The missing link in food preparation

Lentils spilling from glass jars

I have the pleasure of talking with so many on a daily and weekly basis and the topic of the missing link in food preparation comes up a lot.

Have you ever taken the information you have for granted? I find we all do it often, and most of the time without really realizing we do it.

Just yesterday I had a lengthy conversation about this very subject and it occurred to me that I should write about it more often because I catch myself assuming (and we all know where that leads us) that more know about this, especially with the internet and with shows like Dr. Oz, etc. and I have this very discussion often, even with those that I thought knew it.

What I do often realize though is that even if we’ve heard something once or twice, if we aren’t ready to hear or receive the information, we don’t. Make sense?

So let’s tackle the importance of proper food preparation. For the sake of this article, I’ll stick to soaking and sprouting our grains, nuts, seeds and beans and the reasons why you should consider it.

Before we start, I will say spear the objection of time right out of the gate. Yes, it takes a little more time and planning, and with that said, you can do this and your health will thank you and reward you in spades.

To keep things simple, the biggest reason to soak or sprout your grains, nuts, seeds and beans is to make them easier to digest. These particular foods give our body a hard time and that’s by design.

Think of phytic acid as a protective coating or layer on the outside of these foods that protects it from predactors, like environment, etc. It doesn’t distinguish that we are any different when we eat them. It still has that protective coating.

When you go through the process of soaking or sprouting first, this coating is “cracked open” so to speak, allowing us to more easily digest and the next biggest reason to prepare first, more nutrition.

These foods contain much more nutrients when we have access and instead of being anti-nutrient, they become a powerhouse of minerals and vitamins.

Oatmeal is a great example. It’s a grain and we’ve been told it’s good for us right? Some people say they get belly bloat and an uncomfortable feeling after eating it, but because they’ve been told they need to eat it, they continue anyway, not realizing that these “feelings” are because the body is reacting to the difficult to digest food.

To avoid this, soak your grains first. It’s really pretty simple. If it’s something you eat daily or a few times a week, make it on a night that you have a little more time, make enough to last the week, soak it overnight, cook it up the next morning and store the leftovers in the frig or cook only what you need and store the rest in the frig and cook as you go.

Here’s my favorite recipe for Breakfast Porridge from the Nourishing Traditions book. The leftovers also make great oatmeal cakes or fried mush, as some call it, by just adding an egg to help bind it together and frying in butter. My husband loves these.

If you’d like to get a little more in depth of the how-to’s, check out this article and chart for soaking times of your basic nuts and seeds.

Is this something you have tried or is it new? Share your experiences and questions in the comments below. Love sharing this journey with you.

To your health,


Holistic Wellness Mentor

Do you know what ancient grains are?

kelloggs origins blend

Marketers seek to lift sagging sales by touting simple ingredients. Kellogg is scheduled to launch Origins Cereal mid-year. So I ask the question. Do you know what ancient grains are?

I do, but apparently a lot of the population doesn’t. I first heard about this new cereal on a morning radio show where this product was introduced and the talk amongst the DJ’s was asking each other this same question. They didn’t know and deemed it a marketing ploy.

While ancient grains do exist, this truly is a marketing tool to sell their products. Not only is Kellogg’s introducing this line, Cheerios launched an “ancient grains” variety earlier this year that includes puffed spelt and kamut wheat.

These new cereals are coming at a time as Kellogg struggles to grow its cereal brands in the midst of changing consumer eating habits and new breakfast competition from products like yogurt.

Kellogg, like most big packaged food companies, is putting a new emphasis on simpler ingredient lists as consumers are shying away from heavily processed foods.

The company is describing this brand as “real food prepared simply” made with “ingredients you can see and pronounce.”

So let’s look at this a little closer. You, the consumer, says you want less processed foods and this is deemed as simpler and with ingredients you can pronounce.

What they don’t outwardly say is that total cereal sales in the US fell 3.8% to $8.9 billion in the 52 weeks ending January 25th. Kellogg’s fared worse, with its sales dropping 5.4% to about $2.7 billion, and these stats are both according to IRI.

This “new” cereal line isn’t about you the consumer and your health and wellbeing. It’s about saving their bottom line and keeping their market share.

It’s not even about bringing simpler ingredients. While the basic ingredients of spelt and quinoa are a good thing, they still aren’t properly prepared.

As I share weekly with clients and with new folks I talk to, most nuts, seeds, beans and grains need to be soaked or sprouted in order for our bodies to assimilate them.

You can add all the “best” ingredients in the world into a product BUT if you don’t properly prepare them, you aren’t going to digest them well or unlock the mirage of nutrients they hold inside.

You will still have problems like belly bloat and the like from eating these foods without proper food preparation.

If you don’t know what “leaky gut syndrome” is, go here and watch a video I did that explains it and what to do about it.

While I applaud these companies for making is simpler and their use of better products, they still aren’t getting it right. In the end, it’s not about your health, it’s about digging into your wallet and enticing you to spend money on a product that isn’t much better than the other 75 boxes of cereal on the shelves.

They are all prepackaged and processed with cheap ingredients designed to profit their companies and keep you sick.

I’m not being a downer person here today, just educating on what you see and hear from your major commercial producers and that you shouldn’t take everything at face value.

Do your homework…research soaking and sprouting and why it’s essential for your body. I’ve written about it a lot and I teach it every single day.

Be smart, make smart choices and then teach others.

What’s been your biggest challenge when it comes to shopping in the grocery store? Share your comments below and let’s debunk the mysteries.

To your health,


Holistic Wellness Mentor

Soak my what?

Yogurt with granola
As I’m sitting here eating my homemade yogurt, topped with fresh raspberries and sprinkled with soaked granola…my thoughts went to you.

I get asked all the time….”What is soaked granola?”

So…this got me to thinking…oh no!!!

Here’s a quick little video I made just for you and it will shed some light on my question…”What is soaked granola?”



Video recap: Soaking/sprouting most nuts, seeds, beans and grains is important for 2 major reasons…

  1. Reduce the phytic acid to make it more digestible
  2. Make more nutrients and vitamins available, making it more nutritious

Using something acidic, like raw apple cider vinegar to soak in does the trick.

With a little planning and prep you too can have food that’s easier on your digestive system and better for you nutritionally.

Ways to use it: as a cereal (much healthier than commercial cereals), as a yogurt topper, top your cottage cheese and another trick is to make it into a great trail mix, by adding soaked nuts, coconut flakes, sunflower seeds, or anything you like.

Toss it in your car, backpack, purse or any place you will have access when you find the munchies happening. This helps you make better food choices rather than hitting up the vending machine, fast food drive thru or gas station carryout.

With a little more planning, you too can soak your nuts ahead of time and have them on hand when you need them. I typically keep walnuts, almonds and pecans in jars in my pantry.

This way, when I’m baking or snacking, there is always good choices and availability.

Let’s face it, we’re all about convenience.

Hope this video helps shed some light on what soaking in general is.

What do you want to know more about? Share below!

To your health,


Holistic Wellness Mentor

Life Giving Foods vs. Life Robbing Foods!

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? You might be asking how I distinguish between life giving foods and life robbing foods.

This past week I had the great pleasure to listen to a very wise woman share her plight into traditional eating and the reason was her sick young daughter.

You see, most mothers (and fathers) become fierce momma or papa bears when our young are sick or ill, don’t we?

We want to find out what exactly is wrong and then do everything in our power to make them better.

I know I’ve done this over the years with my own daughters and now with my grandchildren. When they don’t feel well, we’re digging and fixing!

If you’re shopping for and consuming prepackaged and commercialized food products from your local grocery, you are consuming life robbing foods.

There is a list of 10 major life robbing foods that I’d like to share that you should NEVER eat and then I’ll share the list of life giving foods.

Foods you should NEVER EVER eat….

1. GMO Foods

(Corn, Soy, Sugar, Aspartame, Papaya, Canola Oil, Cotton Oil, Commercial Dairy, Zucchini, Yellow Squash)

2. Processed Meats

(Lunch meats, hotdogs, sausages, bacon)

3. Microwave Popcorn

4. Soft Drinks

5. Diet Beverages

6. Refined White Flours

7. Refined Sugars

8. Conventional “Dirty” Produce (see EWG’s Dirty Dozen listing here)

9. Farmed Salmon

10. Hydrogenated Oils (canola, shortening, vegetable oils)

(Most baked goods use these oils)

Whew….that’s a list isn’t it?

Now would you like the list of foods that are living giving and good for you? It’s my pleasure to present them!

1. Bone Broths

2. Raw Milk

3. Yogurt

4. Kefir

5. Grass-fed Beef, Pork, Lamb

6. Pastured poultry (chicken, turkey)

7. Sourdough Bread

8. Pastured Eggs

9. Fresh fruits and veggies (preferably organic)

10. Soaked grains, nuts, seeds, beans

11. Fermented veggies, fruits and teas

Yum!!! This is the food items that I adore! When foods are properly grown, prepared and eaten, they give life and they taste absolutely delicious!

Often times in conversations, it comes about that “healthy” doesn’t taste good. Well, have I got news for you. When you eat the “life giving” foods I outlined above, your whole body sings, including your mouth!

Every cell is awakened and having a party and rejoicing! One of my clients recently shared how she’s feeling just after two weeks of consuming Kombucha (fermented tea) and Bone broths. The results are amazing and she’s seeing the proof.

Guess what else is amazing? She’s telling everyone that will listen. Why? Because when you’ve struggled with something like IBS for so long and you don’t have control over what your body does, and all of a sudden you are given a glimpse of normal and vibrant living, you feel fabulous, you look fabulous, people notice and you sing!

Isn’t it time to take back your health and your life? Do you feel doomed to just suffer through? Or perhaps you’ve tried so many things and nothing seems to work.

It really isn’t your fault. You just need a fresh start, some sound guidance, a good roadmap to follow to your destination, which is great health, energy, sound sleep, vibrant vitality and the feelings of being youthful and sexy again.

I really don’t believe we were put on this planet to suffer. We are created of a higher power and image and that image isn’t one of a broken down body that suffers needlessly.

What has been your biggest takeaway from the “Life Robbing” and “Life Giving” foods list? Share your comments below.

To Your Health,


Holistic Health Coach

PS: Are you ready for your personal roadmap to health and vibrancy? Click here to talk and make a plan! Isn’t it time to take your life back?

Gluten Intolerance: Top 10 Reasons to Eat Real Sourdough Bread

Kefir Bread

Happy day to you. I absolutely love this time of year. Everything is growing (including the weeds) and flourishing and thriving. I hope that means you are too, if not we should talk you and me.


With this time of year comes Farmer’s Markets and roadside stands advertising their crops ‘o plenty. It gives everyone the opportunity to get outside first of all, support local farmers, AND give you and your family access to fresh produce!


I have been actively involved in a couple of our area markets as a vendor and it’s been so much fun talking with people that love what I bring to the table or have no idea and are completely curious enough to ask me….what does “Soaked” or “Sprouted” mean?


Ahh….it does my heart good to teach and bring awareness to your lives and then I get to fill your bellies with fresh, homemade goodness that’s nourishing to your soul and your bodies.


So this week I thought I’d tackle the controversial topic of bread and not just any bread but “real” sourdough bread.


When I say “real” I’m referring to bread made with a sourdough starter not the commercialized breads you find down your local market bread isle.


So, let’s look at the benefits and why many who have intolerances to wheat can tolerate real sourdough. First of all it’s probiotic, like kefir or yogurt, containing multiple strains of beneficial microflora.


The slow process helps to promote the growth of more probiotic organisms that do the following:


1. Digest and assimilate (properly absorb) the foods you eat. Without adequate beneficial microflora in your gut, you can’t absorb nutrients in the foods you are eating.


2. Are necessary in order to maintain a healthy intestinal tract.


3. Contain uniquely balanced proteins, fatty acids, cellulose, minerals, and innumerable other nutrients our bodies need.


4. Provide vitamins B1 through B6 from lactobacillus and B12 vitamins from wild yeast. Wild yeast multiplies aerobically. This is because they have oxygen in them (not free radical oxygen ions) that feed your blood cells and not cancer cells. Most plant proteins including grains, seeds, cereals, beans, nuts, and some grasses form gluten. However, sourdough microflora has all the amino acids available, without the protein that forms gluten.


5. Depletes damaged starch in bread, thus diabetic people should not get insulin shock. It is a misconception that whole wheat is better than white flour for diabetics (the Glycemic difference is only 1%).


6. Produce acids, which will break down and remove some of the glutens from the bread. Acids do not allow mold and most bad bacterial growth. Alkaline with high pH allows mold growth and toxins. Mold ferments at a higher pH, allowing bad bacterial growth and the secretion of toxins. The absence of acids is abnormal, even animals have acid stomachs to kill bad bacteria.


7. Offset the effects of phytic acid, which robs your body of precious minerals.


According to Wikipedia: Phytic acid is found within the hulls of nuts, seeds, and grains. In-home food preparation techniques can reduce the phytic acid in all of these foods. Simply cooking the food will reduce the phytic acid to some degree.


More effective methods are soaking in an acid medium, lactic acid fermentation, and sprouting. Phytic acid is a strong chelator of important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc, and can therefore contribute to mineral deficiencies in people whose diets rely on these foods for their mineral intake, such as those in developing countries.


It also acts as an acid, chelating the vitamin niacin, which is basic, causing the condition known as pellagra. In this way, it is an anti-nutrient. For people with a particularly low intake of essential minerals, especially young children and those in developing countries, this effect can be undesirable.


“Probiotic lactobacilli and other species of the endogenous digestive microflora as well, are an important source of the enzyme phytase which catalysis the release of phosphate from phytate and hydrolyses the complexes formed by phytate and metal ions or other cations, rendering them more soluble ultimately improving and facilitating their intestinal absorption.


8. Dissolve proteins by producing protein enzymes, thus loosening multiple peptide bonds so that you can absorb more amino acids into your body. They dissolve four gluten-forming proteins: albumin, globulin, prolamin, and glutalin. They also produce alcohol that dissolves the most stubborn water insoluble protein bonds. These bonds are the reason why so many people have gluten intolerance.


9. Inhibit the growth of bad bacteria by: (1) creating a more acidic environment (2) producing anti-bacterial agents, and (3) absorbing all the B vitamins from their surroundings leaving none for the harmful bacteria.


10. Have most everything needed for optimum nutritional absorption. To absorb calcium, you need magnesium. To absorb magnesium, you need vitamin E, C, etc. Most of these are in the sourdough microorganisms, thus providing optimum absorption.


I have many people share with me that this bread has given them life back. It provides beneficial nutrients that really does a body good. You need the healthy mix of fermentation and slow process to make an excellent bread that gluten intolerant people can eat.


I personally recommend using a sprouted flour. My favorite go-to flour is a sprouted spelt flour. I use it in my Kefir bread and my banana bread too. They are wildly popular, even by those who have intolerances.


If you are plagued by intolerances, there are definitely steps to take to gain your life back. Are you interested in these steps? Click here to talk with me to obtain a plan of attack. Remember you only have one life; it’s up to you to life it fully and abundantly. What are you waiting for?


To your health,




Holistic Health Coach


PS: Have you decided it’s time to take the step to take back your health? Yippee is what I say. Click here and let’s talk! What have you got to lose?




Do you believe foods can heal?


I’m so glad you’re here. Last week I introduced the inflammation concept. Inflammation is both a great healing part of the body, it’s the body’s immune response and without it, we couldn’t heal. And it can also be a detriment to our bodies if left unchecked and out of control, as in rheumatoid arthritis, it can damage our bodies. Plus, it really is thought to play a role in obesity, heart disease and cancer.

If you didn’t get the chance to read it, I highly suggest you do. It gives a pretty straightforward outline of the roles inflammation plays.

This week, I thought I’d introduce some of the best foods for fighting inflammation. You might be saying, why food, why wouldn’t I just take some supplements or pharmaceutical drugs to combat this? Well, my answer would be that I personally know and believe that foods can and do heal our bodies.

So lets’ begin this food journey….see how many of these things you can incorporate on a daily basis.

Salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines (often called oily fish) are especially high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are shown to reduce inflammation. To really reap the benefits, we need to eat fish several times a week and obviously baked or boiled vs. fried.

I personally love fish, but one of daughter’s just doesn’t like fish and you may be like her. My suggestion is then to consume a high quality fish-oil supplement.

Another food that’s great for fighting inflammation is whole grains and that’s because whole grains have more fiber, which has been shown to reduce levels of C – reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation in the blood, and they usually have less added sugar as opposed to refined, white bread, cereals, pastas and rice.

Just a quick side note about grains, remember that preparation is just as important. They need to be soaked before they are consumed. I’ll share more on this topic in another article.

Vitamin E studies have shown it may play a major role in protecting the body from pro-inflammatory molecules call cytokines. Dark leafy greens, like kale, spinach, broccoli and collard greens are great examples. These same greens are also higher in vitamins and minerals, like calcium, iron and phytochemicals that fight disease.

Nuts are another great source of inflammation-fighting healthy fats, especially almonds. They are high in fiber, calcium and vitamin E and don’t forget about walnuts, which have high amounts of alpha-linoleic acid, which is a type of omega-3 fat. If we speak about antioxidants, all nuts rank high, which help your body fight off and repair the damage that’s caused by inflammation. Make sure you soak these before consuming. Here’s a great how to.

Earlier I mentioned colorful vegetables as being a healthier addition, but what I didn’t mention was peppers, which are also known as nightshade vegetables. Some say this bothers those with rheumatoid arthritis, others don’t see any problem. This is where it’s important to pay attention to how your body reacts to specific foods. Hot peppers are really rich in capsaicin, which is a chemical that’s often used in creams that reduce pain and inflammation.

Tomatoes are high in lycopene, which helps to reduce inflammation in the lungs and throughout your body. Did you know that when you cook tomatoes, they have more lycopene than raw tomatoes? These are also considered nightshade vegetables.

Beets are other really bright colored vegetables. Most of the time, they are red, my favorite color. Remember we said colorful vegetables are higher in antioxidants. They have also been shown to protect us from cancer and heart disease. They are also high in fiber, vitamin c and plant pigments called betalains.

You can eat these, cooked, fermented or think Beet Kvass, yum!

Who loves garlic and onions? Me and probably you too! Did you know that in studies, garlic has been shown to work like NSAID pain relievers like ibuprofen, which is often prescribed for inflammation. Onions have similar anti-inflammatory chemicals, including the phytonutrient quercetin and the compound allicin, which breaks down to produce free radical-fighting sulfonic acid.

There are also some spices that work incredibly well, like ginger and turmeric, which are really common in Asian and Indian cooking. Turmeric, think bright yellow curry, works in the body by helping it turn off a protein that regulates the immune system and triggers inflammation. I also mentioned ginger which has also been shown to reduce inflammation in the intestines when it was taken in supplement form. I prefer fresh myself and it’s so easy to incorporate, like in fresh juices and kombucha. Another yum!

Again with the colorful fruits and vegetables, think bright pretty berries. They have really powerful chemicals that give them their bright colors also help fight inflammation. Some of my favorites are blueberries, which help protect against intestinal inflammation, red raspberries have been shown to help with arthritis and strawberries have helped women have lower levels of CRP in their blood.

Let’s not forget a good quality olive oil, which is a plant-based fat. There is a compound called oleocanthal, which is where olive oil gets its taste, also acts similarly as NSAID painkillers in the body, like ibuprofen. I would recommend the extra-virgin kind of olive oil.

The last, and probably my absolute favorite are tart cherries, which have been shown in studies to have the highest anti-inflammatory properties of any food. Athletes often use tart cherry juice to improve their performance and reduce their use of anti-inflammatory pain meds. What I’ve seen recommended is consuming about 1 ½ cups of tart cherries or drinking a cup of tart cherry juice per day to reap the benefits. If you haven’t noticed, I didn’t say sweet cherries; they haven’t gotten the same results as the very delicious tart varieties.

Next week, I’ll share with you some of the worst offenders of the inflammation and why each of them the bad wrap that they do have.

What are some ways that you could incorporate more of the anti-inflammatory foods into your daily food plan? Remember, you can start small, so perhaps it’s just adding one, what would it be?

Until next time, here’s to your health!


Soaked Nuts and Seeds

Soaked Almonds

Soaked Nuts and Seeds

Why it’s Important to Your Health and Some Easy Recipes

If you’re new to the concept of soaked nuts and grains, let’s first understand the basic reasons why it’s vitally important to know this and more importantly, do it.

First, a little background on the reasons why. Nuts are hard for our bodies to digest and breakdown. Nuts are an extremely nutritious food when you properly prepare them.

Nuts contain numerous enzyme inhibitors that can put a real strain on the digestive system. Nuts are a lot easier to digest and their nutrients more readily available, when they are first soaked in salt water overnight, and then dried in a warm oven overnight or in a dehydrator.

The salt in the soaking water activates enzymes that actually neutralize enzyme inhibitors.

This method actually imitates the Aztec practices of soaking pumpkin or squash seeds in brine and then letting them dry in the sun before eating them whole or grinding them into meal.

My general practice is to make several nut varieties ahead of time, store them in glass jars and then I have them on hand for snaking, throwing together a nice trail mix and also for any baking I might do.

Soaking times varies for different varieties, here’s a quick run-down that should help as a general rule of thumb:


Almonds          8-12 hours

Brazil               Not necessary

Cashews          4-6 hours

Hazelnuts        12 hours

Macadamias   Not necessary

Pecans             7-8 hours

Pistachios        Not necessary

Walnuts           6-8 hours


Flax                  8 hours

Hemp              Not necessary

Pumpkin/Squash         6-8 hours

Sesame            8 hours

Sunflower        2-4 hours


Some quick recipes for Pecans, Cashews and Walnuts and a feww others are as follows:

Crispy Pecans

Makes 4 cups

4 cups pecan halves

2 teaspoons Celtic sea salt

Filtered water

Mix pecans with salt and filtered water until nuts are covered about an inch or so. Cover with a tea towel or cheesecloth and leave in a warm place overnight. Drain in a colander. Spread pecans on a stainless steel baking sheet and place in a warm oven (no more than 150 degrees) for 12-24 hours, turning occasionally, until completely dry and crisp. Store in an airtight container.


Crispy Walnuts

Use 4 cups walnut halves and pieces in place of the pecans. Store in an airtight container.


Crispy Pumpkin Seeds

Makes 4 cups

4 cups raw, hulled pumpkin seeds

2 tablespoons Celtic sea salt

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Filtered water

Dissolve salt in water and add pumpkin seeds and optional cayenne pepper. Cover and leave in a warm place for at least 7 hours or overnight. Drain in a colander and spread on a stainless steel baking sheet. Place in a warm oven (no higher than 150 degrees) for about 12 hours or overnight, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly dry and crisp. Store in an airtight container.


Crispy Almonds

Makes 4 cups

4 cups almonds, preferably skinless

1 tablespoon sea salt

Filtered water

I skin these myself, which is super easy. Place the almonds in a bowl and pour bowling water over them. Let them set a couple of minutes. Working with a few at a time, place them on a paper towel or cloth and just squeeze them between your thumb and finger and the nuts slip right out. Compost the skins.

Skinless are easier to digest and usually easier to use in recipes too.

Mix the skinned almonds in salt and filtered water to cover the nuts by an inch or so. Cover and let set in a warm place for 7-8 hours or overnight. Drain in a colander. Spread on a stainless steel baking pan and place in a warm oven (no more than 150 degrees) for 12 to 24 hours, stirring occasionally, until completely dried and crisp. Store in an airtight container.

You may like almond slivers, so substitute whole above for slivered.


Crispy Cashews

Makes 4 cups

4 cups “raw” cashews

1 tablespoon Celtic sea salt

Filtered water

Take care when soaking cashews. If soaked too long, they will become slimy and not taste good. Adhere to the shorter soak times noted.

Soak cashews in salt and filtered water to cover the nuts by an inch or so for 4-6 hours, no longer. Drain in a colander. Spread out on a stainless steel baking pan and place in a warm oven (about 200 degrees) for 12 to 24 hours, turning occasionally, until completely dry and crisp. Store in an airtight container.


You can make peanuts, pine nuts and hazelnuts in much the same fashion as above. If you interested in recipes for any of these specifically, just ask me.

The great thing about these recipes is that I make them individually, store them individually, and when I’m traveling or the like, they are easy to mix anyway you like, nut wise and include such things as organic raisins, organic dried cranberries, dried apricots, etc.

You just made a great trail mix and when mixed with some hard cheese, become a complete meal.

The next time you’re in a pinch, instead of grabbing something that’s not really good for you, grab some raw cheese and your nuts and/or trail mix. Your body will thank you.

To your health,