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12:21 pm

How to Cope During “Flu Season”


Preventing & Managing FLU

The period of time between Halloween and New Year’s Day is riddled with illness in America. There’s no coincidence that the increase in the amount of sugar we consume coupled with freezing temps, drying indoor heat, holiday stress, and lack of sunshine cause an increase in colds, flu and bronchitis.

Consuming extra amounts of sugar via Halloween candy, pies, cookies, treats and sugar-laden cocktails cause inflammation and lower our immunity. This makes us susceptible to illness. So one major preventative measure is to monitor and control how much sugar you are consuming.

Prevention is key. Building your immune system is a strong way to prevent illness from taking over. Eating a nutrient-dense diet of leafy greens, lean protein, healthy fats like avocado, nuts and seeds, and lots of water can help. But, don’t forget to also include fermented foods like kefir, fresh sauerkraut, raw pickles (I like Bubbies brand), kombucha and yogurt. But – limit your intake of dairy as it can cause extra mucous production. If you don’t like fermented foods, which are full of natural probiotics, you can take a supplement. Choose one with at least 5 strains of bacteria and over 25 million CFU’s.

Act fast when the sniffles appear! When symptoms arrive, you’re actually in Day 2 of your illness. That’s why it’s important to act fast with natural anti-virals that can stop or lesson your illness. Oregano Oil, Olive Leaf Extract and garlic are powerful anti-virals. I take 1-2 drops of Oregano Oil by mouth with lots of water and it usually does the trick. I haven’t been sick in years. You can also rub it on the soles of your feet when symptoms appear (which is safer for children). My girls like my homemade Elderberry syrup when they get that little throat tickle. OnGuard is another oil I diffuse for prevention.

Try this natural flu shot or "fire cider" when symptoms appear. The ingredients act as a powerful immune-builder and kills “bad” bacteria, while leaving the good guys intact.

Natural Flu Shot:

2 cloves finely minced garlic

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp raw, local honey

1 oz Bragg's Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

Dash of turmeric

Fresh grated ginger

 

Mix in a glass and drink it straight down!

 firecider

Easing Symptoms. Drinking warm bone broth can ease congestion and provide minerals and hydration you need for healing. I like to take warm baths and diffuse Eucalyptus oil. Coconut oil can soothe sore nostrils from frequent blowing. I like to diffuse thyme, oregano and Eucalyptus when someone does get sick.

chickenbroth2

 

Most importantly though is to keep your hands clean and away from your mouth, nose and eyes. Use those sanitizing wipes at the grocery store and wipe the cart handle clean. Have your kids wash their hands when they get home from school. (It’s the first thing I ask my girls to do when they walk in the door!)

Remember to drink lots of water every day and get those veggies in!

What are your natural flu remedies? Do you have a favorite?

(P.S. Want to get 25% off Essential Oils and a diffuser? Send me a message and I'll show you how!)

 


10:15 am

Can You Heal Your Thyroid or Autoimmune Disease?

Cindy Before & After


So, that's me in the photo on the left back in 2010. Not only was I overweight, but I was tired, filled with brain fog, and felt like I was moving through molasses when I walked. I had high cholesterol, migraines and tummy troubles. I was a hot mess at 40! Now, at 46, I feel like I'm in the best shape of my life, I don't take medicine, I'm free of those pesky health issues and my crazy thyroid is in check.

I was able to heal my body and stop the internal attacks on my glands and organs. You see, I was eating processed foods with chemical preservatives and fruits and veggies sprayed with pesticides, fungicides and herbicides. I was eating meat from the grocery store that was from animals raised in feed lots. I ate fast food occasionally, drank too much alcohol and wasn't exercising my body enough. My body started to attack itself because of the onslaught of foreign matter and frequent antibiotics that were destroying my gut flora. 

I was frequently ill with sinus infections, bronchitis and colds because I wasn't nourishing my body with healing foods.

So, what did I do? I got in the kitchen and started cooking real food. No more packaged meals and frozen boxes of chemical concoctions. I tried my best to eliminate all processed foods and those with GMO's.

I then started to eliminate foods that I thought could be causing my tummy troubles and sinus issues. I started with dairy. The post-nasal drip and seasonal allergies went away within a couple of weeks, as well as the frequent colds. Then, I introduced seasonal, local foods that were grown near me. I visited farms and farmer's markets and asked about their growing practices. I also sourced local grass-fed meat and pastured chicken, pork and eggs. After a year, I eliminated gluten. I found it was a huge irritant for my body. The tummy troubles subsided, along with the eczema.

This change made a huge improvement in my health. My energy levels soared all day long. I didn't have the sugar crashes and lulls throughout the day. Yes, I also stopped eating anything with refined or artificial sugar.

I made it point to find a local doctor who would test my thyroid completely and provide me with a clear plan to get off the medication.
I also worked on healing my gut. Those years of antibiotic abuse had destroyed the healthy gut bacteria that we all need for a thriving immune system. I drank bone broth, took herbs and practiced stress-reducing activities that allowed my gut to heal. I also added fermented foods like fresh kraut, kombucha, kefir and fermented veggies to my diet.

Refreshing exercise also played a huge role in balancing my hormones and dropping the excess weight. First, I just walked 2 miles every day and on inclement weather days, I would ride a stationary bike. Then, I added weight training and a barre workout for balance and strength. I love working out with weights. I'm not a "lifter" or cross-fitter, I feel those are too much for my body, but I love my 10-lb kettlebell and hand weights. You have to find what works for your body. Too much exercise can be stressful and not good for autoimmune patients.

Those of us with thyroid concerns need to practice stress management EVERY DAY! Even the slightest internal stressors can cause a flare. Take frequent epsom salt baths, read a magazine, sit in the sun for 10 minutes every day, get a mani/pedi and treat yourself to a relaxing massage. These are therapeutic and can truly help lower stress levels.
I hope these tips can help you. Sometimes it's easy to feel lost and not know where to start, but if you start with small baby steps and create a plan for yourself, it's completely possible to heal.
I'm living proof!
One of my new programs is called The Leaky Gut Solution. Healing and sealing the gut can help stop the release of toxins into your bloodstream that cause the body to launch an attack on your organs or glands.

Sign up today for this amazing new program and let the healing begin!


12:40 pm

Never Buy Store-Bought Chicken Broth Again!

Excerpted from Unprocessed Living. Copyright protected. Read More

2:39 pm

Is Your Child’s School Toxic?

As parents, you work really hard at keeping your kids healthy and safe. When they were born, you bought only the softest blankets for their delicate skin. When they started to crawl, you covered outlets, locked cabinets, and made sure your home was safe. When you cook breakfast, lunch or dinner, you’re making sure they’re eating healthy foods. When they got on their first bike, you made sure they had a helmet. Their health is the most important thing there is.

Every day we send our children off to school to learn so they can grow up to be successful, smart and productive adults. We don’t envision that place of learning to be ground-zero for toxic chemicals, dangerous radiation and carcinogenic food. But, unfortunately, that is the reality today.

The good news is that most of these chemicals can be avoided by simply educating the teachers and administrators about safer choices. As parents, we can also make better choices too (myself included!).

So far this year (and school just started last month), I was asked to supply Lysol wipes, my children have come home with numerous amounts of candy, I’ve been asked to supply diet soda for a class party and suddenly electronic devices are considered the norm for every classroom (and this is elementary school)! And, when I attended the class party, the teacher kept spraying scented spray in the air that was full of endocrine-disrupting fragrance (or phthalates).

Our school also has those crumb-rubber turf fields for the children to play on. They come home with hundreds of tiny pieces of rubber on their shoes, socks and jackets from rolling around in it.

What’s in a School Lunch?

Let’s start off by tackling food. School lunches are a huge source of preservatives that are known carcinogens, hydrogenated oils that clog arteries, high fructose corn syrup and loads of sugar. The chocolate milk alone has 28 grams of sugar, which is more that what a child should consume in one day. Some of the packaged items that are sold at breakfast are atrocious and have basically the same amount of sugar as a candy bar. Even though our particular school sources local produce from nearby farms (which is amazing!), none of it is organic and could be sprayed heavily with pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. The majority of school lunch food comes frozen in boxes with labels 4 inches thick and gets reheated.

How do you mitigate this? Pack your child’s lunch and send them off with a good protein-rich breakfast of eggs, oatmeal or a green smoothie. Pack a reusable, stainless steel water bottle every day as well. When a child is fed properly, they have balanced blood sugar and fewer outbursts.

Ask your child’s teacher not to reward them with food. Supply them with stickers, erasers, temporary tattoos or other fun prizes. Ask your school to implement alternative ways to celebrate class birthdays, like extra recess time, special book reading or bring in fruit instead of cupcakes.

Washing with Pesticides?

I’m on a mission to rid the planet of antibacterial soap! The active ingredient in these soaps is Triclosan. This is classified as a Pesticide by the EPA! When combined with chlorine from municipal tap water, a small cloud of chloroform gas is produced and children are breathing this in as they wash their hands. It can cause asthma, allergies and lung irritation. Triclosan also interferes with muscle function and hormone regulation. Look on the label of your hand soap and discard any and all that contain Triclosan. Just use plain soap and water and avoid those antibacterial gels as well.

I also see a lot of baby wipes and Lysol wipes being used in schools. Baby wipes contain endocrine-disrupting parabens and fragrance. Lysol also contains AMMONIUM CHLORIDES that cause respiratory effects and organ effects, plus if you read their website, in order to disinfect a surface, it must be non-porous and remain visibly wet for 4-10 minutes! Then, you must rinse the surface if your hands or food will come into contact with it! I shudder when I think of all those students eating their snacks at their desks.

Class Parties

I joke and tell my friends the real reason that I have signed up to be room mom for the last 5 years is so I can control what’s being doled out to these children, but it’s true. If I’m in charge, then perhaps I can have some control over the amount of sugar or chemicals being fed to my child. Recently, a teacher asked for Diet Soda for a party because, “It contains less sugar.” While this may be true, diet sodas contain artificial sugar (sometimes two) and those are more dangerous than real sugar any day. What kind of message does that send to our children as well that we need “diet” soda? Let’s go with flavored water or 100% juice? If possible, get involved with your child’s class and offer to help plan healthy parties with fruit, cheese and organic snacks.

Turf Fields of Fear

Turf fields are expensive, yet numerous schools are installing them across the country. School boards and the EPA will tell you that they are safe, but dozens of soccer players, football players and young children playing on crumb-rubber fields are getting cancers, like non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The fields are made of recycled, used tires, plastic pellets and rubber-coated sand. When the sun is shining, the turf fields can heat up more quickly with temps 20-30° higher than air temperatures. This releases acetone, benzene, and halogenated flame retardants into the air and it gets inhaled.

Your best option is to tell your children not to play on them when there are other options. Remove their shoes at the door when they get home and don’t lie down on the fields. Consider sharing your concerns with the school board as well. If we don’t say anything, they won’t know our concerns.

Other Possible Toxic Concerns

Do you know what chemicals your school using to clean the toilets, floors, classrooms and cafeteria tables? I don’t, but you can probably bet they’re conventional cleaners with dozens of endocrine-disrupting chemicals and fragrance filled with phthalates.

Make sure your child washes their hands throughout the day and doesn’t put their food directly on a table or surface.

Lastly, I want to address Wi-Fi and cell phone use in young children. A Wi-Fi system in a school is like having a cordless phone in your home with multiple handsets throughout the house. The base station is the headquarters, and all the peripheral phones connect with it wirelessly.

The radiofrequency radiation is continuously transmitted while the system is on 24 hours a day every day. Connections from the computers and other wireless devices throughout the school to the wireless access points cause any user around it, (children, teacher, staff, etc.) to be continuously exposed. A child in a classroom can be irradiated simultaneously by any one computer associated with a different base station in the Wireless Local Area Network.

Symptoms Reported by Children in Schools

According to http://www.safeschool.ca/, these symptoms are being reported by students inside Simcoe County Schools in Canada. Children did not experience these symptoms prior to Wi-Fi’s introduction into the school system.

* Headaches (3-5X per week, that require medicine)

* Dizziness - Nausea - Vertigo (gone after student leaves the school)

* Visual and Auditory Distortion

* Racing Heart Rate (Tachycardia)

* Memory Loss  (difficulty remembering school information)

* Attention Deficit (difficulty concentrating while in class)

* Skin Rash  (mostly lower leg, goes away on weekends or longer breaks)

* Hyperactivity (appears mostly among children not previously hyperactive)

* Night Sweats (unexplainable, unrelated to fever, and lasting several nights)

* Insomnia  (restless sleep)

Consider turning off your WI-Fi connection at home when you sleep. Limit exposure to EMF’s by restricting time on electronic devices. Don’t allow your child to hold a phone close to their head. Let them text instead.  If you check your cell phone manual, you will most likely find that it states cell phones should be kept .6 inches from your body.  Your cell phone regularly checks in with a cell antenna and if the phone is in your pocket or against your skin, your body absorbs the microwave radiation.  Moreover, your reproductive organs get a blast of microwave radiation when a call or text is received.

Children should keep cell phones in a purse or backpack, away from the body.

 

Where to go from here?

You could throw your hands up in the air and say, “everything will give you cancer today!” Or, you can be proactive and say, “I’m going to do something about this!”

 

Learn to read labels, ask questions, do a little research and speak up. If we don’t let our voices be heard, nothing will change. By making just a few changes outlined here, you can mitigate your child’s exposure to harmful chemicals, toxins and dangerous radiation.

 


2:22 pm

How to Really Get Rid of Lice

Getting lice at least once in elementary school has almost become a rite of passage. As many as 12 million American school children get them each year. It’s become more common as of late because there’s more talk about it on social media and now we have Resistant Lice in over 25 US states.

nit comb

I live in Virginia, which is one of those states, along with nearby Maryland, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee. What does it mean to be Resistant? Resistant Lice basically means the lice have become resistant to current over-the-counter treatments. They become this way by treating and killing the adult nymphs, but leaving behind the tiny nits or eggs on the scalp. The nits develop gene mutations and become resistant or desensitized to the pyrethroids, the pesticide commonly used to kill lice. These pesticides only kill the nymphs, not the eggs, and only have an efficacy rate of 25-30%!
The leading lice shampoo contains a potent pesticide called LINDANE, which has been known to cause vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, liver damage and many other health issues. LINDANE has been banned in 18 countries and severely restricted in 10 others.

There’s some good news here about lice though. They don’t spread disease. They don’t hop or fly and you can only get them by direct contact. You may get lice when someone brushes or scratches their head (falling adult lice), by sharing hats, brushes, or hair accessories. They do affect girls more than boys because girls typically have longer and more hair.

Common Myths about Lice:

  • You don’t need a pharmaceutical to kill them.
  • They don’t fly or hop.
  • It doesn’t matter if your hair is clean or dirty; they have no preference.
  • They’re gross, but no one has ever died from getting lice.
  • They can live under water for several hours, so immersing your head and swimming under water in chlorine won’t kill them.

The nit or egg takes 8-9 days to hatch. It’s white and looks like dandruff. They hatch into nymphs, which can have a white or dark brown color. An adult louse grows for 9-12 days and can live for 30 days on a host and hatch 6 eggs per day! (Are you scratching your head yet?)

Lice will die in 1-2 days if they fall off the scalp (where they feed). The best place to look for them is the top of the head, the base of the neck and behind the ears. Constant scratching of one’s head is a clue as well. Scratching the bites can actually cause infection, but lice alone don’t cause infection.

Ways to Prevent Lice:

  • Watch for signs of scratching the scalp
  • Don’t share hats, brushes, hair accessories.
  • Wash sheets in hot water, high heat drying
  • If nice clothes are compromised, place in a sealed bag for 2 weeks to kill lice.
  • Vacuum daily and wash bath rugs, where you brush your hair

Treating Lice:

Email me - Censored by the FDA

First, get a good stainless steel nit comb on Amazon.


Initial Approach:

Email me for recipe (censored by ridiculous gov't rules)

 

Say you were at a playdate or another classmate has lice and you are worried about exposure. You can try this Defense Spray (for 3+ years):

 

Email me for recipe (censored by ridiculous gov't rules)

 

Daily Shampoo Concentrate:

 

Email me for recipe (censored by ridiculous gov't rules)

 

I know they’re gross, but with these tips, you can mitigate the spread of these tricky critters. These methods have an 82.5% cure rate, versus the 25-30% rate using a dangerous pesticide on your child’s head.

These essential oils can be found online or if you would like help ordering, please feel free to send me an email at unlockbetterhealth@gmail.com.



Source: Vintage Remedies, Aromatherapy course


1:25 pm

Packing a Healthy School Lunch

As summer winds down, it's time to start thinking about what you're going to be packing in those lunch boxes and snack bags and what you'll be feeding the kiddos when they come bounding off the bus.

First and foremost is to feed them a nutritious, protein-packed breakfast to start their day. And, no, a Pop-Tart doesn't count. Those tasty pastries are essentially a giant candy bar filled with sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, trans fats, artificial colors and sodium. Don't get me wrong, I loved them growing up, but the over 50 ingredients inside can lead to a myriad of health problems down the road and sugar crashes before they even finish first period.


A great start to the day could include a scrambled egg with whole grain toast, whole grain waffle with peanut butter, oatmeal with berries, or a protein smoothie (blend berries, True Whey protein powder, nut butter, spinach, yogurt, or nut milk).

eggs-494550_copy


There are many prepackaged options out there for lunches, but be careful of dangerous preservatives, trans fats, excessive amounts of sodium and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) that are often laden in those foods. The worst offenders are Lunchables, 100-calorie snacks, bags of chips, cheez-its and juice boxes. The winner for worst offender is the Uncrustable sandwich. It contains 38 ridiculous ingredients (5 of which are sugar and more than a dozen are chemicals) like HFCS, transfats, sorbates, sulfates, and phosphates. A simple PB & jelly takes 1 minute to make - please make them from scratch. I'm disgusted that my children's school offers these as alternatives to a hot lunch.

Summer kids eat lunch - Flickr - USDAgov


So, here's my shopping list for the Back-to-School Pantry:

  • Lots of whole fruits - Bananas, organic apples, organic peaches, pears, watermelon slices, organic grapes, organic berries or melon balls/cubes, orange slices, small boxes of organic raisins. Make a fun fruit kebab! Whole fruits provide fiber, potassium, antioxidants and tons of vitamins that they need for fuel during the day. (I recommend the organic option of those fruits listed on the Dirty Dozen.) Remember to shop/eat seasonally - some of these fruits won't be available this fall and winter.
  • Trail mix - Make your own with raw, unsalted nuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, raisins, dried cranberries, chopped pitted dates, small amount of chocolate chips & dried apricots. (NO M&M's!!)
  • Wraps - I like whole grain options to wrap up turkey slices, PB& jelly, cream cheese and veggies, chicken salad, tuna salad
  • Whole grain English muffins (make mini-pizzas or slather w/ PB & jelly)
  • Organic string cheese
  • Newman's Own High Protein Pretzels
  • Gluten-free? Buy large lettuce leafs and wrap over creamy chicken salad, tuna salad with lots of crunchy pickles, turkey slices (not deli meat)
  • Make extra for dinner. Leftovers make for a great school lunch. Pack hot items in stainless steel or a thermos to retain their heat. My kids' faves are homemade chicken strips, leftover brown rice spaghetti and ravioli.
  • Unsweetened organic apple sauce
  • Plain organic yogurt - place in a blender with berries, spinach, nut or sunflower butter, process and freeze in a flexible popsicle mold
  • Organic ham and cheese roll ups
  • Veggies - sliced cucumbers with hummus, organic celery with nut butter and raisins, carrots with hummus or ranch dip, red & yellow pepper slices with hummus or dip, kale chips, sugar snap peas
  • Whole grain crackers, like Triscuits or Multi-Seed; Wasa (Goldfish don't make the cut)
  • Brown rice cakes, top with nut butter spread
  • Real popcorn (not microwaved in a chemical-filled bag)
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Roasted chickpeas with honey & cinnamon
  • Whole grain waffles (great for after school snacks topped with PB)
  • Organic Beef Jerky or Beef Stick (I like Real Sticks & Nicks Sticks)
  • Reusable stainless steel bottle of ice cold water - no sugary juice needed
It's important that lunch contain a lean protein item, a whole grain carb option, fruit and lots of water. Kids don't need a sugary treat or cookie for lunch. Between all the treats and birthday parties at school, they get enough sugar! They need a highly nutritious meal that can carry them through the rest of the day for optimal learning.

Another important thing to consider is what you are storing their lunches and snacks in. Stainless steel is great, as well as glass. I also like Lunchskins for sandwiches and crackers. 

5:07 pm

12 Ways to Get More Veggies in Your Diet


                   12 Ways to Get More Veggies in Your Diet

GreenShirt-Lady-BG

We've all been told to "eat more veggies," but it can be a daunting task, especially for families with young children or picky eaters. Vegetables give us fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, they're low in fat and calories and some even protect us from certain cancers.


So, here's twelve ways to increase your veggie count each and every day!

1. Add some baby spinach, bell peppers, mushrooms and/or onions to your morning omelet. Top with fresh salsa and diced avocado.
2. Tear some Romaine lettuce leaves into a large bowl, fill with sliced carrots, diced bell peppers, avocado, add a lean protein like tuna, grilled chicken breast, hard-boiled egg, or cooked quinoa.
3. Try one new veggie for dinner every week. Don't know how to cook a beet, or are you perplexed by artichokes? Ask your farmer at the market or ask your grocer how to prepare a particular vegetable. You could "Google" Brussels Sprouts and get 3 million results (my fave way to eat those is roasted!). Check out You Tube for videos on how to cut and prepare almost anything!
4.  Shred them! Kids especially won't turn their nose up to Zucchini bread and fun veggie fritters. Play around with different veggies like shredded zucchini, squash, or potatoes and make little fritters.
5.  Don't forget snacking! Veggies make great snacks too. Set out a variety of carrots, cucumbers, snap peas, sweet bell pepper strips, broccoli, and celery and let your kids try them all. Serve with hummus or ranch dip.
6. Make a fun new chip - Kale Chips! Just tear the leaves onto a baking sheet, sprinkle with some EVOO, sea salt and pepper (or red pepper flakes for a kick) and bake on 350 degrees for 10-15 min.
7. Try juicing! Play around with different veggies to juice like, cucumber, spinach, kale, beet greens, apple, and carrots. Create new combos every day and have some juice for a great afternoon pick-me-up.
8.  Skip the fries at a restaurant and order an extra serving of veggies.
9.  When planning your dinner, skip the rice or potatoes and add an extra veggie. A nice filet of fish or chicken is great with a serving of broccoli and a kale salad.
10.  When making a sandwich, pile it high with lettuce, sliced cucumber, tomato, avocado, sprouts, and smaller portions of protein. The "crunch" is so satisfying!
11.  Make it easy for you to access your veggies. When you get home from your weekly shopping trip, wash and cut your veggies for your meals that week. That way they are ready for nights when you are rushed and don't have a lot of time to prep.
12.  Add them to soups, casseroles, lasagna, enchiladas, burritos and tacos.