6 Nutritious, Delicious Beet Recipes

Eat more good mood red food beets!  Did you know beets are a rich source of vitamins and minerals?

Vitamins : Vitamin A, B6, B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, folate, riboflavin, and betaine.

Minerals: Calcium, iron, potassium phosphorus, sodium, fluoride, Zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium.

Beets also contain phytochemicals (natural chemical compounds in plants) called anthocyanins that are great for your brain. These powerful antioxidants help reduce inflammation.  Research shows they help prevent age-related decline in the nervous system.

[su_expanding_quote_web alignment=”right” source_site=”Drew Ramsey MD” source_url=”” full_quote=”Anthocyanins cause levels of the brain protecting chemical BDNF to increase, improving learning and memory skills while helping warding off depression. They also help promote different types of memory, whether it’s remembering a phone number long enough to jot it down or learning how to navigate a new city. Anthocyanins have even been shown to slow down age-related decline in brain function. These phytochemicals are linked to better heart health and posses anti-cancer activity.” short_quote=”anthocyanins improve learning and memory skills while helping ward off depression”]

In addition to helping boost brain function, here are 10 Reasons to eat beets:

  1. Improve liver function
  2. Prevent signs of aging
  3. Increase hemoglobin levels – increases oxygen levels and improve blood circulation in the body
  4. Reduce inflammation
  5. Improve stamina
  6. Lower blood pressure
  7. Brighten skin tone
  8. Help control diabetes
  9. Purify the blood
  10. Promote healthy hair

Roast them, steam them, bake them or shred them raw. You’ll be surprised at all the delicious nutritions ways to eat them. Here are some our favorites:

Beet Hummus – The Natural Nurturer

How about some good mood red food hummus? Hummus is a frequent inhabitant in my refrigerator for lunch wraps and salads, or afternoon snacks. This is a fabulous way to change it up.

Beet Apple Carrot Ginger Soup – Just Beet It

Carrot Beet Salad – Color My Food

Crimson Coleslaw – Color My Food

It’s worth making this for the colors! And oftentimes even people who don’t like beets change their minds after trying this beautiful coleslaw.

Red Beet Pancakes  – Weelicious

These are not only a standing Valentine’s tradition in my kitchen, but show up with some frequency when beets are in season. I make a double batch and freeze them.

  • Top with whole-milk Greek yogurt mixed with a bit of honey
  • Make “sammies” with cream cheese
  • For a special treat, top with with melted dark chocolate mixed with a bit of butter of coconut milk

Red Beet Cupcakes  Weelicious

Made these for a Valentine’s play date when my daughter was a toddler. Almost a decade later, these cupcakes are still one of our favorites!   So yummy and pretty.

Did you know you can eat the beet greens to? Another rich source of nutrients! AND fiber! I slice them coleslaw-style into a salad, or I add to soups and stews they way I do with spinach, kale or other dark leafy green.

What’s your favorite way to eat beets?

For More Empowerment

Just Beet It   – Creative beet recipes, fascinating beet history, interesting beet facts and trivia, and detailed beet nutrition.

Updated from post published February 2021

Reclaim Your Energy Tip #1

Do you wake up tired? Do you feel exhausted before dinner time?  Did you know that food can sap or re-charge your energy?  What we eat and how we eat has a direct connection to feeling physically vibrant and emotionally balanced. These simple modifications can help you reclaim your energy.

  1. Eat a macronutrient ratio that best meets your body’s needs
  2. Eat mindfully

Eat a Macronutrient Ratio that Best Meets Your Needs

Macronutrients are the nutrients we need in big (“macro”) quantities: carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Each of these play vital roles in providing our body with consistent energy. You can get an even flow of energy throughout the day if you find the best ratio for your body.

In general, this is the necessary range to fuel our energy and nourish our body:

  • Carbohydrate 30 – 40%
  • Fat 30 – 40%
  • Protein 20 – 50%

However, we are all different. The ideal carbohydrate, fat, and protein intake will vary based on your activity level, digestive health, age, etc. The key is to find your ideal macronutrient ratio, adjusting the percentage based on your individual need.

It sounds complicated. But it is quite simple when we pay attention to what we eat and how we feel 1 – 3 hours after eating.

Keep a Food and Mood Journal for 10 days. Track what you eat. Set a timer and 1 -3 hours later jot down how you feel physically and mentally using these guidelines:



Right Macronutrient Ratio Wrong Macronutrient Ratio
Energy Level


  • Energy is restored after eating
  • Have long lasting sense of wellbeing after your last meal
  • Feel hungry soon after eatingLow energy, fatigue, exhaustion
  • Drowsiness
  • Hyper, jittery, anxious after your meal
  • Tired but wired
Mental/emotional wellbeing
  • Feel re-fueled or restored
  • Uplift in emotions
  • Improved clarity of mind
  • Normalization of thought processes
  • Mentally slow, sluggish, spacey
  • Unable to think clearly and quickly
  • Unable to focus
  • Depression or sadness
  • Hyper-anxious, obsessive behavior
  • Anger or irritability

Eat Mindfully

Paying attention to how you eat can also help reclaim your energy. Some ideas to eat mindfully:

  • Start with a brief silence and three deep breaths
  • Give an expression of gratitude or prayer of thanks
  • Take a moment to observe your food before you start eating — the smells, colors, textures and tastes. This sends signals to the brain to stimulate the digestive processes that will optimize your digestion and absorption.
  • Reflect on all that went in getting your food to your plate.
  • Slow down and chew thoroughly. This allows time for more complete breakdown of your food and better absorption of nutrients. It takes about 20 minutes after you begin eating for your digestive track to send the signals sent to your brain that say, “I’m full!”

Finding the best macronutrient balance for your individual need can provide consistent energy and reduce stress on your body. Eating nutrient-dense, whole foods is the most effective, and most enjoyable approach to reclaim your energy.

Want to know more? Join me for a FREE 30 minute online class: Reclaim Your Energy. Simply let me know in the comments. 😁

Examples of recipes with a good mix of macronutrients. These are great base recipes; change out the proteins and the veggies.


Breakfast Egg Muffins – Simply Quinoa


How to Make Awesome Grain Bowls – Wholefully

5 Essential Tips for Non-Boring Salads – Hello Glow


Sheet Pan Dinners – Cooking Classy

A St. Patrick’s Inspired Brunch

St. Patrick’s March celebrations create opportunities to bring nature’s green food into our meals. Here’s it’s a fun way to eat more real food greens at breakfast  — pineapple-mint smoothie, green pancakes, an arugula frittata with a bell pepper “shamrock” and fruit wands.

What is Functional Nutritional Therapy?

Functional Nutritional Therapy is a new name for a timeless concept. Humans have used nutrition for millennia to maintain health and vitality. With the industrialization of food in the last century, we have lost sight of this connection.

The goal of Nutritional Therapy is to encourage people to become knowledgeable about—and responsible for—their own health.  Functional Nutritional Therapy practitioners spend time with their clients, listening to their histories, and reviewing interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health. Functional Nutritional Therapy supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual through real food and by connecting to the innate wisdom of their own body to support wellness.

This is accomplished by bringing balance to the five foundations of health:

  1. Digestion
  2. Blood Sugar Regulation
  3. Fatty Acid Balance
  4. Mineral Balance
  5. Hydration

By supporting each of these foundations and helping clients adopt a more nutrient-dense diet, the body’s chemistry can be brought back into natural balance. Every person is unique. This uniqueness, known as bio-individuality, can determine the nutritional needs of each person. Bio-individuality comes from our genetic and geographical composition as well as our lifestyle choices (stress management, sleep, movement etc.)

Nutritional Therapy can reverse negative effects of the modern diet. It can help identify and correct nutritional imbalances and deficiencies.  It does not diagnose or treat disease, but instead makes nutritional recommendations for balancing the body and promoting optimal health.

Signs indicating you need to focus on your nutrition and lifestyle in order to regain optimal health:

  • Lack of energy or hyperactivity, or both at throughout the day. Unfortunately, it is common for people to be tired all the time. But that is not normal.
  • General unwellness or dis-ease: Headaches. Disrupted sleep or insomnia. Frequent illness or congestion.
  • Digestive issues. A need for anti-acids, feeling bloated or gassy after meals is not normal. Constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, or heartburn, are signs your body is asking for help.
  • Hypertension or high cholesterol, and blood sugar issues (pre-diabetes, diabetes)
  • Weight. Being underweight, or more commonly overweight, is a definite sign of imbalance between what our body needs and what it’s getting. Our bodies were designed to be lean and strong and to remain that way all our lives.
  • Emotions and mind can be affected by nutritional deficiencies and toxicity. This includes anxiety, irritability, and depression, as well as brain fog, poor memory, concentration, or comprehension.
  • Skin conditions. Skin is one of our major detoxification pathways. If you’re seeing chronic skin conditions, it may be coming from the inside out. Topical treatments only address the symptoms and not the root cause.
  • Autoimmune diseases. Often this is the immune system malfunctioning and attacking itself.
  • A Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (FNTP) is trained to evaluate your nutritional needs and make recommendations of dietary change and nutritional supplements. No comment or recommendation from your FNTP should be construed as a medical diagnosis or prescription.

Reaching optimal health requires sincere commitment, possible lifestyle changes, and a positive attitude. If you are willing to change how you eat and live, Nutritional Therapy is the right approach for you. A nutritional therapy plan encompasses:

  • Nutrition guidelines developed for your bio-individual needs
  • Coaching to eat a properly prepared, nutrient-dense diet
  • Recommendations on harmful foods and behaviors to avoid
  • Guidance in getting adequate sleep, rest, and relaxation
  • Support in moving your body daily

What to Do?

Fiber for Health’s Sake!

Summarized from my notes on fiber from the books Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman, MD and How to Not Die, by Michael Greger MD.

Did you know that fiber is a critical nutrient? That people who eat the most high-fiber foods are the healthiest?

  • Fiber aids our body in absorbing nutrients from food
  • Fiber slows down glucose (blood sugar) absorption
  • It controls the rate of digestion
  • It lowers cholesterol
  • It feeds the healthy bacteria in our gut
  • Fiber is also nature’s “broom”. It passes through our digestive system taking with it toxins, waste, unhealthy fat and cholesterol particles out of our body
  • Fiber intake from food is a good marker of disease risk.

Fiber is naturally concentrated in only one place: whole plant foods. When we eat mostly natural plant foods (beans, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and seeds) we get large amounts of different fiber.

Fiber and brain health

Fiber helps control cholesterol and blood sugar. This reduces the amount of artery-clogging plaque in our brain’s blood vessels. High-fiber diets may also lower blood pressure, reducing the risk of brain bleeds.

Though stroke is considered an older person’s disease, risk factors may begin accumulating in childhood. It is SO important to teach our children to eat more plant foods!

[su_expanding_quote_book alignment=”full” source_author=”Michael Greger, MD” source_title=”How to Not Die” full_quote=”Low fiber intake early on is associated with stiffening of the arteries leading to the brain – a key risk factor for stroke. One more apple, an extra quarter cup of broccoli, or just two tablespoons of beans a day during childhood could translate into a meaningful effect on artery health later in life.” short_quote=”Low fiber intake early on is associated with stiffening of the arteries leading to the brain”]

Fiber and heart health

High fiber foods help reduce inflammation, blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol.

By preventing the buildup of cholesterol in our bloodstream, we can help prevent atherosclerosis in our coronary arteries—the leading cause of death in the United States.

[su_expanding_quote_book alignment=”right” source_author=”Joel Fuhrman, MD” source_title=”Eat to Live” full_quote=”High-fiber foods offer significant protection against both cancer and heart disease. I didn’t say fiber; I said high fiber foods. It has been adequately demonstrated in hundreds of observational studies that diet does offer protection from cancer at multiple sites, including the colon. A high-fiber intake is a marker of many anti-cancer properties of natural foods, especially phytochemicals.” short_quote=”High-fiber foods offer significant protection against both cancer and heart disease.”]

Fiber and Cancer

High fiber intake appears to reduce the risk of cancers of the colon and breast, diabetes, heart disease, obesity and premature death in general.

The standard American diet is dangerously deficient in fiber. Americans currently consume about 25% of calories from animal foods and another 62% from highly processed refined carbohydrates. Fiber deficiency can lead to many health problems such as hemorrhoids, constipation, varicose veins, and diabetes. It is also a cause of cancer. Less than 3% of Americans meet the minimum daily recommendation for fiber.

[su_expanding_quote_book alignment=”full” source_author=”Michael Greger, MD” source_title=”How to Not Die” full_quote=”Analysis of a dozen beast cancer control studies found lower breast cancer risk associated with indicators of fruit and vegetable intake and high breast cancer risk associated with high saturated-fat intake. According to these studies, the more whole plant foods you eat, the better it is for your health. Every twenty grams of fiber intake per day was associated with 15 percent lower risk of breast cancer. A compilation of ten cohort studies on breast cancer and fiber intake came up with similar results, a 14 percent lower risk of breast cancer risk for every twenty grams of fiber intake per day.” short_quote=”Every twenty grams of fiber intake per day was associated with 15 percent lower risk of breast cancer, the more whole plant foods you eat, the better it is for your health”]

There are two different kinds of dietary fiber: insoluble and soluble.

  • Soluble fiber slows down digestion by attracting water and forming a gel-like substance once digested. It’s found in foods like oats, nuts, flaxseeds, beans, lentils, peas, and some fruits and vegetables like berries and carrots. Soluble fiber helps with weight loss because it slows the process of food emptying from our stomach and makes us feel full for longer after eating.
  • Insoluble fiber tends to speed up digestion by adding bulk tostool (basically helping relieve constipation and allowing easy bowl movements). It’s found in whole grains and most vegetables.

What to Do?

Eat a wide variety plant foods (beans, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and seeds)

For More Empowerment

Why Is Fiber Good For You? And How To Get Enough Fiber!

9 Tips You Can Begin Using Today to Get More Fiber in Your Diet

Are You Eating a High-Fiber Diet?

20 Ultimate High-Fiber Foods + the Benefits of Each

34 High Fiber Foods

Phytochemicals for Health’s Sake!

Originally published May 2016 as Phyto What?!

[su_expanding_quote_book alignment=”left” source_author=”David Heber MD,” source_title=” What Color is Your Diet?” full_quote=”When dietary intake of micronutrients (abundant in both diversity and amount) is optimized, a dramatic reduction in later life disease and enhancements in lifespan are possible. ” short_quote=”When we eat a significant and diverse amount of unprocessed vegetables, our chances of staying healthier and living longer increase.”]

Phyto what?! Phytochemicals (also called phytonutrients) are natural chemical compounds in plants. Fruits, roots, leaves, vegetables, grains, beans, seeds, nuts are loaded with phytochemicals. These micronutrients are non-vitamin, non-mineral components that support the defensive and self-repairing abilities of the human body. It’s like creating an energy shield for our body. Eating a wide diversity of plant foods – including herbs and spices – significantly increases the phytochemicals we give our body.

Adding multiple plant foods into every meal is not only nutritious, but also delicious. Choosing healthy food does not mean sacrificing flavor or pleasure.


Increasing research prove phytonutrients perform multiple function such as:

  • enhance our body’s anti-inflammatory abilities
  • prevent mutations at the cellular level
  • can prevent the proliferation of cancer cells

In other words, they boost our immune system and protect us from disease.

[su_expanding_quote_book alignment=”left” source_author=”Joel Fuhrman MD” source_title=”Eat to Live.” full_quote=”Substances newly discovered in broccoli and cabbage sprouts sweep toxins out of cells. Substances found in nuts and beans prevent damage to our cell’s DNA. Other compounds in beets, peppers and tomatoes, fight cancerous changes in cells. Oranges and apples protect our blood vessels from damage that could lead to heart disease. Nature’s chemoprotective army is alert and ready to remove our enemies and shield us form harm. Hardly a day goes by when a new study proclaims the health-giving properties of fruits, vegetables and beans.” short_quote=”Hardly a day goes by when a new study proclaims the health-giving properties of fruits, vegetables and beans.”]

Phytonutrients are provided by real food. It is the synergy that matters  – the interaction of phytochemicals with each other, and with other components (vitamins, minerals and fiber) that matters.

The most nutrient-dense, health-promoting foods are

  • Green vegetables (kale, spinach, collard and mustard greens are highest in overall nutrient density (most micronutrients per calorie.)
  • Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts
  • Beans (including lentil)
  • Onions and garlic
  • Mushrooms
  • Berries and pomegranate
  • Seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, flaxseed) and nuts
[su_expanding_quote_book alignment=”full” source_author=”Joel Fuhrman MD” source_title=”Super Immunity: The Essential Guide for Boosting Your Body’s Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger and Disease Free” full_quote=”The concentration of phytochemicals is often highlighted by vibrant colors of black, blue, red, green and orange. The different types of phytochemicals have unique health benefits which is why a broad variety (of plant foods) is the most beneficial…The function and production of immune cells are supported by a wide exposure to various phytochemicals. In contrast, the lack of a wide variety of plant-derived phytochemicals in their natural form is responsible for the development of most preventable diseases, including cancer.” short_quote=”The different types of phytochemicals have unique health benefits which is why a broad variety (of plant foods) is the most beneficial”]

The more variety + the more quantity of plant foods we consume = the better we improve our immune system, which protects us from disease. So bring on the phytonutrients and boost your health.

What To Do

  • Instead of processed breakfast cereals, make a habit of homemade granola or overnight oats like Crunchy Granola from Kath Eats Real FoodCranberry Maple Granola from The Gracious Pantry.  Layer it with season or dried fruits and whole-milk Greek yogurt or plant-milk and a drizzle of coconut milk. Sprinkle with an extra sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice or other spice
  • Instead of white bread/bagel/mufin, enjoy whole-grain, plant-rich breakfast breads like Carrot Apple Muffins,  Sweet Potato Pancakes or Pumpkin Waffles
  • Sprinkle 1 – 3 tablespoons of sesame, sunflower seeds, pumpkins seeds, nuts or ground flaxseed to your smoothie, overnight oats, granola at breakfast. Add them to your breakfast breads, pancakes and waffles
  • Add nuts and seeds to your salads and grains
  • Try to incorporate onions and greens into at least one meal a day

For Further Health Empowerment:

Learn about GBOMBS

Nutrition Facts: Phytochemicals, The Nutrition Facts Missing from the Label

Chris Kresser: Phytochemicals and Health: A Deep Dive into Food-Based Plant Compounds and How They Impact Your Health

Minerals for Health’s Sake!

Did you know 1/3 of women in the US will be diagnosed with osteoporosis?

Did you know current trends indicate that 100% of Americans will have joint degeneration by age 40?

Minerals compose only 4% of our body, but they are essential for our physical and mental health. As we saw in Micronutrients for Health’s Sake!, micronutrient deficiency is becoming a major underlying driver of chronic disease.

We need minerals to:

  • Regulate tissue growth
  • Contracting and relaxing muscles
  • Facilitate the transfer of nutrients across cell membranes
  • Maintain proper nerve conduction
  • Maintain the pH balance in the body
  • Provide structural and functional support
[su_expanding_quote_book alignment=”right” source_author=”Elson M Haas, MD” source_title=”Staying Healthy with Nutrition” full_quote=”The proper way to take in minerals is through mineral-rich water; through nutrient-dense foods and beverages, unrefined sea salt and mineral-rich bone broths in which all of the macrominerals are available in ready-to-sue form as a true electrolyte solution” short_quote=”The proper way to take in minerals is through mineral-rich water; through nutrient-dense foods and beverages”]

The body is an amazing orchestra, because so very many players and processes occur for the absorption and use of these essential minerals. Let’s take calcium as an example; it is the most abundant mineral in the body. Most calcium is stored in our bones and teeth. Did you know calcium is also vital to heart and muscle function nerve conductivity and to initiate the clotting process?

For our body to be able to absorb and use calcium properly, we need adequate:

  • hydration (water and electrolytes)
  • hormonal function
  • vitamins
  • fatty acids
  • proper digestion
  • balance with other macrominerals  and  trace minerals like zinc and copper
  • pH blood balance – our blood cannot be too acidic (this pulls calcium from our tissues) nor too alkaline (calcium will separate and deposit in inappropriate tissues)

Food sources of calcium include:

  • Leafy greens: collard greens, turnip greens, spinach, dandelion greens
  • Yeast
  • Lamb
  • Sardines
  • Rhubarb
  • Oatmeal

Let’s take another example. Why do we need zinc? It is:

  • Essential for the production of stomach acid vital to digestion
  • Critical for cell growth
  • Essential for skin and bone integrity
  • Required for optimal function of the immune system

Zinc is depleted by :

  • Stress
  • Refined carbohydrates
  • Coffee and caffeinated beverages
  • Alcohol

Food sources for zinc

  • Oysters
  • Beef
  • Turkey
  • Swiss chard
  • Lima beans
  • Potato
  • Oats

So what minerals are essential for health? (Macrominerals = needed in larger amounts; Microminerals = required only in minute amounts)

Macrominerals Microminerals
Phosphorous Iron                               Silicon
Potassium Boron                            Vanadium
Magnesium Chromium                     Zinc
Sulfur Iodine                            Lithium
Sodium Manganese                   Germanium
Chloride Molybdenum                Rubidium

What to Do?

  • #EatRealFood – Minerals are ingested in the foods we eat.
  • Eat a variety of foods with lots of organic, local produce and grains to obtain the full spectrum of essential minerals
  • Nourish the soil to get these basic elements (minerals) into and then back from the earth. Vegetables and fruits grown in rich, well-nourished soils have more essential minerals
  • Avoid refined and processed foods that have poor mineral content
  • Avoid high-sugar foods, caffeine and alcohol which can flush or deplete body minerals

MICROnutrients for Health Sake!

Every cell, tissue, organ and system in the body needs specific amounts of specific nutrients to function efficiently and effectively –not just the energy supplied by macronutrients (protein, fat and carbs).  Micronutrients are necessary not only to form the components of our bodies, but also in the millions of chemical reactions that occur in our bodies at every moment. They provide the raw materials our bodies need for healing, detoxifying, and rebuilding itself.

Micronutrients are:

  1. Vitamins (from Latin vita meaning “essence of life” ): essential organic molecules needed in small amounts for normal function, growth and maintenance of body tissues. Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, K and E) dissolve in fats and oils. Water-soluble (B vitamins and C) dissolve in water. This affects the way in which vitamins are absorbed and used in the body.
  2. Phytochemicals: naturally occurring chemical compounds in plants. These are vital for optimal health and disease prevention. There are thousands of phytochemicals. The more we get in our diet, the lower our risk of chronic disease.
  3. Minerals: chemical elements such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron that play vital roles including:
  • Regulate tissue growth
  • Facilitate the transfer of nutrients across cell membranes
  • Maintain proper nerve conduction
  • Provide structural (such as calcium for bones) and functional support
  • Maintain the pH balance in the body
[su_expanding_quote_book alignment=”full” source_author=”Sarah Ballantyne, PhD” source_title=”Paleo Principles” full_quote=”Micronutrient deficiency is increasingly showing up as a major underlying driver of chronic disease. The Standard American Diet is energy-rich, but it is also nutrient poor: the types of foods that many people eat each day are high in added sugars, refined grains, and industrially processed foods but devoid of the vitamins and minerals (and other health-promoting compounds) found in whole foods. The result is a high prevalence of nutrient deficiency.” short_quote=”Micronutrient deficiency is increasingly showing up as a major underlying driver of chronic disease.”]

Micronutrient deficiencies are linked to a spectrum of problems such as:

  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Greater susceptibility to infection (zinc deficiency leads to impaired immune function)
  • Thyroid disorders ( iodine deficiency)
  • Muscle weakness, bone loss (vitamin D deficiency)
  • Vision problems (vitamin A deficiency leads to poor retina health)

What To Do?

  • Eat real food
  • Replace grains with vegetables (sweet potatoes, broccoli etc.). They contain up to 10x more vitamins and minerals than grains, and have high amounts of health-promoting phytochemicals. Every time vegetables take the place of grains in your diet you win.
  • Add a handful of nuts per day: in granola, oatmeal, salad, grains, in pesto, nut butters on apple or veggie crudites
  • Add herbs. Cilantro. Parsley. Mint. Rosemary. Basil…and more. The exceptional flavors, textures and shapes can make the simplest salad or sandwich a gourmet delight. They are rich in micronutrients.  The flavor compounds in herbs are also powerful antioxidants. Even when used as a garnish, herbs can make an irreplaceable contribution to a dish: a whole sprig or chopped leaves arranged on an entrée or as an accent on a plate can enhance our appetite and create a harmonious mood
  • Add spices. They are concentrated sources of micronutrients; the list of phytochemicals in spices in virtually endless
  • Eat the rainbow in vegetables and fruits. The pigments that give plants their colors are phytochemicals. Eating many different colored vegetables and fruits is an easy way to get the full complement of nutrients plant foods provide. Eating two or three servings daily from each group = a superior micronutrient intake. Think of different color families of vegetables and fruits as their own individual food groups. Aim for 2 – 3 or each color family every meal, for a minimum of 8 – 10 servings daily. An easy way to do this is to have 2 servings at breakfast and 3 servings each at lunch and dinner.
[su_expanding_quote_book alignment=”right” source_author=”Elson M Haas, MD” source_title=”Staying Healthy with Nutrition” full_quote=”Studies show that fruit and vegetables intake correlates much more strongly with bone health than dairy intake – yes, to prevent osteoporosis and look after your bones, eat your veggies! Not only do they contain substantial  amounts of calcium, but there is scientific evidence that we actually absorb more calcium from cruciferous vegetables (like kale) than we do from dairy.” short_quote=”Studies show that fruit and vegetables intake correlates much more strongly with bone health than dairy “]

Simply incorporating a different vegetable into a meal can be a great start to upping your nutrient game.

The goal is progress, not perfection. The imperfect plan you stick to is better than the perfect plan you quit. 😁

Macronutrients for Health’s Sake!

Macronutrients are the nutrients we need in big (“macro”) quantities: carbs, fats, and protein. Each of these play a number of vital roles in constructing and fueling our bodies.

For optimal health, we need balanced diet of high-quality carbs, fats and protein. Intake will vary based on various factors such as activity level, stress levels, ancestry, genetics, digestive health, age, etc. The basic range needed to fuel function, support metabolic flexibility and ensure satiety is:

  • Carbohydrate 30 – 40%
  • Fat 30 – 40%
  • Protein 20 – 50%

Carbs: Are found predominantly in vegetables, fruits, tubers, legumes, grains and sweeteners. Aim for getting most of your carbs from brightly colored vegetables. Carbs are a:

  • Quick source of fuel for the brain and muscles
  • In the form of fiber, they provide fuel for our microbiome and ensure regular elimination of waste
  • Combined with fat and protein, carbs help us fight infections, grow new body tissue (bones and skin) and lubricate our joints

Fats: Are vital building block and source of energy in the body. Fats:

  • Absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K
  • Regulate the speed we digest food, build cell membranes and certain hormones
  • Maintain optimal cognitive function
  • Protective lining for the organs
  • Important source of high-caloric energy ideal for long, low-intensity activity
  • Improves taste and increase satiety

Proteins: Have many vital roles myriad of roles in the body. Proteins provide building blocks for:

  • Tissues such as organs, nerves, muscles
  • Enzymes: specialized protein molecules that are the managers and catalysts for all biochemical processes
  • Antibodies: protein structures that help fight infection and destroy foreign invaders
  • Hemoglobin: special protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen around the body
  • Insulin and glucagon: hormones released to help regulate blood sugar and energy levels

There are some healthy plant proteins, but high-quality, humanely raised protein from animal sources is much more bioavailable and includes all 9 essential amino acids necessary for health.

What To Do?

  1. Eat real food
  2. Track your macronutrients to determine current rations: Use an app such as MyFitnessPal or Cronometer.
  3. Keep a Food and Mood Journal and jot down what you eat and how you feel 1 – 3 hours are each meal
  4. Use the following criteria to help determine appropriate bio-individual rations.
Right Macronutrient Ratio Wrong Macronutrient Ration
Appetite, Satisfaction, Craving You feel full and satisfied

You don’t crave something sweet

You don’t desire more food

You don’t get hungry soon after eating

You don’t need to snack before next meal


You feel full, but are still hungry

You desire something sweet

Feel like something was missing

Feel hungry soon after eating

Need to snack

Energy Level Energy is restored after eating Feel hungry soon after eating
Have long lasting sense of wellbeing after your last meal Low energy, fatigue, exhaustion


Hyper, jittery, anxious after your meal

Feel hyper but exhausted underneath

Mental/emotional wellbeing Feel re-fueled or restored

Uplift in emotions

Improved clarity of mind

Normalization of thought processes


Mentally slow, sluggish, spacey

Unable to think clearly and quickly

Unable to focus

Depression or sadness

Hyper-anxious, obsessive behavior

Anger or irritability


Food Sourcing:

  • Think variety: eat a diverse range of plants and animals. Aim for 5 different colors on your plate each meal
  • Think locally: this supports local farmers, reduces emissions and reduces the risk of contamination
  • Think seasonally: foods that are in season where you live to get a wider diversity of nutrients and help prevent food sensitivities
  • Think quality: If economically and geographically feasible, aim for the highest quality plant and animal foods possible. Animal foods best sourced from 100% grass-fed, grass-finished animals or pasture raised poultry. Seafood sustainable, wild-caught is best. For guidance on produce, use EWG Dirty Dozen , EWG Clean 15

For More Empowerment

Make a Difference: 4 Reasons to Buy Local Foods

To Eat or Not to Eat Beef

I Choose Real Food

What is real food?  Food that we have eaten for most of human history. One way to cut through all the confusion is to think of foods that come from nature. Foods that people were eating before the twentieth century when laboratories and machines started making food products, stripping out natural nutrients and in their place inserting artificial flavors, chemicals and other additives.

[su_expanding_quote_book alignment=”right” source_author=”Nina Planck” source_title=”Real Food, What to Eat and Why” full_quote=”Real foods are old. These are foods we’ve been eating for a long time – in the case of meat, fish and eggs, for millions of years. We’ve been eating butterfat for at least ten thousand years. By contrast, margarine – hydrogenated vegetable oil made solid and dyed yellow to resemble traditional butter – is a modern invention, about a century old. Real foods are traditional. Fruits and vegetables are best when they’re local and seasonal; grains should be whole, fats and oils unrefined. From the farm to the kitchen, real food is produced and prepared the old-fashioned way. The traditional methods of farming, processing, preparing and cooking enhance nutrition and flavor, while the industrial method diminishes both.” short_quote=”Real foods are old. These are foods we’ve been eating for a long time”]

The marketing of this industrialized food has created tremendous noise and confusion about food consumption. It’s become not just necessary, but vitally important to learn where our food comes from and to make educated choices about what we eat.

Chronic disease – diabetes, cancer, heart illness and neurological disorders – are increasingly linked to fast food, junk food and processed food, and sadly have become norm in the US.  I don’t want a chronic or life-threatening illness, not for me nor for those I love. So I steer away from processed foods and seek out real foods.

[su_expanding_quote_book alignment=”center” source_author=”Kris Carr” source_title=”Crazy, Sexy Cancer” full_quote=”But of course I eat food, you say. Do you? Food isn’t made in a laboratory. Today we’re infusing our food with chemicals, hormones, pesticides and countless other toxic substances. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is tap dancing on the last nerve of our health. When we make the connection between what we consume and how we feel, a great transformational shift can occur. Most people live to eat and don’t eat to live. We wake up sick and tired on a daily basis. Allergies, high cholesterol, low-level depression and chronic diseases are just accepted parts of aging.” short_quote=”But of course I eat food, you say. Do you? Food isn’t made in a laboratory”]

After a huge amount of research, I’m convinced that the simplest way to make food choices is to go back to real foods; foods that are more a product of nature “than a product of industry”

  • Foods that don’t need ingredient labels: fruits, vegetables!
  • Whole foods that typically only have 1-ingredient like “brown rice”
  • Packaged foods generally made with no more than 5 unrefined ingredients
  • Organic dairy products like whole milk, unsweetened yogurt, eggs, and cheese
  • Breads and crackers that are 100% whole-grain
  • Sustainably wild caught seafood
  • Humanely raised meat: chicken, pork, beef, and lamb
  • Dried fruits, nuts, and seeds (nuts and seeds are better raw)
  • Natural sweeteners: honey and maple syrup

A fantastic resource if the idea of real food is new for you, is

I choose to eat the way people did for thousands of years. My goal is that 70-80% of the time I cook/eat a variety of fresh whole foods provided by nature:

  • Vegetables and fruits– preferably seasonal and local. To minimize pesticides in our food, I use the Environmental Working Group: Dirty Dozen as a guide. If I can’t buy organic, I buy the foods on the “Dirty Dozen” list only occasionally and always wash them well, using a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.
  • Beans – Dried beans are one of the most cost-effective, nutrient-rich foods we can enjoy. Once a week I cook a big pot of beans and, once cooled, put them in mason jars and freeze whatever won’t be used that week. Canned organic beans (garbanzo and either white or black bean) are pantry staple. I can always make a quick last minute dinner with canned beans, or a hummus/bean dip when friends drop in for happy hour.
  • Whole grains – quinoa and brown rice are pantry staples. Buying in bulk at the grocery store is usually most cost-effective. I add an alternate another grain for variety, usually buckwheat or bulgur.
  • Sustainably wild caught or responsibly farmed fish
  • Responsibly raised meats: Pastured pork and poultry. Grass-fed beef. It’s more expensive, but we eat meat just a couple times a week.
  • Organic dairy (milk and yogurt)
  • Unrefined fats: butter, coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil (when I can find it) and expeller-pressed canola oil
  • Nuts and seeds rather than cheese, and I buy them raw. Roasted nuts generally are salted, and apt to go rancid.

I believe eating healthfully is all about moderation and variety. I’ve found that the best way to stay the course (eating healthfully 70% of the time) is to be flexible. Birthday parties and special celebrations are meant to be enjoyed. And yes, I think it’s okay to occasionally indulge (guilt-free!) – some of my favorite indulgences: buffalo wings, Haagen Dazs Dulce de Leche ice cream (actually ANY Haagen Dazs ice cream!), croissants, and anything chocolate. The key word being occasionally.

Organic and sustainable real food is more expensive, but the more of us who choose this path, the more accessible such food will become, and the greater the impact will be on the health of our planet, but that’s another story for another day.

New to Real Food?

100 Days of Real Food

100daysofrealfood: Answers To Your Real Food Questions


Budget Tips for Real Food

100daysofrealfood: Real Food Tips, 12 Ways to Keep it Cheap

100 Days of Real Food: How to Afford Real Food on a Budget

Dr. Hyman: Eat Healthy on a Budget

Environmental Working Group: Good Food on a Tight Budget