Category Archives: Immune System



I was recently alerted to the video, “Eat, Fast, & Live Longer” through a newsletter I receive from VegSource. ¬†The concept of elongating lifespan through calorie restriction ¬†or intermittent fasting is fascinating.

“The¬†CRON-diet¬†(Calorie Restriction with Optimal Nutrition)[1]¬†is a nutrient-rich,¬†very low calorie diet[2]¬†developed by¬†Roy Walford,¬†Lisa Walford, and¬†Brian M. Delaney.[3][4][5]¬†The CRON-diet involves¬†calorie restriction¬†in the hope that the practice will improve health and retard¬†aging, while still attempting to provide the¬†recommended daily amounts¬†of various nutrients. Other names include¬†CR-diet,¬†Longevity diet, and¬†Anti-Aging Plan. Several people, including the Walfords and Delaney, founded the¬†CR Society International¬†to promote the CRON-diet.

Intermittent fasting (IF) is a pattern of eating that alternates between periods of fasting (usually meaning consumption of water and sometimes low-calorie drinks such as black coffee) and non-fasting.

There is evidence suggesting that intermittent fasting may have beneficial effects on the health and¬†longevity¬†of animals‚ÄĒincluding¬†humans‚ÄĒthat are similar to the effects of¬†caloric restriction¬†(CR). There is currently no consensus as to the degree to which this is simply due to fasting or due to an (often) concomitant overall decrease in calories, but recent studies have shown support for the former.[1][2]¬†Alternate-day calorie restriction may prolong life span.[3]¬†Intermittent fasting and caloric restriction are forms of dietary restriction (DR), which is sometimes referred to as dietary energy restriction (DER).

Scientific study of intermittent fasting in rats (and anecdotally in humans) was carried out at least as early as 1943.[4]

A specific form of intermittent fasting is¬†alternate day fasting¬†(ADF), also referred to as¬†every other day fasting¬†(EOD), or¬†every other day feeding¬†(EODF), a 48-hour routine typically composed of a 24-hour fast followed by a 24-hour non-fasting period.” – Wikipedia

While this is not a short video (clocking-in at around 1 hour), it is a very intriguing watch.

Have any of you tried intermittent fasting?  Any fasting experience?


Filed under Cancer, Cholesterol, Cleansing, Diabetes, Education, Fat, Immune System, Metabolic Syndrome, Weight Issues


Renew Life Collage photo 1.

I am a big believer in the benefits of probiotics.  I take them on a daily basis as do my children. I find that many people are unaware of the fact that our gut is a large part of our immune system.  According to Brenda Watson, one of the founders of Renew Life, 

‚Äú[T]he gut is the root and core of our total general well being.¬† It‚Äôs the place where food is broken down into the building blocks of our cells.¬† It‚Äôs the first line of defense against invading pathogens and infectious diseases.‚Ä̬†

Our bodies are filled with bacteria‚Ķsome good, some bad.¬† With probiotics we can tip the scales in our favor by introducing large amount of GOOD bacteria that will overrun the bad. There are many different ways to ingest probiotics. ¬†In addition to taking a capsule every morning (a MUST for me), I try to eat fermented foods¬†such as sauerkraut and kimchi. I also treat myself to probiotic drinks every so often¬†(my absolute favorite is¬†KeVita…they sweeten their drinks with stevia…yay!).

I am excited to announce that I have become an ambassador for Renew Life’s Ultimate Flora products. ¬†I am extremely picky about which supplements I take and I did my due diligence before signing on to this role. ¬†I really want a product to be of superb quality if I am going to align myself with it and I want it to be a reasonable price, which these are (They start at around $20 per month).

To further illustrate how diligent I was prior to signing on, I went so far as to take the probiotics with me to my appointment with one of my personal physicians, Dr. Michael Galitzer, so he could test it against my body.  As soon as he saw Renew Life he mentioned that he knew them to be a good company and I am happy to report that the probiotic passed his test with flying colors.

I really like that the Ultimate Flora line has sooooo many different offerings for different conditions. ¬†It is such a benefit to be able to pick the probiotic YOU specifically need vs. a one-size-fits-all approach. I have been taking the Ultimate Flora Women’s Care¬†(25 Billion) which is specific to women since it:

  • Helps balance yeast‚Ä°
  • Promotes vaginal heath‚Ä°
  • Supports urinary tract‚Ä°
  • Helps replenish healthy vaginal flora levels‚Ä°
  • Delayed Release

The  other probiotic offerings in the line are:

  • Ultimate Flora Critical Care 50
  • Ultimate Flora¬†Senior Formula 30 Billion
  • Ultimate Flora Adult Formula 15 Billion
  • Ultimate Flora Vaginal Formula 50 Billion
  • Ultimate Flora Critical Colon 80 Billion
  • Ultimate Flora Super Critical 200 Billion
  • Ultimate Flora Extra Care 30 Billion
  • Ultimate Flora RTS Daily 15 Billion
  • Ultimate Flora Daily Care 15 Billion
  • Ultimate Flora Ultra Potent 100 Billion
  • Ultimate Flora Advanced Immunity
  • Ultimate Flora Daily Probiotic Plus Fiber
  • Ultimate Flora Constipation Relief
  • Ultimate Flora Kid’s Probiotic
If you are new to probiotics, your body may go through an adjustment period which can range anywhere from a little gas to more frequent bowel movements.  If you have a lot of symptoms, scale back and take less until your body adjusts.  I recommend starting slowly and building-up from there.  For example, if a bottle states that the dose is 2 capsules, use 1 capsule for a few weeks and then add in the second capsule.
For more information about Renew Life probiotics, or to order click HERE. .To learn more about Ultimate Flora by Renew Life, click HERE.
Please note that as an affiliate I receive a small percentage of each Renew Life sale generated from this site…I believe in their products.


Filed under Education, Gut Health, Immune System


I can’t remember the last time I had a cold, but I know it was before I started eating a whole-foods plant-based diet…Until this week.

I caught a cold.

I shared food with my daughter who didn’t share with me the fact that she had a sore throat.

But you know what?¬† This cold never even came close to stopping me.¬† I still completed my usual workouts, ran a bit, and didn’t even stop to take a nap.¬† To top it off, the bothersome symptoms, aka sniffles and sneezes, only lasted a total of 3 DAYS.¬† I can live with that.

When I would catch a cold prior to eating this way I would usually have symptoms that interrupted my sleep and daily life for weeks. Colds seemed to linger for me back then and were always accompanied by horrible “keep you awake” kind of coughing at night. I don’t miss that at all.

When I felt the cold coming on I did use my far-infared sauna twice and made sure I ate a lot of produce and no processed food, which I am sure helped.

The main lesson I am taking away from this is that eating a whole-foods plant-based diet supercharges your immune system.¬† Secondary lesson – do not eat your kiddos leftovers…even if that smoothie they didn’t finish was super delish!


P.S. ¬†My daughter took the picture above on day 2 of the cold…I clearly wasn’t feeling too bad.


Filed under Education, Immune System, Vegan, Vegetarian

ASK GRETTIE – High Speed Blender vs. Juicer

I thought I would share with you one of my Chic Vegan “Ask Grettie” columns…

So, after catching my second sore throat/cold/whatever in a month I am starting to think that I need to add something to my diet and am ready to take the plunge and start juicing.¬† I did a bit of research and found two options, a juicer or a Vitamix.¬† A friend of mine really is pushing the Vitamix for two reasons:¬† you keep the fiber and you can add things that you can’t really juice like kale, etc. and get more out of it.¬† Thoughts?


Hi Alison,

I am so sorry to hear that you have been sick so much, but I applaud you for wanting to take steps to strengthen your immune system through nutrition.

I see tremendous value in both juicers and high speed blenders.  Both products serve different needs, though both are great tools for you to use to boost your immune system.

It is true that with a Vitamix you retain the fiber and that is very beneficial for the digestive tract.  I use my Vitamix every single day of the week to make green smoothies.  A high speed blender makes it so easy to add veggies to a smoothie while pulverizing them into a smooth drink.  My Vitamix is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets.  It does need to be said that a high speed blender can be used to make juice, albeit with a bit more work.  To make juice with a high speed blender, you would essentially make a smoothie and then strain it through a nut milk bag.  A Vitamix is very diverse and can be used to make everything from soups to dressings and raw desserts (ice cream, cheesecake, etc.).

Juicing is a wonderful way to support the immune system since juicers strip the fiber from the plant resulting in a tall glass of nutrients.  Since there is no fiber in the juice, the nutrients are immediately available and do not require much digestion.

With regards to kale and juicing, I add kale to my juicer all the time!  Juicers usually have at least two speeds and one of them is optimum for juicing kale and other leafy greens (Read the insert that comes with your juicer for specific instructions).  When I make a kale salad I strip the kale from the stem and keep the kale stems in the fridge to use in my juice the next day.  I also keep the broccoli hearts to do the same (if I am too lazy to peel them and use them in my cooking).

It is a tough decision whether to go with a high speed blender or a juicer, but I do see real value in both.¬† Since your immediate goal is to strengthen your immune system, I would suggest that the juicer is the way to go initially because of the maximum nutrient load you will get from veggie juice.¬† Juicers are also available within a wide price range.¬† Costco usually carries a decent juicer at a very reasonable price.¬† High speed blenders tend to be on the expensive side, but also available at Costco on occasion.¬† Either way you won’t go wrong.

Here’s to health!



Filed under Alkaline, Chic Vegan Column, Detox, Education, Immune System, Vegan, Vegetarian