Reversing and Preventing Heart Disease, Food Matters

For me, the health of my heart took center stage when at the age of 17, my third grandparent passed away as a result of heart disease.

It was then that food and health captured my heart, I wanted to learn more about how to prevent heart disease.

I find the evidence of what we can do encouraging, delicious and practical. 

Perspective, The Importance of a Personal Commitment 

According to the American Heart Association 2018 report, approximately every 38 seconds an American dies of heart disease (1).

Per the World Health Organization, “An estimated 17.9 million people died from cardiovascular disease in 2016, representing 31% of all global deaths”. 

Also noted, the health of our heart often correlates to the health of our brain. 


Per the World Health Organization, “Most cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by addressing behavioral risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet, obesity, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol”. 

Equally important to reversing and preventing heart disease is maintaining a healthy gut microbiome, reducing inflammation and learning to manage stress.

Food Matters

The eating style that helps support heart health is one that includes plenty veggies, beans, peas, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruit, whole grains versus refined grains, with a sprinkle of ocean fish or omega rich algae oil. Heart health oils are found in nuts, seeds, fish, avocados, and olives. For cooking oils choose olive, algae, sesame, ghee or coconut oil. 

Plant foods rich in fiber, plant sterols / stanols, antioxidants and phytochemicals are shown to protect our heart.

Limiting red meat, trans-fat, added sugars, refined grains, overly processed foods, genetically modified foods, and unwanted pesticides and additives is essential. 

I love the list of foods below written by Ocean Robbins in his Food Revolution blog article, so much so that I adapted it here with a bit of change or addition. 

Berries, rich in antioxidants and potent heart healthy warriors. Berries have been shown to contribute to lower blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, and body mass index. Love to buy them frozen for sauces and smoothies.

Beans Legumes and Peas are rich in vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrate brain fuel and fiber. Beans are known to lower cholesterol, decrease inflammation and free-radical damage while contributing to ridding unwanted substances or compounds. 

Soaking beans like our ancestors did, makes more nutrients available and reduces lectins which makes them easier to digest :).  It’s easy, just soak them in a pot of clean water for 24 to 48 hours in the refrigerator (change water after ~24 hours and add new water to soak 24 more hours), then cook in a slow cooker or an instapot. 

If you are buying beans in a can, as far as I know, only Eden brand soaks beans before cooking. They are currently available at Natural Grocers and Whole Foods in my area. 

Garlic is a staple at my house. Have you ever tried a garlic clove tucked into an olive? It tastes good, helps lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol as well as fights cancer. 

“Charaka, the father of Ayurvedic medicine, claimed that garlic maintains blood flow and strengthens the heart”.  If you are on blood thinners, avoid over eating too much garlic as garlic has been shown to have anti-clotting properties. 

Turmeric, you knew it would be included right? Turmeric is involved in more than 57 biochemical pathways or actions. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, helps prevent alzheimer’s, helps fight cancer, helps prevent heart related complications due to diabetes, lowers cholesterol, protects against atherosclerosis, and helps prevent heart failure. Turmeric root can also be used, shredded in soups or in juicing and smoothies. 

Ginger is rich in antioxidants, is anti-inflammatory, helps lower LDL cholesterol. Ginger also soothes inflammation, has anti-clotting properties and aides digestion. Try a cup of ginger tea about 20 minutes before or with your meal.  

Black Pepper is thought to be the king of spices in oriental medicine. Black Pepper is rich in minerals including potassium and magnesium which help manage blood pressure, blood flow and blood vessel integrity. 

Place approximately 1-teaspoon of organic pepper berries in a traditional tea-ball. Steep in hot water for 10 - 15 minutes to make pepper tea. It’s better than one might think :)) 

Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices known and has a centuries old medical history. 

Moses was instructed to use it in an anointing oil.

Cinnamon is known to help manage blood sugars, lower LDL cholesterol and help with obesity related high cholesterol while also increasing nitric-oxide which helps with healthy blood pressure.  I recommend true ceylon cinnamon when you can find it. 

Coriander/Cilantro is very good at helping lower cholesterol and triglycerides while increasing the good HDL cholesterol. Cilantro also is known to help rid parasites. 

Ocean Fish, I also include ocean fin fish low in mercury such as sardines, anchovy’s, salmon, halibut and cod. Omega three fatty acids are abundant in ocean fish but also in the algae that fish eat. Omega 3 fatty acids contain EPA and DHA which are known to decrease inflammation, support healthy blood flow, reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol and triglycerides.

Dark chocolate, last but not definitely not least is a personal favorite. I add a dash of raw chocolate or cocoa powder to my morning coffee. Dark chocolate is richer in antioxidants that blueberries, acai, cranberries or pomegranates. 

Studies show that dark chocolate reduces cardiovascular disease and diabetes. And very good news, cocoa brightens our mood. Of note, buy 72% or greater dark chocolate. In addition, I advocate for fair-trade, organic chocolate with minimal if any added sugar or dairy. 

When Deeper Foundational Help is Needed

To help regain balance to our cardiovascular health sometimes therapeutic amounts of nutrients are needed. I often look to turmeric root and phosphatidylcholine for foundational support. Phosphatidylcholine is a primary component of the cell membrane. The integrity of our cell membrane is important for many reasons including for the regulation of nutrients into the cell and toxins out of the cell. 

In addition, depending on specific concerns, CoQ10, hibiscus, magnesium, vitamin D, magnesium, grapeseed extract, and olive leaf may also be beneficial. A good multivitamin has an important role in ensuring adequate nutrients daily to support biochemical pathways. 

However, if therapeutic nutrients are needed, a one size fits all approach is not wise. It is so worth it to visit your local functional or integrative medicine nutritionist for recommendations specific and safe for you, your concerns and your lifestyle. 


Some years ago, one of my patients in cardiac rehab class said it best, when he expressed the idea of grasping a lifestyle that protects our heart as something better than gold to share with his children and grandchildren. 

Essentially, the nutrients in food inform our DNA and genes. Food makes a significant contribution to how our body will function. We have the opportunity to make a difference.  

To good food, joy, laughter and your health, God bless, Debra




3)  - regarding apples and statins 

4) -  regarding ginger 


From Stressed to Healing

Amid the promise and joy of Christmas season and even starting a New Year, for some there are also underlying stressors effecting health, mood and energy.

Whether it’s working with a chronic illness, demands of caregiving, anxiety, allergies, an overcommitted schedule, or flu prevention season. Stress can take a toll on our immune system.  

From a food as medicine perspective there is reason to feel encouraged. Eating well really does equip us to live and feel better. 

This Christmas season and into New Years, give yourself the gift of feeling better. 

These day to day habits support biochemical pathways that synergistically lessen stress, boost our immunity and promote wellbeing. Many report progress in just a few short weeks of making even a few changes. 

~ 7-9 hours of sleep each night - aim for a 10:00 bedtime at the latest. 

~ 30-minutes of activity most days. Try a mini trampoline, walk in the park and definitely go dancing!

~ Eating well day to day. Avoid on again, off again, “diets”.  Instead, choose balance and moderation, mostly plant foods. Include plenty veggies, along with some beans, peas and lentils, fruit, ocean fish, nuts, seeds, cooking herbs, fermented foods, and whole grains prepared healthfully. Choose foods free of unwanted pesticides, additives and genetically modified organisms to help lessen undue stress on your health. Just as nature intended, you will begin to feel better physically, mentally and emotionally.

~ Gratitude heals. When my Mother taught us to “count our blessings”, she was in fact, in a major way, helping us to cope with stress. According to an article in Psychology Today, genuine feelings of gratitude lead to improvements in emotional and physical health, good sleep and mental strength.   

~ Spending time with others improves health. Consider your hobbies and interests and join in with a local group to enjoy them. I know people that are in a quilting group, a cycling group, a dance group, a walking group, a mom’s with children group, a bible study, a ham radio group, a care givers group, the sky is the limit these days on groups that meet up :)

~ Relaxing music can help brighten your mood in minutes. According to an article in The American Music Association, It also helps prevent stress induced anxiety and hypertension. Try singing in the shower, lifts my spirit everytime :) 

~ Pray. Larry Dossey in his book Reinventing Medicine highlights studies supporting what many have known… prayer helps physically and emotionally those who pray and those who are prayed for. 

~ Laugh often. Laughter lessens stress and the effects of stress hormones. Laughter boosts our immune system by helping immune cells and antibodies that fight infection. 

I love the phrase “Good Great Food”, title of one of Julia Rosso’s and Shelia Lukin’s cook books. For me, this means nature’s foods and herbs simply prepared. 

Here’s what we know for sure, the raw power of healing nutrients are found in real food and near void in most processed foods. There’s a saying, “we can muck it up for so long then we need to clean it up” :) 

All plant foods contain nutrients that support immunity as well as help reduce inflammation, support healthy digestive function and heal illness.

But, these foods are standouts in the world of immunity. Eating well will go along way to minimizing the effects of stress on your health. 



Probiotics found in fermented foods


Green Tea 

Red Peppers 

Citrus Fruits 


Sunflower Seeds 

Cruciferous Veggies 

Mushrooms provide spectacular immune help

Wild Fish rich in omega-three amino acids (choose fish low in mercury)

Elderberry Syrup 



Prebiotics found in fiber rich foods 

Holy Basil Tea

A dash of 85% Dark Chocolate :)) 

Clean filtered water

Busy Day, Help is a call away :) 

Picking up healthy meals will help avoid the fast food energy drain. 

Carry the phone number of a few places that offer healthier options. Call in your order for pick-up. 

A Few Local Options to get you Started: 

Luna Grill - Kabobs with plenty veggies  

Modern Market - Bowls, Sandwiches, so many choices   

Whole Foods - call in to order an organic whole roasted chicken. Pick up a bag of frozen veggies or veggies off the hot bar and you have it, yummy dinner complete with leftover chicken for another day. 

Jason’s or Whole Foods Salad Bar - both use organic greens :)) Whole foods also uses several organic veggies. 

So Good! Recipe for Healing Immune Broth 

From Rebecca Katz, culinary guru and author.

This recipe is by one of my all time favorite culinary guru’s Rebecca Katz. 

I recommend we all make an extra batch to freeze or give to someone in need. 

Tip: Whole Foods Market has burdock root, fennel, shiitake mushrooms and dried kombu seaweed.

Immune Broth 

Makes about 4 quarts | prep time: 15 minutes | cook time: 90 minutes

Whether you’re under the weather or just looking for an immunity boost, this is a great go-to broth. 

Here I introduce you to burdock root. It’s loaded with potassium, iron, magnesium, and ever-important zinc. In the olden days, physicians used burdock root as a blood purifier, and clearly science has shown they were onto something. 

Here I combine burdock with shiitake mushrooms, ginger, and garlic to create a delicious earthy broth that’s full of antiviral, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory goodness.

1 fennel bulb plus stalks, cut into chunks

1 unpeeled yellow onion, quartered

3 unpeeled carrots, cut into thirds

½ bunch celery, including the heart, cut into thirds

1 sweet potato, cut into chunks

½ large bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley

6 fresh shiitake mushrooms

1 (3-inch) piece burdock root, quartered crosswise

6 sprigs fresh thyme

6 large unpeeled cloves garlic, halved

1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, halved lengthwise

1 (8-inch) strip kombu

6 black peppercorns

1 bay leaf

4 quarts cold, filtered water, plus more if needed

2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more if needed

Rinse all of the vegetables well, including the Kombu.

In a 6-quart or larger stockpot, combine the fennel, onion, carrots, celery, sweet potato, parsley, shiitakes, burdock root, thyme, garlic, ginger, kombu, peppercorns, and bay leaf. 

Add the water, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for at least 90 minutes, or until the full richness of the vegetables can be tasted. 

As the broth simmers, some of the water will evaporate; add more if the vegetables begin to peek out.

Strain the broth through a large, coarse-mesh sieve (use a heat-resistant container underneath). 

Stir in the salt, adding more to taste if desired. Let cool to room temperature before refrigerating or freezing. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. 

Variation: For an extra immunity and anti-inflammatory boost, add 3 (1-inch) slices of fresh turmeric root or 1½ teaspoons ground turmeric during the last 30 minutes of cooking. 

Even So

Despite our best efforts sometimes we just don’t get in the recommended 8 - 10 servings of produce/plant foods per day. 

A good qaulity multivitamin may be recommended to help ensure nutrient adequacy.  

We know for example that many nutrients including Vitamin A, C, D, E, the B’s, omega-three fatty acids, minerals such as zinc and protein play an essential role in immunity. 

When even one key nutrient is deficient, overtime, our immune system can become compromised and unable to defend against illness or effects of stressful challenges.  

Identifying nutrients that are deficient enables a better defined program for personal health. 

Many clients benefit from the Spectracell Micronutrient Test that I work with. To read more:

To comment or learn more about this article or my practice please contact me at 817-868-9388 or

Here’s to Good Great Food, Gratefulness, Hope and Joy, Debra

May every heart prepare Him room.

Cancer, Grit, Perserverence, Foods that Help

When clients come and share their stories, an alliance happens. Clients have an uncanny ability to be teachers on some point and receivers on another. It’s an exchange where one’s experience informs the sharing of history, evidence, research, case studies, and the healing tapestry of food and nutrients.                                                                                                                               

Patients do the work, they persevere, they have or get grit… people will always be in debt to those who are willing to make the health journey. They show the rest.

My clients continue to encourage me and just might encourage you too.

An accounting, common ground, of inspirational and courageous women I’ve met with.  A woman with breast cancer reports, she does the research and then sits still with God to see where her peace lies. No matter what anyone else would choose, this woman is focused and ready to fight this battle. She’s gathering her army. She has an oncology medical doctor that has studied holistic and nutritional medicine. She is now embarking on a treatment that is blending the art of conventional medicine with centuries old, yet now well studied nutrition and lifestyle medicine. 

She is equipped by her doctor with the therapeutic nutrients that will come alongside her treatment. This gal has moxy… she talks about how she threw herself headlong into cleaning out her pantry, scraping old grocery lists for new and setting about a new way with new foods, new cookbooks, a new garden.                                                                                                               

She is learning how to buy and make simple meals with the foods that help our body fight this intruder. Foods like ginger, carrots, leafy greens, green tea, turmeric spice, feverfew, berries, citrus fruit, broccoli, rutabaga, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, radishes, tomato, plums, grapes, mint, lavender, cherries, mushrooms, seaweed, capers, onion, garlic, thyme, basil, oregano, sweet potatoes, beans, and wild fish. 

In the world of nutritional science we are learning about foods that help kill cancer cells including cancer stem cells. We are encouraged by on-going research on food and nutrients that provide physical stamina during treatment, lessen potential side effects, and minimize muscle loss. 

In the midst of her journey, her strength is her faith and her enthusiasm now is for seeking information, the "how to" of living well, of equipping her body to rise up to this challenge, knock out the cancer and heal her vessel. 

By the most important measures this woman is thriving, she shares that treatment has been completed. She is some, but not completely tattered for the wear. Her spirit is soaring, she is on to the necessary steps to rebuilding her health. In the most laid bare sense, she is bent on healing physically and emotionally.  

Working now with a most gentle detox and restoration of health. Living well takes precedence. 

This is just one accounting of clients describing that even during their most difficult days and battles, they are in another sense thriving, making life changes. 

You likely know someone who has transitioned into a healthier way of living and thinking. Next time you speak with them, ask if they have a new favorite meal. Watch as their eyes light up to reveal a hint of satisfaction. You see, part of their journey now, is to pass on wisdom they have gained along the way. 

Here’s to courageous people that go before us. To herb gardens, natures wisdom, and good food.  To farmer’s market finds, tomatoes and squash, a shake of sea salt, a handful of herbs and a spritz of good olive oil. Here’s to a square of Green and Black's 85% dark chocolate.                          

God Bless, Debra

Inspiration for Living Forward in 2018

In the spirit of living well in 2018… I have put together a few of my favorite health notes from this year. I hope they inspire you as much as they have me. 

Gratitude is Good Medicine

“Clinical trials indicate that the practice of gratitude can have dramatic and lasting effects in a person’s life,” said Robert A. Emmons, professor of psychology at UC Davis. “It can lower blood pressure, improve immune function and facilitate more efficient sleep.”

“One recent study from the University of California San Diego’s School of Medicine found that people who were more grateful actually had better heart health, specifically less inflammation and healthier heart rhythms." ”They showed a better well-being, a less depressed mood, less fatigue and they slept better,” said the study’s author, Paul J. Mills.”

Forgiveness Improves Tension, Heart and Immune Health

One of my favorite natural health physicians Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, MD “Suffering and pain are an unfortunate part of life”. Going on to elaborate she notes… “When we feel betrayed or slighted by the actions of another, we often hold grudges that lead to the burn of anger. Scientific research has shown over and over that rumination on angry thoughts leads to physical manifestations of that pain. Bottling up betrayals brings on muscle tension, high blood pressure, and undue stress on our heart, and its proven to lower your immunity and put you at risk for depression. Holding on to past hurts can literally make you sick.” 

Notes and Quotes taken from the Broken Brain conference series hosted by Mark Hyman, MD. 

New research speaks to and supports our ability to take a leading role in brain health.

  • Our gut and brain is relationally and functionally similar. Markers for leaky gut or gut permeability are elevated in depression, Alzheimer’s, autism and even in ALS for example, states Dr. Mark Hyman.
  • Food Allergies or Sensitivities are a leading factor in a compromised gut microbiome. To date, my favorite food sensitivity test continues to be the Leap MRT test that I am certified to work with. See Nutritional Testing page on my website. 
  • Too much sugar and or the absence of healthy foods and oils to balance nutrients leads to “Diabesity” of the brain or also called a “brain on fire” with inflammation.  
  • In the vast majority of cases, brain health can be improved through healthy eating, a healthy lifestyle, good sleep and prayer.
  • I love Dr. Hyman’s empowering phrases in the Broken Brain series… “The food we eat is information and is changing the expression of our DNA. The food we eat changes moment to moment the expression of our DNA. We influence our genes by every bite of food we eat and every thought we think.”  This is inspiring and challenging, here’s to better brains ahead!

Cancer pushes us to dig, search, study... think and live differently.                                                                                                                                              

I was recently reminded of this extraordinarily powerful article. Revealing certain foods, spices and herbs found to kill cancer stem cells, as you will see, is an  important distinction and very good news!                                                                                                                                                Found on - 25 Cancer Stem Cell Killing Foods Smarter Than Chemo & Radiation. Written By: Sayer Ji, Founder.

Bone Health                                                                                                                                          

 "A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones."~Proverbs 17:22

Here’s one bone health pearl that may just inspire you to eat more vitamin C rich foods such as strawberries, guava, black current, kiwi, oranges, papaya, mango, bell peppers, broccoli, peas, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, parsley and kale.                                                                                   The role of healthy vitamin C in bone health is often overlooked. Did you know that stress, injury, illness, birth control pills, taking estrogen during menopause, cortisone and aspirin all contribute to depleting vitamin C. It’s also important to note that during times of stress we benefit from eating more vitamin C rich foods.                                                                                               Important to bone health, vitamin C is needed for collagen production, decreasing oxidative stress in our cells, and lessening opportunity for excessive bone degradation by inhibiting bone absorbing cells. Vitamin C also helps in the growth of bone forming cells.  

Call my office to schedule your appointment to begin strengthening your frame. 


So I talk about sleep a lot. This is because my mission is helping people heal and a good portion of healing takes place while we sleep. 

Nearing the end of your day… 

  • Unplug an hour before you go to sleep. Remove TV, cell phones and laptops from your bedroom. Reading is helpful. 
  • Turn off your household wifi. It’s been shown to interfere with healing and immune system activity during sleeping hours. 
  • Enjoy a cup of warm relaxing tea such as lemon balm, passion flower, camomile, lavender, California poppy taken or valerian. 
  • Practice soothing deep breathing. 
  • Create a clean and clutter-free sleeping environment.
  • As the opportunity arises fit your bed with cozy organic bedding. Your body will thank-you for giving it a clean toxic free sleep environment. 

Thank-you to each and every client for the opportunity to join you on your health journey.

God Bless, Debra


Allergies... Is your "allergy season" lasting longer and longer?

Have you noted more people sneezing or reporting sinus problems this year? Health experts agree, you are definitely not alone.

Have you been watching pollen levels? They have worsened in recent years and do not seem to be returning to previous lower levels. Scientists are studying the why, but an increase in pollution and weather patterns seem to be contributing. In addition, genetically modified foods, unwanted food additives, poor diet, and increasingly poor gut health may be lessening your inability to tolerate allergies. 

It's also important to consider you may also be experiencing a combination of environmental allergies, food allergies, food or chemical sensitivities, food intolerances or other health imbalances. 

Unfortunately, the typical antihistamines may not address the root problem and tend to have side effects including leaving some feeling tired and drowsy, jittery, or experiencing dry mouth. 

A Food as Medicine approach along with a healthy lifestyle may help you move through your day feeling more energetic and clear headed. 

Start early to optimize good gut health. I recommend including one to two servings everyday of a probiotic rich food such as sauerkraut, miso, kimchee, and kombucha. Make certain the label does not include vinegar as vinegar destroys the good gut bacteria. Some folks also tolerate small amounts of probiotic rich fermented dairy such as yogurt, kefir or fermented cheese.   

Take a good quality probiotic daily during your allergy season similar to the Innate Response brand on my Wellevate site - (click on butterfly link at bottom of page).

Reduce refined flours, added sugars, fried foods, unhealthy oils, and other inflammatory foods during allergy season to avoid extra challenges to gut health. 

Many people benefit from avoiding dairy products during allergy season. 

Drink plenty clean filtered water. Every biochemical reaction your body performs requires water. 

Eat a plant based diet including plenty leafy greens that will provide nutrients to strengthen your defense.

Enjoy a cup of tea 

    •    Nettle tea contains quercetin, an antioxidant that reduces symptoms of allergies by helping to prevent immune

         cells from releasing histamines. In other words, researchers believe it acts like a natural anti-histamine. 

    •    Holy basil tea helps calms stress and blunt negative effects of cortisol.    

    •    Marshmallow tea is soothing and healing to our gastrointestinal tract.

    •    Turmeric tea is anti-inflammatory and helps many areas including our digestive process. 

Minimizing stress is essential to good health. Stress effects increases inflammation, effects hormone balance, challenges immune health and could contribute to impaired gut integrity. 

Taking a night time shower will help rinse off pollens and help you breathe better during sleep. 

Change your pillow case daily to cut down on pollens near your face. 

 Sleep is essential to good health. 

When these strategies just are not enough, I work with clients individually to learn where the imbalance in their health may be. We can then target nutritional therapies to strengthen your body's ability to thrive. 


New Year, Starting

This year instead of focusing on rules, guilt or diets, I propose a toast. Definitely, let’s toast a cup of warm tea to the wonderful new foods we might try in 2017, the opportunity to drink clean water and the ability to effect our health simply by what’s on our plate.

Here are a few things I am looking forward to this year:

Water - I’ve been thinking quite a bit about water lately. As it turns out, while plentiful here in America, most of us do not drink enough.

If you divide your weight by two, this how many total ounces of fluid your body needs per day. Most of our fluids should be plain filtered water. Start with 6-12 ounces water upon waking. Turns out our kidney prefers we then drink small amounts of water throughout the day versus a large volume once or twice. Other fluids I recommend for most people are organic green tea, herb teas including holy basil tea, and fermented probiotic rich drinks kombucha tea (~1/3 cup), organic kefir (~1/3 cup) and miso soup (1-2 teaspoon in your serving). * I recommend 1-2 servings of a probiotic rich food most days.  

Food As Medicine - The ability to effect our physical, mental and emotional health by what we choose to eat is nothing short of amazing. 

What I love about this time of year is that we have likely had our fill of sweets and or processed foods and are ready at least mentally, even if not yet emotionally, to simplify or meals. This may just be the right time to challenge ourselves in ways that will change our life.  

Since a Food as Medicine approach is grounded in eating whole foods, and primarily seasonal plant based foods; how do you feel about a focus on eating mostly or all unprocessed unrefined natural foods for seven days? 

I expect you will feel such a difference in energy and wellbeing that you will be inspired to continue on… eating plenty whole foods and minimizing processed foods. 

Here’s What’s in Season (from Edible Dallas Fort Worth Winter):   

arugula                                        chard                   kale                                radishes 

beets and beet greens              cilantro                 kohlrabi                         rosemary

bok choy                                     citrus                    leek                               rutabaga

broccoli                                       collards                salad greens                 shallots

brussel sprouts                           dill                        mizen                             spinach 

cabbage                                     endive                  mustard greens             turnips/greens  

carrots                                        fennel                   peas (english, snap, snow)   

cauliflower                                 fenugreek             radicchio                        watercress                


Things you Knew, New Ideas, Eating Well: 

  • buy cauliflower, carrots, snow healthy dips such as hummus, avocado dip, homemade pintobean dip or salsa for afternoon snack (roasted carrots with leftover seasoned mashed pinto bean dip - better than you might think)
  • enjoy a morning porridge of oats, amaranth, quinoa, or buckwheat with chopped nuts, coconut flakes, seeds etc. instead of processed boxed cereals or poptarts loaded with refined grains and sugar
  • one of my favorite breakfasts is 1/2 diced avocado, a handful of nuts and a cup of fresh seasonal fruit (not melon or citrus though)
  • cook with more leafy greens, veggies, beans, peas, lentils (try adding fiber rich beans or peas to salads) 
  • eat a bit of fresh garden herbs every day such as mint, parsley, oregano, basil, parsley …  
  • pack a thermos with soup or stew for lunch
  • carry fresh fruit or a healthy food bar such as Lara Bar for away from home snacks
  • on the go, plan ahead to pick-up healthier options by having restaurant phone number and favorite healthy option at your fingertips 
  • try winter apples or pears dipped in almond butter w/ cinnamon, vanilla & chia seeds stirred in
  • during winter months focus on eating one piece of citrus fruit most days
  • enjoy a cup of dark chocolate hot cocoa or good quality yogurt and baked fruit for dessert 
  • venture to try a new winter squash recipe (
  • try Japanese sweet potatoes in your next soup or stew 
  • make one large crockpot soup or stew each week and enjoy the leftovers :) 


Sleep, when adequate, helps you function better and make healthier eating choices

Exercise helps increase circulation, brain power, mood and tends to improve eating choices 

Gratitude lowers stress and increases joy also leading to better eating choices

Enjoying the foods put on this good earth, creates an appreciation for our opportunity to choose plenty wholesome natural foods 

With every healthy bite, drink of clean water, restful night, physical activity and good or grateful thought we are contributing to our bodies ability achieve better health.  

For recipes and articles see my Pinterest boards at

For recommendations personalized to your life and concerns, I’d love to work with you in individual consultation. Blessings, Happy New Year, Debra





In preparing our family favorites for Christmas Eve evening, I am reminded that many across the world will not be so fortunate to enjoy a warm home and meal surrounded by friends or family this Christmas.  

In my office, the conversation focuses on sustainable whole foods, healthy eating, and often toward resolving particular health concerns. 

This Christmas, I would like to encourage a reminder of a meals most celebrated role… to bring people together over countless generations across this earth. 

May our tables be blessed with a sharing of our abundance, with peace, mercy, grace and joy.  People in need and people with something to share. 

Christmas Blessings, Debra




One of my favorite traditions at Thanksgiving is when we go around the table, 

each telling what what we have been thankful for this year.  

This year I was reminded of something I had seen in a 

wonderful coffee & gift shop in Grapevine. 

It read: 


For this new morning with it’s light,

For rest and shelter of the night, 

For health and food, for love, family and friends. 

For everything Thy goodness sends.

We thank Thee, dearest Lord. Amen

I am also thankful for the opportunity to work with each of my clients. 

Blessings, Debra


Shopping List for Feeding Your Flora Well & A Fave Purple Hull Pea Soup Recipe Loaded with Prebiotics

It’s a good day every time a new study highlights the the role of prebiotic and probiotic rich foods in providing healthy fuel for our gut flora or microbiome.

We need not look further than our garden to improve our gut health.

So a prebiotic is undigested food / fiber found in fruit, vegetables, grains, peas and beans that provide fuel for our good bacteria. 

Probiotics are found in fermented foods such as kefir, miso or sauerkraut that contains actual live bacteria that contributes to good gut flora. 

The idea is to eat a large variety of foods rich in prebiotics while weaving in small amounts of fermented foods throughout your diet. This would contribute to a higher diversity and volume of good flora and a much stronger microbiome to support health. 

Strengthening our microbiome and gut health improves nutrient availability and absorption, hormone balance, immune health, gut integrity and brain health. The good guys also lessen opportunity for depression, anxiety, leaky gut, dysbiosis (imbalance of microbes present in gut flora), diabetes, obesity, crohns/colitis disease, hypothyroid, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, high cholesterol, autoimmune conditions, infections, and cancer. The good news is that this list is not exhaustive. 

Essentially, the health or our gut microbiome effects every area of heath! 

You will love this…. Current study authors find that nuts, coffee, tea, dark chocolate, and even red wine also contribute to good gut flora or microbiota diversity. Studies also find that too severely limiting carbohydrate rich foods such as legumes, potatoes and grains result in a less diverse microbiota and not enough food to support optimal levels of good bacteria.

From your garden, local farmers market or healthy grocer, stock your kitchen with plenty plant foods including these top prebiotic rich foods and probiotic rich foods.

Prebiotic Rich Foods - veggie: asparagus, barley, beans, buckwheat, bulgar, dandelion greens, eggplant, garlic, fresh herbs, jerusalem artichokes, leeks, lentils, oats, onion, peas, rye, soybeans, spinach, sulsify, wheat berries, yukon and fruit: bananas, berries, cherries and remember dark chocolate, nuts, tea, chicory, and coffee, you may also see inulin a prebiotic used in a variety of products.  

Probiotic Rich Foods - fermented foods kefir, kombucha, miso, natto (fermented beans), olives, pickles (try Bubbies brand) sauerkraut (try Farmhouse Culture brand), tamari, tempeh, tofu and yogurt are a rich source of natural healthy probiotic cultures found in the refrigerator section of your market. 

Note that fermented foods are a specific method of pickling, but, quite different. Pickled foods are preserved in an acid medium like vinegar. Fermented foods do not contain vinegar and are meant to cultivate the live cultures or probiotics adding healthy flora to our microbiome.

Purple Hull Pea Soup: 

Add a batch of fresh purple hull peas to a large pot, add enough water to cover peas plus ~3 inches. Cook 30 minutes.  


Sweet onion ( leek would also be great)

Celery, 3 stalks with leaves, diced 

Garlic, 2 cloves pressed

Carrot, whole, sliced thin

1 cup diced tomatoes with juice

Sea salt

Pepper, ground 

Honey, 2 teaspoons

Butter, grass fed, organic, one small pat

Other options could be: 

Japanese sweet potato diced (firmness holds up well in soups and adds a warm sweet flavor)

Apple chicken sausage , True Story brand, organic and nitrate nitrite free :)   

Cook until veggies reach desired tenderness

Simple and Yummy! 

Happy Shopping, God Bless, Debra


Gut 2016;65:330-339 doi:10.1136/gutjnl-2015-309990; Recent advances in basic science

The gut microbiota and host health: a new clinical frontier

What dark chocolate and red wine can do for your gut microbiota

20 JUL 2016 | Cristina Sáez; Gut Microbiota, News Watch, Nutrition

Interview with Jeff Leach from the American Gut Project

Are Pickles Fermented? Pickled Vs. Fermented Foods

5/11/2015 12:02:00 PM

By Chelsea Clark, Natural Health Advisory Institute

Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford 

My list of fermented, prebiotic and probiotic rich foods compiled overtime. 


Turmeric, Time to Dust Off Your Spice Jar

Have you used your turmeric spice lately? You may want to dust off your spice jar and sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon of the gorgeous marigold color powder in a steaming cup of tea with a spritz of your local raw honey and lemon. Stir and sip along as you read this article. 

You may have read about one or more of the many health benefits of turmeric, rhizome or the underground stem of the plant curuma longa, and member of the ginger family. 

Holding a place of great respect in Ayurveda medicine, cultivating turmeric for healing dates back to ~500 BC.           Today, turmeric seems to be most well known for it’s anti-inflammatory and cancer fighting properties. 

According to an article by the University of Maryland Medical Center turmeric shows benefit in many conditions including digestive problems, arthritis, cancer, heart disease, stomach ulcers, and bacterial or viral infections. 

Alzheimer’s, a form of dementia is another important condition helped by turmeric. 

I have a diagram in my office showing over 50 biochemical pathways in which turmeric works for good in our body. It’s way more science than I’ll get into here, but here are a few findings that may motivate you to give turmeric a try.  

Traditionally in asian cultures turmeric was used regularly in cooking as well as medicinally. Thus people would get steady doses of the healing whole spice. Meals containing turmeric spice often contained black pepper or oil which we have since learned aides absorption.  

A study in the October 2014 Journal of Phytotherapy Research, highlights turmeric along with other herbs as having      anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic effects, specifically looking at benefits in rheumatoid arthritis. 

A study found in the August 2009 Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine publication finds that when compared to a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug for osteoarthritis of the knee, turmeric extract worked as well!

This is interesting, Johnson and Johnson Company makes bandaids that contain turmeric for their India market. 

A search on pubmed or will provide multiple studies indicating the benefit of turmeric’s role in pathways that work toward apoptosis (killing cancer cells) and also in helping to prevent the spread of cancer (proliferation). 

I am a long time advocate for weaving whole spice turmeric into our life through teas, cooking and juicing.

It's been a blessing to hear many stories of how consuming turmeric in teas, cooking or taken in supplemental capsule form has helped many clients over the years.  

I have a wonderful turmeric tea recipe containing turmeric spice, honey, lemon and a dash of pepper if desired on my pinterest site:  

Try Veggie Juice with Turmeric Spice                                                                                                                                       (serves two)

8 small to medium organic carrots
4 stalks organic celery                                         
1/3 medium beet                                             
1 handful organic herbs such as cilantro, parsley, basil, or use kale                 
1-inch turmeric root ( found fresh in veggie section at markets )     

I’ve also been adding turmeric to soups and stirfrys. I start with 1/2 teaspoon of powder and adjust per taste. 

And From Lemons and Basil Blog, try this seriously yummy and healthy “Balsamic Almond and Turmeric” salad dressing by Kaylee Pauley  


    1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

    1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

    1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

    1.5 tbsp honey

    1.5 tbsp almond butter

    3 tbsp greek yogurt, plain

    3 tbsp water

    ¼ tsp garlic

    ¼ tsp smoked paprika

    ½ tsp turmeric

To Make 

Add all ingredients to bowl and whisk until smooth, creamy texture.

Or add all ingredients to food processor and blend until smooth.

Makes approximately ¾ cup or six servings.

Store in refrigerator up to one week.                                    

From my kitchen to yours, Enjoy! God Bless, dhj

The Good Food Message

I cannot think of a better way to begin my blog than to write about the good food God put on this good earth for us! 

I read an article about a chef and gardner that loves teaching folks how to grow and prepare good food well. I shared it with Richard my hubby right away. Before, I had a chance to say this sounds like me, he had already chimed in, that’s you, that’s definitely you. 

For many generations, our garden bounty has been at the center of gatherings and celebrations gracing tables with nourishment.  

So one of my passions is to impart the good food message, enjoying real food, mostly plants, weaved throughout day to day real life. 

It’s tricky though, 

It’s not so much that we don’t know deep down how essential good food is or  

That we don’t know that great food provides us with the needed nutrients to restore and heals our body mentally and physically.

It’s not even that we don’t think we can learn to love the taste of veggies :)

In my experience, the question has more often been,

"In my life, with my schedule and my resources, how can I get unadulterated real food fresh off the vine? How can I put together healthy meals, simply?"

It begins with a choice to do so, and the rest will be history… yours!

So the good food message then is for all... young, older, and yes, even the very busy. 

Growing veggies or herbs in the ground or in pots. Clipping swiss chard and chives for your salad, sage for Thanksgiving turkey, mint for Sunday tea, kale for a smoothie or bok-choy for your soup. 

Shopping at local markets that provide foods free of unwanted pesticides, chemicals, hormones and antibiotics and that have not been genetically modified.  

Instead of meeting friends at a restaurant, meet up in your home. Invite friends and family to join you in the kitchen for last minute chopping, stirring and tasting. 

If you were to interview people that have come through difficult health conditions, many would tell you about the healing aspects of getting their hands in the dirt and eating something they have grown. In more ways than one, food is medicine. 

Prioritizing meal time, this one is huge, history shows that those that choose good food prepared well, relax, and chew well, tend to have stronger digestive "fire" so to speak, making it easier for every thing else in our body to work well. Easier said than done right, I know. Did you know most people chew their food only four times versus the recommended 20 times? And many finish eating well before the 20 minutes it takes for your brain to send a fullness signal. 

Sometimes on hectic activity days, my kids thought they had it pretty tough. To their dismay, I had it down, showing them how long it took to go through the local drive thru versus all of us getting in the kitchen and putting together one of our quick go to meals, black bean taco salad. All of us washing and cutting this and that, me seasoning the beans… and wala! Seriously, in less than 15 minutes we had black beans, leafy greens, olives, diced avocado, cherry tomatoes, and slices radishes on our plate with a sprinkle of shredded cheese. I put olive oil, salsa, and fresh lime on the table to top our masterpiece. 

So this is the beginning of the good food message, prioritize, ditch unnecessary obligations and habits and from harvest to table commit to buying or growing good quality food. It is committing to the idea that real food takes a bit of time to prepare and slowing down to savor the experience. Cheers, God bless! dhj