I could have had an average life, but God had bigger plans for me and my family. Growing up my mom, Valerie, had a litany of mysterious health problems (Learn about her life story in our FREE Documentary, “Race Against Time”). No matter how sick she got, she always stayed true to her beliefs and health principles. This experience shaped me to be the person I am today.

>When I was six years old I started classical ballet training with the Royal Academy of Dance. 19 fun and fantastic years of dance taught me so many life lessons. Before I retired from dance I was honored to become a royal member of Queen Elizabeth’s Royal Court in London, England due to my ballet accomplishments. Although dance was a huge part of my life I never wanted to become a professional dancer. I chose a career path in Architecture, yeah I’m kind of a nerd.

(Im in the awesome green costume standing with my BFF Taylor.) 

Immediately after graduating from high school I took a position at a local architectural firm. Within a year I was promoted to Senior Interior/Exterior Commercial Designer. I was working on multi-million dollar remodel projects. Although I had no formal education in design, I just happened to be really good at it! For several years I worked and attended college. I was enjoying my lucrative career and I was at the top of my class. One day I woke up and God inspired me to make a major change in my life. He showed me I was not going to be able to save people’s lives by painting the right color on a wall. He wanted me in the field of nutrition to be able to save people’s lives through His health message.Although it was a tough decision to leave my current life, nutrition was no stranger to me. I was born and raised a vegan. 30 years ago, being a vegan was not popular and trendy like it is today. My family and I were looked at like we were crazy health nuts. Well, my parents might have been a little crazy, but I thank them every day for raising my sister and I like they did!When I decided to go into the field of nutrition I started to volunteer at a local health organization. I was still a student, working at the architectural firm and I was a member of a classical ballet dance company out of town (I traveled there to dance several times a week.)

I quickly got involved in the health organization’s communities weight loss seminar. I started as the emcee, a few short weeks later I took over the fitness portion of the seminar and started to co-lecture with two physicians. My fitness program was so successful that the participants asked me to create a fitness plan that they could use long term. Therefore, I authored my first book, “Strength Training Made Simple” by Marcie.

Around the same time I was changing my major from architecture to nutrition, God impressed me to attend a religious university out of state. Now, when I say God impressed me, I’m not joking. When this happened I was currently enrolled at a local university, I had my classes, paid for my books and school was starting Monday. Well, the Tuesday before school started my parents suggested I attend this religious university out of state. I told them they were crazy! Then I prayed about my decision. Thursday morning I woke up at 7am. I told my mom I was transferring schools. I called my new school; they said they wouldn’t admit someone that fast. I told them to try because I was packing my bags and hitting the road that night to drive across two states to get there in time to start school on Monday. I was the fastest student they had ever admitted in the 109 years they had been in existence. I arrived at my new school late Friday night. The dorm had not even gotten word that I was coming. They found me a room and I started school Monday majoring in Nutrition, Public Health Promotion.

After a few months at my new school, I needed to find a job. I went to the campus bulletin board and found a list of jobs available on campus. The first job opening I saw was for the Public Relations Coordinator for the university. The job required 5 to 10 years of experience and a degree in public relations, I had neither. To be honest I didn’t fit any of the qualifications they were looking for. God inspired me to call and schedule an interview. After doing loads of research on public relations, I showed up to my interview. As I was seated, my interviewer said, “This is not a student position.” I asked her to interview me, not as a student, but as a professional. She hesitated, but proceeded. Two weeks later I was offered the job of Public Relations Coordinator and Special Projects manager at a major private university. God, once again, was doing miraculous things in my life! This job allowed me to work directly with the State’s Lieutenant Governor, the president of the university and many other state and school officials.

I was enjoying being a full-time student, loving my job and appreciating all of the blessings God had given me. I thought I had reached my limit on what God wanted me to accomplish, but once again He was leading me to do even more with my life! There was a privately owned television station in the town where I lived. I decided to go pitch an idea of creating a TV series surrounding my fitness book. I had no experience on TV, nor did I really know what the industry was like. I humbly went and pitched my idea. Not to my surprise the TV station was not interested. However, in the same interview, I was offered a job of becoming a live television host. WHAT… who would have thought? I left the TV station with another job! I was now a live television host. I was in charge of creating, scripting and hosting a weekly live TV show. My first show was a little rough, to say the least. But after awhile I really figured out what I was doing. I featured doctors, health professionals and local events. One of my most revered guests flew in from New York; he was the civil engineer of the World Trade Centers. My show was given an award for being the highest rated live TV show in the entire state.

During that time in my life, I was so busy! However, once a year I took the time to watch the Miss America pageant. This has been a fun family tradition my whole life! After watching the 2007 Miss America pageant I thought to myself, I could do that. I googled the closest local pageant and decided to sign up. Within that same year I had won a local title and now I was on my way to the State competition. The Miss America Organization is the largest provider of scholarships for young women in the world! By competing I was getting money for college. Some of the major parts of the competition were interview, community service outreach and talent. I decided my community service project was going to focus on the health of my state.

My platform was, Disease Prevention – Make a Healthy Choice Today. I started to work with the government and their Free and Reduced Lunch Program. I wanted to integrate healthier food in high school cafeterias. I was able to work with the lieutenant governor’s office to accomplish some pretty great stuff! I competed for my state pageant; I received 4th runner up and the overall platform award. The Hope Heart Award (named after Bob Hope) said that my platform had the greatest impact on my state. Yes, I am a pageant girl, and no I never competed again. Since then I have become an image consultant and interview specialist for the Miss America Organization. I am 100% a volunteer, and several of my clients have won their state titles. Throughout the years I have helped myself and these young ladies to pay for their higher education!

Shortly after my state pageant, my mom became very ill. I needed to move home to take care of her. I left everything, my job, my school and my TV show to come take care of her. It was the best decision I ever could have made. After a short while, she got back on the road to recovery. However, now my education and career were put on hold. What now…

I was recommended to apply for an internship in the second largest hospital network in the nation. I applied along with every other college student in the nation. I was chosen to be in the final three. I went in for my last interview, once again, not exactly qualified. I got the job! I was now the Administrative Assistant to the Vice President of Business Development. I immediately moved and started a new career. It was during this job that I wrote my third book (I didn’t mention that I wrote two children’s books earlier.) My book thoroughly depicted our surrounding community profiles and their market share information.

About a year into this job, I met the love of my life back in my hometown. (To watch our love story video and our wedding day video click here. It’s so romantic!) I now wanted to move home, however, I wanted to stay in the hospital industry. I started to pray for an opportunity to present itself. One day I got an unexpected phone call from a local hospital offering me a job. I immediately accepted the invitation to come and interview. Once again I was not officially qualified for the position. God, was just opening doors for me again! Several weeks later I was given the job of Administrative Assistant to the Chief of Medical Staff at one of the largest hospitals in my hometown. I was in charge of physician compliance and admitting privileges for over 500 physicians.

In 2012 I was blessed to marry the love of my life! I was married on the coast of Malibu in Dick Clark’s Estate. Yes, you read that right, I got married in Dick Clark’s house. It was my dream wedding! (Wedding video click here.)

Shortly after I was married, I confided in my husband that I was being led by God to open my own business promoting health. I still had a fire stirring in me from when God initially inspired me to make a change when I was working in the architectural firm many years ago. My mom and I started tossing around some ideas. We put together a business plan and found investors and we were moving along smoothly.

When I was blessed to become pregnant. I immediately put my business on a fast track to start producing the material we were so very passionate about sharing. I teamed up with the world-renowned Dr. Scharffenberg, M.D., M.D.H.

Together we produced a nine-volume cooking show called “Don’t Have A Cow” get it here today. The cooking show describes the food groups we should be selecting from to best prevent cancers, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis and much more. My mom and I are publishing our first cookbook; it is designed to be a transitional cookbook for people who want to incorporate more whole foods into their lives. We have also produced a documentary on Valerie’s miraculous life story (get it for FREE here.) There are many other projects that God is leading us to be involved in! Follow us on social media to keep up with everything we are doing.

ValMar Health is a combination of my name and my mom’s. Get it, Val (Valerie) Mar (Marcie) Health. My mom came up with it.

Here we are today…. All of my life experiences have prepared me for the most amazing job yet, spreading God’s health message. I finally have a job I am qualified to do. God has given me the knowledge and background needed to promote health through His teachings. I finally have my dream job!

If you read this whole bio you are a trooper.

Now go buy my stuff! 


Have you ever experienced a day when it seems to you that the world is ready to catch you? When are you experiencing one bad thing in sequence? When things go wrong, no matter what you do? Do not worry! It happen to everybody at one time or the other, you are not in it alone. But the way you choose to respond to a bad day will determine whether it will be just a bad day or a series of bad days. A bad day does not mean you should give up. It is said that “every cloud has a positive side” so that you can certainly achieve something worthwhile, no matter how bad a day is remember, there is always a lesson in each fight!

Bad days are part of life. We all have a share of it. No matter how much yoga you are attending or doing your life before or after, you will encounter one bad time sometime. The secret of success is to learn how to go forward despite the bad days, without any claim to them but reducing their frequency is a good thing

Are you guilty of things that might have contributed to your bad day? As long as you’re busy with blaming yourself, you will not be able to maneuver through your bad experience. There will be times when your self-confidence and your abilities are temporarily replaced by worry and depression.

I had a extremely hard time sleep training my second child, Kosta. I remember those days, weeks and months dragging on.  On average I would get two to three hours of sleep a night. When I was stuck with the fears and doubts I had, I was emotionally left alone. I could not see the light in the dark and my perceptions became so distorted that I could not imagine another wake time. I felt I did not know how to put one leg over the other, let alone put the best foot forward; I did not know what that meant, but I realized that this was a possibility. Regardless of the turns and roundabouts, you can choose to take your situations and use them for good. You can look for good qualities in you and in the rest of the world. Looking back I am so grateful for my experience with sleep training my baby boy, because now I have the opportunity to help so many other struggling moms.

Here are a few steps that can turn a bad day into a better one:

  • Do not allow a bad day to deteriorate: By feeling sorry for yourself, overwhelm, or overreacting towards a colleague or loved ones, are just some of the ways to make a bad day worse. Why throw gas on a fire? Just drop down to your knees, pray and let the storm pass. Tomorrow is a new day, and as far as we know it, it could be your best day.


  • It could have been more terrible: Maybe your boss hates your report, your kids are bothering you, your client complain to you. No matter how bad a day is, it could be a lot worse. It’s tempting to pick up a phone and tell 10 friends how miserable you feel, but that will only increase your stress and will certainly not make you feel better.


  • It will pass: Remember it’s just a day. You can handle a bad day. You’ve survived successfully in the past. Finish your day with a prayer and hopeful for tomorrow.


  • Do not make rash decision on important matters: A bad day is not the best time to decide whether to give up work, resign from your dream, or end your relationship. All these things can wait for your mood and circumstances to normalize. Again, avoid doing anything that could worsen your day.


  • Do something that excites you: Give yourself a break. Treat yourself to your favorite pastimes. Decide to go away for the weekend or buy the new iPad you’ve been looking at the last few months. Give yourself something to make your day a bit better!


  • Identify the lesson you can learn: Can you learn something from this experience? A hard day is not that bad if you learned something useful from it.


  • Take a deep breathe: If you’re literally underwater, breathing is always a good idea to relieve tension and return control of your feelings. Breathe and finish your job. Finishing everything you need to do is more difficult when it seems that everything is wrong, but you will end up feeling satisfied if it is not a total loss.


  • Take a nap: Sometimes you can re-set your day and brain by quickly recharging with a quick short sleep. You may see your situation in a new light. This also provides the necessary rest you might be lacking, which is only perpetuating your bad day.


  • Stay busy and motivated: Focus on completing tasks in your schedule. Being busy, you will prevent your mind from leading you into an emotional spiral downward.


  • Count your blessings: I think the most important thing to do on a bad day is to pray and thank the Lord for all of your blessings. You will be soooo surprised how many blessings God is pouring on your in the midst of a bad day. Praise the Lord for His mercy!

When it’s cold outside, it’s likely the first food craving you have isn’t a salad. Comfort foods like Mac ‘N’ Cheese, mashed potatoes, chili, vegan chicken noodle soup and baked goods typically take the lead as winter season staples. Most of us can think of happy memories that involved comfort food on a cold or rainy day, but let’s not forget to make sure we are getting the daily vitamins and minerals we need. Let’s not forget to supplement our favorite winter dishes with salad.

You’ll experience more energy, better moods and a stronger immune system to get you through the colder months when you maintain a healthy, balanced diet amid the moments you’d rather curl up with a blanket and a plate of cookies. Increased consumption of refined sugar and alcohol during the holiday season causes undue stress on one’s immune system, leading to increased vulnerability to germs and sickness during colder months, according to Deborah A. Robinett, MA, RD, CD, Owner and President of Health Enhancement Corporation in Tacoma, WA.

As if the increased presence of baked treats at the office, at social parties or family gatherings isn’t enough of an obstacle to maintaining optimal health, the lack of sunlight during colder months can lead to a shortage of much needed Vitamin D. The lack of Vitamin D causes a drop in serotonin, which controls your mood and food cravings. That’s why when the sun starts to go down sooner, you might find yourself craving certain foods that temporarily make you feel better. “Sunshine is the best natural source of Vitamin D, so during a dark winter, you may want to consider supplements of this vitamin, which has also been shown to reduce the risk of colon, breast and ovarian cancers by as much as 50%,” says Gloria Tsang, RD, Founder of www.HealthCastle.com

Maybe you realize the importance of maintaining a healthy diet during the winter; however, the idea of eating a salad compared to a steamy bowl of your favorite comfort food sounds far from exciting to you. Thankfully, salads don’t have to be bland or boring at all, and there are even plenty of healthy ways to warm up your salad when the weather outside is frightful. Here are a few yummy vegan salad ideas you might not have thought of before!

1.Black Bean Vegan Taco Salad  This vegan black bean taco salad combines crunchy, creamy and fresh ingredients, and features a tangy, herby and dairy free ranch dressing with a hint of Southwest flavor that pairs well with and will add an extra kick to a wide variety of dishes.


For the Black Beans

1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained (or 1.5 cups cooked black beans)

2 Tsp chilli powder

½ Tsp salt

½ Tsp garlic powder

½ Tsp smoked paprika

1 Tsp cumin

½ Tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

¼ Cup water

For the Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas

1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and dried (or 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas

1 Tsp chilli powder

1 Tsp cumin

½ Tsp salt

¼ Tsp cinnamon

For the Salad

1 head green leaf lettuce, chopped (romaine would be great too)

1-2 chopped tomatoes

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 avocado, diced

1 Cup fresh corn kernels

For the Creamy Cumin Vegan Ranch Dressing
3/4 cup raw cashews (soaked for 1-2 hours if you don’t have a high speed blender)
1/2 cup water
Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tbsp)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic

1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried dill
1 tsp snipped chives
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Toss chickpeas with the chilli powder, cumin, salt and cinnamon
  3. Place chickpeas on a baking sheet in one even layer and bake for 20-30 minutes, shaking them around ½ way through. Chickpeas should be slightly crunchy…they will continue to crisp as they cool. Set aside.
  4. Toss the black beans with all the spices and warm in a pan over medium heat with ¼ cup water. Stir occasionally until warmed through, about 5-6 minutes.
  5. To make the Creamy Cumin Vegan Ranch Dressing, blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth. Add additional water by the tablespoon if needed to thin.
  6. To assemble the salad, toss the lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, avocado and corn in a large bowl. Place the lettuce mixture on each individual plate or bowl. Add the black beans to the individual servings and top with the crunchy roasted chickpeas. Drizzle with the Creamy Cumin Vegan Ranch Dressing.  


2. Carrot Salad with Black Grape Dressing – You can dress up the naturally sweet taste of carrots with a simply sweet and refreshing carrot salad. The combination of sweet and robust flavors in this salad make it a refreshing alternative to the traditional green salads, so if you’re looking to try something different and new, I recommend giving this one a try!

Ingredients – Makes 4 Servings

For the salad

4 cups finely grated carrots

1/2 cup almonds, blanched and sliced

1/2 cup raisins, soaked in water or orange juice

1 cup spring onions, finely sliced

For the French dressing

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup vinegar

1/4 cup syrup(chasni)

Salt & pepper to taste

1 tsp mustard powder

1 heaped Tbsp chopped garlic

4 Tbsp chopped onion

For the black grape dressing

1 cup black grapes

2 Tbsp chopped garlic

2 Tbsp onion

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

4 Tbsp olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

2 Tbsp honey

2-3 green chilies


For the salad

  1. Mix all the ingredients for the salad in a bowl and keep aside.

For the French dressing:

  1. Put all the ingredients in a blender except the olive oil, and start blending. While blending, slowly add the olive oil to emulsify the mixture.
  2. Mix the dressing with the carrot salad.

For the black grape dressing:

  1. Put all the ingredients for the dressing in a blender and blend till smooth. Check seasoning and adjust accordingly.
  2. Top the salad with this dressing and serve at room temp. 


3. Barley Salad Recipe – This barley salad is chock full of fresh herbs and colorful veggies, and makes for a great side to your dinner entree’ or an afternoon snack. It’s full of flavor, and easy to make.  

Ingredients – Makes 3 servings

1 Tbsp olive oil

4-5 Madras onions (baby onions)

½ Green capsium, diced

½ Red bell pepper, diced

½ Yellow bell pepper, diced

½ Cup corn kernels

1 ½ Cup cooked barley

1 Tbsp red chilli flakes

1 Tbsp roasted cumin

1 Clove garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

½ Tbsp parsley, chopped

½ Tbsp thyme, chopped

½ Tbsp rosemary, chopped

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar


1.In a pan add olive oil.

  1. Add the onions, bell peppers, capsicum, corn. Saute till vegetables are half done.
  2. Add the barley. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add chilli flakes cumin, garlic, salt, pepper, parsley, thyme, rosemary and red wine vinegar.Mix well.
  4. Serve.


4. Green Bean Salad – This is a simple and quick recipe featuring green beans, tossed in the flavors of salt and pepper. It makes for a great hassle-free dish that you can bring to a gathering, use as a side dish, or add other ingredients to, like crunchy onions.

Ingredients – Serves 2

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 Cloves garlic, chopped

200 gm green beans, topped, tailed and cut into 1 cm pieces

½ Tsp black pepper

¼ Tsp salt


  1. Boil the beans for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside
  1. Heat the oil in a wok and add chopped garlic
  2. Add blanched beans. Fry them for 5 minutes. Add the salt and pepper. Saute’
  3. Serve hot


5. Leafy Salad with Walnuts – Nuts are a great alternative to croutons, and they pack lots of protein, which makes them a vegan diet staple. This simple and refreshing salad of leafy greens, tomatoes and walnuts, topped with oil and vinegar gives you all the nutrients of a great salad without the long grocery shopping list!

Ingredients – Makes 4 servings

3 Leafy vegetables (lettuce, chinese cabbage)

50 gm walnuts, grounded

1 Tbsp walnut oil

1 Tbsp sherry vinegar

4-5 Cherry tomatoes

A pinch of salt


  1. Mix the leafy vegetables and the cherry tomatoes with the ground walnuts in a glass bowl.
  2. Add the walnut oil and the sherry vinegar to the salad and mix well. Serve.


6. Chopped Kale Power Salad With Lemon Tahini Dressing – This salad had me at “chopped.” But, when you add the words kale and lemon tahini dressing, I’m sold. Not only is this salad pretty to look at, it’s healthy, easy to eat, easy to transport and full of all of these great textures.

Ingredients – Serves 4-6

2 Medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (should make about 5-6 cups)

2 teaspoons + 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided

¾ Tsp salt, divided

¼ Tsp black pepper

1 bunch of curly kale, washed, stem removed and chopped (you should get 7-8 cups)

Juice of ½ large lemon

1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1 large avocado, pitted and diced

⅓ Cup dried cranberries

⅓ Cup chopped almonds

¼ Cup red onion

Lemon Tahini Dressing

½ Cup tahini

Juice of 1 large lemon

¼ Tsp salt

3-6 Tbsp warm water, depending on how thick you want the dressing


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. On a large sheet pan, toss together the diced sweet potato with 2 teaspoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Bake sweet potato until fork tender, 35-40 minutes, flipping once.
  2. Prepare the kales while the sweet potatoes are baking. Add the chopped kale to a large bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil, juice of ½ large lemon and a heaping ¼ tablespoon salt. Use your hands to massage the kale and make sure everything is mixed together, about 1 minute. Set kale aside until sweet potatoes are finished baking.
  3. Make the dressing by adding all ingredients to a bowl and whisking until a creamy dressing is formed. Add the water slowly until desired consistency is reached.
  4. There are two ways you can assemble the salad  – 1. You can add all ingredients to the bowl with the kale and mix until combined. Add desired amount of dressing to each individual serving. 2 – You can add the kale mixture to separate bowls and evenly top with remaining ingredients.

**If making a big batch for a party or for packed lunches, it works best to mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. If having people over for lunch and serving them individually, it might work better to evenly distribute the kale and then top with remaining ingredients. If you keep the dressing separate, the salad will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


7. Spicy Cucumber Salad With Pan Fried Tofu – This salad features cukes and carrots, green onion and bell pepper, all tossed together with cilantro and roasted nuts and topped with a light sesame oil/ginger/garlic/soy sauce/hot pepper flaked dressing. It is protein packed and full of flavor.


For the Salad

14 oz extra firm tofu, drained

1 Tbsp sesame oil

2 large cucumbers, sliced thin

A few dashes of salt

3 Large carrots, shaved into ribbons

3 Green onions, chopped

½ Cup cilantro leaves and stems, loosely packed

½ Bell pepper, sliced into thin strips

¼-½ or more red or green chilli peppers, seeded and sliced into thin strips

⅓ Cup plain roasted almond slices or crushed peanuts

For the Dressing

1” Ginger, peeled

1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, peeled

3 Tbsp sesame oil

2 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar

1 Tbsp soy sauce, lower sodium/gluten free

1 Tsp maple syrup or agave

1 Tbsp sesame oil

⅛ – ¼ Tsp red pepper flakes


  1. Place a nonstick saute pan on medium heat and add 1 Tbsp of sesame oil. Cut the tofu into small cubes and add them to the pan. Brown the tofu for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally.
  2. Slice the cucumber into a colander and sprinkle lightly with salt. Set aside in the sink to drain for about 10 minutes. Thoroughly rinse the slices and pat dry with a kitchen towel.
  3. Combine the dressing ingredients in a food processor. Process until completely smooth.
  4. Combine everything in a large mixing bowl. Pour the dressing over and toss to coat. Top with extra nuts, cilantro or green onion tops if you like.


8. Lentil Salad with Spinach and Pomegranate – This salad is presentable, delicious and easy to make. If you like pomegranates and lentils, you’ll love the combination of the two with spinach, apples and this tangy orange tahini dressing.


For the Vegan Lentil Salad

3 Cups cooked brown lentils (you can cook them the night before) or canned lentils

1 avocado, cut into slices

2 to 3 handfuls of fresh spinach

½ Cup walnuts, roughly chopped

2 Small apples, cut into small pieces

1 Pomegranite (or equivalent of 1 pomegranate seeds)

For the Tahini Orange Dressing

3 Tbsp tahini

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 Clove garlic

6 Tbsp water

4 Tbsp orange juice

2 Tsp orange zest


Black pepper


  1. Cook the lentils according to the instructions on the package
  2. Cut the pomegranate into halves and remove the seeds. You can place them in a bowl of water to avoid leaving a mess
  3. Put all the ingredients in a big salad bowl
  4. Make the dressing: place all ingredient into a food processor or blender and process until smooth
  5. Pour the dressing over the lentil salad

I hope you enjoy all of these salad as much as I loved creating them for you!!!

If you are a part of my ValMar Health family, you will know how much I LOVE my kids!!! I absolutely love being a mommy and a wife. Two jobs I didn’t think I was prepared to handle, but God is good and He makes up for my shortcomings. While I was reflecting on my life this morning I started to look through my Instagram. So many amazing memories started to flood my mind.  Spending time with you kids and family is the most important thing in the world!


What are the benefits of family boning?

There are a number of advantages that come as a result of family bonding to both the parents and the kiddos. Some of these benefits are outlined below.

Communication is improved

Older children can tend to be untrustworthy and they fail to open up to their parents. This is because the children mostly feel as though their parents do not understand them or feel as though they are too strict and talking to them about certain issues might only get them into trouble.

This type of a broken communication system can be fixed by having parents and kids spend time together.  Parents should use this time to relate to their children’s life and they should be approach issue with an open mind since they too have also passed through a childhood phase in life.

Even at my kids young age there are important issues that need to be discussed. Like, manners, kindness, school work etc.

Respect increases when you spend time with your family

Making it a habit to be actively involved in the life of your kids will make them feel free with you as the parents hence foster a good relationship between you two. It also is beneficial in enhancing mutual respect among family members. This is mainly achieved by the parents and children getting to learn more about each other.

Families learn how to work together

It is important for parents to lay out a strong foundation for their children in terms of leading by examples. This is because children often learn how to behave from their parents either by being taught or by watching how their parents behave. It is for this reason that it is important for parents to allocate some time to spend with their kids so as to install good behavior among them.

Children how have parents or guardians or parents who find time to append with them usually portray good behaviours while those who lack parental guidance are often seen to pick up bad behavior from external influences such as friends and strangers who at most time do not have their best interests at heart.

My husband and I are teaching our children manner by leading by example. We are trying really hard not to correct our children every time they forget to say a please or a thank you. A gentle reminder might be appropriate occasionally, but consistently we lead by example. Guess what… my daughter says please and thank you!

Promote the well-being of your children

It is important for children to feel loved and appreciated and wanted. It they feel neglected, it will most likely impact on their overall well being both mentally and physically. Children need to be assured that they can trust their parents and guardians to talk to them about anything that is affecting them.

Children who keep to themselves are often found to develop mental illnesses such as depression. They need to be constantly assured that they are loved and valued hence promoting their feeling of self worth.

How can families ensure they spend time together? 

There are quite a number of fun and involving activities in which parents and kids can spend time together. Some of them include;

  1. Planning an outdoor adventure

One can decide to take their kids to the park and be involved in playing games with them or decide to take them for a hike. You can also choose to go for some team building activities which will help to improve your involvement with your and help you understand each other more in terms of your likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses.

  1. Going to the museum, nature parks and zoos
  2. Turn off your television and talk to your kids!
  3. Come up with fun activities that everyone in the family can participate in while indoors like setting aside a day to have everyone help out try out a new recipe. You can also decide on taking on a new project around the house and have everyone help out. In the process seek to find out how your child is fairing on generally.
  4. Parents can also use family meal times to try and find out what their kids are up to recently; like how they are doing in school and their relationships with their peers. Other times where you can take advantage of and talk to your kids includes, when driving them to and from school.
  5. Plan times were you can be technology free!

Today’s parents and guardians seem to be more pre-occupied than ever with their phones and jobs hence forget the most important aspect of their life, that is their family. What we need to realize is that spending time and communicating with our kids is an important aspect of life.

The U.S Department of Health and Human Services stated that even the simple act of just listening to your child is one of the most important, basic and effective ways to prevent your child from engaging in risky behavior.

It is therefore important for parents to start finding ties within their bus schedules to bond with their kids rather than pamper them with expensive phones and videogames, which in actual sense have a limited value to their kids. We all need to seek to influence our kiddos with valuable information and time to help them become better humans.

Is journaling right for you?

It is presumed by most people that journaling is only for women, not something that men do. But I am here to oppose that claim and tell you exactly why everyone should be involved in journaling! If you take a moment to relieve stress on paper or in a creative book full of ideas for future inspiration, writing in the journal, is a safe way to clear your mind. It is a perfect way to get your thoughts, experiences and feelings out of your head. I don’t know about you… but sometimes I like to over think things. But, journaling (or in my case blogging) is a way for you to express yourself!

In fact, no matter how this is done, your journal can be linked to track your thoughts, goals, experiences or feelings.

For me, it’s the best part of my blogging to write what I felt on that day, the progress I made and the downfall that had happened. Most things tend to be about the issues I feel strongly about and future goals I wish to achieve. I focus on the idea that journaling is more a means of success than an idea for thinking. In any case, journaling or blogging entails more than writing about life but it is more of the way your mind is focused on and where you intend to go.

For those of you who like to keep your journaling to the minimum, there is now software that you can get for your PC that will connect to other applications. Not only can you write your thoughts, goals, and experiences, but also add pictures, sound, and video. Yes, it may look more like a blog or scrapbooking service, but for some people this idea of ​​journaling suits them most. There are countless reasons to keep a journal.

Health benefits of Journaling

  • Regularly carrying out this activity – your immune cells called T-cells will be stronger. This is proven by research conducted by James Pennebaker, a psychologist, and researcher at the University of Texas at Austin.

According to Pennebaker, it is easier for you to accept the things that bother you. So these factors will have less impact on you and avoid causing more stress. Rather than being accentuated by events or people in your life, just write about all this and make it clear why this has happened and prepare to deal better with them in the future.

  • Other research has shown that the benefits of journaling include reducing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. That’s awesome!


  • Writing can help you get rid of the mental block. When this happens, you will have a better insight into the world around you. When you are writing, your left brain, which is a rational side, is busy, while your right brain becomes free to create and feel. In that state, your brain clearly notes the events in your life. In that state, you will better understand yourself and all the other things and people around you. Keeping a journal is a natural way of exercising the brain. This mental exercise also allows the free movement of your thoughts.


  • There are also times when this problem occurs… you cannot figure out why some things happen. Your world begins to break because you cannot understand your feelings and feel confused. Whenever you feel that, sit down with your journal and start writing almost everything down you can think of. Write about the things you secretly want to tell everyone, including yourself. Do not edit the words. If you’re angry, let your emotions flow to what you’re writing. The process will finally calm you down. Then pray about your challenges! Pray is a powerful tool that God to take over all of your problems.


  • Creativity is another benefit that needs to be taken into consideration. This is an important aspect of journaling. The right hemisphere of the brain is associated with visual, imaginative and intuitive aspects of thought. When you take the time to write, you can release the right hemisphere. Thoughts and ideas should flow freely and naturally.


  • Ability to prioritize: When you capture thoughts and feelings that are filtered through your personal experience, you begin to control them. The process ultimately leads to a better understanding of what is important and what is not. The ability to see the past is yet another great advantage of keeping a journal. Pages can be revised with a new perspective. It can be very surprising to see how your understanding of events changes over a relatively short period of time. Some authors find great moments in the epiphany by re-examining and re-reading the record.


  • Journaling are a fantastic resource for solving problems: Accessing inputs to find different troubleshooting solutions differs little from self-awareness and growth. Many people choose temporary brainstorming techniques to find sustainable solutions to the problem. Common options include brainstorming sessions, auto-writing, and reflective notes. Entries of personal diaries can be made with inspiration when you first wake up or before you fall asleep.


  • Purification is also a benefit of this practice: Many people find it useful to put negative thoughts and feelings on paper. When negative energy is put on the page, you are free to let go of it. This practice works equally well when it comes to anger towards another person. Clean up your negativity and work towards a constructive approach. After you write down negative thoughts, pray about them. Ask God to help you get rid of this negativity in your life.


  • Improves your overall health. Journaling reduce stress. It gives you time to pray. The diary result is a new perspective on how you can take control of many aspects of your life.


So start writing, or blogging, or whatever you want! I would love to hear from you. Tell me what you have written about and how it has helped you.  I hope you have a wonderful day. Thanks for reading!!!

The Surprising Benefits of Exercising When It’s Cold Outside

Shorter days and colder temps can dissuade the most motivated among us from maintaining a regular exercise routine. No matter how dedicated to an active lifestyle you may be, the first gust of frigid air in the morning can make you want to trade an early morning run for some extra time under the bed comforter. When you add the fact that it’s still dark outside, getting your body moving and working off those extra holiday calories this time of year can be a feat.

Getting a gym membership, or investing in a treadmill or other exercise equipment for home workouts are a couple of ways to stave off winter weight gain – which is on average 5 to 10 pounds, according to the Senior Director of Clinical Nutrition at Mr. Sainai, Rebecca Blake – however, exercising outdoors during the winter months has significant mental and physical advantages.
My kids love to play outside no matter what time of year it is. Their favorite outdoor activities include running, playing on the swing set, feeding the chickens, playing in their bounce house that we have outside for them, driving around in their little toy tractor, and sometimes we even feed oranges to the cows. Around this time of year, we always make sure to bundle up before we step outside. Being active outdoors has helped my family stay healthy throughout the winter.

The Benefits of Vitamin D From Sunlight
With shorter days also comes less exposure to sunlight, and therefore less vitamin D, which has significant effects on mood, growth and development of bones, and immune system.

Better Moods – Though the endorphins you’ll produce from working out alone will improve your mood, Vitamin D from sunlight plays just as important a role in helping you maintain a positive mood throughout the winter. Vitamin D is the only vitamin that is also a hormone. Once it is absorbed either by the skin or through diet, it is transported to the liver and kidneys to be converted into an active hormone that assists with the absorption of calcium and activates genes that regulate the immune system as well as release neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. Cells with Vitamin D receptors have been found to be highly populated in regions of the brain that are linked to mood.

Stronger Bones – Because Vitamin D assists in the absorption of calcium, it also plays a critical role in aiding normal growth and development of bones and teeth. Bone abnormalities such as osteomalacia (soft bones) and osteoporosis (fragile bones) can occur as a result of a Vitamin D deficiency. Additional research conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association and a study published by Circulation research group found a link between Vitamin D and a reduced risk of developing Multiple Sclerosis, and heart disease, respectively.

Better Immune System – Scientists at the University of Copenhagen found that Vitamin D played a crucial role in activation of the immune system defenses that help ward off ailments and infections in the body. The immune system uses T-cells, otherwise known as “killer cells” to defend the body from infections, and the study found that T-cells first search for Vitamin D in order to activate a reaction to bacterial infections that enter the body. The scientists found that a lack of Vitamin D meant that the T-cells could not complete the activation process. So, while with cold winter months often comes flu season, exercising outside in the sunlight can help you kill a few birds with one stone so to speak, and stave off sickness.

Exercising in the Cold Burns More Calories
That’s right – as if working out alone wasn’t enough to keep your calorie burner working for you, it turns out, the cold weather offers an added boost if you can muster up the motivation to get outside and brave the chilly temperature.

Shivering Shreds Calories – The body expends as much as five times more energy by shivering compared to when resting, according to a study published by Accuweather. Shivering is the human body’s mechanism for withstanding cold, and causes the body to work harder in order to produce heat. The additional exertion of the body to create heat while it is cold outside helps you burn more calories than you would in warmer weather.

You Can Exercise Longer – In warmer weather, the body has the ability to “climatize,” or adapt, which it does not have in colder weather, keeping your body working harder to produce heat throughout the duration of the work out, according to the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center. Your body also regulates its temperature in colder weather versus warmer weather, in which it might overheat, which means you can exercise farther and longer, according to American Heart Association.

Cold Converts Fat Cells – I think I’m beginning to change my view on cold weather, because as it turns out, studies have shown a link between cold weather and the transformation of white fat cells, useful for storing, into brown fat, which is the “good” fat, useful for burning. White fat is often association with obesity, whereas brown fat is useful for burning as a form of energy. People had more genetic markers for brown fat during the winter than they did during warmer months, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. They found a protein in the body that increases thermogenic genes seasonally, and acutely in response to a cold stimulus.

Exercising in the Cold as a Form of Cold Conditioning
There is a growing trend within the sports medicine community that utilizes cold oxygen as a form of rejuvenate therapy for athletes and health industry consumers alike, called Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. However, the concept of cold conditioning has been around for centuries, underlying a timeless notion that intentional exposure to cold temperatures has positive effects on the brain and the body.

Cold Increases Blood Flow – Exposure to cold increases circulation and blood flow to the extremities (hands, feet, nose and ears), which is why it has been used to therapeutically treat people with reduced blood flow. It is also being studied as a potential treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and pain reduction, according to Rebooted Body.

Cold Exposure Reduces Stress – The first few moments of exposure to cold is a reaction that initiates the creation of noradrenaline and cortisol, creating a brief but intense stress on the body. When you condition your body to that stress through repetition – i.e. throwing off that cozy comforter in the morning and going for a run in the cold – your body will become more accustomed to it, and the same will follow with other daily stressors, leading you to realize a reduction in overall stress levels as a result of exposure to cold. Eventually you’ll develop the ability to experience an external stressor and meet it with a calm reaction.

Cold Allows Your Body to Thermoregulate – Regular exposure to cold, especially in the form of exercise, will improve your body’s ability to thermoregulate, which means you will actually experience being cold less often. Overtime, the body loses its ability to do this effectively, which leads to being cold more often. This is because for the most part, we have trained our bodies to stop producing core heat by adjusting the temperature to a range in which the body is comfortable and can be insufficient with dealing with cold. When you allow your body to produce core heat, it does so through shivering, which is a muscular contraction intended to warm your extremities. The body also produces heat metabolically through adrenaline.

In Summary – So maybe you’re not ready to go climb Mount Everest right now, but I hope that all these reasons for exercising in the cold help you push through this last stretch of winter with a regular workout regimen. Come spring and summer, you’ll be glad you did!


Infections are caused by bacteria and viruses. These bacteria have limited heat resistance. Most of them tend to survive well in cold environments and at winter periods so it is not shocking to realize that it is more likely to have fever during the cold winter months. Precautions must be taken when considering what we are touching, eating and using. If we do not follow these health tips for the winter, we will find it difficult to cope and enjoy the winter. Most parents dread the winter because this period is often accompanied by many allergies and illnesses in their children. Many diseases are caused by surviving viruses at low temperatures. The virus must live in full circle and die; sometimes the situation can be alleviated by increasing the temperature to remove the virus. For example, the intestinal nose is caused by a virus that fights at low temperatures. This explains why, in the winter, there are so many mothers who complain that their children are suffering from a constant runny nose.

The question that all parents are trying to solve is how to survive the winter without sacrificing colds, flu, fever, and other similar illnesses.

Indulge in taking fruits and balanced diet; Fruits should be an important part to your diet and, if possible, take fruit every day. Fruits contain Vitamin C and this is a powerful antioxidant and an immune replacement that helps fight conventional flu viruses during the coldest months. It will travel long enough to equip your immune system with things that are needed to fight the disease. For refreshment, avoid common rushes and stick to dry foods. Wrap the soup properly to make sure there are no hidden bacteria in it. Turn on carbohydrates in your diet as it will give you the power you need. Examples of carbohydrates you can add are brown rice, bread, slice, etc.


Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and an immune replacement that helps fight conventional flu viruses during the coldest months. Vitamin C also helps your body absorb iron in foods rich in plant iron (eg beans, chickpeas and lentils). This is especially important for those who do not eat meat, because including rich vitamin C vegetables with their food can help your body absorb more iron. Vitamin A plays a vital role in maintaining healthy vision and helps prevent degenerative eye diseases. Vitamin A also helps maintain healthy, clean skin and strong bones. Vitamin C: Does It Really Work?Vitamin C is long considered to be cold. Like zinc, there are a number of effects on the human body that include healthy bones, ligaments and tendons that help to function in the brain and act as antioxidants. It has also been found to stimulate various elements of the immune system. Evidence that a useful tool against colds and flu is mixed.Reduce the risk of colds and flu. When daily taken more than 0.2g daily, a number of studies did not seem to reduce the number of colds. However, the number of colds taken by people in intense or cold conditions was reduced by half in 6 studies of these individual subgroups. The same research has shown greater impact on children.  After reading some of these studies, my general advice would be to keep your vitamin C levels high while eating lots of fruits and vegetables, such as peppers, berries and citrus fruits. If you are going to have intense physical activity or if you are investing in a colder climate, especially if you are not used to it, it is likely that vitamin C supplementation in doses of about 500-2000 mg daily will be effective. You must administer the dose before taking part in activities or changing locations and within 1 or 2 weeks after that. Dosage of the dose during the day should be helpful.

Reduce the duration and severity of colds and flu. Most studies have shown a slight reduction in symptoms and duration of colds and flu when using additional vitamin C in doses above 200 mg. However, there is still a great deal of discussion about how much should be used to be effective. Orthomolecular medicine advocates require amounts ranging from 2 to 18 grams or more per day. I recommend it worth trying. It is more likely that it will be effective if you already have vitamin C deficiency. This is more likely if you eat some fruit and vegetables or if you have recently been ill.

Oranges are one of the best sources of vitamin C available and contain a significant amount of 53.2 milligrams (mg) per 100 grams (g). One of the major functions of vitamin C is to support the production of white blood cells (cells that act as part of an immune system for the fight against bacteria and diseases). So if you feel a little embarrassed, come in and enjoy this brilliant orange health benefit.

Oranges should be included as part of any healthy diet. It can protect you from various health conditions and even help you lose weight. So the next time you’re looking for a chocolate bar, grab the orange color and start enjoying all the orange health benefits.

Oranges are one of the most famous fruits in the world. They have a refreshing and acidic flavor that makes the fruit very pleasant for everyone. Orange juice is full of vitamins, Vitamin C is in large quantities. All of these vitamins protect our body against harmful elements within our body

Orange juice keeps the doctor away because it contains a high vitamin C concentration that increases the immune system. Often we take for granted the almost simple fruit that many of us see every day. Orange grows abundantly on trees in the backyard of many of my cousins ​​and friends throughout the United States. Of course, they are neglected in favor of processed foods from our local grocery stores, oranges are a 100% natural superfood with many health and healing benefits.Vitamin C: Also known as ascorbic acid, the recommended daily amount of vitamin C is 200 to 1000 mg. Orange contains almost 100 mg of nutrients. Vitamin C is used in the treatment and prevention of most cancers due to its protection against free radicals. It also helps in preventing and treating atherosclerosis, heart disease, infections, colds and flu, asthma attacks, lung inflammation, cataracts and glaucoma. How many of us reach vitamin C when we have the cold? Vitamin C is important for blood clotting and bruising, which is essential for growth and repair of the tissue, function of the adrenal gland and gum health. It increases iron absorption, increases natural immune defense and kills bacteria. Vitamin C helps lower cholesterol and hypertension by preventing oxidation and cholesterol accumulation. Vitamin C also helps in controlling blood sugar levels. No wonder what is considered to be one of the most important nutrients for the body.

What do Vegans eat?

Let’s see what vegans eat today! Although many people today are fully aware of the benefits of eating a vegan way, but in most cases, they do not like becoming vegan because of the restrictive food that a vegan diet imposes. This restrictive thinking is probably most uncomfortable for most people. They just think what vegans cannot eat and do not understand what vegans can eat. They only see vegan food in one perspective and do not consider another point of view.

Vegan can eat a wide and interesting variety of foods. The list goes from vegetables to pizza, chocolate cookies and salads. Your eyes do not fool you! Pizza and cookies are on the list. Wow! Now you could learn to eat vegan, right? These dishes are suitable for vegans because they are made up entirely of plant ingredients and do not contain any ingredients of animal origin.

Vegans avoid eating any animal-made product because it supports animal welfare. In addition, a vegan diet is as tasty and interesting as any diet.

So what do vegans really eat? This question is perhaps a common question that many ask. This became a common concern and considered a joke among vegans. So, to answer your questions,

Here is a list of foods that vegans eat:

·        Fruits – Apples, strawberries, mangos, honeydew and cantaloupe as well as citrus fruits are some of our favorites. Eat fruit during breakfast and make sure they are fresh

  • Vegetables – preferably yellowish-orange and dark green. A good example of this is white potato and sweet potatoes. Try to eat only fresh vegetables because you will get the most bang for your buck. Frozen vegetables are the second most important thing.

·        Legumes: These are dried beans and peas. My son Kosta loves Peas! Adoniahs favorite bean is the black bean  ·        Cereals: Whole grains such as oats, brown rice and whole sprouted wheat are the best examples. Eat as much as you can ·        Nuts and seeds: a source of good fat and fiber among other good things

  • Tofu – made from soy. Tofu is naturally low in carbohydrates and fats and is a very rich source of protein. Tofu is very versatile and can be cooked in many ways. This can be done as snacks or meals, and even used in some desserts

·        Brown Rice Pasta – Brown Rice Pasta is made from.. well, brown rice. I love brown rice pasta because it is way healthier that white flour pasta. You should try it! Always keep in mind that these four foods: fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains and legumes are vegan nutrition.

The Vegan diet is not as restrictive as people conclude. There is an endless list of vegan foods that provide many nutrients and vitamins Raw foods, fruits and vegetables offer the highest level of nutrients for the protection of cancer in the blood! That’s what the doctors say. And, the greatest protection against cancer from any other food, including boiled vegetables. So … to become vegan with raw vegan food as part of the diet is the best thing for your body! Your body will thank you in many ways.Of course, like everything else, there are rules … in vegan way of life, the rule is this: The more vegan foods you eat, the healthier you feel and the more you will have. Now, who would not want to follow the rule that gives you such results? Who would not want to be healthier, look and feel younger? The answer can only be given.

So why is raw vegan food better? Well, raw food is an embodiment of wholeness. They represent naturally packed full nutrients. Raw food is just … raw food full. As the maximum benefit of the cells in your body was to be obtained. The kitchen destroys the ecological balance of food. That makes 80% of the protein not available. It destroys 60-70% of vitamins, up to 96% B12 and 100% of the immune system boosters these are called phytonutrients. Cooking also destroys the enzymes in any food. And we need these enzymes. Body enzymes can be converted and used for detoxification, repair and treatment. Thus, preserving the enzyme during the consumption of raw food seems to play an important role in slowing down the aging process. The experiments are clear: rapid premature death in rats feeding on cooked food; and rats that eats raw food live 50% more. And these statistics can be applied to people.Eating lots of raw food (fruits and vegetables) acts like a broth that gently cleanses the intestinal wall. And a clean intestinal wall means a clean colon.So take a step toward the brand and look more closely at the vegan choice; if you cannot completely remove cooked food from your diet, find out where you can replace them with raw food. And then relax and enjoy the benefits: feeling better, younger appearance, longer living.

Valentine’s Day planning can be very nerve wracking, regardless of the length of your relationship. The art of Valentine’s Day planning consists of thoughtfulness, and knowing your significant other well enough to give them something they will truly appreciate. Then again, if you don’t want to set the expectation too high for next year, you may not want your gift to be too extravagant.

It’s no wonder why the National Retail Federation predicted a 7% decrease in average amount of money spent per consumer for Valentine’s Day last year, compared to the year before, as well as an 8% decrease in overall spending on V-Day in the United States. Other studies indicate that in order to save money, couples are opting to celebrate the day of love after the holiday surge dies down.

Eating out at restaurants continues to be the number one way Americans celebrate Valentine’s Day, which supports the notion that the way to one’s heart is through food. And take it from me – you will not go wrong with baking a delicious vegan valentine’s day dessert for your Valentine’s Day festivities. Here are a few fantastic recipes that are sure to say “I love you.”


  • Whole Wheat Vegan Carrot Cake


This carrot cake is undetectably vegan, and tastes just like the original, but uses healthy ingredients such as flax seed, whole wheat white flour and coconut oil.

Preparation 20 mins

Cook Time 25 mins

Total Time 45 mins

Serves 16    

Wet Ingredients

¼ cup milled fllax seeds* + 3/4 cup lukewarm water, soaked for 10 minutes ¾ granulated sugar (I used beet sugar)

¾ organic light brown sugar (or sub coconut sugar)

2 tsp vanilla extract ⅓ cup applesauce (mashed banana may be subbed)

½ cup coconut oil, melted & cooled

Dry Ingredients

2 cups whole wheat white flour 1 ½ tsp baking powder 1 ½ tsp baking soda ½ tsp salt 1 TBS ground cinnamon ¼ tsp nutmeg ⅛ tsp cloves ⅛ tsp ginger 3 cups grated carrots (about 1lb)

Vegan Cashew Cream Frosting

2cups raw cashews, soaked for 6 hours, drained & rinsed ⅓ cup maple syrup (+ more to taste) ⅓ cup almond milk

**This cake should take roughly 25 minutes if using 9″ round pans.


  1. Preheat oven to 350F, line two 9″ round cake pans with parchment paper, plus lightly grease and dust with flour. Set aside.
  2. In medium bowl, combine ¼ cup flax seeds and ¾ cup water and whisk together. Let seeds and water form gel, about 15 minutes total, whisking every 5 minutes. Grate carrots while flax seeds thicken.
  3. In a large bowl add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Whisk until evenly combined, then fold in grated carrots.
  4. In the clean bowl of your food processor (or large bowl using hand mixer, or stand mixer with whisk attachment) combine sugars, flax “eggs”, and vanilla extract until creamy, about 30 seconds. With the motor still running, add in applesauce, and pour steady stream of coconut oil until wet ingredients are evenly combined.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into large bowl of flour/carrot mixture. Using a large rubber spatula, gently combine. Disperse batter evenly into prepared pans.
  6. Bake cake for 20-25 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Let cake cool in pans for about 20 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. To make the frosting: Combine rinsed cashews with ⅓ cup of maple syrup, and ⅓ cup of non-dairy milk in a high speed blender or food processor. Process until creamy, even consistency forms. Transfer frosting to a bowl and set in freezer for 30 minutes to firm. Once chilled, whip frosting with hand mixer or use whisk. Spread a medium-thick layer of frosting evenly over first layer of cake, then layer second cake on top and frost completely. Store cake in fridge before serving.


  1. Gluten Free Vegan Heart Pie Pops

These adorable pie pops make a great treat for your kids to hand out to their friend, or to bring to a Valentine’s Day party. You can dress them up by covering them with a clear baggie and tying a ribbon or twine around them with a little address tag attached.


Pie Crust

1 ½ cups gluten free flour

2 tablespoon cane sugar

½ teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan butter, cold

3 tablespoons non-hydrogenated shortening

4-6 tablespoons ice-cold water

Pie Filling

½ cup strawberry, raspberry or cherry jam

2 tablespoons So Delicious Dairy Free coconut milk or almond milk

2 tablespoons cane sugar

15 lollipop sticks


  1. Sift together flour blend, sugar and salt in large mixing bowl. Add vegan butter and shortening. Using pastry cutter, combine ingredients until resembles a course meal.
  2. Pour in 4 tablespoons cold water. Continue to blend until dough comes together (add another tablespoon of water if needed).
  3. Pat dough into round disc, wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for one hour or until ready to use.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Place dough onto large piece of plastic wrap and top with another piece of plastic wrap. Roll out until 1/4-inch thick. Remove top piece of plastic wrap.
  6. Using heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out 24-30 hearts. Repeat with remaining dough if necessary.
  7. Place half of hearts onto prepared cookies sheets, leaving room for lollipop sticks (I put 6 hearts on each pan). Fill each heart with about 2 teaspoons jam, leaving edges clean.
  8. Press lollipop stick into bottom of jam-filled hearts. Top with additional heart. Crimp edges with fork.
  9. Brush each heart with coconut milk and sprinkle with cane sugar.
  10. Bake pie pops for 20-24 minutes, until edges are golden brown. Carefully place pie pops on cooling rack to cool completely.


  1. Gluten Free Vegan Frosted Brownie Bites

Makes 24 Brownies

This isn’t a Valentine’s Day dessert blog without a brownie recipe. Here’s one that is not only fudgey and true to a brownie-like consistency, but also presentable, making them a versatile treat that is bound to please whomever you make them for!



1 cup gluten free flour

½ cup cocoa powder

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup dairy free chocolate chips

3 tablespoons coconut oil

1 cup sugar

½ cup water

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Frosting

½ cup dairy free chocolate chips

1 cup organic powdered sugar

3-5 tablespoons So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk, room temperature

¼ cup mini dairy free chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare mini-muffin tin* by spraying with non-stick cooking spray. In large mixing bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In microwave safe bowl, add chocolate chips and coconut oil. Microwave on medium-low for 30 seconds. Stir and microwave an additional 15 seconds. Stir until chocolate chips are completely melted. Mix in sugar, water and vanilla. Blend well. Add to flour mixture and stir until combined. Pour into prepared mini-muffin tin. Bake 12-15 minutes. Place on cooling rack and allow to cool 5-10 minutes before removing from pan.
  2. While brownies are cooling, make chocolate frosting. Melt chocolate chips in microwave safe bowl on medium-low for 30 seconds. Stir and microwave an additional 15 seconds. Stir until chocolate chips are melted. Add powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons coconut milk. Mix together until smooth and creamy. Add an additional 1-2 tablespoons coconut milk as needed. If frosting starts to get hard, microwave for 10 seconds. Frost brownies and top with mini chocolate chips. Allow frosting to set. Store in air-tight container.
  3. To make brownies in 8×8″ baking dish, following recipe as above. Pour batter into prepared 8×8″ baking dish (sprayed with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper). Bake for 25-27 minutes.
  4. Frost cooled brownies with chocolate frosting and sprinkle with mini chocolate chips. Slice and serve.


  1. Gluten Free Vegan Salted Caramel Cheesecake

This heavenly combination of creamy cheesecake and sweet, gooey salted caramel will astonish anyone, because who knew that a non-vegan cheesecake could taste so cheesecakey? Or that non-vegan salted caramel could taste so salted caramely?



1 ¼ cups gluten free flour blend

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan butter, cold

⅓ cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or honey

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Cheesecake Filling

3 ½ cups raw cashews, soaked overnight

¾ cup So Delicious culinary coconut milk, full-fat*

¾ cup cane sugar

½ cup coconut oil, melted

¼ cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Sea Salt Caramel Sauce

11 oz. container So Delicious culinary coconut milk, refrigerated overnight*

¾ cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 9-inch springform pan by lightly spraying with cooking spray.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. In large mixing bowl of standing mixer, cream together vegan butter and sugar for 1 minute. Add coconut milk, maple syrup and vanilla.
  3. While mixer is on low, slowly add flour mixture. Continue to beat on medium speed for 1-2 minutes, until dough comes together. Pat dough into bottom of prepared pan.
  4. Bake 13-15 minutes or until golden brown. Place pan on cooling rack to allow crust to cool completely.
  5. When crust is cooled, make cheesecake filling. Place soaked cashews (soaked in water overnight and drained) in high-powered blender or food processor.
  6. Add coconut milk, sugar, melted coconut oil and lemon juice. Blend on high 1-2 minutes, adding an additional tablespoon of coconut milk if needed. Add vanilla and continue to blend until smooth and creamy.
  7. Pour filling over crust smooth out evenly. Cover top of cheesecake with plastic wrap and place in freezer, 1-2 hours or until set. Transfer cheesecake to refrigerator until ready to serve.
  8. To make caramel sauce, start by removing coconut milk from refrigerator. Cut open top of container (you won’t be able to squeeze it out) and scoop out 1 cup only coconut cream.
  9. Place coconut cream in saucepan, along with brown sugar. Cook over medium-low heat and bring to low boil. Continue to boil for 25-30 minutes, stirring to keep from burning.
  10. When thickened, remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt. Pour into glass jar to cool. Caramel can be stored in refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.
  11. Before serving cheesecake, warm caramel sauce (if chilled) in microwave on low for 30 seconds. Remove cheesecake from refrigerator and drizzle caramel over top. Slice and serve chilled.
  12. Cover cheesecake and store in refrigerator, along with additional caramel sauce.


  1. Quick & Easy Valentine’s Day Gluten Free Chocolate-Dipped Rice Crispy Treat Hearts

We all need a quick and easy last minute Valentine’s Day recipe in our baking repertoire. This chocolate-dipped rice crispy treat heart recipe not only fits that description, but it is also super cute and makes for a fun alternative to wrapped candy valentines for your kids to hand out to their classmates & friends!


Makes 18 hearts

3 tablespoons butter or Earth Balance dairy free butter

40 vegan marshmallows or 4 cups miniature vegan marshmallows

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

6 cups gluten free crispy rice cereal

1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Valentine sprinkles


  1. Prepare 11×17-inch or 2 8×8-inch square baking dishes by lining with parchment paper or spraying with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In large saucepan, melt butter and marshmallows over medium-low heat. When melted and smooth, remove from heat and add vanilla. Stir in crispy rice cereal and mix until evenly coated. Press mixture into prepared pans. Let cool until set, about an hour.
  3. Remove rice crispy treats from pan. Place on cutting board. Press heart-shaped cookie cutter into crispy treats. Place onto cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper.
  4. In microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips in 30-second intervals on low until almost melted. Continue to stir until completely melted.
  5. Dip one side of rice crispy treat heart into melted chocolate and sprinkle with Valentine sprinkles. Place on lined cookie sheet and place in refrigerator for 15 minutes, until chocolate is set. Remove and store in air-tight container.


  1. Heart-Healthy Vegan Sugar-Free Gluten-Free Assorted Chocolates

Though I’m a fan of all of these recipes, this one excites me most, because my kids are not only Vegan, they also do not eat sugar. The dates featured in this assorted chocolates recipe make a delicious alternative to processed sugar, and they are high in fiber. This is a great simple baking recipe that you can try out with your kids.

1 ½ cup walnuts, chopped
8 medium dates, Medjool

½ cup cocoa powder, unsweetened

1. Blend walnuts in a high powered blender or food processor until a powder. Pit the dates, then add walnut powder to a bowl and the pitted dates. Using your hands mix the two ingredients together until the dates are completely incorporated.
2. Add the cocoa. Shape into a mold.
3. Top with dried fruit, coconut, granola, or peanut butter!


  1. Fudgey Paleo Vegan Beetroot Brownies

Because brownies are such a Valentine’s Day staple, I’ve included a second vegan brownie recipe. This one incorporates beetroot and flaxseed, which makes a brilliant substitute for eggs. This recipe also incorporates tapioca starch and coconut sugar instead of processed sugar. What makes these brownies so great though, even though I love beets, is that you can’t taste the beets, so they taste just like delicious fudgey brownies.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Makes 9 large brownies


2 tablespoons flax seed meal

6 tablespoons water

4 small beets roasted and chopped (about 1-¼ cups pureed) 3 tablespoons coconut oil 1-¼ cup coconut milk 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract ¾ cup raw cacao powder

¼ cup tapioca starch

¾ cup coconut sugar 1-¼ cups almond meal/flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder ¼ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon kosher salt ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, and lightly oil an 8” x 8” baking dish.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the water and flax meal (this process makes two vegan flax “eggs”). Allow it to sit and thicken for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the chopped roasted beets to a blender. Blend for a few seconds to chop/puree the beets.
  4. Add the flax mixture (“eggs”) and the remaining ingredients to the blender. Blend very well until completely smooth.
  5. Pour the brownie batter into the prepared baking dish and smooth it evenly. Place on the center wrack of the oven and bake for 45 to 55 minutes.
  6. Allow brownies to cool 30 minutes before slicing into them. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.


  1. Grain Free Sugar Free Vegan Chocolate Berry Swirl Cheesecake

This healthy alternative to cheesecake makes for a great dessert to end a romantic dinner. It has a raw, authentic texture that’s not for every palate, but if you’re like me and you enjoy dark chocolate, you’ll love this recipe.



For the crust

2 Tbsp all natural sugar substitute

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup buckwheat flour

2 Tbsp whole psyllium husks (fiber supplement)

2 Tbsp ground chia seeds

3/4 cup raw pecan halves or pieces

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp fine sea salt

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup coconut oil, at room temperature

3 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk

For the filling

2 Tbsp coconut oil

4 ounces good quality unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1 package extra-firm Mori Nu tofu (or use medium regular tofu)

1/2 cup raw cashews or 1/4 cup (60 ml) cashew butter

1/2 cup natural sweetener 

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1/4-1/2 tsp pure plain or vanilla stevia liquid, or to taste

1 tsp pure almond extract

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

pinch fine sea salt

For the berry swirl

1/2 cup 100% fruit spread

1 Tbsp coconut nectar (or stevia, to taste)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Line an 8.5 or 9 inch (21.5 or 23 cm) springform pan or pie plate with parchment. Grease the sides with coconut oil or nonstick spray.
  2. In a coffee grinder or spice grinder, grind the xylitol, coconut flour and buckwheat flour until powdered. Place in the bowl of a food processor along with the psyllium, ground chia, pecans, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and whir until it attains the texture of cornmeal and no pieces of pecan are visible. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until combined. It should appear slightly moist and stick together if pinched between your fingers.
  3. Press the crust into the bottom of the pan and prick several times with a fork. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until it’s dry on top and just starting to puff a bit.  Remove from the oven until you have the filling ready.
  4. In a small pot over lowest possible heat, melt the coconut oil and chocolate, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat.
  5. In a high-powered blender, blend remaining ingredients until perfectly smooth (note: if you use whole cashews instead of cashew butter, you must use a high-powered blender; otherwise, if you use cashew butter, a food processor or regular blender should be fine).  Add the oil-chocolate mixture and blend until incorporated.
  6. Pour about 2/3 of the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Dollop spoonfuls of the berry filling randomly over the top, leaving some spots uncovered. Then, dollop the remainder of the chocolate batter here and there to fill in any empty spots. (Don’t worry if it’s not perfect; you’re about to marble it anyway).
  7. Using a butter knife, carefully swirl the berry mixture into the batter to create a marbelized effect. You can either gently fold the chocolate over the berry mixture here and there, or else take the tip of the knife and draw it through the batter in “S” shapes to create this effect. Either way, the cake will still taste great; the idea is to spread the berry mixture around a bit without completely stirring it into the chocolate.
  8. To even the top, grab the pan firmly on either side. Keeping the bottom of the pan on the counter, quickly and firmly rotate it once to the left, then to the right, so that the batter spreads out and smooths out on top. Do this several times to create a relatively flat surface on top of the cake.
  9. Bake the cheesecake for 35-45 minutes, rotating the pan about halfway through, until the edges are dark and dry and the center is still slightly soft. Allow to cool before refrigerating at least 4 hours or overnight.


  1. Strawberry Rose Valentines Day Treats

Here’s a fun idea for your kids to bring to their teacher on Valentine’s Day; it’s prettier than an apple, and makes for a cute edible Valentine’s Day decoration.  If you have a bit more time, you could even use one of the brownie recipes above and use them to fill in the flowerpot. The roses would make such a pretty cake decoration for a special occasion!

Large ripe strawberries, leaves intact
Raisins (optional)
1. Start by filling the flowerpot cake cases with raisins ready to hold your roses. You could skip this step if preferred, and just pop the finished strawberries into a glass, lay them on a plate or present them however you wish.    

  1. Take a strawberry, and snip off the stalk with pair of scissors, leaving the leaves in place. Take the cocktail stick or skewer, and make a small hole in the top of the strawberry (through the middle of the leaves) for the stick to go in. Push the lolly stick into the hole then remove. This will make it easier to put together once the strawberry has been cut.
    3. Place the strawberry, leaves side down, onto a chopping board and make cuts around the bottom of the strawberry to form the petals. Once you’ve got your bottom row of petals, cut the next row, moving further up the strawberry each time. Continue until you have made cuts right the way up to the top.
    4. Gently pull the petals away from the strawberry to form the rose, then pop the lolly stick back into the bottom of the rose. Push the other end of the stick into the flower pot full of raisins to


  1. Valentine’s Day Vegan Brookies

If you consider yourself a sweet-tooth, I wouldn’t say this recipe is for you; these vegan brookies come out less sweet than some of my other chocolate based recipes listed above. But if you want to bake a cookie that is light, fluffy, and a little more salty than sweet, this vegan brookie recipe is perfect for you.


130 g / 4.5 oz dark chocolate (70% cacao)
1 tbsp melted coconut oil
45 g / scant ½ cup hazelnuts*, ground finely (½ cup hazelnut flour)
30 g / ¼ cup buckwheat flour
15 g / 2 tbsp cornflour / cornstarch
½ tsp baking powder
¼ cup + 2 tbsp / 90 ml aquafaba
90 g / 3/8 cup caster sugar
chopped hazelnuts, for decoration (optional)


  1. Break up chocolate with your hands. Place chocolate and coconut oil in a glass bowl over a water bath. Make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Simmer on a very low heat until the chocolate has melted. Give the mixture a good stir and take the bowl off the heat to cool down.
  2. Place ground hazelnuts, cornflour / cornstarch, buckwheat flour and baking powder in a small bowl. Mix very well.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 175° C / 345° F. Line a baking tray with a piece of baking paper.
  4. In a clean metal or glass bowl whip aquafaba until you get stiff peaks. It is very important that the bowl has no grease residue as this will prevent the aquafaba from reaching stiff peaks. Once the aquafaba is at the stiff peaks stage (turn the bowl upside down, if aquafaba does not slide down at all, it means that it has reached stiff peaks) start adding sugar very gradually, half a tablespoon at the time, whipping well after each addition.
  5. Gradually (and gently so that you don’t knock too much air out of the whipped aquafaba) fold flour and baking powder mixture into whipped aquafaba with a spatula or a spoon.
  6. Next, incorporate melted chocolate slowly until you achieve an even looking batter.
  7. Spoon the batter onto the prepared baking tray. I went for 9 large cookies, but you can make 12 smaller ones instead. Decorate the tops with chopped hazelnuts (if using) or sprinkle with some salt.
  8. Bake for about 10 (smaller ones) to 12 minutes (larger ones). Remove the tray from the oven and allow the cookies to cool down completely before eating (they may be a little fragile until they are cool). Your cookies will end up with lots of little cracks on the surface.

    *You can use most ground nuts / nut flours here: almonds, pecans and walnuts will work. If you are swapping ground hazelnuts out for something else, you may want to use the same type of nuts for the topping.


Sleep is a natural phenomenon common to everyone, many people do not even think about it or its importance. In most cases, the question of the importance of sleep is usually vital to those who have difficulty with their own sleeping patterns or who have problems sleeping

Sleep is a normal part of life. While some people are trying to survive as little as possible, packing their days and nights with activities, home affairs, work, and enjoyment, sleep is important for health and the best possible performance every day.

It is said that people can live longer without food than without sleep.

Sleep is a fundamental need of the human mind. During sleep, many of the major organs and regulators of our body are still active. Some parts of the brain dramatically increase activity and the body produces more hormones.

The brain strengthens memory and categorizes everything that is learned in a particular order and deletes unnecessary and irrelevant information. Additionally, as we sleep, metabolism slows down as well as energy consumption

Besides, it’s a moment of rest for the heart and the lungs. People with normal or high blood pressure have a 20 to 30% pressure reduction and a heart rate reduction of 10 to 20%. It allows the body to replace chemicals and repair muscles, other tissues and dead cells. It can also have an effect on strengthening the immune system.

Sleep has a healing effect because it gives our body and minds the time to rejuvenate, revitalize and restore.

Losing a little sleep from time to time happens to everyone. Generally, bodies and minds react to a lack of sleep when they feel dizzy, uncomfortable and a bit slow. It hampers everyday routines and reduces the ability to function to the fullest extent. It also causes a less positive mood. This condition of lack of sleep is also referred to as Insomnia. If insomnia becomes chronic, the consequences become more serious.

When you suffer from a chronic loss over a certain period of time, it significantly reduces your ability to work at home or at work. Slowness, forgetfulness, lack of concentration, slower reaction to things and general depression will begin to take over.

Highlighted are 5 very good reasons why sleep is important:

  • For maximum physical growth

This is very important especially for children between the ages of 0-12 years old. Sleep allows the body to perform optimal functions, such as cell growth, which is necessary for achieving the ideal height, a higher intelligent quotient, and many other aspects of human development. Children should sleep 10 to 14 hours a day, babies need to sleep longer in order to cope with the demands of their growth

  • Stress reduction

The body has the ability to cope with the most stunning situations and sleep is one of the most important components of its defense mechanism. The more you are stressed, the more your body needs to sleep to correct the imbalance and recover the condition.

  • Rest

Sleep allows the immune system to correct the imbalance in the body. Therefore people who suffer from infections or any kind of illness are recommended for rest and sleep. The human body needs rest to perform cell regeneration and heal the inside. Without adequate sleep, it would be impossible to effectively protect against infections caused by contaminants, i.e. Bacteria, viruses.

  • Effective heart disease prevention

The heart is by far the most active body in the body and as such is subject to a very high level of stress most of the time. Sleep can effectively reduce coronary stress, which can lead to a range of problems, such as heart attacks or other related illnesses

  • Complete Wellness

Adequate rest is very important, it can be achieved by sleeping properly. The average human needs of 6 to 9 hours of sleep each night feel rest and relax the next morning. It is well-known that sleeping people are energy-efficient and productive, as opposed to those who only sleep at night for just a few hours

Lack of sleep is usually the result of insomnia or the inability to fall asleep. Lack of sleep symptoms can interfere with the everyday life of a person. When people do not sleep enough, their bodies and minds cannot get the rest they need.

Therefore, the lack of sleep symptoms has a physical and psychological effect.

10 symptoms of lack of sleep, which can be considered worse than bad

  1. Blurred vision: Lack of serious sleep can cause blurred vision. This makes it hard for the person to focus on anything
  2. Depression: insomnia and depression can work in a vicious cycle. Depression causes insomnia and vice versa. This mental state can cause a person to withdraw completely from the activity. Most depressed people do not want to do anything at all
  3. Dizziness: People without sleep can have dizziness and even nausea.
  4. Tiredness: Exhaustion occurs when the body does not rest sufficiently. This can weaken, especially if a person feels overwhelmed for all. This can lead to inefficiency at work or at school
  5. Weight gain or weight loss – the effect may vary from person to person. Some may experience significant weight gain. Other people can experience the opposite. Lack of sleep affects the metabolism. As a result, there may be a drastic loss or weight gain
  6. Speech Problems: After long periods of inadequate sleep, some may start to talk hard. The result is diffuse or bad speech
  7. Irritability: When people generally feel bad, they are irritable. Irritability is among the moods that are considered a lack of sleeping symptoms
  8. Hallucinations: They can listen to and see things that are not really there. Some can see the flash of strong light
  9. Tremor: Muscle spasms, cramps, jitter or shaking are the result of permanent muscle activity. When people do not sleep enough, the muscles are overloaded and cause tremors
  10. Memory Loss: Just as when the body is overloaded, the fact that the brain works overtime causes unwanted brain-related symptoms. Loss of memory can become a very serious problem. People who do not have a sleep can even experience episodes of amnesia. This results in a much human error in the workplace.

These are the most unpleasant symptoms of insomnia. No sleep is counterproductive.

Get enough sleep for your overall good health. Insomnia and lack of sleep becomes a problem when it begins to affect the everyday life of a person. If you experience many sleeping symptoms listed above, it is best to consult a physician.

A Behind-the-Scenes Perspective: My Mom’s Experience Cheering in Super Bowl XIV

While we gather to watch America’s most highly anticipated sports game of the year, most people are either cheering for, or – in this year’s case, against – the Eagles or the Patriots.

Most Americans can think of positive Super Bowl memories in which the team they rooted for won or made a great play that warranted an outburst of elation and celebration. Between the game itself, the half time show, the commercials, and the social gatherings that take place around this event, the Super Bowl can mean different things for different people.

For my mom, the Super Bowl carries so much meaning, she hasn’t watched a nationally syndicated football game since 1980, when she cheered for the Los Angeles Rams at Super Bowl XIV (14). The Rams faced defending Super Bowl champions, the Pittsburgh Steelers, led by MVP QB, Terry Bradshaw. The Steelers became the first team to win four Super Bowls when they beat the Rams 31-19 on January, 20, 1980 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA.

“It was a nice, sunny day in Southern California. I cheered all the time, so I didn’t feel nervous. None of us liked cheering in the Rose Bowl stadium where Super Bowl XIV was being hosted. We were accustom to the coliseum where you had track in between the field and the stands. During Super Bowl XIV at the Rose Bowl there was no track, we where literally inches away from the roaring crowd and the players.  So many times we almost got wiped out by players, and when you’re a cheerleader your back is to the field,” my mom said.

Even though the game resulted in defeat for the Rams, my mom remembers feeling proud that they made it so close, against all odds. Los Angeles was in the lead at the end of the first 3 quarters; it was the 4th quarter in which the Steelers scored enough points to win.

“We were just this scrubby team. We weren’t expecting to win, but in reality, we did. We led 13-10 [by halftime], and at the very end of the game, Vince Ferragamo threw the ball amazingly far and the guy was in the end zone, and he dropped it. Rush Limbaugh to this day will say it was his all-time favorite Super Bowl game he’s ever watched,” she said.

She was especially proud of how well their stand-in Quarterback, Vince Ferragamo played during that game.

Prior to the big game, “any ball he threw did not connect with anybody, but then our Quarterback got hurt and no one thought Vince would substitute,” she said.

The Rams faced a series of adversities prior to making it to the Super Bowl that year, including the loss of Owner Carroll Rosenbloom to a drowning accident, the resulting power struggle that ensued, and several debilitating injuries, including one that resulted in the loss of their starring Quarterback, Pat Haden, prior to facing the Steelers, led by Terry Bradshaw.

My mom said despite their shortcomings, she remembers being extraordinarily proud of Ferragamo for the way he played that day.

“I was so into the game, and at the Super Bowl, he was phenomenal,” she said.

Cheering at the game was such an exhilarating experience for my mom, she knows that no other way of watching the game could compare.

“When you’re on the field and you’re dodging players, and you’re cheering and you’re running, and your adrenaline is pumping, and the crowd is going crazy, and you’re right in the middle of it…to watch it on TV, no matter how good the game is, or how well you get to see it on TV, it’s not the same,” She said.

My mom says her favorite part o was prior to the start of the game, before the band started playing, before any announcements. Over 100,000 people packed into the stands at the Rose Bowl that day, the majority of them Rams fans.

“The coolest part was when all of us cheerleaders lined up and we were the first ones on the field that day, before the band started playing I was at the front of the line so, the best experience about the Super Bowl for me – what I didn’t expect – was, I went running out first and I got all the way to Center Field. I couldn’t see what was behind me,” she said.

She ran out early and made it all the way to Center Field before realizing it was just her. The entire crowd in the stands stood up and erupted with cheering.

Another memory that stands out for my mom was not as exciting. One thing that many don’t realize is that prior to the game, both of the teams are required to plan an after party at their respective hotels. They have to make all of the arrangements prior to the game, but only the winning team gets to host their party after the game. Both teams had to have a party ready, even though everyone was obligated to attend the Steelers’ party once they won.

“It was like a funeral,” for the Rams, she said. No one else showed up. It was literally just the players, the cheerleaders and their spouses.

This was my mom’s first year cheering for the Rams. She cheered a second year with them in Anaheim, but the first year was the only one in which they played the Super Bowl. She also cheered for Dallas at a time, but after her second year with the Rams, she had my sister Leslie and became focused on raising us. She received a call from the Rams when Leslie was very small, in which she had an opportunity to go back and cheer, but passed on the offer.

Growing up, my mom never realized she would cheer in a Super Bowl. She cheered in high school, college and then professionally.

It all started when she was the director of Cheer at the university in Northridge, CA and she called the Rams to see if she could attend their cheerleading tryouts, that way she could learn how to run her own tryouts. They said the only two ways you could attend the tryouts were 1. You had to be a member of the press, or 2. You had to try out. She was one of over 2,000 girls trying out for 8 openings. She remembers when they cut down to 200 girls, and then to 50.

“Once I figured out I was going to try out, I gave it my all. It was way above my skill level, but I knew I had to stand out, and I knew the mindset,” she said. She learned from her mentors how to stand out and how to turn her weaknesses into strengths, and simply worked hard. All of it eventually led her to an experience she’ll never forget.

My mom received fan letters year around while she was a professional cheerleader. This one is particularly special to her because it is Super Bowl XIV specific.

“After watching the Super Bowl on TV last Sunday, the guys with the Union Pacific Railroad here in Kansas City have unanimously voted for you as ‘most valuable player of Super Bowl XIV’ Sure Bradshaw was good and Ferragamo was sharp and Stallworth was terrific, but without a doubt, we feel that you definitely made the greatest moves in the game. So congratulations on a great performance and keep up the good work because we sure would love to see you in next years Super Bowl again.”

Lots of Love, the Guys in the Accounting Department of Union Pacific Railroad Company


How to Transition to a Vegan diet

Many people around the world are making serious changes in their lifestyle to restore their health to a good state, and many of them work through a vegan diet. Yes, people are becoming increasingly aware of the incredible health benefits this diet offers, but they are often afraid of making a change

For those new to the vegan diet, the idea of ​​sudden restraint of all meat and dairy products can be absolutely scary.

In today’s society, most people incorporate meat, dairy products, and eggs into most of their daily intake of food. So if it is your desire to adopt a vegan diet and you are overwhelmed by the idea of ​​leaving your favorite food, you should instead do a gradually and progressive transition to being a vegan

The following 8 steps explain how to successfully start the vegan diet


Step 1: Take out Red meat

The first step is simple enough. Cut out all lamb, beef, pork and other red meat out of your diet, allowing you to eat white meat (fish, chicken, and seafood)

Also, keep in mind that you can buy without meat “bacon” and vegetarian “minced meat” in most supermarkets and health stores. When you begin to feel comfortable without having red meat, go to the next step


Step 2: Take out Chicken

Simply eat fish and seafood for a while and avoid all other meals, including chicken. Adapt yourself to preparing meals in the absence of  meats and start looking for ideas for vegan meals


Step 3: Take out Cheese

This is the first step of transition from vegetarian to vegan. For vegetarian starters, the idea of ​​giving up cheese may seem rather discouraging, as many people like cheese every day: in their pasta, in salads, in sandwiches, in sauces … the list goes on! But if you want to reap the health benefits of a vegan diet, you have to eliminate cheese from your diet. If you are not finding it so easy, buy some of the Mock cheeses (vegan) in the local store.


Step 4: Take out Fish and seafood

At this point, you will be completely vegetarian. Instead of eating meat and seafood, the proteins are now coming from legumes (chickpeas, lentils, black beans, etc.), whole grains, tofu, vegetarian empanada, vegetarian minced meat and other vegetarian products. “Bacon”.

Remember that today you can get a ton of vegetarian food in the supermarket. Get to know the products and brands available. Also, do not be afraid of tofu, it can be extremely versatile and tasty if cooked properly.

It has the ability to absorb the flavors of other foods and spices with which it is boiled/marinated so in this way discover how to cook to get a delicious taste!


Step 5: Take out Butter and cream

You have already removed all your solid food of animal origin from your diet. The next step recommended when switching to a vegan is to refrain from butter and cream, and all the products that contain these two ingredients. Instead, you can use many other oils and fats, such as olive oil, coconut oil, and vegan margarine. You will now have to cook most of your vegan desserts, as most cakes and treats in cafes and shops contain butter and eggs


Step 6: Take out Eggs

This is also a tough stage for many, but keep in mind that eggs are an animal product and therefore leaving them necessary for those who want to follow the vegan diet. You can make many deliciously simulated egg dishes with tofu (for example, “scrambled eggs” with tofu), and if you follow a good recipe and get the right flavor, you will probably not miss your eggs!


Step 7: Take out Milk

This should not be too hard because today there are many vegan alternatives to milk. You can drink soy milk, rice milk, coconut milk etc. You can cook with healthy milk, eat them with cereals or simply drink them in the glass


Step 8: Find good Vegan recipes

Now that you are 100% vegan and all your meals will now be a vegan diet. It is absolutely necessary to find and collect good vegan recipes, as you will have to cook a lot different from now on. You need to find quick and easy recipes for the time you are too busy or busy cooking something sophisticated. Also, pick up a wide variety of vegan recipes including vegan recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, cakes, slices, sweets etc. Find your recipes online, buy an e-book of vegan recipes: select, make sure your vegan recipe book is ready when your new vegan way of life begins.


What do Vegans eat?

If you choose to follow a vegan diet for health reasons or for some personal reasons, you should know the list of vegan foods that you can eat. But you should be aware of the list of foods you cannot eat because they use animal products, minimally if not totally

The Cannot

To be able to follow a vegan diet, you can no longer eat anything made with honey or dairy products. You cannot eat anything made with eggs, powdered bones or powdered animal organs. That means you have to check the ingredients of everything you intend to put into your mouth.

Even gelatin is no longer allowed. It is made of bones, skins and animal tendons (usually cows). There are some products sold under the name “vegan gelatin” but are made with other products, such as seaweed, that mimic gelatin. Kosher gelatin is not counted as vegan gelatin.

For example, milk chocolate is no longer allowed. But dark chocolate is allowed on the vegan list of foods until eggs or butter are added. Cocoa butter is not the same as butter from cow milk.

The Can

The list of vegan foods you can eat is much longer than the list of foods you cannot eat. Maybe you do not do this first because you are used to eating only certain types of food. You can eat any kind of walnuts, beans, cereals, fruits, and vegetables. It’s a lot!

You can use herbal oils and spices to create new flavor combinations. Beans and grains come in a surprising array of textures. If you have a food processor, you can combine vegetables, cereals, nuts, and beans to make meat dishes. Abundant tofu well and marinating before cooking, you can get a very tasty alternative to a piece of burger.

On a final note, there are many online support groups, discussion forums, and vegan blogs that you can visit and communicate with other vegans on the web.

This will help you stay motivated, encouraged and help you understand that you are not the only vegan on the planet.

The transition to vegan life is usually difficult at the initial stage. After a while, it will be easier and easier until it becomes part of your nature. So, for vegan beginners or those who are relatively new to the vegan lifestyle, my advice is not to give up immediately but to give your new lifestyle a fair chance.

Most likely, after a few months, you will be extremely grateful you will never give up. The rewards and benefits of this lifestyle always prevail over the challenges you may face from time to time.

If you need inspiration for vegan recipes you should check out my “Don’t Have a Cow” DVD series. Click here to get started today!!!