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.

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 29, 2015

Blueberry Crisp Recipe

Blueberry Crisp Dessert Recipe

Memorial DayWe enjoy honoring those who've paid the ultimate price on Memorial Day. This year we found an event close by—at Green Valley Cemetery—mile and a half away. We decided to incorporate our daily exercise by running to the location and running back (at least as far as Starbucks located between our house and the cemetery).

After finishing my Starbucks' hot green tea, I harvested a cup of blueberries from our backyard blueberry bush. "I'm gonna make a dessert with these," I said to my husband Bob.

And this is what I came up with. Simple. Fast. Utterly delicious! I hope you enjoy it. Double or triple the recipe to make more servings.

Blueberry Crisp

Blueberry Crisp Dessert Recipefrom Chris Pedersen
yield 2 servings

category Dessert
cuisine Vegan

1C fresh blueberries
1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
1/4 C quinoa flour
3 dates, diced
3 walnuts, diced

1. Preheat toaster oven on convection to 350°.
2. Melt the coconut oil and mix with quinoa flour, dates and walnuts.
3. Add half of mixture to two ramikins. 
4. Add half of the blueberries to each ramikin and top with remaining flour mixture.
5. Bake for 15 minutes. 
6. Add scoop of coconut ice cream (optional). Serve.

The ingredients are all items I have in my pantry. I even have fresh frozen blueberries in the freezer. No shopping necessary. That's how you learn to cook without a recipe—check out what you have on hand and make something up. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Believe me I've made plenty.

Most mistakes amount to the finished recipe not tasting as good as originally envisioned (after all we see a picture and skim the recipe to determine what looks good). Big deal! Consider the healthy ingredients used (Right? You only make healthy recipes), which fuel your body with great nutrients. Yeah I know food should taste good, but really shouldn't our primary goal be eating to live? Not living to eat! Think about it.

What camp do you fall in: Eating to live OR Living to eat?

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 or Thrive Market. 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?