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Have a Gluten-Free Holiday

Thanksgiving has passed, and we may be feeling a little guilty for not spending the extra $5 on gluten-free pumpkin pie, but the holidays are far from over. We have a chance to redeem ourselves by being a bit kinder to our stomachs at the next family gathering by trying out these classic holiday recipes with a gluten-free twist.

We've scoured the internet to gather these tasty gems that will get mouths watering around the table, without subjecting them to a sometimes unfriendly ingredient. Happy Holidays, and enjoy!

Gluten Free Ginger Spice Cranberry Sauce


4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup water
1 1/3 cup sugar
1T fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1.5″ size cinnamon stick


  1. Bring water and sugar to a boil. Add cranberries and cinnamon stick and return to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in ginger.
  4. Replace lid and continue cooking 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and scoop out the cinnamon stick.
  6. Let sit at room temperature until cool.

Courtesy of Know Gluten

Gluten-Free Gravy

2009 Thanksgiving Food 5 

Serves: 2 cups
Cook time:  10 mins
Total time:  10 mins


4 Tablespoons organic butter
1 teaspoon bacon fat (optional)
2 Tablespoons Arrowroot
2 cups turkey stock or turkey drippings(strained through a fine mesh sieve)
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon onion powder
salt to taste (about ½-3/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt)


  1. Heat butter and bacon fat over medium heat in a medium saucepan.
  2. Whisk butter mixture until it is frothy. Add arrowroot and whisk until mixture has turned golden brown, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add turkey stock or drippings, sage and onion powder.
  4. Raise flame to medium high heat and continue to whisk until mixture has thickened, about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Add salt to taste. Remove from heat and serve.

Courtesy of Nurture My Gut Author: Ester Perez

Wild Rice and Cornbread Stuffing

For the CornbreadFile:White, Brown, Red & Wild rice.jpg
1 cup of gluten-free all purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
For the Stuffing
1 lb of Sweet Italian Sausage, removed from casing
1 cup onion, diced
1 1/2 cups cooked wild rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
8-10 sage leaves, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the cornbread:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Grease your baking pan using 1 tablespoon of the butter and place in preheated oven.
  4. Whisk 3 tablespoons butter, eggs and milk together in a large bowl, then add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and whisk until fully combined.
  5. Remove heated baking dish from oven and pour batter in evenly.
  6. Return dish to oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool completely, then cut into 1-inch cubes and leave out on a baking pan overnight to harden.

For the stuffing:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Combine cooked wild rice with cornbread cubes in a large bowl.
  3. Add 1 cup stock, stir to moisten and set aside.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large pan, and saute onions, garlic and celery until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  5. Transfer vegetables to cornbread mixture and return pan to medium-high heat.
  6. Brown the sausage, then toss with the sage and add to cornbread mixture. Toss all together to combine.
  7. Transfer mixture to a large baking dish, drizzle with remaining 1/2 cup of stock and bake until golden brown on top, about 30 minutes.
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Prep Time: 1 hour plus overnight drying time
Cooking Time: 2 hours

Courtesy of Food Republic

Gluten Free Chicken Parmesan


Chicken Parmesan

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2T Olive Oil
2T red wine vinegar
1T minced garlic
1T Italian seasoning
2 eggs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup marinara sauce
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese


  1. Place chicken in a gallon size zipper bag with olive oil, red wine vinegar, Italian seasoning and garlic to marinade for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Beat eggs in a mixing bowl for dipping chicken and put Parmesan cheese on a plate for rolling chicken.
  3. Remove chicken from bag and dip in egg.
  4. Roll in Parmesan cheese and place on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake a 400F for 30-40 minutes or until cooked through, and remove from oven.
  6. Spoon marinara and sprinkle mozzarella over chicken.
  7. Return to oven until mozzarella is melted and bubbly.

Courtesy of Know Gluten

Stuffed Baked Apples with Walnuts and Dates

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Servings: 9
from the backyard. (!!!!) baked apples tonight! oh, yeah.

9 Apples, cored
a little Lemon Juice
1 tablespoon Unrefined Coconut Oil
1/2 cup (60 grams) Almond Meal/Flour
1/4 cup (30 grams) chopped toasted Walnuts
4 dried Dates, pitted and chopped into small pieces
pinch of fine Sea Salt, ground Cinnamon and ground Ginger
1/4 cup (57 grams) Unsweetened Light Coconut Milk
Optional Toppings

Coconut Milk
Heavy Cream
Dried Fruit
Maple Syrup or Honey drizzle
Serve With
Ice Cream
Frozen Yogurt
Greek Yogurt


  • Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F with the rack in the center. Core apples and squeeze a little lemon juice into each one. Melt coconut oil in a small pan. Stir in almond meal, walnuts, dates, salt, cinnamon, ginger and coconut milk. Heat for a few minutes over medium heat. Carefully stuff apples with the mixture. Place apples in muffin pans or on a bake safe dish.
  • Cover loosely with foil. Bake for about 45 min or until apples have softened and split.

Courtesy of Family Fresh Cooking

Say Goodbye To Trans Fats

November 7, 2013 was a big day for the American heart. The FDA announced its plan to phase out trans fats from our diet by moving it from a category recognizing it as a safe food additive to one making it unsafe and illegal for use.

What are trans fats?

Trans fats are created artificially when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to create a more solid substance often referred to as partially hydrogenated oil. It is not the only fat we encounter. Saturated fats can also be rough on our bodies, but it does have some of the more devastating effects on our health.  Trans fats not only raise the level of bad cholesterol in our bodies, they also work against us by lowering the good cholesterol we consume.
There is no way to avoid fats all together, nor would we want to. Consuming mono-saturated fats provides us energy, keeps hair and skin healthy and helps us absorb fat soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E and K.

What does this mean?

This biggest difference this ruling will make is that restaurants and manufacturers still hanging on to trans fat use will have to rework their process to comply with the new standards. It sounds like a big undertaking, but a schedule is in the works that will give everyone time to adjust to new standards.

We as a nation aren't the first to crack down on this harmful additive. Although Mayor Bloomberg of New York has been quite vocal regarding his prohibition against trans fats throughout his city's restaurants that began in 2008, it is the example of entire countries like Sweden and Denmark that prove an entire nation is able to change.

How will this help us?

According to the FDA, simply removing trans fats from our diet will prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7000 deaths annually. ANNUALLY! And what do we have to do? Nothing. It's actually very doubtful that we will actually notice a difference in our food considering that trans fats have been phasing out of our foods for quite some time now without protest.

What we do need to understand is that this doesn't solve all of our health problems. Saturated fats will still raise cholesterol levels and sugars in excess will still harm our bodies. We still need to take care of ourselves with a conscious diet and active lifestyle.

Popular Foods Currently Containing Trans Fats

Frozen Pastries: pie crusts, biscuits/rolls, cookies, frozen desserts

Miami Beach: Joe's Stone Crab - Joe's Original Key Lime Pie

Coffee Creamers (non-dairy)

File:Cofee-Mate French Vanilla & Hazelnut 3 packs.JPG

Fast Foods (anything fried or battered): Popeye's, Long John Silver's.

Long John Silver's Sampler

Crisco: Although they are listed as no longer using trans fats, they were once the poster child for trans fat use. Currently they contain the minimum amount allowed (.5 grams) to be able to say they contain 0 grams. Sneaky.


Canned Frosting, Packaged Pudding, Cake Mixes

Mike asked me to please make him a cake mix cake with canned frosting for Faturday. I did, but I have to say I make a pretty mean scratch cake. We're taking it with us to the He-Men-Ways. Lucky them!

Bisquick, Pancake and Waffle Mixes

1957 General Mills Ad, Betty Crocker Bisquick with Recipe

Margarine. It turns out that butter, a saturated fat, is actually better for you. Sorry Fabio.

HEB Margarine

Check out the Trans Fat and Menu Labeling Legislation for more information.

Defeat Winter Depression

File:Vincent Willem van Gogh 002.jpgWinter can be a beautiful season filled with blankets of white snow, friendly gatherings and the smell of peppermint and fresh cut pine permeating the air. However, these simple joys of the season are missed by many who suffer through Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), or the somewhat milder Winter Blues, that will bury them under the weight of depression throughout the winter months. Norman E. Rosenthal, MD, a renown expert in cyclical mood patterns and a current Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School, tells us;

"Six percent of the US population, primarily in northern climates, is affected by SAD in its most marked form. Another 14 percent of the adult US population suffers from a lesser form of seasonal mood changes, known as winter blues."

Both conditions are more prevalent in women than men, and are theorized to be related to genetic traits. Also, although the
symptoms are triggered by dark winters, anyone has the potential to experience SAD or the winter blues. What this means is, someone from a Southern environment who's never had a problem, can visit the Netherlands in January and be affected.

Common Symptoms of SAD and the Winter Blues

When days get shorter, people affected often:

  • Sleep longer and have a harder time waking up. Studies show that SAD sufferers average 2.5 hours more sleep in winter and winter blues sufferers sleep 1.7 hours more, which is much longer than the average population at the same time of year.
  • Experience depleted energy levels. Staying home and sleeping or eating comfort foods is all they can manage to do for themselves. Anything else is much harder to conceive as possible.
  • Gain weight. The initial onset of depression promotes a sedentary lifestyle that cuts out most activity causing weight gain. The weight gain, in return increases depression.
  • Become disinterested in life causing their work, school and social lives to suffer the consequences of neglect.

What You Can Do

On your own you can:

    #coffee #friends #handlettering #lettering #type #typography

  • Regulate your diet and alcohol consumption. Heavy foods, sugars and alcohol can be major downers in the long run. Try to add plenty of veggies and seasonal fruits to your diet to keep your energy levels up. Caffeine isn't a bad way to gain some extra pep mid morning, it's actually been related to mood enhancement, just don't over do it with the sugary additions to avoid the quick energy crash that follows.
  • Activated your social life. Give yourself a reason to get out of the house. Meeting a friend just to talk over lunch exposes you to fresh air and gives you personal contact and reassurance that you are not alone.
  • Move your body. As tough as it is to get going, even a small amount of exercise can boost serotonin levels and get your blood flowing.
  • Meditate. Stress has been proven to cause a number of ills and increases cortisol, a hormone that can increase weight gain (making you more depressed. It's a vicious cycle). Using your downtime effectively by relaxing through calming deep breathing, centers your mind and body, and clears your head to continue your productive day.

Outside help: File:Light Therapy Lamp.jpg

  • Talk to a pro. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a great way to sort out what's keeping you down, and gain some professional knowledge on how to combat your blues.
  • Light Therapy. 60%-80% of SAD sufferers benefit from Light Therapy. Lights are widely available online, just make sure you find one that sticks to clinical recommendations. Check out the Mayo Clinic's "Seasonal affective disorder treatment: Choosing a light box" to make sure your device meets therapeutic standards.


Source: 1. Rosenthal NE. Winter Blues: Everything You Need to Know to Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder. New York, NY: Guilford Press; 2006.


Fall Juicing: Beets

We've talked about juicing pumpkins, winter squash, pears and even sweet potatoes, but one seasonal beauty that everyone needs to add to their diet is the beet.
Beet It


As a population, the United States has been neglecting beets, and it’s just got to stop. Beets are considered seasonal, but are there for us year round packed full of goodness, and just waiting for us to give them a chance. Their positive effects on our health are so numerous, that I believe they deserve their own article to sing their praises (and pull in some more beet loving converts). Historically, like the pomegranate, beets have been put to use in a variety of ways. They have been used as a natural dye, a precious sacrifice to the gods, for their medicinal properties and are well known for being an aphrodisiac. Today, we continue their use, as medical professionals and scientists are continually discovering more and more great stuff about them.

Conditions beets are known to help include:

Heart of the beetroot

Heart Health:

Beets are full of both soluble and insoluble fiber that help reduce triglycerides and bad cholesterol while promoting healthy weight loss. They also contain a nutrient called Betaine that is known to lower homocysteine, an amino acid that’s linked with cardiovascular disease and blood clots, levels in the blood. The same nutrient also assists in a variety of other health issues. For more information on Betaine’s nutritional value, check out Betaine in human nutrition. In addition to that, beets contain a high level of potassium which relaxes blood vessels allowing blood to flow freely, thus reducing the risk of clotting and stroke.

Birth Defects:

B vitamin folate, or folic acid, is naturally found in beets. Many people are sufficient in folic acid, however those at risk of deficiency such as women of childbearing age, pregnant women, those with malabsorptive disorders or alcohol dependence, may have children that suffer from a group of birth disorders called neural tube defects. Folic acid plays a part in infant spinal column development.
84. colin cancer Courtesy of © Globocan

Cancer Prevention:

One of the most exciting beet benefits is its cancer fighting abilities. What’s even more fantastic, is that is approaches cancer prevention from more than one direction. Beets contain pigment betacyanin, a beetroot pigment that counteracts cancerous cell growth and inhibits cell mutations caused by certain meat preservatives. Beets are also said to slow down tumor development and increase the number of CD8 cells in the colon that destroy cancer threats. Since colon cancer is ranked third in cancer related deaths, this is a big deal. On top of that, beets increase the body’s production of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant, that aids the liver (also stimulated by beet consumption) in in ridding the body of cancerous toxins. Overall, beets are known to decrease cancer risk, especially for the skin, lungs and colon.

Respiratory Health:

WW2  -  more sugar beets ?One cup of beets is equivalent to 11% of your daily vitamin C requirement. Increasing vitamin C in your diet can aid in preventing asthma symptoms while stimulating white blood cells. Combined with it’s antioxidant qualities, beets fight off any unwanted respiratory infection that may come your way. In addition, the presence of beta carotene, helps in fighting lung cancer.

Energy Level:

Beets are high in natural sugar, and therefore are also high in carbohydrates. However, these carbs are the good kind that burn slowly to fuel prolonged activities like distance running or sports. Due to the high level of nitrates, it has been found that beets also increase a person’s oxygen intake beyond what can be achieved through training and exercise alone.

Ocular Health:

Comic History of Rome p 010 The Romans walking off with the Sabine WomenThe beta carotene in beets will protect your eyes from free radicals, helping prevent cataracts and slow macular degeneration, a disease that’s often age related in which blurring and blind spots affect your central vision.


Recorded early on by the Romans, the aphrodisiac quality of the beet has been well known for centuries. It even adorns ancient brothel walls in Pompeii! As unsexy as it may seem, the beet contains boron, which is scientifically known to boost the production of sex hormones. The result of eating beets could be increased libido, fertility, and sperm mobility.

Since beets are root vegetables and tend to taste more earthy despite their natural sugars, it’s good to find a balanced mix of sweeter fruits or vegetables to achieve a more appealing taste. Here are a few suggestions for beet juicing to get you going.

Beet juice-01

Beet Juice Blend


  • 1 apple, cored and sliced
  • 1 lemon, peeled
  • 2 tall celery stalks
  • 1 beet, with the leaves
  • 1 handful of spinach (optional)

*For added sweetness, include more lemon and apple.

Directions: Add the apple, lemon, and celery to a juicer. Use a sharp knife to cut the beet into manageable pieces and then add it to your juicer. Note that because of a beet’s thickness, it’s best to juice last so that you don’t need to clean the pulp out of your juicer until you’re done. For extra greens, add spinach.


Beet, Carrot, and Apple Juice with Ginger


  • 2 pounds beets (about 6 medium), trimmed, peeled, cut into 1' pieces
  • 1 pound carrots (about 4 large), trimmed, peeled, cut into 1' pieces
  • 1 Gala or Empire apple (about 8 ounces), cored, cut into 1' pieces
  • 1 Granny Smith apple (about 8 ounces), cored, cut into 1' pieces
  • 1 3' piece fresh ginger, peeled, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions: Pass first 5 ingredients through a juicer. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Stir in lemon juice. Pour into glasses.

RECIPE BY The Bon Appétit Test Kitchen

If you're just getting started juicing, and are looking for a quality, affordable juicer, check out The Best Affordable Juicers of 2013.

Fall Juicing: Apples, Pears and Pomegranates


The sweet and juicy pear. I believe they are falls compensation for not letting strawberries grow year round. Just eating one alone, no frills, is pretty dang satisfying, yet they are so much more than just the apple's softer friend. Pears have the highest fiber content of all the fruits, and is linked to preventing heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers (breast, stomach and lung). The skin of the pear contains quercetin, a powerful antioxidant that is known to help artery problems, so blending instead of juicing might be a good way to keep that pulpy benefit. Lucky for the sensitive souls, pears are also the most hypoallergenic fruit, meaning that most of those intolerant of say, peaches, have a much better chance at not reacting negatively to these little gems, allowing everyone to get in a good daily fruit serving.

grape cucumber pear juice 


  • 1 large pear
  • 1 tangerine
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2-inch piece ginger root
  • Pinch of cayenne (optional)
DIRECTIONS Juice tangerine and lemon in a manual citrus juicer. Juice pear and ginger in a juicer. Mix together. Garnish with cayenne if you want an extra kick.

Courtesy of The Daily Meal ® Pears & Apples


Brother to the pear, the apple also ranks high in the natural holistic health world. Like the pear, apples are chalk full of vitamins and fiber that aid in a number of conditions mentioned above. They also a good source of potassium, iron and calcium, and have been proven through tests to slow the aging of your brain helping prevent Alzheimer and Parkinson's disease.

Apple juice with 2apples 


  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/2 head of romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup cucumber
  • 1/2 lemon, peeled
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple
DIRECTIONS Juice all ingredients in a juicer. Store the juice in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Courtesy of The Daily Meal ®


Fruit of the gods, the pomegranate has a vast history in literature, art and culture. It shows up in famous paintings around the world and has been revered medicinally by a variety of cultures for quite a long time. Today, health professional's praises of the healthy powers of the pomegranate are still going strong.

File:Botticelligranat bild.jpg

Like the apple and pear above, they are an incredible source of fiber, but that's not all. They are known to have anti-inflammatory qualities that aid in preventing osteoarthritis and contain the heart healthy enzyme paraoxonase, that helps keep cholesterol from clogging arteries. Pomegranate's are also the king antioxidant of the fruits, proven to protect skin from free radicals and aid in collagen production, which slows the signs of aging. Plus, studies have show pomegranate juice to be equal to prescription mouthwash when it comes to ridding your teeth and mouth of disgusting plaque.

Power of Pomegranate Recipe

Makes two large glasses of sweet, refreshing antioxidant juice:

  • 3 carrots
  • 1 apple

March 20 - Antioxidant Indulgence

  • 2 small pears
  • Seeds from 1 pomegranate
  • Power up your juicer!

This drink is so refreshing and the kids will love it, too. Try different variations with the apples and pears, maybe substituting a peach or some strawberries for one of the pears.

Find more Pomegranate recipes Here.

For more fantastic fall juicing suggestions, check out our articles on Pumpkins, Sweet Potatoes and Winter Squash.

Fall Juicing: Sweet Potatoes and Winter Squash

Sweet Potatoes!

File:5aday sweet potato.jpgSweet potatoes, the unsung hero of the root vegetable family. Loaded with fiber and iron, sweet potatoes have a slow burning energy producing quality that will keep you going longer than other carbs that don't contain so much fiber. They are also chock full of vitamins like the heart healthy B6, and antioxidant rich vitamins C and E.

An often overlooked plus of sweet potatoes is that they contain the trace mineral manganese that helps sustain healthy blood sugar levels, treat anemia and sustain appetite control. Add to that the presence of beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A in the body and is used to prevent and treat a wide range of medical conditions including heart disease, depression, Alzheimer's disease, cataracts and arthritis, and this veggie is well worth the minimal prep it requires.

A quick, and probably less messy way than the microwave cinnamon sprinkling thing, is throwing a sweet potato or two in your juicer and taking it on the go. Here are some recipes sure to pack some sweet veggie power.

Festive Sweet Potato Vegetable JuiceSweet Potato, Celery, Ginger and Orange Juice 2of3

Serves 1-2

1 small or medium sweet potato, cut into quarters if necessary for it to fit through the juicer
2 carrots
1 large (or two small) red bell pepper
2 large stalks celery
1 1/2 inch knob of ginger

Run all ingredients through your juicer, and serve.

Courtesy of Choosing Raw

Winter Squash!


Though they may be on the funny looking side, consuming winter squash is an easy, low-fat way to take in much needed vitamins and supplements that are often lacking in the average diet. They are heart friendly and contain a ton of potassium. One of the biggest pluses is that winter squash is a source of lutein, a powerful antioxidant this is used to prevent and treat a number of conditions by minimizing free radicals. Even the seeds contain tryptophan, an essential amino acid often used in the treatment of depression.

Here's a simple recipe using butternut squash as it's main ingredient.

“Vegetable Magnetism” Midday Carrot Squash Cleansing Juice

  • 4 carrotsGreen juice! Been ages since I've been to herbivore. Nice to see they updated the menu.
  • 1 cup peeled butternut squash
  • Half cucumber
  • Optional:
  • Half-inch piece of ginger
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  1. Process all ingredients through your Omega Juicer.
  2. If using this juice as part of the 3 DAY WINTER CLEANSE, strain this juice and dilute with equal parts  filtered water.
  3. If not juice fasting, you can consume this juice unstrained.
  4. Makes one 16-ounce glass.

Courtesy of The Blender Girl

For more Fall juicing recipes check out Fall Juicing: The Incredible Edible Pumpkin.

Fall Juicing: The Incredible Edible Pumpkin

Pumpkin Juice – 3 Fruit & Veggie Servings in 1 DELICIOUS DrinkIt's fall, and if you're like me you feel torn. Summer was amazing.  Festivals, farmers markets and fresh berries everywhere. I'm sad to see it go. The only thing that kept me looking forward to the seasonal change was the knowledge that pumpkin season was upon us. Pumpkin, we need to figure out a way to extend pumpkin eating time beyond these few month. But until we do, the challenge is to take advantage while we can.

Juicing or blending is a great way to do this. Juicing allows us to take in a large amount of nutrients from sources like pumpkins quickly and easily. However, don't be so fast to toss the pulp, it contains a dose of fiber you really don't want to miss out on. Toast the seeds and add some seasoning, they make a heart healthy alternative to salty chips or peanuts.  So let's move beyond Pumpkin Spice Lattes and pies (oh pies), and put these babies to good use.


What's so great about pumpkins anyway?

So many things! Beside the fact that pumpkin is an incredibly potent source of fiber, it's also packed full of potassium, and vitamin C. Beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin make its bright fall color pop, and are also a big healthy gift from our squash friend. A part of the carotenoid group, according to MedlinePlus, beta-carotene and its friends provide 50% of the vitamin A in our diets, and is know to prevent:

  • certain cancersCucurbita maxima cut one half
  • heart disease
  • cataracts
  • age related macular degeneration (AMD)

and to treat:

  • AIDS
  • alcoholism
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • depression
  • epilepsy
  • headache
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • rheumatoid arthritis

So many benefits and nothing to loose! Here are two juicing recipes that are sure to help you get started.

Pumpkin Juice Recipe courtesy of My Juice Cleanse with Carey Kingsbury

4 cups  pumpkin chunks
1 apple
2-3 carrots
1/4 inch piece ginger

Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds.  Cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks and remove skin with a vegetable peeler.  Wash apple and carrots and cut into pieces that will fit into your juicer.  Put the first four ingredients through your juicer.  Pour the juice into a glass and sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.  Add ice if desired.  Makes approximately 10 oz.


Pumpkin Juice Recipe courtesy of EverythingPumpkin

    Award-winning jack o' lantern


  • 1/2 cup frozen pumpkin puree
  • 1 handful baby carrots – or 1-2 large carrots 1/2-3/4 cup milk
  • 1 orange -  peeled and chopped
  • 2-3 Tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate (not mixed)


  1. Add all ingredients to blender
  2. Blend until smooth
  3. Test for taste and add a little water if the orange juice flavor is too strong
  4. Serve immediately
  5. Enjoy!

Before you start blending, here are a few tips to help you out. Fresh is always better. The fewer preservatives, the healthier your pumpkin experience is going to be. Be nice to your juicer. Cutting the pumpkin up into smaller chunks can make a big difference to an older juicers blades, and make sure to keep an eye on the pulp so it doesn't clog anything.

If you're interested in getting into juicing, or just looking for a good replacement juicer, don't fret. Check out The Best Affordable Juicers of 2013 for some ideas.


As the cooler months approach, now is the time to start taking extra care of our feet.  Our feet will be nice and warm in our shoes or boots and socks, so we will not be looking at them as much.  The cooler weather will often bring on dry, scaling skin on our feet.  Each day, it is important to check the feet carefully, especially if you are diabetic, have rheumatoid arthritis, or another chronic disease.  If you notice anything abnormal (color changes, openings, growths, drainage, for example), if is important to call a podiatrist.  Additionally, it is important to moisturize the feet twice daily with a thick cream or vasoline.  When doing this, it is important to avoid putting the cream or vasoline between the toes.  This is already a  moist area of the foot, and more cream may cause the skin here to break down or open up.

Watch for future blogs on how to get your feet ready for the winter!  Dr. Bender is a foot and ankle specialist at Advanced Physical Medicine and practices at the Oak Park and Chicago/63rd locations.  She has been in practice since finishing her residency in 2001, and she has also had three foot surgeries on her feet!  She knows how it feels to have painful feet and can help you!  Call today for your appointment, 708-763-0580 or 773-776-3166.

Teens, Loose Weight The Healthy Way

As young adults, concern for developing healthy habits falls somewhere behind homework, extra curriculars and what your friends think. You're in the upper half of your formative years, but you are still adjusting daily to what the world expects of you. It can be a lot to carry at times. And when your metabolism begins slowing due to factors like genetics, body image comes into play. Body image, for teens and young adults, has always been a major source of stress, and with increasing access to media that projects what we are 'supposed to look like,'  who can blame you taking it to heart.

The truth is, weight gain as young adults is an increasing trend that you should be concerned about. Studies have indicated a future of cardiovascular disease, various cancers, kidney stones, gout, hypertension and type 2 diabetes in those who consistently gain weight during teenage to early twenties development.

The most important step to take for your health, even if you area already overweight, is to stop and prevent weight gain.  Weight stabilization alone will help keep complications later in life at bay.

Important Questions To Ask Yourself

Stressed College StudentWhen approaching weight loss, there are a few important questions to ask yourself before deciding on a plan.

1. What are the main sources of stress in my life?

-Cotrisol is a hormone  produced by the body in times of stress. What cortisol does is stimulate and promote fat storage, especially in the abdominal area.

-Figuring out what is stressing you out, and finding a way to reduce that stress, is a huge step towards shedding excess fat as a teen. Life may seem a little out of control sometimes, but make sure you take a moment to relax and collect yourself.

2. What are my friends doing?

-Social influence plays a big part in developing a healthy routine. If your friends don't take care of their bodies and what they put into them, you won't have much motivation to do so either. Fad diets and quick cleanses are actually diuretics or laxatives in disguise, meaning that they will shed water weight temporarily, then as your body reacts it will come back, often multiplied. The actuality of it is, the more water you drink, the more water weight you lose by flushing your system.

-If all your friends do is complain about how the look, tell them to do something about it. Then develop better habits collectively. You are more likely to succeed together than alone.

3. What have I been eating?

-If the answer is pizza dipped in ranch for lunch and microwave dinners every day, you may want to reconsider. Mass manufactured foods tend to have a lot of preservatives added to them. Preservatives make the food last longer and look better, but also take a toll on your body, especially if your goal is healthy weight loss. Keep salts and sugars to a minimum by eating fresher items so you know exactly what you're putting into you body.

-Cut out soda and replace it with water. With that alone, you will feel and see a difference.

-Snack. Fruit, unsalted nuts other proteins are all easy to carry with you, and great to snack on throughout the day. Don't starve yourself, your brain and body need fuel. Snack so you'll be able to have smaller portions at meal times. Food and calories aren't bad, it's the type of food adding the calories that should be your concern.

A Healthy Diet is Not Enough

However, a healthy diet is the base of a healthy lifestyle. You have to start moving to complete the picture, and get the results you want. Just walking an extra 10 minutes a few times a day will make a huge difference. They key is not to focus on one or two parts of your body that you don't like, it's to go for whole body improvement. Once you're in that mindset, the parts you want to fix will improve more permanently.

Here are a few things to think about along the way:

What is Healthy? As much as we are bombarded with the image of boney women with pre-teen bodies, and men bursting with steroid muscle, in reality, not many people actually find those traits attractive. As the Cross Fit motto would say, "Strong is the New Skinny." The preference towards a healthy, well taken care of body is only increasing. Lean muscle is mass, but it's an appealing one.

Attitude is Everything. If you feel good, you look good to yourself and others. The more dedicated you are to growing as a person into a healthy adult, the more successful you are going to be. Depression has been singled out as a prominent cause of weight gain. Fight that by moving, even when you don't want to. Exercise releases chemicals that improve mood. Getting discouraged and giving up just can't be options for you anymore.

Don't Let Stress Keep You From Living Your Life. The point of changing habits isn't to give you anxiety over what you're eating or if you are seeing any difference. Having pizza with your friends isn't forbidden. It's how much you consume and how often that you control. Give yourself a break and be human. Be positive about taking care of yourself, and know that worrying too much about it is a step backwards.

Diabetes: Lower Limb Amputation, Neuropathy and PAD

We've spoken before about the problem of diabetes in America, and briefly about the complications that can occur throughout the body when the disease is not well managed. Unfortunately having diabetes raises a persons risk factor when it comes to a number of other conditions. Trouble with skin and lower limbs are just two on a list of many, but they are two complications that need to be paid attention to. High blood sugar levels lower circulation and causes nerve damage that if not monitored, will lead to amputation.

According to the CDC, more than half non-traumatic lower limb amputations in the US are due to diabetes.

The statistics sound extreme, and the numbers have been going down some, but they emphasize the benefits of monitoring blood sugar levels and the harm that has been done to others by ignoring them. There are two main complications that will contribute to eventual loss of toe, foot or lower limb.

Reduced Circulation:

Cuts and other injuries in the body need the oxygen and nutrients that blood carries to assist in restoring and healing problematic areas. When high blood glucose decreases circulation to the lower limbs, any physical injury is inhibited in its healing process, leaving it open to serious infection. In some cases of neglect, the infection reaches the bone and becomes gangrene.

Neuropathy:File:Ulcers, fissures, and erosions.svg

Diabetes is one of the most common causes of neuropathy. Though raised glucose levels can damage nerve fibers throughout the body, the numbness and pain tend to be more prominently felt in the lower legs and feet. With the loss of feeling, often times cuts or injuries can go unnoticed and become infected or ulcerated, a condition in which the skin and soft tissues break down, easily. It is estimated that 15% of diabetic individuals will have diabetic foot ulcer problems in their lifetime. Medical professionals believe this number to be unrealistically low, due to diabetics not reporting foot issues.

What is the likelihood of infections effecting the lower limbs?

Unfortunately, the risk of infection is higher not only because poor circulation stunts a body's healing capabilities, but also because diabetics are also prone to a variety of skin conditions. High blood sugar can lead to conditions including:

  • Carbuncles (deep infections of the skin and soft tissues beneath)
  • Boils
  • Rashes
  • Foliculitis
  • Infections around the nail
  • Bullosis Diabeticorum: blisters on the back of fingers, hands, toes,  feet and sometimes legs and forearms.
  • Digital Sclerosis: tight thick skin on the back of the hand, and sometimes toes and forehead that causes joints to stiffen and become immovable.
  • Eruptive Xanthomatosis: yellow pea-like enlargements of the skin on the back of hands, feet, arms, leg and buttocks. More prevalent in men with type 1 diabetes and high cholesterol.
  • Charcot Foot: a food deformity that least to a loss of sensation during which an undetected broken bone will cause soft tissue destruction.

When combined with neuropathy, a diabetic skin condition on the legs or feet can easily be overlooked and fester into infection. At the point at which antibiotics and debridement, the removal of affected or necrotic tissues, stop being effective,  it becomes necessary to amputate in order to prevent the infection from spreading and damaging adjacent areas of the body.

Peripheral Arterial Disease:

File:Peripheral Arterial Disease.gifDiabetes also increases the likelihood of Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), which occurs when blood vessels in the legs are narrowed or blocked by fatty deposits, decreasing blood flow to the legs and feet. This condition puts a diabetic at even a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.

What connects diabetes and PAD?

Diabetics and those with impaired glucose regulation, test with high levels of C-reactive protein (CRP).

C-reactive protein (CRP): a protein found in the blood that appears when swelling is present somewhere in the body. It is often tested for after surgery or treatment for infections.

Elevated levels of CRP, which diabetics test high for, are strongly associate with the development of PAD. For one in three diabetics over 50, the reduced circulation due to high blood glucose, will lead to Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). Other factors of the condition include smoking, high blood pressure and cholesterol, obesity, sedentary lifestyle and a history of heart disease.

If injury due to unnoticed effected tissue or the development of PAD because of high CRP levels lead to amputation, not only can it be an incredibly painful process, it also requires up to 8 weeks to properly heal. After that, extensive physical therapy and lifestyle adjustments are in order.

How can this be prevented?

The best way to prevent the possibility of amputation in the future is to take care of yourself. Keeping close watch on your diabetes by monitoring sugar levels regularly, adjusting to a more consciously healthy lifestyle and paying attention to even small injuries on your lower limbs will go a long way.

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