2020 Wellness Weekend Retreat

Making Whole Food Plant Based Cooking Simple

Abundant Health Wellness Center offers monthly hands-on cooking classes that are whole-food, plant-based.

Each Class is $49.95 per person

Class Dates: Sunday, May 6, 2018 at 3:30 pm

 Here are some of the tasty whole foods based recipes you will learn to prepare:

Tomato Bisque

Marinated Cabbage

Something Savory:

Meatless Swedish Meatballs over Noodles with Onion Gravy

Cherry Pineapple Cobbler

Coconut Whipped Topping


Want to start with a brand new you? Work with Dana today!

Food Fact Friday – Millet

Millet is a tiny, round shaped seed, usually a pale yellow in color, and is an ancient gluten-free pseudo-grain from East Asia, also widely used in Africa. In the United States, we see it most often in bird seed. But it is not only for the birds! Millet is a nice addition to casseroles. It can be used in place of other grains like rice as a side dish. Millet also makes a nice creamy hot cereal and is often used in snacks, breads, and even desserts.

Millet has many benefits:

Heart and Blood Pressure: With its high fiber content, Millet can be beneficial in lowering cholesterol. Millet is also high in potassium and magnesium, an important mineral for reducing blood pressure, as well as heart attack and strokes.

Diabetes and Digestion: With its high fiber, dense nutritional values, and low glycemic response blood glucose levels responds very favorably to millet. It also helps increase insulin sensitivity, an important factor for those suffering from insulin resistance. It is easily digestible.

Cancer, Detoxification, and Immune System: When millet is eaten in its whole form it is loaded with antioxidants and phytochemicals reducing free radicals and helping clean up the digestive system and blood, making the work of the kidneys and liver much easier. The high fiber content of millet can help reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer.It allows the body to completely empty the stomach before more food is introduced and this is one of the best ways to help the body fight off cancer, and detox the whole system. Proper digestion enhances the immune system.

Respiration and Asthma: Regular millet consumption has been associated with reducing wheezing and asthma attacks. Increasing overall consumption of whole grains could reduce asthma significantly. One of the biggest factors in reducing asthma attack is completely eliminating dairy, in all its forms (cream, milk, cheese, etc), from the diet.

Bones: Millet is high in calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium; essential minerals for building healthy bones.

Energy: As with all whole grains, millet provides substantial energy for the body to utilize.

Liver and Gallbladder: Eating food high in insoluble fiber and cooked with water, such as cooked millet, has been shown to decrease the incidence of gall and liver stones according to the American Journal of Gastroenterology. Insoluble fiber decreases the amount of time food is in the digestive system, this decreases the secretions of bile acids, increases insulin sensitivity and lowers triglycerides.

Food Facts Compiled from The Encyclopedia of Foods and Their Healing Power.

— Click here for the Creamy Millet & Bean Cereal Recipe — 

Food Fact Friday! – Beans

Did you know today (January 6) is Bean Day?

Beans are such an amazing food they are certainly worth celebrating!

The bean or legume family has over 13,000 varieties around the world and are some of the most nutrient dense foods. Bean are a large part of the human diet in many parts of the world, especially Latin, Asia and Mediterranean countries. The annual world production of legumes, excluding soy, is more than 79 million tons a year; and over 100 million metric tons of soy is produced, however, a large percentage of soy is used as animal feed.

Beans are high in protein with very little fat and no cholesterol and are a very economical source of protein compared to meat. If beans were raised on one acre of land it would yield seven times more calories and protein than if it were used to raise livestock for meat or milk.

Hippocrates said our food should be our medicine. Why should we eat beans as medicine?


Regular consumption of beans have been shown to:

  • Lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels with their high fiber content and phytochemicals.
  • Help prevent and treat diabetes due in part to their low glycemic index (do not raise the blood glucose level much) and lower the need for insulin.
  • Promote proper bowl function and prevent and treat constipation.
  • Lower blood pressure levels (if large amounts of salt are not added) due to the high level of potassium and low sodium levels.
  • Are a good source of iron and help combat iron-deficiency anemia. They are also a good source for copper, zinc and other race elements.
  • Lower the risk of gallstone because they promote the elimination of bile salts.

Reduce the risk of colon cancer due to the high fiber content. Fiber “sweeps up and cleans out” the colon, so the waste is eliminated preventing it from staying and decaying in the colon too long.


Are there drawbacks to beans?

As I write this I can almost hear you yelling “YES! Beans, Beans, the musical fruit, the more you eat the more you toot”… And you are right! It is a very well-known fact that beans create extra flatulence or gas.

There are three things you can to do help lower the flatulence effect:

Soaking the beans 8-12 hours, changing the water twice during that time.
Remove the skins (good luck with this one!)
Take a pharmaceutical preparation such as Beano.
It is also true the more frequently you eat beans the better your body adjusts, and in most people, the gas will lessen over time. So the good news about beans is “the more you eat the better you feel, so eat your beans at every meal!”

Enjoy some beans today on Bean Day and Every Day!

Here is a Recipe for a cold day in January to get you started!

Click here for the Recipe for In a Hurry Chili!


Food Facts from the Encyclopedia of Foods and their healing power, vol 1. 2006: R&H, Hagertown, MD.


Food Fact Friday – Popcorn

Do you love popcorn? If so, you are not alone.

Popcorn is so popular –  January 19th, is National Popcorn Day!

About 17 billion quarts of popcorn are consumed by American every year. That breaks down to 68 quarts per person!

Two tablespoons of unpopped popcorn will make approximately one quart of popcorn.

How does popcorn pop?

Popcorn is made with a special variety of corn with a tough shell. When the kernels are heated, water vapor pressure builds inside the kernel, causing it to POP its shell. The starch and proteins that were inside, now form the soft, white part of the popcorn.

Popcorn became increasingly popular in the 1800s. Charles Cretor, from Chicago, invented the street cart popcorn machine adding to its accessibility and popularity. During the great depression, popcorn was sold for 5-10 cents a bag and became a thriving business for struggling farmers. During WWII Americans ate three times as much popcorn as they had before, due to food rations.

Popcorn became a popular snack in theaters, much to the owners’ initial displeasure. Owners thought it would detract from the films, but their minds quickly changed when popcorn machines were installed in the theater lobbies and proved a financial success!


Popcorn is fun, and it can be a healthful way to enjoy the nutritional benefits of corn!

There are many ways to enjoy popcorn, and popcorn, without anything added, proves to be a very nutritious food. However, it can quickly become unhealthy when we add too much fat, sugar, and salt. Unpopped popcorn is considered to be non-perishable if kept in ideal conditions, (cool and dry).

Popcorn is a whole grain.

Whole grains can help control or lower risks for diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and many other chronic degenerative diseases. Popcorn is naturally high in fiber, antioxidants, such as polyphenols and it also contains iron. Popcorn all by itself is low in calories, fat, and sodium.

All popcorn to date remains GMO-free!

The nutritional value of Air-Popped Popcorn, plain (with nothing added) for 3 cups (1 carbohydrate exchange) is as follows:

Calories: 92
Carbohydrate: 19 grams
Fiber: 4 grams
Fat: 1 gram
Sodium: 0 mg
Protein: 3 grams
What we add to popcorn may change the nutritional value drastically.

Your typical theater popcorn with butter, small (7 cups) paints a very different picture:

Calories: 630
Carbohydrate: 37 grams
Fiber: 7 grams
Fat: 50 grams
Sodium: 550 mg
Protein: 3 grams

— Click here for our tasty yet healthy Savory Popcorn Recipe on Tasty Tuesday —

Food Fact Friday – Quinoa

Quinoa (KEEN-wa)

Also known as goosefoot, quinua and Inca wheat.

Quinoa is flat, oval-shaped and ranges in color from pale yellow, red or black. Quinoa has a wonderful crunchy texture and nutty flavor and is an ancient pseudo-grain, grown in the Andes Mountains by the Inca Indians. Quinoa is actually a seed from a herbaceous plant.

  • It is gluten free and is a great alternative to wheat or corn.
  • It has high nutritional value; better than most true grains.
  • It has more protein than true grains.
  • and has a balance of all our essential amino acids,
  • including amino acid lysine that is usually found in insignificant amounts in most grains.



Therefore Quinoa is considered a complete protein. The starch in quinoa is easily digested and assimilated. The seed can be ground and made into a flour for bread.

When preparing quinoa, place in a fine mesh strainer, rinse under cold water while rubbing the seeds through your hands. This process is necessary because there are saponins on the outer part of the seeds. Saponins taste like bitter soap. But it can be washed off and behind the saponins is a wonderful, tasty grain. You can purchase some that have already been rinsed; look for it on the label!



Quinoa, like other whole plant foods, contains fiber. Fiber helps control hunger and suppress appetite; a wonderful benefit for those wanting to improve their weight management. The fiber in quinoa is mostly insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber has been shown to be beneficial for weight control, improved gut health and blood sugar control according to the British Nutrition Foundation published in the Nutrition Bulletin January 5, 2017. Insoluble fibers found in quinoa contain resistant starch that ferments in the large intestines and produce short fatty acid chains that act as an energy source for colonic cells and help prevent the development of abnormal cells in the gut. This process is very beneficial for those with diabetes by aiding in blood glucose control.




Eating quinoa along with fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts can

  • improve health,
  • reduce the risk of many chronic diseases and
  • may help reverse lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes type 2, heart disease, and high blood pressure!

Enjoy some quinoa this week.

Click here for a delicious recipe using Quinoa!

 Click here for the Quinoa Recipe — 

Food Fact Friday – Cholesterol

 Heart disease often starts with a build-up of cholesterol on the blood vessel walls. This creates inflammation and inflammation is a precursor to Cancer. Since February is American Heart Month and National Cancer Prevention Month and February 4 being World Cancer Day, I thought it would be most fitting to discuss cholesterol at the beginning of February.


What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy fat-like substance found in all cells of the human body. Cholesterol is made by the liver and is important in making hormones and vitamin D. It also aids in digestion, and protects the nerves and performs many other important functions in our body.

We all need cholesterol, but did you know the liver makes all the cholesterol the body needs? That’s right! We do not need to eat cholesterol because we already have all the cholesterol we need. So what’s the big deal about cholesterol?

First, we need to understand there are many different kinds of cholesterol.





We will discuss two kinds.

High Density Lipoproteins —  and —  Low Density Lipoproteins

High Density Lipoproteins (HDL)

We will call High Density Lipoproteins (HDL), Happy” cholesterol. This kind of cholesterol keeps our organs and body happy by carrying the cholesterol from various parts of the body to the liver. The liver regulates what happens to cholesterol; It can be stored for later use, removed or eliminated from the body or it can be recycled and sent to areas in the body where it is needed. “Happy” cholesterol circulates in the blood and functions as a garage truck would in a city. It goes around picking up all the trash and disposing of it in the proper place (in this case, the liver).

What should my lab value be for “Happy” cholesterol (HDL)?

We want lots of “Happy” cholesterol!

Research is showing the best levels for HDL, is

greater than 50 mg/dl for women and
greater than 40 mg/dl for men.

How can I raise my “Happy” cholesterol?

Increasing your activity levels and eating high fiber, whole foods such as

  • Legumes (beans, peas, and lentils),
  • fruits,
  • vegetables,
  • freshly ground flaxseeds,
  • chia seeds, nuts (especially walnuts and almonds)
  • nuts (especially walnuts and almonds)

will help improve your “Happy” cholesterol levels.


  • staying hydrated,
  • getting direct sunlight every day,
  • sleeping well,
  • having pleasant thoughts and
  • healthy relationships,

all impact our cholesterol levels as well as our total wellbeing.

Low Density Lipoproteins

We will call Low Density Lipoproteins, “Lousy Cholesterol”.

This type is lousy because it hangs around like bad company. When we eat cholesterol-rich foods, the excess cholesterol (in the form of plaque) builds up on the walls of our blood vessels (called atherosclerosis) causing narrowing of the blood vessels and can lead to reduced blood flow, increased pressure of the blood flow and/or total blockage of blood flow leading to a stroke or heart attack; some pretty lousy stuff, wouldn’t you agree?

What should my lab value be for “Lousy” Cholesterol (LDL)?

Your LDL level should be less than 100 mg/dl.

Research from the Framingham Heart Study has shown that cardiac events (heart attack, atherosclerosis, etc,) have dropped to nearly zero when the total cholesterol level (combination of all types of cholesterol) is less than 150 mg/dl. But in order to get our cholesterol within that range, we must first understand what foods contain cholesterol.

Where is cholesterol found?

Cholesterol is found in anything that has a liver, or comes from something that had a liver. Therefore all animal products contain cholesterol, including

  • meat,
  • fish,
  • poultry,
  • eggs,
  • milk and
  • cheese products.

Cholesterol is NOT found in any plant foods.

How can I reduce my “Lousy” cholesterol?

Since the human body make all the necessary cholesterol and since cholesterol is found only in animal products, if we want to lower your cholesterol, then it would be logical we would need be to reduce our dietary (food) cholesterol, (i.e. animal products) and start eating more whole plant foods (i.e. vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes) that contain fiber. Fiber help clean up the walls of the vessels.

If we continue to eat the very thing that is causing the problem, how can the body heal? How can we expect to get better? But if we significantly reduce or eliminate the cause, which in this case is dietary cholesterol, we can reduce the cholesterol level naturally.

It may take some adjustment, but many have gone before you, and have had great success at changing their eating habits and lowering their cholesterol and you can be too!

To help you get on your way to better cholesterol, sign-up for my weekly recipes.
On Tasty Tuesday we will post a Low Cholesterol Recipe!

 Click here for Recipes to Reduce Cholesterol on Tasty Tuesday! —