Book Review for The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook by Mark Hyman, MD

Book Review for The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook by Mark Hyman, MD

Healthy Foods
Book Review for The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook by Mark Hyman, MD

By Leanne Ely, C.N.C.

In his book, The Blood Sugar Solution, Dr. Hyman adeptly laid out the reasoning (and the science) behind the “why” of balancing insulin levels to get to your ultimate goal weight and to achieve optimum health. Dr. Hyman believes one of the root causes of chronic disease is poor nutrition, I highly concur.

But it is in this book, The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook, that there are recipes to make The Blood Sugar Solution a reality!

This cookbook breaks down Dr. Hyman’s plan in detail—where to start (he has you take your blood pressure, take your measurements, weigh and take the Diabesity Quiz. Then it’s off to prepare the kitchen –you’ll need some basic tools, a pantry declutter (fridge too—don’t worry, he’ll give you the 10 Rules for what to keep and what to toss), how to shop, and a basic food list that will help you restock your pantry and fridge with ease.

So how about those recipes? Well take it from me, a bona fide cookbook author (I’ve got 7 cookbooks under my belt!), these babies had me drooling! The recipes are simple, but well seasoned, absolutely delicious and easy to add to your families diet without them knowing you’re trying to put them on a “diet”!

Here’s a recipe from The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook, enjoy!

Green Goddess Broccoli and Arugula SoupGreen Soup
Serves 4

1 teaspoon ghee
½ medium yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large head of broccoli, cut into medium florets
1 cup arugula
2 ½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
juice of ½ lemon, or more if needed
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the ghee in a medium pot over medium high heat. Once melted, add the onion and garlic and cook until aromatic and soft, about 3 minutes.
2. Add the broccoli and arugula to the pan and stir frequently until the broccoli is bright green and arugula has wilted, 4-5 minutes.
3. Pour in the broth and bring the soup to a boil.
4. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the broccoli is fully cooked, 5-8 minutes.
5. Carefully transfer the soup to a blender and blend on high speed for 1 ½ minutes. Pour in the coconut milk and lemon juice and blender for another 30 seconds. (Or use a handheld immersion blender to puree the soup right in the pot). Taste seasoning and adjust with salt, black pepper and lemon juice if needed. The soup should be thick, but still light. If it is too thick, thin it with more coconut milk or water. Any leftover soup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Nutritional analysis per serving (1 ¼ cups): calories 104, fat 4g, saturated fat 1 g, cholesterol 0mg, fiber 5 g, protein 13 g, carbohydrates 5 g, sodium 289 mg.

Print Recipe
Book Review for The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook by Mark Hyman, MD
Green Soup
Green Soup
Making resolutions you can live with. Really!

Making resolutions you can live with. Really!

Dinner Diva
Making resolutions you can live with. Really!

By: Leanne Ely

It’s that time of year again. The new year. A time to reflect on the year we’re leaving behind and make promises to ourselves about how we may live better for the next twelve months.If, when the clock struck twelve on Monday night, you made some resolutions that involved living a healthier life in 2013, I want to make sure that you start out nice and slow so that you don’t get all overwhelmed, with your good intentions discarded by the time Valentine’s Day rolls around.

When you resolve to live healthier and you’re starting out with a lifestyle that has lots of room for cleaning up, there are tons of tiny changes you can implement that will add up to greater health for you by this time next year.

If you know me at all, you know I’m about keeping things simple. So that’s where we’ll start. The following are five simple things you can start doing today that will make you and your family healthier:

1. Get friendly with vegetables. You don’t like leafy green and/or dark colored vegetables? Too bad. You have to eat them anyway. Vegetables are key in weight management and we need them to make ourselves healthy and to get in all of those nutrients and minerals that are essential for our bodies. If you think that peas and carrots are enough, you are sadly mistaken. Sure they count as veggies, but we need a diet varied in fruits and vegetables in order to get what we need out of the foods we eat. The next time you go to the grocery store, shop the rainbow. Buy purple cabbage, dark green spinach or kale instead of regular green cabbage and ice berg lettuce. Fill your cart with sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes. Try a new vegetable every time you go to the grocery store and do some research on Google to figure out the best way to cook it. Vegetables are not only full of nutrients that fight disease, but they aid in your digestion process (can you say fiber?), they fill you up without loading you up with calories, and they just make you feel good! Train yourself and your children to like vegetables. It’s the best thing you can do for your family’s health.

2. Add one new healthy food to your diet each month. Hearing about all the health benefits of coconut oil lately? Resolve to incorporate it into your diet this month. Next month, perhaps you’ll want to give salmon a good honest try. Start eating flax in March. Swap sugar for honey in April. You see where I’m going with this. Slowly start incorporating super foods into your diet and by this time next year, you’ll be laughing! Also, vowing to add one new food per month is less overwhelming than trying to do it all at once . . . it’s all about baby steps! Every Friday, I feature a different healthy food here on the blog. Search through the archives and keep your eyes peeled for lots and lots (and lots!) of ideas.

3. Drink more water. This one is key. I believe that if we all ate six or seven servings of vegetables a day and drank our daily recommended amount of good old fashioned H20, we would be a much healthier (and leaner) nation. If you’re not a water lover, too bad. You have to drink it anyway. How do you figure out how much water you need to be healthy? There are calculators all over the Internet that will help you determine your hydration needs based on your weight and activity levels, so do a simple search and you should soon know your optimal water intake. One important piece of advice is to pace yourself. Don’t drink all of your water in the morning or before bed. Spread it out over the day and just drink drink drink! Water is the ideal beverage for all of us. Swap out the juices and sodas for this simple thirst quencher.

4. Cut out packaged foods. Stop buying processed foods and resolve to cook all meals for your family from scratch. This will likely be the one item on this list that makes the most folk cringe, but it is an important one. I wish that everyone could experience the joy that comes with putting a nutritious, homemade meal on the dinner table every day. Start by not buying anymore of those “helper” meal kits from the dry food aisle as well as the frozen meals from the freezer sections of the grocery store. These are highly processed foods, chock full of GMOS, chemicals, sodium and other ingredients that nobody without a science degree can pronounce. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store and make meals from the vegetables and meats that you buy.

5. Stop baking. Have a weakness for cookies? Quit baking them. Have a tendency to sit down to a couple of muffins every time you bake a batch? How about not baking them anymore? I see these recipes all over the place for healthy muffins, paleo-friendly cookies, gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free desserts, and I have to ask myself . . . why? Our diets should be based on high quality vegetables, lean meats, poultry and fish. Do you really need another muffin? Snack on nuts, fruit, eggs, raw vegetables and berries.

There you have it. Follow these five little nuggets of information and by the time 2014 rolls around, you’ll be feeling amazingly healthy and resolving to never go back to that old lifestyle ever again!

What is your best piece of health advice for someone resolving to make changes for the New Year?

Vinegar. It’s not just for pickles anymore!

Vinegar. It’s not just for pickles anymore!

Food For Thought
Vinegar. It’s not just for pickles anymore!

By: Leanne Ely

Once upon a time, there was white distilled vinegar that our mothers and grandmothers would use to pickle vegetables and clean the floors. And that was pretty much it as far as the vinegar train went.

Today there are enough options in vinegars to make you nuts.

There’s cider vinegar, rice vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar . . . There are flavored fruit vinegars in everything from peach to raspberry . . . There are herbed vinegars and flavored balsamics.

So much vinegar, so little time!

But which ones should you choose?

Well, the answer to that is simple: it depends on what you want in a vinegar!

Let’s look at our options.

White vinegar. The one we’re most familiar with. I would stick to this one for chemical-free cleaning (it does an awesome job of everything from windows to floors). It does have its place in the kitchen though. I always add vinegar to my boiling water before poaching eggs.

Balsamic vinegar. True balsamic vinegar is difficult to produce. That’s why it’s expensive. If you want the real thing, you want to look for the word “Modena” on the label. Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, Italy, is made from sugary white grapes found in a place called Modena. This balsamic vinegar is aged in wooden barrels for between 12 and 25 years. This vinegar is thick and sweet with a rich aroma and a nice light acidity. It is delicious on meats, salad greens, strawberries and in gravies. You can find less expensive balsamic vinegars that will also be a nice addition to your pantry, but if you’re cooking a dish such as a balsamic lamb or if you’re serving balsamic strawberries for a party, splurge on the good stuff.

Red wine vinegar. This vinegar is made from red wine that has fermented until it’s sour. The longer it’s aged, the more subtle it will taste. Red wine vinegar is nice in reductions or in salad dressings.

White wine vinegar. Made from (you guessed it) white wine, white wine vinegar is quite acidic and tangy and it smells quite a bit like . . . well . . . wine! It’s great in a salad and it brings out the sweetness in fruits like melons and strawberries.

Malt vinegar. This vinegar is made from fermented barley malt or other malted cereals. The starch has been converted to maltose. This is the type of vinegar you may find served with french fries in fish & chip joints.

Cider vinegar. Cider vinegar is made from fermented apples. This should be your go to vinegar because it actually has some nice health benefits (it may help acne, arthritis, gout and it can also aid in weight loss) on top of being a versatile type of vinegar that can be used just about anywhere vinegar is called for.

Rice vinegar and rice wine vinegar. They’re both made from fermented rice, but with rice vinegar, the alcohol is turned into acid with the addition of bacteria. Use rice vinegar and rice wine vinegar in Asian dishes.

Fruit vinegar and herbed vinegars. Fruited vinegars are made from every fruit you could imagine and the same goes for herbs. From peach vinegars and garlic vinegars to combos like ginger pear and rosemary sage. The options are endless.

If you want to add some excitement to your salads, I suggest playing with the vinegars you use in your dressings.

What does your vinegar collection look like?

Making it your own

Making it your own

Food For Thought
Making it your own

By: Leanne Ely

Dear Friends,

Without going into arduous detail, suffice it to say that buying and moving into my new house (new to me anyway) was a small act of God. The obstacles, delays and endless frustration started in December and finally ended in April with a triumphant closing. It almost felt like giving birth.

And today, almost 2 months later, I’m still getting used to the new house! Trying to figure out which light switch works what lights, how to turn up the water heater (previous owners had little kids and the hottest hot isn’t hot enough for me), and doing overdue maintenance things like regrouting the shower, power washing side walks, and pruning the roses, I’m working hard to make this house my home.

And of course if I’m going to bare my soul here, there is still (!) unpacking to do (tragic, I know). Add to all of this, there is painting on my agenda too (I’m not in love with chocolate brown walls), more planting and yard clean up, beekeeping (so cool!) and more. Every time I turn around, I add something else to the ever-expanding list of house stuff.

Moving into a new house is a lot like starting a new diet or taking on a healthier lifestyle. At first, it seems foreign and clumsy. Later on down the road, it becomes a lot easier, but its those little things that you do to really own it and make it your own.

I’ve adapted a mostly paleo food plan for myself based on a lot of research, reading and trial and error. I’ve found that while it was clumsy and odd at first, it has become a lot easier as I’ve gone along. The payoff has been easy weight loss (without trying), feeling much better (good bye joint pain) and no more bloating. Like buying my house, I had up leveled.

One of the biggest encouragements in really staying this course for me has been Dr. Terry Wahls. If you don’t know her story, Dr. Wahls developed secondary progressive MS, found herself in a wheelchair without much hope. The medical treatment she was getting did nothing, so she took her health into her own hands, she did her research, radically changed her diet and is now telling the world how to get well with food. She is literally up and out of that wheelchair!

And while I was able to move out of one house and into another, we don’t have that option with our bodies. Just like Terry Wahls, MD, we are bound to the body we were given at birth. There’s no moving out (unless you’re moving on!), only redesigning and remodeling can be done.

If you’re in the place of precarious health right now or you just don’t feel as well as you know you could, you really do need to watch and listen to Dr. Wahls TED talk (just google it). 17 minutes of perhaps, life changing information.

Bottom line is this: we all have the ability to remodel our lives from the inside out, but we have to take this project on ourselves. We cannot expect anyone (doctor, nutritionist, children, spouse, friends) to do it for us. The encouraging part is that it’s never too late!

Life is full of choices and choosing to live without doing your own research is just another choice. A tragic one; but a choice nonetheless.

Dr. Wahls and I put together a program that you can check out if you like. Dr. Wahls’ 5 audios will shatter your thinking on healthy and bring you to a new and greater understanding, she has an easy way of explaining everything without coming off as too “doctery”. Compelling stuff

Leanne Ely, Your Dinner Diva
Saving Your Dinner since 2001 Fr*ee Menu-Mailer when you get our Daily Dish!

What is a Detox Diet?

What is a Detox Diet?

Food For Thought
What is a Detox Diet?

By: Leanne Ely, C.N.C.

For the past 11 years, we’ve been helping people save dinner through a multitude of methods—menus, recipes and shopping lists have always been the mainstay, but we realized people needed help in other ways too—from making freezer meals to crockpot meals to frugal meals. There is always a new way to get dinner on the table.







All through the years, we’ve been asked by our subscribers to address multiple concerns about health. This is how our Heart Healthy menus were born in 2008 and why we include gluten free substitutions on all our Menu-Mailer subscriptions, plus just added the Paleo Menu a few weeks ago; there’s a real need out there for different styles of eating.

I believe with my whole heart that the absolute key to a healthy life is healthy eating. The old adage, garbage in/garbage out applies 100% to how we eat. If you eat junk, don’t be surprised if your health responds in kind with junky health. So on my radio show, when people started asking me more health-related questions and less cooking questions, I knew it was time to get busy and bring out some serious big guns!

Getting started on a wellness journey can be hard—there are hurdles and impasses at every bend. This is why we created the Dinner Diva Detox to help people kick start their own path to wellness journey.

We’ve actually got TWO of those menus now and the reason is to help clean up some of the toxic spill in your body through poor eating, exposure to chemicals (household to outdoor pollutants) and stress. All of these things leave their marks on our health. To fight back, we’ve designed a couple of different eating plans that may help our bodies clean themselves up.

When you eliminate foods that are hard your body, such as caffeine, alcohol, fried foods, processed foods, additives, preservatives, colorings, margarine, etc. and add in clean, organic foods such as healthy greens, berries, nuts and pure water to name just a few, you give your body the break it needs to eliminate toxins. We all do this anyway, daily through sweating, elimination and breathing, but a detox diet helps your body because you’re not adding more to its workload!

To read more about our detox plans, go to and heads up, we’ve got a screaming deal on our Dinner Diva Detox until Wednesday!