Yet ANOTHER Source of Cancer Prevention For You!

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Wild and crazy garden!


Hello, friends! Happy late summer to you! We had some MUCH NEEDED rain this week, and my garden is growing like crazy with the added moisture. The herbs, tomatoes, onions and peppers are even more plentiful than they were! Another thing in my garden that is exploding right now is my tomatillo plant. I’ve never grown tomatillos before, but we found a plant when we were looking at tomatoes. I decided to get one to see what I thought about it. Now, I’m so glad I did! They are a delicious change from tomatoes, and I’ve made some great meals including them. I want to share what I’ve learned about tomatillos, and two different ways to utilize them in dishes.

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My tomatillo plant, with little tomatillos on it!


The tomatillo is actually not a tomato, it is a vegetable from the nightshade family, and is actually related more closely to cape gooseberries. Their scientific name is Physalis philadelphica and they are a staple in Central and South America. They have a light brown husk that will eventually break off when the tomatillo is ripe. The tomatillo has a tart flavor, rather than a sweet flavor like tomatoes.

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Tomatillos in their husks!


Tomatillos have high levels of dietary fiber, very few calories (approximately 11), moderate levels of vitamin C, A, K, niacin, potassium, manganese, and magnesium. They also have withanolides and flavonoids like lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta carotene.

Because tomatillos have high levels of fiber they are excellent for digestive health, as fiber can help add bulk to foods and speed their transit through the digestive tract, thereby eliminating constipation, excess gas, bloating, cramping, and even colon and gastric cancers. Fiber is also good at regulating the release of carbohydrates into the bloodstream, thereby regulating blood sugar levels, which is important for people with diabetes.

They also contain phytochemicals called withanolides, which have been directly linked to anti-cancer and antibacterial functions. Antioxidants help combat the effects of free radicals, which are the dangerous byproducts of cellular reproduction, that can kill or mutate healthy cells and turn them into cancerous cells. In addition, the vitamin A, C, and other flavonoids within tomatillos provide other cancer-protective effects, particularly lung and oral cancers.

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This is what they look like once they have been peeled!


The vitamin C in tomatillos is good for the immune system and collagen production, and the vitamin A and beta carotene helps with our vision and eye health. The high nutrient, low calorie and low fat in them also help with weight loss, because they help us feel full, acquire the necessary nutrients, and reduce the chances of overeating. The niacin helps us to increase energy, and the potassium is heart healthy. Did I convince you to try them?!!

I made two sauces with my tomatillos, one in which I roasted the tomatillos, and one with raw tomatillos. They’re both easy to make, but the raw tomatillos give the sauce a bright and vibrant flavor, and the roasted tomatillos make the sauce deeper and more intensely flavored. I loved them both, and I can’t decide which one I like better so I’m sharing them both with you.

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Roasted tomatillo Sauce- See the blackened bits in the sauce?! They add such a nice, smoky flavor!


Roasted Tomatillo Sauce

  • 10 tomatillos, peeled, rinsed and cut in half
  • 5 jalapenos, seeds and ribs removed for a milder sauce
  • 1/2 cup of chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Preheat broiler in oven. Peel tomatillos and MAKE SURE TO RINSE THEM AFTER PEELING. Tomatillos are very sticky and must be rinsed to remove the stickiness.

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Make sure you rinse them, to remove the sticky film!


Chop them in half and put them on a baking sheet with the chiles. Roast them 4 inches below a very hot broiler until darkly roasted, even blackened, about 5 minutes. Flip them over and roast the other side, 4-5 minutes more. They will be splotchy and blistered, and that’s perfect.


Looks wrong, but it’s oh so right!


In a blender or food processor, combine the tomatillos, chiles, juice from the baking sheet, cilantro, water, onion, and salt until it’s a rough puree. Serve immediately or store it in the fridge.

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I served the sauce over a pork tenderloin I made in the crockpot. I added shredded Mexican cheese, and served with corn tortillas. It was smoky and yummy!

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To make the sauce without roasting the tomatillos, just throw all the ingredients into the blender or food processor, and blend until coarsely pureed.

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Raw tomatillo sauce, brightly colored and flavored!


The sauce is a brighter green when the tomatillos are left raw, and it has a more tart, mild vinegar flavor, but it’s still really, really good. I served it over ribeyes we had made, and added black beans on the side.

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That’s all there is to it! It’s a versatile sauce, whether raw or roasted, and can be used on tacos, nachos, burritos or enchiladas, on pork, chicken, beef or seafood; really any way you can think to use it. It’s delicious and healthy too, what more could you want?!! Eating tomatillo sauce is so good for you, and will help you lead a life of vitality- with Valerie! 🙂

PULL your way to great health!


Hello my friends! Danielle was the inspiration behind my post this week. I had been reading about something called “oil pulling” and how great it was for not only your teeth but your overall health, however I hadn’t gotten to the point of trying it. Danielle did and she was SO impressed with the benefits of it that I was inspired to actually try it myself. It’s been so amazing for me that I thought I would tell all of my readers about my experience. 

First let’s talk about what oil pulling is and why it’s good for you. Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic dental technique also known as gundusha or kavala, that involves swishing a tablespoon of oil, preferably coconut oil, in your mouth for 15-20 minutes. Swishing the oil pulls toxins out of your body and improves not just your dental health, but your overall health. The main benefit of oil pulling is that it decreases the amount of harmful bacteria in the mouth. The bacteria makes a film on the teeth, which is plaque. Excess plaque can cause bad breath, yellowing teeth, gum inflammation, gingivitis and cavities. 

Harmful bacteria in your mouth spreads to the body and can cause inflammation which can lead to heart disease, cancer, and all sorts of other bad things. Therefore, less harmful bacteria through oil pulling can help protect against some really bad stuff. 

Also, using coconut oil in particular is even healthier because coconut oil is antibacterial AND anti-microbial, which means it can kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi. So my recommendation is to use coconut oil versus other oils. In addition, I like the flavor of coconut oil and I don’t think I’d like to swish vegetable oil in my mouth for 20 minutes!

It’s really easy to do. You take a tablespoon of coconut oil, put it in your mouth, and push and “pull” it around and around for 15-20 minutes. Then, you spit it out, but not in the sink because it can clog your pipes, and rinse your mouth with water. Then brush your teeth as normal. Try not to swallow any of it because remember the oil pulls toxins out of your mouth as you’re swishing. I definitely don’t want any of you swallowing those toxins that you worked so hard to remove from your mouth! 

I use Skinny and company’s coconut oil- peppermint oil pulling. It has a slight peppermint flavor which is a nice, refreshing taste. The complaints I’ve heard about oil pulling are that the taste is really thick and oily. That’s why I chose Skinny and company’s peppermint oil pulling, first because of the great flavor and second because Skinny and company is the only raw and alkaline coconut oil on the market, according to their website. It has a natural and delicious taste that isn’t fake or weird tasting. I don’t think it would give anyone an upset stomach from the flavor! 

Here’s a tip, start with 5 minutes at first and GRADUALLY build up to 15-20. At first, the sensation of holding the liquid in your mouth can be disconcerting and starting with 5 minutes can help build up your comfort with the process before moving up to a longer period of time.

So here’s what I do, I get up in the morning, take out my retainer, and put a tablespoon of the Skinny peppermint coconut oil in my mouth. Skinny and company is located in Broad Ripple, which is near me, and I visited their shop recently. They gave me a scoop to use with the coconut oil, which is convenient. I scoop it out, put it in my mouth, and swish as I go about my morning routine. I get dressed, feed my dogs, and take them out while I’m swishing and pulling the oil around in my mouth. By then it’s been 15-20 minutes, and I come back in, spit it out in my kitchen sink, run the disposal so it doesn’t clog the drain, rinse my mouth, and brush my teeth. 

I’ve been doing this for a week now and have really seen a difference in the whiteness of my teeth. Plus they FEEL cleaner too, very smooth and slick. I guess I will have to wait to see if I’m healthier overall from doing it, but I’m hopeful about that! 

Here’s a picture of my teeth after a week of coconut oil pulling and they look pretty white. The picture at the beginning of my post shows Danielle’s white teeth from oil pulling, but mine weren’t as white as they are now because I wasn’t pulling then. 

I will definitely continue to practice oil pulling because I really like how clean and fresh my mouth feels after I’m done. Coconut oil certainly can’t hurt me, now can it?!! 

So that’s what I’m doing these days and I am so excited to share it with my readers. Try oil pulling and I think you’ll see the benefits like I do. Doing health things like oil pulling will help you like a life of vitality- with Valerie! 🙂

A Honey Of A Cure!

I love honey- and it's good for us too!

I love honey- and it’s good for us too!

I have mentioned my love of honey in previous posts. I use honey in my tea and coffee, and I use it in place of sugar in most everything. It’s my sweet go-to every time! However, did you know that honey can actually be used as medicine?! Yes, indeedy! Today I wanted to expand on that to discuss the medicinal uses of honey, in particular Manuka honey. Now, honey has been used since ancient times to treat many different conditions. It contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities, and is even thought to stimulate production of special cells in our body that can repair tissue damaged by infection- pretty cool! However, not all honey is created equally, so to speak, and the type of honey that you use matters. The honey thought to be the best for medicinal use is Manuka honey. It is produced in New Zealand by bees that pollinate the Manuka bush.

Picture of Manuka bush!

Picture of Manuka bush!

Now here’s the thing, the reason Manuka honey is thought to have more antiviral and antibacterial properties than other types of honey is the higher levels of Methylglyoxal than regular honey has. What is Methylglyoxal (known as MG), you ask? Good question, I asked the same thing! It comes from the conversion of another compound- dihydroxyacetone- that is found in high concentration in the nectar of Manuka flowers. So the higher the concentration of MG, the stronger the antibiotic effect, and Manuka honey has the highest MG amount of any type of honey. Some Manuka honey that you buy in the stores doesn’t have a high level of MG, I call that “cheater Manuka honey”,  so honey producers developed a rating system called UMF or Unique Manuka Factor. To be therapeutic, it has to be rated at least 10 UMF and then is marketed as “UMF Manuka Honey”, or “Active Manuka Honey”. Whew, I threw a lot of terms at you there but I’m done with that so keep on reading for the good stuff!

The kind of Manuka honey I currently have in my cabinet!

The kind of Manuka honey I currently have in my cabinet!

So what are Manuka honey’s medicinal uses? Because it has antiviral and antibacterial properties its primary use is on wounds. It is very effective at healing wounds and cuts. BUT MAKE SURE IF YOU USE IT ON YOUR WOUNDS THAT IT IS IN A STERILIZED CONTAINER AND IT IS NOT USED FOR ANY OTHER PURPOSE. In other words, don’t put a spoonful of it in your morning coffee, and then dip out of the same container to slather it on a cut.


Manuka honey is primarily used in my house for cold symptoms.

Manuka honey is primarily used in my house for cold symptoms.

Other medicinal uses for Manuka honey are treating and preventing cancer (!), reducing systemic inflammation, treating diabetes, treating eye, ear and sinus infections, preventing gingivitis and other periodontal disease, and treating gastrointestinal problems.Wow, that’s quite a powerful medicine! The way we use it in my house for the most part is for treating cold symptoms. When anyone feels a cold coming on I get out the Manuka honey and give them a teaspoon three times a day. It can sometimes even stave off the cold from coming on entirely. If I do actually catch a cold which is very seldom, Manuka honey is so effective in reducing sore throats and coughs. I will take a teaspoon of it, let it melt in my mouth and trickle down my throat. it really soothes the pain of a sore throat and calms my cough. It also is very helpful if I have some gastrointestinal upset. I do the same thing, one teaspoon three times a day and my stomach pain is eliminated. It’s really so amazing!

Manuka honey can be purchased at healthy food grocery stores anywhere and though it’s a bit pricey ($15- $20), a jar lasts for at least 2 months so it’s totally worth it. In fact, Jacqueline called on Wednesday because she caught a cold at school and she went to a health food store to get Manuka honey! I was so proud! She got other healthy cold symptom reducers and now she’s fine! That’s $15 well spent!

Even diabetics can use Manuka honey medicinally because honey does not as quickly raise blood sugar levels as sugar does. However, you should always consult your doctor before using Manuka honey if you are diabetic because everyone is different and I don’t want anyone to get sick on something that should make you feel better!

So, that’s a bit of information about Manuka honey which I think is one of the best natural, healthy weapons in my medical arsenal. I’d love it if you’d buy a jar, take three teaspoons a day, and let me know what you think. Manuka honey is one of the things that I really believe in so try it because it will help you live a life of vitality- like Valerie!