Complaining Isn't Gratitude

This time of year we are supposed to be thankful. Right? In your mind, what is gratitude? What does it look like? What does it mean to you? If you really think about it, it's kind of confusing. Is it only something we talk about at the dinner table on Thanksgiving? Something we feel? Are we suppose to be thankful for that moment? Or is it a continual thing? I love this grateful message and the idea, but are we truly grateful?

show gratitude. no complaining. positive vibes only.

One way I've learned over the years to be more grateful and show true gratitude is by refraining from complaining. Think about it, complaining is the opposite of being grateful. If you have followed my blog at all in the past few years you know my story - I took a vow to not complain (at least try as hard as I could) at all in 2015 during my third pregnancy. And to not complain during pregnancy?? That's a big feat. But it actually wasn't all that hard because I knew that this pregnancy was something I wanted and why then would I complain about something I chose to do in the first place? Why would we ever complain about something we choose to do? Or decisions we made? Or anything in the past for that matter. All it does is create a state of negativity for yourself and those around you. 

When you complain all you're doing is showing those around you that you're not in control of your life, your decisions or the situations you're facing. 

This takes me to my next message. If you believe everything is fair in life or - God is fair or the universe is fair and/or LIFE is fair - then you will start to see the events in your life as part of a bigger picture. The bigger picture is the growth of your soul, your spirit, and as one of my favorite authors - Dr Shefali - calls it, Inner Emotional Mastery. Being thankful for "bad" or "negative" experiences in your life is not impossible but it's really hard to do in the moment; it takes practice and choosing to let go and find/be your most authentic, true, best self. 

So how do we "perceive" things as fair? That's the big question. But the answer is in the question itself: perception. Your perception creates your experience. Is that confusing? Your experience is a byproduct of your perception. Key message here: you have control over how you react to things. Dr Shefali explains, "once you control your reactions TO events, you begin to master how your destiny plays out."

no complaining. positive vibes only.

I think you get it. But for example: you get into a fender bender on your way to work. Sucks right? Yeah, I mean, there's no "this is awesome" in that experience. But what if we perceive it as part of life. As a "Shit happens" moment. It happens to all of us; the best of us. No matter whose fault it is, we all make mistakes. If we never had these moments, we would have a drama free or accident free life. What good would that do for us? It wouldn't. We would never have any empathy; we wouldn't feel how it feels to have shit happen and certain emotions would never be felt or mastered. These little events are not tests but rather spiritual and emotional exercises that will help us master our inner emotions. And yeah, it might have inconvenienced your morning or even your week but is it something we should be deeply stressed about or angry about? How would those two emotions help the situation? They wouldn't, lets face it. In fact, they will greatly worsen the experience. Your reaction to the event immediately determines its influence on you.

Positive self talk and positive talk in general put pep in your step, brighten the lives of those around you, help you attract positive people and experiences. The opposite happens when you're in a negative mood or you're not showing gratitude. In those moments you're more apt to complain. And visa versa. The more you complain the more you will start to see (perceive) negativity in all events. And that's not a path to happiness; it's a path to suffering and drum roll please...bad health

When you complain, your body releases the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol shifts you into fight-or-flight mode, directing oxygen, blood and energy away from everything but the systems that are essential to immediate survival. One effect of cortisol, for example, is to raise your blood pressure and blood sugar so that you’ll be prepared to either escape or defend yourself.

All the extra cortisol released by frequent complaining impairs your immune system and makes you more susceptible to high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. It even makes the brain more vulnerable to strokes.
— Entrepreneur Magazine


I don't really know about the above health statistics or the science behind it, but it makes sense from all I have learned and, I truly believe, it shapes your permanent thoughts - your perception - your victim mentality. Meaning life is unfair, life is bad to you, you don't deserve anything that happens to you, you didn't make the decisions you made in your life, you can't empathize with others nor forgive or relate. Most of us have this mentality from time to time and some of us have it all of the time

What is a victim mentality? Victim mentality is an acquired personality trait in which a person tends to recognize themselves as a victim of the negative actions of others, and to behave as if this were the case in the face of clear evidence of such circumstances. 

If we are always a victim, we never take responsibility for our actions. How will we ever truly teach our children to be grateful and happy or how will we teach them to take responsibility for their actions? It's like gossiping or judging other moms - doing those things aren't in line with what we want for our children and what we try and teach them: "talk nicely about your friends." or " you don't need to tell others about our finances" or "treat others the way you want to be treated". We need to walk our talk as parents. 

gratitude. no complaining.

*And news alert* sometimes our kids are right. When we are in the wrong it's important to say sorry and tell our children that we made a mistake. Through these behaviors our children will learn important lessons, not through our lectures. We've all heard the saying "don't cry over spilt milk"! Right? We try and teach our children at a young age not to cry when things don't go their way. Well, are we walking the talk? Do we get mad at people who cut us off on the freeway? Do we complain when we have to wait in a line at the pharmacy? Or huff and puff? Or do we accept that we are all equals and life is fair to us and happens to us and not seeing events or tasks in life as "bad" but rather show patience and indifference to the things we cannot control.

So now you might be wondering, how can I make this change successfully? Dr Shefali explains it well:

 you need to consciously attend to your thoughts, reactions, speech and behavior. In short, you need to PAY ATTENTION.
— Dr Shefali

Only once you pay attention, can you start consciously choosing what you want and don’t want in your life and how you want to react in order to achieve your vision for yourself and your family.

Paying attention can be a really difficult thing. It is like trying to stay present. Being present takes a lot of skill and a lot of mindfulness practice. 

My challenge to you: wear a rubber band or buy a friendship bracelet and wear it on your wrist. This will act as a constant reminder to be mindful or present or to pay attention to your words and your reactions.  

When you catch yourself complaining just take a deep breath. Sit down for a moment and remember...

To complain is always nonacceptance of what is. Accept the situation. Change the situation. Or leave the situation. All else (including constant complaining) is madness. 
— Dr Eckhart Tolle

It's a lot easier said than done. But baby steps. 

If you're in and you want to try this no complaining way of living - you should put it out there to the Universe. Hold yourself accountable. And let me know, I will help encourage you along the way. #begrateful #nomorecomplaining I would love to see who is on board. 

Spicy Pineapple Mint + Passionfruit Margs

It's that time of year again: fruits in season, sun is scorching, kids are out of school and bbq's are in full swing. 

What better beverage than a cold citrus margarita to celebrate this awesome time of year? Or maybe even passionfruit margaritas? How good does that sound? Tangy but sweet and earthy and fresh?

recipe alert! fresh spicy pineapple margs + passionfruit lemon margs. Plant-based #vegan recipes. #purekitchenblog

These tropical margarita recipes are extra special because they are easy to make, inexpensive, super unique and taste tested (and of course approved). The unique flavor combinations - of pineapple with lime and a chili rim and passionfruit with grapefruit, lemon and cane sugar - make for a great conversation starter as well.  Mmmmmmm.

recipe alert! fresh spicy pineapple margs + passionfruit lemon margs. Plant-based #vegan recipes. #purekitchenblog
recipe alert! fresh spicy pineapple margs + passionfruit lemon margs. Plant-based #vegan recipes. #purekitchenblog

This summer I started taking a plant-based nutrition course as well. It's been so fun to listen to all these PhDs, MDs and RDs finally talking disease prevention and reversal through a plant-based diet. The science is finally there guys and things are definitely changing in the world of disease research and medicine. I'm so excited to share some of the things I'm learning, so stay tuned. 

One of the things I do know and always have known is that occasional adult beverages aren't what's making you fat or giving you disease. The stress of worrying about drinking a margarita or two is quite worse. It's the high fat foods that's hurting us. 

recipe alert! fresh spicy pineapple margs + passionfruit lemon margs. Plant-based #vegan recipes. #purekitchenblog

Blah blah, in the meantime, grab a friend like I did (she's so cute right, see above, her name is Hannah), whip up some fresh tropical margaritas, sit by the pool, have some great long conversations and let the kids run wild. 

Those types of days are the best if you ask me...and it's what childhood and parenthood is all about. You don't need to entertain your kids every second or take them on lavish vacations or worry about them not doing enough this Summer! Just being around you and with other kids doing silly kid stuff are memories they will cherish as well. 

Note these margarita recipes are not exact cups, they are ratios. I hope it's not too confusing but it's easier in the sense that it's applicable for those making larger batches or those who want just one marg. 

recipe alert! fresh spicy pineapple margs + passionfruit lemon margs. Plant-based #vegan recipes. #purekitchenblog

Fresh Margarita Recipes

Ratio for strong marks is 1:1 alcohol : juice meaning if you have one cup of fresh juice, you have one cup of alcohol. Also feel free to swap tequila or vodka here. 

Spicy Jalapeno Mint Pineapple

Fresh Citrus Margaritas 2 recipes: spicy pineapple mint + grapefruit passionfruit.





  • fresh mint leaves, chopped

  • fresh jalapeño, chopped 



  1. For the citrus juice you want to use fresh limes and lemons. You can use a hand squeezer as I like to do or an electric citrus juicer. Combine equal parts citrus juice and equal parts pineapple juice. Add the agave or simple syrup to taste. Usually a Tbls or so per cup of juice. 
  2. Next, you'll want to combine the tequila and cointreau in a separate measuring cup. I like to use a splash of cointreau for every cup of tequila. So if you're using 2 cups of tequila then 1/4 cup of cointreau will be perfect. Combine equal parts of this alcohol mixture to equal parts of the fresh juice mixture. 
  3. For example, if you have 3 cups of juice in a bowl, add 3 cups of the alcohol mixture to the juice for a total of 6 cups. 
  4. In a separate dish you will want to muddle/mash up the chopped jalapeño and the mint leaves using a spoon or a cocktail muddler
  5. Combine all of the above together. 
  6. On a plate you'll want to combine salt and mexican chili powder. Using lime or lemon that you already squeezed, wet the rim of your glasses and then gently dip into the salt chili mixture. Add ice to the glass and using a strainer, pour the margarita mixture over the ice. 
  7. Serve immediately. Or freeze mixture until ready to consume. 

Passionfruit Citrus Margs



  • grapefruit juice
  • lemon juice
  • lime juice
  • agave nectar or simple syrup, to taste


  • tequila of choice


  • passionfruit


  • sugar (fine or chunky)

  • margarita or real sea salt


  1. For the citrus juice you want to use fresh limes, grapefruits and lemons. You can use a hand squeezer as I like to do or an electric citrus juicer. I chose to use mainly grapefruit juice with just a few splashes of lime and lemon. Add the agave or simple syrup to taste. Usually a Tbls or so per cup of juice. 
  2. Next, you'll want to combine the tequila with the juice. Combine equal parts alcohol mixture to equal parts of the fresh juice mixture. 
  3. For example, if you have 3 cups of juice in a bowl, add 3 cups of tequila to the juice for a total of 6 cups. 
  4. Add the passionfruit. This part gets a tad trickier portion wise but you'll basically want to add half a passionfruit to each margarita. I would probably do 1 passionfruit per 3 cups of mixture. 
  5. Combine all of the above together gently. 
  6. On a plate you'll want to combine salt and sugar. Using lime or lemon that you already squeezed, wet the rim of your glasses and then gently dip rim into the sugar salt mixture. Add ice to the glass and then simply pour the margarita mixture over the ice. 
  7. Serve immediately or store in freezer until ready to serve. Tip: If you make this ahead and freeze the mixture long enough you don't have to use as much ice when serving. 

To-die-for Hazelnut Milk Cardamom Latte

Not eating meat isn't all that difficult; even forgoing dairy has become pretty darn easy after all these years. BUT, the one place that seems to be so difficult for me and many others is at the coffee shops. You know what I'm talking about. Soy milk lattes just aren't very good, let's face it. And most coffee shops use commercial processed almond or soy milks. Even at home the alternative coffee creamers don't compare to the creaminess of half and half. 

Hazelnut Milk Cardamom Latte | Vegan #plantbased

Lucky for me there is a place in town that makes the most amazing dairy-free and organic lattes. They make their own almond and macadamia nut milks from scratch. Yes, you read that right. And the latte art is extremely impressive. There is this one drink I crave on the daily and it's called the Turkish Latte. They call it this not because of the coffee itself but because of the key spice they add: cardamom. 

And the second secret to this latte is the type of cardamom they use. Inner seeds only ground cardamom! This gives the cardamom a very special flavor. It does help that their coffee/espresso is top notch (something you can't really mimic at home) but for the most part after a few tries I think I nailed the homemade version of this delicious latte. 

And I hope that this Hazelnut Milk Cardamom Latte recipe will make you happy again about your morning coffee, despite there being zero dairy.    

hazelnut milk cardamom latte | vegan plant-based homemade recipe

Hazelnut milk can be made at home but it might not froth as well as this brand. If you haven't already heard about Elmhurst (they did not pay me to write this or send me free product, this is my own opinion) plant-based milks, you should read their story. They used to be one of the largest dairy manufacturers on the East Coast, supplying a metropolitan area of seven million people. Recently Elmhurst has made a major shift to lead the plant-based revolution. Now simply called Elmhurst, its minimally processed nutmilks are just as nutritious and pure as its famous conventional milk, with none of the emulsifiers, thickeners or stabilizers used in other leading brands.

Hazelnut Milk Lattes with cardamom and sugar! | Recipe is vegan plant-based homemade

Hazelnut Milk Cardamom Latte Recipe

Yields 1 latte


  • 1/4 cup hazelnut milk
  • 1 tsp can sugar (or agave nectar or coconut sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp inner seed ground cardamom 
  • 2 shots espresso or 1/3 cup super strong pour over coffee (I prefer this)


  1. Make your espresso or strong coffee either way you prefer. I use the pour over coffee method with finely ground coffee beans. This gives the coffee a super black color and strong flavor. Or you can use your espresso pod machine or whatnot, to yield 2 shots of espresso. 
  2. Meanwhile, pour the hazelnut milk into the milk frother. There are many options for frothing milk. I prefer this one (click here). But you can use this one (click method) or this method (click here). Forth milk following the directions of the machine you choose.  
  3. Add sweetener and cardamom to the hot coffee or espresso. Stir with a spoon. 
  4. Lastly, pour the frothy foamy milk into the hot coffee. And voila. You have a perfect hazelnut milk latte. You can stir if you'd like to get the flavors well mixed. 
  5. Serve/drink immediately.

Your Basic Golden Milk

Are you tired of afternoon lattes, hot green tea or pumpkin chai yet? I am! So today I'm sharing with you my recipe for something called Turmeric or aka "Golden" milk. It's basically a ginger turmeric tea makeover. This time with a twist of pepper and milk. 

The Golden milk recipe is strong in color and flavor, hence the name. I used a pretty hefty spoonful of turmeric spice and the fresh root as well. Ginger gives it some added spice and the vanilla is nutty and earthy. The pepper adds an addicting spice. After you make this tea a few times try using it as a base for more advanced tonics. Adding mushroom powders and other supplements turns this tea into an immune booster super hero type beverage. I added powdered green coffee and mushroom powder to mine today. 

The fist time I made this milk I remember feeling really hot - like a crazy heat in my upper chest and head. Instantly my whole body felt kind of tingly and warm. 

But the real benefit of this tea comes from the antioxidant properties

It is used to relieve swelling and pain due to headaches and wounds and is called ‘natural aspirin’ in Ayurvedic medicine. It's also been used to make the skin look healthy by boosting the elasticity. 

These are just some of the health benefits of drinking turmeric milk.

I add the pepper to help with absorption. The combination is a perfect afternoon pick me up and it's perfect during a cold and cough. 

Warming Turmeric Ginger Milk

Yields 2 mugs


  • 20 oz fresh homemade almond or cashew milk
  • 1 tsp turmeric spice
  • 1/2 tsp ginger spice
  • 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger 
  • 1/2 tsp grated fresh turmeric 
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper spice
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey (or 1/2 Tbls cane sugar)


  1. In a small pot add all of the above ingredients. 
  2. Heat on medium heat until it's just about boiling.
  3. Whisk everything as it heats, making sure it all mixes up well.
  4. Strain out the chunks.
  5. Serve hot. 

I have another pic of this milk tonic on instagram. <--- Follow me if you don't already. And if you feel like making this milk, tag me on insta with a pic. I would LOVE it. @julinovotny is my Instagram name. 

And feel free to pin the image above - I added graphics to make it perfect for the platform. 

Happy Weekend everybody!



10 Immune Boosters Tips | Common Cold RX

Oh man, we just got hit by the cold bug again this Winter. But this time I feel much more prepared. I have been filling up my system with various kinds of defences. Here is a list of my favorite Winter supplements and ingredients to have on hand when my family is down in out. 

cold and flu immune system boosters | supplements #puremamas @julinovotny

These are all things I feel comfortable giving my kids as well.

Top 10 Tips and Health Boosters For The Common Cold

  1. If you have a sore throat make some lemon and raw honey tea to coat it and warm up the body. 
  2. For dinner make your favorite broth using vegetables, miso and sea salt. Add loads of raw garlic. 
  3. Grind up your own dried mushrooms - try reishi, cordyceps, chaga and maitake. Or buy them already powdered.  Add to soup, smoothies or tea/tonics. 
  4. Vitamin D and C are essential as well. Get some fresh air and sunshine. Guzzle some OJ or take a supplement. 
  5. Wellness shots (aka Ginger Shots) are all the rage right now, which is a trend I'm all about. These shots usually always contain ginger. But definitely try the ones with turmeric, oregano oil/extra and cayenne. Whole Foods and other health food stores now serve these fresh. Just ask the juice bar. 
  6. Elderberry I swear is so good for sinusus. We swear by the kid's stuff
  7. Warm baths with eucalyptus are great for kids and moms. Or add it to your diffuser at night. I actually just tried these quick blast soft chews that are awesome! I highly recommend them. 
  8. Neti pots are wonderful, too. Have you tried them?
  9. We love the Honest Company Breathe Easy rub for the kids.  
  10. Thieves oil can be used with a carrier oil and applied to the bottoms of kiddo's feet at bedtime. This can help during cold and flu season. 

Hope you are feeling better already....! 


Plant-Based Snack Foods // Friday Favorites

Every few months I like to share some of my Friday Favorites with you all. This week I'm sharing some fun new snack idea - for park dates or road trips. Of course I'm always a fan of homemade everything but let's be real that's not always easy or feasible. Also, I have started getting into Snap Chat ( find me: puremamas ) and I'm on there today talking about snack foods for me and the little 1 year old. Plus you'll see some really stupid snaps too. 

Below...I'm sharing some great car ride snacks that have crossed my path and have really enjoyed lately. 

1 - BFree Baked Goods. Hallelujah now there is a normal tasting bread company that is gluten-free and vegan. I got to try ALL of their items and I can't live without their tortillas. They are soft and wrap up really nicely! 

2- Ruby Rockets makes popsicles aka smoothies on a stick. But my favorite product of theirs is actually their non-dairy yogurt alternatives. Think go-gurt yogurt tubes, but insert a creamy fruits and veggies instead. Genius! They are like smoothies in a squeeze pouch. You can freeze them or refrigerate but they are shelf stable. 

3- Malk is a small company that produces plant-based milks. Our favorite was cacao pecan milk. But the kiddos loved the little chocolate milks! Perfect plant-based treat! 

4- PURE Organic Food Bars are pretty popular. We love them. Even Trader Joes carries them. But something I hadn't tried yet were their Crispy Clusters. Yum! A nice crunchy blend of grains and sweetness. They also make little fruit leathers (aka fruit sandwiches) that my kids love as well. 

5- Sunwarrior has a new line of shakes called Illumin8 - a plant-based meal replacement. This is perfect for on-the-go snacking/meals or long travel days. Moms - just whip up a shake and carry it with you. They make a great green powder as well. 

Stay tuned for my next Friday Favorites - it's going to be a round up of all my favorite probiotics. Thanks for listening! TGIF

Interview with Dr Maya Shetreat-Klein

In the paradigm-shifting book that Mark Hyman and Andrew Weil say will revolutionize children’s health, pediatric neurologist Maya Shetreat-Klein, M.D. warns that parents today are keeping their children away from the very things that are critical to their health and well-being: microbes, fresh food from healthy soil and time in nature. In a word- DIRT.


What if our best-intended efforts to protect our children’s health were found to be a primary cause of today’s disturbing rise in chronic illness?

That’s exactly what medical evidence now shows.  One in 13 children now suffers from food allergies. In the last 8 years, the number of children diagnosed with ADHD has jumped nearly 50%. And one in 45 children now carries an autism diagnosis. Many parents have been told that their children will have these conditions for life, or are simply untreatable. Children are part of a growing and massive health crisis in which chronic illness has become the new normal.  The culprit?  Our national obsession with over-sanitization—of kids’ bodies, their homes, even the soil that grows their food-- that does far more harm than good.

In THE DIRT CURE, Dr. Maya Shetreat-Klein proves that it's possible to reverse this trend by allowing our children exposure to microbes, feeding them fresh food from healthy soil, and encouraging time in close contact with nature.

Based on cutting edge medicine that she has pioneered, THE DIRT CURE empowers parents to transform their children’s health by understanding the profound connection of their bodies and minds to nature and to food from nutrient and microbe-rich soil. In a book that Dr. Mark Hyman calls “game-changing” and Dr. Andrew Weil says will turn “the prevailing paradigm on its head,” integrative pediatric neurologist and mother of three, Dr. Maya Shetreat-Klein shows parents how to keep their kids healthy based on two essential principles:  First, heal them from the inside out (buy and cook the healthiest natural foods); and  second: heal them from the outside in (playing in nature). Both of these practices expose children to the health benefits of the rich repository of life-sustaining microbes and nutrients found in fertile soil.

Dr. Shetreat-Klein’s exhaustive research uncovers the most recent, groundbreaking science to reveal shocking and often counterintuitive affronts to our children's health.

•    Raw milk reduces allergy, infection and inflammation in children.

•    Mass water fluoridation damages children’s teeth—and overall health.

•    Viruses—not just bacteria--play a critical role in protecting children’s gut health as part of a “microvirome.”

•    Whole-fat milk and butter actually reduce the risk of childhood obesity.

•    Tap water is safer and healthier than bottled water.

•    High cholesterol levels improve immune and brain function in children.

•    Raw honey stabilizes blood sugar, while artificial sweeteners increase blood sugar and foster obesity in children.

•    Regular use of bleach is associated with more, not fewer, infections in kids.

•    Children who spend three hours outdoors daily are more likely to have perfect vision than those who spend the same amount of time indoors.

•    Children who spend recess time in a green environment, rather than on cement or blacktop, perform better on tests in the classroom.

I got the chance to interview Dr Maya myself and ask her some interesting questions about my own kids and my own concerns. If you're interested, please keep reading...

PureMamas : If kids just won't eat vegetables what can you do to be sure they are getting enough grounding, vitamin rich nutrients?

Dr. Maya Shetreat-Klein: If your children refuse vegetables, there are lots of ways to help convince them. First of all, several studies show that it can take up to 30 tries before a child accepts a new food. Yes, 30! So, don't give up trying even if they've said no 10, 15 or 20 times. Keep trying! Another trick to getting veggies on board is using dips. And don't make assumptions--I know one child who liked to dip her veggies into strawberry jam. Go figure! Another trick to helping making more bitter vegetables appealing is to season them with a fat and an umami. Fats could be olive oil, butter or others. Examples of umami could be tamari or nama shoyu, parmesan cheese, ketchup, umeboshi plum vinegar, and many other options. If all else fails, I also recommend soups, because many of the nutrients of vegetables will remain in the broth even after the vegetables themselves are removed.

PM: At dinner my kids know to eat their veggies. What amount/serving size would you say is enough for them at one meal to justify them being finished?

 DR: It depends on the child, how old they are, and how much they love/hate veggies, and the veggie on their plate that day in particular. If it is something my child is not terribly fond of, I may require just a bite or two. In general, I expect that vegetables should be equal to or greater than the serving of protein or a starchy side dish. In fact, I often add vegetables or fresh herbs to those dishes as well to amp up the phytonutrients and flavor. And for veggies that my kids love, sometimes I end up having to allot the portions because everyone is fighting over who will get the most!

PM: I get asked about supplements a lot. What would you suggest most kids need? 

DR: It really depends on what they're eating and the quality of the food. For example, a child who gets outside plenty (and doesn't soap off the skin every night), and also who eats pastured eggs, cream or butter, and meat will have reasonably good Vitamin D. Same for omega-3 levels, especially if the child also eats small fatty fish like sardines occasionally (don't knock it until you try it!). Adding in bone broths, sardines, and blackstrap molasses are great ways to get in plenty of minerals, and I have tips and recipes for how to get kids to eat those in The Dirt Cure.

All that said, I think most kids can benefit from a teaspoon of fish oil or cod liver oil daily. Vitamin D in the winter is generally a good idea. Multivitamins can really vary in quality. You want to avoid ones that have cyanocobalamin (a synthetic form of vitamin B12) and instead choose ones with adenosylcobalamin or methylcobalamin. Folate is better than folic acid. You can usually discern a good quality product from bad just by looking at those two. If it doesn't specify (just says "Vitamin B12"), don't buy it. 

PM: IF a child doesn't eat much dairy or meat, what could a parent do to at least cover the nutritional bases?

DR: I don't think every child absolutely needs to eat meat or dairy (though I do think eggs--especially yolks--are extremely important for almost every developing brain), but high-quality pastured meat and full-fat dairy products are tremendously nutrient-dense. You have to work much harder to get those nutrients with a vegetarian diet and supplements, but it is possible to do. It's very important to limit processed foods as much as possible if your vegetarian (or mostly vegetarian) child restricts vegetables, because their demand for nutrients will be high, and processed foods will take the place of the nutrient-dense foods that are critical. The main thing is to ensure that your child is eating an array of healthy fats--sesame, coconut, nuts and nut butters, seeds, olive oil, etc--and getting plenty of minerals. I like teas as a way to boost mineral intake, as well as blackstrap molasses. For vegetarian kids, I like mushrooms like maitake and shiitake (they can be added to soup and then removed if your child doesn't like mushrooms). 

PM: I have eliminated a few ingredients from my sons' diets that cause inflammation. They get sick only once or twice a year, if that, and never get ear infections. I attribute this to the elimination of these certain foods from their diets but i'm not 100% sure that's it. Do you have any thoughts on this? for parents whose kids are sick quite a bit Would you suggest they get food/allergy tested?

DR:I actually think getting a fever a few times a year as a child is not a bad thing. It is very important for a child's body and immune system to have opportunities to fight and overcome small infections so that when the big challenges come along, their bodies know what to do. Also, while I'm fine with hand washing when kids get into the house, I think showers are best limited to a few days per week (unless they are truly dirty or smelly) because the oils on the skin are very important for health, and even for having adequate levels of vitamin D, which is a fat-soluble vitamin and relies on oils in the skin for absorption. That said, I do think that when kids eat processed foods that are high in additives, or foods to which they react, it can certainly lead to an immune system that's overburdened. An overburdened immune system may not be as able to fight and overcome infection. 

Children who are reacting to food and present with frequent illnesses and also have other symptoms, like eczema, asthma or rashes; constipation, diarrhea or gas; red cheeks or ears; spaciness, hyperactivity, poor sleep or even explosive behavior.

PM: Can you share with us what sparked your interest in food and nutrition? Did you study that much in med school? 

DR: No, I don't remember learning much at all about food or nutrition in med school. I was always interested in food and health--my mom brought me up with the idea that I should always have a rainbow on my plate and we grew a garden every year. I don't think I had an opportunity to think about it very much during my medical training, but when I had my third child, he became very sick when he started drinking soy milk. It took months to figure out what the problem was, because no one believed that his asthma, rashes, and developmental plateau were related to anything in his diet or lifestyle. We finally discovered he was allergic to soy, and when we stopped soy, he started to get better. That was when I really began my education about where food comes from, what we do to food, and how it can make us sick or healthy.

PM: What is your favorite thing about your job?

DR: I love getting to partner with families and kids to help them to be happy, healthy and function in as optimal a way as possible. Very often, the kids themselves become experts in reading labels and talking about healthy foods and getting out into nature. It's so gratifying. Many of my middle school and high school patients have even contacted me to let me know that they've read my book! 

Q: Do you have any cool "success" stories you can share with us / transformations you have seen from patients/families who have made changes to their lifestyles that you have suggested? 

DR: I had a family recently who came to me because their son was struggling in school academically and socially--he was highly anxious, having difficulty focusing, sometimes having outbursts. We eliminated synthetic food chemicals and dairy because he seemed to be reacting to his food with eczema, rashes and a history of frequent ear infections. The next time I saw him, his parents were amazed at how radically he had transformed. School was a dream--his teachers had asked whether they had started medicating him for ADHD, but they hadn't! Just changed his diet. This little boy was functioning really well with no more outbursts and had started to take a real interest in friends. It was wonderful to see. The pitfall is that when they start to fall off of the wagon with his food, he starts to struggle again--so they have to remain careful with his diet.

A big thank you to Dr. Shetreat-Klein for doing this interview with me and also, please check out her book, the DIRT CURE, on Amazon when you get a moment. 

Fruits & Veggies for Skin Health

Katherine Goldman, celebrity esthetician/waxologist and owner of the Stript Wax Bar, is here sharing her top pick of fruits and veggies that help the skin glow and look radiant. 

Our largest organ, our skin, is one that we often overlook or treat too harshly. Makeup, sun exposure, and more can all have an impact on how our skin looks and feels. Especially during the winter, when people may find their skin is drier and flakier than usual, it’s a good idea to nourish your skin from the inside out.

“Most people want to have nice skin and take care of it, but they are not aware that what they eat can make a big difference,” explains Katherine Goldman, celebrity esthetician/waxologist and owner of the Stript Wax Bar. “The foods we eat can make our skin have more acne, become oily, or it can also help us maintain beautiful looking skin that glows.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), eating more fruits and vegetables adds nutrients to our diets, and reduces the risks of heart disease, stroke, some cancers, and helps manage body weight. Despite the many health benefits that eating them provide us, they report that 76 percent of the U.S. population doesn’t meet the requirements for fruit intake, while 87 percent don’t meet the requirements for daily vegetable intake. Those missing nutrients often lead to poor health, as well as leave us with skin conditions that could be helped by eating better foods.

Fruits and vegetables are foods that can go a long way toward helping skin to look great, feel smooth, and have that healthy glow that so many people seek. But choosing which fruits and vegetables will help us get our skin there isn’t always an easy task. Here are some of the fruits and vegetables to reach for in order to help have healthy skin:

  • Berries. Eating a variety of berries is a great way to protect the skin from the inside out. Berries, such as blueberries and strawberries, are loaded with antioxidants, which help to protect the cells from free radicals, which can come from sun exposure.

  • Citrus. Adding citrus fruits to your diet can help the skin to become more clear, and blemish-free. The antioxidants in these fruits help to renew damaged skin and give a healthy glow. Opt for such varieties as grapefruits, oranges, lemons, and limes.

  • Broccoli. This beloved veggie contains sulforaphane, which is a powerful antioxidant. It is also found in other cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage and Brussels sprouts.

  • Carrots. Known to help slow the aging process, carrots contain vitamin A and antioxidants. They are great for helping to protect the skin from sun damage, help provide even skin tone, and keep the skin moist.

  • Melons. Due to their anti-aging properties, melons make an idea option. Opt for watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew varieties. Not only do they provide a boost in water intake, but they will help keep skin from aging.

“Added to the fact that these foods will help you have nice skin is the fact that they all taste great, too,” added Goldman. “Nourish the skin with the foods that you eat, and then come see us if there are additional areas to address. Combine these two things and your skin should look great!”


Author: Katherine Goldman, celebrity esthetician/waxologist and owner of the Stript Wax Bar - in addition to waxing all areas of the body, they offer facials, spray tans, brow shaping. For more information, visit the website at:

derma e // Gluten-Free + Vegan Skincare

I recently took the derma evaluation {courtesy of derma e®} which helps you determine which of their products suites your skin type, your needs and desires. 

derma e® Natural Skincare is celebrating (an unofficial) Gluten-Free Month this September! derma e® is an entirely gluten-free, vegan, and cruelty-free natural skincare company. They are doing a giveaway and I'm offering you guys a 25% off discount code. Read my story below...keep reading!

For example, I have normal skin, I like exfoliants and I do not like fragrance. I then received four wonderful products that suite my needs. 

Deep Wrinkle Peptide Eye Crème

Overnight Peel

Skin Lighten Natural Fade and Age Spot Crème

Purifying Youth Serum

Take the derma evaluation and tell me what your results were! I'd love to know. 

derma e® has pioneered the development of vitamin-rich, high-performance antioxidant skincare solutions.  Here is why I like their award-winning products:

+ Family owned and operated for over 30 years

+ 80 doctor-developed and clinically-tested products

+ free of parabens, phthalates, mineral oil and petrolatum  

+ cruelty-free and 100 percent vegan

+ Manufacturing and operations are offset 100 percent by wind power


·   Enter to win here: 

·    One winner will receive a $150 gift certificate to shop at!

·    1,000 Runner Up winners win a derma e® Gluten-Free sampler kit!

Use PURE mamas Discount Code: ICANTWHEAT, to take 25% off your orders (expires 11/15/15)


Summertime Relaxing

June and July is San Diego is so beautiful; it's not quite too hot yet but so sunny and nice. I dream of just sitting under an umbrella either by a pool or on the grass. I dream of reading a good book and having some ice tea...

But the reality is, that doesn't happen when you have a baby and two grade school boys. Nope, the truth is, I'm hot, sweaty and running around chasing kids and washing hands, and pushing swings. 

No books or relaxation here. I guess that is why I say I dream of it. So, if my dream were a reality I'd be reading Meredith Baird's new cookbook, Coconut Kitchen, while drinking iced or warm chaga mushroom tea by Sigma foods or by Vimergy in these super cool plant-based recycled to-go cups by Repurpose, and eating a gluten-free vegan Go Macro Bar {my favorite is coincidentally called sunny uplift with oats and dried cherries}!   

I also could not resist sharing this beautiful watercolor artwork with you all. Check out Lady Poppins awesome artwork on - it's all so pretty! 

Enjoy and please if you can get outside to relax, please do the above for me and tell me how it was. {wink}

TRUMAKER :: A Personalized Gift For Dad

What do you get the picky uncle or son that is super hard to shop for or the dad that has everything already? Mamas, don't worry, I've got the perfect idea and shhhh, my husband too will be getting some of these super stylish goods!

INTRODUCING...TRUMAKER: built-to-fit clothing for men - like custom, but easier!


First off, the clothes are really high quality and super stylish! Secondly, it's not your average online order. In fact, they have personal "stylists" that will come to your house and measure your man for him! So the fit is just right! 

They make shirts, ties ,pants, sweaters, belts and other accessories. 

If you buy a gift card this holiday, they will send you free stocking stuffers! Check it out.  


I would suggest buying a gift card and then have your husband/son/father call up and schedule a time to be personally measured by a stylist in your area. Which means you won't have a box under the tree, but you'll have a very unique gift that he can pick out himself. 

Once a stylist has his measurements, they keep them on file, so you can order again any time without having to schedule an appointment.

Gift packages + Ready to wear ship within 3-5 days

•Orders received on 12/22 by 3pm PST will be shipped express to have before 12/24

(as you know shirts and blazers are Made-to-measure, so they take a few weeks, this is why the gift card to gift the experience of getting fitted, but they can use it for other things on our site as well)



TRUMAKER makes a wonderful "last minute" gift for him!

Christine's Natural Sunburn Remedy

While most of the country is pulling out their sweaters and scarves and ordering pumpkin lattes to warm up from autumn's cool breeze, us So Cal kids are still in summer mode. With our heat-wave only just starting to give us a little break, we're staying cool by the ocean and of course drinking mass quantities of Juli's melon slushy ;)

Although I lathered my non-nano zinc sunscreen on my arms and legs (I use Badger Balm when I'm going to be out all day in the water and a hat will not do the trick) I somehow forgot my face. And, the result was not pretty. Milan kept asking, "mommy, why is your face like an apple?!"

I have not been sunburned in ages, but this hurt and my entire head felt hot. There was no way I was waiting for it to peel and itch and drive me crazy, oh and not to mention, ruin my skin, so I whipped up this little organic concoction. 

If you're still having fun in the sun, you can try this for an after-too-much-sun balm. Also, I like to suggest this recipe for the ski season as well; many people get facial burns from the sun refection in the snow. 

What You'll Need: 

  • 6 inches of organic or pesticide free aloe washed and chopped into one inch slices
  • 1/4 cup cucumber
  • 1/2 cup organic coconut oil
  • 10 drops organic lavender oil
  • 1 teaspoon Sovereign Silver salve (optional)

Putting It All Together: 

1. Have your blender on hand. 

2. Pour coconut oil into blender.

3. Place lavender drops in blender. 

4. Toss chopped aloe and cucumber in.

5. Blend until mixture is creamy and smooth, but do not allow to bubble or this will begin "cooking" the ingredients.

6. Add silver if you wish. 

7. Place in refrigerator until completely cooled. 


1. Once cooled, apply generously.

2. Only leave on for about ten minutes. Aloe may irritate the skin if too much is used and once the coconut oil warms up it can have the opposite affect on the skin (skin is hot, skin can cook the oil). 

My skin healed immediately without peeling after I applied twice daily for three days. 

Christine M. Dionese L.Ac MSTOM

Integrative Health Specialist , Medical Journalist and Food Writer Creating Socially Conscious Endeavors! Garden Eats and Reaching Beyond Now! I love to connect on Instagram too! 

B12 - What You Should Know

When I got an email from Twin Lab's formulator, Gene Bruno's publicist I jumped at the opportunity to pick his brain about his B12 supplements and the knowledge he has around the subject. I have been thinking a lot about this subject lately, probably because I'm pregnant. 

As you may or may not know, a lot of people {vegans and vegetarians in particular} are deficient in B12 and it's a very serious medical condition. Iron and B12 go hand in hand so an Iron deficiency can mean a B12 deficiency and visa-versa!

If you're interested in the subject, below is an informative Q+A with Gene Bruno that covers most of the iron and B12 myths and facts {from his perspective}. As you probably know, I love interviews and gathering varying information/opinions from all sorts of professionals on the subjects of food, health and wellness. Read below for his thoughts...

1) How do b-12 and Iron work together? If you supplement with iron is it pointless if you are low in b-12?

Iron is necessary for the formation of hemoglobin, the proteins in red blood cells involved in the transport and storage of oxygen. Vitamin B12 is required for the synthesis of hemoglobin. Also, a deficiency of either nutrient can cause anemia. If you have a B12-deficiency anemia (pernicious anemia), supplementation with iron will not cure it.

--- What about calcium? 

Calcium is required for healthy bone formation and maintenance. Vitamin B12 helps keep homocysteine levels in check, which is important since high homocysteine levels may affect bone remodeling by increasing bone resorption (breakdown), decreasing bone formation, and reducing bone blood flow.

--- Are they all related? Should you supplement with both together?

The relationship is as described above. It is not necessary to supplement with the nutrients together in order to benefit from the individual nutrients. However, all of them are needed for good health.

2) Where else can you get b-12 but in animal products? Is b-12 only in meat or is it also in dairy?  

Plants do not require B12, so they don’t make B12. Only animals and humans make B12 (which is made by the microflora in their guts), which is why it can only be found in animal food sources. Besides meat, this includes eggs (1 large egg contains 44 mcg) and milk (1 cup whole milk or reduced fat milk contains about 1 mcg). 

3) Any tips on pregnancy or thoughts? 

The Daily Value for vitamin B12 increases slightly during pregnancy (from 6 mcg to 8 mcg). However, given digestion and absorption issues, I would recommend a B12 lozenge.

4) If we don't eat meat or dairy, where can we get B12 and Iron?

Are you vegan, or do you consume milk and eggs? If the latter, you are getting some B12. Also, assuming your intestinal flora (friendly bacteria) is in good shape, it will manufacture some B-12 for you.

Regarding the iron, it is possible that you are consuming other good vegetarian sources (e.g., spinach).

If you take supplements, that is another way that you may be getting B12 and iron.

Gene's thoughts and some research to back it up...

The vegan diet has many benefits to offer. In some cases, it can help diabetic patients lower their daily insulin requirement.[i] Furthermore, long-term consumption of a low-calorie low-protein vegan diet is associated with low cardiovascular disease risk. This includes lower body mass index (BMI), lower plasma concentrations of lipids, lipoproteins, glucose, insulin, and C-reactive protein, as well as lower blood pressure (both systolic and diastolic), and thickness of the internal diameter of the carotid (a measure of heart disease risk).[ii] Other research study indicates that consumption of a strict raw food diet lowers plasma total cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations.[iii] Long-term benefits were also seen in a 17-year observational study of vegetarians and other health conscious people. Results demonstrated that daily consumption of fresh fruit was associated with significantly reduced mortality from ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and for all causes combined.[iv] Overall the individuals in the study had a mortality about half that of the general population.  In addition, in a 12-week study on individuals following a raw food vegetarian diet experienced improvements in measures of mental and emotional quality of life.[v]

5) So how a vegan or vegetarian ANIMAL would get B12. 

The intestinal flora (friendly bacteria) of herbivores (vegan animals) manufacture vitamin B12.

6) I wanted to know if we manufacture our own b12?

Yes. Like animals, the intestinal flora (friendly bacteria) of human beings are also capable of manufacturing vitamin B12. 

7) So then WHY are people so deficient? Is it poor gut flora or diet? Maybe because nutrients work together, people are just low in MOST vital nutrients? Or do we need more fermented foods in our diets? Because I heard that you can take an entire BOTTLE of b12 if you aren't methylating it {I think that's the right word} and still only absorb a little. So there is a bigger picture. It's not black and white - like EAT MEAT and you'll be fine. Lots of people are iron deficient in pregnancy and not in pregnancy and eat meat all the time. 

Dietary B12 is bound to protein in food, from which it is released by the action of pepsin and gastric acids.  Gastric acid secretion, however, reduces with age.  This normally begins at about 40. This can seriously reduce the potential absorption of this nutrient since the intestinal absorption of B12 is dependent upon its binding with the glycoprotein known as intrinsic factor, secreted from the parietal cells of the stomach.  If the gastric juices of a person lacks intrinsic factor, then there is little uptake of the vitamin; although if amounts about a thousand times the normal dosage are given B12 may pass through the intestinal wall by diffusion.  Even so as little as 1.2% is absorbed of dietary B12 may be absorbed.[vi] This is why B12 lozenges (dots) are a preferred supplementation form since it is absorbed in the mouth and bypasses the whole problem with intrinsic factor.

Vitamin B12 must be converted into its coenzyme forms, methylcobalamin and 5-deoxyadenosylcobalamin. These are the forms of vitamin B12 used in the human body.[vii] Methylcobalamin is the predominant B12 coenzyme found in blood plasma and certain other body fluids such as breast milk; in cells methylcobalamin is found in the intracellular fluid (or cytoplasmic matrix).[viii] This conversion takes place via a process called methylation. Vitamin B12 absorption is not dependent upon methylation of B12 into methylcobalamin. Rather, it is necessary for the ultimate use of this nutrient by the body.


My {Juli's} story:

This subject is so interesting to me because overall health is not just about one nutrient; yet a deficiency in just one nutrient can offset the whole system. For example, low energy isn't just due to low iron; just like bone strength isn't due to how much calcium you ingest; nutrients work together and have a symbiotic relationship. Silica ingestion can help calcium absorption and low B12 can affect your iron levels and so on. I was iron deficient when I was pregnant with my other two kids but I'm NOT this time around, in fact my iron is at crazy high levels. I eat less fish and dairy than ever before. So, how could this be? I'm still not sure and either are my midwives or doc, but I do eat a TON of nutritional yeast, I drink spinach green drinks everyday and ingest way more fermented foods than ever. In the past 5 years I have worked on my gut health {no gluten has helped me} and it is healing and my flora must be getting better at manufacturing my own B12. But everybody is different. And I highly recommend you get a simple blood test to see what your levels are. B12 deficiency can cause mental health issues like depression and low energy.

You can also get a hair analysis done which can be beneficial for many reasons - you can see your mercury levels and arsenic levels as well as calcium, magnesium and other minerals - which allows you to supplement correctly for your body's needs instead of blindly or by guessing or assuming {that's a waste of money}. No matter what diet you follow, you can be deficient in many vital nutrients and/or high in ones you shouldn't be consuming. You can't always get everything you need from food - especially if you aren't in perfect health and aren't absorbing things correctly. 

Remember, this is food for thought - to get us thinking and to help us all be more proactive. This is not medical advice. Afterall, I have friends who thrive on a plant-based diet and others that don't. Some product B12 and absorb it better than others; it's all personal and individualized. So ask your health care provider about iron and b12. New "scientific" studies are conducted all the time and everybody has a different opinion and study to prove their theories. This is just two people's take on the subject. And if you need more info, I suggest you ask your doctor, read a few books on it and maybe try finding some more studies online. Kind, constructive comments are welcome and diet opinions as well. Feel free to share your stories or ask questions. 


[i] Douglass JM. Raw diet and insulin requirements. Ann Intern Med 1975 Jan;82(1):61-2.

[ii] Fontana L, Meyer TE, Klein S, Holloszy JO. Long-term low-calorie low-protein vegan diet and endurance exercise are associated with low cardiometabolic risk. Rejuvenation Res 2007;10(2):225-34.

[iii] Koebnick C, Garcia AL, Dagnelie PC, Strassner C, Lindemans J, Katz N, Leitzmann C, Hoffmann I. Long-term consumption of a raw food diet is associated with favorable serum LDL cholesterol and triglycerides but also with elevated plasma homocysteine and low serum HDL cholesterol in humans. J Nutr 2005;135(10):2372-8.

[iv] Key TJ, Thorogood M, Appleby PN, Burr ML. Dietary habits and mortality in 11,000 vegetarians and health conscious people: results of a 17 year follow up. BMJ 1996;313(7060):775-9.

[v] Link LB, Hussaini NS, Jacobson JS. Change in quality of life and immune markers after a stay at a raw vegan institute: a pilot study. Complement Ther Med 2008;16(3):124-30.

[vi] Whitney EN, Cataldo CB, Rolfes SR: Understanding Normal and Clinical Nutrition. BelmontCAWadsworth/Thompson Learning; 2002.

[vii] Brody T.  Nutritional Biochemistry. 2nd edSan Diego: Academic Press; 1999.

[viii] Linnell JC, Bhatt HR. Inherited errors of cobalamin metabolism and their management. Baillieres Clin Haematol1995;8(3):567-601.



Morning Muesli + Ebook

Hey all, I'd like to introduce you to Aussie, Cassandra Michelin of LIVE IT, DO IT, EAT IT ! This month she is launching a sugar-free September ebook where she shares all her fun low-sugar recipes with readers. I was very excited when she asked me to be apart of it. You'll find my muesli recipe on page 19. Check it out - sign up now and receive it for free come September! Hurry on over...

Muesli Recipe

1c Rolled Oats ORG
1/2c Shredded Coconut ORG
1/4c Wheat Germ, raw ORG
1/4c Xylitol {or less}
5 Dates or 1/4c raisins {optional}
2 Tbls Coconut oil, raw ORG {per serving}

First mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mash up the dates if you decide to use them. Store in a cool dry container. 

When ready to eat, mix with coconut oil by pressing the coconut oil into the mixture. 

note: you can also blend this in a Magic Bullet or Vitamix and then put it on top of your child's oatmeal or on top of yogurt or a smoothie.


Friday Favorites :: ON THE GO

Friday favorites is BACK! And today the theme is ON THE GO! I am sharing a few fun things that you can take on your next Summer road trip or just for afternoons at the park or beach. 

Summer is still in full-effect for most of us but quickly coming to a close. I don't know about you guys, and maybe it has something to do with being pregnant, but I have been super hot and craving nothing but healthy smoothies, lemon water and/or fruit. 

I like to always have a bag full of goodies when off to beach or the park. And on road trips, I am definitely the type to pack the car full of healthy quick-grab groceries and snacks. 

Here are a few things I have discovered over the past few months that have come in handy. 

1) GLUTEN-FREE Little Soya packets. We love these for restaurants or for times when we get to-go sushi at the market and there isn't any gluten-free soy. Keep them in the car or your purse. 

2)  Bare coconut chips. Are you kidding me? If you haven't tried these, you're missing out BIG TIME. This flavor is so addicting and crunchy and sweet. Everybody will be fighting over them, trust me {maybe that's not a good thing for car rides - wink!}

3) SPUNI. All you moms out there with little ones. These spoons are the cutest darn things and come with a great little carrying case. 

4) Element Superfood Seed Bars. We all need healthy "bars" in the car that we can eat when we are hungry {as opposed to the ones you find in gas stations when you're desperate}! These are one of the few bars I have come across lately that are unique in their taste and texture and ingredients. I can only take so many nuts and dates {if you know what I mean}!

5) GINNY MINIS. These little gems are gluten-free / organic and come in to-go bags. They are a great wholesome treat for the kiddos. Throw them in your purse. NOTE: They have vegan and non-vegan options which contain high quality organic eggs. 

6) COCO Joy fire and rescue. Coconut water is full of electrolytes, which is great for active kids. This particular drink they will fight over because it is nicely packaged in a Disney FIRE AND RESCUE bottle. Go figure!

7) Little Green Pouch. These guys are genius for little kids and babies. These guys are important because they can hold any of your own creations. You don't have to worry about additives or preservatives. And they are easy to rinse out, reuse, they are MESS FREE {yay} and you don't need a spoon! 

8) OH! Juice. Everybody needs juice on a road trip or a day at the beach. It's like vitamins in a bottle to keep you going all day. This particular brand is a new local company. Their stuff is 100% organic and super fresh. They specialize in cleanses. Why not cleanse while you're soaking in the sunshine?

9) VITAMIX personal. This new machine is awesome because it allows you to make your "personal" own smoothie and take it to-go without having to switch containers. The container is perfect for a backpack or a cup holder in the car! Use code 06-008369 To get free shipping upon checkout! 

HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYBODY! Now go get outside! 

Milk + Dairy :: The Inside Scoop

Blog contributor, Christine Dionese is back today, talking dairy again {we both talked dairy a few months ago}: allergies, kids, the inside scoop, and which kinds are the sources for you! Keep reading below to hear her take...


When I first started my practice many moons ago, food allergies, especially cow dairy was gaining a lot of attention in mainstream media. Despite all of the excellent compounding research and years that have past since then, there still exists a lot of confusion in conventional medical models, especially where children’s health is concerned. This can be frustrating for parents who are trying to discover if their child is experiencing health concerns that could be related to a cow dairy allergy or lactose intolerance.

For many parents trying to understand this topic, it can be difficult to separate personal cultural beliefs from scientific evidence either because of what we’ve been raised to believe or what we’ve come to know through social norms. While I’ve helped many patients young and old discover cow dairy intolerances and allergies or remove dairy from their diet for personal or ethical concerns, cow dairy can be a healthy part of your diet if you get the “right stuff.”  

The benefits from organic cow dairy become most significant when combined with a whole-food diet where a multitude of other foods make the diet complete such as nut and seed milks, fruits and leafy green vegetables- many of the foods still missing from the modern American diet. If you’re going to make cow dairy, especially milk, part of your family’s diet, try to set aside any preconceived notions you may have to consider the health implications for your family. Let’s explore these. 

Things to consider first 

  • Cow dairy intolerance and/or allergy is one of the most prevalent children’s health concerns in the US today. It is related to health concerns such as upper respiratory infections, digestive concerns, skin conditions, reproductive issues, learning and behavioral concerns.
  • If you get your dairy from cow dairy from non-organic, non-free range raised cows, now that:
    • pesticides exist on grass and feed conventional cows consume
    • there is a greater propensity for disease in non-grazing animals living in close quarters
    • likely use of antibiotics
    • likely use of hormones

You may be thinking, “but my dairy farm doesn’t use hormones or antibiotics.” Okay, that’s great news, but are they organic? Are they a small farm that feeds their animals GMO-free food? Do their animals freely graze? If you answered no to these questions then your health is still at risk from the dairy your family is consuming.

A few misconceptions worth laying to rest:


  • About labeling. While your dairy may be labeled “not treated with *rBST/hormones/antibiotics” that in no way makes the product organic. It could be organic, but unless otherwise noted, there is a 99.9 % chance it is not. Some small farmers can’t afford the organic stamp. Chances are if they’re that small, you may know them, they may be your neighbors- you can ask them the questions I raised above to discover their practices.
  • About milk fat. Myth: Fat-free milk is healthy. NO, it’s not. This misconception could not be further from simple food science. While you personally may experience a health concern related to fat conversion, milk containing fat is the healthiest form of cow dairy if you’re consuming it for the sake of gaining nutritional value. Here’s why:
      • many people consume milk for vitamin D and calcium. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin. Without fat you cannot absorb D. This means that if you’re drinking fat free milk you are not absorbing D or an appreciable amount of calcium. Vitamin D is responsible for pulling calcium into bones, so no fat, equals no D and barely any calcium.
    • due to the acidic nature of milk and its proteins, the calcium from it is already difficult to absorb making plant-based sources of calcium most ideal for absorption.
    • these are:
      • chia seed…………..67 mg per tsp
      • broccoli…………….80 mg per serving
      • kale………………...179 mg per serving
      • the fat from organic cow dairy contains omega-3 fatty acids whereas fat free milk contains zero.
      • the omega-3 fatty acid profile in full fat organic dairy compared to those fats found in conventional milk was recently found in a 2013 study published in PLOS One to contain a significantly higher, health-promoting amount (1). Researchers at The University of Washington released these findings after sampling approximately 400 organic and conventional milk samples from across the United States.

When selecting cow dairy: 

  • go organic every time, no exceptions
  • select from small, local farms
  • unless you have a known, well understood health concern where your body cannot convert fats, choose full-fat.

Get Your Child Tested If They Experience These Health Concerns

If you or your child experiences frequent upper respiratory infections, colds, asthma, breathing difficulties, frequent runny noses in the absence of a cold, itchy eyes, constant blinking and eye rubbing, dark undereye circles, ear infections, copious ear exudate, eczema, psoriasis, unexplained rashes, itchiness, non-specific dermatological concerns and learning or behavioral concerns, have your child tested for cow dairy intolerance and allergy by an integrative specialist who has experience with complete and comprehensive testing methods (RAST testing is inconclusive).   

While they should be, many conventional pediatricians are still not updated with complete diagnostic testing. Never settle for “oh they’ll grow out of it” if you suspect an allergy or sensitivity- that is not an acceptable response to a serious health concern that could be prevented by investigating further. In general, integrative practitioners, whether MDs, NDs, DOs or L.Acs generally understand how to administer complete immunological testing, interpret results, observe potential ongoing concerns and administer appropriate treatment or lifestyle advice for your child’s specific concerns.

If you suspect a dairy allergy, have gluten tested as well with these tests (more sensitive immune and genetic markers exist, but this is a good place to start). If your body has an issue with gluten, it can damage the fingerlike projections called villi that line the small intestine. These villi produce lactase, the enzyme responsible for digesting lactose, the sugar contained in milk. In most cases, once gluten is eliminated the villi are able to thrive and return to producing lactase. Going the extra step to have gluten tested may reveal that’s it’s gluten and not dairy that your child actually has an issue with.

Let’s Talk About Cheese 

I’ll end on a happy note- cheese! Here’s the scoop- if you eat American cheese, chances are you’re consuming cheese that’s been made with milk protein concentrates. MPCs generally come from yak and water buffalo from far away places like China, India and the Ukraine. MPCs are the result of an ultra-filtered process that strips away lactose and leaves behind protein. And, don’t be surprised that it’s not really regulated by the FDA (fails to appear on their “safe” list). So, what’s a cheese lover to do?

Eat raw European cheeses from grass fed cows, sheep, goat and yak. Why? Grass fed cows produce milk rich in A2 beta casein and low in A1 beta casein. Raw sheep, goat and yak milk only contains A2 beta casein. Generally, cheese aged less than 60 days isn’t allowed for sale in US groceries so you’ll have to get these from artisanal cheese shops or farmer’s markets. Those usually include softer cheeses like feta, blue and goat cheese. If you can’t find these cheeses, go for cheeses that may not be raw, but come from grass-fed cows that have not been treated with antibiotics and hormones.



Honeydew, Mint + Cucumber Pregnancy Pops

It's official...Summer is in full-effect and my pregnancy is too! I love anything cold and frozen: ice water, slushies, popsicles, etc. you name it!  

My favorite new cold treat: honeydew, mint + cucumber popsicles. So clean, refreshing and guilt-free. I wasn't sure if my kids would think they were amazing, but they LOVED THEM! 


makes 8-10 dixie cup size popsicles

1 honeydew melon, seeds removed and flesh scooped out

6 slices of cucumber {about 1/4 cup}

5-8 large sprigs of mint

squirt of your favorite sweetener {I chose agave, you can use stevia, too}

note: You'll need a popsicle maker or dixie cups, like I used, and popsicle sticks. If you use other popsicle molds, then this recipe might yield less popsicles. 

In a high speed blender combine all of the above ingredients EXCEPT mint until super smooth. No chunks. Add the mint leaves and blend on low until well combined. 

Pour mixture into dixie cups until full. Store in freezer for about 20 minutes or until icy. Then, you will want to insert the popsicle sticks in the cups {they will remain upright}. Let freeze for at least 6 hours {overnight} before eating. 

I had a bunch of leftover mint and cucumber after making the popsicles. So I chopped it all up and threw it in my water. I reused this water mixture for about 5-6 refills. It was so hydrating and refreshing! No lemon. Just cucumber and mint and ice! Mmmmmmm. Try it. 

Enjoy the Summer! It will go super fast! Stay hydrated and healthy! 

Happy Mother's Day


Motherhood: the most important yet hardest job on the planet that requires sleepless nights, lots of patience, laughter, hugs, kisses, games, an understanding friend to laugh with and most of all - the easiest part - love! 

Happy Mother's Day to all you hard working Moms out there. Without us, there'd be no new life to celebrate, no Thomas birthday parties to throw, no poopy diapers to change, no first steps or first dates, no BFFs, no college parties, no weddings and a lot less bitching - but who would want that

This post was dedicated to all my wonderful mom friends {and their moms too} and family who work so hard to keep their sanity in times of pure mayhem, stress and pressure! but at the same time show hugs, kisses, smiles and tons of love. It's really the most difficult thing but also so rewarding, especially with friends to share these insane moments with. I'm so glad to be on this journey together! Thanks for the support and friendship all these years. 

Cheers to my own wonderful mom that taught me how to be a loving mom. Love you tons!

Friday {Pregnancy} Favorites + Sweet Potato Fries

As you I mentioned last week, I'm pregnant and just finally feeling like myself again! After three months of morning sickness and one month of recovery, I'm ready to start thinking about babies, health and my growing belly. 

I'm making a huge effort this year to buy everything used. Not so much the clothing but the big things - mattress, stroller, diaper pails, slings, carriers, you know all that good stuff. Mainly because we have nothing baby left in this house {it's all big boy stuff} and I can't stomach the idea of buying it all over again. {any money-saving ideas...feel free to let me know}

But of course I can't help but look at all the baby girl clothes online. It's just like a whole new world for me after having two little boys. I have come across some of the most adorable products. And I'm sharing just some of them with you today!

From left to right:

BABY ---> Bink + Boo Shoes + Bib -- Love T Shirt -- Honest Diapers

BODY ---> Ellovi Body Butter -- Pai Face Oil -- Zoe Belly Oil -- Honest Belly Cream 

BELLY ---> walnuts + sweet potatoes + colorful fruits and veggies -- Prenatals + DHA

Have you seen all these amazing products before? The beauty products mentioned are the best {most natural least toxic} out there for your growing belly and face wrinkles/dark spots. To help encourage all you mamas-to-be to eat healthy carbs and foods, I will be posting lots of healthy plant-focused recipes here, follow my Pinterest page and Instagram account because I pin tons of good recipes {that aren't just mine} and take lots of food photos.

Be sure when choosing a prenatal that you get folic acid and DHA. Pregnant women need iron and B12 {together}, magnesium and good gut flora via probiotics. 

There is evidence* that when you give birth {vaginally} the baby gets a lot of your vaginal flora which helps protect the baby against infection and help with post natal development of the immune system**. The major source of your immune-building good bacteria is following a baby's initial implantation through the birth canal. 

That's why if you {the mom} have to take antiobiotics - which wipes out the good flora - when pregnant please try and take as many probiotics afterwards to help build it all back up. This can help the child prevent allergies, eczema, etc.  Also eating lots of fermented foods while pregnant works similar to a probiotic. 

If you're not eating your best, you'll want to be sure to supplement. 

Today I will share with you how to quickly turn a boring sweet potato into something super tasty and addicting! If you do follow me on Instagram, you'll see that I made sweet potato tacos the other day using these exact sweet potato fries. My kids and I fight over these fries they are so good and easy. 


1-2 sweet potatoes

Coconut oil {I prefer the spray for this recipe}

sea salt, to taste

Prehead the oven to just about 400 degrees F. Using a very sharp knife, cut the sweet potato into large chunks. You'll want to make the chunks are long and about 2 inches thick. Once you've done that, you'll be able to better cut smaller french fry slices/chunks. Make sure they aren't too thick. I like them all to be about the same thickness so they cook evenly. 

Using a cookie sheet you'll want to first spray the coconut oil on the tray. Then you'll want to evenly spread the french fries. Spray the oil on top of the fries again. Sprinkle sea salt nicely over the fries. 

Cook for 10 minutes until they start to brown. Then flip them once. You'll want to give them another 10 minutes maybe longer. The fries should look browned - some will be crunchy and others soft. Make sure they are cooked through and not burnt. 

NOTE: Please keep checking them as they are cooking. Some ovens are different. In fact mine is a split oven and heats up faster than most ovens. So it might end in different cook times. 

Your kids will love them too!



Chocolate Blueberry Skinny Milkshake

Today I'm sharing a wonderful smoothie recipe with you guys. It's so creamy and rich that it tastes like a fattening milkshake. Really!

Full of antioxidants and fiber and healthy carbohydrates, this might as well have been classified under BEAUTY recipes. {wink}

Since I've been pregnant, I'm all about lots of food, lots of calories, lots of smoothies, lots of probiotics, and hydrating beverages. I get so hungry sometimes that I can't control my appetite. In this case, I reach for a smoothie because it usually fills me up and I KNOW it's packed with all kinds of nutrients. 

Today I'm calling this milkshake skinny because it calls for xylitol or eurythritol as the sweetener and instead of ice cream, we use almond milk. Instead of chocolate, we are using cacao beans. 


4 cups almond milk {homemade or store bought}

1 cup frozen blueberries

1 1/2 -2 frozen bananas 

3 Tbls xylitol or eurythritol

handful of cacao beans 

1 Tbls vanilla bean powder {or extract}

Blend all of the ingredients on high until no frozen banana or blueberry chunks are left behind. Enjoy. Kids love it too.