All posts by Mira

About Mira

Mira Dessy is The Ingredient Guru. A holistic nutrition professional, author, and a popular public speaker, she knows that it's not just what you eat, but what's in what you eat. She is the author of The Pantry Principle: how to read the label and understand what’s really in their food. Dessy is a Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner whose mission is to educate and empower consumers. She curates the Lean Clean Green Subscription box, the premier, organic, earth-friendly, healthy, sustainable subscription box which can be found online at

Fight Inflammation

Fight Inflammation – 12 Tips To Support Your Immune System

What is inflammation?

Inflammation is a part of the body’s natural healing process. After a trauma of some kind, a cut, an injury, an infection (bacterial, parasitic, or viral), the body responds by sending nutrients and immune cells to clear damaged tissue or fight infection. It’s meant to be a short term response.

The challenge is that when inflammation goes on for an extended period of time it then becomes chronic.  If it continues the immune cells fighting the inflammation can be stimulated to then also attack healthy tissue.  Inflammation that continues for a long period of time is highly associated with a number of health issues. These are broad-ranging and include arthritis, cancer, depression, diabetes, fatigue, and heart disease.

Symptoms of chronic inflammation

Symptoms can be varied. Sometimes they also look like symptoms for other health issues. If you think you are possibly experiencing chronic inflammation it’s important to talk with a healthcare professional to get a proper diagnosis.

Symptoms include:

  • Aches and pains – these can appear anywhere in the body from joints to muscles to other soft tissue areas
  • Acne and other skin outbreaks
  • Anxiety and depression – inflammation can often interfere with neurotransmitter (brain chemical) health which in turn may cause mood disorders
  • Chronic infections – this can be in different areas of the body but seem to reoccur regularly
  • Cognitive decline – studies show that increased inflammation can impact brain health and reasoning skills
  • Congestion
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Dry eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Gastrointestinal health challenges – this is wide-ranging from abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea, to acid reflux and chronic nausea
  • Obesity – weight gain can be due to what is sometimes referred to as “false fat” where the body holds onto water as part of the inflammatory process

How to reduce your risk

One way to lower your potential for chronic inflammation is to make changes to your diet and your lifestyle. These changes may not have an immediate effect but you need to remember that inflammation doesn’t occur overnight. Steady and regular focus on healthy choices and changes can have a positive impact and help to reduce chronic inflammation.

Foods That Reduce Inflammation

  • Choose healthy fats There are far too many saturated fats in our modern diet. The manufactured ones (margarine, trans-fats and vegetable oils) tend to increase inflammation. We need more omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats in our diet. These help to decrease inflammation. Good choices in this category include olive oil, nuts, and cold-water fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, and tuna.
  • Forget frying How you prepare your food matters. Frying can create compounds that increase inflammation and negatively impact gut health. Rather than deep-frying, consider sautéing lightly, steaming, or grilling foods.
  • Get more garlic This highly anti-inflammatory vegetable is widely known for its wonderful flavor. Garlic is also anti-viral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal making it a delicious, and beneficial, addition to your cooking repertoire.
  • Reduce refined carbohydrates Food-like items such as breads, cakes, pasta, and other refined products have been highly processed. The processing removes nutrients and makes them quick for the body to break down into sugars. These energy-dense/low nutrient products contribute to weight gain, diabetes, and chronic inflammation.
  • Reduce or avoid inflammatory foods There are a number of foods that contribute to inflammation. These should be reduced or completely avoided in the diet.  They include: coffee, black tea, soft drinks, alcohol (sometimes found in over-the-counter medications or herbal tinctures) nitrates/nitrites, sugar (especially white sugar), vegetable cooking oils, trans-fats (anything marked hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated), artificial sweeteners, and monosodium glutamate

Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Inflammation

  • Avoid Toxins While you may be reading labels on your food products are you also checking personal care and cleaning product labels?  These things can have a high toxin load which is best to avoid. Reading the label and checking the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database for personal care products or their Guide to Healthy Cleaning will help you avoid many toxins.
  • Brush and floss Brushing and flossing your teeth is an important part of everyday oral health. It’s also effective at maintaining overall body health. This is because oral bacteria can travel through the bloodstream to other parts of the body. Studies show this bacteria to be linked to a number of inflammatory health conditions including gut disease. Recommendations are to brush at least 2 minutes twice a day and floss at least once a day.
  • Move your body Exercise is an important part of overall health. There may be a temporary inflammatory response to intense exercise, however, the long-term impact is improved blood flow, oxygenation, reduced inflammation, and improved mobility and quality of life. There is no one perfect exercise, simply the one that works for you.
  • Stay hydrated Hydration is an essential part of wellness. Dehydration has been shown to reduce metabolic function, increase the risk for a variety of diseases, and potentially to shorten life. Don’t stay thirsty, hydrate.
  • Stress less There is no such thing as a stress-free life. Ongoing, chronic stress has been linked to inflammation. It can be physical, emotional, mental, any form of stress that can have a cumulative impact.  There’s also no one-size-fits-all solution to lower our response to stressful situations. The best solution is to find a mindfulness practice that works for you and focus on taking some time to stress less.

  • Vitamin Zzzzz Most adults need somewhere between 7.5-9.0 hours of sleep each night in order to be rested and to support good physical and mental health. Practicing good sleep habits will have a beneficial impact on overall health and wellness.

You can lower your risk for the impacts of chronic inflammation by paying attention to what you eat, think, drink, and do.  Remember to make positive lifestyle choices and be proactive about your wellbeing. Choose to support your healthy aging by getting chronic inflammation under control.


Allen, M.D., et al. Suboptimal hydration remodels metabolism, promotes degenerative diseases, and shortens life. JCI Insight. 2019 Sep 5; 4(17): e130949.

Atarashi, K, et al. Ectopic colonization of oral bacteria in the intestine drives TH1 cell induction and inflammation. Science  20 Oct 2017: Vol. 358, Issue 6361, pp. 359-365

Bendsen, N.T., et al. Effect of industrially produced trans fat on markers of systemic inflammation: evidence from a randomized trial in women. October 2011 The Journal of Lipid Research, 52, 1821-1828.

Hall, A, et al. Garlic Organosulfur Compounds Reduce Inflammation and Oxidative Stress during Dengue Virus Infection. Viruses 2017, 9, 159.

López-Alarcón, M, et al. Excessive Refined Carbohydrates and Scarce Micronutrients Intakes Increase Inflammatory Mediators and Insulin Resistance in Prepubertal and Pubertal Obese Children Independently of Obesity. Mediators of Inflammation. 2014.

Mikkelsen, K, et al. Exercise and mental health. Maturitas. Vol 106, Dec 2017. pg 48-56.

Ozawa, M, et al. Dietary pattern, inflammation and cognitive decline: The Whitehall II prospective cohort study. Clinical Nutrition Volume 36, Issue 2, April 2017, Pages 506-512

Rohleder, N. Stress and inflammation – The need to address the gap in the transition between acute and chronic stress effects. Psychoneuroendocrinology. Vol 5, Jul 2019. Pg 164-171.

Zhang, J., et al. Thermally Processed Oil Exaggerates Colonic Inflammation and Colitis-Associated Colon Tumorigenesis in Mice. Cancer Prev Res November 1 2019 (12) (11) 741-750.

winter soup

Winter Soup

It’s still winter

We’ve made it past the winter solstice and the days are slowly getting longer. But the weather is definitely cold and damp. And it still gets dark pretty early. On days like that, I think there’s nothing like a nourishing, warming winter soup. Combined with a simple salad and a delicious cheesy biscuit, it makes a perfect dinner at the end of the day. Plus it’s an easy meal that comes together pretty quickly.


Winter Soup
  1. 3 ribs celery, diced
  2. 1 white onion, minced
  3. 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  4. 1- 15 oz can diced tomatoes, with juice
  5. 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  6. 1/2 cup spinach
  7. 1 large zucchini, diced
  8. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  9. 4 cups bone broth
  10. 1 tbsp dried basil
  11. 2 tsp dried oregano
  12. 1 tbsp dried parsley
  13. Optional: add 1 small hot pepper for a bit of a warming kick - if this is too spicy, the pepper can be cooked separately and added to the bowl before serving
To make in the Instant Pot
  1. Add all ingredients into the pot and stir to combine
  2. Seal and cook on manual high for 20 minutes
  3. Natural release 10 minutes then quick release
To make in a slow cooker
  1. Add all ingredients and stir to combine
  2. Cover and cook high 3-4 hours/low 6-7 hours
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste
  4. Garnish with fresh parsley
  5. Enjoy!
The Ingredient Guru, Mira Dessy
For quick and easy cheesy biscuits I use this recipe from Pamela’s and add 1/4 cup of shredded cheese. I get perfect gluten-free biscuits every time.
word of the year 2020

The 2020 Word Of The Year Is…

Here we are, the start of a new year.  All freshly minted.  Smelling like blank pages, freshly sharpened pencils, ready to rock and roll.  And you know what that means…time for a new word.

The history

If you’ve been following me for a while you know that each January I choose a word to serve as my focus for the next 12 months. I’ve been doing this since 2014.  Previous words have been, Inspire, Change, Balance, Focus, Mindfulness, and last year’s word, Simple

It turns out last year was anything BUT simple. However knowing that this was my word, and having it on my inspiration board, meant that when I was evaluating things, or trying to bring order into chaotic situations, my uppermost thought was how to achieve that ideal of simplicity.

I like to encourage my friends and readers to pick a word as well and I love hearing about their word, what it means to them, and how they anticipate it will support them in the coming year.


Like previous years, the task of choosing a word is an important one. Not something I take lightly. I need to mull over the choices that seem to call to me until eventually settling on one that feels just right. Every year I find myself surprised at how the word somehow seems to find me. It’s never a flippant or lightly chosen one, but one that I’ve truly searched for.

The word I’ve chosen for this year is Authentic – [ aw-then-tik ] – adjective

Winter Hydration Tips

Winter Hydration Tips

Why hydrate in cold weather?

We’re used to thinking about hydration when it’s hot outside. After all, when we’re active and sweating we’re losing moisture. But you may not think about the importance of winter hydration. It turns out staying hydrated in the winter is equally as important. During these colder, usually dryer, months, you are drying out both through your skin and by breathing. 

When cold, dry winter air hits your lungs, they have to warm it up and humidify it. This takes moisture from your body. And if you’re spending lots of time outside, especially if you’re a winter sports enthusiast, you’ll need even more hydration because the more effort you expend, the more humidity your body releases.

If you’re sweating you may not realize how much moisture you’re losing. That’s because when it’s dry out sweat evaporates much more quickly. And because you’re already cold you may not notice the increased cooling that comes from sweat drying.

Signs of dehydration

Dehydration can suppress your immune system and also leads to a number of other health challenges. Be on the lookout for these signs that you may need to drink up:

  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth 
  • Dry skin
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Low blood pressure
  • Muscle weakness or cramping

The hydration factor

Before we get to the tips to support healthy hydration in the winter it’s important that you know what your hydration factor is. This formula is a general guideline. If you’re spending lots of time outdoors, or expending extra effort, or even if you’re at a higher elevation (say for skiing), you’ll need to consider increasing how much hydration you’re getting.

To figure out how much hydration you need, calculate your body weight. Divide that in half for the number of ounces needed to be properly hydrated. Divide that number by 8 to get the number of cups of fluid.

For example:

     150 pounds
     divided by 2 = 75
     divided by 8 = 9.4 cups

Take that number, divide it by four and then set a “hydration alarm” approximately every two hours. When the alarm goes off put your beverage in front of you with the goal to drink it before the alarm goes off again.

Remember that this does not mean plain water. Too much water is not healthy either as it can dilute your electrolyte balance. Adding hydrating foods or other beverages is a good option to support your body and help avoid dehydration.

How to hydrate in the winter

Winter tends to be the time of year when we turn to warm liquids such as herbal tea and soup. This is not only a comforting idea, but it’s also better for us. This is because room temperature or warmer liquids actually help to stabilize your core temperature. 

Here’s a list of a few of my favorite soups for winter. They’re not only warming and delicious, but they’re also nourishing:

The types of liquid you consume during the winter is also important. Avoiding excess consumption of caffeine (found not only in coffee and tea, but also in that wintertime favorite, hot chocolate) and alcohol is helpful.  Both have diuretic qualities and can contribute to dehydration.

Not just soup

In addition to including herbal teas and soups, it’s a good idea to add fruits and veggies to your diet that have more moisture in them.  These include:

  • apples
  • pears
  • citrus fruits
  • winter squash

Top tips to avoid dehydration

In addition to making sure you’re getting plenty of fluids, there are a few things you can to to help avoid dehydration:

  • Bring a water bottle with you everywhere you go (this tip is year-round, not just for summertime)
  • Layer appropriately – Have layers that you can add and remove as needed.  Overdressing so that you are hot and sweaty actually contributes to hydration loss)
  • Use a humidifier in your home to help keep the air comfortably moist (your dry skin and static-y clothes will thank you)
Mockstroni soup recipe

Mockstroni Soup

What is mockstroni?

I love minestrone soup. But it tends to come with pasta and I find I do better when I avoid eating gluten. This soup was born out of a need to avoid gluten but also not wanting to include gluten-free pasta. While I’m not opposed to gluten-free pasta, I find that it tends to disintegrate pretty easily in soup, especially if there are leftovers. So I created this very satisfying soup that features that classic minestrone combination of herbs, beans, and vegetables. Because it’s not your classical minestrone I decided to change the name and call it mockstroni.

This soup is very hearty and can be served either as a starter to a meal or simply use bigger bowls and it becomes a meal all by itself. Don’t forget that the traditional way to make this soup was to use whatever was in season. So feel free to experiment with whatever vegetables you happen to have on hand. Fresh herbs are always best, but in the wintertime (my favorite time to make this comforting soup) dry herbs are fine.  And if you want to make a vegetarian version, you can simply use vegetable broth instead of the bone broth.

Mockstroni Soup

Mockstroni Soup
  1. Serves: 6-8
  2. 3 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided
  3. 2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  4. ½ medium yellow onion, chopped small
  5. 3 medium carrots, chopped small
  6. 3 large stalks celery, chopped small
  7. 1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
  8. 2 cups cooked beans (cannellini and red kidney beans work well)
  9. 4 C bone broth*
  10. 2 bay leaves
  11. 1 T. fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped (or 1 t. dried)
  12. 1 T. fresh thyme leaves (or 1 t. dried)
  13. 1 T. fresh oregano leaves (or 1 t. dried)
  14. ½ T. crushed red pepper flakes
  15. Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  16. 2 c. fresh green beans, cut into ½” pieces
  1. 1/4 C. freshly parsley, minced
  2. Shaved parmesan
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and garlic in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat
  2. Sauté garlic, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes or just until the garlic starts to turn golden brown
  3. Add chopped onion, carrot, and celery and cook for another 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until vegetables are soft and tender
  4. Add diced tomatoes, beans, broth, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and red pepper flakes to the pot, stir to combine
  5. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste
  6. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low
  7. Cover and simmer 20-25 minutes.
  8. Remove the cover from the pot and add the green beans
  9. Stir to combine and continue cooking, uncovered, another 20-25 minutes or until green beans are crisp-tender
  10. Add additional broth, if needed, stir to combine
  11. To serve, divide among individual serving bowls and top with chopped parsley and freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.
  12. Enjoy!
  1. * If needed use extra broth to reach the desired consistency
  2. ** Fresh herbs are always preferred but if needed you can use dry herbs. Reduce to 1/3 of the fresh herbs called for
  3. *** 3 teaspoons = 1 Tablespoon
The Ingredient Guru, Mira Dessy
Instant Pot Split Pea Soup

Instant Pot Split Pea Soup

The recipe is originally from my book The Pantry Principle.  Back then it was designed for a slow cooker.  Now that we have Instant Pots the recipe has been modified.

This is a delicious way to utilize split peas from your food storage.  If necessary this recipe can be modified to also used dried vegetables from your storage however this will require the addition of extra liquid.  See the parenthetical notes in the recipe for food storage modifications.

IP Split Pea Soup

Serves 6

The addition of the dulse, an edible seaweed found in the North Atlantic, to this recipe adds a wonderful flavor and a big boost of iodine and the other trace elements our bodies need. If you want to make this as a vegetarian dish simply substitute vegetable broth or water for the bone broth.

Making this soup in the Instant Pot is a great way to have a quick hot meal ready to eat after a long day.

2 carrots, diced (1 cup dehydrated carrot slices)
2 ribs celery, diced (1/3 cup dehydrated celery)
1 onion, diced (1/3 cup dried onion)
1 pound dried split peas, picked over and washed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
6 cups bone broth 
1 teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons dulse (a type of seaweed), crumbled

Place all ingredients except salt, pepper, and dulse in an Instant Pot. Stir well to combine. 

IP Cook Time 15 minutes  Natural Release approximately 15 minutes.

Slow Cooker Time – 8 hours on low

Remove bay leaf
Add salt and pepper
Blend together with an immersion blender
Ladle into bowls to serve and top with 1 teaspoon crumbled dulse

Roasted Vegetable Soup

Roasted Vegetable Soup With Tomato And Fennel

As the weather gets chilly and the days get shorter I find an increased desire for soup. Nourishing and warming, soup seems to really hit the spot.  Plus it’s so versatile. Soup is great as a snack, as a meal starter, or in some cases as the meal all by itself. 

This particular roasted vegetable soup is a favorite. After all, who doesn’t love tomato soup? But part of what makes this so wonderful is the fennel which gives it a delicious flavor boost. This soup tastes even better the second day, so be sure to make a lot (this recipe doubles or even triples with ease) to ensure you have leftovers.

Roasted Vegetable Soup with Tomato and Fennel
  1. 1½ lbs. Roma tomatoes, halved
  2. 2 medium red bell peppers, deseeded and quartered
  3. 1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  4. 2 large carrots, cut in half lengthwise
  5. 2 medium shallots, outer skin removed and halved
  6. 4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  7. 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  8. Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  9. 2 T. fresh thyme leaves
  10. 4 c. organic chicken bone broth
  11. ½ c. full-fat coconut milk
  12. ½ c. fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F
  2. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat and set aside
  3. Arrange the tomatoes, red peppers, fennel, carrots, shallots, and garlic in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and black pepper, to taste
  5. Toss to combine and sprinkle veggies with fresh thyme leaves
  6. Place baking sheet in preheated oven and roast until vegetables are tender and lightly charred, approximately 20-25 minutes
  7. Transfer the roasted veggies and any juices from the baking sheet to a large soup pot and add the bone broth
  8. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until hot and and bubbly
  9. Remove from heat
  10. Using an immersion blender, blend contents of the soup pot until completely smooth
  11. Stir in the coconut milk and fresh basil, and serve
  12. Enjoy!
  1. Safety Tip: If you don’t have a stick or immersion blender, it is possible to use a blenders to process the cooked veggies and liquid. However it is important to be sure your blender lid is vented  properly to prevent the hot liquid from exploding when you turn on the blender.
The Ingredient Guru, Mira Dessy

Store in the refrigerator for several days. It can also be stored in single-serving containers in the freezer for a quick meal or snack later.

The Lean Clean Green Hydration Box


Each month here at the Lean Clean Green Subscription box I create a theme and then curate products around that. One because it’s fun, two because it gives me the opportunity to share some great information about how to create your best, healthiest life. What I call the Ingredients For A Healthy Life.

Hydration is a theme that is near and dear to my heart. I feel that many people don’t realize how important it is to stay adequately hydrated. And while not everything in the box is drinkable, it all ties together. But before we run through the products I wanted to share a few links that I believe are helpful:

  • Staying well-hydrated is one way to help support your body when it’s hot and humid outside or if you’re exercising a lot. It’s also important in the colder months because you may not realize you are getting dehydrated. This article shares some good info plus gives you the hydration factor so you can figure out exactly how much you need to drink to stay well hydrated (hint: it’s probably not the 8 glasses you thought it was)
  • Hydration is more than just drinking water. We can also meet some of our hydration needs through the foods we eat. Check out this post to see which foods are the best when it comes to hydrating your body.
  • Sometimes you want something that’s not water but is still hydrating. A couple of my favorite choices are agua fresca and water kefir
  • And remember that if you’re looking for hydration, please don’t rely on sports drinks. They’re not as good for you as the manufacturers would have you believe.

What’s in the box?

We’ve got some fabulous products in this month’s box and I know you’re going to love them too.

But first…The disclaimer:  I’m not pulling stock photos when I share the contents of the box with you. These are my pictures taken of the products in my box. I’m learning how to take better pictures but I wanted you to know this is real life and yes, these are from my personal subscription.

Strawsome Glass Straws 

I’m a big fan of reusable straws. And there is nothing better, in my humble opinion, than having your own straw with you, especially when you are out an about. 

I’ve given you not one but two straws. You can leave one at home and take one on the road, or simply share a straw with a friend.  The only hard part about sharing may be that they don’t want to give you back your straw. Making it a perfect opportunity to go into the marketplace and order one for each of your friends so everyone has their own.  And each tempered glass straw comes with their own cleaning brush. 

Lean Clean Green Hydration Box - Sipping Vinegar

Sipping Vinegar 

These delicious vinegars from Vermont Village are just fabulous. I’ve chosen the blueberry flavor for you but you can also get them in other flavors (their Turmeric & Honey is pretty awesome too). 

Each bottle comes with raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar. That means the mother is still in the bottle.  These are great as a shot, as a sipping drink, or to add to other beverages for flavor and health benefits. You can even add these delicious sipping vinegars to other dishes. I’m thinking of adding some of this blueberry to my Thanksgiving homemade cranberry sauce to give it a little blueberry lift. Of course, I’ll need to buy more because we all know it’s not going to last from now till then.


Lean Clean Green Hydration - Wine Wands

Wine Wands

Of course if you’re looking for a more adult beverage you may be thinking about wine. Part of the challenge with wine, however, is some of the ingredients.  I’m talking about the sulfites and the histamines. Those ingredients responsible for that “not so great, got a headache” feeling after you drink wine. While you can buy sulfite-free wines they’re often expensive. And they still come with histamines.  

Using a wine wand allows you to remove both the sulfites and the histamines so you can enjoy a glass without worrying about the headache.  I’m not sure how their patented process really works (I think it’s magic), but they’re winning rave reviews. 

Try it and let me know what you think.

Lean Clean Green Hydration Box - Americona Almonds

Americona Sprouted Almonds 

Of course you can’t have all that hydration with a little snack. And these are my new favorite sprouted almonds. These crunchy little gems are just amazing. 

When you sprout nuts (and seeds, legumes, and grains) you remove the phytic acid coating that interferes with nutrient absorption. The process of sprouting helps to boost the nutrition just a little bit. Sprouting also improves digestion. It’s really the best way to eat almonds.

The folks at Americona use only 100% pure olive oil plus sea salt to make a truly tasty treat for you to enjoy.

Lean Clean Green Hydration - Healthy Honey Facial Spray

Healthy Honey Facial Oil 

Okay so you can’t eat or drink this one. But it’s like a hydration drink for your face. This facial oil/spray feels so good you’re going to wonder how you managed without it.  One of the things that I love the most is the clean ingredients. After all, what we put on our skin can migrate into our bloodstream. That’s part of why using lotions and potions that contain things like artificial colors, sorbates, EDTA, and other negative ingredients is never a good idea. 

Admittedly it’s not always easy to find great personal care products, but I’m a fan of this facial oil. Filled with antioxidant rich ingredients and amazing for the skin, it’s definitely a perfect addition to your skincare routine.



When you join the Lean, Clean, Green Subscription box family you’ll get a themed box filled with holistically healthy, well-sourced products personally curated by me. Each month you pay only $47.

The September 2019 HydrationBox is worth $97.97!!

* The best part about the box is that you’re in control of how often you get it. Monthly, every other month, every three months, it’s up to you. And if you miss a box, or need a refill on any of these fabulous finds, as long as you’re a subscriber you have access to the Marketplace. That means you can log in and still get the items you want.

If you’ve just found this post and you’re not a member of the Lean Clean Green family, join us, you’ll be glad you did.

Should you do low FODMAP

Should You Try A Low FODMAP Diet?

What is a FODMAP?

FODMAP is an acronym used to identify a series of short-chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols in foods that are either naturally occurring, or used as food additives. This acronym stands for:

Fermentable – these items are broken down by the bacteria in our large bowel
Oligosaccharides – “oligo” means “few”, “saccharide” means sugar. These are individual sugars which are chained together
Disaccharides – “di” means two meaning this is a molecule with two sugars
Monosaccharides –(non-intoxicating) sugar alcohols
Polyols – a form of carbohydrate that is only partially digested

Does your gut hurt?

Do you have significant digestive health issues? After you eat do you feel ill or very tired? Do you have cramps or other digestive health issues? If so you are probably one of the millions of people who struggle with some form of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). The causes of IBS are many and varied but the one thing that they all have in common is that they start in the gut. And many of these issues can be resolved by changing your diet. 

Some people with gut health issues may try a gluten-free diet. If that doesn’t quite seem to do the trick they then look at the possibility that it’s not the gluten but the glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup which is used to dry out crops before harvesting) that is the problem. So they avoid that. And while that often helps it may not be enough. If the issues are IBS, or if there are concerns about digestion in general, you may find that a low FODMAP diet is the answer.

Common Symptoms of Digestive Health Issues

While a low FODMAP diet can be a good choice for people with IBS or related issues, it can also be supportive for those with general digestive health problems. A low FODMAP diet does this by eliminating those foods which might be triggers. Some of the signs that you may want to consider this diet include:

  • Abdominal pain after eating
  • Bloating
  • Bowel Incontinence
  • Cramping
  • Regular Constipation or Diarrhea
  • Nausea or vomiting

Is your gut health getting worse?

Maybe you are one of those people who has had some form of mild digestive health issues for years. Or you’ve been diagnosed with IBS but it’s never been “that bad.” But your gut health has been getting worse lately. While there is always a possibility that this can be part of the aging process, it can also be due to your diet.

If you have regular bloating or stomach upset after eating but can’t identify what’s causing the problem, food journaling and a dietary change can be a good way to figure out what your triggering foods are. Part of the issue is that our meals are/should be made up of a variety of foods. This makes it difficult to pin down specifically which foods are causing the problem.

And while your gut health issues might be related to any of the common food allergens such as gluten, dairy, nuts, etc, it could also be other foods. Following a FODMAP diet removes these foods, plus others, from the diet while you work on restoring gut health.

If you enjoyed this article, please join my community to receive more information and special offers with my free newsletter, Food News You Can Use (I do the research so you don’t have to). This concise, informative newsletter gives you updates you need to know about the ingredients for living a healthy life.

But the label said no nitrates

But The Label Says No Added Nitrates

What are nitrates?

Nitrates and nitrites are preservatives frequently found in preserved meats such as deli meats, hot dogs, sausages, etc. Nitrates are seen as the less harmful of the two, however, they can turn into nitrites which are linked to more serious health concerns.

Nitrites help keep the meats looking pink and can prevent the growth of listeria or botulinum bacterias. Unfortunately, however, consuming high amounts of nitrates and nitrites can be bad for your health. And nitrites can further degrade into nitrosamines (which are highly carcinogenic) when exposed to the amino acids in the stomach. 

Health impact of nitrates

Studies have shown that people who eat a lot of processed meats tend to have a higher than average risk for cancer including pancreatic and gastrointestinal cancers. Other studies indicate a link between nitrosamines and diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and liver disease. So even if you’re not highly sensitive to nitrates, consuming a lot of them is not a good idea. 

“No nitrates” on the label

Sometimes you’ll see labels that say “no nitrates.” You may be wondering how they’re preserving the food.  The answer is they’re still using nitrates, they’re just using a different form, usually celery juice or celery salts.

This is a case of manufacturer manipulation. Because of what these food/based nitrates are, the current FDA rules allow for the product to be labeled either No Nitrates or No Added Nitrates. (Similar to how they allow certain glutamate-rich products to be labeled no added MSG).

Because of consumer demand for cleaner labeling, some food producers are choosing to manufacture with these food-based nitrates. They then use Front-of-Package terminology to lure consumers to their products. However, some people are very sensitive to nitrates, even the food-based ones. So once again it comes down to reading the ingredient panel and knowing what’s in what you are eating.

Symptoms of allergy or sensitivity

The symptoms of nitrate sensitivity include headaches, sinus issues, stuffy nose, sneezing, runny nose, itching, hives, or asthma. It can be difficult to pick out if it’s specifically due to nitrates as these symptoms can be found with other ingredients as well.

If you think you are sensitive you can check with a doctor for an allergy test. You can also do an elimination diet and avoid all sources of nitrates. Those added to the food, as well as the vegetable-based sources listed below. When doing an elimination diet it’s important to keep a food journal so you can closely track your symptoms in relation to the food you are consuming.

Food sources of nitrates

High nitrate vegetable sources include:

  • Beets
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Collard Greens
  • Green beans
  • Lettuce
  • Parsley
  • Radishes
  • Spinach

Plus, when these ingredients are juiced, the longer they sit the more the nitrates convert to nitrites. So if you make juice that includes these kinds of vegetables, it’s best to drink it right away rather than letting it sit.

If you’re looking to consume low nitrate vegetables, these are:

  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Broad Beans
  • Eggplant
  • Garlic
  • Green beans
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Peppers
  • Summer Squash
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Tomatoes

It’s also important to know that industrial fertilizers are high in nitrates. This means that commercially grown crops tend to have higher levels. In other words, the more nitrate-rich the soil they are grown in, the higher the nitrate level in these vegetables.


  • Hord N.G., Conley M.N. (2017) Regulation of Dietary Nitrate and Nitrite: Balancing Essential Physiological Roles with Potential Health Risks. In: Bryan N., Loscalzo J. (eds) Nitrite and Nitrate in Human Health and Disease. Nutrition and Health. Humana Press, Cham.
  • Nothlings, Ute, et al. Meat and Fat Intake as Risk Factors for Pancreatic Cancer: The Multiethnic Cohort Study. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Vol. 97, No. 19. October 5, 2005.
  • Tong, M, et al. Nitrosamine Exposure Causes Insulin Resistance Diseases: Relevance to Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis, and Alzheimer’s Disease. J Alzheimers Dis. 2009; 17(4): 827–844.

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