Thursday, May 28, 2015

Why the Marine Corps needs Warrior Wellness Solutions

     I was honored to be interviewed by a Marine Corps Times reporter who is covering the Marine Corps’ Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force for a story on the Corps exploring the idea of installing Athletic Trainers in Infantry Battalions.  The impact of the task force findings could reverberate in Marine Corps culture for years.  Task force officials said the scientific assessment and the training workup gave more leaders the chance to see the value of treating troops as warrior-athletes who benefit from cutting-edge athletic training and workouts tailored to their jobs.
     To preface, for the last two decades as a health and wellness professional, I have dealt with injuries and surgeries sustained from my time serving in the US. Marine Corps, additionally I have lived with chronic neck and back pain from multiple automobile accidents.  The beginning of my career in health and wellness started in early 90’s as a young LCpl. stationed at Camp Lejeune.  I was entrenched in the one-dimensional training model of the “Pump and Grunt” Bodybuilding era and old school Marine Corps exercises.  I succumbed to the ego based training module in an attempt to “Get Big."  In a very short amount of time, I arrived at a physical rock bottom- suffering from sciatic nerve pain, neck pain, low back pain, and tendinitis in both arms.  As a result, I was forced to take a second look at my training methodologies.  After conducting intense due diligence of different training styles, I began to incorporate a Movement Prep, Functional Training, Breath Connected Stretching, Martial Arts, and Speed, Agility & Quickness.  Within a very short time, my issues fell by the wayside and I achieved pain free peak performance.  At the time, I had a basic personal fitness certification and a stack of books and manuals from various strength coaches and athletic trainers as my guide and was “Voluntold” to help Marines who had become “Fat Bodies” get back in shape.  My first “clients” were patrons of the Semper Fit gyms in French Creek and Area 2 on Mainside where I cut my teeth attempting to teach adjunct material beyond the Battalion 5 Mile Run, pull-ups, sit-ups, and pushups. I began by integrating core strength exercises, speed, agility, and quickness with Marines from various units to include 2nd Anglico and 2nd Force Recon Company using the French Creek Parade Deck.  Although I didn’t know it at the time, this would grow into a lifelong attempt to get various commands and units to see the value of treating troops as warrior-athletes who benefit from cutting-edge athletic training and workouts actually tailored to their jobs.
      In 1995 as I was getting my final physical in Okinawa, I was asked by the attending Navy Dr., “What’s wrong with you?” Like any hard-charging Marine who didn’t want to be labeled a Sick-Bay Commando and get stuck on med hold in Oki, I said “Nothing”.  Two weeks after I left active duty, I ended up in surgery at a VA hospital repairing torn muscles.  The surgery wasn’t performed properly and for two years I struggled with chronic pain and the classic VA pipeline that some of us know all to well.  Through self-exploration, good mentorship, and thousands of hours of continuing education, my passion has evolved beyond those beginnings to be mostly in the workspace of pre/post deployment resiliency and rehabilitation.  Fueled by my own experience, our nonprofit Warrior Wellness Solutions was founded in 2009, giving our team the honor of working with thousands of Wounded, Ill, and Injured veterans, service members, and their caregivers.  It has also allowed us to experience a front row seat to the thousands of compression based injuries resulting from a weak posterior chain, bad posture, improper load carriage, overtraining, and an overemphasis on movements in the sagittal plane.
     Installing professional Athletic Trainers in Infantry Battalions is a good start, and I would advise on making sure those that are hired have true cultural competence of the Marine Corps.  Athletic Trainers should deliver a program of balanced functional strength, utilizing multi-planar movements within the pillars of human movement, and education on Corrective Exercise, Myofacial Meridians, and Mobility.   Additionally, they should educate Marines on the fact that overtraining increases cortisol and lowers testosterone.  Training without learning how to maintain structural integrity and breathe properly is a failed equation.  With that said, Athletic Trainers are only one side of the equation, with most of them not understanding holistic nutrition, mind-body modalities, or decompressing the body through the system of Foundation Training.  In the words of Foundation Training creator Dr. Eric Goodman, “I don’t care how strong an athlete you are, if you take the time to master Foundation Training and include it among your existing training program your athletic ability, strength and poise will improve dramatically.”
     If I was Commandant, the modern Marine Corps would have all NCOs and SNCOs go through a school much like the MCMAP certification where they would be educated by Integrative Nutrition Health Coaches.   Monthly Periods of Instruction on Functional Wellness, Adaptive Field Nutrition, SuperFoods and Nutrient Density for Resiliency, Performance and Tissue Repair with Mindful Yoga Therapy programming would be taught to mitigate symptoms of PTS, and they would have a working knowledge of the Brain-Gut Connection, how to Detox, and balance hormones.  Additionally, I would install Foundation Training Instructors at the Battalion level where Marines would learn how to strengthen the posterior chain, improve posture, increase core strength, and empower their own bodies and minds through Decompression Breathing, Anchoring, and Integration.
     "If we are to stay true to our credo of Semper Fidelis, we would empower every Marine from MARSOC CSOs to Marines in care at Wounded Warrior Regiment with a complete set up tools for their Warrior Wellness Solutions toolbox during their enlistment and beyond.  At Warrior Wellness Solutions, we use our curriculum to empower our clients to PREHAB in addition to REHAB, and deliver the education to work IN, not just work OUT."

Semper Fi 
Elijah Sacra 

My thoughts/quotes in the article should be as follows…..
 “Compression-based injuries are a common issue among even today's all-male infantry units, and underscore the need for professional trainers who understand how to anchor and decompress the body through breath, strengthen the core and posterior chain, and improve posture. The Combat Fitness Test and the Physical Fitness Test do nothing to mitigate the hours and weeks wearing a pack. Marines need instructors who understand how to develop all planes of motion and pillars of movement. You must perform functional movements that entertain all of the ways your body moves. Typical military physical training delivered by the Company Gunny is usually stuck in the dark ages, and often only occurs in one plane where you're not doing any back bending, rotation or lateral work.  Beyond athletic trainers, the modern warrior athlete should have training in mind body modalities, and nutrition.   If they don't know how to maintain structural integrity, breathe properly, or how to fuel their system with nutrients, the training won't be as effective and will leave Marines injured at the end of their enlistment", said Elijah Sacra, a Marine veteran and founder of the nonprofit Warrior Wellness Solutions.

Read the full article here:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Warrior Wellness Nutrition {Tips & Recipes}

April's Health Tips & Recipes

farmers market
Has everything started budding and sprouting in your part of the world? I love that my favorite spring veggies are arriving at the farmers’ markets and health food stores, and I’m encouraging everyone to try a few new varieties this year. Research shows that eating a variety of vegetables provides vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants that can increase our immune system and help protect us from illnesses -- everything from the common cold to chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer.
I love eating raw, steamed and grilled vegetables, but I also enjoy making fresh juices and smoothies. This month you’ll learn all about the benefits of juices and smoothies, along with my easy and delicious recipes.
I’ve also included an important article, “The Dirty Dozen and The Clean 15.”The Dirty Dozen is a list developed by leading food gurus to help us learn which produce we should always buy organic. The vegetables and fruits on this list have the most pesticide residue, which can harm your health and cause digestive and bronchial issues. The Clean 15 lists produce that is typically safe to buy non-organic.
As Spring continues to blossom, I’m wishing you a bountiful season and toasting new ways to eat (and drink) your veggies!

-Clarissa {Director of Operations/Director; Holistic Nutrition Programs}

The Benefits of Juicing and Smoothies

juices 3
One of the best benefits of juicing is the nutritional power packed into just one glass! Most people simply don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables to reap the disease-fighting benefits. While you wouldn’t normally sit down to a plate of 10 vegetables/fruits, you can make a smoothie or juice with the equivalent amount and drink to your health!
It’s important to know your juice and smoothie ingredients and which are best for you:
Not Good: Supermarket juices/smoothies often contain lots of added sugar, artificial ingredients and preservatives. (Preservatives can cause digestive issues, and sugar is not only addictive, but can increase joint pain, reduce immune efficiency and add weight gain.) Always read the ingredients.
Also Not Good: Chain “smoothie bars” often make smoothies with unhealthy dairy products and sugary fruit syrup. That minimizes the nutritional value and adds lots of empty calories.
Better: Raw, organic bottled juices from health food stores or quality juice bars are a good option when you’re pressed for time. But be sure to read the ingredients and look for whole, organic, unpasteurized ingredients.
Best: Whenever possible, freshly-made juices and smoothies are the best option – either those you make at home or order fresh at health food stores or organic, juice bars. If you are looking for a juice bar near you – try the mobile app “Happy Cow.” No matter where you are, it will find the nearest juice bar, and you can look at the Yelp reviews for quality.
I recommend juices/smoothies with a lot more veggies than fruits – try for a 3:1 ratio. The goal is to get as many veggies in your drink as possible and add just a small amount of fruit to make it yummy! However, our taste buds change over time, so if you are just starting out and the idea of drinking vegetables scares you, you might want to enjoy it with more fruit and adjust your recipe to your taste. I work with my clients to help them determine the best fruit to veggie ratio depending on where they are.
I also recommend incorporating veggies - such as carrots or beets -- and low-glycemic fruits such as a green apple, pear, grapefruit, or lemon. I also love a frozen banana to make the smoothie creamy, delicious and satisfying!
One of the main reasons I love juicing and smoothies has to do with QUANTITY. Consider this: how many green, leafy vegetables can you eat in a day? You can get your daily greens in a juice or smoothie without having to nibble on broccoli, kale and spinach all day!
SO, which is better: a juice or a smoothie? Well, it depends on your goals and activities for the day. Are you working out in the morning or heading to a work meeting? Are you planning to add to your lunch or replace a meal? 

What’s the difference between juicing and making a smoothie?



Advantages: Juicing packs an incredible nutritional punch! It extracts all of the water and nutrients from vegetables, leaving behind the fiber. This means your body is better able to absorb the nutrients without having to digest the dense bulk of the plant. Plus, you can fit a large quantity of vegetables into a single glass of juice. The quick absorption gives you increased energy and helps your mental focus, while the vegetables themselves are powerful boosts to your immune system.
Disadvantages: Although they are very high in nutrients and vitamins, juices can’t keep you full for long because your body processes the liquid quickly.


Advantages: Smoothies are more filling since they include the fiber. Also, the blender allows you to add bananas, dates, avocado, coconut oil, chia, flax, or hemp seeds, for example, to add even more nutritional benefits and keep you satisfied longer.
Disadvantages: Chances are you are going to want to add more fruit than veggies and other ingredients to make it yummy, and unless you are consuming it as a meal replacement, it may be more filling (and more caloric) than you need.
chia and flax


For juicing, I like to add lemon as well as ginger root, to increase digestive health. For smoothies, I also add chia or flax seeds because they are a good source of fiber and Omega 3s. Omega 3 fats help relieve joint pain, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and are a good source of antioxidants, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. Chia seeds give you energy and help slow digestion – which helps you feel full longer. They also help balance blood sugar and reduce cravings! I add ice because it is a thickener and I like my smoothies very cold. For protein, I add either soaked almonds or vegan protein powder.
Drinking your smoothie or juice soon after you make it ensures that you get the most nutritional value; however, I work with my clients to help them incorporate healthy habits for the reality of their life. For example, some of my clients make their juice/smoothie the night before so that they can enjoy it in the morning, when they might not have the time to make it. Other clients make a double batch and enjoy one in the morning, and one as a great afternoon snack.
So whether you choose juicing or smoothies, you’ll be toasting to your improved health, energy and immune system!

This Month's Recipes

Green drink toast

Superhero Sunrise

Makes 2 servings (one for you, one to share, or one for later!)
6 leaves of kale
1 big handful of spinach
1 cucumber, peeled
6 carrots
1 lemon
1 grapefruit, peeled
1 thin slice of ginger root (dime size)
1/2 green apple (optional)
½ orange, peeled (optional)
Directions: Push each ingredient through the juicer one at a time (alternating ingredients for best results). Catch with a large glass container or measuring cup, to make it easy to pour.
green smoothie

Green Energy Smoothie

1 cup of one of these: water, coconut water, almond milk, or cashew milk
2 bunches organic kale
½ - 1 frozen banana
½ - 1 cup *blueberries
2-3 organic pitted dates
2 TBSP chia or flax seeds
2 TBSP Vegan protein powder (optional)
Directions: Pour liquid into blender. (I recommend a NutriBullet or Vitamix to ground leaves and seeds.) Add remaining ingredients and blend on low 20 seconds, then increase to top speed. Blend until smooth.
*Blueberries change the color from green to purple which you (or your kids) might prefer.

Want to eat your veggies? Enjoy with Heart-Healthy Hummus

1 16-oz. can garbanzo beans (also known as “chickpeas”)
1/3 cup Tahini (found in the ethnic food aisle or near the almond butter)
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
Juice of 1-2 lemons
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Directions: Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Scoop into a bowl and serve as a dip with fresh veggies -- carrots, celery, squash, zucchini, string beans, red and yellow peppers, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, etc.

The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15

Let’s talk organic! You can reduce the amount of toxins you eat by buying organic fruits and veggies whenever possible to avoid consuming pesticides. Buying organic may cost more, but it is an investment in your health. Still, organic is more important for some fruits and vegetables over others. Take the lists below with you when you shop!

The Dirty Dozen

Food guru Dr. Andrew Weil, among other leading health experts, recommends that we buy organic for the following dozen fruits and veggies:
1. Apples
2. Strawberries
3. Grapes
4. Celery
5. Peaches
6. Spinach
7. Sweet bell peppers
8. Nectarines (imported)
9. Cucumbers
10. Cherry tomatoes
11. Snap peas (imported)
12. Potatoes

In addition, HOT PEPPERS, KALE, COLLARD GREENS and BLUEBERRIES are top ORGANIC priorities, because they may contain organophosphate insecticides, which are characterized as "highly toxic" and of special concern.

The Clean 15

Dr. Weill and other health experts further suggest these “Clean 15” -- foods you don’t necessarily have to buy organic:
1. Avocados
2. Sweet corn (non-GMO)
3. Pineapples
4. Cabbage
5. Sweet peas (frozen)
6. Onions
7. Asparagus
8. Mangoes
9. Papayas
10. Kiwi
11. Eggplant
12. Grapefruit
13. Cantaloupe (domestic)
14. Cauliflower
15. Sweet potatoes

Take these lists with you or keep them on your mobile phone, so the next time you’re in the produce section you can pull up this information and be an educated consumer!

Support Warrior Wellness Solutions 

 Holistic Training and Education Programs 

We provide Holistic Integrative Health & Wellness Education & Training to Wounded, Ill, and Injured Warriors, their families and caregivers.  Our programs focus on veterans and service members who incurred a physical or mental injury, illnesses, or wound, co-incident to their military service.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

How yoga for veterans found me (part 2)

Within my first 10 or so yoga classes, I learned to used the physical postures as a vehicle to begin paying attention to my body and build an awareness of how each made me feel. On the mat, I could often watch frustration, anger, sadness, fear start to melt away and be replaced by feelings of happiness, lightness and gratitude. I realized that I wasn’t just learning new ways to be in my body and in the moment, but I was un-learning habits of judgment and resentment that hadn’t felt good for a long time. I was noticing that I had the ability and space to choose how to respond to the feelings that came up, regardless of the circumstances. Most importantly, I was learning that I could finally begin to feel safe, and start to soften my anxious grip on life. I could come home and find peace. I suddenly realized that I could quite literally save my life and I was endeavored to inspire veterans like me in the process.
In in the Summer of 2011, I completed Charm City Yoga’s first ever intensive teacher training and by the second day of week 3, I was beat, but also very alive! I recall thinking on more than one occasion that the mental and emotional challenges I faced here, rivaled the Marine Officer training I got in Quantico. We learned the traditional poses and how to teach them. We learned to breathe and let go, and how to safely invite others to do the same. We learned the yoga sutras, the energy body as well as basic anatomy and meditation. Upon graduating, I started teaching he first SFHW yoga for vets class at CCY’s Towson studio and the response was strong, although there was a problem. 
At least in part, I still held on to the story that tough guy Marines shouldn’t be doing fluffy stretchy white chick on the cover of Yoga Journal-type nonsense. I lacked courage, but only for a moment. I hadn’t completely embraced yoga, I was worried what other people would think. Finally, I said screw it. What do I have to prove? I made it through the “Battle of Ramadi”. This stuff is way too good and way too powerful! “There are lives to save” as Kim Manfredi told me one day. So, I owned it, and that’s when things really started to take off for me personally and the entire yoga for vets mission.
We quickly got some local and (small) national media attention and did our best to promote the class with the Towson University campus vet population and the VA. We also partnered up with a sister veteran organization championed by Rich Moore and Dave Landymore of The 6th Branch. These devil dogs were making great efforts to reform and rebuild an underserved, run-down part of Baltimore by cleaning up and repairing abandoned homes. Suzanne Manafort and Daniel J Libby became instrumental champions of the mission, offering trauma specific methods of teaching yoga to veterans. In 2012 I then began teaching to the residential veterans in the PTSD/ Substance Abuse clinic under Dr. Andy Santanello. Fast forward to 2014, I taught in the Baltimore VA’s neurology department with Dr. Robert Lavin, specifically for veterans with chronic pain issues. Overall now, yoga is offered in at least 60 VA’s nationwide, and the number seems to grow every week.
But back to me, because this is all about me, right? As I’ve progressed and grown as a teacher, I’ve done my best to apply the practices and principles to my own life which has accelerated and promoted my awakening as a good and simple man. Sure, I've stumbled often and completely fallen off on several occasions, but I’ve simply learned how to be and feel better over the years, with myself and with others. It’s allowed me to wake up to what is happening in my life and realize how often I let ego and pride to sabotage my ability to be honest and live right.
I’m now completing my 500 hour teacher training with former Army Ranger,Rolf Gates. With his wise guidance, and my commitment toward progress, I’ve strengthened my resolve to confront my deepest fears and demons. From the guilt and shame from all my past failures, to recurring PTS symptoms, to the destructive patterns of alcohol addiction that held me captive for 15 years, I have now come to a place where my aim is true and steady. I feel more capable and resilient than ever to rise to all of life’s challenges, fulfill my potential and not be so scared of falling short or not being enough. With this spiritual structure and positive outlook, I know that I can … we ALL can recover from the most painful and traumatic experiences life dishes our way.
As far as SFHW's growth is concerned, we just recently transitioned to Warrior Wellness Solutions for branding and we have added regular yoga classes in Virginia with staff instructor Peter Baverso, classes in North Carolina with ElijahAlvaro and Clarissa, classes as well as in Pittsburgh with ambassador Sean O'Neill. Staff instructor Jason Baer completed his own teacher training last year and now has the helm of the Towson crew.  We also have skillful instructors like Michael Hanley, Patience BrownEric BrownScott Ostrow IISharla Williams-Hunt getting the good word out for us in the field.  In addition, Heather Johnstone offers fantastic acupuncture, for no cost to vets.
Allison Jordan Hofmann and the Lululemon crew in Towson as well as Colleen Dalton have been clutch with regular donations of money for vets to take classes as well as high quality mats to practice on! For that we are forever grateful.
Over the years, the venues may have changed and attendance has fluctuated, but one thing has remained, there are now multiple, thriving, resilient communities of veteran yogis that have grown, strengthened and benefitted from the practices we teach on and off the mat.
Honor, courage, commitment. Semper Fi and Namaste you brave bastards!
Join us in writing the next chapter!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Warrior Wellness Nutrition {Tips & Recipes}

March Newsletter

I hope that winter weather is waning in your part of the world. I am certainly looking forward to Spring! As the days shift in temperature, you may find that your mood and energy shifts, too. One way to celebrate the change in seasons is to infuse your meals with the protective powers of spices and herbs. Please see my tips below for adding spice to your life! (You will love the benefits that you can receive from these simple additions to your meals.) I’ve also included recipes to help you select and use quality spices!
If there is a topic that you would like me to cover in an upcoming issue of this newsletter, I’d love to hear from you!
Wishing you renewal and wellness,
Clarissa {Director of Operations/Director; Holistic Nutrition Programs}

Spice Up Your Health!

I often talk about the antioxidant benefits of fruits and vegetables. But another great way to infuse your food with anti-aging and disease-fighting nutrients is through herbs and spices! These food “enhancers” also enhance your life, packing a lot of vitamins, minerals and health benefits in just a pinch. I rounded up the latest research to help you Spice Up Your Health:
To reduce inflammation: Inflammation is a key contributor to heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and joint pain, so reducing inflammation is important to your health. According to a study cited in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, the herbs and spices that best reduce or suppress inflammation and protect against DNA damage are:
• Cloves 
• Ginger 
• Rosemary 
• Turmeric 
• Paprika 
• Sage 
• Cumin
Of all the spices listed above, turmeric is a health superstar! That’s because it contains curcumin, an antioxidant compound found in the root of the turmeric plant. Years of studies continue to show that turmeric helps to:
• Protect brain function 
• Reduce the risk of memory loss 
• Aid digestive and cardiovascular health 
• Improve the immune system 
• Prevent the growth of certain cancer cells 
• Improve liver function (your body’s natural detoxifier.) 
• Reduce cholesterol level 
• Reduce joint pain and improve flexibility (especially in arthritis sufferers) 
• Serve as a natural antibiotic, inhibiting the growth of bacteria
What’s the best way to get all the health benefits of turmeric? Scientists note that combining black pepper with turmeric increases the amount of curcumin your body can absorb. (India and Thai recipes often contain both!) So mix the two spices when you’re cooking with turmeric! (See recipes below.)
It’s important to know which spices do what! Below are my favorite spices, listed by health benefit:
➢ To lower blood sugar: Cinnamon. ¼ to ½ teaspoon of cinnamon twice a day can lower your triglycerides and blood sugar.
➢ To get well faster: Garlic. Fresh garlic or garlic powder does more than add great flavor; garlic is a natural antibiotic, so if you are around people who are sick, or you feel under the weather, add a little extra to your recipes! To get the greatest benefits, chop garlic and let it sit for 15 minutes before cooking.(This lets the active form of phytochemicals develop, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research.)
➢ To relieve an upset stomach and reduce pain from arthritis: Ginger. Use fresh ginger in recipes and smoothies; dried as a tea (particularly good for stomach distress) or in an extract form, available at health food markets.
➢ To increase your body’s antioxidant activity: Oregano. According to a study by the USDA, oregano has the highest antioxidant activity of the 27 fresh herbs the organization tested.
➢ To help prevent memory loss: Sage. (Sage tea also soothes sore throat pain.) As noted earlier, turmeric is also an excellent memory protector.
➢ To increase mental clarity: Rosemary. (Rosemary also fights food-borne bacteria.)
➢ To boost your metabolism: Red Chili Pepper. 
Yes, it's a temporary boost, but chili pepper can also help you feel more satiated.
➢ To improve mood (and help alleviate PMS symptoms): Saffron. Steep in hot water for a "saffron tea" or use it to season soup, quinoa or brown rice.
➢ To inhibit breast-cancer cell growth: Parsley. According to a study from the University of Missouri, add 1 to 2 teaspoons a day.
➢ To enhance flavor healthfully, try:
• Coconut Aminos, a great replacement for soy sauce.
• Tahini, a great source of calcium! Tahini is made from ground sesame and has a consistency similar to almond butter. It makes an excellent dip for veggies and a tasty spread for crackers/rice cakes. You’ll find it in the ethnic aisle of your grocery store.
Spicing up your diet is an easy way to enhance your life and add flavor to your foods without adding calories, fat, sugar or sodium. See my spiced recipes below!

This Month's Recipes:

tumeric tea
I could write an entire newsletter about just one spice: turmeric. It is the superhero of spices! So I’ve included three recipes this month that include this powerful cancer-fighting, brain-boosting spice.

Turmeric Tea

• 2/3 cup hot water 
• 1/3 cup steamed coconut or almond milk (or you can use cold/room temperature) 
• Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon 
• 1 tsp turmeric 
• ½ tsp honey (optional)
Place 1 teaspoon fresh-ground turmeric in a mug or double-walled cup. Heat water to just before boiling. Pour hot water into mug and stir. Add steamed almond milk, lemon and honey (optional) and stir again. Let steep two minutes and drink.
tofu scramble

Western Scramble

1 16-ounce package organic sprouted firm tofu OR four free range eggs beaten 
1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil 
1/2 cup diced white onion 
3/4 cup finely chopped red pepper 
1/2 cup finely chopped jalapeño pepper (or other pepper of your choice) 
1/4 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp of fresh minced garlic OR 1/4 tsp garlic powder 
Ground black pepper and kosher salt to taste 
1 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
3 TBSP chopped green onions (about 2) 
1/2 avocado, sliced
Remove the tofu from its package and place tofu between 2 plates. Press to remove excess moisture. Place tofu in a medium bowl and mash well using a fork so you get a crumbly consistency. (If using eggs, gently beat 4 eggs together in medium bowl until yolks are broken up and mixed well). 
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and peppers and cook until soft, 3-4 minutes. Stir if needed to prevent sticking. 
Sprinkle vegetables with the coriander, cumin, garlic and salt and continue cooking until just incorporated and fragrant, 1 minute or so. Pour in the mashed tofu or egg mixture and add the turmeric along with 2 tablespoons water (eliminate water if using eggs), and cook until the mixture is warmed completely, 1-2 minutes. Remove from pan; garnish tofu/egg scramble with green onion and sliced avocado.
This is a great morning dish, and you can change it up with whatever ingredients you have on hand: mushrooms, pinto or black beans, even salsa!
Quick note: Turmeric stains! Don't get it on your clothes!
roasted cauliflower

Oven Roasted Cauliflower with Turmeric and Garlic

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets 
4 TBSP olive oil
2-3 cloves fresh garlic, chopped or minced 
1 ½ teaspoon turmeric 
1 jalapeño, finely diced 
1/3 tsp black pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Whisk together the olive oil, jalapeño, garlic, black pepper and turmeric in a small bowl. Pour into a gallon-sized resealable zipper storage bag. Next, add to the bag the chopped cauliflower to the bag. Shake gently, ensuring that the florets are well-coated. 

Place coated cauliflower in a medium baking dish, single layer. Roast until lightly golden brown and just tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Check halfway through cooking and turn or flip florets if necessary. Serve warm, as a side dish or add your favorite protein to make it a main dish.

Spice Tips

I wanted to share an important spice tip and my favorite brands to help you quickly, safely and easily Spice Up Your Health!
Spice Tip: Whenever possible, buy whole spices and grind them yourself.The pre-ground, packaged brands on supermarket shelves may contain other ingredients such as rice, flour or salt. The FDA does not require manufacturers to list additional ingredients! Also, what you find on the shelves of grocery stores may be six months to a year old. Whole spices have a longer shelf life. So do yourself a favor and grind your own spices or select high-quality brands. The brands I like the best are:
• Bragg Liquid Aminos Seasoning: Uses non-GMO soybeans; no preservatives added. A great alternative to soy sauce!
• Organic, Fair Trade certified spices from Frontier, the first company to introduce Fair Trade Certified™ spices in the United States. Whole Foods carries them.
• KRUPS Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder Cooks Illustrated magazine tested 12 models and this came out on top. Note that once you use a coffee grinder for spices, you don’t want to use it for coffee beans! Make it a dedicated spice grinder only!

Support Warrior Wellness Solutions 
 Holistic Training and Education Programs 
We provide Holistic Integrative Health & Wellness Education & Training to Wounded, Ill, and Injured Warriors, their families and caregivers.  Our programs focus on veterans and service members who incurred a physical or mental injury, illnesses, or wound, co-incident to their military service.