Tag: green drnik

Vitamin C For Skin: Grab A Green Drink & Ditch the Pricey Creams

Beauty creams, lotions and potions most often aren’t backed by research studies. So before you go spending your hard-earned cash on an expensive skin care product, keep in mind there’s a much cheaper option: vitamin C. Vitamin C for skin is backed by science and I’ve got an easy solution for how to get enough of it….

When I look in the mirror, I feel grateful that my skin still looks youthful. Sure, I practice what I preach and eat healthy. But in a way, I’m lucky….

I think back to all those toxic chemicals in household cleaning and hygiene products I used when I was younger. And the amount of time I spent in the sun without wearing sunscreen.

You can eat the best veggies for skin, hair and nails every day. But if the first couple decades of your life is filled with environmental stressors, your skin today might not look so youthful. That’s why I feel fortunate to have healthy-looking skin.

Just a couple years ago, out of all the supplements sold around the world–totalling $133 billion–a staggering 20 percent of this total was purchased for beauty.]

I’ve been duped by beauty products in the past; no doubt you have as well. Without doubt, some of them I swear by. But most of the time, beauty, especially skin-enhancing products sell because the brands that sell them appeal to your emotions and desires.

Moreover, lots of these beauty products are not backed by research studies.

So how do you know which products are legit? And safe! (I use the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep app to check out the safety of skin care products and more….)

Look, I’m not telling you to ditch your favorite facial toner. If it works great for you, keep using it.

But as a nutritional therapist, I believe that food should be your ultimate safeguard against premature aging. Yes, diet alone can enhance your beauty.

And I have the perfect, easy and cost-effective solution for your skin….

Vitamin C for Skin: proof it works

There’s not much research that proves a vitamin C topical solution for skin health works. However, there’s some solid evidence that dietary sources of C can prevent aging.

This study showed that women ages 40 to 70 who supplement with vitamin C have improved skin brightness and less dark circles, spots, and redness.

And in this experiment, 60 healthy non-smoker males and females, ages 40–65 years, all of whom present with clinical signs of skin aging, show improvement in skin elasticity, moisture and antioxidant capacity when taking a vitamin C supplement for 90 days.

Furthermore, this study suggests C improves red, patchy areas of skin, as well as hydration, radiance, and overall appearance. In addition, the benefits of vitamin C for skin is evident by a decrease in intensity of skin spots, UV spots, and brown spots, improved skin texture and appearance of pores.

This water-soluble antioxidant also boosts the two proteins–collagen and elastin–that provide structure to your skin.

And if you need more proof, here’s an exhaustive study on vitamin C and skin health in the journal, Nutrients. (I’ll summarize some of its key finding below for you.)

If you’re sold on science and not by hype, then there’s plenty of evidence that suggests getting loads of vitamin C in your diet, especially from green leafy veggies, benefits your skin.

And the easiest way to make sure you’re getting a solid daily supply of green leafy veggies is not by eating a salad, although that’s super healthy. Nope, it’s by having Organic Green Drink everyday.

Each serving of Green Drink supplies you with 44% of your suggested daily value of vitamin C.

Personally, I start off each morning with 16 oz. of Green Drink (88% daily value). It’s my breakfast. And my morning beauty regimen.

Vitamin C For Skin: Why It Works

You’ve probably heard of collagen powder. I talk about why people are freaking out about it on the Internet here.

Collagen, as I mention above, is one of the skin’s structural proteins. Think of your own skin’s collagen like it’s a network of sticky support beams of a skyscraper.

When you’re young, your skin collagen support beams are strong and erect. That’s why you don’t have wrinkles in your early 20s.

But as you hit age 30 and beyond, each year, you lose about a percent to two percent of your collagen; your skin’s building blocks and support structure degenerates.

Vitamin C for skin works wonders because it acts as a co-factor for the amino acids, proline and lysine. There are 20 amino acids. But these two especially provide stability for skin collagen molecules. Moreover, vitamin C also kick-starts collagen gene expression.

In someone with healthy-looking skin, the skin itself contains high concentrations of vitamin C.

And did you know consuming lots of this nutrient is critical in avoiding sunburn? Some studies show that excessive sun exposure leads to depleted C levels in the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin.)

Nutrition studies also show that the appearances of blemishes (hyperpigmentation) become less visible with higher fruit and vegetable intake.

Skin sagging also becomes diminished with high vitamin C intake.

Dry skin, scar formation, skin lesions, and wrinkles all improve following vitamin C supplementation.

But instead of spending money on a supplement, which you can’t be sure if it’s high-quality or not, you can spend as little as $5 a week for a daily 16 oz serving of Green Drink.

Vitamin C for Skin: Get It From Food Not From Pills Or Creams

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant. It neutralizes environmental pollutants. Because researchers have determined that it plays an important role in the health of the epidermis, more nutrition research has focused recently on dietary vitamin C’s role in skin health and wound healing.

Isn’t it great to know that you can get great skin simply by drinking a delicious, organic Green Drink?

vitamin c

No B.S. If You have IBS: Try A Chef V Cleanse To Repair Your Gut

leaky gut

Having Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) means experiencing frequent bloating, cramping, diarrhea or constipation and other digestive disturbances. Thankfully, Chef V has one effective recommendation for improving your IBS, courtesy of a Facebook post testimonial. 

Unless you have IBS, it’s hard to empathize with someone who has it. It’s such a challenging condition not to mention a frustrating one. 

On one hand, it’s one of the most commonly-diagnosed gastrointestinal disorders, affecting up to 50 million people in the U.S. alone. At the very least, roughly 15% of adults in the U.S. have IBS, but only 5% of people have been officially diagnosed. 

Despite how pervasive IBS is, there is no single cure, root cause, or effective treatment. 

If you don’t have IBS, consider yourself lucky and imagine how harrowing it must be to be totally in the dark when IBS symptoms strike! What if you’re out in public and can’t get to a bathroom in time? 

IBS can severely impact your quality of life.

So let’s get to know this baffling condition…

irritable bowel

What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

As mentioned, IBS is one of the most common albeit underdiagnosed gastrointestinal disorders. Unlike Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD), which is caused by a functional and structural problem of the bowels, with IBS there’s nothing going on under the hood, so to speak, that explains the symptoms. 

If there’s no noticeable abnormality in the gut, then what explains the frequent or chronic bloating, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, gas and belching?

What Causes IBS?

Here’s a list of things that may cause IBS symptoms:

  • Gut dysbiosis (This means not having enough friendly bacteria in the large intestine and too many unfriendly bacteria.)
  • Poor gut-brain communication (The gut and brain should always be communicating effectively, just like in a healthy relationship.)
  • Poor motility (This means having abnormal muscle contractions in the bowels.)
  • Stress (Research studies like this one suggest a strong link between psychological stress and IBS. Stress is definitely a trigger.)
  • Food intolerances (Dairy and gluten are major triggers of IBS symptoms.)
  • Unresolved gut infections. (Did you travel to a developing country in the tropics? Maybe you picked up a parasite?)

Out of the 6 factors above, I think stress is the most prevalent because it can cause or exacerbate the other triggers. 

For example, stress negatively impacts gut-brain communication (the Gut-Brain Axis); causes gut dysbiosis; can lead to poor motility and leaky gut; and can worsen inflammation-associated food sensitivity.

leaky gut

How To Manage IBS

In light of the fact that psychological stress is one of the biggest triggers of IBS symptoms, it helps to have a daily stress-management practice. 

  • Yoga.
  • Meditation. 
  • Visualization exercises. 
  • Journaling. 
  • Immersing yourself in nature. 

Do at least one of these practices every single day. 

For IBS sufferers, the condition is frustrating and challenging because there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treatment like there is for let’s say high cholesterol. (Not that I’m endorsing statin drugs for everybody!)

For a dietary intervention, a low FODMAP diet may help. I won’t go too deep here but FODMAPS are basically different types of sugars that are difficult for people with IBS to digest. 

I previously touched on FODMAPS here.

Basically, you’ll want to avoid foods that give most people gas. That means no:

  • Broccoli and other cruciferous veggies (especially raw!)
  • Beans and lentils
  • Asparagus
  • Apples
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Dairy
  • Cereal, bread, wheat products and other high-gluten foods

Drink Low FODMAP Leafy Greens 

A lot of veggies, even though they are considered healthy, can trigger IBS symptoms. Cauliflower and cabbage: I’m talking about you!

What’s even more frustrating is that there are at least 3 subtypes of IBS: IBS-C, IBS-D, IBS-M. IBS-C is constipation-dominant; D is diarrhea-dominant and M is mixed. 

What may trigger IBS symptoms in a person with IBS-D may not trigger symptoms in a person who is IBS-C dominant. 

So wanna know the best way to get your daily dose of antioxidants—without freaking out your digestive system?

Try drinking them. 

With Chef V Organic Green Drink, you’re getting the cleanest (no pesticides) low FODMAP leafy green veggies. 

In a way, they’re pre-digested for you through the processing method of cold-blending. 

As mentioned, IBS is caused in part by gut dysbiosis, meaning there’s not enough friendly bacteria in the gut. 

The Chef V Green Drink advantage over conventional juice brands is that it’s never high-heat pasteurized. 

That means that all the friendly bacteria is alive in the Green Drink. 

And when you drink Green Drink every morning, you will supply your gut with the friendly bacteria it needs to manage IBS symptoms.

Manage IBS Symptoms With A Chef V 5 DAY Cleanse

If you want to take your IBS management to the next level, check out Tina’s recommendation below. 

Tina has IBS and says that doing a 5 Day Cleanse (Chef V offers a 21 Day Detox which includes a cleanse period) has helped her get rid of gas and bloating. 

With the 5 Day Cleanse you get everything you need to reduce IBS symptoms—without feeling deprived:

  • 4 Green Drinks per day
  • 2 vegan, low FODMAP protein shakes per day
  • 1 DETOX SOUP for dinner per day
  • Health resources to keep the results going and unlimited email support.

Learn more about CHEF V CLEANSE options here

To your success in kicking IBS’ butt!


Veronica “V” Kress

Founder, ChefV.com

The Best Natural Probiotic (Hint: It’s Not Yogurt)

apple core

I recently talked about how important it is to have good gut health. Your gut plays such a huge role in your overall health. But in the article, what I didn’t really focus on was how to achieve a healthy gut. And we’re not talking about crunches so you can have chiseled, six-pack abs here. Rather, we’re talking about hosting a multitude of good bacteria and a diverse amount of different bacteria species inside your gastrointestinal tract (the microbiome). 

So what’s the easiest and best way to do that? In the article on gut health, I mentioned taking a probiotic. If you eat a low-fiber diet rich in processed (junk) food, then you should definitely be taking a high-quality probiotic. 

But there’s an even easier, and perhaps healthier way to achieve a healthier microbiome. It turns out that the best probiotic source is …. Wait for it … wait for it…..

Best natural source of probiotics

So, is the best way to get lots of friendly, diverse bacteria in your gut by eating lots of yogurt? How about kombucha? Or is the best source of probiotics some other fermented food like kimchi or sauerkraut or kvass? 

Turns out it’s none of these. 

An article in The Atlantic, which references a study in Frontiers of Microbiology, suggests that the single best natural source of probiotics is: an apple. 

The average apple, the study says, contains about 100 million bacteria. 

Now, after I read that fun fact, my first reaction, I’ll admit, was the following, “Big deal, my probiotic supplement contains 10 billion CFUs (colony forming units).” That’s right, my probiotic supplement, in just one tiny little capsule, contains almost 10,000% more bacteria than an apple. 

But here’s the thing. It turns out that eating the apple might be better for you than popping a pill. The reason why? For the same reason eating unprocessed whole foods (especially fruits and veggies) is better for you than vitamin supplements. 

Makes sense, right? After all, whole foods offer the whole puzzle of interlocking health pieces, from micronutrients, antioxidants, as well as fiber, which the good bacteria feed on. On the other hand, supplements, perhaps probiotic pills included, represent, only a few pieces of the total health puzzle. 

In other words, just like in many other aspects of life, it’s quality that usually matters, not quantity. The 100 million or so bacteria in the typical apple are comprised of a myriad of different types of bacteria. Compare that to the average probiotic supplement, which contains maybe a few different friendly microbe species.

Work On Your Core – Apple that is

Now, before you rush out to your local supermarket and stock up on apples, there is a catch. Approximately 90% of the bacteria in the apple is contained, not in the skin, or the juicy main part of the flesh, but in the core. 

If you’re like most people, you probably throw the core away. And when you do that, it’s like throwing away the world’s best probiotic pill down the toilet. 

So from now on, it’s all about the core. Eat the seeds, too. They actually contain a trace amount of the natural toxin, cyanide. But if you eat an apple or two a day, core included, it’ll still keep the doctor away. 

Do you struggle to get enough vegetables in your diet? If so, don’t feel bad. You’re in good company. Approximately 9 out of 10 people don’t eat enough veggies, especially green leafy ones, which most nutritionists (like myself) consider the healthiest kind. 

The good news is that if you’re not getting enough leafy greens in your diet or can’t stomach the thought of eating apple cores, I have an easy solution for you….

Organic Green Drinks (Core Included)

Chef V’s Organic Green Drink is the easiest way to get your full day supply–and then some–of dark, leafy greens veggies. Containing two kinds of kale; collard greens; green leaf lettuce; curly parsley; green chard, and dandelion greens, Organic Green Drink is raw and cold-blended. This means the fiber and micronutrients are preserved for optimal nutrition and, yes, gut health. Fresh produce, suggests The Atlantic article, might just be the best source of natural probiotics in general. (But that finding seems like a no-brainer in my opinion.)

And guess what else is in Chef V Organic Green Drink? That’s right … an apple! Core and all. 

For every 16 oz of Green Drink you consume, you’re gut benefits from hundreds of millions of good bacteria. And remember, it’s not just the quantity of good bacteria that matters, it’s the diversity. 

As Dr. James Hamblin, author of The Atlantic article on probiotics puts it, “Food is the main way that our gut biomes are populated throughout our lives, and microbe-rich foods [especially the 7 certified organic greens in my Green Drink] seem to be important to maintaining diversity.”

Best Source of Natural Good Bacteria: Conclusion

Remember, when it comes to eating apples, don’t think if you throw away the core that you’re still getting a decent amount of probiotics. In fact, it’s only by eating the core that you’ll get the same strains of bacteria that are sold in pricey probiotic pills.  

Eating a plethora of fresh produce every day supports the intricate interconnectedness of the immune and digestive systems. By eating a wide variety of fresh produce, we feed our gut microbes the fiber and sugars they need to support our health. We scratch the bugs’ back, they scratch ours. 

And whether you eat a huge fresh salad everyday or not, Chef V Organic Green Drink is the perfect way to gently wake up your digestive system in the morning, and gently cleanse your vital organs, and, of course, feed the friendly microbes in your gut.

Chef V Warns: Don’t Drink Coffee First Thing In The AM On An Empty Stomach!

coffee t-shirts

Are you a first-thing-in-the-morning coffee drinker? After reading the advice of certified nutritional therapist and ChefV.com founder, Veronica Wheat, you may want to wait a little bit before having your first cup. 

“But first…COFFEE!”

“A day without coffee is like … just kidding I have no idea.”

“Coffee spelled backwards is EEFFOC. Just know that I don’t give EEFFOC until I’ve had my coffee.”

“Eat. Sleep. Coffee. Repeat.” 

Even though I don’t drink coffee, I can’t help but laugh at ironic coffee t-shirts. 

But let’s take a closer look at the “Eat. Sleep. Coffee. Repeat” slogan. 

A more accurate ironic slogan for many people would be, “Wake up. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.” That’s because most people race out the door on their way to work with a cup or two or three of coffee well before they eat anything. 

And I’m not talking about functional coffee drinks that contain coconut oil and mushroom powder. 

Nope, I’m referring to the straight black stuff some people wish they could inject directly into their veins in order to feel alive in the morning. 

If nothing can resurrect you in the morning except for coffee, I’m not going to try and convince you to give it up. (Unless you’re about to do a CLEANSE, which requires a coffee-free pre-cleanse phase.)

I am, however, going to ask you to reconsider drinking coffee on an empty stomach. 

woman with coffee in bed

But First…Cortisol!

You’re probably familiar with the term “cortisol.” But just in case you need a refresher, in plain English, cortisol is known as the body’s major stress hormone. 

Cortisol helps our body physically deal with stress, sending us into fight or flight or freeze mode. It’s a good thing that we have cortisol because it regulates our body’s stress response.

So when a distracted A-hole driver swerves into your lane and is heading right towards you, you can thank cortisol for giving you the superpower to be alert and steer your way to safety. 

But just like 10 cups of coffee or glasses of wine a day, too much of a good thing is a bad thing. And when we’re constantly stressed out, we can have too much cortisol coursing through our system. 

Having excess cortisol is no bueno! It can cause elevated blood sugar levels, even contributing to type 2 diabetes. It can also wreak havoc on your immune system. And ladies: too much cortisol can screw up your cycle and may cause an imbalance of other hormones. 

And if that’s not bad enough, having too much cortisol may lead to an increase of the most dangerous kind of fat: visceral fat. Visceral fat is the deep belly fat that surrounds the organs in your abdomen. 

Now, normally, levels of cortisol are naturally high in the morning. Why then do we need coffee if our body should be more alert? Why do we feel dead to the world without coffee if cortisol is supposed to be our natural alarm clock? 

—-> 3 Ways To Feel Unstoppable In The Morning Without Coffee 

It could be because you’re not getting enough sleep. Or maybe you’re drinking too much coffee, which can screw up normal cortisol fluctuations during the day. 

coffee mug in bed

How Drinking Coffee First Thing In The AM Affects Cortisol 

The important thing to understand is that drinking coffee first thing in the morning on an empty stomach might be harmful to your health for a couple reasons. 

First, drinking lots of coffee can itself cause excess cortisol, which can lead to having high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. 

And secondly, if you have GI problems like acid reflux, drinking coffee first thing in the morning can increase acid production, making your GI issues worse. 

Drinking Coffee & Brain Function

There’s actually plenty of research that supports moderate coffee consumption. To reiterate: my point of emphasis here is not that drinking coffee is bad … it’s that drinking it on an empty stomach may be for some people. 

People drink coffee to fire up their neurons so they can function at work. But what are the effects of having early-morning excess cortisol and brain function? Well, a  study published in Neurology that was summarized in Scientific American looked at the effects of early-morning high cortisol on brain performance in more than 2,000 people. 

Most of the participants were in their 40s. The study found that those with the highest levels of cortisol performed worse on tests of memory, organization, visual perception and attention.

To make matters worse, the brains of people with the highest levels of cortisol showed precursors to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. 

I’m not trying to scare the bejeezus out of you. I’m not suggesting that if you drink coffee first thing in the morning, your brain will deteriorate. Just think twice about drinking it on an empty stomach—especially black coffee. (Sorry, a splash of cream and a packet of sugar won’t help prevent a cortisol spike.)

Fonio grain

Here’s What To Do In The Morning Before Drinking Coffee

If you can’t wait to have coffee until noon or early afternoon, when cortisol levels are naturally lower, then I have a simple solution for you. It’s something I’ve been preaching for years but it works. 

Step 1: After you wake up, drink a tall glass of water with lemon juice. This will help you naturally detox your body before introducing any stimulants into your system. 

Step 2: Wait 20 minutes after drinking water and then have 8 ounces of Organic Green Drink

No, this is not just some promotional plug for my nationwide Green Drink delivery plan. My recommendation, I’ll have you know, is science-based. Minerals such as magnesium in green leafy veggies help regulate and lower cortisol, research (like this) shows. 

Step 3: About half an hour after having CHEF V GREEN DRINK, if you must, have your coffee. I also recommend doing some parasympathetic (relaxing) exercise like yoga in the morning to regulate your cortisol levels. 

Step 4 (optional): wear your ironic coffee t-shirt.

We’ve Got The Beet! Why Beets Are Having Their Moment

boy with beets

Chef V is seeing red for Valentine’s Day in a good way with beets. If you’re not on the beet bandwagon then hop on board. Never tried beets? With Chef V’s beet recipes, you’ll eventually fall in love with them and you’ll be healthier for it…

“Beets are sexy.”
—Said nobody.

But maybe I should be the first to coin that phrase. That’s right, you heard it here first. I think beets are the perfect Valentine’s Day food and not just because of the bright red color. Although for sure that’s a part of their attractiveness. 

What makes beets the perfect food to eat around Valentine’s Day? Because it can get the blood flowing to parts of the body that need to operate in tip-top shape on Valentine’s Day. If you know what I’m sayin’…

And it’s not just men who benefit from beets. Ladies, eat some beets because this unsung root veggie boosts production of nitric oxide in the body. Every single cell in your body has nitric oxide, which is a gas. (Not to be confused with smelly toot gas.) 

hands peeling beets

Check out my Beet Based Recipes

Beets For Better Sex?

When you have sufficient nitric oxide, blood flow and oxygen delivery to the muscles is improved. For men, nitrous oxide means better blood flow to the penis. Millions of men take sexual performance supplements that are designed to boost nitric oxide in the body.

So for men, beets may improve erectile dysfunction. For the ladies, enhanced nitrous oxide production also means that blood vessels dilate, allowing for better circulation and blood flow. When erogenous zones get more blood flow you can get more aroused. 

Who would have ever thought that a beet smoothie could spark sexual arousal! 

Veronica, Brandon, and Coco drinking beet smoothies

Other Reasons To Just Beet It

Because beets improve nitric oxide levels in the body, they may enhance your athletic performance. So if you’re a competitive athlete looking for that extra edge, give one of my beet recipes a try. 

Check out my Beet Based Recipes

Here’s why else you should go bananas for beets…

Beet Benefits At A Glance:

  • High in minerals
  • Low in calories
  • High in fiber
  • Low in carbs
  • Lowers blood pressure and inflammation
  • Supports digestion and gut health
  • Supports cognitive health

Taking a deeper dive into beet nutrition facts here, so like most veggies, they’re a great source of minerals, especially potassium. This is yet another reason why athletes and active people should incorporate beets in their diet. You see, strenuous exercise depletes the body of minerals. If you don’t refuel your body with enough minerals, post-exercise, you’ll be lethargic and wear down your immune system. 

Beets are also great for people who have high blood pressure and inflammation. 

And remember how beets may kick your sex drive into high gear? Well, it turns out that nitric oxide also benefits brain health. In fact, a 2017 study showed that older adults who exercised and drank beet juice had brains that resembled much younger people. 

seniors playing golf

Making Beets Yummy Again

Now I’m not suggesting that you eat raw beets. That would be just as unappetizing as eating raw potatoes, unless you're adding raw beet chunks to a smoothie. 

The key to cooking with beets is to learn how to balance the bitterness of the veggie. And you do that by adding a pinch of Himalayan sea salt, red-wine vinegar, ginger, garlic or other herbs and spices. 

Actually, before you even start cooking with beets, there’s a rookie mistake I have to warn you about!

Beets are like the permanent magic marker of the veggie world. They will leave stains that look like a horrible crime scene. I’m usually not a big fan of using anything plastic. But when it comes to cutting beets (for a salad or smoothie), a plastic cutting board is your best bet because it can be easily washed.  I still use my wooden cutting board but I make sure to wash it right away.

And don’t toss out the green part that’s attached to the beets! They are highly nutritious and you can easily add them to a veggie stir fry or a smoothie. Oh, and one more tip when it comes to cooking beets…

You don’t have to remove the skins. The skin will add bulk to your stool, helping you more easily poop if you need help in that department. But if you don’t want to eat the skin, wait until after you’ve cooked the veggie to do it. It’ll be much easier. 

Check out my Beet Based Recipes

beets on a counter

Beets: The Perfect Valentine’s Day Gift?

It’ll be a long time before a box of beets will be on equal par with a box of chocolates as the perfect Valentine’s Day gift. So my gift to you this Feb. 14 is leaving you with these beet recipes. May they help enhance the love you feel on this special day. 


Not Ready To Go Gluten-Free? Eat These 5 Healthy Grains You’ve Never Heard Of…

gluten free grains

Should You Be Gluten Free?

“Hey Chef V, should I go gluten free?” 

It’s a question I get asked almost every day. 

So here’s my take on gluten…

I recommend people go gluten-free during the pre-cleanse phase of Chef V Cleanse (3, 5 & 7 days) and 21 Day Detox

That’s because most people aren’t eating the 5 healthy grains I’ll introduce in just a bit. Most people eat heavily-processed wheat products. Which can ruin your health in a few ways.

Most packaged foods contain wheat or wheat flour and are not organic. The wheat flour in processed food is heavily sprayed with pesticides like glyphosate. That’s bad news because glyphosate may be linked to several health problems including poor gut health (this study shows).

So it might not be the gluten you’re having a reaction to in wheat products. It could be the chemicals!

The wheat that’s in products sold in almost every supermarket aisle contains gluten that has been dramatically altered. 

ancient grains

Today’s gluten protein molecules in packaged foods are larger than the 5 healthy grains below. And that means your body might not recognize the modern wheat protein like it does ancient wheat. As a result, your body could start attacking the genetically-engineered wheat proteins. This in turn can lead to autoimmune reactions. 

The good news is that you don’t have to completely give up gluten. (Unless you have Celiac Disease.) There are several healthy grains with old-school gluten that may not cause gluten sensitivity after you eat them. 

(No, quinoa is not on this list because most people have heard of it by now.)

Jobs Tears

Healthy Grain #1: Job’s Tears 

I’ll explain the weird name in a bit. Job’s Tears taste like rice, corn and barley had a thrupple. The chewy grain has a texture like chickpeas and is about the same size as one. 

Also called coix seed, Chinese pearl barley, and Hato Mugi in Japanese, Job’s Tears are perfect for buddha bowls (huge healthy, hearty vegetarian salad). 

Ok, so now the trivia. So Job’s Tears are after the Biblical character whose faith was constantly tested by God. Personally, I’d have an anxiety attack if I went through all the stuff Job did. 

Anyway, legend has it that when Job cried because of his many sorrows, the tears produced this healthy grain that looks like gray teardrops. 

Fonio grain

Healthy Grain #2: Fonio

You can think of fonio as couscous’s cousin. A tiny grain originally from Africa, fonio doesn’t look all that appealing raw. In fact, it looks like grains of sand. But if you have a delicious sugar-free sauce, fonio will wonderfully absorb the flavors. 

You probably won’t be able to find fonio in most supermarkets. Not even Whole Foods. But like just about anything else, you can find it online. 

Super high in B-vitamins (with the exception of B12, which is only obtained from animal sources), fonio might be a grain you’ll be hearing more about in the future. 

Will it be as popular as quinoa one day? Probably not. But time will only tell. 

Healthy Grain #3: Einkorn

If you love the taste of commercial wheat just like it’s found in the supermarket, einkorn is for you. Only, einkorn is healthier than typical supermarket wheat-based products. 

That’s because it’s nature’s original wheat and it’s never been genetically messed with in the 12,000 years it’s been cultivated. 

I’ll get to the reason why it hasn’t been altered. But first, let’s review einkorn’s taste profile. Like most ancient grains, it’s got a nuttier flavor than commercial, modern wheat. People who love to bake but want to use healthier ingredients love einkorn as a substitute for commercial wheat. 

Next time you try baking banana bread or making pancakes, make them with einkorn flour instead of whole wheat flour. 

The superfood of the Egyptian pharaohs, einkorn was largely forgotten about for centuries. Early farmers discovered other grains that were easier to harvest. As gluten sensitivity has become more widespread, people have taken an interest in this long-forgotten unhybridized good gluten. 

Healthy Grain #4: Freekeh 

Get your freekeh on! Haha. What the frick is freekeh you may ask? It’s known as the King of Grains in the Middle East, the first breadbasket of civilization. 

Raw freekeh wheat does look freakish. It’s green. But after it’s cooked it emerges with a light smoky profile. I’ve heard it described as having a taste similar to fire-roasted cashews. 

As is the case with all 5 ancient grains, don’t eat them plain. Drizzle some olive oil or avocado oil on them. I also like Bragg’s liquid amino acids and a dash of Himalayan sea salt. 

Healthy Grain #5: Teff

OK, so what the “F” is teff? It’s actually the one healthy grain on this list that doesn’t have gluten. That’s right, teff is gluten free. That means that people with Celiac Disease or gluten sensitivity can party with teff.

Naturally rich in calcium and vitamin C, teff are tiny grains that act like a resistant starch. Resistant starches resist digestion in the small intestine. Instead, they ferment in the large intestine (colon). 

That may sound gross. But it’s actually super healthy. Your good bacteria digests these fermented teff sugars and creates short-chain fatty acids. Short chain fatty acids provide us with so many health benefits. But that’s the subject of another Chef V article. 

For now, try a couple of these ancient grains and tell us what you think on Chef V Life. 

What Is Leaky Gut & Do You Have It?

leaky gut

Leaky anything never sounds good: Pipes. Faucet. Radiator. Can you think of a situation where leaking is a good thing? I can’t think of one. The worst leak of all, one that affects millions of people’s health and happiness is leaky gut. 

How Do You Fix Leaky Gut?

Fixing a leaky gut isn’t easy and it takes time. Unlike calling a plumber, you can’t call a GI handyman to fix it fast. This is especially true if you’ve been experiencing the above symptoms for many years. 

The first step in conquering leaky gut is to stop it from leaking more. And to do that, you need to stop eating and drinking things that will continue to weaken it. For this, I recommend two options. The more accurate but more expensive way is to get a food sensitivity blood test. That takes the guesswork out. If you want to go the cheaper but longer route, follow an elimination diet. That’s where you avoid all potential allergenic foods like gluten for at least 4 weeks and then reintroduce them one by one to see if you have any allergy symptoms. 

There are certain foods like bone broth and collagen protein that may actually help repair the gut lining. But you can’t just sip a cup of bone broth and continue eating allergenic foods expecting miracles. 

As a certified nutrition therapist, I wish I could work one on one with you to help repair your gut. But one recommendation I have for you—besides replacing the typical American breakfast every day with my Organic Green Drink—is working with a functional medicine doctor or naturopathic doctor. Through diagnostic testing and supplement recommendations, these natural health experts can help you overcome leaky gut and get you living your best life. It’ll cost a pretty penny but isn’t looking and feeling your best worth it?

Gut: Not The Same As Belly

You’ve probably heard of leaky gut but aren’t quite sure what it means. In order to understand what leaky gut is, it’s important to first understand what the gut refers to. 

Many people think the gut is the stomach or abdomen. But your belly is just a small part of your gut. Your gut, or gastrointestinal (GI) tract actually begins in your mouth. Digestion begins even before you take the first bite of food. When you so much as look at or even smell what you’re about to eat or drink, saliva starts forming, ready to soften food for transit down the digestive tract. Eventually, what you eat is eliminated through your backside, which is where the gut ends. 

So now that you have a clear definition of what the gut is, let’s focus on a specific area of the gut that heavily influences your immune system, mood and overall health… 

Your intestines are home to trillions of bacteria. It’s also here that 80% of your immune cells reside. Some people believe that in order to have strong digestion, you need a strong stomach. But actually, the part of your body that has the most influence on your health is called the intestinal mucosal barrier. 

stomach mucosa - leaky gut

The Mucosal Barrier & Gut Health

Years ago, when I first heard the term mucosal barrier, I was kind of grossed out. When you hear the word mucus what do you think of? Disgusting runny noses, right? But it turns out that mucus is one of your best friends. Your intestines are lined with a mucosal barrier. This barrier protects you from potentially-disease-causing pathogens like harmful bacteria, viruses, fungus, etc. In addition, the barrier interacts with immune cells, absorb nutrients and is also responsible for directing waste out of the body. 

Your mucosal barrier is lined by epithelial cells. A healthy mucosal barrier has tight junctions between the cells. 

Leaky Gut Explained

So here’s where we get to leaky gut. Because of several reasons I’ll mention in just a sec, the tight junction can weaken over time. And when this thin intestinal mucosal wall leaks now you have a leaky gut. What exactly is leaked? Undigested food particles, toxins and microorganisms (bacteria, etc.). 

leaky gut

What Happens When You Have Leaky Gut?

Bad things. Autoimmune disorders can arise. A weak gut lining can cause rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and other imbalances in which the body attacks itself. 

Why does the body attack itself? It’s because when these undigested food particles, toxins and bacteria flow unimpeded through the bloodstream, the immune system mounts a defense and tries to destroy them. This creates a high inflammation response in the body, leading to painful joints, skin and digestion problems and more…

Why Hasn’t My Doctor Told Me About Leaky Gut?

Because leaky gut isn’t an officially recognized medical disorder. The closest thing to it is “intestinal permeability.” But in order to get diagnosed with that, you need to undergo a biopsy, in which a slice of your intestinal tissue is removed. 

There is a bit of a chicken and egg scenario with leaky gut. Did the weakening of the mucosal barrier cause an autoimmune disease or is it the other way around? 

I’m convinced that because of various factors, leaky gut causes inflammatory conditions, not the other way around. 


Symptoms of Leaky Gut

You don’t have to have an autoimmune disorder to have a leaky gut. Other signs that your intestinal wall has gotten weaker include:

  • Brain fog
  • Constipation
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling cold
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Acne, eczema and rashes
  • Anxiety and depression

Causes Of Leaky Gut

If you have any of the above symptoms do you relate to any of the following causes? 

  • Frequent antibiotic use
  • Gut dysbiosis (not having enough friendly bacteria, having too many harmful bacteria)
  • Chronic stress 
  • Exposure to harmful chemicals like glyphosate
  • Excess alcohol
  • Consuming too much sugar
  • Eating foods to which you are allergic or sensitive, e.g. gluten, dairy. (This is also a chicken or egg question: are you allergic because of leaky gut or did leaky gut cause the allergy? Hmmm.)

There are other causes of leaky gut but these are by far the most common. 

Healthy Gut, Smooth Skin, Glossy Hair And Strong Nails


The best veggies for a healthy gut, skin, hair and nails are the same ones in Chef V’s mega-popular Green Drink. And it’s no coincidence that these same veggies are also the best for helping you cleanse and detox. Chef V covers how each of the veggies benefits your beauty.

I created the recipe for Organic Green Drink several years ago back when I was a private chef. Over time, demand grew for my Green Drink and that’s really the catalyst for launching Chef V.

I did a ton of research for the Green Drink recipe. I wanted to select the best veggies that would not only taste amazing cold-blended, but that would also be the best for a 3 day cleanse or 21-day detox. And as it turns out, the seven veggies in Green Drink not only happen to be the best for cleansing and detoxing, they also happen to be the best veggies for skin, hair and nails.

Now I admit, it would be a pain in the behind to have to chop green kale, black kale, collard greens, dandelion greens, green chard, curly parsley and green leaf lettuce every day. And then have to juice it. Then clean up.

The main reason why I transitioned from being a private chef to launching Chef V: making healthier easier for people just like you. And it doesn’t get any easier than having a bottle of our certified organic Green Drink delivered to your home.

Not only can you lose weight, gain energy and sleep more soundly by having Green Drink every day, but there’s also a very good chance your skin, hair, and nails will look better.

So let’s take a look at how the ingredients in Green Drink are the healthiest veggies for skin, hair, and nails.

your microbiome - bacteria

Best Veggies for Skin, Hair & Nails: Kale

Sure, there’s some excessive kale craziness these days. But for good reason. Kale is rich in vitamin K. And it’s really hard for most people who eat the average American diet to get enough K. Vitamin K actually helps minimize dark circles in your eyes. That’s why it’s one of the best veggies for the skin.

In fact, kale can even help tighten your skin. How? Well, one of the reasons why your skin isn’t as tight when you get older is that the aging process weakens your collagen. Collagen is the body’s main structural protein. In fact, over one-third of the thousands and thousands of proteins in the body is collagen proteins. Collagen provides strength to your tendons, ligaments, teeth, nails, hair, bones, gut lining, and much more….

The vitamin C in kale along with the antioxidant, lutein, promotes collagen regrowth and production. In addition, vitamin A in kale helps prevent damage to the skin. It also repairs damages to the epidermis.

There’s a good reason why kale has been added to several beauty products. Because it’s such an efficient detoxifying nutrient, kale can help clean your pores. It’s even beneficial for your hair pores. Moreover, kale contains fatty acids such as omega-3s. These fatty acids provide moisture to your hair and skin.

There’s even a nail polish with kale extract. Supposedly, it can help stimulate keratin production. Keratin is the other main protein that’s in your nails.

These facts about kale make it one of the best veggies for skin, hair, and nails. So drink your Green Drink and schedule that kale facial!

weight and your microbiome

Best Veggies for Skin, Hair & Nails: Dandelion

Another incredible detoxifying green veggie in our Green Drink is dandelion. Dandelion widens your pores. That’s how it helps your body get rid of toxins. And according to this article, dandelion shrinks wrinkles. It may also help whiten dark spots and reduce fine lines.

Like kale, dandelion also contains lots of beta carotene and vitamin C. It’s also rich in B vitamins and vitamin E, which is a standard ingredient in many skincare products. Moreover, the minerals and trace minerals in dandelions may actually help regrow hair.

collard greens

Best Veggies for Skin, Hair & Nails: Collard Greens

The reason why collard greens are one of the best veggies for skin, hair, and nails is the same reason as kale and dandelion: it’s loaded with beta carotene (a precursor to vitamin A). One benefit of Vitamin A for your skin is the production of sebum. You can think of sebum as a waterproof lubricant for your skin. Without sebum, your skin would feel like it’s been scorched in a sauna for hours. And sebum is also in your hair. Without enough of it, your hair feels like straw.

Collard greens also contain iron. And one major factor for thinning hair is low iron intake.


Best Veggies for Skin, Hair & Nails: Chard

Here’s why I think chard is one of the best veggies for skin, hair, and nails….

Just one serving of it contains over 700 percent of your vitamin K suggested intake. It’s also got about 200 percent of your beta carotene needs and about half of your daily vitamin C needs. And chard is also very high in minerals such as magnesium. Getting enough magnesium in your diet is very important for healthy skin. It can help balance the amount of oil you have. Obviously, you need some oil but not too much. If your skin tends to run on the oily side, magnesium can reduce the amount of oils.

Chard is also high in biotin. Biotin is vitamin B7. There’s a good reason why many hair care products contain biotin. That’s because biotin stimulates hair follicles. Consume enough chard and your hair may benefit by appearing shinier and fuller in texture. And like all the other of the best veggies for your skin, chard is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants repair and help regenerate new skin cells.

Best Veggies for Skin, Hair & Nails: Parsley

Poor parsley. Most people just eat a tiny bit of it as a post-meal garnish to freshen the breath. But here’s why you should consume more of it. (And what easier way to get your daily dose of parsley than having one or two Green Drinks per day?)

Parsley is a wrinkle destroyer. As I say above, vitamin C-rich foods help encourage the production of collagen in your body. And parsley is particularly rich in vitamin C. And the more collagen production your body undergoes, the more wrinkles and fine lines will fade.

Moreover, parsley is a natural antibiotic. Thus, it can help kill bacteria-causing acne. There are several other benefits of parsley for your skin as well. But this post is already long and we’ve got one more of the best veggies for skin, hair, and nails to cover:

21 day detox from Chef V


One of the main reasons why lettuce is good for your skin is it contains the following three minerals: silica, sulfur, and phosphorous. You don’t need a large quantity of these minerals from the foods you eat. That’s why they are called trace minerals. But these three trace minerals are vital for maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails. Without a doubt, you’re not going to get many benefits by eating iceberg lettuce, which is devoid of nutrition. But green leafy lettuce can also protect your skin against harmful UV rays.

So now do you see why I selected these six veggies (7 really; Green Drink includes two different types of kale)? Not only are they the best-tasting and most detoxifying, but they’re also the best for your skin, hair, and nails.

Chef V and Kale

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