*MASTER TONIC* what it is and why it's so good for you {Nature's

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*MASTER TONIC* what it is and why it’s so good for you {Nature’s “flu shot”}

Flu Season is upon us and so it is time…14492609_1126158860800502_749872313009883470_n

I talk about “Master Tonic” every season.  And inevitably, every season, there are several friends, followers, or patients that ask me, “what is it that again?” and “wait, what exactly is in it?”

Basically, it is “nature’s flu shot” (although I hate saying that).  In my family, we try to avoid anything that will compromise our immune system; We skip out on copious antibiotics, prescription drugs, over the counter medicines, vaccinations, unhealthy food choices, etc as much as we can.  Rather we prefer to strengthen our immunity naturally.  And, we believe in “food as medicine.”  Whole food supplements, homeopathic remedies, herbs too, and tonics.  So, this tonic is a really great start to boost your seasonal immunity.  We always have it on hand in the fridge so at the first sign of a sniffle or sore throat?  Yep…a shot of the tonic. One or two of these a day and you’ll be good as new in a few. img_1942

Believe it or not, nature gives us exactly what we need, when we need it.  Local, seasonal food actually does more to prevent dis-ease than most of us know – these days anyway.  Our ancestors knew it.  Ancient traditional healers knew it.  And the extensive research of Dr. Weston Price* shows us it is so.  “Master Tonic” really is the best of the best as far as immune-boosting natural medicine is concerned.

So, this is MY version.  There are many, but this one suits me best. Here ya go:


  1. garlic
  2. ginger
  3. cayenne
  4. turmeric
  5. black pepper
  6. lemon juice
  7. apple cider vinegar (preferably Bragg’s but definitely a brand that is organic & contains “the mother”)
  8. maple syrup (preferably grade-B)
  9. honey (raw & local)
  10. cinnamon
  11. onion

Preferably all organic, all raw, and all fresh.  Grated and then blended with all the pulp remaining.  If you only have powder or flakes or whatever that’s ok too, but raw organic is the BEST.


Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup from the other night. Not ALL of the Master Tonic ingredients, but many!

Folks ask “how much of each?”  I always respond with “as much as you can tolerate.”  It should be as spicy as you can possibly make it without blowing your head off.  It will kinda taste like a sweet-and-spicy Thai chili sauce.  In fact, it is so easy to use this in soup or sauce recipes to make delicious seasonal family dinners while keeping everyone healthy!  Add even SOME of these ingredients to your regular diet and meals to boost your wellness.  If you are extremely sensitive to spicy, follow the “shot” with a “chaser” of rice, almond, or coconut milk (must be non dairy to prevent excess phlegm and inflammation).  It is much the same as how you would cool your palate with Thai tea or coconut in your curry at your fave Thai or Indian restaurant, or Horchata after spicy Mexican food.

OK, so I’m sure you are wondering how these various food items can be so miraculous.  Delicious, sure, but curative?  What exactly makes this food into medicine?  For that, follow along – here’s a little light reading…


Historically, garlic has been known to combat sickness (and not just ward off Vampires! although you can see how that myth is seasonally appropriate as, inexplicably, illness does rise in October).  Garlic contains a compound called Allicin that has many medicinal properties.  It also contains significant amounts of  Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, & Manganese. It is good for combating high blood pressure/hypertension, and likewise improves cholesterol thus lowering one’s likelihood of heart disease.  It’s strong concentration of antioxidants prevents sickness as well as preventing Alzheimer’s and dementia. Garlic is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-viral.  Finally, it’s allyl sulfides hep prevent cancer.

for more info, go here: https://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-health-benefits-of-garlic

or here: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=60


Not just for nausea (although it does do wonders for nausea when you’re preggers!- fresh only though – no supplements!). Ginger is shocked full of nutrients and bio active compounds that are super healthy for your body and brain.  Ginger helps with digestion, reduces nausea, and most importantly, fights the flu.  It’s natural oil, gingerol, is a bioactive compound responsible for anti inflammatory and antioxidant effects.  Because it is anti-inflammatory, ginger reduces muscle pain and soreness.  The root also boasts anti-diabetic properties by lowering sugar, helps to prevent heart disease, and reduces menstrual pain, as well as lowers cholesterol.  Studies show that gingerol has even been found to help prevent cancer.

for more info, go here: https://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-benefits-of-ginger/


Too hot! Hot Damn! Call the Police & the Fireman!  But really, Cayenne is a powerhouse of health.  Full of Capsaicin, the question really is, what CAN’T it fix?

Firstly we’ll start with our gut.  Capsaicin increases the digestive fluids, starting with saliva, and down on into the stomach.  By doing so, it fights bacteria that could cause an intestinal infection.  It also helps with digestions and aids in fighting diarrhea that is caused by a bacterial infection (and God knows flu diarrhea can be nasty). Capsaicin acts as an antioxidant, protecting the cells from free radicals.  Plus, Cayenne is highly effective in cancer prevention. Capsaicin is a mucus thinner, and can help get mucus out of the lungs (very good when you have the flu!). It is thought to strengthen lung tissues and help to prevent emphysema.

Cayenne is full of beta carotene and antioxidants that support your immune system.  It raises your body temperature and thus increases the activity 0f the immune system. And, it is full of Vitamin C to further prevent infection.
Cayenne also contains Vitamin A and Vitamin E, both antioxidants that reduce inflammation. Because of its anti-inflammatory qualities, the spice prevents allergies and their associated symptoms (which are similar to flu symptoms right?). It has anti-fungal properties that can prevent systemic Candida and thusly prevent joint pain, further digestive disorders, and a weakened immune system.
Lastly, Cayenne boosts metabolism, improves energy levels, aids in weight loss, can help with eczema, repairs damaged skin, and reduces migraine pain (flu headaches are the worst!).
for more info, go here: https://draxe.com/cayenne-pepper-benefits/

or here: http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/tc/capsaicin-topic-overview


I know!  All the rage now!  Everyone is talking and tweeting about the anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric. The “Golden Latte” is on the tip of many westside hipster tongues. Well, it is true. This spice has amazing anti-inflammatory qualities! Here’s the scoop:

Turmeric is what turns curry yellow and has been used in India for thousands of years. The thing that makes it medicinal is it’s compounds called curcuminoids, most notably, curcumin; The famed antioxidant with anti-inflammatory effects.  But what is MOST important and many folks don’t know, is that you MUST consume turmeric in conjunction with black pepper.  The black pepper contains piperine, which increases your blood’s ability to absorb the curcumin by as much as 2000%!  Also important, and why the ‘golden milk’ works well as a delivery system, is that turmeric is fat soluble, so it should be consumed with a fatty meal.

160608coachturmeric2What else is cool about this hip spice? It helps to improve brain function and lowers the risk of brain dis-eases such as depression and Alzheimer’s.  How? not to get too sciency, but many brain disorders are linked to decreased levels of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF).  Curcumin can increase levels of BDNF, therefore delaying and/or even reversing age related decrease in brain function as well as common brain diseases.  Curcumin can cross the blood-brain barrier, which is the reason that it is believed to aid dramatically in the prevention and reverse of Alzheimer’s disease. One of the characteristics of this vastly unstudied disease, is a buildup of proteins called Amyloid plaques.  Studies show that curcumin is helpful in the removal of these plaques. Oxidative damage and inflammation play a major role as well, both of which are beneficially affected by the curcumin in Turmeric. As it aids in the brain, curcumin is also thought to just plain make you smarter.

Oh and btw, as it is anti-inflammatory, curcumin helps with arthritis, even rheumatoid arthritis.

As you may or may not realize, inflammation is your body’s way of insulating itself when it is damaged, but it also causes pain. So why is turmeric good for preventing/recovering from the flu? um, decreases your inflammation, duh.

*Oh and on a healthy side note*…You may have heard about the recent recall.  If not, now you do. Elevated levels of lead have been found in six brands of powdered turmeric, all from the parent company Gel Spice: Spice Select, Market Pantry, Gel (2 lots), Clear Value, Lieber’s, and Spice Supreme (For more on that go here: http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/08/six-brands-of-turmeric-added-to-recall-for-excessive-lead/#.WA7e-qOZPR1). Suffice to say be aware of your product and from whom you are purchasing.

For more info re the benefits of turmeric, you can go here: https://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-turmeric/

Black Pepper:images

So, above we mentioned how this spice works in conjunction with turmeric, but it also has many medicinal qualities of it’s very own and is used frequently in Ayurvedic medicine. In addition to the afore mentioned piperine, black pepper also contains iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, chromium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C.

As with it’s bestie curcumin, piperine increases the bioavailability of many other nutrients namely Vitamin A, C, selenium, and beta carotene. It also helps to stimulate digestion and as a result can help prevent or colic, bloating, indigestion, flatulence, and constipation (all horrid flu symptoms). It’s antibacterial qualities prevent intestinal bacteria and aid in a healthy gut biome. Studies show that piperine speeds up your metabolism, suppresses fat accumulation in the body, promotes urination, and perspiration, and as a result aids in detox as it helps to remove toxins from the body (just sweat it out).

for more info, go here: http://www.top10homeremedies.com/kitchen-ingredients/top-10-health-benefits-black-pepper.html

Lemon Juice:

No…not lemonade, not “from concentrate,” not reconstituted, and most certainly not from a plastic lemon-shaped bottle! Raw, fresh-squeezed and organic if you please.

First off, Lemons are packed with vitamin C, and not just a little, they have 187% of the daily value, so super-duper for your immune system! Together with the flavonoid glycosides esperetin and naringenin, free radicals haven’t much of a fighting chance.

Additionally, lemons contain thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, iron, magnesium, vitamin B6, calcium, and copper, folate, and potassium. The more healthy minerals in you, the healthier you are. Lemons contain Vitamin A, and flavonoid anti-oxidants like alpha, and B-carotenes, B-cryptoxanthin, zea-xanthin and lutein all of which are antioxidants.


Surprisingly, lemons are NOT acidic (weird I know!) they are actually alkaline and work to balance your body’s pH. Most sickness cannot exist in an alkaline environment, notably cancer. Their alkaline nature relieves the body of excess acid, reducing pain in the joints, muscles, and fibrous tissue.

“There is often misunderstanding of lemon’s pH outside the body versus inside the body.  Let’s get this straight and expound on 10 benefits of regularly taking lemon juice with warm water (note: NOT equal to lemonade!)

Outside the body, lemon juice is acidic (pH is below 7).  This is a non-issue. Everyone knows this.  It’s a citrus fruit.

Inside the body however, when lemon juice has been fully metabolized and its minerals are dissociated in the bloodstream, its effect is alkalizing and therefore raises the pH of body tissue (pH above 7 is alkaline).  Please notice the difference.” (http://www.vitalitylink.com/article-holistic-health-2055-lemon-juice-acidic-alkaline-body-water)

And one last interesting fact.  We all know that staying hydrated when you’re sick is essential (especially when you’re loosing bodily fluids literally in all directions!).  Interestingly enough, “a small amount of lemon juice will quench thirst more effectively than many times the amount of water. Experienced travelers declare that when they add lemon juice to ordinary drinking water, in various localities, it acts as an antiseptic and prevents illness due to allergy to different water supplies.” (http://www.beliefnet.com/wellness/health/physical-health/hidden-health-secrets-of-lemons.aspx?p=9)

for more info, go here:


or here: http://www.beliefnet.com/wellness/health/physical-health/hidden-health-secrets-of-lemons.aspx

or here: http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/lemon.html

or here: http://www.vitalitylink.com/article-holistic-health-2055-lemon-juice-acidic-alkaline-body-water

Apple Cider Vinegar:

To start, let’s quote Patricia and Paul Bragg from their book “Apple Cider Vinegar Miracle Health System:”unknown-4

“Research worldwide supports and commends what Hippocrates (the father of medicine) found and treated his patients with in 400 B.C. He discovered that natural, undistilled Apple Cider Vinegar (or ACV)* is a powerful cleansing and healing elixir, “a naturally occurring antibiotic and antiseptic that fights germs and bacteria” for a healthier, stronger, longer life!

The versatility of ACV as a powerful body cleansing agent is legendary. It’s been traced to Egyptian urns as far back as 3000 B.C. The Babylonians used it as a condiment and preservative, while Julius Caesar’s army used ACV tonic to stay healthy and fight off disease. The Greeks and Romans kept vinegar vessels for healing and flavoring. It was used in Biblical times as an antiseptic and a healing agent and is mentioned in the Bible. In Paris during the Middle Ages, it was sold from barrels by street vendors as a body deodorant, healing tonic and a health vinegar drink.

Even Christopher Columbus and his crew on his voyage to discover America in 1492 had their vinegar barrels for prevention of scurvy as did the soldiers in the American Civil War. For centuries in Japan, the feared Samurai warriors drank it for strength and power. ACV has been used for thousands of years not only for health reasons, but also as a cleansing agent to remove bacteria, germs, odors, and even stains and spots.”

purchase the book here: http://bragg.com/zencart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=8&products_id=22

But really, ACV is redonk good for you.

Starting with its Antimicrobial properties…yes! it is good for CLEANING. Your house, your hair, your face, but more importantly, your CELLS. The organic acid (primarily acetic acid, passes into your cell membranes to kill bacteria lurking there. And um…Buh Bye bacterial infection! Naturally, foods that have been fermented with ACV have a powerhouse of antimicrobial organic acids (amino acids) including not only acetic but also lactic, ascorbic, citric (no not from citrus), malic, propionic, succinct, and tartaric (not found in steak tartar, snigger).  “One study found acetic acid to be lethal to even E. coli O157:H7, while other research has shown substances such as acetic acid, lemon juice, or a combination of lemon juice and vinegar to be effective against salmonella.”

You might have guessed that like many of the “Master Tonic” ingredients, ACV has its own load of antioxidants, some of which include catechin, epicatechin, and gallic, caffein, and chlorogenic acids.

And it helps with heartburn and acid reflux (both common with the flu right?) Did you know that acid reflux ironically is a result of TOO LITTLE acid in your stomach? Adding all the above to your belly will relieve all that.

Be sure to get an ACV that is organic and be CERTAIN that is has the “Mother” in it. yes. that gooey globular slimy thingy in the bottom. That is SOOOPER good for you. it is an amino-acid based substance made from acetic acid bacteria.  That stuff helps reduce muscle damage caused by inflammation. Weird huh?

for more information go here: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/06/14/vinegar-health-properties.aspx

Maple Syrup:unknown

Maple syrup is DELICIOUS! But, believe it or not, is also incredibly nutritious! Of course, we are not talking about Mrs. Butterworths, okay? I mean 100% pure maple syrup…you know, like from a Maple tree? (Didn’t ya’ll read the “Little House on the Prairie” books? remember Pa gets it from the ACTUAL trees in the forest in Vermont?) As for nutrients, it contains water, protein, fat, carbohydrates, and sugars. Wait, protein? yes, protein.  And the minerals, tho! Full of calciumironmagnesiumphosphorus sodiumpotassium, and zinc. As well as vitamins! thiamin, riboflavinniacin, and B6.

You guys know about antioxidants obvs, so I won’t get into it AGAIN, but suffice to say that maple syrup, surprisingly, has antioxidant properties that are highly important for the body. Primarily it is the Manganese present in the maple syrup that supplies superoxide dismutase (an oxidative enzyme) to help rid the mitochondria of free radicals that occur during normal metabolic function.

Maple syrup contains not only Manganese but Zinc as well, both of which help boost the number of white blood cells in to support the Immune System and help fight infection.images-1

Again I must insist on 100% pure organic. And preferably Grade B if possible, as it is less filtered/refined and will contain many more of its natural goodness (As a rule, it is always best to go for the less processed of anything really).  A couple of easy to find brands that I trust are Spring Tree (which can be found at most organic grocers or coops), Simple truth (if you shop at Ralph’s – although your money does go the Koch Bros when you shop there so there’s that), or Trader Joe’s has a great one or two and maybe sometimes even the Grade B!

for more info, go here:

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/maple-syrup.html https://draxe.com/maple-syrup-nutrition/

Raw (local) Honey:raw-local-honey-is-the-cure-for-seasonal-allergies

The ancient liquid gold! No, really!

“Health benefits of consuming honey have been documented in early Greek, Roman, Vedic, and Islamic texts and the healing qualities of honey were referred to by philosophers and scientists all the way back to ancient times, such as Aristotle (384 – 322 BC) and Aristoxenus (320 BC).”(http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/264667.php)

In fact, bee barf packs an arsenal of antioxidants including disease-fighting antioxidant flavonoids pinocembrin, pinostrobin and chrysin, all polyphenols that significantly boost one’s immune system. “Raw honey contains 22 amino acids, 27 minerals and 5,000 enzymes. Minerals include ironzincpotassiumcalciumphosphorousmagnesium and selenium. Vitamins found in honey include vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and niacin. In addition, the nutraceuticals contained in honey help neutralize damaging free radical activity.” (https://draxe.com/the-many-health-benefits-of-raw-honey/)

It is exceptionally good for sleep (god knows we all need SLEEP when we have the horrid flu!) and if you don’t get worn down in the first place, then you won’t get sick. To quote Dr. Axe…

“Raw honey promotes restorative sleep in two ways. By consuming honey before bedtime, it restocks the liver’s glycogen supply and prevents the brain from triggering a crisis search for fuel, which can wake you up. Secondly, eating raw honey fosters the release of melatonin in the brain by creating a small spike in insulin levels, which stimulates the release of tryptophan in the brain. Tryptophan converts to serotonin, which is then converted to melatonin.

Melatonin also boosts immunity and helps rebuild tissue during periods of rest.”

Did you know that honey actually helps with seasonal allergies? Yes! Because the raw honey is made from the very blossoms that cause you to sneeze and have itchy watery eyes. The delicious delivery system provides your body with a sort of inoculation against your local seasonal pollen. Of course, it’s gotta be from a local hive or the pollen won’t have it’s effect, and also of course, the honey must be raw in order to retain traces of the offending flora and fauna.

And finally, honey is a miraculous cough suppressant. “Raw honey has been shown to be as effective in treating coughs as over-the-counter commercial cough syrups. Increasing scientific evidence shows that a single dose of honey can reduce mucus secretion and coughs. In one study, honey was just as effective as diphenhydramine and dextromethorphan, common ingredients found in over-the counter cough medicines.”images

In fact, “The World Health Organization (WHO) and American Academy of Pediatrics recommend honey as a natural cough remedy.

A 2007 study by Penn State College of Medicine suggested that honey reduced nighttime coughing and improved sleep quality in children with upper respiratory infection better than the cough medicine dextromethorphan or no treatment


for more info, go here: https://draxe.com/the-many-health-benefits-of-raw-honey/

or here: http://therawnakedtruth.me/raw-local-honey-natures-cure-for-seasonal-allergies/

or here: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/264667.php


OK, so cinnamon is another one that is super good for you in so many ways! To start, it can lower bad cholesterol, help treat type 2 diabetes, is used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, can help manage Polycystic ovarian syndrome, and has anti-carcinogenic properties (prevents cancer). Traditional  Chinese medicine and Ayurveda have depended on cinnamon for thousands of years to treat colds, indigestion, and to promote higher brain function, lessen cramps, and for it’s anti-clotting properties. Cinnamon is believed to improve energy, vitality and circulation.

You see cinnamon is made of what is called cinnamaldehyde, which is why it has antifungal and antibacterial properties.  As well, it has a very high concentration of antioxidants (there’s that word again!), which reduct inflammation and protect the body from free radical damage.

It is important to note that there are several kinds of cinnamon; Know that *Ceylon cinnamon* is the one to look for. Don’t fall for Cassia or Chinese cinnamon (ironic, I know, considering the recommendation from Chinese Medicine right? be wary…). Also, know that too much cinnamon may cause digestive issues as the spice apparently cannot tell the difference, once in your gut, between good and bad bacteria. It is advised that if you are using copious amounts of cinnamon (please no more than 6 grams daily!), you should add probiotics to your diet to encourage the good gut flora (but you know you should be doing this anyway, right?).

summarized from the following: http://www.organicauthority.com/health/11-health-benefits-of-cinnamon.html#

for more info, go here: https://authoritynutrition.com/10-proven-benefits-of-cinnamon/


Where to start? These epic orbs are like little bombs of health! Along with all of the items on this Master Tonic list, onions have been used for thousands of years by almost all cultures and societies. They are indomitable!

Ok, why? well, onions have significant amounts of Vitamin C and B6, iron, folate, potassium, and Manganese, as well as the phytochemicals known as allium and allyl disulphide (which become allicin) that are the powerhouse of the bulb. Onions are anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighting, diabetes-preventing, blood pressure lowering, and coronary artery disease preventing.

Significant amounts of polyphenols (another phytochemical in onions) and an antioxidant flavonoid called quercetin account for the reputation onions have for disease prevention. Quercitin has proven anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic functions, helps prevent histamine release, and prevents the inflammatory processes associated with asthma. Polyphenols also play an important role as a prebiotic, increasing the ratio of beneficial bacteria in your gut, which is important for health, weight management, and disease prevention. Prebiotics are indigestible to you, but they help nourish beneficial bacteria in your body. These beneficial bacteria in turn assist with digestion and absorption of your food, and play a significant role in your immune function.

Luckily, cooking onions in soup doesn’t diminish their quercetin value – it simply transfers to the broth. The flavonoids in onions are more concentrated in the outer layers, so discard as little as possible. (As you can imagine, French onion soup is shock full of the good stuff!)

the above is summarized from: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/01/04/health-benefits-onions.aspx




Pumpkin soup by Dr. Eric the other night. You’d be surprised how many of the tonic ingredients are in here. we LOVE seasonal remedies!

Blah Blah Blah Blah….Wait, did you finish? You read it all? Really? No skimming? Golly, that was quick. I mean, it took me, like, two months to write it! All those summaries of each ingredient, jeez! tedious! But super important. for reals.

So now do you see why Master Tonic is the real deal? Why it is so EPIC for you? Did you notice a recurring theme? (*hint: antioxidants! anti-inflammatory! immune-support!*) I sure hope I have been convincing. Because we’ve got to give our immune system a good, running start! We are now in the thick of flu season and no one wants to be under the weather for the holidays. At the very least, I know my rantings have influenced the habits of a few of my neighbors, lol. In fact, Dr. Eric was home with the flu just this weekend (you bet I was feeding him shots of this stuff)! And right on cue, our neighbors Tim & Vicki say, “Master Tonic!” I LOVE that. It makes me so happy. Because really, food IS MEDICINE. And sickness can be prevented if we are knowledgable and careful in our food choices.  As you can see from some of the photos here, use it in your cooking too! An easy way to make your food deliciously seasoned, AND super healthy. Combined with your homemade bone broth/chicken stock, you are good to go!


“Faux-Pho” from last month – full of many of the master tonic ingredients! and made with homemade bone broth too. an immune support powerhouse!

Hey, I sure hope you guys don’t get sick. And if you do, hope this helps!

Big hugs,

Coby Dahlstrom (aka #mrsdrdahl)


Dr. Eric P. Dahlstrom, D.C., L.Ac.
Santa Monica Healing Arts

Providing Chiropractic Care and Acupuncture in Santa Monica since 1999 (http://santamonicahealingarts.com). Check out our 5-star Review on Yelp (http://www.yelp.com/biz/santa-monica-healing-arts-santa-monica) or find us on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Santa-Monica-Healing-Arts)

~ follow us on
twitter: @SMHealingArts
facebook: “Santa Monica Healing Arts”
instagram: @mrsdrdahl
yelp: Santa Monica Healing Arts

*for more info re Dr. Price go here: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weston_Price)

National Nutella Day – Not all its cracked up to be! (Nuts!)

images-2So, today was National Nutella Day.  YUMMINESS!!  Right? …

well, I’m Debbie Downer today, so NO.

WHAT???!!!! How on EARTH can a person get by without NUTELLA???!!!

Especially as we approach Valentine’s Day <3 Hazelnuts are actually really good for your heart! <3


I mean, just a few years ago, my kids ate it ALL THE TIME.  Nutella was a GO TO solution because it was made of nuts!  Hazelnuts!  Which are GOOD for you!  Firstly, they can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease thanks to their folates,  monounsaturated fat, Vitamin E, Copper and Magnesium.  These essential minerals reduce blood pressure and decrease inflammation, and reduce risk of bloodclotting.  They also, oddly enough, aid in weight loss, as they are high in fat and protein but also stimulate metabolism burning more calories.  Not to mention, they are highly satisfying! Nuts in general really…Hazelnuts-600x400

For more info go here: http://www.oregonhazelnuts.org/health-benefits/

or here: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/aug/31/why-hazelnuts-are-good-for-you

And everyone knows that chocolate is an antioxidant!  Duh, no brainer.  So good for you!  Dark chocolate anyway – really dark- like 70% or higher dark.  It is also super nutritious! FYI: a 100 gram bar of dark chocolate (70-85% cocoa) has 11 grams of fiber, 67% daily RDA Iron, 58% RDA Magnesium, 89% RDA Copper, 98% RDA Manganese and gobs of potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium!  Hello!  World’s first “Power Bar.”

For more info go here: http://authoritynutrition.com/7-health-benefits-dark-chocolate/chocolate-bar-300x240

So we ate it ALL THE TIME.  Nutella went on/in: bananas, apples, oatmeal, toast, omlettes, ice cream, yogurt, granola, waffles, strawberries, oranges, celery, smoothies, even pizza.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Then we woke up.

Thank you facebook and social media for killing my buzz.

Articles were made available to me that alerted me to some MAJOR philosophical as well as physiological issues.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-sugar-image18751962As far as nutrition goes, I was willing to overlook that the very first ingredient is sugar.  I figured as long as it wasn’t beet sugar (because that is very very likely to be GMO and therefore, in my opinion, cancer causing) then I was safe.  Organic pure cane sugar is what I was telling myself {“from Hawaii, growing in the sun!”}.  I mean, if only I could stop educating myself;  Ignorance is bliss.  Now, of course I know that sugar literally CAUSES cancer.  Not just worsens it, or feeds it, but CAUSES it. So I can’t ostrich out on that one any longer.nutella-300x225

For more info go here: http://www.greenamerica.org/pubs/greenamerican/articles/AprilMay2013/How-Monsantos-Sugar-Beets-Grew-Larger-Than-The-Law.cfm

Or here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130916103646.htm

Concerned-about-palm-oil-Boycotting-won-t-change-a-thing_strict_xxlBut then, I became aware of the orangutan issue.  sumatran_orangutan_8.6.2012_Hero_and_Circle_image_XL_257636

Holy bananas Batman.  Hold the press!  The second ingredient in Nutella is palm oil.  The oil is derived from the fruits of the oil palm.  Now, palm oil is not bad for you.  In fact, in its raw form it is really good for you!  Its health benefits include reduced blood pressure as well as a reduced risk of arterial thrombosis (a condition that Dr. Eric has succesfully diagnosed in THREE of his patients to date).  However, palm oil, as it is used most regularly, has been processed, and once that oxidation occurs, it is no longer healthy.  It becomes dangerous both psychologically and biochemically.  Oxidized palm oil can affect your reproductive organs as well as your kidneys and lungs.images-4

Kellogg-revamps-palm-oil-policy-after-months-of-protests_strict_xxlBut, palm oil functions as a replacement for evil trans fats…allowing manufacturers to have a lable that reads “zero tans fats.”   Huh, pretty sneaky sis!  It is instead a saturated fat similar to butter, which is bad in high doses, but we are now learning that “butter is better” especially if you are consuming a mostly Primal diet.

For more info go here: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/grass-fed-butter/#axzz3QwA7KkD7

And for one last great article re nutritional no no’s go here: http://www.meghantelpner.com/blog/5-reasons-nutella-should-be-banned-from-your-breakfast-table/

Vizzini-Princess-Bride1Getting complicated? HA! …”Wait till I get going!… You’d like to think that, wouldn’t you? You’ve beaten my giant, which means you’re exceptionally strong, so you could’ve put the poison in your own goblet, trusting on your strength to save you, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But, you’ve also bested my Spaniard, which means you must have studied, and in studying you must have learned that man is mortal, so you would have put the poison as far from yourself as possible, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me!”borneo_before_reforestation

So, THEN.  Then I find out about the poor orangutans.  Geez Luis.  Freakin HEART STRINGS.  Did you know???  Do you know???  that the massive deforestation that is occuring because of the global need for palm oil is leaving our Earth a dry lifeless place void of rainforest?  The United Nations Environment Programme announced that palm oil plantations are now the leading cause of rainforest destruction in Malaysia and Indonesia.  And an area equal to 300 soccer fields is being destroyed every single hour.  Even more, the burning of forests to clear land for palm oil plantations causes major air pollution in Southeast Asia, releasing CO2 and causing global warming?  “Research shows that 20% of all global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels come from rainforest destruction.”  Um, global warming? Deforestation-Borneo

1-baby-orang-standing-Chris-Shepherd-682x1024And this is the home of the orangutans.  The ONLY home for them.  Currently, 80-90% of their habitat has been altered or destroyed.  Daily, the mothers who are attempting to protect their young ones are buried alive, killed by machete attacks, or shot.  Data shows that over 50,000 orangutans have died as a result of deforestation due to palm oil in the last twenty years.  They die because of deforestation, but also because later, the animals enter villages or palm oil plantations in search of food.  The mommies are then killed by poachers and their babies are taken to be sold or kept as pets, or kept in wildlife zoos in Thailand and Bali.  It is estimated that 1000-5,000 orangutans are killed each year.  This majestic wise beast will become extinct in 5 to 10 years.  So long Caesar.

For more info go here: http://www.orangutan.org.au/palm-oil

or here: http://www.greenpeace.org/…/LicenceToKill_ENG_LOWRES.pdf7_baby_clings_to_dead_mum

or here: http://www.saynotopalmoil.com/Whats_the_issue.php  

or you can also look here: http://www.internationalanimalrescue.org/orangutan-sanctuary)

and here: http://weheartorangutans-more.blogspot.com/

So, as if sad orphaned baby orangutans aren’t enough of a deterrent, what about the most magestic Sumatran Tiger The LAST of Indonesia’s tigers, that exist ONLY on the island of Sumatra, are critically endagered – on the brink of extinction – with only 400 total left in the wild.  They will be extinct in 3 years.  3 YEARS.sumatran_tiger5  

Similarly, the Sumatran Rhinoceros, Sun Bear, Pygmy Elephant, Clouded Leopard and Proboscis Monkey are subject to increasing illegal poaching and declining numbers.  Roads that cut through the dense forest and allow access for palm oil plantations also offer poachers easy access to their valuable targets.A-Beautiful-Sumatran-Rhino-named-Ratu-rhinos-17994065-500-436

And, would it ever occur to you that the orangutan loss equals the elimnation of specific species of flora and fauna as well?  The orangutan is an essential part of the balanced ecosystem.  “An example of this being the spread of rainforest seeds in Indonesia, many of which can only germinate once passed through the gut of an orangutan.”  

Furthermore, even humans are in danger.  Yep, the indegenous folks do not always benefit, as corporations would lead us to believe, from palm oil plantations.  Land is grabbed, human rights are violated, child labor ensues, degrading work conditions are the norm, all with little or no pay to the human beings whose land and lives are being lost.

Again go here for more info: http://www.saynotopalmoil.com/Whats_the_issue.php

Well, that’s all the absolute opposite of a sugar high if I’ve ever heard one.

2013013114171688Ok, you say, but what about Nutella’s promise to use only sustainable palm oil?  Well, Ferrero announced that flagship Nutella is now using 100% segregated palm oil certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in the French market.  Apparently this affects production in France, and others in Italy and Germany.  But what about us second class citizens in America?  We don’t demand the good stuff, so often we are still sold the cheap crappy products full of chemicals and poisons because its cheaper.  Even American companies export better quality products to Europe than to their American branches.  They have to in order to meet EU regulatory standards.  However, Nutella HAS supposedly confirmed that it will “source exclusively RSPO-certified palm oil globally starting from 2014, bringing its initial target forward by one year.”  Well, GOSH I HOPE SO but my fingers are still crossed.The_Grreeat_Clouded_Leopard_by_moggies

For more info go here: http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2013/02/11/food-companies-exploit-americans-with-ingredients-banned-in-other-countries/

Or here: http://www.scholarsstrategynetwork.org/content/how-united-states-became-regulatory-laggard

Also, http://wwf.panda.org/?208296/Nutella-Switches-to-100-Segregated-Certified-Sustainable-Palm-Oil

250px-Proboscis_Monkey_in_BorneoOk one last bummer topic that has to be addressed.  The fourth ingredient in Nutella is cocoa.  So you now have to worry about Child Slavery.  Nope, not kidding.  “Most chocolate sold in the U.S. comes from cocoa farms where farmers work in unsafe conditions, receive below poverty wages, [and] many of them children under 14 years old who are forced to work and denied education.  The Ivory Coast is the world’s largest cocoa producer, providing 43% of the world’s cocoa.  A 2002 report from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture about cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast and other African countries estimated there were 284,000 children working on cocoa farms in hazardous conditions. U.S. chocolate manufacturers have claimed they are not responsible for the conditions on cocoa plantations since they don’t ‘own them’.”  So just who is responsible?  Me.  That’s who.  

530657Just an FYI, I can’t find Nutella on any list of Fair trade chocolate companies so we can’t be sure where it is sourced from.

For more information click here: http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/the-bitter-truth-about-chocolate.html

or here: https://listengirlfriends.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/1990/

For a list of Fair Trade chocolate brands click here: http://orgcns.org/1shlX7Y

And yes, you may have heard about companies like good ol’ American Hersheys commiting to fair trade chocolate only.  While it is true that they have publically stated a commitment to fair trade, as opinioned earlier, those kinds of changes in multinational food coorporations take decades to actually take effect.  In the meantime, my bet is that they (Hershey’s anyway) are hoping to increase they’re profit margin by jumping on the fair trade bandwagon and children are still suffering.  Require proof.  Be safe.  Be kind.  Buy fair trade.cocoa-child-300x202

For more info go here: http://fairtradeusa.org/press-room/press-release/hershey-21st-century-cocoa-plan-outlines-commitment-sustainable-cocoa-and-i

So, have I lost you to the depths of despair beyond all repair?  I tell you, my kids are DYING for Nutella.  And I haven’t budged in YEARS.  I just CANNOT for the sake of convenience or craving, justify ANY of the ABOVE.


*fun fact.*  There was a really cool story recently on NPR about the huge hazelnut hype, due to massive Nutella consumption globally.  After all, Nutella is responsible for consuming 25% of the world’s hazelnut population.  A single jar contains approximately 50 nuts!  Now, 70% of the world’s hazelnuts are grown in Turkey.  And last year there was a decimating frost that destroyed one quarter of Turkey’s hazelnut crop.  So, Hazelnut prices are up!  And farms are now expanding in Chile, Australia, and Oregon. But, the Oregon trees are dying from the Eastern Filbert Blight (that has made its way west!)  So, there’s this guy, Thomas Molnar, a plant scientist at Rutgers University, who has successfully cross bred two types of Hazelnut trees: the commercial tree grown native in the United States which typically can withstand the blight, and the more coveted European hazelnut that here to fore could not.  His trees are growing in New Brunswick, N.J. and fruiting too; He has been approached already by the great Nutella several times who have acknowledged that they would buy all the nuts he can produce.  So good on America!  And yay for plant science!  Now, let’s hope they are being grown organically (!). hazelnut011-17e35b8a9be2e691653de835b443a6d871bae3ba-s800-c85

More info here: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/09/16/347749070/thanks-to-nutella-the-world-needs-more-hazelnuts

and here: http://factually.gizmodo.com/nutella-consumes-25-percent-of-the-worlds-hazelnut-crop-1623880985


THIS is where you can find a list of some Nutella alternatives!  Yay!!!! Hip Hip Hooray!!!!!


Sure, they are significantly more pricey.  But if you realize what is at STAKE, then you realize why its worth paying top dollar for the convenience of yummy, mouthwatering, chocolate hazelnut spread…

Or, you can be SUPER PEEPS and make you own!  Here’s a fairly easy recipe!:

http://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/homemade-nutella (but please don’t use Canola oil- try coconut, sunflower, or grapeseed – and be sure to buy all organic!)

nutella_Alex FarnumSo as for National Nutella Day…well, honestly, all these national days, if acted upon would make for a VERY unhealthy lifestyle indeed…I mean, February alone boasts National Baked Alaska Day, National Carrot Cake Day, National Fettucine Alfredo Day, Cream Cheese Brownie Day, Peppermint Patty Day, Gumdrop Day, Chocolate Mint Day, Cherry Pie Day, Sticky Bun Day, Margarita Day, Banana Bread Day, and Kalua Day!

Craptastic!  When did all these days become National news?  It really is a whole lotta marketing mumbo jumbo.  Sell sell sell.

Here’s the list btw: http://nationaldaycalendar.com/calendar-at-a-glance/

Personally, I LOVE Hazelnuts.  My grandmother, Mommie Claire {angel song ensues} had a ring of ancient hazelnut trees encircling her backyard.  When we visited, it was like heaven playing in the leaves, hiding in their branches, and eating the nuts right off the boughs.  So I’m going to enjoy eating them in the best ways and in recipes that account for all the above –  maybe some raw organic hazelnuts on top of greens from Dr. Eric’s garden with some delicious Lucero Chocolate Olive Oil (http://www.lucerooliveoil.com/).  Or maybe in a rich organic fair trade chocolate bar that even funds rainforest reforestation, habit preservation, AND species conservation in the process like my fave Endangered Species Chocolate! (http://www.chocolatebar.com/).  I hope you enjoy them as well.  Because both hazelnuts and dark chocolate are really super duper good for you!hazelnutharvest22_forweb

Finally, I have a GREAT suggestion to try!  My dear, dear friend Valentina @cookingweekends has a GREAT Valentine’s Day breakfast recipe for gluten free chocolate-banana hazelnut waffles on her website which you should definately check out.

find that recipe here:  http://cookingontheweekends.com/category/holiday/valentines-day/ ebruary-4-Valentines-Day-Breakfast-Recipe-Chocolate-Banana-Hazelnut-Waffles3-300x225

Please, I hope this post inspires you to make change in your choices.  One small step at a time.  Living a healthy, honest, and decent life is becoming more and more difficult to be sure.  Especially when the kids are begging for a treat, you are at your wits’ end, and the money it tight!  But it sure does feel good to make the right choices and know you are making a difference.  I stand by mine.  And believe firmly that my small gestures make a big difference.Choosing-a-Path-Road-Diverges-640x360

Sidenote: for a quick and easy way to find out if any given product is up to your “standards” download the Buycott Ap to your phone and scan the barcodes for alignment with your beliefs.

You can download that ap here: http://www.buycott.com/images-3

You can also be proactive by sponsoring an endagered animal at World Wildlife Fund http://www.worldwildlife.org

And to visit a Sumatran Tiger in real life…as of tomorrow, Friday 2/6/15, you can visit Castro Junior (more affectionately known as CJ) at the Los Angeles Zoo.  Born on March 3, 2013, he has just arrived in LA from the Sacramento Zoo.  How timely!  How did his stripey self know I’d be writing this article?  The stars align….

For more info go here: http://www.lazoo.org/2015/02/sumatran-tiger/LA-Zoo-Sumatran-Tiger-by-Tad-Motoyama-241x300

Thank you for listening.

Health and wellbeing to you my friend…

and happy Valentine’s Day to boot<3

Coby Dahlstrom (aka #mrsdrdahl)add9a273-300x225


Dr. Eric P. Dahlstrom, D.C., L.Ac.
Santa Monica Healing Arts
Providing Chiropractic Care and Acupuncture in Santa Monica since 1999 (http://santamonicahealingarts.com). Check out our 5-star Review on Yelp (http://www.yelp.com/biz/santa-monica-healing-arts-santa-monica) or find us on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Santa-Monica-Healing-Arts)
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Season’s Seasoning: Sweet & Savory Chard Salad

Hi Dear Followers!

Dr. Eric and I, #mrsdrdahl, have been so busy with the SEASON (it all starts in the Fall with Football/Cheer/Halloween for us and rolls all the way through till late January…) that we haven’t gotten to you all lately.  Sorry!  But I’ll change that RIGHT NOW.

I think you all should know about this great side dish I made up the other night!  So weirdly yummy.  This was one of those great happy accidents where I just cooked what we had from the garden while thinking outside the box. Primarily, I wanted to be sure to use the STEMS of the chard as they contain so many of the important nutrients and vitamins.  I managed to make this delicious, simple, AND extremely healthy side dish that received rave reviews from my family.

May I present to you:

Rainbow Chard Salad with Caramelized Gala Apple & Chard Spine Compote


Rainbow Chard Salad with Caramelized Gala Apple & Chard Spine Compote served alongside Grass-fed Beef Stroganoff over Rice Penne Pasta topped with Greek Yogurt and Parmesean


1 Bunch Organic Rainbow Chard

1 Tbs Garlic, minced

1 Tbs Butter (Organic/Non rBGH please)

a pinch of Himalayan Sea Salt

1 Organic Gala Apple, chopped

1/2 Organic Yellow Onion, chopped

1 Tbs Raw Honey

1 tsp Brown Sugar (Organic Cane Sugar please)

Juice of 1 Lime

Lucero Persian Lime Olive Oil*

Lucero Pear Balsamic Vinegar*

*If you do not have these unique flavors from Lucero Olive Oil, please substitute with:

1 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Tbs White Balsamic Vinegar

Juice of 1 lime

a pinch of Sugar (Organic Cane please)

a pinch of Sea Salt


1) First wash and de-vein the chard leaves (save the stems), and chop into good bite-sized chunks.  Toss them in a bowl with the olive oil and vinegar and refrigerate. Then chop the stems/spines into nice bite size chunks as well.

2) Add  1 Tbs butter, onion, chard stems, salt, and garlic to pan on medium heat.  Saute until soft and clear.  Then add the chopped apple.  Again saute until soft and clear.  Next, add the honey, brown sugar, and lime juice.  Saute a bit longer on higher heat until well-coated and caramelized but not so long as to evaporate all the lime and/or burn the sugar/honey.

3) Serve the dressed chard leaves cold with the caramelized stem/apple compote piled on top!

Coby Dahlstrom (#mrsdrdahl)


Dr. Eric P. Dahlstrom, D.C., L.Ac.
Santa Monica Healing Arts
Providing Chiropractic Care and Acupuncture in Santa Monica since 1999 (http://santamonicahealingarts.com). Check out our 5-star Review on Yelp (http://www.yelp.com/biz/santa-monica-healing-arts-santa-monica) or find us on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Santa-Monica-Healing-Arts)
~follow us on
twitter: @SMHealingArts
facebook: “Santa Monica Healing Arts”
instagram: @mrsdrdahl
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*I apologize for the continued use of the specific unique flavorings from Lucero Olive Oil, however, I simply can’t live without them!  They add so much to any recipe! You can find them here: www.lucerooliveoil.com

Health Benefits of Swiss Chard:

– great source of phytonutrients

– excellent detox support

– outstanding antioxidant

– anti-inflammatory

– blood sugar regulating

– aids in digestion

– beneficial for pancreas

– enhances liver protection

– lowers risk of obesity

– lowers risk of diabetes

– lowers risk of high blood pressure

– lowers risk of arthritis

– high in magnesium and calcium

– high in vitamin K

– good for bone health

for more information regarding the health benefits of Swiss Chard please visit:



Speaking of Magnesium – Epsom Salt!

Epsom Salt is a naturally occurring mineral compound of Magnesium and Sulfate.

While Epsom Salt has MANY health benefits, one easy and incredibly beneficial use is as a soaking aid. Remember to add the crystals to your bath to remove inflammation, ease aching muscles and relieve stress!

“Studies have shown that magnesium and sulfate are both readily absorbed through the skin, making Epsom salt baths an easy and ideal way to enjoy the amazing health benefits. Magnesium plays a number of roles in the body including regulating the activity of over 325 enzymes, reducing inflammation, helping muscle and nerve function and helping to prevent artery hardening. Sulfates help improve the absorption of nutrients, flush toxins and help ease migraine headaches.”

Read on!:


Providing Chiropractic Care and Acupuncture in Santa Monica since 1999 

(http://santamonicahealingarts.com). Check out our 5-star Review on Yelp (http://www.yelp.com/biz/santa-monica-healing-arts-santa-monica) or find us on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Santa-Monica-Healing-Arts)

Magnesium reduces risk of cancer

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that higher intakes of dietary magnesium were associated with a lower risk of colorectal tumors.1

Results from the meta-analysis indicated that for every 100-mg increase in magnesium intake, the risk of colorectal tumor decreased by 13 percent, while the risk of colorectal cancer was lowered by 12 percent. The researchers noted magnesium’s anti-cancer effects may be related to its ability to reduce insulin resistance, which may positively affect the development of tumors. They noted:

“The consumption of magnesium-rich foods may be a new avenue to explore further in the search for cancer-prevention strategies.”

Green leafy vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard are excellent sources of magnesium, as are some beans, nuts and seeds, like almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. Avocados are also a good source.

Surveys suggest, however, that many Americans are not getting enough magnesium from their diet alone. Are you getting enough Magnesium in your diet?


Providing Chiropractic Care and Acupuncture in Santa Monica since 1999 (http://santamonicahealingarts.com). Check out our 5-star Review on Yelp (http://www.yelp.com/biz/santa-monica-healing-arts-santa-monica) or find us on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Santa-Monica-Healing-Arts)