Tag: Veronica Wheat

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.

It’s Not As Hard As You Think: Top 5 Myths About Doing a Detox

detox tips for success

You know it’s time for a detox.  You haven’t been eating healthy. Your belly is chronically bloated. It takes you a couple cups of coffee in the morning to wake up from the dead. And when the caffeine eventually wears off, your mental clarity and energy are foggy and sluggish, respectively. Your skin is bumpy and dull, and your sleep patterns are erratic. 

But some people are intimidated by detox diets. While the thought of coming out the other side of a metabolic reboot sounds appealing, you don’t want to be miserable doing it. “Detoxes” can mean different things to different people. Herbal supplements, colon cleanses, infrared saunas, digestive enzymes, and of course, juice cleanses. 

If you’re thinking about doing a detox, here are some common misconceptions. 

Detox Myth #1: It’s Too Hard

To some people, the phrase “detox” is synonymous with starvation. But a detox shouldn’t be deficient in nutrients, and it certainly shouldn’t be a lengthy, strict fast. While following an intermittent fasting schedule is great for your health (I do it, and so does Brandon, my husband.), not eating anything for over 24 hours could do you more harm than good. 

With my 21 Day Detox, you choose between one, two or three intervals of a 3 day cleanse. During the 3, 6 or 9 days, you’re on a calorie restricted diet. But you’re getting all the nutrients you need to detoxify vital organs and lose weight—without feeling deprived. 

On these cleanse days, you drink 4 servings of my Organic Green Drink (16 oz. per serving), a smooth-as-silk cold-blend of 7 certified organic green leafy veggies. You also get 2 packets of my vegan-friendly protein shake (about 20 grams of muscle-building protein per shake) and one Detox Soup for dinner. 

Essentially, these cleanse days are a liquid diet. But there’s enough protein and fiber to help your energy levels remain steady and prevent cravings.

best foods to cleanse your liver

Myth #2: You Can Only Have Juice Or Raw Kale

Many people associate cleanse or detox diets with juice programs. If you ever come across a program that offers only juices, whether it’s a 3 day program or a longer one, then run. 

Here’s why: most juice programs, even if the drinks are low in sugar (unfortunately, most juice detoxes are very high in sugar), they are woefully deficient in protein and fiber. Pressed juices don’t contain the fiber from the fruit or veggie. And when you have no fiber, your blood sugar levels fluctuate. The result is nasty mood swings. You really need protein, fiber and even some healthy fat to keep you full and maintain your blood sugar at a steady level during your detox. 

(By the way, my Organic Green Drink contains only 6 grams of sugar per 16 oz serving, keeping your energy level rock-steady.) 

As for the non-cleanse days — either 18 days, 15 days or 12 days depending on how many 3 day cleanses you choose during the 21 Day Detox, you get to enjoy entrees like nachos, wild salmon, mac and cheese, and pesto lasagna, just to name a few. 

How can you mack on mac n’ cheese when you’re trying to detoxify your body? When you order my 21 Day Detox, you get access to my recipe book, “Making Healthier Easier,” a PDF download that teaches you how to make your favorite entrees healthy (I use nutritional yeast as a cheese substitute. 

I also provide you with an Eat This/Not That chart, and a Healthy Portions guide. When you’re eating dozens of delicious meals that you can take right from my book, and learn exactly what you should eat during a 21 Day Detox, 3 weeks goes by real quick.

Myth #3: You Can Only Drink Water And Detox Drinks

While I do recommend eliminating caffeine during a 21 Day Detox (for all 21 days), that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy other drinks. 

On your non-cleanse days (again, it’s either 18, 15 or 12 days, depending on how many 3-day cleanse periods you want to do), you can use my recipe book to easily create craft “mocktails.” How does Watermelon Slush sound? It’s perfect for hot days when you need something sweet and refreshing. Or how about Creamy Green Smoothie, a delicious, filling blend of avocado, spinach, kale, dates, lemon, chia seeds and cinnamon … doesn’t exactly sound like torture, does it? 

antioxidant vegetables

Myth #4: You Can’t Have Any Sugar Or Dessert

Ideally, starting from right now and everyday for the rest of your life, you will eat a low-sugar diet. But there’s a misconception that when you’re doing a detox, you can’t have any sugar. Technically, that’s not true. All veggies, even green leafy ones, contain a tiny bit of natural sugar. 

Sure, you shouldn’t eat anything with added sugars while you’re doing a 21 Day Detox. But even on the non-cleanse days, you still get to feast on sweet-tasting things like berries and even a date or two. 

And the best part of my 21 Day Detox is that on non-cleanse days, you can have your cake and eat it, too. That’s right. In my cookbook, you’ll find recipes for Triple Layer Cheesecake, Acai, Chia Seed Pudding, Chocolate Avocado Mousse, and Vanilla ‘Milk’ Shake. 

Again, it doesn’t sound exactly like torture, does it? The reason you get to eat like a King while eliminating toxins is that you’ll be swapping out high-inflammatory ingredients such as dairy, for ingredients that aid in the body’s detoxification process, and cause no inflammatory reaction.

Myth #4: You Can’t Have Any Sugar Or Dessert

Ideally, starting from right now and everyday for the rest of your life, you will eat a low-sugar diet. But there’s a misconception that when you’re doing a detox, you can’t have any sugar. Technically, that’s not true. All veggies, even green leafy ones, contain a tiny bit of natural sugar. 

Sure, you shouldn’t eat anything with added sugars while you’re doing a 21 Day Detox. But even on the non-cleanse days, you still get to feast on sweet-tasting things like berries and even a date or two. 

And the best part of my 21 Day Detox is that on non-cleanse days, you can have your cake and eat it, too. That’s right. In my cookbook, you’ll find recipes for Triple Layer Cheesecake, Acai, Chia Seed Pudding, Chocolate Avocado Mousse, and Vanilla ‘Milk’ Shake. 

Again, it doesn’t sound exactly like torture, does it? The reason you get to eat like a King while eliminating toxins is that you’ll be swapping out high-inflammatory ingredients such as dairy, for ingredients that aid in the body’s detoxification process, and cause no inflammatory reaction.

Omega 3 rich foods

Myth #5: It’s Expensive

It’s true that some Detox programs cost thousands of dollars. But with my 21 Day Detox, you can easily lose 30 pounds or more, starting at only $249. That’s less than $12 a day. Not bad for the following:

  • 4 Organic Green Drinks, 2 Protein Shakes and 1 Detox Soup every day during your 3 Day Cleanse interval
  • My Recipe E-Book, Making Healthier Easier, which includes a healthy food pyramid (not the ridiculous one the federal government uses); a list of cleanse approved foods; detox drinks and smoothies; healthy breakfasts; tasty snacks and apps; super soups; sensational salads; easy entrees and sides; sweets and treats
  • Healthy Portions Chart and other handy printouts
  • Unlimited email and phone support

If you’ve been thinking about going on a detox diet but you’re confused, scared, and don’t know how to get started, you’ve come to the right place. 

I’ll hold your hand every step of the way. I promise you will transform your body and mind (maybe even your spirit) when the 21 days are over. I also promise you won’t feel like you’re starving or miserable. It will take some dedication on your part. You must be willing to do some healthy meal prep and cooking on your own. But my recipes are real easy to follow and don’t take long to make. 

And if you’ve never done a 3-day calorie-restricted liquid diet cleanse, it might seem a little challenging to go that long without any solid food. But with the protein shakes and detox soup dinner, you’ll do just fine and you’ll be buzzing with natural energy after the 3 day interval.

Get Started. Experience the Chef V Transformation

Think how quickly the last 3 weeks or even the last 3 years of your life has flown by. You can do this. It’s not nearly as hard as you think. After the 21 days, not only will your clothes feel much looser, you’ll smile at your new slimmer physique when you look in the mirror, your skin will feel smoother, your thinking will be sharper … and overall, you’re going to feel like you’re living your best life. 

What do you say? Ready to get started. 

Click here to buy 21 Day Detox.

Awesome Mac & ‘Cheese’

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

super smoothie

TOTAL 10 minutes

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Serving Size: 1 Person

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

Grilled Artichokes with Two Sauces

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

grilled artichokes

TOTAL TIME: 45 minutes – 1 hour

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

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

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

Fresh Juice Vs. Powdered Greens: Which Is Better For Cleansing?

Fresh juice versus powdered greens

Thinking about doing a cleanse because you haven’t been eating healthy lately? If so, what’s the best way to get your daily dose of veggies: through juice or a greens powder? Here’s what the experts say….

Veggie Juice vs Greens Powder: Which Is Better For Your Health?

If you’re thinking about doing a cleanse or just want an easy way to get more veggies in your diet, both veggie juices and green powders have become very popular. But if you have to pick one, which is better?

I’m not going to string you along and have you wait with bated breath until the end to reveal the answer.

Nope, the clear-cut better solution for getting your daily dose of disease-fighting and weight-loss kick-starting nutrients is…. (A tiny bit of anticipation here….)

Veggie juice.

Especially cold-blended Organic Green Drinks.

Here’s why veggie juice beats powdered Greens….

fresh juice versus powdered greens - Consumer Labs

Poisonous Powder

For starters, some powders may be poisonous. According to ConsumerLab.com, which is an independent research group that tests supplements for purity and labeling accuracy, some brands are tainted with heavy metals. Heavy metal is great if you want to do some head-banging while doing a CrossFit workout. But heavy metals are something you definitely don’t want in your veggies. ConsumerLab, in 2016, found that at least 3 brands were contaminated with heavy metal. Barlean’s Greens is one of  the most well-known veggie powders on the market. ConsumerLab revealed that it contained 6 mcg (micrograms) of lead in each 8 gram serving.

If you were to purchase a powder called, “Greens Organics + Superfood Raw” you’d probably feel pretty confident that it’s a safe, healthy product. However, ConsumerLab found that this product contained even more lead than Barlean’s (6.5 mcg per serving). The third product that tested positive for heavy metals was HealthForce SuperFoods Vitamineral Green. With that mouthful of a product name, you also get 3.6 mcg of lead and 13 mcg arsenic.

One more brand of powder tested positive for poison: Naturo Science Green Food – Berry Flavored, which had almost 4 mcg of lead per scoop.

While these test results were from 2016, I don’t know about you, but personally, I’d be very skeptical about trusting these brands again.

Let’s give the benefit of the doubt to green powders and assume that the vast majority of them are not contaminated with heavy metals. Take that little inconvenient fact away and is it a toss up whether veggie juices or powders are better? Nope. Veggie drinks still come way out ahead….

Actually, if I may, a final word on contaminated powders: the problem might be worse. A recent U.S. News and World Report  article says that one third of greens powders marketed as “healthy, healthy, healthy” were found to be contaminated with heavy metals. Yikes.

Fresh Is Best!

When you buy green powder, who knows how old the veggies are?

Some brands of powders freeze-dry the veggies. I don’t know about you but I never ever put any fresh veggies in the freezer, do you? So why would you want a powder of freeze-dried veggies. Can you imagine a restaurant in Italy serving pasta with freeze-dried tomatoes? Freeze-drying might be great for wild salmon. But freeze-drying veggies kills both the taste and the nutritional content.

To get a powder to taste palatable, some brands will add sugar to it. And many times, fillers such as soy lecithin or rice bran get added to powders to bulk them up. If you’re trying to lose weight and detox, the last thing you need is any bulking agents.

powdered green drink with trace poisons

And according to this article on GQ’s website, some powders include in the ingredients, “propriety blend.” Why is this a problem? The article explains that this is a loophole for the company to not have to list specific ingredients, such as a food coloring or other additive. Don’t you want to know exactly what you’re putting in your body?

But when you buy veggie juice from a reputable brand (ahem, like Chef V) that uses veggies from their own organic farm (like we have) or buys fresh produce from an organic farmer (like I do) and cold-blends the juice on site (such as in our new store in suburban NYC), thus preserving the nutrients (yup, check … we do that), you know it’s a healthy product….

Juice Cleanse Comparison: How Chef V Compares

Not all green powders are created equal. That’s certainly true of green juices as well. In fact, the healthiest green powder is better than the worst juice cleanse. That’s because many juice cleanses out there hardly contain any veggies; they are mostly all fruit juice. As Consumer Reports explains, there’s a major problem with many juice cleanse programs. First and foremost, the sugar content of many juice brands is sky high. See how Organic Green Drink–only 3 grams of sugar per serving–compares with the competition here.

And if you’re looking to do a cleanse, there’s something else you should keep in mind….

Even if the veggie juice is super healthy, you’re going to need more than juice to keep you going. It doesn’t matter if it’s as little as a 3-day cleanse. Just having juice for 3 days will likely make you feel famished. You also need protein and real food to satisfy your belly.

3 day Chef V Cleanse contents

That’s why on each day while you’re on the Chef V Cleanse,  in addition to getting 4 servings of Green Drink, you also get:

  •  2 (two) Vegan Protein Shake packet: 20 grams per serving
  • 1 (one) container of Detox Soup: Sweet Potato Curry or Carrot Ginger Zing: rich in protein and fiber, tastes like homemade because it is!

Speaking of powder vs. fresh, there are some other cleanse programs out there that include soup. But some of the ones I’ve seen are powdered soup mix. I’ll put my homemade Detox Soup against powdered soup in a taste test any day!

As for fresh protein vs. powdered, protein powder as a supplement is a different story. After all, besides adding a raw egg to your homemade smoothie or Chef V Green Drink, it’s the only way to get a major protein source. (When you’re doing a cleanse, I don’t recommend consuming raw eggs.)

Look, I get it, powdered greens you can buy at a supermarket might seem like an easy way to get your daily dose of veggies. But powdered veggies is nowhere as near as beneficial for you as fresh, organic, whole food veggies. And besides, if it’s convenience you want, convenience you shall have. I’ll deliver Organic Green Drinks, Vegan Protein Shakes and Detox Soups right to your front door (not personally, although it would be awesome to meet you).

Learn more about Chef V Cleanses here: https://www.chefv.com/cleanses/

Keep it fresh!

Love,

Veronica (aka Chef V)

Chef V and tropical green drink

Blended Veggies vs Juicing fruits: What’s Better for You?

blending green drink

Blended veggies vs juicing fruits … whether it’s to lose weight or detox, or just for overall better health, which one is better for you?

Here’s a question I get a lot from people who are new to cleanses and detoxes:

What’s better for losing weight, blended vegetables or juicing fruits?

Spoiler alert: the answer by far is blended vegetables.

Here’s why.

Juicing fruits is a good way to get nutrients in a concentrated amount.

But if you’re trying to lose weight, there are two main problems with a juice diet.

losing weight

Juicing Fruits Problem #1: Too Much Fructose

First, the amount of fructose (fruit sugar) in fruit juice in some cases is almost as high as regular soda. That’s bad if you’re trying to keep your blood sugar level steady. If you want to be able to study all day or function at work, you need to eat and drink things that will keep your blood sugar rock steady.

And juice diets can make your blood sugar fluctuate.

It’s true that the fructose in whole fruit doesn’t skyrocket your blood sugar like regular soda. However, when you’re juicing fruits, you tend to consume more fruit than is necessary.

If you crave fruit, just eat a handful of berries. Later in the day, you can eat an organic green apple. Both these examples equal one serving of fruit.

Without a doubt, fruit plays an important role in helping prevent chronic diseases like cancer. However, you only need to eat about 4 or 5 servings a day to get the benefits of fruit’s phytochemicals (disease-fighting nutrients).

The problem with juice diets is you get too much fruit sugar. Think about how many oranges it takes to produce a fresh squeezed glass of OJ. Instead of that large glass of OJ at brunch, just eat a whole orange. (Though I admit to enjoying the occasional mimosa at brunch.)

In short, you might be getting adequate vitamins from the juice fruit, but you’re also consuming too much fruit sugar in one sitting. And if you consume sugar at a meal, there better be a nutrient to slow down your digestion to prevent energy crashes and weight gain. This missing nutrient leads us to the second problem with juicing fruits….

kale

Juicing Fruits Problem #2: No Fiber

When you juice fruit, you’re missing out on fiber. There are a few huge benefits of fiber for weight loss and detox.

First, fiber helps you feel full. Blending veggies, especially cold-blending them like our Green Drinks preserves the fiber content.

On the contrary, when you juice fruit, even if it’s organic, it lacks fiber. And when you don’t have fiber to slow the blood sugar rush, you will likely feel hungry soon after drinking the fruit juice. If you’re doing a 7 day juice cleanse, it’s going to be a hellish week for you. You’re going to likely feel cranky, irritable, and moody.

Furthermore, when you feel hungry after a blood sugar crash, you might crave foods with lots of carbs like pasta or bread.

I admit I hear people claiming weight loss and detox success by juicing fruits, even on a 7 day juice cleanse. But I really don’t recommend it. As a nutritional therapist and healthy chef, I encourage you to lose weight and detox by consuming foods and drinks with fiber. And juicing fruits provides zero fiber.

Here’s another reason fiber is so important. It’s vital for overall health and a strong digestive system. The 7 certified organic veggies in our Green Drinks contain insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool. This helps you detox because the bulk activates your elimination. (In other words, it helps you go #2 and when you go #2 you are detoxing!)

Juicing fruits doesn’t help you in the detox/elimination department. In fact, if you’re doing a 7 day juice cleanse, there’s a good chance your elimination will be sluggish. That’s because of the lack of fiber in a juice diet.

To be clear, cold-blended fruit juice does contain some soluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water. In addition, soluble fiber slows your digestion. This is a good thing because when your digestion slows down, you don’t get hungry as often or quickly. Which means you won’t have cravings.

However, as I mentioned above, there’s a better way to get your soluble fiber from fruit. And that’s eating a whole piece of fruit a few times a day or blending it in a drink or smoothie.

Chef V kitchen

Blended vegetables vs. juicing fruits: the winner is….

Clearly, blended vegetables are healthier than juicing fruits. This is true for overall health, detox, and weight loss.

Cold-blending both veggies and fruits provide antioxidants. If you need a snack, that’s a perfect time for having a piece of whole organic fruit.

But when it comes to drinking your antioxidants, make it blended vegetables.

We’re here to do the dirty work for you. All the veggies in our Green Drinks are grown locally and certified organic.  Instead of shopping, washing, chopping, blending, and cleaning up, let us deliver your healthy blended Green Drinks.

The great thing is it costs about the same price as shopping for all these organic veggies yourself. But we save you time and money by delivering Green Drinks to you overnight!

Chef V and tropical green drink

Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup, warm and comforting, is a creamy main course for a crisp fall evening. You can easily double or triple this recipe and have delicious leftovers on hand for easy meal planning. Always try to use dried or canned organic black beans and organic vegetable stock, preferably homemade. – Veronica

Black Bean Soup

Ingredients

Black Bean Soup

  • 1/4 cup white onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 cups cooked black beans

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS

  • 1/4 cup Daiya cheddar shreds
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro

Directions

In a large stockpot over medium high heat, saute the onion in coconut oil for 2 minutes.

Add the garlic and continue to cook for 1 to 2 minutes.

Stir in the cumin, cayenne pepper, and sea salt.

Add the broth and black beans.

Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Transfer to a Vitamix in batches, if necessary, and process to desired consistency. I like it chunkier or puree until smooth.

Top with cheddar shreds and cilantro, if desired.

Vegan Tiramisu – Guilt Free Decadence

While we typically recommend steering clear of sugary treats, this healthy take on tiramisu is a must!

Take a look at the ingredients listed below before you start the process – some might be new to you but don’t let that stop, we’ve included links to some of our favorite products to help guide you at the grocery store.

Plus, once you start baking and cooking with these healthy ingredients, there’s a good chance you’ll want to continue! For instance, using coconut sugar is better for you then real cane sugar as it’s low in fructose and higher in antioxidants than cane or brown sugar. And it tastes great too!

vegan tiramisu

vegan tiramisu

TOTAL: 1 hour

Serving Size:2

Ingredients

Lady Fingers
2 ½ cups all purpose gluten-free flour (we like Bob’s Red Mill)
1 cup coconut sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 cup filtered water
Cooking spray (we like Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil Spray)
Square baking sheet

‘Mascarpone’ Filling
2 cups raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours, drained
1 can coconut cream (we use one from Trader Joe’s)
1 ½ tsp. organic vanilla or vanilla bean
2 tbsp. coconut nectar
1 tbsp. cold water (add more as needed)

Assembly Needs:
6 small glasses ( martini or wine glasses or 4 mason jars)
1 cup coffee (use decaf if you are cleansing)
6 tsp cacao powder (use 1 tsp. per glass)
Cacao nibs (optional) topping

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix dry ‘lady finger’ ingredients together.

Add oil, vanilla and water. Stir until lumps are gone. Pour the mix in a large oiled square pan.

Cook for 12 minutes or until the cookie mixture is lightly golden. Let the cooked mixture cool then cut into lady finger shaped rectangles (approximately 1” x 3”).

While the cookies are cooling, make the ‘mascarpone’ filling.

Blend the cashews, vanilla, coconut nectar and water together in Vitamix (or blender) on high until it becomes a creamy consistency. Add the coconut cream and cashews to a large bowl. Whisk together until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

Once the cookies are completely cool, pour the coffee into a shallow glass. Dip each lady finger cookie into the coffee. Start to layer the bottom of your dish with cookies, then cream and repeat. The top layer should be all cream with a layer of cacao powder. Add the cacao nibs for extra deliciousness if you’d like.

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! 

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.

Join Chef V For A Mind, Body & Spirit Reboot!

3rd Annual Women’s Holistic Wellness Retreat In Santa Ynez, CA
February 4-7th, Santa Ynez Valley, CA

How does a four-day retreat in Santa Barbara’s stunning wine country sound, getting pampered with therapeutic massages and jacuzzi soaks, dips in the lap pool, yoga and fitness classes, guided meditation, horseback riding, one-on-one wellness coaching sessions and gourmet nutrient-dense meals and more? 

Feel the stress melting yet? 

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to treat yourself to this total well-being experience. Go ahead … You deserve it!

Not only will you feel physically and mentally refreshed, you’ll also develop lifelong relationships with like-minded holistic-health-minded ladies. 

Yes, this is a wellness retreat but we’re going to have a ton of fun and let our guard down. Ladies: this ain’t no cloistered nun convention—there will be wine tasting. 

The scenery is gorgeous. Picture yourself soaking in the hot tub with an incredible view of the stars. And when the retreat is over, you’ll return home a stronger spiritual warrior, armed with tools to maximize abundance manifestation, living in the present, minimizing anxiety and more…

Veronica on couch talking

The weekend will be filled with experiences including yoga, fitness, horseback riding, meditation, conversation, wine tasting, chef-inspired meals, laughter and maybe even some tears!

Veronica

Meet Your Retreat Hosts

Veronica Wheat is a successful entrepreneur who built her meal delivery service, which featured her trademark recipe for Green Drink, into a nationwide business serving clients nationally with New York, New Jersey, and California delivery drivers.

An avid yoga practitioner and teacher, Veronica wakes up each morning excited to build upon ChefV.com’s success, not so she can sell more Raw Juice, Green Drinks and Cleanses, but rather, what motivates her to succeed is reading the comments in her inbox from customers who have experienced dramatic health improvements. Be it weight loss, being able to stop taking diabetes medication, lowering cholesterol by 50 points, sleeping like a baby, having clearer skin and living each day with natural, steady, high-buzzing energy.

The road to entrepreneurship isn’t always smooth sailing, but Veronica stays steady at the helm, grateful and amazed each day by the inspirational success stories from customers all over the country.

Veronica

Lauren Griffith is best known for her 12-Week Transformation Program, one-on-one coaching, high-energy fitness classes, corporate wellness and instructor training programs. Lauren continues to create fitness and yoga programs to motivate and inspire her clients, including various at-home fitness products, such as Agility Barre®.  After her studies, she went on to teach a wide variety of fitness and mind-body classes and continue her passion for helping others. Lauren now resides in San Diego with her daughter Haley and son Hunter.

A former collegiate cheerleader and fitness/figure competitor, Lauren also specializes in leading instructor workshops for Yoga, Barre and Sculpt. She has been a fitness professional for over 24 years and strives to help others achieve their personal best through her fun, yet challenging workouts.

Lauren has contributed to many fitness segments on Fox 5 News San Diego and is an ambassador for ToeSox, as well as an influencer for ChefV, nanoGreens and alumni ambassador of Lululemon Athletica.

tacos

The Food

Veronica prepares beautiful meals and snacks using organic, nutrient-rich foods that are cleanse approved and good for your body.

But don’t think that means boring or bland! Your meals will be delicious and look amazing too. Veronica’s cuisine uses fresh, raw ingredients, a wide variety of herbs and spices, and gluten-free, dairy-free foods that are loaded with flavor.

chef v retreat food tray

From breakfast to dessert, you will experience delicious and satisfying meals that treat your body right. These dishes are so yummy, you will not feel deprived but will think you are indulging big-time.

chef v retreat food tray

chef v retreat

Sweet Potato Holiday “Cookies”

sweet potato bunnies

Check out my little friend as we make a holiday version of my sweet potato bunnies. Holiday “cookies” remade to eliminate the sugar crazies – and she loved them!

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow sweet potato
  • 1 orange sweet potato
  • 1 purple sweet potato
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • Holiday Cookie Cutters
  • Sweet Topping
  • 1 tbsp. monk fruit or coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ginger

slicing potatoes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the sweet potatoes thin and lengthwise. Arrange the sweet potatoes on a foil lined baking sheet, sprayed or painted with coconut oil.

Brush the tops of the sweet potato with coconut oil.

slicing potatoes

Shake the “cookies” with the cinnamon and monk or coconut sugar seasoning. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove and let cool.

slicing potatoes

Remove and let cool. Using a bunny cookie cutter, cut bunny shapes from the sweet potato.

slicing potatoes

You can replace in the oven for 10 minutes to crisp up more or just serve on a plate and enjoy these little bunnies!

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.

Healthy Gut, Smooth Skin, Glossy Hair And Strong Nails

kale

The best veggies for a healthy gut, skin, hair and nails are the same ones in Chef V’s mega-popular Green Drink. And it’s no coincidence that these same veggies are also the best for helping you cleanse and detox. Chef V covers how each of the veggies benefits your beauty.

I created the recipe for Organic Green Drink several years ago back when I was a private chef. Over time, demand grew for my Green Drink and that’s really the catalyst for launching Chef V.

I did a ton of research for the Green Drink recipe. I wanted to select the best veggies that would not only taste amazing cold-blended, but that would also be the best for a 3 day cleanse or 21-day detox. And as it turns out, the seven veggies in Green Drink not only happen to be the best for cleansing and detoxing, they also happen to be the best veggies for skin, hair and nails.

Now I admit, it would be a pain in the behind to have to chop green kale, black kale, collard greens, dandelion greens, green chard, curly parsley and green leaf lettuce every day. And then have to juice it. Then clean up.

The main reason why I transitioned from being a private chef to launching Chef V: making healthier easier for people just like you. And it doesn’t get any easier than having a bottle of our certified organic Green Drink delivered to your home.

Not only can you lose weight, gain energy and sleep more soundly by having Green Drink every day, but there’s also a very good chance your skin, hair, and nails will look better.

So let’s take a look at how the ingredients in Green Drink are the healthiest veggies for skin, hair, and nails.

your microbiome - bacteria

Best Veggies for Skin, Hair & Nails: Kale

Sure, there’s some excessive kale craziness these days. But for good reason. Kale is rich in vitamin K. And it’s really hard for most people who eat the average American diet to get enough K. Vitamin K actually helps minimize dark circles in your eyes. That’s why it’s one of the best veggies for the skin.

In fact, kale can even help tighten your skin. How? Well, one of the reasons why your skin isn’t as tight when you get older is that the aging process weakens your collagen. Collagen is the body’s main structural protein. In fact, over one-third of the thousands and thousands of proteins in the body is collagen proteins. Collagen provides strength to your tendons, ligaments, teeth, nails, hair, bones, gut lining, and much more….

The vitamin C in kale along with the antioxidant, lutein, promotes collagen regrowth and production. In addition, vitamin A in kale helps prevent damage to the skin. It also repairs damages to the epidermis.

There’s a good reason why kale has been added to several beauty products. Because it’s such an efficient detoxifying nutrient, kale can help clean your pores. It’s even beneficial for your hair pores. Moreover, kale contains fatty acids such as omega-3s. These fatty acids provide moisture to your hair and skin.

There’s even a nail polish with kale extract. Supposedly, it can help stimulate keratin production. Keratin is the other main protein that’s in your nails.

These facts about kale make it one of the best veggies for skin, hair, and nails. So drink your Green Drink and schedule that kale facial!

weight and your microbiome

Best Veggies for Skin, Hair & Nails: Dandelion

Another incredible detoxifying green veggie in our Green Drink is dandelion. Dandelion widens your pores. That’s how it helps your body get rid of toxins. And according to this article, dandelion shrinks wrinkles. It may also help whiten dark spots and reduce fine lines.

Like kale, dandelion also contains lots of beta carotene and vitamin C. It’s also rich in B vitamins and vitamin E, which is a standard ingredient in many skincare products. Moreover, the minerals and trace minerals in dandelions may actually help regrow hair.

collard greens

Best Veggies for Skin, Hair & Nails: Collard Greens

The reason why collard greens are one of the best veggies for skin, hair, and nails is the same reason as kale and dandelion: it’s loaded with beta carotene (a precursor to vitamin A). One benefit of Vitamin A for your skin is the production of sebum. You can think of sebum as a waterproof lubricant for your skin. Without sebum, your skin would feel like it’s been scorched in a sauna for hours. And sebum is also in your hair. Without enough of it, your hair feels like straw.

Collard greens also contain iron. And one major factor for thinning hair is low iron intake.

probiotic

Best Veggies for Skin, Hair & Nails: Chard

Here’s why I think chard is one of the best veggies for skin, hair, and nails….

Just one serving of it contains over 700 percent of your vitamin K suggested intake. It’s also got about 200 percent of your beta carotene needs and about half of your daily vitamin C needs. And chard is also very high in minerals such as magnesium. Getting enough magnesium in your diet is very important for healthy skin. It can help balance the amount of oil you have. Obviously, you need some oil but not too much. If your skin tends to run on the oily side, magnesium can reduce the amount of oils.

Chard is also high in biotin. Biotin is vitamin B7. There’s a good reason why many hair care products contain biotin. That’s because biotin stimulates hair follicles. Consume enough chard and your hair may benefit by appearing shinier and fuller in texture. And like all the other of the best veggies for your skin, chard is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants repair and help regenerate new skin cells.

Best Veggies for Skin, Hair & Nails: Parsley

Poor parsley. Most people just eat a tiny bit of it as a post-meal garnish to freshen the breath. But here’s why you should consume more of it. (And what easier way to get your daily dose of parsley than having one or two Green Drinks per day?)

Parsley is a wrinkle destroyer. As I say above, vitamin C-rich foods help encourage the production of collagen in your body. And parsley is particularly rich in vitamin C. And the more collagen production your body undergoes, the more wrinkles and fine lines will fade.

Moreover, parsley is a natural antibiotic. Thus, it can help kill bacteria-causing acne. There are several other benefits of parsley for your skin as well. But this post is already long and we’ve got one more of the best veggies for skin, hair, and nails to cover:

21 day detox from Chef V

Lettuce

One of the main reasons why lettuce is good for your skin is it contains the following three minerals: silica, sulfur, and phosphorous. You don’t need a large quantity of these minerals from the foods you eat. That’s why they are called trace minerals. But these three trace minerals are vital for maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails. Without a doubt, you’re not going to get many benefits by eating iceberg lettuce, which is devoid of nutrition. But green leafy lettuce can also protect your skin against harmful UV rays.

So now do you see why I selected these six veggies (7 really; Green Drink includes two different types of kale)? Not only are they the best-tasting and most detoxifying, but they’re also the best for your skin, hair, and nails.

Chef V and Kale

Mango Avocado Burrito Bowl

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

chia seed pudding

TOTAL TIME: 15 Min

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

Acai Bowl

Chef V tip: Try an acai bowl for breakfast, too!

The acai berry is a grape-like fruit native to the rain forests of the amazon. It has a tropical, sweet taste and a very short shelf life, so we don’t often find them fresh in the store. Acai berries contain antioxidants, fiber, and heart-healthy fats.

acai bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 frozen unsweetened acai smoothie packet (I like Sambazon)
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries or blackberries
  • 1/2 cup Chef V’s Raw Almond Milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh seasonal fruit (blueberries, raspberries, kiwi, peaches) use your favs!
  • 1 tablespoon shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup crushed raw almonds, optional

Directions

In a Vitamix, process frozen acai juice, blueberries, raspberries, and almond milk on medium until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and top with your favorite fresh fruit, coconut, and almonds, 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.

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.

Chef V’s West Caldwell Store Grand Opening

Chef V West Caldwell store opening

FYI: Chef V opens in West Caldwell, specializing in green blends
Excerpt from Northjersey.com, September 2018

It’s impossible to miss Chef V when you drive into the Essex Mall shopping center in West Caldwell. The shop glistens green, thanks to a shimmery photo-ready wall that peeks through the storefront’s windows. The sign above shows off a green leaf that looks conspicuously like a woman’s smile.

And certainly, Veronica Wheat, the owner of Chef V, has a lot to smile about these days, having opened her shop in mid-September after a soft open period in August. Chef V, named after her professional nickname, specializes in green juices, smoothies, bowls and cleanses.

Veronica in West Caldwell store

“We don’t waste anything here,” Wheat says, referring to the fact that she uses the entire vegetable, instead of tossing the remains once the food has been juiced.

Wheat’s standard Green Drink is made of organic black and green kale, collard greens, green leaf lettuce, curly parsley, dandelion greens, green chard, apple for sweetness and water — that’s it. The Tropical Green Drink employs the same ingredients but, instead of apple for sweetness, mango and pineapple are added.

Also available seasonally at the Chef V store are acai and pitaya bowls and smoothies like the Beetox with whole beet, kale, lemon, apple, carrot, cucumber, celery, ginger, turmeric, garlic and jalapeno; and the Strawberry Nana with strawberry, banana, blueberry, kale, house-made almond milk and chocolate or vanilla protein .

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.

Sweet Potato Pureé

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 sweet potato. Instead of regular milk, I use almond or coconut milk.

I swear to you that my 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 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.

Organic Pumpkin Pureé

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

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 puree. Just cut the top off any pumpkin, cut into 4 quarters and remove all the seeds and guts. Place in the oven for 45 minutes at 350 F (do not use oil). Remove from the oven and peel off the pumpkin skin.

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

Grilled Chicken Pesto Pasta

Grilled Chicken Pesto Pasta
Chef V’s Tip: Substitute the chicken with 2 cups of your favorite grilled veggies to make this dish vegan.

Grilled Chicken Pesto Pasta

SERVES 2

Ingredients

  • Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice or quinoa pasta
  • 1/2 cup Chef V’s Easy Raw Pesto

Directions

Grilled Chicken Pesto Pasta
Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high. Lightly salt and pepper the chicken (or veggies) and grill for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until thoroughly cooked. Cut chicken into pieces and combine with cooked pasta and my Easy Raw Pesto.

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.

Easy Raw Pesto

This rEasy Raw Pesto is so delicious. Besides my Grilled Chicken Pasta, try this on gluten-free bread as a spread or use it as a marinade for your favorite protein or vegetables.

easy raw psto

TOTAL TIME: 15 min

SERVES 8

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 3/4 cup raw pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup cold-pressed olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Sea Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

Process all the ingredients in a Vitamix until smooth. Will keep for up to a month refrigerated.

Avoiding Added Sugars: What to eat

leaky gut

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

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

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

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

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

added sugars

Percentage of Added Sugars In The Diet Should Be…

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

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

leaky gut

Winning by Eliminating Added Sugars

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

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

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

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

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

nutrition facts label

IMAGE ABOVE COURTESY US FDA

How Much Sugar Should I Have?

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

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

And that amount is…

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

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

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

Daily Sugar Intake For People With Diabetes

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

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

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

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

The Leading Source Of Added Sugars

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

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

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

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

Low-Sugar Nutrient-Dense Green Drink

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

Coconut Sugar: Is It Healthier Sweet Stuff?

Coconut Sugar

Coconut Sugar?  What do you get when you cross my 4-year-old, four-legged furry kid with sweetener? 

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

Coconut Sugar: Is It Healthier Sweet Stuff?

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. 

below, bone char pills made from burning beef and pig bones

Bone char

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. 

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.

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!

A Green Drink A Day Can Support Your Mood: Research Proves

a green drink a day can support your mood

Warning: stay away from me today. I got a late start to the day, skipped my daily morning yoga routine and didn’t have my Green Drink as early as I usually do. I’m having one of those days. Yes, dear hubby, Brandon, I still love you but watch out. Don’t get too close. I may bite!

 Apparently, I’m not the only one who feels off when skipping a wellness routine. A green drink a day can support your mood. My long-time, trusted graphic designer, Jean, the one responsible for making the Chef V newsletter look like a fancy glossy magazine, told me she feels “down in the dumps” if she goes a couple days in a row without having her Green Drink. 

Well, Jean, that’s exactly why I created my Green Drink Plan, to ensure you’ll never run out! But I get it, even if you get GD delivered to your home, life can get intense and overwhelming and you can just forget the things that help you live a high-vibration life. It happens, we’re only human. 

And Jean’s certainly not the only customer that feels off when skipping GD for a few days. But what is it about the 7 green leafy veggies that after you drink it, makes you feel like you’re going to conquer the day? Do the greens serve as a catalyst for cellular energy? 

No doubt that leafy greens are beneficial for cellular health and energy. But there’s also research that shows these highly-nutrient dense ingredients support a healthy mood. 

a green drink a day can support your mood

Green Leafy Veggies For Mood

According to World Journal of Psychiatry, 12 nutrients are critical to the prevention and treatment of depressive orders: Folate, iron, omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), magnesium, potassium, selenium, thiamine, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, and zinc. 

The highest scoring plant foods (those with the most of the dozen nutrients) are leafy greens and cruciferous veggies. Lettuce and peppers also made the list.

Co-authors of the World Journal of Psychiatry study analyzed several foods for “Antidepressant nutritional density.” The results were tabulated in a scoring system called the “Antidepressant Food Score” or AFS. 

“The AFS is based on a nutrient profiling system devised to identify foods with the highest nutrient density of nutrients with clinical evidence to support their role in depressive disorders,” the researchers explained in the article. 

Could it be that the reason many customers feel like they’re on their A-game when they make Green Drink part of their daily routine is that the 7 ingredients are at the top of the AFS scoring system? 

That’s food for thought. Er, drink for thought…

Lettuces like green leaf lettuce, an ingredient in Organic Green Drink, has an AFS score of 74% to 99%. 

Green chard, another staple of GD, scores 90%. Parsley: 75%. Kale and collard greens score 62% and dandelion greens 43%. 

Now that’s not to say that 43% is a low score. Remember, all these ingredients in Green Drink rank at the top of the list for the best foods on the planet for supporting positivity. Evidence that a green drink a day can support your mood.

“The nutrients considered have been shown in human studies to be beneficial with regards to treatment or prevention of depressive disorders,” concluded the researchers.

a green drink a day can support your mood

Are You Eating (Or Drinking) Enough Veggies? 

Unfortunately, many foods with a high AFS are not staples of the Standard American Diet. Most adults in the U.S. don’t meet the daily recommendations for vegetables. In fact, The Healthy People Initiative, launched by the Federal Government’s Department of Health and Human Services found that only 27.2 percent of adults ate three or more servings of vegetables per day. 

I get it. Life’s busy. And that’s why I created the Green Drink Plan so you can easily consume 7 leafy green veggies that are some of the best plant foods on the planet for supporting mental health.

Here’s to feeling good!

a green drink a day can support your mood

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

gut parasites

How To Kill Parasites In Your Gut The Natural Way

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

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

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

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

gut parasite

Top Signs You May Have a Parasite

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

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

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

gut health - Coconut and roundworm

Parasites: Not Just A Problem in Poorer Countries

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

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

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

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

natural remedies dried herbs

Treat Parasites Without Medication?

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

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

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

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

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

gut parasites remedies- grapefruit and garlic oils

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

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

Pau D' Arco tree

Eat This, Not That … For Parasites

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

What Is Leaky Gut & Do You Have It?

leaky gut

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

How Do You Fix Leaky Gut?

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

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

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

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

Gut: Not The Same As Belly

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

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

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

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

stomach mucosa - leaky gut

The Mucosal Barrier & Gut Health

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

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

Leaky Gut Explained

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

leaky gut

What Happens When You Have Leaky Gut?

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

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

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

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

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

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

probiotics

Symptoms of Leaky Gut

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

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

Causes Of Leaky Gut

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

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

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

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

your microbiome

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

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

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

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

your microbiome - bacteria

1. Your Gut controls your health – understand it.

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

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

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

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

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

weight and your microbiome

image courtesy Custom Probiotics Inc

The Gut Health Overall Health Connection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

skin health and your microbiome

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

probiotic

3. You can reset your Gut Health with a Detox

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here's to your (gut) health….

Love,

Chef V

21 day detox from Chef V

How To Prevent Food Poisoning (From Food & People)

how to prevent food poisoning

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

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

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

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

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

food poisoning bacteria

Hand Sanitizer vs Hand Washing: Which Is Better

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

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

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

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

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

food poisoning good bad flora

Opening and Closing Doors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preventing Food Poisoning: Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

To your health….

Chef V

Chef V and tropical green drink

A Healthy Sandwich

A Healthy Sandwich: Fresh Fruit Jam & Raw Almond Butter

Almost everybody loves sandwiches. The problem with sandwiches, however, is most of them contain bread and toppings loaded with sugars – not a healthy snack. But my fruit jam and raw almond butter sandwich will help fill you up with minimal impact on your blood sugar level. This sandwich recipe is perfect for those times when you have a long ride in the car or for when you’re on a long plane ride. The recipe is featured in my book, Making Cleansing Easier. Enjoy!

Make your own Raw Almond Butter using my recipe.

a healthy sandwich

TOTAL TIME: 60 min

SERVES 2

Ingredients

  • FRUIT JAM

    • 4 cups fresh raspberries
    • 2 whole apples, peeled, cored, and diced
    • 1½ cups fresh apple juice

    SANDWICH

    • 2 slices gluten-free bread
    • ½ tablespoon Chef V’s Fruit Jam
    • ½ tablespoon Chef V’s Raw Almond Butter

Directions

For a healthy sandwich –
To make the fruit jam, bring all the jam ingredients to boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let cool. Place in an airtight jar or container. Will keep for 2-4 weeks refrigerated.

Toast the bread, if desired. Spread the fruit jam on one half, the almond butter on the other, and enjoy!

Raw Cucumber + Avocado Gazpacho

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

raw cucumber + avocado gazpacho

TOTAL TIME: 15 min

SERVES 2-4

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

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

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

Eat This, Not That … In The Summer

Veronica slicing cucumber

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

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

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

traditional Chinese Medicine

Worst Foods To Eat In Summer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

summer vegetables

Best Foods To Eat In Summer

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

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

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

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

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

To a happy, healthy summer!

Chef V and tropical green drink

Creamy Avocado Dressing

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

creamy avocado dressing

TOTAL TIME: 10 min

SERVES 4-6

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

Berry Blast

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

berry blast

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Serving Size: 1 person

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

Creamy Berry Parfait

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

creamy berry parfait

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Serving Size: 2-4 people

Ingredients

Nut Mix

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

Raw Cashew Vanilla Cream

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

Berries

1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh raspberries

Directions

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

What’s Fueling The TikTok Chlorophyll Trend?

chlorophyll

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

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

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

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

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

What Is Chlorophyll?

Remember learning about photosynthesis in school?

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

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

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

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

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

avocados for brain health

Benefits of Chlorophyll

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

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

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

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

And that brings us back to the TikTok sensation…

melted cheese

Benefits of Liquid Chlorophyll

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Side Effects of Liquid Chlorophyll

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

Is Liquid Chlorophyll Worth Buying?

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

Best Natural Sources of Chlorophyll

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

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

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

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

Chef V and kale

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette Dressing

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

creamy avocado dressing

TOTAL TIME: 10 min

SERVES 4-6

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

Chef V Raw Mayonnaise

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

raw mayonaise

TOTAL 10 minutes

Serving Size: 1 Person

Ingredients

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

Directions

Blend mayo ingredients together in a Vitamix or food processor.

Chef V’s Interview with Rough Day in Showbiz

Rough Day in Showbiz interview with Veronica Wheat

Chef V is in the house! This interview has Boss Veronica telling Rough Day In Showbiz stories about dealing with the catch-22’s of morning show interviews, chaotic days producing her own content, having to reshoot all the food pictures for her cookbook in two days, the nightmare of a shipping truck breaking down mid-transit, and her encounters with terrible customers leaving negative reviews on Yelp.

Veronica’s interview also provides excellent nutritional advice and valuable tips for aspiring entrepreneurs. This is a green episode!

On Apple podcasts: https://apple.co/3lD8kXx
On Spotify: https://anchor.fm/rdis

Beet-It Smoothie

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

ginger apple berry smoothie

TOTAL 10 minutes

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Serving Size: 1 Person

Ingredients

  • ½ cup organic blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • ½ cup organic raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • ¼ cup diced organic red beet, raw & skinned
  • 1 piece organic red chard
  • ½ cup ice
  • 1 cup organic unsweetened almond milk
  • Optional 1 serving of vegan protein powder (hemp, pea, or brown rice)

Directions

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

Chef V’s Raw Almond Butter recipe

Raw Almond Butter is delicious, but not all commercial almond butters are healthy. Almonds are definitely one food that you want to purchase organic. When comparing how a crop is cultivated organically and conventionally, oftentimes, the methods are very similar. But not so with almonds. In fact, conventionally-grown almonds, the way they are processed, may pose serious hazards to your health.

In light of this, I always buy organic almonds. And if I’m at a farmer’s market that offers steam-pasteurized organic raw almonds, I go for those, even if it’s expensive. Steam-pasteurization preserves the nutritional integrity of the raw almond butter. Plus, they’re free of chemicals and pesticides.

Once you’ve tried this almond butter recipe you’ll never want to buy commercial again.  – Veronica

grinding almonds

grinding almonds

TOTAL TIME: 25 min
SERVINGS: 5

Ingredients

  • 3 cups organic raw almonds
  • High power blender (I prefer Vitamix)
  • Patience – it takes up to 20 minutes to process

Directions

Process the nuts in a Vitamix for 10-20 minutes at high speed. This is easy, but it takes patience.

After about 5 minutes, the nuts will look like almond flour. Then, after another 5-10 minutes, the oils will start seeping out of the mixture, forming a paste.

Soon after, the raw almond butter magically appears! Store it in a sealed mason jar. Your raw almond butter will keep in the refrigerator for up to a month.

That’s the simple way to make raw almond butter at home.

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!

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.

Let’s get Outdoors!

Veronica and Coco hiking

Stress. It impacts everything we do these days. And it has never been more important to de-stress, to find ways to relax and enjoy the good things in life.

How do I keep my cool during these times? I treat myself – and you should treat yourself too. And the treat that makes me happiest this time of year is to get outside. Whether hiking in the Arizona desert or doing yoga on the beaches here in San Diego, getting outdoors is just about the best stress reliever we have in these turbulent times.

We recently moved from the east coast back to one of the most beautiful places on the planet: sunny, temperate San Diego, where I can go to the beach. Taking an early-morning beach walk, watching the dolphins surf the waves (while sipping Green Drink, natch) takes me from stressed to blissful. Brandon and I de-stress regularly with long walks.

Veronica at the beach

What the Experts Say

The New York Times recently interviewed Julia L. Marcus, an epidemiologist and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. She says: “I think going outside is important for health… We know that being outdoors is lower risk for infection than being indoors. On a sunny, beautiful weekend, I think going outside is indicated, but I also think there are things to do to reduce our risk.”

We all know by now to socially distance and wear a mask.  Just this week, the CDC has published guidelines for going to parks and recreation areas, greatly expanding the options for going mask free.

cdc new mask guidelines

Outdoors safer than indoors

It is now well established that COVID viruses are much more likely to spread indoors than outdoors.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s health officer says that “the risk that somebody who is sick spreads this virus from coughing or sneezing outside and you walk by them very quickly, even when it is within six feet, that risk is negligible…. We always say ‘never say never’ in medicine, but the risk would be infinitesimally small.”

She emphasizes an important part of our daily routines in these difficult times. She says “going for walks and spending time in parks is important for mental health.” I agree – stress is bad for your health. We need to stay sane and calm to stay well.

veronica and coco at the pool

We’ll get through this together

Times are tough and scary but you are not in this alone. You, my customers and friends, are a blessing in my life and I am so grateful to you. Your health and safety are constantly in my thoughts and I thank you for your patronage and friendship. Know that you are not alone, we are all figuring this out together. – Veronica

MANLY Lamb Chops

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

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

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

manly lamb chops

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

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

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

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

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

MANLY Spaghetti and Meatballs

Freshly made gluten free spaghetti and hearty meatballs are covered in a tasty tomato sauce for a timeless and savory Italian dish. That’s amoré!

manly spaghetti and meatballs

TOTAL TIME: 45 min
SERVES: 4

Ingredients

  • 1lb. organic ground turkey
  • ½ lb. organic chicken sausage
  • 1 cup gluten-free bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 20 oz. organic crushed tomatoes (divided)
  • 1 cup organic basil, washed
  • 1 box of brown rice or quinoa spaghetti

Directions

Combine raw ground turkey and chicken sausage in a bowl and mix well. Mix in 4 oz. of crushed tomato sauce, bread crumbs, oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Start forming meatballs by grabbing a handful of meat mix and forming a ball shape. Make all the balls, to desired size. You can make all big, all small or small and big ones. Just know that bigger ones will take a longer cooking time in the oven.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat a skillet on the stove with 1 tbsp. of olive oil to medium-high heat. Add 2-3 meatballs at a time, depending on how many will fit, and brown the outside of the meatballs for about 5 minutes total, turning and browning the entire outside of the ball. Once browned, move to a foil lined baking sheet and bake all the meatballs for 10-15 minutes for small meatballs and 15-20 minutes for larger meatballs. When removing, cut one ball open to check doneness. The inside should not have any pink and should be firm.

Cook pasta according to directions on the package. While cooking the pasta, heat 1 tbsp. oil in a pan on medium-high. Add onion and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add minced garlic and stir. Add 16 oz. crushed tomatoes and continue to stir until hot. Add chopped basil before serving. Spoon spaghetti onto plates, top with red sauce and a meatball or two. Top with additional sauce and serve with Love!

© 2021 Chef V, LLC.