Saturday, December 27, 2008

Two Quick Exercise Sets

The snow here in Portland caught me off guard, and I was unable to do my usual uphill sprints. Thus, I had to rely completely on indoor activity to stay fit. In the videos below, I illustrate two different sets of exercises you can do to get fit starting today. The best part is, each set takes five minutes or less. Getting fit may be on your upcoming list of New Year's resolutions, and I think these sets are a great way to get started.

The exercises are listed below each video to assist you when you try them on your own.

Superset #1:

Do each exercise as hard as you can for 30 seconds with no breaking in between.

  • Full body warm-up: Starting Blocks or Knee Taps
  • Upper Body: Push up or modified push up
  • Lower Body: Jump Squats or Wall Sit
  • Upper Body: Chair Dips
  • Lower Body: Leg Ups
  • Abdominals: Rise & Shine
  • Upper Body: Soup Can Shoulder Exercise
  • Lower Body: Wide Leg Squats

Superset #2

Do each exercise for 30 seconds and do 10 seconds of jumping jacks in between each one.

  • Full body warm-up: Jumping Jacks
  • Abdominals: Bicycle
  • Jumping Jacks (10 seconds)
  • Lower Body: Bridge with Single Leg Lifts (right and left legs)
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Upper Body: Pullups or Hang from Bar
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Abdominals: Flutter Kick
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Lower Body: Lunges
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Upper Body: Pushup with Side Plank

Now cool down with a simple Yoga routine!

And keep it up!


Monday, December 8, 2008

Green For Life!

I just read a fabulous book that I HAVE to share with everyone: Green For Life by Victoria Boutenko. I started drinking green smoothies about a month ago but was doing it experimentally and without much direction. I had decided that I wanted to start eating more greens, and hadn't been 100% successful with a daily salad discipline. So one morning I decided to just incorporate into my daily fruit smoothie the spinach sitting in my refrigerator untouched.

Victoria tells her story about how she helped save herself and the health of her family with the discovery of green smoothies. As a tenacious researcher, Victoria provides a host of health facts and explains very simply how a daily green smoothie can make an immense difference in one's health and well being. I am incredibly excited about the green smoothie, what it can do for my health, how good it tastes, and how easy it is to make. For those that don't have much time for breakfast or any nutritious meal, the green smoothie is the answer!

Victoria shows how we can get all our necessary protein from greens as well as a host of vitamins and trace minerals. She contends that dark green leafy vegetables should to be in their own food group separate from other vegetables, and these can be combined with anything, including fruit without any ill digestive effects.

Some of the many benefits of consuming lots of raw, dark green leafy vegetables involve the following:

Fiber: the insoluble fiber found in greens acts as a sponge that soaks up toxins and cleans them out. Without enough insoluble fiber, our bodies will try to eliminate through the skin, eyes, nose, and mouth. Rough, blemished skin and excess mucous are signs of this.

Stomach Acid: Many people today have low stomach acid (hypochlorhydria) and don't even know it. This is a big problem because our stomachs need sufficient hydrochloric acid in order to fully break down our foods and assimilate the nutrients. Without sufficient stomach acid, we become malnourished. Signs that you may have low stomach acid include some of the following:
  • Bloating, belching, or flatulence immediately after meals
  • Indigestion, diarrhea, or constipation
  • Heartburn
  • Multiple food allergies
  • Adult acne
  • Undigested food in the stools
  • Chronic yeast infections

Victoria conducted her own experiment in collaboration with a medical doctor using volunteers with hypochlorhydria who were willing to incorporate green smoothies into their diets without changing any other habits. After only 30 days, 67% of these volunteers experienced improved stomach acid levels as well as dramatic positive health benefits such as weight loss, increased energy, healthy elimination, decreased cravings for sweets and junk food, and improved sleep. Even better - they all said drinking the green smoothies was easy!

Blood pH: Proper pH balance is a critical factor for optimal health. Cancer and disease thrive in a low pH environment but cannot survive in an alkaline environment. With all the acid-forming, processed foods that are popular today, it is no wonder that cancer is growing prolifically. Additionally, an acid state may be the reason so many people are unsuccessful at losing weight because the body uses fat to store the acid. Eating plenty of alkalizing raw greens and fresh fruits will raise the pH of the body making it possible to maintain optimal, disease-free health.

Rest assured that I didn't divulge the entire contents of the book. I encourage you to get it (check your local library!) and read the fleshed out points and arguments. I only presented a brief taste of the information and evidence that the author presents.

At the end of the book, Victoria provides various smoothie recipes. These will help until you get your imagination going. I will provide one here:

Raspberry Dream
Blend well:
2 bosc pears
1 handful of raspberries
4-5 leaves of kale (take out the thick, woody stem)
2 cups of water
Yields: 1 quart of smoothie

Remember to rotate your greens and include a wide variety. I didn't eat kale or collard greens until I started drinking green smoothies. Victoria says that many weeds you pull from your garden are spectacular, nutrient-packed greens such as lambsquarters. Don't throw the tops of your carrots away! They may contain far more nutrition than the carrot itself. Blend those! The same goes for beet tops.

Read my Green Salad Smoothie article for two more smoothie ideas.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Quick & Tasty Dressing For One

Now that you've got your salad made, you need a dressing. And you need it now. Don't grab the ranch bottle out of the refrigerator. Whisk together this quick and tasty dressing for one. You probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen right now.

This dressing comes from Traci Sellers. Her website is at


  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. Mustard (Dijon or Spicy)
  • 1 tsp. Vinegar (Apple Cider Vinegar highly recommended)
  • 1/2 tsp. Maple Syrup
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Monday, November 10, 2008

Almond Milk

I drink almond milk everyday and use it the same way I would use animal milk or soy milk. I always use it as a base in my smoothies because it is tastier than water and is healthier than sugary, pasteurized juices. I choose to make my own almond milk at home because store-bought almond milk contains preservatives or mysterious additives that I would prefer to be without. Additionally, I like to be in control of the sugar and sweetness.

Today, I will tell you how to make your own almond milk at home so you can replace the pasteurized cow's milk and soy milk.

Reasons for eliminating these products raise controversial issues. Nevertheless, I will briefly provide a couple reasons here.

Conventional Cow's Milk: Healthy and important bacteria and digestive enzymes are destroyed through pasteurization making assimilation by the body difficult. Even worse, antibiotics are added which destroy your own existing beneficial and critical intestinal flora. If you want to drink animal milk, get it organic and raw from a farmer close to you.

Soy Milk: Much controversy exists concerning whether soy milk is good or bad. Criticisms include the following:

  • Estrogen-like compounds present in soy can affect hormone balance in both men and women.

  • Soy has a high phytic acid content which takes important nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and iron from the body.

  • Additionally, modern manufacture may use some undesirable processes such as quick blanching of the bean (instead of slow soaking) and deodorizing of the final product to eliminate the beany taste or smell. The process of slow soaking is necessary to eliminate the naturally occurring phytic acid and to make the nutrients bioavailable.

  • My solution for soy milk would be to make my own, but why not make almond milk instead? It is really quite easy!

    Recipe and Instructions For Homemade Almond Milk:

    Sprout 1/2 cup of raw almonds by soaking them in water for a minimum of 4 hours. This activates the enzymes which get rid of the phytic acid and make the nutrients in the nut available and assimilable by the body.

    (Note: Almonds grown in the USA are now all pasteurized/irridated by order of the FDA and USDA as of September 2007. However, they are still labeled "RAW". This is very unfortunate as the almonds become dead and unable to sprout. Thus, the sprouting process is rendered useless.)

    Put the sprouted almonds in a blender (Vita-Mix highly recommended) along with a 1/2 cup of other nuts of your choice to make 1 cup of nuts in total. I recommend cashews and Brazil nuts. Hazelnuts are a great choice as well. Cashews and Brazil nuts do not need to be sprouted. Hazelnuts do.

    You will be using 6-8 total cups of water. Start with only 2 cups or just enough to cover the nuts plus 1 inch. Using only a portion of the water to start allows the nuts to circulate through the blades more frequently and become so finely chopped that a smooth texture is achieved. Ensure enough water is used to get the mixture circulating quickly but not allowing too much space between particles.

    Next, add at least 4 dates with the pits removed. If you want the milk sweeter, add a couple more dates, a bit of agave, or raw honey.

    Additionally, I recommend adding a few ice cubes to make it cold.

    Finally, run your blender on the highest speed for 3 full minutes to liquefy all the ingredients and eliminate possible grittiness.

    After 3 minutes, turn down your blender to stir speed or off. Pour in the rest of the water (I usually end up with 8 cups of milk when I am done), blend a bit more, and you are done! Give it a taste and determine if it needs more water or sweetness.

    Now, you are ready to make a delicious smoothie or pour it over a bowl of Ezekiel 4:9 sprouted grain cereal!

    Some people like to strain the milk through a cheesecloth or other very fine strainer to eliminate any grit. I prefer to eat the whole nut and don't find that straining is necessary when using the Vita-Mix.

    Store the milk in a half-gallon glass jar in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to a week. You will need to shake the milk after it has been sitting as particles will settle out.

    Variations include adding a banana, cinnamon, or vanilla.


      Thursday, November 6, 2008

      Green Salad Smoothie

      Drink your salad for the day! Are you having trouble getting down your daily greens? I know that sometimes I do. That is why I assure myself of getting my greens by including them in a daily smoothie. They are so much easier to eat, and this way I eat a much wider variety than if I had to chew them mouthful by mouthful.

      Here is the basic, green smoothie formula to get you started (--for those who need a formula. Creativity is highly encouraged, however):

      • 1 cup of liquid: almond or nut milk or filtered water
      • 1 big handful of greens (Kale, Spinach, Collard Greens, Grape Leaves, Carrot tops, Beet tops, Cilantro, Parsley, and more!)
      • Banana (to make it creamy)
      • Lime juice or 1 peeled lime (or other citrus for zest!)
      • 1 C. Frozen Fruit (pineapple, mango, strawberries, etc. to make it cool)
      • 1 Tbsp. Omega oil such as Barlene's flax oil for those essential fatty acids


      I like to add a couple tablespoons of superfood powder for good measure. (Recommended superfoods: Dr. Schultze's Superfood, Boku, Revitaphi, Vitamineral Green, Gary Null's Green Stuff)

      Here's another green smoothie that I have made for breakfast.

      • 1 cup of almond milk
      • 1 big handful of Kale & Spinach
      • Avocado
      • 4 Dates
      • Frozen mango & strawberry
      • Juice of 1 Lime
      • Small chunk of ginger root (optional, but good)
      • Superfood


      For a sweeter taste, add dates. You don't taste the greens at all. And start saving up for a Vita-Mix. It's a great investment in your health if you use it well (by making and drinking green smoothies, for instance!). I never want to live without it! If you purchase one through my website, you get free shipping!

      You can use this link:


      Sunday, November 2, 2008

      Caesar Dressing! (Vegan, Raw, Healthy, & Delicious)

      Here is the Caesar Dressing recipe that I use. I got it from Traci Sellers. Her website is

      This dressing is healthy, vegan, and chemical free. It does take some preparation, but if you don't enjoy salad and vegetables very much, this dressing is a spectacular way to liven them up and help you enjoy your daily greens!

      First, you will need to prepare Traci's Almondaise. This serves as the creamy base of the dressing. You should start a minimum of 5 hours in advance due to almond soaking. If you are planning further in advance, soak 1/2 cup of raw, whole almonds overnight before you begin.

      • 1/2 cup of Raw, Whole Almonds Soaked Overnight
      • 1/2 cup Water
      • 1 cup (approx.) Light Olive Oil
      • 3 Tbsp Lemon Juice

      1. (Optional) Peel almonds. Peeled almonds will produce a whiter, finer textured end product. (I have never peeled the almonds. It sounds like a lot of work, and since I use the Vita-Mix, there is no problem). Have the rest of the ingredients handy.
      2. Place the almonds in a blender and grind to a smooth paste. If it's necessary add a little additional water to keep it moving.
      3. With the blender still running, remove the top insert and drizzle in the olive oil gradually until the mixture is thick. A bead of oil should rest on top of the churning mixture.
      4. Add lemon juice. Blend for 1 minute longer, stopping the blender to stir down the sides as the mixture thickens.
      5. Store in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container for 5-7 days. The water tends to separate. Just stir before using.

      Caesar Dressing

      For the "parmesan"
      • 1/3 cup dry almonds
      • 2 tsp of nutritional yeast
      • 1/4 tsp sea salt

      For the dressing:
      • 1-2 cloves of pressed garlic
      • 1 cup of Almondaise
      • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
      • 2 tsp lemon juice
      • 1 tsp Sea salt
      • 1 tsp black pepper
      • 1 tsp raw honey
      • 1/2 cup water

      1. In a dry blender, pulse almonds with yeast and salt until crumbly
      2. Add remaining ingredients to blender and blend to combine

      You are done!


      7 Steps To A Much Healthier Life

      So you want to get healthy, but don't know where to start. Here I break it down for you into what I think are the first and foremost steps in turning your health around. Don't overwhelm yourself and try all seven steps at once. Take it one week at a time. Become successful with step 1 for one week before implementing step 2. Here we go.

      Step 1. Replace ALL soda and bottled beverages with pure water.

      Most soda and bottled beverages contain high levels of refined sugar and/or toxins such as aspartame and sucralose. I strongly believe that if you are drinking one or more bottled beverages per day, cutting this habit is the number one thing you can do for your health right now. The sugar (typically high fructose corn syrup) in soda and bottled beverages is not metabolized the same way as other sugars and has been conclusively linked to obesity and diabetes. Choosing diet soda is not the answer either. Many studies have shown that people who drink diet beverages gain weight anyway. Additionally, the sugar substitutes are toxic chemicals that can cause other health problems and should not be ingested under any circumstances.

      A reason to avoid soda other than the fact that it contains harmful chemicals, is that soda is an acidifying beverage. Disease thrives in an acid environment. Otto Warburg won the Nobel Prize for demonstrating that the main cause of cancer is an oxygen deficient/acid environment. Additionally, calcium loss will result as the body attempts to remedy the acid condition with alkalizing substances such as calcium. Hmmmm... it sounds like that might be coming from your bones...

      One formula to address the question "how much water should I drink everyday?" is to drink half your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water. I suggest you get a large water bottle and take it with you to work and wherever you go. If you are not used to drinking this much water and find yourself going to the bathroom very frequently, just stick with it for a week, and your body will adapt.

      Step 2: Eliminate fried foods.

      Fried foods are detrimental for two reasons. 1. They contain trans fat and/or 2. They are usually fried in vegetable oil. So, what is so bad about these two facts?

      1. Trans fat is an artery-clogging fat that is formed when vegetable oils are made to be solids at room temperature. This kind of fat is not found in nature and has been linked to cancer, neurological disorders, birth defects, nutritional deficiency, among others and should be completely avoided. Start reading the labels on any packaged food and look for "Hydrogenated", "Partially Hydrodenated", and "Shortening". Strictly avoid these foods. Also, note that fast food is loaded with this fat and should be avoided.

      2. Vegetable oils such as sunflower, safflower, canola, and soybean oils are polyunsaturated fats which are highly susceptible to heat damage. Heat causes oxidative damage creating free radicals. Translation: these oils after heat exposure become cancer causing.

      The bottom line is, there is absolutely no reason your body would want you to eat french fries or doughnuts.

      Step 3: Eat a fresh, green salad every day.

      Most of us could really benefit from a daily dose of fresh, raw vegetables. This could be a great source of natural vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Don't turn it into a bad food by adding a chemical-laden dressing bought at your local grocery store. Olive oil (extra-virgin, cold-pressed) with a dash of balsamic vinegar or lemon juice makes an easy dressing. Add minced shallot, dijon mustard, or garlic powder for more flavor. If you have any fresh herbs around, don't leave those out.

      I make a wonderful, vegan, Ceasar copy-cat dressing made with an Almond base. It does take some preparation, but will make your salad taste as good as junk food. You can pile it on and not feel the least bit guilty. For a quick solution, try the Quick & Tasty Dressing For One. Find the recipes in my blog archives. There are so many online sources for quick, homemade, healthy dressings. Just do some looking around.

      If you struggle to get the greens in every day, read my article on the easiest way ever to consume your salad every day!

      Step 4: Avoid processed foods and fast food.

      These kinds of foods are high in calories, low in nutrition, high in the wrong kinds of fats, and full of strange chemical ingredients. They will only serve to take away from your overall health. We are all looking for ways to save time, but do not sacrifice your health by going to the drive-thru or putting a packaged meal in the microwave. It is not worth it. How much is your health worth to you? My health is absolutely worth a little extra time and a little extra money. Cutting corners is not a good strategy for health. Avoid foods that are far removed from their natural states. You really are what you eat -- Remember this! What you eat literally becomes a part of you. Build with high quality, natural substances that will keep you strong and well-functioning for the entirety of your life. Here is a simple rule to follow: if it has more than 5 ingredients or ingredients that you can't pronounce, don't eat it. All fast food falls into this category.

      Step 5: Eat fresh fruit for breakfast.

      When you wake up in the morning, before you eat anything, grab a piece of fresh fruit. This fruit wakes up your system, requires no effort for the body to digest, promotes elimination, and is alkalizing, cleansing, and nourishing. Fruit should only be eaten on an empty stomach. Combining fruit with starches and proteins causes gas and bloating. Thus, the morning is a perfect time to get your fruit for the day. Remember: Fruit First!

      Step 6: Find an enjoyable form of exercise and schedule it in to your day.

      Exercise is very important to overall health. You can improve cardiovascular health, bone density, circulation, flexibility, and more with exercise. People come up with a lot of excuses for not exercising. A big key to success is to schedule it into your day; make it mandatory, not optional. Also, make it fun! If you hate running, don't run.

      Believe it or not, but you can get great exercise with just 4 minutes a day! That takes away your lack of time excuse, doesn't it? All you have to do is pick four exercises and do each one as hard as you can for 20 second intervals with 10 seconds rest in between for one whole minute. After four minutes, you should feel like you got a work out. Here's an example for you to start with:

      1. Full Body and Cardio: Squat Thrusts. Start standing with your feet shoulder width apart. Drop down to a crouching position and put your hands on the floor. Thrust your legs out behind you then jump back to a crouch. Stand up and repeat. Advanced variation: when you thrust your legs out behind you, do a pushup before coming back to the crouch. Also, jump up in the air when you come up to a standing position.

      2. Upper Body: Pushups. If you are a beginner and struggle with pushups, start with an incline. Put your hands on a bench or wall.

      3. Lower Body: Lunges. Take a big step forward with one leg and bend the knee until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Your knee should not extend beyond your toes. Your leg should make a right angle. To do this in one place you can push that forward leg back to meet your back leg. Or do it walking style by bringing the back leg to meet the forward leg. Then repeat the exercise with the opposite leg.

      4. Abdominals: Flutter Kicks. Lay on your back with your hands under your bottom. Raise your legs to about 45 degrees off the floor. Alternate bringing one leg up and one leg down while keeping them straight. This should look like a flutter.

      You can find hosts of bodyweight exercises to mix and match. I just happened upon a site today that has a whole circuit of exercises listed, described, and illustrated. That website it located here: Another good site with bodyweight exercises by category is found here. Also do a Google search for "Body Weight Exercise". You will find plenty of great exercises that don't require any equipment. Take some time and jot down a few four-exercise combinations. After you wake up in the morning and have eaten your fresh fruit, you will have a daily workout ready to go.

      No more excuses!

      Step 7: Begin supplementing with high quality superfoods.

      It is a well known fact that most of our soil is very depleted of nutrients which in turn causes our food to be less nourishing. It can be very difficult to get all the vitamins and minerals our bodies need even when eating a wide variety of vegetables all day long. Supplementation provides a way to ensure daily that we are not becoming deficient in essential nutrients. Be aware that not just any multi-vitamin is going to provide that assurance. Most multi-vitamins sold at your favorite drug store are basically worthless. Synthetic versions of isolated vitamins are not well absorbed by the body. The solution is to find a superfood from nature as close to its natural state as possible and minimally processed. The following are my top three recommended daily supplements:

      1. Spirulina
      2. Chlorella
      3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

      Spirulina and Chlorella are micro-algae that grow in fresh water. These micro-algae contain an astounding array of nutritional elements including vitamins, macrominerals, trace minerals, essential fatty acids, protein, nucleic acids, chlorophyll, and phytochemicals. They are thought to contain every nutrient required by the human body. These micro-algae are not only nourishing but also cleansing and detoxifying. Spirulina and Chlorella should be taken on a daily basis as a food. You do not have to worry about overdosing.

      I recommend that you purchase Nutrex Hawaiian Spirulina from This is a high quality Spirulina for only $0.09 per gram. Buy Kyoto Chlorella from This is a quality Chlorella for only $0.12 per gram. If you take 10 grams of Spirulina and 5 grams of Chlorella every day, that is an investment in your health of $1.50 per day. This is much cheaper than paying for cancer, depression, or other degenerative diseases. Make it a life-long habit.

      Omega-3 essential fatty acids are essential because the body has to get them from the outside; it cannot manufacture them when needed. Omega-3 oils are found in flaxseeds, walnuts, marine oils, and fatty fish. Omega-3 fatty acids are important for cognitive function, mental health, cardiovascular health, joint health, and preventing cancer. The reason we should supplement with omega-3 is because the standard American diet provides for too much omega-6 fatty acids. The ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 should be about 1:1. However, with the popularization of vegetable oils, Americans consume these fatty acids in the ratio of about 20:1. An excess of omega-6 fats actually causes serious health problems. An omega-3 supplement will greatly help balance consumption of these oils.

      Now that you have read through my first seven suggestions for your road to health, go back to the top and make a resolution to implement step one starting right now. These seven steps are by no means the complete picture, but my purpose for this article is to provide a starting point without getting into complicated, health-nut details (that will come later!).

      Start here. Conquer the first 7 steps. And keep reading the Lemon Letter to fill in the gaps and continuously improve your health.

      Saturday, October 18, 2008

      Healthy Sweeteners

      Everybody likes the idea of sugar with no consequences, but it just doesn’t exist. America is addicted to sugar and has turned to sugar substitutes such as aspartame and sucralose which promise the sweetness of sugar without the calories. The problem with these man-made inventions is the unintended consequences. But don’t rely on the industry or even the FDA to inform you that Splenda and Equal are actually toxic and detrimental to your health. Does a little self discipline regarding sugar consumption sound worse than brain tumors or lesions? There is already much evidence emerging to reveal the toxicity of these recent sugar inventions. The evidence will only get stronger as time goes on.

      The fact is: you are better off eating real sugar than the chemical substitute. Studies show that artificial sugars also lead to weight gain. The body reacts very strongly to taste. When the tongue tastes sugar, the body is expecting those calories only to be met with low-energy food. This low energy food in turn forces your body to signal “famine,” which results in cravings for refined carbohydrates from which the body can get a quick energy boost. Such cravings may lead you to consume more snacks than you ever intended. Unless you are consuming real calories, the body will never turn off the “I’m hungry” signal. Before you know it, you've gained weight anyway, and you've consumed the toxic chemicals bringing your body further harm.

      I am not telling you to switch your Diet Coke to regular Coke. Non-diet drinks are loaded with High Fructose Corn Syrup, which is another issue in itself. I urge you to have some self-discipline. Stop the sugar addiction. Cutting out the excess sugar and all sugar substitutes is the #1 thing the average American can do to improve his/her health.

      Once you have given up your daily sugar dose, use healthy sugars on special occasions, and where sugar is really necessary in moderation. Below, are five recommended sugars that I encourage you to use in place of typical refined sugars and artificial sweeteners.

      Raw Agave Nectar
      Agave Nectar is a syrup extracted from a cactus plant. It has all of its enzymes intact and dissolves easily in cold water. This syrup is a great natural sweetener with a very mild flavor. I highly recommend the use of this sweetener in just about every application.

      100% Pure Maple Syrup
      This sweetener is a natural, whole food. However, this syrup has lost its enzymes due to the heat used in processing. I recommend using grade B or C since these are less refined and also have a higher mineral content. Be sure to get your syrup from a source that does not use formaldehyde in the extraction process. Organic standards do not allow the use of formaldehyde. Also, syrup from the State of Vermont is safe because the use of formaldehyde is illegal for maple sugaring.

      Rapadura is a Portuguese name for sugarcane juice. This sugar is made by crystallizing the juices from sugar cane. Because heat is used in the crystallization process, the enzymes are lost; however, the minerals still remain. I use rapadura wherever white or brown sugar is called for in recipes. This is a much better choice as it is non-processed and still contains the molasses content and flavor.

      Raw Honey
      Raw honey is an excellent natural sweetener and contains all enzymes necessary for digestion. A little bit of honey goes a long way to satisfy a sweet tooth. Because honey is super sweet, you will not need to consume much to be satisfied. I highly recommend raw honey for use wherever you need to add some sweetness. Be aware, however, that most honey sold in your local supermarket is not raw; it is just as refined as white sugar with all the nutrients stripped out. You will have to visit a health food store or a local bee keeper.

      Stevia is a natural sweetener that comes from a leaf and is only used in tiny amounts due to its ultra sweet power. This sweetener can be found in powdered or liquid form. Some people do not like stevia as a sugar alternative because it can have a strange aftertaste. Some say that use of vanilla extract along with the stevia eliminates most of the disliked aftertaste. Stevia is difficult to substitute for sugar in baking as the bulk of the sugar is absent and needs to be made up somehow. Try this sweetener in your morning oatmeal first. If you decide you like it, there are recipes on the internet which help you substitute with stevia in baking. You may be able to find a stevia sample packet to experiment with at a Trader Joe’s sample and coffee counter.

      All sugars should be eaten in moderation - even healthy sugars. It stands to reason that honey is so sweet because it was meant to be enjoyed in small portions. I recommend that you cut out excess sugars from your diet and use the above mentioned healthy sugars in moderation.

      Healthy Tip: Instead of soda as your afternoon treat, try sparkling water with a squeeze of lime. It’s actually quite refreshing.


      The Power of Cayenne

      Cayenne is not just a red hot chili pepper used in cooking, rather it has a multitude of medicinal functions. Cayenne contains a natural compound called capsaicin, which helps promote healthy cardiovascular function. Consider cayenne to be one of your main herbal first aids. Some of the things that cayenne can do for you include the following:

      • Boost blood circulation throughout the body including the brain thus improving brain clarity and memory
      • Strengthen the heart, arteries, capillaries, and nerves
      • Normalize blood pressure
      • Stop internal and external bleeding
      • Improve indigestion, poor digestion, and stomach ulcers
      • Open the breathing passages in asthmatics

      Cayenne is the greatest herbal aid to circulation and can be used on a daily basis. It can be used for multiple emergencies such as heart attacks, strokes, fainting, bleeding, arthritic pain, and inflammation. Some herbalists add it to nearly every formulation. Fortunately, it is an inexpensive supplement. For example, you can get 300 250mg capsules from Swanson Health Products for $5.99. One bottle could last 10 months.

      Healthy Tip: Try gargling cayenne in water to treat your sore throat.


      When Life Gives Me Lemons

      I love lemons. And I love to begin my morning with a fresh-squeezed lemon drink. I don’t only love lemons because they taste so good, but lemons are great for my health.

      The most wonderful characteristic of the lemon is its alkalizing effect on the blood chemistry. Outside of the body, lemon juice is acid. However, inside the body it is alkaline. It is very important to keep our bodies away from an acid state since much disease results from and thrives in an acidic environment. The standard American diet especially contributes to an acid state with its refined sugars, refined carbohydrates, caffeine, meat, and pollution. Begin your day with the alkalizing lemon beverage I detail below and, please, skip the soda.

      This lemonade comes from the Stanley Burroughs Master Cleanse. I like to use both lemons and limes in my drink. Limes add a wonderful zest and tang to any drink or smoothie. My procedure for refreshing, morning lemonade follows:

      1. Juice one lemon and one lime and pour the juice into a pint-size glass.
      2. With the juice in the glass, begin to pour pure organic maple syrup (Grade B or C is recommended) into the glass. The maple syrup will sit below the lemon juice without mixing. Pour in the maple syrup until it looks like it is 1/2 the amount of lemon juice. You can use as much as a 1:1 ratio of lemon juice to maple syrup. However, I like it to be a little tart. Experiment to find what ratio you like best. Today, I tried the drink with raw organic agave nectar as an experiment. It worked just as well. Agave nectar is my #1 sweetener of choice. You can find out more about sweeteners here.
      3. Cayenne Pepper is an optional step. Most of the time I do not use the Cayenne because I like to sip and enjoy my lemonade. However, if you want a spicy kick and the health benefits of cayenne, go ahead and add a pinch of cayenne pepper. Another option is to take cayenne capsules to get the benefits without the taste.
      4. Lastly, fill the glass with pure water and make sure all components are mixed. The maple syrup has a tendency to sit on the bottom. You may have to experiment with the amount of water you prefer. I like my drink stronger, so I will not fill the glass all the way. Also, the juice yield from the lemons and limes will vary from day to day, which means you will have to be flexible to adapt your maple syrup and water measurement. I use color as my indication of when to stop adding water. I make sure my lemonade is somewhere between very yellow and pale yellow. Again, you will have to experiment to find your preference.

      For those that need precise measurements, use the following recipe:
      • 1/4 c. fresh lemon/lime juice
      • 1/4 c. Grade B organic maple syrup
      • 8 oz. distilled water
      • Pinch of cayenne pepper

      Make this beverage a morning ritual to help you remember to take your daily vitamin supplements, to kick start your metabolism, to give you a vitamin C immunity boost, to alkalize, and to get you ready for your morning workout.

      Additionally, remember that negative thoughts contribute to an acid blood chemistry while positive thoughts contribute to an alkaline blood chemistry. Stay positive in your thinking. A great exercise at the end of your day (especially a bad one) is to think about all the good things that happened, no matter how small they are. Example: It started raining, and I had my umbrella with me which prevented me from getting drenched.

      Healthy Tip: Boil the lemon rinds on your stovetop for a natural room freshener.