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Healthy Homemade Vanilla Almond Granola

Ohhhhh. How I love this!! It can be used in so many ways. Use it to top fresh fruit, or on top of yogurt. You can even use it as a topper for overnight oats or chia parfaits. This healthy version is baked, not fried and uses heart healthy coconut oil. It is sweetened with raw, organic honey, cinnamon, almond extract and white raisins instead of sugar. Once you try this, you will never buy store bought again. I found a package of super seed oatmeal at my local Trader Joe’s (in pic below) that gives this super food status. I didn’t put it in the recipe because it can be made without. I like to add it when I can find it.
3 Cups old fashioned, gluten free rolled oats
1/4 Cup slivered raw almonds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 Cup raw honey
1/4 Cup coconut oil
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 Tbsp vanilla (yes, you read that right. A whole Tbsp)
pinch salt
1/2 Cup raw, shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 Cup gold raisins
1/4 Cup pepitas (omit if you add the super seed oatmeal)

Heat oven to 300 degrees. In a small pot, heat oil, vanilla, almond extract and honey until oil is melted. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix oats and almonds, stirring in coconut oil mixture. Spread mixture onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with cinnamon and salt. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 min (don’t forget, because it will burn if you don’t). Allow to fully cool down and dry out before you package it. This will last up 1 week in an airtight container on the counter, or up to 3 weeks in the fridge.

Strawberry Parfait with Overnight Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

Chia seeds are a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, iron and calcium. They are also a fabulous source of plant based protein – a 1 oz serving has 5.6 grams. Mixed with water, they can replace an egg in vegan cooking.

I love the flexibility of this recipe. You can sub out virtually any fruit for the jam portion. And you can easily sub out any other non dairy milk – cashew, coconut or rice milk. This make ahead breakfast (or dessert) makes mornings easy and nutritious. I use mason jars so you can just grab and go in the AM.

Vanilla Chia Seed Overnight Pudding

4 Tbsp chia seeds
1 Cup almond milk
1 tsp raw organic honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla

Put all the ingredients in a mason jar and stir well. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Layer with Strawberry Jam. Put another layer of chia pudding if desired and put back in fridge overnight. Top with fresh fruit and granola (I have an amazing recipe for vanilla almond granola)

Strawberry Chia Seed Jam 

6 Cups fresh ripe berries
3 ozs lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
3/4 cup organic honey or 1/3 cup maple syrup
1 Tbsp chia seeds

Cut top off (green part only) and cut into quarters. Place in small sauce pot over med heat. Add lemon juice, stir. Add sweetener and seeds. Continue to stir until strawberries become soft. Remove from heat and mash. Simmer for about 5 more minutes or until the consistency of jam. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Layer the jam in between the pudding and top with granola and fresh berries.



Lemon Asparagus & Kale Risotto

This is such a fantastic, healthy recipe! It’s gluten free, vegan, dairy free goodness. It’s full of veggie powerhouses: kale, cauliflower and asparagus.

High in fiber, it helps aid in digestion and elimination…giving you that healthy glow. It’s full of iron which helps the formation of enzymes. transporting oxygen to various parts of the body. They are known for their powerful antioxidants and are high in cancer fighting Vitamins K, A and C as well as Calcium. In fact, the Calcium in these bad boys is healthier than dairy because it’s more bio-available (that is, your body is able to utilize it more easily and fully). They help fight inflammation, aids in weight loss, fight cancer and helps balance hormones.

You can buy the cauliflower rice or you can easily make it yourself y cutting it into small pieces and process it in a food processor or blender until the pieces are fine and rice like.

This recipe was adapted from Every Last Bite.


1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
2 Handfuls organic kale
3 Cups cauliflower rice
1 lb Asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces
1 Cup fresh peas (frozen will work)
1 Cup veggie broth
3 Tbsp coconut cream (the top solid part only)
3 Tbsp lemon zest
salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Place cauliflower rice and garlic onto one and coat with 1 Tbsp olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Bake for about 15 – 20 min,

On the second sheet, put asparagus and kale, remaining olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 15 min (be careful not to overcook).

Meanwhile, in a med saucepan, saute onion. Add peas, broth and cream. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon zest and other veggies. Top with baked fish (pictured), chicken…or as is.









5 Ways to Avoid GMOs

What we can do is simply try to avoid the GMO contaminants altogether and be extremely vigilant of how we spend our money and which companies we are choosing to support. Here are five simple and effective ways to decrease your contact with untested, toxic and dangerous GMOs.

1.) Buy Locally Produced Food

For now, GMOs are only used by large multinational corporations who buy direct from large farms. Produce from local mom and pop farmers have yet to become genetically modified. Purchasing locally grown food supports your local farmers and your health. Not to worry about GMO tomatoes and potatoes as they have all been pulled from the market.

2.) Buy Organically Grown Food

For now, the organic certification process is a relatively safe bet to ensure your food is free of GMOs, although this may not be the case in the future. Help support global sustainability by purchasing certified organically grown food.

3.) Avoid the Top Four GMO Crops of Soy, Corn, Canola and Cottonseed

This is a bit tricky as most blended oils in North America contain canola and cottonseed. Whenever you go out to dinner and receive anything fried, you are most likely consuming GMOs from the oil, not to mention transfat. A way around this would be to purchase 100% extra virgin olive oil, but be sure to avoid the term olive oil as most of it is blended with some GMO cottonseed or canola. Unless it specifically states “Non-GMO” or some derivation on the label, it most likely contains GMOs.

Likewise, any time you go you consume corn chips, tacos or soy milk, you are eating GMOs, again unless it specifically states Non-GMO or is organic.

4.) Avoid Artificial Additives and Sweeteners

Most of use are aware of the dangers behind the artificial sweetener and excitotoxin, aspartame (known as preservative E951), but may not be aware that it is created using genetic modification. Even the majority of vitamin C (asorbic Acid) and many B vitamins have been created via genetic modification. A Japanese company was forced to pull GMO L-Tryptophan off the market in 1989 after thousands of people became severely ill with many developing an extremely rare blood disorder called, Esinophilia-Myalgia Syndrome (EMS), although the FDA never publicly mentioned that GMO contamination was the true cause of the recall.

This includes all animals used for food because most are typically fed GMO feed. If it does not state Non-GMO on the label, then email the manufacturer and ask if they use GMO feed. It is best to attempt to contact all of the manufacturers of the foods you generally eat on a daily or even weekly basis and determine whether GMOs ingredients are utilized in the food. You have a fundamental right to know whether the foods you are consuming have been contaminated with GMOs. When in doubt always look for the Non-GMO label, and unfortunately assume that it has been genetically modified unless the opposite have been explicitly stated.

8 Ways to Lose Weight That Doesn’t Involve Dieting


People come to me all the time and tell me they want to lose weight. I’ve been around for a long time (I’m not quite a dinosaur…but, close. Haha). I’ve been around long enough to understand people. I mean REALLY understand what they MEAN, not just what they SAY. And when people say they want to lose weight, usually they mean: I want to be smaller. I want to be more fit. I want to feel good about myself. I want to look better in my clothes. I want to feel sexy, hot, confident, strong. Right? Well…Diet is important but not for the reason you may think. And dieting is usually associated with deprivation and disappointment, right? Well, luckily there IS something YOU can do!

Here’s a list of 8 ways to lose weight – and we all know it’s NOT about that – that doesn’t involve dieting.

  1. Guzzle the H20.
    When your body is dehydrated it can store as much as 5 lbs of water. That’s A LOT of water!! Drinking more water will make you look younger, help your joints move more easily, relieve pain and swelling, ease headaches and food cravings. Believe it or not, the body is smart. If you’re even a little dehydrated it will give you hunger pangs because food has water.
  2. Sleep more.
    Sleep is an important part of fitness and weight loss that is often overlooked. Studies show that those that get less than 8 hours of sleep consistently tend to weigh more. Not getting enough sleep also can put the body into fight or flight mode, which causes a stress response, and can mess your hormones up.
  3. Rest more.
    This can mean a few things…Many people that come to me tend to be overachievers at work and super person in their off time. Slow down. Take 10 min a day to just sit. Meditate. Or just to be quiet. Listen more. If you workout consistently, make sure you take rest days. Take time for a massage? Or just sit on the beach. Allow your body to recover. It works hard for you. It deserves a break.
  4. Stress less.
    I know. Easier said than done, right? Many of our lifestyles push the go go go mentality. Do things deliberately to reduce your stress or to release it. This could come in the form of a hard and heavy workout or a long hot bath. It could be a hike out in nature somewhere. It could be just lighting candles, setting a relaxing atmosphere. It could be just breathing (you’d be surprised how simple and how fast this works).
  5. Get outside more.
    There is a connection with those that get outside and lower stress levels. Take some time to connect with nature…even if it’s just taking off your shoes and putting your toes in the sand or grass. Breathe in the sunshine. Feel the wind on your face.
  6. Be positive.
    Check in with your self talk. Believe it or not, your body always hears you. It’s ALWAYS listening. And it responds on a cellular level. Over time being harsh or self critical will start to stress your immune system causing your body to protect itself and store more fat. Start to notice the positive. Make a list of the things that you love about your body, your life. And focus on those things. If you are not happy with how your body looks right now, instead of bagging on yourself notice what you like. Maybe it feels good to feel strong? Tell yourself THAT. Maybe it feels good to exercise. Focus on THAT. With practice, this will get easier.
  7. Complain less.
    This goes right along with number 6. Go on a complain-free detox. Start noticing and talking about solutions or what’s right with your life, your job, your relationships, your body. This alone will make THE BIGGEST difference.
  8. Set goals.
    Believe it or not, if this is done correctly, it can make all the difference in the world. Decide what you want. What you really, really want. And make your choices from there. Maybe you have decided you want to lose weight. Why? To feel more attractive and to feel good about yourself., the goal ISN’T to lose weight. It’s actually to FEEL GOOD. So, make your choices from there. When you’re at the coffee shop and ready to order your sugary drink with your donut…or whatever, ask yourself “Will this make me feel good about myself?” If the answer is “No” than pick something else. If you want to feel good and you pick a cupcake and you spend the afternoon berating yourself because you can’t even eat healthy…that’s not feeling good. Workout because it feels good. Because YOU feel GOOD when you’re done. Not because you hate your body and want it to change. That may be true (or not) but don’t allow that to be your focus or your motivation.

I know many of these ideas may seem strange, but this is what I teach my clients. They come to me to lose weight and they think they come to me just to sweat and workout. But, really, I teach them how to enjoy their bodies and love who they are and where they are. And they find that all of sudden their lives are more fun, more fluid. And their relationships are easier. And, yes. They lose weight. Oh, and they sweat a lot too!! Remember, EVERY step of the journey IS the journey. It’s a process. Don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s about learning what works and, sometimes more importantly, it’s about listening to your body & how you feel so you can see what ISN’T working.

Love you every step of the way. Yep, you got this.
~ Cyndi ♥




Creamy Lemon Chicken with Potatoes and Artichokes

This recipe takes a little time to cook but it’s done in the slow cooker. Start it in the morning or early afternoon and it will be done for dinner. I’ve used beets and zucchini in addition to the potatoes. This recipe is from Clean Eating Magazine.


  • 6 red skinned potatoes, quartered
  • 1 large bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 6 chicken breasts (I used 4 and cut them into large chunks about the size of the potatoes)
  • sea salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups broth (I used my favorite veggie broth bullion cubes, but any broth will do)
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt (I used almond milk to keep it dairy free)
  • 2 Tbsp arrowroot
  • 12 oz frozen artichokes, thawed
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh dill


Line bottom of the slow cooker with potatoes. Lay bell pepper on top. Cook on low.
Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet (I used a cast iron skillet), letting it brown on each side (about 6 min on each side). Add the garlic to the chicken and cook for 3 min or so.
Arrange chicken over the top of the potatoes and bell pepper, pouring garlic and sauce over the chicken evenly. Pour broth into the slow cooker. Cover and cook for 6 hours on low (Mine was done around 5 hours)
Remove chicken and potatoes from the slow cooker. Ladle out about a 1/4 cup of liquid from slow cooker. Add lemon juice, yogurt (or almond milk), and arrowroot. Whisk until smooth. Stir mixture back into the slow cooker. Stir in artichoke hearts and dill. Return chicken into the pot. Turn heat on high and cook for another 30 min.

Black Bean Mushroom and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

These are so healthy and so wonderful to eat!! They come together quickly but taste like you spent hours on them. Quinoa is loaded with protein, fiber, Iron, B Vitamins, Magnesium, Calcium and Potassium. The black beans make it a protein powerhouse. I actually added chunks of organic chicken breast which puts it over the top. The added garlic and pinch of cayenne make for a zesty fun meal.

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 med onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chopped mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder (I actually used Trader Joe’s Chili seasoning with lime for an added zest but regular will do)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pint organic cherry tomatoes, diced
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • powdered garlic to taste
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (make according to directions, I use veggie broth instead
  • of plain water for added flavor)
  • 1 can organic black beans
  • 1 or 2 pinches of cayenne
  • fresh cilantro for garnish

Preheat oven for 350 degrees
Prepare peppers: In a large pot, filled half way full with water, bring to a rolling boil. Cut the tops off the peppers, remove seeds and cut in half. Boil peppers for 5 min and drain.

While water is boiling, heat oil in a large pot. Saute the onions for 3- 5 min. Add garlic and mushrooms, saute for another 5 or so min or until mushrooms soften. Stir in chili powder and salt. Add tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes start to break down (about 15 min or so). Stir in tomato paste until well mixed. Add cayenne. Stirring, add quinoa. Reduce heat and cover. Let simmer for about 20 min.

Stuff each pepper with filling. Top with garnish and serve.