Sweet Potato Patties…YUM!

Do you ever get tired of the same things for breakfast? Like many people, I get sort of stuck in a rut at times with breakfasts. I might do smoothies or awhile, then eggs, then breakfast scramble… but I don’t rotate the menu very often.

Today I created a new recipe with the ingredients I had on hand: a sweet potato, onion, garlic, mushrooms and turkey bacon. (You could definitely leave out the bacon for a vegan version of the same…just add a bit of sea salt for flavor.) They turned out so delicious that I will certainly make them again!

Sweet Potato Patties


1 medium sweet potato (any variety), sliced into 1/2 inch layers

1 small sweet onion, diced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

6 crimini mushrooms, sliced

3 slices of bacon (uncured, preservative free), diced

coconut oil

1. Pan fry the sweet potato slices in a tbsp. of coconut oil (use less or more, if desired). I covered mine for some of the cooking time to ensure they cooked through. When soft, take out and let rest on a paper towel to absorb the extra oil.Image

2. In the oil that remains in the pan, saute the remaining ingredients until softened and cooked through.Image

3. Top each of the slices with the sauteed veggies and bacon. Enjoy!Image


What I Love about Becoming a Health Coach at Integrative Nutrition (Month One)

integrative nutrition homework

My homework for Integrative Nutrition

Wow! I made it to summer vacation after the longest school year in the history of school years…to me, anyway. Now I am able to hit the ground running and focus even more on my health coach training with Integrative Nutrition.

What have a loved so far? My top 3:

1. Easy to fit into any schedule…If you know me and my family, you know that we have a pretty active life. Three kids in activities, plus trying to make sure we eat healthy home-cooked meals nearly every day, there is not a lot of down-time to ‘study’. I have the Integrative Nutrition app on my iphone and my tablet, which allows me to access the program‘s weekly materials and assignments from anywhere. Seriously, I did an assignment at the dentist office and took a test on the way home from chaperoning my daughter’s field trip to the zoo. They make it so easy!

2. I am learning to work with any type of person and way of eating…Have you ever talked to someone who eats a certain way and you leave the conversation feeling as though how you eat is wrong? I hate that feeling and am so relieved to know that the philosophy of the school is to support whatever eating style/interest your client might have. My job will not be to take everything out of someone’s cupboard, but to help them find what works for their body and lifestyle and fine tune it. Much easier to handle rather than “Eat this, not that!”

3. I am becoming so motivated to make change happen in the community and world…I am thriving in a global community of like-minded individuals all following the same mission: “…to play a crucial role in improving health and happiness, and through that process, create a ripple effect that transforms the world.”

There are so many other reasons I love Integrative Nutrition and this is just the beginning. I am ecstatic to see where this leads me in the future. If you are interested in learning more about the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, you can click the banner on the right (you must be on the ‘home’ screen to see it) or comment below and I would be happy to talk to you about this tremendous school and the discounts that I can offer you!




This is officially my last “free” weekend day before I begin my health coaching classes at Integrated Nutrition, and I am trying to make the best use of my time. But what is the best use of time? 

Checking Things Off the “To-Do List”

For years I spent my vacations and long weekends doing exactly this…getting ahead. I would make a long list of things that “needed” to get done before I went back to school/work. I would organize my days around those activities and would feel super accomplished when I checked each thing off the list. If I didn’t get each thing done, however, I would feel bad. I would think of the time that I had wasted doing something not on the list, sometimes even secretly adding activities to the list and then crossing them off, just to feel like I accomplished more. (Has anyone else ever done this too, or is it just me?) In the end, I didn’t feel like I did all that I was supposed to, and I felt like I didn’t get any time to relax because I was so focused on the list.


I used to be very bad at relaxing. (Is that even possible?) But when I injured both of my knees a few years ago, I was forced to figure out how to do it. I first tried to continue getting things done on my lists, all while sitting with my knees propped up on pillows. Eventually, I ran out of things to do and had to work on just sitting and reading magazines, listening to podcasts and just soaking up the sunshine. Once I got the hang of it, I think I started to master “the art of doing nothing”. The problem then came when my legs were working just fine and I couldn’t seem to get anything accomplished any more. I was really good at relaxing, but had forgotten how to check things off my list, so to speak.

Scheduling Priorities

One of my favorite lessons from my introduction to IIN is that of the Big Rocks. You can watch a lesson on YouTube here, but I’ll give you the basic premise. Before getting caught up in all of the things that you have to get done, select your priorities. You could do this daily, weekly or monthly, but you want to stick with just a few things that are really the 3-6 most important things you must focus on to stay true to yourself. Maybe it’s your relationship with your family, your fitness and your career. Maybe it’s your eating habits, time for yourself and organizing your home. Whatever it is, focus on it and schedule time for it. Then let the other things fill in around those. 

So for me, this last day is going to be spent on my priorities: posting to the blog (DONE), quality time with my family, time cleaning and organizing my soon-to-be office, and time for fitness. Not only will I feel like I have checked off all of my boxes on the list, but I will feel energized and recharged for my last week before “school” officially begins. 


Love …for Against All Grain

We celebrated my daughter’s 7th birthday this weekend. She LOVES S’mores and wanted to make them for her slumber party, and then I found this post from The Daily Nutritionist. Since I LOVE Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain blog and cookbook, it was a perfect match!

The layers are made by doubling Danielle’s Honey Graham Cracker Pie Crust, which I then pressed into the bottom of 2 round cake pans (I would use 9 inch next time, as mine turned out a bit too thick). Then I made her Chocolate Layer Cake, which is not on her blog, sorry! I’m sure you could substitute another chocolate cake recipe that works for you, though her recipe is divine…. Make sure to make all the rounds the same size, too 🙂 The frosting is called Italian Meringue Frosting, which you can find here listed as the frosting in her delectable Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes, just don’t add the strawberries. If you want to substitute with a different frosting, remember you are trying to mimic marshmallows, so you want something light and airy. For our cake, I think I should have doubled the frosting recipe, as the cake soaks up quite a bit of it pretty quickly and so the cake felt a bit dry.

If you decide to make it, let me know how it turns out! My guess is that it won’t last long in your house either! 🙂


The Journey Continues

Life is a journey…I know it’s a cliche, but it really is true. Just talk to anyone (over 30 anyway), and they can tell you that there is some aspect of their life that did not go according to plan. But the funny thing is…things usually work themselves out somehow. Out of complete disaster, new beginnings can occur.

I will be the first to admit that two years ago, our family was dealing with some pretty heavy issues. Our son was going through testing to try to figure out what was causing his intense behavior issues. At that time, I felt like a failure as a mother. I was a teacher, had a Masters’ degree in Education, and yet I had no idea how to “make him behave”. Through this journey we discovered his high anxiety and extreme allergies. We also got to finally discover the sweet little boy that we knew was hidden behind all of the anger. But that is a long story for another day…

Discovering my son’s and my allergies was a first step, but it has been a long road. I have spent countless hours reading and researching diets, vitamins, minerals and doctors. I have tried out several eating styles and philosophies, much to the dismay of the rest of my family, at times. 🙂 But each new book or webinar led us to where we are today, eating much healthier and feeling more grateful and happy than we ever have.

During this transformation, I have become fascinated by the human body and the power of foods in healing. As it has turned into something I am passionate about,  I have had many friends and family members talk to me about healthy foods and ask for advice regarding this or that.

This past winter, I came upon an online school called the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Everything that had resonated with me to this point, has been captured by this school: the healing nature of foods, the role of stress in disease, the need for a change in the way we live our lives. They emphasize physical activity, which is obvious, but also quality relationships in your life, career happiness and spirituality… things that I knew were important, but hadn’t exactly been a part of what I thought of when I thought of ‘healthy life’.

After some serious contemplation and long discussions with my husband, I decided to enroll in their program to become a Health Coach. The program is all conducted online and requires 5-10 hours of work per week, do-able for a full-time teacher and mom. Will it be crazy busy sometimes? Of course…but I am pretty familiar with that, so it’s all good. 🙂

What’s next? I don’t know. Life is a journey, so I’m not going to try to predict how this will all work out. What I do know is that I am pursuing a passion that makes me feel fulfilled and will help me and those I love. And??? I can start seeing clients by December, so if you know of anyone ready for a journey of their own, refer them to me!  🙂

keep calm and call your health coach

What a difference a year makes!



Ahhh, the life I lead is a busy one… I promise I haven’t forgotten that I committed to this blog thing a year ago and that I should update the recipe page with new favorites, but sometimes life just gets in the way of my To Do list!

Besides the obvious things, like being a mom, wife, teacher and health nut, I am still dealing with my own health issues. I think the last time I updated about my health was last spring, when I was exploring my leg swelling issues with a new doctor. Click here to refresh your memory. Wow, so much has happened since then….


After I started seeing the new doctor in April, my legs started to improve quite a bit. The swelling that was present most days was minimalized and manageable. It didn’t disappear completely and I still have days that are not as great, but having come from days of having to put my feet up on my desk at work 4 times a day to ice them, things are pretty great now. In fact, to really build my leg and knee strength slowly, I decided to get back to running (if you can call what I did last spring ‘running’).

In January, I started the “Couch to 5K”, a running program designed with the beginner in mind. It has you walk/run 3-4 times per week, slowly building up your stamina to end the 10 weeks by being able to run the whole 5K, 3.1 miles. Well, yesterday was the last day and it was raining…so I decided to just run it on the treadmill, since getting drenched didn’t seem a fun way to celebrate the end of my 10-week commitment. I was able to finish in 31 minutes and 31 seconds, cutting 6 1/2 minutes off of my time last spring. Though that might not be a huge difference to some, I feel so much better this year. I am not hurting the entire time or thinking that I might pass out at any minute. Oh the difference a year can make! I can honestly say that I wasn’t sure I would make it to the end when I started in January, but the last few weeks have been exhilarating. The adrenaline rush that I have felt conquering each small goal is beyond words. My only disappointment now is that I cannot run every day, for fear of over-doing it. I need to develop some cross-training techniques, perhaps dusting off the elliptical that I needed so desperately when my knees felt like jello. Whatever is next, I am looking forward to it with enthusiasum!


Remember how my new doctor suggested I go off of dairy? Well, I did and some things improved. The “adult acne” that never really went away, subsided some. I felt some of the brain fog lift, but things were not improving as quickly as expected. By late summer, he decided that I probably had what was called “yeast overgrowth”. Basically, the years of antibiotic use (to cure said acne) caused yeast to grow throughout my body and take over. It was in my sinuses, gut, brain and more….ugh 😦 I spent 2 months working on getting rid of the yeast and then building up the good bacteria in my body with probiotics. But even after that was complete, I didn’t feel healed. I came down with a severe sinus infection that caused headaches that would last all day, every day. I could hardly function in the classroom, so after 6 weeks, I went to my primary care doctor and was given more antibiotics. I did know that I was jumping back into the yeast spiral, but I was desperate! Unfortunately, I only felt slightly better after finishing the antibiotics. I still had sinus issues, though not quite as bad. But then started developing stomach issues of bloating, etc. after eating certain foods. When I went back to the doctor (alternative, not primary care doctor), he said I was developing more food allergies and now needed to take out tree nuts and tea. Really??? We talked it over and after further testing, he determined that the yeast was back in full force. I needed to do another 2-month round of killing off the bad bacteria and replenishing the good with probiotics. Here we go again!


Meanwhile, I am still questioning everything I eat and trying to find the right combination of foods that will give me enough protein and energy to sustain my running, but not make me feel bloated and brain-fogged!!! Enough already!!!! Over the past few months I have started to look into the Paleo diet. It appealed to me because it takes out grains, so I don’t have to worry about which grains are safe or trying to find gluten free versions of things. I also like it because it promotes eating and cooking with whole foods. It seems to simplify things for me.

There is another diet that is closely related to Paleo, called the Standard Carbohydrate Diet or SCD. SCD focuses on eliminating complex carbohydrates that are more difficult to digest, which can help reduce inflammation and help restore balance for a healthy gut. It allows soaked legumes and nuts, to rid them of some of their harmful, more difficult to digest, enzymes. Danielle Walker, author of the blog and cookbook Against All Grain, healed her ulcerative colitis symptoms (an auto-immune disease of the intestines) designing Paleo and SCD-friendly meals for her and her family. I have been devouring her recipes weekly and for the most part, my family loves them too. If you are interested, check out her blog here.

What have I learned?

If you aren’t dying, don’t use antibiotics! No seriously, I am avoiding them for the rest of my life. I completely understand they are designed to save lives and I am grateful for the option, but they have done very bad things to me. On the flip side, my doctor gave me a recipe that I have to share with you, that can be used instead of antibiotics! (Disclaimer here regarding I am not a doctor and this should not be taken as medical advice…you get the idea) His recommendation was to use this when you would normally feel the need to go to the dr. for antibiotics. Since he gave me this recipe, we have avoided the doctor’s office at least twice by taking this instead! It is called Thieves Oil. There is a long story about how this oil was used to keep thieves alive during the Bubonic Plague in Europe so they could steal from the dead. Now, you can make it for yourself and use it at home to get rid of or prevent infections. So, please…use it and go heal yourself!

Thieves Oil

35 drops clove essential oil

30 drops lemon essential oil

25 drops cinnamon essential oil

20 drops eucalyptus essential oil

15 drops rosemary essential oil

**Put into a dark colored bottle, mix with 2 tbsp. of a carrier oil (I used jojoba oil) so you won’t burn your skin. You can put a few drops of the oil on your feet ad put socks over them at night; rub it on your chest or throat or wherever you are feeling the ailment; if you feel brave, you can ingest 2 drops to allow it to get into your system more quickly (we have added it to a tsp. of raw honey or coconut oil if taking internally).

The Gluten Summit – A Recap

the Gluten Summit pic

Back in November, I came upon a webinar series called The Gluten Summit, presented by Dr. Tom O’Bryan, also known as theDr.com. During the week-long series, I was amazed by the 29 world-renowned doctors, scientists, researchers, etc. Not only were they bringing to light the vast world of research that explains Celiac disease, but they were broadcasting to the medical community and world that gluten sensitivities were not only very real, but much more dangerous and deadly than I had ever imagined. If you wish to order the series, click here for information.

This weekend, theDr.com presented a follow-up webinar entitled, “The Gluten Summit: Now That We Know, Where Do We Go?” It was a 90-minute, very technical look at Celiac disease and gluten related disorders and what to do if you suspect you might be affected by them. Here are the highlights I took from the talk:

– Auto-immunity issues all have a common source: Inflammation. Yet our medical community treats them all differently based on which part of the body is being effected. The list of auto-immune disorders is extensive, containing over 100 disorders, which include everything from rheumatoid arthritis to multiple sclerosis. Certain doctors on the panel, Dr. David Perlmutter in particular, would argue that issues like Alzheimer’s and ADHD should be on the list, as well.

-There are 3 things that must be present in the body for the development of an auto-immune disorder. 1-Genetic vulnerability (a weak link in the chain); 2-Environmental triggers (a loss of tolerance to certain foods or toxins- the worst offender is gluten); 3-Intestinal permeability (a leaky gut – discovered by Dr. Alessio Fasano).

-The umbrella term “Gluten-Related Disorders” can be used to used, but there are really 4 key issues that people have with gluten. 1-Celiac disease (now effects about 1/100 people); 2-Non-celiac gluten sensitivity (about 20/100 people); 3-Wheat allergy (just to wheat specifically); 4-Non-immune nutritional deficiency (body is starving because it can’t take in any nutrients).

-If you suspect you have a gluten-related disorder (you feel better when you don’t have it), you should be tested for gluten sensitivity. The problem is, the best test for Celiac disease is Transglutaminase IgA — but it still gives FALSE NEGATIVES 7 out of 10 times!!! It is only positive if you are at the end stages of the disease, meaning there is tremendous damage to your intestines. And what’s worse is that many doctor’s order tests that are even less accurate! Yet, he orders the test, tells you it is negative, and you go on with having your health issues, thinking that you must not be effected by gluten because the test said so! So what do you do? Talk to your doctor about ordering one of the following (some insurance companies will cover if your doctor orders them, though you can order directly from the companies):

– From Cyrex Labs: MUST DO: ARRAY 2: tests for Intestinal Permeability; AND ARRAY 3: tests for 10 peptides of gluten; IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT, ARRAY 5: tests for predictive auto-immunity, includes testing for 24 tissues in the body to look for elevated antibodies AND/OR ARRAY 4: Cross-reactivity test; looks for reactions to other common food sensitivities such as: dairy, rice, corn, quinoa, potato, rye, barley, egg, soybean, etc. These are common foods that people turn to on a gluten free diet. Click here for a comprehensive look at each test.

– From ALCAT labs for those not in the United States: Premium Comprehensive testing panel, includes the gene test for Celiac Disease (which is about 93% accurate).

– If you have multiple food sensitivities (like me!), you have intestinal permeability.

– To get a comprehensive look at your health issues, fill out the Medical Symptom Questionnaire (MSQ). It will help you have a clear picture of your health and will give you a starting place in your discussion with your doctor. (Dr. O’Bryan recommended filling out the questionnaire now and then 3-4 months into a new eating protocol, to measure your progress).

Dr. Mark Houston talked about link between gluten sensitivity and heart disease. He stated that 50% of people who have a heart attack do NOT have elevated cholesterol. SpectraCell Labs does a test called the LPP- Lipoprotein Particle Profile Test that he recommends. Click here if you want more info.

-Celiacs have a much higher early mortality rate than non-celiacs, with or without a gluten free diet. You must first STOP consuming gluten, but you must also look at proper nutrition over a long time period (you didn’t get into this condition overnight, and you won’t get out of it that quickly either).

-If you can work with a doctor that has worked with gluten sensitivities before, the process will be much smoother. Click here for a doctor that has been certified as a Gluten Practitioner. If you haven’t, it is your job to ask them to listen to you and learn along with you. There is a world of research about gluten disorders.

-Once you have established the proper diet for yourself, you must heal your gut lining (this is the step I am on). Dr. O’Bryan helped NuMedica design the Gluten Sensitivity Packs and other products to support your healing during the first year. He recommends the packs, tri-flora probiotics, GI Restore, Vitamin D3 (drops) and PRP Balance Spray. All of these products can be found on his website.