Food as Medicine

Top Five Reasons to do a Whole Foods Cleanse

Mushrooms and SpinachParticipating in a whole foods cleanse is a commitment to treating your body with attention, love and care for a period of time, and the benefits are many.  Read below to see my top 5 reasons to do a whole foods cleanse:

  1. Quick results:  Cleanses are ideal for people who want to feel better quickly, and they are very effective at accomplishing this goal.  Stick with the protocol and I can pretty much guarantee that by day 5 you will feel better than before you started, and by day 12 you will feel better than you can remember.
  2. It’s not that hard, really:  You will be amazed at the variety of foods, flavors, and recipes that are included in this cleanse (it might just cure your food boredom!).  You will feel satisfied and your cravings will go away.  In our first phone call I will teach you how to prepare so you ease into the cleanse gently and comfortably.
  3. You’ll break some bad habits and replace them with new habits that serve you better: It’s very easy to fall into subtle, but not very good habits – those little things that are meant to be temporary (extra cup of coffee in the afternoon, extra glass of wine at night, fast food on the way home from work, etc), but then they wriggle their way into your daily or weekly routine and get stuck there, and take a toll.  A cleanse will wipe the slate clean, break the cycle, and provide a space for you to replace those habits with more beneficial ones.
  4. You’ll find some new, go-to foods:  A cleanse provides an [...]

Whole Foods Cleanse Details: February 2nd-13th, 2014

cleanseI have led hundreds of individuals through various types of cleanses, and have always enjoyed hearing how wonderful they make people feel.  Results vary from predictable (“I feel so much better”) to sometimes astonishing (“I had no idea I could feel this way!”).

So now I’m especially excited to offer my own customized cleanse program: not based on someone else’s book or philosophy, but what I, as a trained health coach experienced in leading others through cleanses, believe to be a gentle but extremely effective program.

So here is what’s involved:

  • 12 days
  • Feast on an abundance of whole, unprocessed foods – no food quantity or calorie restrictions
  • Eliminate the most common allergens and trouble-makers: sugar, alcohol, caffeine, dairy, gluten, and any and all processed foods
  • Highly recommended herbal detox option: Boost your cleanse with the Gaia Supreme Cleanse Kit –supports the natural role of the liver, a healthy lymphatic system, digestion, and elimination

Here is the support you’ll receive to not only survive, but thrive on this cleanse:

  • Two weeks of dinner plans from Eat Happy Meal Plan: cleanse-friendly comprehensive dinner plans, including four dinner recipes per week along with a shopping list and preparation calendar that will help you execute dinner flawlessly
  • Weekly support calls, recorded for your convenience.  All calls will take place from 12pm-1pm.  You will be able to phone in for 24 hours after the live call to listen to the recording, at your convenience
    • Jan 28th – Learn the necessary steps for preparing for the cleanse.
    • Feb 6th – First week check-in: Discuss any questions you have, check in with [...]

Five Fixable Ailments and How to Fix Them

In my health coaching practice I see clients suffer from many of the same symptoms.  Most of the women I work with are working hard at their jobs, caring for families, and generally giving selflessly of their time and energy to others.  Their own self-care has taken a back seat, and the results are both physical and emotional.

The following are the five most common ailments I see in clients:


  1. Low mood, anxiety or depression 
  2. Gastrointestinal distress, gas, bloating, diarrhea 
  3. Headaches, including chronic migraine 
  4. Cravings for sugar, caffeine, and alcohol
  5. Fatigue and low energy 

What many don’t realize is that these are symptoms of intolerance, deficiency, and/or imbalance.  The good news is that they are largely fixable when the underlying issue or issues are identified.  Every body is unique and therefore the reasons behind the symptoms can be different for each person.  But here are a few commonalities I find in my practice:

  1. Low mood, anxiety or depression: Eating the wrong foods paired with a stressed-out lifestyle are a sure-fire way to chronically damage your mood.  The kinds of foods you eat contribute to the mix of neuro-transmitters available to your brain.  Too much junk food, blood sugar swings, and an imbalance of omega-3s vs. omega-6 fatty acids can all contribute to chronically low levels of serotonin and dopamine – your “happy brain chemicals”.  The real killer here is that stress and low mood often lead to seeking out junk foods (pasta, ice cream, candy!), which cause a temporary boost in serotonin, but deplete it long-term.
  2. Gastrointestinal distress, gas, bloating, diarrhea: Bio-individuality is truly a key factor here.  What makes one person feel wonderful can make another feel miserable.  What I can pretty much guarantee is that [...]
By |December 12th, 2013|Food as Medicine, General|

Improve Your Immunity Naturally

Need natural ways to improve your immunity?  Me too.

Since having kids I’ve become a little obsessed with fending off bugs around this time of year.  About a year ago I wrote a post about 6 steps to boost your immune system.   Well, it’s on my mind again this year, and actually even more relevant, since my oldest started pre-school this September.  She is having a blast and loving school, but there’s been a steady stream of bugs into the house ever since.   And while she’s been remarkably resistant, the rest of us (myself, my 1-year old, and my husband), have been a bit more affected.

When it comes to boosting immunity there are, of course, the pillars of good health: exercise,  a clean and nutritious diet, and enough sleep.  But we all know about those, right?  So what else can you do?  Perhaps, like me, you’re exposure to bugs has increased, or perhaps you’ve been in a rut of feeling unwell for a while, and need to turbo-charge your a efforts.  If you’re already doing the basic stuff and would like a little extra, read on.

Here are 4 cool and effective ways to boost your immune system:

  1. Take a cold shower – This is probably the easiest one on the list.  Takes barely any time at all, is essentially free, and requires no time outside of your current daily schedule.  How does it work?  Research shows that “taking daily cold showers increased the numbers of disease-fighting white blood cells (compared to people who took hot showers)”.  Bonus: they can boost your metabolic rate, help prevent injury, and improve male fertility.  Read more here.  Duration doesn’t need to be long (think a cold rinse – [...]

Wild Coho Salmon with Mushrooms and Shallots


Wild Coho Salmon with Sauteed Mushrooms and Shallots

It’s the tail end of salmon season.

 On the other end is the vibrant, deep orange-red, velvety, wild Coho salmon.  Coho salmon is only one of the multiple varieties that lives wild in the pacific northwest, but it is one of my favorites.  Here he is in all his glory:

All you need to accomplish fancy-restaurant-quality salmon is a good-quality fish and to not overcook the bejeesus out of it.  The good-quality fish is really key.  And getting fresh fish that hasn’t been frozen is really a nice treat – the texture is buttery and smooth.  At my grocery store some beautiful Coho salmon is available through the first week of October.

I decided to pair my lovely salmon filet with some oyster mushrooms from the farmer’s market, a little dried thyme, and some minced shallot.  Easy peasy.  I sauteed the mushrooms and shallot while the fish was roasting in the oven.

My rather large, 1 1/3 lb salmon filet was too big to fit into a 13×9 inch baking dish, so I cut that bad boy in half and he was snug as a bug.  He was done roasting in 15 minutes.  Just enough time to saute my fungi.

I served this with some roasted red new potatoes and some collard greens sauteed with a little tomato.  Get this recipe in the context of its complete meal-plan by signing up here.

Coho Salmon with Sautéed Mushrooms and Shallots
From Eat Happy Meal Plan
Total Prep Time: 25 minutes
Active Time: 25 minutes
Serves:  4

1 [...]

Reduce Your Stress with Food

Green juice with kale, lemon, celery and ginger Green juice with kale, lemon, celery and ginger

Do you feel like this poor guy, with stress practically coming out your ears?  With our go-go-go lifestyle and constant demands on your attention, it’s easy to start feeling overrun with stress.  The result can be emotional, physical, and sometimes chronic symptoms, such as the following:
hair pulling

  • fatigue
  • irritable mood
  • sugar and coffee cravings
  • anxiety or depression
  • increase in colds, flu, and/or infections
  • chronic inflammation, pain, and/or headaches
  • weight gain, especially in the midsection

Stress increases the circulation of the “stress hormones” cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine, and chronically high levels wreak havoc on your body’s processes, causing discomfort, weight gain, and decreased immunity.  Long-term this can increase your risk for getting cancer, heart disease, and other chronic health problems.

The good news is that you can do something about it.  I tell my health coaching clients to view stress as weights on one side of a scale.  Sometimes you can decrease your stressors – lighten that side of the scale.  But sometimes that’s not possible, so when you can’t decrease it, counter-balance it.  Build up the other side of the scale with things that decrease stress.

That’s where food comes in.  Food has the unique ability to increase or decrease the burden of stress on your body.  If you eat the wrong foods they will add stress – sugar, refined carbs, low-quality meats and dairy all contribute to inflammation and an acidic environment.  Too many chemicals add to the burden on your kidneys and liver, your detoxification organs, [...]

By |September 10th, 2013|Food as Medicine, General|