Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Addicted to Eating Out?

(I wrote this 4 years ago just before I HEALED myself of my own restaurant addication, the suggestions I offer come from my personal experiences and the thought processes that I used to unravel my own compulsion to eat out, probably needs some editing, but here it is anyway).

According to Wikkipedia, “the term addiction is used to describe a recurring compulsion by an individual to engage in some specific activity, despite harmful consequences to the individual’s health, mental state or social life”.

For some people, “eating out” can become as compulsive and habitual as an addiction to shopping, alcohol, drugs or sex.
To be fair, few of us recognize “eating out” as an addiction, yet if one recognizes that they have a compulsion to “eat out”, then we must consider that addiction is a possibility; and perhaps we must also consider addressing it with the same care that we might any other form of addiction.

For practical purposes, people who eat out a lot spend a lot more money on food than do people who eat at home. If we consider money as an exchange for life energy, we have to consider then whether “eating out” might be an equitable exchange for life energy expended. This poses the question “does eating out compulsively or habitually, add value to our lives in proportion to the energy that we must spend working to make the money that foots the bill”?

How much is too much?

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, on average people eat out 11 times in 2 weeks.  Considering this average, we know that there are just as many people who “eat out” close to 22 times every two weeks as there are those that rarely “eat out”.

Let’s break this down then. At 3 meals per day, we eat 42 meals every two weeks. For those people who eat out the most, they eat out, just over half the time. I propose that these numbers are actually conservative. How many of us prefer to paint a pretty picture about our health and lifestyle choices; whether in our own minds as a form of denial, or to hide the truth from others, out of sheer embarrassment?

If how much is too much, is not apparent to you, consider the 80/20 rule. Eat healthy 80% of the time and allow for 20% margin of flexibility for spontaneity, time crunches, food served by friends and family etc. If we eat out more than 20% of the time, we would do well to consider being impeccable with our food choices at home. For those suffering from illness and degenerative
diseases, as well as pregnant women and growing children, it would be ideal if at all possible to eat the best quality nutrient dense food, 90% of the time at home and of course foods infused with love and nurturing care.

So what is the big deal about “eating out” anyway?

Here’s why. The 4 biggest concerns that are worth considering about “eating out”, is the quality of the foods ingredients, namely:

refined fats and oils (pro inflammation, lack the integrity to build our cell membranes and myelin sheaths which impacts not only every organ and system of our body, but also our ability to think and how we feel)

refined sugar and flours
(destabilize blood sugar, reduce intestinal transit time leading to the putrefaction of proteins and fermentation of carbohydrates in the gut )

pesticides and herbicides (toxicity)

additives and preservatives (toxicity)

antibiotics (kill good intestinal flora and allow “bad” bacteria to multiply which creates intestinal dysbiosis and toxicity, initiate allergic pathology by proliferating bad bacteria such as Candida which creates holes in the intestinal wall and therefore allows undigested food particles to enter the blood stream causing the immune system to launch an allergic response to those foods , diminish capacity to produce nutrients in the intestinal tract)

What all these aforementioned ingredients have in common, is that they are foreign to the human body and cause both toxicity and a nutrient deficit. This happens in two ways:

1) whatever nutrients were taken out during their refining, must be pulled out of our own nutrient and enzyme stores to digest the refined food

2) because of their toxic nature, we must again call on our own resources to effectively break them down into waste products, this again uses up more of our enzymes and nutrient reserves, while straining the liver

Besides the obvious affect on our health of eating poor quality food, “eating out” denotes that we are always on the run. We have to ask ourselves, what are we running from and what social and nurturing qualities are we missing out on, the ones we cannot order off the menu?

How does the nature of a restaurant, being fast paced, commercial, and impersonal affect the energy of our food? We rarely get to see the chef, never mind have the opportunity to connect with and thank him/her. What is the real cost, not only to our health, but to our soul of pacifying our need for a village? We get the buzz of humanity and we interact with a few strangers, but
do we really meet our need for connection with a wider community?

So how does one transcend the compulsion to “eat out”?

Awareness of course! We must as with all addiction, admit to ourselves that we have a problem and equally as important, we must remain conscious even as we act out our addictions. On those days that we eat out, despite that we know that we are just stuffing down that nagging feeling of lack of harmony and balance, we can still take note of what we are doing and why we are still doing it. This is not to shame ourselves, but to continually call ourselves back to the question, “what is it that is lacking in my life that causes me to continue to be addicted to eating out, what need am I trying to fulfill”.  This awareness allows us to question our motives even further.

The insight makes no difference in our experience of living, if we do not keep calling ourselves back to it, and allow it to inform our actions.

So the next time you are about to “eat out”, take a deep breath, then pause and ask yourself these questions.

“Why do I want to eat out right now?” (notice if your “why” is positive or negative)

“What am I really hungry for?” (notice if what you truly desire can actually be provided on a restaurant menu)

“Will this restaurant, both the food and the atmosphere nourish both my mind and soul”? (notice if you are willing to settle for whatever you get)

“What will “eating out” cost me financially, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually? How can I get a better return on my investment?  (it might be helpful to make a list eg: if a meal costs on average of fifty dollars, how could you better spend that fifty dollars, or if it takes one hour to drive to a restaurant and back, how could you better spend a time segment of one hour?)

If your “why” is something positive, like a break from routine or to celebrate your own or another’s success or to meet with a good friend, then likely you are not eating out because you are addicted, but rather for the luxury, beauty and pleasure of it.

However if your reasons sound more like an excuse and you are embarrassed to admit how much you actually eat out, then you likely have an addiction to eating out.

If you consider this, it is easy to see that addiction to eating out, like any other addiction, is a coping mechanism to avoid transforming areas of you life that have important health, lifestyle and psycho/spiritual implications. One could say that eating out is a symptom and that lack of balance both biochemically and in one’s lifestyle, plus lack of inner fulfillment are the pre-disposing root causes.

If in the moment, we decide act on our impulse to “eat out” and over ride our consciousness to make a choice that is more in alignment with our health and well-being; we can overlap our consciousness into our acting out of the addiction. This has
the potential to transform us as equally as does self awareness and self discipline. Here’s how:

1) make a list of restaurants that are nourishing and nurturing to your body and soul; put it up on the fridge (this will inspire you to go to new places, which takes some of the habit out of the addiction)

2) look for what is right about the place you’ve chosen (take the focus off the fact that you have chosen to act out the addiction and you will feel good while eating the food which allows you to digest the food well and subsequently be more nourished by it)

3) chew each bite consciously and slowly (savour the food and initiate optimal digestion)

4) forgive yourself by accepting yourself where you are at today; know you are doing your best in this moment

5) acknowledge that by choosing to feel good right now, you are bringing yourself into greater harmony and alignment with your intention to make eating out a luxury rather than a compulsion or perceived necessity; just relax knowing that by the quality of your consciousness, in time, the compulsion to “eat out” will fall away

Once the bill comes, objectively and again with out blame, but rather with curiosity, ask your self the following questions:

1) Do I feel fulfillment, satisfaction and value in having made this choice?

2) Was this choice in line with my values and purpose in life?

Finally, don’t forget to write your insights down. Buy a journal so that you can fit it into your purse or pocket. Get your thoughts on paper, so you can refer back to them and track your progress and successes.



The dirty secrets in my messy kitchen…….

Wondering if healthy eating will just be too hard and worried that it only works for hippy mamas and God Ordained blissful born again homemakers?

First let me let you in on a few little secrets that might help you feel at home with me and trust that you are in good hands on your path to adopting a whole foods diet. I am sure that I can take you down the path because I’ve been there, done it and I am still doing it!

By the way, I don’t wear tie dye or birkenstocks EVER (but now that I said it, I just know that I will someday-eek I hate birkenstocks-they make me look like I have Flinstone feet!) and I rarely eat granola. And, while I do come from a long line of born againers, when it comes to home making I am more like Cinderella than a happy housewife- while I am not religious by any stretch of the imagination, the truth is, I am just as devoted to homemaking. I am instrinsically motivated to feed my family well and create a nurturing sacred space in my home- something that I believe all mothers aspire to AND that most struggle with, in the modern context of family life.

While a select few have named me a domestic goddess at times, it doesn’t always look like “that”.  I have to confess that I have a few dirty little secrets of my own to confess in my ever messy kitchen…..

Secret #1: I wasn’t born to hippy parents and I don’t live in the granola belt! I grew up in a small town and I didn’t even know what a health food store was until my late teens (and I only went in there for one thing-natural peanut butter!) AND my idea of cooking a meal in my early twenties was- following the instructions on a box: boil water, open package, add water, stir and let sit for 10 minutes, fluff with a fork and serve.

Secret #2: I don’t really “like” everyday cooking, I hate doing dishes, sometimes I find stopping to eat to be a bother, but I LOVE the results of how good I feel when eating real homecooked food AND because I am a mother ( I persist). While I don’t have my cooking resistance “licked”….making every meal and snack from scratch is a PRACTICE that I keep coming back to! I can totally relate to my clients and their kitchen aversion (I won’t judge you, if you don’t judge me)…well, even if you do judge me, I STILL won’t judge you : )

Secret #3: I fed my family organic fast food tonight for dinner and Annie’s Mac N’ Cheese out of a box last night (I was soooo busy preparing to teach about food, that I had no time to make any!).

Secret #4: I eat dark chocolate (whenever I want) without guilt. In fact I am eating some right now! mmmm…yum!

Secret #5: I am an unabashedly unapologetic about my addiction to espresso and have no intention of giving it up…coffee is my soulfood.

Secret #6: I am NOT a vegetarian (although I was for 13 years) and I’m not going to tell you that you HAVE to become one to eat healthy AND by the same token, I am not going to tell you that you have to eat meat to be healthy either. In my personal self validated opinion, there is a diet for every reason and season….each being valid in their own right, yet each not without
it’s own limitations.

The only thing you’ll hear me stand 100% behind, all of the time, is good old fashioned REAL FOOD, as nature intended- simple, affordable and accessible for all of us….

The truth is that more often than I care to admit, I swing back and forth from one day feeling like Cinderella wishing that someone (anyone) would come and rescue me from the depths of domestic drudgery, to the very next day feeling like a bonafide Domestic Goddess!

So what I am really trying to say is that I get it.  It’s hard and it’s overwhelming and sometimes it seems like an insurmountable task to put 3 homecooked meals on the table each day. Rest assured that you are not alone if you don’t know where to start or feel like giving up in the kitchen. Like anything else worth doing well, there are clear first baby steps and then there is the path of practice. For some of us getting started is the hardest part, and for others the hardest part is staying on the path and maintaining the flow.

Either way, I would be honoured to hold your hand on the journey! To discover your FIRST steps, visit my website to get your FREE 4 Part Video e-course “First Steps to Becoming a Whole Foods Family!” And if your want to “Discover Your NEXT Steps” you can get started with me @

Fertility Freezer Fudge….or a little lovebite for those lookin’ for some more libido!

If you are low on progesterone or looking to boost your libido, you’ve got to try maca. Maca is a root vegetable that is not only nutritious, but has a reputation both for nourishing the womb and for liberating the libido! One I might add that it often Dramatically lives up to!


Fine Tune Your Fertility or Liven Up Your Libido!

Maca has a very distinct taste and is best mixed in a smoothie. However, I recently came up with the idea of making myself a freezer fudge version to take along with my fermented cod liver oil (cod liver oil should be consumed with butter for optimal assimilation). I’ve been making a carob peanut butter one for the kids, but thought I would try making a maca one for myself so that I can both optimize my daily dose of Vit.A and Vit.D, AND get a quick daily infusion of maca.

The Recipe:

3/4 -1 cup pastured (or best quality butter you have access to) butter
1/4 cup maca powder
1/4 cup  honey or unrefined cane sugar
1-3 tsp vanilla

Blend with a fork and taste as you go, to see how much butter and vanilla tastes best to you in combination with the maca.

1/4 cup organic carob or chocolate
1 Tbsp espresso
1 Tbsp Teecino shot (or other coffee like alternative)
substitute coconut oil for butter

Put your fudge in a container in the freezer. I cut mine into pie shapes because I wanted a pretty picture, but little squares will be just fine too!

Enjoy and tell me your favourite variation on this theme!

Chicken Chips! I ain’t kidding….

A very common belief is that chicken skin is bad for us because it is a concentrated source of saturated fat and cholesterol.

I don’t buy into this perception.

Saturated fat is a naturally occuring fat found in conjunction with other fats in both plant and animal sources. Our physiology requires saturated fat from birth. The fat portion of breast milk is 48% saturated fat, 33% monounsaturated and 16% polyunsatured.

While contrary to popular belief “Saturated fats are heart protective: they lower the Lp(a) in the blood (Lp(a) is a very harmful substance which initiates athersclerosis in the blood vessels), reduce calcium deposition in the arteries and are the preferred source of energy for the heart muscle. Saturated fats enhance our immune system, protect us from infections and are essential for the body to be able to utilise the unsaturated omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.”  Dr. Natasha Campbell Mc Bride, author of Put Your Heart in Your Mouth

What about cholesterol then? The body can make cholesterol even faster than it can extract it from food and there is good reason for this, we can’t live without it! Since this post is just about a recipe, I won’t get into it, but here is a link to learn why

So now if you are the least bit brave or curious and still reading this and if you’ve known me for the last nearly 15 years as a vegetarian, then you’ll probably wonder how the heck I got to the place where I serve my children a near weekly dose of chicken chips!

It is pretty bizarre to me too, being that one of the things that turned me off from eating meat personally since I was a child, is the texture of grizzly, mushy fat!

While moving more towards a traditional diet including some animal foods, I feel that it is responsible, sustainable and respectful that we use the entire animal as best we know how….at this point with the cooking skills I have, I can use the meat, the bones and feet for broth and now the skins and soft parts for chicken chips! Next I will be experimenting with organ meats, but that is for another post.

Ok, so here are the chicken chips just out of the oven!

Still sizzling hot! My children love this local, healthy whole food snack! I am excited to have found a palatable way to serve such a nutritious food that is typically discarded in most north american homes.

And before I share the recipe, I must mention that Chicken Chips (AND dehydrated vegetable chips, such as Kale Chips!) are a way better choice than potatoe chips.

Reason being? Potatoe chips contain carcinogenic acrylamide and not to mention that since they are deep fried or baked with vegetable oils (which cannot tolerate high heat cooking) they are a source of toxic rancid oils. For more info on acrylamide and potatoe chips and french fries, click through the following link

How’s that for some perspective? I’m pretty sure that it is not 1 small batch of chicken chips, shared once a week by a family that we should be concerned about!

And now for the Chicken Chips recipe!

Boiled Chicken skin and other soft parts from a compassionately raised pastured chicken
unrefined sea salt

1) Put oven on low broil
2) Put chicken skin and otherwise unpalatable soft parts on a pie plate or other pyrex baking dish
3) Sprinkle on unrefined sea salt
4) Broil for 10 minutes on each side (or until crispy, it just depends on how thick the skin and other soft parts are)!

Let cool and serve!

Making the Transition to A Sustainable Diet

Stage 1: Become a Real Foodie

The switch to REAL food, begins with a simple, yet profound shift in perception. The individual becomes conscious that there is a difference between foods that are found in nature, vs. food that is processed in combination with man-made chemicals. This distinction is no longer considered trivial.

We may begin to notice that what we previously considered food, is actually a “food product” consisting of many non-food ingredients- namely difficult to pronounce chemicals. The source of these chemicals is unknown to the average consumer and the cumulative effects are unknown to us all. We might have a gut feeling that consuming chemically altered food is not so good for us, so we start to pay more attention to what we eat. The first step for many in transitioning to a REAL Food diet is to begin to read the labels, and start to gravitate more and more toward food that is found in its natural form and away from boxed “food products”.

At this stage of the transition to REAL food, we spend our time shopping in the periphery of the grocery store. We notice that the centre isles are full of processed food, namely items that are canned, boxed or otherwise packaged and preserved, while the periphery contains food that we recognize as REAL food. Typically the centre isle “foods” have a very long shelf life because they are either full of preservatives or they are essentially stripped of their nutrition (with synthesized vitamins and minerals added back) thus becoming literally non-perishable.

In our quest to “eat REAL”, we find that our diet expands as we discover foods that we have never tried before. In the bulk bins, we find a vast array of grains, legumes, beans, nuts, seeds. In the coolers we find raw fruits and vegetables, meat and milk products. These foods are the mainstay of the REAL foods diet.

When the bulk of our diet consists of these foods we are beginning to “eat clean”. The nutritional value of our diet also increases because we are now eating REAL food and not just the empty calories of processed food products. At this stage of the transition, we are also making a shift in our lifestyle and learning to cook. No longer is it possible to merely add hot water, put it in the microwave or open the package to sit down to a meal! At this stage, we must cultivate some skill in the kitchen. Moving from the SAD diet to a REAL food diet is for many, a logical choice in the maintenance of good health.

Getting Started with a REAL food diet:

√ Read labels and avoid foods with additives

√ Avoid pre-packaged, pre prepared and junk foods

√ Eat foods in their “whole” form.

√ Shop at the periphery of the grocery store and purchase primarily fruits, vegetables, meat and milk.

√ Buy grains, seeds, nuts, dried fruit and legumes in bulk.

√ Purchase or borrow cookbooks from the library and learn to cook!

√ Begin to make the shift to a organic foods diet by following the Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides @

Stage 2: Making the Shift to Becoming a Whole Foodie

At this stage of the journey, we begin to look at our dietary choices from a more holistic perspective.  Not only are we interested in eating foods in their whole and natural form, but we are concerned about the impact of our food choices- beyond the goal of our personal well-being.

We become more familiar with the words organic, fair trade, food conglomerates, factory farms, Monsanto, irradiation and GMO’s. We try hard to wrap our head around food politics, although at this stage, it typically remains somewhat confusing for most people. The more we learn, the more we become concerned about the implications that pesticides, fertilizers and commercial farming practices have on the food we eat and subsequently on our health. We are concerned about how it impacts the health of our planet.

At this point, we often begin to be willing to pay more for our food- if it means that somewhere a farmer will be paid more fairly, or if it means that a worker will be spared dangerous or unhealthy working conditions. We get that our food choices impact other people and other life forms, and so we really take the time to look at where we can make some personal sacrifices (time, money or energy invested) for the good of the whole. At this point, we rarely if ever purchase commercially processed foods, but we will likely purchasign some organic processed food items, for the sake of time and convenience. We know that while we are still sacrificing some of the nutritional value, we feel that we are at least doing a bit of damage control.

We will most likely purchase at least those certain fruits and vegetables that we know are more heavily sprayed than others from a certified organic source, and we begin to opt for organic animal products when possible, because we know that chemicals accumulate and concentrate in the animal’s fat cells.

We begin to eat less meat and more vegetables. Or we choose to forgo animal products altogether. We do this because we care about the well-being of animals and we know that much more vegetable food can be produced on the same amount of land used to factory farm animals for meat and milk.  We agree that a vegetarian diet is not only more sustainable for the planet, but also for our health (but we eventually come to even question this, as we begin to gain an even wider perspective of the system).

At this point we start to discover a whole new array of flavours and vegetarian dishes, making it quite easy to give up our steak and potatoes! At this stage there is a tendency to eat low fat dairy and meats (but we come to discover later that this is not ideal) while slowly adding in the essential or “good” fats to our diet.

Getting Started with a Whole Foods diet:

√Purchase primarily certified organic food (therefore limiting exposure to GMO’s and irradiation).

√Purchase organic meat and dairy (therefore limiting exposure to hormones and antibiotics- and to avoid financing the factory farming industry).

√Buy Fair Trade

Make some simple lateral shifts:

√ refined sugar to unrefined cane sugar

√ bleached, refined and deoderized oils to cold-pressed or expeller pressed oils such as Olive Oil, Sesame Oil and Coconut Oil

√ table salt to unrefined sea salt

√ Eat more leafy greens, nuts and seeds to add more minerals and good fats to your diet.

Step 3: Becoming a Traditional Foodie

As time goes on, we often begin to make yet an even deeper inquiry into our food, a search for meaning that extends beyond the whole, into a vision and concern for the future. We start to ask not only “what is sustainable” in the now, but “what is natural and essential?” We want to know how we can best foster the health of our children for the next seven generations.

We know that our ancestors did not suffer to the extent that our generation does with degenerative diseases, and so we ask ourselves, “have we made what is simple, complex?” We want to know how to eat and live in such a way as to preserve and optimize the health of our children and our children’s children. We no longer underestimate the impact that our food choices have on our children’s capability to realize their optimal strength, resiliency, character and well-being.

We become less susceptible to the constantly changing nutritional “truths” as purported by the media, so called health associations and the industry funded research that is often unfortunately promoted by our educational and medical institutions. We are well aware by now that research is not always scientific, that it is sometimes intentionally misconstrued and can be applied in a way that is confusing and not relevant toward the betterment and health of humanity or the planet.

We begin to have a “systems view” of food and health, as we come to recognize that the systems and the institutions themselves, serve to create and perpetuate the problems and challenges that we wrestle with daily.

At this point in our journey with food, we discover that the instinctual food habits and practices of our ancestors served a very distinct purpose, being to optimize the amount of nutrition that can be assimilated from our food.

We begin to take an interest in “slow food” and to acquire a healthy dose of respect for instinct and intuition when it comes to food choices and preparation.

By now, we have discovered that saturated fat and cholesterol are not “bad”, but that they serve real nutritional and biochemical needs in the optimal flow of our physiology.

Not only do we “raise our eyebrows” at many common mainstream assumptions about health, but we also begin to even doubt the sustainability of the organic food industry (gasp!). Yes, we want organic food, but do we want it “trucked” and packaged to us or do we want it to come from our own land, or from a farmer in our own community?

We start to look at an even bigger picture and may come to the conclusion that the organic food industry may just be the lesser of two evils.

We are left dissatisfied with the way things are. Although we can see that organic mono cropping may be better for the environment (and better for animals) than factory farming, we start to wonder if veganism is a band-aid solution to a problem that exists because of the system itself. We are no longer content to be dependent on a global system of food distribution. We start to think more and more about buying our own land or optimizing the fertility of the land we have.

We might begin to take more of an interest in the topic of hunting, small scale animal husbandry or in foraging and food preservation. We might at this point decide to turn our front lawn into a garden and thus make a contribution to urban agriculture or we might become a member of a local CSA (community supported agriculture) assuming both the benefits and the risks of farming, along with the farmers who works so hard to bring us the food.

If we do eat meat and dairy, we choose to purchase from a local farmer who compassionately raises animals on their natural diet (pasture) and thereby optimizing the nutritional density of both the meat, and the milk, while improving the quality of life for the animal. We may even want to have our own chickens or a goat, or even belong to a cow share so that we can drink our milk raw and unprocessed, just like our ancestors once did. We might learn to hunt our own wild meat and to gather our own edible herbs, flowers, mushrooms etc.

We continue to wonder how we can diminish our reliance on industry, so that we can be self-sustainable and interdependent within our own communities. We no longer want to be dependent on big box stores and food conglomerates (even if they are organic) and we don’t take food accessibility for granted anymore. We recognize that our food freedom and the capability to sustain our own selves and our family, is an essential life skill that we must regain for our own survival, for the survival of the planet and for the seven generations that will come after us.

Getting Started with a Traditional Foods diet:

√ Get to know the farmers in your area and purchase pasture fed animal products

√ Start or join a food buying co-op or local CSA

√ Buy the whole chicken and make bone broth

√ Soak and/or sprout your grains and legumes

√ Dry roast or soak and dehydrate nuts and seeds.

√ Eat organ meats

√ Grow a large garden to feed your whole family

√ Explore the idea of raising your own chickens and/or a goat

√ Learn the art of traditional food preservation techniques

√ Make food elixirs, herbal infusions and probiotic condiments

√ Discover milk and water kefir

√ Make yogurt

√ Grind your grains into fresh four and make naturally leavened sourdough at home from scratch

√ Hunt and gather

√ Cook the traditional recipes of your ancestors

√ Create community around your meals and share food with others

Gain your access to my FREE 4 Part Video e-course titled “First Steps to Becoming a Whole Foods Family!” @  where you can expect to learn how to upgrade the QUALITY of the foods that you already eat, so that you can IMPROVE your diet WITHOUT changing it!

Modernizing Lactic Acid Fermentation

Probiotics seem to be all the rage these days, from commercialized probiotic yogurt and kefir “ized” kombucha, to supplemental probiotic pills.

One might want to ask, if we really need all this beneficial bacteria, then why is it not readily available in the human diet? Are probiotics just the latest health food fad? Or are they actually what Gary B. Huffnagle, Ph.D., Professor of Internal Medicine, Microbiology, and Immunology
at the University of Michigan Medical Center calls “the missing food group” in his book Probiotics Revolution.

The reason that today’s average person is short on probiotics (beneficial microflora) is primarily because we have eliminated unpasteurized fermented food condiments from the diet. Secondly we have reduced the beneficial microflora that we were born with because of the prevalence of antibiotics and antibiotic substances like chlorine.

In addition, the following every day substances of our modern world also reduce or kill our inherent beneficial microflora:
antiobiotics, birth control pills, steroidal & hormonal drugs, chlorine, coffee/tea,  carbonated drinks, vitamin pills, radiation, stress, preservatives, additives, pesticides, fertilisers

So it is obvious that our microflora balance has taken a huge assault over the
last 100 years, but just how did our ancestors get probiotics before the advent
of the health food store?

The answer is, they ate Lactic acid fermented drinks and condiments. In
cultures all around the world, there have been ample fermented condiments
consumed on a daily basis in the diet. For more information on exactly who ate which fermented foods and where, please refer to the book Full Moon Feast by Jessica Prentice or Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.

Ironically, making probiotic foods at home is simple, cheaper, yummier and more effective than store bought supplements, yet many families spend over 100 dollars per month on probiotic pills- when everyday condiments can be turned into living probiotic foods right in your kitchen!

How would you like to get your probiotics on a daily basis or even at every
meal without even trying to?

Wouldn’t that be easier than having to remember to pop pills?

In addition, veggie ferments don’t only add probiotics to your diet, but they add nutrients and lactic acid too, being that fermented vegetable increase the amount of nutrition in the foods you are already eating, optimize your digestion, eliminate anti nutrients (intrinsic substances that can make nutrients difficult to digest) and finally,  feed the good microflora you already have, while being antagonistic to pathogenic or bad bacteria.

The following is a list of simple condiments that you likely already have in
your fridge that can be replaced with lacto-fermented goodies (which you can
make quickly!) and on a shoe string budget:
Salad Dressing
Dill Pickles

Recipes for these all time favourites can be found with a quick “google” or “youtube” search or in cookbooks such as Nourishing Traditions, Wild
and Full Moon Feast.

Many of our favourite comfort foods can be nutritionally upgraded by the
addition of lacto fermented condiments.

Can you just imagine turning an easy meal of fast food such as “mac n cheese” or a “grilled cheese sandwich” into a probiotic feast?

How about digging up grandma’s old recipe for homemade macaroni? Why not substitute the pasteurized cheese for raw cheese (available at most organic food stores) and then serve with lacto fermented ketchup on top?


Just dip that grilled cheese sandwich into some lacto fermented ketchup, add a fermented pickle on the side and voila! This simple comfort food can even be easily nutritionally upgraded by using naturally leavened sourdough bread and by grilling it in cultured butter!

In the meantime, if you have the money, but don’t have the time, many food
sources of probiotics can be purchased at your local health food or organic
food store. While this list is not conclusive, here are a few reliable sources
of good bacteria for the whole family:

1)The local bread company Integrity Bread provides a delicious Spelt Desem Bread (provides metabolic products that nourish beneficial flora)
2) non homogenized full fat plain yogurt (Saugeen or Jerseyland)
3) non homogenized full fat kefir milk
4) raw cheese
5) Bubbies brand naturally fermented pickles
6) unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
7) unpasteurized sauerkraut
8) unpasteurized miso
9) In-Liven (fermented green drink)
10) Mi-Vitality (liquid probiotic)
11) Grainfields (liquid probiotic)-many health food stores carry it.
12) Cultures and Ferments by
13) Probiotic Dressings, Relishes, Salsa and Drinks by

While many people imagine that fermentation is difficult, finicky or a lot of
work, the truth is, it is a simple, affordable and accessible art, and a means
by which we can preserve food, while at the same time increase the nutritional value of our diet.

To learn about upcoming fermentation workshops at Mary Jane’s Cooking School, please contact Sherry at 417-8073 or


Gain your access to my FREE 4 Part Video e-course titled “First Steps to Becoming a Whole Foods Family!” @  where you can expect to learn how to upgrade the QUALITY of the foods that you already eat, so that you can IMPROVE your diet WITHOUT changing it!

We all Know that Dieting doesn’t Work, so What Does?

© Sherry Rothwell, RHN

It seems that sustainability is on everyone’s mind these days and is a very fitting description for the kind of weight loss we all seek, namely that of having the capacity to endure and to enhance the well-being of our emotional, psychological and biochemical integrity.

For sustainable weight loss, we must eat a diet that provides for all of our unique nutritional needs. When our nutritional reserves are optimal, we lose our longing for junk food and for concentrated sources of sugar. When our nutritional needs are fulfilled and our biochemistry balanced, we have a natural desire for the foods that are right for us, therefore eliminating the need for “willpower”.

For healthy weight loss, we need to eat the right amount of calories (for our unique body) of REAL unprocessed food (as opposed to “empty calories”) including wholesome saturated fats and essential fatty acids. We need not be preoccupied with counting calories – weight loss is the natural “good side effect” of bringing our body and our lives back into balance.

Contrary to popular belief, fat doesn’t make us fat, sugar does. Healthy sources of fats are converted into a source of sustainable energy. They nourish our brain, cellular membranes and the myelin sheaths that cover our nerves etc.  In fact, it is the deficiency of the right kind of fats that is linked to many health problems including the digestive and hormonal ones that often underlie the difficulty of losing weight.

While our culture is obsessed with low fat foods, this approach just isn’t helping people lose weight, nor does it help us keep it off. Any person who has tried dieting will admit that in the long term, dieting doesn’t work. Far worse though, is that it wreaks havoc on our metabolism, causing us to gain even more weight, when we INEVITABLY quit the diet. Without adequate good quality fat in our diet, we turn to more carbohydrate foods (especially the refined ones) because we are never SATISFIED!

Focusing on calories is not the answer either. Instead, sustainable weight loss focuses on upgrading the QUALITY of our food choices, rather than obsessing about the QUANTITY of nutrients, fat grams and calories that we eat. As we improve the nutrient density of our diet through optimal food choices, we subsequently meet our nutritional deficiencies. As a result of this, our cravings subside on their own, and we actually have a desire for the food that is most nourishing to us. This is the crux of sustainable weight loss.

Diets aren’t sustainable, but optimal health is. We must acknowledge that in REALITY, what we have been told we need to do to lose weight, doesn’t work in the long term and people just can’t sustain the deprivation.

Many people preoccupy themselves with counting calories and fat grams, while literally trying to “exercise their butts off”, yet they remain overweight. This occurs because the problem does not lie with calories, fat grams or even lack of exercise! A calorie, contrary to popular belief, is not just a calorie. Being overweight has varied and often complex causes such as emotional, psychological, biochemical or metabolic imbalances, along with deep underlying nutritional deficiencies.

It is a fact that many obese people eat few calories, and that many very thin people eat a lot of calories. If we are to acknowledge that what we are doing isn’t working, we then need to start thinking outside the box and open ourselves to a new perspective! The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over, yet expecting different results – yet this is how most people approach weight loss!!

Collectively, we keep trying one fad diet after the next, very much akin to the housefly that keeps trying to fly through the window, even though the door is open!! We mistakenly believe that if we try harder, we will finally breakthrough! While the door to being healthy and content with our weight has always been there, we haven’t been able to see it from our current vantage point!

Getting started on the path toward sustainable weight loss is simple. We begin by upgrading the QUALITY of the food we currently eat. This is the key first step to solving the problem of being overfed and undernourished.

For more information about how you can get started on your path to sustainable weight loss, please contact Sherry by e-mail at to book your “Jumpstart to Sustainable Weight Loss Session” $40 (Value $97). I guarantee you will get an “aha” about what is currently keeping you stuck, discover what to do next and learn more about how you can continue to work with me (services are available by phone or in person).