Can’t do pasta? Think again! Easy homemade zucchini noodles

“I despise noodles”, said nobody ever. From toddlers to teens to retirement homes, people love pasta. Some love it with marinara, some love it with butter, some love it plain. Anyway you boil it, noodles are a favorite. Now what happens when pasta begins to make you sick? Game. Over. There is just no replacement for those little loves — or is there?

Spiralizing vegetables has become a rather popular way of taking away overprocessed nutrient-void junk and replacing it with highly nourishing, vitamin-packed goodness. Think its too time consuming to make your own “noodles”? Think again – these can be made in mere minutes and will leave your body feeling the love you are feeding it.

Nothing to it! these “noodles” can be ready in 5 minutes, maybe less if you have super human spiralizing powers. Want to use your powers for good, instead of evil? Check these recipes out too.

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Easy zucchini noodles

1-2 large zucchini squash
2 tbsp olive oil
Finely chopped garlic to taste (1-2 cloves)
sea salt to taste

Spiralize zucchini, according to the directions of your spiralizer.
In a saucepan, preheat olive oil on medium heat.
Place “noodles” into heated olive oil and season.
Continue to toss until heated through.
Serve as a side, or top with your favorite pasta sauce and serve as a veggie-rich pasta dish!


How to get clear skin: vitamins for healthy skin

Like many women before me, I used to be pretty complacent about many of my health issues. Joint pain? Bah, I’ll just walk it off! Headache, I’ll just pop a pill! But when my health issues affected my skin and my complexion, and how I looked, the vainest part of me became worried. I was forced out of complacency. After all, being 30-something (almost 40 even!) and having acne in addition to my grey hair seemed to be a cruel way for the universe to let me keep my youthful facade. I’ve written before about how I’ve had life-long issues with eczema, and I’ve come to realize that eating the wrong thing can result in an eczema flare-up or even cystic acne because of my food intolerances. One of the most frustrating revelations in becoming a holistic nutritionist has been learning that what you eat can affect your body in so many ways beyond your digestion. After all Hippocrates said, “All disease begins in the gut.”

How to get clear skin?

While what you can eat can affect you negatively, thankfully, the opposite is also true. There are foods that encourage healthy skin by reducing inflammation, helping to repair damage, relieve dryness or irritation, and more. So if you’ve got skin issues, don’t just rely on expensive beauty creams containing “skin-replenishing nutrients” – those will only help the surface of your problem. If you want to get to the root of the matter, you’ll have to start with what you’re feeding your body as what you eat affects you from the inside out.

Make sure you’re getting enough of these nutrients for healthy skin

Water for hydration

You need water for all of your life’s processes, and if you want beautiful, glowing skin, you’ll want to be properly hydrated. Being dehydrated dries out your skin and increases the appearance of wrinkles. So make sure to reach for water as your beverage of choice – not sweetened juices, teas or coffee. Plain old water does your body best for hydration. If you need a little more flavor, squeeze a little lemon or other citrus into it, infuse it with berries or get some other ideas here. Aside from beverages though, eating plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, soups and stews and other foods that have water will help hydrate you too.

Protein to build

Proteins are the body’s building blocks, and every cell, organ and tissue (including your skin) gets built from protein. After all, it’s the most abundant component of your body, after water. The healthiest sources of protein also contain vitamins, minerals and fats that are necessary for life, never mind just healthy skin. Ideally, your protein sources should come from humanely-raised, pastured animals that have plenty of complete amino acid profiles, B12 and vitamin D (nutrients that aren’t found as readily from plant sources of protein). If you choose to get protein from beans or other legumes, make sure to prepare them carefully (e.g. fermentation, soaking and sprouting) to make them more digestible and reduce the anti-nutrients like phytic acid. Gelatin (from grass-fed animals) is a good source of protein too, and it can help build new skin and tighten loose skin as well. (Canadians: If you’re looking for grass-fed gelatin, I recommend getting it here. The shipping charge is reasonable, and if you use the code HMP485, you’ll get $5 off your order; $10 off if you order $40 or more). Another great way to get gelatin naturally through food is by making your own broth from soup bones.

Quality fats to fight inflammation

Fats, especially Omega-3 fatty acids, – are essential components of every cell membrane in your body (that is, the ‘lipid’ part of the phospholipids membranes), and they’re also essential hormone pre-cursors and needed for your nervous system. Fats are also needed to help transport and help you absorb fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E and K. There are two types of essential fatty acids (the types of fats that you must eat because your body can’t make them). Omega-3 fatty acids are needed to reduce inflammation in the body, and Omega-6 fatty acids help produce steroid like chemicals that help control inflammation. The problem is that in the standard American diet full of processed foods, corn-fed beef and other meats, the ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fats is out of whack – most of us are getting too many Omega-6 fatty acids, and not enough Omega-3s, hence why supplementation of Omega-3s is often recommended. Just make sure to stay away from processed “vegetable” oils that are actually not from vegetables, but rather soybeans, grains and seeds like corn oil, canola oil and cottonseed oil. These trans-fats are made when polyunsaturated fatty acids are heated.

Where can you get good fats? Pasture-raised meats, wild-caught cold water fish (like sardines, tuna, mackerel and salmon) are excellent sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. Other healthy fats can be found in avocados, nuts and seeds.

Vitamin A to repair damaged skin

This fat-soluble vitamin is stored in the liver and comes in two forms: active, proform vitamin A (or retinol) that is only found in animal sources or beta-carotene which is a water-soluble co-factor found in plant sources. Your body converts 3 IU of beta-carotene to make 1 IU of vitamin A, but to do so, you’ll need a healthy functioning liver. One of the symptoms of vitamin A deficiency is dry, itchy skin, and this vitamin is needed to help repair damaged skin, help retain skin moisture and counter infections.

You can find the retinol form in fish liver oils, and beta-carotene in green and yellow fruit and vegetables, carrots, sweet potatoes, garlic, ginger and others.

B-complex vitamins to combat dryness

The water-soluble B-vitamins are usually naturally found together in food, and if you’re supplementing, they work best taken as a B-complex, rather than individually isolated B-vitamins. When it comes to healthy skin, B-vitamins help combat dryness and itchiness. B-vitamin deficiency can lead to skin issues including dermatitis, and more seriously, neurological disorders.

B vitamins are naturally found together in foods such as: organ meat, fish, meat, nuts, sunflower seeds, brewer’s yeast, eggs, leafy greens and more. Keep in mind that B12 is a B-vitamin that is only found in animal foods.

Vitamin C to help allergic skin reactions

Most people know that vitamin C will help stave off a cold and boost your immune system, so it shouldn’t be too big a surprise that vitamin C will also help fight skin infections too. Vitamin C also has anti-histamine effects which can help with allergic skin reactions. Aside from oranges, you can acquire vitamin C in apples, leafy greens, garlic, onions, and sweet peppers.

Vitamin E to protect skin

Lots of expensive creams and beauty products will boast that they have vitamin E in them. After all, this fat-soluble vitamin E is an anti-oxidant that can help protect skin cells and repair damage caused by free radicals and then sun. Some signs of vitamin E deficiency are bad skin, brittle hair and premature aging.

Get vitamin E from foods like eggs, liver, organ meats, as well as leafy greens, broccoli.

Quercetins to reduce skin reactions

Quercitins are flavonoids found in plants that can help stabilize cell membranes and block the allergic response that can result in eczema or hives. You can find quercetins in citrus fruits and green tea.

Zinc to help skin healing

Zinc is a mineral required for tissue and cell formation, and required in the body’s synthesis of retinol (the active form of vitamin A), so a deficiency in zinc can also lead to a vitamin A deficiency. Zinc can help skin healing and is also involved in the metabolism of fatty acids. People with eczema are often zinc deficient. Symptoms of zinc deficiency include skin disorders like acne.

You can get zinc from pumpkin seeds, oysters, liver, eggs, apricots, peaches and cocoa.

How do you get healthier skin? Eat more nutrient-dense foods.

The Skintervention Guide

What it comes down to is this – eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods from quality sources, will not only help you achieve beautiful, healthy skin, but also a healthy body all-around. Eating better quality food is certainly an excellent place to start. If you need more in-depth help with your skin beyond better nutrition, I highly recommend The Skintervention Guide – I bought this book before I even had a blog, and it helped me immensely. Liz Wolfe of Real Food Liz outlines how to improve your skin by first addressing nutrition, followed by improving your digestion and finally with natural body and skin care methods. Check it out here.



Better-than-Ikea Swedish meatballs (primal, gluten-free)

Swedish meatballs trigger a rather strong wave of nostalgia for me. Back when I was a wee little munchkin, my Maman and our Swedish family friends would take these epic trips to Ikea together- the kind of trips that would make my insides do gymnastics with excitement. And while the wild assortment of types of furniture I never knew existed – or much less needed – was an adventure to see, it was always the possibilities of what lurked in the cafeteria that sent me head over heels into a thrill. There were slices of Smorgasbord cakes draped in colors and cream, crisp shrimp salads with mouth watering cocktail sauces, oozing goopy apple pies with cream sauce, and lingonberry anything to your heart’s desire. However, the real dream come true was the Swedish meatballs.

Swedish meatballs have always been the epitome of comfort food to me. At my many childhood adventures at Ikea, they’d be served with a cream sauce with some sweet, yet tart lingonberry preserves on the side, and of course, the undeniable presence of happiness in result of the great company I had. Every last bite of those meatballs provided everything I could have possibly wanted in a meal: warmth, comfort, happiness, sweetness, and exceeded satisfaction.

Better than Ikea Swedish meatballsEventually, our trips to Ikea became less frequent as our beloved family friends moved out of state. But that didn’t stop me from chasing after the emotional flight that this meal would give me. Even after becoming a vegetarian – a vegan at one point, too – I still longed for this dish. Even after going through a roller coaster of eating disorders, more persistently than ever, I longed for encapsulated bubble of joy hidden in this dish. I tried re-crafting the memories by purchasing meatless meatballs from Trader Joe’s (this was well before discovering the power of real food, have mercy) and some lingonberry preserves from Ikea. And while I could always find comfort in the familiarity of the flavors, I longed for the complete nourishment of this dish, with the company of our sweet friends.

I eventually was able to revise a fairly authentic recipe for Swedish meatballs to make it a bit more friendly to those who appreciate the goodness in a sauce made from whole milk. I also wanted my dish to be accessible to those seek a familiar comfort in dishes that are now forbidden due to unrelenting repercussions of consuming said dishes.

Although it’s been years since our family friends have moved out of state, having this meal always brings back those memories that are so dear to my heart. And instead of mourning the empty chairs and dishes that I lay out and assemble in my head, I’ve learned to welcome the nostalgia as an essential part of the nourishment of this very precious meal.

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How to make meatballs (better than Ikea’s & better for you)

Rating: 5

Yield: 15-19 meatballs


  • 3/4 cup of beef stock to boil down to 3-4 tbsp of concentrated stock, PLUS an additional 1/2 cup of beef stock for later
  • 1 bunch of Dino kale
  • 1 shallot
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 small bunch of chives
  • 2 large Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes
  • 4 tbsp butter, divided into four 1 tbsp portions
  • 1 cup of organic half-and-half, separated into two 4 oz portions
  • 2/3 lb of ground pork
  • 1 heaping tbsp of creamy almond butter
  • 2 tsp of arrowroot or tapioca starch
  • 1 tbsp of Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of slivered almonds
  • 1/2 tsp of nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp of allspice
  • lingonberry jam to taste
  • sea salt


  1. Start by simmering the beef stock in a small sauce pan on medium high. Periodically check on the stock to see if it has reduced to 3-4 tbsp.
  2. For the mashed potatoes, set up a medium large pot of heavily salted water and put it on medium high to boil. While the water is boiling, start your mise en place by cutting the kale into chiffonade-like slivers, mincing the shallot and garlic, finely chopping the chives, and rough chopping the potatoes. Place all of the ingredients in their own bowls and set aside.
  3. Carefully lower the chopped potatoes into the boiling salted water and cook for about 15 minutes or until a fork can easily pierce the potato. After 15 minutes, drain the potatoes, and place them back in the pot. To them, add 1 tbsp of butter, 1/2 cup of half-and-half, and salt and pepper to taste. With a wooden spoon or a whisk, mash the potatoes until they are uniform in texture. Keep the mashed potatoes on low heat and stir periodically. Check the reducing stock and see if it has reached the desired volume.
  4. In a large bowl place the ground pork, almond butter, shallots, nutmeg, allspice, salt, and pepper, and mix thoroughly. Be sure not to over mix. Roll the mixture into small meatballs, about 15-19 meatballs total.
  5. Heat a medium sized pan to medium heat and add 1 tbsp of butter. Once the butter has melted, place the meatballs into the pan. Once the meatballs are browned and caramelized – approximately 5 minutes – remove them from the pan.
  6. To the same pan, add another tablespoon of butter and the arrowroot or tapioca starch. In essence, you are making a quick roux for the cream sauce. Continuously stir the starch into the butter for about 1 minute. To it, add the reduced beef stock, 1/2 cup of half-and-half, 1/2 of beef stock, and salt and pepper to taste. Make sure to stir continuously for about 3 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. If the sauce appears to be gummy or lumpy, add a bit more beef stock and half a tablespoon of butter and blend it in a blender.kale
  7. Lastly, in a separate pan, heat up another tablespoon of butter on medium high heat. To it, add the minced garlic and let the garlic toast for about 45 seconds. Then add the slivered kale, and salt and pepper to taste and continuously stir for about 2-3 minutes, until the kale has wilted. Remove the pan from the heat, and while being mindful to keep your face out of the steam, add the tablespoon of Balsamic vinegar and stir thoroughly. Add the slivered almonds and stir.
  8. To plate, place a layer of kale onto a small plate, top it with a dollop of mashed potatoes, and place a few meatballs on top. Then add some of the cream sauce, lingonberry preserves, and a sprinkle of the finely chopped chives and enjoy. Bon appétit my friends!


Reading List: Health & Wellness Books for Your Summer Vacation (& Beyond)

It used to be that I’d read fiction books over summer vacation: trashy novels for the beach, science-fiction or fantasy for road trips or the latest mystery/thriller before bed. The problem for me though, is that once I pick up a novel, I want to read it to the very end – think Netflix, but with books. Now non-fiction books on the other hand, I’m able to pace myself better, and I’m looking forward to devouring some health & wellness and nutritional books this summer.

Death by Food Pyramid by Denise MingerCure Your Child with Food by Kelly DorfmanAllergies: Disease in DisguiseI’ve got a few books on my summer reading list, including some of the books mentioned below, but one that isn’t there is Death by Food Pyramid by Denise Minger, who discusses how government and the food industry have led us all astray by changing the eating habits of the developed world. For friends & clients, one of my favorite recommendations is a textbook from my Natural Nutrition studiesAllergies: Disease in Disguise by Carolee-Bateson Koch, who discusses how food sensitivities are the source of many of common symptoms. If you have kids, I highly recommend What’s Eating Your Child by Kelly Dorfman. This book has helped a lot of parent-friends ‘get’ why food choices for kids are so important.

I asked around to fellow nutritionists and other health & wellness bloggers to see which books they recommended, which books they read that really got them into eating better as a way of improving health, or which books they recommend most often to readers or clients. Here’s what they had to say:

Intuitive EatingMeals that heal inflammation by Julie DanilukMaranda of Propel Wellness: “I frequently recommend Meals That Heal Inflammation by Julie Daniluk. It has some great general information on the role nutrition plays in your health, with easy to understand steps you can take to reduce inflammation and improve your health. It also has recipes to get you started, which makes adopting new habits a lot more attainable. It’s a great all-in-one book for anyone dealing with chronic health issues.”

Lauren of Mindful Meals: “Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole guided me away from a calorie counting, rigid view of nutrition to one where I can listen to my body’s natural cues.”

Vanessa of True North AIP: “The Paleo Approach – Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body by Sarah Ballantyne, PhD. This approach got me started on addressing my own health issues which eventually launched me into CSNN to become a holistic nutritionist, after learning just how powerful healing foods can be. It’s not about being ‘Paleo’ as much as it is figuring out how to eliminate foods that might be causing your problems and allowing your body to heal.”

Primal Body, Primal Mind by Nora GedgaudasTThe Paleo Approach by Sarah Ballantynerish  of Keep the Beet: “I’m reading The Paleo Approach by Sara Ballantyne, PhD, and I always have clients buy Primal Body, Primal Mind by Nora Gedgaudas when starting with me as new clients. I have so many I could not name them all!”

Andrea of It Takes Time: “Why Isn’t My Brain Working? by Dr. Datis Kharrazian, encompasses the role of gut health and nutritional support to keep your brain healthy as well as recover loss of brain function. (I lost quite a bit of memory function.) He offers quite a bit of data regarding the impact of gluten on inflammation and overall health. I think many people feel “crazy” when they try to recover their health, follow a diet, etc and don’t get as far as they would like. Or they notice decreased brain function and chalk it up to getting older. This book is not a “fix all” rather a tribute to the uniqueness of each individual and the opportunity to make life a bit better. For the true beginner, I would vote for Deep Nutrition by Cate Shanahan. She explains in such an understandable way the impact food choice makes on health.”

The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre KiethDeep Nutrition by Catherine ShanahanWhy isn't my brain working?Venus of Ravenous Venus: “Deep Nutrition by Cate and Luke Shanahan, and The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith. Deep Nutrition was the first book that opened me up to the importance of animal-derived nutrients and it gave examples of many cultures that thrive off diets that emphasize the importance of animal nutrients. Since I was a vegetarian at that time, that and The Vegetarian Myth totally tipped me over. The Vegetarian Myth is great because it discusses how vegetarianism/veganism isn’t morally, politically, or healthfully beneficial in any way- all from the perspective of a woman who used to be a vegan for 20 years! She covers every possible argument about the topic, there’s no way you could believe that our bodies were made for plant-based diets after reading her book. Truly fascinating.

Gut & Psychology SyndromeHealthing the New Childhood Epidemics by Kenneth BockLibby of Libby Louer: “Mine was Healing the 4As, the New Childhood Epidemics: Asthma, Autism, Allergies & ADHD. That led me to Gut and Psychology Syndrome.”

Sara of If Your Body Could Talk: “The Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates because it give a fabulous overview of how our gut health affects everything else and provides a very do-able plan to start healing the gut and optimizing digestion.”

Ashley of Prairie Holistics: “Master Your Metabolism by Jillian Michaels. I read it a few times before deciding to become a Nutritionist, and it was somewhat of the catalyst actually. Lots of great info, and an action plan to start out.”

Just the Rules by Tosca RenoMaster your metabolismLisa of Breathe Wellness: “Where to begin, there is a LOT of information out there, and it can be difficult to sort out the good from the bad. The Spectrum, by Dr. Dean Ornish, is one book that I would recommend. It’s full of great facts, and advice, tells it like it is and makes the reader want to implement changes for the better.”

Monica of My Fit Body Coach: “Most of my personal training clients know very little about even the basics of nutrition, so for these clients I like to use this resource. It’s perfect for newbies learning to navigate “clean eating” practices: Tosca Reno’s Just the Rules.”

Jaime of Gutsy By Nature: “Mine is an evolution. Despite having been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at age 19, I never put much thought into the connection Breaking the Vicious CycleOminvore's Dilemma by Michael Pollanbetween the food I ate and my health. The first book that got me to think about food in a new way was The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, but that was more about the environmental impact. Then I read Nina Planck’s Real Food and started thinking about the health implications of diet. It took me several more years before I got serious about it though and that was when I read Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall. That lead me to paleo and the book that really made it all click was actually Practical Paleo; Diane Sanfilippo just explained everything in such a way that made sense, her recipes were tasty and easy, and the meal plan for specific health conditions (for me the autoimmune protocol) was just the program I needed at that moment. That all said, if I was to suggest a single book to someone with Crohn’s disease or another autoimmune disease today it would be Sarah Ballantyne’s The Paleo Approach. If it is someone who wants to just improve their health or lose weight, I’d direct them to Practical Paleo, Chris Kresser’s Your Personal Paleo Code, the Hartwigs’ It Starts With Food, or the Jaminets’ Perfect Health Diet.”

Nourishing Traditions by Sally FallonReal Food by Nina PlanckJessica from Delicious Obsessions: “Ummm, how can I pick just one? Since I have to, it was Nina Planck’s Real Food. It was well-written and easy to read. I grew up on a super healthy, real food diet, but when I moved out, I rebelled and ate everything junky that I could. Nina’s book was a good reminder why real food is best and inspired me to get back on track.”

Lydia of Divine Health from the Inside Out: “Primal Body, Primal MindThe Fat FlushNourishing TraditionsStaying Healthy with Nutrition by Elson Haas – probably others. There is a lot in [the Haas book] that I don’t agree with now – I started reading it when I was 19, so a long time ago… but there is so much info. that is good too. Take the good, ditch the bad.” Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A Price – This book provides solid scientific evidence of the negative impact that the modern American dieWheat Belly by William DavisNutrition & Physical Degenerationt can have and opened my eyes to a more ancestral way of eating. Focusing on traditionally raised meats and produce has since become a priority for me and I have seen amazing improvements in my health!

Erin from Pure & Simple Nourishment: “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A Price – This book provides solid scientific evidence of the negative impact that the modern American diet can have and opened my eyes to a more ancestral way of eating. Focusing on traditionally raised meats and produce has since become a priority for me and I have seen amazing improvements in my health!

Caroline from Colorful Eats: “Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis—It inspired me to radically change my diet removing all grains and refined sugars and eventually being able to get off insulin!”

The Paleo Solution by Robb WolfYour Personal Paleo Code by Chris KresserArsy from Rubies & Radishes: “Dr. Frank Lipman’s book, Revive. It was the first time I made a connection between my extremely low energy and my diet. I followed his protocol and felt so much better immediately. I now recommend Chris Kresser’s Your Personal Paleo Code to my blog readers. It takes the most comprehensive and easy to follow approach to improving your health.”

Nazanin from Cinnamon Eats: “I sort of did things backwards and began my journey into a paleo lifestyle by first doing a Whole30 and then finding paleo. The first book I read after doing the whole30 was The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf. Reading that book solidified for me that the path I had chosen was the one that would lead to health and I never want to go back to eating a Standard Diet again.”

The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate PerformanceSusan from Weight Loss Laboratory: “The Art & Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance by Phinney and Volek. After losing my Father to a stroke, I was looking to take my health and fitness to another level and was inspired by the the two authors to try a ketogenic approach. It’s highly science and research based, which is my thing, and proves you don’t need carbs to fuel physical activity. Rather, your body functions amazingly well on and prefers to run on fat.”


Now keep in mind that some of these reads are more involved than others! But one interesting thing is that no matter what the specific approach is in the book, they all have the underlying message of eating more real food!

Read more:

Do we really need industrial farming to feed the world?

There are now over 7 billion of us on the planet, with over 7 billion mouths to feed, and there are many who argue that in order to feed those many mouths, and all the new ones there will be by 2050, we’ll need to:
1) Encourage small, family farmers to
2) Double our food production in order to feed the earth’s growing population by
3) Employing ‘efficient’ industrial farming practices such as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs or factory farming), the use of industrial pesticides and herbicides, and genetically engineered crops.
Is it true? Do we really need industrial farming to feed the world? After all, this means big money for companies, if they can get everyone behind “America’s Farmers“(that link is actually to a wholesome-sounding PR campaign by Monsanto).

Natural remedies for ADHD: Vitamins for ADHD

n my last article, 6 Ways to Help Manage ADHD … in Your Kitchen, I grazed the topic of some subtle food changes that should be made to help relieve some ADHD symptoms. These, by no means, will “cure” ADHD but it will certainly help and is a great starting point.

ADHD is diverse and by this I mean that it is not a simple disorder that has a one pronged therapy. ADHD is a multi-faceted disorder that requires a multi-faceted approach. One of the main areas is through natural remedies for ADHD; specifically, improved nutrition and the use of supplements.

Minerals & vitamins for ADHD

Natural Remedies for ADHD: Vitamins for ADHDVitamins: we all need them for various issues but, for the most part, our overall health and wellness. If you have a well-balanced diet, then you shouldn’t really need to take extra vitamins (or minerals), right?  Well, for the most part, that is correct, but there are numerous circumstances where this is not the case; ADHD being one of them.

The effect that vitamins and minerals can have on the human body is almost similar to that of a medication, if taken properly.   They should be taken every day at roughly the same time each day (morning preferred) and in either liquid or pill (or gel cap) form. The gummy variety should not be an option ever as they are usually loaded with food dyes, additives and sugar and a very minimal amount of vitamin. Please check with your doctor first before starting a new supplement regime just to be on the safe side. Many nutrients work synergistically with one another, and you won’t really know if it’s effective for at least two weeks so give it some time to let your body (or your child’s body) metabolize it and absorb it effectively.

Below is a list of the most effective (and successful) supplements and what they are generally used for. More specific information on supplement recommendations and dosages can be found in my book, ADHD is Not a Four Letter Word:  Drug Free Strategies for Managing the Gift that is ADHD.

To help get you started right away, I’ve included food sources, as a good starting point to get more of these specific nutrients through diet.

Thiamine (Vitamin B1):

Helps improve behavior.

Niacin (Vitamin B3):

Helpful for symptoms of hyperactivity, weakening school performance, and helps maintain social relationships.

Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6):

Highly effective in treating hyperactivity.

B-vitamins are usually naturally found together in food, and if you’re supplementing, they work best taken as a B-complex, rather than individually isolated B-vitamins. B vitamins are naturally found together in foods such as: organ meat, fish, meat, nuts, sunflower seeds, brewer’s yeast, eggs, leafy greens and more. Keep in mind that B12 is a B-vitamin that is only found in animal foods.


Relieves excessive fidgeting, anxiety and restlessness.


Aids with hyperactivity. (Just as an aside, when used with magnesium in the evening, it has a relaxing effect that aids in relieving anxiety and troubled sleep. A much better alternative than melatonin.)

Magnesium and calcium need to balance each other out, ideally in about a 1:1 ratio. Dairy products, while high in calcium, are low in magnesium and generally, most people are more deficient in magnesium than calcium. Good sources of calcium and magnesium are nuts, seeds, sardines and salmon with bones, and leafy green vegetables.


Assists in reducing hyperactivity, impulsivity and helping irritability.

Find zinc in foods such as oysters, red meat, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and eggs.


Aids with irritability, attentiveness and memory.

Be cautious in supplementing iron, as it is generally not recommended unless absolutely necessary. Your healthcare professional can help determine if low iron is due to a deficiency or poor absorption. Eating vitamin C-rich foods can help improve iron absorption and you can find iron in foods such as organ meats, red meat, egg yolks, nuts, beans. Cooking with cast iron can also help increase your iron intake as some iron does get transferred to food.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

Helps with focus, temper tantrums, sleep problems and improvement in mood and memory. This one, in my opinion, is the most important out of all of them when trying to improve ADHD symptoms. Many children have strong aversions to taking Omega 3 but there are many ways of taking it so you don’t get that fishy smell or “fish burps.”  If you do happen to take the flax variety as opposed to the fish variety, the potency will not be as high so you will need to take much more flax oil than fish oil to get the equivalent amount of Omega-3.

Aside from coldwater fish such as salmon and halibut, choose organically-farmed, pasture-raised meats which have more Omega-3 than their conventionally-raised counterparts.


One of the keys of ADHD is education for everyone involved – the parents, the teacher, the coach, the ADHDer and anyone else who plays an important role in their life. I will never tell a parent to not medicate their child but what I will do is provide them with every single possible resource available to them and, if all else fails, then they can do what they need to do. So, my final words?  Educate before you medicate!


Dumpling stuffing ground pork stir-fry

I have been craving comfort food, and because of my Chinese background, my kind of comfort food isn’t mashed potatoes and mac n’ cheese, it’s stuff like congee, noodles and dumplings. Alas, I’m in the long-term process of trying to heal my gut, and address food intolerance symptoms like my severe eczema – and as such, I can’t eat rice (which makes congee – a rice porridge, impossible for me), or wheat and most other flours that are usually used to make noodles and dumplings. So what’s a food-restricted girl to do, but to come up with a grain-free, egg-free, dumpling, right? Well, the universe has decided that the world just ain’t ready for my dumplings quite yet.

Dumpling stuffing ground pork stir-fryFull disclosure: My grain-free, egg-free dumpling wrappers were a complete and utter disaster, and I learned the hard way that it’s probably not a good idea to develop a recipe that will also double as your dinner. The inevitable failure just makes you cranky and hungry and scrambling to fix it enough to fill your belly. After the dumpling wrappers failed, I improvised and made a stir-fry dish that had all the flavors of dumplings, just without the packaging – huzzah! a stir-fry success from a dumpling failure.

In true Chinese family-style cooking, I hadn’t actually written down the exact quantities required of the dish and just threw in amounts that felt right, so I ended up making it again when my second dumpling wrapper experiment also failed. For a loosey-goosey way to improvise your own stir-fry, check out Nom Nom Paleo’s Garbage Stir-Fry. The first time I saw her post, I wish I’d come up with the name, because it’s exactly how my family cooks: identify suitable ingredients, cook quickly in wok, and done! The key to a good stir-fry is to season well, and taste as you cook. My mother’s own Chinese cooking techniques usually involve pre-marinating your meat as well, for at least an hour before you start cooking. For those of you who are less experimental, follow the recipe and enjoy the flavor of a good pork dumpling sans wrapper.

(And not to worry, I haven’t given up on AIP-friendly, egg-free, grain-free dumplings yet. I’ll make sure to post those when I finally get wrappers that work!)

Tip: Freeze your ginger and grate it

One tip about the ginger in this recipe: I freeze fresh ginger and grate it whenever I need some. It allows me to slowly use up ginger as I need it, and not have it go all wrinkly and sad, or worse, moldy. Also, I hated ginger as a kid. Actually, I still hated it as an adult. I love the smell of it, but never liked the big pieces of it that my mother used to flavor her cooking (sorry Mom). It was only when I started grating it that I realized ginger isn’t so bad.

Like this recipe? Click here to download a Free eBook that includes all the recipes listed on this site!

Dumpling stuffing ground pork stir-fry


  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 tbsp of gluten-free organic soy sauce, or coconut aminos
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2-3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, finely chipped
  • 2 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 medium head of nappa cabbage (about 7-8 cups) chopped


  1. In a mixing bowl, add the ground pork, soy sauce or coconut aminos, sesame oil and sea salt and mix until well combined. If you have the foresight, you can do this about an hour before cooking to allow the meat to absorb the flavors, if not, no worries as it still tastes good.
  2. In a large, wok, on medium-high heat, add some coconut oil and lightly stir fry the garlic, ginger and green onions until the garlic is lightly browned.
  3. Add the ground pork mixture into the wok and stir-fry until the meat is mostly cooked – some pinkness is okay.
  4. Add in your chopped nappa cabbage, a few handfuls at a time. The nappa will wilt as it cooks and make more room for the rest of your cabbage. Keep stir-frying until the nappa is sufficiently wilted and your pork is completely cooked.
  5. Enjoy!


Are you eating GMOs? How do you know?

In the US and Canada, there is no way of knowing if you’re eating GMOs (short for “genetically modified organisms”) in your food. There are plenty of reasons why you may want to avoid GMOs, and there are ways that you can avoid GMOs. But, without the labeling of food products as having GMOs, you can’t know for sure.

I debated whether or not to post about this video, because Kevin O’Leary irritates me so much with his condescending attitude. However, Rachel Parent of Kids’ Right to Know is so composed and she answers O’Leary’s arguments so well, that it’s worth sharing. I love how Rachel keeps having to re-iterate her point: We as consumers deserve to know what is in our food.

Easy dinner recipe: Bacon coleslaw stir-fry

If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you might have seen some teasers showing that I’ve been busy working on an eBook called “We Can ALL Scream for Ice Cream” with my co-author (and past guest blogger) Jennifer Robins of Predominantly Paleo. Let me just say that I never knew how much work went into putting together a “small” book. Small is in quotation marks because this book was meant to be a quick project, but the book itself is 57 pages, contains 24 recipes and even includes an introduction that outlines a basic ‘why’ of the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). Why does it have an AIP introduction? Because, if you’re like me and you follow an AIP diet that is devoid of all grains, dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds and nightshades, you may have thought you’d never eat ice cream again. After all, the best ice creams are made of, well, cream. And they usually involve eggs, and sweetener. Well, I’m happy to say that the recipes that Jennifer and I have in this book are completely AIP-compliant. And while, some might argue that the autoimmune diet shouldn’t include treats because it’s recommended that you keep your daily fructose intake to less than 20g, our eBook allows you to make an informed decision about whether or not you can indulge in one of these recipes. How? We’ve included the amount of fructose per serving for each treat 🙂 So yes, you can have your cake ice cream and eat it too!

What does all of that have to do with this recipe though? Honestly – nothing. It’s just a little back-story as to why I’ve been a little pre-occupied lately and my family’s meals have been very basic (although on the plus side, there have been more frozen treats than usual). I wanted to share with you the most basic of convenience meals that we have around here when we don’t really have a lot of time: Baked chicken legs & this stir-fried bacon coleslaw. I know that I can’t be the only one who gets too busy, or feels too pooped to do anything fancy for dinner.

The chicken legs are pretty hands off, as the oven does all the work. This stupidly easy veggie side dish is made stupidly easy because there’s minimal prep when using pre-bagged, pre-washed coleslaw mix. There are actually healthy, convenience foods – and I for one, love the convenience of the ‘just open up the bag’ of slaw.


Bacon coleslaw stir-fry
Rating: 5

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes


1 tbsp coconut oil
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, chopped
5-6 strips of pasture-raised bacon, chopped
1 bag of coleslaw mix (pre-washed and ready to eat)

In a large wok or skillet on medium heat, melt your coconut oil to coat the pan. Then add your garlic, onion and bacon and cook the bacon to your preferred crispiness.
Add in your bag of coleslaw mix, and stir to coat it well in with the bacon fat. Stir-fry until the coleslaw is softened and slightly translucent, about 10 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!

Read more:

Mint Chip Ice Cream (Vegan, Paleo and AIP-friendly!) & A GIVEAWAY!

Vegan, Paleo, and AIP-friendly Ice Cream for you, for me, for everyone!

What makes this eBook different? Well, for very selfish reasons, the recipes in this book are free of the top 8 food allergens, making them: dairy-free, nut-free and egg-free. (All the things that often make a good ice cream… well, good!). As I’ve mentioned before in the blog, I follow a Paleo Autoimmune Diet (AIP) – that essentially means I don’t eat dairy, eggs or nuts, but I also don’t eat grains, legumes, nightshades and seeds. According to the guidelines for the Autoimmune Diet put out by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne (aka The Paleo Mom) in her book The Paleo Approach, those of us who follow the AIP diet also need to watch our fructose intake. Too much fructose can be inflammatory and trigger an autoimmune reaction, so Sarah recommends that if you’re following the AIP diet, you should keep your fructose consumption under 20g per day. With that in mind, Jennifer and I made sure that our book was suitable for AIP by including the amount of fructose per serving of each recipe in the book. So, if you’re AIP, you can make an informed decision and go-ahead and eat the ice cream if you want 😉 The book is perfect for families where different loved ones have different food-restrictions too!

For even more selfish reasons, this Mint Chip Ice Cream appears in the book – it was my absolute favorite flavor of ice cream as a kid. I hadn’t actually had it in YEARS because of my intolerance to dairy until this recipe was developed. Possibly worse than a dairy intolerance, is not being able to eat chocolate though – and chocolate is eliminated as part of autoimmune diet too (since it’s technically a seed). So, if you’ve been missing Mint Chocolate Chip – try this. You’ll be in heaven!

Vegan, Paleo & AIP-friendly Mint Chip Ice Cream


  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon carob powder
  • 1 can (13.5 fl oz/398 ml)
  • full fat coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon real peppermint
  • extract
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves
  •  tbsp pure maple syrup
  • Handful fresh baby spinach


    1. Pre-freeze your ice cream maker’s insulated container. Or if you do not have an ice cream maker, place a baking dish in the freezer. Make your ‘chips’ by combining the coconut oil and carob powder in a shallow dish, and place it in the freezer for about 20 minutes, or until completely frozen.
    2. In a blender or food processor, combine your coconut milk, peppermint extract, mint leaves, and maple syrup. If you want a greener looking ice cream, add in the fresh baby spinach. Blend until the leaves are well combined and your mixture is smooth.
    3. Remove your frozen carob mixture from the freezer, and break up the thin, frozen layer into chips with your hands or a fork.
    4. Add chips to ice cream mixture. If using an ice cream maker: pour mixture into ice cream maker and follow the directions for your machine. Serve when ready.
If not using an ice cream maker
  1. Pour mixture into a baking dish, and place it in the freezer. Freeze for 45 minutes.
  2. Remove the mixture from the freezer and stir it well with a rubber spatula, making sure to break up any hard, frozen sections. You can also use an immersion blender, in your baking dish to do this. Place the mixture back in the freezer.
  3. Every 30–45 minutes, check the ice cream mixture and mix or churn it, until the ice cream is of the desired consistency. This should take about 2 to 3 hours.
  4. Freeze longer for a harder ice cream, or allow to thaw slightly before serving for a softer texture.