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How to Cook Your Thanksgiving Turkey


Thanksgiving traditionally means gathering friends and family and feasting on delicious homemade food from recipes passed down from generation to generation. We’ve strayed a little bit from that and gotten accustomed to taking shortcuts and buying packaged foods to help us with the arduous task of preparing food for an entire day for it only to be consumed in five minutes. That can seem ridiculous, right? But, I want to encourage you to think about this meal as a rich source of nutrients that will feed every cell in your body.  After all, we usually eat leftovers for several days and you wouldn’t want to continue to eat non-nutritious food for days on end. The typical American Thanksgiving dinner has about 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat! Yikes!

I’ve revamped our traditional Thanksgiving meal to include nutrient-dense side dishes and desserts that are delicious, but also feed your body on a cellular level.

I’m sharing some of my timed-honored recipes that our family enjoys. I encourage you to source locally, use fresh when possible and prepare your fall meals with love.


thanksgiving dinner_copy

Let’s start with the Turkey…

Before you purchase that frozen conventional turkey this year, I want you to consider a couple of important points on why I recommend avoiding them! I suggest opting for an organic free range turkey, from a local farm. It’ll be healthier for you and your family and also support your local turkey farm! After all, you’ll be eating this bird for several days, let’s make it a good one! Plus, I hope you'll make stock from the bones and a pastured turkey makes THE best bone broth or stock.

Conventional turkeys get minimal (if any sunshine) and can have unwanted pesticides and antibiotics. They could be fed corn and soy meal as well. Turkeys eat bugs and grass, like chickens and consuming a pastured-bird is healthier for you, the environment and the bird.

Organic – Free Range (pesticide free feed, no hormones, no antibiotics). Healthy turkeys have higher percentages of omega-3 fats, which reduces the inflammation that can lead to heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and Alzheimers.

Find a Pasture-raised, non-GMO fed turkey locallyin Northern VA at Whiffletree Farm or www.EatWild.com.


MAJOR TIP:  If you do choose a pastured turkey, you should know that they cook in less time (because they have less fat) and require brining to give it a deep, rich flavor. Don’t view this as too difficult, it results in an amazing flavor and your guests will love it!  And save those bones for making a delicious stock for soups!


Pastured Turkey Brine & Roasting Instructions


1  Pastured Turkey (10-15 lbs), thawed
2 Tbsp  dried thyme, or 4 Tbsp fresh thyme
1 Tbsp  peppercorns
4  bay leaves
2 Tbsp  dried sage, or 4 Tbsp fresh sage
1 gallon water
1 lb  kosher salt
1 cup  Raw Honey
1 Tbsp  crushed juniper berries, (if available)
1 gallon ice water

You'll Need: Cheesecloth cut into 6-inch square, kitchen string, 1 oven-safe cooking bag (big enough to fit turkey)



  1. Thaw turkey. Remove neck and giblets from body and neck cavities. Rinse well and pat dry.
  2. Make a sachet: Place thyme, peppercorns, bay leaves, and sage in middle of cheesecloth square; tie with string.
  3. Place sachet, 1 gallon water, salt, honey, and juniper berries in a large stockpot. Stir; bring to slight boil on HIGH. Turn off heat immediately. Let rest 30 min.
  4. Add 1 gallon ice water to cool mixture. (Brine should be no more than 50 degrees before submerging turkey. Check with a quick-read thermometer.)
  5. Place oven bag in a large stockpot, pour mixture in the oven bag. Add turkey, submerging in brine. Marinate in refrigerator for 24 hours.

Option 2: If your refrigerator won't hold the turkey, place all ingredients in food-safe plastic bag. Store in picnic cooler, covered in ice, up to 24 hours.

Cooking Your Bird:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove turkey from brine, discard brine. Rinse turkey with cool water.
  2. Place turkey, breast side up, on rack in shallow roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil or butter. Tuck wings under back of turkey. Cover turkey loosely with a "tent" of aluminum foil, or use roasting pan lid.
  3. Roast for 15 min. Reduce oven to 325 degrees for 3-4 hours, depending on the size of your bird. Check internal temperature by inserting a thermometer into thickest part of inner thigh area where leg connects to body of bird - but not touching the bone. Juices should run clear.
  4. Baste turkey with drippings; roast until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Let rest 20 min before carving.


You’ll find more delicious Thanksgiving recipes at my website, www.UnlockBetterHealth.com.


12 Best Immune Boosters & Cold Fighters

Buy, Bye Colds & Flu!
The 12 Best Immune Builders are here!

About this time every fall, the kids go back to school (hello germs) and the pumpkin spice lattes come out (with 50 whopping grams of sugar!!), then it's time for trick-or-treating (more sugar) and then holiday cookies, cakes, and pies. Do you see where I'm going with this? Sugar lowers your immune system, being indoors in dry heat dries out your nasal passages. All of this is a perfect storm for lowering your body's ability to fight viruses and bacteria.  You can keep your immune system strong with keeping the sugar intake to a dull roar, keeping active (even if it's just a 20 minute walk), getting good sleep, frequent hand-washing, and eating lots of leafy greens, veggies, and antioxidants. Now, if one of those nasty bugs makes it way in and you start to feel achy or sniffly - get on these tips right away! These tips and tricks are things I normally share in private classes and with clients, but I really felt like I needed to share this publicly because too many people rely on OTC remedies that just suppress symptoms and don't actually help them get well.
12 Best Immune Boosters& Cold Fighters_copy

Immune Boosters:

1. Hydrogen peroxide in your ears - even the kids can handle this one. Put a few drops in each ear and let it bubble. 2 times per day.
2. Crush 2 cloves of garlic in a small glass of water and drink it. If that's too harsh, add raw honey to taste.
3. Vitamin D3 - optimizing your vitamin D is crucial. If you don't know your numbers, get tested. Over 30 is considered normal, but 50-80 is considered OPTIMAL by functional medicine doctors. If you get sick a lot, consider amping up your intake. Try Cod Liver Oil or a sublingual D drop (this bypasses the gut and gets right into blood stream!). I love and use Biotics Research Bio-D Mulsion Forte. 
4. Elderberry Juice/Gummies/syrup - Recipes abound on the internet to make your own and I would advise doing so. Buying a premade syrup from the store isn't the same potency as making it yourself. You just need to buy the best berries and make a decoction. I'll be sharing a video on my Facebook page soon.
5. IAG - This is a supplement in powder form from Biotics. I pretend it stands for "I Ain't Getting It!" This is a natural activator of the immune system and it enhances natural killer cells. It's also a prebiotic. Safe for kids too.
6. Liposomal Vitamin C - best for bioavailability. I like Quicksilver.
7. NAC - N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine - this is a precursor to glutathione - a powerful antioxidant. From Biotics.
8. Medicinal Mushrooms - Chaga, Reishi, turkey tail, maitake - take in powder form in a tea or capsule. These are powerful immune modulators. Along with ginger, garlic, turmeric and fresh herbs.
9. Zinc - fights viruses, also helps to heal wounds (like from a recent surgery)
10. Calcium citrate (not carbonate) - helps feed a healthy fever, mitigates allergic reactions
11. B12 - sublingual from Biotics
12. Essential oils - OnGuard, Oregano - diffused and put on your feet (I used this combo when my daughter got the flu last year and she was well in 4 days!)

I hope you'll try these tips this fall to help you fight those germs. These are my family's tried and true remedies - because they work. If you're interested in purchasing supplements like the ones I mentioned, hop on over to Fullscript and check out my recommendations, plus you get a discount!
If you need Nutritional Therapy support to help you improve your health, let's chat over a free consultation.

One last note...the influenza vaccine is not going to build your immune system. Instead, the adjuvants (25 mcg of Thimerasol/mercury) will only wear down your body's ability to fight infection, thus making you susceptible to the over 100 other respiratory viruses that are out there.
Additionally, after a 2-year hiatus, the CDC has brought back the nasal FluMist vaccine. They took it off the market because it's a LIVE vaccine and it sheds for 28 days. If you have a compromised immune system and you're around someone who recently received the nasal mist and they sneeze or cough or you drink after them, you can get sick.
If you have to get a flu shot for work, please ask for the Thimerasol-free version to avoid this dangerous toxin. Then, detox with a sauna, lots of Vitamin C and water.

P.S. No vaccine has ever been tested for safety or is even approved for use in pregnant women. Not approved - ok, so please decline if you are pregnant. In fact, it says on the label of a Thimerasol bottle that it is "mutagenic to developing embryos" - that means it causes cancer or cell death.
Let's go on to learn more about the flu vaccine. do you need a flu shot_copy

The Influenza Vaccine:

Each year health officials inoculate this year’s virus into chickens.  Then, they take the created viral strains to use as the antigen - the agent which elicits an immune reaction in the human body so you create your own antibodies against that stain of flu. But creating antibodies is not the same as protection against a disease.

It takes about two weeks after you are vaccinated for your body to create these antibodies. We assume scientists match the vaccine to the exact flu strain going around.  It’s an educated guess essentially and the efficacy of the vaccine lies in our ability to match the two correctly. The CDC states the rates of efficacy are 0% to 52% in any given year. Yes, that’s right, 0%.

You can still get the flu if you have been vaccinated if the strain you caught doesn’t match that which was in your vaccine.  And you can still get the flu even if the strains were properly matched but your immune system is not functioning properly!

What’s In a Flu Shot?

  • Egg proteins: Including avian contaminant viruses
  • Formaldehyde: Known carcinogen, in amounts of 5-25 mcg
  • Thimerosal: Mercury-based preservative (only in multi-dose vials), 25 mcg
  • Other heavy metals such as aluminum: Known neurotoxin
  • Sugar: The essence of all inflammatory disease
  • Triton X100: A detergent, 50-250 mcg, varies by specific brands
  • Neomycin, an antibiotic
  • Polysorbate 20 and 80, known to cross the blood-brain barrier, opens tight junctions, causes infertility in mice
  • Other additives known to cause allergic reactions

Influenza (Afluria)

beta-propiolactone, thimerosol (multi-dose vials only), monobasic sodium phosphate, dibasic sodium phosphate, monobasic potassium phosphate, potassium chloride, calcium chloride, sodium taurodeoxycholate, neomycin sulfate, polymyxin B, egg protein, sucrose

December 2013

Influenza (Agriflu)

egg proteins, formaldehyde, polysorbate 80, cetyltrimethylammonium bromide, neomycin sulfate, kanamycin, barium


Influenza (Fluarix) Trivalent and Quadrivalent

octoxynol-10 (Triton X- Į-tocopheryl hydrogen succinate, polysorbate 80 (Tween 80), hydrocortisone, gentamicin sulfate, ovalbumin, formaldehyde, sodium deoxycholate, sucrose, phosphate buffer

June 2014

Influenza (Flublok)

monobasic sodium phosphate, dibasic sodium phosphate, polysorbate 20, baculovirus and host cell proteins, baculovirus and cellular DNA, Triton X-100, lipids, vitamins, amino acids, mineral salts

March 2014

Influenza (Flucelvax)

Madin Darby Canine Kidney (MDCK) cell protein, MDCK cell DNA,

Cetyltrimethlyammonium Bromide, b-propiolactone, phosphate buffer

March 2014

Influenza (Fluvirin)

nonylphenol ethoxylate, thimerosal (multidose vial–trace only in prefilled syringe), polymyxin, neomycin, beta-propiolactone, egg proteins, phosphate buffer

February 2014

Influenza (Flulaval) Trivalent and Quadrivalent

thimerosal, formaldehyde, sodium deoxycholate, egg proteins, phosphate buffer

February 2013

Influenza (Fluzone: Standard (Trivalent and Quadrivalent), High-Dose, & Intradermal)

formaldehyde, octylphenol ethoxylate (Triton X-100), gelatin (standard trivalent formulation only), thimerosal (multi-dose vial only) , egg protein, phosphate buffers, sucrose


Ingredients in Vaccines, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, B-10

The biggest controversy about the ingredients in the shot surrounds the use of the preservative Thimerosal.  Thimerosal contains mercury.  Exposure to mercury leads to systemic health problems running the gamut from neurological dysfunction (memory loss, confusion, inability to concentrate) to depression, renal failure, skin troubles and gastrointestinal disturbances.

But aren’t Flu Vaccines recommended for pregnant women?

Yes, they are. But none of the 24 flu vaccines on the market have been tested for safety in pregnancy. In fact, none are FDA approved for use in pregnancy. Last year, a  study found a 7.7 fold increase in miscarriage and flu vaccines. This is probably due to the Thimerosal (my summation). Thimerosal is mutagenic for developing embryos. It actually says this very fact on the label of the box – “Causes mutation in mammal germ cells” - otherwise known as developing embryos.

Pregnant women and infants are often advised to opt for the single dose mercury-free vaccines as once mercury is in the body it can enter the fetus via the placenta.  Studies have also reported that children can become symptomatic from mercury toxicity from as little exposure as 10 mcg/kg/day.

Many flu vaccines contain up to 25 mcg of mercury per dose so this is one area where I will state how important it is to look for a mercury-free vaccines.  Some may argue that this isn’t very much, but consider this fact: 25 mcg in a .5 ml shot = 50,000 PPB. Two PPB is the FDA limit for drinking water and 200 PPB is considered toxic and requires a hazard label. That’s 250x the allowable limit in a flu vaccine. By comparison, the average can of tuna contains120 PPB.

Here are some options to ask your doctor about:

Types of Vaccines Available:

  • Single-dose vaccines such as Fluzone: Contains an inert virus that is incapable of causing infection and tends to be free of mercury.
  • Some pre-filled syringes such as Afluria are mercury-free.
  • Multi-dose vaccines tend to contain the most mercury.

If mercury is such a problem, then why are we even using it?  Mercury is part of the preservative necessary when using multi-dose vaccines. The single-dose vaccine doesn’t require the preservative which is why this vaccine is preferred. It is also the least cost-effective for manufacturers to produce so until this changes.  YOU, the consumer, need to advocate for yourself.

How Safe is the Flu Vaccine?

While the CDC reports that safety is always being monitored to ensure risk from the vaccine is negligible, certain serious complications have been reported:

  • Allergic reactions (anaphylactic)
  • Fever (dangerous for pregnant women)
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome (can be fatal)
  • Neurological disorders

Always contact your local physician if you suspect any serious complications post injection.

A study by Cochrane Review states the evidence is poor and provides no guidance regarding the safety, efficacy and effectiveness of flu vaccine for those 65 and older. In another study by Dr. Ben Cowling, of 100 vaccinated with the flu vaccine, they were found to have 4-5 times higher incidence of non-flu viral infections than those unvaccinated. In 2016, there were 108 cases of severe injury and death due to the influenza vaccine. It has the highest rates of adverse events of any vaccine, according to the Vaccine Adverse Events website or VAERS.

Why Do We Get Sick?

I find it interesting that “flu-season” coincides with the start of sugar season - Halloween candy, Thanksgiving pies and holiday treats, coupled with dry indoor air, a lack of sunshine and decreased activity. This is why we get sick!

Why confuse ourselves about the pros and cons of a vaccine’s worth, safety, and strain availability when we have so much in our medicinal arsenal to fight the flu’s onset?

Preventing the flu depends on improving the quality of our lifestyles to include more pleasure and relaxation, increasing access to fresh, nutrient-dense food, and limiting sugary and processed junk food in our lives.

Taking care of the way we eat, keeping fit, getting enough sleep and taking a few nutritional supplements including a multivitamin, fish oil, and vitamin D can prevent most from ever getting sick in the first place. Don’t forget about frequent hand-washing too!

The influenza virus can be very uncomfortable and cause a major disruption in our busy lives.  It is important to remember that most healthy people will suffer a mere 3-5 days.

While the fever/chills, sore throat, headache, and fatigue are definitely not fun, they usually come and go without much major harm caused to the body.

In fact, most deaths are only associated with the flu via contraction of pneumonia and its influence on existing medical conditions.  The CDC reported 500 deaths in 2010 from flu, most were elderly with co-infections, like pneumonia. The flu’s mortality rate itself is much less common-in fact, more people die each year from malnutrition than from the flu!

Should You Eat Coconut Oil?


A couple of weeks ago, a Harvard professor came forth claiming that coconut oil is “pure poison!” My inbox was full of questions from clients asking if they should stop consuming it.

coc oil_copy

Here is what we know to be true about coconut oil and its makeup. First, the latest science definitely supports moderate fat consumption (~ 20 to 50% of total calories per day) and moderate saturated fat consumption (say 10 to 15% of total calories).  That means one can easily overdo it on coconut oil.  For example, given a 2,000 calorie a day diet with no other sources of saturated fats, consuming a mere 3 tablespoons will get you to 15% of total calories from saturated fats.  This is one reason why I advise varying the fats you eat. Coconut oil is 80% saturated fat and pork lard is 39% saturated fat. Remember when lard was demonized and Crisco replaced it? (P.S. Don't eat Crisco - like EVER!)

Second, coconut oil’s fatty acids are mostly medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) which are shorter fat molecules that the saturated fats we get from animal foods. The length of the chain makes a big difference in how fat is metabolized. Other fatty acids, like those in animal meats, are long chain. MCTs are more easily metabolized by the body, which is why they’re used in baby formulas and to nourish hospital patients. As such, they have very different biological effects, including plenty of beneficial ones like improving gut barrier health and reducing inflammation.  MCTs are digested and absorbed through the liver, and are available for quick energy. Most importantly, studies that pit coconut oil against butter, olive oil, sunflower oil etc. generally show that coconut oil is the most effective at raising our HDL "good" cholesterol, while having minimal to no effect on LDL "bad" cholesterol. And animals studies show that MCTs, coconut polyphenols and coconut phytosterols all lower CVD risk - good reason to source high quality oil like an unrefined, virgin coconut oil. There are extremely healthy societies in other parts of the world that consume coconut oil as their primary fat on a daily basis. But they also eat more plant-based meals, move their bodies more regularly and don’t eat as much processed, sugary foods as we do in the US.

Lastly, we have to consider the science of why we became so afraid of saturated fats in the first place. We have the diet-heart hypothesis of 1953 by Ancel Keys to thank for this. His hypothesis proposed that dietary fats, including cholesterol, cause heart disease. He used his bias to prove his theory and left out copious amounts of data from his research that now shows there is no correlation between fat consumption and dying from heart disease. New research confirms there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD. In fact, in Dr. Campbell-McBride’s book, Put Your Heart in Your Mouth, she shares hundreds of peer-reviewed studies that disprove his hypothesis. I highly recommend you read this book if anyone in your family has heart disease or is on a statin.

I don't agree that coconut oil is "pure poison".  But, that doesn't mean that I think we should be eating spoonfuls straight out of the jar. Coconut oil is a great high-heat cooking oil, perfect for stir-fries and pan sautéing. But, I also like using ghee or clarified butter for high heat cooking too. I use extra virgin olive oil or flaxseed for salad dressings and some nut oils for certain recipes. On the never list should be soybean, canola, corn, cottonseed, and hydrogenated oils. These are mostly known as "vegetable oils." Stear far away from these!

Most importantly, limiting your sugar intake along with refined flour can improve your health immensely. Inflammation is the root of CVD and it can be prevented with the right dietary and lifestyle protocols.

50+ Ideas for your Kids Lunch Box

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 hop off the bus (usually starving!).

Summer kids eat lunch - Flickr - USDAgov

First and foremost is to feed them a nutritious, protein-packed breakfast to start their day. And, no, sorry a Pop-Tart doesn't count. Those tasty pastries are essentially a giant, sugary candy bar with a side of sugar on top. They have High Fructose Corn Syrup, trans fats, artificial colors and loads of sodium. Don't get me wrong, I loved them growing up, but the over 50 ingredients inside can lead to numerous 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 or gluten-free toast, whole grain waffle with nut butter, oatmeal with berries and walnuts, my pancakes, or a protein smoothie (blend berries, collagen peptides, nut butter, spinach, and nut milk or water).

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, trans-fats, 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 elementary school offers these as alternatives to a hot lunch.

unhealthy lunch 1


Here are my suggestions 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, clementines, 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.
  • Sliced apple sandwiches – put nut butter inside the slices
  • 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 or egg 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 at 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
  • Low-sugar granola – read the labels and keep sugar under 10 grams per serving
  • Organic ham and cheese roll ups
  • Veggies - sliced cucumbers with hummus, organic celery with nut butter and raisins, carrots with hummus, tahini or ranch dip, red & yellow pepper slices with hummus or dip, kale chips, sugar snap peas
  • Whole grain crackers, Multi-Seed; Wasa (Goldfish don't make the cut); Mary’s Gone Crackers; Simple Mills GF crackers are my fave!
  • Homemade Granola Barsstore bought ones have TOO much sugar
  • Brown rice cakes, top with nut butter spread
  • Real popcorn (not microwaved in a chemical-filled bag) I like Lesser Evil Organic Popcorn with Ghee for a packaged choice
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Chocolate Protein Bites – my kids’ fave
  • Bubbies Pickles (fermented for yummy probiotics)
  • Roasted chickpeas with honey & cinnamon
  • Sea Snax – seaweed snack sheets (these do have a sea-like flavor)
  • Whole grain or Gluten-Free Nature’s Path waffles (great for after school snacks topped with nut butter)
  • Organic Beef Jerky, Beef Stick (I like Real Sticks, Epic Bar & 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 complex 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. These are reusable bags that replace plastic baggies.

lunch supplies

I got a couple of thermos’ from Pottery Bark Kids and hit up Amazon for Contigo water bottles. I use stainless steel containers for dips and small fruit.

I hope this helps ease the stress of planning, prepping and making those school lunches. I know it's a bit more work, but our children desperately need better nutrition today. Get them involved and have them help prep the night before to ease some of the work.

Happy Lunching!

Are your supplements safe?


Supplementation is a billion dollar industry! Done correctly, taking supplements can help improve vitamin and mineral levels, correct digestive problems, improve hormone balance and so much more. Done incorrectly, they can actually cause harm or just be a huge waste of money.

It's not enough to eat a healthy diet anymore. We are bombarded with 88,000 untested chemicals that are endocrine disrupting (that means it's messing with our hormones), causing cancer and debilitating diseases like asthma and autoimmune disease. The supplementation industry is largely unregulated and complicated if you don't know what you need and how to use it. The purpose of supplementation is to correct a deficiency. Unfortunately these days, we can not get everything we need from our diets. The food grown today is grown in nutrient-depleted soil that lacks the rich minerals that give us life. This is why we are seeing people with annoying, yet easily correctable nutritional deficiencies.

We need to get our vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients from the foods we eat, but when that's not possible, supplementation can help. Additionally, with 70% of the US population on a pharmaceutical drug, you know we are going to have unintended consequences - like nutrient depletion. Yes, taking certain medications can deplete your stores of vitamins and minerals!

For example, birth control pills deplete B vitamins and interfere with selenium and zinc (which the thyroid needs). Synthetic estradiols like Prevarin cause magnesium absorption problems and increase bowel transit time (where nutrient absorption takes place). Antacids disturb calcium and magnesium uptake. Zantac depletes zinc - which is needed for healing and immune function. Diuretics flush potassium which is an important part of the sodium/potassium pump in the body - regulating cardiac cell balance for one! Every drug interferes with some metabolic pathway in the body, so if you're on a medication, you have to look at supplementation to help support that insufficiency.

Now, the next important thing to consider is the TYPE of actual vitamin or mineral in a given supplement. Some are so cheaply sourced, using poorly absorbable forms, that you are basically wasting your money. For example, calcium carbonate is the LEAST absorbable form of calcium. Magnesium oxide is the cheapest and least absorbable form of magnesium. And, folic acid can be downright dangerous to supplement if you carry the MTHFR gene variant (which 30% of the population does and most don't know if you haven't been tested). You want to see the "methyl" form of folate. It will typically say methylfolate on the label. So much to learn, right?

Then, you need to review the "other ingredients." Some supplements can have binders, fillers, gluten, yeast, sugar, artificial colors and preservatives like sodium benzoate - known to specifically attack the mitochondria of DNA.

If you're curious about your supplements, reach out to me and ask. I'd love to help. I personally use
Biotics Research, Innate Response and a few other brands that I know are 3rd-party tested for purity and safety. I also started building my 
Fullscript dispensary of supplements I recommend.  This is a website where you can order top of the line supplements at a discount with my personal recommendations.

If you are local to me in Northern VA, I urge you to make time to attend my Supplement Masterclass on Saturday, August 25, from 11:00 am - 1:30 pm, in Gainesville, VA.

Here's what I'm covering:
  • Detailed profiles of major nutritional supplements.
  • Nutritional supplementation protocols for those on restrictive dietary programs.
  • The health conditions each supplement and food can improve and/or heal and contraindications of herbs and drugs. We'll chat about multi's, probiotics, magnesium, B's, enzyme therapy, adaptogens, herbs, mushrooms and blood sugar support.
  • Protocols will include recommendations for usage and dosage, interrelationships and interactions with other nutrients, and prescription drug-contraindications.
  • Participants will learn which drugs can deplete the body’s essential nutrients, which supplements can reduce drug side effects

BONUS: I'll chat about boosting your immunity with natural foods, like Elderberry Juice and Fire Cider and supplements to prevent winter colds and flu!

Sign up 

Cholesterol - Good, Bad or Protective?

For the past 9 months, I have been studying, reading, learning and absorbing so much nutrition information that my head has almost exploded a few times. I'm immersed in my 3rd nutrition school, getting certified in Nutritional Therapy. Just a few weeks are left! The deeper I dig, the more concerned, agitated and passionate I get. The study of nutrition has evolved so much in the last twenty years, but unfortunately, some of it we got very wrong. One of those areas revolves around cholesterol and fats - saturated in particular.

In the late 1950's, Dr. Ancel Keys proposed that dietary fats, including cholesterol, cause heart disease. He created charts showing this correlation in six countries (but the data was from 22 countries). He carefully selected out those six countries that proved his theory. But when all of the data from all of the countries was added back in, the correlation disappeared! This is called "selection bias." You can pretty much prove any theory you have when you manipulate data. 

Today we have hundreds of scientific studies that disprove Key's Diet-Heart Hypothesis. There are books (The Big Fat Surprise, Put Your Heart in Your Mouth), hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific studies and papers from all over the world disproving this outdated theory. Yet, still today, millions of Americans are being told not to eat saturated fats or animal fats and to keep their cholesterol at dangerously low levels or even put on cholesterol-lowering drugs. I was one of those people. I ate fat-free or low-fat foods for dozens of years and I had high cholesterol.

So, what is cholesterol? What does it do for our bodies? SO much! First, our brains are made of about 8-22% cholesterol - it requires cholesterol to function. Every single cell in our bodies needs fats or cholesterol to create the phospholipid bilayer. Remember science class - those cell membranes are fat. Cholesterol is also needed to make steroid or sex hormones, like adrenal hormones and reproductive hormones. It's also a precursor to Vitamin D and is converted in the liver to bile - which is necessary to digest fats.  When you have an infection or wound or incision from surgery, cholesterol is shuttled to the site via a lipoprotein to begin the healing process. It's also active at any signs of infection or inflammation. So if your cholesterol is "high" you have to ask why or where is the inflammation my body is trying to heal from. Not medically lower it! Cholesterol is protective! Cholesterol is made by the body and our diets only contribute about 15-20% of it. If we eat more, the body will make less and vice versa. But, if we chemically prohibit the body from being able to make more, our whole health will suffer.

What is high cholesterol? This argument is still being discussed, but most functional medicine doctors agree that it's about balance and quality of the various cholesterol markers in the body. Now, if you have super high triglycerides (triple digits) and your LDL vs. the HDL markers are way out of balance, then you need to address some lifestyle factors. Are you smoking, sedentary, eating hydrogenated fats and rancid vegetable oils? Then, yes, your cholesterol will be unhealthily high. You don't really get the full picture of your cholesterol numbers unless you get an expanded VAP cholesterol panel done with a doctor. For example, I had two conventional doctors want to put me on a statin (cholesterol-lowering medication) for years, but I declined. Then, when I saw a functional medicine doctor, she ran the full panel. Originally, I did have elevated triglycerides, but that was because I was on the pop-tart, ding-dong, skim milk, cereal, and bread diet. Once I got rid of ALL of the high-fructose corn syrup and refined foods from my diet, my triglycerides fell into a super healthy range of 44!
Now, the full VAP panel revealed that while my overall cholesterol numbers were "high" at 228, my particle size was low and my fats were fluffy and buoyant. This showed that I did NOT need a statin and putting me on one could have done more damage to my body in trying to heal from autoimmune disease. Knowledge is such power and having access to the right medical tests is priceless!
It also angers me now to hear that many doctors are putting the elderly on cholesterol-lowering meds as a prophylactic. This means as a preventative, but to what? Wanna know how memories are made? Scientists have found that synapse formation is entirely dependent upon cholesterol. Without the presence of this fat, we can't form synapses or remember anything. Do you have a loved one with memory loss and also on a statin? I do and it's infuriating.

So, what can you do if your cholesterol is "high" or you have a risk of heart disease?

First and foremost, if you smoke, seek support to stop immediately. You must address your diet and remove high-glycemic foods like refined flours, sugars (real and artificial), remove rancid oils and foods with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils - READ those food labels. Add in fiber-rich foods, leafy greens, berries, mushrooms and grass-fed meats. Eat real butter, coconut oil and ghee. Don't use inflammatory vegetable oils, like canola, soybean and corn oil. Lower the amount of grains you eat. We don't need bread or crackers at every meal. Movement of some kind is critical to keep your lymph fluid clean. Exercise pumps our lymphatic system and helps move out toxins. Hydration is critical for so many bodily functions. Move away from dehydrating beverages like soda, coffee, alcohol and diurectic drugs (work with your doctor).

Theses can seem like simplistic, easy changes that you may already know, but putting them into action is difficult. I know because I was there. It took me a year to create the change that I needed to lose 50 pounds and reverse the disease in my body. It's something I work on every day.

If this is something you would like to work on, let's chat.