Tag: Veronica Wheat

Sweet Potato Bunnies

Check out my cute little sweet potato bunnies! They are so cute and can be seasoned sweet or savory!

sweet potato bunnies

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow sweet potato
  • 1 orange sweet potato
  • 1 purple sweet potato
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • Bunny Cookie Cutter
  • Sweet Topping
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • Savory Topping
  • ¼ tsp. onion powder
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. ground mustard
  • ¼ tsp. oregano
  • ¼ tsp. red chili flake

Veronica shows off her sweet potato bunnies

Directions

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

Brush the tops of the sweet potato with coconut oil. Drizzle half the bunnies with the sweet seasoning and half the bunnies with the savory. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove and let cool. Using a bunny cookie cutter, cut bunny shapes from the sweet potato. You can replace in the oven for 10 minutes to crisp up more or just serve on a plate and enjoy these little bunnies!

Add apples, pineapple, walnuts and coconut shreds. Mix well. Chill for 2 hours before serving.

sweet potato prep

Could Flossing Be The Secret To A Killer Bikini Bod?

flossing

I’m bringing sexy back … by flossing. 

I know, I know, flossing is like the least sexiest thing in the world. And when you’re dead tired and can’t wait to get in bed, it’s the last thing you feel like doing. 

But no matter how tired you are and how much you may detest the disgusting sight of food particles dislodging from your mouth, becoming airborne and sticking to your mirror, I want you to become a fanatic flosser. 

So what does flossing have to do with sexy? 

Flossing prevents systemic inflammation build-up in your body. 

In a nutshell, if you don’t floss, harmful bacteria in the gums can migrate to distant organs including the brain and heart. 

Again, what does this have to do with sexy? 

Well, your ability to lose unwanted body fat depends largely on your body’s overall response to inflammation. 

If you have elevated levels of inflammation, it’s going to be harder to lose weight. It’s that simple. 

brushing teeth

Flossing For Weight Loss

When you hear the word “infection” what comes to mind for you? Most people associate symptoms like fever, burning, itching, etc. But sometimes infections are imperceptible. And if you don’t floss, your gums will become inflamed. This is called gingivitis. Gingivitis is caused by a bacterial infection. And this bacterial infection is caused by not being a diligent flosser. 

So, let me be a lecturing momma to you: floss not just every day before bed but after every single meal. If flossing three times a day sounds too demanding, do what I do: do intermittent fasting, skip breakfast and have an Organic Green Drink. Then, just eat one or two large meals the rest of the day and try not to snack. If one meal a day isn’t enough, try having another Green Drink in the afternoon or a protein smoothie with non-dairy milk. 

dental floss

Flossing For Blood Sugar Management

I admit the real reason I floss religiously is not for weight loss but to prevent bad breath. I bet you dollars to gluten-free vegan donuts that if you come across anybody with kickin’ breath, they’re not a fantastic flosser. 

But if you are struggling with weight management, be honest and ask yourself, “Have I been flossing as much as I should be?” Skipping a night of flossing here or there may not seem like a big deal. But think for a second of the bacteria that can build up in your mouth if you let food stay trapped in between your teeth. It’s so gross to think that the natural bacteria in your mouth feed off the sugars from the food and drinks you consume. Yuck!

Personally, I don’t take any chances with bacteria buildup in my mouth. That’s why I floss after every meal (OK, I’m only human so like 98% of the time.)

If you don’t floss enough, the infection caused by the sugar-loving bacteria can elevate your insulin levels and increase body fat storage.

water pik

Brush Your Teeth After Every Meal To Stay Sexy

Don’t forget to brush your teeth after every meal as well. Many people brush their teeth first thing in the morning. But to me that doesn’t make much sense to brush if you don’t eat anything in the morning. What I do instead is use a natural mouthwash to freshen my breath and eliminate any potentially harmful bacteria. Then, after my first meal of the day (usually around brunch or lunch time), I’ll brush. 

If you don’t brush after every meal, tartar can accumulate along your gum line. And it’s along the gum line that an overgrowth of bacteria can cause gingivitis. And if you don’t do anything to nip it in the bud, not being able to lose weight easily won’t be your only health concern. 

That’s because gingivitis can progress to periodontitis. That’s when little pockets develop between the teeth and gums. At this point, the harmful bacteria go on the warpath, attacking the cardiovascular system. (Which is why it’s important to get way more vitamin C in the diet than the daily recommended 65 mg.) 

tooth bacteria

Massage Your Gums In The Shower

One of the best things you can do for your gums other than flossing is using a waterpik, which jets a high-pressure stream of water in between your teeth and gums, dislodging any stubborn food particles and plaque buildup. If you don’t have a waterpik, a simple thing you can do is when you take a shower, put the shower head on the massage setting and open up your lips to expose your pretty pearly whites and gums. 

Obviously, there’s much more to successful weight loss than flossing. But many people don’t realize the connection between flossing and inflammation prevention. Adding flossing to your daily health routine may help you prevent unexplained weight gain. 

To your sexy teeth and gums!

Fastest Way to Get into Ketosis – Chef V Cleanse

Cleansing for ketosis

Following a ketogenic (“Keto”) diet puts your body in a state of ketosis. That means your body is burning its stored body fat instead of blood sugar for energy. But getting into ketosis can take up to several weeks if you’re not doing it right. One of the easiest ways to get into ketosis is by doing a Chef V Cleanse. It’s so easy, you won’t have to count carbs…

So you’ve flirted with keto for the last few years. You’re thinking about it but haven’t pulled the low-carb trigger. I get it. Ditching grains and even some of your favorite veggies and fruits is tough. For many people, it takes an extraordinary amount of willpower to eat an ultra low carb diet. 

How low should you go if you’re going Keto, you may ask? 

Well, everybody is unique. Some people may go into ketosis after consistently keeping net carbs to roughly grams per day. But for other people, it may require being even more stingy with the carbs to the tune of 25 net grams per day. 

(Net carbs equals total grams of carbs minus fiber and/or sugar alcohol. Example: one cup of cooked pasta contains 42 grams of carbs and 2 grams of fiber. So that’s 40 net grams of carbs — definitely way too much to get into or stay in ketosis!)

Maybe every year around the holidays or after a vacation, where you’ve put on a few pounds, you tell yourself this is going to be the year that you conquer Keto. 

But you don’t. 

Don’t blame yourself. Carbs not only taste great. They are literally addictive. In fact, according to Dr. William Davis, author of the best-selling book, “Wheat Belly” which was instrumental in launching gluten-free and Keto diets, “Wheat is addictive in the sense that, if you don’t have any for several hours, you start to get nervous, foggy, tremulous, and start desperately seeking out another ‘hit’ of crackers, bagels, or bread.”

So it’s not you, it’s the molecules.

keto

Easing Into Keto 

I’m not going to lie. Following the keto diet is really challenging at first. There’s the so-called dreaded “Keto flu.” 

That’s when your body basically has withdrawal symptoms and has to get used to burning fatty acids (ketone bodies) for its primary source of energy instead of all that circulating glucose. 

This phase can last a few days — just like a real flu virus.

It’s always a good idea to gradually phase into ketosis rather than quitting carbs cold turkey like smoking. Try to lower your net carb intake over a two-week period. This will help reduce Keto flu symptoms. 

Then, there's getting used to carb counting. But actually, with all the keto apps (not appetizers) these days, it’s easy to get used to. After a short while, you’ll learn the net carb counts of the foods you most often eat. 

Now, to be sure, even if you ditch gluten and everything else with tons of carbs, you can’t know if you’re in ketosis unless you test yourself. 

Many people use urine strips. But they’re not the most reliable. They are a good bellwether for people with diabetes. However, if you don’t have a blood sugar disorder, urine strips aren’t the best way to test. That’s because urine strips only measure excess ketones—not the level of fatty acids your body is using for fuel. 

Urine strips are cheap so it might not be a bad idea to start out with them. But the longer you stay in ketosis, the more your body will adapt. So you’ll need a more reliable way to test. Blood meters are the most accurate. They’re the most expensive way to test, but you get what you pay for. 

cleanse success

CHEF V’s CLEANSE: The Easy Way To Get Your Body Ready For Ketosis

A big reason why some people fail with Keto is they just don’t know how to get started. It’s too overwhelming. 

The easiest solution for taking all the guess work out is by doing one of my cleanses. The Chef V Cleanse home delivery program offers 1, 3 and 5 day options.  

On each day of the CLEANSE, you get:

  • 4 servings of Organic Green Drink
    7 Leafy Greens with only 5 net grams of carbs each
  • 2 Vegan Ultra Protein Shakes
    One Chocolate, One Vanilla; 2 grams net carbs each
  • Detox Soup
    1 high fiber soup for dinner; 2 flavors: Ginger Carrot (days 1, 3, 5) & Sweet Potato Curry (days 2 & 4)

Now, it would be misleading for me to say that the CHEF V CLEANSE is keto friendly. For some people, the net grams of carbs from the carrots or sweet potato in the DETOX SOUP, even though they are nutrient dense, would prevent ketosis. 

However, if you really want to try Keto, the CLEANSE is the best way to transition to a ketogenic diet. That’s because your net grams of carbs will still be under 100. Consider that the average American diet consists of over 300 grams of carbs per day. 

And you don’t have to be a certified nutritional therapist like myself to know that most Americans aren’t getting enough fiber. 

So let CHEF V do all the work for you. I’ll ship the cleanse right to your door and you won’t have to worry about counting carbs or figuring out what you should eat in order to transition into ketosis. 

LEARN MORE

a green drink a day can support your mood

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.

Little Leprechaun Soup

Check out this delicious Meatless Monday recipe from Chef V. Perfect for this St. Patty’s day or anytime!

skinny shamrock smoothie

TOTAL: 45 minutes

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Serving Size: 2 Person

Ingredients

    • 2 tbsp. organic coconut oil
    • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
    • 3 shallots, chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 quart of organic vegetable broth
    • 6 cups organic broccoli florets, chopped
    • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
    • ½ cup raw, unsalted cashews
    • 1 cup coconut milk
    • ½ cup pepitas for garnish (optional)

Directions

In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, heat the coconut oil. Add onions, shallots, and garlic and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add broth & broccoli and boil for 10 minutes. Remove the soup and pour into a blender. Add thyme, coconut milk, and cashews to blender. Blend until smooth, 2-3 minutes. Serve in a bowl and top with pepitas or garnish with extra thyme sprigs.

Green Goddess Hummus

I love hummus. Kids love hummus too! I eat hummus probably once a week. I like to make different flavors all the time. I love avocado hummus, bruschetta hummus, hummus with curry, and lots more. Your kids will love this healthy and delicious treat. – Veronica

This Green Goddess Hummus is amazing! It’s so full of flavor from the cilantro, chives, parsley, and lemon. It has the bright green festive coloring that kids love. Bring out the Green Goddess in you this holiday, or anytime.

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

skinny shamrock smoothie

TOTAL: 15 min

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Serving Size: 4 Person

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp. fresh chives
  • 2 cups garbanzo beans or chickpeas
  • 1 tbsp. tahini paste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup cold pressed olive oil

Directions

Blend all ingredients in Vitamix or food processor. Chill for 1 hour before serving. Serve with gluten free bread, carrots, cucumbers or anything else your little leprechaun desires.

Green Eggs & Pancakes

Thinking of something fun to do with the kids this year for St. Patrick’s Day? I’m sure your kids love having fun green foods that aren’t normally green like green eggs or pancakes. 

However, food coloring is so dangerous to your kids health. The primary colors blue, yellow, and red are used to make up all of food coloring. Blue and yellow make green, red and yellow make orange, and red and blue make purple. So before you reach for the green food coloring this St. Patty’s Day, know what you are about to feed your little leprechaun before doing so.

Blue No. 1 food coloring has been associated with cancer risk and in lab animals, cancerous tumors have grown after being exposed to Blue No. 1 (Natural-holistic-health.com). Blue No. 1 and 3 have also been linked to problems with male sterility.  Yellow No. 6 has been linked to problems in the adrenals and kidneys. When exposed to Yellow No. 5, people experience headaches, dizziness, anxiety, asthma and behavioral problems.

green pancakes

Green Eggs and Pancakes

In light of St. Patty’s Day, one of my clients told me about how she adds my Chef V Green Drink to her kids eggs  to make them Green. She also added the Green Drink to pancake mix instead of all water and the pancakes came out Green and yummy!

Just add 1 tbsp. of green drink per egg until you get the color consistency you want. The result will be fun green eggs and pancakes made from natural ingredients. Check out this video to follow along as I try making green eggs for the first time. Enjoy and have a happy St. Patty’s Day!

mixing green eggs

Alternatives to Food Coloring

My great natural alternatives to food coloring:

  • Red coloring extracted from beet juice or paprika
  • Purple coloring extracted from juice of the red cabbage
  • Lighter purple coloring extracted from blueberries
  • Green coloring extracted from spinach or Chef V Green Drink
  • Yellow coloring extracted from saffron or tumeric
Read More of This Article About Food Coloring Dangers Here: http://www.natural-holistic-health.com/dangers-artificial-food-coloring/

Skinny Shamrock Smoothie

Shamrock Smoothies are popular around St. Patrick’s Day.  However, they are typically not very healthy.

Here is my favorite version of a Shamrock Smoothie. It’s light, healthy, creamy and it tastes so good!

It’s also a low sugar smoothie. Stay skinny and look your best in green with this delicious recipe.

skinny shamrock smoothie

TOTAL: 15 min

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Serving Size: 1 Person

Ingredients

  • 1 small avocado (or ½ large avocado)
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 date, pitted
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds

Directions

Blend all ingredients together in Vitamix or blender for 1-2 minutes, until smooth. Serve in your favorite glass and garnish with a spinach leaf cut out like a shamrock.

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

Mandarin Asian Salad

You can use lots of different greens to make this Asian inspired salad but I always include cabbage. If you are cleansing, just skip the mandarin oranges to keep it cleanse friendly.

V with Asian salad

Salad

Salad

  • 3 cups mixed greens
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 2 tbsp chopped green onion
  • 1/4 cup bean sprouts
  • 2 mandarins, cut into segments
  • 1 tbsp Asian dressing

Dressing

Asian Dressing

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp coconut nectar

Blend well.

Chef V’s Almond Flour Crusted Chicken

This is a new recipe I created recently that uses crushed almond flour crackers and is served with a honey mustard sauce. It makes a delicious main course, accompanied by my Mandarin Asian Salad.

chia seed pudding

Ingredients

2 chicken breast, boneless, skinless (pounded flat so they cook even)

Marinade

    • 1 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
    • 2 garlic clove, minced
    • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 tsp. Chopped fresh herbs (oregano & thyme)
    • Pinch of salt and pepper

Breading

  • 2 cups Simple Mills almond flour crackers blended finely
  • Add 2 tsp fresh chopped oregano & 2tsp fresh chopped thyme

Honey Mustard

  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey

Directions

Mix all marinade ingredients together in a small bowl. Use the sauce to marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and dip in the breadcrumbs, coating the chicken on all sides.

Heat 3 tbsp. oil to medium high and add chicken to hot oil. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side, carefully not to burn by reducing heat to medium as needed.

Serve with honey mustard dipping sauce. 

Safe & Healthy Easter Eggs

Happy Easter! What’s more traditional than decorating Easter Eggs? But what is in all of those nasty dyes that we’ve been using on our food all of these years? Healthy Easter egg dye is easy to make. You can save money buying artificial dyes and get creative this year with household items you already have.

I’ll be using turmeric, green tea, blueberries, beets, and a couple of other fun ingredients to make some colorful dyes. Last year I tested out some fun textures and patterns to put on the eggs. Herbs and flowers wrapped in cheesecloth make great patterns or you can use old ripped nylons. You can also use string or rubber bands to wrap a fun pattern around the egg.

FlashTats are temporary tattoos that are fun to decorate without the mess of dyes. I made a fun video showing you how easy it is to make the dyes!

Safe & Healthy Easter Eggs

Natural Ingredients for Homemade Dyes

  • ½ cup red beet
  • ¼ cup fresh turmeric, peeled
  • 3 green tea bags
  • Skins from 2 yellow onions
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • 5 tbsp. white vinegar
  • Optional for design
  • Cheesecloth or nylons
  • Rosemary or other herbs
  • Small flowers

natural easter egg dyes

Fill 3 pots of water with 2 cups each and 1 pot with 4 cups. Heat the water and bring each pot to a boil. When the 4 cups boil, pour 2 cups into a glass container and add 3 green tea bags. Let steep for 20 minutes while other dyes cook.

Return the remaining pot to a boil. Add beet to one pot, turmeric to another, blueberries to one, and onion skins to last. Stir and reduce heat for each pot to simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a glass container. Add 1 tbsp. of vinegar to each dye, including green tea.

Wait for the dyes to come to room temperature (about an hour). Drop the hard boiled eggs (room temperature) into the dyes (also room temp.). You can use cheesecloth or nylons to wrap the eggs and drop them in for cool patterns. I added some rosemary and flowers for different designs. Leave the eggs in the dye for 2 hours.

Remove and enjoy your beautiful Easter Eggs!

Flashtat Egg Decorations

Flashtat eggs are less messy than dyes and they look freakin’ awesome! The trick to this is that the eggs need to be room temperature and completely dry. They can’t have any dew or water on them. Apply the tattoo just like you would to your skin and set by dabbing with a damp towel. Slowly remove the tattoo and voila! These come out so cool!

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!

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.

Super Antioxidant Smoothie

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

super smoothie

TOTAL 10 minutes

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Serving Size: 1 Person

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

New Year – Same You but Better! Top 5 Myths About Doing a Detox

new year same you but better

You know it’s time for a new year – same you, but better!

Perhaps you haven’t been eating healthy but you are ready to make a positive change. Is your belly is chronically bloated? Does it take 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. Let’s make the new year’s you the same you but better!

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. 

new year same you but better

Detox Myth #1: It’s Too Hard – Not True!

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.

soup

Myth #2: You Can Only Have Juice Or Raw Kale – No, you can have delicious soups and protein shakes as well

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.

soup

Myth #3: You Can Only Drink Water And Detox Drinks – No! How about a Watermelon Slush?

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? 

cheesecake

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 – No.

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.

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.

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!

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

Chef V’s ‘Chipotle’ 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

Ingredients

  • 2 cups organic mixed greens (arugula, spinach, red leaf, kale, chard, green leaf, or romaine, etc.)
  • 1 cup cooked organic quinoa or brown rice, cooled
  • 3⁄4 cup organic black beans, cooked and cooled
  • 1⁄2 mango skinned and cubed
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1⁄4 small red onion diced
  • 1 small lime, juiced
  • 1⁄2 avocado, skinned, cubed
  • Optional: 4-6oz protein like grilled chicken or salmon.

Directions

Fix two bowls with lettuce on the bottom. Top with plain quinoa (or rice) and beans. Mix mango, onion, cilantro, and lime juice in a small bowl. Add mango mixture to top of salad. Top with avocado, optional protein and serve. Bon Appétit!

Serves 2

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.

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 .

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.

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.

Chef V Easy Raw Pesto

Chef V Easy Raw Pesto

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.

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!

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.

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.

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

Easy Hummus

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

hummus

skinny shamrock smoothie

TOTAL TIME: 15 min
SERVES: 2-4

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

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

glyphosates

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

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

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

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

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

Round Up

Glyphosate Contamination In Food

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

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

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

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

glyphosates in foods

Foods With Glyphosate

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

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

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

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

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

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

shopping bag of veggies

How To Avoid Glyphosate

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

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

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

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

Vegan Herb Aioli

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

vegan herb aioli

TOTAL 10 minutes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Serving Size: 2 People

Ingredients

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

Directions

Blend mayo ingredients together in a Vitamix or food processor.

Raw Horseradish Mayonnaise

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

raw horseradish mayonaise

TOTAL 10 minutes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Serving Size: 2 People

Ingredients

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

Directions

Blend mayo ingredients together in a Vitamix or food processor.

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

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

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

What Are AGE Products? 

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

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

What are the Side Effects of AGE Products?

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

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

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

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

Foods High in AGE That Can Lead To Premature Ageing

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

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

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

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

melted cheese

Keeping AGE-ing To A Minimum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To your health,

Veronica
Founder, Chef V

Tasty Lettuce Cups

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

tasty lettuce cups

TOTAL 30 minutes

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Serving Size: 5-6 People

Ingredients

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

Optional toppings:

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

Directions

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

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

Chef V’s Savory Salmon

I’m not a total vegetarian, I like a little animal protein, and one of my favorite recipes is this grilled salmon entree. Sprinkled with chili, garlic, and cumin, it’s a savory treat.

summer salmon

Serving Size: 2 People

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

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

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

PFAS: Why Fast Food is Worse for you than Ever

TESTING FOR PFAS

Sample Code

above, testing water for presence of PFAS

Fast Food: It’s Worse Than You Think!

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

Here’s why….

what are PFAS

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

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

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

detox tips for success

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

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

© 2021 Chef V, LLC.