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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: The Gem


What is Matcha?

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

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

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

Matcha gives you the following benefits:

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

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

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

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

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


Best Healthy Seasonings and Condiments

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

Spice. It. Up.

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

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

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


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

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

It’s a powerful natural detoxifier.

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

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

But wait, there’s MORE!  Cilantro also …

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

STATS for this humble backyard herb: 

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

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

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

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


Be A GEM. Visit Earth Day Dallas.

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A healthy, happy life. A grounded perspective. The protection of our planet, and our children.

Paramount to our existence. Parts of this we know, parts of this are elusive. How do we get to where we need to be?

Enter Earth Day Dallas, an outdoor festival in Fair Park designed to influence the way we think and live around our health and environment.  It’s fun, it’s free, and it shows us how green lifestyle choices can lower costs of living, improve our health and preserve the planet. Films, fun runs, food, yoga, gardening. Quite frankly, this expo houses so many topics and forums it will make your head spin til you turn green.

This is super cool. And super important. Important to you, to your family, to your planet. And I am THRILLED to be a part of it! I will participate in a discussion called  Farm to School Panel: Reinventing School Food Programs. I LOVE this topic and will serve on the panel.

We owe it to our children, our little GEMs, to guide them into a lifestyle that is healthy, shiny and bright.

I know you will be front and center next weekend to hear this fascinating discussion. In the meantime, here are three things you need to know and practice with your kids.

  • Feed their minds, body and spirits. It is a whole body existence. Health is a full circle.
  • Set the stage – Eat right and with your family. Family dinner time is the key to a successful, functioning family.
  • Offer non-food rewards – Cookie rewards are for the birds, and support an unhealthy relationships with food and success/failure.
Details. Be there or be square (Or Princess Cut if you are in the GEM world).
What:  Farm to School: Reinventing School Food Programs
When:  Saturday, April 21, (though the event  itself is April 21-22 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
               5 – 5:45 p.m.
 
Where:  Hall of State, Fair Park
 

Who and everything else:  Click here. 

Peace & Happy & Juice