September Superfoods

September Superfoods

We usually associate edibles with superfoods. 

Of course,the ingredients we put in our body every day are essential in sustaining our well being. My definition of a superfood includes daily movement, and attention to the thoughts we think throughout the day. 

Just taking five minutes away from your work desk to move and breathe deeply can recalibrate your mindset. That sounds like a superfood to me!

In September comes a wave of cool weather. The colors start to change, the air has a hint of crispness, and the aromatics of the fall harvest start to intoxicate our palate.

With the body’s divine intelligence we begin craving warmer foods. Eating with the seasons brings harmony to the body and the mind, and sustains us while we ease into autumn with our own natural flow. 

With this, comes new delectable opportunities for us to keep moving toward good health with hope and excitement.

It’s the little things that help most of all. Every lifestyle choice, no matter how modest, gets noticed and celebrated by the body’s perceptiveness. If it feels hard to give up certain foods, start slowly, by adding in some nutrient rich whole foods like leafy greens, whole grains, and seasonal spices.

Consuming a colorful diversity of plant foods in your daily life, will promote a well functioning gut microbiota.This allows for a quicker and more effective response to disease-causing organisms. In turn this will create a strong immune system, to support a vibrant body. 

In addition to the foods we eat, a beauty routine that leans on natural ingredients will help you look and feel good ~ without sacrificing your health. 

With our skin being our largest organ, what we put on our body is paramount to our wellness.

In a culture of doing with less being, our health and the way we approach it, has become central to our way of life.

Simple Superfood Inspiration ~

Design your own superfood bowl with this savory dukkah recipe that is scrumptious on just about everything.  ~ Keep it colorful, organic, when possible, flavorful, and incorporate texture by adding some crunchy bits like this delicious recipe with a superabundance of essential omega fatty acids.

To your good health…

If you are a curious cook, join me on my Radio Show ~ “A taste for All Seasons”  

We explore the world of food, with the philosophy of eating with the seasons. 

And… as always, l  will be sharing cooking tips, seasonal shortcuts and kitchen essentials that will make your life easier in the kitchen. 

Visit:  A Taste for All Seasons Show Page @ WPVMFM.ORG. and listen to the August 28th show, at 11am, for a delicious conversation with Dairy Farmer Andrea Vangunst of Grassroots Farm.

It airs on the last Saturday of every month at 11 am, on WPVM FM 103.7 in Asheville, NC.   

Laurie Richardone is a seasonal gluten free chef and certified health coach. For more information, visit

Slow Food is Good Food

Slow Food is Good Food

What is the Slow Food philosophy?

It should please the senses and arrive on the plate in an environmentally responsible way. In addition, creating a connection between farmers and the community.

It is a way of eating and a way of living…

Alice Waters, founder of the legendary Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley, California is the mother of slow food.  She was also the creator of The Edible Schoolyard.

It teaches school children not only how to grow food, but how to appreciate food.

Children that were growing their own food were inspired not only to cook it, and eat it, but enjoy the taste of food grown in healthy soil by their own hands.

This is the heart of taste education. 

Slow food is contagious. When you eat a perfectly ripe peach or tomato that was organically grown locally, picked at its peak, the difference in taste will be monumental.

It becomes pleasurable and meaningful when you know who’s food you are eating, along with the love that went into growing it. BTW… Pairing a tomato and peach will delight you.

Add some buffalo mozzarella, or sheep feta, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, Viola… a delicious match made in heaven.

Another benefit of bringing this philosophy into our kitchens, is that it can spill over into living a less stressful life. When we give the ingredients we have gathered at our markets our attention, and their rightful due, we are in the present moment. Our minds will not go to the next thing we need to do, potentially creating stress.

Some of these things are easy to do – some not so easy. Perhaps the most challenging is to change our attitude and mindset about the food we eat.

We have to rethink our priorities and the way we approach life and all things in it!!

Like cooking our food slowly…

To your continued good health

If you are a curious cook, join me on my Radio Show ~  “A taste for All Seasons”

We explore the world of food, with the philosophy of eating with the seasons.

And… as always, l will be sharing cooking tips, seasonal shortcuts and kitchen essentials that will make your life easier in the kitchen.

Visit: and listen to our June show as we cook our way through the seasons. Learn how to make an authentic Pesto, using traditional methods.

It airs on the last Saturday of every month at 11 am, on WPVM FM 103.7 in Asheville, NC.

Laurie Richardone is a seasonal gluten free chef and certified health coach.

For more information, visit


I Found My Thrill on Blueberry Hill

I Found My Thrill on Blueberry Hill

By Natasha Kubis

Nothing proclaims summer better than fresh, sweet, nutritious, and beautiful blueberries. July marks National Blueberry Month, and the celebration of one of our most beloved fruits. They are native to North America, and have been used by Native Americans for centuries for food and medicinal purposes. It is surprising that blueberries were not actually domesticated until 1916, when a couple of agricultural pioneers from New Jersey decided to tame the wild nature of blueberries by creating a hybrid that could be commercially grown. This was the turning point that brought them from farm to table, thus creating the flourishing industry for cultivated blueberries we have today.

A growing body of positive scientific research supports the many health benefits of this delicious fruit. Here are just a few of their many benefits:

They are an excellent source of vitamin C, which helps protect cells against damage, and aids in the absorption of iron.

They also contain a decent amount of soluble fiber, which slows down the rate at which sugar is released into the bloodstream, and helps to keep the digestive system functioning well.

Blueberries are rich in phytochemicals, which are the naturally occurring plant compounds responsible for the blue, indigo, and red coloring. Phytochemicals have been researched extensively for their antioxidant action that helps protect the body against a long list of diseases. Epidemiological studies associate regular intake of blueberries with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

Blueberries have a reputation for being jam-packed with antioxidants compared to other common fruits. Antioxidants are compounds that protect against the oxidative cell damage that naturally occurs with age, chronic sun exposure, environmental toxins, and stress.

The Journals of Gerontology published a systematic review of the effects of flavonoid-rich blueberries (flavonoids are a group of plant metabolites thought to provide health benefits through cell signalling pathways and antioxidant effects) on cognitive performance as we age. The 11 studies included children, older adults, and adults with mild cognitive impairments. For children who were given a blueberry supplement, there were consistent improvements in memory and executive function, which relates to the ability to control behavior. Older adults and adults with mild cognitive impairments receiving blueberry supplements experienced these, as well as improved psychomotor function, including coordination and dexterity.

Have fun celebrating National Blueberry Month by picking fresh blueberries, and making some delicious and nutritious recipes featured!

Smoothie Bowl


1 cup of frozen blueberries

1 container (5.3 ounces) of vanilla dairy or nondairy yogurt

1/2 of a frozen banana

3 tablespoons of dairy or nondairy milk


1/2 cup of fresh blueberries

1/2 cup of sliced peaches

1/4 cup of granola

2 tablespoons of flax seeds

2 tablespoons of sliced walnuts

2 tablespoons of flaked coconut

Purée blueberries, yogurt, banana, and milk in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a bowl.

Top with berries, sliced peaches, granola, flax seeds, walnuts, and coconut.

Gluten Free Blueberry Crumble

Blueberry base:

4 cups of fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of cornstarch


1 cup of your favorite granola,
or rolled oats

1 cup of chopped walnuts

1 cup of almond flour

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1/2 cup of maple syrup

1/3 cup of butter, vegan margarine, or coconut oil (melted).

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, mix the blueberries, maple syrup, lemon juice, and vanilla. Add the cornstarch and toss the blueberries.

Spoon the berries into an 8×8 inch pan.

In another bowl, mix the granola, walnuts, almond flour, and salt. Stir in the maple syrup, butter, and vanilla until well combined.

Next, spread the crumble on top of the blueberries.

Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.

Let cool completely, and top with whipped cream, ice cream, yogurt, or cinnamon.

“Pick Your Own”
Blueberry Farms:

The Berry Farm
2260 Revere Rd.
Marshall, NC 28753
(828) 656-2056

Cloud 9 Farms
137 Bob Barnwell Rd.
Fletcher, NC 28732
(828) 628-1758

Dogwood Hills Farm
369 Ox Creek Rd.
Weaverville, NC 28787

Hickory Nut Gap Farm
57 Sugar Hollow Road
Fairview, NC 28730
(828) 628-1027

Natasha Kubis is a licensed acupuncturist and certified yoga teacher. For more information, visit

Heart Healthy

Heart Healthy

By Natasha Kubis

According to the Center of Disease Control, about 647,000 Americans die from heart disease each year—that is one in every four deaths. The American Heart Association states that a healthy diet and lifestyle choices may reduce your risk of heart disease by 80%. February is National Heart Month and it is the perfect time to review your lifestyle and make heart healthy choices.

Fat Facts

We need healthy fats in our diet, but not all fats are created equal. One fat we do not need is trans fat. Trans fats are industry-produced fats often used in packaged goods, snack foods, cakes, margarines, and fast foods in order to add flavor and texture. They are known to increase your risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke and should be avoided.

  Trans fats are made when food manufacturers turn liquid oils into solid fats like shortening or margarine. Animal foods, such as red meats and dairy, have small amounts of trans fats, but most trans fats come from processed foods and those are the ones of which to be the most wary.

  Your body does not need or benefit from trans fats. They raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol and they also lower your HDL (good) cholesterol. High LDL along with low HDL levels can cause cholesterol to build up in your arteries. This increases your risk for heart disease and stroke.

  Eating too much trans fat can cause you to gain weight and may also increase your risk for type 2 diabetes. Staying at a healthy weight can reduce your risk for diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems.

While trans fats serve no purpose but to give processed foods a longer shelf life and raise your cholesterol, healthy fats may help lower your risk of heart disease, if you eat them in place of unhealthy fats. Monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat are considered more heart healthy fats.

Monounsaturated fats help lower “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and raise “good” (HDL) cholesterol. Sources include canola, olive, and peanut oils, olives, avocados, nuts, and nut butters.

Polyunsaturated fats are known as essential fats because the body cannot make them and needs them from food sources. Omega-3 fatty acid is an example and it can help lower triglycerides, a type of fat that clogs arteries. Sources include fish (such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, and sardines), ground flaxseed and flaxseed oil, soybeans, walnuts, and seeds. To get more omega-3 fatty acids, have fish twice a week, add ground flaxseed to cereals, soups, and smoothies, or sprinkle walnuts on salads.

Saturated fats, primarily found in animal products, have been linked with increased heart disease risks. This idea has been recently debated and the conclusion is to eat it sparingly and in moderation. Foods high in saturated fat are fatty cuts of beef, pork, lamb, high-fat dairy foods (whole milk, butter, cheese, sour cream, ice cream), and tropical oils (coconut oil, palm oil, cocoa butter).

Tips For Eating Well

  Add more fruit and vegetables. These are low in calories and rich in dietary fiber. Eating more fruits and vegetables may help you cut back on higher calorie foods, such as meat, cheese, and snack foods. Grabbing a handful of baby carrots, instead of crackers, is always a good idea.

  Go for the grains. Whole grains are good sources of fiber and other nutrients that play a role in regulating blood pressure and heart health. A whole grain still contains its endosperm, germ, and bran, in contrast to refined grains, which retain only the endosperm. This is the major difference between brown rice and white rice. Some examples of whole grains are barley, brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur (cracked wheat), millet, and oatmeal.

  Eat lean. Lean meat, poultry, fish, legumes, and eggs are some of your best sources of protein. Fish is a good alternative to high-fat meats. Legumes — beans, peas and lentils — also are good sources of protein, contain less fat, and no cholesterol. Substituting plant protein for animal protein will reduce your fat and cholesterol intake while increasing your fiber intake. It may be great to add a couple of “meat free” days to the week and add in a homemade veggie burger or a lentil loaf.

  Reduce the sodium in your food. Eating a lot of sodium can contribute to high blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Reducing sodium is an important part of a heart-healthy diet and can be done by cutting the amount of salt you add to food at the table or while cooking. Much of the salt you eat comes from canned or processed foods, such as soups, baked goods, and frozen dinners. Eating fresh foods or making your own soups and stews can reduce the amount of salt you eat.

Get Moving

A sedentary lifestyle is one of the top risk factors for heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends fitting in at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of heart-pumping physical activity per week. This activity serves to strengthen your heart and cardiovascular system by improving your circulation, helping your body use oxygen better, increasing endurance, lowering blood pressure, helping reduce body fat, and maintaining your weight. It is also a key way to help you reduce stress, tension, anxiety, and depression. Brisk walking, running, swimming, cycling, playing tennis, and jumping rope are great activities to benefit the heart.

Squash Stress

Stress is an unavoidable part of life and contributes to 80% of all major illnesses, including cardiovascular disease. Here are some practices to help reduce stress.

  Focused breathing is a valuable tool to calm anxiety. The 4-7-8 Breathing Method is a 3-step breathing technique that is intended to slow your heart rate and calm your mind. To practice this technique breathe in deeply through your nose for 4 seconds, then hold your breath for 7 seconds and exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds. Repeat this cycle for four rounds.

  Progressive relaxation works to relax one muscle at a time until the entire body is at ease. Beginning with the muscles in the face, the muscles are contracted gently for one to two seconds and then relaxed. This is repeated several times. The same technique is used for other muscle groups, usually in the following sequence: jaw and neck, upper arms, lower arms, fingers, chest, abdomen, buttocks, thighs, calves, and feet. Eventually all of the muscles of the body feel at ease.

Our heart is a well used machine that beats about 2.5 billion times over the average lifetime. All that hard work is responsible for pushing millions of gallons of blood to every part of the body, which aids in all the physiological functions required to live. When the heart stops, essential functions fail. Poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, infections, unlucky genes, and poorly managed stress can be extra taxing on the heart. Be kind to your heart and show it some love, so it continues to perform efficiently.

Natasha Kubis is a licensed acupuncturist and certified yoga teacher.
For more 
information, visit

Nutrition and Stress Management–for Optimal Fertility Health

Nutrition and Stress Management–for Optimal Fertility Health

Many couples begin their course towards parenthood with enthusiasm and high expectations but for more than ten percent of those couples, the blissful voyage to parenthood is obstructed by the diagnosis no one wants to hear—“infertility.”

Infertility is diagnosed after one year of trying to conceive (or six months for women over 35) and can stem from a number of reasons including hormone imbalances, polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, tumor or cyst growth, thyroid gland problems, eating disorders, alcohol or drug use, excess weight, and high stress.

Reproduction for the modern woman looks quite different than it did for our fore-mothers of the early 20th century who were most commonly having children in their early twenties. Today, women make up half of the workforce and have seen dramatic progress in the areas of education, economics, and leadership. These successes are obviously huge wins for women but can often delay pregnancy, making it more difficult to conceive. Although many women achieve successful pregnancies into their thirties and forties, both the number of eggs and overall egg quality decline with age, which can present a speed bump on the road to pregnancy. This fact contributes to the $5.8 billion fertility industry which includes interventions like In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), Intrauterine Insemination, and a host of various fertility drugs.  

Women who are trying to conceive should work with a fertility specialist to address any underlying medical conditions. It is also important to focus on the areas of nutrition, stress management, and a healthy lifestyle for optimal fertility health.


Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats will supply you with vitamins and minerals necessary for proper reproductive function. Here are some of the major players in reproductive health:

Vitamin D is needed to help the body create sex hormones which in turn affects ovulation and hormonal balance. Sources include eggs, fatty fish, dairy, and cod liver oil. You can also get vitamin D from sitting out in the sun for 15 to 20 minutes per day.  

Vitamin B6 may be used as a hormone regulator and has also been shown to help with luteal phase defect. Sources include tuna, bananas, turkey, liver, salmon, cod, spinach, bell peppers, turnip greens, collard greens, garlic, cauliflower, mustard greens, celery, cabbage, asparagus, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, and chard.

Vitamin B12 may decrease the chances of miscarriage. Some studies have found that a deficiency of B12 may increase the chances of irregular ovulation. Sources include clams, oysters, muscles, liver, fish, crab, lobster, beef, lamb, cheese, and eggs.

Folic Acid helps prevent neural tube defects as well as congenital heart defects, cleft lips, limb defects, and urinary tract anomalies in developing fetuses. Deficiency in folic acid may increase the risk of going into preterm delivery, infant low birth weight and fetal growth retardation. Food sources include liver, lentils, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, asparagus, spinach, black beans, navy beans, kidney beans, and collard greens.

Iron is also important and a deficiency can cause lack of ovulation and poor egg quality. Food sources include lentils, spinach, tofu, sesame seeds, kidney beans, pumpkin seeds, venison, garbanzo beans, navy beans, molasses, and beef.

Selenium is an antioxidant that helps to protect the egg from free radicals and chromosomal damage which is known to be a cause of miscarriages and birth defects. Food sources: liver, snapper, cod, halibut, tuna, salmon, sardines, shrimp, crimini mushrooms, and turkey.

Zinc works with more than 300 different enzymes in the body to keep things working well. Without it, your cells can not divide properly; your estrogen and progesterone levels can get out of balance and your reproductive system may not be fully functioning. Low levels of zinc have been directly linked to miscarriage in the early stages of a pregnancy, according to The Centers for Disease Control’s Assisted Reproductive Technology Report. Sources include oysters, beef, lamb, venison, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, turkey, green peas, and shrimp. 

Essential Fatty Acids have been shown to help fertility by helping to regulate hormones in the body, increasing cervical mucus, promoting ovulation and overall improve the quality of the uterus by increasing the blood flow to the reproductive organs. Sources include flax seeds, walnuts, salmon, sardines, halibut, shrimp, snapper, scallops, and chia seeds.

Stress Reduction and Quality of Life

Navigating the emotional and physical journey of fertility can be a roller coaster ride for many couples. Stress can lead to hormonal disturbances which can disrupt normal ovulation cycles. This is why some women may stop having a menstrual cycle during particularly stressful times in their lives. How is your body supposed to get pregnant when it is in fight or flight mode?

Some stress reducing activities can include spending more time in nature and with friends, journaling, cooking, music, art and talk therapy. Exercise is another way to reduce stress and boost fertility. Ideally you want to have 45 minutes of exercise, three times a week with a mix of cardio, stretching, and strengthening such as yoga, Pilates, swimming, dancing, and hiking. Other forms of relaxation include massage, acupuncture, and meditation. Wherever you are on your path to fertility, it is important to keep basic nutrition and stress reduction techniques in mind to create an internal landscape that is best suited for conception and a healthy pregnancy.

Natasha Kubis is a licensed acupuncturist and certified yoga teacher. For more information, visit