Vanilla Coconut Milk Recipe

Posted March 20th, 2014 by Danielle Alex


Welcome to one of the most simple recipes ever, raw vanilla coconut milk. This dairy-free milk, is great for everyone! If you are a carnivore, vegan, or vegan-raw you’ll this recipe, and its great for hydrating the body. It only takes two ingredients and the hardest part is cracking the coconut. Some people are a little intimidated by a whole young coconut, but don’t be. Once you get the hang of how to crack the coconut, the recipe really becomes a breeze and you’ll be making this all the time. Trust me when I say, the beverage that awaits you at the end of the journey is literally a taste of paradise!  So without further ado, let me show you how it is done.

Vanilla Coconut Milk

Yield: 1 Serving


1 young coconut

1/2 vanilla bean



Chef Knife



Cracking the Coconut

1. It is important when cracking the coconut not to simply cut it in half machete style, because we want to keep the water and the meat. So you start by cutting an opening at the top of the coconut with the heel of a chef knife. I hold the bottom/ flat part of the coconut in one hand and my knife in the other. I make 3 cuts, in the shape of a triangle, into the top of the coconut with the heal of my knife. If it’s easier for you to make 4 cuts, in the shape of a square, this works as well.

2. With the tip of the knife, pry open the top of the coconut and set aside.


3. Pour the coconut water into blender. Please note, if you hacked the heck out of the coconut and the outer shell is coming apart, place a stainer over the blender before pouring the coconut water into the blender. You don’t want gritting coconut milk.


4. Cut the coconut in half to remove the meat, the white flesh.

When I cut the coconut in half, I hold the coconut in one hand from the back, rounded side and start cutting from the top opening, down the front. Then I turn the coconut 180 degrees and start down the other side . I give the coconut a test to see if it easily comes apart. Place your fingers in the top opening, thumbs outside, and pull.


5. Remove the meat and add to the blender. Be sure not to scrape too hard that you are getting a lot of the brown from the coconut shell.

6. Since you are only using half of a vanilla bean for this recipe, store the other half back in the airtight container it came in. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out all of the beans and add it to the blender.

Pictures left to right: before blending, after blendingVanillaCoconutMilk5

***Fun Tip: Make Vanilla Sugar. Once you remove the beans out of the vanilla pod, do not throw the pod away. Place the empty vanilla pod into a small container with granular sugar. Give it a shake and keep it for future baking needs.


7. Blend it until smooth, then taste it. If you feel like your taste buds need a little more sugar, you can try adding a touch of agave.

8. Serve and enjoy!


Healthy Snacks: Organic, Gluten Free, & Vegan Options

Posted March 12th, 2014 by Danielle Alex


Here’s the scene..

It’s late afternoon, you’re doing heavy “research” on social media,  your’re wishing you were already at home,  and then it hits you. Your stomachs starts growling and it’s official.  You are hungry. Energy levels start to drop and you know you have to do something fast or you might just snap at your boss. Snack time! What do you normally go for? Vending machine mayhem? Sour sugary shoe string candy? Counselor Krispy Kreme? Or chastising cheesy chips?

Summer is right around the corner, so let’s turn over a new leaf and start making some better habits. Going for whole foods and foods that are minimally processed are always a great start. Snack time is the perfect time to sneak some healthier ingredients into our diet, no matter if it’s mid-morning snack or afternoon snack!

A few tips to making better choice.

1. Número uno: be sure to read labels! If there is a lot of stuff you cannot pronounce and don’t really have a clue what it is….NEXT! Move on to something else. You want to be be able to recognize the foods that are being listed.

2. Try to stay away from tons of refined sugar. Soda, super sweet drinks, and candy are loaded with calories and empty of nutritional value. These will give you a huge boost of energy but send you crashing shortly thereafter.

3. Go for foods that are nutrient dense. Fruits and veggies are great. Sometimes we are a just tired because our bodies haven’t received the proper vitamins and minerals it needs to keep running on full steam.

4. Try to find foods that have a little protein in them. Protein keeps you fuller longer, so it should sustain you until you make it to lunch or dinner.

Below you will find a few of my favorite snacks.

Chips and Dip

When that salty and crunchy craving comes on, I grabs for for these chips/crackers. Sami’s bakery, although it’s not officially labeled gluten free is pretty much gluten free. These millet flax chips are one of my favorite products from them. They also make a killer millet flax bread that actually taste good and like regular bread.  For those trying to avoid gluten, but are not severe celiac, Sami’s bakery is for you.  These products are loaded with not only fiber but with flavor. The millet flax chips come in 3 flavors: plain, Italian herb, and garlic. If you have a hot date or don’t want to smell like garlic all day, then I would suggest the plain or Italian herb. You can find them online at Sami’s Bakery.

DanielleAlexSnackAttack5 DanielleAlexSnackAttack4

Do you know why these  Almond Nut-Thin crackers are great? Allow me. I’ve given these crackers to people who think anything gluten free is terrible. I don’t tell them they are gluten free of course. I just put the crackers out there for the taking. They enjoy one, I wait. Then enjoy a few more, I wait. Then when they have had their fill, that’s when I so kindly inform my friends, “I’m so glad you enjoyed the gluten free almond crackers.” I love the look on their face. Plus 17 crackers is only 130 calories, and 17 is a lot!


Oh sesame how I love you so. Another salty crunch treat that makes my heart sing. There are many great brands, it just so happened that Annie Chun’s brand can be found easily. I really prefer the seaweed snacks that are made with olive oil, simply because olive oil is a healthier fat. Seaweed is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Some add it to their diets because some experts says it helps with weight loss. Sesame snacks come in many flavor: plain, wasabi, spicy chipotle, honey Dijon and more.


Hummus, it’s quite easy to make but some of you are thinking, “ain’t nobody got time for that.” And that’s fine, because hummus can easy to find these days. Humus is great to be dipped with carrots, peppers the chips listed from above. The chickpeas add protein, this helping to tide you over until your next meal.  They are many flavor from roasted garlic to roasted red pepper, some companies even make spicy pepper and tabouli hummus. Just try to steer clear of the hummus with tons of preservatives.



Never underestimate the power of a peanut, almond, pistachio or cashew nuts! I have acquired a taste for unsalted nuts. I had to kind of ween myself off of the super, overly salted nuts that are quite often found in the cans. Start by switching over to the lightly salted and then you can add in some unsalted. Don’t get me wrong I love salt, but like all good things, take in moderation. I’m sure you get plenty of salt elsewhere.  I would also suggest portioning them out as well because they do have a high fat content. Nuts can have a healthy fat, helping to lower cholesterol but here there can be too much of a good thing. You don’t want to eat a whole bag of nuts daily and eventually realize that you have been gaining weight, so portion control is key. Please don’t let this scare you because nuts are also filled with protein and fiber, which help to make you feel nice and full.



As I mature, aka get older, I realize that dairy doesn’t always agree with me. So for those of you who cannot or choose not to eat regular dairy yogurt I present coconut yogurt. This particular brand is only available in New York City, sorry rest of the world. Organic Avenue makes this non dairy yogurt made with coconut, this is 100% pure coconut. there are some other dairy free yogurts. I personally don’t care much for the flavor and they have tons of additives. As you can see in the picture below there are only a few ingredients.



It’s so easy to grab for the soda, because is everywhere! And soda cheap, most are cheaper than all other beverages in the store. Just like the old adage says, “you get what you pay for.” And with soda you most definitely do if you drink it all the time. Unfortunately soda is a sly devil, because it creeps up on you. A matter of fact, you might not be able to see it right away but it could very well be the difference between 5/10+ pounds every year. That’s why years ago I made the choice to look for a better beverage. Don’t get me wrong, I love water, please drink plenty of it, but sometimes you just want something with flavor. I love tea, another antioxidant all star, hot and cold. There are some great bottled teas. ItoEn is one of my favorites. They make some that light sweetened but most are unstweetened. If you want it sweetened I suggest getting the unsweetened and try adding a touch of agave or stevia.

Coconut water, they are not all created equally. Let’s be very clear on that! I guarantee once you try this fresh, raw, young, organic coconut water you will not want to drink anything else. Harmless Harvest is the closest thing to drinking the coconut water straight out of the coconut. Where do I begin singing the praises of this coconut nectar from heaven? It is NOT a calorie bomb! Loaded with vitamins and minerals, and tons of electrolytes. This is nature’s Gatorade. This is my beverage of choice after an hour and a half in a 105 degree Bikram Yoga studio sweating it out. It helps hydrate me quickly and naturally and it taste so much better than those sugary dyed sports drinks. I can drink this all day, every day!


Kombucha. The first time I had kombucha, it didn’t have any chia seeds, like my now favorite flavor below. I must say it took me a minute to even get used to the taste. I would be lying if I said Kombucha some fruity tea, depending on which flavor you buy.  This fermented tea has a tangy, slightly sour after taste. It’s loaded  with lots of  vitamins, amino acids, and probiotics for digestive and immune health.  Synergy brand is great because they have all different flavors and some have chia seeds.  withThe raspberry with chia is my favorite not only because I like the flavor the most but  I love the  texture. This beverage is packed with nutrients, vitamins and fiber for the chia seeds.


Kombucha not your thing? You tried it, been there, done that and it’s still not for you? That’s ok. You can still add these lovely chia shot packs to any beverage. Fresh juice, smoothies, almond milk, they are perfectly designed so you never have to leave home without it. Chia seeds were dubbed the nickname “runner’s food” because they help sustain you with tons of energy. They are loaded with protein and fiber. The Chia Co. understand that we are a community always on the go, so let make that snack time a little less stressful. Ladies and gentlemen these are perfect to keep in your purse, man bag or pocket.  Once you had a packet to your beverage, I recommend shaking/stirring it and letting it sit for at least 10 minutes, so the seeds soften up a little.


Fresh Fruit and Berries

Please never underestimate the power of fruit. Fruit and berries have many health benefits and considering most of us don’t eat enough, why not add it into snack time? When we are feeling sluggish in the afternoon sometimes our bodies just need real nutrients, vitamins and minerals.  If you keep some fruit at your desk or near you, instead of that bag of sugary candy, you won’t put your body through the roller coaster of  a quick sugar high and a disastrous crash and burn.



First and foremost, just like I said about coconut waster, all bars are NOT created equal! It’s overwhelming now going into the grocery store and seeing a wall full of protein, energy, granola, and “healthy” bars. But let’s face it, a lot of those bars we love are loaded with more sugar than nutrients. If I’m going to eat a bar with 200-300 calories, it better be nutrient dense! I love Greens+ brand! They make these chia, greens bars covered in a thin layer of dark chocolate, that I just cannot get enough of. The chia seeds add a slight pop of texture to the bar’s smooth greens. This bar is also made without chocolate, so if you are looking for fewer calories or don’t like chocolate, voila. As I mentioned before chia seeds are great for energy. They weren’t give the the nickname “runner’s food” for nothing.


Organic Food Bar makes a variety of bars that are all organic. I think they got the name right because we should be eating whole foods and not just some protein powder bound together with sugar in the form of a bar. Their bars are also made with greens. I like it because more companies are starting to use sweeteners like dates, agave, and real maple syrup. To all my vegan-raw friends, they even make bars for you! Give them a try, I think you might like them. I know they give me a boost when I need it.



Guilty Pleasure Made Not So Guilty: Chocolate

If your like me, I LOVE chocolate! So when it comes to snack time and cravings, chocolate is one of the first things I tend to go for. Today, unfortunately chocolate bars and treats are usually loaded with fillers, chemicals and tons of sugar. I found these two products that make enjoying a piece of chocolate a little less guilty.

Attune makes these great chocolate bars that have probiotics in them. The probiotics are flavorless so no worries there folks. Probiotics are great for digestive and immune health.  They come in 3 flavored, dark chocolate, mint chocolate, and milk chocolate crisp (it’s like eating a crunch bar). They are even tested, making sure that each bar is gluten free.DanielleAlexSnackAttack22

Gnosis Chocolate is great for dark chocolate lovers and those follow raw Lifestyle. The brand is free from all the chemicals, additives and other junk quite often found in chocolate bars today. They are also amazing because they use coconut palm sugar. You will not find any refined garbage in these puppies. Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants. And please allow me to mention the following, there is fiber and a touch of protein their bars.All bars are gluten free, organic, vegan, kosher, GMO and peanut free.



I hope this was helpful and here is to healthy snacking!








Heart Health: Partner Workout Video {Danielle Alex and Andia Winslow}

Posted November 11th, 2013 by Danielle Alex

A healthy and balanced diet is important, but let’s face it, sometimes it’s just not enough. Exercise is a key component to maintaining your health, especially heart health. Did you know that heart disease is the number one killer of women? My good friend, Andia Winslow, is a professional golfer, amazing fitness trainer, founder of The Fit Cycle, and so much more. I love working out with her. I think most of us would agree, working out with friends is more fun than working out alone. That is why she came up with a series of fun friend exercised that make working out more enjoyable. And when you haven’t seen a friend for while, try meeting up for heart hour instead of happy hour. Not only is heart hour cheaper, it’s healthier for you as well. Check out our partner workout video we did for the American Heart Association.

Andia breaks things down in more detail at

There are also snippet videos of each exercise that can be found on youtube. If you want to improve your core strength and get some nice abs. Try this plank exercise below:

Of course there are many forms of exercise you can do to keep your heart healthy. If you love spinning, kickboxing, dancing, running or rowing, do what makes you happy. There is nothing worse than choosing a form of exercise you don’t enjoy. It does not even need to be in a gym. Sometimes grabbing a mat, a bottle of water and heading outside is a great way to start and/or end your day. Andia and I have done this quite a few times. Don’t hesitate to start stretching if you happened to arrive at the park before your friend joins you.


I love yoga, especially Bikram Yoga. Bikram Yoga, consists of 26 Hatha Yoga postures and 2 breathing exercise. Oh and did I mention that it is in a 105 degree room for 90 minutes? So you sweat, you sweat a lot! Two common myth about yoga are that you have to be very flexible and that it is only helps increase flexability. I’ve personally seen amateurs with limited flexibility try yoga, then start practicing on a regular basis and their flexibility improves by leaps and bounds. Yoga does not only help improve flexibility, it helps build strength, work various organs, increase metabolism, and so much more.  There are even certain postures that keep your heart muscle strong and healthy. One of my favorite postures is this posture below, standing bow.


Standing bow posture is great for increasing circulation to the heart and the lungs. It also is great for those who have lower back pain, helps improve spine health, and opens the diaphragm and the lungs.


Balancing Stick (L): Standing Head to Knee (R)

Balancing stick is great for cleaning out the heart. It clears the arteries, flushing the heart and increased blood flow throughout the entire body. Standing heat to knee also improves circulation. To find out more about these postures and others included in Bikram Yoga check out Bikram Yoga NYC. It’s a great studio and they have 4 locations in Manhattan, making it super convenient.


Andia has created a variety of fun partner workout exercises, in addition to those seen in the GoRedForWomen Partner Workout Video.


I have a love/hate relationship with this next move.


The Partner Leg Throw is designed to tighten your abs, especially the lower, hard to tone abs. The person lying on the ground starts with their legs straight up in the air at a 90 degree angle, while holding the ankles of the person standing. It is then the job of the person standing to throw the other person’s legs to the left and right. Each time the person on the ground must come back up to center before their legs are thrown to the other side. But here is the key: keep your core tight, back on ground and legs straight. Guaranteed, if you do this a few times your abs will starts to burn.


Ts to Vs with a partner is another great core workout and it helps with your balance. Start this move by positioning yourselves so that the soles of your feet touch with your legs completely straight. Your arms will be stretched out besides you with your spine straight. Bring your knees into your chest and then back out straight again, being sure to touch soles every time, and repeat. A tight body is a light body, so make sure you are using your muscles and everything is tight.

With all of these moves be sure to breathe. Quite often we forget to breathe, so make a conscience effort to focus on your breathing. You wouldn’t want to scare your partner because you forgot to breathe, right? Finally, drink lots of water and stay hydrated! If you need help drinking more water during the day, set reminders in your phone and carry a reusable water bottle with you.


Until next time, remember to #GoRed!

Special thanks to Kerri Lynne Hamm for all the beautiful photography.

Thanks to Monique Walton for producing the Go Red Partner Workout Video.

Thanks to Andia Winslow for being a great fitness advisor and creating the best fitness videos ever.


The Best Green Smoothie: How to Start Your Day Off Right!

Posted September 27th, 2013 by Danielle Alex


Breakfast the most important meal of the day. So should’t we start  the day off right, with a meal that is going to give us energy. This smoothie will not only give you energy but jump starts your brain and loads you up with antioxidants. I also I have included some information about a few of the ingredients below. The recipe itself can be found all the way at the bottom. You may look at this picture and say to yourself, “Wow these are a lot of ingredients.” But once you get in the routine of making it, you will no longer need to measure everything out. It really is quick to make and the blender does the work no need for pots, pans, an oven, or a stove-top in the morning.

In the words of lovely Erika, who shared this recipe with me,” Once you start adding this to your diet, you will wonder how you ever lived without it!” Thank you for sharing this with me, I’m ready to seize the day with this smoothie!

Jump Start Your Brain

Spinach, turmeric, cocoa nibs, berries are terrific foods for feeding the brain in the morning. Many of these foods help with blood circulation. Dark leafy vegetables are also great for your memory and are high in folate which help protect to brain. Research has even show that dark leafy greens can help slow the age related decline in brain health. Sunflower seeds are not only a great source of vitamin E but help improve memory. Hence this small addition to your daily smoothie.

Maca Powder

Maca Powder  is the natural energy supplement. It was used by the Incas because this root grew in the Andean Mountains. I use the gelatinized and NOT the raw. Traditionally and even to this day if you go down to Peru, it is cooked first (gelatinized). Some people have even claimed to have digestive issues when they eat raw maca powder. I say when it Rome do as the Romans, so do like the Incas and buy the gelatinized maca. Unlike other products that give you energy, like caffein, it does not give you the jitters or make you crash. It also helps with the following: balance hormonal levels, increase sperm count, menstrual issues and infertility. This however is not one of those products where more is better for you. If you take too much you will most likely end up with hot flashes, therefore you should start small. Start off with 1/3 teaspoon and work your way up to 1/2 teaspoon.

Looking Lower Your Cholesterol?

Almonds and nuts are a great way to lower your cholesterol. Coconut oil still has some controversy over wether or not it is healthy for you, but in many studies it has show to increase HDL, the good cholesterol.  I personally add coconut oil in my smoothie about every other day.

Other additions to the smoothie that can be made for those worried about cholesterol levels include: oats, fish oil, pears, and olive oil. Fiber in general is a great way to lower cholesterol. To reduce the absorption of  cholesterol into your bloodstream, try finding foods that are high in soluble fiber. The Mayo Clinic has a page that is devoted to food and cholesterol. Check it out here.

Yield: 1 16-oz smoothie


10-fl oz. unsweetened almond milk or hemp milk

1 scoop of vegan protein powered (or protein powder of your choice)

1 scoop Greens+ Original Superfood

1 tablespoon goji berries

1 teaspoon cocoa nibs

1 teaspoon sunflower seeds

1/2 teaspoon matcha powder (green tea powder)

1/8 teaspoon turmeric

1/3-1/2 teaspoon maca powder

dash of cayenne pepper

1/2-1 teaspoon coconut oil

1 teaspoon Manuka honey

3-5 almonds

a handful of spinach or kale

1/2 packet of acai berry smoothie pack (frozen)

1/3 cup of fresh or frozen berries



Manuka honey, what does it do? Let me first start of by saying I was floored when I found out how much it cost, but was even more  taken aback when I saw how fast it healed a wound. My boyfriend had a deep cut on his pinky finger, and he was in so much pain. He could barely bend it. He put the Manuka honey on it twice a day and the pain went away quickly. By the end of the week I could barely see where the cut was. If you work in a restaurant kitchen, have ever had a cut or burn, you know they can take quite some time to heal. Restaurants keep special first aid kits with burn creams, antiseptic creams, etc., but I have never seen anything as effective as this honey. Therefore paying around $30.00 for a small, 1-pound jar, ended up being well worth it!


First, let’s take a brief look at honey in general. For centuries, honey has been used for its medicinal properties. I’m sure when you got a soar throat your mother, or someone told you to try drinking hot tea with honey. When I got a little older I even heard someone say to me, mix honey with a warm shot of cognac or rum. I always laughed at this, since I grew up in a household with NO alcohol. I though people were just looking for an excuse to have a shot. However, many civilizations used honey as medicne. Ancient Egyptians used it to heal wounds and during the embalming process to help preserve the bodies.

Manuka Honey

Manuka honey is made  in New Zealand and New Zealand only. The bees gather nectar from manuka plant that grows in New Zealand only. Dr. Peter Molan at The University of Waikato New Zealand, has devoted most of his career researching Manuka honey and its various healing properties. He is a professor of biochemistry. His work has pioneered most of the Manuka honey research and he has been working with many people in the medical field to understand better how it works. Check out this video of Dr. Molan explaining some of his research.

(I do not own this video nor do I claim rights to this video.)

Since our ancestors have known that honey is great to have in the medicine cabinet, what sets Manuka honey apart?

Manuka Honey has been effective against the following:


All honey has antibacterial qualities because they all contain hydrogen peroxide. Do not worry, it is completely natural and safe to consume. This is what allows honey to fight off bacteria. Manuka honey unlike any other honey, is able to fight and kill hundreds of different bacteria strains. It is also used to kill fungi. Some wounds get infected to the point where even antibiotics cannot kill the infection.  Manuka honey on the other hand, has yet to be found ineffective on such wounds; hence, the reason it is found in hospitals all over  New Zealand.

Manuka has also undergone research for its ability to help fight tooth decay and reduce plaque. Sounds kind of crazy, right? After all, it is sugar but once again setting this honey apart from all others. Of course I would not suggest eating half a container a day, but adding this to your tea instead of refined sugar would only help you.. The medical-grade jars of honey even have recommendations on the back for what dosage a person should take. I would consult your local physician and dentist before doing so, especially if you have diabetes. For more on Manuka and tooth decay click here.

Manuka Potency?

Dr. Peter Molan states, “In all honeys, there is – to different levels – hydrogen peroxide produced from an enzyme that bees add to the nectar. In manuka honey, and its close relative which grows in Australia called jellybush, there’s something else besides the hydrogen peroxide. It works on bacteria, fungi, protozoa. We haven’t found anything it doesn’t work on among infectious organisms. And there’s nothing like that ever been found anywhere else in the world.”  Manuka Honey Manuka Honey Benefits 

This “it factor,” that is not found in anything else is what Dr. Molan likes to refer to as the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF). This has now become one of the few ways to certify and authenticate the potency of Manuka honey’s antibacterial power. UMF is an international trademark, much like AOC is to French Wine for example. There are certain standers set in place to assure the quality and authenticity of a product.

UMF honey has to be produced in New Zealand and Packaged in New Zealand. Some companies are trying to ship over large barrels of  Manuka honey to other countries and then packaging them abroad. When this happens some companies, not all, will alter the honey to raise the UMF active rating. When you see a jar with the UMF rating, understand that they have to pay for that certification. Some companies are too small, cannot afford to pay or choose not to pay fees to have the UMF rating on it. If it has a UMF rating it has a UMF rating of 10+ or higher. There are companies that have now made up their own verbiage or set up their own standard for evaluating the honey’s active ingredient. Either way, if it’s quality honey you are going to have to pay for it, but that’s not saying you need to spend $50 on a 8-oz jar. I suggest researching the brand before you buy and go to your local health-food store and speak to them. Some of the people working at the store have a wealth of knowledge because they speak directly to the vendors themselves.

Then you ask, what is this rating system all about? You can find ratings of Manuka honey of  5+, 10+, 12+, 16+, etc. These numbers are a way a measuring the kill zone of its UMF antibacterial property. The bigger the number the more surface area it is able to attack and kill. For healing acne, scars, wounds etc. UMF 16+ seems to be recommended by most. You can also purchase a medical grade Manuka that has undergone laboratory testing, deemed to fit various international laws. It tends to come in a smaller jar and is more expensive. There are only a few brands that make medical grade Manuka honey. Some say raw organic UMF Manuka honey does the same as the medical grade. I’m not a physician nor a scientist so I cannot say one way or the other. For my home use, UMF 16+ is just fine for my household. If I had a severe health issue, cut, burn etc. I would go to the doctor regardless.

Through my research, it appears that ratings of UMF 20+, some say 16+, and higher, are not found naturally in Manuka honey. When you start to see ratings of 20+ and beyond, companies have altered them somehow and quite often do so for marketing purposes. You will quite often find these to be more expensive, so don’t believe the hype and fall for a marketing scheme. I’ve even seen Manuka honeys mixed with glucosamine chondroitin, ginger, and other various herbs and supplements. These sell for around $50 and more. I say don’t waste your money. Buy the herbal supplement, or whatever additive that you saw in the Manuka honey, separately in it’s natural form or supplement form.

Manuka Products I love

Wedderspoon is a great company for Manuka Products and easy to find. Whole Foods carries their products and so do a variety of health food stores. Their raw organic Manuka honey is found in a clear glass bottle. I was informed that all organic Manuka honey legally has to be placed in a glass jar. Wedderspoon make great throat lozenges for children. These are recommended for kids 5 and older. They make Manuka lozenges for adults in different flavors.


Wedderspoon sells individual packets of Active 16+,  Raw Manuka honey. These are great to keep in your bag/purse, when you are hiking, they even pass through airport security so you can bring them on the airplane.  Going hiking? Include them as apart of your first aid kit. If you happen to burn yourself around the campfire, or scrape your knee on a rock it is conveniently packaged for you to keep in your pocket.

For those with skin problems, scars, and acne Manuka honey works wonders here. You can find face creams with the honey in it. There is a Manuka honey face mask/ face cream, found here. It is not cheap, at almost $80 a jar, but at least you don’t have to worry about putting sticky honey on your face this way.

Flavor: Eating, and Baking with Manuka Honey

The flavor of this honey is quite rich. It has a slight earthy taste and it is creamier than most other honeys.  I love eating a small spoon of it, just for general health. I place it in my morning green smoothie as well as a nice cup of tea.

My work as a chef requires me at times to make sugar-free recipes, meaning no white, brown or granular sugars. I experiment a lot with baking, using agave and honey as subsitutes. As you may know, baking with honey causes baked goods to brown quickly so you have to be careful. Lowering the oven temperature about 25 degrees fahrenheit and reducing the amount of liquid, helps to prevent your baked goods from burning. Since I love Manuka I decided to experiment a little, adding Manuka honey to my baked goods. The results were not the best. Already the product is expensive so I would not suggest pouring a cup or so into cake batter. But the flavor is so pronounced that it was not very enjoyable. My advice would to be to add a very little amount if you wanted to use it in your bake goods. I prefer to recommend drizzling Manuka honey on top of yogurt or using it to garnish dishes and baked goods. Using a touch of it in a salad dressing is tasty as well.

Was this helpful?

I hope this was helpful. I tried to piece together a more comprehensive post on Manuka Honey, so you would not have to look all over the internet. If you have thoughts, comments, or testimonies about Manuka honey please share below.

I am not a medical doctor nor do I claim to be one. Consult your doctor before before starting your own medical regiment. Do not give honey to children that are under the age of 2, consult a doctor when giving honey to children.

Articles and more information:

BBC’s Harnessing honey’s healing power

WebMD: Manuka Honey

Green Bay: Real Food For Better Being

UMF website


Turmeric & Cumin Red Lentils: Cancer Prevention Food

Posted August 29th, 2013 by Danielle Alex

Chef Danielle Red Lentils

Turmeric & Cumin Red Lentils

Yield: 4- 8oz bowls


1 cup red lentils

4 cups water

1 small onion, minced

4 teaspoons ghee

3/4 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon cumin

2 teaspoons garlic, minced

Himalayan pink salt to taste

sliced scallions, for garish if desired

**Vegan Turmeric & Cumin Red Lentils: This recipe can be made vegan by simply substituting vegetable oil instead of ghee.

chef danielle g alex

I love this recipe for a few reasons. A good friend of mine, Sumati, shared a similar rendition of this recipe with me during our graduate studies. And yes, it’s the same Sumati from Community Culture and Cuisine New Delhi. I remember we were in her small Paris dorm room studio. She taught me an Indian cooking technic that changed my lentil life. This recipe is really is her recipe, or at least how I remember it, except she uses a lot less onions and there are no real measurements.  The garlic is toasted until it is golden brown and the cumin seeds are also toasted in ghee, and then these are added to the lentils after they are cooked. This is the major seasoning component, giving the lentils a slight nutty flavor. So thank you Sumati for sharing this with me and all the joy and laughter we have shared over great food!

Other reasons why this is an awesome recipe:


Lentils are a great source of protein, along with many other pulses and legumes. For this particular recipe there are about 13 grams of protein in an 8oz serving. If I’m looking for a healthy and delicious meal after a workout I love having this with a nice salad. And since you should have some form of protein 30 minutes after working out, to help build muscle, this is a great option.


It is known to have some anti-cancer properties. It has been said to prevent and slow the grown of certain types of cancer. It is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties. For more check out what the American Cancer Society has to say about it. Turmeric is a great addition to morning smoothies and shakes. It can be found in powder form and fresh. When peeling fresh turmeric use a metal spoon. This is the same technique I use when peeling ginger.

Cumin Seeds

Cumin, another spice that researchers have looked at for its possible ability to fight cancer, because of the high levels of antioxidants it contains. It is great for digestive problems and it has also been suggested that black cumin seeds are great for migraines. Ayurvedic  medicine has been promoting cumin for a while. Check this out: Vedic Healing.

I’m not even going begin on my love for onions and garlic and how good they are for you. I’ll save that for another day. I use them is so many recipes, it’s just part of my seasoning. Now let’s get to business and find out how to make these lentils…

Danielle Alex: Lentils


1. Place a small pot on medium high heat and add one teaspoon of ghee.

2. Once the ghee melts and is hot, add half of the minced small onions and sweat for a few minutes, until the onions are translucent.

3. Add the garlic and sweat for about 1 minute, until your start to smell the garlic.

4. Add the turmeric to the ghee, onions and garlic. Let toast for about 30 seconds, stirring as not to burn anything.

5. Add lentils, stir.

6. Add water and bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling, reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook for about 10-15 minutes until the lentils are soft, most of the liquid is absorbed and the consistency starts to thicken.

7.Once the lentils are cooked, remove from heat and set aside.


8. In a separate smaller pot, add the remaining 3 teaspoons of ghee.

9. Over medium high heat, melt the ghee. Hold the pot on its side, positioning the pot so all the oil is the corner of the pot. See image below.

10. Sweat the rest of the minced onions until translucent, and then add the garlic and cumin seeds. You might hear a little popping noise so do not be alarmed.

11. You know the mixture is finished when the garlic starts to brown around the edges. Be careful here, because this is the stage when the garlic can burn easily if you are not careful. Therefore, it is perfectly okay to give it a stir once in a while.

12. As soon as the mixture is finished, add it to the cooked lentils and stir it in until it is evenly distributed. Do not keep the toasted seasonings in the pan they were toasted in, as the pan is hot and the seasonings will continue to brown and burn.

13. Finish seasoning the lentils with Himalayan pink salt to taste.

14. Add chopped scallions as a garnish when serving, if desired.

Danielle Alex: lentils

How to hold the pot when toasting the onions, garlic and cumin for the seasoning. Place it on it’s side, tilting one side of the pot down towards the flame. It should not be so far tilted that the ingredients in the pot are spilling out, over the side.

Danielle Alex: lentils

What the seasoning mixture of onions, garlic and cumin seed should look like when its finished. Once it’s done, immediately add it to the lentils, as not to burn the toasted seasonings.

Danielle Alex: lentils

The toasted cumin seeds, garlic and onions are added to the cooked lentils and stirred in. Season to taste with Himalayan pink salt. Serve and enjoy!

Chef Danielle Red Lentils

Oatmeal & Chia Seed Waffles/ Pancakes

Posted July 25th, 2013 by Danielle Alex

Chef Danielle’s Oatmeal & Chia Seed Waffles

Yield: 8, 4” x 5” waffles


1 cup all-purpose flour (or all-purpose gluten-free flour)

1/2 cup old fashioned oats

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon agave (or white sugar)

1 1/4 cup milk (or almond milk)

1 egg

3 tablespoons butter, melted


Why I love This Recipe

I have always loved eating pancakes and waffles in the morning, but I wanted something that was healthier than the old-fashioned pancakes/waffle mix. Henceforth, I got to thinking about what I could add to make them better for you. Chia seeds of course! It’s an amazing superfood, known as runner’s food, because it is loaded with omega-3’s, antioxidants, and calcium just to name a few. There is even protein in chia seeds. Roughly 2 tablespoons contains 4 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber. I even love putting chia seed in my juice just to add a boost to my day!

But back to the waffles at hand…I decided to add oats as well because they aide in heart health. Oats help lower cholesterol, and since its a whole grain, is another good source of fiber.

I love making this simple waffle and pancake batter the night before. When I do it this way the chia seeds and oats absorb the liquid in the batter, thus making them softer. You then might ask, “Danielle, what do I do if the batter is really thick in the morning?” Simple, just add a little more milk to loosen it up and voila… in the iron they go.

Dry Ingredients


1. Place all dry ingredients in a large bowl.

2. In a separate bowl, mix together wet ingredients: agave, milk, egg and melted butter.

3. Add wet ingredients to the dry mix, stir until all ingredients are incorporated. If there are a few lumps of  flour in the batter, its okay, you can leave it.

4. Let the batter sit for at least 15 minutes so the chia seeds start to absorb some of the liquid. This batter is even better when made the night before.

5. Heat waffle iron according to instructions and pour batter into hot waffle iron.

6. Serve hot with maple syrup, honey or jam. Enjoy!



Gluten Free Oatmeal & Chia Seed Waffles/ Pancakes

This recipe can be done gluten-free and dairy free. Instead of using all purpose flour try using a gluten free flour mix. If you do not want to make your own, one of my favorites is Pamela’s All Natural Baking and Pancake Mix. When using this mix, there is no need to add baking powder. This mix however, does contain almonds and cultured buttermilk powder.

To make sure it is dairy free, use almond, rice, soy or any non dairy milk you so desire. As for replacing the butter? Use vegetable oil, almond oil or walnut oil to give it a nutty taste.

Berry Oatmeal & Chia Seed Waffles/ Pancakes

Try adding fresh or frozen blueberriesstrawberries, or raspberries to the recipe to add to your antioxidants for the day.


Oatmeal & Chia Seed Waffle with Raspberries