Tag: Veronica Wheat

Chef V’s Protein Balls

When I need a quick energy boost and want something chewy and yummy, I grab one of my homemade protein balls. Keep these in the fridge and you’ll have an easy way to satisfy a craving for a sweet.

protein balls

Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 cup gf oat flour (or any gf flour)
  • 3 tbsp date syrup or coconut nectar
  • 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp organic vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp Chef V vanilla protein powder  (or other vegan protein)
  • 1/4 cup vegan choc chips

Directions

Mix all ingredients together and form small balls. Will keep for a a couple days covered in fridge or a couple weeks in the freezer.

Omega 3s: Can You Get Enough of this Critical Nutrient From Plants?

Omega 3's in veggies such as those in my Green Drink are an excellent source of this critical nutrient. Lots of people know that certain fish are rich in omega 3's. But did you know there's plenty of excellent vegan and vegetarian sources as well? 

Before I became “Chef V,” I was–and still am–a certified nutritional therapist. A nutritional therapist works with people to alleviate (and prevent) diseases through food, and believes that the best way to correct imbalances in the body is through diet.

Out of any nutrient or topic in my nutritional therapy program, omega 3 essential fatty acids was perhaps the biggest bulk of the curriculum.

And for good reason. Most people eating a Standard American Diet (SAD; how appropriate is the acronym, by the way, right?) consume far too little omega-3s. And far too many omega-6s.

Both 3s and 6s are important for health. They are both essential, which means you have to get them from your diet; your body can't manufacture them on its own.

But junk, processed and packaged foods are made with cheap cooking oils. These oils (the most common in packaged/prepared foods are cottonseed and soybean) contain way more omega 6s than 3s. And the problem with having too much processed forms of omega 6s is that it causes inflammation

Omega 3s in Veggies: Powerful Inflammation Fighters

Inflammation can manifest in several different ways, from weight gain to joint pain.

But Omega 3 essential fatty acids can help reduce inflammation in the body. They also help lower cholesterol levels and normalize blood pressure, and increase insulin sensitivity.

Moreover, 3s can help prevent heart disease, prevent memory loss and even help women have a less painful PMS.

There are several other health benefits from omega 3s.

But what I want to focus on here is omega 3s in veggies. That's because most of the attention given to this topic is from one food in particular: wild salmon.

Now, don't get me wrong, as a nutritional therapist, I strongly believe wild salmon is indeed one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. I've created several recipes featuring it.

What to do, though, if you're vegan or a vegetarian who doesn't eat fish?

For one, begin your day with 16 oz. of Organic Green Drink.

There is no exact recommendation for how much omega 3s you should get from either supplements or food everyday. But experts believe you should have at least 500 mg. Organic green drink contains a very decent amount of 3s, over 20% of that amount per 16 oz serving.

If you have any health complications, you should probably have way more than 500 mg per day.

Omega 3s in Veggies: Good For Your Skin!

It doesn't take a degree in nutrition to realize that eating a diet consisting of mostly plants is better for your skin.

It turns out that omega 3s are an important nutrient for skin. These essential fatty acids help with skin hydration, and normalize the amount of oil. DHA is one of the three fatty acids in omega 3s. It's the most important of the three for skin health, as it also can help prevent acne, wrinkles, and blemishes.

EPA is another omega 3 fatty acid. It also plays an important role in skin health. If you worship the sun like I do, you'll be glad to know EPA prevents collagen damage when you've been in the sun too long.

Omega 3s in Veggies: As Good As Fish

Mainstream nutrition courses teach that EPA and DHA are more potent sources of 3s than ALA, the third fatty acid. Unfortunately, if you're vegan, the conventional point of view is that ALA does not convert well into the more potent EPA and DHA.

But that doesn't mean you can't get the health benefits of 3s if you're vegan. It might mean, however, you just need to eat more variety of foods rich in ALA.

Besides the veggies in my green drink, great sources of ALA are chia seeds, walnuts, flax seeds, hemp seeds, and spinach.

You can get sufficient omega 3s in your diet from vegan sources. However, if you do have a compromised immune system or other health problem, you might want to consider taking a supplement.

That obviously means that if you're vegan, you're not going to take cod liver oil or other fish oil supplement.

However, what you can take is an algal oil supplement. Marine algae is a sea vegetable, which makes algal (or algae) oil one of the best omega 3s in veggie sources on the planet, if not the best.

According to Berkeley Wellness, algal-oil supplements can produce similar improvements in blood DHA levels to fish-oil supplements. This was true both in vegans and had low levels of DHA to start and in omnivores, who had higher levels of DHA at baseline.

The only bummer about algal oil supplements is that they are more expensive than fish oil. But in the long run, the money that you'll save preventing disease will be totally worth it.

Omega 3s in Veggies: Can You Get Enough Without Fish

If you're not vegan and are able to eat wild salmon a couple times a week, you'll probably consume enough 3s in your diet.

However, for those who consume no animal products, ALA is inactive in the human body. And as I say above, it doesn't convert that well into EPA and DHA, the two other omega 3s that, in studies, have shown positive impacts on health.

That's why if you are vegan or strict vegetarian, your eating philosophy should not only be not eating meat, but also eating plants an overwhelming majority of the time. Just like people who do eat meat should do as well.

I personally believe Mother Nature provided us with all the nutrients we need from plants. But EPA and DHA, which are abundant in salmon, might be my exception to the rule.

For this reason, if you avoid animal products, eat a lot of flax-, chia- and hemp seeds. To be on the safe side, splurge on an algae oil supplement.

And don't forget to start your day with Green Drink!

Vitamin C For Skin: Grab A Green Drink & Ditch the Pricey Creams

Beauty creams, lotions and potions most often aren’t backed by research studies. So before you go spending your hard-earned cash on an expensive skin care product, keep in mind there’s a much cheaper option: vitamin C. Vitamin C for skin is backed by science and I’ve got an easy solution for how to get enough of it….

When I look in the mirror, I feel grateful that my skin still looks youthful. Sure, I practice what I preach and eat healthy. But in a way, I’m lucky….

I think back to all those toxic chemicals in household cleaning and hygiene products I used when I was younger. And the amount of time I spent in the sun without wearing sunscreen.

You can eat the best veggies for skin, hair and nails every day. But if the first couple decades of your life is filled with environmental stressors, your skin today might not look so youthful. That’s why I feel fortunate to have healthy-looking skin.

Just a couple years ago, out of all the supplements sold around the world–totalling $133 billion–a staggering 20 percent of this total was purchased for beauty.]

I’ve been duped by beauty products in the past; no doubt you have as well. Without doubt, some of them I swear by. But most of the time, beauty, especially skin-enhancing products sell because the brands that sell them appeal to your emotions and desires.

Moreover, lots of these beauty products are not backed by research studies.

So how do you know which products are legit? And safe! (I use the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep app to check out the safety of skin care products and more….)

Look, I’m not telling you to ditch your favorite facial toner. If it works great for you, keep using it.

But as a nutritional therapist, I believe that food should be your ultimate safeguard against premature aging. Yes, diet alone can enhance your beauty.

And I have the perfect, easy and cost-effective solution for your skin….

Vitamin C for Skin: proof it works

There’s not much research that proves a vitamin C topical solution for skin health works. However, there’s some solid evidence that dietary sources of C can prevent aging.

This study showed that women ages 40 to 70 who supplement with vitamin C have improved skin brightness and less dark circles, spots, and redness.

And in this experiment, 60 healthy non-smoker males and females, ages 40–65 years, all of whom present with clinical signs of skin aging, show improvement in skin elasticity, moisture and antioxidant capacity when taking a vitamin C supplement for 90 days.

Furthermore, this study suggests C improves red, patchy areas of skin, as well as hydration, radiance, and overall appearance. In addition, the benefits of vitamin C for skin is evident by a decrease in intensity of skin spots, UV spots, and brown spots, improved skin texture and appearance of pores.

This water-soluble antioxidant also boosts the two proteins–collagen and elastin–that provide structure to your skin.

And if you need more proof, here’s an exhaustive study on vitamin C and skin health in the journal, Nutrients. (I’ll summarize some of its key finding below for you.)

If you’re sold on science and not by hype, then there’s plenty of evidence that suggests getting loads of vitamin C in your diet, especially from green leafy veggies, benefits your skin.

And the easiest way to make sure you’re getting a solid daily supply of green leafy veggies is not by eating a salad, although that’s super healthy. Nope, it’s by having Organic Green Drink everyday.

Each serving of Green Drink supplies you with 44% of your suggested daily value of vitamin C.

Personally, I start off each morning with 16 oz. of Green Drink (88% daily value). It’s my breakfast. And my morning beauty regimen.

Vitamin C For Skin: Why It Works

You’ve probably heard of collagen powder. I talk about why people are freaking out about it on the Internet here.

Collagen, as I mention above, is one of the skin’s structural proteins. Think of your own skin’s collagen like it’s a network of sticky support beams of a skyscraper.

When you’re young, your skin collagen support beams are strong and erect. That’s why you don’t have wrinkles in your early 20s.

But as you hit age 30 and beyond, each year, you lose about a percent to two percent of your collagen; your skin’s building blocks and support structure degenerates.

Vitamin C for skin works wonders because it acts as a co-factor for the amino acids, proline and lysine. There are 20 amino acids. But these two especially provide stability for skin collagen molecules. Moreover, vitamin C also kick-starts collagen gene expression.

In someone with healthy-looking skin, the skin itself contains high concentrations of vitamin C.

And did you know consuming lots of this nutrient is critical in avoiding sunburn? Some studies show that excessive sun exposure leads to depleted C levels in the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin.)

Nutrition studies also show that the appearances of blemishes (hyperpigmentation) become less visible with higher fruit and vegetable intake.

Skin sagging also becomes diminished with high vitamin C intake.

Dry skin, scar formation, skin lesions, and wrinkles all improve following vitamin C supplementation.

But instead of spending money on a supplement, which you can’t be sure if it’s high-quality or not, you can spend as little as $5 a week for a daily 16 oz serving of Green Drink.

Vitamin C for Skin: Get It From Food Not From Pills Or Creams

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant. It neutralizes environmental pollutants. Because researchers have determined that it plays an important role in the health of the epidermis, more nutrition research has focused recently on dietary vitamin C’s role in skin health and wound healing.

Isn’t it great to know that you can get great skin simply by drinking a delicious, organic Green Drink?

vitamin c

Warm Pumpkin Salad

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

pumpkin quinoa salad

Serving Size: 2-4 people

Ingredients

Warm Pumpkin Salad

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

Directions

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

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

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

Spicy Golden Pumpkin Hummus

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

sweet watermelon crunch salad

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

Vegan Gravy

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

vegan gravy

TOTAL 1 hour

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Serving Size: 2 Person

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

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.

Making Bone Broth

I’m not a strict vegetarian but I rarely promote meat. One rare exception is bone broth because it contains collagen. Bone broth contains collagen protein because the process of slow cooking bones for many hours releases collagen from the bones. So by consuming the collagen from animal bones, you’re helping revitalize your own body’s collagen.

Vegan Ambrosia Salad from Chef V

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 classic and make a yummy, healthy and vegan ambrosia salad.

vegan ambrosia salad

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

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.

Yoga + Green Drink to Stress Less, Feel Better

yoga and green drink

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers to your very best health –  Veronica

yoga - downward dog

DOWNWARD DOG

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

tree pose - virksasana

TREE POSE (VIRKSASANA)

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

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

prayer pose

PRAYER TWIST

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

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

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

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

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

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

supine spinal twist

SUPINE SPINAL TWIST

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

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

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

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

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

Chef V and kale

Organic Pumpkin Purée

It’s so easy to make your own pumpkin purée. Just cut the top off any pumpkin, cut into 4 quarters and remove all the seeds and guts. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the pumpkin skin side down on the baking sheet. Place in the oven for 45 minutes at 350 F (do not use oil). Remove from the oven, rest for 5-10 minutes and peel off the pumpkin skin.

Place your pumpkin in Vitamix or blender and puree. Use this purée for my recipes or any recipe that calls for canned pumpkin puree. The difference is AMAZING! You can store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freezer for later use.

Use this recipe in my Creamy Pumpkin Curry Soup.

pumpkin puree

TOTAL: 1 hour

Prep Time: 10 Min
Cook time: 45 Min

 

Ingredients

  • 1 pumpkin

Directions

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

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

White Sweet Potato Purée

You just can’t have Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes. But regular mashed potatoes are very starchy. That means the starch quickly converts into sugar. That’s more bad news for your gut. But this healthy Thanksgiving recipe for mashed potatoes uses the nutritiously-superior white sweet potato. Instead of regular milk, I use almond or coconut milk.

I swear to you that my white sweet potato pureé will have the same starchy mouth-feel as regular mashed potatoes. But this version contains way more minerals and is lower in calories. – Veronica

sweet potato puree

TOTAL: 1 hour

Serving Size:2

Ingredients

  • 1 large white sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 1/4 cup Chef V’s Raw Almond Milk or coconut milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional

Directions

Boil the sweet potato pieces in the 3 cups of water in a large pot for 15 minutes, or until soft. Transfer the pieces to a Vitamix and add the milk, sea salt, cayenne, and red pepper flakes, and process until smooth. Serve immediately or keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Coconut Sugar: Is It Healthier Sweet Stuff?

Coconut Sugar

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

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

Sorry for being corny—again. 

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

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

Coconut Sugar: Is It Healthier Sweet Stuff?

What Is It?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

coconut plant

Benefits

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

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

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

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

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

Vitamins & Minerals

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

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

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

Coconut Water

For Gut Health?

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

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

Is It Healthier: Chef V’s Verdict

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

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

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

Veronica and Coconut

Chef V’s Immunity Smoothie

I've created this new Immunity Smoothie to start the day. Made with ginger, turmeric, kale and coconut water, it gives me extra drive as I start a busy day.

V with Asian salad

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 piece kale
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp fresh turmeric
  • 1 dash black pepper

Directions

Mix all ingredients and enjoy!

Chia Seed Pudding

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

chia seed pudding

TOTAL TIME: 30 Min

Ingredients

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

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

Directions

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

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

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

Awesome Mac & ‘Cheese’

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

super smoothie

Ingredients

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

Directions

Bring the 3 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan and cook the butternut squash for 20 to 30 minutes, or until soft. Process the cooked squash, nut 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.

Tropitaya Smoothie

One of the most popular smoothies (and one of my favorites) at our stores in New Jersey and San Diego, the Tropitaya Smoothie is so refreshing after a yoga class or to cool off on a hot day.

super smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup frozen pitaya
  • 1/4 cup pineapple
  • 1/4 cup mango
  • 1 large piece of kale or other nutritious green
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tbsp pea protein

For a healthy variation, add 1 tbsp fresh ginger and 1 tsp fresh turmeric

Directions

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

Vegan Green Bean Casserole

Have you decided what you will bring to your family and friends soiree this holiday season?

How about our Green Bean Casserole made from scratch, vegan friendly and enjoyable for all?! While this side dish isn’t the main attraction it is definitely a crowd pleaser. The perfect combination of crunchy and creamy in a vegetable dish… what more could you ask for!

vegan ambrosia salad

TOTAL: 1 hour

Serving Size:4

Ingredients

Crunchy topping

  • 3 large shallots, sliced thin
  • 3 tbsp. gluten free flour (not corn flour, we like Bob’s Red Mill brand)
  • 1 tsp. organic seas salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 3 tbsp. organic coconut oil

Casserole

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight in water (do this first and add to cream sauce later)
  • 1 lb. whole organic green beans, washed and trimmed
  • ½ lb. whole organic yellow beans, washed and trimmed
  • 3 tbsp. organic white mushrooms
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-cup organic unsweetened almond milk

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Topping

Cover the sliced shallots in flour, salt and pepper. Heat coconut oil to medium high and add the floured shallots. Fry for 3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from stove and place on a plate lined with paper towels and place the onions on top but do not dab with paper towel.

Casserole

Drain cashews and reserve ½ cup of the water. Place cashews and water in a Vitamix or blender and blend until they are a creamy consistency, set aside.

Bring 1 cup of water to boil and blanch the green beans for 3 minutes. Remove from boiling water and place in a 1 ½ quart baking dish.

Bring the coconut oil to medium-high in a saucepan. Add mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and continue for 1 minute. Turn off heat and add almond milk and cashew blend. Mix well and pour over the green beans in the baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes in the oven. Add Crunch topping and continue to bake 5 more minutes. Serve hot.

Pumpkin Ice Cream

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.

pumpkin puree

TOTAL: 3 Hrs 15 Min

Prep Time: 15 Min
Freezer time: 4 Hrs

Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 can full-fat organic coconut milk
  • ⅓ cup Chef V’s Pumpkin Puree (see recipe HERE)
  • 3 tbsp. organic coconut nectar
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. Chef V Pumpkin Pie Spice (see recipe HERE)

Directions

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.

Creamy Berry Parfait

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

creamy berry parfait

Serving Size: 2-4 people

Ingredients

Nut Mix

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

Raw Cashew Vanilla Cream

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

Berries

1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh raspberries

Directions

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

Fall Pumpkin + Carrot Stew with Quinoa

My Fall Pumpkin Stew is made with mellow spices for a flavorful and healthy meal.

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

mediterranean stew

Ingredients

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

QUINOA

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

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS

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

Directions

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

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

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

Creamy Curry Pumpkin Soup

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

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

vegan ambrosia salad

TOTAL: 1 hour

Prep Time: 30 Min
Cook time: 30 Min

Serving Size:2

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

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

Slowly add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil.

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

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

Continue to stir and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

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

Chef V’s BBQ Salmon

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

BBQ salmon

Serving Size: 2 People

Ingredients

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

Marinade

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

Directions

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

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

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

Grilled Mango Salad

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

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

grilled mango salad

Serving Size: 4 People

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

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

Grilled Artichokes with Two Sauces

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

grilled artichokes

Serving Size: 2 People

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

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

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

Mediterranean Butternut Squash + Carrot Stew with Quinoa

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

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

mediterranean stew

Ingredients

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

QUINOA

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

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS

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

Directions

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

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

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

Chef V Tropical Smoothie

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

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

pumpkin puree

TOTAL: 10 minutes

Servings: 2

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

Bon Appétit!

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

kale

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

Kale Nutrition: A Vitamin, Mineral & Antioxidant Powerhouse

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

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

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

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

kale varieties

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Veronica and Coconut and kale

Why Is Kale So Good For You?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vitamin K

What Can Kale Do For You?

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

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

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

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

Don’t take my word for it though….

Kale Yeah! Green Drink Success Stories

Pashelle's green drink

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

Heartwarming Success Story: K.I. Lynn

From bestselling author K. I. Lynn on Facebook:

LONG post ahead. I hope you’ll read.

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

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

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

I gained weight.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

50lbs gone

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

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

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

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

Just going to keep swimming.

Chef V’s Mason Jar Salads

mason jar salad

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

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

added sugars

How to Build the Perfect Mason Jar Salad

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

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

mason jar salad

Chef V’s Garden Salad

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

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

nutrition facts label

Chef V’s Mexican Salad

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

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

Spicy Cilantro Dressing

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

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

Chef V’s Thai-Noodle Salad

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

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

Poached Pear with Gluten Free Crumble & Vegan Ice Cream

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

poached pear

TOTAL 80 minutes

Serving Size: 6 people

Ingredients

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

poached pears in oven

Directions

Preheat oven 375 F. Mix honey and champagne together.

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

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

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

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

Give This Organ Some TLC For Cleansing & Weight Loss

cleansing juices and soups

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

It’s this: my 5 day Cleanse. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

apple cider vinegar

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

Yes, it’s the gallbladder. 

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

But here’s why bile is so important…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best Foods For Bile

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

Go Green For Your Gallbladder

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

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

Ginger Apple Berry Smoothie

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

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

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

ginger apple berry smoothie

TOTAL 10 minutes

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Serving Size: 1 Person

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

Warm Butternut Squash Salad

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

DOWNLOAD PDF

warm butternut salad

TOTAL 30 minutes

Serving Size: 2-4 people

Ingredients

Warm butternut squash

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

Directions

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

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

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

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

plant burger

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

But is this a good thing?

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

impossible burger

Impossible Burger

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

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

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

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

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

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

beyond burger

Beyond Burger

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

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

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

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

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

Dr Prager burger

Dr. Prager’s California Veggie Burger

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

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

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

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

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

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

Morning Star Farm Burger

MorningStar Farms Garden Veggie Burger

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

Let’s jump right into the ingredients:

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

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

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

Trader Joe’s Quinoa Cowboy Burger

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

Here’s the ingredients list:

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

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

Sunshine Burger

Sunshine Burger

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

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

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

Amy's All American Veggie Burger

Amy’s All-American Veggie Burger

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

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

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

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

Best Plant-Based Burgers: Conclusion

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

Chef V and kale

The Dangers Lurking In Natural Meat (Nitrite Free)

kale

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:

"natural" meat

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. 

Veronica and Coconut and kale

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. 

Vitamin K

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. 

nitrites and lung health

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.

Peaches & Cream Smoothie

Recently it was National Smoothie Day and National Peaches and Cream day so you know we had to make up a healthy Peaches and Cream Smoothie.

peaches & cream smoothie

Ingredients

Serves 2

  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1/4 cup organic cashews
  • 1 cup frozen peaches
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla pea protein
  • 1 dash of cinnamon (trust me!)
  • 1 cup ice

Directions

Blend the cashews with the water for one minute. Then add peaches and the rest of ingredients and blend for 1 minute.

Pour and enjoy. This recipe is perfect anytime this summer.

Raw Cucumber + Avocado Gazpacho

Cool and creamy, soups are a great way to start a meal, but are also awesome as a main course. You can easily double or triple my recipe and have delicious leftovers. The beauty of my veggie-rich recipe is that its high water and fiber content slows how fast you eat and fills you up quicker.

raw cucumber + avocado gazpacho

TOTAL TIME: 15 min

SERVES 2-4

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

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

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

Green Soup with Lemon Basil Pesto

Green veggies are central to this recipe, full of vitamins. Cannellini beans add fiber and richness. A lovely soup for celebrating the end of winter, the bounty of summer crops, or anytime you crave something super fresh and seasonal.

green soup

Ingredients

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons cold-pressed olive oil
  • 1 cup celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup leeks, thinly slicec
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 7 thyme sprigs, divide use
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 cup fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves

BASIL PESTO

  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 teaspoons cold-pressed olive oil

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the celery, leeks, garlic, and sea salt. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add the stock, water, and 3 thyme sprigs.

Cover and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the peas, green beans, and cannellini beans. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs. Stir in the spinach.

Make the basil pesto sauce. Process all of the pesto ingredients in a Vitamix until smooth.

Ladle the soup into 4 bowls. Top each with the pesto and thyme sprigs and serve.

Brain Health: Keeping Sharp With Chef V

brain health with Veronica and Brandon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isn’t that an amazing finding?

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

avocados for brain health

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

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

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

What’s the connection?

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

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

melted cheese

Avocado: It’s Brain Food!

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

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

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

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

Getting Enough Sleep Prevents Brain Fog

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

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

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

Then it’s time to do a Chef V Detox.

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

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

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

To your health!

Love,

Chef V

Apples With Raw Almond Butter, Coconut & Cacao

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….

apples with raw almond butter. coconut and cacao

TOTAL TIME: 15 min
SERVES: 2

Ingredients

  • Apples & Almond Butter
  • 1 apple (my favs are Fuji, Honeycrisp, and Gala)
  • 2 tablespoons Chef V’s Raw Almond Butter
Toppings
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon raw cacao nibs

Directions

  • 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!

Veronica Wheat: Chef V’s Rising Media Star

Veronica Wheat, Chef V

10 Years & Thousands of Green Drinks

The “V” in Chef V usually stands for Veronica, after Veronica Wheat Kress, the entrepreneurial force behind the nation’s first and largest Organic Green Drink and Cleanse delivery program, ChefV.com. 

But after helping thousands of customers easily cleanse their systems and feel healthier, the “V” now stands for visibility—high visibility, that is. 

Having just celebrated a decade in business, “V” as she likes to be called, has positioned herself as an industry thought leader. She’s been featured in numerous interviews, won awards and recently launched her own cooking video series on YouTube. 

Expect to hear, read and see more from Chef V in the future. In the meantime, we thought we’d take a look at some of V’s media highlights over the last few years.

Chef V Featured On Good Morning LALALand

Good Morning LALA Land, is the nation’s first live-streaming daily talk show. Filmed in Los Angeles (aka LaLa Land), the show has received well over 100 million impressions and our own Chef V had the incredible opportunity to showcase her cookbook/healthy living hardcover, “Making Cleansing Easy.”

Not to give the whole segment away, in case you want to watch the 5-minute interview, but V talks about the origins of starting the nation’s first Green Drink delivery business. 

Before launching Chef V, V got her start as a private chef in San Diego. V describes how she literally forced her clients to drink her homemade Green Drink to get an “influx of nutrients” before eating a meal. Demand quickly grew and the rest as they say is herstory. 

Watch V kill it on LaLa Land  

Best Juice Cleanse in New York Winner: Chef V

WLNY/Channel 2 New York, NY, a CBS News affiliate, listed Chef V as “Best Juice Cleanses in New York,” stating,

“Chef V offers a three-, five- and seven-day cleanse, a combination of juices and shakes. Everything is totally vegan, certified organic and gluten-free. Serious cleansers might want to check out the 21-day detox, a veritable master plan to get your health on track, combining sensible meals with the signature Green Drink and protein shakes. The aforementioned Green Drink packs—count ‘em—seven greens and apples into the bottle, practically guaranteed to boost your immune system and your spirit.”

Veronica Wheat  Expands Chef V Operations On The East Coast

In 2018, V expanded her East Coast operations, which for the previous five years was located in NYC. Outgrowing the NYC facility, V opened both a larger warehouse as well as a brick-and-mortar cafe/juice bar in New Jersey to better serve her customers on the East Coast. 

The borough of Essex Fells, NJ is located right next to West Caldwell, home of Chef V’s cafe. Essex Fells Magazine featured Veronica in the publication’s Feb. 2021 issue, writing that shortly after her arrival to the township, “All the Caldwells went crazy with excitement over this super healthy organic product right around the corner from home.”

Read the article here.

Best-Selling Author & Transformation Coach, Chuck Garcia

In the world of personal transformation experts, Chuck Garcia is literally at the top of the mountain. A professor, best-selling author, public speaker and mountain climber, Garcia has coached hundreds of clients, including Fortune 500 CEOs. One CEO Garcia recently interviewed was V. 

Garcia’s interview with Veronica Wheat focused on her leap of faith, scaling up a local meal delivery/private chef business and transforming it into her passion project, ChefV.com. 

Want more interviews with V? Check them out here

Get Cookin’ The Healthy Way With Chef V Life

Hey, when you’re a busy entrepreneur, taking the precious time to produce cooking videos is a luxury. But that’s just what V is committed to. Through her Chef V Life channel on YouTube, V will feature more quick healthy-meal planning tutorials as well as cleansing tips, interviews with customers and much more. 

Meet The Chef: Chef V’s Private Facebook Group

Chef V customers never feel like they’re alone and confused about how to stay healthy. The Chef V Community is a private facebook group personally curated by V, where customers’ questions and concerns are answered directly by V. Customers also share recipes, tips and success stories. 

Here’s to another 10 years of success. And most importantly to V, here’s to lots more people feeling healthier—for life.

Chef V: Cleansing from the Expert, Veronica Wheat

Chef V, Veronica Wheat, Interview

Doing a cleanse should be fun, easy and affordable. But many cleanses feel like torture. Sure, you might lose weight doing any cleanse on the market. But what happens shortly after the cleanse is over most of the time? That’s right … the weight you lost goes right back on. But doing a Chef V cleanse is different. And here to talk about how it’s different is none other than Veronica Wheat, Chef V herself.

Question: Veronica, how is a Chef V Cleanse Different Than Others on The Market?

Veronica: My Chef V cleanse is different from other cleanses in four ways:

#1: It’s certified organic.
#2: It’s very low in sugar and contains mostly all green veggies
#3: It contains adequate protein
#4: It teaches you both how to prepare for a cleanse and how to stay healthy long after the cleanse is over

As for the first point, we are one of the only cleanse programs that is a certified organic brand. This is something I am very proud of. Not only do my kitchen and production processes exceed the rigorous National Organic Program, everything we produce is made using locally grown organic produce and organic ingredients.

It is hard to cleanse your body if the produce you’re consuming contains pesticides. That’s why it is super important to me that the 7 green leafy veggies in our Green Drinks be certified organic. It is just better for your health. Also, as a nutritional therapist, I am always looking for ways to educate people about healthy living and the role that organics should play in our lives. To illustrate the importance of organics as the basis of a healthy diet, I developed my own organic food pyramid, detailing from top to bottom which organic foods we should eat and how much of each we should consume each day.

I strongly believe that we need to put the best organic foods into our bodies in order to get the best out of ourselves. And the fact that we’re a National Organic Program means our entire operation is protecting natural resources, maintaining biodiversity, and using the safest approved, non-genetically modified (non-GMO) ingredients.

Here’s what’s in my cleanse – watch the video:

Question: What do you mean by “low sugar”?

Veronica: Most cleanses on the market are simply juice cleanses. And many juice cleanses contain mostly fruit. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not bashing on fruit here. As a nutritional therapist, I absolutely recommend consuming fruit every day. But 99% of the time, the only fruit you should be consuming is one serving of a whole fruit. Say a medium size apple. Or a handful or two of blueberries. That’s it. The problem with most juice cleanses is they contain far too much fruit sugar. Take the difference between a whole apple and apple juice, for example. A whole apple will contain less sugar and more fiber than apple juice.

But with a 3, 5, or 7-day Chef V Cleanse you get four 16-oz. servings a day of Green Drink, containing 7 Certified Organic green leafy veggies and just a tiny bit of apple for sweetness.

Consumer Reports recently published a report on green juices and my Green Drink exceeds the Consumer Reports expectations.

Question: Why are the veggies in the Organic Green Drink so important for cleansing?

Veronica: Dark leafy green vegetables — including collards, dandelion greens, parsley, chard, green leaf lettuce, and kale — are nutritional powerhouses for many reasons. They contain an abundance of phytonutrients and carotenoids. These are antioxidants that protect cells and play a key role in fighting and preventing diseases, including cancer and heart disease.

They also have high levels of iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and other important vitamins and minerals. Dark leafy greens are great for achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight thanks to being high in fiber, which keeps you feeling full and helps keep your blood sugar levels from spiking, leading to a more controlled appetite.

Doing a Chef V cleanse is a super easy way for my people to get more greens in their diets every day.

And I should also mention that the juices in most cleanses are pasteurized using high pressure and heat. This processing kills some of the nutritional properties of the veggies. But the 4 daily Green Drinks our Cleanse customers drink are raw and made in small batches from the freshest locally sourced organic greens. Plus, the Green Drinks are cold-blended. Cold-blending preserves the fiber and other nutrients in the green leafy veggies.

Question: So is cleansing as easy as drinking Green Drinks?

Veronica: Just as important as adding fresh greens to your life is ridding your body of all the bad stuff you’ve been pumping into it —particularly those highly processed foods, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and pollutants. Manufacturers have added so many artificial substances, and so much sodium, fat, and sugar to their pre-packaged and canned foods to try to make them palatable, but in the end, these things just harm our bodies. Many doctors believe, as do I, that there is a cancer-sugar connection, and it really is in your body’s best interest to really restrict the amount of added sugars in your diet.

And let me point back to third way that my cleanse is different … the fact that it has more than enough protein. You see, doing a cleanse becomes a challenge when the only nutrient is carbohydrates. Remember the fact that most cleanses are just juice, juice, and more juice? Well, juice, even if it’s 99% organic veggie juice is mostly all carbohydrate. If you go a few days or more denying your body protein, you may notice that your skin, hair and nails will become more brittle. You’ll also likely have energy fluctuations and as a result, you’ll become cranky. But my Cleanse also includes vegan-friendly Protein Shakes and Detox Soups, which provide more than enough protein to support your metabolism and muscles.

Chef V Cleanse

Question: What’s the best way to start a cleanse? Should you dive in the deep end?

Veronica: Not everyone should dive head first into one. I’ve had clients who’ve said: “I’m going to the drive-thru tonight, and then I’m starting my cleanse tomorrow.” But that’s a recipe for failure. People who start this way often wind up feeling sick during the cleanse and may even give up on it. Their bodies are full of toxins, so of course they feel bad.

What I’ve learned is that you should pre-cleanse first so that you can ease your body into the detoxification process and begin to open up your channels of elimination, especially the liver and colon. This is achieved through a period of healthful eating, and to make it easier for you, I have compiled a chart of cleanse-approved foods. You should stick to these foods for at least two days before you begin my organic cleanse. If you’re used to having a lot of sugar, coffee, or alcohol, you may need to take three to five days. For continued success, stick to these cleanse-approved foods for two days or more after your cleanse.

Check out Heather’s experience with a 21 day cleanse challenge in the video below:

Question: Do you practice what you preach?

Veronica: Absolutely. I start off each morning with 16 oz of Green Drink. And because I travel a lot, I don’t eat healthy 100% of the time.  So a couple times a year at least I myself will do a cleanse.

But on any given average day, I probably drink close to a half gallon of Green Drink a day. Whenever my body is craving something, I give it my organic green drink first, then listen to my body and see what it really wants. Sometimes when I think I’m hungry, I have a little green drink and voilà! I wasn’t really hungry, I just needed some greens.

Question: Anything else you’d like to add about your cleanse?

Veronica: I know consumers have a ton of choices and sifting through all the information can be a challenge. If you’re serious about doing a cleanse, and not only that, but having it be a health transformation, I encourage you to do as much research as you can. But I strongly believe that reading other people’s experiences about cleansing helps cut through the clutter and the bull…. So I invite anybody who is curious about doing my cleanse to read some of the reviews on Yelp. And also, if you have any questions whatsoever, do not hesitate to contact my super knowledgeable staff.

Chef V’s Carrot Ginger Salad

Green is good! Starting with fresh locally sourced organic greens, add carrot, celery, radish, red onion, cucumber, and grilled chicken (optional). Top your salad with my Carrot Ginger Salad Dressing.

carrot ginger salad

Ingredients

  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 1 shredded carrot
  • 1 celery chopped
  • 1 sliced cucumber
  • 1 radish thinly sliced
  • Red onion slices 
  • 4 oz grilled chicken (optional) 

Carrot Ginger Salad Dressing

  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/3 cup avocado oil
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Blend in blender, add 1 tbsp water at a time to get the thickness you like.

Directions

Layer the ingredients and top with carrot dressing.

Breakfast Smoothie Bowl

My breakfast smoothie is delicious, good for you, and easy to make. What’s not to like?

breakfast smootihe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup tropical green drink or green drink (If not green drink use 1/2 cup water)
  • 1/2 cup coconut water 
  • 1 cup greens (spinach, kale, or chard)
  • 1/2 cup mango
  • 1/2 cup pineapple
  • 1/2 cup ice 
  • 1 tbsp pea protein 

Directions

Blend in vitamix or blender for 1-2 minutes until thick and smooth but not watery. Top with 1/2 cup mixed fresh cut fruit of choice and gluten free granola.

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

resistant starches

I used to be a carb shamer.

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

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

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

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

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

So stay tuned…

What Are Resistant Starches? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

apple cider vinegar

More Reasons To Be Less Resistant About Eating Carbs

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

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

Best Resistant Starches

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

Do you remember this song from your childhood:

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

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

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

More resistant carb sources:

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

How To Make Starchy Carbs More Resistant To Digestion

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sweet Watermelon Crunch Salad

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

sweet watermelon crunch salad

TOTAL TIME: 15 min
SERVES: 2-4

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

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

The Best Natural Probiotic (Hint: It’s Not Yogurt)

apple core

I recently talked about how important it is to have good gut health. Your gut plays such a huge role in your overall health. But in the article, what I didn’t really focus on was how to achieve a healthy gut. And we’re not talking about crunches so you can have chiseled, six-pack abs here. Rather, we’re talking about hosting a multitude of good bacteria and a diverse amount of different bacteria species inside your gastrointestinal tract (the microbiome). 

So what’s the easiest and best way to do that? In the article on gut health, I mentioned taking a probiotic. If you eat a low-fiber diet rich in processed (junk) food, then you should definitely be taking a high-quality probiotic. 

But there’s an even easier, and perhaps healthier way to achieve a healthier microbiome. It turns out that the best probiotic source is …. Wait for it … wait for it…..

Best natural source of probiotics

So, is the best way to get lots of friendly, diverse bacteria in your gut by eating lots of yogurt? How about kombucha? Or is the best source of probiotics some other fermented food like kimchi or sauerkraut or kvass? 

Turns out it’s none of these. 

An article in The Atlantic, which references a study in Frontiers of Microbiology, suggests that the single best natural source of probiotics is: an apple. 

The average apple, the study says, contains about 100 million bacteria. 

Now, after I read that fun fact, my first reaction, I’ll admit, was the following, “Big deal, my probiotic supplement contains 10 billion CFUs (colony forming units).” That’s right, my probiotic supplement, in just one tiny little capsule, contains almost 10,000% more bacteria than an apple. 

But here’s the thing. It turns out that eating the apple might be better for you than popping a pill. The reason why? For the same reason eating unprocessed whole foods (especially fruits and veggies) is better for you than vitamin supplements. 

Makes sense, right? After all, whole foods offer the whole puzzle of interlocking health pieces, from micronutrients, antioxidants, as well as fiber, which the good bacteria feed on. On the other hand, supplements, perhaps probiotic pills included, represent, only a few pieces of the total health puzzle. 

In other words, just like in many other aspects of life, it’s quality that usually matters, not quantity. The 100 million or so bacteria in the typical apple are comprised of a myriad of different types of bacteria. Compare that to the average probiotic supplement, which contains maybe a few different friendly microbe species.

Work On Your Core – Apple that is

Now, before you rush out to your local supermarket and stock up on apples, there is a catch. Approximately 90% of the bacteria in the apple is contained, not in the skin, or the juicy main part of the flesh, but in the core. 

If you’re like most people, you probably throw the core away. And when you do that, it’s like throwing away the world’s best probiotic pill down the toilet. 

So from now on, it’s all about the core. Eat the seeds, too. They actually contain a trace amount of the natural toxin, cyanide. But if you eat an apple or two a day, core included, it’ll still keep the doctor away. 

Do you struggle to get enough vegetables in your diet? If so, don’t feel bad. You’re in good company. Approximately 9 out of 10 people don’t eat enough veggies, especially green leafy ones, which most nutritionists (like myself) consider the healthiest kind. 

The good news is that if you’re not getting enough leafy greens in your diet or can’t stomach the thought of eating apple cores, I have an easy solution for you….

Organic Green Drinks (Core Included)

Chef V’s Organic Green Drink is the easiest way to get your full day supply–and then some–of dark, leafy greens veggies. Containing two kinds of kale; collard greens; green leaf lettuce; curly parsley; green chard, and dandelion greens, Organic Green Drink is raw and cold-blended. This means the fiber and micronutrients are preserved for optimal nutrition and, yes, gut health. Fresh produce, suggests The Atlantic article, might just be the best source of natural probiotics in general. (But that finding seems like a no-brainer in my opinion.)

And guess what else is in Chef V Organic Green Drink? That’s right … an apple! Core and all. 

For every 16 oz of Green Drink you consume, you’re gut benefits from hundreds of millions of good bacteria. And remember, it’s not just the quantity of good bacteria that matters, it’s the diversity. 

As Dr. James Hamblin, author of The Atlantic article on probiotics puts it, “Food is the main way that our gut biomes are populated throughout our lives, and microbe-rich foods [especially the 7 certified organic greens in my Green Drink] seem to be important to maintaining diversity.”

Best Source of Natural Good Bacteria: Conclusion

Remember, when it comes to eating apples, don’t think if you throw away the core that you’re still getting a decent amount of probiotics. In fact, it’s only by eating the core that you’ll get the same strains of bacteria that are sold in pricey probiotic pills.  

Eating a plethora of fresh produce every day supports the intricate interconnectedness of the immune and digestive systems. By eating a wide variety of fresh produce, we feed our gut microbes the fiber and sugars they need to support our health. We scratch the bugs’ back, they scratch ours. 

And whether you eat a huge fresh salad everyday or not, Chef V Organic Green Drink is the perfect way to gently wake up your digestive system in the morning, and gently cleanse your vital organs, and, of course, feed the friendly microbes in your gut.

Yoga with Mom to Start Your Morning Together

yoga and green drink

Yoga is so good for you on so many different levels. It is one of the safest types of exercise you can suggest to family, and even the most out of shape friend can gently find a path to better health. It is especially good for kids, helping them with stress and sharing a relaxing time with Mom.

Whether you practice yoga everyday or as a beginner, I’ve selected some poses for a healthy and fun family practice with Mom and the kids.

yoga - downward dog

DOWNWARD DOG

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

tree pose - virksasana

UPWARD DOG

Place your hands on the ground alongside your body, next to your lower ribs. Inhale and press your hands firmly into the floor. Straighten your arms, lifting your torso and your legs a few inches off the floor.  Hold for five slow breathes.

Upward dog stretches the chest and spine, strengthening wrists, arms and shoulders. It stimulated the abdominal organs and improves digestion. It firms the buttocks and thighs, helping to relieve sciatica. It energizes and rejuvenates, relieving fatigue and depression.

tree pose - virksasana

THREE LEGGED DOWNWARD DOG

Place your hands on the ground, shoulder width apart, and stretch your
feet out behind you about 3 feet apart from one another with your hips
high in the air. You should look like an upside down letter “V.” Lift one leg as your opposite leg stays on the mat. Straighten your arms and press your shoulders back. Move your elbows forward and push your chest closer to your feet. Keep your hands, arms, shoulders and hips in a line. Three legged downward dog has the same health advantages as downward dog, adding a leg stretching element for encouraging length in your spine and increases hip joint flexibility.

tree pose - virksasana

TREE POSE (VIRKSASANA)

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

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

prayer pose

PRAYER TWIST

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

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

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

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

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

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

supine spinal twist

SUPINE SPINAL TWIST

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

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

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

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

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

Chef V yoga pose

Chef V Moms on Instagram

Easter Bunny Juice from Chef V

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

skinny shamrock smoothie

Ingredients

  • 2 carrots
  • ½ Fuji apple
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh ginger (optional for kiddos!)
  • 4 cups of cold filtered water

Directions

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.

Eat This, Not That … In The Summer

Veronica slicing cucumber

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

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

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

traditional Chinese Medicine

Worst Foods To Eat In Summer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

summer vegetables

Best Foods To Eat In Summer

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

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

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

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

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

To a happy, healthy summer!

Chef V and tropical green drink

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