4 Roots of Optimum Wellness

There are four essential parts to being healthy: Diet, Exercise, Sleep & Attitude.

Vitae Elixxir Healing Herbs

A proprietary combination of ten disease-fighting herbs used for more than 40 years and helping thousands of people with serious health issues.

The Prisoner of Carrot Castle Book App

Help your kids discover the fun of eating vegetables with the help of a whimsical interactive story (over 40,000 downloaded).

Books by Author & Health Coach Chris Pedersen

In a world of adventure and imagination, kids’ books in print and digital that encourage a healthy lifestyle.

6 Tips to Lose Weight

Don’t count calories—take a serious look at the food you want to eat, then ask, ”Is this something that will give my body good health?”

Friday, May 22, 2015

Tips to Grow Healthy Kids ~ Guest Post

I wanted to point you to a guest post I did this week over at Grace for Moms. Most parents are challenged to get their kids to eat healthy foods. The key is start early. First foods are very important and interaction (yes, getting messy) with those foods is part of gaining a love for healthy stuff.

Pop on over to the post at Grace for Moms to add some tips to your arsenal.

You'll see there was a giveaway for promo codes of The Prisoner of Carrot Castle iPad storybook. No worries. I'll give out 5 codes to 5 commenters on this blog. Spread the word to moms and dads to read the article then scoot over here to post comments for a chance to get a code for your own personal copy of The Prisoner of Carrot Castle*—a fun way to encourage eating veggies for your kids.

*iPad required to download the book app. However, if you have an iPhone, there is a FREE game app kids LOVE that goes with the story. Download the iPhone app here.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Interview with Kevin Benkowski—Prostate Cancer Survivor

When I attended the Integrated Health Conference—Cure to Cancer Summit this past March, I had the opportunity to meet many folks who dealt with their cancer using diet and alternative treatments. It's very encouraging to see many sought alternative treatments instead of the conventional procedures. They saw, usually first-hand, that conventional therapies often left the cancer patient weak and sick with a seriously compromised immune system—later face a recurrence of cancer and then die.

I met Kevin at lunch. We were both seeking the organic vegan lunch choice offered to conference attendees. Vegan tomato soup. Delicious!

Kevin came to the conference to learn what more he could do to continue enjoying his cancer-free life. Here is Kevin's story.

How did you learn you had cancer?
I began to experience urinary issues a few years ago and just considered it somewhat normal as I was over 50 and understood that the prostate enlarges in most men my age. Though my PSA numbers were in the normal range they were still on the high side, but about a year ago it creeped up to just above 4, which is the threshold for “normal.”

Upon my primary physician’s advice, I decided to see a urologist. When I did, an MRI was prescribed which showed a small dark spot on the anterior side of the prostate, but this was not definitive…and so I somewhat reluctantly agreed to a biopsy. The procedure confirmed that there was cancer present in 2 of the 14 biopsies. This was in September of 2014. 

What did you think and do following your diagnosis?
I wasn’t shocked, as my father and brother both had prostate cancer. But I was surprised that the urologist immediately advised me that my best option at that point was a radical prostatectomy—to be performed by him using his DaVinci four-armed robot. I left the office with my wife quite confused. My only option, according to this urologist, was to have a surgical procedure with a 30% risk of both incontinence and impotency, not to mention having a bag attached to my leg with a catheter inserted for 6 months so I could urinate. I wasn’t thrilled with those odds, even though my brother had the surgery done successfully ten years previously.

Did you follow any conventional doctor prescribed treatments, if so what were they?
The urologist did not prescribe any treatment, conventional or otherwise [except the surgery]. He only advised me that because my Gleason score was a 7 (3+4) out of 10, I really couldn’t wait too long as the cancer had progressed beyond the “watch and wait” stage. I had to decide within a matter of months. My decision was made about a week later, when it was decided that I would find natural treatments to boost my immune system and fight it on my own. I was certain I could do it.

What alternative treatments did you incorporate into your healing journey? Did you visit a particular alternative or integrated health clinic for treatment?
I knew of a few people in the alternative healing world who offered some advice, mostly suggestions on websites to look at…which I did for weeks on end (and still do)! A friend of my wife’s offered me his “Quest for the Cures” library in November of last year and I watched it beginning to end, fascinated by everything I didn’t know about cancer, the science and the business. What this video series made me realize was that there ARE cures out there for cancer…but big medicine simply doesn’t want you to know about them!

Are there books or websites you found particularly helpful that you can list for us?

These are just a few! There are also links on these sites to many others, including ones on social media.

Did your cancer heal? What do you attribute your healing to (diet, herbs, alternative therapies, attitude, exercise, sleep)?
Well, after making major discoveries on how to detox and boost my immune system through diet and supplements, I embarked on a massive shift in my attitude towards food, while taking bits and pieces of numerous therapies, treatments, and protocols that resonated with me. There are definitely some contradictory opinions out there. After a month of detoxing and 3 months of eating an organic diet (and eliminating meat, dairy, coffee, alcohol and sugar), I took a Red Drop blood test which indicated no detectable signs of cancer.

Looking back what would you do differently?
I would have declined the biopsy as I found out subsequently it is not a safe procedure, at least not in the case of the prostate.

Do you have thoughts on why you had cancer?
I’m quite certain it was due to high stress levels during the bad economic times several years ago, during which I divorced, filed for bankruptcy, and lost my home. My diet at the time was also less than ideal…I was taking pharmaceuticals and drinking alcohol and coffee daily. I was an emotional train wreck.

Are there things you continue to do? What are they?
Today I look at this ordeal as a blessing…and a wakeup call. I have a new attitude on food and life in general. It’s definitely helped me spiritually…I’ve learned to meditate and to be at peace with myself and those around me. I will continue to eat clean organic food (in the process I lost 35 lbs!), and I will also continue to take immunity building supplements, as I have truly never felt better than I do now, at 60.

What words of comfort or wisdom do you have for those facing a cancer diagnosis?
Listen, but be skeptical of what the doctors tell you. You would like to think they have your best interest in mind, but I have concluded otherwise. Doctors are trained, not educated. They know one way, and that is to treat the symptom, not the cause. They need our business. Assuming there was a cure that was endorsed by big medicine, and they couldn’t then treat (or manage) cancer, they’d be out of work! My advice is to look at cancer as an opportunity to grow, heal, and change your life for the better, all the time knowing that your body has all the tools it needs to heal, while mother earth provides us with all of the “medicine” we need!

Well said, Kevin.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Jamie Oliver—Fighting for Food Education

Jamie Oliver Food Revolution
Happy Food Education Day!

Worldwide, there are more than 42 million children under the age of five who are either overweight or obese, and it's the first time that the next generation will live shorter lives than their parents if things don't change.

We eat, but we eat foods high in calories and low in nutrients. We are overfed yet undernourished. So much so that the world's biggest killers are now diet-related diseases, including heart failure and stroke. So what can we do?

It all starts with education. It’s essential that we arm future generations with the life skills they urgently need in order to lead healthier, happier, more productive lives. Educating the next generation about real, nourishing foods and supporting them to live healthier lifestyles is the key to a real food revolution.

Jamie Oliver has made it his lifelong work to teach kids to eat a healthy diet. Join Jamie and other health-minded people like him and sign the petition to educate our kids.

As a children's author and health blogger I am doing my part. Get the popular kid's book app The Prisoner of Carrot Castle with curriculum and message of eating vegetables.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Happy Mother's Day ~ Celebrate the Mom You Are

Let's celebrate the hardest job on the planet. Motherhood. Celebrate the Mom YOU are!

It's not one size fits all. Many flavors color this oftentimes underrated and over looked calling. Grace for Moms (skillfully run by Jessica Wolstenholm) has gathered moms (including me) at different stations to Celebrate the Mom YOU are.

Check out all the blog posts about mothering and share them with your mom friends. Oh, and don't forget to enter the Giveaway.

Subscribe to Grace for Moms to get posts delivered to your inbox. Don't miss my post on Teaching Your Child to Love Healthy Food.

Join Joanne Kraft and Jessica on Facebook for the grand finale party on May 12th at 8PM CST (6PM PST). I'll be there along with many of the moms who've passed along their grace and wisdom for this Mother's Day celebration.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, May 8, 2015

Kudos to Chipotle for Dumping GMOs

Recently we stopped for lunch at Chipotle. I knew Chipotle has healthy choices AND they were the first food chain to announce they had GMOs in some menu items, but were busily trying to source all non-GMO ingredients.

Well, I'm happy to say, they have achieved what they said they would do. I give them huge props for sticking out their necks and listening to consumers who know what GMO foods are and their danger to health.

What Did I Eat at Chipotle?
I had a bowl (a burrito without the wrap) with the following ingredients:

  • Sofritas—cooked organic, crumpled and seasoned tofu
  • Cilantro-Lime Brown Rice (half of normal serving)
  • Black Beans
  • Fajita Veggies (lots of them)
  • Topped with—
    • Mild Fresh Tomato Salsa
    • Medium Hot Tomatillo Green Chili Salsa
    • Medium Hot Roasted Chili-Corn Salsa
    • Lettuce

It was YUM. What do you think?

Friday, May 1, 2015

5 Tips to Detox Your Home

5 Tips to Detox Your Home
If you have cancer or want to prevent cancer you should be following the same pattern for your home as for your body. That is, don't put anything artificial or poisonous in your home.

There are plenty of things we can't change (or at least it's difficult) about the environment, but there are many things we can do in our homes to clean up. Most household chemicals are endocrine disrupters, which means they play havoc on our hormones—one huge reason why we have so much breast cancer and prostate cancer today. It's an epidemic.

To take charge and do something about what you can change, check out these easy solutions to make your home safer for you and your family.

#1 Reduce/Eliminate Cleaning Chemicals
Bombarded with advertising for a cleaning product to use for each chore in your home? Don't fall for it. You really only need a few. There's nothing like white vinegar and water to get glass and surfaces clean. And if you need something a bit stronger, there are lots of gentle organic cleaners like Ecover. I used Ecover to clean a large grease stain on our dark brown leather sofa. Although it did not remove all the stain, it did a good job at reducing it and never damaged the leather or left a water mark.

Check your dishwashing liquid and laundry soaps. I like to use 7th Generation products. And while we're on the subject of laundry, can somebody explain to me why you use fabric softener? I don't use it, but I can tell when someone does. The towels may be soft, but they don't absorb water (so you're left with a damp body) and they have the softener chemical that then gets on your skin.

Here's a DIY post on making green and safe home products.

#2 Install a Chorine Filter in the Shower

If you don't know that chlorine is a poison, just think about why it's in our water. That's right! It kills stuff. And since your skin is the largest organ in your body, you are literally drinking chlorine every time you shower unless you have a chlorine filter.

Of course, you could have a whole house filter that gets all the badies out of your water. That would eliminate the need for one on your shower.

I've used a chorine shower filter for over 10 years. You can purchase a filter like the one I have from Green Home. Get the filter and housing unit the first time, then you only have to replace the filter part every year. It's a breeze to change the filter (Replacement filter is on the right), plus the housing has a shutoff valve to conserve water (we need that here in California).

#3 Filter Your Drinking Water
You don't want to be drinking the chemicals in your water. "What chemicals," you ask? Check out the Environmental Working Group's site to find out what's in your water. Besides chlorine and possibly fluoride (not a good thing for us), recently added to the list of chemicals in our water are drugs like antibiotics, hormones and other prescription medicines.

"Oh, I buy bottled water," you say. Unless you're buying water in BPA-free bottles (there are cautions about BPA-free too), you're drinking a huge endocrine disruptor. BPA (Bisphenol A) is a chemical used to make plastics including water bottles. It's also a coating on receipts you get from a retailer and is used to line most food cans.

You might seriously think about getting a filtration system for your kitchen. I have stainless steel drinking bottles and I also save the nice glass bottles my Kombucha comes in to reuse for filtered water in the car and travel. We have a reverse osmosis system, which takes most chemicals out of the water. It's about the best you can do.

#4 Don't Use a Pest Control Service
Every time we had our annual invasion by ants, my husband would insist we get a pest service to spray. And every time I'd put my foot down and protest. If it kills ants it can't be good for us. I don't care what those people say about their product. It's a chemical. It's poison.

#5 Use Only Organic Fertilizers and Pesticides
Your yard should be a safe place to enjoy—romp barefoot and breathe deeply—so why would you spread chemical fertilizers and pesticides all around, some of which linger to keep weeds and pests from coming back. That only means your yard is covered in poison. Use a blast of water or ladybugs to eradicate aphids. And you get a bonus if you find praying mantis in your yard. Most bugs will gnaw a few holes in the leaves of plants. Is having perfect plants worth ingesting poison?

There are great natural fertilizers out there. I like E.B.Stone products.

Take an inventory of your household use of chemicals. What can you change that will make you and your family healthier?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The BIG B.A.S.H. ~ A Scavenger Hunt & Giveway

The BIG B.A.S.H. is HERE. The Book App Alliance (BAA) wants more moms and dads, aunt and uncles, grandparents and librarians, teachers and therapists to discover our wonderful apps. These beautiful, clever, funny, entertaining and educational book apps just happen to be interactive books for kids.

Books that engage the reader get more attention, especially by the reluctant reader.

If you haven't discovered these gems for kids because you're attracted to the shiny appeal of the Disney and Sesame Street offerings. Look no further.

The BAA was founded by independent authors to be an organization of industry leading authors and developers/marketers who offer quality interactive books for kids.

Our mission is to create and grow a community of fans and advocates for the book apps represented here. As a community working together, we bring awareness and spread the word about the BAA book apps to the world.

I am a proud member of the BAA and serve on the Board of Directors. The Prisoner of Carrot Castle (which I wrote and produced) is one of many outstanding book apps represented and among a few that promote a healthy lifestyle for kids. Did you notice Aiden in the middle of the bottom row in the image above?

Apps that promote a healthy lifestyle for kids.

Okay everyone! Let's spread the word. Start the hunt. This will be the easiest Scavenger Hunt you've done.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Quinoa, Cherry Tomato & Olive Salad

Since I'm eating lots of plant-based food, I need to be conscious of getting enough complete protein. Quinoa is a great source of a perfect or complete protein. It contains all the amino acids you need. And it's so versatile. Even restaurants are adding quinoa to the menu in place of rice.

The part I like is how easy and fast it is to prepare quinoa.

I think you'll love this salad I came up. Lots of yummy veggies and quinoa plus a dressing with a tinge of sour flavor. I love Kalamata olives. I hope you do too. If not, you can add black olives for a milder taste. And who doesn't love avocado, which this salad also has?

I've eaten it all my itself as a meal. Yes! For dinner! Never be afraid of having it for dinner. It's light. It's healthy. It contains all the nutrition your body needs. Why wouldn't you have it for dinner?

Quinoa, Cherry Tomato & Olive Salad

from Chris Pedersen
yield 4 - 6

category Salad
cuisine Vegan, Vegetarian

2 C low-sodium Vegetable broth
1 C rinsed quinoa
1 C quartered cherry tomatos
1 C quartered cucumber slices (persian cucumber is best)
1/2 C quartered Kalamata olives
1 C diced red and yellow pepper
1 Tbsp of minced red onion
1/4 C choppped cilantro
1 avocado, diced
1/3 C red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp raw honey
1/4 C olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt

1. Prepare quinoa ahead so it can cool: bring vegetable broth to boil in large sauce pan. Add quinoa, stir and turn heat to Low. Place lid on pan with slight opening to vent heat. Secure lid once boiling settles down.
2. When quinoa is done (water is completely absorbed), place in a glass container, cover and refrigerate.
3. Whisk dressing ingredients together then pour into glass salad dressing bottle using a funnel.
4. Once quinoa is cool, mix remaining ingredients together. Add dressing, toss and serve.

notes: • Add more or less veggies according to your taste.

If you don't use all the quinoa for the salad, you can save some for another time or salad. Or your husband can take it for lunch the next day and not tell you—as you frantically search the fridge looking for it. "I'm sure I put it in here. Where did I put it? Oh no! Was I spacey and accidentally leave it in a cabinet." See how husband's make us crazy? Gotta love 'em!

Did you ever leave something in a strange place because you were not paying attention?

Friday, April 10, 2015

Interview by Jill Bernard of WellBEing Resource

I was recently interviewed by Jill Bernard of the WellBEing Resource online and in print guide to health practitioners in the Sacramento region.

I hope you'll take the time to read the interview and tell me what you think. You may learn something you didn't know about me.

Interview with Chris Pedersen, Health Coach | Blogger | Cancer Conquerer, Healthy Journey Cafe