Monday, April 30, 2012

Summer Time Meals

By Stephanie of Infinite Life Fitness

Summer is quickly approaching!

This is the PERFECT time to kick start your fitness routines and start trying to incorporate healthy meals into your menu to help you achieve your health and fitness goals!

Some people think that eating healthy means you have to eat boring�dry�bland food. Well that is not true at all! Today I am sharing with you several food options that should add some flavor to your meals so your healthy meals can be fun and tasty!

Beer-Battered Tilapia with Mango Salsa


3 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup beer
1 pound tilapia fillets, (about 3), cut in half lengthwise
4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
Mango Salsa, (recipe follows)

1. Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, cumin, salt and cayenne in a medium bowl. Whisk in beer to create a batter.
2. Coat half the tilapia pieces in the batter. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Letting excess batter drip back into the bowl, add the fish to the pan; cook until crispy and golden, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and loosely cover with foil. Coat the remaining fish with batter and cook in the remaining 2 teaspoons oil; adjust heat as necessary for even browning. Serve immediately with Mango Salsa.

Calories 242, Total Fat 7 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Monounsaturated Fat 4 g, Cholesterol 48 mg, Sodium 234 mg, Carbohydrate 22 g, Fiber 2 g, Protein 23 g, Potassium 468 mg. Daily Values: Vitamin C 35%, Calcium 13%.

Strawberry, Melon & Avocado Salad


1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, or red-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Pinch of salt
4 cups baby spinach
1 small avocado, (4-5 ounces), peeled, pitted and cut into 16 slices
16 thin slices cantaloupe, (about 1/2 small cantaloupe), rind removed
1 1/2 cups hulled strawberries, sliced
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted (see Tip)

1. Whisk honey, vinegar, mint, pepper and salt in a small bowl.
2. Divide spinach among 4 salad plates. Arrange alternating slices of avocado and cantaloupe in a fan on top of the spinach. Top each salad with strawberries, drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Tip: To toast sesame seeds, heat a small dry skillet over low heat. Add sesame seeds and stir constantly until golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool.
MAKE AHEAD TIP: The dressing will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.

Calories 202, Total Fat 8 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Monounsaturated Fat 1 g, Sodium 90 mg, Carbohydrate 24 g, Fiber 7 g, Protein 3 g, Potassium 503 mg. Daily Values: Vitamin A 60%, Vitamin C 100%.

Parmesan Orzo with Smoked Salmon


2 14 ounce can low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat orzo
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced leeks (white part only)
1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
8 ounces smoked salmon, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. In a medium saucepan, bring broth to a boil over high heat. Add orzo and return to a boil, stirring once. Reduce heat to low and simmer until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain orzo over a bowl, reserving 1 cup broth. Return orzo to saucepan and stir in 1 tablespoon oil.
2. In a large skillet, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add leeks and saute until softened, about 1 minute. Add reserved broth and asparagus and cook, stirring, until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Stir in cooked orzo, 1/4 cup Parmesan, sourcream, salmon, parsley and pepper. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.

Hope that these are some great options for you! REMEMBER�you can always substitute or leave ingredients out that you do not like! The key to creating tasteful healthy meals are to make it how YOU like it!

Also, please feel free to stop by my personal health and fitness blog at!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Cooking Up a Storm on the Weekend

I am a woman on a mission this weekend: a mission to lessen the stress and tension in my life. I guess you could say that I have come to the realization that unless there are salads already chopped, soups already simmered and food already cooked waiting for me when we get home at the end of the day, I'm basically screwed.

Notice that I didn't say "we" or "we're" already screwed.

It's just me that gets screwed.
Read more �

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pura Body Naturals GIVEAWAY Winner!

This was a really tough decision.  All -- and I mean ALL -- of your responses were great and thorough.  I was impressed by the various healthy hair tips.  Additionally, I intend to incorporate many of the suggested blog posts.  So yes, there were so many great responses.  Thank you for sharing and entering ... each and every one of you.  And now for the winner ...


Dgilly was chosen in hopes that the Pura Body Naturals products would help to decrease her night baggy routines.  (I say this in fun.  Baggying is actually one of few tips I have yet to discuss on this blog, so thanks for writing about it.) :o)

Please email your mailing address to xxxxxx before 8am EST April 27 in order to secure your prize.

Don't worry, ladies.  There will be another giveaway soon. :o)

12-Hour Pura Body Naturals GIVEAWAY!

I promised a giveaway when the blog officially hit 500 followers.  Well here it is!  Welcome new followers, and Thank to you to my old followers who have remained loyal ...

As a token of my appreciation, I am hosting a Pura Body Naturals Giveaway, the first giveaway of this year.  The winner will receive a small package of Pura Body Naturals products put together by moi.  The contest will last for twelve hours, at which point a winner will be announced and must claim her prize by 8am EST on April 27 (tomorrow).  If unclaimed, a new winner will be announced immediately.

So, how do you enter?

Well leave a comment below with 1) your best healthy hair tip AND 2) what you would like to see on this blog. A winner will be chosen based on her response.

Hair Issues || High Porosity (and Low Porosity)

Porosity.  What is it?  It is a measure of how easily water and other substances can enter and exit the hair strand.  Depending on the condition of the hair's cuticle layers, the porosity can rank from low (i.e., the result of flat, tightly bound cuticles) to high (i.e., the result of gaps or lifted cuticles).  Highly porous hair, in particular, is more susceptible to moisture loss and breakage.  If your hair is highly porous, read the following article on how to combat the issue:


For low porosity or more on porosity in general:

Another Case for Organic: The Sweet Potato Project

So it certainly is not new news that conventional produce (unlike organic produce) is generally subject to chemical exposure and genetic modification.  Nonetheless, this girl's science project brings an astonishing visual demonstration to the effects of using chemicals on produce.  In her particular project, she compares sprouting between a conventional potato, an organically labeled potato, and an organic potato from a certified organic market.  The project raises the question of what health effects (if any) chlorpropham can have on those who consume conventional potatoes and other produce that contain the chemical.  The project also raises the question of why is there a difference in sprouting between organically-labeled produce and produce from a certified organic market.  If you haven't seen this video yet, I encourage you to do so.

Thanks to all who came into HWC!

Healthy World Caf� aims to be 'accessible to all'
The community-based kitchen debuted at First Moravian Church in a new partnership.

Daily Record/Sunday News

York, PA - Cindy Plunkert moved through the food line at Healthy World Caf� at the Moravian Lunch Room with a wicker basket on one arm.

She filled the basket with spinach quiche, soups and apple crisp for her and two colleagues at Pressley Ridge in York. As she got ready to pay, volunteer Scott Simonds suggested a total of $22. What she paid at the community-based kitchen, was optional. Plunkert, 60, paid the suggested price and $5 more.
"I'm expecting good food," she said. "We really like to support the cause."

Healthy World Caf� opened Wednesday as a result of a partnership with the First Moravian Church in York. HWC aims to offer healthy meals made from local ingredients and has a pay-what-you-can system. People may pay the suggested price, more to support the nonprofit, or less by volunteering their time.

Chairman Sean Arnold said the nonprofit, which was established about two and a half years ago, had been looking for a location for the past year. The caf� won the 2011 YorIt Social Venture Challenge -- a $20,000 grant -- and had been promoting itself at events to raise awareness, fundraise and gain volunteers. Organizers wanted to start small, and they had difficulty finding a building that fit the nonprofit's price range.

Earlier this year, the Moravian Lunch Room at First Moravian Church -- which serves inexpensive food once a month as a way to raise its profile and provide the community with a meal -- knew it would lose some volunteers, making it difficult to continue the monthly event.

So the church and Healthy World Caf� teamed up.

"It was a good marriage," said the Rev. Steve Nicholas, coordinator of the Moravian Lunch Room. "We saw working with HWC as a way to continue offering a lunch at our church."

Arnold said 110 people attended lunch Wednesday. The menu offered spinach quiche with tomato sauce, asparagus and spring minestrone with chicken soups, salads, and apple crisp and dried fruit oatmeal cookies for dessert. Lime-and-arugula infused water and iced tea were free.

The caf� will open May 23 and every fourth Wednesday starting in September, with the possibility of staying open this summer. He said HWC hopes to eventually open twice a month. HWC's menu will change each month based on the availability of local produce in York, Lancaster and Adams counties.

Arnold said HWC bought most of the main ingredients for this lunch from local farmers and food vendors, including some from Central Market, Perrydell Farm Dairy and Round Barn.
"As we grow, we want to incorporate as many farms as possible," he said. Arnold said the church has been wonderful throughout the transition and that he hopes the community sees HWC as a viable nonprofit. "We want to sell and provide healthy alternatives that are accessible to all," he said.

If you go
What: Healthy World Caf� at the Moravian Lunch Room
When: 11:30 to 1 p.m. May 23 and every fourth Wednesday starting in September
Where: First Moravian Church, 39 N. Duke St. in York

The concept
Healthy World Caf� is a volunteer-based cafeteria-style kitchen that supports local farmers and aims to offer nutritious meals to people of all incomes. Chairman Sean Arnold said the nonprofit was established about two and a half years ago. Organizers modeled the caf� after the Salt Lake City community kitchen, One World Everybody Eats Caf�.

For details, visit

Reader Advice Day. Plant-strong Comfort Food. Your Favorite Casseroles.

Greetings Everyone! I hope you are all doing well.

I received the following e-mail/request from an HGK reader:

Hi Wendy,

I've been reading your blog for a while and am hoping you can help. I'll try to be brief. :)

On April 2nd I had a baby boy. He's sweet and just beautiful. :) But he's got a few issues. He was born with birth defects. His overall health is very good . . . believe me when I tell you that it could've been a lot worse - his case is relatively mild and we're working with doctors to see what therapies we can get him into to help.

Add to that that my mom has been staying with us and so we have been eating what she's been cooking - lots of pasta, cheese, some meat, etc. And now we're really feeling the effects. This morning my husband asked me if we could just please have a salad today, if we could please get on the plant-strong path before we each gain 20 pounds and feel even worse physically than we do now.

What I'm trying to say is that I'm a) really stressed, b) my husband and I both want to go plant strong ASAP so we can at least regain our health to make it through this stressful, sleep deprived, doctor appointment-filled time, and c) I would be so honored if you could ask your peeps to generate a big list of tried and true plant-based casseroles like you did with the smoothies and salad dressings so that I can rely on them and not have to cook every night of my life. Because if I don't figure something out, I have the feeling it's going to be a really long time before we can be on that plant-strong path consistently. There will be nowhere near enough time in my day for the next few years.

My initial reaction is that casseroles tend to be very calorie dense, as compared to soups, stews, and salads. And although they are certainly great tasting, I'm not sure if they are the kind of thing to get you and your husband feeling your best every day.
Read more �

Monday, April 23, 2012

Juicing: The Dos, the Dont's and Why I'm Over It, For Now.

My juice feast/fast officially ended last Thursday. Before I put this chapter of my life to a close, I am going to get some of my thoughts down on "paper." I know that a lot of you have a lot of questions, so if I don't cover something that you are curious about, just ask me in the comments section.

First, I want to say that this is how my experience went down:
  • two days of partial juice fasting (one juice meal on day one, two juice meals on day two)
  • followed by three days of complete juice fasting (juice, hot water with lemon, tea and coconut water all day)
  • followed by two days of partial juice fasting (dinner was "real" food)
I learned a ton about myself during the process. I learned that I DON'T need coffee to get through the day, that I am tired at certain times of day whether or not I have coffee in my life.

DON'T stop living your life because you are on a juice fast. I learned that I can sit in a restaurant while other people are eating and that I can be perfectly happy sipping on hot water with lemon or club soda with lime. A few times I brought along my jar of juice and sipped it happily while friends and family ate their meals. It was fine.

DON'T try to cook for other people while juice fasting. Give yourself a break. I learned that I cannot, at least for very long, cook for other people and do a juice fast. Maybe the Plant-strong food that I have come to know and love is just too good, but I was not able to have my favorites around and not partake for very long. This soup was calling my name the entire time and I gave in (if you haven't made it yet, don't wait another day! It's that good.)

Unless you have a lot of weight to lose, DON'T expect much. I learned that if you are already Plant-strong, juice fasting is not some way to lose a few pounds quickly (like it appears to be for people who eat the SAD and have a lot of weight to lose). Weight loss would  probably be the result of a very strict juice fast, but it would be an extremely slow process and I'm not sure their aren't easier and better ways to accomplish the same thing.

DO try a juice fast if you need to reboot your taste buds. Of all of the effects of the fast, I have to say that this was the most dramatic. Your sense of taste completely resets. Salty food tastes ridiculous. Sweet things are too sweet. And no-oil vegan food tastes amazing! Juicing would work wonders for people who want to be Plant-strong but can't seem to like the taste of fruits and vegetables.

If you are still thinking that a juice fast is in your future, DO prepare a lot of juice in the morning and take it to work with you if you work. Store it in a glass jar and refrigerate it. This eliminates any need to juice during the day. I made 5-6 cups of juice in the morning and it covered me for breakfast, lunch and a mid afternoon snack. I also drank about a cup or two of coconut water during the day. Then you can break out the juicer for dinner and all it took was two sessions with the juicer for a whole day's worth of juice.

DO expect to feel really great while you are juicing. It was almost a spiritual experience. I really loved that part of it. I felt very clear in my head and able to focus on other people in a new way.

But even with the great feelings that I had while I was juicing, it was just too difficult to continue give my obligations and commitments. I pretty much pooped out because I had some social events this past weekend and I didn't want to stand out like a sore thumb. The benefits of the juice feast weren't outweighing the feeling of social isolation, so I stopped.

I'd probably do it again. But not any time soon . . .

If you would like to leave a comment, please click on the title of this post (the orange text above).

Truth About YOUR Belly!

By Stephanie of Infinite Life Fitness

One of the most common questions I get when it comes to health and fitness is �How do I get that amazing six-pack?�


Some people like to try to take shortcuts and use these kinds of items to try to help them get the body they want:


The truth? A pretty strict diet and a steady intense workout. There is NO magic machine, apparatus, pill, juice, or any kind of magic fitness gimmick to help you get a slim tone body!

To get abs of steel you have to have the diet to accompany it along with the right workout routine. You cannot do hundreds of sit ups and other ab exercises and expect your six pack (or flat abs) to just appear. Women tend to carry more weight around their midsection than guys do. So for girls it is naturally harder to have the flat stomach you dream of. What I have found to be helpful for my friends and the people I help is cardio. It helps to shed those extra pounds and it also helps to tone your body. I am not talking about 20 minutes of cardio, it usually takes around 45 min to over an hour along with other exercises and routines.

Along with the perfect routine, you also have to have the correct diet. I would suggest lean meats (such as fish or chicken) and tons of fruits and veggies. Staying away from processed foods is ideal (and also the healthiest diet you can have). Your body can process and use food more efficiently if it is not highly processed and packed full of unnecessary ingredients.

Getting a tone strong physique like the models you see on TV or online takes a lot of hard work and discipline. Starting a new healthy lifestyle is a lifestyle change! It takes extreme dedication and is not always easy! Now I am sure that those models enjoy the occasional cheesecake or other sweet treat, but the other 95% of the time they have a pretty strict diet and steady workout routine!

So when making your health and fitness goals make sure to keep in mind what YOU want! Try not to compare yourself to other people�s body. Make goals that are realistic and that make YOU happy.

Please make sure to check out my website at!

Nutritious Bartending || The Healthier Mimosa

The mimosa is a relatively simple alcoholic drink that makes a great sidekick with a Sunday brunch.  The typical version contains 1/2 to 2/3 Champagne.  Depending on where you go, some mimosas may not be mixed with freshly squeezed orange juice ... and if they are, the oranges are more than likely not organic.  So how do we make the mimosa more healthy?  Well, I suggest the following concoction which involves freshly squeezed organic oranges and the smaller Champagne to juice ratio.  (Organic oranges are said to contain 30% more Vitamin C than conventional oranges.)  Additionally, this recipe calls for less orange liqueur, or none if you wish, thus reducing your sugar and calorie intake.

{Image Source}

Dry, chilled Champagne
2-3 fresh organic oranges
1-2 tbsp of orange liqueur, e.g. Triple Sec

Using a juicer, squeeze your fresh organic oranges.  Fill a chilled Champagne flute 1/2 of the way with your freshly squeezed juice and almost the remainder of the way with the dry Champagne.  Then add the the orange liqueur and voila!  (Refrigerate any remaining orange juice for later.)  NOTE: To reduce your sugar and calorie intake even further, opt out of using the orange liqueur.

Serving size: 1

For an even healthier mimosa that is packed with Vitamin A, check out this SPICY CARROT SUNRISE MIMOSA:

RECIPE for Spicy Carrot Sunrise Mimosa


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Twist Series: Loose Twists Tutorial

Loose twists, which were officially introduced on the internet by Cipriana of, are becoming the big rave these days.  What are they?  They are basically two-strand twists done very loosely.  One of the major benefits of doing loose twists is that it takes less time to do than regular twists.  One drawback is that the style ages faster, but that may not be a problem if you love frizzies or re-stretch the twists periodically.  I have toyed with trying loose twists but haven't gathered up the courage to do so yet.  Below is a video tutorial of the style by youtuber Alicia James.  For more on the loose twist regimen, check out

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Mixology || Natural Bubble Bath

Does your use of commercial bubble baths trigger yeast infections? Perhaps these natural alternatives will be more gentle for you, but consult with your doctor first ...


2 cups almond oil
2 cups distilled water
1 cup 100% pure soap flakes (or grated soap)
2 tbsp witch hazel--2 Tbsp

Boil the spring water and melt the soap in it. In another container, mixthe witch hazel and almond oil together and shake well. (If possible, do this in a blender.) Then slowly add the soap mixture to the witch hazel and oil blend and again, shake or blend well. These amounts will make a large quantity of basic bubble bath mixture to which you can add the essential oils of your choice as and when required. For each 2 tablespoons of base bubble bath, use 15 drops of essential oil and mix well. Use 1-2 teaspoons of the final product in each bath.


1 quart water
1 bar Castille soap (grated or flaked)
3 oz glycerin
5 drops lilac fragrant oil

Mix all ingredients together.  Store in a container.  Pour in running water.

FOR MORE: 250 Bath Body Recipes

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Juice Cleanse, Day 6-7: Effects and Experience of Juicing

Good morning everyone!

First off, I want to say that I am certainly no expert on juice fasting/feasting/cleansing. But so many people have asked me to share how it's going on my juice fast, so that is what I will do!

Full disclosure: For the past two nights I have eaten solid food for dinner. My fast so far looks like this: 2 days of partial juice fasting, 3 days of total juice fasting, 2 days of partial juice fasting.

Where it goes from here, I really have no idea.

But here is what I have experienced so far:

  1. I am no longer drinking any coffee, and it's fine. Shocking, right? Not only that, but my only withdrawal symptoms were a very slight headache for the first two days. I attribute that to the juice feast flooding my body with water and vitamins.
  2. I didn't experience any of the detoxification symptoms in the first few days of the fast that you read about or watch in the movie Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. I'm pretty sure that's because my diet leading up to the cleanse was Plant-strong. I was healthy, so I wasn't in need of a detox from a dietary standpoint.
  3. I lost one pound, that's it. Would I have liked to lose more? Sure. This experience is helping me with body acceptance. For people of average weight, juicing is NOT some kind of quickie weight loss fix as it is with folks who have a lot of weight to lose.
Read more �

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Breaking News! New Documentary from HBO, The Weight of the Nation

Thanks to Debby over at Happy Healthy Long Life for posting this to Facebook. It looks like a must watch movie. You can go to HBO and sign up to receive a screening kit, while supplies last!
This is great. I'm so loving that there's a movie telling American's what most of us already know: that we're fat and it 's a really big problem. But maybe people don't realize how big of a problem it is and what the collective implications are?

Read more �

Monday, April 16, 2012

Juice Cleanse, Day 1-5, Why the Heck am I Doing This?

Thank you to everyone who contributed to my last post asking for advice on juice cleansing. Your input gave me the push to just get started, so I'm thrilled to report that as I write this, I am on day 5 of my cleanse. It started with two days of partial juicing and partial regular Nutritarian eating, then transitioned to juicing with additional drinking of hot water with lemon (how did I not know before now how good this is?), tea, veggie broths, filtered water and coconut water.

Needless to say, I'm peeing a lot.

For my first post about this experience, I really want to get behind the reasons that I am doing this, especially since I had been wanting to embark on a cleanse for about a year, but hadn't done it until now.

It all started, of course, upon viewing the movie Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead exactly one year ago. At the time, I didn't have a health condition that required anything as seemingly drastic as juice cleansing, or "rebooting" as Joe Cross calls it. Regardless, the concept of rebooting my system seemed interesting to me.

So I saved up and purchased a pretty fancy juicer. A Champion, to be exact, professional model. I thought for sure I would do a juice cleanse pretty soon.

But it never happened. I made a few interesting juices, but the beast just sat on my counter for eight months, collecting dust. I just didn't have the motivation. The perceived inconvenience, expense, necessary will power and commitment that were required to do a juice cleanse outweighed any perceived benefit that I believed I would get from a fast. Forget that I would have to go off of my beloved coffee, that was just too much for me to bear!

But lately I hadn't been feeling my best. My energy level was not been as high as I had experienced when first becoming a Nutritarian. I mostly chalked this up to life and it's pressures, trying to be a good mother, wife, business owner, blogger, etc., etc. I started turning to caffeine to get through just about every day. I have been drinking coffee in the morning every day for about 23 years. But never in the afternoon until recently.

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Beet Juice, Beet Smoothie: Blood Pressure & Stamina

Don't sleep on beet juice. Studies performed over the past several years suggest that drinking beetroot juice may lower blood pressure and thus have implications for the treatment of cardiovascular disease.  What is the underlying cause of this lowering of blood pressure?  It is the nitrate content of beetroot.  Additionally, other studies suggest that this juice boosts stamina, which can prolong exercising.

So how does one incorporate this vegetable into one's diet?  Well below is a recipe for a delicious, beet smoothie.  As always, please consult with your doctor before adjusting your diet or lifestyle.


1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup mixed frozen berries or blueberries
2 tablespoons granola
1/3 cup diced beet, raw (50 grams)
1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt or low-fat coconut milk
1 teaspoon honey or agave syrup
2 or 3 ice cubes
sliced orange for garnish (optional)

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend for 1 full minute. Pour into a glass, garnish with an orange slice and enjoy.

Yield: 1 generous serving.
{Recipe Source}


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Oldies, But Goodies

1. Red Meat and Cancer Link?
2. More on Eggs ... Food for the Hair
3. A Clean Scalp & Hair Growth
4. Lighten Hair Color Naturally
5. Healthy Hairstyling #5: Phony Ponytails & Buns

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ingredients You May Not Want In Your Food

Original article from Food Republic

TBHQ, A.K.A: Butane


Turns out butane isn't just for lighters anymore - it's also an artificial antioxidant that they put it in chicken nuggets to keep them "fresh" tasting. So instead of your chicken nuggets being fresh, butane keeps them "fresh." Eating butane probably wasn't what you had in mind last time you lit up, got the munchies, and ordered those nuggets. Try these homemade chicken tenders instead, for fuel-free fuel. Found in: Frozen, packaged or pre-made processed foods with long shelf lives such as frozen meals, crackers, chips, cereal bars and fast food.


Regular milk is full of hormones used by the milk industry to keep the cows knocked up and lactating all year round. Sound gross? It is. So when you drink regular milk you take a shot of hormones with it. And all you wanted was a bowl of cereal. Found in: All non-organic dairy, so organic is recommended. But don't jump straight to raw milk before you know the facts.

Continue reading here.

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Mixology || Jasmine Body Powder

Do you like body powders but want to avoid talc? (There is some suggestion of a possible increase in ovarian cancer risk when using talcium powder [1]).  Do you prefer an alternative with more natural ingredients?  Well here is a recipe for a homemade jasmine body powder.

Cornstarch--1 cup
Jasmine flowers (dried), finely ground--1 Tbsp
Sweet almond oil--1 tsp
Jasmine absolute oil --1-2 drops

Mix the cornstarch, jasmine flowers, and oils together. Mix well. Place in an airtight container or shaker container.

FOR MORE RECIPES: 250 Bath Body Recipes

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Massaged Kale Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing and the Reader Advice Day: Juice Cleansing

We hosted an impromptu dinner at our house this past Saturday night for relatives that were in town for the holidays. Luckily, I had a lot of produce in the fridge (natch!) and a few hours on my hands before everyone was due to come over. I knew after all of the holiday eating that many of us would welcome a dinner with lots of raw salads, so I made a huge tossed salad and also a raw kale salad.
Read more �

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Mina de Masa

You guys rock! Thank you for the input on my last post. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to engage in these conversations. Thank you for not shredding me to bits when I called in to question the beloved Skinny Bitch book.

But it's been too long since I've talked about a new recipe. This Mina de Masa dish is something that I prepared last weekend when we had out-of-town holiday guests (don't worry, I had never heard of it either). Ever since Debby over at Happy Healthy Long Life started talking about what she was making for Passover this year, I have been itching to make what I have always called a "Matzoh Lasagna."

Religion and holidays aside, I wanted to share it with you because it's so gosh darn tasty. Because of the combination of artichokes and spinach, it's like spinach artichoke dip in casserole form. I don't care who, what or where you worship, you are gonna love this!
But what specifically is Mina de Masa?

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Healthy Styles for Transitioning or Stretching Relaxers

Are you transitioning from relaxed or texturized to natural ... or stretching your relaxers for a long period of time?  Do you want to minimize heat usage during this period?  Well, below are some styles you can wear to disguise the texture difference between your new growth and chemically straightened ends.  None of the styles require direct heat; in some cases, one can just airdry or sit under a hooded dryer.  Enjoy!

The Strawset: VIDEO TUTORIAL (PART I) (best done on damp hair), PART II


The Rollerset + Saran Wrap: VIDEO TUTORIAL


The Braid/Twist Extensions: VIDEO TUTORIAL

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Youtube: Self-Love Regimen

"Your hair care, body care, skin care ... everything about you is a direct reflection of your level of self love ..." Shanel Cooper

In the video below, Shanel Cooper discusses her daily self-love routine.  The video is really worth the watch, and you might pick up some new steps!

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More from The Skinny Bitch: Book Review, Skinny Bitch Book of Vegan Swaps

First off, I want to say that I have never been a fan of the book Skinny Bitch. Not because I don't love a good curse word thrown into any sentence at the appropriate time, but because I read it and it had zero effect on me.

Maybe it was the false promise of "skinny just because you are vegan" that didn't seem to make sense to me, because I knew Vegans who weren't. And I've never been interested in thin for thin's sake. Healthy is and always has been my ideal.

Maybe it was the harsh dissing of coffee, which I admit, I am lovingly addicted to.

So why I agreed to do a review of Kim Barnouin's newest release, Skinny Bitch, Book of Vegan Swaps, is beyond me. I guess the lure of free product was just too much to resist. Or the fascination with the promulgation of this myth that Vegan equals thin or Vegan by definition equals healthy, which is patently false. It's a complete lie perpetuated by large food companies that are looking to replace the dollars they are losing because 1% of us are waking up to the truth about processed food. One percent of a billion dollars is a lot of money to lose.

But here I am. I have agreed and I will deliver.

If you are a reader of HGK, you do not need this book on your shelf. You are way beyond thinking that because a cookie is made with 100% organic sugar and organic flour that it is good for you, so why would you need a list of all of the tasty 100% organic packaged Vegan cookies out there?

Or my personal favorite (read pet peeve): how about swapping butter with Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread? That's sure gonna get you skinny, right?

Now, in Ms. Barnouin's defense, she does say, "Work a fruit or vegetable into every meal."

A fruit or vegetable? one? How about 5?

"KEEP IT WHOLESOME. Your diet should focus on whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruit and veggies. If that's tough to remember, your food should be in it's most natural state--the less processed the better." p. 52

Then why, Ms. Barnouin, write an entire book, two hundred and seventy two pages, listing processed food that lines the shelves of the inside of a grocery store. Vegan or not, who gives a shit?

To be totally fair, I know who might need this book.

I was all ready to publish this scathing book review even against my own best interests (saying anything critical of anyone or anything these days might just get you into a whole heap of trouble), when I had a conversation with a woman who changed my mind.
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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Introducing Healthy World Cafe at the Moravian Lunchroom!

Healthy World Cafe and the First Moravian Church are pleased to announce a new partnership, "HWC at the Moravian Lunchroom."  This partnership will allow Healthy World Cafe to open on a regular basis downtown and build upon the success of the Moravian Lunchroom outreach initiative.

Healthy World Cafe will open to greet customers on Wednesday, April 25, 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., in the community hall of First Moravian Church, at 41 N. Duke St.  Fresh, local, delicious food will be available, keeping with the mission of the Healthy World Cafe: "to prepare healthy, local food for all," the cost is never to be a barrier for anyone. Patrons will pay what they are able, and be provided with the opportunity to volunteer at the caf� in exchange for a great meal.

Healthy World Cafe will also be open May 23, 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. at the First Moravian Church location, and then will open more frequently in the summer months to take advantage of York County's abundant summer harvest.

Menu for 4/25: Greek Salad with Orzo and Black-Eyed Peas; Mixed Green Salad with Pecans, Goat Cheese, and Dried Cranberries; Spinach Quiche;  Spring Minestrone Soup with Chicken Meatballs; Leek, Potato, and Tarragon Soup; and Oatmeal Cookies with Mixed Dried Fruit.  All menu items are available in "to-go" containers. (And of course, menu items are always based on what's fresh, available, in-season locally, so ingredients may change.  Farmers dictate our menu!)

To access the Healthy World Cafe dining room, follow the walkway around the left side of First Moravian Church toward the rear of the building.  There you'll see the entrance and be welcomed by volunteers.  Signs will be posted to direct you.

If you are interested in joining volunteers from HWC and First Moravian Church in helping with food preparation, serving, or any other volunteer opportunity with HWC, call 814-8204 or e-mail us at healthyworldcafe(at)

You may also visit Healthy World Cafe at two upcoming events in #iloveyorkcity: Go Green in the City, April 21, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. along N. Beaver St. and at the Olde York Street Fair on May 13, 12:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. along E. Market St. (in front of First Presbyterian Church).  We'll have local, healthy, delicious food available for sale, all proceeds will further the mission of HWC to open a permanent location downtown.

The YorIT Social Venture Fund of York County Community Foundation is a key source of support for the Healthy World Cafe.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Marc Bittman on The Human Cost of Animal Suffering

I was a strict vegetarian for 11 years, from the age of 20 until 31, because the thought of animal suffering on factory farms repulsed me and I wanted nothing to do with the perpetuation of it.

You have never read anything from me here on HGK about animal welfare, not because I don't care deeply about the issue, but because the reason I came back to not-eating-animals was not for the animals that I was saving. It was for my own health.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Mommy, Why Does Everyone Say that Milk Makes You Stronger?

Thank you to everyone who left a comment on my last Reader Advice Day post. I'm thrilled to report that "Emily" is doing much better now and is very grateful for everyone's help.

"Thank you so much for all the advice on your blog and in this email! I do have a lot of weight to lose probably close to 70 lbs and I have been really enjoying all the yummy plant strong food I have been eating. I got interested in this style of eating from my good friend Beth [name changed]. I saw her change drastically and while I have spent years trying Weight Watchers with minimal effect her change was immediate. This week is my spring break (I am a teacher) so I have been taking this time to try lots of new dishes and I am feeling great! I have so much energy and really love the food I am eating. I feel full and I do not feel obsessed with tracking points and then feeling discouraged when I fail! I really appreciate all the comments and help so thank you! "

You are so welcome "Emily!" We're nothing without each other. If it wasn't for a supportive internet community, I don't know where I would be today with my health.

This morning my seven year old daughter Maya asked, "Mommy, why does everyone say that milk makes you stronger?"

It seems that her class is doing a unit on nutrition, specifically the USDA Food Pyramid, and she has been giving her teacher a real run for her money. She's been speaking up in class, sharing alternate views on matters of nutrition. Her teacher doesn't know what the heck Maya's talking about.

And I'm not at all surprised. Coming off of a ten day road trip, I have really had my eyes reopened to the pathetic state of food in America. I was left kind of depressed and a little pissed off. It feels like the world has forgotten what a vegetable is, as evidenced by the little that is available that is not from an animal or some sort of processed carbohydrate. It's like the only safe place is in our homes.

Or not.

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3in6: Starting Month #4

For the challenge guidelines, see this post.

Ladies, we are officially in month #4 of the 3in6 Challenge! Last month, I wore mini twists for three weeks and a loose bun for one week.  (See the photo to the right for mini twists.)  I also stayed on top of my internal regimen: intake of multivitamins, water, and veggies/fruits.  This April, I'll either do medium twists or experiment with loose twists.  (If I do loose twists, I will probably write a post further explaining the technique.) Cinnamon and honey highlights update: I used the recipe twice but haven't noticed a change in hair color; it may require more uses.

Ladies, have you noticed any growth or health benefits? What style will you wear in month #4?

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Healthy Eating || Best and Worst Juices

Acai berry? Apple? Cranberry? Orange?

"Although the best kinds of juice deliver a bounty of vitamins, the worst are hardly better than liquid candy. WebMD helps you spot the difference."

Continue reading here.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Reader Advice Day: Help, I'm Going through Detox

Good morning Troupe!

I received another urgent e-mail from someone new to a plant-based diet, and she needs our help!

Hello Healthy Girl,
My name is Emily (name changed to protect privacy) and I started the plant strong diet 7 days ago. I have been struggling with a few things. Maybe you can help me with some side effects I am experiencing on plant strong.
1. I am drinking only water but I am having some awesome headaches.
2. I feel really hungry a lot of the time.
3. Sometimes I don't have time to take the time to make something so instead I will just not eat even though I'm hungry.
4. I lost 12 pounds in one week....that seems like an unhealthy amount.
5. Once I almost passed out.
Am I doing something wrong? I feel like I am...maybe I need to plan better b/c I am enjoying what I eat and for the most part I even feel better but when I get hungry I feel weak and out of control.

Here is what I wrote to Emily:

Okay Emily, I am not a doctor or a nutritionist, but I will tell you what I think about your experiences. If you really feel like there is something wrong with you, go to a doctor now, but don't let them tell you to go back on your old Standard American Diet. That would be criminal.

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Reader's Question: Running Long Distances

By Stephanie of Infinite Life Fitness

"Welcome Stephanie! I have a query about preparing to run. I work out a few times during the week (yoga and a cardio class). I decided that I would like to give running a try and possibly do a marathon next year. Are there any tips that you can share with a novice such as myself?


Howdy Mona!

First I would like to say that is awesome that you want to run a marathon! Training for a marathon does take a little discipline and you have to set your goals and try to achieve them!

For those who are looking for where to start when it comes to starting a new running routine, the best way to start is slow. Try not to jump into any exercise routine. You have to start out slow and gradually build up to the desired routines that you would like to do.

You should set your first running goal by setting a workout/running schedule for the first two weeks of your new program. Schedule consistent runs by shooting for running at least 2 days in a row. You want to try to run 3 to 5 days a week! Try not to take more than two days off in a row, because doing that makes running each day like it�s the first day all over again.

For starting out, 20 minutes is the magic number because that is when the body starts to produce physiological benefits; increased heart size, stoke volume, and capillarization to name a few. You should start out by pushing yourself to run for at least 20 minutes per workout session for the first 2 weeks. You want to maintain a steady run for the duration of the 20 minutes (this is of course after your warm up and stretching!) If you need to stop during this time it is OK! But keep moving! Either briskly walk or significantly decrease the speed at which you are running so you can catch your breath and get a small rest. You want to maintain this routine for at least 14 days. At the end of those 2 weeks you can monitor the progress you have made since the start of your program. Once you have been able to run no stop over your 20 minute run, then slowly add time to your runs (I usually suggest adding times in increments of 10 minutes).

When getting ready for a marathon you want to set a goal at what time you would like to accomplish when you finish the race. So as you gradually build up your tolerance to run longer amounts of time, which is when you try to run a little faster and push yourself to reach the time you would like to accomplish for the race. Like I said before, START OFF SLOW and then gradually build up to the desired time you want.

For those veteran runners out there I suggest incorporating sprint intervals into your run. Let�s say that you have a 40 min run planned for this evening. Start your run (after stretching of course!!) and do your usual run for 15-20 minutes. It is then at that point that you sprint (yes as hard as you can!!) for 15-30 seconds (I suggest to start off with 15 seconds and then gradually build up). After the 15 second sprint, go back to your regular jog for 30 seconds. You can continue this sprint interval for the next 10 minutes (which is suggested), but for those who are in better shape you can do this for the remainder of your jog.

There are always other suggestions you could do to help you start off with your new running routine, but these are just some suggestions that I have personally used with friends that have been beneficial to their success in completing their workouts and getting them started with training for races. Hope this helps! And please feel free to ask any other questions you have!

Also, please feel free to stop by my website for more health and fitness tips!

Up-Do for Medium to Long Hair

Though this video was made for those with curly or wavy hair, the style can also work on straight hair ... or stretched kinky hair ... or braid extensions.  The only limitation is hair length.  Without further ado, here is one of the Luxy sisters demonstrating an easy, beautiful up-do:

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Did You Catch Dr. Robert Lustig on 60 Minutes Last Night? If You Have a Sugar "Problem," You Don't Want to Miss This

Driving home from New Jersey I caught wind that Dr. Robert Lustig, one of my personal heroes, was going to be on 60 Minutes last night. He's the guy from San Francisco with the really popular YouTube video "Sugar: The Bitter Truth." I wasn't able to tell you about it in time, but lucky for all of us, this amazing segment is already on YouTube.

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