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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!

Magnesium: Anti-Anxiety Mineral

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It’s nature’s xanax and ambien and exlax all in one. 

 

What is it? Magnesium is a mineral that’s crucial to the body’s function. Magnesium helps control healthy blood pressure, supports strong bones, and keeps the heart rhythm steady.

Why else do we need it? Magnesium is a calming mineral that nourishes the nervous system. It helps prevent anxiety, fear, nervousness, restlessness and irritability. It may even have a positive effect on depression. It is a great way to stay regular, treat menstrual cramps, allay menopausal symptoms. SOLD.

Have anxiety? Got constipation? Muscle cramps? Trouble falling asleep? Magnesium can help.

How do we lose it? Most people are deficient in magnesium. Mental and emotional stresses deplete magnesium, and we live in a state of chronic, on-going stress. This environmental reality increases our daily need for magnesium. Magnesium deficiency can be caused by a number of stresses on the body, including emotional stress, some drugs (diuretics, antibiotics, oral contraceptives, insulin, cortisone), heavy exercise, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders and too much calcium in the diet.

How do I get it? Supplements for one. Like what?  My favorite way is with something called Natural Calm. It is a powder substance that you drink like a tea. IT. IS. AWESOME. I drink it when I am feeling anxious. Often, it replaces the 5 o’clock cocktail I used to drink. I give it to my kids to help them relax before bedtime. It’s a great nighttime ritual. CALM rocks my house.

A luxurious and easy way to increase your intake of magnesium and relax at the same time is to add about a cup of Epsom salts or Calm Sports Bath to a warm bath—you’ll absorb the magnesium through your skin. It also helps with sore and cramping muscles. Add lavender essential oil and have a ridiculously calming soak before bed. You’ll sleep like a baby.

Where do I get it? Grab some at The GEM of course! Also available at Whole Foods, my other happy place.

What else should I know about it? Not dangerous, but important to note: Too much magnesium or Calm and you will find yourself with loose stools. Remember that slightly inappropriate lady on those Milk of Magnesia commercials?

So start low and work your way up.

CALM is NOT a substitute for a poor diet. So don’t just rely on supplements. Focus, too, on foods high in magnesium.  Foods such as:

• Dark-green, leafy vegetables
➢ spinach, kale and chard, contain plenty of calming magnesium as well as good amounts of the B vitamins.
• Whole, unrefined grains like oats, buckwheat, millet and quinoa also contain both magnesium and B vitamins.
• Lentils, grass fed beef and homemade bone broths, halibut, and salmon, nuts, pumpkin & sesame seeds, bananas, avocados, figs.
• Dark chocolate / cacao are rich in magnesium.
• Chamomile, dandelion, peppermint or sage herbal tea. Mix it with your CALM magnesium for a double kick.

Added bonus: Many high-magnesium foods are also a good source of calcium, especially spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens, and sea vegetables. Another way to a happy green lifestyle!

Stay CALM, baby.

Special note: Magnesium citrate is generally not a harmful substance, but care should be taken to consult with a health professional if any adverse health problems arise.

This post was not sponsored by the folks at CALM!

 

 


8 Simple Detox Steps You Can Do NOW!

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From a distance, achieving a cleaner, healthier lifestyle seems daunting.  There are foods you’ve never eaten, supplements you’ve never heard of, and exercises you’ve never dreamed possible. Sure, when you start climbing that mountain of health, the pinnacle is nowhere in sight.  But Rome wasn’t built in a day, so don’t expect a new lifestyle to simply appear when you blink your eyes. Gradual changes to your daily life will put your body and mind on a path to healthier and happier living.

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Be Vibrant!

So many of our GEMs ask how they can get clean—to feel better, look better, think better.  They have no idea where to begin.  I had the fortune (or misfortune if you are a half-empty kind of guy) of being scared into a clean lifestyle.  One day I was sipping/guzzling Hendricks and sodas living an incredibly toxic life (food, drink, people), then BAM!, the next day I am down in the depths of a super strict, super alkaline, orthorexic-to-a-fault, rid-my-life-of-toxic everything way of life. But you don’t need that kind of fear.  You need a few simple tips to get you on your way.  It’s about being mindful of your body and your environment. Once you can see the benefits of these small changes, your body and your mind will DEMAND more.  THEN, we can talk  about diving deep!

  1. Drink 32 ounces of clean, purified water upon waking.  This means before you drink your coffee, before you go for your run, and certainly before you eat that huge breakfast.  Add a little lemon if you like for added alkalinity. Your body has been detoxing itself for the last 8 hours.  Flush out these toxins.  The water is not only cleansing, it is hydrating and energizing.  TRUST ME ON THIS.
  2. Deep breathing exercises every day.  Measured breathing,(pranayama) filling your belly first and inhale through your nose for 6 seconds, then exhale for 6 seconds. Repeat 8 times. Calms the mind, reduces anxiety and tension, increases metabolism, energizes, strengthens the immune system.
  3. No artificial sweeteners, no artificial colors. Never. Period. Studies show sweeteners can raise insulin levels, cause brain tumors, foggy brain, migraines, fibromyalgia, cancer. Artificial colors are made from petroleum and cause ADHD, and certain cancers among other things.  Seriously, this sh*t is toxic.
  4. Add an extra green to your day.  Add steamed broccoli to your salad, spinach to your smoothie (you can’t taste it, by the way).  Green juice is a great way to to get lots extra veggies. If you want a good recipe, email me! I’d love to share.  Slice up some cucumbers and sprinkle with lime and sea salt. Just one EXTRA a day.
  5. Daily probiotics.  This should come in a pill format—NOT Activa yogurt.  Probiotics are the healthy bacteria our digestive tract needs to keep our bodies healthy.  Our immune system primarily resides in our digestive tract.  The healthy bacteria has been sabotaged with processed foods, antibiotics, and other chemical stresses we put on our bodies.  Sunbiotics, a brand we love and use, brings the good bacteria back so it can fight off illness, enhance digestion, remedies constipation and believe it or not, improves mood and thinking.
  6. Omega Fish Oil.  Nordic Naturals are the cleanest, freshest fish oils on the market–and the only brand the GEM recommends.  These vital nutrients help quell inflammation, boost brain health. 2-3 grams/day.
  7. Brisk walk 3-4x week for atleast 30 minutes.  Good for circulation, mood, metabolism. Duh. Just do it.
  8. Sleep. Get some. Atleast 8 hours.  Adequate sleep will keep your cortisol levels in check (things that make you hold on to fat), keeps your mood elevated.

Practice these 8 things every day and watch a transformation begin. Daily GEM dosing and an introductory meal plan is next on the list, but that is for another day….

Peace and Happy and Juice.

 


New Year’s Resolutions. On Ground Hog Day

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It’s a new year. Again.  And now it’s Ground Hog Day. Again.  Just like the Bill Murray movie, it just keeps happening over and over. It’s been a whole month since the parties, the tinsel, the family, the indulgence. I say it’s now down to business.

We hear it every year. It’s time for your resolutions–a time for reflection of ourselves and our lives — present and future. Be better, smarter, happier, stronger, thinner, richer, kinder. It’s what we do after January 1. It’s another one of those, ‘everybody’s doing it’ things, and we follow.  Did you try it?

Now it’s February 2nd, is it too late? Did you fail already? “Oh well, maybe next year,” you say.

HEY.  Don’t be simple-minded.  The “New Year” is not the only time we should reflect and make positive changes. I say start today, Ground Hog Day.

Evaluating your life should not be an annual occurrence.  It should be a monthly reoccurrence. These things should be done on a regular basis, say, every three months re-evaluate. We should call them New You’s Resolutions and make it a habit, regardless of the time of year. Take a quick look at where you are and where you want to be. This is especially useful for diet regimens.

Nonetheless, as mired in tradition as it is, New Year’s (or Ground Hog’s in this case) resolutions, if you are so inclined to jump aboard, can enrich your life and the lives of others around you.

  • What will you change?
  • Will you try to improve?
  • Where will you focus your positive energy?

For the record, I’ve never, EVER shared my resolutions—especially not on such a public platform … for many reasons. Some are simply a level of privacy I like to keep. Others are because I don’t want to be held accountable in case I decide I don’t want to follow through. But this year, I decided the revealing my own hopes, thoughts and goals might cause others to think a bit about their own lives. To better reflect and even, take action.  Plus, it is February 2nd, which eases the Hallmark card pressure for me.

Copying from my paper is OK in this instance. So, in the spirit of it all, here goes. (And don’t judge, not out loud at least).

  1. Go to church each Sunday with my family. I’ll admit I have not been a church goer. But I realize my family and my children need it. Integrity, morals, respect for God and others, a sense of belonging. You get that at church.
  2. Blog twice a month. This is for you AND for me. I need to pin down my thoughts, capture them, act upon them. You can journal your thoughts. Ten minutes is all it takes. It is amazing how cathartic it can be.
  3. Be gluten-free. No exceptions. I know it makes my belly bloated.  I’m 43 and I don’t need to look like I’m four months pregnant all the time. It also negatively affects my mood (both the gluten and the bloated belly). Here are some great tips on going gluten free.
  4. Yoga three times week. I SWEAR this yoga thing works miracles. I find quiet and peace and I lose the achy joints. I FEEL AWESOME. There are different types of yoga. Find one that works for you.
  5. Make a date once a week. This will be really difficult to do, but I need that time, albeit short, to re-connect with my husband. And on the note of reconnection …
  6. Make love to my husband more often. (Here’s that privacy thing). Sex is an integral part of your relationship. It’s a connector, a relationship re-kindler, an actual mood booster. Just do “it.” (Don’t copy this one exactly)
  7. Read more books. At least one will be about self or family improvement. Reading makes you smarter, keeps your brain in shape, keeps you busy and out of trouble. I love humorous and happy books.Recommendations are welcome. Reading Boys Adrift right now.  NOT a funny book but incredibly insightful.  Need a fun one next.
  8. Work for nutritional balance for my children. It affects their mood, their energy, their well-being. Teaching kids early the importance of healthy food can circumvent a lifetime of food issues. I am in awe of the research that supports this.
  9. Walk with a friend once week. It’s either this or $200/hr therapist. Whether intended or not, a good hour talk with a friend can allay a week’s worth of anxiety. Sure you can meet for tea at The GEM, but I like to kill two birds with one stone.
  10. Share my love of disco. Ongoing fun and laughter is something we all need to look for and create every day. Sing, even when you don’t feel like it.

May my ideas spur your ideas! Please share one Ground Hog Resolution or all. I want to hear them.


10 Ways To Increase Your Energy

Posted on by diamondsonyourinside and currently has 3 Comments

Waking up each day with vibrance and energy–like every day is your own disco party–would be awesome, wouldn’t it? No late afternoon dips, no struggling to wake up in the mornings. So many of us struggle to find enough energy.  The good news is there are ways to increase your energy, naturally and easily.

Many factors contribute to our sense of energy and vitality ~ those that zap us and those that invigorate. The foods we eat, the people we meet, how we move our feet. These things can either increase our energy or decrease it.

The culprits for depleting us are stress-related. Think four types:

  1. Chemical – Food or Drug
  2. Emotional
  3. Mental
  4. Physical

The main foods and substances that decrease our energy are:

  • Caffeine, coffee, diet sodas, alcohol, too much meat or not enough, processed/chemical laden foods, tobacco, milk/dairy, sugar and artificial sweeteners and trans fats/fried junk!! It is important to note that certain prescription drugs also zing our energy including anti-depressants.

Foods that increase our energy:

  • Foods that are alive have life force. Food that goes bad is good food. Unprocessed, whole foods: grains, vegetables and beans. These foods have all the components of their original, natural state: fiber, vitamins and minerals. Processing removes these elements. A great rule of thumb I like is: If microorganisms cannot thrive on it, what makes you think you can? Does it come in a box and has a “shelf life?” Then it should be pushed aside.

Everything that we take in is food for our body, mind and spirit. 

Here are 10 ways to increase your energy:

1)  Ease up on the java and “energy” drinks.

  • The ups and downs of caffeine include dehydration and blood sugar ups and downs, making mood swings more frequent. Stimulants like caffeine and sugar may seem to give an initial energy boost, but they actually cause a dip in our energy and blood sugar levels. Green tea is an excellent substitute.
  • Drink more juice. Juicing 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.

2)  Water water everywhere! Lots of it.

  • Most Americans are chronically dehydrated. Before you go to sugar or caffeine, have a glass of water with lemon and wait a few minutes to see what happens.
  • Many times you think you are hungry when really it’s your body asking for water!
  • Drink 32 oz of water as soon as you wake up. Have nothing else until that is consumed.

3)  Eat your greens.

  • Think: Green is spring, the time of renewal and refreshing, vital energy.
  • Greens are full of vitamins and nutrients especially CALCIUM and great for improving circulation, lifting the spirit, purifying the blood and strengthening the immune system.
  • You can always DRINK YOUR GREENS TOO.

4)  DON’T BE SWEET ON SWEETS.

  • Sugar is just plain bad. It promotes disease. Sugar causes mood swings, depression and fatigue. And the more you eat, the more you want!
  • Avoid sugar and chemical-filled artificial sweeteners. NEVER, EVER NUTRASWEET.
  • Use gentle sweeteners like maple syrup, brown rice syrup, agave nectar and stevia (they have lower glycemic loads).

5)  Animal Protein. Evaluate the amount of animal food you eat. Fried foods are still a definite NO.

  • Eating too much meat, dairy, chicken and eggs can lead to low energy. So can eating too little! Grass-fed, pastured and wild are always good determinants when choosing your meat and fish.
  • It is always a good idea to cut back on dairy. (Acidic, mucous forming, bloating, yuck). Spinach, kale, collards, broccoli are all excellent sources of calcium.
  • Beans are always a great choice for protein. We do NOT need as much as conventional wisdom states.
  • Fried foods zap your energy. Stay away from them.

6) Chill out. Go to bed!

  • When you are tired or stressed, your body craves energy. Instead of answering the call of the late night snack, get to bed earlier and see what happens. Turn off the lights and TV. Without proper sleep, your body cannot properly detox, heal and repair itself.
  • Magnesium is a great supplement to aid in relaxation. I love “Calm” magnesium tea. It really works.
  • Believe it or not, daily breathing techniques can help. Six deep breaths morning and night can really take the edge off and help with emotional and physical stress.

7)  SHAKE THAT.

  • Physical activity is key. Start with simple, walk with 15 minutes a day or take a yoga class and increase from there. It really does energize you! Even when you don’t feel good, moving will make you feel better. It is a proven fact!

8)  Love yourself.

  • Find activities that restore your energy, such as a walk, a bath, visit the DMA, a movie or whatever you enjoy. Schedule a weekly date with yourself to do these things! This is incredibly vital to your internal energy source.

9)  Get in touch with your spirituality.

  • We are spiritual beings in a physical world. All facets of your life need attention for your whole body to feel good.
  • Find ways to get in touch with your spiritual side, be it meditating, dancing, drawing, going to church or temple or being outside in nature.

10) NO ENERGY VAMPIRES. Get rid of relationships that drain you.

  • People can suck the life force out of you. It doesn’t mean that they are bad, but it is good to notice who drains you and why.
  • See if you can change those relationships by communicating and setting boundaries or, end them.

If all else fails, call a friend, meet at The GEM, and drink your juice! We will atleast have the disco music.


What is Matcha?

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Matcha is the super power of all green teas. It has so many incredible benefits–so much so that it should find its way into your daily routine. Your health can’t afford not to consume this incredible emerald liquid.

So, what is matcha? Matcha tea is a finely ground green tea powder. Matcha’s super high-quality tea leaves remain covered from sunlight for 20 days before picking to accentuate the color and enrich the amino acid content. These rich green leaves are then stone-ground into a fine powder, in a way that keeps oxidation to an absolute minimum.

What makes matcha so special? First, you consume the whole tea leaf, not just water brewed tea leaves. It is the equivalent of 10 cups of brewed green tea! Second, because it isn’t oxidized at all, all of the antioxidants and rich chlorophyll in the leaf remain.

Matcha gives you the following benefits:

  1. Antiaging free radical fighter. The ability of matcha to absorb free radicals (the ORAC value) is one of the highest in the super-food realm, at about 1,348 units per serving. This is one bad ass antioxidant to keep you forever young.
  2. CANCER HATER. This is the one I love:  Matcha is especially high in an antioxidant called EGCG. Matcha has up to 137 times the amount of EGCG as other infused green teas. This particular antioxidant has shown promising results in helping fight against HIV, cancer and many other disorders and diseases.
  3. Metabolism booster. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that matcha helped with metabolism rate, which holds promise for faster fat loss.
  4. Keep calm and carry on with a spring in your step. Matcha plays both sides of the fence when it comes to energy. One study found that matcha had a relaxing effect without causing drowsiness. This calming effect is strangely coupled with an energy lift from caffeine and other elements from the tea leaf. Coffee can cause the jitters and a caffeine high with a crash afterwards. Matcha, while still containing caffeine, tends to cause a more even, long-term energy rise. Plus, with all of those healthy antioxidants, it is a great way to fight against disease and cancer.

KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY. As with all teas, quality is super important. And cheaper is definitely not better. You want to purchase your tea from an importer who moves through their stock so that you get the freshest product. It is interesting to note that all tea comes from the same plant. The quality just depends on the region and processing method.

How to make it? Use a teaspoon of the magic green powder in a bowl with a third of a cup of hot water heated to just less than a boil. Then mix it with a bamboo whisk (or a latte whip) and you are ready to go.

Get creative. Use matcha in smoothies and salad dressings. Just up at The GEM, a chopped veggie salad with a spicy matcha vinaigrette. Super umami (that’s yummy in Japanese)!

For more information, read Dr. Weil’s article on buying green tea.


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

Posted on by diamondsonyourinside and currently has 5 Comments

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.