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Cashew Cookie Bites

1 1/3 cup raw cashew bites

2/3 cup gluten free old fashion rolled oats

5 Tbsp. raw unfiltered honey or agave

1 scoop Vanilla Complete whole food shake mix (or your favorite plant-based protein powder)

1/3 cup dairy-free mini-chocolate chips (try Enjoy Life brand)

First, blend cashew and oats in food processor until a flour consistency. Then stir in Vanilla Complete and honey or agave. Chocolate chips can be added to the food processor at the end (which is what I did) or fold in at the end. Roll into bite size balls. Enjoy!

 

Are You Really Ready to Lose Weight? Take the Quiz.

We see it every year as the New Year approaches.  We assess our health and start making resolutions for the new year. People all across the country jump on the weight-loss band wagon, only to fall off in a couple weeks, or for some, a few days. We all know someone who walks into the local gym, registers, pays and never returns.

For your weight-loss plan to succeed, you must be ready to take on the challenge and make the life changes that will help set you up for long-term success. It’s important to evaluate your reasons for wanting to lose weight. Is the timing right for you? What are your expectations? Your answers to these questions can either keep you on your path or derail your efforts before you even begin. Knowing that you need to make changes in your life and actually doing it are two different things. To see if you are ready take this quiz. This could be key before you spend your time, energy and financial resources.

WEIGHT LOSS READINESS QUIZ

Are you ready to lose weight? Your attitude about weight loss affects your ability to succeed. Take this Readiness Quiz to learn if you need to make any adjustments before you begin. Mark each item True or False. Be honest. It’s important that your answers reflect the way you really are, not how you would like to be.

  1. ___ I have thought a lot about my eating habits and physical activities to pinpoint what I need to change.
  2. ___I have accepted the idea that I need to make permanent, not temporary, changes in my eating and activities to be successful.
  3. ___I will only feel successful if I lose a lot of weight.
  4. ___I accept the idea that it’s best if I lose weight slowly.
  5. ___I’m thinking of losing weight now because I really want to, not because someone else thinks I should.
  6. ___ I think losing weight will solve other problems in my life.
  7. ___I am willing and able to increase my regular physical activity.
  8. ___I can lose successfully if I have no “slip ups.”
  9. ___I am ready to commit some time and effort each week to organizing and planning my food and activity programs.
  10. ___Once I lose some initial weight, I usually lose the motivation to keep going until I reach my goal.
  11. ___ I want to start a weight-loss program even though my life is unusually stressful right now.

SCORING THE WEIGHT LOSS READINESS QUIZ

  1. To score the quiz, look at your answers to items 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 9. Score “1” if you answered “true” and“0” if you answered “false.”
  2. For items 3, 6, 8, 10, 11, score “0” for each true answer and “1” for each false answer.
  3. To get your total score, add the scores for all. If you scored 8 or higher, you probably have good reasons for wanting to lose weight now and a good understanding of the steps needed to succeed.

For the nutrition side, request help from someone who has a nutrition background and always keep a food journal. The food journal is to create awareness of what you are eating and when instead of counting calories.

Juice Plus+ Welcomes A New Addition To It’s Family…A Plant-based Omega

As you may know I’ve been using Juice Plus+ personally and professionally for many years with great success. With it’s 30 different fruits, vegetables and berries, Juice Plus+ is a great way to add much needed plant-based, whole food nutrition to your diet. That is why I’m so excited to announce the newest addition to Juice Plus+ family… Juice Plus+ Omega Blend!

Juice Plus+ has learned that the #1 supplement that their customers take in addition to their Orchard, Garden and Vineyard is an omega fatty acid supplement. And the main concern people have with taking an omega is the fishy taste and the concerns with toxicity in the fish (primarily mercury).  So thankfully Juice Plus+ created a plant based omega supplement. Not sourced from fish but the original source of algal.  No more fish smell, no more fish burps and no more fear of mercury! (All the reasons I didn't use fish oil.) And great news for those who live with seafood allergies!

Using the original algal provides a more pure and sustainable form of Omega 3s. In addition to algal, Juice Plus+ cold presses the oils from five other seeds and berries in which omega fatty acids occur. Bringing you a naturally balanced blend of omega fatty acids - not just Omega 3 but, Omega 5, 6, 7 and 9.

So why are Omega fatty acids so special? Well, the human body can make most of the types of fats it needs from other fats or raw materials. That isn’t the case for omega-3 fatty acids. These are essential fats—the body can’t make them from scratch, but must get them from food. Omega-3 fats are an integral part of cell membranes throughout the body affecting the function of cell receptors in the membranes. They provide the starting point for making hormones that regulate blood clotting, contraction and relaxation of artery walls, and inflammation. They also bind to receptors in cells that regulate genetic function. Likely due to these effects, omega-3 fats have been shown to help prevent heart disease and stroke, may help control lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis, and may play protective roles in cancer and other conditions.

We can all use more nutrition from fruits and vegetables in our diets, and through Juice Plus+ Orchard, Garden, Vineyard Blends, and now Omega Blends, you can bridge the gaps. Scientific evidence continues to grow indicating that a diet rich in in a broad array of fruits and vegetable including omega fatty acids provides numerous benefits to our bodies including heart, brain, joints, skin and eyes. Juice Plus+ Omega Blend contains 100% non-GMO ingredients, is gluten-free, contains no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or added starch and will be NSF and Kosher certified.

B Renewed is proud to provide this line of long trusted products to our customers!  If you are you ready to take the next step, just give me a shout.

 

My 3-day Cleanse Journey – Day 2

Day 1 is done! So where do you think I struggled most? I caught myself in my daily habit of getting up from my desk to grab a snack. I realized that when I feel stressed, overwhelmed or anxious, I distract myself with a snack. Most of you know I am not grabbing a candy bar or cookie (we eat predominantly whole, clean) but, eating when your body doesn't need food is not healthy! So how did I cope knowing that I couldn't grab a snack? I decided to try some deep breathing and downloaded a meditation app. I believe this is a new healthy habit that I will incorporate long after the cleanse.

As far as detox symptoms, I dropped a couple pounds (toxins!) and had a few minor headaches throughout the day as well. My tongue has the usual thick white coating which is a sure sign of detoxing. But overall, I had great clarity and focus. My overall sense of well-being has improved. Less anxious. More calm.

My sugar cravings have subsided much faster than I imagined as well. The dark chocolate bar stashed in my freezer is no longer calling me!

The biggest benefit was not having to think about what we are having for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Then you have prep time, cook time and cleanup, so time savings was an unexpected positive benefit.

I was also blessed that my husband joined me, so the temptations were not there. If I had to prepare a meal for someone else, I'm sure it would have been a bit more challenging. If you have children heading to summer camp or, your hubby is traveling, this would be a great time to try a cleanse/fast.

I'm not sure I can say it was easy but, it wasn't that hard. When you are drinking juice every 2 hours from 7am to 7pm, it helps you focus on that task. I rewarded myself at the end of the day with an organic bubble bath and some lavender essential oil. Sending a positive message to the brain is important when tackling something new or a bit more challenging then the norm.

 

My 3-day Cleanse Journey

It's day one of my 3-day cleanse which started with a 2.5 mile walk on July 4th. What a perfect day to celebrate freedom from toxins! Instead of focusing on what I won't be eating, I'm focusing on the benefits such as mental clarity, focus and increased energy.

I prepared my body by eliminating meat and increased my consumption of fresh, raw organic fruits and vegetables. If you consume alcohol, caffeine or dairy on a regular basis, I  would eliminate these products a few days before as well. Except for an occasional (organic) ice cream, I swore off these vices years ago. However, with dark chocolate, I still have issues!

I typically make my own juices but due to time constraints and the fact I sold my juicer a few years back (in lieu of a Vitamix), I purchased the organic juices from a local company called Sunshine Juice. I'm not being paid to endorse their products, I just wanted to share my experience with others. Their cleanse consists of seven juices per day which you consume every two hours.

It's been several years since my husband and I fasted. He is a great support as he offered to join me...with modifications (as he tossed the pound of grass-fed beef back in the freezer). His modified liquid diet will consist of using our favorite plant-based powder, Juice Plus Complete, with almond milk. We've used the shakes for several years (love them) and this is what I will transition to prior to starting back on whole food.

I remember how much fun with had with it last time as we started to get a little slap happy around the second and third day. Watching television wasn't a good idea as we realized almost every commercial promoted food! Even though most of it isn't stuff we would ever eat, it all started to look good. We decided that reading was our best bet and I spent lots of time in prayer and meditation.

For me, this isn't about weight loss, although I put on a few extra pounds over the winter. Cleansing is more for the emotional and spiritual aspects of my life. Spending time with my creator without distractions is my ultimate goal.

Mango Bliss Balls

These treats are delicious for dessert or breakfast! The original recipe called for dried apricots but since I had dried mango on hand, I substituted.  Be sure to use organic for all ingredients as conventional fruits and nuts contains toxic preservatives. Nuts, especially walnuts, can also contain BHT as a preservative which has to been linked to increased risk of cancer. Dried fruits may contain sulphur dioxide (sulfites) which has been linked to respiratory issues.  The #1 Rule is to read ingredient labels and buy organic!

1 c of dried organic apricots or mango

1 c. pitted dates

1/2 c raw organic almonds

1/2 c raw organic cashews

1/2 c raw organic walnuts

Set aside 1/2-2/3 cup of pure shredded organic coconut flakes

Place all the items in a bowl (except coconut flakes) and pour boiling water over until covered.  Let soak for 15 minutes, drain and add to a food processor.  Mix until everything is finely chopped. Roll into small balls and roll in coconut. Store in the refrigerator.  Makes about 20-30 balls (depending on the size that you roll them).

 

Sweet & Sour Chicken with Brown Rice

Planning is the key to success when the goal is improving your health. Slow-cooking is an easy way to plan your week with healthy meals. Plan ahead by making one crockpot meal and one stovetop meal on the weekend to ensure you have good options throughout the week. This reduces the temptation to stop and grab fast food.

  • 1 lb chopped organic carrots
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 6 oz organic skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 2 cups of chopped pineapple
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp nonGMO low-sodium Soy sauce or Bragg's Liquid Aminos
  • 1/4 tsp of pink Himalayan salt salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp of fresh minced garlic or powder

Add:

  • 3 Tbsp Arrowroot powder (healthier thickening agent vs cornstarch)
  • 1/4 c water

Serve with 3 cups cooked brown rice.

Layer carrots and onions in slow cooker. Top with chicken.

Drain pineapple, reserving the juice. Place pineapple over chicken.

Next, mix pineapple juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, salt, ginger and garlic. Pour over the top.

Cook on low 6-7 hours.

Combine arrowroot powder and water then stir into the slow cooker. Cook an additional 30 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Serve over cooked brown rice. Garnish with a bit of dried cilantro.

2 Simple Ways to Love Your Body

Love Yourself HeartSo often, we get caught up in loving everyone else—our kids, our spouse, our family and friends—that we forget to love ourself.

Take a moment and visualize how that would look—if you loved yourself. How would your outside look? How would your inside look?

What if I told you two simple things you could do to love yourself and change your overall appearance from the inside out? Would you do it?

The two simple changes you will need to make involve eliminating genetically modified foods and increasing your intake of whole, clean foods, such as fruits and vegetables.

Stop eating genetically modified foods because these foods are linked to weight gain, cancer and other health related illnesses. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are plants or animals that have been altered from the original state of the plant or animal and processed into our food. GMOs are found in everything from canned soups to baby formula! In fact, Brian Stoffel wrote an article that details "10 Foods You'll Have to Give Up to Avoid Eating GMOs." This article is alarming to say the least.

According to nongmoproject.org, "In the U.S., GMOs are in as much as 80% of conventional processed food. In the U.S., the government has approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created them and profit from their sale. " This is a scary statistic and practice by our own government, not to mention a deceptive practice given the fact that companies are not mandated to include GMO's on product ingredient labels. Furthermore, it is embarrassing that more than 60 other developed countries have either put a complete ban on GMOs or strong restrictions. Personally, I am not feeling the love of my country when it comes to GMOs!

According to greenamerica.org, there are nine GMOs to avoid:

  • Soy
  • Cottonseed
  • Corn
  • Canola Oil
  • U.S. Papaya
  • Alfalfa
  • Sugar Beets
  • Milk
  • Aspartame

Look for the NONGMO Project Verified stamp

To be sure your food and products are free of GMO's, look for the verified label.

Eat more whole, clean foods and experience the freedom and physical and mental transformation of powerful nutrients, vitamins, minerals, fiber and beneficial fats. Your body was created for whole, clean food, so why not give your body what it needs to thrive! The best way to reduce your risk of disease is to eat healthy, and fruits and vegetables are two key food groups known to contribute to better health. Be mindful, though, of fruits and vegetables that may contain harmful pesticides. According to the environmental working group (EWG), there are vegetables and fruits that you should consider buying only organic.

The Clean 15 (the lowest in pesticides): Avocados, Sweet Corn, Pineapples, Cabbage, Sweet Peas (frozen), Onions, Asparagus, Mangos, Papayas, Kiwis, Eggplant, Grapefruit, Cantaloupe, Cauliflower, and Sweet Potatoes

The Dirty Dozen (Buy these Organic): Apples, Peaches, Nectarines, Strawberries, Grapes, Celery, Spinach, Sweet Bell Peppers, Cucumbers, Cherry Tomatoes, Snap Peas (imported), Potatoes. PLUS Hot Peppers, Kale, and Collard Greens

In closing, I pray you will choose to love yourself by giving up foods containing GMOs. Experience the freedom of health and wellness that whole, clean foods will provide you.

8 Unique, Organic and NonGMO Valentine’s Day Gifts

Organic Heart

Since Valentine's Day is part of sugar season (Christmas to Easter), we felt it was an appropriate time to share healthier ideas for gift giving. Sugar is the culprit in creating inflammation in the body, along with suppressing the immune system and disrupting gut flora. The following gifts can benefit every aspect of a person's life and won't add to the degradation of health.

  1. NONGMO Dark Chocolate is my favorite

    NONGMO Dark Chocolate is my favorite

    Dark Chocolate. Who doesn't love this stuff? Even though it does contain some sugar, it is better than conventional milk chocolate when eaten in moderation. However, I’m not talking about Dove or Hershey’s due to the cheap and toxic fillers including genetically modified ingredients. Endangered Species Chocolate is one brand that uses real cocoa, is gluten-free and NON-GMO Project Verified. If your loved one doesn't understand the dangers of genetically modified ingredients, include a copy of Genetic Roulette or GMO OMG in the basket.  It is best to purchase over 70% cocoa to reap the antioxidant benefits. Of course, finding organic, nonGMO dark chocolate is even better.

  2. Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic body care products. Women can come into contact with hundreds of toxic chemicals before they leave their home from their lotion, deodorant and makeup. These endocrine (hormone) disruptors have been linked to many forms of cancer. Spending a few extra pennies on your personal care products for yourself, teenager,s and loved ones will pay off long term and can be one more step to help prevent cancer.
  3. Essential Oils. I first started using essential oils for the emotional benefits with great results. My favorites are the citrus oils such as lemon or wild orange for under $15 that have mood uplifting properties.  Essential oils, if pure, are the lifeblood of a plant that support the respiratory system as well as cognitive function. Essential oils can be used topically, aromatically (diffuser) or externally with some self-education.
    Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser

    Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser

  4. Fresh Organic Fruit Baskets. Our favorite supplier of citrus fruit is The Orange Shoppe. They pick them fresh and ship direct to you. The taste doesn’t compare to store-bought produce and eating them over a sink is recommended due to the juiciness factor! You can mix different varieties of oranges and grapefruit for a practical, nutrient-dense gift. This is the perfect gift for those living in cold climates as they are a slice of sunshine that most of us haven’t seen for a while.
  5. Infrared (FIR) pad. Infrared heat is healing heat, unlike conventional heating pads. Infrared pads can simply warm the body internally on chilly winter nights to provide relief from colds, flu, aches, pains and fever. The HTE model has a sixty minute timer so you can safely use for children and the elderly without worrying about burning.  The average cost is $199.
  6. Vitamix Food Processor/Blender. I have owned all the other models as well as juicers and none hold a candle to the speed and ability to break down food into the small particle size like the Vitamix. Green smoothies should be a daily part of your diet so you need a machine with a powerful motor that only Vitamix offers.  Like any product, you get what you pay for. The Vitamix carries a 7-year warranty.  Prices start as low as $399 up to $649. However, I've found the mid-priced unit ($449) has served our family well for almost 9 years.
  7. Chi Machine. The Chi Machine has helped me, my family and our clients with our wellness goals. It is the simplest form of stress reduction and all you have to do is lay flat and relax. Prices range from $449-$549.
  8. Healthy Fast (Whole) Food. Juice Plus+ is one of my favorite whole fast food suppliers. The chewables make a wonderful treat for adults and children. Who wouldn't want to receive benefits from 30 fruits, veggies, berries and gluten-free grains? The shake mix comes in French Vanilla and Dutch Chocolate. Did I mention the chocolate tastes like heaven? Each product averages about $2/serving for whole, clean, NON-GMO produce! And we have chocolate and cherry food/protein bars too. Children receive Juice Plus+ free with an adult purchase (between the ages of 4-26 years; must be full time college student if over 18 years).

Our entire focus is on education, empowerment, and prevention. Our wish for you this Valentine's and everyday is to live life with vitality and reduced stress including physical, emotional and nutritional (excesses and deficiencies). Take time to educate yourself because an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure today.

Cranberry Salad – more like dessert!

Thanksgiving Recipes Shared: Heavenly Cranberry Salad

Healthy holiday recipes are hard to come by, at least tasty ones. As a result I've put together a series of recipe posts to share with you right here on the site. They are also available for download and printing here. Today I am sharing my Cranberry Salad Recipe.

If you are searching for more good-for-you recipes, you can also sign up for my wellness newsletter to receive over 70 of my healthy recipes in ebook format. Enjoy!

Heavenly Cranberry Salad – more like dessert!

2 cups raw cranberries
8 large medjool dates (pitted)
2 oranges peeled
1 apple
4 tablespoons walnuts

Place all ingredients in food processor or Vitamix and blend for one-two minutes. Mix should be chunky.
Makes 4 servings.