Gluten free Curried Chicken Salad

Recently I decided to launch a 30 minutes or less meal plan section, since most of what I’m asked about is how we prepare quick, easy, gluten-free and yummy meals.

To be honest, I’m not a fabulous chef. I’m not one of those amazing people who can whip up an alternative version of their favorite gluten-full foods. My brain doesn’t work like a scientist, knowing what percentage of an almond flour/tapioca starch/arrowroot/rice flour mix to use to replace with wheat flour.  And I don’t sit around my kitchen fermenting foods, or experimenting with cricket flour.

What I do know is how to avoid allergens with real food, and how to prepare foods ahead of time so I can use them to whip up delicious and quick meals throughout the week. I have also tried just about every product on the market, and I know which to use in order to save time, money and love what you eat, and I know which ones to avoid.

So, the posts in the 30 minute meals section will focus on meals that you can prep within 30 minutes (some in less time) and tips to prepare for the week so you can save time and still enjoy delicious, healthy meals.

One of my favorite (super easy) solutions when you’re in a food rut, is to whip up some curried chicken salad. It’s a nice change from the typical chicken salad, and will store in the fridge for several days.  I love to use a rotisserie chicken from the local market, but be sure to buy natural, organic chickens with minimal seasoning so you can void any hidden gluten.

Gluten free Curried Chicken Salad Ingredients:

2 cups chopped organic/natural rotisserie chicken

1 TB curry powder

1 cup organic mayo

1/4 cup diced apples

2 stalks chopped celery

Handful of raisins or dried cranberries

Salt + pepper to taste


Mix a cup of mayo with a tablespoon of curry powder.

Add chopped rotisserie chicken, diced apples and celery and toss in some raisins for a sweet touch.

Season with s+p. Yum!

Notes: using a pre-cooked chicken, this meal should take less than 10 minutes. Serve on toasted gluten-free bread, in a lettuce wrap, or just enjoy plain, straight from the bowl. Store any leftovers in the fridge for several days.

Make sure all ingredients are ‪#‎organic‬ and ‪#‎gluten free‬ for best taste and even better health!



GMO soybeans

One of the most common questions I’m asked, besides how I get our son to make healthy food choices is how to avoid GMOs. GMOS, or genetically modified organisms are everywhere, and many of us have no idea why we need to avoid them, whether it’s just a way to eek more money out of us, or if it’s really worth the extra effort.

One of my favorite blogs to follow in the effort to clean your life of GMOs is Food Babe. Check out Vani’s site for constant updates on foods to choose, those to avoid and to help support her never-ending quest to call out big food companies on their hidden GMOs.

Today, as much as 86% of corn in the U.S. is Genetically Modified. GMO corn has been engineered in a laboratory to produce pesticides in its own tissue so that once a bug eats the crop, it will die, rather than continue to feed on the crops until the crops die.

So, the food itself, is a pesticide.

So what’s a GMO?  A genetically engineered food is a plant or meat product that has had its DNA artificially altered in a laboratory by genes from other plants, animals, viruses, or bacteria in order to produce foreign compounds in that food (which causes the bugs to die when they eat them).  This type of genetic alteration is not found in nature,  is experimental and the correct scientific term is “transgenics,”. You’ll also hear them called  (GE) genetically engineered foods. GE and GMO are thrown around a lot these days and there are definitely two sides to the story on whether it’s ok for us to consume. As for me, I’m going with the idea that a seed that has been turned into a pesticide to kill what eats it is going to grow into a food that still maintains those pesticidal properties and is probably not something I want to eat.

So what can you do to avoid GMOs?

Here are some quick tips for those of you trying to avoid GE/GMO foods followed by some helpful tips on how to spot GM foods since labeling of them isn’t required by law. Remember, in addition to sourcing your own foods, farmers markets are a great resource for avoiding GM foods. organic foods

Tip 1: Shop local. Go 100% Organic. Love Grass Fed/Pastured meats.

Buy food labeled 100% organic. The US and Canadian governments do not allow manufacturers to label something 100% organic if that food has been genetically modified or been fed genetically modified feed. Note that just because something says “organic” on it does not mean that it does not contain GMs. In fact, it can still contain up to 30% GMs, so be sure the labels say 100% organic. Remember this applies to eggs, as well. Eggs labeled “free-range”, “natural”, or “cage-free” are not necessarily GE-free; look for eggs to be 100% organic.

More than half of all GM foods are produced in the US and most of it comes from large, industrial farms. By shopping at farmers’ markets, signing up for a subscription from a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm, or patronizing a local co-op, you may be able to avoid GM products and possibly save money at the same time. Here in Austin there rare several small farms offering grains and meat directly to customers, in addition to the usual fare (vegetables, fruit, herbs).

Tip 2: Avoid the DIRTY DOZEN™. These are the top commonly genetically modified foods!

EWG’s Dirty Dozen list of produce includes apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, sweet bell peppers, imported nectarines, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and potatoes. Each of these foods contained a number of different pesticide residues and showed high concentrations of pesticides relative to other produce items.

In particular:

  • Every sample of imported nectarines and 99 percent of apple samples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue.
  • The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other food.
  • A single grape sample contained 15 pesticides. Single samples of celery, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and strawberries showed 13 different pesticides apiece.
Tip 3: Focus on The Clean Fifteen™

EWG’s Clean Fifteen™ for 2014 – the produce least likely to hold pesticide residues – are avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, cabbage, frozen sweet peas, onions, asparagus, mangoes, papayas, kiwis, eggplant, grapefruit, cantaloupe, cauliflower and sweet potatoes. Relatively few pesticides were detected on these foods, and tests found low total concentrations of pesticides.

Tip 4: Be diligent and read labels. All the time.

Our reality is every trip to the grocery store is at least 30 minutes longer than we’d like because we spend time reading every label. Every damn label.

Read it so you don’t get any surprises. Read it so you know the food is 100% organic. Read it so you and your family will be more likely to live long, healthy, happy lives.

Here are some of the other common GMO foods to watch for. Again, be diligent and shop for the organic versions of these guys as much as humanly possible.

Soybeans – A gene is taken from bacteria (Agrobacterium sp. strain CP4) and inserted into soybeans to make them more resistant to herbicides.
Corn – There are two main varieties of GE corn. One has a Gene from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis inserted to produce the Bt toxin, which poisons Lepidoteran (moths and butterflies) pests. Present in high fructose corn syrup and glucose/fructose which is prevalent in a wide variety of foods in America (though you won’t find these preservatives in their European versions).
Rapeseed/Canola – Gene added/transferred to make the crop more resistant to herbicide.
Sugar beets – Gene added/transferred to make the crop more resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide.
Rice – Genetically modified to resist herbicides; not currently available for human consumption, but trace amounts of one GM long-grained variety (LLRICE601) may have entered the food supply in the USA and Europe. More recently, golden rice, a different strain of rice has been engineered to produce significantly higher levels of beta carotene, which the body uses to produce vitamin A. Golden rice is still undergoing testing to determine if it is safe for human consumption.[3]
Cotton – engineered to produce Bt toxin. The seeds are pressed into cottonseed oil, which is a common ingredient in vegetable oil and margarine.
Dairy – Cows injected with GE hormone rBGH/rBST; possibly fed GM grains and hay.
Aspartame/AminoSweet – Addictive and dangerous artificial sweetener commonly found in chewing gum and “diet” beverages. A building block of aspartame, the amino acid phenylalanine, is usually manufactured with the aid of genetically modified E. coli bacteria. This process has been used industrially in the US for many years.

Purchase beef that is 100% grass-fed. Most cattle in the U.S. are grass-fed, but spend the last portion of their lives in feedlots where they may be given GM corn, the purpose of which is to increase intramuscular fat and marbling. If you’re looking to stay away from GMOs, make sure the cattle were 100% grass-fed or pasture-fed (sometimes referred to as grass-finished or pasture-finished).

Monsanto is the biggest culprit in supplying GM seeds to farmers, and making sure that they continue to buy their seeds thanks to constant pressure form their lawyers.

For years,  Monsanto has provoked outrage among its critics for suing farmers who save and replant seeds, such as soybeans and canola, from the company’s patented Roundup Ready crops. Some of that outrage is based on a decade-old case in Canada, in which a court ruled that a farmer, Percy Schmeiser, violated Monsanto’s patents by planting canola that he “knew or ought to have known” contained Monsanto’s Roundup Ready gene. Schmeiser argued that he didn’t want the gene in his fields, and that it had become incorporated into his canola via wind-blown pollen.

Yes, the wind (and probably birds) carried seeds onto his farm from a nearby farm using Monsanto’s seeds, and Schmeiser now has to buy new seedlings from Monsanto and plant a new crop of GMO seedlings. Every year.

Here’s a chart to help you avoid the most common GMOs…

Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal) Aspartame Formaldehyde Poisoning & Health Destruction Healthier Sweetener Resource List
Roundup Herbicide Monsanto’s Toxic RoundupScientists Issue Urgent Warning Lawn & Garden Care Solutions 
Genetically Engineered Soy & Canola Products & Ingredients (Roundup Treated) Genetically-Engineered Frankenfoods & Scientists Issue Urgent Warning Certified Organic Foods
rBGH Dairy rBGH (Posilac) — Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer List of non rBGH Dairy & Check Local Health Food Store for Organic Dairy
Ambien Insomnia Medication Zolpidem Warning Label Information Natural Alternatives Where Possible:HealthWorld SolutionsAyurvedic Info &Meditation or Yoga Classes.

Texans for labeling GMOs

‘Did you know that the  FDA (Food and Drug Administration) doesn’t require safety testing of new genetically modified foods (“GMOs”), instead relying on corporations’ profits from the sale of such foods to substantiate their safety for us? Contrary to industry claims, GMO foods have not been proven safe, and a growing body of independent, peer-reviewed studies have linked the consumption of GMO foods to allergies, infertility, immune problems, gastrointestinal disruption, cancer and a host of other diseases. GMO crops can easily contaminate non-GMO crops, threatening organic agriculture, and their use is linked to increases in toxic pesticide use and the emergence of “super weeds.”’

Don’t you want the right to know when your foods contain GMOs? I sure as hell do. organic foods

So help us out by signing this petition. Share it with loved ones and make sure our voices are heard. Let’s come together to fight for our right to know, and to keep these dangerous foods out of our bodies, off our tables and away from our kids. Most of Europe won’t allow them for their citizens – why can’t our government do the same for us?

In fact, some of the countries that won’t allow any GMOs include France, Germany, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia and Ireland.   The Indian government placed a last-minute ban on GM eggplant just before it was scheduled to begin being planted in 2010. However, farmers were widely encouraged to plant Monsanto’s GM cotton and it has led to devastating results. The UK’s Daily Mail reports that an estimated 125,000 farmers have committed suicide because of crop failure and massive debt since planting GM seeds.

Terrible tragedy.

So, here’s the petition:

Texans are demanding legislation to require the labeling of all foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients and of all seeds that have been produced through genetic engineering, otherwise referred to as “GMO foods” or “GMOs.” We have a right to know what is in the food we eat, what we are feeding to our families, and what we are growing on our farms and in our gardens. 

We are asking for a GMO labeling bill to be signed into law as soon as possible that will be effective at preserving the transparency of our food supply and robust enough to withstand constitutional challenge. Our children and future generations depend on you to protect the genetic integrity of our food, our seeds, and our bodies.

 Click here to sign it and help support our right to know!

no more GMOs

For most of our friends, packing a healthy school lunch that your kids actually enjoy is a challenge. From complaints of gluten-free bread not being soft and missing out on school lunches, most parents I know have heard it all. So when Van’s sent us a pack of their newest addition to the gluten-free packaged products, we were happy to taste test. If we could find a yummy and healthy gluten free cracker that our son enjoys in his lunchbox (instead of pop chips) then we’re winning. And since we already love the gluten-free frozen waffles and healthy cereal options they currently offer, we figured this would be another home run.

So,  our son happily ripped open a bag of their new, Say Cheese! crackers and after the first couple of bites it was clear he liked them. After he happily ate the whole bag, we knew we had a winner. So we tried them ourselves. Trust me, you will love them.

To say these are reminiscent of smoky Cheeze It’s is only a slight stretch. While they don’t leave that finger-licking-good, processed-cheese-melted-on-your-fingers effect, they have a similar flavor. The kid in me says it’s pretty close to the joy I used to get from eating Cheeze It’s so we’re giving these an A+ review.

vanssaycheese!In their words, Say Cheese! is a seriously snackable multigrain crackers packed with delicious cheese taste. With totally terrific cheesy flavor and the perfect crispy crunch, these Say Cheese! Crackers are everyone’s favorite! And with 16g of nutrient-rich, gluten free whole grains, they’re a snack everyone will love.

Here’s a list of their ingredients…


Van’s Gluten Free Whole Grain Blend (Oats, Brown Rice Flour, Millet, Quinoa And Amaranth), non-GMO Expeller Pressed Sunflower and/or Safflower Oil, Potato Starch, Rice Flour, Cheddar Cheese (Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes), Whey, Brown Sugar, Salt, Buttermilk, Yeast Extract, Sesame Seeds, Sunflower Lecithin, Spices, Beta Carotene and Annatto Extract (for Color), Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, Natural Mixed Tocopherols for Freshness.

Contains: Milk.

Head on over to their site and check out where you can grab a pack of deliciousness today!


Do you check your egg labels before you buy them, or do you just grab for the cheapest carton you can find? I was somewhere in the middle until I learned that the labels are more of a marketing ploy than a real indication of how the chickens live. Some of you might not care much for the chicken’s conditions, nor do you worry about how that affects the health and nutrition content of the eggs, but I figure if you’re a fan of our site you probably fall more on the side of at least wondering why you should care, so this one’s for you.


Feed mixed with marigolds or paprika lends its tone to hen’s eggs. (Photo: Mike Harrington/Getty Images)

What’s really behind the labels on those cartons?

About a year ago I was talking to a friend, who was telling me that she buys her eggs from the local farmers market because she trusts that the chickens were truly ‘free roaming’. They  have an opportunity to live outdoors, in the open air, and roam the land as chickens are meant to, creating a happier environment for the chickens, and (many believe) produces a better tasting egg.

But isn’t that what “cage free” means, I asked? Suddenly feeling  naive since I’m a pretty savvy marketer by day job, and hate to think that I’ve had the wool pulled over my eyes.

No, she said. All it means is that they aren’t in a cage.  But it doesn’t mean they can’t be crammed into a building, free of a cage, but still in such packed quarters that they can’t actually roam, and offered only a small little space outside that doesn’t fit one tenth of the number of chickens in the building.

So what is the ideal situation for a chicken? And what does that mean to the health of the eggs we eat?

Pastured Eggs.

In Michael Pollan’s book, In Defense of Food, he makes a point that “pastured” is the optimal egg label to look for. These eggs come from chickens that roam the “pasture”, grazing on grass, enjoying fresh air and living free of cages or large, cramped quarters. Unfortunately, they can be hard to find at some grocery stores. In fact, many don’t carry them at all,  so you may have to look at your healthy grocer or shop the farmers market to find some that are truly “pastured”.

And remember, ‘pastured’ means they roam free on the land, eating grass and enjoying a happy, healthy life, thus, producing healthier, more delicious eggs.

Many of you now know, and embrace, the idea that the diet of the animals we eat strongly influences the nutritional quality and healthfulness of the food we get from them, so the conditions of the chickens absolutely affects the quality of the eggs they produce.

Healthier chickens, defined by diet and living conditions = more nutritious eggs!

Watch this PBS Video that does a great job of explaining the difference in labels, with visuals of the definitions that we’re discussing.  I love the visual quality of this video, which makes it much easier to understand what the conditions truly are like.

Watch 2013 Festival | The Story of an Egg on PBS. See more from PBS Online Film Festival.


Now that you’ve seen the video, let’s break down the real meaning behind common egg labels based on information provided by the USDA and Humane Society.

Common Egg Labels by Definition:

Definition ‘Certified Organic’: the birds are kept uncaged inside barns or warehouses, and are required to have outdoor access, but the amount, duration, and quality of outdoor access is not at all regulated (therefore it could be minimal and low quality). They are fed an organic, all-vegetarian diet free of antibiotics and pesticides, as required by the USDA’s National Organic Program.

Definition ‘Free Range/ Roaming’:  this indicates that shelter was provided with unlimited access to food, fresh water, and the outdoors (which may be fenced and/or covered). This label is regulated by the USDA, but there are no specific requirements around the duration or quality of outdoor access, so this could simply mean there is an opening to a small, crowded dirt yard.
‘Cage Free’:  this label indicates that the chickens were able to freely roam a building, room, or enclosed area with unlimited access to food and fresh water. Note: often, no outside time is provided & there are no specific requirements around how many chickens per square foot are allowed.

‘Vegetarian Fed’:  these birds are not fed animal byproducts, but this label does not say anything about the animals living conditions (i.e. caged vs. outside time) or what else they are fed.
‘Pasture Raised, Pastured’:  due to the number of variables involved, the USDA has not developed a federal definition for pasture-raised products. Generally speaking though, ‘pastured’ means the animals had access to a green field (not just any field) and in turn likely provide high-quality nutritious products. Since this term is not currently regulated there is no way to know for sure unless you directly ask the farmer (at the market).

Natural‘:  as required by USDA, meat, poultry, and egg products labeled as ‘natural’ must be minimally processed and contain no artificial ingredients. However, the natural label does not include any standards regarding farm practices, such as how a chicken is housed and fed, and only applies to processing of meat and egg products.

Heart healthy eggs.

pastured-chickensRemember, chickens, like us, are what they eat. Any number of studies reveal that chickens raised in a wholesome way, with plenty of time outside to roam and forage, lay eggs that are higher in omega-3s, vitamins D and E, and beta-carotene, which our bodies convert into vitamin A. They are also lower in cholesterol. Bonus points for healthier eggs! Read more here from Take Part to learn what you can do to help with better labeling.

And support your local farmers  – it’s the best way to keep us (and our animals) safe and healthy. Plus it’s just a good thing to do 🙂

We’re big fans of Coconut Oil, and use it as a skin salve, lotion, hair conditioner, and in most all of our high heat cooking. There are so many amazing health benefits to Coconut Oil, and I’ve compiled many of them in a post you can read here.

Our favorite brand is Tropical Traditions and we love the safe products this company makes. While I have the best of intentions of one day making all our own cleaning products, the reality is I’m better at sourcing safe products for our family that someone else has made with care and dedication to safe, non toxic products. And while I don’t mind paying for good quality products, I also love a bargain whenever I can find one!

So if you’re like me, you’ll love Tropical Traditions. Every week, Tropical Traditions offers some amazing deals, and this week they’re offering their Organic Virgin Coconut Oil for FREE with purchase! Check out the list of savings below and click the image to head over to their site to shop. We use their Coconut Oil, Dish Soap and lotions and love their grass fed meats.


Weekly Specials:


  • FREE Shipping Coupon – One Day Only – TODAY!

To take advantage of this special, you MUST enter coupon code 183313 in your cart before checking out and choose either Ground or SmartPost from the drop down list of shipping options! FREE shipping is NOT applied automatically.

  • FREE Organic Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil (Pints) Ends Thursday
  • 40% OFF Grass-fed Beef Top Round Steak
  • 40% OFF Organic Moisturizing Lotions
  • 50% OFF Benefect Botanical Hand Sanitizer
  • NEW PRODUCT: Organic Fair Trade Cocoa Powder



If you love their products, please comment below so we can be sure to try the ones you love too!

Welcome to the Organic Foods Insider!

Working in the natural foods world, I have come to discover that the word “natural” is devoid of any meaning. Kashi is considered a natural cereal, Clif Bars are considered natural energy bars, and agave nectar is considered a natural syrup. All of these products are highly processed, with ingredients that are unidentified to the everyday consumer.

There are so many questions which need to be asked:

What exactly is brown-rice syrup, soy lecithin and barley extract?! How are protein powders created? What exactly is glucose and why is it an ingredient in this product when I only hear about it being measured in the blood levels of diabetics? What on earth is guar gum?!

Unfortunately, many consumers don’t ask these questions. Many only go so far as to read the labels these companies are feeding us, with their claims of “all-natural,” “low-sugar,” or “high protein.” When did it become commonplace to read a nutrition label rather than an ingredient label? This question can be answered with a complex set of answers, but the most important answer is this one: Consumers became uninformed when companies began to market their products to drag customers away from the ingredient label and towards their ‘marketing words.’

These companies have perfected the distraction from the ingredient label and as the natural products sector of the food industry has grown, they’ve continued to mislead the consumer. Key words like “whole-grain,” or “all-natural,” and “fat-free,” have become mainstay “connection words” between “healthy” and “products.” The Kashi brand has become brilliant at this kind of pseudo-natural marketing. Their commercials are so convincing, where a beautiful woman is walking through cocoa trees and traveling by gondola through an unidentified third-world country river to search for “the best ingredients.” First, there isn’t a doubt in my mind that this is not the way General Mills goes about looking for ingredients for their cereal. Their ingredient buyers aren’t hanging out with cocoa farmers and smiling about it. Second, I do doubt that canola oil and evaporated cane juice were chosen as quality ingredients (either the way it’s shown in the commercials or ever… really).

While all of these brands have been misconstruing consumers for years, they’ve recently embarked on a campaign of “pseudo-transparency.” I say pseudo because these companies are “transparently” listing their ingredients and providing explanations for things such as “brown-rice syrup” or “canola oil,” yet every explanation is skewed and misleading. The number one offender of this is General Mills, who has undergone a huge marketing campaign since the backlash against it’s donations to put down Proposition 37.

If you look on the Kashi website, you’ll immediately find that they’re dedicating themselves to “Real Food Rules.” Kashi claims itself to be “all-natural,” which, of course, no longer has any meaning because of such campaign. Their newest addition is the “Kashi Ingredient Decoder” which lists ingredients that Kashi uses that might be questionable, like casein, chicory root fiber, canola oil and fractionated oils. Each of their definitions are problematic.

As a response to the question, “What is Chicory Root Fiber?” Kashi gives this misleading answer: “This is used to hold different ingredients together and also contains the naturally occurring fiber inulin.” I’m confused as to how this answers what chicory foot fiber is, rather than what it does. Sourced from the chicory root, inulin (or chicory root fiber) is not a real-food. It’s a supplement or additive, used as a fiber source for many processed cereals and granola bars. The chicory root fiber is produced by mixing dried, ground chicory root with water, then removing the insoluble fraction by filtration and centrifugation.” (Source) – I won’t even begin to discuss canola oil or other processed oils. You can watch this video to find out more.

Kashi is joined by it’s sister company, Larabar, in providing potentially misleading answers to consumers. Larabar recently released their new “ALT-bar,” which is a play-off their original bar, but with the addition of protein (among other stuff). When looking at one of these bars, you get to see the ingredients as a picture. Yet, it’s misleading and comical. For brown rice syrup, they include a photo of brown rice. As a definition in the FAQ, they say that

“Brown rice syrup, also known as “rice syrup,” is a natural sweetener that comes from the starch of brown rice. The combination of cooked rice and natural enzymes allows the starches to break down to produce a sweetened liquid. The liquid is then filtered and excess water is evaporated to thicken it. Brown rice syrup is used in über® as a naturally sweetened binder to hold the ingredients together and keep the bar firm.”(via

There isn’t any mention of how these “natural enzymes” come off of barley. Or that those who desire a gluten-free brown rice syrup will have to make it with the enzymes of fungus. I don’t know which one is better: barley or fungus? Or is the sticky brown goop derived from the process of excess heat supposed to be construed as natural? How can companies label something that is so processed, as “natural.” It’s mind-blowing. Natural means nothing.

For their new Alt-bar, the questions become even more misleading. To describe their protein source, they list that the protein is from a vegetable. Peas are legumes. (It’s principle – if you are providing information, don’t mislead your consumers). To the question, “How it’s made?” They list that pea protein comes from peas, after the peas are ground into a flour and then the protein can be separated – wait…. but how is it separated? Anyone who doesn’t research that won’t ever know, so I’ll tell you: The majority of protein powders are used making hexane gas, the best quality ones are used with enzymes. Soy and Whey proteins are the main culprits, but without knowing the source of the protein, we cannot identify the source. I’d like them to say what pea protein they’re using.

These two examples of Kashi and Lara aren’t easy ones to point out, as their marketing campaigns are stellar in convincing consumers that they’re dedicated to real food, with natural ingredients. Sure, they’ve made an effort to become transparent, but I find it troubling that there is no true accountability for “natural foods.”

A final example is of the energy bar world. Enter a grocery store and find the energy bar aisle. There are hundreds on the wall. Of those hundreds, the majority of energy bar companies claim “natural” but also add syrups, starches, and other sweeteners. They’ll use glucose or soy lecithin, sugar alcohol or soy isolates. Yet, this is what the natural foods world has become. Natural grocery stores have aided and abetted these companies and the consumers are the innocent enablers. While I’m very up-in-arms about accountability, these companies will still continue to make their profits because the industry has allowed them to succeed through the misconstruction of the word “natural.” Therefore, it no longer means anything.

I’m resigned, but I’ll continue to hold my own food choices accountable. I hope you will, too.


When Leslie isn’t helping us understand how to keep safe in a world without proper labeling requirements, she’s busy helping create one of our favorite truly Organic, raw food products. Follow us for more from Leslie, the Organic Foods Insider.



Here’s hoping you saved yourself some cash at the grocery store after reading yesterday’s post. Today I’ll give you more cost-cutting advice including my secret on how to save money AND get your kids eating more veggies. I will also share with you some of my tips on savvy label-reading so you won’t get gypped.


  • Herbs. Houseplants and I don’t get along very well. I have just recently kept my first one alive for over a year and I’m thrilled (as is the plant). So when someone gave me a pot of herbs for my backyard, I worried those little herbs were doomed. I stuck it in a sunny spot and watered it a bit from time to time and those suckers grew by leaps and bounds. I was totally stunned. In an effort to save yourself the $2-3 per small bunch of organic basil, dill or thyme you find at the store: try your own hand at it. You will be amazed at the abundance you’ll have just outside your backdoor.
  • Veggies. Another great option is to grow organics at home with assistance from aeroponic growers like the Tower Garden. The range of your favorite vegetables, herbs and fruits! you can grow at home is amazing.

A veggie bonus tip: My kids now water the robust pot of herbs in our backyard. What I’ve come to discover is that I can serve almost any food in the world to my kids, and if it involves something that came out of our pot of our herbs, they will taste it. This is especially true if they got to harvest the herbs and sprinkle them on our chicken or asparagus themselves. The reason ? They’re curious. They are dying to know what they’ve helped create.


  • Produce. If you can’t afford to buy your produce 100% organic, rely on the Environmental Working Group’s “dirty dozen” —foods that contain the highest levels of pesticides—as your go-to reference for must-buy organics. Apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, and spinach top the list. To confirm that your produce actually is organic, check the sticker number on your produce. The number should begin with a “9”.
  • Chicken and pork. Watch out for sexy labels. Do not pay more for chicken or pork that says “hormone free” on it. The U.S. prohibits growth hormones to be used in chickens or pigs so all of their meats are “hormone free” except for what is naturally-occurring.
  • Eggs. Pastured eggs are a beautiful thing. When chickens are able to feed on bugs and worms instead of corn and soy or animal by-products, the fats you get from eating their eggs are filled with healthy omega-3s. But a word to the wise, the terms “cage-free” and “free-range” are very loosely enforced. In fact, you may use these terms on your packaging if your chickens have access to the outside. In some cases, this means there is a small door available for them to go in and out of. What does that mean ? When it’s your birthday you get to be put outside? I don’t know. My advice to you is to get to know your eggs. Some eggs that say “pastured” are, in fact, pastured eggs. My favorites are Vital Farms Eggs. You can find them at Whole Foods.

So good luck my conscious-consumers and please share with us below your tips for getting more bang for your organic buck.

Recently there’s been some media specualtion about whether Organic foods are actually better for us than Non Organic foods.

According to the New York Times, scientists at Stanford Research have combed through 40 years of research comparing Organic vs. non Organic foods, and found that those labeled Organic have the same nutritional value as their non Organic counterparts.  I’d love to know how many hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent on this research study to determine that an organic orange has the same nutritional value as a non Organic orange.

While I’m not a Stanford research scientist, I know enough to know that an orange is an orange is an orange. Right? So to say that we held a study to determine whether nutritional value content differs among fruits and veggies based on pesticide use (non Organic farming) is a bit ridiculous.  It seems the better use of research funds is to explore the damage we are enduring from the rampant use of pesticides in our foods, and the effects of genetically modified organisms which are found in most of our processed foods here in America, as well as in the veggies and legumes on our dinner tables. And unless we raise enough fuss to fight it, it seems like we are heading down the road of further Genetically Modified foods, including fruits such as apples and oranges.

So why are Organic foods so expensive?

Many of you may not be aware that the government offers taxpayer-funded resources called subsidies to the farmers using genetically engineered seeds and who are saturating crops with insecticides and weed killers, while charging the organic farmers fees to prove that their crops are safe. As Robin O’Brien points out, that’s like being charged to wear your seatbelt.

Robin goes on to point out that while conventional food production allows for the addition of cheap, synthetic and often controversial ingredients that have been disallowed, banned or never permitted for use in developed countries around the world, organic food carries the burden of having to prove that its products are safe — products produced without the use of added non-food ingredients that other countries have found controversial or removed from their food supply.


We just launched our online shop, and we couldn’t be more excited!!

While it’s not exactly how we envision our shop just yet, it’s a start! If you’ve found yourself here, you most likely are searching for information, resources, and help living an allergy free life.

Perhaps you or a loved one are learning to live with a restricted diet.

Perhaps you are trying an elimination diet because you suspect you have a food allergy or sensitivity.

Perhaps you’re trying to eliminate GMO foods. Add organic foods. Eat better, Feel better.

Well, you’ve come to the right place!  We’ve partnered with Amazon to launch the first phase of our store to offer products that will help you with your quest for a healthier life. We will continue to work on the content and layout of the shop, but for now,  it’s a great start to enable you to find products that are safe and healthy!

So head on over to the shop now and browse our thousands of allergy free friendly, organic, grass fed meats, fresh fruits an veggies, gluten free cosmetics and more.

To good health!


Last month I found out that a friend of mine was in need of both a liver and heart transplant; sadly, I knew he wasn’t likely to survive this diagnosis, and unfortunately he passed away a couple weeks ago. When I learned of his fate, I contacted a mutual friend of ours who still lives in NYC (where my friend lived) and was in touch with him after the news broke. We chatted about our friend, and our lives, and spent some time catching up. It turns out that we both are suffering from some auto-immune issues, and he suggested I watch 2 films that he had recently seen and felt would be both insightful and inspiring for me.

The first was called Fat Sick and Nearly Dead. The second was Forks Over Knives.

I remember how important he felt these were for me to watch, so I downloaded them from Netflix the next day, grabbed my laptop and curled up on the couch to watch them. I figured I would half pay attention and do some writing while the documentaries played in the background; boy was I wrong! To be honest, I was so riveted by what I was watching that I only picked up my laptop to IM him to tell him that I was so glad he suggested I watch them.

This uplifting and inspiring story follows a man named Joe Cross while on a cross-country road trip where he vows to do a juice fast for 60 days (consuming only fruits and vegetables in liquid form). He embarked on his journey when he realized that he was overweight, and facing a lifetime of medications due to his weight and auto-immune disease. His hope was to cleanse his body and enact a sort of ‘reboot’ if you will. Along the way, he chronicles his journey as he meets (and inspires) others who are in similar situations. Joe meets many Americans that are eating the way many people consider Americans to eat; junk food, fast food, greasy diner food. They are overweight, of poor health, and many are teaching their kids the same way of life. It was hard to watch some of the interviews; I was acutely aware that many of these children will grow up to mirror their overweight, and often diabetic, sick parents.

On his transformative journey, Joe meets and inspires Phil Staples – a 420 pound truck driver from Iowa – to do the same. As we watch Joe lose more than 100 pounds, and wean himself all his medications, we follow Phil and his inspiring attempt to change his life too.

Phil was a truck driver who has little access to healthy food while on the road. I hadn’t considered that the only places that are convenient for them to stop while on the road are typical truck stops filled with greasy, fatty, fast foods. After years of eating burgers, pizzas and sodas, he was over 400 pounds, and sick with the same rare auto-immune disease as Joe. He too wanted to lose weight, gain his health back and ensure he could see his children grow up. I found myself not wanting the movie to end so that I could follow Phil’s journey further and make sure he kept up with his new-found healthy lifestyle!

In all, I was touched and inspired by their journeys, and in awe of how many vegetables and fruits you can consume when doing a juice fast. I love fruits and veggies, but I guarantee you I could never eat as many fruits and vegs in a sitting as you can while juicing. There’s something about the process of juicing that beaks down the food to a portion which you can more easily consume, while still maintaining all the nutrients typically lost in the cooking process.

You can watch the Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead – Official Trailer from Team Reboot on Vimeo. And remember, you can download it streaming from Netflix and watch it right away. If you don’t have a Netflix account you can register for a free trial and then watch it that same day.

Note: if you choose to try a juice reboot, please consult your physician first to be sure you are cleared to do so.

I will follow up this blog with my review of Forks Over Knives soon.

Wishing you good health and happiness!