Cold and Flu support

This is what my Cold and Flu Brew looks like right now! 

master tonic with turmericIt is nice and yellow due to the turmeric root I added in as my last batch had turmeric powder.  This will sit for 4 weeks, then I will strain it. It will be ready to use!  My son has already asked that I send some to  him in Canada once it is ready.  This will also go in my other son’s natural remedy “kit” that I am making for his trip overseas (he just doesn’t know it yet that this will go with him!)

If you would like to learn more, how to make your own and have it on hand for the cold and flu season for you and your family go here   for more information.

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC believes in food first to address the root causes of our health conditions.  For more information visit her site at

This information is not meant to replace medical care. As a nutrition professional Karen does not treat, cure or diagnose. 

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B12: Could this be causing your depression?

B12: Could this be the answer to your depression?

steak kabob

As a nutritionist I look for root causes to mental health issues. The response that “It’s a chemical imbalance” does nothing to explain why someone is depressed. Nor does sitting on the couch of a professional for years do anything to help you if your root causes to depression are internal. 

Could your depression be caused by a vitamin deficiency?

Sometimes it could be as simple as a needed nutrient that your body is lacking.  The theory of an imbalance of serotonin in the brain may sound reasonable but it has never been proven. Yet many people, single mindedly, focus on this one possible cause. 

In reality there can be many root causes to depression.  B12 is just one of many that we will explore in this article. 

Why is B12 so important?

B12 plays a central role in the regulation of your neurotransmitters like your dopamine and serotonin.  The role that B12 plays with SAMe may have something to do with depression.  SAMe is found in every cell in the body and is also involved in the breakdown and production of your brain chemicals that are involved in regulating mood.  Not having enough B12 (or enough folate) can reduce your levels of SAMe. 

B12 also plays a role in mitochondrial health.  These power houses are responsible for each cells’ energy production which also plays a role in neurotransmitter signaling in the circuits that help to regulate mood.  So no B12 means poor mitochondrial health. 

Elevated cortisol levels which can be caused by chronic stress (from lifestyle, exercise and/or diet) can impact your moods as well.   High cortisol levels (your fight or flight hormone) can cause oxidative damage to your mitochondria and in turn affect your neurotransmitter signaling.  Nutrients including B12 along with folate, Omega 3’s , vitamin C, zinc and magnesium can protect your cells from this oxidative damage. 

B12 is part of the B complex family/What to supplement with

When looking to add more B12 into your diet it may be best to add in the B complex which includes niacin, folate and B6.  All of these can play a role in mood.  The best way to get your B12 is from organic grass fed meat products. Other sources include fish, cottage cheese and grass fed yogurt. 

However stress depletes our B vitamins so I typically recommend a B complex supplement. Remember training for an event and intense exercise is also stress on the body.  Lack of sleep is too.  

If you are a vegan or vegetarian then consider a B complex and an additional B12 supplement.  In a B complex look for your B6 in the P-5P form, your B12 as methylcobalamin and your Folate as methyl-folate.   Folic acid is synthetic.  Avoid it! Purchase a supplement that has 800 mcg. of folate and 400 mcg. of B12.

While you may need B12 in your diet, a whole foods diet with variety is the best way to achieve balance with your vitamins and minerals.  However, in today’s society sadly it is difficult to get all the nutrients our bodies need from food alone. 

Our soil is depleted, much of our food is weeks old by the time it hits the store shelves and then factor in the processed food, the GMO’s, chronic low stomach acid and our style of rushed eating, and you have the perfect storm for nutrient deficiencies. 


Are your medications causing your B12 deficiency?

pills in hand

Proton Pump inhibitors and histamine 2 receptor antagonists are two classes of drugs that can cause a B12 deficiency. Ask yourself if your depression started or got worse after starting on these medications.  Other drugs that can cause a B12 deficiency include birth control pills and nitric oxide (laughing gas).

So what you may have thought as a brain imbalance may in reality be a nutrient imbalance. All our vitamins and minerals are meant to work in harmony.  This means that excess of any one nutrient can cause an imbalance with others. 

Other symptoms of a B12 deficiency (other than depression)

boy looking out train window

  • constant tiredness
  • pins and needles sensation
  • hair loss
  • numbness in hands/feet
  • palpitations
  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • tremors
  • sore tongue

Causes of B12 Deficiency

basket of veggies

This article does not touch on all the reasons why you may have low B12 so here are some others you may wish to explore further.

  • Vegan or vegetarian diet
  • Low stomach acid (many have low stomach acid not high and we need stomach acid to synthesize our B12). Proton Pumps lower your stomach acid. 
  • Medications
  • High homocysteine levels (B12 is needed for homocysteine metabolism.  B12 deficiency allows for the buildup of homocysteine. High homocysteine is a factor to consider when one has depression)
  • Not getting enough folate with your B12
  • Autoimmune condition
  • Leaky gut syndrome
  • Weight loss surgery
  • Eating disorder
  • Old age (as we age we lose our ability to absorb our B12, as we age we tend to have lower stomach acid levels)

Stay tuned for my next blog post on: B12 testing: Pros and cons of various tests

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, author of Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition, Supplement and herb guide and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC believes in addressing the root causes of your health issues with nutrition, supplements and herbs.  For more information, visit her website at





Allen, L. How common is vitamin b-12 deficiency? Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2009 Feb; 89(2): 693s-6s. doi:

   10.3945/ajcn.2008.26947a. Epub 2008 Dec. 30.

Bauman, E. & Friedlander, J. (2013) Therapeutic Nutrition.  CA: Bauman College

Haas, E. & Levin, B. (2006) Staying Healthy with Nutrition. The complete guide to diet and nutritional

   Medicine.  CA: Celestial Arts.

McTaggarat, L. A Beautiful Mind.  What Doctors won’t tell you.  August 2016 issue.




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Herbal Tinctures customized, free for clients

Herbal Tinctures

tincutre bottles

What are herbal tinctures?

Tinctures are made with alcohol and herbs and water.  When they sit for 4 weeks in a cool dark place the constituents from the herbs will end up in the water/alcohol blend and once it is strained you have a tincture!  Each herbal tincture  has a certain ratio of herb to alcohol and water. 

I now have an array of tinctures made and more still in the process (it takes 4 weeks for the tincture to be ready from start to finish)

What this means for you?

If you are a client of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, it means that now as part of the full service price (sorry, not available for reduced rates and special offers)  you will also get a customized tincture  blend made based on your needs. 

For instance, if you have anxiety, depression and gut issues, I may make a tincture blend of herbs to address all of those health issues.  If your main concern is anxiety we may instead make a tincture blend of several different herbs that address only anxiety. 

Often times herbs have many properties. For instance, St. John’s wort may be useful for depression but it is also good for inflammation and pain.  Thus one herb can aid you for more than one of your health issues. 

I am very excited to now offer this to my clients so that I have more ways to help you!  I am not selling these as they are only included in the offer to clients. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC , author of the Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide, and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC believes in food first for addressing the root causes of your health conditions.  For more information visit her website at

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Five Servings of Vegetables per day: Here is how to get them in

How to get a days worth of vegetables into one meal!

salad picture

While in a perfect world we would get our veggies in at every meal and snack but the reality is few do.  Here is an example of how to get as many veggies into one meal! 

Salads: the easy way to get your veggie intake

I love salads!  It is the easiest way to get your share of veggies.  Here is what is in the salad in the picture as an example

  • dark leafy greens: I buy a box of mixed organic greens so that I get a variety
  • red onion (the darker color of the red onion versus the white onion means for more phytonutrients. Onions are also prebiotics)
  • asparagus tips (raw asparagus is a prebiotic which is essentially food for your probiotics)
  • cucumber (I buy organic so I can leave the skin on which will provide me with more nutrients)
  • shredded cabbage and carrot blend: I make it easy on myself and buy this in a bag which contains red and green cabbage. 
  • carrots: we have a farmers share for the summer.  Since I know my source I just slice them.  Yup, leave some of the dirt residue on and leave the skin on!
  • pea pods, sugar snap peas: again, we have been getting them from the farmers share.  Off season I buy them in the store. 
  • Dressing: I use a high quality EVOO which adds a rich flavor to my dressing and makes all the difference in the world!  I use this EVOO for mainly raw dishes.  I add in balsamic vinegar, raw minced garlic and fresh herbs. I have herbs growing in pots on my deck so I just cut what I need.  I chop up some basil, rosemary, thyme, cilantro and parsley and toss it all into the dressing. 

And there you have it-one salad and I have just eaten fresh herbs and roughly 11 different veggies.  If I had mushrooms I may have added this in. I grow my own sprouts but didn’t have any ready for this salad.  Sprouts are nutrient dense and contain protein.    I don’t eat many nightshades but otherwise I would have added in chopped pepper and tomatoes. 

The salad in the picture is a bit smaller as most often I put my salad in a large bowl to make it the main portion of my meal.  You can toss in proteins such as steak, seafood or chicken to make it a meal. 

I just wanted to show you that it is not as hard as you think to get all your veggies in one day!


Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, author of the “Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide.” and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC believes in food first when addressing root causes of your health condition.  For more information, visit her website at

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Got Stress? Anxiety? 11 Herbs that can help!

Stressed? Anxiety?
Fast, Easy and Effective Ways to Reduce Stress and Anxiety

(I have updated this twice-it started out with 8 herbs and is now up to 11 different herbs to try for anxiety)

stressed person
Before I go into detail about the herbs that can help you to manage your stress and anxiety, I do want to point out that diet and lifestyle still need to be addressed.

For years I suffered from anxiety. (Back then it was just called “being very shy”). Thankfully back then doctors weren’t as quick to diagnose and medicate every mental health issue.

But what helped me, (and may help you) is balancing my blood sugar. Back then in my elementary school years, before school, I ate 2 chocolate pop tarts, only a few bites of my lunch usually and then a pretty healthy dinner. By the time I got to high school and college I stopped eating the pop tarts but can’t say my diet was much better.

It wasn’t until I started to eat balanced meals, whole foods and reduce the processed junk that my anxiety diminished. I can’t say I don’t have some situational anxiety from time to time but nothing like what I grew up with!

Use the herbs but while they are helping start making small changes to your diet too! If you need more dietary help for your stress and anxiety just give me a call!

Lifestyle Tips for Reducing Stress and Anxiety

basket of veggies
• Keep blood sugar balanced
• Start the day with a meal high in fat, with moderate protein and low amounts of whole food carbs. (i.e.: eggs, bacon, avocado, with sauté kale or spinach, or a green protein smoothie)

• Minimize or eliminate caffeine (try Teccino or dandy blend tea-taste just like coffee!)

Add in a B complex supplement. (stress depletes us of our B vitamins) Add in an extra B12 if you do not eat red meat
Add in a vitamin C with bioflavonoids, 1,000 mg. per day as stress will also deplete your vitamin C

Add in magnesium. I like magnesium l-threonate (crossed blood brain barrier), ReMag by Carolyn Dean, or Natural Calm magnesium powder to drink before bed time.

• Stress slows down your digestion making you absorb less nutrients so when stressed be sure to slow down, take 3 deep breaths before your meal and chew each bite of food 15-20 times.

• When stressed we tend to eat and work at the same time. Studies have shown that this actually reduces work performance. Take a brain break and eat away from your desk, get some fresh air and talk with a co- worker about something other than work. This will greatly reduce your stress load!

Herbs for Quick Stress relief

ginkgo flower picture
With herbs everyone reacts differently so some may love one herb for stress and another person may not get the same effect. It will be a try and see approach.

Purchase herbs for stress in tincture form (unless noted otherwise) and only get from reputable source such as Herb Pharm, Gaia Herbs or Rose Mountain Herbs or your local trusted herb shop. Try only one herb at a time so you know what is or isn’t working. Make sure the herbs you are using are certified organic.

Herbs in tincture form are more potent if made with alcohol. But if you have issues with alcohol it is still best to opt for the non-alcoholic tinctures. One dropper full of tincture has the alcohol amount that is equal to the amount of alcohol in one banana.
Always talk to your doctor before adding in any herbs as this is for educational purposes only since I am not aware of your medications, heath issues and more.

Gingko Biloba: Choose in extract/tincture form or gingkolide tablets. With tablets, take 160-180 mg. one time daily. It has been shown to be significantly more effective than a placebo for anxiety. It may reverse depression especially in older people on blood pressure medication. Do not use this herb if you have a racing mind at bed time. Also, avoid this herb if you are prone to migraines. I prefer this herb in tincture form. It is known as the herb for memory and concentration.

Kava: This is good to use if you have anxiety. Take 60-120 mg. daily and do not exceed 120 mg. daily. Do not use this herb for children. This herb is known to ground and center you, keeping you relaxed and alert. You can take this herb during the day as it will not make you drowsy. Kava is known to increase the dream state. It is a mood elevator. You can take 2 droppers full at bedtime or a heaping teaspoon in one cup water 2 times per day as a tea. You can mix your Kava with Valerian together at bedtime for improved sleep.

Eleuthero: This is an adaptogenic herb which has been shown to enhance mental performance, concentration and alertness. This is not an actual ginseng but is often called a ginseng because it works in a similar way. It is used for nervous breakdowns and depression. It is used to strengthen the entire system. Adaptogenic herbs help to build resilience to stress. Take any adaptogenic herb for 12 weeks only, then take a week or 2 off and then go back on or switch at that point to a different adaptogenic herb such as Rhodiola. Ashwagandha is also an adaptogenic herb and this one is better taken in the evening. Take only 1/8 of a teaspoon of eleuthero tincture.

Lemon Balm: This plant has anti-depressant effects along with calming, anti-anxiety effects as well. Use it to calm the nerves and to boost mood. Those with ADHD can also benefit from using this herb. Drink lemon balm tea one to three times daily. Use lemon balm tincture, 10-20 drops in water 3-5 times per day for depression, anxiety and tension headaches. Some people add fresh lemon balm leaves to their drinking water. Do not use if you have a hypothyroid condition.

Skullcap: This is good for nervousness, anxiety and stress. It is also useful for those of you with insomnia, especially if it is due to an overactive mind at bedtime. Take one half of a dropper full of tincture before bedtime.

Nettle leaves and seed: This is one of my favorites for body restoration. Nettles are a source of nutrients for all individuals. It is one of the most nourishing plants growing on the land. The leaves and seed offer a wide variety of nutrients. Take a dropper full of nettle leaf tincture 3 times per day or buy organic whole seeds, grind them up and eat 1-3 teaspoons per day.  (you can sprinkle the seeds into smoothies and salads). While this plant is not directly known for its anti-anxiety properties, it is nourishing and balancing and can support the body and give it what it needs during times of stress and anxiety. 

Motherwort: Do not take this herb if you have heavy menses. Otherwise, this is another good herb to use for anxiety. It is not a sedative so can be used during the day. A dose of 10-20 drops can safely be taken as often as every 10 minutes if needed to calm you down, say during a panic attack. Fresh tincture is best and best option as opposed to tea and capsules. Do not use this herb long term if you also have depression. It can relax you to the point of making you feel more depressed and unmotivated. Use it instead for episodic anxiety.

Valerian: This has a different feel to it, a different calming effect as oppose to Kava. It is helpful for anxiety and tension. This herb should be taken only at bedtime or when you know you are not going anywhere! Do not operate any heavy machinery or drive while taking valerian. For some it can give the opposite effect-instead of calming you down, it may increase your anxiety. For that reason, dose low. The same rule that applies to Motherwort applies to Valerian. Use on occasion to aid with sleep but don’t use it all the time during your depressive state. Most people do best using the tincture form instead of capsules. Take 400-900 mg per day of whole valerian or root extract.

Linden: It has been used to calm the nerves and promote rest.  The flowers and leaves are known to have a calming action on the nervous system.  Linden flower tea is very popular in Europe and used to calm the nerves and aid digestion as well. 

Tulsi Tea:  This is also called Holy Basil.  Choose an organic brand and drink 1 to 3 times per day during times of stress. I like the brand Organic India. 

Sage Leaf: Sage promotes a calming sensation to the brain and is good for those who tend to “overthink”.  If you tend to get sweaty palms or produce excess sweat during times of feeling anxious, sage can he helpful for that as well.  Take this in tincture form at one to three droppers per day. 


Balch, P. ( 2012)   Prescription for Herbal Healing.  2nd Edition.  NY: Avery Publishing

Gaby, A.(2006) The Natural Pharmacy. Revised and updated 3rd edition.  NY: Three Rivers Press

Gladstar, R. (2012) Medicinal Herbs. A beginners Guide.  CA: Story Publishing

Hoffman, D. (2003) Medical Herbalism.  VT: Healing Arts Press

Mars, B. (2007) The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine.  CA: Basic Health Publications

Pursell, JJ.  (2015) The Healing Apothecary.  OR: Timber Press. 

Skenderi, G. (2003) Herbal Vade Mecum. NJ: Herbacy Press


Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services LLC believes in supporting the body with food, herbs and supplements to get you feeling your best. For more information visit her site at She is the author of the E book Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition, Supplement and Herb Guide

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Sugar and its impact it is having on your health

Is Sugar Really that Bad?
Effects of Sugar on the body


By now most of you know to avoid and minimize your sugar intake. But do you really know why it is so important to reduce your sugar consumption?

Reasons why you should Avoid Processed Sugar

• There is a link between a processed food diet and disease-most processed foods are high in refined carbs, void of nutrients, and these carbs convert rapidly into sugar in your blood stream
Sugar is the underlying factor in diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and obesity, not saturated fats like you led to believe
• Healthy weight-some people think that because they are not overweight it is okay to eat as much sugar as they want. Even if you don’t gain weight, sugar will raise triglyceride levels, total cholesterol, and increase blood pressure
Fructose-this is the worst kind of sugar because it has to be metabolized in your liver instead of in your intestines like glucose.
o Your liver turns fructose into liver fat which causes metabolic problems.
o Excess fructose shuts down the part of your brain that tells you when you are full; thus making overeating likely. Your Liver can only handle small quantities of fructose at any given time so excess fructose is stored as body fat instead of being burned as energy.
o When you consume fructose in liquid form such as a soda, the effects not only speed up but are also magnified.
o Fructose is not the preferred energy source for muscles or the brain
• It is more fat producing than glucose: basically fructose will pack on the pounds!
• Elevated insulin levels (caused by consuming too much processed sugar) give cancer tumors a boost by directing cancer cells to consume glucose.
• Some cancers actually contain insulin receptors, harnessing glucose to grow and spread. For these cancers, eating sugar is like putting fuel on the fire.
• If you have cancer it is wise to remove all excess sugar from your diet: do your homework on this subject as hospitals will still give cancer patients foods loaded with sugar. Yes, Ensure ( a common product given to cancer patients) is filled with “crap” ingredients including sugar. Read labels!
Sugar is related to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
o There is still some debate however among neurologists and other medical professionals but research shows that sugar and other high refined carb type foods in excess age the brain and can increase the risk of dementia.
o When you consume sugar in excess, it forms toxic compounds called advanced glycations end products (AGES) Yes, sugar ages you!
o Too much of the fast releasing glucose (which happens when you eat the refined carbs and sugary processed foods) overloads the brain cells which are less capable of handling this overload than the muscle cells. (A high sugar, processed food diet can cause or contribute to depression)
o So the more sugar and refined carbs you eat, the higher your insulin levels will be and then more peaks in your blood sugar levels.
o These swings from high to low in your blood sugar will leave you tired, unable to concentrate and eventually over time it can lead to fading memory.
 Over time your body will become less responsive to its own insulin and will develop insulin resistant which is the precursor to diabetes
 And many are calling Alzheimer’s “type 3” diabetes.

Natural Alternatives

• If trying to eliminate sugar from your diet rather try to reduce your processed sugar intake. If you eliminate sugar completely from your diet you will also be eliminating very healthy choices such as some vegetables and fruits. These are the foods that you do want in your diet! You do need some sugar in your diet to fuel your muscles and keep your brain active. So choose whole foods for your sugar source! Beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, berries, apples and bananas are a few examples.

• Fruit is still the better option than processed food because it contains fiber and other vital nutrients needed for our health. Because of the fiber and additional nutrients, it does not cause the immediate spike in blood sugar that say a donut would that is void of additional nutrients. However it is easy to go overboard on the fruit-2 servings per day only unless you are a very active person!
• Stevia Leaf to use as a sweetener. Not Truvia or Purevia which are processed products and not stevia in its pure form.
• Small amounts of raw honey and pure grade B Maple syrup. Again, small amounts. But these do contain some nutrients. Use these in meals and snacks that are not cooked or cooked below 115 degrees as the heat will destroy the beneficial nutrients in these products.

Benefits of a Sugar Free Lifestyle

person sunset background
• Just read the “effects of sugar” to know the benefits of a processed sugar free lifestyle
• decreased cancer risk
• improved triglyceride levels
• manage weight/lose weight
• reduce diabetes risk
• healthy brain function
• reduce heart disease risk
• have more energy
• clearer more vibrant skin

Want to know more about how to stop those sugar cravings? Stay tuned for herbs and supplements to help when those cravings hit.

Bauman, E. & Friedlander, J. (2014) Therapeutic Nutrition. Pengrove, CA: Bauman College
Ellison, S. (Set/Oct. 2015) Sugar. Why it sabotages our health., vol. 16, no. 2.
Mercola, J. (7/25/15) Sugar Industry Secretes Exposed.

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, owner of Tru Foods Nutrition LLC and author of the Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide E book believes in getting to the root of your health issues instead of symptom management. For more information, visit her site at


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Are you eating this food thinking its healthy? Think again!

Agave Nectar: the sweetener you thought was good for you.

 Here’s the truth

agave syrup


I used to think Agave nectar was a good substitute in baked goods and in replacement of processed sugar too for many years. In fact, I gave my kids plenty of foods with this ingredient thinking I was doing a good thing. 

My husband bought some jam from the store the other day and he proudly displayed his purchase to me. 

As you can see from these pictures it can be very deceptive.  It looks like it could be great for diabetics. 

jam with agave


I realized I need to clear this myth up for many of you.

Why agave nectar is not as healthy as you were led to believe

  • It is made from the tequila plant and is about 1 ½ times sweeter than regular sugar
  • It is marketed to diabetics because it “supposedly” has a lower glycemic index.  I once thought this too. Research does not support this claim however. 
  • It is made by using a process that strips the naturally occurring agave juice of all its nutritional value. 
  • This chemical process that is used to make agave nectar uses caustic acids, clarifiers and filtration chemicals.  So in the end they have taken a natural product and turned it into a refined and processed product using chemicals.   
  • It is very high in fructose (roughly 85% or more of agave is fructose). Fructose gets metabolized by the liver and stored as fat.  It contributes to metabolic syndrome and excess belly fat. 
  • It contributes to insulin resistance, elevated triglycerides, and increases your risk of heart disease and liver damage. 
  • Agave nectar is no better than high fructose corn syrup and I think by now you all know to avoid that processed sugar. 
  • Too much fructose impairs your normal appetite control system.  Listen up here if you are trying to lose weight-it makes you want to eat more!
  • It has a low glycemic index because of all the fructose it contains.  However processed fructose is damaging.  (I am not talking about fructose in your fruits)
  • Just like there are “fake” olive oils, there are also fake agaves on the market as well. Some have been found to be mixed with corn syrup. 
  • They have done a great job at marketing agave nectar leading you to believe it is a healthy option

So what are some healthy options?


  • raw honey and pure grade B maple syrup (in minimal amounts)
  • dates (use dates as a sweetener in baked goods)
  • fruit
  • raisins (good fuel source for athletes/sport events)
  • stevia (NOT Truvia and PureVia as these are processed stevia products)
  • bananas (great substitute too in baked goods)
  • xylitol or erythritol (in small occasional amounts)
  • Lo Han

What happens to your body when you remove all the processed sugar from your diet?

person jumping

  • Within 10 days your LDL levels could decrease by up to 10%. It can lower your blood pressure, and reduce triglyceride levels.
  • It will decrease your risk for type 2 diabetes.
  • It can lead to improved mood, reducing or eliminating depression, anxiety and ADHD.
  • Improved sleep: you will have more energy through the day too!
  • Weight loss: less empty calories and more nutrient rich calories. Less overeating
  • No “sugar crashes” or “sugar slumps” through the day-instead you will have sustained energy so plenty of energy for work and play!

Have you been misled by the advertising too?  Let me know!

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services LLC in Castle Rock, CO believes in food first to restore the body and mind.  For more nutrition information, visit her website at


Pelc, R. Saying Goodbye to Sugar.  Hammer Nutrition. Issue 100/July 2016.

Note: I still cannot figure out why my pictures are upright on the computer but on my Ipad some are reversed!  So sorry about that!


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Snack bars for school, post workout, or anytime you need a quick pick me up

 Snack time Energy Bars

breakfast bar

These are great for a grab and go breakfast or a snack in your child’s lunch or any time of the day!  If you eat them the way we do, you may want to double this recipe.



  • 1 c. almond flour
  • ¼ t. sea salt
  • ¼ c. coconut oil melted
  • 2 T. honey
  • 1 T. water
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • ½ c. unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ c. raw pumpkin seeds
  • ½ c. raw sunflower seeds
  • ¼ c. raw slivered almonds
  • ¼ c. raisins or cranberries (or omit and add in more nuts/seeds such as hemp or chia or flax) or add in some dark chocolate

You can be creative with this recipe-try next time with flax seed, chia seeds or hemp seeds.  (Hemp seeds are also a great protein source)  You can try adding in some coconut flour and reduce the amount of almond flour too but don’t use too much coconut flour as this can make the bars crumbly-substitute only ¼ c. or less.  For a sweeter treat, add in dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher)


  1. In a food processor combine almond flour and salt; pulse in coconut oil, honey ,water and vanilla
  2. Pulse in coconut, seeds, almond slivers and raisins
  3. Press dough into 8×8 inch pan wetting your hands with water to pat down.
  4. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes
  5. Cool bars for 2 hours and serve.


Nutrient Benefits of several ingredients

Coconut oil:  It contains medium chain triglycerides which are a quick source of energy.  It also contains lauric acid and monolaurin which can kill bacteria, viruses and fungi.  They have been shown to be effective against yeast issues such as candida.  Use organic virgin coconut oil for your baking and cooking needs versus refined coconut oil. 

Almonds:  One ounce contains 6 grams of protein.  Choose raw almonds to snack on versus blanched (skin removed) since the powerful antioxidants in almonds are mostly concentrated in the skin.  Almonds are among one of the world’s best sources of vitamin E which is useful for maintaining youthful and healthy skin.  They are very high in magnesium and low magnesium levels are linked to high blood pressure. 

Sunflower Seeds: They are a rich source of vitamin B-1 and vitamin E.  They contain antioxidants, trace minerals and other vitamins that can help to reduce oxidative stress.  Those with hypothyroidism are often deficient in selenium which sunflower seeds are an excellent source of!  A diet high in nuts and seeds is shown to balance blood sugar levels. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services LLC believes in food first for restoring body and mind balance.  For list of her services and more nutrition information, visit her website at

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Back to School Snacks you can feel good about! (and ones your kids will love too!)

Easy and great tasting snacks to take to work with you or for Back to School

1. Hummus and veggies.


Hummus is quick and easy to make if you have a food processor.  To jazz it up, add in roasted peppers from a jar or roasted beets or sundried tomatoes.  Pack it in a small container and take along some cut up veggies (buy pre-cut at the store to make it even easier) and throw in some seed crackers. (I like “Mary’s Gone Crackers” brand). Hummus also freezes well.  Pour into individual containers and store in freezer.

2. Lettuce wrap:

lettuce wrap

Turkey or chicken rolled up in a lettuce leaf. Add in some sprouts, cut up tomato and cucumber. Anything that can go in-between 2 slices of bread can go into a lettuce wrap I say!

3. Popcorn.


Cook it on the stove in coconut oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and take a baggie of it to work with you.  Sprinkle on nutritional yeast for a B vitamin and protein boost.

4. Nuts and seeds:

granola in hand

My all-time favorite snack! It is easy-just portion control it into small Ziploc baggies to take with you (since it is easy to over- do it on the nuts).  They are a great source of fat and protein to keep you fueled for the day.  Mix in a blend of nuts and seeds. Choose raw and preferably from stores that keep their nuts and seeds in the refrigerator section of the store.

5. Greek yogurt (or goat milk or coconut yogurt):


Toss in a tablespoon of granola or raisins if you want. Read labels.  Many yogurts are loaded with sugar.  Choose ones that have more protein than sugar per serving if you can find it-not always easy.  I like Maple Hill 100% grass fed whole milk Greek yogurt. It does have 14 g. of sugar and 11 grams of protein in the vanilla flavor.  So this is a bit higher than I would like (of sugar contents) but if you are active and don’t eat processed foods you should be fine with this one.

6. Homemade protein bars:

breakfast bar

They are easy to make.  Make a large batch of them and store in the freezer so that you have them on hand when you need them.  I have my favorite “energy bar” recipe but you can do a search and find many recipes.  I like ones that contain nuts and seeds, that are gluten and dairy free and low in sugar.   (or try Epic Paleo bars or Kind brand bars)

7. Beef Jerky:

A great protein rich snack and low in calories too.  Read labels as many are filled with preservatives, MSG and other ingredients that we do not need to be putting into our bodies.  I like “Nick’s Sticks”, “Mission Meats Graze Sticks” and “New Primal Grass Fed Jerky”

8.Hard boiled eggs:

 Add some salt and pepper and eat away!

9. Fruit and cheese:

Choose raw organic cheese (if you know you do not have a dairy sensitivity or lactose issue) and 1 cup of berries of one piece of fruit such as an apple.  If you can’t have dairy, have fruit with 1 tablespoon of nut butter instead such as almond or cashew butter.

10. Celery with peanut butter and raisins:

Remember that one when you were a kid?  It still makes a great snack for adults too!

11. Organic tortilla chips and homemade salsa or use kale chips or beet chips instead of corn chips. with pesto or hummus:
kale for chips going into dehydrator

  Make your own pesto, salsa or hummus to avoid all the additives or at least choose organic brands


Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC believes in food first in order to take control of your health. For more nutrition information, visit her site at

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Get this for back to school, heading off to college or for your young athlete



Back to school, heading off to college, sport practice? 

Then they need this!

kids walking


Tru Foods Granola 11 oz. bags are easy to fit in back backs, gear bags and a great healthy snack for college kids.   For more information click here

Send them off with a snack that you can feel good about giving them. 


Read below for my FREE offer to local sport teams!

kids football end of game

Why this granola is better than store bought products?

granola in hand

Tru Foods granola is a raw product with the nuts and seeds soaked which means the nutrients are intact and not destroyed by heat and easy to digest and assimilate.   This means they are getting all the nutrients these ingredients have to offer.  Other granolas are heated at high temps, don’t take the time to soak the nuts and seeds and are loaded with processed sugar and other added unnecessary ingredients.  The honey is raw so that you are getting all the benefits from it. Once it’s heated those nutrients get destroyed too. 

Plus its gluten, soy and dairy free, paleo and raw friendly. No peanuts! No oats!

 Just pure, simple ingredients.

It makes a great post workout snack for your young athlete.

kids coach sports

How others are using Tru Foods Granola

  •  Taking it up Mt. Rainier on their upcoming trek
  • Putting it into hotel rooms for their wedding guests
  • In their morning yogurt
  • After a run with their electrolyte drink
  • Snacking on during 11 and 12 hour days of landscaping

Need a healthy and immune supportive Care package for your college student? 

Send them off with this.

(I apologize if this picture comes out sideways for you-on some devices it is upright and others its not) gift basket

  • Tru Foods granola/ click here
  • Tru Foods Calm and Relaxing organic herbal tea blend for freshman jitters or test jitters/ click here
  • Tru Foods Organic herbal immune support to keep them healthy! / click  here

Make it even better!


Sign up for the Tru foods Master Tonic workshop and send them off with the all-natural cold and flu tonic that really works and fast!

Click  here to register for the September 2016 Workshop in Castle Rock CO

Local Sport Teams: Free Granola!

Would your team like to try out Tru Foods Granola before you make a purchase? It makes a great post workout snack. Email me at  Tell me how many sample bags you need and when and where to deliver.  If you are not the coach, please run this by the coach of the team first.   

Karen Brennan, MSW,CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition (candidate) and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC seeks to educate and assist those with chronic health conditions who have tried everything else without success.  For more information visit her website at

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