Cheers with a mocktail!



No doubt about it, society sees drinking as a way to loosen up, wash your worries away, and socialize. Now that you know even small amounts of alcohol intake can increase your risk of breast cancer, you may feel inspired to cut down your alcohol intake or eliminate it entirely. These tips will help you recognize-avoid-cope in social situations.

  • Every success starts with a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timebound) plan.

Goal setting really helps increase your chances of achieving success. Planning your resistance strategies using this form is a great place to start. Since you know yourself better than anyone, be sure to start with small, realistic changes and then build from there. For example, if you’re currently having 3 alcoholic drinks per week, you may want to start with a plan to reduce that number to 2 drinks per week. If you’re feeling especially ambitious, consider adding 15 minutes of daily moderate-vigorous exercise! Start at your current comfort level. You can read more about designing SMART goals by clicking here.

  • Think of a situation where you may find yourself being offered a drink. How would you refuse it? Practice makes perfect – take your resistance strategies form (above) for a few trial runs!

Pressures to drink come from all kinds of places – some are direct (friends and co-workers) and others indirect (temptation by being around others who drink).

  1. Learn to recognize the type of pressure . Then, for each situation, choose som resistance strategies.
  2. Whenever possible,avoiding situations that tempt you to drink is a good strategy. Once you’ve got the hang of saying ‘no’, you’re less likely to have to avoid these events in the future.
  3. If you can’t avoid a situation, planning your clear, firm, and friendly ‘no’ is important. Keep it short and sweet, and make eye contact.
  4. Have a non-alcoholic drink in a cocktail glass.
  5. Ask for support from your peers in social situations (sometimes, this can be difficult).

Remember, it’s your choice!

Recognizing your decision to change as an empowering choice increases your likelihood of success. *You* are the one in charge here.

How others will react or view you is out of your control, and you deserve to have your life choices respected.

All written contents are copyright 2017 by 20fourcarrots.


No reuse or re-publication without permission. Please note that the information provided on this site is intended for informational purposes only. Nothing contained herein is intended to treat, diagnose, prevent, or cure any illness or medical condition. Consult a doctor before beginning any diet or exercise regimen or before taking vitamins or supplements. Statements on this site have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.


Homemade matcha latte

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I never fancied myself much of a matcha drinker. I didn’t love the chalky texture, and found it bitter in a way I didn’t enjoy.

Then, I discovered Shuhari Matcha Cafe and MatchaBar in Silverlake. I will always try something healthy more than once hoping to develop a liking for it (though I’ve given up trying with kombucha), so I strolled in and ordered up a latte over ice – and just like that, a new addiction was born!

Matcha Latte in a blender:


1.5 cups of milk (your choice – I love almond)

1 tsp matcha powder (shop around for a ceremonial-grade organic brand)

coconut sugar to taste (or black sugar, if you can find it)


Heat milk to just under boiling (skip this step if you prefer it cold – I do!)

Pour milk into blender

Add Matcha powder to blender

Blend at lowest setting for 15 seconds until smooth and frothy

Health benefits of matcha:

-in animal studies, it shows a protective effect on damaged liver and kidney cells resulting from Type 2 diabetes by decreasing glucose, triglyceride, and total cholesterol levels, and through its antioxidant activities.

-in a literature review of various studies on green tea, among which matcha is a standout with its higher levels of active ingredients, the following benefits were observed:

  • aids in weight loss
  • boosts immune health
  • anti-inflammatory properties help improve symptoms of arthritis (both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis)
  • has the potential to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s
  • has shown neuroprotective qualities that may be helpful in Parkinson’s
  • L-theanine (higher levels are found in black tea) helps us adapt better to stress, elevates mood
  • has been shown to prevent cavities, strengthen gums, and freshen breath
 Find out where your matcha comes from:
  • Visit the website of the company selling your matcha. The best matcha shops will post their quality standards and a certification of radiation testing results. You can also inquire as to what region it was grown, and look it up on a map to see how far it is from Fukushima.
  • If you are interested in digging through the most current data on radiation in Japan, Japan’s Ministry of Health continues to post updates weekly and monthly with testing results for levels of radioactive contaminants in tea.
  • Here’s an interactive map of radiation in Japan by region (this map is from April 2011, 1 month after the nuclear accident).

Click here to learn even more about green tea!

[All written contents are copyright 2017 by Vivian Kanchian], Holistic Nutrition Expert.


No reuse or re-publication without permission. Please note that the information provided on this site is intended for informational purposes only. Nothing contained herein is intended to treat, diagnose, prevent, or cure any illness or medical condition. Consult a doctor before beginning any diet or exercise regimen or before taking vitamins or supplements. Statements on this site have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Broccoli “shot”

Anytime I’m making steamed broccoli, I make a broccoli “shot” for my honey to sip on until it’s time to eat!

Steaming vegetables for a short amount of time, in a very small amount of water (about 1″) is the best way to preserve nutrients, while breaking down cell walls that make them more digestible. Still, you may have noticed that your water takes on some of the color from your veggies with steaming, and that water contains precious vital nutrients that you don’t want to toss out!

What to do?

Pour into a small ceremonial Japanese tea cup, add half a capful of apple cider vinegar and a pinch of sea salt, and voila – say cheers to your good health!


(You can substitute with cauliflower, brussels sprouts, or a cruciferous vegetable of your choice!)

Beet your allergies with this salad!

Not only is this salad super simple, it is custom-designed to help you get rid of those pesky allergies!

(Another nice benefit: beets and garlic are two of the most detoxifying plant foods around!)

3-4 medium red beets

2 medium cloves garlic (minced)

Coarse sea salt (to taste)

1/4 cup unrefined extra virgin olive oil

1 T fresh lemon juice

1/4 bunch fresh parsley finely chopped

  • Cut the tops off the beets, leaving 1 inch of stems attached. Place in a pot of cold water to cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and boil until the beets can be pierced through with a sharp knife (still a bit al dente), about 45 minutes depending on their size.
  • Rinse in cold water until beets are cool enough to handle, then cut the stems off, and dice into bite-sized cubes, toss with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt.
  • Top with chopped parsley.


I prefer this salad warm or at room temperature – watch as your sniffles, sneezes and runny nose begin to disappear! “Allergies, be gone”!




Top 4 Foods to Boost Your Metabolism this Winter

I initially set out to make a ‘Top 5’ list of ways to avoid holiday weight gain, until I learned that the average American gains roughly  1-2 pounds over the holiday season– not much help needed there.   Still, there are some very good reasons not to gorge yourself full of food this season:

1- It may not end with the season.

2- Too much food means your body has to work extra hard to digest it all, which leaves less resources for your body to fight back those pesky cold and flu viruses that run rampant during the winter season.

3- You feel gross.

4- Overconsumption is not good for the planet.  Why not take a beat between bites, and if you’re not hungry– here’s a novel idea… don’t eat it.     🙂

Now, for the actual list I promised …

Thermogenic foods help to speed up the metabolism, aiding with digestion and calorie burning:

1- Spices;  Foods containing ginger and hot peppers (cayenne, black pepper, chili)  can help you to feel fuller faster.  And the benefits don’t just stop there!  Spiced foods and drinks will keep you toasty when the weather gets a little (Los Angeles) or a lot (New York) nippy.  Check out this recipe for one of my favorite fiery drinks to snuggle up to!

2- Green tea appears again and again on my list of beneficial foods.  The catechins and caffeine in green tea work synergistically to suppress appetite and to speed up the metabolism.  Get it in your life now!

3- Proteins.  Try a handful of organic almonds or walnuts, a cup of lentils, or some yogurt to jump start your metabolism.

4- Whole Grains.  Your body burns twice as many calories when you consume a whole food (ie. brown rice) instead of processed (white rice)!








Winter ‘tea’

1/2″ piece of fresh peeled ginger (scored or minced)

2 cups of purified water

1-2 tsp maple syrup

pinch of cayenne


Combine the ginger and water, bring to a boil.

Pour the contents into two mugs.

Add half or one teaspoon of maple syrup and a pinch of cayenne per mug.

Enjoy next to a crackling fireplace with someone you love!  ❤ ❤

10 Easy Tips to Curbing Food Waste

According to the National Resources Defense Center (NRDC), a whopping 40% of food produced in the U.S. never gets eaten!   (Yes, I watched that episode of John Oliver).  And yet we continue to hear that we need GMO crops to feed an ever-growing population.  Something just isn’t adding up here!

Try getting involved with a local food rescue to help prevent food waste the smart way.

On an individual level, here’s what each of us can do to make a difference:

1- Buy fresh produce and perishables frequently and in small quantities.

2- Freeze what you don’t need for later use.  (Most foods are freezer-friendly).

3- Ask your server if they carry half-sized portions.  Oftentimes, you won’t see this on the menu when the option does exist.  If the answer is ‘no’, then ask for a to-go container and finish every last bite when you get those munchies later (and recycle that container, if it’s salvageable)!

4- Grow your own vegetables and fruit.  Pick what you need, then donate, sell, or compost (to a local farmer’s market) what you don’t.

5- Don’t fear ugly produce.  Lettuce should still be green, but if it doesn’t look perfect or is the last one of its kind on the shelf– JUST EAT IT!

6- A lot of people may disagree with me on this one, but I stand firm!  Feed a hungry animal.  Birds, coyotes, deer, and other animals are increasingly being displaced due to drought and habitat loss.  Drop off some leftover roast, turkey (coyotes), seeds (birds), nuts and fruits (deer) where you know they might find them.  Our survival depends on their survival.  ❤ ❤

7- If you know you’re not going to need that ketchup, that side of bread or saltines, or will only be able to finish half of that glass of water… why not ask your server at the outset to downsize the order.  If you still get a full sized glass of water, use it to water something with.  I have been known to sneak out of a restaurant, with glass in hand to water anything green that’s growing out of the ground!

8- Eat more vegetables/ Eat less meat.  Meat is the most “expensive” food item we could consume because it takes so much energy to produce.  Its production contributes significantly to climate change, while a plant-based diet has been linked to increased health and longevity.  Sounds like a win-win to me!

9- Do you really need to go in for seconds?  Sure, it’s nice every now and then to treat yourself… but it’s important to note that calorie restriction has been linked to increased longevity.  If skipping a meal every now and then might add some years to my life, and life to my years… turning my nose up at that second slice of pumpkin pie sure comes a lot easier!

10- Vegetables a little wilted?  Fruit a little too ripe?  Sounds like the perfect makings of a good hearty soup, stew, or omelet… or how about some homemade jam or fruit popsicles?  Oh yeahhh, baby!!

Thanksgiving sides that will make you forget you’re ‘eating your vegetables’!

Here are a couple of Thanksgiving recipes that are sure to knock your socks off AND satisfy your appetite.  Oh yes, and they’re chock full of sulforaphane and antioxidant rich ingredients to boot!  Starting with a heaping helping of these fiber and nutrient-dense sides will help curb your cravings for the upcoming feast!

Warm Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Orange, Mint, and Frizzled Onions:

2 lb. Brussels Sprouts shaved into very thin strips

2 T cold-pressed olive oil or 1 T coconut oil

2 medium sweet (Maui preferable) onions


1 cup rice or brown rice flour

1 t onion powder

1 t dried mint

2 t black pepper

1 t sea salt

2 duck eggs (or ½ cup olive oil)

olive oil or coconut oil for frying


2 T orange zest

½ cup freshly juiced orange

1 T raw honey

1 large clove of garlic minced

¾ t sea salt

¾ t black pepper

¾ cup cold-pressed olive oil


-Sautee the Sprouts in olive oil until slightly caramelized, set aside

-Using a mandoline, slice onions very very thinly

-Blend dry ingredients and set up a station with one dish for dry, another for wet (duck eggs- well beaten, or olive oil).

-Blend slivered onions or shallots into olive oil or duck egg mixture coating thoroughly, then dip into flour mixture to coat.

-Heat pan with olive or coconut oil. It is ready when you hear a slight sizzle (no popping) with dropping your onions in.   Fry a handful at a time to avoid cooling the pan, and getting soggy results.

-Remove from heat, and let the onions cool on paper towels to soak up excess oil.

-Whisk together dressing ingredients, and toss the cooked sprouts to coat generously, top with frizzled onions and enjoy!


Cauliflower Buffalo Bites (recipe from ‘The Lean Clean Eating Machine”)

** I prefer to substitute the non stick spray with a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil, and the Earth Balance butter with olive oil or organic canola.


Happy healthy Thanksgiving to all!






Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Corn-Free Buckwheat and Seed Bread

Just got a new breadmaker… am going to have to try this asap! 🙂

Elle Bakes

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How delicious is warm bread out of the oven?  The smell of it alone is enough to tempt you for a taste!

This bread is made with buckwheat to make it gluten-free and topped with a range of super seeds to give it a delicious and nutritious crunch!

Hope you enjoy! xx

Gluten-Free Buckwheat and Seed Bread


  • 1 1/2 cups my gluten-free flour mix (or one of choice)
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 3 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder (recipe here or use own)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 eggwhites
  • 1 cup dairy-free milk of choice (or dairy if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Chia seeds, Pine Nuts, Sunflower Seeds, & Pumpkin Seeds to sprinkle on top


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced and line a loaf pan.

  2. Sift flours, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, lightly beat eggwhites until just…

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