awareness, clean eating, health

Trust your gut!

“This is a product-provided, sponsored conversation that contains affiliate links. All opinions, text and experiences are my own. VSL#3 is a medical food and must be used under medical supervision.”

Hi friends! I hope all is well and you are enjoying your week! Today I want to talk about something that most of us don’t want to bring up but it’s something that is WAY too important not to discuss. Your gut health.

Chances are you know someone that suffers from IBS, ulcerative colitis or ileal pouch, or maybe you are the one suffering from one of these gastro issues. I personally know firsthand the pain and discomfort that these issues can bring into someone’s life. I have suffered from IBS for quite sometime and there have been days that I have been hunched over in pain from excessive bloat and extreme cramping. I went through dark, painful days where I thought I would never be able to live or eat normally again.

Did you know:

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a serious GI issue that affects the large intestine (colon) and commonly causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation; there is no cure or known cause for IBS.
  • Up to 20% of U.S. adults have IBS symptoms. More women than men are diagnosed with IBS but many never seek medical help for it.
  • Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease that causes inflammation and sores, called ulcers, in the inner lining of the large intestine, which includes the colon and the rectum. The inflammation causes erosion of the lining of the colon, leading to bleeding, production of pus, diarrhea, and severe abdominal discomfort.
  • Ulcerative colitis affects more than 1 in every 1,000 Americans and mostly starts between the ages of 15 and 30.

As a nutritionist I knew there was more to it than stuffing a bunch of prescription pills down my throat and hoping for the best. I knew that I needed to start listening and trusting my gut! But how? Where to start? I did a TON of research on gut nutrition and gut bacteria. I started eliminating foods and drinks to find what foods were triggering my symptoms. And I also started adding probiotics into my diet – something that I had never taken or knew a whole lot about.

Probiotics can be found in fermented foods such as pickles or sauerkraut and in pill form. While many people are familiar with the general term “probiotics,” most do not understand the importance of knowing which specific strain of organism should be used for which specific disease or condition. It is suggested that adults should take at least one billion cells (also called colony-forming units or CFU’s) daily.

Ok, so where can you find a trusted and high quality probiotic? Right here!

VSL#3 is a high-potency probiotic medical food that is clinically proven in the dietary management of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis (UC) and ileal pouch. It is a proprietary formulation of a mix of 8 strains of live lactic acid bacteria, making it one of the few probiotics with this many strains. VSL#3 is at least 10 times more potent than the average probiotic!

They are gluten-free, Kosher and Halal certified. VSL#3 differs from other probiotics in that it is a medical food, not a supplement, and therefore must be used under medical supervision. VSL#3 is available at your local pharmacy. Please ask your pharmacist for VSL#3 as it is kept behind the pharmacy counter in the refrigerator.

I know for a fact that adding probiotics to my daily routine, along with eliminating trigger foods and eating fresh, whole foods has dramatically changed my gut health! If you are suffering and you are unsure where to go or how to treat it, I highly encourage you to talk with your doctor about adding VSL#3 into your life!

For more information about the high-potency probiotic medical food, VSL#3, that is clinically proven in the dietary management of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis (UC) and ileal pouch, visit Use the current coupon code “Doctor” to use at checkout on to receive $5 off your next purchase!

Be sure to connect with VSL#3 on Facebook

Learn more about how VSL#3 works, discover the difference and watch this short video:

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Let’s chat!

Do you have any gastro issues?

Do you currently use a probiotic?

VSL#3® is a high potency probiotic medical food that’s clinically proven in the dietary management of IBS, ulcerative colitis, and ileal pouch. To learn more visit and LIKE the brand on Facebook.

This is a product-provided, sponsored conversation that contains affiliate links. All opinions, text and experiences are my own. VSL#3 is a medical food and must be used under medical supervision.

awareness, health, local, market

Your local market


The sun is shining! It’s time to shed the sweaters and coats — and maybe a few extra pounds too! What better way to do it than with a visit to your local farmers or produce market.

When you become involved in the "buy local" movement, you’re supporting farmers and families in your community and your local economy. It’s also an opportunity to go green and refresh your healthy eating habits. Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Find what’s local. It’s as easy as typing "farmers market" into a search engine. You’ll find markets plus nearby farmers who sell their products, locations where you can pick your own and information on CSAs. What’s a CSA? It stands for community supported agriculture, and it’s an arrangement with local farmers for weekly deliveries of produce. Want an even easier first step? Next time you hit the grocery store ask if they feature local produce.
  2. Pay a visit. Get up and go — to the farm, the farmers market or even a roadside produce stand. You’ll find fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts, poultry, meat, cheeses, eggs, syrups, honey, and even flowers, soaps and crafts.
  3. Make a plan. I scope out the products and then plan my meals. Just this past weekend, I found salad greens (leaf lettuce, spinach, romaine), onions, herbs and tomatoes. I also picked up some eggs. We have a local baker too — so I bought some great whole-grain bread.

Using local foods inspires me to prepare healthy, plant-based meals that are low in calories and high in nutrients. I also feel good about supporting people in our community who make their living on the land. It’s a win-win. We eat healthier — and help our local farmers, economy and environment.

Remember to bring your reusable bags for easy shopping! I use these bags and love them!



awareness, dog treat, vegan

Feeding your dog vegan + sweet potato snacks!

sweet potato3

Who says your dog can’t have tasty, healthy and vegan snacks.

I’ve done a lot of reading and research and dogs are healthier when you incorporate veggies and fruit into their diet, and lay of the bagged and canned food. In fact, those “kibbles n’ bits” that is known as “dog food” is really not that great! In fact, it is down right disgusting and disturbing. I did a quick google search and found some eye opening material and videos. Let me ask you one question: if YOU wouldn’t eat it, then why should you feed it to your dog?

There are questions whether or not dogs are meant to eat meat or not. Regardless, dogs should have an ample amount of fruits and veggies in their diet.

More and more animals are coming down with allergies just like humans. Could this be caused from their diet or environment? You bet! My mom’s dog has skin and tummy problems and they have to monitor his diet for the rest of his life. No gluten, no store bought food… lot’s of brown rice, carrots and food they buy at their vet. I am going to share some recipes (links below) with her as another food source for him. It’s perfectly fine to feed your dog a high vegetable diet. Just be cautious and make sure you are avoiding foods that are harmful for your dog. (link below) Start introducing at a slow rate. And always make sure you feed them in their bowl, not from the table.

Here are some great links about feeding your dogs a more whole, vegan diet:

Happy Herbivore’s Pugs are Vegan!

Foods that you should NEVER feed your dog.

Feeding your vegan dog (recipes, too)

Ecolife – homemade dog food ideas

The worst (and better) dog food brands

I have made dog treats in the past with peanut butter (very good for dogs) and flour… but I’m keeping it simple this time. These treats are 100% sweet potato slices. Nothing else. Trust me, your dog will thank you!

*This recipe/idea is from 17Apart* Show them some love and visit their site!
sweet potato1

1 large sweet potato, scrubbed with peel left on
baking sheet
oven or dehydrator

Slice rounds about 1/4 – 1/2 inch slices – don’t worry about them being perfect. I set my oven to 180 degrees F and let bake for 4-5 hours. I checked on them every hour and flipped them half way through. I turned the oven off and just left the sheet in the oven until they were cooled. The treats came out a bit soft still but firm. For more of a crunchier and chewier texture just up the time in the oven. I think next time I will bake these for 6-8 hours.

 sweet potato2 

Remember: your dog is loyal to you. And you should be loyal to them! If you are wanting to add a furry friend to your family, look at local pet and rescue shelters. Millions of animals die each day due to neglect. Save a life and gain a lifetime companion!

Healthy Eating!


awareness, health, work

5 tips to succeed in eating healthy at work

For those of you trying to eat healthy can have some difficulty in keeping this up at your workplace. More often than not, the work pressure can mean that you skip your lunch or eat excessively as you work. Erratic eating habit along with eating anything that’s served up at the office canteen can seriously jeopardize your efforts at eating nutritious food. It is so easy to forget the meal hours especially in a stressful job area. Here are 5 tips on how you can still eat healthy at your workplace.

1. Bring your own homemade food

The office will be the last place where you can have a balanced, nutritious lunch or snacks so watch out and be well prepared. You can combat this by bringing in your own meal from home which naturally will be prepared according to your requirement. You can use the leftover chicken salad from dinner to prepare sandwich for your lunch. Always include some fruits and vegetables into your lunch box to balance out your main meat or chicken meal. This way you are accountable for what you eat, as well as aware of how much calories went into the lunch box. When you eat from the office canteen there is no track of how much sugar, fats and carbohydrates are going into your system.

2. Keep healthy snacks at work

Eating healthy is just not about lunch only but those munchies in between your coffee break. Why not load up on some healthy nuts, fruits and yoghurt in the refrigerator as these are suitably light but can still sustain you throughout the day. This also helps you to stay away from the vending machines for those tempting treats.

3. Control the portion of intake

Vary the kind of food you want to take to work but make them out in small portions, so that you can still eat throughout the day without minding the calories. These can come in the form of fruit salad, cereals and yoghurt which can be taken in small portions throughout the day.

4. Be conscious of what’s really healthy

Try to educate yourself on the nutritional values that you can derive from each food item or the harm it can cause you. Besides, do not go for those sodas and carbonated drinks but rather drink fresh water and sugar free iced tea. Study your menu balance and try to stick through with your plan, and avoiding all those food that’s out of your list.

5. Eat away from your desk

The worst place to eat at work is at your desk which can be a multiple distraction for concentrating on your food. You also lose track of how much portion you are eating and may consume more while still busy doing your work. When eating food, it is always nice to focus on what you are eating, savoring the flavor and enjoying the meal. Try to go to a secluded corner or take a seat in the park nearby where you can relax for the hour.


These few tips can make all the difference in your eating habit at work in a healthy and nutritious way. You can start off with this healthy practice if you have not already done so and you will begin to feel the benefits within no time.

About the author: Diana Maria is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on technology and luxury. Beside this she’s fond of books. Recently an article on Genetically Modified Foods attracted her attention. These days she is busy in writing an article on Patio Sets.

awareness, cl, clean eating, health

Feed your brain!

Choosing the right foods to feed and nourish your brain are a fundamental element in living a healthy life. Increase your mental agility and improve your memory by choosing the right foods and helping your brain function better. Below are some great foods that help memory, strength and over all health. If you are already eating clean then you should already be feeding your brain the healthful way!

Opt for wholegrain food image
Walk into a room and forget why you’re there? Forget already what this article’s about? Make sure you’re eating a diet rich in a mix of wholegrain foods such as cereals, wheatbran, wheatgerm and wholewheat pasta. One study found that women who increased their folic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 intake showed an improvement in recalling information compared to women who were not taking a supplement.

Binge on blueberries Research from Tufts University in the United States and published in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that blueberry extract can improve short term memory loss. Widely available, so there’s no excuse!

Eat more tomatoes

Tomatoes are high in lycopene - a powerful antioxidant There is good evidence to suggest that lycopene, a powerful antioxidant found in tomatoes, could help protect against the kind of free radical damage to cells which occurs in the development of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s.

Add vitality with vitamins
Folic acid and vitamin B12 help prevent homocysteine from building up in the body – levels of which have been found to be higher in people who have Alzheimer’s.
Fortified cereals are a great source of B12 and also contain complex carbohydrates which release energy over a long period and will keep you more mentally alert throughout the day.

Feast on blackberries and boost levels of vitamin C Get a blackcurrant boost
Vitamin C has long been thought to have the power to increase mental agility. One of the best sources of this vital vitamin is blackcurrants.

Pick up pumpkin seeds
Just a handful a day is all you need to get your recommended daily amount of zinc, vital for enhancing memory and thinking skills.

Bet on broccoli A great source of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function and improve brainpower.

Sage helps improve memory Sprinkle on sage
Sage has long had a reputation for improving memory and although most studies focus on sage as an essential oil, it could be worth adding fresh sage to your diet, too.

Go nuts
A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests that a good intake of vitamin E might help to prevent poor memory. Nuts are a great source of vitamin E along with leafy green vegetables, seeds, eggs, brown rice and wholegrains.

Brainpower supplements
Two supplements are causing excitement within the medical world. The first Eye Q, a blend of high grade marine fish oil and evening primrose oil, is thought to boost brainpower in children. A study by Durham County Council and Mansfield College, Oxford, concluded that 40 per cent of the children sampled improved both their reading skills and attention spans when taking the supplements.

The second is called Ethos Endymion, which contains L-Carnosine, a strong antioxidant which appears to have dramatic results for a number of conditions: cataracts, improving skin tone, speeding up wound healing, and protecting the brain from plaque formation that may lead to senility and Alzheimer’s. L-Carnosine is found in chicken and lean red meat so this powder supplement could be especially useful for veggies

Article found on GoodFood


awareness, clean eating, guest post, health

Guest Post – Dioxin Facts

Is Dioxin Hiding in Your Family’s Diet?

Dioxin is a highly toxic chemical which you and your family are likely exposed to every day without you even knowing it. Children, in particular, are susceptible to the risks of dioxin due to their smaller size and need for protein and fats to facilitate their growth. What are some sources of contamination and what can we do to protect out children from this threat?

Where it is found.

1) Meat.


The number one food category for the human consumption of dioxin is meats. This makes sense due to the fact that it is easily absorbed by fatty tissue. It is estimated that 42% (as of 2001) of the dioxins in our diets come from meats, whether beef, pork, poultry, or lamb. Where possible, cut meat out of your diet in order to avoid this exposure. Other tips are to purchase leaner cuts of meat and trim as much fat as possible before cooking. Also, naturally leaner meats such as poultry will contain less dioxin than fattier meats like beef. Finally, avoid fast food restaurants who add fat to their meats in order to improve the flavor.

2) Dairy.


Butter, mild, and cheese are other high sources of dioxin in our diets, accounting for an estimated 17% (as of 2001). Choosing lower fat milk, butter, and cheese will help in this regard, as well. Also, using margarine made with vegetable oil rather than dairy will help as well.

3) Fruits and Vegetables.


Believe it or not, fruits and vegetables can contribute to our dioxin intake as well. This is because dioxin is an ingredient in various herbicides (IDPH) as well as pesticides. Choosing organic and locally grown produce will help to make sure you are getting pesticide-free fruits and vegetables and help to keep your family safe.

4) Other food sources.


These include things such as fish, eggs, and fats and oils. In all these sources contribute little to our total dioxin exposure, but they are potential sources and the best way to mitigate the potential harm from them is to monitor consumption.

Dioxin and infants.


It is estimated that a nursing infant ingests up to 77 times the daily level proposed by the EPA to be safe. This affects both infants who are breast-fed as well as those who are given formula, so it is especially urgent for the sake of our children that something be done to curb the production of dioxin and for the EPA to finish assessments it has begun into the long-term impact of dioxin to our health and to the health of our children. For mothers who are nursing, following some of the above guidelines to decrease your own dioxin exposure will help to lessen the threat to our precious children.

Much has been done over the past 30 years to protect our families from this threat — from research to rules and legislation — but much work still needs to be done to fully understand the threat of dioxin to our health and to reduce its impact on our food supply. Being knowledgeable is the first step to making good choices which will protect our families from this toxic threat.

To learn more about Dioxin and Food Contamination, you may want to check out:

The Environmental Working Group

American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD)

Environmental Justice Activists This site is maintained by Action PA which is a grassroots organization for environmental justice.

Isabella York became interested in all aspects of a healthy lifestyle including efforts to reduce exposure to environmental toxins through a desire to be the best mother for her son. She is working to spread the information to others who may be unaware about the potential harm in the everyday foods they are consuming. She is a full time mother and also works for Balsam Hill, a purveyor of artificial Christmas trees.

awareness, clean eating, health

“Do you get bored?”

I recently was asked a question about the way I eat. An anonymous poster asked “Do you ever get bored with eating so healthy?”
What a great question! 
It sparked something in me and I wanted to share my thoughts will all that read my blog as I think it is a very important subject to delve into. 

The answer is: No.
I have never felt more enthusiastic about eating and food in general than right now in my life! I actually cannot wait for my next meal or snack as I know it will not only be good for my body but it will also taste AMAZING
And on top of everything else, I FEEL AND LOOK AMAZING! I have energy, bloating is gone, my digestion and intestinal track function normally, NO headaches, NO stomach issues, I think clearer, my skin glows… I am a completely new person, inside and out. I am also the lightest I have ever been but I also eat the most. I can see you scratching your head, but it makes perfect sense.
On a personal note: I have had a love – hate relationship with food for years. I never quite understood the meaning of healthy nor did I understand what foods could do for my body and soul. I was one of those of girls who bought everything low fat, fat free and sugar free. But I was so upset that I was not losing any weight. I restricted calories and fat, but still I saw no results. 
I cringed at the thought of going out to restaurants, eating around people or going to any event that had food. Everyday I would obsessively think about food and how negative I looked at it. 
So I popped diet pills, played around with starvation diets, even tried to succeed at eating disorders – yes, I tried but failed because deep down I knew it wasn’t right. At the time I felt that I had the power over food and my situation, and it was amazing! “Look at you stuffing your face, while I am here not touching anything on my plate. I have power and YOU DON’T!” Until I became light headed, had ZERO energy and when I did eat I was so famished I would binge. Binging leaded to guilt, fast fixes and an very unhealthy life.
I felt deprived and so bitter towards “thin” people who would be eating greasy food and still have their figure. I thought if I was “thin” I would finally be “happy”. It was a very low time of my life and just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes.
So why did I just share all of that? Because I have learned to embrace and welcome food into my life; but it has been a long road! I have never been so pleased and happy to sit down to a huge bowl or plate of food. I eat when I feel like it and ALL of those negative thoughts are COMPLETELY gone!
When I eat wholesome food from the Earth, I help give my body the proper fuel it deserves. I never take my body for granted any longer. My legs make me run, my heart makes me live, my brain makes me think, my eyes make me see, my arms make me hug and my hands make me feel. 
I want you to understand that I have made a lifestyle change to best suit my life, goals and desires. I love eating fresh, wholesome foods. Nothing beats a juicy piece of fruit on a hot summer day, or a warm mug of fresh made soup on a chilly afternoon. 
I am passionate about nature and what it provides for us. Taking a seed, giving it some love and watching it grow is such a spiritual experience. Then that same plant gives back, producing a variety of healing foods for you to enjoy. What a blissful relationship between man and plant.
I have eliminated processed foods from my diet completely, as they do not fit in the kind of lifestyle I want to live. They don’t even taste good to me; too salty, fake ingredients, added preservatives and ingredients that I simply cannot pronounce nor do I know anything about them. 
I am not on a diet. I don’t believe in diets and this word should be eliminated from everyone’s vocabulary. My motto is Eat to Live – Not Live To Eat. This has been a very long process and did not happen over night. I can fully understand where the anonymous poster is coming from – to the average person who eats an “average Western diet” may look at my daily plates of food and think, “Vegetables, weird grains, fruit… where is the fun in that?”. But to me it is fun and I have never eaten so many foods that have excited my taste buds and senses. 
For those that might be reading my blog for the first time, I live a 99% vegan life. I do not deprive myself of food, cravings, or even “fun” food. If you look in my freezer you will see a few cartons of coconut ice cream (which I will have to say is AMAZING!), I have a few bars of dark chocolate in the pantry along with potato chips and candy. Do I eat these on a daily basis? No.
I have found a healthy balance between living and food. I consciously splurge. I know that it might not be the best choice but Hey – I am grown woman who can make decisions. And I never feel guilty. 
Making a life style change may seem like a daunting experience. It’s about determining your goals, what you think you can do and the hardest part: ACTUALLY DOING IT! Here is a list that I feel would help anyone create a healthier lifestyle that can be achieve by anyone. 
  • Start small. Take one meal a day and try something new. Change your daily Egg McMuffin to a bowl of creamy oatmeal with peanut butter, pure maple syrup and dried fruit 4 times a week. You should be able to feel a difference in your body as you may not be bloated or puffy from all of the sodium, among other things that are in that breakfast sandwich.
  • Explore options for food purchases. Visit your local farmers market’s to get the best tasting and freshest produce around. You will be amazed by the way food is actually supposed to taste! You can also visit your local health food store or larger health food market. Just spend a few hours looking at all of the different products; you don’t even need to buy anything! Write down some products that you might like to try then go home and do some research.
  • Get cooking! A lot of the times people just don’t know what to cook and it’s hard for them to think outside the “Hamburger Helper” box. Buy a recipe book that is full of tantalizing pictures of wholesome food and get busy! Make it a family event where your husband and/or kids can help. Go to the store, buy all of the ingredients then make a tasty meal. Think your kids are picky? Getting them involved in making meals is a sure fire way to have them eat!
  • Make it look eye appealing! I don’t care how tasty a food is – if it doesn’t look good chances are you probably wont eat it. Purchase a few “fancy” plates and bowl and turn a simple salad into an elegant meal!
  • Look for support and know you are not alone. I think this is why “diets” fail – people feel that they are all alone. Just in the 8 months that I have been a food blogger I am simply amazed by how many other strong, healthy individuals eat a wholesome diet. I honestly believe this has helped me be more conscious about my food decisions and life style change. It has opened my eyes to new foods and cooking methods, and I never feel alone!
  • Splurge without guilt. Yes, have chocolate, have fries, have a big ol’ burger – but throw that side of guilt away! I used to have a huge amount of guilt for eating anything “bad” for me. This was way before I cleaned up my eating, though. I NEVER feel guilty any longer, but it has taken a long time for me to get to this point. Guilt adds pressure, stress and un-happiness to your life. The one concept I love about this life style change is that I don’t miss the way I used to eat so I don’t crave greasy food any longer and have no desire to eat out on a regular basis. I love my kitchen and cooking wholesome meals for me and my family. BUT when I do go out I enjoy every bite!
I hope this post has helped you see that I am very passionate about the way I eat and live. It’s not about being vegan or vegetarian, it’s about living a conscious life. Food helps your body grown, heal and live.
“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Michael Pollan
Here are some of my favorite resources that have helped me along my journey to optimal health:
Michael Pollan he has written The Omnivores Dilemma, In Defense of Food and Food Rules. ALL worth reading!
Food Inc – A documentary showcasing where are food comes from and exposing the truth about our beloved “farms”.
Animal, Vegtable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver – their family decided to up and move to a farm and eat from the local land.
The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone – her journey from an unhealthy eater to a glowing vegan. She explains eating healthy as sexy, as it should be! She also has a great website, The Kind Life, that she posts regular articles, recipes and healthy living ideas.
And I wouldn’t be here without ALL of the wonderful blogs I read on a daily basis! I am constantly learning from each one of you and I treasure each one of you! Check out my ever-growing blog roll on the right of my blog for inspiration!
Eating Animals – A sad, yet true picture of the impact eating meat causes. This is why I decided to live a vegan life. 
I am going to close with a few more thoughts that I want you take away form this post.
No – I don’t get bored eating the way I do. I embrace it and LOVE it. I love it because it not only tastes amazing but it makes me feel amazing.
But please remember that it has taken me years to get to this point. And it goes beyond cutting some vegetables for a salad; I understand the amount of work, time, love and care that goes into each vegetable, fruit or grain I eat. Food should be a celebration of life!
awareness, child obesity, mommy series

Mommy Series: Getting your children to eat healthy!

 child obesity
It comes to no surprise that I am very concerned with the child obesity rate in the USA. As an over weight child, I do not wish on my child what I had to go through: teasing, torturing, knowing that I was “different”.
With the obesity rate growing every year, Americans are in a downward spiral with no end in sight. That’s why it is so important for parents to do their very best in showing their children to eat and stay healthy. Prevention is the only way to put a stop to obesity.
Children are overwhelmed with advertising and marketing showing funny cartoon characters having a great time while chowing down some sugar coated food item. Cereal, snacks, candy… they are on every channel from morning until night. The neighbor kid, Johnny, has a pantry full of fruit roll ups, pop tarts, cereal, and your child comes home from playing begging for these exact items. What to do?
Here are some tips that I believe are the foundation to teaching our youth the importance to eating well, AND enjoying it at the same time!
  • Teach your children which foods are healthy–and why. But remember: make it fun and exciting! Buy a food pyramid or print one online and teach talk to them about it. Even make fake food cut outs or words and have them place the food item into the correct category.

  • Do not deprive them of “junk food”. This will only lead to discouragement, anger and jealousy. If your children eats healthy on a daily basis, a snack here or there will not hurt them. But be careful and do not let the junk food become a reward for good behavior. Bad habits can start this way when they start to EXPECT it.

  • Have your children help with the grocery list. Ask them to look in the fridge to see what you are low or out of. If they are old enough to write then have them print the list for you. Also ask them what kinds of foods they are wanting – the answers may be surprising!

  • Take them shopping with you for groceries. If your store has those child size carts, let them push it. Ask them to grab items, teaching them what it is and explaining why it’s important to eat it. If they ask for a certain food, interact with them by asking they think it’s a healthy food or not.

  • Be their role model and lead by example. It’s very hard for your child to see you drink soda and eat chips when you tell them to eat their broccoli. If you do not have healthy eating habits then how do you expect your children to have them?

  • Eat together as a family. Sit down, enjoy each others company and talk about your day. Do not make special foods for your children while you eat something different, unless of course there is a medical reason. There is no reason for your child to have something different from you.

  • Make food fun and exciting to eat! Incorporate lots of different items that add color and variety to their plate. Rule of thumb: presentation is just as important as taste.

  • Get them cooking with you. Have your children pick a recipe and have them make it with you. They will not only have fun but they will want to eat it! Teach them basic cooking skills so they can chime in and help whenever they feel like it. Always make your kitchen open to them.

  • Be aware that your kids may not like certain foods. Do not FORCE them to eat it as this only leads to disaster. Instead ask them why they don’t like it: taste, texture, temperature, etc. Try again at a different date and see if they will try it. Do not get frustrated and remember that you, as a parent, do not like certain foods, too. Everyone has their own taste and children’s palates are very different from ours.

  • Stay focused and do not give up. There will be bad times and good times – embrace the good times and learn form the bad. 

    awareness, faq, health

    What to do if you suspect a dairy intolerant baby

    You asked the questions, now you have the answers!
    I am doing another FAQ post that I believe is a very important topic: How do you know if your baby/child is dairy intolerant?

    Here are two questions I have received on this subject:

    Hello!! Love your blog!! Thanks for all the useful info so far 😉 I’m thinking my nursing baby may have a dairy intolerance…I’ve researched a bit online, but still not completely sure. Any knowledge on this that you could share?


    I realize you are probably quite busy, but wanted to ask you a question. I’m trying to eliminate most dairy from my diet, and I’m wondering…what are the best ways of getting enough calcium without taking a supplement?  I’m nursing my son and I suspect that he may have a diary sensitivity…still not sure.  I didn’t know if you could offer your advice! 

    Unfortunately, and fortunately, I have no first hand advice when it comes to dairy intolerance in babies. J was never bothered by dairy nor did he have any allergies, and still doesn’t. (Knocks on wood) I asked my dear friend, Lyndsay, who suspected her darling daughter, A, of being dairy intolerant. She gives a very detailed response that I am sure will help any mother trying to decipher if their baby has a dairy problem. This is a very common problem in babies and should be dealt with as soon as you suspect something.

    Picture Source 


    I reluctantly determined my daughter was allergic to dairy around 5 months of age; to this day, it’s unofficially diagnosed. Prior to that, I considered all other alternatives because I was in complete denial. ☺ My sister attempted to convince me, since it runs heavily in our family, but I still refused. I even had my pediatrician prescribe her two dairy different reflux medications swearing it was just that, silent reflux. At any rate, I finally came to this conclusion because from birth she was a very cranky baby and she was often hard to comfort. I passed it off as being over stimulated, which may have been some of it. She also developed mild eczema. Her stools became mucousy (i.e. snot-like), unlike the green, seedy breastfeeding poop. She was a crappy sleeper, during the day and at night. So I gave it a shot, I cut out dairy for a few days and immediately I noticed an improvement in her disposition and her sleeping. Her poop also began to look more normal and her eczema faded away. I had thought it was silent reflux because she often arched her back while nursing; this is a sign of reflux. However, I later learned a dairy allergy could mimic reflux. My pediatrician was always reluctant to diagnose, despite my repeated testimonies about her allergy. My pediatrician only considers a food allergy when blood is present in a child’s stool; this was not the case with my daughter, at least there was no blood to the naked eye. We are currently scheduled for allergy testing in 2 weeks because I suspect she may have more allergies than just dairy. Unfortunately, food allergies run heavily in my family.

    symbol-dairy-free Cutting out dairy from my diet, since I was breastfeeding, was fairly simple. My sister and her youngest daughter were both allergic, so she was a wealth of information on substitutes and what to avoid. The food industry also makes it fairly easy to avoid popular allergens by listing any allergens underneath the ingredients list. The hardest part of avoiding dairy was giving up my beloved ice cream, pizza, chocolate, etc. ☺ But I survived, another 10 months, without dairy and my daughter is still sensitive to this day; although, I quit breastfeeding when she was approximately 15 months old. We’re hoping she grows out of it, its possible up to the age of 2, but given our family history we know she may not. To this day if she has too much dairy, because she can tolerate a tiny amount, she is cranky (make that, very cranky), her poop becomes runny again, and her sleep is interrupted (this is from the stomach cramping I believe).

    At any rate, avoiding dairy, as I mentioned previously, is  quite easy. There are tons of diary-free/vegan substitutes for butter, sour cream, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, and godairyfreeeven cream cheese! Finding these dairy-free foods are easiest in the health food, organic aisle of your local grocer. But, again, all foods now must list the ingredients and any possible allergens, so even if your organic selection is limited you can just read the ingredient panel to know if you can eat it or not. Cooking with substitutes was fairly easy too. And, you can find a dairy free recipe for most anything! I found one for green bean casserole and pumpkin pie, and both were delicious! Thankfully, my daughter did not react to casein (aka caseinate), which is a milk derivative, so I didn’t have to avoid that. She was also not sensitive to foods made on equipment “shared” with dairy products.

    Eating out initially was difficult, but my husband and I rarely eat out, so it didn’t bother me too much. Over time I learned to do some research before going to the restaurant and if that failed, then I would just ask the waiter to ask the kitchen staff or chef. Some restaurants are better than others, and once you get the hang of what you can eat, it’ll get easier just to look at the menu and know what to avoid. Like I mentioned, doing online research before hand can make menu selection quick and easy. I often just Google whatever restaurant we’re headed to and “dairy free”. Most popular chains have something online about it or someone else has already done the legwork for you to find out what’s dairy-free/vegan.

    Overall, it was not that hard to cut out dairy in order to meet my goal of breastfeeding for one-year. Most people thought I was crazy to put myself through that, but it was a small sacrifice for giving my daughter what I believed was best, breast milk. Most of the time it did not bother me, but every now and then I was became depressed about what I could not eat. However, I usually quickly snapped out of it because there are really a ton of good-tasting substitutions. I wish anyone in this situation good luck as it can be a challenging and frustrating situation, but it can be done. Also, don’t give up on your instincts about what you may believe is a food allergy; some pediatricians are better than others in diagnosing one based on parents’ self reports vs actual testing.


    Thank you so much, Lyndsay! It’s very important to act on your instinct, just as Lyndsay did. Dairy intolerance in newborns is more common than parents tend to realize, causing both the child and parents more pain and tears than needed.

    Here are some valued online sources that I have read not only for dairy intolerant children but for adults as well:

    Go Dairy Free is a detailed website that offers wonderful recipes, incite and tips.

    Wholesome Baby Food was, and still is, my online go to site for baby/toddler food, recipes and ideas. Believe me, it’s a foreign subject when your breast feeding baby starts to eat solid food. I had so many questions and this site cleared them up for me.

    Vegan Society has been a wonderful resource for dairy-free recipes. While Lyndsay is not vegan, she used vegan sources to find ways to make her beloved recipes dairy free, and to gain more knowledge in living a dairy-free life.

    But what about calcium?
    Calcium is very important in growing children and adult women. We were always taught that milk, cheese and yogurt gave us the recommended daily serving of calcium we needed, 1000 MG. Contrary to belief, there are more effective and healthier ways to receive calcium than dairy.

    For vegan eaters: each item is 100 grams / 3.53 ounce servings

    Tofu, processed with calcium sulfate – 683 mg
    Soybeans, raw – 277 mg
    Almonds, raw – 248 mg
    White Beans – 240 mg
    Flaxseed – 199 mg
    Turnip Greens, raw – 190 mg
    1 cup of broccoli – 178 mg

    Arugula, raw – 166 mg
    Figs, dried and uncooked – 144 mg
    Kale, raw – 135 mg
    Spinach, raw – 99 mg

    Here is the source of this information; along with 110 more foods that contain calcium. I was very surprised to see so many seeds and herbs on this list. While you would have to eat an enormous amount to meet the amount of calcium listed, it is comforting to know that besides flavor, spices, herbs and seeds do more good than we may have thought!

    Dairy does more harm than good, in my opinion. Contrary to belief, it has no effect on osteoporosis, contains unhealthy cholesterol and saturated fat, is linked to the growing diabetes rate, and so on. This is a wonderful article stating the effects of dairy.

    True, it tastes good but just as Lyndsay explained, after not eating dairy you really don’t miss it. Plus there are alternatives to everything located in the supermarket. Milk, butter, cheese, yogurt and so on. You just have to open your eyes.

    I really hoped this post answered your dairy questions. I plan to continue doing my research on the effects of dairy and share with all of you soon. I would also love to hear your thoughts on this, as well! Do you or someone you know have a dairy problem? Did your children?

    Healthy Eating,

    awareness, clean eating, health

    7 foods that you should avoid

    Eating clean does not mean you have to be a vegan or a vegetarian. It means that you are making a conscious effort to eat wholesome food that is from the earth with minimal processing and contaminants. They are often organic and should never contain preservatives. But in a lot of cases the methods of today’s food producers are neither clean nor sustainable.

    Here is a list of items that should be limited to your daily food consumption. While I am not saying to “ban” them from your diet, I want you all to be aware of the hidden dangers and to make adjustments when you can.


    Canned Tomatoes                                                                               Fredrick Vom Saal, PHD, Endocrinologist

    Tin cans contain BPA – Bisphenol – A, a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to certain health problems: reproduction problems, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. The acidity found in tomatoes causes the BPA to leech out into the food and contaminating it. And not in canned tomatoes alone – all tomato based substances, like soups and sauces, should be avoided and purchased in glass containers.

    Solution: Ditch the can and go for fresh. Easier said than done, I know. Making homemade soup on the weekend, searching for glass jars of tomatoes and tomato sauce, and understanding that fresh is really the best.

    Corn-Fed Beef                                                                                     Joel Salatin, farmer, author

    Cattle evolved to eat grass, not grains. Because of the high demand of meat these days, farmers are forcing cattle to eat corn and soybeans. Not only is this a cheaper food source, it also fattens up the cattle so they can slaughter them faster. Unfortunately this means more money for the cattle farmers, lower prices at the super market BUT LESS nutrition for us. Clemson University researched meat and found grass-fed beef is higher in beta-carotene, vitamin E, omega-3’s, CLA, calcium, magnesium and potassium. It is also lower in inflammatory omega-6’s and saturated fat.

    Solution: Buy grass fed beef. You can find it at specialty grocery stores, health food stores that carry fresh meat and farmers markets. If you don’t see grass-fed beef out on the shelves, ask the butcher. They sometimes will have it in the back or can easily get a shipment in. You can also buy direct from a local farmer – find one near you by visiting

    Microwave Popcorn  

    Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is in the lining of the popcorn bag, are just some of the compounds that may be linked to infertility in humans, according to a recent study at UCLA. In recent animal testing, PFOA caused liver, testicular and pancreatic cancer. When heated in a microwave, these compounds vaporize and leach into the popcorn you eat. While manufactures have promised to phase out PFOA by the year 2015, the chemical stays in your body for years and accumulates there.

    Solution: Pop your corn the old fashion way – In a large pot with oil. Add REAL butter or nutritional yeast for flavor.

    Nonorganic Potatoes                                                                           

    It only makes sense that root vegetables absorb herbicides, pesticides and fungicides that are in the soil. The potato is the most popular vegetable – think french fries! They are treated with large amounts of fungicides during the growing season, then sprayed with herbicides to kill the vines before harvesting. But it doesn’t stop there; after they are dug up they are yet again treated to prevent them from sprouting. “I’ve talked with potato farmers who say point blank they will not eat the potatoes they sell. They have a separate plots where they grow potatoes for themselves without the chemicals.” says Jeffery Moyer, who is the chair of the National Organic Standards Board.

    Solution: Buy organic potatoes. Washing isn’t good enough as the chemicals absorb straight through the skin.

    Farmed Salmon
    David Carpenter, MD, Director of the Institution for Health and the Environment

    Nature did not intend for salmon to be locked up in pens, crammed in on each other and fed soy, poultry litter and hydrolyzes chicken feathers. Farmed salmon is lower in vitamin D and higher in contaminants which include cancer causing carcinogens, PCB’s, flame retardants, and pesticides such as dioxin and DDT. The most contaminated fish come from Northern Europe, which is found on American menus. Science has also linked DDT to diabetes and obesity. There is also the concern about the high level of antibiotics and pesticides used to treat these fish. “You could eat on of these salmon dinners ever 5 months with increasing your risk of cancer,” says Carpenter. “It’s that bad.”

    Solution: Look for wild-caught Alaskan salmon. If you see fresh Atlantic, it’s farmed. There are no commercial fisheries left for wild Atlantic salmon.

    Milk Produced with Artificial Hormones

      To boost milk production, producers treat their dairy cattle with recombinant bovine growth hormone AKA rBGH or rBST. rBGH increases udder infections and even pus in the milk – YUCK! It also leads to higher levels of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor. High levels of IGH-1 contribute to breast, prostate and colon cancers. “When the government approved rBGH, it was thought that IGF-1nfrom milk would be broken down in the human digestive tract,” says Rick North. As it turns out, the casein in milk protects most of it. “There is no proof that this is increasing cancer in humans. However it’s banned in most industralized countries.”

    Solution: Check the labels for rBGH-free, rBST-free, produced without artificial hormones, or organic milk. Also be aware that in order to be free of all artificial hormones in dairy, all dairy must be organic – cheese, yogurt, butter, etc.

    Conventional Apples

    Apples are the most heavily sprayed fruit in the supermarket. Why? Apples are grafted to maintain their each unique and distinctive flavor. Because of this, apples do not develop resistance to pests and are sprayed frequently. While the industry claims these residues are not harmful, it is common sense to minimize exposure by avoiding the most sprayed and treated produce. “Farm workers have higher rates of many cancers,” says Mark Kastel, former executive for agribusiness and organic food expert. And increasing number of studies are starting to link a high percentage with Parkinson’s disease and high levels of ingested pesticides.

    Solution: Buy organic apples. If you cannot afford organic apples, be sure to wash a peel the apple before eating it.

    Side note – here is a list of the 12 most heavily contaminated produce in the market: (in no particular order)

    1. Strawberries
    2. Bell peppers (green and red)
    3. Spinach (tied with number 2)
    4. Cherries (grown in the United States)
    5. Peaches (grown in Chile)
    6. Cantaloupe (grown in Mexico)
    7. Celery
    8. Apples
    9. Apricots
    10. Green beans
    11. Grapes
    12. Cucumbers