Top 5 Nut-Free Snacks

Thank you to everyone who reached out to me after my last blog post about my favorite nutrient-dense snack bars. I’m so happy that the post resonated with you and you now have new snacks to add to your repertoire!

I also want to apologize to those who reached out but didn’t get a timely response from me. A little into my life… My husband, Drew, had major unexpected knee surgery a few weeks ago. My priority has been getting him to and from the physical therapist and doctor appointments.

It’s times like these that you remember there is so much to learn when the rug gets pulled out from under your steady, planted feet. Sometimes, it’s hard to see the lessons until you get really truthful with yourself. At these times, I always go back to my Simple Clean and Whole pillars, which get me back into self-care. Let’s face it, you can only care for another if you care for yourself first!

With that said, here we go with this week’s post. I received so many emails requesting a blog about nut-free snacks, especially for the kiddos, so I put together a list of my five favorite nut-free snacks for you to try. I’ve suggested these nut-free bars and healthy cookies to many of my clients who are nut-free, and I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback. Most of these snacks are gluten-free as well, but it’s important to note that most do contain seeds.

If you don’t have a nut intolerance, then please follow the link at the beginning of this article to read last week’s post with my favorite nutrient-dense snack bars. Otherwise, these are the cleanest nut-free bars that I’ve found – especially for the kids.

I’ve discovered that if you tell a child or adult that this is a healthy snack, they might immediately tell you they don’t want it. I recommend cutting the bars into bite-sized pieces and letting them know it’s a new brand or recipe you’d like them to try. Don’t let them see the wrapper! Present them with a fun taste test and see what happens. You just might be surprised by the results.

And now for the fun part. Here are my favorite nut-free snacks!

1. 18 Rabbits Jr. Organic Gluten Free Granola Bar

This organic and gluten-free granola bar brand is known for real fruit, healthy seeds, and oats. It includes no refined sugars, nuts, wheat, soy, or dairy. I love the chocolate banana flavor! It’s actually Amazon’s Choice (I love reading ratings and customer reviews). I haven’t tried the chocolate cherry flavor yet, but many of my clients say their kids love them.

2. Enjoy Life Baked Chewy Bars

These snack bars are very small but rich in flavor. They’re free of gluten, wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, soy, fish, and shellfish. I think the chocolate flavor tastes the best.

3. Go Raw Sprouted Grow Protein Bars

I’m going to be honest with you here. Your best bet is to try the sampler package of these bars because they take a bit to get used to. Why? Because they actually taste healthy. They’re gluten-, dairy- and nut-free, and I love that they’re high in protein.

4. Go Raw Super Cookies

I love Go Raw Super Cookies! They’re gluten-, wheat-, and nut-free and have the perfect crunch. I know many kids, teens, moms, and dads who love them, too. I highly recommend the chocolate cookies!

5. BOBO Oat Bars

BOBO Oat Bars are truly delicious. They taste like a coffee cake to me. I recommend that you start with the bars that are gluten- and nut-free. I love the original and apple pie flavors.

Want to Learn More?

Don’t forget, if there are products you’d like me to test and write about, let me know in the comments below or on the Simple Clean and Whole Facebook Page. I love exploring new Simple Clean and Whole foods!

And of course, if you’re ready to take the next step in learning about your health, nutrition, and the Simple Clean and Whole lifestyle, let’s work together!

3 Mind-Provoking Podcasts

As promised from my last post, I always have a list of podcasts that I love to listen to along with having my go-to reading books next to my bed. I find that each podcast or TED Talk that I choose speaks to me in a specific way. I seem to find a message that pertains to my own life that I can actually bring into any present situation, obstacle, or teaching that resonates with me or a client.

As you may know, I’m studying at the Functional Medicine Academy where 50% of the curriculum is based on Positive Psychology. What the heck does that mean? Well, to put it very simply, with functional medicine, the coach and student work together to navigate your top character strengths. Once we have the character strengths, we work on how we use them in everyday life whether that is in relationships, nutrition, career, physical movement, or spirituality.

Most of us look at what we’re deficient in, what we feel less in, or what we feel ineffective in. That leads directly to self-sabotage, low self-esteem, and an array of below the midline thoughts and feelings. In other words, we’re focusing only on the negatives! Positive Psychology focuses on the positives.

So how do I follow through on the lessons that I teach? That’s a question many of my clients ask me, and my answer is always the same. I use techniques to build on what I’m good at or uncover what I’m brilliant in and nourished by. This is also what I teach my clients.

When I started to engage in a practice of self-nourishment rather than self-sabotage, I began to experiment with many tools like:

  • Journaling
  • Lighting candles every morning
  • Taking detox baths
  • Reading inspiring books
  • Listening to podcasts and TED Talks

With that said, I want to share three of my favorite podcasts and TED Talks that helped me as I began to build my foundation of Positive Psychology. In other words, these talks and podcasts help you build on what is good whether or not obstacles are in your vision or in the past.

1. SuperSoul Session

In SuperSoul Session, Cheryl Strayed shares her journey from believing she was an absolute failure to becoming a best-selling author. Cheryl’s honesty and humor make this a must-listen!

2. The Power of Vulnerability

In The Power of Vulnerability, Brene Brown (a vulnerability researcher) discusses human connections and how we empathize, belong, and love. Using information from her studies on vulnerability, shame, courage, and authenticity, Brene will help you better understand yourself and others. There is a reason why nearly 30 million people have listened to this TED Talks presentation!

3. How to Gain Control of Your Free Time

In How to Gain Control of Your Free Time, time management consultant Laura Vanderkam shares specific strategies to regain time in your week no matter how busy you are. The goal is to recover time to do the things that matter to you. I love this TED Talk because Laura shows that there really is enough time in the week to find balance and be happy.

Time to Start Listening

I want you to take your time to watch/listen to these podcasts and TED Talks. Now, I know your next question is probably, “But Jen, when do I listen? I’m so busy!” First, start by listening to TED Talk #3 above, How to Gain Control of Your Free Time!

Don’t worry. I’m not going to leave you there! Here are some tips to fit these mind-provoking podcasts and TED Talks into your day. Listen when:

  • Your kids are asleep
  • First thing in the morning when it’s quiet (use these as meditations)
  • Before bed
  • On the train
  • While you’re in the car (just download and take them with you)

Once you listen, don’t forget to tell me what you think! Come back to this post and share your thoughts in the comments below.

In the meantime, if you’re like me and information about food, nutrition, recipes, and lifestyle feeds your soul, you can purchase my ebook full of delicious breakfast recipes here. Want to go even further? Let’s work together!

5 Must-Try Secrets to Build Your Immune System

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been experiencing some crazy cold and flu symptoms this winter season! My kids, clients, and a long list of other people—everyone seems to be feeling so run down. And forget about the flu shot! So many people that I’ve talked to say this year’s flu shot isn’t covering the flu that’s going around.

How do you protect yourself? With my must-try secrets to build your immune system of course!

As most of you know, I’m all about exploring, experimenting, and experiencing different supplements and products that are out on the market. I’d say I’m the queen of the supplement drawer in my house! As you can imagine, I’ve been hell bent on researching the best (well, what I think are the best) alternative products out there to combat all of the germs in our atmosphere this winter!

Keep in mind, these products aren’t going to cure you, but they will support your immune system during the cold, flu, and belly bug season. And whose immune system couldn’t use a bit of help, right?

Support is the pivotal word here. As a practitioner, my belief is not to support yourself in only one part of your life. Whether it’s nutrition, supplements, exercise, mental health, or spiritual health, you need to support the varied parts of your life. Why? Because you are a WHOLE. You have many parts that you might view as separate, but my practice for myself and my clients is to marry those parts of you to gain balance, perspective, and a sense of wholeness.

With that said, the products I recommend in this article offer support for your health in so many ways because when you feel healthy, you have the opportunity to look deeper into those other areas of your life. You have a chance to find your balance and wellbeing for yourself as a whole, not just a bunch of disparate parts. Amen!

Now, it’s time to share some of my must-try secrets to build your immune system and protect yourself, not just from those pesky winter germs but also to support your whole self.

1. Vitamin D3

The problem for most of us is that we’re simply not getting enough vitamin D to allow our bodies to work optimally at performing all of the functions that vitamin D supports. Did you know that an estimated one billion people (that’s about one-seventh of the global population) have inadequate vitamin D supplies in their bodies? It’s very probable that you’re one of those people!

Vitamin D deficiency can actually be quite serious. Low vitamin D levels are linked to increased risks of cardiovascular disease, neurological disease, cancer, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders. If you’re feeling tired, sluggish, overworked, moody, or below the midline, or if you’re craving CRAP, don’t wait to get your vitamin D levels checked. It’s a simple blood test.

To support your vitamin D levels, I can’t say enough about Vitamin D3. I believe that every practitioner out there should be measuring their patient’s D3 levels yearly. Depending on where you live, if you’re not getting enough outdoor time or sun, there could be a significant drop in your vitamin D3!

2. Tea Tree Oil

Did you know that using any of the mass-marketed hand sanitizers actually strips away good bacteria from your skin over time? That’s why your hands get so dry!

I know that I’ve been guilty of being the hand sanitizer crazy woman for myself and family in the past, but this year, I began to make my own hand sanitizer after learning that most of the ingredients in those hand sanitizers you buy may contribute to resistant strains of bacteria.

My go-to homemade hand sanitizer recipe is very easy to make, cost effective, and so good for your skin! Just mix 1/4 cup of Aloe Vera gel with 1 tablespoon of filtered water, 20 drops of tea tree essential oil, and 10 drops of lavender essential oil. Not only does this keep your hands moisturized, but it also kills bacteria at the same time without the effects of stripping good bacteria.

Any drug store or health food store sells small, reusable bottles that you can use to hold your homemade hand sanitizer. If you don’t think you have enough time to make your own, I’d suggest purchasing an essential oil hand sanitizer from a certified aromatherapist, so you know you’re getting quality ingredients in a safe product.

Of course, always work directly with a certified aromatherapist whose certification is recognized by the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapists and the Alliance of International Aromatherapists, and check with your doctor or health care provider before using essential oils, especially on children or if you have a medical condition.

3. Immuno-Shield All Season Wellness

Ahah! These are honestly my favorite go-to green pills! My functional medicine doctor turned me on to these supplements last winter season after I had the wicked 2016 flu. This supplement is from Irwin Naturals and helps to support your body’s natural defense mechanisms. It includes vitamins, minerals, herbs, and antioxidants all in one!

I take this supplement throughout the winter season. In fact, during the winter months, I substitute this for my daily multivitamin, and if I feel something coming on, I take double the dose indicated on the bottle.

4. Extra Vitamin C

I believe that your body can heal itself. I also believe that we need extra support, including extra vitamin C during the winter months. Common winter ailments are usually caused by vitamin and mineral deficiencies, but during the winter months, fruits and vegetables that are full of vitamin C aren’t always readily available. Why not take a vitamin C supplement?

A 2013 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that vitamin C reduces cold and flu symptoms by 85%. Of course, participants in the study were given megadoses of vitamin C, so your results might not be comparable. However, the point is that vitamin C truly does work! Just be sure to check with your doctor or health care provider before using vitamin C, especially for children or if you have a medical condition.

5. Epsom Salt Baths

I’ve introduced all of my private clients to the benefits of Epsom Salt baths! Most people only think of taking Epsom Salt baths when they need to relieve sore muscles, but there are so many more benefits.

Remember how I spoke about support earlier in this article? Well, Epsom Salt baths support your entire immune system. Epsom salt baths have a way of releasing your mind and body from daily stress. Where do you think the slogan, “Calgon, take me away,” came from?

When you add one cup of Epsom Salt and 10-20 drops of your favorite essential oil to your bath, it becomes a detox bath! I love peppermint essential oil as it is very invigorating, and I like lavender to relax my tired body. When I’m experiencing cold and flu symptoms, I use eucalyptus oil.

Epsom Salt is magnesium, which many people tend to be deficient in. In fact, studies show that taking Epsom Salt baths can increase your magnesium without even taking any supplements. How cool is that? Be sure to support your whole system with a daily bath or a bath a few times a week!

Ready to Boost Your Immune System?

Remember, these are ideas to support your immune system, and where would you be without your immune system? Prioritize your self-care and start taking care of your immune system. Trust me, you’ll feel so much better!

 

If you want to learn more about enhancing your immune system, let’s work together!

Looking for more aromatherapy products to boost your immune system? Check out my go-to certified aromatherapist, Susan Gunelius’, products available through her company online store, Aromassist. She offers a wonderful Immune-Stimulating Aromastick that you can keep in your purse or pocket to use on the go as well as an Immune-Stimulating Blend that you can use in

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Let Vulnerability Lead You

I had an incredible experience this weekend without even planning it. Isn’t it so funny how the universe gives you exactly what you need when you least expect it?

In the next few weeks I will be moving from my home in Summit, New Jersey and settling into our new lifestyle living between New York and Colorado. (Most of my clients work with me through Skype, FaceTime or online group programs, so no matter where I am I can take you with me! I will certainly miss my locals, though!)

Talk about change, transition, and shifting. I got it all.

Experts say that whatever you preach/teach is what you will experience. Not only do you teach on these experiences, they will fall on your lap even if you don’t want them or haven’t planned them. For me, I have been teaching so much on life shifts & vulnerability – about bravely stepping into the unknown, embracing uncertainty, and seeing life as being an open-ended journey. Like the abyss… scary stuff! It truly takes vulnerability to access courage and compassion that comes with life shifts.

So, this weekend I walked into the unknown: a new home, a new space, a new town.

What I realized then that I had not foreseen was that I was beginning to go deeper and deeper into my teachings – in my own life.

It was time for me to do my own inner work of being vulnerable in a situation that jolts my belly and sends my intuition into doubt & fear (with my monkey mind on red alert.) Yes, I still have those moments! These are the moments that could either turn into a catastrophic hurricane (tossing you around and beating you down,) or a chance to turn inwards and grow.

While the old patterns and habits are knocking at my door, I have a choice. (Yup, we all have choices!) I can spin out of control and feed the hurricane with manmade wind – OR I can root down into my authentic belief system. Now, remember, the Simple Clean and Whole belief system was not always my system. My system used to be defined by anxiety.

The practice of living Simple Clean and Whole is not just about nutrition. It is a lifestyle practice. Part of the practice is always looking within, being gracious and loving and curious with myself.

I ask these 5 questions to bring me back to balance & moderation:

  1. What foods nourish me, even though I only want to ingest comfort food? (For me that would be sugar!)
  2. What kind of movement do I need to clear my head, when all I want to do is hibernate?
  3. What kind of people do I want to surround myself with, when all I want to do is hijack others to complain with me?
  4. What tools have I cultivated that help to ground me, when all I want to do is revert to my old negative ways?
  5. What truly makes me feel good? (Not just temporarily.)

For the next several blog posts I will be featuring women and men who also keep intentionally bringing themselves back to the Simple Clean and Whole lifestyle when all of life’s obstacles (like unknowns, new changes, and hurricanes!) keep getting thrown their way!

These individuals have touched my life in many ways and I can’t wait to share their stories with you. We are all in this together, and no one is exempt from finding their own way!

This summer, I will be digging deep into my new digs… making my house a home! I will also be working on the extended all-new online SHIFT program, AND…

Stay tuned for Simple Clean and Whole’s 7 day Farmers Market Cleanse in mid-July!!

Until then, let your vulnerability lead you to practice courage and compassion.

Stay tuned for my first guest next week, Meghan French. She is the unbelievable brand and web designer who I have been honored to share my vision with.

Cheers to being vulnerable!

xojennew

Can You Really Cleanse & EAT Fat Too….?

Could there be a healthy fat?

Oh yes there can…

It’s called Ghee….

It looks like butter, it’s made with butter, it kind of smells like butter, so how healthy can ghee really be?

Ghee traditionally used in Indian cooking and is commonly referred as clarified or drawn butter. One tablespoon of ghee is equal to 4 tablespoons of butter.

“Ghee is made from a natural source which is butter, and because of the way it’s prepared, the lactose and milk protein content is so minimal…making it better tolerated by those with dairy sensitivities”… -Ari Patel

I absolutely LOVE ghee’s benefits…

  • Ghee possesses butyric acid, which actually decrease inflammation in parts of the body, particularly your gut and aids in nutrient absorption
  • High in healthy Omega 3 oil which can help decrease your levels of unhealthy cholesterol.
  • Ghee is easily digestible for this with dairy intolerance concerns…what more can I say!

I have been experimenting with ghee for the last year, and have found many recipes that include its deliciousness!!! My favorite to put a teaspoon in my morning oatmeal….OMG!!!!

I have included many recipes with Ghee in my Deep Dive Winter Cleanse. Ghee is the perfect accessory for that comfort and warmth we all crave in the winter season….kind of like a warm cozy blanket! A little healthy fat always curbs my sugar cravings!

You can find grass-fed ghee at your local food store, and to boot it does not have to be refrigerated, since there is no dairy, and essentially is a healthy fat.

Please remember Ghee is an addition to a Simple Clean and Whole healthy lifestyle since it is a fat…everything in balance & moderation!!!

Delicious Warming Oatmeal with Ghee
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 2-3 cups of water
  • 1 pinch of sea salt
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ⅔ cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the ghee.
  2. Add the oats, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  3. Allow the ghee to coat the oats and spices.
  4. Add your water & bring to a boil, reduce heat to med-low.
  5. Add raisins.
  6. Cover and let cook until desired texture.
  7. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds
Notes
adapted from SimpleVeda.com

Come experience cooking with ghee in a safe & effective way on the Simple Clean and Whole Winter Deep Dive Cleanse! The Pre-Cleanse starts this Sunday, February 1st 2015.

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