A Happy Mistake for Dinner

Parenting is a funny thing. Somedays getting the laundry done is a victory. Other days it seems like a series of fails. Then there are those shining moments when you are able to turn a near-fail into a victory. 

In this case, my mistake led to a new recipe and a happy family dinner(I’ll give you the recipe in just a minute) But that’s not how I thought the story would end.

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As Seen on IvankaTrump.com


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This week has been so exciting for me that I just had to share the experience with you and tell you what I learned from it. As you may know, the crockpot has truly become my secret weapon. I tell people all the time it is the easiest way for busy women to cook healthy and simple meals without spending hours in the kitchen. I say it all the time because I believe it!  I’ve experienced it.  I know how it has revolutionized dinner time for my family by reducing my stress and cutting back on eating out.

That’s why I am so excited that Ivanka Trump featured 5 of my healthy crockpot meals this week on her site.

I love that she stands for #womenwhowork, offering expert advice, resources and solutions to help us manage busy families. Plus, I have to say, I love her label. Her bags, clothes, jewelry, and shoes are incredible.

I am a big believer that you should always stand strong for what you believe in. If you do that, you will find  success beyond your dreams. Ivanka herself said, “Success is setting goals that feel true to who you are, not what others expect of you.”

Be true to who you are and thank those along the way who believe in you too.

I feel extremely grateful for this feature. Thank you, Ivanka.

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Your Favorite Recipes

It happens every. single. time. Every time I check my Facebook page and see a picture of one of you making one of my recipes I almost get choked up with excitement and my heart fills with gratitude! I am so thankful for the journey God guided me on to get here. Thankful I am helping others find their way to live healthy and love life. Thankful to have overcome my own fears in the kitchen to feel empowered to create. Sometimes I can’t believe it!

brooke oven

As I looked at the pictures from the last few weeks I decided to share what I learn from these pictures along with some of your favorite recipes that have never been on my website before so that you could share them with others!

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Cooking with Kids

I had one of those stop-you-in-your-tracks mom moments this week. You know, the kind that makes you wish you could freeze time. That moment when you look at your kids and think ‘They are growing up so fast! Make it stop!”

My girls were helping make breakfast before school. Breakfast at our house most school mornings consists of a Shaklee 180 smoothie or eggs. This morning, Riley made the smoothie,

brooke riley smoothie    and Reagan made the eggs.   brooke reagan eggs

As they stood at the kitchen counter, braver than I ever was at that age, it hit me just how far they’ve come, how far I’ve come. I thought about the path of my life and the choices I decided to make to improve our lives that were really uncomfortable in the beginning.

Most of you all know that I used to be paralyzed in the kitchen! (You can read my whole story here)

But where I was the weakest, the Lord truly showed His strength in me! It wasn’t easy or fun at first, but I powered through FOR my health and my family! The fact that I have recipe books, teach cooking and nutrition and enjoy making meals today is truly a miracle from the Lord up above!

I love seeing my girls taking ownership of a healthy meal. I have found if you get your kids in the kitchen with you, they are more likely to eat what they make. Plus it’s a natural way to introduce new foods. They won’t like everything but at least, they’ll try it.

My girls helped me make Happy Tummy Lasagna earlier in the week. It’s an easy recipe to try with kids. It’s filled with a hearty grass-fed beef and tomato sauce but it uses zucchini instead of traditional pasta.   

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Look at Reagan using the mandolin to cut the zucchini ‘noodles’.  

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That white dome is a guard so she doesn’t cut herself. Safety is especially important when your kids are in the kitchen. Make sure you show them how all the equipment works. You might need frequent reminders at first about what they can and can’t touch. 

It was so fun watching the two of them recreate one of my most popular recipes.FullSizeRender (37)

Then they started getting really silly and acting like they were doing a cooking show. I just had to grab my phone.

I had to laugh because they were talking to the camera like they’ve seen me talk on TV! Our kids do listen to us! This was a totally unplanned moment.

Those unplanned, spontaneous moments of fun and discovery might be one of the best parts of cooking with your kids. It is truly quality bonding time that will leave you both with memories for a lifetime! I’d much rather they spend time goofing around in the kitchen with me than plopping themselves in front of the tv or being on their phone.

Cooking with kids goes beyond setting a foundation for healthy eating. It can help them apply the math they are learning in school. It’s a way to practice reading and following directions.

Do yourself a favor though and don’t try to cook with your kids when you are in a hurry. It’s a lot easier to answer their questions and let them truly help when you aren’t trying to get dinner on the table fast.

I’d love to hear about your experiences cooking with your kids. Where do you struggle? What do your kids want to learn next?

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3-Minute Power Smoothie

Smoothie recipes fill Pinterest boards and cookbooks. They are often touted as the perfect on-the-go breakfast. And they CAN be. But depending on the ingredients you use, they can also become unhealthy calorie bombs. Starting your day with sugar and saturated fat isn’t healthy even if it comes out of a blender and has a little spinach in it.

Here’s a few guidelines to help you out.

  • Organic fruit is always a great base, however, adding spinach, kale and carrots can be amazing too! You can’t even taste them! 
  • If you are looking to add a creamy texture, avocados and bananas are wonderful. Stay away from sugary yogurts.
  • Avoid juices and dairy products as they have lots of added sugars. I love coconut water, coconut milk, and all nut milks.
  • Use fresh ingredients or frozen organic. Blueberries and strawberries are very high in antioxidants and contain the most antioxidants of fresh berries and may help reduce the build-up of cholesterol in the arteries. Avoid canned fruit juice and syrup, most likely it will be filled with tons of sugar.
  • Ditch recipes that call for creams, ice cream or chocolate syrup.
  • Flavor your smoothie with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, vanilla or unsweetened cocoa powder.

Experiment and have fun! Here’s my favorite 3 minute power smoothie. It will give you a good place to start. 

3 Minute Power Smoothie
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  1. 1 cup of frozen organic berries
  2. 8 oz. coconut water
  3. 2 oz. nut milk
  4. ½ cup of spinach
  5. ½ cup of plant based, non-gmo protein
  6. (optional: avocado)
  1. Blend all ingredients and drink up!
Brooke Thomas 360 Your Life™ http://360yourlife.com/


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Granola Two Ways: for picky eaters

 Kids are very much “grab and go” creatures. They love to grab a snack and keep going; doing whatever activity they are doing in that moment. Granola bars are a perfect snack for those moments!

The problem is many bars are loaded with added sugars, contain hydrogenated oils, and have very little whole grains, protein, or fiber in them. Seriously, have you ever looked at the ingredients in packaged granola bars? They claim to be healthy but the chemicals and additives are scary! There are some natural and organic granola bars out there that have limited ingredients but those tend to be more expensive.

Making your own granola bars using the recipes below will not only help you on your budget, but give you peace of mind that your kids are putting good nutrients in their growing bodies!

My girls have 2 different tastes, one has quite the sweet tooth and the other has more of an earthy, salty tooth! I’ve provided you with 2 different versions of Go, Go Granola Bars.

Go, Go Granola Bars—Earthy Version


  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp flax seed meal
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • ¾ cup honey
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp coconut palm sugar
  • 2 tbsp Shaklee protein powder

Go, Go Granola Bars—Sweet Version


  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp flax seed meal
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • ¾ cup honey
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp coconut palm sugar
  • 2 tbsp Shaklee protein powder
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ cup organic dark chocolate chips
  1. Gather your ingredients. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a ceramic or glass 9X13 inch baking dish.
  2. Mix oats, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, cranberries (Earthy version), flax seed meal, and almonds together in a bowl. Spread mixture on a sheet pan and toast in the preheated oven for 8 minutes. Return mixture to your bowl.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine salt, almond butter, honey, olive oil, Shaklee protein powder and coconut palm sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat and immediately remove from heat. Pour over oat mixture and combine until all ingredients are evenly coated. If you chose to add chocolate chips, add those at this time.
  4. Pour mixture into a baking dish and press down into the pan. Bake for 10 mins on 350 in oven or 15 minutes on 350 on the Convection setting.*
  5. Let cool for up to 2 hours, cut, and serve.

Once sliced, you can put them into individual ziplock bags. Just recently I started using a Food Saver to package each granola bar. This makes it easy to toss these into a basket or bag to take along in the car.

*Oven times may vary, so check your bars regularly during your first time baking these.

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Foods That Boost Your Mood

brooke hippocrates

We live in a world that turns to the prescription pad faster than the fridge for medicine. Certainly there are times medicine is absolutely necessary. But too often we overlook natural ways that could improve the way we feel.

Take depression. The struggle is real. One in 3 Americans experience depression in their life. The result is 1 in 10 Americans are on anti-depressants. And for some people, that might be their only hope.

But before you reach for the bottle, at least consider some factors that could be causing those feelings. Often times there is not just one thing… nutrition, hormones, inflammation, digestion might all contribute. 

For instance, new research is emerging that connects emotional and psychiatric health to problems in the gut. If the problem is in your body and not your mind, then you have the ability to heal your body and allow energy, focus and joy to return. One study has linked gluten to depression. Inflammatory foods can lead to elevated stress levels. Hormones like cortisol and insulin can negatively impact depression symptoms.

Sleep and Exercise are important. So is learning to manage your stress. Eating whole, real food and eliminating sugar can also help. In fact, certain food is packed with nutrients that have been proven to give us a mood boost.

I recently shared 4 foods that boost your mood on Charlotte Today… Take a few minutes to watch this and see how food can actually help you feel better!

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Easy Weeknight Dinner


I don’t eat Mexican food very often, but I LOVE it! And thanks to my crockpot, it’s a whole lot easier to make! This recipe is a favorite out of the Thankful 30 Crock Pot edition cookbook.  The next time looking at your calendar makes you want to run straight for fast food, just take a breath and get out your crock pot. You’ll be glad you can end the day on a delicious dinner with your family. It’s gluten free, nut free and dairy free. The best part is you won’t feel like you are overloaded on carbs after you eat it!

Chicken Burrito Bowls
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  1. 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
  2. 1.5 lbs. of skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  3. 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  4. 1 15 ounce can organic black beans, drained and rinsed
  5. 1.5 cups chicken stock
1 cup organic corn
  1. 3 tsp. chili powder
  2. 2 tsp. sea salt
  3. 1 tsp. ground cumin
  1. Grease the bottom and sides of the crock pot with coconut oil.
  2. Place chicken breasts on the bottom of the crock
  3. Combine the tomatoes and spices in a small bowl and mix well.
  4. Add the mixture in the crock pot.
  5. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  6. Add the black beans and corn for an additional 30 minutes if desired.
  7. Shred the chicken in bite sized pieces with two forks. (You can do this right in the crock pot!)
  8. Serve in a bowl and add desired toppings.
  1. I love to add fresh avocados, salsa, goat cheese and a sliced lime.
Brooke Thomas 360 Your Life™ http://360yourlife.com/
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Fueling your Child for Success from Sun up to Sun Down

These days it can be hard to tell who works longer … us or our kids.
For them, hours of school is followed by hours of homework and often nights spent practicing a sport or other after school activity. Our kids need real food to fuel them through the long days so they don’t hit a wall or experience that midday slump. 
 According to the World Health Organization, adequate nutrition can raise your productivity levels by 20 percent on average. Let me take you back to 8th grade health class for a minute (in case you missed this part looking at the cute guy or girl in front of you) Most of what we eat will be broken down to Glucose. Glucose is like fuel for your brain.. it keeps its alert. Certain foods release glucose fast. Others release it at a more steady rate. Eat a cookie on the way to soccer practice and you’ll get a glucose burst for about 20 minutes… then your brain will crash. Eat some almonds or granola on the way and you will keep your attention span steadier for longer.
While your teenager might need more to eat in terms of calories and protein than your elementary aged child… both children need nutrient rich foods to keep their bodies full and their minds fit.

Lean protein products, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats.. that’s what our kids should be eating. You’ve probably heard that list before. But when the alarm clock goes off and your child announces they need to finish a project right now or you look at the calendar and realize both kids have to be in different places at the same time… that list goes right out the window and thoughts of just getting through the day flood your brain. Bye bye healthy dinner. Hello, quick and fast.

With just a little planning though, you can still make quick, fast and healthy happen all at the same time! Utilizing make ahead meals, and kitchen tools like a blender and a crockpot truly can revolutionize the way you feed your family a healthy, delicious, simple dinner. Here are some ideas to get you started!

[Read more…]

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How to Help Kids Build Healthy Habits


One of the hardest things a parent can do is let their child make their own decisions. The best we can do as parents is lay a foundation so that when the time comes our kids make the right choice. Of course, we know that won’t always happen. That goes for simple choices like what to eat, to much more complicated ones like choosing the right person to date and even how they are going to handle peer pressure on other topics. Because my girls are still 10 and under, I can’t even think of that one yet!

So let’s stick to the eating healthy one. Laying the foundation for a healthy lifestyle for your kids isn’t always easy. There are temptations everywhere like at sporting events and school birthday parties. Even my kids, who should know better, have to learn to navigate the choppy waters of sugar filled treats and tempting fake foods. 

I do what I can to help guide them. We don’t keep anything in the house they shouldn’t eat. Don’t get me wrong. I keep healthier treats in our pantry but nothing with artificial colors and dangerous dyes. I try to explain to my two girls that we only get one body. It’s not about being skinny or fat (don’t ever use those words!) It’s about being healthy and strong. It’s about how we feel.

There are several ways you can teach your children how to live a healthy lifestyle and help them develop habits that will last a lifetime.  [Read more…]

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Just say No… to artificial colors

Food is good. Beautiful food is better. At least that’s kind of how our brain processes it. A beautiful spread of food at a cookout makes you want to eat it. The same goes for all those online pictures we spend hours drooling over while we look for a new recipe to make. That’s why Pinterest boards are full of pictures of pretty food or why a friends picture on Facebook of what they had to eat at restaurant makes you want to go there.

We eat with our eyes first. In fact, how food looks is one of the first sensory criteria that we use to make decisions about the food we eat. That’s why processed food manufacturers try to make the food look more appealing with artificial colors.

Unfortunately, those synthetic dyes and chemical compounds are made from coal-tar or petroleum derivatives to enhance the color of food. Needless to say, neither of those are naturally occurring in our food. What’s worse is they add absolutely nothing to the value of the foods we eat but do carry some serious risks!

By now you’ve probably read that artificial colors and dyes are linked to allergic reactions, fatigue, asthma, skin rashes, hyperactivity, and headaches. If you’re a parent, you should also know that these chemicals are linked to or can contribute to hyperactivity, ADHD, ADD, visual and learning disorders, and nerve damage in children. Studies are now showing that these substances are both toxic and carcinogenic.

The good news is with a little know-how you can make food look good without the artificial colors!

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I just made a great new treat with all the sweet but none of the artificial colors or flavors with my girls. Try these homemade watermelon popsicles. They are so good your kids won’t miss all that other stuff and you can feel good about giving it to them.

I’m always on the lookout for ways to color our foods naturally. Check out my Pinterest page  for some inspired creations like a recipe for raw sprinkles I found that is simply dried raspberries and the zest of oranges, lemons and limes.

brooke raw sprinkles 

More companies are getting the message about the dangers and opting to find another way to make their food more appealing. General Mills, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Panera, Kraft Foods and Subway have all announced they will phase out artificial flavors and colors from their food.

It’s a good start, but the problem is bigger than that. Artificial colors aren’t just in our food supply. They are often used in Vitamins, pet food, cough syrup, toothpaste, shampoo, even some make up.

Unfortunately, until EVERYONE makes the decision to remove artificial colors you still need to read labels.

Here are a few to AVOID.

Blue #1 and Blue#2

are banned in Norway, Finland and France but you can find them in the U.S. in candy, cereal, soda and sports drinks. Research has linked them to brain cancer and inhibiting nerve-cell development.

Red #3 and Red #40.

Red #3 wasn’t deemed safe to be used topically but the  FDA says can still eat it! What? I have no idea how that even makes sense? Red #40 isn’t much better. In the UK it is not recommended for children. In the U.S you can find it in ice cream, fruit cocktails, cherry pie mix and other bakery products. I believe this is completely unacceptable.

Yellow #5 and Yellow #6                                                                                                                                                                                                            

They are two other dyes allowed here but banned in Norway and Austria for containing cancer-causing compounds.

Now, you know I would never depress you with the sad state of our food then leave you without any hope. There is always hope. You can use all kinds of foods to naturally color your food in baking. I’ve listed several options in My Healthy Lifestyle Guide along with some amazing swaps that will help you eliminate foods with artificial colors like, using Cascadian Farms Fruitful O’s instead of Fruit Loops.  

                        brooke health lifestyle guide cover

Look, we all have to help each other find better ways. If you have a great natural swap or way to enhance the color of food naturally I’d love to hear from you! You can find me at [email protected]


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The Worst Thing You Can Say to a Child About Their Health

It’s happening! My girls are growing up and like many moms, it’s happening faster than I would like.

My oldest will be a 5th grader next year. It’s a tricky time for young girls who are just growing into their bodies. For many girls this is when the struggle for self-confidence begins as kids want to fit in.  Unfortunately, it’s also the time eating disorders can start.

As I was preparing to write this blog, I thought I’d do a little research to support my theory. I thought a statistic might be helpful to show just how big of a problem this really is.  Oh my gosh, the statistics are staggering! One after another made my heart sink.  According to the Eating Disorder Foundation…

  • One half of 4th grade girls are on a diet.
  • 81% of ten-year-old girls are afraid of being fat.
  • A study found that adolescent girls were more fearful of gaining weight than getting cancer, nuclear war or losing their parents.
  • 52% of girls begin dieting before age 14

It makes me sad to think of girls judging their bodies and falling into bad habits so young. I can completely relate because I know what that’s like.  I was the same way, thinking that simply being skinny meant I was healthy. I used to see nothing wrong with following diets.  Wow, what was I thinking? We need to create a mental shift for our kids. It’s time to stop the cycle of yo-yo dieting and misinformed health choices that we adults have spent years trying to get out of. There are several ways parents can help reverse the increase in childhood obesity and help their children lose weight safely. [Read more…]

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Crockpot Chicken Salad

Crockpot Chicken Salad
I have been making this salad for 10 years. It's a real crowd pleaser. I've been asked about the recipe but have never written it down. Well, here you go. Better late, than never right?
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  1. For crockpot
  2. 5 lb. chicken breasts (bone-in will have more flavor, but either is fine)
  3. Freshly ground pepper, and sea salt to taste
  4. 6 Tbs dill weed
  5. 4 Tbs garlic powder
  6. Dressing
  7. 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
  8. 1/2 cup of sour cream
  9. (OR 1 cup Vegenaise to replace the sour cream and mayo)
  10. 4 celery stalks, finely diced
  11. 1 cup pecan pieces, toasted
  12. 1/2 cup of craisins or grapes
  1. Fill slow cooker less than half way with water. Wash chicken breasts and lay in slow cooker in the water.
  2. Spread 3 Tbs. of dill weed in the crock pot and 2 Tbs. of garlic powder. Mix the chicken and seasoning around to coat in water.
  3. Put on low for 6-8 hours.
  4. Remove chicken and squeeze out any liquid in the chicken. (I use gloves).
  5. Shred chicken in a bowl and add the sour cream and mayo (or vegenaise option) and also add the left over dill weed, garlic powder, pecans and craisins or grapes.
  6. Stir and mix well and you will end up with amazing Chicken Salad.
  7. Store in fridge.
Brooke Thomas 360 Your Life™ http://360yourlife.com/
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Hold the Sugar: Better Alternatives for Sweetening things Up

The amount of sugar Americans consume is staggering! If you read labels at all, you know it’s in everything from milk to vitamins even food that is supposed to be healthy. Sugar is one of the worst things you can put into your body. It hinders the immune system, feeds cancerous cells and leads to excessive weight gain. In fact, a recent study says people eat 150 pounds of it a year! That’s one person eating 150 pounds of sugar. With other studies saying sugar is just as addictive as cocaine, it’s no wonder this country leads the way in sugar related illnesses.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting a sweet treat now and then, but I have found some recipes for brownies, cakes and fudge that call for as much as 3 cups of sugar. That’s just crazy! Sugar addiction has become a real and growing issue. Sugar can even impact our relationships because it can impact our behavior. 

The good news is, there are several natural options available that are a much better choice. They require a little adjustment to your recipe but taste just as amazing! If you make a sweet treat healthy, it still needs to taste delicious, right? 

I’ve listed my favorites here along with a handy conversion chart from my Healthy Lifestyle Guide that you can click on and just print out.

brooke sugar conversion chart

I love using dates instead of sugar because it is such a natural form of sugar. However, let me make sure you understand exactly what I mean by soak and puree. The best way to use dates is to soak and puree them and make a date paste. Otherwise, they just stay pretty chunky.

Step one: soak your dates to soften them so they will be ready to puree. Set dates in a bowl with very hot water. You can use tap water on the hottest setting. The dates need to soak for about 2-30 minutes if they are not soft dates. If they are soft dates, you probably only need about 10 minutes. 

Step two: Put the dates in the food processor with about 2 TBS of date water they were soaking in. If you need to add a little more water to make it not so sticky, do so.

If you have extra date paste you can put it in the fridge to use in other recipes. You can even use some of the water the dates were soaking in to sweeten up your smoothies!


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12 Brands for Healthy Living  


Making changes is hard. Even when you know it’s the right thing, it can be scary to veer from what you know. A friend of mine recently got offered a new job. She had been unhappy in her current position so it seemed to make sense she would jump at this new chance. But the fear of change made it difficult for her. Old habits die hard, as they say. The same is true whether you are trying to end a bad relationship or change your eating habits.

Since this isn’t a relationship blog I’m going to leave that one for someone else. But I do understand that changing how you eat can be just as difficult for some people.

 The good news is that eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to make everything from scratch. Pre-packaged food is often associated with bad fats, sugars and all those additives and preservatives. The good news is that there are companies that take your health seriously and offer solid options with the convenience of pre-packaged food. 

One of the biggest obstacles I’ve found in talking to people is that they don’t know what to buy. Most people tend to buy what they know. They buy the brands they grew up with. Maybe they are afraid to spend money trying a new item in case they don’t like it. I totally get it!

Whatever the reason, I get asked a lot about brands that I trust. Consider me your own personal researcher. I’ve tried dozens of brands over the years as I searched for the right balance between health, convenience, cost and taste.

Here are a few brands I am proud to tell others about. They really want people to taste how good healthy can be and have generously donated 100’s of samples for me to share with others in my corporate presentations.  I am happy to say I never accept donations that I haven’t tried and that I wouldn’t fully endorse.

[Read more…]

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Grow Your Own Pharmacy

I am not a fancy cook. I like to keep it simple and easy. But there’s something about adding a few fresh herbs to a dish that makes me feel like a real chef! Toss in a little basil here. Sprinkle on some rosemary there. Throw some mint into a smoothie or chop up thyme for a soup. See, just like that, I feel fancy!

Herbs are the perfect solution for anyone trying to reduce the consumption of sugar and salt in their diet. No one wants to eat bland food. While dried herbs work fine, fresh is best!

Herbs start to lose their nutrient value the minute they are harvested. That means the herbs you buy at the store, well, they aren’t nearly as good for you as the ones you grow in your backyard. Weeks can pass between the time herbs are harvested then packed, shipped, distributed and put on display. Think of what that does to the flavor and the nutrients.

You don’t have to have a big backyard or even a green thumb to grow your own herbs. All you need is a little sun and a few pots and Bam! You are a gardener! Herbs you grow yourself taste better, are better for you and there’s no chance they are covered with chemicals that can be used on herbs grown commercially.

 What’s that old saying? Variety is the spice of life! And herbs help make it a healthier life. So this spring/summer why not grow your own pharmacy?

 brooke parsley

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Best Heart Healthy Foods

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. “ –Helen Keller

 brooke riley

There are a million different sayings involving our heart. Quotes that speak of love, sadness, strength. Hearts full of determination, courage, and spirit.  Yet, the statistics show we don’t treat our heart with the respect it deserves. Heart disease is STILL the leading cause of death today. In fact, 1,100 women die of heart disease EVERY day. It’s almost hard to wrap my head around that. What’s even worse is that 80 percent of those deaths are preventable.

Heart disease isn’t just a problem for people over 50 years old. In fact, the plaque that causes heart disease starts building up in your twenties.  It’s largely a lifestyle problem. So this blog is my plea to you! Hoping everyone reading this will help me spread the word about what can be done. Share it with your friends, with your family, with anyone who may not be treating their heart the way they should.  

One of the first ways you can reduce your risk for heart disease is to make sure you are eating a heart healthy diet. That means limit sugar, saturated fats and trans-fats.  It’s also important to minimize your sodium intake. Taste your food before you salt it and don’t leave the salt shaker on the table. You’ll be more likely to use it without thinking if it’s just sitting there.

 It’s not just what you should avoid that can reduce your risk for heart disease. There are key nutrients  IN our food that can absolutely protect your heart. I have created a full day’s worth of heart healthy meals to not only educate you about what to eat, but I’m happy to share the recipes with you to make it as easy as possible for you to incorporate these foods into your diet.

[Read more…]

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5 Ways Food Manufacturers Fool You

Warning: Reading this may make you mad! And really, it should. After all, we are talking about the health of our families here. I am so frustrated by food manufacturers who continue to take advantage of good intentions with deceptive labeling. Many people trying to make healthy choices often gravitate toward words like ‘Organic’, ‘Natural’, ‘Whole Grain’, and ‘Gluten Free’. But according to researchers, those words ‘create a false sense of health’ that can override other warnings on the label that aren’t so obvious. Well, knowledge is power people! So today I’m going to arm you with the power to make healthier decisions at the grocery store by sharing 5 ways food manufacturers fool you. 

label-allison [Read more…]

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Eat Your Way out of the Winter Blahs

This Florida girl needs a little sunshine! The shorter days are getting to me. And it seems like I’m not the only one. Status updates on facebook are full of words like ‘tired’, ‘worn out’, ‘sick’.

The truth is our bodies feel it when the sun doesn’t shine. Without the help of UVA and UVB rays we can’t produce enough Vitamin D3. In fact, our vitamin D levels can actually drop by 50% in the winter.

So what’s the problem with that? Well, for starters, your immune system may not be up to its full potential, leaving you more susceptible to certain health concerns.  Here’s why. [Read more…]

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Go Back to Basics to Move Forward in Health

There was a time when dinner was whatever you got out of the garden that day. Takeout wasn’t an option. While most of us wouldn’t want to go back to washing our clothes and hanging them out to dry… there is something to be said about going back to the basics. New isn’t always better. The newest diet trend, the newest break-through beauty treatment to keep us looking young, the newest workout plan… if any of it worked, everyone would be at the weight they wanted and wrinkle free. Instead people are tired, overweight and still hoping for something new to fix it all.

Well, don’t hold your breath. There is no ‘New’ thing thats going to be the solution. If you want to feel better and be thinner, if you want less stress and a healthy glow, then go back to the basics.

This year, make that your theme in four areas of your life: nutrition, home, beauty and stress.

From what you should stop eating today to natural beauty solutions and a safe way to clean… watch this video for a few practical ways you can go Back to Basics for a healthier you!





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Crock Pot Convert

I feel a little like Benjamin Franklin. I’ve made a discovery I want to share with the world! OK it may not be as life changing as electricity, but for this busy working mom it’s nearly as good.  I have discovered a new weapon in the fight to eat healthy… the time-saving power of the crock pot!

Maybe you aren’t new to cooking with a crock pot but I grew up in South Florida and we didn’t even own one! I have friends who had them but it seemed to be the type of kitchen appliance you used to make things like bacon double cheese dip, or creamy chicken casserole. Whatever it was, it wasn’t healthy.

But here’s what I’ve discovered. The crockpot CAN be used to make nourishing delicious meals! In the last year I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting in the kitchen to find ways to translate healthy dishes into crockpot worthy recipes. I’ve put 30 of the recipes together in my new cookbook The Thankful 30 Crockpot Edition.

thankful crockpot

I’ve also come to realize not all crock pots are created equal. If you are going to become a crock pot convert you need to make sure you have the right equipment. Here are a few crock pots that really get the job done and make the whole process easier (now if I could just find one that cuts up veggies for me!)

[Read more…]

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10 Gift Ideas that Inspire Healthy Living


 healthy for gift blog

Tis the season to be jolly.. fa la la la la.. well, you know the rest! Let’s just say I love Christmas! I especially love finding just the right gift to make others feel loved and appreciated. And nothing says that more than giving someone a gift to help them live healthy and love life!  I’ve put together a list to make it easy for you.



thankful crockpotThe Thankful 30 Crock Pot Edition

Dinner time shouldn’t be stressful! My newest cookbook can help even the busiest modern woman feed her family nourishing meals without having to spend hours in the kitchen. You may not think crock pot cooking can be healthy but these recipes are! The book covers everything from breakfast, soups, and main dishes to yes, even treats! Just try this crowd pleasing breakfast crock-tata!  It’s one of 30 delicious recipes. $14.99. You can get it at my online store.


3 in 16-Quart Cuisinart MSC-600 Cook Central 3-in-1

Why not add this to the cookbook?! It is fully programmable and even switches to a warming setting after its done cooking. Plus here’s the best part! You can brown or saute meat or vegetable right in the unit itself then just flip to the slow cook setting! That’s one less pan to clean for those recipes that require browning first! $159


herbsReady to Grow Herb Kit

Fresh herbs make all the difference in healthy cooking! There is something empowering about growing your own herbs and this kit shows you don’t need a lot of space to do it! All the soil and seeds to grow sweet basi, coriander/cilantro, oregano, parsley and thyme are included in the 5 chamber pot. $34.95


kombuchaFlavored Kombucha Brooklyn Kit

One of my favorite drinks is Kombucha! I’m hooked on the ancient fermented tea. If you know someone like me, this Kombucha starter kit can help them make their own! It includes enough for three batches of mango flavored. $70


Having a high powered mixing appliance in the kitchen is a must for anyone trying to eat healthy! The easier the preparation, the more likely a person is to whip up a smoothie, or soup instead of eating out. The NutriBullet can open seeds, break down tough stems and shred and grind. $89.99 

bbc logo newBurn Boot Camp

It is my go to way to stay in shape! If you know someone who is struggling to find the support they need to get fit, this membership could make a big difference for them! The workouts are fun and a great way to relieve stress! 


yoga cookiesYogi cookie cutters from Yummi Yogi

The collection includes 5 cutters: one of each yoga pose. Cutters are approximately 5″x 5″and are stainless steel. To really make the gift standout, give them with some homemade gingerbread cookies. $40.00 / Collection


prepara misterPrepara Tabletop Oil Mister  

If you aren’t careful, its easy to go overboard with fattening cooking oils. The oil mister sprays a thin, even coating. Make your own flavored oils to jazz up salads and veggies just by adding some dried herbs. $20 

milk nut bag Milk Nut Bag 

Sometimes making healthy choices is as simple as having the right equipment. Whether you are a smoothie maker or dairy intolerant this bag makes the whole process easier with less mess. Click this video to see just how easy it is.  $3 


tenota Tea Notes

It’s tea with a message! What a lovely way to reach out to someone even when you aren’t there with special message from you! Go to Tenota, pick a tea (there are tons to choose from!) and write out messages for each bag. 


And there you have it! 10 fun gifts that inspire healthy living!

Happy Holidays!


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3 Steps to Lower Cholesterol without Drugs

My friend’s husband has it. Another friend’s father. In fact, one in every six adults has high cholesterol. That’s 17% of the adult population. A recent Gallup survey found drugs for high cholesterol were the second most prescribed medications in this country! All those people at risk and yet high cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for coronary heart disease.

Scientifically speaking, your chances of having high cholesterol are greater if you are a male, are older, are a woman experiencing post-menopause, or have a family history of high cholesterol.  You are also at risk if your diet is high in saturated fat and cholesterol like bacon, hot dogs, and pizza. Now, you can’t help your genes or your age but you can help what you eat!

It adds up fast!

According to the American Heart Association, eating one egg for breakfast, drinking two cups of coffee with 1 tablespoon of half-and-half each, lunching on 4 ounces of lean skinless turkey breast with one tablespoon of mayonnaise, and eating a 6-ounce serving of broiled short loin porterhouse steak for dinner yields 510 mg of dietary cholesterol. That’s nearly twice the recommended daily amount!

The good news is you can lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease without expensive medication by focusing on 3 key lifestyle changes.

[Read more…]

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Nutty for Nut Butters? Try This!

 I am a huge fan of nut butters but let’s face it, they can be expensive! Not only that,  but some nut butter brands have added salt, sugars and preservatives.  But if you buy your own raw nuts and spend a little time and love, you can make your own nut butters for your family! Believe it or not, nut butters are very easy to make. And in an era when more kids are restricted from taking peanut butter to school due to allergies, nut butters are a great option.

My favorite is almond butter. It contains a higher amount of essential fatty acids. Uh oh, does the word ‘fat’ freak you out a bit? Don’t worry, it’s unsaturated fat which is heart healthy. Almond butter also has the most fiber and 8 times the amount of calcium as peanut butter.

All you need is a little sense of adventure and a high powered blender. Here’s how I do it. [Read more…]

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3 Fall Recipes Every Busy Mom Should Have

clockYou know that moment you look at the clock and think ‘Where did the day go?’ Well, it happened to me again. In fact, it’s been happening a lot lately. I  don’t know why, but this time of year everything seems to speed up. Maybe it’s because the kids are busier at school or because my-to-do list gets longer the closer I get to the end of the year or because the stores are already decked out for Christmas and it’s not even Halloween! Deep breath. Release. I would love for time to slow down. It’s so easy to slack on the healthy eating when you are always on the go. Trust me, I know it can be tough to feed your family healthy when are trying to pack it all in. That’s why I want to share 3 Fall recipes every busy mom should have (along with a little advice on the side).  [Read more…]

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