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?”

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wisdom Wednesday

Want to increase your efficiency? Add a live plant to your desk or work area. Plants in the work environment increase productivity by 15% study found.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Thai Cabbage & Peanut Salad

Thai Cabbage & Peanut Salad
I visited a high school friend recently and we took a memory-lane drive down Pacific Coast Highway to Laguna Beach. We walked around town reminiscing about the times we rented little cottages at the beach in the summer time. Lathered our bodies with baby oil. Baked in the sun for hours. Ate hamburgers and smoothies. And stayed up late.

Geting hungry for some dinner, I quizzed Siri about vegan restaurants and found one a couple of short blocks from us. She came up with Zinc Cafe and Market—a deli style cafe. I ordered three sides from the deli case. Kathy ordered the same dishes I got. "I should eat healthier," she said.

One of the salads, a Thai-style cabbage salad with peanuts, tasted delicious. Loved it. I studied the ingredients and flavor. "I must recreate this," I said.

So here it is...

Thai Cabbage & Peanut Salad

from Chris Pedersen
yield 8 servings

category Salad
cuisine Vegan

1 1/2 C sliced red cabbage
1 1/2  C sliced Napa cabbage
1/2 half sliced yellow bell pepper
1/2 half sliced green bell pepper
3/4 C raw peanuts
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
sea salt and fresh ground pepper

1. Mix ingredients in a bowl.
2. Whisk dressing ingredients together and pour onto salad. Stir to coat veggeis and peanuts with dressing.
3. Serve.

You'll find this salad refreshing and delicious. A great recipe to add to your healthy lifestyle of clean eating. Remember to choose organic produce when you can.

When was the last time you visited an old... ahem... long-time friend and talked about the good ole days?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Be My Valentine

Happy Valentine's Day, Dear Readers!

Valentine's Day is a day to show our sweethearts we care with gushing cards and gifts of chocolates, roses, teddy bears and even pajama's (or a sexy equivalent). But what about the rest of the days of the year?

I'm always amused when I happen to visit the grocery store on Valentine's Day and see those well-meaning, yet befuddled guys, standing in the quick-check line with the leftover offerings for Valentine's Day.

Yeah... I know. It's the thought that counts.

I'm more of a realist than a romantic. My husband is the romantic. However, I'm more impressed when I see him donning a tool belt to go fix the fence that started leaning after the last rainfall. That kind of action (not in his nature) means more to me than anything he could bring home for Valentine's Day.

I like to think he appreciates that I really don't like to plan, shop and cook meals (yup... that's right!), yet I know he works hard and deserves a healthy meal when he comes home in the evening. So I do that for him.

Of course, the other part of preparing meals is getting to show him I care by making healthy food for him to eat. And ladies, sometimes that's a process that takes time for him to appreciate. Especially if  he just wants a baked potato with sour cream and butter with a medium-rare steak. Give him time. He'll come around. Mine did.

The way to a man's heart is through his stomach.

Yes, you might be able to win a man's affections through a good meal. But I'd like to think that Proverb is more about getting to a man's heart to make it strong and healthy through nutritious meals.

Who's your Valentine? What are you planning to get them for Valentine's Day?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Oppose the DARK Act

Without your help, the entire campaign to label genetically engineered food could be at risk!

Rep. Mike Pompeo is expected to re-introduce the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act any day now. This biotech industry-backed bill would not only preempt state efforts to label GMOs, it would make voluntary labeling the law of the land – permanently. In other words, if the DARK Act passes, the fight for mandatory GMO labeling is over.

That’s why this week Just Label It is participating in a national week of action to call on Congress to oppose the DARK Act and support mandatory GE labeling.

Click here to join the movement, contact your representatives in Congress today and push them to reject the DARK Act!

For the past 13 years, the food industry’s voluntary labeling system has failed us. With the exception of Chipotle Mexican Grill, not a single company has disclosed whether its products contain GMO ingredients. Pompeo’s “DARK Act” would lock in this shocking, anti-consumer approach.

Monsanto and others have already spent millions fighting to keep consumers in the dark about GMOs. And with so much more at their disposal, you can bet that Big Food will be pulling out all the stops to get the DARK Act passed this year.

If you're in the dark about the dangers of GMO, check out my post Why Avoid GMO Foods?

Let’s show them that American consumers are louder than these corporate bullies!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Happy Birthday to The Prisoner of Carrot Castle

I can't believe that it has been three years since The Prisoner of Carrot Castle hit the App Store for the iPad. Since then Aiden's adventures have been read to children around the world from Brazil and China to Saudi Arabia and South Africa. Through an interactive story, kids learn that eating vegetables is an action-packed adventure.

The Prisoner of Carrot Castle iPad App

Today through the use of iPads in the classroom, The Prisoner of Carrot Castle is enjoyed on a richer level. Schools across the US are using the story with a curriculum that supports Common Core Standards. Find out how eSpark is using The Prisoner of Carrot Castle and other educational kid's apps on their platform to accentuate learning and track student progress.

Kids reading The Prisoner of Carrot Castle iPad book app
If you are a teacher and wish to learn more, you can download the free curriculum at Purple Carrot Books.

For educational discounts, please contact Apple about their Volume Purchase Program.

Meanwhile if you don't have your copy of The Prisoner of Carrot Castle, you can download the app for only $3.99.

Great Zooks! Did you know over 40,000 people have downloaded The Prisoner of Carrot Castle to their iPad? Grab your cape and get your copy now!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

What Happened to My Bread?

Missing Bread
Shopping list in hand, I flashed my Costco card and made a beeline for the back of the warehouse.  I searched the racks of fresh-baked breads. Hmmmm?

"This one's still warm," said one shopper as she picked up a loaf. Yup. That's what I was hoping for— picking up my favorite fresh baked bread to find it still warm from the oven. Something very appealing about that.

After my second pass by the two short rows of bread, I proceeded to the baking area where employees worked like busy bees to place freshly-baked breads on the waiting shelves.

"I was looking for the double-loaf of whole-grain bread in the paper-wrap."

"It's been discontinued. We stopped making that bread two weeks ago," said the soft-spoken woman. Subliminal message—where have you been the past two weeks?

Whaaaaa! That can't be! I've been buying that bread for years. I send my readers to buy that bread at Costco. How could this be?

That lovely loaf of whole-grain bread was pure. You know what I mean? It had only whole grains peppered with healthy nuts and seeds—it had whole millet seeds for crying out loud. No oil and no SUGAR. What has the world come to?

I lowered my head and walked back out to the rows of bread and picked up a facsimile wrapped in cellophane. It was squishy. Yeah, it had nuts and seeds on top, but you could have wadded it up into a small ball and pitched it across the warehouse. Plus reading the label revealed plenty of added unnecessary ingredients (soy and SUGAR for starters). MY bread would stand still when submitted to the knife for cutting. This one would have smushed flat and likely sprung back only half way—daring to be wadded up into a ball...

Well. I guess that does it. There is no longer any decent bread to buy. Fine! In the post A Word (Or Two) About Bread, I preached we should not eat bread anyway. It turns too quickly to SUGAR.

I guess we all weren't buying enough of the delicious and healthy whole-grain (no SUGAR) bread. After all, the last time I bought... correction... the last double loaf I bought was over a month ago. All I got left is the meager chunk shown in pictures here {sniff}. I'll have to ration it out now that I know it's the last of it's kind. Or perhaps I should enshrine it in the Museum of Extinct Foods That Contain No SUGAR.

FYI, I perused the organic breads at Costco and did not find even one without SUGAR. Proof! The world is about to come to an end.

What's your favorite bread? True confessions. I won't tell. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Juice Pulp Veggie Burgers

Juice Pulp Veggie Burgers Recipe
Often the complaint about juicers is that the fiber from the veggies and fruit goes to waste. You can put it in your composter to create future soil for your garden, but a better more immediate repurposing would be to turn it into veggie burgers.

When making juice I use a minimal amount of fruit. Given all the goodness in the veggie pulp, I decided to come up with a way to make vegan burgers from it. The fact that it has a bit of fruit makes the finished burger that much more tasty.

Juice Pulp Veggie Burgers
Add organic corn and beans. I used garbanzo beans for the batch above—I usually use black beans.

Juice Pulp Veggie Burgers
Add quinoa flour to the veggie pulp mixture and combine. Then add hummus, BBQ sauce, tapenade or your choice to add flavor and moisture. Add sea salt, fresh ground pepper and a seasoning combo. I like to use Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute.

Juice Pulp Veggie Burgers
Press the mixture to a desired thickness (<1/2") on a flat surface or in a shallow flat bowl.

Juice Pulp Veggie Burgers
Use a cookie cutter or glass to cut out the burgers.

Juice Pulp Veggie Burgers
Brown the burgers in a small amount of olive oil. Cool, wrap in plastic and freeze. Of course you can bake a few burgers to eat immediately.

Juice Pulp Veggie Burgers

from Chris Pedersen
yield Varies

category Main Course
cuisine Healthy, Vegan

- Juicer pulp
- Quinoa flour
- Organic corn (frozen or fresh cut off the cob)
- Black beans (rinsed and drained), substitute another type of bean if desired
- BBQ sauce, hummus or tapanade (for moisture and flavor)
- Seasonings
- Olive oil

1. Add pulp from juicer to large bowl with flat bottom. Mix enought quinoa flour through pulp to make the mixture start to stick together.
2. Mix in corn and beans.
3. Add your choice of flavor/moistening ingredient.
4. Heat skillet on medium-low heat with small amount of coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil.
5. Press pulp mixture into the bottom of the bowl and use cookie cutter or glass to cut out burgers.
6. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a pan over medium heat to brown the burgers on both sides. Remove to cool.
7. Wrap cooled burgers individually in plastic wrap. Place in sealed bag or container and freeze.
8. To cook burgers, remove from freezer and heat in toaster oven at 350° for 15-20 minutes. Adjust time if necessary.
9. Make the burgers up with your favorite condiments and enjoy.

Hurom Slow Juicer
What kind of juicer do I have? Glad you asked. I love my Hurom Slow Juicer. As the name implies, it's a masticating juicer, which does a great job of squeezing the juice out of the veggies, expelling very dry pulp.

For a breakdown of the different kinds of juicers and a recommended brand for each type, visit What is the Best Juicer to Buy?

What do you do with the pulp from your juicer?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Exercise—Why Do It?

6 Reasons Why You Should Exercise
Exercise is not just to look and feel good. And it's certainly not the widely accepted wrong reason to exercise—to eat more bad food.

The rationale for exercise might not be clear. Here are six straight-forward, simple reasons why you should exercise:

#1 Exercise to Feel Good
This is not just a suck-it-up and smile type of feel good. This is real. Natural. Body created. Hormone related. Truly feel good—like all day good. Exercise creates endorphins in the body that are like morphine and opiates. Obviously wildly better than those drugs. Endorphins create a euphoric feeling that is healthier than any drug fix. Yes—even better than caffeine.

#2 Exercise to Burn Cortisol
Cortisol is a stress-induced hormone produced by the body when situations provoke emotions like anger, anxiety and fear. This stress hormone contributes to weight gain by causing the body to hold on to fat and increase cravings for sweets. Not a good combination. Not only does your body not burn fat, but it urges you to eat more sugar, which turns to fat. Ugh! And as you might imagine, with all that going on, cortisol creates inflammation which damages your organs.

#3 Exercise to Burn Fat
Be a better butter burner. I love that phrase coined by exercise guru from the late 70's Covert Bailey. Regular exercise produces lean muscle mass, which burns fat by increasing your metabolism. You can lose fat while you're relaxing in an easy chair if you have lean muscle. What more could you ask for? That's a big payoff for the little time it takes to get regular exercise.

Just a side note: don't get on the scales to measure your results because you may actually gain weight as you develop lean muscle. Size for size muscle weighs much more than fat. Instead check how your clothes fit. That will tell you when you've lost fat.

#4 Exercise to Lower Insulin
Insulin increases the body's storage of fat while at the same time preventing fat cells from releasing fat for energy. A real show stopper. Exercise to the rescue! Exercise reduces the body's insulin resistance, which is the body failing to utilize insulin and subsequently making more insulin. Yikes! The result is more fat storage. It's the road to Type 2 Diabetes.

Of course insulin is increased when we take in sugar—only one of numerous reasons why sugar is deadly. Reduce or eliminate your sugar intake and you'll reduce your insulin levels. It's that simple and exercise can help.

#5 Exercise to Fight Cancer
...as well as diabetes, heart disease, etc. Exercise discourages the growth and spread of cancer and encourages cancer cell death called apoptosis—a programmed cell death wherein cells will "commit suicide" when they go awry. Cancer cells escape the normal apoptosis process and thus cancer grows.

A recent study showed that exercise also alters immune cells helping them fight cancer and disease. So if cancer cells won't die through apoptosis (don't you love that word?), the immune system will launch an attack. Exercise becomes your front-line army against the development, growth and spread of cancer.

#6 Exercise is Fun!
Even if you don't find it fun, you can make it fun. Some love to exercise. True confession: I don't love it, but I do want the benefits it provides. Plus, I exercise outside and I love that.

Many find the idea of community makes exercise fun. Join a club or meet-up for your activity of choice—bicycling (road and mountain), running, walking, tennis, etc—and enjoy the added community it brings.

With a list this rich, is there any reason why you shouldn't exercise? The benefits achieved toward optimum wellness are too good to miss.

What is (would be) your exercise activity of choice?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Wisdom Wednesday