Birthday treats

I’ve always found the expression “treat” to be ironic when it is referring to a food that is devastating to the body’s health. I consider a true treat to be something that tastes amazing AND contributes to your health rather than your demise. Eating something that will make my energy and blood sugar crash, lower my immune defenses and increase my chance of catching a cold or flu, and adds pounds of fat to my body is hardly a treat!
Thankfully, there are many healthy dessert options available. So, for my birthday this year, I will be enjoying Flour-less Chocolate Tiramisu Torte. Are you drooling yet?!

Compliments of Maria Emmerich

What makes these treats healthy?

  • Stabilizing to blood sugar. The ingredients include protein (mostly from eggs), quality fats such as butter and coconut oil and grain-alternative flour such as almond flour or coconut flour (very high in fiber).
  • Sugar alternatives such as stevia, erythritol, or xylitol. Benefits of these sweeteners include no insulin surges, no or low calories, beneficial to dental health and gut health, and they don’t suppress the T-cells of the immune system like sugar does.

Increase your chances of celebrating many birthdays in vibrant health by choosing one of these amazing options. Raw Chocolate MousseCoconut Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Pumpkin Custard.

Many happy returns! 🙂

Summer chicken taco salad

I often miss my crock pot over the summer since I don’t tend to use it as much as the other seasons. However, I had one of those “Oh crap! I forgot that I took that out to defrost” moments as I was trying to make breakfast and get to work on time. I hadn’t the time to decide exactly what I wanted to do with the must-cook-today-or-they’ll-go-bad chicken thighs, so I decided to throw them in my trusty crock-pot and hope to be inspired with a recipe sometime before dinner.

And that is how this chicken taco salad came to be. Very quick and easy, it has a great balance of protein, fat and complex carbohydrate… and is delicious!

Step 1: Put 4 chicken thighs (for 3 people) in a crock-pot with 2 inches of water and turn on low heat.

Step 2: Let them cook while you are at work and when you get home, they’ll be falling off the bone and easy to shred over salad.

Step 3: Put your favorite leafy greens on a plate (romaine, butter lettuce, or spinach). Add the shredded chicken.

Step 4: Spice it up however you like (spicy: cayenne pepper or chili powder, herbed: Italian seasoning, mild: salt and pepper). Adding the herbs and spices after cooking allows for each family member to customize it just how they like it.

Step 5: Add the extras! Avocado, sliced black olives, shredded cheese, and sour cream transform this into a taco salad.

Buy quality, organic ingredients at your local health food store. This is especially important if you eat dairy since toxins accumulate in fat. Fat is vitally important to hormone development and strong, healthy cells, so rather than going non-fat, choose full-fat and organic.

What’s the best supplement form of Vitamin K?

Vitamin K is the name given to a group of vitamins of similar composition. The two main groups are K1 (phylloquinone) and K2 (menaquinone). Vitamin K1 is mostly found in vegetables. K2 is produced by bacteria and is the most biologically active form of Vitamin K. The best food sources of Vitamin K2 are grassfed dairy products and natto, a strong tasting fermented soy product eaten mostly in Asia, mostly Japan. Vitamin K2 from animal sources is known as MK-4 while Vitamin K2 produced by bacterial fermentation as found in natto is known as MK-7.


Vitamin K is essential to blood clotting, bone formation, bone repair, reducing inflammation (lowering the release of interleukin-6, a marker of inflammation in the body), brain and nervous system function (essential to myelination process), antioxidant protection (Vitamin K is right up there with Vitamins C and E in terms of protecting our cells from oxidative damage), and protecting us from calcification (the build-up of calcium in tissues).

Due to soil depletion, even those of us eating plenty of vegetables and grassfed dairy, getting enough K2 in the diet is still a challenge. Consider too that Vitamin K2 cannot be recycled by the body like Vitamin K1 and that stores can be depleted  in as little as 7 days. With no obvious deficiency symptoms, most people who have a deficiency would be clueless.

How do you get enough Vitamin K?

Keep on eating high quality grassfed dairy and dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, collards, spinach, turnip, beet mustard and dandelion greens; Brussels sprouts, broccoli and scallions.

We learn more everyday about the complexity of foods and how nature packages our nutrients with other nutrients to aid absorption. I don’t think we’ll ever outsmart Mother Nature–synthetic sources just don’t cut it! It is always best to strive to get your nutrients from food.

Based on population studies and data obtained from Vitamin K2 doses given in clinical trials, it seems that 45 mcg/day would be the minimal dose for therapeutic effect. Several hundred mcg/day is a better target for the amount of Vitamin K frequent natto eaters in Japan would be consuming.

Vitamin K2 has no known toxicity, so adding a daily supplement taken with food to improve absorption doesn’t really have any drawbacks.

Take MK-7 Supplements, Not MK-4

MK-4, the animal form of Vitamin K2 is the form of K2 from bacterial fermentation. It is concentrated in food like grassfed butter, high vitamin butter oil, and pastured egg yolks. However, the MK-4 contained in supplements is synthetic and not at all the same MK-4 as found in grassfed butter.  The MK-4 in supplements is made from the extract of the tobacco plant (much less expensive), not derived from grassfed dairy.

Another drawback of MK-4 supplements is that this synthetic form of Vitamin K does not remain in therapeutic levels in the blood for very long – only a few hours.  You’d have to take supplements throughout the day to maintain preferred levels.

So MK-7 is the way to go if you are going to take a Vitamin K supplement. It is in natural, food form and stays in the blood much longer than synthetic MK-4 (only need to take it once/day). Get MK-7 derived from natto (non-GMO soybeans). It’s nutritionally similar to the K2 you would get from eating natto without the taste that most people dislike.

Jarrow Formulas makes a quality MK-7 supplement.