimmune disorders can arise. A weak gut lining can cause rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and other imbalances in which the body attacks itself. 

Why does the body attack itself? It’s because when these undigested food particles, toxins and bacteria flow unimpeded through the bloodstream, the immune system mounts a defense and tries to destroy them. This creates a high inflammation response in the body, leading to painful joints, skin and digestion problems and more…

Why Hasn’t My Doctor Told Me About Leaky Gut?

Because leaky gut isn’t an officially recognized medical disorder. The closest thing to it is “intestinal permeability.” But in order to get diagnosed with that, you need to undergo a biopsy, in which a slice of your intestinal tissue is removed. 

There is a bit of a chicken and egg scenario with leaky gut. Did the weakening of the mucosal barrier cause an autoimmune disease or is it the other way around? 

I’m convinced that because of various factors, leaky gut causes inflammatory conditions, not the other way around. 

probiotics

Symptoms of Leaky Gut

You don’t have to have an autoimmune disorder to have a leaky gut. Other signs that your intestinal wall has gotten weaker include:

  • Brain fog
  • Constipation
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling cold
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Acne, eczema and rashes
  • Anxiety and depression

Causes Of Leaky Gut

If you have any of the above symptoms do you relate to any of the following causes? 

  • Frequent antibiotic use
  • Gut dysbiosis (not having enough friendly bacteria, having too many harmful bacteria)
  • Chronic stress 
  • Exposure to harmful chemicals like glyphosate
  • Excess alcohol
  • Consuming too much sugar
  • Eating foods to which you are allergic or sensitive, e.g. gluten, dairy. (This is also a chicken or egg question: are you allergic because of leaky gut or did leaky gut cause the allergy? Hmmm.)

There are other causes of leaky gut but these are by far the most common. 

Red White & Blue Popsicles

Little ones will love these frozen summer Red White and Blue Popsicle treats. Use coconut yogurt, fresh fruit, and natural non-sucrose sweeteners to make them happy without making them wild with the sugar crazies! – Veronica

red white & blue popsicles

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 oz. So Delicious Coconut Yogurt (original, unsweetened)
  • ½ cup organic coconut or almond milk (original, unsweetened)
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 drop of organic liquid Stevia or 1 tsp. coconut nectar (optional)
  • ½ cup organic blueberries
  • ½ cup organic raspberries, chopped
  • Popsicle mold for 6
  • 6 Popsicle sticks

Combine coconut yogurt, milk, lime juice and sweetener (optional) in a bowl with a spout, so it’s easy to pour, and mix well.

Drop two blueberries and two raspberries at the very bottom of each popsicle mold.

Fill the popsicles half-way with the coconut yogurt mixture.

Add 2 more blueberries and raspberries in the middle.

Fill almost to the top and again, add 2 of each fruit.

Place the top cover over the popsicle mold.

Carefully place the sticks in the center hole of the mold – more than halfway the popsicle, but not all the way to the top. Also remember to leave enough room at the end of the stick for someone to hold in their hand.

Place in the freezer for 5 hours or overnight.

When removing, allow the popsicles to sit out for 10 minutes and slowly remove by gently wiggling them side-to-side.

Vanilla “Milk” Shake

Vanilla milkshake recipe –  Too much dairy can be bad for digestion, especially for kids, which is why more people are choosing to limit their intake or eliminate it completely from their diets. Here’s a creamy and delicious mock milkshake recipe that will please your taste buds and your tummy! – Veronica

Vanilla Milk shake

  • 1 cup – Raw Almond Milk or Coconut Milk
  • 1/2 cup – Cashews (soaked for one hour and drained)
  • 1 cup – Ice 1 tbsp – Raw Coconut Nectar (I use Coconut Secret)
  • 1 tsp – Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Vanilla Bean, scraped (optional)

Process all ingredients in Vitamix blender until smooth. Enjoy immediately.

Share a pic of your Vanilla “Milk” Shake with me! @chefvlife #chefvlife

Find this and other easy recipes in my new book, Making Cleansing Easier. Visit ChefV.com/book

Beet-It Smoothie

Go red! Research has shown that red fruits and vegetables such as beets and raspberries are nutritional superheroes. So drink up! – Veronica

ginger apple berry smoothie

TOTAL 10 minutes

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Serving Size: 1 Person

Ingredients

  • ½ cup organic blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • ½ cup organic raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • ¼ cup diced organic red beet, raw & skinned
  • 1 piece organic red chard
  • ½ cup ice
  • 1 cup organic unsweetened 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!

Sweet Watermelon Crunch Salad

Chef V’s tip: To blanch the broccoli, bring a pot of water to a boil, drop the broccoli in for 1 minute, and then remove and cool with ice water. This will make it slightly softer without losing much of the nutritional value.

sweet watermelon crunch salad

TOTAL TIME: 15 min
SERVES: 2-4

Ingredients

  • 2 cups arugula
  • 3 cups chopped watermelon, seeded
  • 2 ripe Bartlett pears, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 cups chopped broccoli florets, blanched and cooled
  • 2 tablespoons raw pine nuts
ZESTY DRESSING
1/4 cup cold-pressed olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon or dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Directions

Plate the greens with watermelon, pears, broccoli florets, and a sprinkling of pine nuts.

Combine the dressing ingredients. Drizzle over the salad and serve.

MANLY Lamb Chops

When cooking for someone you love you want meals that are hearty and healthy.  Chef V makes this delicious go-to recipe when she needs a man pleasing meal.

This recipe will make a romantic meal that leaves you both feeling great!

When shopping for lamb, try to find local USDA-Certified Organic Lamb. More and more, farms offering organic meat are built around the well-being of the lamb. The animals are all born and raised on the same farm on a simple diet of grass and hay; free of steroids, antibiotics, and hormones.

manly lamb chops

REST TIME: 2 hours
COOKING TIME: 45 minutes
SERVES: 2-4

Ingredients

  • 1 rack of lamb (Frenched*, 7-8 ribs each, 1.5- 2 lbs. total)
  • 2 tsp. fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil

Directions

Rub the rack of lamb with rosemary, thyme, garlic, and pepper. Place in a gallon plastic bag with olive oil and coat the lamb in olive oil. Close the bag tightly and let marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

Bring the lamb out 2 hours ahead of time so that it can rest at room temperature before cooking. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Make diagonal cuts or slivers along the fat on top about 1 inch apart. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cover the exposed tip bones with foil to avoid burning. Cook for 10 minutes at 450 degrees then lower the temp to 300 degrees and cook for 10-15 minutes more. Lamb should be cooked to rare or medium rare and then be removed and covered with foil.

Let the lamb sit for 15 minutes and rest to finish cooking through. Slice the lamb in-between the bones, cutting away from the bone. Serve with rice, potatoes, or anything else your Man desires!

*Most stores already sell the rack of lamb Frenched. This means the skin, meat, and fat have been removed between the tips of the rib bone, to make it look nicer and easier to eat.

Easy Hummus

This recipe is easy and it tastes delicious! Eat it with naan, veggies, gluten-free bread or pita chips. I love Stacy’s brand gluten free pita chips, they are the best. Enjoy!

skinny shamrock smoothie

TOTAL TIME: 15 min
SERVES: 2-4

Ingredients

  • 1 (15-ounce) can or 2 cups cooked garbanzo beans, chilled
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon tahini paste
  • 1 tablespoon cold-pressed olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and sliced

Directions

Process all ingredients except cucumber in a Vitamix for 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of water if needed for better blending. Serve on cucumber slices, as a dip with your favorite veggies, or spread on a wrap or gluten-free toast. Sprinkle with paprika and sesame seeds.

Don’t be so ‘Resistant’ to Eating These Carbs

resistant starches

I used to be a carb shamer.

I mean, other than trans fats, carbs are the worst thing for health, right? You don’t have to be a certified nutritional therapist like yours truly to understand that out of the 3 macronutrients, carbs have the highest impact on blood sugar and insulin. (Eating a lot of animal protein can also raise insulin.)

Carb-phobia is why I flirted with ultra low carb diets like keto. But after feeling awful switching to keto, you couldn’t pay me enough to swear off carbs again. Life’s too short to feel miserable.

The fact is that 99% of Americans can’t live without eating grains (which are carbs). Not because grains are necessary for survival, because they aren’t. You can go the rest of your life consuming carbs from only fruits and vegetables (which are technically carbs, too). But how realistic is it to eat grain-free for the rest of your life.

That’s why I’m excited to tell you about the healthiest carbs that aren’t fruits and veggies. They are called resistant carbs and I encourage you to get lots of them in your diet.

In fact, there’s one simple trick I’ll show you in just a bit that transforms one of the worst carbs for your health into a much healthier one.

So stay tuned…

What Are Resistant Starches? 

The reason why the most common grains and high-starch carbs are bad for you is that they quickly convert into glucose (sugar) in the small intestine. This drives blood sugar levels higher and causes a release in insulin. And it’s the reason why even though sushi is one of my favorite foods, I don’t get it that often. That’s because I feel like white rice gets digested too quickly. Then, after spending $100 on a sushi meal, I’m hungry a mere two hours later.

(Keep reading because the simple trick I teased above turns even white rice into a healthier carb choice!)

Unlike quick-burning carbs, resistant starches (examples below) don’t get digested in the small intestine. Instead, they pass into the large intestine where they ferment. This fermentation creates prebiotic fiber. (I just checked out my nutrition articles; can’t believe I haven’t written about prebiotic fiber. I’ll add that to my to-do list.)

Prebiotic fiber, also called “prebiotics,” have all the makings of a new health trend, and for good reason. Prebiotics are the food that fuels your healthy bacteria (probiotics) in your gut. You can swallow probiotics until you’re blue in the face and bloated in your gut.

But you can’t colonize your gut with healthy bacteria if the microscopic friendly bugs don’t have anything to feast on.

Besides, many probiotic supplements might be a waste of money. This is because the overwhelming majority of bacteria in the capsules die before reaching the large intestine. Having a healthy gut is vital for immunity, mood, digestion and basically all other functions.

Could it be that eating carbs is the answer for obtaining gut health? Maybe, but only if you’re eating resistant carbs.

apple cider vinegar

More Reasons To Be Less Resistant About Eating Carbs

When you eat lots of prebiotic fiber, it makes you feel full. Feeling full of fiber prevents cravings for unhealthy carbs (basically, anything that contains white or wheat flour) that I will still shame you for eating. (Just kidding. Do what you like. I’m not really a shamer. I just help people get their daily dose of leafy green veggies in the easiest, most affordable and convenient way.)

If you need to improve your health metrics, you’ll be happy to know resistant starches also lowers cholesterol and is associated with a lower risk of developing colon cancer.

Best Resistant Starches

If you love bagels, cookies, muffins, bread and other baked goods, sorry, these aren’t on the list of best resistant starches. However, as I promised, in the next section, I’ll reveal a way to make a couple common carbs more resistant to digestion.

Do you remember this song from your childhood:

“Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart, the more you eat, the more you…”

You can fill in the blank yourself. The good news about beans and lentils (which are in the family of legumes) is that many varieties are high in resistant starch. Some people who have type 2 diabetes are concerned about the high amount of carbs in beans. But I think, considering the amount of fiber and resistant starch (a double dose of fiber, really), beans are perfectly healthy for those living with diabetes. Just make sure to closely monitor those A1C levels before and after meals.

The bigger concern with beans is that they contain anti-nutrients, which interfere with your body’s ability to digest and absorb minerals. A simple thing you can do to greatly reduce these anti-nutrients is soaking the legumes overnight in water.

More resistant carb sources:

  • Unripened bananas
  • Peas (especially shriveled ones; peas are also legumes)
  • Barley
  • Raw potato starch
  • Glucomannan flour
  • High-maize flour (corn)
  • Arrowroot starch
  • Corn starch (buy organic for the same reason as oats)

How To Make Starchy Carbs More Resistant To Digestion

So what’s a potato, pasta and rice lover to do? These staple carbs aren’t on the best resistant starches list….

But here’s how you can get them to be.

Simply cook them and let them cool overnight in the fridge. Then you can simply reheat them. And voila, you’ve got what otherwise would be a blood-sugar-spiking carb transformed into one that is actually good for your gut! The same goes for sweet potatoes and corn tortillas!

Cooling simple starches like white rice overnight changes the molecular structure of the carbohydrate chains. Science magic!

Of course, as the diet professional I am, I should leave you with a warning to moderate your portion sizes. But that’s how life should be lived, enjoying your favorite foods without overdoing it.

Here’s to “carb” no longer being a naughty four-letter word.

Mango Avocado Burrito Bowl

Here’s my Mango Avocado Burrito Bowl, a spin on Chipotle Mexican Grill’s awesome burrito bowls. Use my recipe as a starting point and add any of your favorite ingredients like grilled chicken or fish to make your own. You can also turn this into an easy wrap with gluten-free tortillas.  – Veronica

chia seed pudding

TOTAL TIME: 15 Min

Ingredients

  • 1/2 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 small red onion, diced
  • 2 cups mixed greens (use your favs!)
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice or cauliflower cilantro rice
  • 3/4 cup cooked and cooled or 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 ripe avocado, diced.

Directions

In a small bowl, combine the mango, cilantro, red onion, and lime juice. Plate the greens, and top with brown rice or quinoa, black beans, mango mixture, and diced avocado. Serve.

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

What’s The Best Plant-Based Burger? A Comparison Of The Most Popular Brands

chlorophyll

Plant-based burgers are having a moment. It seems that every time I hit the supermarket, there’s a new veggie burger brand. Even food-industry giants like Tyson Foods, Cargill, Nestle and Perdue Farms are having veggie burger FOMO. They’re hopping on the plant-based burger wagon, launching meat-substitute products.

But is this a good thing?

Before I answer that question, I reviewed the ingredients list in 7 of the most popular brands of plant-based burgers. Here’s what I found:

impossible burger

Impossible Burger

Along with Beyond Burger (listed below), Impossible Brands’ Impossible Burger has fueled the plant-based burger revolution. I wrote extensively about the Impossible Burger in a previous post. I’ll sum up what I wrote: Probably the best-tasting plant-based burger on the market. There’s a good reason why Burger King chose it for its wildly-successful Impossible Whopper. It looks just like a meat burger, drips blood-red juice just like a real burger and tastes pretty much like a beef patty. What’s not to love?

The bad news is that it contains two highly-processed forms of soy, one of which is a new genetically-modified version called Soy Leghemoglobin (“Heme” for short).

I’ve had a couple friends tell me that after eating an Impossible Burger, their next trip to the bathroom did not go well. Plus bad cramping.

Could it be that because Heme is basically new to human stomachs, our bodies don’t know how to react to it? Could it be that in some people, Impossible Burgers can trigger autoimmune reactions?

Time will only tell. I’m all for eating plant-based REAL food, but a soy that’s been grown in a lab? I don’t care how much it tastes just like the real thing, I’d rather eat a 100% grass-fed burger once a year that’s sourced from an organic, small family farm.

And one more concerning thing about the Impossible Burger: it’s made with coconut oil. The problem with coconut oil is that saturated fat comprises up to 90% of the total fat. For some people with a family of heart disease, coconut oil could be a ticking time bomb. (If you eat a lot of coconut oil, get your cholesterol levels checked once a year.)

beyond burger

Beyond Burger

Like Impossible Brands, Beyond Meat, maker of Beyond Burger, has scored some fat paychecks in the form of venture capital. Bill Gates invests in Beyond Meat (he also invested $50 million in Impossible Brands) and that huge seed funding (no pun intended) is the reason why Beyond Burgers can be found in virtually every single supermarket in the country.

Beyond Burger claims to be GMO-free. So that’s a good start. It also tastes similar to the Impossible Burger. So if I had to choose between these two fake meat giants, I’d go with Beyond, based simply on the fact the company does not use soy heme.

For proteins, instead of soy, Beyond uses pea protein isolate, beans and brown rice. Pretty good so far. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, pea protein isolate does not contain whole pea’s carbohydrate compounds that can support anti-inflammatory gut bacteria. But let’s not split hairs (or peas), because when you’re craving a burger, you know you’re not exactly eating a salad between two buns.

A couple things to watch out for: Beyond Meat also uses coconut oil as well as canola oil. I’m not crazy about canola oil. But again, when you want to sink your teeth into some fake meat, every once in a while, it won’t kill you. At least the canola oil is expeller-pressed, which means no harsh chemicals like hexane are used to extract the oil from the rapeseed plant. (Yes, canola oil comes from the rapeseed plant but don’t let that name spoil your appetite.)

I also like the fact Beyond uses beet extract to make its burger appear blood-red, unlike the lab-produced soy heme of the Impossible Burger.

Dr Prager burger

Dr. Prager’s California Veggie Burger

The godfather of the plant-based burger world, Dr. Prager’s California Veggie Burger hit the shelves in 1996. Fun fact: The brand was launched by a heart surgeon, Peter Prager, who died in 2012 at the age of 66. But don’t let his early death cloud your judgement of the California Burger. His obituary hinted his death could have been caused by prostate cancer.

Anyhoo, how does this relatively ancient brand of fake burger compare to Impossible and Beyond? In terms of taste, there’s no comparison. Dr. Prager’s tastes nothing like a real burger. But nutritionally speaking, I think it’s one of the most superior ones.

The ingredients list is not perfect. There are two ingredients I’m not thrilled about. Can you guess which ones they are in the list?

Carrots, Onions, String Beans, Oat Bran, Soybeans, Zucchini, Expeller Pressed Canola Oil, Peas, Broccoli, Corn, Soy Flour, Spinach, Red Peppers, Arrowroot Powder, Corn Starch, Garlic, Corn Meal, Sea Salt, Parsley, Black Pepper.

I already mentioned I’m not crazy about canola oil. But that’s how veggie burgers can stay relatively inexpensive. If they used avocado oil, each patty would cost a buck or two more probably. The two other ingredients that as a certified nutritional therapist bother me somewhat are soy flour and cornstarch. Soy can drive estrogen levels too high in younger women. It’s also one of the most common triggers of food allergies. As for cornstarch, while it’s a great ingredient for body powder, it’s basically just high-glycemic sugar. But all in all this is one of the best, ingredients-wise.

But the texture of Dr. Prager’s and almost every fake burger is crumbly. You definitely don’t get that true burger experience. So what I do is rather than eat it as a true burger, I chop it into pieces and top it on a whole grain or salad for a filling meal.

Morning Star Farm Burger

MorningStar Farms Garden Veggie Burger

If Dr. Praeger’s is the godfather of fake meat, MorningStar is the great grandfather. It hit the shelves in 1975. Even I wasn’t born then, haha!

Let’s jump right into the ingredients:

Water, carrots, onions, soy flour, egg whites, mushrooms, whole grain oats, wheat gluten, water chestnuts, vegetable oil (corn, canola, and/or sunflower oil), green bell peppers, calcium caseinate (from milk), cooked brown rice (water, brown rice), red bell peppers.

Good stuff, except for the same soy problem? There’s more bad news I’m afraid. Vegetable oils are terrible for your health. They are a major contributing factor to inflammatory-related diseases. Also, oats are a major source of glyphosate residue. Glyphosate is a herbicide used in the weed killer, Roundup. It’s been blamed for causing cancer in more than 125,000 lawsuits.

Considering the crumbly end-product and the fact that it’s nowhere-near-close to tasting like the real thing, I’ll pass.

Trader Joe’s Quinoa Cowboy Burger

I love the vibe at Trader Joe’s. But do I love sinking my teeth into a quinoa burger? Once in a blue moon, I do. I like the fact that it contains 13% of the daily recommended value of vitamin A. And it’s also a great source of fiber (6 grams; 24% DV).

Here’s the ingredients list:

Cooked tri color quinoa (tri blend quinoa, water), red peppers, cooked black beans (black beans, water), bread crumbs (wheat flour, sugar, yeast, salt), expeller pressed canola oil, roasted corn, onions, potato flakes, arrowroot, tomatoes, olive oil, jalapeno peppers, tomato paste, egg white powder, roasted garlic, white vinegar, salt, cilantro, chili powder (chili pepper, salt, garlic, cumin, spices), onion powder, coriander, black pepper, garlic powder, chipotle powder, lime juice powder.

Pretty much all good stuff. Just cook it much longer than the instructions say. And if it falls apart, who cares, it still tastes good in my opinion.

Sunshine Burger

Sunshine Burger

I admit to as of yet not having tried this Wisconsin-based brand, but I do love the ingredients of their garden herb alternative meat patty:

Organic cooked brown rice, organic ground raw sunflower seeds, organic carrots, organic chives, sea salt.

Simple, organic, real-food ingredients. It’s on my list to try…

Amy's All American Veggie Burger

Amy’s All-American Veggie Burger

I used to love Amy’s veggie burritos back in the day. But I’m not all too crazy about the veggie burgers, mostly because of the soy issue. Here’s the list of ingredients:

Textured soy protein, organic onions, organic soy fiber, organic mushrooms, organic bulgur wheat, wheat gluten, filtered water, organic celery, organic carrots, organic walnuts, organic oats, organic bell peppers, expeller pressed high oleic safflower and/or sunflower oil, organic sweet rice flour, sea salt, organic potatoes, spices, organic tomato purée, organic cane sugar, organic garlic, organic apple cider vinegar, organic blackstrap molasses, stoneground mustard (distilled vinegar, water, ground mustard seeds, salt, spices), hickory smoke flavor, black pepper, clove oil.

Again, mostly good stuff, but all it takes is a few bad apples to spoil the bunch. Besides the soy protein and soy fiber, I don’t like the wheat gluten or the vegetable oils.

But again, if you like the flavor of it and it’s a once in a while treat, go for it.

Best Plant-Based Burgers: Conclusion

I’m not going to tell you which plant-based burger I think is best. Now you’re armed with the nutrition facts. Plus, taste is such a subjective thing. What I can tell you is that plant-based burgers are most often not the healthy alternative to meat you might think it is. Are veggie burgers in general better for you than fast food burgers? Definitely. But is eating lab-produced GMO-soy better for your health than eating a grass-fed burger that was sourced on a sustainable, organic farm? That’s up for debate.

Chef V and kale

Chia Seed Pudding

Chia seed pudding is great for breakfast, and kids love this recipe. Chia seeds are tiny superfood heroes. They come in either white or dark brown/black and have a huge nutritional profile. The contain Calcium, Manganese, and Phosphorus, and are packed with fiber, protein, and healthy omega-3 fats. They are basically tasteless so you can add them to nearly any kind of dish.  – Veronica

chia seed pudding

TOTAL TIME: 30 Min

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chia seeds
  • 2 1/2 cups Chef V’s Raw Almond Milk
  • 1 tablespoon raw coconut nectar (I like Coconut Secret)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optiona
  • Pinch sea salt

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS
Fresh fruit, dried fruit, shredded unsweetened coconut, raw nuts

Directions

Place all of the ingredients except for toppings in a bowl and stir until well combined.

Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, then stir with a fork. Repeat this process every 5 minutes for about 30 minutes, or until the chia seeds have soaked up all the liquid.

Chill pudding for 2 hours before serving. Top with your favorite garnish and dig in.

Glyphosate: Should You Panic If It’s Not Organic?

glyphosates

Weeds drive every gardener, landscaper, groundskeeper and farmer crazy. Besides looking bad, weeds rob ornamental plants of nutrients like nitrogen and potassium (plants need potassium, too!), making them susceptible to diseases and becoming infested with insects. For farmers, weeds are a threat to their livelihood, harming both livestock and crops.

But in pursuit of eradicating weeds from the Earth, are we unwillingly poisoning ourselves? Glyphosate is the main active ingredient in the world’s most popular herbicide: Roundup Weed Killer.

Over 125,000 people have sued the Monsanto Corporation, inventor of both glyphosate and Roundup, alleging that the weed killer causes a particular type of cancer known as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. (Monsanto is the inventor of another deadly herbicide used during the Vietnam War that killed hundreds of thousands: Agent Orange.)

Sales of Roundup Weed Killer skyrocketed in the mid-1990s, after Monsanto, through genetic engineering, created Roundup-ready crops. Roundup-ready crops such as soy, corn and cotton, are resistant to glyphosate.

Monsanto, the evil corporation that also engineered seeds that don’t reproduce after the first growth. That means most farmers have to buy seeds from Monsanto every year and apply more Roundup Weed Killer to their crops.

Round Up

Glyphosate Contamination In Food

What does this mean for you even if you’re a klutzy green thumb like me and can barely manage to keep a succulent alive? Well, you do eat, don’t you? And unless you’re eating organic 100% of the time, you definitely have glyphosate in your system. Almost every food is contaminated with glyphosate, which was listed in 2015 as “probably carcinogenic to humans” by the International Agency on Cancer Research, (IACR) which functions under the auspices of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Only three out of the more than 125,000 Roundup lawsuits have gone to trial. All three trials were wins for plaintiffs, including the case of Dwayne “Lee” Johnson. Johnson was a former groundskeeper in the San Francisco Bay Area who used Roundup on the school grounds where he worked.

One day, Johnson claims he spilled the weed killer on his body. This incident, and the fact that he used it for many years, caused him to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the white blood cells. Johnson was the first plaintiff to take Monsanto to court. His initial award of $289 million (twice reduced to the current sum of $20 million) opened the floodgates for people to sue Monsanto.

But the crazy thing is, despite the IACR’s designation of glyphosate as probably carcinogenic and the over 125,000 Roundup cancer lawsuits, herbicides with glyphosate are still for sale in the U.S. That’s right, a chemical that one of the leading cancer research groups in the world concluded most likely causes cancer in humans, is still on the marketplace. And you’re being exposed to it everyday even if you’re not a farmer or landscaper.

glyphosates in foods

Foods With Glyphosate

It would be easier to list foods that don’t contain the toxic weed killer. That’s because it’s pretty much pervasive in the entire food supply. If you need yet another reason to avoid heavily-processed and packaged food, add glyphosate to the list. Foods high in calories, salt and sugar, and low in nutrients are made with the two most heavily-sprayed crops: corn and soy.

Speaking of soy, with October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, I think more focus needs to be placed on glyphosate contributing to disease in women. There’s no conclusive evidence to link glyphosate with breast cancer, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it at least contributes to it.

Soybean oil is a cheap vegetable oil (like canola) that food manufacturers use, adding hydrogen to it to preserve the shelf life of the packaged food. Consuming lots of foods with soy can cause estrogen dominance, which is linked to breast and ovarian cancer.

So it might not be the glyphosate itself that causes female cancers. It could be that too much soy is the problem.

But it stands to reason that glyphosate, which is sprayed on every non-organic soy crop, just may be contributing to breast cancer.

Besides soy and corn (and corn’s derivatives like high fructose corn syrup and maltodextrin), glyphosate is in oats, rice, almonds, sunflower seeds, granola bars and cereals.

shopping bag of veggies

How To Avoid Glyphosate

You can’t completely avoid glyphosate. But you can minimize your exposure to it by not eating chips, crackers, cereal, and other processed foods.

A few years ago, there was a big news item about organic produce not being more nutritious than non-organic fruits and vegetables. While it’s true that an organic orange might have the same vitamin C content as its non-organic counterpart, comparing organic to non-organic is like comparing apples to oranges. One of the biggest reasons to buy organic is that when you do so, you’re consuming a fruit or veggie that hasn’t been sprayed with a pesticide or herbicide (glyphosate is considered both!). Ingesting foods that have been sprayed with toxic chemicals every single day for years on end … well, I’m no scientist, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it’s not good for your health.

Sure, it may cost more to purchase organic produce, organic grains, and organically-grown nuts and seeds (and organic nut milks). But isn’t your health worth a few extra bucks?

As a small business owner, getting organically-certified is an expense well worth it. I want to give my Organic Green Drink customers the comfort of knowing that when they consume the 7 leafy greens every morning, the health benefits from the produce aren’t diminished by toxic pesticides.

Brain Health: Keeping Sharp With Chef V

brain health with Veronica and Brandon

Feeling foggy brained lately?  Did you forget where you put your phone — for the tenth time this week? Are you forgetting names more often? Now is the time to get serious about brain health.

Socially distanced, locked down people are finding themselves fuzzy brained and distracted. Learn how my Green Drinks and Cleanses can help you stay focused. And even if you’re sharp as a tack, here’ s how you can stay that way well into your 90s and beyond…. Plus, a vegetable with proven brain benefits – avocado.

Mom Was Right (And So Am I): Eat Your Veggies!

There are simple ways you can boost brain health and radically improve your thinking and reasoning skills.

First and foremost: exercise. Start a daily yoga practice. If you absolutely hate yoga or exercising at home, just walk in place for an hour at night while you’re watching TV. Just be active almost every single day for the rest of your life.

Just as important as exercising is diet. Now, I admit, when I came up with my Green Drink recipe several years ago, I didn’t realize it could play a big part in preventing dementia.

As it turns out, the seven certified-organic green-leafy veggies do just that. In fact, if you want to keep your brain younger than your chronological age, green leafy veggies are the best for doing that.

Don’t take my word for it. According to this CBS news article  adults who consume a cup and a half a day of leafy greens have lower risk of developing memory deficits associated with dementia. This is based on a study of almost 1000 people over the course of five years. Those people who ate the most leafy greens were 11 years younger in brain age compared to those who ate the least.

Isn’t that an amazing finding?

There’s no easier–and smarter–way of getting your daily dose of green, leafy veggies than drinking at least 16 oz. of Green Drink every day. Combining Green Drink with my soups and protein shakes, a detox has a profound positive effect on your health.

avocados for brain health

Having Trouble Concentrating & Focusing While Working at Home? Ditch the Sugar

Most juice cleanses are way too high in sugar. (Learn how Chef V compares to the competition.)

And it turns out that if you have high blood sugar levels, to the point that you develop pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes, your brain health will suffer.

What’s the connection?

According to this article people with Type 2 diabetes have an increased risk for memory problems. Furthermore, older adults who have diabetes and high blood sugars perform worse on memory tests at the start of the study and show a greater decline in memory by the end of the study, in comparison to older adult without diabetes.

Can you see why it’s so important to not go overboard with your sugar intake? The good news is you don’t have to ditch dessert for the rest of your life. You just need to eat treats that are low in added sugars. Take my recipe for Raw Avocado Chocolate Mousse for example.

melted cheese

Avocado: It’s Brain Food!

Speaking of avocado, it’s one of the healthiest foods for brain health. Along with blueberries, wild salmon, nuts and seeds, beans and some other superfoods, avocado has long been praised for its positive effect on gray matter.

Here’s how avocado is good for your brain….

Even though it’s high in fat, the fat it does contain a lot of is the monounsaturated kind. The Mediterranean Diet, one of the healthiest ways of eating on the planet, is rich in monounsaturated fats. These fats contribute to healthy blood flow and lower blood pressure. Having high blood pressure is a major risk factor for cognitive decline.

So eat up to half an avocado a day to boost brain power!

Getting Enough Sleep Prevents Brain Fog

One of the toxic proteins that contributes to foggy memory is amyloid plaque. There’s more and more research showing that consistent good sleep can help prevent memory loss. What does this have to do with bad plaque in the brain? Good sleep is like a diligent janitor. Sleep sweeps away the plaque.

If you’ve let your healthy routine go to sh*t, staying up until midnight or later and not getting at least 7 hours, you’re putting yourself at risk for forgetfulness.

Not getting enough sleep? Eating too much sugar? Just feeling heavy and groggy and dragging around the house?

Then it’s time to do a Chef V Detox.

My 21 Day Detox programs will help reset your taste buds so that you won’t be tempted by sugary and junk foods. Your organs will also be working in better shape to help your body detoxify, and your blood sugar levels will go down. You’ll have more focus and better energy throughout the day; you won’t need that late afternoon sugary pick-me-up. As a result, you’ll sleep like a baby.

Look, I can’t guarantee that if you exercise, follow my healthy eating guidelines and get enough sleep you’ll be 100% guaranteed to have a sharper brain.

But the odds will be much better in your favor….

To your health!

Love,

Chef V

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

TOTAL TIME: 45 minutes – 1 hour

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.

Vegan Herb Aioli

Aioli, a traditional Mediterranean sauce, is just right for dipping veggies or drizzling over toasted baguette. It makes a delicious accompaniment to my Grilled Artichokes. – Veronica

vegan herb aioli

TOTAL 10 minutes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Serving Size: 2 People

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews, washed and drained (pre-soaked 1 hour)
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • ¼ cup of lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. of lemon zest
  • ½ tsp. organic sea salt to taste
  • 1 tsp. raw coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic

Directions

Blend mayo ingredients together in a Vitamix or food processor.

Raw Horseradish Mayonnaise

Sometimes you just need a luscious rich tasting spread – so I created this cashew-based mayo. Easy to prepare, you can use it in dressings, dips, on a sandwich, anywhere you want that mayonnaise experience – only healthier. Add raw horseradish to make a zippy dip for my Grilled Artichokes. – Veronica

raw horseradish mayonaise

TOTAL 10 minutes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Serving Size: 2 People

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews, washed and drained (pre-soaked 1 hour)
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • ¼ cup of lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. of lemon zest
  • ½ tsp. organic sea salt to taste
  • 1 tsp. raw coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon horseradish

Directions

Blend mayo ingredients together in a Vitamix or food processor.

AGE-ING Gracefully: Eating a Diet Low in Advanced Glycation End Products

Did my post from last time on PFAS change your mind about eating fast food, even if it’s only once in a blue moon? In case you missed it, I’ll sum it up for you: the burger wrappers that are used in fast food restaurants contain a harmful fire-retardant toxin that absorbs in your tissues and organs. 

And for this post, I have another bummer for you if you eat lots of meat: there’s a substance called Advanced Glycation End Products. If your diet is high in AGE products, you won’t age gracefully.

What Are AGE Products? 

If you love barbecue and grilled meat, compounds called Advanced Glycation End (AGE) Products can form as a result of the cooking process. 

Nothing wrong with enjoying some barbecue every now and then. But if you are cooking meat at high temperature fairly often, you may be at risk for exposure to these harmful compounds.

What are the Side Effects of AGE Products?

When your body accumulates a high amount of these compounds, inflammation can occur. To be sure, there’s no guarantee that if you have high AGE levels, you’re guaranteed to die an early death. However, high AGE levels have been linked to cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s, as well as metabolic disorders (diabetes, obesity), and organ dysfunction such as heart disease and kidney failure. 

If ever there were a perfect opportunity to pitch my Organic Green Drink, this would be the moment. Allow me to explain. You see, your body has lots of natural antioxidants, including glutathione and superoxide dismutase. 

These internal antioxidants can help neutralize AGE compounds. However, if you eat lots of grilled animal protein, your natural antioxidants can become overwhelmed. That’s where my Green Drink comes to the rescue. 

The 7 certified organic green leafy veggies help boost your body’s production of natural antioxidants. (Even though I’m a certified nutritional therapist, don’t take my word for it; check out this study.)

Foods High in AGE That Can Lead To Premature Ageing

In addition to blackened and high-temp grilled meats, here are some other foods that can raise your AGE level:

  • Cheese
  • Fried Eggs
  • Butter
  • Mayonnaise
  • Fried food
  • Margarine
  • Processed food

Let’s say you love cheese. Am I suggesting that you should completely give it up? Heavens, no. Just try to moderate your intake of cheese and other sources of dairy. When it comes to butter, choose grass-fed. 

But check out the other foods on this list. Most of them are terrible for your health anyway. I should mention that nuts and oils can also be high in AGE compounds, so keep your consumption to a minimum. Oils and nuts are high in calories anyways, so you’re probably not eating too much of those to begin with.

melted cheese

Keeping AGE-ing To A Minimum

There are a few ways to keep your body’s levels of AGE compounds relatively low. Obviously, eating foods that are low in AGE compounds to begin with is a no-brainer. 

Think: green leafy veggies (my Organic Green Drink is the easiest way to get your daily dose), and all other low-starch veggies; low-glycemic fruits such as berries; and low-starch whole grains. (Need to lose weight and don’t know what to eat? Try my 21 Day Detox.)

But even if you’re eating foods high in AGE compounds, such as grilled red meat, there’s a couple clever ways to lower the amount of AGE compounds you’re consuming. 

First, squeeze a fair amount of lemon juice over the meat. The acidity will neutralize some of the AGE compounds. Vinegar can drastically lower the amount of harmful substances as well. 

And secondly, just go slow. Using a slow cooker instead of a propane grill reduces AGE-ing. So does boiling, steaming, stewing and poaching. 

Want another easy way to “AGE” well? Exercise. Studies show daily activity reduces harmful AGE compounds.  

You probably didn’t need another reason to avoid eating too much meat and processed foods. But maybe it’s the “Anti-AGE-ing” factor that resonates with you. Here’s to AGE-ing gracefully…

To your health,

Veronica
Founder, Chef V

Tasty Lettuce Cups

Chef V’s Tip: For more protein, add 1 pound ground chicken. Raw coconut aminos are a fabulous replacement for soy sauce.

tasty lettuce cups

TOTAL 30 minutes

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Serving Size: 5-6 People

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup diced white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 cups diced crimini mushrooms
  • 1 cup diced zucchini
  • 1/2 cup diced water chestnuts
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1/4 cup raw coconut aminos (I like Coconut Secret)
  • 5/6 lettuce cups (iceberg or boston lettuce leaves)

Optional toppings:

  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped raw cashews

Directions

In a large skillet, sauté onion in coconut oil over medium high heat for 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add mushrooms and veggies (or ground chicken) and cook for 3 more minutes. Stir in coconut aminos and cook for 2 minutes more.

To serve, spoon mixture into lettuce cups. Top with cilantro and cashews.

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

ginger apple berry smoothie

TOTAL 30 minutes

Prep Time: 20 minutes

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.

NAC: Best Supplement For Workout Junkies

NAC for workout junkies

One of the reasons I love yoga is that it combines strength, flexibility and mental wellbeing. Yoga keeps me centered. But I realize that for some people, yoga’s just too chill. (If that’s what you think, try ashtanga yoga. It’ll kick your butt!) I have friends who are serious long-distance runners, Crossfitters, and Ironman and Ironwoman competitors. 

High intensity exercise gets you in phenomenal shape. But there’s a downside to intense physical activity: it’s a form of stress that causes free radicals. 

When you’re doing an intense workout, your body doesn’t distinguish stress; stress is stress and hardcore Crossfit workouts, Mud Runs and other obstacle course challenges are just as much of a stress to the body as worrying about how you’re going to pay the bills after you’ve gotten laid off from your job. 

I’m a big fan of getting all the nutrients I need from organic local produce and other nutrient-dense real food. But if there’s one supplement I would take if I were a Crossfitter it would be NAC. 

What is NAC? 

It’s the synthetic form of the amino acid, cysteine. NAC (N-acetyl cysteine). Cysteine isn’t one of the 9 essential amino acids, which you need to get from food because your body can’t produce them on its own. But cysteine should be considered essential because most people don’t get enough of it. 

So why take it for exercise? The biggest reason why is that NAC helps restore your body’s most important antioxidant. 

When you think of antioxidants, what comes to mind? Vitamin C? Check. Vitamin E? Check. Polyphenols like resveratrol in red wine and grapes? Check. Plant-based foods are loaded with antioxidants. But virtually every single one of the cells in your body contain their own antioxidant. It’s called glutathione. 

Glutathione is the master internal antioxidant of the human body. It’s actually composed of three amino acids (cysteine, glycine, and glutamate). 

If you’re doing 50 burpees followed by 20 mountain climbers and 20 jump squats, your levels of cysteine are going to drop because of cellular oxidation caused by the intense exercise. 

That’s where NAC comes to the rescue. By restoring levels of glutathione, NAC helps you recover from the stress caused by a crazy Crossfit workout. 

NAC pills

Benefits of NAC

NAC does more than help your body recover from oxidative stress caused by intense exercise. It also helps detoxify the body in other ways. NAC helps get rid of toxins like heavy metals. And because free radical damage causes inflammation, NAC may prevent pain and swelling in the joints.

Even conventional medicine is on board with NAC. Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) are given NAC in medical settings in order to facilitate healing. People who overdose on Tylenol are also given NAC to purge the body. 

People with cystic fibrosis are given NAC to thin out mucus in the lungs. 

There’s even more reasons I would consider using NAC outside of exercise recovery. For instance, it can help balance mood, blood sugar levels and more.

Boost Performance with NAC

A study in the Journal of Dietary Supplements says NAC supplementation may enhance performance and reduce soreness from acute, repeated-sprint, high-intensity exercise. NAC, it seems, has a knack (sorry, lame pun) for minimizing muscle fatigue and enhancing blood flow to the muscles. I’m not much of a runner, but if I were training for a long race, I’d definitely be down with stacking the NAC before my workouts. 

pollution

NAC Dosage

So how much NAC should you take? According to the Life Enhancement Foundation, you should take anywhere from 600-1,800 mg per day.  

If you have immune disorders like COPD, LEF says you can take even more, and you can split the dose in two servings. You may want to take NAC without food so that the amino acids from the food don’t interfere with NAC. 

Conclusion

We’re constantly bombarded by oxidative damage: Exhaust from car engines (unless you drive a Tesla or Prius). Other chemicals in the air. Pesticides like glyphosate in the food and water supply. Excess alcohol consumption, etc. 

We need every tool at our disposal to counteract the effects of free radical damage. Our bodies thankfully have that in the form of glutathione. But with the pervasiveness of synthetic chemicals, some of us are struggling to produce enough glutathione to stay healthy. Intense exercise is stressful to the body and reduces glutathione activity.

I’ll stick with yoga but if Crossfit is your thing, good on ya! You may want to consider supplementing with NAC to support your immune system, boost your workouts and recover faster. 

BBQ Salmon: A Man Pleasing Meal

Man pleasing meals!

When cooking for someone you love you want meals that are hearty and healthy. Chef V founder, Veronica Wheat, has created this delicious go-to recipe for when she needs a man pleasing meal.

BBQ salmon

TOTAL 45 minutes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Serving Size: 2 People

Ingredients

  • 2 salmon fillets (6 oz.)
  • 1 tbsp. coconut nectar
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Pinch of black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray with coconut oil cooking spray. Combine lemon and coconut syrup together.

Place salmon on baking sheet and cover with syrup and lemon juice mix. Mix all dry ingredients together and sprinkle evenly over the top of each fillet.

Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes, until desired doneness. Serve with mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes and a tasty veggie or serve over a nice salad.

7 Tips For Keeping Your ISHT Together

summer cleanse

I’m lucky. I live in San Diego, CA where I’ll be spending plenty of time outdoors, even during what experts predict is going to be a “long, dark winter” because of the pandemic.

Or will I be basking in the Golden State’s brilliant sunshine this winter?

As I write this, California’s Governor, Gavin Newsom, has instituted a state-wide curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Also, Newsom has instituted a 14-day at-home quarantine for visitors and residents entering or reentering the state. He has also called on Californians to not fly for non-essential travel.

What’s next? Quite possibly a new stay-at-home lockdown mandate. So if you’re one of my loyal Green Drink customers in Fargo, North Dakota, we might be in the same boat. I might not be able to walk on the beach and you might not be allowed to go ice fishing.

How are any of us supposed to keep our isht together? (Don’t know what ‘isht’ is? Scramble the letters to form another word.)

Granted, when it’s freezing and dark outside, relatively few people are motivated to recreate outside. But considering that some of us may be required via governor mandates to stay at home, this will have a profound psychological effect.

But there’s no need to panic, feel stressed-out and anxious, and race to your local big chain store to hoard toilet paper. Not if you follow my tips to help you not just survive the long, dark winter but thrive. So without further ado….

#1: Morning Mantras

The first thing I want you to do when you wake up in the morning, unless you have to go to the bathroom really bad is recite health-conscious morning mantras.

You can do it with your eyes closed or open, sitting up or laying on your back. Take a few minutes, either reciting out loud or in your head one of the following (or something similar):

  • “All the trillions of cells in my body are healthy.”
  • “I am healthy.”
  • “I am calm, healthy and happy and no external influences invades my energy space.”

If you do yoga then you’re familiar with “Om,” the sacred mantra, which loosely translated means the entirety of the universe and the soul. What’s interesting about chanting is that research shows that humming increases levels of nitric oxide in the cells. Nitric oxide is in each and every one of your tens of trillions of cells, and its purpose is to keep blood vessels open so fresh blood can pump unobstructed to your organs, including the lungs.

So hum away while you’re driving or taking a shower.

#2: Deep Breathing

Before you get out of bed, after reciting a mantra for a few minutes, practice a round or two of deep breathing. Like humming and chanting, deep breathing increases nitric oxide levels and alkalizes the pH of the body. Many diseases are the result of pH being too acidic.

Deep breathing takes a little practice but it’s not that complicated. To begin either breathe in through your nose or pretend you are sipping a drink through a straw. While doing this, expand your belly like a balloon. The inhale should last 4-5 seconds. The key during the inhale is to also expand your lungs. That’s the part that takes practice. Then, exhale by deflating both your lungs and belly. The exhale cycle should also take about 4-5 seconds.

After about 25 breaths or so, your body might start tingling. That’s a good sign. It’s an indication that your tissues are receiving more blood and oxygen. If you start feeling lightheaded, stop.

#3: 3 Mini Yoga Sessions

If you’re stuck at home, keeping your blood pumping can be challenging. Even if you find the motivation to exercise at home for an hour, there’s a good chance for the other 17 hours or so that you’re awake will be spent being sedentary. And that’s a recipe for stagnant blood flow. Instead of doing one long exercise routine, set a timer for 11 a.m. 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. When the timer goes off stop what you’re doing and do a 10-minute yoga routine. (Not sure what to do? There are a ton of videos on YouTube that you can follow along to.

#4: Get Fresh Air

Even if there’s a lockdown in your area, you will still be able to get outside to buy essential items. Take that time to do some additional deep breathing. Unless you’re in a polluted area, the oxygen in fresh air has healing qualities. Don’t be stuck in your head, paralyzed with fear while walking into a store. Instead, as soon as you get out of your car and start walking, take deep breaths to steady your nerves.

And if you can spend time outdoors at a park or hiking trail, do it, even if the weather outside is frightful. Remember, there’s no bad weather, just bad clothes. Order a ski mask online and use it to protect your nose and cheek bones from the stiff, frigid wind.

#5: Buy a High-Quality Vitamin D Supplement

Research shows an association between developing severe Covid symptoms and having low vitamin D levels. During winter, most of us who live in the U.S. don’t get enough direct UV light from the sun for our bodies to synthesize vitamin D. More than any other nutrient, vitamin D is perhaps most important for supporting a balanced, healthy immune system.

#5: Buy a High-Quality Vitamin D Supplement

Research shows an association between developing severe Covid symptoms and having low vitamin D levels. During winter, most of us who live in the U.S. don’t get enough direct UV light from the sun for our bodies to synthesize vitamin D. More than any other nutrient, vitamin D is perhaps most important for supporting a balanced, healthy immune system.

#6: Keep Blood Sugar Levels Steady

Sugar is not the devil. Not natural sugars, anyways. Eaten moderately, natural sugars provide your brain and cells with the fuel they need for energy. But most people get too many carbs from starches, which convert into simple sugar.

If you didn’t read my article on resistant starches, do it as soon as you finish reading this. That’s because resistant starches are healthy carbs that you should include in your diet for gut health.

After you finish your morning mantra and deep breathing, start each day with a low-sugar flood of superfood nutrition with a 8 to 16 oz serving of Organic Green Drink. Wait about 30 minutes before you have your first meal of the day.

Make sure you’re eating enough healthy fats at each meal to keep your belly full and happy. Experiment with macro ratios. That means figuring out which proportion of carbs, protein and fat makes you the most satisfied. When you get that dialed in, then you can go 5-6 hours in between your main meals. This will keep your blood sugar levels steady and make your body more sensitive to insulin instead of requiring your pancreas to pump out a ton of it to keep your blood sugar levels down.

(I wish that health officials would stress the importance of blood sugar management for controlling the pandemic rather than putting faith alone in a vaccine.)

#7: Healthy Nighttime Routine

The best medicine is a good night’s sleep. So go to bed by a reasonable time, at the same time every night. Make sure to put your phone in airplane mode and turn off all other electronics well before you close your eyes.

And before you close your eyes, repeat steps #1 and #2. Take a couple minutes to repeat your “I am healthy mantra,” practice a round or two of deep breathing, purse your lips up into a smile and be grateful for the blessings you have in your life.

Before you know it, the long, dark winter will be over and you’ll emerge happier and healthier.

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.

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

  • 3 cups raw almonds
  • ¼ cup fresh blueberries
  • 3 cups filtered water
  • ½ cup Chef V’s Raw Almond Milk
  • or coconut milk
  • ¼ cup crushed raw almonds
  • ¼ cup crushed raw walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut

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.

To make the cereal, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and serve.

PFAS: Why Fast Food is Worse for you than Ever

TESTING FOR PFAS

Sample Code

above, testing water for presence of PFAS

Fast Food: It’s Worse Than You Think!

Now why would I start off stating the obvious that you should avoid fast food? Because I just read an article in National Geographic that made me sick to my stomach. The article actually remade me think about my position on fast food that as long as you’re following my Healthy Eating Guidelines 90% of the time, it’s ok once in a blue moon to get your In ‘N Out on. Now, after reading this article, once in a blue moon is one blue moon too many. 

Here’s why….

what are PFAS

There’s a group of toxic substances called “PFAS.” PFAS is found in fire-resistant household items. What’s the connection to fast food? The toxic compounds are prevalent in fast food packaging. The PFAS substances leach into the burgers and nuggets. 

A new study analyzing PFAS in the body doesn’t conclude the threshold of how much of this class of chemicals is too much in the body. But it would seem obvious that even a trace amount of PFAS is too much. So not only are the preservatives, hormones, excess sodium, and lack of nutrients from fast food doing us harm, so is the packaging. 

The study compared levels of PFAS in people who ate fast food versus those who ate homecooked meals. After a 24-hour period, those who had eaten fast food consistently showed an increase in the amount of PFAS in their blood. 

detox tips for success

I realize we live in a world in which we can’t shield ourselves all the time from toxins; we don’t live in a bubble. However, the bad news with eating fast food is that unlike other common contaminants, which the liver can process relatively quickly, PFAS can remain for years in the body.

Chew on that next time you’re tempted to pull into the drive-thru.

Golden Milk: Drink your Turmeric

golden milk

Golden Milk … just the name of it sounds alluring, exotic, and appealing to our inner child. Kind of like chocolate milk. But golden milk is way healthier than chocolate milk.

In fact, golden milk isn’t really milk at all.

Golden Milk: What is it?

There are a few beverages you might want to drink everyday (sorry, coffee: you’re not on the list, though I do love you at times). First on the list is Organic Green Drink, a refreshing and delicious blend of the world’s most detoxifying green, leafy plants.

The next super beverage on my list of nutritional liquid powerhouses is bone broth. Bone broth from humanely-raised animals contains amino acids and collagen. Collagen can improve your gut health, skin, and immune system. It can also better cushion and protect your ligaments, tendons, bones and joints and make your hair and nails stronger.

Golden milk is the third beverage I highly encourage you to drink as often as possible. Golden milk’s featured ingredient is turmeric.  But let me catch you up to speed on why this golden-colored spice (hence the name golden milk) is, well, the spice of life.

Turmeric contains anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-oxidant, and heart-protective properties. Moreover, another of the golden milk health benefits is that turmeric helps normalize your blood sugar levels. This is super important if you’re trying to lose weight or detox.

To make an easy vegan golden milk, just add some nut milk, coconut milk (it’s one of the few foods I buy in canned form). You can also make golden milk extra creamy by adding coconut oil.

The healthy fats from coconut and the amazing health benefits of turmeric make golden milk a must do morning ritual.

Golden Milk Health Benefits: Weight Loss and So Much More!

Recently, I shared with you how several Chef V client relations specialists have lost weight following a low-carb diet. Low-carb diets are only healthy if you replace the starchy carbs with healthy fats. Coconut is one of those healthy fats. (I love coconuts so much I named my dog, Coconut.)

The fatty acids in coconut don’t get stored as fat. Instead, they are immediately used by the body as energy. Imagine if you were able to ditch crackers, cookies, and all those other junky carb foods and replaced those empty calories with healthy fats. You just might achieve super fast weight loss.

Making a golden milk recipe vegan is easy. Again, all you need is the turmeric spice, coconut milk and/or coconut oil. It’s important to add coconut to the recipe. That’s because turmeric is fat-soluble. That means you need to eat some fat (it doesn’t have to be a lot; a tablespoon is more than enough) to absorb it and get the golden milk health benefits.

Moreover, by using coconut milk, you’re getting lots of vitamins and minerals that you wouldn’t get with just coconut oil.

How to make easy Vegan Golden Milk

To make my version of this yummy drink, you’ll need:

2 cups of your favorite nut milk (I prefer My Almond Milk)

1/4 teaspoon of ground turmeric

1/8 teaspoon of ground ginger (which has amazing health benefits, including clearing your blood of fatty deposits),

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (which helps lower blood sugar)

1 teaspoon of coconut nectar (which is a natural, low-glycemic sweetener that won’t spike your blood sugar).

Some nutritionists recommend adding a dash of black pepper as well to increase the bio-availability of the turmeric. The best thing about making a vegan golden milk is you can enjoy it hot or cold. To enjoy hot, simply heat up the plain “milk”. I prefer to simmer it on the stove rather than use a microwave. Take the warmed or cold  “milk” and place it in your Vitamix or other blender. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend. Easy as pie. Well, actually, much easier than pie.

Golden milk is a potent anti-inflammatory elixir that might just help you lose weight. The strong taste of turmeric might take a little getting used to. So only use a small amount at first. Enjoy it in a cup alone, alongside a special dessert or my favorite guilty pleasure, having it with a bowl of yummy cereal or oats!

GOLDEN MILK OATS

Add 1 cup gluten-free oats

2 Cups Chef V Almond Milk

1/8 tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. ginger

1/4 tsp. turmeric

1 tsp. coconut nectar

Medicinal Herbs: Get Busy Cooking!

CBD oil

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” 

As a certified nutritional therapist, I strongly identify with the quote from the ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates. 

With the exception of a rare cheat meal, every single bite of food—and drink—you consume should support your health. 

That’s why the first thing I do every morning after drinking a glass of water and waiting half an hour or so is drinking 16 oz of Organic Green Drink. The 7 leafy greens flood my trillions of cells with pure phytonutrients. 

But when it’s time to get cooking in the kitchen, not only am I preparing low-starch veggies and lean proteins, I’m also sprinkling in an extra dose of medicine: herbs. 

Herbs are so much more than flavor enhancers. For thousands of years in the Far East, medicinal herbs have been used topically to treat skin conditions, fevers and dozens of other symptoms. Medicinal herbs have also been used as food, not just to enhance taste but also to keep the body in balance, or help it get back to balance if you’re sick or feeling tired. 

There’s a good chance you’re already using some medicinal herbs in your own kitchen. Here are some of the most popular herbs that are also used in traditional herbal medicine in China and other countries in the Orient. Start cooking with them daily and notice if you feel the difference!

Sample Code

Ginger 

Every home chef uses ginger from time to time. But research studies show that it’s one traditional medicinal herb that’s worth using a lot more often than not. 

When I was a kid and had a tummy ache, my mom would give me ginger ale. Even with all the sugar in the soda, the ginger compounds would get rid of my nausea or cramping instantly. I’m sure you can relate. 

Over 100 compounds have been isolated from ginger. Studies (like this one) show that ginger functions as an antioxidant, antimicrobial and prevents inflammation in the brain. And ladies, if your monthly cycle is painful, get slicing on the fresh, raw ginger. (You may even want to consider also taking a ginger supplement.)

If you tend to run cold, even if it’s not a frigid winter day, cooking with ginger can instantly warm you up. Ginger also fortifies your immune system. If you tend to catch colds easily in the winter then you should definitely add ginger to your stir fries. 

Turmeric

I believe this yellow-ish spice is just as valuable as gold, if not more so because, well, if you eat edible gold, you can’t absorb it. But turmeric on the other hand is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory medicinal herbs. With the exception of ginger, turmeric has probably been the focus of the most research of any medicinal herb. 

If you’ve ever had a curry dish, you’ve tasted turmeric. I know it might not sound appetizing and probably sacrilegious to Italian foodies and chefs, but I’m so down with turmeric I even add it to pasta dishes. 

I admit that turmeric has an acquired taste; peppery, earthy, slightly bitter. But once you get used to it, you’ll learn to really appreciate its bold flavor. For at least 2,000 years, turmeric has been used as a medicinal herb in Southeast Asia. In traditional Chinese medicine, turmeric is thought to unblock blood stasis and move the Qi. Translation: it improves blood circulation, which leads to feeling more energetic. 

medical cannabis

Mushrooms

Wait, mushrooms are herbs? I thought they were a fungus? 

If that’s what you’re thinking, you’re not wrong. But according to herbalism, edible ‘shrooms are considered herbs precisely because they have medicinal value. 

Mushrooms are having a magical moment in the West after being relegated to a bland, squishy pizza topping for the most part for so long. These days, mushrooms are added to coffee blends, adaptogenic herbal energy drinks and more. 

And this is a good thing. That’s because mushrooms help support a balanced immune system. 

Like all produce, the best mushrooms to purchase are organically-grown varieties that you can get at your local farmer’s market or CSA (community-supported-agriculture).

In traditional Chinese medicine, mushrooms like reishi—the king of all mushrooms in China—are added to soups and tea, and are used to treat coughing and wheezing. 

Lately, I’ve been so impressed by how far edible mushrooms have come. I have sunk my teeth into a vegan mushroom burrito that I swear had the consistency and taste of steak!

Cinnamon

Another common medicinal herb that you’re probably already using is cinnamon, but most likely, you’re only adding this spice to coffee, tea, yogurt or waffles. (Both spices and herbs come from plants; spices are derived from roots.) 

Try adding cinnamon twigs to other dishes from now on. Similar to ginger, cinnamon has warming properties. So if you’re constantly running cold, adding a cinnamon twig to your dishes can fire up your furnace. 

Managing blood sugar levels is one of the biggest benefits of consuming cinnamon on a regular basis. If you gotta have some honey or maple syrup with your yogurt, then definitely sprinkle a bunch of cinnamon to slow down the blood sugar spike. 

But try to also add cinnamon twigs to stir fry dishes, salad dressings, low-carb baked treats, and more. 

Leptin function

Mint

I’ve included a couple Yang-fortifying herbs above: ginger and turmeric. Mint is a Yin-fortifying herb, which helps cool the body down. If you’re sweating over the stove in the summer, add plenty of mint to your food or drinks. Mint helps clear the body of excess symptoms associated with heat imbalances, according to Chinese medicine. So if you have a fever, rash, sore throat, or cough drink plenty of peppermint tea and add sprigs of mint to your dishes. 

Mmmm. I’m getting hungry. I wish I could come over and help you get cooking with these medicinal herbs!

To your health.

Chef V

Intermittent Fasting: The Diet That Tells You When To Eat, Not What to Eat

CBD oil

Intermittent fasting might sound like a desperate weight loss starvation protocol to some, but it’s quite the opposite. In fact, you can eat until your belly’s content and still lose weight—but only within a specific window of time.

Move over Atkin’s. You, too, South Beach. Zone Diet: you’re so last decade….

The latest diet trend is intermittent fasting. Not familiar with intermittent fasting? After reading this, you’ll know the basic facts and health benefits of intermittent fasting (IF). And you’ll certainly be hearing about intermittent fasting more and more in the mainstream media. It seems poised to become just as popular as household-name diets, if not more so.

That’s because, first off, it’s not really a restrictive diet. And secondly, despite its relatively recent entry into the mega-billion diet marketplace, it’s actually thousands of years old.

There are a couple other primary reasons why intermittent fasting will likely surge in popularity. Peer-review research supports it for weight loss and other benefits. Furthermore, it’s really easy to stick to the diet, unlike many other popular weight-loss schemes. (Ahem, Master Cleanse, we’re talking about you.)

But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. First, let’s learn some basic facts about intermittent fasting.

Sample Code

Intermittent Fasting: how old is it?  

Although this may be one of the first times you’re hearing about IF, the practice of it dates back to prehistoric times. In fact, fasting as a practice is a mandate in holy texts such as the Old Testament and Koran.

The type of fasting in the Old Testament differs from that of the Koran. And this difference illustrates a couple popular ways of fasting. In the Old Testament, religious fast days (such as Yom Kippur) require adherents to the Jewish faith to abstain from all food and drink, usually for 25 hours (from sunset to nightfall). As for the Koran, holy book for over 1 billion Muslims, the holy month of Ramadan is an example of an intermittent fast. During Ramadan, observers eat only between nightfall and sunrise.

Intermittent Fasting: how do you do it?

There are a couple primary ways to do intermittent fasting for weight loss (religious overtones aside). First, is a calorie restriction diet. And it works like this: 2-4 days a week, you eat way less calories than you usually do. For example, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, you restrict your intake to about 500 calories. This method (alternate day fasting) is gaining in popularity. But there’s another method of IF that I prefer….

Before discussing what the second kind of intermittent fast is, let me get this out of the way first. Intermittent fasting is not starvation. When some people hear “fasting” they equate it with food abstinence. As a certified nutritional therapist, I consider starving yourself of vital nutrients just to lose a couple pounds (say, to squeeze into a wedding dress) the worst thing you can do for your health.

And let me just also add that this second type of intermittent fasting, which I’m about to describe, I’ve seen first hand how well it works.

My husband, Brandon, is a IF guinea pig. Intrigued by it, Brandon has been doing intermittent fasting for over a year now. I gotta say I think I’ve fallen back in love with him (don’t worry, babe; I didn’t really ever fall out of love with you). His abs are now like a Greek statue; his slight fast food belly melted away.

Intermittent fasting: time-restricted feeding

The second kind of intermittent fasting, the protocol that’s really benefited Brandon and lots more people, is called “time-restricted feeding (TRF).”

And it works like this. At first, you only eat during a 12-hour window. It really doesn’t matter when. This is one reason why Brandon and lots of others love intermittent fasting. You’re probably familiar with one of the golden rules of nutrition that you shouldn’t eat late at night. Well, with TRF, you throw that theory out the window.

Eventually, with TRF, say, after a week or two, you narrow your eating window to 10 hours. Do the simple math and that means you’re fasting for 14 hours. Then, after another week or two, you narrow the eating window by two more hours. That means you’re only eating during an 8-hour window, say, from 12 noon to 8 p.m.

The best part about TRF is that you’re not really restricting your calorie intake. Although, to be sure, your belly will shrink after fasting for 16 hours. Therefore, you’re not going to want to break your fast with a huge serving of steak and eggs. (Keep reading for tips on how to break your fast.)

But how does fasting for 16 hours a day benefit your health and help you lose weight? And get washboard abs like Brandon?

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Studies like this one  (and this one) show that IF normalizes (reduces) the amount of fat you have in your blood.  In addition, IF controls your blood sugarincreases insulin sensitivity (a good thing) and even decreases blood pressure. Moreover, intermittent fasting reduces inflammation in the body. Most importantly if you’re trying to lose weight, IF reduces body fat. And here’s the best part: studies show that it takes just 8 weeks for these benefits to manifest. (For hubby, Brandon, it was even less.)

And here are some other benefits of IF, according to research. University of California, Berkeley researchers suggest it can reduce your risk of cancer. Also, when you fast for 16 hours, it might help activate genes in your DNA that help you live longer.

To remind you, intermittent fasting isn’t really a diet, within reason, of course. You’re not going to reap the benefits of intermittent fasting if you eat lots of junk food during the 8-hour eating window. But because you can more or less continue to eat the foods you love without restricting your calories, lots of people are able to stick to IF for a long time. In fact, this study concludes, “an IF protocol has been shown to produce higher compliance.”

Anecdotal evidence doesn’t mean squat to scientists and certain consumers who need proof that something works. All I can tell you is that Brandon swears that he has more energy and is able to focus better, for longer periods of time.

medical cannabis

Intermittent Fasting: how to break your fast

I cringe every time I hear or read about this. Allow me to explain. Every now and then, I’ll read a Facebook post. It goes a little something like this…. “So excited to start my 7-Day Cleanse and purge those toxins. One last naughty meal at the Jack In the Box before I officially start.”

Argh! No! No! You can’t eat like crap (pardon my potty mouth) right before you do a cleanse or an even longer 21 Day Detox. Absolutely not. You’ll set yourself up for nasty detox symptoms like a killer headache.

The same goes for breaking your fast. After you fast for 16 hours, the last thing your body needs (and wants) is junk food. Eating junk after fasting will negate much of the benefits of intermittent fasting (including activating human growth hormone [HGH], which helps you burn fat).

What your body needs to break the fast is a nutrient-dense drink, which will resupply your body with vitamins and minerals. Organic Green Drink is the perfect thing for breaking the fast.

What to Drink In the Morning So You Don’t Break Your Fast

As I previously state, your belly will shrink after fasting for 16 hours. (Don’t worry, it takes very little time to get used to going this long without eating. Plus, you’ll feel very energetic because your hormone levels will be more balanced.)

Thus, you’re not going to feel like breaking your fast with a big meal anyway. Keep in mind, though, that if your fasting window is 8 p.m. to noon, you can’t have any Green Drink before noon. That’s because Green Drink contains calories. So you’d be breaking your fast.

There are some non-caloric things you can have in the morning to keep you going. Brandon likes to have some black coffee. I don’t recommend adding non-caloric sweetener. That’s because it may trigger cravings for calories. That being said, add Stevia or Monk Fruit Extract if you can’t stand the taste of black coffee and need to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Another popular drink that won’t break your fast that’s been making the rounds in intermittent fasting circles combines the following ingredients: Himalayan sea salt, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, and cream of tartar. The ingredients in this bizarre concoction all have a purpose.

The sea salt provides you with trace minerals, which are essential for everything your body does. The apple cider vinegar helps your body absorbs these trace minerals. Also important is that the vinegar helps stabilize your blood sugars. This helps you stick with the fast. Next, the cream of tartar is very high in potassium, which also will help you fast for a full 16 hours. The lime juice is optional but the reason it’s added is it may help aid the body in detoxification.

Intermittent fasting: how to get started

If you’re ready to give IF a try, it’s really simple. For the first week, pick an equal 12-hour fasting/eating window. For example, eat between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. A week later, try to extend your fast time by two hours. Then, a week after that, bump it up to a 16 hour fast. And don’t forget to break your fast with some Green Drink.

Can CBD Oil Help You Lose Weight & Feel Great?

CBD oil

Move over, coconut. You, too, avocado and olive. The latest, greatest oil I’m making room for in my kitchen is CBD oil. It’s extracted from the marijuana plant, but don’t worry because it won’t get you high. That is, unless you experience the natural high you’ll feel from the relief of pain, insomnia, anxiety, and the other potential benefits CBD oil may offer. Just make sure it’s legal in your state!

A few weeks ago, I described the stress I was experiencing opening a new commercial kitchen in New Jersey.

But hey, it turns out New Jersey ain’t so bad. At least it’s one of the states where CBD oil is legal.

Too bad I didn’t get turned onto CBD oil last month. Brandon (my husband) and I could have really used a squirt of CBD oil in our Green Drinks to cope with the stress.

As a certified nutritional therapist, I could no longer ignore looking into the benefits of CBD oil. Now that we’ve had our grand opening for our new commercial kitchen, I’ve had the time to get back to one of my favorite extra curricular activities: geeking out on nutrition and natural health articles.

Sure, I’ve heard all the hype about CBD oil over the last couple years. But I wanted to see for myself if the glorified testimonials were legit.

Here’s what I found….

Sample Code

Limited Research But So Far Very Promising

If you’re not familiar with CBD, it’s one of over 100 chemical compounds in marijuana. THC is the compound in marijuana that makes you feel high. But CBD itself doesn’t have any psychoactive properties. In fact, it can counteract the effect of THC.

And that’s a good thing, considering that CBD seems to offer the most benefit when it’s combined with at least some THC. But here’s what we know about CBD oil thus far, although there’s a limited amount of research. It helps to:

  • Reduce the number of seizures caused by epilepsy
  • Fights inflammation
  • Lessen the severity of muscle spasms
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Ease anxiety
  • Normalize blood sugar
  • Help treat drug addiction
  • Aid in treating psychotic conditions such as schizophrenia

In addition, preliminary studies on CBD shows it possesses anti-tumor potential. One day, it might even be part of a regimen doctors use to fight Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Another thing that really intrigued me about the potential of CBD I read is its ability to regulate metabolism and body weight. In fact, in one study on mice, it even lowered the incidence of diabetes. Granted that study wasn’t on humans, but, and excuse me if this sounds creepy, the protein-coding regions (the area from which we inherit our characteristics) of the mouse and human genomes are 85 percent identical. So, squeak, squeak, y’all!

Adding CBD Oil to Green Drinks

All this research on CBD is relatively new. That’s because CBD itself wasn’t extracted from the cannabis sativa plant (aka, weed) until just a couple decades ago.

But what if the preliminary research proves to be legit … could CBD help people lose weight?

We already know that certain fats can actually help improve your metabolism. Many CBD oil products contain coconut oil. That’s because coconut oil is very high in fat and CBD is fat-soluble. That means in order for you to absorb it, you need to combine it with fat. Coconut oil contains MCT’s, which stands for medium-chain triglycerides. Perhaps you’ve heard of MCT oil? If you haven’t it’s become popular because it’s good for both your brain and your metabolism.

(Two important side notes: be careful not to eat too much coconut oil if you have very high cholesterol. Also, don’t buy hemp-based CBD products like hemp seed oil because hemp contains far less CBD than cannabis-based CBD extract.)

So this got me thinking….

What if people starting adding CBD oil tincture to Chef V Green Drinks? I really think that adding a little bit of this therapeutic oil has the potential to help you lose weight. Plus, the fat from the coconut oil will help you feel fuller for longer.

In fact, if you’re doing one of my cleanse programs  adding some CBD may even enhance your cleanse. How? For starters, it will help you relax. And also, other research shows CBD can stimulate genes that can help you breakdown fat; increase metabolism and slow down new fat cell generation.

medical cannabis

But is CBD legal where you live?

Truth be told, I’m not going to make CBD oil an ingredient in my Green Drink or feature it in my cleanse anytime soon. Primarily, it’s because according to federal law, CBD oil is still illegal.

But depending on the state in which you live, you might be able to buy CBD oil. I checked this source and here’s what I found….

If you live in these 6 states, where CBD in all forms is illegal, you’re out of luck: Idaho, South Dakota, West Virginia, Nebraska, Kansas, and Indiana.

As for these 16 states, you likely need a legit serious medical condition for buying and using it: Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

However, in the rest of the states, you will likely be able to use CBD oil products with no problem. Currently, nine states allow recreational and medicinal marijuana. And 30 states have legalized medicinal pot.

Weed Wild Wild West

Just keep in mind that not all CBD products are created equal. And none are regulated by any federal guidelines (because it’s illegal).

Therefore, if you’re going to buy some CBD oil or any products with CBD (it’s even in lip balm these days), choose a brand that’s been 3rd-party tested for purity and strength. Lots of companies are trying to cash in on the cannabis craze. It really is a wild wild west green rush. And like the gold rush era of the mid 19th century, when lots of people got burned by speculators, lots of people are buying CBD products that contain very little CBD.

I should also mention that if you have a serious medical condition, of course, it’s always best to first check with your doctor or other health professional. And remember, the most therapeutic CBD seems to also include some THC. So go easy and start with a very low dose and scale up gradually.

To your health!

Love,

Chef V

Leptin function

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!

30-Day Green Drink Challenge: Improve your Health

30 day green drink challenge

There’s never been a more important time to stay healthy. Whether we are stuck at home or able to start getting out and about, we need to do everything we can to eat healthy and get all the nutrients we need.

There’s a simple way to feel energetic, focused, healthy – and even slim down: replace breakfast with my Green Drink or Tropical Smoothie for 30 Days. I invite you to take the 30 Day Green Drink Challenge. (It’s actually not that challenging but if you complete the challenge you’ll be amazed at your health.)

added sugars

How it used to be: your alarm clock springs you into fight or flight mode at the ungodly hour of 6:00 a.m. so you can get to work or school in time. You shower, get dressed and devour a donut, bagel, muffin, or toast, and wash it down with orange juice.

And then, a couple hours later, you start yawning because the sugar rush from your high-carb breakfast has worn off. Thank God for coffee, right? Otherwise, there’s no way you’d be able to make it through a whole day of work. That’s why God also invented cup numbers two and three of coffee…

How it is now: you get up when you want and have breakfast at home. Starbucks is a memory and you are making your own breakfast every day.

If you can relate, the truth is I can’t cure Conronavirus and get you out of your house. But what I can do is show you how to easily boost your energy in the morning and lose weight by doing just one thing:

Skipping breakfast.

Instead of eating breakfast, drink it.

If you skip breakfast and for 30 days replace it with my Green Drink or Tropical Smoothie  you are going to experience an amazing transformation in your physique and overall sense of wellness.

Are you up for the 30 Day Green Drink Challenge? Order your Green Drink Plan and we’ll get started together.

When you start a Green Drink Challenge, you sign up for a Plan and choose your bottle size. A green drink Plan gives you 112 oz a week in 16 oz bottles or 128 oz in 64 oz bottles. That extra 16 oz comes in handy when you want a bonus burst of health! Whichever you choose, you are in for a superb experience!

Chef V green drink

Why Breakfast is Overrated

Wait a sec … isn’t breakfast the most important meal of the day?

The answer is, yes, breakfast is super important. But only when you break your fast with with tons of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and prebiotic fiber, which is great for your gut bacteria.

My Green Drink contains seven certified organic green, leafy veggies. All seven of these veggies contain these nutrients.

Compare that to the donuts, etc. that are all part of the SAD (Standard American Diet).
There are few acronyms more appropriate than SAD! (Can I get an “amen” on that?)

For years, maybe you’ve been eating breakfast that’s loaded with empty calories and lots of sugar. Very few people break their fast with, say, steamed spinach and cauliflower. Some people may have fruit in the morning, which is certainly healthier than cereal and other high-starch carbs. And sure, eating a handful of blueberries or an organic apple is healthy.

But the reason I created my Green Drink several years ago is to provide people with a quick, on-the-go, mega-dose source of nutrients.

And I guarantee you that if you ditch your bagel, toast, cereal, and other typical breakfast foods for Green Drink, and do so for 30 days, you will have:

  • less cravings (for empty carb snacky foods)
  • more energy
  • more focus and concentration
  • looser-fitting clothes.

Below, check out K.I.’s success with Green Drink.

nutrition facts label

The Challenge of the 30 Day Green Drink Challenge

If going 30 days without eating food for breakfast sounds challenging, I have some advice for you that should put your fears to rest….

It’s true that if your diet contains lots of white and wheat flour, your gut bacteria (especially candida albicans yeast) will tell your brain to feed you more of it.

It might be challenging for a couple days to ignore your junk-food craving gut bacteria. But if you can wrap it around your head that it’s not true hunger your experiencing, only a message from your bad bacteria, you will feel more empowered to ignore the message.

And drinking a 16-oz. serving of Green Drink will feed your good bacteria with the prebiotic fiber needed to overpower and quiet the bad bacteria.

The good news is that if you want to eat solid food as well in the morning, you can do it with my healthy breakfast eating guide.

The healthy breakfast guide contains recipes for my Easy Healthy Cereal, Avocado Toast, and Smoked Salmon. It also has several low-sugar smoothie recipes if you want to switch things up. Check out my most popular smoothie, the Ginger Apple Berry Smoothie.

What Can The 30 Day Green Drink Challenge Do For You?

The 30 Day Green Drink Challenge is a new concept. My intention in creating the challenge was to introduce people to healthier habits without having to do a 3, 5 or 7 day cleanse or the 21 Day Detox.

You can certainly do the 30 Day Green Drink Challenge as well as a cleanse or detox. (If you’re doing the 21 Day Detox, having Green Drink for 9 more days will be easy peasy; you’ll crave it!)

But just replacing your normal breakfast for Green Drink for 30 days is one of the easiest things you can do to transform your health.

(And if you combine the 30 Day Challenge with Intermittent Fasting you might lose so much weight you’ll need to buy new clothes!)

But don’t take the benefits of Green Drink only from me. Here are a few satisfied Chef V customer’s opinions about Green Drink on our Yelp profile.

“I’ve been buying Chef V Green Drink and I love it.  My husband has started drinking it, too. Like me, he enjoys drinking it and also it is helping him with his stomach issues.  Initially,  I did the “21-day challenge obsessive” and I lost weight.  Then,  bought a weekly subscription.”— Lal C

“What can I say – I love Chef V’s green drink! They use the best of best ingredients (trust me, I have been in their kitchen) and their delivery service is superb. The cost of their products is very affordable. I used to make my own green drink, but once I did the math, it was clear to me that I was spending more by making my own then by purchasing from this company. I have had a monthly green drink subscription and I have completed a few of the their 3 and 5 day cleanses – the results of speak for themselves.” — Allison I.

“I absolutely love my Green Drink, it tastes amazing and the health benefits are real. I take a medication that causes high cholesterol, and six months of drinking one every day has normalized my cholesterol! I appreciate the single serving too, so easy to drink!” — Heather D.

Reset Your Metabolism & Banish Sugar Addiction

I hope you’ll accept my invitation to do the 30 Day Green Drink Challenge.

If you have a sensible lunch and dinner, there’s no easier way to give your digestive system a reboot and end your cravings for sugary snacks once and for all.

Good luck on the 30 Day Green Drink Challenge!

(You won’t really need it; it’s that easy.)

To your health….

Love,

Chef V

Awesome Mac & ‘Cheese’

Chef V’s tip: This is my gluten-free, dairy-free version of macaroni and cheese. – Veronica

super smoothie

TOTAL 10 minutes

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Serving Size: 1 Person

Ingredients

  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 2 cups peeled and chopped butternut squash
  • 1/2 cup Chef V’s Raw Almond Milk
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked and drained
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice elbow pasta
  • Freshly ground pepper, optional

Directions

Bring the 3 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan and cook the butternut squash for 20 to 30 minutes, or until soft. Process the cooked squash, almond milk, garlic, cashews, lemon juice, and salt in a Vitamix until smooth. Combine the ‘cheese’ sauce and cooked pasta, season with black pepper if desired, and serve.

Good Morning LALALand Interview

Veronica Wheat, Chef V, was recently on Good Morning LALALand, a live-streaming daily talk show with over 100 million impressions, based in Southern California. 

Click below to watch Veronica’s interview.

Good Morning LaLa Land is the first, live-streaming daily talk show, allowing viewers to consume, digest, and share their entertainment experience across multiple, distributed social media platforms simultaneously and available on APPLE TV + ROKU on the EVERTALK TV app. With over 3000 guests, and 100 million impressions, Good Morning LaLa Land is leading-edge, digital media at its very best, empowering their audience to make a major shift happen in their personal, financial, relational ,and emotional lives… so they can live their best lives starting today!

Vitamin D for a healthy Immune System

Vitamin D and Covid

We’re taking our health seriously in these uncertain times – and maintaining a healthy immune system may be the most important way to protect ourselves against Covid-19. Before all else, we need to eat healthy and stay active. After that, according to the experts, Vitamin D, the “Sunshine Vitamin”, can help.

Vitamin D: What is it?

Vitamin D is a substance naturally produced by our own bodies after exposure to sunlight. Our ability to absorb calcium depends on it – for strong bones, we need plenty of Vitamin D. Numerous studies have shown that Vitamin D regulates the immune system, lowers blood pressure, and reduces the risk of Type 2 Diabetes. It protects against influenza and and is possibly a factor in protecting against Covid-19.

How much do I need?

Adults need 600 IU of Vitamin D each day, increasing to 800IU per day if you are over 70. Everyday Health says: “very few foods have enough Vitamin D to reach recommended daily intakes, and sunshine can be unreliable in certain climates. Men and women relying on sourcing Vitamin D through diet alone typically don’t exceed 288 IU a day on average.”

Have you had your Vitamin D level tested recently? It might shock you. Nearly half of people tested for it were deficient in a recent study. A “good” level of Vitamin D in lab testing is a serum concentration of 25 ng/ml. In your lab results, anything under 20 is considered low, and 35-55 ng/ml is considered optimal.

If you don’t know your Vitamin D level and want to make sure you are getting enough, should you take supplements? The NHS suggests taking 10 micrograms of Vitamin D a day, But getting vitamins from food is preferable for most of us.

Vitamin D foods

What foods have Vitamin D?

If you don’t want to take a supplement, you can get Vitamin D from certain foods. Vitamin D is found in oily fish (like salmon and sardines), in red meat, liver, egg yolks, and foods that are fortified. If you are a vegetarian, you can find yogurt, oatmeal, and some cereals that are fortified with Vitamin D.

I’m pretty much a vegetarian, but I occasionally enjoy healthy fish like wild salmon. Try my Salmon Carpaccio  and Ginger Glazed Salmon Recipes. And read my article: Benefits of Wild Salmon (and The Best Recipe).

wild salmon

The Vitamin D – Covid-19 Connection

Vitamin D keeps our immune systems at their best, and new studies find that not only does it keep your immune system healthy, it may protect against respiratory illnesses, possibly including Covid-19.

Researchers at Northwestern University have found that Covid-19 patients with Vitamin D deficiency are twice as likely to get more severely ill and to die. And the researchers also found that normal levels of Vitamin D have a beneficial effect on patient outcome.

According to Dr Vadim Blackman, “Vitamin D will not prevent a patient from contracting the virus but it may reduce complications and prevent death in those who are effected”. He continues: ““Our analysis shows that it might be as high as cutting the mortality rate in half,” Blackman said. “It will not prevent a patient from contracting the virus, but it may reduce complications and prevent death in those who are infected.”

As you might expect, numerous studies of Vitamin D and Covid-19 are underway. Here are a few of the most promising:

  • A recent study cited by the NIH: “Vitamin D might induce antimicrobial peptides to reduce Covid-19 replication”.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7175848/
    More simply stated, it might keep the virus from multiplying in your body. And that’s a good thing.
  • A study of older people showed that Vitamin D has protective effects from influenza. “…vitamin D has been shown to have protective effects and the researchers concluded that vitamin D appears to be a safe strategy to protect against acute respiratory infections. ”
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28202713/
  • A former director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Tom Frieden, proposed using Vitamin D to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in a recent news interview. He said: “Vitamin D supplementation reduces the risk of respiratory infection, regulates cytokine production and can limit the risk of other viruses such as influenza. A respiratory infection can result in cytokine storms – a vicious cycle in which our inflammatory cells damage organs throughout the body – which increase mortality for those with COVID-19. Adequate Vitamin D may potentially provide some modest protection for vulnerable populations.”

Where do we go from here?

First and foremost, we continue to drink our Green Drink, eat a healthy diet, and stay active. Unhealthy habits and food deficiencies hurt your immune system and make it harder to fight off disease-causing bacteria, viruses and toxins. Getting tested for your Vitamin D level is a good idea, I’m doing that. And most important, stay calm, stay focused, and stay safe.

Chef V and kale

Warning: Sunscreen May Be Doing Your Body More Harm Than Good!

sunscreen

I hope you are going to have a relaxing summer, healthy and serene. Now that we have a facility in in the NYC-metro area, I’ve experienced record high temperatures, the through-the-roof UV index  – and the sizzling rays of the sun. And as the heat increases, millions of people are slathering sunscreen, thinking that they are protecting themselves.

Sunscreen may indeed protect you from getting sunburn. But most people don’t realize there are a few harmful and dangerous consequences of using conventional sunscreen.

After reading this, my hope is you’ll think twice about using most sunscreens that are sold in stores….

Reason #1 NOT to use Sunscreen: No Protection Against Skin Cancer

Wait, what? Doesn’t sunscreen protect you against skin cancer, not to mention sunburn?

Yes, sunscreen can protect you from getting sunburn. But I’ll share with you in a little bit a couple better ways to avoid sunburn.

As for skin cancer, the shocking truth is that sunscreen isn’t protecting you against it like you think it is. In fact, check out this review from the European Journal of Dermatology. (If you don’t feel like it, I’ll summarize the key deets for you….)

The review looked at 29 studies involving over 300,000 participants (not mice or rats; actual people). Here’s what the researchers concluded: “The use of sunscreen is a key component of public health campaigns for skin cancer prevention, but studies have raised doubts on its effectiveness in the general population.”

The review of all the studies, said the researchers, did not show a significant association between skin cancer and sunscreen use. Using sunscreen, at least for the over 300,000 people did not offer protection against melanoma (malignant skin cancer) or non-melanoma skin cancer. “This review does not confirm the expected protective benefits of sunscreen against skin cancer in the general population,” concluded the researchers.

Nonetheless, millions of Americans spray themselves silly with sunscreens that contain chemicals that are toxic to your health.

Which brings me to the second reason to think twice before you slather or spray sunscreen on your bod….

sunscreen and sunburn

Reason #2 NOT to use Sunscreen: Bad for Your Hormones

Almost every mainstream medical organization recommends using sunscreen to protect against skin cancer. But what do these health experts and institutions such as the American Cancer Society have to say about the synthetic chemicals in sunscreen? Can they actually be doing more harm than good?

I checked out the American Cancer Society’s website. Here’s what they say about the safety of sunscreens:

“The FDA checks that active ingredients in sunscreens do not cause serious problems including cancer, reproductive harm, or endocrine effects. But the FDA does not test sunscreen products themselves….”

[Chef V’s takeaway: Great, so how do we really know they are safe. The answer: we don’t!]

“In Europe, there are different requirements for regulating and marketing sunscreen products. The FDA says it is working on ways to recognize some of these other ingredients as safe and effective.”

[Chef V’s takeaway: Great, so how do we really know they are safe. The answer: we don’t!]

Oxybenzone is one of the common active ingredients in sunscreens that are sold in the US. The FDA says it is safe. But some environmental and health groups single out oxybenzone as potentially unsafe for some people and the environment. This is because some studies have shown oxybenzone can cause skin allergies. In addition, studies in animals and in human cells in laboratories show that oxybenzone can interfere with how some hormones work.”

[Chef V’s takeaway: Dear FDA, so how is that if your organization has yet “to recognize these ingredients as safe and effective,” can you conclude oxybenzone is safe? In my opinion, the health of millions is at risk and oxybenzone should not be callously regarded as safe.]

sunscreen summer

Sunscreen: Bad For The Environment?

Here’s another reason not to use sunscreen; at least one that contains oxybenzone: The American Cancer Society on its website points to evidence  that the chemical damages coral reefs. (Which is why starting in 2021, Hawaii will be the first U.S. state to ban the use of sunscreens containing the toxic ingredient.)

Now, I’m not going to go as far as other blog articles I’ve read that claim using conventional (non-organic) sunscreen can actually cause cancer. But I will conclude this section on the health risks of using them by referencing the Environmental Working Group. (Check out the EWG’s Skin Deep research database to see if the sunscreen you use is considered safe.)

Here’s what EWG says: “The FDA has put the entire sunscreen industry on alert by proposing that in just two instances do we have enough safety information about ingredients to determine whether they’re safe and effective: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. For 12 other ingredients [including oxybenzoate] the FDA has said there isn’t enough data to determine whether they’re safe.”

[Chef V’s takeaway: if you’re going to use sunscreen, use a mineral-based one with zinc or titanium.]

sunscreen

Before You Apply, Fry (Not Really, But It’s A Nice Rhyme)

Let’s say that there’s absolutely no way you can avoid having your body be exposed to the sun for a long time. I get it, I used to like frying in the sun. But as I’m getting (just a tad) older, I don’t like baking in the sun like I used to. However, if I do use sunscreen (of course, it’s organic and mineral-based), I let most of my skin get exposed to the sun for at least 10-15 minutes.

If you use sunscreen before you even step outside, your body will not be able to synthesize vitamin D from the sun.

And as much as I went off above about the FDA saying sunscreens are totally safe when there’s absolutely no proof of that and even evidence to the contrary, not getting enough vitamin D might even be worse for your health.

In fact, there’s no doubt that lack of vitamin D increases the risk of certain cancers, not to mention bone fractures and diseases. 

Vitamin D also is a precursor to your sex hormones (the 3 estrogens as well as testosterone, which women also need an adequate amount of to stave off excess belly fat). The sunshine vitamin also helps form healthy cholesterol, which provides structure to your trillions of cells.

I could go on and on about how important vitamin D is for your health. But let me just conclude by strongly advising you to let your skin feel the rays of the sun, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Try to expose about 70% of your body, such as your arms, legs and back.

If you’re concerned about age spots on your face and hands, then go ahead and apply your mineral-based organic sunscreen. Just make sure the rest of you gets some sun. If you’re really fair-skinned and fry easily, try to get sun exposure even if it’s only 5 minutes. You may also want to think about taking a vitamin D supplement if you spend much of the day indoors, especially during the late fall, winter and early spring.

sunburn

Easiest Ways To Avoid Sunburn

If you’re deathly afraid of the sun because of sunburn risk, here are a few easy things you can do that may prevent frying:

Eat tomato paste

That’s right, canned tomato paste (make sure it’s organic; what else would you expect me to say 🙂 ) can help prevent sunburn. The antioxidant in tomato paste, lycopene, is what gives tomatoes their red pigment and also help protect the veggies from the sun. It turns out that lycopene also protects humans from sunburn. Just a spoonful a day of tomato paste may help keep the doctor away.

Wear long sleeves

This might seem like a “duh” recommendation. But I’m amazed at how many people walk around in the summer totally exposed to the sun with visible sunburn, wearing hardly anything. If you’re going to stay outside and even if you do apply sunscreen, I think it’s best to completely cover up after a while. So what if it’s super hot out? Today’s moisture-wicking synthetic materials are so lightweight; you hardly notice them. Personally, I love wearing sarongs. (I fell in love with them while on vacation in Bali.)

Keep cool in the shade

Another piece of “totally obvs” advice. But it’s one worth remembering; in the summer we want to spend time outdoors. Get a few minutes of direct sun exposure and then chill with a good book under a tree.

Green Leafy Veggies

If I were a shameless self-promoter, I would have included my last recommendation to you at the very top of this article. And that is: have 16 oz. of my Organic Green Drink every day!

What do the 7-certified organic green, leafy veggies in my Green Drink have to do with preventing sunburn, not to mention skin cancer? I’m glad you asked.

The answer is: the antioxidants such as retinol, vitamin C, and vitamin E, in green leafy veggies, protect against the damaging effects of solar radiation on the skin. In fact, there’s at least a 20 percent reduced risk of melanoma if you get enough retinol in your diet. And Chef V can easily deliver fresh, organic Green Drinks right to your front door this summer.

The takeaway: ditch the conventional, non-mineral sunscreen. Expose a good chunk of your skin to the sun’s rays for about 10 minutes before you apply sunscreen. Drink Green Drink. Every day.

Here’s to a fun and healthy summer!

Love,

Chef V

Super Antioxidant Smoothie

Antioxidants are substances that may prevent cell damage. Berries, kale, and beets are great natural sources of antioxidants. Enjoy ihis super antioxidant smoothie in the morning after your 16 oz. of Organic Green Drink.

super smoothie

TOTAL 10 minutes

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Serving Size: 1 Person

Ingredients

  • ½ cup organic blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • ½ cup organic raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
  • ¼ cup diced organic red beet, raw
  • 2 pieces of organic green kale
  • ½ cup ice
  • ½ cup coconut water
  • 1 serving of Chef V Ultra Shake protein powder or Powder of your choice

Directions

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

Super Smoothie

This Super Smoothie has everything – fresh fruit, avocado for richness, kale for vitamins, ginger for zing, and my protein powder for nutrition. Enjoy it in the morning after your 16 oz. of Organic Green Drink.

super smoothie

TOTAL 10 minutes

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Serving Size: 1 Person

Ingredients

  • ½ organic pear,
  • ripe ¼ avocado
  • ½ organic cucumber
  • ½ lemon juice
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1-2 pieces organic green kale
  • 1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 serving of Chef V Ultra Shake protein powder or Powder of your choice

Directions

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

© 2020 Chef V, LLC.