Class – Eating with others

When one begins a journey in nutrition, one of the first concerns or challenges seems to be the polarizing effect of eating healthfully and eating SAD (Standard American Diet).  It’s true, if you want to eat healthfully it means knocking out a lot of the “culturally acceptable” feast extravaganzas.  There is a ton written on this topic, polite excuses to get you out of the fatty, cheesy, meaty dishes at a well meaning friend’s house, eating before you head to Aunt Sally’s before Thanksgiving, hosting your own holiday meal sans all taboo foods.  Personally, that all sounds TERRIBLE to me, here’s the only thing I’ve read (so far) covering this topic of “food culture” that I like.  It is an excerpt from Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D., his book: “Eating Well for Optimum Health The Essential Guide to Food, Diet and Nutrition”.

Dr. Andrew Weil

Dr. Andrew Weil

A couple of caveats: Dr. Weil’s philosophy is like “when in Rome”, if I were vegan or vegetarian, this might not work.  Also, I’m not in Rome everyday if you get my meaning, this is for the occasional experience.

It’s a long excerpt but I hope you’ll find it helpful.

“The social importance of food and eating, like their association with pleasure, must be honored by anyone advocating eating well.  Too often people who follow rigid diets in the name of health isolate themselves from the social interaction that is itself an important factor in optimum health.  I can think of no better illustration of this observation than this excerpt from an article entitled, “Camaraderie Is the Best Diet” by Ronald Koetzch that appeared in Natural Health Magazine:

‘I spent a month in Russia, teaching at Moscow State University. One weekend, Martha (my teaching partner) and I went with several Russian students to visit St. Petersburg….We arrived around 11:00 p.m.  Our hosts were a medical student and his wife and they had prepared a Russian banquet for us.  There was borscht, thick slabs of dark bread, mounds of butter, salted fish, apples, pastry, cheese and vodka.  By the time we sat down to eat it was well past midnight….I was tired and not particularly hungry.  And I remembered that eating late usually makes me feel lethargic and dull in the morning.  Like Buddhist minks who do not eat after midday, I prefer to go to bed on an empty stomach.

So when the eating began, I politely explained that I wasn’t feeling well and that I would just have some water and apple juice.  My hostess said, “If you don’t feel well, the answer is to eat.  Yes. Yes.  Eat for health.”….

I held to abstinence, though, with a slight sense of self-righteousness.  While everyone else ate, drank and was merry, I sipped juice and water and waited for the moment when I could politely excuse myself and go to bed.  After an hour or so, I did, but the eating, drinking, conversation and laughter continued long thereafter.  One of my last thoughts before sleep was: “Well I, anyway, will be clear and energetic tomorrow when we tour the city.”

Alas, such was not the case.  I was groggy and out of sorts, and I felt alienated from the others.  Andy they, despite going to bed full of vodka and food, were cheerful and brimming with energy.

I was a bit dismayed by the apparent injustice…..

Soon after my Russian sojourn, I was in Germany….and I attended a breakfast marking the end of a local holiday.  The meal was served in a huge hall.  In the middle was a 30-piece German brass band playing “oom-pa-pah” music at a mind-numbing volume.  Hundreds of men dressed in dark suits and frilled white shirts were sitting at long tables, drinking beer, talking, laughing and occasionally breaking into song.

As soon as I sat down, a large mug of frothy beer was placed before me, and my immediate neighbors – red-faced and smiling- (they) raised their mugs in salute… did not seem a time to ask for peppermint tea….(I) took a sip of my beer.  It was thick and delicious.  I took another sip and started talking to my neighbor, a policeman from the town.  When I finished my mug, another appeared in front of me….

Eventually, breakfast was served.  It featured a deep-fried pork cutlet about the size of a Frisbee. To one who has eaten little meat and no pork for over two decades, it seemed “The Mother of All Pork Cutlets”….what was I to do? -ask our Walkyrie of a waitress to bring my hummus and alfalfa sprout sandwich instead?  I dug in, eating the cutlet, potato salad, and everything else on the plate with relish.  It was delicious.

When I left, I was relaxed, happy……I had a sense of foreboding though.  When will the ax of judgement fall upon my dietary sins?  I wondered.  But it never did.  I felt unusually energetic and ebullient that whole day and for days afterward.’

Koetzsch’s conclusion is that when ‘food is blessed by being shared, by being eaten in fellowship amidst conversation and laughter….all food is ‘health’ food.’  I agree.”

Me too!

Lastly…I know, longest post ever…anyway, Dr. Weil is a nice “transition” teacher if you are moving from SAD (Standard American Diet) to a healthier way of eating.  Plus he reminds me of Santa Claus, which is an awesome thing in my humble (and lengthy) opinion.


Class continued

Dr. Frank Lipman

This guy not only has a face that that says, “You can trust me. let’s be friends”, his website/blog is incredible!  Dr. Frank Lipman is the quintessential celebrity doc, he’s got books, he’s got supplements, he’s got a cleanse program, but the reason I’m a fan is he’s really relatable.  When he says he was a sweet addict, and it’s still hard for him today, I believe him.  He’s got a whole team of people working his blog, content is refreshed and renewed at a New York pace. It’s rare I tune in and don’t find at least one thing that intrigues me.  He also contributes to Gwyneth Paltrow’s website from time to time and I always bookmark his contributions, I just find him so helpful, it’s a great quality….especially in a doctor!


Kimberly Snyder

Kimberly Snyder, C.N.

Now about this lady, she’s a human lightbulb she’s so glow-y.  Kimberly Snyder, C.N is the ultimate celebrity nutritionist.  She too has a book (haven’t read it) she also has a “Signature drink” and I’m not talking the kind Martha Stewart recommends for turning your dinner into a par-tay.  Kimberly is the creator of the Glowing Green Smoothie or GGS, she does a lot of raw, mostly vegan if not entirely, I’m still getting to know her.  The blog is very grass-roots feeling, home-done, makes her feel very accessible in my opinion.  I like some of her tips for fighting the water bloat (cranberry concentrate (note I did not say cranberry cocktail)), super helpful when flying or a certain time of the month.  A lot of Kimberly’s information is contrary to some of the things I’ve read – even things I’ve read by the good Dr. Lipman above, BUT the proof is in the pudding and I’ve been giving her GGS a go and I’m feeling pretty darn good.

High as a kite

Fun Dip, aka my kids drug of choice

Fun Dip, aka my kids drug of choice

Ugh, sometimes I really have a hard time with my world.  When did Valentine’s Day become a week long extravaganza riddled with enough sugar to rot all the teeth in my neighborhood?  My children have already received two “Valentine’s” each, Valentine’s Day is still four days away….god help me if these are pre-Valentine’s Day “valentines” or something. I use quotes because these are not homemade cards and hearts with sweet professions of friendship.  These “valentines” are bags filled with drugs candy.  And not just a lollipop, each “valentine” held no less than 5 packages of candy?!

So, my kids are pretty awesome, they know I’m going to “edit” their Valentine’s booty and they don’t put up a fight.  I laid out their treasure trove of cavity inducing sweetness and allowed them each to choose one (the rest will magically disappear).  My elder child went for the Fun Dip and my younger, being the individual he is, grabbed the exact same thing.  Now we have a mid-morning to late afternoon  filled with finishing their own Valentines for friends, and I swear my kids are high.  I’ve got music going as incentive to get out of your seat at any time and help your body burn that sugar, but the look in their eyes is CRAZY, like their brains are vibrating irregularly.

And at the same time, although I’m dripping with disapproval of this unhealthful not to mention wasteful custom, I’m wondering if my kids will feel their homemade cards with sweet sentiments and unique artwork measure up to plastic bags filled with pounds of candy?!  The depths of parenting worry and guilt know no reason!

Now, to try and balance my toxic rant, I give you MY preferred way to get high with your Valentine, aptly named “Aztec Spirit” from Kris Carr’s latest book, I modified a few things, but here it tis:

Serves 2

3 cups nut milk

1/3 cup cacao

1 vanilla bean scraped or 3/4 tsp vanilla extract

2 shots espresso or strong coffee

1 banana

2 TBS maple syrup (or stevia to taste)

3 kale leaves (stems removed)

Pinch of cayenne (optional although Kris says it’s a known aphrodisiac, so Happy Valentine’s Day to YOU)

Blend until smooth.

Class is in session

photo via VIM + VIGOR

photo via VIM + VIGOR

I’ve been thinking about about going back to school for nutrition, but the timing is not quite right…..yet.  But that doesn’t mean I’m going to put my interests on hold, instead the internet, books, blogs and as I recently found out, regular old websites can provide a wealth of super helpful information (and it’s free).  I was researching the latest juice place to come to town and was really impressed by the information on their site.  Ready class, this information brought to you by Vim + Vigor:

First, a short explanation on how juicing can help clean things up:

What is a juice cleanse?

A juice cleanse is the effective removal of waste in the body that has been accumulated over the years due to improper diet, pharmaceuticals, and internal pollutants in the human body. Our goal in juice cleansing and a clean diet is to alkalize the system. Our green vegetable juices are completely alkaline, balancing acidity in the body.

Why is there a lack of fruit juice in your cleanses?

Fruit and its juices are ideal human food and some of the cleanest food on the planet. That being said, the modern human has been eating a mainstream diet laden with improper foods, chemicals, alcohol, drugs, etc. which has caused most human bodies to be systemically yeasted. Yeast in the body is fed by sugar in any form such as fruit, fruit juices, maple syrup and agave nectar (which are used in programs like the “Master Cleanse”). By eliminating the fruit sugar from the green juices you begin to “starve the yeast” which can lead to the most success in your cleanse. In fact, the addition of fruit juices in a cleanse are one reason why most cleanses fail because they actually “feed” already overwhelming colonies of yeast in the body. Yeast lives on sugar and fruit juices and maple syrup in lemon juice water will cause the proliferation of yeast and further putrefaction and fermentation of waste matter in the body.

Why do the majority of your juices for cleansing contain greens?

The alkalinity and chlorophyll in green plants give the body all it needs to make healthy blood and thus creating a healthy body. The greens act as “soap” in the body and help clean the system as a whole while providing the most optimal and assimilated form of nutrition. The green juices contribute alkaline minerals and are the MOST important ingredient in the juice. The greens are the cleaners!

Now the juicing/blending/snacking ingredient cheat sheet:


Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, which have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease due to cholesterol lowering effects. High in magnesium, almonds improve the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.


Manganese, Vitamin E, Magnesium


Apples are a fantastic addition to nearly all juices due to their high mineral content. Benefits of daily apple consumption include healthy hair, skin, nails and digestion, as well as overall immune support.


Vitamin C, Vitamin A, B-Complex, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Silicon, Sodium, Sulfur


Beets are an excellent diuretic, blood toner and builder, which makes them fantastic for detoxification and cleanse protocols.


Rich in Betaine (helps reduce inflammation), Folates, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Carotenoids, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium.


Carrot juice provides the enzymes and nutrients to assist in the production of energy, has the necessary essential minerals to help regulate digestion and promotes healthy skin, teeth, tissue and eyes.


Beta Carotene (precursor to vitamin A), Thiamin, Niacin, B6, Folate, Manganese, Vitamin C, K and Potassium, Dietary Fiber


Celery has been used extensively as a mild laxative and diuretic, to heal wounds, to sooth irritated nerves and to break up gallstones. It’s also now being used as a treatment in the chemical imbalance of arthritis.


Complex B Vitamins, Fiber, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Potassium, Manganese


Cucumbers are very similar to beets in many ways as it’s one of nature’s best diuretics promoting cleansing throughout the body. Being that it also has such a high sulphur and silicon content it’s extremely beneficial for increasing the health of the hair and nails.


Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Pantothenic Acid, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Manganese, Potassium


Ginger is a very special root. Used in ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for thousands of years it effect on digestive function and as an anti-inflammatory are well documented. It is also known to be anti-bacterial as well as anti-pyretic.


Antioxidants, Essential Oils, Potassium, Manganese, Copper, Magnesium


Grapefruit is high in enzymes that burn fats, contains high water content and is low in sodium. These three characteristics make grapefruit the ideal food for increasing metabolism and reducing cholesterol levels.  The immune boosting fruit also contains Pectin, a dietary fiber that promotes better digestion and liver function.


Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Lycopene


Kale is the king of juicing as it has benefits as it is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. Loaded with rich sources of antioxidants as well as anti cancer/tumor compounds it’s can be used as a great daily tonic to your morning routine.


Calcium, Chlorophyll, Vitamin A, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Beta Carotene, Vitamin K, B-Complex


Lemons are quite possibly one of the most versatile foods available, including it’s ability to alkalize, detoxify and improve overall digestive function. Since free radicals can damage blood vessels and can change cholesterol to make it more likely to build up in artery walls, vitamin C can be helpful for preventing the development and progression of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease.


Vitamin C and its Bioflavonoids, Vitamin A, Folic Acid, Potassium, Iron, Magnesium, Trace Elements


Limes are quite possibly one of the most versatile foods available, including it’s ability to alkalize, detoxify and improve overall digestive function. Since free radicals can damage blood vessels and can change cholesterol to make it more likely to build up in artery walls, vitamin C can be helpful for preventing the development and progression of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease.


Vitamin C and its Bioflavonoids, Vitamin A, Folic Acid, Potassium, Iron, Magnesium, Trace Elements


Oranges are known for their supportive action within the immune system by giving the body much needed antioxidants to counter the harmful effects of free radicals.


Vitamin C and its Bioflavonoids, Vitamin A, Zeaxanthin, Lutein, B-Complex Vitamins, Potassium, Calcium


Pears are one of the highest sources of flavonols among all fruits and vegetables. As a very good source of dietary fiber, pears might logically be expected to help protect from development of type 2 diabetes as well heart disease due to the combination of both soluble and insoluble fiber in this fruit.


Phytonutrients, Fiber, Vitamin C


Vitamin C is the body’s primary water-soluble antioxidant, defending all aqueous areas of the body against free radicals that attack and damage normal cells. Excessive inflammation, excessive coagulation of the blood, and certain types of tumor growth may all be reduced by therapeutic doses of bromelain in the diet.


Vitamin C, Bromelain


The vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber found in romaine lettuce are especially good for the prevention or alleviation of many common health complaints.  High in water context and low in calories. Hearth-healthy green.


Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Folate, Vitamin C, Dietary Fiber


Spinach truly is one of nature’s super foods. Loaded with rich phyto chemicals and large amounts of the bone building vitamin K it’s a great added benefit to any cleanse or detoxification protocol.


Iron, B-Complex Vitamins, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Beta Carotene, Vitamin K, Zinc, Manganese, Omega 3 Fatty Acids


Turmeric is widely known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. A daily dose or shot of this vital root can help offer protection from many common modern ailments.


Curcumin, B-Complex, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Potassium, Iron, Manganese, Zinc


Watercress is a source of phytochemicals and antioxidants, a diuretic, an expectorant, and a digestive aid.  It also believed to have antiangiogenic cancer-suppressing properties. Watercress is a superfood – high in calcium, vitamin c and potassium.  Natural antibiotic.


Iron, Calcium, Iodine, Folic Acid, Vitamin A, Vitamin C

Making good

Awhile ago, I wrote about the “100 things” guy and mentioned I’d be doing an inventory of my own.  Well, I’ve slacked and now I’m thinking of building a closet so guess what?  I took an inventory of my clothes!  No use creating a space to store things unless I know exactly what I need to store, right?

closet 1

1 of my 2 (very small) closets

I am terrified of your judgements, as I have FAR MORE than I dreamed, I have 8 sets of PJs for example.  But, before I further reduce my clothes, I thought I should take stock, as embarrassing as my 8 sets of PJs are, not knowing about it is worse in my mind.  The awesomeness of doing this exercise is in touching and looking at everything you’ve purchased to put on your body.  It’s easy to see what you are really wearing.  My favorite shirt that is threadbare from so much ware sitting next to the two others I bought as “replacements” but I never actually wear.  Also, to remind myself that I can do with FAR LESS, I’ve included a clothes inventory from Bea**, of Zero Waste Home, following my own list*.  To write down and categorize all of these clothing items has been SO helpful in so many ways, I am excited and scared to move on to the other parts of our home.  Alright, drum roll please……here’s my list:

17 Dresses – 2 formal, 9 dinner appropriate, 5 summer day dresses, 1 winter day dress

8 Skirts – 5 summer, 3 winter

3 Shorts

15 Hanging tops – 5 fancy, 10 daily button-downs

7 Jackets – 2 blazers, 2 workout, denim, rain jacket, cape

6 Coats – 2 Fancy, Pea coat, work coat, shell, trench

5 Cardigans

8 Thick sweaters

4 Light sweaters

13 Tees

6 Tank tops

11 Leggings/workout bottoms

13 Workout tops

8 PJs – 2 nightgowns, 3 winter top/bottom, 3 summer top/bottom

30 Shoes – 4 sneakers, 10 flats/boots, 9 heels, 6 sandals, 1 slippers

* My list is still incomplete, should take note of: bathing suits, intimates (bras, undies, tights, slips), socks, purses, hats….do I include the clothes I constantly borrow from my husband?

Bea’s List

  • Seven Tops: Four basics, three “fashion”. In order: Black long sleeve scoop neck, black 3/4 sleeve boat-neck, black spaghetti tank, black loose tank, hot pink loose tank, grey sparkly tank, ruffle long one shoulder. Tip: Find shirts that are long enough, so they can also serve as mini-dresses in the summer.
  • Three Sweaters: *Hooded sweater (heavy weight), black V-neck (medium weight), striped boat neck (thin weight). Tip: Buy good quality that does not fuzz up.
  • Three Dresses: Black sheath, denim shirt dress, colorful dress. Tip: Dresses for a simple wardrobe are made of a material that is cross-seasonal; for example, tweed does not apply.
  • Occasional Dress: Green Awards/dress for my brother’s wedding (I am now ready to donate, sell or redesign this one). Tip: Buy an occasional (once every five years) dress used, and donate it back to the thrift store after the event.
  • Six Bottoms: Jeans, trousers, black leggings, fitted skirt, loose skirt, shorts. Tip: Stay away from khakis/khaki color, which do not work well with winter pieces.
  • Intimates: Seven undies, matching convertible bra, two pairs of medium socks, *two pairs of thick socks, footless tights, PJ’s, and a swimsuit. Tip: Find the perfect bra first, match undies second. PJ’s should be light enough for summer, warm enough for winter, and be decent enough to wear overnight at someone’s house.
  • Six Shoes: High heels, boots, medium heels, jazz flats, sandals, *slippers. Tip: Match the color with your purse(s).
  • One All-Purpose Purse: I used to have three purses, but found this one used on my last shopping spree… my computer fits in it, and it has a removable strap to turn it from messenger into clutch for occasions. It is black to match my shoes. Tip: Make a list of items to fit in the “new” purse, take your computer to the store if necessary.
  • Five Toppers: The family blazer (Max, Leo and I have all shared it), black cardigan, *leather jacket, *sporty waterproof jacket, and a *cozzy. Tip: Go for texture and don’t be afraid of color, if your purse matches your shoes.
  • Accessories: *Winter hat, summer hat, belt, jewelry (wedding ring, belly piercing, fashion piece), All purpose cover-up, sunglasses, and *gloves. Tip: Stick with a hardware/metal color that fits your complexion (gold/silver), and find accessories that carry your base color and have dual function, such as a necklace that can serve as a belt.

** More of Bea’s tips for maintaining your Zero Waste wardrobe.