I’ve put together some answers to some of my most frequently asked questions… I’ll be adding more soon.  In the mean time, please feel free to contact me directly if you have any more. Thanks!


Do you and your family eat a 100% Raw Food Diet?


Although I am totally convinced that a 100% Raw Food diet is beneficial and even ‘do-able’… I do not believe that a 100% Raw Food diet is right for our family all of the time.

As a general rule of thumb, our family eats a 50/50 Ratio of Raw & Whole Foods daily. We will however switch to a 100% Raw Food diet if somebody shows signs of becoming ill or while doing a ‘cleanse’ or ‘detox’.

But that does not mean it’s ok to eat garbage – ever.   We choose not eat processed foods (like processed meats, cheeses, etc.), nor do we eat anything with Food Coloring, MSG, Nitrates, Sulfites, Refined Sugar (including High Fructose Corn Syrup) or Fast Food.  I personally believe that even small amounts, these types of foods can cause long term health & behavioral issues – especially in children.

I am a firm believer in alternative therapies that embrace a 100% raw & juicing approach in place/addition to traditional treatments in the event of obesity, cancer, diseases or other chronic illnesses.

Eating healthy is too expensive! How do you afford it?

Great Question!

One of the most important factors to consider about the cost of eating healthy, is that healthy food tends to more filling, more satisfying, more nutritious and overall less expensive – because you don’t need to eat as much to get proper nutrition. On top of this, I portion control everything… just because we have the food, doesn’t mean we need to eat it all in one sitting (except maybe the Kale Chips!). My children have never left the dinner table starving (and I have ALL boys!). I make sure that they have nutritious snacks at regular intervals, so they don’t ‘binge’ eat later.

Since eating healthy is a priority for us, we sacrifice in other areas to makes sure it happens. For example: We don’t drink coffee… so a daily Starbucks fix isn’t taking away from our food budget. And we rarely go out to eat. Fast food, Frozen Foods, & Pre-Made Snacks can nickle and dime a food budget down to zero in no time at all!

We frequent Farmer’s Markets & eat lots of local produce. We shop Costco, cut coupons, and buy in bulk from Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program. We also try to live very simply. We drive rusty old cars; We have garage sales regularly; I give my kids their haircuts (poor things!); we stick to a budget, and I make almost all our food from scratch to save money.

I realize that not everyone has been given the same opportunities & that makes me all the more grateful for the things I have. However, I still believe that eating healthy is possible for almost every budget. If you’re unsure how to get started, just start small and do what you can. Hopefully the recipes and tips I give on this site will help you along the way. If that’s not enough, pray about it and ask God for wisdom… He’s never failed to help me when I’ve asked. =)


What model VitaMix do you use / recommend?

I currently use the 5000 model (which has been upgraded to the 5200 – aka the VS). I have both sized containers (wet & dry) and I use them both regularly. However, if price is an issue, the larger container is the better ‘all around’ one to go with. I use the large container with the tamper for almost everything. If you think you will be grinding grains/nuts/seeds, then the dry blade container would also be a good investment.

If budget is deciding factor, their website also offers reconditioned machines, that still carry the full warranty. I have personally used a refurbished machine and it was in mint condition when it came… I’m not sure it was even used.

Here is the link to the VitaMix website directly if you’re interested: VitaMix Website Be sure to click on ‘Specials’ to find any current promotions they might be running. If you call in your order or place it online, please mention coupon code 06-004166 for free shipping.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Whatever you decide, I just know you will LOVE your VitaMix and I sincerely hope you enjoy all the health benefits of owning one, along with all the fun it is to use! =)

Where can I find a VitaMix Coupon or Promotion Code?

VitaMix with Free ShippingI get asked this question all of the time.  Unfortunately VitaMix never offers Coupons to the general public like some other companies do … but, they do offer a promotional coupon code for FREE SHIPPING through their affiliates**!

You can use my Vitamix Promotion Code  (06-004166) for FREE SHIPPING in the U.S. and Canada (a $25 U.S., or $35 CN savings).

There are two ways to order:

  • Order directly and securely through Vitamix.com, select a blender and add it to your cart. Then find the empty field under “Enter Promotion Code” in your shopping cart. You simply type or paste the following code in the box
    (06-004166) and click to apply.  If you use my link, this is already done for you. Then you will receive FREE SHIPPING on your order.
  • Order by phone by calling 1-800-VITA-MIX (1-800-848-2649).

Either way you choose to order, just make sure you use the Vitamix Promotion Code 06-004166 for FREE SHIPPING!

** Just to clarify… I wish that VitaMix would pay me to endorse their product, but they do not… I just really love it that much! If someone happens to buy one from the link on my website or use the coupon code, I get a small referral fee, which usually is just enough to help keep my website up. Thanks! =) **

Vitamix vs. Blendtec… Why I still prefer the VitaMix

I have had the privilege of seeing both the Blendtec & VitaMix in action and also had to choose between the two when I purchased my VitaMix. There’s no doubt about it that the Blendtec is a slick looking machine, with a smaller profile.  The recent ads market it as more high tech, with more versatility than the VitaMix.  However, as someone who has used my VitaMix (on average) 3 times a day for the past 7+ years, I can give my honest top 5 reasons for choosing a VitaMix over the Blendtec (although the Blendtec takes a close 2nd!):

VitaMix vs Blendtec

  1. Better, more efficient blades.  The VitaMix 4 pronged blades are designed to chop/crush/blend more efficiently. As a result, the VitaMix produces a far smoother blend and consistent end results.  I’m still on my original blades and it doesn’t miss a beat! (the amusing & popular ‘Will It Blend’ campaign that Blendtec runs can be very deceiving and have been exposed as such – plus, who is really going to blend their iPhone anytime soon?).
  2. Better, longer warranty (7 years vs 3 years) and the customer service is outstanding! The VitaMix is all US based and has been around a lot longer – my grandparents had one!. I’ve had to send my VitaMix in for maintenance once, and even though I’m in Hawaii, they send me pre-paid FedEx shipping labels and fixed it in 2 days!  Update: I’ve been told that the Blendtec may also offer a 7 year warranty when purchased direct, but I couldn’t verify that on their website.
  3. I love that I can manually control the speed of the VitaMix – You have full control over the variable speeds on a VitaMix without having to press buttons to adjust it – the knobs provide a smoother transition between speeds in my opinion without skipping a beat. I have a degree in computers, so the fancy Blendtec technology intrigues me – but I also know that when you mix a vibrating machine with computer chips there’s a greater chance of the technology failing.
  4. Superior engineeringVitaMix has an overload protection built in… in the event that you should overheat or mis-use the machine, it will automatically stop to prevent damage to the machine. I’ve been fairly abusive to my VitaMix and I’ve only overloaded it once. Once I shifted the ingredients around, it turned right back on without me harming the motor.
  5. Ability to use the included ‘Tamper’… the VitaMix allows you to use a tamper in the event your smoothie, juice needs some help moving around. The Blendtec has to be stopped and started in between stirs, otherwise it doesn’t blend evenly – Plus if you stick anything into the blades, it could eat your favorite spoon.  The VitaMix Tamper is the icing on the cake for me… and ultimately becomes a major advantage over the Blendtec.

I should note that I do not have anything against the Blendtec  – I know many people who own one and ultimately, it takes 2nd place in my book.  This is just my honest comparison that will hopefully help you make a decision if you are having a hard time deciding between the two.  Both are a big investment in your attempt at a healthier lifestyle.  If there is something else I can answer for you, please don’t hesitate to ask! =)

If you want to find out more about the VitaMix, you can visit their website at http://VitaMix.com   For free shipping, please enter Coupon Code:  06-004166  

For more info on the Blendtec, you can visit their website at http://Blendtec.com.

** Just to clarify… I wish that VitaMix would pay me to endorse their products, but they do not… I just really love it that much!  If someone happens to buy one from the link on my website or use the coupon code, I get a small referral fee, which usually is just enough to help keep my website up.  Thanks! =)   **

~ Erika

What model Excalibur Dehydrator do you use / recommend?

I use the Excalibur 3926T Model – Which has 9 Trays & a  26-hour timer.  The timer is a great feature, but I could live without it.  The major difference is that the timer will automatically turn off your dehydrator after a specific amount of time… otherwise it just stays on until you turn it off manually.  If your budget will allow, go for the 9 Tray because it holds nearly twice as much as their 5-Tray Model for about $30 dollars more.  Also be sure to buy a couple of Re-usable ParaFlexx Liners (if it doesn’t already come with some)… that way you can make Kale Chips, Fruit Leathers & more without having to throw away expensive parchment paper.

I’ve gone through several cheap Dehydrators in my day (you know those round cylinder stacking types)… Not only do they break easily, but they do not dehydrate evenly.  Plus, there’s no way to control the internal temperature to ensure vital nutrients aren’t being lost.  This is a VERY big deal if you are transitioning to a Raw Food lifestyle, since higher heat means nutrient loss.

In my humble opinion Excalibur Dehydrators are the best! =)  Plus they’re made in the USA with a great warranty… just like the VitaMix!

What model Food Slicer do you use / recommend?

I use a EdgeCraft 610 Chef’s Choice Premium Electric Food Slicer (got it at Amazon.com and they shipped it Free!).

However, I noticed that they have changed the model # to 609 – I’d watch the price on these, since I got mine for less than $50.

Hopefully you’ll find one on sale! =)

Do you work for VitaMix?

No, I wish!  I’m not sure they’d even let me near their Company… I’d probably pass out from excitement! =)

I would love it if VitaMix would pay me to endorse their product, but they do not… I just really love it that much!  If someone happens to buy one from the link  on my website (called an affiliate link) or use the coupon code, I get a small referral fee – which usually is just enough to help keep my website up.

If you want to find out more about the VitaMix, you can visit their website at VitaMix.com   For free shipping, please enter Coupon Code:  06-004166


Are all of your children adopted?

Yes! By the grace of God, we have been blessed with 4 wonderful boys through the gift of adoption. They are the apple of our eyes, and we love them very much!  Adoption & Foster Care is a HUGE passion of mine and you’ll see me mention it frequently here and online.

If you are considering foster care and/or adoption, I highly encourage you to pray about it and see if the Lord would have you pursue it. It can be a long, hard, and oftentimes painful road, but the end result is a Love like you’ve never experienced. =)

Just how big were your bangs in the 80’s?

If you can’t tell, I’m a little nostalgic about the 80′s!  I tend to overuse the word ‘like’ and ‘totally’ and I still miss my dual cassette boom box blasting Debbie Gibson, Duran Duran (with my cousin), and Weird Al!’  Those were the days!

I do not know however what possessed me to rat my hair in such a way that it took a can of AquaNet to hold it in place.  I suppose the photos speak for themselves.

My mom, who’d finally had enough of my second hand hairspray, decided to keep a ruler by the front door and wouldn’t let me leave the house if my bangs were higher than 3 inches!  I learned real quick not to break that rule.  Let me just say that you should NEVER, EVER try to sneak past a feisty, 5 foot, Italian Momma with a ruler in her hand! ;)

Oh man, just looking at that photo makes me wish I had the Swatch Watch & those pink plaid pants back – I think their coming back into style!

The early 90’s weren’t much better… two words: ‘Glamour Shots’ LOL! =)