Kitchen Essentials for Eating Healthier

If a goal of yours is to eat healthier, eating at home is the way to do it.  Most restaurant food is of unknown origin (to you, anyway) and probably has many unsavory, not to mention unhealthy qualities (GMOs, MSG, hydrogenated oils, added and unnecessary sugars, etc.).

Cooking healthy food at home is really the only way to ensure you’re getting the best quality food.

Some myths about cooking at home are that it has to be

  • expensive
  • time-consuming
  • difficult
  • taste bad

Quite the contrary!  Once you learn some go-to recipes and have the right tools for the job, you’ll be doing fine in no time.

I’m going to assume you already have a kitchen equipped with a stovetop, oven, and a refrigerator.  If not, those should be a priority!  Or at least a nice campfire cooking kit and cooler.

First, you need a set of nice knives.  This is a must.  I’ve bought cheap knives in the past, and similar to buying cheap shoes, you may as well save up your money to get the good ones.  You know what they say, “Buy cheap – buy twice (or 3 or 4 times…).”  

Cheap knives dull fast, and trying to cut a tomato with a dull knife is not only frustrating but dangerous as well.  I use Cutco knives because they are a great quality, plus they have a lifetime guarantee.  They’ll even sharpen your knives for life for free!  Yes, they’re a little pricey, but just like a nice pair of shoes, well worth the extra effort.

Next, you need a couple of nice pots and pans.  I like the idea of using natural metals like stainless steel and cast iron pans.  The only types that I would avidly avoid are Teflon-coated pans and aluminum pans.  You don’t want to eat flecks of man-made chemicals every time you cook.

You’ll want a nice large skillet; a large covered pot and a small covered pot.  Pans that can transfer from the stovetop to the oven, like this cast iron one, are a nice convenience.   

The third most essential thing you need for eating healthy at home is a large cutting board.  I have a couple of wooden ones and oil them once a month so they stay smooth and don’t mold.

Other convenient kitchen gadgets that make cooking at home more fun may include:

  • Wooden spoons for stirring sauces and soups
  • Vegetable peeler, or even better, a food processor for shredding things
  • Turning spatula
  • Slow cooker
  • Glass food storage containers 
  • Mixing bowls of varying sizes
  • Blender for pureeing soups and making smoothies (and the occasional frozen marg.)

That’s about all I use on a regular basis.  What do you think?   Am I missing anything?  What kitchen gadgets do you consider your “essentials?” 

The Acid / Alkaline Myth


You may have heard that your ph (pronounced “P. H.” not “fff”), is a balance between acid (1 on a scale of 14) and alkaline (14 on the same scale).  Your blood is almost perfectly neutral at 7.2.  For years, the thought on ph in natural-health circles was that you want your body to be as alkaline as possible.  “Cancer only exists in an alkaline body,” which I embarrassingly admit I once said.  

What most people (myself included) don’t realize is that your ph

  1. is different in different parts of your body; your saliva is closest to blood ph, but your digestive system ph is extremely acid (between 1 – 3) to be able to digest your food and kill bacteria and other immune system invaders.    
  2. your body’s ph doesn’t change much from food or drinks.  Changes in ph mostly occur in your digestive and endocrine (hormone) systems’ health. 

You can check your saliva ph with test strips that are available at most drug stores.  If you do this, don’t eat or drink anything, including water, for at least 1 hour before testing.    

What we find is that some people need to alkalize and some people need to acidify.  

Sign of acidity, or acidosis (lower than 6 on the saliva ph scale) 

  • insomnia and unable to relax
  • lump in the throat (feeling, not an actual bump)
  • cold sweats
  • dry skin
  • dry stool
  • irritability

Signs of alkalinity, or alkalosis (over 7.2 on the ph scale) 

  • calcium deposits, but with paradoxically low blood calcium levels (calcium deficiency)
  • allergies
  • arthritic pains
  • stiffness especially in the morning
  • fullness
  • nausea, vomiting, belching
  • heartburn, acid reflux
  • palpitations
  • shortness of breath
  • itchiness

Treating ph imbalances of either type involve similar actions.


Liver sluggishness or poor choices of fats and oils (hydrogenated vegetable oils, margarine, Crisco, fried food, etc.) can lead to higher acid levels.  A diet that includes healthy fats and oils will increase alkalinity, as long as they’re high-quality oils and your Liver is working good.

Eating more leafy greens is essential for reducing acidosis as well.  Livers love the bitter taste of greens!  It really gets them pumping.  


Phosphorus stabilizes both conditions as it balances overactive parasympathetics (too much gastric acid released) and it also combats calcium carbonate formation found in alkalosis.  An easy-to-find and use phosphorus solution is Raw Apple Cider Vinegar.  Just take 1 tablespoon once or twice per day.  You can dilute it in water if you want to, or add a touch of honey to lessen the vinegar taste impact!


I never recommend anyone avoids using salt:  sodium restrictive diets or even loss of sodium from excessive sweating (hello, summer in Texas!) can be an underlying cause of acidosis.  I do recommend you avoid table (iodized) salt and prepackaged foods that contain iodized salt, but instead use sea salt (kosher salt or pink salt or grey salt are also great).


The number one reason for under-acidity (alkalosis) is stress.  Your stomach produces hydrochloric acid when you eat, and stress puts a damper on this action.  The resulting heartburn, burping, and reflux are then – unfortunately – treated with acid-reducing pills.  Of course, if you reduce acid in an already under-acid environment, your body won’t heal.  The best solutions:  temporarily taking a hydrochloric acid supplement and reducing stress, especially around meal times.  Shut off the laptop and the TV and just focus on enjoying your food.  

So, maybe you need more acid and maybe you need more alkalinity:  it varies throughout your life and from person to person.  And if you’ve just spent hundreds of dollars on a Kangen water system, I hear they make great doorstops!  

When to Use Ice or Heat

For years, the go-to medical treatment for bumps, bruises, sprains, strains, and pains was ice.  And for all these years, practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine do our best to convince people otherwise.

One of the 1800-year-old books we study in Chinese medicine school is called the “Shang Han Lun,” which is roughly translated as “On Cold Damage.”  The theory is that from our environment or from organ weaknesses, coldness is the root cause of several chronic illnesses:  arthritis being chief among them, but also including chronic allergy problems, digestive weakness, and skin problems.   A body that succumbs to cold damage is fatigued, retains water, and becomes ill easily.  There is usually pain, and the pain increases with cold weather.

Most arthritis pain is diagnosed as “wind-cold-damp Qi” by acupuncturists.  Most arthritic joints are areas that have old injuries:  repetitive movements or sprains, stitches or surgical sites can be weakened areas that are more susceptible to chronic pain.  By introducing unnaturally cold temperatures to these weakened areas, you invite “Evil Qi” into your joints.

Don’t laugh:  “Evil Qi” is not something I made up!  It’s a long-standing theory in Chinese medicine.

Cold is one of the elements that you don’t want to introduce on a regular basis into your joints.

You can think about it like this:  cold causes things to contract, right?  Contraction of your blood vessels causes pain, right?  So…cold causes pain.

The argument in Western medicine has been the opposite.  A hurt joint has inflammation (heat injury) and the ice counteracts inflammation.

As with most Western medical solutions, the problems are this:

  1. Short-term thinking, not long-term health.
  2. Blanket solution regardless of the individual.

Zhang Zhong-Jing author of the Shang Han Lun

Actually, inflammation is how your body heals itself.  Cells are rushing to the injured area to promote circulation and regeneration.   The problem with inflammation is that it hurts.  Also, you also don’t want the inflammation process to go on for too long without signs of progress.  

Better ways to reduce inflammation slowly and naturally are:

  • gentle movements or stretches
  • acupuncture
  • eating a low-sugar, high-nutrient diet; eat fresh foods, not pre-packaged foods
  • drink plenty of water

Ice artificially stops the inflammation process.  Why interfere with millions of years of evolution?  

In fact, there was an interesting study done in 2011 on rats, where the rats sustained injuries to their tiny rat muscles (I don’t want to think about how they did that) and then were divided into 2 groups:  one received ice and the other didn’t.

Influence of Icing on Muscle Regeneration After Crush Injury to Skeletal Muscles in Rats

12 hours Macrophages were found within the necrotic muscle fibers (Macrophage migration to an injured site to phagocytose the necrotic muscle fibers is essential for “clean-up”) Fewer macrophages were found within the necrotic muscle fibers
Day 3 Regenerating muscle cells present Reduced regenerating muscle cells
Day 4 Normal sized muscle cells produced Smaller sized regenerating muscle cells
Day 14 Normal maturation of the regenerating muscle fibers Maturation of the regenerating was visibly reduced
Day 28 Cross-sectional area of the regenerating muscle was 65% greater than the icing groupCollagen fibers were seen only among the bundles of muscle fibers as it is seen in healthy muscles Regenerating muscle fibers was significantly less in the icing group (P < 0.01)Abnormal collagen formation where collagen fibers surrounded each muscle fiber

The iced group healed much slower.  The ice actually interfered with the healing process.

Thousands of years ago, icing an injury was an unheard-of process, and even some of my Chinese professors would say that even drinking ice in your water or tea is like poisoning yourself.  They were probably right!

Flu Vaccine: we’ve been duped

Do you ever wonder:  Why is it that some people get sick and others don’t?  Is it nutrition?  Is it positive thinking?  Is it genetics?  Is it the environment?  Is it exposure to germs?

Or is it something that’s a combination of things; something that’s not totally “black or white?”


Your immune system is a network of cells, organs, and glands in your body that fight invaders like viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other foreign matters (chemicals and pollens, etc.).  98-99% of disease-prevention is based on your innate, cellular, immune system.  This includes epithelial barriers, mucous membranes, phagocytes, and natural killer cells.  It also includes the functioning of your thymus, spleen, and bone marrow.  You can think of this part of your immune system as your police force, your military, and your justice system all rolled into one.

Acquired immunity is a cellular memory.  These cells, or antibodies, remember how to effectively fight off certain diseases.  Antibodies are only about 2% of your immune response.  This is what vaccine-producers and many physicians want you to focus on.  This 2% of your immune system.  Whereas the innate immune system is like your body’s military/police, the acquired immune system is like someone who sees something happening and calls the police to tell them.  It’s your immune system narc.  Which is good, but, you know, it’s not the whole picture.  

Even Rudolph Virchow, the “Father of Modern Medicine” said “If I could live my life over again, I would devote it to proving that germs seek their natural habitat – diseased tissue – rather than being the cause of diseased tissue; mosquitoes seek the stagnant water but do not cause the water to become stagnant.” 

“Had it not been for the mass selling of vaccines, Pasteur’s germ theory of disease would have collapsed into obscurity.”  – E. Douglas Hume, author of Pasteur Exposed.  


As far as vaccinations go, I don’t think any authority figure – the government, your doctor, or your workplace – has the right to dogmatically tell you what you should or shouldn’t do with your health and the health of your family.  With the facts properly laid out, you should be able to come up with a logical and emotionally-sound decision for yourself.

Luckily, in Texas, we can opt out of vaccines if we choose, but in three states, including California, you can’t conscientiously object to vaccines.  But isn’t it our fundamental right as a patient – as a person – as an American – to decide whether or not to object or consent to a medical treatment?  

After World War II, the Nuremberg Code was established to codify the rights of any person undergoing a medical procedure.  Part of it reads:  “The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential.”  The Declaration of Geneva, adopted by the World Medical Association in 1948 states that “I will not use my medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even under threat.”  One of the central tenants of the practice of medicine is “Informed Consent,” which roughly states that “when a sufficiently capacitated adult does not give …voluntary consent to intervention … the intervention is impermissible…”  

But by mandating vaccines, we are losing our right to consent to the treatment.  (By the way, all cases where nurses groups have taken hospital or clinic management to court to fight mandated vaccination, have won.  So far, the legal precedent is on the side of the patient’s voluntary consent.)  Mandatory vaccines are just plain un-American.  

Some people argue “But, Nicole, if vaccines are bad, why isn’t that published on the front of every newspaper and heralded from every reporter?!”

This is why:  news agencies need advertising dollars to stay in business.  Pharmaceutical companies spend billions of dollars every year on advertising.



How about when the vaccines are called “immunizations?”  Except they’re not.  Vaccines are temporary.  Immunity means


Vaccines temporarily increase your antibodies to an organism.  Even the CDC explanation form “how  vaccines work,” they say “after a while, however, that immunity begins to wear off.”  I’m sorry, did you say the immunity begins to wear off?  Well, I haven’t been vaccinated for anything in over 20 years; shouldn’t I be worried about getting terribly sick?  Seriously, though, there are hardly any studies that prove how long the “immunity” lasts for any one vaccine.  

The thing about the flu (and measles and many other diseases that vaccine companies and the CDC think we need vaccinations for which multiplies every year):  most people survive it.  We have antibiotics (which you take only when, of course, you’re ABOUT TO DIE FROM A BACTERIAL INFECTION and no other time), hospitals, fancy medicines, and even qualified herbalists all over the world who can save you from infectious diseases.    Hell, in a pinch, you may even use Dr. Google to know how to bring down a high fever.  My point is, we live in a time and place where there are options.  

The measles outbreak in California was 150 people – none of whom died.  In Europe right now there’s a huge push to vaccinate, especially in rural Romania and Ukraine due to thousands of outbreaks of measles every year.  There have been deaths, but only in subsects of people (gypsies) who don’t go to doctors.  With modern medicine, death from measles is quite rare.  


The flu vaccine – touted as protection against all 4 varieties of the flu – has been shown to have an effectiveness rate of around 36%.  Placebo is 35%.  

Even if the effectiveness rate was 60%, which some news sources have reported, if this is effective “immunization” shouldn’t it be closer to 100%?  Why’s it not working so often on so many people?  

The thing is, there are 4 strains of flu virus, with immeasurable mutations within each of those 4 classes.  These viruses are smart and are constantly changing and evolving.  So what you’re getting vaccinated against may not be what you actually come into contact with.  


Too much activity in your acquired immune system – think “immune system narcs” – causes your immune system to be on hyper-vigilant overdrive.  This is when vaccines may be the underlying cause of autoimmune disorders.  

All the while – I won’t say “ignoring” however – not addressing things to help your innate immune system function optimally.  

It was critical for the new medical industry “to indoctrinate the public in the Western world with the belief that the salvation from all, especially physical ailments, lay outside the individual’s system and responsibility, because it was caused by external factors…and that chemical remedies (drugs) will keep him free from disease, independent of his own vigilant responsibility.”  -Howard Hencke (“Germ Theory:  A Deliberate Aberration”)


So why the rise of epidemic illness like Asiatic Flu, Swine Flu, etc.?  “The viral (and other germs) diseases build up strength and resilience when it gets into weakened people or test animals.  That’s why when our malnutrition is at its peak these diseases come in like a prairie fire in dry weather and build up their virulence to where they can mow down everybody.  So that’s why we have these waves of invading epidemics all the time.  Various forms of colds and flu and so forth.” -Dr. Royal Lee, 1933

So here are the top 3 things you can do to stay healthy during flu season, and really any time of the year.

  1. Whole food nutrition
    • Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
    • Stay away from vitamin C sourced from “ascorbic acid” (read the label); instead, use a vitamin C complex like Cataplex C or A-C from Standard Process
    • Use Calcium Lactate or citrate.  Low blood serum calcium has been linked with critical illness and diseases and the length of recovery time.
    • Determine Zinc deficiency and supplement or change diet (eat less sugar and processed foods) as needed
    • Vitamin D:  sun exposure and a good quality fish oil
    • Vitamin F:  essential fatty acids (EFAs) also found in fish oil and nuts like brazil nuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds
  2. Hygiene and sanitation
    • Most infectious disease death rates were already going down (see graph below), and drastically so, way before the introduction of vaccines.  The reason?  Clean water, regulated food industry, and sanitation.
  3. Stress management
    • Keep your cortisol and adrenaline in check.  Meditate, walk, drink water.  Play and have fun.  Keep a balance in your life.

The number always corresponds with excess weight


I have a scale (a cheap one, probably $20 from Bed Bath & Beyond years ago) that measures your hydration levels and I used to check all my clients regularly for that.  Ideal hydration levels are between 50-60% of your total body mass.  

One thing that all good scientists have in common:  noticing patterns.  

The pattern I noticed is this:  the heavier people always (ALWAYS) are dehydrated.  

In a great book that I highly recommend, French Women Don’t Get Fat, by Mireille Giuliano, the author states that French women hardly ever snack between meals, they drink water.

According to this 2016 study, it seems to be true.  Increased hydration leads to decreased body weight.  

Many studies have also shown that dehydration produces similar body sensations as hunger.   

If you’re wanting to slim down, I would try increasing your water intake.  If you hate the taste of water, well, learn to like it.  Sorry, there’s just no other way around it!  Here are some tips for enjoying more water:  

  • Add some fresh squeezed lemon or lime to it.  
  • Get a good filter for your home.  Filtered water tastes so much better!  
  • Use carbonated water with or without natural flavors.  
  • Use herbal tea:  green tea often gets me through a hungry afternoon.
  • Get a fun water bottle (non-plastic) that you take with you everywhere and fill up when you’re out running errands, exercising, and at work.  

Once you’re hydrated properly, you’ll be able to better discern signs of true hunger vs. your body’s sign for water.  

And, of course, you’ll then slim down.  

Upcoming Events


Pain in the Neck – GONE

I’ve had chronic neck pain for over 20 years.  Conventional doctors masked the pain with muscle relaxers and pain killers.  Chiropractors aggravated it with their treatments.  Just a few visits to Natural Health Center has it feeling better than it has in years.  Thanks so much!

Kevin M.

Stomach Soothed

I started coming to the Health Center for issues I was having with my stomach.  Even while making the initial appointment I felt like the person I was speaking with was empathetic about my situation.  I had gone to two medical doctors before trying NAET and acupuncture, but had not seen results.  After my treatments at the Health Center, my stomach feels better than it has in years and continues to get better every day with the help and support of the staff.  I am thankful for all they do for me and our community.

Kristina U.

Baby is Better

My son came here for treatment for eczema when he was 3 years old.  He is 4 now and completely cured of it.  My youngest son has the same issue at age 1, so we’re back!

Jane D.

Stress Less!

Stress!  Stress!  & More Stress!  Coming to this office gives me one hour to decompress and slow down.  I look forward to my visits.  They are the highlight of the day and week for me.  Positive energy. 🙂  This has given me another (or better) avenue to release tension and bad mojo.  Thank you.  The doctors really connect with you and truly care about your well-being.

Kerri T.

Shoulder Pain and More

I originally came in for a tweak in my shoulder which soon disappeared with regular treatments.  Since I’ve had the pleasure of treatments from Nicole and her outstanding staff, my inner calm and overall attitude toward the stresses of life have vastly improved.  I’ve come in crying, anxious, distressed, in pain and leave – every time – well-cared for and successfully treated.  I wholeheartedly believe that acupuncture can be so much more than a go-to for emergency pains.  I intend to incorporate it into my regular lifelong health regime.

Molly C.

Back is Stronger

My back has been feeling significantly better.  I no longer have the daily aches and pains that I had before.  My back feels stronger and my posture feels better.  Before acupuncture, I tried stretching to relieve my pain, but the results were unsatisfactory.  Stretching is great, but does nothing if it is not done in conjunction with acupuncture.


Chron’s Relief

I’ve been going to the NHC for acupuncture and NAET for my Chron’s disease.  To say that the treatments helped me would be an understatement.  I have been hospitalized multiple times for my condition and was in constant, severe pain before I decided to go to the NHC.  I can’t remember the last time I felt this good.  The staff are all friendly, care for their patients and are truly there to make you better.  I can’t say enough great things about these ladies.


Fibromyalgia Support

A few months ago at my wits end with extreme pain, I attended a Fibromyalgia support meeting and met Nicole Lentfer.  From that night on, I am a different person.  Like many others I tried all the conventional Western medicines with no relief.  After having a mini-trial of acupressure that night, I put 100% trust in Nicole and her staff and the Natural Health Center.  After starting the acupuncture and NAET treatments, I am much calmer, and I have less pain and more energy.

Becky Goad

Allergy-Free Family

My son and I had both food and environmental allergies.  We tried over the counter medications and different supplements over the past 2 years or so. We were both suffering with skin rashes, runny noses, and itchy eyes.  We started coming to the NHCA for treatment after a recommendation from a friend.  My son and I saw a big improvement of our symptoms.  We are happy to be allergy-free at the end of our treatments!

Sandra Ojong

Mental Relaxation

I started acupuncture for numerous reasons but primarily anxiety.  The process has helped me feel calmer, more relaxed, and less like I am living in a mental box.  It has helped me feel free.


Inhaler is Out

I came to acupuncture due to constant short breaths which made working out difficult.  I also had tension in my neck and shoulders that felt like I had been holding a shrug for 10+ years.  Now I’m more comfortable since my neck and shoulders have relaxed.  I can work out harder and for longer periods of time since I don’t need to use my inhaler anymore.


PTSD and Pain Managed

I found the NHCA after 10 years of pain and discomfort.  I was a mixed martial artist, high school football player, and infantryman in the Marine Corps.  I had put my body through entirely too much torture, and I was suffering for it.  When I left the Marine Corps in 2009, I had ankle, knee, hip, back, shoulder and neck pain.  I suffered from insomnia, restless legs syndrome, and post traumatic stress disorder.  I would take close to 20 painkillers a day, and I was still in pain.  I was hurting far from happy.  With acupuncture, I felt instant improvement and I’ve been coming to the office ever since.  I do acupuncture and NAET treatments and I have never felt better in my life.  I’m able to live again.  Thank you.


Fibro Improving

I have fibromyalgia and have had severe body pain for the past 5 years.  Every day, hands were numb, feet throbbed, sternum hurt, shoulders and hips were sore, calves and thighs hurt, arms were heavy.  Doctors really don’t know what to do for me since I didn’t want pharmaceuticals.  I can’t believe acupuncture has helped me so much.  I noticed it right away.  Things aren’t perfect yet, but they’re improving with each treatment.  I am so thankful.

Happy Patient!

Healing From the Inside Out

I came to the NHCA for food sensitivities, poor sleep, moodiness, and lack of energy.  Now I sleep better so I am more awake and in a much better mood during the day.  I was surprised by how well I felt after treatments and feeling my body heal from the inside out.  Unlike Western doctors, this office runs on time, all the time.  Nicole explains everything, answers all your questions and doesn’t talk down to you.


Less Medication

My chronic pain and fatigue are much better.  I’ve been able to come off some medications completely and reduce the dosage of others.  I had never tried acupuncture before but decided to try it.  Nicole and her staff are very informative and I was surprised that the needles don’t hurt.  The services are affordable, relaxing, and it works!


Sports Injury Healed

I was surprised how the treatment was able to heal my sports injury when regular doctors could not.  Sometimes a pill won’t cure everything!


Health Answers

Western medicine has left me with no answers to help me manage a long-standing condition of inflammation that comes and goes in various body parts and for various lengths of time.  I am not fond of taking pills and found the Natural health Center at a point when I was feeling tired, flamed and with no solutions in sight.  The herbal tonics, weekly visits, acupuncture and encouragement to lose weight eventually led to a healthier, happier, pain-free existence!  My energy is back; I do not hurt.  I repeat; I do not hurt.  Such a joy!

Cathy C.

Quality of Life Improved

I came in due to pain from fibromyalgia.  Constant pain from the neck down to my toes and could never sleep more than a couple of hours at a time.  I tried antidepressants, muscle relaxers, sleeping pills and several types of pain pills.  Nothing would work.  I used to sit, sleep and eat in a recliner.  After coming here, my quality of life is so much better.  I can actually plan outings and enjoy myself.  I don’t have as much pain and I can actually sleep at night in my bed!


From Anxious Exhaustion to Calm Energy

I started acupuncture treatments for extreme adrenal fatigue and body pains that I had for over 3 years.  I didn’t sleep and had panic attacks.  I had been to numerous doctors and they’d spend 5 minutes with me and prescribe something; I was on a lot of different medication.  I’ve had absolutely incredible results!  I was at my wits end trying to get help from doctors but no one could figure out what to do other than give me pills.  Nicole listens to what you have to say and then designs a plan to get you back to optimal health.  She completely turned my life around and I don’t say that lightly.  I had given up hope that I’d be the same person I was 4 years ago.  Even my family is amazed at the change and I will recommend her services to everyone I know!


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