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Black Bean Pumpkin Chili with Grass Fed Ground Beef. Easy to make Vegan or Paleo.

This pumpkin chili recipe is perfect for a chilly Fall evening.

The importance of grass fed beef

Grass fed beef has countless benefits over standard grain fed beef. First and foremost, it is healthier for the cattle. Cows bodies do not properly digest corn and other grain, and they are typically given antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals to combat any diseases caused from the stress of trying to digest grain.

Additionally, grass fed cows are not forced to live on factory feed lots, which are unsanitary and inhumane. Grass fed beef is naturally high in Omega-3 fatty acids, and low in Omega-6 fatty acids which may contribute to heart disease. Grazing also benefits the soil by putting carbon into the ground. Healthier soil means healthier food. And, lastly, it tastes better! Give it a try and I bet you will love it.

Ingredients needed

Yield 10 servings

1 pound grass fed ground beef (optional)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium sweet yellow pepper, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
2 chipotle peppers, in adobo sauce
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
2 teaspoons chili powder
1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cooking instructions

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef until no longer pink. Add onion, yellow pepper and carrot and saute until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Transfer mix to a 5 quart slow cooker; stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until heated through. Enjoy!

Recipe Michelle

Photo Sean Greenspan

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Garlic Mashed Turnips Recipe

This turnips recipe is a great alternative to regular mashed potatoes. I have, however, added potatoes to this turnips recipe because I can actually get my daughter to eat it that way! Turnips are slightly bitter, but the potatoes can be omitted if desired. Turnips are naturally high in Vitamin C, fiber and calcium. They also have less calories than potatoes. If you buy turnips with the greens, you can chop them and add them to the recipe for an added nutritional boost. Happy Fall!



You ARE a health nut if……

The things you do

1. You ARE a health nut if you have eliminated at least 3 of these things from your diet: Gluten, Soy, Dairy, Meat. If you have eliminated all of those, as well as corn and peanuts, whoa you mean business!

2. You ARE a health nut if you are buying and drinking water only from glass containers.

3. You ARE a health nut if you “know” about: being a vegan, proper food combining, the pale diet, the blood type diet, fasting, raw food, cleansing, and sprouting.

4. You ARE a health nut if you: soak your nuts prior to eating.

5. You ARE a health nut if your smoothies look like mud because there is a MINIMUM of 6 ingredients in each one you make.

The things you say

6. You ARE a health nut if you can ramble on about your love of super foods like acai, goji, sea buckthorn, spirulina, chlorella, quinoa, mangosteen, noni, reishi and chaga.

7. You ARE a health nut if you are having conversations about how many supplements you take.

8. You ARE a health nut if you have an obsession with a certain kind of workout.

9. You ARE a health nut if these words have come out of your mouth: “I can’t. I’m cleansing right now.”

10. You ARE a health nut if your response to eating certain seafood is: “I don’t eat bottom feeders”

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Butternut Squash & Carrot Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash is good source of Vitamin E, Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium and Magnesium, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Potassium and Manganese. And Carrots are a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Iron, Potassium and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin K and Manganese. Enjoy eating this deliciously healthy soup!


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Beyond Coconut Oil

When I was a little girl growing up in the countryside of the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago, coconut trees were a very common site in everyone’s back yards as well as many other tropical fruit trees. I remember sometimes, on a hot day, we would gather in the shade of the coconut trees in the back yard and my dad would pick coconuts and get out the ‘cutlass’ /’machete’ and we would all enjoy coconut water right out of the shell through a hole in the top.



Tomatillo Salsa. A natural source of Zeaxanthin and Lutein.

Tomatillos contain a number of different anti-oxidants including beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, lutein and Vitamin A. These 4 antioxidants are the most common ingredients found in eye support supplements, so naturally tomatillos are good for your eye health and vision. This tomatillo salsa recipe is great served as a dip, or perfect on top of tacos or enchiladas.



Questions for Melanie. Are you a Vegan, and how did you get your arms so toned?

After reposting the “trash the dress” photo shoot. I received a few similar questions from readers. I decided it was easiest to answer them in a post.

I’ve seen you write posts about being Vegan. How long have you been a vegan? Almost 20 years

Are you a strict vegan? Not by the most strict vegan standards. I wear leather, I eat honey, bee pollen, royal jelly etc. The only dairy I product I consume at home is raw butter sometimes. I eat as vegan as possible out at restaurants, but with a relaxed approach. I am sure I have consumed some chicken stock or hidden dairy over the years, especially when it comes to birthday cake!



Considering a dairy free diet? What about Calcium? Should you go dairy free?

Eliminating dairy is one of the major things that changed my body for the better. This notion will be easier for some to “digest” than others because who doesn’t love ice cream, cheese, and cereal? It’s hard to imagine our lives without it. But for me, the benefits I saw to my body encouraged me to continue on a dairy free diet for good.


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Smoothie Recipe: Blueberry, Banana, Raw Cocoa Beans, and Greens Powder Powered

This Smoothie ended up having 3 versions in 3 days. This is a great example of how you can be creative, change up your nutrient and super food profile, and never really go wrong when making a smoothie. It is all about nutrient density, and smoothies can give you a big bang for your buck, and big return on investment, if you load them up with good stuff!



Strawberry, Almond Milk, Wheat Grass, Maca, Plant Protein, and Antioxidant Rich Smoothie.

1/2 cup Frozen Organic Strawberries
12 oz Almond Milk
1 serving Organic Wheat Grass Powder
2 servings Organic Maca Powder
1 serving Plant Fusion Plant Protein
1 serving PhytoBerry

Throw in blender. Mix thoroughly. Enjoy.


Recipe: Pasta with Broccoli and Onions. Good for marathon runners; athletes and busy parents alike.

When my husband completed his first Olympic distance triathlon. He did awesome and felt full of fuel – two big reasons for that was our healthy eating and vitamins (and of course training!). He had a special request for one of the pasta dishes I make for the evening before. He wanted something substantial and vegetarian.



Recipe: Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie. Healthy Comfort Food, High in Soluble and Insoluble Fiber.

This dish is amazing and fun for the kids to help with. My daughter had a blast putting the mashed potatoes on top of the lentils (and eating spoonfuls of them!). We have talked about the health benefits of lentils before including their high levels of soluble and insoluble fiber. They are also one of the only legumes that cook in 20 minutes or less! Don’t forget to reserve your cooking liquid for making the mashed potatoes.