Top 3 Foods That Flunk Your Age


When it comes to aging, you really are what you eat!  It’s summertime and many of us are using sunscreen to protect ourselves from UVA and UVB rays that not only damage our skin, but can also age our skin.  But, did you know that there are foods that can age your body just as much as too much sun exposure?

 Take my 30 Day Anti-Aging Challenge below after you read about aging foods vs. anti-aging foods.

The Top 3 Foods that Flunk Your Age and get an F- grade are: Fast Foods, Fake Foods and Fried Foods.

Whopper hamburger1.  Fast foods: ex. Big Mac, Filet-O-Fish, Quarter Pounder, French Fries, Icy Coke, Thick Shakes, Sundaes, and Apple Pie.  Most all fast food contains excess t rans fats that make skin look stiff and inflexible, and ultimately, wrinkled.  Trans fats also age you on the inside.  They increase your risk of heart disease and stroke and are linked to higher risks of developing Type 2 diabetes.  The Institute of Medicine determined that there is NO safe consumption of trans fatty acids.


Hot Dogs in packages2.  Fake foods: ex. Hot Dogs and Deli Cold Cuts….”Don’t make it your way!” at Subway:  Sulfites that preserve processed and fake meats are pro-inflammatory and can cause rosacea and make skin look pasty and jaundiced colored.  Processed meats are usually high in saturated fats and have nitrates in them.  Both of those can lead to inflammation.  *Remember, we always want to nourish our bodies with ANTI-inflammatory foods, not pro-inflammatory foods.

MarshmallowsOther Fake foods that age our bodies:  Bottled lemonade and sugary beverages like soda, processed foods in boxes, cans and freezer bags, corn dogs, cotton candy, candy apples, cheese puffs, and marshmallows for smores.  Many of these items contain high amounts of sugar or sugar substitutes.  Sugar, which is linked to inflammation, aids in wrinkle production, but it also affects your overall health because it is tied to heart disease and diabetes.

Fried chicken3.  Fried foods: ex. Fried Chicken, Potato Chips and French Fries.  These foods contain trans fats that clog and stiffen the arteries and small blood vessels and make skin look old.  Anything that’s deep-fried in oil can add to inflammation throughout your body.  Trans fats raise LDL “bad” cholesterol and lower HDL “good” cholesterol.  When reading food labels, avoid products that include “partially hydrogenated oils” and “vegetable shortening.”

French Fries from McD'sThese foods do not “pass” when it comes to nourishing our bodies.  They “fail” our bodies and age us faster, and they are abundant during the summertime at cookouts, barbecues, camp outs, pool parties and at the beach.  This season, you’ll find lots of food trucks and food vendors serving many of these “F-“ foods, too.

The GOOD NEWS is that there are some incredible A+ Anti-Aging foods that are anti-inflammatory, that keep us looking younger and help to slow the aging process.

1.  Hydrating water:  Clean, filtered water.  How much easier can it be?  I love adding citrus (lemons, limes and oranges) and fresh herbs (mint, basil) and even cucumbers in my filtered water for a naturally sweet and beautifully flavored hydration drink.  I feel like I am at the spa when I drink this water!  Water detoxifies and hydrates your skin.  It helps your liver clean out impurities in your body and therefore, cleans out your skin.  Be sure to drink 1/2 of your body weight in ounces of water every day.  Get creative here!  I’ve even added berries to my water, and the flavor is amazing!

My favorite water purifier is Shaklee’s Get Clean Water System because it reduces 56 contaminants, including lead, for great tasting clean water.

Wildtree Organic Coconut Oil2.  Coconut Oil:

  • Rich in medium chain fatty acids which are smaller and easily digested. It is immediately converted to energy instead of being stored as fat. Stimulates our metabolisms and aids in the right kind of weight loss.
  • Contains antibacterial and anti-fungal properties at help skin heal, plus it is rich in antioxidants and vitamins that make our skin healthier and more supple.
  • It’s a natural moisturizer to prevent dryness that is often caused by vitamin deficiencies (or too much sugar).
  • The emollient in coconut oil reduces wrinkling and makes skin softer.
  • Can eliminate free radicals that age skin. Great for hair and nails, too by adding moisture and antioxidants/vitamins that they are lacking.  
  • Is a natural antiseptic that prevents bacteria from damaging your skin and causing wrinkles.  
  • Removes dead skin cells and helps with elasticity of skin.

WildTree just came out with an Organic Coconut Oil that retails around $9 per container, and my friend Jenny Paquette can answer any questions you have about it:

NeriumAD_Day-and-Night-Cream-706x1024NeriumAD Age-Defying Treatment Creams: A friend of mine, Liz Panepinto, recently introduced me to this skincare line that is rooted in nature, science and high-impact ingredients. The day and night creams have powerful antioxidant properties that help reduce signs of aging. I like this line because it is a plant-based cream and is gluten free and paraben free. I love finding skin care products that are more pure than many of the skin care products that promise to keep you looking younger, but contain harmful ingredients.

Another interesting face is that NeriumAD was originally developed as a natural cure for skin cancer, but was then recognized for fixing wrinkles, fine lines, enlarged pores, brown spots and sun damage. You can find out more about Nerium AD here:  Contact Liz with any questions:

3.  Superfoods, Resveratrol and Black Tea/Green Tea:

superfoodsBy now, most all of you have heard about Superfoods.  I have my top 10 favorite superfoods, but there are at least 50 available to us.  Superfoods are foods with purpose that nourish our bodies.  They are nutrient dense, hard-working foods that are full of antioxidants and support our organs and immune systems.  This makes them anti-aging, plus you will feel younger eating them!

For ex. Blueberries not only have flavonoids that are excellent for memory, but they also have a high water content that makes them hydrating to your skin and to your cells. Plus, they are anti-inflammatory.

Here are my top 10 favorite superfoods:
Goji Berries
Bell Peppers
Dark Chocolate

Vivix bottleWhat is Resveratrol?
Resveratrol is polyphenol that has antioxidant properties which protect the body against the kind of damage that is linked to increased risk for conditions such as cancer and heart disease.  Resveratrol is found in the skin of red grapes and in red wine, but other sources include peanuts and berries.  It helps reduce inflammation.

One really great source of resveratrol is Vivix from Shaklee.  Only Vivix contains both resveratrol and a proprietary phytonutrient blend.  This patented phytonutrient blend harnesses the powerful antioxidant properties of rare muscadine grapes and has been shown to be 10X more powerful than resveratrol alone in slowing a key mechanism of cellular aging.

Check out this video that explains how Vivix works:

Numi Organic Tea Emperor blendBlack tea and green tea
Black and green teas contain polyphenols that are plant-based nutrients with antioxidant benefits to help protect against cellular aging.  I have to tell you about my favorite Black Tea!  It’s called Numi Organic Tea.  Not only is it Non-GMO, but the taste is unbelievable.  I usually steep my Numi Emperors Puera tea and then add a little almond milk and a few drops of vanilla stevia.  This tea is so comforting!

Take my 30 Day Anti-Aging Challenge!
I challenge you today to do a self-motivated, anti-aging challenge for 30 days by swapping out the foods I mentioned above. All you need is a camera phone and a journal. Start whenever you are ready. Use the information in this blog to choose healthy, anti-aging food choices. Journal how your skin, hair and nails look and how much energy you have. Take a “selfie” each time you journal so you can capture how you are progressing. Share this with those you love and encourage them to try this challenge. SHARE your progress with me on my Facebook page (360yourlife), in the comments below, or email me at

I can’t wait to hear from you and to see your progress!

Other great resources to learn from:
Understanding Cellular Aging
How Fast Are You Aging?
Slow Your Aging

Dairy Sensitive?

Are you dairy sensitive, or do you suspect that you are?  Dairy sensitivities are on the rise, and it may not be lactose intolerance that is causing the problem.  Also, the price of milk is increasing up to $0.60 per gallon this month, so people are considering other non-dairy options.

According to the USDA, 87% of Americans drink at least one glass of milk per day to get calcium and Vitamin D. When it comes to dairy products and even dairy alternatives, it can be confusing when trying to make the right choice for you and your family. When choosing milk or other dairy products, along with dairy alternatives, it is always best to choose the least processed option available.  For dairy, choosing full-fat, pasteurized, non-homogenized products from grass-fed cattle are the best options because they are free of antibiotics, hormones, and artificial ingredients or sweeteners. [Read more...]

A Deeper Look at Dairy

Let’s take a deeper look into cow’s dairy.

Regular commercial milk can be found in whole fat, low-fat and non-fat varieties, and they are either organically or conventionally made.  However, some of these milks are labeled “with no hormones” when they are actually just “reconstituted milk-flavored beverages.”  Sweeteners like sugar or artificial sweeteners like Aspartame are being used in commercial milk to flavor the milks to make them more palatable.  Plus a new concept is underway:  Bubble Gum flavored milk.  Seriously?  Did you know that one 8oz. glass of milk contains 13 grams of sugar?  That is 3 more grams than a Krispy Kreme donut!  If the RDA (recommended daily allowance) of milk is 3.5 cups per day, think of how much sugar and artificial ingredients you are consuming. [Read more...]

Healthy Holiday Recipe Night

Brooke with Mothers at Healthy Holiday Recipe Night

Healthy Holiday Recipe Night

This week, I had the pleasure of hosting some wonderful moms at my home for a healthy holiday recipe night!  I made healthy versions of brownies, fudge, granola, cookies, icing and whip cream!

Four year ago, I started the Wellness Committee and Healthy Lunch Initiative at my kids’ school, and today this committee has grown leaps and bounds and is now called the FAN (Fitness And Nutrition) Committee!   I am so thankful for the people in this group who have pushed through and continue to have the same vision of a healthier generation and school!  I love what I get to do and the people I get to share it with!  Here are pictures of the holiday treats we made along with the links to the recipes. :)  Enjoy! [Read more...]

The Thomas’ Top 3 Favorite Fall Comfort Foods

Brooke with Reagan and Riley at the Pumpkin Patch

At the pumpkin patch with my girls after hiking Grandfather Mountain

We all love Fall, right? Or is it just me? I love the changing of the weather and the leaves. I grew up in Florida where I really didn’t get to see Fall the way the beautiful colors and leaves change here in North Carolina. This is one of the reasons I love living here so much!  When the weather starts to change and become crisp or even on rainy days when the  leaves are so full of color, all I want to do is cook comfort foods and turn on the fire. I always want my comfort foods to warm the heart and soul, and of course be healthy! [Read more...]

Wonderfully Raw Coco-Roons

Wonderfully Raw Coco-Roons CEO and Macaroon Maven, Sequoia Cheney and Brooke at the Natural Products Expo East

Wonderfully Raw Coco-Roons CEO and Macaroon Maven, Sequoia Cheney and Brooke at the Natural Products Expo East

I get so excited when I hear about companies that are founded by passionate people with a desire to create products that not only taste incredible, but are helping to build health in our bodies.  While at the Natural Products Expo East in September 2013, I had the pleasure of meeting Sequoia Cheney, CEO and Macaroon Maven, of Wonderfully Raw Coco-Roons.  This women is amazing!   She has given so much of herself to others through the arts and through holistic healing. Always passionate about food (and maybe not always the healthiest food), Sequoia found herself in a health crisis when she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.  She knew she had to make some serious changes to heal herself. [Read more...]

Healthy Grab-N-Go Snacks for my Girls

Brooke with Back to Nature's Anthony Raucci, SVP of Sales and Mike McVey, Director of Sales - East

Brooke with Back to Nature’s Anthony Raucci, SVP of Sales and Mike McVey, Director of Sales – East

I’ve been a fan of Back to Nature snacks for a while now.  My girls loves their whole grain cookies, crackers and trail mixes.  I like that I can pour Back to Nature snacks in a bowls, and my daughter’s friends never know that they are eating healthy snacks.

I was able to meet Anthony Raucci, SVP of Sales and Mike McVey, Director of Sales – East from Back to Nature, and we had a very thorough conversation about their products, packaging and upcoming product offerings.  I suggested they try to make more nut-free seed mixes for children with nut allergies. [Read more...]

Gluten-Free Supergrain Quinoa Pasta

Brooke with Constance Roark, MS RDN and Manager of Brand Strategy and Nutritional Marketing at Ancient Harvest

Brooke with Constance Roark, MS RDN and Manager of Brand Strategy and Nutritional Marketing at Ancient Harvest

Ancient Harvest organic corn-quinoa pastas are a staple in my home!  We love how they taste, plus they are Non-GMO, organic, Kosher, and certified Gluten-Free!  I met Constance Roark, Manager of Brand Strategy and Nutritional Marketing for Ancient Harvest, at the Natural Products Expo East in September 2013.  Constance explained how Ancient Harvest has been sourcing their ingredients from the same trusted Bolivian farmer for 30 years, so I feel really good about having this product in my pantry. [Read more...]

Happy Family Organic Superfoods

Happy Familys SE Regional Sales Manager, Sunny Hunt with Brooke at the Natural Products Expo East

Happy Family’s SE Regional Sales Manager, Sunny Hunt with Brooke at the Natural Products Expo East

Moms everywhere can get excited about Happy Family Organic Superfoods for children!  I met with Sunny Hunt, SE Regional Sales Manager at Happy Family Organic Superfoods when I went to the Natural Products Expo East in September 2013.  I asked Sunny detailed questions about their products, and I also found out their story. [Read more...]

Gluten and Dairy Free Fruit and Nut Butters

Kolat and BrookeSeveral of my recipes on 360YourLife include almond butter, and I even love eating it plain.  I recently found an incredible company that makes the most delicious almond butter infusions!  Kolat Superfood Fusions makes almond butter with a kick.  They infuse flavors like cherry and vanilla, blueberry and cinnamon, dark chocolate and coconut, and espresso and hazelnut to make some of the most delicious nut butters I have ever tasted!  I was pleased to meet the Founder and CEO of Kolat, Jess Goldstein, at the Natural Products Expo East in September 2013. [Read more...]

“Neat” Vegan Meat Replacement

Sometimes I think I’ve seen it all, and then a product like Neat comes along and I am blown away!  At the Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore, I met an insanely smart young couple, who out of a need to find other vegan food options for their family, experimented and came up with an all natural, gluten free vegetarian meat replacement made out of pecans, beans and organic cornmeal.  It is the first shelf-stable meat replacement on the market. [Read more...]

Diet POP! Gourmet Flavored Popcorn

Brooke with Tony Little with Diet Pop! Popcorn

Wow!  I was fortunate enough to meet America’s Personal Trainer, Tony Little at the Natural Products Expo East in September 2013! Tony is such a nice person, and guys, he STILL HAS IT!!!

Tony is still very focused on healthy living, and he’s teamed up with David Israel, the founder of POP! Gourmet Popcorn, to create a new popcorn called Diet Pop! This popcorn is NON-GMO, Gluten Free, Kosher and air popped with zero trans fats or cholesterol.  It comes in two flavors:  White Truffle (Yum!) and Sunflower Oil and Sea Salt.  Perfect for a light, healthy snack. Oprah loves POP! Gourmet Popcorn, and she listed the White Truffle Bliss as her favorite in O, The Oprah Magazine in Feb. 2012. [Read more...]

“Simple Squares” of Goodness

I love the simple, uncomplicated, grab-and-go, whole food snacks made by Simple Squares.  Nuts.  Honey. Vanilla.  Sea Salt.  Herbs.  Just 5 ingredients – that’s it!  Simple!

Brooke with Simple Squares founder Kimberly Crupi Dobbins

Brooke with Simple Squares founder Kimberly Crupi Dobbins

Kimberly Crupi Dobbins, founder and “chief square” of Simple Squares, created flavorful organic snack bars that are savory and sweet and infused with herbs and honey for a uniquely satisfying treat.  I was able to meet and talk with Kimberly at the Natural Products Expo East in September 2013, and she is not only adorable, but she is passionate about changing grab-and-go snacking from processed with preservatives to whole foods. [Read more...]

Food for Life, my favorite breads and tortillas

Ezekiel Bread image Genesis Bread image I love Ezekiel 4:9 and Genesis 1:29 sprouted grain breads because the products are developed based on Bible verses that remind us that we were made to eat bread that was whole and pure, not processed.  I can trust the ingredients in these products because Food for Life, the baking company that makes Genesis and Ezekiel breads, won’t use any GMOs (genetically modified organisms), preservatives, shortenings or refined sugars. [Read more...]

Grab-N-Go Quinoa Energy Bites

eat Keenwa Krunch pic

What an incredible idea to take quinoa and turn it into a healthy, satisfying energy bite! I got to meet the founders of eat Keenwa Krunch, Paul and Blake Niemann at the Natural Products Expo East in Sept. 2013.  These brothers were always very active in outdoor sports.  They loved how quinoa made them feel during their workouts and everyday activities, and they wanted to take their quinoa with them wherever they went.  So, they created a portable, easy-to-eat snack for people with busy lifestyles who also want to eat healthy.  Their products are designed to give you great energy and power your spirit without eating preservatives or “junk”.  The brothers also have their own social mission called The Keenwa Cause where they donate resources to fight against world hunger and to support the development of quinoa as a sustainable crop.  Love these guys! [Read more...]

Raw, Organic Foods from Around the World!

Earth Circle Organics - Brooke and Seth Dresser2

Brooke with Seth Dressel from Earth Circle Organics

I am in LOVE with this company!  When I went to the Natural Products Expo East, I had the pleasure of meeting the awesome people at Earth Circle Organics, a raw and organic food company that sources its products from all over the world.  I especially loved their chocolate that comes from Bali! [Read more...]

Bean Chips for Healthy Snacking

Creamy Cado Dip with Beanitos Black Bean Chips

Creamy Cado Dip with Beanitos Black Bean Chips

During my Charlotte Today segment called “Healthy Halloween Treats”, I displayed Beanitos black bean chips along with my Creamy Cado Dip inside of an orange bell pepper. These chips are SO delicious, and they were the perfect compliment to my dip!!!  The crew at Charlotte Today fell in love with Beanitos Black Bean Chips. [Read more...]

Easy Tips to Make Healthier Lunches for Kids

This blog was part of an NBC Charlotte Today segment. View the segment using the link below.
NBC Charlotte Today Segment


My girls are starting school tomorrow, so I am back at coming up with creative ways to make their lunches healthy. As an advocate for childhood obesity, I have been heavily involved in the education on healthier lunches and even started a healthy lunch program at my kids’ school. Also, to make YOUR life easier I created 360YourLunchBox,  a month of creative and healthy lunch ideas for kids. You can purchase the book here or download your copy for a special sale price of $4.99 here. [Read more...]

Should I Go Gluten-Free?

Gluten-Free is such a hot topic these days that it can be confusing as to whether you actually NEED to go gluten-free or not. Hopefully this blog post can answer some of the questions that you may have about gluten and eating gluten-free.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture.

Why eat Gluten Free?

The most common reason would be if you or someone you know is suffering from Celiac Disease. Another reason to go gluten free would be the fact that glutinous grains can cause inflammation. Inflammation can lead to disease, illness, and promotion of cancer growth. Many people experience stomach ache or bloating after eating gluten – this is often caused by the immediate inflammation. [Read more...]

Got Hemp?

hemp-crop-close-photoWhen you hear the word hemp you probably think of hippies and even those hemp necklaces that were popular back in the 90s. However, hemp is an excellent source of nutrients and is becoming more popular as we learn more about its nutritious punch. Hemp seeds can be used in cereals, salads, baked goods, smoothies, and even to make dairy-free milk. While the products are made from the seeds of the same Cannabis sativa L plant that produces marijuana, they do not contain any THC – the psychoactive element of marijuana. [Read more...]

Nature’s Clues to Nutrition





Nature gives us the biggest clues when it comes to using nutrition for optimal health. Food can be healing and nourishing to our bodies. It is truly amazing when you look at certain foods and see how they resemble our body parts. I am thrilled to share this with you because when I discovered this, it made choosing a healthy life more simple and exciting! [Read more...]

Flip the Food Pyramid for Optimal Health

In all of my presentations, I like to address where we are as a nation. More specifically, the Standard American Diet (SAD) reality. The reality is that two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese and childhood obesity has tripled over the past 30 years despite the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) attempt to create a food pyramid used to generate a sense of healthy eating. Our agricultural system has spawned a food system that promotes cheap food that lacks nutrients and is full of ingredients that have caused obesity rates to rise rapidly. Many American’s think they’re eating healthy because they’re following this pyramid, most people probably are not aware of that there is no link between agricultural subsidies and nutrition. [Read more...]

Power Pregnancy Foods


Expectant mothers need many vitamins and nutrients throughout the entire pregnancy to support the baby’s development and to sustain the changes that the mother endures too. I understand the “grab-n-go” lifestyle doesn’t go away just because you’re pregnant, so I wanted to give busy pregnant mom’s some foods that are healthy AND easy. Many of the foods listed below contain high amounts of protein, folic acid, and good fat which are all essential for the baby’s development, especially brain and nervous system development. Also, as the uterus grows, the back, abdominal, and hip muscles are forced to stretch in new ways, so the mother needs to be sure to get adequate protein to help the muscles repair and heal. [Read more...]

7 Super Easy Swap-Outs

One of the many things I love to share about living a healthier life is that you don’t have to give up your favorite foods! I love finding great alternatives to the food that may not be the best for me, but I LOVE to eat! So, I decided to share with you my top 7 Super Easy Swap-Outs! Summer is coming, so this is the perfect time to slim down and get serious about bathing suit season and just living a healthier life! Enjoy these foods and let me know how you like them!

[Read more...]