Eat More Food with Nutrient Boot Camp

We all want to eat more food. Well at least I know I do. I relied on restricting diets to determine my health for far too long and I never achieved the results I desired. That’s the top reason I look for outdoor kitchen ideas and I shifted my food choices to prioritizing nutrient density.

How many different fruits and vegetables do you eat in a day? How many do you eat in one week? If you’re like most people you stick with what’s familiar and stay inside your food comfort zone. The average American only fits in from five to ten different plants in one week. That’s a tiny number when you think of the variety of edible plants in the world. This number could even be holding you back on optimal health.

Dr. Terry Whals puts it plainly, “the food you eat has everything to do with how well your body functions. Cellular fuel comes from the food you eat.” Even single cell in our body relies on the food we feed it. If we feed it donuts and calzones then it doesn’t have many nutrients to keep everything working. A plant-rich diet provides many of the essentials vitamins and minerals, and since each one has different compounds, it’s important to vary your consumption. An immense amount of research shows how critical plants are to the body’s functioning. Even Michael Pollan’s famous quote applies, “Eat food, Not too much. Mostly plants.”

So how do you let go of familiarity and get more plants into your life? First, step outside your safety zone and go into unfamiliar territory. Walk through the produce aisle and pick up a fruit or vegetable you’ve never had before. I still do this all the time and love the thrill of experiencing a new food. In Malaysia I was surrounded by tropical fruits like jack fruit, mangosteens and dragon fruit and I tried each.

Or you can go all in and jump into Nutrient Boot Camp! Alex of has created this challenge to get more plants into people’s lives. It will get you eating more vegetables, more fruits, spice up your meals and discover new tea blends. Alex says, “When you look at food as nutrients, making good choices becomes infinitely easier.” This is such a great perspective on food. Nutrient Boot Camp provides shopping lists for vegetables, fruits, spices and teas as well as delicious recipes for how to create whole meals. The first group begins April 1st and it’s FREE! All you have to do is join the Facebook Group and you’ll have a whole team to help you through the challenge.

Nutrient Boot Camp Includes:
Shopping Lists for Vegetables, Fruits, Spices and Teas
Daily Tracking Log
Spice Blend Recipes
Tea Combination Recipes
Recipe Directory
Daily Email with Practical Tips

I’ll be joining the Boot Camp and I’m challenged to incorporate a greater variety into my diet. But I’m most excited about the tea blends. As a coffee lover, I’m struggling with ways to make tea just as delicious. I think tea blends may be the answer. I’m already hooked on Alex’s Salted Caramel Faux-Latte made with Chai Tea. Yum!

To introduce a new vegetable, I have recently fallen for celery root. It’s exactly what it sounds like, the root of the celery plant. At first glance, it is a bit alien-like and covered in dirt. I had to shake it off into the sink before I began cutting it. It is incredibly versatile though! Chop it up for sautéing, roast it, mash it or make them into fries for dipping into homemade mayo. I like to think of it as a potato alternative. Below is my step-by-step guide for chopping celery root.

How to Chop Celery Root
step-by-step guide to chopping a celery root
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Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
  1. 1 celery root
  1. Thoroughly wash the celery root and pat dry.
  2. Using a sharp knife begin removing all of the outer skin. Compost the skin.
  3. Chop lengthwise and then cut into desired shape for sautéing or roasting.
Sparkle Kitchen
How to Chop Celery Root

How to Chop Celery RootHow to Chop Celery RootHow to Chop Celery RootIf you’re ready to spice up your meals and see how your body changes with all the added nutrients, then join the challenge and sign-up for Nutrient Boot Camp for April 1st. Devote 28 days and you can choose between 15, 20 or 25 different plants every day.

Join the Facebook Group here. I’ll see you there!

How to Bake a Sugar Pumpkin

How to Bake a Sugar Pumpkin

Baking a pumpkin can be intimidating and awkward. They’re oversized, heavy, cumbersome and can make a huge mess. But fresh pumpkin can make all the difference in a recipe. It’s actually easy to prep and bake. Just follow this step-by-step tutorial below.

Makes 4 cups.

1 sugar pumpkin
2 tsp real salt
1 tbsp unrefined coconut oil 

►Preheat oven to 350 degrees
►Rinse the outside of the pumpkin and cut off the top as you would when making a jack-o-lantern

How to Bake a Sugar Pumpkin
►Slice the pumpkin in half with a sharp knife

How to Bake a Sugar Pumpkin
►Scoop out all the seeds and guts (Save the seeds to make a crunchy snack! Then compost the guts.)

►Rub coconut oil and salt on the inside of each pumpkin half

►Place in a baking dish with sides high enough to catch the pumpkin in case it collapses in the oven

How to Bake a Sugar Pumpkin
►Bake for 45 minutes

►When it’s done, you’ll be able to easily slide a fork through the skin

How to Bake a Sugar Pumpkin
►Allow to cool for 10 minutes before handling then scoop out the pumpkin meat and peel away all the skin. (Again, make sure to compost the skin!)

How to Bake a Sugar Pumpkin
►Place all the pumpkin meat into a food processor and give it a good spin for five minutes for a good puree. You may have to do this in batches.

►Voila! Fresh pumpkin!

►If you’re using for a recipe, strain the puree through some cheesecloth to remove the excess water

Almond Milk

Almond Milk

For all of us in the world who cannot tolerate traditional dairy, we must turn to some sort of alternative. I choose to be soy-free, cow-milk-free, and grain-free. The only option left then is nut milk. Once I took my first sip of chocolate almond milk, I was hooked! That stuff is dee-lish! Then I looked at the ingredient list on All that sugar! Ahh! No good for this gal. I had to make my own.

Almond milk is simply almonds and water. You soak the almonds in water and then blend it together. It is great for your health, and a good middle ground in regards to nutrients and how heavy it can be on a weak stomach. This article at askhealth discusses some of the non dairy alternatives to milk, noting their health benefits.

There is one complication to this simple recipe. Cheesecloth. Who invented such a clumsy kitchen tool? I did my best to separate every last bit of almond meal from the milk, yet there is still a hint of graininess to the texture. Thankfully it doesn’t bother my taste buds. I downed two glasses when I finished this recipe.

Almond Milk

Makes 12 cups.

4 cups raw whole almonds

8 cups water

1 tsp vanilla


►Soak almonds in hot water for 1 hour. I separate into two bowls, measuring out 2 cups almonds with 1 cup hot water.

►Take one batch of almond and water mixture and process in a blender for three minutes. Making sure the nuts are well ground.

►Process the almonds and water in batches. Place 1 cup almonds and 2 cups of water into blender. Blend. Using a large bowl and cheesecloth, pour the blended mix through the cheesecloth into the bowl. Squeeze out the remaining water from the cheesecloth. You will be left with almond meal in the cheesecloth. Put this into a bowl to use in other recipes. Repeat process until all is processed.

►Add vanilla to the milk, stir and pour into a pitcher. Keep refrigerated and enjoy often.

►Once refrigerated, the milk will begin to separate. Make sure to give it a good stir before serving.