Carrots, are they still okay to eat?

I recently came across this interesting tip from the World’s Healthiest Foods website, one of my favorite places to lose a few hours! –

Many of us have seen a whitish type coating that often forms on peeled carrots—especially those baby bullet shaped carrots—called “white blush.”

DID YOU KNOW when carrots are peeled, the process of peeling takes away the outer protective layer of the carrot root? Without this protective layer, the carrot becomes more easily dehydrated. The carrot helps to protect itself from damage following the loss of its outermost layer by creating a new protective layer of phenols. This new phenol-based layer contributes to the appearance of the “white blush.” If you immersed the carrots in water the carrot cells can absorb some of the moisture that has been lost after peeling.  This rehydration also helps restore its orange color. I personally am not a fan of peeling carrots and losing some of the extra nutrition you get from the peel, but at least we know that the “white blush” on carrots is a natural and protective response to dehydration rather than a reason to think they are bad and ready for the garbage (or compost pile).


Coconut Curry Shrimp

Serves 4

Total time about 1 hr.


I’ve been craving the sweet heat of this meal for days!!  I tend to forget my favorites until the weather changes.  Not only is this dish a personal favorite, but it packs in anti-inflammatory ingredients like turmeric, ginger and garlic.  Cilantro is a powerful detoxifying herb.  Good quality fats like the coconut oil keep you satiated.  Feel free to play around with the veggies you use.  I’ve even made this with  chopped kale (added toward the end).  You can serve with ¼ cup cooked whole grain brown rice or even quinoa if you like.  It is delicious topped with a slice or two of avocado!




2 tsp coconut oil

2 small carrots, chopped (fairly small pieces)

1 medium zucchini, rough chopped

½ yellow or white onion, rough chopped

½ large red bell pepper, rough chopped, reserve a few pieces to garnish

½ tsp. sea salt (divided)

3 Tbsp. unsalted tomato sauce

1 can light coconut milk (If you have access to good quality and fresh full fat canned coconut milk – choose that)

1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/8 cup fresh cilantro, chopped to garnish (and detox)

2 scallions, cut at angle (optional to garnish

1/8 avocado sliced (optional)


Chile Ginger paste:

1 serrano chili, (keep seeds if you like it hot),

1 tsp. red pepper flakes or more to taste

2 inches of fresh ginger peeled and rough chopped

2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

5 garlic cloves

3-4 tsp. curry (or 2 tsp of cumin seed, 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds, 1 tsp ground turmeric)


How to put it together:

Prepare the Chile/ginger paste first.  In a food processor, add all ingredients and process until everything is finely chopped, scrape down sides a few times to make sure all ingredients are incorporated.  Set aside.


In a large pot on medium high heat, heat the coconut oil.  Add in the carrots, zucchini, onions and bell pepper.  Using a pinch of the sea salt, stir and cook until soft- about 5 minutes.


Add the Chile-ginger paste and cook.  Stir for a couple of minutes, and reduce the heat (things will start to stick if you don’t)


Push veggies off to the sides of the pan, add the tomato sauce, and heat, gradually mixing into the veggies.  Add about ¾ cup water, stirring up the bits that will brown on the bottom of the pan.

Add the coconut milk and remaining sea salt.  Bring to a boil, reduce to medium and add the shrimp.  Cook until pink and tender (don’t over do it) 3-4 minutes will do it.


Divide into 4 bowls, top with cilantro and serve with rice or quinoa.




Did you know? Vitamin C is easily damaged by heat and air?

Vitamin C is damaged by heat and air.  What does that mean to me, and why do I care?  Well, first of all we are coming up on cold and flu season.  It’s a common practice of drinking orange juice to boost the immune system. Many people load up on fizzy C loaded drink packets.  Not many of us know how much we need or how much we are actually getting.  The problem is that when commercial orange juice is produced it goes through a process of pasteurization (it is heated).  So much of the vitamin C that was in there is gone by the time it hits your glass.

A similar process happens when we cut or peel our produce.  If left exposed to air the nutrients begin to degrade.  A cucumber, nicely sliced and left standing will lose 49% of it’s Vitamin C in just 3 hours.  Did you know that cucumber is a great source of Vitamin C?  A cut up cantaloupe uncovered and stored in the refrigerator will lose 35% of it’s C in just 1 day.

There are many fresh and delicious sources of Vitamin C.  Red bell peppers, Kale, parsley, broccoli, papaya, strawberries, and kiwi.  Its not just oranges, lemons and limes!  A great resource to look at to see what is in your healthy foods is  It is very user friendly!

If you just feel a little run down this season, or if you think you need a boost to your immune system here are a few quick and easy tips:

  1. Eliminate the junk.  No gas station food, no fast food or junk food.
  2. Eat real, whole foods.  Cut and juice your own oranges, lemons or limes and drink it fresh!

    Two halves of orange in a wooden bowl with uncut oranges and a glass of orange juice in the background
  3. Stay hydrated by drinking  1/2 of your weight in daily ounces of pure, clean water.
  4. If you feel you want or need to supplement your diet with some extra vitamin C choose the best one for you.

Vitamin C supplementation comes in many forms

  • Ascorbic acid- this is the cheapest
  • With bioflavonoids, in amounts equal to or more than the Vitamin C to help increase the absorption by the body.
  • Buffered- has added minerals including Magnesium, Calcium, and Potassium to be easier on the stomach for those that are sensitive.

Vitamin C is important not only to support the adrenals and immune systems, but it is a powerful antioxidant.  It is supportive to conditions like asthma, cancer, diabetes and wound healing.






Kid friendly Kale Chips


What you need:

2 cups Kale, I prefer Dinosaur Kale for the chips, but any variety will work.

1-2 Tbsp. of either Extra Virgin Olive oil, Avocado oil OR for a little sweeter chip, try coconut oil

1/4 tsp Himalayan sea salt

1 Tbsp nutritional yeast

Options:  you can really alter your spices to fit your taste.  If I use olive oil, I often add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes or Spike seasoning.  I don’t know if it would work with coconut oil, but maybe I’ll try that soon!


Preheat oven to 350

Remove the large veins leaving the leaves as big as you can.

Wash and dry them, make sure they are DRY.

Pour the olive (or coconut) oil over the leaves and massage them in your hands.

Add the sea salt and give another quick rub down to distribute the spices evenly

Place the leaves on a cookie sheet in a single layer and leave an inch of space in between.  If the leaves over lap or are too close they can end up steaming themselves and we want some crunch for our chips!

Bake for about 10-15 minutes.  Check at 10 minutes as times can vary with different ovens as well as at altitude.

This dark leafy green wonder contains vitamins A, C, E, and K.  It provides a healthy dose of fiber, has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  YEAH KALE!



Kale and Eggs Power Breakfast

Kale and Eggs Power Breakfast


From the trial and error kitchen of Lisa Turan


2 cups Kale, remove large veins, tear into 2 inch pieces and massage (squeeze and rub in your hands)

1 Tbsp. extra virgin coconut oil

1 -2 eggs

1 tomato, sliced

pinch sea salt

1 tsp. Nutritional yeast



In a small skillet, melt the coconut oil.  Add the kale and lightly Sautee, until slightly wilted.  Push kale to one side of the pan and add the egg.  Cook to desired doneness.  Serve the egg over the kale and sliced tomato.  Sprinkle with sea salt and nutritional yeast.

Loaded Avocado Rice Cake

This breakfast can certainly be modified in many ways using ingredients you have on hand.  We just can’t ever use up a loaf of bread (gluten free and packed with nutrients of course!) before it goes bad.  Breads can be frozen, but I have a very finicky hubby.  The best and easiest swap for me is to use wild rice cakes.  My favorite brand is Lundsberg and I find the organic wild rice holds together better than the brown rice variety.  Remember every nutritious meal consists of a good clean protein, a healthy fat and some fiber.  This packs them all into a lovely little meal that is great as a post workout snack too!

Here is my current version of my favorite easy to take or make at work breakfast!

  • Organic rice cake
  • Avocado
  • Applegate nitrate free turkey
  • Sprouts (i’m currently using radish sprouts for a little kick)
  • Sliced tomato

Simply spread the avocado over the rice cake (about a 1/3 of an avocado usually does it).  Top with a slice or 2 of turkey, a handful of sprouts, and sliced tomato.

Fun Fact:

Avocados are full of fiber (surprised?), rich in potassium, as well as a good source of magnesium, manganese, iron, and many of the B vitamins.  Did you know they also have about 4-5 grams of protein?





The Best, no Peanuts allowed, Brittle

Makes about 25 2 in pieces.  1 piece per serving please!  Even though it’s clean, it is a treat!


You will need:

A candy thermometer unless you are skilled in the soft/hard ball water method (I am not?)

½ cup raw unsalted almonds, roughly chopped

¼ cup raw unsalted pumpkin seeds

¼ cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds

1 Tbsp. Chia or Flaxseeds

2 Tbsp. raw organic sesame seeds

¾ cup raw organic honey (local if you can)

¼ cup organic coconut palm sugar (I use the blonde)

2 Tbsp. Ghee or organic butter

¼ cup water

1 tsp pure vanilla

¼ tsp sea salt


How to make it:


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the nut and seeds mixture evenly and bake for about 10 minutes.  You want a light toast, but be careful not to burn them.  Set aside and allow to cool, removing the parchment paper.


In a large sauce pan stir together the honey, blonde coconut palm sugar, and water.  Bring to a simmer at medium heat.  Stirring consistently until mixture reaches 275 on candy thermometer.  (if using the water method, drop syrup into ice water and it will form rigid threads when it’s at 275)

Remove from heat and stir in the butter, vanilla and pinch of salt until melted and well combined.  Return to heat and simmer, stirring consistently until the temp reaches 300 (water method, dropping into cold water will yield hard and brittle threads).  Make sure you get to temp or your brittle will be hard, but a bit chewy.   Remove from heat.


Immediately pour the mixture over the top of toasted nuts and seeds forming an even slab.  No need to mix or stir.  Allow to cool completely and then break into pieces to serve.


If they last long enough you can store in an airtight glass container for 1 week.


Be creative with your brittle.  If you love pecans, add some.  Any raw unsalted nut would be great.  Just watch the portions so you have a good ratio of mixture to nuts and seeds.

I avoid peanuts.  Technically they are a lugume anyway.  But they are allergenic to many and tend to harbor molds, so best to avoid in my book.



Spicy Vegetarian Tacos


By Lisa Turan


Servings:  5 servings of 2 tacos per serving

Total time: 30 min.


These tacos are a refreshing plant based alternative to a quick and easy weeknight dinner.  Easy peasy, and no cheesy!


Taco Ingredients 

1 cup uncooked lentils, rinsed and drained

2 medium white onions (2 cups chopped)

2 garlic cloves, minced

½ fresh jalapeno, diced

1-2 tablespoons cumin

1 tsp. paprika

Sea Salt and black pepper to taste

2 cups vegetable stock or broth

10 6in. gluten free, non-GMO corn tortillas


Topping options

Diced tomatoes

Shredded lettuce

Sliced avocado

Jicama, peeled and sliced into strips or shredded




  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Bring the lentils and 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 20 min.  Lentils should be tender. Drain and set aside
  • In a saucepan, over medium heat, water sauté the onion, garlic and diced jalapenos by adding a tablespoon or 2 of water just to keep the veggies from sticking. Stir frequently until onions start to turn brown and translucent.
  • Add the lentils, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper (homemade taco seasoning!) to the saucepan, mixing well.
  • Slowly add the vegetable stock/broth and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  • Drape the tortillas over two bars of the oven rack so the sides hang down, cook until crisp, 5-7 minutes.
  • Remove your homemade hard taco shells and spoon in your lentil filling and add toppings of your choice!




Sugars and Diabetes



Have you been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes or Type II Diabetes?  Do you have a sweet tooth?

It doesn’t need to be overwhelming as to what you should and shouldn’t do to manage your glucose levels.  Knowledge is power!

Even natural sugars like coconut, honey, and date sugar can and do create spikes in blood sugar.  The good news is that they are less processed and retain some nutrients.  Whole organic fruit is always going to be the best choice because it contains fiber and is processed by nature.

When we consume sugar the body tells the pancreas to produce insulin to move the sugar out of the blood.  When there is too much, the body stores it as fat.  Sugar is addictive. Comparisons have been made between sugar and cocaine.  This leads to excessive consumption and increased risk of diabetes.

For those with Diabetes consuming food with lots of fiber, in addition to clean quality fat and protein helps slow the absorption of sugar into the blood.

Guide to natural sugars


Stevia is a no-calorie, natural sweetener extracted from the stevia leaf.    

It is 250 times sweeter than sugar and keeps cravings heightened.  It is not an easy swap in baking because the extreme sweetness in a small quantity make it difficult to determine effective ratios.

There are no calories. It doesn’t affect blood sugar or insulin response, so it’s a good option for diabetics. (ADA, 2013)  Purchase only pure, organic stevia.

Coconut Sugar-

Sometimes called coconut palm sugar, it’s a natural sweetener made from the sap of coconut trees. It is similar to a dry brown sugar. It is used in equal parts to white sugar.

Coconut sugar is a bit healthier than white sugar because it is less processed. It tastes like a sweet, earthy, coconut. It still contains a significant amount of fructose, which can raise insulin resistance and aggravate blood sugar imbalance if used excessively.

Raw, organic,  and un-pastured honey

 This is honey that has not been heated or filtered.  Purchase from the jar, not the bear.

It has less glucose and fructose than white sugar.  It has a lower immediate impact on raising blood glucose.  Raw honey doesn’t have or need any preservatives.  This is one food that will never expire!  Raw is considered to have greater nutrient density. Studies have shown that type 2 diabetics consuming honey improved lipids, body weight and long-term blood sugar levels. (, 2016)  It has natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

In baking, only use 1/4 cup raw honey for every one cup of sugar.

Maple sweeteners-

 These are made from maple tree sap.  The sugar and tastes similar to maple syrup.  Maple sugar has a similar look and to a dry, light brown sugar.  Pure organic maple syrup is simple-tapped straight from the tree.  These options can be easily incorporated into baking, by reducing the amount of syrup to about ½ compared to sugar.

These contains manganese, iron, and calcium.  These sweeteners have a slower and lower effect on blood sugar than regular sugar.

Date sugar

This is a good one nutrition wise.  Date sugar is made by taking dried dates and grinding them into a fine powder.  This can be made at home in a blender pretty easily.

This sugar retains the healthy antioxidants from the date.

It tends to clump and doesn’t melt.  It is very sweet, so a little goes a long way.







ADA. (2013, October 2). Retrieved from
Association, A. D. (2014, May). Glycemic Index and Diabetes. Retrieved from American Diabetes Association: (2014, May 14). Retrieved from (2016, November 16). Retrieved from
Ed Bauman, M.Ed., Ph.D. and Jodi Friedlander, N.C. (2013). Therapeutic Nutrition. Pengrove: Bauman College.




Kitchen Nutrition – 5 Simple Time Saving Tips

I believe that eating whole foods, and cooking meals from scratch, are the best ways to support our health and our environment.  It’s important.  We only get one body to live in and we only have one planet to live on.  The problem? Cooking from scratch is perceived as time-consuming when in reality it can be easy.  It’s all about what we decide is important enough to give our valuable time to.  A little shift in perspective can help cooking become enjoyable.   These tips are simple, and some of them take a little time on the front end, but the final results are so worth it!

1. Use basic or familiar recipes 
There are times when it’s really fun to hang out in the kitchen creating a fancy 6 course meal – but not when you get home at 7 pm after a long day.  If you stick to simple recipes that are nourishing, filing, delicious, and won’t leave you feeling “less than optimal”.  There are a ton of them online and you can choose the number of ingredients you are comfortable with as well as the amount of time you have to spend.  You can also clean up a familiar recipe by swapping out unhealthy ingredients for a clean alternative.  Ditch the vegetable oil and replace with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Combine your chosen protein  (meat, fish, beans, (tofu anyone?)) with a favorite raw, roasted or steamed vegetable.  I often choose whatever is on hand that needs to be eaten.  Add some flavor with with fresh squeezed citrus , sea salt, or my favorite “SPIKE” brand seasoning.  Add a good healthy clean fat, like Extra Virgin Olive oil, coconut oil, or sliced avocado.  Vitamins A, D, E, and K need some fat to be absorbed and utilized by the body. Each meal ideally containing a clean protein, some good quality fat, and fiber (veggies). Eating real whole food, just not too much. Pay attention to when you are getting full and stop while you are ahead.

2. Ask family members for help.
Whoever came up with the rule that one person, usually one parent,  always gets stuck with the decision as to what to have for dinner AND and the responsibility of getting the meal to the table on time? Probably not someone who has ever been delegated to the task!  Ask your kids, partners, spouses, or friends to help you.  Play some music, talk about your day, ask each other questions! Group effort will complete the prepping and chopping (and cleaning up) in no time at all. This is a great tip that will also help teach the kiddos valuable cooking skills.  Kids tend to eat what they help prepare!

3. Plan a few days of meals in advance and save them.
Healthy eating is easier when you have a plan in place to make it happen – This is hands down one of the best things I learned at the Academy of Culinary Nutrition.  A meal plan that includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack is helpful, but if you’re new to meal planning, start off with creating a menu for dinners (or lunches) only. Chart your meals for the week (you can even plan to make extra and have the leftovers for the next day) and include any recipes you’ll need. Sometimes it is helpful to just do a few days at a time vs. a whole week.  Cross reference your plan and make a shopping list. You can create a personal and customized shopping list from a word or excel “list” template, or create a handwritten notebook of meal plans.

In a few weeks, you will have a good little tool box full of meal plans and all you’ll need to do is pull one out, pick up the ingredients from your already complete shopping list and start cooking. The more you repeat meal plans in your rotation, the easier it is.   This gets pretty quick and easy with practice. Don’t get discouraged the first few tries.

4. Create a prep schedule.
A prep schedule allows you to implement your menu plan efficiently.  For each recipe, write down the ingredients, how they need to be prepped (sliced, chopped, diced, soaked, etc.). Next, assign someone in your family to complete that task and decide when they need to do it.   Repeat meals, a soup for lunch on Monday can become a side for baked chicken dinner the next night.  In my house, I am the Queen of my kitchen and meal planning and prep, but I still enlist some help.  Example: Sunday afternoon: Lisa: wash, dice, and store celery, carrots, and onion. Sunday eve: Scott: remove (elk, chicken, or? ) from freezer to thaw, choose between rice or sweet potato.

5. Pick a prep day.

I get it. The whole idea can feel overwhelming and impossible.  I promise, with practice, you will be able to do this in about an hour.  Time spent prepping will save you several hours over the course of your week. The majority of the work in cooking is cleaning chopping, cleaning again, and not the cooking itself.  Save time and effort during the week by doing some of the prep work on the weekend. This way, come Monday, all you’ll need to do is assemble and cook and dinnertime will happen so much easier.

  1. Chopping produce in sizes according to what’s needed for chosen recipes. Storing them according to how they will be used and in proper quantities throughout the week.
  2. Washing and cutting the produce right when you get home from the store. This way you only have to clean up once. YEAH!
  3. Cooking larger batches of rice or other grains, beans and soups to use throughout the week.
  4. Cutting up veggies for snacks. If a bowl of bite sized fruit and veggies is front and center when you open the fridge, they get eaten!
  5. Making a few recipes ahead of time to have for dinners during the week.  You can also assemble and freeze a few meals, to pull out in a pinch.  Just remember to label what they are and date it.  Placing it in the freezer according to the date (oldest up front) is also helpful.

Planning meals and menus and working them into a busy family schedule can take a couple of hours until you are used to it. When the whole family gets involved, it can be a fun way to spend a little more quality and healthy time together.