Archive for tag: food

Super Snacks for a Super Game

Well, this past week saw our first round of quizzes, cases and a paper. Midterms will happen in a couple of weeks. Among the research and study, I was left with the conundrum of snacks that would fit within my whole foods definition for the Super Bowl this past weekend. So, some friends and I put our minds to finding things that would "fit the bill" for whole food ingredients and be pretty tasty at the same time! 

Here is what we came up with for the party. These recipes were developed with a bit of ingenuity, emptying the cupboards, and a quick run to the grocery store. With time and money, I'm certain we could have come up with vegetarian, dairy-free or even vegan options. We are on a budget, and combined available ingredients to come up with something healthy and inexpensive. Hope you enjoy!

Pulled Pork (or Beef) Crockpot Style
Courtesy of Lauren
Serves 8


  • 2.5 lbs. (pasture-raised/organic, pork center loin or beef center loin)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup freshly brewed coffee
  • 12 oz. can organic tomato sauce (tomatoes and water)
  • 8 oz. can organic tomato paste (tomatoes and water)
  • 8 oz. can organic chipotle peppers (peppers, water, salt)
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup black strap molasses
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup organic apple cider vinegar
  • 4 Tablespoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
  • Hot pepper (to taste)


  1. Trim the fat from the meat and place the meat into the crockpot with water.
  2. Cook the meat in the slow cooker until ready to pull apart.
  3. Pull apart the meat and add back to the water remaining in the crockpot.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and any additional water as needed, mix.
  5. Cook until ready (or game-time!)


Spinach Artichoke Dip
Courtesy of Mike
Serves 8


  • 2-8 oz. packages organic cream cheese
  • 2-16 oz. containers of Greek yogurt
  • 8 ozs. organic baby spinach (fresh or frozen)
  • 16 oz. artichoke hearts (packed in water)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Steam the spinach.
  2. Rinse the artichoke hearts.
  3. Chop the spinach into small pieces.
  4. Dice the artichoke hearts.
  5. Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  6. Chill to serve or heat and serve warm…or both!
  7. ENJOY with your favorite organic corn, sweet potato or veggie chip!

We were able to combine individual ingredients that we had in our cupboards along with some meat in the freezer and a quick trip to the store for cream cheese and chips. Then, we put together a pretty nice and filling meal for the game (along with a side salad) and a dip to snack upon while we waited for the power at the Super Dome to be restored.

The whole foods plan is starting to come together. With a bit of creativity, imagination and prep work, putting together some great tasting grub for the big game was a breeze! Now to work on a more balanced veggie menu in the coming weeks before spring. We can talk about that and some of the financial challenges of attending naturopathic medical school and strategies for current and future financial needs.


In the meantime, here's a pic that with a view I really enjoyed after a workout this past weekend in our gym. The sculpture is of a healer's hands with a backdrop of Janse Pond underneath our first true snowfall in over a year (that's right)!

Talk to you next week!

Back Down to Business

The "whole foods" diet is going well. I had one hiccup this past week while making a gluten-free pizza recipe. The pizza crust mix that I purchased, while gluten free, had 11 ingredients rather than my specified five. While all of the mix's ingredients were types of flour or simply salt, I did surpass the allowable number of ingredients. The cost to purchase all the flours involved would have been enormous compared to the mix. The cost difference was roughly $40 for the ingredients separately and $5 for the pre-packaged mix.

I may have to submit a request to my "local panel of judges" to determine cost vs. "letter of the law" with regard to the five-ingredient rule. I'm beginning to feel that as long as the ingredients are something I would put together myself, without having to purchase them in bulk on a student's budget, the point should be to eat healthier foods. My intent is to become healthier, not develop into a zealot in any undertaking, especially when working toward a healthier life and lifestyle for the long term.

Mortor and pestle
© National University of Health Sciences

Classes have become more exciting as the trimester has started rolling. In our Advanced Botanical Prescribing class, we have been working on developing synergistic botanical formulas whose chemical constituents can function together and increase the efficacy of both botanicals (or more) depending upon the condition being treated. I'm certainly happy I opted to take the Special Topics in Botanical Medicine class offered last summer as the formulations, interactions, contraindications and application of the botanicals is starting to come together and make perfect sense in application.

We have started building a website for our future practices in our Practice Management/Jurisprudence class. We spend a portion of each class on preparing and building a future marketing strategy for our practices. The strategies include electronic media, outreach programs to the community, affiliation with other practices and modalities, as well as the costs involved with each method. On the jurisprudence side, we are learning about how to document a visit, secure the information and maintain each patient's file in a secure location, whether electronic- or paper-based. The guidelines for safeguarding patient information under the auspices of HIPAA, or Health Information Privacy and Accountability Act, are taken seriously and taught with close attention to detail at NUHS. I'm happy to have that education provided here rather than learn a hard lesson later as a doctor. The real world application of the business side of medical practice is one of many clinical assets provided here at NUHS.

Well, I'll get back to work on this botanical formula and finish up a quick case before taking a nice walk this (Monday) afternoon. We are being "blessed?" with 50º weather after a nice ice storm last night. The Chicago winters for the last two years have been much more "squeak" than "roar."  I'm not complaining though, my first two winters here were "typical Chicago"...including the blizzard in 2011!

I'll close this week with grateful thanks for the mild winter and a motivating workout partner! A great workout partner makes arriving that much easier!

A Week of Trips

The first week of the new whole foods diet came and went. I'm happy to report that no major catastrophes occurred. Preparing food was a bit more challenging from the aspect of condiments or toppings and such, yet these things are typically not necessary if food is prepared properly and spiced up nicely. 

The first whole foods week started with a trip to the grocery store. Finding products in the store with less than five ingredients and no chemicals is super challenging! I kept saying to myself "Why not bend a little and say eight ingredients," or "Polysorbate 80 isn't so bad, is it?" Yet, when all was said and done I was able to walk out of the store with the components for some tasty and healthy eating. I found my trip was a bit heavy on the meat, fish and nut side this time and not as varied in the veggie department with mostly greens and root vegetables (we are in winter here in Illinois though). I will balance out the veggies and work toward a much more vegetable-centered diet as this thing progresses. This is a positive move both from a resource utilization and healthy benefit from the food source to the table through digestion. 

Here's the recipe for a chicken soup I made for a friend who was under the weather this past week. I made enough for plenty of people in retrospect, as this was a huge batch! I'm not much of a recipe writer so please forgive any "recipe grammar errors." :)

Chicken Soup


  • 3 quarts organic chicken stock
  • 6 organic carrots
  • 2 organic onions
  • 2 pounds organic boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 2 tablespoons organic butter
  • 3 tablespoons thyme (roughly)
  • 2 tablespoons parsley (roughly)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I didn't add any salt) 


  1. Cook the chicken in the oven for about 30 minutes at 400º prior to adding to soup.
  2. Dice the carrots and onions into cubes.
  3. In a BIG stockpot: Add the butter and melt. Add the carrots and onions, sauté for just a few minutes (no more than 10 minutes).
  4. Add the 3 quarts of chicken stock and bring up to temperature (yet not to a boil).
  5. Once the chicken has finished in the oven, dice the chicken and add to the stock.
  6. Add the spices. Simmer the soup for about 30-45 minutes (again without allowing it to heat to the boiling point). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. (Add some baby spinach just a few minutes prior to serving if you like. The spinach will cook up nicely and a bit more texture to the soup.)


Kenosha Trip

Also this past weekend on the spur of the moment, a friend and I took a day trip up to Kenosha to see the sunrise over Lake Michigan and the old Kenosha Southport lighthouse, built in 1866. We decided over coffee to enjoy a rare super bright Midwest winter's day and take in the sun! The sun is beautiful rising over the water; it was mighty cold though!  I'm the tiny person next to the lighthouse in the pic. 


I will talk a bit more about school in the coming weeks. Fortunately, we are still in the lecturing phase and I'm certain the quizzes are coming this week in the majority of our classes. Back to studying and talk to you all again in a week!