The 52 New Foods Challenge – Sunflower Butter

Sunflower butter or sunbutter is a great option for those that are allergic to nuts but can tolerate seeds. It has a great peanut-y flavor. As with all nuts and seeds, I recommend opting for organic because fat is where the toxins (herbicides) are stored. I also generally recommend raw nuts and seeds because roasting can damage the fragile fats and is often used to hide the rancidity of nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds have a season when they are fresh, just like all fruits and veggies. Choosing raw allows you to know that the nuts and seeds are still fresh. Although, raw and organic nut butters are CRAZY expensive (like $12-$25 for a fairly small jar). You can certainly make your own. Add the nuts or seeds to a food processor and turn it on. Once they become the right consistency, turn off and store in a jar (in the fridge to slow the oxidation process). Some people add salt, sugar, or oil to it. Feel free to experiment away!

Jennifer Tyler Lee, like many parents, was looking for a nut-free alternative for her children while at school. She suggests using it as you would peanut butter…ants on a log and apple slices dipped in sunbutter. She also suggests a no bake snack called Bitty Bites. I would obviously sub out the whole wheat flour for a grain-free option like cassava flour.


  • Good source of vitamins B1, B5, B6, and E, folate, selenium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, zinc, potassium, magnesium, iron, and protein.
  • Sunflower seeds contain phytochemicals, especially phytosterols, which can help to lower blood cholesterol.
  • They are a great source of monounsaturated fats (24 grams per 1/3 cup serving).
  • Sunflower seeds also contain arginine an essential amino acid that is important during periods of growth.
  • Contain heart healthy compounds.
  • Have been shown to be anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antiallergenic.


From The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by Jennifer Tyler Lee, Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno, and Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet by Tonia Reinhard.


Feb. 2014 Book of the Month -Grain Brain

February’s Clean Eating Book of the Month is Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers by David Perlmutter. Amazing book! I give this book 5 out of 5 strawberries!Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 5.28.40 PM

Dr. Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain, is a neurologist. Most people probably think, “what does being a neurologist have to do with writing a book about diet?”. Well, just as we don’t live in a bubble, our bodies’ organs don’t exist in isolation. What we put in our bodies have an impact on how our organs function. Dr. Permutter reviews cutting edge science to demonstrate that diet does play a significant role in the health of our brain and our entire neurological system.

“Gluten is our generation’s tobacco.” This quote resonates with me because I have “heard it”
all from well meaning family and friends as to why “everything in moderation” should be the mantra by which we live our lives. It also resonates with me because of the backlash the “gluten free” movement has gotten. Further, I can see so many parallels of doctors that once recommended cigarettes for “stress” and are now recommending “healthy whole grains” as a part of a “balanced diet”.

Through years and years of work with patients, Dr. Perlmutter has seen Alzheimer’s disease destroy many livesIMG_0420. He notes that chronic inflammation is at the root of the disease and that chronically high blood sugar is the main source of the inflammation. In Grain Brain, he calls Alzheimer’s disease Type III Diabetes for this reason.

In addition to his work with Alzheimer’s patients, he treats many patients with ADHD, Autism, MS, and more. Going grain free and refined sugar free is of great help to all of his patients.

This book is amazing and life changing. If you aren’t already gluten free, or if you are gluten free, Grain Brain restates the multitude of reasons why avoiding gluten is the way to go for a healthy body.


Peach Pie [Paleo, Primal, Vegetarian]

It’s summer and that means that peak PEACH SEASON is nearly here. While we don’t eat much sugar or sweet treats, this new Peach Pie recipe is seriously MY JAM. It’s crazy easy too. You will not regret making this. TRUST ME.

I am all about eating seasonally. It’s my passion. But I did use frozen organic peaches in this recipe. [Gasp!] A couple of reasons: 1) they’re more affordable 2) they’re already cut up! 3) I prefer to eat my local organic produce fresh. It almost seems wasteful to put them in a smoothie or a pie. I realize others may disagree. That’s okay.

Without a pastry crust, I realize that this may not technically qualify as a pie. If you went to culinary school, I’m sorry if this offends you. Around my house, we call it pie, so that’s what I’m sticking with.


IMG_01942 10-ounce bags of frozen organic peaches

1 1/2 cups almond flour

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/2 t cinnamon

1/4 t ground cloves

1/4 t sea salt

1/2 cup grass-fed butter, softened


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the peaches in a pie pan. They should cover the surface completely.
  3. Add the dry ingredients into a medium bowl. Add slices of butter to the bowl. Use a dough blender to cream the dry ingredients and the butter. It should be the consistency of a crumble.
  4. Spread the crumble topping over the peaches.
  5. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a knife easily pierces the peaches in the center.
  6. Let cool for at least 15 minutes. Serve and Enjoy!

6 servings


Hugs & Health <3,


Turkey and Vegetable Chili [Paleo, 21DSD, Primal, GF]

Turkey Chili

Recipe:                                                                     Spice Blend:

24 oz. chicken bone broth                                1 t cayenne pepper

1 jar diced tomatoes                                           1 T coriander

1 can kidney beans                                             1 T chili powder

1 can pinto beans                                                1 t cumin

1 medium onion, diced                                      sea salt and pepper

4 medium carrots, diced    turkey chili

4 stalks celery, diced

4 cloves garlic, finely diced

2 T butter, grass-fed, organic

1 lb. organic ground turkey

2 T chives, minced

sour cream, full-fat, organic, grass-fed (optional)



  1. In a large pot, sauté onions and garlic in butter until translucent.
  2. Add bone broth, tomatoes, beans, veggies, spices, and ground turkey. (Omit beans for Paleo, Primal, and levels 2 and 3 of the 21DSD.)
  3. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Continue on a low simmer for 45 min.
  4. Serve immediately. Top with sour cream and chives. (Omit sour cream for level 3 of the 21DSD).  Enjoy!

Tomatoes are rich sources of vitamins C & K, carotenes (especially lycopene), biotin and fiber. They are protective against cancer and should be eaten with an oil to improve absorption.

Celery is helpful in preventing cancer, improves white blood cell activity, and helps to lower blood pressure. It is rich in potassium and sodium. It helps the liver to detoxify as well.

Onions are a member of the allium (lily) family and are related to garlic & leeks. Alliums are known to have a cholesterol reducing effect and are known for their ability to help fight off cold and flu viruses. Onions are rich in antioxidants and biotin, manganese, copper, phosphorous, potassium, vitamins B1, B6, C, and fiber.

Is Gluten Free For Me?

Gluten is one of the proteins found in several grains including wheat, barley, rye, bulgar, sometimes oats, and possibly spelt and kamut. There are several problems when it comes to digesting this protein. First, gluten is an inflammatory that damages internal organs and tissues. When a peglutendiagramrson’s body has a negative reaction to a food, the body sends out inflammatory molecules, cytokines, to identify the food as an enemy. The immune system continues to attack the enemy, which can cause damage in the digestive system. These cytokines also cause a great deal of damage in the brain (Perlmutter, 2013).

Furthermore, gluten is one of the few foods that can cross the blood-brain barrier. This barrier exists to protect your brain from things that are foreign. Because it can cross the blood-brain barrier, it can have a negative effect on brain function. Dr. William Davis (2009) examines studies that have shown ingesting wheat has been associated with worse symptoms with those diagnosed with ADHD, schizophrenia, and the autism spectrum.                                                                                                                                                           In addition, gluten also causes spikes in the blood sugar after it is consumed. The glycemic index is the extent of which a food raises a person’s blood sugar (and insulin) relative to glucose (glycemic index of 100). The glycemic index of whole wheat bread is 72, while the glycemic index of table sugar (sucrose) is 59, thus whole wheat bread raises blood sugar more than regular sugar (Davis, 2009; Pollan, 2013). Other physiological effects of gluten consumption include sleepiness after consumption and an increased appetite after consumption (Davis, 2009).                                                                                                                                                              Furthermore, the wheat that we consume today is not genetically or physiologically similar to the wheat of decades ago. The first cultivated wheat, einkorn, has only 14 chromosomes and produces a less stretchy and stickier dough that rises very little (Davis, 2011; Pollan, 2013). It also has a less appealing flavor than the current wheat strains. Current wheat strains, triticum, are genetically very different, having 42 chromosomes, and it produces a much higher yieldwavesofgrain in the field, and is elastic, pliable, and rises nicely, which is ideal for baking (Davis, 2011; Pollan, 2013).

Additionally, wheat causes an exorphin release (similar to endorphins, but originating from a source outside of your body) in your brain, making your body crave it the more you eat it. Digestion of wheat “…yields morphine-like compounds that bind to your brain’s opiate receptors. It induces a form of reward, a mild euphoria” (Davis, p. 50, 2009). This creates an ongoing cycle of eating wheat and craving wheat that can be hard to break.

Lastly, gluten is so prevalent in foods today that many people consume wheat without even realizing it. Besides the obvious breads, cereals, pastas, cookies, and cakes, gluten is also found in soy sauce, salad dressings, spice packets, cheeses, gravies, sauces, French fries, prescription medications, cosmetics and so much more (Perlmutter, 2013). It also has many aliases as well, including names like modified food starch, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, seitan, and textured vegetable protein, which are misleading and may be challenging to identify as wheat (Davis, 2009).

There is a wealth of evidence showing that gluten has many adverse effects on our health, you’ll have to decide for yourself, is gluten free for you?

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a Registered Dietician or Medical Doctor. As such, I do NOT provide medical nutrition services, or diagnose and treat disease. Rather, I educate people on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to improve their quality of life. I advise people with existing medical problems to consult with medical doctors. I shared evidence-based health information, whether to class participants, wellness counseling client sessions, or on this website.

Health & Hugs <3,



Bauman, E. & Friedlander, J. (2014). Foundations of Nutrition. Penngrove, CA: Bauman College.

Davis, W. (2011). Wheat Belly. New York, NY: Rodale Inc.

Perlmutter, D. (2013). Grain Brain. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

Pollan, M. (2013). Cooked. New York, NY: Penguin Group.

Get off Gluten blog (2014, April) Flowchart of wheat retrieved from http://getoffgluten.blogspot.com/

Mitsides Group (2014, April) Image of wheat retrieved from


My Food Story

Welcome to my site! Here’s a little (well maybe a lot) about me.

I was born and raised in the south San Francisco Bay Area and I’ve lived here my whole life. I’m very much a California girl. I’m married to the coolest person – Jim Leadbetter. He pretty much rocks. We have two boxers, Jax, a boxer/cocker/lab mix, and Zoe, a fawn boxer. Dogs are pretty much the most amazing creatures on this planet and I couldn’t live without them. I’m currently a teacher. I’ve taught first grade for four years and fifth grade for four years. I recently accepted a position in my school district to be a TOSA (Teacher on Special Assignment). Basically I’ll be teaching teachers (TK-5) in my district and helping them to feel prepared and equipped to teach the new CCSS Math, while using our new math curriculum.

While I have a passion for teaching public education, in the past several years, I knew that I wanted something more. That’s when I decided to go back to school to become a Holistic Nutrition Consultant. I’m currently attending Bauman College. But let me back up just a little and explain how I became interested in nutrition in the first place.

In my junior year of high school, for my anatomy and physiology class, we went to the morgue. And while it was a cool experience, I left thinking, “those human muscles, look a whole lot like the meat I’m eating”. For the next eight years, I was a lacto-ovo-pesco vegetarian. Mind you, I was a carb-aholic vegetarian. This was not the healthiest time of my life. I’m not saying that there aren’t healthy vegetarians out there, but I wouldn’t place myself among them. I really didn’t miss meat much at all. I even worked at Outback Steakhouse for one year during my years as a vegetarian.

Around year seven of vegetarianism, I started craving of all things, pepperoni. In my head, I thought, “what?!?! is going on!! I didn’t really even like pepperoni pizza before becoming a vegetarian. It took me a full year before telling anyone that I was craving pepperoni (I was one of those sorta preachy vegetarians, you know, animal cruelty, CAFOs, etc.). My then boyfriend, Jim, and I were on a date at a swanky pizza place and he had pepperoni pizza. I told him, “I really want some pepperoni”. He was shocked and tried to convince me otherwise saying things like, “You won’t be able to wear you vegetarian t-shirts anymore”. But in the end I caved and had a half a slice of pepperoni. I can only describe the experience as the heavens above opening up and raining down delicious pork upon my tastebuds [insert inappropriate joke here]. I keep saying things like, “it’s so delicious and so spicy!”. There was no turning back for me. My friend Travis calls pepperoni my gateway meat. He is totally correct.

After that, it was slow going back into the meat world, but I embraced it fully and so did my friends and family. During my best friend Sarah’s, bachelorette party weekend in Napa, we went to Whole Foods to buy a wonderful assortment of beef jerky because that was the other meat I had been craving since reentering the meat eating world. Friends even called me their “meat-eating vegetarian friend”. HA!

While I was a vegetarian I read a lot of books on food production in this country. Some of my favorites include: The Omnivore’s Dilemma (I LOVE Michael Pollan and I often call him my Food Guru; AND this book was one of the other reasons I decided to eat meat again), Fast Food Nation, The Dirty Life, and Tomatoland. I started to realize that I really do have a passion and love for food.

Also shortly after I began eating meat, I took a weekend summer job working for a friend’s farm. Tomatero Organic Farm (based out of Watsonville, CA) needed part time help at the local farmers markets, so I thought I’d give it a try. When I first started working, I felt sort of useless. I didn’t know much about the stuff we sold: three types of kale, rainbow chard, fava beans, dandelion greens, beets, and three varieties of strawberries (who even knew there were three varieties of strawberries – not ME!). But after a few weeks, I got better at identifying the subtle differences between the berries and I began trying to sauté the greens or make kale chips or roast the beets. I LOVED talking about the nutritional benefits of certain foods and giving new recipe ideas out and also getting new recipes from customers.

Then my husband read The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferris. He started eating slow-carb, high protein, and veggie six days per week, with one “cheat day”. I was very resistant at first. I tried and failed at least twice before sticking with it. Once I stuck with it, I noticed weight loss, improved energy, and less sluggishness in the afternoons. But here was the big revelation: when I ate wheat on my cheat day (i.e. toast) I would get MAD heartburn and acid reflux. I had been experiencing acid reflux and heartburn since high school (notably when I ate muffins and pizza). I finally put all the pieces of the puzzle together: I had a gluten sensitivity. I went gluten free in July of 2012 and never turned back. I currently eat an 80/20 paleo diet (80% of the time “strict” paleo, ~20% cheat meals).

I started at Bauman in March of 2014. At the age of 31, in June 2014, I was diagnosed with Stage 2b Breast Cancer (DCIS – Ductal Carcinoma In Situ and IDC- Invasive Ductal Carcinoma). I underwent 6 rounds of chemo, bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction, and 25 sessions of radiation. I also learned that I have the BRCA 1 mutation. I will have my expanders traded out for “real” implants this fall. Before age 35, I will have an oophorectomy (ovaries and fallopian tubes removed). Since my diagnosis, my nutritional focus has changed from eating well to look and feel well, to a focus on eating for survivorship, including eliminating toxins and preventing a recurrence. You can read more about my journey with breast cancer on my #teamklb blog.

Thanks for taking the time to learn about me, I would love to learn more about you. Let’s connect!

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a Registered Dietician or Medical Doctor. As such, I do provide medical nutrition services, or diagnose and treat disease. Rather, I educate people on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to improve their quality of life. I advise people with existing medical problems to consult with medical doctors. I shared evidence-based health information, whether to class participants, wellness counseling client sessions, or on this website.

Health & Hugs ❤