Eat Now, Pay Later.

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Growing up in the South (quick shout out to Sylvester, GA), I ate from Daddy Pait’s garden, I helped my mom can fruits and vegetables, we sealed and froze soups, jarred pickles and everyone spent significant time cooking food. Even though the green beans were cooked for so long they were no longer green, and the squash had the consistency of mashed potatoes, the quality of the food was still whole. Tomatoes were really tomatoes and not some genetically modified monster. Cucumbers were picked just a day or so before we ate them.

Fast forward a quarter century (or more) and our fast-paced lifestyle forces many of us to seek out food that requires little time to prepare. Manufacturers have cashed in on this, marketing every kind of foodstuff you can imagine that is easy and fast–microwave dinners, boxed snacks, and grab and go meals to be slurped, eaten from a stick, popped in a toaster.

Sounds like a dream come true. Not so fast. This convenience comes with a price. Think about it.  Real food isn’t made to sit in a box or bag for long periods of time….so..chemicals, lots of them, are added to keep the food from going bad. Making them, well, bad. And they are filled with empty calories–void of any real nutritional value.

A simple food, yet this list is SO complex. It should be 3 ingredients. Can you guess? Flour tortillas!

Look for these ingredients in the food labels and avoid them at all costs.  Don’t panic, you can still find packaged options without a health risk, but you must read the labels and avoid the following:

  1. Artificial Colorings I was shocked to see that even Kraft Marshmallow Crème has food coloring in it. These are chemicals made from petroleum derivatives and have been linked to cancer, are known to cause allergic reactions, and are linked to ADD in children. AND, most of Europe has banned these in the same foods that have them here in the USA.
  2. Artificial Sweeteners Aspartame (NutraSweet) has been linked to brain tumors and about 90 other really unpleasant side effects. Your body is tricked into thinking it is getting sugar, so your insulin levels rise making your crave more sugar than before. It is is EVERY stick of gum you currently know. Diet drinks, ‘Lite’ Yogurts, ‘sugar-free’ junk should be tossed.  NOW.
  3. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) It extends the shelf life of processed foods and is cheaper than sugar. The main issue now is that HFCS is that we ingest far too much of it, contributing to our obesity epidemic.
  4. Partially Hydrogenated Oil (Trans Fat) is an altered vegetable oil. It promotes heart disease. It’s not just in Crisco anymore.  Goldfish and  peanut butter and Mission tortillas just for starters.
  5. Sodium Nitrates enhance meat products like hot dogs, bacon, sausages, and lunchmeats. Nitrites break down into cancer-causing compounds.  “Lunchables” should be re-named Box O’ Migraines.

These chemicals can have surprising side effects: depression (yes, I swear), fatigue, headaches, and skin irritations to just name a few. Not so convenient now, right?

For everyone trying to lose weight: Empty calories leave us hungry for real food. When we eat real, whole, organic and fresh foods, our bodies become satisfied and thank us accordingly.

Your best bet is to limit or better yet avoid things in packages, wrappers, and cans, and eat most of your food in its simple, natural state. It will make you feel SO much better, look SO much better, and LIVE SO MUCH BETTER. I GUARANTEE IT.

GLORY DAYS.

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Freshman 101 Wellness Tips

Remember your freshman year? All of the new things, new responsibilities, new boundaries, new ways to incorporate freedom into your life?

Remember the summer after your freshman year? Coming home to raised eyebrows at how much MORE of you there was? I came home with 20 more pounds. Forget the Freshman 15…I’ve always tried to be an over-achiever.I was a nice sized 12/14 in pleated shorts. It was a good look.

Recently, we hosted a graduation party at The GEM for 32 graduating seniors and we shared a few ‘tips’ with them. I hope they will incorporate a few of these into their daily life. I tried appealing to their vanity rather than their long-term health. I mean, we were all invincible back then. Good skin, better energy, strength & stamina, and clear thinking seem to be a better draw. Share these with your college bound GEM.

Quite frankly, we all need to follow these rules. They make for a happier, healthier you. One more shout out for DIAMONDS ON YOUR INSIDE.

TOP 3 THINGS TO DO

EXERCISE EVERYDAY—even if it is a walk or a bike ride. It makes you happy, too!

DRINK. LOTS. OF WATER. Water keeps your body and mind hydrated. Sometimes you mistake thirst for hunger. Drink 32 oz of water every morning— first thing. Pretty skin, pretty eyes, better energy.

GO GREEN. Eat something green everyday. PERIOD. More green = better mood, better skin, better chance of not taking home the freshman 15!

TOP 3 THINGS NOT TO DO

DRINK TOO MUCH. Bad for your skin, bad for bloating, and really bad for making good decisions.

LATE NIGHT EATING. Pizza delivery after 8pm is evil. An occasional splurge is fine, but keep it to once a month. There is nothing really hip about a slug eating crap. Cut out junk food. Keep healthy options around like popcorn, apples with almond butter, nuts, hummus & veggies.

SMOKE. ANYTHING. Smoke makes your skin dull, your breath stink and your body lethargic.

INCORPORATE HEALTHY CHOICES:

FRESH GREEN JUICE—perfect nutrients, energy, glowing skin, bright eyes

KOMBUCHA—soda alternative, cleansing, great hangover elixir

SMOOTHIES—as a meal replacement, and make sure there are only fresh, clean ingredients. No Jamba Juice imposters!

I can still see myself in my freshman year spring break photos.  My face was so puffy it barely fit into the 8×10 frame. If I’d only known The GEM!!

Weed of Wonder: Cilantro, the Great De-toxifier.

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Don’t take this SUPER LEAF for granted. This herb is not just a random garnish found next to the salsa on the condiment bar at Taco Cabana.

It’s a powerful natural detoxifier.

There are many well-documented benefits of organic cilantro. One super cool fact is that Cilantro might just be one of nature’s best chelation agents.

The chemical compounds in cilantro actually bind to heavy metals, loosening them from the tissues, blood and organs. Cilantro’s chemical compounds then help move these harmful substances out of the body. Mercury excess is a common problem that may be the result of metallic teeth fillings or over-consumption of predatory fish such as tuna and swordfish.

But wait, there’s MORE!  Cilantro also …

  • Eases symptoms of arthritis due to its powerful anti-inflammatory capacities
  • Maintains healthy cholesterol levels
  • Brings relief for stomach gas, prevention of flatulence (your friends and family will thank you) and an overall digestive aid
  • Wards off urinary tract infections
  • Helps reduce feelings of nausea
  • Eases hormonal mood swings
  • Helps promote healthy liver function
  • Loads of anti-oxidants that eat up those nasty free radicals in our body…things that make us old and creaky.

STATS for this humble backyard herb: 

15% of folates (recommended daily allowance per 100g)
11% of vitamin B-6
45% of vitamin C
225% of vitamin A
258% of vitamin K, one of the richest herbal sources
22% of iron
18% of manganese

This weed has flown under the radar for too long. Cilantro deserves a bowl full of respect!

So how can you get more of this super green? Add it to soups, sprinkle it on salads, douse it on dips. Too much to think about?

Have someone do it for you! Get a double dose of cilantro love when you hang out at The GEM. You can find cilantro in the soon-to-be famous GEM Quinoa Salad and Jalapeno Pesto. Hustle down and get you some cilantro!

Be A GEM. Visit Earth Day Dallas.

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A healthy, happy life. A grounded perspective. The protection of our planet, and our children.

Paramount to our existence. Parts of this we know, parts of this are elusive. How do we get to where we need to be?

Enter Earth Day Dallas, an outdoor festival in Fair Park designed to influence the way we think and live around our health and environment.  It’s fun, it’s free, and it shows us how green lifestyle choices can lower costs of living, improve our health and preserve the planet. Films, fun runs, food, yoga, gardening. Quite frankly, this expo houses so many topics and forums it will make your head spin til you turn green.

This is super cool. And super important. Important to you, to your family, to your planet. And I am THRILLED to be a part of it! I will participate in a discussion called  Farm to School Panel: Reinventing School Food Programs. I LOVE this topic and will serve on the panel.

We owe it to our children, our little GEMs, to guide them into a lifestyle that is healthy, shiny and bright.

I know you will be front and center next weekend to hear this fascinating discussion. In the meantime, here are three things you need to know and practice with your kids.

  • Feed their minds, body and spirits. It is a whole body existence. Health is a full circle.
  • Set the stage – Eat right and with your family. Family dinner time is the key to a successful, functioning family.
  • Offer non-food rewards – Cookie rewards are for the birds, and support an unhealthy relationships with food and success/failure.
Details. Be there or be square (Or Princess Cut if you are in the GEM world).
What:  Farm to School: Reinventing School Food Programs
When:  Saturday, April 21, (though the event  itself is April 21-22 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
               5 – 5:45 p.m.
 
Where:  Hall of State, Fair Park
 
Who and everything else:  Click here. 

Peace & Happy & Juice

Crown me Kale.

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Learn to love it. It will love you back.

Kale is the leafy green everyone really cool is talking about.  This emerald beauty has found it’s way into the nutrition spotlight and is even referred to as “the new beef.”

WHY should I jump on this VEGGIE HUGGER bandwagon?” Kale here to stay. No longer the garnish on the Denny’s breakfast plate so get used to it.

Nine SUPER FINE reasons to eat more KALE:

1.Immunity Booster. “Super Kale” super charges your immune system with high levels of vitamin C, A and manganese.

2. Bones. Strong ones. Kale is loaded with calcium, it actually has more calcium per serving than milk. The calcium in kale is also absorbed more easily by the body than from dairy products making it the better choice for strong bones. And your skin will glow.

3. Anti-Inflammatory. Kale is strongly anti-inflammatory as it has an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids, over 45 different flavonoids. Trust me, this means good stuff.

4. Vitamin K. Contains tons of it. (1300%of your RDA in just 1 cup). K helps reduce the body’s inflammatory response and supports the nervous system. Prevents calcium buildup in our tissue. How much of my RDA?

5. Alkalinity. Kale helps the body maintain an alkaline ph. When your system is alkaline, diseased cells cannot survive. Uhh, thats all you had to say for me!

6. Kicks cancer’s ass. Anti-cancer properties of kale are off the chain. Glucosinates help prevent many different cancers.  So do alkalinity and anti-inflammatory characteristics above.

7. Smooth Operator. Fiber: it keeps our digestive system running smoothly so we can absorb the maximum number of nutrients. Fiber also acts like little scrub brushes cleaning out toxins from out body.

8. Iron. Where’s the beef?? Per calorie kale has more iron than beef making it an iron-rich super star. Kale burger anyone?

9. Detox. High sulphur content is essential for the body’s detoxification process.

Dino Kale Rocks The House.

So how do you get this super food into your diet? Here are a few easy ways:

  • Soups: De-stem and cut a few kale leaves before adding them to soups in the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  • Sneak some in your salad – Massage (yes, massage) the kale with a little sea salt. Add the kale into your regular salad for a nutrient dense kick. OR, come get a life-changing, fabulously yummy kale salad at The GEM.
  • Kale Chips: Yes you heard me, chips! Fall head over heels for them with a little olive oil and salt, bake at 350.
  • Smoothies – disguise a kale leaf at a time into your smoothie. You can’t even taste it!
  • DRINK IT! A Green Glow Juice from The GEM is the perfect starter kit to add more kale in your day.

Be a GEM, Cleanse.

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THE GEM 3 DAY JUICE CLEANSE.  The success of your cleanse is dependent on doing it right. It is important to stress that while you are doing a great thing for yourself by drinking juice in place of meals, however, WE AT THE GEM, cannot do it all for you.

THREE FACETS OF A SUCCESSFUL GEM CLEANSE: WATER, REST, ELIMINATE.

Hydrate. Drink at least 8 glasses of filtered water a day. Wake up with 32 ounces right off the bat. Additionally, take a probiotic every day to keep your intestines balanced and to help replace the good bacteria that your body needs.

Rest. We suggest going to bed as early as possible if your schedule permits. Most people find they get tired earlier than usual.

Eliminate. It’s almost counter productive to do a cleanse if you don’t help expedite the release toxins from your system. Ummmm. We are all friends here, so, colonics or enemas are a safe way to flush out years of built up toxic waste  along with toxic liver bile, gas, and even parasites. Most of us are full of it anyway (insert smile & wink here) and have unnatural substances that take a some extra effort to release, thanks to our modern, not-so-healthy diets. If a colonic scares the sh*t out of you, use an herbal laxative (Traditional Medicinals Smooth Move tea or capsules), to aid in this process.

Other great ways to eliminate toxins:  Dry brush each morning before you shower to shed dead skin cells. Massage can get the lymphatics moving. Meditate (toxins are also in our thoughts). Slow Down. Tone down your usual exercise and keep hard-core cardio to a minimum, but definitely do something each day to accelerate your lymphatic and circulatory systems.

DETOX SYMPTOMS IN MOTION:

Headaches, dizziness, fatigue, constipation, runny nose, skin blemishes and nausea. Maybe one, maybe none, maybe all. Your digestive system gets some much needed time off and your radiant body gets to work on other things: releasing toxins and adjusting to the clean nutrients it is being gifted. There is no need to worry- in fact, although unpleasant, symptoms are often a good sign. If you are experiencing some of the symptoms, drink an herbal tea that can help combat them naturally but DON’T take any over the counter chemicals.Oh, and no gum or mints while cleansing. They promote the release of digestive enzymes and makes you hungry.

Optimally, we suggest eliminating all solid foods, but there is sanctioned cheating by having a few slices of cucumber or apples. If you need something warm and savory at dinnertime, boil some veggies with herbs and a little sea salt and drain the broth into a bowl. This is a perfectly acceptable addition to The GEM Cleanse.

DETOXIFICATION of the body brings…

Clarity, Energy, Well-being

Radiant Skin, Bright Eyes

Significant Craving Loss for caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, sugar, and junk foods. 

Keeping it real from the inside…



Organic. Why bother?

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Are organic foods really worth the hype and the extra money? I am gonna break it down quickly for you. Reasons for organic:

1. No harmful pesticides. Many of these pesticides cannot be washed off of the produce–as they penetrate the entire vegetable. Would you sprinkle DEET on your popcorn?

2. No GMOs. That is genetically modified organisms. If you aren’t clear on what those are, don’t feel bad. Even the scientists who created them can’t predict what will happen to humans when they are consumed. Monsanto created the ‘Round Up Ready’ soybean and corn. This means that the powerful pesticide will kill everything around it except the the GM bean. Great, you think. Not really. These crops have been modified so that if an insect eats it, the insect’s insides are destroyed. But it’s OK for humans to eat it? I’m no rocket scientist, but….

3. They taste better and have more nutritional value. Without a doubt!

4. The meats you consume are not over treated with powerful antibiotics. They are also humanely treated–not crammed into slaughter houses and mired knee deep in waste. Happy animals produce happy food. Eat grass-fed, free range.

Take a look at this experiment. It left me speechless. If this doesn’t confirm the data, nothing will. Way to go Elise!

Love yourself, love your family. Buy organic. It just might be the best weapon in your arsenal against disease.

OH, and drink your organic juice everyday. It is super power that helps combat the environmental toxins we can’t help but consume.  See you at The GEM.