The Benefits of Sprouting

Did you know that by investing less than $10 in equipment and by spending a few minutes a day, you can grow some of the most nutritious food on the planet?  That’s right, you can do this with SPROUTING!  Sprouts are edible little seeds that have just been germinated.  They have been consumed for thousands of years by Chinese nobles, people in Eastern Asia and Europe and Captain Cook’s shipmates to ward off scurvy.  Sprouts are an explosion of life and should be an important part of the diet.  They are easier to digest so that your body can access their full nutrient profile.  Today’s mass-produced and rapidly-supplied vegetables are coated with a multitude of chemicals, picked before they’re ripe, shipped thousands of miles, and stored for many days before they even reach the supermarket.  By the time they reach your mouth they are far from fresh.  By growing your own sprouts you can have beautiful, organic, fresh, nutrient-dense vegetables of all kinds any time of the year.

Sprouts have, pound for pound, the largest amount of nutrients of any food.  Sprouting increases the vitamin content of seeds significantly and are a tremendous source of antioxidants, vitamin A and C, B vitamins, vitamin E, calcium, potassium, magnesium, selenium, iron and zinc.  The sprouted seeds of some legumes, like lentils, peanuts, and soybeans, contain complete protein, as do many seeds.

The most popular seeds to be sprouted are grain, vegetable, nut and legume.   Eating sprouts is a good way to supplement your diet with food enzymes that are critical for literally every biochemical reaction that takes place in your body.  Sprouts can range from radish, onion, broccoli and kale to chia, flaxseed, buckwheat and mung bean.  Almost anything can be sprouted and each type of seed is its own powerhouse when it comes to nutrition.

  • Onion and garlic sprouts have a natural antibiotic affect on the body, making it more resistant to bacteria and parasites.
  • Radish sprouts are great for clearing the respiratory system and sinuses during a cold.
  • Red clover sprouts help to detoxify the body, purify the blood and relax the nervous system.
  • Wheatgrass sprouts are amazing for helping all intestinal disorders, healing the body of many ailments and is an excellent tonic for the entire body.
  • Sprouted wheat kernels have decreased amounts of gluten proteins and increased amount of folate and fiber.

Incorporating sprouts into your diet may significantly enhance your health, energy and longevity.

All seeds contain enzyme inhibitors (anti-nutrients) that allow them to remain dormant and be stored for years.   These anti-nutrients also help plants to survive by warding off pests and insects because once ingested, the plant’s predators become sick.  Once exposed to moisture and temperature, the enzyme inhibitors are neutralized and the seeds come to life.  In this embryonic stage, sprouts are bursting with nutrients and are essentially a predigested food.  Anti-nutrients like phytic acid or phytate locks up calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc.  Deficiencies in these nutrients can stunt growth, cause anemia and bone loss and a host of other health issues.  Eating nuts and seeds that aren’t sprouted can be very problematic for those with weak digestion.  The enzyme inhibitors found in plant foods can cause mental illness, allergic reactions and deficiencies in protein as the body has a difficult time breaking them down.

Our diets today are much different than our ancestors and we demand a lot more nutrients than ever before due to our stressful/busy lifestyles.  By incorporating something as simple as sprouting, we are able to increase our nutrient intake ten fold.  Sprouting is super easy, even a 5 year old can do it!

Getting Started:

1-Use raw, unsprouted nuts, grains, seeds, sprouting vegetable seeds or legumes that are free from chemicals (I order mine from

2-Get a sprouting jar or use a mason jar and cover with cheese cloth and an elastic.

3-Place seeds in jar and cover with clean water, rinse and refill jar with water and let sit (times will vary-follow directions on package).

4-Once they have been soaked for the appropriate amount of time, rinse and drain.

5-Place out of sun and upside down on a cloth (to catch extra moisture).

6-Rinse and drain morning and night until you start seeing little sprouts (using by day 3).

7-The sprouts will vary from 1/8 to 2-inches long.  When ready, rinse and drain again and store in a jar or container in fridge.

8-Keep in refrigerator for up to 7 days, but everyday you need to rinse the sprouted beans, grains, nuts or seeds and put them in a fresh bowl.  This will avoid having any mold or bacteria grow.




Dealing with Adrenal Gland Fatigue

STRESS!! It surrounds us everyday and can be physiological, physical or psychological, disrupting the homeostasis of the body.  For some people, they thrive when they’re stressed and can live a long healthy life, free of illness or unwanted symptoms.  For others, even small amounts of stress is difficult to handle and can cause mild, moderate or severe adrenal gland fatigue.  The body responds to stress by mobilizing both a nervous system response and in cases of continued stress, the adrenal glands.  The adrenal glands are 2 busy little hormone factories that sit atop our kidneys and produce over 50 hormones like adrenaline, noradrenaline, dopamine, cortisol, DHEA, sex hormones, etc-many of which are essential for life.   These hormones together regulate our “fight or flight” reactions to emergencies, bodily responses to stress, maintenance of carbohydrate reserve, blood pressure, kidney function, secondary sexual characteristics, electrolyte balance, and so on.  When these glands become overworked and undernourished, the body becomes vulnerable to all sorts of illness.  People with type “A” personalities are particularly susceptible to this as they are constantly pushing their bodies and minds to the limits.Factors that overtax the adrenals include smoking, narcotics, alcohol, excessive exercise or a sedentary lifestyle, caffeine, chronic inflammation, exposure to pollution and environmental toxins, lack of sleep, negative thinking, excess dietary sugars, STRESS and intense emotional reactions.  Fear, anger, feelings of being overpowered and anxiety can be tolerated if experienced occasionally, but if these feelings become chronic and ingrained, they place the body into a constant “fight or flight” mode and adrenal gland fatigue sets in.

But how do you know if your adrenals aren’t functioning optimally?  Well, there are a few tests that can be done, like a saliva test or a blood pressure test, but remember, your body speaks to you through signs and symptoms.  Here is a list of some that may be present:

  • inability to concentrate
  • waking up at 3am and not being able to fall back asleep
  • nervousness/irritability/depression
  • unusual salt cravings
  • tension headaches
  • morning fatigue
  • decreased libido
  • digestive problems
  • skin pigmentation of the temples
  • excessive fatigue
  • feeling “wired” but “tired”
  • voice rises to a high pitch or is “lost” during stress/anger
  • tightness or “lump” in throat that hurts when stressed
  • feeling overwhelmed and powerless
  • perfectionist-sets high standards
  • mood swings, cries easily

It is estimated that adrenal exhaustion affects about 80% of the population.  Fortunately, there are things you can do to manage stress and combat adrenal exhaustion.  These include dietary changes, supplements, reducing stress and making other lifestyle adjustments.

From a dietary standpoint,  eating foods that are whole, nutrient-dense and low glycemic is very important.  Foods like coconut, flaxseed, chicken, cruciferous vegetables, kelp, walnuts and chia seeds are all great choices and should be included regularly.  Avoiding coffee, tea and stimulants, as well as sugar, artificial sweeteners and refined and simple carbohydrates is a must.  These foods may give you a burst of energy, but they actually contribute to the deterioration of the adrenal glands.  Avoiding foods that one is sensitive to is extremely helpful as the digestive system is already compromised during this time and adding insult to injury isn’t wise.  Drinking plenty of water, getting adequate protein, increasing fiber intake and alkalizing the diet are also great ways to improve function.

Supplements can be a huge help and are often recommended for a short period of time to help speed up healing.  Probiotics, antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E, sulphur amino acids found in garlic and onions, B-complex vitamins, magnesium, fish oil and adrenal glandulars are the most popular and effective.

Adaptogenic herbs are powerhouses when it comes to helping to deal with adrenal gland fatigue.  Adaptogens are plants with restorative and revitalizing properties that can enhance health and have been used in Ayurveda (the traditional system of herbalism in India) and in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for centuries.

Ashwagandha (also known as Indian ginseng) has been used for centuries and has a reputation as a soothing nervine that can help anxiety, fatigue and insomnia from stress.  It enhances the endocrine function and can help support an underactive thyroid and balanced function of the adrenal glands.   It helps prevent stress-related disorders and stress-related depletion of vitamin C and cortisol.

Holy Basil or tulsi is considered one of India’s most powerful herbs, and has been used in Ayuredic medicine for more than 3000 years.  Modern herbalists mostly employ tulsi for issues related to the nervous system, including to support memory and as a treatment for depression as well as normalizing cortisol levels in the body.

Maca is a root vegetable grown in Peru, it is rich in amino acids and high in protein.  It is mostly used for increasing libido and hormonal health in men and women and helping you heal from chronic fatigue syndrome.

Rhodiola is native to Canada, Russia and Scandinavian countries.  It is part of the official Russian pharmacopoeia as an antidepressant and nerve tonic.  Rhodiola is great for balancing blood sugar levels, protecting the heart, protecting the immune system and is used to boost physical and mental energy.

In addition, lemon, clove, rosemary, fennel seeds, ginger and sage stimulate the gland.

Lifestyle also plays a huge role in how quickly your adrenals re-balance.  Reducing stress is the most important aspect of healing your adrenals.  If you are still constantly stressed, nothing will change!  Practice deep breathing and obtain safe exposure to sunlight as both are great for increasing mood.  Light exercise is helpful, as is meditation and yoga.  Above all, listen to your body, when you are tired-sleep!


When your body is trying to heal itself it’s very beneficial to be kind to it. Don’t be around negative people and don’t be negative towards yourself.  Your environment and thoughts have a massive impact on your health, so choosing how you live is imperative.

What Do I Feed My Baby?

So, you’ve made it through the first 4-6 months of motherhood, congratulations!  If you’re like any other first time mom, you can feel overwhelmed during the first 6 months with all the middle of the night feedings, messy diapers, lack of time you have for friends, family and spouse, the crazy “routine”, that isn’t really a routine at all and oh, the postpartum depression that so many of us go through.  In addition to this, every time you turn around, someone or something is telling you what you SHOULD and SHOULD NOT  do….ahhhhh!!


Now that your baby is about 6 months old, it’s time to introduce some nourishing food (depending on size and maturity of your infant) in addition to breast milk, or formula.  The reason that babies NEED to start eating solids at about 6 months is because this is the time of life when baby starts to run out of iron, and neither breast milk, raw milk or formula (as it’s not easily assimilated and absorbed), will provide enough.  When babies are born their digestive tracts are immature, so we want to be careful not to overload it too quickly.  Every baby will have a different response to different foods and it’s important to take note of negative reactions.  Signs of intolerance include redness around the mouth, fussiness, over-activity, skin rashes, not sleeping well, bloating and excessive gas and nasal or chest congestion.  If your child experiences any of these reactions, try again in a few months.

Now, WHAT DO I FEED MY BABY?  For most people reading this, you’re probably thinking rice cereal (me included up until I became a holistic nutritionist).  Unfortunately, this is NOT the right answer…why you ask, well let’s back up here a minute and give you a little lesson on the GI system.  We have many different enzymes that our bodies make, which are all needed to breakdown specific food groups, namely proteins, fats and carbohydrates.   Lipase digests fats, protease digests proteins and amylase digests carbohydrates.  Here’s the thing, because babies GI system is immature, it takes at least 16 months for the carbohydrate enzyme (amylase) to come on line.  This is a huge problem when we are starting them on rice cereal, followed by wheat, barely, etc.   Foods introduced in this way, with the absence of the right digestive enzyme to break it down, increases the likelihood of food allergies (particularly allergies to those foods introduced).  If baby’s digestive tract is not well developed, large particles of food may be absorbed.  If they reach the bloodstream, the immune system mounts a response that leads to an allergic reaction.  Hmmm, interesting that the amount of people with food sensitivities has sky-rocketed over the past 30 years, with one of the most common being gluten (wheat, barely, rye).  What babies DO have is the ability to produce pepsin and proteolytic enzymes and digestive juices (hydrochloric acid in the stomach),  that work on proteins and lipase that work on fats.  This makes complete sense since the milk from a healthy mother is about 50-60% fat, critical for growth and development.  Therefore, a baby should be consuming animal foods as their first source of solid food, rather than carbohydrates, especially grains.  Remember that the amount of milk greatly decreases as more solid foods are introduced.


Now let’s take a look at the specifics…

From about 4-6 months minimal foods are tolerated, but if you do introduce foods before 6 months it should be egg yolks, avocado or cod liver oil.  Many books on feeding babies written decades ago recommended cod liver oil as it contains vitamins A and D, both critical for normal growth AND normal behavior.

From about 6-8 months, chicken, duck, beef, turkey and fish are highly recommended.  Bone broth (from chicken, lamb, beef), fermented foods like kefir or yogurt, mashed fruits such as bananas, melon, avocado and mangoes.  Cooked vegetables like zucchini, squash, carrots and beets served with butter or coconut oil.  As well, cooked and pureed fruits like apples, pears, berries and apricots.  Fruits and starchy carbohydrates are easily tolerated as they don’t need to be broken down as much as grains.

From about 8-12 months, continue to add variety and increase thickness and lumpiness into the foods.  Homemade stews and soups are great options as are small amounts of dairy like cottage cheese, raw cheese and cream.  Pickles and sauerkraut are great for increasing the “good” bacteria in the gut and finger foods like lightly steamed veggie sticks, avocado and tropical fruits.

Once babies are over 1 year of age, grains can slowly be introduced into the diet, preferably soaked and cooked to help the digestive system out.  Babies love oats and most have no troubles digesting them at this age.  Leafy greens (cooked) with butter, raw cucumbers and tomatoes and citrus fruits can now be introduced.  Whole eggs, oysters and sardines are great for their developing brains.  MILK CONSUMPTION SHOULD BE 16-20 OUNCES/DAY.



Foods to avoid…

Up to 6 months: raw, even cooked vegetables, which are difficult for the digestive system.

Up to 9 months:  Citrus and tomato, which are common allergens.

Up to 1 year: Infants should not be given honey, instead use blackstrap molasses, which is high in iron and calcium, or maple syrup.  Egg whites should be avoided in the first year due to their high allergenic potential.  All grains should be withheld until baby reaches a year, and then introduced slowly and carefully prepared (soaked and cooked).

Try to avoid commercial dairy products, modern soy foods, margarine, fruit juices and reduced-fat or low-fat foods, extruded grains and all processed foods.

I speak a lot about the digestive system because it’s where ALL degenerative disease begins.  If we can give our babies the right nutrition from the beginning, their chances of developing food sensitivities, irritable bowel syndrome, autoimmune disease and cancer are greatly reduced.



The Benefits of Oil of Oregano

Do you ever wonder why so many people are sick?  Today we try harder than ever before to be healthy, but we are becoming increasingly unwell…Why? How is it that something we spend so much time, money and effort focusing on isn’t producing the results we want?

There are quite a few answers to this but one major factor is our gut health.  Our gut contains over 400 different types of micro-organisms which makes up what’s called our intestinal flora.   Most of them are our friends, which help to aid in digestion, protect our immune system, increase absorption of vitamins and minerals and aid in peristalsis (moving your poop through your intestines!).  They make vitamin K, which aids in blood clotting, they make chemicals which are healing to the large intestine and their secretions help to choke out the “bad guys”.  These ” little friends” are hard workers but can become sluggish, overtired, over-ran and can die if we don’t take care of them.  It’s the job of the “good” bacteria to regulate the population of the “bad” bacteria and this balance is largely affected by what we eat, the medications we take and the state of our overall digestive system.   The protective mechanism of these mico-organisms is especially impaired when antimicrobial agents (antibiotics) are administered.  Antibiotics which are routinely given for anything from a cold/flu virus to a major infection that could involve any part of the body, produce profound changes in the composition of the human intestinal gut flora.  Antibiotics not only kill the “good” guys, but also the “bad” guys, resulting in a major disruption of the gut flora.   As well, the integrity of the gut is often compromised and vitamin absorption becomes greatly reduced.  The most devastating affect is the overgrowth of resistant endogenous bacteria.  Once resistance is reduced by antibiotic administration, even a small number of pathogenic organisms can produce serious infections in the host (us),  hence lowering our immunity and making us more sick!  In fact, 70-80% of our immune system in located in the gut, making it a focal point if you want to maintain optimum health.

The good thing is that there is a solution to this…oil of oregano.  Oil of oregano has been around for centuries and is a perennial herb found in the Mediterranean region.  It is rich in vitamins A, C, E and K and contains a wealth of minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and selenium.  It is arguably the best natural antibiotic in the world due to its anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic and anti-viral properties.  Oil of oregano contains two extremely powerful compounds called carvacrol and thymol.  Carvacrol helps fight against certain bacteria infections such as salmonella, candida, aspergillus mold and listeria.  Thymol is a natural fungicide that helps boost the immune system, protect against toxins, prevent tissue damage, and speed up the healing process from injuries.  They have profound effects on the body and have been proven to reduce or reverse:

  • candida
  • viruses
  • tumors
  • parasites
  • fungal infections
  • bacterial infections (including E.coli)
  • allergies
  • cancer

In addition to the powerful healing properties, oil of oregano is one of the top 10 antioxidant herbs available today, helping you to age slower and live a more vibrant, youthful life!  Oil of oregano can be used both topically or orally, and when used directly on skin, you need to mix it with a milder oil (like almond, olive or coconut) to reduce its harshness.  Aside from treating and preventing infections, you can also use oregano oil to:

  • heal cold sores, treat acne and rid your scalp of dandruff
  • ease a sore, swollen throat or dry cough
  • relieve symptoms of bug bites and poison ivy rashes
  • treat urinary tract infections
  • heal dental cavities

Oil of oregano does not disrupt the gut’s intestinal flora the way antibiotics do, so it’s a good alternative for those people seeking a more natural remedy.  It is a staple in the medicine cabinet in my house and it should be in yours too!