Mayo Free Lemon Tuna

Lemon Tuna with SpicesFinally a recipe for tuna that’s Mayo Free! Growing up I ate lots of tuna sandwiches. The tuna was always slopped in mayo and the bread was always soggy. Needless to say, I hated those sandwiches. So I thought, I hated tuna. Until a friend of ours made us a different style of tuna. He used delicious tuna from Ecuador over hot rice, lots of lemon, limes, fresh tomatoes and cilantro. It was a delicious mayonnaise alternative recipe which quickly rekindled my love for tuna. I realized you don’t always have to eat it on bread or even with mayonnaise. I started experimenting with my own Mayo Free Tuna Recipes and voilà this recipe was made!

Pole Caught TunaAlthough I don’t have access to Tuna from Ecuador, I make sure that when I purchase canned tuna it is from a Pole Caught Source. I also make sure it’s in a BPA free can. The brands I use are: Sustainable Seas (Shown in left picture) which I’ve found at Kroger and also Pole and Line which I buy at Wholefoods.

But if you still can’t break away from the classic tuna and mayo, just take a look at this label from one of the popular mayonnaise brands. You might change your mind about mayo altogether.

If you’re not sure why you should be concerned with those ingredients, I wrote a post explaining all the bad ingredients in mayo. Needless to say, I haven’t made tuna with mayo since. I’ve also been tweaking the recipe and I think this one is delicious!

Feel free to experiment with your own herbs and spices and get your tuna tasting the way you like it! It’s a great post-workout snack minus the nasty dairy,omega 6 fats, preservatives or sugar. Let me know what you think!

Mayo Free Lemon Tuna
 no-mayo-tuna
Prep time
5 mins
Cook time
3 mins
Total time
8 mins
Author: Lauren Giraldo
Ingredients
  • 1 Can BPA free pole caught Tuna
  • 1 Lemon
  • Diced Celery
  • Diced Green Pepper
  • Diced Onion
  • Fresh Oregano
  • ⅛ tsp Turmeric
  • ⅛ tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • ⅛ tsp Pepper
  • Salt( If tuna is unsalted)
  • Diced Raw Garlic (Optional)
Instructions
  1. Drain tuna can
  2. Place tuna in bowl spread and shred tuna with fork
  3. Add onions, green pepper and celery
  4. Sprinkle oregano (shred leafs with fingers)
  5. Add spices
  6. Mix thoroughly
  7. Can be served with over hot rice (Add diced tomatoes and cilantro)
  8. Can be served with salad and avocado

 

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How to Choose a Fluoride Water Filter

Most people are aware their water needs filtering but they often miss a key element of the water filtering process, fluoride. It’s so important to find a Fluoride Water Filter. Personally, our family has always filtered our water and thought we were doing a pretty good job. Before our health education, we were using a Brita Pitcher water filter from Walmart. Our families used these growing up and we saw it on TV commercials. We had no idea it didn’t filter fluoride. In fact, we didn’t know we needed a fluoride water filter.

While researching the Pineal Gland, we stumbled upon the dangers of fluoride and became particularly concerned. Fluoride accumulates in the Pineal Gland and can cause serious damage. This obviously was a deal breaker for us since my husband has a Pineal Cyst in his brain. We soon learned how limited our Brita water filter was at filtering fluoride and started researching what would be the best fluoride water filter options for our family. Brita filters, along with with almost all water filters sold in retail stores, definitely DO NOT remove fluoride. In fact, they don’t actually filter a whole lot.  Mainly it just “improves taste” as it states on their box. 

Our own bodies are made up of 70% water and our blood is made up of 95% water. It’s only natural we need to drink lots of it to be healthy. But what happens if the water you drink is toxic? Water is such an important and vital part of our survival. Water is a much healthier choice than sugary fruit drinks or sodas, yet few people are aware of what they are actually consuming when they drink water. 

Is your water toxic?

According to the EWG there are more than 300 plus chemical pollutants in our tap water. The chemicals that make up these pollutants are so surprising, you’d never imagine you are downing some of these things on a daily basis.

Chemicals such as:

Heavy Metals Lead and Mercury- Medical and dental facilities produce waste runoff which seeps into the water systems and discharges about 4.4 tons of mercury a year into water treatment centers.

Disinfection Byproducts (DPB’s)- Water treatment companies use chemicals like chlorine dioxide, chloramines and chlorine to kill disease causing microorganisms in the water. However these same chemicals used to protect us cause a reaction with organic vegetation in the water, forming these cancer causing compounds.

Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs)-  Such as chromium-6, benzene, herbicides, pesticides and chlorine and hundred of other compounds that easily turn into vapors and gases.

Pharmaceutical Drugs- Pharmaceuticals are transferred into water through feces and urine excreted when humans (who take these drugs) go to the bathroom. Water treatment facilities do not filter them out!  Crazy Right? We are literally drinking other people’s antibiotics, hormones and numerous other drugs!  According to Dr. Joseph Mercola:toxic water

“ The 11 most frequently detected compounds in our drinking water are:

  • Atenolol, a beta-blocker used to treat cardiovascular disease
  • Atrazine, an organic herbicide banned in the European Union which has been implicated in the decline of fish stocks and in changes in animal behavior
  • Carbamazepine, a mood-stabilizing drug used to treat bipolar disorder
  • Estrone, an estrogen hormone secreted by the ovaries and blamed for causing gender changes in fish
  • Gemfibrozil, an anti-cholesterol drug
  • Meprobamate, a tranquilizer used in psychiatric treatment
  • Naproxen, a painkiller and anti-inflammatory linked to increases in asthma incidence
  • Phenytoin, an anticonvulsant used to treat epilepsy
  • Sulfamethoxazole, an antibiotic
  • TCEP, a reducing agent used in molecular biology
  • Trimethoprim, another antibiotic”

Why You Need a Fluoride Water Filter

Fluoride- Fluoride is actually ADDED to the water supply. It is not regarded as an essential nutrient, but because of much propaganda regarding its “tooth decay benefits” people overlook the extreme dangers of this chemical. Like its link to thyroid problems, male infertility and production of unsafe arsenic levels.  This article describes how dangerous fluoride is and says:

In order to understand the long-term dangers of fluoride, it’s important to realize that fluoride is a cumulative poison. Meaning it’s harmful effects won’t be seen right away but they add up over time.

Ninety-eight percent of the fluoride you ingest in water is absorbed into your blood through your gastrointestinal tract. From there, it enters your body’s cellular tissues. On average, about 50 percent of the fluoride you ingest each day gets excreted through your kidneys. The remainder accumulates in your teeth and bones, Pineal gland, and other tissues, such as the aorta.”

Even though over 97% of western Europe rejects the use of fluoridation, over 70% of the US water supply is fluoridated. Seriously? Look at this chart which shows that outside the US, only 3% of countries actually use fluoride in their water supply.  People have been opposing fluoride since it was first introduced in the 1950’s. Fluoridation is a fairly new practice, something which began in our lifetime. Its effects had not begun being studied until the 1990’s so this is now something of real concern. 

There are various fluoride water filter systems that can be used to filter your water at home. I encourage you to do your research on each individual source (which is what we did) before eventually choosing the right fluoride water filter based on your needs. 

Here’s an overview of different water filter options  (I’ll get into the ones which are the best fluoride water filters at the end):

Granulated Activated Charcoal filters- These are most commonly used in pitcher filters (like the Brita water pitcher we were using). They remove chlorine and improve the water’s taste, but are not designed to remove disease causing organisms. They do not remove VOCs and definitely do NOT remove fluoride. Brita Granulated Filters Require replacements every 2 months. It’s pretty inconvenient and can add up quickly.

Distilled Water- Distilled water means the minerals have been evaporated out. The issue with this process is that in turn, water will absorb minerals from the nearest source, your body! The distilled water allows pollutants to remain more concentrated in the water, creating the exact opposite effect of what you’re trying to achieve with filtration.

Bottled Water -Contrary to what most people think, bottled water is highly unregulated. Even less than tap water! Pretty much anyone can take tap water, bottle and package it and sell it in stores. It’s truly scary. When compared, most bottled water is just tap water with a fancy label. What’s worse, plastic particles get broken down by light, so the longer your bottle is exposed to any type of light, the more plastic is being leached directly into your water.  Plastic leaching bottles have become a huge health epidemic that people are just not aware of! There are tons of articles exposing the dangers of plastic water bottles, Google it! They are also wasteful and hazardous to the environment and it just plain costs more to keep purchasing them on a regular basis. Here’s why you should use glass to store water.

Alkaline Water Systems-  In a nutshell, this system uses electrolysis to separate and ionize the water and changes the water’s PH level making it alkaline. Although I believe there is truth in making your body as alkaline as possible, I fell this can be done naturally through the foods you eat. There is a tremendous amount of marketing efforts and marketing material put out by companies that sell these filtration systems. A quick internet search will reveal lots of info on alkaline water filter scams,  you can see for yourself, it’s a very controversial subject. All I can say is that these are highly expensive machines sold by multi level marketing companies, which makes me weary of their very steep health claims.

Best Options for Fluoride Water Filters.

Reverse Osmosis (RO) – A filtration system that uses a permeable membrane to filter pollutants from the water. This process removes up to 80% fluoride. RO also separates and filters a high amount of pollutants. The downside is it wastes a lot of water during this process and removes the mineral content of the water. If using one of these systems you would have to find another way to add these minerals back to your water after filtering. The other downside is the replacement filters are quite costly and require replacement more frequently than the next two I will mention. But overall this is still a good option vs the options listed above.

Multi Stage Filters- These filters remove any and ALL VOC’s, endocrine disruptors, heavy metals, DPB’s pharmaceutical drugs and has a fluoride water filter all in one unit. So there is no need to add additional filters or add minerals back to the water after filtration. It does not require manual re-filling just simply put cup or pitcher under the spigot and use. It is truly a complete system which purifies, sterilizes and re-mineralizes the water for you. Quality does not come without a price. This unit is a bit more pricey than the Berkey unit we use but it is well worth it. It requires under the counter installation and since we rent our apartment, we cannot make interior changes to our unit. I wish we were able to install this in our home because it would save us time re-filling our unit each day. This option also comes with a warranty and does not require a filter change for the first two years. So if your family rents an apartment like ours, you may have to opt for a countertop unit, until home installation is an option for you. But if you are a homeowner and can afford this option, I would definitely recommend a multistage filter. Radiant life has a 16 stage filter which will be our next purchase, and they also sell other natural products that we use as well.

The Fluoride Water Filter We Use 

Solid Block Carbon Filters-  Solid block carbon filters have been named by the EPA as the best option for removing VOC’s, pharmaceuticals, heavy metals and pesticides. This option uses solid block of carbon vs the granulated carbon used with pitcher filters. The solid carbon block attracts the toxic molecules and attaches them to the carbon block’s surface. This allows for literally YEARS of use as the carbon block can be cleaned multiple times before needing replacement. Solid Block Carbon filters are optimal because they filter VOC’s heavy metals, herbicides, pesticides, bacteria, parasites, nitrate and nitrates but still leave the beneficial trace minerals behind so you don’t need to add them back in as with Reverse Osmosis. This is the fluoride water filter option we chose, the well renowned, Berkey filter.

 

Why we chose the Berkey:

The Berkey is gravity fed meaning it requires no electricity to operate and uses gravity to drip down into a lower chamber.

It offers a fluoride water filter attachment (which you purchase separately) to remove the dangerous fluoride from your water. The attachment is called a Berkey PF-2 Fluoride and Arsenic Reduction Element.

It is so effective at filtering, it can even be used to filter, rain water, pond or lake water  (Although I don’t know how often we’ll need to do that,still good to know) It’s portable and can be dismantled, so if we do ever need to take it with us when we travel, we can use it for filtering outdoor water.

It was also the most economical out of all the options we looked at. It will seriously save you money on replacement filters. Previously we were changing our Brita pitcher filters every 60 days. The average water filter needs replacement between 3-6 months.  Our size Berkey unit lasts up to 3.7 years before the block carbon filters need replacement! Yes, I said years. Rather than purchasing replacement filters, the Berkey’s carbon block can easily be scrubbed down once it’s pores have become saturated. You simply scrub off the top layer with a scotch pad, which removes the top layer of the filter and reveals a clean new layer ready for filtering.

berkey-filter-300x300

Berkey Water System Review

We have had our Berkey filter for a over a year now and are so grateful for it! Berkey’s come in several different sizes and it depends on what you need for your family. We purchased a travel size Berkey. It worked for us right now since it’s just us two, no kids. Although we do have a big fur baby (Our Dog Bruno) and he gets filtered Berkey water too! I do wish we had gotten one size bigger since we have to fill it a few times a day. We won’t have to replace our unit for another 2 1/2  years, but we are definitely going to upgrade to a larger size later on. We replace our separate fluoride water filters on amazon about every 7 months. But the black carbon block filters just need a scrub and they are still good to go. This has definitely been the best fluoride water filter for our family and we have no complaints. If you want to learn more check out the Berkey website. They have lots of pictures, videos, brand comparisons and FAQ’s.

I encourage you to educate yourself, take time to research these subjects discussed because water quality is vital to your health and such a huge part of our daily lives.

 

Sources: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/08/12/toxic-drinking-water.aspx

https://toxtown.nlm.nih.gov/text_version/chemicals.php?id=31

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VOC_contamination_of_groundwater

http://www.mercola.com/article/water.htm

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/07/20/indian-children-blinded-crippled-by-fluoride-in-water.aspx

 

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Oven Baked Chicken Garam Masala

The name just doesn’t do it justice. This chicken bake is brimming with spices. It’s so simple yet tastes like it should take hours to pack in so much flavor. This type of chicken cut allows for the flavor to seep into the grooves and is easily absorbed by the extra juicy chicken thigh meat. The surrounding veggies will melt in your mouth from the grass fed butter. And the herbs will seal the deal. We just cant get enough of Garam Masala.

About The Special Spice

Garam Masala is an Ayurvedic Indian spice chock full of health benefits. It’s made with ground cumin, ground coriander, ground cardamom, black pepper, ground cinnamon, ground cloves and ground nutmeg so you can imagine just how warm and flavorful this is going to get! A full blend of sweetness, spice and warmth. Incorporating this spice into your meals not only is delicious but can lower blood sugar levels, promote weight loss, help with digestive processes and even alleviate pains.

Oven Baked Chicken Garam Masala

pre-baked-chicken-masala-300x300

Quick and Easy!

Ingredients

  • 2 llbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 3-4 Large Carrots
  • 1 Large Yellow Onion
  • 3 Tablespoons Grass Fed Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Garam Masala
  • Fresh Oregano Herbs

Instructions

  1. Chop onions
  2. Peel and chop carrots and onions
  3. Season the chicken thighs with salt
  4. Sprinkle Garam Masala powder on chicken thighs liberally
  5. Arrange vegetables around outer edge of glass baking pan
  6. Sprinkle oregano
  7. Cut butter in little chunks and place butter chunks on top of carrots and onions
  8. Set oven to 375 bake for 30-35 mins
  9. Serve With Basmati White Rice and Enjoy!

Notes

I believe the secret to this recipe is the type of chicken meat used. The chicken thighs allow the seasoning and butter to seep into the nooks and cranny’s giving it delicious juicy flavor. As someone who never ate dark meat, I promise if you are weary of using chicken thighs, try them this one time you wont regret it! I ate this meal several times before realizing it wasn’t white meat. If you use chicken breasts it will not be the same!

http://www.bestnaturalstuff.com/chicken-garam-masala/

 

 

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Braised Red Cabbage With Fresh Rosemary

Eat some darn cabbage…It’s not as intimidating as it looks! In fact, it’s actually delicious and easy!

We try to eat as many cruciferous vegetables as possible because of their anti-cancer properties. At first it was a bit challenging figuring out how to cook foods we’d never even eaten before, like red cabbage. But we soon found some great recipes which are now always on the menu at our house. So if you aren’t already eating red cabbage here’s a few reasons to start.

Red Cabbage Benefits

Vitamin C – Powerful antioxidant which reduces inflammation in the body and produces collagen for healthy skin, muscle and tissue.

Beta Carotene– Converts into Vitamin A, producing a number of benefits like decreasing the risk of macular degeneration and protection against sun damage.

Vitamin K and Calcium-Protects teeth and regulates bone mineralization preventing osteoporosis.

Insoluble fiber – Promotes healthy digestion and management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Glucosinolates– Reduces inflammation, combats bacteria and helps inhibit growth of cancer cells and carcinogens.

Besides being a powerhouse of super healthy, cancer fighting ingredients, this red cabbage recipe just tastes plain good! Serves as a great side dish to any home cooked meal.

 

Braised Red Cabbage With Fresh Rosemary

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Serving Size: 4

rosemary-red-cabbage

Cook cabbage until tender to your taste.

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups Red Cabbage (Slice in thin strips)
  • 1 Yellow Onion ( Sliced thin)
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
  • 2 Teaspoons Fresh Rosemary Herbs

Instructions

  1. In large pan, saute’ thinly sliced onions in coconut oil till translucent and fragrant.
  2. Add cabbage and salt and continue cooking on med-high heat until cabbage softens, stirring often.
  3. When cabbage begins to soften add vinegar and sprinkle rosemary herbs, keep stirring veggies in pan.
  4. Reduce Heat, Continue cooking another few minutes until tender (to taste).

http://www.bestnaturalstuff.com/braised-red-cabbage-rosemary/

 

Sources:

The National Cancer Institute: http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/cruciferous-vegetables-fact-sheet

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-eating-red-cabbage-4395.html

 

 

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Organic Flour Tortillas

This non-toxic replacement for store bought Flour Tortillas (which are filled with MSG) is made with just 3 ingredients from stuff you already have at home!

 

organic-wheat-tortillas
Organic Flour Tortillas

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

4 Tortillas

Serving Size: 1

Easy non-toxic replacement for store bought Flour Tortillas (which are filled with preservatives and MSG). This quick 3 ingredient recipe makes tortillas with stuff you already have at home and makes you ready for any occasion.

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Organic Whole Grain Flour
  • ¼ Cup Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Pinch of Salt (Optional)
  • Extra Flour for Sprinkling
  • Rolling Pin (or Substitute with a Clean Empty Wine Bottle)
  • Spatchula

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Grab dough with hands. Squeeze and knead dough until it is evenly mixed. (Use flour on your hands to prevent dough from sticking to your fingers)
  3. Separate dough into 4 parts and roll into 4 small balls.
  4. Lightly Sprinkle flour on flat surface and place one ball of dough down and flatten with hands.
  5. Use roller to evenly roll out ball into a small sized circle.
  6. Roll from center of the ball outward, Roll a small section at at time vs rolling all the way across in one swipe. If the dough starts sticking to roller sprinkle a tiny bit of flour on dough.
  7. Heat Stainless Steel Pan on Med-High Heat (Do not grease pan with any oil or butter)
  8. Add Tortilla to pan and leave sit for about 30 seconds, Stay and watch tortilla you may see air bubbles appear or once outer edges appear slightly plumper then it’s time to flip tortilla over. If you see brown spots that is fine, but you don’t want these spots to burn.
  9. Wait another 30 seconds and watch tortilla before removing from pan.
  10. Repeat steps 1-8 for next 3 tortillas.

http://www.bestnaturalstuff.com/organic-flour-tortillas/

 

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MSG Free Spices and Non Toxic Seasoning

There’s some some disturbing facts out there about what’s in your typical food seasonings. Every heard of MSG? Also known as Monosodium glutamate. It’s in most of the spices you probably have in your cabinet right now, but usually not listed directly on the bottle as msg. I’ve talked about msg side effects before and have detailed some of the dangers of this powerful chemical. Needless to say after learning about msg we began looking for alternatives and eventually switched to seasoning our food with MSG free spices made from fresh all natural ingredients.

Growing up in Miami, I learned how to cook foods that consisted of different flavors and tastes and I am so thankful for that. I looooove me some latin food and love me some Sazon. But to my friends and family… I hate to break it to you guys, but Abuela didn’t cook with Sazon Completa. She probably didn’t use Goya, Adobo or Badilla spices from a bottle, and what I’m about to share with you might make you not want to either.

Just to keep things simple, MSG in seasoning is BAD. Real bad. It can cause serious neurological damage to adults, children and even unborn babies. For years food companies have been hiding it in more foods than you can imagine, under other msg names and sometimes its even listed right there on the label. But you’ll never know unless you check.

After a meal containing MSG some people can experience mild symptoms of:

  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Runny or stuffy nose,
  • Itchiness of the skin
  • Itchy and Watery Eyes
  • Hives or reddish bumps
  • Swelling of the mouth or itchy throat

Maybe you haven’t felt any of those before. But have you even been eating some type of snack and you felt like you just couldn’t stop? Like, It was so addicting you kept eating till you were stuffed. Well, that probably contained hidden MSG.

Like Pringles…Remember their old TV commercials? Once you pop you cant stop? Well they were somewhat honest in their ads, they just didn’t tell you why you can’t stop.

 

 

When I first learned about these hidden ingredients, I immediately went into my kitchen and checked to see if I had any food with this stuff in it. The first cabinet I opened happened to be my spice cabinet. I was mortified.

Every single bottle (not exaggerating) I had in there had some kind of MSG in it. Not even one type of msg free spices. Some actually even listed the words Monosodium glutamate. The main culprit in my cabinet… you guessed it, my two beloved seasonings, Sazon Completa and Sazon Goya. Why was this a problem? Well to start it can potentially cause:

  • Fatigue
  • Migraines
  • Autism
  • ADHD
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Seizures, Strokes and Heart Attacks
  • Abnormal neural development
  • Arthritis
  • Alzheimer’s/Dementia
  • Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease

The main problem was that my husband had just been diagnosed with a serious neurological brain issue. And needless to say we didn’t want to be sprinkling our food with stuff that damages your brain cells! We needed some MSG free spices, ASAP. So we threw away ALL of our seasonings along with all the other condiments we had in our fridge (look in your own fridge I dare you)…and never turned back. Trust me it was hard, but when you have a loved one that has a medical condition, your perspective drastically changes. So what DO you season your food with?

MSG Free Spices

Most of us work full time, and it seems so much easier to buy a bottle of Sazon completa to season your meals. But like I said earlier, Abuela didn’t do that, and you shouldn’t either. In fact, she probably did it the best natural way using MSG free spices and made un Sofrito ( a mix of tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic, and herbs.) and now that’s what we do.

So if now you don’t know what the heck to use without your beloved Adobo…here’s some ideas for natural spices to cook with. We season our food with herbs like chopped onions, garlic, oregano, rosemary, thyme, dill and more. We also use fresh ground spices like turmeric, paprika, Himalayan sea salt, cayenne pepper, and so many others. You can buy fresh herbs in the supermarket and spices that are not pre-mixed (meaning they contain only one ingredient). Just be sure to read the label to make sure there are no added preservatives. See my post on neurotoxins in old herbs and spices and why you don’t need your spices to be preserved. Trust me, its worth it to keep buying fresh ones.

Besides if you read the labels on most of the seasoning mixes you have in your cabinet right now, they are simply dried/powdered versions of the same onion, garlic and the herbs I listed above. (They just add preservatives and MSG…yum!)

 MSG Seasoning Substitute

Here’s how you can make your own version of the little orange packets of Sazon Goya:
sazon-goya-box-300x225

1 Tbs Ground Cumin

1 Tbs Oregano

1 Tbs Paprika

3 Cloves Chopped Garlic

1 Tbs Coriander (or 1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro)

1 Tbs pink Salt (Himalaya or Celtic Sea Salt is best)

1 Tsp Turmeric (Optional But super good for you) 

Are you thinking… no way I have time to chop up all those vegetables and herbs! I promise with the right tools , you’ll find it not only to be quick and easy but your food will taste much more flavorful. And MORE importantly, Abuela would be proud!

 

Sources: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/04/21/msg-is-this-silent-killer-lurking-in-your-kitchen-cabinets.aspx

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What does MSG do to you?

Monosodium Glutamate

MSG is a flavor enhancer, it can trick the brain into thinking bad tasting food, tastes good and it’s extremely addictive. Most people associate this ingredient with Chinese food or extra salty seasonings which is true, but it’s used in much more these days. Once manufactures discovered it’s addictive powers, its popularity skyrocketed and MSG is now used worldwide as a flavor enhancer in thousands of products. You may have heard of it already because in the last few years, MSG has gotten tons of bad press for its damaging effects. So, what does msg do to you? Why should you care?

Despite what food labels say, it is in just about every delicious tasting snack you can think of! What is msg found in? Almost all processed foods contain it, meaning fast food and even packaged food food items you find in the grocery store. You’re not going to like this one, but most all restaurant food contains it. I know, bummer right? Sure the food looks delicious and well presented when it comes out on your plate, but do you really know what types of products they use to make that food? Restaurants buy in bulk and use lots of packaged, boxed and canned ingredients. Another shocker, just about all the spices you have in your cabinet contain msg as well right in there with all those preservatives. Msg in seasoning is bad, real bad. I’ve mentioned it before and you can read more on that here. So what does msg do to you?  Lets get down to it.

What does MSG do to you?

MSG is a brain stimulant and an excitotoxin. MSG acts as a chemical transmitter that permits brain cells to communicate.  But what does msg do to you that can cause permanent damage? There are so many msg side effects it’s a bit frightening and most people don’t realize the severity of this hidden seasoning. What it does is, it damages the brain by over exciting your brain’s cells to the point that they burn out and die! It affects both your brain’s neurotransmitters and their pathways. The body’s reacts to MSG intake by triggering insulin, fat storage, adrenaline, and food cravings. (Which is why it is so addictive.. and why you can’t stop eating from that bag of seasoned Doritos)

 

MSG is terrible, to say the least. Not only for adults but especially for children under the age of 12, since their blood brain barrier hasn’t developed all the way. This means MSG can travel straight up into their brain. This is why it’s so important to read the ingredients on the snacks you give to your kids! Even if you don’t have kids, if you’re thinking about it or are pregnant, these chemicals also cross the placental barrier. This can damage the brains of unborn children.

Now you might be thinking I don’t use a lot of salty seasoning, so I don’t have to be worried about MSG in my food. Statistics show that processed foods make up over 70% of the standard american diet. So you may want to start taking this information seriously, it’s in much more food than you think.

Why is MSG bad for you?

MSG is attributed to several neurological disorders like: Migraines, Arthritis, Autism, ADHD, Problems with Neural development, Parkinson’s disease,  Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Seizures, Stroke, Heart attack, Endocrine disruptors, Fatigue, Blurred vision, Obesity and Diabetes. (Just to name a few.)

How manufacturers hide MSG

To combat it’s bad rap, the FDA found a loophole when it comes to informing consumers about MSG on food labels.

FDA requirements state:

A food manufacture does not have to list MSG on the label unless the “added ingredient” is 99% pure MSG. “

Did I mention MSG is in almost every processed food you eat? I’m serious that crap is in EVERYTHING! Of course it’s not just going to be listed on the ingredient label as MSG. There are over 40 separate ingredients that food manufactures use, and they all have MSG in them.

Here’s the technical mumbo-jumbo: Monosodium glutamate contains the non-essential amino acid: glutamic acid. What companies do is they process the the existing proteins within the food to create free glutamic acids without adding pure MSG. This way they don’t have to list it on their labels because their “added ingredient” is now less than 99% pure MSG.  Food Manufacturers just hide they MSG in other glutamic acids so you can’t see it. Very clever.

Be especially careful with labels that advertise things like “no added MSG”. Just think about it, all that means is they didn’t add any EXTRA .But if you read the ingredients you’ll probably find one of the other forms of MSG in there. Here’s what to look for on your food labels.

 Other names for MSG on labels

These ingredients most definitely have MSG in them:

  • Glutamic acid 
  • Glutamate 
  • Monosodium glutamate
  • Monopotassium glutamate 
  • Calcium glutamate 
  • Monoammonium glutamate 
  • Magnesium glutamate 
  • Natrium glutamate
  • Anything “hydrolyzed”
  • Any “hydrolyzed protein”
  • Calcium caseinate
  • Sodium caseinate
  • Yeast extract
  • Torula yeast
  • Yeast food, Yeast nutrient
  • Autolyzed yeast
  • Gelatin
  • Textured protein
  • Whey protein
  • Whey protein concentrate
  • Whey protein isolate
  • Soy protein
  • Soy protein concentrate
  • Soy protein isolate
  • Anything “protein”
  • Anything “protein fortified”
  • Soy sauce
  • Soy sauce extract
  • Anything “enzyme modified”
  • Anything containing “enzymes”
  • Anything “fermented”
  • Anything containing “protease”
  • Vetsin
  • Ajinomoto
  • Umami

These ingredients often contain or produce MSG: 

  • Carrageenan 
  • Bouillon and broth Stock
  • Any “flavors” or “flavoring”
  • Natural flavor
  • Maltodextrin
  • Oligodextrin
  • Citric acid,
  • Citrate
  • Anything “ultra-pasteurized”
  • Barley malt
  • Malted barley
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Pectin 
  • Malt extract
  • Seasonings

 

These ingredients are suspected of containing or creating sufficient processed MSG:

  • Corn starch  
  • Corn syrup  
  • Modified food starch  
  • Lipolyzed butter fat  
  • Dextrose
  • Rice syrup
  • Brown rice syrup  
  • Milk powder
  • Reduced fat milk (skim; 1%; 2%)   
  • most things “low fat” or “no fat”  
  • anything “enriched”
  • anything “vitamin enriched”
  • anything “pasteurized”
  • Annatto
  • Vinegar
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Certain amino acid chelates (Citrate, aspartate, and glutamate are used as chelating agents with mineral supplements.)

And for all you health foodies out there, I recently learned that Braggs Liquid Aminos  also is a form of MSG. I will be writing another post on that, but in the meantime look it up for yourself and see what you find. Very interesting stuff.

So I know this is a lot of information, and no you don’t have to memorize that entire list of ingredients, just try to follow these simple points:

First and Foremost: 

READ YOUR LABELS!

  • If a label has a long list of complicated ingredients –It probably has MSG in it.
  • If the food is extra salty- It probably has MSG in it.
  • If you are eating fast food or processed food –It probably has MSG in it.
  • Don’t trust something just because it’s sold in a health food store or claims to be “all natural”. All natural product labels can be marketing scams. The US allows “natural flavors” to include protein hydrolysates which can contain up to 20% MSG by weight.  

For more info on MSG, this article by Natural News features an awesome interview with Dr. Russell Blaylock. He has become an advocate against MSG and its detrimental health effects and if you have some time, I definitely recommend reading it.

So, what does msg do to you ? It causes brain damage, obesity and adverse reactions. But don’t make yourself crazy. Yes MSG is in a lot of food, but what we try to do is just continue to eat the best most natural food available. Meaning organic if possible, no fast food or processed food and mostly fresh fruits and veggies. Take small steps at a time and the very first one is to just start reading the labels of foods and products before you buy and educate yourself about what you are putting into your body. I guarantee just by doing that you’re heading in the right direction.

Sources:

http://www.truthinlabeling.org/hiddensources.html

http://www.realfoodwholehealth.com/2011/05/excitotoxins-msg-and-hidden-names/

http://www.rense.com/general92/hidename.html

 

 

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How to do a 3 day Juice Cleanse

Doing a 3 day Juice Cleanse is so majorly important for your health not just as a one time detox for the body, but should also be implemented on a daily basis. Almost all of the professionals from podcasts that I listen to (not just health professionals but many successful entrepreneurs and celebrities), talk openly about how they have added juicing into their morning routines. Why is juicing so important? Check out my article on the health benefits of juicing here but the main keys to keep in mind are:

It gives your digestive system a break and a chance to rest that it almost NEVER gets. Think about all the energy it takes you body to break down food and how many times a day it has to repeat this process. This frees up energy to do other tasks like healing, re-generating and fat burning.

Secondly, Live Juices ,which come from freshly squeezed fruits or veggies, contain active enzymes which act as catalysts used to provide nutrients to your body. These nutrients are powerhouses that prevent cellular damage and disease. By drinking a fresh juice , its almost as if you are injecting these nutrients straight into your blood stream within a few minutes. 

There are so many juice cleanses out there it is easy to get overwhelmed. I remember when we first started juicing we spent so much unnecessary money  because I was looking up all kinds of different recipes that required multiple fruits and vegetables and wanted to try ones that sounded good etc. But when you get home and you have 10 different fruits you have to peel and clean and juice and mix together and read all the recipes just to make ONE  juice, it gets so complicated its actually discouraging. Now I just make sure to do only recipes with very few ingredients maybe 3-4 fruits or veg per juice. Keep life simple!

Not to mention that there is so much information out there on juicing and so many people wanting you to buy their pre-packaged programs,  of course they want to tell you to do a 10 day cleanse….more money for them! I have concluded for our family, and our health, its best to take it nice and easy. Not eating solid food for one day alone is hard enough. Ease your body into this change and introduce it to this wonderful healing process with a simple start, for us that means a 3 day juice cleanse.

Here’s how to do a 3 day juice Cleanse

Tips*

WASH Vegetables in cold water, use vegetable brush to scrub or cloth and dry vegetables before juicing- VERY IMPORTANT to remove bacteria.

Remove Skins from Any Waxed Vegetable like Cucumbers 

Do not Juice the Cores of Apples or Seeds( They contain cyanide which is poisonous to humans)

Cut off Ends of Fruits/Veggies like carrot tops, lemon rinds, cucumber ends, bottom of stalks)

 

*For water consumtion: In the morning I prepare a large gallon/ glass container of water and give myself a goal of how many of these containers or how many glasses I will drink

 

DAY ONE

Start off the morning  by boiling water… Drink at least 1 glass of  warm water with lemon

 

Juice 1-

1 Cucumber

1 Lemon

1 Handful of Parsley

 

1 Tea

Lots of Water

 

Juice 2-

3 Romaine Lettuce Leaves

3 Red Kale Leaves

2 Valencia Oranges

 

1 Tea

Water

 

Juice 3-

Bunch Green Grapes

Bunch Dandelion leaves        ( or dark green leafy veg)

One Granny Smith Apple

 

Drink More Water

 

Juice 4-

3 Romaine Lettuce Leaves

1 Pink/Red Apple            ( Gala Apple, Fuji or Red Delicious)

2 Whole Carrots

 

Drink More Water

 

Juice 5-

Handful of Lacinato Kale

2 Celery Stalks

1 inch of Ginger

One Green Apple

One Lemon

One Tea Before Bed ( Licorice Tea is sweet.. I really like it as bedtime sweet)

 

DAY 2

Start off the morning boil water…

Drink warm water with lemon

 

Juice 1-

1 Apple of Choice

3 Leaves Romaine Lettuce

2 Celery Sticks

½ Lemon

1 Cucumber

 

Juice 2

1 Cucumber

1 Apple

2 Stalks Celery

1 inch Ginger

½ Lemon

 

Tea

Water

 

Juice 3

1 Apple

3 Leaves Kale

2 Leaves Swiss Chard

1 Lemon

 

Tea

Water

 

Juice 4

3 Leaves Bok Choy

1 Cucumber

Handful Parsley

1 Lemon

 

Tea

Water

 

Juice 5

3 Carrots

2 Apples

1 Inch Ginger

 

Day 3

On this last day I would evaluate how much fruit/vegetables you have left then based on which vegetables remain… Google specific recipes for what you have left over. For example if you have excess of lemons and kale then google search: lemon kale juice recipe and look at what comes out in the results to find a new recipe.
Just make sure you continue to drink at least 5 juices or more as meals and consume a lot of water as you have in the previous two days. 

 

It is important to remember after doing a juice cleanse, although you will be ravenously hungry, remember to introduce solid food slowly back into your system by first eating fruits and then a very light meal like a salad or soup. Try to follow this the following day and then try some solid food in small amounts to see how you feel.

 

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Coconut Chickpea Curry

This chickpea curry is so good you may even forget its a health food. There’s many reasons to include chickpeas in your diet. This one might surprise you, chickpeas are actually good for your gut! You’ve probably heard that they are a great source of protein (only a half cup of chickpeas gives you you 7 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber). But did you know chickpeas are low in natural sugars and high in prebiotic fibers which feed the good bacteria in your stomach?  This is great news for us, as we are trying to heal our own symptoms from possible “leaky gut syndrome“. Chickpeas also contain a healthy heaping of minerals and nutrients such as magnesium, zinc, Vitamin K, folate, manganese, phosphate, calcium and potassium.

This recipe also calls for coconut milk, another aid to your digestive system. Coconut Milk  contains Lauric acid, which is converted in the body into something called monolaurin, a super powerful antiviral and antibacterial compound that destroys all kinds of “bad little buggers”  in your tummy; like yeast for example. Particularly candida yeast which lives in your digestive track. Coconut oil is extremely beneficially for this as well, along with hundreds of other uses for it, but that’s a whole nother’ topic which you can read about for hours.

And lastly the spices in this recipie. Ahhh.. Garam Masla.  A common spice in Indian dishes, Garam Masala is an Ayurvedic Spice which is known for its many health benefits. Ayurveda is am ancient practice developed thousands of years ago in India and is said to be the “oldest healing science”.  Ayurvedic medicine uses herbal remedies, breathing techniques, and food to help keep the body in balance. Definitely some best natural stuff. Anyway back to spices. This stuff is amazing. It lowers blood sugar levels, promotes weight loss, increases ability to absorb vitamins and much more. It’s literal translation is ” hot spice blend”. Don’t worry this chickpea curry is not spicy but the flavor itself can be described as warm…you’ll have to try it for yourself.

Since moving to Atlanta our life in relation to food has drastically changed.  Not only have we been blessed with a new way to access healthy foods on a budget which we never could have imagined. Two words, farmers markets.  Atlanta is such a diverse city full of incredible people and cultures and we’ve gotten a chance to explore it all.  There’s a large Indian population here and we’ve been diving more into Indian food and experimenting with it in all its glory.  In the past I’ve always heard of Indian food spoke of in such a “taboo” like manner, or it was joked about sending you to the bathroom. But this couldn’t be farther from the truth! Indian food brings to the table dishes that incorporate so many different herbs and spices; which are not only healing but simply delicious!  Here’s one of our favorites, this chickpea curry is such a “feel good” meal and if you enjoy subtle hints of coconut with your curry, you’ll love this!

 

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Serving Size: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • 2 Cups Cooked Chickpeas
  • 1 13.5 oz Can Coconut Milk
  • 1 Cup Vegetable Stock
  • 1 Yellow Onion Chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves Minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Garam Masala powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Turmeric powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
  • Pinch Salt To taste
  • Pinch Pepper To taste

Instructions

  1. Soak Dry Chicpeas in water Overnight*
  2. Cook Plain Chickpeas separately prior to recipe*
  3. Heat Coconut oil over medium low heat in skillet.
  4. Add onions and garlic and cook until they are caramelized and fragrant
  5. Add garam masala, Turmeric, Chili powder, Cumin powder, Salt pepper and Ground coriander directly on top of garlic and onions and stir around for a few seconds ( it should become like a paste and will smell amazing)
  6. Quickly add Vegetable Stock and Stir
  7. Next add coconut milk and chickpeas bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer for 10 mins until sauce has thickened a bit.
  8. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary
  9. Serve over basmati rice and garnish with cilantro

Notes

( I also love all my beans/soups with avocado on the side… but that’s just me)

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Sources:

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/chickpea-and-protein/

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/ingredient-focus-coconut-milk

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Baked Coconut Beets

coconutoilbeets

Never really had a thing for beets before, but that was probably just because I didn’t know how to make them! Here’s an easy-peasy beets recipe that is surprisingly delish and only has 5 Ingredients, Cant beet that!

Beets with Coconut Oil
Author: Lauren Giraldo
Recipe type: Side Dish
Prep time:  10 mins
Cook time:  45 mins
Total time:  55 mins

Serves: Serves 2
 

Simple Side Dish
Ingredients
  • 3 Whole Beets
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
  • Thyme
  • 1 Lemon
  • Salt (To Taste)

Instructions
  1. Chop Beets into Chunks
  2. Drizzle Coconut Oil
  3. Sprinkle Thyme
  4. Preheat Oven to 350
  5. Bake for 40-45 Mins
  6. Add Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  7. Salt to Taste
  8. Mix Beets in Juice/Salt

 

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