WHY EAT?  TO LIVE?  or are you a LIVE TO EAT  person?

For you who EAT TO LIVE –  you’re probably skinny, forget to eat some days or at least parts of days and wonder why the heck people fuss over food.  You guys rock!  and occasionally roll too.  The undernourished are also known to be portly…

The rest of us may be among the majority of those walking in North America – reading books and magazines on how to lose weight and get healthy.  Yeah, 66% of us are eating constantly, trying to satisfy our hunger for love, attention, hugs, and a variety of other reasons that make no sense at all when it comes to food.

There are  For all RAW and Gluten Free loving foodies out there, it’s time to boost your energy with food. and for anyone who wants a couple of clean raw or cool summer soups for a change and a tasty shot of energy…and some immune system boosting, and great taste.  SOUPE VERTE,  (Green Soup) a popular soup and/or sauce for fish, veggies or by it’s yummy self.  and move over gazpacho, here comes an A.R.S*.  Both may be served at room temperature or chilled.

SOUPE VERTE    A clean GREEN soup that energizes (serves 6)  May be refrigerated for 3-4 days or frozen.

1 medium leek, washed and chopped coarsely

1 medium zucchini, chopped coarsely

1 bunch Swiss Chard  sliced   (remove stems before slicing if you like)

1 cup (packed) fresh basil – about 3/4 – 1 lb

2 cups Chicken broth or veggie broth

4 cups filtered water

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

2 Tbsp salted butter

Place butter and olive oil in large soup pot and heat on medium high.  Add chopped leek and saute about 5 minutes.  Add 2 cups of the broth and water and the chopped zucchini.  Bring to boiling –  then reduce heat to simmer and stir about 2 minutes.

Add the remaining water, bring to boil for another 2-3 minutes and turn heat off.  Add the Swiss Chard and basil on top of the water and cover the pot.  Let the Chard and zucchini wilt for about 15-20 minutes.  Stir all together and either blend in pot with an immersion blender. Or, using a 2 cup measuring cup, (or other cup that pours easily)  place stirred soup mixture in your blender and blend in batches until smooth.  Serve hot, at room temperature,  or chilled.  Garnish with chopped basil, parsley or a dollop of plain Greek yogurt (optional).

Use as a first course with dinner or main course with a beet and arugula salad for a light summer meal.


Alkalizing Raw Soup* (Serves 2)

Begin with avocado, which is high in EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids) and Cucumber, which is known for its cleansing, diuretic properties.  Spinach has minerals & vitamins, garlic, lemon and lime are alkalizing and great for boosting your immune system     It’s also refreshing and tastes great!

It’s a “big favorite while on a cleanse or detoxification program”.   (Check my page on the 5 step program.)

1 Avocado
2 green onions (scallions)
1/2 red or green pepper
1 cucumber  (if Organic scrub and use with peel)
2 handfuls of spinach
1/2 clove fresh garlic (or more to taste)
Bragg’s Liquid Aminos to taste (like soy sauce)
1/2 Cup Light vegetable boullion (yeast free)
Juice of 1 lemon or lime Optional:  Coriander, parsley, cumin.  An apple, cored and cut up.

Blend the avocado and boullion to form a light paste.  Then add all the other ingredients and blend all together.  Serve in bowls or mugs with crackers crispy veggies and hummus or almond butter.

Consider this for a picnic drink,  in a thermos – refreshing change of afternoon pick-me-up or just a light meal.

NOTE:   Herbs such as Parsley have great cleansing properties and add flavor.  Coriander or Cilantro is a good heavy metal cleanser, and cumin adds great taste.   Use according to your individual preferences.


Your feedback is welcome!



Some ideas to keep you energized all day….


  1. EAT BREAKFAST!! Eat a filling but LIGHT breakfast, a good Protein shake (21gr or more)  with water or almond or coconut milk or plain yogurt or an egg or 2 with oatmeal or eggs and avocado.…

Here’s why: 

Not eating breakfast puts you at an energy deficit when you need the fuel the most.

Sugar and carbohydrates alone will trigger an energy rush that quickly peters out.

Carbohydrates combined with protein and good fats  make for long-lasting energy.

Lots of calories (sugary cereals, toast)  will  trigger serotonin production in your brain, making you more calm, almost sleepy: and then you’ll crash and reach for more sugary foods.

  1. Make Lunch Protein

Here’s why:

Any meal over 1,000 calories will slow you down and make you feel drowsy.

Too many carbohydrates without protein will elevate serotonin levels in your brain, leaving you calm and sleepy for the afternoon.  Too much fat without too much protein will do the same thing. (Think Keto)

Lunch should be satisfying; you should feel lightly full afterwards.  If you eat salads with a little-fat dressing, you’re eating the equivalent of a fruit juice without the sugar.  Try adding some chick peas, cheese, meat or tofu or sunflower seeds for protein. A sandwich on whole grain bread with meat, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce will work too.  Or just eat the fillings on a plate!

  1. Snack on fruit, pretzels, nuts, fresh veggies between meals. Avoid sugar-rich candies or sweets. Almonds, walnuts, macadamia and pecans are your best sources of snack proteins and good fats.

Here’s why:

Snacks are good for you.  Eating small meals throughout the day gives you a steady supply of energy – never too much or too little. 

Sugar, which is supposed to be an “energy” food, actually slows you down. After an influx of sugar, your blood sugar level rises (insulin rush) quickly only to fall lower than where it first began. You need to eat more good FATS.

  1. Drink LOTS of water, even when you are not thirsty and Zeal for Life*.

Here’s why:

Dehydration, which is a lot more common than you might think, causes crankiness and fatigue!  It also leaves you feeling “dried out” (think wrinkles) and lazy and sometimes can make you dizzy,  tired, and your joints achy.  Set your phone alarm and drink hourly!

  1. Take a good multi-vitamin and mineral supplement and Omega3s every day.

Here’s why:

There are times when you will not get the ideal amount of the right foods, and you NEED your vitamins, fats and minerals for growth and energy.  SUPPLEMENTS ARE NOT SUBSTITUTES for eating right!  You still need to eat the right food and drink water.

Ricki McKenna, CN   970-618-7607    www.mchealthymatters.com

Changing Ideas About Food- Enjoy A Different Breakfast




When it comes to food, change is not always easy – an understatement for some of us.  Especially when we have stopped preparing our own dinners and lunches and opted for the so-called luxury of having them prepared for us daily.  Here are some transitions we might make towards optimal health.

Changing from conventional breakfast foods, such as cereal, to steaming veggies and rice, and adding an egg to the mix in the morning is one way to begin the transition from heavy carbohydrates and acidic foods to a more alkaline breakfast and balanced gut and body.

Another way to satisfy your needs for good nutrition is to eat more raw foods and lightly steamed foods.  Raw or lightly steamed vegetables are a wonderful, colorful, crunchy and wholesome way to nourish your system. The earth is 70% water, our bodies are about 70% water – many veggies carry about the same percentage in water and are great for your system.

Combined with brown rice or other whole gluten free grains, beans, raw and lightly steamed vegetables supply most of the important nutrients, vitamins, minerals and enzymes we need to digest and absorb our food.  Cooked soups and stir-frys are great tasty ways to get the water and nutrients we need.

 An important note: raw doesn’t necessarily mean cold.  Warm food (room temperature) can be as satisfying as HOT food, especially for certain body and constitution types – and in Houston when the weather is really hot!  For example, when you cook food do it as quickly as possible.  This means, for those of us with time constraints who think we can’t have fresh “fast” food, that it IS possible to whip up healthy meals in a jiffy!

For a quick “steam fry”, (a stir-fry without the oil) consider using a small amount of liquid (broth, water, juice) instead of oil. When you make soup, only cook it until the veggies are just “done” – as in crunchy and firm.  Basically, apply heat gently and moderately – do not exceed 118 degrees Fahrenheit.  A simple way to test this is to stick your finger into whatever you’re warming.  If you can hold your finger in the broth/soup/mix without yanking it out right away you’re in the right temperature range. (It’s like the “slow cook” method for Thanksgiving turkey.)  Try to avoid the burning, crisping and charring that can convert healthy foods into toxic meals.  Ok, so there go the marshmallows in the campfire, but I won’t tell if you have a couple.

Dehydrating food is another way to prepare it without cooking it.  The concentration of nutrients will add more flavor and variety to your meals.  In warm weather, raw and lightly cooked foods are easier and faster to prepare and satisfy our needs easily.  Summer brings us more variety and greater selections of fresh produce.  With the crisp fresh raw veggies and fruits available from our own gardens and the markets in town, our meals can be simple and scrumptious and supply us with all the flavors and nutrients we need.  As the weather gets cooler, warm cooked food might take up a larger percentage of your meals.  Meantime, let’s enjoy the fresh goodies – easy to prepare and serve meals – and energy available from more raw foods.

For more ideas and recipes for healthful “fast food”, call me.

Time for a New You – Spring’s Here



Spring is here.  We’ve cleaned the house, washed   the windows and are checking our bicycle tires and planning our gardens.  Now, let’s remember the most important item on the “cleaning” list – our own bodies!

Did you know that most people don’t even think about their bodies and how they function until something malfunctions or we get sick?

Since prevention is highest on my list of health care, let’s look at a basic diet- which means anything that passes through your lips-  ideas that can cleanse your body and bring about not only healthy short-term results, but encourage long term lifestyle changes which may prevent the onset of nasty colds, some allergies and chronic dis-ease.

Whole foods are a vital part of this process!  Whole food can be defined as food that is consumed closest to its natural state, closer to its raw, uncooked form and therefore at its highest quality.  In this condition, all the enzymes are found intact.  The amino acids are in their finest form.  The minerals, trace elements, carbohydrates and “life force” are present.  This life force in food is capable of reproducing healthy tissue and replacing body parts damaged by an empty nutrient diet.

Remarkable things begin to happen in your body as well as your mind when you improve the quality of food you consume.  There is an amazing intelligence present in every cell of our bodies.  When the food coming in to our bodies is of higher quality than the tissues which the body is made of, the body begins to discard this “old material” to make room for the superior material which it uses to make new and healthier tissue.  In simple terms, “out with the old and in with the new” high-test fuel for the body. You are worth it!

It’s a simple Law of Nature that our bodies try to produce healthy cells unless we interfere by putting excess “empty nutrition” into our bodies.  Some examples of “empty nutrition” are processed and packaged foods, additives and unpronounceable substitutes, diet drinks and carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, alcohol, coffee, candy etc.

As we cleanse our bodies of these toxins,  some cleansing symptoms may (sometimes referred to as a healing crisis)  occur,  such as headaches, especially when kicking caffeine, nausea and skin breakouts, which may last anywhere from 3 days to several weeks.  You might say, “I didn’t have these conditions when I was into my old way of eating”.  Please realize that your body needs time to clean out an accumulation of those bad substances.  Is your life worth giving your body the chance to experience renewed energy both physically and mentally?

Foods that help the body detoxify naturally are fresh dark green leafy vegetables, kale, chard, Crucifers; cabbages and Brussels sprouts, asparagus, beet roots & greens, raw seeds and nuts and partly unsaturated oils like olive, walnut, coconut and grapeseed.  Some fruits and whole grains, mainly millet and brown rice, also help clean out our systems.

Adding these foods to your regular diet – a little at a time, like one or two per week – may help kick-start the cleansing and change your mind and your bodys’ desire for junk foods.  Also try eliminating or at least cutting back on some of the junk at the same time- replacing it with the good stuff.

It’s a good idea to check with your health professional before beginning any cleanse.  As a health coach, I suggest a regimen of certain foods and filtered water that can be eaten to help cleanse and replenish the body’s energy, vital organs, systems and functions.

Our deep love and enjoyment of our beautiful surroundings should begin with loving ourselves enough to take care of our bodies and minds with food – first!

Happy Spring!


A quick write on packing  “Fast Foods”  into your day now that it’s Spring.

With Spring come the new crops of veggies and fruits, salad greens and a boat-load of fresh new choices for your lunch box and snack bags… SO, head for your favorite fresh produce store and look around, or I should say “sniff” around as the aromas can be exhilarating.

Especially for us Foodies, the arrival of Spring greens,  Romaine, and other  crispy lettuces, dandelion greens*, and a host of other good green stuff is a treat to be treasured after a winter of roots and shoots – even though they are great too.

It’s such a pleasure to take home some new vegetables with which to create my salads, soups and accompaniments to fresh organic chicken, fish and other meats.  And it’s always fun to whip up a vegetable medley or veggie stew.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, those “fast foods” include most of the freshest vegetables and fruits that are starting to appear in your markets.  Wash, cut and combine them with hummus, almond, peanut and other nut butters, as well as the nuts themselves.

If you’re a yogurt fan, and most of us should be,  (it’s plain Greek yogurt and Kefir that help keep your gut functioning well),  you can combine either with the fresh and dried fruits, nuts (chopped) and seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, etc.) and eat them for breakfast, take them to work with you for snacks.  Fee free to eat them at anytime as a small meal too.

Think of a stir-fry as fast food.  Pop all the cut-up ingredients ( meats, chicken or tempeh for vegetarians,  first until they are almost cooked the way you like them) into a wok, or a large skillet with some sesame, walnut or olive oil or coconut oil for a little sweeter taste, and saute them on high for about 5-6 minutes.  the whole procedure should take about 20 minutes from start to finish.

Hint:  Wash, Cut and Store cut veggies and meats ahead of time so when you arrive home from work it only takes washing your hands and grabbing the ingredients from the refrigerator and popping them in the pan.  It’s not a bad idea to marinate the meats or chicken the day before for some extra flavor.

A quick marinade:  Your favorite salad dressing!  Usually makes a great piece of meat or tempeh taste even better.  Cut up your protein into bite-sized pieces and marinate in a securely sealed heavy duty baggie or glass bowl with a tight cover.  Reason for tight cover:  you can turn it upside down a couple of times to make sure everything is marinated on all sides without making a mess in the refrigerator.

BTW, you can always take some of the stir-fry for a cool lunch the next day and re-season it with the salad dressing or put it on a bed of arugula or spinach as a cold salad.

Ok, that was quick and easy.  And here’s a quick easy recipe for a tasty and healthy salad dressing when you’re too tired or lazy to mix a complex one:

Take your bottle of Bragg’s Aminos and sprinkle your salad lightly with some, grab the bottle of either olive oil or flaxseed oil and drizzle some over the salad and mix.  Tha’s all you need.   The flavors blend well and if you insist, grind some fresh black or white pepper on top and enjoy!



Bicycling in Spring

Check those tires, dust off the frame and wheels, grease where needed and you’re ready to ride the trails and roads this spring — almost.  What’s in your pack beside plenty of water, a tire patch kit, portable air pump, bandaids and sunscreen?  If you’re looking for the right energy foods, here are a few ideas for you to consider.

First of all, eating 5 to 6 meals a day, your nutrition program should make your body healthy enough to accomplish recovery and tissue repair speedily and efficiently. Ideally, everyone should be in that kind of condition. Second, it’s important for you to maintain lean muscle mass without adding body fat, and do this while maintaining a high strength-to-weight ratio. Eating 5 to 6 small meals means taking in the right amount and correct ratio of carbohydrates, protein and fats for your body and drinking plenty of water.

What’s a meal? Hold out your palms, face up with your pinky fingers touching. If you filled both hands about 2″ high with a combination of foods – that would constitute a meal for the average person. In hard and fast competition, you may need more. Third, a meal can vary according to each individual; your size, rate of metabolism, whether you are competing in a mountain bike marathon, road race or just riding for pleasure.

A snack, or 2 of the 5 or 6 meals is about 1/2 to one handful. Eating mostly low glycemic index* foods will keep your metabolism going and your energy on a more even keel.  Eat a “different breakfast” (see my blog “A New Idea for Eating Well”)  combining carbs and protein for long term energy.

For most of us, myself included, it’s the pleasure and exercise of rolling along on a sunny day watching the scenery change as I pump the pedals.  Besides downing all the water I can while riding, I usually stop and munch a meal somewhere along the way.

While resting in a sunny spot, my favorite energy foods are raw and roasted nuts, fresh and dried fruit and usually a wrap with humus and/or avocado and tomatoes sprinkled with cayenne, garlic and salt. The tomatoes add moisture, as well as flavor to the wrap, which is easy to pack and eat al fresco. The nuts and fruit are munchable any time, even while riding a flat spurt.  Cayenne and garlic are good for circulation and your heart.

Speaking of spurts, muscles rely on 3 major sources or systems to supply the energy they need: The immediate, for short-term, explosive strength output, the glycolitic, for medium-term energy for repeated near-maximum exertion and the oxidative, for long term endurance.

If you’re competing, your intake of high quality protein begins before you ride or in your pre-workout time.  It should be about 20 – 25% of your meal for effective recovery and adequate repair of damaged muscle tissue. About 20% of your meal would be fats for the average competitor.  High-quality COMPLEX carbohydrates should be about 55 – 60% in pre-season and for competition.

Remember, this varies with each person and their activity level. An overload of carbs and calories adds weight and inches we do not want.

Consuming Low glycemic index foods about 2 or 3 hours before workouts and competitions will help sustain the blood-sugar level. These include butter beans, green beans, black-eyed peas apples, yogurt, tomato soup, kidney beans, lentils, soybeans, almonds, peanuts.

Moderate glycemic index foods include whole grain bread, brown rice, muesli, bananas, raisins, buckwheat, spaghetti, sweet corn, biscuits, yams, oatmeal, potatoes, peas, oranges and fresh whole orange juice.  Eat these about 3-4 hours before competition.

If you’re like most of us, riding to enjoy the scenery, take along your favorite munchy foods and plenty of water.  Supplement your food intake at breakfast time with a combination of nutrients, multivitamins, multiminerals, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids. Go for it and enjoy your ride.

For more details about the glycemic index and lifestyle menus, please feel free to email me at:  ricki@mchealthymatters.com Please include “Glycemic Index” in your subject line.

Just for Fun – Planting with the Kids :)

Another adventure with the youngest grand kids that was fun.  They do grow quickly and there’s a lot one can miss when not there.

Mr Smiley, otherwise known as Gabe, is adorable and at 7  months he’s beginning to eat things like rice and some fruits .  Miss Sophia, an energetic almost 3,  is a hoot.  Very vocal and interested in just about everything!  Especially playing soccer on the lawn.

She also helped us shop, she loves to go shopping… for vegetables and fruits at the farmers’ market, acclaiming with delight at all the wonderful vegetables and “punkin” seeds.  She now knows the names of many fruits, veggies and plants.

What a wonderful opportunity to teach her – or any child –  about vegetables and fruits and how they help her grow strong and smart and healthy.   If you take your kids to a farmers’ market they may begin to understand how those wonderful foods are grown.

One thing you can do, now that Spring has sprung, is either buy some seeds and plant them in your garden…if you haven’t a garden, consider clay pots and window sills for planting in the house.  It’s an exciting adventure to watch a plant grow from a seed.  Even for adults.

Or, if you are not sure about seeds, get a few seedlings, the tiny little plants like basil, parsley or chives.  Those are usually very hardy and will grow just about anywhere.  And they are edible, which makes them all the more rewarding, especially for kids.   Do explain that NOT ALL plants are edible please, especially for little ones.

I remember the first time we planted something we could eat.  My kids were about 5 & 2 and their most annoyingly wonderful questions were, ” How long does it take to grow?  Why is it taking so long?”   And every day they would check the pots to see if anything had sprouted.

They got to water the plants and learn that they needed food too.  Good chance to teach them  gardening and responsibility for their project.

When we finally, after about 7-10 days saw some teeeny green leaves beginning to surface,  that was amazing.  A triumph for them.  They began to see their work (preparing the soil, planting the seeds, watering) coming to fruition – well, beginning to anyway.

It was exciting and they loved watching the leaves grow and change into a mature plant that we used for cooking, especially the basil.  Smelled and tasted wonderful too.

If you plant even one little pot of basil or parsley, the rewards are amazing.  If they really grow well, you may need to transplant in to larger pots.  Planning ahead for success doesn’t hurt and you can always surprise your gardening geniuses with a new plant, pot and extra soil as a reward for their work.

It is wonderful how good those fresh little veggies taste compared with much of the stuff we get from the store…especially tomatoes.  All my friends agree, there’s a vast difference in the aroma and taste of a tomato fresh from the garden and the store-bought kind – even the organic ones.  It’s work that’s well rewarded at harvest time!

Just as a side, I am no expert in gardening.  But I have found if I follow the instructions on the seed packet and the informative hints from the local garden shop staff, I’m able to grow delicious greens, herbs, and yes, tomatoes too.  It is soooo satisfying to walk out on my patio and grab a handful of arugula, lettuce and a tomato from my pots and make salad from the “garden”.

Impresses the heck out of guests, even when they too have a garden.  In the mountains, our growing season is preciously short, so the rewards are treasured.   Take a few moments and thank Mom Nature for what you are able to plant and then reap the rewards with gratitude.   I improves the flavor you can savor and share with your neighbor…

Happy Spring!