Citizen Superheroes Save Twin Boys with Heimlich Maneuver

Attention Parents: Please read my personal story featured in Mercer Island Reporter, share it with others to raise awareness about choking on food and make it a top priority to take a First-Aid and CPR class.

My 4-year-old, identical twin boys obsess over superheroes. They take turns playing the superhero and the person in need of help. Never did we predict their role-playing would come to life.

During our summer stay in Mercer Island, we nearly lost both of our boys in one week to two separate food-choking incidences. According to the National Safety Council, choking is the fourth leading cause of unintentional injury death.

Our summer fun took a sharp downturn during a lunch visit to a farm restaurant. As I walked three steps from our table to get a utensil, one of my sons pulled a sliced tomato off of my veggie burger and began eating it. In the blink of an eye, he started to choke. I tried to remove the tomato hanging from his mouth; it didn’t help. I hit him on the back as I had read in child safety guides; it didn’t work. In shear panic, I screamed, “SOMEBODY HELP ME!” His airway was clearly blocked.

Lisa Noble, a courageous mom, heard my scream from another table and came to our rescue. Without hesitation, Lisa grabbed my son and performed the Heimlich maneuver, which forced him to throw up. He could breathe! I dropped down, face in my hands and sobbed.

Just four days later, we were eating at a coffee shop. My other son was standing and chewing on a carrot; I instructed him to sit down and take small bites. A few minutes later, he pointed to his mouth; he then spit out his food, coughed and — no! This was not happening again. Yes, he was choking! I immediately hit my son on the back, performed the Heimlich maneuver unsuccessfully and frantically screamed, “HELP ME!” My son became unconscious. A crowd circled me, a teenage girl dialed 911, then someone took my son into his arms.

That someone was Dr. Michael Brooks, a psychiatrist, who quickly performed the Heimlich maneuver on my son. His action released a distressed wail from my son, which alarmed and shocked me. But soon after I realized my son was breathing again, I felt deep gratitude. Once again, I sobbed. When I reached out to Dr. Brooks, he said: “I was just in the right place at the right time. Glory to the Holy Trinity.

Fire Lt. Trever Kissel and firefighters Kent Bastrom and Mark Givens arrived from the Mercer Island fire station. They checked my son’s vitals, comforted us and directed us to a local emergency room. Later that evening, Lt. Kissel called to check on my son. I shared his good condition and my gratefulness as well as my helplessness that this could happen to both of my sons. He offered wise advice: “You can be an advocate for choking and get people into the fire station to take life-saving classes.”

Our scary stories had happy endings due to citizen superheroes. “Thank you” to them will never be enough. But, raising awareness will bring to light their kind and honorable acts and hopefully help save future lives.

Contact your local fire department, American Red Cross or American Heart Association and sign up to take a life-saving first-aid and CPR class. Please advise child caretakers, babysitters and close family members to get certifications as well.

Additionally, please note these choking prevention tips:

  • Common choking foods include raw vegetables, grapes, hot dogs, meat and cheese chunks, popcorn, nuts, thick peanut butter, marshmallows, small candies and gum
  • Cut food into bite-size pieces and encourage slow eating, while sitting down

My twins now know that real life superheroes exist; these heroes are not clothed in capes and masks. Instead, these heroes are everyday people with enormous hearts who rise to the occasion when there is a call for help.

Don’t delay. Take a life-saving class. Be a superhero.

Natalie Drugan is a mom of twins, certified nutrition health coach, clean food and sustainability advocate, digital marketer, blogger, writer, speaker and marathon runner who lives in Austin, Texas.

2 Ways to Keep Your Children Healthy and Free of Toxins

As loving parents, we may have different parenting styles, careers and backgrounds, but we all have one thing in common: making our children’s health and safety a top priority.

Here are two important ways you can help protect your family from unhealthy toxins and ensure they are eating healthy, nourishing foods.

1.  Safeguard your Drinking Water: While the U.S. is fortunate to have accessible drinking water, it’s still vulnerable to dangerous toxins such as industry chemicals, pesticides, pharmaceuticals and factory farm runoff. Lead contamination recently started making headlines. And now, the “Erin Brockovich” carcinogen, chromium-6, is yet again another great threat to our health as reported by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Use this interactive map to check the water in your area.

What you can do: Add a premium water filter to your next shopping list. Check out EWG’s water filter buying guide here. And, ask your daycares, churches and schools if they have water filters. If not, share this information with them and advocate for one. If you face financial resistance, lead a fundraiser among parents to donate money for a high-performance water filter for your children’s daycare/school.

2.  Shop for and Eat “Real,” Fresh Food: The word “real” may seem like a comical description when accompanied with food. Of course, we, as humans, should eat real food. However, food today is highly processed and so far removed from its origin. Why? The food industry has done an exceptional job mastering food convenience and shelf stabilization, but at a cost: our health. Most packaged foods are stripped of vital nutrients and replaced with synthetic, pseudo ingredients along with loads of fat, sugar and salt – a recipe for disaster.

What you can do: Strive to eat whole foods located at the perimeter of the grocery store. Spend the majority of your shopping trip in the produce section. Local and organic produce are best as they help support your local farmers and have less pesticide exposure. Download EWG’s shopper guide to find foods with the highest and lowest pesticide levels.

Try to avoid packaged food aisles filled with sugary cereals, salty snacks and endless sweets. And, if/when you purchase a packaged food, read the ingredients and ensure you recognize them. If you don’t know an ingredient, it’s likely an unhealthy food choice. And, avoid lengthy ingredient lists (i.e., 5 ingredients or less is a good rule of thumb). Need some ideas for the family? Check out 100 Days of Real Food, a great resource for quick, easy and healthy recipe and school lunch ideas.

Along with clean water and healthy food, don’t forget to aim for toxic-free eating utensils and dishes. Avoid plastic dishes and utensils and strive for stainless steel and/or glass water bottles. And most importantly, have fun exploring healthy foods and always remember love is one of the best ingredients!

Natalie Drugan is a mom of twins, certified nutrition health coach, clean food and sustainability advocate, digital marketer, blogger, writer, speaker and marathon runner who lives in Austin, Texas.

The True Story about the Man with an Unstoppable Heart

I originally wrote this post for I’ve copied it below…

World Heart Day: The True Story about the Man with an Unstoppable Heart

In honor of World Heart Day, a day dedicated to the world’s largest intervention against cardiovascular disease, I’d like to share an incredible, true story about the Man with an Unstoppable Heart.

His Impressive Background

Before I share the Man with an Unstoppable Heart’s inspirational story, it’s important to know his background. The Man with an Unstoppable Heart is a devoted and supportive husband, father and grandfather, a former High School Class President, a Fightin’ Texas Aggie college graduate, an admirable United States Army officer, an honorable Vietnam veteran who not only went to war for our country but led a band of incredibly brave soldiers as a fearless reconnaissance platoon leader, a talented artist and writer, an adventurous mountain climber of some of Colorado’s difficult fourteeners and a tireless marathon runner. And that’s just the short list!

Over his lifetime, the Man with an Unstoppable Heart has put his full heart into everything he has done, no matter the set back, risk or fear involved, he has kept charging forward, pushing through obstacles and unimaginable heartache. Next on the Man with the Unstoppable Heart’s big life goal list was to “run through the tape” at the Boston Marathon after qualifying at the age of 68.

His Heartbreaking Struggle

However, the Man with an Unstoppable Heart faced a devastating setback prior to the world-renowned race. During a visit with his two new twin grandsons, the Man with the Unstoppable Heart experienced the unthinkable…his heart stopped.

After repeated and unwavering attempts to bring him back to life by his wife and daughter and a quick-response police officer, all hearts were starting to break. It wasn’t until an amazing team of paramedics rushed to the Man with an Unstoppable Heart’s side to bring him back to life. With their tireless rescue attempts, the Man with an Unstoppable Heart’s legs suddenly started moving in a running motion, showing signs that he was ready to start running an entirely new race…the race of his life.

After his near death experience, the Man with the Unstoppable Heart beat the odds as his doctors told him a mere 4% survive cardiac arrest with CPR outside of a medical setting and of that miraculous group, only 2% live without brain damage.

While a condition of this severity would likely keep any man down, the Man with the Unstoppable Heart didn’t let it take his dreams or determined spirit. After six and a half short and incredibly difficult months of recovery, the Man with the Unstoppable Heart did the unthinkable again…he conquered the Boston Marathon!

His Inspirational Advice

I recently had a brief phone conversation with the Man with the Unstoppable Heart and asked him what advice he would give to others who are in similar life stages or who are facing their own health struggles. Here’s what he shared with me:

“For the golden years to be golden, you have to go against the grain and do things you don’t expect people to do. Everyone is in a race against himself or herself. Don’t let your race be the race that someone else has picked for you. Run the race you want to run and train for that race.

There’s daily maintenance of old age (such as aches and pains in the morning), and you have to prepare yourself and fight through it. That said, it’s even more important to eat healthy foods and be kinder to your body the older you get.”

On a personal note, the Man with the Unstoppable Heart has made a huge impact on my life as he inspires me every day. He is one of my guiding lights who reminds me to never give up, put your heart into everything and always “run through the tape.”

I’m so incredibly honored to call the Man with an Unstoppable Heart by another name…Dad.

Natalie Drugan is a mom of twins, certified nutrition health coach, clean food and sustainability advocate, digital marketer, blogger, writer, speaker and marathon runner who lives in Austin, Texas.

What are your thoughts on the Paleo Diet?

A while ago, my good friend asked me, “What are your thoughts on the Paleo Diet? ” I thought I would share my exact email response with all of you:

paleo diet

So, here are my quick thoughts on the Paleo diet. First off, the plus side: I love, love, love that the diet kicks out the crap – sugar, processed food, etc. This is the stuff that is truly killing us. It’s not really food. And as mentioned, sugar is much more evil than putting pounds on our body. It’s fuel for cancer and it literally can deplete nutrients from our body. Not good. But, oh so addicting!!! In fact, “sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine.”

Beyond that, I appreciate the Paleo concept to eat like our ancestors. This again focuses on eating “real” food not chemical-laced, artificial food.

But, there’s a but. With this diet, I think people use it as an excuse to eat as much animal products as possible, which can certainly earlyhumans_clubbe incredibly detrimental to our bodies. Heart disease to name just one reason, and it just happens to be a big one as it is the #1 cause of death. As you might have seen in the news, red meat and processed meats are now on the WHO list of carcinogens. Do I think the entire world needs to stop eating meat? No. But, I think we need to eat much less and obviously only high-quality meat. Quality and quantity are the huge factors here.

With Paleo, the quantity seems to go up! And truly if we are eating like our ancestors, meat wasn’t freely available, three meals a day every day. Men hunted for days, sometimes weeks or even months to get food and then enjoyed it. And then, they went without it again until the next kill. That said, we really don’t know exactly what our ancestors ate and it certainly varied by region and availability of food and even climate (i.e., different foods grown in different climates). There isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula and we’ve never eaten exactly the same. This sentiment was even expressed by Michael Pollan in his book-signing event at Book People. I wrote about it here.

As for the grains, we can certainly eat much less. The old USDA food pyramid recommended excessive carb overload and even worse there weren’t guidelines on carb type (complex vs. simple). So, I feel like historically, we’ve totally eaten too much and of the wrong type (e.g., white bread and starchy, nutrient void carbs.). And, food has become more processed. And, the grains of today are not the grains of yesterday. Many are drenched in chemicals, so organic is an absolute must. And, celiac disease (autoimmune disorder from gluten protein in wheat) is a real thing, but the industry has taken advantage of it, as 1% of people have this disease. But, again our crops still need major clean up!! No pesticides or GMOS are a must.

So, long story short, I can typically find some truth and positives in any diet (aside from freaky gummy bear/ice cream diets), but at the end of the day, we are all different people and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula. However, we can ALL benefit from clean, real food. So, kicking pseudo food out is a must for all! And, finding balance is key (i.e., no excessive amounts of any food. Even an all-broccoli diet wouldn’t be the best diet for our bodies.) Extremes are not the way to go!

So, that was my quick, off-the-top-of-my-head response to my friend. What are your thoughts on the Paleo Diet?

Health Coaching Update and SeniorAdvisor Blog Roundup

Whew! It’s been a busy, exciting and fun couple of months. I’ve been coaching wonderful new clients who are already making many positive changes to their diet and lifestyle. They’re truly inspiring!

And, I’m enjoying sharing my expertise as the nutrition and lifestyle blogger for

Here’s a roundup of my latest posts:


December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

Stay tuned for more!

Feel free to contact me about my coaching, workshops, speaking and/or writing services at

Also, drop me a line with any questions/suggestions.

Natalie Drugan is a mom of twins, certified nutrition health coach, clean food and sustainability advocate, digital marketer, blogger, writer, speaker and marathon runner who lives in Austin, Texas.

I have a mommy confession…

Last New Year’s Day, I made one simple, manageable and very achievable goal (so, I thought):

My Goal: Make our bed every day

That’s it! How hard could this goal be? And, how life changing could it be?

As a mom of twin boys, making the bed in the morning is not the simplest task. I have two little electrons that pop out of bed at the crack of dawn. Between their non-stop demands to eat and drink “wa wa” and their unbelievable curiosity that has me quickly corralling them out of every room before my eyes are even open, along with a persistent dog that constantly reminds me to feed her and let her outside, a husband that leaves the house before I’m awake (i.e., he can’t help make the bed in the mornings) and my own personal morning needs (ahem, can I go to the bathroom please?!!), the bed seems to come dead last in priorities.

BUT, I’m still committed.

However, I must confess that sometimes our bed may not get my attention in the morning or during day light hours. In fact, my husband caught me making the bed at 8:45PM the other night as I tried to hurriedly make it without him seeing me. Why? I was embarrassed that I was making the bed literally 5 minutes before we were going to lie down in it. He asked with a weird smirk, “Are you really making the bed right now?” My response with a smile, “Yes, that’s right. I want to go to bed in a made bed.

Why was this important to me?

To start, I wanted to try my best to stick to my goal. Second, this tiny task makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, which is even more important on days when the words “to-do list” feel like they shouldn’t exist in my vocabulary. Beyond that, a made bed makes me feel like there is order in my home despite the tiny tornadoes that hit other areas of the house. And, my favorite reason is that it makes me smile because it’s a lovely, inviting way to end the day, even on the most challenging days.

What is one tiny task that you can apply to your daily routine to increase your happiness?

My New Anthem: Work B**ch… Ahem, Healthy Mom! Thanks Britney…

Let’s get real here. As a mom of exhausting toddler twin boys, I would be lying if I didn’t admit to needing motivation to get moving, whether it’s in the gym or on the neighborhood trail.

Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:

When I need reinforcements, Britney Spears does the trick with her techno dancing, eyebrow raising song, “Work B**ch!” This song makes me run my tail off, it helps me shed pent-up “mom frustration” AND it gets me pumped to “work,” but for completely different reasons…

No, I don’t “wanna Maserati, Bugatti or Lamborghini.” “Look hot in a bikini?” Okay, sure! But really, I wanna body that doesn’t have silent inflammation stirring up a deadly disease, such as diabetes or heart disease. I wanna have clean food that doesn’t harm my boys’ bodies. I wanna know what’s in my food and I wanna eat real food, not chemicals. So… What to do?

“Work work work work work work work work (Work!)!”

Here’s my version of Britney Spear’s, “Work B**ch.” Let’s call it “Work Healthy Mom.”

(Original Lyric Source:

Calling all moms! Turn up your favorite party tune and get on your feet!

Lets work together to get healthier and happier and to get access to more real, clean food in our communities. Lets spread the word that chemicals, artificial ingredients, GMOs, antibiotics and hormones are not viable, safe or healthy food additions/substitutes.

Lets work together to encourage more physical activity and to get more nutritious food on the table so our children can live healthy and happy lives vs. a lifetime of disease and disappointment AND so we can live to see them flourish in life!

Are you ready to work?

A Letter to 100 Days of Real Food

To the 100 Days of Real Food Team,

Word on the produce aisle is you’re looking for additional help to grow and expand your mission on cutting out processed food via your blog and other exciting projects that are awaiting launch.Fruits and Veggies in Basket

It just so happens I’m a mom who is not only fighting the same fight as you with my own children, but I’m also dedicated to helping moms create a healthier lifestyle for their children and themselves through my nutrition and lifestyle coaching practice. In addition, I have a strong online marketing background to help elevate and expand this important message.

I’m incredibly passionate about educating the every day mommy shopper and equipping them with the information they need to make healthy and informed decisions. And, I’m fed up with the misleading food manufacturers who are marketing anything but real food. I feel power in numbers is what elevates a purposeful mission and invokes change.

So, lets work together! I want to help strengthen your mission and help you further succeed. I want to ensure future generations are healthier. I want to make waves that cut the rates of childhood obesity and other food-related diseases. I want a future filled with overwhelming amounts of real food, not processed food! I want healthy and happy children across the nation!

I submitted my web site application and answered your questions, which include my credentials as well as my extensive marketing qualifications.

I look forward to hearing from you and I hope to join your team!


Natalie Drugan

Certified Nutrition Health Coach, Mom and Advocate for Clean Food, Sustainability and Animal Welfare

Michael Pollan Book Event: Cooked, Paleo, Gluten, Soylent & Infant Formula

I had the great pleasure of hearing Michael Pollan speak on the last stop of his book tour for Cooked. I was extremely lucky to get a seat and book signing ticket as Michael Pollan attracts many enthusiasts; the jam-packed room at BookPeople in Austin, Texas was very evident of his popularity.

Michael Pollan is an outstanding journalist, teacher, author and trailblazer who eloquently writes and speaks about food, agriculture and nutrition related topics. He has a gift of simply breaking down incredibly complicated and often controversial topics, while informing his audience through skilled story telling and soft humor.

cookedCooked, his latest book, focuses on doing what else, but cooking real food. As strange as it sounds, cooking is becoming a scarce act even though we all eat food, which is vital to our survival. In fact, cooking has decreased from one hour/day to 27 minutes, which directly correlates to the climbing obesity epidemic, as reported by Michael Pollan. More people are eating processed foods prepared by machines and corporations, rather than “real” wholesome food cooked by humans in kitchens. Processed foods have cheap ingredients, less water with more calories, and missing fiber.

During the book event, Michael Pollan shared his comical and interesting experiences with grilling meat with fire, cooking foods with liquid, baking bread, and fermenting foods such as cheese. He shared the three Ps to cooking success: Patience, Practice and Presence. Additionally, he saved time for Q&A on a myriad of “hot” topics.

Here are some interesting highlights:

  • Paleo Diet – It’s good in theory (eating like our ancestors); however, the issues are: 1) We are not certain of what our ancestors ate and their diets varied by region 2) It involves heavy meat consumption; meat today (unhealthy factory farm meat) is not the meat of yesterday (wild meat). 3) We’ve evolved as a species and can now digest foods such as milk.
  • Gluten – What is it? In short, wheat protein. Yes, gluten intolerance exists. But, food allergies in general are on the rise. Is gluten the problem? Or, is it the diminishing microbes in our environment/food? Do people feel better after taking gluten out of their diet or do they feel better because they’ve reduced their carb load and removed processed foods that happen to contain gluten? Hmmm…
  • Soylent & Infant Formula – Is Soylent a bogus new food formula or possible “perfect” meal replacement? Infant formula is the closest we’ve come to making a “perfect” formula and it’s still not perfect. Breast milk is still best. Real food is still best. Interesting fact: Babies can’t digest a large percentage of breast milk. Why? The indigestible sugar is intended for the “good,” protective bacteria in babies’ guts. Real food prevails…

You can learn a lot from Michael Pollan. He makes you stop and question things. He highlights the obvious, yet not-so-obvious issues with our food system. And, more importantly, he often acts as a catalyst for more research and positive change.

michael Pollan

Have you read any of Michael Pollan’s books? If so, what is your favorite book and why? What are your thoughts on the “hot” topics above?

The Meatrix: Why I Finally Decided to Take the Red Pill…

It wasn’t until 2009, when I finally decided to take the red pill. Let me back up. My older sister once labeled me “the blue piller;” this name stuck after she repeatedly badgered me to watch The Meatrix, a short 4-minute film about conventionally-raised meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs.


Time after time, I refused to watch it. Why did I need to succumb myself to the gory details of animal food production? I already knew how the story ended: The animals die. We eat them. I got it. Ignorance was bliss in my book. Thus, I chose the blue “fantasy” pill vs. the red “truth” pill.

The Blue Pill:

BUT, the blue pill wasn’t just a fantasy. I have fond memories of visiting our family’s dairy farms. Huge black and white cows chewed on their cud and swatted flies away with their tails, while they basked in the hot summer sun. When the cows weren’t milked in the dairy barn, they happily grazed on a beautiful green pasture. My dad said there wasn’t a cow without a name. Our family took great pride working on the farm and caring for our animals and land. This was my view of U.S. farms.

The Red Pill: Fast forward to 2009, my life changed after I saw the Today Show air an under-cover video of a conventional farm. I watched an incredibly sick cow attempt to stand up on its weakened legs, while continually falling in what appeared to be gray, dark sludge. If that wasn’t bad enough, I then watched a fork lift push the cow through the mud as it continued to struggle and suffer in great pain. What was I watching? Where was the green pasture and sunlight? Why couldn’t the cow stand up? And, why the hell was there a huge machine pushing a live animal down and making it suffer?

Shortly after watching the real life horror film, I finally decided to take the red pill. I not only watched The Meatrix, I learned all about the food production “truths” at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where I received my health coaching certification. I was exposed to the good, the bad and the very ugly dark secrets: factory farms.

What you need to know:

“Meat and dairy production in the U.S. has changed dramatically over the past 30 years. Small family farms have been replaced by huge livestock facilities, where animals suffer horribly, workers are mistreated, the environment is being destroyed, and where rural communities are falling apart.” –

What exactly is a factory farm(Note: excerpt taken from

A factory farm is a large, industrial operation that raises large numbers of animals for food. Over 99% of farm animals in the U.S. are raised in factory farms, which focus on profit and efficiency at the expense of the animals’ welfare. Factory farms pack animals into spaces so tight that most can barely move. Many have no access to the outdoors, spending their lives on open warehouse floors, or housed in cages or pens. Without the room to engage in natural behaviors, confined animals experience severe physical and mental distress.

Factory farm practices include: unclean air, unnatural lighting, unnatural growth, non-therapeutic medicating (antibiotics/hormones), unnatural reproduction, denied veterinarian care, painful surgical mutilations, and shortened lives (most are babies).

How does factory farming affect us? (Note: excerpt taken from

  • Public Health Risks: Farms that are not properly maintained can be breeding grounds for salmonella and E. coli, which are passed to humans through meat, dairy and eggs. To combat these unsanitary conditions, animals are fed large doses of antibiotics—but bacteria is constantly adapting and evolving. Antibiotic abuse creates the potential for dangerous, new drug-resistant strains of bacteria to develop and spread among people.
  • Environmental RisksWaste runoff from factory farms pollutes the water, land and air in neighboring communities, compromising both human health and quality of life. At the same time, these businesses consume massive quantities of precious, finite resources including water and fossil fuels.

What can you do to help avoid and/or stop factory farming?

  • Buy from local, small farms: These animals are more than likely raised like farm animals, much like my family’s farms. By buying from small farmers you are casting your vote for the type of animal products you prefer…from actual farm-raised animals vs. conventional, factory-farm animals.
  • Buy organic animal food products: These products have tougher guidelines; they are third-party certified to meet the following criteria: “Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.” –USDA
  • Reduce your animal product consumption; try meatless Mondays or try forgoing animal products for one meal a day or a few meals in a given week.
  • Use your voice! Share your opinion! Take action! Here are many helpful resources:

As a mom of twins, I want my baby boys to live a healthy life with safe, nourishing food, and I want them to be surrounded by an environment that is sustainable for future generations. Thus, I will continue to take the red “truth” pill. Will you join me?

The Silent, Awe-Inspiring Food Artists at Zilker Garden Festival

Last weekend, I went with my family to the Zilker Garden Festival. It’s a wonderful event that showcases local gardeners, different eco-societies and artisans who all have a passion for gardening and preserving the environment. We enjoyed walking through the array of vendors and viewing all the beautiful plants and landscape. However, the best part of our day was our awe-inspiring lunch.

There were several tasty options, but the food tent that caught our eye was the Crepe Crazy tent. The menu screamed deliciousness! As I stood in the well-deserved line, the people cooking the food transfixed me; it was like watching a beautiful silent movie unfold with an incredible cast of gifted artists.

The “artists” were creating crepe masterpieces, while also using sign language to communicate different orders. Their process and system was amazingly smooth, efficient and peaceful; it was a meditative experience. Normally, you would hear the exact opposite from someone awaiting food at a busy, hot spot.

It was absolutely beautiful to watch. I was in complete awe…

Crepe Crazy

We ordered mouthwatering veggie-stuffed Mediterranean and Southwestern crepes, freshly squeezed lemonade (I literally watched them squeeze the lemons to make our thirst-quenching drinks), and a peanut butter, banana and honey stuffed dessert crepe. The food was so incredibly fresh! We weren’t eating a pre-made frozen or processed lunch; it was REAL local food cooked before our own eyes.


The day was complete and we were just getting started…we achieved happiness through fresh food and inspirational people.

Have you ever been to the Zilker Garden Festival or a similar festival? If so, please share your experiences below.

Snack Idea: Try My Delicious Trail Mix Mama

Let’s be honest here…Mamas, you are typically always on the run achieving the highest multitasker status, whether it’s chasing after your kids, cooking meals, cleaning your home, working another day job, and/or volunteering in the community. You may not be hiking Mount Kilimanjaro, but some days it may certainly feel like it. Do you need a little extra fuel to get you through the day?

Would you like a protein-packed snack to take on the run? How about a healthy snack that is super easy to make and even fun for your children to make and enjoy?

If this all sounds good, I have a recipe for you. Try my delicious, Trail Mix Mama!

Trail mix pic


  • 1/2 cup raw organic almonds
  • 1/2 cup raw organic walnuts (halves and pieces)
  • 1/2 cup raw organic cashews
  • 1/2 cup organic raisins
  • 3 TBSP of coconut chips
  • 1/4 tsp of organic cinnamon
  • 2 TBSP organic cacao chips (optional – for a chocolaty-sweet trail mix mama)

WAIT!! Why not just buy a pre-made mix? Most store-bought trail mixes contain lots of added sugar, artificial colors and flavors and unhealthy preservatives. In fact, many nut brands have a preservative called BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and/or BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene); these are carcinogens linked to liver and kidney damage, hair loss, behavioral problems in children, cancer, and fetal abnormalities. Yuck! When you buy nuts, make sure the nut is the ONLY ingredient, no other impostors.

Beyond the health risks, you miss out on a fun, easy cooking activity with your kids. SO, skip the “mystery” mixture, and make this wholesome mama mixture! Note: Not recommended for babies or children with nut allergies.

Okay, now let’s mix-it-up: Simply mix all the ingredients together and enjoy! A little goes a long way, so you can munch on this snack for several days. To keep it fresh longer, store it in the refrigerator.

What are some of your favorite, healthy snacks? Share them with us below.

Brumberry’s Top REAL, Food List for Chicago

I consider myself both a Texan (born and raised) and a Chicagoan after living in “the Windy City” for almost seven years. I miss it so much, particularly all the great food!


Recently, a local food expert asked me for my recommendations to Chicago’s farmers’ markets and restaurants. I shared my go-to list that I frequently provided to my health-coaching clients in Chicago. It includes REAL food that is clean, local and sustainable. Actual chefs prepare the food. In other words, the food is not processed or laced with artificial ingredients and chemicals.

This list is too good not to share with everyone. Without further ado…

Chicago Restaurants (for omnivores, vegetarians, vegans and raw foodists):

  • Uncommon Ground – Organic, local and sustainable food heaven! A green restaurant with an organic rooftop garden. Try the peanut butter French toast and the veggie burger!
  • Karyn’s Raw (raw), Karyn’s Cooked (vegan), and Karyn’s on Green (upscale vegan): Tasty raw and vegan food. Karyn is a raw foodist and a well known holistic health leader; she’s even been a guest on Oprah
  • Green Zebra – A delicious upscale, contemporary vegetarian restaurant focused on local foods
  • Girl & the Goat – An evening hot spot, with special emphasis on local food. Stephanie Izard (Executive Chef) is the winner of Top Chef’s 4th season. Get your reservations now!
  • Browntrout – A local and sustainable fine-dining restaurant (primarily seafood) with a rooftop garden
  • The Bristol – A delicious farm to table American restaurant focused on seasonal, local food
  • Frontera GrillTopolobampo and XOCO – Rick Bayless’s contemporary, sustainable Mexican restaurants
  • Protein Bar – A casual breakfast and lunch spot with great raw juices, breakfast bowls and bar-ritos!
  • Hannah’s Bretzel – A fantastic sandwich cafe. Try their veggie bomb and amazing chocolate selection

Chicago Farmers’ Markets: There are many farmers’ markets all over the city, but here are my favorites:

  • Green City Market – The largest farmers’ market in the heart of the city; it’s “recognized for distributing, promoting and educating about local sustainably-grown food.”
  • Lincoln Square Farmer’s Market – A charming, fun neighborhood market! They have summer farmers’ markets and concerts. You can enjoy delicious local food, a glass of wine and live music in the square.
  • Chicago French Market  – An indoor market with a plethora of yummy foods. Foodie heaven!

Chicago Fun:

  • The Architectural Tour on the River – I’ve done this boat tour a million times with visitors and it’s always a good time. You can enjoy a beverage, while floating by all the incredible Chicago architecture!
  • The Wit Hotel Roof – The hotel’s rooftop is huge with a great view; it’s a perfect place to enjoy a cocktail.
  • A Cubs game in Wrigleyville – This is a Chicago must in the summer. The games are such a blast!
  • Millennium Park – This is a great scenic spot. In the summer, they have live outdoor music concerts.

There are so many amazing restaurants in Chicago. Have you tried any other restaurants? Share your favorites below.

Stay tuned for my upcoming Top REAL Food lists for Austin and Dallas…

Top 3 Non-Toxic, Non-Plastic Sippy Cups

I recently posted the Environmental Working Group’s tips on how to carefully choose plastics. Example tips include avoiding toys marked with a “3” or “PVC” and containers/water bottles marked with a “7” or “PC.”

Why should you be concerned about plastics? Plastic additives, such as “BPA and phthalates, are both potent hormone disruptors that are increasingly linked to health effects like brain and behavior changes, cancer, and reproductive system damages.” – EWG

Yikes! Those health risks will frighten anyone, but especially moms who want to protect their babies. Following my Facebook and Twitter post, I received a question from a concerned mom about the safest, least toxic sippy cups on the market.

After doing research for my own boys, I came across three top, non-plastic sippy cups. Please note: My boys aren’t quite to the sippy cup stage, so I can’t speak to the usability factor just yet; however, I will be sure to write a follow-up review.

These are multi-purpose glass bottles with silicone sleeves. I have a multitude of colorful bottles. I’ve been pleased with them with the exception to the nipples. For breastfeeding mothers, I quickly learned the nipples didn’t mimic the breast enough; my boys wouldn’t drink from them. However, the good news is that I can still use the bottles with sippy cap accessories. I’ve also been pleased with the adult water bottles; they are great for yoga, workout classes, etc. The price ranges from $14.99 to $16.99 for the baby bottles. The sippy cap (2-pack) is $8.99. 
Klean Kanteen

Klean Kanteen – These sporty sippy bottles are “made from 18/8, food-grade stainless steel free of BPA, phthalates, lead and other toxins.” It also includes an attachment loop that can be hooked on a bag or stroller. The price is $16.95.

Safe Sippy

The Safe Sippy and Safe Sippy 2 – This sippy bottle is made of “durable, food-grade stainless steel” and it’s enrobed with a plastic, rubber sleeve. The bottle also has handles to help your little ones grasp onto it. There’s also a SafeSippy 2 (2 -in-1), which converts into a straw bottle. The price ranges from $10.99 – $15.99.

Have you tried any of these sippy cups? Or, do you prefer another type of sippy cup? Please share your thoughts below.

The Natural Gardener Fairy Tale Adventure

Once upon a time, in a far off land, I found myself in hill country heaven! I spent an incredibly beautiful day with my baby boys and a dear friend at The Natural Gardener, an organic gardening and sustainable living nursery. It’s also a beautiful destination to have lunch, relax, and enjoy nature, AND it’s a fantastic education center for your little ones! The enchanted nursery tucked away in the country reminded me of a children’s storybook; it’s filled with beautiful gardens and passageways, adorable, funny animals, and hidden swings and peaceful, almost-magical resting areas. I felt like Alice in Wonderland.

Here’s a recap of our Fairy tale adventure:

We brought our lunches from home and walked through a wooded, inspirational passageway, which led us to the perfect eating spot. I love the quote, “Life’s a Journey – Enjoy it!” Ironically, we chatted about our different paths in life. We also enjoyed a rockin view (soon to be filled with spring flowers). What else would you expect in the “Live music capital of the world?”


Then, we walked through the beautiful gardens and took in all the breathtaking landscape, including the countryside view with the rainwater collection tank, the herb garden, which included kitchen and medicinal herbs, and the very Zen-like water features.


Herb Garden

Next, we visited the charming and happy farm animals, including chickens, donkeys, and goats. The mighty, vibrant rooster had some strong words for his ladies; meanwhile the sassy hens had their own agenda. The donkeys resembled giant stuffed-animals; they were not your everyday jackasses. They were irresistibly cute and friendly!




Donkey 1

We left the fun-loving animals and headed to the vegetable gardens where I found my dream homes. How wonderful would it be to have both of these charming little houses in your backyard? You could brew up some nourishing compost tea and use it to grow delicious salad greens.

tea brewery


Garden House

After our walk through garden wonderland, we had fun picking tomato, basil, and pepper plants for our own homes; we pulled them around in an adorable, timeless Radio Flyer wagon, a purchase must for my boys! And finally, we topped off our picture-perfect afternoon with a delicious, garden pop – no high fructose syrup or GMOs found here!

Mom & Pops Popsicle

What a perfect, storybook day! Now, here’s to hoping our vegetable and herb plants live happily ever after.

The End.

Oh Sugar, You Truly are Bittersweet…

It’s been five years since I gave up soft drinks, artificial sweeteners, and candies and sweets with high-fructose corn syrup and artificial colors and flavors. I went cold turkey. This abrupt dismissal was due to my nutrition education. In school, I was exposed to the good, bad, and ugly. Sugar happened to be one of the beloved foods with too many not-so-pretty faces.

Sugar…it’s sweet, it’s addicting (8 times more addicting than cocaine), it’s a staple in the American diet, it’s often tied to happy events and memories, it’s everywhere, it’s disguised in many unsuspected foods, and sadly, it’s slowly killing us.

How’s that for bittersweet?Sugar

The Big Sugar Impact:

We all know sugar is loaded with empty calories that can lead to weight gain. But, did you know it’s a disease igniter too?

Sugar is fuel for preventable, deadly killers, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cancer, heart disease and obesity. A few years ago, 60 Minutes aired a special on the toxicity of sugar; it was incredibly eye opening and powerful; it led me to write a personal letter to my family voicing my concern. I later shared it on my blog: A Letter to My Family As a Result of the 60 Minutes Toxic Sugar Segment.

Sugar and Sweetener Types:

Okay, there are all kinds of sugars out there; it’s like trying to pick the lesser of evils. Sugars and sweeteners go by many names. Here are some examples:

  • Ugly Artificial Sweeteners (Chemical concoctions – not food! The worst evils): Sucralose (Splenda/Equal Sucralose), Aspartame (Equal original), Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low/Equal Saccharin), etc.; these can be found in colorful “sugar” packets and “no calorie” drinks and foods.
  • Bad Sugar: sucrose, brown sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, dextrose, sorbitol, etc.; these can be found everywhere, even in bread and peanut butter.
  • Good Natural Sugar (Sugar is still sugar, but these are much healthier): maple syrup, molasses, honey, stevia, agave syrup, etc.
  • Best Healthy Sugar: Whole fruits, sweet spices (cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg) and some good, old TLC (tender loving care)

Kicking the Sugar Habit:

If you want to reduce your sugar consumption, you don’t necessarily have to do it overnight. You can take small steps.

For example, when I drank coffee, I would make it “sweet” with artificial sweeteners (the ugly stuff!). When I learned the “ugly” side of those deceptive color packets, I switched to raw sugar (“bad” sugar). Then, I slowly moved to honey (“good” natural sugar) and cinnamon (“best” sweetness). Eventually, I drank my coffee black. Now, I’ve gone almost two years without drinking coffee at all. While I did abruptly kick the habit with some sugars and sweeteners, others took time. I had to make lifestyle changes with them.

Just remember, you can always start now by making small steps to a healthier you.

Share your sugar experiences below. Have you struggled to reduce your sugar consumption?

A Garden Party of Local Goodness – Why Local?

Last weekend, I attended a local-themed garden party; the event brought locals together to share their locally grown food, to show their support for their growing community garden, and to learn about the benefits of eating local food. The garden party kicked off with a social potluck, which included garden-fundraising, wood-fired brick oven pizza topped with fresh veggies directly from the community garden.

Local EventWhile eating all the local goodness, we heard from special guests, Kathryn Hutchison from Greenling and Valerie Broussard, a local food source consultant. They both spoke about the benefits of eating local food:

  1. Traceability: You know where your food is coming from. No guesswork required.
  2. Freshness: It’s not traveling for days or miles before it hits your plate; it’s as fresh and tasty as it comes!
  3. Variety: It exposes you to a wide variety of foods specific to your location.

Here are a few other benefits that I personally love about local food:

  1. Community GardenSupports your local farmers and community (i.e., it keeps them on their land and in business)
  2. Encourages you to eat foods in season, which helps keep your body in balance
  3. Preserves the environment (i.e., reduces carbon footprint by limiting the distance food travels)

Staying with the local theme, Kathryn provided an overview of Greenling, Austin’s “online grocery store specializing in home delivery of local and certified-organic food.” Greenling buys directly from local, sustainable farmers. They are most known for their green local box, which includes a selection of seasonal produce (that varies week to week) and recipe ideas.

Greenling Local Box

I’m a big fan of Greenling! As a mom of twins, Greenling has been a great option for me. In fact, it was a huge lifesaver when my boys were newborns as I could rarely leave the house. The green bin on my doorstep meant I had real, wholesome, local food ready and available for my family.

We ended the day of local goodness with a stroll around the beautiful organic, community garden. Green, greens everywhere! What a beautiful sight! It was also great to see all the proud and happy gardeners!

Do you buy local food or have a garden of your own? Share your experiences below.

Moms, You Can Always Start Now…


My motto and mantra is You Can Always Start Now.

Clock NowHave you ever had a negative voice in your head that reprimands you for something you’ve done or not done? Does this voice fill you up with anxiety, put you down, or make you feel guilty? I’ve certainly heard this unhelpful voice, and as a parent, I’ve noticed it only gets louder; this has become very apparent to me as I talk and bond with other moms.

I’m pretty sure we all agree moms want the very best for their children. This confusing and complex society often makes it difficult to determine what is best. I’ve never read so many conflicting arguments when it comes to raising a child. Let your babies “cry it out” and self-soothe on their own, nurture and soothe your baby to sleep, never give your baby a pacifier, pacifiers prevent SIDS, vaccinate your baby and protect them from disease, vaccinations harm your baby and cause food allergies and disease, use crib bumpers to keep your baby safe, crib bumpers contribute to SIDS. I could keep going, but my head hurts writing these conflicting examples that often lead to the negative, “uncertain” and “second-guess” voice.

Additionally, we all have different situations, lifestyles, and aspirations that play a role in our decisions and actions; these factors can increase the negative volume when they present different challenges and unexpected outcomes. The result is often a loud negative “guilt” and “inadequate” voice.

The next time you hear any type of negative voice, just shut it down and say, You can always start now.” What does this mean? Well, you can’t change the past, but you can certainly create a positive future and you can always start now, even with the smallest step forward. Here are a few examples:

  • Maybe you wish you had taken different approaches with your child. That was then. You can always start now with new approaches based on lessons learned.
  • Maybe your home environment feels like a tornado hit it. That was then. You can always start now by focusing on a certain area in your home and begin organizing it.
  • Maybe you are unhappy in a current job or with your current lifestyle. That was then. You can always start now with a new job search or small lifestyle modifications.
  • Maybe you haven’t been eating well or you haven’t worked out in months. That was then. You can always start now with a healthy meal or a quick workout.
  • Maybe you feel like you lost time with your little one due to your hectic schedule. That was then. You can always start now by planning dedicated, quality time.

As a mom, it’s so easy to beat yourself up and it’s certainly very easy to feel guilty about any situation. You can always start now by becoming your own cheerleader and adding positive experiences and changes in your life vs. dwelling on the negative. And, if you fall back, don’t worry. You can always start now.

Quick Exercise: You can always start now by focusing on the positive. Write a list of all the positive things that you’ve experienced and/or accomplished today.

Do you have a personal mantra or motto? How do you get yourself out of a negative rut?

Follow-up: Brumberry’s No-Bake Samoa Girl Scout Inspired Recipe and Life Lessons

Last week, I shared my disapproval of Girl Scout cookies due to their horrendous ingredients. I received a lot of comments on my post. One popular suggestion was to make direct donations to the Girl Scout organization vs. purchasing their unhealthy, fundraising cookies.

As mentioned before, I was a Girl Scout and I have fond memories of selling cookies, making crafts, singing at retirement homes and doing other fun, leadership and goal-oriented activities, which is why I have a strong, personal disgust with the poor-quality cookie products. There is a disconnect.

The Girl Scout mission is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.

These deceptively innocent cookies are not in line with the Girl Scout mission; however, my plea to stop buying and eating them ironically is… Let’s just say I’m constantly tapping my internal Girl Scout to help make the world a better, healthier place.

I invite you to join me in the Girl Scout mission and dodge the cookies as well as other similar health-demoting packaged products in an effort to make yourself healthier and to “make the world a better place.” Rather than buying another box of Samoa cookies, try this alternative treat with clean ingredients. AND, you can still support the Girl Scouts by making a direct donation (bypassing the cookies).

Brumberry’s Samoa Girl Scout Inspired Treats


Ingredients (makes 8-10 cookie treats):

  • 2 cups of organic unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup of almond meal/flour
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of 100% organic maple syrup
  • 4oz of 100% organic cacao squares (2oz for the cookie treats and 1-2oz for decorating. I bought SunSpire organic baking bars and used 6 of the 8 squares)


Simply melt the cacao squares (on low) in a pot on the stove. Be sure to not overcook. Meanwhile mix all the other ingredients together. Once the cacao is melted, fold in 2oz into the cookie mixture. Combine all the ingredients until they are evenly distributed. Roll mixture into small tablespoon or slightly larger size balls and flatten into cookie shape. If desired, poke small holes in the center to resemble Samoas.

Finally, drizzle the remaining cacao over the top of each cookie treat. For an extra chocolaty taste, you can even dunk the bottom of the cookies in the melted cacao. You can eat them immediately or refrigerate overnight for a crunchier treat.

Note: 100% cacao is very strong. So one cookie, goes a long way. 

And, the best part…Cacao (70% or more) has many health benefits. For example it is heart-healthy; it’s known to lower blood pressure – added bonus! Enjoy!

Please share your thoughts below and let me know if you try the recipe.

Brumberry News: New Nutrition Facts Label, New School Wellness Rules & Cancer Link to Huge Meat Recall

Here is your latest food news!

1) New Proposed Nutrition Facts label: The White House and FDA announced proposed changes to the Nutrition Facts label; the label has Nutrition Facts Labelhad one other change (the addition of trans fat) since its release 20 years ago. Here is the side-by-side comparison of the old vs. new label. Last week, I shared my point of view on the latest changes, including what’s glaringly missing. Read it here.

2) New Limits for Marketing Junk Food in Schools: Last week, the White House announced new proposed school wellness standards. One key area focused on limiting junk food and sugary drink marketing in schools.

“The idea here is simple—our classrooms should be healthy places where kids aren’t bombarded with ads for junk food. Because when parents are working hard to teach their kids healthy habits at home, their work shouldn’t be undone by unhealthy messages at school.” First Lady, Michelle Obama.

For example, Coca-Cola would no longer be advertised on a school’s scoreboard; however, diet soft drinks would still be permitted. This is where I strongly disagree. The ingredients in diet drinks are just as bad if not worse (i.e., artificial, chemical beverages) than regular soft drinks. Clearly, there is still a lot of work to be done, but this is a great step forward. Bravo Michelle Obama!

3) Cancer Cause for Massive Meat Recall? Recently, the USDA announced a massive meat recall (affecting TX, FL, CA and IL) of nearly 9B lbs of beef because a meat firm “processed diseased and unsound animals and carried out these activities without the benefit or full benefit of federal inspection.” The slaughterhouse is currently under criminal investigation for potentially selling meat from cows with eye cancer. Read more here. Scary! This is yet another reason to stand up against current meat production practices via factory farms. Our health depends on it!

Quote of the Week:

“Take a stand for what’s right. Raise a ruckus and make a change. You may not always be popular, but you’ll be part of something larger and bigger and greater than yourself.” – Samuel L. Jackson

New Proposed Nutrition Facts Label – a Health Distraction vs. a Health Guide

Yesterday, the First Lady and the FDA announced proposed updates to the Nutrition Facts label. The new label will include added sugars and certain nutrients such as Vitamin D, modifications to the servings sizes, and slight changes to the format, emphasizing areas such as calories, serving sizes, and percent daily value.

As stated by the First Lady, “Our guiding principle here is very simple: that you as a parent and a consumer should be able to walk into your local grocery store, pick up an item off the shelf, and be able to tell whether it’s good for your family.”

Nutrition Facts LabelThere’s no doubt that the Nutrition Facts label needs a makeover. Its current form may appear simple at first glance, but in reality it’s quite cryptic and more confusing than helpful. That said, any change is better than no change. But, does the Nutrition Facts label truly “tell whether it’s good for your family?”

No. The label is too focused on calories. The recommended “2,000” daily calorie diet follows a “one-size-fits-all” formula, and we are not a “one-size-fits-all” society. We are all different. Some people may require significantly more calories, while others require less; this is heavily dependent on activity levels, lifestyle, body type, etc.

Regardless, calories should not be the driving health factor on the label. It’s a MAJOR health distraction.

The MOST IMPORTANT factor is the INGREDIENT listing. The words not the numbers should be front and center. Parents and consumers need to know what they are consuming vs. trying to understand a mathematical equation based on daily values that may or may not pertain to them. Calories and servings are a moot point when a potential science experiment could be bubbling inside our bodies.

Today, Americans are consuming chemicals, unnatural and synthetic substances, and ingredients stripped of all their nutritional value. This is what is making us unhealthy. Yes, calorie intake and portions do matter. BUT, food quality should be first and foremost. Americans need to eat ACTUAL, REAL food.

  • Real food does not require a Nutrition Facts label.
  • Real food is not found in a decorative box or package with numerous health and marketing claims.
  • Real food is not made of foreign ingredients such as yoga mat chemicals.
  • Real food is broken down by the body. Have you ever wondered why a soft drink has zero calories? The body does not recognize ingredients such as aspartame and Splenda (sucralose); thus, it cannot metabolize it. That’s scary! Shouldn’t you be more concerned about something that your body can’t process vs. its calorie load?
  • Real food does not have frightening side effects. Aspartame is one of the worst offenders.

If you want to “be able to tell what’s truly good for your family,” strive to eat food without a Nutrition Facts label. These foods are found in the perimeter of grocery stores and they don’t require loud marketing claims to convince you to eat it. Have you ever seen a Nutrition Facts label on a bunch of kale or an apple? The Nutrition Facts label is a health distraction vs. a guide. Focus on the actual food substance – is it REAL food?

What are your thoughts on the proposed Nutrition Facts label?

Stop Buying Scary Girl Scout Cookies! I say this as a Former Girl Scout.

It pains me to say this, but Girl Scout Cookies are complete and total crap. I do not recommend purchasing or eating them ever again. Okay, there. I said it.

girl scouts

It kills me every time I pass a table of adorable hardworking little girls and decline their “sweet” offer. I’m instantly reminded by the excitement I had selling cookies as well as the sadness I felt when someone rejected them. BUT, I am doing them a favor.


Girl Scout cookie consumption contributes to disease, in fact the top killers in America, destroys the environment, and promotes the consumption of “food-like substances,” a term I’m borrowing from Michael Pollan, renowned food journalist.

Let me break a simple box of Samoas down for you. Below are all the horrible ingredients:

Picture 20

Girl Scout IngredientsGirl Scout Ingredients(To see the ingredients of all Girl Scout Cookies, go to their “meet the cookies” webpage.)

Here are the real, killer ingredients:

1) Partially Hydrogenated Palm Kernel and/or Cottonseed oil, Soybean and Palm oil. The key words are “partially hydrogenated;” also known as trans fat, the fat directly linked to heart disease. “Trans fats raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower your good (HDL) cholesterol levels.  Eating trans fats increases your risk of developing heart disease and stroke.  It’s also associated with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.” -American Heart Association  

Okay, here is the sneaky kicker! You’ve been fooled. The Nutrition Facts Label indicates, “Trans Fat 0g.” What?  Then, how is there Trans Fat? According to the FDA, “if a serving contains less than 0.5 gram, the content, when declared, must be expressed as “0 g. “A serving” of Girl Scout cookies is two cookies. What if you eat multiple servings or the entire box? You are eating trans fat! This is very important to remember for ALL packaged food products – Stay clear of “partially hydrogenated” ingredients. 

2) Sugar, Cottonseed and Soybean Oil, Corn Syrup, Cornstarch, Condensed Milk, Dextrose, Glycerin, and Soy Lecithin; these are most likely genetically modified ingredients. Unless they are listed as organic or non-GMO project certified, you can assume they are GMOs. Read my ABCs to GMOs to learn more.  “In the U.S., GMOs are in as much as 80% of conventional processed food.” –The Non-GMO Project

The Girl Scout FAQs admit to the use of GMOs: “At the current time, there are genetically modified agricultural crops (GMOs) in Girl Scout Cookies”

3) Natural and Artificial FlavorsThe word, “natural” is literally a food manufacturer’s free fall to use whatever ingredient they want…The FDA “has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives.” And nothing says, “yummy” like the word “artificial;” it’s chemical crap. Do not eat anything that says “artificial.” Both flavor types are likely to be derived from GMOs as well.

If you thought Girl Scout Cookies were too good to be true, you were right! Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but I’m sharing this information for your health as well as your family’s health, AND our children’s health (our future).

I urge you stop buying Girl Scout Cookies. Every Girl Scout cookie purchase is allowing these horrendous ingredients to wreak havoc on our bodies and environment. Additionally, your purchase is encouraging little girls across America to sell products that lack any type of integrity. Our future women of America deserve better!

Please share your thoughts below.

Note: I wrote a follow-up to this post on 03/04/14: Follow-up: Brumberry’s No-Bake Samoa Girl Scout Inspired Recipe and Life Lessons

My Top 3 Mommy Must-Have Resources

Okay, let’s get right to it! Here is my top three “must-have” list for mommies. I relied on these resources while pregnant, and I continue to rely on them as my little baby boys grow up way too quickly!

  • The Complete Organic Pregnancy: This book was and still is my mommy bible. It is the only book I have found with an easy and complete breakdown of how to keep toxins out of your body, food, home, and other environments before your baby’s (or in my case…babies) arrival. While this book is targeted towards moms, everyone can benefit from reading it. Don’t we all deserve to live a clean, healthy life with the least amount of toxins as possible?

Complete ORganic Pregnancy

  • The Honest Company: This is Jessica Alba’s latest baby. It’s a diaper and baby essentials delivery service with some of the cleanest products on the market. Yes, even diapers are loaded with chemicals. I continually cross-check their products with the Environmental Working Group as they become available, and they are consistently getting the “green” light. I purchase their diapers, wipes, lotion, soap, and even home cleaning products. It feels good to buy from an “honest” company.


  • The Wholesome Baby Food Guide: This is a great book and site for making homemade baby food. It is loaded with information on how to introduce solid foods to your baby, it provides a nutritional breakdown on different foods and spices, and it gives you a wealth of different ideas for creating your baby’s favorite cuisines.

wholesome baby food guide

Have you tried any of these “must-haves?” If so, please share your thoughts. What are some of your favorite mommy must-haves?

A Weed Drink for My Funny Valentine

While weed is getting all the buzz these days, and it no doubt gives you a buzz, particularly for our friends in Colorado, I’m referring to another buzz-worthy weed, dandelion. It’s loaded with nutrients, it’s especially great for detoxing your body, AND, it’s legal everywhere!

This Valentine’s Day, I expressed my love to my husband by starting his day off with a tasty dandelion green drink. When I told him he was about to drink weeds, his face said it all…Excuse me? Once I explained myself, he was willing and excited to enjoy his morning beverage filled with weeds and love.

Green Drink

Why Dandelion greens? What’s the big deal?

  • They are loaded with calcium, iron, fiber, and Vitamins A, C and K
  • They are cancer fighters, they purify your blood, and they settle digestion
  • They help reduce kidney stones, promote a healthy liver, and clean out your system

Here’s what you need to make this delicious Valentine’s weed treat:

  • 1 “healthy” bunch of organic dandelion leaves
  • 1 organic bunch of spinach leaves (to add even more green power)
  • 1 chopped, frozen organic banana
  • 1/2 cup of organic frozen sliced peaches
  • 1 tsp of chia seeds
  • 1/2 to 1 TBSP of natural peanut butter (amount depends on your desired amount of nut flavor)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup of almond milk (amount depends on your desired liquid consistency)

Blend all the ingredients, pour in a glass, and enjoy your weeds!

After my husband finished his beverage, he walked outside the front door to take the dog out for her morning bathroom break and came back inside with a huge bouquet of flowers and a beautiful, handsome smile on his face. He placed the bouquet of flowers on our kitchen island and told me to “feel free to throw them in a shake.” 

My Funny Valentine…


Have you ever tried dandelion greens? Share your experiences below.