Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Dress Up Your Holiday Table!

What a festive way to welcome your guests! This video shows you how to make a dinner napkin Christmas tree, and it's a lot easier than you might think. If you leave out the pin at the top, this makes a wonderful project for children, too.

Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas!

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or even Festivus, this is a special time of year!

From my family to yours, we wish you much love and happiness!

- Tamera

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Nutritional Yeast - Who, What, Where, How and Why?

Everyone should be eating nutritional yeast! It's a nutritious, delicious and low-calorie way to add protein and fiber to your meals.

Nutritional yeast is different from the yeast that makes bread rise. It's an inactive yeast that is dairy-, soy- and gluten-free, and it is a great source of complete protein, as well as the B complex vitamins.

You can buy nutritional yeast just about anywhere these days. Whether you get it online or in your local health food store, in powder or flake form, make sure that you store your yeast in a cool, dark place.

Nutritional yeast's nutty, almost cheesy taste has made it a favorite for vegan dishes that call for a cheese flavor.  Add it as an ingredient to soups, mashed potatoes, pasta. Sprinkle it on salads or popcorn. Are you making dessert? Try adding just a bit of nutritional yeast for a more complex flavor. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, you can find hundreds of fabulous recipes that use this golden food.

Why not? It's delicious, good for you and easy to find! Now, go eat some yeast!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Acorn Squash Croquettes - Vegan and Gluten Free

Every Thanksgiving, we have a get-together with friends and family, every one of whom has their specific likes and dietary preferences. This year, I decided to create a new recipe that could take the place of stuffing, which usually contains bread, that could be enjoyed by people who are avoiding gluten. And, as an added bonus, it's also a vegan recipe that uses nutritional yeast! 


Nutritional yeast is the best-kept secret superhero of the vegan world. My next blog post will be about all the wonderful reasons you'll want to add nutritional yeast to your diet. But, until then, let's just agree that it is a great source of vitamins and has a wonderfully cheesy taste.

These croquettes make a delicious side dish. The measurements below are approximate, so add more or less according to your preference. You should eat the croquettes immediately after cooking, as they don't keep well. 

Acorn Squash Croquettes
serves 2-3 people

1 acorn squash
1 tablespoon avocado oil (or grapeseed oil)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon turmeric

Preheat oven to 375F.

Cut the acorn squash in half. Using a large spoon, scoop out the seeds and discard.
Acorn Squash Ready for the Oven

Brush the inside of each half with the avocado oil and sprinkle with the pepper, sea salt and turmeric. Bake until cooked, about 45 minutes. You will know that the acorn is done when you can easily insert a fork into it.
While the squash is baking, mix the following ingredients together:

3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
fresh juice of 1/2 small lemon
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeno pepper

Let the squash cool just enough to be comfortably handled.

Croquettes Rolled in Yeast and Ready to Be Fried
Use a spoon to remove all the meat from the squash and mix it well with the prepared seasonings above. 

Over low heat, melt enough coconut oil to cover the bottom of a frying pan (I use an iron one). While the oil is heating, lightly rub some coconut oil on your hands and roll the acorn squash mixture into small balls. Cover a large plate with nutritional yeast and roll each squash ball in the yeast to coat it completely. Fry the balls in the pan until lightly browned on one side, then roll over to brown the other side. Serve warm.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!


Friday, November 14, 2014

Love Is Patient, Love Is Kind

How many happy couples do you know?

Whatever the number, odds are that it's smaller than the number of unhappy ones. This unhappiness can range from those resigned to a present and future of just muddling along without much joy, to constant bickering, to all out battles and complete estrangement in the form of breaking up.

Is this the inevitable way for relationships to progress? Is it possible that two people, with different stories, needs, habits and desires, can live together in a happy, supportive, constructive partnership?

Possible? I truly believe that it is. Easy? Not really. But, then again, what thing worth having is easy to achieve?

I recently read an excellent article that gave me a lot of food for thought. If you have a few minutes, click here and read it. If you want to know what scientists have learned about what makes relationships work, it's worth your while.

Here are some excerpts from the article, which originally appeared in The Atlantic:

"Contempt, they have found, is the number one factor that tears couples apart. People who are focused on criticizing their partners miss a whopping 50 percent of positive things their partners are doing and they see negativity when it's not there."

Well, I think this can apply to any relationship - with your children, parents, co-workers, friends. If your attention is focused on seeing what others are doing wrong, you're likely to miss the good stuff. It just doesn't fit into the "story" of them that exists in your mind. So, even if you're not interested in having or improving a romantic relationship, this is a great concept to keep in mind.

As Wayne Dyer said, "Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change."

From the article:

"Kindness...glues couples together. Kindness makes each partner feel cared for, understood, and validated - feel loved. There's a great deal of evidence showing the more someone receives or witnesses kindness, the more they will be kind themselves, which lead to upward spirals of love and generosity in a relationship."

I always say, it's no more difficult to be kind than it is to be cruel. It's a choice you make, pure and simple. And the more often you choose to be kind, the better you get at it. For me, it boils down to this - what kind of world do you want to live in? I don't necessarily mean the world at large, though, that too will be influenced by your words and actions, but your own personal every day world. Do you want to fill your world with kindness, laughter and generosity or do you choose something different?

And the most surprising thing I learned from the article:

"We've all heard that partners should be there for each other when the going gets rough. But research shows that being there for each other when things go right is actually more important for relationship quality. How someone responds to a partner's good news can have dramatic consequences for the relationship."

That kind of says it all, doesn't it? To feel truly happy for another's happiness is the essence of love.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Tin Can Warning

There is significant scientific literature showing that tomato products in cans are a health hazard. Please share with everyone you care about.


Friday, October 31, 2014

You Can't Always Get What You Want - A Lesson for All of Us

No matter what our age, whether we're 6 months or 106 years old, we humans tend to  be self-centered; we want what we want, when we want it. I guess it's just the way we're made. But, as we travel through life, we learn that our wants may not always be beneficial to us or to others. And, hopefully, we learn this sooner rather than later.

As a mother, I know that a big part of my job is to help my children become kind, responsible adults who make a positive contribution to the world. And my boys, now ages 6 and 11, are smack dab in the middle of figuring out the boundaries between their wants and needs and the rights, needs and wants of others. They're learning, but, as any mother can tell you, sometimes it's an uphill climb.

I found this video and loved it so much, I had to share it with my kids. I watched their faces as they listened to the song for the first time, and it was like magic. Poof! All those years of me explaining this concept to them didn't hold a candle to the impact that this song had them. Hey, whatever works, right? They loved it so much, we listened to it again and again.

They both looked at me and smiled. Nicholas, my oldest, wiggled his eyebrows at me like a miniature blond Groucho Marx, and asked, "Mom, are you copying the words of this song? Because I heard you say this stuff before." He got the whole point in that one little song and this was his way of showing his newly-found and accepted knowledge and some humor back at me in that very moment. 

We made a game out of it all weekend. Whenever the boys requested something that I declined, instead of just saying no, I sang softly, "You can't always get what you want." It was such a fun way to bond with one another and it put a pretty quick end to their habit of repeating requests, even after I've said no. The usual wining and complaining were replaced by chuckles and smiles.

Will this miracle last? Who knows? I'll be happy if we can keep it going for the next 30 days.

But, for me, the most important part of this experience is the lesson that I learned. 

It's all in the delivery.

With love,


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

40 Pieces of Advice Challenge - Day 15

Every person has an idea of what their life should be like. And, it's safe to say that these ideal life visions don't involve having any problems, not significant ones, anyway.

For most people, problems are the unwanted stumbling blocks that keep us from having and being what we truly want. And the truth is, they can be. It's hard to find the value in problems like disease, major misfortune, the death of a loved one. I'm not here to say that we should accept these problems with open arms and welcoming smiles.

What I am saying, though, is that this thing called life comes as a bundle of joys, sorrows, highs, lows and in-betweens. It's a package deal, folks.

We're handed a life and we hope that we do the best with what we're given. Do we make mistakes, often very foolish ones? No doubt about it. Would we have done things differently with knowledge gained from the results of our mistakes? Yes.

And there's the rub.

You don't know better until you've learned. And you can't learn until you go through the experience of making the "wrong" choices. As Tom Bodett famously said, in school, you're taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you're given a test that teaches you a lesson.

Is this fair? Probably not.

But, all of our complaining, resisting and protesting won't change the rules. It's like being unhappy about the weather - shake your fist at the sky all you like, if it's gonna rain, it's gonna rain, and the clouds don't care one bit that you just had your car washed.

So, it seems to me that the wisest course of action is to learn as much as we can from the problems in our lives, whether they are created by our own thoughts and actions, or they just seem to happen to us. Take what's valuable from our experiences and leave the rest behind.

Maybe we learn that our unkind words cause serious rifts in our personal relationships and, as a result, become more careful about the words and tones of voice we use to express ourselves. Or we learn that letting our taste buds dictate our diets leads us into obesity and disease. If we have a physical or mental affliction that makes life more difficult for us than for the average person, perhaps we become more sensitive to the plight of others, leading to a more compassionate and helpful outlook.

There are as many problems as there are people in the world, and I wouldn't dream of thinking that I know the best way for anyone to navigate the treacherous seas of life.  I do know that we can make the best, or the worst, of the circumstances we encounter. We can choose to make the same mistakes over and over.  We can choose to live with anger and regret about our life circumstances.

I'd rather make the best of things. And that includes giving my problems the chance to teach me something.

Besides, can you imagine the complete boredom of a life with no problems? Picture getting everything you want, when you want it and how you want it. There's an old Twilight Zone episode about that very topic, you may want to check it out sometime. Maybe even right now:

With love,

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Artificial Turf - Is it the Next Asbestos?

Have you ever heard of "ChemGrass"? No? Well, that's the original name Monsanto gave to its artificial grass product, which later became famous as "AstroTurf" after being installed in Houston's Astrodome in 1966. Fast forward to the year 2000, and the new incarnation of artificial turf - styrene butadiene rubber, or "crumb rubber" - began to be made of tiny black crumbs of pulverized tire rubber poured between artificial "grass" blades.

This crumb rubber seemed to be the answer to a multitude of problems. The loads of discarded tires that would otherwise be taking up space in landfills were put toward a useful purpose. Untold millions of gallons of water, harmful pesticides and fertilizer would no longer be needed to maintain the grass for athletic fields. In addition, the rubber from the tires added a significant cushion that was absent from the much less forgiving "AstroTurf", preventing serious injuries like broken bones and concussions. Crumb rubber is widely used in park playgrounds and soccer fields, among other places.

But, much like other innovations that were made to solve existing problems but ultimately created a whole new set of problems, crumb rubber may not be the miracle product it was designed to be.

It turns out that crumb rubber contains substances that aren't exactly good for us to be around, among them benzene, mercury, arsenic, carbon black and lead.  According to this article by NBC news, there might be serious cause for concern. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Roasted Acorn Squash with Quinoa And Veggies - Vegan!

Happy Autumn everyone! Whether or not the temperatures have begun to dip where you live, there's still a certain feeling in the air. For me, it's the back-to-school rituals and the realization that Thanksgiving and Christmas are on the horizon, that have me in the kitchen, cooking up some cozy, homey type meals.

And what says Autumn more than all the gorgeous gourds starting to fill the displays at the market? That's right, nothing!

I picked up some acorn squash and got busy in the kitchen with the little ones. These stuffed squash make a great appetizer, afternoon snack or light dinner. Basically, eat them however and whenever you like!

A quick nutrition breakdown:

Acorn Squash: One of the richest sources of the anti-inflammatory nutrients Omega-3s and beta carotene - excellent for building up a strong immune system.

Quinoa: A vegetarian source of  complete protein, quinoa contains all the essential amino acids needed for growing and repairing body tissues, as well as anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals.

Spinach: A well-known superfood, spinach has more than a dozen different flavonoid compounds that function as anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer warriors.

Walnuts: The phytonutrients in walnuts help protect against metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes.

Onions: Eat onions every day for cardiovascular health, to increase bone density (especially important for postmenopausal women), cancer protection and to bring down inflammation in the body.

Turmeric: Curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric, is being looked at as a potential treatment for an array of diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer's disease, diatebetes, allergies, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Cystic Fibrosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and other chronic diseases.

Cranberries: For a healthy cardiovascular system and liver, and to help prevent urinary tract infections, eat these little gems!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Toilet Paper Tutorial for Teenagers! (Beginner and Advanced)

My kids aren't teenagers, so they don't need this tutorial just yet. But, I have a feeling it might come in handy for many of you.

Given that this video was posted only a couple of weeks ago, and already has almost 4 million views, this witty father has tapped an unfilled need in the how-to-parent field.

I'm looking forward to seeing the upcoming videos in the series he has planned, how about you?

Way to go, dad!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Easy Solutions - Cleaning Fruit

If you're like me, you're always wondering if you're washing your fruit properly. I found a great info graphic with a wonderfully natural and easy way to clean produce. The graphic refers only to fruit, but I don't see why you can't also use it for vegetables!

Do you have any quick and natural solutions to everyday tasks? Please share them with me in the comments section!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

40 Pieces of Advice Challenge - Day 14

Today, the average person has more possessions than even the wealthiest of kings ever had throughout most of human history. We have things, organizers to organize our things, cleaning solutions and machines with which to clean our things, storage units to store our things, credit cards to help us get more things - things in our homes, things in our cars, things at our workplaces.  Things here, things there.

Really, we own a lot of stuff.

And, I don't know that we're any happier than previous generations who weren't blessed with such abundance.

Now, I'm not saying that owning objects is, in itself, a bad thing. And, even though I'm liking the rapidly growing minimalist living movement, I'm not even advocating for getting rid of your stuff. Hey, it's your stuff, if you like it, keep it.

But I do know from personal experience that physical clutter and disorder has a real effect on mental and emotional well-being.  Clutter can be a drain on your time, your energy, your productivity. It can play havoc with the flow of ideas and with creativity. 

You've probably experienced it yourself. Have you ever walked into someone's home or office and immediately felt anxious or overwhelmed? Was it because of the visual chaos that confronted you? Conversely, have you entered into a space that had the feel of a calming spa? Was everything arranged in an organically flowing and elegant manner? 

I read a book about cleaning (hey, it was interesting!) that greatly impacted my life. Really. It was about ten years ago, and I still think of this one message even today - every item in your environment should be there because you consciously chose it and you deliberately made a place for it. 

Imagine how your life might change if you had to pick up every item in your home, car or office and figure out whether or not you wanted to own it and decide just exactly where to put it. Might you have less stuff? Probably. Might the things you did decide to keep be more meaningful and useful? No doubt about it.

I have three children. Believe me when I say that between all of their activities, interest, school necessities, clothes, etc., our house is chock full of stuff. And it can truly be overwhelming to keep everything in order. Yes, sometimes our house gets messy - funny enough, it's at those times that the kids' normal clashes become more intense, more frequent. I can't prove it, but I do believe that the clutter that sometimes develops has more than a little to do with their skirmishes.

Is it worth the extra time to clear out the unneeded, organize the necessities, get rid of the outgrown? Most definitely.  Try it in your own life, I guarantee that you will notice positive changes almost immediately.

So, where to start? Well, I know that for me, paperwork accumulates the fastest. So, when you get mail, open it the same day, and decide, while it's in your hands, whether you need to file it, respond to it or throw it away. THEN TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION.

Do you save receipts? Can you get a receipt filing software to keep track of them? If not, can you take pictures of them with your smartphone and keep those pictures in a dedicated file? Are you nostalgically attached to the seemingly thousands of pieces of artwork created by your little artist? Can you save a few of the most meaningful, take pictures of the less important before throwing them in the recycling bin or trash with the rest? Can you sign up for paperless billing?

What about your clothes? Is your closet overflowing with the fads of yesteryear that you just haven't gotten around to donating yet? What's stopping you? Get rid of anything you don't love - you'll be able to truly see what items you own, and, perhaps, what you might need. My children each have a total of 7 sets of clothes, plus a couple of nice things for special occasions. And that's it. I do laundry twice a week so that the dirty clothes don't pile up.

Are your children toys taking over your living room? Could you donate some of those items to those less fortunate? My kids have to have everything neat and orderly in their rooms every Sunday night. If I find a toy lying around as if it is meaningless, such as a stuffed animal under the couch, I watch to see if they truly play with it. If not, no harm done, I give it to someone who would really appreciate it.

For me, freedom is owning very little. It cuts down on housework, clutter, litter - opening up options for how we can best use our time and money. The rule in our house is, if something hasn't been used in 6 months, it isn't a necessary item. And, if we bring home something new, something else needs to leave.

These are just a few ideas, and you don't need to apply them all to your life. Pick and choose to suit your own particular needs. What it comes down to, I believe, is living with intention and consciousness. 

Do you have any ideas for dealing with disorder in your environment? I'd love to have you share them in the comments.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

40 Pieces of Advice Challenge - Day 13

What if I told you that, every day, I open my wallet, find a $20 bill, rip it into shreds and set it on fire?

I'm pretty sure that you would see it as a very strange practice. Maybe you would think that I was wasting something that could be of use to me or to someone else.  

And I would agree with you.  

Well, the good news is, I don't actually do that. But, most of us do burn something every single day that is worth far more than twenty dollars. And it is something we can never get more of. 


What do you do with your time? Do you think about the past and how you should have done things differently? Do you worry about things you have no control over? Perhaps you think of everything that can go wrong in the future and end up paralyzing yourself in the present?

Do you continually find fault with the words and actions of others? Do you spend your time rehashing conversations in your mind, or have imaginary arguments with people who have done you wrong?

You're not alone. It seems to be the human condition to be wrapped up in our thoughts, constantly living in our past of our future. Many spiritual practices over thousands of years have been focused on helping us live in the present and give up our need to control things beyond our sphere of influence.  Our wisest teachers, throughout our history and our present time, have shown us, in words and by example, that life is best lived by focusing on the positive, moment by moment.

Does focusing on the positive mean that we walk with our heads in the clouds, never seeing the real needs and problems in our world? Of course not. It means finding the best course of action to take in order to serve those needs or heal those problems. It means being so mentally, emotionally and spiritually present in every moment, that we are able to see how to participate fully in this thing we call life. 

Ok, it's very easy to say, but how do you actually stay present in every moment? That is the twenty (million) dollar question. And I'm not so foolish to think that I hold the answers. What I do know is that the times I feel most alive, as though I'm seeing and hearing and feeling and smelling and tasting with amazing clarity, are the times that I am involved in following my passions. When I don't feel the passing of time because I'm exploring nature with my children, or having a heart to heart talk with a dear friend, or when I dress as a clown and make strangers smile - there are so many things. 

In these moments, it doesn't even occur to me to think about the past or contemplate the future. I just AM, and that is the most joyous state to be in. But, what if I am not in one of those moments and my mind starts down that path of worry and regret? Here are 5 things that help bring me focus:

1. Clear up any unfinished business I have with someone. Maybe it's a conversation that needs to happen, or a plan of action to be put in place, or maybe even just writing a letter that will never be sent - but getting out of my head and into the real world will automatically center me in the present moment.

2. Take action right now that will help bring about a desired outcome in the future. Am I feeling resentful because my busy day did not allow me any time to rest and refresh myself? I will take a few minutes to write down the feelings of frustration and make a plan to give myself at least a few minutes of recreation the very next day.

3. I believe in the power of laughter, so I will find something that makes me laugh. A few minutes of comedy really put things in perspective.

4. Commune with nature! I am so very fortunate to live in a place where all I have to do is step outside and I am greeted with the glory of nature. Just a few minutes of walking among trees or feeling the cool breeze play through my hair and I am refreshed and energized.

5. This one may sound like a tired old rehash, but it really works. I count my blessings. That is not to say that I compare myself to the "less fortunate", I don't. I just consciously call to mind all the good and wonderful things in my life.

So, how about you? What techniques do you use to use to keep you living in the present moment? What can you do to use the irreplaceable treasure of time to uplift your life and the lives of others?

Monday, August 18, 2014

What a Wonderful World

If only all commercials were this uplifting! 

Take a couple of minutes out of your day and watch this ad for BBC - you'll be glad you did. And feel free to spread the joy by sharing this post with all of your friends!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Be Kind

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

The recent death of Robin Williams has sent a wave of shock and sorrow through our society. While most of us never met him, we are feeling a real sense of loss at the departing of this man who brought joy to so many.

It's not just that it happened so suddenly. After all, had he been in a fatal car crash or something similar, we would have still mourned his passing. But, there would not have been the confusion and regret that many of us are left with. How could we not know that someone so visible, so well-loved by generations of people, and so gifted with the ability of making others laugh, could be living a life of such profound inner darkness?

And how many of us spend our days around people whom we never truly know, and who never really know us?

When we are greeted with a "How are you?", do we blurt out a cheerful "Fine!" because it's easier than actually sharing what's going on with us? When we take offense to someone's words or actions, do we give them any leeway, thinking that maybe there's a bigger picture that we're not seeing?

I don't know what difficulties Robin Williams was dealing with. I can't make everything better, even for the people closest and dearest to me.  And, I don't have any easy answers to the many problems we all face in our lives. 

All I can say is, when you have to choose, choose kindness. 

With love,

Monday, July 28, 2014

Grain-Free Banana Bread

This banana bread is so rich and satisfying, you won't even miss the wheat flour! I use almond flour, which you can find just about anywhere these days. If you'd like to make your own, it's very easy. Using a Vitamix or food processor, process about a cup of slivered almonds 20-30 seconds, being careful not to overdo it, as you don't want to end up with almond butter. 

Grain-Free Banana Bread

Thursday, July 24, 2014

40 Pieces of Advice Challenge - Day 12

Hello my dear readers! I didn't intend to take so much time away from my blog, but life just ordered itself in such a way that a few days of time devoted just to my family and myself turned into many days of total detachment from all things digital. It was a wonderful time to unplug and recharge ourselves with the energy of each other's company. I highly recommend periodic "getaways" to everyone, even if it's just  for a couple of hours every night.

But I've missed you all and am so excited to be back!

And now, on to Day 12 of the 40 Pieces of Advice Challenge!

This one is really timely for me. As a mom and business owner, I find myself running around all day, seemingly from one urgent task to another. I know that I'm not alone in this - being busy has become our national pastime.

It's really easy to keep giving to others, without stopping to fill our own inner well, until, one day, we find ourselves so tired, that we don't know if there's anything left to give. Can you relate? I know I've felt totally drained from time to time. And then, I remembered how, on airplanes, we're instructed to put on our own oxygen mask before attending to anyone else. There's a very real and important reason for this. If you don't have air to breathe, you may pass out before you can help anyone else.

Now, in daily life, the situation may not be as drastic as running out of oxygen in the space of a couple of minutes, but, the need to take care of yourself is just as real, just as necessary, as it is on that airplane.

So, you might be saying, that's just great, Tamera, but what does all this have to do with getting three people to smile every day?


What's the surest way to get someone to smile? You smile at them, of course! So, the first person you need to get smiling is - yourself! Every morning, look in the mirror and smile a great big silly grin. There's no situation in the world that can't be made better with a smile. And by seeing yourself smiling, you just might think it's so goofy, that you'll even laugh. And that's a good thing.

Be light hearted. Smile at yourself. Tell yourself that this is the best moment of your life so far. And it will only be out done by the next moment. And on and on.

Once you've got yourself good and giddy, go out and infect everyone you meet with your heartfelt smile. And tell them to pass it on.

Top 5 Benefits of Smiling

1. Reduce stress
2. Release endorphins, helping to ease pain and uplift mood
3. Lower blood pressure
4. Focus the mind
5. Spread joy

So, try it tomorrow morning. Wake up, look in the mirror and smile your biggest, happiest smile, share it with the world and reap the rewards all day.

If you need inspiration, here are some wise words from one of my favorite philosophers:

"What day is it?", asked Winnie the Pooh.
"It's today," squeaked Piglet.
"My favorite day," said Pooh.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fun Fruit Flower!

My kids love it when I take pictures for the recipes that I post on Healthy Isn't Boring. They help me arrange the food just so and vote yes or no on the resulting pictures. 

Yesterday, I set out some fruit for a mid-afternoon snack, and we decided to cut and arrange them into different shapes. Annie came up with the flower you see above. We loved it so much, I asked her if she would like to be a "guest blogger" on my blog and she was very excited about the idea. The boys, not wanting to be outdone by their sister, wanted to make a flower for the blog, too. Well, they started building their flower, then wanted to see how tall they could make it. I made an executive decision when I saw their creation nearing the tipping point, and that's when we took a picture of it. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you:

The Fun Fruit Flower Tower

We had such a wonderful time making fruit art and then eating our designs. Although my children love fruit and veggies, I know that there are many out there who don't. One way to get your children to choose healthful treats over processed non-foods full of sugar and salt, is to let them have fun making their own meals and snacks.

You don't need to get any fancy equipment. Just spend some time with your kids, cutting out shapes and putting together creative combinations. Eventually, they will start to associate feelings of love, comfort and closeness with nutritious food. 

Nicholas, Annie and Jayden loved putting together this post for you! Please share your ideas for fruit and veggie edible art in the comments section!

From our family to yours,

Tamera, Nicholas, Annie and Jayden

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Summer Cucumber Soup (Vegan and non-Vegan options)

Summer hasn't officially started, but, boy, the heat sure has! In weather like this, we like to eat a lot of salads and raw foods. Not only because they help cool down our bodies, but also because they save me from having to stand in front of a hot stove.

To add variety to our summer meals, I like to make cold, no-cook soups. Here's one that serves as a great appetizer, as well as a wonderful main dish for hot summer evenings. I use fresh mint that I grow in my garden. If you don't grow your own mint, I'm telling you, you should. It's just about the easiest herb to grow, and you can use it fresh or dry it. If you don't have room for a garden, you can grow mint on your balcony or even on a sunny window ledge. Just get a starter plant, either from a nursery or pull out a rooted stem from a friend's garden, put it in a pot with some soil, give it water on a regular basis, and watch it grow. Seriously, it's that easy.

You can make this soup vegan by using almond milk yogurt, or, if you like cow's milk yogurt, use the good Greek kind, with active bacteria (don't worry, it's the beneficial kind of bacteria that keeps your digestive system healthy).

Summer Cucumber Soup
(serves 4 as an appetizer)

Monday, June 9, 2014

40 Pieces of Advice Challenge - Day 11

I must confess, I changed this one a bit. The original advised to drink a glass of wine each day, and I substituted that with a green smoothie. Hey, it's my blog, and if I think that a green smoothie beats a glass of wine, then that's what I'm a-gonna say!

Now, about those berries...

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

World's Best Raw Burritos

Do you ever walk around the produce section of your local grocery store or farmer's market and think to yourself that all the green leafy stuff just kind of looks the same, even though they have different names? I had a little chat with a woman the other day who saw me picking and bagging up a few different leafy greens. She asked me what I did with it all and wouldn't a pre-made salad mix be just as good? Umm. No. 

While the green leafy veggies may look similar and be grouped together when talking about healthy eating ("Eat lots of green, leafy vegetables!"), the truth is that each of them provides its own unique phytonutrients that help our bodies to function at optimal levels. So, while spinach and kale, for example, are two nutritional powerhouses of the greens family, they can't cover all the bases just on their own. That's why it's a great idea to mix up your use of greens and eat a wide variety of them.

Let's talk about swiss chard. 

As of this writing, research has revealed that chard leaves have at least 13 different polyphenol antioxidants. One of these, syringic acid, is able to regulate blood sugar by limiting the amount of carbohydrates that get broken down into simple sugars. Betalains are also among the phytonutrients in chard, providing antioxidant, ant-inflammatory and detoxification support. 

So, do you need swiss chard as a regular part of your diet?

Yes, without question.

Here's a recipe that has been very popular with my family and friends, and I love it because it's easy to make, versatile, surprisingly filling and absolutely delicious. For the filling, I use whatever veggies I have in the house or in my garden. Today, I filled the raw burrito with carrots, purple cabbage, sunflower seed sprouts, cucumbers and raw pine nuts. Use your imagination - you can even set up a "raw burrito bar" with different chopped fillings that your family or guests can use to make their own burritos to their liking.

World's Best Raw Burrito

Thursday, May 22, 2014

"B" Healthy!

Judging by how much food we Americans consume (and how much we throw out!), you'd think that we are far removed from the danger of malnutrition. But, you'd be wrong.

The truth is that, while we may have more food available to us than could have even been imagined just a few generations ago, we are not getting the nutrients our bodies need to thrive. This is partly because much of what we eat are empty calories that come from "foods" created in laboratories and sold to us in bright, colorful packages, and, also because even our healthful food choices are now grown in depleted soils that produce crops with fewer vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients.

So, we need to educate ourselves a little and seek out the best foods and supplements that we can find. Today, I want to give you a quick tutorial on the B-vitamin complex, why they are so important and how we can include them in our diets.

I do believe that a vegan diet is the most healthful way to eat, but, of course, we all have the right to follow the choices that we feel are best for us, so I have included both plant and animal food sources for these vitamins.

An excellent plant source for the B-complex vitamins is our very own E3Live

What are the B-complex vitamins?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Your Past Does Not Determine Your Future

Do you look at the past with regret? Do you find yourself thinking, if only I'd had better parents, better opportunities, more money - you fill in the blank - I would have done something better with my life. It's easy to fall into the line of thinking that you are where you are today because life dealt you a bad hand. After all, if you had a rocky start to begin with, how could you possibly achieve greatness? Our prisons and drug treatment centers are filled to overflowing with unfortunate people who lived through tragic childhoods that cast a dark shadow over their entire lives.

Are these unfortunate stories unavoidable? Is there a series of events early in life that predetermines the direction that that particular life must follow? Does a catastrophe occurring at any point in a person's life doom them for the rest of their life?


History, as well as the present day,  offer us so many examples of people who overcame unimaginable odds and achieved greatness in every field. Helen Keller, Malala Yousafzai, Frederick Douglass, Lech Walesa, Elie Wiesel, Oprah Winfrey - really this list is endless.

In my opinion, the common thread in most people's stories of overcoming adversity is this: in addition to inner strength, they had people who supported and believed in them. There was at least one person in each of their lives who said, "Here, take my hand, we can do this together."

Helen Keller had her tireless teacher and friend Annie Sullivan, Malala Yousafzai has her doting father, Frederick Douglass had Anna Murray-Douglass who helped him escape slavery and became his devoted wife, and so on with many others who beat the odds.

So, what I'm saying is, we're all in this together, folks. Look for ways you can support and uplift one another, even in small ways. Start your day with the question, "How can I serve?"

Not only will you take the focus off your own troubles, small or large, but, with more and more people living life with the attitude of giving, we will all be on the receiving end of other people's giving, as well. Our various strengths and weaknesses can be matched with those around us, so that we can all be lifted to greatness in many forms.

Here is a video about one of my all-time favorite musicians, who escaped a seeming life-sentence to poverty and crime, and became beloved by millions around the world.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Tim's Place

I don't know why, but we humans tend to be afraid of those who are different from us.  We are friends with people who look like us, think like us, dress like us; we listen to radio personalities who agree with our views; and, in times past, we even killed and imprisoned people just because they didn't fit the norm.

But now, it seems to me that we are entering a new era of understanding and acceptance, at least in some parts of the world. And, some societies are even celebrating the differences that exist among us and make life more interesting. These days, there are opportunities open to people that could not have even been imagined just a couple of generations ago.

Watching the video about Tim Harris made my eyes fill with tears. The joy and love that flows from this young man just made my day. He brought back so many wonderful memories for me. When I was in high school, and for two years after I graduated, I volunteered with Down Syndrome kids, helping them to learn how to read and swim. Later, when I opened a local dance studio with my partners, I taught dance classes specifically for Down Syndrome and disabled children.

It was so very rewarding for me because these kids are the most loving people you could ever meet. They are so open, not judgmental at all. They thrive on hugs, love and smiles. They have no enemies and their view of life is so open and innocent. With the DS kids, what you see is what you get - no pretensions, no walls - just a love of life and everything in it.

And I wonder, why is it that we "normal" people can't be more like that?

In the video, Tim is excited just about going to work! How many people feel that way? How many of us start our work day with a happy dance?

How often do we let our ideas of what we can't do stand in the way of our dreams?

What can we learn from people who are different from us, and how can we use what we learn to make the world a better place?

Tim's enthusiasm and belief in himself was so strong that it swept up everyone in his path. I wonder how many people's lives he's touched just by being himself and following his heart.

Can we each take a piece of Tim's story with us, out into the world every day? Can we learn to think in terms of how we can achieve instead of why we can't?

It is possible. I'm a believer.

Friday, May 2, 2014

40 Pieces of Advice Challenge - Day 10

If you're reading this blog, chances are good that you're interested in living a healthy lifestyle. Chances are also good that you, like most people these days, understand that fresh, natural food is more beneficial than food-like substances created in factories with dyes, preservatives, fillers and chemicals not found in any food that comes from nature. There are countless scientific studies showing the effects of nutrition on health and longevity, as well as personal experiences of people who have transformed their bodies and lives through proper nutrition and exercise. It seems that every month, the covers of magazines are filled with the same enticing phrases - "lose weight, feel great", "exercise and look ten years younger", and so on, ad infinitum.

So, we know all this, but still many people get caught up in the convenience-food trap. With busy work schedules, weekends filled with catching up on chores and errands, and all the other things that seem to take hold of people's lives these days, it's easy to pick up "dinner" from a fast food joint, or pop a pre-made frozen meal in the microwave. But, the consequences of regularly filling our bodies with foods that provide very little in the way of nutrition and real energy are all around us: obesity, heart disease, cancer and exhaustion, just to name a few, have become mainstays of modern life.

As usual, the "easy" way out is anything but easy.

But there's good news, and I'm here to say that it is definitely possible to live in this busy world and still eat close to nature. Start by adding a green salad to one meal each day. You can buy bags of pre-washed and pre-cut organic greens at just about any store these days. Open up a bag, toss in a handful of raw sunflower seeds and organic grape tomatoes, squeeze some lemon juice and a bit of extra virgin olive oil, cut up half an avocado, add a dash of salt and pepper and you've got a nutritious and refreshing prelude to your lunch or dinner. You can even have a salad for your afternoon snack, instead of a sugary, fatty dessert.

It really is that simple.

In the morning, instead of pumping your system with coffee and a donut to get yourself going, how about a shot of freshly made green juice? Toss a cucumber, some kale and an orange into a juicer and, voila! you have a glassful of energy that won't have you crashing by mid-morning. Don't have time to make juice? No problem, a quarter cup of E3Live will give you over 65 vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential acids, courtesy of Mother Nature.

Are you still craving that chocolate bar? 

Don't beat yourself up over it. Just have a nice juicy orange first, or an apple, a ripe mango, a slice of the tropical goodness of pineapple, some sweet strawberries bursting with flavor. Then wait about 30 minutes. You will probably have forgotten all about that chocolate by then. But, if you still feel like you just have to have it, go ahead, cut off a small piece and eat just that much. 

And be sure that you taste every bite of it - no mindless eating in front of the TV or computer.

By adding in desirable foods, you'll have less room for the manufactured stuff. And, believe it or not, the less you eat of the processed junk, the less you'll crave it. It's just as easy to get "hooked" on good food - it's simply a matter of letting your body and palate experience the flavors and energizing effects of the varieties of food that nature offers.

This is a process of replacing the bad with the good, and it doesn't happen overnight, as much as we might want it to.

Yes, there is a bit of planning involved. For example, when you are doing your grocery shopping, don't fill your cart with packaged foods that will tempt you when they're sitting in your cupboards at home. Buy fresh foods that need to be refrigerated. If you're meeting friends for lunch, opt out of the greasy diners and go to a salad bar.

The important thing to remember is this - you make a choice every time you put something in your mouth. And every time you make that choice, you have the opportunity to do what you know is right. If you fall, pick yourself right up and make a better choice the next time. It really is no more complicated than that.

What choices will you make today?

Friday, April 25, 2014

New Feature!

I'm passionate about living a healthy lifestyle and I love sharing my passion through my work of running E3Live, in my daily life and right here, on my blog.  One of the nicest things to come out of writing this blog for almost two years now is hearing from you, my readers. I get lots of emails from you, sharing your joys and concerns, and asking for my opinion on nutrition related questions. I love sharing any information I've been able to gather and things I've learned along the way through my almost two decades of experience in the field of nutritional supplements.

Today, I'm starting a new feature of my blog, ...ask Tamera, where I'll be sharing questions from my readers, along with my answers. 

As always, please make sure to check with your health care provider on any health issues or concerns that you have. What I am offering here is my opinion and should not be taken as medical advice.

So, without further ado...

Hi Tamera, 

I heard you say that you gave E3Live to your baby from a very early age. My 11 month old daughter got a bad respiratory infection (bronchiolitis) at three and a half months and she has wheezed every day since. She is exclusively breastfed but has had some wheatgrass and E3Live. Although, these days she doesn't seem to like the taste of either. How much E3Live do you think I should give her? I use the original formula but do you think I should use BrainOn? How did you give it to your baby?

Thanks for the great work that you do. 

A worried Mom in Charleston, SC

Dear Worried Mom,

I gave my kids about 1/2 teaspoon per day once they were 6 months old, and continued that through age 1, when I went to 1-2 teaspoons.

They did go through times they didn't like the algae, and they still do.   I am not a mom who develops picky eaters. I say I'm not here to please your tongue, I'm here to feed your body properly so you don't get diseases or get sick. There were times they didn't like it and would spit it out, so I would give it to them in smaller amounts.  Dribble it into her with a tincture dropper, or if you do any bottle feeding of mother's milk, you can add the algae to that.  My kids ALWAYS drank green milk in a bottle. :-)  I mixed it right into their mother's milk.

I would not give BrainON to the baby.  That is specific to the brain and she will benefit just fine from E3Live.  

I would look at what you are eating and see what she is allergic to.  It could be gluten, corn, sugar, eggs, garlic, etc.  I know that my kids were sensitive, especially my daughter.  

You might also give her some colloidal silver sprayed in her face and nose so she breaths a bit in. That is what I did and still do. Also put some into a vaporizer near where she sleeps.  This is only my suggestion, but it works for my children and myself. 

Good luck, it is not fun to have a baby with problems.  It's scary and frustrating.  Keep me posted.

Blessings to you and your family,