Every fall Nature’s Pantry offers a cooking class and sampling meal that promotes cooking from scratch and using unprocessed foods from our bulk bins. This class has been a great success and this is the fourth year we have offered it.  This is part of spreading our mission of helping our customers find and maintain vibrant health!

This class offers you an insight into a “Whole Plant Based Diet” comprised of eating foods in their fresh and unprocessed form. The mainstay of a Plant Foods Diet is  whole grains, legumes (beans),  nuts, seeds, and organically-grown fresh fruits and vegetables..

The majority of Americans today are pushed for time and the result can be eating too many fast and processed foods.  Many of these foods are high in trans fats, sodium, preservatives, food colorings or high fructose corn syrup.  We see people every day that are looking for alternatives for eating healthier but don’t know how to cook with unprocessed foods that are not found in a box.  Many customers have said they would eat better if they only knew how to cook with bulk foods and could taste them.  This is your opportunity!.

This class will help teach you how to cook healthy meals, using simple ingredients, that are economical and quick to prepare.  We will give you recipes, ideas on planning your meals,  and teach you how to do some prep work ahead of time.  Your meals will not only taste good but be more enjoyable, knowing that you did it all yourself with wholesome ingredients.

Some of the recipes will include foods such as: quinoa, black beans, chick peas, red beans, black caviar lentils, country wild rice, chia seeds, millet, cashews, fresh spices and herbs, coconut flour, almonds, pure maple syrup, and the list is too long to mention them all. It will be nutritious, delicious, fun and time well spent.

I am inviting you to make room in your weekly schedule to join us in this upcoming class Back to Basics #4 at Nature’s Pantry, October 23, at 6:00 p.m. The fee is only $10.00 and there is limited space, so please be sure to pre-register at Nature’s Pantry Natural Foods, 1907 4th Street in La Grande or call 541-963-7955.


Above all things I wish that you would prosper and be in good health!








If you are interested in your health and weight management,  we have a great class for you!  It will be held at Nature’s Pantry, Monday, August 28, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.with Jessica Reynolds, Registered Dietician. Jessica is very personable, energetic,  knowledgeable and full of “vim and vinegar”.  She will be presenting ideas and ways to help you obtain and maintain a healthy weight!

According to Jessica the class will be about adding some good into your life. This course will help you:

  • Recognize that health and well-being are multidimensional and that they include physical, social, spiritual, occupational, emotional and intellectual aspects.
  • Promote eating in a manner which balances individual nutritional needs, hunger, satiety, appetite and pleasure.
  • Transform nutrition information into practical, daily living for you and your family.
  • Create well-rounded grocery lists for a healthy lifestyle.

As many of you have guessed from my random blogs, my passion is nutrition and helping people find and maintain vibrant health.  Recently, I was attending a health webinar where the following information was given:

  • Only 15% of extremely over weight people eat too much  (2,800-4,000 calories)
  • But 35% of extremely over weight people eat normally  (2,000-2,700 calories)
  • And 50% of people who are overweight eat very little  (800-1,500 calories

According to Jessica, “restrictive dieting is an ineffective long term prescription for obesity, as up to 95% of dieters regain the weight they lost, and sometimes more, within three years.  Restrictive dieting and weight cycling can lead to physical complications including slowed metabolism, reduced muscle tissue and body temperature, as well as eating disorders”.

I was so surprised to learn that many of us that are overweight don’t eat enough healthy calories to maintain good muscle strength and energy. Also there are more overweight individuals that are struggling with malnutrition than you would think.  You don’t have to be skinny, with your ribs showing, to be  malnourished!

Consider the following statistics according to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 2013–2014:

  • More than 2 in 3 adults are considered to be overweight.
  • More than 1 in 3 adults are considered to be obese.
  • More than 1 in 20 adults are considered to have extreme obesity.
  • About one-third of children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 are considered to be overweight.
  • More than 1 in 6 children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 are considered to be obese.

Those statistics are very saddening and I want this class to be positive and helpful for you and me and anyone else that might be struggling with their weight management.   If you would like some ideas, motivation and help, stop in and register for our class “Healthy Weight Management” at Nature’s Pantry,  1907 4th Street in La Grande, Oregon or call 541-963-7955 soon, because space is limited.

I hope to see you there!

Above all things I wish that you would prosper and be in good health!



As any new year comes around many individuals make resolutions.  One habit or resolution,  that I would like to see established in people’s lives, is the practice of eating breakfast. So many people hurry on with their lives skipping this improtant meal.

We have many choices in any given day and one of our first daily choices should be to eat a healthy breakfast.  It’s very important to break the fast after sleeping, with a nutrient dense breakfast!  Do you take part in this life giving meal?  If not, this new year would be a good time to begin.

Do you struggle with eating breakfast?  I talk to a lot of people during the day and I find that many of them do not eat breakfast.  There seems to be 3 main reasons:

  1. Some aren’t hungry in the morning
  2. Many have frantic morning schedules
  3. Others are trying to cut calories by skipping their first meal

The first reason can usually be solved by drinking 16 oz. of water upon arising. This helps get the appetite going within the hour.  The second reason could be solved by getting up 30 minutes earlier.  The trouble with the third reason is that the calories saved are usually offset by overeating in the evening, sometimes binging.

Many studies have shown that breakfast eaters generally keep their weight under control better than non breakfast eaters.  A University of California study of 16,000 people’s eating habits showed that those that ate breakfast had the lowest body mass index. Starting your morning with breakfast can  boost your metabolism.

Eating a good breakfast may cut down your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.  It may improve your mood and can increase alertness.  Many studies show that performance at work and school improve by eating a nourishing breakfast.

When a person wakes up in the morning their blood sugar can be low from the body using available stores of fuel for functioning during sleep.  Even lower blood sugar can result from no morning meal; which can cause memory issues,  irritability, poor concentration, inability to focus or a bad mood.

One idea is to prepare for your breakfast the evening before, especially if you have a very busy schedule.  Thinking and planning ahead makes the morning go smoother. Some people pack breakfast in a bag,  lay out their food and even set their table the night before.

There are those people who say they can’t stand the thought of food in the morning.  If that’s your stance then at least drink something with protein, good carbs and nutrients.  Some might prefer to pack breakfast to go; such as a green smoothie, fruit, nuts or a healthy whole grain breakfast muffin to eat mid morning.

Beginning your day with a good breakfast with high fiber, some protein and complex carbohydrates will help keep your blood sugar stable, keep you  more alert, help you have more energy, be more emotionally stable and possibly give you a longer life.

It’s my hope that you will choose to “break the fast” every day by eating a healthy, nourishing breakfast and possibly adding many healthy years to your life.

Above all things I wish that you would prosper and be in good health!







Owning a health food store for 30 years gives you insight into all kinds of habits we humans struggle with.  Through the years I’ve had customers come in wanting help to stop bad habits such as the following:

  • quitting smoking
  • losing weight
  • reducing sugar intake
  • eating fewer refined or fast foods

On the other hand, I’ve had just as many people come in asking for help in establishing new habits.  Some of the habits people wish to develop are:

  • eating more vegetables
  • drinking more water
  • being more physically active
  • eating healthier foods

What I’ve discovered is, the more often I repeat my habit, the more difficult it is to get rid of it.  But that works the other way also, the more you practice the new habit, the easier it is to do it.  It’s easy to do it and it’s easy not to do it!

All habits, good or bad, require five basic steps to overcome or to become.

  1. Face the facts – Is this something I really want to do?
  2. Make the decision – Set your mind.  The brain controls all habits.
  3. Know your triggers – Don’t play around with your weaknesses.
  4. Quit worrying –  The more you talk about your bad habits, the more reinforced they become.
  5. Trust in God – He is strong and will give you His strength.

All five of the above take a commitment on your part and will not be accomplished without concerted effort.  I’m not saying it will be easy, but it will be worth it.  No one can do it for you.

As a nutritionist, I can offer suggestions that will help you on your path and I will gladly do that.  There are many foods and particular nutrients that will help you in your quest to quit smoking, lose weight, eat less sugar or eat less fast food .   It’s good for all of us to form habits of eating more veggies, drinking more water,  being more active and becoming healthier.

One nutrient example is: glutamine, an amino acid that fuels the brain; when lacking, can cause cravings. There are many nutrients that could help you in your decision to form new healthy habits.

Decide today, set your mind to it, learn your triggers,  start positive self talk and let God strengthen you. Remember, we are here to help you in your quest for good health.

Above all things I wish that you would prosper and be in good health!






Magnesium is a mineral the body needs to maintain good health.

  1. Magnesium is involved in the production of energy for metabolism.
  2. Magnesium is used for our elimination systems to run smoothly.
  3. Magnesium helps our muscles to contract and relax, preventing cramps..
  4. Magnesium is crucial for proper blood pressure control.
  5. Magnesium is needed by the nerves to operate correctly.
  6. Magnesium is a cofactor involved in blood sugar regulation.
  7. Magnesium is calcium’s right arm in building strong bones.

Do you think the word magnesium was used too frequently in the above paragraph?  I’m just making my point;  magnesium is used in so many different functions in your body that you can’t afford to be without it.

 Dietary surveys of people in the United Stares consistently show that intakes of magnesium are lower than recommended amounts,”  according to the National Institutes of Health

Many different foods contain good amounts of magnesium.  Beans, seeds, nuts and especially leafy green vegetables.  Many people don’t eat enough of these foods to get the magnesium their bodies need.

Do you lack magnesium?

If you do not eat foods daily that are high in magnesium, maybe you should consider supplementing your diet!  You need magnesium to stay healthy!

Above all things I wish that you would prosper and be in good health


There’s much controversy over the eating of grains today.  There are two sides to every coin, so to speak,  and they are never alike.  Let’s explore these two sides a bit.

  • Side one says:  leave grains out of your diet for better health, flatter belly and  overall weight loss. Several books have been written by physicians admonishing people to leave grains out of their diet.  Many people struggle with their weight and wonder if the eating of grains makes them fat or causes their health issues.
  • Side two says:   for many decades people have subsisted healthfully on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds and have lived very productive,  healthy, and long lives.  Some of the longest living people groups have lived on whole grains as a basic staple in their diets.  which side works best for you?

20 some years ago I watched a video entitled “The Great Grain Robbery”.  The gist of the message was that grains are best utilized by the body in their organic whole, sprouted, or ground form and not in their highly processed versions; such as white flour.  An illustration of this was a thief that picks a man’s pocket of $26.  Then his conscience bothers him and he gives back $4.  The question is then asked, would you feel enriched?  When grains are processed, over 26 nutrients are stripped and then the flour is enriched with 4 nutrients.  The flour or grain product is then called enriched.  Is it really?

According to Bob’s Red Mill, whole grain kernels consist of 3 parts:  the bran, germ and endosperm. Grains that have been processed have the bran and the germ removed, making them lacking in B vitamins, dietary fiber, and iron. Whole grains, on the other hand, are complex carbohydrates that include all three parts, making them rich in nutrients like fiber, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and antioxidants. All these nutrients work together to provide health benefits that are greater than their individual parts.

What evidence is there that eating whole grains will offer nutritional benefit? A recent study showed decreasing rates of diabetes mellitus were associated with increasing levels of whole grain consumption. Another study showed increased egg quality in women seeking the use of reproductive technology to become pregnant associated with increasing levels of whole grains in their diets. Studies like these add to the already substantial body of literature showing that people who enjoy consuming whole grains will benefit by having fewer chronic diseases as they age.  Kent L. Thornburg, Ph.D. Director, OHSU Moore Institute for Nutrition & Wellness

I realize that there are diseases or illnesses that prevent the eating of gluten.  My question is, should all people give up grains?   My research says no.  The wise use of all foods that come from our creator’s hand will give us the best health.

We need a variety of organically grown fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds and proteins in their whole form, food as grown and not highly processed.   Each individual needs to find the foods and grains, that digest and nourish their own bodies  best.

For additional reading on this topic:

Above all things I wish that you would be in good health and prosper!


File_000 (2)We’ve all heard the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away“, but does it really help your health to eat an apple a day?  According to my research’ apples are  nutrition powerhouses.  They are high in Vitamin C, fiber and polyphenols.

  • When speaking of vitamin C we generally think of citrus but apples should also be on your grocery list for vitamin C rich foods.
  • Apples contain pectin, a fiber that helps keep cholesterol in check and should be part of a daily eating routine to keep body fat under control.
  • Apples are also high in polyphenols which are powerful antioxidants that help keep our immune systems strong.  According to Kristi Friesen, R.D., Project on Hand:

Many natural cellular processes in our bodies create waste, some of which form free radicals. If these highly reactive substances aren’t neutralized, they can cause damage in our bodies which can lead to inflammation. A consistently high state of inflammation is considered to be a precursor to many common conditions in older adults, such as cardiovascular disease and various types of cancer

The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends eating plenty of fruits and vegetables.  The antioxidant content of apples ranks among the highest in fruits and could be a help in preventing cancer and other illnesses.

Do you think eating an apple a day could HELP keep the doctor away?

Above all things I wish that you would be in good health and prosper!



Americans adore their sugar and want a treat for good behavior, accomplishing a goal or even finishing a meal. “Sugar in the morning, sugar in the evening, sugar at supper time, be my little sugar and love me all the time,”  is a verse from a  popular song in the 50’s;  this song just might express  how many people feel.  We love our sugary treats!  If you are struggling with being overweight,  mood issues, anxiety, memory,  or fatigue;  you might want to take a look at how much sugar you are ingesting.

Here in the United States, the average person consumes more than 126 grams of sugar per day, which is slightly more than three 12-ounce cans of Coca-Cola. That’s more than twice the average sugar intake of all 54 countries observed by Euromonitor. It’s also more than twice what the World Health Organization recommends for daily intake, which is roughly 50 grams of sugar for someone of normal weight.  Roberto Ferdman, Washington Post, Feb. 5, 2015

“A recent cross-cultural study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry linked refined sugar consumption to mental illness.  “Sugar suppresses the activity of a key growth hormone in the brain called brain derived neurotrophic factor  (BDNF).  This hormone promotes the health and maintenance of neurons in the brain, and it plays a vital role in memory and learning.  BDNF levels are critically low in people with depression and schizophrenia, which explains why both syndromes often lead to shrinkage of key brain regions over time.”  according to Marita Schauch, ND,  Better Nutrition, May 2016

If you have sugar cravings after your meals, you might be eating too much salt, too many simple carbs, eating too fast, you might be dehydrated or you might be low in chromium (a trace mineral that helps control blood sugar).  All of these can set you up for sugar cravings.  Try being mindful of what you are eating, slow down, chew your food well, don’t eat a lot of salt or simple carbs and stay hydrated during the day.  Here’s to your health;  eating less.

Above all things I wish that you would be in good health and prosper!