Can B-Vitamins help with stress, depression and anxiety?


I have been working in healthcare for over 15 years and have been watching the growing trend of doctors prescribing more anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications to sick individuals whose systems are already taxed and processing too many chemicals. A more holistic treatment for stress, anxiety and depression in the initial stages could be the use of a B-complex vitamin. It seems the demands and stress of everyday life whether you work or not can result in less than optimum levels of B-Vitamins.
As a working mother, I routinely will work greater than 10 hours a day, I like to always be my best around by family but this past month my works demands increased and I found myself more spent at the end of the day. I did some research and found that often times being deficient in B-vitamins has been related to more feelings of depression and anxiety. A meta-analysis completed by Long SJ, Benton D. titled “Effects of vitamin and mineral supplementation on stress, mild psychiatric symptoms, and mood in nonclinical samples: A meta-analysis” published in 2013 found that B-vitamin supplementation was observed to help with improve mood and feelings of stress diminished.
Starting today I will be taking a supplement from Solaray called B-stress AM, which is a two-stage timed release B-complex vitamin. My goal for July is to be more present and less stressed at home. I would also like to not drink any coffee this month and evaluate how I feel at the end of this month. Along with taking this supplement I will be increasing my meditation practice frequency and duration. I am hopeful that July 2016 will be a month full of positive changes!


Grow your own vegetables-Raised bed gardening

0517160739I have been gardening for as long as I can remember, as a kid I grew up on a farm and we always had a garden. My grandparents farmed vegetables on 20 acres and sold them at farmer’s markets. I worked for my grandparents during many summers thru my middle school and high school years. I enjoying being outdoors tending the vegetable crops, harvesting, selling the produce and interacting with the customers at the farmer’s market. One of the many reasons I love living in Napa is the climate and the ability to grow an array of fruits and vegetables on our property. This year I planted vegetable seeds in raised beds that I filled will a mixture of compost and perlite. Wow! I am in disbelief at how well all of the plants are doing and the amount of vegetables I have been able to harvest. The beds are 4 feet by 6 feet and 1 foot deep. Made with untreated wood and metal screens in the bottom to keep out gophers etc. I have salad greens, rutabagas and green beans in one of the beds. The other bed I planted tomatoes, zucchini and pumpkin plants. I highly recommend gardening in raised beds if you have been frustrated by lack luster plants and harvests from flat earth gardening. Growing your own food is empowering and fresh vegetables are delicious and have a higher nutrient content then store bought vegetables that may have been picked weeks before arriving at a grocery store.

Fiber Rich Vegan and Gluten Free Buckwheat Waffles


I like to make double batches of pancakes or waffles early on Saturday mornings and freeze the remaining waffles and pancakes for use on busier weekday mornings. I love trying different flavors and always try to increase the fiber content by adding flaxseed meal, chia or hemp seeds. The family gets to wake up to fresh made waffles, such a nice way to start a Saturday!



  • 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup buckwheat flour
  • ½ cup garbanzo bean flour
  • 2 tablespoon ground flaxseed (flax meal)
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of xantham gum
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pink himalayan salt
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup, agave nectar or honey
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 1/2 cups to 3 cups of almond, rice or hemp milk (vanilla flavor is an option)
  • 2 tablespoons of hemp or chia seeds
  • Non-stick spray, or melted coconut oil


  1. Spray waffle iron with non-stick spray or brush melted coconut oil with a heat tolerant pastry brush.
  2. Mix the flaxseed meal with 6 tablespoons of warm water and let sit for 10 minutes to thicken.
  3. Turn on the waffle iron and set at desired heat.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the flour, flax meal, baking powder, xantham gum, cinnamon, salt and chia or hemp seeds.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the maple syrup, agave or honey, vanilla, applesauce, and non-dairy milk. Slowly mix half of the liquid into the dry ingredients, stirring continuously, and the rest 1/2 cup at time, mix in more non-dairy milk to desired thickness. Mix until no lumps remain.
  6. On your griddle, begin to cook the waffle, depending on the type of waffle iron you have either a ¼ to a ½ of a cup in the section of the iron at time.
  7. Follow the directions for the waffle iron, mine beeps when the waffles are done.
  8. Remove from the iron, and serve.
  9. Repeat with remaining batter, spray the iron with more non-stick spray or brush with melted coconut oil in between batches or as needed.
  10. Toppings can include: butter with warm maple syrup, butter and jam, almond butter and mini chocolate chips. Enjoy!


10 Amazing Benefits of Eating a Plant Based Diet


Want to look and feel better?  Try going plant based or vegan! Start slow and see how you feel, even a few days of week of not eating animal products may have positive benefits. Cut out the processed foods and animal products to see results that many pay thousands of dollars for that are usually just temporary. Following a doctor-approved exercise routine along with plant based diet often gets better results.

  1. Weight Loss. By cutting down on calories from saturated and other sources of fat you can lose weight. Fill up instead on vegetables, whole grains and fruit.
  2. More Energy. I have experienced this myself, a huge increase in energy, improving my ability to function at my full time job and take care of my family.
  3. Better Skin. Many vegans just glow with health. All of the increased consumption in vegetables and fruits can be anti-inflammatory. I have had so many compliments on my skin since going vegan and have experienced a drastic decrease in breakouts.
  4. Decreased body odor. Meat and other animal products have compounds in them that when digested can be difficult for your body to eliminate. Many people find going vegan means a decrease in body odor. Havlicek, Jan and Pavlina Lenochova “The Effect of Meat Consumption on Body Odor Attractiveness” Chemical Senses Volume 31, Issue 8 Pp. 747-752
  5. Better health. A recent study conducted by the Preventive Medicine Research Institute and the University of California, San Francisco, found that healthy lifestyle choices, such as eating a primarily plant-based diet, can help rejuvenate cells and can lead to less illness and disease.
  6. Improved Mood. Although Omega 3s are known to improve mood, when one’s diet is high in Omega 6s(present in red meat) just taking fish oil will not counteract the effects of the high Omega 6 intake. There are plenty of vegan Omega 3 sources available including flax seed oil. A study by Beezhold includes that the high anti-oxidant content of diets not including meat might also have a protective effect by reducing oxidative stress that can decrease mood.
  7. Better Hair. Eating Vegan diet that includes foods such as avocados, chia seeds, almonds, kale, cucumbers, acai, almond milk, walnuts and tahini can help improve hair health. These and other plant foods are high in micronutrients and fatty acids that can help increase the health of hair.
  8. Less allergies. This has been another improvement I have personally experienced. No more seasonal allergies! It has been amazing! During an allergic reaction a chemical called leuko triene is released. The presence of arachidonic acid which is a fatty acid found exclusively in animal products can influence the production of leukotrienes.
  9. Decreased PMS. Eating a vegan diet can help decrease the levels of estrogen in a woman’s body. If meat is eliminated, fat is limited; the diet consists of high-fiber vegetables, fruits and whole grains PMS symptoms can be improved. This comes about due to fibers ability to bind and help dispose of excess estrogen. There is no fiber in animal products and if a woman’s diet is low in plants this can result in increased estrogen and PMS symptoms.Another amazing benefit-I no longer have any PMS and it’s life as usual month after month. No more debilitating PMS symptoms!
  10. Improved exercise performance and recovery. During exercise oxidative stress and inflammation is increased. Plant foods, especially dark green leafy vegetables contain high levels of antioxidants that and help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation.


Disclaimer: This information does not guarantee success and the results may vary.

SuperFood Kale-a-mole Dip


We’re having a heat-wave in Napa this week, it got up to 95 degrees yesterday! I made this to go with some veggie bean enchiladas. I had kale and avocados from my veggie box to use. This was a great addition to dinner and we ate outside as it cooled down in the evening. I like to kick up the nutrition in dips by adding super foods, this time Spirulina!


4 kale leaves, stem removed and finely chopped

2 medium avocados

juice of 1 small lime

1 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 red onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)

1 jalapeno, cored and finely chopped

½ cup cilantro, finely chopped

1 tsp. spirulina powder

1 roma tomato, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons of lemon juice


  1. I like to use the food processor when I make dips. I put the garlic, cilantro, jalapeno, onion , spirulina and avocado in the food processor along with the kale. Blend until the consistency you like is obtained.
  2. Place the mixture in a bowl, stir in the salt, chopped tomatoes and lemon juice. Stir until everything is well-combined then serve.
  3. Eat right away or store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days covered in plastic wrap-on surface of the dip.
  4. spir

Conserve water by eating more vegan food

Making steps to decrease our reliance on animal agriculture can help the drought situation in the western states in particular. The research is clear that large amounts of water are needed to support the amount of animals raised for food. Growing one pound of plant food takes 200 times less water than it takes to produce a pound of beef. Livestock are a major source of environmental pollutants that impact the water supplies nationwide. Animal agriculture water consumption ranges from 34-76 trillion gallons annually. Growing feed crops for livestock consumes 56% of water in the US. Californians use 1500 gallons of water per person per day. Close to Half is associated with meat and dairy products. To get the references for this data and learn more about the impact of animal agriculture visit:

The world would be a better place if we replaced the fields of animals destined for pain and suffering in the slaughterhouse with fields of beautiful vibrant plants!bean_field

Ethical Decision Making in Healthcare

Working in healthcare is very rewarding, I enjoy making a difference in the lives of others. It’s important to always make ethical choices and treat others how you would want to be treated.  Managers and supervisors should take this to heart as they are seen as an authority and their actions can reflect on an entire team or organization. A healthy work society includes managers that are advocates for both the patients and the employees they oversee. By advocating for their employees managers can empower their employees, increasing their abilities to help the patients they care for. Working in healthcare can be stressful and effective management can help mitigate some of it. An effective healthcare professional has empathy for each patient and responds to that individual as a person.


Crush Negativity

Taking a proactive approach when negative thoughts arise can help before they spiral out of control. Practice identifying when you have negative self-talk or when you replay negative words or actions brought about by others. When negativity arises crush it! Using an image such as crushing the negativity with your hand, stomping it with your foot or whatever works for you. This life is too precious to waste time dwelling on the negative. Replace the negative with positive thoughts and affirmations. A great website with 100 positive affirmations depending on the negative situation you are facing can be found at:

Finding more Light

I found this quote inspiring after reflecting on the reactions from my family members on the choices I am making regarding choosing to eat less meat. I will continue to act and make choices to bring more light and love into my life and the lives of all I come into contact with!

“Retaining critical intelligence is essential. If others dislike hearing the results of critical intelligence and become angry themselves, that is their issue. We should not suppress our own insight, expressed rationally and without rancor, because others become upset and don’t want to hear unpleasant information”.

—Rita M. Gross, The Man-made Obstacle


Vegan Chickpea and Kale Sautẽ Lasagna

By using a chickpeas and making a puree, this gives the dish a savory protein boost.

• 1- 9 to 10 ounce box of gluten free lasagna noodles.
• 2 tsp. of olive oil
• 1 -24 oz. jar of pasta sauce
• 10 oz. pkg. of vegan mozzarella cheese, shredded

Kale Layer
• 2 tsp. olive oil
• 1 medium onions, chopped (1/2 cup)
• 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.)
• 1/3 cup of vegetable broth
• 1 bunch of fresh kale

Garbanzo Bean Layer
• 15 oz. can of garbanzo beans, drained
• ¼ cup of water
• ½ tsp. of salt
• 2 Tablespoons of tahini
• ¼ cup nutritional yeast
• 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice

1. Prepare the Lasagna noodles according to package directions. If boiling is needed toss the cooked noodles with 2 tsp. of olive oil set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat 2 tsp. oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté onions and garlic in oil 4 to 5 minutes, or until golden. Add kale and vegetable broth, and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until wilted.
3. Open and drain the can of garbanzo beans, add to food processor, along with the salt, tahini, lemon juice and water. Purée until mixture is thick and smooth.
4. Spread one-third of the pasta sauce on the bottom of a 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Cover with one-third of noodles (4 or 5 noodles), then half of the garbanzo bean puree, half of the kale saute, and sprinkle with one third of the shredded cheese. Repeat layers one more time. Top with remaining sauce and shredded cheese.
5. Cover lasagna with foil. This can be make up to a day ahead and refrigerated before being baked for 30 minutes, or until bubbling hot. Uncover, and bake 15 to 20 minutes more, or until noodles are tender and topping is melted. Remove from oven, and let stand 10 minutes before serving.