I’ve Moved! Check out my new site…!

Hey Lovely Friends!

I’ve moved to a new domain!


And a new instagram:


Check it out and follow me!



Nutrishus Homemade KIND Bars (GF)

Good Tuesday morning people of the world! I hope you’ve enjoyed the long weekend.

I’m typing this with a sprained finger, so I’ll have to keep it short and sweet- literally…because let me tell you these bars are freaking sweeeet! (as in cool, but also… like ..sweet beca… you get it.)

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Last week I decided to experiment with homemade KIND bars because I just love KIND bars but do not enjoy wasting extra dollars to buy them. Thus I ventured to create my own homemade, using ingredients we already had in our endless Mary Poppins pantry.

Here’s what I came up with, and I’m sure you will agree they are quite outrageously delicious. Full disclosure, this recipe is all estimates because I didn’t recipe test specifically and was so full of glee after tasting them that I didn’t go back and pinpoint exact measurements of the ingredients. I’m sure I’ll be making them again soon though so I can get the exact rundown. I know some of you have been drooling in anticipation though so I will do my best.

 ‘Nutrishus and Kind’ Bars (name is in progress hahah)

  • 1 pack Trader Joe’s Raw  Unsalted Almonds (which I roasted on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 deg F for 10 mins) (you can use already roasted almonds too)
  • 2 handfuls TJ’s turbinado sugar/dark chocolate/sea salt covered almonds
  • 1.5 cups roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 bag of TJ’s Omega Trail Mix (aka cranberries, pumpkin seeds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios)
  • 1 tsp sea salt (use more or less depending on whether or not you’re working with salted nuts)
  • 2 tbs almond meal (aka pulverized almonds that create a flour-like texture)
  • dark chocolate chunks (for spreading on after)

In a medium size sauce pan over medium-low heat mix the following:

  • 1 1/2 cups raw local honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbs coconut oil (I had to use olive oil [still good] since I am out of coconut oil, but you want to use coconut as it works better at high temperatures)

In a mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients with the wet (minus the dark chocolate chunks– leave them until the end). On a nonstick cookie sheet spread the mixture evenly, making sure pieces are very tight together– if you need a smaller sheet go for it– it makes for better bars in the long run that you can just cut and eat.  Bake in oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-14 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle dark chocolate chunks on top, and if you are in the mood for extra sea salt, sprinkle some more on top as well. Let cool. Cut into bars, or, if you forgot to spray the sheet like me, scoop out into circular shapes like this 🙂

For storage, wrap in plastic wrap and cover that with foil. YUM. satisfying, healthy, saving you some moohlah, what more could you ask for?

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As always, bon appétit et bonne santé.


Robert Louis Stevenson’s Rules for Happiness

I’m a big fan of quotes, writing in general. Here’s a great list of the “Rules of Happiness” that my aunt sent me! Wise words.

  • Make up your own mind to be happy and find pleasure in simple things

  • Make the best of circumstances and reality 

  • Don’t take yourself too seriously. The same misfortune that befalls others may befall you, but don’t worry about it. 

  • You can’t and won’t please everybody, so don’t let criticism worry you.

  • Don’t let your neighbor or friend set your standards. Be yourself and walk tall.

  • Do things to enjoy, but be sure you can afford them– stay out of debt.

  • Never seek trouble, imaginary troubles are harder to bear than real ones. 

  • Hate poisons the soul, so try not to be jealous or hold grudges.

  • Try to have many interests. For example, if you can’t travel, you can read about new places and dream. Or you can learn about new things and try them.

  • Don’t hold postmortem– those “if I had only”. Don’t spend good time brooding over mistakes or misfortunes. Change them.

  • Do whatever little thing for someone less fortunate than yourself or who needs a helping hand. 

  • Keep busy each and every day at something– a busy person never has time to be unhappy. 

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And here’s a jazzy, great pic of nectarines, freshly picked from the trees today.

And some apples…..


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And in honor of the apples, here’s a great song….


Bonne sante y’all 🙂


Vital Nutrients You’re Missing When You Eliminate Food with Gluten

So, as you may or may not know, the word “gluten” is not another word for carb. In fact, gluten itself is a band of protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and spelt. In latin, it literally means glue–you know…think of it as that sticky stuff that makes your bread nice and yummy! (p.s. that’s a featured pic of delish pizza that contains gluten which I would devour all the time for just 4 euros while in France….be jelly)

Gluten causes a problem for many, especially those with celiac disease. It is not something to joke about for that 1% of the population… as it can even lead to death!

For others who are gluten intolerant or sensitive, gluten can cause inflammation and damage to the small intestine, and thus mess up your body’s ability to absorb vital nutrients.

Here’s some interesting information you may not know though as well. While gluten itself is really just a protein, eliminating your glutenous foods from your diet can mean eliminating a lot of essential vitamins and minerals. Why’s that? Well, it’s not because of the gluten itself, it’s because of the sources where it often is found. Back say 30 years ago, companies started adding vitamins to flour that were lost during the milling process, such as folic acid, a source of vitamin B. Thus, say you ate your bread every day, and decided to then stop cold turkey. Eventually, you may find that you’re deficient in vitamin B. Just a short abbreviated example of why it’s essential you know what you’re missing when you decide to eliminate any food from your diet.

Also, speaking of B vitamins, did you know some sources of vitamin B are more easily digested than others? For example, my aunt cannot absorb vitamin B unless she gets an injection of it because as folic acid it doesn’t work in her system. Others can absorb it best when taken as a supplement under the tongue. Vitamin B is naturally found in eggs… some people digest vitamin B best by eating their breakfast!
Alright, that’s a gal’s over-simplified example of the power of nutrition research and your health, but you get the idea. I know personally how vitamin deficiency can affect your well being… so before I start blabbing on, I have attached this great post I found that articulates it quite well I dare say!

Oh and hey alll you people, before you go and read on more, here are some delish sandwiches I made recently with absolutely zero guilt– bc they were each  gluten-free! If you follow me on the insta you’ve seen these… if not… FEAST YOUR EYES:

mmm… gluten free open-faced grilled cheese y’all….

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what’s that?? a reuben with buffalo chicken, brie, sauerkraut, and … kale?!Screen shot 2014-08-08 at 7.40.12 PM

alright, now for the post…. sorry– I know I wish I could be re-eating both of these right now, so I can’t even imagine how much you are drooling! 🙂


Avoiding foods with gluten has become a lot more common. You can find gluten-free breads, cereals, pastas, and crackers at most supermarkets, and an increasing number of restaurants offer gluten-free dishes. When you remove gluten from your diet, though, which nutrients might you be missing?

What is gluten?

Gluten is a type of protein found in the grains wheat, barley, rye, and spelt, as well as in foods that contain these ingredients. However, not all grains contain gluten; amaranth, arrowroot, buckwheat, cassava, corn, flax, millet, rice, and some other grains are naturally gluten-free.

Why avoid gluten?

There are many reasons that people adopt a gluten-free diet. People who suffer from celiac disease cannot digest gluten, and may experience cramping, gas, diarrhea, and bloating when they consume foods made with this protein. Gluten sensitivity, which is a problem for some people, may cause symptoms similar to celiac disease when sufferers eat gluten-rich foods. Finally, some folks avoid gluten because they follow a dietary regimen that excludes grains, such as the Paleo diet, or one that is low-carb, such as the Atkins diet. If you are avoiding gluten, don’t worry, InsideTracker can offer gluten-free nutrition advice.

Which nutrients are associated with gluten?

Gluten itself is a protein. Beyond that, however, many flours that contain gluten have added nutritional benefits. In order to improve the health of their populations during the Second World War, the United States and Britain began to enrich flour with certain nutrients. Enriching a food simply means that the manufacturer has added nutrients to replace vitamins and minerals lost during processing. The term fortifying refers to the addition of nutrients at levels beyond those that occur naturally in food. Today, most conventional (gluten-containing) pastas, cereals, and breads are made from flour that is enriched or fortified with iron and B vitamins. This public health practice of enriching food with nutrients has helped to reduce the incidence of birth defects, anemia, and other conditions.

Click here to learn how InsideTracker can help you optimize a gluten-free diet to fit your unique physical and nutritional needs!

Unlike wheat flour, gluten-free flours – typically made from rice flour, tapioca starch, sorghum flour, or potato starch – are not usually enriched or fortified. These flours may contain much smaller amounts of B vitamins and iron than whole grain or even highly processed white flour products. So how can you tell whether you are getting enough of these nutrients? The only way to truly know your nutritional status is to analyze the biomarkers in your blood through blood analysis with an InsideTracker Plan.

Because the typical American diet relies so heavily on gluten-containing foods that have been fortified or enriched, people whose diets are primarily composed of gluten-free flours often miss out on some key nutrients. If you’re going gluten-free, make sure you’re consuming sufficient amounts of these key nutrients:


Fiber helps your body to slow the absorption of sugar into the blood, works to improve your digestion, and makes you feel fuller for longer. According to the Institute of Medicine, women should consume 25 grams of fiber per day and men should about 38 grams. Grain-based foods account for about 44 percent of total fiber intake among Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Although the gluten-free versions of bread, pasta, and cereal are notoriously low in this nutrient, there are plenty of naturally gluten-free high-fiber foods besides grain-based products! Beans, fruit, vegetables, and nuts are also excellent sources of fiber, so try to increase your intake of these foods if you’re going gluten-free.

Folic acid

Folic acid (also known as folate) is a water-soluble B-vitamin, and ddults need about 400µg per day of folic acid. Folic acid plays two important roles: it is vital for production of new cells and helps prevent birth defects of a baby’s brain and spine. Therefore, women of childbearing age should consume at least 600µg per day (and up to 800µg per day) at least one month before they plan to become pregnant. Federal law requires that manufacturers add folic acid to wheat-based breads, cereals, flours, corn meals, pastas, rice, and other grain products to prevent birth defects in women who aren’t consuming adequate amounts of the vitamin in their typical diet, but this requirement is not extended to gluten-free products. If you’re eating gluten-free, consume lots of green leafy vegetables, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, and lentils to get adequate folic acid.


Iron is an essential mineral that is a part of the protein hemoglobin, which is found in all the body’s red blood cells. Hemoglobin works to supply the muscles and other organs with enough oxygen, as well as to help the body to convert carbohydrates and fat into energy. In the United States, wheat flour is enriched with iron to compensate for the loss of the nutrient when wheat is refined to flour, but very few gluten-free flours are fortified with iron. If you’re deficient in iron (the Recommended Dietary Allowance of iron for adult women is 18 milligrams a day, and 8 milligrams for adult men), you probably have lower levels of red blood cells and hemoglobin, which can negatively impact athletic performance and overall wellbeing. Meats, leafy green vegetables, fish, and shellfish are good sources of iron, so be sure to incorporate those foods into your diet.

How to add nutrients to a gluten-free diet

The best way to avoid nutritional deficiencies on a gluten-free diet is to eat whole foods. In addition to fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, fish, eggs, poultry, and dairy products are also great sources of iron, fiber, and B vitamins. Essentially, the more variety in your diet, the less likely you are to suffer from a nutritional deficiency. If you have celiac disease or have just made the decision to cut gluten from your diet, try to rely less on gluten-free processed foods and instead eat more whole foods. If you’re confused about what foods you can and can’t eat on a gluten-free diet, InsideTracker has a gluten-free option that shows foods that will meet your needs!

Remember, just because a label says that a product is “gluten free”, doesn’t mean that it’s healthier! A gluten-free cookie doesn’t necessarily contain fewer calories or more nutrients than a conventional cookie, so be sure to stick to whole, unprocessed foods to get the most nutrients from your diet.”


Bon appetit et bonne sante,


On Methylation: A Fascinating Insight

I certainly hope my gluten free, fellow B12 deficient aunts are reading this one. Thought this was interesting considering my last blood test showed I need to increase my B12 levels and magnesium.

You have to read Dr. Hyman’s post about this first, but below are the highlights and what you can do about it. 

Methylation is a key biochemical process that is essential for the proper function of almost all of your body’s systems. It occurs billions of times every second; it helps repair your DNA on a daily basis; it controls homocysteine (an unhealthy compound that can damage blood vessels); it helps recycle molecules needed for detoxification; and it helps maintain mood and keep inflammation in check.

A breakdown in methylation also puts you at higher risk for conditions like osteoporosis, diabetes, cervical dysplasia and cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, depression, pediatric cognitive dysfunction ( mood and other behavioral disorders), dementia, and stroke.

To avoid all of these problems, the key is to maximize methylation. That means avoiding the things that cause your methylation to break down, testing to find out how well your methylation is working, and including the things that support proper methylation. Let’s look at how to do that.

8 Factors that Affect Your Methylation Process

  1. Genetics – Like an estimated 20 percent of us, you could be genetically predisposed to high homocysteine
  2. Poor diet – The word “folate” comes from “foliage.” You need to eat plenty of leafy greens, beans, fruit, and whole grains to get adequate levels of vitamins B6 and B12, betaine, and folate. Egg yolks, meat, liver, and oily fish are the main dietary sources of vitamin B12 — so long-term vegan diets can be a problem. Plus, certain compounds can raise levels of homocysteine and deplete the B vitamins. These include excess animal protein, sugar, saturated fat, coffee, and alcohol. Irradiation of food depletes nutrients, so foods treated this way may be lower in B vitamins, too
  3. Smoking – The carbon monoxide from cigarette smoke inactivates vitamin B6
  4. Malabsorption – Conditions like digestive diseases, food allergies, and even aging can reduce absorption of nutrients
  5. Decreased stomach acid – Aging and other conditions can reduce stomach acid — and therefore absorption of vitamin B12
  6. Medications – Drugs like acid blockers, methotrexate (for cancer and arthritis and other autoimmune diseases), oral contraceptives, HCTZ (for high blood pressure), and Dilantin (for seizures) can all affect levels of B vitamins
  7. Other conditions – These include hypothyroidism, kidney failure or having only one kidney, cancer, and pregnancy
  8. Toxic exposures – Some toxins can interfere with vitamin production

Watch out for these factors and you will go a long way toward protecting your methylation.

Measuring Your Own Methylation Process

To find out if your methylation process is optimal, ask your doctor for the following tests:

  • Complete blood count – Like our friend Mr. Roberts, large red blood cells or anemia can be a sign of poor methylation. Red blood cells with a mean corpuscular volume (MCV) greater than 95 can signal a methylation problem
  • Homocysteine – This is one of the most important tests you can ask for. The normal level is less than 13, but the ideal level is likely between 6 and 8
  • Serum or urinary methylmalonic acid – This is a more specific test for vitamin B12 insufficiency. Your levels may be elevated even if you have a normal serum vitamin B12 or homocysteine level
  • Specific urinary amino acids – These can be used to look for unusual metabolism disorders involving vitamins B6 or B12 or folate, which may not show up just by checking methylmalonic acid or homocysteine

12 Tips to Optimize Your Methylation Process

Just as there are many causes of poor methylation, there are lots of things that support its proper functioning. Here’s how to maximize methylation — and prevent conditions like heart disease, cancer, dementia, depression, and more.

  1. Eat more dark, leafy greens – You want to eat l cup a day of vegetables like bok choy, escarole, Swiss chard, kale, watercress, spinach, or dandelion, mustard, collard, or beet greens. These are among the most abundant sources of the nutrients needed for optimal methylation
  2. Get more Bs in your diet – Good food sources include sunflower seeds and wheat germ (vitamin B6); fish and eggs (vitamin B6 and B12); cheese (B12); beans and walnuts (vitamin B6 and folate); leafy dark green vegetables; asparagus, almonds, and whole grains (folate); and liver (all three)
  3. Minimize animal protein, sugar, and saturated fat – Animal protein directly increases homocysteine. Sugar and saturated fat deplete your body’s vitamin stores
  4. Avoid processed foods and canned foods – These are depleted in vitamins
  5. Avoid caffeine – Excess amounts can deplete your B vitamin levels
  6. Limit alcohol to 3 drinks a week – More than this can deplete your B vitamin levels
  7. Don’t smoke – As noted above, smoking inactivates vitamin B6
  8. Avoid medications that interfere with methylation – See notes on this above
  9. Keep the bacteria in your gut healthy – Take probiotic supplements and use other measures to make sure the bacteria in your gut are healthy so you can properly absorb the vitamins you do get
  10. Improve stomach acid – Use herbal digestives (bitters) or taking supplemental HCl
  11. Take supplements that prevent damage from homocysteine – Antioxidants protect you from homocysteine damage. Also make sure you support methylation with supplements like magnesium and zinc
  12. Supplement to help support proper homocysteine metabolism – Talk to your doctor to determine the best doses and forms for you.  Here are a few suggestions:
    Folate (folic acid):
     Amounts can vary based on individual needs from 200 mcg to 1 mg. Some people may also need to take preformed folate (folinic acid or 5 formylTHF) to bypass some of the steps in activating folic acid
    Vitamin B6: Take 2 to 5 mg a day. Some people may need up to 250 mg or even special “active” B6 (pyridoxyl-5-phosphate) to achieve the greatest effect. Doses higher than 500 mg may cause nerve injury
    Vitamin B12: Doses of 500 mcg may be needed to protect against heart disease. Oral vitamin B12 isn’t well absorbed; you may need up to 1 or 2 mg daily. Ask your doctor about B12 shots
    Betaine: This amino acid derivative is needed in doses from 500 to 3,000 mg a day, depending on the person

The more you know…



Paula’s Double-Dutch Chocolate Fudge Upside-Down Cake

Have you ever had a Pineapple Upside-Down Cake? Remember the texture? The gooey, light, melt-in your mouth cake, with the sweet syrup and pineapple bits glazed perfectly on top?

Well, if you prefer chocolate like me, you’re in for a delicious, unexpected twist on that classic! I couldn’t help but make this at the same time I was experimenting with that cobbler the other day, and it turned out to be so good I now feel no need to order that chocolate flourless lava cake at restaurants because I feel I can make something just as satisfying at home! Okay, who am I kidding, I can’t turn down a flourless lava cake when I’m out… 🙂

But back to business! So this recipe, which was kind of like a cool science fair project, works in mysterious ways. You must have faith it will turn out– it’s very odd but the end result is amazing.

Note to my fellow GF people out there– this is not gluten-free because I made it the original way. I wanted to see how it would turn out with the original recipe before I started doctoring it up to be gluten free. Yes, I tried it, and I received quite the hefty migraine after on account of the gluten I presume, but it honestly was worth it in the moment. Next time I post this recipe though, I promise it will be GF so everyone can enjoy it– including me– guilt free.

Alas— Paula Deen’s DELICIOUS, melt-in-your-mouth-warm-fuzzy-feeling- Double-Dutch Chocolate Fudge Upside-Down Cake

Double-Dutch Chocolate Fudge Upside-Down Cake
Serves 8-10

1 cup all-purpose flour (Used unbleached whole grain all-purpose flour)
1 cup granulated sugar, divided use (I used organic raw cane sugar– which is less processed and Non-GMO)
2 tablespoons, plus 1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt (sea salt)
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons melted butter (I used KerryGold pure irish butter)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided use
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups boiling water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, 3/4 cup of the granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons of the cocoa powder, the baking powder, and the salt. Add the milk, the oil, and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla, and stir until blended. Stir in the nuts,if using.


Pour the batter into a greased 9×13-inch pan.


In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar with the 1/4 cup cocoa powder; stir well. Sprinkle this mixture over the batter in the pan.

 Using a large spoon, drizzle the boiling water over the cake; do not stir. 

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top of the cake is firm. Let the cake cool slightly. Cut the cake into squares and place them upside down (gooey side up) on dessert plates.

When you take it out of the oven it looks like this (aka you will think your life is over because you have ruined your precious cake)…..

IMG_20140714_152232530But no fear…. turn that CAKE upside down…..



And voila! That yummy chocolatey sauce that was on the bottom is now on top!

Serve warm out of the oven with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream! Your guests will love you.

Happy eating, #treatyoself!


France’s Healthy (and Not-So-Healthy) Habits

Reminiscing the sweet life of France, important insight into stopping and smelling les fleurs!

It’s true, the french are much thinner, have far better complexions, and live much longer than we do. Their population life expectancy is 81.46 (male: 78.35 years female: 84.73 years (2012 est.) , as compared with the US, at 78.6 years.

Although, for a population with such healthy eating habits (and yes, I am including their consumption of fatty foods in healthy), they certainly could use some help in some areas. For one thing, I haven’t been able to walk past the french high school once without having to dodge cigarette buds on the ground or cigarette smoke wafting through the air on every side of me. Not only that, but most french students that I have met, have told me they’ve been drinking alcohol since before they were legally allowed. Which, of course, is normal for us in America too, but that usually means we get a little crazy in…

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