It takes some serious effort to eat a pomegranate, so most think, but either way the rewards are are worth it. In addition to providing a high level of antioxidants, remember antioxidants remove free radicals which are the bad guys causing inflammation. This fabulous fruit has small seeds that add a singular crunch and sweet, but sour tang to whatever dishes they make their way onto.
I'm always on the hunt for the best nutrients to add to my daily routine and now, that consists of medicinal mushrooms. And NO these don't get you high... think nature's superfood. Obviously, mushrooms aren't new but after hours of researching and recipe testing, I can confidently say that this is one addition I am welcoming with open arms and I hope you do, too.
WHY ARE THESE MEDICINAL SHROOMS SUPERFOODS?
Easy. They are ADAPTOGENS. Simply put, they help us adapt to things like stress. But that's not at all, not even close. They do so much more.
- supports a resilient immune system
- helps with cognitive function
- promotes blood sugar balance
- offers anti-inflammatory properties
- offers anti-aging properties
- improves respiratory function
- improves sleep
- increases energy levels
- balances hormones
WARNING: not all are created equal
Like other nutrient dense foods, quality plays a huge role. When diving into the land of mushrooms, it's important that you choose wild, organic and hand harvested mushrooms. Several mushroom companies are growing their produce on grain or rice, which fills them with starch and diminishes their beneficial bioactive compounds.
Different from the edible kind like shiitake and portobello that grow on the ground, medicinal mushrooms grow on or near trees.
If you're ready to give it a try, Root and Bones, a vibrant holistic herb company, is a TVW tested and Torie approved brand that I am obsessed with. Enter TVW to receive a 15% discount at checkout!
What are a few of my favorite SHROOMS?
- Chaga or "The King of Medicinal Mushrooms" as some call it, is filled with antioxidant powers and helps immensely with anti-viral and antibacterial issues.
- Cordyceps is known for anti-aging and longevity, as well as increasing energy
- Reishi is known to help combat stress, reduce inflammation and boost immunity
How-to use mushroom powders:
- Bulletproof coffee with superfoods
- In desserts like my summer rootbeer float
- Salad dressings
- Green smoothies
Did you know that olive oil is one of the most fraudulent oils on the market?
For many people, olive oil is a tried and true kitchen staple, and why wouldn’t it be? It’s delicious, it’s functional, and it has tons of nutritional value and health benefits. That’s right! This tasty liquid gold is rich in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, which can lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure while stabilizing blood sugar levels and reducing inflammation throughout the body. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, there’s a catch. Turns out you might not be reaping all the benefits of olive oil that you thought you were.
In the US, most olive oil companies are diluting their oil with cheaper alternatives like vegetable oils (which are very inflammatory), all at the expense of our health! These “filler” oils are made up of toxic molds, chemicals, pesticides and some even contain GMOs. Don’t get me wrong, olive oil has definitely earned its superfood status, but after doing a little digging I found some sad truths: we are being scammed by an industry that is choosing profit over health, and very few of the olive oil sources we use actually contain the superfood benefits olive oil is so celebrated for.
I find that so many of my clients have told me they found a killer deal, but make sure if it is too good to be true, then stay clear. For example, if there is a bottle of "extra virgin olive oil from Italy" at a supermarket for $10/liter, you can almost guarantee that has been tampered with. Extra Virgin olive oil is not a cheap commodity like vegetable oil.
Forbes states, “It's reliably reported that 80% of the Italian olive oil on the market is fraudulent.” Of course, you can navigate around the fraudsters by diligent label reading, as is important when buying any food or beverage product, but what if the nutrition labels are lying, too? “The United States imports more olive oil than any other country, and yet regulations on the labeling of said oil are voluntary.” Yet another sad truth I found in my discovery.
In 2008, over 80 farms were found to be adding vegetable oils, food coloring, flavored and perfumed oils to their product with the intent to sell it at market as “extra virgin olive oil.” What bums me out the most is that this type of fraud and corruption deprives people of some of the health benefits that may have prompted them to buy the oil in the first place.
Tree to Bottle: Learn What Olive Oil I Choose and Why
Check out 23°C Olive Oil. I did the homework for you and this stuff is the REAL DEAL. I even met the farmer and will be going out to the farm this Spring to see where the olives are grown. Plus, they ran nutritional analysis and the results are incredible. If you’re a nutrition nerd like me and want to check ‘em out, you can read them HERE. The analysis basically says that since the oil is never heated past 23 degrees, it is high in antioxidant levels and has preserved all the valuable vitamins (because high heat destroys all the good stuff!).
Their mission at 23°C Olive Oil is to connect the independent family farmer from Italy with the American family table. They bypass the traditional oil distribution system, which mainly just inflates prices and sacrifices quality, by partnering with the small independent farm. They offer direct access to the highest quality, unrefined, antioxidant-packed olive oil by handling it every step of the way.
From 23°C Olive Oil
“Producers have a fundamental choice to make about extraction temperature. Generally lower temperatures yield higher quality oil while higher temperatures produce more oil but sacrifice its quality. In order to obtain the optimal Coratina Extra Virgin Olive Oil, with a balanced fruity, bitter, and spicy sensory profile, we believe that Coratina olives should be milled at a temperature of 23°C. This belief defines their brand and sticks true to my mission of providing our bodies with the most nutrient dense foods we can find to fuel us.”
USE MY CODE VIDA23 for a discounted bottle
Scary Facts About Your Olive Oil:
“International standards for extra virgin olive oil are mostly unenforced. Although the term ‘extra virgin’ is generally understood to denote the highest quality of olive oil, industry representatives report that the current standards are easily met by producers and allow olive oil marketed as ‘extra virgin’ to represent a wide range of qualities. This lack of enforcement has resulted in a long history of fraudulent practices (adulteration and mislabelling) in the olive oil sector.” – United States International Trade Commission
Natural health website Mercola states: “In 2016, 60 Minutes revealed how the olive oil business has been corrupted by what the Italians refer to as the ‘agromafia.’ According to journalist Tom Muller, featured in the 60 Minutes report, the mafia has infiltrated virtually all areas of the olive oil business, including harvesting, pricing, transportation and the supermarkets. In essence, they've infiltrated the entire food chain ‘from farm to fork,’ to use Muller's phrase. The fraud is so massive, at least half of all the extra virgin olive oil sold in Italy is adulterated as well. That's pretty astonishing, considering the reverence Italians have for olive oil.”
Torie’s Tips for Safe Olive Oil Consumption:
1. Learn how to read a label.
Labeling enforcement is sparse, so don’t blindly trust words like ‘natural’, ‘extra virgin’ etc., that you would normally trust on the label. On the label, look for a harvest date. Remember you want it extracted and processed in the same day (24 hours is ideal).
2. Know who you’re buying from.
If possible, stay away from conventional grocery stores. Buy from a producer, or a certified distributor (small batched), and look for the International Olive Oil Council certification. I like to stick with small farms and try my best to know the farmer.
3. Understand smoke point and how to use different oils.
Olive oil has a very low smoke point, meaning if it reaches a high heat that it might smoke, it turns rancid when it is heated past a certain temperature, creating free radicals and causing inflammation in the body. Make sure when cooking with olive oil that you are conscious of the temperature. Forever, I thought I wasn’t supposed to cook with olive oil at high heat, but this actually isn’t the case--when you’re using high quality, fresh olive oil, that is. Such will stand upwards of 425 degrees, well above the ideal temperature for frying food around 350 degrees. Low quality olive oil will burn because it has less acid, has probably been cut with vegetable oils, and may have particular matter from not being separated properly.
4. Understand the effects of oxidation.
When purchasing olive oil, make sure to only buy dark bottles. Why? Because when olive oil is exposed to light it becomes oxidized,(oxidation is bad think aging or an apple turning brown) meaning that it isn’t virgin quality as the label might claim.
5. Store your olive oil properly.
Like I mentioned, light is not great for your oil. Move the bottle away from light and heat, and store it like you would wine. That means away from the stove. After you’ve opened it, try to use it within one month. This is one reason why big bulk bottles at Costco are not a good idea.
To me, meeting the 23°C Olive Oil family was a match made in heaven and I’m so happy to find a truthful company that I can confidently recommend to my clients, friends and family. I promise you’ve never tasted any oil as close to this good. When it comes to something like oil oil that is used almost daily in the kitchen, it’s important to invest in a quality product that will benefit your body, not harm it.
TVW’s Olive Oil Hall of Fame and Shame
Brands That Failed the Test:
Brands That Passed the Test:
23°C Olive Oil
Braggs Cold pressed Olive Oil
Bariani Olive Oil
McEvoy Ranch Organic
California Olive Ranch
What is really in your bottle of Olive Oil?
Heat Myth: Forever I thought I wasn’t supposed to cook with olive oil at high heat. All those people that told you the same thing – they were WRONG, well kind of. This only is true with truly virgin, high quality, fresh olive oil that is. Low quality will burn because it has less acid, has probably been cut with vegetable oils, and may have particular matter from not being separated properly.
Storage: Move that bottle away from light and heat, and store it like you would wine. That means away from the stove. After you’ve opened it, try to use it within one month. This is one reason why big bulk bottles at Costco are not a good idea.
Recipes For Your Clean, Quality Olive Oil
Now that you’ve found your perfect bottle of high quality olive oil, it’s time to get in the kitchen and start cooking. Here’s an easy anti-inflammatory recipe for you to try.
1 teaspoon of organic ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoon of lemon juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (can use any type)
1/4 cup cold pressed olive oil (use CODE TVW23 on the company’s website for 20% off)
Optional: you can add local raw honey if you need that balance, I personally like it this way.
Put all ingredients, as listed into a glass jar or shaker bottle with a tight fitting lid. Shake well!!
NOTE: If you prefer a thicker dressing put all the ingredients in a blender with 1/2 an avocado – blend well.
· 1 head organic cauliflower, sliced vertically through the core, 1 inch steaks
· 2 T Brain Octane, MCT, or coconut oil
· 2 teaspoons curry powder (can sub a mix of cumin & turmeric)
· 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
· sea salt to taste
· 1 T Cilantro Lime Compound butter (see below)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Rub the spices, salt and octane on “steaks.” Wrap the parchment paper around cauliflower like a package, folding he seams. Bake for 35-40 minutes.
- OR you can fry them in a pan over medium heat for 3-5 minutes on each side.
- Top with compound butter and serve.
Compound Cilantro Lime Butter: (use this on steak as well OR you can leave it out)
Makes 4 servings
· 8 tbsp grass fed butter or ghee, at room temp
· 2-3 Tbsp cilantro leaves, chopped fine
· 2-3 Tbsp lime juice
· sea salt to taste
In a food processor, or in a bowl, mix ingredients until everything is combined. Store in an airtight glass container or wrapped in parchment in fridge. (can freeze for up to 2 weeks)
If you missed my first How-To Yerba Mate video collab I did with Guayaki, then first check out those links because you will need to know how to brew mate. By brewing Yerba Mate properly, you will enhance all the nutritional benefits and get the most from this amazing plant product!
In this Vida Nourish recipe session I will teach you how to make a super charged version of a mate latte. Get ready to come to life!
Also, if you are wondering what the hype is on Bulletproof anyways, I talk about it here.
WHAT YOU NEED
XCT oil or even better Brain Octane
Grass-Fed Collagen Protein
Grass fed butter or Ghee *Ghee is for ppl who are sensitive to dairy, see more on Ghee here*
- Guayaki Yerba Mate
Green powder my fav is Beauty Greens, but there are tons out there
I have to be honest, these have been on my list to recipe test for a while now. Since they are in season, and are a great alternative for potatoes, I decided to test them out! I especially love them for their uniqueness. They are a weird ginger like, knobby, gnarly lookin tubers! Leave the skins on, remember the skins always pack the nutrients.
1 pound Sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichokes) scrubbed and halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons unsalted grass fed butter
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, I only use 23 degrees
4 small anchovy fillets, smashed
1 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Sea Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary, parsley or your fav herbs for topping
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Scrub the Sunchokes with a brush and cut in half
In a oven proof skillet, heat 2 tbsp unsalted butter and add the sunchokes skin side up. Cook on high for about 1 minute. Transfer the entire skillet into the oven and roast for 25-30 minutes or until crispy.
While they are roasting....In a bowl, add anchovies, garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon, and olive oil. Mix them all together very well, I used a whisk.
Once your sunchokes are roasted top with sauce, you can add shaved, parm, fresh herbs, etc.
** AS PUBLISHED ON PERFECT BAR***
We love how the first month of a new year gives us the opportunity for fresh starts and trying new things. Oftentimes, these come as personal changes or professional challenges we set for ourselves, but it doesn’t have to be limited to just that. As big fans of all things refrigerated (that’s where our favorite snack lives, after all), we thought ‘why not give the ol’ fridge a fresh start, too?’ Our friend Torie, Integrative Holistic Nutritionist from health blog The Vida Well, helped come up with some healthy fridge swaps for you to try and kick off the year with a cool, clean start.
Fridge Swap #1: Mayo
What to Ditch: Best Foods or Other Conventional Mayo Brands
Torie Explains: “We love mayo for its creamy consistency and flavor–I mean, what else are you gonna pair with an artichoke? The thing is, mayonnaise brands like Best Foods don’t even contain eggs, so the jury is still out on what actually makes it that creamy. We’d rather not have to guess what’s in our food. Also, conventional mayo brands use rancid or inflammatory oils like canola oil which can wreak havoc on our body. No room for this in the fridge.”
What to Replace It With: Chosen Foods Mayo
Torie Explains: “With simple, clean ingredients like avocado oil, which reduces inflammation, this is an easy, healthy alternative that still packs a lot of flavor and maintains the consistency we love about mayo. Plus, they have amazing flavors like Harissa and Black Garlic.”
Fridge Swap #2: Soy Sauce
What to Ditch: Kikkoman or Other Conventional Soy Sauce Brands
Torie Explains: “Soy is, in fact, a hormone disruptor—have you ever noticed how it can stay out in the open, unrefrigerated at restaurants for months (or even years) on end? That’s a major red flag. Imagine what that does to your insides once you ingest it. Traditional soy sauces also contain gluten, which isn’t commonly known, so if you have gluten sensitives, this is a definite no-no.”
What to Replace It With: Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
Torie Explains: “This product is made of just soybeans (that have not been genetically modified) and water. Did you know that out 94% of soy used in the United States comes from genetically modified plants! Bragg Liquid Aminos is a natural alternative to conventional soy sauces, without the additional table salt, monosodium glutamate, preservatives or gluten that is found in may of the other soy sauces. Bragg’s contains 16 of the 20 amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. Our bodies use these amino acids for repairing the body, digestion, and to rebuild tissue. Nine of the 20 amino acids cannot be produced by the body and need to be consumed through the diet. Use Bragg’s just as you would soy sauce. I like to use it for marinades, stir-frys and salad dressings.”
Fridge Swap #3: Deli Meats
What to Ditch: Oscar Meyer or Other Conventional Grocery Store Sandwich Meats with Nitrates
Torie Explains: “Nitrates, the ingredient found in most conventional grocery store packaged deli meats, is used to extend shelf life. Why is that so bad, you ask? A few reasons, to be honest, but we think the fact that nitrate is also used in rat poison is a good place to start.”
What to Replace it With: Any Organic, Nitrate-free Chicken Breast or Wild Caught Tuna
Torie Explains: “As long as you know what you’re looking for, it’s relatively easy to find cold cuts that are nitrate-free at your local Whole Foods or Sprouts. Buying organic is also a good way to make sure you’re eating clean meat. Chicken or tuna salad is a great lunch option (make sure you buy wild BPA free cans), and can be easily enjoyed with crackers or as an open face melt—add avo, obviously.”
Fridge Swap #4: Sour Cream
What to Ditch: Daisy or Other Conventional Sour Cream Brands
Torie Explains: “Stay away from dairy that is not organic, it is loaded with hormones, antibiotics and the animals are fed GMO corn and soy—no thank you!”
What to Replace It With: Stoneyfield Whole Fat Greek Yogurt
Torie Explains: “Whole fat Greek yogurt is loaded with probiotics and protein that add complexity to a sauce and also add the same flavor. Try Greek yogurt in place of sour cream on tacos, dips, or on your favorite winter soups!”
Fridge Swap #5: Peanut Butter
What to Ditch: Jif or Other Conventional Peanut Butter Brands
Torie Explains: “Jif should have 2 ingredients right? Peanuts and salt. Well, it doesn’t. Peanut butters are most often processed with hydrogenated oils and artificial sugars, neither of which are good for you, so make sure you check the label carefully when buying.”
What to Replace It With: Justin’s Peanut or Almond Butter
Torie Explains: “Organic peanut butter is not sprayed pre- and post-harvest with petrochemicals (very toxic) and is a potent source of protein, fiber and good fats. Organic peanut butter, unlike the usual commercially manufactured peanut butter, does not contain hydrogenated fats that transform into trans-fatty acids.”
Fridge Swap #6: Milk
What to Ditch: Alta Dena Cow’s Milk or Other Conventional Dairy Brands
Torie Explains: “Did you know cow’s milk is actually the most common food allergy in the world? Humans weren’t made to process another mammal’s milk (besides our mother’s), and we are actually the only animal on earth to do so. Because our bodies weren’t built to process dairy consumption this way, it can cause inflammation in the gut, constipation, and acne. Not to mention, most conventional grocery store milk is pumped full of antibiotics that were used on the cows it came from.”
What to Replace it With: New Barn Almond Milk
Torie Explains: “Healthy milk alternatives are much more accessible these days, and there are plenty of options (like coconut or almond milk) depending on your taste. With these plant-based milk beverages, calcium is better absorbed into the body than it would be by drinking cow’s milk—and isn’t calcium intake one of the main reasons we drink milk to begin with? One of my favorites is New Barn (and I also love Califia), both of which can be found in the refrigerated section at health food stores or online. Whichever option you choose, it’s always important to read the ingredients and understand what you’re putting in your body.”
Fridge Swap #7: Cream Cheese
What to Ditch: Philadelphia or Other Conventional Dairy Cream Cheese Brands
Torie Explains: “Like I mentioned above, grocery store cow’s milk tends to come from unhealthy cows and contains preservatives and antibiotics. The same applies to conventional grocery store cream cheeses, which makes sense if you think about it since the dairy is coming from the same place.”
What to Replace It With: Kite Hill Cream Cheese
Torie Explains: “One of my favorite dairy-alternative cream cheese brands is Kite Hill, a delicious line of plant-based products. I made my own until finding them because most other nut-based products out there use ground nut pastes, stabilizers, and artificial ingredients to make cheese-like products. With 6 grams of protein per serving, this is a great addition to any snack.Kite Hill makes their cream cheese with almonds so it’s great for kids or anyone who has dairy allergies. The best part is that it maintains the same consistency and creaminess as real cream cheese—just without all the bad stuff. Not to mention, it comes in some pretty tasty flavors.”
Fridge Swap #8: Sports Drinks
What to Ditch: Gatorade or Other Conventional Sports Drinks Brands
Torie Explains: “If you think you’re doing your body good by ‘hydrating’ post-workout with a Gatorade, think again. The health benefits of sports drinks are basically equivalent to drinking a soda! Loaded with processed sugars like high-fructose corn syrup and food dyes—both of which have been proven in studies to cause cancer—these colorful beverages aren’t doing you any favors.”
What to Replace it With: Harmless Harvest Coconut Water
Torie Explains: “While water is always the best way to hydrate, sometimes we crave a little flavor and/or need that extra electrolyte boost. Did you know that most conventional coconuts are dipped in formaldehyde? When you reach for a coconut water, makes sure it’s raw, organic, unpasteurized, and low-sugar, like Harmless Harvest. If it’s been heated, that means most of the nutrients have been killed and you’ll miss out on the potassium and antioxidants. There are tons of coconut water options on the shelf these days, so it’s important to read the ingredients before you buy. For an at-home remedy, try adding some Himalayan sea salt to your water, which contains naturally occurring minerals that hydrate and boost your electrolyte count.”
Fridge Swap #9: Salad Dressing
What to Ditch: Kraft or Other Conventional Salad Dressing Brands
Torie Explains: “Most salad dressings are packed with sugars, rancid oils, gums, artificial colors, and ionized salt. By pouring these conventional salad dressings on your healthy salad you’re just counteracting all your hard work by exposing your body to harmful ingredients! If you have any processed salad dressings, do me a favor right now and look at the ingredients! If you can’t pronounce what’s on that label, it probably shouldn’t be in your body. Throw them away and make your own. After all, you eat salad to be healthy, so why top off that organic green goodness with something that isn’t?”
What to Replace it With: Organic Girl or Homemade Dressings
Torie Explains: “Brands like Organic Girl, Primal and Bragg’s make their dressings with organic, non-GMO ingredients that you can actually pronounce. They don’t last long in the fridge, but that’s a good thing—trust me. It means no preservatives. If you’re feeling adventurous, and want to make sure you know exactly what’s going on your salad, try making your own dressing at home.”
About Torie Borrelli
Torie Borrelli is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist (NC), natural chef, and the founder of The Vida Well, a wellness brand rooted in holistic nutrition and wholesome living. From a young age, Borrelli’s Mexican and Italian heritage birthed her love for food and ever since she has truly valued what cooking offers; time spent with family and friends and nourishment to fuel the best life possible. While battling her own personal health issues, Borrelli made a decision to pursue an education in holistic medicine and nutritional cooking at California Polytechnic State University where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Business, minor in Nutrition. Some of Borrelli’s noteworthy career achievements include assisting Chef Jesus Gonzalez open a cooking school at Rancho La Puerta health Spa, the 2nd top-rated health spa in the world; managing 15 farmers markets while being the assistant grower at Black Dog Farms; developing recipes and menus for Rancho La Puerta’s Juice Bar and Woholle Juice Bar in La Jolla, CA; and being a brand ambassador for leading companies such as Bulletproof Coffee, Guayaki, Chosen Foods, Thrive Market, Currently, Borrelli works alongside naturopaths, chiropractors and doctors around the world and is committed to educating and inspiring her clients through 1-on-1 consultations, health assessments, food education and personalized programs that help combat leading chronic diseases.View all posts by Torie Borrelli
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