Tag: upgrade

Curb Your Coffee Craving: Upgrade to This!

My earliest memories of coffee are of Saturday morning trips to Belvedere Square Market with my mom after her aerobics class.

Burgeoning burlap sacks of coffee beans lined the floor of the market and the aroma filled the air. Sourcing coffee beans wholesale that are of a really good quality can be difficult but Belvedere Square never failed to disappoint. That is why it is one of my favorite places ever to get a good cup of joe. They work brilliantly in ground form in my coffee machine too, which is always a must for me because I’m obsessed with that machine. I read reviews on Greatcoffeebrewers.com to find it and it is one of the best purchases I’ve ever made; perfect coffee every morning, what a start to the day.

To this day, Belvedere Square is one of my favorite places to go in all of Baltimore and is now the site of my FAVORITE chocolate place, Jinji Chocolates (check it out if you haven’t yet!) and two of my top places for a healthy meal in Baltimore.

A box of melt in your mouth chocolate from Jinji

A box of melt in your mouth chocolates from Jinji

I know I’m a minority when it comes to not being a fan of the taste of coffee, but my husband and other friends, family and coworkers couldn’t think of any other way to start their day.

For many people, it’s the taste and habit of drinking coffee, which tempts them to find other Interesting ways to make coffee on a daily, but for others, caffeine is queen.

They will try anything from a Mocha to a Cappucino and will probably always be on the lookout for new products that will tingle their taste buds. When it comes to my friends, and any new and interesting coffee information about new flavours, or different ideas on how to make it, you can guarantee that they’ve already read it and tried it before anyone has a chance to do so themselves. Sometimes, you will think that their lives revolve around coffee.

Caffeine is a big draw, as many of us are walking around a bit more sleep-deprived than we’d like to admit and have gotten used to being in a state of feeling artificially energized all day.


I get it.

Our lives are demanding.

We’re pulled in multiple directions at any given time, and making it through the work day, getting everything done around the house, and still having time for fun, friends, family and fitness can feel exhausting. Sometimes we feel like we need something to help us get it all done.

The truth is, caffeine affects different people differently. It’s when we become dependent on it to function that it can have a negative impact on our health, artificially stimulating us all day and running our adrenal glands dry.

Here’s a video by a clinical nutritionist that answers the question, “Is coffee good or bad for me?”

If you’re looking to kick caffeine, want to change up your morning or evening routine, or are ready to boost your health by making an upgrade, you have to give Dandy Blend a try.

So, what is Dandy Blend and why is it so, well, dandy?

Dandy Blend is a healthy, instant herbal substitute for coffee that’s caffeine-free. Thousands of people use it as an alternative to coffee because the blend of herbs that are used to make it tastes remarkably similar to coffee.

dandy blend

I’ve been sharing it with friends, coworkers and clients for the past few months, and quite a few people have already happily made the switch…including my husband, Bill!

Not only that, but because the ingredients have detoxifying properties, many people can make the switch without the unpleasant withdrawal side effects that often follow quitting coffee.

Pretty cool, huh?!

So, how do you use Dandy Blend?

  • For a light tea: add 1 level teaspoon per 8 ounces hot water.
  • For a rich, full-bodied coffee-like flavor: add 1 rounded teaspoon per cup hot water.
  • For a strong, coffee- or espresso-strength beverage: use 1 tablespoon per cup hot water.

Technically, you can use hot or cold water (or almond or coconut milk), but I prefer hot.

I’ll be sharing some of my favorite recipes that use Dandy Blend throughout the week – the first of which is for a SUPER delicious mocha fudge ball. You guys…they are SO good! 🙂


Don’t just take my word for it, check out what Dandy Blend customers have to say about this awesome coffee alternative:

I was pleasantly surprised! I have to admit, I was a skeptic. I’ve tried other non-coffee bean hot drinks and was disappointed. However, Dandy Blend tastes as close to real coffee as you can get!

Dandy Blend is the only coffee alternative that actually tastes better than real coffee.

Dear Dandy Blend, I LOVE YOU!!!! An avid coffee drinker for decades, when I was told by a doctor earlier this year I needed to get off coffee, I almost needed counseling! So, I tried Pero, Cafe’ Roma, Bru, and Cafix, but YOU GUYS TAKE THE CAKE! I love that it’s strong, like-coffee, no acid, no caffeine, and no gluten! Thank you so very much!

You can buy Dandy Blend online at Vitacost, Amazon or iHerb or at MOMs Organic Market.

And you can order a sample of Dandy Blend to try for yourself for just $1 on the Dandy Blend website. $1 will get you 2 samples! Click here to order.

If you end up trying it, please come back and leave a message to let everyone know what you think!

Top 10 Tips to Get Your Husband (& Kids!) To Eat Vegetables

When my husband, Bill, and I started dating, he was like most college students and wasn’t a huge fan of vegetables.

The only vegetables he would eat were iceberg lettuce, carrots and raw green peppers.

That’s the case for most college-aged guys who are more concerned with Saturday’s party than whether or not they’re eating enough of their leafy greens.

College days...almost 9 years ago with my then "crush" and now husband! Pictures from college can be pretty humbling!

College days…almost 9 years ago in my first picture with my then “crush” and now husband! (Pictures from college can be pretty humbling!)

When we were talking about this topic the other day, Bill shared what a typical college day of eating looked like for him:

  • Breakfast: If he ate it, it was eggs, sausage, bread, and milk or cereal with coffee if he didn’t make it to the dining hall.
  • Lunch: Taco salad in a fried shell topped with cheese or a roast turkey sandwich with cheese, lettuce and mayo with cookies for dessert…with a soda on the side.
  • Dinner: Whatever the dinner special was that night and ice cream or cookies for dessert.
  • Fourth Meal: If he was still hungry (or wanted something to do at night), he would go to The Pub for a fried fourth meal, which often consisted of either a cheese steak or chicken tenders and curly fries.

Fortunately for him, he had a revved up metabolism, since he was always playing sports, so he didn’t notice the ill effects of his diet at the time.

Over the past 8+ years, both of our diets and our bodies have undergone some pretty dramatic transformations, and we feel better than ever!


I traded in my Beefaroni and buttered egg noodles for bok choy and quinoa, and Bill made the transition from cheese steaks and curly fries to smoothies and garlicky green beans.

I asked him what he has found to be MOST surprising and enjoyable about getting to where he is today, and very thoughtfully, he shared these two observations…

  1. “I’m surprised by how filling beans can be…and that I don’t need meat at every meal to feel full.”
  2. “I like knowing that I can order a meal at a restaurant…without holding the onions…and tomatoes…and mushrooms. I just order it ‘as is’.”

When people see how I eat, they almost immediately turn to Bill with a bit of skepticism and ask,

“Do you eat this stuff??”

One of Bills new) favorites! Garlicky green beans with lemon and slivered almonds

One of Bill’s (new) favorites! Garlicky green beans with lemon and slivered almonds

He does. And it’s 100% his choice.


He’s experienced for himself the energy, health, satisfaction, and flavor that comes from eating whole, fresh, unprocessed, nourishing food, and that’s why he’s made it a priority in his life, too.

In fact, he’s now the one who comes to me and says, “I forgot my lunch today, so I had to eat in the cafeteria. I doubled up on the tomato and cucumber salad but had the cafeteria pizza [he’s a teacher]. I figured I would feel crappy and tired a few hours later…and I did.”

It’s been a journey for both of us, and all of these changes have happened gradually over time…over 8 years, in fact! Even to this day we’ll try things and find out that we don’t like them…but most of the time we DO like the foods we try and the dishes we make.

Shopping for, preparing, cooking, and sharing food together has become an integral part of our relationship and is an opportunity for us to bond, be adventurous and spend quality time together.

Berry-picking together on a Saturday morning!

Berry-picking together on a Saturday morning!

So, what are the secrets to how we’ve made this transition…and how Bill has grown to like vegetables so much?

I’ve listed my top 10 tips below and explained each tip in more detail in a post on another health blog I write for on a monthly basis.

**For the full scoop on each tip, check out the “Upgrade Your Diet & Veggie Up” post I wrote for Nava Health Center’s blog this month by clicking here!**

  1. Eat more of what you like already.
  2. Pick your own.
  3. Meal plan together.
  4. Take a field trip.
  5. Make it fun and play with your food.
  6. Blend it up!
  7. Roast them.
  8. Veggie scramble.
  9. Soups, stews & chilis….oh my!
  10. Puree away.

Do you have any secrets to “upgrading” your diet or that of a loved one? Feel free to share below!

“Upgraded” Kale Waldorf Salad

I almost had the privilege of staying at the renowned Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City when I was a senior in high school.

Unfortunately, due to lots of picketing and some sort of boycott, my classmates and I had to change locations and stay at a different hotel during our senior class trip to the Big Apple. Oh well!

The salad I’m sharing today originated in the Waldorf Hotel in the late 1800s and is often a potluck favorite due to the combination of creamy dressing, crunchy celery and walnuts, and sweet, crisp apples.

A bunch of healthy ingredients go into this salad recipe

A bunch of healthy ingredients go into this salad recipe

One of the things I like to do when preparing meals is make some upgrades. “Upgrades” are little changes that basically boost the nutrient score of a particular food or dish. The more nutrients we get in our food, the more our bodies will thank us by staying well and feeling energized!

I made this salad, which puts a healthier spin on the class Waldorf Salad, for a friend’s baby shower last summer, and it was a big hit.

The sweetness comes from apples and raisins instead of the white sugar used in the traditional recipe, and the Dijon mustard, apples, and walnuts blend together to create a creamy dressing without using mayo.

The main “upgrade” to this recipe is the addition of dino kale (a superstar vegetable!). This is a great way to introduce friends and family to kale. It has lots of different textures and great flavor. Bring it to your next potluck!

“Upgraded” Kale Waldorf Salad 



  • 4 cups packed finely chopped raw kale, preferably dinosaur kale
  • 1 large red apple, such as Fuji or Honeycrisp, chopped, divided
  • 1 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped, divided
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons raisins, divided
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons water, more if needed
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

The dressing will be pretty thick, but I just massage it into the kale. If you find that you need more than 2 tablespoons of water to thin it out, feel free to add in one tablespoon of fresh lemon juice instead of adding more water.

Click here for the full recipe from Whole Foods Market Recipes (one of my favorite recipe apps!).

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