My new favorite outdoor cooker – Griddle vs. Grill

I love summertime outdoor cooking but have never loved grilling.  Then my husband bought me a smoker and I feel in love with outdoor cooking again.  It makes the absolute best smoked jerk chicken, smoked salmon, and smoked grass-fed roasts.  I could also use it as a regular grill but that never really appealed to me either.

Then, one of my friends showed me his Blackstone Griddle and I have been blown away.  To say I love this thing is an understatement.  It has a solid steel (non-toxic) griddle top that when seasoned properly, becomes an amazing non-stick surface.  It is ridiculously easy to start and to clean.  (Note:  cleaning a traditional grill was one of the main reasons I avoided using it).  It also produces very little smoke and has a great grease-catching pan. It allows you to cook up several different things at one time making it way quicker and more efficient.  Plus, it saves you from dirtying up all sorts of pots and pans in your kitchen.   And speaking of kitchens, you don’t have to be stuck in yours while everyone else is outside.  It is small and portable but still fits a ton of food on it.

I was shocked that the price was under $300 for all it can do.  See more about the Blackstone Griddle here…








Here are some pictures of how I used the griddle in the first 2 weeks I had it.

Grass-fed Hamburgers for a crowd



Veggies for taco night


Grainless Pancake, Turkey Bacon, and Free-range Scrambled Egg Breakfast


Grass-fed hot dogs with organic red potato hash browns (core plan)


Free-range chicken stir fry with brown fried rice (core plan)  and veggies

In the Kitchen – Essentials for Cooking Healthy Meals

by:  Kimberly Roberto and Dr. Janet Early

kitchen tools

Creating nutritious, delicious meals and snacks using food created by God is the most important thing you can do for your family, and the place to do that is in the kitchen! Whether you are just getting introduced or re-introduced to your kitchen, or are a seasoned veteran in the kitchen, you will find the following lists of basics and specialty items of tools helpful.

Basics for every kitchen:

Knives (invest in a good set) Pepper grinder Spatulas and tongs
Vegetable peeler Measuring cups and spoons Salad Spinner
Mixing Bowls Citrus juicer or reamer Colander/strainer
Garlic press Cutting Boards

Small appliances:

Food Processor – Efficient way to chop and puree vegetables to create quick salads, spreads, dips, soups, and snacks. This is especially great for making hummus and mixing the ingredients for the Almond Power bars in the nutrition book.

Blender – good for smoothies and soups. Some high-end blenders, such as the Vita-Mix double as a food processor. Another great trick is to do a wet chop. Simply put roughly chopped veggies like onions and celery in the Vita-Mix and cover with filtered water. Turn the speed up to desired size. 3-4 will be a medium chop, 5-6 will be a very fine chop/dice. Strain the water off and you will have perfectly uniform chopped veggies in seconds. (Great when cooking for a crowd)

Hand-Held Blender – Use for single-serving smoothies, which is especially helpful while traveling. Also make quick, delicious soups by simmering your favorite vegetables in broth until the vegetables are soft, and then pureeing by putting the hand-held blender directly into the pot and blending right there. This tool also comes in handy when blending black beans directly in a mixing bowl to make ML’s Advanced Plan black-bean cake! Prices range from $13 – $50. All work similarly but if you end up using this tool a lot the cheaper one will have to be replaced sooner.

Crock Pot – cooks food slowly. Place all your ingredients in the crock pot in the morning and come home to a hot meal. You can make meals large enough to have plenty of left-overs. Crock pots are terrific for slow-cooking roasts and whole chickens.

Indoor Grill – when it’s not barbecue season, use a cast-iron grill for the safest and least toxic form of indoor grilling.

Steamer – the healthiest way to cook your vegetables. Gently steam them in either an electric steamer or a steamer basket over a pan.

Food Dehydrator – if set on 150° F or less, the food retains its raw, live qualities. This is great for dehydrating sliced fruit (like apple chips), drying fresh herbs, kale chips, homemade grass-fed beef jerky (this is so much more affordable than store bought).

Cookware (Including grill pans and a heavy bottomed soup pot) – the safest and least toxic forms of cookware are cast iron and enameled cast iron, followed by stainless steel, Thermolon™, and glass. Newer brands of non-stick ceramic cookware are not only non-toxic but easy to use in place of traditional non-stick cookware (Teflon® is facing class-action lawsuits and possible extinction within the next decade due to toxicity hazards).

Parchment Paper – this is your friend when baking advanced plan crusts, cakes, and cookies. You can line a baking sheet, square or rectangular baking dishes, and to buffer food from plastics when freezing. Another great trick when making the advanced plan pizza crust is to put a damp paper towel on the counter then the parchment paper. The paper towel will keep it from sliding around on you. (A Silpat is another great non-stick option to line a baking sheet)

As your mastery and creativity expands, you may find some of these tools useful as well:

Vegetable spiral slicer – transform zucchini into pasta instantly. Without the skins, you won’t be able to tell the difference. Cook in any sauce and you’ve effectively replaced traditional carbohydrates with healthy vegetables. The spiral slicer is also ideal for creative salad toppings, such as carrots and onions.

Egg Slicer/Dicer – great for Egg Salad or salads and garnishes.

Citrus juicer or reamer – Nothing tastes as good in your recipes that call for lemon or lime juice then the real thing! Tip: When you have to get out your citrus juicer for a recipe, juice some extra and freeze the rest for the next time you need it. Lemon and lime juice both freeze nicely.

One-quart mason jars and lids for storing and soaking ingredients.

Fine Mesh strainer

Sprout bag – makes growing sprouts a cinch.

Microplane – great for whole nutmeg, ginger, and citrus peels, etc.

Mandoline – Makes uniform slices of tomatoes, onions, zucchini and other vegetables as well as beautiful julienne slices with little effort.

Digital Kitchen Scale – Traditionally used for portion control, but an even better use is weighing ingredients that are messy to measure directly into you mixing bowl, food processor bowl, or sauce pan with use of the “tare” button. You will be able to make easy conversions by looking at the nutrition labels of your ingredients because serving sizes will also be listed in grams. See recipe for Maximized Living’s Almond Power Bars with ingredient amounts listed in grams below.

Funnels – This is an inexpensive item (less than $5) that can make transfer of foods into jars for storage much easier. A wide-mouthed one is great for pouring soup or sauces into Mason jars. If you want to go all-out, try KitchenAid Pro’s set of 3 funnels for $17.49 from Amazon. You’ll get 3 different sizes, including a wide-mouth size and a removable strainer that fits all 3 sizes.

Roaster Pan

Mortar/pestle – blending spices is one of the best ways to ensure a constant variety of flavors in the kitchen.

Juicer – If you find yourself doing more juicing than your blender can handle, and actual vegetable-and-fruit juicer is an incredible tool to create delicious drinks to nourish the whole family.

If you would like to try your hand at using the digital scale…try this converted recipe…

Almond Power Bars using digital scale with grams as unit of measure:

Ingredients for saucepan:

104 grams Coconut Oil

14 grams Pure Vanilla Extract.

Measure the coconut oil and vanilla extract directly into a sauce pan using this method: Put the saucepan and a large spoon on the digital scale and press “tare” to zero out. Use the spoon to remove coconut oil from its jar, and put the oil and spoon directly into the pot and check the weight on the scale. Add or subtract coconut oil from your spoon until you have exactly 104 grams. Zero out the scale again and add the required amount of vanilla extract.

Melt the coconut oil with vanilla gently on low heat for 1 – 2 minutes until the coconut oil is liquid. Do not overheat and cause the coconut oil to smoke. Set the oil mixture aside to be added to the food processor after processing the other ingredients.

Ingredients for food processor bowl:

206 grams Raw Almonds or Almond Flour

60 grams Flaxseed Meal

46 grams Unsweetened Shredded Coconut

60 grams (or two scoops) Flavored Whey Protein Powder

120 grams Raw Almond Butter

Scant 3 grams Sea Salt

¾ Teaspoon Stevia Powder, to taste

Turn your digital scale on, and adjust to measure in grams. Put your food processor bowl on its base and add the chopper. Carefully remove bowl and put finger in bottom side of bowl and chopper to secure the chopper in place. Carefully remove finger as you place the bowl on a digital kitchen scale. Press the “tare” button on the digital scale to reset the weight to zero. Add ingredients one at a time using the grams to measure. After each addition, press “tare” again to zero the scale. When all ingredients have been added, carefully lift the processor bowl, re-insert your finger into the bottom of the bowl and chopper to keep the chopper in place while you return the bowl to its base and lock in position. Turn the processor on until ingredients are mostly mixed. Add the coconut oil and vanilla and pulse until the ingredients have formed a course paste. Press mixture into an 8 x 8 glass baking dish, lined with parchment paper and coconut oil. Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour, or until mixture hardens. Cut into bars and enjoy as is, or add a chocolate coating, following the instructions on page. 108 in the Maximized Living Nutrition Plan book.






Enzymes – Critically Important, Frequently Ignored

Food is made up of not only protein, carbohydrates, fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, but also critically important enzymes.

All living things contain enzymes and life cannot exist without them.  Enzymatic activity is involved in every biochemical reaction in the body.  Enzymes are essential nutrients and can easily become deficient in the body. Think of enzymes as the “workers” on a construction site.  Proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals are the raw materials but the workers are the ones needed to build the house.

There are three types of enzymes:

Enzymes1. Digestive Enzymes – secreted by the salivary glands, stomach, pancreas, and the small intestine.  They break down foods to their simplest forms.

2. Food Enzymes – exist naturally in raw food. Temperatures above 118 degrees F destroy enzymes.  They work to digest food so it can be absorbed into the blood stream. Food enzymes are found in raw fruits, vegetables, eggs, raw unpasteurized dairy, meat and fish.

3. Metabolic Enzymes – produced in the cells and can be found in organs, bones, blood, and inside the cells. These enzymes assist the function of the organs.

You will not see enzymes listed on the US RDA’s but they are extremely important.  Where vitamin and mineral deficiencies can result in outward symptoms, enzyme deficiencies can be happening behind the scenes undetected and eventually manifest as chronic degenerative diseases.

The Processed Standard American Diet

Although it is widely known that enzymes are critically important, this fact is completely ignored when it comes to food manufacturing and processing.  In the early 1900’s there was a shift from rural and agricultural food to industrial, processed food.  In order for food to have a longer shelf-life in a can or a box, enzymes had to be removed.  If they are not removed, they will ultimately digest the food as it sits in a can.

Then…Food manufacturers used to use salicylic acid (aspirin) to destroy enzymes but there were many health ramifications to doing this.  Salicylic acid was linked to blood thinning, irritating effect on the kidneys and bowels and slowed digestion.

Now…new technologies are used to remove enzymes like hybridization.  For example, foods can be hybridized to have less natural enzymes.  (e.g. tomatoes)

It is a common practice to add back in vitamins and minerals in foods where they have been stripped away like grains (think “enriched”) but enzymes are never replaced.  This results in certain

deficiencies and health consequences.  When enzymes are destroyed, it taxes your body tremendously.

How the body works

Digestion begins with your saliva as it secretes enzymes to start working on the food right away (that is why it is so important to chew your food).  If the food also contains enzymes, they also go to work here.

The food goes into the upper part of the stomach where it takes approximately 30-60 minutes for your stomach to produce enough acid to bring the pH from a 5.0-6.0 to a 3.0 where it can work on the food you ate.   In the meantime, enzymes start working right away and are able to pre-digest food in the stomach.  It is estimated that enzymes can allow up to 60% of starch, 30% of protein, and 10% of fat to be pre-digested.  That is significant!

The predigested food moves into the intestine where hormonal signals go out to the pancreas to let it know how much protein, fat, and carbohydrate remain to be digested.  The pancreas produces the precise amount of enzymes needed to do the job.  This is a fragile process and predigestion is critically important.


Enzymes have unique properties that allow them to work with very specific coenzymes.  The effectiveness of enzymes is very fragile and is dependent on the environment.  Enzymes require the presence of water, proper temperature, and proper pH


  • Protease & Peptidase – found in meats, eggs, milk, cheese, wheat , peanuts.  hydrolyze proteins breaking them down into usable forms.  They are absorbed into the blood where they can have a positive effect on immune function, dissolving blood clots, and helping bloodflow.
  • Lipase – found in avocados, olives, nuts/seeds, bananas, cherries, grapes.  Hydrolyzes fats and is linked to treat pancreatic cancer, as therapy after a heart attack, and to control cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • Catalase – hydrolyzes hydrogen peroxide to water and oxygen.  (peroxide is a by-product of energy production but must be destroyed in order for healthy cellular function)
  • Amylase – hydrolyzes carbohydrates – the hardest for the body to digest.

Heat destroys enzymes

Temperatures above 118 degrees F destroy enzymes found in food.  Therefore, eating raw foods and/or using a dehydrator set at 118 degrees or below ensures proper enzymatic intake.

Note:  most produce is covered with a layer of cellulose which is not broken down by the body.  This is what most commonly causes gas and discomfort when eating raw produce.  The most common way to combat this problem is to cook the food which removes the cellulose but another way to do it is to chew food thoroughly which also removes the cellulose without destroying the enzymes.

Dangers when food is not adequately digested

When food particles are not digested properly, they pass through the gut wall where the will start to putrefy and become toxic.  These toxins eventually make their way to the blood.

Food that is not broken down properly and that don’t make it across the gut wall will remain in the intestines where unfriendly bacteria will begin to feed on the undigested food.   (this can also occur when protein and refined carbs are consumed at the same time).  This causes irritation to the lining of the colon which leads to a host of other problems.

There are many positive effects of enzymes:

Improves digestion, slows aging (including wrinkles), disease prevention, immune booster, reduces inflammation, prevents allergic reactions, speeds healing, etc.


If you want to supplement with digestive enzymes, be sure to source a quality product

Maximized Living Resources:  order here

  • MaxGreens – contains a live enzyme blend and probiotics from 34 organic/living superfoods
  • Women’s Multi – contains a specific probiotic and enzyme blend
  • Men’s Multi – contains a specific digestive support blend

Other Resources:

  • Garden of Life Raw Enzymes
  • Designs for Healthy Enzymes


Enzymes The Key to Health by Dr. Howard Loomis                

Why Grass Fed Beef?

MYTH: FAT IN RED MEAT CAUSES heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and kidney disease!

TRUTH: There have been many meat eating societies where heart disease, diabetes and cancer are non-existent. Where cholesterol and blood pressure are normal and there is longevity and quality of life.   Studies linking red-meat to disease have all been performed on conventional beef.

It starts at the beginning

Cows were designed to roam green pastures and eat grass, NOT to be raised in crowded feedlots and eat grains like all commercial beef.

It takes 5-8 lbs of “food” to produce 1 lb of beef. That is 5-8 lbs of omega-3 rich grass or 5-8 lbs of pesticide-laden, genetically modified, processed grains (mostly corn). You are not just what you eat but what you eat ate!!!

Problems when cows eat grains

  • Grain causes the rumen to expand and apply pressure to the cow’s lungs which can cause suffocation.   The animal will often have to have a tube pushed down their esophagus to avoid suffocation.
  • Severe acidosis is common with this unnatural diet. The cow gets very sick (similar to severe heartburn) and begin to eat dirt to try to stop the burning sensation. They will pant and salivate excessively and frequently develop liver disease and ulcers. This results in processors adding a constant, low-level dose of antibiotics to try to combat the problem.
  • Most cow’s also have anabolic steroids implanted in their ears to promote faster growth.
  • All of this obviously weakens the cow’s immune system

Meat Processing

  • Old meatpacking plants slaughtered about 50/hr, 20 years ago 175/hr, now 400+/hr
  • American meat production is very centralized…13 meat packing houses now slaughter most of the beef consumed in the US. This is a breeding ground for bacteria and disease (e.coli, staph, etc). It is estimated that one hamburger can contain meat from 100+ different cows.

Bad for the Environment

It takes a heavy amount of fossil fuels to grow feed crops, fertilize them, spray pesticides and herbicides to them, and transport them to the feedlots. Grass feeding is a natural cycle that feeds animals and replenishes the ground with little to no additional effort. The grass fed model is actually beneficial to the environment and the health of Americans.

Health Benefits of Grass Fed Beef

  • 2-4 times more Omega-3 fatty acids. (Ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6- Grass fed beef 2:1, Grain fed beef 20:1)
  • 3-5 times more CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) which is a powerful cancer fighter
  • 4 times higher in Vitamin E
  • Higher in the minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium

Great websites for more information and to order grass fed beef:

  1. Eat Wild
  2. US Wellness Meats
  3. Hodge Ranch
  4. Two by Two Farms (Bought Vineyard Farms on Macland Rd)
  5. White Oak Pastures (ground beef is available at Publix, roasts/steaks/ground beef available at Harry’s, also available online)


Why don’t the Maximized Living Nutrition Plans recommend Pork & Shellfish?

The Basics

  • Pigs are scavengers (they will eat anything)
  • Pork is highly acidic
  • Pork is toxic
  • Pork is inflammatory
  • Pork carries parasites
  • Pork is linked to numerous health conditions
  • Pork has a less desirable omega 6:3 ratio than grass fed beef
  • Pork is not essential for a healthy diet

Shellfish, more of the same…

  • scavengers, toxic, inflammatory, prone to pathogens, etc

Let’s look at the biblical, the scientific, and the common sense

Could it be that the bible was right?

  • Lev 11:2-3 Of all land animals these are the ones you may eat:
  • any animal that has hoofs you may eat, provided it is cloven-footed and chews the cud.
  • Lev 11:6-7and the pig, which does indeed have hoofs and is cloven-footed, but does not chew the cud and is therefore unclean for you.
  • (New American Bible)
  • Lev 11:9-10 Of the various creatures that live in the water, you may eat the following: whatever in the seas or in river waters has both fins and scales you may eat. But of the various creatures that crawl or swim in the water, whether in the sea or in the rivers, all those that lack either fins or scales are loathsome for you,
  • What else is “unclean”? eagles, vultures, owls, lizards, camels, etc.

The Pig Itself

  • Pigs are scavengers of the earth and will literally eat anything.
  • Pigs have a very unsophisticated digestive system. Whatever they eat (and that could be anything) ends up on their flesh within about 4 hours. Cows on the other hand, “chew the cud” and have a more sophisticated digestive system (4 compartments in their stomach) which breaks down and helps in the detoxification process.
  • Pigs are not the healthiest creatures: fat, lumbering, poor skin, skin lesions, tubercles in the lungs, abcesses in the liver
  • Pigs also have no sweat glands to allow for the release of toxins. Many pigs often have open, oozing sores where the overabundance of toxins manifest.


  • Pigs are notorious for the amount of parasites present.   Most of these parasites are heat-resistant. This means that even cooking may not kill them. (Even if they are killed off, you may still be eating dead parasites)
  • One of the biggest concerns with eating pork meat is trichinellosis or trichinosis. This is an infection that humans get from eating undercooked or uncooked pork that contains the larvae of the trichinella worm.
  • When the worm, most often living in cysts in the stomach, is opened due to stomach acids, its larvae are released into the body of the pig. These new worms make their homes in the muscles of the pig.   They remain there even as humans ingest the infected meat flesh.
  • Cysticercosis, lives in pork tissue. The larvae are released, reach maturity, and mate in the intestines, the females producing live larvae. The parasites are then carried from the gastrointestinal tract by the bloodstream to various muscles, where they become encysted.
  • According to Consumer Reports, 69 percent of all raw pork samples tested — nearly 200 samples in total — were contaminated with the dangerous bacteria Yersinia enterocolitica, which causes fever and gastrointestinal illness with diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramps. (Ground pork was more likely than pork chops to be contaminated.)
  • It is recommended to freeze pork before cooking to kill off trichinellosis or trichinosis.

Common Conditions Associated with Pork Consumption

  • Cirrhosis of the liver – Pork consumption has a strong epidemiological association with cirrhosis of the liver. Startlingly, pork may be even more strongly associated with alcoholic cirrhosis than alcohol itself!
  • Liver Cancer
  • Multiple Sclerosis – “The correlation between pork consumption and MS prevalence was highly significant. Also, of major significance was the absence of a significant correlation between MS prevalence and beef consumption. This is consistent with the observations that MS is rare in countries where pork is forbidden by religious customs (e.g. Middle East) and has a low prevalence in countries where beef consumption far exceeds pork consumption (e.g. Brazil, Australia).”
  • PRRS sometimes referred to as “swine mystery disease,” “blue abortion,” and “swine infertility,” the disease was finally named “Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome” (PRRS), and may afflict about 75 percent of American pig herds. It attacks the pig’s immune system leaving it open to infection (esp. lungs)
  • The Nipah Virus – Deadly for animals and humans, through contact with infected animals. In humans, the virus can lead to deadly encephalitis (an acute inflammation of your brain).
  • Porcine Endogenous Retrovirus (PERV) – According to a study in the journal Lancet, this virus can spread to people receiving pig organ transplants.
  • Menangle Virus – In 1998, it was reported that a new virus infecting pigs was able to jump to humans. The menangle virus was discovered in August 1997 when sows at an Australian piggery began giving birth to deformed and mummified piglets.


  • The World Cancer Research Fund reviewed 7,000 studies and deemed processed meats “too dangerous for human comsumption.” Mainly due to carcinogenic compounds like nitrites and excitotoxins like MSG.
  • Nitrites (keeps meat looking fresh and colorful) but are highly carcinogenic
  • MSG (for flavor and preserving). Also listed as hydrolyzed_________, autolyzed__________, yeast extract.
  • A 2005 study at the University of Hawaii showed a 67% increase in pancreatic cancers in people who eat processed meat.
  • Studies also link nitrites with colorectal cancer and other digestive system cancers.

What are nitrites & MSG in?

  • Bacon   •Jerky   •Sausage   •Hot Dogs   • Sandwich/Deli Meat   •Frozen Meals   •Canned Meats   •etc