RA Diet Approved Yogurt Bowl

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We all know the importance of getting a good breakfast into our bellies before diving into our day. But some mornings it can be hard. Especially on those busy mornings. And especially if you're like me and wake up with no appetite.

If I had it my way, I wouldn't eat until about noon. But I have learned the hard way that pulling an intermittent fast on a daily basis wreaks havoc on my adrenals and my hormones (don't mess with your adrenals!), so I need to make sure breakfast happens.


Lately I have been making a nutrient-dense, protein and fiber rich bowl. It has a good balance of protein, fiber, and it's low carb. But more importantly, this bowl is loaded with the inflammation-fighting antioxidants, phytonutrients, and omega-3 oils that we want for strengthening our immune systems and keeping the RA fire at bay.

Playing starring roles are two of my top 10 foods for RA- hemp seeds and berries. Start your bowl with some unsweetened non-dairy milk and yogurt. I like coconut, but almond is also very good. I use about 1/2 cup of each. Then toss in 1 tablespoon each of hemp and chia seeds. Stir it all up. If you have some Pitaya Powder on hand, add it, it makes your yogurt pink and adds potent nutritional benefits.

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You can leave the mixture to sit for a few minutes so the chia seeds can plump up and make a more pudding-like consistency, but I'm usually in a hurry, so just a stir and let's keep moving.

Next, throw in your favorite berries. I like blueberries or raspberries, or better yet, both. About 1 cup of berries total. Toss on some more hemp seeds. You can never have too much hemp seed so throw that stuff around like confetti!

Tip: store your chia and hemp seeds in the fridge or freezer to protect those fragile omega-3 oils from going rancid.

PS I got this HUGE container of Driscoll's organic raspberries at Costco for $6.99. LOVE Costco!


This bowl is more of an assembly than a "recipe", but for those who want specs, here you go!

Quick Breakfast Yogurt Bowl

For each serving:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used coconut)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy yogurt (greek style is awesome)
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon hemp seeds (plus more for topping)
  • 1 cup berries of choice

Stir milk, yogurt and seeds. Add berries and top with hemp seeds. Do a happy dance because you just made the simplest, more delicious and nutritious breakfast in under 60 seconds and now you're ready to take on your day!

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Posted on December 7, 2017 .

The RA Diet: Apple Berry Crisp

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Enjoy this delicious, warming crisp from The RA Diet Cookbook on chilly winter mornings. Free of the common RA triggers, loaded with nutrient-dense berries, and topped with a nutty-crunchy topping, it is breakfast comfort food at it's best. Your body will thank you for it!

If you right click on the image above you can save the recipe! Share this post with a friend who would enjoy this recipe, you can use the "share" link below.

Thanks for reading!

Posted on December 6, 2017 .

Health Benefits of Lemon

People often look at me funny in the produce section. I can't say I blame them. I often fill my cart before I've turned the first corner! I get a lot of "what do you do with THAT?" (points at turmeric root), and "why so many lemons?" (looking at my bags of 20+ lemons).

I'll admit that I'm not your typical shopper, I tend to treat the produce section like it's my personal pharmacy, and in many ways it is. After all, I have an incurable autoimmune disease that I treat it with diet only, no meds. My turmeric and lemons are part of my prescription.

So what's the deal with all the lemons? Lemon are brilliant! Most of us know that lemons contain vitamin C and that vitamin C is an antioxidant, and that antioxidants are anti-inflammatory, so that's a good thing, especially when you have an autoimmune disease. But most folks don't know that lemons also contain potassium, calcium and B vitamins. Bonus!

But the most interesting and beneficial aspect of lemons is how they affect our blood Ph. We think of lemons as an acidic fruit, and indeed they are acidic outside of the body. But inside it's a different story. Lemons are highly alkalizing to our bodies and contribute to an alkaline blood Ph.

I'll spare you the chem lesson but suffice it to say that YOU WANT YOUR BODY TO BE ALKALINE if you want to avoid chronic disease.  Lemons are nature's shiny little alkalizers, and they are easy to use throughout your day- in your morning tea or Rise & Shine Lemon Water (recipe below), in your green juice, squeezed over seafood, mixed into simple vinaigrette dressings, etc. Personally I go through at least 2-3 lemons a day without even trying.

Lemons are like magic if you're trying to detox or you're doing a cleanse. Lemon juice encourages the increased production of bile which removes toxins from your liver, the main organ addressed in cleansing. Doing a cleanse without ingesting massive amounts of lemon is like going to a Daniel Craig movie and closing your eyes every time he takes off his shirt- you're missing the main event! Daniel Craig. sigh...

Anyhoo, lemons are amazing little fruits and you should consider loading up every time you shop. So what about organic vs conventional? Organic lemons should always be used for the zest (where the pesticide residue hangs out), but if you're going for the juice then conventional is fine. I buy bags of lemons at Costco for a great price. Trader Joe's is also a great source.

Check out one of my favorite ways to use lemons, Rise & Shine Lemon Water, recipe below.

Peace, love, and lemon juice,

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Rise & Shine Lemon Water

Ingredients for 1 serving:

8 ounces filtered water

1/2 lemon, juice only

2 teaspoons unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar**


Heat the water to room temperature or warmer, but not boiling. Add the juice and apple cider vinegar and stir. 

**Apple cider vinegar must be organic and unfiltered. The liquid should look cloudy and there will be "gunk" floating in the bottle or accumulated on the bottom. That "gunk" is the good stuff, it's the probiotic culture that makes the vinegar so beneficial to your health. Look for the words "with the mother" on the bottle. I recommend Bragg's brand. Apple sider vinegar is very sour, so start with 1/2 teaspoon and build up. It's also very acidic, so don't ever drink it straight as it can damage your tooth enamel, always dilute it in water.

Rise & Shine Lemon Water is one of over 100 wellness recipes in The Ra Diet Cookbook: Delicious, Nutritious, Healing Recipes for Rheumatoid Arthritis & Autoimmunity, available for instant download here.




Posted on November 28, 2017 .

Reboot on my very first blog post: Put Out the Fire: B-A-C-K to Health Juice Recipe

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My very first blog post here at A Well-Nourished Life, from 2013, is below. Good grief, 2013? That seems like forever ago. Four and a half years later, I'm still thriving with rheumatoid arthritis by following the diet & lifestyle plan I created for myself to recover without medications. Wanted to share this post again as the most common question I STILL get is, "how did you know what to do to beat your RA without medication?". So, from 2013...

I'm often asked, "how did you know what to do to beat your RA without medication?". The simple answer is that I didn't. At least not a first. The only thing I knew with absolute certainty was what I did NOT need. When I had my "a-ha" moment of realization, the "those nasty meds are NOT the answer for me" moment, I knew only that there had to be another way. My immune system was angry and attacking my own body, it had to be stopped. There had to be something making it angry, if I could find the cause, I could fix it. It was simple in theory. Find the cause, fix it. Search, and destroy.

My first step was to call my acupuncturist. I was barely out the door of my rheumatologist's office, and in tears, when I called. "I need to see Kim as soon as possible, I can't do this meds thing, I need to make another plan", I told Julie, the receptionist. I began weekly acupuncture treatments and took traditional chinese herbs to chip away at the pain and inflammation and calm my immune system. In the meantime I began my search and destroy mission. 

Google became my best friend. I read countless medical journals, books, and magazines. I spent hundreds of hours in online RA chat rooms and blogs. I turned to my go-to integrative health guru Dr Andrew Weil, and I discovered functional medecine expert, Dr Mark Hyman. In Hyman's functional medicine I found my new mantra "treat the fire, not the smoke". Brilliant. And such a perfect way of looking at chronic illness, especially RA. Get to the fire, put it out. Find the cause, fix it. Search, and destroy. 

Step ONE: Make a plan!

  • schedule weekly sessions with my Acupuncturist
  • schedule thrice weekly infrared saunas (is thrice a word? sounds shakesperean, so I'll leave it) 
  • start green juicing daily
  • change diet/start elimination diet
  • reduce stress

The first three items on my list were fairyly easy to put into immediate action, the last two not so much, they took a bit of time. In spite of what my Rheumatoligist had told me, "diet really has nothing to do with RA", my gut instinct told me that diet would have everything to do with my recovery and long term health. Sorry Doc, but my gut brain is way smarter than your medical school-trained brain. I made Google and Amazon.com my best friends, we spent hundreds of hours together. I read everything I could find on "arthritis and diet", "inflammation and diet", "joint pain and diet"... the search terms became my mantras. I also re-read ALL of Dr. Weil's books, highlighting pertinent information and dog-earing pages. I took what I considered the best information available from each blog, chat room, book, youtube video, e-seminar, and magazine, and created a diet plan for myself. 

Step TWO: Put the dietary plan into action!

  • eliminate potential food triggers
  • reduce total protein intake
  • load up on nutrient-dense plant foods
  • emphasize foods containing omega 3's
  • pack in the pain and inflammation-fighting erbs, roots and tonics
  • rinse and repeat

It's confession time. I'll admit, as a professional chef and staunch nose-in-air foodie, the idea of giving up ANY beloved food was hard to take, but the idea of giving up MANY beloved foods really ticked me off! I knew what I needed to do, but getting to a place where I wanted to do it took some time. I had one or two false starts with the elimination diet. Ok, four or five false starts. It was hard. Really, really hard. I was angry. I would be two or three days into it and then I would spy the goat cheese in the fridge and smoke would start coming out my ears. "NO DAIRY!" I would be slicing my favorite whole grain/flax seed bread for my son and would start to cry. "NO GLUTEN!" Seriously. I was angry. The sight of a friend enjoying a glass of red wine would spark a rage. It wasn't fair. And that's the truth that I had to come to accept. It wasn't fair, plain and simple, not fair. Not fair, not fair, not fair! So what? Get over it! And eventually I did.

I decided that instead of focusing on what I couldn't have (gluten, corn, sugar, dairy, eggs, blah, blah, blah), I would focus on what I could have. I realized that I did not have to stop being a chef or a foodie, I just had to become a different kind of chef and foodie, a wellness chef and wellness foodie. I explored foods I had never tried. Kale? That was for lining catering trays, but eat it? I never had. Beets? Are you kidding me, those mushy, canned things that my mom likes? No, the brilliantly delicious-sweet and vibrant FRESH root vegetables in the produce section of Central Market and Whole Foods. I never knew. I stopped my subscriptions of Bon Apetite, Food & Wine, and Pastry Arts, just too painful, and starting reading Vegetarian Times, Natural Health, and Alternative Medecine. And believe it or not, I even stopped watching Food Network. Ok, I still watched the episodes of Food Network Challenge that I was cast in, but that was it! I explored and tested and tasted, and along the way I found not only a healthful and inspiring new way of eating, but also a new career. 

Once I was fully on my new dietary program it took about 3 weeks to notice a notable difference in how I felt. After 6 weeks I was 100% pain and inflammation free. Keep in mind that this chick had previously required 60 mg a day of prednisone to be able to brush my teeth, hold a tea cup, climb a flight of stairs, or wield my chef's knife. Even 40mg per day wouldn't do it for me. And here I was, pain free, inflammation free, without a lick of medication in my system. Hallelujah! 

Two years later, I'm still following the same dietary plan. Attempts to reintroduce gluten, and nightshades have all failed, repeatedly, but I'm ok with that. I don't miss those foods anymore. Seriously. I no longer cry over artisan breads or mourn tomatoes. I have been able to add back small amounts of high quality dark chocolate, but only in small amounts, and not every day. I can even occasionally have a sprinkling of goat's milk or sheep's milk cheese on my veggies, but the funny thing is, my palette has changed and those foods no longer give me the thrill that they once did. Go figure. 

I'm often asked to label my diet. "Are you vegan?" is the most common question. My purse and shoes are, but no, my diet is not, not entirely. I was vegan for 6 months when I started my new program, but I had to give it up. I was frail and weak and lost too much weight. It didn't work for me, unfortunately, because I'm definitely down with the sentiment behind it and I'm a big time animal lover. I eat salmon once or twice a week, cage-free local eggs on occasion, and organic & humanely raised chicken now and then. I will try the vegan thing again soon, now that my body is stronger I may be able to do it. I hope so. For now I'd say my diet is a gluten, dairy, corn, nightshade, alcohol, and sugar free/whole foods/mostly plant-based/unprocessed/unchemicalized wellness foods "diet". Now THAT'S a mouthful!

Oh yeah, number 5 on my plan, the stress thing? We'll get to that in another post. In the meantime, be well, and enjoy this pressed green juice recipe, the one I have had every morning since I first made the commitment to healing.

B-A-C-K to Health Juice

1 organic Beet

1 organic green Apple, cored

3 organic Carrots

3-4 organic Kale leaves

1 lemon, peeled

1/2” section fresh turmeric and/or ginger root

Juice it up and enjoy daily. This is the juice I drank religiously when I was still symptomatic. Beets are detoxifying, the lemon is alkalizing, and the turmeric and ginger are anti-inflammatory.

If you need a juicer recommendation, check out my fave juicer, the Breville Juice Fountain Compact.

Posted on November 24, 2017 .

The RA Diet Cookbook: Oven-Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Posted on November 6, 2017 .

Lunch: Avocado Toast, Wilted Spinach, Fried Backyard Egg

Posted on November 1, 2017 .

The RA Diet Cookbook: White Bean & Kale Soup

Posted on November 1, 2017 .

Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies for Allergic Living Magazine

Posted on October 27, 2017 .

Brand Obsessed: KNOW Foods

Posted on October 25, 2017 .