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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!

Category Archives: Organic


Spring Forward with The GEM Continuing Education Workshops

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Spring is the time for renewal, revitalization and detoxification … and The GEM Continuing Education Workshops. It’s time to think about a system re-boot of our bodies and achieving better balance in our lives and our health. Spring is the perfect time to re-group and re-prioritize, and even re-invent the life you are living, don’t you think??The GEM Continuing Education Workshops

We’ve got a few ideas to get you get started.

Over the last three months, we’ve been sharing information about achieving a vibrant lifestyle with SO many of you through our Day in the Life of a GEM Series. It’s been incredibly rewarding and fun. But, apparently it wasn’t enough! You want more.

So … we are introducing The GEM Continuing Education Workshops.

Whether you’ve completed our Day in the Life Series, or just want to start here, we have four new workshops that are sure to shine a light bright into your healthy future. Each Wednesday night in April, during The GEM Continuing Education Workshops, we dive a little deeper into topics such as:

April 6: Dump the Junk! We absorb up to 60 percent of what we put on our skin. Educate yourself so you can do your part to eliminate the toxins from your skin care and cleaning products. How toxic are they? Learn how to “clean up your act” and find better options for some of your favorite products.

April 13: Stressed out and Sugared UP. Stress is an unpleasant fact of life. We all experience it, and for some, we allow it to take over our minds and eventually our bodies. Surprisingly, sugar is one of the biggest causes of stress! Learn why sugar is a dangerous drug that is the root of so many ailments including obesity, acne, depression and cancer. It is a major roadblock to optimal health. Learn what both stress and sugar do to your body and ways to manage it. Squash it for good and don’t let it rule you!

April 20: Eat for Immunity. Let Food Be Thy Medicine. Hippocrates was right! Learn what nutrient-dense foods are best, how certain supplements can help, and what other environmental factors can contribute to a super-powered immune system.

April 27: GEM Cooking Class. Learn how to prepare SIMPLE, GO-TO whole food, plant-based meal options and some valuable tips to make dinnertime shine. Who knew being a fabulous healthy chef could be so easy and so good? Includes shopping list and recipes.

Day in the Life of a GEM Continuing Ed Workshops 

Wednesday nights @ 7:30 p.m. (one hour). Light meal included. 

$60 per session 

$200 for entire workshop 

For those who’d like to start from the beginning, the original Day in the Life Series also starts Wednesday, April 6 at 6 p.m., four Wednesdays in a row, $200 for the series, light meal included.

Email us, call us or reserve your spot online and spring forward with us into vibrant health!


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.


A MUST READ Before You Plan Your Thanksgiving Feast

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Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. There is no giant, commercially obnoxious build up with pressures to give more, do more … and no depressing let down when it’s over. It really is a time to BE GRATEFUL. Grateful for your friends, your family, your health. Take some time everyday between now and Thursday to list three things you are thankful for. It will change your perception, add to your contentment, boost your mood, lighten your load. FIND THE JOY.
Family Thanksgiving
And while you still might be fretting over whether you have enough crystal for the table, or the fact that Uncle Buck is a drunk, your son’s girlfriend is sub-par, or that your mother-in-law secretly wants to destroy you, we can help you with the other stuff. The good stuff. Let’s talk about FOOD!

Every year we hear folks lament over how they are dreading the over-consumption of unhealthy foods that bring nostalgia and comfort, but they can’t bring themselves to change things!!

You CAN fill your table with classic favorites like sweet potatoes, green bean casserole and cornbread dressing–but do it without the creepy canned cream of everything soups and the bad Lipton seasoning packets filled with MSG/GMO/WTF. Come towards the light!

There are amazing gurus like Pamela Salzman (one of our favorite GEMs), who has a Thanksgiving menu to die for! Check out her sweet potato casserole and just about everything else she does. She also helps you plan and organize every step of the way ~ a great way to be a master of the Thanksgiving celebration.

But maybe this STILL doesn’t get you in the mood to bring a healthier dish because you simply don’t want to cook. We’ve got that covered too.

Thanksgiving2015Order your sides from us! Start off with our Celery Salad and bring a bowl of the badass 3 Bean Salad, Hummus always delights (don’t forget the Sami’s chips). I plan to puree and serve our Lentil Soup on Thanksgiving night. You cannot believe how yummy that soup is with a dollop of the jalapeno pesto. Even Martha Stewart would be impressed. Take a look at our catering menu and we can have it ready for you. Salads come dry so you can mix them right before you are ready to serve.

So you still dig into that pumpkin pie, that’s cool. We love it too. We will be waiting for you on Monday to get back on track. Cleanse with a friend and you both enjoy 15% off. Because everyone loves a holiday sale. Can’t get to us?

And, on Monday, November 30, UBER will deliver The GEM Cleanses within 10 minutes of ordering! Yes way!


An anti-cancer life: Sugar

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Next in our Anti-Cancer Lifestyle Guide is SUGAR. The sweet stuff that is everywhere. In everything.

Photo credit: Robin Finney

Photo credit: Robin Finney

Here’s the deal: Sugar is a problem. A big problem. And as it turns out, many of us are actually addicted to sugar … it is a REAL addiction.

This just in: there is scientific proof that sugar (not fat!) is the root cause of obesity. Sugar feeds inflammation, disease AND CANCER. Yeesh. Not so sweet now, huh? Oh, and that belly fat? The joint pain? That can also come from high sugar intake.

Sugar contributes to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, infertility, impotence and depression. It makes me cranky as all get out. And listen up kids, the inflammation caused by sugar consumption causes acne. Yes. Nasty breakouts are probably caused by excess sugar consumption. Sugar may give you a quick rush of energy and happiness, but after a few minutes, the crash zaps you of your vibrance.

They say the average American adult consumes the equivalent of 22 teaspoons of sugar each day. Kids consume even more—like 34 teaspoons a day. Is that you?

Are you addicted to sugar? Do you answer yes to any of the following questions:

  • Do you binge on sugar when you are alone?
  • Do you have a secret sugar stash?
  • Feel the need to end every meal with something sweet?
  • Reward yourself with sweet treats?
  • You can’t cut back, even when you try?

Bingeing on sugar causes an excessive spike in insulin, leading to wide swings in glucose and setting you up for fat storage and more cravings. Your body can’t burn this huge caloric load for energy, so the fat storage hormones get turned on, get super excited and stockpile these sugar calories as fat. Holy (literal) cow.

I implore you to get on a sugar busting detox. When you cut out sugar, you’d be shocked at how easy it is to pop out of bed in the morning, feel better, think more clearly and look better!  Here’s how:

  1. FLUSH IT OUT. Eliminate the toxins that make you crave more junk. The quickest way to kick sugar cravings to the curb and reduce your toxic overload is with a 3 or 5 day organic juice cleanse containing little or no fruit sugars. This will quickly reboot your system and eliminate some of your cravings. Look for juices that are ORGANIC, NON-HPP. Just like we do inside The GEM. No exceptions.
  2. GO COLD TURKEY. Yeah, there’s really no big secret answer. The problem with a sugar addiction is that if you feed it just a little bit, you crave even more! I mean, can you really just have a bite of Ben & Jerry’s?
  3. READ THE LABELS. There is sugar hidden in everything from pasta sauce to salad dressings. Just read that Prego tomato sauce has the same amount of sugars as serving of Oreos. Dangg. Stay clear of products that list ANY type of sugar in the first three ingredients.
  4. Eat slow to digest foods like nuts, beans, green leafy vegetables. Nutrient dense foods satisfy your body and lessen cravings.
  5. EAT FAT. Healthy fats like avocado, coconut oil, olive oils. When your body is depleted of healthy fat, it craves sugar and starch!
  6. BREAK FAST. Eat a balanced breakfast, rich in protein and healthy fats. Add pastured eggs scrambled in coconut oil, avocado on Ezekial toast, carefully selected smoothies with good fats and superfoods.
  7. SLEEP BETTER. It’s harder to say no when you are tired!
  8. GET A LITTLE HELP. Add supplements like probiotics and fish oil. They help quell inflammation and boost digestion.
  9. HAPPY SNACKS. Keep good snacks close by, high in protein and good fats. Sugar cravings can indicate a lack of protein in your diet. Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, almond butter with green apple slices, hummus, etc. Dark chocolate is a great way to get a sweet treat without a sugar overload.
  10. NEVER NEVER NEVER substitute with artificial sweeteners. These toxins will fool your body into thinking its getting sugar, making your insulin rise and creating MORE sugar cravings.

And if all else fails just get OUT of the kitchen to reduce temptation! Brush your teeth (it works). Take a shower. Anything. Just don’t jump off the sugar cliff!

We’re not on the Good Ship Lollipop anymore. You’ve got to dig deeper and refine your palate to eliminate excess sugar from your world. Kick off your journey with a juice cleanse to quickly crack down on cravings. Your body will thank you!

We’ve now covered three of the top 10 Anti-Cancer Rules in our Anti-Cancer Lifestyle Series.

What have you done to add anti-cancer practices into your daily routine? It’s a nice little perk that any of these tips will bring you more vibrance, clarity and energy into your day. Let me know what you think! I hope you’ve tried!


An anti-cancer life: artificial coloring and artificial sweeteners

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If you are not incorporating any of our anti-cancer life tips yet, let us sway you by sharing the ugly on artificial coloring and artificial sweeteners.Real food

Some of the anti-cancer tips can be easily implemented. Others take a little more commitment to your well-being. You fall off the healthy happy wagon, you get back on. That’s okay. Key Lime Pie happens. Then there are deal breakers. Things you should NEVER do. Not in moderation. NOT EVER.

We are going to dive deep into the one about artificial ingredients. Knowledge is power and makes choices easier when you know WHY this stuff is not to be messed with.

Here’s my take on it: NO FAKE STUFF: NOT a little bit, NOT EVER. Artificial Colors, Artificial Sweeteners, Artificial Flavors and Preservatives. I can get really angry about this stuff that somehow has been OK’d by the FDA. These have known dangerous side effects, but are “generally regarded as safe.” I call bullsh*t on that.

Everything we hear these days is about if it feels good do it, — in “moderation” of course. THAT is sheer propaganda. Don’t get me wrong, “moderation” can still means the occasional Hopdoddy grassfed burger, Mema Mary’s caramel cake, Ben & Jerry’s hot fudge sundae … those things are still ok once in a while. HOWEVER, there are some things should never hit your lips. I mean it. Never.

Here are two of those things:

Artificial Colorings

I was shocked to see that even Kraft Marshmallows have food coloring in them. They sneak it into everything! These are chemicals made from petroleum derivatives and are linked to cancer, allergic reactions and ADHD in children.Artificial Colors

Most of Europe has banned food coloring in the same foods that have them here in the USA, or at least make manufacturers put WARNING labels on it.

The FDA? Not a chance. Those food industry lobbyists (the Fruit Loop loving folks from General Mills and the like) are just too tight with the government. Food coloring is a derivative of PETROLEUM, people. Yes, petroleum. Would you spread 40 weight oil on your cupcake?

It’s important to know that the M&M’s in Europe do not contain artificial food dyes. McDonald’s strawberry sundae either. So, why are you still sucking on those Skittles? And giving your kids blue Gatorade?? When Europe firmly refuses to be poisoned!

Robyn O’Brien, the Erin Brockovich of food, is a fierce warrior in the fight against toxins and the quality of our food. Follow her! You will be more than enlightened … hopefully it will set your hair on fire and you will start to make radical change happen within your own family and beyond!

Artificial Sugars

Let’s talk about Aspartame. (NutraSweet, Equal)

This zero calorie sweetener is touted to be the perfect way to have your cake and eat it too. Well, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Nearly 100% of all outside research revealed problems with it. Some of them, BIG problems. Like what, you ask? What could possibly be so bad about a little artificial sweetener that’s in every thing imaginable?

Aspartame (NutraSweet) has been linked to brain tumors and 91 other really unpleasant side effects:

  • Fibromyalgia, joint pain, fatigue
  • memory loss
  • migraines
  • dizziness
  • depression
  • panic attacks
  • hair loss

And if those things don’t change your mind, I’ll appeal to your vanity: this neurotoxin makes you fatter. Your body is tricked into thinking it is getting sugar, so your insulin levels rise making your crave more sugar than before.

WHAT. THE. HELL? Doesn’t anyone know about this? This is serious stuff! Yes, as a matter of fact, Monsanto (the creator of aspartame) does. So does the FDA. Those 92 side effects? They have all been repeatedly submitted to the FDA, even before it was approved for use. Read more about it here.

It is in EVERY stick of gum you currently know. Diet drinks, Crystal Lite, “Lite” yogurts and “sugar free” junk should be tossed. NOW.

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

And Splenda isn’t any better. This sweet poison causes:

  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Seizures, dizziness and migraines
  • Blurred vision
  • Allergic reactions
  • Blood sugar increases and weight gain

AND contrary to its claims, it is not safe for baking. The Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health reveals an extensive list of safety concerns, including toxicity, DNA damage, as well as, “heightened carcinogenic potential when used in cooking.”

COME ON PEOPLE. What else do you need to hear to drop the fake stuff? PLEASE!

Use coconut sugar, organic cane sugar, real maple syrup, raw honey, dates. Or, try to wean yourself off sweet stuff altogether. Your brain, your body and your future self will thank you.

Hugs and the REAL sweet stuff to you and yours. KEEPING IT REAL FROM THE INSIDE …


Leading an Anti-Cancer Life

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Since The GEM’s inception, I have put off posting a blog directly related to cancer, including leading Fighting Cancer; Now Leading an Anti-Cancer Lifean anti-cancer life. I did this for several (no good) reasons. Primarily, I thought, incorrectly I am sure, most non-cancer folks don’t want to hear about something that either a) doesn’t affect them, or b) bums them out.

Last week, 7, SEVEN, yes 7, people I know were either newly diagnosed, toughing out terrible treatment side effects or received news of a nasty recurrence.

Well, I’ve had it. I don’t know if it was just all the dark stars aligned around me, but I decided to hit this one head on with all of you ~ hence, this post about leading an anti-cancer life. It will be the most important thing you read today.

As you may know, five years ago I was broadsided with a diagnosis of breast cancer that spread to my lymph nodes. During my year-long treatment, I started to dig deep into illness and disease and what I could do to help in the healing process AND make certain it never came back.

We talk about alkalinity and inflammation every chance we getBecause those are things that ensure optimal health. Cancer and disease does not thrive in an alkaline environment (your body). Inflammation is the root of illness and disease. We must work constantly to quell the fire of inflammation in our bodies.

Last week’s bad news compelled me to share priceless anti-cancer tips I’ve learned. EVERYONE needs to incorporate these things into daily life, because, frankly, we ALL have cancer cells in our bodies. How you trigger those cells into proliferation is what makes the difference.

My previous lifestyle did nothing for my optimal health. That’s OK. Because I set out to make a change. You can too. These are your new food rules to live by. Treat your body like a GEM.

ANTI CANCER FOOD RULES. 

  1. 80:20 rule: Your plate should be 80 percent vegetables, nuts and seeds. It’s a WHOLE FOOD, PLANT BASED DIET–an alkaline dream! Live it, love it. If you choose to consume animal products, use them sparingly. They should NOT be the main part of your meal. Meats MUST be organic, free-range, grass-fed. This is a tough tip to swallow, but it really should be eliminated, using beans, nuts, quinoa and seeds as pro-alkalinity protein sources. I just read that women who eat meat 2x or more a day quadruple their risk of a breast cancer recurrence. Snap. That does it for me!
  2. RAINBOW GREENS: Many veggies can actually limit the growth of certain cancer cells. Shoot for 8-10 servings of veggies each day. Vary the vegetables you eat or mix them together — broccoli is an effective anticancer food, and is even more effective when combined with tomatoes, onions and garlic. AND, nothing is more powerful than the phytonutrients found in veggies and super berries. DAILY RAW, ORGANIC GREEN JUICE is a critical way to flood your body with cancer fighting warriors.
  3. ORGANIC IS KING: Choose organic foods when possible. For those of you who don’t live in areas where organic is readily available, it’s better to eat broccoli that’s been exposed to pesticides than to not eat broccoli at all. If 100% organic is not possible, familiarize yourself with the “dirty dozen” vegetables and eat accordingly. When something says organic that also means it is non-GMO. I am pretty certain that Monsanto’s Round Up Ready corn and soy beans spawns cancer cells like crazy. I mean, seeds injected with pesticides? NOT FOR ME.
  4. SPICE IT UP: Add turmeric to your diet. It is the most powerful natural anti-inflammatory agent. They call it Nature’s Advil for a reason! We press turmeric into a liquid form and you can purchase turmeric in concentrated supplement form, but any turmeric can be of benefit! Generously add herbs like thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, cilantro, mint, etc. They don’t just add flavor, they help reduce the growth of cancer cells.
  5. Drink UP! Water Therapy is Magic: 32 ounces of filtered (fluoride-free) water to start your morning, plus another 4-6 glasses per day. It flushes toxins, viruses and bacteria and provide the cells with much-needed hydration. Your body will thank you.
  6. GET AN OIL CHANGE: Get rid of those nasty, acid-forming vegetable oils: corn, soybean, sunflower, regular canola. NOW. But don’t be afraid of fats, they really nourish your nervous system, brain and joints. Use olive, coconut, walnut oils in cooking and (make your own) salad dressings. The others are rancid and riddled with inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids.
  7. Drop refined grains: Go for heirloom grains, organic or brown. Eat your grains whole and mixed and favor organic whole grains when possible. Avoid refined, white flour, (ie, bagels, muffins, bread). It is crap.
  8. CUT OUT THE SWEET STUFF: Sugar feeds inflammation, disease AND CANCER. Cut the sodas and skip dessert, or replace it with fruit (especially stone fruits and berries) after most meals. Stay clear of products that list ANY type of sugar in the first three ingredients. For a treat, grab a few squares of dark chocolate containing more than 70% cacao. The GEM loves the Great Bean Chocolate brand of raw organic chocolates. The Bliss Bar, vanilla and cacao flavor, rocks my world!
  9. Learn to love GREEN tea: Instead of coffee or black tea, drink three cups of green tea per day. Regular consumption of green tea has been linked to a significant reduction in the risk for developing cancer. Flying Bird Botanicals’ jasmine green tea is amazing! (Grab some inside The GEM!)
  10. DAIRY IS FOR BABY COWS. We are the only species that consumes another animal’s breast milk–Milk that is laden with hormones that baby cows need to grow. Dairy is extremely acidic. The China Study, a book that reveals an undeniable connection between dairy/animal protein and cancer, changed my entire love affair with dairy. If that doesn’t do it, I’ll appeal to your vanity: bloating and bad skin are definite clues you do dairy.
  11. NO FAKE STUFF: NOT a little bit, NOT ever. Artificial Colors, Artificial Sweeteners, Artificial Flavors and Preservatives. I can get really angry about this stuff that somehow has been OK’d by the FDA. These have known dangerous side effects, but are “generally regarded as safe.” I call bullsh*t on that.
  12. BANISH THE BAD: Manage your environment. This is not food, but it’s critical. Avoid exposure to common household chemical contaminants. Use a green dry cleaner or air your clothes for two hours before storing or wearing it; use organic cleaning products or wear gloves; NEVER heat liquids or food in plastic; dump cosmetics with parabens and phthalates; toss Teflon pans and get enameled ones; filter your tap water; don’t keep your cell phone close to you when it is turned on and use earphones. This is scary stuff, people. There is even legal info about it on your phones in that general section that no one ever reads.
  13. Don’t run scared. Don’t let these tips make you so obsessed that you allow stress to be a negative factor on your body. If you fall off, get back on the wagon. What matters is your daily routine, not the occasional treat.

 

These body nourishing habits are designed to keep cancer at bay and keep you at your optimal health. Incorporate these into your daily routine. Immunity, energy and vibrant health are certain to follow.

P.S. Books to read: Radical Remission and Crazy Sexy Cancer.

P.P.S. Healthy mind and spirit habits are critical components, too. We will cover those in a later post. Stay tuned!


Let Go of Your Fear of the Calorie

Posted on by diamondsonyourinside and currently has 2 Comments on Let Go of Your Fear of the Calorie

We hear it often, “Do you know the calorie count in this?” “How many calories?” “How many carbs?”organic kale salad

I can see their “fear of the calorie” anxiety start to rise.

Well, count no more.

Here’s a news flash: We’ve been fed a fat lie by the food industry and the weight loss community.

Summed up, the lie is this: All calories are created equal. To which I say No, NO, NO! I am boldly going out on a limb to say that is dead wrong. If their advice were accurate, we would all be thin and healthy by now.

According to this concept, obesity is simply a matter of eating too many calories—that the types of foods you eat aren’t nearly as important as the caloric value of foods. Eat less, move more and weight loss will occur. While simplistically it is true, this doesn’t consider the actual nutritional and metabolic effects food has on the body.

Think about small-sized fries, burger and soda (around 500 calories) vs. a bowl of GEM lentil soup, kale salad and a green juice (500 calories). Both are mostly “carbs”—currently taboo in the trendy “diet world.” But never mind that for now.

Riddle me thisDo they have the same effect on our bodies? Do you feel the same after eating these meals? Of course not! We all know that equal caloric amounts of junk food and veggies can’t be the same nutritionally. So why is this?

Here’s what happens to your body with the not-sohappy-meal of burger, fries and soda: The fiber-free sugars of the soda are rapidly absorbed. Your blood sugar spikes, starting a chain reaction of very unwanted hormonal responses that contribute to the storage of belly fat, increased inflammation, elevated triglycerides, higher blood pressure, lower testosterone in men and even infertility in women. Danggg. Refined sugar ain’t good, folks.

But there’s more! The highly refined and highly acidic fats from the burger and fries make you sluggish and tired, even depressed. It slows your digestion and ultimately your metabolism suffers. Let’s not even mention the chemicals they use that accumulate in your fat cells and liver and contribute to a wide array of illnesses. (cancer, anyone?)

Listen up. All your body wants is proper nutrition. What you gave it was crap. So your appetite increases because the brain never gets the “I’m satisfied” signal. It thinks you’re starving. With the sugar spike, your pleasure-based reward center is triggered, driving you to crave more and more sugar. And so your addiction begins. BAM.

These kinds of foods create chaos. Your body doesn’t register these things as food, so you eat more all day long. Plus, your taste buds get hijacked and you become addicted to sugar, so anything that is not crazy-sweet doesn’t taste good to you. It’s an ugly, vicious, fat-inducing cycle.

Now let’s look at the plate of clean and healthy GEM food. As with the first option mentioned above, these calories are made up mostly (although not entirely) of carbs.

These carbs are different, though they are all technically sugars or starches, which convert to sugar in the body. High-fiber, low-sugar carbohydrates such as kale and broccoli are slowly digested and don’t lead to blood sugar and insulin spikes, while table sugar and bread are quickly digested carbs that spike your blood sugar. Slow carbs like kale and broccoli and lentils heal rather than harm.

With The GEM food, there’s no blood sugar or insulin spike, no fatty liver, no hormonal chaos. Your stomach actually finds satisfying nutrients, sending signals to your brain that you are full. There is no triggering of the addiction reward center in the brain. Other benefits: optimized metabolism—yes, your body actually processes the clean GEM food more efficiently!! These foods lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation, and boost detoxification, quelling inflammation. Greens contain high levels of vitamin C and folate, which protect against cancer and heart disease. These foods can even change the expression of your genes to help balance your sex hormones, reducing breast and other cancers.

Good, clean, unprocessed food creates a healthy foundation that protects not pollutes. Food doesn’t just contain calories, it contains information. Every bite of food you eat broadcasts a set of coded instructions to your body—instructions that can create either health or disease. Choose the good. In the end, your entire system will transform itself into a lean mean fat busting machine, without ever counting a calorie.

All calories are NOT equal. Some are addictive, others healing, some fattening, some metabolism-boosting. Which ones will you choose?

Need a little help making the choices on your own? Contact The GEM today and a health counselor will be happy to help!


Why a juice cleanse affects the head, heart and belly

Posted on by diamondsonyourinside and currently has No Comments on Why a juice cleanse affects the head, heart and belly

Family ThanksgivingA juice cleanse not only brings a sharper mind, it allows for a lighter, cleaner (detoxed) body—a body poised for good choices and vibrant health. The super powered nutrients and enzymes in the juice flood the body with goodness. Fasting has been around for literally a thousand years. Its roots are founded in meditation and achieving mental clarity, focus and self-enlightenment after a regimented fast. If you’ve never experienced this kind of levity, you must do this for yourself! Of course, there are many other benefits of a fast—especially when organic juice becomes part of the story.

By juice fasting, you actually rid your body of the toxins, acidity, sugars and chemicals that cause you to retain weight, crave poor foods, zap your energy and even make you sick. Just three days of a GEM Juice Cleanse and your cravings for sugar and junk food disappear. Your skin glows, you sleep more soundly, your mood lifts. Your belly gets flatter.

So, you did a number on yourself this Thanksgiving?

Get back on the Groove Train with a 3 Day GEM Juice Cleanse or fast that pairs alkalizing foods and juices. They will help turn up the body’s detox systems boosting your immunity and building a great foundation for healthy choices. Watch the body and soul come alive!

Make a commitment to yourself now to cleaner, brighter health this holiday season. Give us a call to reserve a GEM juice cleanse that is right for you!

The reward for your discipline and power will far outweigh any twinge of hunger you might feel. This is a journey—and you can do it!