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The Official Blog of The GEM.

Diamonds on your inside. That’s what we want. Don’t you? This blog is a place to visit for guidance, humor and wit about healthy, happy lives. We only have one life. Make it count!

10 Reasons You Need Probiotics

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WHAT are probiotics and why do we keep hearing about them?

They are in every yogurt commercial I see. Probiotics are bacteria that exist in our digestive tract. There IS such a thing as good bacteria, and we need to figure out a way to keep more of it in our gut.

The word probiotic even translates to “for life.”

WHAT do they do? In the intestinal tract, these beneficial microbes help complete the digestive process. There’s evidence that without them, even the immune system can’t work properly.

WHERE can you find them? Most of these friendly bacteria occur naturally in yogurt “with active cultures” or acidophilus milk and kefir, and natural pickles and sauerkraut. (Bubbie’s is the best brand for both of these!) Unfortunately (or fortunately for those of us who have eschewed dairy), concentrations in these foods are probably not enough to do the trick. Cue the supplements!

WHY?

  1. Enhance immunity – If probiotics can do this, what can they do to prevent chronic colds and allergies?
  2. Better digestion. Better bowel movements. Better feeling.
  3. Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity symptoms are relieved by adding probiotics. Take probiotics to reverse the symptoms of irritable bowel syndromeCrohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and other gut inflammations.
  4. If you eat GMOs, processed foods, low fiber diets and non-organic meat and dairy products, listen up. They all destroy probiotic bacteria and diminish colon function. It is necessary to add probiotic materials back into your system if you’ve had any of those foods. It’s the morning after pill for junk food. 
  5. Yeast infections like Candida flourish when the 85% (good)/15% (not good) balance of probiotic to bad bacteria is out of whack.
  6. A healthy gut flora balance helps prevent cancer by nourishing enzymes that inhibit tumor production throughout the body. Sold.
  7. Sometimes we have to take antibiotics. They are here for a reason. But they often wipe out “friendly” intestinal bacteria along with the bad bugs that cause infections. Symptoms include diarrhea, bloating or other unpleasant digestive symptoms. Always take a probiotic if taking antibiotics.
  8. Probiotic intestinal flora prevents radiation damage from X-rays and CT scans to the large and small intestines. Just as a FYI for your future.
  9. Stress affects and alters the bacterial flora in your intestinal tract. Of course, you may not have any stress in your life. But for the rest of us …
  10. There is an entire brilliant train of thought on healing the 4As of autism, ADHD, allergies and asthma through a diet restores probiotic levels and heals inflammatory conditions by Dr. Kenneth Bock. Another, The GAPS diet: gut and psychology syndrome, confirms the connection with gut health and mental health.

HOW to implement? Get a live probiotic supplement. Check the expiration date to make sure that the bacteria these products contain are alive and look for probiotics with “colony forming units” (CFUs) in the billions. After you buy, be sure to protect your supply from heat, moisture and air.

Add them to your everyday. We love the yummy vanilla Sunbiotics brand. We have them available inside The GEM in both chewable tablet and powder form. Come in and add it to your favorite smoothie! Or grab a bottle and go. At 18 billion CFUs per serving, these little tablets help restore a proper balance of flora in the digestive tract depleted by stress, antibiotics and gastrointestinal disturbances. It also has prebiotics, which helps your system create more probiotics! They do not require refrigeration, and they taste good … They are currently only available at wholesale, but you can some this week at The GEM.

Learn more here.


Best Healthy Seasonings and Condiments

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Getting bored with your veggies? Do your entrees leave you wanting more?

Spice. It. Up.

So many seasonings are loaded with chemicals: MSG, anti-caking agents. Secretly added gluten with wheat flour. There are probably 20 ingredients you cannot begin to pronounce. That spells disaster for our systems–just say no to the chemicals.

Here are some of the best healthy seasonings and condiments that can change the course of your dinners forever!

  1. Tommy’s Coffee Rub. This is not just for beef! Use it on thickly sliced tomatoes on toast–like a BLT sans the swine. Mash it with an avocado and lemon juice for a new twist on guacamole. P.S. It doesn’t taste like coffee. P.P.S. Tommy is a cute, local Texan. All of his products are yummy, especially the Salsa Roja.
  2. Jalapeno Lime Pepper from Alamo City Pepper Products. Sprinkle on artichokes, add it on wild salmon or halibut with a touch of olive oil, broil for 12 minutes. (See this recipe.) The best fish you will ever eat. They also have a great fajita seasoning.
  3. Casa Fiesta Taco Seasoning. To beans, grass-fed ground beef, Mexican rice. Taco Tuesdays will be awesome again.
  4. Simply Organic Spicy Chili Seasoning. Follow the directions, adding an extra can of rinsed beans. Or better yet, delete the grass-fed beef for a vegan alternative. Your kids may never notice. Add it on top of an organic baked potato. Sooo good.
  5. Simply Organic Ranch Powder Packet. Certainly not perfect, but a great way to wean yourself and your family off of other favs/go-tos. If you wonder why HVR is so bad, take a moment to read the bottle in your fridge. Yikes.
  6. Krazy Ketchup. A truly healthy alternative and it is really tasty. Plus, the owner is a super cool college sorority bud. It can be ordered by the case.
  7. Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar. Add two tablespoons to your soups for a tangy kick. This is the perfect base for homemade salad dressing. Oh … and lots of great benefits:
    • Rich in enzymes & potassium
    • Support a healthy immune system
    • Helps control weight
    • Promotes digestion & ph Balance
    • Helps remove body sludge toxins
  8. Organic Dijon Mustard. Adds zing to your salad dressings, zip to your turkey roll-ups. Look for brands that only have a couple of ingredients. We like the 365 Whole Foods Brand.
  9. And while we are at it, really good, fresh pickles are really hard to find.  Take a look at the ingredients in the ones you have in your fridge.  Probably have food coloring and polysorbate 80, and some other science experiments.  Try Bubbies. Their pickles and sauerkraut is beyond yummy.
  10. Simple Stuff. Really good Sea Salt and a Black Pepper grinder. Changes the way you look at salt and pepper.
  11. Wright’s of Texas Fresh Green Salsa Mild OR Habanero. AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME. On chips, on veggies, as a marinade, on fish tacos, on a spoon. Just the right amount of everything. Super fresh, all-natural.
Bodies (and taste buds) will sing. 


12 Healthy Breakfast Options on the Go

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We’ve always heard, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Without question this is true, especially for our kids. For brain development, their daily energy levels, their ability to focus.

An apple a day...It can be a challenge with all of the over processed options you see in the grocery store.

Fruit Loops ARE NOT AN OPTION.

Getting your kids to eat a good breakfast in the morning is simple–if you just do a little planning. You need a few of these quick and healthy breakfast options in your arsenal.

Make a shopping list that includes all of the items below and plan out your week. If you are not a morning person, put out plates, glasses and put ingredients together ready to go from the fridge. If they take vitamins (which they should), place them in little ramekins at their place setting. Still plan to get up 10 minutes early. It makes all the difference.

Breakfast only takes 15 minutes, and it can be a great way to take a moment to set your intention for the day, spend a moment with your kids and treat yourself like the royalty you are.

Feed them royally (as our friends at Hail Merry might say) with some of the following options:

  1. Bob’s Red Mill Rolled Oats. Just add hot water and wait two minutes. Add maple syrup and cinnamon, even berries for a sweet treat. You can also cook steel-cut oatmeal in your crock pot the night before so it will be ready in the am.
  2. Vital Farms pastured eggs. It is very important to get protein in them, keeping blood sugar levels even. Eggs are SOOO fast and easy to make. Try one over medium cooked in coconut oil. Serve them boiled with salt and pepper. Scramble them with spinach if your kids are open to the next level. And why pastured?
    • 2/3 more Vitamin A
    • 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
    • 3 times more Vitamin E
    • 7 times more beta carotene (according to my friends at Vital Farms)
  3. Applegate Farms Chicken Maple Sausage, scrambled egg and whole wheat English muffin–or try a Van’s GF waffle with it, like a wrap! No nitrates, organically grown.
  4. Fresh smoothies made with frozen berries, bananas, almond milk, pomegranate juice, raw protein like Amazing Meals. Stock up on your ingredients. Keep cacao and agave on hand too. Try the Blueberry Brain Boost Smoothie. Sneak in hemp seeds for extra protein.
  5. Vigilant Eats Oat Cereal if you are in a super rush. Just add cold or hot water and go. Spoon is already in the cup! Eleven grams of protein to start your day. Come get yours at The GEM!
  6. Cherrybrook Farms (gluten-free) pancakes with blueberries. This gluten-free brand is amazing!!!! They really are fantastic when cooked with coconut oil. They need almost no syrup! Combine with #2 or #3 to balance with protein.
  7. Healthy granola, like Hail Merry’s Cherry Almond Hemp with vanilla almond milk or organic Greek yogurt. Add fresh sliced pineapple on the side.
  8. Ezekial Bread toasted with almond butter and their favorite jam (not the kind with food coloring and lots of chemicals. Read your labels!)
  9. Make a peanut or almond butter and jelly whole grain waffle. Heavy on the organic peanut butter.
  10. Breakfast burrito–whole wheat tortillas–the fresh ones from Central Market or Whole Foods, not the ones with a gazillion ingredients–mixed with scrambled eggs and pico de gallo. You can drain a can of black beans the night before and add those in the mix too.
  11. Quinoa Cereal.  It’s reminiscent of Cream of Wheat, but SOO much better.  Here’s a recipe.  Play with it–your kids just might love it!
  12. Bonus: invest in a citrus juicer. You can make fresh squeezed orange or pink grapefruit juice in a matter of seconds. It is AMAZING and a tremendous source of Vitamin C. Everyone thinks it’s cool to operate.

And remember this important detail for breakfast: if it comes from a box, read the label. If you don’t know what the ingredients are or how to spell them, toss it.

Do you have a whole food, protein rich breakfast favorite you’d like to share? We’d love to hear about it!


Healthy Snacks for Kids: 21 Ways to Feed Your Kids Better.

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So much of what we feed our kids is full of chemicals and overprocessed, nutrient depleted food stuff. Junk food abounds. Providing your family with nutritious, acceptable and SAFE food is HARD to do! Almost everyday inside The GEM, we hear parents wishing they had better options that their kids would want to eat.

Fast foods are pumped full of chemicals (even Chick-fil-A contains food colorings and an “anti-foaming agent” in their fries that is also used in plastics). Packaged snacks are made with hydrogenated oils (Oreos), rendered beef fat (Chef Boyardee). Food coloring is linked to ADHD and depression. Hidden sugars are everywhere.

These things are acidic, linked to cancer, allergies and make their little brains foggy. You can find better commitment to healthier foods just by knowing what some of these things do to you. I know you can!

Here’s where to start:

1. Try to tell your kids WHY unhealthy choices are bad. Make the reasons relevant to them. If you tell your son that he will play better basketball if he doesn’t choose to eat the electric blue cupcakes before a game, he will listen. Tell your pre-teen girl that eating lots more green leafy vegetables will make her skin glow and eliminate breakouts, you have her ear. Tell your 5 year old that super heros eat grilled organic chicken and broccoli and you atleast have a chance.

2. Have easy to grab options ALWAYS available. This IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY AS A PARENT. If you have a bowl of washed strawberries and grapes in the fridge, they will eat them. Have a plate of veggies, dip, cheese cubes and sliced apples out when they come home from school. Fresh made organic popcorn is always a crowd pleaser. They will eat it!

3. Healthy eaters don’t happen overnight. KEEP IT UP. It takes 10 times of tasting for a palate to change. Plus, they will learn to expect healthy options on their plate every meal and know they will have to try atleast 2 bites. I promise it will happen.

21 Good, Healthy Snacks for Kids

  1. Organic popcorn made in a Whirley Pop with coconut oil and sea salt. DEE-LISH.
  2. Sliced cucumbers marinated in water, 2 tablespoons of Braggs apple cider vinegar, a touch of agave. SOOO good.
  3. Fresh pico, salsa and bean dip. Nachos with pinto beans and cheese are a much better option than Cheetos! Always have these in your fridge.
  4. Cubes of yummy, premium cheddar cheese. (Not the Kraft crap)
  5. Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, dehydrated fruits. Pistachios are fun to eat.
  6. Sliced apples with organic peanut butter, if you don’t have nut allergies. Cutie oranges.
  7. Slice bananas and freeze them. AWESOME. Grapes too.
  8. Keep frozen berries (1c), bananas (1), almond milk (1c), pomegranate juice (1/2c) and raw protein powder on hand. Make a Sparkle Berry smoothie. They will love you!
  9. Turkey (Applegate Farms makes a great one) with a little mustard wrapped around a sesame breadstick
  10. Mini pizzas made with whole grain english muffins, fresh marinara (no sugar, all natural), mozzerella
  11. Fresh lemonade will quench any thirst. 1/2c lemon juice, 1/3c (or less) agave, 4 c water. Make a pitcher and keep it on hand.
  12. Lentil Soup with homemade croutons made with coconut and olive oil. Dinner or snack.
  13. Bowl of oatmeal with maple syrup. Healthy granola that doesn’t list sugar as its first 3 ingredients.
  14. Surprise your kids with Breakfast for after school snack: organic pastured eggs (Vital Farms is my fave), Applegate Farms chicken maple sausage. An amazing after school treat.
  15. Sami’s Cinnamon Chips will disappear at carpool time. Kids LOVE these gluten free, high fiber, low sugar (but don’t tell them that) chips. Available at The GEM.
  16. Whole wheat pasta already made. Even better is Tinkyada brand gluten free pasta. Find a pomodoro sauce that is clean and healthy with nothing but tomatoes, garlic, spices. NOTHING ELSE. A touch of olive oil, maybe.
  17. Make your own pita chips–sprinkle whole grain pita chips with parmesan cheese and broil until golden brown. Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies–in a pinch–are okay.
  18. Steam frozen edamame and add sea salt
  19. Roasted chickpeas. So fun!
  20. Make organic oven fries. YUM!
  21. Make your own cookies and brownies as a special special treat.  Just use organic flours, whole butters and real chocolates. A little goodness goes a long way.

 


Kick it to the curb: Eliminate The Toxins

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Toxins make us sick — our bodies AND our mind. They are not just in the air. They are all around us–even where you would never think.

Toxins are also in our:
- Food
- Cosmetics
- Relationships
- Habits

Toxins weigh us down, make us sick, cause depression, limit our horizons. Why do we allow toxic people, habits, chemicals, poor eating habits, and situations to make you sick, fat, angry, sad, self-conscious?

Back to the Just Say No Campaign. The question then is, how do you eliminate toxins out of your body?

These things are bad for your health–both mind and body:

  1. Toxic people: You know the ones. They see everything half empty. They say and do things to make you feel inadequate (that is your insecurity, too, which is something you need to work on). Some of these people are also known as Energy Vampires. You have to set boundaries and keep them on the periphery of your happiness. A brilliant guide to setting these is aptly named, Boundaries, by Cloud & Townsend. Check it out.
  2. Toxic Habits: Looking for the bad, instead of the good. Is your juice glass half empty? “Why does this always happen to me?” Two reasons: A) You are looking for it. B) Your aura invites it. **Look for the positive. Make it the focus.** What else No body movement. Yes, exercise. The kind that stretches and pushes your body. Brisk walks and stretching seem like nothing but will make a huge difference in the way you feel. Try it. I dare you. Simple yoga exercises and eventually group classes are life changers! Group Pilates can be SO MUCH FUN!
  3. Toxic Chemicals: Toxins are in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the shampoo we use. There are ingredients in many of your household products that have been proven to cause cancer. And, let’s be realistic, we cannot avoid all of these. We can, however, do a better job of selective elimination. Eliminate: conventional air fresheners, lotions, shampoos. There are many all-natural, non-carcinogenic products available–and not just available at Whole Foods. There ARE natural cleaning products that work, even some you can make yourself using inexpensive things like vinegar and lemon.
  4. Toxic Foods: You knew this was coming. There are toxins in your foods. However, there are two ways I want you to think about this. You don’t have to do this all at once.First, crowding out. Start by simply ADDING more vegetables and fruits into your day. That way, there is less room for the bad. When you start your day with good food choices, the rest of your day will follow. Organic is best, but just considering the “Dirty Dozen” and purchase accordingly.Second, diet drinks, fried foods, sugary breakfasts. Believe it or not, the properties of these foods affect your brain, your mood and how you perceive your day. These foods also make you feel like shit. Oh, and all of those toxins sit in your fat cells and liver for long periods of time. They actually make your body hold on to fat and junk you really don’t want. Read: helps you lose unwanted adipose tissue. Stock your kitchen with healthy snacks you can feel good about!

In the words of my mafia friend, “If you have a problem, eliminate it.”  I think that is BRILLIANT advice–sans the concrete shoes, of course.


Makeover: Pantry Edition. Simple Tips and Ideas to Reboot Your Kitchen.

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We all know the kitchen pantry can have an evil, tempting voice that beckons you to do bad, bad things. That box of double stuffed oreos and cheezits refuse to live a life of solitude. They DEMAND your company. Temptation can be difficult to resist, especially if other options are not readily available. Just say no? That simple slogan is not realistic. Here’s a better way. It’s a Healthy Pantry Makeover. REBOOT your pantry and kick start your way to vibrance, energy and love.

There are lots of strategies for a healthy pantry makeover, all of which will be part of a series to teach smarter ways to shop and cook and eat. Here are some starting points.

1. Read the labels. if it sounds like a bonus question on a chemistry exam, toss it.
2. Reward yourself but not with food. A movie or walk with a friend, a lazy soak in the tub.
3. Leave triggers on the shelf at the grocery store. If you know you can’t resist something, don’t buy it.
4. Don’t try to do it all at once. That can be overwhelming and expensive. Start with a few items and work them in.
5. The fewer the ingredients, the better the food, ie, ‘whole food.’

TOSS
1. White rice and pasta.
2. Salty, fried snack foods like potato chips and corn chips. Especially those with chemicals and color.
3. Vegetable oil. It’s acidic and tasteless.
4. Sugary cereals, boxes with BRIGHT COLORS, OR PRIZES INSIDE
5. Canned soups, make your own and freeze the extra.
6. High Fructose corn syrup drinks.
7. Yogurt with artificial sweeteners and colors.
8. Any thing labeled sugar free, fat free or ‘lite.’ If they can’t spell it right, it’s wrong.
9. Take a look at the ingredients in your condiments. Try making your own salad dressing.
10. Frozen entrees. Lean Cuisines are loaded in preservatives and sodium.

EMBRACE
1. Whole grains like long grain brown rice and quinoa. Whole grain cereals. Go Lean Crunch is pretty tasty! Bob’s Red Mill Oatmeal is a winner.
2. Nuts.  Raw almonds and pumpkin seeds rock my world. Dried and/or dehydrated fruit. Sliced frozen bananas or grapes are awesome in the summer.
3. Healthy oils like canola, olive, coconut. Spices like Jalapeno Lemon Pepper or Tommy’s Coffee Rub are amazing additions to spice up your foods.
4. There is no finer snack than popcorn made with coconut oil and sea salt.
5. Canned beans: cannelini, black, pinto, lentils. (Dried are best. See easy crock pot bean recipe). Beans and rice topped with salsa and avocado is a perfect protein meal.
6. Sparkling water and limes–the perfect cooler.
7. Nonfat plain Greek yogurt
8. Domestic (or local), seasonal fruits and veggies. Keep all the ingredients for a quick smoothie in the pantry and freezer. Amazing Meals is a great vegan protein addition!
9. Hummus, tamari sauce, salsa, guacamole.
10. Homemade chili or soup.  Keep in the freezer for quick access.

Detox your body, detox your mind and now a DETOX program for your KITCHEN. Good stuff!

 


To Juice or Not Juice – Revisited

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This is an oldie, but a goodie! This is a repost of our February 12th blog.

What an amazing week! The GEM is open and it is, I must say, FABULOUS. It’s interesting how clean, vibrant things attract bright-eyed, vibrant  people. It is SO much fun being there serving raw juice and smoothies to these SHINY, HAPPY PEOPLE.

So the question arises, “Should I juice, or should I smoothie? What is the difference?

GET JUICED UP! Juices provide nutrients at top speed.  The lack of fiber means our body can assimilate the nutrients in a matter of minutes. Your body has time to heal itself rather that having to work at digestion.  My afternoon green juice during chemo was the shot in the arm I needed to keep going after 3pm.

By doing this daily, you provide your body with a high dose of naturally-derived nutrients that boosts your health, support your body’s natural cleansing processes, and helps keep you well-protected against toxins and disease. A fresh juice stands in a league of its own.  It is simply the best energy drink on the market! Take that, Red Bull.

BE A SMOOTH OPERATOR … Smoothies are a vibrant man’s comfort food. There is nothing better than a rich, yummy smoothie. They can be fruit based, raw chocolate or coconut. It doesn’t matter. They all can offer great benefits for skin, digestion, weight control.

Smoothies contain a good deal of fiber, something that is an important nutrient in itself (see Emerald City Smoothie at The GEM). Fiber is an essential and all-too-often lacking ingredient in our diet; it keeps our gut moving and helps it to stay healthy with the right levels of good bacteria. Smoothies, when done right, can be an excellent meal replacement too–with veggies, fruit and protein mixed happily together in a party cup.

BUT, don’t be fooled by that creepy, fake crap served at fast food joints or even at the self-acclaimed healthy smoothie chains. So much of that is processed and sugar laden. You might as well eat some Ben & Jerry’s. Or … the famed BACON SMOOTHIE from Jack in the Box. A bit of a bellwether for the state of America’s health. Smoothies gone wrong. Watch out for it.  Juice over Smoothie?  We need both.

 


Eat Now, Pay Later.

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Growing up in the South (quick shout out to Sylvester, GA), I ate from Daddy Pait’s garden, I helped my mom can fruits and vegetables, we sealed and froze soups, jarred pickles and everyone spent significant time cooking food. Even though the green beans were cooked for so long they were no longer green, and the squash had the consistency of mashed potatoes, the quality of the food was still whole. Tomatoes were really tomatoes and not some genetically modified monster. Cucumbers were picked just a day or so before we ate them.

Fast forward a quarter century (or more) and our fast-paced lifestyle forces many of us to seek out food that requires little time to prepare. Manufacturers have cashed in on this, marketing every kind of foodstuff you can imagine that is easy and fast–microwave dinners, boxed snacks, and grab and go meals to be slurped, eaten from a stick, popped in a toaster.

Sounds like a dream come true. Not so fast. This convenience comes with a price. Think about it.  Real food isn’t made to sit in a box or bag for long periods of time….so..chemicals, lots of them, are added to keep the food from going bad. Making them, well, bad. And they are filled with empty calories–void of any real nutritional value.

A simple food, yet this list is SO complex. It should be 3 ingredients. Can you guess? Flour tortillas!

Look for these ingredients in the food labels and avoid them at all costs.  Don’t panic, you can still find packaged options without a health risk, but you must read the labels and avoid the following:

  1. Artificial Colorings I was shocked to see that even Kraft Marshmallow Crème has food coloring in it. These are chemicals made from petroleum derivatives and have been linked to cancer, are known to cause allergic reactions, and are linked to ADD in children. AND, most of Europe has banned these in the same foods that have them here in the USA.
  2. Artificial Sweeteners Aspartame (NutraSweet) has been linked to brain tumors and about 90 other really unpleasant side effects. Your body is tricked into thinking it is getting sugar, so your insulin levels rise making your crave more sugar than before. It is is EVERY stick of gum you currently know. Diet drinks, ‘Lite’ Yogurts, ‘sugar-free’ junk should be tossed.  NOW.
  3. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) It extends the shelf life of processed foods and is cheaper than sugar. The main issue now is that HFCS is that we ingest far too much of it, contributing to our obesity epidemic.
  4. Partially Hydrogenated Oil (Trans Fat) is an altered vegetable oil. It promotes heart disease. It’s not just in Crisco anymore.  Goldfish and  peanut butter and Mission tortillas just for starters.
  5. Sodium Nitrates enhance meat products like hot dogs, bacon, sausages, and lunchmeats. Nitrites break down into cancer-causing compounds.  “Lunchables” should be re-named Box O’ Migraines.

These chemicals can have surprising side effects: depression (yes, I swear), fatigue, headaches, and skin irritations to just name a few. Not so convenient now, right?

For everyone trying to lose weight: Empty calories leave us hungry for real food. When we eat real, whole, organic and fresh foods, our bodies become satisfied and thank us accordingly.

Your best bet is to limit or better yet avoid things in packages, wrappers, and cans, and eat most of your food in its simple, natural state. It will make you feel SO much better, look SO much better, and LIVE SO MUCH BETTER. I GUARANTEE IT.


GLORY DAYS.

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Freshman 101 Wellness Tips

Remember your freshman year? All of the new things, new responsibilities, new boundaries, new ways to incorporate freedom into your life?

Remember the summer after your freshman year? Coming home to raised eyebrows at how much MORE of you there was? I came home with 20 more pounds. Forget the Freshman 15…I’ve always tried to be an over-achiever.I was a nice sized 12/14 in pleated shorts. It was a good look.

Recently, we hosted a graduation party at The GEM for 32 graduating seniors and we shared a few ‘tips’ with them. I hope they will incorporate a few of these into their daily life. I tried appealing to their vanity rather than their long-term health. I mean, we were all invincible back then. Good skin, better energy, strength & stamina, and clear thinking seem to be a better draw. Share these with your college bound GEM.

Quite frankly, we all need to follow these rules. They make for a happier, healthier you. One more shout out for DIAMONDS ON YOUR INSIDE.

TOP 3 THINGS TO DO

EXERCISE EVERYDAY—even if it is a walk or a bike ride. It makes you happy, too!

DRINK. LOTS. OF WATER. Water keeps your body and mind hydrated. Sometimes you mistake thirst for hunger. Drink 32 oz of water every morning— first thing. Pretty skin, pretty eyes, better energy.

GO GREEN. Eat something green everyday. PERIOD. More green = better mood, better skin, better chance of not taking home the freshman 15!

TOP 3 THINGS NOT TO DO

DRINK TOO MUCH. Bad for your skin, bad for bloating, and really bad for making good decisions.

LATE NIGHT EATING. Pizza delivery after 8pm is evil. An occasional splurge is fine, but keep it to once a month. There is nothing really hip about a slug eating crap. Cut out junk food. Keep healthy options around like popcorn, apples with almond butter, nuts, hummus & veggies.

SMOKE. ANYTHING. Smoke makes your skin dull, your breath stink and your body lethargic.

INCORPORATE HEALTHY CHOICES:

FRESH GREEN JUICE—perfect nutrients, energy, glowing skin, bright eyes

KOMBUCHA—soda alternative, cleansing, great hangover elixir

SMOOTHIES—as a meal replacement, and make sure there are only fresh, clean ingredients. No Jamba Juice imposters!

I can still see myself in my freshman year spring break photos.  My face was so puffy it barely fit into the 8×10 frame. If I’d only known The GEM!!


Weed of Wonder: Cilantro, the Great De-toxifier.

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Don’t take this SUPER LEAF for granted. This herb is not just a random garnish found next to the salsa on the condiment bar at Taco Cabana.

It’s a powerful natural detoxifier.

There are many well-documented benefits of organic cilantro. One super cool fact is that Cilantro might just be one of nature’s best chelation agents.

The chemical compounds in cilantro actually bind to heavy metals, loosening them from the tissues, blood and organs. Cilantro’s chemical compounds then help move these harmful substances out of the body. Mercury excess is a common problem that may be the result of metallic teeth fillings or over-consumption of predatory fish such as tuna and swordfish.

But wait, there’s MORE!  Cilantro also …

  • Eases symptoms of arthritis due to its powerful anti-inflammatory capacities
  • Maintains healthy cholesterol levels
  • Brings relief for stomach gas, prevention of flatulence (your friends and family will thank you) and an overall digestive aid
  • Wards off urinary tract infections
  • Helps reduce feelings of nausea
  • Eases hormonal mood swings
  • Helps promote healthy liver function
  • Loads of anti-oxidants that eat up those nasty free radicals in our body…things that make us old and creaky.

STATS for this humble backyard herb: 

15% of folates (recommended daily allowance per 100g)
11% of vitamin B-6
45% of vitamin C
225% of vitamin A
258% of vitamin K, one of the richest herbal sources
22% of iron
18% of manganese

This weed has flown under the radar for too long. Cilantro deserves a bowl full of respect!

So how can you get more of this super green? Add it to soups, sprinkle it on salads, douse it on dips. Too much to think about?

Have someone do it for you! Get a double dose of cilantro love when you hang out at The GEM. You can find cilantro in the soon-to-be famous GEM Quinoa Salad and Jalapeno Pesto. Hustle down and get you some cilantro!