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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!

Tag Archives: plant-based diet


What Pink Ribbons Don’t Say About Breast Cancer Prevention

Posted on by diamondsonyourinside and currently has 5 Comments

In my former, pre-GEM~my world, pre-breast cancer, I spent 17 years in marketing and product development for a luxury linen company. It was a great paying job with lots of responsibility and lots of high-level stress. I was burning the candle at both ends, and was generally a hardcore, bitter, very impatient person. And, I knew it all.

On October 19, 2009, 18 days into “Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” that world came to a halt. I was broad sided with a diagnosis of breast cancer that spread to my lymph nodes. Leslie kicked kancer's ass

Crap. I hated pink ribbons. Even more, I hated setbacks.

Later, I realized this setback would be my life changing experience. I was about to learn about peace and happy and a truly healthy lifestyle the hard way.

During my year-long treatment of chemo, surgeries, radiation, sheer exhaustion, 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. I learned about alkalinity and inflammation. I discovered very quickly that my previous lifestyle did nothing for my optimal health, so I set out to quell all inflammation in my system.

How?

  • I immediately went out and bought a juicer and Vitamix
  • Went totally on a hard-core, plant-based diet
  • Did a TON of reading and research

I became obsessed with everything related to food and healthy living and quickly discovered first hand the power of juice, clean food and positivity. I learned that inflammation is the root of all disease, so I set out to change my life. I also learned it wasn’t just about food!

What did that mean? In addition to food, your thoughts and your stress are major causes of inflammation.

I needed more. I earned a degree from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, an incredible nutrition school that takes a holistic approach to wellness and focuses on relationships, work, exercise and spirituality as essentials to building good health. I studied lots of brilliant minds on the subject.

The goal: to clean up every dark corner of my world. I dumped the toxic people (oh, yeah baby!), the toxic thoughts, the toxic attitude. I refused to let that stuff into my world. Added yoga, deep breathing, cleaned out my personal care and cleaning products. I changed my environment so to speak. That was a great place to start.

So what about the (toxic) food? So I began embracing a whole-foods, plant-based diet. I cooked, I juiced, I bought organic.

What I quickly realized was there was no place nearby where I felt secure about the quality and selection of the food and juice. Organic was rarely mentioned and almost never honestly served. I couldn’t eat every meal at home, right? So, what happened next? Mary Kathryn and I decided to do it ourselves! Wonder-twin powers activate!

From there, The GEM was born. We created The GEM to be a community where people come to get healthy and happy. And WOW! We were floored by the response. Our baby quickly became a place to find approachable, healthy habits that have a profound effect on your long-term health. Anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-energy vampires. Let food (and disco) be thy medicine, right?

We invite everyone to experience this place of healing and happiness called The GEM.  And hopefully you leave with a little something better than when you enter. Come on in! Don’t wait for a sucker punch from Life to change your thoughts and your habits!

The GEM is living proof that by removing toxins from your life, you will be healthier, stronger and happier. So while the pink ribbons aren’t visible, the disco ball is a constant reminder of the happy, healthy life we all can attain.

YOU ARE YOUR BEST ADVOCATE–whether it is cancer screening or anything else. Take control of your health and happiness each and every moment.  And, don’t be a boob. Perform monthly breast exams. Peace.


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

Posted on by diamondsonyourinside and currently has No Comments

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?