Easy way to get more vitamin D from your food

Easy tip for the day:

How to get more vitamin D into your diet


If you love mushrooms you are in for a treat!

Not many foods that we consume contain vitamin D.  It is found in foods such as oily fish (how many of you consume sardines on a regular basis?) and small amounts in egg yolk (pasture raised-the deep orange kind) and grass fed butter. 

On top of that we spend most of our time indoors and not exposed to the vitamin D from the sun.  And if we are outside we are usually lathered up in sunscreen.  Also, if your cholesterol levels are too low you won’t be able to reap the benefits of vitamin D from the sun. 

In an experiment using shitake mushrooms sitting outside with gills up getting full sun for 6 hours per day for 2 days found that the vitamin D content in the mushrooms soared from 100 IU/100 grams to 46,000 IU/100 grams! Yes, mushrooms have been shown to be a rare food that can contain large amounts of vitamin D.

Here is a tip:

Take your mushrooms that you just purchased from the store (any kind will suffice) and keep them in a sunny window or outside.  (Studies showed they just had to be exposed to UVA light)

When they sit in the sunlight they act like little solar panels and soak up the sun!

Here is what you do:

Let them sit in the sun for 2 days in an area that they will get roughly 6 hours of sunlight.

If you are letting them sit outside, then cover them at night to avoid moisture from dew.  

Keep the gills exposed to the sunlight.   They will retain this amount of vitamin D for at least a year (not that you are going to wait that long before you eat them!)

And then eat as you normally would!



Gregor, M. (8/1/13) Vitamin D from Mushrooms, Sun, or Supplements?  http://nutritionfacts.org/2013/08/01/vitamin-d-from-  mushrooms-sun-or-supplements/

Holick, M.F. Vitamin D deficiency.  New England Jounral of Medicine, 2007; 357(3): 266-81.

Stamets, P. (8/6/12) Place Mushrooms in Sunlight to Get Your Vitamin D.    http://www.fungi.com/blog/items/place-mushrooms-in-sunlight-to-get-your-vitamin-d.html

___(4/16) Alternative Medicine. Issue 27.


Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition (candidate), author of the E book Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC believes in food first when addressing the root causes to your health conditions.  For more information, visit her website at www.trufoodsnutrition.com

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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 www.trufoodsnutrition.com

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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 www.trufoodsnutrition.com. 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. Onfitnessmagazine.com, 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 www.trufoodsnutrition.com


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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 www.trufoodsnutrition.com





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 www.trufoodsnutrition.com

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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 www.trufoodsnutrition.com

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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 trufoodsnutrition@yahoo.com.  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 www.trufoodsnutrition.com

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The Real Reason Why I wrote the Tru Foods Depression Free guide (it may not be what you think)

The Real Reason why I Wrote the Tru Foods Nutrition Guide to a Depression Free Lifestyle

It may not be the reason you thought

(and what I just found out while writing this)


I was speaking with someone the other day and she said to me “So you wrote this because your son lost a friend recently to suicide, right?  What is it, like a 25 page dietary guide or something like that?”

I realized I had not clarified the purpose and mission of the book and what it really does cover.   

Why I wrote the book

couple of people

I wrote is because of my own son.

 I wrote it because I almost lost him a month prior to his 16th birthday.

 I wrote it because of the journey he and I traveled on.

 I wrote it because I still have my son and I want to prevent you from losing your child to suicide. 

I am only a nutritionist because of my son, because I needed to figure out how to help him because traditional western medicine was not looking at the root issues and instead only treating the symptom of depression. 

Along the way I found my passion, to help others in the same situation. To help others who are struggling or who see their loved ones struggle with depression.

 This is also to help those who keep their depression hidden from the world. 

I have stopped counting how many people we lost as a family to suicide. Who really wants to keep tract of that number anyhow. 

What I found out while writing this

sad person

Ironically just as I sat down to the computer my other son called me. One of his friends went to the hospital the other night.  It turns out he was admitted to inpatient for suicidal thoughts/attempt.  My son knew this but didn’t tell me at first, I guess because he knows I will stick my nose in and try to help. 

What is going on in our society, with our kids? Many have everything going for them.  These are the ones I address-there is no outward explanation for the depression. So we must look inward to health conditions. 

What the Tru Foods Nutrition Guide for a Depression Free Life is really about

person sunset background

I wrote this Tru Foods Nutrition Guide for a depression free life because I was working on my book on root causes for depression when this other” boy”, a senior in college, took his life.

This guide is not about what’s causing your depression (although I do address 10 possible root causes) but a guide to get you on the path to feeling better. NOW

It’s the guide I wish I had for my son so I could get him on track with the diet he needed to support his brain (and his gut). It guides you to the supplements and herbs that can be helpful. I never knew any of this when my son was struggling!

For $9.98 you get almost 200 pages of information.  I don’t short change you. I give you all I got in that book.  There is probably a lot of information in this book that you will not find elsewhere or have to really search to find it all.  I put it all in one place for you to help you.

So that’s why I write about depression.

Because of my son,

And because I still have him. 

And because I don’t want you to lose yours.

If you want to purchase the E book click  here.   It is available for kindle, I Book and in PDF. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services LLC seeks to provide the education and guidance to help others take control of their own health issues and restore balance in the body.  As a nutrition professional she does not treat, cure or diagnose.  To learn more go to www.trufoodsnutrition.com

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Is your Church Executive Board as Judgmental as this one?

Is your church executive board as judgmental as this one?

What I experienced this past week


Let me preface this article to say that this is not to pass judgment any religious organization-this is to express my view in relation to one isolated situation. 

I have been searching for facilities to use at low cost for workshops and educational seminars for local clients for the past several months.  Many places to rent offered exorbitant fees and some just never returned repeated phone calls. 

Someone recommended their church and I have been in the process of getting approval to use their space since May.  They had fees that were reasonable and it meant that I could keep the cost very low for my clients.  I was very excited about this! 

Today I received a call from someone on this church’s executive committee who stated that since I am a “for profit” organization I am not a good fit for them and they do not want to rent space (for a total of 4 hours) to me, my business. 

Prior to their decision I met with someone at this church, explained my mission and focus and  I provided them with a packet of information about me, my business and what I do. I also explained this to the board person on the phone as well. 

Here is why I feel that they should feel shameful and embarrassed. 

Here is why I feel they are hypocrites and judgmental as a church board. 

This is not to say that everyone at this church behaves in this manner nor are all church organizations like this.   Also, they need to do what they feel is right.

Let me digress for just a moment;

Sadly I have encountered numerous judgmental people from religious organizations when working in long term care.  While most of these organizations have been wonderful, compassionate and giving, there are always some bad apples that spoil it-like the ones who think since they are a church group they do not need to go through an orientation to volunteer at our nursing home, nor feel they should have to adhere to a schedule to come in and help out. 

old person in nh

Then there have been the ones who refuse to give communion to those with dementia because they don’t “know what is going on” or ask that they be removed from certain religious groups within the facility.

And then there was this refusal to rent space to me as nutrition professional. 

Let me be clear; as a “for profit”-it is just me and my profit, if any, is meager.  I work my tail off to give people free information via personal emails and texts, through free presentations, blogs and newsletters and through the numerous organizations I volunteer with.  Sometimes I am up late at night researching or responding for someone who isn’t even a client. Then there are the clients that I take at discount, reduced rates and almost for free.  And there are the free clients as well. 

So to link me in a category with large “for profit organizations” after I explained this to them, is in my opinion quite embarrassing on their part. 

The cost for the Master Tonic workshop that I wanted to hold there would cover costs to rent space and items needed for the workshop.  If I make a profit it’s close to minimum wage.  Last year I ended up losing money on having the event.  But I enjoyed offering it just the same!


People, who know me, know I don’t do this for the money. They know that I am passionate about helping people-whether it was in the nursing home or now as nutrition professional.  I volunteer my time endlessly and give free information.  I wonder if most of their church community can even say that. 

In the end I need to not take it personally and know what I do is right and continue to follow my path. While I do find it disheartening after I presented the above information to them, they do not know me and they do have to make these decisions based on the information provided.

 I apologize to those of who want to attend these workshops in a professional and centralized location.  I will continue to keep looking but we may be back at my home! September Master workshops dates and registration in Castle Rock, CO should be posted on my website within the week. 

 It is also not my intent to put down any specific religious organization but to express my thoughts and opinion in regards to this particular instance. 

What do you think? Am I being too over reactive? Too sensitive? Has anything like this happened to you?

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC seeks to educate others so that they can take charge of their own health.  If you would like more information visit her website at www.trufoodsnutrition.com

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