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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!

Category Archives: Healthy Eating Tips


Conjuction Junction, How’s Your Liver Function?

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Read this before you do anything else for your overall well-being. The GEM Liver Health

Do you give much thought to your liver? You should, because it may be the reason you aren’t feeling your best. The liver is the body’s most important organ–with more than 500 known functions. It’s involved with digestion, blood sugar control, and protein and fat metabolism. It functions as a living filter to cleanse the system of toxins, metabolize proteins, control hormonal balance and produce immune boosting factors. These functions are essential to your overall health.

Do you love your liver, or abuse it? Abuse in the form of:

  • Poor food choices: think preservatives, junk, excess sugar, overeating, fried food.
  • Pharmaceuticals: Toxins are fat soluble so they remain in your fat cells. Chemotherapy too.
  • Environmental: We are exposed daily to high levels of toxins (chemicals, pesticides, water contaminants, heavy metals) through our food, water, air, body and home products.
  • Excess caffeine and alcohol. This one is self explanatory.

When your liver becomes overloaded, congestion occurs. If the liver can’t properly filter the blood, you end up with recycled toxins flowing through your body. This can damage your heart and immune and endocrine system, wreak havoc on your optimal health, even lead to rapid aging.

This sluggishness causes problems you might not think are related,  I couldn’t believe it! Do you have:

  • High sensitivity to chemical smells
  • Trouble digesting fatty foods
  • Increased intolerance to alcohol. This was a big sign for me that something was wrong.
  • Bloating around the upper abdomen
  • Chronic indigestion. Have you been downing those antacids???
  • Wake up at 2 – 3 a.m. for no reason
  • Moodiness/depression/anger. For real, it can be connected to your liver.
  • Fatigue
  • Blotchy skin
  • Gallbladder issues, or removal
  • Constipation, IBS
  • BRAIN FOG
  • Trouble losing weight—your liver plays a critical role in metabolism
  • More ominous symptoms include high blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglycerides, sleep apnea and fatty yellowish lumps around eyes. (CALL YOUR DOCTOR FOR THESE!)

If you have more than three of these symptoms, it is possible you have a sluggish liver — blocked or clogged up with unhealthy fat (in extreme cases it’s called fatty liver). These are signs you need to take action! Once I figured out I had a problem, (which came from a year-long stint with some chemo), I immediately set out to restore my liver health. My changes have really made a positive effect on my health. I sleep better, think better and am a more pleasant person to be around—just to name a few!

How can you remedy this and feel better?

You need to give some love to your liver. Here’s how.

REDUCE exposure to air and food borne toxins:

  • Creepy room fresheners and synthetic perfumes are SOOOOO BAD.
  • Think of it as embalming fluid for food.
  • No one needs electric blue GATORADE!
  • Go organic. Eat at The GEM!
  • Heavy metals in large fish – say goodbye tuna, swordfish
  • Unfiltered water. Get a filter!
  • Chlorinated and brominated products found in almost all commercially produced breads and bread products. I mean … WTF.
  • Switch to non-toxic and plant-based, cleaning and personal care products. This is a BIG deal. If you can’t eat it, don’t use it on your skin.

CHANGE your habits and, “Let food be thy medicine.”

  • Eliminate processed foods, poor quality fats, simple carbohydrates and sugar.
  • Limit or eliminate alcohol. Duh.
  • Drink 32 ounces of filtered water each morning.
  • Eat detoxifying, liver loving foods to help repair the damage to your liver. Dark leafy greens, pastured eggs, beets, garlic, onions, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts.
  • Check out our new FANTASTIC DANDELION SALAD chocked full of liver detoxifying love. I’ve been eating this everyday. DAILY, ORGANIC GREEN JUICE contains living enzymes, vitamin C and anti-cancer phyto-nutrients. carrot, celery, beet, dandelion, apples, any green leafy veggie!!

REPAIR & RESTORE

We DON’T SUBSCRIBE TO overloading the body with supplements—they can actually be harmful to the liver! Stay away from those cryptic boxes of powders and pills heralding a “liver cleanse.”  That kind of cleanse is best left to a functional medicine practitioner.

BUT, there are a few supportive herbs and nutrients you can use DAILY to rebuild health.

  • Boosts of chorella and spirulina remove heavy metals and toxins. (Grab a BRIGHT LIKE A DIAMOND AND NEW PERFORMANCE SHOT!)
  • Essential fatty acids–plentiful amounts are required for healthy liver function. High quality fish oil. Wild fish. Avocado, raw nuts and seeds. Strict low-fat diets are not beneficial for general health, weight control or liver function.
  • MILK THISTLE and DANDELION tonics for liver cleansing, TURMERIC for inflammation can make a difference. Anima Mundi Bitters is a kick ass addition to your daily supplement routine. I saw immediate improvement in my sleep pattern. It helps remove stagnation, increase absorption. It stimulates bile production, enhances digestion and revitalizes liver function by eliminating accumulated toxins. GRAB SOME NOW.

It’s time to clean up the liver. These changes will improve digestion, sleep, better skin, weight loss and promote optimal function of your entire body!

Invest wisely into your health to feel your best and proactively prevent future chronic illness. After adding the extra beets, dandelions, Anima Mundi, milk thistle I’ve been sleeping like a baby….and slowly clearing the brain fog–one thought at a time!


Breakfast Ideas for Healthy Teens [Part Four in Four-Part Series]

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You asked for it and here it is: breakfast ideas for healthy teens.

Remember what I said in the second blog? “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Healthy Teens

Without question this is true. For brain development, daily energy levels, ability to focus. Sugary meals give their brains nothing to function with, and the sugar spike and drop makes them sluggish and cranky. Not a good way to start the day.

If you are prepared, breakfast only takes 15 minutes in the morning. It can be a great way to spend a moment with your child and treat your family like the royalty you are.

  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 or Cunningham pastured eggs. It is very important to get GOOD quality 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 ever.
  4. Fresh smoothies made with frozen berries, bananas, almond milk, pomegranate juice, raw protein like Amazing Meals. Stock up on your ingredients. Keep cacao on hand too. Try the Blueberry Brain Boost Smoothie. Sneak in hemp seeds for extra protein.
  5. Make a SMOOTHIE BOWL! This is basically a smoothie with lots of other good stuff in it that you eat with a spoon not a straw. Check out this video and recipe from my friend Pamela Salzman.
  6. 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!
  7. Healthy granola, like Hail Merry’s Cherry Almond Hemp with Malk’s vanilla almond milk. Add it on top of an extra thick smoothie for a Parfait!!
  8. Ezekiel Bread toasted with avocado, sea salt, lime and cayenne pepper.
  9. Organic peanut or almond butter and raw honey on a whole grain Van’s waffle.  Heavy on the organic nut butter.
  10. Breakfast burrito–whole wheat tortillas–the fresh ones from Central Market or Whole Foods, NOT the Mission ones with a gazillion creepy 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. For the weekend: KING ARTHUR gluten free pancake mix with blueberries. This gluten-free brand is amazing!!!! The pancakes are really fantastic when cooked with coconut oil. They need almost no syrup! They make GREAT waffles too. Combine with #2 or #3 to balance with protein.
  12. Clean junk for the weekend: Cinnamon Rolls by Immaculate Baking Company: just like the Dough Boy, but without the chemicals!! They also have crescent rolls—make them with Applegate Farms chicken maple sausage links for a clean “pig in a blanket.” Winner!

And remember this important detail for breakfast: if it comes from a box, read the label. If it has a mascot, it is NOT an acceptable breakfast. Read your labels! If you don’t know what the ingredients are or how to spell them, toss it.

And as for YOU, dear parent, plan your mornings accordingly: get up early, revel in your morning routine and simply enjoy a few moments with your kids.


Snack Ideas for Healthy Teens [Part Three in Four-Part Series]

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Snack ideas for healthy teens got you stumped?

The key is to BE PREPARED. Remember from last post? If you have good food in your fridge, Healthy Teensyou will eat good food. This is true for all of us. So make regular trips to the grocery store, with a list of things that will sustain your teens (and their friends) for the week.

Be Ready!! Don’t wait for them to start rummaging through the kitchen. They will snack on what is in front of them. So have it out on the counter.

  1. Organic popcorn made in a Whirley Pop with coconut oil and sea salt. You and your kids will flip for this stuff. Don’t have a Whirley Pop? Just in a lidded pot. So easy. DEE-LISH. Tiny but Mighty brand popcorn kernels are pretty cool to eat.
  2. Sliced cucumbers/carrot rounds marinated in lime juice and sea salt. Don’t underestimate this one!
  3. Tex Mex rules! Keep grass-fed taco meat ready to go. Always have these in your fridge:
    • Fresh pico, salsa and bean dip. Nachos with pinto beans and cheese knock Cheetos out of the park!
    • GUACAMOLE is awesome AND Organic chips are a must. Make sure your tortillas are fresh and without chemical ingredients. (Say goodbye to Mission brand)
    • Bean Roll-Ups Spread bean dip on a whole wheat flour tortilla, top with shredded organic white cheddar and roll up. Brush with oil or grass fed butter and bake 10 minutes at 400 degrees F. Serve with salsa.
  4. GEM hummus with jalapeno pesto. Grab one of our snack packs for their lunch too!
  5. Sunflower seeds. Pumpkin seeds. Pistachios are fun to eat. Keep in a bowl on the counter.
  6. Sliced apples with organic peanut/almond butter. Even sunflower butter is great (for nut allergies)
  7. Slice bananas and freeze them. AWESOME. Grapes, too. Cutie oranges are fun to eat.
  8. Make smoothies! Keep frozen berries (1c), 1 frozen banana, (1) almond milk (1c), pomegranate juice (1/2c) and plant based protein powder. (We use Epic inside The GEM.) They will love you!
  9. Applegate Farms Turkey or chicken with a little mustard wrapped around a sesame breadstick.
  10. Mini pizzas made with whole grain English muffins, fresh marinara (no sugar, all natural), organic mozzarella.
  11. Sami’s Cinnamon Chips will disappear at carpool time. Everyone LOVES these high fiber, low sugar (but don’t tell them that) chips. Available at The GEM.
  12. Whole wheat pasta already made. Or, Tinkyada brand gluten free pasta. Find a pomodoro sauce that is clean and healthy with nothing but tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, spices. NOTHING ELSE.
  13. 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. Annie’s makes all kinds of convenience foods that can help make a transition into cleaner snacks.
  14. Steam frozen ORGANIC edamame and add sea salt.
  15. Roasted chickpeas. So fun!
  16. Brown rice sushi pieces—cucumber rolls, California rolls.
  17. Make your own cookies and brownies as a special treat. Just use organic flours, whole butters and real chocolates. A little goodness goes a long way. Stay away from Betty and Duncan. They are toxic sh*t storms.
  18. This ain’t working for you? Still need some frozen snacks? Try these. Amy’s Nacho Snacks, Pizza Rolls or Burritos. Available at most grocery stores.
  19. Popsicles? Frozen fruit ones are great–make sure to read the ingredients. Try these GoodPops out of Austin.

 

These are not all super-food healthy snacks–because we aren’t dummies. They are, however, CLEAN, free of harmful chemicals and dyes. This is really important to remember when feeding your families.

What are YOUR go-to healthy snack options? We’d love to hear!

Next up … bad@$$ breakfast ideas!


Six Tips for Feeding Healthy Teens [Part Two in Four-Part Series]

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We need to get teens back to healthy foods.Healthy teens

So how do you start? It is daunting. And I don’t suggest coming in full swing with a super-sized bag of kale chips and quinoa burgers. That is an invitation for a full on revolt. Start slowly. It’s not EVER too late to start. Just two weeks to form a habit.

SIX TIPS FOR FEEDING HEALTHY TEENS

1. MAKE IT RELEVANT. This is my favorite, and the most impactful way to convince your child of anything. In order for healthy options to sink in, teens must believe the message has specific reference to them. Long term health challenges will NOT resonate with them. Let them know nutrition affects their growth, their emotions, their academic and sports performance, their appearance, or whatever seems to be the most important to the teen during that particular week.

How?

Appeal to their vanity. Tell your daughter that eating lots more green leafy vegetables and less dairy/sugar will make her skin glow and eliminate breakouts, you have her ear. Talk to them about the correlation between nutritious food and acne. Want to grow? Talk about foods that promote growth and foods that don’t: promote calcium-rich foods and let them know soft drinks contain calcium depleting phosphoric acid, which can interfere with bone growth.

Appeal to their competitive nature. If you tell your son that he will play much better basketball if he doesn’t choose to drink the milkshake and chicken fingers before a game, he will listen.

Appeal to their academic drive: Tell your teen that eating grilled wild salmon and broccoli before exams and they will think more clearly. You at least have a chance!

BUT YOU HAVE TO MAKE IT RELEVANT.

2. Model good nutrition. You must model healthy eating habits. You cannot preach to them! We all know how well that usually ends. Show your teens how to make healthier choices so they learn the connection between good food and good health.

Want them to eat healthier? Buy and cook healthier!! Have easy to grab options ALWAYS available. This IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY AS A PARENT. If you have good food in your fridge, you will eat good food. If you have a bowl of washed strawberries and grapes, they will eat them. Have a plate of veggies, hummus, and sliced apples out when they come home from school. Guacamole and fresh pico? They will eat it! Homemade organic popcorn is always a crowd pleaser.

How?

    • Let your teens help shop for healthy foods that they like and let them prepare their own meals/snacks.
    • Keep junk food out of the house or to a minimum. AND find “cleaner” junk foods. Those made without harmful chemicals, sweeteners and dyes.
    • Make extra when cooking dinner so they can use leftovers! (extra brown rice, chicken, pasta, brisket). I keep grass fed taco meat in the fridge to quickly make quesadillas after school.
    • Sneak spinach into smoothies.
    • The key is to be ready. Don’t wait for them to start rummaging through the kitchen. They will snack on what is in front of them. So have it out!

 

3. Eat more QUALITY protein at every meal. The growing teenage brain needs protein. Protein gives the body the building blocks it needs to repair and renew, and it also serves as a source of energy. But Quality Matters. Try wild fish, organic free-range chicken, grass-fed beef, pastured eggs. I keep a pot of beans ready at any given moment. Nut butters are also good sources of protein—just make sure they are all natural and not loaded with sugars.

4. Get more vitamins. Even if they were perfect eaters, they cannot get all of the nutrients they need from their food sources (soil depletion, environment, stress, etc.). Our teens need at least 20 to 30 percent more of their daily requirements of nearly all the vitamins. These three are imperative:

  • Multi-vitamin/multi-mineral supplement is imperative. Cells are powered by nutrients. Vitamin D alone powers 200 reactions in the body and without it teens will be prone to depression/anxiety. Without enough B vitamins, and B12 (found in proteins) teens will feel lethargic, low in energy. Zinc has been nicknamed the “new anti-depressant”– it boosts mood and appetite and helps kids think. Look for organic, plant based vitamins from reputable companies like New Chapter and Nordic Naturals.
  • Probiotics. Our immune system primarily resides in our digestive tract.  The healthy bacteria that we need has been sabotaged with processed foods, antibiotics, and other chemical stresses we put on our bodies. Probiotics bring the good bacteria back so it can fight off illness, enhance digestion, remedies constipation and believe it or not, improves mood and thinking.
  • Fish Oil. Good omega fats nourish the brains, the nervous system. Combats mood disorders, fights inflammation, great for their joints too. Quality matters!

 

CONSIDER SUPPLEMENTS FOR YOUR TEENAGERS.

5. Pantry clean out. Throw out foods with ARTIFICIAL FOOD COLORS and SWEETENERS. PERIOD. Artificial sweeteners are KNOWN to cause 93 unsavory side effects from brain tumors. Memory loss, to hair loss. Food colorings (banned in Europe) are known to cause tumors, ADHD, allergies among lots of other infuriating problems. These are definite NOs in our house.

READ THE LABELS. Take a look at the ingredient labels on your food package. Even the simplest of foods will have more chemicals in them than you can count, much less pronounce.

Fill your kitchen with real, fresh foods whenever possible. Even replacing super bad junk with organic, non-GMO junk is a non-toxic step in the right direction. Shop at Whole Foods, Central Market, even Tom Thumb offers cleaner options. Also, if you haven’t already, check out Thrive Market.

AND THE LAST THING …
6. “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Without question this is true, especially for kids. For brain development, their daily energy levels, their ability to focus. Protein rich eggs, oatmeal, breakfast tacos, plant-based protein smoothies. These are great!! Fruit Loops ARE NOT AN OPTION. Sugary cereals and drinks have no place at breakfast—their brains have nothing to function with, and the sugar spike and drop makes them sluggish and cranky.

Getting your kids to eat a good breakfast is simple–if you just do a little planning.

Make it for them! It may be your only chance of the day to influence their choices. If you are not a morning person, prepare the night before–put out plates, glasses and put ingredients together ready to go from the fridge. Place their vitamins in ramekins at their place setting. Plan to get up 15 minutes early to scramble those eggs. It makes all the difference. Added bonus: Breakfast can be a great way to spend a moment with your kids—that you otherwise might not have!!

At the end of the day, it is about a lifestyle change, not a week or so of regimented consumption. A healthy routine paves the way to a vibrant future of health and happiness! If you’d like to dig deeper, we can help you get there!

So you and your teenager can experience daily GEM goodness after school, we’ve extended our hours to stay open until 6 p.m. Monday – Friday. YEP. WE ARE OPEN UNTIL 6.

Next up … What DO you feed those kids? Stay tuned for great snack ideas.


Feed Your Teens Well [Four-Part Series]

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Teens need exceptional nutrition because their bodies AND BRAINS are growing and maturing rapidly. With the exception of infancy, adolescence is THE most critical time for good eating. WOW! The irony, of course, is that the time they need it the most, is the time when they eat nutritious foods the least. They need help. The struggle of feeding healthy teens is a real one.Feed Your Teens Well

Over the next four blog posts, we will discuss ways to raise healthier teenagers–from why they need our help, to how we can play a role, along with an entire post devoted to healthy snack ideas your kids will eat.

Here’s the deal: Our teens ARE overfed and undernourished. (Take a look at the documentary!) Think about that profound statement! We need to help change this. These growth spurts do require more food; but not just more food, they require the good food.

There are lots of reasons this is a problem. Teens eat more meals away from home, and parental supervision is limited. The places they DO eat are usually fast-food restaurants, where “food” is riddled with unhealthy fat and void of nutrients. Basically CRAP.

Their tastes are changing. Boys try to build muscles by eating massive quantities of food. Girls want to be thin, and think limiting calories alone equates to weight loss. There is an increased affinity for fat (not the good kind). Boys crave heavy, protein-rich foods. Girls crave sweets. Hello, Cupcake.

The fact is that healthy nutrition — and especially the lack of it –affects so much of our teenagers lives: their academic success, athletic ability, overall attitude—and even their appearance. Our teens need to know this.

If we can educate them and help them adopt a few good habits, we keep them healthy and happy–not just now but straight into adulthood. This is our duty!

 

Effects of poor teen nutrition. You probably know what it looks like, but what does it do?

The effects of regular consumption of high inflammatory foods, such as fast food, sodas, potato chips, junk, foods with mascots, sweets etc, are NOT positive ones.  Here’s what happens without good nutrition:

  • Acne. Yep. Sugar and Dairy are the culprits. Enough said.
  • Low energy, sluggishness. Excess sugar and bad fats, along with lack of good protein and good fats.
  • Inability to focus/concentrate/ADHD. Largely affected by artificial dyes and lack of good fats and proteins. This is crisis is REAL people.
  • Allergies! Big and little ones. Check out The Unhealthy Truth by Robyn O’Brien. Infuriating.
  • Mood swings/depression, anxiety, anger. Food can be a BIG factor in managing mood.
  • Weight gain and risk of obesity. Greater chance of diabetes and heart disease later in life.

 

Bottom line: You and your teen can find better commitment to healthier foods just by knowing what some of these things do to you.

So much of what we feed our kids is full of chemicals and over-processed, nutrient depleted “food-like” substances. You may not even know the culprits–as they are hidden in everything. Junk food abounds, then all of the side effects appear. Providing your family with nutritious, acceptable and SAFE food is HARD to do!

Fast foods and convenience foods are pumped full of chemicals.  It’s a real toxic sh*t storm out there. Even Chick-fil-A contains food colorings AND an “anti-foaming agent” in their fries that is also used in plastics. What????? Packaged snacks are made with hydrogenated oils, scary preservatives, creepy science experiments (GMOs), and things called rendered beef fat. Hidden sugars are everywhere. Prego spaghetti sauce=serving of Chips Ahoy. Sports drinks have tons of sugar, not to mention harmful food dyes that are banned in most 1st World Countries. We now consume 5 times the amount of food dyes than 50 years ago. Check out this frightening guide to food coloring dangers. If that doesn’t get you off your Sugar Smacks, nothing will.

Ramen noodle on that for a while. It’s upsetting to say the least. We need to get teens back to healthy foods. And, we will. Together. Until next time …


5 Tips for Staying Healthy This Winter

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This season brings with it happy holidays and festive parties. It also brings stress, less exercise, and more time indoors which equals a greater risk of getting sick with colds and flu. Want to stay strong, boost your immune system, and increase your chances of staying shiny, bright and well this winter? Read on (hint: it’s not just about more vitamin C):

81aHY-s2LkL._SY679_TIP #1: FEED YOUR GUT good bacteria. Our gastrointestinal system is the center of immunity. Maintaining a healthy gut flora is key to strengthening our immune system and helping to prevent illness.

Probiotics, or “good” bacteria, diminish inflammation in the gut and thus help fight illness. So, during this season especially, make sure you’re consuming probiotic-packed foods, like sauerkraut or organic miso. Daily shots of raw apple cider vinegar will also help. Add a probiotic supplement – it’s imperative. We love BIO KULT because it doesn’t need refrigeration, which makes it easier to carry.

TIP #2: BOOST YOUR DIET. Sure, Vitamin C will help keep your immune system strong, so include foods like oranges, blueberries, peppers and broccoli. But don’t just focus on one nutrient.

  • Eat a whole food, plant-based diet with lots of in-season vegetables like winter greens, yams, carrots, and squash. Our LENTIL SOUP, made from scratch, packs rich vegetable nutrients into a warm cup of ridiculous yumminess.
  • If you struggle to consume the recommended 8 servings of veggies each day, try juicing them! Drink juices that consist of 3/4 vegetables and 1/4 fruit. Our RUBY SLIPPER, a blend of carrot, beet, lemon, ginger and cucumber is a stress-busting combination that will fortify your immune system. A GREEN GLOW has been known to cure all that ails you! Add ginger and lemon boosts too.Bar Shot GEM Bag
  • Use lots of herbs and spices. Turmeric and ginger are possibly 2 of the most anti-inflammatory, immunity boosting spices you can consume. Daily IMMUNITY SHOTS at The GEM part of your ticket to staying well. Buy the IMMUNITY MIX (turmeric, ginger, lemon) in 8 ounce bottles and make your own super powered ImmuniTEA with raw honey. It’s SO good!
  • Vitamin D deficiencies also contribute to our susceptibility to illness. Sunlight AND a D3 supplement will help do the trick.
  • Immune boosting SUPERFOODS such as our ADAPTOGEN drops with medicinal mushroom tincture is the final gloss on ensuring your health for the season. If you do find yourself feeling a little under the weather, start immediately with our COLDS COCKTAIL, a tonic that helps push that cold on through.

TIP #3: MANAGE STRESS. Stress triggers the production of cortisol, a hormone that weakens the immune system, making you more susceptible to infection. People who are under more stress are twice as likely to develop colds when exposed to them than those who are chill. Meditation, yoga, deep breathing – these are KEY to managing stress. Don’t skip over this. It’s important.

TIP #4: DON’T SKIP THE EXERCISE. Moderate EXERCISE is cleansing, moderates stress levels, and bolsters immunity. 30 minutes a day. End of story.

TIP #5: GET GOOD SLEEP. Sleep offers your body time to repair and restore your system. 7-8 hours is the minimum. The nights are longer in the winter for a reason: your body needs more sleep to stay well and strong.

Stay healthy, my friends! And see you inside THE GEM.


Be vibrant—Form a Plant Based Diet, including JUICE!

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JuicerowGEM girls believe juicing is an incredible tool in an arsenal to “reboot” a sick body and mind. It is a significant component to an overall plant-based, whole foods diet—which is the key to vibrant health. It is powerful stuff!

This is something I learned firsthand. I discovered what juicing and alkalinity does to a compromised system when I went through a year-long battle with cancer and chemo. This experience was more than just inspiring and medically apparent for me, it completely changed my life!

But WHY is juicing and a plant based diet such an effective means of changing one’s health—whether the goal is vitality, weight loss or even disease reversal?

Two words: Micronutrients (OK, one, but it sounds more dramatic that way). Cells in the body require micronutrients (i.e. vitamins and minerals) to function optimally. When cells receive adequate micronutrients, you feel energized and full. These are nutrient-dense foods. On the other hand, many foods simply provide nutritionally worthless calories and are devoid of the essential nutrients our cells crave. These are calorie-dense, nutrition-poor foods that weaken your body, i.e. things that come in a box. a nugget, or a drive-thru.

A Plant-Based Diet includes vegetables, legumes/beans, seeds and nuts, just like we do inside The GEM.  This diet contains foods that are minimally processed too, with the majority of nutrition coming from plants. This diet is incredibly powerful in achieving optimal health. Plants provide:

Fiber

Diets high in fiber are associated with lower risks of heart disease, colon cancer, diabetes and obesity. It keeps everything moving.  LIterally. There is fiber in broccoli, beans, apples, among other vegetables and fruits. HOWEVER, none will be found in the nutritionally void world of white bread, chips, burgers and most other processed foods.

Phytonutrients

This group of nutrients give the gorgeous colors to our veggies and bring about many health benefits. Found only in plants, phytonutrients are anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer. SIGN ME UP. Think GREEN. Or blue, or red, or yellow. There are perhaps 10,000 of these health-promoting chemicals in the edible plant world. (You’ll never find phytonutrients in a Big Mac.)

Antioxidants

Many chemicals (these are good chemicals) found in plants help resist the damage that occurs to the human body from oxygen and the process of metabolism. Chlorophyll, the green energy found in plants, is liquid sunshine that detoxifies and energizes. It’s anti-aging at its best.  Surely the fountain of youth is made of chlorophyll! Oxidation leads to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, compromise brain cells. Our dear friends in the plant world contain TONS of natural antioxidants.

Omega-3 fatty acids

These essential fatty acids are used for the internal workings and repair of cells throughout the body. These are GOOD FATS. They enhance and nourish brain function and help our systems run smoothly.  Flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, algae are rich in this nutrient class. AND…ALL FATS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL!

ALKALINITY

Greens are highly alkalizing to our systems—which is what we want. Disease thrives in acidic environments. CANCER LOVES ACIDITY.  All processed food, dairy and animal products are acidic in our system. Greens are great for improving circulation, lifting the spirit, purifying the blood and strengthening the immune system.

So …. how does this get us back to The GEM and juicing

GEM_slide1It is recommended that we consume five or more servings of vegetables and fruits daily, though many authorities set the bar much higher, being optimal at 10 servings a day. We believe that 80% of what you consume should be plant-based!

In order to consistently ingest this large amount of plant-based material, you need to do some planning. REMEMBER: If you keep good food in your fridge, you will eat good food!

Some ideas to get your greens: prepare large vibrantly colored salads (our KALE salad rocks), add greens in protein-rich soups such as our lentil soup, and blend smoothies with berries, hemp seeds and greens for a power breakfast or a snack. You’ll never taste the spinach! Keep hummus and veggies nearby to snack on in a pinch. Bottled green juice is an awesome option to start your day.

Juicing is just one more tool you can use to build a plant-based nutrition program rich in phytochemicals, and it can make it easier to reach your goal of 10 servings a day of vegetables.

By 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 protected against toxins and disease.

Juice:

  • is easy to digest and the nutrients are easily assimilated.
  • is an incredible energy booster, full of chlorophyll, aka liquid sunshine—the real Red Bull.
  • is full of live enzymes, vitamins, and minerals.
  • makes it easy to get more veggies  
  • can curb appetite, and maintain blood sugar levels.
  • makes you happier. Goodness in … goodness out.

Whenever possible, focus on organic foods. Organic really does matter.

Juicing and a plant-based diet will bring you an authentic health and mood boost. I promise!

Any questions?


We Heart Hemp!

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happyhempHemp. Not to be confused with the to the stuff Cheech and Chong made so famous. This miracle seed (plant for that matter) is actually a distant cousin. So, get those thoughts out of your head.

For better or worse, the “high” you can get with hemp is only from your body singing from all the goodness.

Why is it so good?

It’s packed with protein for one thing. Hemp has more protein than meat, fish or tofu. Say wha?? Forks over Knives, for sure!

Additional benefits of hemp include:

  1. It keeps your weight in check because Hemp protein and fiber aid in satiety, which will prevent you from snacking and keep you fuller longer. It actually keeps you from the munchies. HA. A diet rich in hemp also promotes digestive regularity. Giddy-up cowboy!
  2. Keeps you smart. Hemp seeds are one of the few Omega-3 sources found in plants, so listen up, vegans. The Omega-3 fatty acids in hemp reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, lower blood pressure, and may even ward off Alzheimer’s disease. The protein and omega fats help with brain function.
  3. Hemp can regulate hormone fluctuations and promotes the alleviation of menstrual cramps and menopause symptoms. That sounds like happiness in a bag to me!
  4. Hemp keeps you looking good! It is a protein powerhouse that stimulates skin and hair growth, maintains bone health, regulates metabolism, and helps with brain function. Hemp helps keep your blood sugar level, which is an important way to defy age and prevent disease. Sign me up.

An interesting note: our government outlawed hemp farming in 1958, a shame when you consider how amazing a crop it is. The plant thrives without pesticides, purifies the soil around it, and kills weeds. The U.S. is the only country that bans industrial hemp farming.  Another brilliant food move by our government. Our hemp comes mostly from our neighbors to the north in Canada, who are already attuned to a healthier food supply.

Use hemp in your smoothies as a dairy substitute. Just three tablespoons give you a whopping 15 grams of protein. I keep Happy Hemp seeds in my car to snack on when I’m carpooling. Sprinkle them on your oatmeal, add them to your salads.

I’m telling you, this is some good stuff.


Organic Food & Juice – Are the Benefits Worth It?

Posted on by diamondsonyourinside and currently has 1 Comment on Organic Food & Juice – Are the Benefits Worth It?

organic food and organic juice Are organic foods really worth the hype and the extra money? These are questions that are raised every day.

In the GEM life, it’s pretty black and white, and ORGANIC WINS EVERY TIME.

The benefits of organic food:

1. No harmful pesticides. Many of these pesticides cannot be washed off of the produce–as they penetrate the entire vegetable. They are also cumulative. These toxins get stored away in your fat cells and continue to build.  The idea of “it’s just a little bit” is as absurd as saying I’ll just have a little bit of arsenic on my apple. You cannot wash enough of the toxins off. Period.

2. No GMOs. That is genetically modified organisms. If you aren’t clear on what those are, don’t feel bad. Even the scientists who created them can’t predict what will happen to humans when they are consumed. Monsanto created the “Round Up Ready” soybean and corn. This means that the powerful pesticide will kill everything around it except the bean itself. Great, you think. Not really. These crops have been modified so that if an insect eats it, the insect’s insides are destroyed. But it’s OK for humans to eat it? I’m no rocket scientist, but … hell no. Did you know that all of Europe, Australia, Canada, Russia and many other countries DO NOT allow these ingredients in their food supply because of the health dangers? We must vote with our wallets.

3. Organic produce contains the same veggie DNA as our grandparents consumed. Sounds a lot more comforting. An heirloom tomato is heaven. Conventional ones aren’t even worth the sea salt and pepper you sprinkle on them.

4. The meats you consume are not over treated with powerful antibiotics and fattened with GMO, nutrient deficient corn. They are also humanely treated–not crammed into slaughter houses and mired knee deep in waste. Happy animals produce happy food. Eat grass-fed, free range, pasture raised. THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT, MEAT-EATING PEOPLE.

5. And I have to continue to implore you to never eat artificial food colorings and artificial sweeteners. These cause ADHD and allergies in children, brain tumors and neurological disorders in adults, among other toxic side effects.

The government standards for “organic” include a national list of approved synthetic and prohibited non-synthetic substances for organic production which means that organically produced foods also must be produced without the use of:

  • antibiotics
  • artificial growth hormones
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • artificial dyes (made from coal tar and petrochemicals)
  • artificial sweeteners derived from chemicals
  • synthetically created chemical pesticide and fertilizers
  • genetically engineered proteins and ingredients
  • sewage sludge
  • irradiation

So … conventional, non-organic food may contain these ingredients? Did you know this? I am certain not many of us do, since sewage sludge and artificial growth hormones aren’t on the label. Sewage sludge alone is enough to shift my attention to organic!

Take a look at this experiment. It left me speechless. If this doesn’t confirm the data, nothing will. Way to go Elise!

Love yourself, love your family. Buy organic.

It just might be the best weapon in your arsenal against disease. Organic too expensive you say? Have you priced cancer lately? Pick the Dirty Dozen and go from there.

You owe it to yourself and your family. OH, and drink your organic, nutrient dense juice everyday. It is super power that helps combat and flush out the environmental toxins we can’t help but consume.

See you at The GEM, where honestly organic is how we roll.


Magnesium: Anti-Anxiety Mineral

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keep-calm-image

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!