Healthy with Jodi

Uses and Benefits of Fennel Seeds

    Uses and Benefits of Fennel Seeds

    What is fennel and how do you prepare it?

    Fennel is crunchy and slightly sweet, adding a refreshing contribution to the ever popular Mediterranean cuisine. Most often associated with Italian cooking, be sure to add this to your selection of fresh vegetables from the autumn through early spring when it is readily available and at its best.

    Fennel is composed of a white or pale green bulb from which closely superimposed stalks are arranged. The stalks are topped with feathery green leaves near which flowers grow and produce fennel seeds. The bulb, stalk, leaves and seeds are all edible. Fennel belongs to the Umbellifereae family and is therefore closely related to parsley, carrots, dill and coriander.

    Good quality fennel will have bulbs that are clean, firm and solid, without signs of splitting, bruising or spotting. The bulbs should be whitish or pale green in color. The stalks should be relatively straight and closely superimposed around the bulb and should not splay out to the sides too much. Both the stalks and the leaves should be green in color. There should be no signs of flowering buds as this indicates that the vegetable is past maturity. Fresh fennel should have a fragrant aroma, smelling subtly of licorice or anise. Fennel is usually available from autumn through early spring.

    Store fresh fennel in the refrigerator crisper, where it should keep fresh for about four days. Yet, it is best to consume fennel soon after purchase since as it ages, it tends to gradually lose its flavor. While fresh fennel can be frozen after first being blanched, it seems to lose much of its flavor during this process. Dried fennel seeds should be stored in an airtight container in a cool and dry location where they will keep for about six months. Storing fennel seeds in the refrigerator will help to keep them fresher longer.

    Tips for Preparing Fennel

    The three different parts of fennel—the base, stalks and leaves—can all be used in cooking. Cut the stalks away from the bulb at the place where they meet. If you are not going to be using the intact bulb in a recipe, then first cut it in half, remove the base, and then rinse it with water before proceeding to cut it further. Fennel can be cut in a variety of sizes and shapes, depending upon the recipe and your personal preference. The best way to slice it is to do so vertically through the bulb. If your recipe requires chunked, diced or julienned fennel, it is best to first remove the harder core that resides in the center before cutting it. The stalks of the fennel can be used for soups, stocks and stews, while the leaves can be used as an herb seasoning.

    A Few Quick Serving Ideas

    • Sautéed fennel and onions make a wonderful side dish.
    • Combine sliced fennel with avocados, and oranges for a delightful salad.
    • Braised fennel is a wonderful complement to scallops.
    • Consider adding sliced fennel in addition to the traditional toppings of lettuce on your sandwiches.  (Lettuce wrapped preferably)
    • Top thinly sliced fennel with plain and mint leaves.
    • Fennel is a match made in Heaven when served with salmon and lemon.
    • Beets and Ground fennel seed is an excellent combination for potassium and digestion

    Reflection…a year in review…


      I sit in quiet in the morning and collect my thoughts and decided to copy my thoughts to my website instead of just my healthy blog and email newsletter.  It’s that important to for my voice to be heard.  And not heard because I want praise, but because I want the world to feel different about the future and realize it can be better but it starts deep inside each one of us.  We change no one but ourselves.  If we looked inward instead of blaming others for our situation or circumstances then this world becomes a softer, kinder place to live in.  Sadness would be replaced by happiness. I’ve seen it, I believe it.


      My Midlife…is my best life…as I reflect on this year, I have come to the conclusion that I love everyday I wake up and open my heart and mind to enlightenment. Truly believing that everything in the universe is divinely orchestrated and placed in our paths for accepting more love and growth in our lives.

      So…. I am no longer waiting for a special occasion; I burn the best candles on ordinary days.

      I am no longer waiting for the house to be clean; I fill it with people who understand that their presence is more important.

      I am no longer waiting for everyone to understand me, it’s just not their journey.

      I am no longer waiting for the perfect children; my children have their own names that burn as brightly as any star.

      I am no longer waiting for the other shoe to drop; It already has and I survived.

      I am no longer waiting for the time to be right; the time is always NOW.

      I am no longer waiting for the perfect mate who will complete me; I am grateful to be so warmly, tenderly held by the light in the sky in the form of the Sun, Moon and Stars.

      I am no longer waiting for a quiet moment; my heart can be stilled whenever and wherever it is called to.

      I am no longer waiting for the world to be at peace; I unclench my jaw and breathe peace in and exhale uncertainty.

      I am no longer waiting to do something great; being awake to carry my grain of sand is enough.

      I do not need to be recognized; I know that I dance in a holy circle.

      I am no longer waiting for Forgiveness. I believe I am enough.

      I asked my daughter if she had any resolutions and she said it was just another day Mom. I told her I can make a new goal just like I can any other day of the year and I redirected her thoughts and challenged her to make her yearly bucket list. What are the things she wanted to accomplish this year, where did she want to do, and how did she want to feel, who did she want to surround herself with?

      I know I want an adventure every month. I know I want to wake up grateful everyday that my body works and carries through another day of inspiration. I know I want to see change in the world, and I know that starts with me and my heart. It’s a daily choice of how great we want to be. I like the circle of life I dance in and plan to expand this year. As I open my heart to more love and acceptance the world does change….one soul at a time.

      I’m grateful for all those that believed in me and trusted me with their health goals and emotional health.  I am grateful for all the tender lessons you’ve taught me, for touching my heart, enriching my life and allowing me to be apart of your journey.


      Much Love and Light in 2019


      C. Austin Miles


      Top Natural Sweeteners


        I love this time of year!  With the season comes SUGAR, lots of if.  There are several natural substitutes that allow us to still have our favorite traditional desserts and goodies.  I couldn’t have put together a better list so I decided to repost Dr. Axe’s article on t5he subject.


        Gluten Free. Gut Health. Immune Health.

          How they are intertwined.

          I find it sad that we need to learn about health issues the hard way.  Our grandparents didn’t have to deal with such issues because they ate real food.  Today it is essential to educate yourself and learn how to get back to basics.  It is also essential to know your sources.  Where is your information coming from?  There are a several Doctors I follow in functional health and medicine, Dr. Osborn is one of them and has a fabulous book out, “No Grain, No Pain”.  He breaks down how it’s all connected.  I believe it’s a triangle of health, can’t just pick one thing, it’s all related because our bodies work as a whole.

          If you are interested in learning more or need help deciphering through what it all means, call me, I’ll help simply it for you.  No need to spend hours researching on the internet…we’ve already done that for you.

          A quick break down…

          Lack of essential and bioavailable proteins are a major contributing factor to persistent illness in those with gluten sensitivity. Why? Protein is the main ingredient your body uses to build immune antibodies as well as heal inflamed structural tissues and muscles. These functions are vital for the following reasons:

          1-Antibody production, particularly IgA is essential for your body’s ability to combat infection, chemical toxins, as well as allergies. Research has shown that antibody deficiency is a common phenomenon in those with gluten sensitivity. Lack of these vital proteins puts you at risk for multiple chronic health issues.

          2-Muscles are required for movement of the frame. As part of this process, muscle serves as a pumping system for your lymphatic vessels. These vessels are crucial because they help the body transport immune cells and antibodies. They also help remove damaging toxins. Research has also shown that a large majority of those with gluten sensitivity have poor muscle to fat ratios.

          Gluten Destroys Muscle & Causes Protein Wasting

          In more than a decade of seeing patients and dealing with the consequences of gluten, one of the most common side effects of gluten is inflammation in the muscle and joints. The gluten proteins create an inflammatory reaction in these tissues that over time leads to many negative outcomes:

          •Muscle pain

          •Muscle atrophy (loss)

          •Joint pain and arthritis

          •Weight gain (increased visceral fat – AKA belly fat)

          •Weight loss (due to muscle atrophy)

          •Restricted mobility

          •Increased risk for injury in those trying to exercise

          Gluten consumption leads to body protein disruption in several ways…

          1-Inflammation – Gluten can cause the immune system to literally attack the muscle and joints leading to chronic pain and inflammation. A prolonged immune system attack contributes to chronic degradation of these tissues and subsequently atrophy of the muscle and arthritis in the joint.

          2-Hormone Release – To deal with this chronic damage, the body produces cortisol as an anti-inflammatory hormone. Increased cortisol leads to increased visceral fat (belly fat).

          3-Damage to the Stomach and GI Tract – Gluten can damage the specialized cells in your stomach and small intestines that secrete vital acid and digestive enzymes. Over time this damage makes it almost impossible to properly digest and break down dietary proteins from meats and vegetables. Many with gluten sensitivity have lost their ability to digest properly and develop protein and amino acid deficits.

          Gluten Induced Gut Damage Can Make Meat Digestion a Challenge

          Many who embark on a gluten free diet still have inflamed and damaged gastrointestinal tracts. Some suffer with low acid production making it hard to digest dietary proteins. This is a big part of the “Catch 22″ in healing. To heal the gut, you need protein, but to digest the protein, you need a healthy and functional gut.

          The Critical Role of Protein

          Protein balance plays a major role body function. It is essential for proper maintenance of the immune system, the detoxification systems in the liver, antibody formation, muscle maintenance, tissue repair, digestive enzyme production, neurotransmitter (brain chemicals), and hormone production. Protein is responsible for building cellular receptors (antennas) that help recognize hormones, regulate blood sugar, control our circadian rhythm, and control our metabolism.

          Too Many Carbs

          Most people following the gluten free diet seek out alternatives to bread, pasta, cereal, etc. Unfortunately, these alternatives are highly processed, contain GMO ingredients, and they disrupt the carb, fat, protein balance. Excessive carbohydrate intake causes damage to important proteins in our bloodstream. This damage, often referred to as AGE (Advanced Glycation End products) is a major contributing factor to inflammation and chronic illness. And if you remember from the lesson above, chronic inflammation leads to hormone changes that tax our body’s protein stores and our ability to heal and repair is minimized.

          The Problem with Over the Counter Protein Powders?

          For patients with digestive issues, doctors commonly recommend meal replacement or protein powders. Unfortunately, most protein powders available over the counter contain cheap and highly processed ingredients that are subjected to high heat and chemical processing. These processes denature the protein creating a suboptimal food source that is harder to digest. Many other protein powders are also loaded up with artificial sweeteners and GMO chemicals like aspartame, sucralose, corn fructose, and maltodextrin. Some people will attempt to consume rice based proteins. Big mistake. Most rice proteins are devoid of nutrients, are low in biologically valuable amino acids, have a high potential for arsenic contamination, and most importantly contain a concentrated and very difficult to digest rice gluten. Other common protein options contain foods with severe allergenic potential. The most common include dairy, soy, and egg.

          All three of these protein replacements can have severe drawbacks. Dairy is usually a major problem for those with gluten sensitivity. Aside from it’ s allergic potential, most dairy proteins are heat processed and derived from GMO cows being fed GMO grains covered in chemical fertilizers and pesticides. These chemicals are known gut irritants and have been shown to alter the microbial gut balance and contribute to intestinal permeability (AKA – leaky gut).

          Soy proteins are high in phytates and tannins (compounds that inhibit mineral absorption – calcium, iron, zinc). Most soy proteins are also GMO and have been treated with chemical pesticides.

          Egg protein replacement powders are typically derived from chickens being fed diets high in GMO grain sources. The birds suffer from poor environmental conditions. It is extremely common for those with gluten sensitivity to react to eggs from grain fed chickens.

          If you want a high quality protein without the drawbacks to help support your recovery and overall health, Collagen and correct supplementation is necessary.  Call me and we can develop an individual plan for you!

          SEA SALT! GREAT GUIDE on which salt to season with and WHY it’s good for you!

            Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE SALT!  I carry it in my purse, laptop bag, and car.  It makes me feel good that I can add minerals to my food every time I eat!  I love how it helps regulate my blood pressure and balance the electrolytes in my body.

            Here is a great article to read if you are interested in learning more and need a trusted source to order from.

            I get many products from them, the essential oils are pure.  They are a 100% zero waste company.  They teach sustainability.  They are ORGANIC.  I love their Hemp and pumpkin seed cooking oils.  I could go on, but I’ll let you research your favorites.



            Air Fryer Link! Not sure which one to get? I did the research for you…Amazon

              Cooking class today was on Air fryers.  We learned several things, fast and easy.  What’s also important is the quality of your cookware.  Try to avoid Teflon and heavy metals, so here is the link that I found that is used with stainless steel.

              I try and use as many different recipes with some of the same foods so there is no waste.  I got an 8 pack of zucchini and squash from Costco and we made Fried zucchini sticks, zucchini hot pockets, fried zucchini cheese sticks, Stuff bell peppers with egg and zucchini, and acorn squash with chicken sausage and zucchini.  There are many ways to change up recipes so you don’t get tired or bored with the same foods.  Herbs and Spices are the zest of life! I love watching everyone at class be amazed how Sea Salt can make or break a recipe.

              Join us at Family Fusion for my next class or schedule your own.  It can be a dinner party, themed, family cook night or date night for couples.  Topics are WHATEVER you want to learn, so just let me know how we can get you cooking fast and easy and Healthy with Jodi.

              Air fried Zucchini with Nutritional Yeast

              Acorn Squash stuff with Chicken Sausage, zucchini, parsley, green onion, sea salt, garlic, minced onion and Avocado oil

              Same green mix, added dairy free cheese and an egg to the yellow bell pepper

              Sliced zucchini sprayed with avocado oil and sprinkled with sea salt. Added same green mixture, topped with vegan coconut cheese.  Melts surprisingly well, and EVERYONE liked it!!

              And after all that cooking, this is the end result of how much waste there is.

              Easy Clean up!  Wipe with a paper towel, run it under hot soak your water and your ready to go for the next round.

              Digestion Problems? Try this gut healing salad dressing

                This is beneficial to anyone who has SIBO, low stomach acid, or difficulty digesting.   

                Use it on fish, chicken, lamb, salads, or as a dipping sauce for veggies.

                Ginger: antibacterial, antimicrobial, enhances digestion

                Garlic: antibacterial, antiviral

                Parsley: detoxes the blood and body from heavy metals

                Cilantro: detoxes the blood and body from heavy metals

                Mint: helps with digestion

                Sea salt: helps support adrenal function and electrolyte balance

                Lime: helps alkalize the body

                Ginger Chimichurri

                Vegan, Gluten Free

                Happily serves 16 (2 TBSP)



                2 Cups Avocado Or Hemp Seed oil

                4 oz Lime juice

                3 Green Onions

                3oz Fresh Ginger

                2 Garlic Cloves

                1 1/2 TBSP Mint

                1 1/2 TBSP Cilantro 

                1 1/2 TBSP Parsley 

                1 1/2 TBSP Basil

                1 tsp Sea Salt

                Optional: 1/4 tsp Black or White pepper


                Cut Garlic first, let sit while you prepare other herbs.

                Peel Ginger and Coarsely chop green onions and other herbs.

                Add all herbs plus 1 cup oil in a Vitamix or Food Processor.

                Blend on low and run 1 minute and then slowly add the remaining oil. 

                Remember this is a fresh dressing, if you won’t use it within 5-7 days, cut the recipe in half.

                Lyme Disease? What is it and how affects the body.

                  With all the new diseases and disorders out there, sometimes it is hard to make sense of them all.  Recently more discussion on Lyme disease is surfacing.  I have also been researching Epstein Barr as well.  There are many stages of Epstein Barr, and one of them can be misdiagnosed as Lyme disease.

                  I love learning and want to be able to help my clients the very best way possible.  Here is a great article from Dr. Axe explaining Lyme disease.  IF you feel you’d like to discuss some of your symptoms and dig a little deeper into your health concerns, let’s set up an appointment so we can get you on the right track to your very best self.


                  Is Diet Soda Bad for you?

                    Soda…silent killer?  The cause of digestive issues?  Contributes to Diabetes and destroys the kidneys.  Please educate yourself and see if you can reduce your consumption.