Easy Recipe: Make organic pickles at home!

Are you ready to make your own fermented foods at home? (Answer: Yes!) Pickling cucumbers is a great start to build up your confidence with fermentation. And who doesn’t love a crisp tasty pickle on a hot summer day? You can have your pickles ready to eat in as little as 7 days with the easy recipe below.

Use this fast and easy recipe to make delicious pickles at home

Health benefits of Fermented Foods

For optimal digestive health, we need to get good bacteria in the gut on a regular basis. Antibiotics destroy all the bacteria in our system, both good and bad. Over time, this can lead to more imbalance in digestion function, absorption and elimination. Some experts even say that food allergies, autism and ADHD may be related to an imbalance of bacteria in the colon. Certainly many digestive diseases like colitis, diverticulitis and Crohn’s disease are caused in part by lack of good bacteria in the gut. Having the right balance of good bacteria helps to strengthen immune system, improve digestive health and long-term, can even prevent dis-ease. Probiotic, or good bacteria, literally means “for life.”

You may think that fermented foods are only made with yeast (like beer or wine), but there are other cultures used for fermentation. Other types of natural bacteria are used as well as SCOBY’s (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). With pickles, the natural bacteria on the skin of the cucumber itself is what’s used to start the “lacto fermentation” process.

Pickles are perfect to try if you’ve never done any type of fermentation before. You get relatively fast results (in 7 days), unlike kombucha, for example, that can take a few weeks. And there isn’t a lot of hard work involved or checking required, like in making raw sauerkraut. You should see bubbles rising in the pickle jars when you flip them every day, and when you eventually open the jar to eat them, the jar should make a “pop.” Then you know you’ve done everything correctly and can enjoy the fruits of your fermentation labor. Scroll down to get the recipe below.

Homemade pickles have no food additives!

There are other great reasons to eat homemade pickles instead of store-bought, besides the obvious better taste. Commercially sold pickles are pasteurized, which means all those beneficial natural probiotics are destroyed. Homemade pickles keep all the good bacteria intact, making for good gut health when eaten. A healthy microbiome is the basis for a strong and healthy immune system.

Store-bought pickles can also contain nasty food additives, the worst offender being Yellow #5. Banned in many countries (including all of Europe) since it was shown to be a carcinogen, Yellow #5, or tartrazine, is a coal-tar derivative. It is currently still allowed in foods in the USA. Yellow #5 is frequently used in your favorite brands of pickles for added color to make the pickles look brighter and fresher. Most store-bought pickles also contain preservatives, the most common one being sodium benzoate (not good).

Examples of Yellow #5 in pickles:

Vlasic: Hamburger Dill Chips Pickles – Cucumbers, Water, Distilled Vinegar, Salt, Sodium Benzoate (Preservatives), Calcium Chloride, Natural Flavor, Polysorbate 80, Yellow 5. “Great taste & crunch. Classic dill taste.” (No thanks!)

Vlasic Bread & Butter Spears No Sugar Added Pickles – Cucumbers, Water, Distilled Vinegar, Salt, Spice, Calcium Chloride, Sucralose, Yellow 5. “No sugar added!” (But you kept the carcinogens, great work.)

Mt. Olive Sweet Gherkins No Sugar Added Pickles – Cucumbers, Water, Vinegar, Salt, Calcium Chloride, 0.1% Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Alum, Sucralose (Splenda Brand), Natural Flavors, Xanthan Gum, Polysorbate 80, & Yellow 5. “Mt. Olive Pickles are Picklicious!” (Don’t think so…)

Heinz Dill Spear Pickles – Fresh cucumbers, water, distilled white vinegar, salt, sodium benzoate, garlic extract, gum acacia, calcium chloride, natural flavoring, polysorbate 80, fd&c yellow 5. “Classic dill taste and crunch Heinz pickles are 100% fat free, Gluten free.” (But they contain chemical crap, hmmm…)

Organic brands of pickles are often no better. I’ve seen xantham gum, natural flavors, spices and agave syrup…all of which are suspect ingredients that I avoid as much as possible.

The bottom line is this: YOU deserve the very best in life and you are worth having only the very best ingredients in your food. Taking the time to make your own food is one of the best investments in yourself, your health and your family’s health.

High-five some hashtags to health!! #homemade #homegrown #farmtotable #organic #cleanfood #cleaneating

Choosing organic ingredients

The best part about making cucumbers at home is that you can use all 100% certified organic and whole food ingredients. Look for smaller sized pickling cucumbers at your local farmer’s market. You can also grow your own pickling cucumbers in your backyard garden at home – they’re actually very easy to grow! Choose fresh organic dill. And definitely use organic garlic. (Non-organic garlic is mostly all grown in China, so the quality is a big unknown. But I find that non-organic garlic has a too strong and overpowering taste; whereas organic garlic has a soft yet flavorful and more delicate taste. Organic garlic also doesn’t leave a bad taste in your mouth or a bad smell on your skin.)

The water you add to your pickle jars should not contain any chlorine, because chlorine can stop the natural fermentation process. The best option is to use natural spring water or clean well water. If you are using tap water, then be sure to pour your water into a big pot or glass bowl and let it sit out on the counter overnight before using. This should off-gas the chlorine so it’s no longer in the water by the next morning. (If you’ve ever had pet fish, then you’re familiar with doing this when changing their tank water.)

Remember to cut off the blossom ends!

When you’re pickling cucumbers yourself, you must cut off the blossom ends. There’s an enzyme in the blossom that can make the pickle soft and unsafe to eat. The blossom end also tastes bitter when you eat a raw cucumber. That bitter taste can make an entire juice or smoothie taste bitter too, so it’s generally just a good practice to always cut off about 1/16-inch on the blossom end of all your cucumbers. In fermentation, cutting the blossom ends will help your pickles get more crisp and crunchy.

Every cucumber has 2 ends: A Blossom end and a Stem end

The blossom end of the cucumber is the end that grew the flower. The opposite side is where you will find the stem that connected the cucumber to the vine. Sometimes it’s easier to identify the stem end first. Then, you know that the other side is the blossom end.

Which end is the blossom end of the cucumber? To identify the blossom end, check both sides of your cucumber.

The picture below shows the stem end of the cucumbers. Do you see the smooth, indented dot? That’s where the cucumber was picked off the stem.

The stem end has a smooth, indented dot

The next picture shows the blossom end of the cucumbers. Even though the flower is gone, you can see that there is no indentation. This is the side that you want to cut about 1/16-inch off.

Note there is no indentation in the Blossom end of the cucumber

Don’t forget to cut those blossom ends for a crunchy, crispy pickle

Recipe for Organic Pickles

With this recipe, the pickles take 7 days to ferment and then you’ve got the best tastiest pickles ever! No sugar, no honey, no preservatives and no cancer-causing Yellow #5. Oh yeah, and these are 100% organic farm-to-table and made with love!

Pickling Ingredients

  • Pickling cucumbers (approx. 6-8 small cucumbers needed for each jar)
  • 1 1/2 cups (or 360ml) filtered water
  • 1/2 cup (or 120ml) organic raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. – 1 Tbsp. fine Himalayan salt (as desired)
  • 1/2 tsp. organic crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. organic mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. organic back peppercorns
  • 1 sprig fresh organic dill
  • 2 organic garlic cloves (peeled)
  • 2 organic fresh grape leaves* (optional)
    You can buy the organic dried ingredients listed above on iherb.comAlso will need:- Wide mouth clean Mason jars with canning lids
    – 1 permanent marker
    You can buy Mason jars plus organic raw apple cider vinegar on amazon.com

Pickling Instructions

1. In a glass bowl, mix 1/2 cup organic raw apple cider vinegar + 1.5 cups water.
Add peppercorns, red pepper flakes, mustard seed, and up to 1T Himalayan salt.

2. Rinse your cucumbers but don’t scrub them. You want them to ferment from natural bacteria in the skins. Make sure you cut 1/16-inch from the blossom ends of each cucumber, then slice the cucumbers in spears. You want to keep the skins intact (do NOT peel the cucumbers), so the good bacteria in the skins can kick off the lacto-fermentation process.

3. Add 2 organic garlic cloves, fresh dill, and 1 grape leaf to the bottom of the Mason jar. Stack in chopped cucs and pack tightly. Add liquid and spices. Add another grape leaf to the top before closing. Secure the lid tight by hand. Write the date on the lid with a permanent marker.

4. Place the jar on a tray or plate on a shelf or counter-top. Flip the jar once daily for 7 days. Sometimes liquid may seep out of the jar, which is why having a tray or plate underneath is a good idea. You should see small bubbles rising in the pickle juice when you flip the jar. And that’s the fermentation happening right there!

5. After one week, put the jar in the fridge. Now, you can open, eat and enjoy!

Store pickles in a tray or glass container to prevent spillage during 7 days of flipping once daily

*Fresh grapes leaves are recommended because they’re supposed to help keep the pickles more crisp and crunchy. I don’t know if they are totally necessary or not, but because we have plenty of wild organic muscadine grape vines growing all over our land, it’s no problem for me to pick a few leaves and add them to each jar. Sometimes in summer, you can find fresh grapes leaves for sale at local farmer markets. If you don’t have access to fresh grape leaves, don’t be discouraged. You can still make this recipe without them!

Homemade Pickle Eat-by Date

Using the above recipe, there is no canning or heating required. That’s nice because it keeps the cucs as a raw food, with all the enzymes intact. But, because they are not totally sealed the way canning or heating will do, these pickles should be eaten with 3 months of making them. Just keep that in mind if you give them to family or friends. After 3 months the pickles may turn soft or watery. If you see that, then it’s best to toss them in the compost bin. Writing the date on the lid of each jar helps to know how long to keep them.

My Pickle Detox/Cleanse

Last summer, we had so many cucumbers from our organic veggie garden that I was making 2 jars of pickles per day! By mid-August, we were up to our ears in pickles and the fridge was almost full. I had been planning to do a 7-10 day green juice fast as a nice transition from the end of summer into fall. But when I looked at all the pickles, I said to my husband, “Why don’t we just do a pickle detox and eat only organic pickles for 10 days?” So we did!

On average, we each ate about 1.5 jars of pickles per day and we drank all the pickle juice too. We also drank plenty of water in between. It was totally unplanned and un-researched. But it turned out great. We both felt energized. Our guts got a major boost of probiotics from the lacto fermentation and the organic raw apple cider vinegar. We had a mini-parasite cleanse from eating so many fermented garlic cloves. The pickles were cold and refreshing during the hot summer days. We had high energy and slept great. The was no juicer to clean! And we used organic clean food fresh from our garden. This year, we may do a 3-day pickle cleanse and go into green juices after that. I’ve got plenty of organic dandelion, celery and parsley that I’d love to use in juices or smoothies so we’ll see….!


For more on how to do a detox at home or how to navigate through your detox symptoms and start feeling great, book a personalized health consult with me via Skype.

How to Book Your Health & Nutritional Consultation:

1. Take photos of your eyes with a smart phone or digital camera.
2. Email the photos to me for approval.
3. We schedule a time to meet via phone or Skype!

What your Poop and Pee can tell you about Your Health

With all this talk about detox and fasting, it’s inevitable that I would eventually cross onto the topic of eh-em, bodily excrements. Actually, your poop and pee can tell A LOT about your health and should always be the first thing to check when you’re not feeling your best. If you notice any sudden changes in your bowel movements, it’s also a good idea to ask yourself – has my diet changed recently or have I added a new supplement or something different? Often times the answer is yes.

Your poop: What is a healthy Poop?

On a daily basis, your bowel movements or poops should be easy to pass, formed and should sink in the toilet (not float). The color should be a normal healthy brown color.

Many people say that you should go to the toilet as many times as you eat in a day. That means someone eating 3 meals a day should have 3 movements per day. Anything less than that would be considered constipation.

Types 1 and 2 on the Bristol Stool Chart (see below) are indicative of constipation and types 5, 6 or 7 can indicate loose stool or diarrhea.  Types 3 and 4 are considered the ideal, healthy stools (especially type 4), as they are easy to pass while not containing excess liquid.

What does a different color poo mean?

Red stool can be an indicator of blood, inflammation, diverticulitis or blockage in the colon. Just remember to note what you’ve eaten before, because in some cases red stool is just a normal passage of coloring in the food, like after you eat red or purple beets.

Sometimes if taking an iron supplement, your stool can turn a very dark red, almost black color. Eating a lot of meat in the diet can always make your poop look black. Taking charcoal capsules will most definitely turn your stool black. Don’t worry if you see black poo after taking charcoal; it’s the normal passage of the charcoal through your intestinal tract.

Green or yellow stool can be a sign of liver or gallbladder problems. If you’ve just done the liver/gallstone flush though, that doesn’t count! A liver flush is a temporary detox reaction and should not be used to compare your stool color on a daily basis.

What do different sizes or shapes of poop mean?

If you are pushing hard to pass your stool, or if it’s small pellets and very dry, then you’re most likely dehydrated and not drinking enough water on a daily basis. You may also need more fiber in your diet. A first good step would be to drink more water and see if anything changes for the better.

Long and thin poo can be a sign of bowel constriction, inflammation or other conditions in the colon. With that, you can try to eat more fiber, adding 2 Tbsp. ground organic flaxseed to a Green Smoothie daily. You can also try taking 1 tsp. black seed oil daily and see if the condition improves.

Runny or liquid poo can be an indicator of parasites, infection, food allergy or food intolerance. There can also be a lack of fiber in the diet. In some cases, doing a colon cleanse can really help.

If your poo floats, it may be a sign that your body is not digesting fats properly. Always look at the diet and see what the person is eating (or not eating). Sometimes doing a small intestine cleanse can help, especially if this is a recurring problem.

Your urine: What does normal urine look like?

Remember, the goal for healthy urine is: Clear and Copious!

Normal, healthy urine should be clear, not cloudy or turbid. There may be more of a yellow color if taking certain supplements like B Vitamins; however the liquid itself should not be cloudy. Turbid urine can be a sign of bacteria in the urinary tract or kidneys, or crystallization of the urine or even kidney stones.

By copious, I mean that the amount of urine flow should be steady and have decent volume. Want you don’t want is a small, leaky trickle. If you don’t have a good flow of urine, it’s a sign that you may be dehydrated.

If your urine is clear and copious on a daily basis, then most likely you’re doing ok!

Keep in mind that thirst is not a good indicator of whether or not you’re dehydrated. Many times, you will pass the thirst marker and remain dehydrated for hours without any additional feeling of thirst. Always look at your urine as a more accurate indicator.

How much water should you drink?

This is something I get asked all the time, and really there is no simple one-size-fits-all answer.

If someone speaks a lot in their job, they will lose more water through respiration. Living in a warm climate or doing more exercise will create more loss of water from perspiration. People who eat more high-water content fresh fruits and veggies usually need less water than people who eat more dried foods like bread, cereal or dried snacks.

At the end of the day, your best bet is to just check your urine. Is it clear and copious? If yes, then you’re ok. If not, then drink more water!

What kind of water is best to drink?

Having fresh, clean spring-fed mountain water would be great, although not many people have that luxury. At home, you want to at least avoid chlorine, fluoride and heavy metals in your drinking water. Probably your best bet in catching the worst of those is to get a reverse osmosis filter on your drinking water tap in the kitchen. You can buy a reverse osmosis filter online and have a plumber install it for you.

During a detox, depending on the case, distilled water is usually best.

When doing a detox: How your poop and pee can change

Bodily functions can change when you’re doing a cleanse. It’s actually a good sign when your body is eliminating more toxins and taking advantage of the opportunity to catch up on internal housework. You gut health and overall microbiome can finally rebuild, recharge, rebalance and renew.

Many people will poo much more often during a detox, and they can also feel like they need to pee all the time. Often times, a person will get up several times through the night to pee during their cleanse. This is all considered normal, as long as the urine is clear and copious and there is no pain with urination. In fact, most fasters will comment on how clear their urine is after just a few days on a cleanse. That’s always a good indicator that the body is more clean than before.

In some cases, I’ve had fasters comment that they smelled ammonia in their urine when doing a detox. Perhaps this is from old, built-up toxins that were released from the tissue, liver or fat during the cleanse and then eliminated through the urine. Usually it will happen 1-2 times and then stop. Just an extraordinary example of how amazing and active the body can be in its own healing!

During a cleanse, ALL of your elimination organs – the colon, kidneys, lungs, skin and liver – get an opportunity to catch up on their backlog of work. After a cleanse, the most common thing I hear is, “Wow, my bowel movements are so much better now….and my eyes are brighter, skin is clearer and overall I FEEL younger!”

If all that didn’t clear things up for you (literally!), then check out this infographic below from The Daily Infographic which explains the various things your poo and pee are telling you.

Current global poop situation: Not Good

Approximately 70 MILLION Americans have digestive disorders, prompting nearly 60 MILLION visits to the doctor’s offices and hospitals each YEAR. With the rise in digestive problems and even colon cancer all over the world, I have to wonder….why aren’t more people talking about their poop? If it wasn’t such a taboo topic, then someone having poo problems might feel more comfortable to seek out help and get the answers they need.

If you know anyone having digestive problems, please share this article!


For more on how to do a detox at home or how to navigate through your detox symptoms and start feeling great, book a personalized health consult with me via Skype.

How to Book Your Health & Nutritional Consultation:

1. Take photos of your eyes with a smart phone or digital camera.
2. Email the photos to me for approval.
3. We schedule a time to meet via phone or Skype!

What are the symptoms of Heavy Metal toxicity?

In the last few years, I’ve been working with clients with heavy metal toxicity more than ever before. The soil, air and water are more contaminated all over the world, and it’s only getting worse. Even certified organic fruit and vegetables can contain high levels of heavy metals, because the soil (and water) does not need to be tested in order to obtain organic status (crazy but true). There are several other reasons why heavy metal levels are increasing in our food supply, but I would have to go down the rabbit hole a bit in order to explain and you may or may not be ready to hear that story. In short, the health of our soil will always determine and affect the health of our bodies.

Heavy metals such as lead and arsenic can occur naturally in the soil, even in organic farms

Here’s what’s happening: many healthy eaters and detox/cleansing folks are getting sicker and feeling worse and can’t figure out why. Does that sound familiar to you? It seems to be especially true for that subset of people because once you eliminate the old mucoid plaque from your stomach, small intestine and colon you will absorb everything much more efficiently. That’s a good thing, unless what you are absorbing contains high levels of lead, arsenic, mercury, aluminum, cadmium or thallium..in which case you absorb much more of it than everyone else. Combine that with a diet higher in vegetables grown in toxic soil (unbeknownst to you of course). The person eating more fruit and vegetables will have more toxic exposure than the person not eating a lot of fruit and vegetables, even if they are all organic, that is unless you are growing them yourself at home (and not adding anything bad to the soil. More on this in a future post for those of you already growing your own, like me).

Check out the list of symptoms below and see if maybe you need to look at doing some heavy metal detox as part of your healing journey. It’s an easy thing to miss because many of the symptoms of heavy metal toxicity can mimic other chronic conditions, such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, chronic anxiety, depression, insomnia, hormonal imbalance, adrenal fatigue, histamine intolerance, infertility, foggy brain, weight gain, itchy rashes, hives, urticaria, peripheral neuropathy, thyroid disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), auto-immune disease, kidney disease and even certain types of cancer. And if you are eating such a good diet compared to everyone else, you would never think that your food, water or nutritional supplements could be the source of your illness.

Symptoms of Heavy Metal Toxicity

  • Foggy Brain – arsenic, lead
  • Fatigue (extreme and/or chronic) – arsenic, lead
  • Hair loss – thallium
  • Memory loss – lead, aluminum
  • Chronically bloodshot eyes – arsenic
  • Mee’s lines (deep ridges on fingernails and/or toenails) – arsenic
  • Impaired concentration – thallium, lead, aluminum
  • Impaired motor function, sensory function, and cognitive function – aluminum
  • Increased nervousness – thallium, lead
  • Irritability – thallium, lead
  • Dizziness – lead
  • Depression/mood changes, headache – lead
  • Skin discoloration – darkening (hyper pigmentation) – arsenic
  • Hyperkeratosis (most frequently on the palms and soles) – arsenic
  • Throat irritation / difficultly swallowing / chronic sore throat – arsenic
  • Impaired immune system – lead, arsenic
  • Generalized muscle aches, weakness and body pains – lead
  • Muscle cramps or muscle tenderness – arsenic
  • Numbness, tingling and pain (sensory) – arsenic
  • Spontaneous pain – arsenic
  • Localized edema – arsenic
  • Inflammation or pain in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract – thallium, arsenic
  • Decreased libido – lead, arsenic
  • Decreased sperm count – lead, arsenic
  • Infertility – lead, arsenic
  • Peripheral neuropathy (hot or burning feeling in hands and feet) – arsenic
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – lead
  • Enlarged liver (hepatomegaly) – arsenic
  • Hemolytic anemia – lead
  • Nausea or diarrhea – arsenic
  • Low Vitamin D levels (inability to convert Vitamin D) – lead
  • Severe osteoporosis and osteomalacia – cadmium
  • Proteinuria (too much protein in the urine) – arsenic
  • Cardiac Arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms) – arsenic
  • Skin cancer – arsenic
  • Impaired lung function / fibrosis – aluminum
  • Lung cancer – cadmium, arsenic
  • Kidney (renal) failure – arsenic, cadmium, lead
  • Gout – lead
  • Kidney cancer – arsenic
  • Bladder cancer – arsenic
  • Liver cancer – arsenic
  • Prostate cancer – arsenic

-from the Agency for Toxic Substances & Diseases Registry
and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

How do you know if you have heavy metal toxicity? Heavy metals are not so easy to test for since, upon exposure, your body will push them into 3 “safe” places as fast as possible – your bone, tissue and fat. That keeps the heavy metals from causing too much free radical damage in the essential organs. You can have a buildup of arsenic in the bone, for example, and the blood test can come up clean. In Iridology, I can determine very quickly if someone has a higher likelihood for heavy metal accumulation. Then, I will ask a series of questions about your symptoms vs. the highest potential sources of heavy metals. We then eliminate the suspect sources and re-assess your symptoms. If you are feeling better, then we continue on that track and add in herbal and natural forms of heavy metal detoxification. Getting on a low or no heavy metal diet is essential. You can get hair testing or a 24-hour urine test if you want, or you can put your time and money straight into chelation therapy or detoxification of heavy metals.

Heavy metals can also be added to fruits and vegetables through pesticide use

Three things need to be done in order to remove heavy metals from the body:
1) Eliminate the source (easier said than done, believe me…but possible) then
2) Detox the body from heavy metals in a safe and effective way (also easier said than done but possible) and
3) Support/strengthen the essential organs and immune system with a clean heavy metal-free diet and high anti-oxidants to protect organs from any degeneration

What is the best type of heavy metal detox? This is something that needs to be more individualized, based on the strength and weakness of all the other organs, including the skin, lungs, liver, colon and kidneys. Bio-individuality is the best approach to achieve maximum results. Taking additional zinc, selenium and Vitamin C is important for anyone with high heavy metals. Remember though, the first step is to eliminate the source. If you don’t do that, there is no amount of heavy metal detox that will help.

 


For more on how to achieve your health goals and actually start feeling great, book a private health consult with me via Skype.

How to Book Your Health & Nutritional Coaching Session:

1. Take photos of your eyes with a smart phone or digital camera.
2. Email the photos to me for approval for Iridology Analysis.
3. We schedule a time to meet via phone or Skype!


More on Detox:

More on Skin Cleansing:

More on Liver Cleansing:

Is your Olive Oil fake or “cut” with inferior oils? Check this list!

Quality of food is one of the the most important factors in determining the quality of your health. If you’re using extra virgin olive oil for better heart health, clear skin, healthy gallbladder & liver and to avoid genetically modified oils such as canola oil or high heated rancid vegetable oils, that’s great! But, what if your olive oil really isn’t olive oil at all?! What is the brand you buy has unbeknownst to you been “cut” with sunflower, safflower or canola oil, then mixed with perfumes and green dye to look and taste like olive oil? Your liver/gallbladder flush detox will absolutely not work if your extra virgin olive oil wasn’t actually olive oil. Also, for anyone with food allergies, and especially anyone with sunflower seed or sesame seed allergies, it’s absolutely critical to not eat an adulterated olive oil. If you have irritable bowel syndrome or any type of inflammatory bowel disease, then you definitely want to avoid fake olive oils, especially since other cheap oils can create more inflammation in the gut (and the rest of the body too, including arthritis and gout). Not to mention trigger major brain fog too! Scroll down to check the list of unsafe olive oils vs. safe brands you can trust.

Learn how to make sure what you are buying is what you are getting with your olive oil!

More than 2/3 of olive oil imported into the USA is NOT olive oil!

A University of California Davis (UCD) study found that most olive oil imported into the United States fails to meet the international criteria for “extra virgin.”

The study found that 73 percent of 134 samples of the five top selling imported extra virgin olive oil brands failed the International Olive Council (IOC) sensory standards based on the results of two IOC-accredited sensory panels.

Sensory defects are signs that the oil samples were oxidized, of poor quality or adulterated with cheaper refined olive oil.

An earlier UCD study released in 2010 found that 69 percent of samples of imported olive oils labeled as extra virgin and sold in California failed to meet international extra virgin standards since the oils were too old, poorly made and/or adulterated.

How can you know if your olive oil is REAL or FAKE?

Don’t be a victim to the olive oil fraud. Check your brand against the UC Davis study results below:

These brands FAILED THE TEST to meet extra-virgin olive oil standards:

  • Bertolli
  • Whole Foods
  • Felippo Berio
  • Carapelli
  • Mezzetta
  • Pompeian
  • Mazola
  • Primadonna
  • Colavita
  • Sasso
  • Antica Badia
  • Star
  • Safeway
  • Coricelli

These brands PASSED THE TEST and met the standards for extra virgin olive oil:

  • Lucero
  • McEvoy Ranch Organic
  • Corto Olive
  • Omaggio
  • Bariani Olive Oil
  • California Olive Ranch
  • Lucini
  • Ottavio
  • Cobram Estate
  • Olea Estates
  • Kirkland Organic

Did you notice that the beloved Whole Foods brand FAILED the test? This is just to emphasize that you cannot simply trust in a company with good branding and nice advertising and believe that what they are selling is ok. (For more on this read my article called Why I don’t buy 90% of the “food” at Whole Foods.)

Personally, I buy California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This brand, while not organic, does not give me any of the side effects that I can feel when being “hit” with canola oil (extreme fatigue, bloating/gas, brain fog for 4-6 hours after), it tastes good, smells good and it’s in the Passed the Test list. While not organic, it’s at least what I call a “safe” food. They also have the Non-GMO project verified logo on the label which I always look for when buying a non-organic food. I can find this brand at most normal supermarkets where I live in North Carolina.

Why would companies sell cheap alternatives that are dyed and perfumed to taste like olive oil?

The olive oil industry is BOOMING. We’re talking billions of dollars every year. And there just aren’t enough olives grown to keep up with demand. In fact, tampering with olive oil to make more money is not a new scam. Even the Romans were known to have done it!

How else can you check your olive oil to know if it’s safe?

In his book Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Tom Mueller, there is one thing he wrote that really stuck with me. He said: If you are paying LESS than $10 a liter for your extra virgin olive oil, then it’s not olive oil. That book was published in 2012 so I could reasonably estimate the number to be even higher today! In short, you get what you pay for with olive oil. Don’t settle for less, because your health is so much more valuable and important than anything else!

How to choose good Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Here are a few more tips from Tom Mueller’s book Extra Virginity that can help you navigate the deceptive olive oil market:

  1. Look for olive oil with a “best by” date, or better yet..a date of harvest. Try to buy oils from this year’s harvest. “Best by” date is usually 2 years after an oil was bottled, so if you see a date that is 2 years away, the oil in more likely to be fresh.
  2. Phrases like “packed in Italy” or “bottled” in Italy do not mean that an oil was made in Italy, or even made with Italian olives. Generally speaking, avoid oils where a precise point of production – a specific mill – is not specified on the label.
  3. Don’t pay attention to the color of an oil. Good oils come in all shades, from vivid green to gold to pale straw. Both in flavor and aroma, genuine extra virgin olive oils have a marked fruitiness reminiscent of fresh olives, and typically some level of bitterness and pepperiness.
  4. Choose dark glass bottles over other containers that protect against light, and buy a quantity that you will use fairly quickly. Even an excellent oil can rapidly go rancid when left sitting under a half-bottle or air.
  5. Make sure that your oil is labeled “extra virgin,” since other categories – “pure” or “light” oil, “olive oil,” not to mention “olive pomace oil” – have undergone chemical refinement which strips away olive flavors and many of the oil’s health benefits.
  6. Finally, remember: If you are paying LESS than $10 a liter for your extra virgin olive oil, then it’s NOT olive oil.

How to Eat Clean: Start with Green Smoothies!

Green Smoothie for DummiesCheck out my book Green Smoothies for Dummies – I’ve got loads of recipes using dark leafy greens and many delicious combos without any chemical additives, flavorings or refined sugar. It’s so easy!

Clean your body from the inside out and watch your skin improve, your hair and nails get stronger, your eyes look brighter and your waistline slim down….all naturally and effortlessly! It’s simply amazing and your only regret will be that you didn’t start drinking green smoothies sooner.

When you take care of your whole body, you get whole body health.

When you let your food be your medicine, you are always moving towards better health.

Find the book Green Smoothies for Dummies on iTunes or amazon.com!


For more on how to achieve your health goals and actually start feeling great, book a private health consult with me via Skype.

How to Book Your Health & Nutritional Coaching Session:

1. Take photos of your eyes with a smart phone or digital camera.
2. Email the photos to me for approval for Iridology Analysis.
3. We schedule a time to meet via phone or Skype!


More on Food Labels:

More on Food Additives and Food Allergies:

More on Genetically Engineering Foods:

Why you’re still low in Vitamin D (and it’s not about sunlight)

If you’ve ever suffered from low energy levels, fatigue, trouble waking up in the morning, depression in winter months or just a general lack of enthusiasm over things, you probably ended up on a standard “why do I feel tired or sad all the time?” google search and concluded that you may be low in Vitamin D. You might have even followed up with a test from your doctor to confirm that you are indeed deficient. But, do you know why you are actually low in Vitamin D, even in summer months when, in theory, just a short exposure to the sun should refill your reserves?  Or even if you consume foods (such as dairy products or soy milk), which are “fortified” with Vitamin D?

There's more than meets the eye with Vitamin D...

There’s more than meets the eye with Vitamin D…

What is Vitamin D

Vitamin D is actually not a vitamin at all; it’s a hormone. Your body makes its own Vitamin D when you expose your skin to direct sunlight (that is, not while using sunscreen) for 10-20 minutes per day, depending on where you live. In North America, for example, you can get Vitamin D from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays during the months of March-October. In winter, your body should have enough reserve so you don’t run low.

You get sun a lot, so why still low?

Here’s the important missing link with Vitamin D: Your body must have magnesium in order to synthesize Vitamin D. And most people are deficient in magnesium, due to a number of reasons. Magnesium is known as the “relaxing mineral” because it helps to calm the central nervous system and relax the muscles, especially during times of stress. Given the high-stress fast-paced round-the-clock lives people are living today, it’s no wonder their magnesium gets burned out, literally on a daily basis. Magnesium is also one mineral that’s difficult to absorb, even in a good digestive system. And who has one of those anymore? A compromised gut, or a leaky gut, will not absorb nutrients well at all.

With no magnesium to make your Vitamin D, you can see how you can never have normal Vitamin D levels. Even if you live in a country with 360 days a year of sun. No wonder people in sunny climates are still low in Vitamin D and are going to the doctor for their D shots year after year.

Getting your Vitamin D levels up is much more about having magnesium than it is about exposure to sun!

The Magnesium Miracle

Magnesium helps you have good energy levels through the day, maintains balanced blood sugars, strengthens kidneys, keeps blood and circulation strong, and is critical for managing stress. In fact, it’s so important for overall health that there’s a book called The Magnesium Miracle. And really, when you start getting the magnesium that your body has been waiting for, it literally feels like a miracle!

By the way, if you happen to crave sugar or chocolate (especially at night), that’s a sure sign of magnesium deficiency! Also, much of your mental health in general can improve with a daily boost of magnesium, which literally helps to calm the nerves.

How I have perfect Vitamin D levels

Yep, you guessed it…I take a magnesium supplement. Every. Single. Day. Summer. And. Winter. Too. And I say that because most people who will buy a new supplement will eventually forget to keep taking it, only for the bottle to become a wonderful collector of dust long forgotten for its original glory. Don’t let that happen with your magnesium! Take it daily, forever. And ever.

How much and what kind of magnesium? I recommend Magnesium Citrate, because it’s easily absorbed (and remember, most people do have compromised gut health). The RDA for magnesium is 400-600mg daily but here’s the deal. Your body (and blood sugars) will benefit from having magnesium all day long, not just one big hit in the morning or night. Otherwise you will be more likely to feel frazzled and start craving sugar at the other end of the day when your magnesium is running low. That’s why I recommend to take 200mg THREE TIMES per day, morning noon and night. With or without food is ok.

You’ll get plenty of other benefits from magnesium too. But most importantly in relation to Vitamin D levels, your body will finally be able to synthesize its own Vitamin D!

If you’re wondering what the signs of magnesium deficiency are, then check out this article I wrote on magnesium deficiency here.

The proof: Test results

I’ve never taken a Vitamin D shot in my life, or a D supplement for that matter. But 1.5 years ago I moved to Asheville NC with my husband, which is pretty cloudy and cold in wither months to say the least! Our first winter, I was pretty much indoors working all the time. And I must admit I did start to wonder about my Vitamin D levels -are they normal? Should I get tested? I wonder if I’m low since I haven’t seen the sun in months??

In February, I flew to Bangkok for work and decided to go straightaway and get a blood test, just to know for sure (nothing wrong with that and I highly recommend you do the same with your medical doctor).  The blood test that measures vitamin D is called a 25(OH)D blood test. The result? 100% normal levels of Vitamin D. My D3 levels were 45.6 ng/ml (considered sufficient above 30 ng/ml and very good above 40 ng/ml). Above 40 ng/ml, vitamin D is working well to regulate the level of parathyroid hormone and calcium in the body.

All I can say to that is THANK YOU magnesium!!

Health benefits of Vitamin D

Not to forget why Vitamin D is valuable (and important) for your health..Here are the reasons why your body needs Vitamin D in order to work properly:

  • Helps to absorb calcium and promote good bone density
  • Sustains good joint health
  • Maintains good energy levels
  • Boosts immune system
  • Helps strengthen blood

Signs you may have a Vitamin D deficiency include:

  • Low calcium levels
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue/low energy levels
  • Depression/melancholy
  • Muscle cramping/weakness
  • Joint pain

For more on how to achieve your health goals and actually start feeling great, book a private health consult with me via Skype.

How to Book Your Health & Nutritional Coaching Session:

1. Take photos of your eyes with a digital camera.
2. Email the photos to me for approval.
3. We schedule a time to meet via phone or Skype!

More on Detox:

More on Immune System:

Find out where I moved to….! HINT: It’s a healing place

If you’ve been following my travels and adventures around the world for the last 15+ years, then you know I’ve been to a lot of places! I lived in Thailand for 6 years, traveled all over SE Asia, explored Central and South America for almost a year and most recently, lived in Tel Aviv Israel for the last 2 years. So where do you think I would have moved to next…and how/why did I choose it?

First I have to say that I am sorry for not updating my blog in such a long time! I was super busy in 2015, working at new detox retreats, traveling for work, and being blessed with many new coaching & Iridology clients over Skype. Did I mention that I also left Israel, got married, moved to a new country AND found a house?! Yep, we were beyond busy. And, truth be told, I’m really not a fan of announcing things until they’re a done deal. Luckily, my husband is the same way on this one. We cherish our privacy in making important life decisions, and wanted to stay focused on what was best for us, not getting distracted by other people’s goals or opinions.

More time in nature is cleansing for the soul

More time in nature is cleansing for the soul

Where we ended up

Drumroll please….ok here it is: we are now living near Asheville, NC in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina, USA. We have divinely clean well water to drink, fresh mountain air to breathe and are surrounded by mountains, trees and creeks. It’s the most quiet and peaceful place you can imagine.

The best part is that we plan to have cabins and invite people (like you!) here to do detox programs & retreats. Yes, a real chance to unwind, de-stress and get back to basics with 100% organic smoothies, juices and food. Literally, this is the place to feed your soul. We are so excited and have a lot of work to do, but finally I can offer the best detox and fasting programs that I know work with a focus on spiritual growth and health too.

For the summer of 2016, we may just be open for “glamping” …that’s “glamorous camping” in case you didn’t know! Imagine sleeping in a tent right on the edge of a mountain creek with the sounds of water and birds, and open campfires at night under the stars to discuss healing and health topics, or just to play music and get back to living in the moment. We are waiting for you!

We're about 20 miles outside of Asheville in the mountains, real country living!

We’re about 20 miles outside of Asheville in the mountains, real country living!

Why we chose North Carolina

Lots of people want to know – what’s so special about North Carolina?? It all goes back to 16 years ago when I thru-hiked the entire Appalachian Trail, yep…just like the movie A Walk in the Woods. Except I actually finished the whole 2168-mile trail, but that’s another story! Anyway the trail goes through North Carolina and Tennessee through the Great Smoky Mountains, a beautiful area of lush green mountains and wilderness. While on the trail I had heard about the nearby town of Asheville and what a cool place it was. In fact, a lot of people got off the trail to visit Asheville and wound up staying there for good! I didn’t want to stop hiking so I never visited the town, but it stayed with me as a place I would like to check out someday…

Secret pocket of natural beauty - Blue Ridge Mountains in Western North Carolina

Secret pocket of natural beauty – Blue Ridge Mountains in Western North Carolina

Fast forward 15 years later and I was living in Tel Aviv with my partner. We decided that we wanted to leave Israel for a few years and started thinking about where to go. Out first thoughts were to stay in the Mediterranean region since we both love the climate and the food (mmm…pomegranates and fresh oranges!). We considered Cyprus and even Spain or Portugal; however things seemed to be getting more tense in Europe with migrants, instability, etc and we decided that maybe now is not the best time to move there.

We've got gorgeous fresh local organic fruit and veggies galore in Asheville

We’ve got gorgeous fresh local organic fruit and veggies galore in Asheville

From there, we did the whole “well, where else can we go?” and it just organically, magically and serendipitously fell into place. We had already traveled a lot, in SE Asia, Central America and even South America…and we were pretty sure we knew what we wanted and what we didn’t want. We were ready to grow our own food so we needed clean farmable land and a good source of water. We wanted to be in nature, in the peace and tranquility of mountains and trees. We wanted to be in a safe place where I could feel comfortable walking or hiking alone. We wanted to be closer to my parents, who live in USA and are in good health but are getting older and may need my help more in the next several years. We wanted good internet since we both work online. And we wanted a nice vibe of a place with some type of interesting art and music scene, good farmer’s markets and nice people.

Fresh local (and organic) food - that's my kind of place!

Fresh local (and organic) food – that’s my kind of place!

After scratching our heads for awhile over that long list, I finally said, “Hey I know this place in North Carolina that I always wanted to check out. Why don’t we go there, rent a house for a month and have a look around?” So that’s what we did. Found a place on airbnb and after 2 weeks in Asheville, we both said YES, we really love it here. From there we started looking at property, and as they say, the rest is history.

How can you know it’s right?

Because it feels right. I’ve followed my instincts my whole life, and they haven’t steered me wrong yet. That’s pretty much how I live. I’ve never been one to talk about doing things; I just do them. And I’m not afraid of trying or making a mistake. How will you ever know what you want if you never get out there and give something new a try?

We wanted nice people and good vibes and a chance to live in nature

We wanted nice people and good vibes and a chance to live in nature

You have to take chances in life if you want to really live. I thought about how I wanted to feel in my next home, and I kept that vision strong. Suddenly the idea of Asheville, NC came to my mind and it felt right. Going there confirmed the feeling. Most people think we are pretty crazy for making such a dramatic move, but it seemed perfectly natural and logical to us.

The Law of Attraction really works if you stay focused on what you want (not on what you don’t want). I even got a book deal just from using the Law of Attraction!

What’s better about North Carolina

I get a lot of emails from people who want to move to Thailand, Ecuador or even Costa Rica, and they ask me questions like “how do you compare this country to that one?” or “where should I move?” These are really impossible questions for me to answer because what’s best for me is probably not what’s most important to you (and that’s perfectly ok!). Thailand was an amazing experience and I cherish the 6 years that I lived there. Having walks on the beach and access to tropical fruits was a dream. Eventually I wanted more challenge with my work and I was also seeking a more balanced life (since my whole life was work!). That led me to my (now) husband and moving to Israel which, in my opinion, is one of the most amazing places on earth. To float in the Dead Sea or to wander through the ancient streets of Jerusalem…it’s just pure magic. We lived 300m from the sea in Tel Aviv and I loved having weekends off, like a normal person finally!

We eventually decided that we were craving more time in nature, and a chance to grow our own food. Even though we had access to a weekly CSA delivery in Tel Aviv, it just wasn’t enough. We wanted to know exactly what was in the soil and we wanted the very best water for our vegetables too.

We have a different Tailgate market (aka farmer's market) every day of the week!

We have a different Tailgate market (aka farmer’s market) every day of the week!

The only solution was to move to a place where we could grow our own. In the meantime, we wanted to be able to buy directly from the farmers. Asheville is literally buzzing with farm-to-table restaurants and there is a different organic farmer’s market every day of the week. I was very impressed to see raw goat’s milk for sale, raw sauerkraut and fresh organic wheatgrass shots in addition to the most amazing organic grapes you will ever taste in your life, truly. Quality of food is a huge priority for us and it was at the top of our list in deciding where to go. Next to that, we wanted to be around genuinely nice people, and we definitely found that in Asheville. It’s a sheer pleasure to meet people who are friendly and actually seem happy!

Our neighbors :)

Our neighbors 🙂

We knew we needed a place with good water and we wanted to be able to afford to buy some land too, not a small lot. Again, Asheville ticked all those things for us. And it still has an urban music scene and enough culture to feed our creative souls. I can own land in NC (unlike Thailand); it’s safe to walk around alone as a woman (unlike Ecuador) and the roads are excellent and it’s a safe area to live (unlike Costa Rica). Not to say that you can’t be happy, healthy and successful living in any of those other places, but North Carolina has more of what we need for where we’re at. Since life is impermanent, all of this can and will change!

By the way, did you know that Obama wants to move to Asheville? We had no idea! It would have never been the reason for us to consider this place as a home, but his interest in the area has definitely put Western North Carolina on the map. Now the New York Times, Washington Post and lots of other national newspapers are writing article on Asheville as the newest, coolest place to visit. Interesting!

We're really excited to explore the area - there are a lot of hidden gems (including us!!)

We’re really excited to explore the area – there are a lot of hidden gems (including us!!)

This is truly a healing place. It’s in my vision to have juice fasting, water fasting and spiritual fasting here for the right guests who are interested in genuine healing. I’ll be offering Iridology, Crystal Healing, workshops and detox retreats in addition to fermentation classes, raw food cooking classes and clean food eating. Stay tuned!

Learning how to say “No”….for your health!

Are you typically the person who says “yes” and has a hard time saying “no”? If you feel guilty for saying no and are always saying yes to please others, then you’re probably already feeling the pinch of the “yes” trap and wishing you had a plan of escape. Read on…this could be one of the most important things you ever learn on your health journey!

What happens when you never say “No”

You might be the yes person who signs up for every class, race, charity event, adventure trip, and social outing to the point of feeling totally exhausted and in need of a holiday just to recover from too much social time. You could be the friend who is there for everyone, always putting your needs last and taking care of others.  Or, you could be stuck in that feeling of “needing to do it all” and putting pressure on yourself to be the expert chef, perfect partner, ever-present friend, fitness guru, zen meditation seeker, yoga and pilates wonder-stretcher all while posting every moment on youtube, Instagram, Facebook, twitter and in blast emails to your family and friends while working a full time job and engaged in part time study and setting up your business on the side, all while doing a juice fast cleanse of course because you don’t have time for that at any other time of year!

Whew!! Can you see how quickly all your to-do items can snowball into a get me outta here feeling?!

Feeling Frustrated, Resentful and Overwhelmed

If you’re the person who is always first to help, offer, fix, mediate or organize things for others, you will quickly see that every time someone needs something, they’ll soon be knocking at your door. Or your email, Facebook, phone and door. If you’re simply taking on too much all the time, you can start to feel overwhelmed constantly. It won’t take long at all before you don’t have a single moment left for yourself.

Your initial enthusiasm for all your new hobbies or genuine desire to help others can quickly turn into anger, resentment and frustration.  And guess what? Those energies are very bad for your health!

Most people have trouble managing their goals with how much time they realistically have in one day. Then, they feel so overwhelmed over where or how to start, so instead they do nothing. If that sounds like you, then it’s time to achieve a better balance and learn to start saying “No.”

How to say “No” (and without guilt!)

First, decide what you want. Yes, you get to decide! Don’t think of your friends or family or what anyone else thinks of you. What do you want and what is of most value to you? That’s where your focus and priorities should be.

Once you prioritize the areas of most importance, let go of the rest. Don’t feel you need to do it all! Remember, if you’ve done 10 things halfway, you’ve still done nothing! It’s impossible to do everything so let go of that pressure. Right now. And most importantly, release any guilt that may start to creep in once you make the choice.

How to actually say the word “no” can feel very difficult initially, especially if you’ve been a yes person your whole life. You might feel like peeping out a quiet no and then running for cover, for fear of what people might think or say. You’ve gotta let that bad feeling go, hold your head high and just do it! If you are really having a hard time, start by saying, “Can I get back to you on that?” This is a great tool to give yourself some space from the confrontation of saying no but without being roped into another unwanted yes. Some people need you to be the one to set boundaries with them, but you would never know it had you always said yes to their every request.

As you make the change from yes to no, release any guilt but also keep your compassion. You are allowed to be busy or not available and you don’t need to explain why. You can still say yes when you want, and that’s okay! But there is a wonderful sense of power in taking back your health and your life when you say no. Believe me, it feels so good after the first few times that you might want to start saying no to everything!

Saying YES

Benefits of Saying “No”

More time to do what’s important for you

More energy for your own health and healing

Increased self-esteem and confidence

More enthusiasm over the things that you do choose to do

Feeling that you’re on the right path (your path!) and in control of your destiny

Say “Yes” to Yourself!

The reward of starting this new practice is that you’re actually saying “yes” to yourself….that means more time for you to focus on what really matters to YOU. Time management is most definitely one of the keys to success in life. The sooner you realize that you need to be in control of how and with whom you spend your time, the better and healthier you will be. The only person that will make sure that you are achieving your own goals is YOU.

I’ve often thought to myself, “If I do that I will be achieving their goals, but those are not my goals.” Now, I don’t think like that about a minor thing like going out to the movies lol, but I will definitely make that consideration it in the case of a business proposition or a big life decision.

Remember to have the courage to follow your own path and not let others persuade you away.

Your homework: Practice saying “no” without guilt and make more time for the things YOU really want to do. You can achieve your goals… and you can start today!

More on Manifestation and Motivation:

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Hollywood Celebrities and Supermodels are Drinking Green Smoothies!

Could a daily Green Smoothie be the secret to keeping fit, looking good, having beautiful hair and skin and maintaining a fabulous figure? Green Smoothies are definitely the latest craze in Hollywood and we know that looking good and staying fit is part of the job for any model or actress! Have a look at what Hollywood Stars we’ve seen drinking Green Smoothies after a workout or just out for a stroll around town in LA…

Kate Upton green smoothie
Kate Upton, model, and now actress, is back on the set of The Other Woman and was seen drinking a Green Smoothie!! Well done Kate, yet another ambassador of the Greens!

Ann Hathaway
Here’s Anne Hathaway sipping a healthy Green Smoothie in Hollywood…another ambassador of the greens!

Colin Farell
Even Colin Farrell drinks Green Smoothies to stay fit and look great! (photo from dailymail.co.uk)

The benefits include weight loss, elimination of toxins, mental clarity, increased sex drive, ‘glowing’ complexion, and better overall health. Colin Farrell and Josh Duhamel prove that the health craze isn’t limited to women trying to lose a few pounds.

Josh Duhamel
Josh Duhamel running around town with his Green Smoothie in hand. (photo from dailymail.co.uk)

Rosie HW
Is a daily Green Smoothie the secret to Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s perfect complexion? (photo from handbag.com) Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Miranda Kerr have been Tweeting their approval of nutrient rich Green Smoothies and juices!

Ellen and Jessica Alba
Jessica Alba makes a Green Smoothie on the Ellen Show with kale, celery, cucumber and apple! Start making your detoxifying Green Smoothies yourself at home, today!! All you need is a blender and a willingness to change!

Drew Barrymore
A Green Smoothie is the go-to beauty drink for Drew Barrymore, Olivia Wilde & Jenna Dewan (not to mention Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn!).

“Every time I work on a movie set, the whole cast starts to drink it,” says Drew. “It’s a ton of nutrients, condensed and blended into a juice so your body doesn’t waste energy breaking it down. The vitamins, minerals and amino acids will flow right into your system to rejuvenate you. And it’s full of fiber, so you’re not reaching for that bagel or that second cup of coffee between meals.”

Ashley Greens
Twilight Actress Ashley Greens Drinks a Green Smoothie after her workout in LA…well done Ashley! (photo from justjaredjr.com)

It’s clear that having a daily Green Smoothie is the fastest, easiest way to get more raw food in the form of leafy green vegetables into your diet, and the blender breaks those greens up into an easy-to-digest form. If a Green Smoothie can improve digestion, stop sugar cravings, provide a natural source of vitamins and minerals, help to clear skin and even detox the liver, isn’t it time for you to give Green Smoothies a try?

Drink Green Smoothies

Green Smoothie for DummiesCheck out my NEW book Green Smoothies for Dummies – I’ve got loads of recipes using dark leafy greens so you can enjoy the same benefits of Green Smoothies as the most beautiful stars in Hollywood. It’s so easy!

Clean your body from the inside out and watch your skin improve, your hair and nails get stronger, your eyes look brighter and your waistline slim down….all naturally and effortlessly! It’s simply amazing and your only regret will be that you didn’t start drinking green smoothies sooner.

When you take care of your whole body, you get whole body health. When you let your food be your medicine, you are always moving towards better health.

Find the book Green Smoothies for Dummies on iTunes or amazon.com!

More on Skin Cleansing:

5 Things You can do to Start Your New Year RIGHT!

It’s that time again! The new year is a GREAT opportunity to take advantage of the collective consciousness or universal wave of energy in making change. Think of “riding the mental wave” with the millions of other people in the world who have decided to improve their health. It’s a powerful and exciting time for a real reboot. What are your resolutions for the year? Do you want to get healthy, give up sugar or alcohol, lose weight, exercise more, travel, start a new relationship, change jobs, drink a green smoothie every day, do a detox (finally), eat a more alkaline diet or even start eating more vegan or raw foods? Any of those is achievable. Isn’t it time to live the life you really want? I say YES!

Your Mental Focus is Key to Your Success

Your Mental Focus is Key to Your Success

How to achieve Your Goals

I’ve created the following tips based on working with thousands of clients over the new year holiday and observing which ones succeeded and which ones didn’t. I want you to be on the success side this year. My goal is to see you reach your highest potential, because life is SO much better when you feel good on the inside, knowing that you are achieving your goals!

1. Let yourself be 100% Human!

What that means is: It’s OKAY to make mistakes; It’s OKAY to get angry; It’s OKAY to feel frustrated; It’s OKAY to make mistakes; It’s OKAY to get scared; It’s OKAY to feel nervous; It’s OKAY to not know everything and once again It’s OKAY to make mistakes!! 

The biggest reason WHY people fail is because they put too much pressure on themselves to be 100% perfect.

Look around you. Do you see ANYONE who is 100% PERFECT? Here’s a major secret for you: 100% perfect doesn’t exist! Ok, now that we got that out of the way, you can take a nice big inhale and then a huge exhale, and breathe a sigh of relief.

Now, turn your attention on being 100% HUMAN. In the human world, there’s this special thing called “good enough.” Running 1K a day, for example, is good enough if that’s all the time you have. Having one raw food meal per day is good enough if that’s where you feel comfortable. Bringing one new food into your diet per week is good enough if you feel too overwhelmed to change all of your diet at once. You are NOT a raw food failure if you are eating 99.9% raw food diet and you eat 0.01% cooked food. Same for vegan, paleo, helio or otherwise. Do you get it? Do you see where trying to be 100% perfect can stop you dead in your tracks before you even get on the field? Let go of that! When you love and accept yourself, life already feels better!

You have to start somewhere! The sooner you get comfortable with good enough, the sooner you’ll start.

It’s all about self-value, self-worth, self-love! All of your motivation and inspiration blossoms from there.

On the issue of anger, frustration and fear: Feeling a negative emotion is normal. The more you get in touch with your feelings, the more you can release negative emotions and make more room for forgiveness, acceptance, and unconditional love.

2. Every day, do a minimum of ONE thing

Loving yourself is just one part of success. You still have to do the work if you want to start seeing real change. Every day, you’ve gotta do something. If you think you don’t have time, you have to make the time.

What’s your list of goals? Is exercise on the list? Don’t trick yourself into thinking you need 2 hours at the gym on high cardio and anything less is a waste of time. (If you’re still thinking that, please re-read Step #1!) Are weekdays completely packed for you schedule-wise? Look deeper. Take the stairs to your Monday meeting. Make your Tuesday lunch date a one-hour walking session.On Wednesday, get up 15 minutes earlier and roll out the yoga mat for a quick stretch. On Thursday, bring a green smoothie and go for a 30-minute walk at lunch instead of eating out. Think of something new and different to do on Friday. Doing something is always better than doing nothing! 10 minutes is always better than 0 minutes, every single time!

A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step. – Confucius

Once you make even a small amount of time for preparing food at home, exercising, taking a new class or starting a new project, you’ll be surprised how much easier it becomes to continue. Doing one small task every day is the key!

3. Stop comparing yourself to the person next to you

Watch out for the comparison danger zone! It’s all too easy to scroll through social media pics of everyone else’s awesome, picture-perfect life and start feeling less and less capable, motivated or courageous. Realize that what see will merely be a reflection of where you feel less confident in your own life, whether it’s your weight, your hair, your house, your partner or something else.  Remember this: what you see and what someone else sees are two different things. So in reality, it’s all an illusion and just a thought or opinion that you’ve created in your mind. That means you can change this thought to a better thought, one that is loving and supportive of YOU!

Spending your time comparing yourself to someone else is only going to do 2 things: 1) it wastes energy that you could be using on yourself right now and 2) it’s an never-ending road of not feeling good enough that will never make you feel good. Choose healthy role models for inspiration and motivation but steer clear of the comparison game.

4. Stop trying to please everyone

You want the quickest, fastest, surest way to have absolutely zero energy left for yourself? Just give all your time and energy freely to everyone and anyone! Word will get out fast, and before you know it, you’ll have a line around the corner and more on the way. I guarantee that in no time, you’ll feel completely overwhelmed and exhausted. You may even start to feel resentful. After all, with all that pleasing, you didn’t have 5 minutes for yourself all year! How dare they! Wait…… they? or you?

Here’s an example: Imagine driving to see your friends. You stop to pick up a hitch-hiker, then another one, and then another one (in reality, you don’t need to pick up strangers, this is just an example!). The first one wants to go left, and the other one wants to go right. It’s not that far and you feel bad so you go over there and then back again and over there and you take everyone exactly where they want to go. They are thrilled of course! But, you lost track of time and now you’re late for dinner. Not only are your friends disappointed because you missed the meal, but all the food is gone and you’re left feeling hungry. Perhaps you could have helped one person and made it on time, and that would have been totally OKAY and not selfish in any way! Or, you could have simply said NO.

Learning How to Say No is probably one of the hardest things for a lot of people to do (and not feel guilty about it either!). You can help people of course, but you cannot help everyone all the time; otherwise there’s no time left for you. This is all about honoring yourself!

5. Stay Focused on YOUR goals

Remember, if you do 10 things halfway, you’ve still done nothing! Whatever your goal, stay focused on it. Don’t fall into the trap of doing this and that and then jumping over there to give that a go too. If you’ve got limited time in your day (which everyone I know does), then you don’t have time to waste. Discipline and time management are the keys to success in any realm.

Write your goals for the year on a piece of paper and put it in a place where you see it every day. Check in with yourself every week – are you still on track or did you start to veer into an entirely different place? You entered your goals into your virtual GPS, now you’ve gotta drive the route to get there and it’s up to you to stay on course!

For more on how to achieve your health goals and actually start feeling great, book a private health consult with me via Skype.

Self-value, self-worth & self-love

Self-value, self-worth & self-love

How to Book Your Health & Nutritional Coaching Session:

1. Take photos of your eyes with a digital camera.
2. Email the photos to me for approval.
3. We schedule a time to meet via phone or Skype!

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The last time I got sick was…

Wait, really?! Is it actually possible to still get sick when you are eating high organic raw food and doing regular detox? If you thought that was Mission Impossible, then I welcome you to the land of being human! 🙂

Truth be told, I almost never get sick. In fact, I am seriously amazed to hear how often our “normal” meat, processed and/or fast-food eating friends or family members get side-lined with fevers, colds, coughs, and flus. (Those are the same people who make fun of my “extreme” diet and (wheat)grass-eating habits by the way.)

Without a doubt, eating an alkaline plant-based diet is a natural way to boost your immune system and the best way to prevent illness. But, it doesn’t mean that you will never, ever, ever get sick again.

The last time I got sick was…

A few months ago. We had just had several days of winter rain in Tel Aviv, and my boyfriend caught a cold from a co-worker at the office. He managed to keep it at the status of a cold for a few days, but then it turned to a high-mucous flu-like illness with fever. I felt so bad for him! I gave him Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) and made fresh orange juice with organic turmeric and green smoothies with lots of fresh fruits to high-boost his Vitamin C. We slept in separate bedrooms so he could rest and I would lower my chance of getting sick. By the 6th day, he was back to normal and I remember saying, “Wow, I am amazed that I didn’t catch it!” That night, we slept together again and he kissed me goodnight for the first time in 6 days.

The next day, I woke up sick!! It happened that fast. I felt stuffy, exhausted and slightly feverish and I thought….man, I can’t even remember the last time I had the flu! In my case, it lasted only 3 days. I basically just surrendered myself and rested. I took GSE and drank lots of fresh ginger tea. I envisioned my immune system getting stronger by the day. 3 days later, I was up and running again.

Are you a failure if you get sick?

Is doing all this detox, immune boosting and healthy eating a waste of time if you’re just going to get sick like everybody else? First, I would say…don’t throw all sickness into one basket. There’s a big difference between someone who gets sick every 3-5 YEARS (or more) and someone who get sick 3-5 times PER YEAR.

And most definitely, there is no such thing as a failure in my book. In fact, every illness can be a gift…a chance to slow down, rest and let your immune system get stronger. It’s also an opportunity to truly appreciate your health. You also may actually need an occasional cold, cough or flu to upgrade your gut health and immune-boosting capabilities.

Your body is a community!

What did I do wrong?

I guess I could say that kissing my boyfriend while he was still sick was a mistake…but in reality, I think the real cause of me getting sick was simply being run-down after months of a lot of deadlines and excess work. Stress alone can make your entire body acidic, even when eating an alkaline diet! I’m definitely a believer in the power of positive thinking and how important that is for your physical health! In that time, I also stopped making fermented foods such as kombucha and raw sauerkraut, which I feel are even more important for boosting your immune system than anything else!

Within 1 week of feeling better, I was back to making batches of kombucha and raw sauerkraut at home. I also drank more lemon and/or raw apple cider vinegar in water, at least twice daily. I started taking 1.5 days off a week and made more effort to stay offline for that time, giving my body and mind time to rest. De-stressing is very important for me (and for you too!).

Combining that with my normal routine of green smoothies, green juice, fresh wheatgrass shots for chlorophyll and minerals and lots of variety in my organic fruits and veggies and I now feel like a superstar again 🙂 Seriously though, I have high energy: I feel balanced; and I like who I see in the mirror every day!

When I look to my body for healing, I understand that I need to strengthen and heal my body as a whole.

How to Boost Your Immune System

Here are some foods/supplements that can help your immune system stay strong:

1. Manuka Honey (great to have on-hand in winter months, note this is not vegan)

2. Echinacea and Goldenseal (a powerful combo for breaking up stagnant lymph, i.e. mucous)

3. Grapefruit Seed Extract (my go-to remedy with the first sign of cold, cough or flu)

4. Pomegranate (can add to a green smoothie in powder form)

5. Raw apple cider vinegar (a healing food since the time of Hippocrates)

Looking to buy an immune-boosting bundle? You can find all of the above items on iherb.com, and yes they ship internationally!

Whole Body Healing

 

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Is there too much sugar and too many calories in fruit?

The most common response I hear from people about fruit is this: ‘I don’t eat fruit because there is too much sugar and I don’t want to gain weight’ or ‘I heard there is too much sugar and too many calories in fruit so I don’t eat it.’ Such unfounded theories have stopped many people from eating fruit for 10 years or more (and they are still overweight!). Take some time to understand what is really happening, and hopefully you’ll get back to the idea of adding even more fruit back into your healthy routine and better yet, into your daily Green Smoothie!

Do fruit sugars make you gain weight?

Do fruit sugars make you gain weight?

Not all sugars are created equal.

David Wolfe explains one of the main problems with sugar. He states, “Because the term is used so loosely, sugar has become an ambiguous word. When one states the word “sugar” it could mean one of a dozen things such as high fructose corn syrup, refined cane sugar, white sugar, brown sugar, maple sugar, beet sugar, fruit juice, dried fruit, etc.” He goes on to explain, “Sugar is defined as a natural hydrocarbon compound (such as honey, agave, fruits, dried fruits, etc.) and Refined Sugar is an unnatural hydrocarbon product (such as high fructose corn syrup, brown sugar, white sugar, etc.) made through human engineering, plant breeding, and heat processing.”

First, I do think it’s important to be honest with yourself if you are saying that you don’t eat fruit because it has too much ‘sugar’. More than 95% of the time that someone tells me this, in the same conversation I discover that they eat chocolate every afternoon, a cookie every night or a glass of wine with dinner every day. And I feel so sad that the high-nutrient dense, high-enzyme, high-fiber, naturally healing food didn’t make the cut while all the other favorite Refined Sugar foods remain. If you stop eating chocolate, cakes, ice-cream, Greek Yogurt (yes…full of refined sugar!), gluten-free cookies (often containing 35g of refined sugar per cookie!), alcohol, bread (with a higher GI index than a Mars Bar!), then you have plenty of room in your diet to add some fresh raw fruits every day! If you convince yourself otherwise, you are only do a disservice to yourself.

The difference between Refined Sugar and Natural Sugar.

Refined Sugar, with no fiber, goes into the blood stream very quickly, disrupting sugar levels, leading to weight gain and increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Refined Sugar should be avoided as much as possible!

The FIBER in fruit is really the key to making it a healthy food and differentiates fruit from other refined sugar foods. Fiber slows down the body’s intake of natural sugars, and allows the body to regulate the absorption of fructose sugars at a healthy pace. When you make a Green Smoothie, you are blending the fruit and greens together, keeping all fiber intact (unlike a juice which separates the fiber from the liquid, leaving only the liquid). Read here for more info on juices vs. smoothies.

Fiber is key!

As Arnold Ehret once stated, “Modern Life is the tragedy of nutrition.” It’s important to remember that fruit has been on this planet for 2,000 years and it is a healing food from the Gods. What a shame to think that modern fad diets and industrialized foods have pushed out the idea of eating natural, whole and pure fruits. It doesn’t matter how modernized and industrialized we have become, our bodies are still organic beings and they need organic whole foods in order to be well. The obesity epidemic we face today was not caused from eating too much fruit! It’s that simple.

Fruit is also alkalizing and naturally high in enzymes.

I’m sure you can’t say that about your blueberry scone and Frappuccino! Most people are suffering from chronic acidosis, meaning they are eating too many acid-forming foods in their diet and not enough alkaline-forming foods. Fresh fruits (and greens) are the best alkalizing foods there are and are excellent for pH health, another great reason to add them to your diet! William Davis, the author of the book Wheat Belly, states, “Vegetables and fruits are the dominant alkaline foods in the diet. Virtually everything in your produce department will drive pH towards the alkaline direction. From kale to kohlrabi, generous consumption of vegetables and fruits serve to neutralize the acidic burden from animal products.” High-enzyme foods allow the digestive system to work better and long-term that sets you up for normalized weight and normalized blood sugars.

Eating greens and fruits together is really the perfect way to ingest fruits. The greens help to balance out the natural fructose in fruits and the fiber from the combination slows down absorption to a healthy pace. Greens, being naturally high in magnesium, help to replenish the body’s natural reserve and often stop cravings for junk foods (did you know that a lot of food cravings are actually due to low magnesium levels?).

I didn’t mention the other most common question that I get asked and that it ‘What’s the best alternative to sugar…is it Sweet’N Low (Saccharin), NutraSweet or Equal (Aspartame), Truvia, Agave Nectar or something else? Do you see the irony that in one moment, people are afraid to eat fruit and on the other they are looking for a sweetener for their food? Why would you ever turn your back on fruit, a gift from the Gods and choose chemical alternatives (and even known carcinogens) with dangerous side effects (such as destroying of brain cells)??

In my opinion, the whole calorie-counting mentality is a distraction and a waste of time.

Animals eat fruit in nature, they don’t count calories, and they’re not fat!

The more you spend your time and energy getting away from processed and chemical-laden foods, the more you will naturally eat the correct amount of calories for your energy output daily.

The bottom line: Fruit is high in fiber, enzymes, alkalinity, healing powers, anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins and phyto-nutrients. Remember, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Add that apple to a Green Smoothie with banana and water, blend it up with ground flax seed, hemp seed, acai powder and spirulina and you are off to an amazing start to a healthy day…and a healthy weight for life!

Looking for Green Smoothie recipes to eat more fruit and greens?

Green Smoothie for DummiesCheck out my NEW book Green Smoothies for Dummies – I’ve got a whole section on Bulking up to Slim down where I feature 5 amazing Green Smoothies for Weight Loss.

As I mention in the book, “When your body gets the nutrients it needs, you no longer feel hungry or think about food as much, and that alone can help you lose weight. With so much health to gain and potential weight to lose, fruits are actually the perfect addition to a green smoothie.”

Remember: Experimenting with different fruits is a great way to keep variety in your diet and to ensure getting a wide spectrum of different minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. So, if you see a fruit that you’ve never had before, search for it in your local supermarket and give it a try!

Find the book Green Smoothies for Dummies on iTunes or amazon.com!

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70-Year-Old Looks 30, Reveals Fountain of Youth (Yep, Raw Food!)

This article is totally inspiring – you’ve gotta watch the video!!

“Annette Larkins is in perfect health and doesn’t take aspirin.  In fact, she doesn’t take any medication at all, at least by the conventional modern definition. She is a fanatic of REAL medicine and lives by the quote, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” ― Hippocrates

Mrs. Larkins grows a plethora of fruit, vegetables, and herbs around and inside of her house.  She collects rainwater and makes gallons of juice from what she grows. Wheatgrass is one of her specialties. She grows her own and drinks the juice regularly. Yet another anecdotal case of raw food and juicing providing overall health and endless youth.

Her mother and grandmother both died of breast cancer at 47, and 36 years old, respectively. Her grandmother’s sisters died of cancer at early ages. Diabetes runs in her family.”

Talk about motivation to start a raw food diet at any age! Annette has a normal house, a normal backyard and a normal husband too! Nothing stopped her from making the best choices for her. No excuses! I love this woman! What a gorgeous story. I’m gonna juice some fresh wheatgrass right NOW!

Original story from realfarmacy.com

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