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Inspired Living

12 Last Minute Gifts That Don’t Cost A Thing

Sarah Stanley


As this is being written, Christmas is two days away and people are scurrying to buy last minute gifts. As people rush to buy things they can not afford and are overcome with the stress of "getting it all done," why not trade in that stress for one of the ideas below?

Here are 12 last minute gifts that don’t cost much more than your time and a few ingredients.

1) A gift certificate for time. We all know that time is money. So what can you give with your time? Shoveling the snow from a neighbor's driveway? Cooking a meal for a family in need (or just because!) and we’re pretty sure a wife/mother wouldn’t turn down help with a weeks (or month!) worth of cleaning up the kitchen, putting dishes away, and laundry duties! Or helping out at the local food bank or homeless shelter. They could use your help year round for sure.

2) Back to the basics for a year. Pick a friend (or two) to call regularly, send them a birthday card and random notecards for an entire year. Who doesn’t love a piece of snail mail?! Letting them know you care about them throughout the year (versus one day a year!) is a wonderful gift to give!  Set reminders up in your calendar so you don’t forget.

3) Make homemade body care products. Sugar or salt scrubs with essential oils (lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus) are super easy gift to make. Bath salts, lip sugar scrub, are a few other ideas. Bonus: they’ll be chemical free because you are making at home!

4) Make homemade gifts. Maybe it’s granola, a dried bean soup mix layered in a glass mason jar or dark chocolate bark, infused olive oils or vinegars or dark chocolate dipped biscotti. Homemade gifts are great to give and receive. Why? Because it shows your love and thoughtfulness via time spent in the kitchen.

5) A gift certificate for wellness. Know someone who wants to get healthy? Invite them to join you for a weekly wellness date! Head to your favorite trail and enjoy a walk (or a run) together. The gift of wellness and fitness is a priceless gift indeed.

6) Make a meal! Who wouldn’t love a home-cooked, nutrient-dense meal? Maybe someone just had a baby. Or a death in the family. Or maybe they simply need to know that someone cares about them.

7) Childcare. Know a couple who has small children that would jump for joy for some one-on-one time alone? Offer to watch the kids while mom and dad enjoy some conversation without the interruption of spilled (plant-based) milk.

8) Your skills. Like to make green juice? Photography? Help people get healthy? Art? Paint? You can use your skills to help others or simply to just make a truly personalized gift!

9) Books. Do you have a stack of books that are collecting dust? Why not gift it to someone who might appreciate reading it? Include a special, personalized note of how the book impacted you, why it is special to you and how you hope it helps them.

10) Life skill with your children. Perhaps instead of a plastic toy that will get broken within seconds, why not spend time with your children? Teach them how to ride bike, surf or swim. Or how to build something. Maybe cook a healthy meal together.

11) Show the love and kindness. With millions of websites and blogs and social media getting peoples' attention is at a premium. Why not show your favorite sites and people some love this year by commenting, sharing, liking and everything else that comes with the social media world? Once again, set up reminders in your calendar to remind you to check in with them!

 12) Others. OK, so this might cost you a little bit of cash but it’s the best way to spend it. One idea is to building a clinic in Kenya with Blood: Water Mission (a medical kit only costs $10.00!) or how about feeding some hungry children in Malawi with Advent Conspiracy? If these kids can help other kids, so can you!


Your turn! What are you giving this year?


photo credit: Josh


My Morning Routine

Sarah Stanley


Most of you know that I don’t drink coffee. Never have. And at this point in my life it's safe to say I probably never will. While I love the smell of freshly ground coffee beans, that's as far as it goes. Too many people can only function on copious amounts of coffee. Worse still, is that their coffee is a sugar cocktail with either white sugar or artificial sugars (Splenda, Sweet n’ Low, Equal) that jack the body up in very unhealthy ways. Additionally, it takes 37 gallons of clean water to make one cup of coffee. Because I advocate for clean water in Africa and other countries drinking coffee is not a part of my life. The other problem is that the majority of coffee is unsustainably sourced, uses slave labor and also environmentally unfriendly. When purchasing coffee be sure it's fair trade and sustainably sourced.

If you are addicted to coffee, give your health and adrenal system a break! Relying on coffee to get and keep you going is a recipe for a stressed out and sick body. Start replacing that cup of coffee with the below morning cocktail.

If you can't give up your coffee habit, make sure you are drinking at least 24 oz. of pure water for every cup you drink. Remember, your body is 70 percent water, not coffee! Coffee dehydrates (bad thing), H2O hydrates (good thing).

So how do I start my day? With a morning elixir. Yup, that’s right! Try it for yourself and see how your health improves!


  • Helps to heal gut
  • Immune booster
  • Builds and repairs muscles (you break down muscle when you workout)
  • Brain health
  • Keeps blood sugar stable
  • Helps to decrease sugar cravings


  • Selenium
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Helps to stabilize healthy hormones (endocrine system)
  • Boosts immune system

**Note: if on birth control drugs, Maca is not recommend.

Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

**Note: make sure you use Bragg ACV and not any other commercial brand.

  • Enzymes & potassium
  • Supports a healthy immune system
  • Helps control weight
  • Promotes digestion & pH balance
  • Helps soothe dry throats
  • Helps remove body sludge toxins
  • Helps maintain healthy skin
  • Soothes irritated skin
  • Relieves muscle pain from exercise
  • Probiotic

Fresh Squeezed Organic Lemon Juice 

  • Helps prevent the growth of pathogenic bacteria & decomposition of tissue
  • Helps cleanse the system of impurities
  • Helps releve pain & inflammation
  • Stimulant to the liver
  • Digestive aid
  • Relieve symptoms of indigestion, heartburn, belching & bloating
  • Increases body alkalinity
  • Antibacterial
  • Sore throat
  • Helps purify blood
  • Helps lower high blood pressure
  • Brain health & nerve cells with potassium content

Organic Cayenne Pepper  (note: must be organic not commercial)

  • Settle upset tummy, ulcers, sore throats, coughs, diarrhea
  • Anti-cold & anti-flu
  • Migraine headache prevention
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-allergen
  • Digestive aid
  • Increases enzyme production
  • Oral health
  • Helps prevent blood clots
  • Detox
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Joint pain reliever

Raw Honey (I am currently using Heavenly Organics® White Himalayan Honey I also recommend Really Raw Honey)

** Make sure it is RAW honey: unheated, unpasteurized, unprocessed, pure** 

** The benefits below are from RAW honey, not cooked/commercial honey**

  • Helps digestion
  • When mixed w/ lemon juice relieves nausea
  • Antioxidant
  • Vitamins (B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc
  • Enzymes
  • Protein

Organic Turmeric (note must be organic, not commercial)

  • very powerful antioxidant to fight cancer
  • promotes heart health
  • helps with autoimmune illnesses
  • more effective than ibuprofen/Advil
  • powerful COX-2 inhibitor without harsh side effects from pharmaceutical drugs
  • anti-inflammatory

Organic Spirulina

  • boosts energy
  • supports immune system
  • supports eye health
  • supports brain health
  • boosts cardiovascular health
  • protein

Amazing Grass Raw Reserve

  • 25 billion probiotics per serving
  • fights free radicals
  • superfoods to prevent disease
  • protein
  • Vitamin k

{How to make}

4-6 oz room temperature water (and then enough to make 20 ounces) 

1 tablespoon Bragg ACV

Fresh squeezed lemon juice of half a lemon

1/4 teaspoon Simply Organic cayenne pepper (glass bottle) 

1/2 teaspoon raw honey

1/4 - 1/3 teaspoon Organic Royal Maca

1/2 teaspoon L-Glutamine (best to have on an empty stomach hence why it's in the morning cocktail)

1/2 teaspoon Hawaiian Spirulina 

1 teaspoon Simply Organic turmeric powder (glass bottle)

2 teaspoons Amazing Grass Raw Reserve (glass bottle)


Mix all together in a glass and drink! After drinking (drink like a shot) add extra water to make sure you got don’t leave any of the goodness in the glass- no waste :) (The spirulina will want to stick to glass.)

*May feel slight tingling in throat. It’s normal!


Cover photo credit: Ant1_G

10 Simple Ways To Be More Active

Sarah Stanley


We all know that physical activity is really important. But with most of us sitting 8 hours a day, our health is in crisis. And the statistics prove it. Sitting over 6 hours per day increases your risk of death by 40% versus those that sit 3 hours a day. Sitting for long periods of time is also associated with increasing the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and of course weight gain.

With our current lifestyle consisting of rolling out of bed, grabbing a cup of coffee, getting in the car in a garage, sitting in traffic, parking in another garage, taking the elevator to cubicle, refilling your coffee mug, sitting at your desk and never even getting a breath of fresh air. It’s no wonder America is over stressed, out of shape and in poor health!

Even if you workout (i.e. run) in the morning, you still need to be active throughout the day. Because as soon as you sit down the electrical current in your legs shuts off. Not a good thing! And the enzymes that help break down fat drop by 90%! If that doesn’t motivate you to get moving, I’m not sure what will.

Here are 10 simple ways to being more active:

1) Set your alarm to go off on the hour every hour during the day. If you do have a 9-5 job, set your smartphone alarm or timer to go off every 50 minutes. For the remaining 10 minutes, walk around the office or outside.

2) Walk and talk! Have a phone call to make? Walk and talk! This is one of my personal steadfast rules. If I’m talking, I’m walking. It’s amazing how many steps you can take while on the phone! If you are a manager or leader in any capacity, have active meetings. Get outside! Walk to a nearby park. If in a boardroom have the team get up and walk around. Not only is this good for everyone’s health, it’s good for helping people to think.

3) Purchase a pedometer or fitness tracking wrist bracelet like Jawbone UP, Fitbit, Nike FUEL. These are fantastic tools to help keep you motivated and accountable. There is something so rewarding to seeing how many steps you took in a single day!

4) Instead of watching TV, walk or run! If your nightly routine involves sitting on the couch for a few hours watching TV, you have time to be active. Choose something that you appeals to you. Walking, racquetball, yoga, soccer, running, swimming are all great options.

5) If you do watch TV, be active while doing so. Get a treadmill for your TV room! Jump rope, pushups, hold plank, get a set of hand weights so you can do bicep curls, flys, overhead presses and other strength moves. If your doorway allows for it purchase a pullup bar.

6) Walk while at work. If you have a desk job, invest in a treadmill desk. Bonus: endorphins will make you feel more energized and creative.

7) Walk first thing in the morning and last thing at night. A simple walk in the morning can be the perfect way to wake up. Watch the sun rise in the sky and count your. Wind down at the end of a long day by taking a nice stroll around the block. If you can go barefoot, even better! Anytime you can go barefoot, do it. Connecting with the earth grounds you and is also fantastic for healthy feet! Especially if you’ve been in heels all day!

8) Use your body to get to work! Walk, run, or ride your bike to work. Or take public transit and start/finish the rest of your trip with your body.

9) Drink pure water in a reusable water bottle. Drinking pure water (refrain from adding any toxic liquids or powders to it!) throughout the day will ensure that you stay hydrated (your body is 70% water) which means you’ll need to use the restroom which means you’ll have to get up and move!

10) Ask a coworker or your department to join you in getting active. Use the above ideas to inspire and motivate you. And if you need a wellness program for your company, let us know! We have wellness plans just for you.


So there you have it. 10 simple ways to getting active throughout the day. Now it’s your turn! How do you get active during the day? If you sit a lot, how will you get moving? Share your story here and you’ll be entered to win some amazing gifts! Terranea Resort anyone?


Disclaimer: We were compensated by United Healthcare Step Up campaign for this article.


Cover photo credit: Collect Moments

For the stats referenced above, check out this infographic:


Sitting Is Killing You

Explore more infographics like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.


The Myths of Protein



Hung-up on protein? Americans seem to be obsessed with protein. You ask John and Jane Doe where they get their protein, and they respond, "chicken, beef, turkey, eggs, milk, greek yogurt, salmon, tuna, cheese....." You might even hear nuts or beans if they've paid any attention to information on the USDA food pyramids/ MyPlate diagrams. However, as I am learning from Marion Nestle, politics have had a great influence on educating Americans about what to eat..... Have AMERICANS have been BRAINWASHED to believe that protein= animals!?

American's obsession with animal protein has lead to some pretty destructive environmental, health, and inhumane production systems (or perhaps it was industry that has influenced this obsession?) Rapid production of animal-based foods to meet the demand of the consumer come with public health and environmental costs that are not reflected in the price at grocery store (antibiotic resistance anybody?, meat safety?, environmental concerns?, water footprint?) If you haven't seen where your Factory Farmed animal products are coming from, check-out Rolling Stone's article, "The Price We Pay for Cheap Meat"... worthy of reading! Be an educated consumer. 


Meat, Plants, Protein, and Health. 

In many parts of the world, animal products play a very small part in the human diet. In fact, many of the oldest groups of people in the world eat primarily a plant-based diet ( Tedtalk on the Blue Zones). These centenarians eat beans, soy, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and lots of fruits and vegetables! They obviously haven't dropped dead yet from a lack of animal protein.... and they aren't having chronic health problems like majority of Americans.

Furthermore, research has been continually developing on the human gut (gastrointestinal track, GI track, Small and Large Intestine.. some names you might be familiar with) and its relationship with chronic disease and obesity. The gut bacteria (yes! There are microorganisms living in your gut!) may play a large part in shaping human health.  In a recent study, a diet heavy in meat/dairy  was compared to a whole, plant-based diet, and there was rapid change in gut flora. While the researchers utilized a rather drastic comparison of dietary intake, the results are still fascinating!  In TIME magazine's 2013 year in review, there was also a clip on the health consequences of meat. Perhaps the link between meat consumption and chronic disease lies in the gut!? The article discussed choline and TMAO production and the increased risk for heart disease. I look forward to more research developing in this area in 2014.

While science continues to discover more about the gut bacteria, it doesn't hurt for you to start exploring more plant-based protein options! You'll be doing your body, your planet, and your wallet a service. All plant proteins contain fiber,  rich sources of phytonutrients and antioxidants, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. I found this article by Reed Mangels, PhD, RD from the Vegetarian Resource Group to be a very well written explanation of how you can obtain optimal protein needs on an entire plant-based diet. Dr. Mangels shows the recommended protein intake (0.9-1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight) for individuals consuming an entirely plant-based diet, as well as provides examples of how easy it is for you to obtain your daily protein needs. A list of foods are provided with their grams of protein per serving. It's a great place to start if you are new to plant-based eating! The list of plant-protein sources is by far NOT complete! It's missing foods like split peas (16 grams of protein/ 1 cup cooked) pumpkin seeds (5 grams of protein/ ounce) kale (3 grams/ 1 cup chopped), chia (3 grams/ 1 tbsp) , hemp seeds (11 grams/ 3 tbsp), nutritional yeast (7 grams/ 2 tbsp).... but it gives you the general picture that beans, whole grains, seeds, nuts, AND EVEN VEGETABLES are packed with protein.

The real cost of protein: My experiment. 

Over the weekend, I did a little browsing at Costco and Whole Foods. If I wasn't swamped with grad school finals, I would have liked to spend more time pricing out more food options. I chose to look ONLY at the USDA organic meat and eggs at Costco. There wasn't a lot of variety for organic meat/ animal-based food options. The price for the organic animal foods was very expensive compared to the plant-based protein options. I could buy one package of chicken (3.5 pounds with 6-9 chicken breasts) for $20-21. OR I could buy a bag of organic Quinoa (42 servings) for $12.49 and a bag of Lentils (60 servings) for $5.99. Incase you aren't a math expert... that's 12.49+ 5.99= $18.48, which leaves some room for that 2 bunches of organic Kale for $4 at Whole Foods. I could feed my whole neighborhood quinoa, lentils, and kale for $22.48! Plus that's a heck of a lot of nutrition. A serving of quinoa, kale, and lentils together would provide 22 grams of protein (about the same as 3 ounces of chicken), 13 grams of fiber (chicken has none...), and 30% of the recommended dietary intake (RDA) for iron (chicken only has 3%).

Here's a list of my food cost, protein and iron analysis for plant-proteins vs. organic animal-based foods.

Organic Kale (whole Foods):
2 large bunches/ $4
Protein (1 cup raw chopped)= 2.9 gram
Fiber= 1 gram
Iron= 5% RDA
Lentils (Costco):
60 servings for $5.99 (10cents/ serving)
Pro (1/4 cup dry ~ 1/2 cup cooked) 13 grams
Fiber= 9 grams
Iron= 15%RDA
Organic Quinoa (Costco):
42 servings for $12.49 (0.30 cents/ derving)
Pro (1/4 cup dry)= 6 grams
Fiber= 3 grams
Iron= 10% RDA
non-gmo, organic Edamame  (whole Foods Brand):
6 servings for $2.99 (0.50 cents/ serving)
Pro (1/2 cup)= 13 grams
Fiber= 4 grams
Iron= 6%
Non-GMO Tofu (Costco):
12 servings for $3.59 ( 3.59/12= $0.2991667/ serving)
Pro (per serving)= 11 grams
Fiber= 3 grams
Iron= 15%
Nutritional Yeast  (Whole Foods):
$14.99/30 servings= 0.4996667cents/ serving
Protein (per 2 tablespoons)= 7 grams
Fiber= 3 grams
Iron= 3%RDA
Chia seeds (Costco):
$12.25/ 60 servings=  0.2041667cents/ serving
Protein (1 tbsp)= 3 grams
Fiber= 5 grams
Iron= 6% RDA
USDA Organic Chicken Breast (Costco):

5.99/ pound
2-3 pieces of chicken per pouch with 3 pouches= 6-9 pieced of chicken
$20-21 for 3.5 pounds of chicken
4 ounces raw= 3 ounces cooked
Assuming people follow the serving size guidelines:
 3.5 lbs *16 ounces= 56ounces
56/4 ounces = 14 servings
$20.96/14= $1.50 / 3 ounces of cooked chicken
Protein (3 ounces cooked) = 21 grams
Fiber= 0 grams
Iron= 3% RDA
USDA Organic Eggs (Costco):
$6.79/ 2 dozen ($6.79/24= 0.2829167 cents/ egg)
Protein= 6 grams/ egg
Fiber= 0 grams
Iron= 3% RDA

Maybe it'd be a good time to start giving your wallet, the planet, and your gut a break... and incorporate more plant-based protein options into your lifestyle!

In good health,



Find me on Twitter: @kristinademuth_RD  or Facebook: Moxie Musing

Need more reasons to consider adopting a plant-based lifestyle, check out my blog "Sustainable Food for a Sustainable Vision"


"Whatever we do to the earth, we do to ourselves."

- Chief Seattle


Photo credit: NCinDC

Gluten Free Holiday Guide

Sarah Stanley


Living gluten free during the holiday season can be challenging if you don’t have a game plan before attending a party or family dinner!

Here is a simple gluten free guide to help you during this holiday season (or anytime for that matter!)

Create a plan! No doubt you’ve heard the quote “if you plan to fail, you fail to plan”. So with that being said, create a plan! If you know you’ll be traveling, pack food with you. If you have Celiac Disease, make sure your family/hosts know so they can prepare things separately, use designated serving utensils, And if you can host, that is an even better option! Being in your home kitchen allows to you to keep control of what is being served and you’ll have no doubt of cross-contamination.  

Cook a dish! This is one of the easiest things to do. When you prepare your own dish to bring to a Christmas Eve dinner or to the holiday office party, you know exactly what is in it and also how it was prepared (with your own personal certified gluten free kitchen and a whole lotta love of course!)

Connect with others! Do you know others that might be gluten free too and need some support during the holidays? Become gluten free best friends!  

Give gluten free gifts! There are many amazing gluten free treats available today. Fill a basket with gluten free treats. No one will turn down Brownie Bites or Cinnamon Rolls! Or maybe a simple mug and some herbal teas and a dark chocolate bar. A gluten free basket makes a great hostess or host gift. And who knows, maybe they will check out gluten free living too!  

Make gluten free gifts! Making gifts with your own hands is very rewarding and brings you much satisfaction! Who wouldn’t like to receive some made-from-scratch Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark? Or maybe some muffins, cookies or biscotti. Homemade treats don’t have to be complicated, just made with love!

At parties, eat naturally gluten free foods! Veggies are a naturally gluten free food so those are almost a safe gluten free food to eat.

Host a gluten free party! Whether you announce it as a gluten free theme or keep it more subtle, hosting a gluten free party can not only be fun but can be a way to introduce people to a new way of living!

Gluten free drinks! Water is always gluten free so get in the healthy habit of carrying a reusable water bottle around with you at all times! Avoid adding liquids or powders to your water and just drink it pure.

Make wise snack choices. Raw fruit & nut bars are always gluten free as are veggies. Keeping a raw energy bar with you so your blood sugar doesn’t crash is a good healthy habit to get into.

Have a friendly response ready! When others ask why you aren’t eating something, keep your response friendly and non-combative. A simple reply could be “just choosing to eat healthy” or if you have Celiac your response could be “I have an allergy” or “my body doesn’t like gluten”. If they want to continue the conversation that’s up to them. Always be positive and happy!

Have a Very Merry Gluten Free Holiday! 

photo credit: Glyn Lowe Photoworks

Learn more about living gluten free! Visit 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Udi's Gluten Free. The opinions and text are all mine.

4 Super Spices to Eat Daily

Sarah Stanley


Have you ever thought about adding super spices to your daily diet? Super spices are like super foods- many healing properties to help you live well. Spices have been around for centuries to help heal bodies of disease (cancer), Spices aren’t just for cooking and to make the house smell wonderful, but to keep the body thriving.

Here are four super spices to start incorporating into your food and life!


If there is just one super spice to put on your list, make this the one. Curcumin is the root of turmeric and it’s what gives turmeric its vibrant yellow color. Besides being a fantastic post-workout recovery food, it helps to reduce inflammation, is a very powerful antioxidant to fight cancer, promote heart health, helps with autoimmune illnesses, and a 2009 study even showed that taking curcumin daily was more effective than ibuprofen. Turmeric is a powerful COX-2 inhibitor without harsh side effects from pharmaceutical drugs. Have inflammation? Want to heal the body? Take turmeric and curcumin daily.

How to use:

Because of it’s delicate nature, refrain from heating it (i.e. cooking) but simply sprinkle on food post-cooking just like you would salt and pepper. I personally sprinkle it on all savory meals (brown rice & beans, quinoa & bok choy). You could also sprinkle it on eggs. Aim for at least a teaspoon. You can also make a shot with it. Combine 1 teaspoon of Simply Organic turmeric powder with 6oz of raw, organic, cold-pressed juice and mix well together. Drink and then add additional water and drink till glass is clear. And always make sure it is organic too!

Bottom line: if you have aches and pains and just want a healthy body, start putting some turmeric on your food!


Another one of my favorite spices is cinnamon! Cinnamon has been proven over and over again to be a nutritional superspice. It helps fight diseases like cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes, and Parkinson's, promotes strong cardiovascular health, super strong antioxidant to fight off free radicals. Cinnamon also helps keep insulin stable so blood sugar stays controlled. Great news for pre-diabetics or those with diabetes.

How to use:

Use raw as much as possible. Sprinkle on a warm bowl of steel cut oats, mix a little with sunflower butter+raw honey+banana+ginger, add to the top of your sweet potato. Make sure you use Ceylon Cinnamon vs commercial cinnamon (cassia)

Bottom line: for optimal health, start finding ways to use this super spice in the foods you eat!


This superspice is like a sister to the previous one. Can you smell the gingerbread? Ginger is great for helping upset stomachs, digestive issues, and can even help manage pain like menstrual cramps, migraines, and muscle pains (like after a workout!) Also a COX inhibitor ginger helps keep inflammation at bay. Most people have inflammation so incorporating ginger into your diet is a great thing to add.

How to use:

Use raw, organic ginger, grate fresh ginger over food, slice fresh fresh ginger and mix with warm water for a soothing, quick tea. Sprinkle over breakfast foods (steel cut oats) combine with cinnamon for a double effect of super spice!

Bottom line: Ginger isn't just good for baking, it's good for your health.


And the last one on the list is cayenne. This super spice has also been used since ancient times and contains a host of health benefits such as heartburn, fever, circulation, heart health, teeth & gum health, and sore throats. It also helps the body detoxify. Cayenne helps to combat flu and colds, relieves gas, aids in digestion and chronic problems. It has also shown to help with migraines, joint pain, fight off cancer. And the last benefit? Boosts metabolism! Who doesn't want that?!

How to use:

I make a cocktail every morning that includes about a ¼ teaspoon of this super spice. You can also use it in soups, savory dishes, egg dishes, in sauteés.

Bottom line: making super spices a part of your daily diet is a smart, healthy thing to do.

I make sure I get these 4 superspices into my diet daily. In fact I’ll travel with these four superspices and also use them during races. I don’t take NSAID’s (or any harmful pharmaceutical drugs for that matter) so I use natural forms of anti-inflammatories such as turmeric & curcumin.

Bonus: I would be remiss not to mention raw GARLIC as a super spice too. A great source of Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, manganese, its fantastic for heart health, anti-inflammatory, antiviral (natural flu & cold fighter!), antibacterial, and helps to prevent cancer. Avoid powdered garlic and instead chop up a little organic garlic and add to your savory dishes. You can also throw whole cloves of garlic into soup, stew, egg dishes and other savory foods.


Your turn! Do you incorporate these super spices in your diet? If not, will you start?

Cover photo credit: Casie Goodwin

I Broke Up This Weekend

Sarah Stanley


Working in the health/wellness field and industry can be a very frustrating experience if you love people dearly. Or are a people pleaser.

I happen to fall in both categories.

This past weekend, as I was on a long ride and long run, the realization once again hit me that I can only help the people that want to be helped. Just like in a relationship, it takes two people invested to make it work. I can only educate, write and speak so much. People have to realize this knowledge for themselves.

It was time for a breakup.

A breakup with trying to win everybody and make them see the truth. A breakup with people pleasing. A breakup with driving myself crazy with people who refuse to “get it.” A breakup with arguing and debates that go nowhere (except for unkind words).

The breakup has been hard. It breaks my heart that people have to wait for a crisis or serious illness (that was easily preventable all along) or friend or loved one to die. I’m heartbroken that people have to become really, really, really sick, continue to live life with chronic illness, get diagnosed with a life-threatening disease or worse - make their children suffer the consequences of their poor choices and excuses.

Others fall in to the category of always trying to prove people wrong. They only want to pick fights, cause online wars (bullying), start unproductive “discussions” and use other passive aggressive behaviors. They don’t want to be helped. I cannot change them. No one can. I can only hope and pray that they will come to know that I have their best interest in for their life, health and happiness.

Breakups are never easy. Usually one party is left crying and the other “moving on.” For most people, breaking up is an emotional time. Whether it was the person who initiated it or not, our hearts feel like they are torn in two. We loved them dearly. I genuinely love people. I long for them to know the freedom they can have with their health, happiness, life. Every morning, I start the day with a prayer that I will be able to spread the wellness message effectively and hearts will be open to receiving it.

However, the plague of people-pleasing caught up with me and it was time for a breakup. Rest assured, me (and my team) will continue to spread the message of good health and wellness but no longer will I be trying to please people that don’t want to be helped. I will continue to live the healthy example just like I have my entire life.

Those that seek to listen will ask. Those that listen, will learn. And those that listen and learn, will live.


Your turn: what have you had to break up with recently?


Cover photo credit: Capture of Dreams


7 Holiday Motivation Tips

Sarah Stanley


How do you stay motivated to your health and wellness during the holiday (and cold) season? Below are seven holiday motivation tips for you! Fitness in cold weather

  • Cold weather can be harder to get active in but we live in a day and age that outdoor gear is abundant!

  • Snowshoeing is an excellent cold weather exercise! And fun too! You can rent from most REI or local snow shop.

  • Winter workout friends are essential. It’s a lot harder to miss workouts when you have someone counting on you!

  • Challenge or invite your co-workers to join you on your wellness goals!

  • Scheduling your workouts can keep you on track, less likely to miss them and something to look forward!

  • Starting your day with a workout is the perfect way to make sure you don't skip them! End the day with an active evening cap - yoga, Pilates, easy run or walk,

  • Sign up for a race that is happening in early Jan. or Feb. This will help you stay focused (and motivated!) during the holiday season.

Holiday parties and holiday food

  • Have a plan for parties! Go with a friend, keep a water glass in your hand, bring a dish that you can eat, keep a raw food bar in your bag.

  • Set the example! There is no rule that says you have to eat what everyone is.

  • When baking and cooking, always use real ingredients over fat/sugar free, low-fat or skim. These products contain artificial fillers, dyes.

  • A serving of cheese straws contains around 30 g of saturated fat. Opt for some artisan cheese with fresh veggies.

  • Swedish meatballs: 400 calories per serving, 10 g of saturated fat, 1,245 g of sodium. Make Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers instead.

How to handle "food-pushers"

  • Don’t let anyone belittle your wellness goals or what you choose to eat/drink. Many wish they had your dedication and commitment!

  • When people talk negatively or are cynical about your health and wellness goals, it’s a reflection of them, not you.

  • Share your healthy recipes and dishes with your family. Introduce them to real, nutrient-dense food!

Holiday drinks

  • A cup of eggnog has almost 400 calories and 21 g of sugar. If you must drink it, have a ¼ cup and fill rest with plant-based milk.

  • Two better egg nog options are So Delicious and/or Califia Farms

  • Alcohol mixed with soft drinks has been shown to be a very deadly drink. So stick with a glass of wine or seltzer water.

  • Except for raw juice/smoothies or probiotic drinks, nutrition rarely comes from drinks. Drink wisely!

  • Keep good company. Don’t let the peer pressure of others negative influence your wellness choices and commitment.

Motivation Holiday Tips

  • Motivation tip 1: remember the big picture, not instant gratification. The latter ultimately always disappoints while the former makes you stronger


  • Motivation tip 2: think of where you want to be next year and if the choices you make today will get you there or not.


  • Motivation tip 3: everything you do adds up; a drop in the bucket adds up over time! What do you want that drop to be- wellness or sickness?


  • Motivation tip 4: how do you want your little black dress (or pants!) to fit? Clothes can be a great motivator and indicator of where you weight-wise vs a scale.


  • Motivation tip 5: focus on overall wellness: mind+body+spirit vs numbers on a scale. Scales don’t reflect muscle, unhealthy/healthy cholesterol, etc.


  • Motivation tip 6: when you want to quit or give up or give in, think about how you’ll feel if you just walk away. Stay in the game! Your wellness is always worth it.


  • Motivation tip 7: think of those who can’t be doing what you can. Never waste an opportunity griping what others long to do.

If you haven't received your 2013 Edition Holiday Wellness Guide, be sure to get your free copy today!


Cover photo credit: Evan 

A Letter To Parents: What Your Kids Really Need From You



Youth sports for obesity prevention!

Sounds like a great strategy right!?

Get the kids moving a little, get them away from the TV, the computer, the video games, the  iPads....

less screen time= more play time!

Meeting the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day shouldn't be a problem when the kids have sports practice several times a week !

Three Boys Holding Sports Balls

Except wait.... 

That's NOT what the research is showing....

For 1/2 of the time at sports practice, kids are engaging in only LIGHT or SEDENTARY activities (Nelson, U of MN). This obviously varies by sport and by gender,  but the numbers are still strikingly low across the board. Younger kids, especially, have more "coaching time" and less activity time...

I should note, kids in sports ARE more physically active than those who aren't. So that's good...

Except wait.... 

They may be more active... but what about their NUTRITION!?

The research available on non-elite athletes, shows mixed results on nutritional differences between kids that participate in sports versus kids that don't. Kids in sports do consume more fruits/veggies than kids not in sports....BUT the kids in sports are also consuming more calories, sugary sports drinks, and fast food (Nelson et al 2011, Nelson, U of MN).

Additionally, sports environments promote unhealthy eating behaviors  like unnecessary sports drinks, snacks loaded with sugar and refined carbohydrates, processed meats, cheese dip (with more ingredients in it than cheese...), chips, pop....  It has become the "social norm" for sporting events to have concession stands filled with candy, chips, and pop (the other irony... we go to sporting events to watch professional athletes be active while we chow-down on processed foods). After practice the team snacks include things like "fruit" (otherwise refereed to as candy when it's in the form of a fruit roll-up), juice drinks (that are loaded with sugar), poptarts (which could have its own blog post.. my college professor would enjoy that), pop, donuts......and weekly trip to fast-food joints to celebrate with the team.

Glass of Cola with a Straw in It

T.  Nelson, a professor at the University of Minnesota, did observational studies at 63 basketball tournaments throughout Minnesota. All of the tournaments offered sports drinks and pop. Each tournament's concession stand offered 6 chocolate candy options, 6 chewy candy options. Entrees like hotdogs, burgers, pizza and nachos were offered at 98% of the tournaments. Pastries (cookies and baked goods) were offered at 92% of the venus. Chips and fruits were offered at 81% of venues... and ONLY 10% of the tournaments had vegetables available. ONLY 10%. Additionally, 67% of the venues partnered with outside vendors like Subway, Coldstone Creamery, mini donuts..... The norms that we have created around sports activities are not health promoting. And these foods that parents label as "sometimes treats" are becoming weekly.... if not, DAILY treats.


Basketball Team in Huddle


" Kids in sports are more active."

"They'll burn off the sugar anyways!"

 "My kid needs the electrolytes"

"Sports drinks will make my child preform better!"

Check this photo out!

"They deserved it!" 

For most children, caloric intake is exceeding energy burned during sports activities. The sports drinks (Gatorade, Powerade) are not necessary for children engaging in general sporting events (these were originally created for pro-football players practicing twice a day).... The original intent of sports drinks has lost its purpose, and now has become the replacement for pop and other sugar sweetened beverages. "But it's a sports drink.... it's good for me" ... to society, the sports drink wears a halo next to it's relative Coke and Pepsi, but they aren't that much different, folks! YOU ARE BUYING INTO #healthwashing .... (Words from The American Academy of Pediatrics on sports drinks: here).

Young Girl Eating a Hotdog

It doesn't sound like we, as a society, have created effective strategies for preventing obesity amongst our youth.

Elite athlete or non-elite athlete, what kind of messages are we teaching kids about physical activity and nutrition?

"I just ran 8 miles... so now I can eat a super size french fry and a McDouble. I deserve it!!"


Can we stop treating food as a REWARD and exercise as a PUNISHMENT?

What your body really deserves and really needs ... is physical activity and WHOLE FOODS, more plants!

YOUR BODY deserves to be nourished properly, so that you can maintain optimal health... and not just for the next time you exercise, but for the rest of YOUR life.

The food we are putting into  children before and after sporting events are not health promoting. We are sending the message that "I just worked out, so now I deserve to eat this xyz item.".... but what happens when that item is loaded with artificial EVERYTHING and there is actually no nutritional value to it (besides calories)? All kids should be surrounded in environments that encourage healthier food options. Foods that will ACTUALLY help them preform better, have more energy, and recover faster following intense practices and games.... BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, surrounding children in health promoting environments that will teach them LIFESTYLE skills about healthy eating and physical activity....


What do kids really need to be a healthy athlete:



3. HEALTHY FATS (olive oil, avocado, nut and nut butters, seeds)

4. FRUITS and VEGETABLES (this does NOT include french fries..)

5. WATER !!!


For more information about Healthy Youth Sports from the University of Minnesota, check out this link: Healthy Youth Sports. Let's stop #healthwashing today!

Also, checkout Move + Live + Learn with Amanda Stanec, PhD!!


In good health,



Find me on Twitter: kademuth_RD or Facebook: Moxie Musing

Cover photo credit: Aurimas 

The 3 Worst Gym Machines To Never Use Again

Sarah Stanley


Getting your sweat on is fantastic. It’s something I advocate for every day, but are you working out the wrong way? Many times, I walk by a gym to see people running on the hamster mill (i.e. treadmill) or see people furiously pumping their arms on the elliptical thinking they are going somewhere fast. Another piece of gym equipment that is misused is the weight machine - particularly the hamstring curl machine and quad leg extension machine.

Why are these machines not good to use? Let’s find out why!

The Treadmill. Now, you may be thinking, why would the treadmill be on this list? Doesn’t Sarah love to run? The answer is yes, I love to run, but always outside on the trails! Weather (cold, rain, snow) rarely stops me. Seriously, the coldest to date has been -60 degrees F.

Running on a treadmill doesn’t mimic real life movement and running. You are running on a belt that is propelling you forward. Next, people rarely change the incline from 0.0. That incline is actually a downhill slant, not a flat road. Thirdly, most people set the speed that they cannot maintain and hold onto the rails for dear life. The treadmill rails are not part of the workout! They are simply there for safety. Also, your gait and foot strike change for the worse when on a treadmill. So when you start to have hip, knee or other problems you wonder why.

So, when can you use a treadmill? For very specific workouts (speed or hills) or during a blizzard or hurricane. If using the treadmill, make sure the incline level is set at 1.0 or higher, but try to run outside as much as possible. Preferably on dirt trails.

Go natural when running! Note: there is a plethora of cold running gear, so don’t let the excuse of running in the cold (or rain) stop you! Here are the top 7 pieces of winter running gear I sweat by. 

The Elliptical. I cringe when I see and hear of people working out on the elliptical. Being drenched in sweat does not mean the exercise is effective. If you learn one thing from this article, I hope it's this: The elliptical machine does not mimic real life movement and does not build a strong body. You might be able to burn a lot of calories on this machine, but “burning calories” is not the goal of cardio. The goal of cardio is to raise your heart rate for a short period of time and then bring it back down, to build strong lungs, legs and overall body composition (which will burn calories). Instead of jumping on the elliptical for a 10 minute sprint, choose a cross training circuit that incorporates real life movement. Jump squats, jump rope, push, pull, throw, leap, crawl. Want to prevent injuries? Skip the elliptical for real life movements. If all else fails, just walk (or run) outside, or climb stairs.

The Weight Machines. Rarely are stationary weight machines effective. Once again, they don’t mimic real life movement. I see many of these used incorrectly all the time. The top machines would be the leg curl and quad leg extension (and also the bicep machine and ...) Again, they don’t build muscle the proper, effective way. Sure you might be able to pump out 15 reps, but your entire body is moving and jerking during the process. (No doubt you’ve seen this!) That is not the point of the exercise!

Instead of the leg curl machine, get a stability ball and do bridges with double leg curls and then work up to single leg curls. These are super duper effective and you might even curse under your breath by rep 7.

Instead of the quad leg extension machine, do pistols, one legged squats, run hills, cycle hills, lunges, box jumps. If you must do the quad leg extension machine, do one leg at a time. Keep the weight low enough so that your whole body doesn’t move during the exercise. Remember: time under tension. This is how you build muscle.

Strength training is really, really important, just make sure you are lifting the right way. Buy a kettlebell or two and some free weights. You can do so many exercises that build muscle the proper way.

The bottom line? Gym machines don’t translate into everyday, natural life movement. Stick with exercises that incorporate natural, real life movement. Lift heavy things, run outside (on trails), climb, pull, push, throw, jump.


What would you add to this list? What pieces of gym equipment have you seen being used effectively? Have you used the three machines listed above? Why? Leave a comment below! I always enjoy hearing from you*.

*Please keep the comments respectful and positive.

Photo credit: Barkaw

The Chains That Hold You Back

Sarah Stanley


I was on my way back from a ride (cycling) yesterday and stopped at an ocean overlook. In front of me was a wooden fence with a thick, not-yet tarnished by the saltwater, chains. In the midst of the beauty of the Pacific Ocean, these chains stuck out to me. I sat down at the bench and stared at these chains with the waves curling in the background.

How many times do chains hold you and I back? Answer: more than we know. Chains of guilt, shame, regret, hurt, depression, excuses, abuse. Chains are heavy. Draining. Chains cause negative health issues. Chains can ruin relationships. Chains cause destructive behavior. Chains are deadly.

For many people, chains from their childhood carry into adulthood and result in obesity- which has a domino effect with other health diseases. Chains hold people back and keep them stuck in living the same way they always have. Freedom from the demons that haunt you seems like a dream and living in peace is a faraway land.

So how do you get rid of the chains that keep you stuck and unwell? Here are four ways to ditch the chains that weigh you down (no pun intended).

1) Write it out. Putting words down on a piece of paper is very therapeutic. Find a quiet spot and grab a notebook and just start writing. Or your laptop and start typing! Write your story. The words on the piece of paper don’t have to make sense, just get your story out. Be prepared for some tears but also a sense of relief and peace. This process may take a few hours or a few months. In fact, get in the habit of writing daily. Ask yourself the hard questions. What do you believe about yourself? Why? Who in your life told you or implied that you weren’t good enough and food became your source of comfort? Excess weight (and for that matter, lack of weight) is usually a cry for help. We are carrying around chains of lies, hurts and shame. These heavy chains are weighing you down by friend! They aren’t serving you in healthy ways. Begin to write your story down today.

2) Acknowledge your past (and present). A lot of us like to live in denial or “ignorance is bliss” mode. But this is doing you no good! Continuing to live life with excuses is damaging your health. How can you achieve your goals with denial? You can’t! Sure, you might be able to skate by in life for a few years but sooner than later they will catch up with you. From diabetes to stroke to heart attacks, “ignorance is bliss” will have major consequences on you and those around you. Treating the symptom of the disease or illness doesn’t address the underlying issue of the problem. A pill might keep the symptoms at bay for a short time, but it’s a ticking time bomb. When you acknowledge the source of your problems it’s then that can you break the chains that bind you.

3) Smash those chains! Acknowledgment is great, but if you stop there, it’s like a train sitting on the tracks with the destination in sight but never arriving. Make a plan of attack to break the chains that hold you down. Therapy with a qualified counselor, support groups, changing who you hang out with, build a support network of compassionate and understanding friends, listen to positive music and a faith community that gives graces and love freely are all ways to help smash those chains. Giving yourself grace as you walk through the process of dealing with your chains is also extremely important! You’ll discover new things all the time and make connections and personal insights that will help you to live in freedom for a long time to come.

4) Heal your wounds. Healing is one step of the journey to freedom. And healing usually begins with forgiveness. I hesitate to use this word because those of us that have been horribly abused (myself included) can view forgiveness as letting the other person off the hook.  But from personal experience I can tell you that is not what is forgiveness is about! Forgiving those who have hurt you actually gives you freedom to live life wholly! Healing and forgiveness is a lifelong process but with time, healing from your past and what’s been done to you does get easier over the course of your life. One of the best things you can do is to see a qualified therapist. Stable, emotional health is paramount to a good, healthy life. Many times we overlook emotional health for workouts and neglect the mental health. Healing the mind can heal the body. Invite a trusted professional or spiritual mentor into your life journey of healing as you begin to process the things that keep you a slave to your chains. Forgiving and healing go hand-in-hand. Sometimes it’s forgiving others, other times it’s forgiving yourself.

Also, please note that when you are healing from wounds (emotional or physical), your body needs more nutritious food than ever. Wellness is a combination of your body, mind and spirit. Eating a processed, junk “food”, sugar-laden, caffeine-overload diet will make healing from life’s wounds very difficult. Make sure you are eating for health to support your body’s nutritional needs. (If you need help, just let me know!)


Getting Personal. I’ve had my fair share of chains in my life. Chains of guilt, unworthiness, doubt, and never good enough. All of these stemmed from the lies told to me during my childhood/teen years from my parents- the two people that are supposed to love and care for you. More of this will be shared in my book (April 2014) but I just wanted to let you know that I too continue to walk in a journey of freedom and grace.


What are some of your chains that are holding you back? How will you break free from them? Release those chains my friends and live free!

The Truth About World Hunger (and what you can do about it)

Sarah Stanley


If you knew that there was currently enough food in the world to feed everyone, what would you say?

If you knew that 1 in 7 went to bed each night hungry, what would you do about it?

World hunger is a hot topic and most people are uniformed why food injustice is prevalent. Today, let’s uncover the truth about this topic and what you can do about it.

First, here are 7 facts about world hunger/food injustice.

1) GMOs are anything but sustainable. Contrary to what Monsanto (and Dow) want you to believe, GMO crops actually yield less, are not drought tolerant nor are they more nutritious.

2) Supply. We have more food than ever before! But genetically modified crops have made so many of our crops unedible. Corn sits in fields and bins, unable to be used until processed. If you’ve watched the documentary King Corn you will know that commercial farmers can’t even feed themselves. In order for these crops to be edible, they have to be processed first. And that corn turns into many processed substances like High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).

3)  Poverty is the number one cause of world hunger. This includes unequal distribution, people’s resources and conflict. Food insecurity from a lack of wages (especially in third world countries) or greedy corporations performing what is called “land grabbing”.

4) Hunger is not just curable, it is preventable!

5) There is enough food in the world for everyone!

6) Food insecurity touches everyone- from wealthy countries to the poorest countries. Even here in the United States of America.

7) 50% of people that are hungry are small scale farmers- our food supply chain is broken and badly hurting.

What you can do about world hunger

Care. If people in Kenya are hungry, this matters to you! Start paying careful attention to the issue at hand and what you can do about it. Change and advocacy begins with you. Below are some resources for you.

Consume. Make a decision today to start eating only organic food or food not produced by Big Food brands and the brands they own. (These are the 10 brands that control what you eat: General Mills, Kelloggs, Kraft, Nestlé, Unilver, Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, P&G, Mars.) Focus on buying food from local farmers. Support small companies. Shop at farmer’s markets. Join a co-op. Warning: some organic brands have been bought out by Big Food. So pay attention to what you are buying. Use this resource for educating yourself on who owns what. Know where your food comes from. Who grew your food? How did it get on your plate? How much did those farmers make? Look at the

Communities. Do you live in a community where you can build a community garden? What about helping those in conflict-stricken countries and helping to rebuild those communities. Work with organizations like Compassion International or Heifer International or local food banks. Note: Feeding America is a Monsanto-based charity and should be avoided at all costs.

In the states this week we celebrate Thanksgiving. As most of us enjoy about 4000 calories that day, let’s be reminded of those who don’t have food and what you and I can do about that. Food injustice can be prevented and it starts with you!

And lasting, if you are a believer, we have a great responsibility to help those in need but it really starts with what we put in our mouth. Start changing what we buy, where we buy it and begin to making changes with how we get our food from. Something to think about!

Sources for the above facts and resources:


World Hunger

Just Food

Food Inc

Behind the Brands

The 10 Brands that Control Your Food Supply 

A short video on food injustice 

cover photo credit: Jonathan Peters


Holiday (heaping) Helpings!



It's that time of year again! Holiday parties, sweet treats, potlucks, all wrapped into cultural traditions and festive foods! Navigating the party foods might be challenging for some individuals with dietary needs (celiacs disease, lactose intolerance, peanut allergies) or people that choose to follow a plant-based lifestyle. While it can be intimidating to go to food-related events that do not cater to your specific needs, do not stress! The best thing to do is bring a dish (or two) to share! Know who your audience is and what kinds of foods will be offered, and then pick a recipe or two that caters to your needs and that others might be interested in trying! You could also take a "classic" dish and modify it (see recipe ideas below) using substitute items. My friends and I would also add, that you shouldn't tell anyone your dish is vegan or whole, plant-based! Let them be surprised of how tasty plant-food really is! I have been living the plant-based lifestyle for well over 10 years now; I've become more confident about attending social events and making food arrangements. It is just a skill you develop as you adjust to lifestyle changes.... And the best news for those following a plant-based lifestyle, MORE and MORE people are continually joining the trend and adopting a more plant-focused, ecofriendly lifestyle!!

This past weekend, I attended a friend's Thanksgiving party that was entitled "Vegansgiving"  (There is even a hashtag "Vegansgiving" on Instagram and Twitter). It was a chance for all plant-based eaters to come together and feast on  flavorful and homemade, plant-based dishes! While others may continue to question just what do "vegans" or "plant-based" people eat at an event our society has deemed as "Turkey Day", I would like to say that we eat just like everyone else. Infact, we eat more normal than most people might presume (there is nothing abnormal about wild rice, lentils, vegetables, squash...) We don't eat "weird" food. We eat fantastic and wholesome foods that are pleasantly tasting and nourishing for both the body and the planet!

 Here was our "Vegansgiving" Menu:

1. Walnut Lentil loaf: my contributions to the meal! It tasted like stuffing! ** I did make a substitution and used tomato paste instead of ketchup and blended an apple instead of using apple butter. Highly recommend this recipe!!!


2. Homemade Seitan stuffed with mushrooms and leeks. It tasted like a "Tofurky."  If you have celiacs, this is not for you do to the gluten. Not familiar with Seitan, learn about it here: About Seitan.


3. Spiced Carrot Soup with Roasted Chickpeas and Tahini was FABULOUS!


4. maple-sriracha glazed brussels sprouts over wild rice was flavorful!

brussels sprouts

5. Boozy Cranberry Sauce


6. For dessert.... Pumpkin Cheesecake, of course!

pumpkin pie

It was a phenomenal dinner! Everything tasted so "Thanksgiving-ish" and there was no animal products necessary!


For my family Thanksgiving, we will be featuring several plant-based menu options: 

1. Fresh fruit

2. Pumpkin soup 

3. Tofurky (and possibly the homemade Seitan)

4. A dish my mom makes with butternut squash, wild rice, cranberries, apples, and cinnamon

5. Chocolate Cream Pie 


6. Banana Cream Pie


7. Walnut Lentil loaf!

...and I am sure that wont be it!


If you are looking for some more creative plant-based spins on traditional and not so traditional dishes, check out a few of the links below!

1. Buzzfeed Thanksgiving Recipes

2. Vegkitchen Holiday Recipes

3. 75 Whole, plant-based Thanksgiving Recipes 


Main Dishes and Sides:

Walnut Lentil loaf

Spiced Carrot Soup with Roasted Chickpeas and Tahini

Herb Cashew Cheese

Herbed, Garlic Pumpkin Knots

Green Bean Casserole 

Pomegranate Quinoa

Cranberry, Apricot and Pecan Wild Rice Pilaf

Sweet Potato Soup with Ginger and Vanilla

maple-sriracha glazed brussels sprouts over wild rice

Spiced Carrot Soup with Roasted Chickpeas and Tahini

Homemade Seitan

Fluffy Mashed Potatoes with savory mushroom gravy

Wild Rice Pilaf with Butternut Squash



Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie

Chocolate Cream Pie 

Banana Cream Pie

Pumpkin Apple Muffins 

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Gingerbread cookies 

This year remember to be THANKFUL for the food you have to eat and a body to nourish well... and the opportunities you have to share in community, friendship, and good health!!


Happy Holidays!



Twitter: @kademuth_rd 


Cover photo credit: Lida Rose

Modeling Health and Gratitude

Amanda Stanec


“When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.”  ~ Anthony Robbins

It’s that time of year again – Thanksgiving is only a week away. Can you believe it? Whoa.  For some, Thanksgiving can be a stressful time - people may resort to their teenage self when gathering with family to celebrate.  Others might be looking forward to Black Friday so they can wait in line at 3 am. (I shall not judge).  For me, it’s a time to focus on modeling healthy traditions for my own children (ages 2 & 3) – traditions not highlighted by football and pumpkin pie.  

You see it’s my fourth Thanksgiving as a mom. And while I don’t claim to be any better of a parent than the next person doing her/his best, I have been mindful of what types of tradition my kids will grow up with. I thought I would share with you some guiding questions that helped me determine traditions I would be proud of.  Then, I will share traditions that my family initiated after considering the guiding questions.  It is my intent that you become a bit inspired and build upon / modify / develop your own traditions that model not only gratitude, but also healthy active living.

Guiding Questions:

  1. Are your traditions in line with the spirit of the Thanksgiving Holiday?
  2. Do you over consume, or do you serve and give back?
  3. Do your traditions demonstrate thanks to one another as well as to the environment?
  4. Are your traditions inclusive? Can the entire family be involved?
  5. Are your traditions ones that support healthy and active living?

Healthy and Active Ways to Serve and Model Gratitude 

  • Communicate with a local shelter (or other organization) and offer to serve a hot meal, or to deliver healthy bagged lunches.  We do this on Canadian Thanksgiving here in St. Louis.  It is almost shameful how much more I benefit from the activity than the residents. My partner and I bought organic, healthy food and made lunches to which residents stated, “Is this really for me?”  “This is sooo healthy.” “Thank you, God Bless You!”  The kids packed the bags (with our supervision – they are young) and passed them out.
  • Start your day off with physical activity.  It blew my mind when I moved to the US how so many people sat all day and watched others be active (re: football). It's nothing against football, but I just wondered why people weren't getting outside.  To ensure our holidays consist of physical activity, my partner and I run on Thanksgiving morning (we push our girls in the double bob ironman stroller we scored used).  [This year we are participating in a local 6 mile Turkey Trot at 8 a.m.] By beginning our day this way, it sets the tone for a healthy day and makes us feel better (just like it does every other day).
  • Offer to bring healthy options if you join others for a Thanksgiving gathering.  My mother-in-law is a fantastic cook!  When I offered to take roasted sweet potato fries, cauliflower, and a big green salad (for US Thanksgiving last year)– she was thrilled.  I take these three healthy options so that a) she has help and b) people have healthy options.  Once you put three healthy options on your plate, there is less room to make unhealthy choices. And, if you feel like having seconds (it is a Thanksgiving feast after all) go for the second helping of the roasted veggies.  This year, the cauliflower is coming from our own 'harvest'.  How cool that we will be giving thanks to the harvest just as the original feast did?
  • Get back outside!  When you finish eating your Thanksgiving dinner, we do what we do every night after dinner.  Bundle up and go for a walk as a family. Talk about what you are grateful for in life and qualities that one another possess.  Sure, it's warm and fuzzy - but the world could use a little more warm and fuzzy these days.  Don't you think?

Through physical activity, I am never at a loss for gratitude.  Connecting with nature reminds me daily just how much I have to be grateful for.  I also am aware of the literature on the power of role modeling.  Our kids notice what we do and what we say. So, I’m proud the traditions we are making include service, healthy foods, and physical activity.

We are such a small dash on the earth – and even a smaller dash in time.  Each day we should take time to reflect and be grateful for this gift of life.  Each day we should choose to nourish our bodies in a way that it has evolved to be nourished.  Despite what morning “news” shows are selling, it’s not about fitting into a certain dress size this holiday season.  It’s about eating well and moving lots so that you can feel your best and live life to its fullest potential. This potential includes finding ways to serve others healthily (in the community and at home) in terms of both foods and behaviors.

(NOTE: I’m also grateful to Sarah for inviting me to contribute to her blog, and to you for reading this post. Thank you.) 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Amanda Stanec, PhD, is a mother, speaker, writer, Boston qualifier and wellness consultant. Follow her on Twitter to learn more about living a healthy life! 








(Cover photo credit: Nathan Van Arsdale)

5 Unhealthy Habits To Trade In For Healthy Ones

Sarah Stanley


Do you have unhealthy habits? I have a few and you probably do too! One of mine is hanging out on my iPhone (either Facebook or Twitter or checking email) right before bed. I know this isn’t the proper way to fall asleep. And I hate that I do this!

So for the past month I started creating a new habit. I’ve been leaving my phone in another room, turning on “do not disturb” (I swear I can notifications in my sleep!) and reading a book before bed. This has been a great routine and I really enjoy falling asleep from reading a book vs staring at a little screen that turns a few minutes into hour(s).

Here are 5 unhealthy habits to trade in for healthy ones.

#1) Replace soft drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks for a reusable water bottle.

One of the best healthy habits you can get into is to carry a reusable water with you at all times. Even when standing in the TSA line! Just drink it before you go through security. Refill on the other side of the checkpoint. Bonus: you’ll save money and the planet! I literally carry my reusable water bottle around everywhere with me. From church to the store to the airport to restaurants if I happen to eat out- it never leaves my hands. A hydrated body is a happy, healthy body!

#2) Replace snooze alarm with setting it for 30 minutes earlier and getting a workout in.

Yup, you read that right! Instead of hitting the snooze button, set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier and jump (or roll, crawl, fall) out of bed to hit the gym or go for a run. Starting your day with physical activity will get your creative juices flowing, true energy in your veins and the self satisfaction of knowing that you put your health first.

#3) Replace using mobile devices/TV in the evening for reading a book or journaling.  

Do you fall asleep watching TV or on your cell phone? I don’t own a TV, but as I said in the beginning, I had an unhealthy habit of wasting time on my iPhone. Oops. So, instead of  vegging out on the couch watching TV or cell phones (or video games!) turn off the devices and curl up with a good book. Or grab a notebook and start writing (yes, with pen!) your thoughts. Writing is very therapeutic and healing. Remember, health is a mind, body, spirit connection!

#4) Replace complaining with gratefulness.

It is Thanksgiving next week, but how many of us could be a better job at being grateful on a daily basis, year round? All of our hands should probably go up! Complaining doesn’t do anyone a bit of good and can have a negative impact on your health too. Make a commitment to stop yourself from complaining or grumbling and choose to be grateful. Make a list on your smartphone of everything you are thankful for and look at it each time you complain. Each one of us has a lot to be thankful for!

#5) Replace chips, pretzels, crackers with kale chips.

Eating nutrient-dense foods instead of nutrient-lacking food-like-products gives your body the vital minerals and vitamins it needs to be healthy. You can make your own (kale is inexpensive- about $2 bucks for a bunch!) or buy if you really have to. Kale is a superfood and for good reason. It’s packed with nutrients that helps gives you good eyesight to heart health to lowering cancer risks. Oh and helps your body detox!


Your turn! What are some of your unhealthy habits? Any of the ones listed above? What can you do in the next 30 days to build healthy ones? Share in the comments below- I always enjoy hearing from you!

Photo credit: Brad


Week In Review (why running rocks and why the FDA wants to keep you sick)

Sarah Stanley


Here’s a look back at what happened this week in the health and fitness world (plus an inspiring, heart-warming story at the end).

First up is the Wall Street Journal and a very angry rant about runners. No need to link to it. It’s gotten enough airtime.

As a runner/ultrarunner, I love to run. It’s who I am. I’ve been running for as long as I can remember. In fact, I even forget about personal records I’ve set!

The writer of this article had a bone to pick with runners and frankly, I’m not sure why. I can only speculate that he is jealous of those who have run distances that he can only drive. I get it Chad, you haven’t (yet) experience the joy that running brings it.

Being a runner is a mentality. When I see a road sign stating the distance to the next town (whether it’s 100 miles or 10 miles), I immediately start calculating how long it will take me to get there via foot! It's not bragging, it's the inner satisfaction of knowing that my body can do something remarkable.

Running is liberating. Running is freedom. Knowing that my body can run really, really, really long distances is something that no one can take away from. I’ve had a lot of other things taken away from me, but running is the one thing that has always been there for me.

Dear Chad, I invite you to join me for a run someday! We’ll go to a running store and get you some running gear and shoes. After we’re done, we’ll put a sticker on your car of the distance you ran (1.1? 3.1?). And maybe then, you’ll see how wonderful running can be.


Second, the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology released new guidelines this week (November 12, 2013) calling for doctors to increase (I think I had a heart attack just reading that!) the use of prescriptions for high cholesterol for people that show a moderate risk for a heart attack or stroke.

A few facts:

  • Heart disease is the number 1 killer in America. (CDC) Yes, more deaths from heart disease than cancer!

  • Strokes are the number 4 killer in America. (CDC)

  • 700,000 Americans suffer heart attacks each year. (CDC)

  • Heart disease costs over $100 billion each year. (CDC)

  • 130,000 die from strokes yearly. (CDC)

So, let me get this straight. We’re going to prescribe statins to about 33 million Americans who don’t have heart disease, but are simply at a greater risk for it? Can you say money in pharmaceutical and FDA pockets? This is beyond appalling.

First, when prescribed these statin medications, people will be spending anywhere from $12 (generic) to $500 a month (and you better believe they will push for non-generic RX’s) - for the rest of their life! Who said that living a healthy life was expensive?

Second, these drugs come with adverse health consequences. Statin drugs increase Type 2 diabetes (which increases your risk of heart disease), memory loss, confusion, muscle pain and weakness. Bottom line: the FDA is going to prescribe a drug that gives you heart disease. To say that I am highly bothered by this is an understatement.

Here are the side effects of eating real food, exercise, drinking water and holistic treatments: they are safe and effective, increased energy, disease prevention, clear skin, helps you sleep better, memory, happiness, good digestion, heart health, prevent cancer, eye and brain health, strong immune system - the list of positive health benefits is endless! Plus, it’s cheaper than getting sick and paying for lifelong prescriptions that cause a host of harmful diseases and side effects.

Who will doctors target for these new statins guidelines? Caucasian women over 60 who smoke and African-American men over 50 with high blood pressure.

Heart disease and strokes are preventable through diet and lifestyle! It’s very basic and simple: eating nutrient-dense food, drinking water, not smoking, be active as much as possible each and every day, not eating processed food and drinks, eating less or zero animal products, embracing a plant-based lifestyle. I think it is outrageous that AHA and ACC (and the FDA) are asking doctors to prescribe life-long use of statins with disease-promoting side effects instead of urging patients to clean up their lifestyle.

Until the day I die, I will be all about disease prevention and organic food and holistic treatments and methods. Our bodies are smart - they don’t need harmful, toxic prescriptions that cause all kinds of disease, death and other health problems. When each of us starts taking personal responsibility for our health and using natural, holistic ways (real food, massage, acupuncture, water) to cure our body of what ails us, will we begin to take our health back.

I urge you to watch the documentary War On Health as soon as you can. Begin to educate yourself on what the FDA is doing to your health and the health of the people around you. “They are being rewarded for profiting off your disease - $2.7 trillion in fact.”

Bottom line: natural, holistic methods, treatments, foods are safe; pharmaceuticals prescriptions always come with harmful warnings and possible death.


And to end on a high note, there is no doubt you saw the heart-warming story about #SFBatkid. I got goosebumps watching as the city of San Francisco made this little 5 year old boy Bat Kid for the day. I’m glad good, positive things are still happening!

Have a great weekend!


Photo credit: Aaron

Have Your Cake And Eat It Too (just don't call it moderation)

Sarah Stanley


Moderation. No doubt you’ve either said or heard this word at some point in context to health and eating.

My friend, Andy Bellatti, explains the word moderation beautifully: “the equivalent of 600 fingernails on a chalkboard, plus the never-ending drip of a leaky faucet”.

Ask 99 people why they use the word moderation and you’ll get 99 different answers. To one person, moderation is a one candy bar a month. To another, a soft drink a day is moderation. And yet another might say that a donut for breakfast every Sunday morning is OK because after all, they ate kale yesterday. This word has no benchmark. Moderation doesn’t have one definition. It is left for individual interpretation and it’s hurting our health.

Here four reasons why this word is overused and should be taken out of our eating vocabulary.

As a Justification

When people use the word moderation, it is generally always used in conjunction with processed food - like products (never kale chips or a blueberry hemp smoothie). Deep down inside, people know that they shouldn’t be eating or drinking those products. So, to make it seem okay, they justify it by using the "M" word. Because if they state “moderation” then it will somehow void the harmful ingredients and give them a pass. But that’s not the way it works. Using the word moderation doesn’t give you a pass on obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol, fatigue, cancer, headaches, colds, etc. It’s also not being honest with yourself. Start building healthy habits by eating real food (and yes, you can make cookies and cake with real food!) and doing away with the moderation label. Moderation is just one of the things that is hurting our health - $147 billion in obesity related healthcare costs alone! If moderation worked, our health crisis wouldn’t be where it’s at today.

As an Excuse

Moderation is also used when people feel guilty. Poor health choices and behaviors don't need excuses and “moderation.” They need reality. Own what you eat! If you had a cookie, there is no reason to include “moderation” with the description. Excuses happen when we don’t take personal responsibility for our actions. It’s OK to have a cookie (plant-based, not processed, raw honey or coconut sugar vs. white refined sugar or artificial sugars) and not feel guilty afterwards. But having a cookie or slice of pie or a bag of chips daily or weekly is not going to help you live healthy or accomplish your long term with your health goals. Yes, even if you run and workout. Healthy foods never need the word moderation beside them. (Tell me, when was the last time you saw the word moderation listed beside a quinoa salad, kale chips and avocado?) When you stop using the word moderation to describe what you just ate, and start eating real food and drinking water or kombucha, you will find freedom!

As a Defense

Poison is poison no matter the amount. One soft drink a day might not kill you overnight, but the health consequences add up over time (weak bones, bone loss, obesity, heart disease, some cancers - just to name a few). If you have to defend your unhealthy eating and drinking habits, it is probably wise to take a closer look at them. I get it- people feel they have to defend their eating choices- because they know they could do better. Instead of going on defense, accept help for learning to make the right food choices.

As a Marketing Ploy

This one is directed toward Big Food and nutrition professionals who don’t want to take a stand on the topic. Big Food loves to use the word moderation or "balance"  because it gives them sales. They want you to think - believe! - that a soft drink or a bag of chips “in moderation” is OK. Truth: that is never part of a healthy nutrition plan or lifestyle. It’s not black or white thinking, it’s the truth. A balanced diet does not have fast food or processed food-like products in it. A balanced diet is one where you getting nutrients from real food that your body needs on a daily basis to fight disease, illness and keep well.

In Closing

Some people think that if the word moderation (or “balance”) is not used, problems will arise. Again, my friend, Andy, points out this is overreacting. Why don’t we teach that eating for health - for clear skin, for energy, for good blood work, for good cholesterol (case in point- my HDL was 96 recently; anything above 60 is good) to prevent cancer and other diseases? If we change the way we think about what we put in our bodies and start realizing that what we put on our plate and in our glass can either give us life + health or death + disease, our nation’s health will change too. And as always, I'm here to help you.

Have your cake and eat it, just don't call it moderation.

Your turn!

Do you use the word moderation? Will you take the pledge to not using it? Will you help others ditch the word and teach them healthy eating principles? Say no to moderation. Say yes to eating for health!

In Part Two I will give you three ways to live a healthy life without using the word moderation.

photo credit: Collin Parker

Holiday Wellness Guide

Sarah Stanley


The holiday season is upon us! And here is a Holiday Wellness Guide for you as you navigate your health and parties this season. Cheers!


  • Americans consume 130 pounds of sugar a year (adults consume 22 teaspoons of sugar a day and teens 34 teaspoons a day). Soft drinks are the number source.
  • Sugar can be hidden in ketchup, breads, salad dressings, bars, processed snacks, cheese and meats.
  • Sugar isn’t just white sugar, but these names as well: HFCS, sucralose, fructose, Sweet N Low, Splenda, Aspartame, Erythritol, Acesulfame K #healthtalk
  • The effects of sugar are obesity, heart disease, tooth decay, allergies, diabetes, certain cancers, insomnia.
  • Use raw honey when you bake - cut amount in half. i.e. 2 cups of sugar, 1 cup of raw honey.


  • Go with a friend and keep each other on track with your healthy goals in mind during the party.
  • Health is a 24/7 mindset, have a great time, but remember that your long term health goals!
  • Bring snacks or nutrient dense foods to the party. This way you’ll have something to eat! And introduce guests to real food!
  • Eat nutrient dense foods before going to party. At the party enjoy a few of your favorite foods or drinks.


  • A cup of Eggnog can be up to 400 calories (more with alcohol added) and contain 20 g of sugar! Watch what you drink.
  • Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks contains 410 calories, 17g fat, and 10g of saturated fat and no pumpkin (just artificial flavors) and HFCS.
  • A Pumpkin Spice Latte from McD’s contains no pumpkin, sucralose, artificial flavors, potassium sorbate, 340 calories, 48 g of sugar, GMO.
  • Alcohol calories can really add up quickly without providing your body nutrients. Try Kombucha!
  • Tip: get in the habit of always carrying a reusable water bottle with you. Water keeps you hydrated, refreshed and healthy!


  • A few handfuls of salty, mixed nuts can really add on the calories - up to 600! Opt for raw nuts and veggies.
  • Traditional green bean casserole contains about 275 calories, 10 g of unhealthy fat. Saute green beans, top with slivered raw almonds instead.
  • A slice of pumpkin pie contains more than 300 calories, 21 g of sugar. Try making these Pumpkin Spice Bars instead: (gluten free and vegan!)
  • Like crunchy foods? Opt for kale chips! Packed full of nutrients that your body needs to live and thrive.
  • You can still enjoy the holiday and eat tasty foods! Just be mindful to make wise and smart choices.

Holiday Fitness Tips:

  • Get up 30 minutes early every morning and get a walk or run in before the hectic day begins.
  • Park far away from the shopping mall or store and walk to entrance.
  • Challenge yourself to always take the stairs!
  • Set a wellness goal for the next 6 weeks. Bonus: I will help you! 


  • Happiness happens when we help others. There are many lonely people all around us, see you can reach out to this season!
  • Keep snacks and water bottles with you to hand out to those with signs asking for help.
  • Spread cheer wherever you go. Tip extra. Shovel neighbor's driveway. Put phone away when paying for purchases.


cover photo credit: MOTT

Gluten Free Living 101

Sarah Stanley


Are you thinking about gluten free and it feels a little daunting? Well, never fear! Today you have many choices in finding gluten free products compared to 10 years ago. Whether you have celiac or just want to experience the health benefits of going gluten free, here are 4 steps to making the transition to gluten free living (and eating). 1) Eat naturally gluten free foods!

Perhaps the simplest way to go gluten free is to eat naturally gluten free foods like vegetables and fruits, nuts, and other raw foods. These foods are great sources of nutrients and will make shopping easier. (Note: if you have celiac, be sure that packages are processed on a dedicated gluten free area.)

 2) Start simple!

If you don’t have celiac disease, then going gluten free doesn’t have to be an overnight rush. Start with breakfast. Gluten free steel cut oats with a plant-based milk (I like Hemp Milk) some walnuts or almond butter, and sprinkle ground organic cinnamon+ginger on top! Or start with snacks. Carrots+hummus or apple+almond butter. Tip: always include protein with your snack so your blood sugar doesn’t spike!)

3) Cook at home, eat at home!

Get back to the basics of cooking and eating at home! You will know exactly what you are putting in the meal and won’t have to worry about cross-contamination or other possible hidden gluten. Shop local, at farmer’s markets, CSA’s, or natural health food store. Try one new simple recipe a week. Cooking at home is so much fun! Even leftovers are yummy. :)

4) Hidden gluten

Gluten can be found in many processed food-like products as an additive. (Note: many commercial body and skin care products also contain gluten.) Some key words to be on the lookout for include: starches, natural flavorings, stabilizers, seasonings, malt, emulsifiers, beer. The top processed foods that contain these ingredients are processed meats, cheese products, condiments, salad dressings, snack products. Tip: follow the first suggestion in this article! :)

Do you eat gluten free? Or curious to try it? Leave your comments below, I would love to hear from you!


Learn more about living gluten free! Visit

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Udi's Gluten Free. The opinions and text are all mine.