Tag Archives: health

My experience with Oil Pulling


Oh look, another new health trend which means…of course I gotta get in on this!!

I’ve been noticing that the ancient Ayurvedic act of oil pulling has been making the rounds in news feeds and social media.  Like many of you, I had no idea what oil pulling was when I first heard about it a couple of months ago, so let me briefly fill you in:

(the website http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org has links to many peer-reviewed articles supporting the use of medium chain fatty acids and coconut oil to aid in many health issues and diseases.)

Oil pulling is known to be a very effective detoxification mechanism which in turn reduces inflammation, hence reducing incidence (and in some cases alleviating) many diseases and health issues related to inflammation such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and gastrointestinal issues, just to name a few.

Photo from www.vegiehead.com Love this blog!!!

Photo from http://www.vegiehead.com
Love this blog!!!

***note:  If you have mercury crowns or filling on your teeth, please do not start oil pulling until you consult with your primary care physician as it may pull some toxic mercury fragments which is dangerous.  

Types of recommended oils:  any pure, first cold pressed oil that is plant/ vegetable based such as olive oil, sesame seed oil, and coconut oil.

Recommended regimen:  Everyday, take 1 Tablespoon of oil, swishing it around in your mouth, like mouth wash (do not gargle, DO NOT SWALLOW) for maximum of 20 minutes on an empty stomach, preferably in the morning as soon as you wake up.  After 20 minutes spit oil into a trash can DO NOT SPIT OIL IN THE SINK AS IT CAN CLOG THE PIPES IF/WHEN IT SOLIDIFIES.  Let it be repeated that you DO NOT SWALLOW the oil since it has pulled a lot of bacteria and other toxins from your mouth and it is now present in the oil swishing around in your mouth.  (It helps not to think about this little fun fact while oil pulling).

I started with 1 teaspoon in the morning for 20 minutes in the first week, then gradually made my way to 1 tablespoon for 20 minutes in the morning.

Oil pulling has so many health benefits, but I was hoping to see improvement in these areas in particular:

  • oral health – I don’t have the best oral hygiene, at best I brush my teeth every day, but I rarely floss and rinse with mouth wash.  This is evident in my gums.  They look puffy and not healthy.
  • headaches-  When I am not taking care of myself to my full potential I feel it in the form of headaches.  I get them once a week like clock work, usually in the middle of the week.
  • eczema- I have it on my arms.  Nothing I have done thus far as improved the eczema on my arms.

My routine went something like this:   As soon as I would wake up, I would take a spoonful of coconut oil and swish it around for 20 minutes.  In those 20 minutes, I would shower, make myself a fresh juice and prepare my breakfast.  By the time I was ready to sit down and eat breakfast, it was time to spit it out (in the garbage!! not the sink) and rinse my mouth with water a few times (its suggested to brush your teeth right after to really rinse away any residual toxins and oil).

So after two weeks of oil pulling, these are the final results I have experienced:

  • Oral health- after the first two days, I immediately saw a difference in my gums.  They receded back and had a bit more color to them.  Over time, my gums continued to recede and look less puffy, my husband said it had a natural tone of pink to them rather than the dull white/yellowish tone it normally had.  I noticed my teeth color become a  few shades whiter which is always a plus.  When it was time to floss, the tartar on my teeth had loosened a bit and it was easier to clean it off while flossing.  I have become obsessed with the improvement of my teeth and gums and I found myself flossing regularly to keep up with the positive results of oil pulling.  Another plus:  what started as the beginning of a canker sore inside my  mouth, it immediately went away after I started oil pulling.  This stuff really does do wonders for oral health/hygiene.
  • Headaches- I had a headache on Wednesday of the first week and I was starting to feel pretty lousy, but opted out of taking any pain relievers or drinking coffee for energy (which would have made me feel worse anyway) and decided to increase my water intake and relax.  On Thursday morning, I still felt pretty lousy, which is typical the next day after a headache if I don’t take any pain relievers, but I started the day with oil pulling and continued to stay hydrated through out the day and avoiding caffeine regardless of my sluggish mood.  Towards the afternoon, I felt better! Headache was gone!  I was relieved.  I hate taking any kind of medication if I can help it.  Its been two weeks of oil pulling and that is the only headache I can report!  I hope I can continue to use oil pulling as a great detoxing method and prevent headaches in the future.
  • eczema/skin- Some physical symptoms due to your body detoxing is a skin break out.  Mine is always on my back.  At the end of the first week I noticed little blemishes on my back, which confirmed that my body was definitely detoxing due to oil pulling.  Sweet!  As for the eczema on my arms, I have to be honest I did not notice much improvement.

unexpected side effects:  clearing of the sinuses.  I did read that this is another positive side effect, but I didn’t think it would happen to me being as my sinuses weren’t bothering me.  Several times, I had to blow my nose immediately after I spit out the coconut oil.  Which makes be wonder if my headaches were due to my sinuses….interesting…

True story:  I stupidly tried blowing my nose WHILE swishing the oil around in my mouth…not recommended!  Another side note from Captain Obvious:  yawning while oil pulling is REALLY difficult!  Have fun with that one.

So if I had to rate my coconut oil pulling experience I would give it two thumbs up (two coconuts up?) !   I highly recommend giving it a trial for two weeks and see for yourself.  Remember it doesn’t have to be coconut oil, it can be first cold pressed olive oil or sesame seed oil, just to name a few.  Coconut oil is really known for its antimicrobial properties so that is why it is commonly used for oil pulling.

Some helpful hints from my experience:

  • Be prepared for the texture of the coconut oil since it is at room temperature and is a soft solid texture.  Something of that texture so early in the morning can put you off, so feel free to to lightly melt it in a small pan and transfer it to a spoon so you can take it in as a liquid instead.
  • Pick a time frame that you know you will have time to oil pull.  Mornings are considered the best time to do it, but as long as you are oil pulling any time of the day is better than not doing it at all.  Pick a time that you know will not require a lot of talking and human interaction.  Even if it means waking up 10 minutes earlier or going to bed 10 minutes later.  You can oil pull in the shower or while doing make up and hair.
  • Tell someone! especially your partner.  I’ll never forget how confused my husband looked when he found me mute and pointing to a coconut oil jar, somehow hoping he can put it all together and guess I was practicing an ancient Ayurvedic ritual of oil pulling for 20 minutes.  Besides, he was the first to point out to me the difference in color of my gums.  A positive support system is always nice to have by your side when improving your life style.
  • Still feeling squirmish about the texture of oil in your mouth?  Start small and gradually increase quantity and time length.  A teaspoon for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, then 20 minutes.  Then graduate to a tablespoon for 5, 10, then 20 minutes.
  • Oil pulling is considered a detoxification mechanism and detoxing may cause some undesirable symptoms like headaches, break outs, etc… so pay attention and listen to your body.
  • Again, its always best to consult with your primary care physician before you start any type of treatment that was not originally prescribed or recommended by them, especially if you are currently or have been experiencing some health issues, just so every one is in the loop and you are covered in all corners.

If you have tried oil pulling before, please share your experience with us in the comments section.  If you decide to take on the two week oil pulling challenge alla peacelovenfood, please come back in two weeks and share your experience with us!

Happy oil pulling!



Krazy about Kale


I will honestly confess that I always found kale to be intimidating.  How could a vegetable be so scary? Crazy as it sounds, I was always just so weary about trying it.  What if this amazing super food tasted awful? I would be so embarrassed to admit it.  How do I even begin to cook it?  It was better off chilling in the veggie section of the supermarket until a more appreciative shopper would come along and buy it.

But I kept reading about the wonderful health benefits of kale and finally the curiosity got the best of me.  For starters, Kale is one of the most nutritious green leafy vegetables out there:

  • high in fiber- great for lowering cholesterol and keeping your bowels healthy and active
  • high in iron
  • high in vitamins and minerals
  • great source of non animal protein
  • high in antioxidants (cancer fighting properties)
  • good source of omega 3 fatty acid

For more in depth information about Kale, click on this link here.

I finally became a proud owner of a juice extractor and I thought to myself “now is my chance to experiment with kale!”  So I started to juice with kale and immediately became a fan.  Next step, cooking! At first I added it to an egg muffin recipe to replace spinach.


And finally, I became brave enough to throw a whole bunch in a pan and sauté it with some beans and crushed tomatoes…jackpot!  It was absolutely delicious and so flavorful.  It was even tasted tested and approved by some family members, some who have never tried kale in their life and probably would have liked it to stay that way…until they tried my recipes! 🙂




1 cup of chopped sun dried tomatoes

1 1/2 cup of feta cheese, crumbled

2 cups chopped raw kale

1 dozen extra large eggs

salt and pepper to taste


1.  whisk the eggs together. in a sauté pan, sauté kale in some olive oil and sea salt for five minutes.  set aside to cool. then add to egg mixture.saute kale

2.  add the other remaining ingredients

3.  in a one dozen muffin baking dish, drizzle some olive oil in each muffin cup, take a paper towel and kinda smother the oil inside each cup.muffin pan

4.  evenly distribute the egg mixture in each muffin cup .egg mixture

5.  bake for 15 minutes.

carefully take out the egg muffins.  serve 3 muffins per person and feel free to serve it along side some crispy cooked bacon, tasty smoked salmon or some freshly toasted bread.egg muffins bakedegg muffin




4 cups raw, chopped kale

2 large tomatoes

1 can of cannellini beans, drained

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

sea salt to taste

olive oil

1.  add olive oil to a sauté pan.  sauté onions on a medium heat for about 8 minutes.  add garlic and saute for 1 minute until the garlic as become aromatic.   Add kale and sauté for 3-5 minutes, adding a splash of water while sauteing.saute kale

2.   Cut the tomatoes into quarters, and manually crush them right over the sauté pan.  That’s right, take your day’s aggression out on those lovely red fruits and squeeze the living daylight out of them!   It’s a very rustic approach to crushing tomatoes, I felt like Jamie Oliver for a few seconds there 🙂 … crush tomatoes

3.  once all the tomatoes are crushed into the pan, add the tomato paste, stir into the mixture and allow it to simmer.

4.  while the pan is simmering, drain a whole can of the cannellini beans, rinse them under water to wash away any residual sodium and then chuck them into the pan as well. simmering bean casserole

5.  Continue to simmer over a medium high heat for about 10 min or until nearly all the tomato juice has evaporated.bean casserole

6.   serve into bowls and enjoy!

DID YOU KNOW….Kale can be a little bit of a diva??  It is recommended that you give kale a little TLC by giving it a hand massage before eating! Ha! I have a hard time getting a massage from my spouse and here is this lovely little green leafy veggie getting a 5 minute rubdown before consumption!

It turns out that rubbing kale leaves between your hands for five minutes breaks down its cellulose structure, thus taking away its bitter, tough taste and texture and making it wilted, silky and even a little bit sweet.  This is perfect if you plan on adding kale to a salad or eating it raw.  It is recommended you use some olive oil and salt while massaging…might as well kill two birds with one stone and dress your salad while massaging it!

Tips for cooking Kale:

  • chop leaves into 1/2 inch portions and stems into 1/4 inch portions
  • steaming kale for 5 minutes is the best way to bring out its phytonutrients, as well as drizzling lemon juice over kale and letting it sit for a few minutes before cooking/consuming
  • give it the best massage of its life!

Rock-n-(Nori) Roll


My love for sushi started at around age 14.  Like any beginner sushi eater, I started with the ever so safe “California Roll” and eventually became brave enough to try some beautiful creations that this wonderful cuisine has to offer.


I’m still a little wary though.  I am coming out of the stage where I need massive amounts of rice with my sushi rolls, which is a relief because when I eat sushi I like to eat until I am the size of a roll myself.  The amount of rice I consume contributes to my new, lasting “roll” figure.  I also prefer to have avocado with nori rolls.  I just really love the flavor combo and felt that it was enough to make up for the decrease in rice I was going to use with my nori rolls.  Besides, we can all use a little avocado in our lives, considering how healthy avocados are.


This fruit is high in monounsaturated fatty acids as well as other vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, fiber and potassium.  Look at all the health benefits avocados provide:  reduces risk of cardiovascular disease, contains anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, and even aids in blood sugar regulation thanks to the amounts of fiber and healthy fats.

Here is another reason to hit up your fave sushi spot tonight:  Nori, which is a type of seaweed, is super healthy.  There are many clinical studies on the health benefits of eating seaweed.  There are components in seaweed that “exhibit many beneficial biological activities such as:  anticancer, antiviral, anticoagulant and antioxidative acting properties.”  You will find that seaweed is also high in Iodine, which is important for thyroid function.



Making my own sushi has allowed me to save some bucks on the days when I am really craving sushi but just don’t want to spend the money.  The sushi rolls I made are so easy and quick to make- feel free to add whatever your heart desires.  Here in Australia, they add chicken to sushi rolls.  Heck, my friends Amanda and Matt Terillo saw a kangaroo sushi roll while visiting us!   I was shocked, but then again, why not??!


Nori sheets

Large can of tuna fish, packed in water preferably

mayonnaise, to your liking

2 celery stalks, chopped

lemon  juice of 1/2 lemon

1-2 carrots, julienne or thinly cut

1 – 1.5 cups brown rice, cooked

1 whole avocado, sliced

Tuna salad:

Mix tuna, celery, mayonnaise and lemon juice together.  Mix until it is all coated nicely with the mayo and has made a delicious tuna salad.

prep ingredients


1.  Place nori sheet down on sushi rolling mat.  Add 1/4 cup brown rice and spread it across.  Make note that the rice isnt supposed to cover the entire sheet of nori, like typical sushi does.

2. At the end of the nori sheet, add some tuna salad along the edge.  Top it with some carrot, followed by 2-3 slices of avocado.  Roll the sushi the best way you know how.  Confession:  The first time I made sushi, I used a youtube video as a guide 😉 have no shame!

"Let's rock into a roll!"

“Let’s rock into a roll!”

3.  Use a sharp knife to cut the roll in half.  Add a side of soy sauce, wasabi, sweet chilli, whatever you like and…

4.  Stuff your face.

finished roll

I found that 3-4 halves was enough for me as a meal.

Tasty tips:

  • I used brown rice because it is high in fiber, vitamins and minerals compared to white rice.  
  • Dont have brown rice? Use your favorite grain or plant seed.  I think next time I will use quinoa!
  • Get creative and use other veggies such as cucumber, peppers, even sweet potato!
  • I would eat them within two days of making them.  So feel free to make a little extra and take to lunch the next day.  Just remember to store them in the fridge.
  • Don’t have access to a sushi rolling mat? Try wrapping a thin magazine with plastic wrap.  Place the nori sheet right on the magazine, place ingredients on the nori sheet and roll away.

Challenge yourself and try making some of your favorite sushi rolls, or even some of these rolls:

sushi roll


Fun Fact: I can easily (and happily) eat this entire tray all by myself…

Hello, lover!

Hello, lover!

Yuuummmm! Enjoy!

Smoothie Love


Who doesn’t love smoothies?? They are tasty, versatile, can be super healthy and they are even pretty to look at!

There are probably a bazillion recipes out there for smoothies (and I intend to try each and everyone, darn it!) but in my personal opinion, the best smoothies are the ones that are easy to make, have a variety of fruit, is super healthy, and of course, YUMMY!  I firmly believe that making a smoothie is a great opportunity to include as many food groups as possible, which means you can totally have one as a meal! I was able to include 4 major food groups into my smoothie.  When I come home late from work, I do not want to have a heavy meal for dinner, being so close to bed time, so my smoothie is my go to meal (aw, shucks!)

Shell’s Super Smoothie

Yields 2 servings


1 scoop Whey Protein Powder

1/2 cup Milk

1/4 cup Greek Yogurt (plain)

3/4 cup Frozen Berries Medley

1 Banana

2 TBSP Flaxseed Oil

10g psyllium husk (fiber)


1.  Add all ingredients to a blender.

2. Blend.


See how easy it is?!

Now, I know I have an ingredient or two in there that are making some of you scratch your heads and wonder what/when/who/where/ and why would anyone want to have that?!

Answer:  Because its healthy for you!

Flaxseed Oil

“Flaxseed and its derivative flaxseed oil/linseed oil are rich sources of the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, which is a biologic precursor to omega-3 fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic acid.”


  • aids in lowering cholesterol, hence reducing the risk of heart disease
  • increases integrity of the cell membrane
  • aids in alleviating symptoms of inflammation in certain diseases
  • improves skin integrity and aids in alleviating symptoms of skin disorders such as eczema
  • Milled flaxseed aids in bowel regularity

“Flaxseed oil contains only the alpha-linolenic acid component of flaxseed, and not the fiber or lignan components. Therefore, flaxseed oil may share the purported lipid-lowering properties of flaxseed, but not the proposed laxative or anti-cancer abilities.”

So make sure that you include both flaxseed oil and milled flaxseed into your diet to reap ALL of its benefits.

Psyllium husk is a great source of fiber.  Fiber is integral in maintaining a healthy weight (by providing a genuine feeling of satiety), reducing LDL cholesterol, thus improving overall cholesterol which means reducing the risk of heart disease, and aids in achieving optimal bowel regularity.

Folks, this is just the tip of the iceberg of the many ways you can make a smoothie super healthy and delicious.

What’s your super healthy smoothie?

My First Nia Experience


I am always up for trying something new, especially if it involves physical exercise.  When my coworker invited me to a Nia class, I thought about researching it first, just to see what was in store for me.  All I knew was that it wasn’t your typical dance class.  You move to your own freedom with no inhibition, while sticking to the main principles.  I decided to attend the class with no background information and go in blind.  The only “research” I did before class was right before it started by reading a line that said, “Nia is to exercise what holistic medicine is to healthcare”….I was sold! 

What is Nia?

“Nia is a holistic fitness practice that allows you to tap into your creativity and discover new ways of moving.  

Created by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas 25 years ago, The Nia Technique blends movements and concepts from Dance Arts, Martial Arts and Healing Arts with vocal sounding and self-expression into dynamic routines set to uplifting music from around the world.”

What is the science behind Nia?

“Nia is based on The Body’s Way, which means using the body’s natural design to improve function. The biochemistry, joint and muscle action are triggered using imagination, music, emotion and vocal sound. Movements work with and against gravity…Nia addresses the body’s five main sensations: flexibility, strength, mobility, agility and stability, and focuses on conditioning the body and the nervous system.”

What are the benefits of taking Nia?

  • Increase the pleasure of living in your body
  • Facilitate weight loss and proper weight maintenance
  • Strengthen muscles, improve muscle tone, and increase muscle definition
  • Calm the mind and relieve stress
  • Improve endurance
  • Increase grace and flexibility
  • Balance the autonomic nervous system
  • Improve posture and even increase height
  • Improve organ function, particularly that of the heart and lungs
  • Enhance sensory awareness
  • Heighten sexual function
  • Build reservoirs of chi energy
  • Alleviate emotional problems, including depression, anxiety, and stress
  • Improve circulation of blood and improve lymphatic drainage
  • Strengthen immunity
  • Improve concentration and cognitive function

Like I mentioned before, it is not your typical exercise/cardio class.  Nia exercises your physical, mental and spiritual well-being as well.  What left the biggest impression on me was the age group- I was the youngest one there!   Ages varied from 40 to 70 years old.  Turns out Nia is also very kind to your joints and help alleviate symptoms of inflammation, swelling or other health issues related to muscles and bones. 

We started with The 5 Stages of Healing.  Watch this video http://youtu.be/FO0x55kbSOQ for a demo. 

“The Nia 5 Stages is an integrative movement practice based on the five stages of human development: Embryonic, Creeping, Crawling, Standing and Walking. Practiced with awareness, these stages have the power to facilitate optimal alignment, improved function and comfort in the body. Whether practiced at length or for as little as five minutes a day, this system provides a tool for reclaiming and sustaining mobility, flexibility, strength, agility and stability.

The rest of the class consisted of dance moves that involved punches and kicks (martial arts) accompanied with the vocal sounds, as mentioned above, and the freedom to dance at our own will as long as it felt good to us.  The instructor gave us a basic “cha-cha” step, which I could not master for the life of me! I have no idea why I found this difficult but I didn’t give up.  As long as we maintained this basic step, we were allowed to dance and move freely.  I was surprised to see a few 70-year-old women accompany the cha-cha with a sexy hip swing- they were totally into it! I can imagine the flexibility and agility they must have felt afterwards. 

Later we were instructed to walk on the balls of our feet and move freely- I used this opportunity to stretch out my shoulders and back.  I simply rolled my shoulders forward and backwards and I would swing my arms in big circular motions.  We used the entire floor to move and dance around- It was so much fun!  This is going to sound really silly, but we ended the dance session with the instructor telling us to walk around and CLUCK LIKE CHICKENS!!! I am not kidding you- we had to walk around, flap our “wings” and cluck like a chicken.  Some people were really getting into it, others (me included) just shyly moved our arms  up and down and politely smiled at the more creative and less inhibited types.  I tried to search the web for the purpose of this, but all I got was websites on how to make chicken soup, so I must ask the instructor next time I see her.  We ended the Nia session by laying on the floor for some meditation/mental relaxation. 

 Usually after a sweaty cardio session I feel spent and look forward to relaxing on the couch, but after Nia, I felt very energized and aware.  I just felt so good and believe it or not, I felt that as though my posture had changed, like my shoulders were pushed back and I was walking taller.  I cannot wait to attend my next Nia class! 

During class, I could not help but let my inner dreamer think about how great it would be to provide such a wonderful service to the older population, like at senior centers and maybe offer Nia to an Adult Program.  I think becoming a Nia instructor may just have to be another thing to add to my bucket list 🙂

15 Ways to Shape Up Your Plate


It’s March 14th which means…HAPPY REGISTERED DIETITIAN DAY! And March is National Nutrition Month.  The theme this month is “GET YOUR PLATE IN SHAPE”, so I have 15 ways to shape up your plate.  Challenge yourself and try them all for the remainder of the month!

1)  Add fruit to every main meal.  It is recommended that a person consumes at least 2 servings of fruit per day.  Add berries to your oatmeal or yogurt for breakfast, apples or pears to your salad for lunch and apricots to your stew for dinner. 

2)  Make it colorful- have at least 3 colors going in your meals.  It can be a form of a salad or vegetable medley.  This technique helps you choose a variety of fruits and vegetables which increases your intake of a variety of vitamins and minerals. 

3)  “Meatless Monday”- dedicate one day of the week to make a vegetarian meal.  They are low in fat and rich in vitamins and minerals. 

4)  Make salad your main meal.  Add your favorite vegetables, fruit, cheeses and lean protein (grilled shrimp, anyone?) to make a beautiful, generous size salad that will fill you before you can even say, “That was delicious!”

5)  Use the plate method.  It allows you monitor your portions by having half of your plate vegetables,   one-quarter starch, one-quarter lean protein.

6)  Choose ground turkey or chicken more often than beef.  They are lower in fat and cholesterol. 

7)  Experiment with Tofu.  Consider it the “blank canvas” of proteins.  You can make it into anything you want.  Marinate it with teriyaki sauce and include it in your stir fry, mix in barbecue sauce and add it to a veggie skewer for grilling, throw some silken tofu and blend it with some roasted red peppers to make a “creamy” red pepper pasta sauce. 

8)  Aim to have a minimum of 3 major food groups per main meal.

9) Aim to have a minimum of 2 major food groups per snack.

10)  Make your own soups.  Many soups include beans and vegetables as the main ingredient.  Its a great way to get your veggie and lean protein intake. 

11)  Beans!  They are high in fiber and iron, they are low-fat and a great source of protein.  Explore the beauty of beans and try some vegetarian burgers with beans as the main ingredient, make a low-fat chilli, a mexican bean dip or bean burritos. 

12)  Visit a farmers market.  There is no better way to get the most nutritional value of fruits and veggies than buying them as close to their picking time as possible.  The quality is better, they will taste better and you are supporting your local farming community. 

13)  Go for the Grain!  Rice and pasta are not the only starches out there, cook some grains for a super healthy starch option.  I highly recommend Quinoa (pronounced:  keen-wah), as it is high in nutrients and protein.  Experiment with barley, bulgur, steel-cut oats.  

14)  Cut back on salt and use fresh herbs/vegetables/spices  for flavor.  Minced garlic, grated ginger, fresh parsley, dill, cilantro, corriander….the list is endless.  Each adds an experience to your meals that will make it super yummy and healthy.

15)  Drink Water…lots of it!  Be creative to give it flavor.  Add some fresh slices of fruit such as oranges, lemons and limes.  Add a splash of cranberry juice and a lime wedge.  It’s very important to stay hydrated with fluids that contain minimal to no sugar added.