21 Days to Total Health: Take the Challenge!

What can you accomplish in 21 days?

You could de-clutter every room in your house. You could walk from San Francisco to Seattle. You could write a novel. You could break or start a new habit.

Or, you could transform your body and your life forever.

I’m going to do just that — and I want you to do it with me.

On October 31st, the UC Davis Integrative Medicine 21 Food Day Challenge begins. It’s a three-week journey of 100% whole food, plant-based eating. The best part? Not only do you get a huge network of support, full of people like you who are trying this thing out together, but you’ll get everything you need to plan and prepare your meals for all 21 days. That includes checklists to help you meal plan and shop plus recipes, recipes, and more recipes — plus, the chance to win all your meals delivered to your door for FREE. In fact, the entire challenge is completely, entirely, 100% free. Continue reading

How do you find “balance” in your life?

Do you consider yourself a balanced person? Or is it an ideal you’re constantly chasing — or one you’ve abandoned all hope of achieving?

I think the answer depends on your definition of “balanced.”

I used to think that balance was all about finding the sweet spot and staying there. I thought that if I chose my convictions carefully then I could fearlessly hold to them, never caving or yielding too far to temptation, never shirking and slacking off so as to lose my footing. Balance, I believed, was also about cultivating a zen-like aura so that no matter how fiercely the winds of chaos beat about me, I could maintain my sense of calm and persevere through the storm.

What a load of crap.

Look, I’m not saying this isn’t possible; for all I know it is and I just wasn’t the kind of person who could achieve and maintain that definition of balance. But the more I get to know the world and the people in it, the more I realize I’m not alone in rejecting it. I don’t mean giving up and thinking I can’t achieve my dreams — I mean staring this ideal in the face and saying, “This is not the life I want. I choose a different path.”

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How to know what you really want (and why it’s vitally important that you do)

What do you want?

We are confronted with this question daily. We’re asked overtly, by restaurant servers or coworkers or our spouses (if we’re lucky). But more often we’re asking ourselves this question silently, countless times a day.

What do I want? What do I really want?

Sometimes the answer is simple: I want a large French fry and a Coke. Done. But too often, the answers to the countless silent questions can sometimes evade us for a lifetime.

When you don’t know what you want, you are left with a deep longing. You go through your days unfulfilled with a vague yet persistent feeling of unfinished business, a yearning for something more, something undefinable. You know that what you seek is something real and tangible — or at least it could be if you could just figure out what’s missing.

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Everything you know about protein is wrong

When you become vegan or vegetarian, suddenly everyone becomes all concerned about your protein intake. With frenetic intensity they ask, “But where do you get your protein?” And though they seem to genuinely want to know, they’re already skeptical of the answer before they’ve even heard it.

That’s because our culture’s beliefs about animal-based proteins are so deeply entrenched that to go against them is nothing short of blasphemy. But the thing is, those beliefs are based on myths, misinformation, and lies.

The myths about protein

Take a look at the most pervasive beliefs about meat and protein:

  • Protein is only found in animal products like meat, eggs, and dairy.
  • You need to eat meat (a lot of it) to build muscle mass, and you need lots of protein to slim down.
  • Protein keeps you fuller longer.
  • The more protein in your diet the better.

And while there is plenty of testimonial and anecdotal evidence to back these claims, the most complete and un-biased research (read: the studies not commissioned by the meat industry) proves them all to be false. Let’s look at the claims one by one, paired with the truth about protein — including the facts about how much you protein you really need.

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25 ways to make cooking a whole lot easier

There’s no getting around it: If you want to eat healthier, you’re going to have to cook. At least a little. And, yes, often.

When people ask me about the way I eat or how I feed my family I continually hear people say, “Well, I’d like to eat healthier, but I can’t cook.” Or even worse, “I don’t cook.” As though this is an insurmountable obstacle, like, “Well, I’d like to be able to draw with my right hand, but I’m left-handed.” And even then, if you were determined enough to draw with your right hand, I’m sure you would find a way.

Let’s be honest here: Saying that you can’t heat healthy because you can’t cook is an excuse. A cop-out. It’s a barricade you put there yourself. Whenever I hear someone tell me that they can’t cook it’s all I can do to keep myself from saying something quippy, like, “Yes, well, Bobby Flay/Paula Deen/The Pioneer Woman/Emeril Lagasse/your-favorite-chef-here wasn’t born with a spatula in his/her hand. At some point they had to learn, too. If you can’t cook it’s only because you haven’t taken the time to learn.”

OK, enough with the snark. I get that cooking can be tricky and time-consuming and seem totally overwhelming if you’ve never cooked a dish in your life. I’m not saying it’s the easiest thing in the world; what I am saying is that if this is your excuse for not eating better, it’s not a very good one — because anyone can learn how to cook. You may not be the next Giada de Laurentis, but if you get in the kitchen and give yourself a chance, you can figure this out. Yes, even those of you who feel so helpless in the kitchen you can’t even crack an egg. You got this. I promise.

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How to store fresh herbs

There’s nothing like fresh herbs in a dish. They add a brightness and bring another dimension of flavor to a dish that just can’t be replicated. Even if you don’t have your own herb garden, you can still get fresh herbs from the grocery store (or from a generous friend — ask around!). The trouble is, it’s very easy for freshly-cut herbs to wilt in a hurry once you’ve brought them home.

There are a few tricks you can use to get the most of your herbs. Here are two ways to store your herbs so they stay fresher longer and you can enjoy every last bit.


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7 reasons you should make ready-to-eat snack bags

When you’ve got little kids, snack time is a way of life. It seems like someone is always hungry or begging for a snack, which can mean countless trips for mom to the pantry or fridge each week. One of my favorite ways to streamline my life in the kitchen is to make ready-to-eat snack bags, all prepped and easily accessible for little hands.

Having snack bags is like meal planning for snacks. You don’t necessarily need to make a strict plan, but you do need to think ahead to have treats on hand. After that, it’s easy as pie.  Continue reading