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Itchy eyes, runny nose, frequent sneezing, nasal congestion, sinus pressure—these symptoms sound familiar to those of us who dread the coming of fall and the ragweed pollen that arrives along with it.

Commonly referred to as “hay fever,” these symptoms can start as early as mid-August and linger through September and October. Besides causing the itching and the sneezing, hay fever can also compromise the immune system, making us more vulnerable to other illnesses as well.

So what can we do about it? Understanding how the allergy response works is a good place to start. Pollen is recognized by the immune system as an allergen and is labeled as an intruder. In response to the “intrusion,” the immune system releases several chemicals, including histamine. The release of histamine results in the familiar symptoms many of us experience. In addition to histamine, other molecules such as leukotrienes are released, which trigger the inflammation we experience as congestion.

1. Avoid Symptom-Aggravating Foods

Certain foods cross-react with ragweed pollen and may trigger or aggravate ragweed allergy symptoms. If you are having symptoms, try to avoid symptom-aggravating foods like bananas, zucchini, cucumber, and melons, and don’t take chamomile or Echinacea in any form, such as tea or tablets.

Many individuals may also find that removing dairy (especially cow milk products) and grains (especially wheat and other grains containing gluten) reduces the need to medicate. Also, limiting your nut intake to Brazil, pistachio, pecan, almond, and hazelnuts may reduce the intensity of symptoms./p>

2. Get the Right Nutrients

Several nutrients can alleviate allergy symptoms and reduce the symptoms of inflammation. Through diet, teas, or supplements, try to boost your intake of these potent nutrients:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids, which help to reduce inflammation
    Probiotics, which support and rebalance the immune system
    Vitamin C, which offers antihistamine support
    MSM (Methylsufonyl Methane), which exhibits anti-histamine potential when taken with vitamin C
    DAO (Diamine Oxidase), the actual molecule (enzyme) that breaks down histamine
    Stinging nettles, which reduce symptoms of allergies
    Quercetin, a potent natural anti-inflammatory that reduces allergy symptoms when combined with stinging nettles

3. Keep a Healthy Home

When we first start feeling allergy symptoms, our instinct may be to take refuge indoors. Unfortunately, indoor air can be full of pollen too. Protect your living space and breathe more easily indoors by taking these simple steps:

  • Continue running the air conditioner even if the weather is cool
    Use HEPA filters in the bedroom and living room
    Consider replacing carpets and curtains—which attract and hold pollen—with wood or bamboo floors and blinds
    Vacuum and dust frequently
    Use anti-allergy mattress and pillow covers

In addition to making these small changes to diet and lifestyle, consider using a Neti pot when severe congestion hits. This ancient Ayurvedic nasal irrigation tool is becoming more and more popular worldwide for its ability to clear the nasal passages and reduce pressure. Afraid to use it, or not sure how it works? We’ve found this how-to video to be very helpful

(Original Post on Boomshop)



For many of us, July 4th marks the beginning of the summer BBQ season and the opportunity to indulge in the flavors we associate with summer. Taking from the concepts I have introduced since spring, it is easy to approach the BBQ from a healthy perspective and not lose sight of our journey toward healing, health, and vitality. Here are my simple tips to keep your BBQ safe and healthy, as well as recipes that will put you well on your way to hosting a cookout that leaves you and your guests thoroughly satisfied, not sluggish.

Replace heavy starches such as buns, breads, and potatoes with lighter alternatives. Instead of serving burgers on buns, try wrapping the burgers in soft lettuce leaves and garnishing with thick slices of beefsteak tomato, grilled onion, peppers, and mushrooms. Leave breads and crackers off the dip tray and substitute with fresh slices of vegetables. And if you want to avoid filling up on the empty calories of French fries, potato chips, and potato salad, prepare a more nutritious but equally filling dish with a healthy grain as its base. I particularly like making this quick salad of black wild rice and red quinoa: soak and cook equal amounts of black wild rice and red quinoa, add rinsed black beans, and then mix in chopped grilled vegetables such as zucchini, summer squash, mushrooms, onion, peppers, eggplant, and broccoli. Dress with olive or avocado oil and freshly chopped herbs, and season with Himalayan salt and black pepper.

Skip the mayo. Store-bought mayonnaise is full of vegetable oils and preservatives. For a fresher, lighter alternative, make your own simple homemade topping. Use olive, avocado, or walnut oil as your base and then mix in lemon juice and either white balsamic vinegar or rice vinegar. Then infuse this mixture with finely chopped or pureed herbs like basil, cilantro, parsley, or dill, and season with freshly ground Himalayan salt and pepper. If you really can’t imagine life without mayo, try making your own—it’s easier than you might think. In a food processor, add one large egg yolk and ½ tsp salt and push the button to blend. While blending, drizzle in 3/4 cup of olive oil very slowly, bit by bit, until it emulsifies into a soft cream. Add 1 minced garlic clove to transform your mayo into aioli.

Marinate meats before cooking. Though we all love the taste of scorched BBQ, burned meat can form cancer-causing compounds in the body. Marinating meat before cooking helps it avoid direct contact with the flame, as the sugars in the marinade will burn while the meat will not. When cooking poultry, simply keep the skin on while cooking and remove it before eating to avoid the char.

Keep yourself hydrated. Between the heat and the alcohol, it is very easy to dehydrate at a summer BBQ. For each glass of alcohol you drink, remember to compensate with 12–16 oz of unsweetened water or herbal tea. Prepare your favorite herbal tea in a large quantity the night before your BBQ and allow it to cool at room temperature before placing in the refrigerator. Add in a few complementary fruits, vegetables, and herbs, and serve to your guests in a beautiful glass pitcher.



Serve an abundance of fresh, locally grown market vegetables.There is no better way to get all those important health-promoting antioxidants and phytonutrients than to eat an abundance of locally grown produce. I love to serve some combination of these 6 produce-rich dishes:

Garden Salad with Figs & Goat Cheese Carefully wash and dry a mix of greens and herbs including locally grown lettuce, spinach, arugula, kale, dandelion, basil, and parsley. Place in a bowl and top with shavings of fennel bulb. Mix together a strong-bodied unfiltered virgin olive oil with lemon juice, Himalayan salt, and pepper, and add to the salad. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts, walnuts, and sunflower or pumpkin seeds, and then garnish with sliced fresh black mission figs and honey goat cheese.

Baked Tomato Salad In a baking dish, mix together a collection of summer tomatoes, including a variety of heirloom, grape, yellow, purple, orange, and other varieties. Cut the large tomatoes in half. Add some sliced purple onion and whole peeled garlic cloves. Drizzle generously with a strong-bodied unfiltered virgin olive oil. Season with Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake at 350 degrees till tomatoes are just softening and serve warm.

Homemade Warm Salsa Cook some fresh corn on the cob and then remove the kernels. Combine the corn kernels with diced zucchini, summer squash, red onion, mixed peppers, mushrooms, and eggplant. Toss with olive or grapeseed oil, fresh herbs, Himalayan salt, and pepper. Sauté in a pan on the grill burner and serve warm.

Alternately, serve this salsa as a starter by spooning it into endive leaves and sprinkling it with fresh goat cheese, or use it as a topping on freshly grilled fish, poultry, or meat.

Grilled Lemon Fish with Fresh Herbs. Replace heavy turf with lighter surf by swapping out burgers for grilled fish. Start with a whole fish like red snapper or branzini. Keep the head and the tail on—if you’re not sensitive to the sight—but make sure the fish is gutted and properly cleaned. Stuff the cavity with chopped fresh herbs and slices of lemon, sweet onion, mushrooms, and peppers. Season the cavity and the outside with freshly ground Himalayan salt and pepper. Brush with grapeseed oil, which tolerates high heat, and grill on a wood plank or in a fish basket. Serve with homemade salsa or pesto.

Freshly Picked Berry Bowl Craft a beautiful berry bowl to finish your meal with a burst of color. Mix together a variety of freshly picked berries like blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries with a dash of white balsamic vinegar and an unexpected sprinkling of chopped fresh mint leaves.

Fun Fondue Melt dark chocolate in a fondue pot over a small burner at the BBQ table, and serve with a variety of fresh, well-dried berries for dipping. Dark chocolate has significantly less sugar than milk chocolate varieties, and will satisfy your sweet tooth without the sugar crash. Find dark chocolate too bitter? Serving it with extra-sweet berries will balance out the bitterness and have you coming back to the fondue pot again and again.

(Original Post on Boomshop)









In my work as a clinical nutritionist, I have developed a simple philosophy of food that has greatly helped my clients enjoy healthier, more balanced meals—without counting calories or having to remember complicated rules. I refer to this philosophy as “Lighten Your Load.”

“Lighten Your Load” focuses on the “density” and the “balance” of the foods we eat, and categorizes them based on their impact on our metabolic fitness and body weight. In order to communicate this idea, I use the image of an old-fashioned scale. This visualization helps my clients to easily make decisions about which foods to eat and in which proportion.

Take a look at the images below. On the left are foods that are “Dense Load” and then on the right are foods that are “Light Load.” “Dense Load” foods are proteins such as meats, fish, poultry, eggs, legumes, and protein powder; starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, rutabaga, and winter squash; dairy products like cheese, yogurt, and butter; and legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains. Although they are all good for you, however they are dense in weight. “Light Load” foods hold nature’s rich bounty of nutrient-packed, non-starchy vegetables and fruits which are much lighter in weight.

As you prepare each of your meals, visualize what happens if you put these foods on a scale. If your breakfast is a plate of eggs, sausage, and toast, the scale will tip due to the density of these foods. So how could you create balance in that meal? Simple—instead of using two or three whole eggs, use one whole organic free-range egg scrambled with egg whites. Add to the pan some onion, peppers, mushrooms, and power greens, sauté lightly in olive oil, and serve with a sliced beefsteak tomato. A balanced meal like this supports a fit metabolism and a healthy weight.

I like to introduce this food philosophy at the very beginning of the summer, as the season’s fresh, plentiful, and inexpensive fruits and vegetables makes it so much easier and cheaper to start. Now’s the best time to pile your plate with greens, bok choy, fennel, portabella mushrooms, beefsteak tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, zucchini, and summer squash, as well as summer fruits like berries, fresh figs, papaya, and kiwi. Ready to get started? These “lighter load” choices for breakfast, lunch, and dinner will help you feel fit and energetic enough to greet the summer head-on.

Balanced Breakfast Option 1: Summer Frittata

In a pan with a little olive oil, sauté a chopped Vidalia onion with some zucchini, bok choy, and sliced orange peppers.

Beat 4 eggs and 1 cup of egg whites, and then pour the egg mixture into the pan over the sautéed vegetables. Cook without stirring for a few minutes until the bottom is set. Sprinkle 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese over the top.

Place the pan in the oven at 350 degrees and allow the egg to set completely. Cut into 4 wedges and serve with 1 cup of basic Israeli salad—chopped tomato, onion, parsley, rice vinegar, and olive oil.

Balanced Breakfast Option 2: Meal in a Glass

Blend together 1 large carrot, 2 romaine lettuce leaves, 2 kale leaves, 4 inches peeled cucumber, 1–2 stalks celery, 1 inch peeled sliced ginger, 1/4 peeled lemon, 1 tbsp flax seeds, 1 tbsp chia seeds, and water.

Enjoy with 3 small sausages, such as Trader Joe’s Chicken Breakfast Sausage, and a sliced beefsteak tomato.

Balanced Lunch: The Salad Bowl

Viva Italia—Mix together arugula, watercress, endive, radicchio, and some baby greens. Top with grilled vegetables such as zucchini, mushrooms, and peppers. Add 4 oz sliced grilled chicken. Garnish with 5 black olives and dress with a balsamic vinaigrette.

It’s Greek to Me—Top mixed greens with sliced cucumber, tomato, peppers, onions, and lightly steamed broccoli. Add 4–6 grilled shrimp and 2 tbsp of crumbled feta cheese. Dress with olive oil, oregano, dill, and red wine vinegar.

Salad Nicoise—Start with a bowl of mixed field greens, and top with wedges of tomato and steamed green beans. Add 3 oz grilled tuna and 1 boiled egg, quartered. Garnish with 5 olives and julienned basil leaves. Dress with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Balanced Dinner Option 1: The Dallas BBQ with Slaw & Greens

BBQ Chicken—Marinate a 6–8 oz boneless chicken breast in a BBQ sauce in the fridge for 2–4 hours and grill.

Healthy Slaw—Mix together shredded white and purple cabbage. Dress with a blend of olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, mustard, and 1 tsp honey.

Wilted Greens—Sprinkle a mix of kale, chard, and collard greens with onion- and garlic-infused water. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Himalayan salt.

Balanced Dinner Option 2: Portabella Mushroom Stack & Gazpacho Soup

Portabella Mushroom Stack—Grill a portabella mushroom, bell pepper, Vidalia onion, and sliced zucchini. On a plate, drizzle a little olive oil over some spinach and mix in some peeled sliced garlic and Himalayan salt. Stack the mushroom and vegetables on top of the spinach.

Simple Gazpacho Soup—In a large bowl, mix 2 cups peeled and diced English cucumbers, 2 cups diced red bell pepper, 2 cups diced beefsteak or roma tomatoes, 1/2 cup diced Vidalia onion, 2 cups tomato juice, 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, and Tabasco sauce to taste. Transfer half of the mixed ingredients to a food processor and blend. Add the blended soup back into the bowl. Refrigerate, and garnish with chunks of avocado before serving.

(Original Post on Boomshop)







(Part 2 of a 3-part series)

As we move forward into the warmer months and continue the 3-month journey of healing, health, and vitality I outlined in my last post, the idea of a cleanse may be appealing to many of you. From The New York Times to many popular health magazines, the merits of various cleanses have been presented and discussed. I personally have explored many types of cleanses and have developed one that I periodically incorporate into my wellness journey. But what exactly is a cleanse, and is it right for you?

Cleansing is a modified fast that typically involves avoiding solid food and relying instead on a cleanse beverage for a short period of time. This gives the gastrointestinal tract a chance to rest and cleanse itself, making you feel refreshed, energetic, and centered. Although weight loss may accompany the cleanse, it is not a weight loss program per se, and any weight loss is often regained as eating patterns return to normal.

The gentle 11-day juice cleanse I recommend for my clients involves gradually removing solid foods from the diet, replacing them with a homemade vegetable and fruit juice, and then adding solid foods back in. Because it is important to ensure adequate hydration during the cleanse, I encourage all clients to drink the lemon/ginger water, herbal teas, and healing broth highlighted in my last post. And to manage any drop in blood sugar, I advocate eating a teaspoon of coconut butter—either consumed off the spoon or melted into the cleanse juice—3 to 5 times per day.

Before Beginning

This cleanse is not something you jump into, but a process you gently prepare for and gently emerge from. Before beginning the cleanse, it is important to check in with your doctor to make sure this process will not have a negative impact on your health.

For some individuals, the cleanse may be accompanied by a looser stool. This is not a problem. If the opposite occurs, you may want to drink Smooth Move Tea by Traditional Medicinals to encourage the bowels to work. Some individuals may also include a colonic hydrocleanse to ensure the bowels empty completely.

The 11-Day Cleanse


Remove all fruit and other sources of sugar from your diet. Continue to eat vegetables, animal and non-animal proteins, whole grains (in limited amounts), legumes, raw nuts and seeds (in moderation), and healthy fats (organic cold-pressed virgin olive, avocado, coconut, and walnut oil, as well as avocados). Eat lightly and simply. Decrease your consumption of caffeinated beverages and replace them with herbal alternatives. Hydrate well with lemon/ginger water and herbal teas throughout the day. You may experience some caffeine withdrawal. Try to endure.


Remove all grains and legumes from your diet. Continue to eat vegetables, proteins, raw nuts and seeds (in moderation), and healthy fats. Hydrate well with lemon/ginger water and herbal teas. Continue to decrease your caffeine consumption and—if possible—eliminate completely.


Completely remove protein from your diet. Continue to eat vegetables, raw nuts and seeds (in moderation), and healthy fats. Keep your meals light and simple—raw salads, lightly steamed vegetables, simple soups. Prepare a 20–24 oz green juice (see recipe below) and consume in three 8-oz doses: one with breakfast, one midmorning, and one in the midafternoon. You can dilute your 8-oz juice with 4 oz spring water or plain coconut water if you find the flavor too intense. Hydrate well with lemon/ginger water and herbal teas.


Remove the nuts and seeds from your diet. Continue to eat vegetables and healthy fats and drink your three 8-oz doses of green juice. Hydrate well with lemon/ginger water and herbal teas.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday

Drink 8 oz of green juice with 4 oz of spring or coconut water up to 6 times per day. Continue to hydrate well with lemon/ginger water and herbal teas in between. If you feel uncomfortable, add coconut butter to your green juice and supplement with healing broths.

Recovering from the Cleanse


Reintroduce vegetables to your diet. Prepare them simply—as a salad or lightly steamed—and garnish with healthy oils. Continue to drink your diluted green juice 3 times per day. Hydrate well with lemon/ginger water and herbal teas.


Continue to eat vegetables and healthy fats and add a small amount of protein (from animal or non-animal sources) back into your diet. Decrease your green juice consumption to 2 times per day at breakfast and before dinner. Keep your meals light and simple. Hydrate well with lemon/ginger water and herbal teas.


Continue to eat vegetables, healthy fats, and proteins, and for those who need it, start consuming grains and legumes in small portions. Try not to combine grains or starch vegetables with proteins in the same meal. Maintain the consumption of your green juice once a day. Hydrate well with lemon/ginger water and herbal teas.


Continue to eat vegetables, healthy fats, proteins, legumes, and small amounts of grains and starchy vegetables, and start consuming nuts, seeds, and small amounts of fruit. Maintain the consumption of your green juice once a day. Hydrate well with lemon/ginger water and herbal teas. And at the end of the day, congratulate yourself—you’ve just taken a powerful step toward better health!

Green Juice Recipe

Juice the following fruits and vegetables, adjusting the ingredients to your taste and preference. Adjust the amount of the suggested ingredients depending on the amount of juice you plan to drink throughout the day.

  • 1 whole green apple or pear2 whole English cucumbers

    6 – 8 large stalks celery (or more to taste)

    1 large bunch kale

    1 large bunch spinach

    1 large bunch romaine lettuce

    ½–1 peeled lemon

    Parsley to taste (be generous)

    Peeled ginger to taste (be generous)

The above should generate enough for six 8-oz glasses. However, produce size varies. You can always add more (but limit the apple or pear to just one fruit).

Are Cleansing and Detox the Same?

The concepts of detoxification and cleansing are very different but are often confused. Now that we’ve discussed cleansing, let’s take a look at detoxification and see what we can do to help our bodies with this essential process.

Detoxification is a metabolic activity performed primarily by the liver and supported by the kidney. It is a two-step process that transforms toxins produced by our bodies and our external environments into molecules that we can eliminate primarily through our feces. This process is very energy demanding, and it also generates a lot of free radicals, which contribute to aging, chronic diseases, and chronic inflammation. As we age, our body’s metabolic activities—including its detoxification processes—become less efficient, making it especially important to avoid toxins in our food and environments. Help your body out by taking these 14 easy steps:

  • Choose organic foodsAvoid genetically modified foods, or GMOs

    Buy local organic produce

    Avoid foods that contain artificial dyes, flavors, and preservatives

    Avoid foods that contain artificial sweeteners

    Avoid foods that contain hydrogenated and fractionated oils

    Store food in glass instead of plastic

    Replace aluminum pots and pans with stainless steel, cast iron, or ceramic cookware

    Replace aluminum foil with parchment paper

    Avoid using the microwave

    Do not put plastic into the microwave

    Use environmentally safe household cleaners

    Choose organic dry cleaning services to avoid exposure to dry cleaning chemicals

The above should generate enough for six 8-oz glasses. However, produce size varies. You can always add more (but limit the apple or pear to just one fruit).

(Original Posting on Boomshop)


Flowers are blooming, buds are opening – and stores have already been stocked with Easter candy for weeks. Even if you’ve managed so far to resist the temptation of chocolate eggs and bunnies, the big day itself might not be so easy. Big family get-togethers are a recipe for indulging – and for wishing later that you hadn’t. But with a few simple changes to some traditional Easter recipes, you and your family can enjoy the holiday’s favorites without any of the regret.

1. Make Your Own Chemical-Free Easter Eggs

Store-bought egg coloring often contains petroleum-based dyes. Ditch the synthetic stuff and color your eggs in the traditional way by boiling vinegar and water with fruits and vegetables you already have in your fridge. (This tutorial is a great place to start.) If you want to get even more artistic with your eggs, try your hand at pisanki, an Eastern European wax-resist technique, or onion-skin wrapping, which creates beautifully impressionistic patterns on the shell. And starting with free-range eggs means you’ll be getting more nutrients and omega-3 fatty acids – and less saturated fat – once you finally peel and eat them.

2. Cook a Healthier Ham

If your ham glaze recipe calls for refined sugar, consider swapping it out with honey or maple syrup instead – a good rule of thumb is to use half as much honey or maple syrup as you would sugar. Or skip the sweeteners altogether and make a glaze with savory or hot flavorings, like cloves, ginger, or even sugar-free jalapeno jam.

3. Build a Better Easter Basket

Rather than gifting Easter baskets full of milk chocolate and jellybeans, choose healthier snacks that are just as tasty – think dark chocolate, dried fruit, nut bars, and tea and coffee. Fill out the basket with fresh flowers to make it just as pleasing to the eye as it is to the taste buds.

(Original Post on Boomshop)










(Part 1 of a 3-part series)

Spring is here, and with it comes an opportunity to emerge from underneath the covers and peel back the layers. Longer days and warmer weather shake us out of winter’s comfort-seeking behaviors and inspire us to give our lifestyles a much-needed spring cleaning. Unlike the fleeting promises and resolutions of New Year’s Day, springtime is a long, gradual awakening that gives us time to think deeply and carefully about how to renew our own lives.

Each month this spring – March, April, and May – I’ll be giving tips on how to slowly eliminate old habits and replace them with health-promoting behaviors. These changes are easy and enjoyable to implement and will make a big difference in how you feel, both mentally and physically. They do not involve counting calories or spending hours at the gym, but simply thinking differently about the things you already do every day. I invite you to join me on this journey to health, healing, and vitality.

These are the 5 steps to better habits I’ll be taking in March. Try them along with me!

Step 1: Let in the Light

Don’t be scared of sun exposure. Though we’ve always been warned to avoid it, moderate sunlight actually offers a bundle of health benefits.

Few foods contain vitamin D, but sunlight positively bathes us in it. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for the absorption of calcium and the formation of strong, healthy bones, which is especially important as we get older. Sunlight also boosts serotonin production, making us more likely to enjoy the proverbial “sunny” disposition. Low vitamin D levels affect the immune system, decreasing our ability to manage infections, and have even been linked to increased mortality from heart disease. Exercising outdoors for 30 minutes a day brings you these perks of sun exposure as well as the health benefits of daily exercise.

Step 2: Water the “Staff of Life”

Sixty percent of the human body is water, so it’s no wonder that dehydration leads to fatigue, decreased metabolic potential, and an increased risk of injury. To get your all-important daily dose of water with an addictive dash of flavor, try experimenting with the art of herbal teas.

Start your day with some homemade ginger lemon honey tea. Grate 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger into a mug. Fill the mug with boiling water and let the ginger infuse for 5 minutes. Add a tablespoon of honey and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Strain out the ginger – or just let it settle at the bottom of the mug – and enjoy this sweet and tangy confection.

Alternately, prepare a 32 oz pitcher of tea in the morning to drink throughout the day. Here are some of my favorite combinations:

  • Start with 2–3 bags of lemon ginger tea. Add slices of peeled fresh ginger and lemon. Garnish with a few mint sprigs.Start with 2–3 bags of orange spice tea. Add slices of peeled blood oranges or navel oranges.

    Start with 2–3 bags of berry zinger tea. Add 1 cup of fresh berries.

    Start with 2–3 bags of apple cinnamon tea. Slice an apple thinly and add it in with 2 sticks of cinnamon.

Step 3: Scrub Your Digestive Tract

Increase your intake of raw and lightly cooked vegetables to boost your fiber intake and improve your digestive health. Compose a salad of fresh baby greens, vegetables, and a protein of your choice. Dress with a mix of healthy oils,lemon juice, and apple cider or rice vinegar, and flavor with fresh herbs, Himalayan salt, and spices.

Here are 3 favorites I’m planning to enjoy often in the upcoming months:

  • Salmon Nicoise. Mix baby spinach, arugula, and watercress in a bowl. Add grape tomatoes, sliced fresh or roasted peppers, lightly steamed green beans, 5–6 black olives, 1/4 cup cannellini beans, 2 quartered artichoke hearts, and 3 oz of grilled salmon cut into chunks. Dress to taste.Greek Salad.Choose a mix of greens with fresh herbs. Add chunks of peeled cucumber, chopped mixed peppers, slices of grilled zucchini and summer squash, 1/4 cup garbanzo beans, 3 oz sliced grilled chicken, 5–6 kalamata olives, and 2 tbsp crumbled feta cheese. Dress with a mix of olive oil, lemon juice, Himalayan salt, and fresh herbs.

    Chef Salad.Start with a base of chopped romaine lettuce. Add sliced plum tomatoes, peeled and sliced cucumber, sliced celery, chopped mixed peppers, 1 sliced boiled egg, 2 oz chopped turkey breast, 2 tbsp red beans, and 2 tbps shredded cheese. Dress with olive oil, organic rice vinegar, and Himalayan salt.

Step 4: Crowd Out the Carbs

When preparing your evening meal, cut down on grains and focus on protein and vegetables instead. Try to get at least 3 prepared vegetables on your plate: Leafy greens like spinach, bok choy, kale, chard, or escarole; Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, or broccoli rabe; and a vegetable of your choice. By filling up on vegetables instead of carbs, you’ll get more nutrition out of your meal and feel more energetic afterward.

By filling up on vegetables instead of carbs, you’ll get more nutrition out of your meal and feel more energetic afterward.

Step 5: Treat Yourself Well

Reward your efforts with two squares of dark chocolate with at least 70% cacao. Super-dark chocolate is rich in phenolic compounds, potent antioxidants that help fight the body’s aging processes. Pair it with a soothing cup of herbal tea, and enjoy!


(Original Post on Boomshop)




Why wait until Valentine’s Day comes around again?  For any special occasion, I’ve been looking across the Atlantic to a country that has love, health, and good living down to a science: Italy. The Mediterranean diet has long been celebrated for its positive impact on heart heath, and its power to decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke. But that isn’t all that Italy has to teach us about well-being. With its strong sense of community and deep personal connections, Italians benefit from the life-lengthening effects of positive emotions and relationships. Love, friendship, and belonging does indeed improve health, lengthen lifespan, and make life that much more enjoyable. So let’s take our cue from the Italians and grab our loved ones, raise a toast to amore, and start cooking these Mediterranean-influenced dishes!

Valentine’s Day Dinner Menu
All recipes serve 6

White Bean & Artichoke Dip
Citrus Salad with Arugula, Pomegranate, Walnuts & Avocado

Herb-Crusted Salmon
Sautéed Broccoli Rabe Roasted Cauliflower Puree

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

White Bean & Artichoke Dip

  • 1 can cannellini beans
    1 bag frozen artichokes
    1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
    1–2 tsp lemon zest
    Fresh basil to taste (optional)
    Sea salt & pepper
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1 cup grated Romano cheese

1) Rinse beans, drain, and place in food processor with defrosted artichokes, grated lemon zest, lemon juice, and basil leaves. Blend.
2) Add salt and pepper to taste.
3) Drizzle in olive oil and blend gently for a few seconds.
4) Add cheese and blend gently for a few seconds. Chill before serving.

Citrus Salad with Arugula, Pomegranate, Walnuts & Avocado

  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
    1 tsp Dijon mustard
    3 tbsp olive oil
    1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
    2 ruby grapefruits, peel and pith removed
    1 large avocado, peeled and cut into chunks
    6 cups baby arugula
    1/3 cup pomegranate seeds

1) Cut each segment of grapefruit in half.
2) Whisk Dijon mustard and lemon juice together, and then whisk in olive oil.
3) Toss arugula with 4 tbsp dressing and place on a serving platter or bowl.
4) Heap sliced grapefruit and avocado chunks on top of arugula.
5) Drizzle with remaining dressing and sprinkle with chopped walnuts and pomegranate seeds.

Herb-Crusted Salmon

  • 1/4 cup Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
    1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
    1 tbsp chopped dill, tarragon, or chives
    1 tbsp avocado oil
    3 lb fillet of wild-caught salmon with skin
    1/4 cup Dijon mustard
    Sea salt & pepper
    Lemons (for garnish)

1) Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
2) Mix Panko with chopped parsley, fresh herbs, and avocado oil.
3) Place salmon skin-down on parchment-lined baking sheet.
4) Spread mustard evenly on salmon and season with salt, pepper, and Panko herb mixture.
5) Roast salmon till flaky, about 15–20 minutes.
6) Remove from oven. Using a spatula, loosen salmon from skin and transfer to serving plate. Garnish with sliced lemon.

Sauteed Broccoli Rabe

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
    3–4 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
    1.5 bunches broccoli rabe
    1/2– 1 tsp lemon zest (optional)

1) Trim woody stems from broccoli rabe.
2) Blanch broccoli rabe in large pot of boiling salted water for about 1 minute. Reserve 1/4 cup of cooking liquid.
3) Transfer broccoli rabe to a bowl of iced water. Strain and set aside.
4) Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
5) Reduce heat to medium-low, add broccoli rabe, and toss to coat with oil.
6) Add reserved cooking liquid and cook for about 4 minutes.
7) Transfer to serving bowl, top with lemon zest, and serve.

Roasted Cauliflower Puree

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into small florets
    1/4 cup olive oil
    4 cloves garlic, peeled
    Sea salt & pepper

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2) Arrange cauliflower and garlic cloves in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Roast until browned and cooked through but not too soft, about 20–25 minutes.
3) Transfer roasted cauliflower and garlic into a food processor. Add salt and pepper to taste, and then process to a course puree.

No-Bake Vegan Chocolate Mousse

  • 3 large ripe avocados
    1/2 cup organic raw cacao powder (or more to taste)
    1/2 cup agave nectar (or more to taste)
    1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract
    1.5 tsp almond extract
    1/2 pint fresh raspberries or other berry
    Mint leaves (for garnish)

1) Cut the avocados in half and remove the pits.
2) Spoon the avocado meat into a blender and pulse until blended.
3) Add cocoa powder, agave nectar, vanilla extract, and almond extract and blend for 1 to 2 minutes.
4) Portion into martini glasses and refrigerate overnight.
5) Top with raspberries and garnish with mint leaves before serving.


(Original post on Boomshop)



Here are 6 tips on how to improve heart health with a few small changes to our diets. Take control of your well-being and build eating habits that will improve your lifestyle for years to come. It’s easier – and more delicious – than you’d think.

1) Choose heart-healthy fats
All fats are not created equal. Omega-6-rich oils such as corn and soybean oil negatively affect health, while olive oil and avocado oil are rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Tree nuts – like macadamias, almonds, cashews, pecans, and pistachios – are also excellent sources of healthy monounsaturated fat.

2) Eat abundantly from the earth
Eat at least one bowl of raw salad a day – play with combinations of greens, spinach, baby kale, arugula, watercress, endive, radicchio, shaved fennel, and fresh herbs such as parsley, dill, and basil. Create your own signature homemade dressing from ingredients like olive oil, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice, and add extra flavor with Dijon mustard, Himalayan salt, herbs, garlic, or shallots.

Add at least one cruciferous vegetable to your diet daily – choose from broccoli, broccoli rabe, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, or Brussels sprouts. Snack on raw vegetables like organic peppers, peeled and sliced cucumber, celery, fennel, and baby carrots.

3) Cook with heart-healthy proteins
Fatty fish such as wild-caught salmon and sardines are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which protect against inflammation. Chronic inflammation is known to be at the core of many age-associated degenerative diseases, including heart disease. Fish also contains less saturated fat than red meat – another heart-related benefit – and is more easily digestible.

Legumes – lentils and beans – are staples of the Mediterranean diet. Rich in fiber and protein, they can be added to salads and vegetable dishes to create heart-healthy vegetarian meals.

4) Trade wheat for low-glycemic, high-fiber grains
Wild rice, quinoa, and buckwheat have a lower glycemic index than common grains like wheat, and are rich in healthy fiber. Combine 1/2 cup of cooked grain with 1/2 cup of cooked legumes for a complete-protein vegetarian meal.

5) Flavor with turmeric to reduce inflammation
Turmeric, a spice typically found in curry, has anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to flavor vegetables, grains, legumes, and proteins. To maximize its benefits, warm oil gently on low to medium heat, add in chopped garlic and turmeric powder, and cook gently before adding additional ingredients.

6) Splurge with healthy sugars
The polyphenols in dark chocolate (at least 72% cocoa) and red wine also offer cardio-protective qualities, so don’t feel guilty about splurging! However, like all the best sweets, they should be consumed sparingly and occasionally.


(Originally posted on Boomshop)





Cold and flu season is upon us, but that doesn’t mean we have to resort to vaccinations and double doses of vitamin C to keep from getting sick. We can boost our immunity and reduce the risk of common infections by taking a few simple and enjoyable steps in our own homes – and it’s much more fun than getting shots or taking supplements.

Keep yourself healthy through the winter months by turning your home into a spa and letting food be your medicine. By making a few simple changes, you can support your immune system, lower your risk of infection, and take positive steps on your path to health, wellness, and vitality.

Don’t Skimp on Sleep
It’s easy to nestle up in a chair and get caught up in a book or a TV show in this cold weather, but getting a good night’s rest is central to a healthy immune system. Encourage sleep by taking steps to Decompress and De-stress before bed.

Decompress and De-stress
Soak for 20 minutes in 1–2 cups Epsom salt, ¼ – ½ cup baking soda, and a few drops of lavender essential oil. Epsom salt is rich in sulfur, which supports the liver’s detoxification system, decreases inflammation, and relieves the aches and pains we often feel in cold weather. Dim the lights, turn on soft music, and empty your mind. While you soak, enjoy an 8–12 oz glass of your chilled Healthy Hydration.

Healthy Hydration
Mix the following ingredients together for a health-supporting drink you can enjoy throughout the day.

64 oz hot water
Juice of 2 lemons (rich in Vitamin C)
Peeled and sliced fresh ginger (decreases inflammation)
Fresh mint (optional)
Fresh tarragon (optional)
Organic raw honey (1–2 tablespoons) or stevia (exhibits antimicrobial potential)

Nourish and Nurture
Satisfy your hunger and feed your immune system with a hearty bowl of soup or stew made from a base of bone broth. Homemade bone broth is rich in gelatin, which promotes healthy joints, as well as essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous. And it isn’t as intimidating to make as it seems – this recipe requires only 5 minutes of prep time.

Bone Broth Recipe
2 lbs of beef, lamb, turkey, or chicken bones
1 onion, peeled (rich in sulfur)
8–10 cloves of garlic, peeled (exhibits antiviral potential)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (alkalinizes the body)
1 tsp Celtic salt

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker on high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 8–12 hours. Strain, cool, and store in glass jars.

Ways to use
1) Sip warm cups of bone broth throughout the day.

2) Use as a base for soup. Add in:

  • • Mineral-rich greens such as kale, chard, spinach, collard greens, and bok choy – all are rich in antioxidants
    • Immune-boosting mushrooms such as shitake, which exhibit antiviral potential
    • Energizing proteins such as beans (if vegetarian), or organic grass-fed beef, lamb, chicken, or turkey, primary sources of amino acids to build immune molecules known as antibodies
    • Antioxidant-rich fresh herbs such as parsley, dill, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, or thyme
    • Other low-calorie vegetables such as zucchini, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, or cabbage – all are rich in vitamins, minerals, and naturally occurring immune-supporting sulfur molecules

3) Use as a base for stews. Add in your favorites of the ingredients above, and thicken with pureed carrots, parsnips, butternut, or other winter squash, which are all rich in carotenes.

(Originally posted on Boomshop)

This is an excerpt from a blog/website I contribute and partner with called Boomshop.



Breast Cancer Awareness Month comes around only once a year, but many of us women spend far more than four weeks worrying about our risk of developing this disease. And it’s no wonder—the statistics are sobering. About 1 in 8 American women will get breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.

Rather than feeling anxious, vulnerable, and helpless to this possibility, I recommend taking concrete steps to reduce your risk now. We can’t do anything to change risk factors like our genetics or family history, but certain lifestyle changes have been proven to reduce the occurrence of many cancers, including breast cancer. If we make conscious decisions about our health instead of burying our heads in the sand and hoping for the best, we can find empowerment and seize control of our own well-being. I always recommend these 7 simple steps to my female clients to help them reduce their risk factors and find some peace of mind.

Eat at least seven servings of vegetables a day. There is so much to be said for the virtues of vegetables. Certain veggies have cancer-preventing properties, and “superfoods” like leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables are especially potent. Eat one or more servings of leafy greens daily (like spinach or red lettuce) and one or more servings of cruciferous vegetables like kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, watercress, radish, collard greens, turnips, kohlrabi, bok choy, turnip greens, and mustard greens.

In addition, broaden your color palette (and your palate) by incorporating a variety of yellow, purple, and red produce into your diet. This will increase your body’s antioxidant potential and improve its ability to fight cancer-causing free radicals.

Reduce your intake of refined carbohydrates and sugars. An excess intake of refined carbohydrates and sugars truly wreaks havoc on the body. It weakens the immune system, contributes to an overgrowth of unhealthy gut flora, creates an acidic environment in the body, changes our body composition, alters estrogen metabolism, and, most concerning, has the potential to feed cancer. Tilt the balance of your diet by decreasing your intake of processed grains, sugar, and starchy vegetables like potatoes, in favor of lean meats and plenty of non-starchy vegetables.

Eat an anti-inflammatory diet. Cancer is an inflammatory disorder, so a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods can help to reduce your risk of this disease. Stock your shopping cart with colorful produce; raw nuts and seeds; cold-pressed organic oils; herbs and spices like turmeric, cayenne, cinnamon, and purslane; and lean organic proteins such as coldwater fish, eggs, bison, buffalo, and lamb.

Augment your health with the right dietary supplements. Certain dietary supplements have been shown to reduce the risk of many cancers, including breast cancer. Look for supplements that contain:

  • Probiotics, which inhibit carcinogen-producing enzymes
  • Di-Indolylmethane (DIM) and sulfurophane glucosynalate, beneficial compounds derived from cruciferous vegetables
  • Calcium-d-glucarate, a natural chemical found in many fruits and vegetables
  • CoEnzyme Q10, an antioxidant that supports healthy cell function
  • Turmeric, which may slow the growth of cancer cells
  • Other plant-based antioxidants, which fight free radicals

Reduce your stress. Stress is a risk factor for cancer, as well as for a host of other health issues. Just as we strive to eat better and exercise more, we should also seek to reduce and manage our stress levels on a day-to-day basis.

Of course, this is always easier said than done, and shelves of books have been written on the topic. But most tips on handling stress boil down to a few simple things. Breathe deeply. Strive to embrace who you are and live authentically. Foster healthy relationships that add value to your life. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Exercise regularly and modestly. Get enough sleep. Laugh often. Live creatively and resourcefully. Take a technology vacation daily. Seek quiet time. Avoid alcohol. And above all, see stress as something that can be worked on and improved, not something that should be endured.

Go organic. Pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides compromise the function of our immune systems and the process of detoxification. They interfere with the body’s endocrine system and estrogen levels, which can lead to an increased risk of some cancers, including breast cancer. Buying organic is the best way to avoid your exposure to these toxins. If going fully organic isn’t possible because of money constraints or a limited selection in your area, it’s still a good idea to choose organic when it comes to the fruits and vegetables dubbed the “Dirty Dozen” by the Environmental Working Group. These twelve types of produce are heavily sprayed because they’re difficult to grow without chemicals, or so thin-skinned that they absorb chemicals at a higher rate than other produce.

In addition, try to avoid exposure to common household chemicals. Make your own cleaning supplies from nontoxic materials like vinegar, lemons, and borax, or choose healthy, nontoxic brands if you’re buying from the store. Also, try to avoid sending your dry cleaning to a service that uses perchloroethylene, a “probable human carcinogen” according to the EPA. Find an organic dry cleaner in your area, or experiment with at-home dry cleaning alternatives such as removing odors with a spritz bottle of vodka or simply hand-washing your dry-clean-only clothes.

Cook this breast-protecting recipe regularly. Having trouble getting the right vegetables in your diet? Make a big batch of this recipe and store it in your fridge so you can enjoy its health benefits without any hassle. It’s perfect as a side dish for lunch or dinner, or even as an accompaniment to eggs in the morning.

Slice a Vidalia or purple onion and mince a couple freshly peeled garlic cloves. Sauté the onion and garlic in a large frying pan in a little organic coconut oil. Add 1–2 bags of shredded mixed cruciferous vegetables to the pan with about 2 ounces of water. Stir, cover, and reduce the temperature. When softened, drizzle with organic coconut oil and season with turmeric or curry powder, cayenne, Himalayan or Celtic sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper.