Food. It is so nourishing, comforting and delicious, yet can also be toxic, unsettling and unwelcome. My relationship with food has been quite the roller coaster. Recently I discovered my gratitude for food’s nourishing and healing powers.  After struggling with inflammation and indigestion for years, I discovered the source of my problems was the food I was eating. I was not giving my body what it needed. I discovered grains, legumes and dairy did not nourish me, rather they caused a toxic response in my body.

I am blessed to have grown up in a household that ate clean, unprocessed food.  My mom taught me how to read labels at a very young age. This instilled in me a sense of how food was created, and where it came from.  Rarely did we eat canned or processed food. Food was simple.

Food should be simple. I now follow a Paleo diet. When people hear Paleo, the assumption usually is that you consume a ton of meat. Not true. In fact, true Paleo revolves around a plant based diet, with animal based proteins sprinkled within it. I am not saying this is the best diet for everyone. This is where individualism comes in to play. Listen to your body. Ask yourself, what foods nourish me? What gives me energy? In doing so, eating begins to have a mindful and meditative quality to it.

I personally feel my best when my diet is about 80% vegetables, 10% fats (nuts and coconut primarily) and 10% protein from animals, like fish, free range and hormone free eggs and chicken and grass fed beef or bison. While this is where I feel my best, it may not be where you feel your best. I often suggest that people keep a food journal and record their energy levels and physical responses to food, like digestion and mental state after eating.

Give your body what nourishes you. Especially through this holiday season, remember to think of food as something given to us to literally fuel us. The holidays tend to be a time where more processed sugar and trans fat filled foods are everywhere we look! Challenge yourself to think of food as nourishment. In doing so, you will be giving yourself what you deserve this holiday season.

Here is a holiday favorite that you can all enjoy from Sweet Laurel!

Orange Chocolates


  • 2 navel oranges (organic preferably)
  • 4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate (100% cacao), (organic is preferable)
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey or 100% maple syrup (or more depending on how dark you like it)


Wash oranges and slice into thin rounds.Place in dehydrator heated to 110 for 10 hours. To dehydrate the orange slices without a dehydrator, pre heat oven to 225°F. Place orange slices directly onto a wire rack and leave to dry out in the oven for around 2-3 hours. Timing will depend on your oven and thickness of the slices. Remove oranges from oven or dehydrator and prepare chocolate.

Break baking chocolate into one inch pieces and place in thick saucepan or double boiler. Over a very low heat, melt baking chocolate. Once melted, remove from heat and allow to cool. Add honey or maple syrup and stir. Dip the dried oranges halfway into the melted chocolate. Place on parchment paper to cool until chocolate hardens completely. Enjoy!

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