A favorite Thanksgiving salad recipe!

My daughter, Lisa Rae, brought this salad to our Thanksgiving dinner a few years ago, and it was a hit!  We’ve been making it ever since.  I want to share the recipe with you, along with some of its “food as medicine” health benefits.

Cranberry Spinach Salad

Combine in a lare bowl:

1 10-ounce package fresh organic spinach

1/2 cup dried cranberries

4 ounces crumbled feta cheese (optional)

1 cup pecans (raw or lightly roasted)

To roast, spread pecans in a single layer on a stainless steel baking pan, and roast in a 300-degree oven for 5 to 7 minutes.  When you begin to smell the pecans, check them.  They can burn quickly.

For the dressing, whisk together:

2 tablespoons balsamic or apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon raw honey

1 teaspoon Dijon or brown mustard

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Just before serving, toss salad with dressing.

For the nutritional information, check out this link.

Health benefits:

Cranberries are beneficial for bladder and urinary tract health.  They also contain polyphenols, an antioxidant that helps preserve brain function.

Spinach contains saponins, which help to lower cholesterol.  Studies show that people who eat diets rich in saponins have lower rates of breast, prostate, and colon cancers.  Spinach also contains beta-carotene, lutein, and zeanxanthin, all found to help protect against cataracts and macular degeneration.  NOTE:  If you are predisposed to kidney stones caused by oxalates, you may need to replace the spinach with romaine lettuce, as spinach is high in oxalates.

Feta is lower in fat than some cheeses, like cheddar, and provides calcium and vitamin K2, needed to transport calcium into the bones.

Pecans are a good source of vitamin E and ellagic acid, both found to be effective against cancer.

The olive oil in the dressing is a healthy fat that helps the body to absorb fat-soluble nutrients like vitamins A, D, E, and K, along with lutein and zeaxanthin.

Mustard contains turmeric, which is anti-inflammatory.

Balsamic or raw apple cider vinegar aids digestion and can help control blood sugar.

Raw honey has been known to help with constipation and diarrhea, as well as ease ulcer pain.

Black pepper helps with nutrient absorption.

I hope you have a blessed and healthy Thanksgiving celebration!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Thessalonians 5:18–“Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”





www.mealgarden.com/expert/lisahernandez (Find the Cranberry Spinach Salad recipe and its nutritional information here.)

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your healthcare provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

Some of my favorite cold and flu remedies!

  •  Echinacea is an immune stimulant and blood purifier.  This herb works with your immune system to fight off viruses and bacteria.  It’s not recommended for those with autoimmune disorders, those taking medications to lower their immune system response, or for anyone that is allergic to plants in the daisy family.  Echinacea is best taken at the first sign of illness, and then discontinued after seven to ten days.
  • Colloidal silver is my go-to for home and travel to kill all manner of viruses and bacteria.  It’s a good choice for those who can’t take echinacea, because it doesn’t stimulate the immune system.  You can learn more about colloidal silver from my blog post:  My home and travel first-aid essential:  Colloidal Silver.
  • Oscilloccoccinum by Boiron is a homeopathic remedy that helps reduce the duration and severity of flu-like symptoms, including body aches, headache, fever, chills, and fatigue.  It’s sold in many drugstores and grocery stores.  I bought mine on sale at Whole Foods.
  • Elderberry has been shown to shorten the duration of cold and flu viruses.  You can find it as tea, syrup, tincture, capsules, or chewables.  I buy Elderberry D3Fense from Nature’s Sunshine for myself, which combines elderberry and vitamin D3 in capsule form.  I keep Sunshine Heroes Elderberry Immune Soft Chews on hand for my grandkids.  Elderberry is good to take for prevention, especially when you know you’ll be in large groups of people (school, church, events, etc.).
  • Peppermint leaf tea is wonderful to have on hand for fever, nausea, and congestion.  Buy organic and sweeten with a little raw honey.
  • Ginger root tea helps reduce inflammation and nausea.  You can also buy ginger root capsules.
  • Raspberry leaf tea is one of my grandchildren’s favorite.  It’s a good remedy to help calm diarrhea.  Again, organic is best.
  • Salt water gargle to reduce sore throat irritation.  Stir about 1/2 teaspoon of salt into about four ounces of water, warm enough to dissolve salt.  Gargle each mouthful for several seconds, and then spit it out.  Do this every one or two hours, as needed.  Salt is a powerful anti-microbial.  Never gargle with hot water!
  • Aloe vera juice helps to calm the stomach and acts as a mild laxative.
  • Essential oils to diffuse into the air, bath, or shower.  One to three drops is all it takes.  Too much can overwhelm your system.  Add three drops to your bath or shower to create a “steam room” effect.  Diffuse a few drops into the air with an aromatherapy diffuser to help kill airborne viruses.  Mix one to three drops with one tablespoon of a carrier oil (olive oil, almond oil, or coconut oil) and rub onto chest, back, or feet.  Keep away from eyes!  Before applying essential oils to large areas of the body, first test for a reaction by applying one drop (mixed with carrier oil) to the inside of your wrist and waiting for 20 minutes.  If you have redness, itching, swelling, or any other unfavorable reaction, wipe off the essential oil with a carrier oil (olive, coconut, or almond), and do not proceed to use that essential oil.
  • Lavender is anti-viral, calming, and good for fevers.
  • Thyme and eucalyptus are both anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and especially useful in cases of respiratory congestion.  Research at the University of Brighton, East Sussex, found that thyme essential oil could kill MRSA, a form of staph that is resistant to regular antibiotics.  This study was published in the International Journal of Essential Oil Therapeutics in 2010.

TIP:  Add some fresh thyme to your Thanksgiving turkey!  It contains vitamins A, B, and C.

  • Garlic has been proven over and over to be effective against viruses and bacteria.  Add fresh garlic to your food often during cold and flu season.  Garlic oil has been successfully used in cases of ear infections.  Here’s my “knock-it-out” recipe for when I feel like I’m coming down with something, especially if my throat feels scratchy:
  • Mix three to five cloves of fresh-pressed garlic with a teaspoon of raw honey and some cayenne pepper to taste.  Eat it from the spoon, or spread onto apples slices or sprouted whole-grain toast or crackers. (Don’t worry about the odor–no one needs to be kissing you!)

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”


Healthy Holidays–Mindful Eating Tips!

Celebrating the holidays comes with a certain amount of feasting.  Enjoying God’s abundance, especially when we enjoy it with others, is among life’s greatest pleasures!  Unfortunately, too much feasting can turn a joyful celebration into days or weeks of uncomfortable recovery.

Eating too much puts stress on your body.

Food sensitivities can often result from eating too much at one time.

Food sensitivities can lead to health problems, like indigestion, headaches, joint pain, skin rashes, depression, sinus problems, achy muscles, weight gain, and fluid retention.  You might even feel like you have a cold or the flu!

Here’s some tips for enjoying the holiday abundance without sacrificing your health:

  1.  Don’t “save up” for the big meal or party food by not eating.  This makes it easier to overeat and is harder on digestion.  Instead, eat a healthy snack an hour or two before the event.
  2. Eat smaller amounts more often than too much all at once.  Pay attention to portion sizes (see Mindful Eating Tips).
  3. Consider taking plant-based digestive enzymes to help you handle bigger meals.  I carry Papaya Mint chewables in my purse as a natural digestive aid.  (They also make a nice hostess gift.)
  4. Consider taking a multi-strain probiotic capsule at bedtime to support the good bacteria in your intestinal tract.  Too much sugar and alcohol can cause an imbalance, which affects digestion and the immune system.
  5. Avoid eating when stressed, and practice mindful eating.  Download the free Mindful Eating Tips PDF.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”


www.learningtobehealthy.mynsp.com (Papaya Mint, Proactazyme Plus, Probiotic Eleven)



This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.