Sundried Tomato Powder

One of the highlights of my stay at Living Light Culinary Institute included early morning help in the kitchen before classes started. Weary eyed, sleepy headed, chilly morning walks to school....but I absolutely loved it and considered it an honor, working in a raw vegan commercial kitchen ~ how many are there of its kind, I don't know, but probably very few. It was too much fun working early morning under excellent great raw vegan chefs and instructors.

Despite a minor Blendtec lid *snafu*, I did eventually learn how to make proper sundried tomato powder {just imagine putting on the lid wrong, turning blender on high, powder everywhere. I only have a Vitamix, so who knew?}.

You'll love this's called "Sundried" but really, the dehydrating of tomatoes brings out their "cooked taste" without losing any of the nutrients {and without really cooking them}. Sweet, earthy, dark, hearty, and an amazing addition to soups, sauces, even guacamole and crackers! Flavor, flavor, flavor is where it's at. And right about now, we have bumper crops of tomatoes from the heat of summer, perhaps too much to know what to do with. If you're making salsa or sauce, you can just take the peels, seeds, innards, any part of the tomato, pulse it up in the blender and pour them over dehydrator trays. In a few days, you'll have a crumbly dry heap that you can process again in the vitamix into a powder. Keep it in an airtight container, and you're good to go for quite a while! 

One note: size really matters when dehydrating tomatoes. I learned this the hard way, but you can't simply cut a plum tomato in half {even the little cherry guys} and dehydrate them. The outside might be dry, but the underside is often wet and warm which means you can harbor mold. Plus it just takes too long to dehydrate which further exacerbates the mold issue. A quick chop in the blender or food processor {so it looks more like chunky sauce} should do the trick. 

3 cups chopped tomatoes, skins, innards, seeds, etc. Pulse these in a food processor or blender so they don't have any big chunks.

Lay the contents over two dehydrator sheets lined with teflex sheets. Dehydrate at least 24 hours (or more) at 110 degrees. I often keep these in for two days ~ you just want them to be completely dry. Let them rest and cool for 15 minutes, then crumble off into a vitamix vessel. Pulverize and store in an airtight container! Enjoy. 

Organic tomatoes from our garden. 

Organic tomatoes from our garden. 

Dehydrated chunks of tomatoes, before processing into powder. 

Dehydrated chunks of tomatoes, before processing into powder. 

Sundried tomato powder. 

Sundried tomato powder. 

#GiftABook: How one book learned to travel

If you know me, you know I love to declutter, reorganize, and keep things tidy. I even have a declutter group on FB where I host 30-day challenges, have written a pantry declutter ebook and teach Decluttering Classes at our local Community College on the subject. I'm a self-proclaimed declutter queen! 

But if you also know me, you know I have a serious book addiction.

The more I talked about decluttering, the more I realized I had to confess to the elephant in the room, which was that I had difficulty releasing books. Shoes? No problem. Clothes? No problem. Furniture, knick knacks, anything else? NO problem.

But there's nothing like a book ~ they're amazing to hold, feel, read from, even the scent of the book, and the sound of the pages turning. I was and never will be into an electronic device that rids us of that tangible experience with a book. However, we have a tiny, just "perfect" home, and my library was growing. 

Worst part is that I was moving them around, all around the house, without a clear plan. Most of my books were culinary, so I'd use and reuse them again, that was no problem. But those that I didn't use were still taking up space. The other groups of books were business books, self-improvement books, spirituality books, books about finances, music, and personal performance. I would move them from this shelf to that shelf, organize them by color, forget I had some, re read others, and just start collecting books that were by the same author. Collections, as you know, are a trap. It's the idea of a collection that we're intrigued by, not the books themselves....and I found myself swimming in books! 

So as soon as I read a delicious, amazing, inspiring book, I wanted to share that with someone else. I started mailing books to friends who I thought would enjoy them. I'd only ask that they'd keep the gift moving, to someone else would could use the inspiration. And so #GiftABook was born. 

I wrote my name and date on the inside cover, to keep track of where the book has been and who it was gifted to. And I sent them out on an adventure. With three intentions: 

1. Someone else could enjoy the book, become inspired. 

2. They'd share that with someone else, hoping for the same. 

3. They'd release the book, welcoming in something new, or simply loving the new space it created.

If you'd like to join me on this journey, please do....and if you happen to take any photos of the book, or would like to share your experience, please use the hashtag so we can all connect. 

See you on the other side, and happy reading! 

A December Hygge Challenge


What in the world is Hygge? And what's a December Hygge challenge?

Before we start, I have to give you a little back story. 

One thing you may not know about me is that I'm a "get it done" type of person. Not quite Type A, but quite possibly VERY close, although I do my best to keep calm and smile and keep my internal environment joyful and relaxed...but I thrive in my work. I love calm, but I love my work. And I work all day. All day, every day, 7 days a week. Yep, I work 7 days a week, and when it's a balanced 7 days, I love what I do. 

I had an oils class last night and I was talking to two dear friends about the concept of Hygge and it reminded me how much, despite my type work ethic, how much a huge part of me enjoys cozy atmospheres, tea, slowing down, lights, and blankets. That's Hygge. It's a Danish concept, a movement and a lifestyle, really, that cherishes slowing down, cozy moments, and togetherness. I have read a handful of books on the concept and it resonates with the deepest part of me, because at the center of everything I do ~ whether it's sleep, food, oils, yoga, having a balanced life ~ is SELF CARE. And Hygge can only reside when we make self-care a priority. 

SO what better time to do this than in December? My busiest month. Perhaps this is more a reminder for me, but I'd like to have you hop on my journey.

Every day I will be posting elements of Hygge on my Instagram and Facebook, and I'd like you to do the same, if you can. If you can't document it, that's fine ~ just do it. You don't have to take a picture of every tea cup. Or every blanket you throw on. You just have to promise me that this month, the month of rush and "Do", you promise me that you'll take your own health and make it #1.

You'll breathe deeply at the parties you attend.

You'll enjoy the baking if you do that, and put on some sweet lighting and good music.

Before you pass out in bed, you'll cuddle with your spouse.

When your dog wants a nuzzle, you'll put your laptop aside and give in.

You'll diffuser some lovely oils with cinnamon and orange. 

You'll have a cup of tea whenever possible.

Most of all, you'll spend time in nature, and look out your window and daydream.

And you'll make these as important as everything else.

Because you don't have your health, we don't have you.

That's all I ask. 

We start December 1st, are you in? 



1. Follow Little Bites of Joy on Instagram.

2. Follow Little Bites of Joy on FB. 

3. If you do post about Hygge, hashtag #LittleBitesOfJoy, and give credit to this challenge

At the end of the month, the three people who have done the above, and have the most posts and most creative content will receive a little GIFT in the mail from me! 

Wishing you all a beautiful month of Hygge. 

See you in a few days with a warm cup,



Three Layer Spiced Apple Pie

I wanted to share this fun new video, as my submission in the "Hot Raw Chef, 5 in 5 Video Recipe Contest", through Living Light Culinary Insitute. The grand prize winner receives a scholarship to attend classes at Livin Light in Fort Bragg, California. Here goes nothing. Wish me luck :) 

The best gift, however, is actually spreading the word about plant-based foods, and more specifically, raw foods with all of you. Whatever happens, I'm happy I gave myself a kick in the tooshie to make this video and to share a fun recipe with you. Enjoy it! 

Check out the link HERE and give it a thumbs up! PS. you may want to subscribe as there wil be more videos coming your way!

The "Happy Life Challenge"

Happy New Year, Everyone!  

I'd like to welcome you to a New Year Challenge. But first, I'd like to start with a short story of a happy little accident....I created this little photo (see above) and meant to say "Happy New Year...Detox Your Life Challenge", because well, this whole challenge is about detoxing your life. But it reads "Happy Life Challenge" in bigger bolder wording. I was frustrated at first, seeing how things didn't line up the way I wanted them to, and then I thought..."wow, that's actually perfect". So I'm leaving it right there. 

So this New Year ~ Detox Your Life Challenge....It really is about having a happy life. It's not your typical challenge in many ways, and you'll read why in just a second...but it's based on what I've personally gone through this past year that has helped me in tremendous ways, and has left me a happier person. I hope that in sharing what I've learned can support you in your journey also.

Nope, this is not your typical challenge or detox. First, most challenges are boxed in, and you have to fit the mould. They're timed and goal specific. Most challenges begin with a start date. And an end date. And they're monumental in some way like "juice for 30 days" or "no meat, no sugar, no flour, no gluten, no grains, no juice, no soda, no angry people in your life, no make-up for the week, no swearing"...well, you get the drift. I'm not making fun of them ~ in fact, I have an October Salad Challenge and about two years ago, I did 30 days of green juice and it was amazing. Adding a salad to your meals once a day isn't anything monumental, I don't think...but in general, most challenges are very rigid and are encapsulated in a time box...what do you do when it's over? Actually, nobody talks about the "post-challenge" part, which in my opinion, is the most important part. What if you falter mid-way? I wanted something different.  I wanted to create a detox challenge that is digestible, in little bites, which would lead us to joy. Like, as in "Little Bites of Joy". This is what it's all about.  I'm proposing here is the following....

1. No date structure.....this is only set up as a January challenge because there will be a prize give away at the end (details below). But in reality, there is no actual end date to the challenge ~ or even start date for that matter (in fact, you can begin doing this today if you wanted more below). Why? Most people give up on their resolutions by February, and then the whole year is shot. Doesn't that just sound crazy? But is health really just a 21-day bandaid, or is it a lifestyle? So many people say they want to "get back on track" (I've said it too)... but what does that really mean? Instead of fixing, failing, fixing, failing, how about we just move in the direction of "better than" vs. "less than" (this is my husband's quote, not mine, and sadly can't take credit for it - but it's a wise one). So, no, this isn't for a month. This challenge is supposed to linger and last as long as you need it. What I'm proposing is a shift in perspective, created by micro-adjustments on a daily basis, and you can take as much time as you need. But yes, technically, this challenge does have a prize, and the winners are announced at the end of the month. That's the only time element in here. 

2. It's about the big picture: this detox is not one-thing specific. It's a comprehensive approach. It's not just about food (did you think it was?). It's about decluttering. Because as I always say, I can't talk to you about cutting back on sugar when you feel there's no sweetness in life. This is about looking at your emotions and the psychology of eating. And your plate size. And your sleep, relationships, creativity, job, household products, chemicals, deodorant, life purpose, toxic relationships. And about mindfulness. Did I miss anything? Actually, yes, a lot. I'll address many things that I believe can assist us in living healthier lives, with one thing in common: simplicity. 

It's about simplifying your life.

I'd like to return to a simpler way of eating, breathing, living, sleeping, cleaning, and relating to people.  So how can you simplify your life so that you only focus on what matters, and you life the healthiest life (mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually) that you possibly can? I'll try to pick this question apart in the coming month and share with you a buffet of tips and tricks that have helped me simplify my life, and as a result, have helped make me a happier person. 

3. Rules: there really are none. Isn't that great? No homework. pick which tips resonate with you and which don't. It's that easy. But what I do ask is that you try to give all or most of these tips a shot. Mull the question over. Do the inner work. These are all life-changing. Also, in order to interact and have community, and to see that you're an actual participant in the challenge (and not a robot)...

Here's what ya gotta do....

  • Check in to the Little Bites Instagram feed (meaning follow) and FB page (meaning like it) and stay tuned on a daily basis. This is where I'll check in daily with you. Offer some tips, questions, tidbits to get you thinking in a different way. 
  • If you decide to follow through on a tip, answer a question, post your response, or anything else, just tag #LittleBitesOfJoy or (@LittleBitesOfJoy on Instagram) so I can see it. 
  • At the end of the month, the two people with the most introspective answers, pictures, answers to questions, what have you...will win a special prize. Which will be revealed at a later time. Since it's not about the prize, right? It's about doing inner work. (But make sure you tag since if you don't, I won't be able to find you). 


That's it. 

So when do we start? How about right now?

You might say, you could use a week to prep for this challenge, but that's relying on the idea that you need something outside of yourself to get yourself ready. Or you need more time. In actuality, you don't need anything more than what you already have. You come fully equipped to start right now. Just show up as you are. Check in to Instagram or FB and follow along. I'll start the write ups January 3rd. 

A Week at Living Light Culinary Institute

Last November, I hesitantly entered the Living Light "Hot Raw Chef" video competition. I say hesitantly, since if you know me, I tend to be a bit shy and prefer to stay out of the limelight (whenever I can). So, me on a video? Let's just say that I waited until the due date to actually film and submit. 

It so happened that I won the competition, which was a complete surprise to me; I was grateful that perhaps the heavens had a plan for me, one I didn't know of yet. 

Fast forward to August 14th, when I board the plane headed for San Francisco, CA...and then two shuttle busses later, I arrive at the Living Light Inn. I was exhausted but excited.....could I be both?  Yes. I entered this gorgeous Inn, surrounded by foliage I've never seen before, flowers I've never seen before, scents! I should probably say that wherever you walk in Fort Bragg, it smells like flowers. Not sure which kind...a hint of rosemary that everyone uses for hedges, succulents, vibrant pink flowers, and flowering evergreens. The Inn is historic, filters all of their water (including the showers!), and has organic bedding and towels ready for each and every one who comes in. There are books to peruse on healthy eating, a fully-stocked kitchen complete with a vitamix, blendtec, juicers, and every gadget you'd need to make this raw vegan kitchen perfect for all of our needs.

And then the classes begin. FUNdamentals is our first class, where we witness over 15 demos of delicious recipes, including sprouting, juicing, nut cheeses, crackers, brownies, pate, everything under the sun. Lunch was vibrant and filling, and then more demos. Day two (one of my favorites) consisted of meditations with carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers...KNIFE SKILLS. Dice, baton, mince, bias cuts, you name it. And, along the way, we added what we cut to our salads and had another feast.

Lunch is served...

Lunch is served...

Cucumber flower. 

Cucumber flower. 

Radish "mushrooms". Think Smurfs!

Radish "mushrooms". Think Smurfs!

Tomato Flowers. 

Tomato Flowers. 

The remainder of the week, I took Essentials which topped it all. Most days, I'd go into the commercial raw food kitchen and help wash, flip elements in the dehydrator, check on the kraut, help make smoothies, you name it. I was on cloud 9 simply being told where I should go, what I should do...being a part of the magic behind the scenes. And I felt a great sense of team loyalty and camaraderie. Everyone had a part, and we all helped each other. I also enjoyed seeing how organized everything was, labeled, in compartments, and nothing went to waste - scraps were either juiced or put into another batch of crackers. 

The chefs were over-the-top professional and inspiring. The students I was lucky to work with came form all over the world: Singapore, Australia, Germany, Hawaii, Canada, Massachusetts, some from California. At night, we'd walk home to the Inn together, make fun recipes, stay up way too late, sing and play the piano (I even got to play a Bossa Nova with everyone), and watch creations come alive (of course, we all shared). Oh, and yes, there was homework, and we got to do that too. 

The whole experience was life-changing, from the instructors & students I met, to watching the sun set in the ocean, hugging sequoia trees, coming upon waterfalls, seeing new plants I've never seen before, creating crazy recipes with friends and even making a video on my last night with a  dear friend at 11:00 pm. 

You'll be seeing many more recipes and classes which stem from the knowledge I've gained from Living Light, but even more so, a renewed inspiration to share with people the benefits of plant-based foods. Thank you, Living Light for an unforgettable experience. Thank you, heavens, for making it possible. 

Epson Salt Bath For Detoxing

I wanted to welcome Leila Firmin as one of our guest writers on the blog. She and I met at the Alissa Cohen Raw Foods Level 3 Certification in Maine, and we've been close ever since. Here, she shares with us one of her "go to" recipes for Epson Baths to accompany any detox regiment: 


  • 2 cups of Epsom salt
  • 3 tbs of baking soda
  • 1 cup of apple cider vinegar (optional)

Directions; 3 times a week- fill bath tub with very warm water as much as you can stand, add all ingredients and mix. Then soak for 15-20 min. You want to sweat while in there. Have a glass of water or juice near incase any weakness. Take advantage of the time in the tub and use it for deep breathing exercise or meditation. Once finished take warm shower with a natural or sea salt soap. This is best before bed. Makes you happily sleepy.

Also great way to knock 3 detox techniques at once is by doing the facial oil pulling while the bath water is running.  Then rinse with warm towel in the shower. Always use the most natural products and safest water possible.

Benefits- Flushes toxins and heavy metals from the body. Eases muscle, aches, pain, soreness in the joints. Relieves stress, headaches, and softens the skin. Detoxifies the body from medicines and environmental exposure. Also alkalinizing to the body. This is just to name a few!


By Leila Firmin

Natural Eating

A very simple rule of thumb is to ask "does my body recognize this food".  Does it grow on a tree, in the ground or on a bush, or is it prepackaged by somebody's hands and includes stabilizers and preservatives?   Eating "close to the source" means eating food that is close to the way nature designs it.  Incorporating this way of eating into your daily lifestyle will almost instantly take care of most health problems in our society today.  This especially is true for you, if you suffer from acne, headaches, lack of energy, mood swings, digestive issues, lack of regularity, and even depression.  You are not alone, and you can alleviate your symptoms quicker through this way of simple but nutritive eating, rather than through pills and creams.  You can achieve greatness and begin your new way of life by healing yourself from the inside out.  It cannot be more easy.      

I hope you can take today to mark day one in a lifetime journey or true nourishment.  Eat close to the earth, things you can pronounce, things you recognize as growing on a tree or in the ground. Wash it, and take a bite.  That nourishment is exactly what your body is searching for. 

A Course in Ayurveda




This past month, I've had the wonderful opportunity to enroll in the "Introduction to Ayurveda" course from the Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts. We covered: a brief history of Ayurveda, and the Ayurvedic view on why diseases occur, the three doshas, six, tastes, tridoshic cooking, and cooking with setting intentions, differnet Ayurvedic cooking techniques, and doshic effects of grains, oils, dairy and ghee, as well as discussions on healing modalities with spices/ingredients. We submitted homework, created recipes, took photos and reflected on the procedure as well as attended weekly webinars, and created an Ayurvedic routine of our choice (mine included hot water, tongue scraping, massage, raw foods, bitter foods and digestive spices such as fennel and ginger, making chai, and so much more).

Garam Masala Mix

Garam Masala Mix

Overall, this course was a way to be introduced to the Ayurvedic way of life, although it only scratches the surface and I'm very excited to learn more. Mostly, I've found a lot of answers to a lot of my questions: for instance, I learned that I am a Pitta (fiery nature) and it turns out that raw foods really help this condition, to cool me down and help balance me. Is it ironic that I am a raw foods chef? I went into raw foods not knowing this. I also love the use of spices, and really want to do this more. Each morning, I've been adding amla and fenugreek to my smoothies and sneaking them in whenever I can. It's been a wonderful new addition to my evolving lifestyle.

Spiced Cauliflower Curry

Spiced Cauliflower Curry

The best part is that this leaning will continue for me...I love Ayurveda and want to go even deeper, and in the future, find ways to combine it with my love of raw foods. Stay tuned! 

Hope you've enjoyed a sneak peak into the recipes from this course. 



Cardamom & Coconut Truffles

Cardamom & Coconut Truffles

Fennel For Digestion

Probably one of my favorite ways to settle an upset tummy or to aid in digesting a meal is to have a little taste of fennel seeds - straight from the palm... This little pot of fennel seeds sits close to me whenever I eat, and I sprinkle some in my hand before (during) or after a meal to help the digestive fire. It's a carminative herb which actually means it helps to dispel gas and cramps, is highly fragrant. 

Some have even used fennel seeds in a tea post-meal to help in digestion. It has a pleasant anise flavor that provides a freshening of breath as well, which is another bonus after we've eaten. 

Note: As with any herb, these are potent little things. Strong herbs are typically not advised for pregnant women. It is also contra-indicated for those who have cancers of the reproductive system. For the rest of us, these are pretty safe to eat. 

New Year's Intentions (And How To Keep Them)

Welcome, 2015.  It’s a new year, a new you, a new reality.  If you’ve made your resolutions, here are some quick and easy (but thoughtful) tips on how to achieve them!

1.  Forgive:  whatever you’ve come through, the good and the bad, forgive it all. Resolutions need to be grown in the present moment and with a future vision in mind.  If we’re stuck in the past, the new us doesn’t have a chance to evolve or blossom. Do yourself a favor and don’t ask why things happen, but rather smile deeply, know everything has a reason, and find some blessing in all the good and all the bad that you’ve experienced. Forgiveness turns the page to the possibilities of a new life.                                  

2.  Surrender:  Surrender to the situation you are in.  I know first hand how terrible it is to be sick and to go to doctors and not find any answers.  I never wish that on anyone.  However, the moment of change for me happened when I surrendered to the fact that my body didn’t react like other people’s bodies to the everyday things in the standard American lifestyle:  coffee, burgers, lack of sleep, alcohol.  Some people can mosey down life quite happily this way but my body rejected it. Only when I surrendered to the fact that my body was different, and it was trying to tell me something, did I finally move forward to create lasting change.

3.  Start small:  In fact, instead of one big resolution (like losing 30 pounds), why not have a resolution for every month?  The first month can be to have a salad with every other dinner. The second month can be buying some weights and using them.  The third month could be finding a new hiking partner.  Creating intentions step-by-step and maybe even month-by-month enables you to succeed at the corner of every month, rather than have one big umbrella resolution for the rest of the year.  Small successes reap big rewards.

4. Vision Board:  Create a vision board and put it up wherever you will see it. Put your resolutions up, but also put up things that will inspire you – words, photos, poems, trinkets, anything.  A resolution is not a stand-alone island…it needs a support structure of inspirations to help you achieve it.

5.  Be Accountable:  at the end of every month, be accountable for yourself and ask yourself if you’ve achieved that months’ goal.  If not, see where things fell through the cracks and redevelop the next month’s goal to reflect that.  Check in with yourself, ask yourself what’s working and what’s not, and really commit to the ideals you hold inside, and the goals you strive to reach. You can do it – this is the year!  I wish you abundance, blessings, prosperity, peace, and the overwhelming knowledge (inside and out) that you are worth your dreams. Blessings to you!

Top 5 Tips for Eating More Raw in Cooler Months

1. Be prepared! If your house is packed with healthy things, then you will eat healthy things. Your fridge and pantry should be stocked with seasonal produce! Why seasonal? I believe that nature brings us exactly what we need at exactly at the right time.  As the cooler weather hits, it's safe to say that we might be veering more towards comfort foods.  At this point, we see sweet potatoes and squash hit the stores, with deep wonderful greens along side them.  The tubers and roots and deep rich colored vegetables are very grounding, while the greens give us that depth of nutrients our bodies are looking for to recharge our immunity. Enjoy all that nature has to provide! Make various raw meals and have them available anytime you're hungry, all ready to be put in the dehydrator for a quick reheat, such as cream of broccoli soup, sweet potatoes and pesto, kale & miso soup...the possibilities are endless.  Enjoy the fall bounty, eat, and feel the warmth that comes from really nourishing foods.  

2.  Warm things up! So many people ask me how I can eat cold food all the time, and the irony is that I DON'T! You can always put your favorite raw soup in a dehydrator, blend it in the vitamix until warm, or even heat it on the stove a few seconds to warm up. Serve some dehydrated pizza crackers along side of it, make a little cashew parmesan, and I swear you have the perfect comfort food for fall and the cooler months.  Also, for a little kick, I love tea. I love the soothing warmth, the surprising flavors, and the overall wellbeing I get from brewing my own.  There's lots you can do to keep warm in the cooler months ahead - no excuses!  

3.  Share.  You don't want to be the only one at the holiday party eating your highly nutritious foods as everyone indulges in angel food cake.  Share your inspiration and you will become even more inspired to keep going! Last Christmas I took along a raw carrot cake and people demolished it, so much quicker than the other desserts!  Share and people will be intrigued about what you're doing, and that will be an inspiration.  Come with something you feel proud of, you know tastes good, and you will feel like you are on track, enjoying every bite as you go. Your body will thank you for it. And share the joy :)  

4. Exercise your body.  So many of us slow down in winter, and therefore need more layers to keep us warm.  Get your body moving, get the circulation going, and enjoy the great outdoors, in every season - falling leaves, falling rain, or falling snow, they all offer a unique view of the world.  Reunite with nature, regardless of her age. Massage (self-massage, from your loved one, or even a sweet indulgent appointment with your favorite massage therapist), is wonderful to get your blood and lymph moving.  I highly recommend it (check out our resource page for some local recommendations!)   

5.  When in doubt, make bread. The cooler months are always reminiscent for me of warm, home baked bread...with butter, humus, bean spread, anything.  Create a recipe for dehydrated bread and you have the complete fall comfort food.  If it's thin enough, roll it like a burrito with your favorite fixins, eat it with zucchini humus, pack it with sprouts, avocado and sea salt or just eat it with your stews and soups.  It can't be beat. But if you're pining for something indulgent, bread is the way to go. It's a staple, a stand-by, and having it on hand means you're prepared. Make bread.  It's a good thing.  And it makes your house smell good too. 

Acupuncture for a Healthy Immune System

Acupuncture has become increasingly popular over the last decade due to its profound effectiveness in treating all kinds of symptoms. It is often touted for its ability to reduce pain in the lower back and offer relief for chronic migraine sufferers. But what most people don't know is that acupuncture is one of the best ways to build your immune system - it is extremely safe, effective and all natural! 

Since I started getting acupuncture over seven years ago I can honestly say I've only been sick two times! Not bad since most adults get a cold or flu on average of 2-4 times per year. One, I attribute my overall immune response to a healthy diet, but any hint of a sneeze or sniffle I see my acupuncturist right away. Acupuncture works on building the bodies natural defense system, and any attack from a foreign bacteria or virus is easily repelled. Most of my patients often report back saying "Everyone in the office is sick except for me" or "My son brought home and awful stomach bug, and I didn't catch it". 

What is so wonderful about Acupuncture is that it works to keep your immune system healthy and can prevent the occurrence of future illness. So even the most health conscious person can benefit greatly from Acupuncture. I usually suggest an Acupuncturetreatment one time per month to keep the immune system strong, and a "tune-up" treatment when the seasons change to help the body adjust to the change in climate. 

For a full photo tutorial on points, please CLICK HERE.

Here is one point I use very often in my practice to strengthen the immune system. You can do acupressure on this point at home if you feel the beginning of a cold or to build and strengthen the immune system over time. 

The point is located near the lateral surface of the elbow.

Three-finger space distance from he elbow crease, between the muscles.

Find a sore spot and apply pressure and massage for 10 seconds. 

It's never too late to start getting acupuncture and even if you are in overall great health treatments can still benefit you. If you have any questions about a specific illness and would like more answers about acupuncture, feel free to contact me for information. 


Melissa Skelly, L.Ac

The Zen Den:

Top 10 Tips For Stress Reduction

1.  BREATHE:  how many times are you stuck in traffic but feel like you're stuck inside of yourself? Just because we're stuck in an immobile vehicle doesn't make us trapped in choices.  Deep belly breathing is wonderful in so many ways...from bringing down blood pressure, to even relieving constipation, massaging the internal organs, re-oxygenating the brain. You can do this as you're typing at your desk, stuck in rush hour, or as you're trying to dose off.  


2.  MEDITATE: it's quoted that the people who have the most trouble meditating are exactly the ones who should be doing.  Meditation is actually known to slow down brain waves and calms your whole system, and when combined with meditation on the breath, is one of the quickest ways to reduce stress.  Try it just for 5 minutes a day before starting your day (to center) or before sleep (to relax). 


3. PROGRESSIVE RELAXATION:  Many people have tried this over the years, and there's a few ways to do it. It's relatively easy, and the only thing keeping you from receiving the benefits are actually doing the exercise. Here's one version of many ways to do this:  Lay down on a comfortable soft surface.  Close your eyes, begin to imagine your feet.  Flex your feet and hold that flex for 5 seconds. Then completely relax them. Imagine your knees and thighs, and flex them for 5 seconds, then relax.  Work your way up to your hips, bottom, belly, chest, shoulders, arms, face, hands.  And then just continue to linger in the final stage of relaxation and enjoy it. 


4.  PERCEIVE NO THREAT:  This one is the most rewarding, the quickest to cure, and the hardest to do for some people.  Stress is in its very essence, the flight or fight response.  Whether it's an argument or the dry-cleaning not being done on time, your body perceives that there's a threat - to livelihood, body, family, health, anything. What if we were to actively view the situation differently?  That perhaps being late 5 minutes to leave home might mean missing an accident.  Or maybe a disagreeable moment with someone might be a way to learn about them and actually become closer to them, once you find out what they need (and once they find out what you need).  Perceive it differently, and that may be your quickest ticket to getting rid of stress. 


5.  BUILD IN TIME FOR A BREAK:  are you a travel eater?  Eating in the car, in the train, in the subway? First off, how do we ever think that this is a respectable way to treat your body? Would you allow your child to eat standing, or walking, or driving? Somehow, the lines of accountability are vague for us, as adults, and we allow our bodies to keep going, nonstop, no matter what.  And then we take a pill for indigestion since we haven't noticed we inhaled our food, and included big breaths of air as we did so.  This is not indicative of a TUMS deficiency.  This is a lack of quality time with your needs being met. Take your lunch break.  Stop reading, stop watching TV and just eat.  And just talk to your spouse. And just sleep. Just do exactly what you're doing, at least long enough for you to meet your immediate needs.  


6. EXERCISE:  part of the reason we have stress is because we let it build up and we never let it have the chance to escape let it all out.  Exercise does that for us.  Exercise builds up the intensity of our body's strength, and then in one fell swoop, nourishes it with flowing blood, flowing lymph, oxygenation, and increased brain activity.  After you vent through it, it allows you to relax. Find the time to do something every day, however little, to allow for this to happen.  It will thank you many times over and add years to your life. 


7.  STEADY SLEEP:  if you don't sleep well, the rest of your day doesn't go well either.  Your body needs to recuperate and when we don't give it that chance, then it rebels during our waking state.  Shut off electronics before bed, read a good book (perhaps no horror before bed), place some lavender drops on your pillow, shut the blinds.  Take some chamomile or valerian root tea every so often if you need a herbal helper.  And get the zz's you deserve. 


8.  EAT VIBRANT FOOD:  eating food that's dead leaves our bodies feeling...well...dead.  Eating vibrant food that's still growing (peppers, bananas) and that have a shelf life are so much more invigorating than dead food in a box or a can.  Eating close to the source is "home" for the body - it recognizes it! Eating far from "home" means that the body has to work that much harder to assimilate the little nutrients found within it.  Again, give your body a break. Eat real food. 


9. MAKE YOURSELF COUNT:  if you're always depriving yourself of something (a fun night out, a new book, even a healthy raw dessert) your mind and body will feel under stress, suffocated, hurt.  Give in a little, once in a while.  Work on the 90/10 rule, where you follow a straight path 90% of the time and then occasionally, you have a little treat.  Hug a little longer.  Take a full hour lunch (when did we last do that?). Go out and walk and then come back to your project, so that you can actually see the light of day.  


10. FIND SOMETHING TO LOVE:  a partner, a puppy, and a new hobby.  Fill your life with the things that bring a smile to your face. Life isn't all about getting things done.  It's about experiencing things, loving things, having relationships with everything around you.  If you're a Type A, of course, going on an outing or a date isn't practical, but it's important.  See that movie, start the vision board, and fill your life (and sights) with things that matter and that inspire you.  And watch the stress pour away. 

Eating For A Stress-Free Body

Many of us try to lower stress through meditation, exercise, and relaxation, but few of us look to see how the food that we eat can contribute to stress in the body. Here are my top 6 tips on eating for Stress-Free health!

 1.  Pesticides/herbicides:  These structures often act like foreign agents in the body, making them “one more thing” the body has to process and get rid of, thereby stressing the body.

To remedy:  Seek out eco-grown or organic foods, and especially when it comes to the highly sprayed dirty dozen (fruits/veg with thin skin, like grapes), try to buy organic whenever possible. 

2.  GMO foods:  Nature itself doesn’t combine Fish DNA with a tomato, but we do this in labs.  Gmo crops require more processing by the body since the body has to decipher the components of that food (which takes work).   As they’re not found in nature that way, the body reacts to them differently than naturally found and non-gmo foods.

To remedy:  Seek out non-gmo foods and read labels to make sure you are not ingesting GMO foods.    

3.  Heavily charred foods:  These are carcinogenic by nature and should be avoided (such as blackened, grilled foods).  The charring creates free-radical compounds in the body and leads to oxidative stress.

To remedy: Avoiding charred foods and increasing foods high in antioxidants (berries, superfoods, colorful foods) help to combat the effects of free radicals.

4.  Heavily cooked foods:  Heating in excess, roasting, baking, and cooking for long periods of time cooks off high percentages of vitamins and enzymes (except for in some cases.) If the food is ingested without their naturally occurring enzymes (such as in raw foods), the body then has to borrow enzymes from its reserves; the process takes longer and is more taxing on the body versus eating foods that already contain intact digestive enzymes. 

To remedy:  Try to eat foods in their most natural state, raw or lightly steamed, therefore keeping the vitamins and enzymes intact.

5.  Eating far from the source:  Processed foods are considered “far from the source” since they are no longer recognizable foods – imagine apple pie versus an apple.  Apples grow on trees; apple pies require more work (and therefore, the body has to work harder to decipher what it is).  The farther it is from its original state, the longer it takes to digest it.  Another example:  eating brown rice is better than brown rice crackers or brown rice pasta.  If it requires more processing to make, then the body requires more time and activity to break it down. 

To remedy:  Choose recognizable foods, such as things that grow on trees, on or in the ground. 

6.  Eating out of season:  strawberries don’t grow in the winter time, but we ship them from places that do grow them.  There’s a reason it’s important to eat what nature provides in that moment:  in the winter time, we have warming root veggies and immune-boosting greens (since we need them). The summer time gives us loads of fresh raw fruits and veggies, which are cooling (since we need them).

To remedy:  Eat what’s in season and your body will thank you. 



Eating Out: A Healthy Guide

Summertime is ALL about having fun, relaxing, going out and being in nature, eating divine food and wait...staying healthy!

This might be a surprise to you but I am not someone who goes out a lot...not for any particular reason except that we like to chill out at night and keep things simple.  And I'd like to eat in 5 or 10 minutes when i'm hungry rather than drive out, wait, order, wait, and then eat.  But when time and decency allow, I do find myself in restaurants and I have to make the decision that all of you have to make...what in the world do I eat?

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the W Forum: Amazing presenter, beautiful food adorned the tables, but I was doing a mini cleanse at the time which meant just fruit, veggies, that's it.  No oils, nothing cooked, just plain and simple. So what was a girl to do?

POINT:  I ASKED the waiter for options.  No hold on a minute here - this wasn't even the type of restaurant gathering where you had 20 or so choices.  It was a group gathering, catered, and you had the about 5 choices of entrees.  I asked them if I could get a salad, no dressing, and some fruit on the side.  And what came out was amazing.

I wish I had taken a picture of it but I didn't want to make a was the most beautiful PLATTER of salad greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, beautiful no-oil carrot ginger dressing and the most delectable bowl of bluberries and strawberries.  It was bigger than anything else on the table and it was absolutely delicous and filling.  I honestly ate better than anyone there, and everyone was looking over saying, "oooh, what did YOU get?".  

I felt spoiled. I did. And all I did was ask.

The other thing is that the waiter took pride in what he brought me. He was super chill, happy, accomodating, adn checked back in with me a few times to ask if everything was ok. He cared. Well, maybe he didn't as much as I think he did, but he made me FEEL like he cared, adn that made all the difference.

I'm not saying all of the restaurants you'll eat from will do this - some might get annoyed if we keep changing our skim-cool-extra-hot-gluten-free-raw-vegan-dehydrated-do-you-have-that-with-no-oil choices, but you never KNOW until you ASK! And if we stick to our guns and at the same time, be open to what we get, we can be pleasantly surprised.  Even if we ask "no cheese on my salad please". That's one little request that will keep your heart ticking for a much longer time. 

Hope you enjoy all that this summer has to offer. Experiment, explore, dive in to the local scene, and remember to your tummy healthy eats!

Rouxbe Cooking School ~ A Lesson In Eating Your Homework

I've taken a break this summer from posting since I've been a busy bee - mainly, eating my homework. I've recently graduated from Rouxbe's online Professional Plant-Based Certification Program, and we've been busy creating food and eating food, creating, and's been enlightening to say the least, and an amazing experience.

This has everything to do with going back to the basics. Going back to the things you think you know, to learn them in a totally new and inspired way. Chopping. Knife skills. How big is a small dice anyway, and how do you sharpen your knives, hold your guide hand, know when a pan is ready for a sautee. Chemistry, science, art, and total joy.

We've had so much fun with the plant-based recipes, and we've totally indulged this summer: hand made manicotti with tofu ricotta filling and fresh marinara, chocolate genache torte, soups, stews, bean salads, desserts, smoothies, and so much more! 

My favorite part of the course was the intended "mise en place" for each recipe, or rather, the idea of "everything in its right place" before you proceed with the recipe. So many meals have been ruined due to overcooking, leaving the stove for an ingredient, not timing things correctly, and mise en place allows you to have everything in the right place, chopped, measured, ready to go, so that you can ENJOY the process of cooking and be in the present moment. Symbolic, right? 

Here we go. 

Enjoy the gallery of plant-based nutritious cooking, where nothing is missing....except the junk. This is how we loved ourselves up this summer, with beans, grains, veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, super foods, and all the lovely indulgences that these create, with whole foods. 

Vegan Penne Carbonara

Vegan Penne Carbonara

Thai Noodle Soup

Thai Noodle Soup

Spring Asparagus Rissotto

Spring Asparagus Rissotto

Coconut Chickpea Stew

Coconut Chickpea Stew

Mise En Place for Cauliflower with Chimmichurri

Mise En Place for Cauliflower with Chimmichurri

Chocolate Genache Pie with Cherry & Black Peppercorn Sorbet

Chocolate Genache Pie with Cherry & Black Peppercorn Sorbet

Braised Seitan Au Jus With Garlic Greens

Braised Seitan Au Jus With Garlic Greens

Purslane & Flower Salad

Purslane & Flower Salad

Home-made Udon & Stirfry

Home-made Udon & Stirfry

Tofu Manicotti with Marinara & Home-Made Pasta

Tofu Manicotti with Marinara & Home-Made Pasta

Mock Tuna Pate in Collard Rolls

Mock Tuna Pate in Collard Rolls

Polenta & Tempeh Broccoli with Heirloom Tomatoes

Polenta & Tempeh Broccoli with Heirloom Tomatoes

Practicing Knife Skills

Practicing Knife Skills

Cauliflower Chimmichurri

Cauliflower Chimmichurri

Here are some photos of our last Rouxbe Assignment, which was to host an event with little canapés. So much fun enjoying good food and family and friends. 

Plates include:

  • Mini Chocolate Genache pies with Cherry & Black Pepper Sorbet

  • Mini Samosa Burgers with Onion & Mango Chutney

  • Fruit Skewers

  • Healing Turmeric & Tomato Soup, Sweet Potato Crackers & Borage FloweRS

  • Sweet Pea & JImaca Samosas with Lime Creme

Top 10 Steps to Start Eating High Raw

Tip #1:  Start simple... 

Start with the veggies and fruits that you enjoy.  Starting with these guarantees success.  If you start out with jackfruit, durian and jimaca, you might be at a loss since you’ve never had them before (however, they are delicious). If you like cucumbers, look up cuke recipes and have fun making new things with a veggie you know you’ll love. Then the next day try another recipe.  Start with small baby steps and you’ll go far.


Tip #2: ...And then experiment. 

Once you’ve got the cuke recipes down, experiment. Promise yourself you’ll get one new fruit a week or one new veggie you’ve never tried.  You might hate it or you might love it, but you’ll never know! This keeps you going, makes life interesting, and keeps you involved in your journey.  After a week of cucumber recipes, you’ll need to use this tip!


Tip #3: Start every day with a  green drink.

Green smoothie or green juice. This sets you up for success.  For smoothies:  Make it 2 cups fruit, 2 cups greens, 2 cups water/or cooled tea and you’re set.  Experiment with fruit, but the softer ones (pear, strawberries, banana) are the best since they blend really well with the greens.  As for the greens, I’d start with spinach since it’s super soft and also blends well.  The next day try kale. Alternate your greens so that your body has the best nutrition.  If you have a juicer, start juicing – it’s one of the healthiest things you can do (if you make it mostly green – if you make it mostly fruit/carrots/sweet, then you might throw your body into a sugar imbalance).  My fave:  1 whole cucumber, ½ lemon, 1 broccoli stalk, 2 apples, a small piece of ginger and a handful of sprouts or spinach.  Yum!


Tip #4: Indulge in a book. 

This is how I started out. I was on a mission, but a complete newbie to raw foods, so I started with one book, and I was hooked.  Then it became two, then three.  Now I have a library and I love it. At some point, you’ll even get to a place where you see a cake or cookie and you know exactly how you’d make it, since you know how the ingredient materials act and react to create what you want.  When you’re doing fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, greens, things actually get really simple.  You’ll find your “tried and true” rules of making raw food, and you’ll begin to get creative on your own. But starting out with a book is really helpful – since books inspire.  Here are some of my faves:

  • Raw Food Made Easy by Jennifer Cornbleet 

  • Rawmazing by Susan Powers

  • Raw & Beyond by Victoria Boutenko, Chad Sarno, Elaina Love

  • Anything by Ani Phyo or Alissa Cohen 

Tip #5: Remember to balance your raw foods triangle. 

Fruits, greens/veggies, and fats.  You’ll find the right balance for you. Very easily, people get hooked on the desserts and quickly start craving the greens!  You can definitely do the “raw diet” the wrong way, by overindulging in dried fruit, loads of nuts, and desserts.  Balance is everything.  You need fruit for energy, fats for your brain and hormones, and greens for detox, strength, and well…everything else!


Tip #6: Find one dessert and stick with it.

This is a place where people want to try everything in the world, but when the cravings begin (if they begin), you’ll want to be prepared with something you know hits the spot.  Is it easier to go to the store for a krimpet or do you have your chia pudding already made in the fridge?  The answer is easy.  Make it easy on yourself to succeed.


Tip #7: Drink your water. 

Most often, headaches, fatigue, cravings, hunger are all a sign of…..not what you think. Dehydration.  Drink your water.  Simple.  We all need to do this. Drink and after 5 minutes, see how you feel.  Then go for what your body truly wants.


Tip #8: Be prepared on the road.

Have something in your bag, purse, all the time. I carry almonds with me and I always reach for an apple when I leave the door. And always a water bottle. 


Tip #9: Be prepared at home. 

You won’t eat veggies if you don’t have them in the fridge.  You won’t eat fruit if you have none in your pantry!  Fill your house with beautiful fruits and vegetables so that you’ll want to eat them.  The more colors, the better.


Tip #10: Lastly, remember to eat!

You should be eating whenever you’re hungry.  This is not a diet.  This is a lifestyle where you give your body wonderful nutrition.  Most of the time when we’re hungry, we’re hungry for nutrients rather than bulk. Formerly, I was eating way too much and was never satisfied.  Now, I know that a small meal that’s high in nutrient density satisfies me more than a huge meal that’s made of lackluster foods such as white pasta and bread. The latter was my former life and I wouldn’t return to that if someone paid me.  But eat, please, eat and if for the first 5 days you have to eat every 3 hours, then eat every 3 hours and don’t judge it.  Get those nutrients in and enjoy yourself.  Whenever I look at someone who is heavily overweight, I often think “they’re starving for nutrients”. Many people overeat because they’re looking for nutrients, and they eat until they find it, which tends to be “never”. Hence the overeating. What happens with raw food is this:  once you eat high-nutrient foods, something changes after a few weeks. You actually won’t need to eat as much.  Simple, clean food that’s colorful and fresh is VERY satisfying. You’ve satisfied your true hunger for nutrients, and you eat…just what you need.
Last words…
1.  You don’t need to be 100%.  You can be whatever percentage you want.  Even if you make dinner revolve around a salad, do that…and add some beans, sprouted bread, whatever.  But celebrate everything you can do to get more fresh produce in you, even if it’s not 100%. 
2.  Detox:  Sometimes people experience detox. When you eat lots of fruits/veg, your cells get cleaned out, and that gunk has to go somewhere.  Before it leaves your body, the cells get rid of the gunk in your blood stream, and that’s when you experience detox symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, even skin eruptions.  That’s your body getting rid of toxins.  For some it lasts one day, for some 3.  Just ride through it, drink your water, and keep going.  In a short few days, you’ll feel amazing.
3.  Live a beautiful life.  Keep active.  Exercise, sweat, laugh, enjoy life, sleep, and find activities that make you happy.  It’s not always about the food, but about the big picture. 

Detoxing 101: Two alternatives to Juice Detoxes

I’ve done numerous detoxes in my wellness journey, and my main desire in this article is to express to you my own experience, what I’ve learned, what I’ve loved and not loved, and what I believe are the top tips for starting a detox of your own with ease and enjoyment. 


There are many different types of detoxes out there – raw foods, just liquids, the lemonade detox, smoothies, soups, and any combinations of these. There are also just pure whole food detoxes, where the person just consumes whole food in their natural state, cooked or uncooked, but can contain fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and grains.  All of these are great, but when you are already eating whole foods (cooked or raw) it helps to take it to the next level, about twice a year (spring and fall) for some added cleansing.


My journey with detoxing started a few years ago when I suffered from extreme seasonal allergies, for 6 weeks in fact.  This was before I knew this was wrong, but I was so desperate that I was combining over-the counter allergy medication such as Claritin and Allegra and nothing was working.  I was rubbing my itchy eyes so much that I gave myself an eye infection, and was unable to wear my contacts.  I was absolutely miserable.  I did the first version of the detox below (fruit/veggie) and my allergies were gone in 3 days.   And that’s when my raw food journey began.  Many, many pounds ago :)


The most important aspects of doing a detox are how you start and how you end.  Read that again, please.  You want everything to be gradual.  So, eating a standard american diet and then following it with a whole day of raw foods (just fruits/vegetables) will lead you into a desparate affair with detox symptoms such as headaches, weakness, aches, pains, and just general malaise.  Not recommended.  It's best to transition to a whole foods based diet (just whole recognizeable foods, raw and cooked are both fine) before you take on any detox approach. Some of you may already be eating this way, so transitioning into a detox should be no problem.  If you're still eating chicken wings and fries, then we have our work cut out for us (yet still doable - just do whole plant foods for one week prior to starting the detox). 


The detoxes that have worked best for me, and my favorite detoxes are the following two types: 


VERSION 1: Fruit/Veggie detox

  • Foods:  all the raw fruits and vegetables that you enjoy, until satisfied.  This can last 3-5 days.

  • Weaning out of detox:  Slowly after 3-5 days, you can incorporate nuts and seeds and then continue on your way, eating raw foods in their natural state, without many elaborate combinations (I saw this because typically, raw foodies end up eating a lot of raw desserts heavy in nuts, agave, and other things that honestly are too hard for the body to handle, especially in large doses.  The best way to eat is “simply” recognizable food). 

VERSION 2:  Blended detox

  • Foods:   smoothies and soups are blended and therefore offer even more of a break on the body and digestion.  With this kind of detox, the smoothies would be fruit/veggie based and the soups would be veggie/avocado based.  Please remember to chew even super smooth smoothies.

  • Weaning out of detox:  During the detox, there are no nuts, but you can slowly incorporate them after 3-5 days, just as in the fruit/veggie detox.  Also slowly incorporate whole raw foods back into the diet. 

BENEFITS:  These are the two types of detoxes that have worked the best for me for the following reasons…

  1. I’m still eating whole foods that I can chew, so I don’t feel deprived and they also help me feel satisfied longer.

  2. They are filled with fiber so I feel cleaned out and my BM is normal.

  3. The detox symptoms are much more gradual and tempered than through just juice-cleanses, which might be beneficial if you still have work to do, a life to live, a family to feed, etc. It doesn’t require you to take time off as a juice fast typically would.

Worst offenders (to avoid):    Meat of any kind, fish, dairy, sugars, processed foods, salt, gluten, grains, caffeine

Foods that add benefits and help detox process (please include):

  1. Lots of water rich, raw fruits and vegetables in their natural state, minimally processed, and chewed very well (even in a smoothie form).  Eat your colors and vary your foods, and truly enjoy what you are eating. 

  2. Lots and lots of water to help flush out toxins.

  3. Herbs such as parsley and cilantro, help to remove even more toxins. 

Additional techniques that help the detox process:

  • Dry skin brushing:  prior to bathing, this is a technique that really helps to rid the body of excess toxins, old skin, and helps rejuvenate the whole system.

  • Hot/cold showers:  alternating hot and cold showers really helps to flush the lymph system, which for the most part (unless you bounce on a rebounder), doesn’t see much movement.  Turn on the hot water in the shower (a safe temperature) until your body becomes used to it.  Turn on the cool water in the shower (a safe temperature) until your body gets used to that.  Do this a few times and end with cool.

  • Eat when hungry: just because you’re doing a detox doesn’t mean you have to have hunger pangs.  This is a really crucial note, since in order for you to succeed, you must act in partnership with your body, not against it.  Just change your choices and make them good choices, but eat when hungry.  Alternatively, stop eating when no longer hungry.  “No longer hungry” doesn’t mean full or stuffed, but rather satisfied and at peace.  One trick is, if you’re no longer hungry, that’s a good time to stop. 

  • Emotions:  One of the most important part of detoxing is the emotional component of it.  Take some time to write down what you’re feeling, what you’re experiencing and really sit with it.  For the most part, yes, you are detoxing your body of chemicals and toxins, but what eventually happens it that your emotions are also stored in your body and they could use some cleaning out as well.  Try to find some time for peace, meditation, reflection, and introspection.  This is not an isolated event but rather a chance for a new beginning, so it’s helpful to see yourself as a whole being – body and mind – rather than just a body to “clean up” and whip into shape.  Be kind, be loving. 

  • Chia:  On any of the days, for some extra boost, feel free to include some chia – add it to soups, create your own chia water (2 cups water with 4 tablespoons chia, mixed with a spoon and added to smoothies for a boost of fiber).  It helps hydrate you as well as acts as a broom to add in the detoxification of toxins.

I have to make one note here… I eat whole, water-rich foods, complete with fiber, almost 90% organic foods (mostly raw, some cooked), drink only water, and I still experience some detox symptoms when I do these detoxes. These toxins that are released end up coming from the environment, roads, cars, and just plain life in general.  When I do these detoxes in the spring and fall, I still notice about 1 or 2 days of headaches, and you might experience additional detox symptoms as well.  I feel that eating during your detox (meaning, smoothies or whole raw foods) enables you to detox in a manageable way, where the symptoms are less severe than a regular just juice-detox.  Here are some more tips:

  • Drink your water

  • Take some time to rest

  • Make sure you are eating enough…the fiber and water and vitamins will really help you get rid of the toxins and in a matter of days, you’ll feel refreshed and rejuvenated.

  • Exercise a little - sweating helps the detox process. Don't go crazy and run a marathon all of a sudden.  Light work such as walking or yoga help.

  • As a last resort, consider adding in the chia - it will really help aleviate some of the symptoms buy aiding in the release of toxins.

Enjoy the process. Be good to yourself.  Smile. Write.  Drink.  And know you’re blessed with an amazing beautiful machine (your body).  Let me know if you need some support, and if you do, I'd be happy to help.   


Five Tips for Successful Juicing

Please welcome Sharon Johnson, juicing guru and detox queen, as she shares her knowledge with us in today's blog. 


Have you ever said "Oh, I tried juicing but it didn't work for me", "I was always hungry", or "I didn't know where to start"?  Here are 5 tips to help you ward off some of the common juicing issues.

1. Set your intentions

Understand what you want to accomplish.  Is the cleanse to help foster a deeper spiritual connection, to address an ongoing ailment, to flush toxins out of your system, or perhaps to jumpstart a new healthy eating lifestyle?  Once you understand what you want to accomplish, you can begin to mentally prepare and set goals for your cleanse.  For example, if the cleanse is for a deeper spiritual connection, you may decide to journal, meditate, and do yoga each morning.  Or, if you have headaches, you may want to research juices that aid in their relief. 

2. Prepare your body
It is normal to experience detox symptoms while juicing.  Easing your body into the fast is important.  Fried foods, milk, and meat are not recommended the week prior to a fast.  Limiting these foods helps to decrease the flood of toxins into your system as well as decrease some of the detox symptoms.  Detox symptoms can be emotional and/or physical.  You may experience emotions surrounding an event that happened years ago, flu like symptoms, or feel an ache from a foot you injured 10 years ago.  This is normal.  If you feel like you are detoxing too fast, consider adding smoothies or healthy fats, such as flax seed oil, to your fast to slow the process.  

3. Drink abundantly

Juicing is about flooding your cells with nutrient-dense, flavorful juices.  Consider drinking 5-6 pints of juice a day and consider a gallon or more, if needed.  If you feel weak, tired, or hungry, you are not getting enough juice!  Juicing is not about depriving your body of the vibrant foods it needs.  You should feel full like you just had a satisfying meal. Drink 1-2 pints in the same time it would take to eat a meal (about 15 minutes or less).  You also want to drink juice every 2-3 hours. Drink plenty of filtered water throughout the day also to help flush out your system. 

4. Drink the rainbow

Juicing is a great way to nourish your body.  Colorful foods have varying properties and you have a full rainbow from which to choose.  Incorporate a colorful variety of vegetables and fruits to help ensure that you are getting the necessary vitamins and minerals.  For example, Red fruits and vegetables are mostly associated with Lycopene.  Lycopene is helpful in reducing and treating heart disease and breast cancer among other conditions. Enjoy watermelon juice or vegetable juices that include red peppers or beets. Beta-carotene is found in orange foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and oranges. Carotenoids have been linked to a decrease in risks of cancers of the cervix, bladder, colon, and post-menopausal breast cancer.  These are just two colors out of the rainbow. An added benefit of trying a variety of colorful fruits and veggies is it will help keep you from becoming bored. 

5. Find the source  
Try to drink fresh, living, unpasteurized juices.  Ideally, it is best to juice yourself. This way, you have complete control over the ingredients and freshness. If you do not have a juicer, consider nearby natural food or juice bars that prepare fresh juice without the pulp. As a last resort, depending on your goals, you can find detox juices that are pasteurized at mainstream grocery or nutrition stores. This is fine for jumpstarting a healthy regimen.  However, for deeper cleansing and healing, fresh and organic is best.

Sources for this article include:
Color Me Vegan by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
The Juiceman's Power of Juicing by Jay Kordich




~ Sharon E. Johnson, AADP CHC

As an AADP Certified Health Coach and Raw Foods Educator, Sharon specializes in helping her clients achieve their goals through conscious eating using raw living foods and juicing. She enjoys sharing her knowledge through public speaking, online media, and raw food classes. Sharon completed training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in December 2012 and received her Living on Live Food Chef Certifications through Alissa Cohen's Raw Teacher Program (May 2005 and September 2012). 

Are you interested in detoxing through juicing? Schedule a consultation with Sharon today.