Episode 77 | Why Gluten-Free May Not Always Be the Best Choice

Have you ever wondered if you should be following a gluten-free diet? Or if you are already following one, is it as healthy as it could be? On today’s podcast we are digging into the popular gluten-free label and asking if it’s really as healthy as most think.

To help you understand just how far wheat and gluten have come from the days when Jesus was breaking bread, we’re sharing a bit about their history and how much they’ve both changed over time. Because of this, many are needing to following a gluten-free diet, but oftentimes this new diet can be filled with processed ingredients potentially causing more issues. Today we’re digging into why a “gluten-free” label may not necessarily mean “healthy” and some of our favorite ways to optimize a gluten-free diet.

Whether you are gluten-free currently or have been considering trying it out, today’s episode will help you understand more about the gluten-free food world and eat the foods that will help you thrive on a gluten-free diet.

Thank you Sunbasket for sponsoring this episode! Click HERE to get $35 off your first order!

Highlight Reel:

07:10 |  A little history on wheat and gluten

18:30 | Why a “gluten-free” label doesn’t always mean healthy

26:26 | Some great gluten-free real food options

Link Love:

Fall Is in the Air + Grain-free Pumpkin Spice Muffins

pumpkin muffins alo wellness  

In my humble opinion, there is no greater time of year than when the leaves begin to change, the air becomes cool and crisp and the scent of cinnamon lingers in the air. Wait, what am I talking about? I live in Southern California, this doesn't happen!

A girl can dream though, can't she!?

I truly love fall. It literally makes me giddy. Maybe it's a more of a nostalgic feeling than anything, bringing me back to my youth growing up in the Bay Area. My mom always had pumpkin-y candles burning and the leaves actually fell off the trees! The air was cold and crisp and I remember the excitement of Halloween [I was a big candy lover back then, if you could imagine!] and Thanksgiving with family and my grandma's insanely buttery mashed potatoes. 

It's hard to pinpoint more about the nostalgia, it's just a warm and happy feeling when I think about fall. Now a days, I look forward to decorating our home with all things pumpkin and burlap, walking the pups with my hubby, and having friends and family over to celebrate birthdays, Thanksgiving and life over harvest-inspired meals and cocktails. 

It may be a million degrees here right now, but my heart is ready for fall. I know that sooner or later, the leaves will begin to turn and the temperature will slowly fall and our sleeves will grow longer and thicker with each passing month. 

Last week, my good friend Cara brought me the sweetest gift when her, her hubby and their kiddos came over for dinner [Cara shares an equal obsession with all things fall]. She surprised me with the most beautiful pumpkin plate so I figured this was a sure sign that the blog was also ready for all things fall. So, I whipped out my Real Food Meal Plan | Fall Edition and found one of my very favorite recipes : Pumpkin Spiced Muffins. 

pumpkin muffins alo wellness

Because who doesn't like fall in the shape of a muffin accompanied by a warm cup o' Joe in the mornin'? 

These muffins are so simple to throw together, they have the most beautiful fall flavor and they are so moist and fluffy! No processed grains or sugars here, instead I used coconut flour as my flour substitute and coconut sugar to sweeten! You can use less coconut sugar and even omit the chocolate chips to make a lower carb version.

I hope you love them. Slather them with butter and enjoy them with someone you adore. They taste even better that way.

pumpkin muffins alo wellness


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We're Expecting! [plus, Europe recap + Grain-free Cauliflower Crust Grilled Cheese

Cauliflower Crust Grilled Cheese.Alo Wellness [ I wrote this post almost two+ month ago, but I was having issues with my site so never published it. Forgive me for my absence! It's good to see you again though friend! ]

Wow, it’s been a while and life has been busy, fun, tiring and exhilarating all at the same time. There is so much to talk about…where do I begin!?

Ok, let’s start with the most beautiful news of all. WE’RE HAVING A BABY! Our little one is growing rapidly and we are so excited to meet HER in December! We are so filled with excitement, gratitude and sheer joy! It’s been so hard to contain this news!

Prior to our first ultrasound around 9 weeks, our anxiousness had been unbearable at times. In October of last year [2014], we experienced the loss of a twin pregnancy which left us deeply saddened, but at the same time incredibly hopeful for the Lord’s perfect plan for our family. When we heard the heartbeat this time, it was like nothing we have experienced before.

“There is no sweeter sound than when at some point you have heard the deafening silence of a heartbeat’s absence.”

This quote, from a mama and blogger who experienced loss herself, hit me like a ton of bricks. How true. How insanely true. That sound was the most beautiful I have ever heard and I praise our Creator for making it possible. What a gift to be able to carry a child, with all the multiplying of cells, differentiating tissues, growing organs, defining facial features, etc. A miraculous feat.

Matt and Justine Alo Wellness



I’m sure you will be seeing a lot more about this and how life changes during this incredible experience we call pregnancy. So stay tuned!

Next up, back in late April/early May, we spent two weeks in Europe and enjoyed some amazing food, great friendship and beautiful sites. Though tainted by the less than fabulous feelings of first trimester bliss, Paris brought us delicious dishes and beautiful sites and Italy was filled with naps, mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. Oh yes, and great friends, rolling Tuscan hills and more naps. Sad, but true!

My favorite was Chianti, a gorgeous region of Tuscany, just south of Florence. We ate some of our favorite dishes there, walked the hills of a 5th generation vineyard and while I enjoyed Italy’s finest mineral water, the hubs enjoyed the fruit of their labor.

Here are a few highlights of the trip...

photo 1-6


photo 2-5


Mona Lisa in the flesh...well, kind of // Boarding a yacht for dinner on the river // beautiful hor d'oeuvre // photo booth fun on the yacht


Canal view near our Venetian apartment // #gelatoeveryday // a Venice "must" - gondola ride with great friends! // our departure from Venice


Wine tour on the property we stayed at in Chianti, Tuscany // homemade meatballs...enough said. // the view from our little apartment in Chianti, Tuscany // barrel room kisses! this room was 100+ years old and used to be for curing meats

Given our recent addition, this trip is probably the last of our international travels for a while. That’s fine with me. Maui, here I come! No passports and broken foreign language communication- bring it on!

Since I’ve started to feel better in the past few weeks [remember this was two months ago!] and my energy has been on the rise, I have finally been able to get this couch-shaped butt of mine back into the gym. I have been taking it easy to start, but also keeping in mind that I am training. I am training for labor. A marathon where one needs serious mental and physical preparation to help ensure the best outcome. No, I won’t be running an actual marathon and I know it can be done with no forethought whatsoever, but I want to be ready.

With all this newfound energy, I have started back in the kitchen as well, my happy place. Oh, it is good to be home. I have been playing with a little more grains than I usually do as I have had more of an affinity to them since I’ve been pregnant. I figure a properly prepared (soaked) oatmeal bake is far better than the Lucky Charms I was eyeing during a TV commercial. Am I right?

Nutrition during pregnancy is so incredibly important, I cannot stress that enough. I will be talking about different aspects of prenatal nutrition in the next few months [and beyond] as this is one of our best forms of prevention.

So, the other day I got a little crazy and played with a new idea: a grain-free version of the traditional grilled cheese sandwich. Yes, you heard me right.

I used to love grilled cheese sandwiches, on whatever kind of bread one could conjure up. Nowadays, I stick to an occasional properly prepared, traditional sourdough bread, but I was wanting something I could indulge in any day of the week in a grain-free version, keeping my blood sugar stable.

Guys, to my surprise, this turned out amazing and I have a new favorite cauliflower recipe to add to the bunch! It does take some effort to prepare the cauliflower bread (sauté cauli, form “bread” slices, bake, then grill…) BUT it is SO worth it! And you can always prep the cauliflower ahead of time and just form the “bread” when you’re ready to get your grilled cheese on!


Cauliflower Crust Grilled Cheese.Alo Wellness


So, without further ado…I introduce to you the Grain-Free Cauliflower Crust Grilled Cheese! There are endless possibilities for this bad boy so please, let me know what you do to make this recipe your own!

Happy eating y’all!


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Citrus Salsa-Topped Pistachio Crusted White Fish

CitrusWhiteFish|AloWellness I have a number of reasons for loving winter in California [especially Redlands], but one of the list-toppers is the fact that winter is citrus season. Days that start off with a fresh grapefruit at breakfast and end with fresh-squeezed lime juice in homemade guacamole at dinner are some of the best. It’s at this time of the year that farmers’ markets become saturated with delectable orange, grapefruit, lime, and lemon crops, which is great news for the citrus-loving folk among us! Can anyone say ‘free samples’?!

Not only are they absolutely delicious, but citrus fruits are also a great source of vitamin C. This important vitamin serves to promote a strong immune system for fighting off those winter cold and flu bugs, so it’s a good thing that citrus season coincides with sick season! Besides immune health, vitamin C has antioxidant properties that make it a factor in reducing oxidative stress. A reduction in oxidative stress improves vascular health and reduces cancer risk, and that’s a benefit worth pursuing when you consider the environmental pollutants we are exposed to every day.

One of my recent trips to the farmers’ market inspired me to create a salsa of sorts using all of the wonderful citrus fruits currently in season here. I found a great recipe over on the blog E is for Eat that got me excited to make my own version to share with you all. Besides being an avid citrus fruit lover, I also have a strong affinity to fish, and what better way to enjoy a fresh citrus salsa but on top of piece of seafood?! Jaymee over at E is for Eat had similar thoughts, which is probably why I was so drawn to her idea of winter citrus salsa on pistachio-crusted white fish. Plus, fish is an excellent source of the fats that support a whole bunch of cellular functions to keep our bodies working smoothly, so this dish is really a win-win-win situation!


The original recipe wasn’t quite suited for gluten-free eaters, so I decided to substitute the bread crumbs with almond meal. This resulted in a delightfully nutty flavor for the crust along with a boost in nutritive value. Another win-win-win, in my opinion! You can select any of your favorite types of white fish for this recipe, though I would recommend halibut caught off the California coast or in Alaska for its healthy amount of omega-3 fatty acids and light flavor. Just make sure to check into the sustainability factor of the fish that you purchase. Do your best to avoid farm-raised fish and chose a wild variety. A great source for information regarding current issues of overfishing and contamination is Seafood Watch, an organization that researches the sustainability of different types of fish and their harvesting methods to help consumers make informed decisions in purchasing.

I have a couple of tips for you as you dive into this delicious endeavor. First, be sure to process the almonds and pistachios to a fine flour when preparing the crust because anything too coarse will not stick to the fish very well. Feel free to top the fish with some of the extra nut mixture before popping them in the oven; I am a huge fan of the nutty flavor, so the more the tastier! You could probably use any of your favorite nuts and have an equally delicious result, in case pistachios aren’t your thing. Also, the coconut oil will give the fish a slightly coconuty flavor, which is a great surprise if you like coconut, but if not, feel free to substitute butter or ghee. When finishing the dish, be generous with the citrus salsa! The tastiest bites are those that have a little bit of everything. Oh, and don’t forget the avocado. It offers a great diversity in mouthfeel and texture!


I hope you take advantage of this beautiful winter season to load up on that in-season, locally-grown, vitamin-packed citrus! Enjoy!


[yumprint-recipe id='7'] The post was written by my incredible intern, Ashley Huisman. We prepared the dish together and she did a beautiful job at photographing this delightful meal! Thank you for your hard work Ashley!

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Hearty Three Cheese Lasagna [grain-free]

Lasagne Alo Wellness  

The last time I wrote was over three months ago, so this is me apologizing. I have missed you! Life has thrown us some curve balls and the past few months have been a rollercoaster of emotions. Through it all, I have been reminded of the Lord’s steadfast love and grace and am hopeful and have peace knowing His plan is perfect. All things happen for a reason and this precious verse has given us joy in one of the most difficult chapters in our lives…


Joy of the Lord


One day I will share with the world our journey, but for now we will continue to heal, grow and press forward.

On a lighter note, let’s talk food! Today I have a delicious and nourishing recipe that is very close to my heart. We’re talking about lasagna my friends. And if you knew my family you would know that when we do lasagna, we mean business.

At a family member’s baby shower a few weekends ago, my Italian grandma made three gigantic pans of lasagna. I’m talking you almost need two people to hold the pans. Yah. They took her an entire day to put together because the sauce cooked- All. Day. Long.

At our wedding, we had incredible lasagna made by the fabulous Chef Cory Gheen filled with puffy layers of ricotta and fresh mozzarella cheese {not gluten-free, but I most definitely made sure I enjoyed a piece}. And you better believe we had an assortment of butters to dip whatever you’d like in! Oh, and that Italian grandma I spoke of earlier, she made meatballs in a vegetarians kitchen and moved serving platters around on the tables to fit her big, old pot full of meatballs. My husband and I giggled to ourselves as our vegetarian friends and family raved about how tasty those meatballs were…oopsies.

Bottom line, love me some lasagna. The problem these days {in my educated state} is that 1) I avoid gluten and most grains, 2) I try to keep my carbs down to keep my blood sugar working for me, not against me and 3) I don’t really love pasta anymore, I have totally lost my taste for it. What’s a girl to do but put her big girl panties on and recreate this family favorite, minus the gut busting, blood sugar boosting, fat packing lasagna noodles and hormone-anti-biotic laden cheese.

Let’s try this with fresh, real, chemical-free ingredients. Let’s make a meal that nourishes. And comforts. And adds to our health.

Oh yes, and it's fall...


fall produce


In this beautiful fall season, I absolutely adore the multitude of squashes available. Spaghetti squash fits right into the mix and is perfect for all things grain-free pasta! This pasta alternative is perfect for individuals looking to lose weight, those with blood sugar imbalances (7g carbs per cup of spaghetti squash vs. 37g carbs per cup of whole wheat spaghetti), gluten allergy and anyone looking to eat good food. How about that? If you haven't tried it yet, this is your recipe! 

Simple. Delicious. Nutritious. I'm in.


spaghetti squash


This recipe is best enjoyed with people you love. Take it outside, light some candles, put on your favorite relaxing jams and devour. You can thank me later.


Dinner outside



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Why I Love My Work + Grain-free Zucchini Apple Muffins


Last week, a woman came into my office after being brutally tortured {dramatic, yes} by an RD pushing “healthy” whole grains, margarine and diet drinks. Her food plan looked like a supermarket bread isle with 1-2 servings of grains during 4-6 meals each day. She is insulin-resistant and dealing with some less than desirable thyroid issues. She’s looking for relief, knowledge and empowerment to take charge of her health. I could hear the despair in her voice as she laid out her history and deep desire to feel well.

Unbaked muffinsAmidst her bags of supplements and meds, food journal, paperwork and a stack of Paleo cookbooks, she pulled out two recipes she had printed for me, “that I just HAD to try!” I was so excited that she shared one of her favorites with me, knowing how finding a good recipe, a tasty meal, a new ingredient can make a foodie’s whole day!

My clients are awesome. They come to me, often times desperate for something more than they’re getting from other healthcare providers, looking to change the course of their health. They want to feel better, move better and live fully.

The most rewarding aspect is when they kick-butt and totally rock out whatever crazy awesome protocol I put them on.

They come in astonished by how well they’re sleeping {I even had one guy get mad at me, saying, “How am I supposed to catch up on my TV if I am sleeping through the night!?”}, they’re new-found energy and lack of sugar cravings and how they can’t believe they’re not bloated after meals. They feel good. They feel alive.

I am so thankful for each one of my clients and am inspired by their drive to take action.

Today I wanted to share my version of my client’s recipe, {Grain-Free} Zucchini Apple Muffins. Enjoy these nutritious muffins for breakfast with butter or coconut manna or as an afternoon snack. These are also a great for children’s lunches!


{Grain-Free} Zucchini Apple Muffins

  • 1 medium zucchini, grated
  • 1 medium apple, peeled, cored and grated
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 cup nut butter {almond, organic peanut butter, sunbutter, etc.}
  • ¼ cup or less raw honey or pure maple syrup
  • 3 eggs, preferably pastured
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped {soaked and dehydrated is best!}
  • optional: 1/2 chocolate chips {I like the Enjoy Life brand}

Preheat over to 350°F.

Put grated zucchini in a clean kitchen towel or strong paper towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.

Place zucchini, apple and carrot in a medium mixing bowl and lightly toss. Add nut butter, honey, eggs and vanilla and mix thoroughly.

In a separate bowl, mix coconut flour, baking soda, spices and salt.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix to combine. Fold in walnuts.

Spoon batter into a lined or greased cupcake pan. I like the If You Can brand, Unbleached Baking Cups or using coconut oil to grease the pan.

Bake for 18-22 minutes.


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My Take on Grains + Cauliflower Pizza Crust

IMG_6328 A hot topic in the world of nutrition right now is that of “healthy” whole grains. This is a very interesting debate because like fat, eggs and salt, we have been taught one thing when another is actually true.

When I was in my Bachelors program for nutrition, we discussed wheat and other grains a lot and we all had a good understanding that everyone should consume approximately 6 servings of grains (half of them whole) per day. That's easy! Plus, that’s what the government taught us was healthy, so why would be question this!?

Now I have a completely different understanding of wheat and other grains {bulgur, rice, corn, rye, oats, millet, quinoa, etc.} and how they can affect ones health. I no longer recommend “healthy” whole grains as half of my clients (or family and friend’s) diets, but rather, to incorporate an abundance of nutrient dense vegetables as their main carbohydrate source.*

This is something that blows people’s minds, just like when they learn that butter is actually GOOD for them. It is also a very difficult idea for people to grasp because so many of us are so addicted to processed carbohydrates and “healthy” whole grains.

There are many reasons to limit or avoid grains in your diet, but I will only touch on a few. For starters, grains have a significant affect on blood sugar. When you eat grains, even when they’re considered “whole” grain, they flood the blood with glucose {aka sugar}, calling insulin into play. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose enter the cells to be used as energy. When we consume grains with every meal, day in and day out, we put a heavy burden on the sugar handling organs {the pancreas, liver and adrenal glands}, become resistant to insulin and addicted to sugar. This encourages a wide array of health problems such as weight gain, digestive issues, Diabetes, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, and heart disease, to name a few.

Gluten is another problematic aspect of wheat and other gluten containing grains {not all grains contain gluten}. Gluten is one of many complex proteins that make up the structure of gluten-containing grains. Gluten can be very irritating to the digestive tract and many individuals can be/become sensitive, lending a hand to leaky gut, dysbiosis {an imbalance in good and pathogenic gut buggies…to get really sciency on you} and a less than thriving digestive environment. As my clients know and many people are beginning to understand, the health of our digestive tract plays a major role in the function of other body systems and even our overall health.

Phytic acid is also something to consider. Phytic acid is the principal storage form of phosphorus and is found in the hulls of nuts, seeds and grains. Phytic acid has a high affinity for {aka it really likes} important minerals such as iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium. When we eat foods containing phytic acid, these minerals become bound up, making them difficult to digest and ultimately can be passed through the digestive tract unused. Cooking food can reduce phytic acid amounts, but soaking, lacto-fermenation and sprouting are much more effective at neutralizing this anti-nutrient. Therefore, proper preparation of nuts, seeds and grains is very important. A great resource for more info and how-to’s is Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.

Also, consider that most of the grains that are sold in common food items like breads, pasta, muffins, cookies, crackers and so on are highly processed, leaving a nutrient devoid Frankenfood not worth  your time!


So, the bottom line is that grains should be limited or even avoided and it is important to properly prepare grains when they are consumed {soaking, sprouting, lacto-fermentation}.

The best part {and the point of this post} is that there are a ton of amazing alternatives to our common grain-containing foods that are simple, totally scrumptious and most importantly, nutrient dense!

Below is a recipe I have wanted to try for a long time, cauliflower pizza crust! It turned out great and I am so excited to share! I looked at quite a few different recipes and kind of put all the aspects that I liked into this recipe. The sauce is adapted from The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam. Please, let me know how you like it!


Cauliflower Pizza Crust

For the pizza crust:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 medium sized head of cauliflower
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 oz soft goat cheese
  • 1 teaspoon mixed herbs
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

For the pizza sauce:

  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • ¼ cup clean water
  • 1 tablespoon herbs de Provence
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 basil leaves, diced

Toppings: whatever you want! For the pizza in the photos, we added broccoli, crimini mushrooms, red onion, zucchini, fresh basil and shredded raw cheese. We also love to add sliced chicken sausage. Feel free to add whatever pizza toppings your family enjoys!

Preheat oven to 400°F.

To make the cauliflower rice, pulse batches of roughly chopped, raw cauliflower in a food processor until you achieve a rice-like consistency.

In a large frying pan, melt coconut oil over medium-heat. Add cauliflower rice and sauté until tender, stirring occasionally, about 6-8 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix egg, cooked cauliflower, goat cheese, herbs and sea salt. I used my hands here to gently incorporate the ingredients.

On a parchment lined baking sheet, place the dough in the center and cover with another sheet of parchment paper. Use a dough roller or your hands to press the dough out to approximately 1/3 inch thick. Remove the top piece of parchment paper, bake for 25-30 minutes or until the crust is firm and golden brown.

While the crust is baking, place all the pizza sauce ingredients in a saucepan; allow to simmer about 15 minutes.

Now, time for the fun part. Spread the pizza sauce evenly across the crust, add your favorite ingredients then top with cheese. Return the pizza to the oven, bake for approximately 10-15 minutes or until chees melts and begins to bubble.


Serve with a fresh green salad and Garlicky Balsamic Vinaigrette! Enjoy!

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Apple Cider Vinegar Roasted Brussels Sprouts + Dried Cherries and Pecans

It is 2014, a brand spanking New Year, full of possibility and opportunity! Ah, I love it!

The air is warm here in Southern California and the sky is clear {for once}. Every morning I peek out our bedroom window to check out the “situation in the sky”. Day after day, a great, big smile beams on my face with these beautiful, clear, blue skies. Thank you Lord!

I guess the cook in me loves a blue sky because I have been in a nice, steady cooking mood, enjoying some good ol' recipes, but also trying some new.

One of my favorite restaurants, Lounge 22 in Redlands, makes the BEST Brussels sprouts. Ever. These Brussels are coated in a potent apple cider vinegar reduction and topped with a dollop of goat cheese…heavenly.

I thought I’d give it a go, how hard could it be?

Brussels, check. Apple cider vinegar, check. Oven, check. We got this.

photo 1

After a few practice runs, I discovered a pretty yummy variation. My version ended up being quite a bit different, but the bottom line is that it is nourishing and totally tasty.

After all, real food should be simple and full of flavor. Period.

Apple Cider Vinegar Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pecans

1 lb Brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved

½ small purple onion, sliced (I used yellow onions in the photo)

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon pure maple syrup

3 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar

¼ cup pecans (soaked and dehydrated), roughly chopped

2 tablespoons dried cherries

Sea salt and cracked pepper, to taste

Pre-heat oven to 400°F. In a small bowl, whisk together coconut oil, mustard, maple syrup and vinegar. Place Brussels sprouts, onion, pecans and cherries in large bowl and pour vinegar mixture over; toss to combine. Line a baking dish with parchment paper and spread the Brussels sprouts out evenly. Roast for about 20 minutes, tossing half-way through, until lightly golden.

Enjoy my friends!

photo 2

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Halloween, the Healthy Way [aka simple, nourishing & totally delicious!]

Happy Halloween

For every child in the world, there are at least 1,000 pieces of candy floating around this time of year, filling their cute little tummies with corn syrup, hydrogenated oils and synthetic dyes.  Oh, a true nightmare for Nutritionists and Dietitians alike, the Halloween season can be disastrous on those sweet little immune systems, not to mention the parents trying to control those sugar-crazed little nuggets!

Are you with me?

Is it coincidence that “flu season” flares right around the same time most of our bodies are in total sugar overload?

I think not.

Sugar can cause total and complete havoc on the immune system, not to mention our mood, sleep, brain, gut, heart, etc. Many Americans experience intense sugar cravings most days of the week so this sneaky little October holiday tends to start us on that {yearly} downward spiral into the holiday season leaving us heavier, sicker and blood sugar busted.

Why not make this year a wee bit different and nourish the bod on this spooky holiday!? Just because the neighbors bought the expensive candy with the Twix and Snickers bars {you know what I'm talking about...} doesn't mean you need to compete. Challenge yourself to overcome this sugar crazed holiday and whip up some tasty, healthy-er treats for you and your family and friends.

I promise you will wake up November 1 feeling like a million bucks! Oh, and that neighbor of yours, yeah, the one with the "expensive candy", she'll be rolling out of bed disoriented and as puffy as Will Smith in Hitch when he ate that crazy fish!

I have a couple of ideas that you will totally love! Check them out and let me know what you think! My favorite: the Dark Chocolate + Sea Salt Toffee! Yum!

Mini Chocolate Cupcakes + Pumpkin Spiced Frosting {gluten, dairy, soy-free}

{Adapted from PaleOMG’s Paleo Chocolate Cupcakes}

1 cup of blanched almond flour, sifted

½ teaspoon of baking soda

½ teaspoon of sea salt

1 cup dark chocolate chips

½ cup full fat canned coconut milk, room temperature

1 tablespoon raw honey

¼ cup coconut oil, melted

½ teaspoon of vanilla

2 organic, cage-free eggs {pastured eggs are best}

Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Line a cupcake pan with liners or grease thoroughly if you won’t be using liners.

In a medium-sized bowl combine your dry ingredients, almond flour, baking soda, and sea salt. Stir to combine then set aside.

In another medium-sized bowl combine chocolate chips and coconut milk and melt using the double boiler method. Stir consistently until completely melted. Remove from heat.

Stir in the coconut oil, honey, vanilla and eggs into the melted chocolate and coconut milk mixture.

Now fold your melted chocolate mixture into your dry ingredients and thoroughly mix until completely combined.

Pour batter into the cupcake liners and fill about ⅔ full, they will rise slightly when baking.

Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool completely before frosting.

Pumpkin Spiced Frosting

1 (13 ounce) can coconut milk

¼ cup freshly roasted pumpkin

1 tablespoon honey or pure maple syrup

½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

½ teaspoon vanilla

Place the can of coconut milk into the refrigerator for a couple of hours or overnight. Scoop solid cream off the top of the can of coconut milk and place into a blender.

Add pumpkin, honey, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla to the blender.

Puree on highest setting for 10-15 seconds, until smooth. Turn off the blender and scrape down the sides if necessary.

To frost, transfer the frosting to a decorating bag and use desired tip. If the frosting becomes too soft, let it sit in the refrigerator until it becomes firm again.


Savory/Sweet Roasted Pumpkin Seeds {gluten, dairy, soy-free}

2 cups fresh pumpkin seeds {right out the pumpkin!}

Clean water

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

For Savory Seeds:

½ teaspoon garlic salt

 ½ teaspoon cumin

 ½ teaspoon coriander

 ½ teaspoon cardamom

For Sweet Seeds:

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ginger, ground

½ teaspoon cloves, ground

1 teaspoon honey

Clean stringy flesh off of seeds and rinse thoroughly. Place seed in a large bowl and cover with clean, warm water. Add sea salt and gentle stir. Allow seeds to soak for 6-24 hours. Once they’ve soaked, pour seeds into a strainer, rinse, then transfer to a clean dish or paper towel and pat dry.

Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine olive oil, spices of choice {savory or sweet} and toss to combine. On a parchment lined baking sheet, spread the seasoned seeds in a single layer. Roast seeds, stirring every 10-15 minutes, until seeds are crispy and just starting to brown, about 1 hour. Allow to cool completely then enjoy!

Dark Chocolate + Sea Salt Toffee {gluten, soy-free}

2 cups butter {yes please!}

1 cup honey

2 cups good quality, dark chocolate

1 tablespoon coconut oil

½ cup almonds or pistachios, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon coarse sea salt {fine sea salt will also work}

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a saucepan, combine the butter and honey. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Allow to come to a boil, and cook until the mixture becomes a dark amber color, and the temperature reaches 285 degrees F. Stir often to avoid burning the toffee.

As soon as the toffee reaches the proper temperature, pour it out onto the prepared baking sheet and set aside.

In the same saucepan you used for the toffee, add chocolate, coconut oil and nuts and allow to melt, stirring often. Once melted, pour the chocolate mixture on top of the cooling toffee and use a spatula to distribute the chocolate evenly.

Allow to cook for a few minutes then sprinkle the sea salt over the top.

Place flat in the refrigerator and allow to cool completely.

To serve, lift an edge of the hardened toffee and break off chunks in desired sizes.  Next, devour.

I also saw these fabulous looking Honey Caramel Apples by the Nourished Kitchen! Definitely worth a try!

Don't forget! The Real Food Meal Plan - Fall Edition is in full force and available for purchase on the Alo Wellness website. Check out the Alo Wellness October Newsletter for a link to a sample day!

I wish you all a happy and healthy fall season! Make every bite count {and make 'em tasty too}!

Shine Bright!