My Favorite Kitchen and cooking Tools

Use the right cooking tool for the job and an easier life

When I ask people what their biggest challenges are to eating healthy, time is always at the top of the list. Having the right cooking tools for the job in the kitchen can save you time and even increase the fun factor in when preparing those healthy meals and treats.

The “spirlaizer”

cooking tools
I love this gadget, it’s one of my favourite cooking tools. It’s great for making zucchini or sweet potato noodles. Plus, you can make curly fries anytime at home and are tons healthier then what you would ever get from the freezer section at the grocery or in a restaurant. They’re fun for everyone!

Food Processor

cooking toolsWe’ve had our processor for 2 years or more now and its gets used at least a couple of times a week, possibly more.  Its invaluable for taking the hard work out a number of recipes, think of it as your extra muscle in the kitchen. We demonstrated how quick and easy a food processor makes putting our Almond Protein bars together in our myth busting video that shows you can make the bars in under 10 minutes.

Prep bowls

cooking toolsYou may be thinking this is silly, but having everything out, measured and ready to go will reduce the stress of cooking. Less stress increases the likelihood you’ll cook more at home and makes the entire process more fun.


cooking toolsThis little gadget comes in handy when zesting the lime for our coconut lime bars. It’s also good for shredding hard cheeses, cinnamon, ginger, garlic and chocolate. (you had to know chocolate was going to pop up somewhere)

Citrus squeezer

cooking toolsYou’ll get the most out of your lemon, lime or orange with this gadget. It’s so easy, you’ll be less likely to shy away from recipes that call for fresh squeezed. Less waist, less time, more scrumptious meals. Not all kitchen tools are expensive!

Immersion blender

cooking toolsThis is great for smoothies, soups and sauces. You can simply “immerse” it in to your pot and puree away. Clean up is a breeze and you create less mess. Gotta love less clean up time in the kitchen. Having to clean is top on the list of why people don’t like to cook. No worries here.

Kitchen sheers

cooking toolsOk, most people have these, but its one of the key tools in our kitchen, constantly in use, and equally, constantly missing from where I had them last. These are handy for cutting up herbs, snipping grapes, snipping up chicken, cutting up canned tomato, cutting up lettuce, peeling shrimp. I’m sure you can think of tons other uses.

Flexible cutting boards

cooking toolsThese are pretty cool. They come in various colors so you can designate them for different uses. It helps avoid cross contamination for families who need to be cautious of food allergies. They are also flexible, which means the sides can be folded up minimizing spills on the way to the bowl, pot, pan or sink. Remember, less mess means less time cleaning up, thats a good thing.

 Possibly my top cooking tool

Alligator Garlic Press

cooking toolsOk, I don’t have one of these yet, but it’s top of my “gotta have” list. We use tons of garlic in our house and I always kindly leave the task of chopping garlic to my husband or kids. I know, bad right?  It’s not that I mind chopping, it’s the sticky fingers. What a mess. With this little find, no more sticky fingers, no more mess! It also looks like fun and we like fun 🙂

Box Grater

cooking toolsEach side has a different size variation depending on what your recipe calls for. Great for shredding hard veggies quickly and you can pop it right in the dishwasher.

Bottle Opener

cooking toolsOK if you don’t have one of these you need to. It will make you feel like the strong man at the circus when it comes to opening those tight lid jars. Again, less stress for you and less stress in the kitchen increases the fun factor.

So there you have it. These are my favorite kitchen tools and the ones I use most often. The “alligator” is coming to my kitchen today! That probably doesn’t sound right coming from someone who lives in Florida. It’s the alligator garlic press of course. Introducing fun in the kitchen will make food preparation more inviting. All those years of your parents telling you not to play with your food. Play with your food! Experiment, be adventurous, try some of these standard tools and explore some new ones. Think of them as toys for your kitchen. When you do, please let us know what great gadgets / toys you’ve found.

The Truth about Sunscreens May Surprise You

The Truth about Sunscreens May Surprise You

Its summer vacation in most parts of the world which means more people are spending more hours outdoors. While there are several articles available that promote the hazards of sun exposure and value of using sunscreen. What you may not know, are some of the misconceptions on sun screens and how to really protect yourself and your family.  The truth about sunscreens may surprise you.

Sun screens don’t prevent melanoma

According to a response written by Dr. Mercola, slathering yourself in sun screens won’t prevent skin cancer. The latest research points to the Omega 6:3 ratio.  The Natural Academy of Sciences published a review showing truth about sunscreens sunscreen basketthe relationship between the ratios of Omega 6:3 and the prevention of skin cancer. This of course does NOT mean you should boost your ratio and spend the day at the beach unprotected.  Burning your skin is still damage. It is important NOT to burn. Of course there are numerous studies available written about the impact of chemicals in sun screens on the human body as well as the environment.  Dr. Elizabeth Plourde outlines these dangers in her book, “Sunscreens – Biohazard: Treat as Hazardous Waste”. In addition, her research provides proof there is a relationship between the increases of sunscreen use with an increase in all skin cancers as a result of increased sun exposure due to a false sense of security of using sunscreen.

Wear chemical free UV protective clothing

Wearing the proper clothing is one effective solution. The reality is, even if you use a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays, there are none that protect against infra-red rays. UVA and infra-red rays are the ones that are linked to melanoma.  The better alternative is to wear UV protective clothing and hats to avoid overexposure and protect yourself from burning. Keep in mind, not all UV protective clothing is chemical free so you need to look for companies that carry chemical free UV clothing.

Coconut oil is a natural sunscreen

truth about sunscreens coconutDid you know that Coconut Oil is a natural sunscreen?  Studies indicate that sun screens may result in limiting the opportunity to gather vitamin from the sun because it blocks too many of the UV rays where it’s sourced from. Using coconut oil increases the body’s ability to absorb vitamin D by not blocking out the useful UV rays that enable Vitamin D absorption. In addition, it blocks damaging free radicals that cause many of the issues caused by overexposure providing additional protection. Not to mention, it has been well documented that Vitamin D helps the body protect itself against several autoimmune diseases ( MS,IBS, rheumatoid arthritis, systematic lupus erythematosus, Sjogrens), Type 1 diabetes along with numerous other benefits like improving oral health.

You should prepare your skin for sun exposure

According to Bruce Fife in his book, “Coconut Cures: Preventing and Treating Common Health Problems with Coconut Oil”, if you’re skin isn’t use to being exposed to the sun, he suggests going out for a period of a few weeks spending 10-15 minutes a day in the sun, using coconut oil as protection, until your skin becomes “seasoned” to the sun. Your skin will then be able to tolerate longer hours. It is important to use a good quality coconut oil. Unrefined, extra virgin coconut oil is best.

The bottom line….

truth about sunscreens umbrellaThe latest research has uncovered additional evidence around the root causes for skin cancer and prevention. Sun screens can cause more damage by preventing the body’s ability to absorb Vitamin D. In addition, to the harmful exposure to the body as a result of chemical laden products that may actually be cancer causing agents themselves. Prepare and protect yourself from overexposure by using nature’s own remedy of coconut oil and wearing non chemical UV protective clothing.



Healthy and Financially Fit – Generation of Z

I am generation of Z!

What’s up guys! My name is Joe Burton, I am one of Mark and Margie’s kids, I am the generation of Z!  They asked me to write a little something about how their lifestyle of being healthy and financially fit has affected me, so, here is my 100% honest opinion on it….

“The nutritional side of things”

Firstly, the nutritional side of things; I am an extremely active young man, I am often out of the house almost 12 hours a day, maybe stopping by for 30 minutes in between school, work, and dance rehearsals (yes I am a dancer).  My favorite part about the healthy eating is how quick and easy it can actually be.  I could quite easily throw some breaded chicken and fries in the oven for 20 minutes for my dinner, but there always seems to be a much healthier option to be made in just the same amount of time.  It really is a choice.  My biggest struggle has always been not having enough time in the day to cook myself a good meal, but it’s amazing how much better I feel, during and after when I do manage to get some honest good food inside of me!

“Budget sheet”

Now for the money side of things! My dad (Mark) introduced me to his “Budget sheet”  2 years ago, when I was 17. I liked the idea of knowing where my money was going and being in control of it all so I gave it a try. For the first few months it was honestly a nightmare because, as is typical every single month something came up, from having to buy a new phone, to repairs on my car.  There was always some sort of expenditure that threw me off. However, I still believe if I didn’t have the budget sheet I would have been worse off.

“Safety nets”

Right now, I could have almost anything go wrong and I would be able to handle it financially. This is because little by little you build up your “safety nets” for all of the things that you may have to pay for. The budget sheet has given me so much freedom with my money, something my Dad likes to call GUILT FREE SPENDING, and it is exactly that, being able to spend money without the thought of ‘can I afford this ?’.

I have learned a lot from my old man and budgeting my money has also given me the additional side effects of discipline and maturity. SO… thank you dad, and to everyone else, ENJOY THE FREEDOM OF BUDGETING!

– Joe Burton

Stop to Start

 Do you want to start eating healthy?

Do you want to become more active?

Do you want to start or finish that project that’s been on your list for years?


All you have to do to take action, to move forward, to either start anything new or finish what you started comes down to this…Stop thinking! Yes, that’s it. Job done. You’re probably saying to yourself, “How could that possibly do anything.” The problem is you don’t realize how much thinking gets in the way.

Stop to start? Are are you crazy?

It sounds so crazy, I know. Yet, it works. I discovered I’ve been using this “Stop to Start” technique for years. For me, it started out as a coping mechanism, somewhat of survival technique I created as a child to deal with some of life’s unpleasant challenges. I simply, just shut off my brain and move on. Looking back I realized, there were other examples.  I used it to start exercising. My sister had shared her idea of doing sit ups in bed as soon as she woke up to get her in the habit of doing it. I tried it, it worked. Why, because I wasn’t thinking. I just did it. My brain wasn’t even awake enough for me to shut it off. I use a similar technique to handle migraines and hiccups.  Yes, believe it or not, I just forget I have hiccups and they go away.

I’ve shared this approach with family and friends who all think it’s a bunch of mumbo jumbo. I don’t blame them. I couldn’t explain HOW I do it myself, other than, I simply stop thinking. It’s been so helpful for me. I wanted to find a way to share this with all of you in a way it might make sense. So, I decided to take a more scientific approach. Now, I’m not a behaviorist, Psychiatrist, scientist or physician. I do have an undergraduate degree in Psychology so I do remember how the brain works, at a high level anyway.

Here we go. The decision making process in your brain functions on a basic risk vs reward system. Example: You want to eat a healthy meal but all these questions start popping up (Do I have all the ingredients, do I want salmon or chicken, is the spinach still good, will I need to go to the store, I said I would stop eating late, I think I still have ice cream left ). All of these are distractions. The more questions you start to ask the more overwhelmed your brain becomes.  Cognitive control is supposed to keep you in check when making a decision. However, as we all know, not everyone is the same and not everyone’s brain can cope in the same manner.

Our ability to make value-based decisions based on our internal risk vs reward system may get out sync. Now, there are number of scientific reasons this may happen and I won’t go into them here. As I said, I’m not a scientist and I have no medical or advance psychoanalyst training. I do know, being in a state of “overwhelm” is basically “stress” and stress does inhibit our ability to make decisions. Emotions rise and those emotions simply get in the way of rational thought. There will be nothing rational about those chocolate chips. You will just want them!

Which brings me back to my technique. Stop thinking! Turn the brain off and your cognitive center may gain back control. So how do I do it?  I had to actual stop and think ( oh no) to figure it out. Take a deep breath in through your nose, hold for a couple of second. As your blow the breath out through your mouth start moving towards the direction of the action you want to take.  Take the breath again until you’ve started the activity or when you start to lose direction.

This will take practice. I’ve been doing it nearly my whole life and I still get stuck. The chocolate chip comment IS my own personal experience.  You can even print out the picture as a reminder. Please try it and let me know how it goes. As I’ve stated in a previous post, time will move on regardless of whether you choose to try this today. It may just be the one thing you needed. I know it sounds really crazy but sometimes crazy works.  At the end of the day it is All Just Choice, but sometimes we all need a little help.




(BLANK that’s us not thinking)

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Tic Toc Goes Life’s clock…Change is Only Scary When You Think About it…It’s Time for Action

Change is a scary concept to most. The first step is always the hardest, yet we know from experience…walking, riding a bike, etc, by the time you’ve taken the fifth or sixth step, you forget how hard it was to start. Still, we hesitate, as if the past experiences never quite made it into our psyche. Perhaps we need a different mindset.

How many times have you looked back and thought, “if I had started that “fill in the blank”, I would have been done by now.

Consider this….time doesn’t stand still. Yes, we all know that. How many times have you looked back and thought, “if I had started that “fill in the blank”, I would have been done by now. So, a day, a week, a month, a year will still come. Regardless of whether you choose to make the change, time will change. You can either change with it, or not. It’s all just choice….tic-toc.

Consider what changes you want to make today and let us help you action them


How and why coconut oil pulling can super charge your health

How and why coconut oil pulling can super charge your health

Ok, so I’m not a poet, or a song writer, but I did want to take this opportunity to talk with you about “coconut oil pulling”, what it is, how to do it, and most importantly the results I’ve seen from pulling coconut oil.

coconut oil pulling – thousands of years of proof

Oil pulling is an Ayurveda (Indian) practice for oral health and detoxification that has been passed down for thousands of years. I was reading some articles on oil pulling a few months ago, and what intrigued me was a small, for want of a better phrase, “side effect” that was reported by a number of people that were advocates of this practice.

People reported they were experiencing an “over production” of saliva.

Well, for people living with Sjogrens this is a side effect we can use. Sjogrens patients who suffer from dry month produce 50% less saliva then those who do not have the autoimmune disease. Saliva aids the ability to clear food particles from our teeth; facilitates the ability to break down food for easier digestion; clear bacteria from our mouth; acts as a natural acid neutralizer; has antibacterial properties and that’s the short list.

Several studies recommend increasing saliva production to improve oral and digestive health.

So, I put the theory to the test and started oil pulling with coconut oil. I used one tablespoon of unrefined, cold pressed, virgin coconut oil and swished it in my mouth for up to 20 minutes a day followed by brushing my teeth. It’s not as bad as it first sounds, and you quickly get used to the different sensation that having a tablespoon of oil in your mouth brings. I started with 10 minutes and by the end of the first week was up to 20 minutes. It has become part of my daily morning routine.

Tip: it’s easier to complete 20 minutes if you do something else at the same time, I found I can shower, get ready, catch up on emails etc., so hardly notice the time go by.

The coconut oil pulling benefits were everything I could ask for and more. By the end of the first week I noticed my mouth wasn’t as dry and, as an additional benefit, my teeth were whiter. Now, I know the power of a placebo effect and I tend be a bit of skeptic. I needed real proof before I shared this revelation with you.  My proof came in the form of my dentist at my next scheduled cleaning a month after I started oil pulling.

The hygienist wanted to know what I was doing because my mouth looked “normal”.

The dentist confirmed it. It was also the quickest cleaning I’ve ever had. Have to love that! When I told them I had started pulling coconut oil  they both started to do it themselves. My dentist was fully aware of all the benefits, but never realized the positive impact it could have for someone with dry mouth.

My dentist now recommends it as a beneficial practice for oral hygiene going forward.

The interesting thing is it’s the “side effect” that allowed me to make the correlation. I have always been good at looking at features and benefits of various concepts, pulling those parts of each that demonstrate value and adapt it in a customized approach to each unique situation. These are types of health and wellness stories that I will continue to share with you and invite you to share your stories too. What “unforeseen’ benefits have you discovered in your journey to healthier living?

 Each step you take towards healthier living is All Just Choice.

 Margie Burton
Nutritional Therapist
All Just Choice

*Side note: some people experience teeth sensitivity when they first do oil pulling. I experienced this myself for the first couple of weeks.  My research indicates this is part of the detoxification process and effects some people more than others. Rinsing your mouth with salt water afterward helps. In addition, reduce the amount of time (example: 10 minutes) to give your body time to adjust.

Further reading
Saliva protects teeth against cavities more than we thought
Benefits of Salivary Stimulation