Archive for September, 2011

Processed Food

What is processed food? This question has come up more than a few times over the past couple of weeks. Processed Food (along with Hydrogenated Oils) is the number one item everyone is asked to eliminate on the Eat Healthy Challenge.   

“Does this include all packaged foods?” my friend Mark asked frowning. “Do my brown rice crackers and veggie burgers fall into the processed foods category? I sure hope not, because I can’t make it without them.”   

A distinction is in order. Some foods, like Mark’s tasty brown rice crackers and particular brand of veggie burgers, are healthy commercially prepared, convenience foods. The evidence is in the ingredients. In order to understand the difference between a healthy packaged food and a processed food, we must read labels.  

What we want to avoid are food products that have been chemically treated or stripped of nutrients. Examples of chemicals added to foods are; aspartame, MSG, nitrites, nitrates, colors (e.g. red dye #40, blue #2, green #3), BHA, acetasulfame potassium, artificial flavor, added sulfites and so on.

Examples of foods that have been altered include; white sugar, white flour, white rice, and salt (use sea salt). These foods have been stripped of vitamins and minerals. Therefore, vitamins and minerals must be stolen from the body to metabolize them effectively. A food is whole when it has all its parts. White flour and white rice are not whole foods given the fiber—bran and germ—has been removed.

“So I can eat my store-bought hummus and canned soups?” Mark asked again without waiting for me to answer. “I realize in a perfect world, it would be better for me to make all my own food from scratch, but I just don’t have the time. I cook way more often while on the Eat Healthy Challenge, but there’s no way I’m going to bake my own bread or make my own pasta noodles.”

“That’s great,” I said. “Buy whole grain bread and use whole wheat, kamut or brown rice noodles. Just read labels and make sure the ingredients in your packaged products are whole foods without added chemicals.”


Radio Interview

A few weeks ago, I was interviewed by Kellie Fuller, from THE VINE, a local radio station here in Napa, CA, to talk about my story of cancer and healing and promote this month’s Eat Healthy Challenge.

This ignited my passion for radio and newfound respect for what it means to be on air—live—where nothing can be taken back or changed. We can’t alter what we said or didn’t say and we can’t edit out the insidious “ums”. Kellie suggested I relax and pretend I was having coffee with a long-time friend. She has a remarkable ability to make one feel completely safe and at ease.

When I got home, Jay asked me how it went. “I love radio,” I said, my cheeks still feeling warm. “I love the enormous microphone; head-set; large, leather, swivel chair; dimmed lighting in the room; and intimacy of the interview. I want to do it again and become proficient at it, like really good at it. Maybe they’d even let me DJ next time,” I smiled. Just in case, I’ve started compiling my list of songs.

You can listen to the interview by clicking on the You Tube Link. This is Part 1 of 2. You can listen to Part 2 on Youtube.

Brown Fried Veggie Rice

Brown Fried Veggie Rice (Serves 4)


  • 1 ¼ cups uncooked brown rice
  • 1 red or yellow pepper
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 cups green cabbage
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • ½ bunch green onions
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/8 cup of Braggs Amino Acid (tamari or soy sauce)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (or coconut oil—adds a mild coconut flavor)
  • 1 small pat of butter


  1. Cook brown rice and let sit to cool and dry out.
  2. Chop all vegetables into small pieces.
  3. Remove seeds from jalapeno and chop finely.
  4. Sautee all vegetables and cooked brown rice together in olive oil until the vegetables are cooked.
  5. Beat the eggs and lightly scramble in separate frying pan in butter.
  6. Add the eggs to the veggies and brown rice, mix and heat.
  7. Add Braggs Amino Acids (tamari or soy sauce)
  8. Garnish with extra green onions.
  9. Enjoy.

Ready, Set, Eat Healthy Challenge

The next Eat Healthy Challenge (formerly the Community Cleanse), begins tomorrow, Tuesday, September 6th. The terms are listed in the My Eat Healthy Challenge Goals blog entry. Decide how long you’re going to stay on the Challenge and then choose the elements you’ll omit from your diet during this time. You can choose anywhere from one week to 28 days. Once again, I’m selecting all six items and the full 28 days. It is recommended to print My Eat Healthy Challenge Goals—what is meant to be a sort of “contract” between you and yourself. 

Step one–setting the goal. A Challenge is not meant to be easy. It’s meant to be challenging. defines challenging “as testing one’s ability and endurance in a difficult but stimulating effort.” The Challenge should test your ability to read labels and incorporate alternatives that are Eat Healthy friendly. It should test your endurance—this will be especially true if you choose a time frame that feels thrilling. The Eat Healthy Challenge has proven to be stimulating with varying degrees of difficulty. I personally find it challenging, whereas others report, “That wasn’t really challenging at all. I could have stayed on it for another month, no problem.” Whatever you discover, you will feel stimulated with renewed energy and an increase in metabolism. Of course it never hurts to shed some of the unnecessary fat (weight).  

The first time I set forth on the Eat Healthy Challenge, I was afraid I might not succeed (and I was the one suggestion everyone participate). Although the parameters of the Challenge are meant to ensure anyone can partake and succeed, the idea is to push ourselves out of our comfort zones. With three Challenges now under my belt, I’m more confident I can complete the full Challenge. We’re not all going to commit at the same level and that’s perfect! However, consider biting off at least a crumb more than you feel comfortable chewing. My experience has showed me it’s better to have a thrilling goal than an objective that seems boring and dull. We want to be stimulated with the challenge. We want to stimulate positive change.

There is an abundance of information within the website to help you figure out breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas and what to eat. Check out Meal Suggestions for Eat Healthy Challenge, Five-Day Meal Plan, Healthy Info and Shopping List.

Welcome to the Eat Healthy Challenge, Healthy Junkies!