Recipe: Stuffed Zucchini

I made these twice in the past week and both times they turned out great, so I thought I’d share. This was inspired by the e-mail newsletter we receive each week from Grant Family Farms, the farm that provides our CSA veggies. They always include recipes that you can try with your weekly vegetables, which is very helpful! Anyway, they had one for stuffed zucchini and I adapted it to include the ingredients we had. Enjoy!


2 zucchinis or summer squash

1 large tomato

1/3 large onion

3-4 garlic cloves

8 olives, pitted

2 tbsp capers

fresh herbs (I used parsley, cilantro and basil from our garden)

olive oil

sea salt and pepper

Soak herbs and let dry. In the food processor, finely chop the onion and garlic. Sautee in a pan for 3-4 minutes (I used coconut oil for this). Set aside.

Chop tomatoes in food processor and put into a bowl. Chop herbs and olives and add to tomatoes. Add cooled onion and garlic to the mixture, as well as the capers, a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Mix well.

Slice zucchinis or summer squash lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the middle “pulp” to create a boat. Scoop the veggie & herb mixture into the zucchini halves. Bake at 360 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until zucchini has softened.

This would probably taste wonderful if you topped it with some fresh parmesan cheese. Also, any veggies would work in the mixture – portabella mushrooms would probably be really yummy!

Last night, I served it with chicken sausage and shrimp, and steamed rainbow chard and cabbage. It made a great dinner!


More Juicing!

Yesterday I talked about the benefits of juicing for optimal health. For those of you with juicers (or, potential juicer-owners), I’m going to provide a few more recipes today for good juices that target certain health issues. Enjoy!

Anxiety, Stress, & Panic Attacks

Healing fruits and vegetables for those who suffer from occasional or even chronic anxiety include apricots, bananas, broccoli, carrots, celery, fennel, leafy greens, onions and watercress. Some herbs that are helpful include alfalfa, borage, garlic, chamomile, lavender, lemon balm and parsley. Other helpful foods include almond milk, dulse, honey, kelp, almonds, tofu, and oats.

Foods rich in B-vitamins, such as leafy greens and whole grains, will help support the nervous system, which helps us cope with stress and anxiety. Some foods to avoid during times of anxiety or stress include caffeine, alcohol, refined flours and sugars, artificial flavors and colors, and any foods you may be allergic or intolerant of.

Juice for Anxiety, Stress & Panic Attacks

1 cup spinach leaves

1 cup kale leaves

1 beet

2 celery stalks

1 apple

Optional: dandelion root or blackstrap molasses

Cancer Prevention

The risk factors for cancer, as most of us know, include tobacco and alcohol use; exposure to toxins in food and/or environment; and family history of cancer. A diet of mainly whole foods that includes large amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables can be a powerful tool in cancer prevention, along with exercise.

Foods that help with cancer prevention include apples, apricots, berries, citrus fruits, figs, grapes, kiwis, mangoes, peaches, watermelon, asparagus, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, leafy greens, onions, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and watercress. Herbs that are helpful include burdock root, calendula, echinacea, garlic, green tea, parsley, sage and turmeric. Other great cancer prevention foods include extra virgin olive oil, fish oil, flax, legumes, nuts, seeds, wheat grass and whole grains.

Juice for Cancer Prevention

¼ head cabbage, chopped to fit juicer tube

2 carrots

2 celery stalks

1 clove garlic

3 sprigs fresh parsley

1 beet

1 apple

1 spear broccoli


As many of us know, a hangover can include things like headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, depression, cravings, and more. Alcohol severely dehydrates the body, increases acidity in our digestive system, causes the loss of potassium and other vitamins, and affects our liver.

Healing fruits and vegetables for a hangover include apples, bananas, lemons, limes and leafy greens. Herbs that can be helpful include cumin, evening primrose oil, ginger, chamomile and lavender.

Hangover Helper Juice

2 apples

1 small piece gingerroot

1 lemon

Optional: 2 starfruits, crushed lavender buds

Note: Much of the above information was adapted from The Juicing Bible, by Pat Crocker


Juicing for Allergies

Juicing has become big recently. Not only are people juicing more at home, but juice bars are popping up all over the place, and smoothie places are beginning to serve freshly-squeezed fruit and vegetable juices as well. Some people juice daily – it’s sort of like their multivitamin for the day. I’m more of an irregular juicer – I have a book called The Juicing Bible, but it’s more like a juice doctor for me. It has a juice remedy for any condition – hangovers, stress, allergies, indigestion, nerve support, and adrenal fatigue, among others.

Juicing is a way of separating the liquid of a fruit, vegetable or herb from the solids. The enzymes, phytochemicals, vitamins A, C and E, iron, copper, magnesium, potassium, sodium and iodine found within a whole fruit or vegetable are often times trapped inside the indigestible fiber and therefore are not wholly absorbed by the body when eaten. However, when juiced, these nutrients become extremely available to us and will enter our cells within 10-15 minutes after we drink the juice. Juicing is particularly helpful when we need to save our energy, such as when we are recovering from a sickness or right before or after a workout. This is because it takes very little energy to digest juices, yet we still get tons of nutrients from them.

Juicing has a detoxifying and cleansing effect on our digestive tract and colon. This helps increase nutrient absorption and jump-start our metabolism. Many believe that one glass of fresh fruit and vegetable juice daily can help boost immunity, increase energy, strengthen the bones, clear up the skin and lower our overall risk for disease. Obviously it is also important to consume whole fruits and vegetables, in addition to the juice. Both will work together to create a well-balanced diet.

The pulp of the juice can be saved and used for baking or smoothies, or it can be composted.

Since summer allergies are in full effect, I thought I’d provide some allergy juicing tips today. Asthmatic symptoms are caused by inflammation. Inflammation is the body’s response to an injury – it's way to begin the healing process. Allergies tend to reflect chronic inflammation, and certain foods can reduce this inflammation greatly. Healing foods for allergies include apples, blueberries, grapes, mangoes, oranges, raspberries, strawberries, asparagus, beets, carrots, onions, red and green bell peppers, spinach and watercress. The flavonoids and antioxidants in these foods help promote a proper immune response to the environment. Essential fatty acids from foods like fish, flax and walnuts are also anti-inflammatory and can help with allergy discomfort.

Allergy Juice

3 beets, with greens

1 apple

½ cup berries

1 cup spinach


I decided to make this juice today because we’ve gotten so many beets lately from our CSA. I’ve made beet soup, beet salads, and beet slaw, so I think it’s time to juice a few.

Tomorrow I’ll provide a few more easy juicing recipes, including our favorite around here, the Hangover Helper!


Seltzer Water

A couple of weeks ago, a PWN reader asked me about seltzer water. Is it okay to drink this on a regular basis? Does it have the same hydration qualities as regular water? Since many of us like to drink seltzer water, I decided to do a quick post on it.

Seltzer water is simply carbonated water. The regular, unflavored stuff has nothing else added to it. The carbonation is purely for taste and has no impact on the hydrating qualities of the water. So, plain seltzer water is a fine choice if you prefer it to regular water occasionally! The carbonation can make some people gassy, which is something to be aware of.

There may be some confusion, however, between all the different “waters” out there. Mineral water, club soda, tonic water and seltzer water are all different from one another. Mineral water has added minerals and is also carbonated. This can actually be beneficial for people with mineral deficiencies. Someone may have a mineral deficiency if they are not eating enough mineral-containing whole foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, seafoods and meats; or, they may be eating the right foods but not absorbing the minerals for whatever reason. Club soda or sparkling water tends to have added sodium. And tonic water is typically sweetened, which is something to watch out for.

There are also seltzer waters that are flavored. Beware of artificial flavors or sugars in your seltzer water, as they are not great for overall health and balance. Adding seltzer water to some freshly squeezed juice or 100% fruit juice can be a refreshing beverage. I know a 2-year old who loves a “spritzer” every once in a while!

I like my seltzer water with some fresh blueberries and mint – a perfect summer drink!



Triglyceride levels are typically measured at an annual doctor’s appointment, along with blood pressure and cholesterol. However, it seems like people take blood pressure and cholesterol levels more seriously and tend to ignore or be more relaxed about a high triglyceride reading. So, I thought I’d take a few minutes to just explain what triglycerides are, ideal ranges, and what a high reading can mean about your health.

About 95% of the fats inside our bodies are made up of triglycerides, and they are found both in our blood and our tissues. When we eat too many calories (essentially, more than we can burn up each day), triglycerides are stored as fat inside our bodies. Unsaturated fatty acids make triglycerides more fluid, whereas saturated fats are straight and therefore make the triglycerides more rigid and solid. High triglyceride levels are one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease, and since excess triglycerides are stored as body fat, they are directly linked to obesity as well.

The Blood Sugar & Triglyceride Connection

This can be a bit confusing but it's really important, so pay attention!

When we consume glucose in any form from any food, our pancreas releases insulin so we can get that glucose into our cells quickly to be used as energy. This, in turn, inhibits the release of triglycerides (because if we have glucose, we don’t need to use our triglycerides for energy).

However, when blood sugar imbalances are present and insulin resistance is occurring, we may have plenty of glucose in the blood, but no insulin to help get it into our cells to be used for energy. And when we need energy, our bodies respond. If the cells don’t have glucose, they turn to triglycerides. Therefore, our cells will continuously release triglycerides into the blood so we have something to burn as energy. However, if our triglycerides are constantly being used up, our liver is stimulated to produce even more triglycerides, which overloads the blood with them. This creates blood that is overloaded with triglycerides, glucose, and unproductive insulin – all risk factors for heart disease.

In a healthy, balanced body, insulin does its job of grabbing glucose as soon as the meal is eaten, placing it into the cells, and therefore supplying the energy needed to go on with the day. The liver is not stimulated to produce triglycerides, so blood levels stay healthy.

Elevated triglyceride levels can result from a number of different things. A chromium deficiency can increase triglycerides, as can too much vitamin E in the diet. Cirrhosis of the liver, a diet too high in carbs and too low in protein, too much alcohol, hypothyroidism, and poorly controlled diabetes can also lead to high triglycerides. However, most often elevated triglycerides are a result of one of two things: either someone is eating more calories than their body needs for daily energy, or their blood sugar is out of balance and so their body is confused and is producing more triglycerides than it really needs. A combination of these two things is also often the cause of high triglycerides.

Fish oil is one way to lower triglycerides. Supplementing with 2-4 grams of EPA and DHA (combined) daily has successfully lowered triglycerides in many people, along with reducing inflammation, reducing blood clotting, and stabilizing the heart.

Dietary changes can lower triglyceride levels as well. Balancing your blood sugar is a great way to lower triglycerides. I talk about blood sugar often – go HERE to read more about it. Other dietary measures that can help lower triglycerides include reducing calories to only those you need each day; reducing fat from non-whole food sources; increasing omega-3 fatty acids to 4 grams per day; reduction in alcohol intake; and weight loss.

NOTE: A triglyceride level of less than 100 mg/dL is desirable. “Normal” triglyceride levels are less than 150 mg/dL, borderline high is 150-199 mg/dL, and high is anything over 200 mg/dL.