Spice Spotlight: Turmeric

Spice Spotlight- Turmeric

You may be familiar with the spice, turmeric for its peppery, bitter flavor and its bright yellow color. It’s often used for cooking Indian dishes like Curry but did you know the amazing and powerful benefits it provides? Read More

Sun Safety: It’s For Everyone

Sun safety, sunscreen, EWG sunscreen

No matter if you are fair skin or a darker complexion sun safety is important for everyone!

Some of us know the dangers of over exposure to the sun all too well! From sun burns to heat stroke, the effect the sun can have on our bodies can range from minimal to life threatening so it’s important to take proper care and know your limits. I recently posted about the signs and symptoms of heat illness but this post is more about our skin and why it’s important to cover up and get in the shade every once in a while. Read More

Guest Recipe- Chipotle Flank Steak

flank steak, chipotle, cilantro pesto

My friend Tiffany Horn is always posting delicious pictures of the super simple, clean food and its been making my mouth water for a while now so I’ve asked her to share one of her recipes with you!  Read More

Food Labels: Lies Disguised As Health

Food Labels, Natural Flavors, Flavoring, MSG

Have you ever gone to the store and picked out a ‘health food’ because it says, “free of preservatives, no artificial ingredients or no MSG”? Most of us have and we think we are making the smart choice. The fact that you’re even looking at the labels puts you ahead of the game and means that you’re probably making a SMARTER choice.

Unfortunately, it’s not enough.  😥

Food labels are filled with a bunch of lies. They go by a ‘close enough to truth’ rationale and it is up to you to put your scientist lab coat on and break out the beakers to figure out what all these big scientific names really mean.

First things first, read the ingredient list! Not just the big lettered list of what isn’t included because that’s the marketing ploy, not the actual story. It’s probably going to come as a big fat disappointment how little these popular food manufactures care about what goes in our food. They are looking for any and all short cuts they can take which usually means getting as much artificial crap in their products that the FDA (the same FDA that doesn’t required the labeling of GMO crops on packaging) will still allow them to use those buzz words I mentioned above. The truth is about 25% of the ingredients can be artificial to still boast that “all natural” label!

So who polices these labels to make sure they are only adding in that 25% or that they are even adding in what they said to get that ‘Natural’ label? Why, the food manufactures themselves. That seems like a good checks and balance system there. (That’s sarcasm folks! And there should be a universal font for that!)

Here are a few FACTS about those seemingly harmless labels:

Natural Flavors- This means it must be derived from nature, usually a plant. But what does that word mean, ‘derived’? To be straight forward it means processed! It means to take something from nature and process, refine it into something else. It’s still a science experiment (you are the guinea pig) and is no less harmful than artificial flavors. On top of that, if the ‘natural flavor’ is derived from a GMO crop, food manufacturers can still label it as natural even though GMO crops are anything but natural.

Why do that?? Well that’s a loaded question and trust me, you aren’t going to like the answer. Enhance flavor (duh!), enhance smell, literally change the way you experience food so that you keep going back for more. Big food manufactures want you to be addicted to their foods! I don’t think I need to explain why. We’ve all heard of MSG- yea, that’s natural flavoring.  It’s in most processed foods and it has lots of different names.

Some common names for MSG (Monosodium Glutamate): Glutamic Acid, Yeast Extract, Sodium hydrogen glutamate, monopotassium glutamate, glutamate, autolyzed yeast, yeast food, yeast nutrient, hydrolyzed protein (vegetable, animal or plant protein). The list goes on and on. There are 25 different names for MSG. Think about it, if it’s not harmful to us then why hide what it is in all these science-y names, why not just call it what it is.

*Bolded words are most popular

Check out this website for a list of foods that contain MSG or glutamic acid- which is different but does the same thing and acts the same way in your body so we’ll just call it MSG’s twin sister.

(Seriously, check it out. I’m sorry in advance for what you are about to see!)


So what is included in natural flavoring?

Like I said, it’s anything derived from nature. As innocent as that sounds, if it was that innocent we wouldn’t be concerned about the meaning. When I say nature, I’m not just talking about plants and vegetables. Nope, you have to include bugs and animals in there too because they are part of nature. This is going to freak you out but bones, those are natural too so they are fair game when it comes to food labels. If you are eating something that is a color or a texture that you wouldn’t expect it to be, you can guarantee there are some food additives in there.

Think of it this way, if the ‘natural flavoring’ was just juice from an orange or oil from an oregano plant, then why wouldn’t they just say that? That sounds a lot less suspicious than ‘natural flavor’.

A couple other names you might see on food labels that are in the ‘natural flavoring’ category:

BHA, BHT and Propyl Gallate.

Ok, so what do we do?

Eat whole, real foods! Stay away from as much processed food as possible! Read the labels and figure out what the heck is in your food. You are in control of what goes in your body, not food manufactures and not the FDA! Look for products that only have 5 ingredients or less and the ingredients should make sense. I recently picked up some dill pickles that had a green dye added and of course natural flavors. I don’t care if my pickles are bright green, I just want them to taste salty and delicious. I don’t need green dye added or any flavor added. Let my pickles be pickles!

This website lists the Food Companies that are in support for GMO food labeling and I would start with checking the labels on their products. (Just to help narrow things down) In general, companies that support food labeling have nothing to hide so they might be a good bet when it comes to packaged foods. On the other end, the website lists companies that oppose food labeling and some of them gave A LOT of money to make sure consumers don’t know what’s in their products. I would try to steer clear of them. (Some of them might surprise you!) Also, a lot of those companies own organic brands and have probably taken advantage of the lack of policing going on in the food labeling laws. They apparently have a lot to hide.

Check it out! http://www.inspirationgreen.com/vote-yes-on-37.html




Making Healthy A Lifestyle

make healthy eating a lifestyle

It’s 2015 and this is going to be THE year you get your act together! You’re going to be healthier, make better food decisions, go to the gym more, drink less alcohol, spend less money, save more, start a family, quit smoking, the list goes on and on. You’ve envisioned that perfect body you’ve wanted for years but never quite got there. You say to yourself, “I’m going to lose that extra weight and get back to that elusive ‘high school’ or ‘college weight’ by the time you’re (insert age here). The year goes by and you are not at that weight. Maybe you’ve shed some pounds or maybe you’ve actually gained some, but this year is THE year!

Your journey begins, you sign up for a certain diet group where you will be put on a certain number of calories or points a day, or maybe you go on a 30-day cleanse, detox, fast, whatever. You sign up for a bootcamp or a Crossfit gym or a spin class, or boutique fitness class (they are all the rage), 5 days a week plus you’re going to run 3 days a week on top of that and you feel truly motivated because this year is THE year!

Fast forward 3 months, you only go to your fitness class 3 times a week if you’re lucky, and running, well it’s cold out soooooo… not so much. (But you’re going to start up again as soon as it warms up!) That diet has fallen off. Maybe during the week you’re pretty good but the weekend comes and oh, I forgot about that dinner or vacation or company event so I can’t stick to that diet, but Monday starts a new week and you’re going to get back on track. Except you don’t and you don’t lose any of that weight you were so determined to lose. You start to hate those shakes, supplements, tasteless, flavorless meals you’re suppose to eat. You’re hungry and there’s donuts someone brought into the office, and you’re sooooo hungry, just one won’t hurt and you promise yourself you’ll work extra hard at the gym later.

Fast forward 3 more months and it’s summer. You’ve completely quit going to that fitness class, or gym and you’ve decided you do much better just running on your own. And your run goes something like… Stretch a little, start off walking (gotta warm up) jog about half a mile, walk, jog a little, walk, change the song on your iPod, (oh that’s my jam), run, nobody’s around so walk a little more,  someone’s coming, pick up the pace, walk. You’ve gone maybe 2 miles and you’re done. 

That diet you started… Well now its summer, BBQ’s, vacations, lakes, pool, patio drinking (the best kind!), etc… Hey, but you’re eating salads at work during the week and basically skipping breakfast and just snacking for dinner. Are you wondering if I’m some sort of witch that can read minds or if I’ve been stalking you most of your adult life? Don’t worry I’m not, I’ve just been there, done that, and now I’m writing about it!

Ever wonder why we start off with all the motivation in the world but end up going back to our old ways? We think that starving ourselves will get just enough of that weight off that we can wear a bathing suit or sundress, or fit into those shorts and t-shirt and feel ok about what we see. Are you tired of this yet? Are you ready to do something that will work for the long haul? Are you sick of having the same goals every year and never reaching them? When will ENOUGH BE ENOUGH!!???

What to do:

First, stop making unrealistic goals!

Second, stop trying to reach all those goals in the first 6 months of the year. When you say you want to lose weight, look/feel better, what you mean is by the summer, after that who cares, you’ll be wearing sweaters, long sleeves, long dresses, skirts and pants, no one’s going to see you.

Third, realize that it didn’t take 6 months to put on the unwanted weight and to make these unhealthy habits so there’s no way you can lose it in that time. Realistically, you could probably lose it in a year (which is what you told yourself you were going to do) or at least get a good chunk of it off.

We have to start having patience with ourselves and realize that making small changes will usually result in a HUGE impact! Try setting 1-2 healthy goals a month and really try sticking to them. Right now they are just goals. Soon they will be habits and then they just become character traits.

Start small, try committing to bringing your lunch to work. Make this your first healthy habit. This will help accomplish many of those goals alone, including the weight loss and saving more money. Next, commit to walking more, as much as possible. You hate running so don’t, just go for a walk! That’s it, month 1 done!

Month 2- commit to going to the gym 2-3 times a week for 20-30 minutes You’re already walking so you don’t need to do cardio (that will cut your gym time down by 30-45 mins). Just head over to the weights and lift something relatively heavy. Maybe get a couple sessions with a trainer, just to show you what to do, and proper form so you don’t hurt yourself. Commit to having 1 glass of wine a night or a couple only on the weekends.

Month 3- Commit to cooking more and planning out your meals ahead of time. This will help you spend less time at the grocery store and keep unwanted food items out of your kitchen. And maybe that’s it for month 3.

Month 4- commit to trying something new. This could be geared towards stress management like yoga or meditation or just reading more and watching less TV. Or this could be trying new fitness classes, maybe you want to do a boutique fitness class, give it a try. Or maybe you want to run a 5K, or try visiting a Farmer’s Market. You get the idea! Trying to cram too many goals into such a small window is setting yourself up for disaster! Taking it slow and steady will get you to your goals faster than the scenario at the beginning I was talking about. Practice making these small changes will get you there and keep you there for the long haul and there is no better time to start implementing your new plan than TODAY. It doesn’t have to be the beginning of the year or month or day, get outside and walk around or go to the grocery store and make your lunch for the rest of the week. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or complicated; you just have to commit to starting.

So maybe you need a little more help with this! It’s OK, you’re normal, congratulations! Hey, that’s what I’m here for! Contact me, I’d love to help support you this year and get you closer to making healthy a lifestyle!


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