Author Archives: bethcbeisel

Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips and Walnuts

We are finally all together, hunkering down and constantly washing our hands. My daughter made this this morning and we ate it entirely in 20 minutes!  Gluten free and delicious!

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We used this recipe from @shutthekaleup:

We deviated a little, using Nature’s Promise ORGANIC chocolate chips, vanilla extract, instead of bean paste, and this recipe to make our own (easy) paleo flour:



Elderberry Syrup: For Flu Prevention (or less severe symptoms) and to Enhance Immune Function

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About a year ago, I had a conversation with my cousin about the flu season. She has two little children and was nervous because of all the sensationalism on the news. She told me that her friend, (whose child has brain damage) was encouraged by the baby’s neurologist to give her 1/4 teaspoon of elderberry syrup every day, to help prevent the flu.

Later that winter, I made elderberry syrup for my son who had a cold and was away at school. I mailed it to him (and Fed Ex got it there safely!) I also poured some into little silicone ice cube trays and made frozen elderberry cubes, (about 1-1/2 teaspoons each) . I tried one of the little ice cubes, and it was really delicious; better than a spoonful of unfrozen elderberry syrup. I recommend one small ice cube per day, during cold and flu season as a treat for children!

This Fall, my husband caught a nasty cold; the worst part lasted 4 days…stuffy, coughing, etc. I immediately made him some elderberry tea, and drank it continuously myself,  all day long, for a few days.  About 4 days into his cold, I could feel it coming to me! The roof of my mouth hurt, and it felt like that for two days. I continued the elderberry tea and waited for the stuffy nose and heavy head – but it NEVER PROGRESSED! I never got sick! Two days of a “sore throat” was all I experienced.  I’m sure the elderberry syrup is what kept it at bay.

IMPORTANT TO NOTE: Never consume elderberries that are uncooked, even dried ones, because they contain  toxins (cyanogenic glycosides) that can make you sick. Elderberries should always be cooked, because the cooking process inactivates the toxins.

TEA: The tea is easy.  Just use 1 teaspoon of dried elderberries in 1 cup of water, and bring to a boil. Let it simmer for 20 minutes.  (I reuse the elderberries for a second or third cup before discarding them.)

I get ORGANIC elderberries from  (Frontier co op is the brand I have used.)

ELDERBERRY SYRUP; Here is a recipe for elderberry syrup. (source:
3½ cups water
2/3 cup elderberries (dried, or 1 1/3 cups fresh or frozen)
2 TBSP ginger (grated)
1 tsp cinnamon (ceylon is best for blood sugar control)
1/3 cup nutrient dense raw honey
1/3 cup nutrient dense real maple syrup
1/3 cup nutrient dense blackstrap molasses (I prefer it without the molasses)

Pour the water into a medium saucepan and add the elderberries, ginger, and cinnamon.
Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half.
Remove from heat and let cool until it is cool enough to be handled.
Mash the berries carefully using a spoon or other flat utensil.
Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl.
Discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool to lukewarm.
When it is no longer hot, add the syrups and stir well.
When the syrup is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into a mason jar or 16 ounce glass bottle of some kind. Store in the refrigerator and take daily for its immune boosting properties. Some sources recommend taking only during the week and not on the weekends to boost immunity.
Instant Pot option: Put all ingredients except syrups in pot, seal lid, and set manually for 9 minutes on high pressure. Vent pressure and strain. When cooled to room temperature, stir in the syrups.
Standard dose is ½ – 1 teaspoon for kids and ½ – 1 tablespoon for adults.
Serving: 1tsp | Calories: 6kcal | Carbohydrates: 1.7g | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 1.5g
If you won’t use within two weeks, you can freeze it in ice cube trays and remove just what you need from freezer.

Stay Well this Winter, everyone! 


Creamy Leek Soup (Low carbohydrate, Paleo)

Came home from a lacrosse game and found a neglected refrigerator. There were two big leeks, some celery, and a bag of soaked, dehydrated cashews in the freezer. We were craving something hot and decided to experiment with our own version of potato leek soup.  It was like eating cheddar cheese soup. My daughter said it reminded her of béchamel sauce.  Next time, I might add some nutritional yeast to give it an even more cheesy flavor. This was so delicious; we will definitely make it again! We didn’t crave bread or crackers in the least!



1 large leek, sliced thinly and rinsed well. (Leeks are sandy.)

1 tablespoon avocado oil

½ cup sliced celery

1-1/2 cups cashews (preferably soaked, 8 or more hours,  for extra nutrition)

1 32 oz box of organic chicken broth (or 4 cups of homemade bone broth)

¼ teaspoon fresh rosemary – chopped

¼ teaspoon fresh thyme – chopped

1 teaspoon fresh parsley – chopped

1 tablespoon fresh basil, chiffonade

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Himalayan salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Put avocado oil in a soup pot. Add leeks and celery; sauté on medium-low heat; stirring occasionally.  Meanwhile, put cashews and broth in a blender and puree until smooth. Add the cashew mixture to the soup pot once the leeks and celery are soft. Add herbs and spices.  Simmer for 10-20 minutes.  Use an immersion blender and puree until almost smooth.

Health Benefits: Leeks are a great source of fiber and provide PREBIOTICS. PREBIOTICS feed the good bacteria living in your microbiome (gut). The bacteria in your gut/microbiome make up most of your immune system, so take care of it!  Bone broth is also great for the immune system. It provides collagen which seals a leaky gut, and helps our skin look less wrinkled.






Why Eat Organic?

Why Eat Organic is an article I worked on with the awesome people from Orgain Inc.  I recommend smoothies for so many of my clients, because if made properly they are incredibly nutrient dense.  Smoothies provide protein, calories, and micronutrients, either to compliment your daily regimen, or as a meal substitute. If you can’t make your own, don’t worry, Orgain products are available to grab and go too!

Here are  two of my favorite smoothie recipes and a link to Orgain’s website where you can see all of their products.   Here is where you can find a store that sells Orgain products.

Chocolate Smoothie/Meal Replacement or high calorie snack

(2 servings)

1 avocado

1 tablespoon raw cacao

1 scoop chocolate (Orgain) protein powder

2 pitted dates

1-2 cups almond milk

½ teaspoon cinnamon


Please use Organic ingredients whenever possible.


Tri-berry Smoothie/Meal Replacement or high calorie snack

(2 servings)

2 cups frozen organic berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries)

1 cup coconut milk

1 Tablespoon almond or peanut butter

1 cup water

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 scoop (like Orgain) protein powder, vanilla

Please use Organic ingredients whenever possible.




This is a cute, 20 minute film about fluoride. (An element, not a nutrient.) In our house we use a Zero water filter for all of our drinking water. (About $30.00, plus filter replacement, approximately every 3 months) The Zero Water Company will tell you that it filters out 95% of the fluoride from water, but they must be called; it is not on their packaging.

1.800.503.2939, or

Without a whole house filtration system,  fluoride is absorbed into the body through the skin during showering  and bathing.

What is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a chemical that was added to the US water supply beginning in 1945 after naturally occurring fluoride showed tooth decay prevention. Unlike naturally occurring fluoride, however, fluoride in our drinking water is a non-pharmaceutical grade chemical that comes in bulk from China and other countries as the byproduct of the wet-scrubbing systems of the phosphate fertilizer industry. This Hexafluorosilic acid (fluoride) is a hazardous waste product. Fluoride is an element, not an essential nutrient, therefore the body does not need fluoride. Fluoride is the only chemical added to our water for the purpose of medical treatment.  According to the CDC, 66% of US residents or 170 million people are currently drinking fluoridated water. Since 1967, Connecticut has been one of 17 states with mandatory statewide fluoridation.*

What are the benefits of fluoride?

Some believe that ingesting fluoride will prevent tooth decay (dental caries) by fortifying the enamel of the developing teeth. Recent studies, however, have shown that fluoride works best topically not systemically.  Even the CDC in 1999 acknowledged that the benefit of fluoride is topical, not systemic.  Furthermore, comprehensive data from the World Health Organization has revealed that there is no discernable difference in tooth decay between the minority of the western nations that fluoridate water, and the majority that do not.  In fact, tooth decay rates in many non-fluoridated countries are now lower than tooth decay rates in fluoridated ones.

Is Fluoride safe to ingest?

Although fluoride has been added to the US water supply for more then 60 years, there have been no truly rigorous scientific studies establishing the safety and effectiveness of ingesting fluoride. In fact, the CDC has stated that 41% of American children have dental fluorosis due to fluoride consumption. Recent studies on fluoride consumption have shown increases in bone fractures, arthritis, impaired thyroid function and lowered IQ in children – see below.

Of particular concern are the babies who are being bottle-fed with tap water containing fluoride.  Since the doses cannot be controlled through fluoridation, babies are receiving the highest doses of fluoride for their body size & weight. Hence, they are being overexposed to fluoride.  In fact, some states have issued warnings to mothers about this and recommend using non-fluoridated water to bottle feed infants.


Kale-Quinoa Salad

kale quinoa salad

Just delicious. Make it on the weekend and take it to work for lunch all week long! The flavor keeps getting better as the week progresses.


  • 1 head of organic lacinato kale – stems removed and shredded (in a food processor if you have one) (Lacinato or Dino kale contains less oxalates.)
  • 2 cups cooked organic quinoa. (Cooked in organic, pasture-raised  bone broth. You can find organic bone broth in many grocery stores.) Cook quinoa  according to package directions.
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese or goat cheese (optional)
  • 1/4 cup organic raisins and/or dried organic cranberries (optional)
  • Sliced turkey breast (optional)


  • juice of one lemon, one lime, one grapefruit, and one orange – organic if possible
  • Zest of the lemon and orange; about 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1-3 tablespoons of real maple syrup or raw honey – use as little as possible, according to your taste. (It’s still sugar, but at least it contains nutrients, unlike cane sugar.)
  • 1/2 cup organic extra virgin olive oil

Put the shredded kale in a bowl. Pour the hot cooked quinoa over it and let it sit to softly steam the kale.  Once it cools, add the ingredients of your choice. Toss with dressing and keep covered in refrigerator until  you’re ready to eat it or pack it for lunch. The salty feta cheese tastes so good with the slightly sweet dressing and the sweetness from the raisins/cranberries.

Juice the citrus into a glass container and add the zest. Stir in the maple syrup/honey. Slowly pour in the olive oil, while vigorously whisking. Store in the refrigerator if you don’t use it all on the kale-quinoa salad. It makes a delicious salad dressing.


Eating Organically on a Budget

Eating organic food is more expensive and at first, the sticker shock can be painful. However, once you get used to it, and once you know how unhealthy “conventional” food can be, it is impossible to go back.  There are lots of ways to eat organically, while saving a small amount of money, which can lead to significant savings over time.

Two of my favorite things to do, and to tell others to do, are to make lots of soup and to decrease portion sizes of meat. However, when choosing meat, it is important to select the best quality; organic grass-fed or pasture-fed animal products.

Next, eat beans! They are filled with fiber to satisfy hunger and keep you full for hours, protein, and carbs for energy.  They also add small amounts of calcium, iron, B vitamins, folate, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc to your diet.  Dried beans should be organic, because they are one of the foods that the EPA allows to be sprayed with glyphosate, for quicker drying and ripening. Unfortunately, glyphosate was recently classified as a “probable carcinogen” by the World Health Organization.  The healthiest way to eat beans is to soak them; it removes phytic acid – an anti-nutrient (Source).

Buy what’s in season, and locally available.  Usually less expensive, local foods are a smarter and cheaper choice because they don’t need to be transported from far away.  If this intrigues you, read the book called Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.  It’s a true story about a family that lives off the land for a year.  Great read!

You can also join a CSA.  Here’s how to find one near you.

Make a rule in your house: If you want a treat, you have to make it yourself! Have all the ingredients in your house ready to make desserts.  Benefit: Your children will learn how to cook and bake.  There are so many wonderful recipes to discover. And almost any recipe can be transformed into a healthy one by buying organic ingredients and cutting the sugar by 1/3.  If you replace the fat called for in the recipe with coconut oil, you can use ¼ less than what the original recipe calls for. (So if the recipe calls for a cup of oil, use ¾ of a cup of coconut oil.)

Also, I would recommend growing herbs in pots on a windowsill or deck. Save them, dry them out in a dehydrator or convection oven and you can use them all year long.

It is also helpful to set a budget and plan meals each week.  You will only buy the ingredients you need and eliminate the desire to buy extras or go out to eat. (This takes so much discipline!) Recommended book to help you do this: Wildly Affordable Organic, by Linda Watson.

This delivery service  brings bulk items to you once per month. It’s like a delivery from Whole Foods except at a much lower cost!

This website will help you find an organic farm that produces meat, dairy, and eggs the way nature intended. Expensive meat can be stretched by making a stir-fry, instead of serving a portion of meat on each plate with vegetables on the side.

You don’t need to be completely organic!  Know what foods are GMO, what common foods are sprayed with glyphosate, and which are heavily sprayed with pesticides and will absorb a lot of those chemicals

Some foods allowed to be sprayed with glyphosate include: oats, wheat, dried beans, sugar cane, and tea.

See for a list of the dirty dozen and the clean 15.

Join your favorite company’s social media pages for special coupons and deals.  Also, remember that most stores take each other’s coupons, so make sure to ask.

Did you know you can freeze butter?  When it is on sale, buy and freeze it until needed. Favorite: Organic Pastures Grass Fed Butter.

Double or triple recipes when cooking and freeze meals for the future. Use glass, not plastic.

Grind up bread ends in a blender and freeze to use for bread crumbs when called for in a recipe.

Be a vegetarian for breakfast and lunch, and feel entitled to spend more on the best quality animal products for dinner.

Use a whole chicken instead of buying parts separately. NEVER throw the carcass away. Put it in a pot or crock pot and make bone broth; a truly medicinal food.

Pre-washed foods cost more and need to be washed anyway!

Be the last one to leave the farmer’s market; they often lower prices at the end, so that they don’t have to bring things back to the farm.

Look the farmer in the eye and ask about their spraying practices and use of GMO seeds. Some farmers don’t use pesticides or grow GMOs, but also don’t seek the USDA label because it is so expensive. The paperwork and bureaucracy required to use the label aren’t worth it to many farmers. As long as you are satisfied with the farmer’s answer, you can buy produce that is not labeled organic.

Grow your own food!  It doesn’t matter how little property you have Here is a guide to help you get started.

Bring your own food while traveling.  (You can check a cooler!)

Keep organic tea bags in your wallet and ask for hot water when traveling, instead of buying a cup of tea for $4-$6.

When you buy berries, soak them in water with a little vinegar. It removes the mold spores and the berries will last much longer.

Line refrigerator drawers with paper towels to absorb moisture, so produce will last longer.

Save the pulp from juicing to put into soups and stews.

Splurge on the best quality coffee and tea and make it yourself in the morning. Sometimes you can find great options at Marshalls and TJ Maxx!

We own several Zero Water Filters – approximately $30 on Amazon or at Target.  This filter is an inexpensive way to get the bleach, arsenic, lawn pesticides and fluoride out of your water. (They don’t market it as an effective way to remove fluoride, but if you call the company, they will tell you that it removes 95% of it).

Coupons can be found here:

Some options for online shopping:

Thrive Market
The Green Polka Dot Box
Amazon Fresh

While many think that eating healthfully and organically is beyond their means, it is quite possible with a little extra effort.  If you follow these suggestions, and take the process slowly; eventually it will become second nature.

Broccoli’s Benefits Abound!

Eating broccoli regularly has been something I’ve tried to instill in my children since they were just old enough to eat it.  I pretended it was little trees and even had an imaginary friend ring the doorbell and come to visit, simply because we were having broccoli – because he loved it so much.  That game would encourage my daughter to gobble her broccoli up before the imaginary friend ate all of it!

As part of the cruciferous vegetable family (like cauliflower, brussles sprouts, and cabbage,) broccoli is filled with benefits that help us to stay healthy. (Let food be thy medicine…)

Broccoli is rich in vitamin C, calcium, potassium,  soluble fiber and chromium.(High fiber foods can help keep blood sugar levels stable.) It contains lutein, which supports eye health and may prevent thickening of the arteries. Broccoli is also an anti-inflammatory promoting vegetable. (…let medicine be thy food.)

Broccoli is sulfer-rich, and contains a compound called sulforaphane, which may protect cartilage from damage and pain associated with osteoarthritis.

Sulphoraphane may help to improve blood pressure and kidney function.
It also enhances and protects our immune system by reducing oxidative stress.  Since oxidation is one of the causes of aging, broccoli may help to protect our youthful appearance and protect our internal organs from decline due to aging. Blood vessels are protected from damage, as sulphoraphane encourages enzyme production that protects them.   Sulphoraphane and its precursor glucoraphanin may help protect against the proliferation of cancer cells, caused by chemicals like pesticides and herbicides.

Although naturally resistant to bugs, it is still best to buy organic broccoli when possible, to avoid synthetic pesticides/herbicides and weed killers that may be sprayed on it.

(My son dressed up for a Halloween Party 🙂 “Broccoli ROB”

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Broccoli Salad


  • 1 ½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon himalayan salt
  • 2 heads broccoli, 1 pound each, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  •  garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds – toasted and ground
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • Large pinch crushed red pepper flakes

    Mix vinegar and salt in a large bowl.  Add broccoli and toss. In a large skillet, heat avocado oil. Add garlic and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in sesame oil and pepper flakes. Pour mixture over raw broccoli and toss well. Let sit for at least 1 hour at room temperature, and  then refrigerate.  Adjust seasonings as needed.


1) (Arthritis and Rheumatism, 2013, August 27.

2), November 9, 2013, “Eat Your Broccoli”

3) (Broccoli sprouts as inducers of carcinogen=detoxifying enzyme systems: Clinical, dietary, and policy  implications, by Marion Nestle)

Let Food Be Thy Medicine…

Last week our family went on vacation. It was a combination of a family reunion on a beautiful lake in Virginia, and a college visiting tour.  There was lots of driving, eating food that wasn’t always organic, and a weekend full of hot, humid air and lots of sun.  We sped in a boat, water-skied, wake boarded, and went tubing.  At one point I feared one of them would get a concussion as I watched their heads and bodies bounce all over Smith Mountain Lake. All I could picture was their brains hitting their skulls.

They all complained of headaches during the vacation, including my husband and me.  Did I pull out the acetaminophen or ibuprofen? Not once. Did I give them something that made them feel better? Every time.  Besides making sure they were hydrated with plenty of water, (we brought the Zero water filter to get the F out,) I also had two remedies in my purse which really helped. One was ginger tablets, the other was tumeric. Today I’m going to tell you about ginger:



We keep ginger root in the freezer at all times at home. We always buy organic ginger, because we eat the skin too.  Simply pull it out of the freezer and grate it with a microplane into any recipe that calls for it; if you freeze it, you always have it on hand. (It is really good paired with garlic.)

When someone in the family feels sick – headache, sore throat, cold symptoms, or stomach ache, take a large chunk of ginger and toss it in a coffee or spice grinder with a shot glass full of juice. (We like to use tart cherry juice for it’s anti inflammatory properties and low sugar content.)  Pour it in a shot glass and “knock it back.” (My 16 year old son gets such a kick out of his mother telling him to do that!)  Ginger is also available in capsule form, which is convenient for having on hand in a purse or suitcase.

Most people associate ginger with anti nausea properties, but it is also an anti-inflammatory and can relieve pain like headache, menstrual cramps, and joint pain. Ginger also has antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, and anti-parasitic properties. It is an anti-inflammatory, and can relieve joint pain, menstrual pain, headaches, and more.

Ginger may help reduce nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, and has been shown to work better than a placebo in relieving morning sickness.
University of Maryland Medical Center, Ginger

Indigestion:  Ginger contains powerful protein-digesting enzymes and helps the stomach to move its contents quickly through it to the small intestine. It’s also an antispasmodic agent, which may help alleviate abdominal cramping.

You can make real ginger ale by steeping fresh ginger in filtered boiling water for a few minutes to a few hours.  Make simple syrup with filtered water and organic cane sugar (or sweeten the ginger water with raw honey.)  Add carbonated water to the sweet ginger water and give your family a REAL remedy for what ails them! (Ginger ale as it once was, – not high fructose corn syrup, caramel coloring and fluoride-filled chlorine-filled water.)


Roasted Purple Cabbage with Carrots and Sprouted Lentils

Roasted Cabbage Pic

1 head of organic purple cabbage
4 organic carrots sliced thinly
1 cup uncooked organic sprouted bean trio (lentils, mung, and adzuki) or sprouted lentils
¼ cup avocado oil or organic olive oil
2 tablespoons organic coconut aminos
1 tablespoon organic Worcestershire sauce

Slice cabbage into small thin pieces. Slice carrots into thin rounds. Place in bowl and toss with the oil, coconut aminos and Worcestershire sauce. Place on a cookie sheet and roast for about 30 minutes @ 400 degrees. Meanwhile, cook the bean trio or lentils according to package directions. (Sprouting is important because it makes the beans much higher in nutrient content. The process of sprouting removes phytic acid – an anti nutrient.)

Combine roasted vegetables and lentils in a bowl and mix well. Can be served hot or at room temperature.

Can be served with wild caught salmon, pasture raised organic chicken or any protein of your choice.