HOW DO I CHOOSE A MULTIVITAMIN?

Pick a multivitamin from a reputable brand that is sold in a retail store like Whole Foods Market, where they have strict guidelines for purity and quality. There is no FDA standard, so certifying agencies like the Natural Products Association, National Sanitary Foundation and Good Manufacturing Practice indicate quality. At Naturally, we like Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value line, Solgar, Rainbow Light and Nature’s Way.

HOW DO I KNOW WHICH HERBAL REMEDY IS RIGHT FOR ME?

If you want to try homeopathic remedies to treat everything from colds to coughs, muscle aches, sleeplessness and allergies, the

Boiron homeopathic app is the straightforward solution for you. Answer a few questions about your symptoms, and in a few taps, it’ll prescribe the appropriate homeopathic medicine for you to try.

WHY DO I BURP WHEN I TAKE AN OMEGA?

If you take an omega supplement and it causes you to burp, it’s not fresh, which diminishes its benefits. Look for omega-3s in triglyceride formthe natural form that’s best recognized and absorbed by the body. Some omegas will come in ethyl ester form (labeled super critical), meaning it’s inferior. Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega for adults or their Algae Omega, which is vegan-friendly, are made from marine omega-3s.

Meet food expert Nicole Friday, who turns meals into teachable moments. Here she schools us in packing more nutrition into classic harvest dishes.

Nicole Friday is shaking up the foodie world with her scrumptious and healthy revamps of classic recipes.

We catch up with her in her own kitchen, where the award-winning culinary personality packs every family meal with feel-good ingredients, a whole lot of love… and a pinch of mystery.

When it comes to preparing meals for a family that includes two sons under the age of 10, Nicole Friday has no problem with a little deceptionas long as it’s delicious. Oh I hide a lot of nutrition in their food, says the culinary expert. I just grind it up and stick it in there. My sons are like everyone else, they think they don’t like certain things, but they do.

So unbeknownst to young Edison and Ellis, zucchini and avocado lie in wait in their cupcakes, and pasta sauce is a stealth blend of garden-fresh veggies. Nicole began reinventing recipes about the time she reinvented herselfwhen her sons were born. Ten years ago, she traded in a demanding career as a model, fashion expert, and radio and television producer for an entrepreneurial track that would allow her to be home-based. More specifically, it led her right back to the place where she felt most comfortable and comfortedthe kitchen. I was on a step stool cooking next to my grandmother by the time I was 5 years old, she says. She let me try everything and make a complete mess. I could scramble eggs before I could tie my shoes!

These days, Nicole cooks and cares for her grandmother, now 92 years old, along with her sons and husband, Jeff. She also cooks for the country as a popular blogger and in-demand food demonstrator for the likes of Whole Foods, Macy’s and Neiman Marcus. Though she took classes at New York City’s Culinary Institute to hone her cooking technique and nutrition knowledge, it was those early lessons that helped shape her in ways that reached well beyond the dining table. My grandmother taught me from an early age that if you put love into your body, your body will love you back with big

A Cook’s Kitchen hugs, she says. I grew up in a family of real cooks. We always had the freshest foodsand there was never a shortage of deliciousness in my household. I’ve taken on that same mantra.

Her first food endeavor definitely involved deliciousness. Nicole capitalized on the surge in cupcake love by starting a gourmet catering business straightforwardly named The Cupcake Craze. I’m a baker, she says. I love to bake. But I quickly began making them using ingredients that were healthier.

Her cupcake creationsincluding Sweet Potato and Banana Pudding caught on, earning her the title of Cupcake Boss from Essence magazine. She also was the winner of Macy’s Battle of the Cupcakes. Those sweet victories launched her into a foodie world that now has her demonstrating her cooking skills and healthy recipes on-air and around the country.

So by now you’re likely wondering the same thing we all did: How does a professional cook and cupcake queen stay so annoyingly fit? I don’t live by the philosophy that you can’t eat this or can never have that, she says. I believe in the reduction plan…eat less of the bad and more of the good. The scale just has to tilt in favor of healthy eating. The bottom line is always this: If you want to stay away from the doctor, you need to eat healthier. People usually discover this after they’re sickbut it’s always harder to repair something once it’s broken. You really need to eat to prevent those things.

It’s a practical approach that Nicole one part foodie and one part fashioni-stahas long believed in, comparing building a meal plan to pulling together an outfit. You don’t need to be Prada head to toe, she says. Maybe the toes get Prada and the top goes to Target, and somewhere in the middle is Macy’s. This high-low approach makes good sense for the dining table, and it’s far

What’s always stocked in your pantry? Canned pumpkin, cannellini beans, raw extra-large cashews, extra-virgin olive oil, quinoa, wild rice, steel-cut oatmeal, lentils, raw honey

What will we find in the fridge? Blueberries, oranges, maple syrup, spinach, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, red onions, avocado, tomatoes, rosemary less scary. With kids and many folks you have to slip it in more slowly so it doesn’t get overwhelming, she says. When I teach classes I don’t tell people to throw it all out and start over. Just slowly but surely introduce other foods that will do your body better. Eventually they’ll see the shift… and feel it…the ugly moves out and the good comes in.

Though she may use her more formal nutrition and culinary training to revamp old favorite recipes, at the heart of it is still a desire to echo her grandmother’s philosophy: that it’s never just about foodit’s about love, family, culture. Making those connections with her children has led to many flavorful life lessons. I was home-schooled in the kitchen, she says. And I wanted that for my kids. So I decided to start teaching them about other cultures through food. I expanded their palates and their understanding about different cultures at the same time.it became one big teachable moment.

That worked so well at home, she took the concept on the road, starting a culinary series for Whole Foods called Around the World from Home to teach about new ingredients and ideas. Her blog, fridaytalksfood.com, brings table talk to the desktop with featured guests, articles and recipes that help people live deliciously while they expand their world view.

Like all good ideas, it started with a simple need. Says Nicole, I just wanted to figure out how to get my kids to eat!

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