Cucumber Caesar Salad Dressing

Cucumber Caesar Salad

I made the dressing not knowing what I would use for the salad ingredients, but I’m happy that I found this Cucumber Caesar Salad Dressing combination and I wanted to share it with you right away.

I decided to try this dressing because my daughter likes Caesar salad dressings.

And I enjoy cucumbers, especially when I can find really great tasting ones. That usually means a trip to the Farmers Market though. Yet, sometimes I find that the mini packaged cucumbers taste good too. Yet, the best cucumbers I’ve ever had were those that I grew in my own garden. I wish you the best in finding some good cucumbers for this salad.

Caesar Salad Dressing


  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/8 cup raw pin nuts, or raw sesame seeds (I didn’t have either, so I used tahini paste.)
  • 3 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp miso paste (I used a mellow white. See note* below.)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp kelp granules (I used powdered kelp.)
  • 1 tsp honey, or liquid sweetener of choice
  • 1/4 cup of water (I added more for a thinner version.)
  • 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil, optional (Omit for oil-free version).


  1. Mix all the ingredients in a small food processor or in a blender until smooth.

*Note about miso paste: If miso paste is kept in the freezer it will last for at least a year. It never freezes solid, so it’s easy to measure out what you need as you need it.

Cucumber Caesar Salad

SERVE:  I served over a salad of sliced cucumbers, split cherry tomatoes and chopped celery. I will definitely make this Cucumber Caesar Salad again in the near future (like tomorrow).

It is so YUMMY! It’s quick and easy. I hope you will try it soon.

Click for more salad dressing recipes.

Watch Creamy Cumin Ranch Oil-Free Salad Dressing and a Vegan Tex-Mex Salad on YouTube.

Chickpea Salad Spread (Vegan Chicken and Tuna)

Chickpea Salad Dip Spread

…for Sandwiches, Wraps and Crackers

This chickpea salad spread has two options.  It can be prepared as “chicken” salad or “tuna” salad substitutes.  See “tuna” flavor salad add-in options below under the ingredients section.

Ingredients: Of course substitutions can be made for many of these ingredients, but this list serves as a general guideline.

  • One 15 ounce can of chickpeas (or 1 1/2 cup home cooked), drained and rinsed
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 green onion (or 2 TBS red/white/yellow onion or 1 scallion), finely chopped
  • 1 – 2 TBS tahini (or homemade vegan mayo or any dressing of your choice)
  • 1 1/2 tsp mustard of choice
  • 1/4 cup of nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, etc)
  • 1 – 2 TBS dried cranberries
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • Chickpea salad dip and spreaddash of paprika
  • salt and pepper, to your liking

Add-ins for the “tuna” flavor: One or the other will do just fine

  • 1 sheet of nori seaweed, crumbled
  • 4 mini sheets of any nori seaweed snacks
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp of kelp powder


  1. Add all the ingredients to a food processor then mix/chop.  Or mash the chickpeas with a fork and then add remaining ingredients.


I offered the chickpea “chicken” version salad to someone who had never tried anything similar to this before. I was informed that he was not a fan of hummus. I put the spread into a tortilla wrap with avocado and jalapenos. After the first bite, the response was, “Not bad.” But when the plate was empty, he asked for the recipe.

More chickpea recipes:

The Need for Exercise

“Do you go to a grocery store for milk, bread and vegetables instead of milking your cow, grinding your grain and tending your garden?” This is just one of example of our modern conveniences that Stormie Omartian points out in her book Greater Health God’s Way. Modern conveniences have replaced many activities that would require us to move more. (I’m not going to comment here on why you should still milk your own cow or find someone who does – if you still drink cow’s milk. Perhaps I’ll link to another article later. Let’s talk about the importance of exercise.)

Exercise Improves Circulation.

Your body requires movement. One very important process that depends on the movement of your body is circulation. In a nutshell, circulation helps your blood flow while it carries nutrients to important organs and remove toxic wastes to be eliminated. A few signs and symptoms of impaired circulation are:

  • Numbness in extremities
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pains (due to reduced blood flow to the heart)
  • Brain Fog (inability to think sharply or stay focused)

Benefits of improving circulation can be:

  • Increased energy (due to increased oxygen levels)
  • Increased metabolism (speeds up the body processes that maintain life)
  • Better heart functioning
  • A focused mind and clearer thinking
  • Feel and look healthier

Exercise for weight loss?

Yes, we all know that we can burn extra calories while exercising. But, let’s not make that the focus. If you focus on burning calories, you may give up if you don’t see the scale moving down or burn yourself out by doing too much exercise. Instead, our focus should be to exercise for health benefits as a whole. And as we become healthier, our bodies will tend to “go” towards our ideal weight without feeling as if we had to work so hard to get there. When I say “work hard” I mean physically exerting our bodies to the point where we are doing more harm than good.  In the beginning you may feel that you are “working hard” to implement exercise within your new lifestyle. Yet, this is normal when implementing any new change. I want to encourage you to be excited about the change and the changes ahead for how adding exercise to your routine is going to reap rewards.

Exercise relieves tension and stress.

Exercising naturally releases endorphins which are  “feel-good” hormones. These endorphins can lift your spirit and relieve depression. As you more regularly practice exercise you will gain energy that will allow you to do more activities that you enjoy and even better handle the regular ins-and-outs of daily living. In addition to the endorphins, your body is detoxifying while you exercise through the various pathways that it has in order to do so. Getting rid of toxic chemicals and built up lactic acid will eliminate anxiety and help you to feel calmer too.

Exercise can also provide these additional benefits:

  • More endurance
  • Helps prevent constipation
  • Improve digestion
  • More muscles and more strength
  • Increase flexibility and balance
  • Cut cravings for junk food
  • Detoxification (through sweat and increased lymph circulation)
  • Improve attitude
  • Better sleep and relaxation

Ways to Exercise

Walking on a stationary treadmill or riding a stationary bike is not my idea of fun. Actually, I’m one to try to implement exercise into my daily life that will allow me to get some chores accomplished at the same time. For example, I have a manual push lawn mower (avoids gasoline fumes and strengthens my muscles).

Yet, if not accomplishing a chore, then I rather enjoy exercise! When you find an activity that is fun, then it’s more likely that you will keep doing it. Agree? And even some of these can be just as relaxing as they are fun and enjoyable.

Here are some exercises that can be easy to implement.

  • Walking – alone or with a friend or family member
  • Dancing – by yourself or with a partner or in a class setting
  • House Cleaning – such as cleaning floors, doing laundry or anything that requires reaching, bending and/or squatting
  • Gardening and lawn care – which regularly requires raking, digging, pulling weeds, bending

And more formal forms of exercise that can be just as enjoyable:

Bicycling for exercise
  • Bicycling
  • Swimming
  • Jogging/running
  • Aerobics
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Lifting weights

NOTE: Stretching your muscles is automatic through most activities involved with exercising and it will help improve circulation. So don’t leave stretching out of your daily activities.

Let me know what types of exercises you enjoy. Send me a message if I have forgotten to list one of your favorites. Thanks.

Vegan Meringue Cookies – Using Aquafaba

meringue cookies

Yes, vegan meringue is possible using aquafaba. Aquafaba is the left over water after cooking dried beans or legumes. The only one I’ve ever used is that which I have after cooking chickpeas/garbanzo beans. I think chickpea water is the most popular one for most recipes. (See the aquafaba recipe below.)

I cannot eat pure sugar, so these cookies are not for me, but I wanted to make a dessert that my daughters might enjoy and for those of you who might enjoy them too.  But really, I just wanted to try to try a substitute for egg whites to create a meringue cookie. And it works great!

Oh, and before you get started, the recipe below calls for the use of a pastry bag with a star (decorative) end. You can use a pastry bag with a hole cut in the bottom. Or simply use a spoon to plop the meringue onto the cookie sheets. Don’t worry…these cookies will taste the same once baked no matter what “shape” they are in.

Once baked and cooled, the cookies will be crispy. Store in an airtight container to keep away from moisture or they will lose their crispiness. Also, keep them away from heat because they will melt.

Leftover Vegan Meringue…

I had left over meringue, so I decided to make vegan lemon meringues desserts. Not pie, because I didn’t want to make a crust. I used this recipe . This recipe also contains good tips on making the lemon curd thicker (such as using agar agar flakes). I simply used the basic recipe even without the vegan butter. There is also a link to vegan pie crust recipe and suggestions for store-bought brands.

Leftover aquafaba…

I always like to keep aquafaba available for use in some requires that list eggs as an ingredient. I often use aquafaba in pancakes and cookies. But, if I don’t use the aquafaba right away, I freeze some in ice cube trays for later use.

How to make aquafaba

I enjoy using chickpeas in many recipes, therefore, I always have aquafaba on hand. I think chickpeas and pinto beans are my favorite legumes. Although, I’ve never used pinto aquafaba in any recipes…I supposed that you could, but it would give it a pink tint for sure.

I prefer to soak the chickpeas overnight (or at least 8 hours). Note: The cooking times below refer to soaked chickpeas.

Drain off the soaking water, prior to cooking.

Instantpot: Cover with 1 inch of water. Stovetop: Cover with 2 inches of water.

Instantpot: Cook for 13 minutes. Stovetop: Bring to boil for 1 minute, then simmer on low for about an hour.

I usually use a spoon to remove some of the froth that appears in the pot after cooking.

Strain the aquafaba into a container for later use.

Ta da! Chickpea Aquafaba

I usually put the chickpeas into the freezer for later use in soups, salads, hummus, and stir-fries.

More Vegan “Sweet” Desserts

Grounding – More Food from the Earth

The Earth Sustains Life


This post contains affiliate links. Click here to read the affiliate disclosure.

“The earth was c to sustain life.” – I hope to affirm this for you on a deeper level. Because not only does the earth provide soil for us to grow healthy foods which we can eat, but it provides antioxidants in another surprising way – which you may not yet be aware of… even though most of us have already experienced this phenomenon.

On one of my regular Monday night YouTube Live Chats with Dr. Baxter Montgomery the discussion was “Ways to Protect Yourself from EMF and Wi-Fi”(see link #1 below). I was quite interested in the subject already. I had purchased an EMF meter to test how much EMF Radiation was being emitted in certain areas of our home. Also, now, there is current “talk” about the 5G towers and possible ill-health effects they can cause by exposing us to even greater amounts of EMF Radiation…all amid the COVID-19 health crisis. (Whew! We definitely need a break.)

Back to the Monday night YouTube Live Chat: at 45 minutes and 26 seconds the presenter mentions that one way to protect ourselves from EMF Radiation is by going outside and walking barefoot on the earth. This suggestion was only discussed for 41 seconds, but it caught my attention because he also mentions the phrase “working in the soil”. This phrase evoked my memory of about 7 years ago when I was spending a great amount of time outdoors in our garden with my bare hands in the dirt. (It was somewhat of a raised garden so it did not have many earthworms, for those of you who know how terrified I am of worms and am least likely to touch dirt with my bare hands. But I did it for the entire season which I gardened which was from February until the next frost – so about November.)

During the 7 years that followed, I would often find myself pondering about what was different about that year. It was 2013 actually. I had photos that were constant reminders of how healthier I felt and how more relaxed I was in 2013. 

What could be so good about the year I gardened? My guesses were that I was:

  • getting certain microbes from being outdoors by handling dirt with my hands, and
  • by eating the fresh produce of our garden I was getting extra nutrients

All of these things are positive outcomes of gardening, without a doubt. I knew at the time was that it was an enjoyable experience. But what I was not aware of is that I was being grounded by touching the earth with my hands. 

How about you? Do you garden or do landscaping work? Or perhaps you appreciate walking along the beach while barefoot or being barefoot in the cool green grass? Apparently, there are so many reasons to enjoy these activities and I think most of all is the process of being grounded.

Antioxidants for Detoxification

You have probably heard of an indoor outlet being grounded.

“…the grounding system in a residential wiring system serves a ‘backup’ pathway that provides an alternate route for electrical current to follow back to ‘ground’ in the case of a problem in the wiring system.”  (see link #2 below)

We will refer back to indoor grounded outlets later.

But, just like indoor outlets we can be grounded too. The terms used for this process is called “Grounding” or “Earthing”. We can experience grounding/earthing while walking barefoot on the earth’s natural surfaces such as grass, dirt, rocks and sand.

ANTIOXIDANTS – Grounding/Earthing “allows our bodies to soak up negatively charged ions from the earth.

These ions [from the earth] neutralize the positively charge ions [free radicals] that we accumulate from EMFs.” – Ways to Protect Yourself form EMF and Wi-Fi

Why You Should Practice Grounding/Earthing

We’ve all heard that we need to eat antioxidant rich foods to clean up free radicals in our bodies. Free radicals are caused by the consumption of poor foods (such as those containing chemicals and pesticides), air pollution, EMFs, medications, overdoing exercises that deplete oxygen intake and many more causes. Yet, antioxidants are molecules that donate an electron to free radicals – without forming or becoming free radicals in the process! When we are being grounded, we take in antioxidants, negative ions from the earth, that bond with free radicals, positive ions.

Grounding/Earthing can provide you with extra antioxidants to improve your health. Here are a few of the most common benefits of grounding that you may experience:

  • Better Sleep
  • Pain/Inflammation Reduction
  • Look and feel more vibrant
  • Stress relief
  • Speeds healing and recovery
  • Calms your nervous system
  • Increases blood flow

For a list of A to Z of Testimonials by Condition from the Earthing Institute, see link #5 below.

My Personal Experience with Grounding/Earthing

The very next day after viewing that YouTube video about EMFs and grounding I decided to start walking barefoot in a small garden area of my backyard. Before this, I would often go outside to feel the warmth of the sun and to hopefully soak in some Vitamin D, but I always would wear shoes outdoors. I walked outdoors barefoot for three days in a row but because we have been battling ants in our lawn I was being bitten each day and just the day before publishing this article I stepped into an ant mound! Yet, to my amazement, the ant bites never itched and they didn’t even produce the usual itchy bump which usually lasts for a few days. This was strange. The only explanation I could guess at was that because I was grounded I didn’t have my usual inflammatory response.

After day three I started more research. I was curious about how the protection from EMFs really worked so I searched online for more YouTube videos. I found someone who explained how to measure how much voltage my body was conducting using a device called a Multimeter.

Here is a Multimeter Test video which I made especially for you.

After conducting the tests and actually being able to see that the voltage I was conducting would drop as a result of placing my bare feet on the earth, I knew I wanted to ground (practice earthing) as much as I possibly could.

Grounding/Earthing Indoors Is Possible Too

Remember the indoor “grounded” outlets that I mentioned above? Well, they are very useful if you wish to be grounded indoors. You can connect tools that are specifically made for the purpose of grounding indoors if you have grounded outlets in your home, office, or any indoor location. The original inventor is Clint Ober and his products are sold under the “Earthing” brand at

Earthing universal mat
The mats plug into the grounding port of a grounded receptacle. Use of a special tester checks for proper “earth” grounding.
(Affiliate Link)

I discovered these tools existed after watching “The Earthing Movie” (see link #3 below). The movie is available for free on YouTube.

By using the indoor tools you can increase the amount of time you are able to be grounded. I’ve been using products that “ground” me while I sleep and while I’m working at my desk. I chose the “Earthing” brand because I like the fact that these products are non-toxic.

The main benefits I’ve noticed are:

  • More relaxed
  • Better, refreshing sleep
  • Less menstrual cramping (after just one month of grounding, it’s a female thing)
  • A persistent pain that I’d had in my shoulder for many months has subsided (At my last visit with the chiropractor he didn’t find the usual knots he would point out at every monthly visit). Perhaps, this is less stress and less inflammation? Whatever the cause, the effect is that the pain is gone!

We (Modern Societies) Have Lost Our Connection to the Earth

“Physical contact with the ground was an ordinary way of life in past times. People walked barefoot or used animal hides (leather) for footwear or bedding.” – The Earthing Institute (see link #4 below) With more and more modern day inventions we are becoming more removed from our connection to the Earth. By the early 1900s, rubber soled shoes were increasing tremendously in popularity and by the 1960s almost all shoe designs were available with rubber soles, especially athletic footwear. This was definitely a point in time when we became more disconnected from the earth (more than we ever had been before) and with this we can definitely see that there has been a rise in sickness and disease. (Additionally, do not forget, that our modern society has also implemented poor practices of growing and packaging foods which contain pesticides and are also highly laden with toxic chemicals. Most foods these days are also lower in nutrients due to the way they are processed and refined. Read my Real Food Guide if you need help navigating the food system.)

I know I’ve presented you with much information here. Yet, I hope this information has been eye-opening for you and has provided you with an additional tool you can use to boost your health. For me, this has been such a great gift of knowledge from which most of us have become disconnected. Don’t forget to watch “The Earthing Movie”.

Press Ctrl + D to Bookmark this page

Until next time, remember:

“It’s all about the real food you eat starting with the ground beneath your feet.” — Shonda


  1. Ways to Protect Yourself form EMF and Wi-Fi” by Monday night YouTube Live Chats with Dr. Baxter Montgomery
  2. Definition of a grounding system
  3. The Earthing Movie [The movie features Clint Ober, who is the pioneer of indoor electrical grounding.]
  4. History of Earthing at The Earthing Institute
  5. Here is an A to Z list of Benefits and Testimonials by Condition from The Earthing Institute
  6. Multimeter test video

UPDATE: It’s been two months and I’m thoroughly enjoying the “indoor” earthing products that I’ve mentioned in this article. We used to be connected to the earth almost 24/7. These products can help you stay more connected.

Remember, The Earth is foundational for natural health.(Affiliate Link)

This post contains affiliate links. Click here to read the affiliate disclosure.

Podcast Episode 4 – Immunity – Water (Drinking and Bathing)

Welcome back to our Immunity Series. Today, more than ever, it’s important to take care of your immune system, so today let’s look into how making good water decisions can benefit you. Perhaps you have never truly thought about the importance of water and specifically water as an important nutrient. We hope to encourage you to take a deeper look into the water you are drinking and the water you are bathing in. 

We invite you to listen and share your perspectives with us too. Send us a recorded message.

Listen right here:

Related blog article: Water

Discussion transcript for Immunity Series – Water:

Shonda (00:01): Well, I stopped taking showers altogether.

Shonda (00:04): Hi, this is Shonda and yes, that was truly a statement of mine. This week Patryce and I are discussing water, Perhaps you've never truly thought about the importance of water and specifically water as being an important nutrient. We hope to encourage you to take a deeper look into the water you are drinking and bathing in.

Podcast Intro (with music) (00:37): Hi and hello. Welcome to the real food and drinks, lifestyle podcast. We're building a community to talk about nutrition, lifestyle choices, and just feeling better. This is Shonda and this is Patryce. Let's just be real.

Podcast Intro (with music) - continued (01:03): [Music continues] Here's our disclaimer. We do not professionally practice in any of the various subjects that we discuss. We are only sharing our personal experiences with you to healthier lifestyle. Please do your own research before taking part in any of these practices.

Shonda (01:24): I originally started researching water at least three years ago. You know, I just wasn't feeling my best or I wasn't feeling hydrated or what brought it on mostly was that I was having the stomach bloating from IBS. And along with that, I was having like bladder urgency with that. And I'm like, I'm drinking all this water. Why doesn't it stick? You know, why isn't it sticking in me? Um, I'm trying to, you know, get it in. And the first thing that I discovered was that of the two waters I was drinking, both were reverse osmosis water. One was a home system. I had a reverse osmosis system under my sink and I was drinking that water. And the other time it was bottled. And, you know, I mean, when we read the back of the bottle, it says, treated by reverse osmosis filtration. And so...

Patryce (02:24): Can you give a short description of what reverse osmosis means?

Shonda (02:30): What happens is through the filtration process? And it's filtered through a number of different processes. I mean, even this reverse osmosis system had like two or three stages to it, of filtration, but the end result is a water that no longer contains minerals.

Shonda (02:52): And that's where we get into problems because, you know, we don't want to drink water void of minerals. I mean, that's the purpose. I mean, the minerals in it help keep us hydrated. You know, the minerals have, have nutrients, water should be a nutrient. I really used to study the Gerson therapy and they don't recommend drinking water at all. And I think it's because of this reason is because you can't trust the water source or, you know, people may not be researching the water as fully to understand that that water is doing more damage than good because the Gerson therapy was all about getting the most nutrition you can in everything you eat and everything you drink. So if the water was empty of nutrients, you know, there's really no reason to drink it. So then I took that out. I was like, Oh my goodness, we've been drinking the wrong water, you know, and I started doing research.

Shonda (03:57): So there are systems that can filter water to make it more drinkable, like city, tap, water, more drinkable. There's so many water reports out there. And if you look at, I think it's the FDA and the EPA they both monitor water and make suggestions. Let's see, the EPA regulates public drinking water and the FDA regulates bottled drinking water. And they have reports out there. And I mean, when you're looking at the reports about what's in water...okay. So they have recommended safety standards or guidelines. And I mean, and so water is being tested for over 200 contaminants. Tap water is. There's two... there's... I mean, there's even more than that, but that was, I know I counted at least 200 on the report where, you know, if you have these contaminants in your water, here are the safe level supposedly. And it's really interesting.

Shonda (05:00): The show notes will have a link to an article and then the article will have a link to FDA and EPA to read and to better understand what's happening to our city tap water systems. But there are systems supposedly that do extract most of these things. So I would not, I don't drink city, tap water, not on a regular basis. So it is highly recommended that you get a really good system to filter your city, tap water if you plan on drinking it. Yeah. Cause there's even carcinogens in the city tap water.

Patryce (05:39): Wow. And I guess you can... Is that one of the reports you're talking about that you can get?

Shonda (05:44): Yeah. The report is it just lists all of the possible contaminants or the contaminants that they found in water. And I guess this is us US FDA and EPA. These are acceptable limits, but next to the next to the contaminant, it will say if it's a high carcinogen type, uh contaminant or things. So it was ranked, they, there are ranks on carcinogens. That was pretty interesting that, that they, right, that they decided to, or felt it was needed to show the different rankings of how this contaminant specifically ranked as a carcinogen. So that was very interesting.

Shonda (06:34): When I originally started looking about three years ago, and this was, I think rather kind of new, a new chemical, it was called chloramine. So I started, when I wrote (rewrote), this article, I wrote about chloramine because I had noticed that when taking a shower, my eyes just would hurt. They would be red after. And even sometimes it felt like I couldn't breathe when I was in the shower. Cause I take really hot showers. I like hot water. And so how water makes the chlorine and chloramine more volatile, I guess it opens it up and it separates it from the water, I guess. And, and you know, when we're breathing in it, it causes more issues. Chloramine is a combination of chlorine and ammonia.

Patryce (07:26): What a? Ooph, that sounds volatile. Just those two.

Shonda (07:29): Yes. We know how volatile ammoonia is. So if we're taking baths in city, hot, hot city, tap water, you know, I guess if you're, if you... Hey, if you do cold showers and that's good, but I can't do a cold shower. So...

Patryce (07:45): I may start though.

Shonda (07:48): Well, I stopped taking showers altogether because of this. It was that it affected me that much. So I would take a bath or use a bath ball and I wouldn't even use that many. Yeah. I still cleaned!

Patryce (08:02): Just wanted to clarify that for everyone.

Shonda (08:06): Yes. But I just used a bath tub. (Patryce: Okay.) And try to filter it as best as I can. And I am hopefully planning on putting more of a filter on the house to get a cleaner source of, of bathing water. I think that's important too, when we expose our skin to water, it's taking in the water and all the things that are in the water. So we want to be careful of that.

Patryce (08:31): And because we want to be careful of that. I'm sorry. Did you mention something that before you get that whole house filtration, is there something we can put into our bath water to help with?

Shonda (08:41): Well, Okay...So, you can, if you're running bath water, or even a shower head, there are filters that I'm not sure about the chloramine. Maybe now there are, but I think the chloramine is... A more expensive type filter needed to remove chloramine. And also recently I don't, I believe it's effective, but I don't know how effective this process would be for a whole bathtub of water is to ozonate your water. Now that's something really new. It's called ozone to ozonate - to infuse the water with ozone to remove the contaminants. Yes. So that's new. That's something that I have not tried yet, but of course, naturally I'm looking forward to trying. So I'm trying, I'm in the process of researching a system right now. I think of water as a nutrient. You know, like I said, we don't just want to take in any kind of water because it's not going to benefit us.

Shonda (09:43): I think my next research led me to just start looking at bottled water. So the most common that we find in the grocery store is, uh, called purified water. According to USDA that is produced by distillation, De-ionization, reverse osmosis and something like that. But it also, and the FDA even says this, can be called de mineralized water. (Patryce: Wow.) Yeah. So that doesn't sound like a good thing, you know? Um, so it's highly likely that most of the bottled water labeled purified water is also labeled drinking water or filtered water. These waters have been, uh, treated by these systems. And normally they're just city tap water, that's been treated, you know. They demineralize it to get everything out - the contaminants and the nutrients come right along with it. And so my belief that it's not ideal for drinking on a regular basis. Now, you know, if that's all that's available for you that day drink the water, you know, but, um, but try on a regular basis when you decide what water you're going to drink. Um, we just need to look further into the choices that we're making.

Patryce (11:08): Now, there are other bottled waters that when I, if I'm at a grocery store, I want to choose spring water is one of them or artesian water. Spring water is derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the surface. So there's something, you know, at some point it is underground, but it comes back up to the surface. Spring water may be collected at the spring or through a borehole, you know, by tapping into the underground formation. So that's the definition of spring water. I think we still have to be careful when we're looking into bottled waters, no matter what it is, because even though the source may have more natural minerals and things, because it's been underground and it's coming up naturally from a water source, the way that the company treats it, once they gather it can have detrimental effects on it.

Shonda (12:11): One company that I researched, which is very popular, I know here in Texas where I am, they actually bring it from a spring, but during transport, while there, after they gather it, they treat it with chlorine. (Patryce: Oh wow.) They treat it with chlorine during the transport. And right before bottling, they remove the chlorine. I choose not to drink that one because of that. And you can find all this information on websites, go to the company's website and look up their water reports and their processes. If they aren't open enough to tell you about all those. And I wouldn't even drink their water.

Patryce (12:51): Good point...good point.

Shonda (12:55): I mean, I would drink their water over the regular purified water that comes from the city tap, but on a longterm basis, that's not the one that I chose. Before I get there though. I want to say, I guess this is in both cases though, we want to choose spring water or artesian water that has only undergone like, um, carbon filtration or sand filter. And, and one of the processes they use is ozone... Ozonating water. That's a process that some companies, uh, spring or artesian water ... or companies use or passing water through an ultraviolet light. I read that ultraviolet light can eliminate the chloramine in there. So that was interesting. Yeah. I mean, I wonder if there are ultra violet violet lights that we can get to purify our water. It's just also interesting, especially with technology today, the way that it can be created for, um, personal consumer use, you know, I'm sure some of these things, more of these things are available and becoming available.

Shonda (14:09): And it's a good thing because we're getting more contaminants in our environment. I drink artesian water it comes from an artesian. Well, I list a lot of them in the article that I wrote that will be available as a show note to this, I drink artesian water because they do have to go underground to get it. So it hasn't come up to the top yet and mix with other ground waters possibly that could contaminate it...things like that. Water from the artesian well comes deep within the different layers of the earth and the way it got there is mostly,uh, rainwater. When rainwater settles, you know, it'll go into the earth. Okay. That seems like the most natural process that God created. You know, even in the Bible, they drank from a well, they went deep down and got the water and there's just some I'm sure great filtration that happens in the earth that we probably just don't know about.

Shonda (15:16): I mean, they, I know that they've tried to duplicate those things in some systems with the carbon filter and with the sand filter and with these different things. But to just have it naturally happen... In the water that I chose, it just tastes so good to me that it was just no doubt about this was the water that I want to drink. Now it can get expensive, but in my mind, I was searching and searching and feeling ill. And so hospitals and doctors are expensive too. So I just choose to buy the water.

Patryce (15:49): I have to say that this water, most of the well waters, artesian, well, waters are labeled as alkaline. And I know for, you know, a while back, everything was trying to be labeled alkaline. It's alkaline... It's alkaline, but I want you to not be fooled by water just because it claims to be alkaline.

Patryce (16:11): This water... This artesian well is alkaline naturally from coming up from the deep, in the well of the earth. There are also companies that use the same purified, bottled water from the city tap, they reverse osmosis it and remove all the nutrients. And then they try to add nutrients back to make it alkaline. That reminds me of white rice. They've taken all the nutrients out, but they've enriched it with added vitamins because they know that food has nothing to offer. Yes, I am a proponent of whole grain brown rice versus white rice, especially on a regular basis. So the same thing with water, um, we want it to be natural. We want it in its natural state. We don't want to clean it all up and do all these things and remove it and then try to artificially add back minerals.

Patryce (17:11): Wow. That's very interesting. It seems as though there's a lot to learn about our water or just to be, make ourselves aware of and, and when we are, we're not sure we can ask for those reports or look at those reports, um, for our local water, just to, to know for ourselves, everything you just said. Um, and I'm, I'm just thankful that you have done a lot of this research for us so that we can go out there and take a look at that, um, document you created.

Shonda (17:43): Yeah. Yeah. Glad to share.

Patryce (17:45): I love that Shonda, this, the goal is to just make changes, even small changes towards a better lifestyle.

Shonda (17:58): Thanks for listening. We hope you enjoy today's podcast. Remember you can catch show notes and additional details at under the podcast menu. Also subscribe to our podcastt if you aren't already a member of our community. And if listening through Anchor, please send us a messenge of topics you would like to hear us have conversations about until next time. Let's just be real.

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Drinking Tea for Health Benefits

I have to admit that I mostly drink tea when I’m looking to warm up on a cold winter’s night. So, yes, I mostly drink hot tea. Yet, tea can be enjoyed in a variety of ways and, likewise, there are so many varieties of tea. But most notably, we should be drinking tea for health reasons and its many benefits.

Black tea is what many of us are most familiar with. Some of us drink this tea when out at restaurants and some of us who make it at home using tea bags. In the South, like here in Houston, it’s know as sweet tea. Actually, though I’ve lived here my entire life, I didn’t become familiar with the term sweet tea until just a few years back. (In the community I grew up, sweet tea was replaced by Kool-aid, but that’s an aside, another topic for another day.)

Then there is green tea. Green tea originated in China. Today many westerners have adopted this tea into their diets specifically for its health benefits.  Green tea and black tea are both derived from the same plant, yet black tea is more oxidized. See article links below which explain the benefits of green and black tea and how tea is processed. 

But, today we will talk about other types of teas.

Roots, spices and plant teas for health benefits:

Roots, spices and plant leaves can be used to create tea also. Usually this is accomplished by heating/boiling water and allowing the substances to be infused into the water. The longer the infusion time, the stronger the tea. Similarly, a stronger tea can be made by using more of the root, spice or leaves.

On a recent podcast titled, “Immunity Series – Drinking Teas”, Patryce (my co-host) shared a few of her favorite teas and how they benefit our immune systems. Here are her findings.

Benefits of Drinking Teas

Burdock Root Tea

  • Heals the liver
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Improves hair health
  • Aids in healing of stomach disorders

Ginger Root Tea

  • Eases morning sicknesses
  • Eases period pains
  • Protects against cancer, heart disease and type-two diabetes

Rooibos (Red Bush)Tea

  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Aids in bone health
  • Improves digestive health

Peppermint Tea

  • Increases your energy
  • Increases brain oxygen levels
  • Enchances breathing functions
  • Relaxes muscles; even bronchial muscles
  • Eases indigestion


  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Bosts good HDL levels
  • Lowers bad LDL levels
  • Protects the liver
  • Anti-bacterial properties

Important Note: Only certain hibiscus plants can be used to make hibiscus tea. The flowers of H. sabdariffa and H. acetosella are commonly used when brewing hibiscus tea. (Source)

Tea Plants – More Information

Even though our focus in this article, and during our recent podcast, was on other types of teas other than the common tea plant, I’d like to point out that there are benefits to drinking these teas also.

“Tea, a popular beverage made from leaves of the plant Camellia sinensis, has been shown to reduce body weight, alleviate metabolic syndrome, and prevent diabetes and cardiovascular diseases in animal models and humans. Such beneficial effects have generally been observed in most human studies when the level of tea consumption was 3 to 4 cups (600–900 mg tea catechins) or more per day. Green tea is more effective than black tea.” – An abstract from PMC – US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

(More about tea processing at Wikipedia.)

Related Podcast:

Visit the  Immunity – Drinking Teas podcast by clicking on this link.

Podcast Episode 3 – Immunity – Drinking Teas

This is the first in our “Immunity Series” of podcasts. In this episode we have a discussion about how drinking teas can help boost our immune systems. Tune in to learn a few interesting facts about herbal teas vs. the common tea varieties.

We invite you to listen and share your perspectives with us too. Send us a recorded message.

Listen right here:

Related blog article: Drinking Teas for Your Immune System

A Cup of Tea

Note: Future “Immunity Series” podcasts will not only include foods that boost our immune systems but various lifestyle practices that we can implement as well.

Photo by Drew Taylor on Unsplash

Discussion transcript for Immunity Series – Drinking Teas:

Shonda (00:00): So we each decided on a topic and, uh, you chose tea and I chose water this week. We did do a little research. Uh, we want it to bring you some accurate facts about tea and water. So let's talk about what we learned this week.

Patryce (00:20): Super. I was surprised at how much I actually didn't know about one of my favorite drinks, tea. And so this was pretty, I, pretty revealing for me, just finding out some more details about tea and there's still, I'm sure a lot more to learn, but, uh, I did find out that tea is the most, second, most popular beverage in the world from a world standpoint, only second after water and, uh, in the U S it's not as popular as tea is around the world. Around the world people drink a lot more tea than we do in the U S

Shonda (01:01): Wow. Yeah. I usually just go for tea, hot tea, something peppermint. Usually if my stomach feels unsettled or want to have something to settle it and, you know, make it feel comforting. Um, I always go, I don't drink cold drinks. I always go for room temperature or hot.

Patryce (01:22): Wow. That's yeah, that's really good insight about how we have different tea habits, drinking of tea habits. And like you just point out, you prefer to drink it warm or hot tea. And in the U S a cold, he is very popular, cold ice tea, but your, your habits are more similar to around the world where they really do drink more hot tea or warm tea, and specifically herbal teas and Shonda. That's what I, I didn't really understand. There was a difference between herbal teas and non herbal, other than I prefer herbal teas. And I assume that they are better for you and good for you. And, and I did find that out that herbal teas, they provide a lot of nutrients and all teas are, a good source of hydration, but on top of that, the herbal teas provide the nutrients. And the main thing is that herbal teas are from an infusion of various non tea plants. So that prompted me to find out, okay, non tea plants. So that, I've found out that tea...the non honorable teas come from the two main types of tea plants. So there are tea, specifically tea plants, so that the non herbal.

Shonda (02:49): Yeah, that that's, that's very new information. I never, I never thought about there being a tea plant, you know, tea plants versus... Because all the teas that I drink are herbal teas, or like made with peppermint, or mint or things like that. And those obviously are not, um, tea plants. And then something else just came to mind is ... so the tea plants are really the ones that have the caffeine in them.

Patryce (03:18): True. Exactly. You, you know, you've heard probably there's black tea, green tea, white teas, and these all have caffeine. And I think they have different degrees of caffeine, but the bottom line, like you said, they do have caffeine. Whereas the herbal teas made from the non tea plants, non tea plants like flowers, herbs, spices, and other roots generally don't have caffeine. They're caffeine free.

Shonda (03:50): That's really good. Cause I, I do think of, uh, um, recently I've I've have you heard of, um, Pau D' Arco? I think that's how you pronounce it. It's like pine bark tea actually. Is that one of your research?

Patryce (04:05): It is not one, but I have had that at one time.

Shonda (04:09): I go for that one for respiratory. That's, I would say that that's one of my favorite to infuse, um, as a tea.

Patryce (04:19): Oh, wow. Yeah, I haven't done any research on that one, but I have, I have tasted it before and it's a more earthy tea. I found it very refreshing. It just a very earthy tea, but good to know that can help with respiratory. But one tea you did mention earlier that I did look at was peppermint tea. That's an fantastic tea, and you can, in America, we usually just buy our teas and tea bags, but also you can buy the peppermint itself and steep it to make the tea that way. And either way, the peppermint tea is a wonderful tea, and it has some benefits such as improving your, your, um, your energy, your power, and also enhancing breathing functions. And it's also been attributed to a relaxation of your bronchial muscles, increased brain oxygen levels, and, um, also, uh, muscle relaxing benefits as well. And I think a lot of people, I think you mentioned it, it can help ease your indigestion. So maybe after an especially heavy meal or something, didn't agree with you after having that meal, you might have some peppermint tea.

Shonda (05:40): This is so interesting because I think that we want to promote real food and real drinks. And so we want to share today that tea is a real drink and no matter which one we choose, it can be beneficial us in some way, you know, it's providing some nutrient or some benefit to our diet,

Patryce (06:04): exactly.

Shonda (06:04): So carry on.

Patryce (06:06): Well, and now that you brought that up, because it can be so beneficial, I also was reminded that we don't have to just make the tea and have a cup of tea, but you can also add the tea to your oatmeal or your smoothie or your soup broth and marinades. So the reason why I thought that was exciting, like you said, because of the nutritional benefits, you don't have to just drink it. You can add it, incorporate in to the preparation of your foods. So that was pretty exciting, but also, um, I have the top five that I picked out. There are lots of verbal teas, but there were five that I honed in on. And another one I'm sure you may have heard of is Chamomile, right? A lot of people drank Chamomile tea, and that is one that is, it generally has a very calming effect.

Patryce (07:00): So it might be something you want to drink before you go to bed and can actually help with your sleep, getting to sleep, and a better sleep. And then there's there, there's another tea called Burdock root. And that was interesting to me because I've actually eaten the Burdock root in a sandwich or a hand roll that they used to serve in Singapore. And Southeast Asia is pretty popular to have dishes with rice or hand roll made with a black or red rice. And then Burdock was one of the different items that you could put in it. But burdock root tea has a long list of health benefits like detoxifying the body, um, because it helps with healing the liver and preventing some chronic diseases, as well as reducing inflammation and just boosting the immune system overall, uh, that includes your respiratory infections, helping to heal those with the burdock root tea and also improving your hair health and stomach disorders. So there is like a lot of benefits to this particular tea made from the Burdock root.

Shonda (08:10): Hmm. Wow. So what does the burdock root tastes like when you had it in those, you know, sandwiches or wraps? Is it bitter?

Patryce (08:19): No, I didn't think it was bitter. It's definitely not. It's more on the savory side and it was like parsnip, if you can think of that, it's very interesting. It was cut up like, you know, how you get the match? What do you call them? The carrots. Those little sticks.

Shonda (08:40): Oh, like match sticks. Oh, okay. So is it a Burdock a root?

Patryce (08:46): It is burdock root.

Shonda (08:48): Okay. I was thinking more like a green plant.

Patryce (08:51): No, it's a root. So it's like a more white or off white color. So yeah, I haven't really seen it here, so I don't, it didn't have like a very pronounced taste. More on the mild side, but it was very tasty complemented with the rice, the carrots, even cucumbers, all those good things. So that was ... I'm going to be in search of Burdock root tea. I haven't found any or looked for it, but it will be in the feature. And then the third tea is ginger. And I think many of us are familiar with ginger, with our cooking and, uh, also sucking on ginger, if you've ever... People sometimes when you're pregnant, you're suffering from morning sickness. And just anytime you feel nauseated, ginger is a very good go-to. So ginger tea could be something that can help greatly with that morning sickness or being nauseated or motion sickness tooo ginger sipping on some ginger tea can help with those, um, times when you're suffering from those things. And also, I didn't realize it can help ease your period pains. So it also supports our immunity overall. And there are studies that show that can help protect against cancer, heart disease, as well as type two diabetes. So that was all very, very interesting and exciting ways that we can prevent ... help with prevention of diseases.

Shonda (10:23): Right. And let's remind our community that we're talking about. Um, we're just talking about tea and water today, but the goal is to use all these foods together in combination to, uh, help build our immune system. So we, we can't, uh, ever just look at one specific thing and say, that's going to be our cure. We're talking about real food, real drinks and the lifestyle, which means that we want to incorporate all these things into healthy living. [Great.] So go ahead. I just wanted to let everyone remind everyone about that.

Patryce (11:00): Yeah, that's a great reminder. There's a fourth tea. Hibiscus tea is another super tea to drink, and many of us probably are familiar with the Hibiscus plant. We actually have one in our front yard that has those beautiful flowers. Well, this beautiful plant, you can drink the Hibiscus tea from those, um, from, from the hibiscus plant, you can get Hibiscus tea and it tastes somewhat like cranberries.

Shonda (11:33): Wow. Are you saying that any Hibiscus plant, I can go make into a tea that there isn't like a specific one that is, you know, used or I don't know, like some mushrooms that grow wild they're poisonous and some, you know, are beneficial. So ...

Patryce (11:50): That's a great point. Shonda. I would not, I'm not advocating we go out and get the Hibiscus leaves from our plants outside that's... We don't know. That's a good point. I have always purchased my Hibiscus tea. And, um, I do know people who have purchased the actual, um, plant. Oh, well, they've the leaves, the dried leaves. You can do that, but yes, make sure you check that out. You purchase it, uh, from a, uh, a reliable source and yeah, I would not just go and harvest it from our own plants. That's a very good point. Yeah. We'll have to look that up. But from the high biscuits, um, leaves that you've purchased or the tea bags, you, um, there are some benefits from drinking that tea and some of them are that they're rich in antioxidants and may boost your good HDL levels and lower, bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides for people with diabetes. And it also helps to protect the liver and promote weight loss. And the last cool thing I wanted to mention is I read that it helps support immunity through its antibacterial potency. I did not realize that.

Shonda (13:09): No, no, I didn't at all. And, you know, I liked the sweet taste of, of, uh, Hibiscus tea. I think it has like a little tangy -ness or whatever to it. And normally when I'm having tea, I, uh, I do use some, um, some Stevia in my tea, like one or two drops. Uh, I don't know, I just don't go for sugar. But it's, it has a really nice balance with that little bit of sweetness and, you know, and the, yeah, it's kind of tangy, I guess it's tropical, you know, it was kind of citrusy

Patryce (13:44): And some people have compared it to be similar to cranberries, but, um, I don't think it's overly tart, but it does remind you a bit of that, but it's a very, it's a lovely tea to drink. So that tea and the there's another tea called Rooibos commonly referred to as red or red Bush tea. So instead of the Rooibos' name, you might just see it also advertised as red, Bush tea or red tea. And it comes from the leaves of a shrub native to South Africa. And it's another tea, another herbal tea that's loaded with antioxidants as well as anti inflammatory compounds. And it has been linked to uh bone health protection and improved digestive health as well as obesity prevention. Yeah. And yeah, like you, I'm glad you gave us that reminder earlier that we're not saying, Oh, you just drink these teas and it's a cure all no, but it's to compliment the overall lifestyle of healthy eating and choosing to be intentional about what we decide to eat and drink. One other thing it said about this tea was that in small amounts, they have found that to contain iron calcium, potassium, copper and magnesium, zinc and mag, well, just a lot of minerals. So that's pretty cool.

Shonda (15:19): Yeah. I think that's something surprising about all the herbal plants and especially when they are infused in water. I mean, they are very, I guess, potent, they're powerful, they're powerful antioxidants that do go a long way with, um, such little bit, you know, small amounts do go a long way.

Patryce (15:43): That's a very good point. And like you said, infused in water. So that's why I'm excited to learn more about, well, what water is the best water to drink, or what should I be looking into when I consider the water that I'm drinking?

Shonda (15:57): So that wraps up our discussion about tea. Next time we will be discussing water and how it can help boost your immune system.

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What’s bottled juice all about?

bottles of juice

Store-bought juices vs. fresh raw juices.

“Store-bought” juices are those which most of us are familiar with and are marketed to us under big brand names. The majority of these also contain added sugars. Even though some are refrigerated, they have still been processed in a way that destroys the natural enzymes that were at once inherent in the juice. But, did you know that even some juices which are usually marketed as fresh pressed (1) on the store shelves also no longer contain their natural enzymes? Yet, there are “fresh pressed” juices that if not pasteurized have undergone a treatment called “High Pressure Processing (HPP)”.

HPP is a processing step that extends shelf life and kills at least 99.999% of the microorganisms in juice.

How can you know the difference?

Fresh juices that are raw and have not been HPP processed (or pasteurized) are still in their natural, raw state (with living enzymes) and they must have an FDA required label if stored on a shelf. The FDA labeling currently reads as such:

“WARNING: This product has not been pasteurized and therefore may contain harmful bacteria that can cause serious illness in children, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems.”

Fresh raw juice cannot just sit on a shelf because it has a “due date”. It will sour or ferment when past due. If you are purchasing from a reputable company, they have taken all precautions to properly clean the produce (fruits and vegetables) prior to bottling it for sale. Their reputation is on the line and the health department will know of their failures. For this reason, you are most likely to get fresh raw juices from juice bars where the juice has either been made fresh that day or made to order.

I prefer, and recommend fresh raw juices.

Fresh raw juices are truly a delight. Due to the higher price of purchasing fresh raw juices , I prefer to make juice in my own home using a juicing machine. This way I can be sure that the juices I’m drinking still have all the living enzymes intact – which lends to added energy for our family when we drink them this way. The live enzymes in fresh raw juices also aid in digestion especially when consumed with meals.

If you must purchase pasteurized juices, please make sure that these bottled juices do not contain added sugar. Because without the live enzymes, our bodies process these juices in a different way that raises your insulin levels.

Bottled juices that can be purchased:

  • Trader Joes’ Carrot Juice – HPP treated. I don’t think they have any fresh, raw juices in the store.
  • Whole Food’s Market – Most sell both. Raw fresh juices from their fresh juice counters and also in the produce section on the shelf which are most likely HPP. Just remember to check labeling.
  • Central Market – I assume they have both, I’ve definitely found fresh raw juices in the produce section.
  • Juice Bars – check labeling and ask the company questions.

(1) How are fresh pressed juices made? First the produce is ground up into pulp, then the juice is slowly extracted by pressing the pulp under thousands of pounds of pressure. Most home juicers are either centrifugal or slow-masticating. Click here for more information about the different types of juicers.

Podcast Episode 2 – What is real food and what are real drinks?

real food and drinks on a chopping board

Have you ever thought about food as being “real” or “not real”?

In this episode Shonda and Patryce discuss the many aspects of what real food and real drinks are. How to identify real foods from the grocery store. We also discuss some suggestions on how you might begin to make small, incremental steps to benefit your health journey and we share our health journeys with you. Let’s get empowered together to make real food choices that can benefit us all. We invite you to listen and share your perspectives with us too.  Send us a recorded message.

Listen right here:

Related blog article: Eat Real Food and Do Not Focus On a Specific Diet

In this episode we mentioned juicing often and that we would have a link to bottled options that you might consider purchasing. Please see “What’s bottled juice all about?” for more insight.

As an added treat, here is a link to a real food, rocky road ice cream recipe for your enjoyment.

Download the Real Food Guidebook:

Healthy Eating with Real Food Guidebook

Healthy eating with real food

Intro with music (00:10): Hi, and hello, welcome to the real food and drinks lifestyle podcast. We're building a community to talk about nutrition, lifestyle choices, and just feeling better. This is Shonda, and this is Patryce. Let's just be real. [inaudible] Here's our disclaimer. We do not professionally practice in any of the various subjects that we discuss. We are only sharing our personal experiences with you to a healthier lifestyle. Please do your own research before taking part in any of these practices.

Shonda (00:55): So what do you want to talk about today?

Patryce (00:58): Let's talk about what is real food and what are real drinks, right.

Shonda (01:05): I think that's a good place to start.

Patryce (01:08): It's interesting how there are so many different perspectives on that opinions. What have you, um, maybe one day we can actually share some of those, but today. What, what, what do you, what do you think real food and real drinks are Shonda?

Shonda (01:26): Well, and the reason why I started blogging about it was that I was having a lot of issues with, uh, brain fog was my main thing. And so, um, I wanted to find a way to detox my body and just get into a healthy state because I had gone through a process called chelation and after the process was over, that therapy was over. ...I felt so much better. And the purpose of the therapy is to detox your body. So I wanted to learn how to detox my own body myself without the chelation process that I had gone through. I wanted to do it in a more natural way. So the idea came we're eating all these foods that have added chemicals and things that our bodies do not need, and that our bodies have to process our bodies, have to detox these chemicals and added things out of our body in order to, um, keep functioning well.

Shonda (02:33): So my goal was to limit the amount of toxins that I was eating in my food. So that's when I started saying, Hey, if I just eat real food. So my definition of real food is mostly staying away from packaged foods and, and trying to eat more, let's say out of the produce section of the grocery store. So a banana is a banana and nothing's been added to it. I try to eat as much organic produce as I can to in order to avoid, um, added, uh, pesticides and things like that. But I think when we think about real food, staying in the produce section is a really good start for creating food and drinks using those products. What do you think?

Patryce (03:27): I agree, uh, staying on the outer perimeter, starting mainly and concentrating in the produce section for your fresh vegetables, your fresh fruits is ideal. And, um, not to say that there aren't things within the inner part of the store you won't get to, but we would focus mainly on those things on the outer perimeter, in the produce section, um, for healthier eating. I totally agree. And for me, um, I think I just got to a point of wanting to eat foods like those that my grandparents raised us on or exposed us to. I mean, my grandfather had a corner garden, literally a garden that took up the corner of the street and collard greens, all these fresh vegetables. Yeah, very nice. And then my mother, well, and I just have relatives that had farms as well, but for me, just having remembered that as a child and not getting, not going out to eat much. That was a treat to eat out.

Patryce (04:35): Most of your meals were prepared and not from a box ...that they picked some of the vegetables and they may have had a protein. And there was not as many processed ingredients, even cornbread was made from all the ingredients itself, not from the box. And then when I got older, I remember straying away from that. And I think looking back mainly because of convenience, and then I remember working at McDonald's and Wendy's, these are fast food restaurants in high school. And just my own personal experience was not a pleasant one with the food that was being, I say, processed there. Um, you know, it seemed like almost instant food. And I started thinking, this is not real and everything microwave and everything out of a container. And, and then the back in the day, thankfully, they don't use the styrofoam now, but everything was then layed in a styrofoam container.

Patryce (05:33): And I just, you know, you start smelling those things when you worked there. And it was a turnoff for me to be honest. So that was in high school. I still ate a lot of that food, honestly. But then when I got into college, I attended a health fair. I met someone who was a raw foodist enthusiast. And, um, I think that really helped me begin a journey of inquiring about what are healthier food choices. And then lastly, when I became, you know, I was married and then we were expecting our first child. I worked for a company that traveled a lot, but they, I was afforded a wonderful, uh, expense account. So I was able to eat anywhere and they were paying for it. So I would eat at the whole food equivalent where I was working. And that really opened my eyes to so many different ways to eat more well, whole foods, real food, um, not completely at that time plant based, but more of a plant based diet.

Patryce (06:36): And then realizing that it made me feel better. And I felt it was so important at the time being pregnant to be feeding my child good food too. So I think that began my journey about, um, what real food is and realizing it's not always about convenient. It has to be intentional. But once it becomes intentional over time, it becomes a habit. And then you also start... For me... I realized all that food I had started to consume in high school and thought was okay. It became not even a taste tasty to me anymore because I do think you can retrain your taste buds.

Shonda (07:17): Right? Wow.

Patryce (07:19): That's pretty much how my journey started.

Shonda (07:22): I was just listening to that. And there's just so much wisdom in that you are not only feeding you, but you were feeding your child. You know, I mean, that's a great thing to consider... To know that what you're eating is going to be fed to your child. It's not just some byproduct and little chemicals and vitamins, but it's real food, you know, real, whatever you consume, your child is consuming. So that's so good. I had a total opposite experience growing up. Okay. So I grew up mostly in I, what I would call... Spent most of my time in what they call now, food deserts. You know what I remember going to the grocery store a lot with my grandmother. I don't remember produce departments. All I remember are the frozen food sections and the meat sections and like deli meat cheese, and it was American cheese.

Shonda (08:27): Okay. We're not going to go there, but you know, I don't even, I don't even remember if we, I don't, I mean, I can visualize all these other aisles in the grocery store, but I cannot visualize the produce department at all. I mean, at the most as a child, what I remember having as produce in my refrigerator would be cucumbers, grapes, plums, maybe an Apple, oranges or whatever, but there was not many vegetables at all. There were more fruits, you know, a vegetable, a vegetable salad would be lettuce, tomato, and cucumber. That was probably as far as it went. And I mean, I'm like, now, what I, the way I prepare my salads, it's like, wow, what I was missing out on as a child, the, the amazing salads that I missed out on. Um, so I'm making up for them now, does,

Patryce (09:33): I know you are Shonda,

Shonda (09:36): I love making salads.

Shonda (09:38): But so that's just, you know, totally opposite upbringing, you know? And then, I mean, I had to discover these things on my own, you know, as I grew up and I had friends that would introduce me to other foods to eat. I grew up on fast food. I mean...

Patryce (09:55): So many people do.

Shonda (09:56): Yeah. I grew up on fast food and sandwiches and cereal. So, you know, no wonder...

Patryce (10:03): I had my share of those.

Shonda (10:03): No wonder why I experienced what I did, but I'm so thankful to be where I am now to know better, to have gained knowledge. And, um, so that's what I'm hoping to share with everyone. And you were talking about how your taste buds can change. It's it's really like you're, you know, and I'm, I'm not a doctor, but I've heard many doctors say it's all about your microbiome changing. You know, it's like your gut, that changes. And so as you feed it better, it wants better. It's going to crave the foods that it needs to build a better body. It's going to want natural sugar. It's going to enjoy fruits and things like that more than sugar. And that's just been my experience and also could have something to do with the way my brain is wired. Now. It's like, no, I spent all that time eating the wrong food, feeling bad, it's time to live life and feel better. So I'm on the other side.

Patryce (11:05): That is awesome. And I love how you brought about microbiomes. I don't know as much as you, and that sounds like something we could explore another time, even further our education and understanding of it as well as our audience. But, um, and I guess the reason I brought up the taste buds is that I'm a person who honestly, I ate because it tastes good.

Shonda (11:29): Right.

New Speaker (11:29): And I ate more than I needed too many times because it just tasted good. Okay. Those spaghetti and meatball dinners or spaghetti dinners,

Shonda (11:38): I love some spaghetti.

Patryce (11:40): Oh my goodness. As a kid and back then, I actually ate cheese in high school. I mean, high school was probably the worst time for me eating wise, but you know, I, I could not resist a good real cheese sandwich and I looked back and I'm like two and three grilled cheese sandwiches and then spaghetti, what are two helpings with those? Not so good for you noodles, but that's because it all tasted good. And back then I was doing some cross country training doing athletics. So you are hungry. But if only I knew that it would be just as fulfilling to eat some other foods that were better for me. Um, wow. I would have had a jumpstart, but it is what it is. You know, we all are on a journey and I'm still on the journey.

Shonda (12:27): Yeah. We're all still on our journey for sure. But I could never eat for the taste, buds because I felt so bad after eating. I mean, I would just drop all energy. So I didn't even have the opportunity to enjoy the food. And I'm, I'm speaking more on the sugar line, cause that really would like knock me out and just mess up my brain. And you know, I want to be in control of my brain. So, you know, if I ate sugar, I would just be wiped out tired and couldn't do anything else. So, because I wanted to do something else that just never was a satisfying thing for me, you know, to eat sugar and I've never been able to enjoy sugar. Like everyone else enjoy, Oh, you know, I could see someone eating cake or pie, whatever. Oh like, Oh, this is so delicious. This is just so good. It's just like, okay, never experienced that because I know what's coming next. You know,

Patryce (13:24): That is so interesting that you brought that up because I wonder how many other people have maybe a negative reaction to what they're eating, but for whatever reason, they're not acknowledging it. They're not aware of it because now that you brought that up, I know from a young age donuts, like kids love donuts in the morning, right. Sometimes, you know, it's a treat. Someone brings you a doughnut. You get to eat in the morning. I never could because similarly to you, I just, well, for me, I just got dizzy. If I had a donut and I haven't had real food before it would go straight to my head and I'd feel dizzy and yucky. And I just didn't like that feeling. But, and so for me, I just, I could eat sugar, but I could not eat it first thing in the morning since a young child.

Patryce (14:13): So I just abstain from that. But then I realized when I got older, I used to like ice cream all lot. And there's certain brands are way good to me. But anyway, that's another story. I would indulge in a whole pint in that day and it tastes so good. But you know, I realized every day I would do that the next morning, my nose would be stuffy. And I feel like I have cotton mouth. And I just began to, I look back now and many years I just did that and I just chalked it up to, Oh, that's just how I'm going to feel. It even became my new normal, but until I started to slow down and then I, I got more information and then I started experiencing how it feels not to feel that way. Then I too, like you would abstain. And even to this day, I don't eat regular ice cream.

Patryce (15:08): I don't really eat ice cream... Once in a while. I'll indulge in a vegan ice cream. If there's a parlor ice cream parlor that has an extra good one, but I don't bring it into the house. I don't eat it. I don't, I don't desire it or crave it anymore. But I think I finally took the time to listen to my body. And that's something I've really admired about you Shonda is that I feel that you learned that earlier on. Well, maybe because you had, but you not only listened, but you actually modified your behavior as a result. So it's one thing to hear it, but then to take positive actions, that's what I've really admired about you.

Shonda (15:49): Well, thank you. Thank you so much. I don't know if we should reserve this for another podcast and probably should, but I'm just going to share this when my kids were small, I could not eat food during the day because I would not have energy to do anything with them. And I was I'd say, less active as a parent that I would have liked to be because I didn't have it together in this food area, at the time and, and I just craved more energy, but I didn't have it when they were younger. So, you know, these are just some, some reasons and things that spurred me on, like, I've got to solve this one day. I'll have grandchildren and I'll have energy for them.

Patryce (16:34): Amen. Amen. And wow, thank you for sharing that Shonda, because I'm wonder how many people out there listening on some level can can identify with something you're saying,

Shonda (16:47): Wow. Yeah.

Patryce (16:49): And maybe they can, you know.

Shonda (16:50): Yeah.

Patryce (16:51): If anyone out there you can always contact us. Number one. But mainly we want you guys to know everyone out there, anything we're touching on it's to let you know that there is hope. There is hope.

Shonda (17:04): There is definitely hope. And so someone can approach this in a number of ways. We may have someone who likes to cook. Um, and I'm one of those people. I do enjoy cooking, especially when I have time. And so I went, I, I approached this as, wow. I get to, I get to create in the kitchen. I get to, to make something else. I get to learn how to make something else and make a food that's good for me taste good. You know, when I have time, I do focus on that, but then there are some who do not cook and we need to come up with some solutions for them too. And that would be more like what I do on a normal basis is I don't have time to cook. And I'm more like a snacking person throughout the day. I may just grab a little Cole slaw I have in the, in the fridge that I mixed up really quick and easy. And then like, just pair it with the, you know, maybe some beans and some quinoa, I love quinoa. Some people do some people don't or just brown rice. And we're talking about whole grain brown rice. We're talking about whole grains. The goal of a real food is to try and eat less processed. And whole grains means not processed.

Patryce (18:29): So glad you brought up that we have different people. Every once in a different season of life. And there may be that person, like you said, who loves being in the kitchen and it's like, wow, I get to create like you described. But then there's the other person. Who's a working single mother. And she is just busy. Even if she wanted to be in the kitchen for a few hours, she doesn't have the time. So we want to be able to, uh, lend hope to all the audience members because we understand that everyone is that in different seasons of life, but there's a solution for all of us to do better. Even for that working parent, who's super busy. There, there may be more prep work, you know, prep time. You might do it that way, but there's always something you can do to, to make it a better meal for you or more real food or a healthier meal.

Shonda (19:25): Right. And you know, I think, you know, it's not like one day you eat this way and one day you eat the new way. It's, it's, it's about making progressive steps. For me, the first step was problems eating wheat. So I had to remove wheat and that, that was a level that's like, Oh, I feel better. And, and then I removed a dairy and um, these, these things helped me. Although, you know, I mean, these are real foods. I mean, you can make a real whole grain, um, wheat bread, but it's very possible, but it's just me knowing what did not work for me. But we are talking about if you're going to eat bread, uh, we recommend something like the Ezekiel breads, you know, a sprouted grain bread, or that you really are going to need to learn how to bake your own bread, to get a real in quotes bread.

Shonda (20:21): I think everyone should just start making steps, start reading those packages. You don't want high fructose corn syrup. And you'll see like in many of the tomato, well, ketchup now it says across the front, no high fructose corn syrup. And that is something that you do not want in your food. It's not real, it's not natural and removing it will help your body and help the process of healing in your body. And there are tons of lists like that. Um, I don't know where we were, can probably post this somewhere for, to share with you. So yeah, definitely. I know we need to upload this to the real food and drinks website because, um, there are a few documents there now, but we can start getting more specific in the subjects that we're talking about. So we'll make sure to do that for our listeners.

Patryce (21:20): That sounds like a great idea. And I love how you touched on reading labels. I don't know if we have time to go and we could maybe do a whole podcast, but it is yes. It's the beginning step because I have two kids in college, a freshmen and a sophomore. And my freshmen said that, you know, mom, you know, I went to the grocery store a couple of times with friends and, and I started reading labels out of the habit of doing it with you. And there were things that I still, I didn't want to buy anymore because like you pointed out reading labels is empowering. And one simple thing we can start with, like you said, Shonda, no high fructose syrup, any corn syrup, any of those, those things and anything with it, -O-S-E or things that you and I don't know what they are right away.

Shonda (22:13): If we can buy it and bring it home and put it in our kitchen, we don't need it.

Patryce (22:19): Exactly. Because some of those labels to be honest, have a lot of chemicals. And so if you wouldn't go to the store and buy the chemicals, why would you feel it's just okay to eat the chemicals in the food, just because it's out there and offered to us. So I think reading labels is the first step and empowering yourself.

Shonda (22:43): That is such a good word. I mean, to be empowered. Because lack of control or let's say when we feel like we are out of control, okay, that takes a toll on us. We want to be in control. We want to go after this idea of we know what we can do, where we can actually make a difference in, in feeling better. So that's empowering, that's, I'm in control and no one can take that away from me.

Patryce (23:13): That is so true. So I liked that. Yes. Empowering is a good word. When it comes to how we choose to eat. Can't let it go without saying another thing to notice on these labels, because the red dyes just any dye. You want to try to avoid that too. And, and that's something where my kids were in track for years and they had two coaches, their whole career, but one of them was very much about not only they do on the track, but their whole being in school and their health, their wellbeing, um, as a whole. And that's one thing he would say to these kids, even though you might drink Powerade or Gatorade, he'd say, try to go for the clearer ones. Don't go for the red dye. That is not probably the, that's not the best for you. And I know my daughter actually had reactions. She had some of all things, a birthday cake, she went to a party and it had red coloring on it for decoration, her lips swelled up. They became swollen.

Shonda (24:21): Wow. Yeah, that was the first thing that we took out too that over that I took out of their foods and I would warn them about it, you know, at school. And I did things like, uh, one of mine had an allergy to ice cream and we actually found out it was the added ingredient carrageenan, which, um, that was 14 years ago when I discovered that or more. And now we do see it on labels, no carrageenan now, but back then I had to either make her ice cream or I had to really go and search for special ice cream that did not include carrageenan that did not include the color yellow, that did not include all these things in order for her to enjoy, you know, being at school. And she, as a child, even as a child, she recognized the difference. You know, she recognized that she didn't have this negative effect, uh, after eating what everyone else was eating, the ice cream that she just, you know, she wanted to feel better too. So it was okay to bring her own ice cream, to enjoy with her friends. It was still ice cream. So, um, that was part of our life when they were younger.

Patryce (25:39): I remember that. I remember a couple of times we visited and we, we were able to benefit from that because we got some of that yummy, that delicious, homemade ice cream you would make at times. And, uh, yeah. Do you remember, and now that you mention it, we have another friend whose daughter, there only certain brands of the main line of ice creams that they can eat as well. It may be because of that same ingredient.

Shonda (26:07): Yeah. You know what I think we should do. We should do a podcast on milk and dairy. So we can go into details because there are lot more things that we can discuss other than we're able to put in our intro to real food and drinks right now.

Patryce (26:26): That's true. So I think that's definitely a must, put that on the future podcasts list. Awesome. But you know what, we've talked a lot about real food, but let's not leave out and real drinks and people might wonder, well, what is that? I may drink is a drink. Well, actually not all drinks are created equal. Would you say they are?

Shonda (26:49): No? I mean, well, just like we were talking about the Gatorades and the Powerades with their colors and things, uh, there are many other options to choose and you know, like in the summer, and then my, I think most of my 21 year old enjoys this, when I do this, I have this picture with a filter and we can just stuff it with fruits and it flavors the water. And sometimes we drop uh steveia in there or honey or something, just a light sweetness. I mean, not much in those, those same. Yeah. They drink a Powerade and Gatorade the say for electrolytes, well, the same thing happens when we just soaked the fruit in the water. Fruit is full of electrolytes. So eating the fruit or drinking, you know, part of this essence has the same effect. And so that's a light drink. And even to go further, I don't think I would have been able to successfully get through what I got through years past without juicing fruits and vegetables. So that's my passion because vegetable juice, I mean, once you drink it, it's within ...all those nutrients or within your body in like 15 minutes, it's really uplifting. It's really energizing. And I, we'll go, we'll have to do another podcast on that too. And I guess the last one would be uh smoothies. What's your experience with smoothies?

Patryce (28:30): Yeah. Well, my kids love him. I have my experiences that they're awesome. And uh, you know, people have different preferences and of course, people want some fruit in the smoothie, nothing wrong with that, but you don't want to make all your smoothies only with fruit. It's great to expand what you're putting in your smoothies. For example, you might have your bananas and maybe some blueberries, but also putting that kale and spinach in it is yummy. And then also instead of just ice or water, um, a lot of times the kids will put either almond milk or whatever nondairy milk. But I knew when they ran a lot, speaking of hydration and electrolyte potassium, they used a lot of coconut water. Coconut water is an awesome drink as well. I know a lot of people, we can't forget the fact that water is key too. We need to all drink good water and ample water to keep ourselves hydrated. But I know that can be a challenge for some people for different reasons. They may just not drink enough or they don't like the taste of water. So ...

Shonda (29:42): You can add lemon to water.

Patryce (29:44): True. You can add lemon and they're always telling you get those sports drinks in them. Okay. Well, there's a reason why you need to do that, but it can be the water. It can be water with lemon or infused with other fruits and it could be coconut water. All those things

Patryce (30:02): Would be great because you want to keep yourself hydrated and like, and like you said, Shonda juuicing is awesome, but I am one of those people. And then we can talk about that later for, for some of us I'm speaking for my own personal experience, juicing, I did not take to it as well as you did. I have to be honest.

Shonda (30:24): You probably didn't need it as much as I did.

Patryce (30:28): Well, I also found it labor intensive.

Shonda (30:32): Right.

Patryce (30:34): And I wasn't sure of the cost, but we can talk about things in more detail. I'd love to hear, you know, we could do another podcast about juicing, but I do know there are people out there. Um, similarly to me, where there'll be like, well, I don't have time to juice. Because it does take time. And then you're wondering how much it costs. So ideally I think making juice, and even if it's, I don't know how many ounces you make a day, but maybe realizing that you're not going to have to need 16 ounces of juice per person. Right.

Shonda (31:10): Exactly. Yeah.

Patryce (31:12): Yeah. It's not the same need as when you go to the store and you grab the bottle. So when you juice, and those are things that you could probably guide us in a lot better,

Shonda (31:21): I look forward to it.

Patryce (31:23): Yeah. And there are options for those who are very busy and you still want the benefits, but you can't do it exclusively yourself. I have to put in my plug for the Trader Joe's carrot juice. That's just one option to help you maybe start towards juicing. If you're not able to do it, you may not have a juicer right now, or you don't have that time. There's still ways to start benefiting from juice.

Shonda (31:53): Yeah, definitely. And so we'll have to post some of the products that, you know, or those we would still consider real food and, and, uh, something that we can do if we can't do our at home, um, processes of creating these drinks. So definitely. Yeah. So just remember to read those labels and make sure that they include fresh food in those drinks. That's key.

Shonda (32:24): So there we have it, what our ideas are, for real food and drinks. Uh, if you'd like to share with us. There's a link on anchor where you can send us your recordings, and we'd like to hear from you.

Patryce (32:40): That would be awesome... To hear from as many of you that we can... So that we, as a community can learn and grow together.

Patryce (32:50): Until next time. Remember be real.

Shonds (32:55): Let's be real. Thanks for listening. We hope you enjoyed today's podcast. Remember you can catch show notes and additional details at under the podcast menu. Also subscribe to our podcast if you aren't already a member of our community. And if listening through anchor, please send us a message of topics you would like to hear us have conversations about until next time. Let's just be real.

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