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I'm Crystal Vaughn

a classically trained chef taking holistic plant-based nutrition on a grand adventure through North America. When I’m not creating in our traveling kitchen, you can usually find me on my yoga mat or a hiking trail.

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Jan 12, 2016


If you follow me on social media you may have seen that I was doing a kitchari cleanse last week.  I got so many questions about it that I wanted to discuss it with you.  Today’s post is not about a specific cleanse or how to cleanse.  We will discuss some of the dos and don’ts that surround cleansing and the right and wrong reasons to do them.

Cleansing can be a great decision when wanting to be healthier and give your digestive system a little break.  When we cleanse or fast with water, juices, teas and/or easy to digest foods like kitchari our digestive system that is used to working almost all the time gets a bit of a break and the rest of the body can get to work.  The organs start to cleanse and the body has an easier time ridding itself of weak and sick cells.  It has the ability to focus on problem areas and can start to help heal them.

An added bonus of cleansing is weight loss but you must not be too attached to this outcome.  Yes, you will probably lose a few pounds over the course of a cleanse (sometimes even a few pounds every day) but this really isn’t a good telling of where the number on the scale will end up.  When we change our daily eating habits our weight shifts in the direction of how we are eating.  A cleansing menu isn’t really sustainable for most of us in the long run so when we shift back to other eating habits our weight will reflect that.

Setting an intention to be healthy instead of aiming for a specific weight is a great way to start feeling better and weight loss will usually follow.  If we set the intention to be healthier we start to look at things differently.  You start to tune in with how you feel after you eat.  You can let go of the body shaming that sometimes comes with weight loss plans.  If we focus on keeping ourselves healthy and intuitively eating we start to understand when we are filling up and when it’s time to put down the fork.  We don’t have to count calories and macro-nutrients to tell us when and what to eat.   Once you get out of your head and start listening to yourself, some of these changes come naturally.


What are your intentions for doing a cleanse?  If your answer is only to lose weight and you plan on going straight back into your old routine, I suggest skipping it at this time.  Maybe you should focus on making small sustainable changes to your current diet.  When we yo-yo back and forth it is really hard on our systems and we typically end up worse or heavier than when we started.

A cleanse might be right for you…  IF you have been eating unhealthier more regularly and you want to get back on track.  IF you are working on getting over food cravings and you want a clean and strict set of guidelines to help you take some of the first steps.  IF you want to change the way you eat and are ready to make some long-term change.   IF you intuitively feel like this is a good place to start.

Cleansing is not for everyone at every point in his or her life.  If you are considering a cleanse really check in with yourself and make sure you are doing it for the right and long term reasons.  If you have any questions please contact me or leave a comment below!

Peace and health,


“It is about feeding ourselves as a good parent would: with love, with variety, but also with limits.” – Bree Wilson

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Jan 01, 2016


Happy New Year!!

This time of year has me thinking a lot about resolutions (and probably you as well).  Do you even know exactly what a resolution is?  Well let me tell you: it is a firm decision to do or not do something.  Please focus on the word FIRM.  Please don't use this term lightly.

Just because this is the time of year you are "supposed" to make a resolution doesn't mean it is the right time for you.  Make sure it is something your really want.  Check in with yourself and ask WHY you want it.  Maybe you are still traveling and it makes more sense to start a resolution when you return home or next month or six months from now.  I think it is always a good decision to make positive changes but make sure you are doing them for the right reasons and will take the time to implement them into your life.

If you know me very well, you know I am not a fan of fad diets.  Resolutions are often like fad diets: they don't help anyone and end up making you feel bad about yourself.  DON'T LET YOUR RESOLUTION BECOME A FAD DIET!

When/if you are ready to make changes here are a few suggestions on how to implement then and stick to them:

1) Choose your why.  This is a very important to making lasting changes.  If you don't have a strong why, what is the point anyways?  What is your reason for wanting to do this and will you put time and effort into accomplishing it?

2) Make a plan.  Changes are a lot easier when you have a plan.  Once you have decided on a resolution and know your why the next step is to sit down and write out a plan.  The key is to start small.  Maybe you decide to gradually increase of remove something from your life.  Set a plan on how much you add or take away each day, week or month.  Also, depending on your resolution you may be able to set specific times or cues.  For example: if you decide you want to work out more, you could start by working out once a week and gradually adding in workouts.  You can set yourself up for success by choosing a specific time of day and setting out your workout clothes or packing your gym bag the night before.

3) Implement when you are ready.  Choosing the right time can be crucial for your success.  Pick a time where you don't have more than usual on your plate or a lot of stress.  This will only make it harder. 

Bonus!  If your new resolution can be combined with something you enjoy or a reward try adding it as motivation.  Going back to the workout example, maybe you set a goal of working out three times a week and once you have done that for two months straight you reward yourself with a new outfit you've been eyeing or a night out with friends.  Something you really enjoy but don't do too often.  Just make sure you don't pick something that is detrimental to your goal. 

I hope this helped you get some perspective on your resolutions and will help you make lasting changes!

Cheers to a wonderful new year!


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Germs are all around us…year round.  But they seem to creep up on us more often through the winter months.  With the changing temperatures and drier air it lets the germs linger in the air a little longer and leaves us more vulnerable.  Here are my favorite winter essentials to keep my immune system at its peak and feeling good all season long.  I hope you’ll adopt a couple or all of these for you and your family.  Four of these you can do easily every day!

1.  Wellness Tonic – I have come across this in various ways since I first began at the Academy of Healing Nutrition.  I have adapted my own recipe and I would like to share it with you.  Whenever I am feeling a little under the weather, the first hint of a sore throat or cold I mix up this little potion.  It also helps kick start digestion!

Wellness Tonic


5 to 7 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
juice of 5 lemons, fresh squeezed (about 4 oz.)
pinch of cayenne
¼ tsp turmeric powder (optional)


1. Blend all ingredients together and keep in a sealed jar/container. 

2. Add 1 or 2 tbsp to 1 cup of warm (not boiling) water and sip throughout the day OR Mix 2 tbsp water with 2 tbsp mixture and shoot it as a wellness shot for a quick boost!


2. Thieves Essential Oil – I use this oil blend daily to keep me healthy.  It is a blend of clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils.  I rub a drop onto the bottom of my feet before bedtime or throughout the day if I’m not feeling quite 100%.  Legend has it these herbs were worn by thieves throughout the Middle Ages as they stole from plague victims.  Supposedly, this blend kept them alive and well.  If you would like to order some shoot me an email.

3. Drink Herbal Tea – sometimes it is as simple as steeping a few slices of ginger into my morning lemon water.  I also love Traditional Medicinals brand, in the winter I reach for Gypsy Cold Care and Echinacea Plus.   Drinking tea keeps you hydrated and warm and with these immune supporting herbal teas you can help keep sickness at bay. (Bonus:  I do this year round but it is especially important in winter: drink room temperature or warm water and drinks.  Cold drinks shock the system and in winter we really want to keep our body and digestive system warm.)

4. Eat seasonally!  Eat warming and grounding winter foods.  Add warming spices or just more spices in general, mix in some root vegetables and winter squashes, switch to dark leafy greens (as opposed to light and bright ones), and eat more cooked foods, soups and stews (minimal raw this time of year). 

5. Turmeric – This spice is wonderful for its anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibacterial properties.  It helps to detoxify the system and packs a large amount of antioxidants.  It is a great addition to many dishes or you can also take it as a supplement.  I take 500mg in the morning and double it to 1000 mg if I am feeling under the weather.  Black pepper helps the bio-availability of turmeric so I like a supplement with it included.   The one I use can be purchased here.

Do you have any favorite wellness tips or recipes you would like to share?  Please leave them in the comments below!  I would love to hear them!

Warmth and wellness, 


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The information on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any health condition or disease. It does not replace medical advice from a licensed professional.