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A Plant Based Diet: The Importance, and How To Get Started

Eating a plant based diet works beautifully to increase micronutrients and alkaline foods in your diet. 

Micronutrients, are the vitamins and minerals in our food and are the materials used to create the cells of the body and are crucial to hormone production.  (Read more about the importance of micronutrients here). Though all foods contain micronutrients, the foods that are plant based are the ones that are alkaline in nature and fight inflammation.  Some of the most powerful foods rich in micronutrients include vegetables such as spinach and kale, plus tomatoes, onions, carrots and other brightly coloured vegetables.

Did you know that we become more acidic as we age?  In 1931 Otto Warburg won the Nobel Prize for his research finding that cancer cells can’t survive in an alkaline environment.  If you bathe yourself in alkaline-rich foods, you increase oxygenation. Your cells will dance with gratitude and protect your health.

Here are suggestions for adding more plant based, alkaline foods to your diet:

  • Spinach and kale are leafy greens that can be added to salads, smoothies, or sautéed and enjoyed as a side dish.
  • Wheat grass makes a great addition to morning juices.
  • Broccoli  is a wonderful as a side dish to any meal, and is quite delicious when enjoyed raw.
  • Cucumber slices and peppers will make a fantastic salad topper, or snack when paired with a healthy fat like hummous.
  • Fresh watermelon and cantaloupe are an alkalizing, hydrating summer treat.
  • Both sweet potato and pumpkin can be enjoyed roasted, or enjoyed as a soup in the cooler months.

Do you follow a mainly plant based diet? How do you ensure you’re eating and benefiting from a wide variety of micronutrient packed fruits and vegetables? Go for the 80/20 rule and try to make 80% of your diet plant based.  Let me know if you have questions and remember, Health is contagious, pass it on by sharing below.

Body Treatments for Detoxification

Did you know that your skin absorbs toxins and chemicals everyday?

Skin is the largest organ in our body.  From the chemicals in our beauty and skin care products to the fire retardant on our furniture, we are exposed to hundreds of toxins on a daily basis. Here are four easy body treatments that aid in detoxing your body from the daily assault.

  1.  Dry Scrubbing

Using Himalayan salt (available at health food stores and also included in my liver detox kit) and a scrubbing mitt before showering or bathing will aid in exfoliation, sloughing off dry, dead skin.

Dry brushing is similar to massage in that it stimulates the lymphatic system, causing lymph nodes to release toxins from your system.  Our bodies do this naturally, however dry brushing will speed up the detoxification process as well as aid in circulation.  It also leaves your skin with an amazing glow!

  1.  Sauna

You can benefit from using a sauna at a spa, health club, or gym to encourage sweating out toxins.  The sauna is a tradition of Finland that some researchers date back over two thousand years. The Finns attribute their endurance and longevity to the tradition of sauna.  During a sauna session, your metabolism is boosted, your blood vessels become  more flexible, and your extremities loosen from increased circulation.

The effects of the sauna are numerous and varied. Those that use saunas report a feeling of psychological peace and contentment as well as physical rejuvenation. Many people claim that the sauna relieves the symptoms of minor illnesses such as colds, revives the muscles after tough physical exertion, and clears the complexion.

Stay in only as long as you are comfortable, increasing the time with each visit. Feelings of light headedness or dizziness are signs to get out.  Ensure that you drink plenty of water.

  1.  Try acupuncture.

Chinese medicine believes that aches, pains and diseases are caused by the blockage of chi energy.  By releasing blockages and allowing the chi to flow, the body can heal itself.  Though this thinking is uncommon to our western minds, acupuncture has been proven in a number of studies to be very beneficial for health and is a great tool to help detox.  Ask your acupuncturist to focus on a liver treatment as our liver is the detox center.

  1.  Drink Water.

Though not a body treatment, one of the most powerful things you can do to help detox is drink water. Lots of it.  Make sure it is purified and adding fresh lemon makes it alkaline!


If you do even one thing more each day for your health it will add up to make an enormous difference. 

Remember to pass this to people you love.  Health is contagious – pass it around!


The Benefits of Eating Late Summer Vegetables

If you’ve been eating the same vegetables week in and week out, I’m offering some tips for breaking out of your green veggie rut!

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Eating in season provides us with more health benefits. These veggies are picked at the peak of freshness, and are often higher in nutrients than their out of season counterparts who likely travelled twice as far to get to the same grocery store.  This in turn is better for the environment, and better for our bodies!

Some nutrient packed in season veggies during the summer include eggplant, summer squash and zucchini. You may actually be surprised to discover that both eggplant and zucchini are fruits! Name aside, this trio can add new flavor, texture and variety to your traditional summer side dishes.

Eggplant is high in iron, calcium and fiber. They also contain essential phytonutrients which improve blood circulation and nourish the brain. To get the most from your eggplant, be sure to cook and eat with the skin on!

Zucchini brings us a healthy dose of folate, which is essential in forming red blood cells, and preventing birth defects. It also offers up potassium, vitamins A and C, and beta carotene. A truly versatile fruit, zucchini can be added to almost any dish, including a substitute for apples in an apple crisp!

Summer squash is a rich source of Vitamin A and C, magnesium, fiber, and Vitamin B6. It is also high in manganese, a mineral which helps the body process fats, carbohydrates, and glucose. Yellow summer squash, similar to zucchini can be added to many dishes such as grilled mixed veggies, soups, salads and more!


Keeping Your Liver Healthy with Daily Detox Habits

This week I am offering up some daily detox recommendations to keep your liver functioning at it’s best. By incorporating these recommendations into your daily life, you are creating an amazing filtration system long term!

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Have a cup of tea when you wake in the morning.  Green tea or herbal tea can be substituted, but detox tea is a much better option. Look for ones with one or more of the following ingredients: licorice root, cinnamon, juniper berry, dandelion, burdock.  I have sampled literally hundreds of detox teas to find ones that have medicinal qualities but don’t taste like dirt, you can find my favorite here.

Eat protein for breakfast.  Eggs are a great source of high quality protein, sautee them up with some fresh veggies for a protein packed breakfast.

Snack smart. Twice daily, enjoy low-glycemic vegetables or fruit such as berries, avocado, broccoli or cauliflower. Eating low GI fruits and veggies will ensure even energy, and blood sugar levels throughout the day.

Pack lunch. Skip the store bought sandwich that is likely loaded with preservatives and sauces, and instead prepare a healthy lunch consisting of lean protein with more veggies.

Plan dinner. Always choose a high quality protein and a few green veggies for your evening meal. Limit sugary sauces and marinades. If you are craving something sweet, enjoy a piece of fruit.

Drink Juice. Enjoying fresh organic vegetable juices or green smoothies will bathe your liver cells in nutrients. Another option is to use the juices for your mid-morning or afternoon snack.

What Are Micronutrients and Why Are They So Important?

Did you know that what we eat literally becomes the parts of our body that we depend upon? Most people do not. Food is fuel but it is also information.

Our diet in North America has become more focused on the speed in which it is ready to eat than the nutritional content it has.  When Rachel Ray was asked the inspiration behind creating the 30 minute meals she responded that 30 minutes was the amount of time people were will to wait for a pizza to be delivered!

I want to show you why our foods are so important and what to focus on.  There are many diet plans out there that tell you exactly what to eat. I don’t want you to diet.  I want you to have an amazing relationship with food.  I want you to enjoy the food you eat, have it taste great and I want you to know how to prepare it easily.  I want you to feed your cells and your satisfaction by knowing and eating real food.

One of the most important things for you to understand about nutrition is the importance of micronutrients.  The foods we eat are either micronutrients or macronutrients. Micronutrients are essential in small amounts for healthy bodies such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals.  The great news is that food like fruits and vegetables are full of micronutrients!

While micronutrients are the literally the ingredients of every cell in our body that make up our organs and structures, macronutrients provide the energy to do the work of building and living. We need macronutrients for normal growth and development.  The three main parts of macronutrients are proteins, carbs and fats.  Protein is what provides us with the building blocks needed to sustain life.  Carbohydrates are what our body needs for an on demand energy source.  Fats are what supply our bodies with stored energy for use later on.

Micronutrients exist in many foods but I want to bring your attention to plant based micronutrients as the powerhouse of these vital substances.  A whole food plant-based diet is ideal nutrition:

  • Low in saturated fat and cholesterol by minimizing animal product consumption
  • Moderate in whole grains, nuts, and seeds
  • High in vegetables, fruits, and beans

Sugar is damaging to our health

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Did you know that Alzheimer’s has been called diabetes type 3? 

Limit the amount of sugar and foods that turn quickly and easily into sugar like pasta, bread and rice.  Sugar can appear in lost of places; here are a few to begin to look, in order to limit your intake:

  • Drink powders, soft drinks and other sweetened beverages
  • Flavored yogurts
  • Dried fruits
  • Spreads and jams
  • Bagels
  • Condiments such as BBQ sauce and ketchup
  • Sweet treats such as cookies, cakes, and ice cream

Sugar is a treat and make sure that you are fully present when you enjoy these things.  So many times we are eating while doing another tasks that we rarely even remember the texture or the taste.  Savor your treats and if you are eating sugar every day, it is no longer a treat!

Success is much greater when we replace rather than remove, here are some suggestions for replacement of the above sugar-laden snacks:

  • Fruit infused or sparkling water
  • Plain yogurts with fresh fruit
  • Fresh whole fruits
  • Homemade spreads, jams and condiments

The Benefits of Juices and Smoothies

Juicing is hard, time-wise.  It takes planning and effort, but it’s like jet fuel for your cells.  I tell my patients, “You just have to make the commitment and do it.”  Green juices are an amazing, easy to absorb, nutrient-dense food, and do not require much processing.

If you’ve downloaded my Hormone Handbook (get it here), you know that the juicing technique used in my liver cleanse is like a medication to treat your liver.  I  recommend enjoying a glass of fresh pressed juice or a green smoothie once a day after day for energy filled days and restful nights.

If you buy packaged juices, the pasteurization process kills all the good nutrients, as well as harmful bacteria.  That process also kills the living energetic plant enzymes that do the very work you’re drinking juice for.  Check out the glycemic indexes of some of the over the counter, bottled or canned juices, and you’ll see they have so much sugar that you might as well eat a donut.  For example, an 8oz. serving of V8 juice has 8 grams of sugar per 8 oz. serving!

That’s why it’s so important to commit to do-it-yourself juicing.  However, some people who have severe time constrictions feel it’s worth the investment to find places that make fresh organic vegetable juices right in front of you.  In California and Seattle you can actually order these juices through Amazon Fresh to get it delivered to your door.

Regardless of whether you are choosing to make your own fresh juice, or ordering it from a local juicery, adding one fresh pressed green drink per day to your routine will provide you with essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Plus, you’re able to add more fresh veggies into your diet than if you were attempting to eat them within a salad.

Here are two recipes for you to get started:

Green Juice

1 cucumber
2 celery stalks
1 big handful of kale (about 6 kale leaves)
1/2 lemon
1 green apple
1/2 inch ginger
Clean, chop and place ingredients through a juicer. Enjoy!


Green Smoothie

2 handfuls of spinach
1/4 pineapple
1 avocado
2 TBS chia or hemp seeds
Ice and water to taste
Blend all ingredients and enjoy!


What Vitamins Should You Take?

The standard American diet (SAD) does not provide the vitamins and minerals required for a healthy life.  Who eats more than five servings of fruits and vegetables in a day?  Vitamins are like an insurance policy.  If you can’t eat a balanced diet, a good multivitamin is helpful.

Anybody who lives at 35 degrees latitude or above should also take Vitamin D. The angle of the sun is such that you aren’t going to make any Vitamin D from October to April.  Also, because some of our fish is contaminated with mercury it’s difficult to get enough omega 3 fatty acids, which are anti inflammatory, just from eating fish.  A good mercury free fish or krill oil is beneficial.

Even though vitamins can fill in gaps, they really should not be used as our regular source of nutritional micronutrients solely.  We used to think vitamins and minerals could cover all our bases and provide all the benefits missing in our diet.  However, vitamins do not contain a crucial element in   plants called phytonutrients.  Phytonutrients protect us against disease. They’re thought to be present in higher amounts in foods untouched by pesticide and grown locally vs. picked when they’re green so they can make the trip from Chile and sit on the shelf for two weeks.  Eating organic and eating locally isn’t just trendy, it’s scientifically better for you.

Not all vitamin supplements are created equal either.  They’re not monitored by the FDA because they aren’t foods and aren’t drugs.  A vitamin labeled 250 mg of vitamin C might or might not have 250 mg.  It could have 5 mg.  And it’s perfectly legal.

Look for the label USP or GMP to indicate that the supplement company has kept themselves to higher standards.  That way you know what you are paying for!

Head Off “Before Dinner Hunger”

Many people feel hungry before dinner around 5pm and turn to cheese and crackers or another unhealthy option.  To help my own children stave off the pangs, I make a hummus dip with celery, cauliflower, carrots, and other veggies on the side.  I like to put it out for my daughters before dinner, and don’t have to worry whether they’ll eat their vegetables at dinner.

Hummus is a great form of protein, and very versatile when it comes to adding seasonings. Below is a hummus recipe you can try for yourself to increase micronutrient intake!

Below is my favorite recipe you can try for yourself, courtesy of Sonya Khazaal of Seattle's award winning restaurant Phoenecia.

What you will need
1 1/2 cups of chick peas(garbanzo beans)
2 teaspoons of salt
2 cloves of garlic
3/4  cup tahini
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons parsley ( for garnish)
Olive oil for garnish

Let's get started
1) drain the soaked chick peas
2) place the soaked chick peas in a pot with about three times their amount of water with a teaspoon of salt
3) boil vigorously for 10 min, then turn down the heat and cover the post
4) simmer for 1 hour or until chick peas a very soft
5) drain the water, but keep the water for use in a later step.
6) put aside 1/2 cup of the chick peas for a garnish at the end. This is a nice traditional touch;)
7) place the remaining chick peas in a food processor
8) crush your garlic on the side with a teaspoon of salt. Crush together then add to your mixer
9) Slowly add  your tahini and your lemon juice. Add a little of one then a little of the other unroll you have added all you have.
10) blend in a little of the liquid you set aside from boiling the check peas
11) adjust salt and lemon to taste

Now serve on a plater with hummus spread thin and garnished with a little cayenne, parsley, and the 1/2 cup of chick peas you set aside:))


Start Your Day With Protein

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The best source of vitamins and minerals is food.  However, most of us do not eat enough of the fruits and vegetables we need to detoxify and to build cells effectively.  Additionally, our food sources are less nutrient-dense than 50 years ago due to pollution, pesticides, and other factors.  The answer: Eat food your great grandmother would recognize.

The time of day you eat certain foods is as important as what and how much you eat, especially if you suffer from adrenal fatigue.  For example, American breakfasts set us up for a guaranteed crash in the afternoon.  No “good” fat or protein is included.  Everything is high glycemic–sugary junk food or foods that convert to sugar.  For example, a slice of white bread is a quick step toward sugar.  As for cereal, anything that can stay on the shelf for two years really shouldn’t be labeled food.  Even bugs don’t want cereal.

I’m suggesting you forget about danishes, muffins or cereal.  Make the switch to eggs, but make sure to load them up with onions, spinach, tomatoes, and other micronutrients.  (If you’re concerned about cholesterol, use egg whites.)  Or try a protein shake blended with frozen berries (rich in anti-oxidants) and coconut milk or hemp milk. Cook with olive oil at low temperatures, and with grape seed oil at high temperatures.

People who choose protein and micronutrients for breakfast wind up eating about 200 calories less throughout the day because this combination stabilizes blood glucose levels and takes the edge off hunger.  What are you eating for breakfast? If you’re up for a challenge and ready to incorporate more protein and less sugar, tell me in the comments below. I look forward to hearing from you!

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