Naturally Speaking is committed to raising awareness amongst people making positive choices regarding their health and nutrition.

Heal from the inside out....

Dick Schwartz, another leading Marriage and Family Therapist, and Founder of the Center For Self Leadership and Internal Family Systems, writes in his book You Are The One You’ve Been Waiting For that marriage is often a set-up for failure from the start because of the expectation that your mate will be your “redeemer” and fulfill all your unmet needs. This expectation will inevitably result in disappointment and discord.

No partner can fulfill and redeem another. One must first learn how to lead from the self so he/she is able to connect with his/her own natural ability for caring, compassion and courage. By identifying and working with your own hurting parts, learning their story and the emotions and beliefs they hold, you are able to connect with your self and become more “self-lead.”

The ability to be in “self leadership” will allow you to avoid the expectation of your partner to fulfill your unmet needs and therefore remove the constant let down you experience when your partner doesn’t. In turn, this will set the stage for resolving conflict in such a way that each partner feels heard and understood.

Singer Chaka Khan has undergone a dramatic transformation in the past two years, crediting a new way of thinking about food and exercise for her vastly improved health. The star, known for her ’70s funk-soul hits, lost 60 pounds and was able to get her high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes under control to the point that she no longer requires medication for them.

Khan credits a strict liquid diet, and thereafter veganism, for her weight loss.

“I felt like I need to heal my body, so I would just fast and eat no meat, no dairy. I’ve never been a fan of meat, dairy and sugar. And when I developed diabetes last year I said, ‘Oh OK, I’m not going to be here long. A change is coming,” told Khan to lifestyle website Essence.com.

Once she identified that her diet and lifestyle habits needed to change, Khan took some drastic steps. “I went on a radical change of lifestyle. I was on liquids for a year, and that gave me a good jump-start. It sort of changed my whole way of thinking. You have to get the mindset first,” Khan said, reports The Detroit News.

Khan spoke with Wendy Williams about her vegan diet and said a main reason she abstains from animal products is because of her reservations about their safety. “I just don’t trust the USDA,” she said.

She also gave details about her liquid diet. “When I first started last year, for two whole months, I didn’t chew a thing. Me and my Vitamix were there, and it was my best friend. Everything I just put in the Vitamix and I drank. And I exercised.”

After her fast from solid foods, Khan used a simple rule for committing to eat vegan. “I went vegan and went off meats and all dairy and anything with eyes,” Khan said. “I’ve mostly been doing a lot of high-protein foods and a lot of vegetables and exercise.”

The 59-year-old, now almost as slim as she was at the height of her fame in the 1970s, decided to improve her well-being for several reasons. She realized that her excess weight, high blood pressure and diabetes were a lethal combination.

Khan also recognized that her busy lifestyle had no room in it for health management problems. She has permanent custody of her 11-year-old granddaughter, as the child’s parents were deemed unable to care for as a result of their drug addictions. “I have to be there for her,” she told Essense.com. Her daughter recently had a baby, and she enjoys seeing her new granddaughter as much as possible. Add that to her busy worldwide tour schedule and rolling out new albums and products and Khan’s schedule becomes jam-packed.

The “Queen of Funk” plans to release a new Chaka Khan album next year, in celebration of her 60th birthday and 40 years in the music business. A “Khana Sutra” fragrance and “Chaka-lates” chocolates are due out around Valentine’s Day.

A whopping 91 percent of the soy grown here in the U.S. is genetically modified, and the easiest way to ensure that a soy product isn’t GM is to stick with organic. USDA certified organic foods, by definition, cannot contain GM ingredients.

Do you have a tough time finding organic soy milk in the store? Does the recent hubbub over Silk soymilk have you concerned that the carton of soy milk at the grocery store might not actually be organic? Here are some milk alternatives that skip the soy while staying dairy free.

1. Nut Milks

Almond is the most common nut milk that you’ll find in the grocery store, but there are others out there. I’ve seen hazelnut and cashew milks on the shelf. If you’re feeling ambitious, it’s not too hard to make nut milks at home. This recipe for raw almond milk from Happy Foody is simple and delicious.

2. Rice Milk

Rice milk is a bit sweet, so it’s probably best for cereal or baking. It’s normally made by processing brown rice, and the sweetness comes from the grain and usually not from added sugar.

3. Oat Milk

Like rice milk, oat milk is slightly sweet. It’s on the thin side, so it’s not great for coffee unless you like your coffee a bit dark. For cereal and for cooking, though, this is a great alternative. You can even make your own oat milk at home, if you like!

4. Hemp Milk

Thick and creamy, hemp milk holds up really well in coffee and cooking.

It can have a mild hemp aftertaste, but it’s something you get used to, much like soy milk’s aftertaste. Hemp milk can vary quite a bit from brand to brand. I’ve had friends tell me they can’t stand the stuff while others swear by it. If your first taste of hemp milk doesn’t do it for you, you might look into trying a different brand before giving up.

5. Coconut Milk

For cooking and baking, plain old canned coconut milk is a delicious soy-free dairy alternative. My favorite use for coconut milk is in the ice cream maker.

If you’re looking to lighten your coffee or pour something onto cereal, brands like So Delicious make boxed coconut milk that you can use just like regular milk.

Do you have a favorite non-dairy, soy-free milk that you purchase or make at home? Share away in the comments!

Nothing says summer like fresh berries, and on top of being downright delicious, those fresh, organic blueberries that are in season right now are packed with nutritional mojo!

Packed with vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber, and loads of micronutrients, blueberries deliver a nutritional bang for the buck. Studies show that they enhance brain health and can even help improve your memory. They also protect your brain from age-related decline.

A 14-year study that followed 200,000 participants showed that eating blueberries can also help prevent high blood pressure. The researchers believe that it’s the flavonoids in blueberries that helped the study participants fight high blood pressure.

There’s more to health than just your physical well-being, and blueberries do their part in that area, too. Because they’re rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, blueberries help reduce stress, or at least make your body more well equipped to handle it.

Buying and Storing Blueberries

You can just eat fresh blueberries by the handful, but if you want to enjoy those tasty berries – and their health benefits – year-round, now’s the time to stock up! Blueberries are a summer fruit, so you can hit your local farmers markets now for the freshest blueberries around.

Like many fruits and veggies, if you want the maximum nutrition benefit from blueberries, organic is the way to go. In a study that compared organic to conventional blueberries, the organic berries had much higher levels of antioxidants than their conventionally-grown counterparts.

Make sure your blueberries are totally dry before you store them, then put them into a sealed container and stash them in the fridge until you’re ready to eat them. They’ll keep for about a week if you store fresh blueberries properly.

Of course, when you stock up on a perishable food, you also need to figure out how to make it last. You can preserve your blueberries by making jam, or you can freeze your fresh blueberries. If you’re sticking your blueberries in the freezer, don’t worry about losing out on nutrients. Blueberries retain their antioxidants, even when you freeze them.

Preserving Your Blueberries

The two easiest ways to preserve blueberries are to freeze them or can them. Making blueberry jam for canning requires adding sugar to help preserve the fruit, so the best method for you really depends on how you want to enjoy your summer berries later on.

If making jam is your speed, here are a couple of blueberry jam recipes:

1. Freezer Jam – If proper canning seems daunting to you, you can still make yummy jams from the blueberry bounty! Freezer jam will keep for up to six months in your freezer, so you can make your jam now and enjoy blueberries long after they’re out of season. This recipe is for blackberry jam, but you can substitute blueberries 1:1 with delicious results.

2. Basic Blueberry Jam – Are you in the canning spirit? All you need to make the most basic blueberry jam are the berries, sugar, and Mason jars. Properly canned jam will last a little bit longer than freezer jam – 12 months – and you can store it in the pantry rather than the freezer.

Would you rather skip the added sugar and just freeze your blueberries for later? Freezing berries is simple enough, but to make them last and avoid freezer burn you want to take the time to do it right. Here’s how!

1. DO NOT wash them first! With other berries, you want to wash before freezing, but washing your blueberries before you freeze them will yield tough skin when you defrost them.

2. Spread your blueberries in a single layer on a tray – a cookie sheet will work well – and stick the tray in the freezer overnight, so they completely freeze.

3. Transfer your frozen berries to a freezer bag, get out as much air as you can, seal it up, and stash them until you’re ready to eat them up! Don’t forget to write the expiration date on each bag. Your berries will keep for six months.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy summery blueberries? I love to add them in my smoothies to make a blueberry banana treat or make blueberry pancakes for breakfast. See Recipe Below…

Blueberry Pancakes

Ingredients Dry: 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour 3 tbsp sugar 1 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt Mix the dry ingredients well and set aside.

Wet: 1 1/2 cups almond milk 2 tbsp flaxseed meal mixed with 6 tbsp water 3 tbsp canola oil 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)


Mix together the wet ingredients and add to the dry. Mix gently until the dry ingredients are just moistened. There should be some lumps remaining in the batter. Heat a nonstick or cast-iron griddle. Smear lightly with a few drops of canola oil. Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter on the griddle and let it cook until bubbles appear at the top of the pancake and the underside is golden-brown. Flip over with a spatula and cook the other side until it is lightly browned. Serve hot with a pat of vegan spread and maple syrup.

Beauty foods are foods that contain high concentrations of the minerals sulfur, silicon, zinc, iron and/or magnesium, David refers to the following as some of the best beautifying foods that you can include in your diet. These foods will have an alkalizing reaction with your body, anti-parasitical effects and contain high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Aloe Vera – Believed to be a food of long-lasting youth and rapid healing. The anti-inflammatory power in acute inflammation is one of it’s best known actions. The gel of the Aloe Vera can be used topically or add to your daily juice. Coconut Oil – Contains a number of health giving properties including being high in antioxidants, control blood sugar levels, assist the thyroid gland and repair the skin. You can eat it straight, blend into smoothies, use in cooking and on the skin. Cucumbers – Fantastic for cleansing our bodies. The skins of cucumbers are high in silicon although are often grown with pesticides and waxed in stores so it is best to choose organic. Figs – Super high in calcium and other minerals. They are also contain large amounts of fiber and therefore beneficial for our digestive system. They have been described as being the most alkalizing if all dried fruits. Hemp Seed – One of the most nutritionally complete foods containing all nine essential amino acids making them exceptionally high in protein whilst also high in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and minerals. Eat them as a snack, add to a salad or use the hemp oil in your smoothie. Macadamia Nuts – Contain high levels of selenium needed to build the body’s most powerful enzyme. The macadamia nut’s overall combination of fatty acids and zinc makes it wonderful skin beautifier. Pumpkin Seeds – A wonderful source of B vitamins, many minerals (including zinc), phytonutrients and fatty oils. All of these contributing to their ability to produce clear and glowing skin. They also have anti-parasite properties. Turmeric – Considered a restorative food, with strong anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-cancer and anti-microbial characteristics. Well known for its ability to purify blood which is essential for clear skin.

Let’s face it: a lifestyle change such as going from the STANDARD AMERICAN DIET (SAD) to becoming avegetarian or vegan is not always easy.  Many times, the mere thought of making adjustments to your shopping, cooking, and food prepping regimen is enough to scare most people right back to their comfort zones. Well, I’m here to show you that the fear is not necessary. Most diets are 40-70 percent vegetarian to begin with (that’s if you’re eating balanced meals). So with a little help, transitioning to a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle just takes a little education.

This is why I am happy to offer –for the first time– Naturally Speaking’s Classroom– in-home diet consultations for those interested in making that change.

This in-home service will help new and experienced vegans and vegetarians learn not only how to prepare delicious, healthy vegetarian or vegan meals, but I will also coach you on how to shop for staple products and foods from your friendly neighborhood grocery store or Farmer’s market.  This will ensure that you always have a hearty and delightful meal on the table!

***Naturally Speaking’s Classroom Package includes a two-hour in-home consultation***

First, I will come to your home and discuss your particular dietary goals; Are you looking to be all or partially vegetarian? Is your goal to go completely vegan? What dietary restrictions you have? What are some of your favorite foods? What are some of your dietary concerns? We will discuss these and other questions and you will walk away with a customized grocery list to help you get started on your new diet.

Additionally, during our two-hours together I will provide you with a recipe printout and teach you how to prepare two quick and easy dishes that are sure to be a hit with you and your family. A list of necessary items to prepare these dishes will be provided to you prior to our appointment.

Naturally Speaking Classroom In-Home Consultation is $85 (per person) for the two-hour session. The first 20 people to schedule an appointment will benefit from a $10 discount making it only $75!!!

Should you want to continue your sessions after our initial meeting, Naturally Speaking Classroom sessions can be booked for $50 per hour per-person.

Act now, as spaces will fill up fast! To schedule your consultation call or e-mail: info@naturallyspeakingfoods.com

As a courtesy, I require a 24-hour notice (by phone please, in case I don’t catch your e-mail in time) to reschedule any booked class.

***Classes can be held in any home kitchen in Miami-Dade/Broward (within a 15 mile radius. beyond 15 mile is available for an additional fee)***

Chances are, you’ve never worn that comfy, cozy wool cardigan to the beach in the summer, or those metallic flip-flops to a Christmas party. You adjust your wardrobe with the seasons — your diet should be no different, especially because adjusting your diet in this way can benefit your body’s health. As seasonal shifts affect your body, the foods you eat can help you accommodate — or counteract — the changes. Winter As the weather turns cold, our activity levels tend to drop off and we burn fewer calories. That can lead to weight gain. Extra weight and other winter-related factors, such as declines in levels of vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin), have been associated with increases in blood pressure and cholesterol. Researchers have also noticed that in the cold months, our brains produce less serotonin, a “feel-good” chemical. This may be one reason we often feel so darn depressed in winter and try to cheer up by eating cookies and other high-carbohydrate snacks. Your body knows what it needs (even if your brain doesn’t always make the best choices): As it happens, carbohydrates trigger serotonin production. Your winter challenge: Eat healthful carbs, such as sweet potatoes and whole-grain pasta, to help your blood pressure, cholesterol and mood. Just stick with smart portions that won’t break the calorie bank. You should also make sure to drink low-fat milk and eat low-fat cheese — both are rich in vitamin D. Fix it with food: Potatoes, in season in the winter, are loaded with two blood pressure–lowering compounds: the mineral potassium and chemicals called kukoamines. Just remember that one serving of potato shouldn’t resemble a football — it’s around the size of a computer mouse. And stay away from frying or mounds of butter and sour cream. For healthful oven frites, cut a medium potato (try it with a sweet potato for extra health benefits) into thin wedges, drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt and roast until golden brown. Another serotonin-boosting choice: winter squash, such as butternut and acorn. It gives you a good carb fix along with a shot of potassium, which boots energy and protects the heart. For a quick meal, poke holes in a medium squash and microwave until soft; cut in half and scoop out seeds. Fill with your favorite greens, such as baby spinach (they’ll wilt from the heat), and sprinkle with a handful of walnuts. Spring Turning to pills to fight the watery eyes and sniffles of a seasonal allergy? Food may do the trick. Researchers have found that children who ate a Mediterranean diet — centered on produce, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats like olive oil and nuts — were significantly less likely to have nasal allergies than kids who ate a standard American diet. The reason: The Mediterranean eating style cuts down on inflammation in the body, a main player in allergy symptoms. Fix it with food: Fresh fruits and vegetables are Mediterranean mainstays — and fresh asparagus is a sign of spring. Try it steamed, with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Artichokes are another great choice, one of the first spring vegetables to appear in the market after a long winter. They’re delicious just steamed — plop them into a large pot with water and simmer for 20 to 35 minutes, depending on the size of the ’choke. For a Mediterranean flair, tuck slivers of garlic into the leaves, add lemon slices to the water and dip the artichoke meat (including the luscious heart) into olive oil before eating. Summer Staying hydrated and protected from the sun are key during the dog days — and what you eat has more to do with both than you think. “Food usually accounts for around 20 percent of our fluid intake,” says says Mira Ilic, MS, RD, LD, a nutritionist at the Cleveland Clinic. We need around 11 to 15 cups of fluid per day, according to the Institute of Medicine, including what we get from water-rich foods like peaches and, yes, watermelon. Summer fruits and vegetables are also loaded with vitamins, especially C and E, which protect skin from sun damage. (But sunblock is still a must!) Fish such as salmon and tuna also may protect skin. People who ate around five ounces of fatty fish a week developed 30 percent fewer precancerous lesions, according to a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers say the omega-3s in the fish may act as a shield, protecting skin cells from changes caused by molecules called free radicals. Fix it with food: Top a piece of fresh grilled fish with cantaloupe-avocado salsa — you’ll get omega-3s from the fish, vitamin C and hydration from the melon (it’s 90 percent water — and in season in summer) and vitamin E from the avocado (April through November is California avocado season). Fall Marching into autumn with the right foods on your plate can help you stave off the flu (the flu season usually begins in November). Foods rich in quercetin, an antioxidant in onions, grapes and apples, may reduce susceptibility to the flu virus. And foods that contain the antioxidant allicin — such as garlic, onions and chives — also pack antiviral properties. Just be sure to crush garlic and let it sit for five minutes or so before using, or chop and eat raw in a salad to maximize its disease-fighting potential, says Ilic. Fix it with food: Give your recipe repertoire a health (and flavor) kick by adding extra garlic and onions. And load up on the season’s bounty of freshly picked apples — just don’t peel them. Quercetin is housed primarily in apples’ skin.


By Rachel Meltzer Warren, MS

Yes, parsley. Mainly viewed as the red-headed stepchild of the herb family. Most people consider parsley simply as a garnishing herb and is tossed out once their meal is devoured. Before tossing that parsley, let’s consider the benefits of of this nutrient-rich herb that can stand on it’s own in a room with cinnamon, cayenne, ginger, etc.

Fights body odor including bad breath Stimulates normal activity of the digestive system. Helps bladder, kidney, liver, stomach and thyroid function Good for bed-wetting and fluid retention Rich in antioxidants Anti-Inflammatory: Combats osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis when consumed regularly Helps prevent calcium build-up reducing the risk of atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease and stroke

Not sure what to cook with parsley? You can find some great recipes with a quick Google search. If you don’t feel like searching, scroll down for two quick and easy yet tasty recipes to get you started.

Tabbouleh Salad

Serving Size: 6

Level of Difficulty: A caveman can do it


2 bunches of parsley, very finely chopped 1 cup bulgur or couscous 2 onions, finely chopped 4 tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped 1 cup water 1/3 cup olive oil 1/4 cup lemon juice 1 teaspoon salt pepper to taste


Soften the bulgur or couscous in 1 cup of water for 10-15 minutes or until soft. Pour off any left over water and set the grains in a large salad bowl. Cut the parsley very fine, you can use a knife or scissors. (Don’t use the big thick stems, just the leaves) Finely chop the onion and tomato and add to the salad. Mix the lemon juice, olive oil salt and pepper, and add to the salad. Allow to season in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Best served at room temperature.


This salad keeps well, and in fact tastes even better on the second day.

Garlic Herb Mashed Potatoes

Serves: 6

Level of Difficulty:


3 lbs golden potatoes (red or russet works as well) 2/3 c vegan butter (Earth Balance) 1/2 onion, diced 5 cloves garlic, minced 1/4 c almond milk (unsweetened) 1/2 tbsp salt 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped Pepper, to taste Vegan sour cream (optional)


Wash and dice the potatoes. You may leave the skins on or remove them. Place the potatoes in a large pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until tender. Remove from the heat and drain the water. In a sauté pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat, then add the onion and garlic and sauté until translucent. In a large bowl, add the cooked potatoes, butter mixture, and almond milk, then mash until slightly creamy. Add the salt, parsley, and pepper. Top off with a dollop of sour cream (optional).

by Shawn S.

Cardiovascular related illness is the #1 killer in the industrialized world due to unbalanced lifestyle factors, nutrient-deficient diets, lack of exercise, and stress.  We’ll call these the Fatal Four.  Addressing all sides of the Fatal Four statistically brings vast benefits and reversal of symptoms to many heart disease sufferers.

According to new research, there’s one thing you can add to the diet department that can change your state of health almost immediately.  Researchers at The London School of Medicine have discovered that drinking just 500 ml (or 2 cups) of beet juice a day can significantly reduce blood pressure.

In fact, they were able to isolate the specific compound in the beets responsible for this improvement.

Beets contain interesting phytochemicals known nitrates.  These nitrates found in the beetroot juice interact with your saliva and bacteria on your tongue which convert them into nitrites.  When swallowed, these nitrites are converted into nitric oxide in your gastrointestinal tract or re-enter your circulation as nitrite.

This amazing process, via the human body interacting with the beet nutrients, creates a sort of time-release blood pressure reducing effect.  Healthy test subjects were found to have blood pressure reduction within just one hour, but the greatest decrease was seen 3 to 4 hours later.

Another study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology showed that drinking beetroot juice boosts stamina and can help you exercise up to 16% longer.

The foundational aspects of exercise are all about the cardiovascular and muscular systems.  The dietary nitrates in beets have 2 distinct physiological effects.

1)  It widens blood vessels, which reduces blood pressure and allows blood to flow more freely.

2)  It directly impacts muscle tissue, reducing the amount of oxygen your muscles need to perform activities.

This is powerful information to have in your hands.  Whether you’re looking for an athletic advantage, wanting to reduce your heart disease risk, or you simply want to provide your body with optimal nutrition, beet juice has some remarkable benefits.

WARNING:  If you’re drinking beetroot juice by itself, you may actually lower your blood pressure too much if you’re not adjusted to it.  It’s a wonderful idea to add some celery, beet greens (they come with it!), or other alkaline produce with it to give it some balance.  Or, you can simply take time and build up on your straight beet juice intake, pay attention to how you feel, and enjoy the health benefits that come along with this wonderful root veggie.

One more thing to take note of is the Doctrine of Signatures which states that every food in nature can teach you what it’s beneficial for based on the way it looks, smells, tastes, and/ or how it functions in nature.  There is no other food that has such a startling resemblance to our blood than beet juice.  And it begs you to ask yourself the question: “Is this just an accident?”

Well, based to our modern scientific research, it’s proving over-and-over again what our great health teachers of the past have known all along.

Now go make some beet juice!

Leave me a comment below and let me know if you’ve ever juiced beets before or if you have a favorite juice recipe.  

To you and your health!

The Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic is committed to helping people live longer and better lives by addressing the “Big 4,” — tobacco use, poor food choices and portion sizes, physical inactivity and stress.  We know that these issues cause 75 percent of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

The word cancer means many things to many people, and most everyone I know has been touched by cancer in some way. According to the American Cancer Society, at least one half of all men and one third of women will be affected by cancer in their lifetime. As a registered dietitian, I am aware of the role good nutrition can have in preventing and treating cancer. In fact, diet has been shown to have a significant impact on breast, prostate, stomach and colon cancer. According to the World Cancer Research Fund, healthier lifestyles and better diets could prevent up to 2.8 million cases of cancer each year!

Global health experts say that many deaths from non-communicable diseases, including a third of all common cancers, could be prevented by curbing excessive alcohol intake, improving diets, discouraging smoking and promoting more physical activity. (Sounds like the Big 4 to me!)

Nutritionally speaking, an anti-cancer diet is an overall, healthy diet for everyone. So fill your shopping basket with these foods: fresh vegetables and fruits, 100 percent whole grains, lean protein sources, and healthy fats.

Cancer is a terrible disease, but preventative measures and treatment are better today than ever before. I am a firm believer in “creating your destiny,” and if preventing and treating cancer is important to you and your family, then make the choice to fuel your body with the best cancer-fighting foods you can find. Good nutrition can lead to health and wellness for years to come.  


by Amy Jamieson-Petonic, MEd, RD, CSSD, LD