Gluten Free Zucchini Banana Bread

As many of you know I have had a plethora of zucchini and summer squash coming out of my garden…to the point where I have been tempted to spray Round Up on the stuff.

You think I’m kidding.

SOooooooo, what to do with it all?

This recipe is amazeballs and it also freezes well for those winter months or unexpected houseguests.

Toast it slap some organic pasture butter on ‘er and your taste buds will thank ya. As well as the overflowing drawers in your fridge…or in this case, mine.


3 farm raised eggs

1 cup oil or melted butter

1 ½ cups organic sugar

2 cups Cup 4 Cup gluten free flour

1 ¼ tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp salt

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup shredded zucchini

1 cup mashed bananas

beat eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl combine the flour, balking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and nuts.

Slowly add to the egg, sugar, oil and vanilla.

Mix well.

Add zucchini and banana. Mix well again.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes.

Remove and place on a wire rack to cook for 10 min or so.

Tanda one. Zucchini zero.


Tanda Cook
Coconut Berry Bliss with Fresh Mint

The sheer beauty of this dish is enough to want to dive into it daily. We hosted a dinner party where we served this at the end of a mid summer meal of fire roasted leg of lamb, grilled eggplant with basil and a green salad. Our guests crowded around me as I dished up the red, white, and blue into martini glasses, with their eyes feasting and mouths watering, and then one of them declared, spoon in hand, “I cant eat this! It’s too pretty!” and then I watched as she scooped a mouth full and grinned with a sweet satisfaction.


4 cups mixed berries (blueberries, strawberries, black berries, cherries, raspberries, or huckleberries)

2 cups coconut milk

1 bunch fresh mint chopped

Divide the berries up into 4 bowls and pour about ½ coconut milk over them, garnish with the mint, and serve as dessert, breakfast or just a perfect summer snack.

Try This: Try some freshly chopped mint over the top or cinnamon or nutmeg.

Tanda Cook
The Game Of Salsa

Salsas are one of my favorite things of all time to make. They take NO time and you can get super creative with them following a basic formula that goes like this…

to make a salsa you need:

a fruit of sorts








an herb of sorts








an onion of sorts


red onion


green onions


walla walla onion

garlic scapes

a pepper of sorts a citrus of sorts


red pepper

green pepper

yellow or orange pepper



Red chili


Get creative

Play around with this and serve at your next party and you’ll be the talk of the town.

In the mean time here are some to play around with.

Go frolic amongst the salsas. 

Southwestern Salsa


2-3 Jalapenos

4 young Carrots

1 bunch Spring Onions

4-6 ears of corn (steamed or raw)

1 can black beans, drained

1 juice of a Lime

2 tsp Sea Salt

6-8 very ripe Tomatoes

1 handful chopped Cilantro

In a food processor, fine chop the peppers and then the carrots and put into a mixing bowl.  Coarse chop the onions and put into the bowl.  Stir in the salt and lime juice.

By hand, coarse chop the tomatoes, remove kernels from corn cob and rough chop along with the cilantro and add to the mixture along with the beans.  Stir in and let rest an hour before stirring again and serving.  Store sealed in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Mango Radish Salsa

mango salsa.jpg


2 ripe mangos peeled and cut into small chunks

1 red onion finely chopped

6 red radishes chopped

2 scallions chopped

Juice of half a lime

One large handful of fresh chopped cilantro

1 jalapeño pepper chopped (remove seeds if you want less heat)

Sea salt to taste

Put all ingredients in a bowl, toss and serve.

Pineapple Cucumber Salsa



3 fully ripe Habaneros

1 large red or white onion

2 tsp sea salt

1 juice of a lime

1 pineapple coarsely hand chopped

2 fresh cucumbers chopped

1 handful of chopped fresh cilantro

In a food processor, fine chop the peppers.  Add cut up onions, salt and lime juice and coarse chop together.  Put in a mixing bowl.  Stir in the pineapple and cilantro.  Let rest an hour before stirring again and serving.  Will last up to two weeks sealed in the fridge.

Garden Tomato Salsa



5 fresh ripe tomatoes

3 garden carrots

1 red onion

1 jalapeño

Juice of 1 lime

1 bunch cilantro chopped

1 TBS sea salt

In a food processor place the carrots, the jalapeno, and the onion, pulse the food processor until they are roughly chopped. Place in a large bowl. Hand chop all the tomatoes and add them to the bowl, squeeze the lime over the top, add the chopped cilantro and the sea salt. Stir and serve with corn chips.

Tanda Cook
Kale Salad With Mango Cilantro Vinaigrette

I just spent a fabulous weekend with a dear friend of mine and we made it a game to prepare and eat kale with every meal with no repeats.

This was one of the trials.

I think success.

As kale = awesome really no matter what.


1 bunch kale finely chopped

1 mango peeled and roughly chopped

1 bunch cilantro

2 cloves garlic

1/3 cup vinegar of choice (we used coconut balsamic but you could use red wine or white wine or balsamic)

2/3 cup olive oil



In a food processer or blender add mango, cilantro, and garlic. Pulse until finely chopped. Put the oil and vinegar in a jar with a lid and add the mango, cilantro and garlic slurry. Shake vigorously. Dress kale. 

Tanda Cook
Food Combinations To Set You And Your Body Up To Win For The Long Haul (aka slow down aging)

Many of you have asked about food combinations and the benefits of pairing certain foods to target specific organs and ailments.

Sooooo, thought I’d give you some ideas to play around with.

Go play.



Roasted Asparagus With Lemon

Both of these two are super awesome for the liver and the nutritional components give the liver the information it needs for its detox pathways.

I preheat the oven to 400 and lay a bunch of asparagus on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, lemon salt and pepper, and that’s it. Cook for 15 min or so and boom. You’ve got liver health on a plate.


Eat Carbs With Fat And Protein

This one is a must. So when you eat any form of carbohydrates like pasta, cereal, bagels, potatoes, squash, carrots or what have you, your blood sugar rises. Its like throwing paper on a fire. It burns fast and then dies down leaving you craving more??

Right paper…or in this case sugar/carbs.

So how to slow that and make it easier on the body?

Eat them with fats and protein.

So when you eat a potato (organic please) top ‘er with a bunch of butter and eat it with a grass finished steak.

Boom. Done.

Your blood sugar and adrenals will thank you.

You’re welcome.


Avocado And Citrus

(lemons, limes or grapefruit)

Avos are amongst one of the greatest foods of all time. And to crank up their awesome you can pair them with a citrus. The fats in the avos combined with the vitamins and flavor of the citrus is a win win.

Guac anyone?


Grilled Chicken With Rosemary

Grilling is great AND when we reach that super flavorful blackened-grilled-greatness it also contains carcinogens that have the potential to trigger cancer…so what to do?

Its not an accident that we as humans have been grilling meat with rosemary for eons. Rosemary is SUPER anti-carcinogenic and can combat the potential cancer triggers of the blackened awesome tastiness.

So, next time you throw a chicken on the grill, top ‘er with freshly chopped rosemary.


Organic Green Tea and Lemons

Green tea is SUPER high in antioxidants and what the citrus addition does is increases our absorption of those antioxidants for our body to use.

Same goes for said-above-avocado.

Think of citrus and turning up the spongability of nutrients in the food you’re eating.

So when in doubt. Add it.


Baked Salmon with Boysenberry Glaze And Sautéed Spinach Greens

When you think heart think fat and antioxidants. So omega 3’s like salmon, flax, bison, and wild game.

Antioxidants like greens, berries, dark chocolate and red wine.

Have at ‘er and feed your body well my friends.

And remember, holler if you have any questions. 

Tanda Cook
Love Your Skin With These Simple Treatments

I battled skin issues for most of my teens and twenties and through medical school I learned a few tricks along the way to healthier happier clearer skin that I thought id pass on to y’all.

#1. It Starts With The Gut

the skin is a mirror to your gut so keeping your gut in check is KEY if you want to have clear, radiant skin.


Take probiotics (shocker coming from me I know)

I like these.

And these from Arbonne.

#2. Stay Hydrated

Drinking water to help your body detox is a must when it comes to your skin. Lots of times when people say to me “gah! I have to use so much lotion because my skin is dry” I tell them that their skin doesn’t have a lotion deficiency and most likely they are chronically dehydrated.

The rule of thumb?

Drink half your body weight in ounces of water a day. You do the math.

And what counts as water?



#3. Food Matters

Eating whole foods that are high in antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals is the best way to set your whole body, including your skin up to win.

Food allergies, sensitivities and processed foods all DO NOT support a health gut, skin and body. If you are wondering if foods may be an issue for you try avoiding them for 30 days and then introduce them and see how you feel.

OR you can do food allergy testing.

As a rule of thumb I have seen that when people have skin issues, like acne, if its above the cheekbone its USUALLY gluten and sugar and if its below the cheekbone its USUALLY triggered by dairy products.

Just a notice.

#4, Get Outside

Getting out in the sun does wonders for our skin, vitamin D production and our head space.

I recommend 20 minutes a day between the hours of 10-2 WITHOUT SUNSCREEN PLEASE.

#5. Dry Skin Brushing

This is a technique I learned about in med school that is so super awesome for your skin. the technique is to get a body brush and VERY LIGHTLY and with small quick brush strokes start at tips of your fingers and toes and work towards your heart.


Welp, it increases circulation, moves your lymphatic system, helps your body detox, helps with decreasing cellulite, and feels amazeballs.

It should only take about 45 seconds so I don’t want any excuses as to why you’re not doing it.

I keep my brush in my shower so its right there to remind me. Some people keep it by their bed and do it as a part of their nighttime routine.

This is the one I use.

I love me some happy skin!

Tanda Cook
Roasted Crispy Broccoli And Cauliflower

I went out to the garden the other day and skipped along the broccoli and cauliflower row with glee as the tiny florets were beginning to unfold.

And it got me SUPER excited to roast them as its one of my favorite ways to prepare them. It’s super easy. Super tasty. And makes amazing leftovers.



1 head of broccoli

½ head of cauliflower

6 TBS olive oil

3 TBS white wine vinegar

2 tsp sea salt

Several good grinds of black pepper

1-2 TBS of fennel seeds (optional)

Put a baking sheet in the oven and heat to 500 degrees.

While oven is preheating cut the stalk off of the head of broccoli, remove skin and chop in half lengthwise. Roughly chop the head of broccoli and cauliflower and put in a mixing bowl. Toss with the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and fennel seeds.

When the oven is heated remove the baking sheet and place the broccoli and cauliflower on it so they are in rows, not piled on top of each other. Place back in the oven for 10-15 minutes until nicely browned and tender.

Try This: serve alongside barbecued chicken or steak with a garden salad. You could copped up some onion and garlic and toss it in with the mix. Instead of the fennel seeds you could try other spices like cumin or dried herbs.

Tanda CookComment
The skinny on this thing called GLUTEN: The top 5 confusions

What IS Gluten?

First I want to all get on the same page about what gluten even IS. Gluten is the PROTEIN found in wheat, barely and rye grains. If you’ve ever made homemade bread and noticed the gluey type texture when you’re kneading the dough, that’s caused by gluten…think of it as GLUE, holding the bread together.

Grains have a carbohydrate component, a fiber component, and a protein component.

I want to be clear that gluten is a PROTEIN. NOT A CARB.


What grains contain the gluten protein and which do NOT

The grains that contain the gluten protein are wheat (yes, whole wheat too), barely, rye, and spelt.

The grains and plants that DO NOT contain the gluten protein are rice, quinoa, corn, millet, amaranth, and oats.

Now a quick thing on oats, they are inherently a gluten free grain but are often cross-contaminated in either the growing or processing of the grain. So be sure and look for oats that say GLUTEN FREE.

What's the big deal?

Well, this is a great question and there is no one great answer.

There are lots of theories out there and there are LOTS of ways that people react to this protein. Some people are diagnosed with full blown celiac disease while others are diagnosed with gluten intolerance. And then there are the self-diagnosed I-just-feel-better-when-i-don’t-eat-gluten people.

I haven’t met a human who doesn’t feel better when they avoid the stuff. And the key here is to really AVOID it for at least 30 days and then reintroduce it into your diet and then tell me how you feel.

Let your BODY TELL YOU, not social media please.

And then to know that gluten can affect ANY SYSTEM. Remember in my previous post about inflammation? (post and vid) That the gluten protein can trigger that inflammatory response and it can put massive amounts of stress on the body, when done over and over and over again. Like daily. You know those cereal-for-breakfast-eaters I was talking about (5 food myths).

You know who you are.

And it may show up in signs and symptoms like:

Gut issues

Brain fog

ADD/ADHD (I’ll explain more on this later)





Joint pain

Weight gain


I could go on as you can imagine, but that gives you an idea. Really food allergies, sensitivities, intolerances can show up ANYWHERE in the body. And its our job to pay attention to how the food is affecting our bodies by either ADDING health, or TAKING IT AWAY.

So what food products contain gluten?

Unless otherwise marked these are a handful of things in our grocery store that contain gluten:

Bread (white or sprouted or whole wheat)








And then hidden in places like:

Soy sauce




Ingredients like Dextrin, Maltodextrin, Natrual Flavor and Artificial Flavor

Why all the sudden this trend?

Another great question that unfortunately there is no straightforward answer. It is multifactorial in that it’s a combination of our declining immune health and gut health and then how we are engineering our foods.

And if you haven’t already noticed, America LOVES food trends, especially the ones about how BAD a food is for us. Like the “fat-free” craze we went through? Or how bout the dreaded carbs?

The bottom line is this; I bet you’ll feel better without it being a staple in your diet. And yet, it still fits in your mouth and tastes super awesome, so this is about CHOICE. About what foods work and don’t work to add health, bring in balance in your body and LIFE.

So is gluten bad?


Does it add health?

I haven’t seen this be the case.

Does it fit in your mouth?


Does it come in the form of mostly processed foods?

Yup again.

Do processed foods bring in health and add benefit to the body?

No, and I know you know this.

Do you always have choice in the matter?

Yes ma’am.

So now what?

I encourage all of you to avoid (if you haven’t already) gluten-containing products for at LEAST 30 days and then reintroduce and tell me how you feel. And those of you who HAVE done this and felt a difference maybe you can comment and shed some light for those who are skeptical.

And a quick side.

If you’re eating a whole lot of processed foods containing gluten and then you just switch to the gluten free version of processed foods…um, that’s not so much the point. I want this to be WHOLE FOODS focused.


Gluten free breads, pastas, cookies, pop tarts, pretzels, cakes, crackers, chips etc…are STILL processed. Just take note of how much of this stuff makes up your daily food choices.

Just sayin’.

Resources to get you started

now go get ‘em!

Tanda Cook
Insanity Burger

This mouthful of burger meat heaven was inspired by yet-to-be-mentor and famous British chef, Jamie Oliver.

And I cant get enough!


2 lbs pasture raised ground beef

olive oil

1 large red onion

1 splash of white wine vinegar

4 teaspoons yellow mustard

1 tsp (or more) sriracha or other hot sauce

4 thin slices of Red Leicester cheese (optional)

Ingredients For The Burger Slaw

Lettuce thinly chopped

2 Sliced pickles

2 heaped tablespoons mayonnaise

1 heaped tablespoon tomato ketchup

1 teaspoon Sriracha

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Finely slice the red onion, then dress in a bowl with the vinegar and a pinch of sea salt.


Finely chop the lettuce and mix with the rest of the burger sauce ingredients in a bowl, then season to taste.


Mix the 4 teaspoons yellow mustard and 1 tsp (or more) sriracha or other hot sauce in a bowl and set by your frying pans.


Divide burger meat into 6 and, with wet hands, roll each piece into a ball, then press into flat patties. Place on an oiled plate and chill in the fridge for an hour or so.

Get two large non-stick pan and turn on a high heat.

Pat your burgers with oil and season them with salt and pepper. Cook 3 burgers to a pan. After 1 minute, flip the burgers and brush each cooked side with the BURGER SAUCE. After another minute, flip onto the mustard side and brush again with the sauce.

Cook for one more minute.

To build each burger, add a quarter of the BURGER SLAW to a bun base OR LETTUCE base (for lettuce wrapped burgers like this):

then top with the BURGER SLAW….and ENJOY!

These will change your life.

Try adding cheese or bacon or avocado or pickled beets or chimichurri or???

This list could go on forever!


Tanda Cook
Harvest Day: The Blood Sweat and Tears of Homesteading

Tomorrow is a day that I have a love hate relationship with.

It’s the day that we “harvest” our pasture-raised chickens.

It’s a day that stands for everything Justin and I are committed to, a day that makes me proud of the food we put on the table, and also a day that I hope will never be easy.

And I wanted to talk about what it takes to do this. Raise them. Harvest them. Package them. And eat them.

For many humans out there they cant imagine actually DOING it all. I have lots of people ask me “why do you do it?” “how can you kill them?” and “is it hard?”

The answer to those three is this.

The Why?

I’m committed to raising my own food, knowing where it comes from and how it was treated from the first to its last.

I’ve seen the importance, from a health stand point, of eating food that was raised the way mother earth indented. Out in the sunshine, with the grass the bugs and the dirt and with a whole lotta love.

And my promise to my animals is this:

That they only have one bad day.


You pickin up what I’m putting down?

That my promise is that they will live a life that is stress free, full of sunshine, and pasture and bugs, and clean water, and gratitude for their life.

Why? Cuz it tastes better.

The How?


With a knife.

And is it hard?

You bet.

And I would worry about me if it WASN’T hard. If I didn’t shed a tear every time. If I forgot to pray and thank each one for giving its life to nourish mine and my family. I would worry. Because that would mean something in me was dead. It would mean I went numb. So it’s a good check in for me and my consciousness, my awareness and awakeness.

I do not look forward to harvest day.

I DO look forward to what it stands for though. Which is that we get to raise our animals to nourish the soils, our earth, our bodies and our minds.

I get to have a hand in their every day life from the first few hours all the way to the end.

There is an immense respect for our critters and our harvesting practice that we take pride in.

We are very conscious of the stress it temporarily puts on our property. We make sure that none of our other animals can see what is happening.

The dogs are in the house.

The horses are in the back pasture.

The goats and layer chickens are across the creek.

And the meat birds are in the front pasture out of sight.

I said they have one bad day? Lets make it the one bad one-minute trek across the pasture to the harvesting station.

We make sure its quick. With prayer. With gratitude.

And with an aspect of awe that we have the life that allows us to be this close to our food.

We get our birds at one day old. We keep them safe for 6-8 weeks and surround them with things that a chicken would love.

Then we harvest them. Wrap them. And fill our freezer.

So come mid November when I'm craving a perfectly roasted bird I know I don’t have to drive to the store.

And every time I unwrap them and place it in a roasting pan I am flashed back to that day in August when Justin and I were blasting Eric Church or Tim McGraw counting how many we had left to do.

And I smile. And I give thanks one more time.

Muchas gracias.


Bon appetite.

And check these websites out to find local food near you


Tanda Cook
Vermont Maple Syrup Dressing

Being a Vermont native I use maple syrup quite often as a sweetener as it’s lovely mapley-smokey flavor adds a wonderful depth to food. I also am a HUGE proponent of making your own dressings because they are super easy and aren’t full of fillers, preservatives or other unnecessary ingredients.

This one in particular will change the way you think about and eat salads.



2 cloves garlic finely chopped

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp freshly ground pepper

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

½ cup real maple syrup

2/3 cup organic olive oil

1 handful freshly chopped mint

Combine all ingredients in a mason jar and shake vigorously to emulsify. Try using it as a marinade for chicken or pork. It will keep on your counter for several weeks.  

Tanda Cook
Mango Relish Salsa

I can hardly stand how excited I am seeing things popping up in my greenhouse and in our garden. The long dreary winter is over (not to say we wont get more snow) and one of the first things outta the ground are radishes.  As a kid we would eat them raw dipped in a bit of sea salt which is delicious but if you wanna doctor them up a bit this salsa will take you by surprise.

Enjoy and happy Thursday!


2 ripe mangos peeled and cut into small chunks

1 red onion finely chopped

6 red radishes chopped

2 scallions chopped

Juice of half a lime

One large handful of fresh chopped cilantro

1 jalapeño pepper chopped (remove seeds if you want less heat)

Sea salt to taste

Put all ingredients in a bowl, toss and serve.

Tanda Cook
Crab Cakes with Aioli Drizzle

Not gonna lie, I’m not a fan of crab meat, but this is one of Justin’s favorites and a stable appetizer when his dad comes into town.

I promise they will quickly disappear.

They also freeze well if you want to make heap of them.

 Try using cooked salmon in place of the crab

 too for a different twist.



1 lb crabmeat (special or jumbo lump)

1/4 cup coconut creamer

1 egg

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1/4 cup finely chopped red pepper

2 TBS finely chopped carrot

2 cloves garlic finely chopped

1/2 tsp. dry mustard

1/2 tsp salt

Coarsely ground pepper

1/2 tsp Paprika

3 dashes Worcestershire sauce

3/4 cup (more or less) gluten free Panko breadcrumbs

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 TBS fresh chopped parsley

1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning

Sauté the onion, carrot and pepper until soft, add garlic and sauté for a couple more minutes.

In a bowl, mix egg, cream and other ingredients including the onion, pepper and garlic (except the crab).

Then slowly add about 3/4 of the mixture to the crab, fold in gently, continue adding the mixture until moist consistency, then add bread. If you use jumbo lump you’ll probably not need all of the liquid or you’ll need a little more bread to help hold it together.

Cool in refrigerator for 1 hour, make four or more cakes, fry in butter in pan over medium heat.

The Basic Aioli

Aioli has been a great addition to our kitchen, and it’s a great way to wake up chicken, pork and fish.


2 cups mayonnaise

2 cloves garlic

1 tsp Dijon mustard

lemon juice to taste

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Please Try This: Aioli is a great way to jazz up fish, chicken or pork and a true classic with salmon. Spice it up and get creative with adding more lemon juice or basil, cayenne, roasted tomatoes, roasted peppers, even fennel tops or roasted nuts. You can use any herb really, like parsley, tarragon, dill, basil, even mint. Play with this one!

Ciera Davis
New Class Announcement!

Food That Heals

One-day Intensive Course

Saturday, June 17th or Tuesday, June 27th.

Hey team! Over the past 6 years I have been teaching all around North America, and I have been working over the past 6 months on boiling all of those teachings down to juicy health bits that are digestible and shareable for all of YOU.  Well, the moment has come and I have finally created a ONE DAY INTENSIVE COURSE that is designed to transform the way you think about your HEALTH, how you are with your BODY, your MIND, and with FOOD.

This ONE-DAY intensive online course is offered 9:00 am to 1:00 pm Eastern Standard Time via Facebook Live.

You will walk out of this class with a brand new YOU and way of thinking about health and life - I guarantee that you will have FUN you will LAUGH a LOT and have your mind BLOWN as to what you are capable of  CREATING IN YOUR LIFE.

Woot! Let's do this!



Tanda Cook
Can’t Make The Scale Budge? Ask Yourself These 7 Questions

Reaching your weight goals can be challenging, yet rewarding, and make you feel at the top of your game. And then other times it can be frustrating and feeling like you’re rolling bolder up hill and getting nowhere.

If you are experiencing the latter, before you get fed up and throw the whole thing out the window ask yourself these questions. As with most things in life, letting go of weight is a multifactorial event with lots of players contributing to the success of it (or lack there of).

It’s not necessarily only what you’re choosing to put in your mouth.

Are you hydrated?

Most of us are chronically dehydrated which you may know, but what you may not know is how dehydration slows our metabolism.


Also, our body has a hard time distinguishing hunger from thirst, so sometimes when your stomach is yelling at you it might be just thirsty. So drink a big ol’ glass of water and if you’re tummy is still rumbling 15 minutes later then eat something.

Another thing that hydrating with water does for us is helps our body let go of toxins.

Our kidneys are one of the main organs that allows are body to release toxins, you are doing them a huge favor by drinking half your body weight in ounces of water a day.

And what counts as water?

Right. Water.

Are you pooping?

Ya. I said it.

As most of us are chronically dehydrated, most of us are also chronically constipated. The good news is that they go hand in hand. So when your body is hydrated its WAY more apt to eliminate both from the kidneys and the gut.

Probiotics are another super awesome way (and a must) to support healthy elimination.

So make sure you’re taking a good probiotic supplement or eating fermented foods like kombucha or kimchi on the daily…so you go…well, on the daily.

Are you sleeping?

Several studies have come out from Harvard Medical School, University of Chicago, and Columbia University showing the importance of sleep and then the impact is has on our weight. Sleep feeds the brain and when it doesn’t have enough it will crave other things…like calories.

And calories mostly in the form of sugar.

Our brain is the biggest consumer of glucose in the body so when its fatigued its gonna crave the next best thing (like a giant latte) – which unfortunately has an effect on our waistline.

So rule of thumb?

7-9 hours of sleep IN TOTAL DARKNESS

Are you moving?

Our bodies were designed to move.

They are made up of pullies and levers and hinges all set up for us to move in all sorts of creative ways (eh-hem go watch the Olympics?)

Moving our bodies not only helps with elimination, detox, and releasing the feel good hormones, it also, (duh) burns calories.

So pick a movement and do it.


Even if its walking up the stairs to work. Don’t draaaaag your feeeeet and waaaaaaaaalk up the staaaaairs.



Get the pic?

Woot! Go play.

How happy are your hormones?

Hormones play a HUGE role in how we hold and carry our weight.

Specifically the thyroid and adrenals.

The thyroid plays a direct role in controlling how fast or slow our metabolism is running. And our adrenals, when under chronic stressful states, secrete cortisol, which can lead to midsection weight gain, insulin issues, and food cravings.

So if you haven’t, go get your hormones checked out to see if they are working for or against you.

Are you being honest with yourself?

This one can be a bit personal and potentially triggering I know.

Aaaaaaand I will tell you more often then not someone with the-scale-not-budging-issue it is unconscious eating or consuming more sugar/inflammatory foods than they thought.

So if this is a potential issue then enrolling an accountability partner is a great place to start. Someone you trust to hold you accountable to your food choice goals.

Or keeping a one week record of everything you’re eating.

Or taking the split second BEFORE you put something in your mouth to ask yourself if this food is ADDING health to your body OR taking health AWAY?

Almonds vs an Almond Joy for example.

The more consciously you eat, chew your food (31 times please), and slow down, the more your body will thank you.

Doctors promise.

And my true hope is that you throw the dang scale away and focus on how you FEEL in this beautiful thing called your body.

Focus on play. Laugh a lot. Breathe deeply. And love every minute you have.


Tanda Cook
5 Foods We Have Wrongfully Demonized

#1 Butter

First off, why do we even need fat? (Cuz that’s what butter is mainly, right?) We need fat to provide concentrated sources of energy, it’s the building block for cell membranes and the precursor for a variety of hormones.

So we HAVE to have it to maintain health and balance.

Now lets talk about sources, in particular, butter.

Butter is awesome. Eat it.

Why you ask?

Many reasons.

Organic pasture butter is a short chain fatty acid, which means it does NOT have to be acted on by the bile salts (our gallbladder), it is DIRECTLY absorbed for energy use (and less likely to cause weight gain FYI).

It contains antimicrobial properties to help protect us from harmful microbes in the gastrointestinal tract. It is one of the greatest sources of fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K.

Butter is mostly saturated fat. And lets set this straight as to WHY we NEED saturated fat as it has been demonized in the modern American diet.

Saturated fatty acids constitute about half of our cell membranes giving them the rigidity and structure to function optimally.

These fats help our immune system, specifically our white blood cells and enhances their ability to recognize foreign invaders like certain bacteria and viruses.

Saturated fat protects our liver from alcohol and medications.

Saturated fat also is essential for bone health as we need it to properly absorb calcium.

Not convinced yet?

How bout the fact that butter contains conjugated linoleic acid (a form of omega-6) that has strong anti-cancer properties as well as containing lecithin, which assists in the proper metabolism of cholesterol.

So go ahead and eat the stuff.

Oh, and what counts as butter?

That’s right, BUTTER

(not margarine, or Earth Balance, or spray butter, or I Cant Believe Its Not Butter, or some other food-like-item claiming to be a butter-like-thing)

So pass the pasture butter delicousness, please.

#2 Red Meat

I’ve already touched on a lot of this in the AND I think its worth saying again.

Eat red meat. It doesn’t cause heart disease. And meat is only as healthy for you as the health of the animal. So eat sick cows, you, most likely, will be sick too.

Eat healthy animals, you will bring in all sorts of nourishment, vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients into your life and body.

Red meat specifically contains saturated fat, which we have talked about the why around needing it. It also is a great source of vitamin B12 and iron.

Why do we need these?

B12 is needed to prevent anemia, nervous system disorders, helps with energy, feeding our adrenals, maintains fertility and natural growth. Early signs of deficiency usually is indicated when there is irrational anger.

We need good ol’ iron for the health of our blood. And iron found in animal sources, aka: meat and eggs, is more readily absorbed than plant sources.

So, purchase 100%  grass-fed, pasture raised, or grass finished meats. Or even better, raise it yourself if you have the time and space. OR go to your local farmer, shake their hand and buy and support them.

#3 Mayo

This I have noticed as a food that people either LOVE or Despise. I fall in the LOVE category.

And when I tell the closet-lovers-of-mayonnaise that there is no reason to be ashamed its like I have given them the moon.

Think about this. What’s IN mayo?

Give up?

K, ready…egg yolks, mustard, olive oil, lemon, sea salt, vinegar. Boom. Done.

And yes, you can make your own, check out Jamie Oliver’s recipe here.

Pasture raised egg yolks contain the fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, and A a fat soluble vitamin needed for healthy eyes, hormones, immune system and blood clotting. They also contain essential fatty acids, iron, phosphorus and zinc.

There is nothing in mayo that’s not in homemade dressings. Its whole foods based, tastes amazeballs and goes well in my chicken salad recipe.

It won’t make ya fat if you’re worried about that.

Remember? Sugar has got that one covered for you.

Shhhpread away and enjoy it. And if you’re in the DESPISE camp, well, then use avocados instead.

#4 Bacon

I think there are several crazed websites dedicated to the glorious food. And rightfully so, as everything’s better with it.

And it has gotten a bad wrap mostly because of its fat content.

And I’m gonna say this again, fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar does.

And pork in general has gotten a bad wrap, and no wonder because us Americans have taken a fabulous animal (the pig) and genetically mutated it so it grows super fast, is super lean, and is super unhealthy.

Pork and lard coming from pigs that have been raised on pasture is one of the best and most readily available sources of vitamin D (a fat soluble vitamin so we need to have fat present to absorb and utilize it)

Pigs, like humans, synthesize vitamin D in their skin. So when pigs are raised outdoors, in sunlight and on grass, that meat and fat has a TON of awesome vitamin D in it.

Sodium nitrates and nitrites are used to preserve color and prevent botulism in cured meats and have gotten badmouthed. Nitrites are compounds that are naturally found in plants like celery and butter leaf lettuce. They are also found in our saliva, and the studies done in animals that showed cancer development after large exposure to nitrates/nitrites have been discredited by peer review. So take all that with a grain of salt…eh, or bacon.

I’m more concerned about WHERE and HOW the pig was RAISED than anything else.

Eat bacon. Eat it in moderation. And love every bite.

#5 Eggs

I get this one so much. “I can’t eat eggs, or egg yolks if I have high cholesterol.”


100% false.

Eggs are the bomb. They are one of the most COMPLETE foods on the planet. And as I explained in the 5 Food Myths, if you have high cholesterol I can assure you its not eggs fault.

High cholesterol just tells me that the body is under a lot of physical and emotional stress and cholesterol is being made in the liver to do damage control. Remember 80% of the cholesterol in your body is made by the liver and only 20% is dietary.

And we NEED cholesterol, and here’s why:

It’s a precursor for hormones.

It’s a precursor for vitamin D.

Cholesterol acts as an antioxidant.

It’s needed for proper serotonin receptor function in the brain.

And it helps maintain a healthy intestinal wall and prevent leaky gut.

Eat. Eggs. Pasture raised farm eggs. Please. The whole part. Please.

And a quick thing on purchasing the dang things, which can be SO SUPER overwhelming, when I doubt I follow this logic:

Best option is to raise your own.

If that’s not possible, find a farmer that does.

If that’s not possible buy PASTURE raised eggs.

If you don’t see that option buy organic.

If that’s not an option pick up the cartons and turn them around to see where they are COMING from and buy the eggs that are CLOSEST to YOU.

Terms that mean nothing:

“Free range”

“Vegetarian fed”

“Cage free”

“All natural”

Hope this helps.

Now go eat eggs. 

Tanda Cook
Kale Caesar Salad

Ok, what’s not to love? Kale is awesome (and super good for you). Caesar salad is awesome.
And edible flowers are awesome.
Yes please.


1 bunch kale chopped
1 handful of edible flowers such as pansies, violas, or nasturtiums

Two 2-ounce cans of anchovies (don’t drain them use the juice)
4 egg yolks at room temp
1-2 cloves garlic
2 TBS mustard (Dijon or stoneground… not the nasty yellow stuff)
1 tsp dried oregano
Juice of a lemon and a bit of the rind
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup olive oil

Chop kale and place in a big bowl. Put all other ingredients in a food processor (minus the olive oil), turn processor on and drizzle in olive oil until blended well. Dress kale, top with flowers and serve.

I keep the dressing in the fridge for up to a week.

Use on eggs, toast, other veggies, or just keep eating kale salad 'cuz its great.

Tanda CookComment
Five Tricks To Combating Seasonal Allergies

Spring is in the air as is pollen, trees in bloom, and all sorts of other allergens. This is a SUPER common issue that I very often get questions around.

So what to do when allergy season shows up?

Here are a few MUSTS to help support your immune system, your body and your sanity.

#1. Drink Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is amazing. You can do just about everything with it from treating your pets skin infections to using it to clean your house.

I’m gonna tell you to drink the stuff. Why?

Because it helps the stomach turn ON when you eat. I recommend drinking a tablespoon before meals to help get your gastric juices flowing so that when partially chewed food shows up the stomach is prepared to break it down to individual nutrients to then be absorbed through the intestines for optimal health.

What does this have to do with allergies?

Welp, if you’re not breaking down, digesting and absorbing your nutrients then your bodies immune system is not getting all the right info to thrive.

It also reduces mucus production and helps your lymphatic system (aka drainage of the body).

If you cant handle drinking it, just take a wiff before meals. When you feel your salivary glands squirm you’re doing the right thing.

I like this one.

#2. Eat Bugs

80% (or more) of our immune system is in our gut. And when I hear allergies, I think IMMUNE HELP, and I go immediately to supporting the GI tract. And the number ONE way to do this is take a probiotic DAILY.


I love this one.

or Arbonnes Digest Plus

contact me here to order.

#3. Eat Bromelain And Papain

Or I could say, “eat pineapple and papaya” because these two are concentrated in the dah-licisousness of pineapple.

But if

1.     You’re not a pineapple or papaya fan


2.     You don’t see yourself eating them day in and day out

then take these guys.

Bromalain and papain are two enzymes that act as anti-inflammatories. Which is super awesome when dealing with allergies.

Because the immune system is “flared up” which triggers the IN-flammatory pathway, we want to set the body up with as much ANTI-inflammatory information as possible. These guys are heros when it comes to that job.

I love these.

#4. Take Quercitin

Quercitin is a flavonoid and acts in the body NATRURAL ANTIHISTAMIN. Ditch that over the counter stuff and eat capers, onions, cranberries and cherries.

Or I love this product.

#5. Eat Your Essential Fatty Acids

Omega 3 to be specific.

As I have said before, omega three is and ESSENTIAL fatty acid, which means we have to consume it from the outside world to maintain health.

Omega 3 plays a lot of roles in the body, and one of them is to push and support the ANTI-inflammatory pathway. And seeing that allergies is a form of inflammation we again, as in #3, we want to give the body as much anti-inflammatory info as we can.

So eat fish, bison, wild game, flax seeds.

And/or take this.

Or this.


Tanda CookComment

I so often get the question as to what are my favorite foods or what I think are the healthiest choices.

And while there are SO many foods that I love and SO many foods that add health I thought I would give you some of my foods that I freak out over…inna good way.

#1. KALE

Not gonna lie. I. Love. Kale. If I had it my way I would eat it every day with every meal. We grow it ALMOST year round in our greenhouse and in the off months I buy from our local grocery store.

I love it in shakes. I love kale Cesar.

I love it with this honey mustard dressing

Asian Honey Mustard Dressing Ingredients

¼ c organic olive oil

¼ c sesame oil

½ c apple cider vinegar

¼ c tamari

¼ c honey

½ c Dijon mustard

¼ c sesame seeds

¼ c mustard seeds

Add greens to a large salad bowl. Add all dressing ingredients to a pint jar (with lid) except seeds.

Heat dry skillet to medium-high heat and add seeds.  Occasionally toss seeds to avoid burning until seeds begin to pop off pan like popcorn.

Last, add seeds to jar (they will sizzle when they hit the oil.  My favorite part!).  Close jar with a tight lid and shake until oil and vinegar are emulsified.  Dress salad thoroughly before serving.

If you prefer the greens less raw dress salad 30-60 min before serving to allow the vinegar to wilt the kale.

It's the bomb food to add health. Especially for your liver and kidneys.

Don’t be intimidated. I challenge you to try it if you haven’t. And I encourage you to continue eating it if you have jumped on the kale bandwagon.


I was DISGUSTED with these mini cabbages when I was little. I would roll them across the table to my grandmother so she would have to suffer the mouth flavor torture. They made me gag.

And then something happened.

A monumental shift in my relationship with them. I fell head over heals in love.

Roast them. Steam them. Grill them. Slaw them. Eat them raw. Fry them.

You cant go wrong.

An easy way to try them is roast on a cookie sheet with olive oil salt and pepper and then put them in a bowl and toss with 3 TBS of mustard (good stuff not the yellow crap) and 3 TBS of a jam of your choice like raspberry or boysenberry. Its amazing.

The best brussel sprouts I have ever had are at Uchiko, a restaurant in Austin, Texas, if you ever have the chance to go to Austin (or live there) GO to Uchiko, get the brussel sprouts, I promise you’ll thank me.


The coolest thing about citrus is, well, one, they are beautiful. Two they come in all shapes, sizes, flavors and textures. And three they are SUPER good for your liver, they are high in vitamin C, and help the body detoxify.

I have a citrus stack on my counter, a two tiered serving display filled to the brim with all varieties of lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits and I juice them all daily to add to my water to flavor it so I’m assured to drink it (not gonna lie, not a huge fan of drinking plain water).

This helps get it down the hatch.

Add them to salads, squeeze them into salad dressings, over roasted veggies, use in place of vinegars, or just sit back, relax and enjoy one on its own.


I love this meat.

Especially slow roasted ribs.

And pork gets a bad wrap. And I think it really really makes a difference in how it was raised. Pigs raised commercially are put in confinement and are highly stressed. And eating that doesn’t necessarily add health to our bodies.

Pigs raised on pasture (as they should be) I think have lots of health benefits.

One in particular is that pork meat and fat is a great source of vitamin D.

Pigs, like us, synthesize vitamin D in their skin and when pigs are raised under the sun (as they should be) they are making bioavailable vitamin D for us humans to utilize.

We get our pork from our neighbor down the road.

If you want to find a source near you look here



You’ve most likely heard me tote this guy before and in short…butter is the bomb, when it comes from healthy, pasture raised cows.

The cool thing about butter is that it’s a short chain fatty acid and doesn’t have to be acted on by the gall bladder to break it down, which means it is directly absorbed through the small intestine and used for energy, which means it’s the LEAST likely fat to cause weight gain, which means you should eat it.

Just sayin’.

It also is the source of the fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K.

But isn’t butter dairy? And aren’t you dairy free?

Yes and yes.

AND butter is mostly a what? Right, a fat. And it is SUPER unlikely that peoples immune systems will react to a fat. They are usually reacting to a sugar or protein.

And in the case of dairy, when you say milk, has a lot of those sugar (lactose) and protein (casein) molecules in it. And peoples immune systems are mounting a response to that and triggering symptoms in the human.

Butter has a TINY amount of lactose and casein so if a person is THAT reactive, they can use Ghee, which is clarified butter, which means that its been very gently heated so that the sugar and proteins rise to the surface, are scraped off so you are just left with the fat.

It’s used a lot in Indian cuisine and has more of a nutty flavor.

Tanda CookComment
The Vaccine Debate

Many of you have requested that I touch on the touchiness of vaccines.

So here ya go.

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate?

It’s been so fascinating watching these two camps argue, prove, debate, and ultimately it’s about YOUR education, YOUR choice, and YOUR life.

And I’m not here to prove, convince or sway anyone, this is what I’ve noticed works and doesn’t work around this topic.

The NUMBER ONE issue that I see is that the CURRENT vaccine schedule is not in alignment with how kiddos immune systems develop. Period. And this is a problem.

It’s also a problem that we don’t take the INDIVIDULE into consideration. We just say sweepingly that you either SHOULD or SHOULDN’T vaccinate. That vaccines are either GOOD or BAD.

We don’t ask about the HUMAN involved. How old are they, do they smoke, do they have an infectious disease, were they breast fed, were they a vaginal birth, do they take probiotics, what’s the exposure, what’s the risk of infection…you see?

AND, I feel like we get hyper focused on the thing called THE VACCINE and there is little talk about all the other things that we can be doing to build and support the kiddos (and adults) immune systems.

First, lets do an immune system overview shall we?

K, so what’s the job of the immune system? Simply put they are the cells that roam around the body bumping into things and then asking the question, “are you me? Or are you not me?”

And if the answer is a NOT ME then the cells “tag” that thing (say a virus) and then alerts the rest of the immune system to blow that virus up. When all is tagged and destroyed then the immune system goes back to its business.

And some of those immune cells have memory. Which means that the next time they need to react there are 100-1000 OTHER CELLS that are ready to respond to that particular virus.

So say the initial exposure to that virus took the immune system 7 days to deal with it.

Next time, with the memory cells ready to go, it will take the immune system 3-4 days to deal with it.

So can you see how, in theory, this is why we vaccinate-to make those memory cells. To heal and react faster, better and stronger.

Also, SOME of the memory cells only live for a certain amount of time; this is why some vaccines need “boosters.”

Ok, is that clear?

Now I’m gonna go a little deeper.

There are MANY ways that the immune system can react to things like bacteria, viruses, fungus, food etc...

But for now, and for simplicities sake we are only gonna talk about two of the ways.

They are called Th1 and Th2.

The Th1 response is how the body deals with bacteria and viruses primarily.

The Th2 response is how the body deals with parasites and allergies primarily.


K, when a baby is born they DO NOT HAVE THE Th1 response built yet. So the PRIMARY LINE OF DEFENSE IS Th2.

The IDEAL response to a vaccine is the Th1 response.

And, when do we give most vaccines?

Right, in the FIRST year of life when the kid can only mount a Th2 response; which is NOT ideal because it will drive the ALLERGIC response.

Is this making sense?

This is one of the issues with how we use and administer vaccines.


We are not supporting the natural development of the immune system, and then when something goes haywire we BLAME THE WHAT…?

Right, we immediately blame the vaccine.

So, what to do?

I have a revised vaccines schedule if parents are set on vaccinating, but wanting to honor the kiddos immune development. There are also homeopathic nosodes which is another option for vaccination. There is also the option of not vaccinating at all.

It becomes about the individual. I ask a lot of questions. And I do a LOT of immune support and building.

How do you support the immune systems natural lines of defense you ask?

Awesome question.

Ideally you:

1. Have a vaginal birth.

Lactobacillus and Bifidus (beneficial bacteria) are in the maternal vagina and when the child is born it begins to populate the infants gut and build a healthy immune system.

You had to have a c-section? No problem…that infant HAS OT BE ON LACTOBACILLUS/BIFIDUS PROBIOTIC FROM DAY ONE.

2. You breast feed.

There are antimicrobial compounds in breast milk. There are immune development compounds in breast milk. There are anti-inflammatory compounds in breast milk. Breast milk is the bomb.

You cant breastfeed? No problem. There are some alternatives that can serve to build the child’s development and you better believe that kid is on a PROBIOTIC.

3. Get enough Vitamin D.

In all my years of practice I have NEVER (and never use never unless I mean it) seen someone with a normal vitamin D level. We need to supplement. Your kids too. 1,000-2,000 IUS/day of vitamin D3 is ideal.

AND GET OUTSIDE. For frick sake, put the sunscreen DOWN and go outside. Just don’t BURN. We are addicted to sunscreen, it drives me bananas.

4. Get enough omega-3.

We live in a society where we are consuming too much omega-6, which pushes the INFLAMMATORY pathway, which over time can create disease. Make sure you and your kiddos are getting DHA to help with brain development and immune health.

5. Rub castor oil on their belly at night.

Using castor oil EXTERNALLY can boost the immune system. It helps the liver detox and helps with digestion.

6. Eat whole foods.

Being that I’m a food expert it seems obvious but guess I gotta say it. Eating the rainbow is the best multivitamin there is.

And just for kicks and giggles here are some vaccine “who knews” and other fun facts:

Be careful with vaccinating 12-25 year olds because vaccinating during puberty can trigger autoimmune.

The HPV vaccine is HIGLY controversial, I say JUST DON’T and instead get pap smears regularly please.

0-12 month olds can’t mount a Th1 response because otherwise it would cause brain damage.

After an orgasm there is a burst of cortisol (that suppresses the immune system). And in a female the cortisol diminishes SLOWLY so she doesn’t reject the sperm.

If you shut down a fever you shut down Th1. So then Th2 expands and contributes to ALLERGIES and ASTHMA…fevers are awesome.

The bottom line is it depends on the individual.


Woot! I’m out to go do yoga with my friend.

Tanda CookComment