The Easy Way to Cut a Pineapple

How to Cut Pineapple Cutting up a whole pineapple can be intimidating, but once you know how to do it, it's really easy! You don't even need any special pineapple corer or spiral cutter, just a knife and a cutting board. Fresh pineapple is the perfect addition to any summer party or get together. Learn how to cut one up yourself!


[x_video type="16:9, 5:3, 5:4, 4:3, 3:2" m4v="" ogv="" poster="" hide_controls="" autoplay="" embed='' no_container="true"]

Healthy Snack Idea | Only 2 Ingredients!

Peanut Butter Stuffed Dates Today I'm sharing one of my favorite quick and easy healthy snacks. It's the perfect option for when you're in a hurry or are craving something a little sweet.


[x_video type="16:9, 5:3, 5:4, 4:3, 3:2" m4v="" ogv="" poster="" hide_controls="" autoplay="" embed='' no_container="true"]

3 Ways to Flavor Homemade Popcorn

Making popcorn at home is super fun, plus you get to flavor it however you like! Here are 3 different ways to flavor your homemade popcorn. [x_video type="16:9, 5:3, 5:4, 4:3, 3:2" m4v="" ogv="" poster="" hide_controls="" autoplay="" embed='' no_container="true"]

Option 1 - Traditional

Butter + Salt

Option 2 - Spicy

Butter + Chilli Powder + Garlic Powder + Cayenne Pepper

Option 3 - Sweet

Butter/Coconut Oil + Honey + Cinnamon

How to Make Popcorn 3 Ways

Popcorn can be a great snack or movie night food, but the microwaveable bags are full of chemicals and artificial junk. You can make your own popcorn at home and flavor it how you like without any of the fake stuff. Plus, it's easy and fun! I'm showing you 3 different ways to make popcorn at home, so there's sure to be an option that works for you. [x_video_embed type="16:9"][/x_video_embed]

Stovetop Popcorn


3 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil

1/2 cup popcorn kernels

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Once oil has melted, add 2-4 popcorn kernels and wait for them to pop. These are tester kernels to let you know when the oil is hot enough.
  3. Once the tester kernels have popped, quickly add the rest of the unpopped kernels to the pot, cover with the lid, and shake back and forth to coat the kernels in oil.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat for 30 seconds. This allows the kernels to heat up in the oil close to their popping temperature so they will pop at relatively the same time when placed back on the heat.
  5. Put the pot back on the burner and allow the kernels to pop until the popping slows down with a few seconds between pops.
  6. Remove the pot from the heat and pour the popped popcorn into a bowl.
  7. Season as desired and eat!

Air Popper Popcorn


Popcorn kernels (quantity according to air popper's instructions)

  1. Make sure to follow the directions that come with your air popper. Generally, you will add the kernels to the popper, place the spout over a bowl, turn the popper on, and run the machine until only a few unpopped kernels remain.
  2. Season as desired and eat!

Microwave Paper Bag Popcorn


1/4 - 1/2 cup popcorn kernels

  1. Place kernels in a paper lunch bag. If you use a small bag, use less popcorn and if you use a large bag, use more.
  2. Fold the top of the bag down 3 or 4 times to close it.
  3. Place the bag in your microwave and set the timer for 4 minutes.
  4. Allow the kernels to pop until the popping slows down and there are a few seconds between pops. Then, remove the bag from the microwave.
  5. Carefully open the bag and pour the popcorn into a bowl.
  6. Season as desired and eat!

Almond Joy Granola Recipe

As a kid, Almond Joys and Mounds were two of my favorite candies (why they don't marry the two and make a dark chocolate Almond Joy, I will never understand).  So, inspired by my love for that delicious combination of chocolate, almonds, and coconut, I've created this Almond Joy granola. Now, this doesn't taste like candy (because it's not) and it probably doesn't even taste like most granolas you've had either. You see, I find that your average granola is way too sweet. So, when I make granola, there is much less sweetener involved. You still get great flavor, but without the sugar crash. Best of both worlds!


    Almond Joy Granola

    makes approximately 10 cups


    4 cups rolled oats

    1.5 cups flaked coconut

    1.5 cups raw almonds

    1/3 cup carob powder

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1/4 cup coconut oil

    1/3 cup maple syrup

    1 teaspoon coconut extract


    1. Preheat over to 300°F.
    2. Combine oats, coconut, almonds, carob powder, and salt in a large bowl and stir until all ingredients are evenly distributed.
    3. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the coconut oil and maple syrup. Warm until the coconut oil is completely melted, then add the coconut extract and stir to combine.
    4. Pour the coconut oil and maple syrup mixture over the dry ingredients and stir with a spatula until everything is evenly coated and there are no dry patches. All of the carob powder should turn from light to dark brown, so if you see any light brown areas left, just keep stirring.
    5. Distribute the oat mixture evenly between two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Spread it using your spatula until everything is in an even layer.
    6. Cook the granola in the oven for 45 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through.
    7. Remove the granola from the oven and allow it to cool. Store in an air tight container at room temperature.

    Recipe: Banana Almond Smoothie

    I generally try to see tropical fruits like bananas, pineapple, and mango as specialty items in my diet, rather than staples. After all, they come from a long ways away and I try to stick with local foods as much as possible. Local foods taste better, have more nutrients, and are generally suited to support your body in the unique elements of your climate. With that said, nothing is perfect and I have been on quite the banana kick here recently. Banana Almond Smoothie

    This smoothie has become a staple for me over past few weeks and I'm just going with it. In this recipe, I use almond butter instead of the more traditional peanut butter and add in some cinnamon for a little twist.



    1 large banana

    1 tablespoon almond butter

    1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

    3/4 cup milk

    1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy as an on-the-go breakfast or a substantial snack.

    Recipe: Healthy Strawberry Milkshake for Valentines Day

    I have been on a huge smoothie kick here lately. Some of my experiments have turned out better than others, but this is a new favorite. A few simple ingredients and a wiz of the blender are all it takes. Dates provide  a subtle sweetness without any nasty backlash, like an upset tummy or a sugar crash. It also has a beautiful pink color (perfect for Valentines day) without any artificial colors or dyes. Plus, if it's this good with snow falling on the ground, imagine how great it will be once summer rolls around! healthy Strawberry Milkshake

    Healthy Strawberry Milkshake

    makes 1 serving


    1 cup (140 grams) frozen starberries

    3/4 cup milk

    2 pitted dates

    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

    1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

    Recipe: Seven Layer Taco Dip

    With the Super Bowl right around the corner, I thought it was time I shared some party food! In my version of this classic dip I stuck with the basics, but made sure to add in lots of lettuce and grated my own cheese rather than using the pre-shredded stuff to avoid additives. I opted for whole black beans rather than refried beans because they're a little easier to make and also add a different texture. Pinto beans would be good too. I skipped the traditional black olives because we are not fans at my house, but feel free to add those if you like them. :) If I made this in the summer I'd also toss on some fresh tomatoes. We're eating ours with the Garden of Eatin' No Salt Added Blue Corn Tortilla Chips. Seven Layer Taco Dip

    Seven Layer Taco Dip

    Seven Layer Taco DipIngredients

    2.5 cups guacamole (1 batch of the recipe linked)

    2 cups sour cream

    2 cups salsa

    1.5 cups cooked black beans

    1 tablespoon homemade taco seasoning

    4 cups chopped romaine lettuce (about 1 medium head)

    8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded

    1 bunch scallions (6-7 scallions), chopped

    1. Layer ingredients in a clear 9 x 13 baking dish in this order: guacamole, sour cream, salsa, black beans, taco seasoning, romaine lettuce, cheese, and scallions. Refrigerate until serving time. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips.

    Delicious Guacamole Recipe for the Super Bowl!

    Delicious guacamole recipe! A good guacamole recipe is a must have in my book. Not only is it easy to make, but it's delicious and versatile. Think beyond the usual chips and burritos and try it as a great addition to eggs, on a piece of toast for a snack, or as a spread on sandwiches and wraps. Plus, with the Super Bowl coming up, guacamole is a quick and easy dip that is always a crowd pleaser.


    [x_video_embed type="16:9"][/x_video_embed]


    makes approximately 2.5 cups


    4 avocados, seeded and peeled

    1/2 medium onion, diced

    1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

    1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced

    1 clove of garlic, minced

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    Juice of 1-2 limes

    1. Add all ingredients to a bowl and mash to desired consistency with a potato masher. If you prefer a smoother guacamole or want to skip on some of the chopping, you can alternatively mix all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor.

    Recipe: Just Apple Butter

    Ever since I can remember, apple butter has been one of my favorite fall foods. However, most versions involve quite a bit of sugar. Now, I understand that the sugar does have a preservation quality, but eating traditional apple butter is so sweet it can give me a headache. Plus, as fast as I eat this stuff, there's no need to be worried about it going bad. In my version, I keep the peels on because peeling a poor fruit or vegetable when that peel is edible is just sad (and more work)! This obviously isn't as sweet as the apple butter you're used to, but I like it much better. With this recipe I can eat all I want with no worries.  Plus, the smell of the apples cooking is heavenly. It alone is reason enough to try this out. Apple Butter

    I'll warn you, this apple butter is pretty intense in the spice department. I love cinnamon and all its friends, so I think it's perfect, but it might be wise to start with half the amounts listed for the spices and increase from there. Try it on toast (alone or with a nut butter) or mixed into oatmeal or yogurt.

    Just Apple Butter

    adapted from Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It by Karen Solomon

    makes about 2 cups


    3 pounds apples

    1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

    1/4 teaspoon ground clove

    1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
    2. Quarter and core apples. Arrange in a single layer on lightly oiled baking sheets or ones lined with parchment paper.
    3. Roast apples for 2 hours, making sure to switch and rotate the baking sheets halfway through for even cooking.
    4. Place cooked apples in a blender or food processor along with all other ingredients. Blend until smooth.

    How To Make Yogurt at Home

    yogurtbreakfastToday I have something super exciting to share with you guys! For the past month or so I've ventured into the world of yogurt making and, let me tell you, it's amazing! Now, if you know me well, you know that I'm a big fan of making things yourself. Store-bought foods usually don't stand up in terms of flavor or what's good for your health. Despite this, yogurt making seemed a little too daunting for me. I mean, super weird people make their own yogurt right? Well I'm here to prove that wrong! Or to prove that I'm super weird. I'll let you decide. For the past couple years, as I've gotten deeper into the real/whole foods world, I've seen things about people making their own yogurt. Some used special yogurt machines and others took a "try this, it kinda works, cross your fingers" type of mentality. Neither of these appealed to me. I'm not into specialty, one-purpose equipment. It takes up space and doesn't give a great value in terms of versatility. Also, the type A and food safety side of me thought that approximate recipes for something that involves GROWING BACTERIA simply wouldn't cut it.

    Since Jasen and I got married I've been cooking more than ever (another extra-hungry mouth to feed) and I've been more aware of our food budget. Somehow, the idea of yogurt making came back to the front of my mind. I mean, it had to be doable. Grocery stores are a new thing in the context of human history. Making this stuff yourself was once the normal thing to do. Plus, most store bought yogurt contains an additional ingredient, pectin, to make it thicker. Oh, and did I mention making it yourself is also cheaper? Sign me up! After some perusing on the internet, I've found a method that works well (I've made 4 or 5 batches) and doesn't make me worry about our safety. Plus, it's really not that hard at all! All you need is some milk and a little plain yogurt to start you out. Then, you can use your own yogurt as the starter for subsequent batches.

    You simply pour your milk into a pot (I use a non-homogenized milk from this creamery) and get it heating up. A slow and steady heat would probably be best, but sometimes I'm impatient and put it on high. Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature. I prefer a candy thermometer that clips on the side of the pot for convenience.


    A skin can form on top, especially if you're using a non-homogenized milk. Some people throw this out, but I'm not trying to waste stuff, so I just stir frequently to prevent the skin from forming in the first place. Once, your milk reaches 185 degrees Fahrenheit (this kills other bacteria that could compete with your culture), take it off the heat and let it cool to 110 degrees Fahrenheit.


    Then it's simply a matter of adding your culture (aka yogurt), mixing well, and putting in your oven to do its thang. Make sure you don't add the yogurt before the milk is cooled, or you could kill the bacteria you're trying to grow. Wrap your pot in a towel and turn on the oven light. This creates enough heat in the closed oven to incubate the yogurt. I let it sit over night so it can work undisturbed.


    When it comes out, it'll look like this! Mine is yellow on top because the fat in the non-homogenized milk has risen to the top.


    Then I simply give it a stir and put it in some jars to be refrigerated. It's super yummy and there is something so satisfying about knowing you made it yourself!


    Homemade Plain Yogurt

    makes 2 quarts


    1/2 gallon of milk

    1 tablespoon plain yogurt

    1. Pour milk into a large pot with a thermometer attached or near by.
    2. Heat milk until it reaches 185 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring often to prevent a skin from forming.
    3. Allow milk to cool to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring often to speed up cooling and (again) prevent a skin from forming.
    4. In a glass or liquid measuring cup, add the yogurt and some of the warm milk. Mix until the yogurt is completely incorporated. Pour this mixture into the pot and mix with a spoon to distribute it throughout.
    5. Place pot in the oven uncovered, wrap in a towel, and turn on the oven light. Close the oven and allow to sit for 10-12 hours.
    6. Remove pot from oven, transfer yogurt to containers, and refrigerate.
    7. Feel awesome about how cool you are that you just made your own yogurt!

    How do you guys feel about making your own yogurt? Have you ever tried it before? Share in the comments below!

    Recipe: Classic Hummus

    I love hummus. It's great for dipping vegetables and also the secret to a killer veggie sandwich. I've tried a lot of brands in the grocery store (and I definitely have my favorites), but I've been on the search for a good homemade recipe for a while. You guys know I like to make everything myself that I can, plus homemade things usually taste better right? On my hummus search I've tried a few recipes and none were inedible, but they still never tasted quite as good as what I could buy in the store. Part of me said just suck it up! It's cheaper and better for you and it doesn't taste bad, just not great. Stop being whiny! But, when you're already doing a lot of cooking, it can be hard to find the motivation to put the time into making something that doesn't even taste that amazing. So, after some experimenting, I've come up with a recipe that, in my opinion, in the best one out there. Classic Hummus Recipe

    Classic Hummus

    makes approximately 2 cups


    3/4 cup dried chickpeas or 15oz can (if you canned, start with step 4)

    1/3 cup chickpea cooking liquid or water

    4-5 tablespoons sesame tahini

    2 cloves garlic

    Juice of 1 lemon

    1/2 teaspoon cumin

    1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

    1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    1. Soak dried chickpeas in water overnight.
    2. Drain chickpeas, add to a sauce pan, and cover with fresh water. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes, then simmer partially covered for 30-45 minutes, or until chickpeas are tender.
    3. Drain cooked chickpeas, reserving 1/3 cup of the cooking liquid
    4. Add chickpeas, half of reserved cooking liquid/water, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, cumin and salt  to a blender or food processor and blend. Gradually add the remaining liquid and continue blending until you reach your desired consistency (sometimes the chickpeas hold on to more water, so adding the water gradually ensures you don't end up with runny hummus). Taste for salt and adjust if needed.
    1. Stir in olive oil or drizzle it on top for serving. Enjoy!


    Watch the video below to see me make this recipe and hear about some possible variations.


    Have you ever struggled to recreate a favorite food or recipe? Let me know in the comments below!

    Banana Muffins and Experimenting with Chia Eggs

    We don't always have extra bananas in our house (Jasen has a serious addiction), but if there are a few leftover at the end of the week that are on their way to being compost, I always make sure to turn them into banana bread. My favorite recipe comes from 100 Days of Real Food because it's whole wheat and doesn't include tons of sugar. Instead, it has just a 1/4 cup of honey. This week, for a little twist, I made banana bread muffins instead of a loaf. Who can resist food that is cute and individually wrapped? Not me! When it was muffin making time, I realized that we were all out of eggs. This minor catastrophe soon became an opportunity to try out something that's been on my list for a couple years now: chia seed eggs. chiaeggs

    Chia eggs are a vegan egg substitute for baking. Now I'm not vegan, but when a lady is in a pinch, this is a great solution. I've read it can also be done with flax seeds, but I haven't tried that version.

    It all starts by grinding up chia seeds in a coffee or spice grinder until you are left with a fine powder.


    Next, you mix 1 tablesppon of ground chia with 3 tablesppons of water for each egg. I doubled it for the 2 eggs needed for the banana bread. Mix these together and let it sit in the fridge for about 15 minutes.


    When you take the mixture out it will be thick and sticky. Now you simply add it in as you would the eggs in your recipe. Don't forget it in the fridge, like I did, and realize it after half of your muffin tins are filled. Then you would have to dump the batter back into the bowl and remix to add the chia. Oops.

    And here is the finished muffin! It doesn't brown as nicely without the egg, but they still taste good. I'll still stick with eggs when I have them on hand, but this is definitely a viable option if you're interested in vegan baking or just run out of eggs.


    Would you ever bake with a chia or flax egg? Let me know in the comments below!

    Recipe: Layered Melon Popsicles

    Since I purchased the popsicle mold I mentioned here, I've been enjoying my healthy frozen treats often, as a snack or after-dinner dessert. This recipe uses one of my favorite fruits, the watermelon. I can eat and eat and never get tired of it. In college, my roommate once said "You know you live with a dietetics major when you find watermelon seeds in the couch cushions." It's just soooo gooood! In addition to highlighting this beloved food, I'll teach you how to make layered popsicles. They look super fancy and really aren't all that difficult to make. It takes a little more time and patience, but you're already in for some waiting if you're making popsicles anyways. Mine ended up a little uneven on this batch, but I like to just call that "rustic." The amounts in this recipe are specific to my mold, but you can easily adapt it to whatever mold you have, even if that's just an ice cube tray. Pop1

    mold My mold. It makes 10 pops and has a handy lid to keep the sticks in place. You can learn more about it here. watermelonblender The great thing about melon is they liquefy easily. No worries about having to get in a fight with your blender. pouring layers The key to these is freezing the layers separately so they don't mix. Into the freezer we go! melon1 melon2 This is the other melon I used. I got it at the market, but I don't know what it's called. Let me know if you have any guesses! layers2 I love the contrast between pink and green melon. Cantaloupe would be nice too if you're a fan of the pink/orange combo. pop I added the final layer and this is the result! These look so pretty I almost don't want to eat them. Almost. Check out the recipe below.

    Layered Melon Popsicles

    makes 10 servings


    3 cups cubed watermelon, seeded 1.5 cups cubed honeydew or other similar melon

    1. Put your watermelon in a blender and process until liquefied. Transfer liquid to a measuring cup.
    2. Pour watermelon liquid into molds until 1/3 full.
    3. Place lid on mold and insert popsicle sticks. Freeze until solid, approximately 6 hours.
    4. When ready to add next layer, repeat steps 1-3 with honeydew, minus the part about the popsicle sticks because they're already in place.
    5. Once honeydew layer is frozen, finish off your pops with the rest of the watermelon liquid and freeze in the same fashion.
    6. Once pops are frozen, remove from mold and enjoy!

    Recipe: Love Pumpkin Spice Lattes? Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice Syrup!

    I always know that fall has arrived when people start obsessing over the Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks. Overheard conversations, Facebook statuses, and Tweets all tell me one thing: people seriously love those suckers! Now, while I can definitely appreciate the allure of fancy coffee drinks, their sky-high price and often times questionable ingredients are kind of a bummer. So, I've come up with a recipe for pumpkin spice syrup you can make at home. It'll be significantly cheaper and all of the ingredients are wholesome as well as delicious.

    A lot of recipes I've seen use very little pumpkin (sometimes only 2 tablespoons) and about 1.5 cups of white sugar. In my version, I've bumped up the pumpkin content significantly and opted for a lot less maple syrup in place of the sugar. The result is more puree like than syrupy but it's still sweet and yummy. I've also found that the end product is great for spreading on whole wheat pancakes or toast (think apple butter).

    Pumpkin Spice Syrup

    makes about 1.5 cups


    1/2 cup homemade pumpkin puree

    1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (make sure you get the real stuff)

    1 cup water

    1 tsp ground cinnamon

    1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

    1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

    1/4 teaspoon ground cloves


    1. Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until reduced.

    2. Use immediately or refrigerate or freeze leftovers.

    Also, if you're interested, this is how I make my Pumpkin Spice Coffee. I don't have an espresso maker, so I just use a regular cup of joe.

    Pumpkin Spice Coffee

    makes 1-2 servings


    1.5 cups coffee

    1/2 cup pastured milk

    3 tablespoons pumpkin spice syrup (or to taste)

    Fresh whipped cream (optional)


    1. Heat milk and pumpkin spice syrup in microwave or on the stove top.

    2. Add heated milk mixture and coffee to a blender. Blend until mixed and foam forms on top.

    3. Enjoy! Add a dollop of whipped cream if you want to be indulgent. However, this is a cool whip free zone. The real thing tastes much better and is much better for you. The chemicals and hydrogenated oils in cool whip are terrible, no matter how few calories they have. No fake "food" here.

    What are your favorite coffee shop drinks?

    Autumn Harvest Slow-Cooker Oatmeal

    Oatmeal is one of the healthiest breakfast options around due to it's whole grain status and fiber content. However, this nutrition superstar can quickly loose its sparkle when its loaded up with lots of sugar (even the brown variety) and tons of butter, or, even worse, processed to cook in a few minutes and flavored with chemicals. Delicious. Many people shy away from steel cut oats because of the long cooking time (30-40 minutes), but I have a solution to this problem that might surprise you: a slow-cooker. Suddenly, a dish that many consider to be a hassle becomes a set-it-and-forget-it convenience food that leaves your house smelling amazing when you wake up in the morning.

    Autumn Harvest Slow-Cooker Oatmeal

    makes 4-6 servings


    1 cup steel cut oats

    4 small cooking pears (or apples if you prefer), about 1.5 pounds, chopped

    1 cup fresh cranberries

    1/4 cup raisins

    3, 1-inch pieces of cinnamon sticks

    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

    1/8 teaspoon of ground ginger

    1/8 teaspoon of ground cloves

    4 cups water


    1. Add all ingredients to slow-cooker and mix to distribute spices. The oats tend to sink while the cranberries float, but that's ok.

    2. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, depending on how thick you like your oatmeal. I usually do closer to the 10 hours.

    3. Remove cinnamon sticks and serve straight from the slow cooker for an easy family breakfast. Add toppings if you like. Ground cinnamon, chopped pecans or walnuts, hulled pumpkin seeds, dried fruit, and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup are all great options. A little butter is ok too. Just choose organic butter from grass fed cows and don't overdo it. One small pat can go a long way.

    4. Refrigerate leftovers to enjoy later. Since I'm cooking for one, these can last me a week. Oatmeal can gel a bit in the fridge so, when reheating, add a little warm water. This and a some mixing should return your oatmeal to the proper consistency.

    What other healthy, whole foods do you shy away from because of the time commitment?

    The Rundown on Yogurt and a Recipe!

    Yogurt could definitely be called one my diet staples (I usually eat it once or even twice a day). Why the obsession? It's delicious and easy to serve up in bowl for breakfast or throw in my lunch box for snack. However, there are benefits to eating yogurt other than its taste and convenience.

    Probably the most touted component of yogurt is its calcium, which is important in maintaining healthy bones and teeth. A second highlight  is it's protein content which can help keep you feeling fuller longer and aid in post-workout recovery. Yogurt is also full of probiotics (check the label for live active cultures such as L. acidophilus, among others) which help to promote the healthy bacteria that reside in our gut and play an important role in the digestion of foods well as the production of vitamin K.

    With all of those benefits, you may be thinking that you'd like to add more yogurt to your diet, but it is important to remember that not all yogurts are created equal. When choosing your yogurt there are a few things that you want to avoid.

    1. Artificial sweeteners

    Aspartame (Equal), saccharin (Sweet 'N Low), and sucralose (Splenda) are all common artificial sweeteners and, in my opinion and the opinion of many others, should be avoided. They fall into a class called "non-nutritive sweeteners," meaning they provide no nutrition. You don't want to spend your money on "food" that isn't really food to begin with.

    2. Artifical Dyes

    The artificial coloring in foods is believed by many to contribute to ADD/ADHD in children and could have other harmful effects we don't even know about. Even if you think it's just a bunch of hype, the point is that they are totally unnecessary. Fresh fruit is a much healthier and tastier way to color your yogurt.

    3. Artificial flavors

    If you love the taste of flavored yogurt, buy products that are flavored naturally (always read the ingredients) or, even better, flavor it yourself! Then you have total control over what you're eating. If you're eating strawberry yogurt, doesn't it make sense that it would be flavored with strawberries?

    In addition to all this, I recommend that you choose organic yogurt, and dairy products in general, whenever possible. Non-organic dairy cows are pumped with hormones to drastically and artificially increase milk production and then given large doses of antibiotics to fight bacterial infections that may result from being over milked. Both hormones and antibiotics can then be found in the dairy products that these cows produce. A dose of antibiotics in your probiotic yogurt sounds pretty counter intuitive to me.

    I love to buy plain yogurt in 32 ounce containers and then flavor it myself. It's much cheaper this way and also healthier as I can control the quality of the ingredients I add. Below is my recipe for my favorite way to eat yogurt. It's OK if you lick the bowl, I do it all the time. Enjoy!

    Cinnamon Yogurt


    3/4-1 cup plain regular or Greek-style yogurt

    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I like a LOT of cinnamon so you may want to start with less and then add to taste)

    1 teaspoon of honey or maple syrup (optional, I like mine without it)


    1. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl with a spoon.

    2. Eat! I like to add berries or cherries to flavor my yogurt or chop fresh apples and add those to the mix for breakfast. For snack I use it as a fruit dip for pears, grapefruit, and peaches (Greek yogurt is better for dip because it is thicker, but plain works too). Get creative and have fun!