Raw Almond Butter is delicious, but not all commercial almond butters are healthy. Almonds are definitely one food that you want to purchase organic. When comparing how a crop is cultivated organically and conventionally, oftentimes, the methods are very similar. But not so with almonds. In fact, conventionally-grown almonds, the way they are processed, may pose serious hazards to your health.
In light of this, I always buy organic almonds. And if I’m at a farmer’s market that offers steam-pasteurized organic raw almonds, I go for those, even if it’s expensive. Steam-pasteurization preserves the nutritional integrity of the raw almond butter. Plus, they’re free of chemicals and pesticides.
Once you’ve tried this almond butter recipe you’ll never want to buy commercial again. – Veronica
TOTAL TIME: 25 min SERVINGS: 5
3 cups organic raw almonds
High power blender (I prefer Vitamix)
Patience – it takes up to 20 minutes to process
Process the nuts in a Vitamix for 10-20 minutes at high speed. This is easy, but it takes patience.
After about 5 minutes, the nuts will look like almond flour. Then, after another 5-10 minutes, the oils will start seeping out of the mixture, forming a paste.
Soon after, the raw almond butter magically appears! Store it in a sealed mason jar. Your raw almond butter will keep in the refrigerator for up to a month.
That’s the simple way to make raw almond butter at home.
Take it from me, as someone who travels often, you need a healthy snack recipe to keep your immune system strong when travelling. I usually make a batch of this recipe before a long trip. This recipe is one of my go-to healthy snacks when I’m traveling on a plane….
TOTAL TIME: 15 min SERVES: 2
Apples & Almond Butter
1 apple (my favs are Fuji, Honeycrisp, and Gala)
2 tablespoons Chef V’s Raw Almond Butter
1 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon raw cacao nibs
First, I’ll show you how I make the raw almond butter. Check out the directions HERE. The instructions show a simple way to make raw almond butter at home. Now that you know how, it’s time to make apples with almond butter, coconut and cacao.
Cut the apples in quarters and smear the almond butter on. Sprinkle with toppings if desired and savor each bite!
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.
TOTAL TIME: 15 min SERVES: 2-4
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
1/4 cup cold-pressed olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon or dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Plate the greens with watermelon, pears, broccoli florets, and a sprinkling of pine nuts.
Combine the dressing ingredients. Drizzle over the salad and serve.
Despite the thousands of satisfied CHEF V CLEANSE customers and incredible transformation stories, we’re never going to have a 100% success rate.
I realize that. But knowing that there’s somebody out there—even if they are the 1 in a thousand that doesn’t have an awesome experience—well, it sort of weighs on me a little bit.
So if you’re thinking about doing a CLEANSE or just starting out, here are some tips on how to maximize your experience and undergo the health transformation you want to achieve.
Cleanse For Success Tip #1: Set Realistic Expectations
How long has your diet been, well, let’s just say far from perfect?
If you’ve been consuming lots of processed food for many years, you can’t expect miracles from a 5 Day Cleanse. Sure, you can lose up to 20 pounds in 5 days.
But then what?
Are you going to keep the results going? And if you’ve eaten unhealthy for years, is 5 days going to reset your metabolism?
That’s why in order to keep your success going, you can’t go back to eating the same foods and drinks that cause a toxic metabolism in the first place.
You have to keep the success going my sticking to my Organic Green Drink plan. The plan is simple really. All you have to do is replace a regular breakfast with an 8-16 oz. serving of Green Drink.
Then, eat a sensible lunch and dinner with a healthy snack in between if you have to. Make sure you also give your body 12-16 hours in between your last bite of dinner and your first sip of Green Drink in the morning.
This intermittent fasting will help balance your blood sugar levels and improve detoxification.
Everybody has different reactions to cleansing. For some people, the weight melts right off because the liver and gallbladder are in pretty good shape. These organs can filter out the bad stuff.
But for other people, the liver and gallbladder are so sluggish that it may take more than 5 days to do the trick.
Cleanse For Success Tip #2: Extend The Cleanse
If you’re not satisfied with your cleansing results, you may also need a healthy lifestyle education. That’s where 21 Day Detox comes in.
Many people are straight-up addicted to sugar and think that doing a 1, 3 or even 5 day cleanse will cure all their troubles. This goes back to unrealistic expectations from above. But if your brain has been hijacked by sugar or salt addiction, it’s going to take longer than a 5 Day Cleanse to reset your taste buds.
Three weeks will do the trick!I know 21 days sounds like an eternity. But think how quickly the last 3 weeks have gone by. And really, doing a 21 Day Detox is not that challenging, not when you have me as your guide.
I’ll provide you with healthy eating guides and wellness resources along with dozens of recipes to choose from. Plus, throughout the 21 Day Detox, you’ll get to eat delicious meals and snacks. It’s not a starvation diet; it’s a lifestyle adjustment and Green Drink remains the foundation of the program.
But losing up to 40 pounds in just 21 days is not for everybody.
Cleanse For Success Tip #3: Don’t Quit & Maintain Your Desire To Transform
You have to want it. You have to put in the work. It’s not that difficult. You just need to have some temporary will power in order to put the sugar genie back in the bottle.
And if you can do it for just three weeks out of your life, you can live the rest of your life buzzing with natural energy. Your vibration will be higher. Your skin will look more youthful. In short, you’re going to feel amazing.
Cleanse For Success Tip #3: Adjust The Taste To Your Liking
Some people who don’t get results from my cleanse complain about the taste of Green Drink, of which you get four 16-oz servings each day. Again, that’s because their taste buds have been corrupted by added sugars.
There are seven leafy green veggies in Organic Green Drink and nothing else except for a tiny bit of apple. That’s why there’s only a couple grams of natural sugar in each serving.
If you want to reset your toxic metabolism that has been making your fat cells bigger, one of the most important things you can do is resetting your taste buds.
After resetting your taste buds, eating a handful of berries will taste amazing. You’ll be hooked on “Mother Nature’s candy” instead of empty-calorie food with added sugars.
But you have to be realistic and give Green Drink a chance to exert its metabolic-rebooting potential. You can’t expect Green Drink to taste like a Slurpee.
You can add liquid stevia drops to Green Drink to add some natural sweetness to it without raising your blood sugar levels.
Do you want to know the absolute best way to reset your taste buds and conquer a toxic metabolism?
Your 100% Happiness Is My #1 Concern
I know it sounds cheesy… (Speaking of cheese, if you’re eating a lot of it and want to transform your metabolism, give it up as much as you can after your cleanse is over!)
But it’s true. I’m obsessive about customer satisfaction.
Remember, we’re not perfect. Sometimes shipping errors occur. And sometimes the problems are out of our hands (maybe the UPS delivery person screwed up). But I promise you we will do everything in our power to make it right for you.
I appreciate every bit of customer feedback we get. We must be doing something right when it’s 99% positive feedback. But I always strive for perfection. Maybe that’s a fault who knows. All I do know is that I want you set up for the biggest chance of success possible!
Stress. It impacts everything we do these days. And it has never been more important to de-stress, to find ways to relax and enjoy the good things in life.
How do I keep my cool during these times? I treat myself – and you should treat yourself too. And the treat that makes me happiest this time of year is to get outside. Whether hiking in the Arizona desert or doing yoga on the beaches here in San Diego, getting outdoors is just about the best stress reliever we have in these turbulent times.
We recently moved from the east coast back to one of the most beautiful places on the planet: sunny, temperate San Diego, where I can go to the beach. Taking an early-morning beach walk, watching the dolphins surf the waves (while sipping Green Drink, natch) takes me from stressed to blissful. Brandon and I de-stress regularly with long walks.
What the Experts Say
The New York Times recently interviewed Julia L. Marcus, an epidemiologist and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. She says: “I think going outside is important for health… We know that being outdoors is lower risk for infection than being indoors. On a sunny, beautiful weekend, I think going outside is indicated, but I also think there are things to do to reduce our risk.”
We all know by now to socially distance and wear a mask. Just this week, the CDC has published guidelines for going to parks and recreation areas, greatly expanding the options for going mask free.
Outdoors safer than indoors
It is now well established that COVID viruses are much more likely to spread indoors than outdoors.
Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s health officer says that “the risk that somebody who is sick spreads this virus from coughing or sneezing outside and you walk by them very quickly, even when it is within six feet, that risk is negligible…. We always say ‘never say never’ in medicine, but the risk would be infinitesimally small.”
She emphasizes an important part of our daily routines in these difficult times. She says “going for walks and spending time in parks is important for mental health.” I agree – stress is bad for your health. We need to stay sane and calm to stay well.
We’ll get through this together
Times are tough and scary but you are not in this alone. You, my customers and friends, are a blessing in my life and I am so grateful to you. Your health and safety are constantly in my thoughts and I thank you for your patronage and friendship. Know that you are not alone, we are all figuring this out together. – Veronica
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.
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.
Freshly made gluten free spaghetti and hearty meatballs are covered in a tasty tomato sauce for a timeless and savory Italian dish. That’s amoré!
TOTAL TIME: 45 min SERVES: 4
1lb. organic ground turkey
½ lb. organic chicken sausage
1 cup gluten-free bread crumbs
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
¼ cup diced onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
20 oz. organic crushed tomatoes (divided)
1 cup organic basil, washed
1 box of brown rice or quinoa spaghetti
Combine raw ground turkey and chicken sausage in a bowl and mix well. Mix in 4 oz. of crushed tomato sauce, bread crumbs, oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Start forming meatballs by grabbing a handful of meat mix and forming a ball shape. Make all the balls, to desired size. You can make all big, all small or small and big ones. Just know that bigger ones will take a longer cooking time in the oven.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat a skillet on the stove with 1 tbsp. of olive oil to medium-high heat. Add 2-3 meatballs at a time, depending on how many will fit, and brown the outside of the meatballs for about 5 minutes total, turning and browning the entire outside of the ball. Once browned, move to a foil lined baking sheet and bake all the meatballs for 10-15 minutes for small meatballs and 15-20 minutes for larger meatballs. When removing, cut one ball open to check doneness. The inside should not have any pink and should be firm.
Cook pasta according to directions on the package. While cooking the pasta, heat 1 tbsp. oil in a pan on medium-high. Add onion and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add minced garlic and stir. Add 16 oz. crushed tomatoes and continue to stir until hot. Add chopped basil before serving. Spoon spaghetti onto plates, top with red sauce and a meatball or two. Top with additional sauce and serve with Love!
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!
TOTAL TIME: 15 min SERVES: 2-4
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
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.
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.
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:
Peas (especially shriveled ones; peas are also legumes)
Raw potato starch
High-maize flour (corn)
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.
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
TOTAL TIME: 15 Min
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.
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.
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
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)
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.
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
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!
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:
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.)
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’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?
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
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…
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Having Trouble Concentrating & Focusing While Working at Home? Ditch the Sugar
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.
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?
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.
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
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.
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
TOTAL 10 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Serving Size: 2 People
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
Blend mayo ingredients together in a Vitamix or food processor.
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:
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.
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.
Chef V’s Tip: For more protein, add 1 pound ground chicken. Raw coconut aminos are a fabulous replacement for soy sauce.
TOTAL 30 minutes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Serving Size: 5-6 People
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)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped raw cashews
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.
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
TOTAL 30 minutes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Serving Size: 4 People
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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:
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!
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 focus and concentration
Below, check out K.I.’s success with Green Drink.
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 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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….
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?
“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: 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.]
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.
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.
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.
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.
TOTAL 10 minutes
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Serving Size: 1 Person
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
Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend 1-2 minutes until smooth. Add ¼ cup filtered water if necessary. Bon Appétit!
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.
TOTAL 10 minutes
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Serving Size: 1 Person
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
Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend 1-2 minutes until smooth. Add ¼ cup filtered water if necessary. Bon Appétit!
Looking forward to getting your vaccination and going out again? Did you indulge and eat lots of high calorie food during the dark days of social distancing? No worries! But now that isolation is almost over, are you still eating and drinking like the sweatpants and scrunchie days of COVID? If so, it’s time to get serious about slimming down. Seeing friends and going out for fun is just around the corner and you want to fit into those skinny jeans! I have the easiest solution for dropping a size within one week….
Get Slim & Sexy With Intermittent Fasting & 2 Salads A Day
A ridiculously easy and satisfying way to lose body fat just in time for prime bikini season is by fasting for 16 hours from the time you finish dinner until you break the fast the next day.
Fasting 16 hours a day offers numerous health benefits, including burning visceral abdominal fat (the unflattering kind that’s associated with health problems such as type 2 diabetes).
Another simple way to boost your fat loss potential even more is by eating 2 salads (one for lunch, the other for dinner). Really. That’s all it takes.
But you can’t just eat iceberg lettuce. The salad has to be nutritiously-dense. That means you need to include 3 things in your salad:
Dark leafy greens: arugula, spinach, mixed greens, etc.
Healthy fats: nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil
Here’s what I like to put in my everyday salad:
Dark leafy greens (mixed greens)
Carrots (I like chopped baby carrots for the crunch)
Peas (easily digestible vegan source of protein)
Sunflower seeds (raw is best)
“Krumbs” (vegan-friendly croutons made from cashews and nutritional yeast)
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic Vinegar (choose one with grape must as the first ingredient, not the cheaper wine vinegar)
Strawberries, blueberries or pomegranates
After you fast for 16 hours and have something light for breakfast, you might think that eating a watermelon salad won’t satisfy your hunger for the first meal of the day. Well, think again. Watermelon actually fills you up fast. The combination of water and fiber in the fruit slightly expands your belly. Plus, the almond cheese and macadamia nuts are filling and contain both healthy dietary fat and protein.
My mason jar salad recipes are great for a busy day – just pack a mason jar with ingredients and GO.
Best Summer Salads To Keep You Full and Lean
In summertime, I love adding fruit to my salad. But notice I didn’t say that I love fruit salads. Of course, eating a serving or two of fruit is super healthy. Fruit salads, however, are 100% carbohydrates. The problem with fruit salad is many times, the serving size is enormous, and there is no dietary fat or protein to balance out the carbs.
So when you make a salad, the base of it (the main ingredient) should always be leafy greens.
My favorite fruits to top on a salad are blueberries, strawberries or pomegranates.
If you’ve never added pomegranates to a salad, you’re going to love it.
Besides the perfect balance of sweet and tart, these tiny little pellets of goodness offer numerous health benefits.
Want a recipe for the perfect summer salad with pomegranates?
For now, I’ll leave you with one more awesome summer salad recipe that’ll fill your belly and contribute to a slimmer waistline.
This Easy Green Salad contains healthy fat from avocado, and high-fiber kidney beans. If you have high blood sugar, kidney beans are the perfect food for managing glucose levels. Not only that, they provide a creamy mouthfeel that counteracts the crunchy greens.
For any of my salad recipes if you feel like you need more protein, you can simply top off the salad with canned wild salmon, tuna fish, chopped egg whites or a lean, organic meat like turkey breast.
See if you can go a week or fasting for 16 hours and eating a salad for lunch and dinner. Take a before/after selfie in a swimsuit. If you don’t eat any snacks and just have the 2 salads per day and nothing else (with the exception of Chef V’s Organic Green Drink, Protein Shake, Detox Soup and Detox Tea when you break your fast), there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to look leaner in that bikini.
Thousands of people have successfully lost weight and have kept it off with my Cleanse or longer 21 Day Detox. That’s because when you consume a minimal number of calories with everything your body needs (phytonutrients, protein and fiber), you’re giving your body a metabolic reboot. Excess body fat starts to easily burn away, revealing a more sexy, slender you.
When it comes to cleansing and detoxing, most people associate just one organ with the process: the liver.
But there’s far more to detoxification than the liver. While it’s true the liver plays a critical role in breaking down heavy metals and other toxins from the body, there’s another organ I want you to know about that’s just as important.
Over 700,000 Americans Have This Detox Organ Removed Every Year
You probably think about your liver every once in a while. Like when you know it’s time to do a cleanse or detox: bad skin breakouts, can’t concentrate (brain fog), you’re gaining weight even though you’re eating the same amount of food, you get sick often, and you need a few cups of coffee to wake you up from the dead every morning.
Or maybe you apologize to your liver after a night of having one too many glasses of wine.
While the liver gets all the detox attention, I want you to give some thought to another organ. I admit, I don’t think about this organ enough. But if you get plenty of fresh, organic leafy green veggies in your diet, like the 7 different kinds in Organic Green Drink, you won’t have to think about this organ that much.
That’s because kale, collard greens and other leafy greens help the liver break down toxins into smaller components so that they can be moved out of the body.
But if you’re eating a lot of snacky, empty-calorie foods and not enough nutrient-dense produce, your liver is going to become sluggish.
And when your liver is backed up, it affects the next detoxification organ down the line.
Over 700,000 Americans have this particular organ removed every year. Obviously, you can live without it, otherwise surgeons wouldn’t recommend removing it. It’s galling to me that mainstream medicine just treats this organ like it’s a throwaway part when it’s so critical to detoxification.
So … Do you know which organ I’m talking about? Hint: read the last sentence of the above paragraph; it’s the italicized word.
You Can’t Lose Weight If You Can’t Digest Fats
Yes, it’s the gallbladder.
The gallbladder is best known for secreting bile. Bile is kind of disgusting because if you’ve ever had a night of heavy drinking back in the day, you probably at one point puked it up. Not a pleasant thought.
But here’s why bile is so important…
It helps break down dietary fats so your gut can absorb it. It’s actually the liver that produces bile. But when your liver is backed up like an LA freeway, your liver doesn’t produce as much bile—and your gallbladder will have trouble secreting the bile that is produced.
So if you have low bile production, it’s very likely that you’ll put on weight very easily. That undigested dietary fat has to go somewhere!
But beyond the bile storage and secretion, the gallbladder is also involved in detoxification. It sponges up toxins and other things that shouldn’t stay in your body like excess hormones.
With so many people having sluggish livers and clogged bile ducts, it’s no wonder skin problems, hormone imbalances and digestive disorders are so common. Autoimmune disorders and allergies can also be blamed, at least in part, on bile deficiency.
Wanna Go Keto? Don’t Try It Until You Improve Gallbladder Function!
Super low carb diets are popular, promising rapid weight loss—if you can just get over the hump of the dreaded “keto flu.”
What’s keto flu? It’s when you suddenly stop eating carbs (for the most part), your body switches to your stored body fat for fuel instead of the sugar in your blood from the carbs.
But the problem is that if you have a sluggish liver and low bile production, a keto diet, which is at least 75% dietary fat, is going to make you fatter and make you feel awful, at least at first.
Before going keto, I highly recommend giving your liver and gallbladder some much needed TLC by doing a 5 day cleanse. And if you feel great after doing a 5-day cleanse (which thousands of customers have successfully accomplished), you can further purify your system with a 21 Day Detox.
Most cleanse and detox programs help you lose weight—but at the expense of making you feel awful. The difference with CHEF V is that you’ll get plenty of clean, plant-based protein and the perfect amount of dietary fat and fiber so you won’t waste away; you’ll actually feel amazing (usually by day 3!).
Best Foods For Bile
In addition to eating plenty of leafy green veggies, there are specific foods that are thought to enhance bile production. These include beets, artichokes, sunflower seeds, apple cider vinegar, arugula and dandelion, which is one of the 7 leafy greens in the Green Drink delivery plan.
Go Green For Your Gallbladder
If you’re not living each day with vibrant energy then something’s off. Consider cleansing and flushing your liver and gallbladder. If you’re not sure how to start, I highly recommend a CHEF V CLEANSE. There’s no guesswork involved. You’ll get easy instructions on how to successfully give your detox organs and metabolism the reboot it needs so you can start feeling awesome again.
And if your doctor ever recommends removing your liver, ask for a second opinion!
Let me get something out the way here: I’m not a militant vegan. I do eat a 95%-plus plant-based diet. But I would never ever tell anybody to give up meat altogether. I believe that’s a highly personal decision; it’s one that’s just as sacred as religious beliefs and convictions.
But I recently learned something deeply troubling that’s making me think twice about eating even natural meat.
First, take a look at this image of the package of Oscar Mayer’s “Natural” slow roasted turkey breast:
Sounds like good stuff advertised by the good folks at Oscar Mayer, right?
Let’s see, “no added hormones.” We like that!
“Give me added hormones in my food,” said nobody ever.
No gluten. No artificial ingredients. No artificial flavors or colors or preservatives.
Just how turkey slices should be, right?
If we could just know that the turkeys lived the high life, with abundant, easy access to the outdoors, we can feel good about eating the occasional slice of turkey, am I right? Obviously, if you’re vegan, you strongly agree. And I get that. But I’m talking to those who do eat meat and think that eating “natural” or even “organic” meat is far superior than factory-farmed meat.
But after you finish reading this, I think you’re going to be eating even less meat.
I’ll explain why in just a little bit.
The Cancer-Causing Chemicals in Meat
Processed meat contains nitrites. Nitrites are added to prevent food-borne pathogenic diseases like botulism. That sounds like a good thing. Botulism is food poisoning, which strikes roughly 1 in 6 Americans every year, hospitalizing over 125,000 people and killing 3,000. So from that perspective nitrites sound like a good thing to add to food.
Nitrites are also added to processed meats as a preservative; it keeps the meat from going bad much sooner than it naturally would and also preserves the color.
But there’s some really bad things about nitrites. And maybe you’re already familiar with the fact that nitrites in processed meats are carcinogenic. Sorry to burst your bacon-loving bubble, but yeah, that means bacon and sausage can cause cancer. So does lunch meats (deli slices), hot dogs, and even those fancy cured salamis that you see in the wine and cheese section of Whole Foods.
Does Natural Meat Have Nitrites?
Take a look again at the image above of the Oscar Mayer “natural” turkey breast label. There’s one more major selling point listed that has to do with nitrites. Can you spot it?
In case you don’t have a magnifying glass or don’t know how to zoom in on a pic, I’ll spell it out for you: “No nitrites or nitrates added.”
(Nitrates can chemically change into nitrites but don’t worry about that technicality for now.)
Under where it says no nitrites, it says, “Except those naturally occurring in celery juice and sea salt.”
Because the nitrites come from celery juice it must be harmless, right?
Well, when you drink freshly made celery juice, the nitrites in celery juice are harmless because they haven’t oxidized (turned rancid).
However, when you cook meat, especially on the grill, the heat causes the nitrites to oxidize.
Cutting to the chase, what this means is that food manufacturers are getting away with a big lie. In effect, naturally-occurring nitrites from celery juice and sea salt are the same as those that are naturally-occuring in meat.
Eating turkey breast is probably less risky than eating bacon or grilled hot dogs. That’s because turkey breast takes longer to oxidize. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that the claim “no nitrites added” is keeping you safe from cancer-causing chemicals in meat.
Want Healthy Lungs? Avoid Nitrites!
In lab studies, the poor experimental rodents that were forcibly fed nitrites developed respiratory issues such as emphysema and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
In essence, eating cured/processed meats may be just as bad for your lungs as smoking! In fact, nitrites are formed from the combustion of tobacco smoke.
Could it be that the rising prevalence of asthma in kids is attributed to processed meat? I think it’s part of the reason for sure.
Don’t Believe the Nitrite-Free Hype
Unfortunately in this country, food manufacturers have an easy time getting away with false or misleading advertising. Leading consumer advocacy groups are trying their best to stop this deceptive practice of labeling “natural” meats as nitrite-free. It’s like the nutrition facts label of a box of cereal saying “no sugar added” with an asterisk that says “except for those naturally-occurring from cane sugar.”
I admit, for years I was fooled by this. Luckily for me, I hardly eat meat so I don’t need to worry about it. But hopefully after reading this, you are a better informed consumer.
I know, I know, flossing is like the least sexiest thing in the world. And when you’re dead tired and can’t wait to get in bed, it’s the last thing you feel like doing.
But no matter how tired you are and how much you may detest the disgusting sight of food particles dislodging from your mouth, becoming airborne and sticking to your mirror, I want you to become a fanatic flosser.
So what does flossing have to do with sexy?
Flossing prevents systemic inflammation build-up in your body.
In a nutshell, if you don’t floss, harmful bacteria in the gums can migrate to distant organs including the brain and heart.
Again, what does this have to do with sexy?
Well, your ability to lose unwanted body fat depends largely on your body’s overall response to inflammation.
If you have elevated levels of inflammation, it’s going to be harder to lose weight. It’s that simple.
Flossing For Weight Loss
When you hear the word “infection” what comes to mind for you? Most people associate symptoms like fever, burning, itching, etc. But sometimes infections are imperceptible. And if you don’t floss, your gums will become inflamed. This is called gingivitis. Gingivitis is caused by a bacterial infection. And this bacterial infection is caused by not being a diligent flosser.
So, let me be a lecturing momma to you: floss not just every day before bed but after every single meal. If flossing three times a day sounds too demanding, do what I do: do intermittent fasting, skip breakfast and have an Organic Green Drink. Then, just eat one or two large meals the rest of the day and try not to snack. If one meal a day isn’t enough, try having another Green Drink in the afternoon or a protein smoothie with non-dairy milk.
Flossing For Blood Sugar Management
I admit the real reason I floss religiously is not for weight loss but to prevent bad breath. I bet you dollars to gluten-free vegan donuts that if you come across anybody with kickin’ breath, they’re not a fantastic flosser.
But if you are struggling with weight management, be honest and ask yourself, “Have I been flossing as much as I should be?” Skipping a night of flossing here or there may not seem like a big deal. But think for a second of the bacteria that can build up in your mouth if you let food stay trapped in between your teeth. It’s so gross to think that the natural bacteria in your mouth feed off the sugars from the food and drinks you consume. Yuck!
Personally, I don’t take any chances with bacteria buildup in my mouth. That’s why I floss after every meal (OK, I’m only human so like 98% of the time.)
If you don’t floss enough, the infection caused by the sugar-loving bacteria can elevate your insulin levels and increase body fat storage.
Brush Your Teeth After Every Meal To Stay Sexy
Don’t forget to brush your teeth after every meal as well. Many people brush their teeth first thing in the morning. But to me that doesn’t make much sense to brush if you don’t eat anything in the morning. What I do instead is use a natural mouthwash to freshen my breath and eliminate any potentially harmful bacteria. Then, after my first meal of the day (usually around brunch or lunch time), I’ll brush.
If you don’t brush after every meal, tartar can accumulate along your gum line. And it’s along the gum line that an overgrowth of bacteria can cause gingivitis. And if you don’t do anything to nip it in the bud, not being able to lose weight easily won’t be your only health concern.
That’s because gingivitis can progress to periodontitis. That’s when little pockets develop between the teeth and gums. At this point, the harmful bacteria go on the warpath, attacking the cardiovascular system. (Which is why it’s important to get way more vitamin C in the diet than the daily recommended 65 mg.)
Massage Your Gums In The Shower
One of the best things you can do for your gums other than flossing is using a waterpik, which jets a high-pressure stream of water in between your teeth and gums, dislodging any stubborn food particles and plaque buildup. If you don’t have a waterpik, a simple thing you can do is when you take a shower, put the shower head on the massage setting and open up your lips to expose your pretty pearly whites and gums.
Obviously, there’s much more to successful weight loss than flossing. But many people don’t realize the connection between flossing and inflammation prevention. Adding flossing to your daily health routine may help you prevent unexplained weight gain.
Check out my cute little sweet potato bunnies! They are so cute and can be seasoned sweet or savory!
TOTAL 1 hour
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Serving Size: 2 Person
1 yellow sweet potato
1 orange sweet potato
1 purple sweet potato
1 tbsp. coconut oil
Bunny Cookie Cutter
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
¼ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. ground mustard
¼ tsp. oregano
¼ tsp. red chili flake
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the sweet potatoes thin and lengthwise. Arrange the sweet potatoes on a foil lined baking sheet, sprayed with coconut oil.
Brush the tops of the sweet potato with coconut oil. Drizzle half the bunnies with the sweet seasoning and half the bunnies with the savory. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove and let cool. Using a bunny cookie cutter, cut bunny shapes from the sweet potato. You can replace in the oven for 10 minutes to crisp up more or just serve on a plate and enjoy these little bunnies!
Add apples, pineapple, walnuts and coconut shreds. Mix well. Chill for 2 hours before serving.
Ambrosia salad is to die for Yum but also you might die from the ingredients! Yikes! Sugar on sugar on sugar! Oh wait, a little cream too! So, I’ve decided to remix this Easter classic and make a yummy, healthy and vegan ambrosia salad.
TOTAL: 2 hours
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Serving Size: 4
2 different apples, diced (I choose one green and one honey crisp)
2 cups pineapple, diced
2 cups coconut cream or 2 cans coconut milk (Trader Joe’s has the cream)
2 tbsp. raw coconut nectar
1 tsp. vanilla bean or vanilla extract
2 tbsp. unsweetened shredded coconut
¼ cup chopped raw walnuts
Refrigerate the coconut cream overnight. If you don’t have coconut cream you can use canned coconut milk, you will just need two cans. For coconut milk, not cream, refrigerate the cans and when you remove, be careful not to shake the can as the cream is at the top. Carefully open the can and scrape out the cream from the top, the milky water will be at bottom. Don’t worry if you get a little bit of watery milk in cream just try to avoid it and get all cream. If you found coconut cream, you don’t have to do that step. You do need to refrigerate but just remove the cream in a bowl. Add coconut nectar and vanilla to cream and whip for 1-2 minutes.
Add apples, pineapple, walnuts and coconut shreds. Mix well. Chill for 2 hours before serving.
Check out this yummy Easter Bunny Juice from Chef V! It’s so easy and the health benefits are amazing! It is blended not juiced to retain all of the beneficial fibers that boost your energy, speed up your metabolism, improve your skin and hair, and even our teeth.
I recommend this recipe for humans, big and small, but bunnies might actually like it too! Just kidding! I call it Bunny Juice because of the bright carrot orange color and flavor.
Have a happy and healthy Easter!
Love, Chef V
TOTAL: 15 min
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Serving Size: 2 Person
½ Fuji apple
1 lemon juiced
1 tbsp. fresh ginger (optional for kiddos!)
4 cups of cold filtered water
Blend for 1-2 minutes on high in a Vitamix or high-pressure blender. Enjoy 8-16 oz. or save for up to 3 days in your refrigerator.
Oh my what months of social distancing has done. Summer clothes show all – especially the Covid-10 pound weight gain. The beaches are open (with precautions) and feeling and looking good means taking off the flab.
The good news is you don’t have to do high-intensity, American Ninja Warrior-type exercise to have a hot summer bod. All you need is a reboot of your digestive system. Here are my 4 top tips for improving digestion and getting lean for summer….
#1: Apple Cider Vinegar
Can your “mother” help you achieve a summer slim down?
And by “mother” I mean the cloudy film that rests on top of a bottle of raw, unfiltered, organic apple cider vinegar (ACV)….
Raw ACV bottles such as those sold by the brand, Bragg (the same company that sells liquid amino acids, a soy sauce alternative) prominently advertise “with the mother” on the product label. As well they should. That’s because the mother is tiny bits and pieces of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria.
ACV helps increase stomach acid production. And because of the friendly bacteria it contains, it also acts like a probiotic.
Honestly, I tried to find some research on humans that shows ACV can help with weight loss. I hit a brick wall, but I did find some research on animals (rats and mice) that support using it for the following: reducing fat storage; lowering blood sugar; improves metabolism and suppressing appetite.
The only downside to ACV is it tastes really harsh. But you can add it to a Green Drink to mask the taste.
ACV is also good for skin. In fact, many people use ACV to treat skin conditions. Drinking a little bit every day can help clear your skin from the inside-out. And because of its beneficial bacteria and enzymes, it can help cleanse your body.
#2: Bone Broth/Collagen Powder
Pretty soon, it’ll be too hot to sip bone broth.
But collagen protein powders have become very popular. And you can easily add a scoop of it in your blender with almond milk and my Organic Protein Shake if you’re doing a Chef V Cleanse.
If you don’t know the difference between the two: Bone broth is animal bones with herbs and spices cooked in water for 24 hours in a slow cooker. The long-simmering process of bone broth releases collagen protein from the bones.
I admit that there’s a lot of hype surrounding bone broth and collagen protein. There are claims that it can cure just about everything.
There is research, however, that shows supplementing with collagen protein can help repair your gut. Gut health is crucial for burning fat. It’s not easy to get ready for a summer slimdown if you don’t have a healthy gut.
In fact, some people have a condition that’s known in the alternative medicine field as “leaky gut.” Leaky gut is when the tiny junctions of your gut lining tear, allowing undigested food particles to enter the bloodstream. When this happens, your detoxification system slows down. Not only that, leaky gut can also cause an autoimmune disease.
Sipping on some fresh bone broth every day can help repair your gut and improve your body’s detox system. I do not believe in store bought bone broth, it is like trying to get your vitamins from Hi-C. Store bought bone broth is not real bone broth and does not have the same benefits. The only way to get the full benefits of bone broth is fresh made or fresh bought. It should expire in a week. An alternative to bone broth is to take a collagen protein powder supplement.
I’ve mentioned probiotics at least a couple times recently, including the best one to bring with you if you’re travelling.
I’ll just quickly rehash here why probiotics are so important for getting or staying lean. The healthier your gut microbiome (the trillions of bacteria, etc.), that is the more friendly bacteria you have in your gut, the easier it will be to digest your food. And the easier it is to digest your food, the less likely it will be that you’ll have difficulty getting rid of unwanted body fat.
There are a few problems with probiotics….
First is that many people forget to take them everyday. Set yourself a daily reminder on your smartphone to take them in the morning or before bed.
Second, some people don’t buy a strong enough probiotic. Look for a supplement that has several different strains of bacteria and has a minimum count of 10 billion colony forming units (CFU) per capsule. The reason you need a high count is that a lot of the bacteria won’t survive the harsh trip through the digestive system.
And third, not all brands of probiotics are of good quality. Do your research before you buy. My favorite is Bio-K – they have a dairy or non-dairy version and it is fresh.
#4: A Chef V Detox with my Green Drink, Detox Soups, and Protein Shakes
So this last tip for a summer slimdown isn’t exactly a supplement. But it’s a great way to to make sure you’re looking and feeling great when you’re ready to take your first dip in the ocean or pool….
If you do my 21 Day Detox, you’ll be amazed by the transformation your body will undergo, (not to mention your skin, mood and energy levels).
Here’s how it works: you alternate between following my Healthy Routine and doing a 3 day cleanse. During the 3 day cleanse, you get 4 servings of my Green Drink plus 2- 16 oz. Protein Shakes and 1 detox soup for dinner. And during the Healthy Routine phase, you’ll get a 16-ounce Green Drink and 1- 16 oz. Protein Shake for breakfast. Then for lunch and dinner, you’ll use my healthy eating and meal planner guides, which contains delicious recipes for soups, salads, appetizers, and entrees.
The best part is I deliver the Green Drinks, Protein Shakes and Detox Soups to your front door (Well not personally, but my company does.)
Doing a 21-Day Detox is the easiest, most affordable, and safest way to lose 30 pounds or more.
You can also try a 3, 5 or 7-day Cleanse if you just want to dip your pinky toe in the shallow end.
Good luck with your summer slimdown. Even if you don’t want to spend any money on supplements, rebooting your digestive system by doing a Chef V Cleanse or Detox will get you bikini ready!
Pumpkin ice cream by Chef V uses all-vegan ingredients that won’t skyrocket your blood sugar and expand your waist. If you love ice cream, all things pumpkin and fall, and exquisite vegan desserts, you’ll love this recipe.
In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth Pour the blend into a container to freeze for 3 hours Remove from freezer and cut chunks of the mix out and start to blend Blend the mix until smooth and creamy Fill the ice cream in a loaf pan and freeze for 1 additional hour before serving.
Making your own pumpkin pureé means you get a fresher, more flavorful product, and you know where the pumpkin can from – and that it was grown organically. Use this recipe in my Creamy Pumpkin Curry Soup.
TOTAL: 1 hour
Prep Time: 10 Min Cook time: 45 Min
It’s so easy to make your own pumpkin puree. Just cut the top off any pumpkin, cut into 4 quarters and remove all the seeds and guts. Place in the oven for 45 minutes at 350 F (do not use oil). Remove from the oven and peel off the pumpkin skin.
Place your pumpkin in Vitamix or blender and puree. Use this puree for my recipes or any recipe that calls for canned pumpkin puree. The difference is AMAZING! You can store in the refrigerator or freezer for later use.
The only thing more comforting than a bowl of soup is a bowl of homemade soup that is both vegan and gluten-free. There’s something special about cooking comforting meals like this during the Fall that will warm you up and have your kitchen smelling festive.
Cozy up with someone you love and enjoy this delicious pumpkin soup on a cool fall night! – Veronica
TOTAL: 1 hour
Prep Time: 30 Min Cook time: 30 Min
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
½ cup organic Crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic
1 tsp. curry powder
1 ½ tbsp. gluten-free flour (we like Bob’s Red Mill)
3 cups organic vegetable broth
2 cups Chef V’s Organic Pumpkin Puree (see recipe HERE)
½ cup of canned coconut milk
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp organic sea salt
½ tsp. black pepper
Bring oil to medium high heat and saute onion and mushrooms for 3 minutes or until onions are translucent.
Add garlic, curry powder and gluten-free flour to the pan to continue to cook for one more minute.
Slowly add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
Cook and stir for a couple of minutes until the soup starts to thicken.
Add the pumpkin puree, coconut milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Continue to stir and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Blend small batches of soup in a Vitamix or blender to a get a smooth texture and serve hot.
There’s nothing better than homemade comfort food during the holiday season. Gatherings at home with friends and family sharing home cooked meals on these cold winter nights is one of our favorite things. .
Impress family and friends with my easy-to-make healthy gravy recipe as the finishing touch to your meal. Whether you are vegan, vegetarian or simply a healthy eater, holiday meals don’t need to feel stressful. Instead, enjoy delicious meals without regret and be thankful you made the right decision! – Veronica
TOTAL 1 hour
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Serving Size: 2 Person
2 tbsp. cold pressed olive oil
½ yellow onion, diced
2 tbsp. gluten-free flour (I like Bob Red Mills brand)
1 tsp. salt
2 cups organic vegetable stock
Heat oil in a saucepan on medium-high. Add yellow onions and cook for 2-3 minutes or until they are translucent. Reduce the heat to low and mix in the gluten-free flour with the onions. Slowly add the vegetable broth and continue to stir until the gravy becomes thick. Add more flour to thicken and add more broth to thin. Serve over any of your favorite sides in place of regular gravy this year.
To give your liver a reset and help it more efficiently remove toxins and excess stored body fat, you need to make sure that the everyday household products you use don’t stress out your liver.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from a new customer that reaches out to tell me they previously did a cleanse but their symptoms came back shortly after.
In response, I ask them what brand of cosmetics they use, and hair care products, lotions, laundry detergent, household cleaners, toothpaste and perfume. I also ask them if they use plug-in air fresheners and spray deodorizers.
For the many people I hear from who are new to the concept of natural health, most of the brands these people use are not all-natural. And these common everyday household cleaners, beauty- and personal care products are making people sick.
The Dangerous Chemical In Tampons, Panty Liners & Pads
Phlatates (the “ph” is silent) are synthetic chemicals. These class of chemicals contain volatile compounds that make feminine-hygiene products and dozens of plastic products flexible and resilient against wear and tear. But phthalates have been linked to breast cancer and metabolic diseases.
In case polyester ever comes back in style (fingers crossed it doesn’t), don’t jump back on the bandwagon. That’s because polyester is one type of phthalate. Another common phthalate is polypropylene.
Of course, you would never eat a panty liner but the problem with phthalates is that by simply handling them or breathing them in can disrupt your hormone balance.
The average woman applies sanitary pads during her menstrual cycle 1800 days over her lifetime. If you’re not using an organic brand of sanitary pad, that’s a lot of exposure to these dangerous chemicals. The genitals, unfortunately, are an area of the body that absorbs phthalates to a higher degree.
To minimize your exposure to phthalates, avoid plastic products with the #3 recycling icon.
The Cancer-Causing Mineral In Cosmetics
In May of last year, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) dropped a bombshell. The consumer and pharmaceutical giant announced it would no longer sell talc baby powder in North America.
J&J said it was because of declining sales. But that’s only telling half the story. Sales were declining because of health concerns over talcum (also called talc). Talc is a mineral. Talc is completely safe. But because of its next door natural neighbor in the Earth, when it gets crushed into a powder, it becomes contaminated with a cancer-causing ingredient: asbestos.
Talc and asbestos are located right next to each other in rock quarries. But asbestos particles can cross over into talc mining operations. And there’s no safe limit for asbestos. Once it is inhaled or enters the body, it can become highly carcinogenic.
And that’s why there have been over 25,000 lawsuits, the overwhelming majority of them filed by minority women who developed ovarian cancer after years of applying talc to their bodies.
But asbestos isn’t limited to baby powder. A recent study revealed that 15% of cosmetics that were tested contained asbestos, exposure to which kills some 90,000 people worldwide every year.
Beauty Is Skin Deep
I could go on and on about the dangers of everyday household and beauty products. And even if they don’t cause chronic diseases in one person, they can still cause the liver to get clogged. Hot flashes, night sweats and other symptoms of hormone imbalance can also be caused by synthetic chemicals.
If there’s one and one thing only that you learn from me it’s this…
If you’re unsure of whether or not a product is safe to use, check out the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database. It’s amazing. You simply enter the name of the brand or product and if it’s in the database, it will give you a score from 1-10; the lower the overall score, the safer the product it is.
I’ve come to love the brands, Beauty Counter and Arbonne for safe, personal care and beauty products. There are many others. While they may cost more than their conventional counterparts, they may save you thousands in medical bills in the future.
When it comes to cleansing your body, there’s more to it than eating clean. A holistic approach is necessary to unclog a sluggish liver.
Happy Easter! What’s more traditional than decorating Easter Eggs? But what is in all of those nasty dyes that we’ve been using on our food all of these years? Healthy Easter egg dye is easy to make. You can save money buying artificial dyes and get creative this year with household items you already have.
I’ll be using turmeric, green tea, blueberries, beets, and a couple of other fun ingredients to make some colorful dyes. Last year I tested out some fun textures and patterns to put on the eggs. Herbs and flowers wrapped in cheesecloth make great patterns or you can use old ripped nylons. You can also use string or rubber bands to wrap a fun pattern around the egg.
FlashTats are temporary tattoos that are fun to decorate without the mess of dyes. I made a fun video showing you how easy it is to make the dyes!
Natural Ingredients for Homemade Dyes
½ cup red beet
¼ cup fresh turmeric, peeled
3 green tea bags
Skins from 2 yellow onions
½ cup blueberries
5 tbsp. white vinegar
Optional for design
Cheesecloth or nylons
Rosemary or other herbs
Fill 3 pots of water with 2 cups each and 1 pot with 4 cups. Heat the water and bring each pot to a boil. When the 4 cups boil, pour 2 cups into a glass container and add 3 green tea bags. Let steep for 20 minutes while other dyes cook.
Return the remaining pot to a boil. Add beet to one pot, turmeric to another, blueberries to one, and onion skins to last. Stir and reduce heat for each pot to simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a glass container. Add 1 tbsp. of vinegar to each dye, including green tea.
Wait for the dyes to come to room temperature (about an hour). Drop the hard boiled eggs (room temperature) into the dyes (also room temp.). You can use cheesecloth or nylons to wrap the eggs and drop them in for cool patterns. I added some rosemary and flowers for different designs. Leave the eggs in the dye for 2 hours.
Remove and enjoy your beautiful Easter Eggs!
Flashtat Egg Decorations
Flashtat eggs are less messy than dyes and they look freakin’ awesome! The trick to this is that the eggs need to be room temperature and completely dry. They can’t have any dew or water on them. Apply the tattoo just like you would to your skin and set by dabbing with a damp towel. Slowly remove the tattoo and voila! These come out so cool!
Check out this delicious Meatless Monday recipe from Chef V. Perfect for this St. Patty’s day or anytime!
TOTAL: 45 minutes
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Serving Size: 2 Person
2 tbsp. organic coconut oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 quart of organic vegetable broth
6 cups organic broccoli florets, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
½ cup raw, unsalted cashews
1 cup coconut milk
½ cup pepitas for garnish (optional)
In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, heat the coconut oil. Add onions, shallots, and garlic and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add broth & broccoli and boil for 10 minutes. Remove the soup and pour into a blender. Add thyme, coconut milk, and cashews to blender. Blend until smooth, 2-3 minutes. Serve in a bowl and top with pepitas or garnish with extra thyme sprigs.
I love hummus. Kids love hummus too! I eat hummus probably once a week. I like to make different flavors all the time. I love avocado hummus, bruschetta hummus, hummus with curry, and lots more. Your kids will love this healthy and delicious treat. – Veronica
This Green Goddess Hummus is amazing! It’s so full of flavor from the cilantro, chives, parsley, and lemon. It has the bright green festive coloring that kids love. Bring out the Green Goddess in you this holiday, or anytime.
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!
TOTAL: 15 min
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Serving Size: 4 Person
1 tbsp. fresh parsley
1 tbsp. fresh cilantro
1 tbsp. fresh chives
2 cups garbanzo beans or chickpeas
1 tbsp. tahini paste
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup cold pressed olive oil
Blend all ingredients in Vitamix or food processor. Chill for 1 hour before serving. Serve with gluten free bread, carrots, cucumbers or anything else your little leprechaun desires.