I spend time reading a lot online. There is just so much great information out there. Today I thought I would share some of the posts that caught my eye this week. Enjoy!

Top Ten Tuesday

As an avid reader, I was happy to find  this post from Lady in Read.  She offers some recommendations on great reads. Though I don’t have young children at home, it is never too early to start building a library to share with future grandchildren. If you have children at home, from toodlers to teens, this list will surely have something you’d love.



I found an interesting post this week about cantilever barns. I had never heard of them before. It was so interesting reading a little about the history of such a gorgeous part pf our country.


This was a great postabout Irish history. Lots of terrific information about Irish heritage, customs and history. Well worth a read, especially on the month of St Patrick’s Day!


I have been really into Spring cleaning, de-cluttering and organizing my life lately. It was like kismet to come across this post about detoxing your closet. I am now inspired to finally go through my clothing, something I just keep putting off.


Fiber is important and many of us do not get nearly enough of it in our diet, despite how many easy fiber sources we have access to. There is a common misconception that fiber is just out there to keep you regular. There are many other health benefits to fiber beyond helping you “go.”  Fiber can help with weight loss, can improve your complexion, can lower your risk of stroke, diabetes and heart disease as well as possibly help to prevent colon cancer.

Today I could like to let you know about some fiber sources to help you add it to your healthy diet. Fiber is one of the things about a plant-based diet that is so good. The whole plant foods included offer a great source of fiber. Fiber also helps your body digest food more effectively, reducing your risk of many diseases.  We hear about gut bacteria often nowadays. One of the ways to keep that gut bacteria healthy is by adding fiber to your diet. How do you do that, though? There is so much information to navigate and this article will help you navigate it more easily.


What is fiber?

Let’s get beyond associating fiber with digestive health and bowel function. Eating foods high in dietary fiber can do so much more than keep you regular. Adding fiber to your diet can lower your risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, improve the health of your skin, and help you lose weight. It might even help prevent colon cancer.

Roughage is another word for fiber. Fiber is the part of plant-based foods such as grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans that the body cannot break down. The fact that it passes through your body undigested is how it keeps your digestive system clean and healthy, easing bowel movements, and flushing cholesterol and harmful carcinogens out of the body.


Types of Fiber

There are two types of fiber – soluble and insoluble.

As you can guess, soluble fiber dissolves in water. It is responsible for controlling your blood sugar and reducing cholesterol so it is a good idea to include it in your diet.  Some of the soluble fiber sources include oatmeal, buts, barley, beans, and fruits (apples, citrus, pears and berries).fruit fiber sources

Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve. This type of fiber is the fiber used to prevent constipation (also the type included in products such as Metamucil). Some of the insoluble fiber sources include whole grain cereals, whole grain breads, whole grain pastas, vegetables (such as tomatoes, celery and carrots).

There are numerous sources of both soluble and insoluble fiber. As a rule, the highest fiber is found in food that has been processed the least. Foods that include refined flour do not contain much fiber at all. These include items such as cakes and pastries, white rice and white bread. Dairy, meat and sugar also contain no fiber. 


Health Benefits

Fiber has been touted too much as just a way to remedy constipation. The vast health benefits are not prominently represented so many people are unaware just how important adding some fiber sources to your diet can be. Eating a diet high in fiber has so many added benefits, including adding a boost to your immune system, improving how you feel, your skin health and your health in general.


Health Benefits of Fiber



Including enough high-fiber foods in your diet will help to lower your risk of developing mouth, stomach, pharynx and other cancers of the digestive system. There is also some preliminary research suggesting fiber can also reduce your risk of colorectal cancer.



Both types of fiber offer some health benefits related to diabetes. Soluble sugar helps to improve blood sugar levels and helps your body absorb sugar more slowly. Insoluble fiber helps lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 


Heart health 

Soluble fiber significantly helps to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) levels, which in turn helps keep your heart healthy. Stroke and Coronary Artery Disease risk can also be reduced by a high fiber diet. Additional heart benefits include a reduction of inflammation, lower blood pressure, raising good cholesterol (HDL) levels and the loss of extra stomach fat.  


Digestive health

Insoluble fiber helps to bulk up stools, making them easier to pass.  The benefit to bowel movements can relieve both diarrhea and constipation. Eating fiber has more digestive health benefits, however. Eating fiber can reduce your risk of gallstones, kidney stones, hemorrhoids and can alleviate irritable bowel syndrome. Fiber can also reduce your risk of diverticulitis. Some studies have also determined that your risk of ulcers and GERD can also be reduced by a high fiber diet.


Skin healtH 

The health of your skin can improve greatly by a diet rich in fiber. Fiber can help reduce yeast and fungus in your system, lessening outbreaks of acne. Psyllium husk is a great fiber source for flushing your system of toxins. 


Healthy Weight

Fiber helps you feel full sooner and longer. This results in you eating less, losing weight and maintaining a healthy weighthealthy weight fiber sources for your body.  Cutting calories is easy when adding fiber, since most fiber sources such as fruits and vegetables, tend to be lower in calories.

Fruits are high fiber foods and give you plenty of energy. Fiber can streamline your metabolism, lessening blood sugar spikes and drops that can typically leave you tired and can give you cravings of less healthy food.

As well as aiding digestion and preventing constipation, fiber adds bulk to your diet, a key factor in both losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight. Adding bulk can help you feel full sooner. Since fiber stays in the stomach longer than other foods, that feeling of fullness will stay with you much longer, helping you to eat less. High-fiber foods such as fruits and vegetables tend to be low in calories, so by adding fiber to your diet, it’s easier to cut calories.

For optimal health, you should eat 21-38 grams of fiber at a minimum. Fruits vegetables and whole grains can all help you achieve that goal and start feeling healthier.





A few easy modifications to your diet might be all you need to incorporate more grains. Whole grains are one of the most beneficial fiber sources. Be sure to choose only whole grain options, since processed and refined foods are much lower in fiber. 

whole grain fiber sourcesBreakfast is a great time to add whole grains to your day. Choose a whole grain cereal as a starter. There are some great choices out there! You can also add some unprocessed wheat bran to your cereal or to your smoothie or even to oatmeal. A few tablespoons goes a long way.

Use whole grain varieties of breads and pastas and use brown rice instead of white rice to boost your fiber intake. These are all great fiber sources to add to your diet. You will find yourself eating much less and feeling much fuller, so it will also help reduce calories.

Baking is easy to add great fiber to. Substitute whole grain flours in place of the white all purpose flour. Whole wheat, smelt and coconut flors are all great fiber sources. Almond meal is also a great option for adding to your home baking. When baking breads, just be aware that whole grains will take longer to rise. Add some time to your rise and it will all be fine.

Muffins, cookies and cakes can all benefit from some fiber also. Wheat bran or crushed whole grain cereal can be added as a fiber source.  If you are gluten-free, psyllium husk is a great fiber source to add to your baked goods. It is heaven good in pizza crust!

Another of the great whole grain fiber sources is flaxseed. Flaxseed is rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids  offering a great benefit to your heart health. Ground flax seed is easily incorporated in cereal, oatmeal, yogurt or even applesauce.



Fruit is easily added to your breakfast and is one of the healthiest fiber sources. Add some strawberries, blueberries or fruit fiber sourcesraspberries to your yogurt to cereal. Keep fruits in the refrigerator for a quick sweet snack. Keep pre-made smoothie bags in the freezer to blend up a quick healthy meal on the go. 

Be sure to choose whole, fresh fruits rather than juices (which actually have more calories in them). Unprocessed fruit will retain more fiber. Apple peels contain some of the great fiber, also, so don’t skip out on the peel when eating apples.

Fruit makes an easy and tasty dessert.  Make it more decadent with a little whipped cream if you like. 



Keep healthy veggies on hand all the time. Keep some baby carrots and celery in the refrigerator as quick snacks. Keep some bagged sliced veggies in the freezer for say additions to your recipes. Include some healthy kale or spinach in ready-to-go smoothie bags in the freezer for a quick power breakfast or meal on the go.

vegetables fiber sourcesBury some veggies in your meals. Spinach can easily be added to spots and tomato sauce. Add extra vegetables to your soups and stews. 

Don’t toss the peels. Many vegetables have edible peels that contain a lot of nutrients and fiber. Eat the peel on your potatoes, carrots and other vegetables with edible skins.

Add lots of goodies to your salad. Salads are easy to add plenty of vegetables to. They also offer the opportunity to add some nuts, seeds and even fruit.

Legumes are great fiber sources. Be sure to incorporate them in your healthy diet. Read 8 Tasty Legumes to learn more about legumes.

Chose fiber-rich snacks. Roasted chick peas, nuts, seeds and raw vegetables all make great snacks as well as being great fiber sources.



Supplements are another way to add fiber to your diet. Whole food sources are best, but if you are having trouble incorporating enough into your diet perhaps a supplement might be beneficial.

supplement fiber sourcesSupplements come in dissolvable powders, chewable tablets, powder that you sprinkle on food and even cookies. There are some considerations with getting your fiber from a supplement, however.

High fiber foods will offer many more vitamins, minerals and nutrients than a supplement

Supplements can have interactions with your prescription medication

Fiber supplements will not fill you up like a fiber rich diet will

Fiber supplements can affect your blood sugar levels, offering some challenges to diabetics.



Be sure to boost your fluid intake when adding fiber to your diet. You will need more water to process the fiber efficiently. Fiber absorbs water, which depletes it from your system. Drinking more water will eliminate that issue.

When first transitioning to a high fiber diet, you might experience some gastronomical discomforts such as gas, bloating, cramps and looser stool. This is all a normal part of your body adjusting to the added fiber. Once your body is adjusted (this happens fairly quickly) these discomforts go away.

There are a multitude of fiber sources to choose from, making it simple to start eating a more fiber-rich diet. The health benefits of fiber are wonderful and the whole foods you will eat as part of a healthy diet will make you feel great, boost your energy and improve your health.


Author: Angela Cook


Whole Wheat Bread

Let’s face it – the aroma of bread baking is wonderful. Homemade whole wheat bread is much better than store bought bread. When baking bread yourself, there are no preservatives and you have total control over the ingredients. 

One kind of bread that is generally a nutritious and versatile addition to a healthy diet is whole wheat. The USDA recommends making half your grains whole and whole wheat bread can help you do that. You might ask why whole wheat is healthier than white bread.

Whole wheat bread is made from flour that contains the entire wheat kernel, including the bran and germ instead of kernels that have been refined and overly processed. It is in the minimal processing that wheat retains the most nutrients, including protein, fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants, and trace minerals (iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium). Leaving the wheat kernel intact makes for a less processed, more nutritious bread. Additionally, a diet rich in whole grains has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some forms of cancer.


Today’s recipe

Whole Wheat BreadThis recipe is for an incredibly healthy and oh so tasty whole wheat bread that will make you never want to buy store bought bread again. Additionally, the recipe is extremely versatile, so you can tweak it to your tastes and your moods. For equipment, I use a bread maker, but this recipe can easily be adapted to standard baking in the oven as well.  


For liquid, you can use water if you like. Typically, I either add some coconut milk powder to the water or mix it with some oat milk  (which I make myself using this recipe) for some added nutrition and flavor.  If you are not vegan, you could also substitute standard milk for the water.  


Sometimes I like some sweetness in my bread. This particular day when filming I decided it was a sweet sort of day. The recipe calls for vegan honey. You could easily use standard wildflower honey or not include honey at all.  This is completely optional.

I like to avoid as much fat as I can so I chose to go fat free in my recipe. Typically, I substitute unsweetened applesauce for the oil. In my opinion,  applesauce is sweet enough on its own without added sugars. If I do add sweetener to my bread, I usually choose coconut palm sugar, which has a low glycemic index, minimizing any blood sugar spikes. If you choose to use oil instead, you could do that instead of the applesauce.  


When it comes to flour, I like to mix them. In my experience, a mix of whole wheat and bread flours tends to give it a smoother texture. The flours are something that can also be mixed around. You could easily incorporate smelt or coconut flour in the mix as well. As long as the total amount of flour stays the same, feel free to experiment.


You might notice that I add vital wheat gluten to my bread recipe. This is an optional component but I found that when included the rise is much better. For yeast I use a red yeast. You could use a standard yeast as well if you choose.


Sometimes I will add a smidge of vanilla and cinnamon into the mix for variety also. If you wanted a more savory bread you could add in some seasonings. Might I suggest some rosemary, basil and parsley? Perhaps a bit of oregano? The possibilities are truly endless. 


I can never resist taking a slice right out of the bread maker when it is still hot and steamy. I spread some plant-based spread on it and perhaps a bit of jam and it is like heaven. If you try the recipe, please feel free to leave me some comments to let me know how it came out. If you do some substitutions and additions please share. I would love to hear about it!  

The complete recipe is below. Here is the video!


Yield: 1 Loaf

Whole Wheat Bread

Whole Wheat Bread

There is nothing like homemade bread. This recipe is extremely versatile and makes a tasty bread that is heart healthy with whole grains, no fat, no eggs and no dairy but all the great taste!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes


  • 1 1/4 cup warm water or milk 
  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 cup honey or honey alternative
  • 2 TB oil or applesauce
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 TB vital wheat gluten (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1 TB sweetener (optional)


  1. Add water or water/milk mixture to baking pan
  2. Add honey or honey alternative
  3. Add oil or applesauce
  4. Cover liquid with the flour or flour mixture
  5. Sprinkle salt on top
  6. Sprinkle vital wheat gluten on top
  7. Add sweetener (optional)
  8. Sprinkle yeast on top, making sure it does not get wet
  9. Put baking pan in bread machine, lock down and set it
  10. Wait for the bread machine to make bread
  11. Remove from bread pan
  12. Allow to cool for 10 minutes
  13. Slice and serve
  14. Store in ziploc bag to keep fresh


* I sometimes combine non-dairy milk with the water or add some coconut milk powder to it. The recipe works fine with just water, but the creaminess of a milk adds something really nice to the bread.

* In lieu of the honey I use a vegan honey alternative. If you are not on a vegan diet, feel free to use honey.

* Oil is not needed. Applesauce makes a nice substitute. I use unsweetened applesauce. It adds to the texture of the bread and gives it a little sweetness.

* A mixture of flours works best for the texture of the bread. You can use whole wheat flour and omit the bread flour if you choose (it will be less smooth in texture but it is perfectly fine), or you can combine the two as long as there is at least half of the whole wheat flour (3 1/2 cups total flour) the bread will be fine.

* The vital wheat gluten is optional but I find it makes a much better bread when it is included.

* The sweetener is entirely optional. When using a sweetener I typically choose raw coconut palm sugar.

* I use a raw red yeast for my bread. Standard yeast will do as well, just use regular yeast and not fast acting yeast.

* Make sure the liquids are completely covered by the dry ingredients before adding the yeast. The yeast should not get wet when first adding to the bread maker pan

* This recipe can also be used for baking in the oven. I just appreciate the convenience of my bread maker.


Nutrition Information:

Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1 Slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 80Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 40mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 3g

* this information is an estimate


Yes, you read that right. Today I am going to show you how easy it is to make oat milk at home… and it only takes 5 minutes!!  

There are many reasons to drink oat milk. Yes, there are other non-dairy choices but oat milk is extremely good for you and is packed with health benefits. It is also almond-free and is vegan. There are many stories about how the almond industry is affecting the bees. Honeybees are the only pollinators for almond crops. The almond industry in this country is huge and they have pretty much decimated the bee population in this country for their own gain. In the month of February, the almond industry alone uses about 80% of the honeybees in the entire country! They are fed sugar water as food each January to try and stimulate activity. They are then shipped to the west coast from all over the country and forced into empty almond fields. There they are fed more sugar water as they wait for the crop to grow. Beekeepers are getting paid handsomely for the use of their bees in this manner. The bees are being forced to change their natural behavior just to take care of the almond crops. Most of these crops are sprayed with toxic chemicals and pesticides, which in turn is harming and killing the bees. Until things change, this is just an abusive practice. As a result, many people have boycotted almonds. These practices also raise the question of whether or not  non-organic almonds or almond milk is actually vegan. It isn’t technically an animal product but sentient beings are being killed to provide those almonds. If honey isn’t vegan, when it is from bees but the local beekeepers are not killing their bees with toxic pesticides, then are almonds really acceptable? I will get off my soap box now.

Oat milk is a wonderful alternative. Homemade oat milk is dairy-free, lactose-free, sugar-free, nut-free, soy-free, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, heart healthy and oh so tasty! Oat milk has a pleasant taste, is high in beta-glucans (making it a fiber-rich choice), helps replace saturated with unsaturated fats, helps lower your bad cholesterol, contains bone-strengthening minerals and helps regulate blood sugar levels. Homemade oat milk will not have the additives that are typically included in commercially made oat milk, such as rapeseed oil, dipotassium phosphate, calcium carbonate, tricalcium phosphate, sea salt, dicalcium phosphate, riboflavin, vitamin A, vitamin D2, vitamin B12 and sugar.  Additionally, store bought oat milk can get very pricey and you never really know the quality of the ingredients or processing.  When you make your own oat milk at home you can be sure all the ingredients are of great quality and there is nothing extra in there. Plus, you can make your own chocolate milk, berry milk and vanilla milk this way!  You won’t ever want to buy it from the store again!

The complete recipe is below. Here is the video!

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Please comment below if you try this recipe. I would love to hear your thoughts, and would love to hear about any additional ingredients you tried in it!

Five Minute Oat Milk

Five Minute Oat Milk

Oat milk is very good for you and great for your heart. There can be many hidden sugars and preservatives in store bought oat milk. It is VERY easy to make at home though! I will walk you through how to make it in just five minutes in your kitchen.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes


  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup organic rolled oats
  • 1 tsp vanilla (optional)
  • 1 TB cacao powder (optional)
  • 1/4 cup berries (optional)
  • 2 TB coconut milk powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp coconut palm sugar (optional)


  1. Add water to blender
  2. Add oats to blender
  3. Add vanilla to blender (optional)
  4. Add cacao powder to blender (optional for chocolate milk)
  5. Add berries to blender (optional for berry milk)
  6. Add coconut milk powder (optional for Coconut Oat Milk)
  7. Add coconut palm sugar (optional for sweetened milk)
  8. Blend until oats are broken down
  9. Strain the liquid through a nut milk bag
  10. Pour into bottle
  11. Chill and serve


Fresh Fruit
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Healthy Smoothie

One of my favorite easy breakfasts is a healthy smoothie. I include kale, a selection of fruits, nuts, protein powder, maca powder, hemp seeds, ground flax seeds, a little cinnamon and some non-dairy milk. One of my favorite is banana-almond. I put it all in my NutriBullet and it blends so easily. If you don’t have one, you could use a blender (thought it might take a bit more effort to get it to blend evenly) or you can buy one here ( I often will set up bags with the fresh ingredients in them and leave in the freezer. This makes it easy to pull one out, add in powders and nuts, put it in the blender while I start the coffee and let it thaw just a bit before I blend. I have the ability to make it whatever consistency I like this way. It could be a sorbet texture I can eat with a spoon or just a refreshing smoothie. And the mix-in possibilities are endless. 


Healthy Smoothie - Power BreakfastSOME POSSIBLE INGREDIENT CHOICES:

        • Blueberries
        • Strawberries
        • Pineapple
        • Canteloupe
        • Honeydew Melon
        • Peaches
        • Kale
        • Almonds
        • Walnuts
        • Maca Powder
        • Protein Powder
        • Hemp Seeds
        • Chia Seeds
        • Ground Flax Seeds
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Sometimes you just don’t have time to cook but you want something healthy to eat. Today I am sharing one of my favorite meals for when I’m in a hurry. A quick, tasty, satisfying meal can come together in five minutes. Avocado Toast is SO easy to make and is just Yum! This is heart healthy, dairy-free, vegan and low sodium so it is good for almost any diet! If you are keto, the toast could be replaced with some keto bread (recipe coming soon!) or you can use the avocado mixture as a dip for Keto Crisps (recipe also coming soon!).

It is one of the simplest things to prepare and if you are anything like me you will find yourself making it often! I change it up a little each time. I will sometimes add things to the top. I will slice up a fresh tomato from the garden and add to it. Other times I will add some alfalfa sprouts. You can buy them at your local farmer’s market, or you can easily grow your own at home like I do.  I will post about that soon! Another unexpected topping for this avocado toast is some nutritional yeast. You might be scratching your head wondering if I am crazy for eating yeast. This is NOT the yeast you use in bread making. This is a wonderful vegan option when cheese is out of the question. It gives a hint of cheesy flavor without adding dairy to your diet. I find myself using it on many things, from the avocado toast to veggie chili to sautéed veggies and more. It is truly wonderful.         

Yield: 2-4 servings

Five Minute Meal: Avocado Toast

Five Minute Meal: Avocado Toast

Avocado Toast is one of my favorite "quick and easy" heart healthy recipes. This tasty dish can be eaten any time of day. It makes a great breakfast, lunch, snack or even a light dinner. There are many ways to change it up since it is so versatile. You could add some sliced tomato on top, some hemp seeds, some chia seeds, some nutritional yeast flakes or some alfalfa sprouts. The possibilities are endless!

Prep Time: 3 minutes 30 seconds
Cook Time: 1 minute 30 seconds
Total Time: 5 minutes




  1. First, cut the avocado in half
  2. Take avocado meat out of skin and put in bowl
  3. Smash with fork.
  4. Stir in some salsa. Use organic pre-made or home-made.
  5. Cut lime in half
  6. Squeeze some juice into avocado mixture and stir well
  7. Toast some whole grain bread
  8. Spread the avocado mixture on the bread
  9. Top with toppings if you like
  10. Serve with some cherry tomatoes and enjoy!


Avocados are ripe when they change from a bright green to a darker color and feel softer to touch.

Cut avocado in half lengthwise, leaving the pit, twist and it will split evenly.

You could opt to blend it, but smashed will leave some tasty chunks of avocado for texture.

You can add some seasonings and garlic to the avocado mixture as well. Oregano, garlic, parsley, basil and chili powder are all great options.

Dave's Killer Bread is my favorite brand of whole grain bread.

Nutritional yeast will add a bit of a cheesy flavor that mixes well with the avocado.

Nutrition Information:

Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 156Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 70mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 7gSugar: 1gProtein: 8g




All Sweeteners Are Not The Same!

Sugar is not the only sweetener you have to choose from. It is a good idea to learn about your options. Watching the glycemic index of sweeteners can help you make healthy choices.  Sugars with a higher glycemic index cause major spikes in your system, increasing the risk of developing diabetes, which increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. Choosing natural sweeteners with a lower glycemic index is a better choice. So, what are your options? There are so many! Let’s talk about some of the sweeteners you could choose and the pros and cons of each of them.


Glycemic Index: 80 (between moderate and high)
Refined Sugar

Cane sugar is made up of sucrose, which is linked to sugar spikes and increases your chances of developing heart disease or diabetes.


Glycemic Index: 64 (between moderate and high)
Modified Sugar
Brown sugar is standard sugar that has had some of the molasses by-product mixed back in. Therefore, it does not offer any more health benefits than cane sugar. It is best avoided if you are watching your blood glucose.


Glycemic Index: 55 (between low and moderate)
Natural Sugar
Honey, while high in calories and carbs, offers some health benefits. The quality of the honey does have an impact on those benefits. Honey is both anti-bacterial and anti-microbial and can be used in small quantities. 


Glycemic Index: 10 (low)
Modified Sugar
While agave has a low glycemic index, it does still cause some issues. Agave is mostly fructose, which has been linked to conditions such as insulin resistance and fatty liver disease. Additionally, it has been known to increase bad cholesterol. If agave is consumed, it should be only in moderation on a very limited basis.


Glycemic Index: 0 (very low)
Natural Sugar
Stevia comes from the leaves of the stevia plant. It is a natural sweetener and does have some anti-inflammatory benefits in your system. Also, it is extremely low on the glycemic index, offering virtually no disturbance to blood glucose levels.  However, stevia does have a bit of an aftertaste and consuming too much could increase cravings for sweets.


Glycemic Index: 1 (very low)
Natural Sugar
Monk fruit contains zero calories, is much sweeter than sugar and has antioxidant properties. Monk fruit has a minimal glycemic index so it will not have much impact on your blood glucose levels. However, monk fruit is extremely sweet. It is best mixed with other sweeteners or used in very miniscule amounts. It is sometimes combines with stevia, offering a healthy and natural alternative to sugar.


Glycemic Index: 35 (between low and moderate)
Natural Sugar
Coconut sugar is a natural alternative to sugar. It is minimally processed with just heat drying of the sap from the tree. It has health benefits in the minerals it contains, but it is high in calories and can lead to eventual breakdown of collagen, so it should only be used in moderation.


Glycemic Index: 0 (very low)
Artificial Sweetener
This is a sweetener commonly found in a multitude of diet foods. It has not been proven to help decrease weight and has been known to cause many problems however. In fact, it has been linked to lower levels of good cholesterol in your body. It also has been the culprit of side effects in many including migraines, dizziness and depression.


Glycemic Index: 54 (moderate)
Natural Sugar
While this is a natural sugar and has undergone minimal processing, it has a glycemic index just a little lower than cane sugar. This means that it will have an effect on your blood sugar and should be avoided by diabetics. Maple syrup does have health benefits, however. It contains some minerals and antioxidants, and has some anti-inflammatory effects. Darker maple syrups offer more of the health benefits than the lighter ones do


Glycemic Index: 0 (very low)
Artificial Sweetener

This is the sweetener found in Sweet’n’Low. Your body doesn’t have the ability to digest saccharine, which is why it is marketed as a good choice for reducing caloric intake. However, it has a negative effect on the microbiome in your gut, leading to obesity, colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease.


Glycemic Index: 65 (between moderate and high)
Natural Sugar
“Raw Cane Sugar” is often marketed as a healthy alternative to standard white sugar. However, there is no real difference. Both white and raw sugar are made up of sucrose, which is linked to sugar spikes and increases your chances of developing heart disease or diabetes.



Glycemic Index: 12 (low)
Sugar Alcohol
With its low glycemic index, xylitol offers some benefits for people watching their blood sugar levels. However, it does have some laxative effects and has been known to cause stomach pain, loose stools and gas in high doses. It offers benefits in the form of collagen production, a reduction in bacteria, healthy bone growth and even has been known to help reduce cavities. Always start with a small dose and gradually increase it to gauge your tolerance to avoid the uncomfortable side effects. Also, please keep this away from your pets as it can be toxic to them.



Glycemic Index: 55 (between low and moderate)
Refined Sugar
Some view beet sugar as a good alternative to standard cane sugar. However, there is no real health difference.  Beet sugar comes from sugar beets instead of sugar cane, so the processing is a bit different, but it is also made up of sucrose, which is linked to sugar spikes and increases your chances of developing heart disease or diabetes.



Glycemic Index: 1 (very low)
Sugar Alcohol
With its low glycemic index, erythritol offers some benefits for people watching their blood sugar levels. However, like xylitol, it does have some laxative effects and has been known to cause stomach pain, loose stools and gas in high doses. It offers benefits in the form of collagen production, a reduction in bacteria, healthy bone growth and even has been known to help reduce cavities. Always start with a small dose and gradually increase it to gauge your tolerance to avoid the uncomfortable side effects.


Glycemic Index: 55 (between low and moderate)
Natural Sugar
Date sugar is made from dried dates. Date sugar has a moderate glycemic index, which is still a problem for blood sugar levels, but offers less calories and more vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants than white sugar. Date sugar is a little less sweet than some of the other natural sugars and sometimes will be mixed with flour so it does not clump. 



Glycemic Index: 55 (between low and moderate)
Sugar extract
Blackstrap molasses contains more minerals and vitamins than many sweeteners, however it is in the moderate level on the glycemic index, which can cause spikes in blood sugar levels and can taste bitter. 


One of my favorite dinners is Tuscan Rice. It is vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, heart healthy and so very tasty. This is a meal I make once a month. I make plenty so I have leftovers and freeze it in ready-to-eat portions that carry me through the month. The ingredients are readily available and inexpensive so this is a dish that can be made both easily and economically.

In my Tuscan Rice I include Sweet Potatoes, Baby Bella Mushrooms, Zucchini, Summer Squash, Sweet Onions, Red, Orange & Yellow Peppers, Dry Lentils, Brown Rice, Crushed Tomatoes, Basil, Oregano, Parsley, Salt substitute, Pepper, Chili Powder, Garlic Powder and Onion Powder

All ingredients below available by clicking on them:
Crushed Tomatoes, Onion Powder, Chili Powder, Garlic Powder, Minced Garlic, Pepper, Salt, Parsley, Oregano, Basil, Brown Rice, Dry Lentils

Tuscan Rice

Tuscan Rice

One of my favorite dinners is Tuscan Rice. It is vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, heart healthy and so very tasty. This is a meal I make once a month. I make plenty so I have leftovers and freeze it in ready-to-eat portions that carry me through the month. The ingredients are readily available and inexpensive so this is a dish that can be made both easily and economically.



First, cook sweet potatoes al dente in microwave. Next, slice the vegetables. I have chosen baby bella mushrooms, onions, peppers, zucchini and summer squash. Put olive oil in large deep pan, heat to medium high. Add minced garlic. Saute until brown. Add sliced vegetables, turn heat down to medium, sauté vegetables for 3 minutes then turn heat down to low and cover. Start rice cooker with 1 cup rice and 1 cups water. Set to cook. Cook some lentils in saucepan. Open a large can of ground peeled tomatoes. Drain cooked lentils. Add lentils and can of tomatoes to vegetable mixture. Add oregano, basil, parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, salt and pepper. Skin cooked sweet potatoes and cut into chunks. Add to mixture in pan and cook on low to medium heat. Allow to simmer while rice cooker finishes. Add cooked rice to pan and stir into mixture. Remove from heat. Tuscan rice is ready to serve and enjoy. It pairs nicely with some fresh garlic bread.


Fresh garlic bread is really good with this.


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One of my favorite breakfasts (or sometimes even for lunch) is Steel Cut Oats. So warm, nourishing and tasty it really satisfies me.  They are easy to make and well worth the short wait. Here is my favorite way of cooking them.

Steel cut oats are SO much better than processed oats, and adding in some nuts and cinnamon make them something really special. It is one of my favorite things to eat for breakfast.


1/2 cup organic steel cut oats (buy some here)

2 cups mixed almond milk & water (buy some here)

1/4 cup chopped walnuts (buy some here)

1/8 cup raisins (buy some here)

1/8 cup slivered almonds (buy some here)

1 tsp monk fruit/stevia leaf sweetener (buy some here)

1/2 tsp cinnamon (buy some here)

Detailed instructions are in the video. First add the milk to a small saucepan with the heat on medium-high. I use a mix of almond milk and water but you can also substitute with any other milk of your choosing. Let the milk heat to boiling, then add in the steel cut oats. Stir gently. Turn the heat down to Medium and set a timer for 10 minutes. Stir the mixture occasionally. At the 10 minute mark, drop the heat down to just above low and mix in your add-ins. I typically use walnuts, almonds, raisins, cinnamon and sometimes a sweetener. These are all optional and can be switched out for whatever suits your fancy. You can use honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar or whichever sweetener you prefer. You can use cranberries or blueberries in place of the raisins if you like. You can use nutmeg instead of cinnamon if you are feeling spicy, The options are endless. Stir occasionally for the next 15 minutes or until it is to the desired consistency. This is a dairy free, vegan, heart healthy recipe that also has a low glycemic index. A wonderful way to start your day!

Let me know what you think if you try this recipe. And please share what your favorite mix-ins are! Enjoy!!!!

Peanut butter on whole grain toast with fresh banana slices


The thing about eating this way is that you can eat much less, be much more full and be sated much longer.  This breakfast was super fast and easy. It carried me over all the way till lunch so it was perfect!  Balancing your foods is the important part.  This is two pieces of whole grain toast, organic sugar free peanut butter on the toast and fresh banana slices on top. Sprinkled on top of the bananas is hemp seed and ground flax and some blueberries were included on the side for some antioxidants. I could technically have made it a sandwich but it somehow feels like so much more food this way, plus it forces me to eat more slowly. If you eat slower, your body is better able to digest what you are eating. So give it a try!